Steve State

Friday, December 05, 2008

Steve State

Steve State is now here
Steve State now here
He's now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
He's now here
Steve State is now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here
Steve State now here and has been reading too much David Peace


Free School

Free School is music.
Free School is lamb.
Free School is free.
Free School is here.
Free School is 4eva.
Free School is.
Free School.

Free School is also Free School Wordpress

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Destroy Cowboy - new tracks

Friday, December 29, 2006

Human blood. Not baboon.

So James Brown died on 25 December 2006. I remember listening to Star Time for a few weeks solid back in November, trying to impress on people the importance of the song Get it together. The song is written as the band goes along. The solos, who plays them, the dynamics, its insane. Nothing precedes it. And nothing can or will match it now. Post-modern is a tag that is easy to apply to it. I went to the Apollo in Harlem in 2003. Its lost its authenticity to be honest but its importance is undeniable.

This article, written by Jonathan Lethem, maybe the finest article on music I have read to date. It surely must be the finest piece on James Brown.

The James Brown Band takes the form, onstage, of an animated frieze or hieroglyphic, timeless in a very slightly seedy, showbiz way but happily so, rows of men in red tuxedos, jitterbugging in lock step even as they miraculously conjure from instruments a perfect hurricane of music: a rumbling, undulating-insinuating (underneath), shimmery-peppery (up on top) braided waveform of groove. Yes, it's made unmistakable, in case you forgot, that this is merely a prelude, a throat-clearing, though the band has already rollicked through three or four recognizable numbers in succession; we're waiting for something. The name of the something is James Brown. You indeed fear, despite all sense, that something is somehow wrong: Perhaps he's sick or reluctant, or perhaps there's been a mistake. There is no James Brown, it was merely a rumor. Thankfully, someone has told you what to do -- you chant, gladly: "James Brown! James Brown!" A natty little man with a pompadour comes onstage and with a booming, familiar voice asks you if you Are Ready for Star Time, and you find yourself confessing that you Are....

....Now he explains to the band that it's not going to bother with the track it recorded before he arrived. "Sounds good," James Brown says, "but it sounds canned. We got to get some James Brown in there." Here it is, the crux of the matter: He wasn't in the room; ipso facto, it isn't James Brown music. The problem is fundamentally one of ontology: In order for James Brown to occur, you need to be James Brown....

...Now that the gears are oiled, a constant stream of remarks and asides flows from James Brown's mouth. Many of these consist of basic statements of policy in regard to the matter of being James Brown, particularly in relationship to his band: "Be mean, but be the best." These statements mingle exhortations to excellence with justifications for his own treatment of the men he calls, alternately, "the cats" and "my family." Though discipline is his law, strife is not only likely but essential: "Any time a cat becomes a nuisance, that's the cat I'm gonna want." The matter of the rejected track is still on his mind: "Don't mean to degrade nobody. People do something they think is good. But you're gonna hear the difference. Get that hard sound." Frequently he dwells on the nature of the sound of which he is forever in pursuit: "Hard. Flat. Flat." One feels James Brown is forever chasing something, a pure hard-flat-jazz-funk he heard once in his dreams, and toward which all subsequent efforts have been pointed. This in turn leads to a reminiscence about Grover Washington Jr., who, apparently, recently presented James Brown with a track James Brown didn't wish to sing on. "He should go play smooth jazz. We got something else going. James Brown jazz. Nothing smooth about it. If it gets smooth, we gonna make it not smooth." Still musing on Grover Washington Jr.'s failings, he blurts, "Just jive." Then corrects himself, looking at me: "Just things. Instead of people. Understand?"

Throughout these ruminations, the members of James Brown's band stand at readiness, their fingers on strings or mouths a few short inches from reeds and mouthpieces, in complete silence, only sometimes nodding to acknowledge a remark of particular emphasis. A given monologue may persist for an hour, no matter: At the slightest drop of a hand signal, these players are expected to be ready. There's nothing new in this. The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business is one of the legendary hard-asses: His bands have always been the Hardest-Worked Men in Show Business, the longest-rehearsed, the most fiercely disciplined, the most worn-out and abused. Fuck-ups, I'll learn, will be cold-shouldered, possibly punished with small monetary fines, occasionally humiliated by a tirade...

...The crowd screams in joy when James Brown dances even a little (and these days, it is mostly a little). Perhaps, I think, we are all in his family. We want him to be happy. We want him alive. When the James Brown Show comes to your town -- when it comes to Gateshead, U.K., today, as when it came to the Apollo Theater in 1961, as when it came to Atlanta or Oklahoma City or Indianapolis anytime, life has admitted its potential to be astounding, if only for as long as the Show lasts. Now that James Brown is old, we want this to go on occurring for as long as possible. We almost don't wish to allow ourselves to think this, but the James Brown Show is a precious thing that may someday vanish from the Earth.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 22, 2006

I might just save the world...

Wednesday 24 Novemeber 2004

1824hrs. Listening to: Ryan Adams: Gold. Wow.

This journal business is becoming difficult to maintain. Been listening to Television: Marquee Moon over the past 2 days. I think its an album that any serious music lover should re-visit every 3 months. For me its the the ultimate album. It has everything. Balls, great lyrics (when discernible), beautifully constructed progressions and compositional techniques, great musicianship (lots of strange time signatures and half-bars which don't detract in any sense from the final product) and the solos. The solos. Space is allotted for the sole purpose of soloing, a dangerous tactic if the solos weren't up to anything. Some songs have 3 separate solos. Boy, do they pull it off. The drummer plays loads of crochet triplets (huge feature of Latin, Cuban music) giving you the feeling that the melting pot of the Lower East Side of NYC influenced his playing. You can't make the perfect album (unless you're extremely narrow-minded). This comes after perfect, whatever judgment that might be.

I've been meeting Arnaud on my lunches. When that hasn't happened, I walk to St Paul's Square. I found it by accident. For so long I have wondered where the hell it was and how to get there. I was walking off Newhall St, to Sound Control (with a Philpotts roast turkey sandwich in my hand...) and I saw a church, which I have seen so many times before and simply walked on by. As I walked towards it the Tarnished Halo appeared on the right, and then the Actress and Bishop on the left, opposite the Mongolian and Sushi restaraunts, a gorgeously subtle Mediterranean restaraunt. Aesthetically wondrous, feels like a London square but reminded me of NYC even though it itsnt like anything in Manhattan (I don't think). The church has a ton of benches and well kept greenenery. The Jam House is there (shoot me if I ever contribute to Jools Holland's considerable pockets). It's a lovely place. Going for a meal at Locanti Piccalilee on Saturday night with Ben.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Avant-garde as such

Monday 15 November 2004

2326hrs. Found out yesterday that ODB died aged 36. He collapsed in a Manhattan studio. The cause of death was unknown... Shocker. Rang Si to tell him and he was equally shocked. Some of his rhymes were the most outrageous things I have ever heard. Avant-garde as such. When he (sort of) sang it was brilliant. Reminded me of a be-bop alto sax player (soul, depth, versatility) in the same way Beans reminds me of a be-bop trumpeter (Lyrical, dexterous). Have just listened to his best of album. Some great stuff on there, especially the stuff produced by The Neptunes.
Have Billie Holiday in my head: Lady in Satin. Brings a tear to the eye

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What we can achieve as humans

Friday 5 November 2004

2308hrs. In bed. I guess I have more inclination to write tonight. Tonight I finally got Mingus. I listened to his box set a few weeks ago. I loved it, it was great and I truly needed to hear it when I did. But tonight I heard I had Mingus Ah Um on the way to the cricket ground and on the way back. I was going into town to see James play a solo gig. The first half of Ah Um was on, Mingus crying in the background as the band crescendos. On the way back the second half of the album played as I ascended the Russell Rd hill. This guy for me is a beautiful example of humanity, of what we can achieve as humans. As he solos, the drummer goes in to double time. A moment. Capturing notes. I love it and tonight I really really got it.

James was really good. He opened with, surprisingly, For The Turnstiles. It was really good to hear a Neil Young song in a different voice, a low, gravelly voice. It worked like nothing else James has sung. I was really impressed. He did songs by Grateful Dead, Buffalo Tom, Townes Van Zandt and this song about Gram Parsons that is apparently on the credits for the Who Killed Gram Parsons film. Its a really good song and James does it well (not having heard the original). I told him he should think about some Johnny Cash covers. It would really suit his voice.

I was also surprised to find that James was the best of the bill and he should have been embarrassed to be sharing the stage with the other two acts. Top of the bill was a relic freak weirdo from the cock-rock days and he does a cover of What If God Was One Of Us?

The guy after James seemed really promising after the first song which was almost Lionel Richie-esque. It was just him and a keyboard. He started introducing songs and I burst out laughing. One was about an ex-girlfriend who thought she was a clairvoyant. Anyway, he dumped her a few days later. And then the faux-strings begin.... The lyrics (I swear) featured the lines "Cosmic sailing, Supernatural failing". It was a scene, man.... Another song was about redundancy (seriously). I'm now starting to question what we can achieve as humans. Mingus, where are you now, huh?

Friday, December 15, 2006

They part ways...

Monday 1 November 2004

Wow...I guess that was October. The month of change. The month of the new. As Dylan puts it in My Back Pages:

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now

I saw Oldboy at the UGC Broad St yesterday. Pretty dark stuff covering a range of materials - incest, slaughter, torture, lust, love... It was really good. Went home and watched La Dolce Vita. I can now see why Fellini is regarded as a master. Its not that I've struggled with his previous films but I think you have to have read a little about 8 1/2 and Roma to 'get' them, to let them delve in to your subconscious. The Sweet Life was immediate, even at 3 hours in length. I think there were shots of Via Veneto, right near where we stayed in June. Anita Ekberg is a delight and the Trevi Fountain scene is heart-shattering.

I haven't done a great deal over the past few days really. I went home to mix and master some of my recordings. I rented two great films from Cinephilia. Wild Man Blues follows Woody Allen and his jazz band around the cities of Europe, providing a hitherto unseen insight in to the neuroses of the man. His Milan hotel suite has a swimming pool. It reveals Allen's loathing of flowers (because of the burden it places on the receiver).

Before Sunrise (another one from, unbelievably, Cinephilia) beat even its sequel in depth and emotion. Because of its real-time set up, you leave feeling as though you have been part of the their wonderful evening. This film should be seen by anyone who is sceptical about love, as maybe we all are at some stage of our lives. The film floats along like a dream and yet the actors create an atmosphere that is totally believable, full of awkwardness and gay abandon. You feel for the characters as they part ways. Knowing what happens in the sequel also adds to the interest. Vienna is made to look beautiful almost by accident. I mean, the story and the conversation are always central even when they are commenting on the city or the river or whatever. Therefore, the physical presence and beauty of the city is a by-product of the film.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The sadness falls....

Wednesday 27 October 2004

2052hrs Listening to The Early Gurus of Electronic Music. Messaien's 'Oraison', a piece written for an ensemble of Ondes Maternot. Beautiful stuff.

It's so cold in my room that I have had to bring a radiator in. Just sitting here you can feel the draught from the single pane window. I emailed Pete Fairclough today. It was a lengthy email. I checked the last time I got in touch - June 2003 - when I came back from NYC. I'm hoping he will be able to offer me some advice. Of what kind I don't know.

Have done some great recoding over the past few days. I have attempted to increase the experimentation of several existing songs. This is in the hope of melding the organic and the non-organic, the found sound with the traditional, the heart and the mind. I have also written a few pieces from scratch, improvising with myself on the four track. I really enjoyed it - it's a great feeling when you improvise and yet still pull something off that's soulful and has meaning. I will try and master the songs at some point over the next few days.

Robert Frank has been covered a lot in the media this week due to his exhibition starting at the Tate Modern. They interviewed him for the Observer on Sunday. Talking about his artist wife he says, 'I envy her freedom to sit down in front of a blank page and not have some machine get in the way. That is freedom. Photography is not freedom.' Then check this out:

'Robert Frank had captured an everyday America, shrouded in an epic sense of loneliness, a sadness...Some of that sadness was quintessentially American, to do with the vastness of the continent and the struggle to survive that many of its ordinary citizens are engaged in, and some of it was to do with Robert Frank, his outsider gaze. "I think I always had a cold eye. I always saw things realistically. But, it's also easier to show the darkness than the joy of life. Life is not beautiful all the time. Life can be good, then you lie down, and stare up at the ceiling, and the sadness falls on you. Things move on, time passes, people go away, and sometimes they don't come back...Happy is a big word...I guess I got where I wanted to get, but it didn't turn out to be the place I hoped it would be."'

Wow... This is an artist's artist. I need to see this exhibition...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Broken Summers

Monday 25 October 2004
Outgoing email to Woo:
How's things?
I've just had an email that Seinfeld DVD Box Set is on its way from Amazon!!!!! Yeah!
My writing has now become the forefront of my musical activities. I am considering doing a Masters in Composition next year either in Birmingham or London. I've been recording a lot recently. I've been trying to improvise with myself using my Korg MS2000 and my Korg Kaos Pad via my 4-track and its produced some really interesting results. Improv is something I would really like to explore further.

I shall be coming down to London one of the weekends in November (either 13th or 20th). Will be going to see the Robert Frank exhibition at the Tate Modern - did you see the South Bank Show on him a few weeks ago? This guy is amazing! May also catch a bit of the London Jazz festival, although a lot of the great stuff is on in the week. If you can, you should go and see Brad Mehldau at Wigmore Hall on the 16th or 17th - he's a pianist. Amazing.

Been to see a lot of stuff recently - are you into James Yorkston (and The Athletes)? If you haven't checked them out yet you would absolutley love him. He's on Domino. Check out Adem if you can as well. They both have their own websites where you can check out samples or whatever. I saw Roy Ayers last month who was superb (doing a lot of his collaborative stuff with Fela Kuti).
The CBSO (through Birmingham Jazz) put on a lot of really good gigs - I saw the Tim Garland Quartet on Friday night He's a white English sax player and he plays with Chick Corea as do the others in the quartet. The bass player was also the bandleader for Jack DeJohnette and the drummer played with Ray Charles. Tim had a goatee beard and a bad orange shirt. They played a Coltrane tune, a Chick Corea and a Miles tune as well as promoting their new album. The guitarist was from NYC and although he was awesome in his playing, he was also a little too keen on 'weird' noises and FX pedals. He destroyed one tune by making his guitar sounding like a marimba. Why? Totally pointless. I am all for using technology to progress music and push the boundaries bit I can't see why you would want make an instrument sound like something else. The technique required to play a marimba is somewhat different to that required to play a guitar and when you have reached the high standard this guitarist had it feels like such a waste. It was a good night, made more enjoyable by being on my own. It was the first time I had been there - it's a really nice space just off Broad St. Got a fucking parking ticket. I parked in almost the exact spot I did the last time I got a ticket. I'm a moron. A moron who could do without spending £30 on a parking ticket.

Last night I went to see the Birmingham Electro-Acoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST) at the CBSO. 5 pieces written for cello from different composers from all over the world. Was really good but the £12 entry fee was somewhat steep. The music varied from piece to piece. One piece was kind of scored improv, another explored tunings, another triggered samples from a laptop. Another was inspired by the sound of rolling metal balls on wood which also triggered samples of the very balls the music was inspired by. They turned all the lights off for one piece and they played in the dark. The two female cellists were awesomely attractive. The male one wasn't one - his name was Caspar - you can imagine the type - all goofy grins - he was shit hot on his instrument though. Most of those were students. They all seemed so young but I guess they were 18-20.

I have been immersing myself in some really good music - Derek Bailey, Nick Cave's new album (it really is brilliant - will be seeing him in Wolverhampton next week - did you know he lives in Brighton? Have we already had that conversation?!) Jim O' Rourke, Greg Davis, Elliott Smith's posthumous album (well worth getting) Elvis Costello's new album, Animal Collective.... There are these improv sessions every other week in Moseley which I shall be attending.

What books are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading one on Edward Hopper and John Fante's 'Wait until Spring, Bandini'. Just finished reading the superb 'Motherless Brooklyn' by Jonathan Lethem.
Watched Ghost World again the other night - I see myself as the Steve Buscemi character which is a little worrying... Don't know whether we've had this conversation or not but have you checked out American Splendor yet - the comic and/or the film? - There is an Anthology book which is stupendous and widely available - you'd love it. Is there a Daniel Clowes book you'd recommend for me?

I've seen so many films over the last few months that there are too many to mention in this increasing lengthy email. I will mention just two though. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Saw them the wrong way round. Won't go into them now but if you haven't seen them or don't know anything about them - do some research - you won't regret it! Stunningly good.
Did you see Rollins is touring again? I'm going to the Hammersmith show with my brother in Jan. I have just re-read his latest two books - 'Smile, You're Travelling' and 'Broken Summers'. Great stuff. Inspiring.

Take care David

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Seek Bird and Dizzy

Saturday 23 October 2004

Outgoing email to Rusted Willy:

Hope all is well in West Yorkshire. I am ok, although struggling with the 's' key on this keyboard which is somewhat impeding my speed.
Last night I went to see James Yorkston. It was amazing. You have to go to the gig in Leeds, especially with Adem supporting. His fingerstyle technique is quite something and his personality really comes through. Funny-looking bunch of guys, really. The sounds they make are simply wonderful. The registers of each instrument (basically acoustic guitar, double bass, accordion and percussion, with touches of Indian harmonium, banjo and concertina) just complement each other. There was only about 25 people there. They played until about 2305hrs (5 mins after the curfew) and then unplugged and did a song without amplification. It was really, really good.

Have you seen the website - also good. Have you got the new album? I will definitely get it.
They were supported by Jim Moray - bit of a ponce but he clearly has some talent - he re-works trad folk stuff and uses samplers. He does a few terrible songs of his own on piano. Check his website out - Richard Thompson has asked him to support on forthcoming tour and Uncut described him as the most important thing in English folk since Liege and Leaf. Wow.

Really liked Collateral. Really dug the jazz interlude in the middle section. Name checking Mingus in suggesting the club and then the band onstage 'playing' Miles' Spanish Key. I thought it sounded suspiciously accurate for a live band and I was proved right to be so, when I checked the credits and found that they had simply played the tune and the band were miming. Still great though and the story about Miles was great. "Where did Miles learn to play?" "Julliard" He shoots him in the head. "Wrong. Miles
dropped out after a year and went to seek Bird and Dizzy on 52nd St". Wooo! Amazing. I would have said Julliard too! I'd be dead now!

Also buy Elliott Smith's new album - it's upsetting to listen to but it is a truly great album, regardless of the circumstances - I can't stop listening to it.
Please reply soon

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pretty (Ugly Before)

Wednesday 20 October 2004

1039hrs. I have been thinking a lot about how I express myself artistically. I have been reading about Daniil Kharms, a Russian writer from the first half of the last century, an avant-garde absurdist who wrote various things but is held in high regard for his dramatic fragmentations or incidents. I think in this modern age, with access to so many different things, and MTV (in America at least) introducing to rule of a cut every 3 seconds which has influenced TV and film as a whole, that art should reflect this pattern. My writing seems to emulate this. As long as I am being true to myself, these short stories (whatever you want to call them) are easily 'downloadable'. I don't know, I'm just trying to make sense of my thoughts at the moment.

Finally got From A Basement On A Hill today, Elliott Smith's posthumous album. It's superb but incredibly upsetting to listen to. The lyrics are as dark as hell but the songs are great. It feels like you're prying in to his personal life with every line of each song, trying to figure if it paints a picture of where his head was at before he killed himself. It wasn't a happy place by the sound of things.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You weren't listening...

Monday 18 October 2004

0035hrs. Have just watched the South Bank Show on Robert Frank, the photographer/documentary maker. I seemed to be aware of his name though I had no real conception of who he was. Apparently he's regarded as the world's greatest living photographer. He also directed Cocksucker Blues, the unreleased Rolling Stones documentary. His first shots were in New York, though his real work started in Paris and then London. He then travelled accross the US. He has done a few documentaries on the Beat writers, one of his films depicted the beatnik scene, narrated by Jack Kerouac. He has never done an interview because he feels that his work needs no explaining and the reasoning behind each shot is intuitive and impossible to recount. In the first five minutes of the film you can see he wanted to keep his integrity. Frank was in the middle of a general description of how he worked when the film they were shooting ran out. Frank was furious and started to berate the director, telling him that if he couldn't get his staff together then it wasn't going to work and he wasn't an actor and couldn't be expected to be repeat his words (which were studied and cautious thoug intelligent and solemn). His work backed up the sentiments though - his photos were great and I think they're on display at the Tate Modern.

Waiting for Play to deliver Elliot Smith new album. It's received a load of really good reviews. Have been listening to Keith Tippett - 'Dedicated to you but you weren't listening'. It's really good. I must check to see if he has a website. I would love to see him play again. I've seen him twice - both times my musical education was not at the stage it is currently. The first was at Sheffield Uni. I met the Spaceman 3 and Spiritualised drummer Jon. He was really nice. I then saw him at the now defunct jazz club The Vortex in Stoke Newington where I met Spencer who I was in halls with at Uni.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ikoyi Blindness

Friday 15 October 2004

1836hrs. On the stereo: Fela Kuti: Ikoyi Blindness.

Watched A One and a Two today. It was the first film I ever watched at the legendary Electric Cinema which is no longer. That was one great day. Me and Si bought some Chinese cakes in Chinatown and saw some hooligans being chased in the direction of the City Centre - it was Villa vs Coventry that day. Ah, memories…

2116hrs. At home. Fairport Convention on laptop. Best of.

Stayed up to watch the 3rd Presidential Election on Wednesday night on BBC News 24. Started at 2am. Fascinating stuff, really. For all Bush's bullshit in reference to abortion and single-sex marriage (and it is bullshit. Those views are backwards and completely go against evolution), Kerry comes across as 2nd rate. There is no strength of conviction and I know these events are managed to some extent, but he doesn't appear to have a singular vision. The Catholic Church in the US have apparently asked for Catholics to vote for Bush due to Kerry's opinion that a woman should have a right to choose whether she gives birth to an unwanted child. Kerry looked kind of hurt by it as he is a Catholic and because he can't come out and say how fucked the Church's opinion is he appears weak. His views on the war were pretty pitiful. What do I know though?

Going to go watch Costello on Later and then Room for Romeo Brass. Might go see the Metallica documentary tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday 7 August 2004

Have been listening to some great music. Bjork was live on Gilles Peterson on Sunday, featuring a bell choir from Chester! She continually amazes me. Alice Coltrane 'Transendence'. Brian Wilson 'Smile'. Tony Williams 'Life Time'. Joy Division 'Closer'. Duke Ellington 'Black, Brown and Beige'. I love finally recognising something's beauty - it smacks you round the face; it doesn't care that you didn't notice how good it was; it doesn't possess arrogance - it doesn't need to, it simply smiles and says 'Come and join us'.

Have finished the book on Picasso, one of the finest things I have read. It trod that fine line between high academia and simplicity, just perfect for a layman like myself. Perfectly summed up why he is talked about in such revered tones. I now 'get it'. I think. Moving on the Edward Hopper book. Have been looking at Masters courses. Haven't researched them all by any means but the Birmingham Uni course looks really good. Will have to research funding and such things, as it could be devastating otherwise.

I am looking to collaborate with some experimenters, people who have no regard for genre, no regard for the current crop of feted bands. No limits or barriers. That is what I need and I need to learn of course, but I'm hoping I can be a master's protégé or something. I don't know. I will send some emails off this week in the hope of meeting a few new musicians.

2305hrs. Tomorrow is my last day at work. Thought my last few days would be a breeze but no, they have merely been confirmation of my dismal last few months and the strength of desire to leave. Will be strange to leave. Had to say a few goodbyes today. Dipesh shook my hand and said that it had 'been great knowing me'. Was I classed as past tense now? Evidently. Notable show of emotion for a man's man such as he is.

I have just got off the phone to Tshepi. She is handing her resignation in tomorrow. She is a life force and I have a lot of strong feelings for her. We connect on a lot of levels like brother and sister. Have been reading this downloadable book about creative entrepeneurship that Si forwarded me. Very inspiring. Would like to talk to Tshepi about doing something. She was heavily involved in promotion work in South Africa and she knows her shit.

Also been checking out some Masters courses. The possibilities of a course like that are endless. Jim O'Rourke did a course in Composition in Chicago. So many things to consider...

I live to destroy time. I don't want to live in harmony with it. Since time is going to kill me off eventually I want to fuck it up on the way down the drain. I want to leave it with scars and a limp. I am the monkey on time's back...If you're going to write, then write. If there's plans you have made, then execute them or be damned. Time is your wings, the key. If you let it slip by, it is acid that drips upon your soul...I must maintain this urgency. It is in the rhythm of life. Life is furious. It explodes in foliage and rots in damp heat. Jump in to the river that takes you to it. Otherwise life is a pause before death. I don't comprehend how people have been able to suppress their lives enough to work in the same place year after year while the hate they had for the place that might have saved them by giving them the push they needed to get out, dissipates into complacency and they just toughen up and resolve themselves to a life they don't want. They justify it with things their father told them about responsibility. It's a strength of character I don't posess. That life reeks of death. An unhurried, languid death that doesn't walk, but ambles down the hall. Old footsteps dumbly decaying out of hearing range. The blood thickens and the world slows down. The blues fade and reds become muddy.

- Henry Rollins, 'Smile, You're Travelling'.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

2004 got to be black!

Tuesday 5th August 2004

Friday night was brilliant. Went to see Roy Ayers and the African Jazz Allstars at the Drum in Newtown. He was great and it was so heart-warming to see such a legend. That was also a negative in one sense, as the Drum wasn't really fit to host the event. This guy deserves a better, more prominent stage. Having said that, I guess the social significance of this black community venue suited the African nature of the set, a timely compliment to the Fela Kuti month being held at the Barbican, where Ayers was due to play the following night. He's quite old but he was jovial throughout and danced, albeit tentatively, at various points. He played Africa Centre Of The World and Black 2000 as well as Everybody Loves The Sunshine and Keep On Trying. I went with Tshepi who loved it so much she couldn't stop thanking me and Sean from work who also loved it.

Sunday night continued my good streak. Went to see Dead Man's Shoes on my own at UGC Broad St. Hugely dark and frankly disturbing, it moved me like nothing else could. I couldn't sleep that night. The music was stunning - Adem, Calexico, Aphex Twin, Arvo Part, Bonnie'Prince' Billy. Paddy Considine is a special actor. It truly depicted the English small town moron thing.

On Monday I went to see James' first gig proper at the Chestnut Tree in Sheldon, a dive of a place if ever there was one. He did ok, a few of his new songs sounded pretty good. He did a Jesse Malin song, Springsteen's Nothing Man. His finger picking wasn't great and it inhibited him from concentrating on his voice, which was really good in places. Made it back for Sopranos and a short film by Shane Meadows.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday 26 September 2004

On repeat: No One Seems To Know. An unreleased Neil Young song I have on the 2003 European bootleg that Will got for me.

So don't say you lose
And no one else will know...
Once I was in love
Now it seems that time is better spent
In searching and in finding

2152hrs. Have just got off the phone to Ed. Hadn't spoken to him in a while. He was in his garden nr Bury St Edmonds, with a full moon standing next to the pond. Unfortunately the sweet country air was also matched with a lack of phone signal. He was in good spirits.

Went to the City Council's jobs day. It was held at the council office in Victoria Square - probably the most stately place in the city. What a place. It was gorgeous inside. Went to a seminar in the chamber where they obviously hold votes etc. On the 'desk' in front of you there was a microphone and 'yes', 'no' and 'abstain' buttons. Learnt that it is the largest council in the UK, serving over 1m people and employing 53000 people. Also learnt that my applications I had filled in up to now were useless and almost laughable. In one way that's good because I won't ever fill an application form the same way again.

Bukowski's Women gets better and better although the yearning for beer, wine, whiskey, whatever is slightly disconcerting . Here are some snippets:

There is a problem with writers. If what a writer wrote was published and sold many, many copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold a medium number of copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold very few copies, the writer thought he was great. If what the writer wrote never was published and he didn't have enough the money to publish it himself, then he thought he was truly great. The truth, however, was there was very little greatness. It was almost nonexistent, invisible. But you could be sure that the worst writers had the most confidence, the least self-doubt....

I foresaw future problems: as a recluse I couldn't bear traffic. It had nothing to do with jealousy, I simply dislike people, crowds, anywhere, except at my readings. People diminished me, they sucked me dry.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Great Smoothie

Wednesday 8 September 2004

On thursday I had another day off and went to James'. Was surprisingly good to see him. Now i've spent time away from him, the facets of his personality, that endeared me to him initially, come to the fore once more. Blue Norther has fallen apart. From what I can gather, this is due to Ben and his immaturity. James played his first gig at an open night at The Rainbow on Digbeth High Street. Looks like he'll be joining a band that play Dylan, Eagles and The Byrds covers. Good luck to him. He leant me Masked and Anonymous. Strange film, but it's induced another bout of Dylan worship. He's great in it. Penelope Cruz is stunning once again. The film is full of huge A-list actors. Written by Larry Charles of Seinfeld fame its a dizzying plot with a distinctly abstract feel. Wasn't amazing but I did enjoy watching it. He also leant me Punk Rock Nothing, a sort of a diary of these two guys.

I met Si and we went to Ken Hom's restaraunt in Soho. Gorgeous setting. I forced down a soup. It didn't need much forcing as it was truly the best soup I had ever had. So tasty: chicken, lime and coconut. Went to Haagen-Daz in Leicester Square. Had an affegatto: a scoop of vanilla ice-cream in a tall glass with an espresso poured over it. Delightful.

On Saturday me, Si and Peps went to the Wolsley for lunch. What a splendid space. Think I saw Stella Mcartney but I can't be sure. Si had steak tartare. I had salt beef and mustard on rye. Peps had a chocolate sandwich (from what I could gather it was french toast and melted chocolate). Got Si a traditional shave for his birthday from this old-fashioned barbers. Watched a bit of the Aston Villa vs Chelsea game at this Sports Cafe. A load of Americans were in there watching this College American Football game.

Then we went off to the Odeon Mezzanine in Leicester Square to watch Before Sunset. It was really good. Paris looked amazing and the tension grew and grew as the main characters both knew their time was coming to an end. The ending was non-commital which I thought was really brave if slightly frustrating. Will endeavour to watch Before Sunrise soon.

We then walked from Covent Garden through the empty City (it was Saturday) all the way to the Barbican. A great walk with the city so quiet. Watched the stage version of Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes, mind-bogglingly good.

Went for brunch at Giraffe @Angel. I love walking around there. Although we had to queue it was real good. Great smoothie.

Another great Hitchens piece:

'The Nation decided to run a piece by Naomi Klein titled "Bring Najaf to New York". If you think this sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of Muqtada Sadr and his black-masked clerical bandits, you are not mistaken. The article went somewhat further and lower than the headline did...Her nasty, stupid article has evoked two excellent responses from two pillars of the Nation family...What gives, they want to know, with a supposed socialist-feminist offering swooning support to theocratic fascists?...I honestly did not expect to find it publishing actual endorsements of jihad. These fellow travellers with fascism are also changing ships on a falling tide: Their applause for the holy warriors comes at a time when wide swathes of the Arab and Muslim world are sickening of the mindless blasphemy and the sectarian bigotry...'

Friday, December 01, 2006

Needle of Ambulance Death Blues

Friday 3 September 2004

On Stereo: Fear of Music - Talking Heads.

Have been listening to a Neil Young interview on KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic. He talks about JJ Cale, Bert Jansch and Van Morrison. Young's Ambulance Blues is played directly before Jansch's remarkably similar Needle of Death. Young doesn't hide the fact that he virtually reproduced the song.

Ben came over at around 2000hrs. He told me about this one-night-stand he'd had on Thursday. A classic Ben story. Neither of us were in the mood to go out and so we went to Cinephilia. The guy who runs it is hilarious. Someone had just left the plastic filing contraptions lying on the top. He ran over, unable to hold his shock and disappointment, 'Oh my god!' he squealed. We got Manhattan Murder Mystery out. Not one of Woody Allen's better films. Again, great to see NYC but Diane Ketaon looked awful with these waistband things on everything she was wearing. Some funny moments and great soundtrack - lots of Errol Garner. Then me and Ben had a look for some NYC deals. Cheapest for a week was at the Best Western near Times Square - £420 inc flight. Excited as hell. Checked out the Kenny Kramer tour, this restarount called 21 that Woody Allen mentions in the above film as well the Hotel Carlyle who charge $500 a night for a standard room and $5000 for the top suite. What a city - can't wait.

Finshed reading both the American Splendor Anthology and Motherless Brooklyn. As usual after a good book you feel despondent. I loved them both.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hospital Beds

Wednesday 1 September 2004

Watched the first episode of Alistair Cooke's America documentary. Absolutely fascinating. He started off in New York and then New Orleans and then the Prairies and Massachusetts.

1826hrs. And so with a new month comes glorious sunshine. Apparently an Indian summer is in store for us lucky Brits. Watched Fellini's Roma. Fellini-esque to say the least. I guess he was trying to portray the different factions that make up the city. I think he played himself. I didn't realise he looked like that. Very handsome and seemed so young considering it was 1972. Was great to see Rome again. Really want to go again. Spoke to Ben. Looks like we'll be doing something at the weekend. Hopefully booking a trip away. Si's booked tickets to see the play influenced by Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes. So i'll be in London Town next weekend. Got Bjork's new album 'Medulla', Latin for marrow. Truly breathtaking piece of work. So original, so groundbreaking, so true. It appears that there are beats on there - I think the guy from The Roots did some 'vocal beats'. One of the tracks is really disturbing - I think the Canadian throat singer is feature heavily on that one. Fascinating to hear and so inspiring.