Sunday, September 26, 2004


Last week, I travelled over to Stoke Newington to meet John Eden. Was a most unholy night, the black sky streaked with spectres (or possibly rogue Tesco bags). After knocking back a few sigils, we ended up querying why people treat Wire as some dead intellectual 'punk' band when their lyrics aren't particularly more intelligent than, say , Sham 69's or Slaughter and the Dogs'. It's a mystery how drivel like "No bush but trees thicken /which now, rooster or chicken" and "Now you ain't got a number / you just want to rhumba / and there ain't no way / you're gonna go under" is held up as 'challenging' and arty when it's patently just culled from the 'stick anything in as long as it rhymes' sixth form canteen of lyricism.

It's certainly not a patch on THIN LIZZY's lyrics. Sadly, Phil Lynott's post-corpse cred seems to have stalled at merely being the son-in-law of Leslie Crowther who did a groovy version of Whiskey In The Jar and that old chestnut The Boys Are BAck in Town. However, Lynott, a monster-cocked, underclass mongrel, harder than a bulldozer driven by a Pit Bull with a hornet up its arse, came up with some lyrical belters that'd send those smug, sneering Wire dolts back to art school with their bushy tails between their legs. Check this shit out

"Down at the juke joint, me and the boys were stompin'
Bippin' and boppin' and telling a dirty joke or two
In walks this chick and I knew she was up to somethin'
So I kissed her right there, out of the blue
I said, hey babe, meet me, I'm a tough guy
Got my cycle (NB - pronounced 'sickel') outside, wanna ride?
She just looked at me and rolled her big eyes
And said, 'Ooh, I'd do anything for you
Cos you're a rocker!'
That's right! I'm a rocker!"

Apart from actually sounding like he'd had sex with someone - a factor, er, missing from Wire's corny Chairs Missing - Lynott was preaching Dublin-style black militancy as far back as in 1972. On the incendiary Black Boys On The Corner , he was declaring "I'm a little black boy, and I don't know my proper place / I'm a little black boy, I'll take on anybody, any race". And while Wire and their ilk were using rhyming dictionaries to cook up their codswallop, they never scaled the heights of Lynott's completely unselfconscious jive, which threw up such improbable classics as

"I like to play at poker - joker
I like to back a race - ace! "

Also worth a spin is the '76 anthem Jailbreak, which concludes

"Searchlight on my trail
Tonight's the night all systems fail
Hey you! Good looking female
.....C'mere! "

Anyway, I can't reveal anything else me and John talked about, as it's secret. So, instead, why not check out Kid Shirt where's there some great recollections of Yeovil's old acid house / new beat scenes, including a hilarious bit about a self-destructing flat party.

(NOTE - I've since changed my mind, and think 'Chairs Missing' is 'alright')

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


(NOTE- It was September 2004. The blogosphere slept. Marcello Carlin was having an argument in K-Punk's comments boxes about who was the best writer ever. Matt Woebot was inundated with rude emails demanding to know when he was going to rip his 20,000-platter collection to MP3, or something. And Paul Meme, reclining in a velvet smoking jacket, neckerchief and pea-green trousers in his Sheffield castle, pronounced, 'Blogging is dead'. Still, mustn't grumble - this period witnessed the birth of the West Country blog massive - and also of the first ever proper BTi 'rant'. If you're ever short of ideas, just do a post slagging off some counter-cultural, avant-garde musician type, it always does the trick)

According to legend, Johnny Jinks, mayor of Sligo in the 1920s, was carried in a chair by local youths up the side of the mountain known as Ben Bulben every Easter...until one fateful year, when the group of boys selected to bear him shouted 'To hell with this!' and flung him over the edge, to his death.

Well, I've been to a lot of Riot Grrl gigs, but I'd never seen anything quite as punk fucking rock as the All-Ireland Donkey Derby before. Held in Mullaghmore, Sligo, Ireland's wild west, this event managed to draw a pretty impressive crowd last Sunday, despite a complete downpour / mudbath. I had to be stretchered off, past the psychic / tarot caravan and a load of tweed-capped OAPs, after laughing too hard. Sadly, one of the donkeys was withdrawn from Race 4, after "being interfered with". The proceeds were all going to Africa, so when I see starving children on TV, at least I can rest assured that the 10 Euros I blew on the utterly useless Big Man and Lightning (who was more interested in unseating his teenage rider than actually plodding towards the finish line) went to a good cause. Mind you, they never said where the proceeds were going, so apologies to Peter Tatchell if I've unwittingly funded Robert Mugabe's death squads. Then some nuns turned up in a Saab, so I fled to the safety of a local pub. Very weird, the smoking ban over there. I'm not sure why Ireland was selected for this grotesque infringement of liberty (well actually, I am), but remember Scotland and the poll tax. It's a dummy run for England, I warn you. There'll be a smoking ban in London bars and pubs before 2006 is out. If they tried this shit on in Italy, they'd get chairs through the windows.

After a drunken flight home (surrounded by Hare Krishnas - don't get me started), I stumbled in last night and switched on the box, only to see a naked man with a small penis, lying on his back, splattered in blood. That'd be Hermann Nitsch then. I decided to pull out my battered copies of the Musik Der 66 Aktion, Day of Dionysius and 7.Synfonie CDs , to see if they were worth blogging about. If you're in a bit of a rush, then the answer is "No, they're not", so see ya later - no need to read on. I can't actually remember buying these, but either way, we're dealing with 76-minute long "tracks", most of which sound the same (yes I'm overgeneralising here, but if this saves ONE curious, avant-garde diggin' child from wasting their pocket money...).

Nitsch got his big break at the Destruction in Art Symposium, hosted at the ICA in London in 1966, and co-starring German-born / HAckney-based auto-destructive art star Gustav Metzger. The gig sounds like a bit of a blinder - Nitsch arrested for writhing around in the street outside, playing with bovine guts and headbutting dead chickens, while Yoko Ono jacked up in the dressing room (her work, Cut, involved members of the audience being invited to remove her clothing with scissors). Ono, who never really had good taste in men, invited Nitsch to NYC to hang around with the Fluxus mob - leaving Metzger to pay the fine for the ICA fracas.

Nitsch eventually returned to Europe a stone heavier, his time immersed in Fluxus having taught him nothing. You can take the boy out of the abbatoir, but boy, Nitsch loved his raw meat! And so began Aktionism, and subsequently, the genesis of the 'Orgien Mysterien Theater’ (ie- Nitsch's 'collective' / cronies who meet up whenever he decides to host yet another foot'n'mouth cull in the name of performance art)Whereas Stockhausen is effortlessly cool, Nitsch has piled on the pounds and facial fungus to the point that he now resembles a gluttonous Jehovah's Witness. 'Aktions' are conducted in hired-out castles, Nitsch directing his Orchestra From Hell to blast the audiences (mostly European media chicks who never really got over the Ferrero Rocher 'Ambassador's Reception' adverts, and drunken academics) with atonal brass drones, while a group of Fame school rejects in white shirts and trousers run around throwing offal at each other and pouring BSE-infected plasma over crucified, blindfolded men with small peni. Occasionally, animal rights' groups threaten these events (at which the livestock are actually butchered), normally to be met with counter-threats by Nitsch's violently paranoid wife.

However, the aural documents just don't cut it. I'd pick Track 1, Disc 1 of 7.Synfonie (from 1985, which has been released on CD by ? Records) as being the most enjoyable of the lot - swirls of chaotic military percussion meet anguished shards of trumpet, weird disjointed "AAAAAAHHHH" choir vocals, and what sounds like scrambled broadcasts of American marching music - sounds great at night or during a snowstorm. The problem being that I can't tell much of a difference between this piece and the others, except the other pieces seem to suffer from limited soundscapes, and lack a variety of noises. Disc 2 of Musik Der 66 Aktion (recorded in 1980, now on the Italian Alga Marghen label), for instance, is unbearably tedious, consisting of little more than a stream of high-pitched whistles (I suppose it might have inspired the UK power electronics scene) - for well over 70 minutes. And in the instances where something genuinely interesting does waft out of the speakers, you realise that it's sandwiched between two half-hour chunks of excrutiatingly boring art wank, on one index point. Combined with the snob factor (Cortical Foundation aren't selling these limited edition re-issues cheap, y'know) surrounding the whole packaging, these albums might well be highly fetishised. But unlike TG rarities , I can't see anyone getting really turned on by them.

DISCLAIMER 1- I know I know fuckall about cultural theory, but even I can tell Nitsch ain't in Stockhausen's league.

DISCLAIMER 2 - you were warned it probably wasn't worth reading

DISCLAIMER 3 - I don't know for sure whether Yoko Ono shagged Nitsch. It'd be easy for me to lead you down some garden path, suggesting that Nitsch came up with the whole Aktionist shebang in an order to distract her attentions from the odious John Lennon - but I'm sure some cultural theorist would shoot me down in flames. A bit like using a bazooka on a wasp, but they'd do it all the same!

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