Saturday, 31 October 2009

Saturday 31 October 2009

Jeepers. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the birth of Gringo Records. This is the unlucky anniversary. It is now terrifying to think that it was both that long ago that we met at the Urusei Yatsura gig and that the period in which I haven’t been involved with the label is now longer than the period in which I was involved.

This morning I awaken at 5.30AM. This is some kind of bad joke. I find myself starving and yearning cocktail sausages. Oh yeah, I didn’t have any dinner last night after my extended session of business drunk.

After pottering about the internet on my own for a bit and failing to fall back to sleep I decide I should take the opportunity to watch one of the many DVDs that, still in shrink-wrap, are spread around my flat. I figure good time to watch a music movie so I plump for Velvet Goldmine.

This movie is dross. It is plainly the story of David Bowie and Iggy Pop put through some kind of MTV beer goggles with pretty faces looking to overact and be very dramatic. It is bobbins. Complete and utter tripe but compulsive viewing just too see how overblown and camp it can possibly get. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is just a cock and everything he is in or touches turns to shit with his every appearance. Ewan McGregor does a little better cleverly aping Iggy’s posture and spasms but eventually his hair turns into a Kurt Cobain wig complete with facial grimaces and suddenly it all gets confused, not least when his Iggy character takes on the roll of Lou Reed getting electro shock therapy and doing the famous Mick Ronson solo while Bowie gets on his knees and gulps for the cameras. And then fucking Placebo turn up. Placebo were always awful and their performance here is both cheesy and embarrassing. Christian Bale is interesting as a wussy reporter long before he turned into the mother beating piece of meaty testosterone that is Batman and Terminator. Even more interesting is the fact that the story is set in 1984 as he does a retrospective news piece in a vague Citizen Kane style. The 1984 represented in this movie looks almost Orwellian, it’s dark and weird. Ultimately the whole thing is just a fucking mess seemingly constructed by a person (Todd Haynes) that didn’t really understand the source material in the first place. To think some amazing musicians were vaguely linked to this film via the Wylde Ratttz songs causes me to shudder. As I look the movie up on Wikipedia to gain some kind of understanding on the plundering time changes it is with a sigh of relief that it appears Bowie did not look the movie.

As soon as the movie ends it is past 8AM and I need to get to the post office to collect a parcel they are holding for me. I suspect it is a book about No Wave co-authored by Thurston Moore that I ordered in an HMV sale last week.

Pulling into the post office I see the picket lines. There can only be about a dozen people there but they are standing in solidarity and are very noticeable. There are post vans coming in and out of the depot (the scabs!) but it would appear there is a lot of internal support for the strikers. This certainly is a year of unrest; I have never known so many strikes in my life.

With my book collected being in the vicinity I head to Tesco at the Hythe part of Colchester. This is a really depressing supermarket. While the other day I was expressing my acceptance of Asda being the chav superstore this place just feels much more oppressive. I am two thirds of the way through the store before it hits: there is no music or muzak being pumped. Suddenly I am startled to realise what a big difference the lack of such inane noise makes.

Keeping up with the bad music memories motif of the day The Independent today is toasting and whoring a free Brett Anderson compilation. Upon closer inspection these are eight free downloads. I wonder if Moriarty is still involved with the dead horse flogging.

For my life I cannot find any pitta bread in this place. As I pass yet another person seemingly from the Greenstead (rough) part of town I make sure I have the essentials before leaving the store quickly.

I get back to Bohemian Grove just after 9AM in time for the beginning of this week’s Danny Baker show. It’s another good one. One of the first calls is from a Colchester United supporter asking him to save the Layer Road for the totalitarian league. Living on Layer Road this makes my moobs swell with pride, especially when he saves the ground.

Halfway through listening to the show I hear my MSN messenger beep and it is Iain getting in touch. He asks me if I have seen the latest photos from Baker Street posted on Facebook and I have to say I hadn’t. After a quick scour I find them via Zoe’s profile and the visuals are Wernham Hogg incarnate as the Stepford staff celebrate both pink tit cancer day and Halloween. Quite frankly it is a horrific and depressing sight. I count six full size cakes having been baked to celebrate pink tit cancer. Surely the money spent on baking these cakes would have been better put towards donations for pink tit cancer? Once more I come away from the photos with the opinion that I had a lucky escape.

Shortly after 11AM dad phones to ask me if I am heading over to see them today. I wasn’t planning to, half planning to even go to Millwall, but he tells me his computer has stopped working and is half asking me if I will go over and mend it for him.

I have no go today. I had so much writing I wanted to get done and really I wanted to start it last night but I got held up.

In the afternoon I begin watching the Nick Broomfield documentary on Heidi Fleiss but the DVD sound is screwed. I guess this disc was £3 at Fopp for a reason.

Big noise comes from next door today as initially Beyonce emits at a screeching level to which I respond to by doing a sexy dance having just watched Californication. If she could see my dancing she wouldn’t be playing the music so enthusiastically. Later it turns out that the nurse is soon moving out.

Today Colchester United are playing at Millwall which is a game I should really be attending. My cousin Phil (from the wedding) points me towards commentary of it on BBC Radio Essex. As I begin listening Millwall are already 1-0 down.

Responding to Phil I point out that we have a strong bench today with Jason Price and James Henry ready to come on and turn the game so when Henry scores in the 93rd minute after Alan Dunne equalises I begin to feel like some kind of football genius as Millwall win 2-1.

Afterwards semi elated I wind up watching Star Wars 2 which actually turns out to be a pretty decent movie removed from all the hype.

I sail out the evening attempting some writing and hiding from Trick Or Treaters. Stupid fucking Americans bringing their stupid fucking traditions over to our country and dropping their wanky shit Hallmark traditions onto us.

Eventually I fall asleep during the Have I Got News For You repeat meaning for a second week running I sleep through the new series of The Thick Of It.

I need a girlfriend.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday 30 October 2009

Dream: I’m in a church hall with a combination of friends and family including my parents. There is a wedding dinner vibe to proceedings but in fact we are there to watch the Pixies.

Yet another day this week I awaken with a cursed headache.

Arriving at the station car park this morning I manage to get a hot spot. As I leave the car I mutter under my breath “total win” which I think some woman hears me say which prompts her to give me a funny look.

I have no heart for work today. Yesterday was a drag and the set of accounts that I sent over to the consultant last night were incomplete and rubbish in my opinion. Now because I haven’t been afforded the time to do things properly one director is showing drawings of £80K and another £25K. I think when they eventually notice/see this they will give me time to do things properly.

Again I catch the 6.59AM train and I am shocked at just how quickly it gets to Witham, seemingly in barely ten minutes. That’s what happened when you are able to cut out Marks Tey and Kelvedon.

Eventually the train pulls into Liverpool Street without fanfare or beaching and suddenly I think I may have a new preferred morning train.

At the tube platform there is an insane Gibby Haynes lookalike. Sadly Tom does not appear up for Lookalike Poker today. Shame as this guy represents a total winning hand.

With the addition of the Russ Meyer box set and various other DVDs from last night it begins to bother me as to when I will actually find time to watch any of these. It suddenly occurs to me that these are my provisions. Whereas in cold war years people would stock up their cupboards with tinned goods in the event of future unemployment, I am stocking my cupboards with things to entertain me. This is pathetic.

As the tube pulls into Kings Cross Gibby gets off along with the reality that I will never see him again.

