Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Sunday 18 Jan Dublin / Rockfield......For years I lived without a television…right through the 80’s in fact, so going into the vast ever changing archive that’s makes up youtube, I get to find all sorts of gems I missed out on years ago. Of course the 80’s was a terrible decade, bad fashion, dodgy music too, but it wasn’t all bad. For some reason I was on the Carbon / Silicon website. I’ve always liked Mick Jones. If I recall properly, I was just checking to see if there are any gigs soon. They’re aren’t. And so a link took me to youtube and on and on, through the Clash and to Big Audio Dynamite. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but some of the BAD stuff sounded good and some of it was great. A live version of Medicine Show from the Channel 4 programme The Tube was really something else, and even later stuff like Innocent Child sounded all right. A great melody, not so sure about the arrangement though. And things have come full circle. These days I don’t bother with TV at all. There’s one of those fancy flat screen yokes in the flat hidden behind a pile of CD’s, but I don’t go near it. Occasionally one of the Swedish channels will show a good film, but it’s a rare event. Last week (after I cleared the CD’s away) I saw a bit of a documentary about the final days and tragic murder of Robert Johnson, but it was nearly over by the time I noticed what the drug of the nation machine had to offer. Youtube is a sort of TV I suppose, a channel for your imagination. If you think of something, it’s probably there. Howlin’ Wolf, Joe Ely, Gregory Isaacs, Johnny Thunders, they’re in there, but you’ll never see then on TV. But how long will it last before everybody gets all bothered about copyright laws?

Got on the plane and read Anne Bronte. Following a few hours in Dublin where I met up with Les, Al Cowan and Jack, I took a bus west, slept most of the way, but woke up with the driver enquiring from a lady passenger how he could get to Castlerea. A foreign national, he didn’t know the route. The lady really got into the whole vibe as she sat right behind him giving him loads of unnecessary instructions. Here …take a left here NOW !…up ahead there’s a bridge so you’ll have to slow down….keep left on the roundabout….indicate NOW… Poor guy, his head was wrecked. When we got to our stop the driver helped us with our cases. “She’s driving me crazy” he confided. She was the only one left on the bus and he had another 50 miles left before they got to Westport, the end of the line.The wind blew hard and the rain came down. Although the phone lines were down and the storm was getting wild, we still went out walking in the fields, hopping over stone walls, avoiding the electric fences, exploring the wild terrain. Jack hadn’t been in Ireland for 7 years, so we had to make up for lost time. We hung out with 80 year- old ladies who were drinking whiskey at 2 o clock in the afternoon (we had bottled Guinness) , great stories were told and this place is another planet compared to New York. Jack had a belated birthday present for me, a book entitled ‘Very Special People’ by Frederick Drimmer. Its got tales of the often tragic lives of ‘freaks’ such as Tom Thumb, the bearded lady Mme Clofullia, the giant Jack Earle, and Julia Pastrana. Some of it makes for disturbing bedtime reading.

A few days later we arrived back in Dublin. It was late on Saturday night and most bars were packed, but we grabbed a beer in O Neill on Suffolk Street, where I hardly ever frequent, but there weren’t many people about so it was ok. Later on, we took taxis in different directions and I made my way to Cormacs pad. He’s done a great job with the sleeve for ‘Mansions Of Gold’ and it’s his first time hearing it too. He likes it. He gave me a copy of the recent Paranoid Visions ‘Treasure On The Wasteland EP’ and we listened to a lot of soul, talked about records, movies, The Flight of the Concords on youtube. DC Nien doing ‘Reptile’. Billy Childish records were played. Grace Jones new album blasted out of the enormous brown 1970’s Warfdale speakers, with Sly and Robbie back in the driving seat. We opened another bottle of wine. Around 4am I started to nod off in the armchair, so I decided it was time for a little lie down. At 6 Ted woke me up. Just as well, I had forgotten to set the alarm clock. Grabbed the bags, weighed down mostly with merchandise, and made it to the airport in time for the early morning flight to Gothenburg.

Tues 27 Jan. Göteborg………Everybody’s writing blogs these days. A lot of them are rubbish. Nothing interesting…or inspiring. But there are exceptions. I’ve been checking out Tony James’ blog on the Carbon / Silicon website. Tony used to be in Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and played with Johnny Thunders a bit. He’s an interesting guy and I think I’d enjoy having a drink or four with him. Courtney Loves’ myspace rants are cool too, but I don’t think I’d go on the piss with her. I’ve been hacking out my old tour diary journals for years now, long long before they coined the term ‘blog’. Not sure why I bother anymore. I think it’s just practice….like playing a musical instrument, if you don’t do it all the time , you lose it quickly. So I’m just practising. And I don’t mean my typing skills. I mean my use, or misuse of the Kings’ English. A lot of this stuff / crap tends to get written long hand in notebooks, scraps of paper anyway, and then I have it typed up by two Hungarian ex-porn stars who work in the racketeers office. It’s a great life !

It’s minus 5 outside and I’m in my bare feet. The roof doesn’t leak like the last place I lived in, and when you turn on the tap in the bathroom, hot water comes out ! What more could you ask for ?There’s a whole world of wonderful dark ambient experimental music out there. People like Warmth, Valerio Cosi from Italy and Robe from Indiana USA. Once you enter their world your in a place where the music sounds like what they might play on the radio in heaven, or hell depending on your taste. It’s a strange parallel world where the cassette is king. Although some of these folks release stuff on vinyl, and of course CD, a hell of a lot of the stuff is out on limited edition cassette tapes, usually with hand made sleeves and the shell is often spray-painted. It’s a suitable medium for this type of music, which usually comprises of pieces that last up to 15 minutes or a lot longer. One such label is Winepress from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who have some really interesting merchandise, and Scotch Tapes, a label that specializes in limited editions of no more than 20 copies. The company slogan is “dead formats are the new cutting edge.” They plan a few releases on re-cycled 8 Track cartridge!Now, there’s an idea !!!