Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Stuff

Disclaimer: Despite the fact I've been interested in the subject for years and years, I've never tried to write about art before so this probably won't be very good.

I'd been wanting to see The Sacred Made Real: Spainish Painting and Sculpure 1600-1700 at the National Gallery since I saw an advert for it a few weeks back, so after my lecture/seminar yesterday afternoon I hopped onto the 453 and headed to Trafalgar Square.

The National Gallery is, and this isn't just another example of me using the word hyperbolically or stylisticaly, awesome. Going there on a weekday afternoon is an absolute treat. Until you end up in a room with thirty very loud Italian women. But I digress, the National is home to some of the finest art in the world. And it's free.

The Sacred Made Real, however, isn't free but I didn't begrudge the £4 admission fee because, well, it's an incredible exhibition. I've been a fan of Digeo Velazquez for a while now so getting to see several of his finest paintings alongside work by Zurbaran was fantastic. The exhibition focuses on Christianity and more specifcally the crucifixtion of Jesus Christ. Such powerful iconography can produce magnificent art and as an atheist I treated the exhibition as a series of reworkings on the theme of suffering. In this respect it was the sculpture that wowed me the most. The intricate, fantastically carved and painted wooden recreations of Christ's death were stark, realistic, almost visceral. The coupling of Juan Martinez Montanes's 'Christ on the Cross' with Zurbaran's painting of the same name is worth the price of the ticket.



 

After I'd been to the National I took a stroll down the Southbank and headed for the Tate Modern. Considered going to the Pop Life exhibition but £11 to see some Warhol prints seemed a tad OTT. Still, the exhibition in the Turbine Hall is the best they've had for a long time: it's a massive, sloped, pitch black box you walk inside. Except you don't walk, you do a very slow, cautious, half-step into the unknown. Check it  out. 

Sunday, 15 November 2009

WERD UP

Hi guys.

Man, why did no one tell me that being a second year student required loads of work? I'm balls deep in books about Puritan America right now.

Anyway, I downloaded some really bad, but free, 'DJ' software the other week, anyone want me to post loads of horrendous mixes? I'll just use tunes that Kompakt have put out. oh, and gun shots all over the top as well.

I'm drinking this:


Yeah, Tesco's version of Red Bull. It's making my heart hurt. Oof. Still, if it helps me pump out this essay i'll be a happy boy.

ALSO:
Norfolk based people: anyone want to do a one off club night over the Christmas holidays? Birdcage or Mustard. So, if you can DJ or want to do a flyer, get in touch.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Pretty Green Eyes



I've written on here before about my love of songs that weld melancholy to the dancefloor and this is one of the best in that genre. This is what heartbreak sounds like after 7 WKD's.

Shit, the 'NEVER EVER BE ALONE!' bit gets me every. single. time.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Fuck

So, I 'played' football for the first time since school basically this afternoon. What better way to spend a crisp, delightful Sunday afternoon in South East London? I went into the cage thinking that even though I do literally no exercise at all my natural litheness would stand me in good stead. How wrong I was. I felt like this guy, minus any ability:


so yeah, might give this exercise thing a bash. Well, I won't because I'm pretty content with eating pizza 5 times a week and drinking lager. 

Friday, 9 October 2009


R KELLY – MISUNDERSTOOD GENIUS

We all have topics of conversation that repeatedly come up after a few drinks. Mine include Motown (“Oh God, music will never get better than this!”), the work of Shane Meadows (“He just seems really down to earth, top bloke, having a pint with him would be rad!”) and, predominately, trying to persuade people that R. Kelly is a genius rather than a slightly grubby R’n’B star.

Earlier in the decade Kelly was accused to recording himself having sex with an underage girl. Not just regular sex though, oh no. The video allegedly showed him urinating on her. This is possibly why my argument rarely wins people over. Even though he was found guilty on all 14 charges it is hard to erase the case from the memory. And of course we must remember that back in 1994 he married the sadly deceased singer Aaliyah. When she was fifteen. And R had known her since she was twelve. However, I feel that as hard as it can be to do so, we have to separate the personal life from the material the artist produces. People still love  Annie Hall and Chinatown regardless of the directors predilections, right?

Whatever you think about his music, it’s impossible to deny the fact that Robert Sylvester Kelly is one of the most fascinating characters in music today. He has managed to ride the waves of controversy that have dogged his career and still remains one of the biggest selling artists in America today. One of the most interesting things about him professionally is his willingness to reveal so much about himself. I remember reading an interview with him in Q magazine a few years back when he discussed the trouble he has in living with the R. Kelly persona that he has created. He said that sometimes he didn’t want to be this sex-loving, club-hopping star bur wanted to ‘just be Robert, the God loving family man (Kelly has three children from his marriage which dissolved at the start of the year). His songs mainly come in two flavours: the upfront sex fueled club banger and the introspective, almost embarrassingly open quiet ones. It’s the former category that appeals to me; if we take it that 95% of all pop music is, and always has been, about sex, then R. is the undisputed king of pop (as we live in the post-Jackson age someone has to take the title). No one writes about sex like he does. This is a man who has songs called ‘Sex Planet’, ‘Good Sex’ and ‘Bangin’ the Headboard;’, a man who sings lines like ‘Girl, I got you so wet it’s like a rainforest/Like Jurassic Park except I’m your sex-a-saurus baby’. You sense that this is a man who does not find sex shameful in any way; rather he is someone who embraces and celebrates everything about his own sexuality. I can’t think of another singer who would holler the line ‘We’re like two gorillas in the jungle baby makin’ love’ in such a matter of fact, un-ironic way.

When I raise the Kelly topic I’m often accused of having an ‘ironic’ liking of him. This is a concept that I don’t fully understand as I don’t subscribe to the notion of guilty pleasures. Irony, in this sense, is something that we use to create a sense of distance between something that we like but feel like we shouldn’t. We feel above the subject, as if our liking of it validates it somehow. There is nothing ‘ironic’ about my love of what is Kelly’s undoubted masterpiece, Ignition (Remix). The song, like so many others in his vast back catalogue, is about going out, having fun and, eventually, having sex. It is, and I have to admit at this point that I’m prone to hyperbole, one of the most joyful three minutes of music ever made. Ignition sounds like every good memory you have of nights out with friends condensed into one blissful sequence that doesn’t end with a hangover. From the moment Kelly intones that he ‘doesn’t usually do this…’ to the moment the vocal drops out and an almost celestial synth line waltzes in and out of the mix, it is a paean to joy. It’s also the last great song to hit the number one spot in the charts (though, in fairness, Yeah! By Usher comes close). Ignition (Remix) cemented Kelly’s position as master of the intro. His other great intro comes from the 1994 smash Bump n’ Grind, when he tells the girl he’s wooing that whilst his ‘mind is telling him no’ his body, his body ‘is telling me yes!’. The conviction in his delivery is almost frightening.

If I haven’t converted the person listening to me by droning on and on about Ignition (Remix) then I play the trump card: Trapped in the Closet, his 22 part hip-hopera. Trapped can easily be viewed as an absurd, pointless, repetitive mess that cannot sustain its narrative for long enough to make it watchable. This is, frankly, a load of rubbish. Trapped in the Closet is one of the defining pop-culture artifacts of the decade. It is in fact a lovingly crafted piece of drama that manages to be incredibly amusing whilst being knowingly silly. It is to Kelly’s credit that this knowingness does not become irritating at any point.