When I arrive into work it is into another day of tension. These aren’t great times to be with this company. As I check my emails there is thankfully nothing from the consultant but surprisingly there is one from Szesze which it would appear was sent at 2AM this morning. It breaks my heart to read it as she refers to me as “long lost” and she says “suddenly I have you on my mind.” She’s a really nice person but we just do not have anything in common. With nice memories in mind I send her a friendly response that in reality has the same content as probably my previous five emails to her.

Happily the early tension soon subsides and eventually things become more relaxed. With that in mind I am very ready for the weekend.

On Radio One today they are celebrating 75 years of Maida Vale Studios and obviously with that comes many memories of the place flooding back to me. I managed to get there three times with Hirameka and they were always exciting and privileged moments.

For lunch we have a feast as skewers of spicy chicken and little fishcake balls left over from a party last night are sent up on top of our generic lunch orders. Coming on top of our standard lunch, which today for me is burger and chips (my Friday treat), just as a curtail on our menu options is being enforced we are actually eating better than ever. These things.

Today I concentrate on the VAT return, struggling to cope with the new system on Sage I haven’t quite got to grips with. As time is of the essence yet again this quarter I find myself rushing and stumbling through the program, producing reports that are not necessarily 100% correct or indeed satisfactory in my mind. Elsewhere though the others just want timely figures that are relatively realistic. This is quite the contrast against that anal fuck Moriarty who would wet her pants over the most ridiculous of imperfections at Baker Street. She had accountancy OCD without both feet planted in reality.

After work I get roped into almost two and a half hours of business drunk. I just wanted to go home and write tonight. That said it does lend the opportunity to air some queries on the current state of the nation at the company.

Things get funny when my boss accuses the restaurant manager (the Heavy Metal Manager) of referring to some children with customers as “little cunts.” I miss the actual comment itself but find his language and terminology quite believable and as a result my boss’s gripe does hold some weight on the face of it. The manager however vehemently denies this to the end which later causes my boss to whisper some criticism to me aimed in the manager’s direction. Again it is justified.

I benefit tonight from not indulging in drinking; I think I only go three drinks strong while my boss polishes one off after the other.

As I head home at 7.15PM I feel emotionally cold tonight. More so than usual I just want to go home and curl up with somebody.

On the tube while stopping at Kings Cross a modern day Rain Man boards the carriage. He talks to himself, he stomps his feet and he spasms. Thankfully promptly he gets off at Farringdon. Fun times lay ahead in the part of the city tonight. Perhaps he works for The Guardian.

Eventually I end up on the 8PM Norwich train and it is a fucking joke, full of cunting families getting in the way and tourists who don’t appear to know that they’re born. Half the seats have booked tags/tickets on them but sit empty. Who the fuck books a seat on the train? It is not a plane! Tightwads and freaks book seats on trains, weirdoes with no money or social conscience. This is truly the half term express. Why do I have to put up with this shit? I pay £4600 for my train ticket and probably out earn these cuckolded milquetoast wet bastard fathers of these prick families. Sir, life has defeated and beaten you.

As I stand trying to pretend to being elsewhere in the most obnoxious and antisocial gesture at my disposal I scour my iPhone for the loudest and most obnoxious tracks with view to drowning out the whining fuck kids and their equally tiresome parents. Shellac on full volume appears to serve this purpose and work well for me. Punk rock!

When I finally get home it is truly a relief to be back amongst the living (albeit I’m the only one there). From here Friday night pans out devoid of excitement with unfortunately Miranda Hart as host of Have I Got News For You being the highlight.

I pass out.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Thursday 29 October 2009

“How can you reach the age of 30 without having own a car?”

Its very bright this morning, glorious from the off.

Driving to the station car park there is an eerie abundance of good parking spots available. What is going on? Is this due to the rapist parking prices NCP and National Express charge the working man?

With view to getting another slight head start on proceedings I decide to catch the earlier 6.59AM train again this morning. Typically the fucker is late.

On page 17 of The Metro today is a fuzzy apparent recent photo of Osama Bin Laden. The picture is actually the spit of Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three.

At Chelmsford a man that looks like a crap Alistair Darling sits next to me. A few stops down the line just as he is reading about Barbara Windsor leaving Eastenders he explodes with excitement and drops his coffee cup over me. Thankfully it is empty baring a few speckles but nonetheless it is annoying and he is an idiot. Damn me though how come I get handed on a plate a legitimate opportunity to be angry and I just don’t take it. I’m mellowing out too much.

Upon arrival at Liverpool Street today it marks the return of Chinese OCD Man straightening the copies of The Metro. I wonder where he has been. This is generally a good sign and positive omen for any day ahead.

The tubes feel fucked today. Rammed and spluttering, they are not usually this bad.


The Girl comes in all dressed up for a family meal this evening. I hate how this suddenly makes me nice to her. Do I think I am suddenly going to get in there or something? The male brain does get outwrestled by its penis sometimes.

Despite this she does take great delight in pointing out the emerging spot on the end of my nose and how red it makes it look. Scarily she is able to see this from across the other side of the room telling me just how red it is. The word Rudolph gets uttered more than a dozen times.

All in all work is a nightmare today. Yesterday was supposed to have nailed the work but as I am already snowed under and working my bollocks off my boss seems to think that it is nothing to dump the VAT return on me also. Now, when we complete the VAT return last quarter I found myself being pulled of it before I had had the opportunity to put it right on Sage and thus it was submitted incorrectly with a set of figures on our accounts program that do not quite tie in with what we submitted. It feels as if I never get afforded the time to correctly finish off things ever.

In the end I pull together a crappy, error littered first draft of the accounts and send it over/off to the consultant to appease the posh boss. For now the VAT can wait.

At the end of the day I leave work with the hairdresser waitress getting the tube together just as Mark sends me a text message to say that he is running late. We all know what I think/feel about the rudeness of poor timekeeping.

I get off the tube at Bond Street just as some guy in front of me lays down A4 sleeves with documents and a DVD inside on every spare seat on the carriage. Briefly we look at the guy freaked out and as I step off the carriage I look down at the heading on the sheet which headed up says “the truth about pandemic flu.”

This is awful. For a moment a follow the man to see what he is about as he just changes platforms and decides to board a North bound Jubilee Line train back towards Baker Street it would seem. What on earth is he doing and looking to achieve by strategically placing such fear inciting propaganda on the trains? What does he know that I do not? Does he really believe that swine flu has been invented with view to taking people down?

As I exit Bond Street station I hear a ringing and buzzing that at first does not alarm me but as I approach street level I notice people stood at the top of entrance not walking down into the station. Behind me I see a flashing “EMERGENCY. DO NOT ENTER” sign and suddenly a brief panic hits me that the crazy guy with the literature has done something crazy. Alas the panic is only mild it would seem and nothing real has occurred.

Stumbling through and along Oxford Street as ever I find myself mentally and physically battered by gallons of tourists all waddling around in a lost manner. With our meeting place set for Argyl Street as ever it takes longer than it should to interrogate my way across town.

Slowly Mark and Sharpy turn up and we head to Newburgh Street via Carnaby Street where we grab some drinks at the White Horse. It is really great to be catching up and hanging out with old friends quite casually again. My day improves tenfold when Sharpy pulls out a Russ Meyer DVD box set to give to me which was a Christmas present last year that never made its way to me. It goes without question to say that I am like a pig in shit with this in my hands. So many great movies and so many I have never seen including Mud Honey shockingly. This is a total and utter WIN. And then like icing on top of the cake he has included some other discs from his company including the new version of King Of New York including the Schoolly D interview in the extras. Hell yeah!

