Friday, 14 January 2011
This last few months have been hard what with the government cut-backs and some great music which as you know easily distracts me. Right now, it's the first Best Coast album which is a funny place to start I suppose. I first heard this band back in April last year and they blew me away but then I saw them live and realised they were just a great old-fashioned indie band (what better way to do indie??) in the vein of a pretty stoned Ramones but with girls. Their debut album is great and amongst my favourite of last year - don't ask me what is yet I'm still deciding, maybe by the end of this 2011 I'll have worked it out. There's loads out there that's all I know - Neil Young, Brian Wilson does Gershwin, Beach House, Gaslight Anthemn, where shall I stop.. now, I think, that'll do.
Anyway, what about all this shit the tory coalition are putting us through? All I know is they are fucking with the wrong people this time. A banker who took his company to the point where they have to be taken into part-government control gets a great big bonus and I've still freezing my nuts off after working all the hours I can as it's warmer in the shop than it is in my flat because my housing benefit is currently suspended whilst they re-evaluate my claim... where is the justice!?!? There ain't any... the solution? Bring this bunch of smug c***s down now (I hate using that word and promise it will be the only word I ever censor) is the only solution. Bring this whole system down. There's nothing left to do. Get you and all your friends together and make sure they attend any protests that you can get to... I know I'll try. The warmth of the burning banks should keep me warmer that working at my shop.
Monday, 20 September 2010
Had a feeling it was creeping up on us now-ish and was right. Brighton Live is back, but is it going to be any good and are there any bands worth trekking out to see? I had a spare hour this morning so went through and listened to anything that sounded interesting. Here’s what I came up with…
Wednesday (6th October) gets us off to a nice sedate, folky kind of start with:
- Creaking Chair who play a kind of introspective Nick Drake type folk but with electric sound and Glen Belt who are a trifle unoriginal but their neo-folk indie pop songs sound like good fun play and it’s all at the Bee’s Mouth on Wednesday night
- Tallulah May plays interesting blues/folk inspired tunes and does it really well and is playing at the Ali-Cats on Wednesday and Friday
Thursday (7th October) looks kind of easy as the only thing I could find was:
- The Perils who are a pretty damn fine indie/rock band and can be caught at the Brunswick on Thursday
Friday (8th October) looks like a mad rush around town or a bit of decision-making as:
- Hollywood Assassins are a girl-fronted rock’n’roll band who seem pretty real and play at the Hydrant on Friday
- Man Ray Sky are just sublime (see that kind of rhymes so maybe I can be a poet?!?) and you should definitely go check them out at The Brunswick on Friday
- Ramona are a great girl-fronted indie-pop outfit who are, seemingly, destined for big things and play the VIP event at the start of the fest and also for us non-VIPs at the Latest Music Bar on Friday.
- The Robot Heart are sublime, folk-pop who are appearing at the BBC stage at the Prince Albert on Friday. Go and hear their debut EP Dust and then go see them!
- The Valentines are top indie-pop types who are fresh from supporting The Libertines so get along to the Prince Albert on Friday if you like the sound of them
Monsters Build Mean Robots are a pretty great post-rock band with slight pop tendencies and they should be seen somewhere if the promoters have the brains to take them off the ‘reserve list’!
Monday, 19 July 2010
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
This Ain’t Perfect
Jack had never realised that his life, or any life, could be as pointless as his had seemed to become since he’d moved to his apparent dream home. Only four months ago he saw himself moving up in the world, at last a decent flat… with a sea view too he had thought to himself but since then he had been so overcome with joy and general happiness that life just seem to be this thing that was passing him by.
Everyday would be different but it still offered no fun or excitement, it was the same old routine just shuffled round so his increasingly erratic working hours could be fit in. He would sit at home and watch television or listen to music or read whilst smoking cigarettes or pot and when time came to go to work he would shuffle off and assume his position as till monkey in the worst of shops. Did I really waste eight years at university for this? would be a regular question he had asked himself whilst counting down the minutes until he could get out of there again and return home.
In his life Jack had enjoyed a drink or two, which at least got him talking to, and interacting with some vaguely interesting people but now he’d decided to cut down on that too. He would occasionally bring home a bottle of wine from work, always cheap but rarely nasty, and nurse that along with his other recreational activities for a few days. If he went out now it was more than likely to go to a coffee bar but even that was stretching his finances as even coffee was getting too expensive. He rarely talked with new people but that didn’t really bother him that much as he had a pretty small but pretty tight little group of friends dotted around town. This town! He’d only moved here a few years previously from the big smoke and it had seemed idyllic, a place of heavenly delights after the depravity and violence of London. He secured a tiny little room in the centre of town but it was way too small for him and all his belongings. He had a lot of them… records, books, the usual kind of thing for someone of his age. After nearly two years of being driven to the edge of insanity he managed to escape to his new dream home.
It was truly a thing of beauty. Everyday he would spend hours just sitting by his living room window and staring out at his view. If the soundtrack was the Beach Boys then it generally meant he was living out his summer dreams whilst smoking pot. He’d be looking at the sea and spotting the occasional odd sight on the beach or in the sea or, usually at night, in the sky above. What they were Jack knew but it always made him think how exciting it would be if they were aliens coming to visit the crappy little planet from some place far a field. If those weird little lights in the sky at night where indeed alien of origin they probably were wise to avoid our strange little planet.
It was always that view that Jack was always the most excited about whenever he was on his way home. He’d only been homesick twice ever and the second time was after only a couple of months of living with that view. The first time had been during a school trip to Devon when he was about eleven after one of his many near-death experiences he’d had through his life. This time he’d gone flying over the edge of a hedge and fallen into the path of a fast-approaching car that’d subsequently had to slam on the brakes to stop the collision.
Jack had always been a little accident prone and when, after two years looking for a job after completing his postgraduate studies, he feel into the retail sector as a lowly customer services assistant it felt like life had thrown Jack another little accident to deal with. In the time he’d been there, over eighteen months, he’d seen people come and go but hadn’t really made any friends, a few people he could chat with about shit but no one important. He had no idea where all these people went but he considered them all lucky to have escaped. He’d continued applying for jobs around town but it was getting to the point where he’d pretty much given up any hope of moving on. He was too old and he’d been out of the work he wanted, and thought he deserved after all that time at university, for too long for him to expect another chance to just walk into a nice, routine job where his weekends coincided with the rest of humanity and the nights were his own. Maybe then he could go back out and start enjoying his life again but for the moment…
There was no way out. This was all there was for him in this town. That view and that job. There was no way out and if he ever thought about it he would have to wave the flag of surrender and move back to London again which was something he had vowed never to do when he’d escaped there the last time. He couldn’t live without that view. He could put up with the rickety floorboards and his neighbour’s fondness for old Elton John records just for that view. It looked right out onto the beach with the pier, the grand old pier, in the immediate distance. An idyllic setting for a great life that was never going to be but at least it had that view.
Friday, 25 June 2010
I do have to ask the question though, when did music become such an industry? As a music fan I consider myself lucky to have discovered music that speaks to me and suits who I am. Why do we need people to tell us who we should like when we have so much media through which we can discover music by ourselves? Surely in this day and age we can be rely upon our own ears to tell us what we like.
The industry is dying and for that I am more grateful and relieved. Seeing how the plugging business works first hand was a terrifying spectacle – bands forming under force pretences and pretending to be something that they are not, old stars who still battle the demons of their past whilst couch-surfing their way around life, making sure that above all else the journalists and the ‘taste makers’ get whatever it is they want as long as they cover our new hot band.
So all I can say is long live music but lets bring an end to this horrid industry once and for all!
Thursday, 17 June 2010
I was born and grew up in London and didn’t leave, bar the odd holiday (they we’re generally odd as well and I’ll tell you more about them some other time), until I completed a part-time degree in Humanities from Birkbeck College in 2005. As a direct result of me gaining a 2.1 I got the opportunity to go and do a Masters degree in literature, of the American kind, in a small village ‘up norf’, Keele, just outside of the sprawling mass that is Stoke-on-Trent. I completed that too but didn’t have enough money to continue onto a PhD so moved back to London. Either I had changed or the city in which I grew up in had and it only took about six months for me to realise I had to escape. Where better, a friend suggested to me, than Brighton. It’s like London but it’s by the sea that is obviously lovely… I now live in a flat that overlooks the beach and trust me getting to look at that sea everyday can do wonders for anyone.
Think that’s enough about me for now so all that’s left to say is ‘hi, welcome to my world… enjoy yr visit!’ Here’s one of my favourite short stories what I wrote myself, it’s called
The End of History in New York.
New York City has always been an incredible city, even having been born in London, it struck me as the ultimate modernist citadel of sin, excitement, sleaze, booze and drugs and all the other things I so craved for in my old hometown. I’d been there once before with the family but this time I was going all by myself and wow did I have a trip planned. I knew which bars I wanted to get drunk in, what gigs I wanted to go and see and all those other touristy delights the city has to offer.
This one morning, I’d had a particularly over-indulgent night before, I discovered the best hangover cure the world can know. The night had ended with me staggering down 9th Avenue in a drunken stupor back to my hotel in Chelsea, en route spotting various mental Jacko fans stalking the concrete outside Madison Square Gardens awaiting the gig the next night… ‘Only another twenty hours to go you sad little freaks’ I thought to myself. I feel asleep easy that night.
So the next morning I wake up and can’t face the idea of breakfast and immediately realize the only option is to get some fresh air as soon as possible. Walking out of the hotel and into the street the cool breeze hit me and I could almost feel it cleansing me as I walked off up the street into the breeze having no idea where I was going or what I was going to do. All I knew was the breeze was great and if it carried on like this I would soon be feeling well enough for some breakfast, even though it was now rapidly approaching lunchtime.
As I carried on walking, my eyes gravitated upwards, as all tourists’ eyes inevitably do in New York and before me stood the imposing spectre of the Empire State Building… ‘Wow, now that is some sight… I wonder…’ I thought, gazing at its immensity.
Before I knew it I was in the front door and all my mind could keep thinking was ‘…what a great idea… I’ve got to do this!’
After paying the admission I was in the escalator, the biggest I had ever seen in my life, hurtling towards the summit. When we got to the top floor we, unlike anywhere else in Manhattan, orderly shuffled out the lift and onto the viewing tower. You could see just about the entire city – uptown, downtown, the outer boroughs – and it was, frankly, N astonishing sight. One of the highlights however was at the end of the Manhattan island, the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. They somehow were even higher than where we were stood.
After wandering around the deck for about half-an-hour I was feeling great and decided I could, finally, go get some breakfast and a big vat of coffee and then hit some shops. I had a list of books and records as long as my arm that I needed to look for. From up there even this great city looked kind of small but at least it gave me the chance to see all of it and marvel in its uniqueness. We were so high it was almost impossible to see the pavement all those hundreds of feet below and as for other human life it was only visible in the offices that could be viewed from the platform. It was a strange experience; life so far up seemed almost impossible.
It wasn’t long before I’d taken the shortcut to happiness and found myself cuddling up to a beer in a bar listening to Charlie Parker on a jukebox munching down a massive fajita from a local take-out. After a couple of hours soaking up the mild lunchtime buzz of a midtown dive I got out and was back on the pavement, this time heading downtown and into the notorious Lower East Side area, towards St Marks Square.
Here I found a tiny little record and bookstore where I went a little crazy. This one band, called Mars and from NY in the late seventies, who I’d been searching for anything by for a number of years had their one CD there and that kind of sent me over the edge into a consumerist binge of epic proportions. After spending far too much money, meaning I could only afford a quick take-out meal for dinner that night, it was back off to the hotel to drop off my recently purchased goodies. On the way back it rained, the streets took on a clean sheen, feeling the grime being washed away. It was just like Travis’ dream comes true, the streets of the city were clean but the people were moaning and running for shelter or hiking up their umbrellas and getting on with their day. Coming from London I was used to rain and this little bit didn’t bother me, in all honesty it helped freshen me up. I almost thought I’d not need to shower that night before hitting the town after this lovely little downpour. I did, don’t worry.
That night I went back out, down to the East Village this time, and into this little bar I’d heard so much about. It was a great night and I hooked up with this great looking girl called Helen and we went back to her flat and had wild passionate sex until she had to go to her job the next morning.
She went off to her cleaning job at the twin towers at six am. I left with her and went back to my hotel and slept. The date was 11th September 2001...