Friday, October 27, 2006



"'Ere mate," the taxi driver was spouting, "This Muslim bird knocked on me door. I spoke to her through the letterbox and said 'SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT!'"

"Keep your eyes on the road, you buffoon!" I screamed, as we nearly veered into a block of flats on the New North Road. Fuck the veil debate. I used to wear a brown paper bag over my head, with eyeholes clawed out, when I was 13, and it infuriated me when I was ordered by teachers to remove this DIY mask. I thought I looked quite debonairre, in a sort of "King of the Rocketmen" way. Jesus - do you remember that programme? I note that KOTR's conveniently evaded the 'hauntology' radar. All this talk about futures that never were, well, that nob-headed ponce with his strap-on hoover / jetpack is one future I'm bloody glad never materialised. Fancy shooting a nuclear missile out of the sky with a handgun! But back to veils. If I was a secular Muslim, I'd start wearing one just to piss everyone off. And what's all this muck about living in times of unprecedented terrorism? Er, no disrespect to the people who got maimed and killed on July 7 last year, but can you actually recall the 1980s? There were IRA bombs and embassy sieges kicking off left right and centre. Oh, the kids today are so violent - feral tykes running riot through the night! How I yearn for the halcyon days when young people in Burnt Oak entertained themselves by surrounding some bloke in a wheelchair, doing Joey Deacon impersonations and threatening to set him on fire, and when a more innocent generation, untainted by sick grime lyrics, would lob bricks and darts at each others' heads during the pageants of aggro that were Barnet vs Enfield matches...


Anyway, we live in such violent times that I needed a bit of UK fast chat dancehall to sort me out. Basically, if you live in London and missed this, I pity you. The Albany Empire was pretty much rammed though this is probably the only dancehall event I've been to where I was sitting in the wings, overlooking the stage! I got a bit sentimental, I have to admit - being back in South East London for the first time in years, hearing Culture's Two Sevens Clash get a rewind, being at a gig where it takes 20 minutes to get served at the bar, etc. LORNA G was introduced as "having appeared on Eastenders", and did a couple of lovers-style anthems, though I think most people were too busy trying to figure out which character she'd been. Maybe she played the social worker when Arthur Fowler went mad. I'm not a big fan of Eastenders. It annoys me that the show features an idiotic, barely articulate Spurs fan called Martin. And as for Dirty Den getting shot and falling into the canal, and then coming back to life, what a load of rubbish, a dog could have knocked up a better script on a ZX Spectrum.

PAPA LEVI coughed up fire on the obligatory airing of Mi God Mi King, causing John Eden to have a dizzy spell, before knocking out a fuss-free ragga rant. It was also great to see TOP CAT, looking dapper in an electric blue suit, though sadly I missed Push Up Your Lighter as I was in the toilet - typical! No offence to any of the MCs, but TIPPA IRIE probably came out pon top. Sure, he played the schmaltzy 1986 hit Hello Darling, causing myself, Eden, Magz Hall and Xylitol star Jim Bunnyhausen to wince, but sod it - he's been around for years, hasn't remotely slowed down and the tune made him a pile of cash, so you can allow him the odd indulgence. And then it was on to a dancehall frenzy, including a song I presume's called No Talent, where Tippa disses manufactured pop troupes like the Spice Girls, Ricky Martin and Hear Say (so he's only a few years out with his cultural references...). The hyped up crowd lapped it up.

The evening concluded with LESLIE LYRICS announcing that reggae's the music of peace and that everyone's always welcome, which might sound like sentimental tosh in the cold light of a Friday morning - but I honestly don't think anyone that Saturday night would have wanted to be anywhere else.

Best laugh - "PUT UP YUH HAND!" (black and white crowd raises hands) "PUT UP YUH HAND!" (everyone really getting into it) "PUT UP YUH HAND IF YOU'RE AN AFRICAN!" (white hands suddenly fall)


I know, I know - you're now racking your brains trying to remember who Lorna G played in Eastenders. Incidentally, have you ever seen the film Scrubbers? It's basically a female version of Scum, though with less blood. Anyway, Pat Butcher's in that, playing a screw. So is ex-punk star Honey Bane - the one who once recorded an anti-porn song with Crass, went on to pose in porn mags and did that Selecter rip-off chart hit Turn Me On, Turn Me Off. Anyway, stop thinking about all that, shut up and listen to this!

Catch 22 bar's just a stone's throw from BASH, which was also on last night. However, Jim Backhaus put me on the guest list - and Kevin Martin didn't. No contest! I'm a freeloading bastard and proud of it.

XYLITOL was first on stage, with Jim announcing that the set would be thematically based on towerblocks and alienation. As well as playing Marike, the beautiful but short Lull, Ye Ye Electronique and the killer Joe Hawkins from the FUNCTIONARY CD, there was also a number dedicated to Andy Martin's Hackney-based anarcho-outfit Unit, featuring samples of what sounded like Chinese martial music.

The next band up were OK, the drummer was making a load of gutteral noises down his mic in Nihilist Spasm Band fashion, while someone else pissed around with a synth. The third and fourth bands were sort of 'skewed' rock bands, but I didn't fancy the cut of their jib much -sorry. I'm not sure if I imagined the 5th band , but it seemed like a posse of Mexican bandits were sitting cross-legged on the floor playing free-form synth noise, while the singer dragged people up from the audience and made them read out libellous prose about Billy Bragg. The 6th band were half-naked, but I can't remember them playing much, I think their guitar was up the spout. And then I made a prize tit of myself by tripping on the stairs and dousing someone's arm with Grolsch. I dunno, can't take me anywhere, not even back to apologise....


So anyway, veils. I mean, they're reckoning that if Muslim teachers wear them, schoolkids will feel alienated and distracted. Too right - I'm sure one of the reasons I never did well at Science was the fact that the facially-visible brute who taught us used to start every lesson with the rant, "OK, same old names...stand up! Benson...C*****...Gilmartin...Kemal....what's this rubbish? (waving around our homework) Well, you jokers are in the hot seat!" Well, you old cunt, you're probably dead now, and it wasn't my fault I thought that water 'combusted'. Maybe we should have been taught by someone who actually knew her stuff but only chose to show us her eyes. Science class was the most dismal period in my life, to be honest. You'd think it's a subject that deserves to be brought alive, turned into a fascinating blaze of colour, mystery and creativity. All I can remember is someone squirting another kid with a pipette filled with pee, nearly killing myself with a bunsen burner, one kid putting pencil lead in the fishtank to see if the fish came down with lead poisoning (I suppose it's a valid enough experiment), being sent out a lot, and a gruesome What Is Pregnancy? video, where a grim close-up of some fallopian tubes (accompanied by some awful sub-Jean Michel Jarre ambient) was interrupted by a kid called Steve, who blurted out "That's where I stick my cock!"
Great review of the night at the Albany!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?