The plot is far too labyrinthine to be turned into a pithy synopsis, but essentially it deals with issues of fidelity, homosexuality, identity and masculinity. Set it in Spain, swap Kelly for Javier Bardem and you’ve got a Pedro Almdovar film. Incidentally, Trapped… shares Almodovar’s fetishization of the telephone. The characters sing-talk their way through a series of hilariously convulted and bizarre situations that involve gay couples, wife swapping and midget strippers. It’s the sheer oddness of the piece that makes it such compulsive vieiwing. Admittedly, some moments when seen in isolation, such as the infamous moment where it’s revealed that there is a man in the cupboard and that man is a midget, which seem laughably bad, but when viewed in order these moments of utter strangeness become oddly plausible.

At several points R. Kelly, who plays the central character Sylvester and several others (including an old drunk and ‘Pimp Lucious’ whose name tells you all you need to know about the character) interjects and comments on the events. This breaking of the fourth wall is obviously a reference to dramatist Bertolt Brecht’s alienation techniques as well as Austrian director Michael Haneke’s classic 1997 film Funny Games. These interjections exemplify the blurring of fiction and reality within the piece that make it so great. The characters are constantly trying to ascertain what exactly has happened to the other characters and work out possible outcomes. There’s even an utterly abstract commentary section wherein R Kelly is sat in a chair pretending to watch the episodes whilst he talks about them as if they were real. He goes on to claim that people often ask him if it’s based on his own experiences and he says that whilst it isn’t it ‘takes a few chapters from real life,’ a statement that makes me realize how mundane my own life is.

Homosexuality is a theme not often explored in the world of ‘urban’ music and it is admirable that Kelly makes two gay characters, Rufus (a pastor) and Chuck (a deacon) two of his main characters. They are not presented as camp but as two ‘normal’ men who fell in love with each other but have to keep this love secret because society would not, they feel, accept it. The fact that both men work for the church adds an interesting frisson to the relationship.

Ok, enough theorizing. The main reason why I love Trapped in the Closet so much is because it’s laugh out loud funny. There are too many good moments to mention but personal highlights include: Sylvester stopping his wife from having sex with because he’s got a cramp in his leg, the rhyming of ‘Rufus and Chuck’ with ‘what the fuck’ (I should mention that the swearing in the piece is absolutely exquisite; every ‘fuck’ and ‘motherfucker’ is a work of art) and the midget literally crapping himself in terror.

Trapped in the Closet is the work of a man who, seemingly, does not care what people think of him. It is an irresistible hour and a half that confirms R. Kelly’s place as one of the most important pop-culture figures working today. Just try not to think about I Believe I Can Fly.

JOSH BAINES

Thursday, 8 October 2009

It's been a long time
I shouldn't have left you
Without a dope beat to step to.


Hi! So, I've been back in london for a few weeks now and everything (pretty much) is going swell. I'm determined to write more in general this year so if anyone wants to collaborate on a zine or whatever just get in touch.

Saw this today:

Seizure by Roger Hiorns.

It's amazing.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Friday, 28 August 2009

Self Indulgent List Making

In response to the Pitchfork list, here's my top 100 tracks of the decade. 500 is overkill really and 50 is too little. So, yes, I could have gone for 250 say, but no, 100 will do me. Reading these lists always makes me wonder how much thought actually goes into them: why is the 465th best track of the decade better than the 466th etc. So in the spirit of this, I'm basically making the list up as I go along until I get to the top 30, which I will actually have thought about properly.

100. The Mountain Goats - The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton
99. Ludacris - Southern Hospitality
98. Broadcast - America's Boy
97. Gotye - Hearts A Mess (SuperMayer remix)
96. Joker - Gully Brook Lane
95. Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - Loop Duplicate My Heart
94. Wavves - So Bored
93. Safety Scissors - Sunlight's on the Other Side
92. Xiu Xiu - I Luv The Valley OH!
91. Three 6 Mafia - Stay Fly
90. Baby Cham ft Akon - Ghetto Story (Remix)

89. Neon Neon - I Lust U
88. The Tough Alliance - Silly Crimes
87. Plus Device - Body Heat
86. R Kelly ft T.I. and T. Pain - I'm A Flirt (Remix)
85. Pet Shop Boys - Love etc (Gui Boratto Remix)
84. Zombi - Sapphire
83. International Pony - Our House
82. Chromeo - Bonafide Lovin'
81. The Whitest Boy Alive - Courage
80. Junior Boys - More Than Real

79. T Pain ft MJG, 8 Ball, R Kelly et al - I'm In Luv Wit A Strippa
78. Ricardo Villalobos - Easy Lee
77. Dakar - I've Got That Feeling
76. Nelly - Hot in Herre
75. The Dismemberment Plan - A Life of Possibilities
74. Washed Out - Feel It All Around
73. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - New Years Kiss
72. Maps & Atlases - Witch
71. Sparks - Dick Around
70. Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje remix)

69. Lil Wayne - 3peat
68. Cornelius - Drop
67. Broken Social Scene - (7/4) Shoreline
66. DJ Koze - I Want to Sleep
65. Sally Shapiro - Anorak Christmas
64. The Game - Dreams
63. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
62. Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger
61. El Guincho - Palmitos Park
60. Pinback - Afk

59. Noze - Remember Love
58. Kings of Convenience - Toxic Girl
57. Justin Timberlake - My Love
56. Justice - Let There Be Light
55. Hot Chip - Boy from School
54. Electrelane - To the East
53. The Blow - Fists Up!
52. Midlake - Roscoe (Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve remix)
51. LCD Soundsystem - Get Innocuous #
50. Those Dancing Days - Hitten

49. Annie - Chewing Gum
48. The Research - Lonely Hearts Still Beat the Same
47. The Artful Dodger ft. Craig David - Re-Rewind
46. Belle and Sebastian - I'm A Cuckoo
45. Low - Just Like Christmas
44. Jay-Z - I Just Wanna Love U (Give it 2 Me)
43. Daft Punk - Digital Love
42. Jens Lekman - A Postcard to Nina
41. The Mountain Goats - San Bernardino
40. Herman Dune - This Will Never Happen

39. Missy Elliott ft Ludacris - One Minute Man
38. Kings of Convenience - Misread
37. Golden Boy and Miss Kittin - Rippin Kittin
36. Hekio Voss - I Think About You
35. Benga and Coki - Night
34. Rufus Wainwright - Tiergarten (SuperMayer remix)
33. Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers
32. Camera Obscura - Teenager
31. Closer Musik - Maria

30. Cut Copy - Saturdays

29. Wayne Wonder - No Letting Go
28. Dr Dre ft. Snoop Dogg - The Next Episode
27. Aeroplane ft Kathy Diamond - Whispers
26. Gui Boratto - Beautiful Life
25. Larry Heard and Mr White - The Sun Can't Compare
24. The Strokes - Hard to Explain
23. Of Montreal - Nonpareil of Favour
22. Ada - Each and Everyone (Blindhouse)
21. Mlle Caro and Franck Garcia - Always You (Ewan Pearson Remix)
20. Animal Collective - Fireworks

19. Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better
18. Belle and Sebastian - Wrapped Up In Books
17. 50 Cent - In Da Club
16. Jonathan Richman - Springtime in New York
15. Ada and Erlend Oye - Luckycharm/Intuition
14. Kanye West - Love Lockdown
13. The Walkmen - The Rat
12. Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves
11. The Mountain Goats - No Children

10. Dntel - (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Superpitcher's Kompakt Remix)
9. Hercules and Love Affair - Blind
8. Animal Collective - My Girls
7. R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix)
6. Daft Punk - One More Time
5. UGK ft Outkast - International Players Anthem (I Choose You)
4. The Avalanches - Since I Left You
3. Jurgen Paape - So Wiet Wie Noch Nie
2. Of Montreal - The Past is a Grotesque Animal
1. Panda Bear - Bros

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Hmm

This photo is eerily depressing.

