Sep. 29th, 2015

alexsarll: (crest)
So it looks like entries every other month is now standard. I still have notes in amongst the films and bands about kicking the leaves around, and here we are almost at that point again (though for now it's still altogether too hot for my liking, with the prospect of donning the big coat nowhere near appealing). And I wish I had been better about writing stuff up, because there are names in those notes of bands I know I liked, but about whom I remember nothing - like Tomorrow We Sail. I'm sure they have a page somewhere which would remind me, but that's not the same as a record of how the show felt. At least with Pete Astor I had the sense to offer myself some reminder - "more like Nick Drake than most Nick Drake wannabes; timeless but raw". It's not much, but it's a snapshot, which is the most any diary can be. Him I saw supporting John Moore at a rather undersubscribed evening; subsequently, Moore's novel would be the first project I've tried crowdfunding which did not meet its target, is not (at least in that manner) coming to pass. If a cult act are too popular, get T-shirts in Top Shop, their cultishness comes to seem rather a joke; if they can't even draw a decent crowd to the Lexington, not even with balloon tricks and an impromptu Black Box Recorder reunion, that may be going too far the other way.
(The journey home that evening was one of the times I've had strangers get a bit overfamiliar on account of the beard. I wouldn't mind so much if they weren't always straight men with lesser beards wanting some kind of symbolic contact)
Who else? Sarah Cracknell's new band. Martin Carr's new songs. Martin Newell. You'll notice a theme here; new but not new. Every so often I read a piece about some hot new act who aren't an act I already liked reconfigured, and unlike its kin it doesn't instantly bore me, and I give whoever it is a listen. And at best I think...yeah, that's OK. Last night it was Julia Holter. Magical stuff, I'd been told. But what I heard was perfectly pleasant background music.

That all sounds terribly jaded, doesn't it? But even beyond all those old favourites that still do it for me music-wise, London retains its infinite supply of everything else. A little depleted by the bastards and the oligarchs, perhaps, but not half so much as the dismal opinion pieces might suggest. You can still hear Arthur Machen's 'N' being read in Abney Park, happen upon accidentally private rooms in pubs that haven't been gentrified and gastroed to death, attend celebrations of life's odd contents which have speeches about anything from lifts (Boring) to exorcisms (Nine Worlds). The galleries have Gothic gems and surprise chunks of Grayson Perry. I think the decider for me, at the point where too much stuff was closing down and too many people calling it quits, was rediscovering Bingo Master's Breakout, London's premiere bingo, poetry and karaoke night, where every month a band plays a karaoke set of themselves, and the poets have to sing and the singers have to read poems, and the landlord has a real thing for Half Man Half Biscuit, and someone wins a Werner Herzog film. It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

January 2016

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