Archive for January 2003

I had a great time!   Leave a comment

I’ve decided to advertise the new “Reviews” section of my site (look under “Lists”) by including the first review here in my diary, because that’s the only bit that people read, as well they might.

Last night’s Bad Timing was a complete BABOON of a success, especially considering it was a bit of a local’s night.

DJ Zero was calm and fearless, playing whatever the hell he liked and then fucking with the signal thru his special machine. I’m going to get one of those machines and then there’ll be four of us.

The Man From Uranus was also DJ-ing but also fucking, this time using his trusty (though it didn’t seem to be working at the beginning, and I kept looking at the three young men behind the sound desk to see what was being done about it) theremin, plus he was boshing it through his Moogerfrooger. I wanted a Moogerfrooger as soon as I saw it, and then I saw the price tag. If he can pay that much to Moog, maybe I should charge him more than twenty notes for my big old black organ that he wants so badly. Anyway the Man From was a fucking king with all that kitschy old electronic stuff he finds from somewhere (ebay I reckon.

Then the main dish was Andy Coleman + Ashley on drums. Ashley used to be in Conemelt (still is in Charlottefield) and used to have dreads down to his arse. Now he sports a beard and looks a little cuddly, but who cares about what he covers his face with when he can drum like some sort of insane jazzgerman! Thus Andy’s cracked the “how can I avoid looking like a computer programmer” conundrum and given rhythmic wings to his melancholy electronics. Fucking excellent! Track 3 or 4 with the two-note bassline was so good I almost chopped off my own hands! I’m not trying to be funny here, but I bet YOU that that was the best jazz (obviously it wasn’t jazz, but that’s the point) gig that there’s ever been in the Portland. Tell me I’m wrong. Honestly it was a fucking triumph, on all sorts of levels. We’re used to people with laptops, and people mixing it up with real instruments, but the laptop/drums combo was a fresh and pure thing for me. At one point I heard some guitarry sounds coming from Andy and I wondered whether he might enlarge the human quotient in his band, and then immediately realised that this would be a dreadful mistake. Well, certainly not guitarists and bassists and so on. I’ve nothing against guitarists and bassists, but having some sort of group set-up would be a disaster. It would just get all fusion or something, like really ill modern jazz for the boring or wealthy. As it was though, it was just depressingly good, and I had to tell myself sternly that mine was a different type of talent, and take little sips of Strong Suffolk for comfort.

So, a really good night, and restorative for me. Dave gave me a CD of his electronic death metal exercises and Sas finally gave me my picket fence (I thought Sas was a painter and decorator, and then I found out he was at the Slade). He’s done this Portable Picket Fence piece so you can feel secure and safe wherever you are. I think I might wrap it round my hat Lee Perry style. Plus it was nice to be out with my brother, whom I love a great deal.

Posted January 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

What is UM?   Leave a comment

Been sat in Sam’s cupboard for almost an hour trying, for the purposes of a press release, to describe what it is I do as UM, which is like asking a self-obsessed masochist what he does for a living, which is like staring into a Hall of Broken Mirrors, which is like being fucked by an Indian elephant God, which is a real pain in the arse.

I’d like to be able to say something like: “I don’t really know what it is that I do, I just try to feel my way intuitively…” which is kind of true, but obviously bollocks at the same time. I’ve got lots of ideas about what I want to do, and lots of ideas about what I’m doing. In fact I think I’ve got more ideas than actual…stuff. I also feel under some pressure, probably from common sense, to just keep it factual and unpretentious, but that makes it sound like the most dreary, everyday wanky little thing in the world. And then I get to thinking: But it is. And then I start hating myself even more.

Here though, for what it’s worth, are the bare facts. More or less.

I’ve been involved with music since 1990-ish, but I still can’t play a goddamn thing, and only just know enough about computer/music technology to get by.
Um starts circa 1996
Start gigging late ’97/98
Since then I’ve been mostly doling it and getting wasted (and getting increasingly less proud and more ashamed for doing both), doing millions of (Cambridge) gigs, and making shitloads of songs (2000+, at least)
My live act was meant to be some kind of multimedia mind-fucking, rib-tickling, crotch-fondling philosophical art circus with films, jokes and politics, but mainly it’s just me singing over tapes, and the occasional bit of rambling between songs.
I can count the number of demos I’ve sent out on the fingers of two hands, and still have a thumb left over to stick up, irony-style, at The Biz, or up my ass or something.
I’m almost 33 and I’ve practically got a wife and kid.

So there you are. Game over.

PS: In the end I asked people via email what UM was all about and I got lots of kind and considered replies, so I’ll shut up now.

Posted January 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Again the wretched horses   1 comment

Of course last week’s triumphs in the not-getting-pissed stakes were replaced over the weekend by comic levels of abuse on Friday with members of Ascoltare, The Palmtop Orchestra, Eggboy and Elias Bland, and then even more hilarious amounts of joke-drinking on Sunday with an unnamed member of Rob Jesus. Thus it was that I woke up this morning at 5:20 with a hangover of laughably grotesque proportions, a Texas-sized sense of shame, and the odd phenomenon that I seem to suffer with in these situations where I get two lines of a song repeating over and over and over in my head. This morning it was: “Sex and drugs and rock and roll/are all my brain and body needs” but I have had the theme from The Tweenies before, as sung by Mark E Smith. It’s the way that physical discomfort goes with mental anguish that really gets me with African Horse Sickness (BTW, I got a cool T-Shirt with a horse on it for Christmas, so if you see me in it you know I’m hungover). I really did feel unbearably wretched, and really genuinely horror-struck by the fact that I was to be in charge of a very demanding two-year old for the entire day. My mind spun with visualizations of possible scenarios involving me bent over toilet bowls with a confused infant repeating “lorry lorry lorry” in my ear. However it was not to be, thank fuck. Sam informed me as she left (an hour and a half of fear and sweating later) that nursery times had changed and he was in for the morning. After she had shut the door, I can honestly say I gave God a black power salute in the darkness. Suddenly, everything was possible, and the sickness was dissolved in joyous relief. I didn’t even go back to bed when I’d got Syd to school, and although I didn’t do anything useful, I did make a crap song with a spoken word bit that I’d come up with at the apex of my sorryness earlier on:

Woke up in hell
But it was my real life
Woke up in hell
With my wife
What’s that smell?
I think a piece of me died.
Oh well,
Let’s get buried alive.

I should perhaps point out that lyrics like these refer in the main to an ongoing in-joke concept between me and my brother and should be spoken in an exaggerated Mancunian accent.

Got some records the other day at Resale:

And Her Blues – Victoria Spivey
Dirty Mind – Prince (I left behind “1999” because it was three notes and a bit fucked but I’m regretting it now, because although I have DMSR on both vinyl and CD and are justifiably proud, plus of course “Little Red Corvette” in various formats, one should always be at liberty to rock “Delirious” if the fancy should take you, or indeed if necessity should call for it. Still, “Dirty Mind” though, eh?)
Snap, Crackle and Bop – John Cooper Clarke.

Five quid. Also left another John Cooper Clarke which may or may not be in the book for 12 quid and a Sir Douglas Quintet one that I felt sure to be overcharged (by Resale standards) for and probably wouldn’t even enjoy listening to, which after all has got to have something to do with it.

My vinyl pony-spunking continued later in the day when I learned that Darren Caroline (he and she are off to Australia in the spring. What is it with fucking Australia?) is flogging some stuff. I get:

Greatest Hits – Sly and The Family Stone
Yo! Bum Rush The Show – Public Enemy
Le Pere Du Rai – Bellamou Messoud
Amerikkka’s Most Wanted – Ice Cube

Another fiver well spent, I sort of feel. I don’t know what the Cube outing is all about but surely it has to be worth something, to someone, someday? Maybe?

Posted January 14, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Detox my arse   Leave a comment

My mother has moved to the bleakest place on earth. A big hill off the coast in Cornwall inside a raining cloud. It (the miserable darkness) was bearable (in that you felt like you were involved in some depressing fictional exercise) for a few days and then the sun came out for about half an hour in Looe and I remembered that even an awful life was slightly improved by a bit of light and heat.

Fuck all this detox shit that everyone seems to think is necessary just because its January. People eating plates of steamed vegetables in place of cakes and ale, and going on and on about it. What with the weather being so super-dreary, if anything then now is the time to push the boat out a bit, perhaps even to fuck yourself up so badly that you don’t know who you are, or even notice the appallingness and cold.

Actually I’ve been detoxing myself, to be honest. I’d been consistently pissed since about the 18th December, had pains in my side, and my mind. I’d drunk:

Lots of wine (white and red)
Lots of beer (lager, ale, stout)
Lots of spirits (gin, brandy, whisky)
Some fortified wines (port, ginger wine)

I felt fucking awful, and depressed about my future, present and past. It was time to stop. Eventually I did, more or less. My detox program has been:

Eat what you like
1 can of Stella per day

I started Monday and I’m finishing today (Friday) so I think you’ll agree I’ve done rather well. At times it has been very hard. The first couple of days were OK-ish, but then it got a bit sticky. I kept fancying a pint, or a bottle of tequila. The Locomotive seems to have shut down for some reason, and I found myself standing outside looking in at the stools on the tables, thinking: but why?

Another thing I don’t understand is why when you’re drinking in the normal way (i.e. like some sort of pisshead fish) beer smells and tastes pretty much as it does, which is fairly nice for good beer and crap for the crap stuff. When you’re on the wagon however, or limiting yourself to a sensible minimum amount like I was, even cunt-juice like Stella can floor one with lust by the smell of a freshly cracked can. Mark E Smith has a line about Rolling Rock that alludes to this phenomenon.

Been a bit down about my career lately. Struggling to see the point in the pointlessness, where once that was the point. If, for some reason, you were to look at it in darts terms, it would go like this: I used to feel like I was hitting treble twenties at least half the time, but in a deserted pub. Now feel like there’s about three people in the other bar, with one guy at the fruity and a short-sighted barman in this bar, but I’m hitting ones and fives and stuff. At the end of last year I had a series of gigs that should have been good and would have liked to have been on form for. I also had some less “important” gigs. This is how they broke down:

Bad Timing w/Kid 606, The Junction: I was pretty good but the punters stayed away. The Kid stayed backstage eating curry while I played, as predicted. Actually he arrived during Holy Fire and lay down on the main stage (behind the UM spectacular) and later commented that it was “an awesome song” or something. I can’t remember exactly what he said because I was being harassed by this extremely excitable little university dude who reckoned he knew someone who knew Alan Fletcher (easily Depeche Mode’s most famous member) and could make me into an enormous star. My next gig (organised by matey) was going to be some Uni bash where I would support some band fronted by Alan McGee’s wife. He took about 25 minutes to take my phone number off me because he felt the need to tell me over and over again that I was “THE BEST, I MEAN, THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE, AND I WILL, REPEAT WILL, PROBABLY BE ABLE TO SORT SOMETHING OUT, ALTHOUGH I can’t promise anything but you are THE BEST…etc.” At one point he insisted that we go into the loos so he could rant at me somewhere quieter. I got a bit funny at this point because I felt a bit silly going into a toilet with a man when I wasn’t doing drugs but he was so insistent that I got steamrollered into it. I had my camcorder on me so I thought I’d sneakily get some audio record of how I was THE BEST but I must have pressed the record button twice and missed it all. All I have is an answerphone message from him from later on that night sounding like he’s on PCP and still telling me that he rates me at the highest level.

Blang! Nite (12 Bar Club, London)
This was also meant to feature members of The Mouldy Peaches but they pulled out. I was very average. Thomas Truax was more or less brilliant. The Broken Family Band were the greatest.

An Evening Of Psychedelic Drone Music (The Portland Arms)
I was a bit pointless.

Sandpaper Sessions (Kings College, w/ Matt Wand)
Matt Wand didn’t show. One of those gigs where I feel not very in the mood and then I look out and realise everyone’s smiling, and then I’m pretending to be Michael Jackson and stuff. Really good gig.

Bad Timing w/ V/VM (The Portland Arms)
I was crap. They were great.

Songwriter Night at The Boat Race:
Modesty aside, I was truly magnificent. I was in the zone. I shat on the carpet of the zone. They were Spanish students, but I caned them back to Spain. I don’t think I’ve ever been so good.
The wry Scottish hard-edged folky guy who played before me told me: “Half your songs are crap, but you’ve got fucking balls of steel!” Best compliment I’ve ever had.
Met some young dude who reckoned he had the ear of the guy who’d signed So Solid Crew and thought I was exactly what he’d be looking for. It seems pretty likely, so I sent him a CD. No word back as yet.

Posted January 10, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized