Saturday, June 05, 2010


Saturday 5 June 2010

This morning I emerge from dreams featuring me and famous people.  It’s a breeze.

When I awaken it is approximately 5.05AM and I have a headache.  I know what the time is because lazily I have left my television on overnight yet again.  I am killing the planet bit by bit, one day at a time.  I also find that I have spent the night sleeping on top of my duvet yet again with my window full open just screaming out for a peeping tom to take advantage.  Preferably one with huge tits.

With this in mind I roll back over and endeavour to resume sleeping.  I don’t turn off my TV, that would just take too much effort.

Eventually I awaken just before 7AM as I take in the news, which today resembles another Israel boat boarding is breaking news.  Outside the sun remains and all in all a glorious day holds promise ahead.

Murmuring into existence I take things easy by finishing off watching the second episode of Bored To Death.  With Kristen Wiig in a guest appearance this show scores on many levels again, it genuinely possesses some kind of Philip Marlowe and Nero Wolfe vibe while holding onto the modern troubled vibe that comes with any HBO dark comedy.  Jason Schwartzman still rules.

Around 8AM (after looking at online porn) I pull myself together hit Asda as per routine.  Today is a flighty, unfocused visit to the store.  I very little in the way of food remaining at home so this is set to be an indulgent excursion.

Today I find myself purchasing the Daily Telegraph because it comes with a free World Cup DVD.  At least it wasn’t the Daily Mail.  Elsewhere this week’s Guardian Guide has a cover story featuring Mumblecore.  I wonder if that will bring traffic to my neglected website.

From here I stumble around the store.  In the DVD section I discover the movie of Cass on DVD for £3.  I am such a sucker and I promptly purchase it.  I fucking hate West Ham, where is the mentality in this purchase?

As per routine I spot the victim of our school in the meat aisle and today we actually glances, troubled glances.  Swiftly I move on, unwisely buying a box of cocktail sausages while avoiding troubling another employee by buying houmous as he stacks them out.  Jesus, a few extra wrong turns in my life and I could easily have been stuck in the world of retail.  Sometimes I have to count my blessings.

Eventually I finish up happy that Innocent smoothies are now on promotion and wisely not buying a box of chocolate cereal that I would be liable to eat dry with a teaspoon straight out of the box (such is my life).  As I send my items through the self service checkout it occurs to me that I have completely forgotten to buy fruit this week.  Where is my mind?  This thought soon gets wiped as today’s blue barcode on The Guardian fails to scan.  I call over the woman to help but really I should have just popped it in my bag out of spite with view to teaching them a lesson.

Done I head back to my flat with the day still early having not even reached 9AM yet.  As a result of this I hear the beginning of the Danny Baker Five Live show for the first time in weeks.

It is now less than one week to the World Cup and everyone is excited.  Every corporate shilling is being squeezed out of it; every opportunity to advertise comes tied in with an apparent support for England.

In The Sun today it reports that Chelmsford is the place in the England where women have most sex toys.  I have always suspected most people from Chelmsford to be tools.  Jock, I am looking at you.

I finally read the article about Mumblecore and it is more a piece on Greta Gerwig and how the queen of the genre has made the transition into real film with GREENBERG.  The timing of this article and the fact that I am seeing a preview screening of the movie today makes me feel on top of the game in a couple of ways.

From here I close out the morning listening to Danny Baker until his show ends while I endeavour to fit in some writing before heading out.  Unfortunately though my right arm is just too fucked to put up with the pain of typing.  That just might be the wussiest line I have ever written.

Soon 11AM arrives and I begin to make gestures towards heading up to London.  I feel genuinely excited about going up town today.  In the end I leave my crib just after 11.30AM and head to the station where Saturday traffic makes hard work out of an easy journey.  As I dart through cars with relative ease though I feel like a winner.

I end up on the 12.03PM train that only stops at Shenfield.  Fuck you sex toy mad Chelmsford, I don’t need to look at your shit today.

The train pulls into Liverpool Street around 12.50PM with the day now enormously hot.  From here I get a tube across to Tottenham Court Road.  For me this trip feels distinctly wrong done on a Saturday,

At Bank some lard arses board with one sporting the letters MUFC tattooed on his arm.  What an example.  This is exactly the type of person Alex Ferguson wants celebrating his team I am sure.  Then at the next stop (St Pauls) a group of arseholes board including a guy that appears intent on dumping a wheelchair in my lap.  Already pinned against the closed door I have nowhere to move in order to get out of his way.

Relief arrives when I finally escape at Tottenham Court Road.  Today Charing Cross Road is visibly radiant, blooming and suggesting a better age.  It didn’t always look like this.  Unfortunately as I pass where the old Borders used to be, now in a month’s time there will be a TK Maxx.  Pikey clothes shops should not hold more value than bookshops but sadly in the modern world they do.  This is the world destruction.

As I pass The Ivy yet again I fail to spot any famous people exiting or lingering.  One day I will get my gold.

Soon I find myself on St Martins Lane passing a second branch of our restaurant of the day.  Today London is blistering, so hot and with this in mind I step into Caffé Nero for a Frappe.  I pray that it gives me a much needed buzz.

From here I head to Trafalgar Square which is always good entertainment value on a Saturday as invariably someone will be protesting against something there.  As I near it the noise immediately booms and suddenly I find myself faced with Thailand Day, which is much better than any protest.  With security checking the bags of punters upon entering Trafalgar Square though I begin to wonder just what kind of shit the authorities are expecting/fearful of going down so I give it a wide birth.

Instead I make the mistake of heading to Waterstones for refuge just at the exact time to find myself confronted by a group of idiots with “Jews For Palestine” banners.  People, get with the winning team already.  Also get out of my way if I want to buy a book.

Frustrated by this I give up on Waterstones (one sale lost) and instead look for where the New Players Theatre is.  It is at this moment it suddenly occurs to me that I don’t actually know where it is and frustratingly when I interrogate my iPhone there is no internet reception.  I can’t help but feel this is the work of the protestors.

Feeling cursed and doomed as I pass more of the Jews For Palestine mini march heading on Whitehall I return to the Waterstones where, now able to gain entry, I grab a tourist guide of London and feel like a real amateur in the process.  In the end with a little assistance I easily find the place being situated just off the Strand near Charing Cross station.

66A CHURCH ROAD turns out to be a distinct DANIEL KITSON joint, a piece of work I could not imagine being produced or performed by anybody else.  By accident I find I have booked a seat in the wings on a bench with perhaps the closest and best possible view of the show (albeit from the side).

The stage is littered with old-fashioned luggage and retro belongings; these are a whole new set of production values for a KITSON show.  Then again the man for years now has been a natural at delivering a personal narrative so in many ways this is just the natural progression of his form as his shows have traditionally had a meandering one man show storytelling execution to them that has always been a touch/class above most stand-up comedians and his apparent peers.

Eventually a couple joins me in my little booth and I begin to feel like a gooseberry sat next to them.  As they turn up she says “hello” which is a gesture of friendship that I welcome at this time but it goes no further than that.  From here I begin to pray they don’t start making out, it is pretty dark in this corner.

Soon KITSON takes to the stage and 66A CHURCH ROAD begins.  From the PA comes a delicate reading over jazz guitar gets fired straight into our ears (we are sat directly next to speakers).

66A CHURCH ROAD turns out to be perhaps the longest relationship that KITSON has had as he goes to explain just what it meant and what it held for him in life.  In reality it was/is just a flat in Crystal Palace but as he takes great lengths to point out, it was his home for over six years and with it came many events and many dreams.

For years now he has mentioned in his set having Sky Plus and living next to a Chinese restaurant and this was that crib.

It is a long, detailed and considered piece of work.  The way in which KITSON describes how he originally found the flat is very recognise and relatable (basic good fortune against the realities of dealing with shyster estate agents).  Likewise the manner in which he cultivates it into his personal home touches many nerves.  This earnest detail in the most exciting of executions.  It is details such as the manner in which his landlord considers a working doorbell to be a luxury is very much a tale it is easy to identify with.

Eventually he begins expressing the desire to buy the place.  And not only the flat but the entire building, expressing dreams of expansion that he envisages possible for his world.  However after six plus years frustration takes over as KITSON fires an ultimatum at his landlord which tastes of cutting off his nose to spite his face, a threat that is not necessarily taken seriously by his landlord.

It all ends on a dour note, positively lacking external sentimentality while clearly oozing it internally.  By describing and explaining his time and relationship with a building it touches many nerves on many levels.

After much applause he returns to briefly address the audience as if it were a comedy gig (as opposed to piece of theatre).  He acknowledges that during the show people will not have had opportunity to look at the models adorning the stage so he offers the chance for people to take an orderly closer look.

From here I return back out onto the Strand.  Briefly a few drops of drizzle drip down as the skies grey over and bring a worrying tone to proceedings.  As I pass Trafalgar Square proceedings look as if they have now calmed down as I head up to Shaftesbury Avenue and into Fopp with view to killing some time.  Inevitably I wind up spending money there, money on Neil Young and Tom Waits albums that I doubt I need.


 Eventually I take a leisurely stroll over to the BFI where there is a preview screening of GREENBERG this evening.  As ever the walk across the Golden Jubilee Bridge is a glowing one, even if it is swamped with tourists.  Once on the South Bank I check out the book market before collecting my ticket for the movie and getting a necessary cold drink as it is a very dry day.  Then with that I step into NFT1 collecting a set of BFI notes on the way to my seat.

GREENBERG turns out to be great fun in a very dark manner.  The movie is somewhat similar to the Steve Carell character from Little Miss Sunshine doing Garden State via the genre of Mumblecore.  After a slow start I begin to really indulge and get swept into the movie as Ben Stiller begins to unravel in subtly spectacular manner.  There is definitely something to be said for watching a movie regarding an individual that is more dysfunctional than yourself but still remains functional.

Greta Gerwig promoted from the aforementioned Mumblecore movies is a revelation as the latest kooky mixed up girl all the indie kids will soon have a crush on while also being a lady that can get away with having acne.  Elsewhere painfully being dragged in tow is Rhys Ifans dried out alcoholic character who is perfectly convincing in his role.

Before long the background story of the failed band that was on the verge of success gets revealed, which is a story that strongly resonates.  Later the first sexual encounter between Stiller and Gerwig is painfully realistic, very tangible as an occurrence that also resonates with my past.  Then he flounders further as he has a date with Jennifer Jason Leigh where he attempts to reignite an old flame but she only proceeds to do that horrible cold thing that ladies do of cutting him dead and reducing him to nothing.  The reality that she has her own thing going on and does not need to add babysitting him to her life is a hard one.  True he should accept that life has moved on but is it really necessary that she be so nasty?

After falling out with Gerwig eventually, via the dog, Stiller returns to her including an excruciating birthday celebration that just feels so horribly forced.  At a pivotal scene he painfully argues how they shouldn’t be doing what they are and the moment scarily reminds me of an exchange Bella and I would have had almost ten years ago although I am sure she would not see things this way.  However in an awkward twist in fiction when Gerwig announces she has to have an abortion happily he remains and supports her.

Eventually it all climaxes as his niece holds a huge party at his brother’s house in a scene reminiscent of Garden State that clearly displays what it is to not fit in and the sensation of feeling alienated.  With this GREENBERG launches into a heroic speech as to what is wrong with the rising generation and how it is beating his own era over the head in the process.  It is one of those key moments in movie, a speech worth remembering and recounting.  That said I’m not so sure my sentiments and appreciation are necessarily universal.

During this event the movie reaches a head as I swear I can hear “Don’t Die Just Yet” by David Holmes to which the added strings lend a hefty degree of majesty to proceedings.  Later I discover the song is actually “Melody” by Serge Gainsbourg, which Holmes covered and borrowed for his track.

From here inevitably one of those afterbirth post party moments occurs which creates the kind of mindset in GREENBERG which almost serves to ruin things.  Obviously with these things though, unlike real life, it seldom does and not long after the movie comes to a close with a decent conclusion, upbeat in its execution lending a message of hope to its dysfunctional audience.

I exit the cinema feeling invigorated having seen something of a heroic figure of my time.  There will always be an audience for a move that makes dysfunction interesting and cool.

Once at Waterloo I hop aboard a tube up to Tottenham Court Road where I race to get back to Liverpool Street and Colchester before it is too late.

Soon I find myself on a train wheeling back to Essex where on the way my iPhone battery dies as I begin to experience battery angst.  When I get back to Colchester the night is fast heading towards 9.30PM.  From here I drive straight to Slack Space which is now situated on the ghetto side of town.  This does not necessarily feel a safe place to be on a Saturday night.


 Before long I find myself at Slack Space where people are sat huddled outside the door requesting my name for their list.  Has this become some kind of speakeasy?  As I enter I am met by a fucked up video that is playing out in front of everybody.  It’s lo-fi and reminds me of the days of Vids and the work of Nigel Buckland.  Its funny stuff.  It turns out to be the work of KELVIN AND CREASE.

The first act I see is BIG IN ALBANIA as he does his thing accompanied by some random guy in the audience playing along with his drum.  It feels gauche but this is his moment, it appears that this is what his entire life has been building to.  Maybe.

As ever the BIG IN ALBANIA experience is a funny one of freakish visuals of idiots royally mugging it for the camera combined with scary and evil military visuals of destruction.  Again audio wise he spews out the usual hits including combining the Miami Vice theme with Zardoz before eventually smashing out a beef mashed version of “Passing Complexion” by Big Black served as a frenzied rave assault.

JOHN CALLAGHAN headlines doing his electronica clown set.  It is camp and disturbing, involving a number of costume changes coupled with plenty of energy.  I think you have to be of a certain demeanour and kind of person to empathise and associate with this kind of character.  I sense I am not so extrovert or craving of attention.

As things turn lairy recognisable tunes fly out and eventually corners of the audience decide to participate much to the joy of CALLAGHAN and much to the fear of the dancers.

Eventually it all ends well as CALLAGHAN dresses up as Bono and mutates a turgid U2 song (“With Or Without You”) into an appropriation of George Formby’s greatest moment (“When I’m Cleaning Windows”).  This is worthy of Negativland.

Then that is it.  The first Dead Air Live event turns out to be a huge success.

At the close of proceedings I am beat, thoroughly wrecked after a day of culture and running around after it.

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