Archive for September 2003

MFU gets into bearpit: The Swiss Story Part 4   Leave a comment

Oh, I forgot an episode from the previous night where me and Phil were playing table football and it was like 9-all and then this great big muscular Eurorocker with a swoosh cut comes up and indicates that we is challenged, as indeed we are, but mainly by a dearth of da skillz and a surfeit of da drink. Phil comes round my side of the table and we take on the SUPREMELY CONFIDENT NEW WAVE VIKING, who kicks our laughing asses round the table of course. After every goal he does a little dancing motion that is mainly a thrust at the hips, but he is soundless throughout. When we are finished being good and thrashed he steps back from the table and throws out his arms majestically, and then walks away, leaving us giggling goofily and asking ourselves whether that really did just happen.
So then I wake up in the morning and feel like THE SHIT OF DEATH, and then I feel like I might live and after some confused discussions and an apple each we decide to head out into town to see a bit of Bern before we have to leave. The weather is absolutely gorgeous but the heat starts to waken my nausea and before long I am struggling to deal with crossing roads and avoiding trams and the very gentle culture shock of Switzerland in general. By now the whole heroin thing has become a bit of a running joke and as we pass by a big Konzert Haus I am kidding Phil that the next time he comes he’s going to be playing there with a 60-piece orchestra to loads of old Swiss rich people in too much gold and fur, but that they’ll all be nodding out. A huge valley divides Bern and we keep having to look down hundreds of feet to the beautiful river below, but this is just a big mixture of hangover and vertigo for me, and I keep thinking about the flight home.
We lastly visit Bern’s bear pit, which features real live bears that sit about sadly waiting for people to chuck morsels of sweet modern crud at them. Phil sort of gets into it because he’s got German bear blood in him or something.
Finally we hurry back to the Reitschule and after awkward goodbyes (which mine always are) we hop back into the hire car, which hasn’t been tagged like expected, and embark on a really fucking nasty motorway journey to Bern. I’m the worst passenger in the world and my nerves are shot to fuck. You would have thought I’d been to Vietnam or something. I basically hate all forms of transport right down to bicycles.
Then we hang around Geneva Airport for 4½ hours and I spend money on tiny little cans of Kronenbourg rather than food and continue to feel rough. The terrace café is a real jet set place though and it’s kind of cool to watch the planes landing and taking off in the sun, with a backdrop of impressively mountainous terrain.
Last of all we eat a packet of crisps, get on Flight 911, and I cane vodka but survive.
Now it’s two days later and I feel really flat and without motivation, but not unhappy. My urge to get fucked all the time has been lost in transit too, so I’m having some kind of unconscious detox. This is without historical precedent. Doubtlessly the urge will soon return.

Posted September 24, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Support Your Local Spaceman: The Swiss Story Part 3   Leave a comment

So, uh, yeah. Then I come offstage and although I’m a bit pissed off I’m philosophical about it because that’s what I did in college and it sure doesn’t prepare you for any other job. Keyboard-dude from Morbius buys my CD (first copy of The Old Album sold to anyone in the world) and this cheers me up quite a bit, and then the slightly camp older barman buys another one and, as I always do, I take this as a good sign. I have to, you see. He even wants me to sign it and I feel a bit silly putting my jobseeker’s allowance name down so I do a goofy drawing too just to show I’m an artist. He asks me how much I want for it and I don’t understand the currency because it’s numerical and so I ask how much Morbius are charging for theirs and then ask for two thirds of that sum and then he gives me the full whack anyway in a manner that suggests that he doesn’t want to argue about it. Then Morbius play and I find myself getting into the thing they do between songs where Bones starts talking random crap at the audience, sometimes amusingly and sometimes totally randomly, and then the rest of the band crash into the next song whether he sounds like he’s finished or not, which can be very funny. All the time I’m feeling sorry for Phil because he’s got sleep deprivation, fading drug psychosis and a room full of nobody at all to take into SPACE. Sometimes that sort of shit can do you a favour though, and it must have because he comes on and does the best set I’ve ever seen him do, and I’ve now seen him do a lot of really good ones. It’s only now that I realise that all the fucking about with the lights earlier on in the day is because they have a really good set of lights and MFU looks like a ASTRAL HEFNER MOTHERFUCKER and not some dude who has to TAKE SHIT FROM MORONS IN DIFFERENT-COLOURED HATS IN A FUCKING JAM FACTORY just to feed his kids and bring us DER SPACE MUSIK. And I’ve got it all on video, or most of it anyway. He does this brilliant new tune called Dead Astronaut or something where he puts on a simple paper mask that makes his face look blank and then pretends to float lifelessly as his machines bleep and bloop along, seemingly without purpose. It’s a nothing idea but it’s so effective, like Japanese theatre or something. He does a lot of upbeat, catchy stuff that any consumer could relate to too, a lot more polished like he’s really got his chops together. His theremin sounds decreasingly like a WOW MACHINE and more like a judiciously used favourite colour in his sonic palette. I start thinking about how maybe MFU isn’t such an acquired taste anymore and how he could really rock something like All Tomorrow’s Parties or whatever, and I mean that in a good way. People would love it. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SPACEMAN, I say.
Finally DJ Dolomite, who looks a bit like Simon (fuck it, he is Simon OK?) gets up and starts wading through a charmingly all-over-the-place set that defies my trainspotting by and large. Me and Morbius and Sandro all play table football and I drink about a zillion corn beers because the fridge never empties because these sophisticated Europeans understand that THE ARTIST’S PAIN manifests itself as THIRST. I feel kind of stupid and cheap though, because they have Orval (plus various Chimays) behind the bar and this is about my favourite beer in the whole world, and yet I don’t drink a single one.
Then some young geezer with long hair who is very tall starts talking to me and I can’t remember if he didn’t speak English or whether I had lost the ability myself but we couldn’t seem to communicate whatsoever, and yet he still wanted to stand very close to me indeed. Phil wandered up guilelessly and I pointed at him, and then at the bloke by way of introductions. Matey ignored Phil and continued to set up camp in my personal space. I was too drunk for diplomacy so I wandered off somewhere else. Matey appeared at my shoulder. I wandered off somewhere else quite fast. Instantaneous materialisation of Homo Europus in that zone too. I sprinted for the balcony to escape, only realizing as I got there that if I leant on the railing and looked out into the night sky I might as well be wearing a powder-blue off-the-shoulder cocktail dress, even if the available vista mainly featured staggering punks and junkies jacking up rather than elegant examples of topiary. Too late! He was behind me! I pegged it away with wild eyes, and a chase ensued until I made it to the safety of the backstage area. Thereupon Phil and I rolled the only joint I smoked over the weekend, and afterwards I was too fucked to tell Simon (who was being held to DJ ransom by a small group of dancing people on ecstasy) that I was going to call it a day, let alone go back out and have to deal with HAIR-BOY’S PURSUIT OF WHATEVER. I go upstairs, climb into my bunk and crash out in about ¾ of a second.

Posted September 24, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Dancing Dad Syndrome: The Swiss Story Part 2   Leave a comment

So where was I? Ah yes, there I was, on tour in Europe, reading a book.
After a while Sandro lays out some food in the dressing room area, and I haven’t eaten all day because I’ve been saving myself for this because Simon has told me that the food is really good. However, this isn’t the main meal, this is just the “get-in” food – a quick snack in case you’ve been in a transit van for 9 hours with no Swiss currency. Now I am properly starving, and this food looks far more than edible to me, almost like a table full of sex or something, because it’s just the sort of thing I like. There’s 3 different types of bread, and 3 different types of cheese, and four different types of cold meats, and pickles, fruit, pretzels, chocolate, sweet and savoury biscuits, orange juice etc etc. There’s even nuts. Then he brings in the beer, and its like two cases of special corn beer. But because I’m a nim-num, I get stuck into the beer (obviously) but I decide to save myself for the evening meal because we’re due to get that in about an hour or so at 7:30PM. As it happens we get caught in that Moebius (or should that be Morbius?) strip of the time continuum known in the rock and roll world as the soundcheck and Simon ends up driving round town to look for bass guitars and we don’t get to eat until about 11PM (doors open at 10PM and there ain’t no curfew). Dinner is a kind of amazing experience for me because we are all very politely asked to come downstairs to the restaurant bit of the venue and there is wine and you have to choose from a menu and not for the first time or last time in the weekend I get the distinct feeling that I have woke up in the wrong life or something. Despite all this luxury, and perhaps a little bit because of it, I am getting pretty edgy because I’ve been hanging around for hours and the 60 or so people who are hanging around outside the venue caning it look as though they might just have spent any money they had on beers and stuff rather than saving some to pay to see Brain of Morbius, Pete UM and The Man from Uranus. Oh yeah, that’s right, I’m billed as Pete Um and described as being “like a rough or snotty version of Billy Bragg”, while Phil is compared to Stockhausen. So, I’m a bit freaked out because I’ve had no food, I’m on first and there’s no one there. Then this belligerent and skanky old drunk with one eye comes in and pulls up a chair next to me and starts barking in German, or possibly dog. His voice has an amazing tone – incredibly loud and piercing and I keep trying to switch my DV camera on to capture it. Eventually he fucks off leaving his empty beer bottle on the table. I ask if this is the local mentalbrau and the soundman tells me that it’s actually quite a good beer. Everyone eats and leaves before I get the sense and the courage to ask where mine is, with the result that I end up eating alone at the end of a massive table, wolfing down my food because I think I’m due onstage about an hour ago. When I get back upstairs I see that there is indeed only about four paying customers in this massive room and I start to feel like a bit of an international let-down and the sort of Gareth Gates-style urge/shameless need to entertain just drains out of me, leaving a sort of resigned twat in his thirties who’s eaten a bit too quickly. Nevertheless Simon is DJ-ing that UNKLE remix of Can’s Vitamin C and that kind of jumpstarts me a bit and we have an amusing conversation about how Phil got asked to play theremin with Then Jericho at Glastonbury and Simon, who’s usually got some rock tour story for every occasion, relates how he heard that they would get off the bus unless the coke was there etc, and indeed Phil says that he ended up doing some coke in their van with them, and then they went on (without Phil) and got booed off after two songs. The idea of Phil doing coke in a van at Glastonbury with Then Jericho is just too perfect for me.
So anyway, I change into my suit and mooch about for a bit, mainly staring at the kids getting bombed outside and finding only seedy lumps in the sieve of my perception. There’s a balcony that you can stand on and look down onto the area in front of the building. This balcony has a kind of magnetic draw to it and I notice that Sandro keeps going over to stand there and look a bit depressed for a while. The PA is booming out at these disaffected Swiss youth but no one even glances in the direction of the building. The idea that this brilliant venue is being abused starts to swell out of all proportion in my mind, even though I’d probably be out there on the steps if I was a Swiss teen, and possibly even as an adult British male, and I get all saddened and deflated. For a little while we discuss the idea that I could sing from the balcony, which would have been fucking perfect in my little universe, but it proves too technically tricksome. Eventually I go on and perform to the other bands, the venue staff, a crazy punk who tries to get me to smoke some weed before I’ve even begun, and a few others. I sort of start OK and finish OK but there’s a fairly long section in the middle where I lose all heart and soul. I also leave out five or six songs so as not to prolong the agony. As usual these days, my dancing skills desert me apart from during Holy Fire. Simon and I share a theory that this is due to DANCING DAD SYNDROME, whereby the fact that we have done our silly business as humans by procreating has sapped us of our cosmick male mystery which makes us cool and responsive to rhythm and is needed to attract wimmin and their wombs etc. In the past I fancied myself as a mover, but somewhere along the line the moves just moved off somewhere else. Simon reckons that if he had gone out the night that Daniel was born he would have discovered that he had ceased to feel the groove within himself, and danced instead like someone’s Dad. After all, why are so many professional dancers homosexual? You can’t hide from science.
OK, more in a bit. I was only away for a day and a half so I’ll run out of this nonsense soon.

Posted September 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Fright Attendant Pete Um   Leave a comment

Goodness gracious me I feel terrible, but at least I’m alive, contrary to expectations. Flight 911 (no I’m not joking) landed with a hell of a bump but there were no mid-air collisions or engine failures and hijacks were kept to an absolute minimum. What a waste of dread, as Peter Tosh’s Mum used to say. Today I should feel relieved but I’m afraid I drank too much vodka yesterday and I feel like killing myself. My advice to impressionable young kids reading this is that if you do drink heavily, try to eat sensibly as well. Don’t have a breakfast of an apple and a dinner of a packet of crisps and snack on lager all day, and then go and bosh as much Stolichnaya down your gregory (my thanks to Bones of Brain Of Morbius for this addition to the Dictionary of Rhyming Slang) as you can whilst the stewardess isn’t looking.
I don’t think I can do the Switzerland story justice, not that anything happened in particular, but you know what I’m like. In the past few weeks I’ve done a lot of rehearsing, burned a whole load of Special Edition Swiss versions of The Old Album, and did a vast amount of needless fretwork about going on a fearoplane. I planned to rid my body of toxins and get plenty of rest before the trip, but on the eve of the UM & MAN FROM URANUS SWISS TOUR 2003 I drank lager and red wine to steady my nerves and then got woken up at 6AM by a fly. Yes that’s right, a fly. The thing kept flying around and landing on my head until I was thoroughly awake and annoyed and frustrated and although I usually do not kill insects I lashed out at the bugger blindly and manage to stun the fucker with ninja jam. I sat up and saw him lying on the pillow next to me like a tiny black lover, and so I killed him with my hand. Immediately I was filled with fear of Greek-style tragedy in case this was some sort of awful fuck-up in the eyes of many harsh and vengeful gods. “See how easy it is to smite things out of the air, Pete Um”, they might be saying. Couldn’t get back to sleep after that, apart from a brief ten minutes in which I dreamt that I had to kiss Syd and say goodbye to him, and then I woke up and had to do it again realstyles.
And so we drove to Luton Airport, which is one of the most romantic places on earth, and humped a lot of gear (MFU brought about 6 of his SPACE ORGANS and god knows what) about through departure lounges (for those dear ones who are about to depart) and curious gay men looked at us funny but gave us no gyp about electronic equipment. Simon’s mate Andy sent us a text saying he was running late and that he might not make it and then he didn’t make it and Simon reckons he did it on purpose because he gets fear as well, which didn’t make me feel any better. However, two pints of lager in the Shakespeare Bar did (Shakespeare was from Luton, you see, and lived near the airport in fact) and then we got on what Simon kept amusingly calling the EasyJet Death Sausage. We took off but did not die and so I ordered a double G&T. Then we landed but did not die and I felt cheerful but confused and we drove from Geneva to Bern in a fancy hire car on the wrong side of the road (our time) and I sat in the back and tried to concentrate on my Iggy Pop book.
Sam told me that Switzerland would be very clean and that the beer would be expensive, but I discovered that in fact the beer is free (for Rock Jesuses like myself anyway) and that Bern is the graffiti capital of the world. Dachstock Reitschule is a former riding school (hence the name) that was squatted about twenty years ago but seems to function as a venue and café on a legitimate basis nowadays. The building, and every inch of every surface around it, including the huge concrete railway bridge in front of it, is covered in graffiti and tags. It’s quite a spectacle. Adding to the spectacle are large numbers of young people living alternative lifestyles on the steps of the Reitschule itself. Dreadlocks, bongs, and a lot of punk warpaint. I tried to look like someone who might be good to see live in concert, but I felt like someone’s dad, as indeed I am. Inside, we discover that Dachstock is a fucking RIGHTEOUS place to play, as the main room is a huge wooden A-frame and the desk is vast, brand-spanking new, and the PA is the bollocks and lighting-people are getting busy with it and everything just looks cool as fuck from a travelling minstrel perspective. The soundman is pleasant, intelligent, smokes with a holder and looks like an Aryan Marty Feldman. The we go outside to get the machines that we use to make the music and under the bridge I spy a trio of people who appear to be injecting something like, I don’t know, heroin for instance. It turns out that Bern had it’s own version of Zurich’s notorious Needle Park and when that got too ugly they unofficially moved Junkieland to right outside the Reitschule so they could blame it on the freaks there. This is what I understand from a couple of drunken conversations, so I could be wrong of course.
Then we meet Sandro (Hi Sandro!) who is promoting this gig out of the goodness of his heart as far as I can tell (thanks, man!) and he makes us a coffee and tells us how the new desk is has been a bit of a financial burden on the place and I start to get about four little hairs stand up on the back of my neck and I realize that these hairs represent the number of people who are going to come and see us tonight. The coffee is wonderful and a spliff goes round. I refuse because I am here to work and do the job that I love rather than spend the next two hours gibbering underneath the bed, as I have heard that Swiss weed is decent stuff and I, as we all know, get the fear off three pulls on a crummy soap spliff. The Man From Uranus, despite suffering form a similar chink in his psychological armour (a similarity which we have bonded over many times, often whilst getting wasted) sees fit to accept. Within two minutes he proclaims himself unable to use sellotape and I realise that he has gone mental. The poor fucker has been up for 24 hours anyway because he usually works nights, and Simon, who has a bit of a Mr. Fixit side to his character in the same way that I have a Mr. Oh-No-What-If-It-All-Goes-Wrong? side to mine, asks him if he needs to get an hours kip before the soundcheck, and he gratefully agrees. For the next two hours As far as we are concerned he is upstairs asleep but when he reappears he tells us he has been gibbering underneath the bed. Actually he was on top of the bed but he can’t decide which way he should be facing in order to prevent a heart attack. Needless to say I feel for the poor bastard, and I feel relieved that I have grown used to our Earth ways and hip to cause and effect and so on. At this point Simon comes in with an enormous amount of weed in an envelope that we have been given for free. I turn back to my book, feeling ashamed to be reading, and even more so to be reading a biography of Iggy Pop.
OK I’m tonying on and this story is getting too long. I’m going to serialise it. See you in a bit.

Posted September 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

canis est in via   Leave a comment

Caned.

Reading my own website, and in doing so discovering distractingly shameful amounts of records that I’ve forgotten I’d bought.

Posted September 14, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Beyond comprehension   Leave a comment

It’s a crazy old world out there. First the Taliban start bombing 2000 year old Buddhist statues, then the U.S.A starts bombing everywhere else (not that they haven’t been at this since WW2) and then I read in Now – “Britain’s bestselling celebrity magazine”) that Jessie Wallace has had breast reduction surgery. Fucked up times, man.

I think I missed the mark with my description of the nerdy guys on Mill Road the other day. It comes across as me sneering at the dweebish, but it was actually meant to be at my expense, honest.

Posted September 10, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

In which the enthusiast steals from the needy, but gets Red Exposure   Leave a comment

Unusual vinyl windfall today. Striding beerwards towards the Co-op at about 5:45PM, I am surprised to see a pile of thirty or forty records dumped outside that charity shop that’s next to The Cat Flap. Without noticeable hesitation, I head over to the pile. It’s pretty good. I take about half the stuff.

Nah-Poo – The Art Of Bluff – WAH!
Troy Tate – Ticket To The Dark
Dome – Will You Speak This Word
Dome – Dome 1
Wire – Ibtaba (no signed print or postcards).
Wire – A Bell Is A Cup
Wire – The Ideal Copy
Wire Train – …In A Chamber (I thought this was Wire ‘cos I was being a little quick because I felt a bit scabby rooting around in bags outside charity shops).
999 -Separates
Steve Hillage – L (amusingly, I have two copies of this already)
Various – Methods Of Dance (if this was the cassette it’s worth something).
Ultravox – Ha! Ha! Ha!
Ultravox – Ultravox!
Jeremy Gluck with Nikki Sudden & Rowland S. Howard & Jeffrey Lee Pierce- I Knew Buffalo Bill
The Passions – Michael & Miranda
Dalek I – Compass
Bauhaus – The Sky’s Gone Out (w/ Press Eject & Give Me The Tape)
Chrome – Red Exposure (oh yes, I was truly meant to stumble across this pile of records)
John Renbourn – Faro Annie

Eighty-two quid in the book. Would have been another £48 on top of that but for lack of free 7″s, postcards, inner sleeves etc. Obviously it’s not cool to steal charitable donations but something tells me that that pile wouldn’t have been there in the morning. Somebody would have nicked them.

Posted September 5, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized