Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Wednesday 22 September 2010

When I wake there is a heavy mist attached to proceedings.  This might turn us inside out.

The mornings are sporadic and bipolar at the moment.  One day they will be sunny and then the next dark.  The latter is beginning to win out however.

Due to the mist drivers are rolling with additional caution today.  In other words they are driving slowly and representing large annoying objects that are holding me up.

On the radio Chris Moyles is ranting about not having been paid by the BBC for two months.  Shame.

With a bit of a rush I manage to get to the station and my platform space on time, all in the hope of snagging a seat against the side of the carriage in the hope that I will be able to curl up next to it and scrap at some sleep.  No fucking chance.

When the train arrives it is a mongrel one.  Even worse when my carriage pulls in there are no lights on and a biro written piece of paper in the window saying “coach out of use”.  This is fucking lo-fi.  Then in one final foul gesture of National Express East Anglia rubbing our noses in shit two random ticket inspectors stagger down our carriage checking our tickets.  Should not the efforts of the company (National Express) be laid in the priority of delivering an acceptable train service first and catching fare dodgers second?  Where on earth does this organisation get the front from where it feels the right/need to perform petty duties while glaring incompetence rings out the loudest?  How can a person do anything but resent the service that is being offered?

From here it’s a shit journey into London.  At Chelmsford the inevitable plate crowder plonks his arse next to me but not before he manages to drop his bottle of water onto the laptop of the Spanish looking lady sat opposite (complete with Mindy wrinkles).

By the time the train gets to London my back is aching and as I walk from the train platform to the tube my legs are aching as two late nights are officially catching up on me.  Arriving onto the platform I am met with lots of extras taking up space and zero sign of any incoming trains.  This is hard work.  Eventually ten minutes later I finally find myself on a tube rolling across town.

When I emerge at St Johns Wood the mist has long since risen and revealed a glorious day in its place.  From here I find myself first in the building as expected as it would appear that the powers that be have long since been and gone.

Once inside I move the broken chair from next to my desk and grab the four boxes of paperwork The Girl dumped behind my seat and place them in the spare room of the office (“the kitchen”).  Job done, gesture made.

The Filipino soon turns up and with it our stationery order.  As part of the order there are three boxes of A4 paper and combined with me currently breaking in a new chair my back is already killing me.  Still I grab the boxes like a good guy before the angry boss gets/grabs opportunity to gripe.  As I grab the first boxes I spot The Girl and thankfully we both act as if nothing was up yesterday afternoon.  After two more trips to collect the stationery (coupled with a concerning amount of wheezing) we settle into the day.

The pressure and panic of last Thursday and Friday appears to have all but passed now.  With this I can be positive/certain that at some point soon the bosses will be hitting me for the figures “yesterday” but for now I am unnervingly coasting.

For the lunch the roving chef serves up again, today with a champion cous cous with grilled chicken dish.

During lunch I find myself online buying trainers from Amazon for the first time in months.  The footwear store on Amazon is a great place, like the online sneaker equivalent of TK Maxx, before the store turned to shit of course.

Not long after lunch I find The Girl revisiting the wiping your arse question that was so ferociously debated at Ross’ party last month.  Go figure.  Maybe it is an issue sweeping the nation.

In the afternoon Mark gets in touch out of the blue for the first time in almost a month.  It would seem he is in Colchester, I hope everything is OK with/for his dad.

From here the afternoon passes at another lethargic rate and soon I am exiting and making moves towards the ERIC CHENAUX gig in Dalston at Café Oto.  In the end I meet up with Racton at Highbury & Islington around 6.15PM at which point Kluzek phones to say he is already at Café Oto.  Swiftly we board a bus heading towards Dalston where, as with modern trends, all we talk about is work.  During the conversation I explain how swearing is now frowned upon in our office because of the Filipino.

Soon we get to Dalston where surprisingly new buildings attire the landscape making the area look more appealing than ever.  Quickly we meet up with Mark who is working on his laptop outside the café which is now closed while the bands sound check.

It is around this point that ERIC CHENAUX takes a seat outside the venue.  He recognises me from last night and briefly we continue our conversation (even if it is slightly laboured).  I forget to mention that I checked out his record label’s website today and how I was really impressed by it.

Moving on we head out for pre-show food and wind up the road at Mangal, a probably halal kebab joint recommended by Racton’s former Limn bandmate.  Ultimately its tasty but overpriced tucker.

