Monday, 29 August 2011

Four Deadly Venoms

Believe it or not I'm currently sunning myself in Mallorca, which isn't really the sort of place I feel totally comfortable, but I wasn't paying, and it is nice to spend time with the family. The weather is hot and sunny, the sea is warm and choppy and it's also good to be away from work for a little while, internet access is slow and limited though.
This place is full of British numbnuts; way too many fat, loud families in football shirts, union flag beach towels and England t-shirts. Does another nation have so many people who like to show just how "proud" they are of the piece of land they just happened to be born on? On the evidence of the non-Brits here, no. One German kid is wearing a Leverkusen shirt, and that's it; no French, German or Spanish beach towels, no Polish swim shorts, no Italian t-shirts. In fact the only other non-British football shirts I've seen are Barcelona ones worn by British kids.
There are some terrible tattoos on show too.
Maybe I'm just grumpy, and the fact that I have a really painful bad back isn't making my mood very forgiving. I'm currently stuffing my face with as many pain relief remedies as I can get me hands on and just trying to find somewhere comfortable, which so far seems to be the sea, as long as I don't actually swim. Unfortunately the most uncomfortable place is my bed, so I'm not sleeping either.
I've been disappointed not to have spotted any lizards yet, but the bats give a good display around dusk, and there are plenty of fish in the sea, one of which had a little nibble at my ankle.
Right now I've just had an hour or so of hydro therapy, by that I mean I've been bobbing around in the sea, and showered, cleaning out the sand which seemed to have accumulated in every orifice.

Anyway, music. I started the week listening to OFF! and The Stupids, but after seeing someone wearing a Bad Brains shirt yesterday I'm currently listing to tracks from "Rock For Light" and the self titled CD. I love these songs, but I can't stand their later homophobic and sexist lyrics. Such a shame that such a great, ground breaking band proved to be so narrow minded and bigoted.

Speaking of t-shirts; apart from that Bad Brains one, I've only seen one other interesting shirt, an older guy wearing a Ramones shirt; older as in he was about my age, so there's a chance he has actually heard them. Oh, and Becca did end up wearing my Stupids shirt yesterday.

Elsewhere, most of the shops round here seen to be playing The Cure for some reason, with a couple of exceptions; one playing The Police and the other REM.

I have another week out here, we did hope to take in a footer match, but none of us fancy a two hour bus ride in this heat, with the possibility of not being able to get back, and no one has their driving license to hire a car; we also don't know if the Spanish games are going on this weekend. So with that out of the question it looks like we'll just have to keep avoiding idiots and I'll keep quaffing the pain killers, in the hope that I'll get some sleep at some point.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Crucial Three

It’s been quite a week. It started well enough when a UK Subs boxiest unexpectedly arrived from Captain Oi. This is basically a UK Subs singles collection, featuring just the A-Sides; there are only probably two or three of the tracks I don't already have, but the boxset looks great, the songs are spread over two CDs and I was genuinely excited when it arrived.
Next my buddy in Finland Jallu sent me the second 1981 EP; I’d been looking forward to this ever since he said he’d send it, as I’d heard good reports of it from my friends in Brighton. Of course that’s not surprising as the first EP was great as was their split with Surrender. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s another great 7”.
To carry on the good musical week, the new HDQ CD that Boss Tuneage have just released, featuring “You Suck” and the “Hung Drawn & Quartered” 12”, dropped on to the doormat; I’d ordered it from the Boss T site and got the bonus DVD too. I have loved HDQ since I first heard “You Suck” way back in 1987, the fast, yet melodic music and the posi style lyrics really hit a chord for me. “You Suck” was my introduction to them and I bought everything after that, but never went back to their first, self titled 12”, which had a different line-up, Dickie Hammond aside. So I was excited by this release, even though I already have “You Suck” on vinyl and CD. The first 12” tracks are better than I was expecting too, so I have been playing this a lot.
Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any better Aston sent me another three Boss Tuneage releases to review. I was most excited by the new Violent Arrest  album, which is as angry and pissed off as you'd expect from these veterans. The new Crocodile God album is probably the best thing I've heard from them, it's speedy, melodic and has real snotty vocals. I wasn’t really won over by the first Geoffry Oi!cott album, but this new one is a lot better, and the sleeve art is great.
If all that recorded music wasn't enough I've roused myself to two gigs, in a week, something that is a rarity these days, but was probably made easier because my daughter was off at camp for the week. Although the house was a lot tidier, it was very strange not having her around, and not having to be somewhere to either drop her somewhere or pick her up.
First I went to Portsmouth to see OFF! And it turned out to be a great evening. Ed Wood weren't really my sort of thing, but I surprised myself by really enjoying Attack! Vipers! In the past I've always been impressed by they way they do what they do, and of course they are friends, but on the night I was really, genuinely impressed; they are the best band of their type I've ever heard, and they are still one of us, still our band.
OFF! blew me away. I like them a lot and was expecting them to be good, but jeepers they were awesome, so powerful, so tight and just gob smackingly great.
What made the evening even better is the amount of friends there were there - the Brighton contingent of Pete Zonked, Ralf Opiate and Darren Tadpole, Joe and Tom from Attack! Vipers!, Luke, Nath, Alan, Jack and Kev, among others. Definitely one of those special nights, and I even bought a vinyl copy of the Violent Arrest album off Darren.
That meant I spent at least the next three days constantly playing OFF! 
After raving about Culture Shock last time, this week the Subhumans rolled into town. It had been a bad day at work, and as 6 o'clock rolled round another problem reared its head so I didn't get away until 7 pm. I dashed home, grabbed something to eat, then went back to work to check things were ok, well, not so much "ok" as "not getting any worse". From there I went on to the gig, even though I felt completely shattered. I missed the first band, but got there in time to see local anarch heroes Haywire, then Liberty. I've seen Haywire hundreds of times over the years, but I'd never seen Liberty, who now feature local boy (and compared to the rest of the band he is but a boy) Luke. They were good too, very good in fact, but my tiredness probably stopped me enjoying them as much as I probably would have done otherwise. 
At some point between the bands I went and picked up the Subhumans’ “Time Flies / Rats” CD; I have the vinyl of both, but felt the need to pick up the digital version too. I can’t help it, I’m an addict.
The Subhumans are always good, they are energetic, funny, tight and the songs are all great. At one point in the set, after they'd played "Peroxide", "I Don't Wanna Die", "Work.Rest.Play.Die" and "Til The PIgs Come Round", all songs from the early ‘80s, someone behind me shouted "Play something us oldies will recognise! Why won't they play what people want to hear?" When the next song, "Mickey Mouse Is Dead" (From their  first album, released in 1982), had finished, he shouted "Play something old!" He was being serious too.
At 11.40 pm after almost an hour of Subhumans I was flagging badly, so I left after hearing Dick say that it was their last song (I think that's what he said anyway), and struggled to keep my eyes open on the drive home. I was so tired that I even turned down Sarah's offer of a cup of tea when I got in and went straight to bed.
I have now started work on the next “proper” issue of Suspect Device, so I will put reviews of most of the music mentioned here in that. So far I have interviews with Martin Sorrundeguy (Los Crudos, Limp Wrist, N/N, Needles etc) and, thanks to our buddy Stuart Armstrong, Crocodile God, but others are planned. I also have some great new zines to review - Zonked!, Gadgie, and Artcore.
After enjoying all that noisy punk stuff, I’ve spent this evening listening to some old UK indie stuff - Shop Assistants, Darling Buds, Primitives, Soup Dragons, Wedding Present etc.