Balliwick of Jersey

Quiet week.. not so

Right – so it was to be a couple of quiet gigs, then a quiet week, then casting my vote in a fore-gone conclusion of a General Election.  Well, none of that really happened.

Monday night – the Twilight Sad – part of the current wave of indie-rock coming out of Scotland.  And similar to the others, their albums have been quite good melodic indie rock, with ridiculously strong scottish accents over the top.  But live – well… I’d heard that they started off doing experimental “wall-of-sound” type gigs, before the band really evolved.  And yeah – that’s what their live show was.  A wall of sound.  Which I’m sure floats some people’s boats, but not mine.  (Having another listen to the albums – the clues are all there, it’s just dialed down quite a bit – especially on the ‘single’ type songs).  Maybe I was just too tired – and too old – but I walked away thinking too loud, too much noise, couldn’t hear any tunes/lyrics – sorry Twilight Sad, but it seems you’re the Wu-Tang Clan of 2011.

And then it was Tuesday.  With a nice quiet gig that night to help me ease into 5 nights off, or something like that.  But while at work, I’m suddenly told to fly to Jersey as soon as possible – either tonight or tomorrow morning.  I decide on the following morning.  Head home, do some quick packing – and off to the gig.  Wye Oak – a little folk duo – including a very nice polite sweet young lady singing very nice polite sweet songs.  And after seeing the nice polite sweet young lady a couple of times on the AVClub (the only band invited back to do a second Undercover session – and covering Danzig!), and then live – I might have grown a little bit of a crush.  Anyways – once again, a show which was much louder than I’d expected, but this time in a good way.  Expecting indie-folk-pop, getting much more of an indie-folk-rock vibe – not at all unwelcome.

And yeah – so off home, shave off what had become my beautifully ridiculous pencil-moustache (just wide enough to show the regrowth-esque two-tone) – and another attempt at last-minute packing, but failing spectacularly to make a decision about whether to bother with a suitcase for what will be just a couple of days.  And so I end up heading off towards London City airport in the early morning, with my laptop bag, and a very very small daybag with spare underwear, one spare business shirt, one t-shirt, and a pair of kung-fu slippers.  I don’t really know the rationale behind most of that.  Was I planning on wandering around town in my suit trousers, kung-fu slippers, and a t-shirt – in the middle of the English Channel in the middle of winter?  I don’t know.  I had my normal vague plan of “if I need shit, I’ll buy it” in mind – but I could still have done a lot better.  I got to London City – bought myself a bottle of whisky which I’d wanted for some time but is only available in duty-free stores – and sat down to wait for my plane.  Which was delayed.  And then cancelled.  Okay – so I rush off to Gatwick airport – to get a flight from there – booking a ticket on the phone on the way.  And then realise that I’m going to miss that one – as I arrive at the airport 5 minutes before the flight is due to leave.  But the nice lady lets me pay just a £60 fee to change this flight, to the next one – which is 4:20 or some such.  Which gives me about 5 hours of sitting in Gatwick airport.  I spend the time with laptop open, trying to be productive – and also grab myself another bottle of whisky (that first one is now in my tiny daybag – which I had to put in as cargo, seeing as I now was carrying a litre of liquid).  I eventually landed in the Balliwick of Jersey (yep – that’s its official name) – headed to my hotel, checked in – before I did indeed wander out in my kung-fu slippers, suit trousers, t-shirt, and suit jacket.  Yep – the classic t-shirt-suit combo.  Not particularly happy about resorting to that.

Thursday – finally made it into the office, and proceeded to do my job like a gangsta.  Ended up staying there, and working through the weekend, coming back Monday afternoon.  Just in time to head to a gig.  Although I did make it as difficult as possible for myself.  Once again my flight was delayed.  And when I landed, I put myself on the wrong tube, and didn’t realise until I’d gotten myself to Mile End or some such.  So – reversed direction – eventually got home, dumped my stuff, ran to Old Street, got the right tube up to Camden Town, and met Dom at the pub.  Rushed off to the Jazz Cafe – and discovered we had gotten there just in time to wait half an hour or so – before the P-Funk came on stage.  Eventually George Clinton joined them, and we had the promised George Clinton & the Parliament Funkadelic.  Oh – and it was worth it.  I was already intoxicated from approximately a bottle of wine drunk while waiting at Jersey airport – followed by no dinner and Dom pouring wine down my throat (yeah – I’ll blame him) – resulting me in being more than a little light-headed by the end of the night.  But – any way you slice it – it was a very good gig.  The P-Funk started off by themselves, pretty much playing a huge long jam session, showing off each band member’s skill one-by-one – and they were all very very good.  George’s voice kept telling us to get our funk on from somewhere, then somebody came on stage in a tu-tu to great applause, and got everybody to wave their hands – but then they hinted that he was an imposter, and that George was actually somebody else on stage – and I was all very confused.  There were probably 4 people on stage that I thought could possibly be the great man.  But by the end, I’m pretty sure it was all a double-bluff, and the guy in the tu-tu was in fact the real George Clinton.  (Made obvious when he gave one of his crazy spoken-word rants)  At some point he went off for a bit of a sit-down and a rest, while some young folk took over the mic.  At one point he also got his grand-daughter out on stage, while he lit up a joint – genuine, I believe – including giving some audience members a puff or two of the Class C Controlled Substance, as you do.  I guess it’s lucky there is no video evidence.  All in all – a very good gig, with a great show (pack as many crazy people onto a tiny stage), some great crowd interaction, and great music.  I believe everybody there felt the same.  Well done George C & the P-Funk.

[edit] (hungover edit)… oh… books… Snowdrops, by A.D. Miller – another book suggested to me by the man Booker… not quite the same theme of “some guy punched me and so I was the victim who chased him and then got punched but at the end I reveal that maybe I wasn’t really the victim but might be the bad-guy myself after-all” – but pretty close.  More of a slowly doing the same thing.  In a very short book, however – it might as well be.  So yeah, I am now starting every listing of this year’s Man Booker Prize with the expectation that the narrator (they’re all first person as well, what up with dat?) – is going to turn out to be not such a nice person.  But I guess that’s what makes literature – true to life.  I’m struggling to count on my hands the number of people that I know and consider to be genuinely nice people.  But then – I’m an ice-cold cynic.  (And not a ‘nice’ person).

Just because I don’t want to end on that tone – and because I’m very hungover/still-drunk and therefore babbling… I’ll do another book.  I’m currently alternating literature with trash.  My current trash is Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  And the other night, as I finished one book at a gig – I was tempted to start the next, solely because I was drunk at a gig, and wanted something ‘light’.  But, even in that state, I realised that I shouldn’t.  Because reading two in a row would just make the badness so obvious that I couldn’t (pretend to) ignore it any more.  I think I finished the second-to-last one.  And they are just so self-indulgent.  They started off as “yep, I’m writing something good” – and have rapidly become “yep – I’m writing something good and I am so proud of myself and I want to tell everybody how proud of myself I am – in the storyline”.  The guy writes himself, and the novels, into the storyline – and compares the novels to the Lord of the Rings, for jeebersake.  That’s just not right.  It’s a fine story – sure.  Or… it was.  And he was doing quite well with the invented dialects and what-not.  But as soon as he started his self-back-patting… I only just now realised how much that annoyed me.  So I’m going to leave it at that, before this becomes even more of a hungover rant.  (Work christmas party last night – I think I got a ride home in a rickshaw)