But we don’t care about the Young Folks

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Things are hectic. Not because of The Wedding Monster, but just a massive list of stuff to do combined with growing responsibilities at work. This morning, ignoring the list of stuff to do for a bit, I woke early and headed out on Woah Mule. The plan was to do my normal 10K ride to the end of the canal path and back. The light was the sort of pearly grey dawn that can turn fabulous as the morning burns off. As I’d hoped, there were some good autumn/winter shots to take on the path.
A Hazy Shade of Winter
Instead of turning around at the end of the canal path, though, I decided to carry on to Topsham as there are some fabulously big reed beds near there which could have been looking good. I reached the village around 9am: it’s a route I used to take fifteen years back but now there is a cycleway for most of the run. I didn’t get good shots of the reed beds – I think I need to be at the Swan’s Rest or Turf Locks to get that. But it was still pretty.
Topsham Strand I then got the train back, partially because I was feeling leg-tired from the steeper roads near Topsham, and partially because I’d forgotten about the ancient rule about Never Wear Jeans When Cycling and was therefore saddlesore.

Last Saturday, I was footsore instead: we spent several hours looking in every window in Hatton Gardens (London’s diamond market) for the bling ring. It is rather strange to try on a two grand ring and wander out into the street with it because the entire area has its own security. In one stall in a traders market, the chap behind the counter gave me a very effective lesson in gemstones which explains why I think diamond-only rings look like cheap paste on me. He got me to hold out my hand, palm-down, and placed different gems against my fingers. Seeing the coloured gems, the rubies and garnets and sapphires, against my skin tone made it obvious I need the colour. An awful lot of the jewellery in the shops looked, as I put it, “a bit Elizabeth Duke”. I just genuinely don’t get why some of the stuff is seen as attractive: it’s all too shiny and bright and over-eager. So we’re still deciding on a ring.

Sunday, and we went to see Peter, Bjorn and John at the Forum in Kentish Town. You probably know them through the irritatingly catchy Young Folks song. So did the most London yehyehyeh media tartlets in the audience, who buggered off after they played it part way through the set. So for once we weren’t rammed in. Live, PB&J are noodling, rambling, shambling rock muso types with an utterly different vibe to their album. I’d been wondering if the Forum – a vomit-smelling* bear pit of a venue which also hosts School Reunion and the Church – was the right place for the expected fey Swedish pop types, but my fears were totally misplaced. Best gig of the year so far (I liked Lucky Soul more, but the media bores stuck around in that one). Recommended.

*this is the downside of the smoking ban: the smell of gigs has changed.

More web pimpage & music

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Lost Luggage‘s first 24 hours has been pretty hectic, with hundreds of unique visitors, many spending time there and many returning. We’ve also had various little hiccups with the code which I spent time fixing. I’m pleased, though, that it is doing its job and introducing great new fiction to people.

Meanwhile, Carrie’s Years 8 and 9 are reviewing 2007 Carnegie Medal Nominees at the moment, giving anyone who is interested in children’s fiction a good idea of what 13 and 14 year olds really want to read.

Up in town for work, I tagged along with the chap and a friend to see The Concretes at the Luminaire in Kilburn. Although the others swear their album is good, I found them rather generic Swedish pop with songs which fell into two broad categories: long pieces of feedback crescendos or shorter numbers in which a key phrase was repeated often. The support act, however, were the short of band which grabs you by the throat and makes you think you should maybe get to the venue on time. In this case it was a band called Lawrence Arabia who had a certain garage rock feel to them despite/because of their lead singer looking like Julian Rhind-Tutt in The Rotters’ Club.


Saturday, 19 May 2007

Lucky Soul
There are times when the indie music scene confuses me. Normally this is when I go to a gig where the headline act plays some seriously good music for dancing but the crowd is far too cool to move in any way from their studied poses of indie cool distance gazing. Thus it was at Lucky Soul, as it has been at some Pipettes gigs. Get Outta Town! is the kind of song which calls for, insistantly and with some serious rhythm, for some good frugging*. I think there were perhaps a score in the crowd actually moving though, and half of them were the Swedes with Montt Mardie.

The chap bought the new Montt Mardie album and tells me it is fabulous, filling in where the live act struggled a little due to the reduced number of band members. Johnny Boy were exceptionally tight and had a powerhouse sound which really drives their songs along. I wasn’t convinced by the songs’ messages (pretty standard smash the system stuff) but the presentation was outstanding. Also, they ended up with a mash up of The Clapping Song (“three, six, nine, the goose drank wine”) and Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.

Lucky Soul were good in almost every way (see proper photos here). Some of the more delicate songs work less well live, partially because the ambient noise of a gig disrupts the mood the songs are going for, but the band has an excellent stage presence, with good banter between songs, and the upbeat tracks are wonderful. Thankfully, like my much adored Pipettes, they are a band who don’t drown the vocals in the live mix and Ali Howard’s voice shouldn’t be drowned. Bush Hall was a perfect venue for them, and I suspect it may remain best gig of the year for me.

*in the sense of the dance, the frug, not suspect chugger behaviour. I really need to start dancing more again.

PS: Whenever I start a new tag now, I’ll be trying to retro-apply it, so if you are reading this via RSS or LJ sub then apologies for the old posts appearing. I just added lucky soul and you dancing? tags.

Still on holiday

Monday, 1 January 2007

We spent New Year’s Eve at FROG at the Kentish Town Forum. Apart from anything else, it’s a walk of just about the right length from the flat. The venue is an old dilapidated cinema, still retaining a warren of back corridors and a balcony where a couple of unfortunate bouncers had to keep people from dancing right by the edge. One little backroom was playing different music to the main hall – at one point it was 60s J-pop (or sounded like it). Someone told me where to find a secret set of female toilets, so I spent zero time stuck in queues for the bog. The bands were The Rumble Strips (decent ska-lite stuff), The Young Knives (er, I don’t remember, but I liked them best) and Larrakin Love (Pogues-lite darlings of the NME). The beer was total shite, though.

My bad gig photos continue:
The Young Knives

I didn’t get any shots at the Pipettes’ Xmas party but the chap did, so I shall link when he gets around to posting them (ETA: ta-da!). The support were Misty’s Big Adventure (great) and I spent much time marvelling at the expansion of The Pipettes, given that I first saw them in a pub back room. Here they had a full lighting rig, a strings section and a costume change between the main set and the encore (black dresses with sparkly detail). And, when they finished on ‘All I Want For Christmas (Is You)’ the audience was showered in ‘snow’. It was an all ages gig, so I spent a fair bit of time spotting tenny fans, some of whom were not merely wearing the polka dots but had full replicas of Rosay’s stage outfit. So cute!

Tonight We Fly

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Fate doesn’t hang on a wrong or right choice,
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice,
So sing while you have time, let the sun shine down from above
And fill you with songs of love
Songs of Love, The Divine Comedy

Yeah, I know I’ve quoted it before, but it does remain one of my absolute favourite Divine Comedy songs. We went to the Roundhouse on Thursday night to see them live. The support act were musically competent, but suffered from being a checklist of clichés. The Divine Comedy were, of course, excellent. Hannon is the sort of artist who easily gathers up the audience and plays it like a dream, from his teasing threaten to strip to bringing on a brass section for two songs in the encore. The highlight was The Plough, from Victory for the Comic Muse, where he told a life story in the time it took to smoke a cigarette.

We then spent the Friday afternoon at Kew Gardens, nipping into the Temperate House at one point to warm up from the chilly autumn air:
Autumn Colour informal lake island
Pagoda The Temperate house Time Forgot
[all images here]
We tried to get tickets for Late at the Tate but were too, er, late.

Then to Brizzol for the weekend, and PPH‘s birthday. The SS Great Britain is, indeed, an excellent museum. There’s been a conscious effort to remove the barriers between visitor and objects. The route is defined a little, in that you start with the rusting hull, then visit a dockside exhibition which goes backwards through time, before stepping onto the restored mid-Victorian deck of the ship and investing its various quarters. But within that journey back through time, you are given freedom: you can try to steer using a working wheel and pulleys, or wander through the ship in no order. There’s an active encouragement to try the doors in the salons, and a turning engine at its heart. And this is before I mention the glass sea… Wonderful. Highly recommended.

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