Thursday, 1 September 2016

Gert & Gnu Gradually Easing Back Into Things - Homage to Summer, Paris, Bees, Kew Gardens, Zurich, Vic Godard & Subway Sect Gig Updates, Lots of Videos, Lots of Photographs,Vicleka at Newcastle International Print Biennale,Picasso, Jock Scot,Velvet Underground,Band of Holy Joy, The Kinks,Star & Shadow, Kool & The Gang, Belleville Rendezvous, Kevin Pearce,The Sexual Objects,Jacques Dutronc,Bill Withers, Ella Fitgerald and Louis Armstrong.......No Politics

Time catching up and then running away
That languid summer zephyr holding sway
Emptying my head, leaving slothful haze in it's wake
Seeking out a glimmer in that deep, motionless lake
To reignite any spark left behind
      In a once fully functioning mind   Gnu

I'm feeling concerned that many things left  in abeyance several months back, due to a lack of urgency, are now only weeks away - the Gnu Inc 7" release, 8 gigs (2 gnu inc presentations, 7 out of town), 5 more gig cd singles, the possible The Subway Sect EP CD for the December Water Rats gig...........currently managing one admin task a day.........most days, today it was booking the airport car park for Turin. So I'm easing in gently with a sort of 'easy listening' blog, starting with a lighthearted paean to late summer and report on our trip to Paris, a bit of this and that, before getting down to business with a catch up with the latest news, gig and otherwise, and info. No politics 
Kool and The Gang 'Summer Madness', on the jazzier side of their repertoire. 
  An August afternoon in Kew Gardens 
It is very striking, however I didn't warm to The Hive sculpture at Kew Gardens,  something about having this spiky, angular,metal simulacrum of nature, that emits a dull, low hum (bee hive related) in a place dedicated to the natural, mind you it is very discreetly and cleverly sited, not visible from most of the rest of the gardens, took us a while to find it. Odd that the wild flower meadow around The Hive only has mainly very pale pink and white flowers, not known to be overtly attractive to bees, colours being their thang. Could it be health and safety considerations I wonder, it certainly makes the environment safer for the many visitors. 
Nature Doing Spiky

 If it's bees you're after you are in for a treat (about a month until the end of flowering season) if you perambulate along the full length of the newly designed 320m long Broad Walk (originally laid out 1845/6 by William Andrews Nesfield) and home in on anything blue, but particularly the lavender and stop and stare for a while.

I do like the one Henry Moore sculpture left at Kew after the extensive exhibition in 2007, 28 sculptures displayed to great effect all around the gardens. 'Reclining Mother and Child' sits sympathetically and at one in its setting, Ash and Alder trees surrounding, protecting and nurturing the pair throughout the seasons (I think I am going soft in the head).   

Now you see him


                           Now you don't             

No stopping an intrepid explorer!
All in all Kew Gardens is always worth a visit whatever the season even if it does cost £15 (when I first went it was 3d, yes that is old pence). There are various concessions, deals for families, membership and if you're a local resident, you bring proof of address and it's a Tuesday, you get a £4 discount. 
Bill Withers - 'Lovely Day'
   Sly & the Family Stone - 'Hot Fun in the Summertime'
La Grande Halle Parc La Villette Paris

Lovely couple of days in Paris, staying in La Villette19th Arondissement, not an area we knew. Fascinating history, providing an explanation for the number of beef dishes on the local menus (haven't eaten raw meat in a while, however it did settle the gippy tummy brought on by the espadon the night before!*). Parc La Villette started out as a Napoleon lll / Baron Haussman development, turning a dodgy area into a cattle market and abattoir (Jane B might well say turning a dodgy area in to an even dodgier one). The seeds for this wonderful public space as it is now, dedicated to dance, music, science, art and, most importantly, for people, were sewn in the 1970s. The Canal de l'Ourcq cuts across the parc, its towpaths and a raised walkway on one bank are the perfect place for an evening/night time stroll. One night we had our first experience of Pokemon hunters, descending on masse around the footbridge over the Canal de l'Ourcq,  surreal. In another small small informal section of the parc, not a venue, not organised, there was Latin music coming from a Mac with speakers and people of all sorts were being drawn in to the space to dance. A place of good vibes with something a bit magical about it. Probably at its best in the summer months. 
Canal de l'Ourcq

The two photographs below are where Le Boulevard Périphérique crosses the top of Avenue Jean Jaurès, morning and night and the view to the right from our hotel room. It was not a peaceful location, even up on the 7th floor. We also came across a security access system we'd not encountered before, using your room key card to get the lift to work, took a while to fully get the hang of it!

Il est 5 heures Paris s'eveille - Jacques Dutronc

Another Napoleon lll and Baron Haussman project that we visited but only covered a small part of is Le Parc Buttes Chaumont, built on quarries and which lies between Belleville and La Villette.Looking forward to another visit and exploring further. 
The main reason for going to Paris (not that you need a reason) was to go to the Velvet Underground exhibition at Philharmonie de Paris (in Parc La Villette) before it ended (21/08/2016). Hmm. I found the exhibition a bit bitty, a couple of interesting things about Lou Reed and John Cale, a short documentary covering Lou Reed's early life (not that he had a late life) and how his and Cale's paths crossed, it seemed so unlikely. Lots of photographs, of varying quality, various areas were within and opened on to each other and the sounds from the various videos, music tracks, descriptions, etc, were all playing over each other, creating a cacophonous babel of noise and I was quite relieved to get out. Nearly forgot the porno room, a small, dark, curtained off area showing porn. I wonder who they thought might have the nerve (or be creepy enough) to go inside, sit down at the seats provided and watch. No one did while we were there. 
Velvet Underground 'Who Love's The Sun'

Despite costing 2.50€ more I personally thought the three floors of the Musée National Picasso were better value (see below) however it is all subjective, I went to the VU exhibition as an exhibition, not as a dyed in the wool VU fan and went to the Picasso museum as a dyed in the wool Picasso fan.   
'I Love Paris' Cole Porter & Ella Fitzgerald

Below - Canal de l'Ourcq (again) Parc La Villette - you'll have to take the metro, line 5 and listen to the metro voice (male) when it comes to Ourcq to understand why I am selfishly amusing myself by repeating the word so often. For some reason that it's not possible to explain it tickled us pink, of course, you may well not find it similarly amusing.

Musée National Picasso-Paris

The museum is well worth a visit at any time, the sculpture exhibition ended 28/08/2016, the next exhibition is:
Picasso-Giacometti 4th October 2016 – 5th February 2017
Our visit to Paris brought 'The Triplets of Belleville' to mind
You can watch the whole of this engaging, humorous, surreal and touching film, written and directed by Sylvain Chomet with music by Benoît Charest, here: 

And talking of things filmic.........
 5th September, The Star and Shadow Cinema launches a crowdfunding campaign for the new premises in Warwick St Newcastle. Up to date info on the campaign plus more ways you can get involved ('Skip & Scran' Saturdays) at:    

Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitgerald - Summertime

Courtesy of Byron Dekit, an extensive (1557 tracks!) spotify playlist to accompany Kevin Pearce's 'A Cracked Jewel Case', the final volume in his trilogy of musical mystery pop culture tours, taking us on a voyage in and around 90s pop this time. Another iconic cover by Per-Christian Hille

Where Is My Heroine? Poems by Jock Scot 
Cover - Lulu Baring taken by Nigel Coke
Originally published in 1993 and now thanks to Algernon Aloysius it is available from Hilary at The French House  49 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 5BG
Drunken Thief - Jock Scot

Kleptomania follows dipsomania,
Not in an alphabetical sort of way.
But when you’re pissed you’ll take the risk,
If it’s not nailed down it vanishes away.
Bottles of vodka, china dolls,
Familiar heirlooms and the wherewithal.
Easy pickings, no misgivings.
We’ll be round for your telly in the morning.
Jock Scot at the Social 14/09/2015 by Peter Tainsh
The Kinks - 'Sunny Afternoon' 

'VicLeka' at International Print Biennale 2016 
Gallery North 16th September - 21st October 2016
Northumbria University Sandyford Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST 
Absolutely delighted and honoured that one of A M Leka and my 'VicLeka' black boxes has been accepted for the International Print Biennale in Newcastle and will be wending it's way north shortly. 

Phil Hayes & First Cut Productions 'Places of Interest'

The­ater­spek­takel Pavillion Zurich 20-29/08/2016
Centre Culturel Suisse Paris 07-10/09/2016

'Places of Interest' brought to you by Phil Hayes and First Cut Productions, is an ongoing art project and exhibition which Vic was delighted to be asked to be a part of as a 'Describer'. The basic premise is based around the sense of place and asks 3 things of the describers – to choose a place that has a spe­cial mean­ing to them, search on­line and find a pho­to­graph of that place, taken by some­body else, record a de­scrip­tion of the pho­to­graph and then an artist from a different country interprets the description.


Larger view of George Rush's interpretation of Vic's description. 
George Rush Ohio USA

Subway Sect by Erica Echenberg

Punk: The Originals, Erica Echenberg photographic exhibition at Omnibus Arts Centre Clapham, 7th-30th September 2016. Don't know if the photograph on the left is in the exhibition.

The 7" is due for arrival very soon!
'I'll Find Out Over Time' Filmed by Tracey Holloway at Spinning Chilli Green Door Store Brighton 30/04/2016. 

Back On The Road September - December 2016

First Up -

17th September
Junkyard Festival 3 
Magazzino sul Pol Turin 
Vic Godard & Subway Sect
Les Crotales
No One Man Band
John Rugman and The Spirits

23rd/24th September 
Xiria Pop Sala Dublin Carballo Galicia

Friday 23rd September
Vic Godard & Subway Sect
Aula 11 
The Wellgreen  
Doors: 9.30pm
Tickets on the door, 15€ one night, 25€ for the two nights. 

Then the 7" Launch Weekender

13th October
Another Dandy Special
Vic Godard & Subway Sect and recently confirmed - Una Baines and Poppycock!
Gullivers Manchester
Tickets £10 adv (includes gnu inc gig special cd single 'Why Did You Shoot Me, collect on night) from Gullivers (no fee), Piccadilly Records & online at Billetto: 
and wegottickets: 

14th October
Children of Godard Special!
Vic Godard & Subway Sect, Band of Holy Joy & Quarterlight
The Cumberland Arms Newcastle
Tickets £10 adv/£12 on door, available locally at Beatdown, Reflex (more tickets now available) and RPM and on line: 
Band of Holy Joy 'Isn't That Just The Life', single released August 2015.

Sounds and visions of Quarterlight
Gnu Inc gig special cd single is 'Make Me Sad', hankies at the ready, Vic, Davy Henderson, Douglas MacIntyre and Simon Smeeton breaking your heart at Mono 2013.

15th October
Gnu Inc in association with Sounds in the Suburbs Presents Vic Godard & Subway Sect and The Sexual Objects Special #1
Wee Red Bar Edinburgh
Live music ends at 10pm so it's an early start, doors 7pm. Advance Tickets £10 (+ fee) from:
Tickets Scotland:
Ripping Records:
or email gnu inc:

Going to be FAB, thanks to Murray and Alan for their help.  Gnu Inc gig special cd single 'Outrageous Things' Vic & the SOBs with Russell Burn on drums at Love's Rebellious Joy, tribute to Paul Reekie 2011. free with advance tickets, collect on night. Seems to fit the occasion.

25th November
The Sound of Music Presents
Bernard's Birthday Thing #2
Buyers Club Hardman St Liverpool
Vic Godard & Subway Sect,Star Spangled Banner (Bubblegrunge Heroes) and Cult Figures
Looking forward to another Liverpool love fest for Bernie's birthday! Further news and updates - 
Tickets £10 from Probe Records:

26th November
Sounds in the Suburbs Presents
Vic Godard & Subway Sect and The Sexual Objects Special #2 
The second of this years Sect/SOBS Specials
Stereo Glasgow 
Tickets from Alan:
Tickets Scotland:

Gnu Inc gig special singles still to decide for Liverpool and Glasgow, suggestions welcome.

And then...... FRIDAY 9th December

Gnu Inc Presents  
Vic Godard & The Subway Sect 
Gene Drayton Unit 
The Unreliable Witnesses
DJ Sue
at The Water Rats Kings Cross London

Gene Drayton Unit aka GDU, hard to pin down (always a good thing), jazz, soul, funk, R & B with the Hammond and horns giving a 60s flavour to their 21st century sound. Here's GDU and 'Bring Down The Birds' 20/01/2007, why I chose this and not a more recent video is because of the brilliant '96 Tears' section. 

Vic & The Subway Sect's Chris Bostock, Pete Saunders, Rob Marche and Sean McLusky will be straying out of Songs For Sale territory and adding a northern soul vibe to their set.  'Caribbean Blue' The Subway Sect sound check at Creeping Bent's Hot Fun in the Summertime, Glasgow Jazz Festival, CCA 26/06/2016, their last outing.

Vic & The Subway Sect Enjoying Themselves at Glasgow Jazz Festival CCA 26/06/2016 by Gavin Fraser

The Unreliable Witnesses, Grant Bale, Miss de Meaner and Barry Stir (mistake them for Lee McFadden, Marina Young and Cos Chapman at your peril!) are a covers group with a difference, they only cover the lyrics, the music is improvised...........and they never repeat a song. 
'The Return Of The Los Palmas 7' Green Door Store Brighton 13/06/2015, filmed by Tracey Holloway.
Just get your lugholes round the latest mixcloud of DJ Sue's show on Shoreditch radio with regular guest DJ Phil Clark. Mondays at 6pm and try and sit still! Catch one of her regular sets at Joes Camden or Camden Head. 

All in all it's shaping up to be a night and a half, bring your dancing shoes.
Tickets now on sale:

Further variety of ear nourishment...
Spike Priggen's Bedazzled Radio Hour on WGXC 90.7FM
Wednesday 31/08/2016 
Alan Powell Down in the basement at en5 Radio, Wednesdays at 6pm 
Sonic Diary with Stephen Doyle Tuesdays at 8-10pm on Salford City Radio 94.4FM or 
The Dave & Lee Travesty Show, 4 weekly, Sundays on Croydon Radio at 2pm, next show Sunday 9th October. Past shows to listen to in the meantime:
Totally unrelated of course - The Unreliable Witnesses will be playing at The Rose & Crown (formerly The Torriano) in Torriano Avenue, Kentish Town on 8th October.

Just Saying.......
record company: We're doing a compilation, can we license one of your songs? 
artist: and you are offering? 
record company: we do lovely packaging
artist: so do we 
30 Odd Years - Cover Design by Andrew Paul Shaw
Thanks to Mandy Prowse for sharing this on fb, very cleverly done and I think very funny and an antidote to the feline cuteness that is ubiquitous on the internet.
Henri 2 - Paw de Deux from Enid Krebstar on Vimeo.

 Be seeing you.