Sunday, July 24, 2005

24th July 2005


Saturday 27th August – 2pm, The Liver Building, Liverpool. Part of the Mathew Street Music Festival. For further info visit:

Saturday 27th August - 9pm The Jolly Miller, 176 Mill Lane, West Derby, Liverpool, L12

The night was moist... I was sitting in the back room with the French doors open so I could breathe the cool night air when I heard the sound of murder coming from the house at the back of mine. Were the screams I heard real or were they just emerging from the dark recesses of my mind to try and block out the sound of the certain slaughter I was about to witness. Should I call the police or not get involved? If I do call what would I say?? How could a Sunday afternoon with a few friends result in such atrocity. There was no doubt about it, “American Pie” was being murdered within 50 yards of my back door and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It started out innocently enough but as the second verse started the horror began. Wrong chords, singing of imaginary lyrics by drunken backing vocalists and abominable timing. All the signs of a summer barbecue spinning wildly out of control.
Thought I would start this edition of the “Wise Words” on a sort of Raymond Chandler vibe. Maybe I have been influenced by recent visit to see “Sin City” at the movies. What this movie lacked in plot and drama was certainly made up for in the visuals department and the fantastic looking women in it. Very striking and really managed to transfer the Frank Miller comic books to the screen. I ain't been the movies for a while but managed to squeeze in two movies since we last met up. “Sin City” was eclipsed by the brilliant rockumentary “Dig”. This movie was made by a woman who decided to follow ten up and coming bands for the last seven years and chart their respective fortunes and failings. The film concentrates on the relationship between two bands: The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. The Brian Jonestown Massacre are the all drinking, all drug-taking vehicle for the tortured genius named Anton Newcombe. The Dandy Warhols achieved worldwide fame when their tune “Bohemian Like You” was used for a Vodafone commercial. The film is well worth seeing but you may have to search it out as it is not playing in all the usual places. I was fortunate enough to see it at the NFT courtesy of Mr Boult. The highlight of the movie was the point where the two bands fortunes were at opposite ends of the showbiz scale. The Dandy's were playing Glastonbury with about 50,000 people it large and bouncing up and down. Meanwhile back in LA the BJM were playing a showcase for eight record company execs at The Viper Room. Two songs in the set deteriorates into a fist-fight between Anton and his band mates. Classic stuff. Definitely gives you an insight into the music industry and how fortune and fate can be decided by the fickle wag of a finger. The BJM have a Bez-type character who takes drugs and plays tambourine and is worth every second of his celluloid début. Check it out or wait for the DVD but get to see it.
So I went down to Cornball to see the Bishop of The Church Of The Poisoned Nose-Ring, or Mitt as you may know him. Me and Noel headed off down west to do a support for The Blockheads. We arrived the night before and had a nice chilled evening with Mitt and T and baby Brooke. Next day was a small rehearsal and then down to the gig. The potential for this to be a great gig was kinda ruined by the slippery customer who was organising it. He had applied for a licence for the event for about 500 people but was only allowed 160. Bad organisation did not stop us from having a good gig. I have a recording of it but ain't got round to editing it yet. Should be interesting to hear. The Blockheads rocked. Great to see these guys have only improved with age. Went back to Mitt's house with John Turnbull who is the singer and guitarist in The Blockheads. We discussed the “Relax” session which is an interesting tale which will stay with this author. Sorry. We were a bed short with John's arrival so I slept in a tent in Mitt's garden and very nice it was. The downer of the weekend was that when we were on our way down we got a call from Mitt saying his dog, Homer, had been run over. He survived but got a bit battered and bruised. At one point during our second night I thought he wasn't gonna make it. Very stressed out and in a lot of pain and that was just Mitt. The good news is that he is on the mend and although not back to normal he will be soon. As for Mitt, he is a fucking lost cause, mankind has not developed any treatment known that will sort Mitt out!? Went to Jonatha Brooke performing with her band at The Borderline in the West End. I had been waiting to hear what she sounded like with the band and to be honest it was a little disappointing. It was disappointing because she had set the benchmark so high with her previous solo performances that a band performance would have to be so special to get near competing with the small acoustic gigs. Good players and good performances all round, all which were captured with my trusting recorder, but it all seems a bit over the top when the band are playing. It seems that the band give the music some sort of commercial stamp of approval with the right chord changes and the “trendy” drum loops. I think it makes her sound like just another chicky rock singer when the truth it miles from that. The delicacy of the guitar chords and the intent and meaning in the lyrics seem to be steamrollered out a bit. I don't know if I mentioned this in a previous edition that I feared nothing would happen and guess what??? It ain't. Please correct me if I am wrong but has anyone heard, seen, watched or read anything about Jonatha Brooke in the last six months. If so, let me know because I would love to be proved wrong. Still, check her out, she's good.
