Sunday, February 26, 2006

all the wine

our website*
my myspace (under which i masquerade as representing 'all the wine' but actually prefer to chase characters from the mighty boosh and attempt to flirt with pretty ladies, as well as harrassing bands telling them how great they are. and yes, i'll be your friend..)

all the wine was a night that myself, pocket rich and laura music did at baby jupiter in leeds.

a nice little quiet kooky bar with good music policies and red wine galore.
we spent several nights of fags, wine, notebooks and arguing, trying to come up with a name for it, and one night, i texted pocket drunkenly exclaiming that it Had To Be all the wine. couldn't remember it the next day, like, but we all agreed it worked.

so, we proposed the idea to the manager, he liked it, and we started off in november as 'beautiful losers' (leonard cohen reference, pre-drunken inspiration). we then renamed it, did a couple more and after xmas went weekly.

we played all sorts of goodness. playlists for the last 2 months are on the webs(h)ite, with a few sparkly songs and tunes of great beauty :)

we've had great fun doing it, but unfortunately it didn't quite gel with a couple of the regulars at the bar, and we had quite a few problems with flyers getting done on time and stuff.... there was also the fact that it wasn't really near anything in town that the people that came down went to (apart from possibly the purple door strip club)..

so we had our final one last thursday. all the wine was all for us - we finished all the red in baby j's and had a great time doing so.

we plan to re-surface at another venue in leeds soon, and are busy preparing stuff for places to give them an idea of what we're about and what we'd like to do.

we're also planning a summer mini-festival, all the wires, probably at the brudenell or common place, if they'll let us. there are some incredible bands expressing interest, so we need to get our butts into gear and get Organised.

updates as and when :)

oh and just because i'm absolutely obsessive about it, here's our final playlist. no last goodbye on it though :)


concretes - can't hurry love
sons & daughters - fight
tindersticks - bathtime
lilium - lover
raveonettes - love in a trash can
smog - palimpest
los super 7 feat. lyle lovett- my window faces the south
pink mountain tops - plastic man you're the devil


pela - all in time
arcade fire - laika
idlewild - happy to be here
beth orton - bobby gentry
devastations - can i take you home?
the national - friend of mine
electrelane - i'm on fire
western suburbs - keep on truckin'
king creosote - 678


love - alone again or
dragon rapide - there is no sherman in illina's
royal city - bad luck
neil young - loner
the prisoners - til the morning light
the national - beautiful head
papa m - beloved woman
interpol - the new
13th floor elevators - barnyard blues


cat power - (can't get no) satisfaction
gram parsons - to love somebody
nick cave - brompton oratory
calexico - quattro
micah p hinson - as you can see
the sadies - the curdled journey
jim white - static on the radio
johnny cash - wichita lineman
tom waits - hold on


devastations - under
clayhill - cuban green
the books - 12 fold chain
calexico & iron and wine - sixteen maybe more
go! team - everyone's a vip to someone
marah - the dishwasher's dream
nick drake - strange meeting II
lali puna - middle curse
the flying burrito brothers - hippie boy


off his tits and forgot how to use a pen again.


the national - all the wine (black sessions 2005)
rem - 1,000,000

* n*******l fans, try right clicking the links on the site, opening in a new window and fiddling with the 'page number' at the end of the address.. tip: make it a higher number than '5'. you might find something you like.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

beth orton comfort of strangers tour

at leeds met yesterday.

god that woman's amazing. talented, witty, sweary, unafraid of fucking up, smart, ballsy, and the nicest smile in showbiz.

support came from the fantastic clayhill , whose bio describes them as "something of Talk Talk and Penguin Café Orchestra in there, not to mention small but satisfying splashes of Nick Drake and Tim Hardin." Ali Friend (Red Snapper & Beth Orton's Trailer Park contributer) on bass and keyboards, Ted Barnes (fellow Beth contributor) doing guitar and keyboards, and lead singer Gavin Clark (Sunhouse), alongside Nick Hemming ( guitar, backing vocals, piano and harmonium ) and Tom Skinner ( drums and glockenspiel ) for the tour.

despite skintness, i persuaded my fellow attendee, my lovely ex-housemate adam, to buy this: (cuban green on vinyl - check their website for info) and got it signed. yay.

beth orton's merchandise was a bit strange - beth goes rrock! style hoodies and tees with her name in pseudogoth lettering... but enough shopping.

here's the setlist. photos between encores.

heartland truckstop
heart of soul
safe in your arms
someone's daughter
stolen car
worms ("worms can't dance, they haven't got the balls...")
shopping trolley ("i think i might cry - gonna laugh about it - it's gonna be fine")
shadow of a doubt
comfort of strangers
feral children
sweetest decline
she cries your name
god song
countenance ("for those who preach forgiveness, when they're practicing revenge")
pieces of sky ("i best get busy living, been a long time gone")

pass in time
a place aside ("pull me close and we lay still, wrap my toes around your heel")

feel to believe
i wish i never saw the sunshine
concrete sky

lovely lovely stuff. lots of audience banter - she told us the 'whats ET short for?' joke, confessed to being incredibly nervous about the gig (worried that she'd have a 'spaz attack' on stage), dealt with hecklers fantastically and giggled at her bum notes...

was going to play paris train but apparently hadn't worked on it, so she did sweetest decline instead.. on absinthe she donned a mouth organ, and god song turned into a storming, throbbing ache of a melody, with the whole band kicking in towards the end.

when she played 'i wish i never saw the sunshine', some people were talking near the front, so she just hissed 'shut it' at them... did requests (but not the huge enthusiastic lesbainian contingents cries for 'central reservation')... and dedicated the final song, spotlight, 'to the man at the front who wanted it'.

to quote the lady herself,

"i'm on fire tonight. watch me go".

beth orton - don't need a reason

Have you ever seen a sign
That upon a right time
There were angels?
We all lose track
'Cause upon our backs,
Feel the weight of them

Why they fall is hard tell,
But some things you can't buy or sell
Yeah, we all hurt the ones we love
And we don't need a reason
We only give what we think we deserve
And that's something to believe in

I think I've seen a sign
But its a very fine line
If you want it all
And don't lose track
For upon our backs
There's no weight of wings

When they shine is hard to say
But some things never fade away
We only hurt the ones we love
Why, we don't need a reason
We only give what we think we deserve
And that's something to believe in

So I've been calling angels down to Earth
And I don't need a reason
Calling angels down to Earth
Because I believe we need them

We only hurt the ones we love
Why, we don't need a reason
You're gonna get all that you deserve
And all that you believe in
Do you believe in?
Do you need them?
If you need them
Do you know?

Do you need them?
If you need them
Do you know?
Do you need them?
If you need them

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

happy valentines day

Monday, February 13, 2006

a little light relief - i will not mention the national again

until may. apart from this post (unless, of course, they do something newsworthy like explode, become sainted or break up).

in a moment of boredom the other day, i set a caption competition on the blue rooms, using a picture from their 'indie rock showdown' football thing they posted on their site. i thought i'd share the contributions with you.

"Try as they might, the National *still* couldn't spot the hundred to one scale model of my ex boyfriend's willy."

"Miles was determined to beat Hector lighting Victor's impending fart"

"Look and see if [zoe]'s still following us. I really can't run any more!"

"The National's back line didn't really stand a chance..."

"Maybe one day we'll be able to afford trousers that fit..."

"Do we have to play leap frog again, george ????????"

"Phillip bent over and showed them why he had been voted best balls in Benidorm."

(far left)"I've got the lard! Assume the position!!"

someone (hello c'lam!)even once wrote me a poem about .. well .. band stalking cos i go on about them too much.

"zoe's a fan of the national
just the thought makes her act all irrational
she follows them round
ev'ry city and town
spending every last bit of her cash 'n all."

appropriately enough, saturday presented me with a dilemma. a £20 budget and a zine-fest in manchester with a lady i don't see often enough and her distro in tow..
and i sat and thought it through. and decided that £20 would be better spent on catfood, veg and uni books.

it was a cloud with a silver lining because *this* event came to my attention as i spent an evening in. i got a ticket faster than a ferret down trousers.
(worry not, gentle reader, i have a veg box on order and paid up already, and have stocked up on the whiskas [the picky fuckers won't eat anything else. apart from my dinner. hmph] and environmentally friendly cat litter, so we're not starving for the love of music or anything like that).


Event: National
Venue: Scala275 Pentonville RoadKings CrossLondon, United Kingdom N1 9NL
Time: Wednesday, May 31 at 7:00 PM
Quantity: 1
Delivery: Venue Pickup

Ticket face value: 10.00
Service fee: 1.20
Total charges: 11.20

buy here
edit: 14/02/06
christ. the minute i take my vow of national silence, they announce a tour.

they're supporting the Editors, who i saw last year when they were only wee and playing with we are scientists.. and they were good back then, and doubtless even better now...

glasgow Academy - May 28
manchester Apollo - May 29
london - Brixton Academy May 30
london Scala - May 31

what a fabby thing to find on valentines day. maybe it's a sign that they'll *all* be my husbands after all. not in a sexeh way, you understand, just to feed me grapes and play me music.

edit 07/03: and yet another thing
they've also gone and released a bonus expanded gold plated and diamond encrusted (as far as my wallet's concerned) version of alligator.
here's a link to the extras online for people that bought the original version. which is really nice, they're kind of compensating for the fleecing sensation invoked by repackaged, re-releases of new material...
but i'm a sucker for packaging!!! grrrr!!! next stupid loan instalment...

random pictures and poor photography

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this painting was above our mantelpiece when i was growing up. a friend of my parents' painted it, a guy called andrew britchford, in 1974. he died in some mountains in italy years ago. i think it's of the isle of wight, but i'm not sure - i shall double check with my mum. i really need to get my arse in gear, get hold of a drill and get it put up.

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"it's all good" - berlin 2004, just after bush got in again.

now for the poor photography. still working the camera out, but have some bits of leeds while i'm doing it.

milk and two
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sparkly doorway
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arty stuff
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some ungodly hour the other day
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plant-sniffing pudgiecat
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coming up roses

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hanging around

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gayboy bob

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urban explorer

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the best gate in the world

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and while i've still got scanner fever;
headphones make the weight of the world on your shoulders lighter and buses come faster.
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novelty charity shop albums

my god.

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super gigs and not so super markets

this month is officially a month for gigging.

so far:

feb 1st - clogs & the books - the arches - glasgow
feb 2nd - quack quack - the pack horse - leeds
feb 2nd - colder - the faversham - leeds
feb 4th - clogs & the books - corn exchange - brighton
feb 10th - being 747, western suburbs & shout out louds - cockpit - leeds

to come:
feb 16th - go! team - leeds metropolitan university - leeds
feb 21st - beth orton - leeds metropolitan university - leeds
feb 23rd - julian cope - leeds metropolitan university - leeds

i believe being 747 are playing the horse on the 25th, and there's bound to more small ones coming up too.


today is also officially a day for blogging.

this metro clipping has followed me through several house moves and been pinned on a fair few kitchen walls (can you tell?)

jimmy mclcaughlin of edinburgh, whoever you may be, i heart you.

right. 9x9 finished (maybe another edit if i get the ok to tag someone else that i'd rather ask first).. books posts written up, other stuff done.. all that's left is the clogs writeup.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

and the quiet become suddenly verbose

(click on the above link and listen to the words)

"and meanwhile, statues are bleeding green, and others are saying things much better than we ever could, as the quiet become suddenly verbose"

or to be a little less classy, i could misquote the monty python lumberjack song: "i type all night and i type all day".
something's a bit weird. i can't stop writing. i also can't tell if i'm just churning out shite

jim bliss, i'm blaming you and your ridiculous productivity. it was the blog meme that set me off. did you put something in the earl grey too?

thank you.

"expectation... leads to disappointment. if you don't expect something big, huge and exciting, you usually, uh... ah, i don't know"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

western suburbs

well last night was nice.

down at the cockpit, we had the brilliantly titled Being 747, Western Suburbs and Shout Out Louds.

again, poor photography is to follow (as is a separate post about poor photography)

Being 747 were ace. songs included (i'm guessing at the titles here) 'she fell asleep while watching her life flash before her eyes' and 'use your friends' ("use them! chew them! spit them out!"). they were all dressed in lab coats and the singer or keyboard player (can't remember which) claimed they were all in the civil service...

amusingly different :)

i'm going to skip right ahead to Shout Out Louds.

i hadn't heard of them until wednesday. and all i know about them is that i googled and a lot of arcade fire comparisons came up.

this was them (above), kindly taken by Gigantic Dan, who was stood on a box or something at the back.

i was really enjoying them, but also wanted to catch up with a friend on a trip up from london so left the main room just as they burst into a pogues-a-like number, after having sounded very arcade firey (which i'm told is actually the term used when down with the kids. sorry, i mean da kidz. yes.)

now. lurching in a chaotic unchronological order to the middle band and headline of this post, Western Suburbs. remember the name. hopefully we'll be seeing more of them soon.

