Friday, October 23, 2009


Friday 23 October 2009

I wake up this morning feeling happy, feeling fond of the sunshine outside my window. The time is 8.15AM and I have had a lie in.

Last night was the anticlimax of all anticlimaxes. Through bleary eyes I scan the Facebook and the Twitter to see people’s stupid opinions on events and some got really excited about things but generally most were pretty quiet probably as disappointed by it as I was. It makes me smile when Chambers responds to my comment of falling asleep with “me too.” It sums things up. That and my comment “it was like a Spitting Image puppet being picked on by an audience of Rick from The Young Ones.” I say these things with the hope of being scolded for it.

Today I am off work to see my fifth movie of this year’s London Film Festival which is a new Bill Hicks documentary. I pray that it is good as it is the movie I have been wanting to see most at the festival. Last year’s Hunter S Thompson documentary delivered so here’s hoping for a repeat of that. Then this evening I am hitting SONIC YOUTH with Racton and Thom which likewise will hopefully be amazing. The last time I saw SONIC YOUTH (doing Daydream Nation) it fell flat for me. Here’s hoping for redemption.

The movie is not until 4PM so this gives me the most treasured of gifts: a Friday morning at home to do stuff. My flat is a wreck. Also my writing is behind so you can pretty much guess which of these things I am approaching first.

Again as I look out of the window it gives me so much heart. This is autumn in full strength. The sky is beautiful and the sun astounding. I am excited to be here like this at this time. The air is fresher in the autumn.

I begin watching season 3 of 30 Rock and I catch the Oprah episode that is one of the funniest episodes I have ever seen of the show, not least for Tracy and Jenna’s race off.

Just as I get ready to head up to London I check my ticket for the movie and at first I read it as beginning at 2PM. The time that I am reading this is 1PM which means I don’t have a hope in hell in getting to London in time to catch any of the movie. I then however notice on the ticket that the screening date is actually Monday – I have booked the wrong day off work.

Immediately I get on MSN and speak to The Girl in order to check what day on the holiday calendar I have booked off. She gets back to me and states that it is today. I have truly fucked up royally. Like a backwards prick I then ask her if she can ask our boss if I can snag Monday off also. She tells me that she has booked Monday morning off but it looks like I can grab the afternoon off. The good word soon comes back that it will be fine but then I am informed how the entire/whole office is now laughing at my boob. At this point I am just happy to salvage my ticket.

Despite this though I still have to head up to London tonight in order to see SONIC YOUTH at the Forum which annoys me and kind of nullifies my reasoning for having the day off in the first place.

I listen to the first half hour of Danny Baker’s Radio London show before grabbing a train to town around 4PM. Going against traffic I manage to pass all the rush-hour commuters going in the opposite direction and I arrive at Kentish Town just before 5.30PM as Racton informs me that he is now leaving White City.

Eventually he and Eleanor turn up around 6.20PM after which time I have seen both the sun go down on London and witnessed all kinds of strands of humanity. The humanity!

We hit the noodles place and it is a winner. I have a mixed meat dish and it feels excessive. To counter balance this indulgence I have a coconut smoothie which at this time is one of the most refreshing and greatest beverages I have ever tasted. Apparently any food or drink coconut in is evil according to my eating partners this evening.

Tonight I find myself discussing Cockblock at length. Surely this is not healthy for anyone. Why am I so kamikaze with my friendships? Why do I turn on people like a shit?

Saying of the night is “you got served” in tribute to the way I piss The Girl off at work by repeatedly saying it. We then begin discussing juniors and my story of how mine hid under my desk and jumped out causing me to hop a mile is not really the stuff of authority.

With it still early we bowl into The Forum well ahead of time. Almost immediately I spot Martin and Saki from the Matsuri event so we go over and say “hello.” The guys are really friendly and seemingly happy to see us.

On stage HUSH ARBORS begin their set. They are flouncy and disingenuous. In the grand scheme of things they have no place playing on the same bill as SONIC YOUTH. As we move closer though in addition to wings and tight red trousers we also notice how the singer possesses a great rack. There is no point in listening to the music, just stare at her tits. It reminds me of Bat For Lashes with a lot of bloated guitars in the style of Sleepy Sun. This is not a recommendation.

The editor of Q magazine (Paul Rees) introduces SONIC YOUTH on the stage. As Q magazine adverts featuring Kasabian glow above us suddenly there is something that feels distinctly wrong about this environment.

SONIC YOUTH hit the stage and immediately tear into almost exclusively songs from The Eternal. Straight away it is noticeable just how quiet the sound is and as a result as an excitement exudes and punch certainly fails to follow. Onstage Kim looks amazing for a person brushing up on 60 and in the distance Lee Ranaldo looks more like Alf than ever.

Early on it becomes apparent that this set is going to be new material heavy and while The Eternal is a pretty good record it is not necessarily a great and it has to be said that the songs are not strong enough to compete with classic SONIC YOUTH fare and as such frustration looms as said material is not forthcoming despite a ticket cost of £35 plus. Dare I suggest it almost reeks of arrogance?

The show opens with “Sacred Trickster” which would probably have been the single from the album if SONIC YOUTH still did singles. Luckily having listened to The Eternal at great length I am by this point very familiar with the songs being delivered tonight but its just not the most exciting collection to be delving from.

Eventually a “classic” arrives in the form of “Stereo Sanctity” with noticeably ups the pace in the performance and tweaks interest in the set on for the momentum to get lost as the show slips back into the lethargy of the new material. “Anti Orgasm” is perhaps the highlight of the new record but tonight they even seem to fluff that trick.

It is a strange audience in hand tonight. At certain points during the set the crowd actually begin clapping along to breaks and bridges of the songs. When did the squares get let in? Also quite frankly spending the majority of the duration of the set behind the tallest person in the building isn’t really going to endear me to events.

The past gets revisited by another fiery run out through “Hey Joni” which annoyingly once more demonstrates the strength of the material that is not being played this tonight. Much like jazz this evening suddenly appears to be about listening to the notes they are not playing.

Proceedings ground to something of a halt as Thurston begins to experience equipment problems as declares that he needs to “change his head” and the audience just thinks he is being cute. Perhaps this explains the lame sound attaching itself to proceedings. He then takes the cavalier approach of going “fuck it” before congratulating the audience for “running out those British National Front goons” and tearing into an incendiary version of “White Kross.” If only he had looked a bit closer and realised it was the BNP, get it right or don’t bother.

The set ends with Thurston peddling an acoustic guitar that only serves to fuel further disappointment. This is not value for money.

Inevitably the band return for an encore that consists of more Daydream Nation favourites being played with the ferocity that you wished the rest of the set had been expressed with.

The night ends with a genuinely explosive “Death Valley 69” and suddenly the walls fall as if they are melting as the lights exude a true fiery emotion and the world begins to hint that it is ending. This closer serves out as a song so truly head and shoulders above everyone else that has come before it this evening. These rollercoaster ride moments are the ones we came for and have only been offered up sparingly. Perhaps it is a sign of age, perhaps it is parental neglect. Judging however by people’s faces and rhythmic response it would appear I am the only naysayer involved in proceedings. Next to Racton some mental girl quite literally loses her shit. It was good to be young once.

As we leave it is with a strange sense of relief that the night is over. Outside we bump into Thom flyering for his On The Beach club. Racton and I walk to the tube like Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets, seemingly the only voices verging on dissent this evening. Racton seems to agree when I appear to nail the show on the head by stating “The Eternal just is not a strong enough record to carry a set.”

You got served.

On the tube we go our separate ways and I eventually wind up on the Central Line rushing to get the 11.30PM Norwich train, the final fast train of the evening. On the tube boarding with me are two stereotype metal heads drunkenly eating McDonalds. These guys are straight out of FUBAR and in different circumstances they could/might resemble my new heroes. What on earth does these people do for a living? Also as I look to my left down the end of the carriage I see a Will Ferrell lookalike in a headscarf. This is a freaky look and as I begin to wonder what his deal with I can only come to the conclusion that I have wound up on the Twilight Zone train. This guy’s personality is not all invented. My evening’s experience of the human condition, the theatre of life reaches fruition when at Holborn a pretty young lady boards with tears in her eyes. I guess it is the tears that cause me to find her attractive and fancy her, to give/lend me the desire to reach out to her and help out. Obviously I don’t do this though. My, the things I see on the Friday night train.

With mere minutes to spare I manage to catch the hallowed 11.30PM train. Dry as a bone I buy a bad cup of coffee from the buffet cart but tonight it is one of the greatest cups of coffee I have ever tasted. Without doubt coffee tastes best when it is in a cardboard cup.

Obviously the train gets delayed and makes me late getting home as I rush to catch The Thick Of It Special repeat and Krautrock documentary on BBC4. In the end I get home in time to receive part of my wish. Then I pass out early into proceedings. Lightweight, no longer sonic youth.

No comments: