Thursday, December 29, 2005

x-mas in walthamstow

two walks on Epping forest (in both directions), Little Britain Series 1 & 2, Little Britain Fridge magnets, Maltesers, the Great Dalmuti, Harry Potter, MTV2s Greatest Songs of 2005, presents, presents, presents, turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips, peas, vegetarian gravy, Gaia online x-mas carols, Simon playing the piano, two days and one long night!

np weezer unreleased sh!t

Daytrip to Brighton

once a month, a daytrip to the old hunting grounds of Brighton is not too much, no? We saw Michelle on the seafront, walked along the cold Kemptown beach, saw Alis band at the Albert, had a great meal at, one of our favourite restaurants ever, and a few too many real ales and porters at the fab Evening Star pub near the station.

Date w/Ikea

buying furniture in Neeeeeeeasden

np Fall Heads Roll

Friday, December 23, 2005

All together now:

"I am quail and quasar
I pick you up on radar
I do my job each day
empties crushed and fired away

But there is nothing worse than
an undetermined person
Can I abuse please
in my subspace biographies?

Da-Da-Da- Da-Da-Da Da-Da-Da DAAAA-DAAAAA"

Just heard that 'Subspace Biographies' could be about the Dennis Cooper novel 'Guide' or inspired by it, at least that is what Pollard allegedly said to someone at Matador. Timewise it's possible, and at least the last two lines quoted above would probably fit. Mr Pollard finds inspiration in all sorts of stuff around him though, and often two or three unrelated things inspire something new, and it's often not so tangible and open to the listener. Well, I've sung along to that song many times, it's one of the very best IMO, so to have this extra layer of meaning is pretty cool. I wasn't even aware that Pollard had read the book, though his music and lyrics feature in it..

I bought my first GBV album ("Under the Bushes Under the Stars") shortly after reading 'Guide', and the rest is history... I thought it sounded alright at first, a bit hazy, as if from far away, I liked 'the Official Ironmen Rally Song' on the first listen. Two weeks or so later I played it and realized that a lot of the songs had found their way into my head in a way that was very striking. I soon got obsessed with GBV and started buying their entire catalogue as well as most of the side projects, joined the notorious 'postal blowfish' GBV email fan club (or whatever) and later the equally notorious Disarm The Settlers board (DTS) , met A LOT of great people, got introduced to all sorts of music through the amazing music tastes of fellow fans and went to see a lot of GBV shows in the UK, Europe and the States, some of which were the most euphoric, out-there concert experiences i've ever been lucky enough to witness (and I've seen a lot). It's changed my life, at least a little bit. I was already in my early thirties when i first heard this and maybe a little jaded about music and it made me realize what music can really do. It's really opened my eyes in many ways. I'm maybe a little less enthusiastic these days and I don't love everything equally that comes my way from Dayton, but every once in a while, about once every week I'm still listening to a bootleg or an album and really get into it. )

Thursday, December 22, 2005


my little nephew

Blair gives up fight over smoking ban



maybe we'll get a complete ban on smoking after all. I'm so fed up with it, too many x-mas drinks in smokefilled places that otherwise have been really good fun, really brought it home to me this week that this needs to happen here. Or i need to move to New York, Dublin, Italy or, errm, Wales. the Must Destroy x-mas party at the Windmill was especially good, the mighty Sludgefeast and super-group Ghouls Aloud (featuring IAn, members of Sludgefeast and Do Me Bad Things in Halloween costumes playing Misfits covers) headlining a great rock'nroll party with a ton of great people in the house. unfortunately far too smokey for me too, even with frequent visits to the weird eerie Brixton council street outside of the venue...

np Olivia Tremor Control

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Your Hazy Fist

Take the tablet and slip down the lane
for time has given you a place to rest.
you run inside the channel to find a better view
but what was now has sunk beneath the table.
You clear the screen but I can't see
what you've raised in front of my eyes,
the gesture seems alien,
and this violence will never hit me just the way you thought.

I could never describe what hit me
just the way it approached and slapped me hard.
When the alarm goes off
you proceed without protection,
the screen's gone blank and the afterlife
smiled down, but still
there's only so much I want to do
before I stop to shake.

Cold table cracks in front of you,
a wedding march divided into fractions,
gossiping about the aftermath
of actions long since remembered useless.
I want to hold you there
but you disappeared inside the fog
so I slip from the ledge
remembering your arms

Friday, December 02, 2005

come on

honey instruments delay the path when I strike closer
for other prizes to be won one day and little wonders to achieve
to spit a little and forget my treason
the spit hangs dirty in the air but it leads further
than you ever thought
a promised land for you
so come on

coughing tricks for architects of misery to inspect
all the degrees of hate
swirling in your violent steam room
to build and protect
another bridge across this slimy divide
to decide a certain passage
through the night
so come on

When I break the bread and feel it sighing
on the other side as you open your mouth
the thought arrives
that this has all been here before all the way back
to the dark old ages
but I try again to make it sound fresh
when the bite reverberates inside your head
amplified for all to see
the show must go on
so come on

Where the bodies lead you a silent cross appears
i saw it before on your back
Why did i lean on it though the barren days?
Why did it matter to me when you spoke of it
in incessant wonder?
Does it lead you out of the circle?
Will we go further today?
Did the shepherd give you his commands
to follow the herd
and the laughing dogs today?
Is this where we're headed?
then just say the word
and we're off
so come on

I'm sitting on a chair
looking out of the window
my loss is before me
traded into hills
and slowly moving rivers going nowhere
but just where you started
this fieldtrip
for me
I felt treason raging against me
in my head
Will I resist it and see you again?
Will it come closer?
If it's worth trying
then come on

My ship is sailing away
through the violent sounds
as night awakes from its dirty old dreams
I rage and toss and turn
just to escape a certain wish
my tools are scattered all over the garden
leading outside for all to see
I did it
and I'll do it again
so come on

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The smoking ban

is being debated today

It looks like the government is going back to a partial ban on smoking (BOOOO!), meaning bars and clubs that don't serve food will be exempted. While I realize that things will be a lot better than they are and there will be a lot more smokefree places, i can't help wondering:

1) 'Concert halls' are supposed to be completely smokefree. What is a concert hall? Does that include live rock venues? At least bigger venues, say, Brixton Academy, are definitely halls where concerts take place, however the wording worries me. An extensive websearch so far has not brought clarification. Okay, I love going to gigs but I find that a good live show has nothing to do with cigarettes and in my case it often spoils my evening. A lot of venues are extremely smoky as they're packed and people seem to think it's okay to smoke in spaces like these. The air is really thick with smoke wafting through the air once the headlining act does its thing. Trying to avoid smokers at gigs makes enjoying gigs quite difficult for me these days. It's been a nightmare for me for years, and a weekly dilemma, as I tell my music loving friends I'm not into going to see Melt Banana (for instance) at the Garage, not because I wouldn't want to see Melt Banana, but simply because I hate the Garage, and I hate the Garage simply because I hate the fact it's too fucking smokey in there for me. I'm too old for this shit! I make exceptions once or twice a week and often regret it. There are a few smokefree places in London now for live music, and some places have okay ventilation, but the majority of the venues are really bad. Even a partial ban in live venues, say just an area where no smoking would be permitted in a large space like Brixton (right now even on the balcony people smoke like no tomorrow), or halls that are smokefree but allow smoking in a separate bar area would be better. Again, for me live music and a good rock'n'roll show has nothing to do with cigarette smoke.

2. Gay bars and clubs don't usually serve food, do they? Hmmm. They are usually no - go areas for me these days. Gay guys smoke far too much!

3. Why stop with food? Sure, if you sit down at a restaurant and someone lights up next to you it's difficult to just change tables, but apart from that i never understood why the presence of food should go less with smoke than just a drink.

Oh well, at least something is happening. I'm looking forward to it, and in the meantime keep watching the changing landscape here in London, where more and more smokefree places exist already.

rant over!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Faint at the Dour Festival

Dour is a great festival in the Belgian countryside. The Faint only played for about ten minutes, they were really late to start with and there were major problems with the sound, so they argued with people at the side of the stage for about half of their short set. It was a really hot day and the tent was packed with people who wanted to see them. Still, the 4 songs or so they managed to play sounded fantastic. Fuck soundchecks!!

np Kingdom Without

Bright Eyes at the Dour festival

A *very drunk* show but a good show, featuring members of The was intense in the front!

np 50 Year Old Baby

Friday, November 18, 2005

raise a glass to Dil!

We received a very sad text message today from Chris:
'Raise a glass to dill tonight november 1990 - november 18th 2005. God rest his hairy soul'

He was a great dog, we've known him for years, he was always around Chris. When I was a kid I was very afraid of dogs and it was knowing Dil (in my head i always spelled his name like this!) and other dogs, but Dil particularly, that made me appreciate and love dogs. I managed to find some photos taken in the last few years when he was already getting a little bit tired and grumpy. God rest his hairy soul indeed!

np robert pollard - from a compound eye

ugh got a cold

it's finally upon me, Simon and various other people had it all week, went out to a pub for the first time in a while, and the incessant smoking that went on in there probably did its bit to kick me over the edge, i could feel the cold coming on, congestion, coughing, feeling queasy. the day started alright with the sunlight streaming into the front room, reading and playing some music, rearranging the plants. The rest of the flat is pretty cold right now, difficult to heat properly since it's large and a bit too open plan. most of it is also a bit too dark for the plants, so they are all huddled in the front room by the window. Fortunately it was a very sunny day and it felt quite warm in there for a while. Having a sick day is sometimes a blessing in disguise for me so i can hang out, do nothing and recharge, though this cold winter weather is getting to me right now.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Plus in action

...hiding behind the micstand as usual while the psychedelic orange lights swirl and weave their patterns, hardly anything to see here really, it's all in the sound!!! this is from a gig at the pleasure unit last year. we've played there four times now, it's a small venue run by some friendly people with a bit of an edgier East End vibe. the soundguy is wonderful, he knows he's invited to fuck around with the sound with us, last time we didn't even do a soundcheck, just told him to fuck it up a bit, so he added all sorts of reverb, wish he could add some tape loops a la Mission of Burma ;-)

that evening we played with Amy Blue, two nerdy guys with all sorts of equipment who made a strange, vaguely MBV-sounding, electronic pop soup. it was their first ever gig and their soundcheck was the funniest thing, they were driving everyone nuts. however they ended up sounding really great, and i would love to know what they're doing at the moment. i love being friendly with other bands we play with. at the pleasure unit they usually have a more or less random combination of four or five bands playing in one evening so when you come in before the show the whole room is full of equipment and nervous looking guys in black leather jackets, it's a beautiful chaos.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

codula di luna

oh maan!

np boards of canada _the campfire headphase_ really loud!

By the Orientale Sarde,

an amazing panoramic route, on the way to the Codula di Luna, a steep isolated gorge that runs through miles of bizarre rocky scenery all the way to the Calle di Luna, a very famous beach that you can only reach on foor or by boat... (getting carried away here... keep running)

Simon hiking

i wish he would do a bit more of this ;-)) (though we did a lot of hiking on our trip to sardinia)

this is on our walk around the Monte Rasu, near the oldest Franciscan monastery on the island, which we could only catch a glimpse of since it was private property. It's nicely situated though on an isolated woody hill, the medieval castle of Burgos looming somewhere below in the mist. i saw an old man picking mushrooms underneath the big old trees...

hot white trash in sardinia

in a big motel style hotel on the edge of Macomer, a dusty sleepy town and, uh, transport hub, in Sardinia, during the mad roadtrip part of our holiday. we were hiking in the Goceano area, a gorgeous but slightly weird mountainous old area inland, and decided to stay around there only to find there were no hotels around (well apart from the weird one we had stayed in the night before :-)and we had to drive for miles to this nowhere town just to find a bed. it was kinda fun in the end...

