Shimura Curves

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fan Girl

I originally posted this on TSM messageboard after some idiot called me a "screaming fangirl" but I thought it beared repeating:

Yeah, and I guess I should really say something about this: I was going to say because this board is flooded with fangirls screaming about how hot TSM guys are because the implied casual sexism of statements like this REALLY winds me up.

Maybe I'm oversensitive, but this is the sort of crap I've been dealing with for over 20 years, indie snob boys with their OH NOES!!! GURLZ IN THE TREEHOUSE, OH NOES!!!! attitudes.

I'm not going to go all "Losing My Edge" on you, but I'm a pretty serious music fan. I've been the only girl down the front of a Faust gig, I've dragged my ass to experimental noise gigs in weird basements in Brooklyn and lofts in Stoke Newington, but also reviewed boybands at Wembley. I see my byline in a national music magazine on a regular basis. Do you?

One of the things I love about a really amazing band like TSM is the way that their music can strip away my adult artifice, and let me rediscover the emotion, the immediacy, the openness, the enthuasiasm for music and the world and everything that I had when I was 14. It's not often that I get to feel that way, and I cherish a band that can give that to me.

Problem is, when males retreat to their inner 14 year old, they retreat back to this precious clubhouse mentality of "oh noes, girls are icky, what if my little sister starts liking this, then I won't be COOL any more."

Fuck that shit. Seriously.

Part of the BEAUTY of music, especially rock music, a huge part of its power IS sexuality. If you can't deal with that, then YOU are missing the point. Music is sex and sex is music, feel that beat, move your hips.

TSM are a good-looking band. So were the Beatles. Get over it. The men don't know, but the little girls understand. Grrrrrrrr.

I feel like I've been singing the same song for about 20 years now, but fuck it. I'm getting caught up in another fan community, though I swore I wouldn't do that again. But music is a communal experience, you know? It's more fun when the obsession is shared, when you kind of spur one another on to the edge of group hysteria. It's Dionysian, I love it.

I want to pitch an article about TSM to Plan B, but I'm scared. I'm rubbish at pitching. For a start, I know that they're probably a bit "too mainstream". Yeah, fuck that, I get around it by writing "from the heart" and then you can slip in your emotional experiences of Busted or Duran Duran like a sugar bullet in all the Indie. And I'm scared of pitching a "proper article". I did a couple of interviews back in CTCL days, but ET told me I was "clearly uncomfortable on that side of the interview process" and that was the end of that.

But this is the angle I want to take - surprisingly, I don't want to interview them and talk about what specific effects pedal they used to get that guitar solo at around 3:35 on Alone, Jealous and Stoned. What I want to write about is the process of fan community. A lot of bands give lip service using the web to connect with their fans, when what that really means is trying to draft them for street teams. (Which, to me, just gives internet fandom a bad name.) TSM actually seem to post on their own board, interact with their fans, allegedly (though they won't confirm or deny) leak their own albums onto the web when their record company fucks with their release dates.

And, I'm interested in the dynamics of fandom, the way that these little communities coalesce, swell, explode, or diversify. I've been on loads of mailing lists/boards/communities and the dynamics are so familiar I could write a thesis about them. The personal interactions, the shared hysteria, the meet-ups, the orgasm of seeing shows together in a gang. How the issue of celebrity itself can become divisive - those people who profess undying devotion, then stab their own mates in the back for a shot at a backstage pass. And, indeed, the strange breed of Uberfans, those fans who post so much, who travel around the world to see their idols, until they become so familiar within the fan communitity that they are almost celebrities in their own right.

And no, that's not always about sex, groupies or band-aids or whatever the dismissive term for girls who fuck guys in bands is. (Though why is there not a similarly dismissive term for the boywhores in bands who fuck their way through tours? Takes two to tango.) Sexuality is a big part of music, as I rant above, but it's something more... pure than the tawdry aftershow scene.

I don't know. Need to think about this more, formalise my thoughts.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In The 4th Dimension, I'm Walking A Perfectly Straight Line

I always feel weird and edgy when we haven't rehearsed in a while. Like the bullshit bits of being in a band outweigh the fun bits, and I start to question if it's all worth it and if I wouldn't just be happier writing bedroom symphonies for myself again. (Is sex really more satisfying than masturbation when you haven't had sex in a while, and can't remember?)

Bit of a rubbish weekend. PMT-ing to hell, and sleep deprivation not a good combination. Spent most of it on the couch, crampy, bleeding and cross, eating chocoalte and writing smut. Didn't do anything I was supposed to do - finish guitar tracks, paint the house, or anything like that. (I found a really funny sample to start Noyfriend, and got some great backwards-wah sounds for it, but that's about as far as I got.)

I'm starting to worry about the amount of smut I've been writing. Most of the time I can kid myself that it's art or self expression or something, and writing is good for you, it's psychologically helpful. But I don't know that it is. It's just this solipsistic escape fantasy that I slip into when the world gets too difficult. I don't even write much about sex any more, it's more about the fantasy of... feeling *loved*. Those tiny day to day moments of intimacy and connection that I miss about a relationship - though a best friend type relationship, as much as a lover. Even though the relationship I'm writing about in this story isn't a normal one, it's conducted through mobile phones and email and blog entries and sporadic bursts of intense physical intimacy that drown in confusion and emotional chaos and insecurity. You know, kind of like real life relationships at the moment.

I got far drunker far more quickly than I intended at AMP's party. Alcohol + Medication usually = sleepy time, which is what happened eventually, but first I went down a weird downward slope. I can remember sitting on the floor, rehashing an argument (a friendly one, though) I'd had earlier with my mum about transdimensionality. My mum said that human beings could not conceive of extra dimensions. I said that's rubbish, maybe we can't visualise them, but there's a lot more to imagination than just the visual aspects. I know that other dimensions could exist because I can conceive of them mathematically, and that's as real a metaphor as any visualisation.

And as I was explaining this, I felt myself disappearing into another plane. No, not literally, but figuratively - an impression not helped by the long, corridor-like setup of AMP's flat. The perspective seemed all wrong, I couldn't connect with anyone, felt myself growing more and more distant from my friends like they were slipping away down the wrong end of a telescope. It's that fear of being unable to connect with people emotionally - not helped by the unexpected appearance of a difficult personal situation. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, after I missed the last train home, too tired and emotional to talk to anyone rationally, feeling isolated and disconnected, but it was too noisy to sleep it off.

No wonder my fantasies aren't of kinky sex any more, but just of emotional connection.

Kate Porn

MAJOR KATE-PORN ALERT!!!. Dirty Dronerock Benjamin talks about guitar pedals, maths and everything Kate loves.

We kind of think of these first songs like your thesis. You kind of put it out there, and then the rest of the record you spend your time proving it.

I love him, I love him, I love him. It's not just his amazing guitar playing, his super pedal collection, his pointy nose - it's the random dropping in of references to maths and NASA ("It's just like how NASA gives astronauts those cyanide capsules," group guitarist and vocalist Ben Curtis adds. "Just in case they get lost in space.")

Friday, May 26, 2006

Poll: Should I Get Another Tattoo?

I've wanted to get a tattoo of this for about 15 years now. I've loved the band for nearly 20 years. Considering that they've been broken up for so long, I doubt they're going to start sucking or make me hate them any time soon.

But do I really want to put a logo on my body? Even if it's such a cool "pyramid meets the radioactive third eye" logo? Is it pathetic to get a band logo tattoo? What do you think?

Dude, we're all grown ups now...

In the end, I went to Sonic Cathedrals by myself last night. I was in a bad mood, and I tried going shopping but I just couldn't find anything I wanted to buy, so I figured walking over to Old Street and then some lovely, lovely shoegazer noise would sort me out. And mostly, it did.

First the good things: Will Carruthers Yes, he's still a handsome man, but that's besides the point. Oh sweet lord, what an amazing DJ set he played. Lots of great drone and shoegaze, but more to the point, he played almost every song that Sp3/Spz ever covered. Marianne, the JJ Cale song that became Run, some Suicide, lots of Velvets (and weird acid house covers of Velvets songs) with bizarre Hunter S. Thompson dialogue over the top. I was so awed, I couldn't even bring myself to talk to him, just kind of smiled at him with this dewey expression of "oh my god, you are one of the best bassists, well, ever."

The High Dials played quite sweet, though rather polite psychedelic pop. (Of course they're polite, they're Canadian, it turns out.) However, at the end, they got the sitar out, and wibbled up a couple of gears. That was bloody impressive.

And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Now look, but Sonic Cathedrals are really starting to piss me off with this kind of thing. Face it - the audience for shoegazing and drone is aging. We're mostly in our 30s now, we all have day jobs and have to get up in the morning. So making us wait AN HOUR AND A HALF between the support band finishing and the headlining band goes on is just not on. I'm tired, I'm hot, my feet hurt, and I can see the band lounging around to the side of the stage chatting with their mates. As the audience grows more disgruntled and aggressive, this is not the best situation for the band. And it's not a fun decision to decide how much of your money's worth to get, as you ponder whether to make the last train and catch exactly 4 songs of the band's set, or stay for the whole set and face the night bus home.

By the time Serena Maneesh came on, I was not in a good mood. They looked, frankly, stupid. An image band gone horribly wrong. Headscarves and frilly shirts and turbans that even Carlos Santana would be ashamed to be seen in, plus a Nico lookalike bassist who hopped about like a mad ferret, in time to no apparent rhythm I could discern onstage.

The sound was awful. It's one thing when it's so loud you can't tell the guitars one from another. It was so loud and just... mushy I couldn't even tell the guitars from the drums. Like they couldn't have spent at least some of that HOUR AND A HALF doing a soundcheck instead of rearranging their scarves to drape exactly the right way? I was so annoyed that I just decided to take off, pushing my way out through the crowd.

And then, just as I got past the bar, I ran into a little gang of my friends. I griped and complained, while Rich tried to explain that it was not the band's fault they'd gone on so late, and Jesse urged me to give them a second chance, explaining that their record really was the lost MBV album. So I stayed for a bit, and ended up closing out the bar. The sound - miraculously - was marginally better, back by the sound booth. And yes, they did settle down from unlistenable mush into kind of metallic sheets of sound. (Though I never did figure out what the violin player was for, as I couldn't hear him at all.) I'll listen to the CD and make my decision based on that.

So, in the end, I guess it was worth the torturous hour and a half night bus home.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Positive/Negative Reinforcement

Doodle along with pleasant posts all week, and there's 0 comments.

Say something even mildly critical of your own band, and there's 11 comments in a matter of minutes.

In the meantime, here is a photo of some lovely pointy-nosed Dirty Dronerock Brothers to keep me sweet and even-tempered:

(Photo by Iggyhero.)

Matchy Matchy

OK, these are some random thoughts about band image. They are MY THOUGHTS alone, and not necessarily indicative of the rest of the band. Also, they are MY OPINION and not intended as a dis on anyone else's aesthetic or opinion.

Phew, now that's out of the way...

So we're going to be doing a photoshoot for the upcoming single. Some things have kind of been bothering me, so I want to work out what, exactly.

It was suggested that we pick three different looks/costume changes and try them all out. Immediately, the red/black look of our last gig was suggested. Also, the Cocktail Dresses and Suit look of our i-D shoot. Then I suggested "Hey, remember that gig at Cargo, where we all turned up to soundcheck, by coincidence, wearing these sort of rock chick outfits of jeans, big boots and black t-shirts? That looks really cool."

Now, almost immediately, AMP started complaining saying "But that's SO not my aesthetic" and Anna started trying to substitute a denim miniskirt for jeans, when I protested "Hey, you know, I have to compromise and go onstage wearing things that are SOOO not *my* aesthetic, so why can't you work with this?"

I don't know why, but it irked.

I mean, I just have to get this off my chest. I hate matchy matchy outfits. I just hear that song "We are the Nowtones, we play Top 40, We wear matching outfits, we look real sporty!" in my head. I went to a prep school, I wore a uniform and hated it - it I wanted to wear a uniform as an adult, I'd join the army.

To me, it's much cooler when a band have an *aesthetic*, but don't necessarily wear the same thing. This is why, in the 60s, the Rolling Stones always *looked* cooler than the Beatles. Think the Velvet Underground, The Ramones, The Jesus and Mary Chain.

I guess we're pretty much agreed on that, but the problem is that the other three pretty much share - or at least have an overlapping - aesthetic. That looks like shit on me. I can't stand the colour red. There, I said it. I don't mind burgundy, or dark pinks, but that bright routemaster/pillarbox red is just SOOO not me. And I can't do those 50s style dresses. I look like a man in drag, I feel so uncomfortable. It looks brilliant on them, but I'm just not really sure how I feel about it.

All of the women that are in this band, I asked to be in this band because not just were they musically aware, talented, and dead cool - but also because they had such distinctive and personal looks. Everyone had this very individual and personal style. And now I'm seeing that individuality subsumed in this matchy matchy hell because other people (often men, I notice) seem to be telling us that's what looks good (which I interpret as that's what they like in a girl band.) But, you know, I don't know that *I* like it.

When it comes down to it, I'd rather the diverse individuality of the early Spice Girls to the bland identikit outfits of Girls Aloud. I can remember, back in the late 90s, The Lollies played with an all girl rock band that had a bit of a buzz on, and when they walked in the club they were all wearing jeans and t-shirts, like cool teenage girls, and they looked fantastic. By the time they played, their manager had made them put on these matchy matchy "sexy" outfits that just made them look like Topshop Tramps, and it was just... "Why?!"

I dunno. Maybe this goes along with my own lack of self confidence about my own looks. To be honest, I'd really rather just not do photo shoots, like I don't do interviews. But that would leave me with even less of a say in our visual presentation. Though really, to be honest, I think it's an aesthetics/content issue more than a "oh god, I'm so hideous, why can't we wear things that are flattering to me" issue.

I want us to have a visual impact, I want us to be one of those bands that makes more effort with our presentation, rather than just shuffling on in the same clothes we were wearing on the street, but I guess our point is, we are individuals, why not play up on that, rather than sacrificing it to some aesthetic that's not really *us* (*me*?) anyway?

Another Pointless Survey

1. Of all the bands & artists in your collection, which one do you own the most cd's by?
Errrr... probably Spacemen 3. Coincided with both my completist phase and my most gainful employment.

2. What was the last song you listened to?
"Up The Ladder To The Roof" - The Supremes. Oh lord, that wah takes me closer to heaven...

3. What's in your CD player right now?
September 000 by Secret Machines, I think...

4. What is your favourite instrument?

5. Who's your favourite local band?
How local is local? Fave London band probably Luxembourgh

6. What was the last concert you attended?
Spiers and Boden at the Spitz

7. What was the greatest concert you've ever been to?
Oh, blimey... what you want me to pick just one? Argh! The Dandy Warhols supporting Blur at Roseland was pretty darn special.

8. What's the worst band you've ever seen in concert?
Top three worst bands I've ever seen:
3. God Is My Co-Pilot - unlistenable art-skronk SHITE
2. She Only Drinks In Manchester - why are you affecting those awful fake English accents and crap baggy beats when you are from TEXAS?!?!?
1. The Strokes - the only band I've ever walked out on twice, on both sides of the Atlantic

9. What band do you love musically but hate the members of?
Eh? I try to separate the two things, because to be honest, most musicians are unbearable pricks.

10. What is the most musically involved you have ever been?
What on earth do these questions mean? Musical high point of my "career" was probably supporting The Bangles at Manchester Academy and Shepherd's Bush Empire

11. What show are you looking forward to?
Truck Festival, because we're playing, ha ha ha

12. What is your favourite band shirt?
Hrrrrrmmm. Possibly the Stooges Funhouse at the Apollo shirt that was personally give to me by Ron Asheton as a thank you for mailing him some... uh... contraband he didn't want to take through American customs.

13. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
Professor Sonic Boom and his amazing collection of wubulators. OK, I'm so in awe of him I can never actually speak to him in person, but he's just like a kid in a candy shop with vintage synths and things.

14. What musician would you like to be in love with you for a day?
Duh, Benjamin Curtis, but please can it be more than one day?

15. What was your last musical "phase" before you wizened up?
I don't think I've "wizened" up. I'm still spry. I still go through phases, though they modulate kind of like a sine wave between cheesy pop and nasty drone/psych.

16. Sabbath or solo Ozzy?

17. Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music nerd?
Am I supposed to have a problem with that?

18. What was the greatest decade for music?
All of them.

19. What is your favourite movie soundtrack?
Repo Man - totally seminal punk classic.

20. What would you be without music?
Dead. No, quite literally. My life was saved by rock'n'roll.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Secret Folk Shame

Last night, Frances and I went to see John & Jon at the Spitz.

Sometimes I feel like folk music is my secret shame, because even my mother begs me "Please don't get into folk music - it was your father's ruin!" However, I spent much of my youth going to the Eighth Step Coffee House and Cafe Lena. This wasn't necessarily by choice - my dad did sound for most of the local folk gigs and festivals, so I'd end up tagging along, sometimes though boredom, more often through wanting a ride home after the local punk rock nightclub had finished.

But still, there was something quite appealing to it, though I'd never have admitted that as a 15 year old Jesus and Mary Chain freak. I loved the participatory nature of the gigs, the DIY aspect - especially at festivals like the Adirondack Folk/Gospel Festival, where a good part of the day would be spent in workshops learning things like shape note harmony. (Lessons which have stayed with me to this day.) I wasn't keen on the "ooh, I'm so sensitive" singer-songwriter type of folkies, but I loved the political ferment, the blood-and-guts sex and death imagery, the "folk tradition" of reinventing meaning of traditional songs for your own generation, and most of all the stomping barndance energy of it.

So it's great to be rediscovering this music as an adult. So I have made a pact with Frances to go and search out more of it, maybe even go to a Morris Dancing Festival!

Anyway, J&J were brilliant. From the records, I was expecting them to be a lot more sparse and minimalist than Bellowhead, but it's amazing the joyful noise that just the two of them manage to kick out. Jon (tall, lanky, somewhat earnest) fiddles his heart out, sings, and stomps on this amazing hollow stomp-box* thing which booms like a bass drum. John (shorter, slightly plump, cheeky grin) whirls about between Melodeon and Concertina and various other squeezeboxes, and adds the spot of harmony vocals.

Despite their exhortations about songs being "reels" and "jigs" and "waltzes" there was nowhere to dance. However, Frances was pleasantly surprised by the body count - we'd had at least three gruesome deaths before we even finished our real ale! There was stomping and singing along - though it turned out that the audience knew the words to "Prickle-Eye Bush" better than the band at this point!

*Yes, you know me, always on about the stomp-boxes!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What's Brown And Sticky?

New Shimuras demos, of course! Available on our MySpace.

There will be a prize for anyone who can correctly identify all of the lyrical allusions. (There's at least five I can count, apart from the obvious Mary Chain riff.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Give me a Reason to love you...

What a productive weekend!

On Saturday, I went round Miss AMP's in order to give her the lesson in using Reason that I've been promising her for months. So I took her through its paces, and showed her loads of shortcuts. I just hope that I didn't go too fast because I get so excited when I use Reason that I'm always all "Look, you can do this! And then this! and wow, this sounds great..." and away I gallop while my pupil is still going "wait, what the fuck is Portamento?"

Half of the knowledge I have, I have no idea where I've picked it up over the years. I've taken two courses at University (one in Electronic Music, and the other in Studio Technology) but didn't make it to the end of either. Mostly it's just gleaned from mucking about (and fucking things up) myself, or else reading Sound On Sound while waiting in recording studios.

Anyway, she picked it up really quickly, and away she went with Disco Drums and cello samples and Duran Duran sounding synths. Hurrah! That's the nice thing about Reason - it is so user friendly to get started on.

But a stray comment just got me thinking (oh, what else is new?) - she was joking around, going "Yeah, it's easy to write a song on Reason, but it's not easy to write a song like Stronger." And I turned around and said "No, not really, there's no difference."

...and I wasn't being self depreciating or falsely modest or anything like that. It's hard to explain. Writing songs is easy, fullstop. They just flow, it just happens. And I have no way of telling, as I'm writing a song, if no one will like it and it's going nowhere, or if it's going to turn into a monster anthem that people want to release as a single. In fact, often the harder it is to write a song, the less 'good' it is.

The melody for Stronger had been kicking around my head for ages. Originally it was just a riff, with nonsense words like "She's coming on, banging on like a Venus in polyester..." but it wasn't until I had a massive row during my breakup with the Unemployed Artist Loser (sorry, I love my acronyms) that it came together. I had something I started to say to him - that for the first bit of our relationship, he had supported me, emotionally, and he had been solution to a lot of my problems. But for the rest of the relationship, he *became* my biggest problem. And he got so fixated on the whole first half of that statement (going on and on about how much effort it had taken for him to be supportive of me, and how I should be "grateful" or something) that I never got to the second bit, which was the important bit.

The next morning, I was on the bus to work - I can remember rounding the corner of Kennington Park - with this whole argument stewing in my head, and the lyrics just popped into my head. It was my way of finishing the argument, of saying what I needed to say. I bashed the melody out on Reason the next day, added some orchestral arrangements and it was finished by the weekend. Like I always say, writing songs isn't hard at all - it's living through the experiences that give you the ideas for songs that is the hard part.

Anyway, I demoed some songs on Sunday. Had loads of fun with the new pedals - in fact, I fear I may have overdone the wah, since it's the new toy. Still, I think it sounds good. I'll post Just Like Friends (total JAMC pastiche) and the infamous, long-threatned Brown And Sticky (utter filth, Missy Elliott meets Dandy Warhols) to MySpace if I can figure out how to rip MP3s on this crap work computer.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Vague Musings About "PC"

Maybe I should have posted this on ILX, where the argument started, but I just don't feel like revealing my soft, white underbelly in such an adversarial hellhole.

Thread started by some jerk saying that anyone who objects to potentially racially offensive comments is a PC-Nazi. Cue typical ILX beatdown, but then someone steps up with an salient and pithy story which basically knocks seven shades of shite out of the original poster. However... he kind of diminishes his point by calling the protagonist of his story "Special Ed". When I object and say "actually, you've kind of invalidated your point by using such a loaded term which is derrogatory towards the disabled", black dude turns around and effectively calls me a PC-Nazi by saying I'm guilty of what first jerk is complaining about for "missing the point of the story because I'm so blinded by a term". Like, dude, would you have been able to see the point of the story if the epithet was "Nigger"?

Yeah, I know, Race is the Elephant In The Room on ILX and I've spent my whole life being told by various people that whatever -ism I'm complaining about (sexism, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled) is just not as Urgent and Key as Racism, like a Huge Wrong makes a Not-So-Huge Wrong "Right" or something. (Instead of the idea that it's ALL symptomatic of the same white, male, middle-class, heterosexual entitlement bullshit*, and while we divisively tie our hands by arguing about it, they shaft us even harder up the ass. (No Boris jokes, please!))

But what irks me is this idea that I'm objecting to the term "Special Ed" because of some kind of PC-Nazism. Spend a high school semester on the BO-tard** Bus, going to school at the adolescents' wing of the local mental hospital because you've had a nervous breakdown, and see how sensitive you become to terms like "Special Ed" and "Sunshine Coach" and yeah, even "BO-tard".

I know I kid around all the time about mental illness - we all do. I use phrases like "nutter" and "mentalist" and "psycho" with abandon, sometimes even with affection. Sometimes it's a defense mechanism.*** Sometimes it's a lazy way of saying "wanker". Is this really any more acceptable than using "gay" or "retarded" as an insult? Is it PC-Nazi to care?

Or is it hypocritical to use these terms when you have been fighting for recognition that mental illness is as much as "disability" as anything else? (Disability in this case meaning something you didn't choose and don't necessarily have any control over, so therefore workplaces, educational facilities, etc. should make an effort to provide concessions or support to enable you to do your job/study/whatever in spite of it.) I'm losing the plot and this is turning into hand-wringing.

I guess I should just strive towards more accurate speech. Even in flamewars. Anyway, 20 anonymous comments by Monday...

*And no, sorry, being 3 out of those 4 options does not invalidate my opinion, thanks.

**Very localised Upstate NY insult there, from BOCES, technical and vocational training (stereotypically often given to those of less than average IQ or income) as an alternative and/or supplement to higher education

***There but for the grace of god, go I, etc.

Sometimes I Think I Can Fly

This morning, my favourite weather, blustery, bit of mist but not full-on rain, standing on the train platform with the wind whipping my hair into a Pre-Raphaelite birdsnest, I stood on my tip-toes, my nose into the wind, arms outstretched, and almost thought that the wind would carry me up, up, and away, soaring over London like a bird, or Mary Poppins...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Love My Wah

Ohmigod, I love my wah.

Last night, after dinner, I hooked up all of my pedals... OK, not all of my pedals because I don't actually have enough guitar cables to hook them all up, let alone power supplies. I hooked up about six of my pedals, and played around with the new V-Wah. In order - two distortion pedals (overdrive set to mild crunch, Big Muff set to SUPERFUZZ), phaser, wah, delay... OH EM EFFIN' GEE.

Wah is one of those things that it makes quite a difference which way around you have the order. This is a trick that Jo from Happy Hollisters taught me - it' makes the difference between sounding like "a room with a wah in it" or "a WAH with a room in it." Clearly, I prefer the latter.

I can tell that this is something I am going to have to practise - and possibly find some kind of support, to keep me from developing RSI in my ankles. It's kinda tricky, synching up your fingers and legs. I mean, this is the reason I was never a good drummer - I just can't get my limbs to operate separately, rhythmicly.

Ooh, hurrah, just got offerer another gig. Must cut short my pedal joy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An Evil Plan - Do You Dare Me?

From something going on on another thread... when oh when will some enterprising soul come up with the idea of the Dirty Dronerock Gigalo? There is a hole in the prostitution market here.

-- masonicboom, May 17th, 2006 4:13 PM.


Where there is a hole, someone will use it.

-- mark grout, May 17th, 2006 4:23 PM.


DDR gigolos are widespread! no job + band + lanky = seeks employed, doting girlfriend to support until she can't stand it anymore (and/or he gets chubby.)

-- yuengling participle, May 17th, 2006 4:28 PM.


Maybe I should take out an ad or something. I've never had much luck, even with those sorts of situations.

-- masonicboom, May 17th, 2006 4:36 PM.


Hrrrrmmmm. What's the address for Craigslist again?

