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Friday, December 10, 2004

LIFE: A LOSER'S MANUAL

Christ… moving house is a bitch.. having forced myself into another 12 x 12 room with enough crap to stock a fairly hefty 2nd hand shop at the less salubrious end of Portobello Road, I’ve realised that I need to adopt a much more Zen approach to my hoarding. So far, it seems to have amounted to selling a bunch of REALLY dodgy early to mid-90s ethno-electronic crap that I don’t even remember buying/blagging (Banco Da Gaia? Where the fuck did THAT come from?) and the fear is that the several hundred quid I’m likely to make out of this particular cull is all going to get blown in Sounds Of The Universe Records anyway…


So, have you missed me? Here are some things that have pleased or bothered me of late, just to keep you all ‘in the loop’…


Of all the people I expected not to be a sell-out motherfucker, top flight heretic Philip Pullman was up there, but he’s apparently happy for some Hollywood fuckwit to expunge any of the deicide elements of His Dark Materials for the movie. So that’s nice…








I managed to catch two of the four Shellac shows at the Scala and although I know I’ve said this before, they CLEARLY are the greatest live spectacle in the world.. turning on a sixpence from incredibly well-crafted bile to daft audience baiting humour is a neat trick, and new track (let’s call it End Of Radio) is shaping up to be the best thing they’ve ever recorded… if I have a problem with Albini (aside from his terrifying resemblance to Sylvester McCoy) it’s his inability to see that his admirably puritan stance is only really sustainable because his income doesn’t derive from Shellac but from his studio. It’s all very well for him to castigate struggling bands for sucking corporate cock and - having seen the maths - he’s right. But it’s less easy to make those kinds of hard decisions when you’re sitting on some music you really want the world to hear (and you can’t pay your rent)…







Nothing to add to the Peel stuff really. Yadda Yadda changed my life, yadda yadda half my record collection, yadda yadda Zane fucking Lowe. Of the myriad Peel tributes I heard at gigs, Shellac’s was the most perfunctory (but also perhaps the most unexpected); Low’s was the most moving and considered and fumbling, and The Flaming Stars’ was the most inspiring. So now you know..

Since everyone has a Peel anecdote, I might as well trundle mine out: a beautiful Thursday evening at Glastonbury in the early 90s, sat on the tailgate of a Radio 1 outside broadcast truck backstage watching the Rockingbirds do a live set for the Mark Radcliffe show. Peel and I shared a few words and some rancid red wine as a man dressed as a fluoro-Snoopy appeared unannounced and started terrorising the band mid-song. Snoopy was eventually revealed as a totally wankered Julian Cope, which certainly flustered Radcliffe and made me and Peel grin a lot. Erm.. that’s it..





Despite all the other chaos in my life, I made it to the Wild Weekend in Benidorm, a 4 day Frat Shack/Club Montepulciano/leopard skin and garage rock bender of biblical proportions. I never thought I’d say this but it was more fun than Glastonbury. 21 hours a day of stupid costumes, insane drinking and Japanese garage bands covering ‘Have Love Will Travel’. At one point, outside The Sunset Bar in the grimmest part of Benidorm, it seemed like the implausible quiffs and pointy boots contingent actually outnumbered the usual Brits heading off for their pie’n’chips at the Pride Of The North Café, where there’s always a warm Wakefield welcome from Dave and Kath.

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen an East End former boxer turned Frank Sinatra impersonator covering Come Fly With Me whilst holding a man dressed as a monkey in a headlock (said monkey previously attempted to remove the ersatz Frank’s trousers halfway through ‘All The Way’). Or dragged a friend – dressed, of course, as a nun, out of a cab by her feet while she screamed badly conjugated Spanish obscenities at some Swiss punks who had committed the grave sin of erm.. calling ahead for a taxi. Men in Easter Island statue heads, dancing girls and Betty Page-esque strippers, a man dressed like a B-movie Satanist, Italian surf bands in propeller beanies, the reformed Monks trying to convince a dwindling crowd that they invented punk. Just an awesome, awesome weekend.

I started pissing myself laughing at Heathrow Airport on the Thursday morning and barely stopped till I got back to Heathrow Airport on Monday evening. And it doesn’t get better than that…

Next year, various rumours are that it’s a) cancelled, b) happening in Australia, c) happening on a proper South Pacific island or d) fuck knows. But if there’s any way I can make it, I’ll be there. In a grass skirt, probably.








posted by dubversion at 1:53 pm

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