June 28, 2011
Intruder Alert in Sector 7
At this rate, I'm going to wind up with a whole album of trashy generic musical pastiches. That'll really get 'em queuing around the block.
Thesis writing currently on an upswing, but ask me again in a few days and it'll no doubt be a different story. In the meantime, have a figure:
June 19, 2011
Rock 'n' Roll
I basically booked tonight's gig on the strength of the support act. I'm not even a huge Wire fan, but y'know, I own Chairs Missing and know a few other tracks and they're rather cool in a vaguely nerdy post-punk kind of way. I'd barely heard of The Sonics at all -- which as it turned out (and as a femtosecond's reflection ought to have told me) put me in a vanishingly small minority in that audience.
So the first half was perfectly fine, though the Royal Festival Hall was half-empty when it began, with people wandering in randomly for almost the entire set and generally being really fucking annoying. The band seemed to take a long time to get into the swing and the first few numbers just got a bit lost, feeling sort of arid and drab and remote. It was Wire, after all, and so there was no getting away from the "middle aged men with guitars" vibe. But by the time they picked up enough speed and volume to shut up the loudly chattering fat berks in front of us it became reasonably enjoyable. And when the first encore was my favourite Wire song, the uncharacteristically chirpy Outdoor Miner, I was pretty chuffed.
That's as Kinky as we get.
Ray Davies himself introduced the headliners, and it was clear from about the second note they played that we were in for a fun time. I knew The Sonics dated back to the 1960s, but I really wasn't prepared for quite how old school their show was going to be. The elderly band members were like a perversely upbeat cross between The Blues Brothers and their movie nemeses The Good Ol' Boys, with music that was basically transplanted wholesale from the heyday of Chuck Berry. Their most recklessly modern tracks -- "this is another original song from our new album" -- could have cropped up on Led Zeppelin III or thereabouts. The whole show was like seeing The Rolling Stones in an alternative universe where they broke up in 1968 and only recently reformed, the intervening decades having never happened at all. Or, in the words of my companion Simon, they were the best wedding band ever.
In case that sounds snarky, let me be clear: the whole performance was utterly fantastic from beginning to end, hysterically funny in an entirely unmalicious and inclusive way. Where the Wire set had served mainly to amplify my innate misanthropy, filling me with bilious loathing for the hateful fuckwits around me (and some of them really were fuckwits), The Sonics blew that away with a great tidal wave of irresistibly good-humoured rock 'n' roll. They were absolutely shameless crowd pleasers -- the first encore was Louie Louie, for fuck's sake! It was awesome.
Most of all, I wish I could have gone around secretly filming the audience. It was a mixed bunch, but pretty much all of them were in one way or another rock 'n' roll nerds. The same annoying fucktards I'd spent the first act detesting for their cretinous yapping turned into admirable celebrants as they danced in the aisles. The crowd was predominantly white and somewhat less overwhelmingly male, but even so it was far from uniform. There were hipsters and losers, fat kids and weird kids, ditzy chicks, malodorous middle-aged rockers and painfully self-aware teenage trainspotters, and astonishingly many of them were transported into a utopian realm where they could just get on down with their bad selves, lank ponytails, pot bellies, ill-fitting specs and all. Documentary footage of these people's enjoyment would no doubt be acutely embarrassing for them as individuals, but it would be joyously edifying for the rest of us.
This is what music is for. (And tonight is what it means to be young.)
June 17, 2011
Frousse de Ville
June 16, 2011
Gordon Bennett but writing up is tedious drudgery. The whole business of having to lay out in painstaking detail just how ill-thought-out and hence deservedly unsuccessful one's research has been is quite disheartening. I'm finding the most difficult part is just committing myself to saying anything concrete, to putting down in black and white we did X and Y and this shows, well, um, actually I'm not sure. Not very much, really. Bleah. Got a few nice figures in amongst it all, I suppose, and it will at least look fairly slick thanks to the joys of LaTeX.
Naturally, I am becoming an absolute Grand Master of procrastination. Even more than I was before, which is quite an achievement. In amongst all that, as very much not promised a few weeks back, this. It is, it should go without saying, rubbish. I mean it. Profoundly derivative, it basically just takes GarageBand's Smart Guitar riffs for a walk around the block, in particular the incredibly brazen cod-Stones "Roots Rock" #4. Also lots of megaphone distortion slathered over the rough and ready first-take iPhone mic vocals in a desperate attempt to inject character. (Erm, what's the tune again? The rhythm? Don't look at me, I'm a stranger here myself.) Listen at your peril.
In other news, I finally got to see John Cooper Clarke in action last night after several failed attempts. He spent more time nattering than doing poems, but a lot of the banter was very funny.
Ey Clarke, get back on the drugs ya fat cunt!
And the gentrified sequel to Beasley Street was masterful. John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett were also quite amusing in a vaguely Max Wall kind of way. A pretty odd evening out, all in all.
Had a whirlwind day trip to Paris at the weekend, crack of dawn on the Eurostar, to see Anish Kapoor's monumental balloon sculpture Leviathan, and also antipodean visitor Bruce. A few photos are up on Facebook already, there will be more and probably some here too at some point as well. Grist to the procrastination mill, see.
Following that outing, perhaps in some way due to it, I had a cold this week. As well as making me even bloody grumpier than usual it meant Sunday night's tickets to Yo La Tengo went unused, as did Monday's for Festival of the Spoken Nerd. But things are looking good for The Sonics and Wire this coming Saturday. (It's Meltdown time again, dontcha know.)
June 6, 2011
In sort-of commemoration of Saturday's stonking mid-season finale, and also just because it's daft fun:
Three months. Tsk.
June 1, 2011
Serious Enquiries Only
Best spam in ages:
FREE HEROIN SHIPPING!
1. Heroin, in liquid and crystal form.
2. Rocket fuel and Tomohawk rockets (serious enquiries only).
4. New shipment of cocaine has arrived, buy 9 grams and get 10th for free.
Everebody welcome, but not US citizens, sorry.
ATTENTION. Clearance offer. Buy 30 grams of heroin, get 5 free.
One can only imagine what comedy gold might have been found in the absent 3.
Alas, it's probably a spoof, though who can say for sure? Claims to be from Afghanistan, comes with what appears to be a Qatari telephone number and a contact email from a domain registered in Illinois. If it's actually a ploy to game Google by getting reposted on lots of neglected blogs then I guess the joke's on me.