Chips And Cheese, Pint Of Wine
It’s nearly February already and I’ve failed in my new year’s resolution to blog more. Or I would have had ‘blogging more’ been a resolution. I don’t do resolutions. I’m not the UN. I do vague hope. Much like the UN.
I’ve been very busy since Christmas & New Year, due to settling in to a new job and largely failing to find somewhere to live. I’ve been staying in emergency accommodation – a friend’s flat, while she goes gallivanting around South America – while I did my failing. But then, with all hope almost gone, I found a lovely place and unless something disastrous happens I’ll be moving there in a few days. Then my year can begin.
One thing I have told myself is that if I do blog I want it to be back to the stream-of-consciousness nonsense that I associate with blogging. Sometimes I get a bit too conscious of the people who might be reading, then meld the style of my writing into an approximation of what I think they might, collectively, like. So from now on I’m going to pretend that no-one’s reading, and that any comments left under entries are merely a coincidence.
I’ve just recorded a cover of an MJ Hibbett song. The song – Chips & Cheese, Pint Of Wine – is about him & his friends meeting up at weddings and such and reliving the crazy dancing days of their youth. It’s about growing old and staying young. I’m at the age of going to far too many weddings (which is, of course, better than going to too many funerals. Or Christenings. Or cross burnings) so the song strikes some chords. Also I was reminded of it when I was DJing at our club night on Saturday. There was a miss-mash-mangle of people there. Some were loyal and wonderful people who have been coming to nights I’ve been DJing since the heroic days of London Loves, the only Soho-based accidental Britpop revival night in the early to mid noughties. But London Loves is dead now, its venue knocked down to make way for the Crossrail project, which may or may not get built.
And some were new and young and inexplicable. And I was caught in two minds whether to play the shameless songs from our own youths – the Stone Roses, Nirvana, and Vanilla ice of people a few years younger than Hibbett – or to try to introduce people to some new songs. In the end I played REM far too early and got caught in a whirlwind of populism. Once you’ve played REM there’s no going back to Veronica Falls.
And so there we were, and as the lights metaphorically went up we were singing along to Tonight We Fly. Because when we die, will we be that disappointed or sad? If heaven doesn’t exist what will we have missed? This life is the best we’ve ever had. Chips and cheese, pint of wine.
I’ve also been writing some songs of my own. Writing songs is an interesting experience because I’m not very good at it. My talent is for writing blog posts or – if I really excel myself – inconsequental travel books that appeal to the mid-brow who find stuff written by Dave Gorman really profound. Which is a bit heartbreakingly tragic but still better than my other talent, which is for Streetfighter 2.
Songwriting I am not so good at. I am the Dhalsim of songwriting. I really enjoy the process though, particularly the melody bit. When it comes to the lyrics I mainly embarrass myself. Nevertheless I am looking forward to playing live and seeing what other people think. I’ve already talked to Sean Fortuna Pop! and he seems more than happy** to give us a recording contract, provided we change the name. We started off being called The Leytonstone Shitkickers. Then for a few minutes we were Fukurou, which is the Japanese for owl. Our guitarist said it was too twee (though bits of us are quite twee) and too Japanese. So then we went for Future Corpses Of America, which is a Cat & Girl reference. Unfortunately, as Sean and several others have pointed out, this is far too emo. So it’s back to the start. The Fukurou Shitkickers?
Finally, I’ve been reading a book about the seventies: specifically, the paranoia and madness of the seventies, from Nixon to Uri Geller to the CIA to Harold Wilson to Idi Amin to Baader Meinhof to Mao to Wilson. One thing I didn’t realise about the seventies was quite how prevalent establishment fear of Commie revolution there was at that time. Strange Days Indeed is a hatful of suspicion, imagination, hallucination, gin, whisky and terrible pompous fantasy. But without the magnificent shiny distracting power of the internet and modern tat, I don’t think the current climate would be much different.
Right, I’ve rambled enough for one entry. Until next time,
* A woman with a stand at Whitechapel IDEAS STORE (library) who worked for the project reassured me that it was in fact going ahead, and in fact was so excited that someone had taken notice of her plans and crude scale model of the havoc the building work would wreak on the local area that I got stuck with her for 20 minutes. I know too much about the Crossrail and specifically how it is likely to affect Whitechapel, a place I no longer live.
** This is probably a lie