Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wednesday 9 September 2009

“That must have been fucking depressing.”

These days feel like the end of summer now. Climate wise today does not contain the same sense of promise as yesterday but at least it hints at some effort to be good/nice.

I experienced more disturbed dreams last night. By the time I awaken and attempt to piece them together to cobble out a meaning they are all but gone although I do think Gringo Records was involved.

Soon I pull myself together in a much more positive and optimistic manner than usual. This morning is going to be good.

Again I leave the house and find myself sitting in my car earlier than usual. When Mad Max comes along and happens I will miss this.

This morning on the train I think I see John McCain but ultimately it is just a very good lookalike. That said I would rather see a Sarah Palin lookalike instead.

At Chelmsford the guy from the Boring Couple From Chelmsford sits next to me with his back to me. Seriously do I really take up so much of the seat or is this just a defect in his arsehole which means he can’t sit like a normal person due to the fact that one buttock is larger than the other?

Once arrived at Liverpool Street as I exit the train I find myself walking behind the Harry Potter reader from Shenfield. As I watch him saunter along the platform towards the gates it would appear that he is sporting a false leg.

Arrival into Liverpool Street is at 8.04AM and this delay is subsequently compounded by my tube line(s) being screwed. Today it is so severe that I text ahead to warn that I will be late, which is typical because I need to check the bank balance immediately upon arrival for when my boss calls in before having his scan at 9.30AM.

Eventually however I get into work, surprisingly not late and actually being the first person into the restaurant.

As I said the boss is having a scan today but that doesn’t stop him from calling in to check on the bank. Luckily I’m on the ball and by the time he phones I have the information at my fingertips. The scan is heavy duty and you hope it goes well.

Not long after arriving into work the posh boss comes in doing his Lance Armstrong impression coming in on his bike. I can’t help but think if I tried riding a bike at this time I would fall on my fucking face.

About an hour later the restaurant manager for the day calls internally and asks me if he is going to see him. On the phone he speaks with urgency which panics me as it sounds like there is a major problem. When I eventually track him down he is in the manager’s office sat at his desk dying. He informs me that he has been shitting blood. Not even I have done that. It turns out he has been popping these things called Kalms pills that are supposed to chill a person out and prevent panic attacks, which in his case are about to be brought on by flying to Turkey on holiday. Doesn’t sound good. After hearing him out and dishing out some bedsit manners he eventually heads home. My job goes further than just counting beans sometimes.

The remainder of the day runs out as not the most productive or prolific. For lunch I have an amazing penne with chicken but I can’t help but feel guilty about the carbs.

In the afternoon I go some length to redeeming myself for the morning but at the end of proceedings I still have a fair amount of stuff to still to. FAIL.

After work I sprint out the restaurant and head direct to Waterloo where tonight I am meeting up with Mark for NICK CAVE in conversation with DAVID PEACE. On the way I listen to the first of the twelve Baker And Kelly podcasts from 2007. I find myself giggling on the tube, these guys were literally on fire when they recorded these shows. It is a shame that Danny Kelly hasn’t joined Baker on his new Radio 5 shows although it is a much different show in tone, some might say watered down to placate the BBC brass. Some might say.

As soon as I arrive at Waterloo I head direct/straight to the BFI to pick up the freshly released London Film Festival brochure/programme that has come out today.

I think I manage to piss Mark off slightly when I am not at Waterloo station when I contact him to see where he is. Soon it is all gravy though.

The Southbank is buzzing this evening. I love the Southbank, to me it represents the most vibrant part of London and is my favourite place to be in London.

With food on our mind we head to Canteen for glorified refectory food. As we pass the BFI I spot Paul McGann stood outside seemingly trying to be invisible. This is I from Withnail & I and by far the coolest celebrity spot I have seen in many weeks (maybe months). He was also a pretty good Doctor Who. He looks great, like he hasn’t aged a day. Mark doesn’t clock him and when he looks back he really labours to see him.

We hit Canteen, sitting outside. With my third visit the gimmick is now beginning to wear thin as I feel I get overcharged for the most basic of slop. The last time I was here was with Mindy and her drippy Scottish friend. I was drunk and bored, the spare wheel in our little threesome that evening. It was not a good night.

As we head towards where the talk is I lead us in completely the wrong direction to the main Southbank building before Mark clocks that the Purcel Rooms are actually in the adjacent building. As we enter the building I spot Cathi Unsworth sat outside with her funny hair recognising her from old Latitude and ATP festivals.

Once sat down inside the hall we have amazingly good seats, third row and a perfect view. Tonight the gods appear to be smiling as the seat directly in my eye view remains empty and I get the best view possible of NICK CAVE.

After a short introduction for the event, during which the woman says Martin Sheen played Brian Clough in The Damned United (as opposed to Michael Sheen), NICK CAVE and DAVID PEACE trot out and take their perches.

The event begins with CAVE doing a reading from The Death Of Bunny Munro which he orates like a master. When I bought the book yesterday I got a fair way into it reading it on the train home and I really enjoyed what I read. To me it felt like a fluffy attempt at Bukowski (a writer I believe CAVE hates).

After the reading CAVE settles down into the Q&A with PEACE who declares that it is the best book he has read in five years. CAVE responds with his trademark humour asking “who was that last guy?”

