Saturday, May 22, 2004


i'm off here. no cars, just donkeys. i've booked my holiday now because with eden and woebot on their hols too, their just doesn't seem to be any point sticking around.

this is my first EVER beach holiday sort of thing, and i need it.

think of me, lying on a Lindos beach reading Violent London and Stewart Home's "69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess"... ahem

see you at Mudhoney when i get back

posted by dubversion at 9:02 am

Friday, May 21, 2004


just watched an hour long compilation of Ustinov's encounters with Parkinson across the seventies - cut together from what seemed to be about six or seven appearances.

what a giant of a man. warm, funny, human, gentle, wise, sharp, witty.. the works. the hour flew by and i could have happily sat there for another 4 (especially spotting George Melly off to one side in one shot - i'd love to have seen all of that show.. )

and while i find watching someone like Ustinov in full raconteur mode really affirming, it also depresses the hell out of me...

... where are our Ustinov's? or even our David Niven's, Peter Cook's, Lauren Bacall's?

nope. we've got Hugh Grant, Jim Carrey and Shane fucking Ritchie.....

posted by dubversion at 11:38 pm

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


i feel like i'm full up, like i can't take anything else in. i haven't been able to finish a book - even a book i'm really enjoying - for a month or so now. i keep finding times when i'm actually NOT listening to music, which is unheard of for me. i don't seem to be able to muster enthusiasm for things that would normally have me jumping. i'm heading to Greece for a week's holiday on Saturday and though i know i'm going to really enjoy it - and god knows, i need it - i'm nowhere near as hyper about it as i should be.

i'd assume that i was just depressed, but i'm always depressed and i know what it feels like and i know what my tablets do for me (and why i'm not ready to give them up quite yet)...

i just feel like i'm 'done', in some way. but that sounds way more bleak that it's meant.

maybe the holiday is what i need...

i think i hoped that when i hit this sort of age my need to absorb new stuff and immerse myself and keep going with it all would have slowed down and i'd just be happy digging out Astral Weeks and Arkology and some old Love & Rockets comics. maybe i wasn't supposed to keep on keeping on... and now i just feel like it's all a bit much. my room? my room is like living in a shop, tottering piles of books and records and videos and comics and just detritus.

i had an odd experience in the pub after TG the other night. i'd been up for a couple of days and was sinking my nth Guinness of the night and i suddenly.... just....... stopped.

like i was full. not like i'd drunk enough for the day. more like i'd drunk enough..


maybe this is where i shave my head and take holy orders or something.

or maybe i just go and have a cup of tea, lean on my balcony watching the South Lambeth estate go by and stop fucking over-analysing everything.

posted by dubversion at 12:55 pm

Monday, May 17, 2004


what a curious experience the Throbbing Gristle 'recording session' at the Astoria proved to be... but i guess it was never going to be anything else.

i'd never actually been heading for the full Camber Sand RE:TG event, so getting a ticket from friends who hadn't been able to shift a place in their chalet was a hell of a bonus.. I'd been out all night and morning, so i was feeling suitably sketchy, although what possessed me to wear a suit on the hottest day of the year so far is unclear.

i'll spare blow-by-blow full review and just dwell on the fact that - phenomenal as some of the music was - i felt like i was present at a marketing opportunity for TG Corp.

Gen - and Coil i guess - have never fought shy of exploiting the obsessiveness of their fans (or do i mean 'providing rare items for the discerning collector'?) but there was something pretty fucking obscene about charging £66 for a signed poster, £20 for a set of 3 enamel badges.....

and - much as the 'recording' was technically free, and a form of apology to people deprived the full RE:TG experience till next year - you couldn't move for steadicams and photographers. 2,000 fans buying commemorative DVDs at probably upwards of £25 a pop? you do the maths...

and, i'm afraid, Gen was an embarrasment throughout. drunk, self-regarding and bloated, he was a hindrance to the music the other 3 were making, rather than its charismatic centre. the problem with laptops is you don't ever know for sure who's contributing what, but the concentration and involvement in what was going on gave the impression that the sound - which was at times absolutely phenomenal - was largely the work of Chris & Cosey. Sleazy could have been filing his tax returns for all I could tell, and for the most part looked bored enough for this to be the case.

and still Gen - having insisted that this wasn't a performance but a recording; that we were going to be ignored as they created some new magic together - played up and stumbled around, looking like nobody so much as Kathy Burke in Gimme Gimme Gimme and reading desperately formulaic lyrics for the new songs off prompt sheets.

all that said, it was an experience, an event i guess. i'm glad i was there - i never thought i'd see TG 'live', never thought i'd hear Hamburger Lady for real. and the sound was, as i've said, often phenomenal (no mean feat given the usually dire acoustics in the Astoria). It made me want to check out more Chris & Cosey stuff. but it also made me suspect that - while Gen is I guess on some version of the same journey he's always been on - it's looking a little sad and desperate somehow.....

posted by dubversion at 12:42 pm


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all that to get me to look at a porn site..... spam's a curious thing.....

posted by dubversion at 11:41 am

Friday, May 14, 2004

Offline At The Ritzy

headlined at the Ritzy again.. i'm sure i should give this much more thought than i do, but having decided they're not a roots rock reggae crowd, i just kind of cherry pick whatever's at the front of my brain and play that.. YOU find a theme:

the new york ska jazz ensemble - Tetris Theme

Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra - Jackson

Scott Walker - Jackie

Count Five - Psychotic Reaction

Sly & The Family Stone - Running Away

Fleetwood Mac - Green Manalishi

Flaming Groovies - Shake Some Action

Earl Grant - House Of Bamboo

Alien Fashion Show - Detroit Swing City

Paul Williams - Closing Theme From Bugsy Malone

Betty Wright - Clean Up Woman

Cliff Nobles - The Horse

Iggy Pop - I'm Bored

Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs - Little Red Riding Hood

Jacques Dutronc - L'Irresponsible

Lee Dorsey - Working In A Coal Mine

The Shirelles - Mama Said

Them - Baby Please Don't Go

Question Mark & The Mysterians - 96 tears

Southern Culture On The Skids - Camel Walk

posted by dubversion at 12:36 am

Thursday, May 13, 2004

for reasons that are too complex, yet at the same time too mundane to go into, about half my life ago i lived in Italy. Think as far south as you can go - Napoli maybe - then think further south still. Into darkest Calabria. That's where i fetched up.. 6 or 8 months (it's symptomatic of the state I was in that i can't be any more precise)....

anyway. i'm in this village, and i might as well be a million miles from home. i'd been expelled. literally and from everything - from my family home, from my school, from polite society. i recall sleeping in some public toilets - i assume I did this as a minty-stale stick to beat my parents with rather than out of dire necessity, but like with most of this i'm not ENTIRELY sure..

so anyway..... i spend six months or more in this alien, Catholic land where you realise the guys in the dark suits showing up for chapel really ARE what you daren't fantasise they were. and your world goes mad.

if i read some of the stories of that period, not only do they feel like they happened to somebody else, they seem barely credible.. chased out of the village by the local priest - you on a moped, him crammed into some comedy fucking Fiat bubble car... having to meet for romantic midnight trysts on beaches that now you couldn't find with a map... the meeting where the village voted one way or another if they should drive you away (for defiling their virgins, something that hadn't even occured to me until they suggested it)..

anyway, six months of that and you fucking GROW... some people's journey into adulthood is like a slow gentle coastal shelf, as you paddle out slowly and get to acclimatise yourself as the water creeps slowly up your shelf.. whereas i felt like some kid in a backwoods pioneer Western, Kris Kristofferson dropping me in the deep end and laughing in a hoarse, bearded way as i struggled for air....

so i move back to England, broken. really really fucking broken. like something out of some Quatermass, pod related nonsense. where i've transformed overnight and everybody else has stayed the same...

and i'm in a car, with my mother.... it's hot for Dorset, a clammy sort of mid-summer day. i go into a local, little sub post office. queue up, mail some postcards and parcels back to Italy, back to this place that by now i've turned into all my Christmases and birthdays at once... and then i leave the Post Office. and something - the layout of the store, the position of the door, i really couldn't say.. i walk out into the blazing sunshine of Palizzi Marina... into the square that i'd spent months promenading round. dogs at my feet, the intense heat and dust, a sense of being back where i belonged. i can taste the citrus on the air ('the fruit tree gallowing above my path' as some dreadful sixth form poem had it) and the dust and the dry close rush of it. and then a kind of shit-brown Morris Marina ruins the scene, intrudes into the idyll.. my mother, hurrying along. and i'm back.. back in a shitty little part of shitty little Dorset, a sad sack leaving a Post Office which i've just burdened with some desperately gauche, desperately embarassing letters full of poetry and lies..

that's what happened. i'm about the least mystical, least 'other' person you could hope to meet.. but i fucking TRAVELLED.. i was there.. i know where my edges are and i know where the drugs kick in but that was real and hard and the wrench of returning made me curl up like a little baby and weep for all the me's that i'd happened upon in some one-dog village on the edge of the world...

posted by dubversion at 11:49 pm

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


why can i statement like that cause so much shit to rain down on me? why is it so fucking heretical?

is it really SO implausible that i can love reggae as much as I do without pledging my allegiance to Bob? really?

it's an over-rehearsed argument, but in brief (and with generalisations aplenty):

I don't much care for Bob's voice. i find it pretty unexpressive and uninspiring.

the later (Island period) stuff i find neutered and often very glib

the earlier stuff is better because it's more raw (Mr Brown, Crazy Baldheads etc in their original form were pretty good) but better than Burning Spear? Yabby You? I really don't see it.

for me it comes down to marketability and ambition and packaging and accessibility and iconography. he did well in reaching out (or being sold to) a variety of markets, but i don't buy the idea that he took reggae to people who didn't like reggae. he took BOB MARLEY to people who don't like reggae (for the most part). find people who've got a copy of Legend and see how many more reggae albums they have.

and - like Nirvana a decade later - Marley's success prompted an undignified scramble for the next Marley. There's some great stuff on Virgin Frontline and Island but for the most part they were trying to recreate not innovate. and when Marley died, most people figured reggae died with him and found it easy to ignore what came next.

i'm not sure where i'm going with this to be honest, but i do really resent the reaction i get when i say that i find him deeply overrated and pretty limited. And it's not some teenage rejection based on his success - as unlikely as it is that Big Youth would have ever crossed over that way, wouldn't it have been great to see his face on flags waved by Eurostoners at festivals?

was he a prophet? was he fuck.... it's not his fault but he's just a posterboy for stoners and hippies. file next to Jim Morrison and James Dean....

posted by dubversion at 8:56 pm


sir coxsone has passed, aged 71.

posted by dubversion at 8:15 am

Saturday, May 01, 2004


i'll be honest - this is kind of old news and the main reason i'm blogging this is so i always know where to find it, but this is the 'rap' that Clive Wolfendale delivered to the inaugural meeting of the North Wales Black Police Association.

"I'm just a white boy called the Deputy CC / They said I'd never make it as a bitchin' MC / You got it all wrong, cos now here I am / Giving it for real in the North Wales BPA jam
They call me Roxy, or Ms Dynamo on stage / Unlike my brother here, I never look my age / I'm goin' to spill it all about the boys in blue / Show you what it's like within the not-so-solid crew

So listen! Watch a doin' here today / Checkin' what the Heddlu Gogledd Cymru gotta say / Put away your cameras and your note pads for a spell / I got a story that I really need to tell

Bein' in the dibble is no cakewalk when you're black / If you don't get fitted, then you'll prob'ly get the sack / You're better chillin', lie down and just be passive / No place for us just yet in the Colwyn Bay Massive

The Beeb Man stuffed us with the Secret Policeman / It's no good moanin' cos' he found the Ku Klux Klan / Job ain't what it used to be; it's full of blacks and gays / It was just us white homies in the really good ole' days

So what we bothrin' with this stinkin' institution / No love, no heart, no sense, no proper constitution / No-one loves the coppers cos' we're rotten to the core / Cross between the devil and a governmental whore

What is the purpose of a black association? / It's just another stupid race relations job creation / We got our meetings and our various sub-committees / Packed with some do-gooders and a lot more Walter Mittys

Forget all of that bulls**t an' I'll tell u why we're here / Things are sometimes better than they usually appear / The New World Order means the streets are gettin' hot /Trust in one another is really all we got

The BPA is sayin' that we're all in the same boat / Black or white in blue, we're all wearin' the same coat / If this don't happen then the lot of us are screwed / Caught up in the mis'ry of the international feud

So Roger, Nick and Larbi will you give us one more chance / Danny and Silvana, I'd really like to dance / To Essi and to Imdad I want to give a hand / Let's hear it for Ms Dynamo and all her backin' band

There's no time for jam tomorrow, we need the jam today / That's why we launchin' our association in this way / Thank you all for coming and remember what we say / Support your local sheriff and the North Wales BPA. "

as you were.

posted by dubversion at 10:44 am

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