Shandpaper Shessions/Astute Tina from Hitchin   Leave a comment

It’s taken me quite a while to realize that there is some grist to be had out of only being allowed an 8-minute set at the Tate this Friday. Because I’ve got lots of short songs innit? I reckon I might get six in without any bother, and look kind of athletic too.

Right. Friday. Sandpaper Sessions. Hadn’t had any booze for some 114-odd hours so I had a real hard time readjusting to life on the piss. Two pints hammered me and I felt slowed down in the body and confused in the mind, but I tried to think of the bigger picture and kept caning Stella in plastic cups. At some point whilst Chevron was on I started to get some kind of weird crisis of confidence trip from a mixture of adrenalin and his splatterbreaks, so I headed to the bar and leaned on it. No sooner had I done so than Tara and his mate from the “mental health circuit” came up and started chatting at me in that slightly emotionally dulled way that people on that kind of prescription do, so I had a tequila and another pint, by which time I was pretty much a mess. I feel like I have to explain all this because I acted like a tit during my set and I still feel really ashamed about it. There was a lot of tequila feedback going on inside me and a lot of real feedback on the outside. The so-called good microphone stopped working about three songs in and I had to exchange it for the shit one, which was on a shorter lead, which made for more squealing and howling. I don’t mind doing these really off-it gigs once in a while but I like to feel like I can put my hand on the rudder if I need to. I introduced some song with a comment about the prevalence of animals in my work and a bloke heckled something like “I don’t like animals!” which might have been intended as being provocative in a helpful way for all I know, but all I could think of to so was to snarl “FUCK YOU!” back at him. This is not good. I just bashed him over the head with the rudder. To soften the blow I complemented the guy on his goofy dancing that I’d noticed earlier, and then realized it was most probably an entirely separate individual. Twat.

Afterwards I trucked along to Eric’s party, dragging the Bad Timing crew along out of cruelty. I’d never met Eric before and I still haven’t, but his party was cool. Stephen Rodefer out of The Great British Underground Art Film was there, as was JH Prynne, and Keston Sutherland, and lots of poets and Europeans. I saw Prynne sitting at the top of the stairs with glitter on his bald head watching boy-on-boy crazy French dude/poet kissing and scrambled to video it in drunk-o-vision. Earlier I spent a little while in the hallway talking easily to women, so you know I was pretty inebriated. Later I dragged the Bad Timers and the pan-European boys from Klipp AV up to the smallest landing in the house and flumped my bones down to skin up, whilst everyone else stood around and talked shop about electronic music. English-boy from Klipp AV teaches SuperCollider (the software – he’s met Ross Bencina!!!) and I asked him a dumb question about whether he was teaching people to make music or not. He responded that he was teaching them how to use the software and I went back to rolling spliffs. It wasn’t what I meant – it just came out wrong.

I started writing this about a week ago. I’m getting crap with the diary, like I’m trying to beat Jamie Vichy who hasn’t posted since February 17th. Are you alright Jamie?

Then it was Hitchin and I spent a lot of money on train fares, kebabs and lagers and didn’t get a sov for it. Club 85 is a great venue, but I think all the many staff (Bob the Man, two sound guys, doorman, stage manager youth who doesn’t like to be called stage manager etc) had all been to some crazy Hitchin party the night before and they were sleep deprived. Bob thought I played theremin, and the sound guy thought that the main band were tiny children or something. I did a focused set which involved a lot of tightly-controlled evil, and it went down really well. Got rid of a CD to a man in his late forties. Afterwards I met a strange woman called Tina who had the gift of being worrying astute. She was a real geezeress, but she managed to chew her way through my silences into the meat of the whole Um thing in about a minute flat. I can’t recall all the details but it might be summarised as:

Um is a unique and entertaining act
I’m quite different in person
I won’t get anywhere if I don’t push it

It doesn’t sound so clever now but she was really switched on I tell you. It was like being seen from a great way off.

Then I came back and had a bit of time to spare so I got the old reel-to-reel fired up. Halfway through some naïve electronics involving a lot of OSCar the fucking tape snapped, so I switched back to digital and did a song about coming back from a gig in Hitchin and doing a track on the four-track and having my tape snap (Another Orphan). It’s all grist to my mill I tell you.

Posted March 10, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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