Thursday, 13 December 2007

St Pancras

Is very nice, always has been. It's cool the insides have been revamped. It has always been one of my favourite buildings, that pompous gothic majesty, those chimneys, like something out of Gormenghast. Shudder to think that McMillan was going to knock it all down and build some concrete shit pit.
Anyway, I digress. I met my brother there yesterday to collect my season ticket before going to the Arsenal. He had just arrived from a business trip to France and was all suited up, pristine in fact, with his flybag (train-bag?). I had been working from home, so I was pure second hand camden market to keep warm. Combats, and military coat, scarf with skulls on it. A wooly hat covered in cat hairs.
I suddenly got paranoid, here we were, seemingly people from different worlds, meeting up at rush hour, him handing me my season ticket, it could have been cash, anything. Commuters were giving us hurried glances as they rushed past.
"What business has this dishevelled oaf got with this slightly portly business man?"
And then it dawned on me, what they were thinking. That he was a Tory MP, and I was his homeless rent boy.
Oh the indignity.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Horrible Texas Travelling Shit Show

Met up with the Bossman last Friday, mainly to see Queen Adreena play live and to celebrate his birthday with a few JD's.
QA don't usually play the UK, so this was a grand opportunity to catch up with a band I'd always wanted to see.
It was a "themed" evening called The Texas Chainsaw Travelling Horror Picture Show, with the Damned headlining. The theme was a sort of Scooby Doo cheesy horror type of plot with more cartoon violence. Eg - the actors pretending to cut their willies off onstage for instance or dry humping a "severed head" which was in fact the head of a tailors dummy badly painted with red emulsion from B&Q to give it a gory effect.
I didn't really understand the story to be honest, it was clumsily put together, ham fisted and awkward, so much so that some members of the audience became restless, and booed or chucked beer.
The audience themselves were a mix of glam/goth and hardcore punk survivors. oh and there was me and Bossman.
Here is an example of the supposed "horror show". I think the woman in the cage was pretending to be a man eating eagle woman freak, and the two guys, well they just seemed to perve all over her and wave their arms around a lot.

There was one sort of good bit, when the eagle woman did some proper gymnastic stuff and eventually attached a man by his skin to her ring and then lifted him on hooks so he dangled. I didn't get a photo of that though.

Although Bossman wasn't too impressed.

Anyway, Queen Adreena were fantastic. Shame the crowd was restless and the cock of of a compere irritated everyone by continouously introducing them when they were obviously still sound checking. I guess he was trying his best..... to not get a shoeing.
Q.A's set was powerful and emotive. Monstrous guitar, bass and drums with Katie-Jane's wail bringing a shiver down the spine. It was more than music, it was art and poetry, and pain.

And they were glugging champagne on stage.... there was no engagement with the crowd. it was a relentless assault. And I was gutted they didn't play their cover of Jolene...

I find that I also spill Moet and Chandon down my dress when I'm trying to sing. It's so irritating when that happens. I feel like throttling myself with the mike cable too!

I saw Katie-Jane Garside's previous band, Daisy Chainsaw...back in erm... 1992, and I'm sure this is the same dress!! I got a better look when she stood on a chair.

The label says "wash at 40 degrees" if you zoom right in.

During the last song, Katie-J rugby tackled the guitarist Crispin, leaving what looked like a big cut on her head. It was a breathtaking set, full of energy, they threw themselves into it. There were a few Q.A fans there, but maybe not enough feedback from the crowd to justify an encore, shame :-(
After some more antagonisation from the horror show comperes (and someone doing disgusting farts near us), the Damned came on. This was our cue to leave.
Here is an obligatory shot of captain sensible...

As we were leaving, we could see showers of beer and plastic cups flying their way towards the band. The lead singer gave it..."lets have a fucking good time! don't chuck beer! ok?" or something. Bless. We left.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Duke Spirit, 229, London 21/11/07

Last time me and Bossman saw the Duke Spirit was in December last year, so this was another great chance to catch them in a London venue. 229 has good acoustics, good stage height and is of a small enough size to keep it intimate. It must be new, as I'd never heard of it before.
This photo shouldn't be seen in public, it's too Addams Family... but hey-ho, who cares, we're going to the Texas Chainsaw Travelling Horror Picture Show next week, so we need to get the look sorted. This is a good start.

