Friday, July 22, 2005
Two Weeks Of Mayhem
Yes I guess I haven't had a chance to check this Blog for a couple of weeks in the meantime, things have gone kind of ballistic, with some serious changes. Leading off on the personal - I've moved house again, hopefully for the final time this year, but that was all a bit of a drama in itself.
CHANGES OF ABODE
I had been waiting seven weeks to move into a rooftop apartment in Clot (photos earlier in this Blog, the huge 50m2 place with the terrace), however when I turned up to pay the remainder of the deposit, with a view to moving in on the 18th... the owner gracefully informed me that he had decided to stay put - he had been offered a long term job locally and it was something that he couldn't afford to turn down. As this was the second time he had done this to me, then needless to say my reaction was a little less than graceful - involving lots of cussing & waving my hands in the air, and as he was English it wasn't even possible to blame this on any kind of cultural misinterpretation. Resulting with my stomping off in a fury - spitting & cursing.
So I had to get down to some serious work in all the local English language websites - tracking down a new apartment, that was going to suit me. Managed to get through a good half dozen before I found the right baby for me... some were disastrous, one was just a smelly squat on a roof, one looked like your 80 year old maiden aunt had just nipped out to buy some sherry, one was in the mysterious "Catalan half floor" between the top of a shop and the rest of the apartment building proper... OK if you're a dwarf or like to feel like you're starring in "Being John Malcovitch". Another in Gracia was in a fairly modern 70's block with an incredible wall unit, full of the weirdest nooks and crannies, I liked that but unfortunately there was not a single stick of furniture, so that was out of the question for the time being.
Finally I came up with a kind of a compromise, which is a nice one bedroom, living room, kitchen & bathroom new conversion in El Raval, in the very beautifully named Calle de la Lluna or "Street of the Moon", not really as romantic as it sounds - but pretty cool. It's a bit more expensive than I would have liked (especially after the two months deposit & one month agency fee) however it has virtually everything I need - TV, washing machine, fridge, microwave, kitchen stuff, iron & ironing board all the furniture & bedding... and the rent includes all the bills and wi-fi web connection. It's up on the first floor, so there is a little balcony where you can sit with your feet up, drinking tea and watching all the domestic dramas unfolding in the street below or on all the other balconies - as it's pushing 30 degrees most days at the moment, there is a tendency for most people to live their lives outside anyway. Watched the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" the other day - but had to turn it off - to many strange similarities, except for Grace Kelly of course... but a chap can always dream.
What else? place has a huge beautiful roof terrace, from where you can see all across El Raval to MACBA and beyond - so some nice lazy afternoons up there must be on the cards. The street itself is paved so there's no regular traffic coming through, except people making deliveries and kids on motos, there's a crazy parrot or miner bird a few houses down that chats all day long and a dusty old shop selling nothing but microscopes and cutaway display models of the human body (thats a bit spooky). Also by a complete coincidence by mate Lloyd & his wife live upstairs, I had no idea until I agreed the deal with the housing agent & she was telling me who else lived in the building - although we go out drinking & to gigs a lot, I had never been to his house before I ended up living in it! Other good things include the huge number of very cool old bars in the barrio, places that have obvious been here fifty years or more - the excellent La Paloma ballroom is just around the corner & it's walking distance to everywhere you could ever want to be in central Barcelona, so no more waiting for that bloody N4 Nitbus, back to Gracia at the end of a long nights drinking.
Bad points - the huge proliferation of tasty Doner Kebap houses in the nearby streets & on Rambla de Raval... and they are all open until really late at night as well, so wherever you may be after a few ice cold, foaming golden cerveza beer drinks - there is always going to be a tasty Shish Tawuck between you and your bed. Nothing like waking up in the morning & finding garlic sauce stains all down the front of last night's shirt, & wondering how long you'd been staggering around in that state without noticing.
So last weekend was spent moving - despite the oppressive heat, trundling all my little boxes of goodies (well books, cds & vinyl really) onto the bus on my little trolley from Gracia to Raval - getting to a destination & crashing out with a litre of orange juice & plenty of ice, then back the other way & doing the same. Big ups to my friend Rebeca who was nice enough to help me out with her car as well... This week has been spent filling all the empty shelves & cupboards with all the stuff you need when you get somewhere new - all the boring shit, like cleaning products & cooking stuff... yawn.
CHANGES OF CIRCUMSTANCE
I do seriously regret not being able to have made it over to Las Vegas for Ned & Naomi's wedding on the 9th July, at the "Little Church Of The West" - it looked like great fun & a honeymoon in the giant pyramid of the Luxor hotel - that's living it up. One question though - what happened to having your photo taken on the giant revolving swans at Caesars Palace? Still I can always say "I was there back in the day when they 'nearly did it before', January 1999... remember it well, if it hadn't been for that big sexy Klingon in the Star Trek exhibition - he must have turned her head that day"...
Need to write some more but it's going to have to wait until later - I can hear those Doner Kebaps a calling from afar...
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Live8 - what it was really all about!
In just one day of record sales, HMV has reported massive sales increases for artists who performed at Live 8 at the weekend. With Pink Floyd receiving an absolutely staggering 1343% increase in record sales - not bad for a band who haven't shared the same stage in twenty years! Full figures for Monday 4th are follows:
1 Pink Floyd - Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd - 1343%
2 The Who - Then and Now - 863%
3 Annie Lennox - Eurythmics Greatest Hits - 500%
4 Dido - Life For Rent - 412%
5 Razorlight - Up All Night - 335%
6 Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits - 320%
7 Joss Stone - Mind, Body and Soul - 309%
8 Sting - The Very Best of Sting & The Police - 300%
9 Travis - Singles - 268%
10 Madonna - Immaculate Collection - 200%
"Even allowing for the relative nature of this exercise, where back catalogue sales of the more established acts are being measured from a fairly low base, this snapshot shows that Live 8 is having a marked effect on sales - just like its predecessor 20 years ago," Gennaro Castaldo (HMV)
Of course, it has not yet been announced how much of a share of these increased record sales, the above artists and their record companies will be donating towards famine relief in Africa... if any at all. Also no figures yet on if any of the African performers appearing at the far less publicised event in Cornwall - have experienced even the slightest increase in sales.
Still not to worry - as the ever odious Robbie Williams said backstage 'Make Poverty History and Get Robbie Laid - they're the two messages we've got today.' - and with the highest viewing figures of the day on the BBC - 9.6 million! and a 320% sales increase - I'd say he really did get laid, and a lot of other people got fucked! They just don't realise it yet.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Really, why would you bother?
Talking about musicians that hate each others guts, with regard to Pink Bloody Floyd reforming especially to do Live8. How about this little gem from Popbitch:
Crosby, Stills & Nash are currently on tour in Europe - but they hate one another so badly that years ago they refused to share the same stage again - consequently whilst they are playing now - one stands on a rug, another on parquet flooring and the third on lino - so in theory they're not actually sharing the same stage! They also all travel in different tour buses, stay at different hotels, have different management teams around them. Really if you hate your fellow musicians that much, why would you bother - unless of course it's all about the Benjamins... "Teach Your Children Well"... bloody ex-hippies!
Gig & DJ List - June 2005
Phew... A slow start but then turned into a bit of a busy month on the gig front, especially in a reggae stylee - lots of old classics:
16/06/05 - SONAR (Dia), BCN
17/06/05 - Subtle, Durutti Column, Mouse On Mars @ SONAR (Dia), BCN
18/06/05 - Noah23, Soul Jazz Sound System @ SONAR (Dia), BCN
18/06/05 - Soulwax, LCD Soundsystem, Miss Kittin, Luke Vibert, Richie Hawtin, DJ Yoda, De La Soul, Cut Chemist, M.I.A. @ SONAR (Noche), BCN
25/06/05 - John Wayne, Echo Minott, Soul Stereo, One Blood, Neblina (Sound Systems) @ Kasal del Guinardo, BCN
27/06/05 - Barrington Levy & Detour Posse @ Razzmatazz 2, BCN
29/06/05 - Israel Vibration & Roots Radics Band @ Razzmatazz 2, BCN
Live8? No Thanks!
Celine Bloody Dion - the Queen of the Bland, who the hell let her out of retirement? For God's sake, who thinks that her inane caterwauling is really going to help save lives in Africa? Maybe she's got another "Greatest Hits" coming out in the near future, needs a nice little sales boost. Thank you Canada Live8 - and Bryan Bloody Adams as well, talk about the dull leading the turgid, for some reason Flaix TV (the Catalan MTV) seems to be obsessed with that dumb "Room Service" song, if ever have to hear that shit again, I'm heaving the TV out the window. Don't even get me started on the Barenaked Ladies!
Live8, how much more transparent could it get - Bob Geldof's old cronies must be rubbing their hands with glee and the new bands? Coldplay, Dido, Razorlight - talk about a bunch of lowest common denominator corporate puppies. In a previous Blog i was complaining about the lack of African or reggae artists on the bill - what do we get? UB bloody 40, talk about reggae-lite shite for couples from Milton Keynes, to listen too while driving the Astra. And Pink Floyd these guys hate each others guts so much that they haven't even been able to speak for the last fifteen years - you cannot tell me that this is not a cynical ploy to get the old back catalogue ticking over again.
I would indeed like to see a graph of how all these faded 80's has-beens, will see their record sales picking up immediately after this event, half of them haven't even had a hit in this century. I would really like to have seen somebody take up Damon Albarn's suggestion that at least one of these artists or their record companies - agree to donate a sizeable chunk of the royalties (that they'll be receiving through enhanced record sales) towards aid for Africa - but we all know that the chances of that happening are about 0.
As for Bob Geldof himself, for a "great campaigner for Africa" he certainly seems pretty happy to let the G8 world's leaders off-the-hook, with a remark like "no-one is to blame" (for Africa's poverty). There are a great many people to blame for Africas' plight... Europe and the west has been raping Africa for 300 years, stealing her land, her resources, her minerals, her food. Even stealing her people and using them to run the western economy, slavery wasn't abolished in the USA until only 140 years ago - there are still a great many western companies who's wealth is founded on profits from the slave trade.
"No-one to blame" - what crap - how about Adi Amin and all the other dictators installed by the USA / UK... that is why Africa is in such a mess. Nelson Mandela is an incredibly forgiving individual, but we know that he would never have been in jail for all those years if the South African government had not been tipped off by the CIA, as too his whereabouts. How about the American drug companies refusing to allow licences for African companies to locally produce drugs to fight against AIDS, because it might undermine their profits. What about the American intervention in Somalia / Mogadishu and subsequent withdrawl leaving thousands of people in a far worse-off situation. The list is endless.
Sorry Sir Bob - there are a hell of a lot of people to blame for Africa's situation (and a great many are running the G8 nations) - and the west should be giving the Africans what they deserve, not as an act of charity with Elton Bloody John up on the podium - but as a REPAYMENT OF THE DEBT, that WE OWE AFRICA, for our on-going exploitation of their country, it's people and it's resources.
So yeah, I'm cynical about Live8 - think it might have been something to do with the article in which i read that Sir Bob wouldn't refuse a Lordship if it was offered to him.