After a day at Walker I stroll down to the Oval and Jezzer and dave pick me up to go to lovely Southwick on the south coast (turn right at Brighton and carry on through Hove, as we do) for the Philip Jeays band too play Attilla the Stockbroker’s Glastonwick beer festival. As per usual most of the journey is spent getting out of London. We arrive as the previous band are still playing, then there’s a fifteen-minute changeover and us. I manage to break an A string during Little Philip (as one of the techies observes, you don’t see people break A strings very often) and so spend Arles in the wings. Thankfully I did pack a spare set (but such a long time ago that I was worried it wouldn’t be there any more). Nobody noticed that I was gone. The story of my life. We rock again, but this time it’s a slightly, uh, rockier vibe.
After us, The Fish Brothers, perhaps more ideally suited to a beer festival, although apparantly they are to play a street party in Stoke tomorrow. Jolly good cider-fuelled knockabout fun.
The food appears to be barbeque. Barbeque at beer festival, probably the least useful person for a vegetarian teetotaller to be.
In the car on the way back we listen to frenetic oud (and many other instrument) playing on Radio 3, including Rodd keith’s son on saxaphone (you see it all fits together) and a harmonica player who sounds like Max Geldray, although that was probably not his intention.
Back home at 1:30 – on the way to the shop looking for a late night sandwich I see there is tape marking out an area that seems to have bloodstained rags in it. It appears to be Urban Hell week here in beautiful downtown SE1.
During the day I am back at the Maisy-face, hewing together cartoon body-parts to gratify a slavering under-five audience ever-hungry for more.
In the evening it’s back to Bar Code and Rainer Hersch’s Club Mozart. I wonder if some of the references to the habitual clientele of the place suggest a certain strain in the relationship between show and venue. There is a concert pianist and an act who parody German electro-groups of the 70s (something of a niche subject one would have thought but it seems to work). They give away a large piece of paper to someone who answers questions on Leichtenstein. Don’t ask.
It appears that we are headlining and Phil rocks the house – Little Philip, Cupid, and Deathbed.
This time I do not destroy the jack socket. But I do go home with the big piece of paper (since it’s used for Jeays List email addresses).
I am awoken at about 4:30am by I know not what. Activity outside, however, suggests that a car accident has occurred and that what woke me up was the crash. It doesn’t sound good for the driver, the facade of the (unnoccupied and boarded-up pub) or the railings along the edge of the pavement. I don’t want to seem callous but the fact that the noise of the emergency services makes it difficult to get to sleep makes me less than happy too.
So I’m late getting up. I pootle over to the Phil rehearsal for 12.00.
When I get back from Dave’s I collect my Trace Elliot Supertramp amplifier from Pa’s house and buy a bottle of mouthwash that contains the snippet of information "in 9 out of 10 cases the cause of [bad breath] originates in the mouth". Makes you kind of wonder about the other 10%.
Groups of Young People are gathering where the crash was and pointing out their late friends presumed rapid progress from A (somewhere in the vicinity of Blackfriars Bridge, I suspect) to B ("In Our Thoughts Forever"). They are also tieing bunches of flowers to the twisted remains of the railings. This is a relatively new sociological experience, I suspect, that didn’t happen in times of Yore – people gathering to dump horticulture in a place associated with a sudden or unusual death. Did it follow the Princess Di extravaganza or was it bubbling under the cultural zeitgeist waiting to froth over like an untended saucepan of milk? I’m sure that a sociologist somewhere is gearing up as we sit here to find out, probably to be featured on a Professor Laurie Taylor programme on Radio 4.
I spend the evening watching Moulin Rouge and noodling over the top. It is either the case that (a) I am unable to pay full attention to the film on account of the Noodling or (b) the film doesn’t hold my attention and thus I noodle. In any case, noodling occurs and I don’t give the film the attention it deserves. I’m not sure whether the incredible care and attention put into something that is so self-consciously camp and fluffy (apart from the consumption and death, of course) is worrying or impressive. I’ll put my money on "impressive" because I’m feeling generous. I wonder what it will be like on second (noodle-less) viewing
I wake up at 7:00 and agree with myself that I should have another hour of sleep or else I will be good for even less than I am usually good for (lips move soundlessly as he scans the sentence to see if it makes sense – none the wiser but it sounds quite good). Eventually crawl out of bed at the reappointed time, and make it to Walker late again. Something wierd happens to time between 8:45 and 9:45 that makes me late. It’s the time dilation effect, your honour, not my fault at all.
Via telephonic communication I receive news of exciting developments in a "rocking out" stylee.
When I get home I try to log on to download some jazz stuff for a fellow I met at the Three Stags last week, but the modem is not playing ball, or any other popular team sport. There’s lots of stuff I printed out years ago, but I don’t have the time to sort through it all, so I go along empty-handed, and promise to post him stuff.
It’s very busy tonight – the Californian teenagers are out in force again and they have brought even more Californian teenagers with them so there is barely any point in my playing save the karmic thing. Oh, there’s a karmic thing. And to say hello to all the people, including an old Bunjies hand who lives just around a different corner and who invites me to a party on Saturday, to anti-celebrate the Jubilee. Huzza! I stay to watch Fuji (who rocks the house) and then crawl home to find the internet still non-compliant and to write this.
I have taken to napping at lunchtime, listening to the Lunchtime Concert on Radio 3. Today’s concert contains the first Bartok String Quartet, which I may have mentioned before is one of the finest pieces of music ever. I sequester myself in a side office, since I am lying on my back and this leads to me snoring. I don’t want to disturb the copyeds.
I had intended to go up the the Tinderbox to see Ms Edwina Saville play this evening but instead loll around at home. At half past eight I make my way to the Jam, this time taking my tiny practise amp with me. I’m far too self-conscious with the noise behind me, and the tone that results has such a sharp mid spike that it’s a bit like being hit in the back of the head both for me and the poor bass player. Curiously people seem to enjoy what I’m doing despite the fact that in my estimation I’m playing appallingly. Perhaps they think it’s "wild". I am left fairly bewildered by the whole thing and end up not being able to get to sleep, but convinced that next time I should take my big amp with me.
Peter Cadle comes over at 2:00 to pick up some back-ups of what he has recorded so far.
Today is the day that we finally screw the very heavy object to my father’s ceiling. It takes a while and not a little physical exertion, but amazingly we finally manage it. He appears to want a 2-person cinema in his tiny living-room. I merely shrug when I get the use of my shoulders back.
Today’s viewing is a repeat of The Phantom Menace, since I’m hoping to see Attack of the Clones in the next couple of weeks. I now have no idea why anyone should think it any worse than any of the other Star Wars films, which were hardly Bergman at the best of times, but in a good way. The Empire Strikes Back is usually quoted as the cultural high-water mark of the series, but it doesn’t actually make any sense without the original film and is a lot less interesting than people remember, but fits perfectly into the sequence. I think people allow their sentiment to over-rate the original series to allow them to dump on the new films and so appear erudite somehow (though I know not how), or they had so clearly worked out what the new films should be like that reality lets them down. If we’re allowed to use the word "reality" in this context.
A finally-make-it-to-the-gym day, hurrah. My father decides he’s not going to attempt to screw a very heavy object to the ceiling today (and thus need my assistance at same), double hurrah. And Sara and Dan are coming up to go to the theatre and we’re meeting up for early dinner first. Triple hurrah.
I meet them at Waterloo and we walk up to Leicester Square and Wagamama, which is my current idea of fast food. The whole thing is very novel to them, which makes me feel very cosmopolitan, despite the fact that I always seem to have the same thing nowadays (and very nice it is too).
When I get back in the evening I watch A.I. Another unfairly slated movie, I thought. Most of almost all of it is marvellous and I like the constant references (for example "Bad Moon Rising" followed by "Any Old Iron", a suitably English reference for Anglophilic Kubrick). It all seems to be to point to Baudrillard’s hyper-reality – after all, the film is a meditation on what "real" is. The references to Pinocchio are too explicit to be mere references, rather David, mistaking the story of Pinocchio for a description of reality, models his life on it (the subtext is in fact The Wizard of Oz, with a similar moral that things are only what they appear to be).
My after-Maisy experience today is to go and see the mighty Joan Coffey play at a place called the Studio.
I walk up over the new Hungerford Bridge – a vast improvement on the old Hungerford Bridge, generally considered to be scariest bridge in London. My mother says that when she was a student in the fifties, another student, studying engineering, decided after extensive testing that it would fall into the Thames by 1960. Of course it never did, but there was always a sense while crossing it that it might. The new one is wide and brightly lit, with huge pointy things that indicate the general direction of the sky.
The Studio is at the very top of Charing Cross Road, near where Kool Eddie’s used to be. The prescence of lights and glitzy doodads suggests that this is a night club of a usually more dancey nature, something confirmed by the fact that they charge £2.00 for a small soft drink.
Joan’s set is marred by repeated power cuts [which turn out to have been caused by someone behind the mixing desk unplugging an important piece of the equipment]. Ms Coffey does cope admirably with the situation, despite the fact that it necessitates a lot of standing around in front of an audience asking the sound guy what’s going on. But she rocks, as do the band. Sadly this is their last performance together, but it has been recorded for posterity.
Immediately afterwards I make my excuses and leave, wandering back the way I came (after rubbing shoulders with all those people I don’t feel like taking the post-pub tube). On Hungerford Bridge I spot several people with tripods, all trying to be the first people to exploit the new view photographically. We are very good at bridges in London, I’ll say that. Swaying notwithstanding.
Back to Walker for more Maisyfication.
In the evening (I notice that my days are splitting into two parts – day and evening. Presumably everyone’s do this. Is that an observation of the same calibre as "rain is wet" or "a fragile object’s favourite direction is down?") I watch Evolution on DVD, which I liberated from my father’s living-room yesterday whilst failing to improve his viewing pleasure. I think it’s fair to say that this film has not been egregiously overlooked by the Academy. But an entertaining way of passing an evening – various critics have addressed the film so that I don’t really have to – curiously the Capalert review seems to be no worse really than any of the respectable ones, despite the "44 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary" and the fact that the "entire theme [is] based on evolution". D’oh. Oh, and apparantly revelry is an offense to God. I didn’t know that. Did you know that?
The day is a miasma of failure – firstly trying to finish a job, but having Photoshop crash on me in an apparantly deliberate manner. In the afternoon I am called upon to assist my father in the erection of a screen in his living room (don’t ask), but merely succeed in filling his living-room ceiling with holes and convincing him that perhaps he should seek the assistance of physically competent people who know what they are doing rather than someone like me who will merely set it up for a costly and upsetting collapse.
In the evening Phil comes round to do the cover for his new album – the process is admirably streamlined (this being the third we’ve done, it’s just a question of refilling the blanks) and I also set up a page on his web site for the album as well as putting the full William Sutton blurb on the front page. Some level of achievement then. Hurrah.