First up was Creepy Morons, playing sinister guitar / drum rock. Will see them live again I'm sure.

And then after a short break, the main event, The Duke Spirit. The gig the night before was cancelled due to Leila's vocals needing a rest, but thankfully the London audience was treated to a great gig. It was pissing down outside, and once a few JD's warmed the bones (JD and Duke Spirit - the perfect match) we were ready. They played some new stuff, some old classics (good to see Dan's machine gun guitar solo back in action on Red Weather) and Leila's voice was pure blues honey, smooth and sultry, from another era. Timeless. Fantastic gig. Tight musianship, lyrically moving, pulls at your heart, and great JD.

Got a new camera, so wasn't best pleased with the results, think I over-exposed some shots and realised I stupidly had a low shutter speed which blurred some images too. Shame I'm thick otherwise, these shots would have been much better, but the grainy quality gives them a certain seedy appeal. Got some great shots of Dan though, the backlight worked wonders for my rubbish photo-technique. A happy accident which compensated for my technical inadequacy.

Got lucky when the light glared out from behind the band, gives a lovely bright image.

This next one is particularly nice (in my opinion!). Again, out of focus and grainy, but I love the dark/bright contrast, Toby's sillouette and Leila poised for a strut.

Finally I had to get a photo of the photographers stripey pants. I want some. And so does Bossman.

Monday, 19 November 2007

He played for West Ham, honest!

When I was around seven years old, this bloke moved in next door to us. He looked over the fence at me and my friend kicking a ball around in the garden.
"I used to play for West Ham you know" he remarked casually before continuing to rake his lawn.
I didn't give a crap, but my friend asked what his name was. I can't remember exactly what his name was, probably something football formulaic like Jimmy Hardacre, Alf Rodgerstone or Billy Bignuts. In retrospect I have to admit he did carry himself as a failed 1970's footballer. Mullett, lambchop sideburns, medallion, vein ridden pickled red nose, but you don't notice those details when you're seven.
So we went inside and asked my dad whether he'd heard of Alf Rodgerstone (or whatever his name was), he said no, never heard of him.
So we went back outside and proceeded to crush this mans dignity as only seven year olds can do.
Me : "My dads never heard of you."
Alf : "But I have played for West Ham"
Me : "If you played for West Ham, why don't you live in a mansion then? Why are you living near Manor House?"
Alf : "I got injured"
At this point Alf was almost in tears, his rake had dropped to the floor and his eyes welled up. I saw his wifes sad face despairingly sway from side to side as she dried the cups from the inside of his kitchen window.
My friend, who wasn't as articulate as me, then delivered the classic line. His statement was a sock filled with snooker balls compared to my rapier like precision questions.
"If you did play for West Ham, you must have been shit."
Alf Rodgerstone moved out of the area shortly afterwards.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Black Lace and Blue Midgets

