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That Was That Thing That Was

2000 - To London!
2001 - Fosca, Swedish tour, Kasia, shit Crouch End bedsit, hoovering up ants.
2002 - Liking coffee, songwriting, giving up solo performing, Baroque group, Archway.
2003 - Kidnapping Passant, graduation, Ticketmaster job, NHS job, starting MA.
2004 - Scarlet's Well, German tour, The Butterfly Stitch, Whitechapel, creative energies.
2005 - Psychoanalysis, Spanish festival, depression, H Bird, life drawing, Stoke Newington.
2006 - Escaping NHS job, freelancing, New London Orchestra, taking up exercise, finishing MA.
2007 - Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra, teacher training, Clapton, cohabitation.
2008 - NQT year, Fridays in the Maynard, 18 Carat Love Affair, Jarvis at the Apollo.
2009 - 18 Carat Wreck Affair, homelessness, sexual politics, California roadtrip, Wood Green, Latitude, mortgage.
Quick one. I am doing a 5K run with fellow teachers and kids from school today in aid of a local cerebral palsy centre. If you'd like to help out, sponsor us here:

If you happen to be near Hyde Park, I will be the one crawling at the back after a weekend of gigs. I think the Queen Elizabeth Hall acoustics have spoiled me for small venues forever. You practically only have to whisper down the tuba and the notes are gently and soothingly escorted away into the rafters. Just as well, since we had been celebrating a rather decent Carat gig (and our escape from the horrors of Proud on a Friday night) until daft o'clock in Horry's Dalston garden. Jim Rhesus' Pop Quiz will never get old.

Dec. 20th, 2008


The 18 Carat Love Affair
@ The Wilmington Arms, onstage 8pm, £5/£4

Venue here (Clerkenwell area):

We are first on, first off, so come before your other festivities!

I am feeling a bit gigged out at the moment after Fosca, 3 nights of school concert, 2 nights of MFMO at the Bloomsbury, with 2 days of rehearsing and gigging still left to go. Playing with Haines, Jeays and Robyn Hitchcock has been well worth it though.


Every Other Sunday

One of the curses of this job is the involuntary 7am Sunday wake-up. One of the other curses is that your day and night jobs both combine around the festive season to produce 2 weeks of solid rehearsals, weekend workdays and performances. If you ever wondered why you spent the last fortnight of secondary school watching Gremlins on 5th gen VHS, this is why.

Here's where and when:

Saturday 13th - Fosca @ Feeling Gloomy, 10.15pm

Thursday and Friday 18th/19th - Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra @ UCL Bloomsbury (sold out)

Saturday 20th - The 18 Carat Love Affair (acoustic) @ The Wilmington Arms

Sunday 21st - Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra @ Hammersmith Apollo

I hope these will be as enjoyable as the Melting Ice Caps / Soft Close Ups show last night which, oddly, was hosted in a museum. The Shah relaxed into the attentive crowd after a while and was soon breaking things and standing on chairs (albeit in a civilised fashion) and it was a pleasure to hear his voice again. It was quite a cosy affair with the promoters having to run up and down the narrow staircase to the offie for more bottled booze which they then sold at near-cost price in plastic cups. Jamie approved of the fact that they used their address as an entry stamp, complete with postcode. We didn't go to see the display of human bones in the basement but I hear they were spectacular.

There was no music in between bands, and after waiting a fruitless 35 minutes for the headliners we decided to bail and eat some dinner. Leicester Square on a Saturday night is like the centre of Florence in July minus the heat. We ended up finding a late-opening patisserie on Villiers Street where you can sit and eat cake and crepes and drink pots of tea at 11pm. Full of crabby old ladies living the high life, and Meditteranean gaggles who find such things normal. I think spurious late night desserts are going to be my new binge indulgence of choice - all the dietary hand-wringing without the hangover.

Now to plan 2 weeks of crap lessons and knackered band rehearsals in a vain attempt to make it out tonight. No offence is meant by any no-shows "at this difficult time".


My last Scarlet's Well "tour" (1 gig, albeit a festival). We played at PopRevo in Aarhus, DenmarkCollapse )

(Lots of slightly sad cod-philosophising deleted here.)

You've Been Around

If you would like to know what we got up to on our holidays you could do worse than here.

The green space therein spoken of looks like this:

A few moreCollapse )
My dad drove us up into the hills through lots of remote winding country lanes, then left us on a clifftop to find our way down to civilisation. It felt a bit like one of those tribal rituals where fathers leave their sons in the jungle to kill tigers with their bare hands and navigate their way home to the village to be crowned as men.

In other news, I would like to know any positive or negative thoughts you may have on the "3" mobile network. Orange have finally snapped my patience after 8 years of long-suffering loyalty with their new "Animal" plans. I do not wish to discuss with Orange Corp what type of person I am, nor whether I have more kinship with a racoon or a canary. (OK, fine, it's about money. One is after all now a student. My psychobabble co-operation would easily be given if they weren't also smug pseudo-'cultured' extortionist bastards whose website doesn't even load properly.)


Scott Walker's recent records really do sound exactly like Penderecki don't they?

Having foolhardily watched Inland Empire this afternoon, all 3 hours of it, despite knowing that Jamie's away and I'm stuck at home with horrible Lynch flashbacks in the dark, "Drift" has just come on random play and it may as well have been the soundtrack to the film (75% Penderecki's finest).

I'm wishing I lived closer to Brixton at the moment. Last night I had the honour to play guest keyboards and tambourine with the lovely Cats On Fire at the Windmill; also finally to see Jodie's band Brontosaurus Chorus, who were great fun too, though they could've done with 3 PAs to contain their orchestral lineup. Both bands were full of bounce and energy and noise, and that's what makes them great live. I'm totally sold on the joy of seeing real drums played well, too, these days.

Today to the Ritzy for the first time, for aforementioned Lynch wrongs. Then for jerk chicken and rice and peas and plantain. The cafe was part open-air, empty oil drums for a fence, happy music playing. It's a breath of fresh air after the carefully landscaped mosaic creche atmosphere of the Blue Legume et al in N16, that's for sure.

On the other hand, last night I witnessed members of the public standing in the road in front of a Brixton bus in pique at not being let on, followed by others chasing the bus into the road and pulling the emergency handle while it was moving. The bus driver, who'd had my sympathies up to this point, responded by trapping a girl's hand in the door and threatening that "next time you be dragged along the road". At this point a plain clothes policeman stood up at the back of the bus...

Supine on the Astroturf!

GOOD things about the Rip It Up festival: seeing our Scandi/Nordo friends - Ville, Hanna, Erika, Per, Therese, Kasper, and lots of other friendly faces; a backstage area that was an enormous indoor field of Astroturf; seeing Action Biker, Kissing Mirrors and Cats on Fire in immediate succession; playing to an adoring crowd of drunk young Swedes in fashion wellies who threw Barbie dolls and waved bewigged mannequin heads on sticks at Dickon.

BAD and just plain ODD things included: 23 hour day; accidentally eating moose burgers; Ryanair losing Tom's pedals and his clothes; not washing; not sleeping; and the TVPs "gig"... which was easily the worst performance I ever saw, and culminated in DT's complete transformation into Father Jack as he sat drooling at the Hammond and howled "DRINK!!!!"... it's not like he actually played a SONG at any point. Who the hilariously off-key blonde onstage behind him was, who didn't appear to know any of the TVPs catalogue but who soldiered through their 9,000 hour set, we may never know.

Not forgetting, white wine in orange juice cartonsCollapse )

Dickon and Rachel have already filed their accounts with much photo and video evidence, so I shall contribute my one picture from the festival. I feel it stands alone.


Time taken for me to donate 1 pint of blood on Tuesday:
4 minutes and thirty-three seconds

Lateness accumulated by J's colleagues in latest month:
4 hours and thirty-three minutes

It's clearly a message.
And the message is "come and see the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra at the 100 Club at 8pm tonight".

Writ in blood no less.

There would be other things here if other other things weren't occuping the time required to give account of other things. Same excuse as ever. 7am flight to Gothenburg, and I haven't packed. Love, etc.