Archive for August 2004

Simplicity itself…   Leave a comment

Weird Mill Road Happenstances:

Sometimes I can’t tell whether Mill Road should be renamed Freak Street or if I’ve just got my goggles set to Weird-O-Vision. I was pounding up towards the road towards the bridge, anxious and stressed as usual, when I passed a little figure dressed all in black, with long jet-black hair, two strands of which had managed to creep forwards past his ears. His face was small, round, red and pimply. As he passed by me like some sort of Dickensian goblin I stared at him, trying to suss out if he could possibly be real. He regarded me with similar intensity, probably because it’s rude to stare, especially at the mildly disfigured. Though hot, it was about to rain, and the light was strange. Soon I was approaching the butcher’s shop, still shaking my head as though that would make normality return, and I noticed a woman standing outside but looking into the gloom of the shop where carcasses of pigs were hanging in the window. She was sort of half-pointing towards the premises, as though the spectacle was too awful to draw attention to directly, and was sobbing almost theatrically. I wondered what the guys in the butcher’s were thinking. It was almost like the Animal Liberation Front meets Jeremy Beadle. She might have been a bit simple. You can’t say that anymore, obviously, but then again I was in the park the other week with Syd and this other kid was being mildly difficult. His dad, who admittedly looked like he’d given up on style in about 1981 (he looked like a 70’s civil servant is what I’m trying to say) turned to me and said “he’s a bit simple” by way of explaining his son’s behaviour. I felt a bit like saying something like: “dude, your clothes are fucking simple,” but of course I just nodded.

You know The Weather Lady (see lists)? Someone else is muscling in on her act. On Mill Road (where else?) the other day this woman with a dodgy leg (I’m walking a fine line today, for some reason) said something to this nerdy beef-monkey in Goth-at-Tescos clothes who was passing, so he stopped and took off his headphones. “Nice day today!” she repeats. He nodded, wondering what the fuck was going on.

Maybe this is why the original Weather Lady said: “not very nice weather today, is it?” to me a couple of weeks ago, as though realizing she’d have to broaden the scope of her act.

My old pal Vlad, who was born on Mill Road back when it had a hospital, and must have walked up and down it ten times more than I have, used to refer to the street in cosmic terms (mind you, he used to refer to most things in cosmic terms). He said it was like the blood that flowed through his veins. I have to say I feel increasingly in tune with the road, like if something’s even vaguely out-of-whack I’ll spot it immediately. I realize that in one sense this is sad, but I moved about a lot when I was a kid y’see? Like, where is Wasserman? Where is Chris The Junkie? Who is that woman with the little dog who looks ever so slightly like Genesis P. Orridge (not the fucking dog, you idiots!)? I dunno, maybe I’m just a bit simple.

Posted August 17, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

How I cheated at a Christian pub quiz.   Leave a comment

Went to a Christian Festival in Norwich at the weekend and cheated in a pub quiz.