I think I qualified as being a proper Scouser when I popped out to try and see a band called “Clor”. They are the latest NME darlings (of sorts) and were doing a warm up gig before they made their Glastonbury début. Grant and I toddled out on a very hot and humid evening in London and set of for the ICA on The Mall. It is great walking through London in the summer except when you are carrying a heavy bag and wearing black from head to toe. Me make a huge effort to go out in the stifling heat and get to the gig to find out it sold out. We try and see another way in, no touts, fuck all except loads of little groovy Japanese chicks. I reckon small funkily-dressed Japanese chicks are the sure sign that you are on your way to stardom. If they start turning up at my gigs then I know I am on to something although I ain't holding my breath. So we retire to the nearest boozer a little deflated and very hot and feeling a bit fucked. We have one beer and decide to head back. We had to walk past the venue on the way back and had a quick mosey round the entrance to see if there was any change in the attendance that would allow us in but there was no chance. As we walk along the side of the venue we can hear a band playing and as we come alongside a fire door we find it open? The ridiculous heat meant that they were starved of fresh air in the venue and Grant and I took full advantage. We walked and just as the support band finished. Result. Watched Clor. Good vibe but too fucking hot by a mile. About six songs in I was failing badly so we bid an early retreat. So I reckon that qualifies me as a good scouse “jibber”. You won't find “jibber” in the dictionary but it is a scouse word for gaining free entry to an event. I have a cousin in Liverpool called John who is an Olympic Gold Medallist Jibber. He never pays to get in anywhere, and I mean anywhere. From Everton games to Bob Dylan at The Kings Dock and all the way back again. If there is a way in for free he will find it. He is not tight, he's just a jibber. I asked him recently about his best ever jib and he says it was the following. Got to Haydock services on the M6 at 7.00am with fifteen pence. Hitched a lift to London. Got to Qpr's ground, Loftus Rd, at 11.00. Jibbed into the ground, watched the game. Jibbed the coach home. Back in the house for Match Of The Day with £3.50 and a match programme. Quality!!
Managed to escape for a few days holiday to Jersey. My missus and I were celebrating 19 years of marriage. We managed to get the ma-in-law to come up and babysit for a few days. It was a nice break with decent weather and it is always nice to get over to see our friends Steve and Jane. I played my first nine holes of golf on a decent course. I think this golf thing could be a dangerous thing and time that should be spent in the studio could end up being spent on the golf course. I won't be including any golf chatter here as I know how much the football stories annoy some people and I don't want to turn this page into sport's illustrated.
One thing that was very noticable on our journey to the Channel Islands was the prescence of police at London's City Airport. We left on the monday before the bombings and there were more police on duty. I remarked to my mrs as we entered the departure lounge that there were about 15 coppers all armed with machine guns. I think this was due to the number of people who may have been flying up to Edinburgh for the G8 conference but after the events on the coming Thursday maybe their were already on alert. Usually you will see two or three at the airport because it is really small so 15 armed police is quite an increase.
So Thursday morning we get up and know nothing about what has occurred in London. I had received about three texts from my mate telling me about the Steven Gerrard saga unfolding at Liverpool (more of this later) and on Thursday I got one from him that said “Are you ok?”. I had not replied to any of his texts and I presumed he was just checking to see if I had got his messages. I didn't text him back because the texts from Jersey cost a a lot more than normal. So I text him back Thursday morning saying “I am in Jersey, didn't text you back 'cause it will cost me a bomb”. Ten minutes later I switch on the tv and realise that the word “bomb” was going to be a much used word that day. This suddenly made our journey home a potential nightmare as the whole place would become a security hotspot. When we landed at City Airport there were coppers everywhere, and I mean everywhere. In the building, in the car park, on the tarmac, on all the roads leaving and entering the airport. Bedlam. Terrorism strikes London again and causes maximum impact and chaos. Our thoughts go to the people who left for work that day and never came back. The thing I don't understand is: What do these people want, how many of them are there, and how many people support their actions? I know about “ridding the infidels” from their land but we never hear any message or claims of responsibility directly through the media.
I was very proud of the reactions of Londoners, and especially Muslim Londoners. I saw a few Muslims being interviewed on local tv news and they were saying “We are Londoners before we are Muslims”. People are very resilient and don't seem to be deterred by the bombings. People may become a bit more vigilant and keep an eye out for unattended bags but they largely just get on with it. I thought Ken Livingstone's words in the days following were excellent also. I don't have too much time for Ken usually but I feel his words were from the heart and not from some spin doctors laptop. I will quote him very loosely but he said something like” If these people think they can make us live in fear then come and see us bury pur dead. On that day there will be more people coming to London because it is a place where you can be yourself without fear”. As I said, very loosely, but I think you get the sentiment.
So this Thursday we have a repeat situation except the bombs don't go off properly but there is still chaos caused. I was due to go and see Chopper Harris in Balham which is at the opposite end of the Northern Line from me and it was closed. I have to say, and I am not trying to be a hero here, that I didn't think twice about not going out. It was going to be a bit of a nightmare getting there but I wasn't going to let these fuckers stop me rocking!! I got a bus from Barnet at 5.00pm and headed to meet Grant in Waterloo. I had to get three buses to get there. I had looked at the London buses website and got the info I needed. 263 to North Finchley, 82 to Victoria, 211 or 507 to Waterloo. All was going well until the 82 I was on hit St John's Wood. Unfortunately the Aussies has skittled England out early and the streets of St John's Wood are overrun by cricket fans realing the tube is fucked and they need to get a bus. Big traffic jam which meant that the 82 stopped on Oxford St and slung everyone off. Bollocks, there goes the journey planner out of the window. So I trot up oxfors St and see that I can get another bus to Waterloo from there. Back in the game. So I finally get to Grant's house three hours later and before I have had to time to finish a beer we are back out. Overground Silverlink from Waterloo to Clapham Junction, another overground to Balham and we are there. Total time on public transport so far 3' 40”.
We get to see Chopper play four tunes and it was worth it. Good vibe all round. Great venue, good sound etc. Shit pint of Guinness though. After the gig we head back to Balham and find the Northern Line is back on but it is a limited service. We get on a train and have to get off one stop before Oval, where one of the bombs had been, get a bus up to Elephant and Castle, Edgeware train to Camden, 20 minute wait there, and then on to Finchley with a mile walk. Jouney home took just over two hours. That is a grand total of 5' 50” on public transport for twenty minutes of Chopper. Worth it though. “Weeeeee shall not be mooooooved”.
Finally, the Steven Garrard saga? What the fuck was that all about?? He's going, he's staying, he doesn't know whether to have a shit, shave or fucking haircut. I believe the confusion was all caused by the media inventing shit. The have built this thing up to such proportions that nobody knows what the fuck is going on. Up until about two seasons ago we had the Patrick Vieira saga. That was superceeded by Gerrard which we have had for the last two seasons. I am glad it is sorted out and I hope this is the last we hear of it. Somehow I don't think it will be. Funnily enough, as soon as the Gerrard thing was put to bed, who was the target of transfer speculation? Old faithful, Patrick Vieira. Only this time the fuckers got it right.
Went to the Big Gay Out to see FGTH but all I saw were the fireworks. Thick socks confusion. Too much detail to go into now, maybe another time.
We will close with a little competition. You can post your answers in the comments section below. I have nicked first four words of this edition from a film. Which film featured the phrase “The night was moist”?

MUSIC BIT AT THE BOTTOM: Soggy Bottom Boys, Swansway, The Band, The Dead 60's, Tin Machine, The Rutles, Curtis Mayfield, Cat Stevens, Prince, Missy Elliot, The Skids, Bill Hicks, Sam Kinnison, Chic, The Stranglers, Scritti Politti. (Guess who got broadband?).

25th February 2000

I received my e-mail this morning and was chastised for not putting up some wise words this week so here goes. Not much been happening this week except making a few calls to promoters etc to try and set up some gigs. I was in the studio last night and will be there today working on a new songs. The one I am on at the moment is a tune called "Face The Music" which is a song about my ex-manager and the trials and tribulations of being sued. I did the acoustic guitar last night and worked on some ideas for backing vocals and I will be wailing for most of today. I will be going to Wembley this Sunday to see the mighty whites take on Leicester. I am going with my mate Jeff who's capacity for alcohol and over-indulgence is legendary round these parts so your correspondent will have to take care not to end up talking broken biscuits on Wembley way. I have a cassette of the band rehearsing and although the quality of recording is not pristine I think I may post a live track at the page over the weekend so I will let you know. It depends on whether I can still the monitor on Sunday night.