Monday, November 24, 2008

Elke and Verusca

these giant swowmen are hanging over Carnaby Street right now...

Verusca signing Gavin's birthday card, I *think* they've met before ;-)

the scene at the John Snow pub in Soho

"just friends!"

Vanessa and Elke at the Porterhouse
Gavin's birthday party

the snowman's behind! i bet he shits plastic snow!

the scene at the pub in Brixton on Sunday night

Simon's mum at the Leicester Square Theatre. We saw a one woman/diva show with Jackie Scarvellis...

Verusca, Johnny and Elke

not in order, blogger getting weird on me again ;-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

rotating futures (here and now reverb mix)

interlude: contemporary music
feel the now in the past
this animal will swallow your past
scratchy voices link the ages
a cry from the future rhymes with a lighthearted pun in the presence
flickering colours represent the next wave
that you can't see right now
microphone's a blister right into applause
rotating skies
silhouette of a potential future
home in the background
wires promoting an absence
young face sings old music
woozy street scene
rhythmic interaction wins the day
instruct positive motivation in sound
rain relaxes you
lie to the advdertisers
freebies snuggle up and overwhelm you
smothered in noise
hostility wave constructs an alternative screen
competition drives you away
japanese whispers summon a full blown overwhelming street scene
bathed in positivity, light, grace
twinkling little neon lights, you follow the corridor
there's a number hidden in the pompous display
written into the white space
landscaped misery overruled by internal chaos
nightmarish exercise
halftones with a religious background noise
a shot in the arm will heal the time dependency matrix, regulate
the breathing so it's streamlined to the future
sitting on the toxic other side of daily life, pleasure
seeps into a grey hole
snapshots from the other side
a soft touch deletes your account, swallows the time machine
and sits you out in a starlit night
caught like a rabbit in the headlights
security makes you nervous
rotating futures, always remixed
more fun will never be
so we forget what comes next

listen from about 4.00 (minutes) into this ...:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Drifting and Tilting - The Songs of Scott Walker at the Barbican

The Barbican Centre, surrounded by towering office blocks and sprawling 60s concrete residential blocks, endless confusing walkways, says "Do Something Different". It's their current motto, and it certainly was...

Scott Walker's last two albums "Tilt" and "The Drift" are not what you'd call an easy listen, his distinctive voice reciting fairly creepy and enigmatic lyrics to a backdrop of fractured, almost industrial sounding, occasionally very harsh and insistent soundscapes. We've got both albums but we don't play them too often, but as the old cliche goes, sometimes you need to experience it live for it to really get to you. For this new production he collaborated with a theatre director and presented a programme of songs from these albums only, using storylines and full choreography for each track, presenting the story and inspiration for each track, visualizing it. He didn't sing or appear but had a cast of great guest singers, his band and an orchestra. So the songs came to life and it was very powerful to hear it all live like this. Even on my seat in the top balcony with a weird partly restricted view high above the stage it looked and sounded amazing, very dark and trippy, like one of those weird dream scenes in Lynch movies.

This is a video and audio of "Jesse". The song was performed by one of my all time favourites, Gavin Friday (of the Virgin Prunes). I think he was meant to be Elvis speaking in his head to his stillborn twin brother Jesse, there was a figure sitting behind him at the start of the song who later disappeared behind a backdrop with his shadow projected big onto the backdrop... later on he kept wailing one line, "I am the only one left alive" over and over again, separated from his dead twin brother by the screen... Gavin's performance reminded me a bit of the more far out/avantgarde Virgin Prunes material, stuff like New Kind of Beauty or Heresy... very eerie, and a great performance! He's been cast in a number of similar shows in London recently, he always seems to fit in well with the spirit of those shows (The Hal Willner curated Disney Songbook show, and the "Rogue Gallery" pirate songs...)

The rest of the show, well, Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn, the biggest names on the bill, while decent, easily gave the least interesting performances... there were some opera singers who really got into the spirit of Walker's songs though, one track particularly stood out and was incredibly powerful, with an opera singer lying on the floor (I think with his feet bound) with another one hovering over him with a camera projecting what was filmed onto a screen behind, a pig's carcass dangled from the ceiling and someone was punching it, every time creating a rhythm, while a hangwire dangled over the scene...

Very trippy and powerful, and probably not for everyone, but I thought the show was extraordinary, gave me a deeper understanding of these far out, enigmatic albums... Hope it gets filmed or recorded, or maybe tours a bit, more people should have a chance to see it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Anne Clark in the Underworld

In the 80s in our little circle Anne Clark was one of those names... she had some underground hits like Sleeper in Metropolis and Our Darkness, you'd hear her songs in certain clubs...essentially she's a poet who managed to make very engaging, intelligent and quite danceable electro/goth/darkwave tunes out of her meditations on urban life as a growing malaise, world weary reflections, and a sharp and clear voice. Well, seems like she is famous mainly in Germany where her current tour has about 20 dates rather than London, or Croydon, which is her hometown, it's her only UK date and I'm not sure she's played here much before (!). She has a full band these days, still makes records, and her voice and demeanour hasn't changed much, she still has that sharp and clear melancholic voice, and they're all in good form, it's a fantastic gig. Hearing Sleeper in Metropolis which is clearly about the megacity London while actually being in London is a cool experience, I believe many teenage goths back in the 80s in Germany projected their idea of London onto the song... The new material is up to standard too, the sound is great, and at the end of the second (!) encore we even get Our Darkness which sounds remarkably fresh and intact and gets a rapturous reception...

Edited to add: this post was actually posted after the 10.11., I just used an unused slot to keep it roughly chronological. Also this is the original "Our Darkness" video, I haven't heard it much in the last, uh, 20 years but it seems to be etched into my head, it's all coming back to me, every single line, it's the sign of great timeless pop music, right?...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween Go-Go-Goffing at the Cross Kings: Dead & Buried

The beautiful Anderson and Hebe who I met at the Cocteau Twins party
me (wig), Steve (Damned Damned Damned T-shirt), big beers

Anderson and me

Anderson negotiating the entry to the hellmouth

back to the Cross Kings for their Halloween event, Dead and Buried, a "trad goth" night Steve was interested in. It was a pretty good night, the space works for that sort of things Our night , also at the Cross Kings downstairs, always had a certain gothy element, so it was interesting to see the space transformed into a full on goth hangout, certainly pretty busy, upstairs there was a gig by Voltaire, a solo performer from NYC who is almost a goth standup comedian, and who was pretty entertaining and went down well, downstairs old skool goth and new wave, including stuff by Wire, German new wave, X-Mal Deutschland's "Begrab Mein Herz" which I'm not sure I heard in a club before, Virgin Prunes, really great stuff, though my memories are bit hazy...

All photos were taken by the lovely Hebe who I met at the recent London Cocteaufest which she organised and DJed at, they took over a big pub in Dalston and played Cocteau Twins and other stuff all night long, it was wonderful, really moving. The are very good, it's a strong community from the looks of it, I just haven't got around to posting there much, even though I've been a member for a while. Listening and dancing to this music with other fans (including Anderson, also pictured here) was definitely a great experience, so thank you again, Hebe. I'd like to do it again sometimes!