acb: (melbourne tram)
I saw what will almost certainly be my last ever Lucksmiths gig last night.* And my second-last-ever one the night before.

They played at the Luminaire on Tuesday night, and the Scala last night. The audience was a mixture of expatriate Australians (not the bogans you find here who consider JJJ to be "alternative", the good ones) and the usual indiepop kids from London and all over England. They played a lot of their songs, and I was chuffed to hear my favourite one, Transpontine, on Tuesday.

I took my cameras, of course, and also took an audio recorder I recently bought. The nice thing about it is that it fits into a top jacket pocket with only the twin microphones unobstrusively protruding, and can get quite passable recordings. Anyway, here's a video from the Luminaire gig, with audio from the audio recorder.

There was an afterparty at the Lexington (a bar/pub/venue where a lot of the twee pop kids and Upset The Rhythm lo-fi noise hipsters hang out these days); I went there, and stayed until 3am, getting home as it was getting light.

Anyway, it was great to see them again, and a bit sad that a Melbourne institution is coming to an end; it's like the Punters' Club all over again.

* Well, not counting the possibility of my finding myself unexpectedly in Australia in the next few months, or indeed the possibility of them reforming in 20 years' time and playing a tour for former Fitzroy/Carlton coolsies, now working as executives in publishing firms and managers at arts institutions.
acb: (mornington crescent tube)
I've recently gotten into the habit of going for evening walks, typically after eating dinner. Which is easy enough to do in the midsummer, when the sun sets shortly before 10, and one often has a glorious sunset, or at least the wistful poignancy of the day's last rays, beckoning one out of one's room and into the streets. Which, I guess, is one of the advantages of living far from the equator (in the summer, anyway).

Today was a particularly splendid sunset; see below for evidence:
Photos )
acb: (Default)
An unusual thing happened yesterday.

In the morning post, there were two bulging green envelopes. They looked like greeting card envelopes, only containing something that obviously wasn't greeting cards, and bore Irish postage stamps. They were addressed to a house in a nearby street with the same number as my house; apparently the post office mistakenly dropped them in my mailbox.

In the evening, as I was setting out to buy some groceries, I took the envelopes and went to the street where they were addressed to. As I approached the house, I noticed a middle-aged woman walking back to the door. "Excuse me," I said, "is this number --?" "Yes."

I handed her the envelopes, saying that they ended up in my mailbox. "How did you get these?" she asked. "I live at number -- ----- Street. The postman must have accidentally dropped them in my mailbox."

"Oh, thank God for that. I've been waiting for them all day. They contain fresh shamrock for St. Patrick's Day. Thank you for bringing them to me."

Four years

Aug. 25th, 2008 10:44 pm
acb: (the doubtful guest)
As of 5:25am tomorrow morning, I will have been in the UK for four years (not counting travel outside of its borders).
acb: (Default)
On Saturday evening, I went to Josie Long's Splendid Evening, a night of comedy at the Southbank Centre. It was quite entertaining. Long I can take or leave; for all her fuzzy-jumpered indiekid enthusiasm (one gets the impressions that she spends her time between gigs knitting in libraries with Camera Obscura and MJ Hibbett on her iPod), she tends to labour jokes for a bit too long before letting them go.

The other comedians were mostly quite good; Arnab Chanda, the American-accented son of British expatriates, was quite entertaining (at one point, he recounted taking part in a school play of "The Sound Of Music" at the international school in Saudi Arabia, with the Von Trapp children being played by a multiethnic, international cast: "'Why do the Nazis want to kill us?' Have you looked in the mirror?") Luke Roberts spent most of his set going through the first two rows of the crowd, insulting people from a set of index cards (memorable insults included "People like you the way students like the Wombles. (pause) Ironically.", "If you were a book, the reviews on your back would be suspiciously short and full of ellipses", and "You're slightly nicer than Jeremy Clarkson."). The highlight was probably Irish comic David O'Doherty, whose routine deftly weaved through a wealth of material, all of it funny. (At one point, he talked about the things people do which, a few decades later, are revealed to be killers, and speculated what this generation's hidden killer could be; one candidate was Sudoku.)
acb: (beatnik)
The person living upstairs from me appears to be playing the guitar and singing.

Which is a good thing; it's reassuring to once again live somewhere where people play musical instruments and do creative things, rather than merely wallowing in consumerism.
acb: (mornington crescent tube)
The sky looked very blue this afternoon. I was expecting a black Mordorian pall swallowing the sky, thanks to the Buncefield* fuel depot explosion and the headlines about it. Chances are it was still full of toxic particles; I wonder how many normal London days' worth of life-shortening power was in the pollution today.

* What is a bunce anyway? Is it like a dunce, a ponce or a nonce?
acb: (beatnik)
  • Yesterday, I went to Banksy's recent exhibition, Crude Oils, at 100 Westbourne Grove. (It's on until Monday.) It basically consists of "remixed" oil paintings, as seen through his characteristically cynical sensibility; think 19th romantic landscapes with police incident notices, CCTV cameras and shackled and hooded Iraqi prisoners and such. Oh, and the gallery was crawling with live rats. I've written more about this here, and there are photos here.
  • Last night, I went to the Club AC30 gig at the Water Rats, seeing a few bands of a shoegazey stripe. I saw only part of Sleepless's set, though they were OK. Sennen were good; they sounded a bit like a cross between Season and the Underground Lovers at their most krautrocky. Then there were Malory; they're a German band who appear to have been very much influenced by Slowdive. One could probably describe them as two parts Slowdive and one part Kraftwerk (not because they're German or their use of electronics (which is sporadic) but because of the precision of their music; their drummer even plays from a click track). Finally, Ulrich Schnauss went up and played some tracks, mostly new ones. Much of his tracks seemed to be coming from a PowerBook, though he was playing melodies on a keyboard over them, and there was a female vocalist/guitarist playing along with him. It wasn't exactly rock'n'roll, but it was good. I ended up going home with pockets full of CDs.
  • The Nathan Barley DVD turned up in the post this morning, and it's well bum. Even though the booklet that comes with it is essentially a Nathan Barley-branded pisstake on Banksy. More about that in my blog.
  • This afternoon, I spent some time wandering around Canonbury/Newington Green, which is quite a pleasant area. I was taking photos of a plaque-shaped hole in a fence post when a boho-looking black dude saw me with my camera and spontaneously started striking poses. It turns out he's a bit of a local character there, a DJ and a youth worker. I suspect that that area could be the London equivalent of North Fitzroy/East Brunswick.

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