Gina Snowdoll: Eeeeeks! It's a blog!
Gina's musings on transgenderism, fashion, music, records, books, telly, life, the universe and everything

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© 2005 Gina Snowdoll


Thursday, November 27, 2003

Blondie, Shepherd's Bush Empire, 26 November 2003

(Sorry, no photo - cameras were banned).

I'm finding it very hard to know what to say about this gig. I've been a major Blondie fan since way back in the late 70s. I used to buy all the records and I had Debbie's posters on my walls. I remember sitting with my ear glued to Capital Radio to listen to the first ever broadcast of the single "Dreaming". Later on I found a record shop in Oxford that sold bootlegs and I bought my first ever bootleg album - Blondie's "Front Page" on double vinyl - I was so excited, I just couldn't believe I'd found myself some rare (unauthorised) live recordings.

Then in the 80s, round about the time of "The Hunter" album, I got myself tickets - AT LAST - to see Blondie at Wembley Arena, and somehow I'd managed to get myself front-row tickets! I couldn't believe my luck. However, all that was to change because soon after this the band self-destructed (if I remember rightly, Clem Burke said he'd had enough and left, then the rest of them all gave up too) and the gig was cancelled. Oh Whoah is me! "Ever felt cheated?" to paraphrase a certain Mr John Lydon.

So, it was with mixed feelings that I went to see Blondie last night. Could they ever live up to my expectations? Also, I'd heard that Jimmy Destri, the keyboard player, had just left the band so that left only three of the original core members - Debbie, Chris and Clem. Was this really going to be the real "Blondie" or just Debbie Harry and a backing band?

The guys came out on stage, and then a big cheer went up as a pudgy-faced white haired person wearing sunglasses came out. Shit! Please don't let that be Debbie Harry, I thought. She can't have let herself go that much since I saw her on the Jonathan Ross show earlier in the year. Thankfully, she had done nothing of the sort. It was Chris Stein. Streuth... How the poor man's aged. Yeah, I know he'd been ill and all that.

The band started playing an instrumental, and then switched into the opening bars of "Atomic" and the crowd went wild as Debbie came strolling out onto the stage dressed in a red bodystocking topped with an orange Blondie t-shirt. Wow! I thought, she's looking really good. You'd never believe she was 58.

And she was sounding good as well. If anything her voice has improved with age (and I've heard my fair share of Blondie bootlegs where her singing really wasn't up to scratch). The crowd were going wild, singing along, jumping up and down, and cheering. In fact at times they seemed to drown out the band. And there seemed to be so many tall people standing in front, it was really difficult to get a good view of Debbie and the band - you had to position yourself where you could peer between people's heads.

Hit after hit followed: "Dreaming", "Hanging On The Telephone", "X Offender" (to be honest, on "X Offender" it sounded like half the band were playing "Dreaming" again). I forget the order of songs thereafter, but included were "Sunday Girl", "The Tide Is High", "Maria", "(I'm Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear", "Rip Her To Shreds", "Detroit 442"*, "Accidents Never Happen"* (*- nice that they played a couple of classic album tracks) and there were about six songs from the new album "The Curse Of Blondie" including the single "Good Boys". For the new album tracks the audience were much less enthusiastic. I got the impression that not many people there had heard the new album (and I have to admit I'm not very keen on it myself, but it may still grow on me).

The main set finished with a lengthy version of "Rapture" (towards the end the keyboard player came out and did a thoroughly unnecessary rap himself... Oh dear!). There were three encores - each consisting of a single song. The first was "Heart Of Glass" (there were a couple of very camp gay guys in front of me, and one of them nearly wet himself in excitement), then another song from the new album which I can't name because I haven't learnt the song titles yet, and then (I think) it all finished on "Rip Her To Shreds". (But my memory could be fuzzy).

Songs which were conspicuous by their absence from the set were "Denis", "Picture This", and "Union City Blue", but I appreciate that they can't play everything.

