Sunday, June 26, 2005

Streets of London

I've spent two days tramping through the above-mentioned.

Day one started after work when I first of all went to the gym and had a great 90-minute workout. Then it was a walk through Russell Square, past the British Museum, past Congress House and into the Virgin record store. I spent a hell of a long time scanning the rock and pop section. At one time, I think I had over 100 quids worth in my hands before thinking that I should be a bit more conservative (as in conserve some of my wages - this being pay day, by the way) and returned some great sounds to the shelves, so no Best of the Small Faces, Thin Lizzy's Greatest Hits and one or two other sounds this time round. But what I did buy was excellent: Horses and Wave by Patti Smith, plus Repulsion Box by Sons and Daughters (this bought even though I had never heard any of their stuff before, but thought from comments made by both John at C&S and TNR's Jim that they sounded interesting). And also bought the new Foo Fighters and Nine Black Alps for the boy.

As for Patti, these were bought after seeing her last week - supported by Steve Earle - and have made me think: "Shouldn't I even just give a brief rundown of events?" The answer is, of course: "Yes!" So...

... woke up last Sunday (day of the gig) with a bit of a hangover in friend's house after spending a rather splendid evening over at their's for dinner and lots and lots of drinks. The lot of us, plus kids, then proceeded over to fancy restaurant for "brunch" (yes, I know, what a horrible middle-class term). Remember the weather last weekend? Yes, fucking hot hot heat! Restaurant packed with rich people and us waiting half an hour for a table. And us waiting fucking ages for drinks (non alcoholic - it was before 12 noon). Have some alright scran and then off to home, but not before 'er indoors drops me off at pub at end of road where I drink pint of cider in record time - in fact, I get through the door at home at the same time as 'er indoors and the boy. I then think of ways how I can get out of the day's task which is to put up a wardrobe which was bought at Ikea previous weekend and which has proved not suitable for its intended place in the boy's room. So into our room it goes. After an hour or so of watching cricket, feeling totally exhausted from hangover, breakfast and cider, decide that I cannot avoid putting wardrobe together. I start sweating. I started sweating a lot. I start sweating and don't stop for the next four hours. So I get it finished and, thank fuck for that - Reidski now has new wardrobe, big fucking deal! Have cold shower and out to see Patti.
Liaise with fellow gig-goer Brizie and decide to meet at NFT bar. Get along there well before him and have one look at huge queue at NFT bar and decide that we won't get drink here. I have quick look at the second-hand book stalls while waiting but get well pissed off at the crowds and noise coming from hippies banging drums and then put call into Brizie to say we'll meet at the main bar of Royal Festival Hall, where I bump into SWP national secretary Martin Smith, where I berate him for being an ultra-left lunatic much like the ultra-left lunatics who picketed a meeting he had organised 48 hours previously. He then tries to impress me by telling me that he's bringing a book out about Frank Sinatra and the period of his life when he was either in or flirted with the Communist Party of the USA. "I look forward to it," I say.
Brizie then saves me from trot-hell and in we go. Before he goes, however, Martin says that tonight's show will see a joint performance by Smith and Earle, while I had understood it to be seperate sets - it transpires that Smith knows as much about music and he does the class struggle.
Smith (Patti that is, not Martin) comes on and introduces tonight's opener. I miss her name, but woman comes on plays mad tune on piano (imagine a politicised Lyndsay de Paul and you get the drift) followed by mad tune on guitar. She was entertaining, in the wrong sense, but not quite mind-expanding.
Luckily, Earle is another dish altogether, but before his arrival, Patti makes her only mistake of the night by reading an excerpt from Jim Morrison's American Prayer - shite poetry from a shite singer, over-rated twat that he was.
Earle takes his art and his life very seriously, being a true political activist as well as playing some mean tunes. He gave us some crackers tonight: Rich Man's War, Fuck the FCC, Comin Around and a blistering version of the spoken word Warrior, all from the recently released Revolution Starts Now, plus Devil's Right Hand, Someday and one or two others from his back catalogue. Earle was good, he was very very good.

Then it's Smith's turn. And what a turn we got. Full of beans and energy throughout her set, dancing all over the stage and praising her backing band at every given opportunity., she put in a great performance - backing band included original PSG members Lenny Kaye on guitar and Jay Dee Daugherty on drums, while the quiet guitarist at rear of the stage having a set turned out to be Tom Verlaine. This was one tight band and they had to be as Smith is not prone to just belt out the songs as they appear on record, but improvises and takes a journey right through her entire vocal range at times. Dancing Barefoot, Ain't It Strange and, dedicated to those civilians and soldiers who died during the ongoing Iraq war, Peaceable Kingdom. We would have liked a track or two from Horses, but she saved them for her performance of the classic album which is on as I write. We left with no disappointments. But not before encore where Smith and the band were joined by Earle for versions of two of his classics - Copperhead Road and Transcendetal Blues, the latter being a beautiful duet with Smith. Earle then departed and Smith and the boys raced through a cracking Rock n Roll Nigger.

So...back to my trek round London.

Got out of Virgin and popped into pub for pint and a rest of my weary limbs (okay, mainly just for the pint) and made the mistake of opening the covers to the two Patti Smith CDs I had just bought, cos, short while later I paid a visit to Fopp where said CDs were less than half price than at Virgin. Oh well, it's only money. Learned a lesson - always visit Fopp first! In Fopp, I decided to buy a few more things, so in my hands went Sly and Family Stone's There's a Riot Going On (inspired by music from this month's Uncut), Sham 69's Tell Us The Truth and two books: Simon Reynolds's Rip It Up And Start Again and something else that I can't manage to recall right now. Up to the till to pay and the machine wouldn't accept my card, no matter how many times the shop bloke tried, so nothing else for me. Off home where I joined the boy and 'er indoors on the sofa where we watched the night's offering from Glastonbury. Highlight: a brilliant set from The Killers. Lowlight: the vastly over-rated White Stripes (whose set included some song that went along the lines: "I'm thinking about the doorbell" - profound, not). While sitting watching all this, it then struck me that the price I paid in Virgin earlier in the day sounded like too much, even taking into account the fact that I could have got Horses and Easter half price elsewhere. So, checked the receipt and, blow me down, but they only charged me twice for the Nine Black Alps CD.
So, got up on Saturday and decided to pay visit into town again and thought I would take the opportunity to go to Rail Europe travel centre in Piccadilly to book my train to Barcelona in August as their web site never seems to accept my order. On popped Sons and Daughters on the CD player and, fuck me, it's excellent, so didn't mind that the Jubilee Line was down and I had to traipse make my way to Piccadilly through Mayfair and St James. I have to say that I had never in my 17 years in the big city ever passed by this area before and I then realised that when celeb gossip sheets describe celebs out shopping in the West End, this is exactly the area that they mean. Needless to say, I looked well out of place around these parts. Got to the Rail Europe travel centre and found that this is a company which is as useful dealing with them in person wasn't going to be a good experience as very beautiful woman on door says that it will be at least a one hour wait to be served. Reidski thinks: "Fuck that," and goes off to try to reclaim my money from Virgin, which proves extremely easy indeed. After few pints in town, go home to watch the new star of British tennis get humped. Go out with 'er indoors and the boy for curry at new (alcohol-free) Indian restaurant. Food was ace. We then head home to watch Glastonbury and, at the same time, I write this horrifically long post. Highlight: Kaiser Cheifs and Razorlight. Lowlight: BBC cutting coverage of Razorlight's set so we could watch the truly god-awful Coldplay. Yeauccchhhh! Now that I think about it - highlight: Johnny from Razorlight introducing a song by saying: "This is a song about motherfuckers."
There, that's two days in the life of Reidski! I'm going to bed.

* Ralph McTell


Blogger Jim said...

Fucking Hell Man, Marathon or what??? Is Dancing Barefoot Best Song Ever or What?? Lynsey De Paul Paul was politicised. She is a Tory Scumfuck and may she die soon, ppainfully, maybe a piano falling on her from a great height.

Still working through your links which may take some time. Thought the Killers were okay but not more than that...whereas the White Stripes were truly a fabulous thing to hear. Also Jim Morrison could sing even if a trite overrated. And Poetry pretty much sucks big time! Tennis...who gives a fuck, bunch of middle class spoiled brat gits playing ball. Kill the lotta the fuckers.

Coldplay, the new Radiohead who were the new Pink Floyd. Actually that i so unfair on both Coldpaly and Radiohead but the gist is in there somewhere trying to spill out.

Fuck this comment is almost as long as your post.

cheers bytheway.

12:43 am  
Blogger John said...

fucking great post.

Just by coincidence, I had the Thin Lizzy album in my greasy paws on Frdiay too and put it back on the shelf. Just couldn't bring myself to join the queue at the till in the heat.

Jim Morrison! What a wanker. I went to Pere La Chaise just to tramp the dirt down.

11:35 am  
Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Brilliant post. Got a real flavour of your day(s).

Glad that Sons and Daughters hit the spot: they are awesome live.

Saw some clips of Glasto: Meg always looks killer, but The White Stripes overall leave me too cold. Far too many oodly indulgent solos. As for Coldplay, I refer you to the excellent spoof at the end of the current Word CD: Mitch Benn sings "Everything sounds like Coldplay now" (thankfully he is wrong, but there are a frightening number of 'Coldplay-lite' bands... as if that were possible...)

2:07 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

Jim, it's not a marathon, it's a snickers! You're wrong on the Killers, they were brilliant. You're wrong on the White Stripes, they were not fabulous. You're right about Jim Morrison, he could sing, but only in the way that I can sing, my granny could sing and, even, Perry Como could sing. You're wrong to compare Coldplay (or, "Coldpaly" as you refer to them) with either Radiohead or Pink Floyd cos both of the latter are in a different musical stratosphere from Chris Martin and his mates. You're right about your comment being as long as the post.

John - you're wrong saying it's a fucking great post, it's simply a fucking long and boring post. Weird coincidence on the Thin Lizzy front. Jim Morrison, yes, what a total wanker. You've given me a good idea of what to do the next time I'm in Paris.

Lisa - you only get a flavour of what I done on those days cos I've described in minute and pointless detail everything I done. Sons and Daughters - love em. On hearing them for only the last couple of days, I find them impossible to categorise. In fact, if they were to remind me of anyone, it could be The Mekons, which makes sense for John to be into them. Mitch Benn - don't know who the geezer is but he obviously knows what he's talking about.

Jim, John and Lisa - thanks for your nice comments

2:40 pm  
Blogger John said...

You're welcome. You're wrong though. It's a fucking great post.

4:25 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

Different ends of the musical stratosphere...That would put Radiohead at the zenith and Pink Floyd worlds most overated tossers at the nadir then. Coldpaly that would have been a much better name! Maybe I need to listen to the Killers more cos I still don't think they are overly brilliant.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Darren said...

Totally agree about White Stripes. Loved the first album but the lead singer really got on my nerves with his caterwauling at Glazza.

Nearly as overated as that other charlatan, Pete Doherty. And is it just me, or did Ian Brown look the spitting image of Cliff Richard, circa 1976, with the satin jacket and the oversized glasses?

Yeah, and I'll add to the acclaim for the great post but I hope that doesn't mean you think you can be a lazy 'get and can now get away with only doing the one jumbo snicker post a week?

6:18 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

Different ends of the musical stratosphere...That would have to put Radiohead at the zenith and Pink Floyd (world's most overated tossers) at the nadir then. Coldpaly that would have been a much better name! Maybe I need to listen to the Killers more cos I still don't think they are overly brilliant.

6:42 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

Great comments, you guys. In fact, Jim's was so good he done it twice!
Load of shite he talks on the Pink Floyd front, though, Dark Side of the Moon and Relics, to name only two, being among the classic albums of all time. So good, in fact, that Reidski owns neither - need to get them downloaded (well, don't expect me to contribute to what is already mega-millionaires mega-millions.

Darren - as Ian Brown came on, I retold the story to 'er indoors of seeing the Stone Roses at the ill-fated Reading appearance (95 or 96, can't remember) and how, two or three songs in, everyone was looking at each other in complete embarrassment over how bad the band as a whole were, but also how stinkingly shite Brown was as a singer. Two or three songs into last night's set, she declares: "Is he tone deaf, or can't he sing?" I replied: "Well, he must be tone deaf if he can't hear how bad he sings." I then praised the producer (John Street, I think) of Stone Roses eponymous debut for coming up with top 10 album of all time with a band whose singer can't sing - must have used some great disquise techniques on the vocals.
Loved Primal Scream set last night, particularly Bobbie Gillespie berating the crowd with the comment: "We're a punk rock band and you're a bunch of fucking hippies!" From their catalogue, I only have the over-rated Screamadelica, but, after seeing them last night, I thought that I should add more of theirs to my collection.
Oh, Darren, before I go, I'd just like to say that I can be as lazy as I like, which is extremely lazy.
Finally, finally, can't stand Docherty as I have always really despised junkies - call me hard-hearted, but that's just the way I feel!

8:09 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

Oh, and I forgot to say about the White Stripes, that link somes Jack tosser White right up.

8:09 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

"somes"????????? I, of course, meant to write sums, but, being the fool that I am, didn't!

9:23 pm  
Blogger Jim said...

Shall we agree to differ on thw Pink Floyd / White Stripes axis of crapness? Now Ian Brown there's a man. I heard his first solo album and pished ma pants laughing at how unbelievably bad it was. I seriously could not believe that anyone could get a recording contract to make that album.

10:18 pm  
Blogger Reidski said...

No, Jim, we shall not agree to differ - you shall agree to agree with everything I say for the rest of my life cos everyone knows that I am soooo always right!

10:59 pm  
Blogger Darren said...


I think it was John Leckie who produced the Stone Roses debut album.

Aye, and his voice is shite but it has to be said that some of his solo material is not bad. I think 'F.E.A.R' is one of the best singles of the last five years.

Didn't see as much of Glazza as I would have liked on the telly, and though I'm an unpaid spokesperson for late seventies, early eighties angular guitar music, it was a bit jarring after a while to see band after band in the black shirts, white ties, and floppy hair doing a poor bloke's version of a Gang of Four outake, circa '79.

And what's with the business of watching Coldplay and others on the main stage from half a mile away. Never understood the numpties who choose to watch a dot on a distant stage when there are so many more stages at Glazza where you can see decent bands close up.

10:32 am  

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