Wednesday, May 27, 2009

cool pepper pot at ethel's kitchen, hove

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

for fellow great-escapers

Brighton's finest music festival, The Great Escape, begins tomorrow - hurray!

I've been meaning to provide a list of artists and shows I recommend, but it's looking increasingly like I won't have enough time - so all I can do is let you know what I think I'm doing tomorrow, and invite you to amble over and say hello if you find yourself in the same place.

Great escape, Thursday:
12.30 - William Fitzsimmons, The Arc
2.30 - Moi Non Plus, The Arc
3.15 - King of Conspiracy, The Hope


6.45 - Apple, Revenge
7.15 - Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Po Na Na
8.15 - Emmy The Great, Digital
9.15 - EVAN DANDO!, Digital
11.45 - Birdengine, The Basement
12.30 - Blue Roses, The Basement

If you want to know what I'm up to during the day - because I'll inevitably stray off-course at some point, you can check my twitter at

And if you don't like any of the bands above, can I suggest you consider these alternatives:

Mika Miko and Danananaykroyd at Audio
Twilight Sad and Brakes at JAM
Hjaltalin at the Komedia
Cursive at the Ocean Rooms
The Week That Was and The Acorn at the Pavilion Theatre
Marnie Stern, Vivian Girls and Micachu at Po Na Na
Blue Roses at Red Roaster (9.45 show)
GaBle and Soap&Skin at the Unitarian Church
Teitur at Duke of Yorks.

I wish I could see everything.

where now?

Can we save Labour? Polly Toynbee thinks it's time to bring in Alan Johnson.

Here's an analysis of his voting record, via They Work For You.

Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.
Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.
Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.

It's a no, isn't it?

Monday, May 11, 2009

peggy sue, 'lover gone' review

I'm a bit (alright, totally) obsessed with the new Peggy Sue single, 'Lover Gone'. It's just the most beautiful, wistful, two-minute pop song. When I first saw Rosa and Katy a year or two ago I really had no idea of how good they’d become, nor how coherently they’d form a signature sound, a set of sounds, images and ideas so evocative and true. Every new song they do is their best yet – which makes you wonder just how good they'll get.

'Lover Gone' – which is out on March 18th; you can pre-order it from their myspace - opens with a delicate, quiet combination of plucked strings, piano, and unspecified, distant percussion. Like lots of Peggy Sue's songs, the low key, muffled sound belies the soaring melody to follow. At first, the vocals, too, are gentle; the first lines sad, confident.

"Lover gone - this song is a good one,
In four years I'll be anyone
But for four years I was there
where you are".

Rosa and Katy's singing style is, technically, amazing, but the key is the intuitiveness of their approach – they sound instinctive rather than practised; the way that their vocals overlap and rise and fall together. And when Olly starts hitting the snare and they open up their voices they seem to occupy so much space that the sparse arrangement sounds suddenly huge.

The lyrics, meanwhile, are simultaneously a lament and a celebration – an elegy for a dead relationship, where the protagonist "gave to you four years out of my twenty four"; reflecting not on where things went wrong but what remains; the tan on skin from a summer on the beach, the confidence nourished through four years of support. And yet things change. It's just immensely moving…

When the song ends, suddenly, prematurely, a mere two minutes in – it closes in a moment of perfect, satisfied completion, acknowledging its brevity – like a sad, soft parting breath.

"This song is not a long one.
But for four years we played safe
In a place that was warm".

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

train sickness

On Saturday afternoon I boarded a train from Brighton station, noting uneasily that I appeared to be the only sober person aboard, a consequence of Brighton & Hove Albion's valiant escape from relegation that afternoon. Pockets of men with flushed cheeks and sandpapery heads stood, swaying, breaking into the occasional chant. It wasn't threatening at the least, but I sensed a lively journey. I weaved through the carriage, looking for a seat, and at last found one next to a couple of teenage girls, noting approvingly that they weren't drunk, and told them so, figuring that I'd managed to guarantee myself a couple of fairly sensible companions.

The train pulled out. The hubbub quietened down a little as inebriated football fans became drowsy and began to snooze. I smiled in a friendly way at one of the girls, as if to say "looks like we won't have such a noisy journey, after all". She smiled back, and turned to her companion.

"So", she said, in a surprisingly loud voice, "how's your swine flu coming along?".

They collapsed into giggles. Everyone turned to stare.

"Not so bad", her friend replied, even louder. "I still feel rough though".

I allowed myself a smile. Others were shaking their heads disapprovingly. I didn't see anyone looking alarmed, but there may have been someone whose heartbeat rose in tempo.

The train was quiet.

"So", the second of them, said - or half-shouted, "how are your genital warts coming along?"