take me home


Where did our love go?


March 29th

Thanks to everyone who came to The Loves' Rock'N'Roll Circus on Thursday night. I knew it was gong to be a night to remember when a woman turned up around 6.30pm and asked if it was OK for her to rehearse in the room next door. Thinking she was part of the orchestra that was going to open the show, I said "Of course, go ahead". Only after a bit more of a chat did it transpire that she was here to rehearse a play with some friends. "We were told it would be OK". As we were in the middle of soundchecking four bands, a tapdancer and an orchestra, I wasn't so sure it would be the right environment for them. "But OK...if you can!"

It was only later that I realised I should have asked if they wanted to perform an except from their play as part of our night. Five minutes of dialogue from a production we had no prior knowledge of wouldn't have been any more random than the entertainment that was on display during the circus. We started with Simon Love, the compere for the evening, wandering in and saying to me: "Have you started yet?" No Simon, we're waiting for you to open the show. He was accompanied by Matt Kauffman, our resident mime for the evening, decked out in white gloves and a red jumper with a deer on it, who, for reasons best known to himself, didn't perform any mime at all throughout the night. Instead he just stood there looking a bit embarrassed. All acting, of course.

Simon and Matt introduced A Little Orchestra, headed by Monster Bobby of The Pipettes fame, who performed Michael Nyman's "Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds". They were followed by the electro pop oddity of the Funsize Lions, who not only featured singer China hoisting aloft what looked like a voodoo puppet guitarist, but also boasted Stephen, who stood in front of an open suitcase, waving a glowing crystal from side to side, like he was summoning the songs from another dimension. Maybe he was.

This was followed by Simon and Matt doing an "acting masterclass". Simon named an emotion and Matt acted it. Only Matt's expression for each emotion was a curious mixture of bemusement and uncertainty, as if he was wondering exactly how he'd managed to end up onstage at an event like this. Simon then threw the masterclass open to the audience for suggestions. "Embarrassed!" was the obvious opening salvo. "Awkward!" Then the sucker punch. "Failure!"

After this, King And The Olive Fields were their usual brilliant mixture of Calvin Johnson and Magnetic Fields, after which myself and sound man extraordinaire Stuart fiddled around with a ladder and Jamm's ceiling-mounted projectors, in preparation for Mr Solo. Offstage, just before his slot, Mr Solo was a mild mannered chap in a sensible jacket, who only looked slightly out of place because of his heavily kohl-ed up eyes. One quick costume change and a bewigging later, he was a Vegas performer beamed directly from the dimension a hop and a skip along from the one responsible for Funsize Lions' songs. Dressed in a sparkling catsuit, his monstrous quiff reaching for the heavens and his foot on the monitors like a true rock'n'roll hero, he performed alongside a film for a song about Facebook, amongst other stuff, which saw everyone singing along. And as soon as he'd arrived, he'd gone. Five minutes of eccentricity turned up to eleven and a half.

After this, The Mai 68s kicked off a set of Mary Chain-ish fuzz pop with singer Julie intoning a poem about Dada to swathes of noise, and then asking for help with that day's Guardian crossword. But that wasn't a bizarre as what was to follow.

On paper, Lucienne Cole's act is unusual but straightforward. She tapdances to "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by The Smiths. But the reality is something else again. Dressed very neatly in a diamond patterned jumper and dark trousers, she looked like she was about to chair a local civic meeting rather than perform at a Rock'N'Roll Circus. And her demeanour throughout the dance was detached, deadpan, as if she were just doing a daily chore. And this wasn't expansive showbizzy tap. It was light, delicate, each step taken for a reason. Halfway through the backing tape cut out, which she'd warned me was all part of the performance. At this point, she usually complete her routine to silence. But a room full of Smiths fans was always going to sing along, so she finshed off to a rousing sing song, whoops and huge applause. Take a look for yourself, as the entire routine is up on YouTube.


After which, The Loves were their usual, fantastic, rock'n'roll selves, with Matt Kauffman, expertly playing the part of a man having a whale of a time, leaping around onstage with them. And that was that, save for drinking and chatting afterwards to a soundtrack provided by DJs Tamla Tim and Phoenix Phil of Pop Art, who mistakenly played "Seymour Stein" instead of a more upbeat B&S song afterwards. Yet another random act perhaps, but somehow the slow, emotional perfection of Stevie's ode to missed opportunities and fleeting stardom seemed an extremely fitting ending. It made me very happy, anyway.

February 25th

Thanks to everyone who came to HDIF at the Phoenix on Saturday. It was a wonderful night, one of the best in my opinion. Darren's set of songs that inspired "We Love The City" was superb, and you can read his set list, along with some comments from Darren here - http://www.howdoesitfeel.co.uk/darren.html - And my bit went OK too. My highlights:

* "The World To Me" by The Field Mice. Super danceable, upbeat pop, played from vinyl, just as it should be.
* "Burnt Toast And Black Coffee" by Mike Pedicin. Incredible soul/rock'n'roll dancer.
* "Throw Aggi From The Bridge" by Black Tambourine. Glorious!
* "Be My Baby" followed by "Just Like Honey". Joined at the opening drumbeat!
* "Razzle Dazzle Rose" by Camera Obscura. I love playing this, it always feels very emotional.
* "Jim Dandy" by LaVern Baker. Just one of those songs you have to dance to.
* "When I'm With You" by Best Coast. Brand new, super lovable indie pop.
* "Rubber Ring" by The Smith. Ah, the songs that saved your life...

January 11th

Here's the results of the HDIF Poll for 2009!

Album Of The Year

Butcher Boy, "React Or Die"
Camera Obscura, "My Maudlin Career"
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, "The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart"
God Help The Girl, "God Help The Girl"
Yo La Tengo, "Popular Songs"
Wave Pictures, "If You Leave It Alone"
Slow Club, "Yeah So"
The XX, "XX"
Pocketbooks, "Flight Paths"
Pens, "Hey Friend What You Doing?"

Single Of The Year

Camera Obscura, "Frency Navy"
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, "Come Saturday"
Cats On Fire, "Tears In Your Cup"
God Help The Girl, "Stills EP"
Wave Pictures, "Strawberry Cables"
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, "Young Adult Friction"
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Zero"
Allo Darlin', "Henry Rollins Don't Dance"
Morrissey, "Something Is Squeezing My Skull"
Betty And The Werewolves, "David Cassidy"

Gig Of The Year

God Help The Girl at 100 Club
Edwyn Collins and Teenage Fanclub at Mono
Blur at Hyde Park
Allo Darlin, This Many Boyfriends, Of Mice And Mental Arithmetic, King And The Olive Fields at Jamm
Yo La Tengo at QEH
Butcher Boy at Glasgow Film Theatre
Wave Pictures at ICA
New York Dolls at 100 Club

Tender Trap at Jamm

Guest DJ Of The Year

Kevin Rowland
Gary Day
Amelia Fletcher
Jon Slade
Daniel Novakovic

Who You'd Like To See DJ at HDIF

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Stephen Street

Also mentioned:

Suzi Quatro
Pat Nevin
Liz and Ryan from The School
David Brogues
Andrew Weatherall
Miguelink Dj
Tom from Indie-MP3
The 'Scared to Dance' Lot
This Many Boyfriends
Frankie Maloney
Helen "Splinx" Llewelyn of Product 19 records
Ray Davies
Richard Hawley
Anne Nightingale
Bill Drummond
Helen Love
Paul "The Cat" Johnston from Kirkcaldy VRN 1287's "Where The Action Is"
Bid from the Monochrome Set.
Piotr Fijalkowski
Terry Hall
Mike Joyce
John Jervis
Stuart Maconie
The Horrors
Butcher Boy
J Spaceman


2009's weblog is right here

2008's weblog is right here

2007's weblog is right here

2006's weblog is right here

2005's weblog is right here

2004's weblog is right here

2003's weblog is right here

2002's weblog is right here

take me home