During the meal conversation is good and flowing, sarcastic and loaded.  When describing and explaining our current film/movie tastes it almost appears that we are disagreeing for comedy value.

Eventually we head back to Café Oto by which point Racton and I are arguing over the merits of In Search Of A Midnight Kiss.  I’m pro, he’s con.  I’m right, he’s wrong.  By the time we are stepping inside Café Oto Mark and I are discussing Blaxploitation movies off the back of my snagging a couple of tickets to see Shaft and Richard Roundtree this Sunday.  In the process we both declare/express our affection for Pam Grier while celebrating the fact that Bill Cosby helped bankroll Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.

Café Oto is a great place.  It reminds me of Berlin and of good things in the purest sense.  Now if only it wasn’t situated in Dalston.  Behind the bar there is an abundance of goodies and annoyingly it is not until after I order coffee that I notice a bottle of Takara plum wine on the shelves.  That is perhaps my favourite alcohol beverage.  With this soon we are seated.  To be seated at a table at a music show these days feels a rare occurrence, an event to celebrate.

The first act tonight are the BRAINDEAD COLLECTIVE.  From our table they prompt a heavenly shrug.  It begins badly as the band enter the stage individually in smug fashion and from here it struggles to ever endear itself to proceedings.  The BRAINDEAD COLLECTIVE are a modern jazz outfit that come with all the traditional jazz instruments and trimmings coupled with a classic seriousness but also like to mix things up and bring in some more modern experimental touches.

The set begins with a gawky looking guy taking to the centre of the stage with a homemade contraption sat on his lap from which he proceeds to make fart noises coupled with a responsive look that suggests he fucking loves this shit.  From here he slowly nods to his band members (the real musicians) to one by one enter the stage to join him.  He’s the leader?  The lunatic is running the asylum?  Unfortunately things just aren’t that interesting.  As I said above it’s not done in the most subtle or likeable fashion.  Even now I am still scratching my head wondering what the guy onstage with the video controller was doing.

Gradually things improve as the band eventually gets into a groove as the drummer manages to frame proceedings.  As I begin to enjoy the set it unfortunately comes coupled with Kluzek leaning over to comment “is this the Knight Rider theme?”  Perhaps that is why I find myself starting to enjoy the set.  With this the beats are offering the saxophonist scope to play his piece but this also causes him to grimace in a manner that suggests anguish in an unbefitting way.  In between taking slurps from his pint.  Unfortunately beyond this brief bolt of life, activity and energy the set somewhat crawls to a conclusion.  At the close of proceedings the strange guy in the middle introduces each member of the band to the audience.  This was not necessary.

The DEAD RAT ORCHESTRA set turns out to be much along the lines of last night as a very accomplished and satisfying display of swaying groove and sedate instrumentals.  These songs just trickle into the soul and represent a time and place empowering to nature and humanity.  Once more it is the strings that lend proceedings focus as the remainder of the unit adds blissful touches along with frills and thrills.

Again tonight Nathan sets fire to proceedings before briefly injecting some towering vocal stylings into the set.  Eventually it all ties together, coming to another winning end.

With the night getting late it is unfortunately at this point that Drew and Mark have to make moves, such are the logistics of Dalston.

For a second night running ERIC CHENAUX storms the show in casual manner.  Racton nails things on the head when he points out that it sounds like Palace.  It’s obvious; it was there all the time.  With DEAD RAT remaining onstage once again they exceptionally back him with mellow tones that broach the evening and lay tracks to a definite midweek peak.

All in all ERIC CHENAUX makes for a blissful evening and superior live experience.  As the room remains quiet seemingly transfixed by his Nick Drake via the mountain spirit it serves to ease the audience towards a better place, ensuring that the remainder of the week will now be a breeze.  Seldom do single voices sound so gifted and warm managing not to fall into folk pitfalls and crimes committed by so many acts with a similar setup and supposed mindset.

As the lyrics burn and words often ache my time begins to run out as 11PM arrives and with CHENAUX and DEAD RAT in full flow I have to make moves out of Dalston to head home before the bad people come out.

From here I board a bus straight down to Liverpool Street where I expertly buy some ice tea from Tesco on my way to catching and riding the 11.30PM Norwich train home.

When I finally get home for a second night running post midnight Channel Four is my saviour as I wrestle a bout of invigorated insomnia.

This is what’s meant by warm weather.

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