Villalobos - The Movie

Shamelessly stealing this from another blog, but woah I'm pumped. Everyone's favourite Chilean techno producer/DJ/weirdo has had a documentary made about him. I highly doubt it'll be shown over here, so I guess I'll just have to learn how to use torrents. Or wait till he plays Fabric again, buy a phone capable of taking video, film snippets of his set here and there and edit them together.

Trailer:


"Producer and DJ Ricardo Villalobos will be the subject of Romuald Karmakar’s upcoming documentary, based around the Chilean bred tech house counselor. Ricardo Villalobos has been a central figure in the electronic music scene during the past decade. Releasing some major tracks under labels Cocoon, Cadenza and Perlon, has allowed Villalobos to take center stage in the worlds top electronic music clubs. He has played festivals like Time Warp, Mysteryland, Sonar, Mutek and many more notable global gatherings. His long resume proves to be one of the best in the business, and this documentary will bring us closer to the mystery man that refuses to play in the USA. Hopefully one day he gives in! Filmmaker Romuald Karmakar captures some of the bright moments of Villalobos’ career and packages them into this documentary, which is scheduled to make it’s premiere at the 66th Venice International Film Festival on September 12th, 2009."

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Ok, this song sounds like someone trying really hard to remember the bassline to Rip It Up by Orange Juic, then going "oooh" and looping that for 4 minutes, then playing some fuzzy chords on a synth and then putting the tape in a puddle for a bit, THEN covering it in grit, then playing the tape in a church (on a day when sunshine is seeping through the stained glasses windows) through a reverb pedal. It's good.

Washed Out - Feel It All Around

Monday, 24 August 2009

The Pitchfork Top 500 List

Hmmmm. Let's start with the major talking point from the list: B.O.B. at number one. Now, I'm a big Outkast fan and I guess Pitchfork didn't want to put some American indie in the top spot, but seriously? B.O.B. isn't even the fourth best song on Stankonia. They justify it by comparing it to the 'world's first twitter feed' as if this is a good thing. A lot of people have claimed that the choice is tokenistic and that it was almost as if Pitchfork felt they HAD to choose a hip hop tune. This is obviously untrue: Pitchfork has always loved hip hop (check all the end of year singles/albums lists etc, the amount of rap albums they review each week etc) and I praise them for it, but there have been far, far better hip hop tracks this decade (in fairness many of them made the upper echelons of the list anyway).

Pitchfork bashing has become the norm over the last few years, and whilst I will readily admit that the quality of writing has dropped massively recently and the prominence of folky American indie on the site is off putting, I still check it daily. The guest columnists are usually great (Philip Sherburne's Month in Techno is always fantastic) and the track reviews chuck up some bonzer stuff. Oh, and the Pitchfork TV stuff is pretty golden too.

Looking at the list as a whole is pretty interesting. Obviously it's full of p4k approved indie but the techno choices in particular are decent. There's the odd curveball (Rachel Stevens anyone?) and I was massively surprised by how low down the list Panda Bear's Bros and The Past is a Grotesque Animal were as well.

Anyway, I can't think of any more commentary on the list for a bit, so have my top 5 songs of the decade instead.

5. UGK and Outkast - International Players Anthem

Everything about this just sounds triumphant. That Willie Hutch sample makes me want to go around high fiving people in the least wanky way possible. Every verse is chock full of quotable lines ("then I'd CC every girl that I'd see round town", "pullin' Bentleys off the lot, smashed up the grey one bought me a reeeeeeed", "I'm a million dollar mack, need a billion dollar bitch" etc) and that moment when the beat drops just before Pimp C's verse gets me every time.

4. The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Back when I was 11, I walked into the Virgin Megastore in Norwich armed with £25s worth of vouchers. Having read a few issues of NME, including the Christmas issue with those all important end of year lists, I ended up buying Since I Left You by Australian samplemasters The Avalanches and Is This It by The Strokes. Both still sound perfect to me today. I put this down to a combination of nostalgia and the fact that both are really good albums. Ok, so The Strokes never did anything again and beside the odd remix The Avalanches have been pretty quiet for the last eight years, they both put out some of the best music of the decade. The title track of Since... is one of those songs that gets better every time you hear it. Over the last of the eight years, each of the samples that makes up the track has, at some point, been my favourite component, but, like the guy who wrote the review of it for the Pitchfork list, it's the vocal that gets me. Oh and the Spanish guitar intro, the drums, the flute melody, the backing vocals, the cowbell, the chugging synth chords, the guy offering you a drink at the start, that keyboard line that sounds like a bird swooping into the sea...

3. Jurgen Paape - So Weit Wie Noch Nie

I've mentioned it on this blog before, but Erlend Oye's DJ Kicks mix is one of the most important records in my life. He used a slightly slowed down version of Paape's (one of the founder's of Kompakt records, a label I became obssessed with after hearing this song) five and a half minutes of blissed out glory to open the compilation. Having been raised on NME approved indie I wasn't really sure what to make of it. It was slow. It was repetitive. It had some operatic sounding German woman blathering on about "moonshine in zarum haan" or something over the top. But persistence paid off. I began to like the song more and more with each listen. It's hands down the best techno record of the decade and a song that I've yet to tire of. Kompakt, still going strong to this day, never really hit the highs of this song again. Hell, Pitchfork even included it in an article about how some sounds just sound perfect. They were right.

2. Of Montreal - The Past is a Grotesque Animal

NONE OF OUR SECRETS ARE PHYSICAL! NONE OF SECRETS ARE PHYSICAL...NOW!

1. Panda Bear - Bros
http://open.spotify.com/track/69okE3e6FhPASks9cajATJ

So good that I didn't want to use a youtube video to indicate it's greatness. I'm not really sure if I can describe why this song is so good. No, I can't. Just listen.


Enjoy!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Two Bangers

It's a sunday, I'm in a fairly upbeat mood so here's some music for you.

