Saturday, July 03, 2010


Saturday 3 July 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY TWENTY THREE

Why is it so hot?  How can anyone enjoy this weather?  How can anyone be happy at this time?

As per usual on a Saturday I hit Asda and do a quick shop today mainly based on cold drinks and summer dissatisfaction.  This week is an Uncut and Private Eye week meaning my bill increases due to magazine purchases.  These things really shouldn’t notice but they do.  Elsewhere there are no treats to be had, I’m back drinking coffee which coupled with all the cans of fizzy caffeine drink and green tea I buy equates to one wired Jason Graham.  My heart will collapse sooner or later.

From here I get back for 9AM where I listen to Danny Baker on Radio Five until 11AM when Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo take over with their film reviews who are disappointingly soft on the new Twilight movie.  Surely it’s just a piece of popcorn trash in the same league as Sex And The City 2.  I guess my first beef against this series of movies is how I read my American friend’s sister is a fan.  Then comes my natural suspicions that anything that is popular just cannot be a good thing, in order to appeal to so many people at the same time a product or object has to be spread thinly in order to tick so many boxes for so many individuals so naturally in the process the content gets diluted.  Tell me I’m not right.

Soon the day arrives at midday and it occurs to me that I have already wasted a quarter of my waking weekend.

After the show I write a little while I wait for a call from Racton to tell me that he has arrived in Colchester.  Today he is down in Colchester to make his debut with the DOOMED BIRD OF PROVIDENCE as they play St Martin’s Church this afternoon in the latest of the Dear Air Live events in Colchester.  Dubbed “an afternoon of melancholy” on a day like this, such an event is an exciting proposition and prospect.

Elsewhere today is the ladies final at Wimbledon and I ensure that I am around to get a look at Serena Williams who I have some kind of crush on.  I was just saying to the Filipino this week that the lady should be an actress, a superhero making amazing action movies in the style of Pam Grier (well, I didn’t say the latter because the Filipino wouldn’t have got the reference).

The gig doesn’t actually begin until 3PM so when I bowl up at St Martin’s Church seriously early look keen in a Mel from Flight Of The Conchords style.  Upon arrival I bump into Lee who is chatting to John Callaghan fresh from his Bono impression at Slack Space last month.  That guy probably glows in the dark.

The DOOMED BIRD OF PROVIDENCE are fast on their way to becoming my favourite new band.

On a very hot day Racton and I make the wise decision of heading to get a Starbucks where I indulge and order one of those new strawberry and cream frappacinos at an extortionate price.  It however is incredibly tasty, almost making me forget that I just paid £3.60 for it.

Inside St Martin’s Church is a magnificent building, a gutted church with lots of space and many of the frills remaining.

The gig begins with NATHANIEL ROBIN MANN delivering a set of strong acapella songs.  With the delivery comes much gesticulating and occasional swearing as his voice proves powerful filling the room without amplification.  He performs the majority of his sweet with his eyes closed and it is genuinely endearing how you know a song has concluded because this is the point at which his eyes open.

For some songs he uses all kinds of strange and magical instruments as accompaniment which gives the performance a real raw edge/element complimenting its natural roar.  It’s quite a talent to be able to occupy such a space with so few materials and resources.

Following this come the DOOMED BIRD OF PROVIDENCE who sit in some kind of moon crescent with Mark in the centre appearing to be holding court, delivering his latest shanty.  Today the band is accompanied by a new guitar player in the ranks, making the band a quintet, which adds something of a shot to the system adding to an already heavily layered mix.

Once again the songs are stoic narratives from negative times of the past, shanties of sadness from the other side of the world.  In other words it is very good, genuinely original and very unique.  The sound is refreshing as an interesting set of instruments collide in a most wonderful way.  Even the ukulele parts stand out.

With Kluzek barking out the vocals his words fill the gleaming acoustics of the gutted church offering the imagery opportunity to bounce around the surroundings and resonate in what would appear to be a very comfortable and natural environment for such tales of human endeavour, frailties and audible failure.

After this set is done NATHANIEL ROBIN MANN returns for another short set as the ANIMATEDDOG further wields his vocal chords in an invigorating and brave manner.

By this point we are learning that much against expectations Germany appear to be doing to Argentina something similar to what they did to England last Sunday as they proceed to bash them 4-0.  This is a true shock, not least demonstrated by the ill looking expression on the face of our friend from Argentina Maria.  The loss begins to put our defeat into perspective as suddenly it appears that Germany are a much better proposition that anybody has been giving them credit for.

It is at this point I get thirsty and head to the Spar on the High Street in search of riches, which I eventually find but not before some hot summer female snags my attention.  As I walk up and down West Stockwell Street both times I pass the front door of my former boss at Butt Road (Mr James) my skin crawls as I remember certain nights I wound up back at his house.  Dark times.

When I step back into St Martin’s Church I am listening to “Hourglass” by Squeeze by which time HYPNOTIQUE has already started her set.  Embarrassingly it takes me a few seconds to realise that I am still listening to music on my iPhone (I have to be told).  It’s a bit of a mess.

HYPNOTIQUE is a varied body of work, one that perhaps spreads itself a bit too thinly when maybe it should be focusing in one direction or another.  At times it reminds me of Mira Calix when I am not necessarily convinced that that is the intention.

Throughout her set she keeps referring to songs as being “acoustic” before switching on some kind of electronic buzz backing track.  When did the meaning of “acoustic” change?  When was it refined?

As ever she uncomfortably reminds me of Moriarty and with this baggage comes a nagging degree of a person lacking awareness or manners.  Not that I am saying HYPNOTIQUE suffers from these traits, it’s just the impression that I get.

Eventually the final nail in the coffin arrives as she mentions Nottingham, that dead city where spirit and individualism goes to die.  Not long after this the ordeal is over.

With the sun still blazing as a group we hatch plans for drinks and eventually head to the Hospital Arms.  Sat out in the beer garden on a bright early summer evening it is a fun session where people don’t hold back in their opinions of certain acts from today.

A couple of hours later I drive the bunch of them to the train station before heading home for the remainder of tonight’s World Cup quarter final which is Spain v Paraguay.  In the end Spain labour to defeat the Paraguayans as they win 1-0 through a David Villa goal in the 82nd minute.

With something of a beer buzz remaining from earlier I soon fall asleep.

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