hailing from sleepy ripponden, they're a four piece playing honest, warm blooded gorgeousness. one of their reviews describes them as 'Like Dinosaur JR, Mercury Rev and Pavement mixed up at a jelly and ice cream party'. i think that's meant to be good.

they kicked off with Don't Cool Us Down, and then moved onto a polished Barbara Singleton Supersleuth. at this point, any questioning over how well they would transfer from record to live performance was blown out the water.

i wasted a lot of time trying to get a photo of the other guitarist in front of me, but there were two problems - my camera has no flash and i'm still working it out, so most of the time things came out as a black splodge. the other was that, when he did step into the light, he hardly stood still.. so the point where he knelt down and fiddled with Technical Things was a perfect opportunity..

a few new songs were rolled out, first Ride Pillion and then the achingly gorgeous Jesus Song. a bit of continental cosmopolitan titling with Le Hotel (shouldn't it be L'Hotel?) too. i'm absolutely shit at describing what music is like. i become lost for words, and acutely aware that 'sparkly' isn't really an adequate description. that's why the books and clogs music post hasn't been done properly - i just don't have the vocabulary for them.

heh posting pictures instead is probably not an adequate substitute. but hey.

the penultimate song was 'The Road', with a gripping hook and lyrics "smart kids, don't turn your back.. dumb kids don't turn your back... follow the road". it's one of my two favourite songs of theirs*. i've played it at all the all the wine a couple of times, and it hasn't failed to get people asking what it is (which doesn't happen *that* often).

they finished with 'Saddest Star', which is my other favourite. i shan't even attempt to describe it.

Western Suburbs website

The Road download
Saddest Star download
(links taken from their website.)

*ooh i've just noticed that they were both released as singles. how clever of me to like them the best :)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

lets go shopping!

Ethical shopping. It’s the new black, apparently. From the Rough Guide’s Ethical Shopper, to the Vegan Society’s Animal Free Shopper via the Ethical Consumer website, guides are available to help us decide how, why and where to shop.

Last year, Nestle were (controversially) awarded the Fair Trade status for one of their brands. Starbucks recently sponsored a Fair Trade event in Leeds, and Cadbury-Schweppes bought out Green & Blacks, the producers of divine, organic, (and, in the case of Maya Gold at least, Fair Trade) chocolate. More and more people seem to be vegetarian or vegan . Or maybe it's the circles I mix in? We are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of our consumption on people and planet. And consumer trends can equal big bucks for business.

Focussing on two of Britain’s more ‘ethical’ companies, Lush and Foo-Go, it is evident that some values hold stronger than others. It is also interesting to note that the mundane and usual is highlighted as being ‘better for the consumer’ and that underlying issues are glossed over.

Foo-Go supply sandwiches to several major retailers in the UK. Their packaging tells us that it is fully biodegradable within 14 weeks - both the cardboard and the ‘window liner‘! Well done on the non-plastic screen - the use of corn starch means that it won‘t stick around for generations to come. Here’s the snag. There is a difference between ‘compostable’ (by definition: “Eco-toxicity - the biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth”) and ‘biodegradable’ (“there is no requirement for leaving "no toxic residue"). Although they say you can compost the cartons, the word compostable is never used.

As for the carton; all paper is biodegradable (admittedly, Foo-go’s may biodegrade faster). To their credit, they have used recycled paper, the production of which uses less energy , cuts air pollution by 95% ,and saves 30,000 litres of water in comparison to virgin paper production, tonne for tonne. Recycling paper also reduces the need for deforesting, which in turn limits the current decline in animal species and plant diversity caused by cutting down trees for paper production. An area of forest the size of Wales is destroyed each year to feed the UK’s paper and cardboard consumption - we are the world’s fifth highest consumer, getting through over 11 million tonnes of paper and cardboard per year. Some companies do replant the forests they have destroyed, but with conifer trees (which grow faster) rather than the species cut down. This leads to a completely different habitat and ecosystem. Next time you stock up on notepads or computer paper, please try and make it recycled.

They also claim that they ‘want to create a more ethical food chain’ and ‘ensure that our products represent food that is fair to farmers, producers, consumers, and the environment.’ Producing ‘only natural food that has not been fiddled with’ and ‘simple food that is good for the environment, animals, and hungry people’.

I called the number on their website to find out a bit more about what I’m eating. The woman on the other end of the phone (who preferred not to give her name if I was to quote her) told me that they are in the process of launching new ranges, so there may be future changes. So, their current policy is: no GM foods, using only free range eggs and chickens and ‘mostly’ organic vegetables. They also ‘try’ to source free range/organic meat, but could not tell me in what proportions or how successfully. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge over what they’re actually selling me, and the meaningless values of ‘mostly’ and ‘try’, lead me to think that it’s not a terribly important issue on their agenda.

On a side note, there are whole other debates to be had over whether the definition ‘free range’ is acceptable in terms of animal welfare, and whether the egg industry - even free range suppliers - should be allowed to put three day old chicks into a grinder because they were the wrong gender, to feed back to their parents. And how friendly is dolphin-friendly tuna to, well, tuna? Is there any point in making sure an animal you’re going to kill is happy before you eat it? Is eating meat or dairy ethically responsible, in terms of ‘morality’ and of land use in the first place?

Enough of slaughter and destruction, let’s move onto bath bombs and shower jellies.

Lush are, on the surface, one of the more people-and-planet-friendly companies going. Ranked alongside the Co-op on an ethical consumer website, they treat their staff well , believe in using fresh produce and no animal testing. However, there is a small ripple of corporate bloodthirstiness under the surface. Some of their products contain cocoa powder, cocoa butter and coffee. Being #37 in the Sunday Times “Best 100 Companies To Work For”, the staff presumably get to meet the bosses in the staff-friendly-company way that many businesses seem to endorse. A (now ex-) staff member recalls speaking to a director of Lush about five years ago asking him why they didn’t use fair trade sources. They pointed out that the producers of the chocolate, coffee and cocoa could be working under horrific conditions, and effectively the company could be using slave labour. The director’s response, with not a hint of irony, was, “If we all bought Fair Trade, the slaves would be out of a job.” I find that story, if true, quite terrifying. In their mission statement, they say “we believe in making a profit”. At whose cost?

Preferring not to rely on anecdotal evidence alone, I called their order/helpline. Their response? “It doesn’t actually say on any of the products… I’m not sure. I think it should be”. Their website gives no mention of using Fair Trade, but heralds many of the company’s other green policies. Chocolate, coffee and bananas are three staple things I insist on buying Fair Trade, so I’d like to know what’s going in my shopping basket. I am (still) awaiting an email response to the same query.

This year they were taken to court and fined £3,688 by the Environment Agency over not complying with a recycling certification programme. They claim it was not being up to date with frequently changing recycling laws which led to an error on their part, but surely a company which prides itself on its recycling promotion and packaging should be extra careful to keep up to date with this sort of information?

Although some of their staff benefits are great (large discount, flexible shifts), they have a no sick-pay policy. A director, Heather Williams, points out the bright side of this: “We lay great emphasis on flexible working, so if someone felt sick one morning he or she could change his shift and take time off to be sick without being out of pocket.” This assumes a) that people are only sick for one morning; b) that sorting out an extra shift at another convenient time will be possible and c) that if they are off sick for a week, they will have a ‘spare’ week to work their missed shifts. She points out that the company cannot afford to pay sick pay, which at first seems fair enough - if you ignore that, with booming profits and new stores opening constantly, surely it’s time to stop for a moment and consider whether profit or staff welfare are more important. She then shatters any hope that this may happen by saying, “We have a lot of students work in the shops and we have many transient workers. I don't think it is something we'd introduce even if we were big and making more profit.”

It may seem strange to concentrate on two relatively ‘green’ companies, when there are so many large and far ‘nastier’ corporations out there. Quite simply, other people are doing my work for me. Amongst many others, there is currently a campaign against Coca-Cola named ‘Killer Coke’, and many people are choosing to boycott Coca-Cola. It is interesting to note that in the pub the other week, a woman near me ordered a cola, but recoiled when she realised it was Coke, citing the campaign. She decided that, as they didn’t have Pepsi, she would have a lemonade instead. The only problem with this is that the lemonade served was also made by Coca-Cola. If you choose to boycott a brand, consider whether you want to boycott them fully or just on one of their products. (N.B. I’m not suggesting boycotting Foo-Go or Lush. Unless you feel strongly enough about their relatively small misdemeanours, of course.)

I chose to look into Foo-Go and Lush because of their apparent ethical stances. I want to know if the things they sell that purport to be good for me, for others and for the planet, actually are. If a company says they have all of the above’s interests at heart, I want them to mean it. Admittedly, a company cannot be 100% perfect 100% of the time, if current practices are anything to go by. We may need to prioritise our beliefs, sacrificing one for another - if, indeed, we think any of these things are important.

Why should we bother thinking about what we buy? Well, there’s only one Earth. You’re on it right now. And we’re killing it day by day, we’re murdering and exploiting adults and children across the globe. Simply by buying certain things, we are telling companies it’s OK to abuse our trust in them and carry out these acts on our behalf. Is it better make a small difference, or no difference at all? Simply remembering to sort your rubbish into recycling and not-recycling is a start, even if you’re too skint to go shopping, ethically or otherwise.

Alternatively we could reject all consumerism, live in a tree and I’ll knit us all jumpers out of cat fur while you cook lentil soup.

Word count: 1622


Sources and links:

corporate watch
urban 75 post on shopping ethically
ethical consumer . org
green consumer guide . com
responsible shopper . com
rough guide to ethical shopping
animal-free shopper
paper recycling info
friends of the earth on paper recycling
Fair Trade
Green and Blacks
Corn starch/biodegradable plastics
Lush in Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For
Lush fined by environment agency
PETA on the chicken/egg industry
laying hens information
No sick pay for Lush employees
killer coke
Campus Coke Boycott Document

it was NOT a stalking holiday!!!

... were the words i found myself saying to someone on my return to leeds yesterday.

so, yeah, i chased clogs and the books over the uk a little bit. it's been a bittersweet experience.

apologies for the shite photos, it was an incredibly cheap camera and only some of them came out.

this is going to be the longest blog post i've ever written.
(edit: so long, in fact, that i've had to split it into three chunks. and the ethical shopping essayrant hadn't been written at this point.)

ok, schedule first, music later.


i started out by going to malton (after a wild scramble to get a young persons' railcard application form from the station, get it up to uni and approved, and back to the station and issued, all in the space of thirty minutes) on tuesday with merrick to a venue called the shed , which is bang smack in the middle of nowhere. it's basically a village hall with an amazing reputation for live acts. we had a chat with padma & bryce from clogs (we followed the national round a bit last year, and they're in both groups) and said hello and stuff.. and i cheekily asked if i could get guestlisted for the rest of the tour due to skintness but enthusiasm.. .they said yes, which made me a very happy bunny. i also asked the books if i could interview them at some point in the tour, probably brighton, and the said yes too. i was an even happier bunny. then i drank wine and awaited our transport 'home'... after the gig, we got picked up by the b&b owners (who were among the most obliging, friendly and generous people i've ever met), and tried to rescue a runaway dog on the way back. it wasn't having any of it though.


woke up to a cracking vegan breakfast, and went charidee shopping in malton. two michael jackson albums, two banjo party albums and a gorgeous velvet jacket (all for about eight quid!) later, merrick made his way to york & Other Things, and i waited for a later train to york in order to go to glasgow.

except i evidently can't be left alone for two minutes. i got on the wrong train to the wrong place going in the wrong direction. ended up in scarbrough for fifteen minutes, cried at a train guard (in pure *waaah*ness, not as a damsel-in-distress ruse), got my ticket amended for free (thank you, mr humane train guard) and was only an hour late getting further up north.

glasgow was, as ever, gorgeous. quick catch-up with a blast from my past (and a lovely catch-up it was too), and then onto the gig at the arches. my two friends went through the doors ahead of me, and i gave one of them my original ticket, as my name was meant to be 'down on the list'.
except it wasn't. so, bought a ticket and went in. after the gig, double checked about the guestlist and interview for brighton, and was told it was all good.

some lesbanian rrrock bar socialising, windowsill glossing, glassbreakages and newly acquired 2ndhand levi's later, it was ....


i was heading back to leeds for a short respite.

but did i rest? did i arse.

got into leeds at nine, straight up to the 'horse to see the remarkable quack quack and then to the faversham at eleven to see colder. absolutely brilliant gig, shame about the lack of publicity and few people there. nice that the snake-hipped singer agreed to an interview, though. bit of a dance at gigantic, home to bed and then work at nine on ...


finished work at twelve, on megabus to london at half past.

friday was my gig day off. i didn't go to see clogs or the books. i also didn't go to see king creosote. or bauhaus. but i did meet up with a couple of Good People in brixton, and then further afield somewhere near walthamstowe, i experienced fantastic company, a comfy sofa, immense hospitality and my first bong in about a decade. top stuff.


was brighton night. i met up with s. in london first for a few hours for drinks, brunchiness and good conversation, almost got stuck in the waitangi day kiwi district & circle line pub crawl. it was the first time i've ever heard a tube announcer say 'would you please LET GO of the doors'. arrived at victoria coach station 10 minutes before my megabus was due to leave, only to find i'd either written the wrong reference number or booked for the wrong date and couldn't get on. frantic phoning of anyone and everyone i knew with internet access to try get another ticket ensued, with no success. national express saved my life (and gyrus kindly did his best to help too).

trawled into brighton about half seven, found the venue, went to the ticket booth... and unlisted. again. panic.
a very kind lady listened to my rabid garbling and sorted me out a ticket. thank you, whoever you were :)
after the gig, i spoke to (i think) the tour organiser to check again it was ok for the books interview. he said it was fine, to wait out front and someone would 'come find me'.

i waited. and waited. smoked a few fags. waited a bit more. when i could no longer feel my feet and staff started locking the doors to the venue, i conceded defeat (an interview is being emailed, to give them the benefit of the doubt. if they don't reply though, they are barstids) and hopped in a taxi to the cowley club.

co-incidentally, i am a big fan of all things russian/eastern european.

imagine my joy when i walked in to find they were having a slavic night, described as "a barbaric benefit for some very tough Polish streetfighters who wrestle bears, eat nails and shit crowbars". Lots of stamping and clapping and 'oy!' ing and dancing. hurray!


so my adventure ended at an evil 9am, crawling out of brighton on a national express

i arrived home & safe at about six. it's been a productive trip - i've read more of my set texts, rewritten and revised more of my notes and thought about my uni course a lot more than i normally would when not travelling. i've also done some drawings to torment the world with.

exhausted but happy, and a wee bit over budget, all in all a good not stalking holiday.

nb a quick note about the travelling round the country after bands thing - from this post, it's obviously not just about that. it's about catching up with fantastic people. seeing more of this island. meeting good random strangers. meeting bad random strangers and Learning Life Lessons. working out how to make coach journeys go faster. having time by myself to think. a vacation from the cats. adreneline rushes when it all goes wrong, and overwhelming relief when it all goes right. and about developing new and interesting sleep patterns on getting home. next time i shall take a week off life afterwards.

Monday, February 06, 2006

chasing clogs & the books writeup - clogs and blogs

the music - clogs

i went to the gigs in malton-ish (the shed), glasgow (the arches) and brighton (corn exchange).

clogs were incredible - like having a scalp massage. and in some kind of karma revenge, the only pic that came out was the one of the violinist dude. blurrily.

a few quotes from the blog of brooklyn vegan:
"I was all stressed when I showed up for this gig, and Clogs took the knot right out of my lower back."

"The Clogs, a side project of The National were mellow and dreamy with viola/violin/mandolin player Padma Newsome (wasn't that Natalie Portman's character in Star Wars?) taking up most of the spot light with spectacular and intense command of his instruments. I sat down on Tonic's concrete floor and was taken away for most of the show. The standard instrumentation was bassoon, drums/steel drum, guitar and violin/viola. Recommended for those who enjoy sophisticated, calm instrumental music ."

i'd never seen a bassoon before in my life. it was great. they combined on stage to make haunting, beautiful, happy, mournful, comical and reflective sounds, changing mood and instruments, and their collaboration with the books on a few songs was inspired.

set list (as far as i remember - i've procrastinated about doing this for about three weeks now)

the song of the cricket (as he hears it himself)
death and the maiden ("death to the maiden? death for the maiden?" an improvisation on a schubert piece)
compass (i think)
thom's night out
for hugo
kapsburger (?)

they shared the tour (and the stage, at some parts) with the books - see next post.

this is clogs. (should play on your media player a sec or few after you click the links)

pencil stick
medley of songs from the newest album, lantern
mysteries of life
who's down now?
i'm very sad
clogs video

chasing clogs and the books writeup - looks@books

the music - the books

clogs shared the tour (and in some parts the stage) with the books, who were refreshing, exciting and got a standing ovation in brighton. they consist of a cellist (paul), a guitarist (nick), a projector and samples.

one of the visuals they had to the opening song (that right ain't shit) was archive footage of the founding fathers of the mormons raising and re-putting on their hats (with bizarre expressions and the odd rub of the head).

the set list from the books (this is probably incomplete and not in the right order. i may even have made some of it up - my pen was wedged firmly in a folded up jumper - i was travelling like a snail, with my entire life in a the national tote bag) was as follows:

that right ain't shit
see mormon footage details above

an owl with knees
all owls have knees. unless they're extremely unlucky.

