Thursday, April 27, 2006

Exit Flagger in New York

We were in New York for all three shows of the 'Electrifying Conclusion', the final goodbye tour of Guided By Voices (hey, it didn't come to London!), parked ourselves for three days and long nights mostly towards the back of the nice Irving Plaza and also the nearby Shades of Green bar, before AND after the shows, hehehe, met a ton of great Postal Blowfish and DTS people, hung out, and enjoyed some truly remarkable shows. I was wearing a different GBV shirt every night, and one of my favourite moments was when Jim Pollard (Bobs brother) pointed at my GBV atom shirt and started to talk to me, and I got to shake his hand. They were hanging out at the bar cos they'd run out of alcohol backstage :-)) I think he was with The Heed but I'm not sure, there were a ton of other old school fans hanging around by the bar at that point and, this is Saturday, when Exit Flagger came on we all started raising out fists together, a great moment. The final show on Sunday was really magical, a bit subdued but very concentrated. When we came back I noticed Simon had only shot one video and it was Exit Flagger from the Sunday show. It looks a bit grainy on youtube but it's a magical little clip for me. So I'll share. Enjoy:

the photo up there is me on the Monday morning after three GBV shows in a row, sitting in a cafe in the East Village.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

random journey of musical discovery no.3: The Pooh Sticks

We're going to Wales now. After The Pastels and The Vaselines, my random journey of musical discovery that leads me from one (new to me) band to another by association or, uh, Amazon recommendations, has now moved out of Scotland with this slightly puzzling band of pop junkies from Swansea in the late 80s and early 90s. In the words of their unofficial site , they present "a bizarre genre-hopping hybrid of two-minute jangle pop, 'enthusiastic' harmonizing, three-chord punk, girl-group cuteness and, beneath it all, a sharp wit aimed squarely at the po-faced indie scene of the time". It took me a while to chose an album out of their discography and I settled on 'Formula One Generation', because it has a Vaselines cover at the end. The liner notes for the CD edition reveal a delicious, nerdy sense of humour, a serious love of pop music, talks about a time and place in a very specific way, and even calls out to future pop historians. The music itself is definitely fun, there's two (!) songs called 'Teenage High' (one of them a John Peel fave, no less), a proggish ballad 'Tonight' (!!), the title 'Soft Beds, Hard Battles' is stolen from another local band, and the Vaselines cover is cool too. However to my ears it sounds a bit weedy, unsubstantial and self conscious at times, though i guess that's part of the idea and the appeal. I like the fact that this little musical journey has taken me already somewhere that seems to reference so much other music, it's definitely rewarding, though I'm not sure how the right way to write about it is. With The Pooh Sticks there's a sense that you needed to be there at the time, know the music, local indie scenes, etc. they seem to reference, take the piss out, worship, to be really immersed in that particual scene. I think they're still growing on me actually, which is always good too. There's no links leading on from that record an Amazon but the liner notes of the album lists people who have been the inspiration for 'Formula One Generation', so what better way to link on... I think it's going to be The Raspberries and their recent Greatest Hits.. Tell me I'm right!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Plus flyer

Special thanks to models Camilla and Simon, I found them in the gutter in Bethnal Green and they were ready for their screen test ;-)

Plus, Wed 26.04., onstage: 20.15 , Rhythm Factory, Whitechapel, nearest tube Aldgate East, £4.-- with flyer, £5.-- without.

Playing curious, dark'n'messy homebaked avant-rock, mostly from our new album 'Hairy'. I will give out copies of it. Hopefully my voice will be alright too, I've had a cold, we rehearsed, I screamed too much and it sounded a bit bad the next day. It'll be fun anyway...

branded content

battles of meaning, branded for size, style, content, discussed


foreign investment

false trials, alarm goes off

standing in the shade


oh...little garden dwarfs,

feeding you to the comments

my guilt expires in time

and i crave meaning where you stood

a ride through blooming buildings

where barren sand ruled


oversized placards warn you

it's not what you think and

go home early if you can

i turned away from the branding press

no violence

no understanding

just meaningless sludge

drifting through endlesss wastelands

commuting to death but

if i could hold it and see


plant a definition

would i be able to do it?

would it go my way?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Everybody Hates Me no 2

Well, after a while, I used to hate to go to church, and I'd start crying, and my mother would
say, "What's wrong? Why don't you want to go to church?"

dirty wars end on higher planes, i haven't waited for you to get there, but...

And I'd say, "Because of the gorilla."

it's obvious i want you to be here

And she'd say, "What gorilla?"

even though i feel lost saying it

I said, "There's a gorilla at church, and I don't want to see it."

drink another bottle to black out what you've done

And she says, "There's no gorilla at church.

forget it, so it will forget you, or something

There absolutely is no gorilla at church."

but the text will drag you into a hole from where only experienced swimmers escape

So once again, she'd drag me, crying, to church.

this hole will close if you let it, save your face somehow

So we'd get there, I'd get on my knees, the mass would start,

a mass migration of dirty lines

and I'd peek over the pew and look up to the far, far left

riding over you face

and there was the portrait of John the Baptist draped in furs,

starving where i saw you

with a long furry beard, long hair, bushy eyebrows, and so covered in hair.

wanting to be in the circle

Well, to a child of I must have been, I'm like four or five now,

forgetting the rules

and this would have been one of our return trips because to a child of that age,

attempting cruel forgeries

it could very easy look like a gorilla.

back in church

And one of the reasons I mention this story is that,

i tried to touch it but it slipped away and i was left outside of the circle

or me, my first impression of art was both horrifying and absolutely magical,

trying to get out but not really believing i could do it

because I really believed that was a gorilla, and it scared me.

running across the fields, out of breath, out of my mind

I, otherwise, I've never had any fear toward going to church;

getting back again

it was for me an experience to share with parents and especially with my mother.

turning away

But that to me was the first painting because it was a painting;

faking a rhythm

I've gone back to see it and, yes,

letting it go

it's a painting of John the Baptist that confirmed my sense that art can be something almost alive.

a fieldtrip to the other side

And that happened very young, you know, at a very young age. Later on, my exposures were different.

i saw patterns that kept repeating the same image

1992 has been packaged elsewhere.

too many drunk boys riding on a bus

The documentary "Starshaped" is a monument to self-destruction,

in white shirts

a sarcastic 90's version of Staffan Hildebrandts anti-drugs

playing the games of others before them

[alchohol, tobacco and narcotics] films,

innocence slowly corrupted and eroded by an onslaught of paranoia

but more convincing because this is real.

is it following you backwards?

Now you can watch Damon Albarn puke up his tax-free booze

can you see yourself?

at the airport in Hultsfred.

is it allowed to go there?

In ultrarapid. Backwards.

reflecting another direction

"That film...," says Graham, shaking his head ominously.

into hate

"It terrifies me. That's why I never watch it.


At the same time we've always liked the idea of being weak and put-upon.

forever touching your nose

In the beginning we always were. Then the audience was usually inattentive,

singing weak songs, trying to find the right songs

which made us work harder. But it's hard when they give you too much work to do.

fucking it up

Last year it snowballed, we were constantly on tour

a mansion

and all the time more gigs were being booked.

of lies

After a while Damon started to behave pretty weird,

crashing backwards

the lack of sleep made him over-emotional.

starting to see something grinning at the edges

But we're adults now. We can't act like kids any more.

as if it was possible

"During the past hour Graham has been slowly and methodically smoking half a packet of Kents,

to forget all this in an instant

gone on with my Silk Cuts and fingered his way through every loose item on the conference table.

forget you're there

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Everybody Hates Me no 1

Cruising at full speed, I discovered someone told me I was wrong
20.45 Uhr / 29’
Straße der Besten
Saturday night i felt something was touching me on the neck
Die Stalinallee
Going down the wrong way full speed
Reportage von
Turned the volume down to bask in the terror unfolding
Wh. v. 06.08.05
Fit it into a timeslot
Die Reportage erzählt Geschichten von Menschen aus der Stalinallee
Washed the bad taste out of my mouth
, die sich hinter den viel beschriebenen
Turned the volume down and scratched my face
und manchmal beschworenen Mauern abspielen
another play that will lead you to fire
. Denn die Stalinallee – das sind nicht nur Wohnpaläste nach sowjetischem Vorbild,
drowned in the sound
das ist auch und vor allem ein Lebensgefühl.
21.15 Uhr 29’
Hier läuft man über DDR
Forgot what i wanted to say
Der Berliner Alexanderplatz
Done it
Film von xxxxxxxxx
face licked, swallowed, hurt, false beginnings
Wh. v. 06.08.05
Another time slot another red car
Der Alexanderplatz: nach wie vor eines der wichtigsten Zentren Berlins.
Die Berliner erinnern sich mit ganz persönlichen Geschichten an die Wandlung des Ortes zurück
Turned away on the other side
. Hier wurde aus dem ehemaligen „Ochsenmarkt” in den 70er Jahren ein modernes Zentrum gestaltet,
marked it with lipstick
das für das sozialistische System als Vorzeigeobjekt fungieren sollte. Die Weltzeituhr,
my watch says it’s time to say no
die Hochhäuser, der Kaufhof und nicht zuletzt der Fernsehturm
cruising with full speed
haben den Alexanderplatz zu einem beliebten Wahrzeichen Berlins gemacht.
Vor allem aber ist er nach wie vor ein Treffpunkt für Jung und Alt.
Noise annoys

another schedule
can you hear me?
see me?
i'm over there

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"a straaaa...aaaaaange day"

The Cure: 'A Strange Day' at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday

Video was filmed by a friend of mine who was sitting on the other side of the stage. I told him about youtube later on the tube station and now it's already been watched 770 times since he's put it up yesterday. that's the interweb for you! What I thought of that particular song was that it's turned into a pretty beefy live number in the last few years wheras before it was this ghostly little weird song.
The Cure were beyond epic on Saturday. Hard to believe, but they actually played most of the songs on the setlist of that 1982 bootleg, and more, and more again. Some surprises, 'The Blood', 'Hot Hot Hot', 'Shiver and Shake', 'The Baby Screams', 'At Night', 'Never Enough' etc. etc. , they just pulled them out of memory lane and played and played. Over three hours, three encores and a forest later we were left back into the real world. Absolutely spellbinding. six out of five! And yeah, Depeche Mode were pretty good too. ..

Saturday, April 01, 2006

black spring

I'm listening to a fucking great old Cure bootleg, Paris 1982, the Pornography tour, great setlist and atmosphere. By some bizarre coincidence I'm having a bit of a goth flashback weekend, on one of the first spring weekends too, seeing The Cure tonight and Depeche Mode tomorrow. Both bands mean/meant quite a lot to me:
The Cure were basically my favourite band when I was younger, especially the early stuff, though I don't listen to them that much anymore and that last self titled album really didn't do that much for me, was in fact everything people used to say about them that i didn't really see any earlier, plodding, whining, etc, but maybe it'll be better live. Bloodflowers and that Trilogy Live DVD I both enjoyed a lot though. The Cure in concert is always a wonderful experience, definitely one of the greatest live bands, and it will be interesting to see what they pull out of the bag for this one off set. They haven't played a big show in London for a long time, that last tour basically didn't come here at all apart from this show at the Barfly that was impossible to get into so I was thrilled to score a return ticket the other week. It's a good seat apparently, or so said the guy in the box office at the Royal Albert Hall, I said 'I don't care where it is' as I was coming off the train...
I've had that DM ticket for about six months, and I'm sitting somewhere in Row X Terrace Y or so in the newly refurbished Wembley Arena. Nevermind. I'm so into DM it's ridiculous. I basically got converted about 6 years ago when I was dragged along to their greatest hits tour and then gradually, very gradually got more and more into them. I'm a big fan of all of their Live DVDs (101, Devotional, One Night in Paris), and watch them regularly, they are really relaxing and lush to watch for some reason. I've got a few ace bootlegs too. Apart from that I don't even own all of their records, and I'm certainly not a collector though I know of their obsessive fans. It's one of these things where I don't know why I enjoy it so much right now, and definitely a bit less nostalgia as with The Cure. I guess maybe it's because I got into them late it's still blooming. Weird.

And yesterday I went back to the Electric Ballroom after a brief pint in the Dev, London's slightly ridiculous Goth pub, for my workmate's 30th birthday celebrations. I do love the space and the loopy vibe of the ballroom though I haven't been there since they made the Friday more rock and metal. They used to play a wonderful crossover blend of goth/trance/electro, but apparently people complained after a few years that they were always playing the same records. I miss the music, it wasn't as good as the old days, but it was still good to be back. There's a remote corner in my head that will always remain a part time goth, however small and remote that part maybe, I have to admit, though really I'm a musical omnivore. I just can't explain it.

This is the setlist of that Paris 1982 bootleg :

The Drowning Man
A Short Term Effect
At Night
Splintered in her Head
Three Imaginary Boys
One Hundred Years
Play for Today
A Strange Day
A Forest
10:15 Saturday Night
The Figurehead

Here's hoping they will play a few of those classics tonight. Black>Out!