Thursday, December 22, 2005

hey tastemakers

My favourite album of 2005

The Organ - Grab that Gun (LP)

it's not out in the UK until 2006
so it gets two cracks at the end of year polls

I wrote this about it but it didn't get published

"The Organ are from Canada and they are a revelation. Katie Sketch has a fantastic voice. This lady can sing. Powerful, sexual, enigmatic and fragile; she is spilling her guts and I feel like I’m being punched in the heart. This record is burning out my hard drive and deconstruction is an insult. But we have to mention The Smiths – because the songs are that good and because guitarist Deb Cohen has picked up a torch with one hand and thrown down a gauntlet with the other. Some dickhead said "the female Interpol". Thanks dude. Thanks for reminding us that it's a male-dominated industry, but this isn't a posturing attempt to re-capture some coveted, early 80’s post-punk wilderness when melancholy was somehow more ‘authentic’. This is happening right now to these people, in these songs, and they are fantastic and they deserve to be fucking massive."

But what would I know.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

must remember to drink more paint next year

mood: can't complain, because they actually sewed my lips together

The Vibration Hot Chip

Financial Forecast


There's also an interview, but they cut out a crucial part. In response to the question 'is it strange being on Warp, an electronic label?' I said "Yes, it's deeply alienating. When I first came into the Warp office they made me stand on a table and everyone pointed at me. On St. George's Day everyone got a Mars Bar except for me, and it really affected my balance. I can no longer play chess".

I really hate Christmas. I'm a Transcendental Atheist Pagan
Psychogeographer. I get my spiritual nourishment from the relationship between environment and psyche. Shopping districts at Christmas time are an incitement to religious hatred against my kind. What about me? What about my needs? I'm a religious minority. I'm going to blow myself and everyone else up unless we abolish those fucked up dwarf-santa things that jiggle their hips and sing when you walk past them in service stations, because they give me sexual nightmares.


Above: Pizza box found in Zurich. I claim my Pulitzer Prize

Here's some things I wrote this year for some magazines that decided not to run them.

What was the first record you ever bought?
Before I bought any records I was given “Bridge of Spies” by T’Pau, which I think is a record we can safely say does not deserve any critical re-appraisal. The first record I actually bought myself was “Rent” by the Pet Shop Boys.

And where did you buy it?

I ‘bought’ it from the back seat of a Volvo Estate belonging to a guy down the road. He ‘moved on’ shortly afterwards.

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?

I never really wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be a train driver, but I just couldn’t cope with the hardline Trotskyist agitators intent on jeopardising the trade union movement, so I signed to Warp instead. Did you know Dennis Nilsen was active in the trade union movement? He liked to have sex with dead men. I suppose all people have their flaws. We shouldn’t let deviant sexual pathology get in the way of the Great Cause. <>

What do you sing in the shower?
I don’t sing, I scream as the water alternates between extremes of hot and cold. I live in a caravan on a trading estate. When they Pump Up the Shit at the sewage works up the road the plumbing backs up. I hope I sell some records soon.

What is your favourite Saturday night record?

There is no point listening to music on a Saturday night, because the social club down the road cranks out Rod Stewart till 3am. When there was a massive riot at a Group 4 prison in 1998 the only way they could restore order was by playing Rod Stewart at deafening levels. Within minutes the inmates were drinking paint, slurring their words and bumping into walls.

Desert island disc:
The thing people don’t seem to clock is that if you are trapped on a desert island you are probably going to die there. You will likely be preoccupied with trying to build a raft or kill and eat a goat than listen to a record. I think a good sound track to slaughtering and gutting an animal for the first time would be “Happy Talk” by Captain Sensible.

Bedtime reading:

Right now I’m reading Francis Wheen’s ‘How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World’. It confirms your worst fears: people are bloody stupid, politicians combine corruption with fashionable economic theories based on blind faith, and s
ocialism is dead because credulous masses would rather consult crystal gazing charlatans than take control of their own lives. As soon as I hear the words “think global, act local” I find myself uprooting saplings and burning polystyrene for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Guilty pleasure:

I still feel pretty guilty about burning down my school when I was 13, but I can’t pretend it wasn’t a big buzz at the time.

Pet hate:

I hate pets. If we killed all the animals, vegetarianism wouldn’t even be an issue. Animal lovers need to look facts in the face: if we don’t kill animals, they will kill each other, and then the terrorists win, right?


We made Gravenhurst t-shirts for the tour. Will sell some online at some point.

Circular black holes logo on sky blue

Sold all the masculine, Ernest Hemingway army green ones

They are £15. Expensive because they are American Apparel, which means they are made ethically in the USA, depriving developing countries of much needed manufacturing opportunities.


Pictorial Minutes from the 14th Annual Symposium of Gravenhurst Taxidermists
Held at G5, Zurich, Switzerland

"This house believes that we still have much to learn from filling animals with sand"

Left: This is an example of the kind of decline in taxidermic values I am talking about. Sloppy, degenerate. These birds aren't even dead. They are just nailed down.

Left: Good taxidermy. Elegant chandelier display. You don't even know it's there until you stand up quickly and a dead bird crawls into your mouth. It just wants to see what it's like in your mouth, that's all. It just wants to know what it's like being in your mouth.

Left : Relaxing with a new friend.

Friday, December 16, 2005

crackerjack rock attack

Mood: Screaming Fields of Sonic Love played at half speed on a dictaphone through Andy McNab's gook-spattered balaklava
Music: Low - Long Division

Full tour reports coming up when I fit my teeth back into my head. I took three books on tour with me: Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers, and Bukowski's Ham On Rye, but I was too wired/drunk to deal with tiresome things like 'concepts' and 'ideas' and read the soul-stirringly homoerotic Bravo Two Zero. Fact: Andy McNab is a better witer than Ian McKewan, but not as good as Steven King, who isn't as good as Ian Sinclair, whose London Orbital I am now reading.

December 20th onwards: watch Gravenhurst's London show online:

Includes audience of young girls clapping and wetting themselves on request. Also includes footage of Morning Runner, Coldplay's favourite new band. There's also an interview with me, if they decide to run it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rap Star

mood: X-Ray of a toddler's skull; ear-ache can now be attributed to a spider which has nested in the ear canal. Do we tell the child? Or do we discreetly operate to get rid of the 'infection'? Do we tell the child afterwards?

What would Judge Rheinhold do in this situation?

Richard Thompson - Small Town Romance
Sandy Denny - Box of Treasures
The National - Alligator
Hans Gruber - New mp3 of "Rap Star" on the Hans Gruber Myspace site. Please listen in full to for maximum enjoyment. The coda is particularly elegant.

Re: National Express/Sewage incident - full story will have to wait until our return from Europe.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Dear Sucker

US Tour summary:

Tour very good. On returning to England, I had yet another predictably bad experience on National Express which ended up in my shoes, socks, bag and jacket covered in raw sewage. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my ongoing battle with this most complacent and arrogant of companies. Score so far:

National Express: 10
Nick Talbot: nil, excluding a £5 compensation voucher for a service I had told them I would never again be using. Stapled to the voucher was a note that read

Dear Sucker,

Yeah, whatever dude. We are fully aware of our total monopoly of the market, and are certain you'll be back. I mean, what else are you going to do when you need to get a coach from Bristol to Heathrow? Fly? Heh. Get a train instead? Only CEO's like me can afford the train. Please find attached insult, which you may like to add to your injury, loser.

National Express

P.S. Fuck you

Full story next issue.

Europe/UK tour:

30 Nov Leuven, Stuk, Belgium.
1st Dec Paris, Tryptique, France.
3rd Dec Amsterdam, Melkweg, Holland.
4th Dec Koln, Gebaude 9, Germany.
5th Dec Munich, Ampere, Germany.
6th Dec Zurich, G5 Club, Switzerland.
7th Dec Milan, La Casa, Italy.
9th Dec London, Islington Bar Academy, UK.
10th Dec Nottingham, Social, UK.
11th Dec Glasgow, Nice N Sleazy, UK.

Critical re-evaluation of the day:

"Cracklin' Rosie" - Neil Diamond's affectionate paean to the US equivalent of White Lightning, the favoured poison of the homeless alcoholic.

Tiscali Competition

Win a
Stagg Drum Kit, Stagg Electric Guitar and Amp and a Stagg Bass Guitar and Amp in a tenuously linked Gravenhurst competition, and watch the upcoming London show on a webcast:

Now you can be a power trio, like Gravenhurst, Husker Du, Nirvana and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Stagg also provide a range of delicious and wholesome canned meat dishes:

Bad Press

Uncut : "Early promise goes up in flames" heh heh.

Q: "Experimental songwriter experiments with tedium" That'll be Victoria Segal then, trying to decide which new scene she will be championing. Not ours, that's for sure. I'd love to meet her; i've never met a journalist who isn't wonderfully charismatic and charming in person, only to stab you in the back in writing. Janus-faced whores. Just like me.

Good Press

Many thanks to the excellent Mr. James Dellingpole for his praisesome Telegraph review. It's a shame the Telegraph sub-editor didn't read it, and in the headline described me as a shy young man who is worried about globalisation, when I make it clear in the body of the article that I am emphatically not worried about globalisation, and you'd have to be a dreadful judge of character to describe me as shy.

Pitchfork offered a very positive review, 7/10, though they did regard The Velvet Cell as an "Interpol clone", which means I must have pretty impressive powers of precognition as I wrote that song before Interpol had released a record. I am frequently staggered by hitherto unnoticed talents that just pour out of me like slugs from a discarded pair of swimming trunks.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

grab your ankles, it's kingdom time

Dave's other other band, The Azalea City Penis Club are nearing completion of their debut album. Here you can hear an MP3 and watch a short film of the recording process, and here is their site where there are some photos, including these two of Robin.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Crescent welcome the world

The elusive Crescent, one of England's finest bands finally have a web presence, after eleven years and four albums. There is even a video for the track "Spring", and some photos of the enigmatic Matt Jones, which proves he really does exist.

We are off on tour in USA and Canada on tuesday with Broadcast, so this may be the last post for a while. If you have some time to waste, check out my friend Tom's blog. Tom intersperses social commentary with completely impenetrable IT jargon. For the most part I have no idea what he is talking about.

As I explained to a friend the other day (sorry for cribbing emails, Paul), I am trying to stop reading or caring about current affairs because my influence upon the collective stupidity of humankind is close to nil, thus mustering even a passing interest in world developments is arguably an absurd waste of time. Far more important is the fact that my workshop roof is leaking and I need to get it patched, then I can embark on a four week spree of binge drinking and rock music.

See you over the ocean.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

wrong kind of jacket

Neglected musical sub-genre of the day: Aspirational Sports-Rock
Example: Chesney Hawkes - I Am the One and Only
Location: Longwell Green Bowlplex

Anyone read Phillip K. Dick's the Minority Report?
Prepare to start being arrested for something you don't know you are about to do.
Just for fun, compare and contrast with Maggie Smith in Gosford Park: "I know what they want before they know they want it".

Thanks to Tom for the link.

Watched Dig!, a film about the rivalry between two bands whose pin-prick egos swell and deflate in time to the rythmic chants of the A + R sycophants who see something revolutionary in their rather average indie rock. The Dandy Whoreholes spend $500,000 on a crap video before they’d even shifted a unit. Then they get a track on a cell-phone commercial and sell loads of records so it's okay. Their mates the Brian Jonestown Massacre don't sell any because their main-man, Anton Newcombe, like Pete Doherty, is a completely deluded fuckhead who can't get his shit together. We watch him snort coke, shoot smack, kick audience members in the face and beat up his band, while his entourage waits patiently for him to finish his magnum opus which will be so amazing it will be, like, so amazing. Everyone is content to indulge the genius, who churns out sub-Jesus and Mary Chain tripe at a rate of one song an hour, but can't finish making the record because he is slowly but surely turning into Billy Corgan. These people don't deserve freedom. They should be exiled to North Korea. The high point of the film was The Dandy Whorehole's Zia McCabe -by far the most likeable of the bunch- getting her tits out on stage.


Guy in Philosophy Class Needs to Shut the Fuck Up

Monday, September 26, 2005

the average man

Spitz show the other night went well, apart from the girl at the side of the stage who kept screaming at me throughout the set.

"I heard your music on the internet. it was much quieter; it was lovely; why can't you play that?". I politely explained that whilst i would dearly love to discuss the matter further, I had a prior appointment with the paying audience who were standing directly in front of me. This bizarre, maternal heckling continued for the whole 45 minutes, interspersed with her squealing to her fuck-witted friends about the merits of her factory-distressed denims. Interesting that this reaction coincided with a documentary about Bob Dylan and the conservative, thought-crime folk crowd who screamed 'Judas!!!!!' when he plugged in. So little has changed.

I'm off to Europe on a press trip, then to a festival in Japan.

I might start using a Gmail account because the other one is riddled with spam. Using mass mailing as a market forces supply /demand indicator, I conclude that the average man is addicted to Vicodin, has a tiny penis, is worried about his portfolio, would love to own a Rolex watch and secretly wants Japanese girls to shit on his chest.

What would the benign, intellectually and emotionally advanced alien species think.

-Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells.

Monday, September 19, 2005

what we do vs. what we stand for

The debate has collapsed into a familiar, simplistic dualism: The Islamists hate us for what we do in the Middle East (usually an 'anti-war' stance), versus The Islamists hate us for what we stand for -democracy, religious pluralism- (usually a 'pro-war' stance).

Perhaps the Islamists rationalisations for their actions are not absolutely identical to the causes of their actions. It is
plausible that the things that motivate us are not always what we think they are. Religious fundamentalism and hatred for what is seen as crusading, Christian, US Imperialism form a vicious circle, with each action confirming and enforcing both convictions.

The same could be said of those who chose to go to war. Bush may honestly believe he is fighting to liberate
people from tyrants, but he is influenced by the people around his head, like Rumsfeld and Cheney, whose
integrity is highly suspect. Bush is largely a fool, but I think he often believes what he says. As for Blair...

Bush and Blair gave us more than one reason for invading Iraq. Bertrand Russell taught us to be suspicious of a
man who offers more than one argument for the same position. If a position is truly robust then a single defense will be compelling. The multiple defence suggests a lack of conviction. Christopher Hitchens, Paul Berman and Nick Cohen, to their credit, argue for the war in Iraq one the sole basis of liberation. But as gifted polemicists they typically offer hard-edged, ideological answers. Their take on it has a refreshing directness and simplicity, but we should be wary of simple answers to complex questions.

Robin Cook's reasons for opposing the war were not ideological. He believed that acting without a UN mandate
would cause international friction that would in the long run outweigh the humanitarian benefits of regime change in Iraq. Much of the Muslim world would view it as a war on Islam, which it isn't. But people's views matter, whether or not they are mistaken. Cook's reasons were pragmatic. We should have more time for pragmatism. This cuts both ways. It means that now we are in Iraq, whether it was a mistake or not, we have to do our best to help the country achieve stability. The immediate withdrawal demanded by many on the Left would not achieve this.

Boris Johnson supported the invasion on the very grounds on which Cook opposed it. Johnson believed that it
would in the end cause more good than harm. But as Dr. Manhattan pointed out to Adrian Veidt at the end of Alan Moore's Watchmen, there is no 'end'. Consequences never end, and unlike Dr. Manhattan we don't have the superhuman ability to see how things might have turned out if we had done otherwise. There is no way of knowing whether Cooke was right or Johnson was right. So we have to make the best of it.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

acrid folk

mood: hah hah hah hah hah
music: Sons and Daughters - the Repulsion Box

Today’s post fulfills this blog’s subtitle, being a sour-grapes folk darling anecdote I got from a friend in the USA who is in a band called Baltic Knot. All names and locations have been changed to protect the guilty.

“Last summer James and I played a show in Boston with the Beltane Yews and Snakedial. When we got there this guy came up to James and was like "James?!? What are you doing here? Did you move to Boston?" (I can't remember the dude's name so let's call him Mo. I think his stage name is like Gandalf Pendragon or some shit) and James’s like "no, Mo. I'm playing a show here with my band. What are you doing here?" and he's like "oh, I'm in the Beltane Yews".

”So it turns out that this guy and his band used to all live in Portland and when they were in high school they would come in to the record store where James worked and made fun of him for listening to "pussy-ass-shit" like Pearls Before Swine and Vashti Bunyan. At the time, they were in a band called "Backdraft" that apparantly sounded like Fugazi. But then they moved to
Brooklyn and bought some folk albums and you know the rest.

“So the capper of the evening was when I wandered down to the greenroom and smoked a joint with these a-holes and overheard the following conversation:

Snakedial guy #1: "so what's with this Baltic Knot?"
Snakedial guy #2: "oh, you know... just another one of those psych folk bands"
Beltane guy # 1: "ugh. I'm so sick of that shit."
Beltane guy # 2: "no man, they're the real deal. their guitarist James, he used to follow the Dead and sell acid in the 80's."
Snakedial guy # 1: "huh. whatever."


Guy Bartell phoned me up the other week to tell me he had been suffering a recurring dream that he had died, and in the film of his life he was played by Judge Rheinhold.


Simplistic peaceniks churn out Ghandi quotes at times like this.
Here Guy and I offer some alternatives:

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world seeing eye to eye”

“An eye for an eye means the innocent have nothing to fear”

“An eye for an eye leaves me feeling a lot better about the little f*cker that broke into my car”

“An eye for an eye ensures equal rights for the visually impaired”

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Proposed solution to dwindling US Army recruits

Godwin's Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (i.e. certainty).

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.


I propose a new, normative, rather than purely empirical law, the "Law of Orwellian Flourish", which urges that anyone who quotes Orwell in order to indicate the sagacity of their position should be forced to join the US Army and fight for a war I believe is morally and legally justified as long as I don't personally have to fight for it myself.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

homage to my kitchen

Christopher Hitchens said in his review of Farenheit 9/11, "In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence." On that note, allow me to offer my two pennies worth.
Hasn't anyone read Orwell's essay on the correct way to make a cup of tea? Let there be no relativism here. If people just followed his instructions and fucking well got it right, the world would be a better place. You know what I mean? Charity begins at home, in the kitchen, making me a cup of tea.

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Dark Age

Music: The Sound 'From the Lion's Mouth' (1981)

"Directionless so plain to see/a loaded gun won't set you free" sang Joy Division's Ian Curtis, and
self-consciously earned himself a place in the historic pantheon of romantic suicides. Adrian
Borland sang "I was gonna drown/but then I started swimming/I was going down/but then I started winning" whilst he evidently wasn't winning. The Sound struggled commercially whilst Borland struggled with his sanity, but his suicide in 1999 came way too late for the kids to care. No romance here, just bravery, and startling music.

You can buy the album at

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

aliens: leave my ass alone

Mood: hoping that an emotionally and intellectually advanced, benign alien species will come and transport us all to their arcadian cyber-utopia and gently teach us all to be a bit less violent and stupid, but not, like in alien abduction cases, put things in our asses.

Music: a random series of spiritless 4 bit tones from a C64 emulator

Current reading:

Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
Dissent Magazine

Hmm. Concerned that this blog may have become impenetrable and alienating. If you came here to find out about my favourite colour or what I did last night whilst hanging tough with my homies, I apologise. Lighten up Talbot!


The carnival of culture

Multiculturalism has to be a robust exchange of ideas, rather than of festivals and food

Hanif Kureishi
Thursday August 4, 2005,2763,1542252,00.html

"...I found these sessions so intellectually stultifying and claustrophobic that at the end I'd rush into the nearest pub and drink rapidly, wanting to reassure myself I was still in England. It is not only in the mosques but also in so-called "faith" schools that such ideas are propagated. The Blair government, while attempting to rid us of radical clerics, has pledged to set up more of these schools, as though a "moderate" closed system is completely different to an "extreme" one. This might suit Blair and Bush. A benighted, ignorant enemy, incapable of independent thought, and terrified of criticism, is easily patronised."

Monday, August 01, 2005


mood: three hour tailback on the M4
music: whatever is playing on the Irish radio station which is the sole thing our car stereo can receive

Bob Mould has a new album out. Pitchfork seem to like it, in their way. It's often hard to penetrate the snake-eating-its-own-tail rhetoric deep enough to decipher exactly what Pitchfork thinks about anything.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Live at the witch trials

All your worst fears about Southern Baptists confirmed...

I just watched the Warp Film's DVD of Paradise Lost 1 + 2, the documentaries on the West Memphis Three. This is terrifying and depressing stuff; three teenagers sent to prison -one to death row- for the murders of three young boys, without a single piece of physical evidence linking them to the crime. The fact that the teenagers wore black and listened to Metallica was enough to whip this Bible Belt town in Arkansas into satanic panic, convincing them that the murders were part of a satanic ritual. The stultifying ignorance, prejudice and blind faith of the police, judiciary and jury befitted a medieval witch trial. Appeals have been repeatedly turned down and now Damien Echols has one last channel of federal appeal before he is sent to his death.

Read about it and get involved:

Buy the double DVD here:

Sunday, July 03, 2005

People on drugs are winning it

Mood: Minor surgery
Music: Hot Chip - 'Coming onStrong'
Dead Meadow - 'Feathers'

Returned from playing Scopitone Festival in Nantes, France. Also on the bill were the fabulous Hot Chip, our new favourite band. Five men with a shared love of Stevie Wonder, Devo and This Heat, all playing synthesizers and singing harmonies with lyrics such as 'getting down with your royal bad self' and 'like a monkey with a miniature cymbal'. The only circumstance in which I would normally consider dancing is when someone is firing a gun at my feet, but then Hot Chip arrived.

My contempt for National Express reached new heights this weekend.
I've known no other privately run concern to operate with such unfailing incompetence and disrespect for its cutomers. On the coach ride to Gatwick the air conditioning broke down. Being English, no-one complained, until I went up and told the driver that my blood had become solid. He pulled over after about fifteen minutes and fiddled around with the dashboard, said 'hmm', then drove off again. When we reached Reading, where the coach took on a further ten warm-blooded humans, I complained again, and the driver, in a flash of genius, decided to open the windows. We drove away and I went for a piss. Having suffered numerous past indiginities, I wisely checked the taps. On a previous trip I spent an hour and half with soap burning a rash onto my hands because there was no water. This time, again, there was no water. But there wasn't any soap either, and the toilet didn't flush. I told the driver. People looked at me in the way that English people do; glad you complained so they didn't have to, even though they wouldn't have done, but also slightly embarrassed by your assertiveness, assuming you must be like, American, or something.

Secret report says war on hard drugs has failed
Blair ignores its conclusions,,1520157,00.html
"Researchers found that stamping down on hard drugs through the police and courts had little effect on production and found no evidence that attacking drug supply had any impact on the harm caused by heroin and crack users. The full report provides a powerful argument for legalising drugs so they are not controlled by criminals.Even if the war on supply succeeds, the report found, it would simply lead to a rise in the price of crack and heroin, in turn producing more crime by addicts needing to feed their habit and increased profits for the drug barons. The cost of crime associated with heroin and crack users was estimated at £16 billion by researchers, but the report found that the global crusade on drugs had coincided with a rise in consumption."


Michel Houellebecq
on H.P. Lovecraft:,,1497922,00.html

Monday, June 27, 2005

mad dogs and englishmen

RIP Richard Whitely - The People's Champion,14173,1516026,00.html

Paradox of the Card- Carrying Libertarians,7369,748632,00.html

mood: sanguine
Broadcast 'Tender Buttons'
Jamie Liddell 'Multiply'
Neil Diamond 'Greatest Hits'
The Sound 'From the Lion's Mouth'

Back on line again. The break has made me realise that there is a world outside of the internet, but it isn't particularly interesting.

Too much has happened recently to write about it all. Here are some key events:

Batman Begins is very good. Sin City isn't, suffering from a paucity of sympathetic characters, and Frank Miller's inability to write dialogue free of howling cliche. We turned it off after twenty minutes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

In Debt

Mood: ill. I have a throat infection.
Music: Disco Inferno 'In Debt'

Disco Inferno tribute site:

This week I've been listening to Disco Inferno's 'In Debt', the Che Recordings collection of their first two EPs and debut album. Every year I dust it down and spin it again; every year I'm reminded how excruciatingly derivative most contemporary bands really are. This was Essex way back in 1989, and whilst DI's roots were planted firmly in the icy Factory Records production aesthetic, the MIDI- triggered, hypnotic guitar textures pointed firmly to the future... a future that never really materialized, because few bands since have bothered to exploit the infinite musical possibilities technology has offered them.

Disco Inferno were exceptional; their music is startling, eerie and totally authentic, and are probably the greatest forgotten band of the '90's. Infected with nostalgia, the disease of Britpop swept the country, whilst a penniless DI, ensconced in a rat-infested railway tunnel, created something truly new, and no-one cared.. apart from some sections of the music press. Back then, higher sales allowed them to champion new and challenging music by bands with non-specific hairstyles. These two magazines introduced me to Third Eye Foundation, Movietone, Crescent and Flying Saucer Attack. Wooed by the enthusiasm of the reviews, I went out and bought records that changed the way I thought about music. I moved to Bristol, and Matt Elliot (TEF) himself introduced me to Disco Inferno.

“The best band on the planet.” Jamie T. Conway, Melody Maker.

"the seeds of failure are allready sown / in awe of evil you set about creating your own"
-Arc In Round


This may be my last post for a while as we are moving house and offices so internet access will be limited. Thanks for all your posts and comments; for gig news and stuff visit the Gravenhurst and Bronnt sites.

Be seeing you....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bungle Fever

Mood: Rod, Jane and Freddy Kruger
Music: Manyfingers - 'Our Worn Shadow' - promo
Current Reading: Atomised - Michel Houllebecque
Why are We at War? - Norman Mailer

Lack of recent posts due to feelings of depressed post-election resignation. Everything turned out as predicted, except I had the naivety to get my hopes up that Blair might step down and Brown step up. The Liberal Democrats got a token number of extra seats. Pressing need for electoral reform insulted by Blair assuring us that there is currently 'no appetite' for it in the UK. Having just read Michel Houellebecq's 'Atomised' I can't help feeling that it would make little difference to the fate of humanity anyway. The future is female, or the future is fucked.

But hopefully not before I get my new album out, which I have just mastered.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Name and Number

Mood: Pongo you bastard. I'm the Daddy now, next time I'll fucking kill you.
Music: Where's your tool?
what fuckin' tool?


Thought for the Day:

Vote Liberal Democrat.

-End of partisan broadcast.



I want a better voting system. There would be more point in voting if I could vote for candidates in my order of choice and if my vote helped to create a more representative parliament.

I want a referendum, so that the people can decide how MPs are elected.

MPs talk non-stop about modernising and improving … the health
service, education, the immigration system … strange then that most
of them never mention the voting system.

This is because Britain’s outdated voting system can be relied on to
keep most MPs safe in their cosy Westminster club until they decide to

Did you know that at the last general election:

• only 3% of seats (21 out of 659) changed hands from one party to

• no MP won the support of the majority of their constituents.

• only one in four of electors voted Labour, yet they won another
massive majority.

It's little wonder that millions of people believe that voting doesn't
make a difference.
Politicians shed crocodile tears over voter apathy, and conduct
expensive pilot schemes to make voting easier – while avoiding voting
reform. Massive public interest is needed to persuade the majority of
MPs to reform the system they benefit from.
sign up to the campaign on

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Robots and Volcanoes

How it's all going to end


Robots taking over

Hans Moravec is a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh:

"Robot controllers double in complexity (processing power) every year or two. They are now barely at the lower range of vertebrate complexity, but should catch up with us within a half-century. By 2050 I predict that there will be robots with humanlike mental power, with the ability to abstract and generalise.

"These intelligent machines will grow from us, learn our skills, share our goals and values, and can be viewed as children of our minds. Not only will these robots look after us in the home, but they will also carry out complex tasks that currently require human input, such as diagnosing illness and recommending a therapy or cure. They will be our heirs and will offer us the best chance we'll ever get for immortality by uploading ourselves into advanced robots."

Chance of super-intelligent robots in the next 70 years: High

Danger score: 8


Professor Bill McGuire is director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London and a member of Tony Blair's Natural Hazards working group:

"Approximately every 50,000 years the Earth experiences a super-volcano. More than 1,000 sq km of land can be obliterated by pyroclastic ash flows, the surrounding continent is coated in ash and sulphur gases are injected into the atmosphere, making a thin veil of sulphuric acid all around the globe and reflecting back sunlight for years to come. Daytime becomes no brighter than a moonlit night.

"The global damage from a super-volcano depends on where it is and how long the gas stays in the atmosphere. Taupo in New Zealand was the most recent super-volcano, around 26,500 years ago. However, the most damaging super-volcano in human history was Toba, on Sumatra, Indonesia, 74,000 years ago. Because it was fairly close to the equator it injected gas quickly into both hemispheres. Ice core data shows that temperatures were dramatically reduced for five to six years afterwards, with freezing conditions right down to the tropics.

"A super-volcano is 12 times more likely than a large meteorite impact. There is a 0.15% probability that one will happen in your lifetime. Places to watch now are those that have erupted in the past, such as Yellowstone in the US and Toba. But, even more worryingly, a super-volcano could also burst out from somewhere that has never erupted before, such as under the Amazon rainforest."

Chance of a super-volcano in the next 70 years: Very high

Danger score: 7


Hopefully the Robots will take over first, become benign dictators and politely adjust our respiratory, digestive and immune systems and save us from the volcano.

Or the volcano happens first and wipes out us and the robots, in which case at least the smug robots get a pasting too.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hippy wigs in Woolworths

Culture Rape of the Day
Article in Vogue on youth fashion sub-cultures:
*Style instructions for feckless scenesters*
How to look New Wave: skinny ties, tight trousers, pout
(Picture: Sons and Daughters)
How to look Acid Folk(I shit you not): Maxi-dresses, floral prints, cardigans
(Picture: Joanna Newsom)

I have recently become aware that some of my favourite films of all time have in common the themes of debased male pride and moral degeneracy:

American Psycho
Sexy Beast
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover


I have just read or are currently reading

A Scanner Darkly - Phillip K. Dick
Cain's Book - Alexander Trocchi
Maus - Art Spiegelman
How to be Idle - Tom Hodgkinson


Current music

'Prospekt' - Circle
'Feathers' - Dead Meadow
'More Deep Cuts' - Thee More Shallows


Thursday, March 31, 2005

Expanding Aggregate Sales Towards Selected Target Markets

We have a responsibiliy to improve the lot of small businesses, in order to create a thriving economy and stimulate competitive growth in hitherto neglected market sectors. Call me a stickler for progressive fiscal management, I don't care.

Bronnt Industries Kapital fully endorses this product or service

Music: Throbbing Gristle

Friday, March 18, 2005

The New Wave of Shut the Fuck Up

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Heat Wave Monroe
The Flick Knives
Turkey Shoot
The Thirst
The Buzz
The Now
The Trophy Wives
The Sunset Strips
The Nylon Gems
The Satin Razors
The Tellers
The Cliffnotes
The Pocket Knives
The Bone Sharks
The New Waveforms
The Glaives
The Agents
5 Card Studs
The Pocket Rockets
The Speed Kings

Moods for Moderns

Music: Talk Talk - Spirit of Eden
Mood: Modern

I've been finding pool to be an uncommonly good way to relax and enjoy the convivial company of friends. It also stops me thinking about flaying people alive.

The pub next door to me is relaxed and friendly, but the pool table is shit and the drinks expensive. The jukebox is alright. The other day I watched a man fall off his stool and piss himself. This man was the publican. He disappeared into the toilet for a long time, and then we had to leave as the stench of shit was overwhelming.

The Elbow Rooms on Park Street has good tables but they are too close to the walls. It is also expensive, pretentious and thus turns my thoughts back to flaying people alive.

Riley's Snooker Club on the Triangle has professional tables. I am unsure of the prices, but I am aware that they play pop music at quite loud volumes. I was listening to pop when I flayed that social worker, so I am of the understanding that it is best for me to avoid pop.

From forum thread - "Recording Live - Which Approach is Best?"

It is my view that the live approach is over-used, and received without argument.

Surely the most authentic way to record your songs is to DI everything into a PC, then put the parts into a wave to MIDI convertor program. You will then have MIDI files of the separate tracks. Next, buy a really big multitimbral MIDI Workstation keyboard, like a Korg Triton or something. It doesn't matter what the make is, just make sure it's really big. Program your MIDI files into, and arrange the parts using General MIDI sounds. GM sounds have been selected and calibrated to enable the listener to hear every nuance of the arrangement. Next, mix it down with plenty of digital chorus and flange. Maybe go for some sort of Aural Exciter and Vocoder on the vocal. If the drums still sound too 'roomy' and 'live', try compressing them more, then gate them or edit out all the decay.

When your track is finished, send it to Future Music for a review. Put some fractals on the cover or something.

Monday, March 14, 2005

stop touching my face

Music: 'Stop Touching My Cat - A Collection of Remixes and Cover Versions of Songs by SJ Esau' - S J Esau, Mole Harness, Why?, Twocsinak, Freeze Puppy, Bedridden Kids, Id lab, Bronnt Industries Kapital, Audio Whore, My Ambulance Is On Fire, Countryside Alliance, Rarg, The Gonorrorhoeas, Wafffffffles + SJ Esau + Arwin + Sung + Delphine + Pato + Assis + James + Pippin, Dady Cool Cool Chappel Face.

Mood: none

Recently the following things happened.

* Bronnt Industries Kapital played in Amsterdam with Knowledge of Bugs and Tunng and Mica P. Hinson.

* Gravenhurst played in Bristol with Male and in London at the Camden Crawl.

* I updated the Bronnt and Gravenhurst sites, a bit.

* I bought a pedalboard.

* Part of my hand turned into glass

Friday, February 25, 2005

you watch as I destroy your face

Mood: speechless
Music: Broadcast - Hah Hah Sound

I've lost my fucking voice. Like, laryngitis stylee. Played a gig with a cold the other night in a smoky venue in Bristol. Gig = success. Throat = cunted.

On the basis of some poor inductive reasoning, I can only assume my voice will never return, that i'll have nodes on my larynx, i'll never be able to sing agin, and that will be the end of my career in music. See you down the temp agency.

Or maybe i'll just make instrumental drug music like Sonic Boom.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

i smell burning

Mood: I have lost my voice
Music: Talk Talk - Laughing Stock

Last night we played our first gig since November at the Croft, Bristol. It was dead, dead good.

I was asked to write a bit about recording in the studio for The Fly. Here is what I wrote.

The studio is Toybox in Bristol, It's run by Ali Chant, Stef Hambrook and the producer and musician John Parish. Howe Gelb, Scout Nibblet and Kid Carpet are among the artists who have made records there. Toybox is situated in a Georgian townhouse in leafy Portland Square. The studio has an abandoned lift shaft which makes a great reverb chamber, and is haunted by the ghost of a horse, as it used to be the stables of the building above. The horse was hanged for a crime it didn't commit in 1888, and its restless spirit now wanders the square in limbo. I saw the horse in the control room after drinking a bottle of cough syrup.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Dreadful Crows

Mood: granular synthesis
Today my world was rocked by:

arc in round - Disco Inferno
the butterfly collector - ARKane
fortune teller - Sugar
percy's song - Fairport Convention
aguirre - Popol Vuh
pink turns to blue - Husker Du
just to play - Midnight Movies
where Iike to stand - Vashti Bunyan
jenny Was A friend of Mine - The Killers
popul vuh I - Flying Saucer Attack
beyond Belief - Elvis Costello
christine - The House of Love

Stupid idea:



Making some real headway with the comic book, which we have decided to name Ultraskull.
Mr William Schaff has decided to risk his artistic credibility by donating a piece for the front cover of our shitty little rag.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Mood: unemployed rat-catcher
Music: Crescent - Collected Songs

Unbelievable quote of the day:
"Any man who rides a bus to work after the age of 30 can count himself a failure in life". - Margaret Thatcher

Super fun link of the day:

Trying to organise a few Bristol shows before the Camden Crawl in march. Not much else to say other than that I am reading The Real Middle Earth, by Brian Bates, an exploration of Dark Ages Britain, the inspiration for Tolkien's Middle Earth, and it's fascinating.

Monday, January 31, 2005

celebrity bowel sprayer

mood: Les paul
music: me playing a Les Paul really loud through an amplifier the size of a cigarette packet

Super fun link of the day:

Critical reappraisal time

I tell you what, right? Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is an overrated crock of shit. If bad artwork, a dearth of sympathetic characters and an unconvincing script filled with irritating street-lingo makes a seminal work of comic art, constantly referred to in the same breath as Alan Moore's peerless Watchmen, then I'm Lionel fucking Ritchie.

I got his Ronin for Xmas (Miller's, not Richie's, though I suspect Richie's is the superior work). It had better be good.

My friend Andrew actually sat through the Punisher movie. Here is his review:

Punisher the movie. A review by Andrew Barkham.
"Beautifully paced by director Jon Hensleigh and his editing team, storylines from various Punisher incarnations are skilfully weaved into a comprehensive whole. The dialogue crackles with wit and intelligence and each revelatory plot twist draws you deeper into the action. Thomas Jane is Frank Castle incarnate and must surely be destined for greatness. Best of all, John Travolta displays his true professionalism by attacking his role with the same enthusiasm and intensity he brought to Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty. Marvel can rest assured that the integrity of one of its most popular characters has been upheld."

I'm sure you can detect the sarcasm.

Critical reappraisal time part II
I tell you what, right? Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America is an overrated crock of shit. The contrived plot revolves around an unlikeable group of mysoginist thugs, with the odd woman portrayed as a either a whore or a pricktease. The pace is Lucio Fulci porridge without the recurring scenes of ocular trauma to reward one's patience. In the bathroom I found an interesting stain on the wall and didn't come out for twenty minutes, by which time the film was over. Apparently James Woods throws himself into a furnace in the end, so it sounds like I missed the consolation prize.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

shrinkwrapped limbs

Mood: Moody
Music: Midnight Movies

Heard 'Just to Play' by this band Midnight Movies

Superb. Velvets, Joy Division, Nico. Album out in UK end of January.


Album mastered. Sleep now. Bye.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Old Gods

Mood: Shaving the dead
Music: Geisha - new album demos

On the subject of delusion, last night I took a new drug, called Kratom. It has a physical, opiate-like euphoria, rather like codeine. It also gives you the power of flight, but it doesn't work if you try to take off from the ground; you have to hurl yourself off the top of a building, and you have to have FAITH. As I can already fly, I sat in darkness listening to Aphex Twin's Collected Ambient Works Volume II. I'm sure it will be made illegal soon.

Today I listened to Shed Seven and cleaned the bathroom.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Let's Talk About the Lake

Mood: Ultra Skull
Music: Interpol - A Time to be Small

Eurosonic was good. My show was okay but I wish I'd had the band with me. It seemed to go down well though. Shame I didn’t have my head screwed on and taken all my merch because Aberfeldy who played after me cleaned up; they sold loads of albums and t-shirts. They were good fun; twee indie pop with immaculately arranged songs. It’s not everyday you meet your exact opposite. I forwent my lift to the hotel to stick around with them and get fucked up. So we all went back in the van together, listening to Tago Mago at full blast.

They had already checked in and went to their rooms whilst I made my way to the reception. This was at 4am, it was freezing cold and the air was saturated in face-level lowlands fog. At this point it became horrifyingly apparent that I wasn’t booked into that hotel; mine was on the other side of town, about 15 miles away. Bad. Very Bad indeed. Fortunately I managed to get through to the festival organiser who arranged for someone to come and get me. In the meantime I had to say goodbye to the guys, but I couldn’t get into the hotel building as I didn’t have a card… because I wasn’t booked into that hotel. So, pissed and stoned, I wandered around the perimeter listening in at windows, trying to hear drunk Scottish people. I think I disturbed some families who thought they had rumbled a duffel coated pervert trying to spy on them. I eventually found their room only because they hadn’t pulled the curtain properly, alerted their attention and explained everything to them. Had I not been so hammered I would have been panicking. So I got taken to the other hotel by an enormously gracious transport manager and got four hours sleep before I was picked up and taken to the station. I had to bin 3 grams of White Widow before boarding the plane, which was an emotional moment.

Friday, January 14, 2005

wacky bearded american folky eccentric dude

Music: 'Balaklava' Pearls Before Swine
Mood: plastic surgery disaster

Same internet cafe again. After eating in an Italian restaurant that played Cuban music, I spent the evening in the hotel room, watching television, partaking in a pleasant strain know as 'White Widow'and a few 'relaxation remedies'to help me with my 'fear of flying'. The Bravo channel had three FBI Files shows back to back. I can't remember much apart from lots of people getting shot. In the dark I listened to Sugar's Beaster'and Çopper Blue'on random shuffle. I was awoken by a church bell ringing constantly for about four minutes. Wake up tourists! Time to get up and buy more pot! They Told Me I Went tO Amsterdam But I Can't Remember!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh hold on, that's not right. I left out the bit where I rescued the 14 year old girl from pimp gangsters, took out their yacht with C4 and an M16, burned the heroin, saved the two very, very blonde kids from drowning and exposed the corrupt officials. I politely turned down the cash reward, because it was reward enough that justice had been served.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

canal dreams

mood: bored
music: bad euro house whether I like it or not, that's all they play in Amsterdam

So I'm in Amsterdam, and I'm bored. I'm here for one night before going to play Eurosonic in Groeningen, and it's not a great deal of fun on your own. There's not much point tripping on mushrooms if you only have the hotel television to keep you company.
I found a comic shop but everything was about twice the price of UK stores. I've read all the Punisher MAX comics now. Come on Garth Ennis, write some more, I need that violent misanthropy in my life right now.

If you are wondering who Garth Ennis is, here is some information:

It's not particularly informative though. He became famous (as far as comics go) for his 'Preacher' series, which somehow broke through into the realm of popular culture, probably because it's violent and perverted.

It's a funny mindstate, having been recording intensively for the last month, only to finish the album and immediately go abroad to play a show consisting of old material. The new album only has one track with an acoustic guitar on it, so it's pretty hard to pull off solo.

Best random mp3 player mix of the day: Dead Meadow into Vashti Bunyan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nederlandse Omroep Stichting

Mood: Tudor Hardcore
Music: The Birthday Party Live 81-82

Keep a blog, lose your fucking job:,14024,1388466,00.html
His blog is here:

If I had a job, I would have been fired ages ago. But I get to say whatever I like because I'm self- employed, which, as stories like this make me increasingly aware, is an enormous privilege. It's a terrible indictment of our society that a man has to keep his satirical musings to himself in order to ensure his own wage-slavery.

Fuck Waterstones, man. Buy your books from that old guy who's only open two days a week and only has rotting maps and large print detective fiction. Order something, he might be able to get it for you, if he can remember where he put his glasses.

Watched Hellboy - pretty damn good. The director definitely seemed committed to the comic book atmosphere. There is hope for the Watchmen movie yet.

Oh, hang on, Paul Greengrass is directing it, a man with The Bourne Supremacy as his towering cinematic achievement. First Terry Gilliam picks up the project, then Daron Aronofsky, and now... Paul Greengrass. If Greengrass walks out, I can confidently predict we'll be saddled with Michael Winner. Rorschach will be played by Lionel Blair, Dr. Manhattan by Chris Rea, The Comedian by Bernard Breslaw, and Adrian Veidt by Nigel Havers. And I know for a fucking FACT it will shit all over Greengrass's effort.


The new Gravenhurst album is mixed, being mastered next week, out in May.

I'm playing solo at Eurosonic on friday so off to the City of Sin tomorrow. Heh heh heh.

Heh heh.



Writing a novel? Random Plot generator.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

thought crusts

Mood: Brain pirates of the open road
Music: 'This Year's Model' - Elvis Costello

Aside from mixing the album, I'm reading 'Pocket Money', a book about the '80's snooker boom, with engaging profiles of all the bad boys, geezers and bullshitters surrounding it. Whilst snooker is the only sport i've ever shown even a passing interest in, and the only sport where i've watched a whole game, I wouldn't normally have a desire to read about it. However, 'Pocket Money' is written by Gordon Burn. Burn has always written about snooker, but his first book, 'Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son' was about the serial murderer Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper. Such is his dedication, Burn went to live in Bingley in Yorkshire for three years, in order to understand the Ripper's origins. This book changed the face of true crime writing, utilising a writing style akin to prose fiction. Then he wrote the book about snooker. In the '90's he wrote 'Happy Like Murderers', the definitive book on Fred and Rose West. Upping the intensity of enquiry to an almost intolerable level, again, Burn's contribution to this notoriously tawdry genre is unmatched in sophistication. His attempt to get inside the mind of a murderer - a claim pasted on the blurb of every tatty true crime book - succeeds by describing things no-one but the victims could have witnessed. He switches from the rich but detached cataloguing of background details into suffocatingly informal passages written in the casual language of the perpetrator. The reader is tricked into thinking this is fiction, and then it comes flooding back; this actually happened.

In scientific theories, where there is a lack of empirical evidence, one makes what is called an 'inference to the best explanation'. X is the best explanation for Y in that it fits in with our surrounding assumptions about the world, so we tentatively plump for X.
Are Burn's inferences correct? We can't know, but they make sense. They provide answers that fit with what we do know. And it's hell of a read.

Reading about Burn's other writing I was led to this:,11710,1309985,00.html

Seems I've missed out on this exhibition now.


Two nights ago I watched 'Open Water', a film about a couple who get stranded in the middle of the ocean when their diving boat drives off without them. Shot on DV Cam with unknown actors, it's been likened to the Blair Witch Project. Or 'Blair Witch Meets Jaws!!' as one tabloid put it.

The similarities are clear. Low budget, strong performances, with a first-half mundanity to settle the viewer in, only to jolt them out. But it's not immediately obvious whether the film is successful. The Blair Witch Project exploits our primal fear of the unknown, providing us with 90 minutes of American Gothic escapism. Most people don't really believe in witches, so the entertainment relies on the power of the performances and the intensity of the direction. Like most horror films, we are offered a safe subtitute for real world evil; we can be pretty sure where the picture ends and the frame enclosing it begins. Our fears are placed into a neat box we can hide under the bed, and retrieve when the world gets too much.

Most people, however, do believe in sharks, and the possibility of being stranded in the ocean. Where 'Blair Witch' seduces us into a world we don't believe in, Open Water dumps us in an ocean that covers the majority of the planet, populated by animals that eat people. It isn't so much frightening as depressing. One could make a film where an intruder breaks into a young couple's house, accidentally wakes their young child and then strangles it to death, burgles the property then escapes. The couple wake to find a ransacked home and a dead child. The film gets marks for realism, but really, what is the point? These things happen. We already know that.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Annus Crappus

Current mood: Dresden pilot
Current music: none

Please take some time out to check this link:

This is an interesting site detailing dodgy sectarian groups posing as charities:


So 2004 was a pretty good year for me, and a bloody awful one for pretty much all of the world, with a real kicker right at the end there.

Not that most of the 'Christian' Right could care, they are too busy campaigning for 'family values'.

Here are some major Evangelical 'Christian' Right organisations, who at time of writing haven't bothered to feature the tsunami disaster on their websites:

I'm surprised that I'm still surprised by these people. How do we tolerate intolerance? I want to cry.


This cheered me up though:

I've just finished
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Brian Talbot. I highly recommend it.

On New Year's Eve I chose to go to the supermarket. Unfortunately the world and his wife had the same idea. It was a distilled form of hell. I only coped because I had my new mp3 player programmed with a randomly rotating mix of Kate Bush, The Lemonheads, Pet Shop Boys and Whitehouse.