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peter docherty calamity shenanigan tryst

on a evening full of strangeness I headed out to the Least Charitable Room in the Zafira and as there were some Mongolian nose flutes or something playing on Future Radio, I gave Zane Lowe a twiddle for the 5 minute drive, only to find that Mr Docherty was croaking all hopeful about Libertines reunions and playing in Norwich tonight, which, I thought, is where he should be right now which he probably was but nonetheless it was the first of many strange occurrences that would take place during the course of the evening. I’d failed in a number of previous attempts to pin down Sir Docherty, from the being a bit drunk on stage and having lots of fights period, through the being a bit out of it on stage and having lots of fights period, and the not being on stage at all when he should have been and he was having a fight somewhere else period, but since Mr Douchery has determined that he is now reincarnate as the thing he first thought of in 6th form, then its from that point we might evaluate tonight’s performance. in Grace/Wastelands, he’s made a record that meets that 6th form objective very neatly, so we should all give him the chance to show us his art in the way he would like us to experience it, before he degenerates much further and crosses that very thin line he treads between Peter Docherty and Shane McGowan.

when you turn up to a venue the size of the Lethergic Clapping Room you might expect to see a couple of 18-wheelers with enormous cables hanging out of them, full of upside-down crates with something like ‘bloc party’ stencilled, banksy-like, on the side and in your mind you’re already visualising a show of such epic grandieur that you suddenly need to go to the toilet. so when you actually trip round some dug-up concrete fountain in the misty half-light and catch sight of a transit van with something like ‘a1 rentals’ stencilled on the side with a couple of coat hangers where the aerial should be, you’re not quite filled with that same sense of awe. still, it is a solo acoustic show, for that is what it do say on the listings, so maybe in fact a transit van is overkill. notwithstanding this mental setback, I’m making way through the doors expecting that the room will be the living embodiment of a facebook page dedicated to underage girls who think kilimangiro is that hill what that Cheryl Cole sicked up on. I’m a bit disappointed when in actual fact the rather less than full room is more of a homburg and cardigan festival, although there does seem to be a healthy contingent of scary stoners, so there might be a good fight later, if nothing else. it does occur to me that there is something inherently wrong about 17 year olds dressed as Tony Hancock. strangely, the house lights are already down between supporting acts, which is either because it hides the empty spaces quite nicely, or because it really is too distressing to see what everybody looks like when you’re standing next to each other in a place like this, for which I’m rather grateful. and so is everybody else, probably. a cursory glance around at tonight’s hardware shop reaveals a curious demographic. not for this crowd the trusty motorola, nokia or sony ericsson. not even the jesus phone. no, tonight Matthew, we’re Jill Furmanovsky. look, we’ve all got our digital SLR cameras. look, there’s a canon 450. there’s a d50. don’t you people just come and watch any more?

once I’ve been to the bar and wandered around a bit, of the overheard conversations around me, the most discernable was that of a couple looking wistfully at the door, bemoaning that fact that, apparently, he doesn’t come on until 9:15. which is, like, ages away. mostly the other conversations went something like ‘OI OI! PEEETAH! CAAHM ON SAAHN!’ and were accompanied by much large bloke posturing which was good natured in a fearing for your safety kind of way. in fact, as 9 o’clock approached, there was a strange violent tension building and at 8:52, we applaud the first beer lob. I suspect it won’t be the last. as another expensive camera that my dad got me fires off another flash bulb at the back of another person’s head, there’s a flurry of excitement and the sound of one hand clapping. there he is. hang on, no he isn’t. who’s that then? I don’t know. I think they’re his mates or something.

I tell myself that if I was at the arts centre on a thursday evening watching these three perform their alt.country.uk.banjo licks then I might quite like it, but I’m not, and I don’t. the couple stood directly in front of me start extracting each other’s teeth with their tongues and that annoying thing happens when you suddenly become a thoroughfare with an invisible drink in your hand. I think the last time I saw a banjo at the Lacklustre Country Room was at Gogol Bordello, but now, people are wondering if they’ve somehow stumbled into a fairy tent at the cambridge folk festival, but one full of agitated boors. by song 8 we’ve stopped pretending to clap. not even a spirited rendition of teardrop can disguise the fact that we’d quite like them to leave. so they do.

in another strange but subtle shift of mood, people are suddenly taking photos of themselves with their best gurning faces and there’s even a jovial half-baked slow hand clap being passed around like left-over celery. another overheard conversation goes something like ‘trouble is, first day of tour, been in Norwich all day, gets back here, nothing to do, jacks up and gets out of it’, which is plainly totally inaccurate. there’s plenty to do here. we’re starting to think the whole evening might be another no-show and the agitation creeps back in, making a fight seem the most likely significant occurrrence in the next few minutes, which might at least be midly entertaining in an I couldn’t possibly condone it kind of way. but then, just as you’re looking at the football scores on your phone, there he is.

Mr Doubtfire ambles on stage looking just like he’s already played for an hour in another room in some parallel universe next door and there’s nothing short of rapture as he launches straight into some song or other. the collective shrieky OMGOMG is almost palpable and overwhelms you for a few seconds, and in that short ecstatic period I’m led to think that right now he is a most curious mix of Bob Dylan and Rodney Bewes. after just a couple of craftily selected singalongs from the back catalogue there’s really no stopping him. anyone who had turned up having listed to Grace/Wastelands on repeat on Napster expecting him to be sitting Val Doonican style on a bar stool and just running through the new tracks really wasted an afternoon. not that I did that. there’s a healthy plundering of all that was and is great about the Libertines, Babyshambles and the erstwhile Peter himself, threaded randomly and with apprent ease throughout the set, for which everyone is spectacularly grateful. the performance effortlessly captivates what might as well be some north London bedroom packed with 1000 mates from down the pub, but there’s a nagging feeling that you’re witnessing the last and brightest of a light that will surely, sometime soon, go out. at one point during a sprited rendition of something or other, it feels eerily like being at Woodstock.

and then we get a bit bored. just like that. even our Peter looks somehow suddenly unclear as to what is actually going on. and he’s halfway through it. ‘you better be liking this’ he tells us, as if to remind us that actually, he’s baring his soul, thank you. so he throws himsef with much gusto into Kilimangiro and, for good measure, gives us Don’t Look Back into the Sun, after which there’s really no reason to doubt that to the people who paid to be here, he is actually the way, the truth and the light. at least, he’s done enough of this to know what makes a great show. the stoners go ape-like mental. there’s a fully-whipped frenzy. so Peter sits down for a bit. on the Val Doonican bar stool. but let this not sound the alarm bells of whimsy. he gets up again and gives us a splendid ham-fisted version of the Specials’ Gangsters. all together now. a fat drunk bloke looks at his watch and then looks at me. oh dear. not drunk. funny how people can take a dislike to you just for being taller than they are.

not even the appearance on stage of guests-that-aren’t-graham-coxon and a banjo reprise can detract from the delightful shenanigans that continued for the next hour or so. as we reached, passed, and waved our private parts in the face of the decibel meter hour, there seemed no end to the spontaneous outpourings of Pete and even though there were more false endings than the 17th series of Lost we mostly stuck with it, even though some people really had to get their last bus, like, you know, even though he was doing that song about Kate Moss what I do love. by the strange anticlimactic conclusion to the performance, he really didn’t care what was going on and were it not for the fact that he would have probably collapsed, would, I’m sure, have continued into the small hours, as if it were some kind of lock-in.

it was a glorious shambles.

caught by the fuzz

its easy to get overexcited about things in norwich because when they actually happen nobody seems that bothered. such was the anticipation/apathy contradiction at the Lightly Crowded Room at the uea last night as the mighty supergrass found themselves in east anglia when they probably expected to be in the astoria where everyone would go mental and clap their hands and things like that. the last time I saw supergrass was in 1994 when they were supporting shed seven at the boardwalk in manchester which was a spectacularly upside-down night as clearly supergrass should have played after shed seven who were already the also-rans of 90s british alternative music that hailed from york and miserably underachieved except for dolphin or that one about rainbows which chris moyles probably likes because they’re from yorkshire and what else you might need to know about them I’m not sure. the boardwalk was also was also a canny little venue which crammed students and townies in all week and had, well, a boardwalk kind of thing in it from where you could pour red stripe onto teenagers on club nights but was the right size for the amount of people who actually went to gigs like that in those days before everything was sponsored by o2 or top man and you have to barter on ebay to pay double just to see the congolese nose-flute orchestra playing hex enduction hour backwards at the art centre.

so there was a little squeak of anticipation as I left the house after putting the bins out and filling the dishwasher and sorting out the recycling. 14 years later, supergrass and shed seven are still shuffling around the country peddling their indiewear but supergrass never went away and have popped out some super sparkly albums in the meantime and so are now touring to support their new album which I haven’t heard and don’t know what is called whereas the aforementioned shite seven have recently ‘done an abc’ and reformed because they apparently had nothing better to do and are hawking some kind of greatest hits tour which must be a pretty short affair and is undoubtedly rubbish. on arrival at the uea I parked the zafira under a street lamp in the hope that the wing mirrors would still be there on the way out and tritted down the hill to the concrete bastion of acoustic deconstruction which was by the time I got there a little bit kind of full but with gaps in the way that says its not sold out but the middle-class middle-aged have bagged all the steps round the edge and so you’ll have to push through them to mix with the teenage fanclubs and stoners who will undoubtedly lob their plastic pint over you at some point which they do. expecting the support to come on at any time I took my nasty-but-cold pint of 1664 and sorried and thankyoud my way through 5-deep of people even older than I and after nearly failing to negotiate the last step down to the pit arranged myself neatly in front of someone who was far too short to go to gigs at the uea anyway. I checked a couple of emails on my phone, like a w*nker, and then suddenly it went that kind of half-dark and on trolloped the other band from oxford (I’m not counting ride), and proceeded to rock out with a track from the new album. and another. and another, I think.

even though they had a rather splendid lcd backdrop (although not, unfortunately, an lcd soundsystem), by the time they’d rattled off some tracks from the new album and gaz had informed us that we’d probably be regailed with pretty much the whole of the new album, people were getting a bit twitchy and shuffling around and rather than taking pictures with their phones they were talking calls with their phones. but wait, salvation. deep enough to submerge dubai is the back catalogue and so we will be treated to a smattering of hits-u-like which will keep us amused enough not to leave and amuse they do. they obviously save caught by the fuzz right until the end, but in between the borderline prog-foo fighteriness of some of the new stuff they clasped our hands and walked us right into the 90s when the sun was always shining and I had hair. it was at its best when members 4 & 5 of the live band disappeared off stage or picked up a tamborine and gaz poked us with the whimsy stick with sublime renditions of late in the day and a soaring moving and you remembered why you came. they can rock out just fine but you don’t want to be doing that at the uea because it just sounds like a jet taking off without any wheels when it gets mashed unceremoniously through that arcane speaker stack although brecon beacons sounded nice until my eyes started bleeding with the sonic james bond laser attackness of the sound system even though some people were actually jumping up and down a bit which must have meant something.

I make it sound half-hearted but it wasn’t but it was. they did what they do very well which is crack open a song box and let it pop all over the stage like a looney tune. we did what we do very well in norwich which is gawp like goons and start a mock fight while one hand claps and a stoner bounces of everyone shouting oi! oi! I think I may have enjoyed the whole experience much more if I hadn’t had to know in quite so much detail who I was surrounded by. there is an unfortunate trend currently to arrange a large number of lights on the rig so that they shine directly into the audience and mostly directly into your retina. at far-too-frequent moments in any given set, those lights will cascade over those assembled, presumably so that we can somehow join in with the signing bit where we’re supposed to join in but really, for about half the night we were bathed in an effervescent glow which only served to highlight the fact that you’re surround by people you don’t want to be surrounded by. I am quite happy for all the lights to point at the bloody band like what it always used to so that I can remain comfortably numb of my immediate surroundings and focus on the action. they do it down the waterfront too, but I don’t mind it so much there because in general what you see is akin to what you would see if david lynch made teenage pop horror, which is often better than what’s on stage, but at the uea, well, its just unpleasant. its not as if we need help in norwich to kill the atmosphere, but turning all the lights on like its the end of the school disco doesn’t really help.

NME boredom

while I was at the NME tour in the Least Commended Room at the UEA the other night it occurred to me that I was a bit bored which I thought I might be but ended up going anyway and in a lull between the lulls of lacklustre new music I took some notes on my mobile phone. I mean. I took notes on my mobile phone. I might have well been in a conference call about product categorization and taking down things like “specifications” and “stakeholders” or “communication plans” but no in fact what I was decanting from my half-asleep brain unto a memory stick spake of the following experience:

Cribalikes, jonglers> strokes maximo 25 year cycle

I know what it means but I was so unmoved by the whole event that I can’t be bothered to expand suffice to say that being on jo whileys playlist do not make certain it might worth trouble be but who I you seemed to like it well at least the cribs the rest was rubbish but reminded me of a night in a hall somewhere watching jamie’s brother’s band in 1981 which was quite exciting but of course I hadn’t paid 15 quid or something and I also made a cover version of things keep on switching off no sorry summer days they were the golden dawn teenage alistair crowleyites or maybe just en homage to an ercol dining table nostalgia yes for a decent night out is that too much empty spaces on the dance floor lets have a fight instead nice hair

its a bit twangy

no. its them again. with that singer that can only be described as dave tong incarnate. I nearly actually liked them this time but only very nearly. there was that one song at the beginning that was pretty good and as I’ve heard it 3 times in the last few weeks I’ve almost got used to it. but he looks like dave. can’t get over that.

as the ripples of one hand clapping bade little man tate farewell back up to sheffield or wherever they come from I just picked sheffield because that’s probably true which in fact it is, so the strangely empty pit began to swell slightly. and then a bit more. and then a bit more. but nothing too menacing. lots of short little stoners behaving themselves which I hadn’t really expected I thought at least there’d be a travelling minibus full of lacostes from wolverhampton openly flauting the smoking ban. oh. here they are. much like the banter that befell the 6 foot 7 young man at the enemy, this lot took ownership of their immediate area with some carefully placed ribbing of hapless students and middle class ‘dads picking me up after’ types who were no match for their untrained wit. their sword of glib swathed a path through the throng like a pencil flitting over a betting slip until they found their nirvana – a spot a bit to the left, behind some nervous teenage first timers. truth be told, these are the kind of people you like to see at the uea because they open their mouths occasionally and are wantonly up for it. without them each performance ends up being greeted by the faint sound of someone in the offices upstairs buttering a snackajack and a 12-year-old wooping like a girl, which they are.

by his own admission, the singer was feeling ‘a little rof’ as he had a throat infection and the first number was slightly encumbered by technical spasms so it was all rather ignominious and I was wondering if top gear was repeated on bbc3 tonight when things got better largely fuelled by the lager and brandy washing around on stage and notwithstanding the washing-up water sound system in the lower common room it all got subliminally marvellous. by the the time they cracked into ‘either way’ I was barking along with the wolves stoners, with my best EEVER WAYE, EEVER WAYE and the occasional I LUV YA spontaneous outburst and by now I really had no care whether I looked like an embarrassing dad at a wedding disco because I had the epiphinal feeling that them up there wouldn’t care. I mean, they were largely off their faces, but we were avin a parrtee.

incidentally, the guitarist who suffered good natured finger-poking throughout for being a miserable perfectionist was a one-man niagra of sound who should be stuck on a huge column somewhere and gold plated. he was smiling about it all by the end, like we all were.

NME 2007

alright norwich la, I ope lethal bizzle warmed you up good and proper yeah <small woop> we’re from liverpool 1 2 3 4. what? warmed you up? it’s 10 past 8. and anyway, since when should it have been wombats/milburn/holloways/pigeon detectives/other bunch of students on after lethal bizzle? I’m about as interested in the wombats as I was about the mystery jets who opened the NME tour last year who I missed because I was at a parent’s evening or something but lethal bizzle sounded like he might at least be a bit interesting even if he does just kind of shout about running away from the filth after he’s crashed his joyride up that london or wherever it is. but never mind

its not busy in the Lethargic Cramped Ruin like it was last year either, but that’s because there isn’t the same wet pants frenzy around the enemy as there was around arctic monkeys so even though its chocked up with 15 year olds there’s a satisfyingly healthy contingent of stoners and boners who look like they might have a fight later, which, coincidentally, they do. even as the wombats tread pedestrianly through their me too english eccentricities there’s loads of space to wander down to the sticky wooden floor. you’d even say it was a bit empty really. the thing about the NME tours is that they don’t turn up the house lights in between the acts, so you’re never quite sure how many people are in and what their demographic is, but in the main, everybody is short tonight, except for the occasional 6 foot 7 20 year old who’s getting lambasted by small groups of carlsberg exports for just being tall which isn’t funny really but they’ve got that pissed-up local turn of phase that I still think is funny even when they’re lobbing a pint of watery lager at your head.

after the adverts for the NME have scrolled around on the projected backdrop about a million times and we’re all wondering what the shock might be about the new radiohead album the lights that there are go dim and there’s a small ripple of enemy, enemy, enemy, after which more projection, but very loud this time, and that cleverly pitched (old idea, new audience) railway station noticeboard rattle begins as it flips through a number of provincial towns until it finally settles on norwich, which elicits a deafening “norwich, har, look, norwich, thass good hint ut” and then today’s date. it’s cringingly basic, but splendid all the same. and then the jam come on stage and do in the city a few times.

if last year was faux shakespearian ponderings from sheffield and reading, then this year is cmon norwich lets see what you’re made of up for it no f**kin abaht from the heart of the empire, erm, coventry. the enemy are quite angry about stuff, mainly inner city decay and provincial apathy and the loss of identity and the hopelessness of youth and slashed seat affairs and travelling on buses etc., but they are wantonly uplifting and undeniably up for it. I’d tell you more about them, but their web site is currently just a black page with nothing on, which is probably appropriate. I mean, they are the jam reincarnate, but without the red wellerism. not sure what else you would need to know. they shouted most of the album and there were nice fights going on between delirious stoners and petrified students in the circle of death. the sound was terrible and it was all over by about 10:30. I watched a programme about sharks and hitler when I got home.

poke the editors

I’ll be out at about 8 but that’s fine so I can do that I’ll be quick ok get ready lets try it you see its the same both times except the three notes at the end so you see where he’s put the fingers on the different strings that’s what you play yes you see you can do it its just a bit different at the end don’t worry its a lesson its not a test I didn’t learn to do it this way I just made it up so that’s why I don’t know where ‘A’ is so you should do it this way there thats right anyway little and often little and often its only been three weeks right? don’t worry. it doesn’t matter. yes, I need to go out now. I’ll just do the washing up

I expect it’ll be better this time because they’ll have got his guitar up in the mix so it’ll sound right and anyway they’ll put on a show with big lights and bits of mdf or something so whatever it’ll be busy anyway so I want to get there soon enough to tailgate some drab couple in matching latitude shirts onto the floor just one pint these shoes aren’t quite right I don’t know why I changed them the other ones were fine no one ever sees your feet that’s what I always say its true why am I wearing these then. why’s the car park so busy must be one of the literary evenings here as well look there’s half of mill hill road trying to work out how the car park barrier works that must be why there’s nowhere to park in this poxy car park oh its alright right back here that’s fine I’ll just have to run at the end.

it’s not that busy I’ll have that space at the bar please no I always have a ten pound note everyone has a ten pound note carlsberg that’ll be it for the night its only half eight who the hell are these sub-arcade fireites all I can hear is “that cello player she’s fit” I haven’t got my glasses on not getting them out now oh that bass player is annoying that song is alright your voice is terrible that’s over. good. so come on then. hurrah. and there they are got more hair of course straight into whatever that song’s called oh straight into another never really sure that’s a good idea and bullets right ok done that now.

silence. little clap. beery leer.

and that’s the strength of it for the next hour I mean they’re good and everything but there’s only so many times you can step up to the monitor and pull that clown face although I like it when you all get mental and swing around like apes but I think you’re just pretending really and what’s with your guitar again I can’t hear it at all this time stupid. “thanks” “yey” “you’ve been very welcoming” in the same way a dentist’s waiting room is welcoming but you’re at the uea what do you expect. “that ricky ross from deacon blue, he really knows how to work a crowd I mean there was no atmosphere” which somebody actually said as we were walking out which made me kind of want to kick her but I was distracted by the fact that she said there was no atmosphere when they sound a bit like joy division. crossed with camel. or something. I won the guess the encore competition I was having with myself in my head. and then I get home and watched the andromeda strain. it just gets rained away. fancy that.

shoot the drummer

van morriso n 1
van morriso n 1 by Tim Caynes

he missed the click track. I didn’t notice, but kelly jones bit his head off and spat it into a bucket. it was all good natured head biting off though and after half way through the set everyone was laughing at the funniness of everything – here we are in the 1500 capacity UEA with the stereophonics, who start a real tour in november in stadiums with 25000 capacities but somehow they took a wrong turn on the way to nottingham or something and ended up here which if fine because you’ll never see them here again and very rarely see them outside of a stadium tour so here we are on a sound system obviously creaking at the seams as local boy in the photograph wails out and 1500 people or shouting back and you’ve never quite heard so much noise after a song here, well, for about 10 seconds, but this is norwich, so of course after that 10 seconds, notwithstanding the fact that this band is huge, there is a period of silence punctuated only by a bemused lead singer walking up to the mic and saying er, yeah, thanks very much, thinking he must have missed 5 minutes of his life somehow, and a couple of stoners in the pit shouting YEEEAH, GOORN THEN, PLAY SUFFUN!

they did play suffun for about an hour and a half and finished up with dakota which made some young girls collapse in front of me. I met up with a couple of friends there who had secured a place on the steps in front of the mixing desk, so they had a nice time. I spent the evening in the pit with my ears bleeding, as usual, so by the end I was stuck to the parquet watching the lights come on as everyone rushed to the car park. when I eventually got back to the megane scenic, someone had left a couple of stereophonics tickets on my windscreen, which I tried to work out all the way home. I was parked as far away as possible and was pretty much back to my car before anyone else in that part of the car park, so they must have been put there either by someone who had left early, or by someone who had found them on the floor near the scenic and thought I must of dropped them and so, like you do with gloves, they put them in the most visible place near to the scene of the find, which happened to be under my windscreen wipers. if the latter was true, 2 people didn’t see the stereophonics, and one of them had probably been beaten up by the other for being so stupid as to just put them in their back pocket so that they fell out when they got their mobile phone out to check for a text they hadn’t got. they missed a good show. I lost some ear cells apparently, as that’s what ringing means, I know that because I watched children of men the next day and when the cafe explodes, clive owen’s ears ring too and someone else tells him that means his ears are dying but I can’t remember who it was that said it probably his old girlfriend.

I’m from barcelona tomorrow night. I mean, that’s who I’m going to see. I’m not going to be from barcelona. obviously. or maybe not.< no, wednesday. what day is it. isn’t the football on then? oh.

bloc party claustrophobia engine

‘its great to be here you’re our most vociferous audience’. that’s not something I would have heard coming from Alex Turner’s curled lips. I mean, he might of said something about it being ‘right mental an that”, but he wouldn’t have stretched into the guardian educational supplement territory of crowd participation in quite the same way as the sweaty stick body of Matt Tong. such was the squall of intellectualism in the air last night as it was sucked into the lungs of 15 year olds with leather handbags and a propensity to text their mates through the second album and mingled with marlboro lights and blown straight back into the vault of the lower claustrophobia room for the rest of us in ingest as we combusted spontaneously with every wave of our arms.

not since the NME tour was there as many first timers squeezed into that space ‘so excited they might just do a little wee’ and as things progressed towards their artsy denouement we were collectively scanning for escape routes as we honestly felt we may not actually survive the next 90 minutes with having our miserable lives crushed out of us and what would mum do she’ll be waiting by the car park. we’d endured something like a support act and we just wanted to get on with it (‘dad, hold my jumper, I’m goon down the front with Mel’) notwithstanding some impressive displays of ‘3 pints in plastic glasses carried above my head through a bunch of students crammed into a sweatbox’ which were hugely entertaining even though I knew they’d be throwing it all over my head in the next 5 minutes as the place erupted into darkness.

and so it was. they said hello. literally just like that. ‘hello’. not ‘hello Norwich!’ or something shouty and incomprehensible, just ‘hello’. they had the temerity to then launch into at least 2 songs from the new album that people pretended to know intimately even though it’s not out yet like those people who do reviews on amazon and say ‘I’ve heard the demo tapes and they were AMAZING’ from their lonely bedroom in Penge and we all stand still for a while waiting for spaces to show up that we can sidle into and take our first breath in about 10 minutes. after that, they do the whole of Silent Alarm backwards and the usual stoners melee to the front trampling young deer in their path who are struggling back to go to the toilet in the corner and we’re all pleasantly entertained by the whole thing. we even clap a bit, which is unheard of around here, and those nice boys on stage tell us what a great crowd we are during the stoney silence between each song, prompting the occasional ear-splitting shrieks for a second or two before we just all stand around in the increasingly large gaps in the floor waiting for them to do that one where they stand next to each other. I mean, it was fine. that album was the best of 2005. but I’m looking at my watch.

they looked like they were enjoying it though. they probably had a a triple word score using Q and J and a nice cup of rooibush after. rock on!

uea nostalgia trip

for those of you currently watching the countdown timer on bloc party tickets on ebay or even watching the countdown timer on countdown, a small distraction in the shape of the gig nostaliafest has been put together by those good people at the uea. while you have 20 minutes to wait to see if cheesehelmet67 has placed an automatic bid on BLOC PARTY TICKETS 2!!! SOLD OUT NORICH UEA!!! that will trump your 80 quid at the last second, head over to the uea box office link and check out 1981. if you roll all those groups together into one uberretronostagliaplagagroup you end up with bloc party anyway. merry christmas!

for those of you like me who already have your bloc party tickets and actually thought you might as well get a feeling ticket as well while you were on the phone (see 17 mar 1982), take a little while to check out the list and after you’ve got past the october 1981 section to remind yourself about that u2 gig you went to where the whole of norwich apparently crammed into the lower common room at the same time based on how many people say they were there then have a browse at the rest of the eighties to remind yourself how rubbish/brilliant it was. I mean, there was only so many times you could go and see the thompson twins or tears for fears, but john martyn, the damned and killing joke in the space of 4 day? genius.

you are allowed to vote for your best of all time from that list, but it will just be for you own amusement.

i say go!team, you say net!beans

truthfulness is next to godliness or something
truthfulness is next to godliness or something by Tim Caynes

having spent the previous evening in the company of a few suzi quattroalikes who were ‘a bit disappointed actually’ with the reincarnation of the early 80s that is editors and passed up the chance to get intimate in the arts centre with gemma hayes and about 200 other guardian readers who knew it was happening only the night before that because 3 nights out in a row for me would probably cause an earthquake or something, I took to the megane scenic in the rain and headed out to that lovliest of lovely venues the uea lower common room with a face on like a slapped arse and half a mind to just not bother because the day hadn’t really gone well with kids off sick and a bunch of other conspiratorial coincidences that pretty much just left me wanting to go to bed but hey, I got this ticket months ago and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and anyway I don’t have to go galavanting about down the front like an old gibbon on acid, I’ll just stand around the edge stroking my chin and tapping my foot like a lecturer who read a review in the independent that said they were the living embodiment of 70s pastiche mangled with a rock-hop sensibility and oozing intelligence and wit or something like that which I just made up

after the usual 2.70 please for the plastic stella I hung around the edge a bit watching half a woman shriek into the microphone while playing a modern bontempi and accompanied by a person I just could not see at all who was presumably banging a drum or something and as I only caught the last two numbers I couldn’t really decide if they were rubbish or not so I kind of just let them off and surveyed the scene as the lights went up to see how we’re doing tonight. ooh. lots of space down there. still, someone will fill it and have nice time, I’m sure. not me though. not tonight. I think I’ve got a headache. mind you, there’s a lot of space down there. it would be churlish of me not to fill it up a bit so that the place doesn’t look quite so empty. nah. I’ll stay here. hmm hm hmm. daa de dum. <tumbleweed> aah, go on then. plop.

no sooner have I drawn an imaginary chalk mark around my feet than another mad collective of people dribble onto the stage and I can tell from the hand-written scrawl on the drum kit that they are in fact the grates and as they launch into the first of a few, we’re struck by the singer who looks like a derenaged liz from blue peter on speed and is bouncing up and down and twirling around like an embarrassing mum after a couple too many guaranga teas at the green party toddler club disco and she is ably supported by something that looks like mo tucker but sounds like john bonham and some other bloke. they do songs I can’t understand and shout a lot but they’re all so bizarre that by the end of it they get the biggest reception that norwich can muster which isn’t a lot but it was more than editors got and so everyone is happy and we all go home. well, not yet. by this time I’ve even taken my trusty replay top off and tied it around my enormous waist in anticipation of some invigorating bouncing around as the whole place is now full and the pit that had breathing space a while ago is now the usual too-close-for-comfort layer of hell that we all know and love except there’s an unheathly number of stoners prowling about tonight so something is bound to kick off.

they never even tuned the lights after the grates, so we’ve been in the dark for a good half hour when mr fatman shines the torch and the place goes mental. it’s only the Go! Team for chissake. don’t you lot go out much? I wasn’t really expecting much but in the end they were a running jumping dancing tripping bundle of bedroom tinkering gone global and all the better for that I say with a suitably cheesy 70s backdrop projection and ninja shaking everyone up in the house the whole thing went off like an entire humungous box of fireworks had gone up by mistake and the sky was filled with swizzle sticks and public information monkeys flying by on magic raleigh choppers during the silver jubilee as a million samplers were blasting out the theme from grandstand mashed up with the flaming lips and salt and peppa and the ghost of chrismas future came down with a brand new super flight deck and a dx50 wrapped up in 3d wallpaper at least that’s how I remember it. they were brilliant. I danced like I’m only allowed out once a month and nobody cared because they were all doing the same and even all the tall people magically disappeared from the crowd so that all the short people could see the stage for once so there was indeed some kind of divine intervention going on and I saw people going back to the car park saying things like ‘aaw, that was amaaaazing’ even though it was pissing down.

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