Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's only January...

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Level of conviction in own genius: 6
Hair day: most poor but am most poorly so fair enough

.. but already I may have seen one of my best gigs of the year and participated in a juice highlight.

First off, juice had their coolest experience to date by performing as part of the London College of Fashion Graduate Show at the Royal Academy of Arts. The LCF's composer-in-residence, Phillip Neil Martin, wrote for us and ace-o-rama beatboxer Beardyman in a 35-min piece made up only of vocal sounds, whether live, sampled or electronically transformed into birdsong, cicadas, whips and much more. We were thoroughly part of the show, being dressed in the first collection and made up in the same way as the models, most hilariously. This meant trying to manoeuvre ourselves into bafflingly-constructed cream cotton trousers with protruding bits, vast sleeves and hoods, as well as being given plaster-white faces (yes, remarkably even I can be made paler than my natural skin tone), a few jet-black hair extensions and heavily-accentuated eyebrows. Anna particularly looked like a terrifying Japanese banshee woman. I was most nervous not about performing on a podium in front of hundreds of industry and press three times over but about having to reveal myself in all my non-modelly glory backstage. But after a few minutes, remembering that I had extreme musical talent if not steely good looks, I didn't really care about mingling with the 7-foot tall, non-breasted boys and girls, and merrily wandered about in my pants wobbling my size 10/12 patchy cellulite-pocked thighs in their knife-cheekboned faces.

The show itself was a barnstormer, the music apparently stealing the show. juice did two of my pieces as well as panpipe impersonations in the version of 'Watermelon Man' and an ethereal piece by PNM. Beardyman was incredible, indefatigable in his renditions of scratchy dark hip hop, kinky hardcore and strutting jazz: string bass, hi-hat, muted trumpet and everything. The hardest thing was standing still on our separate blocks in each corner of the stage for so long and trying to keep our eyes straight ahead rather than on the eye-splitting colours of the outfits, the fetish-inspired gear, the incredibly tight buttocks and tiny breasts.... was very funny seeing models waft past us, still inches taller even though we were on podiums! Ha ha ha. Still, I can now say that Jimmy Choo and Peaches Geldof have heard both my music and the juicettes sing. We rule.

In a more spectatorly fashion, sighed to a glowing Joanna Newsom at the Barbican last night. We first swooned to the incredibly burrrnished burr of Alisdair Roberts' darkly original folk, before she scampered on kittenishly, looking like 70s glam country star Crystal Gale with her long gown and silky mane. She certainly gave us our money's worth, trawling through the whole of her second album with the LSO behind her, before coming back to do a few older solo numbers. She revealed another audacious change of direction with one new song, playing as a trio with percussionist/singer and tambura player, with Kate Bush-esque vocals and a very East European/Arabic slant. Live, her voice is richer and less squeaky, though just as versatile, still veering between coquettish little girl and warmer crooner, and in truth she was at her best as soloist; the orchestra swamped her mad fairytale songs and only stripped down could we really hear all the twisty lyrics and watch her hands comb over the glittering harp strings. Gorgeous.

Friday, January 12, 2007

painting the town blue

Amount of conviction on own genius: freelancing organisational genius: 9; creative genius: 5
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: oh, very very little
Hair day: neatly trimmed in cheap Tooting establishment yesterday

Ah, beautiful Wycombe. All the humdrum years of repeated groanings as the boys in blue kick yet another ball out of the ground are worth it for those sweet few moments of astonishing triumph; in 2001, it was our rip-roaring FA Cup run all the way to the semi-finals against Liverpool, getting within a hair's breadth of European football. And this year, it is our equally searing streak up to the semis of the slightly-less iconic League Cup, but equally impressive given that we've seen off Fulham and Charlton on the way.

On Wednesday we welcomed Chelsea to our humble 10,000-seater ground. Though gracing a few away games, I shockingly hadn’t visited Adams Park for about 3 years, and it was sooo good to be back, having miraculously blagged two much-in-demand tickets for my little bro and I. Strolling down the mile-long factory-lined road, casting a pitying eye to the replica scarf sellers and the 50/50 draw man, queuing for dodgy hot dogs and standing in our traditional corner of the only standing terrace with recognisable faces of old.

And it was such a top game! Happily, HILARIOUSLY, Wycombe, a motley crew of free transfers, on-loans and one £80,000 player, managed to match the glossy-haired SW elite - worth £100m - almost throughout. We fired off well, yapping at the heels of Michael Ballack ('never mind the Ballacks, we're the chairboys!' cheered our fans' site the next day), Ashley Cole, latterly Frank Lampard et al, had a few decent chances, before Chelski got a silkier grasp of proceedings. Wayne Bridge made the most of his upfront role and flicked it over our Portuguese under-21 goalie, silultaneously colliding with him in spectacularly gruesome, Mel Gibson-directed fashion, ending up not even seeing his goal through the veil of blood. Nice. We remained unbowed, manfully hauling ourselves to half-time, and came back with all guns blazing for the second half. Frankly, we had the upper hand for much of the half, with Tommy 'Captain Marvel' Mooney so ragingly passionate he had to eventually be subbed for fear of getting a red card. Kevin 'Heavens to!' Betsy left trails of DiLorean-esque fire down the wing and it was most amusing to be introduced to Wycombe's new cult hero, Sergio Torres, who, although plucked from Basingstoke, is Argentinian, and thus automatically revered for all his style-over-substance fancyfree footwork; he looked visibly chuffed to hear 'SERR-GI-OOOH' roared endlessly around the ground in unwitting canon.

Anyway, we scored. Against Chelsea. Jermaine Easter, crowned man of the tournament so far having scoring in every round (inspiring 'Easter Rising' headlines on almost every back page the next day), popped it in neatly past the keeper and we all leapt up and down in sheer, gleeful astonishment and delight. Had it been a one-off match, we could've swiped it; as it is, I'm sure Chelsea will leave only a few mangled blue limbs on the pitch at Stamford Bridge in two weeks. But I don't care: we, a jumble sale of a team, drew with one of Europe's mightiest teams, got right up Mourinho's sleek nose, and I took the opportunity to laugh gloatingly in the faces of every little Chelsea fan I could track down at school the next day in a most unteacherly fashion.