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It's come to my attention that over the last 5 years, i've been a soft touch. Hey, you could expand that over 28 years really.

Anyway, a few of you have had the following for quite some time, and i'd really like it back now. So, here goes

bengraham  Can we arrange a time so that I may get the Twin Peaks DVD back? Obviously i still owe for a Gaslight Anthem ticket.

kiss_me_quick Lizzy, may I pick up Kenneth Williams' diary at some point? (and also take a super-duper look at your new flat?)

brain_opera  Seaneen, i've not seen you in an ice age, which is wrong and should be corrected. And as much as it sounds like I only want to see you to get my shit back', this couldn't be more wrong cos i've not seen you properly for ages. That still doesn't sound good does it? Ok, i'll do my Geldof impression. Just give me my fucking stuff! I'll give you a cup of tea at least.

Failure to give me back my stuff, will result in a conservative government for the next 20 years. You have been warned.

I might have been quite drunk when I wrote this, so please excuse grammar and spelling.

The Triffids, Barbican Centre

 Up to a few weeks ago, I had never heard of the Triffids. I was at the Koko awaiting Wild Beasts when my friend Neal started talking about upcoming gigs he was going to.  He explained that they were now a defunct Australian band, largely ignored commercially (though 'Wide Open Road' was a UK Top 30 hit, but only reached No. 64 or something in Oz) but were critically acclaimed. Their singer-songwriter, David McComb had died in 1999 following heroin and drink abuse, plus complications after a successful heart transplant. Guest vocalists and musicians would be there, including Stuart Staples from Tindersticks, Mick Harvey, Bad Seed Warren Ellis, Dev Hynes (Lightspeed Champion) and a host of Aussie singers who were friends and contemporaries of the band.
Intrigued, I went home and looked up their videos on youtube and downloaded a couple of albums, including their so called masterpiece 'Born Sandy Devotional'. Liking what I heard, I bought a ticket and have listened to little but The Triffids before seeing them last night.
Dev Hynes kicked the evening off, playing a couple of early McComb songs solo acoustically before MC for the night, former Triffids manager Stephen Miller introduces each member of the band onto the stage. The evening is a celebration of David McComb's work, not just with the Triffids but with the Black Eyed Susans but also his solo stuff. They've previously played a few shows in Belgium and Sydney, but I think this was their first UK show since McComb's untimely death, aged only 36.
It's an emotional evening, drummer Alsy McDonald's voice cracks as he addresses the audience, wishing that it was David talking rather than himself. Slide guitarist 'Evil' Graham Lee sings a few songs before the guest vocalists come on. I can't recall all of them, but Robert Snarski of the Black Eyed Susans sings a few numbers before David's brother and Triffids member Robert McComb shows us a few slides from their childhood and early band days. It sounds rather tedious but in fact it's rather lovely seeing one brother pay tribute to another, showing how even at an early age, David was always writing (he reads out one of David's early poems) and despite his apparent dislike for watersports, David was a keen surfer in his youth. 
The slideshow over, The Black Eyed Susans play a short set of 4 or 5 songs, before more Australian guests come on to sing Triffids songs including 'Bury Me Deep In Love' (used in Neighbours at Harold & Madge's wedding), 'Red Pony', 'Jerdacuttup Man' and 'The Seabirds'. Alas, my memory escapes me, and I can't recall the individual guest vocalists. Dev Hynes, comes back and sings a few more before Stuart Staples comes on to sing 'Wide Open Road'. Now, much as I like his voice, I don't think it's suited to this song. It lacks the strength and power, but more unfortunate is that clearly Staples hasn't learnt it properly, forgetting when to come in and stumbling his lines. It's quite an achievement really, because it's a very simple song (that's part of the appeal- it's simply beautiful). He comes back to sing another, without any problems, and it's the only blemish on a wonderful evening. Jillian Birt sings 'Tender Is The Night', and brings the 3 hour, 30+ song night to a close. In addition, Domino Records have released a 10 disc box set, including early unreleased material, rare works released only on tapes and two live shows.

John Cale, Royal Festival Hall 5th March

Can finally sit down now and recall what I saw over a week ago at the RFH. Wish I had done this sooner, cos I can't recall anything other than it being absolutely brilliant.