Somehow I felt strangely un-moved by the whole experience. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I had a better view or perhaps been closer to the stage. It was nice to see Chris Stein taking the lion's share of the guitar solos - as since the last couple of albums I had wondered how much he was actually able to play, seeing as they had another new guitarist and all that, and I wasn't sure how much his illness had affected him. Actually, I have to say, his playing was first class.

Jimmy Destri's absense was very evident. His keyboard playing was always a highly distinctive part of the classic Blondie sound, and to replace him with a generic bland keyboard player and a load of Technology is a total no-brainer in my book. It was such a pity that so much use was made of sequencers and drum loops. Blondie have a bloody excellent drummer - one of the very best - in Clem Burke, so I was really annoyed that we COULD NOT HEAR HIM. We could see him beating the shit out of the drums and looking as if he was really enjoying himself. I wonder if he realised that the Technology was drowning him out? (Also, how come he still looks so young? Has he been partaking of the same fountain of youth as Debbie?)

So, all in all, Debbie and Chris were great, whilst Clem was most likely great but we couldn't hear him. The rest of the band were mostly proficient but no great shakes (and should learn how to play "X Offender" properly). As to the sound on stage, well the mix was good, but the whole thing was TOO QUIET. It should have been much much louder than that; I want to hear Debbie singing the songs, NOT the bloody audience.

And finally, 30 quid for a ticket, to see what is ultimately a nostalgia act, is taking the piss.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:44 am [edit] 

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I've added the review of last week's Wreckless Eric gig at last.

Tonight I'm off to see Blondie!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 3:39 pm [edit] 

Big kid

Wow! Amazon are really on the ball this year and have already sent the parcel of presents that I ordered on Saturday morning. To save me carrying all these down to Wales with me, I got them delivered straight there to my parents' house.

I had an email from my Dad telling me that the parcel had come, and saying that he wanted to check it was all there so he opened it and itemised the contents in the email for me.

He's like a big kid!!! Can't wait until Christmas - has to take a sneaky look beforehand. Tsk! Dads, eh?
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:15 pm [edit] 

What will be the Christmas No 1?

I don't ordinarily take any notice of the "charts" here in the UK, seeing as they are generally full of such rubbish, kiddiepop and Pop Idol type drudgery.

However, it would be good to know that something worthwhile gets to the top of the charts for once.

So, how's about we all go out and buy the forthcoming PUNK AID single "Ere's Your Christmas"?

The record is the brainchild of a certain Captain Sensible and also features Charlie Harper of the UK Subs, Martin Newell, Marky Ramone, a couple of Electric Prunes, and TV Smith, amongst others. All proceeds will go towards helping children with cerebral palsy.

See:The single is released on the 8th December, so please remember that date and go out and buy it... buy several copies even and give them away as Christmas presents!

Spread the word!!!

posted by Gina Snowdoll 10:00 am [edit] 

If you're stuck for Christmas present ideas, there's always this.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:03 am [edit] 

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Hurrah! Kacroon's World is back!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:49 pm [edit] 

Monday, November 24, 2003

Meow meow meow meow...

Fun and games in the office today. One of the sales staff has brought her three burmese cats in following a problem at home, and they are quite happily wandering around the office and meowing ("Admire me... Admire me"), and all the staff are adoring them and making a fuss of them, etc.

I think the place is a lot nicer with a few cats about.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:05 pm [edit] 

Never book tickets in a hurry!

I've just tried booking tickets to see Kraftwerk, as I heard they were playing Brixton Academy on 20th March next year.

So, I went over to ticketmaster, booked tickets and then found out that I'd accidentally booked for the 17th March in MANCHESTER.

I didn't even know there was a Manchester gig. (See dates).

Looks like I'm going to have to go to the Manchester show now (and No, I can't sell them because I have to collect the tickets from the box office - tickets must be collected by the card holder and all that malarkey).

So, anyone want to join me for this as I booked two tickets?

Update: I've been on the phone to Ticketmaster and have changed the delivery method so that the tickets will be posted to me. This will give me the option of selling the tickets in the event that I can't make it up to Manchester.

Another update: I've got tickets for the London dates now as well. I'm thinking about taking that whole week in March off and having a Kraftwerk holiday!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 11:09 am [edit] 

Catching up

Circumstances prevented me from posting on my blog this weekend. This was for several reasons, the first being that I'm having terrible problems with my ISP (Hello ntl!!!) so that hardly anything on the net was actually working (some kind of DNS cache problem), and secondly because I got very little sleep on Saturday night because of the arrogant ignorant bastard piece of scum who lives next door to me shouting and ranting and raving until gone 4 o'clock in the morning.

I tried phoning the police in desperation but somehow got put through to a private telephone number and woke some poor woman up. The trouble that bastard next door causes. I am at my wits end. I really do not know what to do any more. He ignores all pleas to keep quiet (and No, I don't provoke him by swearing at him).

Does anyone have any tips? What can I do? Also he seems extremely violent so I have to step very carefully. A personal confrontation could be nasty.

Does anyone know how I could go about finding out the name of his landlord so that I can complain to him? Would the council supply me with this information?

So, anyway, basically my Sunday was ruined as I spent all morning and beyond in bed trying to catch up on some sleep. When I finally got up I was still feeling shattered and pretty soon it was too late to go the the gym and it was too late to finish the decorating.

Whole weekend ruined because of one selfish idiot.

Ended up watching some of the Doctor Who 40th Anniversary weekend on UK Gold, including "The Pyramids of Mars" and "The Three Doctors".

On a slightly more positive note, at least I managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done. I do like using Amazon for Christmas shopping. It saves me the torture of having to venture out into the hustle and bustle of high street shopping expeditions.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:30 am [edit] 

Friday, November 21, 2003

Wreckless Eric, The Half Moon, Putney, 20 November 2003

Another great solo gig from Eric, and this time he was totally solo - there was no Andre on second guitar and/or bass - this was just Eric and his guitar. It's absolutely amazing how he can inject so much life into those songs without any kind of backing band, and it's also amazing the different emotions he can take you through from tears of laughter during his between-song banter and ramblings to the downright uncomfortable on lyrics where he manically describes life at his lowest ebb. At times you think you're watching a genius; at other times you seriously think he may be unhinged. But I'm sure that's just what he wants you to think; he may come across as bumbling at times but I think that's a pretty astute mind at work there.

Mid-way through the set, he busted a string on his guitar (the way he pounds it, it's not that surprising) and he quickly re-strung it whilst regaling us all with another of his stories, only for the replaced string to break on the next song he played. Eric then switched to his electric guitar, and from what I could make out, all set-list plans went out the window as he had to choose songs that would sound good played on an electric rather than an acoustic. By the time the encore came around, he just took suggestions from the audience... "What do you want to hear?"

All in all it was a fantastic set, perhaps made all the better because of its spontaneity. We were treated to two readings from his autobiography, much witty banter, heckling from the enthusiastically good-natured audience, and THREE broken guitar strings (one broke on the electric on the very last song). And at the very end of the gig Eric came over all rock 'n' roll and kicked his guitar amp over!

The set list as we remember it was something like:
Reconnez Cherie
Joe Meek
Golden Hour of Harry Secombe
Same
Local
Continuity Girl
School
Someone must've nailed us together
Swimming against the Tide of Reason
Whole Wide World

Encore:
Final Taxi
Walking on the Surface of the Moon
Can't see the Wood from the Trees
My faves were "Joe Meek" (such a powerful song - all it needs is Eric's voice and an acoustic guitar - there is a great version of it on the "Almost A Jubilee" album), "The Golden Hour Of Harry Secombe" and "Walking On The Surface Of The Moon". It was nice also to hear a few of The Len Bright Combo's songs. (See The Turkey Zone where you can order Eric's CDs and his superb autobiography).

Catch him if you can - this man is a national treasure.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:10 pm [edit] 

Comic clips

Make your own Red Meat comic!

Here's one I made earlier.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 10:45 am [edit] 

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Is it ever OK to wear green eyeshadow?

Sophie Ellis Bextor - YES, I know she's blonde nowI've noticed a few times on my dreary daily travels to and from work that there is a girl on the train, a redhead who will insist on wearing green eyeshadow. Why do redheads so often think it's OK to wear green eyeshadow? Since when did red go with green? Since NEVER, that's when!

I used to think that Blue eyeshadow (always makes me think of Agnetha of Abba) was a crime against humanity, but I dunno, I reckon green is just as bad.

I suppose it might just work if you had the right complexion for it. For someone with olive skin perhaps. But redheads - who are often freckly - Nooooooo!

Dear ol' Sophie Ellis Bextor (above) tried to make lashings of sparkly green eyeshadow look fabulous in her video for "Murder On The Dancefloor". It just made me think "Bloody hell, is her make-up artist colour-blind, or what?" (you can be sure that Sophs didn't do her own make-up). The photo above is not from that video, but she is still ill-advisably wearing green eyeshadow. Did someone tell her that it suited her? I hope she's abandoned it now she's turned blonde.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:01 pm [edit] 

Reversals

I watched that "Reversals" sex-swap one-off comedy drama on ITV last night. I started watching it rather begrudgingly as judging from the trailers I'd seen I thought it was going to be a pile of crap, but in spite of myself I ended up quite enjoying it.

However you needed to take the whole story with a very large pinch of salt, or to put it more accurately you needed to employ some serious suspension of disbelief, because there was no way that either off the two lead characters could have successfully passed themselves off as the opposite sex working in such close proximity to so many people. It was entertaining nevertheless.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:40 pm [edit] 

Conspiracy Theory

Sorry that I couldn't post last night - I really wanted to (!!!) - but I just couldn't get a connection on the net.

The connection was poor at work yesterday too. I blame the CIA or FBI or whatever. They are most likely deliberately blocking web traffic so that people can't organise any Anti-Bush protests in the UK at the time of that cretin's visit over here.

Someone just hurry up and assassinate the bastard, I say.

(Ooh! How subversive!)

Whilst we're on the subject: Thousands due at anti-Bush march

I've chosen a great day to go into London after work, haven't I? But I've had these tickets for the Wreckless Eric gig for ages. Trust that arsehole Bush to try to fuck it up for me.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:37 am [edit] 

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

It's a riot

There's lots of police riot vans, horse-boxes, etc in Oxford right now. (I work across from the Police Station). It looks as if they are expecting trouble. I think there may be some kind of anti-War/anti-Bush (or Arse Face as I like to call him) demonstration happening.

More news as and when.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:03 pm [edit] 

Monday, November 17, 2003

The Windsors

So yesterday I met Gillian for lunch and we went and had pizza at PizzaExpress in Oxford.

We were discussing this Prince Charles Sex Scandal thing that no-one in the UK is supposed to be allowed to mention for fear of death for treason or whatever, and Gillian commented that the monarchy should be abolished anyway.

However, discussing this a bit more, we decided that the monarchy should be allowed to continue so long as they agree to be part of an eternal reality TV show - a cross between Big Brother and The Osbournes, and now that The Osbournes has ended who better to take their place than The Windsors?

All the Royals and spouses estranged or otherwise - Anne, Andrew, Fergie, Edward and Sophie, etc - would have to move back into Buckingham Palace with Betty the Two and Phil the Greek - and all other royal properties could be turned into hospitals and old people homes and the like. Then Buckingham Palace would be filled with fly-on-the-wall TV cameras and the damn Royals would have to sing for their supper. Oh yes, entertain us!

It's a superb idea. I can't understand why it hasn't been proposed before.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 10:50 pm [edit] 

Drunken?

Check out this version of my blog.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:37 pm [edit] 

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Purple

Oh, and I finished the update to the Teasing LuLu website last night. It's all rather purple!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 5:45 pm [edit] 

Blah

More gym, more decorating, blah blah blah...

In other news I did buy a nice pair of shoes the other day. Red stilettos they are. Which means, I suppose, that I'm going to have to hurry up and get myself in shape so I have the opportunity to go out and wear them.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 5:41 pm [edit] 

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Eyesore

The 10 Most Hated Eyesores Voted by Country Life Readers including in third place, Didcot Power Station.

I've always quite liked it. I think of it as being a bit like a modern day castle; a landmark you can see from miles around which means you're nearing home.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 10:31 pm [edit] 

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

In the buff

I've mentioned before that I get a remarkable number of hits to this site from people searching for one particular search thread, so to put those people out of their misery, may I present Nigella Lawson nude.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 12:04 pm [edit] 

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Penguins can be bastards too

Penguins
I couldn't resist posting this animated GIF - it's a classic!

This post is dedicated to Kacroon because I know how she loves penguins!!!! (Joke! Don't hit me with that fish, please!!!)
posted by Gina Snowdoll 11:40 am [edit] 

Monday, November 10, 2003

Here's another one that might appeal: 'Chameleon nails' at the click of a switch
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:13 pm [edit] 

From Ananova: Britain's first sex swap soldier shows off curves. Well, some of you were complaining that I never post anything about transgender stuff any more.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:07 pm [edit] 

Weekend

Sorry I didn't have time to blog this weekend. I was quite busy with this and that. Saturday I got up early and went for a session at the gym. It was my first session on my own and without an instructor. I got on OK mainly; the only problems I had were in starting the programs for the cycling and walking machine for warm-up and warm-down.

I was absolutely shattered after that, but still managed to get the shopping done (and carrying all that lot back home was a major exercise in itself). Much of the rest of Saturday - and most of the day Sunday - was spent on the update of the Teasing LuLu website. It is so nearly ready now, we might even be able to make it live by the end of today or tomorrow.

There were still idiots letting fireworks off on Saturday night. Hello? That was supposed to be Wednesday night! Do we have to have the bloody things all week?

My poor li'l kitty is absolutely terrified of fireworks. He only feels safe if he is sitting on the staircase. I suppose that's because it's in the heart of the house and away from any windows. Late evening I found that he'd made a puddle on the carpet by the front door. I didn't tell him off because I know why he's too scared to go outside. I just had to clear it up and then I made an impromptu cat litter box up with some gravel from the garden. Which he didn't use because I found another puddle on the kitchen floor in the morning. Oh well.

Sunday, as I said already, was mostly spent doing Teasing LuLu website stuff, and in the evening I had a relax in front of the telly. Just as well I stayed in Sunday, because it was dark and wet outside all day. Despite this wetness there were still idiots letting off their fireworks. I know where I'd like to stick their sodding fireworks.

I am a firm believer that the sale of fireworks should be to licence-holders only, i.e. to professionals organising public displays, etc, and NOT to members of the general public. For crying out loud, we're talking about the sale of EXPLOSIVES here. The idea that kids and morons can go out and buy these things in this country is a shocking state of affairs.

Oh, and I spent so long fussing about with the Teasing LuLu website that I had to postpone the completion of the painting of the living room to next weekend. Oh dear, I was hoping to have had it all done by now, but that's what happens when you're busy.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:10 am [edit] 

Friday, November 07, 2003

Dirty

I don't know about that Christina Aguilera bitch, but I certainly felt dirty - unclean even - after having watched the MTV Europe Music Awards on telly last night.

Who does that little mare Christina Aguilera think she is? She NEVER stops talking about herself and how great she is. As for her on-going feud with Kelly Osbourne, well the Osbourne brat may have been a bit gobby about the trollop in the past, but at least she was accurate in her assessment of the little tart.

And what the hell does she think she looks like with that fake tan? It looks like someone has given her a quick coat of creosote.

The rest of the programme (i.e. the bits without the slut Aguilera in it) was pretty dire too. Bloody Justin Timbershed ... sorry Timberlake cropping up ever five minutes in that stupid old man's hat. Timberlake indeed! That name is SO made up. I mean, he's just taken two random words and bunged them together. I mean, why not call yourself Mortimer Ferretwheel? Or ... errr... Gina Snowdoll ... (Oh! Wait a minute...)

Anyway, how could you have a lake made out of timber? It's stupid, isn't it? Try rowing a boat in that. It'd take all day. And how are the fish supposed to survive?

I only watched this dire televisual bollocks in order to catch Kraftwerk performing "Aero Dynamik". They were so out of place on that programme alongside all those kiddiepop acts. It's the first time they've agreed to do a television show, and as they weren't up for an award themselves (Hell! They deserve a Lifetime Achievement award, surely?) it seems very odd that they agreed to do it. I can only conclude that they want to be in the public eye on the eve of their tour early next year (so far they've only announced dates in Scandinavia and Japan).

A pity also that their performance was spoiled 2/3rds of the way through by some ignoramus shouting out "What the fuck is that?" MTV tried to censor the expletive but were too late, so that the sound dropped out for a second after the idiot's comment. Thanks for ruining my video of their performance, shithead!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 2:31 pm [edit] 

Thursday, November 06, 2003

MTV European Music Awards

Kraftwerk must be wondering what the fuck they are doing at this pile of shite.

Dire dire dire...
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:59 pm [edit] 

Owwww...

We started getting a bit more serious last night at the gym with the weights on the various pieces of equipment. Eeeeeks! I can still feel the after-effects of it and am achey all over.

I'm going to go back again either tomorrow night or Saturday morning, but this time I'll go around without an instructor and see how much I can remember how to do on my own.

The biggest problems I have is with starting the programs on the walking and cycling machines at the beginning and end of my session. It's just some kind of techno-fear, I guess.

Still quite enjoying it though!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:22 pm [edit] 

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Dowsing

In last night's episode of Jane Goldman Investigates on Living TV, the large-breasted bright red-haired one was learning how to dowse using rods and pendulums. I remember that I used to be very good at dowsing. Many years ago, my brother and I would hide objects such as toy cars for the other to find using home-made dowsing rods (which were in essence mutilated wire clothes hangers mounted in Bic pen "handles"). It worked every time. I have also successfully dowsed for water.

I'm really interested in this sort of thing, so reckon I'm going to give it another go.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 12:40 pm [edit] 

Men in skirts

The "Bravehearts: Men In Skirts" exhibition mentioned in this story from ThisisLondon looks interesting. More...
posted by Gina Snowdoll 10:36 am [edit] 

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Teasing LuLu, The Borderline, London, 2 November 2003

Teasing LuLu, The Borderline, 2nd November 2003

On Sunday, Ghost and I went to London where we met my good friend Tamsin and then tripped off to the Borderline to see Teasing LuLu. As usual the girls gave it their all and played a storming set. This was all despite Lucy's guitar problems. She broke a string on her Les Paul right on the first song, then switched to a Firebird which kept shrieking due to some kind of microphonic problem with the pickups not liking the distortion effect or something. It was a bit of a dilemma for Lucy: Do I play the guitar with the broken string, or do I play the guitar that squeals? Nevertheless, they battled on and played fantastically. Every time I see them they seem to have a new song or two, so that just goes to show that they are always writing new tunes.

I wish I'd realised about Lucy's broken guitar string sooner; I could have quickly restrung it up for her if I'd known.

As to the other bands, well the first one on seemed to be a bizarre marriage of country and western meets hip hop and was quite scary! The band that followed Teasing LuLu obviously were fans of the whole funk metal thing perpetuated by bands such as The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I said to Louisa that I got worried when I saw the guy come out with the Warwick bass, as they tend to be used for slap bass playing, and she agreed that this was indeed quite alarming.

We didn't hang around too long afterwards because there were all sorts of railway engineering works going on and therefore possible delays in getting home. Still, it was great to see the girls, and lovely to see Tamsin again (last time was December last year!).
posted by Gina Snowdoll 11:33 am [edit] 

Monday, November 03, 2003

Beardy Weirdies!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 4:25 pm [edit] 

Photos added to Saturday's posts... scroll down to see them!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:25 pm [edit] 

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Third and final time this week!

I'm off to London shortly for my third and final gig of the week. (Phew!) This time it's the lovely Teasing LuLu girls, who are playing tonight at The Borderline.

Then I'll be having a rest from gigs for a while, until the 20th when I go to see Wreckless Eric in Putney.

I've still got a busy week ahead of me though. Tomorrow and Wednesday nights after work I've got gym sessions booked with the instructor. Hopefully I'll attend another time before the week is out too.

Apart from that, I've got the update of the Teasing LuLu website to get done. I'll try to take a few photos tonight, so perhaps we'll have some new live photos to put in the Archives.

Oh, and tomorrow I'll try to post a photo or perhaps two from the Julian Cope gig.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 2:39 pm [edit] 

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Julian Cope's Rome Wasn't Burned In A Day, The Lyric, Hammersmith, 31 October 2003

Julian Cope - as mad as a balloon!

After having been wandering up and down the Thames for the best part of the day (see previous post) I was feeling absolutely shattered by the time I reached The Lyric. A quick glance at my ticket reminded me that I had a seat in the circle and that I wouldn't be having to stand up for this gig. I can't say that I was disappointed when this realisation hit me.

It also turned out that my seat was at the very back of the circle! Seeing as I was in row E, I thought I'd only be 5 rows from the front, but I hadn't realised that there were only five rows in the circle. Actually, even though the Lyric had stalls, circle and a balcony, it was in fact a very small theatre, and despite being right at the back of my level, I had a perfectly clear view of the stage which did not seem very far away at all.

I became aware of a bunch of musicians on the stage, which was weird as I hadn't seen anyone there a few moments previously, and hadn't noticed anyone walking out on stage. Obviously hadn't being paying attention. An announcer (who sounded awfully like the Cope himself) informed us that this was the Vibracathedral Orchestra. The various musicians - guitars, drums, recorder, baritone sax, violin - all started playing at once. I thought they were tuning up for a minute or two as they all seemed to be doing their own thing and not listening to each other, but after a few minutes I realised that this was in fact the performance itself.

O...K... I thought, it's a improvised arty type thing. I can relate to that, I've made tapes like that with a group of friends myself.

But, Hell! This lot were making an almighty horrible bloody row. Occasionally one of the musicians (half of whom had their backs to the audience) would put down their instrument and pick up something else to play. It was a really haphazard performance.

Then, after 20 minutes, something quite wonderful happened. One of the guys banging drums had swapped to a bass guitar, and then suddenly from nowhere this riff started up and the whole band gelled and went along with it. It was such a strange transformation from total unharmonious discord to this really quite happening groove. From chaos to order. They changed the mood several times following this, but for the rest of the performance they kept up the playing off one another.

It was one of the most peculiar performances I had ever seen. However, I still had Julian Cope himself to experience yet.

Surprisingly, Cope and band were next on the bill (I had thought there were going to be several bands, but what the hell, I wasn't complaining...).

The set started with some crazy electric guitar and the band coming one by one from out of a trapdoor in the stage, being spewed forth along with clouds of dry ice. Last to take the stage was a tall figure in blue army fatigues, 5" platform-soled boots, sunglasses and a mane of long straw-coloured hair and with a beard to match. As this demented looking figure began to stride around the stage I realised this was Julian Cope himself.

As the other instruments joined the wailing guitar a tune emerged, that tune being "Shaman UFO" which was the b-side to the first Brain Donor single ("She Saw Me Coming"), and Cope began singing, but after only one verse be jumped down into the audience and began making his way up and down the aisles and along the rows, all along being grabbed by members of the audience, hugged and kissed by men and women alike. He finished singing the song in a seat in the fifth row. Up in the circle we all had to stand on our seats to see him.

For the next song, Cope stayed down in the audience, and then started moving further back where we could no longer see him. He then started talking and talking, babbling semi-incoherently about it being what rock'n'roll is all about (doing the gig from in the audience).

He was talking and talking, and I really can't remember what he was saying now. He was rambling on like a madman. At one point his radio mic gave out so - after rambling some more without any amplification (we could just hear him) - he returned to the stage for the next song. But he was soon off again, and part way into "Get Off Your Pretty Face" (the second Brain Donor single) he suddenly appeared upstairs with us in the circle.

Again, his performance was chaotic. He was either forgetting half the words, or else being grabbed by people so much that it put him off his flow. This was only four songs into the set and already this was the most shambolic gig I had ever been to!

Somehow he made it back to the stage, and a semi-sense of normality set in, as at least he was now where you expected him to be! The talking between the songs grew longer and longer. What he was saying seemed to make some kind of sense at the time, but looking back I can only think of him as a mad rambling hairy person.

Looking at the set list Cope declared that he was "psychically unable" to perform that one, and that one, and "I'm not doing THAT". They seemed to be performing an awful lot of Brain Donor material, which might've confused some of his fans as this isn't exactly his highest profile work.

I do remember an incredibly long (25th Anniversary version) of "Sleeping Gas" - complete with long rambling section in the middle. Amazingly he strapped on a Fender XII electric for a blistering version of "Safe Surfer" and then he also played guitar for one of my favourites "Sun Spots".

For an encore we were treated to a great singalong version of "World Shut Your Mouth", and they ended on "My Pagan Ass" - another Brain Donor song (which had already been played earlier in the set).

So, it was a good gig entertainment-wise, but I have to wonder what was Julian Cope on? OK, stupid question perhaps. I just didn't expect him to be so totally off his trolley as he was that night. He was totally cuckoo... (Or perhaps that should be Budgie as he had a lovely microphone stand / budgie perch upon which he would stand...)

A weird weird gig!
Julian Cope Band

See also an alternative review of this gig courtesy of The Guardian. I can only assume that the reviewer did not attend the whole gig because Cope most certainly did not perform a 20 minute version of "Reynard The Fox" (unfortunately, as I was looking forward to hearing that song).
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:40 pm [edit] 

Friday in London

I met Mark in the morning at Paddington Station (we arranged to meet at the statue of Paddington Bear) and we basically just went for a wander, stopping off for the occasional break, drink, etc. We started at Embankment, crossed over on one of the new walkway bridges to the South Bank and walked alongside the Thames until we got to the Tate Modern. We nipped inside the great Turbine Hall because I wanted to see what installation they had there at the moment.

The interior was really misty and at the far end of the hall there was an enormous yellow electronic sun. The roof was covered in mirrors and down at the far end of the turbine hall, there were people lying all over the ground looking up at themselves. It was a weird situation. Anyone would think they were people sunning themselves on the beach.
Tate Modern Installation
In case you are wondering what it's all about it's all explained here!

From the Tate Modern we continued walking eastwards until we reached Tower Bridge, which we crossed. Strangely it was completely devoid of motor traffic, and the far end near the Tower itself was closed off with police tape and the police themselves very much in evidence. Mark asked a police constable what was going on and he was told that there was someone threatening to throw himself off the bridge. Try as we might, we couldn't see anyone, and anyway, if you were going to throw yourself off you'd do it from the middle of the bridge above the Thames, and not from the end of the bridge where you're only going to drop a short distance. Weird.

We carried on around to St Catherine's dock and went and had lunch in the Dickens Inn (best pizzas in town!). After lunch we turned westwards on the Northern side of the river and walked up to and across the Millenium footbridge and then, after an exceedingly slow service getting a coffee in the cafe at Shakespeare's Globe, we caught the Tate to Tate boat service to the other Tate (Tate Britain, that is).

At Pimlico we took a tube or two to Hammersmith, where I was going to go to a gig that night. We had another meal at a Thai noodle restaurant. I only wanted a "snack" but the noodle dish I chose turned out to be bloody enormous!

After dinner we went and found The Lyric Theatre and then I bade farewell to Mark and made my way inside.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:24 pm [edit]