Monthly Archives: May 2009

Moving on from guitar music

Lovely and I trekked to Kensal Road to see his colleague’s gig tonight. They were a really good, tight band, almost Killer-esque. Very good musicians. They would have sailed through the Godiva Heats. You tend (I say ‘tend’) to see better bands in cities. I remember going to NYC and every single musician I saw, be it on the street or in a bar, was outstanding.

But the sad thing about indie live music is that, when it starts
1) the drums and wall of sound hits you
2) people start moving away, towards the bar, or somewhere where they can hear their friends
3) the only people left watching are friends of the band.

The poor act have waited hours to go on stage, only for people to start going home after their 2nd song. They are NOT mediocre, and no, you can’t blame the band for not bringing enough people – that’s just the way it is. It’s a weekday night and people wanna get home before midnight. And save money on buying another round. We waved them off as they were loading their expensive gear onto a black cab, which I’m not sure the gig paid for. I hope so.

The act before that was reggae-ish, R&Bish, motownish? Not sure what genre it was but they were a pair of really good Afro-Caribbean singers. See, a backing track is a lot less offensive than a full on band. They enjoyed more of an audience than the headline band. People could bop to their songs and smile. They can also talk over it more easily while being quite near the action.

Now I understand why people don’t really go out to see live guitar bands. Guitar indie (broadly) requires too much concentration. Some forms of music ‘hand out’ themselves more than others. Esp those with strong beats and hooks – pop basically – with more obvious words. They take a lot less effort to appreciate. Think of ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detroit’. Indie has too many words – and I can’t normally make them out in a live setting anyway.

That’s good actually, cos then I can write less. I can write just two lines and be done with it.

People have moved on from indie big time now. Well I certainly have.

I have this folder in my computer called ‘Alt/Rock/Guitar’ containing anything from +/- to Yes and I’ve not touched it for about 2 years. Stereolab has commanded my airspace since 2006 – they are ‘indie’ in the strict sense of the word, but they are more electronic and melodic than the standard guitar band we’ve come to classify post-2000 as ‘indie’ – and nowamonths when I don’t listen to them I listen to 90s dance music or Lady Sovereign. And when I don’t listen to that I listen to Kyoto Jazz Massive. If it’s a sunny day I put on some Trojan Calypso. I used to love going to indie nights, see familiar faces, fellow local music scenesters – so many memories, memories I won’t recreate by choice.

I’ve been listening to a bit of swing and big band recently because I’m compiling good music for my 40s wedding. I’m gonna write about that at some point. It’s coming soon!

What my feet say about me

All I knew, growing up, was ‘queen control!’ cos my 2nd toes are bigger than my big toes. I saw an old school friend do this quiz – since I have so much free time this bank holiday I did it too:

“You are pretty average in your expressiveness. You can express yourself well, but you don’t always want to. You are a very passionate person. You are highly charged and easily inspired. You are an assertive and aggressive person. You are determined and not likely to ever give up. You take a while to fall in love, but once you do, you stay pretty attached to your partner. You are not afraid of anything. You are brave and courageous, even when most people would be terrified. You are intellectual and philosophical. You are more concerned with thoughts than action. You are an amazingly hard worker. You aren’t spoiled and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. You are not easily influenced by other people. You hold your ground and are true to your beliefs. ”
Take the quiz yerself.

Making time

I would love to blog more often. But I can hardly find time to tweet! Have signed up my mobile so I can update on the go but at the end of the day who cares anyway.

I had a filling meal at Ranoush Juice; prior to that, got some shoes from H&M as my toes were peeping out of my Bata flats; prior to that tried to go vintage dress shopping at Portobello but as I was edging towards Notting Hill – smart me started from Ladbroke Grove – it got too crowded and my friend and I gave up and retreated. Bank Holiday + Labour Day crowds I bet.

I’m so comfortable and so happy. I may not be on TV, or in the latest magazine, but I’m so happy to be able to just chill and hang out, eat, have wholesome fun with friends. Definitely happier to be in London as a lot of my friends are here.

When I was in the Midlands most of my time was spent on the computer, playing computer games, rehearsing for gigs, playing gigs. I never went on holiday, had fairly mundane jobs, holding on to the dream. I got very agitated when I saw some frontwomen on TV recently because I could be doing that, and I do that very well. Yes, I’m going book gigs, yes I’m gonna write songs again…but maybe my priorities have changed? Somehow I feel – as morbid as it may be – that the last ever thought I’d ever have won’t be ‘I wish I was famous’ or ‘I wish I was a rockstar’…it’ll be more like ‘I wish I prayed more’ and ‘I love my family’. Wasted potential yes.

Since moving here I prefer spending time with people who mean something to me rather than people I should hang out with because they might get me that gig or some other favour. Maybe now I’ll make more ‘chill’ music because I’m not reliant on it as a ‘business’, and knowing the power of the niche it might actually be better than making music like chipmunks on speed.

Also I don’t really miss the lifestyle of waiting around for your gig to start, kinda fake people you ‘know’ and you always say hello to and don’t go much beyond that, trying to sell T-shirts and CDs, spending lots of money on rehearsals for gigs that suck, spending time + effort + money on merchandise, and the temptation to get off with someone. Pretty much sex, alcohol and rock n’ roll. I do miss performing, and creating structured sounds and noises, and I like recording a lot because that’s when we sound best, esp with a wizard producer.

I used to think, maybe I like to perform cos I like approval. It may have been the case, but the more experience I have the more I couldn’t give a shit – I know I’m good/just what I am. There’s no ‘kick’ to applause – they’re just being polite anyway. Those who howl are my friends, really. But it is LOVELY to have a few fans. People I never knew before liking us just through our music/performance. Unbelievable sometimes – but I guess if I find the pidgin amount of people actually liking us unbelievable then I’m not cut out for superstardom really, am I? Heheh.

Anyhoo. I’m happy and comfortable and looking forward to snuggling up in bed. Good night.