Noel - The Night They Invented Love




Noel was Ron and Russell Mael's disco protege. Ron and Russ make up Sparks, one of the most interesting and original bands of all time. I'm sure you've all heard their biggest hit, This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both of Us and probably know that Ron used to rock the toothbrush/Chaplin/Hitler tache. Anyway, in the late 70s, Sparks worked with the legendary Giorgio Moroder on the fanfuckingtastic No.1 In Heaven album (my favourite Sparks record by some distance) and then carried on the disco theme by writing and producing these tracks for Noel. There's barely any information on the net about her but, cliched as it may be, this track speaks for itself: pumping bassline, classic disco hi-hats and THAT intensely great, borderline-cheesy, sax riff and Noel's faux-seductive vocals (seriously, that first line is too hot. Just the way she sings the word 'liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiarrrrrrrs'). She put out an album 'Is There More To Life Than Dancing?' (which includes her other 'hit', Dancing is Dangerous, which sounds Sparksy as hell, mianly because Russell Mael provides backing vocals) and I'm hunting down a 12" of it. Nice cover, too.



Fax Yourself - Sunshine



80s house music is one of the greatest cultural achievements in human history. This is a fact. If you want to make me happy, just give me a massive kick drum, jackin' hi-hats, big diva vocals and choppy synths. This track (as featured on Hercules and Love Affair's sublime Sidetracked mix) has all that and more. Fax Yourself were a Belgian house act back when the country was producing some of the best dance music ever made (Joey Beltram et al) and this was arguably their best song. Yeah, it sounds like Good Life and Big Fun by Inner City but that's a good thing in my book. Also, I'm pretty sure it samples The Clash and there's a bit that rips off House Nation by The House Master Boys and the Rude Boy of House. Put it on, take your shirt off and then come round mine so we can talk about how house is going to unite every one in the world.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

On Football

At quarter past three this afternoon, I realised that I don't really care about football that much any more. Grant Holt had just scored for Norwich and unlike the other 23,000 Norwich fans at Carrow Road, I didn't cheer like we'd just won the Champions League. I stood up, clapped a few times and sat down again. There was a time when seeing the ball hit the back of the net (I apologise in advance for the numerous clichés that will appear in this post; football, like love, is something that can only really be talked about using them.) would have made me feel something. Four more Norwich goals followed. Each one was met by me with the same reception the first got.

Football is something I get passionate about in fits and spurts. Sometimes I think it's one of the most wonderful things that the human race has ever invented; I look up statistics and marvel at Brazilian wunderkids scoring 30+ goals in a season despite only having worn shoes since the start of the year, play Championship Manager 01/02 for hours on end etc. Then I think about people like John "JT" Terry, Frank "Lamps" Lampard and Steven "Stevie G" Gerrard and remember that most footballers are complete and utter cunts. The point that footballers earn an obscene amount of money is one that has been made time after time, and whilst it is true, my gripe with the majority of players is that they are so boring. The average interview with a footballer can literally induce tears of boredom in the reader. The player in question will at some point talk about the "banter" with the "lads" being great, the manager being great, the fans being great and so on. Now, I understand that players are ambassadors for their club and as a result do not wish to say things that will reflect badly on themselves and their employers but come on, these are young men accumulating a vast wealth before they reach 25 purely because they can kick a ball quite well. DO something interesting with the money guys. Take some risks.

Another thing that annoys me about footballers is their taste. A few years back, the Chelsea squad were asked to list their favourite songs. The resulting list was released as an album:


Shawn Wright Phillips -Kellis Milkshake
John Terry - Luther Vandross - So Amazing
Ricardo Carvalho - Stone Roses - Fools gold
Michael Essien - Hard Knock Life
[Ghetton Anthem]
Paulo Ferreira - Mylo - In my arms
Joe Cole - Spandau Ballet - Gold
Huth - Marvin Gaye - Let's get it on
Lenny Pidgley - Usher - You Make me wanna
Gudjohnsen - KC & Jo Jo - All my life
Cudicini - Groove Armada - I see you baby [Fatboy Slim Radio Edit]
Drogba - Aaiyah -Back and forth
Cech - R kelly - I believe I can Fly
Lampard - Lione Richie - Stuck on you
Duff - Christy Moore - Joxter Goes to Stuggart
Crespo - Jamiroqual - Seven days in Sunny June
Asier Del Horno - Kings of Leon - California waiting
Geremi - Toni Braxton - Youre making me high
Diarra - Blu Cantrell - Breathe -Feature Sean Paul
Robben - Europe - the final countdown
Mourinho - Bryan Adams - Run to you

JUST LOOK AT IT.

Now, I'm not expecting footballers to like obscure post-punk or glitchy techno. Well, actually, I do. I want my favourite player to listen to Ellen Allien, read books by Philip Roth and watch films by Pedro Almodovar. I imagine most footballers never read and enjoy the cinematic genius that is Ben Stiller.

So yeah, footballers are cunts. I've gone off the game. At the end of the day, that's it.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Home Sweet Home



North Walsham has been my home since I was 7. Like most teenagers, I grew to hate the place I lived. I thought it was small minded, lacking in ambition, shoddy. It is. A large swathe of the 10,000 inhabitants will never leave. People are, if not happy to be there, unwilling to move out, to change things. This was one of the major reasons why I wanted to go to university in London; when you grow up in a town where people are literally surprised to see a non-white person, moving to one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world makes sense.

So, this afternoon I went out armed with my digital camera to document the place that, until I move into my new house in Deptford, is home. My abilities with a camera are somewhat limited so don't think that I'm in any way proud of these shots artistically.


This is an alley on the street I live on, Norwich Road. It leads you to some of the nicer council estates in town. These estates surround my old primary school. I sometimes bike through them on nice summer evenings trying to recapture my youth. Invariably I just end up remembering that I find cycling horribly strenuous, come home, collapse on the sofa and feel faint.

Further up Norwich Road, you come to the old baked bean factory. I'm not entirely sure how long beans were produced here, but I remember the place being abandoned in about 2002. Since then it's just become a place for people to practice their brick throwing. I think the council want to turn the site into another housing estate. I always hoped it would become a really good nightclub. In hindsight this was somewhat naive of me. Still, it looks really 'gritty' now and I'm sure lots of teens in skinny jeans studying photography have taken dead good photos of it. I just took rubbish ones of the door:

I always wanted to get out of North Walsham. The train was the easiest way to get to Norwich. Growing up in North Norfolk leaves you believing that Norwich is a cosmopolitan wonderland rather than simply a nice, quiet little city. I couldn't resist taking this photo though:

The credit crunch hit my hometown hard. On my first visit home after moving to New Cross, I was shocked to see how many of the shops had gone out of business. Half the high street was closed. Even on a Thursday afternoon, the busiest day in town due to the weekly market, you can see the effect the current economic crisis has had.

Not even the Jolly Swagman could beat the recession.



Credit crunch lunches don't stretch to fresh fish.

Not everywhere is doing badly though. The bookmakers next to the fishmonger's was packed. So much so that one bloke was stood outside, peering into the window. I watched him for several minutes. He was trying to communicate with two women who were playing one of the fruit machines. Either they genuinely couldn't see him, or they were pretending not to notice him frantically tapping away at the window. I hope he eventually plucked up the courage to go in.


Another place that has been doing well is the factory on the edge of town. It used to be owned by my grandfather. A few years back, he retired and sold the factory to 'The Mattress Man'.

I mentioned the market earlier and it does have a big impact on the place. It's the only day of the week when you'll see the high street full of people, rather than the odd single mother pushing a pram down the road. Have some photos of the market in full swing.




Fruit and puzzle books. That's all we got.


Pop down to the precinct for some rad clobber, then pop to Connexions: the home of outcasted youngsters who like Green Day and Pokemon (s0 random blatez lmao!) and shaven headed hardnuts alike!



As a younger man, I was convinced that there was nothing to do in North Walsham. I was wrong. It took the town 30 years, but we finally got a swimming pool. Finally we had a place where lads called Shayne, who drive souped up 106's, can finger 14 year olds in public. And just look at this set of cracking gigs the town's got lined up:



Walking round the place, I was reminded that everyone my age hates their hometown. But small town Britain isn't that bad a place. Earlier in the year, I went to Bexlyheath with my ex-girlfriend to meet her family. On the train there she'd told me how awful the place was. And initially I agreed. When we disembarked, the first thing we saw was an alcoholic in a pink shellsuit puke up bile. But apart from that it was fine. A little boring, yes. But awful? No, not really. Everywhere's the same. Even North Walsham.



Friday, 17 July 2009

Itsamea!

Hi. Today I got the results of my first year exams/portfolio work through the post. Goldsmiths don’t appear to want to actually give you a concrete mark, so I deduced that I got a 2.1, which in truth I’m pretty happy with. I was slightly disappointed with the 2.2 I got in the short story module but then again I was pleased with the 1st I got in creative writing. I guess my tutor liked the pretty horrendous story about a Glaswegian summer that I wrote about two days before the portfolio hand in.

Goldsmiths is a pretty media friendly university and yesterdays edition of the G2 featured a four page article on some students who’d just completed their MA in fine arts. Goldsmiths is, obviously, famous for it’s art degree (Damien Hirst, Young British Artists, Freeze, blah blah blah) and it’s one of the things I like about being at the college. Though I rarely look at the work ‘our’ students produce, I quite like knowing that some of it at least will be pretty great. Plus, no WORLD FAMOUS art degree, no Ben Pimlott building.

Ok, this blog isn’t really an advert for London’s trendy Goldsmiths College. Instead I think I want to talk about Super Mario World on the SNES and why very few games made since can match it’s sheer majesty. The 2D plat former is my favourite type of video game. Forget about your hyper realistic representations of WW2, intense strategy games, first person shooters set in murky, labyrinthine bunkers or whatever. Give me a coin-collection, princess-rescuing plat former any day. And preferably one made by Nintendo. I never got on with Sonic, mainly because I never owned a Sega console. I got my SNES for Christmas when I was 5 and joy of joys, it came bundled with Super Mario World, making it the first video game I ever played. This undoubtedly has something to do with why I hold the game in such esteem. From what I can remember, the game came with all the levels already completed. My brother, who would have been 3, managed to delete them all. I’ve never forgiven him for it. I got through as much of the game as I could but eventually other games came into my possession and Mario, Luigi and Yoshi disappeared out of view to be replaced by Kevin Keegan, Captain Falcon and Link. My SNES bit the dust when I was 8 and had moved onto the N64, so it was only mildly crushing when another of my brothers managed to push the console off a table.

Fast forward a few years and I’m playing Super Mario World on my Gameboy Advance and falling in love with it all over again. The learning curve is completely spot on. When I die over and over again, usually on one of the slightly annoying levels where the walls close in on you, I don’t blame the game; it’s my own fault. Playing levels over and over is actually enjoyable. It’s one of those games that actually feels fun to play as opposed to a slog to get from one end of a level to another.

This leads me onto to likes of Grand Theft Auto, which one could argue is the antithesis of the type of game I’ve just mentioned. It’s constantly praised, and rightly so, for it’s non-linear structure, for it’s freedom. But no GTA game actually offers the player any ‘real’ freedom. Locations are locked until you complete certain missions. Initially, a new GTA game does feel as immersive as the reviewers say. I can happily spend hours pottering about, listening to the radio, seeing what’s possible within the context of the game. But, for me at least, unless you can be bothered to trawl through the missions (most of which are awful variations on: drive to location, shoot people, drive somewhere else. Repeat ad nauseaum) the game loses its appeal after a while. I become frustrated with the lack of consequences. Say you manage to set up a situation wherein you cause several cars to explode, you would assume that there would be some lasting repercussions, right? Well, you drive round the corner, come back in 30 seconds and everything’s back to normal. This annoys me no end. But, I guess, it shows how far video games have come. When I’m playing SMW I’m not worried that if I jump on that goomba, then go backwards a bit, he’ll reappear. I;’ll just stamp on his head again.

I’ve lost my narrative thread now, so I’ll wrap this up: 2D plat formers are the most fun you can have with two hands. FACT.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

This summer I've dug out my Gameboy Advance and it's rewarded me. The DS was a console that I've never really clicked with for a few reasons. I'm left handed and thus the stylus system felt really awkward to use, the 3D graphics are, for the most part, shameful, quite a lot of the games I've played have been too reliant on gimmicks and well, to be honest, the Super Mario Brothers game apart, I've found very little that I'd actually want to play the whole way through, let alone repeatedly. I'm certain that I've missed out on some gems but for the moment I'll stick to the previous gen.

I hammered Super Mario World like I was a 6 year old all over again and it's still the finest platformer ever made. In fact I'd rate it as my favourite game of all time. Everything about it is perfect. But that's for another day. I've also been tearing into my ancient copy of Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening which has been a treat. I've nearly completed it this time without using the cheat that made it so easy (press 'select' just before you move into a new screen to skip it entirely). And yes, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.

Despite being unable to skateboard in the real world (one of my rare attempts ended with me splitting my knee in half and weeping) I'm a dab hand it at virtually. The second instalment on the PSOne was my entry point to the series and I've been playing that too. But 3 on the GBA is where it's at. It's insanely easy. You can literally complete the career mode with a character in half an hour. I like easy games. I don't like buying a new game, getting that rad excited feeling all the way home, tearing off the cellophane, pouring over the instruction booklet, slapping the CD in the drive, playing the opening level, thinking 'Yes! This is a satisfactory purchase! I am a success,' getting an hour in and then realising you're crap at it and that in actual fact you could have spent the money on something else and sinking into a very mild, but real, depression.

THPS3, for me, is all about button bashing your way to insane 400,00 point combos with Bob Burnquist that basically involve you grinding a plant pot for 2 minutes. It's insanely addictive, to the point that my fingers now hurt all the time, but an oddly hollow experience. I get no joy from scoring 600,000 points or from setting off an earthquake. I get the feeling I'm wasting my time.



Just look at that intense pool of magma!


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I literally can't think of anything interesting to write about (unless anyone wants to read a review of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 on the Gameboy Advance which I've been hammering recently) so you'll have to make do with just looking at pictures of some of my favourite record sleeves. Enjoy.


Arthur Russell - World of Echo (Upside, 1986)


Annie - DJ Kicks (!K7, 2005)

Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow (Load, 2003)



Various Artists - Kompakt Total 3 (Kompakt, 2001)



Model 500 - Classics (R&S, 2008)

Orange Juice - You Can't Hide Your Love Forever (Polydor, 1982)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Summer update update

So, it's a Friday night in the summer holidays and I'm sat in my room listening to some dubstep/grime/g-funk hybrid podcast really quietly so I don't wake my brothers up. I've drunk all the beer in the house. Damn. Things aren't looking good.

The reason my summer has been a washout so far is the lack of money. I could have tried harder to get a job back at home when I was still in London, but I didn't. So I find myself in the position of having no income and owing the bank money. In fairness, I did handle my student loan pretty well this year, so my debt is quite minimal (£150). Apart from the trip to Barcelona, I rarely did anything extravagant. The Primavera trip was a risk and during the booking of flights, festival ticket and accommodation I didn't look at my bank balance once. So it was quite a nice surprise to see £800 in there when I had a look at the balance at Gatwick. After Barcelona, I was left with just over £500. The trip cost about that too, so I figure I balanced the books quite well. And it was money well spent.

Anyway, back to my point: I HAVE NO MONEY. I didn't realise this until the first time I went out in Norwich after I got back. Casually strolling up to an ATM on Prince of Wales, attempting to get £20 out only to be told I had insufficient funds was a harrowing experience. Going out since has involved borrowing money from the 'rents. Mum is convinced that £20 will cover a night out. It doesn't. But I should be thankful for it anyway. I need the dollar though.

I remember back in the day when having more than a tenner felt like a luxury. Strolling through HMV and GAME with £100 in the pocket of yr H&M jeans made you feel like P Diddy. I found my old copy of Ridge Racer Four the other day (as well as my previously thought lost copy of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, which is still as rad as ever. Fuck the soundtrack is good; Papa Roach singing about 'CORRUPTION AND A GOAT - THE SALESMEN OF OUR BLOOD' and that Anthrax/Public Enemy collabo in the same game? Damn son). Cost me £20. Part of HMV's 'budget' range. Fuck was I on? Ridge Racer is shit isn't it? The girl in the game is quite cute though. And the drifitng is good. But yeah, £20 back then got spent on games and stuff. Now it'd cover the cost of the train into Norwich and approx 3 pints of Kronenbourg in The Glasshouse. My dad gave me a tenner the other day as pocket money. I was overjoyed, went into town to buy a stereo/iPod jack, some books and some beer. And when I lost £2 in my room the other day I was properly pissed. Getting angry over £2. Damn. I need money.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Summer update

No job. No money. No fun. Another summer wasted so far.

Monday, 6 July 2009

A Tale of Two Twats

Sometimes I like making myself angry. Not 'smash my bedroom up then beat up a pensioner' angry. More "Oooh, I could crush a grape!" type seething. In the last week I've managed to wind myself up a treat through reading a book and watching a film. The book in question was Littlejohn's Britain by Richard Littlejohn and the film was Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies. Both properly annoyed me but for different reasons.

Now, a blog entry about how much of a twat Richard Littlejohn is hardly rare (probably just slightly less common than an over enthusiastic post about Animal Collective) but I can't help it guys; the man is a colossal fuckwit.

Littlejohn is a columnist for the The Daily Mail and The Sun and as a result, before even reading any of his articles you get an idea as to the type of thing he's going to write. Sadly, he lives up to these predetermined notions. Before picking up his book from my local library, where it was somewhat strangely placed in the 'literature' section, I'd only looked at a few of his columns, one of which was basically (and I'm paraphrasing a great deal here. Makes things quicker) stated that the women killed in Ipswich a few years back deserved to die because they were prostitutes and as a result, no one would miss them. Alarmingly, many of the comments on the Daily Mail website in response to the article backed up his point. Littlejohn's readers are the type of people who describe themselves as 'the silent minority'.

So I borrowed the book knowing I'd hate it, preparing myself for 350 pages of racist, homophobic, sexist twaddle. And that's pretty much what I got. Littlejohn makes efforts to distance himself from the BNP and this is fair enough. However, though he may not align himself directly with the far right, many of the views he puts across in the book sympathise with the facist party. 'Facist' is a word that springs up repeatedly in Littlejohn's Britain, always suffixed with the word 'left'. In his eyes, the loony liberal left' are to blame for all the problems this country faces. The book covers the Blair years and details how/why the UK has, to use the title of one of Littlejohn's novels, gone to hell in a handcart. Too many immigrants, gay and lesbian people have too many rights, THEY'VE BANNED CHRISTMAS, Muslims are taking over. Basically anyone who isn't a white, hetrosexual, working class man is at fault.

Here's some of the highlights from Littlejohn's Britain:

  • His utterly baffling use of the phrase 'Rubber Johnny police' in an article about health and safety GONE MAD. He makes no attempt to explain exactly what a rubber johnny police force is, sadly.
  • I'm going to quote verbatim here. This is RL's thoughts on travellers and why John Prescott loves them - "Every resident distressed by caravans on the cricked village green; every mum in a baby in a pushchair who treads in a pile of excrement; every housewife who's washing is polluted by the acrid smoke of burning tyres; every home burgled, every lawnmower stolen; every local pub terrorised; all these represent another small victory for Two Jags. Errrr, ok Richard.
  • He hates gay people, is oddly obsessed with them and at one point uses the fairly offensive term 'brown hatters' to describe them.
  • I did laugh at the bit when he revealed that the literal real life old woman in the shoe was called 'Mary Buttwhistle'
  • It's apparently 'nonsense' that speed cameras save lives.
In conclusion: this is a book for the type of racist cunt who can't read without moving their lips.


The other twat of the week is GG Allin. GG was born Jesus Christ Allin and grew up in a hut without water or electricity. Things were never going to end well for him were they? Still, he grew up to be a total fuckup who played really, really, really shit hardcore to crowds of complete idiots. He was famous for performing naked, shitting on stage, wanking on stage, attacking his fans, doing lots of drugs, being RLLY RLLY ROCK N ROLL etc. The film Hated was streamed on the Pitchforkmedia webiste last week and as I've got fuck all to do, I had a watch. It was 90 minutes of complete toss. I learned that GG had the worst fans in history, a drummer who was convicted of flashing a young girls and was essentially, a complete and utter dickhead. The 'highlights' were him assaulting a woman at a 'spoken word' performance and trying to get a stiffy by rubbing his hilariously small cock (literally one inch long) with his own shit. It failed.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

I hate:

People who are always happy.
Couples.
Fucwkits On Facebook Who Start Every Word In A Status Update With A Capital Letter.
Mercy nightclub.
My mattress.
Everything on Radio 1.
Going out/staying in.
My concentration span when it comes to reading novels.
Having literally no money.
Being largely unwilling to look for work.
My hometown.
People I went to school with who've literally not changed at all since we were 16.
Girls.
People who live up to the horrible clichéd notion of being a fresher.
Any twat who describes someone as a "LEG-END!"
Burtons.
Photobooth on Macs.
Carlsberg lager.
Pretty much everything.

Friday, 26 June 2009

The Night The Most Famous Man in the World Died

Last night was, in many ways, another normal night out in Norwich: largely uneventful, not a hugely fun and slightly depressing. We ended up in Mercy, a club I'd not been into since A-Level results day, and one that I didn't intend to go back to. It's a soulless place, populated by a) people you went to school with who don't seem to have changed at all b)dudes in striped button down shirts, too much hair gel and a sex attacker vibe to them and c)fat girls. The music is uniformly terrible, the drinks are expensive. In short, it's a dump.

But anyway, we get in there (for free luckily), get some beers down us and stand around for a while. Billie Jean comes on. Now, it's only 11PM by this point and I'm thinking that most DJs would save a tune like that for the peak hour. So I thought something might be up. Mercy has screens on the dancefloor which display either texts from punters ('LOL DARREN IS A TWAT' etc.) or, rather disturbingly, sock puppet porn. Last night it was just texts. One caught my eye. It was pretty simple: 'Michael Jackson is dead'. WTFFFFFF. I still didn't believe it. Then a friend text me confirming that the King of Pop had died. Now, I'm not a huge Michael Jackson fan but thinking about him being dead bummed me out a bit. I wasn't going to have a great night anyway, but this was the nail in the coffin.

I'm still unsure about how I feel about Michael Jackson. Sure, he made some very, very, very good pop songs but it is impossible, for me at least, to seperate the music from the man. And there's no doubt about it: Michael Jackson was a complete fuck up. A fascinating one though.

So yeah, I'm donning a single glove and recording a cover of 'The Way You Make Me Feel'.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Just so you know...

I've started a new blog to run alongside this one.

http://thefirstfivehundred.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Good Life/Big Fun

Today was, I guess, the first day of my summer holidays (technically the holidays started last month after I finished my last exam, but y'know, whatever).

I spent the day productively. Strolled into town, visited a charity shop and amongst other threats, found this beauty for 50 pence:




Made my day that did. If I could only track down a cheap copy of Inner City's other smash hit 'Big Fun'...

Spent the afternoon watching films: First up was the universally panned The Hottie and the Nottie which, surprisingly, wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Don't get me wrong, it was bloody awful, but I'd been psyching myself up for a complete holocaust of a movie. Instead I got a simplistic, moralistic, unfunny, not very romantic rom-com. And jesus, who on earth thinks Paris Hilton's fit? (We've all seen the porno right I was shown it on the school bus many times. It was a lot tamer than most of the stuff people had on their phones. Literally will never forget seeing this grim cumshot/anal prolapse clip. ughhh). The message of the film was: tart yrself up a bit and BAM, someone will fall in love with you.

Straight after this I watched Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited. I wasn't giving it my full attention for some reason. I found it quite difficult to get into and it was never going to be as good as Rushmore, but eh, it looked nice and made me smirk at times. Which is good because I very rarely laugh out loud whilst watching a film. Unless it's Airplane.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Summer's Here Kids

This will be the last blog I post from Loring Hall. Tomorrow afternoon I sign a contract for a house on Lucas Street in Deptford and leave South East London for the summer. Which will be exciting. We've got a loft conversion and everything. And a garden big enough for a two man kickabout.

This summer, like life, is full of possibilities (yeah, I just made a bad Dntel reference. I don't even like Dntel, apart from the Superpitcher remix of (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan, which you should check out ASAP. It's a beaut). Who knows what I'll do. Perhaps I'll travel to various cities in Europe for hedonistic weekends fuelled by cheap alcohol, fist pumping and pounding, monotonous, rigid techno played in sweatboxes filled with leather clad Germans. I might actually do some writing over the summer. This would be a good idea as, for a creative writing student, I do very little writing in my free time. I started this blog primarily as a way of forcing myself to write, but it hasn't worked very well. I'm too worried about being earnest or whatever so I just post rubbish about records I like. I end up sounding like a tossed off in 5 minutes Vice article. But yeah, what else could I do? I could work. I really do need to work. If I'm lucky I might get to sweat my face off in a Pizza Hut in Norwich for 35hrs a week. Still, it's got to be better than working in a toy shop like I did for the whole of last summer.

No, in reality I will probably spend my summer sat in my room, listening to techno, house, disco and twee indie pop whilst I read short stories by American writers. I will moan about being bored but be unwilling to change things. I will be bored on the beaches and bored in the woods, and when I am bored in London next year I will miss being bored on beaches and in woods.

I'll leave you with an mp3 of a song by a band I've become obsessed with in the last week. John Darnielle is the man behind The Mountain Goats. Now, usually I hate most singer/songwriter stuff (Jens Lekman aside) but this guy is something else. His lyrics are better than most authors prose. So yeah, here's my favourite song of his, from the 2006 album Get Lonely. Totally reminds me of the writer Lorrie Moore, whose Collected Stories is one of the best books I've ever read. There's bound to be some of her stories online, so give her a go. She's like a slightly more flowery Raymond Carver.

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Oh woe is me

I'm sat in my tiny room in halls, looking out of the window as it rains, listening to Get Lonely by The Mountain Goats. brb, just going to slit my wrists.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

MAD WEEKEND

8 STEAKS
SNACKS ON SNACKS
LOADS OF BEER
LADS
YES

Friday, 5 June 2009

WE'RE FROM BARCELONA!




Long time no see blog followers. I couldn't remember my password for ages. I'm sure you've missed me.

Anyway. I just had pretty much the best week of my entire life at the Primavera Sound festival. The week started off horribly as I had to drag my case all the way up Jerningham Road. Now, I know it's not exactly Everest, but jesus fuck I hate that road. It was one of my worst walks/up down there yet (the worst was my 20 minute long walk down there after a night spent doing pills in a warehouse in Camberwell with 15 year olds). So I get to Brockley station. It's cold and wet. Jess and Gunning arrive the the holiday starts there. Except we have to get off at East Croyden and wait for another train. So, we're at Gatwick. Ravage some McDonalds. I thought this would be our last junk food binge of the holiday. How wrong I was.

After an uneventful flight we land in Barcelona. It's a surprisingly easy city to navigate and we manage to locate the road our hostel is on. It would appear to be a building site. Fearing the worst, the three of us are pleasantly surprised by how decent the hostel itself is. Whilst stood in the kitchen preparing some food, we're asked up to the terrace for 'red wine and spliffs' by an Irish guy. We head up there and meet Richie, Mikey and Gav, the dudes we'd spend the holiday with. After getting drunk and listening to shoegaze with them, we all headed into the centre of Barcelona. Barcelona had just won the Champions League (I missed the game but heard the city go mental when both goals went in), so we knew there'd be a good atmosphere in the city itself. Errrr, wrong. We turned up in the middle of a goddamn riot. Hundreds of people running around screaming, throwing shit, you know the deal. At one point, me and Gunning need a wee. So we stand in a doorway and have one. He finishes, walks off and then I hear people shouting at me too hurry up. I'm mid wee though, can't stop it. Unbeknownst to me, a riot van pulls in behind me, the cops jump out and BAM, I take a baton to the kidney, then one to the wrist. Ooof, good lord it hurt. On arrival at the hostel, in an attempt to heal my fucked up wrist, Jess places a slice of bread under a tap and places it limply over my wrist. I'm not sure what she thought it'd do.

The next day all of us hit the beach. Apart from men on the beach relentlessly offering 'AGUA, CERVEZA, FANTA' and occasionally 'HASHIIIISH, COOOOOKA' it was literally heavenly. Just perfect. That night we hit Primavera. After buying drinks tickets and food, me Jess and Gunning ventured to a local mall to buy bottles of very cheap vodka to drink before seeing any bands. We got through one pretty quick, hid some vodka and lemonade into a towel and stashed the final bottle behind a bin. We go back into the festival site and literally RUN down to the ATP stage to see Lightning Bolt. They were fucking amazing, literally jawdroppingly great. A lot of people, including me, threw their heads back, arms raised in moments of joy. Hearing 'Dracula Mountain' live was a dream come true for the 14 year old me. Plus, about 10 minutes in, I realised I was stood next to Dan Deacon. I got very excited by this and eventually got a photo with him.

