Putting the ‘e’ in White Lightening

30 03 2006

Feel ashamed… I faded out the Pixies to play Jackson 5…

Don’t you judge me! I had no time left! If I hadn’t done it I wouldn’t have been able to close with Son of a Preacher Man…

So anyway, tonight I left work and hopped the DLR to Cyprus to see White Lightning. Debs and Lily were on top form but Lily had had a bad day and Debs wanted to get the last train, so I got left in charge. And thank you girls! Initially it was like the bit in Top Gun where Maverick spazzes out and has flashbacks and shit and can’t fire a missile – I acted all that out for Deborah as well, she wasn’t sure – but finally I pressed play on Dizzee Rascal and well, after that it was like I’d never been away.

I batted away requests with the seasoned air of someone who doesn’t give a toss, played Ed fucking Ball, and even kept the dance floor alive for at least fifteen seconds.

Last songs: Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love, at which point some twat put the lights on! But then some kind soul turned them off again so I fired up Pixies: Debaser… and none of those bastards turned a hair! How old are you people?! Like, eighteen or something!? Jesus! So then, god help me, I faded the Pixies (the clock was really fucking tight – tick tock tick tock fick fock what am I gonna play next??!!?) – for Jackson 5. The kids danced for a bit! And then I closed with Dusty Springfield and Son of a Preacher man. So it worked.

Ah man. DJing is the most fun a man… well, the most fun I can have. I should do it more often…


Money in the bank!

25 03 2006

I… have… been… paid… early! Ahahahahahahhaahahaaaaa!

Nothing else for it but… charity shop binge! £1.50 of charity shop vinyl!

I would tell you what they are but they are presents so I can’t.

Also bought the original novel of The Hustler by Walter Tevis for 99 pence. I like source novels, and right now I like charity shops, but only because they are the best shops in East Ham.

Would go to more interesting shops but I have stopped buying a £26 travelcard every week that allowed me to go anywhere, anytime. Instead I am getting the bus everywhere, and it’s a great moneysaver because apart from being cheaper travel, I can’t be arsed to go anywhere. Have to get the bus to Battersea tonight, so I need to set off, like, last week.

This post came about this close… to turning into a rant about how godawful East Ham is. However I decided right from the start that this would not be a place for ranting.

But trust me, it is fucking awful.

Television Personalities

23 03 2006

Dirty Little Faces. Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah
Barfly Camden 22.03.06

On the District Line home there was a pissed Eastern European woman with a fucking parrot. I’m not kidding. The parrot spoke more English than she did. Other people spoke to the parrot but I just watched. It was ridiculous, insane, deeply deeply shit, but still entertaining. Does that describe the moment they call punk? It certainly describes tonight.

Get Alex DeLarge to stab Supergrass in the heart with a needle full of Stiff Little Finger blood and then get The Ramones to spunk in the open wound and you might have Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah. Lead singer Dave Lazer asks for a cigarette and someone offers him baccy but Dustin’s just don’t have that kind of time! This band just don’t hang around! There is noise to be made!

Eeeeeeventually they are followed, kind of, by Television Personalities. You haven’t heard of Television Personalities? You looooser! I Googled them like, aaaages ago. They’ve been all over the papers (apparently they were Kurt Cobain’s favourite band, whoever he was), hence half the crowd here tonight. The other half is made up of former punks who haven’t been out this late for seventeen years (“Who are these idiots? Why is it so loud? When are TV Personalities on? Where’s my tea?”).

After all the build-up, TVP prove what happens if you put a binman in front of a bunch of ex-punks. It’s heartwarming to see singer Dan Treacy begging the crowd to “fucking shut up” every time they cheer, and bass player Ed ‘Mill Hill Self-Hate Club’ Ball fondly guiding him back towards the set list. Treacy has been a junkie, he’s been in prison, but tonight he is a star – for as long as his guitar is plugged in, the sound holds out, and the pissed-up twats in the front stay off the stage.

Unfortunately none of those things happen and suddenly we’re watching the biggest car crash ever written about. Treacy retreats to the side of the stage, the sound falls apart, singer Victoria Yeulet gets in an argument with the same twat who’s been wandering onstage all night, and then it all ends in chaos. And not for the first time either. “Refund!” shouts some girl to my right, but that’s missing the point. We paid for a show, and we got a show.

Or half a show. The songs, by the way, sounded fantastic. I Hope You’re Happy Now seemed mostly improvised and was mostly amazing.

This was a car crash of a gig. After a lengthy tuneup, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah came back and tore through Part-Time Punks, the Personalities ‘big tune’ with a breezy energy. ‘Ah’, said Deborah, ‘you’re appreciating this ironically.’

No! I replied, I spit on people who appreciate things ironically! I appreciated this because it was great! It was a mess but it was a glorious mess. Although, if this was what gig-going was like every bloody week in 1977, no wonder they were all so pissed off.

Animal Factory / Narc

22 03 2006

Watched a couple of really good, gritty movies the other day: Animal Factory (Steve Buscemi 2000) and Narc (Joe Carnahan 2002).

Narc is a muscular, urban cop drama with a timeless edge, directly linked to The French Connection. The blue-tinted streets of Detroit will leave you shivering, while the kinetic opening sequence will nail you to the sofa. Narc keeps the intensity ramped up, even when the pace is dropped, and delivers loads of great moments. One highlight is the split-screen sequence where dogged cop Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) wanders the streets, chatting to real Detroit citizens, all filmed from across the street or hidden in a van.

Ray Liotta is outstanding as is-he-or-isn’t-he good-cop-or-bad-cop Henry Oak. His burning stare demonstrates just how good he can be given decent material to chew on. Liotta practically quivers with tension and suppressed rage. Patric proves his worth as an actor by managing to turn in a quieter, restrained performance and yet not disappearing into the background.

Both are watchably intense and pleasingly hirsute, in a film that kicks your door in, smashes everything up, bounces your head off the fridge a few times and stalks off swearing.

Animal Factory is a prison film that manages to be both meditative and brutal. It has a non-narrative quality that evokes what I suppose the aimlessness of prison must be like. The way the film unfolds so slowly draws you in so much that it’s almost a disappointment when an escape plot jarringly emerges.

The film is also good for evoking the miniature societies, economies and manners that grow in prison. One thing that dominates is the obsession with male rape. As a fresh-faced young thing, Edward Furlong’s Ron Decker lives under constant threat of being raped. This equates with the title, with prison a place for men who go in mere criminals and are factory-processed into animals, whose sexual urges drive them to brutal assaults on their fellow prisoners.

Maybe, then, Animal Factory was the last film Montgomery Brogan saw before appearing as the lead character (played by Edward Furlong this time) in The 25th Hour (Spike Lee 2002). That film shares the same preoccupation with a young white male who will have to spend all his time inside trying to avoid a seeing-to.

But both Factory and Hour balance this stereotype of predatory male sexuality with more complex examples of sexuality. In The 25th Hour, Anna Paquin plays a student who sets out to ensnare a teacher. The teacher, a sweaty, nervous man struggling to fight the urge, is played by, who else, Philip Seymour Hoffman. When it’s her chasing him, is he abusing his authority? Scene-stealing Hoffman gives such a characteristically anguished performance that you have to wonder if he even has a shred of authority left, and why does she even want him?

Animal Factory also has a scene-stealing supporting performance, this time from a revelatory Mickey Rourke. He’s near unrecognisable as jailhouse transvestite Jan the Actress. On the strength of this, Spun, and Sin City, I’d say Rourke is one of the most versatile and interesting actors around today.

Watched the start of the Animal Factory commentary, which had some interesting stuff about Eddie Bunker and Danny Trejo first meeting in San Quentin in the sixties. Bunker is perhaps best known as Mister Blue in Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino 1992), but has also written loads of books and screenplays, including the original novel and screenplay for this film. Trejo is the hatchet-faced Mexican badass from every film that involves hatchet-faced Mexican badasses since about 1993, and has appeared in sixteen films or TV shows for this year alone.

As screenwriter and producer, the pair packed the film with ex-cons, giving Animal Factory a realistic, gritty edge. Watch out, too, for a cameo in the club style from wonky-warbling Antony of …and the Johnsons fame.

Phill’s photos

16 03 2006

Just had a look at my mate Phill’s webspace thingy. There’s some pictures on there of my birthday outing (select Rich’s Birthday from the dropdown menu) as well as lots of other pictures from assorted outings by Phill’s friends and family.

You can play Where’s Wally with me if you like. And if you know what I look like.

You can listen to Phill’s cracking tuuunes too.

Out of college, money spent…

16 03 2006

Day off today. I had booked the week off in case I got a new training/job thing, but I didn’t. So I decided to have a couple of days off anyway, look for work, catch up on F&F, sell some more CDs.

As John Lennon once said, “Oh that magic feeling / nowhere to go…”

Listening to:

  • The Crimea – White Russian Galaxy
  • Parva – Vending Machine (soon-to-be Kaiser Chiefs, back when they made B-sides that wanted to be like Air)
  • Buck 65 – Secret House Against the World (album)
  • Juliette and the Licks – Cry About It Now
  • Ed Harcourt – Sugarbomb
  • Zoot Woman – Living in a Magazine
  • A – Took It Away
  • Dizzee Rascal – Fix Up Look Sharp

Most of this stuff has been on my phone for about a week so I have been driven to distraction by listening to pretty much every song except the above. However, yesterday I raided Clare’s housemate’s iTunes and got loads of new stuff I have never heard of (my favourite!). May even write some reviews, if you’re lucky.

Mini comix and pocketfulls of beer

16 03 2006

Went to the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing at the weekend. Cash machine said no, which was a bit of a shadow over the whole day, but never mind. Was really good to see all the different stuff people are creating, very inspirational.

Went with Lily, White Lightning DJ and expert mingler, who made lots of friends.

I’ll be following up some of the links and comics I looked at over coming weeks, and writing about them here.

I’ll also be revealing which ideas I plan to shamelessly steal.

Went to the Metro Saturday night to see the Bikini Beach Band among others. I’ll write up the review in a bit. Was great apart from the gall of the place to charge £3.20 for a can of lager! I stood there with my £12.00 in my pocket (enough for four drinks, so I thought) getting all angry and thinking I could buy that for 90p in an off license.

Then I thought, I could buy that for 90p in an off license!

So between each band I nipped out and came back with pockets full of Grolsch. Being Oxford Street it cost considerably more than 90p, but still, I felt like I’d put one over on the man.

Not my proudest moment, but it did add a frisson of danger and excitement to the gig. Kicking against the pricks!