Sunday, 30 May 2010

Free the Pterodactyl 3

Joe Tucker made this with the help of Liam and Heather. Heather, sorry we broke your door. I hope you're enjoying your new lock:

Now the rain was laced with pity. The beaches met the coastal roads and street lamps led them blind into the city fast asleep. And the wind carried the curses of collisions in the darkness and the accidental crunch of devil's purses underfoot. I was thinking who out of us all I thought would grow up and just how right and wrong I'd been in equal measure. She is buried treasure. She is bored. Butterflies will die towards the end of summer years, and apparently she's just ignoring them. A friend, he put it simply "If I understood, then I could understand..." These blue eyes grow ageless. The sky feels contagious when the stars recall spots on those teenager's faces who come down here after dark to learn how to fall apart, to dance with the devil until they become free of God's will again. We have surnames for the taking but the girls don't understand the men with guilt the shape of local police stations and the last train home. She settled down and said 'goodnight', never said 'goodnight' and went out in a blaze of glory in a bar room full of history, hope and pity. If I understood, then I could understand. The blue eyes grow ageless. The sky feels contagious. If you were the stars that means I was the places that we went.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Liam's Blog

Joe was telling me about a restraunt deep in Cheshire he visited with the inlaws. I pissed myself when he told me about 'Liam's Blog'. I wanted to try and describe the concept, but figured that Joe would do a far better job himself. He is the king of the story:

Recently I was in a pub in Cheshire when I spotted something that I can only describe as absolutely wonderful. When I say ‘pub’, it was in fact what most pubs in Cheshire have now become – a pub-restaurant. An aspirational pub-restaurant. Where once patrons ordered pints of Stella, now they’re just as likely to order cappuccinos or the limited edition produce of a local microbrewery. Where once customers were happy with an egg and cress sandwich, now they demand ciabattas; The menus bandy about terms like ‘pan-fried’; They’ve installed a massive sofa; There’s a room called ‘The Library’. Of course it’s all bollocks – the customers may want all the trappings but there’s still a deep resentment for all things cosmopolitan. Yes, we may watch Sex and the City but we still hate gays and the EU. Go and have a closer look at the books on The Library’s shelves – they’re all just Jeffrey Archer novels and Good Pub guides from 1986. The dickhead in the kitchen might offer to rustle you up a Pak Choi salad but he’d never eat that kind of food himself – he’s just saving up for alloy wheels.

Anyway, I was in a prime example of such a pub – maybe the best I’ve ever been in. The menu kept banging on about ‘organic produce’ and referring to the chef by name – Liam. Then I noticed a small blackboard high up on a wall. It was perhaps not much bigger than an A4 piece of paper and read, bafflingly, ‘Liam’s blog’. That bit was painted on, permanently. Then, below it, written in chalk, clearly in the handwriting of a sixteen year old girl, it said something like, ‘Chantenay carrots coming through nicely in the organic vegetable plot’. It was pretty clear this sentiment had not come from Liam. Liam was a front.

But still, I was intrigued – ‘Liam’s blog’. What did it mean? Did Liam have an online existence where he waxed lyrical about the comings and goings of life as a chef in a provincial pub-restaurant - the ‘best bits’ of which later made it on to the blackboard I was now looking at? I can imagine this – I’ve seen other pub-restaurants misguidedly go overboard with their online infrastructure, ie, “The Nag’s Head –don’t forget to visit our website / forum / facebook group”. But a quick internet search on my phone for the name of the pub throws up no such thing.

Let me be clear about this: The small blackboard I am looking at proclaiming itself to be ‘Liam’s blog’ has no online presence. The startlingly abstract reality of the situation finally dawns on me – the blackboard itself, in the minds of the people who run this pub, is ‘the blog.’ This instantly threw up a matrix of questions – what do these people think a ‘blog’ actually is? Maybe they don’t think words need clear definitions? When they write something on this particular blackboard do they imagine they’re writing a ‘blog post’? I imagine the bar manager handing a stick of chalk to a young member of casual staff whilst telling them to “go and update Liam’s blog”.

The only conclusion I can sensibly reach is this, and it’s incredible – the people who run this pub have heard scant mention of this word, ‘blog’. They don’t know exactly what it means but they know it lies in the same strata as ciabatta and quinoa and frappuccino – and those are things that people now want, or, more specifically, want the option to turn down in favour of a ‘gut-busting 12oz Angus Beef burger’. The people who run this pub are so progressive that barely have they heard mention, let alone proper explanation, of an exotic new idea, than they have unselfconsciously run with their own interpretation of it, even at the very real risk of making total fools of themselves, their staff and their entire establishment. I want to find the manager and shake him by the lapels of his jacket and shout in his face until he’s rudely brought up to speed with common knowledge. But then a deeper, pervading sense of sadness – a sort of desperate protectiveness - overcomes me and now I want to find the manager and I want say to him, “Something is coming to you about which you currently haven’t the slightest clue. The world is going to tell you that ‘Liam’s blog’ is wrong - so very wrong, in ways you haven’t imagined. And I want you to know that, whatever they say, it isn’t wrong. I want you to keep ‘posting’ to Liam’s blog, I want you to keep ‘updating’ it, keep ‘uploading’ it. I want you to know and understand that, as far as I’m concerned, that blackboard is Liam’s blog and I want it to remain so for ever more.”

What else?

Watched East Bound and Down in its entirety again, which sent me on the second David Gordon Green bender of the year. The male relationships throughout his stuff are so monstrously well-observed (see Kenny Powers and his brother Dustin or Schneider's gang in All the Real Girls). There's a warmth and fondess between the men, but executed with the flippancy and irreverance that only years in each other's pockets can produce.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Gettin' Down With Your Royal Badness.

Bendal Interlude day. Bass, guitar and drums for 7 songs in one day. Drummer told band 8.30am so that band arrive for 9am. Heavy metal cunning. Spotted guitarist Stu-pot out in the street at one o'clock last night post Sound City shows. Naughty. Swerved Max Tundra but I'm psyched on Field Music this evening. I'll try and not turn my conversation with Brewis-squared like an interview for Sound On Sound/Tape Op.

Been learning Down With Prince by Hot Chip for Moshi's 100th record release show.

"I'm sick of motherfuckers tryna' tell me that they're down with Prince."

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Congratulations, your childhood hero hates you.

So here's Dirk Benedict looking a fair bit like my childhood guitar teacher. He didn't look all that much like him when I met him the other day in Blackpool after seeing him playing the part of Lt. Columbo in a stage interpretation of the pilot episode of Columbo. Well, not enough to think of it, anyway.

So what happens when you're known through your 20's as The Face Man? A cool headed van-driving fuck machine, jumping and diving almost unscathed from explosions and bedrooms? What happens when America tells you that you're the hottest shit available for the majority of the 1980's? What happens to a guy who "met Mr T back in '83... No, wait... it was '82"?

You apparently read the Daily Mail, moan about the treatment of Victoria Beckham in the press, whinge about dog shit on Blackpool prom and praise David Cameron. Maybe mistake the British political system for a presidential one and punctuate your point with the phrase "NEXT QUESTION!" You get pissed at me bringing up that Dave Egger's paragraph about Mr T cutting down those trees, deny it, then re-tell it almost word for word, complete with added phone call: "So Mr T, he calls me and he's giggling. Mr T, man! He's a giggler!"

Thoroughly psyched on being an audience to Mr Benedict in the theatre bar. Particularly enjoyed one employee's assumption that Dirk would give a shit about what he had to say:

"My dad owns a block of flats which I actually live in and look after for him..."

Later on, the same employee (who was the kind of guy who probably equates his theories on the final series of Lost to The Big Bang, closes his eyes as he explains) muttered in passing, "Finally met my childhood hero... That's one the perks of working in show business."

Well, congratulations. Your childhood hero hates you.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Artist Versus Engineer.

Must Read Daniel Levitin's book about the brain and the process of recording music. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science Of A Human Obsession. He has a band with some other professors on his campus called Diminished Faculties, which is obviously ace. The interview in Tape Op last month is peppered with giggles and insightful summaries. Talking about Macca reading his book and his refusal to learn anything in the way of music theory throughout his 600 year long music career, Levitin says, "Engineers and artists are really ultimately different in one respect, in that I think that artists are more in touch with "the mystery" and it's an engineers job to make sure there is none."

Ride Your Bike To Your Local Bicycle Shop

It's 8:20am and there's a man over the other side of the alleyway puking in his dog shit-infested back yard. Sounds like vultures gulping.

Made a vid for this jam on Monday and Tuesday with the creative powerhouse that is Joe Fucker. Masonic tux-wearing drummer boy marker penathon. Shoot was great; filled with a pouring open endedness as Joe figured out how the fuck it'd work.

In the process of making something nice t-shirt wise for my local bicycle shop. If you're in Liverpool and need a friendly, experienced and knowledgable bicycle mechanic, you'd be a dumb punk not to head straight over to Picton Cycles.

And when I colour it in, I'm swerving red and blue.

Election day. I'll be spending the evening with a friend helping me through a midlife crisis. The results of which will be posted here, I suppose. I hope that no one is stupid enough to help vote in a Conservative government, we already have a BNP Euro MP.