Sunday, May 02, 2010


Sunday 2 May 2010

Dream: I bump into my cousin Martin in Tesco.  He isn’t doing very well.

Today I had hoped for a lie in but ultimately I wake up at 8.30AM feeling duped and robbed.  I have no energy.

Initially I attempt to watch Andrew Marr because Armando Iannucci is on it but things get a bit distracted as I begin to look at mild hints of porn on YouTube.  This is where my mind lay at this morning.

After Marr as per routine The Big Questions arrives on TV with the failed Nazi like Nicky Campbell verbally pushing people about like a middle class Jeremy Kyle.  Today the show holds real/major interest because it is coming from Colchester.  Immediately I spot Bob Russell in there.  As I look out for any other familiar faces I think I see one of the people from the party last summer but upon enquiry it doesn’t reconcile.

As ever the three questions being asked are pretty redundant and rhetorical fixed firmly in religion, politics and middle class values.

Finally I recognise another face as the guy I culled from Facebook earlier this year (Day 59) appears with some random and moronic question seemingly more in an effort just to get on TV.

Once this programme gets done it soon becomes apparent that I won’t be doing any writing today, it’s just not in the scheme of things.  As a result from here I potter, wasting more time on YouTube before trying to sort myself (clear my head) by having a bath.

For the longest time I toy with what I should be doing today.  None of it seems to have any purpose when the big elephant of heading up to the London for IGGY AND THE STOOGES remains in the room.  Also proceedings come coupled with the uncertainty around the new Sarah in my life.  Just what is happening there?  Ultimately it just all feels like more trouble than it is worth.

On BBC1 is Sheffield Wednesday v Crystal Palace which is a typical end of season scrap.  Things are truly tight down there and now the rich, flash Southerners from London and in town to upset the whippet owning, flat cap wearing yokels in Yorkshire.  That said the Palace league position is something of a false one due to their administration points deduction and realistically they are somewhat significantly a better team than Wednesday.

In the end I wind up watching some downloads instead before heading over to the olds for some Sunday lunch at 3PM.

After a quick visit I leave to board a train for London around 4PM knowing that I face a chaotic train service ahead of me which will see me having to get off at Romford and get a rail replacement bus to Newbury Park and head from deepest, darkest Central Line over to Holborn and down to Hammersmith (which alone is something of an arduous ride).

Today I cannot fucking believe that National Express East Anglia has the nerve to check people’s tickets on the train, it bothers me that they even have the gall to charge for such a mediocre service.

Eventually I find myself on the happy bus looking out of the window at a part of Essex I do not recognise as my Essex and I do not necessarily want to acknowledge.  This is where the stereotypes are born out of, not my patch.

Arrival at Newbury Park almost an hour and a half after setting off comes with mixed emotions internally.  Why do I have to do these things?  From here I troll across town to Holborn where I change and head down to Hammersmith on the Piccadilly Line.  Today after an already long trip this feels like the longest journey filled with tourists and families all getting in the way approaching the ride with amateurism.

Just as the tube pulls into Hammersmith Racton calls and somehow we manage to time things to perfection.  Once landed in the ’Smith we head to a pub that isn’t showing the football, winding up in a pub not too far away from The Lyric.  We’ve been here before, this is where we came just before Henry Rollins a couple of years ago.

It would appear that we are both arriving into proceedings knackered.  He has been on the wine all afternoon and I feel ravaged by public transport so it isn’t much of a session.  From here in the hope of saving the day we eat in the hope of injecting fuel into proceedings.

Eventually we head to the gig and the walk to the Hammersmith Apollo is an illuminating one as already there are bootleg t-shirt sellers out in force and suddenly it becomes apparent that this is a high profile gig (for us).

Outside the Apollo the streets are drenched with old people attempting to relive their youths, often by gobbing on the pavement.  Its all leather and funny hair coupled with glasses, paunch and slightly hunched bodies.

Against this we enter the venue to collect our tickets and despite getting in the queue for the window marked “Collections” we are apparently in the wrong line to collect tickets.  As we shuffle to the back of the queue next to us along trots Jarvis Cocker into said collections line.  This is a pretty big spotting although all beardy he does not necessarily look good these days.

Not long after we see Cocker we then spot Don Letts who is a person that now feels omnipresent at such events.  Then we happen across a really big spotting when Jim Jarmusch follows Letts which serves as a genuine wow.  In the flesh, as you might expect, this guy looks totally cool being a founding member of The Sons Of Lee Marvin club.  For minutes I stare impressed and in awe wishing I could get a photo but that would just be gauche.

Finally Racton manages to collect our tickets and entry into the building.  For the record I don’t like the Apollo, it takes too much effort to get here.  Both wrecked by existence we forego drinks and just head straight into the venue to get a good spot.

While we wait for the night to begin a loud group of foreign enthusiasts decide to stand and shout next to us in their native tongue.  They are officially having too much fun for the pair of us to contend with so quickly we move away from them for fear of their fun actually rubbing off on us.  Its not their fault that they want to celebrate where they are and what they are doing just please don’t do it next to us.

Our moves feel very tactical and cynical and ultimately flawed in defeat when eventually a well dressed wealthy middle aged couple decide to stand in front of me and get in my way instead.  This guy is wearing a fucking suit jacket to a gig without irony.  Where on earth is he from, what era has thrown him back for tonight?  And she is no better, acting all excited to be out of the house for once, as if this were the hot ticket gig of the year.

From here we look up and watch as two men climb rope ladders to precarious seats situated in the clouds.  They do so with SAS proficiency and admirable confidence.  When they take their thrones they look like they are manning cannons on the Millennium Falcon.  We figure that they must be cameramen recording the show for some kind of DVD but with no cameras in sight we begin to wonder just what it is they are doing up there.

As the lights go down the promise of SUICIDE arriving on stage prompts applause and excitement a haggard old man steps out on stage and switches on a throbbing machine that sounds like an evil generator.  He is not in the band but he still gives us the devil sign on his way back.  Almost immediately the pounding pulse of SUICIDE borders on painful and deafening without the duo actually even being on stage.

Long after the joke ceases to be funny and enough is enough finally Alan Vega and Martin Rev shamble onstage looking their age and then some.  With some affection sent their way they promptly tearing into a barely recognisable version of “Ghost Rider” as Vega does his cranky old man cum angry neighbour bit.  As ever as he addresses the crowd he looks more like a losing dictator on the way down.

As ever SUICIDE are very much about the sonics, of encrusting volume and creating an atmosphere compulsive to carnage and disarray/dismay.  In other words this is made with the intention of making ears bleed.

When “Ghost Rider” crashes to a conclusion Vega and Rev look at each other and embrace in a brotherly hug as if to respond “we’re still here!”

From here they tear into another pounding version of a track from their first album, which they are supposed performing in full tonight.  Next they are performing “Rocket USA” and again it is barely recognisable in a very unsubtle manner.  While Martin Rev canes his keyboards Alan Vega makes his usual gestures towards the crowd as if berating them.  In his cranky form he is steaming anger dressing up and acting like some kind of General experiencing loss.  Complimenting this aura onstage things look like Apocalypse Now as smoke bellows, lights flash and an almost unendurable noise cuts through proceedings.  Sporadically Vega stomps around the stage with a fag in his mouth threatening to light it as if it were a fuse although plainly he is under orders not to smoke.  I wouldn’t tell though.

Just under an hour later it is over.  Tonight SUICIDE were supposed to be performing their first album but feeling tattered and torn you sense that was a concept long aborted early into the set.  By the time Martin Rev finishes up and leaves Alan Vega has long since exited the scene.  These are broken individuals.

From here we peel ourselves off as the floor as the crush and jostle for positions ensues.  Racton and I draw something of a short straw as a modern day Beavis And Butthead step on our toes and begin rolling joints.  When did I become such a granddad in my frowning at smoking at gigs?  I guess when it almost happened in our face.

While we wait the pair of us continue to marvel at the two men sat in their Millennium Falcon harnesses above.  At first we think they are cameramen but soon it becomes apparent they are here to shine a light on IGGY POP.

Finally IGGY AND THE STOOGES burst onto the stage and immediately tear into “Raw Power” (the song).  Thus ensues a surge as all goes insane and the people push for their fix.  The older I get the more I dread crowds and these moments.

Onstage IGGY POP looks magnificent.  For a man pushing 60 he is without doubt the most energetic person in the building.  And he is strangely ripped too with strange sagging breasts that do not suggest anything normal of his existence and being.

After the initial rush the band tear into “Search And Destroy” to maintain the ferocity of proceedings, knocking the album out of sequence and potentially shooting their wad too early.  As things calm down they head into “Gimme Danger” as it becomes apparent just how horribly loud the guitar of James Williamson is as he pisses on the legacy of Ron Asheton.  Elsewhere on the other side of the stage Mike Watt does a fun boogie as his bass is noticeably severely lower in the mix.

Raw Power continues with “Shake Appeal” during which point IGGY invites half the audience onto the stage with him.  It is funny to watch the freaks attempt to dance while also getting their mobiles out to take photos and immortalise the moment with shit coverage.  After the song the stage clears surprisingly swiftly and politely for the band to finish off the remainder of the record as IGGY performs in the style of an ongoing celebration.

Very soon they have ploughed through the worst STOOGES record and now it is onto the better material.  Unfortunately with this “I Wanna Be Your Dog” get obliterated being played at twice the speed, raped of any pride in the process and losing so much of its sinister energy and power.  It’s a song that needs to be properly paced.

At the close of “1970” Mike Watt and Steve Mackay appear to begin chiming out the opening bars of A Love Supreme which continues through “L.A. Blues”.  It sounds majestic.  By the end of the piece IGGY is doing some kind of weird voodoo dance in accompaniment.

The band continues to chew up the furniture as “Open Up And Bleed” close the set as all the fine aspects of the band get displayed/demonstrated in devastating fashion.  Less impressive however is the drunken old goof that waddles along and begins to dance on me.  As I push him away he takes exception and tells me that if I don’t want to dance like a drunk I should be sat upstairs with the biddies (people his age but sober).  I take this on board but ultimately focus more on the reality that he appears to have no teeth.  Of course Racton finds all this very amusing.

Eventually THE STOOGES return with “Fun House” as the set storms to a conclusion as IGGY dives into the crowd a few more times before getting the house lights up so that “we can look at each other” and he can thank the crowd for enabling and facilitating his career.

Job done we tick IGGY AND THE STOOGES off our list and exit Hammersmith Apollo heading to the tube station.

The bank holiday Sunday night tube ride is seldom a fun experience.  As the train passes through central London our carriage gets invaded by dozens of foreign kids wearing matching red t-shirts.  What the fuck are they doing out at this hour?  Also when are they going to shut the fuck up?

Thankfully at Russell Square they exit.  However when we arrive at Holloway Road they get replaced with what appears to be the Islington branch of the Wu-Tang Clan.  As a result of this when we eventually exit the train at Finsbury Park Racton and I exit somewhat swifter.

A quick bus ride later and we find ourselves sat in his front room watching Virgin Media TV where an airbed awaits me.  Everyone raves about their Virgin media TV boxes and Racton is no different.

For a while I watch Jersey Shore on MTV and I genuinely find it amazing television.  Racton however feels otherwise.

In the end we find ourselves watching a couple of documentaries about the music Martin Scorsese uses in his movies hosted by the man himself.  Its surprisingly interesting stuff but it does however reveal how few of his movies I have actually seen.  As a result of this it is perhaps with disgust that Racton calls a night on proceedings.

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