Sunday, December 09, 2007


Sunday 9 December 2007

Things are getting serious now. Christmas is truly just around the corner and I don’t know what to do about any of it. With regards to life at this time I don’t think things could possibly be any more confused. Of course none of this is helped by the fact that tonight I have to head up to Camden on a Sunday evening to see GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan perform at the Koko. Am I really entitled to attend this?

Beforehand however I have to get through the day which involves pottering around my flat before heading to my parents for Sunday lunch. Happily today is a beautiful and it cuts down on the chore of having to board a train on my day off.

Despite saying she would call this weekend Zoe has still not been in touch when it comes time to head up town.

Being a Sunday naturally there is a bus replacement service to deal although from Colchester it is only to Marks Tey so sensibly I decide to just head up the A12 and board the train there thus avoiding any shitty seventh grade buses.

Despite being December and thus winter today is a surprisingly bright day. Perhaps this is an indication that things are trending upwards.

As I board the train I still have not heard from Iain but I take it in trust that he is still heading out tonight. From here the train journey is a relative breeze with the usual lost souls riding a late afternoon train on a Sunday.

Upon getting into Liverpool Street swiftly I head up to Mornington Crescent where it transpires that Iain is in the Costa opposite the Koko. When I arrive he and his mate are hanging, suffering from the excesses of a Christmas party gig put on by 1965 Records at the ULU last night.

Despite this we soon get into a weird conversation about old school WWF wrestling and how we have so much good shit on VHS cassettes that we will never watch again. For the longest time we actually consider the notion of transferring them but life is too short.

At this point my phone rings and it is Zoe making her promised phonecall. This is a pleasant surprise, seems she is a girl of her word after all. We check in, seeing how each other’s weekends have gone. She asks me what I am doing and I am able to tell her that I am in Camden for a big hip hop while she is at home about to watch Celebrity Come Dancing or something. We laugh our way through the call and when I mention I am out with Iain she wants to have a quick word with him. I make excuses and tell her that he is busy or has gone to the toilet or something. The call soon ends with her telling me to enjoy myself.

Soon we are in the queue around the corner of the Koko waiting to go in. Suddenly it turns out that Iain’s mate is a West Ham fan which offers me the opportunity to sound off, not least with regards to the 4-1 Millwall victory where they missed two penalties.

Inside the Koko it is a very white audience, I guess the black community have been priced out of the game. It is a very tetchy and petulant audience, these wiggers are on the whole spoilt brats. At this point Iain begins to look/feel awkward being the tallest person in the building as well as green around the gills.

It turns out to be a pretty long night as unsurprisingly the wait for GZA lasts forever. I remember at Phoenix Festival back in 1996 and waiting for RZA to appear on the main stage but instead on came the next band on the bill who were Stereolab. The poor fuckers got pelted and I knew never to trust any members of the Wu-Tang Clan ever again.

Hip hop live shows are weird affairs, very alien when compared with rock shows. You do not get support acts, you get some guy onstage playing records. And he sure loves to play his large collection. Occasionally he teases the crowd with a Wu-Tang joint but always it is a false dawn.

Then we lose Iain. At first I think he has just gone off to the toilet but he never returns, he gone even before the GZA has started his set.

With the crowd beginning boo the gap between each song of the DJ suddenly the famous sample/lines “when I was little, my father was famous” drop and everything goes off as Liquid Swords opens up and GZA finally strolls onstage as he begins driving this shit.

There is no question that Liquid Swords is an amazing album by an amazing artist but in this live setting this is a whole different dimension. In other words at times it is barely recognisable that it is this album that is being performed.

GZA cuts an impressive stature. The guy looks like John Coltrane and onstage still cuts it as an imposing presence while a small gang of pretender rude boys bound around him adding punch and emphasis to various moments in the Liquid Swords cannon.

As the night continues to get tetchy with more trust fund wiggers getting in the way eventually “Swordsman” drops with its trademark pound and menacing atmospherics as GZA launches into the most aggressive song on the record, an aggression that fits tonight’s surroundings.

Having come onstage late means the GZA runs late and as the tunes begin to run dry he begins to run off his mouth as he bemoans the state of modern hip hop (perhaps due to the fact that he is not on the gravy train). Initially he refrains from cussing anyone directly but then (fair enough) he drops the name Soulja Boy, who quite frankly is a real talentless piece of shit. At this point GZA thinks better of what he just said and stops rapping to explain himself as he acknowledges “now this shit will probably be on Youtube tomorrow” although in the end rather than explain what he says he more seems to retract it seemingly in a gesture not to burn potential bridges.

By now the Sunday night in December is getting pretty late and with fear of the shitty transport at this time Iain’s mate and I head off. He’s a cool guy. Soon I find myself at Liverpool Street and boarding a horribly late Sunday night train home.

The Sunday night train out of Liverpool Street is always one of the scariest journeys that goes to Colchester. With the carriages being very sparse and the train running very slowly (stopping at all stations) you can’t help but feel that this is the kind of train bad stuff and crimes occur on.

Thankfully the train eventually gets back to Marks Tey and I return home in one piece having survived both the world of hip hop and the midnight train.

I’ll be fucked tomorrow.

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