Thursday, 31 August 2006

This is what you want - this is what you get

Mr Lydon is currently chanting that very phrase in my living room.

It occured to me an hour or so ago that I hadn't listened to 'The Best of British £1 Notes' for an age and I was overdue to play it quite loudly. So, once my '70s disco collection came to an end I slapped this into the CD player and started wondering when he'll go on tour again.

I've never seen him live. I obviously didn't see the Pistols back in the day (being a young whipper-snapper) and didn't want to see them on the re-union tours because, as I thought, it wouldn't be like way back then and I wanted to think of them as young rebels not middle aged men. I regret that now and wish I had seen them.

John has an interesting body of work behind him (and, I hope, ahead of him too). He's never stood still, keeps moving forward and experimenting with sound and image. He still causes mayhem (and good for him) such as earlier this year in New York at the Anglomania thing and his response to the 'Hall of Fame' (the wonderful 'piss stain' comment).

I realise he's not everyone's cup of tea, but he's mine. Served without milk. Or sweeteners.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Another Biscuit Tin

A biscuit tin is a nice way of thinking about this blog – a bit of this and a bit of that.


I am *so* much better than I was this time last week – what an awful week that was. I even went into work today (I like to bestow surprise honours on my people now and again), introducing Mr Sticky to the joys of the choob and a nice young woman actually offering me her seat (that made me feel so old and useless!). Travelling was a lot easier than I’d expected (thanks in large part to Sticky) and I got round in the office with no real problems so long as I’m careful getting up and sitting down. I see the physio again on Thursday so I think she’ll be happy with my progress.

Last 10 iPod

As of now, the last ten choons are:

Pinhead – The Ramones
Free Me – Emma Bunton
Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones
Living For The City – Stevie Wonder
My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
(I Believe) Love’s A Prima Donna – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
Broken English – Marianna Faithfull
The Onion Song – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Perfect Day – The Saints
Open Up – Leftfield/Lydon

I like to think this demonstrates my eclectic musical taste. Or does it?

Fuck The Back Row

I missed Amanda Dresden Doll – o woe is me… I feel like such a traitor for not seeing the show but I avidly read her last blog about her mis-adventures at the Edinburgh Festival.

'New York Doll'

Watched the DVD of the Arthur Kane documentary yesterday - that's the third time I've seen the film and it still brings a tear to the eye. The first time I saw it was at a art-cinema in New York last November along the road from where the Dolls played way back when. The second time was at the Odeon in Panton Street in April this year. It took 30 years for Arthur's dream to come true but it happened.

We've ordered tickets to see the 'new' New York Dolls play live in October and I can't wait. I wonder how many monkies they'll release on-stage to dance and shake their tail-feathers to one of the best songs released this year - 'Dance Like A Monkey'.


Sufering some frustration at the moment with my broadband connection deciding it doesn't like the 'always-on' tag. Mine likes to disconnect and have to be re-connected almost every time I change pages. Ggggrrrrr....

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Sticky, SLADE and Stupid Muscles

May I introduce my newest of good friends, dear anonymous ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Sticky!

Sticky is quite a gregarious soul and likes to take me out to places (provided they are in Streatham). I made Sticky's acquaintance yesterday and brought him home to live with me. Sticky's favourite hobbies are standing up and making a noise when he hits the pavement (he loves making a noise). And, of course, he's the latest gentleman's accessory for strolling round town. I'm sure we'll get on famously.

SLADE have rarely been off the CD deck or iPod since the joys of SLADE Day. If anything the records just keep on getting better. The sound quality is excellent and I'm quite fond of the SLADE ALIVE! double anthology of their live material - they were truly a great live band. And I'm sure they've contributed to my improving health.

But now I'm anxious for the four-CD box set in September. What will be on it? what photos will be in the booklet? will there be 'new' material not previously available? I need to know...

After the joys of the magick pill on Monday evening when I felt a dramatic improvement in my back I've gone down hill again. Spent most of Tuesday in bed (which isn't good for the back at all) since I was so tired after the weekend and Murderous Monday, not being able to sit, stand, lie down or walk, changing position every few minutes. That was awful. Wednesday saw a trip to St George's to see the liver man (if one more doctor says I should lose weight I'll punch them - is that's all it takes to be a doctor these days?) and yet more blood tests (seven phials of blood this time, the bastard vampires). And a trip to see a physio to 'open' up my back. And another trip to the physio today, pulling down my trousers and pants (as Russell Brand says) and giving my lower back and bum a good old kneading!

I have stupid muscles. Okay, let's be fair, they're well meaning and have simply got it wrong. I've done something to my dodgy disc that's moved it slightly and it's pressing on the sciatic nerve which is agony enough so my lovely muscles in my back and left leg go into spasm and clasp the nerve tightly to protect it. That's a nice thing to do but it's also wrong cos it's agony! The trick is to 'open up' the muscles, relax them so that the nerve can move again. So, in trying to protect me the muscles are doing the exact opposite. My left calf is rock solid and so is most of my back and that's what makes it painful to move. My thigh and foot are numb or tingling (it varies). And that's on top of the pain from the nerve. Ouch. That's how I think of it anyway. And that's what the physio does, releases the muscles and tries to get everything back into balance so the body can heal itself.

I just wish my muscles were more intelligent ...

Monday, 21 August 2006


SLADE Day dawned gloomy and wet and with much ouch-ing whenever I moved and whenever I didn't move (some days you just can't win). My back has been getting steadily worse over the last week and today was the nadir - I couldn't stand up and couldn't sit down, couldn't walk and couldn't lie down, changing positions every few minutes to bring some ease is so tiring. A trip to the docs and some magick pills have done the trick now but it's funny how pain can block all other thoughts from the brain. A primitive animal response. Luckily, SLADE Day was delivered by first class Voisey Mail late this afternoon and I'm in mid-animal response to the glory that was, is and always will be SLADE!

Four re-mastered CDs flood the record shops today made up of seven SLADE albums. I got 'SLAYED?' a couple of weeks ago (it was released early in HMV stores as part of a promotion) so the first one to hit the CD deck was 'Old, New, Borrowed and Blue', mainly so I could hear the 'B' sides I haven't heard in three decades.

The sound is so much clearer and louder than the previous CD release and the packaging is great, a nice little biographical booklet with loads of photos. It's almost like a layer of dust has been blown off the record and I'm hearing it fresh and new. I love it! And the bonus tracks are three 'B' sides and 'The Bangin' Man' single. I've always had a soft spot for 'Kill 'Em At The Hot Club Tonight', the '20s-style oddity 'B' side, and it sounds fabulous in this re-mastered format.

I can't get over the sound and how fresh and clean the albums sound in comparison to the CDs from the '90s. Someone's put some effort into letting us hear SLADE as they should sound.

I'm currently listening to 'SLADE ALIVE! - The Live Anthology', a double album made up of 'SLADE ALIVE!', 'SLADE ALIVE Vol Two', 'SLADE on Stage' and 'Alive At Reading '80', the EP that saw their re-birth at the start of the 1980s. It's packaged in a gatefold digi-pack format using the iconic red and black cover of the original 'SLADE ALIVE!' cover from 1972. That was my first SLADE album, the first of many. It was a thrill to open the digi-pack for the first time.

The sound is, again, excellent, and shows SLADE doing what they do best - play live. Always a great live band, Noddy goading on the audience, Dave providing spectacle and Jim and Don keeping it real with the pounding bass and drums. I love the live version of 'Get Down and Get With It'.

The fourth CD is made up of 'Beginnings' (by Ambrose Slade, their first ever album before they dropped 'Ambrose') and 'Play It Loud'. 'Beginnings' is what it says, their early work from 1969, a bit hippy, a bit progressive. Oddly enough, it includes a cover of the Beatles' 'Martha My Dear' - I've never quite understood why unless it's very oddity is justification enough. 'Knocking Nails Into My House' is an excellent track, so much going on beneath the surface of the record and you can hear it properly for the first time.

'Play It Loud' is skinhead SLADE with some great early tracks written by Dave and Don before all song-writing chores went to Noddy and Jim. It's recognisably SLADE before they'd found their 'sound' and feature more lyrics per song than normal, but you know who it is from the start. I like this album, it's more of a late-night album when you still need something with a bit of edge and some balls.

The first CD is, of course, 'SLAYED?' which I've been playing for a few weeks now. The bonus tracks are 'B' sides not previously available on CD, so that alone keeps me happy. I'm particularly fond of 'Candidate' and 'Man Who Speeks Evil'.

Next release is a four-CD box set due in September. That's all I know about it. I will, of course. be chomping at the bit come September, but I'm so happy with the four CDs I've got so far.

SLADE Day started out so badly and ended so well courtesy of Voisey Courier Services Inc. Ta indeed!

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Fuck The Back Row Hits London!

How thrilled am I? Fuck The Back Row arrives in London on Sunday 27 August and where FTBR appears Amanda can't be very far behind.

How on earth did I miss this news? FTBR is taking place in the Devonshire Arms, 'Camden's gothic and alternative bar' as it advertises itself. That makes me tremble slightly, but not as much as trying to get home from Camden at midnight on a Sunday ....

The blurb says,

Please note: this is NOT a Dresden Dolls show
Fuck The Back Row! A Night of Short Films and Dadaist Vaudeville... This is a program of short films submitted by Dresden Dolls fans that have been selected by long-time Dresden Doll friend / collaborator / indie-film iconoclast Michael Pope and BriAnna Olson. Amanda Palmer will close the evening by performing songs from not-so-popular film soundtracks.

More thrills from The Dresden Dolls include a new song I found on the DDs MySpace site and, *tada!* tickets for the 4 November Roundhouse show arrived today! The song, 'Lonesome Organist', seems to be on the Japanese version of 'Yes Virginia' and I like it. The next single will be 'Backstabber' so here's hoping 'Lonesome Organist' is the 'b' side and available for download from iTunes. I say 'download' since it almost certainly won't be released here (I gnashed and wailed over the release/non-release of 'Sing' in the spring so assume this will be the same!).

Happy? O yes!

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

From the ridiculous...

OK. So here's the latest. I told you last week that my trainer was being sneaky and coming up with other ways to do exercises so that I don't stress my back. So, what did he ask me to do this evening? To sit down.

It was a prelude to doing squats, get the thigh and bum muscles working, to sit down on a bench just using the legs. Obvious, eh? Because of my back, I always hold onto something, or put my hand on the seat first to prevent any hard falls that would send a shiver of pain up my back and down my leg. And when I stand up I hold onto something or press myself up using my hands on my thighs to lever myself upright. So, just using thigh and bum muscles to sit and stand isn't that easy.

I couldn't do it. That was so frustrating! And a bit stupid. In part, I've no doubt that it's a confidence thing - my back is much better so sitting down shouldn't hurt and I just need to believe that.

I will practice sitting down and standing up.

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

I've lost £60m

I have y'know. I've got to find it tomorrow.

Or I'm in big trouble.

A New Thing

I did a new thing today (oo-er). I've bid for tickets on eBay to see Maximo Park (aka, me Geordie lads) at Brixton in October. I'm excited. Will I win them? Will I lose them? My life is one long search for thrills, in'it?

I tried to get tickets when they went on sale a month or two back but they sold out so quickly. Browsing on eBay I see that one seller is selling 20 tickets in one auction and then has about four other auctions selling pairs of tickets. How do they get so many tickets? I'm bidding over the odds for these tickets but I want them. And they're in the balcony so I can have a nice sit down while I watch me lads jump all over the stage (I'd be surrounded by lanky beanpoles downstairs and wouldn't see a thing). I know me lads jump about at Brixton Academy because I've got them on DVD doing just that on that stage.

Only two days to go until I know whether I'm seeing me lads. Just so I don't jinx the auction, I'm not putting it in my diary just yet.

Monday, 14 August 2006

Are you ready Steve...?

Simply one of the best singles ever released in the history of music.

Madonna 3

Some photos from the latest Madonna escapade...

Photo of the big video-wall behind/above the stage.

Madonna's just emerged from the big glitter-ball that she's lowered onto the stage in, and sings 'Future Lovers' in her equestrian extravaganza.

Quite close to the extended stage at the end of the central catwalk, and this is one of the few photos without extraneous hands and cameras in shot...

The industrial setting for 'Sorry' during which, a few minutes later, a fight ensues and Madonna emerges triumphantly. I don't approve of gratuitous violence.

'Let It Will Be' - and the live version is much better than the album version. A very lucky photo since she only wears the hat for a few seconds before throwing it into the crowd.

In full Saturday Night Fever mode for 'Music', a great sequence!

Sunday, 13 August 2006


I've been watching episodes from the fourth season of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' over the last few weeks, just two or three episodes at a sitting from the 24 episodes. I've been good at rationing (such self-discipline is admirable). I've now watched 22 episodes and I'm putting the DVDs away. I will save the last two eposides for a special occasion when I need an instant cheer-up.

I like MTM, Rhoda, Lou Grant and the crowd. This series sees the introduction of Betty White as the predatory 'happy homemaker' Sue-Ann and whenever she appears you just know there'll be some killer one-liners at odds with her happy smiling image. It sums up the age so well with topical references that are now history, the clothes (although not as outrageous as in the earlier series), the gloss and colour incontrast to our home grown entertainment like 'The Liver Birds'. I nearly laughed out loud at the scene with the fondou simply for it being there and Georgette losing the bread from the end of her long dipping fork. This was Rhoda's last series before moving home to New York and her own series - I'm waiting for that to be released.

So, that's two episodes left - all for me.


Saturday, 12 August 2006

Amanda Dresden Doll

That wee scamp, Amanda Palmer, has been up to things again. Her latest email is full of news about The Dresden Dolls world tour, her karaoke verite outings, design a tee shirt competition and a video montage of the Fuck the Back Row show in Brooklyn.

At the moment, Amanda is "attached to my apartment floor like a 50 year old wine stain in a fairly catatonic state" and has earned a little rest before coming back to Europe next week for more gigs, including the Edinburgh Festival. Then down to Japan, New Zealand and Oz, west coast America and heading east and then landing in London for two shows at the Roundhouse on 3 and 4 November.

Amanda says that, "These Roundhouse shows are going to be FUCKING AMAZING and EPIC and we've just confirmed none other the incredibly hilarious and stunning comedienne Margaret Cho as mistress of ceremonies. The musical guests will be unrivaled. We're pulling in the entire european brigade. Do not miss this show for the life of you. Fly, boat, skateboard, but GET there." Don't worry, Amanda, I *will* be there.

It's nice watching Amanda's karaoke verite videos on YouTube and I quite like this one, filmed in Prague, 'God Is Going To Get Sick Of Me'.

SLAYED? Reviews

I'm pleased to report that the SLADE re-issues are being reviewed in the music press.

'Q' gives 'SLAYED?' a good review, marking the album with four stars and a Q recommendation.

There's a feature review in 'Uncut' that again gives 'SLAYED?' four stars but the other albums don't fare so well. 'Miles Out To Sea' from 'Old, New, Borrowed and Blue' is one of the tracks on this month's 'Uncut' CD - not the track I'd pick but I'm pleased SLADE are on it at all and it's great to hear them boom out of the speakers! If you look carefully, that's Noddy standing beside the 'UT' on the front of the CD on the cover with the other Lords of Noize beside him.

Friday, 11 August 2006

Me and the NHS don't go...

This is all so strange, but my every contact with the NHS this year has gone wrong for some reason.

My diabetes experience so far has been little more than 'here's some tablets and lose some weight'. So imagine my delight when I actually get an appointment at the Diabetese Clinic at St George's Hospital - at last, some proper advice! My enthusiasm slightly reduced when I found out I had an afternoon appointment and had to fast for 10 hours for the blood test. But I can do that, no problem.

I turn up and am sent for a urine sample (I'd actually just been to the toilet but managed to squeeze some out). I'm weighed and measured. Then I'm called in to see the diabetic nurse and we have a good chat, explains what's happening to my body, chat about my slippd disc and various ailments and how I'm going through a major change, etc etc. All good stuff and she gives me a load of leaflets, forms for a blood test and ECG scan of my heart. I don't ask about the tests since I'm overjoyed to finally have some information about diabetese.

Then I see the diabetese dietician and again we have a good chat, explains how food releases glucose and my body absorbs or doesn't absorb it, food and bad cholesterol and lipids, balancing meals and all that stuff. More leaflets and a nice little poster for my fridge. Then a rather long wait to see the chiropodist (diabetic feet are problems) for a short time and him telling me to go back if I have any problems with my feet because they might need to be amputated (yes, pleasant, I know).

Then off to find the blood test room and I'm starting to feel a little light-headed after no food all day and no pills. This is in another part of the hospital so it's not my previous vampires, but they draw blood and I ask where to go for the ECG... 15 minutes or so walk later I find it, as far from the clinic as it's possible to get and remain within the hospital, walking through empty, badly sign-posted corridors. After a 15 minutes wait I'm seen, shirt off, electrodes stuck on me in various places (including ankles) with double sticky strips put on my chest so she can rip them off, pulling on the hair so she can say an absent minded 'sorry' when I winced (the kind of 'sorry' you know isn't meant and has been uttered so many times during the day that's it's automatic), puts the cardiac print-out on the end of the couch and tells me to take it back to whoever referred me and walks out the door while I'm dressing (is that rude or is that being efficient?).

I told the nurses at the cardiac place and the receptionists at the clinic that I hadn't eaten all day. What I thought I was saying was, 'help, I'm not well because I haven't eaten' but what they heard was, 'poor mite must be starving'. I should have gone for something to eat after the blood test since I was light-headed but it was so late in the afternoon that I was worried that the cardiac place would shut and I would have to come back another day. Clearly I'm partly to blame in all this for letting things happen to me and simply doing what I'm told but how come no-one noticed or listened? I turn up fasting for a 2.30pm appointment and no-one thinks to suggest I eat something, particularly since, as the dietician told me, it's important for diabeatniks to eat regularly.

By this time I'm very light-headed and my back is aching. I hobble back to the clinic to hand in the ECG print-out and I'm told to wait for a doctor to look at it. I hold onto the counter to steady myself, then I'm told to go and sit down because they can't find a doctor. I'm then told, 'the doctor says it's ok to go' (not whether my ECG is ok or that I'm going to die, but not until next week so I can go home now). I stand up and nearly faint, obviously swaying and one of the receptions reaches out to help. I say I'm ok because I just want to get home and they let me walk out. I vaguely ask what happens next over my shoulder as I leave and they say (I think) that they'll write to me. I just want to leave.

I spent 2 1/2 hours there. No food since the previous night and no tablets (and it's the lack of tablets that send the glucose spiraling). I head straight for the hospital shop for a mars bar and locozade to get some calories into my body and weave my way out and off the hospital grounds. I have another near-faint as I walk down the road to get to the bus-stop, leaning against a wall for a minute, and all I want is to get home. I ring my physio (with whom I had an appointment) to cancel and say I'll just pay the late cancellation fee.

Luckily, a bus arrives straight away and I get on. Off the bus goes, only to be stopped by the police who get on and do a quick search - for what? who knows? It just seems right that there's a further delay to my getting home!

I get home and I need food and pills but all I can do is check my blood glucose level (the nurse drummed in reguar testing and gave a booklet to record test results in) and then I collapse on the bed and sleep for three hours ... then I wake up, have food and tablets and start feeling more like a human being.

I get up this morning and my glucose level was still 3 times what it should be so I went to the gym to get it down (I had a training session booked in any case). And my back was aching from all the walking round endless hospital corridors. Not a happy bunny.

What started off so well went so wrong and I don't understand why. I should clearly be more assertive about how I feel and what I need (but that runs in my family where medical stuff is concerned). How can I nearly faint in a hospital and be able to just walk out the door without anyone saying something? Why did I have to wait so long for the blood test that I was fasting and not taking tablets for? I should have said something.

You'd think a diabetes clinic would know better really - I now do and won't be putting up with that again.

Wednesday, 9 August 2006


O yes, that's what it is, down right sneaky.

Last week I realised at the gym that I can't really do push-ups because it puts pressure on my lower back and makes me go 'ouch'. So, what does my trainer do? He's come up with a way of doing the same exercise but sitting up, exercising the same muscle groups but without the 'ouch' factor.

Now, if that's not sneaky I don't know what is!

Tuesday, 8 August 2006


Now, don't tell anyone, but I've got one of these thingymajigs that don't yet have a recognisable name.

We helped Intel/Samsung do a short pilot in a couple of schools earlier this summer and, now that the pilots are over, I took delivery of a few this afternoon so that we can trial them in the office (or play with them, which is a technical term).

It's an A5 size computer - not a laptop, not a tablet, not a handheld. It's something else, with full Windows functionality, wireless connectivity and a great media system. I switched it on tonight and found that I have an open wireless system somewhere close so I've been surfing a bit.

They're already working up the next generation of the machine and will, no doubt, come up with yet another version before displaying it publicly in January next year.

SLADE update....

I know you can't wait for more information about the SLADE re-issues, so here's an extract from an email from Union Square Music that's responsible for the re-issues:

"... 'SLAYED?' is available in HMV before the others because it is part of a promotion around the 1,000 greatest albums ever released so we let it go early - the other three will be instore on August 21st with the box set due September 25th. Hopefully 'Crackers' will be out then - we'll confirm nearer the time.

"Our small SLADE microsite is currently under construction - at - more details to follow. We'll be posting details of all the promotion the band are doing around the reissues. Great reviews out already in Q and Classic Rock (comparing Slade to both The Who and The Beatles!) and a review and feature in Uncut."

I thought I should share.

Monday, 7 August 2006

Disappointments and Joy

What an odd day I've had. This should have been SLADE Day but it wasn't entirely successful.

Up to Oxford Street I merrily trolled and into HMV with my honourary escort to record the joys of SLADE Day and there it was in the new releases section, 'SLAYED?' in all it's glory, proud and brash. I nabbed it then wandered down the racks to find the others. No sign of them, so I scooted over to the SLADE section in the A-Z racks and .... nothing! Where are they? Why aren't they here? What villainy is this?

Time was limited so I hurriedly got 'SLAYED?' and scurried down to Virgin to see if it had them - it didn't even have 'SLAYED?' so I'm designated it a crap shop. Back to HMV to ask about the other CDs and it appears there are distribution problems but they'll be available "any day". I'm afraid "any day" isn't good enough. So much for relying on 'real life' stores for my SLADE fix...

Headed off to the tube to get over to Fulham for my long-awaited appointment with the back doctor at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I worked in Fulham 16 years ago and got instantly confused when I realised they've totally changed the tube station and built a small shopping centre on it! I looked in the Virgin there are there was a solitary SLADE CD - I've decided that Virgin is officially crap everywhere apart from Times Square.

Then I scurried down Fulham Road to the hospital which is conveniently situated nowhere near any tube station. I eventually see the doctor who tells me to strip down to me pants and then pokes and prods me. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect since I'm almost better now, no severe symptoms to diagnose or dismiss, so it was rather odd. Unfortunately, he hadn't seen the x-ray from nearly 2 months ago (either my doctor didn't send it or the hospital lost it). Basically, I just need to keep doing what I'm doing, exercising, seeing the physio and he'll see me again in two months. He offered to arrange physiotherapy on the NHS but couldn't say when or where it would happen - I thought I'd stick with what I've got.

I was really quite down after that. Part of me realises he can't really do anything since I'm over the worst but the other part wonders what will happen the next time my back goes and it will, it's only a matter of time. Do I start afresh again and wait until I'm virtually better before I see a proper back doctor? I suppose that's what bothers me.

Home in the rush hour, what fun. Victoria Station HMV has 'SLAYED?' but not the others. O bugger. But I read the booklet on the train home and that started to get me in the mood. I put the CD on the player as soon as I get through the door to hear a marvelous crisp and rich sound, much improved on the 1992 CD release I have.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the CD and then I hear a sound I haven't heard since the '70s - the first of the 'B' sides! They're good and sound so fresh, powerful and more 'serious' than the singles. And the memories come flooding back... I particularly loved hearing Don get his short stint on the Melanie fan-disc wrong - I remember it so well!

Then up to the gym to work off some aggression listening to 'SLAYED?' on iPod on the way there as well as on the way home. What an odd day...

Looking on the bright side, I've got another three new SLADE CDs to get during August. It's been a long time since I could say that!

Saturday, 5 August 2006

The Unsinkable Bambi Lake

I've finally got round to reading, 'The Unsinkable Bambi Lake: A Fairy Tale Containing the Dish on Cockettes, Punks and Angels', a sort of autoboigraphy of Bambi co-written by Alvin Orloff. There's not really that much to the book and it's a a bit disappointing in that respect. No real narrative, chronology, discussion or self-analysis. In part, I've been left wondering who is Bambi Lake?

The book is full of anecdotes, gossip, name-dropping and short paragraphs about people she knew (or didn't know but simply mentioned people on the scene at the time, it's not very clear). It reads like a stereotype queen talking and talking and talking, not so much to impart information but rather to remain the centre of attention and to make sure that no-one else can get a word in edgeways.

For example, page 36, chosen at random, contains four paragraphs, each starting by naming someone and talking about them but the only link is that Bambi knew them and all this tells us about her is that she knew a lot of strange people. None (from memory) are referred to again in the book.

"Ruby called himself Greta Garbage. He was a cute young hippie boy who liked intentionally tacky drag...."

"Jenny was a tiny brunette hippie waif. She'd always be taking off her clothes and dancing..."

"Mary and Arthur were the adopted children of the man who invented the Kellogg snack pack. I called them the Kellogg twins..."

"Paul Dahling showed up one day with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand. He would never say where he came from..."

Bambi starts off life as Johnny Purcell and somewhere along the line becomes Bambi Lake, courtesy of theatre and drag acts, the Angels of Light, sexual politics, vast quantities of drugs, Berlin and hormone injections, breast implants, prostitution, singing, 'tragic' love affairs, spending nights in jail, travelling between the West Coast of America and Europe, working as a stripper, nights on Hampstead Heath with skinheads, hooking on Polk Street and being a club hostess on Broadway in San Fransisco. And, oh so much more. She remains a pre-op transexual.

Bambi also likes name-dropping more recognisably famous people. Meeting Bowie and Iggy Pop in Berlin, Siouxsie Sioux in San Franscisco, going on tour opening for the Stranglers, the Warhol and Waters sets are mentioned several times, even Gene October gets a mention.

I think I started reading the book with the wrong mind-set. Rather than thinking I was embarking on the autobiography of a fascinating twilight character I should have thought of it as an afternoon chat over a cup of tea with someone whose world I will never understand but can, in any case, enjoy the throwaway lines and anecdotes. Read from that perspective it starts making sense as a glimpse into a world that no longer exists.

The book also includes some of her poems or lyrics, including the full version of 'The Golden Age of Hustlers' which is amended and much shortened for the song. It's about time on the street in the mid-70s, glamourised for us poor non-glamourous people who will never see that world except for the safe glimpses she gives us. I love that song but the only version I have is on her one CD, a poorly recorded live version. It deserves better. And so does she.

The CD, 'My Glamourous Life as a Broadway Hostess' is available from the delightful CD Baby. Go to Baby's site to hear short clips of the songs.

So. Who is Bambi Lake? The short answer is that I still have no idea. I now know a lot more about her, at least the bits she shares, but that's about it. I'll watch this space...

Important Announcement

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Friday, 4 August 2006

Madonna Confessions Tour - I Love New York

More Madonna


It's a bit odd - I think it's odd, anyway - that my little brother is 44 today (well, yesterday now since it's after midnight). That's my little bro, ie younger bro' not older bro'. That makes me feel so ooooooooolllllllllldddddddd.....
Happy birthday young 'un!

Bounce for Madonna 2

Guess what? Saw herself again this evening, closer to the stage, on the other side of the auditorium so had a different view - and this time I took my camera. It was an excellent show - better than the first time so this must be marked as 15 out of 10.

I still loved the rock goddess 'I Love New York' and 'Music' sections and I'd add the 'Jump' sequence with the dancer-lads leaping all over a huge climbing frame (which was incredibly exhilerating and exhausting to watch) and Madonna's wierd slo-mo drunken version of 'Let It Will Be' - most excellent indeed. In fact, it was all good. And to top it off, she gave me a balloon which I worried about all the way home but it got here safely!

Here are some photos:

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Huff 'n' Puff 2

Phew! That's my second session with Nick, my personal trainer, over with... I need a sit down (which, luckily I am as I type this).

The session mostly followed the pattern of the first: bike, cross-trainer, stretches and mat exercises, then the treadmill (so he could see how I walk), more mat work then the bike and final stretches. It's amazing how quickly the time goes. I spent longer on the cardio machines today and he's written out a programme for me to follow when I go to the gym inbetween training sessions.

My back made it difficult to do a few of the exercises so Nick's come up with variations that I can do. My back will be a problem for a while yet - press-ups are out because it puts pressure on my lower back and so does lifting weights (I suspect with weights it's more a case of standing still that sends a surge of ouch down my leg).

I actually enjoyed today - it was a case of doing things rather than being measured and assessed and having things explained. Certainly got me sweaty! I treated myself afterwards with a nice sit down in the steam room for a while, very relaxing. Maybe my treat should've been a nice cream cakey and a pint of Guinness?

>Sigh<. I'm so good...

Five days to go...

Bounce for Madonna

Madonna Day dawned gloomy and damp and the dampness continued right to the end of Madonna's 'Confessions' show at Wembley Arena, very hot and sweaty in the auditorium. And what an excellent show it was, with Madonna striding across the stage and catwalks to make sure people could see her while her dancers were all over the place, even at one point, jumping into the audience and racing round.

There were a few jaw-dropping WOW moments and not knowing where to look since so much was happening in front on the stage, to either side on the catwalks and even behind us at the end of the catwalk - that's one of the drawbacks of being near the stage. Madonna used the central catwalk quite a lot to get right into the middle of the audience so that more people can see her close-up. What a fit woman - how many people could keep up that level of activity for nearly two hours? A lot of stamina.

My favourite sequences were:

# the opening where a huge glitter-ball descends to the end of the main catwalk in the audience and out steps Madonna in her pervy black riding costume while the dance troupe are all done up in harnesses prancing round the stage to 'Future Lovers'.

# 'I Love New York' with Madonna the rock goddess, the background is the New York skyline and she gives it some major league guitar hero power chords with madatory feedback and then launches into a guitar-based 'Ray of Light'. I love the rock version of 'I Love New York' (which is on the new live album) but couldn't bounce to 'Ray of Light' as instructed because of me back >sigh<.

# the red disco sleaze opening sequence ('Music Inferno') leading into 'Music' with Madonna and two dancers coming on in John Travolta white suits and striking the 'Saturday Night Fever' pose - that was excellent, particularly with the dancers zooming round on rollerscates. Then having a Dresden's moment by ripping off her suit to reveal the leotard underneath.
The show was incredibly professional and a lot of money was obviously lavished on the set and on the dance troupe to get them to that level of performance. The only bits I wasn't too overjoyed about were the simulated dance-fight sequences, particulary during 'Sorry' where Madonna whoops some ass in a sort of cage-cum-club scene and when a couple of the dancers fight all the way down the catwalk. It was very well done but jarred a bit with me.

All in all, I give the show 10 out of 10 and big kudos to Madonna!

Now then, the audience... Once again we had two beanpoles right in front of us - how does that happen? The god of audience manipulation has it in for me. Luckily they left to stand by the catwalk at the first opportunity so that was ok. They were both incredibly thin and looked like they would snap in a medium-strength breeze - they should see a doctor if the lack of actual body isn't chemically achieved. And if it is then they should stop it. Most odd. I obviously don't get out enough if I'm surprised by how stick thin some people are. There was also the inevitable bloke drinking beer all night with his back to the stage talking to his mates - why? I don't understand paying those ticket prices and then not even looking at the stage. That's his loss.

Photos courtesy of the fans at Madonnalicious.