Saturday, 18 April 2015

Notes From The Popside #6

Third time lucky.

When the fixture list came out last July the first match I looked for was Torquay United at home against Lincoln City. A shame is was to be played in January, over halfway through the season but worth the wait. Or so I thought.
I have always kept an eye out for Lincoln City, try and see how they are fairing. A lot easier when they were stalwarts of Division 4 (aka Division 2), but now they are in the same league as Torquay United I can actually get to see them once a season. I used to go to Sincil Bank a lot when I was a youth. 9-12 years old, before booze and girls …. the last time I saw Lincoln City was in 1997 at Notts County ground, for a laugh my mates and I went in the "away end", can't remember the result but a Notts County fan did run on the pitch and twat the referee … oh how we laughed
The Lincoln match in January was postponed … Torquay United had progressed in some lower league cup so were now playing cup matches as priority. The match was re-arranged for a Tuesday evening in February. My son was a tad disappointed as the January match was part of his 9th birthday presents .. ah well (like the Queen) he can have two birthdays. The Tuesday night match suddenly became four days before a home match…a home match that was the second leg of the cup semi-final. Winner takes all and gets a game at Wembley. Just to make certain that this game was going ahead I 'phoned the club, asked about ticket prices (£14 for adult - £5 for youth) and if the match was going ahead - pitch was fine and playable according to the man at the end of the line.
We both arrived at 7.30pm on a cold and freezing night at Plainmoor to find the ground in darkness. All gates locked all shutters down. Lighting off and nobody to be seen. We walked around the ground twice, surely some "postponed" notice on a gate or post? No. Surely someone from the club or a steward to explain why Plainmoor was a ghost town? No. A chap outside the "Boots & Laces" pub told us "Match cancelled due to waterlogged pitch". Strange, because it hadn't rained for a couple of days and certainly not after my 'phone conversation with a club employee who said the pitch was perfect and playable. Conspiracy theories abound. At 1.30pm a referee from North Devon was contacted to "test the pitch" - not the match referee but an independent referee and he called the pitch "unplayable" so Torquay United called the game off - with Lincoln City supporters en route. They (simply) did not want any injuries before the semi-final.
Luckily Torquay United lost the semi-final against Wrexham and so missed out on a day at Wembley. We went to the Wrexham game. It was probably the worst game of football I have ever seen.
So third time lucky. Torquay United vs. Lincoln City Tuesday April 14. 7.45pm kick off.

For some inexplicable reason the price per adult had gone from £14 to £19. £19 for a grown man to watch this rubbish - no wonder attendances at Plainmoor are in decline. Champions League football was on TV. The programme was at a reduced price of £2 because it was the programme for the re-arranged match in February and completely out of date re-squad members. Still, it did have a history of Lincoln City FC that included a picture of the 1976 team. The Mighty Imps when Graham Taylor was the manager and Bert Loxley was the physio. I went to school with Bert's daughter, Julie. I also won a Graham Taylor award for being man of the match in some final I played at Sincil Bank - would have 1975 or 1976. Anyway.
The attendance on the night was announced at 1349 - more like 800. I counted 35 Lincoln City fans in the away end, I could have carried on around the ground but the match was on! The first half was a game of head tennis. It doesn't matter if the pitch is "unplayable" as Torquay United play 90% of their game in the air. Lincoln City did try and get the ball down and play on the ground - use the wings etc, but neither team had a shot on target in the first half.
Second half was more exciting, but perhaps that was because the night drew in and nothing quite beats a night match. Under the lights. This was Oscar's first night match .. he was excited. And then a member of the security team came over and told me he had been watching me on his CCTV and I was taking pictures … with MY CAMERA! Verboten at Plainmoor. I could take pictures on a mobile device like a phone or tablet but not with a camera. My camera is mobile, but this chap was not for arguing and I didn't want to be Cameraless In Plainmoor (to misquote Aldous Huxley).
Simon Aldous also went to school with Julie Loxley. No idea what has happened to both.
Well, that was the final straw, my enjoyment over. £19 entrance, £2 for an out of date programme, £2.50 for a bottle of pop and a Kit-Kat and then being told I couldn't take pictures of a football match - a belated birthday present for my son. Singled out - a troublemaker …
Torquay United seriously need to sort out their public relations …
And then there was a free kick, Aaron Downes quickly took the kick, over the heads of the City defenders to an off-side Ashley Yeoman who slid it the back of the net from 15 yards. 1-0 and game over … Man Of The Match was Torquay United keeper Dan Lavercombe (name is nowhere to be seen in the programme) who didn't have one save to make. Figure that one out.

Next season I shall avoid Plainmoor & Torquay United. I'll go the once to see them play Lincoln City and see who they have down as pre-season friendlies, but otherwise I'll take Oscar to watch football at Exeter or maybe Plymouth Argyle?

1: Gilbert "The Gull" (surprisingly not foul-mouthed).
2: Oscar watches "Kick-Off".
3: Game on. (Security guard coming over to try and take my camera away).
4: The Mighty Imps. 1976. Bert on far right.
5: Sneaky picture. (Defiant)!

Oh, I forgot to mention the 10 year old Lincoln City fan who won the 50/50 raffle prize of £95 and then got booed by the Torquay United crowd when he came to collect it at half time. Shame on them. An away "fan" putting money in to the club. How dare he!

MuhMur SoundArt Radio Broadcast 16.04.2015.

This is a photograph of a tree I walk past on the way to the SoundArt Radio studio. It is in the gardens of Dartington Hall Estate and I use it as a kind of halfway marker. I call it the "Dancing Wayang" tree. It reminds me of the logo for Dutch label Dancing Wayang. Now the bright nights and summer months are here the taxi drivers of Totnes will feel the pinch as I will walk the 3-4 miles from the off-licence to radio station … got to keep fit!
Tonight's programme was mainly cassette based featuring the complete side of the latest release by Lost Harbours. "Engure Ezers" is a split tape with Waterflower and available on Jozik Records. Available here: Hopefully there will be more Lost Harbours in upcoming shows. I also played 2 tracks from the new Amalthea cassette on Cloister Recordings US. A brilliant project made up of Michael Idehall and Jonas Lindgren.
On the night there were slight technical problems with the first 15 minutes being broadcast as "dead air" then we realised that the turntable was wired in all wrong and the tape machine was playing up! All problems solved by the programme's engineer, Dave. (Thanks Dave). The MixCloud upload has the programme "in full"!

01: Amalthea : "Gothenberg Point Chaud" (Cloister Recordings) 2015.
02: Circuit Breaker : "Portals" (Tombed Visions) 2014.
03: Bourbonese Qualk : "Return To Order" (Mannequin) 2015.
04: Lost Harbours : "Engure Ezers" (Jozik Records) 2015.
05: Trepaneringsritualen & Sutekh Hexen : "100 Year Storm III" (Pesanta) 2015.
06: Devo : "Girl U Want (Live)" (Virgin Records) 1993.
07: The Human League : "Dancevision" (Virgin Records) 1980.
08: The Misz : "Le Joli Jardin" (EE Tapes) 2014.
09: Ekman : "Inhale" (Belaten) 2012.
10: We Be Echo : "Inside Life's Wire" (Vinyl On Demand) 2009.
11: Simple Minds : "Changeling" (Virgin Records) 2003.
12: Leif Elggren : "The Upper Corridor And The Lower (Oh God It's Too Early)"
      (Ideal Recordings/Firework Editions) 2013.
13: Amalthea : "Solidarity Of Ancient Ways" (Cloister Recordings) 2015.
14: Stuart Chalmers : "Wind Voices" (Hairdryer Excommunication) 2015.
15: MyTrip : "Wait For Me" (Amek) 2015.
16: Extnddntwrk : "Breath In" (Fourth Dimension Records) 2014.
17: Bourbonese Qualk : "Confrontation" (Mannequin) 2015.

Listen here :

The next programme will be on April 30.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Alice Kemp #2

Harbinger Sound carry on their year of fine releases with a 7" single by Devon based performance / sound artist Alice Kemp. Her main outlet for sonic soundart has been under the banner of Germseed, but since 2013 and the CDR "Decay And Persistence" on the German label Fragment Factory she is now (simply) Alice Kemp.
The beautifully titled "Impregnator Of The Death Mouth" is comprised of two 7 minute + pieces, both carrying the highly original titles of "Untitled". Side A is built of low end vibrations, reverberations and bass tone frequencies, fast, inhaling and exhaling…whispers in the breeze. It has a sinister air and brings to mind EVP Recordings by the likes of Michael Esposito and Jan Warnke. The Fantom Auditory Operations. A sense of souls trapped, subterranean and cold.
Side B has the legend "Hippie Jokes In Dead Wax" etched in to the run-out grooves. It is all dulcimer and divine wind. A peaceful air in opposition to the trapped feelings generated by Side A. But then, a creeping element rises in the form of a genderless moan. The Death Mouth?
Accompanying the single is a 12 page booklet - a series of photographs by Paul Watson of The Lazarus Corporation - printed on high quality paper. In the photographs Alice is wearing an Eastern silk gown, then a death mask, a fetish of teeth appears to encompass Alice, dripping wax down the neck and breasts. The final photograph is of the mask itself. The death mouth? The two sides tell the story.

A worthy release. The pressing is not too brilliant, there are moments when the sounds snap, crackle and pop giving the feel of an old and recently discovered wax cylinder recording - perhaps that was the idea? I can't help thinking that it could have been a little C20 cassette release then perhaps the sound quality would have been better but as an artifact, as a release, a vinyl release, it is essential. I think Fragment Factory are the sole European distributors for this single - and limited to 150 only. Get in touch with them at :

1: "Impregnator Of The Death Mouth" single cover.
2: Alice Kemp.
3: Alice Kemp live at Dartington (Studio 20) 2013.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Secondhand Record Shops #22 : Islington (London).

Back in the day (the day being late 1970's - early 1980's) the place to do secondhand vinyl shopping was Islington, unfortunately Islington has died a bit over the years making it an area of London I just didn't go to whilst visiting. All that has changed now since discovering Flashback.
Two floors crammed full of vinyl. Rock upstairs decent stuff in the basement. Decently priced albums in the new wave / industrial and experimental sections - excellent choices too, some stuff I hadn't seen in years. I managed to pick up the Masstishaddhu LP on United Dairies for £19. Mint condition too. Some of the 7" section was over priced - but that's London shopping I guess, but again the selection was a joy to browse through.
Situated on Essex Road. If using the underground, get off at The Angel and head towards Highbury - at the fork in the road just bear right and keep on walking. The shop is flanked by pubs and greasy spoons too. This shop is now on my list of shops to visit whilst in London.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Aaron Dilloway #9

There was an evening, early doors of 1984 when I was invited down to the PSV Club in Hulme (Manchester). I say "invited down" as it was only down a flight of stairs as I was a resident in Charles Barry Crescent at the time .. anyway, my flatmate had been invited to join his Poly friend (Poly friend as in friend from Manchester Polytechnic Fine Arts Dept.) for a drink after rehearsing with his new band that included Pete Shelley and Derek Thompson. I "sort of" knew Derek as he used to place bass for SPK in 1983, so I came along. The evenings entertainment was provided by Thirst (Martin Brahmah's project post Blue Orchids), Eric Random and a dance troupe from Moss Side that (apparently) included a future member of Take That. Later on in the evening the table was joined by Tony Wilson and a guy who he had just interviewed on the telly - Bob Geldolf.
I tell of this because it was a slightly surreal situation (at the time) a bizarre event, and last week a similar thing happened whilst I was in London travelling downwards in a lift in Selfridges (London) with my good friend Simon and Aaron Dilloway, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and the young Chinese fashion designer Yang Li.

I was there at the invite of Aaron. A rare UK performance, an improvised set with Genesis taking place inside the rooftop restaurant of Selfridges (London) called Le Chalet. Why? The evening was called "So Destroy The Expected" ("In celebration of agender - Selfridges' exploration into a genderless store experience").
First the evening started with a short edited showing of the film "The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye", inside a cinema situated in the Lower Ground level of Selfridges. It turns out that this is the new location of The Everyman Cinema. The last time I was at The Everyman Cinema (back to 1984) it was in Hampstead and showing a collection of Gysin & Burroughs short films and a live performance from Psychic TV. There was a short Q+A after the film where Yang Li and Gen talked about the collaboration, an exchange of slogans for T-Shirt designs and a Zippo Lighter (limited to 100 worldwide and available for £410 in the foyer). It was a light hearted Q+A but I was a little surprised to hear Gen say he had never thought about collaborating with "fashion designers" before meeting Yang Li. I was wearing a Mishka designed Psychic TV coat and the name Lawrence Dupre sprang to mind … Anyway, the  evening was about to get more bizarre as a lift attendant took myself, Simon, Aaron and the Nyoukis clan up to the rooftop for the performance.
Invite was limited, the first few to respond (RSVP) to a Twitter message on the Selfridges Twitter page got in for free. Wine, cocktails and Swiss bottled lager were all free and plentiful. Free bar! I picked the wrong month to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes! The decor was akin to the "Cockhouse" I suffered at the Sleaford Mods gig in Lincoln a few days before - all faux Hawaiian Tiki and green camouflage. The stage was set at the end of a long corridor, not ideal but nobody seemed to be bothered as most were pissed as farts. The DJ, DJ Powell kept banging out Severed Heads tunes and everyone smiled and chatted - T'was great to see some old friends (none of whom I expected to be there) like Jo Oremus, Luke Younger, Johnny Scarr, Dale Cornish and Bill Kouligas.

Most of the audience were young (not their fault) and London trendy. Aaron built up looped walls, rhythmic pulsating looped walls with finely honed nuances and great deft sonic trickery. I watched for a while (close up) mesmerised by his table manners, and Gen's voice drifted across and above the celestial drones. Deep trance, heavenly joy. A bizarre and slightly surreal setting that, at the end of the evening, seemed just right.

And then the evening was over, the next day I was travelling back on the train to Devon and thinking back on the event - the elevator journeys, the cinema showing, the live gig on a rooftop overlooking Mayfair, the fact that this all took place in Selfridges it all seemed slightly surreal and very bizarre. For a night I was either "part of" or "not in" my world …

01 & 02: The Foyer of The Everyman Cinema.
03: Aaron Dilloway.
04: DJ Powell.
05: DJ Powell + Yang Li.
06 - 08: Aaron Dilloway + Genesis Breyer P-Orridge in performance.
09: Gen + Me.
10: Aaron + Bill.
11: Johnny Scarr + Matt.

Friday, 3 April 2015

MuhMur SoundArt Radio Broadcast : 02/04/2015.

Back in the studio after a month off. The new premises of SoundArt Radio are up and running. Excellent premises too, around four times larger than the last set up, and thoughts move towards live performance space. (Recordings of live sessions etc)….Anyway, that is the future. Tonights programme featured a few records I got on my travels in March as well as a couple of Splintered "classics" I dug out after meeting vocalist Richo Johnson at a Sleaford Mods gig in Lincoln (see last blog entry).
Listen to the programme here:

01: Masstishaddhu : "For The Dead And Unborn" (United Dairies) 1988.
02: Guild : "Killing Horizon" (Aetheric Records) 2015.
03: Nurse With Wound : "Glory Hole" (Vinyl On Demand) 2009.
04: Con-Dom : "I Am Human" (Industrial Recollections) 2014.
05: Sleep Chamber : "Courtfield Road" (Manhood Records) 1995.
06: Bourbonese Qualk : "God With Us" (Mannequin) 2015.
07: Colin Potter : "Behind You" (Sacred Summits) 2014.
08: Stuart Chalmers : "Maelstrom" (Hairdryer Excommunications) 2015.
09: Henrik Rylander : "Eminence Fracture" (Hãsten & Korset) 2009.
10: Duet Emmo : "Or So It Seems" (Mute Records) 1983.
11: Dieter Müh : "Serves You Right" (Functional) 2002.
12: Splintered : "Facelift" (Aquese Records) 1994.
13: Splintered : "Hilt" (Shock) 1993.
14: Bourbonese Qualk : "Kneejerk Reaction" (Praxis Records) 1992.
15: Thee Majesty & White Stains : "Power" (Temple Records/Voiceprint) 2004.

Next programme is on April 16 at 21:00 gmt.

Pictures are of the new premises at Dartington Hall.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sleaford Mods : Crap Towns & Shitholes #1: Lincoln.

"Get Ready Tonight / Gonna Make This A Night To Remember / Get Ready Tonight / (Oh Baby) / Gonna make This A Night To Remember" (Shalamar)

When the list of tour dates came out for the Sleaford Mods "Crap Towns & Shitholes" tour (my title - not theirs), one date stood out for me. Lincoln March 21. Sleaford Mods in my hometown of Lincoln appealed to me. The last gig I saw in Lincoln was in 2001. 999 at the Duke Of Welligton. I had seen 999 in Lincoln before, at the Regency Ballroom in 1978. ("Separates" tour). The gig in 2001 was rough with a load of old boys forming a "mosh pit" and dragging and pushing folk about the dance floor. Good humoured but still on the edge of turning nasty (nasty). Lincoln has always been like that though. Violent. Punk gigs in the past (1977-1979) always ending with a fight. There were shootings at AJ's, kids getting bones broken after nights at The Drill Hall (the pub across the road would do a cheap lager night to coincide so "kicking out time" took on a whole new meaning and it was every man for himself on Broadgate). I was at The Adverts gig in Lincoln Tech College when bricks and glass were thrown at the audience. A poor lad died after getting his neck broken at The Stranglers gig in 1978 and some poor soul got hooked onto a cars tow bar and dragged up Lindum Hill taking the skin off his back and legs. Rough times in a rough town. Tribal. I got the shit kicked out of me during Starjets set at Lincoln Drill Hall in 1979 - they were supporting Stiff Little Fingers, but The Starjets for fucks sake! I have seen Sleaford Mods a few times over the past 3 years - in the sticks, in the capital and even abroad and now I wanted to see how Lincoln would react.

Dance Laugh Wine Dine And Talk And Sing / But Those Cannot Replace What Is The Real Thing / It's A Lot Like Playing The Violin / You Cannot Start Off And Be Yheudi Menuhin.
So Amateur Hour Goes On And On / When You Turn Pro You Know She'll Let You Know / Amateur Hour Goes On And On / When You Turn Pro You Know She Tells You So".  (Sparks).

I rode into town with Steve Underwood and Jason in time for the soundcheck. The venue had been changed from a club called The Scene (or Swiss Cottage to us owd boys) to a club called The Basement. A 400 capacity venue underneath the old Conservative Club on Silver Street. Walking into the venue it became immediately clear that the venue could not hold 400 people, maybe 150 at a push. The venue was dirty, like an old squat from the mid 1980's with peeling brick walls, unswept floors and wires and loose light fittings everywhere. A motley crew were hanging trying to be louche by one of the bars in an ante-room. All black clothed and freshly coiffured. They stared at us, we stared at them. Mexican stand-off. ha! Step forward the promoter, a fat chap with hair three times bigger than Robert Smith, ill fitting black leggings and white cuban heeled winkle pickers. Comedy gold character number one. This guy was pissed as a fart on Strongbow at 5pm. He assured all would be fine and the support band supported The Horrors (and/or Telescopes) in Sheffield and in fact this venue was a lot like The Leadmill (in Sheffield) apparently. And when I say support band I mean headlining support band whose name was as large as Sleaford Mods on the flyers, a band called Telegram, a band who were "contracted" to get £250 of Sleaford Mods money for support, a band who are managed by…the dick that was stood in front of us .. the promoter.
The promoter carried on his spiel about how good Telegram are and how there's going to be an MC who was really funny and who'd do great banter with Jason. It was complete amateur hour.
The manager of the venue (the venue also had two other bars, for the more sophisticated clientele) shows up looking like Lincoln's answer to Danny Dyer and took us to the "dressing room", an out building decorated like an Hawaiian Beach Bar called Raoul's Love Shak. To quote Danny this was an out of the way quiet place where hen nights happen. A place where women can get drunk and suck cocks of the male strippers. The dressing room was a Cockhouse. Classy joint, but never mind - free bar!

The Dinosaurs Are Stuck On Denmark Street / The Boots Of Hendrix Lick My Feet. (Sleaford Mods).

I missed the three support acts. Well, they all looked like NME reading Radio6 Music listening miserable cunts anyway with their stupid trousers and foppish manner. Why would they want to support Sleaford Mods?
A few minutes before "showtime" Steve and I got the merch' from the car and entered the venue. It was now we saw that they were still selling tickets on the door. Unbelievable. The promoter was nowhere to be seen, but neither was there anywhere to sell the vinyl and T-Shirts, so we decided to sell from the stage after the gig. Great plan. It was walking into the venue from behind the stage that the chaos became obvious. Barriers had been set up just in front of the stage but there was only one security chap to fend off the surging hoard. I took up prime position at the (safe) side of the stage. The DJ stopped spinning his Blondie and Blur records (only in Lincoln) and Sleaford Mods took to the stage ripping into "Bunch Of Cunts", it was like a pressure valve being released - they place went mental. The surge of the crowd, the human tsunami as 300 odd folk tried to get a look at the band in a space fit for only 100 or so. Onstage monitors didn't work and the sound was (allegedly) shit out front too. "Fizzy", "Jobseeker", "Tiswas" all came to great applaud and cheers but the crowd at the back were getting more and more angry by the situation. "Sack The Promoter". By fifteen or so minutes no fucker could see as half dozen burly security men stood in front of the stage trying to stem the surging mob. I could see fists flying in the bouncing crowd, the PA speakers rocking, bottles were thrown and the security blokes (trying to stop people from being crushed / injured) being spat at. This was like being back at The Drill Hall in 1978.
During all this I was stood next to comedy gold character number two, a short stocky fellow looking like Mick McManus playing a heavy in "Callan". White (wide) lapelled jacket, black polo neck sweater and loafers. Local hard nut and part time gangster stylee. When Jason called for calm and for folk to "chill" he stepped forward and gave the "Calm Down" signal with his outstretched arms and hands. It was as he saw himself as "The Daddy". No-one took a blind bit of notice (of course) of old King Canute. Fucking hilarious. The guy packed in and started hurling abuse at the security men. And the crowd carried on fighting and bouncing and fighting some more so management and security decided to call it a day, 30 minutes in and that's your lot. It was not pleasant to watch the mob turn ugly to see folk getting spat at and showered with glass just because they are trying to stop some kind of disaster. They too had to throw some punches and headbutt a few just to stay safe! It took me back to the days of The Specials, UK Subs and Angelic Upstarts at AJ's and Chelsea at the Tech Coll. Tribal and very very violent.

You..You Better Get Ready / You Better Hold Steady / They Can't Control This Angry Mob. (Bad Brains).

Riot gigs, don't you just love 'em? The last one I was "involved" in was SPK at the ICA (London 1985) when the London Fire Service brought a halt to the proceedings because of SPK's pyrotechnics. Lustmord wielding an arc welder. That night it was my job to rescue the Fairlights from the angry mob who were picking up and throwing metal poles and shattered glass, tonight it was to get the merch' to the car as quickly as possible. Steve did manage to sell a couple of LP's en route - ever the professional.
This was a top night and one I shall never forget. Somehow I don't think the promoter will either. He should drop the idea of being a promoter, realise he is but an amateur wanker in the world of professionals.

On the plus side I did get to drink in one of my old haunts, the Tap & Spile on Hungate and enjoy a Tex-Mex meal and glass of wine with Steve and Jason on the Brayford. I also got to meet and chat with Richo Johnson of Adverse Effect / Splintered fame who had flown in that day from Poland for the gig…there was some chap who had flown in from the US so neither Richo or I get the "I travelled the farthest to see this" badge.

Next Sleaford Mods gig for me will be April 1 at Exeter Cavern. "Sack The Promoter"!

                                                        (Richo in The Cockhouse).