The last time i'd seen Cale live was about 5 years ago touring Black Acetate at the Highbury Garage, quite a stark contrast to the opulent surroundings of the Royal Festival Hall, which suits Cale perfectly. Paris 1919 is arguably his finest solo work, and definitely the most accessible, littered with literary, historical and geographical references
His band, along with the Heritage Orchestra (plus conductor) take the stage and then the man himself bounds up to the mike, dressed in black and looking not unlike an elder Timelord and says cheerily, 'Hiya London, nice to see you'. Facing the audience, and stood as he would be all night at his keyboard, he informs us how the evening will pan out. Paris 1919 in full, followed by a brief intermission, and then Cale returning with his band for a few more numbers.
The setting is perfect, the sound impeccable,  as Cale runs through each song. Only MacBeth,. tonight tacked onto the end of the set, lacks the depth and strength of the original; the glam-like guitars obviously reduced in favour of the strings. It is a minor quibble however, and following the conclusion Cale informs the audience that they're taking a short break and will be right back.
He's not joking either, and quite a few of the audience are caught out. I'm sat at the top (cheap seats) and the bars on this level aren't serving, forcing anyone who needs a top up to queue at the main bar. He's back on stage with band within 10 minutes, and the couple next to me, miss Amsterdam and the quite brilliant medley of Femme Fetale/Rosegarden Funeral of Sores with spooky electronic drum beat. We're treated to one of the greatest covers of all time in Heartbreak Hotel before he growls his way through Fear Is A Man's Best Friend.
The Orchestra returns for two more numbers, and i'm absolutely delighted he plays Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. I would exploded with joy if he played Thoughtless Kind, so it's probably fortunate for the cleaners at the RFH that he doesn't. Instead he finishes with Hedda Gabbler and a raucous version of Dirty Ass Rock 'n' Roll before departing to a lengthy standing ovation. "I hope you had as much fun as we did", he says before leaving the stage. Too damn right.

"Child's Christmas in Wales"
"Hanky Panky Nohow"
"The Endless Plain of Fortune"
"Paris 1919"
"Graham Greene"
"Half Past France"
"Antarctica Starts Here"
"Femme Fatale/Rosegarden Funeral of Sores"
"Fear Is A Man's Best Friend"
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"
"Hedda Gabbler"
"Dirty Ass Rock 'n' Roll"


He, Jonathan

I  want to give Jonathan Richman such a big hug after watching this clip of him being interviewed by Tony Wilson. What a sweet man.

I believe they are referring to William Blake's 'The Lamb'

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

And here's 'Hospital' by the Modern Lovers, set to some skydivers. Nice.


Designed to make your vision clear

Good lord, another post. Only what? Eight days since the last one? With these boring, pointless updates I am really spoiling you.
I am at work, still in silence as the music ban is seemingly permanent. More atmosphere at a morgue, I tell you. As a protest, I'm going on strike, which actually is very similar to any other day. Going to be busy clearing out a basement for the rest of the week, all fun and games in records management. We get mistaken for porters round here.

Erm, so last Tuesday I met up with shewasminetoo and me pal Sally to see the wonderful British Sea Power at the Scala. These New Puritans were the band on just before, and we caught their short set. They started with 'We Want War' which is definitely one of my singles of the year. They had the Scala shaking from the drumbeats. I'd post the video, but I don't think these old PCs can handle it. Still not sure what to make of the rest of the album, and likewise as a live act they didn't bowl me over completely. Musically, very interesting or 'weird' as Sally put it, but couldn't really hear the vocals from the rat-like singer.
BSP came on, and were a lot of fun. I can't recall what Yan was wearing but it seemed quite odd from what I recall. Noble is now sporting a beard and Wood still looks about 12. They played a few new tracks, none of which I can remember now, and at the time I couldn't really hear the vocals. Perhaps my hearing is just bad. Personally, they played perhaps a few too many of 'Do You Like Rock Music', and not enough from 'The Decline Of', though seeing as that is in my Top 10 favourite albums ever, I am a little biased. Don't believe they played anything from 'Open Season' and I think they played 'Childhood Memories' as well as 'Spirit of St. Louis'. The usual antics unfolded, Noble climbed up speakers onto the balcony, Bill the drunk Scot danced at the front and spilt wine everywhere, the band crowd surfed and Yan appeared quite drunk. 'Does anyone here like dogging?' he asked at one point. So, despite them being always the same, they are always brilliant. Perhaps too many Hamilton songs though.

Not a lot else done. I continue to transcribe 16th century documents as part of my Paleography module, and have been a little behind in that. I went to East Finchley for Greg's b'day drinks and despite saying I was only going to have a couple and go home, I stayed till gone 11 i think. Nice times though. Managed to jog a bit on Sunday afternoon, down Lower Clapton, by Hackney Marshes and back, and don't feel too achey so hopefully I can continue that at least once a week.
Keeping my fingers crossed that I can go to Wembley next month to catch the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final. The thrill of it all, Southampton v Carlisle United. My father being a Saints fan is trying his best, and as he's retiring in a few weeks, I have offered to pay for the tickets myself, fool.

Right, that's enough fake working for now.

"We made history, not money"

God damnit. My manager has banned music from the office, so no more enjoying Spotify for me. 15 months here and he suddenly decides it distracts him. Bah. Any excuse to divert attention away from the fact that he doesn't exactly plough through his work and just lets it build up. He'll be banning wanking in the office next. Typical.

Aside from all that, I have a slight cold which isn't good. Not helped by watching football matches on Hackney Marshes yesterday morning and freezing to death. Always a sight though to see people take sport very seriously at whatever level. Who would be a referee?

Finished reading Diamonds are Forever last week, and started Tropic of Cancer (unlike Jerry Seinfeld, I plan to return the library book*). Tomorrow I see These New Puritans and British Sea Power which will be awesome, so long as they each play a decent full set. However as there are 2 other bands playing, I guess time may be limited somewhat.

I'm quite enjoying doing Paleography. It's a real challenge and sometimes when confronted by a 16th century document, my reaction tends to be 'no fucking way can i read that' but with a few letters quite clear, things get a bit more easy (if only the punctuation did too). I get the same sort of joy as I guess commuters do with their sudoku and other word games.

Other than watching football on the marshes yesterday, I attempted to go jogging again which ended in failure as I lost both my limbs. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pub watching Brum v Wolves (laughing at an excitable Birmingham fan who had gone to the toilet and missed their equaliser, blaming the whole incident on his spouse. Rather reminded me of my father). Chelsea v Arsenal was a foregone conclusion, I said it would end 4-0 to Chelsea and having gone 2-0 up rather quickly I was thinking that maybe I should start gambling. Fortunately, no more goals scored. However, seeing Arsene Wenger getting upset, is one of the funnier things in football. I like Arsene, don't get me wrong, but his expressions of frustration are rather brilliant. He didn't do the 'crouch down cos i think i'm going to be sick' pose though.

I hadn't planned on watching the Superbowl, and then kept changing my mind. At first I was going to catch just the first quarter, then it was 'ok just watch the Who and then bed', but I ended up watching the whole thing, and good job too. Very tight first half. The Who flattered to deceive. Daltrey's voice seemed pretty weak, and he's lost use of his legs and aside from the impressive stage lights there wasn't much to rage about. Certainly no Springsteen or Prince. The crowd didn't seem too  taken either, perhaps the mics were turned down. Certainly the band seemed pretty isolated. Final two quarters were very exciting, the Saints coming back and sneaking the lead, big decisions, interception and winning TD, all enthralling entertainment. The BBC seem to be on a solid streak of exciting Superbowls. Well done the Beeb.

What else have I done? I applied for a job at Croydon Borough Council within the Arts and Culture bit. Would mean moving saaarf, but I could probably find somewhere opulent to live down there for £50 a week, eh?
I watched The 39 Steps (Hitchcock version) that my parents had given me for Christmas. We saw the more comical stage adaptation last year, which was rather good. I listened to the latest Midlake album which is very nice and folksy. Very good lazy Sunday morning hangover fare, I fancy. Bought the latest These New Puritans album which I have to listen to again and again and the Tindersticks' new one, which, in a surprise move, is a party anthem album. Goodness.

* No one will get that will they? 'The Library' is one of the best early-ish Seinfeld episodes. Phillip Baker Hall is brilliant as the library detective, Mr. Bookman.

Stick Up For Yourself Son

Phew, nearly all over work wise this year. Just tomorrow to go and then weather permitting back to the Shire till the 28th. This year has been pretty shit so just looking forward to relaxing with free drink and good food for the next week, and welcoming 2010 with open arms.

