Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Idea for a film:

L.A. Pool Party Massacre

Fretwork, new signings to Atlantic Records, have just completed their debut album at Sheer Rock Face Studios in Hollywood. Produced by Lou Giordano and Butch Vig, it's gonna be fucking massive man. I mean, these guys are HOT. The MD of Atlantic phoned and he loves it. Platinum all the way. There's this massive party going on at the studio. It's, like, only 9 o'clock and already these two college chicks are making out in the swimming pool! This one guy is standing on a table, pouring champagne into the drummer's mouth. They're playing the album really fucking loud through this humongous sound system and everyone is fucking digging it. Then the coke turns up, and woah this shit is really something. There must be like, 40 or 50 people at this party, and everyone is getting wasted. Then a guy in a hockey mask turns up and murders everyone with a power sander.

Monday, July 26, 2004

city after city
granite grey as morning

Back home now. LA was the last stop. I was ambivalent about returning home. LA is a fantasy world, especially when you are staying with wonderful hosts in a ranch house on Hollywood Hill, complete with swimming pool and excellent company. I had an 'after-show party', and met 5 other Warp artists all of whom were called Brian. Everyone stayed up till 3am, apart from me. I went to sleep at 10.30 and slept for 13 hours.

I watched 7 Steven Seagal films this week. My favourite thusfar is Hard To Kill, in which Seagal plays a man who is very hard to kill, primarily because he is very hard. Lots of people want to kill him though, but he's way too hard for them, and completely turns the tables on them by killing them instead.

The Black Holes in the Sand EP (or mini-album as it features six tracks and clocks in at over half an hour)has been mastered and sounds great. We plan to release it early October.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Chicago is flat. I didn't get to see much of it, but what I did see was flat. I played at the Empty Bottle to a good reception. Got up horribly early to fly to San Francisco which is where I am writing this. I slept some more on the plane with the aid of 20 mg of Diazepam....yeah... but i'm still very tired and disorientated. I've been shown lots of the key Bay Area sights when all I really want to see is the inside of my eyelids. I've crossed three time zones now and as far as my body is concerned it's already tomorrow. In fact it was tomorrow yesterday.

I'm writing this in the office at the back of a gallery space in downtown SF. I play in an hour or so. Someone is going to get me some weed. I just ate an amazing Thai meal, the delicate sophistication of which was totally wasted on me. I would have been happy with a bowl of porridge and a nice steaming mug of morphine. SF is hilly and temperate. I can relax with hills; I grew up around hills, Bristol is built on seven of them. Plenty of cover. Plenty of places to hide.

Tomorrow we fly to LA. Then on sunday I fly home. The only thing i've dreaded on this entire trip is the bit where I arrive at Heathrow and have to run the National Express coach travel degradation-gauntlet back to Bristol. Note to all travellers: if you must brave the vile onboard 'toilet', check there is water running from the taps. Last time I spent a three hour coach journey with soap eating into my hands. National Express have no respect for human dignity and if they were an individual I would tie bricks to their feet and throw them in a sewer.

That morale-corroding thought aside, i'm actually having a really nice time. Went to the legendary Amoeba Music store on Haight; bought a Michael Nyman CD, a copy of Sugar's 'Beaster' for $2 and a copy of Depeche Mode's 'Violator' for $7.
I'm also digging into Can's 'Future days' which is reliably excellent.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Last night I played at the Mercury Lounge, NYC. It was good. Two guys drove four hours from Boston to see the show, which is both touching and bewildering. I drank my regulation straight double tequila before playing, but unwisely took someone up on another after the show, forgetting the liberal measures served in US bars. We sold about ten CDs. I talked very loudly and with unwarranted conviction about nothing in particular for a few hours then got in a taxi, ate a Danish pastry and ended up in bed somehow.

This morning I woke with a very bad headache and a mood as black as John Ashcroft's soul. After braving the car crash tourism horrorshow that is Canal Street (it's like Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Portabello and Camden High Street all rolled into one, but about 10 miles long and more intense). One comforting thing about NYC is that people are as nonchalant and unfriendly as they are in London, so there is no real danger of culture shock. My hotel room is tiny with an enormous television filling the room like Magritte's apple. I broke the window trying to open it far enough to get my head out so I could smoke a joint without setting off the smoke alarm, and broke the 'safety-catch'- (presumably to prevent people throwing themselves to their deaths, which the hotel would no doubt be sued for), so I couldn't shut it again. Thus the first night was spent with ear plugs in.

I renewed myself on a brunch of corn beef hash and two eggs at a superb diner on 6th Avenue. I bewildered the staff with repeated requests for mugs of hot water, to which I added my middle-class tea bags from England.

On the plane I chose the 'Yes, I am feeling horny' option from the in-flight entertainments, that filthy old goat Bertolucci's latest mid-brow skin-flick 'The Dreamers'. Two very beautiful Parisian intellectual boho kids initiate a cautious, bi-curious wide-eyed american boy into their incestuous menage-a-trois. They all get naked and fuck each other. Presented against a vacuous backdrop of student protests, the film is utterly meaningless but boy is she fucking hot.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I noticed that the Stone Roses' eponymous debut album was voted best British album of all time in some poll in some magazine somewhere or something. This made me feel the way the death of Princess Diana made me feel: that I have nothing in common with 99.9% of people in this country. Apparently we are allowed to like Morrissey and The Cure again though, so that makes everything okay. So here is my poll of records that I own which will never be featured in 'best of' polls, nor benefit from some sort of retrospect revival.

The Chameleons - Script of the Bridge (very good album, handicapped by cover artwork strongly reminiscent of Marillion)

Slowdive - Just For A Day (listen to 'Primal', look me in the eye and tell me your unsatisfied...)

Fairport Convention - What We Did on Our Holidays (how a band can be this good and this bad in the space of 45 minutes is quite miraculous)

Suzanne Vega - Suzanne Vega (this is of no merit whatsoever; i just keep it around to annoy people)

Ride - Smile (the first two eps. fuck you! Ride were awesome)

Pet Shop Boys - Actually (shut up. you know nothing. PSB rule)

Iron Maiden - Killers (the finest heavy metal record ever)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Finally finished the EP. It nearly killed me.

Couldn't sleep last night because the neighbours were playing Jane's Addiction really fucking loud. I fucking hate Jane's Addiction. The last thing I want to hear when I am drifting off is Perry Farrell whining like a slaughtered pig.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I did an interview for Cologne radio the other day, and consistently used the word 'depersonalization' when I actually meant 'disassociation'. But it didn't matter because the interviewer didn't know what I was talking about, and neither did I.

I am Newcastle doing some instore shows. Newcastle is much cleaner than Bristol, people are much friendlier and the public transport system actually works. Tomorrow i'm going to Glasgow.

Yesterday I went totally fucking crazy. I recorded drums, vocals, guitars, second guitars, third guitars, organ and backing vocals for Black Holes in the Sand, mixed and edited Diane and then scrapped the drums, third guitars and backing vocals on Black Holes because they weren't very good. I re-recorded the drums again, then scrapped them again. Then I found that everything I recorded on Cubase was covered in digital clicks, not present on any other recording software I have on the same machine. I changed the latency on the soundcard on advice from Cubase users, and the machine restarted itself. I tried again, and the machine shut down. I gave up and carried on recording, removing the clicks afterwards using the declicker on Cool Edit Pro. What a fucking shambles. I have to get the EP finished by tuesday.
When I get home on saturday I will continue pushing the rock up the mountain. I hate Cubase and I want to kill whoever created it. If you try to stop me I will kill you as well. I had more success with N-Track, the Italian freeware multitracker. It crashed all the time, but at least it didn't pretend to be any good. Cubase is a perverse labrynth of staggeringly obvious design flaws.

When the EP is done, I am going to try switching to Sonar to record the rest of the album. Duncan Fleming seems to think it is good.