Monday, 7 December 2009

Mother's Ruin Yuletide Ding Dong!

Sod panto, boys and girls, Christmas theatre has moved on. Glamour, debauchery and drama are what Christmas is really all about. Read on…


Mother's Little Helpers abandon mince pies and pork scratchings in favour of shoulder pads and BIG HAIR in this, Mother's Alternative to Christmas.

Had enough Turkey to last a lifetime? Fed up with tyranny of trash televisual scheduling? Then get your shoulder pads on for an 80's retro spectacular showing of the cult new show STARK DALLAS NAKED starring Jonny Woo, David Mills and your hostess Ms Timberlina!



In case you missed the last episode, Sue-Ellen's still drunk, Pamela is still stupid and JR is just asking to get shot. A sun drenched, Miami-style antidote to the grey Manchester skies and commercial Christmas trash.




A beacon shining out against the dark satanic mills, Mother's Ruin brings you the darling of the avant garde Mr. Jonny Woo, the sensational cabaret Casanova, David Mills and a special northern appearance for the fantastic Jonny Sizzle! Stark Dallas Naked is a cult underground comedy spectacular, uncovering a dastardly plot to ruin the Ewing Empire. Bring your own shoulder pads, but Big Hair will be available on the night!

Dress to impress, bring your friends and enjoy ding dong Texan horse-pitality. Extra Bacardi has been sourced for those with a sensitive disposition!

Plus the (un)usual melange of madness from Ms Timberlina, a Golden Girls Christmas Cabaret, a few extra special treats and of course our fantastic house band, Quartertime!


Sat 19th December, 8pm till late
Green Room
54-56 Whitworth St West
Manchester M1 5WW

Box Office
Open Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm
Call: 0161 615 0500
info@greenroomarts.org

**Read more here …**


See you there you ho-ho-ho’s …

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

My 50 Favourite Songs of 2009

How do you ‘consume’ music, when a) music isn’t a thing, and b) it’s still there after you’ve used it - or you think you’ve used it. Just because the industry markets it as a commodity doesn’t mean we have to accept their terms of reference. It’s time people stopped talking about ‘consuming’ art and culture and so on and started thinking of art as an activity, something you do.’
- Robert Walser, Running With The Devil


For all the endless assaults on authenticity, heartfelt songwriting and grassroots talent represented by X Factor and the like, this was in fact the year of Spotify and unprecedented access to music for free. There’s no greater pleasure for a spod like myself than to leaf through Uncut or click through Pitchfork, read an interesting review and listen to an album right then and there without leaving my chair. The worry of course is that bands are never going to make enough of a living this way to give their recording career any kind of longevity and so the temptation to act like a mannequin, sing bad cover versions and get on the telly grows ever stronger. You can always sell your music to McDonald’s, Nike or Victoria’s Secret. Why not? Kim Gordon’s Gap campaign long since killed the notion of ‘selling out’ anyway, and let’s not mention that upsetting Iggy Pop insurance debacle …


What a year for music though, there is/was just too much to choose from, the backlog of unheard material could probably double this modest list of fifty favourites. I’ve quite surprised myself with what tickled the old cochlea this year, from the gutsy buzz/drone of Envy’s grime to the irrepressibly smiley Das Pop to the drowned ambient goth of the Fever Ray album to the mighty Yeah Yeah Yeah’s getting pipped to the post at the last minute for my favourite song and album of the year, it’s all here. And before you say it, I know I've turned into a complete pop-kid, live with it. (Disclaimer, I haven't thoroughly checked if any of these were late 2008, forgive me for rogue entries, I think we're okay though).


So, we may well be fiddling while Rome burns, but what the hell, it gives a lovely light …



Vivian Girls

Das Pop – Underground
Kid Cudi – Day 'N' Nite (Crookers Remix)

Vivian Girls – Moped Girls

Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love

Focus Group – Very Truly Yours




Micachu


Choir Of Young Believers – Action/Reaction

Micachu – Turn Me Well

The Amazing – Dragon

God Help The Girl – Come Monday Night

Crystal Stilts – Love Is A Wave



Andrew Bird


Metric – Sick Muse
Dananananaykroyd – Black Wax

Tinchy Stryder and Amelle – Never Leave You

Andrew Bird – Oh No

Envy – Set Yourself on Fire



Pet Shop Boys


Pet Shop Boys – Love etc.

Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity Of Huge

Florence + The Machine – Cosmic Love

MIike Snow – Animal (Fake Blood Remix)



The Hidden Cameras


Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
The Hidden Cameras – Underage

Fuck Buttons – Surf Solar

Little Boots – New In Town

The cocknbullkid – I'm Not Sorry



Fever Ray


Eminem, Dr Dre, 50 Cent – Crack A Bottle
Fever Ray – Concrete Walls

Camera Obscura – French Navy

M. Ward – Hold Time

Animal Collective – My Girls



The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart


The View – 5 Rebbeccas
Golden Silvers – Arrows Of Eros

Passion Pit – The Reeling (Calvin Harris Remix)

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Come Saturday



Dirty Projectors


Sunset Rubdown – Silver Moons

Brakes – Oh! Forever

Antony & The Johnsons – Epilepsy Is Dancing

Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is The Move

The Antlers – Two




… and the Top 12 (because 10 wasn’t quite enough) …



12. Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys - Empire State Of Mind

Sweetly plinky-plonky and epic-sounding at once, lyrically Jay-Z managed to be his usual me-me-me self but strangely sentimental and touching with it: ‘Labor Day Parade, rest in peace Bob Marley, Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade, long live the King, I'm from the Empire State …’. Genuinely touching vocal from Alicia Keys lifts the whole thing from start to finish.





11. Morrissey - I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris

2009 was the year of cancelled dates, health scares, turning fifty and hurled bottles. Years of Refusal split the critics but this slow-burner turned live favourite was the stand-out single. He stumbles into 2010 without a record contract, continuing his against-the-odds career as ageing mayor of Indieland. You’ll miss him when he’s gone, as I’m sure he’s pointed out. He will always, always be King to me.





10. Madonna feat. Lil Wayne - Revolver

I was in a happy place when I first heard this. I’m still there and I’m bringing Madge with me. Flyer for the Best Of or Greatest Hits or whatever it was meant to be (get the DVD, forget the CD) this Britney-a-like track got under my skin thanks in part to the characteristically laconic ramblings of Lil Wayne. Crookers rmx any time now please …



9. Bat For Lashes - Daniel

The very best bits of the blissful, sexy, sad Two Suns entwined in one song. This is what Florence + The Machine will sound like in 2010 probably. Gorgeous.




8. Everything Everything - My Keys, Your Boyfriend

Or ‘MYKZURBF’ for the impatient thumb generation. Least immediate and ultimately finest single so far, the band are this close to surpassing all of their initial point-of-reference peers in a flurry of keyboards and better-than-the-last live appearances. Album of the year 2010? I’d part with money over it.





7. La Roux - In For The Kill

You know you’re getting on a bit when popstars are not only too young to remember the eighties but too young to remember the last eighties revival. Hence La Roux seeming out of time in more ways than one, but if being relentlessly po-faced and oblivious permits you to make pop music as crisply finessed as this, it’s worth it.





6. Julian Casablancas - 11th Dimension

All over the place, and better for it, of course it’s hard not to think of The Strokes while listening to his voice but the New Order guitar-play and disco-synths pull this yummy little melody into new infectious territory.





5. Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers

Okay so he’s not the bad boy he once was but would we really have bought the same act six years on? Doubt it. It’s no small thanks to Dizzee that three-minute electronic farts and rattling trashcans can not only chart but can fill dancefloors while sounding cutting-edge and stoopid all at the same time.





4. Lady Gaga - Paparazzi

I have been bemused and unmoved by LG since Day One, the disco stick stuff didn’t touch the sides for me but for some reason this has been living all over me ever since it was released. There’s something a little bit touching about it all, in a mental way (‘I’ll follow you until you love me’), the melody has a nod to Berlin’s ‘Take My Breath Away’, plus the line about ‘eyeliner and cigarettes’ gets me every time. Check out this amazing piano version, sounds like Abba:





3. V V Brown - Shark In The Water

Love at first hearing for me. I imagine the studio exchange went something like this: ‘I’ve written this song yeah and basically it’s a cross between ‘Put Your Records On’ by Corinne Bailey Rae and ‘Hey Mona’ by Craig McLachlan. Sounds good yeah?’ Ermm … Yeah actually it sounds amazing. The girl done good, tripping over mixed metaphors and vast fringes in three euphoric minutes.


V V Brown - Shark In The Water

VV Brown | MySpace Music Videos



2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

It took just a couple of months for
Zero’ to establish itself as forever-staple of the indie club dancefloor and this could've gone either way with Heads Will Roll of course. Toss a coin. Suitably flawless and breathlessly exhilarating ambassador for what history will come to regard as the finest album to date from the YYYs.




1. Girls - Lust For Life

Back in March I didn’t think I would hear a better or more important song all year than ‘Zero’. Then came Girls. Christopher Owens really is a shockingly good songwriter and personal investments (read the lyrics) made this my favourite cut from the brilliant, brilliant album Album. As simple as songs come, when the bass and drums make their arrival fifty seconds in I suddenly feel wide awake and oh so happy to be here. Faith in music intact into 2010.





***Rude version of the video here***


Here is the Spotify playlist to go with the top 50 (minus Fuck Buttons, Grizzly Bear and Everything Everything, all on youtube)



More end-of-year gubbins …


Albums of the year

5. Morrissey – Years Of Refusal
4. V V Brown – Travelling Like The Light
3. Antony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
1. Girls – Album

Girls

Blog of the year

Worrapolava
http://worrapolava.blogspot.com/
Consistently fun, funny and insightful archaeological dig into music old and new. Brought me the wonderful ‘Wonderful Life’ by Hurts, who only live in my own bloody city don’t they?

Remix of the year

Special made-up category so I can shoehorn one more song into my faves list. Believe it or not, Arthur Baker’s rework of ‘Wonderful Life’ by Hurts, it’s better than the original, how dare he.
http://soundcloud.com/phileastend/wonderful-life-arthur-baker-remix


Gig of the year

Bon Iver at the ATP Festival, Minehead Butlins. Time stands still as the bearded beauty closes his eyes under blue light and pulls ‘Lump Sum’ down from God himself. Tear shed.

Bon Iver

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Gay Icons: Part 2



Larry Kramer

‘I love being gay. I love gay people. I think we’re better than other people. I really do. I think we’re smarter and more talented and more aware and I do, I do, I totally do. And I think we’re more tuned in to what’s happening, tuned into the moment, tuned into our emotions, and other people’s emotions, and we’re better friends. I really do think all these things.’


Larry Kramer wrote the screenplay for Ken Russell’s Women In Love but what brought him more lasting prominence, or at least notoriety, was the novel Faggots which in 1978 documented the last great years of sexual freedom for gay men in New York before AIDS cut through the city like an invisible tidal wave. Faggots was no celebration of debauchery, rather it was a plea for understanding from a community that needed love but got only betrayal, sex, opiates and self-loathing. Lots of gay men hated the book. The scene depicting the fire in the bathhouse (based on an actual blaze that killed nine men) seems something like a hell of our own making. The party was soon over.

‘Kramer became involved in gay activism when friends he knew from Fire Island began getting sick in 1980. In 1981, Kramer invited the "A-list" group of gay men from the New York City area to his apartment to listen to a doctor say their friends' illnesses were related, and research needed to be done. The next year, they named themselves the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), and became the primary organization to raise funds for and provide services to people stricken with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the New York area.’ (Wikipedia)

GMHC is still the largest organisation of its kind in the US. After this point Kramer became the thorn in the side of both the homophobic establishment and gay apathy alike. When the government was wilfully slow to act on hundreds of dying Americans in the 1980s, Kramer started ACT-UP.

He’s still fighting both his own illness and the establishment that didn't expect him to live so long.


David Hoyle

‘When any of us start to look for approval and encouragement from within the corporate sector, you might as well top yourself. And that’s what we’re going to do tonight’

‘People often ask me if I prefer Manchester United or Manchester City, and I always say, they’re both lovely’

‘Join us as we explore Manchester’s Gay Village, its relevance - what is it saying to us? Is it a powder keg of the avante garde?’

