Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Shock news from Bristle's best website!

No more work between here and Glastonbury! I’ve booked tomorrow off for last minute sorting out before the weekend fun begins. Top of the list is a good haircut. I’m long overdue for a cut and a weekend camping calls for hair that requires minimum attention, so off it comes!

Tomorrow is also Orynthia’s dad’s 75th birthday, so we are going across to see him in the hospital and hope to take him out for a bit of lunch if the weather is nice. He is in a wheelchair, so we will just push him down to one of the pubs or restaurants around the harbour.

We are aiming to leave at around 7am on Friday morning, to make the short journey south to Glastonbury. Things get underway around noon, but we are allowing lots of time for the inevitable traffic jams and of course we have to get our tent erected as soon as we can. As well as music, the festival features literarily thousands of other things to see and do. In fact one of the first things that we want to see in a documentary film called Jeremy Hardy Versus The Israeli Army It’s the sort of thing that sums Glastonbury up and what makes it different to any other festival. Although the main attraction for us is the music, many people will go and not see a band for the whole weekend, yet they will have a brilliant time, thanks to the huge array of diversions that are available to them. It’s fair to say that we are both getting pretty excited!

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Last night, we managed to have a test run at putting up the tent we have borrowed for next weekends Glastonbury festival. After initially doing it completely the wrong way and wasting about 20 minutes, we started from scratch and up it went, in a pleasingly easy manner. The inflatable mattress fits inside perfectly and the battery operated pump makes that whole inflation thing a walk in the park.

The first time I went to Glastonbury, several friends and I borrowed a tent from a friend of ours. In those days tents weren’t the straightforward things that they are today, so when we reached the plot of land where we set to make camp, we were dismayed to not only be met with falling rain but also with a mass of poles which we had no idea how to fit together. The rain continued to fall, the daylight gave way to darkness and we got no nearer working out a way of assembling the tent. Eventually one of the gang said “Why don’t we just make some sort of structure and then just throw the canvas over it for the evening.” It seemed like a reasonable call, so we joined various bits together, and came up with a frame that was about 20 feet long but only about 2 feet wide! Useless!! Luckily, in those days you could still park your car next to your tent, so we decided to sleep in the cars and listen to the sound of the rain. When we awoke the next morning, it all seemed blindingly obvious and we managed to erect the tent in about 15 minutes. Mind you, the heavy rain and a leaky roof meant that for the rest of the weekend, we had a very damp no mans land along the middle of our fortunately huge tent.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

I was very sad to hear today, of the death of Jimmy Knepper. He was a jazz trombonist and came to my attention due to his outstanding work, with the maverick Charles Mingus in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I first started to listen to jazz, indeed all music because of my father. I never made much of a connection with my dad’s Dixieland records, but when I heard the music of Mingus, John Coltrane and Miles Davis I was hooked. To me one of the highpoints of their work together is brilliant track called Haitian Fight Song from the album The Clown. It really drives along, my old vinyl version is still one of my favourite records.

Better news today was that Zaha Hadid has actually managed to get a large building built. One of the most intriguing architects in the world, she has been bedevilled by endless setbacks as projects around the world have failed to become actual buildings. Credit then to people in charge of The Rosenthal Center of Contemporary Art in Cincinnati for going the distance. Lets hope it’s the first of many.

The Lloyd Cole gig the other evening was lovely. Quiet, refined and with a steely resolve underneath the apparent gentleness of the songs, the show was a delight. It was quite strange to walk past Lloyd Cole on Park Street as we dashed to see our friend Babs before the gig. We smiled to ourselves and let him pass without having to put up with any inane platitudes.

I was somewhat shocked yesterday, when I calculated that next week, will mark the 25th anniversary of me starting my first job! I well remember the excitement, when I received my first weekly (cash) pay packet of £24! How on earth would I manage to spend all that money? I know that some of the people that contribute to this blog with their comments, were either very small children or not even born in 1978. Thanks for sticking with an old man!

At least I know that I'm well over 1/2 way through my working life. it's all down hill from here.

Monday, June 16, 2003

So, on Saturday we managed to buy an inflatable mattress in preparation for the Glastonbury trip. So at least we will have something comfortable to sleep on. If the weather remains as it is then the ground is going to absolutely rock hard.

The trip to Moles on Saturday night was interesting. We got there just as they were opening up, The main door was still locked, but another door was open and we could see a couple of guys walking around, so we wandered in, went to the bar and got some drinks and no-one asked us to pay the entrance fee! The gig itself was good, first up were The Bitter Springs, whose first couple of songs I liked but as their set drifted on, my interest drifted away. Next up were a band called The Loves, apparently they have been championed by John Peel of late, which is often a good sign. I really enjoyed their slightly chaotic set, sort of Belle & Sebastian meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, good fun. They have an album out later in the summer. Vic Goddard, was at his normal eccentric best. He emerged wearing the classic footwear in the Englishman in summer - sandals, with white socks, and clutching handfuls of paper with lyrics scrawled upon them. A set which ignored all the old Subway Sect classics was still very entertaining especially a little section of songs relating to that famous old English seaside resort, Blackpool.

Yesterday, on what may well have been the hottest day of the year, the Monday night football gang meet up for one of our occasional challenge matches. This time we ere pitted against some alleged hotshots from Clevedon. I say alleged, because we eventually ran out 6-2 winners. It was really hot work and playing in the noon day sun was a mad thing to do. Thankfully I managed not to make too much of a fool of myself.

Tonight we are off to see another blast from the past - Lloyd Cole, without his Commotions. Once again it's in the refined splendour of St Georges. So Lloyd and his guitar should sound lovely.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Last night I enjoyed a study in contrasts. Headed out straight from work with current and past colleagues for a combined birthday/new job type, get together (not for me I hasten to add). Anyway we all met up in Revolution, a vodka bar in the heart of the high heels, short skirts, bad music, Friday night drinking part of town. It was good to catch up with some old mates but come 10pm I was starting to feel more and more out of place. The recent sunny weather meant that a lot of very red flesh was on display, time to say my farewells and take the 15 minute walk to The Cube.

Here former Blue Aeroplanes front man Gerard Langley was launching his new limited release CD of him reciting the poetry by the likes of Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, And various luminaries from the beet generation. For this performance he was be backed by the ever expanding Fuzz Against Junk. I took refuge in the back of the auditorium alongside Orynthia, John, Jane and Teresa. Only caught the last 3 numbers and compared to dross that was being blasted at me earlier in the evening it sounded wonderful. On our way out we bumped into our friend Ian from F.A.J. who was delightedly telling us all that some of the obscure folk records he has recently sold on EBAY were being bought by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Maybe a sign of a change of direction for the noisesome New Yorkers.

Tonight we’re heading to Moles in Bath to see an old hero from the glory days of 1976-77. Vic Goddard from the underrated Subway Sect.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Another Bristol & Bath blog added to the links "Dearie Me".

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

We have added another page to our site about The Bowlie.

Well it looks as though we are off to the Glastonbury Festival after all. The interesting line up did spark our curiosity and thanks to our friend John it looks like we should be able to gab some camping spaces in the backstage area. So at least we will be able to use some slightly more select toilets, they may even flush! There could even be showers in that part of the site!! So all we need to do is get ourselves a tent, sleeping bags and the all-important blow up mattress. I’m sorry, we are just too old to sleep on the hard ground, we need that layer of comforting, soft air between the soil and us!

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Last night we went to see the wonderful Tindersticks at St Georges. They were on pretty good form, and the splendid acoustics of the hall really suited the gentle sound of the band. Moody melancholia was the order of the day, not that you would expect anything less from Nottingham’s finest. It was a bit of a trial for Orynthia as she could hardly be described as a fan of the band, I think that she enjoyed the support rather more, the intense and engaging songs of James Yorkstone were lovely.

After the gig we walked down to The Watershed, which was holding its 21st birthday party. Luckily for us John was DJ’ing so we managed to grab an invite to see Bristol’s media set enjoying themselves. It’s hard to imagine a time when The Watershed wasn’t part of the cultural landscape in Bristol. Over the last 2 decades and a bit we have seen so many great things there. Aside from all the non-Hollywood films, which we may have missed out on, we’ve also enjoyed lots of great comedy, literary events and music, a fantastic Jonathan Richman gig in the early 90’s being one of my favourite memories.

I am really enjoying the Raymond Carver short stories, what amazingly affecting tales they are. Bleak and uncompromising but utterly compelling.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

A new story from the wonderful Haruki Murakami is always cause for celebration. "The Folklore Of Our times" is no exception, It can be found here in the latest issue of the New Yorker. Not sure how long the link will last though? Catch it while you can it's great.

After football on Monday evening, our discussion turned to subject of the changes at the Glastonbury Festival over the years. One thing however is constant , the thorny issue of the toilet facilities!

When first went, back in 1983, the torrential rain had turned the whole site into a quagmire, the area around the toilets was a huge muddy morass. If you could actually cope with standing in the enormous queue's before attempting the treacherous walk to your individual cubicle, the sight (and smell) that greeted you, was like looking into the bowels of hell itself. People would emerge ashen faced and often in their rush to leave the scene, they slipped and skidded their way to further muddy humiliation. It was gruesome.

The last time we went was in 1993. On this occasion the festival was blessed with sunny weather, however the downside of this was the amazing smell emanating from toilet zones. Talk about weapons of mass destruction, this was certainly set to stun levels, as the excess baggage from 100, 000 bodies fermented in the hot sun.

So we started to talking about potential ways round the problem. Abstinence was my choice in 1983 and 1993, however this is not always an option. A walk into the woods, is an option but as the festival goes on conditions underfoot can become very treacherous indeed and should you lose your balance it can get very messy. So we got to thinking about the famous dog walkers with their popper scoppers, when suddenly Marc had a brainwave. All you need is a large children's bucket, with a large number of plastic carrier bag. Simply place the bag in the bucket, fold around the edges to secure, assume the position, remove the bag, place in rubbish bin! Genius!! This can all be in the privacy of your tent. I fully expect to hear of someone selling "home toilet kits" at the festival this year.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Some pictures from the eurovision party. No photos of the Iceland team I'm afraid.

Played football last night and managed to catch a really painful blow to my back. It was unfortunate and completely accidental, that didn't make the pain any less though. For a split second, some bad memories came flooding back. About 4 years ago, whilst playing on The Downs, I was (unusually for me) involved in a mid air collision, and landed on my neck, knocking 3 vertebrae out of alignment in the process. The next few weeks were pretty dreadful, the next morning I remember sitting on the bed, not quite believing that suddenly, I was unable to reach my feet, in order to put my socks on. I then went through a phase of trying all sorts of remedies, whilst lying of the sofa downstairs. Hot packs, cold packs, pain killers, alcohol, the mind numbing qualities of daytime and very late night TV all made a gradual impression. Then it was off to see various doctors, a chiropractor and eventually an acupuncturist before things finally got back to normal. Three weeks later I was back at work. I guess that in all these years of playing sport, I've been pretty lucky, I've never broken any bones, unlike my good friend Jon Collins, who has taken bone breaking to a level, where we now consider it to be his work as a performance artist.

One of the summer highlights in Bristol is the Ashton Court festival. A 2 day music festival featuring (mainly local) bands, DJ's, Jazz and classical performers, plus an array food and normal festival fare. It's a great thing, virtually free to get it (I think it was £3 per day last year), it's a chance to see bands, catch up with some friends and eat some great jerk chicken in a relaxed environment. The line up's are being confirmed now and I'm delighted to hear the one of the headline acts will be MCKAY who I mentioned here a little while ago. It's also rumoured that the former lead singer with probably the biggest rock band of the 1970's will be performing. Not really my cup of tea, but quite a coup for the people behind the festival. No doubt many people will think that they are on a stairway to heaven!

Monday, June 02, 2003

Had a really nice day at my dads place on Saturday. The only problem we had was the initial traffic hold up's on the motorway, luckily we had some fine CD's to listen to, namely; Belle & Sebastian - Storytelling (soundtrack), The Real Tuesday Weld - I Lucifer and Luna - Live, which combined to ease us through the jams. We set in the garden whilst enjoying a barbecue and we both joined the massed ranks of English people who are a bit on the lobster side of red, thanks to the glorious sunshine.

Sunday was a mixture of gardening, housework and relaxing which was only spoilt when we were listening the news on BBC World service and heard of further problems in Burma, It's so sad that the only time we hear anything about Burma is when there are problems. Maybe one day a peaceful solution can be found, let's hope so.