(np guided by voices, irving plaza, nyc 15.06.96, disc 2 'don't stop now'

what keeps big daddy happy what makes the buzzard buzz??)

Monday, November 07, 2005

my band Plus

is playing a show tomorrow night. We're on a bill with my friend Trev's band Lunar Jet Man and we'll be playing mostly new material from our newly recorded album 'Hairy' (well, i think this is what it's going to be called - together with a hairy cover, front and back, we already have some willing subjects). It sounds dark, messy and playful as usual, but this time there's more lyrics (which I'm trying to remember right now) and the whole thing has a pleasingly off-kilter slightly Cure-ish vibe that works reasonably well overall. The last song 'Teenager' is the best thing we've ever done i think, it sounds like a description/transcript of a nightmare and it drives right into full on Lost Highway mode. It was good before but now it rules, well, in my book anyway. The rest hangs together fairly well too. It's even got some Thomas Pynchon lyrics, straight from Gravity's Rainbow. The way Plus works, we're a threepiece, Chris plays guitars and comes up with guitar themes, then John, the drummer and drum machine operator, and me, the warbler and voicemaker, try to make something with it. A lot of is improvised, with interesting textures, moods and melodies. We never play a song exactly the same way, so it's kinda interesting in which way it goes, especially live. Some songs work live unexpectedly while others have been known to fall on their faces. It's not about perfection or even coherence. It's been a lot of fun for the last 7, almost 8 years, we've got this weird chemistry and just keep doing it. When it falls together it's totally intense and I love it. Well, that's just about it for now.

Pleasure Unit, Bethnal Green, Tuesday, tomorrow, 22.40 <<<<

Thursday, September 29, 2005

tired eyes

false alarm - sensation overload - i bet you're deep enough
to focus on the false alarm - sensation overload

all hail the night where things go undercover and belong
feelings go astray but you see
the dying fell inside their little holes
all the way, i tried it all the way

dark side up is tearing me apart to start the world like this
i felt inside the pockets nothing there tell me where oh where
did all this go to turn around and screech and smash the glass the night forgets it is a little shell all the dark it feels it's breaking up

tapped along the shoulderblade and give me gas the prize is right to go
all the way i feel it all the way
the barren streets know no concern
and treat you right if you know all their worth
all the way she turned it all the way

turned inside me
oh oh oh
what's inside me
oh oh oh
i want to see it now
but but but

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

grey dawn

have i seen you before at the door?
have i fled you before?
is it really a new day
or another long chore?

do i catch you forever
or between my own eyes
leave alone when you fled me
keeping random and try

turn around in the slipstream
feel the way to your heart
does it give out new pleasures
does it tear you apart?

take away all my mountains
all my hills and my fields
take away all the mornings
and ring out with the tide

does it suit you to feel me
when the water recedes
grey dawn waits at the table
and is ready to feed

take away all my warnings
little stupid hoorays
take away all my sinking
until the last one is spared

little cries in the darkness
turned away in your dawn
let the ocean adore you
turn around in your....

send around in the tidings
a broken litter doll cracked
turned away for your safety
until the lifeboat arrives


(hi camilla)

(well this could work if the words are really slurred, and maybe some echoes in it

I like the drift anyway)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

winter commute

set alone in the snow stone
burnt alive through the years
turned around with a road sign
left to sing your own praise

words strike out and cover meaning
tears run dry run out of season
relieve the pressures left at home
endless roadside work follows you into the night

left alone in a bad cage
turned around with a song you remember
keep your eyes on the roadsigns
just in case you belong to

the track that leaves you falling further
isolated leaves run dry around
a deep cold memory that's found itself attached
to nice cold lakes inside your mind
but stare ahead when i beliee you're lying
turn around to stop the car and get out
to find the world has seen you out the back door
burn alive and shiver where you saw it
bubblegum and lights and no tomrrow
turning back has never been so far away

(ferocious guitar work courtesy of Chris Bryan)

left alone in the tower
have you seen your own eyes
steering clear of the weather
left alone to decide


(can't you see i'm trying to write lyrics here? this song's got a nice sonic youth kinda guitar theme and vibe. i guess it could work like this. we'll see. recording in a couple of weeks...)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


as views collide
a shaking house appears
a face
you stare ahead and stare to nothing
a picture's gone inside your mind, wake up
when trees collide noise wanders through the town
find another leave to bite and boil
as soon as sunset strikes again
we rise
and turn inside the bulging tower
hate erupts and
little figures
describe sensations out of my reach
similar and similar descends
similar and similar descends
too much too fried, consider
too far to go
stammer now and stammer a sentence
learn another rhymeto sing
for another overcast sky
and another doll to break
in two
and another fine example
of spitting out to stay alive
letting it all go
into a dark space
all consider
your own
beaming light from inside the skull
go home go home
so leaves fall quicker
the house threatens
to fall inside itself
exploding hate, inside the
flooding, body bags,
simple matters
out of control
i kneeled in front of the house
where colours swirl against each other
i strive to see in front of it
a corridor
belongs to me
and sends me lights
guides me to the door
another hall another dancefloor
another river flooding and a
sentence designed for you
in another language
a language that i don't understand
beats the pain and beats the stellar
inside a chimney b-b-b-b-baked for you
hey rain
i'm shocked
a train wreck
away to dust

Monday, September 05, 2005

Notes From Inside New Orleans
by Jordan Flaherty
Friday, September 2, 2005
I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the
apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.

In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway,
thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we
were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a
bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge. You had no choice but to go to the shelter in Arkansas. If you had people willing to come to New Orleans to pick you up, they could not come within 17 miles of the camp.

I traveled throughout the camp and spoke to Red Cross workers, Salvation Army Workers, National Guard, and state police, and although they were friendly, no one could give me any details on when buses would arrive, how many, where they would go to, or any other information. I spoke to the several teams of journalists nearby, and asked if any of them had been able to get any information from any federal or state officials on any of these questions, and all of them, from Australian tv to local Fox affiliates complained of an unorganized, non-communicative, mess.
One cameraman told me "as someone who's been here in this camp for two days, the only information I can give you is this: get out by nightfall. You don't want to be here at night."

There was also no visible attempt by any of those running the camp to set up any sort of transparent and consistent system, for instance a line to get on buses, a way to register contact information or find family members, special needs services for children and infirm, phone services, treatment for possible disease exposure, nor even a single trash can.

To understand the dimensions of this tragedy, its important to look at New Orleans itself.

For those who have not lived in New Orleans, you have missed a incredible, glorious, vital, city. A place with a culture and energy unlike anywhere else in the world. A
70% African-American city where resistance to white supremacy has supported a generous, subversive and unique culture of vivid beauty. From jazz, blues and hiphop, to secondlines, Mardi Gras, Indians, Parades, Beads, Jazz Funerals, and red beans and rice on Monday nights, New Orleans is a place of art and music and
dance and sexuality and liberation unlike anywhere else in the world.

It is a city of kindness and hospitality, where walking down the block can take two hours because you stop and talk to someone on every porch, and where a community pulls together when someone is in need. It is a city of extended families and social networks filling the gaps left by city, state and federal governments that have abdicated their responsibility for the public welfare. It is a city where someone
you walk past on the street not only asks how you are, they wait for an answer.

It is also a city of exploitation and segregation and fear. The city of New Orleans has a population of just over 500,000 and was expecting 300 murders this year, most of them centered on just a few, overwhelmingly black, neighborhoods. Police have been quoted as saying that they don't need to search out the perpetrators, because usually a few days after a shooting, the attacker is shot in revenge.

There is an atmosphere of intense hostility and distrust between much of Black New Orleans and the N.O. Police Department. In recent months, officers have been accused
of everything from drug running to corruption to theft. In separate incidents, two New Orleans police officers were recently charged with rape (while in uniform), and there have been several high profile police killings of unarmed youth, including the murder of Jenard Thomas, which has inspired ongoing weekly protests for several months.

The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years. Louisiana spends on average $4,724 per child's education and ranks 48th in the country for lowest teacher salaries. The equivalent of more than two classrooms of young people drop out of Louisiana schools every day and about 50,000 students are absent from school on any given day. Far too many young black men from New Orleans end up enslaved in Angola Prison, a former slave plantation where inmates still do manual farm labor, and over 90% of inmates eventually die in the prison. It is a city where industry has left, and most remaining jobs are are low-paying, transient, insecure jobs in the service economy.

Race has always been the undercurrent of Louisiana politics. This disaster is one that was constructed out of racism, neglect and incompetence. Hurricane Katrina
was the inevitable spark igniting the gasoline of cruelty and corruption. From the
neighborhoods left most at risk, to the treatment of the refugees to the the media portrayal of the victims, this disaster is shaped by race.

Louisiana politics is famously corrupt, but with the tragedies of this week our political leaders have defined a new level of incompetence. As hurricane Katrina approached, our Governor urged us to "Pray the hurricane down" to a level two. Trapped in a building two days after the hurricane, we tuned our battery-operated radio into local radio and tv stations, hoping for vital news, and were told that our governor had called for a day of prayer. As rumors and panic began to rule, they was no source of solid dependable information. Tuesday night, politicians and
reporters said the water level would rise another 12 feet - instead it stabilized. Rumors spread like wildfire, and the politicians and media only made it worse.

While the rich escaped New Orleans, those with nowhere to go and no way to get there were left behind. Adding salt to the wound, the local and national media have
spent the last week demonizing those left behind. As someone that loves New Orleans and the people in it, this is the part of this tragedy that hurts me the most, and it hurts me deeply.

No sane person should classify someone who takes food from indefinitely closed stores in a desperate, starving city as a "looter," but that's just what the media
did over and over again. Sheriffs and politicians talked of having troops protect stores instead of perform rescue operations.

Images of New Orleans' hurricane-ravaged population were transformed into black, out-of-control, criminals. As if taking a stereo from a store that will clearly be
insured against loss is a greater crime than the governmental neglect and incompetence that did billions of dollars of damage and destroyed a city. This media focus is a tactic, just as the eighties focus on "welfare queens" and "super-predators" obscured the simultaneous and much larger crimes of the Savings and Loan
scams and mass layoffs, the hyper-exploited people of New Orleans are being used as a scapegoat to cover up much larger crimes.

City, state and national politicians are the real criminals here. Since at least the mid-1800s, its been widely known the danger faced by flooding to New Orleans. The flood of 1927, which, like this week's events, was more about politics and racism than any kind of natural disaster, illustrated exactly the danger faced. Yet government officials have consistently refused to spend the money to protect this poor, overwhelmingly black, city. While FEMA and others warned of the urgent impending danger to New Orleans and put forward proposals for funding to
reinforce and protect the city, the Bush administration, in every year since 2001, has cut or refused to fund New Orleans flood control, and ignored scientists warnings of increased hurricanes as a result of global warming. And, as the
dangers rose with the floodlines, the lack of coordinated response dramatized vividly the callous disregard of our elected leaders.

The aftermath from the 1927 flood helped shape the elections of both a
US President and a Governor, and ushered in the southern populist politics of Huey Long.

In the coming months, billions of dollars will likely flood into New
Orleans. This money can either be spent to usher in a "New Deal" for the city, with public investment, creation of stable union jobs, new schools, cultural programs and housing restoration, or the city can be "rebuilt and revitalized" to a
shell of its former self, with newer hotels, more casinos, and with
chain stores and theme parks replacing the former neighborhoods, cultural centers and corner jazz clubs.

Long before Katrina, New Orleans was hit by a hurricane of poverty,
racism, disinvestment, deindustrialization and corruption. Simply the damage from this pre-Katrina hurricane will take billions to repair.

Now that the money is flowing in, and the world's eyes are focused on
Katrina, its vital that progressive-minded people take this opportunity to fight for a rebuilding with justice. New Orleans is a special place, and we need to fight for its rebirth.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Nagin: Uh, I don’t know. I don’t think so. Uh, but we called for martial law when we realize that the looting was getting out of control. We redirected all of our police officers back to patrolling the streets. They were dirt...dead tired from saving people but they worked all night because we thought this thing was gonna blow wide open last night. And so we redirected all of our resources and we held it under check. I’m not sure if we can do that another night with the current resources. And I am telling you right now, they’re showing all these reports of people looting and doing all that weird stuff and they are doing that, but people are desperate and they’re trying to find food and water. The majority of them. Now, you got some knuckleheads out there and they are taking advantage of this lawless...this situation where we can’t really control it and they are doing some awful, awful things but that’s a small majority of the people. Most people are looking to try and survive. And you’ve gotta, one of the things, nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me. And that’s why we were having an escalation in murders. People don’t want to talk about this but I’m going to talk about it. You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix. And that’s the reason why they were breaking into hospitals and drug stores. They’re looking for something to take the edge of their jones, if you will. And right now they don’t have anything to take the edge off and they’ve probably found guns. So what you’re seeing is drug starving crazy addicts. Drug addicts that are wreaking havoc and we don’t have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we are not overrun.

Friday, September 02, 2005

i'm shocked

there's a lot of harrowing stories coming in from NOLA, and it a lot of it doesn't even get reported on mainstream news medias. i've been getting stuck on this long I Love Everything thread that keeps reporting stories and links to blogs and newssites, it's gripping, harrowing reading and i'm in a state of shock.
a whole city is wiped out and the chaos, damage and desperation of the situation is hard to grasp.

I've never been there either, but i know how many literary and musical ghosts are haunting this city, a city like New Orleans is always more than just houses and streets, there's so many stories, songs, mythologies surrounding it, so in many ways it's a mental state too, and a collective memory, an aspiration, whatever. To have such a drastic wipeout of an entire city (and all that it means in terms of lifestyles, heritage, etc.) happening today makes me realize how fragile everything really is these days when it comes to it. And it looks like it's getting worse every hour. and what is going to come next? I'm not that good describing the horror i feel.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


sunny bank holiday just behind us, yesterday was particularly breezy, as we were breezing into a long succession of impromptu social situations, and everything fell into place and then sunk a little too deep into...excessive drinking and stuff. the best memory is sitting on my favourite meadow on the heath having a mainly liquid picnic, and talking in that relaxed slightly detached way that comes from a collective public holiday taking over your mood, making you more reflective...

well it all ended in a buzzy bar in Soho, for a reason, and something i don't think I'll forget for a while, hmmm,

Saturday, August 20, 2005

stoned at the alamo tonite

windows move sideways. trying to sleep it off. don't see. haven't got any closer. trying to make it work again. window's licked. tenants move out. get my feet warm. lying there in bed. trying to make it harder to see. blankets, duvets, passages to nowhere. trying to work it all out. trimming. speak up. haven't seen so much text before. make it clearer, deeper, let me make it into another long passage. i don't know much about you.

another house on the hill. another opportunity to get alright into the circle. trying to cut right open. what? the door! into the hallway! there's resistance but it's not too strong. you'll get there when you wake up. you'll be sure to not move til then. just stay still. trying. trying to not break the spell. motion's out. the stretch is too long. i've seen it all before. weakness, kinder things tugging at your shirt. blown out all the candles now. another candidate, a rough kiss is all you get. forget about all the colours that created you. forget about the reds. it's just another room. it's not a theatre in any way. noone's acting here. trying to understand.

broken windows, woke up. dust everywhere. a hundred years later. a hundred years of pain. another mirror. or is it a poster. the show must go on. take these drugs if you must. see. this. take this mask. you might want to act something out with me here tonite. i'll pass you through the corridor and then you shout when you reach the other side. i'll blow out all the candles. this light will come to get you. it'll show you all the colours, especially the ones you need to recognize if you want to get out of here. you know, the right door. it's all revealed in the spectacle. tonite. will you remember? will you remember? i don't understand it. either. but it's written here. how can i read it. it's too far away. can you translate it for me? what is it? is it clear glass? i can't see it. can you reach there for me?

Friday, August 19, 2005

the not drinking worked out til tuesday when i went to the great yo la tengo show at Koko, my first show in about a month. They were excellent: it started a bit slow, they looked and sounded even more eccentric than usual, but soon they started to weave their peculiar magic that comes with three such talented people working and playing together for so long, lots of switching instruments, covers, and players from The Scene Is Now who were special support reappearing at various stages. Three encores, and two beers later i was as happy as i could ever get from a show. Kinda forgotten how good they could be. That Sun Ra cover 'Nuclear War' was very special too this time, otherwise the main set was mostly 'greatest hits' or whatever you might call them, lots of familiar ones anyway, and covers for the encores. Koko is a great space for gigs, an old theatre with lots of different levels, areas and passages, all decorated in lush red tones. the only thing that still gets me is the smoke.

Yesterday was a postal blowfish (GBV mailing list) meetup at the Lowlander Belgian beer bar. We always meet up when someone is in town, this time it was Eric, who serves in the US air force in Iraq and who's just on leave. He didn't seem to want to talk about it too much but we soon got chatting about his collection of Smiths 12 inches and such. . Unfortunately Vanessas bag got nicked, though someone called her back a bit later saying they found it around the corner, all that got lost is some cash and a digital camera, so a lot of personal stuff got retrieved. It sucks having to look after your bag all the time but that place was busy and lots of people were passing all the time at our very exposed table. So after that adventure we had to have another drink or some, they have an amazing selection of obscure very strong Belgian beers. ho hum. Ended up in The Village later on looking in vague disbelief at some dancers dancing on the bar, well, one more for the road. Right now feeling comfortably hungover, it's a peculiar Friday feeling, familiar because i always used to go out on thursdays when i still lived in Brighton. Hanging in the office with a stupid grin on my face.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

dear diary

All week it's been sunny and yesterday it was even supposed to have been the hottest day ever. We were supposed to go to a secret, private festival somewhere in the coutryside near Battle today with friends. Intriguingly noone knew what was going to happen there. Right now we would be sitting in a tent in heavy rain, with about 300 people, trying to have fun and probably succeeding, but god knows how we would have felt the next morning. None of that happened though, and that hangover arrived early, cause Simon fell over last night, while watching 'Lord of The Rings' on this computer, or while trying to get up from that and slipping on something, and had some pretty serious arm injury. We had to go to the Whittington hospital near Archway and stick around for X-Rays, and getting his arm bandaged. It'll have to heal in the next four to six weeks and the pain killers don't go with alcohol. I guess we'll both stop drinking for a while, which would be quite a big deal and a good thing in many ways, and will Simon help focus on his project, even though he can only use his left hand right now. And the weather changed. We ended up watching 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' at the Everyman in Hampstead on the way back, which was actually fun and weird at the same time, just as intended i suppose, and walking back down the sleepy, rainy, green and mysterious Hampstead lanes with the film's lush fantastic imagery still swirling through my head, making everything look a bit like the film, I couldn't help thinking that something has changed, and that a brake's been applied. We'll just have to slow down now.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Devendra in the park

yesterday evening Devendra Banhart played a secret show on the bandstand of Regent's Park, it was short, acoustic (and not very loud, people were asked to huddle closer when it began), and very sweet. It's a nice spot and the weather in London has been very summery lately, so it was lush as the sun was slowly setting over the ponds and trees in the background. The assembled hipsters/musos/journos were treated to free wine, beer, sandwiches and DB bags, that contained an apple, a book of drawings and a DVD. Very generous, and a very nice evening. Felt like a 60s happening/sit in. Hopefully this bandstand will be used again for similar events!

Secret gigs, advertised by word of mouth, gigs in unusual settings, outdoor gigs, there's something about these kind of gigs that is so unlike the usual concert-going experience in London and elsewhere, where you have to book weeks or months in advance, usually pay a lot just for the ticket, pay even more in surcharges, and then have to deal with a smokefilled, claustrophobic room, dangerous volume levels and atrocious bar prizes. Usually, even when it's good, it's hardly worth it. Personally, it's the smoke though the gets me the most. Everytime I go to a venue like the Barfly I can feel it in my lungs for a couple of days afterwards and it pisses me off. When will we have smokefree gigs in London clubs? Compared to a hellhole like the Barfly the pleasant airy space around Regents Parks bandstand is just a world away. I realize there's something a bit utopian about yesterdays gathering of the spirits, but it showed it is possible to have gigs and music events in a non commercial, healthy environment, even in central London.

I'll try to post some pictures soon!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

unearthed! GBV in Memphis '94

I'm listening to the audio of the newly unearthed video someone shot of a very early GBV show, January 1994 in the Antenna Club, Memphis, one of the earliest live recordings. The person in question contacted 'Moonchief' who runs the wonderful GBV database, I watched the DVD yesterday and it brought all sorts of things up for me. I saw Guided by Voices for the first time in 1995 when they played with The Amps at the Concorde in Brighton, it's something I keep going back to and keep going on about, and wish a timemachine could take me back. The weird thing is, I didn't know their records then, so I didn't sing along to the songs or had no trainspotterish delight at recognizing the really obscure, older ones, as I would now. And noone at the time knew that Jimmy Mac Pherson and Nate Farley who played in The Amps would later join GBV, so in fact the personnel of past and future incarnations of the band were present on the same bill. It was also the only time i saw the old lineup of the band. Anyway, this video looks like an outtake of the great Watch Me Jumpstart documentary, with a half full small club and a muted but not unfriendly response, pretty much like the show i saw, except this time around, through the eyes of the camera, it's just vaguely mindblowing, even with the slightly crappy audio and video, to see the band at such an early point playing such a killer setlist (including a lot of Propeller, Vampire on Titus, Devil between my Toes even, plus a couple of tracks from Bee Thousand that wasn't even released at this stage). Bob is getting pretty drunk and is always in the spootlight in a purple/pink jacket, highkicking occasionally, but on the whole he seems a bit shy and his performance is more understated and mysterious for it, hardly anyone seems to know the songs, while Tobin Sprout is lurking in a shadowed space of his own on the right. Mitch Mitchell's got pretty short hair, his perpetual cigarette dangling from his mouth. 'Fourteen Cheerleader Coldfront' is introduced as the 'weatherforecast', and Bob mistakenly introduces 'On The Tundra', a song that has never before been found on any bootleg, as a song from 'Propeller', asking people whether they've heard this legendary album and encouraging them to sign up for their mailing list to receive a copy (worth a lot now of course). They played a lot of this old stuff on their farewell tour but here it is rawer, noisier and infinitely more mysterious to see them perform this stuff at such an early stage and before a lot of this material reached the cult status it has over the years. Really mindblowing stuff!

Friday, July 22, 2005

dour festival

We went to the Dour festival in Belgium last weekend, Simon had won tickets on popbitch who were hosting a tent there. It was mostly excellent, a smallish site in the countryside, on a farm, near a small town, though i could spot churches in all directions, so it must have been surrounded by various villages. two small bizarre looking hills were overlooking it too. when we arrived it was very hot and the shuttle bus was full of teenagers, lots of fresh faced boys with their shirts off, ready to party. the first field of the campsite was jam packed full already so luckily we managed to find a more peaceful field at the back that still had lots of space at its back end. a good move!

the lineup was very good, with a strong focus on the leftfield, ranging across the genres too, from goth, death metal, dub, acid folk to French ska, hip hop, and beyond, and a lot of cult names representing. So before i forget here's what we saw, plus comments if i have any:


Electrelane: I saw one of their first gigs in Brighton when i still lived there, and have seen them various times, usually in a supporting role, over the years. i always thought there's something a bit po-faced about them, like they're trying too hard and don't have enough personality. this one though had a good groove and was more entertaining than the last time, even though there were sound problems i think.

Devendra Banhart: just great, a beautiful late afternoon, and Devendra very humbly let other band members sing their songs, invited someone from the audience to sing a song, and when the time had run out he insisted to leave the stage. A great set too!

Fantomas: I liked what i heard a lot, and was pleased to see Buzz (?) from the Melvins playing guitars too, that hairdo :-), Simon however dragged me away after a while, he thought it was too one-dimensional or something. (?)

Laibach: Okay, the last time i saw them was about 1985 in a small club in Berlin, i really liked their first or so album, there was something completely alien about them then. Well, they were good, and they still do what they do and it was very effective. By then it was getting dark and there was a big wooden wheel with pots carrying fire displays near the stage, the moon came out, so it was a pretty awesome pseudo-teutonic spectacle. Simon loved it and made lots of little videos. Turned out he had never heard any Laibach before, so it must have been impressive. they ended with 'Life is Life'.

Project Pitchfork: Long running dark wave band from Hamburg that i had heard about for eons. They were actually my highlight of the day. The popbitch tent was only half full but once you were inside they exuded this strange energy that really sucked me in, very dynamic, and an interesting front man, whose features recalled a more ragged looking Klaus Nomi at points, though his voice wasn't like that...

Anne Clark (feat. Implant): Blast from the past, she even played 'Sleeper in Metropolis' and 'Our Darkness'. Sounded relevant and endearing still, the crowd in the tent was electric...

Hawkwind: Mostly yawn, but at that point i was ready to crash really


Scout Niblett, Modey Lemon,

Why? vs Ms Ohio: really cool, liked all the beards!

Napalm Death: incredible vibe in the tent! gig of the day!

Hood: played in a tent that looked completely fogged up by its entrance, i guess it was dust, the bar at the side of the tent let the evening sun in to awesome effect, very photogenic. kinda suited the mood of the music too.

Television: a bit grumpy especially from the closeup position Simon insisted on, but had its (free-sprawling) moments.

The Young Gods 20th anniversay: Another good one, we sat down at the side of the field and let it wash over us, it was lush, the guy's voice was amazing, definitely wanted to be there and play for everyone (which helps!)

Sunday we nearly left but i'm glad we stuck around cos i think it turned out to be my favourite day starting with a great early afternoon melodic punk rock set by The
Queers, who I guess are not really queer in the 'conventional' sense, that finished with covers of The Who's 'The Kids Are Alright' and 'Rockaway Beach' by The Ramones. For some reason one of my favourite sets, it just felt right, one quick song after another, no fuss, and a nice early afternoon crowd.

The Faint: I really wanted to see them but they ended up playing for just ten minutes or so because of major sound (check) problems, or maybe they were just late to arrive. It was frustrating cause the 4 or so songs they played were really great slabs of fierce electropop that went down very well with the crowd. No 'Agenda Suicide' either!

13 & God: which is The Notwist playing with experimental hip hop trio Themselves. This is a revelation, for some reason this really works. I don't know what it is with The Notwist but they seem to go down extremely well at festivals, and this is just beautiful, their glitchy moody pop-meets-krautrock soundscapes together with the mellow hip hop vibes creating some truly magical alchemy (i know i'm not very good at describing this!). We're hooked on this for now!

Giant Sand: just right for Sunday evening, beautiful. a bit heavier than Lambchop.

Bright Eyes: another good one. We were right in the front and it was intense, Conor appeared to be pretty drunk but he was still on top form, the rest of the band, featuring members of The Faint, played well, but it was his moody, nagging voice that held it all together and changed the tone of the music as soon as he started singing. He's a volatile, intuitive performer, and there were moments when it looked like it's all falling apart, but on this evening it still hung last memory is of Conor climbing a keyboard stand and sitting on there wrapping up the last song with his hair flopping with the rhythm...

So, all in all, many teenage kicks for all the Euroboyz. and us. We've got some crowd photos, that morph into some cool portraits when zoomed in, so I'll try to post some sometimes...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

people on the tube

I don't like taking the tube in London, the air is bad and it tends to depress me, though it can be fun to watch people sometimes. As noone usually speaks, they are all faces without words. I rely on it almost everyday though to take me to work and back, and around London, even though there is an alternative route that i sometimes take on the Silverlink, which can be annoying too. Anyway last thursday, 07.07. I was debating with myself for some split seconds which route to take but stayed on the side of the road that leads to West Hampstead tube station, took the tube to Baker Street, where an announcement informed that some lines weren't running because an incident, possibly a power failure. this was just after 9 am, i think. I didn't think too much about it, since these incidents, delays, cancellations occur with depressing regularity. So I still got the Bakerloo line which passes the *other* Edgware Road tube station and got to Paddington, where everyone got evacuated. I remember asking someone whether she knew what was going on, who turned out to be a tourist who didn't really speak English. In Paddington, overground trains were still running, so I got a 9.20 train to Ealing. I must have passed Edgware Road at about 9.10 or so...

I know the Circle line from Liverpool Street to Paddington very well too, from when I used to live in East London, and I know how busy all these places are around 9am, cause this is around the time i used to pass through there. Most people are dressed for work, and already present some sort of 'office type person' mask, are dressed in a certain way, and everyone just wants to get from A to B. It's very common for people in London to travel long distances through the city on a regular basis, you just have to. Despite this sense of conformity, and this collective rushing, squeezing, pushing, gaining ground, seats, reaching the end of a tunnel, hearing the right announcement to go to the right platform at the right time etc.. you can find an amazing diversity of people travelling in these underground tunnels, and there's often a sexy, horny atmosphere despite the heat and the claustrophobia, but maybe even because of it.

It's been said that peopel have to get on with their lives, and that Londoners have shown the world that they won't be beaten into fear, but I'm not so sure. Car traffic is heavier and more people seem to use alternatives to the tube right now. I think i'm going to avoid it even more at the moment too. Things are getting back to normal but it's not as easy as it seems underneath the surface...

Monday, June 20, 2005


I went to Madrid over the weekend, I've never been there before and I wouldn't have gone if it wouldn't be for my boyfriend's project, he is there for a week and a half and requested my presence to get his mind off work and to see Madrid which he hadn't really either, even though he's been there quite a few times for work. This project he's been working on has been frustratingly slow and drawn out and one of the main problems seems to be a crucial difference in mentality, the manana attitude, saying one thing and not following it. Spending 48 hours in the city definitely puts you in a different frame of mind so some of this almost became understandable. It was extemely hot and at first it was really quite difficult to get our head around the city. The hotel was just outside the city centre next to a really wide avenue leading all the way to the train station, and there was at least 4 lane traffic in all the surrounding streets, really bad air, too much traffic, and really confusing somehow. I started to hate it there when we decided to get a cab to Chueco, the gay village, a mad, heaving weekend nightlife area with lots of bars and little clubs over a series of parallel streets circling the tiny heart of it all, Plaza de Chueco. We got hammered and watched half of Madrid walk by, very mixed and raw, it seemed to hit its peaktime around 3 am, we were sitting on some trashcans drinking enormous portions of spirits out of plastic glasses. After that everything changed, as our outlook adjusted to the rhythm of the city: sleeping til very late, tapas, half-hearted walk into the city centre only to be overcome by the collective fatigue of the siesta hours, extreme heat preventing to walk any further, retiring in the Retiro (really! collapsing into solid shade), later in the afternoon checking out the cruisy part in some lush overgrown shady lanes further into the park, not managing to see the Prado, in the evening pretty much the same programme as the evening before, tapas etc... We finally managed to see the Prado on Sunday and it was amazing, especially seeing the Bosch pictures, Velazquez, Goya, etc. I felt better about being there in the end too, i actually eventually liked the tension and the heat of the city.

There was a huge demonstration on Saturday which turned out to be against gay marriage and 'for the family', it didn't really look homophobic so I didn't even understand what brought about a million people together, but apparently that's what it was, I found out later at the airport that it was a million people and it was against gay marriage and it was on the front of all the papers. People were walking around in colourful t-shirts with placards saying that 'the family is important'. Now, while I'm not a huge fan of the idea of gay marriage (even though i'm practically married as it is), I've got to say that gay people are integral parts of families too, if the family is important then all members of the family should be equally important, and gay people can form families or family-like structures in their lives too. Spain, particularly in the large cities, has a pretty big gay scene and high visibility, especially compared to other mediterranean countries (I've recently been to Palermo, a fairly big city which has just one totally gay bar, for instance), but seeing a large demonstration like that makes me wonder how conservative and traditional parts of the country still are. What was also weird was that not far from where the demonstration passed it was business as usual in the gay bars and on the streets as if nothing had happened, we spent some time in one bar where the DJ played Spanish music nonstop and everyone apart from us was singing along to every word, and there was never any trouble, as if it existed in some parallel universe. This part of town is in no way a ghetto either, it's where all the young people seem to go too, so it makes for a heady hedonistic mix.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

the green wall

there's a green partition wall placed directly opposite my desk, a relic from a time when a manager was still roosting and doing what managers do in the space beyond it. The manager and the person who used to sit here have all left so i've inherited it. there were a couple of postcards pinned to it already, only one remains: it's 'Nighthawks' by Edward Hopper. Apart from that there's also:
a postcard advertising the Ramones 'End of the Century' doc ('A Seismic Snaphot of the Early Days of Punk!') with a great shot of the Ramones looking pretty pissed off,
a photocopy of the inside lyric sheet for GBV's Bee Thousand with the trainhead looming prominently,
a postcard of Eton College that my friend Charlie sent in to my work address for some reason,
a printout of the Easy Rider poster (in homage to our former IT support boy and ex-rugby player Ryder)
a cutout of a female model's head from an advert for cosmetics, i should think, judging by the bluish lipstick and eye shadow, it looks really silly,
a printout of a photo of the mother of the Italian bear sitting next to me, he insisted i put it there since he doesn't have a wall and has to look at it too :-),
a printout of a photo of a friend and colleague, Branka, who died of cancer earlier this year :-(
a printout from the Weezer and the muppets video, Kermit's eyes are coloured with pink marker, Rivers' glasses are marked with bright light green,
and a photocopy of a homemade cover for the GBV rarities collection 'I've Got Tickets To The Circus Of Delirium' (but I'm not supposed to tell you about it!)

I don't always feel like putting up pictures and stuff, at home or anywhere, but when i start somewhere i can't stop and a lot of the stuff gets put up very quickly without thinking about it too much. Now that the office is being rearranged there has been talk of removing the green wall, which so far i've protested. Nothing on there needs to be there to greet me in the morning, but it's certainly helped to make it my little corner. Saaad but true.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

joy zipper

the new album is really nice. what is 'the heartlight set'? is there a story behind this?

i saw them a couple of years ago in the tiny Rough Trade shop in Covent Garden, they played our favourite song (well, of theirs), and handed out beers, and were very sweet. Seem to have gone through some weird shit with record label folding etc...but came through anyway, and still sound like they're just churning out these gorgeous songs in their sleep without too much effort. last time i saw them it was some sponsored BBC new 'community' thing at 93 Ft East, for which you had sign up and then get in free, badly organised, so they were really late and could only play for 20 minutes. First it was 'Let's trash this joint!', then it was 'ok let's just play one more song'.

Friday, June 03, 2005


so I've decided to start writing a blog, see what happens, or not.

The name 'From A Voice Plantation' is the title of a Guided by Voices song from the album 'Universal Truths and Cycles', and it's one of my favourite tracks on the album, though it seems a lot of GBV fans don't particularly like it. I've always liked the almost gothic drama in it, something that's hinted at quite frequently throughout GBVs work but rarely expressed quite like this, the heavy, haunted feel and the fact that it starts, builds up and then ends very quickly. It seems like a good enough name for a blog too :-)

I'm at work so can't post too much, but I want to see what this looks like.