Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Only slightly mental, only temperamental

Lying in bed last night after a weekend of fantastic pop, extreme drunkeness and constant train drama, I didn't expect to think of it all as an exercise in serenity. And yet it was. The train dramas especially.

One thing I am constantly asked by people who don't know me is why I like Britain so much. I used to get very defensive when answering the question but as the years go by I get more and more vague; not for lack of a response but because there are too many reasons - some good, some silly, some secret. I'd have loved for everyone who has asked me that question though to have been at St Pancras station on Saturday afternoon though. Train delays on a Saturday are the reason why I love living here.

Bright light coming in

People's eyes wide open, they are sitting there, patiently

Staff being sweet and funny

Someone complaining in a low voice; an 80-year-old man telling them that everything will be OK and it's no-one's fault really, these things happen.

More serenity. No panic. No shouting. No anger. No insults. Just time being thought of not as precious but as inevitable, just as it should be.

I love this country.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

City of fallen leaves

In my terribly schizophrenic world, my heart is about to break while I'm having a nice time - I can't sync. I have this feeling of impending doom that pop can't seem to shake off, this frustrating feeling that I'd rather I was done with the next few days already so that I can live through the doom and win the struggle to come out the other side as safe as can be. I can't deal with all the waiting. I hope this is cryptic enough for you - you'll have to forgive me, I've had a very odd few days.

On the other hand, events like autumn are making life officially Good. Battersea Power Station is my proper view from the flat now the leaves have started to fall from the trees and it feels like it's appeared out of the blue.

The gloom was brought to you by:

- The Frost, 'A Song About Us'
- Lack of proper food
- Sweden
- Kissing

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is that not appealing?

Sitting at work with the sun breaking in through every single hole and window, creating an illusion of sparkliness in what is otherwise a very drab, lonely place, the others are talking about the sense of nostalgia evoked by warm September afternoons. And, as it often happens when I'm around, Jonathan Richman starts singing through the speakers... "Do you long for her or for the way you were?"

I lack a strong sense of memory and in that way I am not nostalgic. Is it because I'm so far removed from the place where my stronger memories would stem from? Or maybe it's because I'm always striving to avoid nostalgia because I'm desperate for today to be better than yesterday when it's mostly out of my control and an impossible task; but yes, maybe this day two years ago I was in seventh heaven and today I'm only trying to make my day better than it was on, say, Thursday. But I find it very easy to switch off from thinking back to so-called happier times because I'm here and it's now and that's all I have to work with.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Always someone else's shadow

Yeah, did you get my Honeybunch reference there? Pretty obscure, isn't it? Ha!

I was reminded yesterday about a conversation during my last summer holiday in Greece in the island of Antiparos, in 1997. A friend of a friend was talking to me about music and said that the only reason anyone would listen to small, unknown bands is to be deliberately obscure. I was furious of course: just because you're lazy, mister, that doesn't make me pretentious. Pfft!

Indiepop is a funny little place. We live in the past quite a lot because we can pinpoint the time when it all started - or so we think. Doesn't everyone have their own indiepop history wallcharts which differ greatly according to age, sex and That Sex? No? You know what I mean though: if you're nearer you forties, you'll probably be wetting your pants at the thought of the C86 tape. Or you could be getting all dreamy thinking about Sarah Records like what I do, or early Creation, or Subway. Or was it Belle and Sebastian that opened up your eyes? And look at us now, with all these amazing bands all around us, the popshows, the indiepop discos everywhere - and not just here. Sweden is Indiepop Heaven, if I interpret what I hear correctly (I haven't been yet). Look at us! You can jump on the train and go see The Deirdres in Derby, or Pocketbooks in Sheffield, or Bunnygrunt in Nottingham, or The Icicles in London. We're lucky because we live in a time of great fun and adventures and a lot of love is turned into songs and bands and singles. We're lucky. So why do we look back? Why do Horowitz need to namedrop Talulah Gosh and Bubblegum Splash in 'Popkids of the World Unite'? Why do The Parallelograms namecheck most 1980s indiepop bands like Razorcuts, The Pooh Sticks and Popguns? They're both brilliant songs but why are they looking back when we have so much to look forward to?

I think it's a code. I don't know if it's the right way to connect to an audience that you think will understand you but that's alright because we can do both. My head gets as messed up with happiness when I listen to Talulah Gosh as it does when I put on Cooties Attack! and that's the truth. It's not reverence that makes me want to play my Flatmates seven-inches, it's pure delight. But that goes for The Deirdres cd-r as well. I love it. They're all important and urgent and, if anything, what we should really be looking at are the bands that appeared at times when nothing else was happening around them and fought it till the bitter end, for the love of pop. Hello The Regulars. You were great.