Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley

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.




Listening to David Grubbs’ beautiful album, Rickets and Scurvey on the train. When I was a teenager, my mate Chris brought an album called Skag Heaven by an obscure, independent hardcore band from Kentucky called Squirrel Bait from a (back then) exotic holiday in the USA back to Bramhall, Stockport that we listened to over and over. I still own the cassette that I taped off his bedroom stereo, bought the CD years later and still regularly play it when I need a shot of energy and enthusiasm that only music from that era can provide.

They released a couple of musically interesting and melodic post-punk albums before fragmenting and going on to form, join or directly influence Bastro, Gastr del Sol, Red Krayola, Slint, the Lemonheads, Tortoise, Papa M, King Kong, The Sea and Cake, Will Oldham’s Palace Music and Jim O’Rourke’s solo outings.

David Grubbs went onto record several beautifully crafted solo albums; The Spectrum Between; Rickets and Scurvy and A Guess at the Riddle. Go buy ‘em, or listen online they’re fabulous.

Underneath the Arches

Arch#1 New Mills Viaduct – Sheltered from the driving rain, trying to remember how to climb by crabbing back and forth along the chalky traverse. It’s damp and a little unnerving with big drips threatening to knock out my contact lenses when leaning back, straight armed to shake out the pump from my out-of-condition forearms. Enthusiasm and the psyche is low for rock climbing. The weather is awful and the grim outdoor gyms of Raven Tor and The Cornice the only venues available. I’m not in the mood for dangling around trying moves on other peoples warmups.


Arch#2 MOSI, Manchester. Bjork. The stage is surrounded with Heath Robinson-esque musical contraptions. Bouncing along to a bassline generated by a Tesla coil; strange oriental strings on ginourmous pendulums; a beautiful Icelandic girls choir. Bjork the entertainer in a huge red Afro wig. Tremendous.

Arch#3 the San Siro Italy, uncomfortably watching Robbie Williams having a what appears to be a bi-polar breakdown in front of 75000 people.

Listening to: EMA, Off!, James Blake, Tek 9, Gatto Fritto.
Reading: Hitch22, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in Cheshire/Scouse by S Armitage), Phil Baker’s Bio of AOS, Dan John.