Tuesday, July 24, 2007

From the pen (or keyboard) of Goldilocks...

The title for this blog is entirely irrelevant to any of its contents. It's just that I had porridge for tea the other night, as I had nothing else in and couldn't be bothered leaving the house! It made me think that, whilst being a grown-up and having to deal with life head on (it really just doesn't work out if you try to ignore it, and its obligations, completely) does have its drawbacks, there are also the perks…such as having as many shovels of sugar as you like, with no-one to tell you it will rot your teeth! Small blessings etc. etc.

There was a stage, aged about 14, where I would talk about naming a child of mine Porridge…jokingly, naturellement. This was primarily because I find it to be such an amusing word. Porridge was to be a daughter, and I was to christen (or at least name; I personally don't believe in all that deity hype) her younger brother Spam. Chortle. A friend of mine at the time decided that she would name her children Polly, Esther, Kurt and Anne, in that order…so that when she called them in for tea, she could screech "Polyester Curtain". This stuff could only be conceived by the minds of 14 or 15 year olds eh? Like on those 'come on, be a teacher, we dare you' adverts…the stuff the teenagers say seems vaguely annoying to watch as an adult, but I bet, behind the scenes, they are wetting themselves over the 'in joke'. I kind of miss all that sometimes…when everything seemed so hilarious.

All this because of a bowl of porridge! It was posh M&S apple, raisin and cinnamon porridge…but it still required a good dose of sugar to help the medicine go down.

So, I went to another gig last night. This time it was Ruthie Foster, again at The Cluny. I'm seriously considering moving to Austin (well, not really, but I would like to pay those honky tonks a visit)…she is the third consecutive act I've seen at The Cluny that comes from there…must be something in the water!

I didn't know a great deal about Ms Foster before going to see her, to be honest. I just thought she sounded worth checking out…both from what the Jumpin' Hot Club had written about her, and from listening to the tunes she has on her My Space page (seriously, how did we, musically, survive before this?). And worth checking out she was. Five of us trundled along (I had to flog two tickets in the queue, as two people had pulled out…I'm totally going to resolve not to be the chief ticket-buyer in future…the problem with that is it means I often don't get to go to the things I want to), none of us with any very well-formed idea of what she might be like.

I would summarise it as kind of bluesy-soulish (yes, very specific!)…she has a great gospel voice that sounds sort of like Bettye Lavette, only less weathered. Somewhere between Tracey Chapman and Aretha, if you can imagine that. She proclaimed a love of Sam Cooke whilst on stage, and that is fine by me! She also told stories about meeting Odetta (the woman has an amazing voice…seriously, if you haven't heard of her, you must have a listen…she's a folkish singer from about the 1950s…even Bob Dylan has sited her as an influence) and Jessie May Hemphill.

She did a cover of 'Oh Susannah', which was lovely, but un-sing-along-able, and an accomplished Lucinda Williams cover. The latter is on the cd which I bought, which has some great cuts, including some consummate originals by Ms Foster herself, the best being 'Heal Yourself' and 'Mama Said'. I didn't hang around to meet this one, as she looked to be deep in conversation...even though we'd bonded stage to floor over Sam Cooke.

I didn't catch the name of the man that was supporting. He was an Aussie fella who played some great slide guitar. He sung Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and 'Stagger Lee'; but there was something a bit annoying about him when he talked between songs. The audience seemed rather underwhelmed.

This gig coincided with the end of the Ouseburn Festival. I like the Ouseburn Festival. I missed it, however, this year, as there was no-one who wanted to go along, and I was mostly asleep anyway! For those of you who haven't been, it's a nice, relaxed, sitting outside drinking in the sun (if there is any!) kind of affair, round some jolly pleasant pubs offering live music, stalls, 'activities' and suchlike. It's probably my favourite pub 'crawl' in Newcastle round there – the Tanners, Cluny, Tyne, Cumberland, Free Trade…even the Ship is better than the average watering hole. Steve and Ben, who came along to the gig last night, have never been before, so I'm thinking a lazy day's Saturday boozing may be in order soon…just to get them acquainted with the locale, you understand.

Round there, there are plenty of places where you can sit outside, should it be sufficiently clement and, perhaps, should you be a smoker. I have been thinking, however, that now would be a great time to invest in shares in companies manufacturing awnings and patio heaters…there will be an awful lot of pubs having to think up novel ways of not just having you standing outside on the street corner in the rain cluttering up the place!

Speaking of rain…I still haven't told you about the Unknown Pleasures thingy at the Lowry on Salford Quays have I? The one at which New Young Pony Club and Gossip were playing. I arrived chez Tom early, and Tom is notorious for being late…in summary, I had to sit in my car and wait for him to get home for about an hour and a half! Thankfully, I had anticipated this (although my bladder had not…I was so glad when he eventually arrived home!), and therefore had brought a book with me ('Still Life with Woodpecker', Tom Robbins – I shall include some choice quotations further down the page).

We made it to the Quays (after me sending Tom back in for his umbrella-ella-ella…it was pissing down! On which note, is society as a whole just suffering from some massive aberration? I am the only person I know who doesn't think that that song is really rather super indeed) in okay time…I always panic far too much about being late. We didn't see a great deal of New Young Pony Club, unfortunately, as we were in a bar outside the Lowry Centre itself, and there had been huge, opaque, metal barriers put up so that those who didn't have a ticket couldn't see in…spoil sports. We actually did have tickets, but had decided to have a wander in between bands…and then couldn't take our pints from there into the main site. Anyway, we heard them and managed to catch the end of them on stage...they were good (I understand that this word is not especially ebullient…I was just a little unmoved by the whole day to be honest…the sound system was poor and I didn't feel any kind of 'buzz' within the audience. Anyway, moving on…)…very young and bouncy (in the physically active on stage sense!).

Next up were The Horrors, who I pretty much knew I was going to hate even before they came on stage; just from the few things I have read in the press about their frontman's antics…all a bit 'oh, I'm so cool and trendy, but I don't care' Pete Doherty-ish…the frontman is called Faris Rotter for fuck's sake! I'm so glad I wasn't a young'un when this whole 'emo' thing was going on...is going on. I think Tom put it best when he said "It's like seeing five Russell Brands all on stage together".

This, my friends, is not a good thing.

Whilst we are (or at least I am) talking about Tom...I was listening to Sunny Sweeney (yes, again) the other day. She does a cover of the song '16th Avenue', which contains the lyrics "There's cowboys, drunks and Christians / Mostly white and black and blue". I have always thought that this was fairly ludicrous...but then I factored in Tom.

Tom is a skinny wee Scotsboy with vaguely ginger leanings. He is so pasty that his skin is, in fact, see-through...and therefore he fits the 'blue' category nicely. The song was obviously written as a nod in his direction...there isn't generally a lot out there in terms of blue rights.

But I digress...back to the intended rant. Gossip were up last, and I was very much looking forward to seeing them. Beth Ditto is one helluva firecracker ("on the fourth of July...[she'll] make your mama beg, [she'll] make your daddy cry" tra la la la la) and, from the (videoed) live performances I have seen she can holler and prance like a good 'un. And she didn't let us down...she strutted and (ha! Sorry to interject again...there's a song currently playing on Radio Free Texas, as I type this, called 'Beer Goggle Blues'...I love country music!!) yawped, wailed and sweated.

Yet, sadly, we were still let down by the sound system...even though she sung her lungs out, bless her little cottons. 10/10 for effort...but, unfortunately you could often barely hear her over the band, except on the quieter numbers. I think their cover of Aaliyah's 'Are U That Somebody' was possibly the show-stealing moment, and I was pleased that they did Fire/Sign, as that's one of my faves. Yr Mangled Heart and Coal to Diamonds, from the latest album, were also grand. I think I'm going to have to try to get to the tail end of Manchester Pride, the day after my friends' wedding in Hampshire though...I feel like I need to see them live again in order that I can appreciate it more.

Oh, and we saw Lee out of Hollyoaks…yes, all the big names were there!

So, as you will see from above, I am still listening to Radio Free Texas most evenings (I am properly addicted to an online game called Joywords, http://www.joytube.com/joy-words/, so I'm here quite a lot...I am such a Scrabble geek! I also had about a day's worth, all told, of addiction to a game called 'Pico's Sim Date', but that's by the by)...I have been introduced to Old Crow Medicine Show (well, reminded to check them out, anyway...I am currently loving their song 'Wagon Wheel'...it's on my MySpace profile right now...having even been good enough to replace a song, by Renegade Rail, called 'Fat Girls and Weed'! You might also want to have a listen to Adam Hood's song 'Play Something We Know'...very catchy), Sam Baker, BlacktopGYPSY, Spivey Crossing, and some suitably upbeat cheese ('Nashpop') called 'Hard To Be Good In Texas' (Candy Coburn).

Next weekend, music/gig-wise, looks set to be a stormer. Friday night it's Nanci Griffith, Saturday a day of free, outside, Americana music (including Holly Golightly), then Sunday Laura Veirs, who, I think I have probably already mentioned at some point, is being supported by folk I know...well done them! (I think I may have to learn to stop over-using the comma! And perhaps the exclamation mark for that matter). Unfortunately Hayseed Dixie are also playing on Sunday, so I'll miss them...it would maybe be possible to catch both them and Laura Veirs (she is on in the afternoon), but I don't think my pal Jules can afford it (I am also rather skint, I just do my best to ignore the fact), and I really can't think of anyone else who'd be interested in going along to that...I'll catch them next time!

Now to the brief, yet customary, section about television advertising. I don't believe that I have had a good rant about the Nationwide ads yet? You know the ones...with the tubby, smarmy gentleman who is generally a bit of a...banker. Fnar. These are, in my opinion, rather foolish. To my mind it makes one associate incredibly bad service with Nationwide themselves...anyone with me? The 'Nationwide: Proud to be different' slogan at the end is just not enough to dislodge the connection that has been made in my little brain...I will always believe that man to be a Nationwide employee...you know, like Howard in the Halifax adverts?

The only other comment-worthy advertising for now is Sheila's Wheels...seriously, if you happened to have a car crash, how embarrassed would you be to have to produce your "bonzer" insurance documents? Perhaps that is the intention behind it...you are so scared that someone might laugh at you for getting your cover from Sheila's Wheels that you make extra specially sure you never crash. Or perhaps it's to stop the person you've crashed into socking you...they're too busy pointing and guffawing instead? Just a thought.

Nearly there now...

As promised above, some snippets from the Tom Robbins book I have just read...I thoroughly enjoyed it in the most, however did get a little sick of the 'oh I'm so quirky and witty' metaphors towards the end. Here's a few corkers though:

- "this is the cherry on top of the cowgirl";
- "I have a black belt in haiku";
- "red hair is caused by sugar and lust";
- "I leased the Charles Bukowski Suite in the Been-Down-So-Long-It-Looks-Like-Up-To-Me Hotel";
- "the sky hung low. It was the colour of moles";
- "...very expensive white carpet…whiter than a toothache";
- "as ruddy and indiscreet as a plastic sack full of hickeys";
- "In the clear desert night, the stars were as wild as popcorn".

Whilst we are quoting, I shall leave you with these words which I heard on (that most educative of media!) the TV recently:

"The past is history, the future's a mystery, the present is a gift…that's why it's called the present".

Live it while you can I say! Grab it in both hands and shake out all that loose change.

Currently addicted to: Body Shop Brazil Nut Body Butter (it smells fantastic!).


--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Hey, I agree! Ruthie's definitely a mix bentwee Aretha and Tracy...Funny post too!

By the way, I tagged you in a meme...I seriously didn't even know what a MEME was until today..he he he! ANyway, my buddy Karloff tagged me so I felt obliged to follow suit. I can see how the chain-game can get annoying so i'll try to make this one-time thing ;p

Divinyl said...

Yeah, it's a shame, all the older posts that I just brought across with me from MySpace seem to have got buried really. This was when I was blogging for pals and people I knew, so was less worried about how it sounded...and I think, for that reason, it reads in a more relaxed way. I shall try to loosen up a bit!

I'm so pleased to be introducing people to new stuff...music means everything to me, it is my passion (in case you hadn't guessed!), so to share that is, for me, the whole point of my being here at Blogspot. Well, that and to have a good rant!

I understand what memes are, but how do I know I'm tagged? Is it across on your blog? (Heads off to have a look).x

--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Honestly, i think the "voice" in your blog comes off as relaxed and engaging--hence the reason i lurk here...I know with my blog i'm all over the shot in terms of the tone and formality of each post. My blog is seriously schizo! LOL! It's all about how you're feeling at the time and how "personal" you want to get with your readers, know what I mean?
P.S. Good luck with your lists...sucka! hehe