Yeah, I know that's a well-thought out and erudite response to any Christmas greeting, but I'm applying it to Halloween, OK?
And I HATE those fucking trick or treaters.
You see, we don't have any tradition of "trick or treating" here in the UK. It is not one of our home-grown customs. It is an idea that kids have latched onto in very recent years from American culture.
So, quite naturally some of us are resentful about it, because it is something that has been directly influenced by the media rather than being a genuine piece of our cultural heritage.
And it certainly isnt funny when you've been out when the little blighters call and come home to find the little turds have thrown eggs and flour bombs all over your house.
No, in my day it was all ghost stories and apple-bobbing. None of this "Gimme Gimme Gimme" business.
ANYWAY, I'm not actually here right now. I'm in London meeting my friend Mark, and then tonight I'm seeing Julian Cope at The Lyric in Hammersmith.
I'm actually writing this last night, and am getting dear ol' Blogger to delay its publication until midday on Friday! Cunning, eh? Instant time-travel* courtesy of Blogger!
* ...at least it WOULD HAVE BEEN if the damn thing had worked as it was supposed to. Grrrrrrrr...
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:02 pm
Thursday, October 30, 2003
I haven't told you yet, have I, that the li'l kitty is definitely very much on the mend! All his nasty scabs have cleared up and vanished and his fur is growing back again, so that he no longer has a bald bum and back legs. More noticeable is the fact that he is obviously so much happier, and he has started being playful again. He gets in these naughty moods and he just wants to play. You'd think he was a kitten, but next month he'll be 11 years old.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 10:20 pm
Oh dear, I'm not too sure about this new Blondie album. I think it'll take more than a few listens for me to get into it.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:43 pm
It was the same band (with no sign of Will Gregory once again) and the same fantastic playing. The songs were all in a different order this time which was nice (I wish I had a set list, but I was too busy watching the show to be taking notes). Alison was dressed in a little white number with this gorgeous white horse's tail attached to her cute behind. No, scrub that: it mst have been a Unicorn's tail, because they are much more fabulous.
And the voice! I still get chills down the back of my spine during "Lovely Head" when Alison goes into the vocoder-ed "chorus" part of the song (that is, a chorus without words!). How can someone so beautiful also be blessed with such a perfect singing voice?
Nearly all of the "Black Cherry" album was played - I think the only omission was "Forever" - and a good selection of songs from "Felt Mountain" were also performed - "Utopia", "Lovely Head", "Human", "Deer Stop", "Pilots" - so there was a good mix of tempos and moods throughout the evening.
To accompany the song "Train" the stripper from the video made an appearance on a podium at the rear of the stage and twirled her tassels in time with the music. It seemed a strange idea actually, as Alison herself is erotic enough already without need of further titillation.
We we treated to two encores, the first pairing the songs "Pilots" when the lights hit the mirrorballs, and that hoary ol' Olivia Newton John chestnut "Let's Get Physical". For the second encore Alison came back on stage in a little black outfit and those now legendary kinky boots (and my God, didn't her boobs look HUGE in that outfit!) and performed their soon-to-be-legendary version of "Yes Sir I Can Boogie" with the return of the voluptuous lady with tassels on her tits and with some extremely erotic theremin-playing from Alison at the end! Very steamy stuff. Then for the finale it was "Black Cherry", of course, complete with an explosion of silver confetti over the audience.
All in all it was a first class act, which I absolutely adored. I think if, I am honest, that for me it didn't top the Somerset House Goldfrapp gig, but then that was my first and also it was such a fantastic venue.
Ghost had come along to the gig with me, and I don't think he really knew what to expect but he loved it too and was totally charmed by Alison (and who wouldn't be?). It was nice to talk to a few of the people we met in the audience, including one really fun lady right next to us who was as mad as a balloon. At one stage she was bouncing up and down and cheering so much after one particular song (I forget which) that Alison noticed her and gave an audible chuckle at her enthusiasm. Just as well she didn't put her off mid-flow!
I also took a number of photos, but we were about two or three people rows back from the front and I had to try to take pictures from inbetween the gaps of the heads in front of me, so I'm afraid it was a lot of trial and error and I ended up with only four usable pictures. (The photo at the top of this review was one that I had to severely doctor using Paint Shop Pro. The spotlights you see on her were not actually in the photo. I added them digitally afterwards because the pic was a bit dark and because I wanted the focus to be on Alison and not the back of the person's head in the bottom left of the picture. Neat though!)
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:57 pm
Please forgive my lack of posts so far this week, but I've got a busy week ahead of me, with Goldfrapp tonight, gym tomorrow after work, re-jigging the Teasing LuLu website on Wednesday and Thursday, Julian Cope on Friday, possible visit to hairdressers and/or record fair in Oxford and also more decorating on Saturday, and Teasing LuLu gig on Sunday.
Phew, I feel exhausted just typing that lot out!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 2:22 pm
Sunday, October 26, 2003
More decorating today. Which tired me out (it had been a long day after all), so I ended up on the sofa watching Space Jam on the telly. A very silly film, but probably just what was required!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:42 pm
At last, I've added the Client / Karl Bartos gig review - see below. I've been meaning to do that for ages, and just think I'm going to have more gig reviews to write next week - Goldfrapp, Julian Cope, and Teasing LuLu. Streuth!
Anyway, today I've been doing a little decorating. I've been painting one of the walls in the living room. The other walls will be done in time too, but it has to be done in stages as I have nowhere to move all the stuff out of the way to, so I have to shift things around the room a bit, make a gap of wall available and paint that, then put all the stuff back.
This is what happens when you live in a little house but have too much stuff filling it.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:42 pm
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Client / Karl Bartos, University of London Union, 22 October 2003
I managed to arrive at ULU a whole hour before the gig was due to begin and was directed to the bar upstairs, where it was incredibly busy and where there were no seats to be found. I ended up occupying the end of the bar and nursing a Guinness and feeling decidedly uncomfortable. From time to time I would scan the people around me to see whether I could spy anyone who actually appeared to be older than me.
Time dragged slowly but somehow the hour passed, and the time came to go on through to the hall where the gig was being held. The place was filling up with people and it has to be said that there were some odd bods there. I heard quite a few people discussing the visible Technological hardware on the stage and comparing notes on sequencing software. And down the front were a couple of odd lads - both of whom were quite short - and the one guy had lond hair and for some reason he kept on rubbing the back of his friend. We're talking quite vigorous rubbing here. I think it may even have qualified as a massage. I could see various other people staring at them and obviously thinking, "what's with those two guys?". Very odd.
The first band on were Client - a pleasant surpise as I had only recently read about them in Record Collector magazine and thought they sounded very interesting and had been trying to find out more about them, and had been listening to MP3s, etc, only that very morning. Client are a female duo who are mysteriously only known by the names Client A and Client B, although it doesn't take much of a detective to find out what their real names are. The blonde one (I'm not sure if she's A or B) sings, whilst the dark-haired one does things behind a keyboard. They both wear uniforms of light brown and red high heels. They were also accompanied by a guitarist (possibly the equally mysterious Client F as mentioned on their website) but he is a guy and doesn't wear the Client uniform (or the red high heels, come to that). There was also another guy present behind a big bank of Technology but I can't tell what he is doing. I assume it's some kind of sound mixing function.
And the songs are great. I don't know quite how to describe them. The vocals have this kind of no-nonsense "don't fuck with me" kind of quality. The singer delivers them impassively, although occasionally I think I see a hint of a laugh about her lips. The songs I remember are: "Client", "Pills", "Price of Love", "Happy", "Rock 'n' Roll Machine" and "Here and Now". I was suitably impressed and now have the album on order from play.com. To be honest, I am not too sure about having the guitarist play with them - from what I've heard of Client's recorded material so far there isn't any guitar. This is nothing against the guitarist - I liked his playing, but in parts I thought the presence of the guitar should have been minimized. (And yes, I know that's a bass in the photo, he switched to bass for the song "Rock 'n' Roll Machine". For the rest of the set he played a Gibson Les Paul).
There followed a bit of a break whilst Client's equipment was moved away, and Bartos's banks of keyboards and sundry other items of Technology were moved into place. Then the lights dimmed and from the speakers came a robotic voice chanting "One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight, One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight..." and Karl Bartos and his two cohorts (Dave someone on keyboards and Ricky someone from the United States of America on video graphics) took the stage and launched straight into "Numbers", that oft-sampled track from Kraftwerk's "Computer World" album. This quite naturally segued into the song "Computer World" itself and was greeted with much delight by the assembled crowd.
The next couple of songs were "The Camera" and "I'm The Message" from Bartos's new solo album "Communication". This pattern was continued all night - songs from the current album interspersed with classic Kraftwerk songs, many of which Bartos had a writing credit on, so I suppose he's entitled to perform them live; I'm glad he did anyway, as they sounded great. Also, it was fantastic to hear "The Telephone Call" which Kraftwerk themselves have never performed live.
Throught the gig, there were visuals (courtesy of "Ricky") projected onto screens at the rear of the stage. Particularly effective were the visuals for "I'm The Message" (which can also be seen on the CD-Rom section of the new album) and Kraftwerk songs "The Model" and "Tour De France", both of which used some nice black and white archive newsreel footage.
To start with, I thought that Karl looked quite severe. He had quite a stern look about him, and I wondered if he was actually enjoying himself up there playing songs for us, or if he was just going through the motions? But as the gig progressed he seemed to loosen up a bit and started making eye contact with audience members, and he flashed a few smiles in various directions. Just before "Trans Europe Express" some guy pushed in front of me to the front of the stage and he was really enthusiastically whooping, pumping his arm in the air, etc. Bartos seemed to take particular notice of this one guy, and I think actually he helped break the ice for him a bit, although at one point Bartos did seem (to my mind) to be rather unusually interested in what the guy was doing with his mobile phone (was he recording a song? I don't know).
Between songs Bartos did address the audience, although he never launched into what we'd call "between song banter". Still, at least he acknowledged us, which is something Kraftwerk would almost never do.
Did I mention the robot vocals? At the previous Bartos gig I went to (in July) I thought these were being sequenced somehow by some magical piece of Technology, but this time I realised that they were being performed "live" (obviously with the aid of some kind of Technological processing) by Karl Bartos on some songs and by "Dave" on others. I have to admit I think the robovox are rather over-done on the new album, and would much prefer to hear Bartos singing songs "straight".
All in all, it was a great gig. Bartos came back for an encore of 4 songs - two of his own and two classic Kraftwerk tracks. It was nice to see that certain of his own songs were greeted with equal enthusiasm as were the Kraftwerk tracks.
At the very end Bartos came out from behind his keyboards and said a few words of thanks to the London crowd, and shook a few hands. Including mine! What a saddo I am! "Karl... Karl..." But, yeah! I grasped the hand of a True Legend in the world of Electronic music. I felt very privileged.
And as if that wasn't enough, I saw the two girls from Client and went over and spoke to the one that sang and told her how I'd only just discovered them and how much I enjoyed their set. She seemed genuinely pleased.
I've had a busy evening. First of all I had my trial session at the gym; I was taken around all the equipment and had a go on each. Anyway, I signed up for a year's membership at the end. I think this is going to be the start of something good. I'm going to get myself sorted. I'm going to get myself back in shape, but I believe it will be good for me in other ways too! It's the whole holistic idea; I think that the positive steps I am taking in this physical aspect will be beneficial for me mentally too.
Other than that I've been on the phone all night. For some reason I'm feeling really alert at the moment - slightly psyched up perhaps?
Apparently there's a programme about Goldfrapp on late tonight. I'd better go find a video cassette to put it on, because I'm going to need to go to bed soon, especially seeing as I had a late night last night following the Karl Bartos gig.
Incidentally, the Bartos gig was excellent. I've been meaning to write up my report of it all day long, and have just been too busy. Tomorrow perhaps!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:56 pm
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Forthcoming gigs - another update
Wednesday, 22 October (tonight!) - Karl Bartos, University of London Union, London
Tuesday, 28 October - Goldfrapp, Carling Apollo Hammersmith
Friday, 31 October - Julian Cope: "Rome Wasn't Burned In A Day", Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith
And I almost forgot - but tonight I am going to see Karl Bartos again, so expect another gig review soon. That is, if there's anything to say that I didn't already say it all in my review of his last London gig.
And here's another funny thing. Has anyone heard of a band (well, a female duo) called Client? I was reading about them the other day in Mojo magazine and though they sounded quite interesting. I tried bidding on a CD of theirs on eBay, but just missed the end of the auction, and I checked the brief samples of their songs on Amazon. As I said, it sounded interesting, but I still don't know if it's a band I'd really be able to get into or not.
But, in a spooky piece of coincidence, guess who is the support band at tonight's Karl Bartos gig?
posted by Gina Snowdoll 12:17 pm
Well, this blogging malarkey isn't really working for me at the moment, is it? I still haven't gotten back into the swing of it, try as I might.
As I've said before, I haven't been feeling myself for a while. But today, I finally got around to trying to change all that. I've been considering signing up at a gym for ages, but always chickened out of actually getting through the doors and enquiring about how to join.
However, today I managed to pass that threshold - I actaully got inside and was shown around the place - very plush indeed. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I have a trial session booked up for Thursday after work.
Meanwhile... I still haven't written up my review of Saturday night's Super Furry Animals gig. I will write it up, so please stay tuned.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:32 pm
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Super Furry Animals, Brixton Academy, 20 October 2003
A great gig once again from Wales' finest, the Super Furry Animals. I managed to secure a spot up at the front and stayed put there throughout the two support acts so that I'd be at the front for the Furries.
First support was a terrible shambles of an act courtesy of a group of 11 "rappers", all white kids and who most likely don't undertand that Ali G is taking the piss. Their set was excrutiatingly bad, and what I'd like to know is what is the sense in doing rap if the words are unitelligible? One "song" appeared to be about Chelsea (the football team? the place? Chelsea penioners? Who knows?), another seemed to have the refrain "power to the rissole", whilst their final (thank god for that) song told everyone that "It's true, your mum's got a penis." Still, at least you could laugh at them - one of them had odd-length legs on his trousers and looked very silly, whilst another one in a striped woolly hat looked like a very "nice boy" - he didn't sing at all, he just jigged around and posed. If he wasn't gay, he damn well ought to have been.
Next band up were much better - a three-piece of guitar, bass and drums - all of whom looked about 16 years old, despite the drummer trying his best to look mature with his porn-star moustache. They were called Dead Meadows and were actually musically very good. Once again, all the words were unintelligible, and the singer really should stop trying to sound like Brian Molko out of Placebo and find his own voice.
Between sets, the Furries could be seen via the wonders of technology (i.e. a video screen at the back of the stage) spinning records and holding up items to the camera, such as a banana with the word "SAFE" biroed onto it.
Finally, the music switched to the opening bars of the song "Slow Life", the video of the same kicked in, and SFA came onto the stage, strapped on guitars, and joined in the song at the harmonica cue. Excellent.
I really can't recall all the songs that they did, although they must have played at least eight from their Phantom Power album. Of the older tracks they played "Demons" (the japanese girl standing behind me went mental, started screaming, etc, when they started that one up!), "Northern Lights", "Do Or Die", "Hermann Loves Pauline" ("Marie Curie was Polish born but French bred. HAAAAAAA! French Bread!" I love that bit!), and the perennial crowd-pleaser and only welsh-language song they played, "Calimero", which Gruff Rhys introduced trying to explain that it was about a little chick that goes around with a piece of egg shell on its head (see above). (As an amusing aside, I have a couple of SFA bootleg CDs both of which make the same mistake in listing the song "Calimero" as "Gary Meadows". Which I thought was funny).
The musicianship and Gruff's singing were all perfect, and much use of the video screen was made throughout the set, and on the thrash metal ending of "Receptacle for the Respectable" wasn't that dear ol' Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath I saw upon the video screen?
My one complaint would be that now SFA have quite a number of albums in their back catalogue (six of them - "Fuzzy Logic", "Radiator", "Guerrilla", "Mwng", "Rings Around The World", and "Phantom Power") they have so many songs to choose from that it is inevitable that some favourites get left out. Songs I would have loved to have heard again include "Ice Hockey Hair", "Hometown Unicorn", "God! Show Me Magic" and "If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You". Oh well, at least I have seen and heard the Furries playing those songs in the past.
The show ended, traditionally, with the anthem of "The Man Don't Give A Fuck" with its accompanying video screen images of Tony Blair and George W Bush and the repeated "All governments are liars and murderers" sample. I think it says something about the depth of feeling as regards the handling of recent world events, when you consider that every single person in the place was enthusiastically singing along to this song "You know they don't give a fuck about anybody else" with those images of Blair and Bush uppermost in their minds.
The band left the stage, all except for Cian with his electronics, who then took the song into an extended techno workout for about 15 minutes or so accompanied only by abstract images on the video screen. Then the rest of the band came back on stage wearing their shaggy dog outfits from the "Gold Retriever" video, and played a reprise of the song, and were joined on stage by both the support acts, the rappers taking great delight in singing along with the naughty "f" word but for some reason directing their venom at the crowd rather than singing it with us. (As I insinuated before, they just don't get it).
A great gig, but drop the shite rappers as a backing band, please.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 11:51 am
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Sorry, no time to chat... have to go into London in a few mins. I'm seeing the Super Furry Animals in Brixton tonight.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 3:12 pm
This story amused me: The death of cheap lager. I never did understand why people would drink pissy lager. Hopefully this will mean the death of the lager lout too!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 12:04 pm
People I see
Remind me of mooing like a cow on the grass
And that's not to say
There's anything wrong with being a cow anyway
Having been watching his "reality" TV series, At Home With The Eubanks, I am constantly amazed at the patience and good humour of his wife Karron. That woman must be a saint. Either that or she just thinks of him as another one of the kids.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:35 am
Once again I've let several days slip by without writing anything. I suppose I've been feeling a bit "under the weather" once again. I've not been getting bad headaches and have not been sleeping at all well recently - last night I was lying there in bed, sweating like mad - it shouldn't be like that at this time of year. It felt like I had a fever of sorts.
Today, I had to take the cat back to the vet's, as he has not been healing as quickly as we would have liked now that he has finished the course of antibiotics. The poor thing is allergic to flea bites, and has the most awful scabs around his back legs and tail area. THis time the vet gave him some drops to kill the fleas once and for all. The annoying thing is that he doesn't seem to have any fleas. The problem occurs most likely when the neighbours' cats come unbidden into the house and bring their fleas with them. (We keep a couple of loaded water-pistols by the back door, just in case we spy a retreating uninvited feline visitor).
Another problem occurs when the visiting felines "spray" things in the house. I daren't leave any of my guitars downstairs as you can almost guarantee they will get sprayed. A couple of days ago I went to play a CD, and discovered that I could do nothing to get a sound out of the stereo system. On closer inspection I discovered that the system had been sprayed and some of the offending stinky sticky liquid had found its way inside the amplifier, thus shorting it out. It was a lucky thing I had a spare amplifier to hand - and it doesn't sound bad at all for a 20 year old piece of gear.
Anyway, the cat didn't enjoy the journey to the vet's in the taxi, but really he was very well behaved, especially when actually being examined and in the waiting room. He meowed a little on the journey home. The taxi driver was telling me he had eight cats and that they all had these magnet devices on their collars, which act as a key on their cat flap, so that other cats without the magnet collars can't get in. I really must check this kind of magnetic cat flap out, but it might be a pain to install. The existing cat flap we have is actualy installed into a pain of glass in the lower panel of the back door. I had to get a glazier come out to cut the hole for it.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 7:28 pm
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
I'm back from Wales. And back to work again - unfortunately.
Not a great deal to tell. Just spent some time with my parents, visited the grandmother, etc. Watched "Bend it like Beckham" on the video with Mum and Dad (although my Mum kept refering to it as "Bend over Beckham", which conjures up a completely different image).
It was quite wet and windy in Wales. We went to my sister's house and the wind had blown all this sand from the beach right up the street and it was all over the place and totally covered the steps in front of her house.
Went for a nice meal with the parents yesterday before having to catch the train home. Found a little wine bar in Carmarthen which had a suprisingly good menu - would definitely go back there again. I had local mussels which were very nice, but possibly not as nice as those prepared at Gino's in Oxford.
I arrived home a bit late last night following delays on the train (but that was better than the journey to Wales - the engineering works meaning that I had to take a coach to Swindon, a train to Bath, a train to Swansea, and finally another coach to Carmarthen). I wasn't really in the mood to do much - just checked my emails, then watched some telly - Most Haunted on Living, and then some bizarre programme on Channel 4 about a UFO hoax (I'll write more about that later).
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:50 am
Friday, October 03, 2003
I've got to get up early in the morning as I have a long journey ahead of me. I'm going away to Wales for a few days and will squeak to you all when I get back.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:23 pm
Oh, I do so hope NOT.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:40 am
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Jeeez! How much did Ozzy spend on "English chocolate for Sharon" in last night's episode of The Osbournes on MTV? It was over $600 worth of Crunchies and Mars Bars and Cadbury's Dairy Milk.
If I ate that I'd be like a balloon! As it is, I eat rice cakes most the time and I still don't seem to lose any weight.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:05 pm
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
...and in other news, I've reached a feedback rating of 200 on eBay. Which I think is quite good.
I really must getting round to selling some more of my stuff. I decided the other day when I was spring cleaning (autumn cleaning?) the house that I have accumulated far too many things and that a lot of them really have to go.
I currently have two guitars on eBay, so that's a start.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 6:09 pm
Forthcoming gigs - another update
Saturday, 18 October - Super Furry Animals, Carling Academy Brixton, 7.00 PM (still waiting for ticket)
Wednesday, 22 October - Karl Bartos, University of London Union, London
Tuesday, 28 October - Goldfrapp, Carling Apollo Hammersmith
Friday, 31 October - Julian Cope: "Rome Wasn't Burned In A Day", Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, 7:15 PM (waiting for ticket)