Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken *

It's the end of MOR music as we know it!

* Lloyd Cole and the Commotions


"Down with this sort of thing" - to paraphrase Father Ted on the picket line at the cinema. Or was it Father Dougall?

* The Stranglers


Being Boring *

Here are some random ramblings from my world:

Last Saturday I saw off JJ and then proceded to catch the Old Firm game. It didn't take too much viewing to work out that Celtic would get nothing from the game. Some of our fans annoy me to extremes at times, particularly the real Weedgie types. One of whom was shouting his tits off during the match. We were 3-0 down and this chube then does the now familiar routine from many of our lot, namely, blaming the referee. Now, okay, he did brandish the yellow cards at our players a bit too much for my liking, but, come on, that nine Celtic players were booked and two from the opposition said much about which side had lost the plot. Also, the ref could not be blamed for the embarrassing defending, the midfield going missing and the forward line being, well, actually, we didn't have one. No, we were terrible, as simple as that. So Weedgie big mouth got an earful from yours truly along the lines of "shut the fuck up, we're fucking rubbish today and that's it!" So final whistle goes and Weegie big mouth gives it the "hail, hail, the Celts are here" routine and I think: "They might be here but they sure as fuck weren't at Ibrox."

Saturday night, got bored shitless watching the Rugby World Cup final. And there endeth my interest in rugby until the next world cup in 2011.

And on to Monday (Sunday, I did fuck all) and a little trip into town (did I mention I'm off all week as I have shitloads of leave to take before Christmas - 14 days after this week). Decided to get Tube to Green Park and head for pubs in Mayfair. Had a wee walk around and visited two or three nice pubs. One of the strangest places on earth is Mayfair, dripping in wealth and populated by strange people. It's one of those places whose shops don't display any prices for the goods on offer - probably a case of, well, if you have to ask the price, then you obviously cannot afford it!Sat in one pub and laughed my head off at the Guardian's Corrections and Clarifications column. Turned the page and found the not-so-funny news that Paul Fox of the Ruts had died. Got to agree with the author of the obituary that The Ruts' album The Crack remains a classic.

Then it was back home for quick bite to eat and then out here to watch Spurs put on a woeful display against Newcastle. Can't see Martin Jol lasting much longer.

Yesterday afternoon was spent helping ex clear out the boy's room in preparation for a room swap. Then it was another pub visit, this time to see what the refurbished Amersham Arms was like. I have to say that, for years, New Cross pubs were rather grubby. In fact, some, like the New Cross Inn and Goldmsiths Tavern, were real dives, even if, like the latter, they had some soul to them (and a brilliant jukebox). Refurbs of these joints hasn't really worked, which can be said for the Walpole also. In its defence, though, at least the New Cross Inn puts on gigs for local bands. And its all-dayers allow all ages in, which means that my boy gets to hear live music in the area. But, anyway, back to the Amersham. I was most impressed with what the new owners have done to the place. A peek at the menu shows that the food looks nice and reasonably priced also. I'll be back! Sat and read the paper and (obituaries again) found that Paul Raven of Killing Joke had died. What is it with post-punk musicians this week, eh?

Last night, I watched Rangers put on a sterling defensive display to take a point from their Champions League clash against Barcelona. Wait, let me rephrase that. Last night, I watched three of the most gifted strikers in world football - Messi, Henry and Ronaldinho - fail to get past a bunch of hun bastards whose idea of being adventurous was to only have eight men in defence when they themselves were on the attack. Oh well.

Today, I'm heading back round to help the ex with they boy's room. Can't be arsed doing so, but I suppose it's better than sitting in front of a computer screen doing fuck all for hours on end.

*Pet Shop Boys


Monday, October 22, 2007

Ain't Nothing To It *

JJ and I decided to go along to the Tate Modern on Friday to fill our heads with culture. Well, it was my birthday and I wanted a treat. Now I adore the Tate Modern, thinking it to be a beautiful building and a marvellous use of its internal space. So we looked at the crack in the ground which is also known as Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo. JJ didn't take it seriously, in fact, she laughed quite a lot. "But JJ," I asked, "don't you agree with Martin Herbert, who says in the accompanying leaflet for the Salcedo piece that 'it prompts a broader consideration of power's divisive operations as encoded in the brutal narratives of colonialism, their unhappy aftermaths in postcolonial nations, and in the stand off between rich and poor, northern and southern hemispheres'?" JJ replied: "No, it's just a crack in the ground!"
I pressed her again. "But surely, JJ, you would concur with Salcedo when she says that the crack 'reveals a colonial and imperial history that has been disregarded, marginalised or simply obliterated ... the history of racism, running parallel to the history of modernity and ... its untold dark side'." "No," JJ declared again, "it's just a crack in the ground!"
I then thrust Herbert's text in front of her and demanded that she read the final paragraph, which goes:
"Through Shibboleth, these phantasmal pressures comprise and ineradicable faul line: one that now, it appears, is causing the building to seismically sundered. Gouging open the very ground that we walk on. Salcedo reminds us that these wounds can not be simply consigned to the past. She encourages us to confront discomforting truths about our world and about ourselves with absolute candidness and without self-deception."

"Martin Herbert is a twat," JJ screams. At this point, I could only agree. What a load of wank, indeed!

* The Stranglers


Head Staggered *

Most - if not all? - of the British state's nuclear weapons are based in Scotland. Scotland has its own government. The head of this government believes that the people of Scotland, through its own government, should play a part in next year's discussions on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The head of the Scottish government writes to all 188 heads of state of those governments who have signed up to the treaty asking them to agree to his request to put a seat in the discussion room for a Scottish government representative. For doing this, the Labour Party accuse the head of the Scottish government of "undermining Britain's foreign policy." A British government minister, David Cairns (never heard of him), says that Alex Salmond "seeks to cavort across the world stage with his discredited looney left policies."
But the best of the twisted logic which is the Labour Party comes from an unnamed source who says: "For Alex Salmond to seek an alliance with Iran and South Korea is an unpardonable folly."
I was very angry after reading such quotes in this story yesterday.
Don't know if I can ever vote Labour again, whether in local or national elections!

* That Petrol Emotion


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Complications *

Just heard on Radio 5 - rugby broadcaster and commentator Ian Robertson asking England coach Brian Ashton: "So should we all be worried about Jonny Wilkinson's balls?"

Does he have a groin injury?

*Killing Joke


Last Night*

Some people have described them as Joy Division wannabees, but I don't see that one myself. I tend to think of Editors as being heavily influenced by TV21, the post-punk band from Edinburgh in the early '80s. This is probably a strange claim to make because I can't imagine that the Birmingham four-piece have even heard of TV21 (Kev, that is not an insult, merely a guess!). As an aside, I once saw TV21 supporting The Skids in Ayr back in the day and they were fucking awesome. Well, listen to A Thin Red Line from 1981 and you'll hear what I mean. I certainly don't have a problem with bands taking inspiration from their predecessors or their contemporaries - who else liked The Alarm, the band that Joe Strummer described as "a shadow of a shadow of a shadow of the Clash"? No, I didn't either! Anyway, my point is .... Editors are a damn fine band and last night at the Brixton Academy (the middle of their three-night sold-out stint) JJ and I were witness to how the energy and drive of their recorded material is well transformed onto the live stage.

Lead man Tom Smith runs around the stage quite a bit, covering every inch I think, and so full of beans. He also has a lovely voice which never strains, no matter how high or low he goes. Chris Urbanowicz on guitar plays his part also and, to these ears, never hits a bum note. As for bass and drums .... pounding! Ed Lay batters the fuck out of the skins and snares and is accompanied well by Russell Leech on the four-strings.

We had a good mixture of tracks from their debut The Back Room with those from The End Has a Start, while one or two new songs also had an airing. Simply put, a fucking good gig was put on by the lads.

Earlier, we partook in a wee libation at what is becoming a real favourite pub of mine, the Prince Arthur in Eversholt Street next to Euston. The table service business can seem a little wanky initially, but it is never intrusive and always friendly. And, with a very nice bottle of sauvignon blanc at 11 quid, well, can't complain really. Oh, and nice art on the walls, also!

So a great evening was had by both of us. And a morning off work to spend a few more hours with JJ was rather lovely too!

More culture tomorrow night as we head for the theatre in Northampton for an Alan Ayckborne play - promises to be ace!

*The Strokes