Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bandwidth Abusing

Next Autumn looks like I'll be downloading shows every morning from the States.

Monday morning: The Simpsons, Mad Men
Tuesday morning: How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Castle, Chuck
Wednesday morning: Leverage
Thursday morning: Glee
Friday morning: 30 Rock
Saturday morning: Dollhouse

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gigs of 2009 pt 1

As I've not done massive big long updates for any of my gigs this year, I thought I'd squeeze them all in to one.

February 4th - Amanda Palmer (Electric Ballroom, London)
I didn't really have much time to get excited about this gig as most of it was spent arranging to meet up with Hannah. Once that was done I realised that there was still a main performer to see, and it was much better than I anticipated. It wasn't like your usual straightforward gig in that there was a LOT of audience interaction - an auction mid set, actors in the crowd, some fucking strange people beforehand with masks on giving out playing cards.

And then we got the rant about how none of the UK radio stations would play the jaunty upbeat song making light of abortion/date rape as it might offend someone, so she played a slow tempo version. And couldn't keep a straight face.

Great fun, especially with the Dresden Dolls songs played unexpectedly. 8.5/10

February 13th - Rosie & The Goldbug (Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London)
I had been looking forward to this gig for two months ever since I got the album. It took place in a bowling alley, which is still a very strange place to see a gig - with bowling and karaoke taking place behind and to the side of the stage. The pre-gig DJ (VV from the Kills) played some excellent tunes - Bikini Kill's Rebel Yell and White Stripes - Hand Springs being the highlights. Unfortunately, due to the band not coming on stage until 10:15 and having to get the coach home we missed some of the set, but what we did see was absolutely excellent and I would see them again in a heartbeat.

Superb live band, on top of their game. 9.3/10

February 23rd - Spinnerette (Islington Academy, London)
After two great gigs, Spinnerette had a lot to live up to. Given that I'd seen the Distillers in their prime comparisons would be inevitable, no matter how hard I tried not to make them. Support band Future of the Left weren't as bad as I remembered them to be, and Steve and Laura from Blood Red Shoes came up to us and had a chat between the two. Once I'd got it into my head that these weren't the Distillers I had a great time, Brody's still as cool as fuck even after six years away from performing live, and the new stuff sounds good. Even though one song had a note for note identical intro to Manic Street Preachers - Judge Y'rself which had me singing along to the wrong song.

Material sounds good, but they'd only played 3 live gigs and it showed. 7.5/10

March 10th - Blood Red Shoes (Chinnerys, Southend)
Firstly, I never want to visit Southend again as long as I live. It makes Margate look beautiful. If Garbage announced a one off final gig there supported by the original Pipettes and Rilo Kiley, I'd still have reservations. That said, the gig itself was fun. Was good to see people again, the alcohol was reasonably priced (which may have contributed to my enjoyment), the new songs sounded good and I got a t-shirt. The stage invasion was actually rather funny - Southend crowds aren't as enthusiastic as London ones.

They can always be relied upon for a good gig, but as nothing stuck out in my mind, 8.0/10

April 5th - Rose Elinor Dougall (The Old Queens Head, London)
This was a spur of the moment gig - literally the night before I was talking to Dana about her and idly wondered when Rose was playing in London next. As it was the following day and I had the Monday afterwards off I took myself off to London to see her. After sitting in the beer garden near to her reading my book while eating my dinner (and being the only person outside not smoking) I took myself upstairs to the venue, and nabbed myself an amazingly comfortably leather armchair with a great view of the stage. It was the most comfortable I've ever been at a gig and being in a relaxed seating position worked well with her music. Every song was great, especially the live version of May Holiday.

Probably what kick started my crush on her. 9.8/10

April 25th - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Shepherd's Bush Empire, London)
I was not excited about this gig at all beforehand. The Gills had ground out a 0-0 draw that ended our automatic promotion hopes, and I was not impressed with the material from the third album. In the end I was only going up for Laura and Rob but I'd forgotten one crucial thing - the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are always good live. Every single thing about the set crackled, especially hearing Pin and Art Star. Really glad I went.

Another fantastic live set. 8/10

May 18th - Johnny Foreigner (Flowerpot, London)
Random free gig that I entered for the hell of it. Wanted to see them again as I hadn't seen them since September and it was the longest I'd gone without seeing them since I first heard of them. The new stuff was great, Kelly looked hot as a redhead (but then again I would say that, wouldn't I?) and I'm really looking forward to the album. The JoFo fangirls over on Kelly's side actually freaked the band out too.

By the numbers - good, but nothing special. 7.5/10

May 21st - Rosie & The Goldbug (Water Rats, London)
After Johnny Foreigner I was too shattered to go to Metric the following night, and so wasn't too up for this gig either. Another late stage time for the band but I timed my travel well enough so that I arrived down the centre just as the band got on stage, saw a brief 8 song set, then buggered off home again. Still, Rosie was pleased to have someone to sing along with (having someone that pretty singing "you and me, lets fuck forever" to me was a definite highlight) - I just wish they'd played for longer.

Still want to see them again, another gig left unfulfilled. 8.0/10

June 8th - Rose Elinor Dougall (Luminaire, Kilburn)
I was in a strange mood before this gig. A can of super strength Strongbow on top of a can of Relentless left me shaken, and the proggy sounds of the support band combined with the heat in the venue sent me back outside for fresh air and to calm down, where Rose was having a fag. I ended up having a conversation with her which at times veered dangerously close to Jeff Murdock territory. Back in the gig and another excellent set, which was closed by a very guitar led Falling Over - not the sort of song you'd expect given the previous half an hour of a more psychedelic Rilo Kiley style music. That was followed by her first ever solo encore.

Given that as soon as I got home I was straight on the myspace looking for her next date in London, 9/10

June 9th - Rose Elinor Dougall (Puregroove records, London)
Well, it just happened to be the day after. Half day of holiday booked and I was up off to London to see her again. I popped in to Forbidden Planet on the off chance they had a copy of the Pipettes based comic book that I bought a few months previously, and luckily they did. I picked up a copy, still unsure as to how well it would go down, and walked from Covent Garden to Barbican to find a cafe masquerading as a record shop. There were only about a dozen people there to see her, it having been announced very late on, but she remembered me from the previous night and thanked me for coming two nights in a row (fnarr) and then found out I was from Canterbury, so was even more impressed with my attendance. I don't know if it was put upon or real but it was nice that she said it anyway.

The gig was way more stripped down than the previous night, but just as fun. 9/10

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Phone Box Blues

As I haven't updated about work fun lately:

As part of the order process we're supposed to ask customers if they want their telephone number in the phone book. Yesterday I was setting up a 'phone line for an old dear who was doddering about in the background while I was chatting to her daughter.

"So, do you want your mum's number in the phone book?"
"MUM! Do you want your number in the phone book?"
"Why would I want my number in the phone box? I'll get all sorts of pervy calls from dirty old men thinking I'm a prostitute! I don't mind the pervy calls but I don't want them thinking I'm a whore!"

I was so glad the daughter couldn't see me struggling to keep a straight face.

Then, today, I was sat reading Veronica Mars quotes I'd emailed to myself to stop myself getting bored when I hear from the chap next to me:

"No, don't worry, I'll do it as fast as I can."
"No, you won't run out of air, don't worry."
"Don't worry, our phone boxes are not airtight. You'll be fine."
"You're not in a vacuum! Our phone boxes aren't air tight, you won't run out of oxygen."