Current level of conviction in own genius: 7
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Hair day: sporting remnants of pink but still nowhere near as exciting as it should be for professional musician success (see below)
Gosh, haven't written for an AGE. Have been treading water in the usual brew of madcap teaching and creative fun - am just emerging from a week of school Christmas insanity with carol services and several all-singing nativity plays (accidentally-peeing wise men, crying Marys, etc). Thankfully, my kiddiewinkles have transformed, mostly through yelling at them, into crooning angels and my choir's rendition of 'Walking in the Air' leaves not a dry eye in the house. School is slowly appreciating my incredibly genius. On the flipside, I'm playing groovesome promoter-type in my scouting of crazy vocal acts for Music Orbit's gig with juice at The Spitz next spring, preparing for juice's gig at the London College of Fashion Graduate show (in which we perform with ace beatboxer Beardyman and get painted white oh yes!), and have just finished exciting freelance music workshopper role for Wigmore Hall. juice also did another lovely gig at the Redgate Gallery in Brixton, supported by my new band DOLLYman in a Kerry Goes Avant-Garde Not Once But TWICE Extravaganza.
Found time way back half term to hike north to the comfort of Ma's fridge and drinks cabinet. Highlights were the juddering steam train from Pickering up into the whistle-clean North York Moors, the increasingly flaccid penis that is the Spurn Head peninsula, strolls and pool at Bridlington and Whitby's incredibly posh fish restaurant, Green's, followed by a very rough 'n' ready pub quiz (in which the landlady rasped her questions to one side of the bar before rushing to the other to repeat them whilst a fish-eyed old drunk crooned a ditty or two). There was also a gorgeous exhibition called 'echo' by Susie McMurray in a deconsecrated church in York, where the whole middle space had been filled with 10,000 hairnets filled with the discarded strings from violin bows... they looked like trapped prayers, or clouds of jellyfish, or ghosts of candy-floss.
Have been trying to remember that I am an eclectically-cultural being and making the most of London's offerings too. I reviewed a richly luminous gig by Joanna McGregor, who delivered new arrangements of Bach's 'The Art of Fugue' and stuff by New York maverick Moondog with a talbe player, Andy Sheppard on sax, The Britten Sinfonia and a rhythm section including the ubiquitous Seb Rochford on drums. The Moondog half was particularly barnstorming, a raucous riot of street flavours and sounds. More to the point, I clearly need to have outrageously bonkers hair in order to plough musical success, if this was anything to go by: Joanna McG sports trademark dreads that are tossed around her frame like tassles, and Seb R has the most distinctive barnet in London, a sort of colossal dirty charcoal candy floss afro that surrounds his head like a storm cloud.
Also recently checked out Coldcut’s launch of their new DVD at the NFT, watching the specially-commissioned vids to their latest (very good) album. Was a fun mishmash of styles to suit the eclectic nature of the tracks, and it was followed up by the first night of ResFest’s short film festival and finally dancing in the bar to Coldcut themselves DJ-ing. Class.
Last night said it all about the varying quality of London’s cultural life. Andy and I swanned on up to Bardens Boudoir in Stoke Newington for Club Motherfucker, the much-swooned-over (well, by Time Out and various artrock papers, anyway) night of live bands and DJs with names like Simian Mobile Disco and Daughters of the Kaos. The first band was Fake Shark Real Zombie, a bunch of Canadian tykes who were apparently purveyors of nu-rave. Nu-rave, then, appears to be hyperspeedartpunknoise with shouting and not much in way of actual musical content. They were as tight as their wardrobe though (including the guitarist’s t-shirt with its handpainted slogan ‘EAT MY FUCK’, and you couldn’t fail but be won over by the clownish drummer who liked to run around his kit whilst playing. Up next were California’s Hey Willpower, made up a girl DJ with a hoodie but without the jumper bit, a sweet gay frontman and a 7-foot tall Amazonian goddess of a dancer. It was like watching an avant-garde 80s workout video. Last and least was ‘Planning to Rock’, an utterly bizarre banshee-haired woman who occasionally liked to don her homemade faux-tribal masks whilst belting out weird and repetitive soul/blues nonsense, like a kind of zombie Kate Bush without the talent. With a prentending-to-love-it crowd comprising razored hair and sprayed-on jeans nodding along, I truly felt as if we were in a failing New York basement club, circa 1987. Nu-rave my arse.
Thankfully we burst out of there and straight into the Dalston Jazz Café, which is frankly the coolest place in town, open til 6am and slightly off the beaten track, with a shouty, cheery crowd steaming up the windows whilst the queues huddled outside jealously. We drank slightly inept cocktails and grooved to jazz/funk/Latin/hip hop/soul classics until the posturing daftness of Club M was but a distant memory…