Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday 10 April 2010

Dream: Devo are playing Brixton Academy in support of their new record.  Racton and I head along, getting tickets to sit upstairs.  Upon entering the venue we snag really good seats towards the front in anticipation of getting a good view for when the band do their hits.  As we sit down it becomes apparent that we aren’t going to get a very good view of the band because the edge of the circle is too far away.  Later people begin to ruminate around us insinuating that they are more entitled to these seats than us.  This culminates with a guy in a wheelchair sidling up next to me.  Being in a wheelchair though he already has his seat!  Eventually the show begins and it’s a stinker, all new material and not very good.  In fact for the first few songs you can’t even see the band, they haven’t bothered to come out onstage.  Our row (and the one in front of us) stands up in our seats to get a better view only to be shouted down by the row behind us.  Before long we find ourselves heading downstairs to see if we can get a real view of proceedings.  Onstage it is almost like a clockwork circus, people dressed as mechanical toys going along with the music.  Bewildered we lose track with the show and eventually I wind up outsides where the band members of Devo are actually working the concession stands, Marks Mothersbaugh is scooping out ice cream.  I try to take a photo of him but he disappears.  The concession vans are situated in that strange square in Brixton we went to before the Pixies gig and soon I find myself entering a building looking for Mothersbaugh.  There seems to be some kind of downbeat party going on and while I scour the rooms in search of band members it suddenly feels/appears that I am on some kind of heist looking for the owner’s safe, looking to rob the place.  Invariably I get discover and that’s it.

I don’t feel good about today.  There is a bad atmosphere within my mind and I have nervous expectations.  As I dress and wash looking in the mirror the vision that faces me is a scary proposition.  It’s like looking at myself for the first time in six months.  Despite my best efforts things aren’t getting any better.

For some reason today I experience a couple of nasty flashbacks which I guess come tied in with seeing old friends for the first time today in almost ten years (eight years I believe).  My first memory recalls the first Gringo Records night upstairs at The Garage and for the first time in years I remember that Matt’s dad actually drove a group of us in a mini bus.

The other memory I have is of my Grandfather’s funeral in 1992.  It was in August and I was just insane.  I am even too ashamed to recall my actions and how I was that day.  Does that strain of my personality still come through these days I wonder?  I truly hope not.  Aside from all the trivia that I complain about from day to day thinking about that day truly does fill me with shame.

When I finally shake these thoughts away as per routine I head to Asda and do my grocery thing.  As I stagger through the aisles I spot The Crab and all seems normal with the world.  Generally shopping goes so so.  In the end I manage to only spend £11 which is generally due to the only food that I buy is apples and bananas, otherwise it is all drinks and newspapers.

Getting back to Bohemian Grove I quickly jump in the bath with view to looking my best today.  Once done with hygiene I eventually get on a 10.17AM train to Liverpool Street.

When the train stops at Shenfield an old guy boards and sits in the seat next to me and as he does so he comments “nice day.”  Freaked out by somebody talking to me I just smile in response/reaction.

Once arrived into London I head straight to Highbury & Islington, getting to the place in super decent time.  Today the sun is out and London is visibly glowing.  From here I head into Starbucks where I grab a get go.

With coffee in hand I head to the Union Chapel where the latest Daylight Music gig is occurring and OWEN TROMANS is performing.

Arriving early I stand outside the venue for a decent amount/length of time looking the ultimate in stalker/fanboy.  Eventually Racton phones me to say he has arrived and that he is currently in Starbucks himself.  It’s the taste of our generation, it came from Seattle just like Nirvana grunge.  Surely it can’t be bad.

By the time we meet up the doors to the Union Chapel have now opened so we step in briefly saying “hi” to the organiser (Arctic Circle).  Almost immediately upon entering I spot OWEN TROMANS and we exchange greetings as we acknowledge that it is scarily probably eight years since we last saw each other (a horrible weekend spent in Nottingham when he was playing there with his old band After Rome).  It is now officially a long time since San Lorenzo.

In the process of catching up I discover that he is now a dad with his wife having given birth a few months ago.  When did I fall so horribly far out of the loop?  It’s really hard to catch up with a person after such a long time, where does a person start?  I guess the key thing is to make the effort but as time whittles away common ground soon even the best of us will begin to struggle.  Fortunately he has to prepare for his set.

Today OWEN TROMANS flies solo.  His recent excellent album “The Fall Of Acre” was a full band proposition but today as the songs are played in a more pure form they truly hold up with sharp precision.  Within the confines of the glorious midday Union Chapel being drenched in sun it is a fantastic vision.

His performance is great, very accomplished, making skilled texture out of songwriting in a most modern manner.  A number of tracks from his “The Fall Of Acre” record appear in stark form as he appears to take glee in revealing that he is performing songs about a cult leader inside a church on this fine day.

TROMAN’S voice carries throughout the building as the acoustics of the event compliment all surroundings.  Towards the end of his set he drops “Schizophrenia” into the mix and proceedings lending another casual dark edge to the delivery.  I don’t remember him previously being like this.  All in all this is a very masterful performance.

After his set we bid our farewells wondering if it will now be another eight years until we see each other again.  From here Racton and I head to Oxford Circus where he’s needs a shirt and subsequently drags me into Banana Republic where I am forced to face the reality that I am just too large to fit into any of these clothes these days.  In a world where Jack Donaghy correctly says “dress for the job you want not the one you have” I am well and truly fucked.  This is the haven of the beautiful, my eyes open as I realise “so this is where they all shop.”  I thought all the cool people were in Fopp.  I was wrong, they don’t have eye candy of this degree staggering amongst their aisles.

Once outside the fashion shack we stagger through Carnaby Street and into Soho in an effort to avoid people (tourists).  Eventually we wind up in Nosh Bar having overpriced salt beef sandwiches sitting in the window staring out at the lost people of London as they stare back inside at us.

Invariably we wind up in Fopp where today the selection is good.  Perhaps this is just Racton and I goading/enthusing each other into purchase but I have to say I gain no end of satisfaction from my purchases of King Of Kong on DVD, Synecdoche, New York, the Blue Velvet soundtrack and a ropey Misfits CD.

Eventually we head to the ICA passing Trafalgar Square where today there is a Pass Public Sector demonstration happening.  It’s very busy and very loud.  I love Trafalgar Square on Saturdays; it’s always full of this kind of shit.

Soon we find ourselves inside the ICA waiting for THE THING to begin.  In front of us appears to be the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons who sits very comfortably with his arm swung across the row of seats.  More than a few times this arm later slips down off the sweat and towards my nether regions.  Where does this guy get his front?  Never have I felt that comfortable within a cinema.

On a big screen THE THING looks great.  It is a remastered print that is crisp and clear as day with the audio sounding equally impressive.  From the off the movie remains fun and the special effects look great in a very calm and understated way, almost in the manner with which Harryhausen effects are regarded in this day and age as being from a different era.  Its almost like an analogue approach in contrast to what is now a very digital era which lends a very organic and dare I say more realistic/convincing air to the visuals.  Certainly one that has more heart and effort put into it.

It begins with that classic scene of RJ MacReady getting frustrated while playing computer chess.  As ever I find myself questioning the mentality behind his destroying the CPU, it just surely makes for a logistical nightmare and ultimately a very selfish act.  Did they all have computer chess or were they sharing the same machine.  I suspect the latter.  Also I don’t really think it gets fully explained as to just what those guys are doing there in the first place.

With age THE THING has gained a lot of humour, which you do not necessarily sense was the intention.  There can however be no doubting the comedy value of seeing/watching Kurt Russell stagger around in something of a drunken haze, nursing his bottle of Jim Beam like a man desperate for a shag.  Later when they lock him outside as his actions become too strange when he breaks back into the compound looking like an icicle his expression is one of having his feelings genuinely hurt.  Now that is acting.  Of course this comes after he makes some of his wild tapes that sound straight from a Godspeed You Black Emperor record.

Another thing that strikes me about the movie is just how much more better computers appear to be back in the day.  None of this Windows shit, just straight talk.  When Wilford Brimley types in the destiny of the world if the virus or alien breaks out the computer gives him his answer immediately.  Now that was a progressive computer, that should have been the future right there.

A couple of times during the movie the comic store guy sat in front of me, with his arm spread out across the empty seats, continues to lean said arm over the back of the row and into my space.  Quite frankly this is verging/bordering on molestation.  It lends an extra element of horror to proceedings for me as I guard my ghoulies from it.

After the movie we emerge hyped and satisfied commenting at just how great everyone in the movie is, especially Keith David and obviously Kurt Russell.  Those were serious men from stern times.  We will never know.

From here we check out the Billy Childish exhibition in the ICA galleries.  We scope all the record sleeves in addition to the book from the book burning earlier this year and the Knut Hamsun inspired yellow suit at which point Racton gets a call to inform him that he has won the Grand National sweepstake he was entered in.  Triumph.

As we head back onto The Mall it is still a beautiful day, one too good to be spent so much in the cinema.  Passing Trafalgar Square the protest has now disbanded.  Does this mean the public sector got what they wanted?

We head straight to the Prince Charles Cinema where they are showing THE HURT LOCKER.  After getting tickets (the price has gone up again) we hit the crazy Chinese supermarket on Newport Court before going to the Curzon for a pre-movie drink.

THE HURT LOCKER turns out to be a great, all gung ho and gruesome with genuinely exhilarating moments of tension and real pay off.  I finding these days that I am harbouring a growing interest in our modern military escapades in the middle east.  It wouldn’t certainly appear that we are there for the long game (although that has been a given for a long time).  Thankfully these films, when serious and coming from a left perspective, lend a humanity to proceedings that I do not necessarily gain from news coverage.  I actually feel I learn something from this movie, which more than anything goes to justify its Oscars success.

Afterwards we emerge around 8.30PM just a Leicester Square on a Saturday begins flying.  From here we bid each other good night and I head back to Liverpool Street.

In the end I get home at a decent hour with the Top 100 Comedians showing on Channel Four.  Bill Hicks comes fourth.

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