Archive for January 2004

Dope is now legal, lest we forget…   Leave a comment

Just want to say a couple of things on my lunchbreak.

People should look at my pop career as being essentially tantric in nature.

Someone refreshed my memory re. what I’d actually written about Robert Kilroy-Silk (see “hate figures” section of “lists”) and I was surprised at how nicely his bigoted evil eventually tied in with me being a smart arse. I hope everyone else on the list will take heed. You can run from the small axe represented by this website, but you cannot hide forever.

What was I saying about John Fahey? I walk into the Sally Ann the other day and there on the top of the pile is a record by Leo Kottke on Takoma, which was the label that Fahey founded. American copy and everything. I’ve been doing some theorizing about the prevalence of Fahey-related stuff in 2nd-hand Cambridge and I reckon this town must have been especially receptive to avant-folk guitar players in the late 60s-early 70s, which stands to reason, I think.

Several aeons later…

Just when I’m convinced that the Bad Timing posse are due for some sort of award for making stuff grow in the desert they go and have a bad night, which was yesterday at the Portland. Phil was too clever, I was too stoopid, and Ergo Phizmiz were wearing the wrong hats altogether. Funny how fings turn out.

Today I forgot to get my son from nursery. That’s bad isn’t it? I was covering for the other half because it’s her day but I somehow didn’t recall that he only has a half day today.

Last night I bounded up to DJ Dave Hensonic because he was playing a tune that I’d heard DJ Nick play at that Sandpaper Sessions thing (was it him on that night, I’m not sure if I remember…) and I told Dave that I really liked that song, and he said, “yeah, I know, you told me before when you came round to mine the other week and I played it to you and you said that you’d heard it before at that Sandpaper Sessions thing…” and I said “Did I? Did you? Did I? Really? Fuck.” Then Dave continues, “I’ve noticed you’ve started doing that a lot, sort of reiterating yourself.” And I felt a bit like, well, you know, the tune’s not that fucking good, and I sort of walked away a bit winded. It actually felt really disturbing, like I’d had some kind of ontological shock or something. And this the day when cannabis is made (virtually) legal.

Me and Simon were discussing last night whether this legal change would mean and end to The Fear, which must stem at least in part from the practice of trying to look studiedly normal whenever a police car goes past, even when you’re not carrying anything, for years and years. I pointed out that I have the facility to be utterly, utterly paranoid anywhere, at anytime, and he, thinking of trips to Amsterdam, agreed.

Posted January 22, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

unhealthy attention to detail   Leave a comment

Before I worked in Arjuna I never went in the bloody shop because I thought they’d be able to smell the meat, and although I only do two days a week, I’ve now been there long enough to feel like a bit of an old hand. At least once every working day, however, somebody asks me something that unmasks me as a healthfood charlatan. The classic one is where somebody asks me if something is gluten-free, and because I’m a twat I haven’t really grasped the whole gluten-free/gluten-oppressed thing, although I do know that it means you basically can’t eat anything that hasn’t fallen off a tree into your mouth, and so I still have to run round the shop and find some harassed-looking full-time fellow worker to ask whether quinoa is gluten-free, or whether gluten flakes are gluten-free, or whether we sell ham-sandwiches or not. My excuse, if I really believed in it, would be something along the lines of “there’s an incredible amount of stuff to learn, products change all the time etc” but I am forced to realize that the bottom line is that if I came across the equivalent of myself working in a record shop, or a musical equipment shop, or even a hi-fi kinda shop, and I asked them a couple of questions to help me towards making a purchasing-decision which they then subsequently failed to answer to my satisfaction, I would take them for a monkey, and, indeed, I would get really fucking livid as well. The reason I bring this up is because Iain, the man who spurns the common trouser in favour of the short, and who is another occasional Arj part-timer, comes in the shop the other day and asks me if the coconuts are locally grown. “Let me just check…” I say, starting to panic just a bit because this is one of those typical healthfood-charlatan unmasking questions, and besides, this is Iain, who knows everything I do plus all the gluten stuff and more, and so why is he asking me this, which makes me think that something might be up before… realizing…he’s having a …laugh. You know what they say though: retail is detail.

Posted January 14, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

That was my idea…   Leave a comment

Tonight I had a barney with the wife, then got caned to kill the anger, and then, feeling like the world was generally against me in some way, I went home to receive the following email from Richard “Rosey” R*E*P*E*A*T:

Do you remember Kurt Cobain? He died 10 years ago this April.

In homage to the man who must the most influential on underground musical culture (for bad as well as good) in the past 25 years, and remembering a very successful gig Richard Brown organised to mark the 5th anniversary of his passing, R*E*P*E*A*T are hoping to organise an event a The Portland Arms on Saturday 10th April.

What I had in mind was to ask various people to perform just two or three Nirvana songs each, ‘unplugged’. Higher profile people I’m asking are

Chris T-T
Jazz from Right Turn Clyde
Steve Adams / Broken Family Band
Greg McDonald (Dawn Parade)
Seymour Glass (MBA)
Greg from Neo
Houston 500
Cosy Cosy
Bomb Factory

As you’ll see, I’m after people who can interpret Cobain’s songs in a variety of imaginative ways. As I don’t expect everyone on my wish list to be able or willing to play, I’d also ask some of the newer bands in Cambridge to go on earlier in the evening.

I’d organise the gig as a benefit for a local mental health charity (maybe Granta again) and Love Music Hate Racism.

If you think you can make the gig and would like to play, please let me know in the next two weeks so that I can finalise the programme.

Thanks a lot


R*E*P*E*A*T, PO Box 438, Cambridge CB4 1FX

Now the funny (funny! ha!) thing is that I’ve been doing quite a bit of thought-based work recently on the subject of how to organise a very similar event myself. After all it was I who was responsible for the first such Cambridge event on the fifth anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain (God rest his soul, he was a true punk, fuck it) However, rereading matey’s email I am forced to reconsider the contribution of Mr. Richard Brown, the famous impresario, as I had hitherto considered that night to be a Pete UM baby, a la Roger Waters. Its true that I may have been encouraged by Richard Brown to put on such a night, and indeed he became the de facto promoter because of his relationship with the Portland Arms, and he may have suggested a few bands and even given them the go-ahead to play. I also recall that although I definitely did the posters it may have been him that got them printed and put out on the streets. I remember because he dissed my poster even though it was genius and had taken me quite some time. Anyway, the point is that it was my idea (and I’m almost 50% sure of that) and I’m the fucking No. 1 Kurt Cobain fan around here, kapeesh?

Ultimately though, it’s nice to be asked to play, and I’d rather not have the pressure of organising everything. Yeah? No, yeah, really. I’d been thinking about it a lot and although I was pretty sure I would have made the preliminary enquiries necessary to assess general interest in the idea, I personally was unsure whether I felt ready, willing or able to commit wholly to the project, such that it wasn’t. Thus far I hadn’t done anything more than have a discussion with Mad Andy about it. I told him about how I was toying with the idea of using the Kurt’s Death 10th one to kick-off a series of tribute nights including a Beatles one and an Abba one, and he suggested doing a Bowie, which is a damn fine idea. I’d fire off an email to representatives of The Vichy Government immediately for that one.

The last one was called Come As You Are. I think this one would have had to be Nevermind.

Several days later…

Right, I wrote the majority of the above when I was still under the influence of various things, not least an injury to my pride. As you may have sensed though, during the course of writing it I realized that my feelings on the subject were a bit more ambiguous than I had originally thought, and what had started out feeling like a kick in the teeth rapidly became somebody doing me a favour. Just shows how good writing is for making you think a little bit harder about what you really think about something. It also helps to jog your memory, because a more accurate sequence of events started to filter through eventually. I could go on and on about this, but I think I’ll just try and summarise the pertinent points of my new position on the original Kurt tribute night and this new upstart one.

1. What happened was Richard Brown and I were talking about the approaching 5th anniversary of Kurt’s death and he suggested doing some sort of gig to commemorate it in some way. “Great idea!” I said, “I could get The New Fashion Heroes (my brother’s old band) up to play at it!”
2. Richard Brown and I had an almost equal role in deciding which bands were to play and liasing with those bands. This was in at least a few cases a question of the band hearing about it, asking to play and us going, yeah, OK. I designed the poster and Richard publicised the gig.
3. The gig quickly became a proper Kurt tribute night, with loads of bands doing one, two, or three Nirvana songs, which meant that my idea of putting the unknown New Fashion Heroes on at the end to play for a full half hour, with only a couple of Nirvana covers (off Bleach) seemed like a bit of a stupid one in retrospect.
4. I do like to think that the gig itself was a bit of a triumph, albeit a bit chaotic. For starters, the place was rammed, even though most of the people were in the various bands. When Hofman played the place went mental, and it’s the only time I’ve seen people standing outside the venue but hanging through the windows to see what’s going on. There was that camp bloke with the handbag who took it upon himself to act as stage security too! (Somewhere I have a video of that night, or my brother does, or did have). Gordon Mackenzie sang a couple of tunes with The Return Of Id (I think) and I believe that was the first time that he’d been onstage, which is a cool thing. Also Big Al (Brooker) did a really brilliant hardcore digital version of Negative Creep, which is also really funny on the video because he doesn’t know what to do with himself because he’s just playing a tape so he just keeps patting his stomach self-consciously and looking about. Also worthy of mention is Mad Andy, who somehow managed to keep getting onstage and do yet another Nirvana song in the style of hyper-camp cabaret Kraftwerk, which annoyed me at the time but steals the show on the video rather easily. In fact no-one was shit, apart from me. I just copped out because I couldn’t sing any Nirvana songs in tune so I sampled the opening bars of the Unplugged version of Where Did You Sleep last Night? and looped them with added samples of what sounds like snakes spitting. Richard Brown played bad bass along to it and I wore my Kurt Cobain commemorative shorts (Kurt Cobain: 1967-1994) onstage. I also gave away some special Kurt dogtags I’d made for the event to lucky winners who were able to answer questions like “Name three members of Duran Duran” What a twat. Then everyone left for the New Fashion Heroes and my brother broke the band up onstage at the end a la Ziggy Stardust. In the Portland.
5. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to play Rosey’s night because even five years down the line I don’t know enough about music to copy chords and so-on, and I still can’t sing any Nirvana songs to save my life, but I might do something to show goodwill. Ha ha. Otherwise it might just be a load of sheepish-looking bods with acoustics trying to appear vulnerable and enraged at the same time. I don’t think I’ll wear the shorts again though. And I’m glad I’m not trying to organise another one, really I am. Honestly.

Posted January 14, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

till-monkey unnerved by poor mentalist big spender   Leave a comment

The insane make me nervous. A young bloke came in the shop today that was evidently, obviously, clinically, and scientifically mad as a box of frogs. This is the reasoning behind my amateur diagnosis:

1. He gathers up goods worth £63-odd in about 4 minutes flat.
2. His ring tone is set to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and it goes off at least fifteen times while he is in the shop. For ages he can’t find his phone, and then when he does he starts fiddling with it in a flustered manner, like he might be texting someone a really long, angry message. At one point when it goes off he says something like “Yeah, its not my birthday!”
3. His behaviour is generally like tightly controlled mania, like he’s tripping and losing it but trying to act normal.
4. He has a strange red mark on his forehead.
5. He is wearing big headphones and when he lifts one off his right ear I see that it is all black and fragmented like he’s sustained some awful wound or burn, or has a hideous infection. It looks fucking painful.
6. He smells really sweaty and bad.
7. When I ask him for his £63-odd he gives me two twenties, and then looks a bit surprised to see how much he’s spent.
8. While I am totting up what he’s got he makes no effort to pack his goods, and I start to develop a paranoid theory that he doesn’t want to shop for healthy foodstuffs- he just wants to stab me with a spoon or something.
9. While he is at the till he has some kind of hallucination, because he starts, his eyes fixed on the thin air in front of his chest, and then says something like “Phew, they just go right through!”
10. After I’ve finished serving him and the bunch of customers who are caught up in his loopy wake I go off and start putting some goods on the shelf, but he just stays there fiddling with his phone. Eventually he starts putting things in bags but he already had two carriers when he came in (full of God-knows-what) and I see that he’s going to struggle to be able to carry everything. Perhaps with this fact in mind, he packs everything bar some very expensive soap (£3.75) and some hugely overpriced crisps (£1.20). He opens the crisps, puts the soap inside, then thinks better of it (that was close, almost did something really mad there!) so he takes the soap, pops a couple of crisps in his mouth, and goes out the door, leaving the packet on the counter.

Takes me about ten minutes to calm down. No-one else has noticed a thing.

Posted January 9, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Karma bust for Kilroy-Silk, or am I just a cunt?   Leave a comment

Some random thoughts to ease me back into the discipline of writing bollocks.

It is only by repeated viewings of the Disney/Pixar film Monsters Inc. that one discovers its true purpose as a brutal critique of contemporary so-called consensus politics. Power is made with fear. Watching the lunchtime BBC news-with-Anna-Ford about “What To Do In The Event Of Terror” the joke isn’t even funny. Seems to be some sort of imposition of martial law as explained to 8 year olds. My mate Guy sees Britain as an Austria to the U.S.’s Nazi Germany. Guy was in the studio audience for Kilroy once. He was going to disrupt the show by saying something sensible, but in the end he was too sickened by Kilroy’s smarmy evil to speak. Anyway, karma bust, because RKS’s future is in doubt at the BBC after he made some ill-advised remarks about Arabs. What have they ever done for us; he wanted to know. Well, Rob, you know maths, and writing, and science, and astronomy?

Hey, what about that Beagle trip to Mars? I remember seeing that Colin Pillinger bloke on TV a few years ago and sniggering at his comedy-British-scientist routine, and this just illustrates the strength and breadth of my prejudices, because I have to say that there wasn’t a single atom of my cynical and mean-minded being that ever believed even for a nanosecond that that Pillinger geezer was going to be orchestrating a scientific triumph on behalf of the nation. Look at the man’s hair. Listen to his West Country accent. The guy is so obviously earthbound in nature that it’s hard to visualise him anywhere outside of a potting shed, for fuck’s sake. Or am I just a cunt?

Watching Shattered on Channel 4 has been really good for my sleep patterns, I’ve discovered. I was getting really dysfunctional in the Zzz department, mainly due to my son’s nocturnal habit of not-being-asleep, plus sleeping in a small shit bed with someone who can only sleep in a star-shape, plus thc making me all wired, plus worryin’ about the world, plus this and that and this and oh-no, there goes the alarm clock. But after watching people try and hang out with relative strangers for 87 hours at a stretch I’ve found that everything has receded back into its proper perspective, and for two nights in a row I’ve slept through Syd’s crying and Sam’s rib-poking, which is pretty cool. I wonder if Keith Richards is following Shattered. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that even he would be impressed, ‘cos he used to do 5 or 6 days at a stretch. He’d be going “Aw, come on, give them a line at least!”

Yesterday’s Guardian headline was something like “Unnatural Disaster”. Some new scientific study has shown that we’ve fucked the planet up with hairspray or something, and basically deserve to die. Oh no! Who will save us from this terrible calamity? Tony Blair? Too busy answering questions about shades of emphasis in his various statements on the Kelly leak. Er, hang on Tone; forget that a minute… got a bit of a problem with the old planet. Any chance you could safeguard our collective future? How come the whole country can be put through the emotional wringer by the Soham murders, but probable ecological meltdowns don’t seem to be able to be engaged with. Couldn’t we save the world for the memory of Holly and Jessica?

Posted January 9, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized