Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Letter from London (3) to Stupefaction

Dear Mr. Boogaloo

As we look out of the window across the rooftops of London this morning we see – er – not very much.

It is, in fact, a very foggy day. Yesterday was so foggy the day didn’t even get light. It gave North London a lion witchy wardrobe air after such a run of beautiful colourful autumn days. Large leaves seem to have dropped all at once from the London plane trees to carpet the pavement. Mist in the lamplight. You hear your boots going up the hill and the overground train behind huffing off to Alexandra Palace. It's like I've got off the train in a different era and Stevie Smith or C. S. Lewis are in those low wattage sitting rooms I'm passing.

The Turkish man in the corner shop says, “the nights are drawing in now.”

“Ice cream, eggs, bread.”

Key in the lock.

I didn't tell you what we did at the weekend -

We got to see The Mekons on SUNDAY at NOON at Rough Trade East.

It was a beautiful autumn day.
Here's me with the wonderful Sally Timms (having some curry).

We used to live opposite each other in Williamsburg, Brooklyn before she left for Chicago. Sally was kind enough to contribute to the very first issue of my zine.

That was 1994. Just look at what The Mekons have all been doing since then.
Amazing really.
Susie Honeyman played with Rip Rig and Panic, Vivien Stanshall, as well as a lad down the hill from here called Alan Boyd who plays with Decline and Fall
Lu Edmonds played with PiL last year at that transcendant Terminal 5 gig I told you about.

The Mekons were finishing up a European tour.
We were lucky to have this last little round up for an early Christmas present.
They were wonderful.
There was this lovely after Church atmosphere.

They played all new songs from their new album ANCIENT AND MODERN 1911 - 2011.
They were soul lifting. The Mekons seem to have vacuumed experience from village pubs to speakeasys from Leeds to Prague. You have these very accomplished people up there. This is like there 30th album or so.

I love that the CD has the lyrics in otherwise I would have missed:
“I look out of my window across the rooftops of London... I remember the taste of salt water the thousand times I drowned before”. from I Fall Asleep.

"It is my intention to forget. While there's still time..Gonna drag my cart piled high while there's still time. Gonna build another bomb and hope the doctor comes while there's still time..." - from Geeshi

Sally Timms is ever soulful, witty. She said, "We should do more shows at noon. Then we can all be in bed by 3."

Tom, in his lovely red trousers, sang "I fall asleep" which has the chorus "I fall asleep when I should pray". He brought up some special guests.

Here's my wonky video:

I understand Noel Gallagher was at The Beacon in New York this week. Do you know anyone who went? I have trouble distinguishing between the brothers and was glad we popped in to a gallery to see photos by a photographer who has contributed many fine photos to the New Musical Express.

Lawrence Watson had exclusive access to join Gallagher Snr in Los Angeles where he was recording High Flying Birds, the first solo album with his new band. Mr. Watson has taken photos of loads of bands. Smiths. Run DMC. He left school at 16. Did the photographer’s assistant thing in Old Street (down the road from here) and worked in TV at some point before the NME.

Gary wore his rather good leather jacket. He told me, “I had to get up early to buy it.” Apparently, a charity shop he knows puts certain items in the window for a week but only sells them on Fridays. He had waited outside with a lady on her way to work who was going to get some Jimmy Choo shoes (or kill the person who beat her to them). Gary got lucky – the jacket was a good fit.

We walked into the Gallery. They were setting up for the private view later. Gary bought a signed poster before the rush:

but none of the young lads behind the counter had change.
Young lad: “I’ll just go and get some change from Lawrence. He’s just round the corner," (which we thought was funny because – well – getting change off the artist instead of the artist being starving – you know..). Anyway – round the corner comes this lovely hairy bloke wearing a jacket just like Gary's. Look!

Watson got his jacket in Venice Beach, California. Swapped on of his prints for it.
I think the print receiver got a deal there. I liked the photos. And Angelo had done a really great job of hanging them. Larger than album size in the front. Just bigger than CD covers in colourful groups around the main room. Moody black and whites with space around. Some manipulated b/w images from when you pull open a film test thing and there’s the negative on one side and the print on the other. There was Noel looking back at you brooding alone in a daytime diner; hanging out at the LA Amtrack railway station. And I particularly liked this one with the bloke in the Panama hat behind our Man Gallagher. Ola!

I remember being in that Amtrack station in LA. It's catty corner to Phillippe's Home of the French Dipped Sandwich where the waitresses wear uniforms. The floor is covered in sawdust. And there's a HUGE YANKEE SIGNED BASEBALL COLLECTION. And the coffee is still like, 50 cents.

Shoreditch High Street Overground station is like an airport station. The whole East London line feels so Euro. So aluminium. So easy to clean!

About that Manchester Poster Show.
I had to do some homework for college but our man went along and took a few photos for you. Apparently it's a Framing shop which the owners turn into a gallery from time to time. There were some interesting posters of bands from Manchester including this fine wall of Smiths posters:

this truly rare Stone Roses poster:

These bands you know -

and this poster that was rescued from the foyer at The Hacienda:

Gary chatted to some bloke who bought original Joy Division & Factory Posters telling Gary as he paid for them that he'd read somewhere that this was going to be a "good investment."

Alrighty then.

When our Man came home we had some tomato soup and a ham sandwich and watched TV. We like Never Mind the Buzzcocks - a BBC TV game show with Noel Fielding from Mighty Boosh leading a panel. They have special guest hosts from time to time and this week was ALICE COOPER. He was great. Here he is talking about the day he gave Iggy Pop a switchblade:

And while we're on the subject of unusual TV sightings:
Look! Sex pistols on TV at Christies

Talking of Posters as Investments:

Yesterday we went to an Christies in South Kensington.
They were having an auction of Rock and Pop Memorabilia.
Few Bob Dylan posters. Jimi Hendrix' autograph (1500 pounds). Marc Bolan's tambourine (and authentication letter) as seen on Christies trolley (right) after sale.

Some people would think I'm kidding when I say there were Sex Pistols posters on the block (some genuine and some reproductions) as well as an unexpected (eerie) "costume".

On close inspection this was a Kammgamm Trevira suit - navy blue with lar-may thread - and shirt, that Sid Vicious wore to court (photographs included)in 1978.

Looks like it could fit Gary

Typical girl. I'm like "There's a button missing" (no explanation).

It belonged to his mother's (Anne Beverly) estate and there was a letter telling us she saw Sid in it, included in the lot. A telephone bidder took it home for eight thousand pounds. Bit sad.

Wandering around we saw letter in a glass cabinet, signed by Paul McCartney, requesting someone to come to an interview to be a drummer for their upcoming gig in Hamburg, offering a fee of eighteen pounds. (That would make a great Christmas present for any drummer I know and love).

Remember that poster we showed you last week? One of these Clash posters sold for 380 (didn't make estimate)

On the way out, I thought I saw Scarlet the Heavenly Healer who I used to see at the Roxy Club, back in the day, and said hello. It wasn't her but the daughter of a lady who dated a member of Zep. We had a mutual rue the day we cleaned up session in the lobby "oh why hadn't I kept those punk rock flyers" or, in her case, "those signed Beatles tickets by all four Beatles", and crossed the street to Cafe Nero for a free coffee (I have a loyalty card).

Why aren't I making more art these days, I wondered.

See that marvelous BED PEACE piece? Eighty Thousand Pounds.
That's sort of a sign of the times, isn't it.
Went to a phone bidder.

Bed Peace at Christies

And so to Bed.
xxxx daisy

May you keep as warm and cozy as a taxi:

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