It’s hard to think in ‘iconic’ terms of someone who’s been round to your flat but the various charming, disarming, scary and/or confrontational personae of fellow Blackpudlian David’s on-stage creations can always leave you star-struck and panting. That his incarnation as the Divine David caught the imagination of so many (the adoring and trend-setting Duckie collective amongst them) was indicative not only of how high he set the bar for politicised ‘cabaret’ but of something like a change of consciousness in the gay scene. In other words, you hoped that everyone would get him, and they did. Gay people sometimes need a brutally scathing kind of satire to shake us up and David’s always starts from the assumption/insistence that we all love each other first. No doubt he’s spiritual godfather of sorts to post-gay performance terrorists like Jonny Woo and Scottee, but mostly he’s just very, very funny.


Lawrence D. Mass and Arnie Kantrowitz

Aged twenty I was most likely an incipient alcoholic, certainly deeply closeted, and a student. On my University course and in my own reading I immersed myself in any kind of liberation literature I could get my hands on. I studied feminist rhetoric and did my dissertation on Civil Rights novels in either a repetitive act of masochism or a subconscious attempt to try and learn the language of liberation myself for use at some hazy point in the future. I was in the midst of my Jewish phase when I came across Larry Mass’s book Confessions Of A Jewish Wagnerite. It had a naked man on the cover, I don’t know how I dared buy it, I didn’t actually remember picking it up when I got home, perhaps I stole it. I hope so.

The series of autobiographical essays are about Mass’ coming-to-consciousness as a forcibly assimilated and self-denying Jew, and as a gay man. It’s full of opera of course, and is frequently, horribly bourgeois (at one point he walks into an ostentatiously over-decorated room and is so offended he actually vomits). It’s also deeply insightful, beautifully written and responsible for the tiny seed that helped me eventually come out after another four years of trying to party myself dead.

Along with Larry Kramer and others, Mass, a physician, was one of the founders of GMHC and published the very first paper addressing the spate of mysterious illnesses affecting gay men in urban areas. His partner of many years is Arnie Kantrowitz who wrote Under The Rainbow, a heart-rending but hopeful autobiography about growing up gay in America. Kantrowitz is also a lifelong activist, co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amongst other things, one of that generation who just seem tireless when we can’t usually be bothered to even sign a petition, let alone bury a friend every week for ten years and still find the strength to write, educate, work and teach. Arnie has no Wikipedia entry, I think I’ll write one for him.


Frank O’Hara

‘Steps’

How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget's steeple leaning a little to the left

here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days
(I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other
and when their surgical appliances lock
they stay together
for the rest of the day (what a day)
I go by to check a slide and I say
that painting's not so blue

where's Lana Turner
she's out eating
and Garbo's backstage at the Met
everyone's taking their coat off
so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers
and the park's full of dancers with their tights and shoes
in little bags
who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y
why not
the Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won
and in a sense we're all winning
we're alive

the apartment was vacated by a gay couple
who moved to the country for fun
they moved a day too soon
even the stabbings are helping the population explosion
though in the wrong country
and all those liars have left the UN
the Seagram Building's no longer rivalled in interest
not that we need liquor (we just like it)

and the little box is out on the sidewalk
next to the delicatessen
so the old man can sit on it and drink beer
and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day
while the sun is still shining

oh god it's wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much

  
Terry Higgins

Such is the monolith of the charitable industries of AIDS that the name ‘Terrence Higgins’ has become little more than a brand, but the story of the first man in the UK to officially succumb to AIDS is nothing short of film-worthy. Born in 1945, a genuine baby-boomer, Terry was only 37 when he died of the disease in 1982. He was a renegade with a debauched, maverick sense of humour (he‘d painted his Royal Navy ship with a hammer and sickle to get himself discharged).

At the time he became sick he was working as both Hansard Reporter in the House of Commons and as a barman in Heaven, the oldest gay club in London, which meant he could walk from his day-time overground life to night-time underground existence in a matter of minutes and if there’s a better metaphor for the duality of gay life I’d like to hear it.

It was in Heaven, summer 1982, that Terry collapsed on the dancefloor as the sickness started to take hold. Such was the dearth of knowledge about the illness in those early years that Terry’s boyfriend selected to study HIV as part of his PhD, and tested positive himself, in his own lab, in 1984.

Asked what Terry might have made of having a charity set up in his memory, his boyfriend said, ‘I think he would have found it very funny’. He sounds like a man worth knowing.


