Archive For July, 2007

Writer’s block

Trying to write songs is a bit silly. It’s not like a proper artistic pursuit like sculpting a face of Jesus out of elephant dung or writing a performance poem about earth worms. Met a good friend yesterday and she’d written a list of things she had to do and things she wanted to do. The list of things she wanted to do include painting a fish (we narrowed it down to a painting of a fish) and writing her book. The list of things she had to do include sorting out her tax and payslips. Such is life’s rich tapestry. We all spend a lot of our lives doing stuff we don’t want to do in order to spend a little time doing what we love. Today I’ve been trying to write a song. A songwriter I know says it’s akin to having a poo. What I wrote was crap so I guess he’s right.

Went to see a friend’s band called ‘The Return Of The Furies’ last night at The Clapham Grand. They rocked. They had some really complex and interesting arrangements and some killer riffs to boot. . The night before I went to Camden to see a mate’s band. They were supported by a 5 piece rock band who’d obviously flown in from the 80s on a magic carpet. They were unselfconsciously like Def Leppard. This is both amusing and upsetting.

We got review in Mojo this month which gave us three stars (this, according to their rating system means ‘good’). Although it was a positive review I didn’t really understand some of it. It said we were ‘quaintly and unselfconsciously out of time’. We’re actually totally conscious of the fact we’re ‘Out of time’. Ironically if we sounded ‘of the moment’ we’d sound like ‘Television’ or ‘Joy Division’. This would be impossible for us because of our fear of 16th hi hats. I’m pleased we’re not flavour of the month, it hopefully means that we won’t be flavour of last month either.

What I’m really amazed by is the fact that Mojo gave us a review at all. We’re a tiny band on a tiny label so good on them! I think there are a couple of hundred releases each week. The other reviews we’ve got have been really great and we’re had a bit of radio play on radio 2 as well.

It’s like climbing Everest this whole small band against the music industry world. Actually it’s more like carrying all our own equipment to base camp to see all the bands on bigger deals arrive in helicopters with loads of sherpas.

We’re from Yorkshire, we thrive on hardship.

Ich Bin Ein Berliner!

Ahh, the famous words of JFK as he stood by the Berlin wall mean ‘I Am A Doughnut’. I’ve just got back from Berlin and I’ve made many linguistic mistakes. It’s the first time I’ve been to Germany since working a as a washer-upper in a Hotel when I was 18. Back then I hitched there and listened to the Beatles, this time I flew there and listened to MP3s of The Beatles so not that much has changed.

A warning to vegetarians about German foods; The German chef will try and secrete meat in the most innocent looking dishes. Peas (shredded ham), a cheese sandwich (schinken will often nestle under the cheese). It’s like a sick game to test a vegetarian’s skill. The trick is to eat in the abundance of great Thai and Vietnamese restaurants there.

There’s so much to see in the German capital, I wish I had a week there. There’s so much tumultuous history in one city. It’s hard to believe the wall existed when you go there now. I really recommend it to anyone who likes beer, art and history.

By the way, the album is out and is getting some great reviews. To all of you who have bought it, I hope that you like it. We’re really proud of it and already wondering what the next one is going to sound like…

Message to God. Thanks for the rain but you can stop now.

A Thong For Europe

Hello everyone, we’ve just been on a whistle-stop trip to Spain and had a great time.

First on the schedule was a Radio show on Spanish National Radio. We were invited on DJ Charlie’s evening show to choose some songs to play. For an hour we had the chance to broadcast songs by everybody from Brendon Benson to Feist. It was a great show (especially the large quantity of fine quality cerveca).

After the show we headed off to see our friend Santi Campos D.J in a club. I can’t remember too much after this…

When I woke up, I realized I’d left my jacket somewhere. I just don’t know where. That afternoon we drove to Valencia to play at Club Wah Wah. We were supported by a great band from Madrid called Belco. The music was reminiscent of Wilco, Josh Rouse and Ryan Adams. The show was fantastic. Everyone seemed to know all the songs and we saw a fair number of punters afterwards who had seen us before. There was one couple there who had ‘First And Last’ as their wedding song. I was flattered and confused as it is a song about breaking up with someone!

When we woke up the next day I realized that we’d left our brand new and very expensive backdrop hanging up at the venue. I hope we can get it back. I have visions of it being used as a Farrah duvet cover.

The show on Saturday was after a long drive back to Madrid. As a band of erudite individuals we spent the journey trying to remember the theme tune to Magnum P.I and arguing about where and when the first queue in the world was (I’m convinced it was Stonehenge when they’d just finished it). It was Euro Gay Pride festival all weekend so the atmosphere in the city centre was amazing. Unfortunately for us, the City centre was closed off to traffic so we had to lug the equipment through the thong wearing throng of people. Even though many men were quite muscular, not one offered to carry an amp!

The show was short but sweet and we caught up with a lot of friends from the many other times we’d played in Madrid. A few vodka and tonics later, Mike and I exited the club bleary eyed to be confronted by 100000 gay men all trying to hail a cab. We wandered the streets for an hour before a kindly cabbie took pity on us.

My hangover on Sunday was quite severe. After a fantastic lunch at the home of our Record Company boss we sadly headed back to the U.K. We’re always sorry to leave Spain as the people are so into music and the shows are always great fun. I think we’re planning to head back in October.