Friday, 26 June 2015

Gnu AND Gert Reporting on Sleaford Mods/Music Machine/Koko;Jock Scot;Brighton Love Fest,Debut of The Stool Pigeons, Sound of Young Scotland film 'Big Gold Dream',VICLEKA, Live & Rare Vol 3,Vic Stymies Costa,loads of vids & pics; Recommendations, The Clangers, The Avengers and more!

                                                       BEES ARE BACK.......IT'S SUMMER !

No preamble and no politics this time (well only a smidge) although there may be some confusion with both of us on the blog. Without further ado..........

A Tale of Three Cities
Been very lucky this year with gigs (see previous blogs), and the last three live events of the summer (unless something enticing turns up!) have not disappointed, memorable experiences in their own very different ways.

   Subway Sect with Special Guest Simon Rivers. KOKO 5th June 2015 by Kim Rivers

 The actual gig part of the Sleaford Mods gig at Koko was a bit of an existential experience, being on the merch stand in the foyer during the show so just about heard the sets though only saw snatches. Great to have The Bitter Springs' Simon Rivers joining Vic, Kevin Younger, Mark Braby and Ian Holford. Vic loved the drum and bass sound of the SMs, thought it was one of the best live performances he's seen in a long time.

Without a doubt the highlight of the gig for me was the unexpected pleasure of seeing the very wonderful Jock Scot, photograph with Vic by Tracey Holloway. Below is Jock with 'Above The Volcano' filmed by Tracey.

Jock introducing Vic and the Sect's opening number 'Born To Be A Rebel', filmed by Tracey H, edited by Lee M.

I can't quite put my finger on why the night reminded me of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Last Action Hero (1993), perhaps because the Sleaford Mods seem larger than life and I admit I was a bit awe struck by them.............who knows.

You get to see the theatre in all it's gaudy glory when it's empty, particularly good view standing looking out from the stage. The very sturdy looking steel crash barriers in front of the quite high stage did make me wonder exactly what kind of crowd they were expecting for the SMs! The Camden Theatre/Camden Palace/The Music machine/Koko has an interesting history, opened by Ellen Terry in 1900:

The next VG & SS outing was a chilled out night of unadulterated enjoyment at the seaside for a Spinningchilli Gigs night of aural delights and general all round love fest with Asbo Derek and The Unreliable Witnesses at the Green Door Store in Brighton.
Vic Godard & Subway Sect, Asbo Derek & The Unreliable Witnesses Spinningchilli Night Green Door Store Brighton by Phil G
Phil and Shelley always put on a good show however this was pure pleasure from arrival to departure, lovely promoters, lovely groups, lovely music, lovely people, can't ask for more.

The Unreliable Witnesses are simply brilliant, Grant Bale, Miss de Meaner and Barry Stir (any resemblance to Lee McFadden, Marina Young and Cos Chapman is purely coincidental!!) treated us to their unique interpretations of some classic songs including. 'Aquarius', one of my favs of the night, however I also loved the UR's closing number, The Return Of The Los Palmas 7, timing is everything! Both videos filmed by  Tracey H.

"They only cover the lyrics which are recited (not sung) by Grant Bale - whilst Miss de Meaner and Barry Stir improvise the music. Mr Bale does not know which music they will play - Miss de meaner and Mr Stir will not know which lyrics will be read. In short - they don't rehearse. They aim only to ever play songs once - even if they play a song in soundcheck - that song will not make it to the main set." Lee McFadden

Find out who The Unreliable Witnesses really are (or not!) and where they are playing next:

Asbo Derek & The Enigma of Subo Boyle The first performance of the Asbo Derek classic following the news that Eric Pickles is to receive a knighthood, featuring the incomparable Subo on vocals, filmed by Tracey H.

Asbo Derek beguiled and taunted us with their sardonic wit and charm, treating us to some new songs including what I'm sure will become a new AD classic 'Bryan Ferry's Ball Bag' (hint of Mark E Smith in the vocal!) video courtesy of Steve Clements.

 A dead dreamy set by the Sect, Ian Holford, Kevin Younger and Mark Braby including 'The Water Was Bad', filmed by Lee, who also deserves a special mention for doing the sound check with all three groups!

Great review of the night by Joe Giacomelli with photographs from Guy Christie:
 and another(!) with more photographs courtesy of Steve Worrall at Retro Man Blog :

Thanks to Lee and Tracey Holloway for the videos, more from the 5th and 13th June here: 
and thanks to Phil G for the photographs, more from the night here:   /media_set?set=a.888594604547179.1073741852.100001899443736&type=3

and more upcoming goodies from Spinningchilli gigs:

PS Stopped off at Pease Pottage Services on the way would think buying a coffee would be easy...............the only outlet open was a Costa, manned solely by one man (a very patient man).........Vic approaches the counter and conversation goes as follows:
Vic: 'Can I have a small cappuchino please?'
Costa Man: 'This size (points to the smallest takeaway cup)?'
Vic: Yes, in one of those (points to small china cup)'
Costa Man: 'I am sorry it is only available in this (points to smallest takeaway cup)'
Vic: Ok, can I have it in one of those then (points to china espresso cup)?'
Gnu audibly sighs
Costa Man: 'No, I'm very sorry, you can only have it in a takeaway cup'
Vic: 'i won't have a coffee then, I'll have a cup of tea please, that size (points to medium sized china cup)
Costa Man (wearily, queue growing): I am very sorry but only takeaway cups are available, I am on my own.
At this point the gnu couldn't bear the poor man's trial by ordeal any longer and was compelled to intervene, explaining to Vic that whatever he chooses it will be in a take away cup, no matter how many china cups he can see, he can't have one, no he can't, because the Costa Man is on his own and can't leave the counter to collect dirty cups. 
Vic: 'Ah, I see, I'll have a tea then please in a small takeaway cup'
Costa Man, looking relieved: 'Thank you and I am very sorry sir, any other time when I am not on my own you can have any cup you want.'
You could not hope to come across a more polite and patient employee, anywhere, however taking in to account he was the only employee, in the only open outlet at these motorway services and at around midnight, his calm demeanour was exemplary!
M23 J11 West Sussex

PPS Forgot to mention a fairly important part of this story and what started it all .............the man in front of Vic in the queue said 'Can I get a latte?' and you know what he desperately wanted the Costa man to say!


And why is the village of Pease Pottage called Pease Pottage you may wonder? Moot point, however considered unlikely to be anything to do with the  eponymous Tudor dish, apparently more likely to do with the muddy texture of the land thereabouts (in other words nobody knows). More info here:
and should you fancy having a go at making Pease Pottage you can find the receipt here:

Gnu went to sleep with a silly smile still on her face.

Vic and the Sect are back in September kicking off the Autumn/Winter dates in Dublin on the 11th, then there is Falmouth, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool and a Marc Riley session. Brilliant poster designs by Andrew Paul Shaw. All details and ticket links here:

A Big Gold Dream!

Due North Next for something very special, still bathing in the reflected limelight of another love fest. Always get a buzz being back in Scotland, the warm glow starts to permeate after Berwick upon Tweed and this was no exception. A memorable few days in Edinburgh, another of my favourite cities for the premiere of the much anticipated Sound of Young Scotland film 'Big Gold Dream', directed by Grant McPhee. It began with a warm EIFF welcome (we were met at the station and a car and driver put at our disposal if/when we wanted it, though as our hotel (Apex Grassmarket), The Filmhouse and the Traverse Theatre are only ten minutes walk apart we didn't indulge! Huge thanks to Diane at EIFF and Innes Reekie for inviting us to be a part of this very special occasion and to Sandra and Harriet for looking after us so well, I have never experienced anything so extraordinarily well run.

Grant McPhee's film has a star studded roll call of characters, to name drop a few:  Bob Last and Hilary Morrison (Fast Product), Davy Henderson (Win, Nectarine No 9, The Fire Engines,The Sexual Objects), Robert King (The Scars, Opium Kitchen), Paul Reekie, Campbell Owens (Aztec Camera), Ken McKlusky (Bluebells), Malcolm Ross (Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and Josef K), Douglas MacIntyre (The Sexual Objects,The Leopards, Creeping Bent),Russell Burn (The Fire Engines, Opium Kitchen), Tam Dean Burn, Fay Fife (The Rezillos), Jo Callis (The Rezillos & Human League) and many more (including Vic!). There is fascinating, rare & unseen footage and photographs of Paul Reekie, Edwyn Collins, Orange Juice, Win, Paul Quinn and  Alan Horne (Postcard and who looks so young!) to name just a few. Although centred around the post punk music explosion in Edinburgh, Big Gold Dream expands in to far wider territory and shows the far reaching influence Scotland's musicians, songwriters, groups and independent record companies had on the entire UK post punk music scene and beyond, in fact not sure it would have happened without them. Add to this wry humour, touches of pathos and a real insight into the machinations and manipulations that went on behind the scenes and their not always happy outcomes and you have an an entertaining and enlightening film. Congratulations to Grant McPhee, Erik Sandberg, Innes Reekie and everyone else involved. If you need any more convincing that you need to see this film Neil Cooper's article in The Quietus should do it::

More about the film:

Vic and Malcolm Ross in conversation with Lewis Porteous in The Skinny:

STOP PRESS: Big Gold Dream part of 'Best in Fest'.............this means another chance to see the film on Sunday 28th June at Cineworld Edinburgh for the bargain price of £5!

Definitely one of those occasions when some will say, wish I had been there or, I was there and I'm glad I can say I was there to witness an electrifying set from The Stool Pigeons, a line up and a half with Mick Slaven, Douglas McIntyre, Russell Burn, Vic and Malcolm Ross and they were a revelation. I'm sure we are going to see more of them!

The Stool Pigeons sound check for BGD after show. 'Sweet Jane' (left) featuring Fay Fife and 'Be My Wife' with pretty amazing Mick Slaven guitar solo (below). Filmed by gnu so the usual avant garde filming techniques applied.

Ambition (below BMW) filmed professionally(!) at the show.        

                   AMBITION - Stool Pigeons . BGD Aftershow from grant mcphee on Vimeo.
Stool Pigeons - Vic Godard, Malcolm Ross, Mick Slaven, Douglas Macintyre and Russell Burn
Big Gold Dream aftershow - 19/06/2015. Filmed by Simon, Jonny and Lucas.

Two more from the after show sound check, The Stool Pigeons cover The Fire Engines 'Candyskin' and Josef K's 'It's Kinda Funny', both filmed  by the gnu.

    All in all a fab, unforgettable few days, lovely place, lovely music and lovely people. 

PS Vic met Bob Last for the first time at the after show, the man he says bears the onerous burden of opening the door wide enough to let the indie landfill in.   

    Heading Home -
 Stunning views on East Coast line.

Political Bit The only point of the trip that didn't reach the prevailing high was the poor standard of service experienced on the Virgin East Coast train line, how they got awarded the franchise I don't know. On the way up the train looked like it had been hurriedly cobbled together from the train scrap yard, bits of the interior finishings missing, no fold down tables so if you wanted to eat or drink you had to hold it, precarious at the best of times, a health and safety hazard when the train's suspension leaves a lot to be desired, as this one did. We were advised that the train was being leased, surely not a good excuse for treating passengers in this way and WHY do they need to rent a train, didn't anyone check they had the rolling stock before awarding the contract? Silly me, of course not, I forgot that's not how it works. Perhaps they are waiting on an order for some of the cramped carriages they use on their west coast line, the least comfortable service I've travelled on. The staff do not come across as happy campers and £1.60 for a small bottle of water, taking the p or what? GNER won the east coast line franchise when the trains were privatised in the 1990's and ran it very well, there was a real, proper dining car (two sittings) and travelling on the service was almost a zen like experience. Then, then in 2006 the powers that be took the franchise away from  GNER, not because they weren't providing an exemplary service with high customer satisfaction but because they were not projected to make 'enough' profit in the future. The franchise was given to the coach company National Express, who made such an utter hash of it that the line was re-nationalised (sort of) until Virgin took over this year, I don't  imagine customer opinion had a lot to do with the decision. I wonder how many tens/hundreds of millions would have been saved if GNER had been allowed to keep the franchise (or it had never been privatised in the first place!!)?

It's nearly VicLeka time! 

 "VicLeka" an exhibition of art works with words by Vic Godard (London) & images by A.M.Leka (Beograd). The exhibition opens in Belgrade on 10th July at Ozone Art Space, Uzun Mirkova 10 and Vic will be there with Leka!

".........Leka uses print-making to develop an interaction   between word and image, song and vision, but this time in an  
exhibition that is also a testament to a friendship that has been
forged through music and which is referenced in the merged names of the title, VicLeka. At the heart of the project is a sturdy, black box that serves as the repository for a limited edition of hand-made prints.  Each box contains a unique VicLeka set of prints that is composed of two parts: on the one hand, there are the printed facsimiles of Vic Godard’s original songs and on the other, the printed images that a particular song inspired Leka to produce."
Kate Grandjouan (extract from VICLEKA catalogue)

For more information on how this this artistic collaboration between the two came about:
A selection of 'Jane Barnes' videos of Vic and the Sect from their Oxford gig (22/05/2015) will be shown at the exhibition in Belgrade including this stonking Nobody's Scared with Kev, Mark and Ian: 

You can also read about the exhibition here (although you do need to understand Serbian!):

 To celebrate and coincide with the exhibition  GNU inc are releasing Live & Rare Vol 3, a collection of live and rare studio recordings of the 12 songs featured in VICLEKA, dating from 1978 to 2014. The CD is in production, master went off yesterday, due for delivery next week and on schedule for release on 10th July.  The first 100 will be signed and numbered. 
Two teasers, Back In The Community and Zero Tolerance

There is only one air line that flies direct from the UK to Belgrade, Wizzair, three outbound flights a week from Luton, all arrive after midnight and three back. The only air line I've come across where the price is the same for one or two people to travel, so cheap for two but quite expensive for one when compared to the cost of flying to other European destinations nearby and they do have a somewhat eccentric cabin bag policy.   

Talking of Serbia........  
  ' Belgrade' - A new book of street photography by John Bolloten.     Following the acclaim for and popularity of 'Bradford Streets' (only 10 copies left of the 2nd edition!) John Bolloten is treating us to another collection of evocative street's eye view photographs of  of life on a city's streets. ' Belgrade' was shot over one week in the Serbian capital. There is only going to be one edition of 60, each copy individually number stamped and the first 30 copies will include a free 7” x 5” print, an absolute bargain at £7 plus p+p. Ordered mine!

A New Kevin Pearce Book!

Following the success and consummate achievement of his epic tome 'A Moment Worth Waiting For', which focused on the early 80's, Kevin Pearce takes us on another insightful musical journey through the 60's and 70's with 'You Know My Name: The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Bobby Scott'. You may not have come across the name before ( I hadn't) but if you've listened to jazz, soul, pop, folk, blues or Brazilian music from the 1960s/70s then you will almost certainly have heard the songs or piano playing of Bobby Scott, including ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ and  ‘A Taste of Honey’, and you may even have heard him singing, below is a beautiful version of ATOH sung by him (until the yucky bit at the end). 
You can buy Mr Pearce's ebook here:

And a bit of the Mel Tormé's about his voice in 'On The Street Where You Live'                                                                                                                                                                                     

     Mock cherries before the pigeons get them and deposit the purple waste on the car!

 Delighted to hear about the latest developments on the 'Dear Mr Kershaw' front, there is to be a publicly available edition of Derek Philpott's book of 'Letters to Pop Stars and Their Replies ' thanks to small independent label Plane Groovy who are publishing it. Order your copy here:
On the left you will find the fruits of Jean Philpott's Philpottery labours for the colour section of the book including Cheetah Gabriel, Amy Winemouse, Rick Hakeman, Nik Krowshaw, Moose Dickinson, Catfish Sensible, Jarvis Cockerel, Johnny Rotten-weiler, Zebra Harry, David Joey, Bobcat Marley and Ian Pandason.  There may still be a few of these one off pottery pieces still  available to buy although all of the above are sold.

The Clangers
Glad the makers of the new Clangers are sticking with original formula though Michael Palin doesn't do it for me the way Oliver Postgate did. Episode 1 from the original series with the mellifluous tones of Mr Postgate below. More original episodes can be found here: and this is a short snatch of the new series:
New episodes on BBC iplayer:


RIP Patrick MacNee. The Avengers was a seminal sixties series, then became a pastiche of itself in later incarnations. I particularly liked the Emma Peel era and in fact wanted to be Emma Peel when I grew up!
 Nature Corner
                                                        Planes can be beautiful!
Do you know your trees?

All for now bar the tweaking!