Arthur Russell

‘It's a big old world
with nothing in it
and I can't wait to see you
another minute’


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Gay Icons: Part 1

I decided to do a response to the Gay Icons exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery which was, in the end, somewhat predictable, both in terms of the people asked to choose and the icons they selected. I haven’t seen the exhibition or all the portraits included and neither have I, for my own list, agonised over what constitutes a ‘gay icon’. My reasoning is that since I'm gay, anyone who is an icon to me is a gay icon. Simple. Some of my choices are there at the National but I’m certain my reasons are more interesting than whatever possessed Elton John to include Graham Taylor, for instance. Looking back at these choices I realise that what unites them is not that they make me proud to be gay particularly, and not all of them are gay, but that if I wasn’t gay I might not be able to understand or admire them as much as I do, and in every case that would be a sad, sad thing.


Quentin Crisp

His laziness and utter lack of materialism are more revolutionary now than ever. ‘I can’t afford to be gay’ would be an alien concept to him. His absolute resolution and clarity about his own homosexuality was such that, in all innocence, it took some time for him to truly grasp that he was an aberration in the world. Hence my favourite part of the filmed version of The Naked Civil Servant is when his mother’s friend enquires, ‘You’re not one of those who doesn’t love women are you?’ and Quentin replies, ‘Well that’s just it, I don’t think anybody does’. Aside from anything, having seen a generation documented in art who either killed themselves or vanished into loveless heterosexual lives/lies, followed shortly by a generation that died as punishment for sexual liberation, it’s just nice to see a gay man who was honest to goodness old.


Joe Dallesandro

Poster-boy for the National exhibition and significant in all sorts of ways. While poor Lou Reed was sent upstate by his parents in an attempt to have his homosexuality fried out of him, the impossibly beautiful, effortlessly masculine and heterosexual Joe took his place on the throne of New York’s sexual underbelly as number one object of desire. Muse to Reed, Gerard Malanga, Paul Morrissey and Warhol himself, his passivity in terms of the ruthless gaze he was forever under was in itself utterly seductive. After several years fucking around for cash and/or art with people of many genders he eventually professed that, in terms of cock, he eventually just got a taste for it, and that kind of sexual liberation put his kaftan-and-marijuana peers right back into their dressing-up boxes.


Victoria Wood

‘I remember very well the fact that Joyce Grenfell was standing on the stage on her own. I loved the fact she was peopling the stage with nothing but words. She was an inspiration, not just because she was good but because it put the idea in my head of a woman standing on stage on her own and that was a very powerful image’

‘What do you think are the main themes of Othello, Sarah?’
‘Erm, I don’t think it’s got one really, it’s just various people talking … and sometimes they do things in brackets’

‘I saw you today, well I just saw your blazer
and it went through my heart like the beam of a lazer
and I thought that today you would turn round and see me but you didn’t’

‘Oh God, oh God, there’s no piano! Barbara where are my tissues?’
‘Look, I love Blue Peter but even I can’t make a piano out of a box of tissues’

‘I have wasted years behaving
in a way I thought was ‘proper’
and it’s hard to do
no-one cared, no-one knew’

‘Hormones, they’re those things you don’t know you’ve got till you run out of them’
‘Like split peas?’
‘Well yes, except if you run out of split peas you don’t go red and grow a moustache’
‘I wouldn’t bank on it’

Her written output of the last twenty odd years has surpassed and outlived even polari as the true lingua franca of the British queen. Her work covers the same ground as Alan Bennett and Morrissey and like them she shares a wry, self-aware and vaguely tragic outlook that outside of the North is called camp. You only have to post a one-liner on Facebook to watch the gay, tickled and word-perfect hordes come following: ‘Her ears are in the wrong place for a polo neck …’ ‘He died whilst falling under a bus …’ ‘Grey eggs, is that an Arab custom..?’ ‘Suede-effect pochette packed to the drawstring with handy-sized oddments …’ ‘Are they to have porridge ..?’ Ad infinitum, but never ad nauseum.


