It was a really special thing. I just happened to be online last Saturday morning when the cafe OTO email popped into my inbox and bought two tickets for me and Wass immediately. It sold out in about 30 minutes…
It was freezing queuing up last night and I was stood next to Evan Parker for half an hour but was too shy to say thanks for all his great music. Once inside we got a great place, half stood, half crouched by the front. It started with a short film on Yoko which was very moving.. She’s had such a difficult and challenging life. Some beautiful footage of her in love with John Lennon then tear jerking shots after he was killed and her accepting a Grammy on his behalf with Julian as a little boy.. Then she walks through the small audience, a tiny, sparrow like lady, smiling and shy.
Thurston Moore, towering above her taking a side place on the stage and Steve Shelley, big enough in girth behind a small drum kit.
Then an hours performance, a proper performance. Some improvised, some of Yoko’s songs. Very intimate, very real, very fun, very sweet, very good…
It finished with a short encore. Yoko strapping on a guitar, Thurston also and they did a very sweet, playful flirtation without touching the strings, just footsteps, stepping into the audience without a sound.. Faces drawing closers as if for a kiss then struck each other’s guitars with the necks, a wall of noise and applause, tears and goodwill. I was pretty choked…. Quite a performance and one I’ll remember for a long time. Not a “tick” of ooh guess who I’ve seen live, but a real privilege to be there with my girlfriend who also loved every minute..

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Podcast – Music

March 1, 2014

I recorded some records for your listening pleasure…

23 Skidoo Podcast

I’ll put a track listing up once I figure out what I put on.

My local cliff

February 12, 2014

Trellick Tower is my landmark, my locus, glowing orange at dusk and dulled grey in the rain. Taller than Malham and Kilnsey, it adds a familiar vertiginous perspective to my life.

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Albums and stuff from 2013

December 3, 2013

OK kids here it is, the perennial albums/music/gigs of the year 2013.

I’ve spent most of the year listening to older music, but there’s a few gems that have made the playlist this year.

1 – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away.

A tremendous album. The best from the band in years. So worthwhile in anybody’s collection. Jubilee Street is probably one of the best songs of this decade.

2 – British Sea Power: Machineries of Joy.

A proper pop-rock LP. So many good songs with a real energy, propulsion and, well, joy.

3 – Savages: Silence Yourself.

Four piece band channeling Souxie and the Banshees & Ian Curtis into a stripped down, angular, danceable post-punk 2013 sound. Brilliant.

4 – Jon Hopkins: Immunity.

Minimal electronica and techno with a lot of feeling and emotion. You can hear the King Creosote influence here in spite of it being a computer thing…

5 – James Blake: Overblown.

Superbly navigates the space between lush analogue and crispy digital. I kept thinking my stylus was fucked until I realised there was deliberate distortion on some of the channels in the mix. Very good songwriting realised to great effect and a proper album with the ebb and flow that rewards repeated listening.

6 – Fat White Family: Champagne Holocaust.

Dirty, scuzzy Happy Monday’s ‘esque avant pop. I’d like to see this band live.

7 – Pissed Jeans: Honeys.

Following the same template. Garage rock at its best. Stooges/Dwarves/Lazy Cowgirls. Get pissed, smoke fags, take class A drugs, take two or three strippers out for the night.

8 – Grumbling Fur: Glynnaestra

As if The Orb, Primal Scream, Psychic TV and Fairport Covention emerged from a mission to Mars induced sleep. This is quality.

9 – Wardruna: Yggdrasil.

Nordic spiritual music played on bones, reindeer gut, ancient wood and chanting by Gaahl of Gorgoroth. What more do you want?

10 – The Asphodells: Ruled by Passion, Destroyed By Lust.

Master shaman Andy Weatherall and friends conjure up a very British gauze covered wound of lush, dub based chugging guitar electronic pop songs.

11 – Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980

Dion Hinchcliffe’s (Tindersticks) soundtrack to the Red Riding episode “1980” – the grimmest one.

Lots of 12”’s and other shapes worth mentioning too.

1 – Theo Parrish/Tony Allen: Day like this.

Fela Kuti’s drummer teams up with TP for a really soulful excursion all recorded live with beautiful vocals from Eska Mtungwazi.

2 – The Asphodells remixes.

3 – Soulwax’s cut of Pulp.

4 – Juan Atkins/Moritz Von Oswald: Borderland series. Techno legend with Basic Channel/Rhythm and Sound legend.

5 – PsychicTV – Silver Sundown Machine. Like it says on the tin.

On the reissue:

#1 has to be Bobby Beasoleil’s “Lucifer Rising” soundtrack box set.
Closely followed by A Tribute to Conny Plank; Kraut producer extraordinaire. Then Dark’s “Dark round the edges” very rare psych-folk-rock album from 1972 with Comus’s “First Utterance” following a similar template. Slayer’s classics remastered and cut to 180g are pretty breathtaking and The Beatles box set (although this was released last year) is fucking amazing.

It’s too much

November 13, 2013

The humidity ratcheted up until he couldn’t bear it any longer. “That’s it, I can’t work in this heat, it’s too much”. Just unzipped his boiler suit, dropped the wrench on the gantry and walked away, leaving me there holding the radio looking at the crane operator raising his arms at me in a what-the-fuck? gesture. I didn’t say anything. By the time I’d got back to the ops centre, he’d gone.

I stayed up until 4am last night, on my aching feet for hours. A few vodka red bulls helped to stave off the exhaustion and the heinekens added a bit of a buzz. Savages kicked off, the stage below a huge photovoltaic array like a piece of fallen spacecraft. What a great band. Four women, one guitar, one bass, drums and the singer. Dressed in black. Not a lot of talking. Perfect post-punk. Angular, sharp, arresting and punchy. Jehnny Beth channeling Ian Curtis and with a voice like Souxie Sou. Tame Impala have some great tunes but it all felt a bit, well, tame. Next up, Dinosaur Jr, a band I’ve not seen for nearly twenty five years. Wow, just perfect. J Mascis coaxing everything from his battered Strat and a wall of Marshall’s with Lou Barlow pummelling a low slung Rickenbacker and alternating on vocals. You can’t beat a three piece playing intense rock n’roll. Loads of songs, some classics, some obscure. A cover of The Cure’s “Just like Heaven” was in there somewhere adn Damien from Fucked Up joined them for a cover of Last Right’s “Chunks” to end a blistering set. I regretfully had to pass on Bob Mould for the Postal Service but I’d seen him and the new band last year. PS were dreamy. Lovely melodic quirky pop music only spoilt by the endless jabbering of over excited stoned Spaniards around us. I was hungry so ate some chips covered in ketchup and mustard. Next on Fucked Up. A delighted band open up with “Queen of Hearts” and we all sing along as Damien throws his not inconsiderable girth around the stage and into the crowd. I had an itch that needed to be scratched though and that was to see Death Grips. I’ve struggled with their music but had a hunch that they might be something to see live and boy was I not mistaken. Juddering foundation loosening sub bass. Manic skittering snares. Ugly Einstürzende Neubauten inspired breakbeats and “Energy Flash” hardcore synth stabs. That’s just the music. Lead man MC Ride is the bastard son of Fela Kuti and Henry Rollins in his darkest ‘End of Silence’ days. What a performance. It was f*cking mental. After that I chilled out with some Four Tet and then Animal Collective before exhaustion took hold. With memories of enormous queues for buses and taxis after Sonar some years back I’d booked a hotel right by the site so it’s only a five minute walk back to a comfy bed. Festivals in Cities are really good. No mud and you can get away from it all and chill out. A nice tapas lunch and a wander around the City. Marc bought me an Intronaut LP to add to the couple of bagfuls I’ve already bought here as there are some flippin’ great record stores with tents on the festival site. I’m going to drink some Cava now and then go and see Om, Shellac, James Blake, Swans and Goat tonight. I love music.

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Haiku

May 20, 2013

Spring:
A hill without a name
Veiled in the morning mist.

(Matsuo Basho 1644-1694)

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