Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Scored this for 10p in the Lifeboat Station shop in Exmouth last year:

It's a great read. It combines that breathlessly bitchy/gossipy Smash Hits vibe w/ a 'knowing' de/constructive take on the world of eighties Big Pop.

I think Chris Heath did the recent Robbie Williams book too.


Cycled 4-5 miles all the way out to the Solstice festival last night only to find that The Incredible String Band had cancelled. Boo! Hiss!

Some disgruntled hippies were moaning that the festival hadn't taken enuff money so some of the more pro bands (ISB, Eat Static) had cancelled 'cause they would've had to take a pay-cut: "They're all a bunch of bread-heads," I heard one of them mutter, "You can tell the bands who're doing it 'cause they love the festival scene..."

(Before anyone sues me about this, can I just say that I have no opinion either way on this: I'm just reporting word on the, er, street.)

So, anyway, I score some Burrow Hill cider instead (Well, fuck, it would've been rude not to) and head for the nearest crash-tent to get out of the wind. Inside, I flaked out on some scatter-cushions while three dudes playing viola, mandolin and bongos hit me w/ some nice atonal avant-folk shit. Unfortunately, only caught the end of their set, but it was loads better than the limp faux Asian trance bollocks (plus belly-dancer) on the main-stage. I meant to ask them who they were/whether they had a CD for sale, but the cider had already started to creep up on me...

Found somewhere that sold some real niiiice gin, but every time I went back, a different person was singing "Killing Me Softly". No, really.

There was a nice vibe there last night; no students; kinda like Pilton used to be like...haven't seen that many hippies in one place since, ooooh, the last time that me and Farmer Glitch hooked up. But there's a sad reek of stagnation about the music: liteweight, bubbling acid-trance that was boring the 1st time round in '93/'94; sub-Levellers fiddle-led 'rebel' rock; dull, worthy World Music; leaden white dread digi-dub....snooooore...the original hippies/yippies/zippies were all about revolution/expansion/exploration: opening things up, experimenting....this feels like a thirteenth generation faded zerox of a scene; people going through the motions and dressing up like their dads/grandads...Kesey, Ginsberg and Garcia would turn in their graves at how staid and safe and commodified the 'scene' has become...sure, the people were lovely and everything and it's great that people just come up and chat to you and stuff; Im not used to people just smiling at me like that (they usually laugh...or point me out to their kids, throw stones, call the police, etc)...but, jesus, I wish they'd play some decent tunes, know what I mean...the stuff coming out of the dance tent was just plain fucking embarassing...checked out the CD-stall: as expected, every LP ever made by Banco De Gaia, Eat Static, Ozrics...huge New Age, Chill-out section...ropey, play-it-safe dullsville shite from around the globe: when you've got an entire planet's worth of culture to pick, howcum they always manage to find the worst 100 albums from Africa, South America and's a sort of myopic trustifarian's compendium of world music...fuck, just phone up Woebot and get a list of good stuff off him: he's thrown out stuff that's waaaaay better than what they were selling...

But, hell, it was still an improvement on Glastonbury. And I didn't have to do my rain-dance this year.

Anywayyy, later, I hear something that sounds like a bad version of Can coming from a tent, but by the time I get there, I find a handful of out-of-it young dudes playing some sort of weird, improv skeletal funk that sounded like a cross betwn No-Wave and Brazillian Post-Punk, with a guy sqwawking "The Fest-ee-valll! The Fest-ee-valll!" thru a mike.

Yes, I'd found the Jam Tent.

And before I knew it I'd joined the band and was playing some pissed-up percussion to an audience of six fucked-up crusties crashed out on a mattress after a heavy bong session. Over the next couple hours, different people came and went (I loved it when a pair of 14 year old Nu Metal lads arrived and plugged in and started jamming along to a reggae trance-out) one point, the guys behind the cafe counter were playing their pans and woks w/ ladles!...but the best bit was when some middle-aged hairies turned it into a three-guitar Acid Rock jam that just fucking took me: the guitarists started wigging while me and the drummer locked into a crap Spacerock groove w/ me performing some fierce bongo and rim-shot action (I can't play fer toffee) aided and abetted by a stoned black chick on and the drummer kept looking at each other and griiiiinning: it's a cliche, but true, there's a point when the music takes off and enfolds you, and for a moment you can't believe that this is happening and that you're there in the centre of this maelstrom...the second I felt that liiift I started whooping and hollering like a maniac, only to realise that we were playing to five sleeping people, a dog and a bunch of bored kids, but, fuck, it felt fabulous.

At the end, when we touched down again, I wandered out of the tent, dazed...and Arthur Brown was playing "Fire".

Later, I cycled home, pissed and in the pitch dark, but I went the wrong way down the 303, only realising when I hit Ilchester (Ill-Chester)...I then had to cycle yet another fucking 4 miles back to Yeovil from the Big I.


Buuuuut, speaking of high-NRG Disco-Pop.... I really like the new Pet Shop Boys LP.

Gosh, that was a critical masterstroke: "I really like the new Pet Shop Boys LP"...really got under the thumbnails of that one, didn't I?

(Hangs his head in shame)

Nailed the context; the w/hole post-nostalgic/pre-zeitgeist flash-forward to the New Eighties thing that's going on right now...Let's invent an Alternative Parallel Universe Decade, a Pretend Now using Eighties Design Conceits/Cultural Signifiers in tandem w/ Post-Millennial Technology and Marketing: how could it possibly fail? (Uh, Kek, that's what's known as a revival; there's nothing sinister about's not like corporations are trying to get us to buy the same things all over again...)

"I really like the new Pet Shop Boys LP." That's almost as lazy as the 'return to form' tag that's been stuck on the LP by journos...what that really means is: this is the first thing by PSB that I've bothered listening to in over ten years. I don't buy that 'return to form' label that gets used when 'they' (ie record companies via PRs and tame writers) are trying to rebrand an wasn't that they stopped being good, it was (more) the fact that they became too familiar, or that our tastes had changed, become more urban...

Always had a huge soft-spot for PSB; still do. First 2/3 albums are (absolutely) fabulous. Saw them in '99, back when I was ill, and, despite the fact I could barely stand up, I managed to dance for an hour and a half: they were utterly brilliant...loved the "New York City Boy" twelve...then, I...I...

Blame it on Crunk. Blame it on the Boogie. Whatever...

I did mean to check out the "Battleship Potemkin" soundtrack. Honest.



Well, it'll probably be back in 5-6 years time, revamped and written by Russell 'Tee' Davis.