KID SHIRT

Sunday, January 27, 2008

WE ARE BAD



WeAreBad.Net

Saturday, January 26, 2008

DUO HUM JUG

THE CULT OF TONI

More Toni.

From Wikipedia: "This song is, in fact, a cover of "Kitty", a 1979 release by UK band Racey, written by British hitmakers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Furthermore, "Mickey" was actually recorded in 1979, and, when her record label wanted to release the song in 1982, Basil was reluctant, believing the song already sounded "dated". But the label persevered, and pop-music history was made."

Wow: Toni Basil/Racey connection. Kerrr-chiiiing!

She was one of the dancers with Davy Jones in "Daddy's Song" in The Monkees' awesome film "Head." She also choreographed Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" tour.

Here, Toni slows dn "Mickey" and recasts it as Faux-Electro on "Street Beat" - love the percussion on this:



...and some Linn-Drum and Soft Metal-driven moves on "Over My Head" that make me strangely nostalgic for mid-80s nightclubs:



(Actually it kinda reminds me of "Point of No Return" by Exposé - a late 80s all-girl NRG-Pop group produced by Lewis A. Martineé, who also did the Pet Shop Boy's wonderful "Domino Dancing"...but it's produced by Richie Zito, so no obvious connection there...)

There's a handful of her later twelves on Youtube, but it's mostly homemade videos featuring rostrum camera style footage made by fans of record sleeves, labels and promo photos...still, there's some great Pop-Dance tracks that make me wanna check out some of her early 80s albums if I ever see them in a charity shop (so now you all know what to get me for me birthday in Feb - Toni Basil twelves and albums from the 80s LOL!)...didn't realise she went kinda Hi-NRG later in her career. The jumpy theatre/dance moves make her a candidate for Quirk canonisation, but she doesn't quite hack it. Some triffik v. slightly left-field, forgotten Pop toons tho.

Friday, January 25, 2008

CHERIE AND MARIE CURRIE

Anyway, this is the Currie Sisters: ex-Runaways Cherie and her sis Marie - from 1980, especially for Dom Zero, who kicked off all this recent rampant mischief. Damon Packard sent me a DVD of this (amongst other things) last year and I keep meaning to send ya a copy, man:

TONI BASIL

And Cloudboy too: LOL!

V/VM VS MINDER

Actually, the comments below about Dennis Waterman reminded me that the mighty V/VM emailed me a few days back that he was in the midst of an incredible "Minder" binge-sesh:

"Right now I'm in a Minder marathon...am halfway there (wish me luck!) - should have been sponsored really !!! Anyway, am up to season 5 out of 10: 37 dvd's worth of Arthur Daley and the Winchester Club before I hit the Post-Terry years with the Ray Daley episodes.

"Did you ever get a copy of the "Minder" 7" I did with Chicks on Speed back in the day - it's the worst/best track ever. I will upload it for you when i get the chance, but, like Arthur says, "those boys have done me up like a kipper, that's what you get when treat grown men like adults"...it also has Little and Large singing Minder as well: so, so wrong and well before Peter Kaye's Minder skit.

"I also remember one place in Manchester now and again would finish the night by playing Minder and when everyone was happily drunk you would get people on the tables... does funny things to people of a certain age that Dennis Waterman single...

"My favourite though will always be '"Prospects" with the late Gary Olsen, post-Minder but written by the same team...have got it on some dodgy dvd's this end - also have the theme tune on 7" - shown on Channel 4 back in the day it was and very little on-line about it now.

"God bless the Winchester Club!"

Meanwhile, expect some spanking new Caretaker product any day now incl. something on a Canadian label, plus a new release "Breaklow" by The Stranger.

There's a piece here about Euston Films. Strangely, I always used to like "Capital City" - used to watch it on E - tho I suspect I was alone in my opinion.

TEN RECORDS HIDING AT THE BACK OF YOUR COLLECTION THAT NO GROWN MAN SHOULD OWN

Inherited this chain-post from Dom Zero...I think the theme was prob. meant to be ten 'guilty musical pleasures' but I'm so unashamably guilt-free about about my love of what I love, that I wasn't sure what approach to take...I don't distinguish between High-Brow, Low-Brow or Sub-Brow: cheesy doesn't come into it; I either love it or I don't. So I just randomly free-associated and picked 10 things that I like that would probably make some other people cringe, but, hey, who cares... I assumed that everyone thought The Dooleys and The Nolans were post-cool.

Oddly, I was going to include "King of Pain" by The Police, a song I love by a band I otherwise hate (wh/ seemed in the spirit of this post), but St. Anthony pipped me to that. And here's Doppelganger's choice. I confess I do really like "Hey Mickey" and "Superstar."

Okay, off the top of my head....


1) Theme tune to "Josie & The Pussycats." ("Long tails and ears for hats")

2) "Power to all our Friends" - Cliff Richard. (Cliff never sounded better!)

3) "Some Girls Do" - Racey. ("I know I got the fever, but I don't know why..." - 'nuff said.)

4) "The Bump" - Kenny. (Full-on crunching glitterstompf! Dig the baritone-bass vocal repeat of the title)

5) "Better off Alone" - Alice Deejay (Bittersweet existential Eurocheese. Ice Bird Spiral even did a cover version of this on "Swineville")

6) "Close to The Edge" - Yes. (Okay, I know it's an album, but...
One side Rocks, the other not so much. After years of hating this lot, I finally bit the bullet and took the plunge last year...)

7) "I Could be So Good For You" - Dennis Waterman. (You're nicked, sunshine!)

8) "Angie Baby" - Helen Reddy. (Produced by Kim Fowley, I think, but this is soooo wrong; the sound of Radio 2 slowly turning evil...)

9) "Funky Gibbon" - The Goodies. (What's not to like.)

10) "Get Down"- Gilbert O'Sullivan. "You're a bad dog, baby/But I still want you around."

Wot, only ten...gaaaah: I was just warming up.

I think I'm supposed to pick three or four unwitting victims now and pass this on like a case of genital herpes....Betty, Gutta and Loki have all been fingered, so to speak...Cloudboy's busy, I know, readying himself for our next live show (tho go for it, man, if you got a moment and want to join in!), so the writhing finger of Fate now also points at Farmer Glitch, The X and Dan from The End Times.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

BENGA: DIARY OF AN AFRO WARRIOR



Yeah!

My review of this should be appearing in the next FACT. Actually, I interviewed Benga 2/3 months ago for Dazed & Confused and he was a lovely bloke; despite having only just flown in from NY a couple hours earlier he was friendly and gracious. I think my Benga piece might be in the Jan ish of Dazed, but not entirely sure as my comp. copy ain't shown up yet and we don't seem to have a newsagent in Yeovil any more since fucking Tescos put them all out of business.

Monday, January 21, 2008

KUTI #6

A package from Turku or Tampere, Finland, is always greeted w/ mega-excitement in our house (well, by me, at least!) and this was no exception.

Thanks to Roope from the ever-magnificent Lal Lal Lal Records for his latest cultural Red Cross package, containing some fine new releases on his label that I've been beavering thru today, and bloody excellent they are too (more on them later). Thicky that I am, I doo like lookin at pikturs, so I was bowled over to find that the soul-saving slab of CDs were wrapped up in the latest ish of Kuti...



Apologies for the cropped image, but me scanner's too small and Kuti is a large tabloid newspaper-sized Finnish comic cum graphic-art magazine ...and bloody good it is too. It was on my list of things to check out, so chin-chin and cheers to Roope for making a pre-emptive strike. Fear ye not, my illiterate little chicklings, for Kuti is bi-lingual - the comic-strips come complete with Ango translations for those of you, like me, whose Finno-Ugric barely stretches to "Hello" or "Yes."

The mag is full of (what I would, in my woeful ignorance, describe as) Neo-Brut/Outsider art and some tripped-out Post-Basil Wolvertoooons: gorgeously queasy and garishly beautiful...(there's a fab piece by Roope himself that features a couple of hedgehogs, a mouse and The Devil!)...there's also a piece on their French maverik art bretheren Le Dernier Cri whose associates now incl. Skull Disco's mega-talented Zeke.......why, even the adverts alone are worth the price of admission:



Ah, did I say price? Well, I believe that this might even possibly be yours for the price of postage if you ask them nicely...available thru the Kuti site, or via Lal Lal Lal....and while you're there stock up on some of their great merch - the latest batch of releases have reduced my ears to a muddy puddle of lentil gloop - Lal lal Lal are simply unable to put out anything duff, no shit.

(I've said it before, but) Kuti should appeal to those of ya that, like me, love the Bi-lingual Glomp Finnish comic anthology or Fantographics' Blab!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

THE MIDDLE CLASSES' COLONISATION OF THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE IS LIKE A PARASITIC INFECTION THAT HAS NO CURE

Friday, January 18, 2008

NORTH #2: 2500 MILES ON THE NORWEGIAN COASTAL STEAMER

Well, I enjoyed writing this so much that I've been gagging to do some sort of follow-up.

Copped a copy of this the day before the Polar mags:



Now, this was printed in Norway in English and I think it's meant as a tourist-guide to accompany cruises on the Bergen Line in the Sixties, tho my copy has a hand-written date of 1972 on the inner-cover and the name 'Margaret C. White.' There are some beautiful photographs of Norway in the 60s that make me want to drool and weep at the same time...for, surely, these places have since no doubt been bespoiled and genericised like everything else seems to have been. I hope they haven't.

I confess my favourite bits are the marvellous prints dotted thru-out the book that are blessed w/ a sort of stylised reductive beauty that you don't see any more...well, at least not in this era wh/ seems so hung-up on so-called 'realism'. They give an unexpected glimpse of a seascape possessed by a rare, mythic beauty; a land very much alive with ancient spirits and accreted meaning:







Plenty of so-called 'hauntological' ammo present here...but why am I so fascinated by The Unknowable, the Unreachable...why should I take spiritual comfort from photos of 1930s Norwegian herring fleets or old fishermen repairing nets in dreary waether conditions...I tried free-associating and the phrase 'a less complicated era' kept coming to mind, which might quietly speak volumes about my own mentality or state of mind. Has the Past now become some vast teddy-bear for me to cuddle, a thumb to suck.

Yeeesh.

Still, for me, the nicest bit about buying this was the sweet lady in the shop (in her 60s) who asked me if I'd ever done this cruise...I told her I'd hadn't, but it certainly looked wonderful and I tried to explain (without sounding too weird) that I'd been quietly possessed by an unassailable desire to visit places and times that I knew I could never reach...but I quite fancied visiting Finland LOL. The years peeled away from her as she told me that her daughter had gone on the internet and was trying to sort out a Norwegian Coastal Cruise for her, as it was something she'd longed to do her entire life.

That, for me, was worth the price of the book alone. And I hope she soon gets the chance to fill in her own personal version of this:

INTERSTICE #3

Many thanks to Mase Escasi for sending me the latest ish of Interstice magazine:


(Click to enlarge the cover - it'll help give ya a flavour of the contents)

And, wow, is it a great read or what! Loving this new wave of old-school lo-fi almost fanzine-ish publications like Savage Messiah, etc...tho hard to pinpoint or describe exactly what Interstice is (always a pleasure tho when I can't entirely place something, y'know): it's kinda esoteric with a smidge of surrealist whimsy...it feels like it comes from somewhere outside of Now, from another era or as if it's accidentally slid sideways outside of time. The nearest thing I can think of is maybe the work of Peter Blegvad, from Slapp Happy; particularly the original graphics and sleeve-notes of Blegvad and John Greaves "Kew Rhone" album.

