Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Bunnymen's set was a "Greatest Hits" :) Posted by Hello

Stuff onstage at O2 already in place for Live 8 Posted by Hello

Echo and The Bunnymen at O2 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sorry about the flash, but here's my Nick Drake photo in close-up. What amazes me about the photo is how he looks so lost, so tearful, yet so utterly determined. Once again, thanks for the photo, Keith. RIP. Posted by Hello

Some sad news....

Remember my photo of Nick Drake? *points down* Well, it was taken by Keith Morris. He had an exhibition of his photos of Nick at the Redferns gallery last year: that's where I bought the print. Unfortunately, it now seems he's passed away. A keen and proficent diver, his body is missing and he's presumed dead.
RIP Keith.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Songs that mean the most to me: Number 4

"Safety Net" The Shop Assistants (53rd & 3rd 1985)
Ok, I was a C86 kid.
Fact is, I was C86 before C86. I'd been friends with a couple of guys at Uni who were in a band: The Page Boys, they'd been signed to Dan Treacy's Whaam! label. So, when they did some gigs in London, I followed. I ended up as a part of the Whaam!/Dreamworld cabal: running the door at The Room at the Top club, going to every gig i could. Gradually, a whole new group of bands began to appear at the club, a musical and stylistic pattern began to emerge. The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Housemartins, The Wedding Present, The Shop Assistants...they all had their first London gigs at the Room at The Top. Most of this was in 1985, before anyone in the media had got a sniff of anything new.
So, in October 1985, the Shop Assistants played the club. Great gig. I was outside afterwards. Saw the band standing on the pavement, got chatting. Mentioned I was returning to university after the weekend. Bass player Sarah says "Oh, so you'll miss the next gig, it's in Edinburgh"
Me, a little pissed and full of bravado: "Well, i'm in Lancaster, it's not that far" Sarah: "Well, come and see us play then! We'll put you up"
And that was it. No further contact. This was before mobiles and email, so a brief drunken promise of accomodation was all it took. The next weekend, i was back at uni in Lancaster...and got my best mate Nick in on the adventure: "Let's go to Scotland!" To his eternal credit, he agreed.
We left on the Saturday morning. Hitching (it was the cheapest way).
Our first ride? A Lorry Driver who picked us up at the services outside Lancaster. He spent the entire journey taking furtive nips from a HUGE flask of whiskey and was obviously pissed by the time we reached the border. We were dropped on the outskirts of Edinburgh...(alive) and one more lift got us into the city centre.
So, eventually, we get to the flat of Shoppies guitarist, David Keegan. We sit down thankfully on his bed...and he says "oh, we've just finished the second single, wanna hear it?"
And that was it: we were the first people ouside of the band to hear "Safety Net" It was unmixed: (David dubbed us a tape, which I still have) but it was incredible: one of the most amazing songs i'd ever heard.
To understand "Safety Net", you first have to understand a little about the Scottish musical heritage... EVERYONE in Edinburgh seemed to know about The Ramones, The Velvets, Love, Serge Gainsbourg, Orange Juice, Josef K, Pere Ubu.....and all of these disparate influences came together to form something which was connected to the sum of its parts, yet slightly removed and unique. The Pastels started it, but The Shop Assistants were definately following. "Safety Net" was as noisy as the JAMC (it references "trip you up" in the lyrics, as oppsed to the JAMC's "You trip me up"), it was as poppy as the Ramones, as saccharine sweet as Blondie, as twee as the Pastels or the TVP's. It was a record which paid fulsome tribute to all of its influences, but ended up outclassing all of them.
The first time i heard it, in David's flat, it floored me. That sense of wonder still remains: to this day it retains that innocence and confusion that marks it out as a classic. It's essentially a paean to the sense of confusion that growing old brings: "Afraid of dying, afraid of life.. I wish that we could turn around and start again..."
So, after all of this, we went to see them play. They were playing with the TVP's at Moray House College in Edinburgh. Oh, BTW, the guesty list for the TVP's?

Barbra StreisandFrank SinatraJonathan RichmanPete ShelleySimon le BonBarry SheenSamantha FoxWarren BeattyWoody AllenJulian CopeEdward Rolley?Jesus and Mary Chain (weren't there)Slaughter JoeAlan McGhee

(C+P'ed from a TVP's fansite)

The gig was amazing, that's all you need to know.
But that wasn't all that happened.
As we tagged along, we were invited to go and see some of the Shoppies friends rehearse in a studio near the castle. So. me and Nick were there to record one of thethe first performances from Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes. They played a version of "The Rain Fell Down" (with lyrics about touring with The Shop Assistants) that stopped us in our tracks. As with the "Safety Net" demo, I have the tape to prove it.
As if all that wasn't enough, the next day we all hopped aboard a bus to Glasgow to watch the Shoppies support Primal Scream at a "Splash One Happening". Splash one was Bobby Gillespies club and was the *ne plus ultra* of the Scottish Scene. In the environs of a typical 80's nightclub, we all cavorted to "What Goes On", "White Horses" and "E 103" by the BMX bandits.
Primal Scream? " Bobby was wearing Ray Bans and playing a Tambourine... despite the fact that the band had a full-time Tambourine Player dressed in LeatherTrousers, bandana over his mouth.... They sounded like the Byrds on amphetamines and were unforgettably wonderful.
The night ended with us staying on the 14th floor of a Glasgow Tower Block, looking out at the night sky...our heads full of music.
We hitched back to Lancaster the next day. As soon as we got back, we put the tape on.
All the memories, still fresh in our minds. It was only 48 hours, but it shaped the way I thought about music for years after that.
And after all that... "Safety Net" made it onto CD at part of the Rough Trade Compilation "indie Pop" It's wonderful. Buy it, listen to it,whatever.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Damn, forgot my camera.

Tonight? Me and First Friday resident DJ, Jared, rocking club ifor bach.....
It's late, but I don't care. Gotta blog the evidence :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ok, it's not much of a picture, I grant you that. Posted by Hello


For some reason, I cant upload photos at the moment :(
Anyway, yesterday was another succesful day in Cardiff, only blighted by the fact that i was consumed by a wave of tiredness for the latter part of the day. Manged to drag myself down to see Xposure at the Barfly: mainly to see The Rakes. They've improved vastly in the last few months, they're supremely confident now, assured and diffident, febrile and sinuous. There's a strong theme of social commentary running through the set as well: imagine the polemics of The Streets crossed with (ahem) everything The Ordinary Boys wish they could say....

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

And here's Athlete, live at The Point. It's been a long time since i've seen a band *that* on top of their game.  Posted by Hello

you don't get that in the Barfly, do you? Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

So, i'm in Wales....

We're doing an RSL here in Cardiff and the powers-that-be have decreed I should get my arse down to Wales and spread some of that Xfm love to the masses. So far, i've had a martini in the hotel bar and a GREAT Indian meal at Cafe Naz in Cardiff Bay. There you go: serious preparation! Tomorrow is the first Welsh X-list, then Athlete doing a live session. Tuesday is X-posure, wednesday sees me and First Friday resident Jared doing the Tag Team DJ thing at Club Ifor Bach.

Look at the sort of people that turn up in Brighton these days...*sheesh* Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

*wipes tears from eyes*

I just can't stop laughing.....
Xfm given a Snoop makeover.
(may contain swear words. Ok, it *will* contain bad language, but it doesn't make much sense, so it's OK)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Update time..

So, Audioscrobbler. Well, i've got about 280 tracks up there now (it's *so* addictive) and i've finally got some neighbours. Most seem to listen to a lot of fey indie-rock :(
There's no-one who has ever listened to Girls Aloud, Louie Prima, The Stars of Heaven, The Flys....i could go on.
Could this be something which shows me who to avoid, as opposed to who I should connect to?

More Members..

..and i'm still listening. Right now, it's "Brian Was" (about two-thirds down).

And this is how I feel right now.. Posted by Hello

And here's my IM photo. Look at how regal I am. Posted by Hello

Bit blurred, but here's my unseen Nick Drake photo...pride of place on the wall. Posted by Hello

Who me? ..i' airline pilot, actually..

So, Monday was the launch of the new Members compilation "Res-Erection" with a party at the Notting Hill Arts Club. Got to meet Nicky Tesco and JC, which was one of the highlights of my years so far. All those years marooned in the Wiltshire countryside with only copies of "Chelsea Nightclub" and "Solitary Confinement" for company; it's a wonderful thing to meet the people responsible.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Sound Of The Suburbs...

I've been listeneing to The Members a lot recently, in fact it seems like i'm on a "Virgin Records 1978-1981" kick at the moment; Fingerprintz, The Records, The Members, The Ruts... it's all good with me.
Anyway, The Members.. This sums it all up. What's it like being in a band?
Well, there's Sex and groupies, but there's also loneliness and frustration. There's drugs and booze, but there's also hangovers, paranoia and breakdowns. there's Rock'n'Roll, but there's both sides of that equation as well: sometimes fame- and sometimes failure.

And how was *your* weekend?

Mine involved trying to get over Friday night...and the Casino on Saturday. I turned £40 into £100, so i'm not complaining. It's always rather dull watching me bet though, I always play roulette, betting solely on black. However, if it works, who's complaining?
I think this week will be characterised by my new-found love for Audioscrobbler: I want to get 100 tracks up on there, then I can really get going...