What happened was this. Sam was working at the festival and managed to persuade me to take Syd there for an overnight visit on the Sunday, because she’s so busy at the moment that she’s barely getting to see him. In the end I relented, even though it was a dry festival. Obviously the festival was insane, with people speaking in tongues, playing Christian rock, paying to be sermonized at, smiling at each other, and all sorts of off-the-dial madness. It was just so freaky that I couldn’t even be bothered to film half of it. There was just too much data that you couldn’t even orient yourself in the weirdness. I wanted to take acid really badly. I felt like my stubble, longish hair and Judge Dredd T-shirt had singled me out already, even if I hadn’t been spotted flashing a metal devil sign at Richard. In the evening the Christians were going to have a pub quiz, and us catering posse were going to take part. Now I’m not super-wonderful at pub quizzes, but I’m not bad either, and as there was rumoured to be a music round I was kind of looking forward to showing off my ludicrous ability to recall pop facts from September 1982 onwards (before that I was in Botswana, as we all know). When the quiz started I was putting Syd to bed, and it wasn’t happening at all because he was completely bemused at this life-under-canvas business and wide a-fucking-wake. Anyways Kate gives me a piece of paper as I’m sat outside Syd’s tent and I can still hear what is going on inside the tent where they are having the quiz. I presume the piece of paper is like some sort of entry form, but in fact its part of the quiz itself, which I do not realize. All it says on the piece of paper is “Here’s something to get you started.” And then there’s a load of cryptic clues pertaining to various types of sweets and confectionary such as “marriage arrangers” or “feline predator pub”, meaning Matchmakers and Lion Bar respectively. Couldn’t be simpler for a group of quizees, but I’m sat on my own with a three year old who keeps asking daft questions about tents and the sky and so forth, and I barely get two minutes to attempt this sweetie riddle page thing. I only answer 7 out of a possible 50, in fact, but I didn’t think it bloody mattered, did I? Then Sam comes to relieve me and I go in the marquee and get stuck into the quiz proper. And we do OK and seem to be averaging getting about 50% of things right, even with the occasional God-related question thrown in. What did William Burroughs say? Something like:

“When you’re dealing with a religious son-of-a-bitch, get it in writing. Because he’s always going to have The Almighty on his side trying to fuck you on the deal.”

Anyways we get to the music round and we get every question right, so we decide to play our “joker”, which means that we double our point score in the round that we feel we’ll do best in. Finally they announce the last round, and I’m starting to think we might well be in with a chance. Then, of course, the last round turns out to be the bloody sweet thing that we haven’t filled in. No matter, for we have quick-thinking Kate with us, she of the Catholic upbringing, who ingeniously hands in a filled-out version of the form that seemed to be going spare at someone’s table. Maybe they left halfway through the quiz, who knows? Then I have to mark another team’s sheet (teams swap papers to mark them, as even Christians aren’t stupid) and they get 35 out of 50, which feels like a pretty score as far as I’m concerned. Then a girl from another team comes over to tell us that we scored 36. At this point, me being me, and despite the fact that I’ve been drinking beer out of paper cups all afternoon, I panic. I fear the worst. I fear we’ve won. Through cheating. Christians.

Then there is a delay. Then a woman comes up to where we all are and asks us if we might have forgotten to write our team name on the sheet for the last round. “Possibly,” we say, a little bit nervously. “What colour pen were you using,” she asks, “was it blue?” “Perhaps,” we reply and then all eyes look over to the table where a black pen is sat on top of the sweetie round form with only 7 answers attempted. We mutter something very vaguely at her because we are in very deep now and we can’t go back, even though there is a bit of me, perhaps the craven coward bit that is on the verge of saying something like:

“I’m sorry Christians. I’m sorry we cheated at your quiz. It wasn’t me though. It was Kate.”

Then the woman walks off and I run out of the back of the tent and hide. Then they announce the winners. We’ve won. They call the catering people to come up and collect their award, and I grab my camera and run back in the back of the tent, and get some very grainy and blurry footage of the triumph/travesty situation. Later on we all get stoned and Kate gets a bit paranoid and falls backwards off her chair and we’re all laughing about acts of God and Kate gets hysterical.

Then Syd is up half the night going “Look Dad! The moon!” and “I’m hot.” And “Oh! I’ll never get to sleep!” (Which is funny because that Faithless song has been on the stereo in the afternoon and its stuck in my head anyway) and I wake up at 7AM feeling like a very tired member of the undead. Kate is driving me and Syd back to Cambridge and as we leave the site some of the organisers come over to my side of the car to say goodbye to us, and Kate, feeling Catholic guilt and the effects of some sort of common-sense-bypass syndrome, starts to make a sort of half-confession about the quiz whilst I squirm about in my seat and smile unconvincingly and make little snorts of fake-laughter through my nostrils. Luckily it doesn’t seem to register with them.

“Just think,” says one of them, “Now you can say, with a clear conscience, that you are award-winning caterers!”

Posted August 16, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Pete Um & Damo Suzuki   Leave a comment

Diary written 28-7-04

Right then, Damo Suzuki, since everyone’s asking.

So yeah, can’t recall what I’ve said already, but I’m still freaking out on the day of the gig even though he isn’t staying at my house and blah…
Fuckit, let me cut to the chase, for once. I get to the soundcheck and I walk in to the APU bar like it ain’t no thang, despite the fact that I can hear some sort of acid-in-the-sky guitar approximation scrawling out of the door and into the general campus vicinity where clumps of young Spanishers are yabbering away at each other like it ain’t no thang (note to self: must remember to complete my song “I Wish I Was A Spanish”). I clock Davy the sound-engineer at the desk and nod before peering through the gloom at the stage in order to induce the SPECIAL MOMENT where DAMO SUZUKI and PETE UM are in the same exact historical reference point. I can see various people I don’t know, as well as Simon who I do, including a young lad (who makes me think: “Hey up whippersnapper, what are you doing here?”) but nobody looks one little bit like Damo Suzuki, so I try to pretend that that isn’t what I’m scrutinizing the stage about. After a couple of minutes I feel a sort of eddying in the sands of historical time and I realize that he is sat behind me (BEHIND YOU!) and I look round to see him (HIM) sat in a sort of meditative pose (with his eyes closed and his hands closed in front of his face as if in prayer, or perhaps as though he was desperately trying to deal with all the weed Simon had been feeding him since his “wake and bake” spliff first thing that morning. Immediately I turn round again and start staring at the stage and wondering how the hell those guys know when he’s going to get up there and begin THEE HISTORICAL SOUNDCHECK, because, you have to remember, he’s never met any of these guys before (apart from Simon who he’s met the previous day) and THIS IS IT. Eventually though, after quite a bit of brave yet tentative noodling and tweakery, Damo stretches up to his full height and approaches the stage. I immediately scuttle to the back of the room so as not to seen to be all agog etc. In fact I hide behind a pillar. This bit is quite crucial for me because of all my emails about my professed Damo worship, despite the fact that I haven’t heard a word or non-word he has sung after 1973, so I want to know if he’s still, y’know, got it. Then suddenly he begins to sing very softly, which is my favourite style of his. He’s got this thing where he manages to sound between languages and as though he has started the word at the wrong end. Backwards I suppose, which just makes one feel ever so slightly as though you’re tripping on drugs. When you’re actually tripping of course, it makes you feel as though the boundaries of your poxy self have collapsed with the god-awesome weight of the floodwaters of a million multiple realities, but that’s another story. I was quite decent at drugs at school, y’see. Failed girls, but promising at drugs. Anyway, for about 15 magic seconds, I get my own private Damo Suzuki gig and it’s everything I want it to be. Then I get my DV camera out and start filming my stupid face and the magic slips away unnoticed while I’m fiddling with buttons. It’s still pretty good though, and when they finish, which is a good 20-odd minutes of improvisation later, me and Davy smile and nod to each other as if to say: “He’s still got it, the fucker. Tonight should be good.”
Then diminutive promoter Simon Baker walks in and starts being unnervingly relaxed about being in the presence of old DS and chatting to me about random stuff while I fidget and shift because the man himself is being escorted away to some pre-gig bevies and I’m still waiting for my big moment where I get introduced, which the other Simon and I have discussed by way of preparation. Eventually I kind of sidle over and Simon says (hur hur…Simon says: meet Damo Suzuki) something like “Oh yes, and this is Pete…” and Damo looks at me like “…who is Pete again, and why?” and then says: “You are playing with us tonight…?” as though he’s wondering if I’m in his band, and since I know that I’ve been squeezed on the bill as a favour to Simon D. (since Damo normally plays without supports) because he’s my mate and he knows I’m a fellow Can fan and blah, it’s all a bit awkward (well, of course its fucking awkward, but it’s like New Awkward Ultra-Plus With Wings because Damo is about five feet tall and squattish and I’m billowing around the ceiling with my nerves and my black, ill-fitting, unmatching suit) so I just kind of shake my head then attempt to say something along the lines of “Great soundcheck. Looking forward to tonight’s gig,” but instead all I do is nod like a nodding dog must do as the car in which it is traveling is shunted from behind and say “good…good…goo…” and then we both move ever so slightly further left from where we were before and then peel away in the hateful confusion. Ugh. Horrible.

Then, quite rattled, I do a soundcheck that sounds fine in the PA apart from the original source music, and I feel bad because Adam and Jess have come up for the gig and they are standing at the back of the room so I give up and we go off and have the a rushed couple of pints and then I head back to the SU bar and pretend to be a DJ with one CD deck and about 7 CDs that appear to have been chosen for the occasion by a headless chicken. In fact my John Fahey CD gets left in the machine and gets played in the gaps in the evening’s entertainment, which sounds about as inappropriate as Motorhead or something.

Then I play, and despite everything I’m not too awful, albeit a bit dark and pointless considering I’m meant to be complementing Damo’s spread-the-love mission. Damo and the boys from his band sit in the other bar and drink beer, like you do, but for some reason this isn’t a big deal for me because I haven’t been fantasizing about Damo skanking about during Holy Fire or something – I don’t know why. This is the first night that I’ve got copies of Giraffe and the legendary (now a prosaic reality at £3) 5-track EP for sale, and the brisk business I do of the singles when I come off feels like some sort of minor triumph to me, and perhaps even better to Andrew who is standing nearby with a click-counter. Then Adam pushes me in the direction of Damo and the most awkward photograph of all time is taken. My face reminds me of video footage of hostages when they’re trying to grin for the folks back home. Pete Sutton is looning in the background with a fag in his mouth. Why is he always there when I meet celebrities? Email me for a copy if you haven’t seen it already. It’s pretty funny.

Then Damo and the boys get up and do it to us. I have to say I had pretty low expectations because I demand the transcendental when it comes to rock and roll, and I’m the sort of person who would probably spend the last 20 minutes of a Jimi Hendrix gig getting a beer from the bar. I also almost always believe any band’s second album is a lifeless travesty of the first and that rock groups get progressively more bollocks as a general rule of thumb etc. So basically I’m so sure that it’s going to be a letdown that I’m almost guaranteed a pleasant surprise, which is my basic MO anyway. So, yeah, in the light of all this, it’s pretty good. Damo has a couple of strange new voices that are rather worrisome – one a sort of metal growl and the other a kind of bad Louis Armstrong impression, but generally speaking, however, and given that he’s a 57 year old man improvising vocals for about two hours with a band he’s never met before I’d say he was pretty good, and there were sections where they were all really cooking.

And that’s about it. There was some speculation that even though Damo (I feel like a cunt calling him Damo all the time but what can I put, “Mr. Suzuki”?) wasn’t staying in Cambridge anymore we all might meet up at mine for a post gig session, but as he was only going to get about 3 or 4 hours sleep at the most anywa
y it didn’t happen.

Right, finally I’ve finished this and my blooming website is down for some reason. Can you read this? Hello?

Posted August 16, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

apologies/them's that feels it knows it   Leave a comment


Sorry. I am writing the Damo thing. It isn’t that entertaining but its still taking me a while.

In the meantime can I direct you once again to to check out his little MP3 section. I wish I could upload mp3s like he does. There’s a cool one with me doing some vocals (Gimme Some Space) even if I say so myself.

Oh yeah, and my thanks and salutations to THE DUDE ROSS because he buys all my stuff and turns others on to it like the most selfless pusher of all time, or so I hear.

Posted August 7, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Too much coffee…   Leave a comment

Sorry people, been very busy. Done a bit of the Damo Suzuki write-up, but there’s not much to get excited about…

Maybe read Man From Uranus’ review of the first third of the Giraffe album in the meantime?

It’s in the “forum” section…

Posted August 3, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized