Wednesday, 30 April 2014

When Gert's away the gnu will play! Bath/Jane Austen, 30 Odd Years CD & Tour, '79 Now update, Sun Ra, The Olympia Tapes, vids/ pics (inc 4 versions of Blackpool!), quite a bit of Creeping Bent, reviews, recommendations

Pulteney Bridge and Weir, Bath. Why is the weir that shape? Find out HERE:
Just back from a couple of  Vic/gnu days in Bath and surrounding area and I have to say I wasn't overly impressed. In Bath's mitigation caught it on a bad day - Easter, raining, sewage repairs and road closures, traffic/parking nightmarish and it's sooo expensive - £13.50 to see the Roman Baths, £27 for a Thermae Bath Spa session and The Pump Rooms are a restaurant, I'm sure it all used to be free (then again it used to cost 1p to get into Kew Gardens and it's now £13.50..... and no, not eons ago). Also not a Jane Austen fan, had to study her books at school and have reread a couple since but I have never understood where the feminism angle comes in, vaguely waspish social comment on the  middle classes and in-breds certainly but not exactly groundbreaking. The Austen* heroines come across as unremittingly feeble and let the side down, in my humble opinion, particularly irritating is Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey, which is set in Bath. (I suddenly just had a flashback to university and essays with the word 'polemic' scrawled across them!)

Was impressed by Bath Abbey, particularly the stained glass windows and ceilings but do wonder at the cheek of Church properties that lay it on thick about donations for the upkeep, hello, not a museum/art gallery or state owned and I thought the church were meant to be encouraging people through the doors, not guilting them in to paying for the dubious privilege? Also a tad cynical that the only way out is through the gift shop.

We did find a couple of interesting free art galleries/museums to mooch around whilst sheltering from the rain - The Victoria Art Gallery, very small, only took about 15-20 minutes to wander around but a couple of interesting finds -  and The Holbourne Museum, a gem and fortuitously was showing an exhibition of one of Vic's favourite artists Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797), it finishes on 5th May -  Also showing - the 'Stereoscopic Photographs of Picasso' by Robert Mouzillat (I'm a bit of a Picasso fan) as well as some fascinating permanent exhibitions. My Tip: Look in the drawers, I did and found out what Plumbago was! (I knew it was a species of flowering plant in the family Plumbaginaceae, also known as leadwort but it is also graphite and used in  miniatures on paper)

A Philosopher Giving That Lecture on the Orrery in Which a Lamp Is Put in Place of the Sun

 'The Widow Of An Indian Chief.'
I found the pictures at this  very informative and useful BBC site that I came across - I was particularly drawn to the painting on the right which is in the exhibition.

 We stayed in a lovely hotel set in over 20 acres, best designed and laid out hotel room I've  stayed in, well thought out little touches like a light in the wardrobe and a blue light in the loo and fresh milk!! It is one for a special treat as it is generally very expensive but Vic found a deal in the Mirror. Friendly, helpful and very, very attentive staff (ie just that bit too attentive), good menu, preferred the Table D'hote menu to A La Carte, puddings were absolutely scrummy as was afternoon tea.

Ephemera No1- bag left outside No 10, drugs, global media company, the police - sounds like the makings of a great couldn't keep anything like that quiet could you?? 
I find myself in an unusual and almost unsettlingly surreal and calm state of mind this year. Primarily due to a moment of clarity leading to a minor revelation that Vic and I shared a few months ago that has led to this strange lightness of being -  We like the way we do things at gnu inc central but not everyone is suited to it. Bit of a shocking revelation but once accepted the way to clear the path to harmony was straightforward.
Subway Sect Photograph by Helen Lonsdale Robinson 28/03/2014

Of course 30 Odd Years reception has put a rosy glow on the year, some fantastic reviews, I do like Neil Cooper's, full of interesting information (some of which we didn't know!) and more an article than a review-  All the wonderful 30 Odd Years reviews can be found here: 

PLUS 1979 Now is DONE!!! Masterful achievement by all concerned. Our web site and design guru Andrew Shaw is now working on the covers, vinyl and CD. (Picture left isn't it! It's my mock up using one of Andrew's images.) I have to say the whole LP is sounding FAB!!  Out in September on Aed Records.               
AND if that wasn't enough to warm the cockles of your hearts (and mine) Aed are re-releasing End Of The Surrey People including the tracks off the CD single, probably August.

In the studio by the gnu 27/03/2014
A warm welcome awaited everyone at 6 Music for the Marc Riley session and a very enjoyable time was had by all in Salford.  I thought The Quays area bleak and almost brutally beautiful, and eerily so late at night when there is no one all. Unfortunately the session isn't available at the moment, but they sounded great, below are a few clips from the sound check. (Which don't give you any idea at all how good they sounded!)

 Marc Riley's selfie in the middle modelling one of the new t shirts, exclusively available at gigs, except in exceptional circumstances. We stayed at Holiday Inn Express Salford Quays and weren't disappointed, they are very consistent and do what it says on the tin. It pays to join their rewards scheme.  Helpful staff, clean and comfy rooms and this one extraordinarily quiet as the Quays are empty at night (OK, I forgot about the  geese!) I don't get the 'hot' breakfast items- scrambled eggs, sausage and beans....YUCH. They obviously did market research and then somehow extrapolated this peculiar choice from the results. Walking distance to BBC studio and parking but would probably go for Holiday Inn next time as even closer and car parking nearby.

Then the start of the 30 Odd Years Tour with a new set reflecting the release and with Ian Holford, a Sexual Object and Nectarine No9er*** joining the Sect on drums, Mark Braby back on bass, Yusuf B'Layachi on guitar,  Kevin Younger on keyboards/guitar and Vic on guitar on some songs. First up a return to the New Continental for They Eat Culture and it didn't disappoint. Can't remember enjoying gigs so much since Gary Ainge was in the line up.Vic's even taken up dancing on stage!

 You need to watch this video of Music of a Werewolf courtesy of Chris Dutton to fully appreciate Vic's choreography- never mind Moves like Jagger, Moves Like Godard!!
 Lovely to meet up again with Andrew Wilson, Helen Lonsdale Robinson, who took the photographs above and lots more, and the Kill Pretty crew, one of my top live groups and definite soft spot for them all round. This is Rob A Bank, one of my videos.

We stayed at a guesthouse for the first time in a while, mostly chosen because it was within walking distance of the Continental. Very welcoming, very quiet room as requested, clean, decent breakfast, bit of a labyrinth and the most uncomfortable bed I have not slept in for ages. Huge depression in the middle of the mattress which the biggest one rolled into, leaving the other on the incline on the edge of the precipice. Shame as otherwise would have recommended and returned.

Onwards to Birmingham and The Seventh Wave gig at The Loft Moseley with The June Brides and Yeah Yeah Noh, stonker of a night, good to see Lee and Tracey, Jane and Deirdre, Shelley and Phil, Roger, Andrew W's brother and met lots of other lovely people including Mr and Mrs Dave Wave looking forward to going back again later in the year. 'Blackpool' video courtesy of Colin Walker, Vic told the group to do the backing vocals like football hooligans.

Digressing a bit -  This is a link to a cover of Blackpool from Tony Penultimate's new release Adventures in Gibberish - Vic love's it, I don't think it's a patch on Sect/Springs/Mates Mates versions
Here they are the other two to compare - Blackpool with The Bitter Springs 2010 filmed by Tracey Holloway 

And Blackpool with Mates Mates, Barcelona, August 2013 filmed by me at the sound check.

Back on track-  This is a great version of We'll Keep Our Chains filmed by Tracey Holloway at The Loft 29/03/2014-

We stayed at The Lodge, Hall Green which is part of the greyhound stadium, stay includes free entry to the dog racing. Friendly staff and guests (stayed up til 4.30am drinking with Sect and other guests in the bar, haven't done that in an age), comfy bed, decent breakfast and smoking rooms, will definitely stay again.

Up and onwards, rather westwards to The Thunderbolt Bristol after a gap of a couple of years and what a night of delights organised by 'Jane Barnes and Deirdre Tonks' with Dave and featuring Martin Bramah's Blue Orchids, a revelation, not what I was expecting and Vic loved their set plus the added bonus of his old friends, and another great live group, The Short Stories. People came from near, far and wide, a bit like in Birmingham. Enjoyed chats with  Kevin and Sally (Vic met Kevin at the Brixton Jam benefit a couple of years ago) and  Masakazu Kudara from Cardiff amongst others.
This is Common Thief at The Thunderbolt, and quite a few more and various videos filmed by Tracey Holloway and Lee McFadden, this one by Lee. (Also videos of Blue Orchids and The Short Stories on their channel) Photos to follow.

Most of the videos I did at The Thunderbolt have distorted sound, but I decided to just 'record' a few numbers right at the back, round the corner from the stage at the merch table and they sound surprisingly ok - no visuals mind! These are the last two songs of the night Ambition and Chain Smokin'-

Getting a bit boring but we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Bristol City Centre, just down the road from The Thunderbolt. Parking in secure car park limited to 20 so if you are back late you park in the non-secure one just next to it, no real problem but would be useful to know if the secure section is full before entering and driving round the car park for nothing.

Ephemera No3? Trying to get Vic to concentrate when Chelsea match mentioned on TV not possible now the lbuild-up to the Chelsea V Athletico Madrid match has started. Who'd have thought Chelsea would draw in the first leg, then beat Liverpool............apart from Vic and other diehards (actually he didn't think Chelsea would hold Athletico to a draw in the first round but who'd have thought Real would give Bayern a drubbing? Do I like Robben, NO I do not!  Ephemera bit now- Do you know what a Chelsea FC Dissenter is?  I am  one, I googled for a definition but no explanation comes up. A clue - I became a Dissenter when Abramovich bought the club and nothing to do with him being an oligarch. 
Post Scriptum: So it wasn't to be and Chelsea got a drubbing. Painful to watch.

Vic sang a couple of VU songs with Piper's Son the other night at Bar & Co. I didn't go so glad that Lee McFadden filmed Rock'nRoll (from the floor!).

Close - the acclaimed film short directed by Geoffrey Taylor, featuring Birth and Death and Empty Shell was also on the 'bill' and will be screened again at Vic's gig at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle in September. Congratulations are in order - Close has been selected for the prestigious Krakow Film Festival short film competition. It will tug at your heartstrings but not in a yucky way, new trailer here:

Forgot about this: The Bitter Springs doing Johnny Thunders with the Wiz on lead vocal, filmed by Tracey Holloway 2013-
And talking of Johnny Thunders Danny Garcia's film Looking For Johnny is on a promotional tour that is landing in London in June. Full details here:

I made a rare foray up west (Soho to be exact) a couple of weeks ago on a PPL mission and with huge thanks and gratitude to Mr Tom H..........mission accomplished. We went for a sherbet at a pub over the road after (can't remember the name but will find out), a proper pub known for its beer. Now, I've never liked beer (or lager, but will drink bottled occasionally and I used to imbibe the odd Newcastle Brown) but they had a featured cask beer with a citrusy tang and it was very pleasant. Shame I can't remember its name either!

Lenten Rose - The unfolding of a watercolour painting in a North London Garden, March 2014 by John Pearce, accompanied by Yusuf B'layachi and Gerard Cousins playing Erik Satie's Gnossiene No 1 -

Asbo Derek Book Launch 10th May -  'Terry Scott of the Antarctic - An Asbo Derek Compendium', you'll want a copy, you know you will!

Pre-Punk by Douglas MacIntyre - First in a new feature series with Creeping Bent commander Douglas MacIntyre taking a look back at some of his pre-punk musical obsessions.

'Simply Thrilled - The Preposterous Story Of Postcards Records' by Simon Goddard, review by Pete Paphides in Caught By The River- /simply-thrilled/
More on Postcard -

POST - Too late if you missed their Marc Riley session on 21st April so to compensate here's Monument To A Lost Cause from their album Cavalcade (you may have better luck embedding it than I did!) -
AND if you wonder who did the painting for the cover....... G. Wann, Paintshifter!
I rather like this one -

***Sat 7th June 2014 - Nectarine No9 playing Saint Jack and Casual Sex - What a treat! Come to London!

Rutherglen Town Hall, Glasgow.-
The Nectarine No9 albums, A Sea With Three Stars and Saint Jack, both released on Postcard and unavailable........ until now - digitally available via We Can Still Picnic.
             Rocket No9 by Nectarine No9 

Now for something completely different - Sun Ra - Rocket Number Nine Take Off For The Planet Venus 
Balkan Arts & Beyond - an appraisal by Professor Kate Grandjouan of our friend Leka Mladenovic's 2012 exhibition "Punk and Hybrid Print" featuring Subway Sect images amongst others. Leka also created the covers for our Live & Rare cds and he and Vic are just starting on another collaboration.

The Olympia Tapes 1978 - Vic and a motley crew, Colin Scott, Nick Brown, Alan Birke and Steve Spartan, do Chuck Berry and Eddy Cochran numbers, digitalised by Doctor of Music Mike Coe -  

Ephemera No 3 - What are the trousers made of (from Let It Rock) that David Johansen is wearing on the cover of The New York Doll's Too Much Too Soon LP? I don't think it's spandex,  that's all I'm saying.

I've just bought Vic's birthday present! Free T shirt to the first person who can guess what 'gig' I have bought him tickets for. The only clue is it is happening over the summer. PLEASE only answer in comments here on the blog and not on facebook as I want it to be a surprise.

 Disco Memories - I went to see Chic and Sister Sledge at Hammersmith Odeon,almost certainly 1978. We were made to stay in our seats by security until Mr Rodgers decreed otherwise and we were freed to bop to our hearts' content. Le Freak always reminds me of many nights out in the many and several new US US themed restaurants and cocktail bars that were cropping up all over Covent Garden at the time - Rumours, Joe Allen's, Peppermint Park, Coconut Grove...........

* Re: Jane Austen's heroines being wimps - prior to reading any Jane Austen my first literary heroine was discovered in Enid Blyton (The Famous Five and my namesake) when very young and then around 11 or 12 I came across more in the Bronte's, Daphne Du Maurier (Jamaica Inn, The King's General, etc), Anne Golon (Angelique) and Jacqueline Susann (Valley Of The Dolls, etc), perhaps derided by some as chick-lit of varying quality, a general term I detest ( I've never heard the term bloke lit) but then there is also Chaucer (The Wife of Bath), Hardy (Bathsheba), Shakespeare (Cleopatra for one),Théophile Gautier (Mademoiselle de Maupin), etc.All the women in these books/plays appeared vital and adventurous to me so when I came across the likes of Catherine Morland et al, I was appalled at their insipid natures, vacuity and  and seemingly wanton stupidity.
This trailer for the 1967 VOTD film is brilliant - in a crass sexist kind of way-

It's coming up to the second anniversary of my dear Pa's death (eyes welling up as I write) and I still miss him like a part of my very being has gone and think of him every day but it is slightly more bearable now.(I can't remember who the woman on the right is, one of Pa's patients)

This was one of his favourite songs 'Fly Me To The Moon' -