Archive for July 2004

Ian McKaye and your Mum   Leave a comment

So yeah, the next absurd test of my psychological weatherproofing was meant to be doing the Damo Suzuki gig and having him stay at my house. Of course I was going to get a plaque made for the space above the front door “Damo Suzuki spent the night here: 17-7-04”, which I like to think would elevate the desirability of a room in Number 8 no end, if only for a certain brand of weird-music freak. However, due to the fact that he has to be at Gatwick Airport for 7AM the day after the gig, he’s going to be going back to London that night. It’s a shame because it could have generated a lot of nonsense for these pages, but at least it’s stopped me freaking out about what he eats (Adam Teasdale suggested “performance poets” – of which I am not one, laughing-boy) and about how I might get a presumably leg-huggingly fractious 3-year old and a not overly hip or retiring mother-in-law out the door before Suzuki-san arrived and I suffered some kind of horrible English implosion of raw awkwardness in Sam’s unbelievably small living-room/bedroom. Yes, that must be a good thing, plaques or no plaques. It’s bad enough just thinking about meeting him and the possibility of some sort of conversation. The only thing I could possibly think of to say would be “I’m a huge fan.” And what would the point of that be? Actually it would be more like “I’m a huge fan of something you did in the period 1970-1973,” which might be a little insulting. I keep trying to bear in mind the interview some American geezer has done recently with Suzuki (linked from his site) in which he is gracious and down to earth whilst matey asks him incredibly dumb questions. Anyway, I’ll let you know how I get on. Shudder.

I was talking about the heroes-kipping-round-your-house phenomena with Chris “Bub” Marling (who is a sort of journalist), and he told me a good story about his mate Ashley, who is a big Fugazi fan, apparently. Anyway for some reason Fugazi end up staying round his house (or his parent’s house, I should say) after their gig, but while Ashley has a pronounced and ongoing enthusiasm for his ales, Fugazi are the original “straight-edge” hardcore band. So, the next morning, Ashley staggers downstairs, apocalyptically hungover, and what should he have to contend with in the horrible light of day but the bone-freezingly awful spectacle of Ashley’s Mum and Ian McKaye sipping tea together on the sofa, and both tut-tutting in his direction. Jesus!

Posted July 16, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Pre-order your Um 7" 5-track EPs right here!   Leave a comment

Oh yeah, just as a sort of coda to the Legs Akimbo thing: as Caroline and I were walking up Mill Road (the paving-stones of which I would have happily kissed) after Lucy dropped us off she was trying to give me this “now that wasn’t so bad in the end, was it?”– type of line, and I tried to give her some sense of my feelings by stating that I wouldn’t go through the same thing again for £500. Later on I realized that this was something of a redundant comment, given the likelihood of my being asked to do the same thing again. Haw haw!

Got a small child off school with a puking malady, so I’m grabbing a video-induced moment of quiet to produce this on the wife’s laptop, the use of which feels very gay. I can’t use laptops. They don’t seem to listen to me.

Well, the 7″s are here, would you believe it. And they sound good, especially with the treble set to about 3 o’clock. ADD TREBLE FOR EFFECT, they say apparently. You have to buy one first though, and you can’t do that until we sort the postcard. They do already look fucking great though. The clear vinyl is actually a sort of pearly, almost spermy colour, and a pile of 25 in their thin plastic jackets looks very nice and kinky. Hopefully we’ll have them ready for the Damo Suzuki gig, but what they really need is some sort of official launch party, where people would feel under a hideous pressure to buy one, or maybe a job lot for Christmas presents. Please buy one. We’ve got 525 to get rid of. It’s a five track E.P. You get:

The Man’s Got Me Beat
Tongue
Africa Is A Fridge
Holy Fire
Freak

I’m looking forward to getting them out there, and also the new Um CD-R Giraffe which is threatening to be a monster, if only here in my mind. Still debating what to do with all the chaff that won’t fit on. I reckon there’s a decent CD’s worth of outtakes, and then a similar amount of pointless dogshit. I guess I’ll just release them all, and then sell the dross to David Warn at Morgan Stanley (owner of the world’s largest collection of Um), and that 50-year old man-mountain freak in Bury perhaps.

What else? The football is over, won by Greeks for some insane reason. I watched a lot of it, very much like a sad man who needs an excuse to drink beer alone in front of the television. I kept noticing that the pundits were mentioning the phrase lovin’ it, even before I realized to my shock that McDonalds were sponsoring the tournament. Surely they wouldn’t have contractually/fiscally encouraged them to do so? There’s something particularly slimy and awful about a hugely powerful corporate entity being able to literally put words (as well as nutrition-free food) in people’s mouths. And I’m not just talking about the footie pundits.

I was watching the Greece/Czech Republic game in the regal with Dave and Andrew, where I’d gone to take delivery of a box of the Um 7″s, but I couldn’t see the screen and I ended up standing next to a couple of young lads next to a fruit machine. You forget what idiots some of the youth of today are. These guys seemed to have no certain sense of who they were in themselves, but rather were constantly trying to invent some ideal persona by the talking of bollocks. Idiot #1 was extolling the virtues of Leeds, where he was a student, and in particular the city’s nightlife. “There’s loads of good pubs”, he was saying, “Loads of footballers, you know, go in them. You know, lots of Leeds players and that.” I can’t do the pathetic fronting justice. It was really pitiful. Do I sound like a cunt, or just a grumpy old man? Maybe a grumpy old cunt? Anyway, matey used the “lovin’ it” thing in the course of conversation too.

It was cool watching the game where Greece beat France (this was the Greece Vs. France match) actually. In a sort of nonsensical way it put the whole Euro 2004 thing in perspective, particularly all the flag-waving and Rooney-worship and the subsequent national mourning and scapegoating. Like, maybe France didn’t have the best of tournaments, but players like Thierry Henry and Zidane are so undeniably brilliant that Greece’s triumph seems to point to the fact that, at the end of the day, to use a football cliché, it’s only, like, a game.

Someone is downloading some Merzbow off me. His Soulseek name is BUKKAKE BLASTER!!!

Against the grain of reason, two of my keys on my key ring have got stuck together. One is Sam’s backdoor key and the other is the bottle-opener-that-is-shaped-like-a-key.

Posted July 11, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Legs Akimbo Pt. 3. Horror's End   Leave a comment

Right, can’t be arsed to be too long-winded, but:

So we get out of the assembly horror and have a bit of respite, but I feel so shitty and ashamed that it doesn’t really feel like it. It was a bit like being in a fire and then getting out of the fire, but horribly burnt. At this point the kids had to write out some scenarios for us to act out later on, and so my fellow thesps and me had a little while to go and y’know, relax. What we ended up doing was watching a little film that somebody had put together of Caroline, Lucy and a PROPER MALE ACTOR doing their stuff AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN. The good and gentle KID SEX DRAMA FACILITATOR guy had it on his laptop. I felt inadequate and foolish sitting alongside him, because I knew he must have been wondering what the hell I was doing pretending I could act. He probably thought it was an episode of Faking It being filmed for Channel 4. The Snapshot Theatre Company promo on the laptop was disturbingly different from my subjective experience, especially the bloke, whose effortless ability to provide a low-key simulation of real-life seemed designed to put the seal on my status as FAILED HUMAN forever. It was sort of interesting, albeit in a dreadful way, to see how it was done properly, however, and so I tried to gird my loins (or whatever it is) and vowed to at least attempt to copy aspects of what he was doing, like not visibly shaking and speaking in a real voice and so on.
Eventually the kids’ scenarios arrived. There seemed to be a fine line between the OK one’s that had tried to grapple with the task assigned and some sort of Daily Mail reader’s nightmare of what sex education might bring out of or put into kids’ minds. I’d been quite impressed with the kids in the assembly and their input, of which more later, but left to their own devices a significant number seemed to think they’d been asked to write a porn film that was also a tragedy. A worrying number, for instance, felt the presence of more than one female in the cast obviously called for them to tackle the issue of lesbianism. More than one of the scripts ended with one of the girls being unsure of their sexuality, pregnant, and suicidal. The more extreme the scenario, the less sure I felt of my ability to attempt to act it out, and not run away like a craven dog. My only hope, as I saw it, was to get some serious rehearsal underway so that I could at least know what I was doing, even if I was doing it incredibly badly. Unfortunately Caroline (and especially Lucy) were so confident in their abilities, if not in mine, that they seemed to regard the idea of preparation as a tiresome chore. It probably was a bit of a chore for them, especially as they’d decided to more or less ignore the kids’ scripts and act out some scenarios they’d done many times before.

However, once we finally got down to it, rehearsal seemed to be a gradual process of me becoming worse and worse rather than better, as each time I returned to what I’d just fucked up it felt more ridiculous to attempt verisimilitude. It was very frustrating. I had to pretend to be a 15 year old who just isn’t ready for sex. Lucy convinces Caroline that the reason I’ve invited her round is to mount a brutal assault on her maidenhood, but in actual fact I just want to watch a video. It seemed a bit implausible to me, and I suspected that the audience might do too, especially the boys. Caroline has to jump on me for an awkward snog, twice, and I have to laughingly push her away, bewildered by her attentions. I just couldn’t get the fucking thing right. I’d seen matey do it in the video and he was brilliant. Mind you, he was doing it front of about 10 people, and I was about to perform for 300 (they split the assembly in two for two separate sessions). Anyway, the rehearsal, such that it was, sucked a lot, and I didn’t feel any better about the prospects for the rest of the day. What’s more my lack of confidence seemed to have infected Caroline, who, flustered by my ineptitude, kept ballsing things up as well. I feared the worst, or more of it anyway.

Actually, in the end it wasn’t so bad. I improved eventually. I discovered some determination when all the terror ran out, and since being awful was more uncomfortable than being bad, I tried to struggle for the latter. Apart from fucking up royally on the hotseat in the first session when I was asked if I’d had sex before (this was the scenario where I was meant to be virgin-boy) and, panicking, and thinking of the second scenario where I was meant to have done “it” once, I replied “yes, once”, which made a mockery of the purpose of the thing, and caused all sorts of hideous plot rupture situations that the kids may or may not have been aware of. There was also a bit where I had to shout “slag!” at Lucy with some venom, and I was so wound up about having to do this in front of loads of teens and their teachers in an assembly hall that I think I went a bit over the top, and my genuinely raw emotional state came through as some kind of unfettered psychosis. The kids liked that bit though. They cheered!
All in all however, I was still fucking rubbish at acting, and that has given me pause for thought. You see I’ve sometimes wondered whether I might be able to act, since my pop career seems so slow to build and my other professional qualifications are few. My experience that day made me reconsider, as I’m sure you’ll understand. Later on that night, smoking spliffs in front of the football, I found myself marvelling at the slickness of the pundits, and since then I keep feeling an awful empathy with all sorts of TV people. There are a lot of cunts on TV, but I feel that the general public might not always be aware of hard it is to be a cunt sometimes.

Lastly, just wanted to mention how bizarre it was to re-enter a school environment after quite some time. Apart from the horror, it would have been a pleasant surprise, and it gave me some hope for my own child’s educational experience. In recent years I’d revised my position on state schooling from seeing it as a necessary evil to instead considering it to be an evil evil, and I’d started to wonder whether my kid mightn’t be better off learning how to bake bread under the tutelage of some witless earth mother than having his soul crushed by all the awful, soul-crushing things that proper school has to offer. Anyway, the Bottisham experience gave me some hope, firstly via matey’s SEX SPEECH, which I’ve mentioned before, and then due to the kid’s themselves. In particular I was amazed at how willing they were to join in with the interactive element of the SEX DAY. I remember back in the day at my school we had some visitors from the music department of the senior school (to which we would soon be transferring) who were trying to give a flavour of what to expect should we choose to take music. To this end some beardy bloke tried to get 300-odd kids to sing Yellow Submarine. And we wouldn’t. Nobody opened his or her mouth. So he desperately tried again with some encouraging clapping gestures. And again. Silence. Then he left and we all got bollocked, which was nothing to what the humiliation of singing would have been. Even when I was at university I remember seminars where nobody would speak, even when it was obvious that some people had actually done the reading and knew exactly what to say. In three years of seminars I don’t think I personally ever spoke without being asked to. To me this indicates a lack of maturity to which I can only attribute the mistaken belief that I would be able to stand up in front of hundreds of people and pretend to be a professional actor.

So I was quite surprised to hear the kids piping up with what they were supposed to say, a bit like proper adults or something. They didn’t seem to think it was uncool, and they didn’t sound uncool when they did speak, at least not to me. In fact it was almost like it was the cooler, brighter kids that did join in and make suggestions. Of course a couple of kids made wisecracks, but personally I was glad o
f the light relief, and I had to stop myself grinning in case it encouraged them. So, yeah, the kids are alright. I was fucking glad to get in that car at the end of the day though, even if Lucy does drive like a maniac. Watch out for yer drama types. They’re not on the level.

Posted July 11, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

interim hangover   Leave a comment

First time I’ve had to myself in a few days, but I’m so hungover I can’t do anything useful. I certainly can’t deal with the horror of Part 3. Little tip for any drinkers out there: pass on the Old Speckled Hen in cans. Sainsburys had a deal but it just isn’t worth the pennies saved.

Posted July 1, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized