SPON 38, 2013 and 2014.
The last time we saw Dr. Steg was in Blackpool at the Sleaford Mods gig. He handed me SPON 38 which is [was] several sheets of A4 sized card and paper with the Idwal Fisher blog url writ large upon it. There were some stickers too most of which Steg stuck to his head, furniture, wall, passers by, some in the shape of swastikas others just randomly dabbed. I awaited the angry email from the venues operators but none came. He also sent me the work of art you see above which has now replaced the ‘O level’ clock which never worked but which looked pretty good in a yellow plastic Bauhaus kind of way. Its a multimedia piece which means he’s glued lots of things to the canvas and painted over them; a pair of scissors, the top of a tube of toothpaste, half a plastic head revealing brain and skull, various bits of small machinery - I’m assuming the teeth are of the type you buy in sweet shops for kids. He also sent me a Xmas card with Jimmy Savile on the front. I’d tell you the message it carries but I fear being dragged into Operation Yew Tree’s ever widening grasp.
I emailed Steg to thank him for all of the above and to tell him of my run in with a bored truck driver on the M62 whilst returning from Blackpool. Steg’s email went something like this; left the venue, pissed up someones door and got chased off, fell over a display in a garage shop, found a polish taxi driver who’d only take a fiver, lost and won money in a casino, got home god knows when.
Apart from Dr. Steg’s emergence around these parts, 2013 will also be remembered for the rise of the Sleaford Mods and the second side of the Ceramic Hobs LP ‘Spirit World Circle Jerk’ [for which Dr. Steg did the cover]. The latter a drug trip taken with Burt Bacharach and Keith Richards on Blackpool front, the former the most exciting band to appear in the UK since the Country Teasers. The review pile continues to pique my interest. My liking for field recordings and modern composition continues apace thanks to two fine labels that are Gruenrekorder and Sargasso. Combining the two came Slavek Kwi with some of the most remarkable sounds I’ve ever heard. Filthy emissions from Stoke-on-Trent provide continued mental stimulus.
In 2013 I bought less music than ever before. It was whilst looking at the masses of merchandise on display at the Con-Dom show in Birmingham that I may have inadvertently said, in a too loud a voice, something along the lines of ‘what the fuck do I need to buy anymore noise shit for when I have masses at home that I’ll never listen to ever again?’ Which in the cold sober light of day is a little over the top because I do still like to listen to noise but only the stuff I get sent. Buying it seems pointless.
2013 was the year my patience with advertising and the advertising industry itself finally ran out. In an age where you can watch and listen to pretty much anything and everything you want via numerous devices without the nuisance of advertising, why anyone would choose to subject themselves to it without complaint not only bemuses me but annoys me too. I can just about suffer the few seconds of an advert if it’ll leave me in peace to watch the rest of my YouTube clip but if I see Paul McCartney pick up his guitar for that smug beardy twat on the Bang & Olufsen advert one more time I may just consider starting some kind of campaign. Or suicide. Or both. Commercial radio I abandoned donkeys years ago for this reason [that and the gormless, blathering DJ’s too of course], ditto the tabloid press [but not just for that reason obvs]. With the internet now becoming a plague field of advertising I’m careful where I tread there as well. Little pop up boxes that want me to spare just a few moments of my time drive me to distraction. And Radio 2 is off limits for fear of hearing Elton John blaring out his latest caterwauling pile of shite. I’m of the opinion that if Sir Elt ever recorded the sound of himself farting into a bottle Radio 2 would make it the single of the week and play it three time an hour for a month solid. The increase in music on Radio 4 is something that also needs keeping in check. There needs to be something you can switch on without instantly finding it annoying.
In 2013 I saw gigs by Con-Dom, The Bongoleeros, Midwich and the Sleaford Mods that will live long in my memory. Cut Hands and Onehotrix Point Never I’ll remember for a long time also but for entirely the wrong reasons. Too many emperors wearing far too little clothing.
After reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest in 2013 I found others books mundane by comparison and for the first time in my life haven’t picked a book up in months. I found myself returning to Private Eye and the odd issue of the Wire whose end of year ‘Critics’ Reflections’ never fails to amuse, containing, as they do, enough material to keep Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner going for months. [Take Dan Barro’s reflections on 2013, Pros: The intricate constellations, foreshadowing an age of precarity and semiotic material oversaturation, of the London Tate Britain’s Schwitter’s show, the icy shadowplay of Beatrice Gibson’s The Tiger’s Mind ...’ ] rock on. In 2014 I may tackle Ben Marcus’s ‘The Flame Alphabet’ or Richard House’s 'The Kills’ or the new Pynchon with which the latter has been compared but for now I’m dipping and diving, enjoying life, drinking too much Manzanilla, thinking up things to say about noises and wishing everybody the best for the year to come.