smells like content
"and meanwhile, we're furiously sleeping green"
i hope i've heard that correctly.
i'm possibly in danger of disappearing up my own overanalytical ass here, but could it be a reference to the chomsky quote "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously"?
(further discussion on the chomsky thing here)

be good to them always
"here we are... here we are... we are anticipa.. there it is. there it is! that's the picture... you see.. you see it for yourself. there it is.. it's a man.".. i wonder if it was this that had the gorgeous video of the ducks swimming, shot from under the water?

the future, wouldn't that be nice?
starts off with clapping. i always think it's going to be 'take time'.

don't even sing about it
"get used to hanging if you're hanging long enough"? love the crashing noises on this and the "now i have to buy three whiskey sodas" (again, i might well have misheard this).

if not now, whenever
'i like to go home and go to sleep'. it's this one that had the 'angel of death' quote. and excellent footage of long jumps and shiny blue athletics trousers.

take time
"for the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day. she climbed down from the tree next day. god bless her."joyful, exuberant and funny. visuals included african women joking about impotence (it's not the length, it's the strength!), dancing, evangelists, bouncy castles (i think?)...

twelve fold chain
apparently based on buddhist philosophy. padma newsome provided additional vocals. the visuals were of planes, and nick said it was because the song made them think of sea or air journeys. gorgeous.

it never changes to stop
terrifying disciplinarian with a voice described as (paraphrasing) 'the sound of a meteor heading towards the earth'
i think it was this one with footage of fish and jellyfish and the like. one of the most soothing things i've ever seen and heard at the same time.

the comical penguin
written by mikey, nick's brother, a veritable romp, with absolutely beautiful and funny home video footage of the band members and mikey growing up.

there was footage of running animals somewhere. lots of them. animals running fast. lions and tigers and bears, oh my. and cows. and everything. oh yesh.

they had two video 'interludes'. one was the word 'meditation' repeated (possibly by paul) over a montage of anagrams of 'meditation'. 'a timid note'. 'do it mean it' 'i minted tao' 'dominate it' 'i do mint tea'... "the ideal nite of vomit" (i think it was, at least - the meditation of evil?) (again, full artistic licence(licence? license?) taken in the reposting of those)

there was also incredible 30s (?)archive footage from washington dc of a young fellow playing 'yankee doodle' with his hands, kind of squeaking it. he was, uh, very special. made me giggle lots.

the books are into their thrift shops and banjos. if they answer my interview i'll send them a banjo party lp (separate novelty lp post to come). i'm sure they'd love it.
and also a love of poetry/stevie smith - she is the sample stating 'i am the angel of death' on 'if not now, whenever' - and paul managed to pick up the original lp in a brighton charity shop. yay

oh and an extra lovely track: vogt dig von kloppervok

also please note - although soulseek etck is fantabulous, there are a few bands/labels - mainly the smaller ones like these - where i am realising that it's not a good idea to download.. (not that it's a good idea to download anything from anywhere, of course. unless it's authorised. hm.)

the books, if you want to hear more (and want to not pirate stuff), have this page on their website, which has all their albums to listen to online.

as they point out, "We feel the need to dispel any notions that we are financially sitting pretty because of the acclaim our music has enjoyed. It's true, we've released a couple of records and we're grateful to all of the writers who have taken the time to write about them, but unfortunately our record sales do not reflect this. Our work, although deeply satisfying to us, has left us both on the brink of financial collapse since we began, so we are asking you: Please, do not steal our music thinking that we can afford it. We barely get by, and aren't able to afford basic things like health insurance, let alone raising a family, etc. We love what we do, and we love that people listen, but if you would like to see our work continue, please support us, and all of the artists you enjoy, as directly as possible. The sad fact is, we can make a much better living selling t-shirts than we can selling music, so please help us keep this going."

honestly, $11 for an album is peanuts (relatively).

go shopping!

books online store
clogs at

the merchandising stall was like an aladdins cave. i was sorely tempted by lantern, thought for food on vinyl and the lantern dvd. in the end, i went for t shirts. the records will be bought on payday online.

the t shirts have the following prettiness on:

(heh - while i was googling for a 'lantern' image, this showed up - at three or four record stores... )

all the clogs and books links/samples are from the bands' own websites, or their record labels (apart from the video, which i will double check the source of). thanks to them for putting them up.

and, fantastically, the books and clogs interviewed each other in the guardian the other week. clicky here

oh and have a childlike computer scribble too...