So what have I been doing these past few weeks?
Well, I had a lovely trip to Cornwall at the end of September, Ongey and Paul were there. I wont go into mega detail, but one thing that amused me is how certain people percieve themselves. Or rather, how I percieve them to percieve themselves, which may be a figment of my rampant imagination.
So we go into one of those hippy / mystical / witch shops. You know the ones, they sell crystals for 5 quid which will grow back your severed leg and the whole place stinks of patchooli. They sell all sorts of otherwise useless stuff, like a 15 inch wide candle holder shaped like a dragon. Or some sort of glass orb on a mount, so that when you squeeze it, it recites Lady of Shallot by Alfred Lord Tennyson in a serious deep voice whilst swirling some pink gassy shit inside the glass of the orb.
I only spend a few minutes in there, as whenever I go into a shop, any shop, I suddenly well up with guilt that people may see me as a shoplifter. I don't know why, I've never stolen anything from a shop in my life, but I get a complex. Maybe its because deep down I am a shoplifter, and I am guilty for crimes I am yet to commit. But I get paranoid and leave and stand outside.
It was enough time to size up the guy running the shop. Clearly he'd gone to a lot of trouble to come across as some sort of "warlock" or "wizard", but in a sort of contemporary take on the subject. He didn't wear a robe and a floppy felt wide brimmed hat, or anything like that, and he didn't have a beard.
He was about 50 odd, of average height, with a middle aged spread. He had a crisp white shirt, tucked into black jeans, which showed off his fine gut. He had a belt with a big buckle and some sort of Celtic design on it. A black leather waistcoat and winkle picker boots. His hair was also immaculate, tightly curled and of a shoulder length.
Now clearly he thought he was a wizard, I thought he looked like the lead singer of Black Lace. Doo Doo Dooooo lets all do the Conga.
Maybe he was the singer and this shop was his retirement project? It amused me in anycase.
Part II -
Just got back from my good friend Des' stag do in Killarney in the west of Ireland. The guinness is lovely, the scenery is gorgeous, but a night on the town was terrifying. I'd never thought I'd say this, but Stevenage is quite classy in comparison.
So anyway, blue midgets. Apparantley you can hire a midget painted blue for a stag weekend. They handcuff the midget to the stag and you are inseperable for the whole weekend, including having to share a bed (you are handcuffed after all). I guess you can dangle him out of the window if you want some privacy.
The charge 500 quid. i don't know if it's true or not as they'd "run out of midgets" for Des, but we discussed how wrong it would be if you had to take a crap with the midget in the cubicle with you. And then I thought there was only one thing worse than that, if the midget wanted to have a crap and your hand was cuffed to his wiping hand.
Have you ever seen a smurf shit? Nows your chance.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Making Crab Apple Jelly

On Sunday, me and Deb went into the moors near our house to collect crab apples. This blog will take you through the process of making crab apple jelly. My job was simple. Thrash the shit out of the tree and make the apples fall.
Step 1 : Hit tree with stick. (Be careful, crab apple trees have lightning reflexes and may dodge your blows)

Step 2: Use martial arts bushido attacks on the tree with your stick to soften it up some more. The tree has done a side step on this occasion, I am attacking thin air. The canny tree bastard!

Step 3 : Centre yourself and gather the apples.

Step 4 : If a passing cow comes past, then try to entice it with some apples. Beef goes very well with apple jelly.

Nearly there... come on daisy.... the most humane way to kill a cow is to throttle it with your bare hands, any other way is cruel. Confuse it first by pointing at an imaginary monkey playing in the apple tree. It will buy you valuable seconds and allow you time to pounce.

Damn! Someone already tried the "look at the monkey!" line on this wise old cow. She escaped, outstripping me with a bovine spurt of speed. I am left holding my apples.

Step 5 : Collect the apples in a big barrell. Cut them up and strain them to collect the juice.

Step 6 : I got bored, but I think Debbie puts them in a pan and boils the juice with sugar or something.
Step 7 : Allow to cool. Eat it on your toast.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Just because I look like America’s most wanted…

An elderly couple struggling with their luggage at the train station. I offer to help them in my bestest least aggressive posh customer service voice, honed from those years I worked on helpdesks.....
"Would you like me to help you?"
The old lady looked me up and down with fearful antipathy, steeled her eyes and sneered "No thankyou." and proceeded to huff and puff with her stumbling bald husband till they got on the train seconds before the door closing beeps.
OK, so I look rough, I have a beard, I have long hair, but I was not in any way interested in stealing a suitcase full of her big pink elasticated knickers and his awful Ronnie Corbet cardigans.
I think I represented two archetypes for her :
1) Arab fanatic
2) English dastardly villain (my accent is ever so posh when I'm doing customer service stuff)
She should stop watching those Hollywood films I reckon.
I also ate raw garlic the night before, just to see what it tasted of, so maybe I stank too. I can forgive her that I suppose.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I dream of Floella Benjamin

So Kay was comparing my nephew Mick to Floella Benjamin and goading him that she was prettier than him. But that's not really important, because of this comparison, my mind harked back to Play School, the golden Era, with Derek Griffiths doing some oddball jazz / folk / ragtime crazy speed induced guitar and vocal mash up tunes about a goose, Hanbell, Humpty, Big Ted, Little Ted and Jemima. Shouting at the TV as a five year old, "The Arch window, choose the f*cking Arch Window you cock!", ah those were the days. And Brian Cant, what a nice man.
Anyway, Floella Benjamin corrupted my mind and I dreamt about her. It was really messed up.
Basically, and no sh*t I did dream this, my dreams are weird, she was some sort of Matrix/Blade style anti-hero, in an all in one black leather cat suit and cape. She had various weapons at her disposal which were secreted in concealed pockets, ninja death stars, daggers, acid squirters and poison darts. She was a one woman fighting machine. She also happened to be an England footballer (with the men) playing central midfield with Stephen Gerrard, she was so important she was exempt from wearing the England kit, she could wear her cat suit. And as she was so important she was allowed to kill people on the pitch, the ONLY footballer in the world given permission to do so by FIFA, Pele forced the motion through or something.
So England play the Czech Republic and she kills Tomas Repka playing centre half, the former West Ham player and I'm shouting at the TV, "What the f*ck is going on!" (in my dream). But then she comes out of the TV and says, "You got a f*cking problem?" and I say, "No Floella, you kill them all if you want." And then I woke up hyperventilating.
What does this mean?

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Sonic Youth and Vashti Bunyan

Saw Sonic Youth last week (or was it the week before?) at their residency at the Roundhouse playing their "classic album" Daydream Nation.
They were good, I enjoyed it. I dabbled with grunge as a teenager, although strictly speaking Sonic Youth only dabbled with grunge themselves.... I would describe them more as Art Noise. Quite melodic, almost poppy but capable of roaring white noise which makes my heart leap,my eyebrows furrow and my smile gently twitch. I do look like a psycho when this happens to my face I hasten to add.
So on two scores I was happy.
1) I'd never been to the iconic venue the Roundhouse before, and I have to say I was impressed.
2) I've now seen Sonic Youth, one to stick on my gig CV.
Back in the day, whenever it was, maybe 1990, I had a chance to see Nirvana, all my mates from the comic shop in Tottenham were going to go and queue up and buy tickets. I was going to as well. But I was such a loser I slept in. One of the biggest regrets of my (gig) life. I heard afterwards people were knocking shit out of each other in the queue, but I'd have snuck in under the radar and I'm sure I would have got a ticket had I bothered to get up. Turns up not many of my other loser unemployed mates got a ticket either and decided to stay up late and watch open university or Kojak or some other bollocks of the era thus rendering them incapable of an early start!
Ah, those days. Never mind.
As for the Sonic Youth gig, as I said, I enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy the young buck trying to dry hump me from behind because he couldn't get through the crowd and get to the front. He was like one of those dogs ready for their nadgers to be cut off, all frisky and annoying. I swung round and gave him a Ray Winstone cockney volley and he backed off. I was so angry. During my favourite song as well!
Anyway, on to Vashti Bunyan, Ongey came round the other night and we had a very civilised evening (only punctuated occasionally by childish references to bumming) with Debbie and we stuck on the original Vashti Bunyan album from 1970. What a beautiful, sentimental and gorgeous piece of music. Her poetry is lush too and it recounts the songs she wrote on her long journey by horse and gypsy cart to the outer hebrides..... It could be described as twee folk, but knowing the backstory generates an enourmous warmth and nostalgia. Then, I unwrapped her second album (from 2005!) as I bought it and hadn't played it and we listened to that too. It followed the same vibe, but I felt it was overproduced, too clinical. Spoilt it for me somewhat, but again, worth a purchase for her poetry alone. Her song "Brother", the lyrics made me want to cry. But I didn't, cos I'm a hard bastard.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Rasputin and his alleged resistance to poison

I feel a bit sad tonight (or this morning), I have a feeling tonight was the first and last balmy night of the summer. That beautifully rare mild night where you can ponce around in a shirt and have drinks in London without fear of a sudden blizzard or passing shower.

Went to the XXXXXXX bar tonight. Always enjoy it there. A compact rock bar with good drinks and eccentric clientele.

Some interesting events, a bloke asked my mate Trigger if she'd look after his drink whilst he went for a smoke outside. He was the spitting image of a young Derek Jacobi. When he fucked off I was raging, "He looks like Derek Jacobi, a young Derek Jacobi! Look at him!" he even had the roman senator hairstyle with a flattened bouffant fringe and bowl cut. But no one knew who Derek Jacobi was, and my observation was wasted.

The lead singer of Lost Prophets walked in, sporting a trilby, white vest and a big shiner where I imaged someone smacked him in the head. Various randoms overheard whispering, "Is it him?", "Really?". Frankly I don't know anything about them, I suggested to the girl sitting next to me that we should approach him and ask for a photo, if he agreed we'd hand him the camera and say "well hurry up and take a picture of us then you prick!" oh the old ones are the best. She found it funny anyway and wandered off to find him to try that very line whilst I tried to convince her half heartedley that it wasn't a good idea.

Then to the toilets, visiting the toilets in the XXXX is an experience. Now rock bar toilets are usually grim, but these are the interesting side of grim. No seats, metal bowls with limescale protusions embedded with a new bacterial lifeform, bog roll on chains and no locks. Also, you need to tuck your trousers into your socks to avoid soiling your clothing with the bodily waste of a goth.

Really, you do need a police forensic suit to frequent them. When I got downstairs a couple was waiting for one of the badly ventilated hot piss and shit steamed cubicles to be vacated.

He went in first and exclaimed "Enjoy the smell!", I then started to explain that if you ingested small particles of toilet juice every day you will build up an immunity to poison....just like Rasputin.

The woman (while her man was pissing and groaning simultaneously from behind the rickety wooden door) asked me if eating shit was a good idea. A good response. So I continued deadpan. "It would depend on how much you ingest of course, and increasing your quantity over time will of course increase your resistance, leading to full immunity". She seemed fascinated, and asked me whether I would do it. I said of course not, but if I was the lover of the Russian queen, a massive powerful monk and a political activist then I would consider it. Her boyfriend had finished pissing and having listened to our brief and surreal conversation, shepherded her away, with the guilty look of a man who had convinced his girlfriend of an obscure lie to get his own filthy way at some other point in the past. Perhaps not a lie on a par with "eating shit is good for you" though.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Shaun Williamson and Pol Pot

Did anyone watch Shaun Williamson's tough gig, think it was on bbc2, where he had to explore the fashion industry, get to grips with the vibe, write a stand up gig and perform it to the fashionista's.....
Poor bastard. I have never felt such intense hatred for a group of people. I don't know whether it was deliberately cut so as to portray the fashion industry moguls, designers and models as a bunch of vacous, self serving, celery eating, coke snorting, narcissistic fuckwads but thats how they came across.
Oh how the mincing 6 foot 4 mens sales boutique expert laughed when Shaun told him he'll spend around £100 on a suit, when he himself was wearing a pencil thin electric blue number to make him look like a flourescent strip bulb. "Oh bring your suits in darling, we can have a laugh at them."
Like the British tommy in the first world war, Shaun took it all on the chin, with good humour and a generous warmth of spirit. He didn't understand these people, but he didn't want to offend them either. He was subservient, intimidated working class against these over the top caricatures of self indulgence.
"Want me to go over the top sir? I'm allowed to finish my tab first sir? Very generous sir. Thankyou sir. Run towards the barbed wire and german machine gun stronghold sir? Yes sir. I know I'm fat sir, but I promise to run fast, dodge the bullets sir"
Oh how they smirked at the podgy little man. They don't make clothes for him. They make clothes for men and women with no hips, no love handles, over 6 feet and faces like they've swallowed a stinging nettle covered in skunk juice. And apparantley these people are beautiful? Eat a pie!

For some reason, my mind drifted to my trip to Cambodia some years back. Here was a country recovering from the brink of extinction, one man's crazed vision, an agrarian ideal gone mad, where anyone with an education, government job or even for the crime of wearing glasses was considered an undesirable... and either executed, imprisoned or worked to death.

Perhaps Pol Pot, the once mild mannered Cambodian school teacher went to a fashion show, it drove him over the edge...

Come the revolution, I'm sure I'll be put up against the wall, but at least I'll have the pleasure of watching the fashion industry go first. Some of them may be too thin to shoot, so perhaps some sort of cake / chips execution would be appropriate.

And the finale. Was his stand up a hit... erm, No. it looked like Shaun's routine, based on dodgy carry on double entendres bombed in front of that audience... who disdainfully rolled their eyes at his attempts to make them laugh with his gentle observations and nob up the bum gags about the superflous qualities of the fashion industry. How dare this yokel tell us we aren't important!
But in his abject misery, as each jovial awful joke was met with a wall of silence, and his cheesy smile slowly dropped from his face till his body resembled a crushed big mac, sad, lonely and unloved, oozing special sauce, I knew that Shaun would still be a good person deep down, whearas his audience could drift around in their microcosm either telling each other how wonderful they are or bitching about how much weight (3 grammes) their mates have put on.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Aldeburgh and Sutton Hoo

Just spent half the bank holiday weekend in Suffolk. Despite Sizewell looming large over the flat landscape of East Anglia... what a beautiful part of the country. Ok ok, so first we went birdwatching, I grudgingly admit, I sort of like it now.

Once the lone pursuit of anorak wearing, bespectabled nerds, I give it an urban flair.... but I don't have any binoculars. I just sidle up to some studious old lady and say, "Yo ho! Lemme look thru da lens of yo telescopic device beeatch" and they recoil open mouthed and let me check out the Golden Plover sifting through the silt. I am P Diddy to them.... they look at me wide eyed, slightly frightened.

Anyway, on to Alderburgh. Lovely seaside town. Where fishing boats sell their wares direct onto the harbourside. It feeds my imagination, my psyche. I'd love to live by the sea, to know Ron the fisherman, who will reccomend the monkfish or the skate today sir.... but I know this ideal is something my mind has conjured up. I'm not Peter O'Toole on his 3 month summer sojourn to the West Coast of Ireland, resting between movies, roughing it with the lovable locals. Half drunk on dining and drinking. I'm just some squat greek boy from North London with delusions of grandeur.... maybe someday though.

I'm a skittish person, I can rarely just relax, physically or mentally. So while deb was sitting on the beach musing and enjoying the morning warmth as the sun rose gloriously into the sky, I was busy launching pebbles, sometimes rocks the size of my head into the north sea until my left arm was sore from repetitive chucking. That was relaxation to me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I was very careful to avoid the old lady having a swim. So I was socially conscious too.

Then onto Sutton Hoo... an ancient Anglo Saxon place of Kingly burial. Where Readwald was buried, along with his beautiful treasures. We did snigger at the name King Ethelbert... but it was educational, and I now am a member of the National Trust. Surely my first step towards becoming a country gent :)

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Tube Journeys

Tube journeys always interest me. I like to observe. To see how people react when confined and squashed up against each other. Rather like the time my cousin in Cyprus put twenty neighbourhood cats in a rabbit hutch until it turned into a seething mass of thrashing fur and wailing cries of feline despair, humans are not designed to infiltrate each others sweaty auras in such close proximity.

If I have a seat on the tube, I'm fine. I can relax and watch everyone avoid each others eye contact. Those subtle non-verbal communications on the tube fascinate me. For some people it is all they can do to stop themselves flying into a ball of rage until they reach their stop.

If I don't have a seat, then I try to detach myself from reality, ignore the festering armpit from the lanky streak of piss standing in front of me, whilst also trying to ignore the hot conker in the pants of the fat man wedged up behind me. Tube journeys are not necessarily pleasant, but they are functional and always interesting. Especially if a gibbering madman gets on as well.

The other day I was on the tube, and I sat next to this bloke who had his legs akimbo, like some sort of Blind Date contestant, thrusting his horse like genitals in the general direction of female society. This to me is a challenge. His leg is at least 2 centimetres in my chair perimeter exclusion zone. So I wedge my leg up against his, much as this disgusts me, hoping he, rather than me gives up the physical contact challenge because of his realisation that my revulsion is blocked out by my sense of injustice that he is invading my personal space. And yes. I won! He moved his leg. I did a mental dance of victory. I knew he was angry. Motherf***er! Ha!

A small victory, but an important one.

Now what if an eldery person gets on? I would normally offer my seat. But what they were of borderline pensionable age? I'm all for chivalry and good manners, but I don't want to insult a 55 year old for instance by offering her a seat when she thinks she is a young Helen Mirren. Same goes for pregnant women. What if they are just fat? What do you do then? Humiliate yourself and the woman in question? I second guess myself all the time, procastinating over the right thing to do, 8 zillion computations per second and not making a decision. Whilst thinking like this, other functions collapse, my brain cannot take the strain, so like the starship enterprise, I have to divert life support power to thinking. I haven't stopped breathing in this state yet, but I do turn into a dribbling expressionless freak with a collapsed face, and then nobody wants to sit next to me or have my seat anyway. Such a cruel irony.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Oxegen 2007

In the year of our lord Two-thousand and seven, I Melly the first, fearless urban bubble explorer didst cross the sea to the isle of Hibernia. Here I witnessed many astounding sites, smells and sounds. The mud was unearthly, like nothing seen in the asphalted streets of London. I saw a man with the body of a hippo and the face of a man dry humpeth his girlfriend from behind, mounting her ferociously whilst she wailed like a banshee, I believe in mirth. A naked giant held an incredible hulk toy over his todger and flailed it in the general direction of his friends. Young men, like angry bucks did fly at each other in the mud, wrestling, their sinews popping. A crowd of scum splattered revellers clapping and cheering. I did avoid there revellry for fear of being drawn into combat I would surely lose. I am a scribe, not a warrior. A gentle waif, not a general. A weed, not an oak. A soft handed yellow belly etc.

The mud, such liquid I have never seen, kicked in faces. Mixed with the pisseth and shiteth of thousands, running down the hill from the portaloo's into the filthy mix. My white silk sarong was ruined, but it allowed me to blend in.

The rain lashed down upon me, like a raging torrent, however the glistening gold tin foil dress of the goddess Ditto did light my path to the stage.

Ok, enough verbose rubbish. here's the photos.

First up, a pre-festival gig by the Go! Team at Eleckrowerkz in Camden. I flew to Ireland the next day. What a great gig. I so love the Go! Team, their infection fun can make even the most miserable bastard smile and dance. including me. Unfortunately as we are short greeks, we needed to see above the numerous tall people, so we nabbed a podium to stand on at the side, therefore people assumed we were professional dancers I think. Oh how wrong they were. Although I was much better than Dora and Christina and people asked me who my loser mates were.

Photo taken from our podium. I have no idea why there is a giant Cyberman head looming above Ninja. Tiny stage for a band as plentiful as the go! team, but it worked. And it was fantastic. They played new material. I'm looking forward to their upcoming releases!

Onto Ireland. First up. The Gossip. Beth looks like a ferrero roche in that dress. Her voice is astounding, compelling. And old fashioned blues performer fronting a hard blues band. They sounded awesome. And she was great. They did a cover of Careless Whisper too.....!

Dress came off, and lime green bra came out. For viewers watching in black and white, the lime green bra is covering her tits.

Next up... Mika. I hate myself. But I liked him live. He's a great festival act. And he had 20 foot high massive blow up women which you can't diss. (based on beryl cook art I believe - I briefly sounded intelligent, but my other half told me they were, so if she's wrong, it's nothing to do with me as I'm blissfully ignorant of beryl cook)

Mika knocks over big lady while Mr Miyagi looks on. Wax on, Wax off. Poor Mika has a lot to wax off on that big girl.

The Noisette's in the new band tent... always a top live act! Shingai is a bouncing ball of energy and theatrical grandeur.

I was really looking forward to this next band. CSS, Brazillian electro-pop-punk nutters! Awesome album too. And they didn't fail to disappoint live. I was especially excited by their cover of L7's classic "Pretend we're dead". Lovefoxx bizarrely peeled off many layers of catsuits through the gig. She looks like she is about to hyperventilate through heat exhaustion in the first photo, but saves herself by stripping down to her last pair of leggings like a human pass the parcel. (eventually).

Ok, now onto a band I've seen twice before, Howling Bells. They were of course great! Juanita did dress up like Charlene from neighbours circa 1990 though (which worked for her). Hard to pigeon hole, but I would best describe them as haunting country rock, which is a pants description but the best I can muster.

I'd never heard of Jason Mraz, but he was also awesome, and the kids seemed to love him.

Finally... New Young Pony club, fantastic band, and much harder live than their polished studio work. Definately will see them again. I also liked that dudes checker board hoodie, but he was bigger than me so although I considered braining him with a brick, I didn't want blood on the hoodie, so left him alone. (He'd have probably smashed me in actually)

Special mention to Bright Eyes, Rufus Wainwright (although two Judy Garland songs was a piss take, the self indulgent git!).
And Kate Nash, she was cool too. That's it. By the end of the weekend, i did look like I'd shit myself and was soaked through, but it was fun.

Tried to avoid the main stage, as that is where the drunks congregated, and the feeling of being in a Crimean hospital backyard surrounded by zombie like mud infused drunks who would try to hug you took away from enjoying any music. So Kings of Leon, next time lads!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Grizedale Forest

Me and Deb are just back from a nice break in the lake district. It was fun! A couple of new pics have been added of my unshaven mush.

Amoungst various activites, we spent a day in Grizedale forest, which has some really interesting sculptures along various routes through it. Examples we saw and photographed (by Deb) below.

The Guardian of the Forest (modelled on Bruce Forsyth - above)

A fern made out of wood (this was around 8-10 feet high for a sense of scale)

A sandstone fox. (around 3-4 feet high)

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Das Boot

I was lucky enough to visit the Bavaria Film studio's in (strangely enough) Bavaria last week.

It was for a corporate work thing and it was all a big surprise as to where we were going.

So when we pulled up, I gibbered in excited reverence at what I was about to witness. Ok, so it was a short visit, and I was the only one of my work colleagues who had any real historical interest. But I love U Boats. A majestic piece of engineering, lived in for months at a time, by unshaven, pale and sweat stained submariners. The threat of death around every corner, and the knowledge that they were there to take down merchant shipping, merchant shipping that couldn't defend itself. The film Das Boot captures the psyche of the German submariner very well, the guilt, the fear, the claustrophobia, the honour and the dynamic of living underwater with a bunch of blokes you had to make do with, without fresh food, without even sunlight. Things we take for granted.

So what if there wasn't a real U Boat? I didn't care, I was on the set of Das Boot, a U Boat interior was lovingly put together using original materials from ships scrapyards. I got to clamber around it. Here is a picture of me releasing some pressure shit from some sort of valve to save my mates. I'm a fucking engineer. Yessss.... you may notice my curly locks are tied back, like some sort of faux new romantic Spandau Ballet inspired pirate from 1982.

If it was a real U-Boat, of course it would have smelt of wee, poo, diesel, B.O. And I couldn't possibly live on one, there are no chocolate croissants for breakfast, and I've have to share a bunk with a fat flatulent bloke from Liepzig called Heinrich. That wouldn't be good. Especially if he had crabs (watch the film) and needed a cuddle cos he misses his mum.