Everything turned out brilliantly
in the end - Stuart and Traceyanne arrived safely and a packed
house had a fantastic time. But I have to admit we were worried
there for a while.
The first thing I was told upon getting to the Buffalo Bars was that "your guest DJ rang. He's with his girlfriend in the casualty department of a hospital nearby. They're fine but they've been involved in a car crash and he thinks they're going to be late. But they are coming."
Obviously we were extremely concerned and had loads of questions - what hospital, was anyone hurt in the crash, when was this, etc, etc - none of which we had any way of answering. So we took solace from the fact that Stuart had mentioned that he and Traceyanne were fine and got on with it all as usual.
People soon arrived, keen to see S&T DJ-ing at ten, of course, and we had to pass on the news that they might not be making it after all. It was a strange first few hours. Every time I looked up from the decks, there was someone craning their neck round the corner to see if anyone interesting was in the DJ lounge. Alas, it was just me. When Mark took over for his set, the neck craning intensified - a ha, surely this was them! But no. It wasn't. It was Mark. An improvement, clearly, but not quite what they'd been hoping for.
During all this, there was another message. "They were still at the hospital," Stacey related. "They didn't know how long they were going to be there for. He said they'd really try and make it, but it didn't look likely."
What could we do? Nothing. Just play some records and hope all was well. So we did. I chatted to Tony's friends who do the Bowlie Night - second Tuesday of every month, just down from the Monarch, similar kind of vibe, apparently - and to the Isle Of Man massive (hi fellas!), who'd brought an amazing pair of rock n roll yule logs. Which I'm still eating right now. Very very tasty indeed. And people enjoyed themselves, albeit in a rather baffled manner.
And, then, suddenly, there they were, looking slightly flustered but seemingly OK. I told them to go home immediately and that they shouldn't be bothering themselves with something as petty as DJ-ing when they'd just spent the last few hours in hospital. "Are you kidding?" Stuart replied. "We've been looking forward to this for ages."
There hadn't been a car crash. Traceyanne's neck had seized up and they'd been understandably worried. I know how they must have felt. The same thing happened in the summer with me and my girlfriend. We were terrified and, although we didn't say anything at the time, we were both convinced she'd had a stroke. It was a simple muscle spasm and a couple of valium did the trick. We couldn't offer valium, so a beer had to do. It seemed to help.
So the fun began, Traceyanne with a list of records she'd selected for the first bit, passing them to Stu who was manning the decks. I remember Kim Wilde, Human League and loads more. Then Stuart took over for his bit and the regular vibe returned. "Since Yesterday" received its second airing of the night, which was fantastic. "This is the only club in the world where that could happen," I beamed. "Crystal Crescent" didn't, as Stu changed his mind when I told him I'd played it already. He played a Love track which I didn't recognise but I must know because I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. And tons of others.
I wish I could remember more, but there's been Christmas since and it all seems a long time ago. I do remember though that the whole night was fantastic, worries aside, and that Stuart and Traceyanne did a fine job. I haven't danced so much ever at a How Does It Feel. It was great. A bit like going to my own club. It's not bad really, is it?
That's enough from me. The next one is the third Thursday of January - whatever the date is - and the guest is Harvey Williams again. Thanks to everyone who made it such a brilliant night and see you all in the New Year!
Dec 16th: Well, we're nearly there - the last How Does it Feel To Be Loved? of the year. I'm really lookiing forward to it. Thanks to everyone who's come along to the ones we've had so far. Considering I truly didn't expect to do this more than once, it's all been fantastic. This month sees Mark Casarotto, of Tigermilking fame, join us as a regular DJ, which we're very pleased about. A poster type thing for Thursday is here and four smaller flyers are here. Just in case you feel that way inclined. Thanks to everyone who's been passing on the word. It's all been amazing really.
Dec 8th: A few people have asked about advance tickets for the December How Does It Feel? - sorry to say that there won't be any. I just don't have the time to get anything like that sorted. Apologies for being disorganised. I do understand though that some regulars who are travelling long distance might feel nervous about not getting in, so send me an email and I'm sure we can sort something out. Less than two weeks now. Looking forward to it - although the thought of what I have to get done before then makes me feel faintly sick.
Dec 6th: Saw The Thrills last night in Nottingham. A venue called The Social. They were fantastic, even though the harmonies were lost a little to the muddy soundsystem. I love the way they're at odds with everything that cool alternative guitar music in 2002 seems to be about. Where others hollar and scream, they sigh and saunter. Where the majority scrabble by on texbook bad attitude, they're sweet and awkward and utterly charming. My current favourite of theirs is a song with a chorus of "such a shame when old friends fall out/such a shame when old friends fall out/such a shame when old friends fall out/over new lovers/oh why oh why oh why?" (although that last bit could be "oh my oh my oh my" - as TL! would say, whatever.) I'm looking forward to them being famous. They deserve it.
Nov 27th: Haven't updated this much recently so here's a quick skim through the relevant things I didn't get round to writing about:
* Bright Eyes at Dingwalls. Excellent, excellent gig. Very strange gig too, as it only really got going once Conor had forgotten the words to one song and stopped being so strung out and uncomfortable with himself. Good to see band members drinking huge glasses of red wine onstage. More of this please.
