Are "friends" electric?

Been neglecting this thing for awhile. I wonder why? I guess it's partly because I've recently succumbed to social pressures ha ha & opened a myspace account. Now that it's a year past it being perceived as cool (and now that it's controlled by a scumbag media mogul), I think it's safe for me to do such things.

Funny old thing, myspace, innit? I never thought I'd take to livejournal, but I've been here for two-and-a-half years on & off, & check friends entries most days. I wouldn't want to base my life around it, but I've met some great people here & I'm glad it's around. Myspace, though....it's a funny old thing. Sorry if this sounds hopelessy quaint or out-of-touch but does it somehow devalue the concept of "friendship"? I'm quite glad I don't have 5224 friends, and I don't think my life would be any more complete than if I had 5223 or, say, 25. I guess one has to divide one's friends & one's life between the online world and the offline world (or "real life" as it's known), but even so it just seems kind of scary. Using friendship as merely a points scoring thing; as a bar graph of one's popularity. I guess there's plenty of people who have always viewed friendship as just that.

Still, 68 and counting!! And where else could you find The Mayfields and The Haywains? Jeez, *everyone* has one of these things...

In other news: is anyone going to the Arts Club on saturday for the "let's pretend it's the good old days down the Arts Club" day w/Tender Trap et al?
  • Current Music
    Judy Henske: Miss Judy Henske

I'd rather be with you than flying through space.

Jean Marie Perier is a remarkable photographer, possibly my favourite portrait photographer ever. So when I heard about this exhibition in a gallery in Birmingham, I couldn't resist. I suggest you all do the same. The prints are a trifle overpriced, but to spend half-an-hour with these (I don't want to use this word but it seems unavoidable) iconic images, and the very charming gallery director (who I now owe a Sylvie Vartan comp) was a treat indeed. They even played "Polnareff's" for me! Aahhh.
Having said that, I've always thought it was impossible to take a bad portrait in the 1960s. I guess that people knew how to look great then, whether you were Matt Monro or Michel Polnareff. It's not simply the clothes & the haircuts either; it's all about their faces. In them you can sense the excitement & expectation of the era. In a nutshell: people looked more alive.
We thought we'd make a weekend of the Birmingham jaunt, so after a swift breeze round the Custard Factory and the city centre, stopping once again to look at the architectural marvel of the Selfridge building, and bizarrely running into Matt outside Swordfish, we set off for Hay-On-Wye. Second-hand bookshop capital of Britain, apparently. I'd never been before, but phew, what a trip. Over thirty bookshops crammed into a small village on the Wales border, including what claims to be the largest second hand bookshop in the World (I guess Strand doesn't count). I came away with quite a haul, and could happily have spent the rest of the week there. Just as well the record shop was shut.
Couple of great archaeological sites nearby too, yet another Arthur's Stone and the four stones of old Radnor, both lacking in atmos a little due to the proximity of roads, but at least we didn't have to wade through mud & slurry to find them. And as if things couldn't get better, a drive around Hergest Ridge. Man, I couldn't get "On Horseback" out of my head the whole time.
  • Current Music
    Polnareff: Ne Dans Un IceCream

It was twenty years ago today (perhaps)*

Primal Scream's Peel session from January 1986. Titles: Aftermath, I Love You, Crystal Crescent, Subterranean.
*"In Session Tonight" has a date of December 1985, I guess I recorded the re-broadcast. Either way, a fantastic session, and Subterranean -in spite of being the greatest song ever- has yet to be issued officially in any form. I've kept the session in one lump for download; each song is under 2'30", and they're all terrific, so you might as well have 'em all.
This may be the first of a few Peel Session uploads I do. I'm attempting to get an overview on the era, after Bob Stanley announced that he was preparing a "20 years after c86" film/exhibition/series of shows for later this year. I can't believe how good much of the music still sounds. This session pretty much defines 1986 for me. Next (maybe): June Brides 29/1/86...
  • Current Music
    Primal Scream: Aftermath

Films, art, music.

Remember how much we all enjoyed the Bob-curated vintage pop telly season at the Barbican last summer? Well, he's doing another one, this time themed around fictional portrayals of pop life. I suggest booking yr tickets with all haste, I think each screening in the last season pretty much sold out.
As for the films themselves; of all of them I'm only familiar with "Jumping Bean Bag", though the Fabulous Stains film is pretty legendary as -amongst other things- the inspiration for The White Stripes. With a cast list including Ray Winstone, Laura Dern, Steve Jones, Paul Cook & Paul Simonon, it's difficult to see how it can go wrong.
It's a-gonna be great.

I also recommend you visit the current Richard Long exhibition at the Haunch Of Venison (possibly my favourite gallery name ever). It's hard not to say "more of the same", but his work is so unique (give or take Hamish Fulton), and...I dunno, the image in my head of this guy trekking round the most remote places in the world (and west Penwith) in the name of art & beauty is so utterly perfect. The fact that the photos, texts and constructions are so evocative is really just a bonus.

In other news, I recently picked up one of those 8-ban micro record players that I've been looking for. Not the ideal colour combination, but better than nothing I guess, and thankfully it just about plays my collection of hip-pocket 45s too. Anyone know where I can pick up any of the associated 45 releases?
  • Current Music
    Benjamin Biolay: Little darlin'

I'm not afraid to move on

First day back at work & the festive season already seems like an aeon ago. So it's probably time to update the ol' lj.
Christmas week was spent in the company of good friends in a seventeenth century cottage in Avebury. While I've visited Avebury so many times before, there's nothing quite like walking out the front door & 50 yards up the lane to be confronted with the stones. It did actually achieve some of the -ahem- emotional resonance I was looking for, particularly during a blustery walk atop Windmill Hill on the 27th. Loads of food, wood burning stove, sloe gin, *two* (count' em!) christmas trees, low-beamed ceilings, good conversation, no telly. Super.

Similarly refined -honed almost to the point of non-existence, in fact- birthday. Thanks all for yr good wishes though. Turning 40 is a lorra laffs, believe me. And New Year's Eve was spent round Clare's getting to know her new boyfriend, playing popquiz on the playstation and despairing at Clare Balding's desperate fireworks ramalama, as everyone seems to have done. And -inevitably it seems when Clare's around-, playing "I'm Not Afraid To Move On" by Jostein Hasselgard. Not that I have any complaints with that.

Happy new year all. Hope it treats you well.
  • Current Music
    Jostein Hasselgard: I'm Not Afraid To Move On

Sorry to moan, but it's what I do best.

Djed for the first time in yonks at How Does It Feel To be Loved on friday. Not sure entirely how successful it was: the amount of grief I received from punters with unfulfilled requests for Belle and Sebastian/The Killers/Kaiser Chiefs would tend to indicate it was a total waste of time (I can't believe how mainstream the clientele of that club has become...). But a Kiwi girl came up to me after I played Heavenly Pop Hit to ask if I had any more Flying Nun stuff as hearing The Chills had made her night. Which kind of made *my* night. approx playlist under hereCollapse )
Given the club's remit, this seems like a pretty mainstream set to me. Yet the dance floor remained sparsely populated throughout (except Rupert & his girlfriend, who danced to pretty much everything. Thanks, people). Oh well, it was nice to be asked, but I don't suppose it'll happen again in a hurry.

On an unrelated -and very obscure- note, does anyone know how many Edward VIII pillar boxes there are in London/England? I saw one today, and it seemed so unlikely. But what a beautiful thing it was...
  • Current Music
    Go betweens: Man O' Sand To Girl O' Sea

how does it feel to be the last resort?

It comes as something of a surprise to me, but I appear to be playing records at this friday's how does it feel to be loved?. Apparently The Legend was scheduled to guest dj, but he's pulled out at the last minute, so Ian has asked me at ultra short notice. I thought I might as well say yeah, even though I've been to the club maybe once in the past year, and not djed there since the heady days when the clubnight was held on thursdays. Ah, them were t'days. Anyway, please all come along as I have no idea who goes to the club these days & I probably won't know anyone. Any requests? (excepte for "please don't play a half-hour's worth of 60s Bee Gees records like you did last time." Hmm..That'll be why it's taken this long to be asked back, I guess...)

Oh yeah, it's at the Phoenix on Cavendish Square.