With the pub being at an expected Thursday night (new Friday night) rammed rate we head over to Chinatown to get some dinner and as ever we find ourselves at the Special 1979 which is fast becoming our regular Chinese restaurant haunt. Tonight I have a real jones on for lemon chicken and when they supply the largest plate possible yellow chicken goodness it tastes so sweet.

Conversation flows as we all appear to be living interesting lives at the moment and have fallen into exciting and successful careers. Sharpy always has great stories about the TV and movie industry in the same way that Mark has great tales about the videogame industry. I truly have great friends. Amongst other things this I feel I have London to thank for.

We call it a night relatively early around 10PM with Mark and I heading towards Tottenham Court Road. As we board the Central Line it turns out to be a fucking nightmare. As ever I find myself astonished at how busy this line can get, even to crushing point at this time of night. On the ride Eastwards I suck it in and pray through the misery while I look over at Mark who equally hates it. What is it about the Central Line that beckons idiots?

Thankfully I don’t die before Liverpool Street, although the mini group of people that crush on at Bank make one final valiant attempt to do me in. Leaving the train I nod out a “good night” and clamber for air, even the dank underground of the tubes tastes better right now.

With a little space between my train leaving I head directly over to WH Smith where I buy this fortnight’s Private Eye which completely solidifies this as a great night.

Eventually I get the 10.18PM train to Clacton. Not one of the best. On the train home I watch as a couple of old ladies (possibly old mother and old daughter) bring a dog on the train. Everyone makes a fuss of it even though it looks like a rubbish dog to me. Eventually a pissed up salaryman sits on the seat opposite me and he begins making a fuss of the dog, even speaking to the owners. Is he trying it on with them? I watch as he speaks on his phone to people about the dog as its owners' nervously smile. He then takes a mobile phone picture of the dog, perhaps angling it so it includes their aged cleverages. He tells them how he has one of those dogs himself at home before they begin ragging on West Highland Terriers amongst other breeds. I almost chip in to say that my West Highland Terrier is the best dog in the world but I step back not wanting to be no better than the drunk guy, instead putting my nose back into my copy of Private Eye. Luckily he gets off at Shenfield and peace resumes.

Depressingly as soon as the train pull into Colchester only a few minutes later the 10.30PM Norwich train does also. That twelve minute head start that involved the moronic dog patter ultimately served to count for nothing.

Tonight it is very misty when I get back to Essex. This can only bode badly for tomorrow.

When I get back to Bohemian Grove it is to the discovery that my post has once more only been placed next to my door rather than through the letterbox. Today this is extra annoying because one of the envelopes contained a new credit card. Useless fucking scabs.

My night ends with falling asleep with Paul Merton’s Alfred Hitchcock documentary playing out in the background. Its almost soothing.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Wednesday 28 October 2009


On a day when I really need to bring my A game I wake up with a stinking fucking headache.

I decide to catch an earlier train but when I miss the 6.48AM I wind up on the 6.59AM. Yup that four minute head start will really make a difference to my day.

Lookalike Poker begins well as I see the Bunny from Extras lookalike from a few weeks ago. He still looks like an aggro tool. A few seconds later I see a Hitchcock lookalike and immediately begin to wonder if he is doing a cameo and I have woken up in a Hitchcock suspense.

With Tom on the text Lookalike Poker goes into overdrive today as I spot the corporate corpse of Anthony Costa, a man in a West Ham tracksuit that looks like both John Hartson and Iain Dowie, a lad that will grow up to be the guy from The Hills Have Eyes, Daniel Johnston, Moby and Michael Eavis.

Soon afterwards I get into work slightly early and immediately tear into my work. Not long after this the lady texts me to say she won’t be in today.

Last night AFC Wimbledon beat Crawley in their FA Cup replay setting up a first round game with Millwall and this is a really exciting fixture setting up a great day. I then discover the fucking game has been moved to a Monday night thus significantly/substantially reducing the fun of it.

From here I have an amazing day nailing the accounts in an acceptable manner. Here I almost complete a month’s set of accounts in just a day. There is however still an overriding vibe of tension. I think I am falling on the right side of things but a slip at any moment makes me feel I could wind up in the firing line. As a result of my productivity though I do not have to work late tonight.

After work as I change lines at Baker Street I nearly lose my hand in the closing door of the tube carriage. Even worse it was the hand holding my iPhone! That would have been a terrible loss.

Tonight’s is a crowded ride due to earlier signal failure at Great Portland Street and once free of the tube carnage I comfortably board the 6.20PM to Norwich. As I take my seat the bald headed fuck sat opposite appears to almost take offence at my daring to sit opposite him. He looks like future Marvin, the salaryman that he will become. If lucky.

As I sit musing my fortunes and where to take things I see Epiphany Girl board the train also. Looking at the spare seat on my right for a minute I think she may be sitting next to me tonight but then the reality of the world kicks in as she bounds past me to a better place.

Shortly after the train pulls out of Liverpool Street it becomes apparent that the bald guy opposite is sat with his skank, his ho. With an expression of snobbishness he makes comment to her “its cheap tickets isn’t it.” I sense he wants a carriage all to himself.

Later when the guy gets up and heads to the buffet car he returns with a can of Diet Coke and a pack of ready salted crisps. How bland can two people get and be? You can not trust people that eat ready salted crisps out of choice.

Towards the end of the journey he appears to begin ragging on his apparent other half for having a broken phone with a cracked screen and then the fucker chooses to point at mine as an example of a busted phone. I look at the guy and then the woman with a stinging expression of “what the fuck?” and after awkwardness and a pregnant pause he says to me “does it still work?” I nod an affirmative while ESPing “fuck off.” Considering for the last near hour I have sat opposite him with headphones in my ears attached to the iPhone, which is a pretty fucking stupid question.

When the train eventually arrives back into Colchester it is not before time and I display a strong degree of relief at getting away from these two bloodsuckers.

Back home Wednesday night is Wednesday night and I wish I had more to report for it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tuesday 27 October 2009

I wake up feeling exhausted this morning. Coupled with this the day opens with drizzle framing the day in a sour manner.

Despite this I get to the station in good time. So does Son Of Computer Fag who barges his way to Piers to get his spot on the platform. This guy is such a prick.

As I pick up The Metro this morning and notice a picture of a lady I think “hot celebrity” but then unfortunately she turns out to be some random Eastern European prostitute. I am awful.

Currently there is a girl that gets on the train at Chelmsford. Recently she has opted to wearing a blue sequin beret and all in all it just looks fucking stupid, a sure-fire sign that she is an idiot. Today she also proceeds to listen to her iPod very loudly, soundtracking the train journey for all of us. As the extras around me frown while I try to listen to the latest Collings And Herrin podcast on my iPhone I find it being drowned out by Beyonce from across the carriage. Thankfully she gets off at Stratford to a resounding collective sigh of relief from the extras.

I find myself feeling disillusioned today, people ruin everything. My memories of both events yesterday will now forever be tarnished by the actions of dickheads around me. Bill Hicks was truly right: people suck.

On cue the train beaches twice outside Liverpool Street. I feel truly uncomfortable squashed on this train today with my legs tucked in. Despite this it rolls into Liverpool Street at 8.05AM when really the delay feels as if it was a lot longer and the train much more late.

Next on the tube I find myself sat opposite a pig woman eating a pastry and a guy that looks like a Fred Armisen character on SNL. Why do I have to share space with such goofs?

When I change lines at Baker Street there is some kind of minor carnage. Arriving at the Jubilee Line platform the sign reports a nine minute gap/wait until the next train. Is something up with the trains today?

As I head to the nearest seat on the platform for some reason there is a tall scruffy guy stood directly in front of the bench preventing anyone from sitting down. What is he protecting it for or from? What’s going on in his mind?

All while my morning is occurring in front of my eyes I am listening to the new Leyland James Kirby wares. This music is perfect for public transport, its ambient drone echoes through the tube underworld giving it a ghostly and ungodly tone. It makes my day cinematic and suggestive of drama.

Once in the office today this may turn out to be the day that the shit finally hits the fan. Again there is a tension in the air as meetings are held across all three of the other offices on our level/floor. I am afraid to speak to anyone about anything, right now the best plan of action appears to be to keep your head down and do your job without any fucking around.

I plough through the accounts in full knowledge that they will soon begin putting pressure on me for the second quarter of the new company’s account so the bigger the distance and progress I can make on them the better. Preparation ahoy.

After a testing day eventually 5.30PM thankfully comes around and I get to go home. Before I know it I am back home in Colchester where Tuesday night TV is its usual dead end. I don’t last long this evening.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Monday 26 October 2009

Today I am up early and ready for action.

With things to do I find myself good to go much earlier than required so as a result I get to the station ten minutes earlier than usual. I’m dedicated to my field regardless of what the people at Baker Street might say.

I head into work praying that there will be no shit storm from my not meeting the loose last Friday deadline.

The train pulls into Liverpool Street at 8.05AM. Late upon late.

Once on the tube we get held up at Farringdon for a far amount of time. Later at Euston Square I notice a lookalike of The Teeth. Is it him? Am I being paranoid? Why am I thinking of him at this time?

I step into work to a definite vibe. I’m glad I am in early giving off the impression that I am really pulling my weight, pulling for the team.

I hit my desk in a grumpy fashion, it would appear that the IT Guy was at it on Friday and the feng shui of my desk has been fucked with.

Eventually our boss comes in relatively happy. In the absence of The Girl he asks me if I can make a cup of coffee. I’ve never really mastered the huge industrial coffee machine in the restaurant so as ever it is an adventure into the unknown for me. I manage to pull together three very strong cups of coffee along with one cup of warm milk residue. With results like these I doubt I’ll be asked to make coffees again in a hurry.

The big boss is in a shouty mood today. I half suspect this is off the back of watching the latest adventures of Malcolm Tucker on Saturday. This taints the atmosphere.

The mood gets established when my boss comes in and says that he is going to have to curtail our menu options for what we can have at lunchtimes. This doesn’t affront me too much but I do feel it is unnecessary as we don’t take the piss out of the privilege. He says it is down to a sudden rocket in food prices. I take this as the beginning of a dark period.

Bearing in mind that I am leaving at 1PM today to head to the London Film Festival to see the new Bill Hicks documentary I royally tear into duties and have a great productive morning that kicks the ass of my usual output. Later when I stroll out the building I do feel like a villain however.

Slightly concerned that I might not get to the NFT in time I overcompensate and actually wind up getting to the Southbank super early, such is how I do things. As I pass through the tube station they are already giving out the free copy of the Evening Standard of the day.

In the end I get to the BFI well ahead of time for the screening of American: The Bill Hicks Story and I take my seat in the cinema it is a really well positioned perch, central and forward. Just before the film kicks off one of the directors comes out and introduces the documentary announcing that Bill Hicks’ mother and brother are in the audience. I nearly wreck my neck as I turn around to peak a view and applaud ecstatically. This is a real coup. The director then says that there will be a Q&A session after the movie, fantastic this was not billed with the ticket. Suddenly this show becomes the biggest of deals to me.

American: The Bill Hicks Story turns out to be unsurprisingly fantastic. On screen it looks amazing as the billed graphic animation devices thankfully do not trivialise or ruin proceedings instead serving to glow and amaze. Later somebody points out the similarity of the method to what was used in the Robert Evans documentary The Kid Stays In The Picture and the comparison totally nails the movie.

A warm fuzzy feeling exudes from the story and despite the best efforts of the crooked nosed cunt sat behind me kicking my seat throughout the movie I find myself getting swept away by all the new footage and fresh take on a story I have revised several times before. Suddenly a tangible feels is being place to events and circumstances as faces are placed to names and scenes and locations are given a true identity.

Ultimately it is a tragic story. After the euphoria of breaking out of his hometown and becoming a success in America sadly it took far too long for Hicks to receive any major recognition and it was only when he came to the UK that he finally truly found his audience and with it came a glow after years substance and alcohol abuse. Indeed the vivid re-enactments of his tripping experiences truly exudes from the screen in a 3D manner that doesn’t require those funny glasses.

I genuinely feel blessed that I discovered Bill Hicks at such an early and formative age. The movie serves to remind me of just how much over the years he formed my view of the world giving me a methodology to sculpt my cynicism and scepticism into something that can be strangely quite positive. Over the years I have struggled to explain this gift to people, not least people such as my American Friend you could really benefit from finding a sense of humour about things the most.

As the movie arrives during the period in London despite the success and happiness he finds there a dark cloud still looms over proceedings but thankfully the movie concentrates on the amazing reception of his final moments choosing not to dwell on his illness and sad inevitable premature death. When the movie closes at a good time a rousing applause comes from the audience with the vibe thankfully grabbing onto the celebration of his life rather than the tragedy of his death.

I consider myself one of Hicks’ biggest fans and staunchest supporters (even fifteen years after his death) and as a result I thought I had seen everything there was to be seen but amazingly this movie digs up countless clips from performances I have never come across.

After a second bout of applause the lights come up and the filmmakers along with his brother Steve Hicks and original comedy partner Dwight Slade take to the stage for the Q&A. I have to say this is an incredibly emotional time lending something of a more tangible connection to Hicks.

Hicks’ brother and Slade take most of the questions as it becomes apparent that I am not alone in my hero worship of the greatest comedian of all time. Thankfully for once the questions are considered and sensible. The subject of Russell Crowe playing Hicks in a movie is broached and indeed the rumours turn out to be true as far as his interest but while Crowe sounds very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Hicks the project does not sound feasible. Elsewhere Chas Early and his part in Bill Hicks Slight Return gets mentioned and it turns out that he is indeed in the crowd today. This genuinely feels like a true congregation.

As the questions continue coming it turns out that our audience is actually holding up the next movie so slowly we are eased out of the theatre and asked to reconvene at the Atrium area of the BFI.

On the way out we are handed goodie bags created by the Hicks’ that contain personalised items.

We all slowly filter into the Atrium and suddenly I find myself stood next to Bill Hicks’ mother. Again this is such an emotional moment for me as suddenly she resembles a similar kind of status that a friend’s mother does and a sudden sense of protection surrounds her. Likewise for the early moments I am stood next to Steve Hicks and Dwight Slade and in total awe of these guys and appreciative of their efforts I just smile and shy away from introducing myself. Who the hell am I to these people though?

Invariably during the Q&A people like to a point of saying how they saw Bill Hicks perform while he was still alive. In a way this seems like they are displaying a badge of honour but also in a way exposes their age. The worst question comes with a precursor as some strange looking lady apologises before asking the far too accommodating Hicks and Slade whether they thought that the government had infected Bill Hicks with his cancer and there was some kind of conspiracy behind his death. A brief heavy silence rings around the room as people cannot believe what the lady just asks but to his credit Steve Hicks responds unnecessarily warmly saying that people have asked similar questions in the past. The question though is just so off the mark and the woman should have been stoned for daring to ask it in such a tactless manner.

Gradually the group questions come to an end as a signing session kicks off. I don’t bother getting in line as signatures seem/feel unnecessary at this time. I leave the NFT feeling emotionally touched. Why does it take complete strangers to make me feel this way?

With a pretty swift ride I soon find myself back outside Kentish Town tube station waiting for Racton to turn up. I have so much to tell about for my afternoon, an excitement I eventually fail to transmit.

We head to The Oxford pub where we tear into the menu with me having the venison burger. What makes this so special? Is it a burger made out of Bambi?

When we eventually head into the Forum it is dead and empty. Realistically a cinema the Forum does not make as the rows of seats and so so screen are unveiled to us in a strange fashion. There is a distinct whiff of popcorn in the air and looking over this is coming from an old school machine where the person tending it is filling up square boxes of snacks to grubby indie rock fans. One day being so kitsch will be frowned up again.

Taking our seats sat behind us is a pretty Japanese girl sat on her own. There is always a pretty Japanese girl hanging out on her own at these kinds of indie shows for some reason. Where do these people come from? It always just feels so criminal that they aren’t with anyone.

Eventually the All Tomorrows Parties movie starts up without fanfare or introduction. The opening moments are a mesmerising collage of heavy old school Butlins holiday camp footage interchanged with Battles playing hard and footage that almost films up their noses. It doesn’t work for me.

The ATP movie turns out to be a frustrating affair. In some ways it is overreaching, spreading itself thin trying too hard to cover as much as possible from the past ten years of events. Unfortunately as it endeavours to cover both the bands playing and conveying the atmosphere attached to proceedings it fails to really nail either. I really don’t want to get sniffy about the thing but I don’t feel myself experiencing the desire to championing it.

The sad truth is that ATP is not the kind of Glastonbury experience that the movie appears to be trying to display. Neither is it the meeting ground for people of a higher set, those that are more intelligent and more talented that your usual festival fodder. Nope the reality is that I have only ever on the whole encountered pricks at ATP, two bit phonies from privileged backgrounds with astonishingly big egos and a devil may care attitude to proceedings/life that is often being funded and financed by their parents. These people are free but not from arbeit macht frei even if they think so. And annoyingly this is, unsurprisingly, something that the documentary is not showing.

Perhaps the worst thing about the movie is the footage that gets wasted. Over the years the festival has played host to some truly major moments in indie rock history but when you get barely 30 seconds of a Slint and Shellac performance you cannot help but feel cheated especially considering that without doubt this is probably the best footage that has ever been taken of these acts. To subject a viewer to a whole song might be pushing a person’s patience but to show just a tiny fragment of a band’s being is just unforgivable in the long run. What is it going to achieve? An outsider will not get a feeling for the band and an attendee cannot sit back and savour the memory of what they are seeing.

The viewer is the rub with regards to this movie. I can’t help but feel that tonight the majority of the audience in attendance half hates the thought of seeing themselves in this documentary but at the same time their egos also yearn that kind of recognition for the years that have put into attending the festival. Of course me and none of my various chalet mates appear but our friend Rachel from Silver Rocket pops up playing one of the arcade dance machines.

Ultimately I do not feel the movie represents my memories or experience of ATP. Instead it serves as an advert for a constructed faux existence and lifestyle where arty types and musicians can survive on their talent and intellect alone. Maybe I’m just getting too old for this now. I don’t want to be 40 and still attending these events.

From here the dance floor section of The Forum gets cleared so that the powers that be are able to remove the seats and the LES SAVY FAV set can get going. By this point I think we are now pooped, all partied out by what we have tonight seen on screen and now we are feeling a bit weirded out with view to facing the prospect of LES SAVY FAV.

Eventually LES SAVY FAV hit the stage and for a second time running they disappoint me, looking lost on the Forum stage and not really grabbing or slapping me with their performance or set. And with their repertoire this certainly is something of a backwards accomplishment.

On cue they tear into their new record and soon Tim Harrington is undressing and making himself familiar (overly familiar) with the audience. As ever it is a good job he brought his long microphone cable along with him tonight.

The band plough through the usual hits and people go apeshit. Behind us people in hats go mental which only serves to cause a bad vibe. What do these people come from?

I think the night finally ends when Tim Harrington throws his stinky fucking top into the crowd and it smacks Racton around the head. At other times this might be something to celebrate but tonight it just falls foul.

We leave before the set ends with the Forum looking uncharacteristically sparse. For some reason it felt wrong tonight. The day peaked too early.

On the tube from Kentish Town to Moorgate I spot a girl reading a Noam Chomsky book. She looks a true bundle. Later as noisy girls get off the train at Kings Cross a group of men wearing matching Sky TV jackets board, as obnoxious a group as you would expect. At first they look officious but soon they begin to represent what/who they really are: salesmen.

When I finally arrive back at Liverpool Street it comes with a sense of relief that I am soon on a train home back to Essex and upon arrival back into Colchester it is truly sweet to find myself in my bed.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday 25 October 2009

Today I am up at 6.30AM, the clock change really fucks me up.

With nothing else to do in this early hour I set about watching the Dinosaur JrLive In The Middle East” DVD I currently have on loan from Lovefilm. Here’s hoping I don’t sit on this for two months before I get around to watching and returning it (like my last rental with them).

The DVD is surprisingly good. There is a weird purple and green light show going on which works and it comes from early in their reformation so the majority of the set is culled from “You’re Living All Over Me-”. I begin scratching my head about this music. Its loud but technically flawed. I could easily imagine an outsider looking at the set and commenting at how bad the playing is because at times I even find myself thing this. The word “raw” most definitely springs to mind. That said there are more dynamics to this performance than the majority of bands playing at the moment. With his role in this band there appears to be a new hardness to Lou Barlow and when he plays he does this strange and unique circular arm movement when he strums. It rocks. Later on the extras of the DVD is a song from their Koko Don’t Look Back performance of “You’re Living All Over Me” which was one of the greatest shows I have been to with about four encores meaning that we had to leave before end as the band appeared to be going through their entire Lou-era back catalogue.

Once this is over I get up and endeavour to do some writing but for some sad reason I am unable to bring it as the words fail to come. I just feel too exhausted right now.

Having annoyingly fallen asleep during the new (and long awaited) Thick Of It last night I persist with an eternally blocking and buffering rubbish iPlayer to watch it. I’m not completely sold on internet television. Regardless the first episode of this new series starts off very nastily, much nastier than previous series.

Following I watch the latest episode of Saturday Night Live which features Drew Barrymore as guest host. This show never fails.

Writing today doesn’t really get much further than the completion of my first Circle Jerks album review.

Today is the draw for the first round of the FA Cup and as it beams live on ITV I feel somewhat shocked when Millwall get AFC Wimbledon or Crawley at home. Immediately I text Stevo to see the likelihood of them beating Crawley to get through to the tie. This fixture feels so wrong. I really really wanted AFC Wimbledon to get MK Dons, that really in earnest is the fixture the knowing football world wants to see. For Millwall however it represents a relatively easy draw, after beating Leeds there is no way they will fuck up beating Wimbledon, I predict they will do so in the most boring fashion possible with two late goals to win 2-0. The reality is that non-league clubs just do not have the fitness/stamina to meet professional league teams and in the end this makes the big difference.

As per routine I head over to the olds’ for Sunday lunch at 3PM. Old habits die hard. Driving out of my car park I put Radio Five on to discover that the game between Liverpool and Manchester United is already halfway through. As I watch the second half with the old man Carragher plainly should get sent off when he does something stupid. However he remains on the pitch, Liverpool remain eleven men and boringly Torres scores to give Liverpool the lead before they then snag a second in injury time to win 2-0.

The second game is West Ham v Arsenal but it’s incredibly boring (as would be expected) so instead I take to watching the Krautrock BBC documentary on iPlayer instead. It’s a frustrating documentary that spreads itself too thing and doesn’t seem able to decide whether it is a music documentary or a history documentary. That said the Amon Duul and Baader-Meinhof tales are very titillating and the whole German mystique is an exciting thing. It is just a shame that the documentary wasn’t longer and given the opportunity to cover things in more depth.

With the Norwegian black metal documentary showing at the Colchester Arts Centre tonight, I arrange to meet up with Nina and Sandy at the Hogshead for 6.30PM before heading over. Once inside we snag front table seats for the documentary and get a good view of the whole thing.

The documentary is called Until The Light Takes Us and covers the Norwegian black metal scene of a few years ago that escalated to the point where band members were committing murder and churches were being burned to the ground. The focal points of the scene were bands called Darkthrone and Burzum whose main members are heavily featured and interviewed with impressive access during the film, not least due to the fact that Varg Vikernes of Burzum is in prison.

Tonight the filmmakers Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell are in tow presenting the film and offering up a Q&A after the screening.

In the end the documentary turns out to be better than I had been imagining and hoping for. From the off you can tell the filmmakers are passionate about their subject which is something you suspect comes through by the way the interviewees respond and accommodate.

A few years ago I used to have an online friend in Norway called Line who was just an amazing person and as she told me about Norway it fuelled a fondness for the place in me that I have always held for Scandinavia in general. Of all the countries in mainland Europe those are the ones I have always felt the UK most has an affinity with.

It begins with the Darkthrone mainstay Fenriz being busted on a train for possessing tear gas which gives the whole piece an immediate weight, almost suggesting that the black metal participants are akin to terrorists. And then it is all downhill from here. For this guy however its just water off a duck’s back.

From here some kind of subtle Manson Family spin is put onto proceedings as Varg Vikernes comes over as some kind of enlightened scene leader as soon it becomes apparent how his focus switched towards politics while Fenriz concentrated on the music. At this point to back up Vikernes words the film focuses on the US branding taking over the Norwegian streets (much like the rest of the planet), almost as if to justify his message and actions.

Thankfully the documentary then runs through a user friendly history of the Norwegian black metal movement, of weird bands making shittily recorded albums that still manage to sound amazing which coupled with the whole look of the movement most definitely has something of value within it. Eventually though as with these things, as the scene gained momentum people found themselves taking things too seriously and eventually the unfortunate suicide of a member of Mayhem (“Dead”) and subsequent discovery by the guitarist Euronymous eventually makes for an album cover (“Dawn Of The Black Hearts”).

Then the scene’s Sharon Tate moment occurs with the first church burning (Fantoft Stave Church) that sees the scene reaching the national (and international) stage. From here a number of subsequent churches get burned down at which point Euronymous loses his head as art becomes too much like reality and reports Vikernes to the police.

At this point Vikernes explains that even though they were railing against Christian conventions the scene was never Satanic, as how it was now being portrayed in the media. For Vikernes it was about striking out against accepted social conventions and how Christianity had stomped over Norwegian culture and now weighs heavily on modern society.

Around this point like any youth movement the scene was co-opted and commercialised (as much as possible) which gets best featured in the form of an art exhibition which Fenriz views with horror. Later Harmony Korine then pops up with a similar exhibition I guess to show how appreciation of the scene eventually reached further fields.

Finally the documentary heads towards a climax as the reason for Vikernes being in prison is revealed as he recounts the scene where and why he murdered Euronymous from Mayhem. At the same time while he is locked up and powerless a new character called Frost from a band called Satyricon is held up as an example of a bandwagon jumper, a shilling fraud of the lowest kind. Within his act he displays a most extreme gesture of violence that is so far removed from what the forerunners have experienced. Safe and horrific.

In the end it’s much like any innovative music scene/movement/style, just like hip hop, punk or grunge the originators of the art are the ones to fall foul and fail to make the record sales off the careerists that follow. This will always be an interesting story to tell.

After the documentary the filmmakers step out in front of the stage and take on questions from the heavy metal audience. As a record collector myself I often feel that I am just the modern equivalent of a trainspotter (without the getting out the house element) but metalheads are an altogether different breed of geek, generally lacking an awareness of their existence and being very serious about their interest while wearing a uniform in the same manner in which a Star Trek fan dresses up (only more frequent).

Compared to the Q&As I have been seeing at the London Film Festival this is a very long session as unsurprisingly the metal fans have lots of questions they need answered. Even after the Q&A ends the audience crowds around the filmmakers with a seemingly unending list of questions.

Myself I wind up chatting to the community radio DJ from Ipswich before eventually giving her a lift to the station where I give her a copy of my book which seriously fails to impress her.

It was a great documentary.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Saturday 24 October 2009

Dream: I actually go up to Nottingham. It is unlike how I remember; in this version it actually resembles Colchester in some parts. I am visiting one set of friends while the other set are having a party and a better time. In the end my set of friends join in with the party much to my reluctance.

Things feel pathetic this morning. Last night was bad and yesterday wasn’t good.

I stagger around Asda at 8.30AM when I don’t really need to. This is routine.

My cold feels like it is kicking in today.

Eventually I get moving and leave home around 10.45AM with view to getting an 11AM train. Today is my third day of London Film Festival action and I am really hoping to have a great day such as last Saturday.

In the end I get the 11.03AM train and after too many swigs of Beachams flu mixture I feel drowsy. Wake up!

I get to London just before midday, which is too early. On the tube over to Tottenham Court Road I see a Bella lookalike, which only serves to make me slouch further. When I exit I head straight to Fopp and look at a few things but fail to build the urge to actually buy anything.

By the time I get to Leicester Square I am feeling clammy. Now I am convinced the flu has got the better of me. After a quick trip to the bathroom I take my seat inside the cinema only to be confronted by some blobby woman eating Haagen-Dazs and her insistence of refusing to stand up and get out of my way. I force an apology out of her but its not genuine. As I stumble over he feet and legs I wonder just why she wouldn’t get up for me. Everyone else did. Is she infirm? She fucking looked it.

Today’s first movie is The Informant! This is the new Steven Soderbergh film starring Matt Damon as a corporate grass from the early nineties. It is a crazy, jumbled movie with a swirling mess of story attached that is supposedly based on real people and real events.

The look of the film really does not tie in with the nineties, more it looks like the seventies not least when the captions and lettering resemble a font and style straight out of Austin Powers. Also as the excellent Marvin Hamlisch score kicks in during moments of dark slapstick proceedings begin to resemble an early Woody Allen farce.

As the movie unravels Damon’s character continues to display new depths of character flaws as he digs a deeper and deeper hole for himself. The supporting cast is pretty impressive as Scott Bakula from Quantum Leap plays the lead FBI agent, Tom Wilson from Back To The Future (Biff) plays one of Damon’s unscrupulous work colleagues and towards the end a number of skilled comedians rock small roles (Patton Oswalt, Scott Adsit from 30 Rock, Tony Hale from Arrested Development and Paul F Tompkins from Mr Show).

When the movie comes to a conclusion I struggle to decide whether the movie was a mess akin to the one Damon’s character finds himself in as it becomes difficult to tell if he really was such a buffoon after. It’s a bipolar movie.

Afterwards I emerge onto Leicester Square pretty satisfied that I just saw an entertaining movie even if it were a flawed one. From here I head down Craven Street and cross the bridge across the Thames towards the Southbank. Even under the gloomy, rain threatening skies London looks fantastic from this perch today.

With time to kill I linger around the Southbank for a while people watching. At one of the rip off kiosks I buy a Lipton lemon tea which tastes as good as it sounds. The things I do to pretend to be healthy.

Taking my time I head into the NFT and take my seat. A few minutes before the movie begins an amazing looking lady sits in front of me. She looks very out of place at such a movie. This only serves to distract me.

Just before the movie Beeswax begins one of the organisers of the festival does an introduction before bringing out the director Andrew Bujalski. This is pretty cool as it wasn’t announced as being part of the showing.

Bujalski is the guy that made Funny Ha Ha, which is regarded to be the first Mumblecore movie. In a way he looks like a young George Lucas. He says that he will be doing a Q&A after the film and suddenly the screening is an extra treat.

Beeswax is a tough movie. I have to concede to not enjoying it as much as either Funny Ha Ha or Mutual Appreciation but then again there must be something wrong with me today as I fail to clock that the main characters of the piece are twins.

Its all very slow and grimy, this is where the slacker generation has taken us it would appear. As the sister in the wheelchair runs a weird thrift shop (a charity shop without the charity) her other sibling agonises over whether to stay or go. Faced with this environment the option seems obvious as all feels suffocating in this place but her options do not feel sensible or overly considered.

As ever with a Mumblecore movie it is all about the natural dialogue. It all feels vaguely scripted as “uh” and “duh” penetrate most conversations held within. Ultimately the movie proves to be hard work.

Afterwards the Q&A with Bujalski is muted and laboured. I don’t think the guy is in the same league as the generation of indie filmmakers and directors that I grew up on. His approach still sounds primarily amateur and fixated on his art, when he talks of future projects he does not appear to be assertively pursuing anything major instead settling to plod on. Then again it doesn’t sound like this movie has much in the way of distribution yet so there is still a lot of work left on this little number. It is good to put a face behind the name but not as exciting as I would have hoped it to be.

I emerge from the NFT to the news that Millwall have beaten Leeds 2-1 this afternoon and all feels amazing. This has been another great day spent in London.

As I walk from the Southbank to Waterloo station the scene is an amazing one. This is fast becoming my favourite place in London.

I end up heading home at a decent hour with a Saturday evening still at my disposal. Unfortunately the world is not quite my oyster and in my world there isn’t necessarily much to do on a Saturday night.

Thankfully tonight BBC2 is screaming the first episode of the new series of The Thick Of It and this is something to get very excited about. With Chris Langham being “otherwise disposed” Rebecca Front now takes place as the focal politician having to wade through all the shit that has been tossed towards her. The episode focuses on her first day and how the rats on the sinking ship that is the Labour party are backbiting and brownnosing in order to save their jobs. Thank god for Malcolm Tucker who comes through and cuts through all the nonsense. He does however immediately give her an awful ultimatum that affects her family which is without seriously harsh but at the end of the day it’s all about the spin and public perception. This is television at its best.

Eventually the day catches up with me and I fall asleep. These times.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Friday 23 October 2009

I wake up this morning feeling happy, feeling fond of the sunshine outside my window. The time is 8.15AM and I have had a lie in.

Last night was the anticlimax of all anticlimaxes. Through bleary eyes I scan the Facebook and the Twitter to see people’s stupid opinions on events and some got really excited about things but generally most were pretty quiet probably as disappointed by it as I was. It makes me smile when Chambers responds to my comment of falling asleep with “me too.” It sums things up. That and my comment “it was like a Spitting Image puppet being picked on by an audience of Rick from The Young Ones.” I say these things with the hope of being scolded for it.

Today I am off work to see my fifth movie of this year’s London Film Festival which is a new Bill Hicks documentary. I pray that it is good as it is the movie I have been wanting to see most at the festival. Last year’s Hunter S Thompson documentary delivered so here’s hoping for a repeat of that. Then this evening I am hitting SONIC YOUTH with Racton and Thom which likewise will hopefully be amazing. The last time I saw SONIC YOUTH (doing Daydream Nation) it fell flat for me. Here’s hoping for redemption.

The movie is not until 4PM so this gives me the most treasured of gifts: a Friday morning at home to do stuff. My flat is a wreck. Also my writing is behind so you can pretty much guess which of these things I am approaching first.

Again as I look out of the window it gives me so much heart. This is autumn in full strength. The sky is beautiful and the sun astounding. I am excited to be here like this at this time. The air is fresher in the autumn.

I begin watching season 3 of 30 Rock and I catch the Oprah episode that is one of the funniest episodes I have ever seen of the show, not least for Tracy and Jenna’s race off.

Just as I get ready to head up to London I check my ticket for the movie and at first I read it as beginning at 2PM. The time that I am reading this is 1PM which means I don’t have a hope in hell in getting to London in time to catch any of the movie. I then however notice on the ticket that the screening date is actually Monday – I have booked the wrong day off work.

Immediately I get on MSN and speak to The Girl in order to check what day on the holiday calendar I have booked off. She gets back to me and states that it is today. I have truly fucked up royally. Like a backwards prick I then ask her if she can ask our boss if I can snag Monday off also. She tells me that she has booked Monday morning off but it looks like I can grab the afternoon off. The good word soon comes back that it will be fine but then I am informed how the entire/whole office is now laughing at my boob. At this point I am just happy to salvage my ticket.

Despite this though I still have to head up to London tonight in order to see SONIC YOUTH at the Forum which annoys me and kind of nullifies my reasoning for having the day off in the first place.

I listen to the first half hour of Danny Baker’s Radio London show before grabbing a train to town around 4PM. Going against traffic I manage to pass all the rush-hour commuters going in the opposite direction and I arrive at Kentish Town just before 5.30PM as Racton informs me that he is now leaving White City.

Eventually he and Eleanor turn up around 6.20PM after which time I have seen both the sun go down on London and witnessed all kinds of strands of humanity. The humanity!

We hit the noodles place and it is a winner. I have a mixed meat dish and it feels excessive. To counter balance this indulgence I have a coconut smoothie which at this time is one of the most refreshing and greatest beverages I have ever tasted. Apparently any food or drink coconut in is evil according to my eating partners this evening.

Tonight I find myself discussing Cockblock at length. Surely this is not healthy for anyone. Why am I so kamikaze with my friendships? Why do I turn on people like a shit?

Saying of the night is “you got served” in tribute to the way I piss The Girl off at work by repeatedly saying it. We then begin discussing juniors and my story of how mine hid under my desk and jumped out causing me to hop a mile is not really the stuff of authority.

With it still early we bowl into The Forum well ahead of time. Almost immediately I spot Martin and Saki from the Matsuri event so we go over and say “hello.” The guys are really friendly and seemingly happy to see us.

On stage HUSH ARBORS begin their set. They are flouncy and disingenuous. In the grand scheme of things they have no place playing on the same bill as SONIC YOUTH. As we move closer though in addition to wings and tight red trousers we also notice how the singer possesses a great rack. There is no point in listening to the music, just stare at her tits. It reminds me of Bat For Lashes with a lot of bloated guitars in the style of Sleepy Sun. This is not a recommendation.

The editor of Q magazine (Paul Rees) introduces SONIC YOUTH on the stage. As Q magazine adverts featuring Kasabian glow above us suddenly there is something that feels distinctly wrong about this environment.

SONIC YOUTH hit the stage and immediately tear into almost exclusively songs from The Eternal. Straight away it is noticeable just how quiet the sound is and as a result as an excitement exudes and punch certainly fails to follow. Onstage Kim looks amazing for a person brushing up on 60 and in the distance Lee Ranaldo looks more like Alf than ever.

