Friday, December 18, 2015

Music to wrap your gifts by. May We Recommend ... Joe Strummer's Radio Show "London Calling"

It's coming up on the annivesary of Joe Strummer's death (December 22, 2002). He was 50 years old.  Here's a link to his radio show ... playing and talking like he's just in the other room.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Paul Simenon (15-December) and Happy Birthday London Calling 14 December 1976

Today is the anniversary of the release of London Calling.

It is Paul Simenon's 60th birthday tomorrow - he got his guitar out of the case and played at a secret location with a "super group" including Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher, Chrissy Hynde ... Pennie Smith (who took the photo on the cover of London Calling) was also present.

Click to see video clips here:  Paul Simenon 60th birthday party

The Guitar survived. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Elvis Costello in conversation with Nick Hornby at Royal Festival Hall - 29 October 2015 New Book, Q&A and signing

Went to see Elvis in conversation with Nick Hornby at the Royal Festival Hall. 
Here's a lad selling the book.  We like the T-shirt.  Book is called Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink (very good Halloween title, I thought). 
Nick Hornby, a fan from day one, introduced Elvis. He came on stage in his stetson with his book and told us later he was touched that so many had turned out. He had done an early MELTDOWN FESTIVAL at the Royal Festival Hall and now lives in Canada - I think he had some unexpectedly nice associations with the room...  He told us he'd filmed the Jonathan Ross Show (for Saturday 31 October) the night before and Priscilla Presley bought him a guitar to play that Elvis had played.  He said he never thought that would ever happen to him.
 Elvis talked about his home life, growing up and having a dad in the Joe Loss Orchestra. They played a clip from him singing "If I had a hammer" - the band in cream suits - his dad had some sharp dance moves and wore the same national health specs that Elvis Costello was still wearing.   His dad played at the Royal Command Performance with the Beatles who Elvis referred to as "The One Direction of their day" and they projected up the programme for us to see. 

He said his dad would play songs over and over quite loudly to learn the words which was different to going round his friends' houses and having their dads call out for them to turn the music down!. 

He played us the first song he ever wrote that I believe he said no one had heard before...

Nick Hornby had a notebook and instead of only asking questions, he asked Elvis to pick a number. He had a numbered list of names and song titles. I think 13 was Daryl Hall.  Elvis remembered being in a make up room with a disheveled Mr Hall who had been out for a few drinks the few days before the show and how the make up lady was able to transform Mr Hall into a dreamboat, whilst he was transformed into a man still "looking like a sack of clothes."  

It was obvious that Elvis had a lot of stories (probably why the book is a doorstop!) and told Nick he could remember most of the songs he had written -- which is a HUGE number ... and probably had a story about the amazing, varied amount of people he's worked with over the years.  He continues to write with Burt Backarach. 

It came across that Elvis had never doubted he was going to be a musician. Even when he was working at Elizabeth Arden in his white scientist IT coat. People left him alone and he was able to write in the boredom of the job...  The scene of which is now immortalised with this mural: 
 He also received songs in dreams for people ... which came up in the conversation when he was asked about his experience with Roy Orbison.  "I had a dream about writing for him, and others actually, on a handful of occasions." Nick asked who else? And Elvis said, "Dusty Springfield, Johnny Cash..." 

He mentioned that at some point he was "trying to rid the world of all the alcohol by drinking it " but now, implied, he was sober and obviously coherent to us. 

Before he answered anything about his relationship with his current wife Diana Krall he was almost sure to mention that, "I've loved everybody I've ever loved" he talked about how apparently Diana Krall is sort of a female Elvis Costello in that her life seems to have mirrored his pretty much.  Her dad was in a band and she can play and remember a ton of songs. 

During the Q&A he was kind about Steve Nieve. 

He took a question from one lady who said ... "This is a yes or no question really but, when you play England next, could you play Indoor Fireworks." He answered simply, "Yes."

The evening felt very relaxed and cozy. It had rained on the South Bank. The leaves are all colourful now and the nights are closing in...  He read a bit from the book - (apologies ahead of time for the poor quality of my video here) ... and then he sang a few songs ... Guess what he sang.  Here's a tissue. 

Patti Smith in town at the Roundhouse - New book M Train

Penetration - new album

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Punk Rock and Roll Art Show - Underdog Art Gallery - Opening Party 17 October 2015

 So here we are having a great time at the Opening of The PUNK ROCK AND ROLL ART SHOW  curated  by MARTIN STACEY who plays in a band called the BERMONDSEY JOYRIDERS...

 Gaye Black (Adverts)
There were paintings, sound sculptures, illustrations, photographs and dreamy spooky collages by musicians whose roots are British Punk Rock...

The atmosphere was full of joy and laughter .... old friends reuniting ... remembering old friends (and venues) gone before us ... spirit of DIY, colourful hair, great outfits ... a spirit of caring (especially for what's going on in Denmark Street) ....

 Before we go to the video tape of the LIVE MUSIC and DANCING section... Let's have a look around.

I asked Chris Musto and Glen Matlock to give us a picture: 

Jane Palm-Gold's illustrations of London:
Sex Pistols at rehersal

Jane Palm Gold 


Sarah Pink and friend

Chris Spicer  and Susanne
looking at the Ray Lowry
 work by Taurus Trakker Drummer Alison and Singer Martin
Taurus Tarkker

Taurus Trakker
Steve Jowe was there from Rude Mechanicals, before he went off to play some Halloween gigs with his other band in Atlanta, Georgia
Steve Jowe from Rude Mechanicals

Jane, Fiona, Gary and Henri

Artist Paul Slack (UK SUBS) Charlie Harper also exhibited (not shown)
Chris Bashford

Chris Bashford
fabulous painter

There was also work by John Taylor (Ultravox), Charles Chaos (The Jerks), Neil Gabbitas (THE REBELLES currently - make sure you see this band if you can) - His photograph sales include a donation to the Air Ambulance;  Andy Last (Witchdoktors), Joni Belaruski (The Great Malarkey), David J Deaves (Queen B), Gordon McHag III (Subway Gallery), Sarah Pink, Andi Bone, Sunny Warrington, Nicky Tesco.

Not sure who the fuck painted this one or what the fuck it was called...

.... it matched Spizz's outfit
Spizz (photo by Spizz)

The DU pitched his kit stage left in front of the glittering panels by artist Gerry Laffy's (from a band called Girl) and played some groovy tunes


Gerry Laffy

Allegra took the stage and sang, accompanying herself playing the harp:

THEN THE ACTION MEN took the stage

To our JOY the Action Men took off their Monkey Masks and put on white coats and danced AGAIN!

Followed by SpizzEnergi - in his shiny shiny boots and dazzling home-made shirt and flashing teeth - yes teeth! - performing as a two-piece with guitarist Luca Comencini.

Henry Scott-Irvine took the microphone and reminded us about the awful situation on Denmark Street - London W1 - our town's Tin Pan Alley - where the Stones rehearsed, where David Bowie hung out, where the Sex Pistols rehearsed, where you get your guitar and drum kit, where the 12 Bar used to be and where the leases all have got shortened clauses now cuz developers want to move in and flatten the lot - GRRRRR -   

The Bermondsey Joyriders had something to say about that:

   Underdog Art Gallery Underneath ARCH 6 on Crucifix Lane, London Bridge, SE1 3JW

Monday, October 19, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

June 30 2015 STAYIN' IN TUNE Unofficial Biography of MICK JONES - Book Launch at The Horse Hospital

Here's the book cover being created. It's a RottenPunk and Pistol painted collaboration.  I think it's very clever with the Young Mick Jones, the BAD Mick Jones and Mick Jones in a posh suit Mick Jones and ... well I'm sure you like it too.  

 I have to admit though, when I first saw the finished book cover I thought MICK JONES had written the book because his name is really big and you sort of have to squint to read "unofficial biography of... by Mick O'Shea... 
 I thought blimey, Mick Jones has been busy and I wonder if it'll be as good as Viv Albertine's autobiography. (Hers was a page-turner, very in your face with a bitter-sweet bit about Mick Jones.)