Next up was Yo La Tengo, I think. I'm not a huge fan and we left early to find some substances. We failed and returned in time to get to the very front for Phoenix. Which was rad. They seem to be getting loads of good press at the moment. I'll admit, I used to be in the mindset that they only had one good song (that song being 'If I Ever Feel Better', which features on Erlend Oye's still 10/10 DJ Kicks comp), but they've grown on me in the last 6 months. Really enjoyed them and have a look on youtube for the video of them doing If I Ever... and listen to Jess' wonderful, soulful vocals.

My Bloody Valentine followed and they were, as expected, fantastic. Just a lovely wash of sound innit? When You Sleep was a highlight.

I think we got some more drinking in after them before heading off to sit down and admire Aphex Twin. His set was prettttttttttttttay wonderful, appreciated the almost minimal techno bits. If anyone knows what that SICK dubstep track he played was, let me know. Shit was off the hook, mad wobble. After Aphex, I headed back and thus missed Wavvvvvvvvvvvve's mental breakdown, which was a shame. To be honest, 'So Bored' aside, he was a bit shit anyway.

The next day was spent at the beach as well. We saw Bat For Lashes at 7. Didn't really rate her at all but she had a nice bum, so I didn't mind seeing her. After her, we got our drink on outside (god bless KoolRoff vodka). We were sat right outside the Auditori so we could see people going in. How we scoffed at the nerds RUNNING down the stairs to get to front to see MBV again. Yeah, suckers, we'll walk down in a minu.....OH JESUS THE QUEUE STRETCHES ON FOREVER. Well, it looked like it would. We got in after 20 minutes. Watching a gig sat down feels weird, but MBV were rad again. We made a dash out of there to catch the Mae Shi. Initially I wasn't feeling this as they've never done much for me on record. Turns out Jess made a good decision (her only one of the night) becuase they were hilariously good fun. I lost my camera after swinging my towel round my head. Some girl behind me kept trying to hide in my towel. I should have persued her, it could have been something beatiful.

The Mae Shi finished and we grabbed some more Estrella Damm before DAN DEACON!!!! came on with his ensemble. Good lord he was good. Organising danceoffs, making everyone correspond hand gestures to screams and stuff. I was loving his set until Jess tugs me on the arm and walks out of the crowd. It takes a minute to find her and when I do, she's lying on the towel half asleep. She's evidently gonna throw up at some point, so despite her protesttations I get her in a taxi back to the hostel. The whole time I'm watching the clock hoping that we'd arrive before 2:45 so I'd have a chance to get back to the festival by 3 and not miss Michael Mayer, who was pretty much the artist I was most looking forward to. We don't, and Jess proceedes to puke up a few bottles of vodka. Ughhhhh.

Saturday night was the last night of the festival and good lord it was good. We kicked things off early with Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. I would have loved to have heard Jules Lost His Jewels, but you can't have everything. They were joined onstage by The Vivian Girls. I fucking hate The Vivian Girls. We had a massive drinking gap between Ariel and Liars/Deerhunter. I saw Herman Dune between them and it was really lovely. The sun was setting and David-Ivar had a tear roll down his cheek into that massive Jewish beard of his at one point. Not gonna lie, I welled up as well.

Deerhunter were as sick as you'd imagine. Things went into overdrive after them. Sonic Youth were about to start. Me, Jess, Gunning are waiting for all the Irish boys to turn up. I'm restless, so im like "yo, meet me here after the Yooof, yeah Jess?". Seems simple enough. 10 minutes into SY, I get a text saying "josh im dying", I ignore it. Shortly after "josh im dead". Ignore that. At the end of the set, "on my way to hospital help me". Im thinking "nah, she means hostel" so don't worry too much and me and Gunning, after comandeering an iPhone to send her a text, head off for Black Lips. Half way through their set, Mikey bounces up to us out of nowhere, follwed by the rest of the Irish boys. I somehow miss the guy from Black Lips wanking on the crowd. Following them, we hit Jagermeisters and dance to DJ Medhi till 6am. He was great, even though every song sounded the same. So anyway, after a long, drunk Metro ride back to Badal, we roll into The Nest to find Jess sat up in bed. She HAD gone to hospital. The doctors fucked up, broke her vein or something. Not good.

The next afternoon when we all got up, no one was feeling too hot. So obviously we get a metro into the city for a KFC. This Boxmaster thing they do was new to me, and was recommended so I paid my 8€ for it. That was a mistake.

That night, me, Gunning, Gav, Mikey and Richie headed down to Las Ramblas for the Primavera afterparty where we saw a surprisingly great set from Tim Burgess. We headed upstairs for some banging techno from Juan B later on before calling it a night at about 7am. I fell in love that night too. If yr the hilariously beautiful girl from the Apolo who I asked for a lighter from, ring me bbz.

My memory has gone hazy at this point. We definitely went to the beach again and saw the Sagrada Familia, which was jawdropping. Oh shit, that was Monday. Yeah, we did that and then got drunk with the Irish boys in their room.

Getting the flight/train home depressed me immensely. I don't wanna be in New Cross. Anyone know if I can change my degree?

Monday, 6 April 2009

Hey

Jens Lekman sent me an email once. According to him, if you want to impress a girl by making a mixtape featuring one of his songs, go for anything but Psychogirl. Really need to listen to When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog soon.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Books I've just finished reading pt.1

Bret Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero

Literally finished reading this about 5 minutes ago. I'd never read anything by him before and if I'm being honest, I only picked it up because my local library didn't have anything by Saul Bellow or Vladimir Nabokov. But hey, this is rural Norfolk, so what do I expect?

So anyway, Less Than Zero. Basically it's 195 pages of a spoilt brat moaning about how boring the lifestyle he and his friends lead is. This 'lifestyle' revolves round doing huge amounts of coke, going to clubs (usually hoping to see the hardcore band X, but failing) and driving around LA. All the of the boys in the book, the narrator Clay included, are 'blond and tan' and impossibly handsome. So why is Clay such a self pitying tosser? The book never reveals this, but to BEE's credit, I still enjoyed it a great deal. The blurb on my copy describes the book as 'a shocking come-of-age novel about the casual nihilism that comes with youth and money'. I'd argue with this. Very little in the book is shocking. The teenagers have fake IDs and do drugs. Not a huge deal. The scene which I assume is intended to shock the reader involves some of the male model types watching a snuff movie involving a 'huge hard on', an underage girl and testicles being removed. I felt slightly uncomfortable reading it, but not shocked or sickened.

The narration is pretty wonderful, written in the present ('I'm sitting in Spago with Trent and Blair and Trent says he's positive that there were people doing cocaine at the bar and I tell him why don't you go join then and he tells me to shut up' etc) and despite the monotony of Clay and his friends (including male model Trent, drug dealer Rip, gigolo Julian and on/off girlfriend Blair) life, the book never bored me. Complete teenagers book though; if I read it again in ten years I think I'd just want to murder every single fucker mentioned.

So yeah. Go read.