Friday, December 16, 2011

Letter From London (4) to Stupefaction

No trip to the UK is complete without a trip to the Seaside. Most people go in the summer of course, but with no sign of Winter, we went for a weekend to Weston Super Mare.

During the height of BritPop Oasis/Blur rivalry (a battle of the bands that had not been seen since The Beatles vs The Stones, so they say), and in order to see who could hit the number one spot first, O & B released singles on the same day. Our Damon (good Essex lad) put out Blur’s record “Country House” and our lads from Manchester, Oasis, released “Roll With It.” Oasis decided on their way to their headline slot at Glastonbury, that they would stop off in Weston Super Mare to shoot that cover and get a little beach time.

That’s the old pier.
Shortly afterwards, it burned down. The Gallagher brothers had fled the scene.

Here’s the new pier:

Amazingly, it was re-built and opened last year. Cost 30 million pounds. There’s a nice covered walk way along the middle so you can even come and stroll on a wet and windy day. We had no complaints with the weather. Bit confusing for the time of year, tho. So mild. Also confusing was reading the announcement that Guy Fawkes night was going to be celebrated AGAIN.

A little background: In the UK, every 5th November, there are many community firework festivals and back garden bonfire nights to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ attempt to burn down the Houses of Parliament. A good time is had by all. Except, apparently, this year in Weston Super Mare. Apparently the firework display was “so rubbish”. It didn’t go down very well with the townies at all, and they booed and went home complaining and disappointed. Seems we were in town the night the Man In Charge was doing a re-do.

There was applause.

We went to visit John and his family, who showed us his back garden Beehive. He has two hives his wife bought him for Christmas and we had some of the delicious honey. Bee keeping is becoming very popular in the UK since the worry about a strange virus that hit the bee community some time ago causing them to leave their hives and not come back. John’s swarm is very healthy and apparently will even survive the winter. He is a member of the local chapter of Bee Keepers and here he is showing his grand-children how it’s done:


(Photo by Steve Worrall)

I am probably not surprising you to tell you that some punk rockers from the class of 1976 and 1977 are still making art or have returned to making art, or in the case of Paul Simenon from The Clash have turned to art. The other night we went to Signal Gallery in Hoxton, Gaye Black had curated Punk and Beyond and included: Jamie Reid’s iconic graphic design, Paul Simenon (The Clash) paintings, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) collage, Billy Childish amongst others. Here are better pictures than I could take and a nice review by our friend Steve Worrall

Now the nights have drawn in, it’s nice to have someone read you a book, don’t you think? We thought we’d go and see what the new Editor At Large from Faber and Faber’s new book was like. Faber and Faber are a rather respectable publishing company, established in 1929 by one Mr. Faber (who pretended there were two Mr. Fabers to sound posh). Faber is known for publishing the likes of W. H. Auden and T. S. Eliott as well as Ted Hughes,Vita Sackville West, P D James to name a few. Ted Hughes was commemorated just recently in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey.

Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of Pulp, for it is he who is that new Editor at Large|was reading.

250 wristbands were sold for entry to said event. W/band included a copy of Mother Brother Lover -his new book of lyrics, and himself signing your book.

Even tho Jarvis had a cold, and told us he’d never read like this before, he did a very good job. He was soulfully entertaining and was generous with his time at the signing.

And then it was time to get sorted for Heathrow Airport and back to NYC.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lou Reed - thought for the day

Not sure if I am supposed to raise my fist in a bull's horn or just stand here with my mouth open.


Y'know, a long time ago now, I went to see Lou Reed play in a small club in New York. It was a benefit for Victoria Williams (who I am happy to report is doing well. Living in Joshua Tree. Has a Facebook account. Sang in New York for the Radio Free Song Club recently. Breathtaking. I'll find it and post it for you.) Victoria Williams Radio Free Song Club Single

Anyway - Lou Reed came on stage - in the dark. I hadn't seen him for years. I didn't know he wore glasses at this point, and my first thought was, "guitar tech." HOWEVER.
He plugged in his guitar and strummed.

