Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday 14 October 2010


Thursday 14 October 2010

I wake up still very tired, waking into the blackness of a mid October morning.  I don’t want to get up this morning, don’t wish to face this day.  For a moment I think/fear I have forgotten to set my alarm clock but when I check my watch (that glows in the dark) it is actually the cursed time of 5.55AM.  It is so evil.

Five minutes later the clock buzzes and I spring into action to switch it off before slumping back down in my duvet.  On cue as per routine I flip on ITV (Daybreak) and all news is Chilean and miner (minor?).

Before long I pull myself together and exit the flat for the station and London.  Happily on the train I get my seat which in turn means Stare Girl sits opposite me when she boards at Witham.  The journey further improves when at Chelmsford the Scandinavian looking lady sits opposite before finally the Black Girl That Smells Like Christmas sits in the seat next to me.  She is never a plate crowder.

We get to London on time and from here as I step onto the tube platform there is already a Metropolitan Line train awaiting my approval.  Before long I find myself emerging at St Johns Wood into the latest working day of my existence.

This is my final working day of the week which is perhaps a good thing as it has been a long week (even though technically it has only been four days).

I feel grumpy today and its mostly born from fatigue and the tiredness of noting having the time and energy to achieve/reach my goals in life.  In other words its frustration.  I could being so much but while I am stuck in this trap/loop of routine its not likely to happen.  Resentment will fester.

Once into work it is a quiet day.  At one point The Girl insinuates that she and the Filipino are walking on eggshells around me.  I doubt it.

For lunch I have penne in the knowledge that I probably won’t get chance to have dinner tonight as I am heading out with Racton to see NO AGE at XOYO.

Into the afternoon it sails out comfortably as I fire over a completed draft of September accounts to the bosses, a whole week ahead of the bank’s deadline.

Eventually the boss says we can leave just after 5PM which ultimately is not really any good to me.  Subsequently as the others head off early I find myself having to linger behind.  When I eventually head downstairs to exit around 5.45PM my boss is at the bar getting business drunk.  There is a brief invitation to join him but I’m feeling delicate at the moment and I sense having a token drink can/will only serve to make me feel sluggish and queasy.

For a third night running the eastbound Metropolitan Line tube is fucked again meaning that I have once more squeeze onto the Circle Line squash factory.  Then between Great Portland Street and Euston Square the train just dies.  This then turns out to be a prolonged pause and delay.  While we wait I notice that everyone on the train tonight has brown eyes.  This however is perhaps something of an optical illusion caused by air appearing to become scarce.

Finally we manage to slope to Euston Square and then Kings Cross before beaching once more just ahead of Farringdon.  Very quickly it becomes apparent that this has become the Chilean miner express.  Suddenly I feel bad/guilty for all my cynicism towards those guys (well, lack of applause).

In the end after becoming on the verge of a panic attack I finally emerge at Liverpool Street just after 7PM where I discover myself gasping for air, muggy London air.  This is a sick sense of appreciation I should not be forced to endure.

I head straight to Rough Trade where upon arrival things are a little too cool for me.  I’m too old for all this now, my hopes and aspirations are more unlikely than ever and if I had sense (time) I would be readjusting my aims and goals to something more realistic, attainable and adult.  Something that does lean towards having a cool record collection.

Tonight’s in-store is an event to celebrate a new selection of poetry publications by Faber with a couple of writers doing readings.  Its something that runs the risk of being equally pretentious as hell or cool as fuck.  Two things that I neither am.

After lingering around the store for a while feeling utterly out of place eventually the ball gets running on the performances.  Immediately what strikes me is how young everyone looks.  If only I could have been doing such things when I was their age.  Scarily I think despite my being potentially a decade (maybe more) older than them I consider them above me as peers and humans in general.  There is a distinct sense of lack of accomplishment to my being which will always automatically see/render me submissive and feeling at the bottom.

The first readings come from JACK UNDERWOOD who runs out with cuddly poetry that is slight band/music related and generally upbeat in execution.  Its not going to chance anyone’s life but it could slightly enhance it.  He feels a bit wish-wash with lack of age but with such a cannon already behind him this is a good place to be for anybody.

The other poet in place is JOE DUNTHORNE who equally rolls out a dry set of rhymes that touch on tangible themes such as bad movies and hipster books, making suggestion as to where and how these subjects fit in the grand scheme of things.  There is no forced meaning attached to any of the deliver, it does not feel laboured as they both swoop with a natural air and keep things cool avoiding potholes and clichés that I have seen many other wannabe poets fall into over the years.

Very soon the readings are over as they announce how in addition to the Faber releases they are also appearing in a compilation entitled Stop Sharpening Your Knives.  Briefly I head over to check out their wares but with time kicking I have to leave.  However this is not before I snag the RZA instrumental album that is sat in the sale for £3.

As I exit back onto the streets of east London I pass an Addison Lee car which has a sign earmarked for Konnie Huq in its window.  How posh.  From here a few steps later I discover that Hanbury Street has been closed off as an ambulance is on the scene in what I believe to be an unrelated incident.

Avoiding all catastrophe I quickly get onto Commercial Street where all is rotten but being on a main street it is relatively safe.  With this in mind I pop into Tesco to grab some quick dinner before making my way to Old Street to meet up with Racton for NO AGE.

Soon I find myself passing the Old Blue Last and where the Foundry used to be before winding up at the terrifying future-gone-wrong roundabout that is Old Street tube station.

When I arrive there just as I am stepping through the station Racton rings to inform me that he has thankfully arrived.  From here we hook up and set about looking for the XOYO before finding a Mexican fast food joint instead.  With this we opt for some pre-show food as I have a chilli beef burrito that is hot hot hot.  Like a maverick I make my order without getting a drink which has mistake written all lover and before the end I am having to buy a can of Red Bull to calm things down.  Like petrol on a bonfire.

Eventually with literal fire in our bellies we return in search rock!  In the end XOYO turns out to be in a completely unexpected building.  This area looks fresh and modern and comes with hardcore security.  This is not indie rock.

Stepping inside the venue it is immediately rammed as onstage ABE VIGODA is into their set.  XOYO is a wide, awkward shaped venue, horizontal instead of vertical; it does not necessarily work well.  I can’t help but feel that this could well go down as the year indie rock rediscovered The Cure for an influence.  From other angles ABE VIGODA resemble moments of Vampire Weekend and The Drums put through a blender.  And we have a very bad angle of them.  I can’t see this band breaking my heart although they might be good one day.

Once they finish the place calms down somewhat as we head to a better spot for the evening, one now actually facing the stage.  Not that we are able to avoid the hustle and bustle of proceedings.  This is very evidently a hot ticket.

MALE BONDING follows and is the usual fantastic.  For a band with such a dense sound there is something incredibly upbeat to their existence, not least due to the manner and tone of the vocals.  With gusto they tear into a joy filled set with a sound that I find tough to pin down.  Often I am reminded of the Kinsella brothers (Tim and Mike) but then in comes a Dick Dale-eqse solo coupled with lashings of excessive echo.  It all has an at the beach feel (as opposed to on the beach) and as a result their set flies by in a breeze.  A treasure not a chore.

By the time NO AGE arrive things are tense as anticipation runs high.  The last time I saw NO AGE was at the Scala and their set was regularly interrupted by an insane set regularly spewing onstage.  It came with mixed returns, mixed emotions.  Standing in front of us tonight is a confused demographic, males of indeterminate age with stupid hair in matching red and white chequered shirts that could equally be country or grunge.  Confusion.

With a third member now in tow NO AGE burst out in trademark noisy fashion and are soon delivering the goods in recognisable “hits” as all goes bollo and the sound of scrappy jagged guitar is unleashed on the unsuspecting.

In some ways the band at times feels like a minor league My Bloody Valentine as dense portions of distorted guitar mesh and rise above proceedings as the band get dragged away by their instruments.  The driving force of Dean Spunt behind the drums ensures that the band maintains its hardcore pace and lo-fidelity recklessness.

The new NO AGE material displays a new set of sensibilities.  Whereas previously many of the songs appeared built on one big riff paying off the new tracks are more intricately made while remaining textured masses of distortion.  As ever it doesn’t fail to send the kids into ecstasy as many find their way to crowd surfing as if it were still a golden age.

In no time the set bursts past the usual 11PM curfew time and it is with no sign of calming down.  On cue with this I begin to get twitchy.

Eventually it all crashes to a conclusion as both members of the band jump into the crowd and simultaneously surf as the audience happily hold them aloft in salute.  Then it all comes full circle as the band conveniently have a song called “Miner” which they are able to attach to current affairs in a deserving tribute to the people in Chile (“those are real heroes”).

By now the night is pushing 11.30PM and with the band seemingly still in full flow reluctantly we leave them to finish off their tactfully scrappy set.  We exit XOYO with our ears ringing soon stepping into Old Street.  I maintain this is a terrifying tube station, definitely a taste of London gone wrong.

Finally I wind up on a late train home that sees me getting back to my flat around 1.30AM.  Painful.

No comments: