Thursday, October 26, 2006

Verhoevenfest 2006

The largely spiritless British public seems to need some kind of austere paternal authority to enforce the soul-cleansing cycle of sin, guilt and contrition that the fear of God once provided. This new authority is the institution of Health Terrorism; a continual media barrage of bewildering medical statistics, nutritional guidelines and fitness recommendations that leaves citizens in a twenty-four hour state of Lovecraftian lurking fear. Don't even THINK about enjoying life today unless you have eaten at least five portions of fruit and vegetables. What's that carefree fucker over there hiding? Must be hiding something. No-one can be fulfilled unless they obey a strict discipline of alternately mirthless, smug and anxiety-ridden lifestyle masochism. Health experts have a monopoly on the good life. Fitness is the only virtue. Live longer, or regret it later. Never mind lying awake at night terrified of cancer caused by leaving televisions on standby. Those oranges you bought aren't even the right kind. You think you are getting the nutrients you are told you need BUT YOU ARE NOT, AS IT TURNS OUT, YOU FOOL. Did you not read the latest reports? GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND, MORON. And what are you so stressed about? Do you not know that stress will kill you? WRITE IT TWENTY FIVE TIMES ON YOUR FUCKING FOREHEAD: STRESS WILL KILL ME. Don't even THINK about going to sleep tonight until you have fully comprehended the fact that your are GOING TO DIE FROM STRESS. Oh, and women: you will always be fat and there is FUCK ALL you can do about it. And, as it turns out, your home is absolutely filthy, and your wardrobe is so HOPELESS IT ISN'T EVEN FUNNY. YOU ARE A FUCKING DISGRACE.

Last weekend some friends and I celebrated Verhoevenfest 2006. Robocop: The Directors cut; Total Recall, Starship Troopers, and Showgirls. Afterwards I lay down in the dark and listened to shortwave radio test transmissions. A series of soothing, meaningless tones and callsigns passed through me as I sank slowly into the floor, down through the shop below and deep into the earth, and then, when it all went a bit Lair of the White Worm, I thought: life is good.

religions don't deserve special treatment

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

slap my hand

Just a bad penny
I always come back to you
Should have known you couldn't trust me
As far as you could throw me

This link may die soon - when someone tried to upload more Big Black it was rejected. Apparently You Tube would not approve it. It has a rude word in it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I don’t have any skin


We had been drinking for hours. An impromptu speech by a film maker prevented us from setting up on time, and we were told we had an unrealistic five minutes to prepare ourselves. Before I even had my guitar out of it’s case the stage manager (hereon to be referred to as ‘Mr. Gitboy’) told me that we “really must start now because we are already running seriously behind”. We had been waiting around for seven hours for them to get their shit together. If we are rushed, we fuck things up. After many years and something approaching a hundred gigs, we are not prepared to be rushed. As I casually plugged in and tuned up, Mr. Gitboy barked at Michelle “he could have done that ages ago!!!!”. Dave was seriously pissed off, which always improves his playing. We were completely unhinged. I nearly fell over. I hit The Zone. It was most satisfying, even though there was a continual, piercing feedback from my monitors which made my brain cry even though I wear earplugs. After See My Friends I asked the audience if there was time for one more, aware that the Mr. Gitboy was giving himself an aneurysm. The audience shouted back “YES!!!!”. Righteous. We played a very long version of Black Holes in the Sand. While I was fucking about with my pedals at the end of the song, Mr. Gitboy gave Huw the evils and made that cut-throat gesture they make when they really, really want you to stop and piss off. Huw continued at a particularly casual pace. At the end of the set Dave looked like he had been swimming with his clothes on.

While I was packing away a man came up to me.

Man (adopt Dutch accent): That was very good. But where is the girl?

Me: The girl?

Man: Yes. On the last song, on Black Holes in the Sand, where is the girl who sings on the record?

Me: er… there isn’t a girl singing on the record. It’s me.

Man: It didn’t sound like the record.

Me: It was supposed to…

So that was embarrassing.

Mr. Gitboy aside, the promoters and the volunteers running the show were absolutely wonderful and unnecesarily courteous. After us, Hot Club de Paris played their fast, Scally-bantering math-rock pop nuggets, as tight as a UK promoter’s purse-strings. I was distracted by a monstrously tall Dutch woman. She was taller than Dave (six foot seven). She was wearing superfluous high heels, as though she had looked in the mirror that evening and thought “Hmm. I'm definitely not tall enough. Tonight I will be taller”. Entranced, I didn’t know whether to bolt out of the room in terror or sit down in a comfy chair and light a cigar.

Flight back home: fucking choppy. I’ve never experienced that kind of thing before even though I’ve flown a lot more than an environment-conscious liberal like myself can probably justify*. Rollercoaster stomach; waiting for the captain to tell us we can phone our loved ones. Half the passengers suddenly find God. I think bugger, I haven’t finished the album yet, but at least the world is just as random as I’ve always believed. I’m as insignificant as the grotesquely obese man taking up three seats in the row behind me, but we are both more privileged than the infinite people who will never actually be born. So God: you and I haven’t ever really got along. For a start, you don’t even have the common decency to exist, so what the bloody hell do you expect me to do? Go away and learn some manners and perhaps then we can have a mature discussion about my impending death.

*What exactly is a ‘hand-wringing liberal’? I don’t even know how to wring my hands. How do you do it? Is it fun?