Archive for the ‘music’ Tag

Queen’s Head, Hammersmith, London   3 comments

queens-head-hammersmith-sign

 

It was a fool’s errand to seek out a pub playing Dylan tunes, but I’m a fool and the man just won the Nobel Prize so out I wandered to find one.

At the Queen’s Head, I found the ‘fools’ part of the errand as three dimwits around the corner from my snug were engaged in the most boring conversation ever about lottery strategies and their history of near misses. “Then, there was this other time I had a 6, an 8, a 22, a 32, a 40, and a 51 and the numbers drawn were a 3, a 7, a 12, a 22, a 47, and a 49. If I just got two more numbers I would have won £25. That happened once when I had a 9, a….” This was going on when I arrived and showed no signs of ending as I left.

 

queens-head-hammersmith-stout

 

 

I had a Black Cab Stout which was viscous and bitter and the colour of burnt motor oil. I highly recommend it. Great wine selection there, too.

The house leaves the impression that it might have been an old post office. The sign has a postage stamp motif and there are shipping artefacts used as decorations all over the exposed beamed, flagstone floored warehouse of a pub. But, no, it has always been a pub dating back to at least the early 19th century.

 

 

queens-head-hammersmith-bar

Every table in the front 2/3 of the bar was reserved so the early drinkers were squidged up together toward the back. The music was the most banal kind of pop you could hope to avoid and the house seemed geared toward the sort of bland, professionally employed, thirty-something consumer of this autotuned nonsense. No Bob here…maybe at the next one.

 

queens-head-hammersmith

Posted October 14, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Horseshoe, South Harrow, Middlesex ( #August2016PubPerDay number 4)   1 comment

Horseshoe South Harrow

Inside the Horseshoe reminds me a lot of the Golden Nugget and the Silver Room, both in Tucson.  Some of it is the spread of professional drinkers and some is just the atmosphere (the massive bar with the simple but ample spirits prominently highlighted — and surprisingly tidy — also add to this impression).  But, the flashback seemed almost more chemical than nostalgia.

I pulled up to the southernmost end of the bar and got a pint of Doom Bar.  About halfway into the house, the scene you see here:

Horseshoe South Harrow ceiling

extends at least as far in the opposite direction.  “Is it raining out?” the barmaid asked while I gawked at the mugs.

“Sprinkling…[gasp]…just started…[wheeze]…won’t last,” I said as I was still catching my breath.
“I was wondering if it was or if you had been out running.”
“I often wonder that, myself.  Obviously, you’ve seen me run.”

 

The music on my entrance seemed to be some Irish Republican hymn which was followed by the paedo-creepy, “Happy Birthday, Sweet 16” mad all the more surreal by me being the youngest bloke in the house.  I became obsessed when the next thing on was “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals (who is programming the jukebox here, I wondered).

I was nearly finished when what I reckoned to be some Emerson Lake and Palmer came up. No. Ha!  It’s Meat Loaf…and like a Bat Out of Hell I jogged on.

{August 2016 Pub Per Day Challenge pub #4, overall pub #1516}

horseshoe-map

Billy Bragg, Shappi Korsandi, Francesca Martinez et al at CWU Meeting, Bournemouth   2 comments

jc4pm

 

Tabloids making millions betting bullshit baffles brains
They cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
And they say “All we’re doing is giving people what they want”
Well they’re crying out for justice, people crying out for justice.

—From ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun‘ by Billy Bragg

Jackie took a break from her meeting in Highworth and found me in the library reading the Twitter feeds which had suddenly exploded with the news that the Hillsborough Inquiry found that The 96 had been “unlawfully killed.” “What do you reckon this will do to the playlist, tonight?” I asked and she responded, correctly, with some of the lyrics, above.

We were leaving, when her business completed, for Bournemouth to see a review show in support of Corbyn for Prime Minister featuring Billy Bragg (who wrote ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’ in response to the Sun’s reprehensible coverage of the disaster and just about everything else) and a large contingent of other acts and political speakers we were eager to see. These included comedians Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Grainne Maguire, and Joe Wells; ‘punk’ poet Attila the Stockbroker; singer-songwriter Grace Petrie; and guest speakers Dave Ward (General Secretary of the CWU, whose conference sponsored this event) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.

 

CWU JC4PM lineup

Great show and I would have been happy to see full performances or talks by any one of the guests but everyone stuck more-or-less to their allotted 15 minutes. Along with the collusion of the Right Wing with what passes for the press and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (the Hillsborough Disaster and/or the Battle of Orgreave featured in 2/3 of the performances), resistance to austerity measures, changes to schools organisation, and attempts to break the doctors’ unions were made musical, lyrical, and — with great pathos — funny.

CWU wristband

 

I don’t know how it has come to pass that I never saw Billy Bragg perform in person, before, but these were free tickets in Bournemouth and we just couldn’t miss it. Here’s my one live encounter with him prior to this trip:

Right after I quit driving a taxi for a living in Atlanta, I paid for my first year of University driving a long service route for Kodak that included most of Northeast Georgia. One summer day I had a call a couple of doors up from the 40 Watt Club in Athens (when it was on Clayton Street). The heat was oppressive that day and I stopped to give a dog tied in front of Chick Music a scratch on the head and a lap of water from my bottle. Another guy came up and rubbed the pooch’s ears saying, “‘allo, doggie.”

I looked up and recognized the fellow; “hey, you’re Billy Bragg.”
“Yes, I know.”
“I really like your stuff. What are you doing …here?” I’m not sure, all these years later, if it came out that way or “What are …you doing here?” or “What are you …doing here?” or the much more colloquial “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve got some work down the street,” he said nodding in the direction of the 40 Watt. I assumed at the time he meant the 40 Watt, but he was probably using the rehearsal studio REM kept at the time…he was working on Don’t Try This At Home in John Keane’s recording hut ’round about then.

“Oh, right, work,” I said reaching back to grab the tools from the car. “Never ends, eh?”
“Too right,” he laughed and headed down the street, my brush with greatness at an end.

(By the way, here’s his spectacular performance on Mountain Stage the following spring, that we listened to in the car whilst awaiting a screening of Reservoir Dogs at the Tate Center…great show with REM and Robyn Hitchcock…we still have our original cassette recording which we put in just before leaving for the movie.)

 

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen   Leave a comment

2016-03-29 Christadelphian Sign ALT

The topic at the Christadelphian Meeting Hall for 10 April 16 (mock-up, above), shows up on their web site as Jesus said, “I come not for the righteous but call sinners to repentance” but has been posted on the church broadside as the 1 May baptism speech.  But, I’ve been watching a lot of politics, lately, and following the politician’s example I won’t let the question asked prevent me from answering the question I to which I wish to respond.

 

Untitled-1

 

I don’t know about the righteous but when Jesus calls SINNERS (746-6377) in Dillard, Georgia he rings Earl Zoellner’s phone. In Los Angeles, he gets the Snack Mart; and, in Zion, Illinois it is the practice of Dental PC Partners. I didn’t do a comprehensive search on this but I found some that are kind of interesting.

For instance, the Rev Jimmie M Clark, 3790 Parks Rd, Lexington, NC 27292 sells ‘Clergy Vestments’ in the most ironic find. You can order up your robes at (336) 746-6377. That’s 336-SINNERS.

Doris Herzlinger, Ph.D. does research on Embryonic Development as Associate Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Cornell University (using the SINNERS phone number in what the Christian right might find the most vindicating example).

My favourite has to be Precision Piano Tuning, Lowe Farm, Manitoba at (204) SINNERS. When I was about 12 and learning piano properly, my grandma (who had been one of those circus-sideshow-type tent revivalists that preceded televangelists) used to play the living shit out of the keys. Self taught and legally blind, she would find where she was on the keyboard by slapping a few chords and then tear into whatever gospel she felt like.

I was frustrated by the classical sheet music plopped in front of me by my tutor; Nanny asked, “well, what do you WANT to play, punkin?” “I don’t know, Nanny, how about showing me some of that whore house boogie woogie?” Precision Tuning could probably have helped me out and wouldn’t likely belt me across the ear for asking.

Acoustic Club in the Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl, Wales (and Woody Pines)   1 comment

Pavillion Porthcawl

We finished our bottle of wine and I went back for some ciders; the bartender asked, “Are you with the band?”  Probably a fair question since we had the only authentic American South accents in the house (and probably within a 60 mile radius); “no, we’re actually from the South”.  Oh, sure, Woody Pines and the boys yokeled it up with rambling stories told in ill-advised pseudo-drawls and that were meant to evoke folksy authenticity but actually came across as cringe-worthy as a black-and-white minstrel show.

woody pines

In the first set, they claimed to be from Nashville, and their press material (above) has them from North Carolina.  Turns out, the bass player is from Southern California, the lead guitar from Miami, and Woody is actually from New-fucking-Hampshire.  Not a proper southerner in the lot.

But, they do play the living shit out of their instruments.  There’s decent writing, as well, with hints of John Prine and Tom Waits coming through (hey…one of them is from Alabama, at least).  The lead guitar is fantastic and channels Django Rheindart and Eldon Shamblin in equal proportions, and the stand up bass has an air about him like Jimbo from the Reverend’s band.  There was this amazing act that was ACTUALLY out of North Carolina in the 80’s and 90’s called Flat Duo Jets that consisted of a guy with a guitar and another guy who often only had a single snare drum and in live performances they sounded like a 12 piece jazz orchestra…on crank; these three guys sound a lot bigger than they actually are, too.

Woody Pines

 

We found out about these guys when we tuned into Bob Harris’ Country on Radio 2 at the end of January and heard this fantastic cut during part of a Western Swing set that included a Dixie Chicks and something else that was just great from Ashley Monroe (who turned out, otherwise, to be rubbish). Bob, despite being an Major League asshole*, plays a lot of obscure talents that are almost always touring here soon so we decided to seek out this boy and his band.  Woody and the band were, indeed, touring Britain soon after (and some cool places, indeed) so, of course we booked seats at the gig in Porthcawl.

The seating in the intimate Acoustic Club (the downstairs bar and music venue in the Grand Pavillion) is pretty intimate: 22 tables with 5 chairs each.  We lucked into one where we were the only occupants although our neighbours might have joined friends across the room.

Update:  Brits always say Americans don’t ‘get’ irony.  Case in point, I have been lectured about authenticity by the tour manager of these great musicians who spent their entire act pretending to be something they neither are nor understand:

scathing review and lecture

 

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{*Bob, who famously, whilst hosting the New York Dolls on their first Old Grey Whistle Test appearance, referred to them smarmily as “Mock Rock” (see the end of the linked video) despite them serving as the punk vanguard, was, just as famously, targeted for murder by Sid Vicious a few years later. He was also marked for mockery as model for the host of “Jazz Club” on the Fast Show (known as Brilliant in the States)…nice.}

 

Jan (2016) Movies Part 2   2 comments

Slowed the movie marathon a bit in the 2nd half of the month but managed to get in some dandies.

XmasAllAround

We never saw Love Actually (2003) when it was out in cinema because of a long-term boycott of Hugh Grant films (nothing he’s done, we just don’t like him), but at Christmas we saw a video of Bill Nighy doing a Christmas version of Love Is All Around as the has-been singer Billy Mack and decided, what-the-hell, let’s do it.  It was surprisingly entertaining like a Robert Altman ensemble film (think Nashville or Short Cuts) plus it had the Oxford United Football Club victim Alan Rickman in it.  Even Hugh Grant wasn’t awful and Martin Freeman and Joanna Page were hilarious as the lighting stand-ins on a porno set.

Zizek

The Perverts Guide to Cinema (2009), however, had nothing to do with porn or, at least, not that sort of porn…just the sort you see every day and don’t recognise it as such.  This film was actually a philosophy of art lecture by Slavoj Zizek and at the same time that it was enlightening it was actually very funny.  Well worth the time involved (and even better than its sequel, The Perverts Guide to Ideology, which we saw a couple of years ago and got a lot of good tips on other movies to seek out or re-watch with a new perspective).

How I Live Now (2013) was an apocalyptic tale set in England with a selfish and self-obsessed American teenager (are there any other kind?) finding out her strengths as war comes to her cousins’ land.  This one can be harrowing in places but it was really more of a teen picture than we thought it was going to be when we started up the DVD.

Demon and Bull

More conventionally — and Biblically — apocalyptic, This Is The End (2013) was just good, stoner fun although a bit too long (could have easily been 1 hour or, at most, chopped into 6 half hours with commercials).  It was especially nice watching all these celebrities playing off their perceived public personae (or completely warping it) … except Danny McBride: I think that really is him and they may not have even told him a film was being made, just put him on the set and filmed what happens (this has always been my theory of Three Stooges films — “no boys, you’re not plumbers, you’re Romans; just ignore those cameras, whydontya?).

ian

Ian was one of the main subjects who DIDN’T make an appearance in the film

 

24 Hour Party People (2002) was especially good watching for faces we recognise because actual members of the bands (as well as other personages) portrayed were cast in bit parts throughout the film.  Good film overall, too, but then we spent the next 6 hours watching YouTube clips of So It Goes, a music showcase from the late ’70’s presented by the movie’s main subject, Tony Wilson.

So, the 2nd half of the January film binge was mostly ensemble and end-of-the-world pictures.  And, we finished Season 2 of Californication.

 

 

 

Posted February 2, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Books and Movies

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This is Major Bun to Ground Control…   2 comments

#RIPBowie

Ground Control to Major Bun 2016-01-11

 

Bowie is dead. It’s a godawful sad affair. Here are the only relevant links on the Pub Crawl:

A pub in his native Brixton with an appropriate soundtrack

A recent run to see the phone box from Ziggy S and the S from M

This one isn’t mine, just an interweb theft (but found while looking up “Turn To Face The Strange”):

Bowie Roundabout

 

Posted January 11, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Obits

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