Had a good week. Avoided a James Bond themed party at our house and attended Soul Mole which was far more entertaining and needless to say much better music. I tip my hat to Ed for playing Jonathan Richman's 'I Was Dancing at a Lesbian Bar', a song so brilliant infectious that i've had in my head most of the week. Well, when i've not been listening to Klaus Nomi or Depeche Mode anyway.

Saw the Mode at 02 on Tuesday, courtesy of my friend Sally's excellent drunken ebay skills in procuring a pair of tickets last month. She's been a fan much longer than me. Depeche Mode are one of those bands, like The Cure that I like without really checking them out properly and listening to their output. Fortunately, thanks to the brilliance of Spotify I was able to compile a playlist of recent DM sets and prepare properly. About 50% of the set was devoted to songs from 'Sounds of the Universe', which whilst not perhaps their strongest album is still very listenable. There were quite a few songs i'd have loved to have heard that were overlooked but I can't complain really. 'It's No Good', 'A Question of Time', 'Behind the Wheel' all top quality. We were sat rather high up, and it took until 'Enjoy the Silence' to get anyone other than us two off their backsides and dancing. Highlight for me I think was Martin Gore's beautiful rendition of 'Home'. Course we all did the mass arm wave during 'Never Let Me Down'. Fun fun fun.
The next day they announced a concert at the Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust, but at £73 a pop, I think i'm going to avoid that and try my luck with ebay for the re-scheduled 02 date in February.

Last night was another great event. Spiritualized at the Barbican Centre playing 'Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space' with choir, string orchestra and horn section. Absolutely magical. I still remember buying that album in 1997, choosing it over 'Ok Computer' at Andy's Records in Skegness (may have been Our Price). I hadn't heard of Spiritualized but based on the NME review, which I think was 9 and one-eighth out of 10, and the stuff I read about the brilliant Farrow Design packaging I bought the cd. Subsequently, I saw them at Rock City, Nottingham with my brother. Up to last year, I hadn't seen Spiritualized again. Their output seems forever in the shadow of that album, one of the finest of the 90s. They've recorded some good stuff in between, but nothing is going to top that, and 'Songs In A & E' was pretty disappointing. However, there may be new output in 2010.
The show was, as expected, breathtaking. 'Electricity' and 'Broken Heart' stood out, and after finishing the main set, they returned for 'Out of Sight' and a glorious rendition of 'Silent Night'. Jason Pierce doesn't seem to age and he's just like Stephen Malkmus in that respect. Malkmus & The Jicks were awesome last week. Great banter ("Box Elder? You'll have to wait a little longer for that one. And pay a lot more money...")and just tremendous fun all round.

Right now i'm listening to 'Odd Blood', the second album by the utterly fantastic Yeasayer. I'll have to give it a listen again right now but seems a little more trippy, more dancey than their debut. Certainly when I saw them support Bat for Lashes, the new stuff seemed more psychedelic. I should try and get a ticket for their show at Heaven, but have other priorities. Plus I bought four tickets for British Sea Power (still less than 1 Depeche Mode ticket at the RAH) earlier this week so can't really afford it.

Right, one more listen to the Yeasayer album, room tidy and then 'True Stories'.

2010 can't wait. Pavement, Magnetic Fields album, Spiritualized (possibly), David Byrne/Fatboy Slim project, I Like Trains, British Sea Power live and maybe album too. That's just for starters. And a World Cup year!

Very true.

Who needs a cunt when a cunt can be broken?

Which song was this lyric from?

Get your own lyrics:

I'm just a hunk, a hunk of burning gruffexterior
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning gruffexterior.

Which song was this lyric from?

Get your own lyrics:

No Big Hair!

Off to see Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. Lovely stuff.

Small Joys

Stuff I ordered from British Sea Power arrived today. Very nice, if strange christmas cards included. They came enclosed with what i first thought was a collosal error by one of their merchandise crew. A postcard with 3 snow-topped mountain peaks, addressed to Mrs J Messen in Norfolk. Postcard reads,

'Dear Joy,

Having a good holiday. Weather has been fine so far and the snow is just right for good skiing. The hotel is very picturesque and we can ski right from the door.

Happy new year,

love Graham and Sally.'

This was no mistake however, as someone had scribbled,

'Many thanks for your order, best wishes. BSP'

Those crazy guys.

Anyway, what I was really excited over was British Tea Power VI. I only wish I had the full set.

Before hot water;

And as if by magic, with hot water;



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