Friday, 19 September 2008

Speed Diary 2

Elbow win the Mercury (at last!) and it feels like a well-deserved hometown victory. To be fair I had only heard a third of the albums short-listed but theirs is a genuine beauty. The very next night, after a gorgeous dinner at Katie’s, she and I head to The Temple of Convenience (my long-time favourite and now neighbourhood bar, housed in a converted Victorian lav) where the band are back from London and celebrating in true Manc style by getting pissed with their mates after 2 hours sleep (and several dozen interviews). Bit different from Mayfair innit? Stephen Fretwell is also in attendance as are some of I Am Kloot. Guy Garvey is ‘the happiest man in the world’ ™ at this stage and it’s a pleasure to shake his hand. When we leave them a few hours later he is swaying by the jukebox with girlfriend Emma by his side and the world at his feet, knocking back mysterious black shots and smiling for England.

Birthday drinks for Emma and Anne at Kro 2 where Matthew brings the best and most inconvenient gift ever, pictured.

Then he and I head to the Union to witness the triumphant return of the mighty Wire. Eeek! I love this band with a special kind of reverence I reserve for those who are truly innovative but are too frequently overlooked in people’s record collections (Pixies and Kraftwerk figure on this list too). They still sound amazing and though I don’t get to hear ‘Dot Dash’ or the gazillion others I prayed for, we do get ‘The 15th’ (the cover by Fischerspooner is in my ten greatest covers ever list) and a face-slapping version of ‘12XU’ which reminds me why I fell in love with the fuckers in the first place.

Robert Gotobed is my favourite living drummer, there I said it. The new album tracks already sound like vintage Wire, angular speed-drone, and the new girl guitarist is shit hot. A girl guitarist is probably the only thing that could have made Wire any cooler in fact. If it comes to it I would like to be buried with my Pink Flag please, though it’s ‘Outdoor Miner’ from Chairs Missing which features my favourite opening lines of any song ever. Regard:

'No blind spots
In leopard's eyes
Can only help
To jeopardise
The lives of lambs
The shepherd cries'


Next night is a huge group dinner at Cocotoo’s with 15 of us in greedy attendance, including my Ma and Pa. I’ve had mediocre food in Cocotoo’s before but this time I am pleasantly surprised with a delicious Ravioli con Funghi which came in a rich yumscious cheese sauce and which I forced myself to finish. Then it’s back up to the Union for a gig at the opposite end of the musical spectrum, Nearly Dan, the Steely Dan tribute band to end all others. They are in fact blessed with the approval of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker themselves. I was raised on Steely Dan, to me they are the sound of long summer drives in the back of my auntie and uncle’s car where the trip is more important than the destination and you can pretend you’re out on the open road in the 1970s, idling your way from East Coast to West whenever you get too jaded by one or the other and your only worry is where the next shot of Cuervo Gold is coming from …

'I'll learn to work the saxophone
And I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whisky all night long
And die behind the wheel ...'


Richard Barrett said...

Re Wire: yes, I agree - they are very bloody brilliant - that song particularly.

Gregling said...

Good heavens you even named your blog after it, well done that man! Thanks for reading.