October 31st, 2003


Come and get me, copper!

I've never had any problems with the bootleg culture of live recordings and resulting CD trees. The Professor knows all about this arcane world far better than I do. More often than not, many bands encourage such activity. My confession, my journal confession anyway, before bed, is that today I illegally downloaded no less than thirteen tracks through the use of file sharing technology. So, bring it on, Universal, Sony, etc. You'll never take me alive!

I was around at Herr B.'s office yesteday and he was downloading Halloween flavoured tracks to use at his club on Friday. Suffice to say, he couldn't work out how to locate the things on his computer and there was much cursing of Windows and its cack-handed operating system, at least from me. His other computer is quite a rarity, a limited edition Mac that Apple produced some years ago in cooperation with Bose for their 20th anniversary. Oh, fuck it, I thought and plugged in my laptop and did the work for him instead of trying to get his to do it.

I'm playing at an art opening in Hoxton area next week. For those of you ignorant of the Hoxton issue, I can't locate a suitable site off the cuff, it's an area in the East End that was a bit of a dump (still is really) that became popular among artists for its low rents on studio space, so time passes, galleries, clubs, bars, etc. It's the imagined birthplace of the Young British Artists (Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, etc) I imagine it's a bit like some parts of Manhattan. Of course, the only people who can afford to live there now are either succesful artists, fashion types or rich wannabees. I don't know whether I hate it or like it. It's alright, I suppose, and it's only fifteen minutes on the bus from here. It's a shame though, the area used to be deserted most of the time, so it was a nice place to wander, look at decay and feel the old ghosts. Hoxton has its own culture of dressing, haircuts and so on. Japanese girlfriends are popular in Hoxton. Entering the words 'Shoreditch Twat' into a proprietary search engine should produce some efficacious results for your amusement.

Anyway, my night is Guy Fawkes, so I was thinking about tunes to play that had some relevance to the event. Typed in words like 'bomb', 'fire', 'destruction' and saw what was thrown back at me. Listed below (it's only the second list of any length to my knowledge that I have included so far) are the tracks that I stole and my reasons for doing so:

1. A fire alarm - surely no copyright on those.
2. 'I'm On Fire' in its Tori Amos incarnation. Good for the early start of the evening, but might not play. She's had money off me.
3. 'You Will Miss Me When I Burn' by The Palace Brothers. Don't own this, but he's had enough money off me already, so no real sense of guilt.
4. 'Gunpo' by Goran Bregovic. Not actually 'gunpowder' as I had entered. Not bad, but the mood is spoilt by a bad choice of synth sound towards the end. He did a track with Scott Walker once . Scott Walker definitely owes me a drink. Not anymore.
5. 'Give Booze A Chance' by The Bonzo Dog (no doo dah) Band. Have it on vinyl. The decks at the venue aren't up to much. They don't need any more drinks, especially you, Sir Henry!
5. 'Cherry Bomb' by The Runaways. Have never owned this one, but I have soldiered on buying Kim Fowley albums for twenty years, no matter how bad they are. He can buy Joan Jett a drink with my money.
6. 'Jimmy the Exploder' by The White Stripes. I did own this, lent it, didn't get it back.
7. 'Anti-Pope' by The Damned. I have lost at least two pairs of spectacles in my life at Damned gigs and endured bruising and temporary hearing loss. Had it on vinyl, many moons ago.
8. '(I Got A) Catholic Block by Sonic Youth. Have it on cassette.
9. 'Demolition Girl' by Billy Childish & Holly Golightly. If Mr Childish pops in, he is around at times in the area as some might recall from earlier (I nodded, he nodded back), I'll be happy to supply the tipple of his choice.
10. 'Destroyer' by The Kinks. Can't say I've ever bought much by them, although I'm not sure why not. They still need the publicity. I'd be honoured to buy them drinks.
11. 'Natsumatsuri' by Morning Musume. I don't know why! There's a lot of them, so that'll up the bar tab. But I doubt they drink pints.
12. ''Firecracker' by YMO. Have it on minidisc, legally!
13. 'La Donna Cannone' by Francesco De Gregori. After the previous entry, I hunted out an illegal tape copy I had of this. Well, your honour, I just had to see if there was a copy available that wasn't a fourth generation copy. There was. In my defence, I did email a friend in Italy two days ago to get her to send me the original CD it was on.

So, aside from a possible hefty drain on my wallet, the evening should go swimmingly. If they all turn up, everyone will be gobsmacked at the diversity of musical guests and merriment will be had by all, the bar will make lots of money, the art will be sold and I might even get the cab home paid for. Fat chance...
  • Current Music
    World Service

Apocalypse Moo

I awake to find out that a large earthquake has struck the northern part of Honshu, Japan. There's probably no proven link between solar and seisimic activity, but it's good enough for a Toho disaster film. Outsized lizards, moths and slugs are already approaching the island for some mindless destruction of buildings and major construction projects. In truth, these creatures are actually controlled by the construction companies who, as some of Japan's largest employers, need the extra work these days. A tsunami was reported. It was 12 inches high. Whilst technically a tsunami, I don't think anyone is going to be over impressed by that. 6.8 is a reasonable amount for a quake, but fortunately the centre was far enough out to sea. According to that report also, nothing was thrown from the shelves of a convenience store. Those convenience store staff are not the brightest pegs in the world, but it's sort of inevitable that they have become the vox pop of the Japanese nation especially in the small hours when everyone else is in bed.

Coincidentally, an email arrived this morning from MZ, who had been my closest friend last time (drug-free and rural in buttfuck rain sodden Owase) in Japan. I haven't written in a long time, but I shouldn't let him fall off the map. The email is one of those "locate a curious .exe program located on your hard drive, it shouldn't be there, mail all your friends" messages. It's certainly him who sent it as he's initialled the thing and his address isn't his name, but I've never taken any notice of these as there have been too many from friends in the past, followed closely by another that says, sorry, actually that thing should be there. The method his friends suggests seems to have too obvious a link between manipulating (even if you don't open) the program and then going to Outlook and selecting all your contacts so you can warn them. Mmmm.... Well, what do I care? I'm a smug Mac user and very happy with it. Using that PC the other day reminded how much I've grown used to this OS. I do wonder whether some malign kid is working on some fancy viral widget that attaches itself to mp3 and can wipe out iPods. That would fuck Apple royally since that product is in part responsible for a turnaround in their financial standing. The new Napster is .wma sound files only as well, which seems dumb or just plain suspicious. Not that I ever used it anyway. That bloke last time I DJed who started having a go at me for using a Mac and not stripping the machine out and putting in Linux. I've got a life to lead, it may not be much of one, but I'm sure it's a fair bit less computer centred than his. Linux to me is the equivalent of those men who spend their married lives pretending to be car mechanics and dissasembling engines and other car parts. I don't doubt that they know their stuff, but they don't do much actual driving. Mind you, neither do I. The new Mac OS, Panther, looks very nice, especially the Exposé option - it would be easy to waste a fair amount of the day shrinking open applications down to appealing miniature sizes. Not sure it will actually make anyone noticeably more productive though. Enough with tech talk.

Just before I went to sleep last night, there was a program on the World Service about the wall that the Israelis are building. It's hard to find a non-partisan site on Israel/Palestine, but to be honest, the idea of a wall is utterly ridiculous, although you can understand the paranoid reasoning that has led to it. The reporter was making the point that such a wall was very reminiscent of the ghetto building during WWII. Well, a man replied, sometimes there were necessary evils. "There is never such a thing as a necessary evil" I said out loud, climbing into bed. Is there? I'm not sure. That's a three pipe problem at least. I still think the answer is no, but I haven't examined it closely enough. Nevertheless, the comment had everything to say about the confusion of Jewish and Israeli identities. The majority of the people of Israel aren't especially Torah scholars after all. I'm sure that there are rabbis in Israel providing carte blanche for actions against the Palestinian state and people - it's what we have to do - but I hope that there are those who also could never excuse such an attitude. Once upon a time, in a partly imagined Holy Land, but no more an act of the imagination than the current Israel, you could find Jews, Muslims and Christians living together and having little interest in tearing each other up, except over a backgammon board maybe. Those times have gone and it will be a long time before we reach an similar state to Ireland where the power of older ideologies (Catholic, Republican, Monarchist, Nationalist) falls away and young people are just disinterested in the issue anymore. The football teams fall ingraciously from the bottom of the league and away from memory. It'll be a long time indeed.

Maybe some Orthodox interpretation might approve of the use of 'necessary evil', but isn't that really the Golem story in disguise? Isn't there some point that the Israeli nation will not pass? An open holocaust obviously, but before that? The wall seems such a preposterous idea. Once that siege mentality is in place, and admittedly it's fairly much hard-wired into many Israeli brains, it will take even more of a miracle to expunge it. I've always liked that Orthodox strain of thought that will only recognise the state of Israel upon the rebuilding of the Temple. This has always seemed such an abstract idea (I don't really agree with much of this - "Some things are clear. Sinful men can not approach a holy God without a suitable sacrifice [hang on, that sacrifice is YOU! Not someone or something else]. The shedding of blood is somehow necessary to make atonement for human evil [somehow? I think we could do with something more specific]" - but it's an interesting enough site, although I'm not convinced on first view that it's not the work of those apocalypse-hungry evangelists). Should the Temple ever be rebuilt and God appear demanding the mass slaughter of sheep, goats, cows and so forth, I think we'd all be well within our rights to tell Him to get a life. Well, yes (Psalm 50), all that stuff about "Then shalt Thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, with oblation and whole-burnt offerings. Then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar." We may well offer bullocks, but it's a rather bizarre religious view that holds that these would be the most suitable offering. Better to offer Him Microsoft Windows, iPods, pornography, Heat magazine, Arsenal football club and all the other myriad creations of man that have prevented us from being able to lead fuller spiritual lives. These, we shall have no further need of. Please, take them from us. If God makes a move towards the animals, I will certainly stand before His creation (rather than our own) and intercede on their behalf. He can take me down as far as He wants in the process. The Devil take you sir! I will be shouting in my best Russian accent.

Of course, this isn't what will happen. So, although this passage may be mildly blasphemous, I never believe for a second that the world will come to a point where God starts this mass cow slaughter. It may well pass that we all are destroyed. That's quite a different state of affairs to all of us trundling off to Jerusalem with a cow by our side. Surely we are the cows. Maybe we all offer cows at the Temple and then God shouts out "What do you think I am? Stupid? I can see through every one of you. Did you really think cows were going to do the trick?". At which point we're all cast into Gehenna [salt, pinch, required]... and the land becomes a tranquil haven of cows serenely munching and farting their way into eternity. Isn't that in some way how we should all be living?
  • Current Music
    Air (both wind and French band)