It is interesting to note what CAVE says about his character Bunny Munro. He makes no secret that his main character dies at the end of the book and that the novel is about the man’s journey with his son after his wife/mother dies early on. CAVE comes over very conscious of the character, very defensive that he be viewed as a part of his psyche he is not proud of. CAVE sounds almost disgusted by the character and feels the need/desire to distance him from being associated with the character.

In Bunny Munro he has created a character to supposedly represent the Nuts magazine generation, the chauvinistic hyper male and misogynistic elements of our society that only serve to disrupt and upset things. It is strange to conceive that this really is not how I envisage the character myself, my vision/version of the man is that acceptable but annoying male of society that is old school and dying out. These days charisma doesn’t carry things alone even though it appears to be the only thing that Bunny Munro has got. Invariably in my mind I am picturing the physicalities of the character to be those of NICK CAVE albeit in the most haggard of senses. It is interesting to note however when CAVE states that part of his original idea for the character came about during the making of The Proposition and the manner in which Ray Winstone carried himself with his charisma, not that Bunny Munro is so explicitly based on Winstone.

Much to his credit CAVE soldiers through a long set of winsome questions. When describing how the book is now an iPhone application his confusion of technology he displays rare vulnerability while still exuding a confidence in his apparent incompetence. I do however take a lot of heart when he talks of using his iPhone to do some writing on, something I have been doing ever since I first got mine. I’d never realised I had so much in common with NICK CAVE.

So what else do we learn about NICK CAVE this evening? We discover he has two rabbits named Satchmo and Fluffy. We learn that the book has been translated into numerous languages and then we learn from an audience member that she thinks the Dutch translation is “flat” to which Cave responds by shrugging and offering a rightly discourteous apology.

The big thing I learn though is that he has such a hang up about being misinterpreted, especially in this example of being considered misogynistic. I guess he has done so much over the years that now all he wants is a quiet life but in a way it would be fun to still have him in a cavalier, almost arrogant mindset that doesn’t suffer fools easily.

Why am I verging/bordering on complaining though? Tonight is ultimately a very fun, illuminating and satisfying experience that serves to prove NICK CAVE as one of the good guys, one of the popular artists of this world that is actually deserving of such a status and merit. He talks of how the industry (music) is on its arse and scrabbling around to make money and he feels genuinely appreciative to be in favour at this time. He will be great forever.

Afterwards the show ends with a bluster of genuine applause and everyone gushing with kind words, moved and excited by the experience. As we leave Mark bumps into one of his Japanese speaking English friends who I remember meeting once also back around Jan 2006. He was the accounting Iron Maiden fan.

As we wait around and mingle a queue grows as people wait for CAVE to come out and sign their books. I did not there was going to be a signing this evening.


With the night still relatively young we get a drink and head outside where Iron Maiden fan and his lady friend (a librarian) discuss things in the world. It all turns out to be uni type talk and when faced with such pomposity I tend to feel relieved that I never went through these people in the first place. All the while we toy with the idea of buying up books and joining the signing queue and when we venture back inside suddenly the queue has shortened significantly, to a less intimidating length. Encouraged by this the Iron Maiden fan and I purchase a copy of The Death Of Bunny Munro at full price hardback and join the queue, this being the second time this week I have purchased the book.

The line slowly moves and gradually chips away as CAVE sits seemingly in agony, seemingly miserable at having to sign these things. In a way you can’t blame him and in another way it is just what you expect. I have the miserable honour of being the very last person in the line which at the point of signature could well go either way in the star reaction stakes.

Gradually his handler begins counting us down with terms such as “ten to go Nick” and which point he responds with faux enthusiasm “ten to go!” The handler then comments that he has racked up over 300 people, the hand of NICK CAVE must be fucking aching.

Eventually I get my time. The last person in line, the last person of the evening and the obstacle in the way to the end of NICK CAVE’s evening. He doesn’t want to be here, he doesn’t want to know, he barely wants to sign my book. Stupidly minutes before my time I came up with the idea of what I was going to say to him and what I wanted him to sign.

I introduce myself to him as “briefly I was tour account at the beginning of last year” to which he (rightfully) responds “that sounds fucking depressing.” I smile, this is what I paid for.

At this point some kind of self destructive bolt of inspiration strikes me as I labour the accountancy thing further. NICK CAVE plays along “yeah, yeah that guy” as he adds “we’ve got new people now”. Whether this is true or not it does sound like some kind of music to my ears. At this point he asks me what I want him to put in my book and I request “Fuck Baker Street” (except with the real company’s name) and he plainly refuses by going “I’m not going to put that” as I appear to drag out his agony of doing this signing. Eventually he puts my name and doesn’t bother to even look me in the face. Anything else would not have been cricket.

Initially this represents a very exciting experience. As it happens Mark takes photos on my iPhone of the whole thing going down and later when I look back at the picture I begin to wish I had worn something better and bothered to shave. It would have been less disrespectful.

As we leave the Southbank the night is not yet over and the others make gesture towards getting more drinks but I have to set off back to Essex so I bed them farewell clutching my new copy of The Death Of Bunny Munro.

This is how it ends.

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