Early on it becomes apparent that this set is going to be new material heavy and while The Eternal is a pretty good record it is not necessarily a great and it has to be said that the songs are not strong enough to compete with classic SONIC YOUTH fare and as such frustration looms as said material is not forthcoming despite a ticket cost of £35 plus. Dare I suggest it almost reeks of arrogance?

The show opens with “Sacred Trickster” which would probably have been the single from the album if SONIC YOUTH still did singles. Luckily having listened to The Eternal at great length I am by this point very familiar with the songs being delivered tonight but its just not the most exciting collection to be delving from.

Eventually a “classic” arrives in the form of “Stereo Sanctity” with noticeably ups the pace in the performance and tweaks interest in the set on for the momentum to get lost as the show slips back into the lethargy of the new material. “Anti Orgasm” is perhaps the highlight of the new record but tonight they even seem to fluff that trick.

It is a strange audience in hand tonight. At certain points during the set the crowd actually begin clapping along to breaks and bridges of the songs. When did the squares get let in? Also quite frankly spending the majority of the duration of the set behind the tallest person in the building isn’t really going to endear me to events.

The past gets revisited by another fiery run out through “Hey Joni” which annoyingly once more demonstrates the strength of the material that is not being played this tonight. Much like jazz this evening suddenly appears to be about listening to the notes they are not playing.

Proceedings ground to something of a halt as Thurston begins to experience equipment problems as declares that he needs to “change his head” and the audience just thinks he is being cute. Perhaps this explains the lame sound attaching itself to proceedings. He then takes the cavalier approach of going “fuck it” before congratulating the audience for “running out those British National Front goons” and tearing into an incendiary version of “White Kross.” If only he had looked a bit closer and realised it was the BNP, get it right or don’t bother.

The set ends with Thurston peddling an acoustic guitar that only serves to fuel further disappointment. This is not value for money.

Inevitably the band return for an encore that consists of more Daydream Nation favourites being played with the ferocity that you wished the rest of the set had been expressed with.

The night ends with a genuinely explosive “Death Valley 69” and suddenly the walls fall as if they are melting as the lights exude a true fiery emotion and the world begins to hint that it is ending. This closer serves out as a song so truly head and shoulders above everyone else that has come before it this evening. These rollercoaster ride moments are the ones we came for and have only been offered up sparingly. Perhaps it is a sign of age, perhaps it is parental neglect. Judging however by people’s faces and rhythmic response it would appear I am the only naysayer involved in proceedings. Next to Racton some mental girl quite literally loses her shit. It was good to be young once.

As we leave it is with a strange sense of relief that the night is over. Outside we bump into Thom flyering for his On The Beach club. Racton and I walk to the tube like Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets, seemingly the only voices verging on dissent this evening. Racton seems to agree when I appear to nail the show on the head by stating “The Eternal just is not a strong enough record to carry a set.”

You got served.

On the tube we go our separate ways and I eventually wind up on the Central Line rushing to get the 11.30PM Norwich train, the final fast train of the evening. On the tube boarding with me are two stereotype metal heads drunkenly eating McDonalds. These guys are straight out of FUBAR and in different circumstances they could/might resemble my new heroes. What on earth does these people do for a living? Also as I look to my left down the end of the carriage I see a Will Ferrell lookalike in a headscarf. This is a freaky look and as I begin to wonder what his deal with I can only come to the conclusion that I have wound up on the Twilight Zone train. This guy’s personality is not all invented. My evening’s experience of the human condition, the theatre of life reaches fruition when at Holborn a pretty young lady boards with tears in her eyes. I guess it is the tears that cause me to find her attractive and fancy her, to give/lend me the desire to reach out to her and help out. Obviously I don’t do this though. My, the things I see on the Friday night train.

With mere minutes to spare I manage to catch the hallowed 11.30PM train. Dry as a bone I buy a bad cup of coffee from the buffet cart but tonight it is one of the greatest cups of coffee I have ever tasted. Without doubt coffee tastes best when it is in a cardboard cup.

Obviously the train gets delayed and makes me late getting home as I rush to catch The Thick Of It Special repeat and Krautrock documentary on BBC4. In the end I get home in time to receive part of my wish. Then I pass out early into proceedings. Lightweight, no longer sonic youth.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Thursday 22 October 2009

Dream: Buggles is playing ATP with his band The Producers. His son is there onstage with them handing out free CDs to anyone in the crowd interested. The whole thing feels out of place, not least for the lack of audience. Still, it is exciting.

Today is a good day. Spirits are high as I emerge from my slumber.

This is my Friday as I have no work tomorrow. Unfortunately with this reality comes the expected sense of relaxation and leisure applied to the end of the week. There was a faux deadline attached to proceedings for tomorrow but if I’m not here will it count?

Early into proceedings I have two cups of coffee, which result in me firing out Facebook/Twitter status updates with machine gun gusto.

Everyone asks me if I dropped off the package at North Acton safely last night and I respond along the lines “I sure did.” Surely this must score me points and set up an easy day.

Today I discover the desire to begin a Guided By Voices covers band.

Why is Katie Price dating Adrian Street?

Towards the end of the day news comes through of protests at the BBC Television Centre of well intentioned loons storming the gates and getting inside the building ahead of the appearance of Nick Griffin on Question Time tonight. Initial reports state they sing “there’s only one Ian Tomlinson” at the police before this is soon removed from the story. Is anyone going to come out of this shambles looking good?

Another thing I have noticed is a distinct trend on Facebook of people who vocally oppose the BNP are also very much into the Farmville application/game. Now that is food for thought.

Otherwise as expected the day rolls out comfortably and without drama and soon it is 5.30PM and time to head home.

Trafalgar Square this evening there is a big screen free showing of a movie as part of the London Film Festival but I feel beat and I just want to get home ASAP.

When I get home I flick through the usual shite on TV before the big one kicks off. Is it wrong that I find the roving motorbike gay couple on Watchdog more smug and offensive than Nick Griffin?

So tonight is the appearance of Nick Griffin on Question Time and with it you sense people are raring to hop on their high horse and go off, people that don’t usually express their opinions but tonight feel so confident in their opinions of tonight’s appearance that they are going to voice them. I don’t necessarily feel this is about opposing fascism or the right wing, it’s about self-promotion.

After the usual night of Thursday night TV the contentious ratings winner begins and unsurprisingly all focus is placed on Mr BNP. Before long it becomes apparent that every question this evening is going to be fired at him while every retort will be used/spent on undermining the guy.

In the run up to this show there was some worry that the guy might be given a level platform with which he might be able to twist his words into something that sounds reasonable and make sense and thus gain new support but within minutes (rightly and wrongly) it becomes apparent that this was never going to be the case.

In the end as a mere human being Griffin comes over poorly as he laughs at accusations far too much and fails to command authority and or any positive presence. In other words he comes over like a buffoon as the whole event begins to resemble a room of Rick from The Young Ones picking on a Spitting Image puppet. It is bullying a bully, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing did the audience not appear as vehement and extreme as the object of their affection. Nobody is getting out of here alive.

Within ten minutes it has become some kind of horrible pantomime where quite frankly everyone involved disgusts me. For the majority it is mission accomplished in the most pathetic of manner. Which I guess is a good thing although I would like to think the decent people of this country that oppose far right extremism are not just egg headed lefties with personal agendas, rather more balanced normal people not so quick or keen to shove their opinions in people’s faces. The sad truth though is that people love an underdog and faced with this barrage I hate how the audience and panel make me almost feel sympathy towards a person that is essentially a complete and utter cunt.

Soon it all gets boring and soon I begin to nod off. This truly was an anticlimax.