Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Like A Teenager ...

The proximity of The Dresden Dolls gigs at the weekend is making me feel a bit like a teenager again, that anticipation and slight nervousness that gets the heart a-flutter.

You see, I know where Amanda will be on Thursday evening and I know I could go there and talk to her ... but what would I say? And after my public humilation who would I sell my Roundhouse tickets to (since I obviously couldn't go to the gigs after said humilation)?

And there's going to be a DVD of the event as well. I must look my best and be presentable and proper for meeting Amanda on Saturday when she and Brian will do signing and photos after the show. Gosh.

Erm... how old am I again?

Monday, 30 October 2006

Peaches and Blondes - It's Trannifying!

Sunday saw the grand launch of 'Tranny Hag', the new mini-zine from Dawn Right Nasty, at the Retro Bar. Because we're so close to Halloween the major selling point (other than getting Dawn a Corona beer) was a trio of short horror films by Peaches Christ, the cover star of the magazine and heroine of the movies.

'Season of the Troll' was the first film, with Troll Girl pursuing a vendetta against Peaches and sidekick Martiny ending with lots of blood and bird seed. I particularly liked the scene when Peaches finds her colleagues at the cinema concession stand all murdered and bloody, especially the bloody body stuffed into the popcorn dispenser - well, you never quite know what goes into those things... Martiny saves the day by shooting Troll Girl - or does she? Where's the body?

'A Nightmare on Castro Street' started after a refill of Guinness and nicking more popcorn from other tables. This is a sad tale of Squeaky Blonde's descent into alcoholism and the inevitable murder and mayhem that alcohol provokes. Quite a moral tale really. If you drink too much your hair changes colour, you get the biggest platform boots ever made and your finger nails become sharp enough to stab into the bodies of your enemies and rip out their spleens. It must be true since we saw it on the screen.

'Whatever Happened to Peaches Christ' was the final film, a parody of the film we all know (although I'm not sure I've ever seen it all the way through) but with bigger hair and more make-up. This was probably the most 'serious' of the films and, unfortunately, didn't feature platform boots.

My favourite was 'Castro Street' with Squeaky Blonde stealing the show, a big Goth clumping round in ridiculous boots, pulling faces and murdering people with her purple nails. Everyone needs a Squeaky in their lives (but maybe just not yet...).

Saturday, 28 October 2006

"Where Are Our Colleges Of Peace?" - Buffy

Here's an article that tells us what Buffy Sainte-Marie is up to today.

She's speaking at a seminar on 'Music and Activism' as part of the Victoria Interntional Arts Symposium this afternoon and then performing this evening. If only I had a tardis...

Buffy is a force to be reckoned with and has a powerful voice with things to say - you can't keep wor Buffy down.

This time next week...

This time next week I'll probably be wending my merry way home from my first encounter with the marvelous Dresden Dolls. Co-incidentally, I've received an email with the following information about the shows:

Hola Comrades!
the time is upon us,
and there are still some tickets left:


Performers from all over the world are coming to create the
most epic dresden dolls experience known to man.
November 3, 2006
November 4, 2006
w/ Edward Ka-Spel & Silverman of The Legendary Pink Dots, Reggie Watts, Sxip Shirey, Krin and Jonas of Cirque Eloize, Emilie Bera, Contortionist Raphaelle, Bang On! , and MC'd by Margaret Cho

note: the entertainment will start BEFORE DOORS even open! (7 pm).
do NOT be late, you will MISS THINGS.
also: we will be FILMING!!! both nights.
come ready to look pretty for the camera.

Gosh. Will I be sufficiently pretty to be captured on film? I must invest in a suitable outfit. I am getting a teeny bit excited.
PS: Amanda really does carry her skates round with her on tour...

Friday, 27 October 2006

Plastic Record Bag

In need of some new music I secured several new CDs from the nice people at Amazon and HMV yesterday and have been listening to them on rotation today.

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Voices On The Air: The Peel Sessions

'Voices On The Air' is a collection of sessions for the John Peel radio show in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1986, 19 tracks in all and they all sound excellent. Siouxsie is on top form, spitting out the lyrics and you can almost hear her sneering in the earlier tracks over the very full sound. The earlier tracks sound more ‘live’ than the later ones, probably because they hadn’t learned the tricks of the studio yet and it’s those that are my favourites. The rawness, the anger, the determination and the sheer energy - don’t fuck with me, we’re going to play this song whether you like it or not. All tracks stand out but highlights are ‘Love In A Void’, ‘Mirage’, Hong Kong Garden’, ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Halloween’.

There’s a short essay from Paul Morley in the slim booklet with some wonderful phrasing:

Their first guerilla performance, outrageous and useless, where they were conceived and aborted, born and raised, heard and hated, bored and stunned, where they wished to do what they were doing at that moment, was at Malcolm McLaren’s 100 Club Punk Festival in September 1976. Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen' was number one.

She sang like there was no fluffy pink in the world, like it was obviously her job to defile sacred cows.

Siouxsie, possessed by herself, dressed to kill, glorious from top to toe, furiously female, dead alive, had the best hair I’d ever seen, hair that glamorously, dangerously cut through the plain air around her.

She has, of course, always had great hair. Even though there are no photos of the band in the booklet you need this CD to remind you just how great her hair was.

Gladys Knight – Before Me

Gladys’s new album, 'Before Me', is only available on import for some reason so it’s taken a while to get here but it’s worth the wait. It’s Gladys doing great songs by the singers who influenced her when she was younger – Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Nina Simone amongst others. It’s jazz-tinged, easy listening but with Gladys’s great voice that’s no hardship at all. She did a couple of songs from the album when we saw her over the summer at the Royal Albert Hall and it’s nice to actually have it at last. ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, ‘Story Weather’ and ‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me’ show off her voice perfectly.

And the CD booklet has some nice photos of Gladys looking tres gorgeous in deep emerald green frock and jools. Lookin’ good, lass!

Indigo Girls – Swamp Ophelia

'Swamp Ophelia' is one of those records that I’ve looked at loads of times but never gone so far as to get my credit card out and buy it. Until I saw they had it in stock on Amazon so I clicked ‘buy now’ (as you do). I’m familiar with a few of the tracks but most are new to me and what a delightful discovery. There’s a certain ‘hardness’ to some of the tracks, a specific seriousness that’s somewhere in-between a lush full sound and the sparseness of some of their more folksy/country guitar-based songs.

I think this will take a few listens to properly sink in but I’m looking forward to hearing more as I become more familiar with the tracks. I think there are undiscovered rewards in this music.

Patrik Fitzgerald – The Best Of…

Anyone remember the ‘punk poet’, Patrik Fitzgerald? I bought his EPs and album (‘Grubby Stories’) way back when, when I was young and impressionable. He strummed his guitar and sang in a punk London accent, sang about love, commercialism and violence and, basically, being young in the late ‘70s.

'The Best Of...' includes most (all?) of his early works. Songs like, ‘Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart’, ‘Banging And Shouting’, 'Work Rest Play Reggae’ and ‘Buy Me Sell Me’ brought back memories and sound fresh and vibrant. I wasn’t sure how they would sound after so many years unheard but they sound just as I remember them. He was never going to set the world alight or be ‘the next big thing’, but I enjoyed his music. I still recall missing his show at the Oranges and Lemons pub in Oxford in 1978 and thinking, ‘next time…’. There never was a next time, but it’s nice to have the CD.

Various – And They Danced The Night Away

DISCO! O yes! A 4xCD set of some of the greatest disco-tastic toons ever to fill a dance floor! Sometimes you just need to shake your groove thang and this set will do it for everyone.

I’ve got lots of disco tracks on various CDs, ‘70s compilations and burnies but I thought it was about time that I got the full set for those moments when I need to get out the white suit and point at the ceiling (strike the pose!).

You know all the tracks – it’s almost impossible for you not to know ‘em. Cameo, Chic, Shalamar, Donna Summer, Voggue, Hues Corporation, Weather Girls, 5,000 Volts, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang … o yes, they’re all here! Well, apart from the Bee Gees of course.

Hours of fun to be had with these CDs.

Various - God Save The Queen: A Punk Rock Anthology [DVD]

Because I’m a multimedia kinda guy, I also invested in a DVD when I saw it in HMV. Another one of those things that are picked up and put down – this time I kept it in my hand because it has a video of X-Ray Spex playing ‘Identity’ (my favourite) plus an interview with Poly.

Despite the title, The Sex Pistols don’t feature but other bands include: Dead Boys, Johnny Thunders, Iggy & The Stooges, Chelsea, Generation X and some others. Not la crème de la crème but an interesting selection.

Strangely, it’s an American import. I shall enjoy watching this one quiet evening.

Plastic Bag Tip of the Day

If any of these have intrigued you and you want a recommendation, then go and get Siouxsie’s album now – you won’t regret it.

It was the end of the world ... and I danced with Sally Bowles

Went to see the new production of 'Cabaret' tonight with Chris. I've wanted to see it since it was first announced even though there was an element of uncertainty too - it's not the film and it's not the version I saw a few years back at Studio 54 in New York. And this had James Dreyfuss as the MC - not my favourite actor and that is such a pivotal role. But it was very enjoyable and quite thoughtful.

They went overboard on the sleaze and black leather, cross-dressing and posing, nudity and James D in fishnets and suspenders - not the prettiest of sights, especially when he flashed his naked arse not once, but twice. It probably tried too hard for sleaziness - which I'm not sure it achieved - but the cabaret girls and boys were good, very athletic, in their leather straps and stockings.

It took me a while to get used to Anna Maxwell Martin as Sally Bowles but she won me over, particularly in her two big songs ('Maybe This Time' and 'Cabaret' in the second half) when she slightly changed the emphasis in the lyrics to make it more personal and part of her story rather than try to compete with the 'gold standard' version from Liza.

James D also put in a sterling performance, particularly in the second act with ' I Don't Care Much' which says so much about his character and Sally, as he sprinkles her bed with what I assumed was meant to be cocaine to lure her back to the Kit Kat Klub.

The star of the show was Sheila Hancock - as soon as she walked on stage the first time it was obvious that acting was happening. The 'acting' vanishes as her character as the landlady on hard times brings some warmth to the show, as does the mature love affair with Herr Schultz (Geoffery Hutchings) that goes horribly wrong as the Nazis start appearing. She was excellent.

The final scene was quite harrowing in its own way, firstly with the Kit Kat dancers twitching in the dawn after the night before, coming down from whatever they were on. Then James D and the dancers slowly strip and huddle together for warmth in the snow, their bodies seeming to get smaller and emaciated, partly to demonstrate the opposite from earlier glory of nudity of young healthy bodies and partly, I suppose, to reflect the images of the liberation of Auschwitz and other camps. There was deathly silence as the curtain came down on this most powerful scene. It was a brave man down the front that started the clapping that went on for several curtain calls.

I think the production has had mixed reviews and I can understand why - it's quite brave of them to take on the show when we all know most of the songs from the film and have images firmly fixed in our minds. I enjoyed it - it entertained and it made me think. That's a good thing. I hope it enjoys a good run.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Misty's Big Adventure 'Fashion Parade' feat Noddy Holder

Noddy's gone all Van Dyke and Dali!

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Moby featuring Debbie Harry - New York New York

How camp - and ever so slightly fabulous!

Monday, 23 October 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

Chris took me to see 'Stranger Than Fiction' at the Odeon, Leicester Square as part of the London film festival. I didn't know anything about it other than Emma Thompson was in it. I had no idea what to expect and even kept forgetting the title. I ought to trust Chris by now but he made me sit through 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' with little dialogue and too many quivering lips so there's always that element of doubt...

'Stranger Than Fiction' is excellent - go and see it when it opens in December. It's funny and sad, a love story without any cloying sentimentality, a rebellion, courageous and daring to be a little bit different - to explain this would give away the ending which I can't do.

There wasn't a duff performance in it and all the main characters are eminently likeable and 'real'. They worked together really well. You expect Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman to turn in good performaces but Queen Latifah was an eye-opener - not that I'm surprised that she was good but because she was the calmness around Emma's neurotic character with writers block that helped frame their scenes together and they played off against each other brilliantly.

And what a great soundtrack - Wreckless Eric ('Whole Wide World') and The Jam ('That's Entertainment') and an instrumental version of Maximo Park's 'Going Missing' was a perfect way to leave the film. I will need the soundtrack album when it's released.

The only downside was that it was shown with subtitles and I *hate* reading films! I must see it again when it goes on general release.

Ladies and Gentlemen... The New York Dolls!

Last night saw an epic journey up to Kentish Town to see The New York Dolls with Chris and Dawn. But first we had to survive The Towers Of London, a band who can best be described as having spent their early teenage years watching heavy metal DVDs - well, they must have, they had mastered all the cliche poses of guitar thrash, it was almost like masturbation on stage (they certainly weren't playing for the audience). Under their hair they looked so young that you can bet their parents are, by turn, worried that they're so young and (possibly) on drugs and on the other hand, proud of them up there on the stage. But can you turn it down a notch lads? I thought the lead singer looked like Limahl.

Then a long interlude with the oddest selection of music, most of which was from before even I was born. The only one I could sing along to was 'Waterloo Sunset'. And then the Dolls were hurrying on stage as if they were late (which they probably were). But there they were - David and Sylvain, original Dolls, and the others to make some glorious noise.

Well there was a lot of noise - we were too near a bank of speakers, I think, so it was a bit distorted. They sounded much better more centrally in the hall where we went later. But it didn't really matter - it was them, trailing all their mystique and mythos and dropping cultural references like glitter from a night at VauxhallVille. Just having them on stage a few yards away was sufficient to be entrancing. I'd never seen them live before so it was a great thrill to have them there in front of me.

Particular favourites were 'Personality Crisis', 'Private World' (for Arthur), 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' (for Johnny), 'Jet Boy', 'Fishnets and Cigarettes', 'Gotta Get Away From Tommy' and (of course) 'Dance Like A Monkey'. It was great to howl at the moon with them during the enchore. They played for about 1 hour 20 minutes and thoroughly enjoyable it was.

I was mightily impressed with all the bangles and rings David wore - given how skinny his arms are I'm surprised he could raise his hands to the microphone and harmonica. And I loved Syl's little belly! Wearing a tight red shirt and not caring that it displayed his pot belly to perfection. Could anyone else get away with that?

I thoroughly enjoyed the show despite the (chemically enhanced) bouncing gonk beside me at one point and having half a pint of (my own) beer splashed on me at the bar. But who cares? I've seen the Dolls and they rocked!

Sandy West of The Runaways

I got home last night from the excitement of seeing The New York Dolls to find an email with the sad news that Sandy West has died of cancer. The message was:

Sandy West, drummer for the influential 70s band The Runaways, has died after a long battle with lung cancer. She left an indelible mark on rock music as a founding member of The Runaways, which featured fellow rockers Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, and as a leading inspiration for a number of notable musicians, both male and female. Many young musicians can trace their inspiration directly to the first time they heard "Cherry Bomb." She will be remembered by more than one generation of fans as a strong part of their musical landscape. But Sandy's impact was felt far outside of the music industry as a loyal friend, loving confidante and strong defender of those she loved most. Her strength as a player, passion as a person, and dedication as a friend will be remembered always by friends, fans and fellow musicians alike.

Runaways vocalist and life-long friend, Cherie Currie had this to say, "Sandy West was by far, the greatest female drummer in the history of rock and roll. No one could compete or even come close to her, but the most important was her heart. Sandy West loved her fans, her friends and family almost to a fault. She would do absolutely anything for the people she loved. It will never be the same for me again to step on a stage, because Sandy West was the best and I will miss her forever."

Now, I'm not going to pretend I was a big Runaways fan or even that I knew her name - I didn't. It's partly that that makes this news so sad. I've merrily bounced along to 'Cherry Bomb' over the years and particularly earlier this year when I re-discovered it - it's a great track and The Runaways were an important band - but I didn't know who any of them were other than Joan Jett (for her work after she left them) and Cherie Currie (for wearing lingerie onstage - well, I was young!). Who ever knows the names of drummers? And that makes me a little bit sad. I know her name now when it's too late.

I'm listening to their 'Best Of' at the moment, nice and loud - the Queens of Noise, indeed.

Friday, 20 October 2006

Merch 'n' More

The latest news about The Dresden Dolls (it's my duty to keep you posted) is about Amanda's new MySpace site and their new merchanise for the autumn tour.

Amanda's new site - whokilledamandapalmer - features some solo songs presumably recorded at 'Fuck The Back Row' and a lot of lovely photos. I like this one, a nice virginal Amanda looking suitably coy, taken over the summer in Australia. Click on Amanda to go to her online world.

I also like the new tee shirt designs - here are three of them although there's supposed to be more. They're available on the American tour so should be available here. I wonder what else will be on sale? I need to start saving my pennies.

It's only three weeks away now and I *still* haven't received my tickets from my least favourite online booking agent... I might start biting my nails.

... and I must hunt out my badges...

Thursday, 19 October 2006

All Change!

I was listening to the glorious X-Ray Spex this morning and Poly spoke to me. What is this blog if not a plastic bag full of bits and pieces, my online scrapbook of things I've collected, seen and done? Henceforth I am a plastic bag.

My mind is like a plastic bag
That corresponds to all those ads
It sucks up all the rubbish
That is fed in through by ear
I eat Kleenex for breakfast
And use soft hygienic Weetabix
To dry my tears

My mind is like a switchboard
With crossed and tangled lines
Contented with confusion
That is plugged into my head
I don't know what's going on
It's the operator's job, not mine
I said

My dreams I daren't remember
Or tell you what I've seen
I've dreamt that I was Hitler
The ruler of the sea
The ruler of the universe
The ruler of the supermarket
And even fatalistic me

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Glitterati Safari

Now that I've been invited to the launch of a new magazine I feel like I've left my old, dull world behind and joined the shining glitterati.

Yes, that's right, I am proud to report that I will be attending the formal launch of 'Tranny Hag', the brand spanking new magazine conceived and, indeed, given birth to by the shy, retiring and not-at-all violent (unless there's a kangaroo in the room) Dawn Right Nasty.

As with every launch event there needs to be an added draw to make it just that little bit more special. On this occasion, it will be a screening of Peaches Christ fillums which I am *so* looking forward to seeing. Ahem.

Chameleon in Pig Ally

This evening we ventured to the Pigalle Club to see the ever delightful Boy George play a double set with Amanda Ghost.

I meant to book tickets for the November gig but a slip of the finger on the Interweb and you commit to things you never dreamed of. Such as a trip to the Pigalle on a Tuesday evening. I didn't know anything about the venue other than it was a supper-club type of place. Now that's ok as far as it goes, but when it advertises standing tickets I naively expect there to be somewhere to stand. Us standees either perched near the bar (with a poor view of the stage) or on a sort of sloping corridor which I assume is meant to cover the club under disability legislation by providing wheelchair access to the dining area - except when it's full of people waiting to see a pop star. I felt penned in and uncomfortable. I doubt it will become a favourite venue.

I know nothing about Amanda Ghost other than that she co-wrote that song. After her opening song I decided she was nice, chatty, lively, nice stage presence (even if she was playing to the cameras) and with an interesting voice. I was prepared to like her and add her to my list of people I watch out for. I wanted to like her but felt vaguely unsatisfied, a sort of promise unfulfilled. Her vocal style seemed to change a few times in different songs and most of the songs sounded like album tracks to me - there's nothing wrong with good solid album tracks but that doesn't mean they'll work live. And I don't think they did. I'd like to hear more, or possibly see her in a different venue?

Boy George was wonderful and effortlessly proved his pop star credentials when, with a wave of his hand and a nod, he got everyone up and dancing on the tiny dancefloor and inbetween tables during 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?' - that's a true '80s legend up there, y'know!

Most of his songs - old, new and covers - had a white-boy reggae vibe going on and one of the highlights for me was his version of Fleetwood Mac's 'Go Your Own Way' which sounded fresh and new. It wasn't a long set, but as well as 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?' he played 'Karma Chameleon' - is he mellowing? He looked good and seemed to be in fine spirits. Not entirely sure why he's playing the Pigalle with his band squeezed on the small stage but it was a pleasure to see him.

I liked the sound of his new single with Amanda Ghost - 'Time Machine' - clearly a commercial song that both him and Amanda sounded good on, probably playing to their respective strengths. Looking forward to hearing it properly when it's released next month.

Orange Outage

I've been a victim of Orange outage. Isn't it odd how you suddenly become desperate to look something up on the Internet or send a message to someone when you can't?

I've had lots of niggling problems over the months since Orange took over Wanadoo and had to reload the modem software more times than I care to remember. I don't understand this at all - all Orange did (as far as I'm aware) is take over Wanadoo so why should that result in so many problems with the service?

But I'm back now! And thank you to Orange for the note of apology but I'd rather it wasn't needed in the first place.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me

O yes, a bloggy all about my favourite subject - Me - for a change (ahem), with a liberal use of subtitles to help you focus on the subject under discussion. I know my readers appreciate pointers in my sometimes rambling blog entries.


I have a new iPod and I love it! My previous iPod was a 'mini' (henceforth to be known as Little iPey) and I loved it - a perfect size, easy to shove into a shirt pocket and holding just over 1000 songs. A miracle of design and entertainment. Wonderful.

And then the evil Apple Empire started taunting me with the new models it's just brought out. They were shinier. And they hold photos in glorious colour. And videos. I am weak, I know that. I succumb to temptation at the drop of a hat so had to get one. But, should I get the 30 or the 80 gig model? That translates as 7,500 or 20,000 songs? Well, as every man knows in his heart of hearts, size matters, so I went for the 80 gig. 80 gig of memory in that little thing is larger than most laptops.

Of course, now I have to load music onto it and, despite spending every waking minute copying and loading CDs I only have 3,815 songs on it so far. This is going to take forever. I have 605 photos on it and have downloaded 6 videos. I don't think I'm ever going to fill it up. Maybe I should've just got the 30 gig model after all.

I have just loaded 'Desolation Boulevard' by Sweet and am currently copying 'Electric Warrior' by T.Rex. Next in the pile of CDs beside the poota is P!nk followed by Lou Reed & John Cale. I don't actually have the Gorrilaz on mine - that's a stock photo.


I achieved two milestones yesterday. As you might recall, when I started going to the gym with my personal trainer I couldn't do some exercises due to my back. Well, blow me, but I can now. A mixture of strengthening and flexibility exercises means that I can now do push-ups. Ok, so that's hardly earth shattering, but it's important to me. It means that the band of muscle around my middle is strong enough to protect my back when I put some pressure on it. That's good news.

The second milestone is my weight. Over the last couple of years in particular I've become what's known, in technical language, as a fat bastard (that's "fattus bastardus" for those of you with Latin 'O' level or GCSE). That's part of my whole health problem. I've never been too bothered about weight - it's more about waist size with me. After my strenuous workout yesterday I thought I'd try the scales in the changing room. I haven't weighed myself for a couple of weeks so imagine my delight at finally breaking the 100kg barrier - not by much, but I'm now in double numbers rather than triple at long last!


I've had a week of champagne, Guinness and Merlot-fueled debauchery - with cheesecake on the side. That is bad. Also very inconsistent. How can I be sufficiently strong-willed to say 'no' to having parmesan on my delicious pasta al arrabietta at the Val Tarro but say 'yes' to cheesecake for pudding? Hmmmm. Maybe it was the bottle of Merlot I'd polished off in the meantime... I must be strong and disciplined. Pepsi Max is my friend. The photo is me quaffing champagne at the RVT, courtesy of Chris.

Pills 'n' Spills

Sorting through my tablets this morning I realise I need to go back to the doctors for a repeat prescription. It also made me realise that I'm becoming very lax. I've started to forget to take them.

I forgot to take any at all on Monday - I can partially understand that, what with the stresses of the CfP event. I felt it on Tuesday as well, a rather strange feeling that I couldn't shake all day. On Wednesday I forgot to take my morning tablets and the same on Friday. I'm a three in the morning but five at night kinda guy. I really should carry some round with me for when I forget to take them.

That smacks of complacency to me. Because I'm not in pain then I forget to take the tablets. But if I don't take 'em, the pain returns to remind me to take 'em. Vicious circle. Discipline me lad, discipline!

'60s v '80s

I'm listening to The Four Tops as I type - they did some great tunes, happy and upbeat and had great voices. This reminds me of Chris's new DVD about The Temptations. The Four Tops v The Temptations? I couldn't choose between them - both have given us some fabulous songs. I loved watching the Temps DVD - some of these young wrappers and hippity hop people should watch it to see what cool really looks like.

I've also rediscovered The Thompson Twins this week when I invested in their greatest hits CD. I'd forgotten all about them until recently and that prompted me to sample them on iTunes and then go out and get the CD. Not in the same class or as immortal as bands like the Tops, but not bad!


Just so that you don't think I've forgotten my heroes by doing a bloggy with no mention of them, here's some news about Amanda Dresden Doll.

Amanda has a new MySpace site - whokilledamandapalmer - and here is a delightful new photo of her at Glastonbury over the summer. We are so privileged to be offered the opportunity to lick her legs.

Friday, 13 October 2006


Why do I never have my camera with me when I need it? My first trip to VauxhallVille this evening and I have no photographic record.

I thoroughly enjoyed it - pole-dancing bears, boxing kangaroos, a mostly-naked glitter lady, violent confrontation and simulated sex on the stage, being drenched in water and champagne and dowsed in glitter. What more could one ask for on a Thursday evening?

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I took up Dawn Right Nasty's invitation to join her at VauxhallVille. I stipulated that there would be Guinness but no fighting kangas and that was it. Everything else is open to negotiation. And what a fun time I've had.

Nathaniel De-Ville hosted the extravaganza, eventually striping off and burning his Calvins as a protest about the insidiousness of gay marketing. Followed by the glorious Bearlesque troupe, Lucy Fire and the boxing kangaroo (who Dawn beat to the floor for the pleasure of winning a bottle of champagne). Chris, of course, knew the leader of Bearlesque (he knows everyone) but didnt know he did this act so his face was a picture.

Highlights of the evening were Bear Nigel singing 'Like A Prayer', eventually being crucified on a sparkly mirror cross, the Bear Leader, Freddy, doing a flashdance sequence and being splashed in water (which flooded our table in front of the stage as well), Lucy Fire stripping and biting into deep red roses that spurted 'blood', and Dawn trashing the kangaroo! Paul ended up covered in glitter from all three acts - that's the price for sitting too close to the stage.

It was a fine fun evening and I want to go again. Soon!

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Patrice Holloway

You might not have heard that Patrice Holloway has passed away. The news on the Motown grapevine is:


On Sunday October 1, 2006 Patrice Holloway died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, Patrice was a Singer, Songwriter and younger Sister of Brenda Holloway. As you may or may not know, Patrice co-wrote "You Made Me So Very Happy" with Brenda. Funeral arrangements are being made for Saturday October 14 @ The Inglewood Chapel/Cemetery.

If you would like to send Cards or letters, please send them to:

Inc. c/o Brenda Holloway
16041-G Johnston Road
Suite #113
Charlotte, NC 28277


Patrice sang on many '60s Motown songs and backing vocals on albums by many other artists (such as Buffy Sainte-Marie's 'country' album), was an original Pussycat in the animated 'Josey and the Pussycats' series and was Brenda's sister.

Brenda Holloway visits the UK every year or so, mainly to play at Northern Soul reunions. Patrice's contributions to Brenda's and other works have never been fully appreciated. At least she will go down in history as co-writer of 'You've Made Me So Very Happy', which is a very great song.

Farewell Patrice.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Tina Weymouth's knickers

As so wisely suggested in the comment in the previous entry, I should treat myself. So I have. Pomegranate seeds and Guinness - yumboscrumdidly indeed! Not together, obviously. I would have preferred a real pomegranate but the little Sainsbury's up the road didn't have any but it did have little plastic cartons full of seeds.

I love pomes, but only in the autumn. Me Mam used to buy them for us when we were kids and back then you could only really get fruit when it was in season, so late September/October was always (and will always be) pomegranate season for me. It just seems wrong to eat them at any other time of the year (unless in foreign climes, of course).

And Guinness... well, I'm being baaaaaad....

Was supposed to be going out tonight for a celebratory meal up in town but I'm just too tired. Not much sleep on Sunday and the stresses of the event yesterday are showing - and I didn't take any of my pills yesterday and I've been feeling it today. I was falling asleep on the train coming home tonight, y'know, that awful doziness when your head starts nodding and then you jerk awake expecting the whole carriage to be looking at you? And, of course, I had a gym session with my personal trainer so I managed to get through that ok but I'm feeling it now. An early night, I think.

Which brings me round to Tina. I arrived home to see a lovely big padded envelope waiting for me - it can only be two things, either the live Buffy CD or the Tom Tom Club CD, 'Live at the Clubhouse'. It was the latter and I'm bouncing along to it as I sit here typing. I've been meaning to get it for ages and finally ordered it through the Tom Tom Club website.

I can't think of the Tom Tom Club without remembering that most odd evening when I saw them with Chris and Dawn Right Nasty a few years ago at the Great Eastern Hotel as part of the CBGB's night. They were excellent and I was an instant convert - the energy flowing off the stage in nice bouncy waves was astonishing and they seemed to be having such fun on the stage. Tina took off her warm CBGB's knickers and threw them into the audience ... they landed right in my hand. They now adorn Right Nasty Mansions. It was nice seeing Tina and Chris in the corridors earlier in the evening with Tina walking up to Dawn and giving her a great big hug - what nice people they are.

It was such an odd evening though - I'm all for occassionally mixing with freaks and wierdos but the people at the CBGB's night just seemed not very nice City media kids with too much money and no feel for what punk was about but they'd bought the right tee shirt and had the right make-up. A very odd crowd.

Oh, I've also started a new job. Apparently I got it on Monday but didn't find out till today (I was inconveniently out of the office). It's sort of the same job as I'm already doing working with mainly the same people, with the same boss and, broadly, the same kind of responsibilities - I simply discharge them differently or something like that. Exciting, huh? I'll expect congratulatory drinks in due course, thank you.

PS: just so you don't get the wrong idea, Tina was wearing other knickers underneath the CBGB ones...

Monday, 9 October 2006

Computers for Pupils 'Launch'

I've been working on it for one and a half years and we finally 'launched' Computers for Pupils today, the initiative to put computers into the homes of disadvantaged kids. It's been a long time coming but we got there. It was with a mixture of relief and trepidation that I headed up to the London Hilton Metropole Hotel on Edgware Road - relief that day finally arrived and trepidation that something would go very publicly wrong. And nothing went too wrong at all, even my stint on a Q&A panel in the afternoon where I got lots of questions about funding went ok (I always get loads of questions about funding). Phew!

I left home at 6.45am (an unheard of hour unless a holiday is involved) to get to the hotel to check all the arrangements in the main conference room and the various seminar rooms we'd hired. The aim was to make the day very practical for the various local authority and school representatives attending, lots of small seminars for discussion and learning, but this, of course, made the logistics more complicated. I'm incredibly grateful to the various people who gave up their time to prepare for and lead the seminars - I've been very lucky in the people we've been working with and I must do something in return for them. We even had some school kids on the stage telling us how important home access to computers and the internet is and they were excellent - a highlight of the day.

But it was worth it in the end. The mix of a speeches, seminar sessions and Q&A seems to have worked. The feedback we've already had is almost entirely positive so I'm pleased about that. We still all need to follow through of course - a nice event is one thing but I want to count the computers that go into the homes of disdvantaged kids under this initiative. I hope going without lunch was worth it!

Sunday, 8 October 2006

Buffy Sainte-Marie - A New Album

Imagine my joy and delight to receive a personal email from Buffy yesterday ['eeek' - that's the sound of me opening the email - and 'thunk' - the sound of me falling to the floor in delight].

After seeing the news of a new album on the Buffy Yahoo group I shot off an email to her to check whether the news was right - it's been 10 years since her last album, after all. I wasn't necessarily expecting a reply but, bless her, she responded within a couple of days. And it's true!

Buffy says she spent August recording at her home with Chris Birkett (her co-producer on 'Coincidence' and 'Up Where We Belong') and that there's lots of different styles of music as on previous albums. Chris Birkett goes back to Hawaii in November to work on the album and she hopes to have it ready for the spring.

I've just looked on Chris Birkett's website and he says there are guest performances on the songs from people like Dr John and Taj Mahal (Buffy did some guest vocals a year or so ago with Taj Mahal's backing band).

What can I say? New Buffy songs! A new Buffy Album! I'm hoping for promotional activity and - deep intake of breath - a tour ...

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Bring Me The Heads of The Dresden Dolls

The Dresden Dolls v Panic! At The Disco - a slapstick revenge video with 'Backstabber' as the soundtrack. Looks like they all had great fun making this!

Maximum Maximo

"We are Maximo Park" opines Paul Smith, pronouncing it "maxeemo".

He was svelt and fit in a skin tight white 'suit' with his hat at a jaunty angle. And then the music started pounding out of the speakers. Up in the balcony at Brixton Academy we got a good view of me Geordie lads as they played their relentlessly punky, energetic songs, short and sweet, loud and brash with their sometimes quite thoughtful lyrics.

The band were excellent, very tight and well practiced while Paul jumped all over the place, stalking around the stage whipping the audience into a lather. They played some of the new songs from the new album (but no mention of when it'll be released) which sounded good, definitely having the Maximo sound.

Most notable songs for me were, 'The Coast Is Always Changing', 'Graffiti', 'Limassol' and 'Postcard of a Painting', finishing with 'Apply Some Pressure' when the crowd went wild. I sang along with a silly smile all over my face. They didn't play 'A19', which is one of my favourites, but I forgive them. After tonight I can forgive them anything. I sort of felt proud of them for some reason.

I'm so pleased to finally see me lads live and I came so close to not getting tickets because I thought I'd be too old. Hah! Yes, there were young teens there, but most of the audience seemed to be in the 20s-30s range and even some blokes looking older than me. Anyway, who really cares? They seemed really nice lads as well, thanking the audience for supporting them and applauding the audience a few times. That was a nice touch, especially since we should be thanking them for bringing such joy to Brixton. Why aren't they bigger?

Paul closed with the immortal phrase, 'We are Maximo Park'. O yes we are.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Retro Record Bag: 1975

After an absence of several months it was international superstar DJ time again, this time with a 1975 setlist.

1975 is an awkward year but I found five tunes with which to amaze the Retro Bar punters:

Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam) - SLADE
Glass of Champagne - Sailor
Imagine Me Imagine You - Fox
That's The Way I Like It - KC and the Sunshine Band
Young Americans - David Bowie

I quite like the stately progression through musical styles - from former glam, through pop to disco - leading nicely towards a 1976 set of disco and punk. But that's for another day.

Chris and Don both did nice sets (with Don even playing Dido - I think I preferred the Gaelic punk or mariarchi sets...) but, as ever >sigh< mine was the best setlist.

I also had three pints of Guinness, the most I've drunk in a single session in what seems like an age. I am bad.

Thursday, 5 October 2006

New York Dolls - Dance Like A Monkey

This is marvellous (ignore the first 40 seconds). Can't wait to see 'em do this live!

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Buffy Sainte-Marie - A Multimedia Life

A new documentary about Buffy will be aired on the other side of the Atlantic in November. The blurb announces:


World Television Premiere – November 14 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT
This one–hour documentary explores the dynamic life and career of this Academy Award–winning musical pioneer. From her Aboriginal roots, to her folk music performances in 1960s Greenwich Village, to her roles as an educator and activist, Buffy Sainte–Marie’s journey is documented through archival footage and interviews with Sainte–Marie, Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Randy Bachman, Steppenwolf’s John Kay, Taj Mahal and Sylvia Tyson. Legendary artists including Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Janis Joplin and Neil Diamond have also recorded hits penned by the songwriter of 'Up Where We Belong'.

From the looks of it, the documentary might well be available on DVD at some point. At that point I'll be happy.

News of a new album yesterday, a documentary today ... what Buffy news will tomorrow bring?

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

I heard a rumour ...

... well, read one actually. That Buffy's releasing a new album shortly. Shortly is defined as 'between winter and spring'. The Buffy wires are a-buzzing at the moment. Can this really be true?

Monday, 2 October 2006

And the proof....

Copyright Voisey Images Inc, 2006


Let joy be unbounded, let the trumpets sound and let me get to the CD player! O yes, the waiting is over and I am now the proud possessor of 'The SLADE Box', the long awaited four-disc anthology set. And it is marvelous.

Re-mastered sounds are washing over me. I've already heard some of the re-mastered tracks on the re-issued albums so it's great to hear tracks from albums not scheduled for release until next year. Four CDs with over 70 minutes of music on each. I'm working my way through the discs as I type.

The packaging is wonderful with a 72 page glossy booklet inside - it's virtually a book in its own right - with a long essay by Keith Altham about the band and it's full of glorious photos of the lads, including a series of photos from the 1974 tour of America. There's a big double page portrait pic of the band over the legend, 'This band is gooder than shit' attributed to Lester Bangs.

I'm discovering new SLADE songs - singles that weren't on the albums and, of course, the 'B' sides of those singles! I've discovered a new favourite - 'It's Alright Buy Me', a 'B' side from 1978 which sounds fresh and new and never-before heard!

In some respects it's quite a strange track selection - it might have been obvious to focus on the glory years of the early/mid '70s and the renaissance in the early '80s but this selection covers the full recording career. I'm pleased it does. The glory years have already largely been covered by the albums released so far (with the exception of 'Flame' which is due next year) so this anthology treats us to an odyssey of developments and changes in SLADE's music including singles that hardly troubled the charts but are all part of the legacy. And what a legacy it is.

As Nod would say, 'Keep on Rockin'!'

Full Frontal

I got home this evening to be faced by the flashing red light on the telephone that tells me I have an answer phone message. It was a recorded message from Ticketmaster to give me 'important information' relating to the tickets I've bought to see see 'Cabaret' at the Lyric Theatre later this month.

Apparently it's important for me to know that the production contains 'full frontal male and female nudity'. Oooer.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

South Bank Saturday

For the first time in months I get beyond the boundaries of ye olde Streatham village on a Saturday and what a nice change that makes.

First of all, up to the gym to sign up for more sessions with my personal trainer and then over to the opticians. My short-sightedness has been annoying me for months but I needed the eye test at St Georges first to check the back of my eyeballs for diabetic nerve damage and that took place two weeks ago when I got the all clear. My eyes haven't changed much but the position of the lens inside my eye has so I now need either reading glasses, bifocals or varifocals. Just as I suspected. Not sure which option to take, but at least I have options, which makes a change!

Up to Waterloo for the first public showing of Dawn Right Nasty's new product - Tranny Hag the mag. And, as an early adopter, I also got a delightfully pink 'Tranny Hag' badge which I wore proudly throughout the rest of my South Bank adventures. That was followed by a drink and a nice sit down at the National Fillum Theatre for a chat with Wee Don Kerr at which I finally found out where that odd name came from.

After a wander round as the lights came on I went to the Royal Festival Hall (which is still being refurbished - how long does that take?) to sit on an orchestra. Don had earlier pointed out the little light-box seats as we walked along by the river so thought I'd try them out. Sit on a box and the instrument it represents in the orchestra starts playing. I actually couldn't tell if the violins I ws sitting on worked or not but it seemed like a fun thing to do and lots of people were enjoying it. I also remembered that I'd brought my camera so photos were duly taken. I didn't try the 'prison' fountain further along the balcony - stand on a metal grating and jets of water spring up around you - but lots of people tried it out. Must be damp on a windy day.

Then Chris appeared at the National Theatre and we wandered along the South Bank as night drew in and the trees lit up with twinkling blue and white lights. London can be a beautiful city, especially along that stretch of the river, the bridges and lovely old buildings on the north side with St Paul's Cathedral all lit up and lights reflecting on the river. We wandered along to the Tate Modern and the Kandinsky exhibition.

I'd wanted to visit the exhibition all summer but, of course, we didn't make it until the penultimate day before closure, but it was worth it. 'The Path To Abstraction' illustrates Kandinsky's early work on the move from figurative to abstract art. Nine rooms of wonderful paintings, drenched in colour and shape, eyes wandering over the paintings looking for a way in or simply wallowing in the swirls and stabs of colour and feeling the joy. Paintings on glass, sketches on carboard and masterpieces on big canvasses. Particular favourites were 'Two Girls' , 'Improvision Gorge' (above) and 'Composition VII'. I'd urge everyone to go but it closes today.

My adventure ended with a walk back along the river to Waterloo and the tube home, tired but happy. How nice it is to be able to go out on a whim and explore a great city. It's so easy to take that for granted.