New album out in spring (a typically eccentric addition to the Diversions series in the form of a album of the songs of Molly Drake) and a series of mainly very-small-venue gigs. For some reason the tickets for the earlier of the two London gigs, at The Albany in Deptford, are only a tenner each. Get ’em while they’re hot.
Last night I did something which I don’t think I have ever done before at a paying gig, and that is walk out before the end because I had enough and couldn’t be bothered to stay. I’ve had to leave gigs early because of transport issues before. Once or twice I’ve missed looked-forward to shows due to illness. But this was different. I couldn’t wait for the set to end and left.
It wasn’t really the act’s fault (I’ll save naming them till the end, because their identity isn’t really the issue) but for the first time I found myself becoming aware that my feet were sore enough from standing, that I was getting fed up enough of the ‘hilarious’ drunks in the corner, that I wasn’t going to hear anything better than what I was already a bit bored with, that if my phone hadn’t had a flat battery I would have checked for wifi and browsed my Facebook. So I turned to my other half and said, ‘What do you make of it?’ Barely were those words out of my mouth she said, ‘I’m ready to go whenever you are.’ And so we headed for the door.
I’ve spent the last couple of days decorating the living room, which means that I have had to move all the piles of CDs, DVDs and books for which there is no longer room on the shelves and, for the moment, pile them in the spare room ready for selling or charity shop disposal. It hurts getting rid of this stuff, doesn’t? I’ve done it before and honestly not regretted losing my precious possessions, or re-bought them, but I still hate to see them go.
Yesterday I went out for a walk after being cooped up in my flat for so long and came across this heart-breaking sight. I asked the couple in the house before having a rummage and it turns out they are moving somewhere smaller but none of the local charities could take such a large donation (about 2000 books, they thought). I rescued some of course, including firsts of Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler. No great financial value, but I couldn’t let a copy of The Quiet American that someone had cherished so much that they had stored a 1967 newspaper clipping about a screening of the film inside go to landfill.
For some reason I have never really paid attention to Mogwai, but I watched the DVD of Zidane today and one of my favourite things was their soundtrack. I have downloaded a few free (legal) mp3s which I like too, but as with any band with a sizeable back catalogue it’s difficult to know where to start investigating further. I tried archive.org, but there are more than 250 gigs on there to choose from, which I throw in for the information of existing fans – link follows.
I know that they are much admired by some around here, so any particular stage of their career to try?
The Coliseum, London
When you consider the less promising material which has already been turned into juke box musicals, it’s surprising that it has taken so long for Bat Out of Hell and the rest of the Jim Steinman/Meat Loaf catalogue to make the transition. Bat developed out of an intended stage show, but only now, 40 years later, is it to become the full rock and roll spectacular that it was always meant to be. Perhaps the time was just never right while Meat was still touring, but it is well documented that he has struggled with performing in recent years, and there’s no shame in that – he’s poking 70 with a very short stick and these are demanding, lung-busting tunes.
If you are one of those joyless individuals who can honestly claim that they never strummed a tennis racquet to Paradise by the Dashboard Light or imitated the revving motorbike in Bat Out of Hell you may as well stop reading now. Taking big, overblown rock songs and transferring them to the stage isn’t going to change your mind. The plot aims to do full justice to to a project which rarely allowed » Continue Reading.
Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy Taxi to the terminal zone, Cut your engines, cool your wings, And let me make it to the telephone
I found myself humming a tune I hadn’t thought about for decades today, but nothing I Google can tell me who the singer was, and if anyone will know it’s sure to be someone here.
In the mid 80s I was given a tape by a friend of mine. I don’t think I ever heard of the performer in any other context so it’s highly possible that they never made any national impact their only recordings were tapes sold at gigs. I’m pretty sure he was Northern English, and the songs were very much in the Jake Thackray mould. I remember bits of three of them:
1) The spirit of a soldier contemplates the pointlessness of the war memorial with his name on it (‘Now the kids use it to sit on, and the dogs use it to pee. / They should have saved their hard-earned brass and planted a tree / To be all in remembrance of me.’)
2) A sardonic take on love songs when romance vanishes if it is over-analysed (‘So I don’t think I’ll ever write another love song / Because love is just the interaction of personality defence mechanisms.’)
3) A bawdy seaside postcard of » Continue Reading.
The modern media attaches a remarkably flexible definition to the word ‘celebrity’, as shown by the most recent inhabitants of the Celebrity Big Brother house, whom the Telegraph has helpfully listed for those of us who would otherwise be ignorant of this important cultural phenomenon.
But honest now – how many *you* heard of? Extra points for creative snarkiness.
Who’s in the house?
1. Christopher Biggins – Tick
2. Saira Khan – I think so. Was she a contestant in the Apprentice?
3. Frankie Grande – Nope
4. Ricky Norwood – Not a Scoobie
5. Renee Graziano – Never heard of her
6. Marnie Simpson – Who?
7. James Whale – Yes! Radio talk show host wasn’t he?
8. Aubrey O’Day – You’re making that up
9. Stephen Bear – Search me
10. Katie Waissel – My years of watching X Factor pay off at last
11. Lewis Bloor – Rings a bell, but no
12. Grant Bovey – Used to be (still is?) married to Anthea Turner, I think
13. Chloe Khan – You’ve lost me again
14. Heavy D – I’m guessing rap/hip hop. Not my area
15. Samantha Fox – Finally! A housemate guaranteed to be recognised » Continue Reading.
Cadogan Hall, Chelsea
There may not be much point in reviewing a one-off event which no-one can attend/miss based on your recommendation, but this was a new type of night out for me and I might as well set my thoughts down.
In honour of the 400th year since Shakespeare’s death, and in aid of an actors’ benevolent fund, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed a range of Shakespeare-related music from composers such as Walton, Purcell and Vaughan Williams and Sir Patrick Stewart and Gemma Arterton read extracts from the bard and related writings. Actually, there were far more related writings than I had expected. The Shakespeare extracts were selected largely on the basis of their mentioning music and at least half of the readings were from collections of amusing reviews, actors’ reminiscences and so on. Both actors played the evening for maximum laughs, there not being much point in building a character when you will move on to another (it might be John Geilgud – both attempted impersonations at some point) literally minutes later. Patrick Stewart demonstrated an array of amusing accents, while Gemma Arterton specialised in being spell-bindingly gorgeous. No point in not playing to » Continue Reading.
Checking to see why iTunes was taking to download my regular podcasts just now I discovered that it was because every one of the old Word podcasts was being freshly downloaded automatically into my library. I don’t now if this is because I suscribe to the current ones and they have been republished somehow, but it might explain slow computers and full iPods across the land of the Massive.
Quick heads up – we went to the Stonefree festival at the O2 today where we found that tickets are only needed for the evening and the main arena. The afternoon acts on the other stages, the Fireball in the lobby and the Indigo, are free entry.
I suppose this might have annoyed anyone who splashed out for a festival tickets because they were fans of Michael Monroe or Therapy? and then found out that could have seen them free, but anyway … Today is prog day at Stonefree and Indigo have a bunch of acts I have never heard of (contemporary prog isn’t my thing – you may know and revere the names) but is headlined (from 4 to 5pm) slightly incongruously by Wilko. Full schedule here (remember it’s the Fireball and Indigo only which are free, or at least we’re yesterday –
A quick one – we will be staying in London over the weekend and our accommodation is on Brick Lane, so it would be a sin not to eat some Indian food while we are there. There is loads of choice of course, but we hope to draw on the collective experience of the Massive to pick out a gem on or near Brick Lane.
We have a busy schedule throughout our stay, including shows on Friday and Saturday, so we are looking for recommendations for a quick, early evening, Indian, vegetarian meal. I know you won’t let us down.
I can’t promise to look after this as closely as I should as I’m popping in and out of the kitchen right now and will probably be drunk by the time it’s over, but we need somewhere for all of us (which is more than might admit it) enjoying the show. Away you go.
Quick! They’re playing at the petrol station at the end of the road!
Fans, however, entered into the spirit of the event, designing flyers for the show – claiming it was sponsored by Monster energy drinks – and printing tickets. Ads appeared on Craigslist offering tickets – one claimed to have $50 VIP packages available to those who went to the Sunoco and bought a a Mountain Dew, two Slim Jims, a container of engine oil and two strawberry-flavoured Black & Milds.
I posted this over on the Actors Who Recorded Albums thread and it met with widespread approval despite being buried well down the thread. I offer if here for no other reason then to allow more people to bask in the glory of its magnificence.
Joe Jackson and the Ben Folds Five accompany William Shatner’s committed and rather brilliant performance of Pulp’s Common People on the Jay Leno show. Enjoy.
I don’t understand the new joke/message on the copyright line at the bottom of the page. Something to do with X-Box game-things?
Dear God. I fear the in-jokes on The Afterword may have become too young and hip for me; I knew this day would come, but surely not so soon? The only thing left for it is record Sing Something Simple and put it on a constant loop to croon me to the grave.
Quick heads up for the comics fans here – Future Shock! The Story of 2000ad documentary is on Film 4 at 23:25 tomorrow.
Earlier this week my electronics had a collective breakdown whereby the remote controls of both the TV and the HDR stopped working, or almost stopped working. If a button on the remote control was pressed the light on the relevant piece of kit would flash for about 30 seconds and the instruction sent would either not be sent, or would be sent repeatedly (so a single press of a volume button would send the volume to maximum or minimum). At one point the using the power saving button on the HDR caused the channels to change (which is more than I could do with the channel button); the blu ray player was unaffected.
I can’t put it down to one item having some kind of shake-down because the faults on the TV and HDR wre simultaneous. Both worked fine the day after, and have been fine since, but I’m curious about what caused this. Some other signal in the flats where I live blocking mine? Something atmospheric which affected infra-red signals? Any ideas from members of the Massive who are more electronically clued up than me?
Curious of Chelmsford
For a very British take on the Tiny Desk Concerts rightly celebrated by @pajp below you could do worse than to try the Black Cab Sessions – all your favourite musos have one take to play a song recorded in the back of a black cab. This one with RT, Judith Owen and Debra Donkin playing a mournful medieval carol while crammed into the back of a cab with a guitar, a large drum and a cameraman, is favourite of mine, but there are dozens of them in the link.
Shocking commercial betrayal of the grass roots principles of the fest, or the usual ‘biggest act we can get’ story? Couldn’t give a tupenny one myself, but that’s just me, and I’m kinda drunk right now (reaches for one of the two glasses he can see, misses, and wonders if it might be time for bed).
So just like the present incumbent then.
I’m surprised to see that no one has taken the opportunity to sharpen the Afterword’s claws on the news that Moz in considering running for Mayor of London. What’s his platform, other than the above stated ‘meet the new boss / same as the old boss’ campaign slogan? Gladioli in all public gardens? Compulsory vegetarianism is council workplace eateries? (Actually, I’d vote for both of those if I lived in the smoke and had a vote.)
(Photo from Londonist.com)
You’ve probably all read the story before. It’s said to be the saddest ever written and all contained in 6 words:
For sale: baby’s shoes, never worn.
There is a link circulating on Facebook at the moment attributing it to Hemingway. That’s probably rubbish, but it made me think about Afterword appropriate 6 word stories. I’ve written one below to get the ball rolling, but I’m sure you can do much, much better.
No dice, Paul. Guitars are out.
Colchester Arts Centre
There’s no danger of spoilers in a review of Ross Noble – so much of his material comes from riffs with the audience and inspired improvisation that his tour DVDs often feature multiple shows from the same run, each with almost entirely different material. We’d seen the Geordie genius a couple of times at bigger venues, and have booked to see him again in October, but this was a chance to catch him from close range at a warm up gig to get him match fit for his upcoming Australian dates.
Parts of his show were clearly prepared in advance and form the structure of his set (why ISIS hate circuses, his recent vasectomy), but the best parts, the ones which made me laugh so hard I thought I might have breathing difficulties, came from his interaction of the audience in the seats around us. We weren’t daft enough to sit in the front row, but were almost next to the woman who explained the empty seat right at the front by saying the young lads next it had been keeping it free for her son: ‘Why isn’t he here?’ ‘Because I » Continue Reading.
MPs have just voted in favour of England adopting a national anthem for sporting events and the like. Fair enough; they have had to use the UK anthem in the absence of one of their own for too long. That miserable dirge wouldn’t stir the heart of anyone, and given that many English people are neither deists nor republicans the lack of a toe-tapping melody isn’t its only problem.
You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?
There is a vacancy and we’re surely the people to name the song fill it. My suggestion is that we should use the sad passing of the Dame as an excuse to adopt one of his – imagine Wembley singing ‘Oh You Pretty Things’ at the tops of their voices before a game. Even though I’m Scottish, though long resident in English, I’m tearing up all over again at the thought of it.
Today’s short maintenance break reminds me again how grateful I am to the admins and other behind the scenes types who keep this site up and running. Thanks again to all of you, and everyone else who contributes here in whatever form. My wallet might be thicker without your recommendations, but my leisure time and webbrowsing vastly less rewarding.