Sunday, October 29, 2006

21st February 2003

Sorry about the long delay between the editions of "wise words" this month
but I knew I was going to be attending a few things that I wanted to tell
you about and I thought I would wait until I had attended them all before
I started typing so here goes. I went to the Millwall v Southampton FA Cup
replay at The New Den which was all going well until The Saints scored and
The Lions exited the oldest cup competition with a growl rather than a
roar. As I suspected they had missed their opportunity to progress when
Southampton scored the very late equaliser at St Mary's. It is difficult
for Nationwide teams to get the better of Premiership sides, especially
over two legs. I only hope they recover their form to have a late charge
at the play-offs or my footy season will end after my attendance at the
forthcoming Worthington Cup Final in Cardiff. On this latest visit to
Millwall I approached the ground from a different direction when I drove
through South Bermondsey. For opposition supporters getting off the trains
at South Bermondsey station it must look like they are entering Dodge
City. This is enhanced by the fact that the game was an evening kick-off
and the dark streets made it look even more menacing. Don't let this put
you off ever going to The Den if you get a chance because the atmosphere
in the ground is great and I cannot compare the singing in the stands to
anything I have heard in another football ground but try and go with a
local. To top the night off I got flashed on the way home by a GATSO on
the Old Kent Rd which means I am £60 lighter in my wallet and three points
heavier on my driving licence. Anyway let's move on, we have a lot to
I have been recording demos of some of the new tunes at the studio but not
without a few days of equipment stress. Me and Simon D had a nice day
tearing out our hair and looking at the blue screen on my studio pc. It
has just been souped-up but was not recognising my audio card. I cannot
begin to explain the shit that was going on but let's just say we
installed the drivers for the card in every way possible, doing it the
windows for dummies way, and then doing it the sneaky back door way and
every time we opened up the audio card utility it said "card not found"??
Aaaaargh...smash the fucking thing...........let's go the pub instead.
Luckily, Simon D had a boffin buddy close by who helped us out and got it
going with a very swift manoeuvre and a couple of clicks. Every time I
think I am getting to grips with computers Microsoft pull the rug out from
under my feet and tell me to go and join the "computer illiterates" line.
The gent who came to our aid is the younger brother of a guy called Steve
Sunderland who suffered a stroke some time ago. Sunderland Senior was
someone I got to know through my mate Stevie B. He used to pop down to my
studio now and then to sit down and talk about, and play, guitars. I never
knew him well enough to say he was a good mate of mine but he was someone
who I was always pleased to see and someone who always had a grin on his
face. All this coupled with a nice touch on the guitar made him a welcome
visitor at Big Top anytime. I suppose my recent flirtations with different
tunings started with Steve Sunderland as he was the first person to show
me open D tuning so, indirectly, he has had a hand in all these new tunes
I have been writing in open D. Steve passed away last week after spending
a long time in hospital and is probably auditioning as I type for the
house band upstairs saying "'Ere Jimi, ever tried DADGAD???". I know this
page has had plenty of dead musicians at the top when they have popped off
this mortal coil and that is why I decided to put a picture of Steve on
the top this week. I think he would be pleased to be in the company of Joe
Strummer, John Entwistle and Maurice Gibb (and that is only in the last
six months). Why did we get on to this subject..............well the gent
who came to our aid with the sound card was Steve's younger brother
Michael who is a mate of Simon D. Small world or what?? He was rewarded
with a swift pint in The Mitre with Marky Mark (again, happier now??two
mentions in a month???) and his wife Lorraine and Mad Spanish.
While we are on the subject of pubs I forgot to mention something that
happened after the Liverpool v Arsenal game at Anfield. I was in The Flat
Iron pub after the game with my mate Pete and we were sitting next to a
couple of Arsenal fans in the pub. I went to the bar and when I came back
one of these guys stuck his match programme under my nose and asked me to
sign it. I looked at Pete and wondered if he had said something to him but
this guy had recognised me!?!? I couldn't believe it. Well weird. The last
time I was "spotted" was in the off licence next to my studio by a scouser
who had seen me every other day for about a week but I have to take my hat
off to The Gooner. Very good spot. I was wearing a fucking baseball cap as
well so he had no "hair clue". Ten out of ten for observation. I signed
his programme next to a picture of Bill Shankley. He was chuffed and so
was I. Good result all round, especially after the draw we snatched from
The Gooners.
After the session in The Mitre with the above mentioned posse I had to
jump a bus to my son's school to MC the International Evening. I always
like the International Evening and I am sure there have been reviews of
previous International Evenings in these pages. The reason I like it is
because there is always some good grub on offer. There is a Japanese
couple who have had children in the school for years and they always turn
up with loads of home-made sushi. I can see other parents talking to them
and saying "raw fish?....oh no, I'm quite full". This leaves the way open
for the sushimeister, fuelled on tumblers of red wine, to creep in and
sneak away with Japan's best home-made. An interesting addition this year
was a couple of African families, one carrying a blinding beef curry. Ok,
what have we learned about other countires?? Fuck all, all you've learned
is I am a fat bastard when I ain't eaten all day and the grub on offer is
good. The only scary moment of the evening came when the headmistress
walked up to me and said "Do you sing in your band?? Get up and give us a
song!!". Luckily your correspondent was able to swerve the invitation and
managed to stay behind the bar serving the other "internationals". As a
people, the residents of these isles are a pretty insular bunch but add
alcohol and food into the equation then you are appealing to
everyone...the drunks and the gluttons. I managed to set up the PA system
and the only downside was the headmistress continually pointing the
microphone into the speaker next to her which resulted in the high pitch
screeching that we have all heard before.
I was lucky enough to be able to pop out last Sunday afternoon to catch
the second half of a Michael Moore double bill at my local arty cinema.
They were showing "Columbine" and "Roger & Me" which was his first movie.
It was a little bleaker than the other stuff he has done but still great
film making, and made way back in 1988. It follows MM's quest to get to
see the boss of General Motors who has just closed down the local GM plant
in his home town of Flint, Michigan, putting 30,000 people out of work. I
won't go into detail but just reiterate what I have said about MM before.
Watch his films and read his books and become a little bit more
enlightened than you already think you are. There is a scene in "Roger &
Me" where a woman clubs a rabbit a couple of times and then proceeds to
skin it. The reason she is doing this is she is on welfare and she is
raising an extra $15 a week by selling rabbits as pets, or meat. The two
women sitting next to me winced when the woman clubbed the rabbit. This
leads me to a point in his new book "Stupid White Men" where he explains
that there two scenes in "Roger & Me": One showing a rabbit being clubbed
and a scene showing an unarmed black man being shot by the police in the
middle of the road. He tells of the complaints received about the rabbit
scene. There were no complaints about the black man being shot because it
is just not a shocking image anymore. I have read the book and I witnessed
this reaction in the cinema, it certainly makes you think.
Fed up yet??? Well, as Jiminy Cricket said "There's more!!!" I went to see
Low on Friday night with a few other disciples and a couple of new
disciples. Me and AfroMart holding the standard with Sloe Joe second in
command, with Raul and Simon D who were Low "virgins". The gig was fucking
wicked as always. It was a The Union Chapel in Islington which is a great
big Victorian church and I won't bore you but you know what I think of the
band, needless to say I was well blissed-out for about an hour. Great
tunes, Mimi is a godess and Alan Sparhawk is a great guitar player (not
forgetting Zak too). I went to the following night with Cujo Kev who was
well blissed-out too. These gigs were Friday and Saturday night but I
missed out a very important Saturday afternoon. I went on the peace march
in central London with my son Taylor. We were joined by Simon D and Leanne
and Debbie with Frankie B and Maria and some friends of theirs who had
come up from Ringwood in Hampshire. Nine very different people all
together with one aim, sort of a microcosm of society. I am not one for
public pronouncements, except in the pub with some chaps, but I thought I
should go, and Taylor was up for it too. I was proud of him because the
only thing he asked for all day was a hot chocolate from McDonalds. Maria,
who is from South America (Chile) asked him if he had been on a march
before and told him that he would remember it for as long as he lived. Her
first march was the "Cinco De Mayo" marches in Argentina. She was marching
to protest about "The Disappeared" in Argentina which was a huge day in
their history. I was pleased he went because this was the biggest peace
march in London and by taking part he has become a part of history. The
march was great and it was brilliant to see so many young people out
there. I don't want to sound like some old twat but I am encouraged to see
that such a large number of the "youth of today" present instead of
drinking lager with Apple Sour chasers in Wetherspoons. Big shout to Tom
Duff Paddy who was out there marching to with the rest of his young
disciples. The police seemd pretty cool and it was great to walk down
Tottenham Court Road without traffic. It was great walking down
Shaftesbury Avenue and being waved to by the cast of "Les Miserables"
hanging out of the windows of the theatre. We got to the park and we said
our goodbyes and headed down into Green Park tube station. My dodgy leg
was giving me a bit of greif as I had been doing more standing than
walking and I thought that we had both shown our support, plus I had to
get back for the next Low gig.
There's more...........still............. Roll on Sunday afternoon and I
am installed in The King Of Bohemia in Hampstead with Kev P, Jim amd Tonto
watching footy before a night out at Dingwalls in Camden watching "Three
Men and Black" which is a punk / two-tone "supergroup". The band is Jake
Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers),
Pauline Black and some other bloke (The Selector). They played various
tunes from their past's and it was a decent nights entertainment but not
as entertaining as Mr P coating me off about the comments I had made on
the website the previous week concerning Mo Gibb and Joe Strummer. As time
is short I will precis "What the fuck can Maurice Gibb teach Joe fucking
Strummer". Most entertaining.
So last night I was at Hammersmith Apollo watching Peter Kay. If you don't
watch "That Peter Kay Thing" or "Phoenix Nights" then you may know Peter
Kay from the John Smith's Bitter commercials that have been showing for a
year on tv in Britain. He was good to see and me and Simon D had a chuckle
or three (this songwriting stuff cannot be stopped). I took my mini-disc
and recorded it, as I did the Low gig, and have spent most of today
recording it into the computer and will bein slicing it up into bite-size
peices as soon as I have finished this edition.
Lastly, I have a release for the album. I hope (fingers crossed) that it
will be available from 3rd March unless I have more grief from the
pressing plant. I thought 03/03/03 sounded like a day when something big
should happen and maybe that happening is the rolling out of the big
cheese. Let's hope so. I am now off to put my aching fore-fingers into
some surgical spirit and hope it won't be quite as long before I put
finger my keyboard again. Ooooohh x 2 Matron.


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