Bob Mould

‘Band seeks bassist into Hüsker Dü and Peter, Paul & Mary’. When Kim Deal answered this advert, The Pixies, the second most important band ever to come out of America, were born. Hüsker Dü have been relegated to a lesser status in musical history but New Day Rising remains a key artefact of 80s punk/indie/hardcore. At the band’s helm was Bob Mould, the quiet, unassuming but committed axeman/songwriter with an addictive personality and fruitfully depressed creative streak. After Hüsker Dü fell apart, his new band Sugar managed to ride the tail of what was by then called grunge, but really was the new American antidote to heavy metal that Bob Mould had helped create. Beaster and Copper Blue are classics of the period, while his later album Workbook is, in my humble opinion, one of the best solo albums recorded. Bob is gay, out, never bleats too much about it but was a key player in a world where I, as a naïve teenager, never thought gay men could be. A few years ago he contributed ‘If I Can’t Change Your Mind’ to an album supporting gay marriage in the States. The song was already written and recorded with Sugar but the title and lyrics became extra-poignant in their new context:

‘And all throughout the years
I never strayed from you my dear
But you suspect I'm somewhere else
You're feeling sorry for yourself
Leaving with a broken heart
I love you even still
If I can't change your mind
Then no one will’


Judy Garland and Sylvia Ray Rivera

Arnie Kantrowitz once described first hearing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ as ‘Like hearing the national anthem of a country of which I didn’t yet know I was a citizen’. So no Kylie, no Dusty and no Barbra in the official line up ... but no Judy? Come off it. ‘Art’, wrote Toni Morrison, ‘makes another thing possible’, and Judy’s death was every bit as artful as her life, which is to say, lonely, hard work and with little satisfaction. What could be more gay? What her death made possible, in a majestically camp and karmic way, was a partial galvanisation of queeny hysteria into the window-smashing rage of the Stonewall riots.

Okay it’s partly an urban myth but it’s beautiful and it’s ours. Sylvia Ray Rivera, New York street transvestite and one of the original and most committed of the Stonewall Bar rioters, commented that on hearing of Judy’s demise, ‘I decided to become completely hysterical’. There are centuries of queer wit and insight in that phrase: ‘I decided to become completely hysterical’. Most importantly, there is agency, the agency of the fag in heels who isn’t going to take it any more. The days of rioting that followed Judy’s death turned New York City upside down for gay people. The link with her death is poetic license of the sort that might never occur to any kind of person but one who can readily translate the loss of a lonely old chanteuse into political revolt and burning dustbins in Greenwich Village.




Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fame!


Great big thanks to everyone who came down to The Purple Pussycat on Friday night. What a brilliant laugh. I played a three hour set of my very favourite eighties tunes including the following (anoraks amongst you might spot a couple from 1990 too …)

Clouds Across The Moon -The Rah Band

Since Yesterday - Strawberry Switchblade

Forget Me Nots - Patrice Rushen
IOU - Freeez
System Addict - Five Star

Real Gone Kid - Deacon Blue

Thriller - Michael Jackson

Land Of Make Believe - Bucks Fizz

Give Me The Night - George Benson

Fade To Grey - Visage
The Goonies R Good Enough - Cyndi Lauper

Sweet Little Mystery - Wet Wet Wet

I Don’t Wanna Fall In Love - Jane Child
Drop The Pilot - Joan Armatrading



Hand On Your Heart - Kylie Minogue

Walk Of Life - Dire Straits

Breakout - Swingout Sister

The Look Of Love - ABC

Happy Hour - The Housemartins

When Doves Cry - Prince

We Close Our Eyes - Go West

Back To Life - Soul II Soul

Holiday Road - Lyndsey Buckingham

Invisible Touch - Genesis
Dancing On The Ceiling - Lionel Richie

Crash - The Primitives

Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent - Gwen Guthrie

Down Under - Men At Work
Ask - The Smiths
Ai No Corrida - Quincy Jones

Boys Don’t Cry - The Cure

Come On Eileen - Dexy’s Midnight Runners

The Only Way Is Up - Yazz And The Plastic Population



Fame is the last Friday of every month, free entry and a great bar.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Season of lists and mellow rootlessness …

“September’s here again, and what have you done about it …?”


Not a lot. Hello October. I’ll begin on a high by saying … I don’t remember ever being this broke in my life. I know we’re all broke and I’m lucky to have a job right now but I’m feeling distinctly insecure about it all of a sudden. I have become worse than ever at haemorrhaging my pay in the first week. Can’t help it. Need another income. Needless to say it’s time to start turning down invites again and get back to writing. Almost as soon as this decision was made I came home to find another rejection letter for The Novel. Ouch. My next blog will be a massive plug for The Novel. It’s become like an old friend hanging round the flat to the point if an agent ever wanted to do something more with it than exclude drafts I’d no doubt become terribly possessive.

So, I’m about to become something of a hermit. Lucky I’ve accrued some nice memories of late to live on. Trash-O-Rama you’ve heard about and must must try. Watched The September Issue at the Cornerhouse which was fantastic, excuse me, fabulous, and have been warring between my inner Wintours and Grace Coddingtons ever since (‘Leather IS a texture…’, ‘It's a famine of beauty!'). Boozy night at the Crown & Kettle for Geordie’s send-off to Australia. Another boozy and life-affirming evening at The Deaf Institute with Dee where we had grown-up talks that made me think, properly, about life and chances and where I want to be. In the virtual world I rejoined Facebook after months of absence, followed by a sensational bloody cull. I’m tired of it already, it’s like I never went away, but it is nice to be able to look at your friend’s sunny faces from time to time at work. Bless ‘em. If I never see another picture of myself though I wouldn’t care, this old face is looking lived in, not before time I suppose.




Had a big trip in all sorts of ways to the North East where the sunshine puts Manchester to shame. A possible return-journey sabotage meant I couldn’t get back Sunday night so I got another special day out of it. Came back all happysad as usual. What am I doing I wonder? Piccadilly at 1 am was bleak in a handbasket, as was the trudge up Whitworth Street, the fretful sleep, the drunks. City’s full of death it seems, and not just the trees. Manchester, I love you, but why don’t I like you just now?



On a brighter note (sheesh, lighten up) I am loving DJing at the moment. MORE PLEASE. Surprise gig last week at the City Life party upstairs in Odder in honour of wonderful Editor Neil Sowerby saying his goodbyes. Was totally unprepared for it and envisioned ruthlessly eclectic beard-stroking musos and journos demanding danceable esoterica. My sketchy idea was to mix some good electronicy rmxs, a smattering of less obvious Mancunian gems to honour Manchester's journalistic culture-vultures, some shameless floor-fillers and a handful of vintage goodies from Mr Sowerby’s youth. As it turned out my set followed Anna’s from Guilty Pleasures and the by-then lashed crowd was positively salivating for POP. She finished with Into The Groove’. Gulp. How ya gonna follow that?’ a girl by the booth enquired. IOU’ by Freez seemed to do it. Thereafter I had to wing it (goodbye 'Susan vs. Youthclub'…) but I felt triumphant playing Come See About Me' by The Supremes, I Can’t Explain' by The Who. I finished with ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie. It actually felt great to wing it so that’s more or less what I intend to do when I play 80s night Fame over at the Purple Pussycat at the end of this month. It will be my longest set ever and I CAN’T WAIT. Come and hear me whydoncha, I WILL play Swing Out Sister …

Pre-hermit outings include the Everything Everything gig at Night and Day this Saturday and if that doesn’t shake some life into me, well, it just will. The newest material has superceded even my high expectations. The album is going to be a slug in the guts and I can't wait.

My frenzy of to do lists means it really is autumn and I can feel the New Year raking over my back already and when will something happen, when will it? When I make it, when I make it …

To do, to do, to do …



POSTSCRIPT: As usual music manages to keep a 'What's the bloody point?' type-moment from happening. I have made this list for you to listen to. Disclaimer: I listened to 'Paparazzi' four times in one day and have just now played 'Long Haired Lover From Liverpool' a number of times. I don't know what's the matter with me. Promise this list is better though ...

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Trash-O-Rama: The Aftermath

The second of the fortnightly parties from Trash-O-Rama and another gloriously wrecked bonanza in the diamond dive bar that is The Corner, Fallowfield. The utter bedlam of the Fallowfield streets outside set the tone just right for a trashy blur of rock 'n' roll, doity punk rock, Hacienda hands-in-the-air choons, grubby hip-hop, Marilyn Monroe, shameless pop, you name it.

This week, as promised, the residents were kind/brave enough to let me have a guest slot and it was officially BRILLIANT FUN, best DJ outing to date. Such a laugh and a great vantage point to watch all the little clubkiddies wigging oooouuuut. See ... ?


Crowd loses the plot to Gregling's 26 minute Fields Of The Nephilim medley. Not.


Highlights:

A cracking preview for the night in City Life, see below. Manhattanchester in print! Who'da thunk it? ...



Polly Esther spinning 'Eisiger Wind' by LiLiPUT. Scream!



Being in the middle of the student heartland of Fallowfield on the Friday night of Fresher's Week and my posse still being the most drunken collective on the dancefloor. And there was some stiff competition. The drink deals at The Corner are fantastically seductive by the way ...

The shirt-swapping, followed by the rule that "Anybody who goes home in their own clothes is a failure and a bitch..."

Johnny Trash's filthy last hour which somehow swang from a Guns N Roses thrashfest to an outbreak of impromptu limbo competitions on the dancefloor. Class.

Dirty Trash Boys

Here's what I played at the witching hour set. Shameless aren't I? Those bitches loved it ...

UFO - The Wedding Present
Different Strokes - Syl Johnson
Burning Up - Madonna
I Cant Dance (To That Music You're Playin') - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Tribulations - LCD Soundsystem
Nanny In Manhattan - Lilys
Bottle Rocket - The Go! Team
Everything Counts - Depeche Mode
Hey Mami (Sharaz Mix) - Fannypack
Don’t Falter - Mint Royale
My Boy Lollipop - Millie Small
Candy Girl - New Edition
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
Video Killed The Radio Star - Buggles
Buddy Holly - Weezer
Oliver’s Army - Elvis Costello
Buffalo Stance (Sukka Mix) - Neneh Cherry
He’s On The Phone - St Etienne
Magic Dance - David Bowie



Next Trash-O-Rama is on the 9th of October and every second Friday after that.

Join in.


Friday, 25 September 2009

Pop Curious? The Aftermath

Did I go out last night ...?


Despite a couple of technical drunken hitches which I like to think of as being an endearing part of my 'Wedding DJ' style, last night was great fun. Lovely punters and first-rate POP in the familiar comforting dinge of the Retro Bar. You really should find time to check it out. The next one will include a live appearance from The Imogen Styles and an airing of their new video.

It was I who got the punters dancing eventually, though this may have been to do with the 11.30 pm slot which meant an adequate skinful had been acquired, nevertheless ... The track that broke the dancefloor? 'I'm A Cuckoo' by Belle & Sebastian. Good work. Here's what I played:


West End Girls (Shep Pettibone Mix) - Pet Shop Boys
1 Thing - Amerie
Leave - VV Brown feat. Little Boots
I’m A Cuckoo - Belle and Sebastian
Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake
Sandcastle Disco - Solange
Clean Apart - thecocknbullkid
Lovefool - The Cardigans
Love To Hate You - Erasure
Take It Like A Man - Dragonette
A New England - Kirsty McColl
Cruel Summer - Bananarama
Two Of Hearts - Annie
Pink Sunshine - Fuzzbox
(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew - Rock Steady Crew
This Charming Man (New York Vocal Mix) - The Smiths
Call Me - Spagna
Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal
Downtown - Dolly Parton

Monday, 21 September 2009

Pop Curious?

Roll up, roll up ...

New night Pop Curious? kicks off this Thursday at Sackville Sreet's glorious dive, the Retro Bar. All things pop - past, present and future, cheap in, cheap thrills, probably cheap punters too and me taking a turn on the decks to boot.


PLAYING POP MUSIC BY:

LA ROUX
MORRISSEY
LITTLE BOOTS
KYLIE
LADY GAGA
GRACE JONES
MINI VIVA
GIRLS ALOUD
BRITNEY SPEARS
GOLDFRAPP
THE GO! TEAM
VV BROWN
FRANZ FERDINAND
PET SHOP BOYS
MUSE
ANNIE
SUEDE
FRYARS
THE REAL HEAT
MEL AND KIM
MADONNA
KATE BUSH
BLONDIE
ROBYN
DAVID BOWIE
ST. ETIENNE

...AND MORE.


Check it out here:

http://www.myspace.com/popcurious

AND an accompanying popzine to boot:

http://www.popcurious.com/index.htm

Mine is the cover versions piece, arguments most welcome.

Get involved!

Hope to see you there.