Saturday 20 February 2010
Dream: I am in an alternative universe version of last night. The people are pretty much the same but the locations are slightly different. Within this situation I find myself flirting with certain female members of the night and suddenly impressing for the first time in a very long time. Strangely last night I did have something of a confident bend, again for the first time in a long time. In the dream I appear to be particularly clicking with one certain person, who is not an obvious choice. As we get to the alternative universe version of Richard and Eleanor’s new place the one in the dream actually resembles something on the Holland-on-sea seafront. On the green grass I act like a clown but appear to impress along the way including during a black cab ride to wherever. Later the dream progresses to the Union Chapel where I am present for today’s gig. Again things look ever so slightly different and as I head to the bathroom I do my business and suddenly I awaken petrified that the gesture has carried through into reality and I have, as an adult, wet my guest bed.
Fortunately when I awaken at 7AM my dream has not been a nightmare and all is dry despite my need for the bathroom. With a slightly sore head (mini hangover) I head to the toilet to have a good time. With this accomplished I return to my airbed on the living room floor and manage to achieve the unnatural for me: additional sleep.
When I next reawaken the day has reached 9AM and with it a natural entry into Saturday morning. In sync with me Racton also murmurs and we exchange morning greetings.
Outside the beautiful day of yesterday has managed to carry through into the weekend. Morale is high.
I always feel embarrassed when my friends are so accommodating to me and with this in mind Racton (and Eleanor) set about looking after me, first giving me a cup of tea in a Satriale’s mug and then frying up a truly amazing full English breakfast. I’m ashamed to admit you don’t get that when visiting my crib.
We sit super civilised, super mature at their table eating the breakfast of champions. This definitely makes for something of a departure to my usual eating a bowl of cereal at my computer desk (here where I am writing now) or over the kitchen sink (catches the toast crumbs, its functional).
From here with some time to still kill we play some Star Wars Lego on the Wii. As ever I am like Grandpa Simpson when it comes to playing videogames (even my own). I did have Star Wars Lego for Playstation 2 but I think I put it back in the box after one play because it was too difficult.
Eventually we make moves catching a bus to Finsbury Park tube station before heading to Highbury & Islington and the Union Chapel. Outside today is gloriously sunny but very brisk with it. There is a freshness in the air that attaches itself to the day in the most optimistic of manners, startling and invigorating.
We get to the Union Chapel just after midday (via an ATM stop for me) and as we enter the building DOOMED BIRD OF PROVIDENCE are beginning their set. It is a booming performance that suits its settings very well and provides the kind of wake up call that only empowers a hangover, able to blow away any cobwebs that may be lingering.
Today the DOOMED BIRD OF PROVIDENCE are rocking as a four piece with its numbers sit soulfully as Mr Kluzek out front addresses the audience with descriptive tales of just what it is like to be Australian at various points in history and the troubles that have always served to come with. Strapped to his chest is a heavy accordion that serves to back up his gestures made to the audience. It is a performance most explicitly Antipodean as the vocals ring around the church at an ungodly hour capturing and transfixing all in attendance, displaying true personality and purpose in the process.
Lacking a live drummer the band is very on today as basslines rumble to frame the set and the violin work lends the songs a sense of criminal decadence leaning towards places inhabited by the Dirty Three and the like. It is the layering of so many contrasting sounds that truly gives the band a unique form, the kind that gives to drama and has stock that thrives.
After the set we meet up with familiar faces and rekindle some kind of social scene that for too long now has been suffering. Meanwhile while we reacquaint with some, others fall to wayside as Mark begins sending a series of texts describing his battles with a hangover and the inefficiencies of weekend public transport. In the end he just throws in the towel and heads home blowing us out in spectacular fashion.
The second act of the day are CITY REVERB. With a frontman that looks a lot like Dave Pajo immediately their songs are put up against a pedestal in the name of judgement and its all downhill from here. Their songs are flowery and upbeat, too so for my own tastes. During their set I experience some kind of epiphany insofar that I realise and concede that I don’t pay enough attention to the lyrics that bands sing anymore. I am sure that there is a high level of emotion being rinsed into these songs but I just am now working hard enough to value and acknowledge it. This is a true sign of ignorance on my part.
Also it is not helped that during their set somebody spots my eye and suddenly I find myself being distracted by a member of the opposite sex. Perhaps it is indeed the songs acting on a subconscious level for me but then again equally it might be a combination of the settings and morning glory.
Soon their set concludes and it leaves little in the manner of a mark on me.
It is around this point I spot Ben Moor in the audience. I have no idea what he is doing here and whether he is associated/attached to any of these acts but it is so great to see the guy, he is super talented.
The final band of the afternoon is the GILDED PALACE OF SIN. This is quite a different proposition, a seemingly darker one dressed in smarter and more adult clothing. Playing out like an outfit that appears to have listened to Bad Seeds and Tindersticks records it is relatively clear just what it is they are liking to achieve, even if it is a bit Elbow at times.
It all begins positively and soon it transpires that the singer is something of a more interesting prospect that I had initially given him credit for. As he almost shouts his way through the set it is with a clear voice and pretty unique approach to vocalising. Whether the content is worth a fig is beside the point, this is a person that is commanding the stage causing the audience to perk up and pay attention. Such is the power of bringing an unconventional method to singing.
For some reason I find myself reminded of Wilco and Lambchop during the set, two bands that I have to concede I have heard very little by. Perhaps this is how I think they should sound judging by their look and expressions. It all ends well.
At the close of proceedings I finally get to speak with Mark from DOOMED BIRD. It sounds like all is good and unfortunately just as he asks me what I thought of the bands I begin launching into some gripe about CITY REVERB before realising that they are stood next to us.
Later I watch as the promoter laughing hands the bands £11 for performing. These really are not artist friendly times.
Also in the house I spot my old friend Manjeev who tells me about the new record label Bunkland that he has just started.
As I leave the Union Chapel it is with bumping into Arsenal supporters on their way to their game against Sunderland. That sounds like a shit sandwich of a football match.
Eventually I get back to Liverpool Street where I buy the Saturday newspapers and board the 3.18PM train. This is a weird train. Without doubt I would guess it is perhaps one of the most quiet on the schedule. Who on earth rides a train at this time on a Saturday afternoon? Surely there are things we should all be doing instead. This is a train for broken people, the disillusioned and distracted. People with lives do not travel at this time.
Once back in Colchester I perform something of an impromptu weekly grocery shop at Asda meaning that it is almost 5PM by the time I get home. What happened to the day? What a waste.
In the early evening I find myself attempting to write as I try to kickstart things with fizzy caffeine drinks. These only go so far.
Tonight there is a short film event on at the Colchester Arts Centre, which I am half interested in checking out. However interest starts to dwindle as I begin to find my feet with the writing.
It is at around this point that Nina texts to see if I am going to the film thing. Despite my sudden gusto for writing it sounds like a good idea and a rare opportunity to get out of the house on a Saturday night.
We head to the Arts Centre and get in free off the back of the Facebook offer than nobody at the venue appears to know about. From here we take seats towards the front. A little later Lee turns up and we actually almost have a social group.
The event tonight is called 12 SHOOTER, which is a baker’s dozen of short films conceived and presented by Marcia Farquhar.
Over the course of the screenings the movies range greatly in quality. Before the films even begin rolling as Marcia Farquhar makes her introduction on stage I find myself questioning the sanity of the woman.
From here it doesn’t start strongly as the first film sees her rolling off some ghost party monologue from a ballroom in Berlin. My recollection may sound akin to The Shining but the execution does not go that way, it just isn’t that good.
Following comes a video of her playing with cracked eggs and whipping them into shapes and figures and reading into the patterns to a degree that somewhat represents an expression too far. Its all appears film in a classroom which does not necessarily make for an appealing venue of thought.
More impressive follows a film of her and her family all getting into a four person dress sewn together in which appear three ladies from different generations coming together. It’s a very touching and sweet vision, one that I cannot do justice to and the four of them innocent weave around in some kind of symbolic legacy connection.
The final film of the first half is easily one of the best of the evening as the crazy lady wheels out a painting of a distant relative and unravels both his history and the paintings, taking in various Soho locations before eventually heading to Berlin Zoo where the man apparently had some kind of connection with a monkey there. As she shows the painting to the chimp it provides some kind of response of recognition, exactly what she was looking for.
At this point interval gets called where a few people head off for a fag break and never return as Marcia Farquhar holds a small court at the front of the stage debating whether to begin the second half without them.
The films return with the woman doing a Punch And Judy show on a beach in Newquay (I think) on a windy day as she fights the elements of an incoming tide that looks set to engulf proceedings including the movie. The woman seems intent in putting things to risk in the name of a puppet show.
Eventually all ends with another dress related film during which she reveals a bit too much about her private life with an anecdote that name checks Courtney Love (apparently kicking her in the behind at a funeral) and suddenly her links to The Pogues and The Clash become evident as she runs through the history of her dress and the various times she has worn it. It all sounds rock n roll taking in backstage incidents with Las Vegas bouncers in addition to a famous funeral which you suspect was Joe Strummer’s as she mentions the man’s famous campfires. This is like the punk rock equivalent of Monica Lewinsky. Quite possibly she is talking of circles that also include Alex Cox and Jim Jarmusch, filmmakers that might have appreciated this evening (or then again maybe not).
As the projector dies and the lights come up she entices us to buy her book suggesting that we make an offer and pay what we think it is worth. On me I have £7 but being hardback and elegant looking it is worth much more. Lee however only pays £2 for his copy which serves to make me not feel so bad about my offering.
Briefly I have chat with her as she signs the book with a dedication of “thank you for coming and staying” while I ask her if she was talking about Joe Strummer in the final story. With so many mentions of Jem Finer in many of the films’ credits you suspect she is married to a Pogue. To this extent I have a whole bunch of Pogues stories to share from having worked at their publishing company for two and a half years but I don’t push it, its not worth it. I have to concede though, for an older lady I quite fancy her.
From here the three of us head home with books and a high degree/sense of satisfaction as tonight equates to my best Saturday night out in months.
I give Nina a lift home as we talk about John Cooper Clarke amongst other things and once home I soon fall asleep upon arrival.
For the win!