Have you managed to get all your make up off from last week? No? Me neither.
Here's the story from my pumpkin patch - wonders The Great Pumpkin delivered to us here in the UK:
Hey! I know I mentioned Rough Trade in my last letter – but you might like to know there’s a documentary called The Story Of Rough Trade – you can watch it here. I love Geoff Travis. Hair and No Hair. I like his “let’s try it” attitude. I didn’t realize what a scary time he’s had.
Did you know that the idea behind dressing up on Halloween is that because Departed Spirits come out of their tombs on the 31st October and walk around looking for people to take back to the underworld with them that if you dress up and disguise yourself, they won't be able to figure out it's you and you will remain on earth? And they especially won't grab you if you look like you are a Departed Spirit yourself.
We went to Nambucca on the Holloway Road. They put on a show to channel the spirit of our Dear Departed JOHN PEEL (the 25th of October was JOHN PEEL DAY).
The line up:
14 ICED BEARS (ethereal. very late night radio friendly)
VIV ALBERTINE (The Slits)
VIC GODARD AND THE SUBWAY SECT
followed by Blindness.
Blindness is a local up and coming talented girl band.
I think that’s a clever name. Don’t you?
What we got was an exciting blood pumping night. I swear if I had turned round, I would have being saying hello to John Peel. Wait! Look!
No, no...Not John Peel. Is this Lee McFadden from Television Personalities? (they had that single "Where's Bill Grundy Now"?). I understand Dan Treacy was off sick. Please God let him get well. (Rumour has it Dan might have something to do with Arctic Monkeys - ?)
Enjoy a song from the TVP’s set here. (Lee played with my hero, Mark Perry in Alternative Television. Watching Lee, I think he should visit the States and play with Tom Verlaine. I bet they would get a kick out of each other.)
So here's the poster:
JOHN PEEL DAY 7 years since his death. We loved him. We still love him.
This is Spizz (who was signed to Rough Trade back in the day). Tonight he was Our Hero in this fabulous homemade hero outfit.
Do not be confused. This is not a halloween outfit. He wears this to all the gigs he goes too. It's very practical. He is a biker. I saw him tie his bike up to a lamppost outside earlier. Nice bike.
First Damsel Of Distress comes to stage: Viv Albertine. Here is Spizz coming to her aid as he (a) noticed she wasn't plugged in (b) and needed help tuning up:
The clip that follows is our shimmering Viv Albertine. The gang around me liked the way she looked but found Viv’s lyrics "difficult to listen too". I found it quite the opposite. Her anger was an energy. I gave the little gang a bit of a lecture along the lines of if they want peace and joy, you're here on the wrong day. I quoted Professor of Punk Viv Goldman - "You are listening to Sassitude" I told them. “This is a Real Life she's singing about. We’re hearing a woman channeling pain. Being real. Expressing her inner life not putting on a mask and humming sweet fuck-alls.” I didn’t spit.
To review: I particularly liked her last song "Home Sweet Home". The song “Needles” needed no explanation – but the effect: it was like she just transferred the song’s meaning into you or like she put her eyes on you, and put herself into his skin for a moment - then pointed to The End. It was great. She sang an incredibly cleverly slam poetry song called "I WANT MORE" – Well everything, really, everything she sang had me grinding my teeth; clenching or wanting to pump my fists, shaking my head - wait - not in a hippie way. Viv can handle being on stage on her own. I tell you – she makes living look valuable.
The song is FairyTale but during the lead in she is talking about Keith Levine who gave her some guitar tips. She says "I don't mind my voice being out of tune but I do care about my guitar. Not punk I know..." No Encore. That’s Punk.
We see Edwyn Collins & Graham Coxon present.
Furthering the theme of Glamourous Roadies - some bloke in a Royal Mail shirt comes on and organizes some bits and pieces.
Then a drummer we recognize as PAUL COOK from The Sex Pistols takes a seat. Paul Myers arrives with his own roadie (wearing crash helmet and goggles) and on keyboards – Kevin Younger. The Royal Mail Roadie then reappears in a suave beige jacket you might wear on a golf course with plus fours, some navy slacks (Royal Mail?) and a white shirt and tie and beautiful pale wood guitar. It is himself. It is Vic Godard.
Can we say hell of a set? Can we tell you they smoked? Can we tell you what a JOY it flipping is to hear Paul Cook on drums, on the beat, standing for no nonsense, getting the show on the road – we haven’t got time to hang around. The reggae Rhododendrun Town could have been my favourite. The moment when guitarist Mark Braby plugged in and – huh? nothing? and Vic presented his own guitar for the rest of the set so the show could go on... I don’t know – bits like that. You were hearing a wall of wonderful sound. You were hearing a rolling, well oiled, well rehearsed, poet in motion. Did they have Phil Spector’s phone number in Prison? I think so. Is Vic Godard related to Leonard Cohen in any way? I wonder. That deep soulfulness that you felt in Cohen at Glastonbury –, with a glint in his eye and that mournful, wailing spirit. I felt happiness. I felt warmth. I felt great. No Encore of course and I just felt myself flying through the air, stage diving for the set list (nobody got hurt and Gary confirmed nobody saw up my skirt).
Meanwhile, Gary's like, “Oh great, there's the drum roadie.” He says, "Are you going to throw away that set list with Paul Cook's name on it?"
Drum tech: Do you wannit?
Gary: Cheers mate.
Signed by Vic
Outside afterwards we give my set list to two lads who motored down from Leeds (Wayne looked a bit like a young Paul Cook) and we even get them signed by Vic Godard. I even got Gary to take a photo of me with Mr. Godard who, now I look at the photo, was wearing that Royal Mail work shirt again.
And I have to tell you, we grinned our faces off all night. I know. Not very punk.
Scratch you next week,