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.