I hadn't heard of Mick O'Shea before. Blimey, he's been busy. He's written 14 books - Sex Pistols, Amy Winehouse and eek Harry Styles?? WTF? Anyway we clicked "Join" or "Going" and the evening went like this:

We met up at the  Friend At Hand pub   (food in there looked and smelled great) before the doors opened across the tiny cobblestone street at the venue - The Horse Hospital 

Spizz put his teeth in and, yes, they light up.  He designs AND makes all his own clothes. I like them. They light up in the dark, too.  The other bloke in the photo is shirt designer - Denis Sullivan* - who came up by coach from Bournemouth. The bus actually broke down in the heat near Fleet (nightmare). BUT he turned up same time as Keith Levene (early Clash/PiL) who commented on his t-shirt (PIL). That was Denis' day made right there and it wasn't even 7:30 yet.
Rhiannon Ifans (fabulous photographer) wore a fabulous Vivienne Westwood dress (right). Dave Patten wore a hat. He's plays in Special Branch (band). 
Rhiannon, Tony, Spizz, Anne, Dave
Pat Gilbert and ?

Pat Gilbert (in hat) showed up. He has written a very good book (some say THE book) about The Clash called Passion is a Fashion. (He writes for Mojo and was just back interviewing Keith Richards in NYC.)


Before I go any further I have to say the atmosphere at these "punk related" events nowadays is interesting.  It's very different from when punks used to be in little factions like we were in 1976/7  standing at the bar saying, "I'll be in here while Blondie are playing, waiting for Television to go on."   I used to boycott The Clash after their fans gobbed on my mohair jumper. Grrr. Now look at me, going to Unofficial Biography book launches!  And the weather was nice and we could stand outside and have a chat in the cobblestone street (without too much loud music).

Look there's Mark P (Sniffin' Glue) and Tony D ( Ripped and Torn) standing together.   Mark Perry was just back from a meeting with his record company, discussing art work for his NEW album (more on his album later).

 7:30pm. I am escorted into a dark room with a well-lit tressle table of books for a tenner.  I saw Mick O'Shea and asked him to sign a copy for the Lad.
The author Mick O'SHEA ... photo by James Willment
Add caption

the equipment
Rude Boy Ray Gange was in another corner with his DJ equipment.  I don't know what to call his equipment or how it worked (where's the record? CD?)...

We all milled around for a bit.
I heard someone say, "Have we been invited to a disco?"  Then Mick O'Shea stood near the DJ desk but he's not got a very loud voice. Not sure what happened but then he stood on the DJ Desk. He opened the book. Not sure what he said but I heard the bit about Bernard Rhodes saying "Send me a copy and I'll see if you've got it right." But I could be wrong. There were some more good sounds.
I think everyone was in a chatty mood.  Went out for fresh air.
3 more lovely outfits
For some reason, I still had Viv Albertine on the brain. I remembered her saying that Keith Levene taught her to play guitar and that he told her to keep her hands clean
Viv Albertine was RIGHT! CLEAN HANDS!!

Keith Levine with Kieron Bourke  (left) and Paul Jones (right)
David Cameron (?) checks the hands. Adie Hess (shares Keith's birthday 18 July) checks the photos
Sorry, he's NOT David Cameron. Just looks a bit like him.
The man in the center (Robert, actually) told me that Dr Jill organised this event and Dr Jill told me she also organizes Louder Than War events with John Robb. I knew about those because I'd watched John's interview with Viv Albertine recently. I thought it was very good. Anyway, apparently she's got a Louder Than Words Festival at the Albert Hall.  If you follow the link you will see there's a Q&A with Peter Perrett from The Only Ones and another one with Whispering Bob Harris. Now I don't know how many punks it takes to fill the Albert Hall, but maybe we'd like to go and find out.

Fiona Cartlege and Mark P
If you thought punk was dead, think again. Not only are there ephemera-related exhibitions looking back, but there are exhibitions about the influence. Here's Fiona having a chat to Mark P about HER collection of Sniffin' Glue magazines which she's got in a show about Fanzines at the South Bank(15 July near skate park) Need to update this. (waiting for Friend request...etc)

MOST OF ALL I'm very excited to tell you that Mark Perry is going through a truly creative phase right now. I've heard the NEW Alternative TV album (and his rehearsal "tapes" from yesterday) and he's definitely got a fantastic group of musicians on his team.  Drummer, Dave Morgan, produced it and it's got a real inner earthy depth with some forward-motion groove on the bass synthesizer, er, ... I don't know what equipment they used. Nor do I care what equipment they used to be honest. It's got gritty life lyrics, thoughtful and atmospheric and I really don't believe he'll need to gig and play his old albums in their entirety in the future. I hope they get some tour dates for this one though.

Cover art by Sam Dodson
Yes we all had a good chat. Off we went home...