From just that one strum - you just KNEW it was Lou Reed.

And I remember thinking, "if he wants too, he could play something like the opening chords of Smoke On The Water - and he would flatten us all against the back wall".

Instead, he strums and tells us a story.

This summer - we were at Hop Farm. The line up on ONE stage was Magazine. Patti Smith. Lou Reed. Iggy Popp. Morrissey.

We noticed that Gang Of Four were playing at the same time as Lou Reed and I was told that Gang of Four were fantastic. And believe me. I LOVE the Gang of Four.

But I do have a deep respect for Lou Reed. And I found myself rooted to the spot.

I was sad he was older.

Was surprised I was outside in a field.

I was sort of surprised I was in England.

I was glad it wasn't raining.

I thought he was pretty good. I know he was reading the words from an autocue. I know. I've got a memory like swiss cheese myself as it is.

His set list went:
Who Loves The Sun
Senselessly Cruel
Temporary Thing
Sunday Morning
Femme Fatale
Waves of Fear
Sweet Jane

Yes. Noone was more surprised than everyone aged 20 after December 1980 that he sang Mother.

I think John Lennon would have LOVED it.

I love Temporary Thing. So Much.

Okay I probably need a nap. I've got a bit emotional.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pop Group and Public Enemy at ATP October 1st/2nd 2011

There are a few reasons to jump in the car and jet to the Jersey Shore next week:
number one is The Pop Group are going to play their first US gig this century.
I guarantee you will never see a band like them.
They were hot and funky in Punk Rock London last century and haven't lost any of their edge or groove.
I saw them this time last year at a tiny club called The Garage in Highbury Islington, London and don't regret the plane fare one bit. I went to both shows and both were magic.
I understand they have been in the studio together since 9/12/2010. My hope was for a Pop Group Christmas present but it hasn't happened - i believe that's a YET.

Mark Stewart has been working on a collaboration record and has some mind opening sounds in a recording facility near me. Hopefully that will be in the merch tent. Fingers crossed.

Their drummer is Bruce Smith fresh from Public Image Limited's recent outings to spots around the world including a recent visit to Japan. He'll give your skeleton a dance lesson.

The second reason to get a ticket for OCTOBER 2 is that PUBLIC ENEMY are going to play the whole of their BRILLIANT album Fear of A Black Planet.

There's a brilliant download available on this link - and it's also where you can get your All Tomorrows parties tickets

See you in the front row.

Monday, August 15, 2011

my first festival - Hop Farm 2011
Satellite of Love - Morrissey
Magazine (original line up), Patti Smith, Lou Reed and then Iggy Pop. After dark, headline: MORRISSEY. In order for Morrissey to take the stage, the festival asked all the food vendors Howard Devoto in fine form. Patti Smith morrisey singing Satellite of Love... at HOP FARM

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hop Farm 2011 Saturday

We saw Iggy Pop who bounced about like a ten year old - and I mean like the ten year olds that were in the field with me, next to me bouncing about! Lou Reed came out and I gather he has hasn't kept up his gym membership. He looked a little creaky. Patti Smith sung her heart out and ran about a bit along the front row of fans although quite what she was talking about, I have no idea - but she looked happy. Magazine were magnificent. I swear Howard has a bit of a crush on Knock-oh his guitarist in the silver trousers. and then it grew dark and Morrissey came on. He was magnificent.
And then we got in the landrover and slept on our blow up mattress. In the morning, the sun was blazing brightly across the field we had parked in - and there was a mist. It was beautiful. Then we drove to London. Had a nap and went to Hyde Park to catch PULP - the last band at Hyde Park Festival.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tonight (& tomorrow) in Air Conditioned New York City

Alessi is over from the London UK and playing at The Living Room on Ludlow Street
Tonight at 11pm
Tomorrow at 6pm

The joint has air conditioning, relaxed atmosphere and beverages.

Hear Alessi sing KITE FLYING here

Find out where Alessi is playing next and hear some of her other delightfilled songs here: Alessi's My Space page AND tour dates

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hop Farm - Iggy, Patti (acoustic), Lou and Morrissey 2 July

2 JULY Line up at HOP FARM festival in the UK includes Lou Reed, Patti Smith (acoustic), Iggy and the Stooges, and Morrissey who will headline.

The day before you can catch The Eagles, and Bryan Ferry.

Hmmm. What to pack? I guess the flared trousers for friday and the black leather pants for Saturday. Oh, and the air mattress (for my old aching back) and the binoculars (for my old fading eye sight). Seeing how old all these bands are, do you suppose the lights in the farm field will go out round midnight and the trance dance disco tent might be a bit empty?

Probably not.

That's probably my imagination, running away with me.

I'll bet the yoof are going to want to see these Mega Stars before they burn out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

PIL are on the bus - you lucky people.

If there is one drummer in the whole wide world you should hear in 3-D surround sound and one singer you should see and experience it's BRUCE SMITH backing Mr. JOHNNY LYDON on the PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED tour.

You won't get a boom boom tish, you'll get shaken, stirred, rattled and elevated.

You won't be disappointed.

And we'll have something to talk about in the Old Age Pensioner's lounge.

Here's everything you need to know

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

P J Harvey Terminal 5 New York April 19 April 20

PJ Harvey came to stand left of center on stage spot on 8:45pm.
She wore a long, chalk-white dress.
Her auto harp cradled across her bosom.
Her oil-black hair was dressed up with two HUGE black feathers.
I thought it was a whole bird hat til she turned sideways and the feathers floated far back behind her - almost like a 3-cornered admiral nelson hat.
Against the black curtain she stood out as a wild icelandic creature.
She wore little make up, no signature blood red lips so her face seemed white and ghostly and throughout the show she kept her movements small (which could have disappointed those expecting the Polly Presley of "This is Love" videoness).
Some utterly beautiful photographs by Andrew St. Clair

Sometimes at the end of a song she would walk to the back of the stage that seemed miles and miles away and when she walked back to the mike for the next song, she appeared to float.
Sometimes the stillness of her body allowed the floaty quality to smoke up into the room but it also seemed the stillness grounded her voice so she accessed every vein and artery and breath to call the songs out to me standing in the middle of the melay. She - like an inspiring queen before a battle. Me, like a little shakespearean oik at the Globe Theatre.
I found myself ten feet further in by the middle of her set and I don't remember moving.

I think it was a considered choice not to have anything red on stage.
The men wore brown swede and brown cotton calling to mind blacksmiths and farmers. Maybe Dorset relatives.
Nick Harvey (no relation - although by the end how couldn't he be) on piano, sat centre.
The drum kit appeared way back on stage right and towards the front stage right was the bass player. John Parrish. I couldn't see but I expect they were wearing wellingtons or muddy boots.
The instruments were more like furniture to these acts that were each song.
The musicians thoughtfully moved to position to perform certain songs like [civil war drum song].

The two geezers that are Harvey and Parrish often seemed like minders than musicians. They had deep weathered emotional weight to their singing.
The younger [Jean french name Barum drum] drummer came forward at one point with his "civil war" drum to bang slowly through [song title].

At some point, I felt like each song was a moving painting. Or like I was turning the pages of a picture book.
One might be from a Regency era.
One from outside some Fraganard sitting room.
At some point, I expected someone to draw the curtains in back, to see Constable's hay wain lumbering left to right, and maybe Dorset farmers and maids a-milking in a shed somewhere.
Or a Turner battleship off a coastline.
An Edwardian sufferagette smoking outside St. Paul's cathedral.

The album "Let England Shake" isn't preachy. It's personal. It's war. It's why? It's please don't leave me for that. It's sad. It's beating the drum. It's grim older wiser voices behind simple high pitch calling from this angel harped, accomplished guitarist.

Even tho the lights came on at the end, the farewell music didn't play.
We clapped.
We chanted "Roadie", like youdo.
Someone called to the dressing room for RID OF ME in exchange for their first born. She sang about longing and triggered it in us.
I think she had a second encore in her but we'd seen Mr. Parrish put his raincoat over his arm and his evening chair and slippers beckoned him
I resigned myself to thinkin she was saving her vocals for tonight's demanded second addition show.

At the end of the show, we happened to be clapping behind Delphine Blue who invited us [in the London Fog outside] for a drink at the after party for Big Audio Dynamite at the nearby Hudson Hotel.

If you can get tickets for tonight (i see ebay has some available for reasonable), take tissues.

April 20
Thunder in the forecast...

SET LIST April 19

Let England Shake [From Let England Shake (LES)]
The Words That Maketh Murder [LES]
All And Everyone [LES]
The Big Guns Called Me Back Again
Written On The Forehead [LES]
In The Dark Places [LES]
The Devil [White Chalk]
The Sky Lit Up [This is Desire]
The Glorious Land [LES]
The Last Living Rose [LES]
England [LES]
Pocket Knife [Uh Huh Her]
Bitter Branches [LES]
Down By The Water
C'mon Billy [To Bring you my love]
Hanging In The Wire [LES]
On Battleship Hill [LES]
The Colour Of The Earth [LES]
Big Exit [Stories from the city and the sea]
Angelene [This is Desire]
Silence [White Chalk]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Patti Smith on New York Public Radio station

So many of my friends have raved about Patti Smith's book "Just Kids" - about her early life in New Jersey and her move to New York City and life with her "boyfriend" Robert Mapplethorpe -- the book got a National Book Prize, for heaven's sake.

But it seems to me that most of the people that liked the book seem to be triggered by nostalgia for the times when downtown was downtown; you could get a cheap apartment; a job in a cool bookshop; hang out at Washington Sq Park; eat in one of a thousand diners for $1:50 all-you-can-eat-breakfasts with gum chewing waitresses and smoke in bars (don't get me started!) and of course, meet fabulous people - especially if you lived at the Chelsea Hotel.

I finished the book and felt like I'd been cheated. It seems to me that Smith has taken credit for some of the ideas that Mapplethorp had. Like, the idea to take photographs. Am I mean when I say, "really???" He's not around for her to say, "I thought of that myself, Patti." We can't turn to Mapplethorpe and say, "is that true?"

Patti Smith doesn't mention that they got married so his family would stop questioning his sexuality. I believe they didn't get a divorce and I believe that Patti Smith actually gets quite an income from the Mapplethorp will. Patti Smith seems to want me to think that Mapplethorp went gay AFTER he couldn't have a life with her through HER choice. And yet, the whole time she is "going out" with him, she is trying to look like an emaciated boy. Or, by her own admission, Keith Richards.

Which brings me to sex: How come Patti Smith can't write about their sexual relationship? After all - Mapplethorp didn't seem shy about sex where HIS work is anything to go by.

How come she didn't address why she chose a MAN'S influence to talk about coming out of her Art Egg?

I think I know what you are going to say - but it's EASY to say that "there werent that many female artists to look up too" - but in Patti Smith's case - I don't think that's entirely true.

Isn't sitting in the SAME HOTEL CHELSEA ROOM with Janis Joplin enough of a female freeking icon?

I got the sense that Patti Smith would have slept with Janis' boyfriend for validation. If Janis Joplin liked boys, which I'm not sure she totally did.

And another thing, Smith hung out with a lot of poets at the Chelsea Hotel who hung out at the POETRY PROJECT -- and I know for a FACT that when Patti Smith hung out at the Poetry Project there were MANY wild and crazy live wire female poets there. I witnessed two of her contemporaries myself only three months ago at the Annual New Years Day Poetry Project Marathon.

So ...

I was interested to hear Patti Smith opening up further about their relationship in this interview on New York NPR.

The interviewer gently coaxes Patti Smith to reveal and discuss more regarding the book as well as her artistic development at that time.

it's an interesting conversation.

Smith's whole story has yet to be told. Victor Bokris did a good unauthorised version and spilt the beans about the affair with that guy Alan Lanier from that band with long hair at the same time that she was seeing Tom Verlaine... and there is, of course, a complicated woman behind the long hair that is upon the head of my guru Patti Smith -- I'm a fan -

If you haven't heard RADIO ETHIOPIA or HORSES, you should.
What the fuck she's talking and singing about, I have no idea to this day, but if you can get to stand in a room with the Patti Smith band playing live, flipping your mindcells with a voice that becomes a remote control on your very heart and blood bits - yes, Patti's life force has urgency and power and rawness and spit and transcendance and magic that still causes friction for anyone's creativity to rub and spark against .. er, where was I? Oh yes.

I heard this radio show.

And I thought there's some interesting bits here.

Here's the book for $7 online,or.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=3090994088412109167&sa=X&ei=Ghl0TcfSI4yugQe_j9U4&sqi=2&ved=0CDwQ8wIwAg#ps-sellers"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pop Group are coming to the USA October 1st 2011


Curated and headlined by PORTISHEAD I'm very excited to see they are going to be joined by THE POP GROUP.
When I saw The Pop Group last September in London, they were white hot and I met Mark Stewart. He told me The Pop Group were in the studio working on a new album. He also told me a few little bits about his solo album - and now that I've worked out how to work my tape recorder - I'll be posting our conversation sooOOOon.

more information here:>

tickets here:>

Monday, January 24, 2011

Public Image play Dublin - June 10th

PiL will play their FIRST EVER show in Dublin, Ireland on Friday, June 10th at the city's Tripod venue
Tickets go on general sale this Friday, January 28th.

See Tripod website for venue and ticket info.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ari Up memorial - Vivien Goldman and Friends Host Punky Reggae Party in Brooklyn, Jan 16

To honor of the memory of the legendary ARI UP - lead singer of the pioneering girl punk band THE SLITS, True Warriors and more, Vivien Goldman, Dunia Best & Aram Sinnreich (Agent 99 / Brave New Girl) and friends are throwing a PUNKY REGGAE PARTY. Participating artists include original and current members of The Slits, including
Tessa Pollitt,
Hollie Cook -- daughter of Paul Cook - (drummer Sex Pistols)
Neneh Cherry
Felice Rosser (Faith),
Qmaxx (The Slackers / The Bandroidz),
Bruce Smith (Public Image Ltd).,
Honeychild Coleman (Badawi / Apollo Heights / The Slits / Pollen),
Judy Nylon (Snatch / Pal Judy)
and many luminaries from the punk and reggae worlds backed by The True Warriors performing classic Slits hits and dancehall originals by Ari Up and the True Warriors.

$15 advance / $20 day of show / 18 and Over

For more info:
Music Hall of Williamsburg

Get your ticket here

Marcia Resnick - Come see this Photo show NYC Jan 14th

Marcia Resnick is having a photo show at Deborah Bell Photographs Gallery

OPENING Thursday, Jan.13, 6-8PM
511 W 25th Street,
Suite 703,
The show will be on view Jan. 14- Feb 26, 2011.
The Gallery phone number is 1 212-691-3883.

Bad Boys is a photographic collection of punks, poets and provocateurs by Marcia Resnick (American, b. 1950) that studies the various ways in which power and maleness manifested themselves in New York City in the 1970s and ‘80s. It explores aggression, fame, sexuality and the ironic gamut of interpretations for the word “bad,” from “evil” to “naughty” to “cool” to “good,” and extends the meaning of the word “boys” beyond that of male child. These visually evocative portraits of “enfant terribles” include Divine, Johnny Thunders, Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Belushi, Quentin Crisp and others whose clout add to the mythology of their “badness.” All photographs in Bad Boys are vintage silver gelatin prints and have never before been exhibited as a group.

Resnick’s photographs are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; George Eastman House/International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Tampa Museum of Art; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the collection of Hallmark Cards, Kansas City; The Jewish Museum, New York; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and numerous private collections.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday from noon-6pm. An illustrated brochure is available.