Friday, April 29, 2011

Glorious Royal Wedding Memories

Lincolnshire potato does impression of Royal Knob
Today’s parade in London of chinless parasites witlessly waving at streets lined with gormless, flag-toting celebrants thriving on subservience to a dynastic vacuum brings to mind many fond memories of past occasions when the populace of Britain cheerfully stopped work for a day in favour of raising a toast to the future marital fuck-ups of serially dysfunctional aristocrats.

July 29, 1981: Chip and Di
Aged 16, Kev, Tim, his cousin Rob and I had just got our first ever 'proper' jobs, on the back end of a potato harvester sorting out stones and clods of mud from a passing conveyor belt of Lincolnshire’s signature vegetable. It was tedious, back-straining work, and the machine was towed up and down the fields by a tractor driven by a skinny, grinning YTS delinquent who cheerfully admitted that he was getting hitched the following Saturday because “ah got me bird up the spout”. His marriage probably still had more chance of surviving than the Wales’s.

Anyway, the day before the wedding (Chip and Di’s, not the tractor driver’s), our farmer

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"In Chicago We Like To Dance"

Blue Orchids: back when noisy bands were good
Last night I was at the downstairs room in the Black Cat watching the Crystal Stilts, a droning five-piece from Brooklyn (almost every male between the age of 18 and 35 who lives in Brooklyn is a member of a droning five-piece garage pop band), when there was almost a fight right behind me. Unusual, because indie-kids (and indie-grownups) in their drab, dark clothes and thick-rimmed glasses are usually too busy not smiling to get into fights. But then they’re not often getting whacked from behind by a bloke dancing like a rubber windmill in a hurricane.

Between songs, a lad in front of him turned around to complain. The dancer responded, “I’m from Chicago. In Chicago we like to dance.” He had a reedy voice a bit like the teacher in South Park. The sort of voice where, if this was a cartoon and not a real-life indie-gig, you’d expect him to get immediately flattened by a well-aimed punch that everyone would immediately cheer and laugh at. But the complainant just said something inaudible (perhaps, “Cut it out, you windmill-imitating dickhead”), and turned back to the band.

Then it was the turn of the woman next to me to get shoved in the back. At the end of the song, she too turned around and asked the windmill geek what he thought he was trying to prove. “I’m not trying to do anything,” he whined. “I’m just trying to have a good time.” For that, he could always have gone down to the front with the other enthusiasts, who all seemed to think this was the best band ever - they were surely all too ecstatic to mind being thumped by him.

I perked up when the band accidentally played a good song,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Records You Play Every Two Decades Or So

Not a bad record, every 20 years or so...
I like ironing clothes, preferably when the house is empty so that I can cogitate while playing records without people stomping past the turntable and making the needle jump. The other day I took out a Dave Kusworth & The Bounty Hunters LP, ‘Wives, Weddings and Roses,’ recorded in late 1987. I vaguely remembered most of it, but thought that I probably hadn’t played it for about 20 years. It’s not an outstanding release, but there are a handful tracks on it good enough to warrant another listen… some time. When? In another 20 years?

It’s a strange thought that I last played the LP when I was 25, and so logically I might next seek it out when I’m about 65. It really doesn’t seem that long ago since I was 25. Does that mean it won’t be that long until I’m 65? Being 65 is old, officially. Right now I am still listening to LPs that I bought when I was still considered to be ‘young’. But surely when I’m at retirement age, I shouldn’t be listening to songs with lyrics like, “She’s a constant companion to my thoughts/Though she tore things in two/Even slept with my best friend too/I don’t know why I still love you…”

I have a soft spot for Dave Kusworth for several reasons.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Trash Point

Litter, dropped by scum
Last weekend, the family donned a thin cloak of social responsibility and set out for the nearby creek to help with the annual trash clean-up of the Potomac River tributaries. According to our local weekly rag, we were part of an effort that picked out 556 tires, 83,900 “beverage containers”, and almost 15,000 plastic bags. My picture shows a blockage behind a fallen tree of mainly plastic bottles and styrofoam cups in Rock Creek, just down the road from our house. Our section of the creek also yielded a large-sized metal barbeque.

You can look at this positively and celebrate the fact that 3,500 volunteers were prepared to give up their Saturday mornings to get covered in mud and help make the Potomac River a cleaner place. Or you can stand at the side of the creek, as I did, staring down at the rubbish glut and muttering misanthropic clichés about the state of mankind and how we no longer deserve a place on a planet that we continue to rape and pollute.

I have a short song, as yet unrecorded (you’ll be relieved to hear), that goes through my head every time I see litter in natural areas. It’s called ‘Litter-Dropping Scum’, and it’s not very subtle: “You litter-dropping scum/The day will come/I’m gonna get you/With my litter-dropper-killing gun…” Its stated goal is the vigilante-style eradication of anyone who does not dispose of their trash in the correct manner. I’m nothing if not an idealist.

But does clearing out our local creek make us morally superior beings?