"Fat, ugly, minging, middle aged yet independently wealthy rock chick seeks pointy-nosed dirty dronerock boy to live in her house, leech off her and service her Big Muff. Please provide photos of Nose, Hair, Ass and Shoes."

Heh heh heh. What kind of replies do you think I'd get?

-- masonicboom, May 17th, 2006 4:43 PM.


Including or excluding DJ Martian?

-- Matt DC, May 17th, 2006 4:45 PM.


I'm actually tempted to do it with a fake email address, just to post the replies to ILX. Heh heh heh, is that evil?

-- masonicboom, May 17th, 2006 4:46 PM.

New (Boots and) Pedals!

OK, there's a lot to be said for finding a good musical equipment shop - especially one that's really close to your house. Hence why this post is going to be full of gushing admiration for Gig Sounds of Streatham. A good shop, staffed by friendly, helpful staff who are knowledgeable but also actually genuinely enthusiastic about the gear they are selling.

Now, normally I find going to musical equipment shops a cross between a wet dream and a nightmare. A wet dream, because of the profusion of stuff on offer, but a nightmare because it's almost impossible to get the arrogant, self important staff to pay attention to you - ESPECIALLY if you are female. I swear to god, this makes you invisible in most major music outlets, on both sides of the Atlantic. To the point where I've been tempted to shoplift, because I swear the staff would just see a guitar floating out the door under its own volition.

Gig Sounds, however - I didn't even have to go on the hunt - a young man actually interrupted his phone call to help me. Although they didn't have exactly what I wanted, he suggested an alternative, and not only ordered the desired pedal but then set one aside and ACTUALLY CALLED ME to let me know that it had come in.

When I dropped by to pick it up, he enquired as to my other pedal needs. Not in a "ooh, let me push more stuff on you" sort of way, but in a "Hey! You mentioned Electroharmonics last time - our entire range is 30% off this week!" Unfortunately, they didn't have anything I didn't already have (heh) but we got to talking about envelope filters (Moogerfoogers in specific) and he was all "Ooh, have you heard the Boss V-Wah?"

He wouldn't let me leave the store without trying it - set it up and oh my god, I fell in love at first listen. It's a wah modelling pedal which you can program to emulate anything from a Vox to a Crybaby to even a Talkbox. It does Cream style WOCKA-WOCKA, it does Virgin Prunes "make your guitar sound like a sitar" it does that My Bloody Valentine "Ssssshhhhh-grrrrrrrrr-ssshhhhhhhh" and even Stooges/Dino Jr "WEEEEOOOOOOWWWW-WUBBA-WUBBA-WEEEEEEEE".

I was in love. I had to have it.

And then the bit I hate - the bargaining. You never know if you're supposed to haggle, or if they'll be insulted, or what. I just kind of hemmed and hawed about my mortgage and he just said "Fuck it, I'll work out the deal" and that was that. (Very nice, too!) And then... as I was asking about power supplies (these things can always knock on another £20 onto your pedal purchases) he actually told me something I didn't know - about daisy chaining Boss pedals together, so you only need to buy one adaptor for all of them - which actually saved me money. Ker-CHING!

So I've got me some brand new toys to play with, and Dan at Gig Sounds, you have got yourself a customer for life. WUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUBWUB

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Does It Feel To Gaze At Your Shoes?

Much better photos, thanks to the lovely folks at How Does It Feel. More what I *thought* we looked like.

Ten Years Ago

OK, I'm not allowed to do MySpace Surveys any more, so sorry, Dare, I'm putting it on my blog.


Ten years ago, it was 1996. Take this survey, post the results, and see how many things have changed since then.

1) How old were you?
THEN: 1996 - 22 for the uh... fourth time
NOW: 2006 - 30 for the uh... can't remember which time any more, senility kicking in

2) Where did you work?
THEN: 1996 - Tending databases and analysing Mortgage Backed securities for US Select Management

NOW: 2006 - Tending databases and analysing Mortgages for an Independent Financial Advisory service

3) Where did you live?
THEN: 1996 - LIC, Queens with Kaliflwr in shared 2 and a half bed apartment

NOW: 2006 - Own my own one-bed flat in Streatham, London

4) How was your hair style?
THEN: 1996 - Short blond fringey bowl cut
NOW: 2006 - Long, scraggly light brown/dark blonde usually in a bun

5) Did you wear contacts?
THEN: 1996 - god no
NOW: 2006 - still go no

6) Did you wear glasses?
THEN: 1996 - yes. Little gold rimmed specs
NOW: 2006 - chunky turqoise indie glasses

7) Who was your best friend?
THEN: 1996 - Kaliflwr
NOW: 2006 - Probably my bandmates

8) Which of your pets were still alive?
THEN: I didn't have any pets of my own, but I lived with Blixa, Milo and Brandy (cats)
NOW: 2006 - No pets. :-(

9) Who was your boyfriend/girlfriend?
THEN: 1996 - A rotating cast of dirty rock boys
NOW: 2006 - purely imaginary

11) Who was your celebrity crush?
THEN:1996: Alex James
NOW: 2006: Benjamin Curtis

12) Who was your regular-person crush?
THEN: 1996 - Sanford Santacroce... Swoon!
NOW: 2006 - Don't really have one any more.

13) How many piercings did you have?
THEN: 1996: Four? Two in each ears
NOW: 2006: The same

14) How many tattoos did you have?
THEN: 1996: 1
NOW: 2006: 1

15) What was your favorite band/singer?
THEN: 1996 - Spiritualized, Blur, Dandy Warhols, Stereolab
NOW: 2006 - SHIMURA CURVES!!! (heh)

16) Had you smoked a cigarette?
THEN: occasionally but either cloves or "jazz" cigarettes

17) Had you gotten drunk?
THEN: 1996: When was I ever sober?
NOW: 2006: On meds, can't really drink much

18) Looking back, are you where you thought you would be in 2006?:

Right city, I'm glad I'm back in London. House-buying and Proper Job is pretty cool. I got to do the Rock Star thing for a while but hey, it was fun while it lasted even if I never got on TOTP or in Smash Hits. I did think I'd be married to a shoegazing guitarist or Turner Prize-Winning Artist by now, though. That's the only disappointment.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How Does It Feel To Be Loved?

I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, but I just want to get down my impressions of the gig while it's still fresh in my mind.

First off, it was an absolutely gorgeous day - the sun was shining, the birds were singing - so even though I arrived two hours before the soundcheck, I sat in the sun and gossiped with Stars of Aviation and Irene. What friendly bands! This was possibly the nicest thing about the evening - the mutual support and admiration and general goodwill between all of the bands involved. (Also, there's really nothing I like better than hanging around with a gang of hott indie boys, but hey, that's just me.)

The other Shimuras straggled in at various increments of lateness, but I was in too good a mood to be bothered. Marianna was full of joy, having just come back from seeing Take That the night before, so we watched the videos on her camera and squealed with girly joy. However, soundchecks started so late and took so long that we had to dress and warm up before we got one! Plus, they had already started letting people in by the time we soundchecked! Eep! for people thinking we had started when we hadn't and resulting technical difficulties.

Anyway, we had just enough time to touch up our makeup and get some wine before shuffling to the stage - however, terrifyingly enough, we emerged from the ladies' loo to find that the entire Windmill was SO PACKED we could barely make it to the stage. Blimey!

I wasn't that nervous. It's weird when you're not nervous, because you don't get that adrenaline rush and that WHEEEEEEEE!!! when you finally go on. I was just trying to concentrate on playing guitar perfectly (least flubs of any performance yet, of which I am quite proud.) The girls danced from the very start, perfectly poisted and well synchronised. So much for "post pub chaos" (I think the early hour and the sobriety may be responsible.) John Brainlove was filming the whole thing which I found slightly off-putting, as he was on my side of the stage, and I was convinced the whole thing was going to be just one continuous shot of my giant ass. :-(

Between song banter was greatly cut, as we shifted professionally from one song to the next with minimal faff (though the best WTF? moment was when Anna started spouting something about drinking ourselves to death like Dylan Thomas (?) but we're getting used to Anna's endearing ramblings onstage). And for the first time ever, I managed to remember all of the words to Elephants! (Which we followed with Capture The Castle - geddit? ha ha, Elephant and Castle? Heh. OK, I'm easily amused.)

We were a bit pressed for time, so we ended up not being able to debut PWNED live, which was a bit of a shame. But we more than made up for it with the most DRONETASTIC* version of Noyfriend yet. Lots of people say this is fast becoming our best song live, and I tend to agree. I need to write more songs where I get to cut loose and actually play mental pedaled-out space guitar.

The girls helped clear up the gear, which really helped me not get stressed, and avoided a repeat of the last gig's mood-drop. Plus the crowd were so receptive. Lots of people kept stopping me and telling me what a good show it was, which is always nice to hear, especially if you feel like you've put on a good performance.

Sat outside and gossiped with Anton who I used to be in Fugue State with a million years ago, back in NYC. Anton's an amazing musician, and a fantastic songwriter - I learned so much from him back in the day - so it was great to have him there, especially since he was quite complimentary. He's someone whose opinion I really value and whose judgement I trust.

The gig was so crowded and the sound so quiet that I didn't get to hear much of the other bands, much to my dismay, as they'd sounded amazing at soundcheck. Stars of Aviation impressed me with their bassoon and the little late medieval baroque interludes. We decided that there should be more basso continuo in pop. Mon Fio had an actual VIBROPHONE onstage - kudos to them for dragging the thing about in the back of a cab. And Irene were fun, joyful Californian style (by way of Sweden) sunshine pop. Though I still don't know how they got all 8 of them up on that tiny stage.

Got paid properly (!!!!) and drank way too much wine out in the garden (while AMPy flirted with groupies - yes! we have groupies now! Hurrah!), hence the hangover and wretchedness today. But I've been in the best mood all day. Even the awful fatness of myself in the photos and videos could not put a damper on the proud sense I have that "yeah, we done good!"

Oh yes, and we got invited back to do a Pre-Truck BBQ with Piney Gir in July. Can't wait.

*Yes, there's always been a spacerock element to our music, etc....

Reality Bites Hard

Ah, the gulf between imagination and reality.

What I felt I looked like last night:

What I actually looked like last night:

Sigh. Somewhere inside me, my inner DDB struggling to get out, but he's drowned in the sea of bloating booze. Ah well.

Great gig last night. Longer description and more comments later, when my hangover wears off a bit...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ha Ha I'm Drowning

Well, I've always had somewhat of a fetish about putting Dirty Dronerock Boys in bathtubs. So, shirtless, scuba diving DDB's - so close and yet so far. Now if only someone could arrange to have him put in a shopping cart, please.

(Yes, I am bored off my tits at work, why do you ask? I've got a to-do list a hundred yards long, but no one is responding to my queries about the report requests. My life is so much easier since I Officially Stopped Caring, but then again, it's kinda dull, too.)

Vote! Vote! Vote! For my Pirate Type...

What kind of pirate am I? You decide!
You can also view a breakdown of results or put one of these on your own page!
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

Yarr. Ye won't be taking no liberties with the female buccaneer. Truly a bastion of feminism, ye woman pirate will seize ye gold, cut off ye genitals and wear them as a necklace, all before her morning grog. Empowering. Yarrr.

Pure Filth

This is REALLY disgusting, so please be warned, do not read it if you are easily disturbed or offended. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED.

OK, I don't know what's going on. I know that SSRI's give you incredibly vivid dreams, but last night I had the MOST graphic sex dream about everyone's favourite Tory, Boris Johnson. And I mean *graphic*. Errr... Blimey! It's not even night you get sodomised by MPs, even in your dreams. I'm not having beans again for supper any time soon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gratuitous Picture Of Owen Pallett Dressed As A Victorian Chimney Sweep - SORRY! - Cobbler

You know, just *because*.

(Thanks, Frances, you have made my day!)

"Play Loud"

I hate bands that put this on their records. I prefer instructions like Sonic Boom's "Play twice before listening".

I am going to put "Play at a reasonable volume, be considerate of your neighbours. Use headphones if necessary." on the Shimuras album.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Oh Yeah, The Band

Sorry, I've been blogging the pain away all week, going on and on about that boy* at great length that I haven't written a thing about my own band recently.

Rehearsal was at my house this week. Which was good, because it meant that I got to do a dress rehearsal with pedals and all. Anna (I think?) said that she forgot how different we sounded with electric guitars - yeah, there's always been a spacerock element to our music**.

We ran through our set twice - including new song! Hopefully we should have PWNED ready for HDIF on Thursday, with mad Shampoo harmonies and kickboxing and all. Then we had yummy curry and drank a couple of bottles of pink wine, and ran through the set again - Emsk, our manager, says that we are actually better after we've had a glass of wine. We get FANTASTIC by the start of the second glass, then there's a steady downward slope. From the dead bottle count the next morning, we drank at least 5 and two half bottles of wine***, so I fear what we may have sounded like by the end.

I'm kinda excited about the gig now. Just have to remember to hit the pedals in the right places, and manage to sing the Noyfriend harmony and play the new Noyfriend riff at the same time. Yeah.

*No, not that boy, the other boy. As in, well, That Boy. Or... erm, actually, even I'm confused at this point. Where's my meds?

**Anna has been teasing me that I am just like The Lex, and redefine any music that I like as Spacerock and/or Dronerock. This is because while at Ed's house at the weekend, he put on some Hawkwind. Now it was a quite folky, hippyish song (Carry On Sundown) but still - it is Spacerock because, well, Hawkwind *invented* Spacerock! Humph!

***Anna got so drunk so couldn't stand up, and actually *fell* into my bathtub.

Also, While We're On The Subject Of Shoes...

My shoes are, like, Famous Now.

Too bad I'm wearing my engineer's boots to the show on Thursday. Not in any way inspired by the boots below, oh no, not me, of course not.

More Lust - Boots & Pedals

I don't even know what half of those are! Wah pedals, volume pedals, nice octave generator there. Bah. I slimmed down my pedal collection, partly due to the theft last year, and partly due to having too much to carry around, but my god this makes me long for the good old days when I wouldn't be caught dead in public without at least 7 pedals. But that was when I was running two stereo amps through a tremolo/pan, and they had to have different series for different sounds...

Just another shot of those boots, I love them so much. HOTT!

Friday, May 05, 2006

About the boots...

I take it all back.

Could that boy's jeans be any tighter? I'm actually distracted from the pedals.

Blimey, I think I'm having a hot flash. It must be the menopause!

Are Release Dates Meaningless?

This started as a comment I was leaving on Mela's Blog About Leaked Albums but it soon became an epic, so I decided to give it my own post here.

It's started to really fuck me off, with YSI and downloading, that release dates seem to have been rendered meaningless.

Firstly, because I am a musician, and you want to make sure that people have the proper, finished article - you don't want to be judged on some shitty, unfinished, unmixed version of a song. (Though lord knows how many different Shimuras demos there are floating around out there.) I don't think that's precious, I think it's the fundamental nature of being an artist. Yes, those songs may have been floating around live for ages, but live performances and recordings are two different artforms.

And I understand, from my brief time as a journalist, about just how long lead times for reviews, articles and other press aspects are. This is the number one thing that fuels release schedules, especially for smaller artists that *need* the exposure.

But mainly, it's about my experiences as a fan. A couple of years ago, it seemed like all my friends were working for record companies or PRs, so I would have every album months before it came out. In some cases, I got rough mixes off the band themselves. At first this was very exciting, that feeling that I HAVE SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL AND THIS MAKES ME IMPORTANT BECAUSE I'VE HEARD IT FIRST. But the problem was, I couldn't discuss it with anyone, I couldn't share my joy because no one had the faintest clue what I was on about, or if they did, they just thought I was boasting.

And by the time the album actually came out, and all the fans were talking about it, I felt like I could no longer join in the excitement, because it was all already familiar, even old to me. I made a decision just not to listen, just not to seek advance copies out.

But these days, with album leaks all over the internet, it's almost the exception that people hear that album for the first time on the day it's released or after. Discussion on interweb boards and the like takes place months in advance of when I get to hear the record. The Secret Machines album Mela mentions was a case in point - the leak was all over I Love Music, the dronerock kids were discussing it, but I still hadn't heard it. I kept going to record shops, looking for it and expecting it to be there. By the time it came out, it was almost an anticlimax. And the album is a grower, it's not an instant download hit, which needed repeated listenings and mulling on it, and letting the songs get stuck in my head. My comments and attempts at discussion fell on deaf ears, because they'd moved on to downloading whatever else was next. I was the lonesome cowboy because all the other kids on the block were playing spacemen (to quote the Beano).

To be honest, maybe this is because I'm not much of a downloader*. It's not even because of the "music should be free"/"support the artists" debate. Part of it is because my only internet access is on a work 'puter with no speakers. Part of it is because I don't like the way MP3s sound - all tinny and pixilated. And a big part of this is because I'm just so attached to the fetishistic idea of a record as an ARTEFACT, an object - music and pictures and cover art and liner notes.

(*I'm secretly a bit of a luddite. I don't even own an iPod.)

I Am So Bored

Friday afternoon disease, innit?

There is a magic bean out of Arabia...

It's Friday, which means I get to have coffee today. Hurrah! If I cannot give up my vices entirely, I will assign them to various days of the week. Friday is coffee day. Saturday is drinking day. Sunday is... errr... lying in bed with a hangover wishing that the Refuge Temple Church across the road would stop Praising The Lord for just a little while - I mean, surely The Lord deserves a lie-in on Sunday morning like everyone else? Even my mum agrees that He must get sick of all the Hallelujahs sometimes.

I woke up early this morning and decided to go for a walk while it was still cool enough to do so. Partly this is my "get healthy" trip, wanting to stop huffing as I walk up stairs/hills (oh yeah, not helped by finding an old photo of what I used to look like when I walked 4 miles a day) and partly this is trying to stimulate the serotonin in mine own brain.

I'm starting quite gently, just puffing up Sunny Hill (man, is that a hill! Even the Sutton Loop decided to go under it rather than over or around) and then back down Wellfield Street. I had forgotten how beautiful my neighbourhood is - it was one of the reasons I bought this house in the first place. "Streatham Village" apparently, though no one calls it that except Estate Agents and The Guardian. Lots of cute little cottages, slightly older than the usual Victorian rowhouses - that's what my house must have looked like before the addition of the shopfront windows. I must get myself to the library and investigate the history of my hood. Especially with an intriguing name like "Wellfield Street" - it's a low-lying road between the two spurs of (I assume chalk) hills, so I imagine it would get a lot of seepage - perhaps even feed the River Graveney? Ah, the mind boggles...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Great Taste In Pedals!

Not so great taste in footgear.

Signs of Summer

1) A homeless guy in Covent Garden just asked me to marry him. Well, at least someone wants to!

2) I start the seasonal transition from Goth to Hippie.

Now a big part of this transition involves digging out The Pink Floyd. Except, bah! I dug through my CD collection and realised that I no longer had a copy of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in this country. Which is absurd - I've no idea how many copies of this album I've gone through. My first was home taped (!) off a friend, with Relics on the back. My second was a proper, storebought cassette. My third was a brand spanking new shiny LP, when I got my first turntable. My fourth was a second hand copy I bought at an indie record store after a squabble with my then housemate about whose copy was which. This one got a "K" worked into the paisley of their shirts.

Which makes this my fifth. £16.99 at HMV. Crikey! Does Roger Waters need another wing on his mansion or something?

There are few albums I've had to buy this many times. Most of them are replaced through format changes. A few (Psycho Candy, Laser Guided Melodies) just got played until they wore out. Others (Isn't Anything, Dandys Rule, OK) got lent to friends and never returned.

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is special. I spent most of my teenage years *hating* Pink Floyd. It was what the Kids Who Used To Beat Me Up In High School listened to. Once, when the local high school was vandalised, the New Scotland sheriffs hauled me down to the police station to interrogate me. "What kind of music do you listen to?" Good Cop asked, conversationally. "Stuff you've never heard of!" I scowled back. "Sonic Youth, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Husker Du..." Bad Cop cut in, "So not Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, then?" The look I gave him must have frozen his blood, not just aesthetic disdain, but realising that they'd thought that *I* had daubed these logos on the locker room walls.

It wasn't until a bit later that the cool kids - the stoner kids - discovered a use for me. I was straight edge - I barely even drank, let alone smoked or took drugs - but they would always ask me to come hang out with them. Why? Because I was the ultimate trip toy! They'd stick me in a corner of the room, and I'd start spouting nonsense about astronomy or bawdy tales from Suetonius' Twelve Caesars, or explain the roots of The Lord of the Rings in Scandinavian Mythology, and they'd sit there and go "DUDE!!! That is SOOOO far out!"

...and then someone stuck on Interstellar Overdrive or Astronomy Domine or something. I was mesmerised. It was the same dissonant, hazy psychedelia that I was loving in bands like JAMC and Love & Rockets. The a-ha moment of "so *that's* where they got it!"

I've never been without it since.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

To Pod Or Not To Pod

For recording purposes, only. I'm so dissatisfied with the distortion options on Cubase, yet I can't get a good distorted tone on my guitar going direct through the mixing board. I can't blast my AC-30 and mic it, because of my neighbours.

The only time I've ever been close to one was when I was roadie-ing for Slumber Party, and they did a Capital Radio session. They sure sounded purrrrrty through them.

If we're going to be recording an entire album in my living room, I need the right equipment. They seem to be hovering about £125. I could save that easily if I gave up drinking for a month. Couldn't I?

Our New Look, Ladies...

Psychedelic Cowgirl!!!

There's Always Someone Somewhere With A Big Nose, Who Knows

I've been walking around, trailing my bad mood like a poisonous miasma lately. No more dwelling. Transcending.

I finally got a decent night's sleep last night, by moving my pillows and sleeping at the other end of the bed. Fell asleep reading Nelson and dreamed about finding lost editions of Blake books, with gorgeous plates.

I've been reading Peter Ackroyd's Chatterton on the train this week, as a break from all the maths. I'd already figured out the plot by about a third of the way through - Ackroyd plot twists stop being a surprise after you've read a few of his books. But still, his books are so dense and so layered and so packed with tiny factoids about London, and brilliant throwaway one-liners that it's still a joy to read. It's not about time travel - no, that would be cheap and tawdry and science fiction - or ghosts, but some kind of overlapping palimpsest view of past and present and future where everything in all timelines coexists in a place. (Stop me if this is starting to sound like quantum physics again.)

The book itself is about plagiarism and forgery and the nature of originality in creative works. I mean, what do I know about that? I nick riffs off every piece of music I've ever listned to, but then people go "Oh, that sounds just like Band X!" when I snigger myself rotten because it's actually a straight copy of Band Y. But that's the way music (oh, and scientific theory, too, while we're at it) grows, a little borrowing, a little tinkering, a little offshoot and growth and there you go.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Good Taste In Guitars

Not so good taste in hats.

Oh, The Hilarity

So, apparently, "Pipette" is French Slang For Blowjob. Who knew?

Triangulation and Discourse

Yeah, I know that this is what some people hate about the blogosphere, that Blogger A says something, then Blogger B says something about that, and Blogger C writes about that, and then it turns into an endless recursive Borges nightmare, but honestly, been having some really interesting Discourse With Mistress La Spliffe about weight issues, the nature of desire and how the advertising industry fucks us up.

I'll admit it - *everyone* in this band seems to suffer from some kind of weight related image issues. Which is a bit of a WTF?

But I've been thinking more and more about these two (perhaps erroneous) sets of assumptions associations. Everybody wants to be loved, right? But 1. In order for a woman to be loved, she has to be pretty. And 2. In this society, in order to be pretty, she has to be thin. Double whammy - I ate myself and I want a pie becomes I hate myself and I want to die.

Anyway, read the post and the comments.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cute Boy Radar - 01/05/06

Benjamin Curtis

Guitar wizard and pedal freak for dirty dronerock hotties, Secret Machines, known for their penchant for playing ten minute prog rock epic masterpieces about angels and robots fighting at the apocalypse. Or, erm, something like that - lyrically quite dense and quite hard to interpret in there, but WHO CARES with those crazy psychedlic guitar pyrotechniques?

The Planet's More Fucked Up Than I'll Ever Be

Yeah, so I've been going with my "fuck the world" kind of a mood and listening to nothing but the Jesus and Mary Chain and Secret Machines for several days now. There's something about the relentless Scots miserablism married to the dirtiest, sexiest music ever that really makes me... well, not happy. But contented, in that Nico sort of "I'm only ever truly happy when I'm unhappy" way.

Rehearsal was fucking brilliant, which helped. I took my barebones sketch of a JAMC ripoff song ("Just Friends") and started playing it around the living room table as we drank, and next thing I knew, we were *jamming*! No, really! As evidenced by this picture... tee hee. No, actually we were vocally freestyling - I'd sing and play the riff, and everyone else would riff off me, twining their voices round each other, like a musical conversation - which is the *good* kind of jamming, as opposed to the wanky kind.

The song is good and nasty and bitter - inspired by recent events, but more about every disappointment, every stupid line boys use that Kaliflwr and I used to collect in a book when we were younger. (Yeah, the same book that provided half of Imajinary Boyfriend.) But it's also joyous and stomping and grinding and sexy, yeah.

We've arranged Not Afraid and Pwned and are going to try to debut at least Pwned at HDIF. Especially since Marianna and Anna worked out the most BRILLIANT choreography for it. AMPy and I were jumping up and down on the sofa, just watching them, it was so cool. I'm excited to see how it looks onstage.

Mood is improving. I dug out the week's worth of medication that I saved and hid, just in case detoxing from it went horribly wrong, and I've started taking it again. The side effects are pretty grim - headaches, dizziness, that awful metalic taste in my mouth - though some of them are good - loss of appetite, inability to drink, occasional bursts of euphoic daze. It removes your ability make even the simplest of decisions - I stood in a doorway at the Vibe Bar for ten minutes, trying to decide whether to get in a queue or not, until Anna rescued me.

But the horrible up and downs have stopped. My bruised pride is recovering, and I'm starting to feel a lot more positive about myself. These pictures (thanks to Lady Vervaine) help. I never suffer from narcissism because I know I'm fugly, but these are the first photos in ages where I actually like the way I look. Where I think "Damn! If I were a boy, I'd fuck me!" Sorry if this seems vain, but I need it right now.

Also, Anna says I should dress like the Jesus and Mary Chain more often. Apparently it suits me. That's not what my mum used to say in 1985...