* Hope Of The States at The Monarch. Really amazing new band. Think somewhere between Mercury Rev, Calexico and Godspeed! The six of them wore matching guardsmen uniforms ( a la The Buff Medways) and were accompanied by very cool, arty films for each song. One had the lyrics being typed out by an old typewriter as they were being sung live. The singer was funny and charming and only slightly nervous and the songs were enthralling.
* The Go-Betweens last night at the Codben Club, one of those self consciously ornate members' clubs in West London. There was a giant wooden astrolabe hanging from the ceiling of the room that Robert and Grant played in and you could see all the armchairs that Rowley Birkin QC and his chums usually enjoy their snifters and cigars in stacked up on the left hand side of the stage. Nice red curtains too, of course. The duo were as entertaining as ever - Robert in bright red clown's trousers, so it seemed, Grant on a stool, keeping his head down and laughing when Robert called him "The Master". They played most of the new record plus "Right Here" at the end, a version that actually improved on the studio take. Can't wait for the full band to make it over.
* The Thrills. Just added an interview with them about Moz to the interviews section.
Nov 25th: Just added the photos from last week. Another fantastic night. The best yet. Fine DJ slot from The Legend! And loads of familiar faces. Thank you everyone. Sorry for such a short post, but in the middle of moving. Still, Go Betweens gig tomorrow. Hurrah!
Nov18th: Oops. Looks like I jumped the gun a little with the Go-Betweens!! I'll be playing it at the club in the New Year now.
Nov 16th: Just the right time to listen to the new Go-Betweens album: 2am, with "Late Night Poker" on mute. It's fantastic. No huge artistic overhaul, no real idea that it's 2002 rather than a decade and a half previously, but that's just fine when you've got melodies this vibrant and songs that flirt with your heart. Business as usual then. Four simple words, but something that many many artists fail to achieve.
Nov 14th: Just had a phone call from Bernard. He has a copy of the new Go-Betweens album for me. Excellent. I always like phone calls like that.
Nov 13th: Another week, another amazing new band. They're called Hope Of The States and they sound like...well it's a difficult one to place...Godspeed minus the ponderous post-rock cliches...I don't know. Much much better than those few words suggest. I've only heard their demo a couple of times. It'll be easier when I have my own copy. Anyway, they're playing London on Monday 18th (Borderline) and Tuesday (19th). I'll be going on the Tuesday.
Nov 10th: Well, it's taken forever to sort out but I can finally announce the guest DJs for the last two How Does It Feel To Be Loved? nights of the year. This month, on the 21st, our guest is The Legend!, who recorded the very first single on Creation, and next month, on the 19th of December, our guests are Traceyanne Campbell and Stuart Murdoch. I'm very excited about both of these nights. Only a week and a bit to go until the next one!
Nov 8th: Received an amazing CD burn in the post yesterday from Tom who does the Indie Mp3 site that I mentioned below. He compiled all of the pre-Creation My Bloody Valentine singles together for me and I had a great time last night listening to them and reliving the days when we used to see the Valentines practically every other week and often ended up going to parties at their squat in Kentish Town. I remember the front room was almost bare apart from a huge poster for the My Bloody Valentine film where they got the name from. It was one of those classic old Hollywood promotional posters, very gaudy and beautiful. Not much time was spent in the front room anyway, as bands would play in the basement and we'd be down there. At least I think it was a basement. Maybe my memory's playing tricks. I remember seeing The Bugs there once. Pre-Lush Miki doing her thing. I also remember the Valentines coming to our party in our flat in Kensal Green and locking themselves in the bathroom. We were all sick not long after. For some reason...! They always seemed to be playing with Talulah Gosh around then - 1987 - and I saw them play some particularly fine gigs at the ICA and UOW (that place down from Great Marlborough Street). The show at the club night Speed, above the fast food place opposite the Astoria was good as well. There was about ten people there. At least I think it was MBV. Either them or The Primals. We saw them both all the time in those days.
Oct 30th: Just added another single to the Great Lost Singles (more of these, please!) and some more scribblings to the Writing section.
Oct 29th: I've mentioned them before, but just have to say how fantastic the debut EP by The Thrills is. You remember: the band from Dublin that played at the Albert Hall supporting Morrissey. Think Bobby Gillespie circa 1986 fronting a band that sounds like The Orchids playing "Pet Sounds". With quite a bit of High Llamas thrown in for good measure. Actually, don't think that, because The Thrills are much better than my poor attempts at join-the-dots. Just rest assured: if you love the kind of music we play at HDIFTBL, you'll falls head over head over heels for this group.
Oct 28th: A flyer for the November's How Does It Feel can be found here - anything you can do to spread the word would be greatly appreciated.
Oct 21st: Just back from Reykjavik. It was freezing. Much colder than any time I've been before, including one January where I was nearly blown into the path of an oncoming car it was so windy. Here are my favourite memories of this time around.
* Standing outside Vidalin in the freezing cold, about 1.15am Thurs night/Friday morn, being asked if we wanted to go to an "icelandic house party, not everyone here, just a few people." We did. Everyone ended up going too. About 30 or so people in a cute little flat, no booze to drink, but sofas and sounds.
* 8pm, Saturday, Sirkus bar. The coolest bar in Reykjavik right now for my money. Me and Adrienne are the only punters there. A smattering of bar staff sit around the bar. The girl behind the bar decides to do headstands in the middle of the room and see how many times she can spin around while doing them. Then she does a backflip. Everyone claps.
* 12.30, Sat night/Sun morning. The Dubliner. Co owned by the guy who was the original inspiration for Rowley Birkin QC, full of older, suited, respectable Reykavites. A guy takes out a set of bagpipes and plays the famous tune you always associate with bagpipes. Everyone claps along. Then he stops. He wasn't a performer, just a guy with bagpipes.
* 2.00am, Sun morning. Upstairs at Sirkus, squeezed onto a sofa, next to the hip and the cool. While I was downstairs getting drinks, a guy apparently climbed in through the window. Outside the queue is down the street, in the freezing cold. The DJ plays Stereolab, Pavement, etc.
* 2.00am, Friday night, Sat morning. Dillon bar. No one has any concept of personal space. Elbows crash into you, people reach over you, no one seems to mind. This is typical of the country and tourists are warned not to take offence. DJ spins The Smiths, Violent Femmes.
* 10pm, Saturday night. On the way to the big sports hall to see The Hives. On the main street, some kids have taken over a shop front to put on an impromptu gig. A band play to about fifteen people and, then, us. They finish after half a song. "You're a bit late," a girl in a white dress with bleach blonde hair informs us. "This has been going since 2pm."
* 11.30pm, Friday night. Kitchen Motors night at Spotlight. Kristen who runs Kitchen Motors is tinkering, making a small amount of odd but beautiful noises. She takes out a clockwork duck of some description and makes it quack into the microphone. She's very careful and precise, as if she has a distinct idea of exactly how she wants the mechanical clanking to sound. Her red dress is gorgeous. It's the same one she wore at the ICA. Must be for special occasions.
* 11.55pm, Thursday night. We can't get into Vidalin to see The Funerals. Stephen starts talking to a local friend of his. He scoots off, and comes back ten minutes later. We're all whisked into a side door, through the store room full of beer barrels and the like, and into the bar itself. Band are excellent.
* 10.10pm, Thursday night. Sirkus. Me and Jennifer are chatting upstairs, catching up, while Hudson Wayne play downstairs. Excellent alt.country. I sneak my head round the stairs and watch a couple of songs, then head back upstairs. Jen is on her mobile to her pals. I creep back down for a little more.
* 12.30am, Friday night/Saturday morning. Gaukurrin. Or Gakur A Stong, as I used to know it. The Rapture have just gone off. The crowd shout "maire, maire, maire!" Or something like that. Storme spells it out for me, but I forget almost straight away.
* 11.40pm. Friday night. In the bar opposite Gaukurrin, about 20 people dance to "This Is Radio Clash". I tell the saxophonist from The Rapture about this later and he sounds interested, but he probably has people telling him stuff like that all the time.
* Countless times, all weekend. Opening the door to our little apartment and feeling the rush of warmth from the central heating. Being unreasonably happy as I shrug off my big coat.
Oct 15th: This club night in Bradford looks excellent. NHS Disco. What a name. It's on October 31st, a Thursday (clearly the best night for this kind of behaviour!) and the website is right about here: http://www.midflight.com/nhs/
Oct 9th: Just got a five track demo of songs by The Thrills. You might remember them as the Irish band who supported Moz on the first night at the Albert Hall. It's absolutely fantastic. Bits of "Pet Sounds", early Primal Scream, and just a natural, swinging cool of their very own. My favourite lyric goes something like "Hey, hey, you're the Monkees, they said you monkeyed around, but nobody's listening now". Ah, the pathos. Excellent, excellent stuff. More on them when I get it. Go and see them if they're playing near you.
Oct 7th: I said single figures, I was wrong. In fact I predicted that I'd play to precisely six people during my daylight set at Tigermiling, including me, my girlfriend and Mark who runs the club. But no. There was at least double that. And once I'd been wrestled off the decks at 6.45pm, even more folk showed up and by the time we left to go to my friend Tracey's birthday at 7.30 ish or so, there was dancing and drinking and all seemed to be going very well indeed. I particularly enjoyed playing one of the Matala tracks that I have - "Oh, look, this song's ten minutes long," I said to Mark Tigermilking, "and I'm going to play it all." Cue mass indifference. The Field Mice, The Walker Brothers, Spain, The Feminine Complex and all of the usual hits and favourites went down slightly better, although not a single person danced. Cuh! The appearance of Ken Chu on the decks soon changed all that and I shall be stealing several of his ideas and selections for the next How Does It Feel? - a great night, all told.
Oct 3rd: Just a quick thing to say that I'll be doing a very short set at Tigermilking on Saturday. In fact, it's going to be the earliest DJ slot I've ever done, as I'm on from 6pm-6.45pm. Phew, rock'n'roll! I'll be playing a suitably chilled selection of tunes that I never get a chance to play at How Does It Feel? Forty five minutes of slow, romantic classics. Impossible to dance to but perfect for having the first beer of the evening to and catching up with friends. I expect to play to a crowd of single figures. Can't wait. It's at Bar Oporto, Covent Garden on the corner of Endell Street and High Holborn. It'll cost £4, or £3 concs and flyers and goes on until 11pm (hence the early start).
Oct 2nd: Me again. Added a new section called "Writing", where you'll find reviews of bands we play at How Does It Feel To Be Loved? that I've written over the years. More to be added soon.
Oct 2nd: Had amazing seats at the RFH for Sigur Ros last night. On the left hand side facing the side of the stage, front row, with a nice little shelf to rest your beer on. When Jonsi turned to play keyboards and sing the end of the first song he was looking right at us - or would have been if he had his eyes open. Seeing him pull back his head from the mic to get a different tone to his voice was fantastic. Nice to be so close to notice tiny details as well - Kjartan playing the flute, Orri creeping around with his drum stool, couldn't really see George as he was over the other side. A wonderful, wonderful, wonderful gig. My only criticism, as always: it was too short. Only an hour and a half. I could have sat and swooned all night.
Sept 30th: I should probably post this on another page as well, but I'm afraid to say that there isn't going to be a How Does It Feel in October, as I'm going to be in Iceland. If anyone in Iceland would like me to DJ there, I'd be more than happy to oblige. My tip, if you want some top tunes spun with love, is Tigermilking. Not been myself yet, but I hear it's good. Some guy called Mark told me!
Sept 29th: I'm back from holiday now. A week in Mallorca, very nice. Touristy but hot, mostly. A relaxing no brainer, which is just what was needed. Don't usually go to Brit resorts, but the advantage of ending up in (gulp) Magaluf on a cheap package deal is that I got to see The Four Tops. Twice. Even better they looked and sounded completely different on each occasion. First time, they were young and cheeky, holding old ladies' hands and singing deep into their loving gazes. Second, they were older and more professional, Americans doing it properly. I preferred the first lot, even if they did end up doing "Hello". Saw The Beatles as well. They were good. And The Blues Brothers. They were funny. Strange holiday all told, but a good one.
Sept 28th: I'm writing this up well after the event and inevitably I've forgotten most of the highlights. It was another good one, though. Harvey turned in a magnificent DJ set, playing "French Disko" and "Beach Baby" and even "Pristine Christine" by the bleeding Sea Urchins, a track I absolutely hated at the time but which doesn't sound too bad now. The Sea Urchins (now trading as Delta) were easily the funniest, most out of tune, and downright useless of all of the post C86 mob. Even the mighty Hobgoblins had more of a command of basic melody which, bless 'em, is saying something.
But yes, where were we? Gena did the door, so thanks Gena. Say hello to her on your way in and out won't you? One chap even went so far as to give her his phone number apparently. More of these please for our girl on the door. Hello to the bloke who came down from the Isle Of Man, hello to the guy who kept saying "thank you" all night, hello to the guy who gave me the compilation of indie treats from the dim and distant, and hello to the guy who gave me the Morrissey live tracks at the very end. Thank you one and all.
I can't remember anything else. Other than it was great fun and lots of people danced. If you can remember more than this, please email me and I'll add your bits to this. Ink polaroids and random thoughts more than welcome.
Sept 16th: Impressive star turn out at the Byrne album launch gig tonight. Just remember where you read about them first (etc etc). Javis Cocker was there looking glamorously scruffy as only he can (I try, I try). Kevin Shields was there looking scruffily glamorous. And Hope Sandoval was there too, apparently. Byrne were magnificent as always. The pathos, the drama, the doomed romance, the noise and the screaming. What more could you want from life?
Sept 15th: Great Morrissey interview in The Observer today with Lynn Barber. It was refreshing to read something by someone intelligent who wasn't a total obsessive, but the feature did seem to hit a rock when they got onto the court case. She admitted as much herself, although it was interesting to see how bitter he still is after all this time. I'd love to read the transcript of the whole interview - so if you're reading Lynn, send it over! I'm off to the Albert Hall on Tuesday and will probably be outside handing out flyers afterwards. Oh, the glamour. Roll on Thursday!
Sept 12th: If I haven't mentioned it already (and I probably have), just wanted to say that the guest DJ next week is Harvey Williams again. Oh yes, he's back and promising not to play Telstar this time! Should be excellent.
Sept 6th: Variety of bits and pieces. Added photos from the August How Does It Feel? - not a huge amount as I had to DJ most of it on my own, so if you have any more please send them in. Ken? Can you hear me? Email me some pics. Went to see Byrne again the other night. They were excellent - not quite as intense and emotional as the gig at Herbal, but still mighty fine. They played in the tiny Betsy Trotwood basement - and, hey, they packed the place! Oh yes they did. Just listening to the new Kathryn Williams album, which is rather lovely, and newly obsessed with Interpol. Their album is fantastic. Magnetic Fields meets...erm...well...Joy Division. Actually it's more Joy Division meets Joy Division, but so what? Great record. I know I just seem to say "hey, the new xxxx album is brilliant" on this weblog and after a while you can just swap the names about, but still. I don't care. Get the Interpol album. I like it.
Sept 1st: Spent a very enjoyable afternoon at my new favourite site - indie mp3 - where there's all sorts of C86-era gems to be downloaded onto my sparkling new iBook. Friends, it's true. I love my new computer. It's lovely. Anyway, some fantastic mp3s here. Right now, Mighty Mighty are shimmying their way through "Law". After that I'm going to rewind back to "Cruelty" by The Wolfhounds. Only wish I'd had it for the last club night when Callahan was our gentlemanly guest DJ. I owe you money by the way Dave. I have it in a small plastic bag in my filing cabinet. Oh, and "Velocity Girl" is on there as well. Breathe in Bobby! Breathe out again! All I need to do now is work out how to use the CD burner thing on this delicious new contraption and I'm made. One minute twenty four. Amazing.
August 24th: When I first came up with the idea of How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, I spent many late nights with a few beers and my record collection working out my dream set of tunes that you never ever hear in a club these days. I'd play classics by The Orchids and Field Mice, taking the odd detour here and there for the likes of The Delmonas and The Stingrays, but I'd always end up coming back to two songs. Neither of which particularly fit the basic "Smiths to the Supremes" remit, but both somehow capture the spirit perfectly.
One: "Everything Flows" by Teenage Fanclub
Two: "Your Ghost" by Kristen Hersh.
As Angus said on the day, the stars were aligning for this one. We had a good listing in Time Out (that called our "celebrating an emotion in motion" ethos "deeep"!), were named the number five (out of five) clubs to go to that week in the south, received mentions from everyone from morrissey-solo.com to the glorious artrocker mob, and there was even a compatible gig happening at the Garage over the road The Moldy Peaches, warming up for Reading.
So when there was a mere handful of people in the club by quarter to ten, most of whom were sitting in the DJ booth talking up a storm and creating a very cosy houseparty vibe, I thought: fuck it, no one's coming, I'll just play all those songs that I promised myself I would play initially, but never found the right time. So on went "Past, Present And Future" by The Shangri-Las. Oh, the drama, the beauty, the pathos. Surely one of the most ridiculous and yet the most magnificent songs ever recorded. Apparently it's Pete Townshend's favourite song ever. At least I think it's him. Sounds kind of right.
Guest DJ this time was the suavely attired and impeccably mannered Dave Callahan, ex of C86 stars The Wolfhounds, who spent the first hour saying things like "oh, great record, I produced this you know" and "yes, Primal Scream played this when they supported us in 1983". Truly the man has been there, done that, and gained excellent taste and an unassailable knowledge of classic pop records along the way - as he proved with his set which reduced me to saying things like "wow, fantastic, who's this by?" to which he'd reply, "that's Orange Juice, Ian, surely you know this one."
Me and Angus went to give out flyers outside The Moldy Peaches gig and we were just discussing exactly how to phrase our sales pitch ("club under the pub...club night on by the tube...cheap drink available now"), when we realised we'd forgotten to do the sign outside which would draw in any curious passers-by. Angus ran off to get scribbling and then out came hordes of curiously follicled indie types, ripe for some white hot club action (well us anyway).
I was fighting a losing battle trying to give a flyer to every person streaming by when I heard this voice say "hey we're coming to your club anyway, do you want a hand giving out the flyers?" It was a glorious moment. With my new friend's help we soon handed out all of my poorly photocopied efforts and I turned to say thanks. "That's fine. I'm Mark and I run Tigermilking. We have to help each other out, don't we? I'll ask you to help me out another time." The least I could do was put him and his pals on the guest list. Bless.
With between 80 and 100 people through the door, things were looking great. Dave had played an inspired selection and still excited from playing "Past Present And Future, I set out to spin a few more deserving tunes. I can't remember what song had gone before, but it was upbeat and funky and had everyone shaking their stuff on the dancefloor. I turned to Angus and said "I don't know a record more wrong to follow than this it's the wrong speed, isn't much more than a great extended indie dirge, it'll clear the floor in seconds. But I'm going to play it anyway." He smiled and nodded.
"Everything Flows" by Teenage Fanclub.
Floor remained packed, people singing along, most of them wondering what exactly was the appropriate dance for this song. It was wonderful and Angus' highlight of the night. Mine too in a way.
After that, it's just a kind of blur. There was the Swedish girl who came up to me while I was spinning one of Angus' northern tunes who asked "what is this kind of music? I've never heard it before." Me: "Er, it's soul". Her: "soul? Excellent!" There was Patrick, the music writer from Melbourne, and his girlfriend, who'd stepped off the plane that morning, had a nap and then come to the club. "It's the morning for us," was his explanation. "And I saw the listing in Time Out and couldn't resist". There was the girl who wanted "any Dusty Springfield" and was in heaven when I played "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" when I really meant to play "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" (next time!). And there was the last song, played with the lights up, as final pay off.
"Your Ghost" by Kristen Hersh.
"I think last night/You were driving circles around me"
Thank you all.
August19th: We're in the Guardian Guide top five clubs of the week again! This time, slipping a place to number five. The blurb says "emotional and sincere songwriting from across the board gets the treatment it deserves. No, it does. Really". V2002 was fun despite the bands being mostly rubbish. Sigur Ros were the high point. Their new album is going to be fantastic. I heard a little bit of it when I ran into the band at Real World the other week and it sounds very polished, very expensive, lots of space between the notes, lots of glide and drama. If anyone has any SR bootlegs, let me know.
August 10th: More good news. The new Low album is fantastic, their best yet. There's even a song on it where they out rock Oasis. While still being Low of course. Amazing.
August 4th: This week's obsession: Byrne. A four piece from East London, although the singer Patrick Byrne is originally from Glasgow. Their EP is gorgeous and perfectly titled: "Slowly And Gloriously". I hear bits of Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse, The Beta Band, even Nirvana Unplugged. They're playing tomorrow at Herbal in London, on at 10pm apparently. I'm going.
August 1st: Three weeks to go until the next How Does It Feel To Be Loved? - Aug 22, at the Buffalo Bars again. Guest DJ this time is David Callahan, who was in The Wolfhounds (and during the Nineties, he sang in Moonshake). He says he has "classic pop records coming out of his ears", which should be interesting to watch. Full details in the Club section of the site.
July 23rd: Being a technological berk of the lowest order, I've just wiped the How Does It Feel mailing list. Yes, well done me. So if you joined via a tweetest submission and would like to stay informed of what's going on in the world of How Does It Feel To Be A Computer Idiot, then please email me.
July 21st: Bought a fantastic album on holiday. "Livin' Love" by The Feminine Complex. Had no idea what it sounded like, just felt like splashing out because I liked the cover and the sleevenotes. Thought it would be, at best, fun. It turned out to be an amazing record - Nancy Sinatra sings Pet Sounds? - apparently written and recorded by an all girl group from Nashville in the late Sixties. Wow. I'll play it at the next How Does It Feel? Aug 22 seems ages away, doesn't it?
July 10th: Photos of the second night added to the photo bit. This time, there's more than half a dozen. Have a look.
July 6th: Another post that starts, erk, sorry, it was only meant to be a bit of fun. I put the Twee Test on the site yesterday for a laugh, made the odd mention of it on Sinister, and - kaboom - the thing goes berserk. Well, berserk in minor website terms anyway. Instead of the usual select handful of visitors, the site got 248 visits yesterday and at one point the Twee Test submissions were flooding in at a rate of ten every five minutes. That's a lot of deliberation for the Twee Council to be dealing with. Special, er, "thanks" go out to Pat who added to the pain by mentioning the Twee Test on Popbitch, thus accounting for about 90 of the submissions. You'll be pleased to know that any including the phrase "Belle & Sebastian? Who are they?" or "Can't stand 'em, hate everything they do" or variations thereof were deleted straight away. The best email came from Elizabeth who said "it is alright to be this twee?" after scoring particularly highly. The least twee submissions came from musicians (Phil Wilson of The June Brides and David Callahan of The Wolfhounds). Unless, of course, you count "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" as a lost twee classic.
July 4th: I am still extremely tired from five days at Glastonbury, but here are my highlights: Manu Chou on Saturday night on the Jazz stage, the most amazingly joyous atmosphere ever; B&S playing "The Boys Are Back In Town" and me leaping around like a berk, singing every word; Stuart forgetting the words of "The State I'm In", just after his bid to get on the telly; Badly Drawn Boy doing a solo Raw Sex set, "Pissing In The Wind" especially fantastic; Alfie being charming and cheeky and so very very cool; Manu Chou on Sunday afternoon, when I was meant to be watching Tompaulin but I made the mistake of walking past the Pyramid Stage and just couldn't budge; dancing at 5am in the mushroom tent thing in the Avalon field to "Billie Jean" and , how you say, funky house; Rod Stewart doing "Sailing" and "Maggie May". Ah, happy days....
June 25th: It's hard to remember everything now, but it was another wonderful night. Loads of people, some great tunes from Harvey, more superlative soul and northern (and even the odd funk moment) from Angus. I especially enjoyed spinning "Dance To The Music" and that Spankie Wilson track. I even played Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes, which made me very happy indeed. Photos will be developed and on the site soon. Promise.
June 17th: Another Monday at the Festival Hall. This time to see the Polyphonic Spree, a choral symphonic pop band from Dallas Texas, with 24 members all wearing cassocks. The album is a joyous blend of Plush, The Beach Boys and Mercury Rev, and live they're like Jesus Christ Superstar crossed with Sgt Pepper. Very odd, very beautiful, extremely spectacular, inspiring, scary, bewildering, like nothing I've ever seen before really. I'll play some on Thursday if anyone wants to hear it. I did consider dedicating the first 35 minutes of the club to the first nine songs on their album, because you really should experience this music, but I'm not sure if everyone's sanity could take it. Mine has been stretched quite a bit by tonight.
June 10th: "Heroes And Villians"! Ahhh: magical.
June 7th (again): Two posts in one day. Blimey. Just thought I should remention that the guest DJ for the 20th is Harvey Williams (The Field Mice/Trembling Blue Stars), who will be playing between 10pm and 11pm. Looking forward to it already!
June 7th: Added photos from the first How Does It Feel To Be Loved? today. All seven of them. I don't know why I didn't take more. I suppose I was having too good a time DJ-ing. Oh well. You'd never be able to guess that sixty or so people showed up from the pics, but take a look anyway. There are some fine ones there, all in glorious black and white.
June 4th: Forget to say that I went to see Mum at Dingwalls last week. They were amazing, although it was so full it was difficult to really see. I spent most of the night stuck in a corner with a bright light shining in my face. Rush out and buy their two albums if you don't have them already - gorgeous Icelandic electronica from the girls on the cover of the yellow B&S LP.
May 14th: Finally got the date for the second How Does It Feel To Be Loved? sorted. It's June 20th, which is the week before Glastonbury, so if you're going down to see B&S in the mud (as I am), then this should be the perfect warm up. Can't wait.
May 9th: The thing I remember the most clearly was Harvey coming up to me right after I'd started playing "Found A Little Baby" by Plush and telling me that while he admired me for picking a song he rated as one of the most beautiful ever recorded, he thought it was little foolhardy playing something that was impossible to dance to and thus bound to clear the dancefloor completely.
"Yeah, but the thing is I never expected anyone to dance anyway," I explained, trying not to talk too loud over the drop dead "oooh-oooh" bits that sound like they're lifted from Brian Wilson: The Melancholic, Wistful And Achingly Beautiful Years. "So in that respect the whole thing's been a complete disaster."
I'd convinced myself that no-one was going to come, so the plan was to please myself. I was going to play my "Found A Little Baby" seven inch, possibly both sides. I was going to play the version of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" I have that's vocals only. I was going to play "Your Ghost" by Kristen Hersh. I was going to play "Everything Flows". No would be there, no one would dance, and I'd have the time of my life.
When a guy knocked on the door at nine pm precisely and asked when we were opening I was practically dumbstruck. I didn't know him. He wasn't one of a handful of pals who were kind-hearted enough to say they'd come and drink a few pints while I played my favourite late night records. He was a complete stranger.
"Er, eight o clock," I said, even though it was a good hour after that. I thrust a flyer into his hand in a bid to hide my flusteredness. He was coming already, he didn't need a flyer. What was I doing? He scanned the printed names and said "Go-Betweens. Cool". I was secretly delighted but kept my calm.
"Come back at nine o clock," I said.
It was, by that point, about five past.
Then Ben showed up. He was on his own (The first guy was with an off duty Prom Queen. That's what you get for being punctual). We still hadn't opened but it was ten past by then and that seemed like as good a time as any.
"Want to hear Simon & Garfunkel?" I asked him.
He did. Well, he said he did, probably out of politeness more than anything else, although he was close enough to see the rising mania in my eyes so self preservation probably played a part as well, and off I scurried downstairs.
Song one: "Keep The Customers Satisfied". My little joke.
A few songs after that: "We Can Have A Party On Our Own". Still amusing myself, all going well.
I played the Go-Betweens before the punctual guy came back. Over-enthusiasm plus stupidity equals irony. So now you know.
In the space of half an hour, a lot of people turned up that I didn't know and a lot of my friends did as well. I couldn't believe it. I was doubly happy on two different levels. Ben said he came because of my postings on the Sinister Mailing list and thought that quite a few others turned up because of those. The off duty Prom Queen's mate said she came along because of my postings on the Prom Night messageboard and that a few of her mates did too. Ah, the wonder of the internet. I will never doubt its potency ever again.
If I had been forced to bet all of my money on which song would get someone up dancing first, I would never in a million long years of studying form and going through mine and Angus' record collections with a magnifying glass and a fine tooth comb have picked "Therese" by The Bodines. That is why I've never won the lottery, one of those flats that the Evening Standard give away, or "Parallel Lines" in a Smash Hits competition (my brother won the last one, though, so I got to listen to his copy).
But it did.
One guy, dancing on his own.
The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I drank enthusiastically, I played records that I loved, it was a fine way to be. Songs by the following artists were aired: Belle & Sebastian, The Temptations, The Razorcuts, The Mills Brothers, Tom Jones, The Stone Roses, The House Of Love, The Field Mice, Aretha Franklin, The Velvet Underground, The Four Tops. I didn't play Kristen, "Everything Flows" (but I did chance "The Concept"), or the Beach Boys a cappella (went for "Sloop John B" instead). I didn't have songs by Television, Another Sunny Day, Suede and countless others.
The last two songs were:
"The End Of The Affair" (this is it, isn't it?)
We lasted til 2am when I thought we'd be hard pushed to make it til midnight. It was a great night and it's taken me about a week and a half to get over it and type up this account. Sorry for being so slack.
That's it. I'm just trying to sort out when the next date will be and I'll post it up on the site when I've got it finalised. Other than that, all that remains to be said is: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
It wouldn't have been half as good without you.
April 24th: Well, one day to go. Can't wait. I interviewed Kevin Cummins the photographer the other day about his Smiths book and here's what he had to say about the NME taking Morrissey to task over his use of the Union Jack. Just thought I'd share.
Kevin: "I think with Moz we were so desperate for years to put him in the paper. We'd put him on the cover for anything. And he knew. He knew he didn't need to do interviews with the nme. He'd do a q & a for my favourite things and we'd put him on the cover. Or I'd go to Japan to photograph him for a week and he'd write the captions to the pictures and there was no interview. He got such an easy ride from us for so long that when they decided to turn on him, it must have been a real shock. And I think when the nme decided to turn on Morrissey, it was a ludicrous affair to accuse him of racism for using the union flag onstage. Because Oasis have used it since, Blur used it and they're stll darlings of themusic press. The Who had used it. Suddenly Morrissey was because it suited one person in the nme office."
Me: "Do you know how he was affected by it?
Kevin: "We've got mutual friends and he was obviously very upset by it all. It was pretty unfounded. It was just the nme had an agenda and they decided they were going to go after it like a rottweiler. Make their one half minute onstage fit into what they wanted it to be. It was bollocks I thought."
April 2nd: Went to see Sodastream on Saturday. They played in the basement of the Besty Trotwood and the area for the crowd, as such, was actually smaller than the bit for the group. We stood in an alcove and peered around the corner every so often. Still, they were wonderful, atlhough not as good as the time in Melbourne when they played in a church during an amazing electrical storm. I think running for the last tram in the pouring rain while Sodastream were still playing is one of my favourite memories of Australia. If you haven't heard Sodastream yet, by the way, then think Nick Drake, Stuart Murdoch accompanied by a bowed double bass, the incidental music to "Truly, Madly, Deeply", Australian independent cinema. That kind of thing.
March 30th: Sorry to bang on about The Vines, but I just got an eight track CD of their demos and it's fantastic. Two songs even sound like "Sally Cinnamon" era Stone Roses. Gorgeous.
March 17th: Played the Temptations Greatest Hits round a friend's house last night about 2am. Sounded brilliant (apart from the later disco stuff). Felt quite excited about the club night.
March 15th: I just got the debut single by The Sick Anchors. I don't know if you've heard about this yet, but it appears to be a collaboration between Stuart Murdoch and Aidan from Arab Strap. The EP contain three cover versions. One: "Whole Again", originally by Atomic Kitten. Imagine the song slowed down to a funeral pace, with Aidan drawling like he's about to fall off his bar stool (no change there then!) Brilliant. Two: "Bill Is Dead" by The Fall, with some very bizarre backing vocals from Stuart. Three: "You Always Hurt The One You Love", by The Mills Brothers. I know nothing whatsoever about The Mills Brothers. Am I missing out on something good?
March 8th: A little "off topic" as they say on Sinister, but I can't stress how fantastic The Vines are. Seen them three times now - twice in Sydney, once last night at the Monarch - and they just get better and better. The single is cool, but the slow stuff (Big Star, Brian Wilson, etc, etc) is the best. "Autumn Shade" and "Country Mile" are my current favourites. Roll on April 5th!
March 6th: All I'd like to say is that I'm very very sorry. A friend of mine emailed me about a site he does - http://www.blogjam.com - mentioning that he'd made a Random Kitten Generator and it had become ridiculously popular. And before I knew what I was doing, I was copying the code, uploading some new pics and lo...the Random Morrissey Generator was born. More importantly, Phil Wilson of the June Brides wrote to me! Yes, Phil Wilson! From! The! June! Brides! I wasn't really aware of the June Brides when I was younger because I was listening to heavy metal and punk at school while they were jangling around London, but I did see them play a one off gig in 1995 at The Garage. Phil wrote to me with some kind words and even if the site achieves nothing else, it will have been a roaring success in my eyes simply because of this moment. Who next I wonder?
Feb 27th: I saw The White Stripes play last night. Two things. One: their version of "Jolene" just tears my heart open. I first saw them do it properly a few weeks ago in Melbourne (they did it at the Astoria too, but I could hardly hear over the industry chatter) and was amazed at how much raw heartbreak Jack White manages to instill into every line. It really sounds like the narrator's last chance for happiness. And it makes you think - what an amazing and underrated songwriter Dolly really is. Has anyone else managed to capture the desperation of love so perfectly? Two: they did "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself". Nice try, but it didn't work. How can anything, anyone compare to the majesty of Dusty's voice in her finest hour? The only moment when they started to come even close to the original was the bit that goes "like a summer rose/needs the sun and rain..." all fuzzed up and magnificent. Other than that, well it was a nice nod but not much more. Even so, one out of two is one more than anyone else is managing right now.