Sunday, July 04, 2004

June 19 (Saturday): Rat Pack. I awaken hard headed but mobile. No hangover just a slight sense of pummelling. Today I am going to be so busy I could shit.

First things last, I have to bomb it home to the olds to see them for the first time since they got back from Cyprus. Ain't no time to play, I arrive and dump my shit on them. For their part I buy them a newspaper. The dog is back from the kennels with the funny bark he always returns with.

Tomorrow is Father's Day (sponsored by Hallmark) so I have to go into town and get a card. I'm lucky, mum overdosed on the gifts, buying him enough from all of us but I still have to go into Clacton to get a card. Clacton is pretty horrible, small-scale and rough. I think the silverspooner anti-capitalists who are anti-chain and pro-independent business you all be put on a bus and driven to Clacton and shown the run down, half arsed attempts by people to start businesses, people just aren't up to it (financially and commercially). If ever there was a place screaming out for a Starbucks, it is here.

I spent the rest of my time cobbling together CDs for tonight's DJ set. I really should feel more excited about things than this. I spend an hour compiling sound effects off the internet only to find I can't burn them onto CD! So annoying, the sound effects were going to be so cool. I fly back to Colchester and put together in total six CDs for DJing. It is pathetically time consuming, I must be mad (which apparently I am).

I hook up with the band around 5.30 as they are sound checking (this via a trip to my beloved Asda). Jimmy who we started Gringo Records with back in the day and who was also in Lando has come to the show. I haven’t seen him in years. It's alarming how different he looks and how different he sounds. We head back to Chris' where I blag dinner there for a second night running, I really am a schnorer. We watch the end of Germany v Latvia as they end up drawing 0-0 and Latvia react like they have won the competition. They put out Turkey and now do this, they truly are our mates. Chris and Tom are completely nervous in the build up. We are late leaving for the venue, we are in my car as I supposed to be DJing.

It's a great summer evening but the vibe is low, everyone appears to be suffering from heat exhaustion or something, most people look ready for bed rather than ready for rock. I barely manage to get myself to the CD players to DJ and I am made to feel really unwelcome. I open with "Candle" by Sonic Youth and immediately discard every single other track I have chosen to burn.

I check my phone GPRS to discover we are missing the game of Euro 2004 as the Czech Republic have come back from 2-0 behind to Holland to win 3-2. And Holland were my initial picks (pre-tournament) to win the thing. Whoops.

Cats Against The Bomb kick off and wreck the joint, they actually hurt to watch. And all the time Adam appears to spend the entire set laughing his head off at proceedings. His fits the term "one man army", albeit a pacifist one. We get the Ramones and the by the end the crowd are shouting for more prompting an encore (of sorts).

The Blitters follow and manage to put in their finest set to date. Gone are the theatrics of smashing up PCs and covering one's self in food stuff. Instead it is about sellotape one's face up and bare, brutal Dirtbomb t-shirt wearing stuff. Tonight everything seemed to click, the sound was fantastic, the beats crisp and hard and Allen was at an incredible level of intensity, the kind that Albini appeared to have with Big Black, the feeling that any moment things might equally explode into hysterics as they might violence. Allen didn't appreciate the comparison but he was pulling Rollins-esqe screaming poses (in a good way), to the extent it appeared to be frightening people. Ultimately it reminded me of Throbbing Gristle at their finest (ie the stuff people always show/play you and not the cack). Just before the end of the set the soundman says to me (Mr DJ) "what can you play to follow that?" Fucking A.

For the record, I accidentally play "I Felt Like A Gringo" by the Minutemen.

As the Peel session of Crow by Shellac bellowed, Bilge Pump took the stage and ripped into yet another fine set. As per usual they opened with "Up The Nest" and just provided a whole lot more than was expected from them. Often it is said that they sound much different live to on record and again this was proved right with the sounds being thick/dense and a heavy sound of Unwound showering down. That's the stuff.

After their set, now in full confidence, my DJ set actually saw some kids dancing when I accidentally put on "Check It Out" by the Beastie Boys. And these were said kids stood next to the red haired girl from Ipswich that once tried to bite my finger off and a chunk out of my neck at a Paper Chase show. Bad memories. Nepotism rules as I finally brave up to play my "Hot Cosby" DJ Gram track followed by "Big Black Baldwin" by My Shit. Word! At this point Mr Melchard from work (one of my four bosses) decides to shoot the shit with me.

Hirameka's set was a bit more subdued and impersonal than their previous "final" show but the emotions seemed to be settling/kicking in more than back in December. At an estimate this was Hirameka's eighth set at the Arts Centre and I can truly say no two sets were ever the same and that went for tonight also. Songs were played faster than originally produced and the set was very tight and professional and probably the most appreciative one that they have performed. It was the first (and I guess last) time I got to see them cover "Colors" (just at the point Staff shouted in my ear "its fucking shit that they're splitting up"). Tom congratulated the Czech Republic on their victory and thanked everyone for their loan of equipment before they did "the last song we will ever perform", "The Formalists". It was a noisy conclusion to seven years in Tibet. The crowd bayed for an encore but that was never Hirameka's thing. At the climax of the set "Stop" by Erasure was supposed to scream out Rules Of Attraction-stylee but Chris forgot to give anyone the CD and it happened, albeit in delayed fashion BUT at least it happened. Then Justin Timberlake accidentally gets put on over the indie rock PA, much to the faux anger of management and finally favouritism rules once more as the last DJ track of the night comes from DJ So Clear.

Post show spirits were bittersweet. A lot of people had come out to bid a fond farewell and catch glimpse of the best four band bill of homegrown (pretty much) talent in Colchester in several years. It all ended with people talking for an eternity, like no one really wanted any of it to conclude. Allen Zuk and Joe Mask got into an interesting three-way with me as fans and friends alike were slowing dispersed by security. Word was spread of an aftershow party at Staff's but the Hirameka entourage were oblivious to it, they suggested an aftershow at my flat ("fuck off!"). And anyways, Allen was sticking me with rider (cans of Stella!), so he had 100% of my attention.

Unfortunately I got stuck with the Hirameka crew as the remainder left for the post-show and by now it was well past midnight, heading towards one and they were all drunk. I talked shit briefly with some over familiar drunk northerners but really had to go. I got to my car and Chris called me basically asking me what they were going to do. I had to get home but also there were six of them that had to get home also, whom were wasting time arguing over ten pound notes. I pointed out to Chris that there were six of them and it would take two trips and the cheeky fucker goes "see you in a minute then." When I bought my new car I vowed never to lug equipment about in it because it never really helped the paint work on my last one. Anyways, I'm too soft/nice and I turn up outside the Arts Centre to help them out. Immediately six people attempt to bundle in my car it seems whilst dumping a ton of shit in my boot. Two fucking gawping idiot pikeys from Nottingham who I don't know from fucking Adam think its coolest and I fucking snap, shouting "have some fucking respect!" Wow, two wrongs make a right? Thing is though, my car probably costs more than these people earn in a year so.... I actually feel bad when I leave Tom and Tristan behind but I feel worse about allowing these people to shit down my neck and take advantage, my bad for not being able to say "no." As I tear up London Road Stanway we approach the speed camera on the other side of the road and it flashes twice. FUCK!!! I headed back to pick the other two and wound up getting in around two fucking seething. Not good.

np: Har Mar Superstar - Girl You're Stupid


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