Wednesday, February 1, 2023

29 January 2023. Tom Verlaine RIP

 He'd often pass me, when I left SPIN, on 17th Street. He would be walking to the Strand bookshop. He looked great in a blue shirt.

Once I was on the bus in the Julius Knipl district, those old garment factory brick bulidings with their black windows, the bus yellow like the cat in Totoro. I looked up from my book cos I thought the bus was on fire. It was him, wearing a wool coat and a Peaky Blinders cap. He'd obviously just put a cigarette out, a bonfire cigarette, the sort you catch a fire from when you share the match. 

One time we saw him. There weren't a whole lot of people. Big stage. High and long. Grey crowd. Space. Him in a black shirt by the black drum kit, with the black guitar. They thought he was just tuning up and getting restless. Might have been a full moon. But we were to find out this man could change the tuning of his guitar mid-song. And someone, Scottish, (who was staying at our house as it happened) shouted, "Come on you To-om" and he looked up. 

Those guitar solos took you to your tip-toes, and lift off. 

The very next day, we stopped on St Mark's Place to look at the bootleg cassettes and there was a recording from the night before. We bought it and played it over and over. The man with the tape recorder must have been standing by our Scottish guy. Come on you, To-om.

This is on my staircase. 

When I pass it ... elevating

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Bob Dylan - Dublin 6 Nov 2022


Oh, I'm home. 

I was a bit surprised.

I remember having an Irish tea at the hotel and pulling on my new Irish boots of leather, standing by the Weavers of Ireland shop across from the National Wax Museum. The Aircoach came along. Then it was all windows and corridors. 

At the airport I broke my glasses. Luckily, a Beardy Guy in a Dylan t-shirt (no carry on) wizardly helped me with the Airline App. The huge GATE NUMBER sign spontaneously started flickering. I remember that. And I remember moonlight on the runway and the moon through the cabin window and over the Thames, before I went underground. 

I also remember the moon had gone behind a cloud, and I said, "We're watching the water flow," as we walked halfway across the Samuel Beckett Bridge in a light mist. A taxi (the only car) came towards us. It screeched to a halt. We piled in. The driver knew how to get us to the Arena on time in the suddenly pouring rain. 

Our phones were locked in pockets. We became timeless. 

The lights were lowered and there, in the dark, they arrived like a gang of peaky blinders after a train robbery, jumping an invisible freight train. Dylan stood at a piano that resembled the sliding door. There was a shunting sound and the train started down the track. Sounded like he hadn't seen the piano before and checked if it was in tune. It sounded like he might be playing everybody must get... then the band joined in and they were playing an R&B Watching The River Flow. 

From there it was in one and out of another, a few songs at a time. Then Dylan would come out from behind the piano and stand with one hand on his hip, like we'd arrived at a station and he was just checking down the line before he returned back. And he might return to a drum beat, or a violin. He might start up on piano. Sometimes Tony Garnier was pulling a bow across the stand-up bass. Sometimes I didnt know how long we had been in the song and when he played I'll Be Your Baby Tonight, John told me later, it turned into Treat Her Right (Roy Head) and back again. John said he had expected to see the band do some forward rolls. I just my eyes and felt like someone pulled a black satin slip over my head and I was up dancing a shimmy-shimmy thang. 

I heard Dylan say (and I heard him say a LOT of things) "to be alone with you, just an hour, in an ivory tower..." and "some people dont get it" and I heard him, accompanied by a violin with a kind of Irish jig to it, with a kind of ta--dance feel:  "Some people dont know what it's like, to be alone with you." I heard him sing, "I'll lay down beside you when everyone else is gone," and there was a mandolin. I know. You think I'm getting carried away. 

After Crossing The Rubicon I felt that worry that I wouldn't see him again. The train was still moving and I was watching it leave. But then that halt, hand on the hip, get back in the caboose... felt like he was driving the train now and just checking the signals. 

The slide guitar player channelled angels for back-up singers, or picked up the mandolin to echo stars falling. Key West, a warm place, with beautiful sunsets, might be where this train was heading for the winter. 

I had heard Joe Strummer's wife was asked to stand up at the London Palladium concert for some (healing) applause. 

When, towards the end Dylan said hello to Shane MacGowan, (his wife was in the arena, SM was at home) and hoped he would write some more songs. "Fairytale in New York," he said. "We play that at Christmas." I started to believe in miracles. Dylan said, cheerfully, "Here's one we've grown to know and love," and played Every Grain of Sand. I found my hands raising up like I was in a revival tent especially when he finished with the only harmonica solo he played that night, after which EVERYONE was on their feet.

Oh, and also from the Palladium, I heard, cos Colin told me, Jimmy Page was present. I told Colin there was a whole lotta love in our arena in Dublin, too. 

There was a standing ovation. The band came back. They even came back and stood in a line for another one.  


A WHOLE lotta love. 

I'm still a bit delirious. Maybe you can tell. 

Heavens, what a ride. 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy birthday Steve Diggle

Happy 67th Birthday to STEVE DIGGLE, guitarist and vocalist for BUZZCOCKS (and FLAG OF CONVENIENCE) . Diggle wrote tons of great songs for Buzzcocks, including "Autonomy", "Fast Cars" (co-written with Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley), "Love Is Lies" (nice acoustic guitar), "Sitting Round At Home", "You Know You Can't Help It", "Mad Mad Judy", "Harmony in My Head", a Top 40 hit in 1979 .... After Pete Shelley's death in December 2018, Diggle continues to perform as frontman for Buzzcocks and drinks in a pub near me.

Thanks Randy Haecker for fact-checking.

RIP Howie Pyro

 Howie Pyro - seen here with his bandmate Jahn Xavier. 

Jordan Mooney - Museum of London - Punk Debate


Monday, January 24, 2022

Mekons Freakons -- Beaming sunshine in from California for a good cause.

Sally Timms and Jon Langford, John Samanski and Martin Billheimer 23 January 2022 

Playing online cos of covid -- for the Wild Honey Foundation - a very good cause which would appreciate your donation -- onate to the Wild Honey Foundation's work in autism issues and musicians-in-need at this l

   Dont miss @39:00 a fabulous almost flamenco Last Dance followed by Millionaire. (my favourites)