Saturday, October 24, 2020

26 October 2016 - revisited : Thurston Moore with Charles Hayward at The Social

 I drove through Camden to Regent's Park, windows open to catch the peat and leaf - the zoo dark and quiet, the white iced cakes of posh houses sitting on the sideboard with resident parking only outside. Down Great Portland Street past the line of taxis waiting for the workers from the BBC, the BBC glowing blue like TVs in sitting rooms do, to tiny Little Portland Street, parked on Margaret Street round the corner and outside the old Speakeasy near a blood donor store. 

The Social is one of two shops that are open in a street that feels late night, even though it's just gone 7:30pm. There is a late-night burger bar next door to this thin door that opens into a corridor where you might take a P45. 

The club is in the basement. I passed a familiar face coming up the stairs. He went outside and smoked a cigarette and looked back at me. It was Charles Hayward. When you pass your past like that - and I hadn't seen him since last century - the feeling was that I was almost in two places at once. I walked down the stairs and came to a wooden door and thought it might be a stock room and I'd made a mistake.

But you open the door and wha-la, a warm, fancy railway carriage. You jostle back to the bar and jostle forward to the stage. And then you settle and wait. And while you're waiting there's warm sound from Rough Trade DJ James Endeacott stoking the fire with a bit of this, a bit of that... and you don't need to shout over it. Cool. 

So I'm there chatting to a nice chap in a Sonic Youth t-shirt, young guy from Italy. He's moaning, "If only my mother had given birth to me 10 years earlier, I would have been able to see..." and his list went through some pre-tty dire bands if you ask me.  I caught sight of the merchandise. After a few sentences of chatting with the American guy that was the merchandise man, I realise this is Thurston, someone you don't recognise easily when he's sitting down. 

So yes, he stands up. He takes the stage in front of a drum kit that is as wide as he is tall. There's the sound of fairy-dust like you've gone through the curtain into another dimension, and this is when time left town.  Charles Hayward  well, we could call it drumming if we were standing on the street outside but down here he was tunnelling in to his inner core and I don't know what happened but it drove Thurston to ... well... I can't say what it was like really... if I was driving we'd be off a cliff.  Maybe he was in an alleyway where he was pacing, smoking, kicking a trash can. Maybe arguments raged in a loft above, books swooshed from bookshelves sailing to the floorboards, pages of art and architecture flew out the window, etchings and ink splash drawings on a carpet, frames falling, glass breaking but the glass magically time-warps back in slow-motion to fit back together and back on the wall with one shard now in hand a perfect plectrum. Whatever this was, was coming from this deep lava-like place. 

There were two sets. In between Hayward said, "We're going to slow the pace down now so you boys and girls can meet each other." And Thurston said, "Well, let's not be gender specific..." and we went somewhere else again.

 It could've been starry if we were outside, the zoo could be brought to life... people in the posh houses could be discussing complicated investments or operating table techniques with an electrician working on the security accidentially lighting up every window. The air was electric. My hair was standing up.  Just amazing from that black night in the ICA in the late seventies, last century, (This Heat), now playing with our new arrival from the USA having split from his Sonic Youth. 

You'll see the soundguy's head bobbing and I'm sorry that it doesnt last longer. Thing is I couldnt stand still anymore.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Richard Hell crossed my path in NYC.


Met Richard in New York when he was the MC for the Monday night reading series at the Poetry Project at St Mark's Church in 1987, last century. 

I was engaged to a writer called Mike, and we went every Monday.
There were some characters. I remember in particular some Warholian drag queens, one was called Margaret Howard-Howard (say that with an English accent!).  Penny Arcade was there. Sparrow. Maggie Dupris. Eileen Miles. John Giorno. Typewriter writers, reading from dimpled pages. We loved it. We sat in the front row.
One of the Monday nights, maybe the last Monday of the month, there was a sign-up open reading. 
Mike read something and afterwards Richard came over and we went out to dinner together at 7B in the East Village. 
Richard was putting together a publication called CUZ. It was a compilation of some of the poets who read and Mike was chosen. I remember helping out, collating the pages from the printer in the
church. Some girls can knit and crochet, I am a super-collator. 
I had arrived in Brooklyn, New York, on Labor Day with 90 days to get married. 
The summer had been long and warm. We actually went to Coney Island on November 9 and I wrote a postcard home to say I had paddled in the sea.
November 12, however, I was called in to my coat check job at the Odeon, Tribeca.
On the Saturday, around 9:30pm, the restaurant was buzzing and, since I stood at the door I witnessed the bus boy coming with a huge tin of salt. 
Snow had started to fall. 
 It was a light dust to start with and then it kept snowing and snowing but the salt kept the pavement clear.
By the end of my shift the snow was almost 7 inches deep already, and it kept snowing, and then didn't thaw out for ages. In fact we had to dig the car out on December 2 before we drove over to Gotham City Town Hall. 
If I didn't get married that day my 90 days would be up and I would have been illegal.  
Richard offered to be our best man.
We arrived with our Marriage License and handed it to the lady behind the desk sitting under a huge sign with lots of hand-written rules, in different colours. 
No smoking. 
No spitting.
No loud radio playing.
No guns.
No bills larger than $20.
PS no blood test required. 
Richard had brought a poloroid camera. 
Ahead of us was a Large Lady in a bright pink dress with her very thin well turned out Gentleman in a navy blue suit. When they entered the 'Wedding Chapel' they took a ghetto blaster with them. We could hear a muffled Bridge Over The River Quai ten minutes later before they emerged. .
They saw Richard and stood perfectly still thinking that it he must be a photographer. 
He caught on and obliged, "Smile."
A young boy appeared in between them, obviously her son, and they all smiled.
They tried to pay but Richard said, "Nah, good luck." 
Meanwhile, we had been at the counter and I had seen a book of receipts open with skyline of Manhattan printed on them. 
To get married was five dollars and I said to my fiance, "Let's get a receipt." 
"Your bride is your receipt," said the lady, smoking. 
I wore a black Chanel jacket I had found in a thrift store, a hat with a blue broach belonging to my grandmother. My pleated skirt was new from Barney's Department Store on Fifth Avenue. 
We'd borrowed five dollars to pay for the ceremony. 
We had snow for confetti when we left the building and we ate at Pete's Tavern near Grammercy Park. 
I think Richard came to lunch with us. 
I cant remember because we had a lot to drink. 
We went home and called our parents in one of those lighted phone booths in a bar across the street that was run be ex-cops who were watching the crack dealers out the window. 
That evening we got changed and went to hear Richard read with Jim Carroll at the Poetry Project. 
Jim Carroll had written The Basketball Diaries. 

When I worked at SPIN magazine someone called to report Johnny Thunder's had died. 
I called him on the phone. 
I was able to get him an assignment at NME, Richard being a writer and poet by then, and later, since I knew he would have a pen, he was best man at my divorce, and he helped with the paperwork.
What with one thing and another we have lost touch.
It was Richard's birthday yesterday. 
I follow his career with interest as they say.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I ... You ... We Are Time


love this .... Gareth's guitar is so b e a u t i f u l 

Gareth Sager on Guitar ... Bruce Smith drums .... Dan Catsis bass ... Mark Stewart vocals ...  beautiful night at the Garage from ten years back ... 

Thursday, September 17, 2020