Tate/Interzone: London almost kills me again.   Leave a comment

Last night I was cycling back from Studio Dave, which is a legendary holy site in electronic music circles, and possibly because I’d had a long day and a reasonably lengthy life I was struck painfully with the realization that I’m a deluded asshole and everything I’ve ever done is shit. This might also have been related to the fact that I was a bit caned and that Studio Dave is a fucking hell of a long way away on a small unserviced ladies bicycle. The Arbury gives me the heebie-jeebies too.

Tate gig was pretty cool. They had exactly the same sandwiches as last time, although I didn’t enjoy them as much because my brother wasn’t there. Also it wasn’t in a big gallery space like LAST TIME I PLAYED AT THE TATE and there wasn’t multi-coloured REAL ART on the floor like last time and, because the room was smaller, the hubbub sounded different and less like something of cultural importance was taking place. Even though there was a lot less “cathedral” setting reverb going on the sound was still atrocious, possibly something to do with the fact that 13 acts hadn’t had so much as a line check and there was some kind of ill voodoo shit going on with the monitors. My first song (I Don’t Want To Be A Sailor) came through them sounding like pub piano favourites as interpreted by Merzbow, and from then on they just did that thing which particularly annoys me – cutting in and out randomly, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, sometimes minidisk, sometimes vox and all permutations thereof. This means you have to keep singing and doing your physical goofing around even though it sounds as though the music has just gone off, which makes you suspect that you’re looking like a pranny like you do when a car beeps and you wave and then realise it was the three laughing teenage girls behind you who were being beeped at.
I was relaxed, having played previously at the Tate (bit of an old stamping ground for me, if I didn’t mention that before) but all the little bottles of Becks in the world couldn’t calm me down entirely because I knew I had to play this other gig at the Interzone party later on, where I was hooking up with the Man From Uranus, and apparently they wanted me on at 3.15AM, which was a long way from 4PM that day, when the cases of beer had been opened (by me) and too bloody close to 11AM the following day, by which time I had to be back in Cambridge to take charge of Syd for the rest of the day, his mom being in Avebury doing vegan catering for people taking an “Anarchy & Clowning” course, of course. I was therefore extremely concerned that I would make it to the party in time to in order to potentially decide against playing and get the train home instead in case Phil had impetuously opted to fuck the party off and stay put in Stow-Cum-Cuy with Stimmung on the headphones. I didn’t want to end up stranded in London like last time with that Eggboy fool. So, yeah, I just had a quick drink in a shite pub with them genial blokes from The Broken Family Band and the lovely Timothy Victor, and then I picked up my bag and strode purposefully off into the horrible urban night. At this point I was intercepted by some female character-from-a-novel type who had bought my CD earlier at The Tate, who proceeded to get us both lost over and over again in an area she claimed to know well, and things eventually got very weird between us because she sensed that I was getting in a control-freak rage because I didn’t want to get trapped in London, and she was damn right. Possibly she was just having an off-night, but things got so deeply off-the dial so rapidly that one suspected she had a complicated past, and that she might even have been a Scorpio. She even reminded me of my ex-girlfriend, though not the Scorpio one. Basically we spent a lot of time on Brick Lane telling people we weren’t hungry, and some time on Commercial Street, and then just when a physical fight might have broken out, we finally found the party on Commercial Road. Up and up the sort of stairwells where you find yourself releasing adrenaline, especially when they’re adorned with Burroughs quotes like NOTHING IS TRUE: EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED etc, until we finally get asked by some dudes for our £5 entry-fee. When I explain that I am UM-who-is-playing-tonight one of the guys reacts like I’m Thee Special UM Dude Ov Legend, and while this would be just fucking great at any other time I’m in far too much of a hurry to find out if Phil is here with his petroleum spaceship and if, therefore, I’m going home at some point to be a semi-responsible parent or if I’m marooned like a monkey in thee London shitehole. Once we’re inside I clock a scene that looks like some bad music video director’s idea of a really crazy place where a lot of really crazy rock stuff is going on, because in the middle of the large (and worryingly empty) warehouse is a boxing ring, or a small stage mocked up to look like a boxing ring, on which is playing what looks like a bad TV ad director’s idea of a crazy rock band. By which I mean peroxide blonde female drummer bashing hard, black female bassist lying on the floor, black male (but outrageously camp in eye-make up and skin-tight denim jeans and bomber jacket) singer with legs akimbo and giving it loads. But I’m not looking at them because I’m so busy trying to see Captain Phil and I’m properly freaking out because the last train’s gone and here I am stuck in London with my new pal at a party that clearly is never going to happen. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What is the fucking point of being a super-neurotic control-addict if everything is just going to fuck up on me constantly anyway? And Phil is nowhere…nowhere…nowhere…oh no…

“Hi Pete.” He says, and then gets hugged and hugged, but unfortunately for what he means, rather than whom he is, even if he is a great big, lovely space-bloke anyway. “Do you want me to show you where the free beer is?”

So, yeah, within about a Lowenbrau my shaky sense of equilibrium was restored and I was able to apologise to my PSYCHOLOGICAL MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR GUIDE, and when Iain and Claire-Harriet pitched up with special PhD champagne I could almost feel a human heart beating in my chest again. I then noticed that people were starting to filter into the party space and also that they were being entertained by a succession of guitar players in ones and twos, and it struck me that what they really might want is a drunk bloke in a hat with a mission to rock the minidisk. Duly I renegotiated my playing time from 3:15 AM to rightaboutnow and got up and hit them with the animal songs and the spazzy dancing, and the by-now sizable crowd seemed to dig it. Unfortunately I handed Phil a camera with no tape in, or I would have got some good footage of the whole Escape From New York style spectacle, because I’ve certainly got some great stuff of Phil. Then I drank some Nigerian Guinnesses and watched people play football, paint the walls and swing from the ceiling on ropes and then checked out the mighty Charlottefield’s awesomely chunky sound. In short, I ended up having a really good time, which just goes to show don’t it.

Posted March 25, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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