Friday, October 09, 2009


Friday 9 October 2009

There is an air of confidence and optimism attached to proceedings today. I feel quite high up and heading towards the top of the world and I cannot quite tell whether this is a false boost or not.

The train is full of tourists on a work outing today and as a result they do not fucking shut up for the entire duration of the journey. Part of their group is some weird Scouser that looks like Bunny from Extras even though you can tell from his demeanour and posture that he fancies himself a bit tasty. Just because when the train turned up and the doors did not open immediately he now proceeds to take great joy in accusing the person closest to the door button of some kind of dim-witted lethargy. Its not that he makes his point in an annoying manner once, he continues going on and on repeating how stupid and docile the other people on this train are as a result. As he looks around the carriage I give him an evil and when he notices me I look down and shake my head. Thankfully at this point he does shut the fuck up. Later on he puts on a red pair of reading glasses/spectacles. Now a man wearing a pair of glasses that Dame Edna would fancy really should not be picking people up and criticising strangers for their actions. With these glasses though he just failed as a man.

Eventually the train pulls into Liverpool Street at 8.04AM and I find myself afforded the freedom of getting away from these squawking idiots.

When I get to work The Girl is already in and I hand her a sympathetic ear as she tells me all about what happened with the clamping and towing of her car. Unsurprisingly she is livid, as anyone would be, but the unfortunate reality is that these clampers are like Nazis (hired thugs) and will not remove a clamp once it has been put on. It’s as if they’re apes or gorillas that just can’t be arsed to do anymore work.

Generally it turns out to be a pretty relaxed day. By the end of it I have the September accounts pretty much sewn up impressively ahead of time.

With some kind of momentum behind me messages get exchanged and a plan hatched for seeing the PIXIES perform Doolittle this evening.

For lunch I have honey glazed ribs and penne with chicken, which is too much meat and would be indulgent in any walk of life. Tastes so sweet. In the afternoon I find myself getting guilt tripped into buying sweets for the office which on top of all the week begins to make me struggle for breathe.

The day comes to a hard end when it also becomes apparent that it is “my turn” to hoover the office. Surely I am too senior to do this. Wasn’t my paying for the sweets my get out of jail card? Typically like a man I make a song and dance (dog and pony) out of it and end up making a purposely bad job of the hoovering with view to not being asked to do it again. Nootch.

We get allowed out slightly early as a result and the boss asks me if I want a drink with view to getting business drunk. I start on Captain Morgan and end up on Jack Daniels in a stealth session designed to prepare me for heading down to Brixton.

Eventually I bid everyone a good night as I head down to Brixton via Green Park. Is it wrong that I still get so intimidated by Brixton, surely those days of violence are now long gone.

When I meet up with Racton in a pub around the corner from the station called The Trinity Arms it is in a part of Brixton I have never seen before, a complete new representation of the area. Perhaps it’s not so bad here after all. There is a square and nice terraced houses straight out of vintage London eras. Inside the pub I am first to arrive and Racton looks pretty relieved to finally have some support as he endeavours to maintain a drinking section for what sounds like being a large group on their way to converse.

Racton is fresh from Cannes looking very smart but knackered with it. I am so lagging behind in the style race against everyone. He has plenty of stories from Cannes including seeing a Seinfeld comedy set, witnessing a Simpsons Q&A of Matt Groening being interviewed by Morgan Spurlock of all people and finally the tale of how he blanked Lisa Kudrow. Scandalous. I want in on that industry now.

As these stories are being unleashed his valiant attempts at maintaining the entire corner are scuppered as an angry red faced fucker insists that we really do not need so many seats. In his redness it is tough to argue or disagree.

Slowly and gradually people begin turning up most of who are from the BBC. Not feeling overly sociable I stick with who I know become slightly gobby and obnoxious with it. I really want to tell of my adventures in Dedham at the weekend and last night in Holland Park but sensibly Racton dismisses this information which is wise as it’s not really for the squeamish.

Eventually we head towards Brixton Academy and our eventual date with the PIXIES. We have already bypassed the support band of the evening Dinosaur Pile-Up but this is perhaps not a bad thing after I recently slagged off their single.

The Brixton Academy is too much for me. We get a so so spot but I still feel miles from the stage. At least the sloping floor means I won’t have to bob my head about all evening. It also is quite apparent that the people around me are much more excited about the prospect of the PIXIES than I.

After the anticipation proceedings begin with Un Chien Andalou playing out on the backdrop behind the stage and excitement levels build even higher. I have seen this video before a couple of times but my most vividly (and enjoyable) use of it was in Nothing Lasts Forever. As I question what it is I am afforded a quickfire media studies lesson about the movie as it turns out that this is what they are singing about in “Debaser”, seems I’m not quite the PIXIES fan after all.

Soon the video is out of the way and to a darkened stage slope the band who kick off with “Dancing The Manta Ray” and proceed to tear into the b-sides attached to the singles from Doolittle. These are not classic songs and sadly immediately I sense I am not feeling it.

With “Debaser” arrives a true sense of excitement and the arrival of the songs we know, the songs that we forked out big bucks to rock out to. And it does not disappoint. Black Francis screams and screeches out his part and blatantly his place in legend is obvious, absolutely nobody else has ever sounded this demented while retaining such a level of composure and credibility. Obviously also Kim Deal is ruling the roost with her basslines, I have to say she does this so much more better than she does playing guitar for The Breeders these days.

From here the show takes all the expected turns continuing with the unsurprisingly incendiary “Tame” which sees Francis pushed to the limits vocally. Then suddenly it all begins to feel like non-stop hits as “Wave Of Mutilation” drops in and continues the singalong theme of the evening as nostalgia begins to overwhelm.

On Doolittle for me “I Bleed” has always served as one of my favourite songs from the record, not least with its closing eruptions, which unfortunately they truly fail to nail for me and now some kind of rot begins to set in for me. All of a suddenly I find myself questioning whether the band are actually up to or if this is just one trip too many down memory lane.

The PIXIES were never Nirvana. Even though “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was considered a PIXIES rip off nobody really believed that. Whereas Nirvana carried some kind of aggressive, the Pixies were more arty, more season in their craft and for that at times it meant they lacked bite. A song such as “Here Comes Your Man” is a tough one to gauge now. Where on earth are these sentiments coming from? Just what are they on about? In some ways its like a Beach Boys song played by ugly people meaning that it has victim written all over it. For this my appreciation will always flag.

Perhaps I lose it because I don’t want to be part of the universal agreement of greatness that is going on tonight. Why would I want to do that when all the people around are annoying me. There is the guy stood in front of me regularly banging his rucksack against me as he “dances.” Then there is the group of pissheads to our right talking their way through the show. We’ve only paid £35 plus to be here tonight, its not like that means anything to anyone. For me it’s a hard sell.

“Monkey Gone To Heaven” gets met with the kind of celebration that can only ever be saved for a song of such stature and legend. Only recently I was singing this at work and trying to explain the significance of the number seven and tonight this where I should have been. Their performance (and subsequent singalong) of this song tonight reminds of just why we are hear and how the band cannot fail to bring it. The uproaring and uplifting tone attached to such talent would be devastating in anybody’s hands.

The hardcore of “Crackity Jones” soon follows and the band looks like they’re struggling. Much like with the record the set then begins to peter off from here (the second side of the album was never really strong). In such circumstances “La La Love You” just feels tainted and cheesy as an awkward backdrop has the band looking like the Brady Bunch. “There Goes My Gun” offers some respite but by the point “Gouge Away” drops in as the audible finale there is a sense and air of relief attached to its delivery.

As the band do their bows and exit the stage and a sense of excitement emerges over which “hits” they will be doing in the encore tonight. It would seem I am the only naysayer around at this time and I keep my lack of enthusiasm to myself not wishing to be a party pooper. That said this does not however stop me from expounding hope that the band do Breeders songs in the encore. I’m a dick to the end.

When the band return they do “Wave Of Mutilation” again but this time it is the “UK Surf” version which is the one much prefer (and was actually the first Pixies track I ever owned when it came up on the Pump Up The Volume soundtrack).

After the slow tone the band proceed to launch into a piercing and smoke laden “Into The White” (no, me neither) which towards the end actually causes Racton to cover his ears in some kind of miniscule agony. The song seems to last forever.

Eventually the night ends with the couplet of “Gigantic” and “Where Is My Mind” which arrive in both rousing and contemplative fashion bringing a nostalgic close to proceedings.

As ever getting out of Brixton Academy proves a nightmare as people try to filter out while drunken idiots bound about looking for their friends. I think Brixton Academy has less exits/doors than your average venue.

Finally I get outside but by this time I have lost all my companions as I find myself tripping up over bootleg t-shirt sellers. I thought this art had been lost to the ages.

On the way to the tube station I bump into Racton and Eleanor by accident before hoping aboard a Northern Line train in the hope of getting up and across to Liverpool Street in good time to get a decent train home for a decent hour.

Epic fail.

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