Monday, 25 April 2016

Who is Mick Paisley?

My pocketsdeskmind
Two out of three ain’t bad

But who is Mick Paisley?

By dollopthickmind
Who he may be, that lad

Mick Paisley?

I tryIjustcan’tfind
Why I want to chat

It’s written on a ticket.
It came out of a jacket.

Mick Paisley:
Who are you, and why
Are youonthisgreenscrap
Of paper?

Mick Paisley
Ah maybe you’re one of my
Mates’ friendsgettingakebab
I wager?

I know you, Mick Paisley!

Too many guesses, too bad.
I’ve justrealisedIwrote
This clutter:

It ain’t a bloke, it’s a shopping list.
One item parsley: the other milk.

Monday, 18 April 2016

I used to be a music journalist, I tell people these days when they ask.

I reckon I've seen 1,000 bands over about 20 years on and off of playing, watching, writing about and generally living music. I never actually kept any record of the gigs at the time, which I now think was stupid. But I have been writing about the gigs I can remember, or the bands I can remember seeing. It's an ongoing project just for myself really. But here's one entry anyway.

Xerxes Xylophone and the Cum Snot Bastards
Various, Bangor & Liverpool, 91-96 / 2000-2005ish

Not the name of a real band, I don’t think. Although I might use it myself, to go with my other non-playing bands with no actual members including Joe And The Bastards, Gay Dutchmen, Comedy Germans, Dolphin Rape (featuring Brian Wright), Art Brut 53310761, Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen Pen And The Pencils, et cetera.

But the concept is the same: Noisy band, probably youngish, certainly not conventional musicianship (although sometimes there’d be absolute virtuosos in the most unlikely of groups), playing in a basement in front of about 25 people and making an absolutely fucking fantastic racket whilst sweat dripped down off the black ceiling into the dark, dank little shithole of a venue. These gigs are often the best: pure DIY, punky, alternative stuff with audiences as interesting as the bands – if not more so. 

Fashion? Of a kind: sometimes you’d get the punk/goth/industrial/whatever uniform-types, but more often than not it was more like anything goes so you’d get punters in wedding dresses, full make-up, clutching bouquets (and that was just the men), fully-dolled-up gorgeous women doing it for a laugh, maybe wearing DMs and a LBD at the same time, suited n booted ska-boys, scruffbags (me) and everything in between. And nobody judged; you might get comments: “nice bra, Paul” and so on, but it was always a given that you just did what you wanted.

These gigs made me and saved me. There’s something completely brilliant about being amidst misfits and weirdoes (whether self-identified, or dubbed thus by straight-head dickheads) that makes/made me always feel like I somehow belonged on the planet. That was not always something I took for granted and quite a lot of the time during my life I’ve wondered why the hell I, me, the essence that looks out from these eyes, whatever, why I am... why I am, and nobody else. I look at other people and they often seem like they know what it’s about. I’m older now and know that’s really not the case: at most, they might not be thinking about it at that precise moment. Confidence is borne on such dismissals of self, I think. 

But put 25 people together, maybe a bit pissed up, maybe on speed or pills or whatever, crank up the amps to ear-bothering levels of scrappy, sscrrrarighhhhhhy feedback, and set the riffs on fire. It creates its own energy, its own moment, its own womb away from the bullshit and the blether of those who live above ground. I’ve not had that transformative/dislocative/disassociative experience in years. Often, I’d wander into a venue with a mate and there it would be, unbidden but powerful and alive. Electric shocks of clock-stopping bastardy that deny analysis by nature.

After the fact, try and explain it to someone. It ain’t easy. Impossible, really, which is why gig reviews were once so revered from all those who couldn’t be there. It’s why you’d get such flowery, flowing and adjectival journalism that veered far, far away from objectivity in an effort – doomed, of course – to come close to trying to speak to a moment that, as soon as it’s acknowledged, is gone forever, and the spell broken too.

But thank fuck for the buggers and the bumblers, the rusty-stringed one-claw bassists and the taped-together-guitar bashers, the hard-headed drummers and the grunting, preening, anti-positive-anti-positive inconsistent singers.

Thank fuck for the vile, seedy venues with the dodgy electrics and the puddles of beer under the feet; the sticky-floor shitholes with lino curling up at the edges in disgust; the walls palimpsest with year upon year of gig posters, the only things holding the damp, crumbled plaster up; the 50p gigs and the 2 quid to charity gigs and the please-buy-our-tape(CD/Minidisc/Vinyl)-so-we-can-afford-to-get-petrol just-off-stagers; the one-channel PA with fucked crossover and burnt out tweeters.

Thank fuck for the place that music really lives. All the rest, in comparison, is corporate Kardashian-burnished, super-sanitised football ground sit-down orchestrated play-the-famous-one-in-the-encore bullshit.

Thank fuck I got to experience all that. Outside those moments, you have to do things like I did today which has been mostly talking to people about boilers and council tax and fucking changing tariffs on gas and looking at life insurance and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.