The current ish is guest-edited by "renowned poet and raconteur John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester." By some weird chain of coincidences, Wilmot ended up as a background character in my proposal a few years ago for a action/adventure/occult comic-book series called Solomon Gommorah which blended real-life historical characters with fictional characters in the public domain...Wilmot was a bit of a card, by all accounts; a bawdy, drunken bisexual poet and man-of-letters responsible for such works as "Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery". I may have imagined it, but I could have sworn I read somewhere he was also a spy or an intelligence-agent on the side who had links to the world of alchemy and hermeticism. At one point he set himself up as "Doctor Bendo", a quack physician, and I've often wondered if he might have been the proto-model for Burrough's Doctor Benway character.

I asked Mase if he'd put the whole thing together himself as it reeked of a particularly twisted personal vision, and he confessed he had: "I'm trying to get contributors together, particularly for the features, but, thus far, I've often ended up doing much of it myself. Most people find it too esoteric and take an 'er, yeah, manana...' attitude. There have been a few contributions, most notably a weird story about a pop starlet illustrated with pics of Britney Spears in Issue 2.

There's only been 3 issues so far, covering about a year.

As far as underground music goes, I'm hoping to include something on or by Thumpermonkey next issue. "

Anyway, if you like an interesting left-field, lateral-thinkin' read, then Interstice comes recommended!

No website or nuffink, but if you would like a copy then email Mase at interstice3 [aaaaaaat] yahoo [dott] co [dott] uk and tell him I sent ya. But be real nice to him and maybe send him some money for postage or summat as this is a real labour of love, and labours of love don't usually make their creators v. rich.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cycling round the back of the old airfield in the dark, down the path that leads down into the trees and this helicopter comes swooping down over me, really low with its nose pointing downwards and its searchlight on full. I got caught full-on in the glare of its beam for a few seconds as it roared past overhead, tail-lights flashing crimson...it was kinda thrilling in a Dystopic/Orwellian sort of way and, for a few seconds, I pulled up the bike and just stood there feeling like I was an extra in "Escape from New York". I knew I had 12 minutes to get home and help bathe the kids before the electronic collar around my neck goes off.

Tomorrow night we're gonna take a kid's inflatable dinghy out on the River Yeo, down by the Pike Pool, and see if those paramilitary fuckers come after us in their choppers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"I GOT SHOT BUT I NEVER DIED..."











Mini Sonny and Cher Fest.

Or Sony and Cher as we call 'em round these parts.

IN THE CINEMA-TREE WITH ORBITING HEADS

Word!

Chuffed as anything to announce that my short story "In the Cinema-tree with Orbiting Heads" has been selected for publication in the forthcoming paperback Horror anthology Read by Dawn Vol. 3. Just sorting out the paperwork for this, even as we speak...

This is an annual anthology curated/edited by Adèle Hartley, who's also the Festival Director of Dead by Dawn, the Scottish International Horror Film Festival. The first volume was hosted by horror legend Ramsey Campbell, so this series is well worth checking out... back-copies should be available from Amazon, etc.

Not sure exactly when this is being published - May 2008 was mentioned at one point - but more info to follow when I get it myself.

Monday, January 14, 2008

RINGS LAUNCH PARTY

Just in from Rings:

Hi. We are having our record release/listening party for our new record: Rings - "Black Habit" tonight at Lit. We are going to play the record at midnight.

Then we doin our djin.... along with Kuo and Wildman.
Come hang and celebrate.

Hugs at Lit
2nd ave. and like 6th? NY.
11- when ever you feel like it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I WAS ROBERT ALTMAN IN A PAST LIFE

Saturday, January 12, 2008

RINGS

Okay, so finally surfacing from beneath a dense crust of deadlines like a Russian mini-sub gulping air after trying to claim Polar mineral-rights by planting tiny Russian Fed. flags on the sea-bed in little plastic capsules...symbolic, innit.

Big up Nina and Abby! from NY-based band Rings, a group that I've warmed to immensely while putting together a recent piece. Any band who's a MurdochSpace friend of Buffle is a friend of mine! Loving the circular/cyclic vibe the girls have got going on here..."Is he Handsome": well, I'm thinking of NY Minimalism, and eighties European Systems Music like Wim Mertins/Soft Verdict or Lost Jockey/Andrew Poppy, tho that's not even vaguely their primary influence...there's all sorts of Pop, Folk and post-punk ethno-influences at play here wrapped up in a sweetly propulsive, looping/loping chocolate-wrapper: I love music that repeats, yet also constantly changes in tiny increments, but this is breathy and open-source, the Art of Noise jamming after the Fairlight has packed up, but Rings aren't scared to strap on guitars and hit a raw, fuzzed-out basement-rock groove..."Mom Dance" is lovely too, with faint traces of Afro-nicity in its gtr-lines.

Their album "Black Habit" is due to drop any day now on Animal Collective's Paw Track imprint and is def. worth taking some time out to check. I think they're due to tour the UK in the Spring, so keep an eye out.

I didn't realise Abby had also designed the cover of FACT: 21, the Aug/Sept ish...I reallllly like her artwork and I think you will too, so she kindly created a quick Blogspot dump for some of her work. Love the skeleton motif she's got going on there. It's mainly Animal Collective-related stuff at the moment, but I hope she'll put up some other bits and pieces real soon. It's groovesome stuff.

E.M.I.

Finding all the recent bluster and blather about EMI highly amusing, following their take-over by private-equity pricks Terra Firma: artists quitting or going on 'strike' or the total silence from the Kylie camp in the face of a 1000+ job-losses (the poor, troubled pop-poppet millionairess recovering from a bout of the best-health-care-that-money-can-buy and all she wants to do is relaunch her career...)

The idea of Robbie Williams going on strike is pretty hilarious, tho...on strike from what? I'm tempted to ask. Last I looked, he didn't even have a career. Presumably, he's going to picket his own LA mansion to stop himself lolloping around w/ a bunch of ex-pat hanger-ons and putting on weight. He'll prob. be there chanting socialist slogans and lobbing bricks at himself every time he wanders to the fridge in his dressing-gown and slippers. ("Oh, I know, I'll grow a beard to hide my double-chin." Actually, did anyone see that recent photo of a fat-looking Noel Gallagher? It's usually Liam who sings with his chin up to hide the lack of a jaw-line.)

"Last I looked, he didn't even have a career." Actually, that's not fair - I confess I'm kinda tantalised by the idea of "Rudebox"...it had the Pet Shop Boys on it, and I really liked the idea of an album that had tracks called "The Eighties," "The Nineties" and "She's Madonna." I keep meaning to check it out, but it hasn't dropped below four quid in Woolworths yet.

The real issue here (and William's spokesman kinda inadvertantly let the cat out the bag in his choice of words - no sympathy for the mass job-cuts, y'understand) is that beneath the talk of wrangles over Rob's back-catalogue there was a palpable, unspoken fear that his management have just forked out a fortune to get Guy Chambers and Mark (bleeeurgh) Ronson back in writing songs again in an attempt to summon-up a career-saving comeback album, but there won't be enough staff at EMI left to promote it properly.

Poor old Robbie, poor old Kylie.

As much as I hate asset-stripping, bean-counting City-knobs like Terra Firma (they offered me £2mil for the blog provided I stopped swearing, quit drinking gin and started appealing to a mainstream Country demographic, but I said Nah), they do have a few naively valid points about the way that the music biz has operated over the last few years - the excessive 'entertainment' bills, the back-handers and the hand-jobs that oil the wheels of the pop world (£20,000 for candles - what's that all about!?). While it's not as overtly corrupt as, say, the UK arms industry, who seem willing to fork out millions to Saudi princes, it's certainly up there w/ the shenanigans of the 'agents' who infest Premier League football or the naff ostentatiousness of Elton (it's his money and his right to spend it how he wants; and it's my right to criticise him for it).

'Course, I'm being deliberately naive here about the financial fire-power and PR greasing it takes to build a hit album/artist, but I don't actually give a shit. The majors spent money on promotion like it was going out of fashion, just so they could make us buy sub-standard shite: now they're broke and whining, and we've ended up with Kate Nash and Joss Stone and an 'indie' scene that's flogging Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong as an alternative. An alternative to what: suicide? Fuck off, the lot of you. Get out of my house.

For as long as I can remember, those stickers saying "Home-taping is Killing Music" used to annoy me; I always thought they should say: "Record Company Excess is killing Music." Now the culprits are downloads and piracy - the consumer becomes a convenient scapegoat for management failure. If only other business-models could work that way: green-grocers blaming their lack of customers on the fact that "the little fuckers are growing their own now."

Still, the best quote came from Lily Allen, who said: "Radiohead are devaluing music." LOL.

Sorry, but I laughed so much I had to change my pants.

CIRCUIT-BENT CRYBABY

Leading on from comments-box chat below, a circuit-bent Crybaby courtesy of Space-Cat Audio Technologies:



Space-Cat sez: "The "Original" Crybaby Wah Wah has been given the S-CAT treatment. With a new control parameter (the dial on the side) you can hear the change in the sweep of the wah. This audio test uses a synth for the test tone." Looks like he was selling modified Crybabies on eBay last year.

(I feel an odd sense of pride at just how much of an anorak I am for posting that. Still, have always loved the idea of people home-modifying kit, creating their own gear, twisting what they've been given into new shapes...)

Friday, January 11, 2008

CRY BABY


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

ONE FOR THE ARCHIVES!

Extremely thrilling for me to have my first translated article published - Groove magazine in Germany recently asked to translate and reprint my Burial interview that appeared in FACT last year...



So I extended the intro a bit for them (as I'd been sworn to secrecy by Burial and asked not to directly refer to the album that appeared a few weeks later) and awaaaay we went...



And the whole process was so pleasant and painless, so I was pleased when they asked me to write some more stuff for them, so the next issue of Groove (due any day now) should include my interview/piece on Santogold...not that you're exactly going to rush out and buy yrself a copy, then dredge thru it with a German-English dictionary. Or maybe you are.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Paul Morley on superb form, I thought, on BBC4's Pop - What Is It Good For? Tho could have done without The Smiths, Sugababes and fucking Kylie again...but the songs themselves were beside the point, almost irrelevent - it was the exploration that was important; the sense of wondering around the contours of some topological culture-map (tho none of this is new terrain for Morley; in fact, "Can't get You Out of My Head" has almost become the theme-tune for his own brand of pop archeology). Still, he became particularly animated when he recalled buying Bolan's "Ride a White Swan" in '71. I had a similar experience with a pre-recorded cassette (still got it!) of "Electric Warrior" that same year.

Later on, I thought: why is it I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard The Kink's "Lola"?

When Morley started deconstructing the song the image came flooding back (the garden in Wyndham Street, bright late sunday-afternoon sunshine; I'd taken my mum's radio outside; Alan Freeman's Chart run-down playing...I can see the shape of the radio, its colour, the brittle texture of its build-in speaker, the little carry-strap on top, the big dial...my mum's flower-beds, the leaves of the cherry-trees moving in the breeze...), then a few minutes later Suggs talking about how his own mother had worked in supper-clubs in Soho in the era defined by "Lola", and how the song and his life and also his memories of his life had completely commingled and were now inseparable.

THE SKATERS, LIVE IN LONDON '06

Ferocious stuff from James and Spencer:

NAVAL DENTISTRY

I was talking to someone today about naval dentistry (no, not slang for a sexual act or an early 80s track by Frank Zappa (or both))...it suddenly occured to me (just before lunch, funnily enough): what do sailors do when they're at sea and their teeth start rotting? By a weird coincidence, I actually bumped into someone a few minutes later who I knew had served in the navy.

"Well," he explained, patiently, "the larger ships carry their own dentists. If you've got 1500-2000 people on a ship (he'd served on an aircraft-carrier) then you need on-board dentists, or 'tooth-wrights' as we used to call them."

Tooth-wrights? What tha--?

"What about smaller ships?" I asked, now fascinated by the idea of naval dentists. "Presumably, they don't have their own dentist?"

"No, but they're not usually at sea so long and there's less crew members, so it's less likely to be a problem," he said, warming to the conversation. "If someone gets bad tooth-ache at sea on a smaller ship, they just dose them up with strong pain-killers until they get to port, which isn't usually that long."

So now you know.

Still, Naval Dentistry...apparently, there's a lot of career options open to you if you want to be a dentist in the Royal Navy. Tho I was kinda spooked by the thought that you could train up to be a Royal Marines Commando Dentist.

I tried to find out some info about the history of dentistry in the Royal Navy, as i was curious about how it had developed, what tools they'd used in the old days, etc...but came up with zilch. If anyone else has better luck researching this important topic, then please let me know.

The only thing I found was this account of a British Army Dentist's exploits during the Suez Crisis in 1956:

"I was a dental technician in civilian life and had my National Service deferred so that I could finish my training. I consider that I was very lucky to get put into the Royal Army Dental Corps and not into something quite unrelated like the Catering Corps.

A police car arrived at my house on Bank Holiday Monday, August 6, while I was on leave, to deliver an order that I was to return immediately to Aldershot Military Hospital where I was stationed.

The order was for me to report to an Army field ambulance where I was to make up the dental unit which comprised of a dental surgeon, a dental clerk assistant, and myself a dental technician.

After weeks of on/off activity we eventually left Southampton on a troop-ship sailing to where? We weren’t told, but we all knew where we were heading. We arrived at Port Said Friday, November 9, 1956.

Before disembarking on to a landing craft we were given a printed text which outlined why we were there and how essential the Canal was to the survival of the UK. Also an armband sporting a Geneva Red Cross. (This despite carrying a rifle!)

We also had a survival box to cover our needs for the first day or so. This comprised of emergency rations like chocolate, biscuits, a tube of condensed milk and, most importantly, a square of toilet paper. Several of the men had eaten their rations before they got off the ship.

We landed from a landing-craft like the ones used for the D-Day landings and we were all a bit apprehensive – half expecting to be met with a hail of bullets.

My initial reaction was one of shock I had not expected to see so much damage to property and much of it resembling bomb sites.

Our first night was spent in a shot-up school sleeping on stretchers. Those that had arrived before us with the first wave had broken into the cellars of a hotel and bottles of brandy were circulating. Many were a bit drunk.

The field hospital was set up in the Palace Casino Hotel. An hotel of fading glories not helped by shell holes in its walls and rows of bullet holes in the ceiling where the commandos had chased some poor devil along the corridor above.

When things had settled down a little, I, as a dental technician, was ferried out to a depot ship moored at the mouth of the now blocked Suez Canal. This ship had a well equipped dental laboratory and I was kept busy making dentures for many of the personnel of the field ambulance.

The RSM I remember wanted a new set of dentures and I suggested that it would help to make his false teeth less false-looking if I incorporated a gold filling into one of the denture teeth. He was taken with this idea and he set off to find a suitable piece of gold. This was not so easy and the best he could come up with was a 14 carat gold pen nib which I duly managed to build into his denture.

My overall impression and recollection of the enterprise was one of chaos. I can remember hearing that there was insufficient medical supplies, not enough bandages, no antibiotics and not enough transfusion blood.

Several of our dental patients from the unit had acute gum disease and much dental decay. Our dentist struggled manfully to treat as many as he could despite the poor dental equipment and surgery situated in what was left of the hotel’s hairdressing salon.

Strangely there was no obvious hostility towards us from the locals who just wanted to sell us watches, pens, leather goods and even take our photograph. I am sure some were pleased to see us back.

However, as we left Suez just before Christmas there was an enormous explosion as the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps, the builder of the canal, was blown up."

Sunday, January 06, 2008

SAVAGE CARROTS

FACT: 23 AND BEYOND

The latest ish of FACT hit the streets a couple weeks back and contains a bunch of bits and pieces by me...

I thought the cover was really cool, tho:



'Course it's a playful in-joke based on XTC's "Go 2" cover originally designed by Hipgnosis:



...but it works on so many different levels and it's one of the many reasons that I love FACT: that they'd put out something that's so cool, edgy and self-referential, but without disappearing up its own arse...FACT's a magazine made by fans of music for fans of music. It's like the best Pro Fanzine ever: the contributors' love and enthusiasm literally drips off the pages.

Which is why I was so chuffed to be asked to upscale my own contributions this year. Starting v. soon, I'll be writing a regular on-line column for them chronicling the strange sub-underground world of Noise, Psych, Avant.Folk, Experimental Electronics, Sludge, Doom and whathaveyou, with a sort of condensed preview/alternative version running in the ink edition, I believe...kinda similar to what I've been covering here over the last few years, but with, uh, joined-up writing.

It doesn't mean that I'll stop writing about such things here, au contraire, me lovelies, but it does strangely free up the blog to go ever deeper into wilful obscuranti and the dusty, dark crevices of non-culture...indeed, my own personal tastes are far from static, and I'm already getting strange pseudo-prepubescent desires to unearth and catalogue other sub-strata of oddness, the results of which you will see soon, I promise..yes, soon as I dig me way out from under a mound of deadlines that seem to have accreted 'pon me like gull guana... you've prob. noticed that I'm writing a bit more about underground publishing and films...that's set to continue, but there'll be other weird non-media stuff, far less easy to catagorise.

I promise you won't be bored.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

WOEBEGONE

Matt's a fucking blogging colossus, a top bloke, and the main reason I stared this blinking lark myself. I totally understand and respect his need to try some different shit. But, selfish git that I am, I'm missing him like fuck already.

Best o'luck to him in all his future endevours, tho I suspect we haven't seen the last of his digital presence by a long shot...

'Nuff Respekt.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

YODSPACE NOO YEAR SHOW

Happy New Year Show


Yodspace
221 Pine St #441
Florence, MA

7pm - midnight
This Saturday January 5, 2008


Ed Askew & Joshua Burkett Duo
Macaroon
(Thurston, Jessi, Meg, maybe more)
Franklin's Mint (Sunburned's Phil Franklin led song group with Moloney and Nodelman, maybe more...)


Bring some libations.

DISCHARGE 4

Yep, Discharge 4 up n rolling...

Yeaaah: we are Discharge!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

VENEREAL KITTENS

Yay! Big up Matina!

There's a new batch of groovesome art, sound and words by assorted alt.folk up the Venereal Kittens site, incl. a short experimental prose-piece by yrs truly.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

EGG

A trailer here for a surreal little film called "EGG" which is due to drop sometime-ish soon. It's directed by Jayson Densman and scripted by novelist Jeremy C Shipp who works at what I guess you could describe as the more Horror-ish end of the Bizarro.Lit Non-Movement.




Details are still sketchy, but I believe the film includes an evil mime artist and a teddy-bear that bleeds from its eye. I loooove evil mime artists.

Anyway, looks like it might be fun.

Jayson describes it as follows: "Envision a storyline that has the surreal, symbolic qualities of a David Lynch dream sequence, the universal dynamics and power of deep personal fear and hope...thread that with an undercurrent of a rare, undefined phobia that quietly waits to blossom and reveal its intent for you. That’s EGG. That’s Jeremy Shipp. It’s the story of a boy within a man’s temporally displaced consciousness...attempting to change the order of a truth and a pain. Maybe. Physically, the story is a chameleon. To each person, it relays something different and does it without losing pungency. It has such a broad landscape of everyday commons, but the blending of these elements that allows the story a lot of space to romp and punch on the emotional keys. To force more out of EGG would be to negate its purpose. This is experimental storytelling at a crest and a challenging gift in return for the hidden things you brought in with you. Check nothing at the door."


Some on-set photos courtesy of Jeremy: