Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Life Irritates Art
Life Irritates Art - Name and Shame
Christmas came and went in a blur of Lemsip, paracetamol and triple XXX Corvonia. I had intended to write words of wisdom during the period that has become known as Chrimbo Limbo but after Mrs Fisher began her slow descent into her own personal bronchial Beirut it was nailed on that I would soon follow. And so it came to pass. I returned from the Boxing Day Batley/Dewsbury match shivering like a shiting dog and after spending a good fifteen minutes in a blisteringly hot shower I took to the Poang and began my own miserable path to pills and potions perdition. After 13 hours in bed our heads were like mistimed church bells, our lungs became vile breeding grounds for slimy green stuff, our limbs went limp, energy levels fell to a barely alive status, we shuffled between rooms when needs must attending to toilet where the barest trickle did emerge and all the while that sodding, fucking cough. A rib aching, back killing cough. A cough that begins in the pit of the stomach, your abdomen contorting into vicious knots, the head pounding, the gob dry. With both hands gripping the sides of the bathroom sink unit I coughed and sweated and ached like I was playing the devils own pinball machine. We flung ourselves into chairs and gave in to the horror that is Christmas daytime TV where Greg Wallis goes to tea factories and Shrek 3 is a constant. I slept little and spent the dark hours in bed listening to Test Match Special live from Australia, my earbuds falling out as they became trapped in the writhing and aching, one minute Dan Norcross, the other Geoffrey Boycott and then sleep and then not knowing if I was listening to the Barmy Army or the wind howling outside. A delirium of sorts took over me and I flew thousands of imaginary miles over many countries to be in the warmer climes cheering England on in their futile bid to retain the Ashes.
And for a week or more that was that. I did venture out once for essential supplies and walked in to to town foolishly thinking that the fresh air would do me good. I stumbled with wobbly Bambi legs for the fifteen minutes or so it takes, threw some things in a basket and walked out again. Got the bus home. Couldn't hack it. Returning home I once again collapsed in to the Poang this time like a returning Arctic explorer, chest heaving, head spinning, thinking thats me not moving for a fucking long time.
We ate all the things that people gave us for xmas because cooking anything was out of the question; chocolates, shortbread, spiced biscuits [spekulatums], mince pies and those flat and hard Italian cakes made from squashed figs that you have to soak in tea for ten minutes to get going. Fruit rotted in bowls. Alcohol remained untouched. Only tea could save us. Having got extra brewing tips from Greg Wallis after his visit to the Ty-Phoo factory on Merseyside I made tea by the gallon and drank it with all the fervour of a thirsty builder. But where it went I don't know. My body must have been soaking it up to use as sweat for little came the way its supposed to.
What little pleasure I took during this most miserable of weeks was through the medium of radio. Actually putting music on of own choosing never entered my head. Instead we listened to Radio 3. Over the last year year or so I've discovered that long exposure to R3, at a volume that is neither too loud nor too soft, is the aural equivalent of a rub down with the Sunday Times and here, in my hour of need, when the flesh is as weak as it gets without rotting I could sit in the Poang and let R3 waft over me in a never ending roll of warm comforting waves. Not everything R3 transmits meets with constant, ultimate approval of course [I'll never fathom Opera and you can keep your Viennese waltzes] and they do seem to have more than their fair share of double barrelled presenters but the hits far outweigh the misses and the surprises are a constant source of pleasure. I don't do end of year lists but if I did it would be clogged with many of the things I heard or stumbled across on R3. I awoke one Sunday morning to hear Bernard Cribbens singing 'Right Said Fred', the week after it was Charles Trenet and 'Le Mer'. One Sunday afternoon during an Austrian conductors Private Passions set [R3's take on Desert Island Discs] they played Iggy and the Stooges 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', in entirety. Then there's Late Junction, Words and Music, Between the Ears, The Verb with Barnsley's own Ian Macmillan. I can even take Jazz Record requests should the mood take me. Its another reason why the review pile has remained, for the most part, untouched.
All of which is a preamble of sorts as an explanation as to why the words have been in short supply of late. Only seven posts in the last three months with none in December at all. If I made New year resolutions I'd make one to write on a more regular basis but I don't do them and besides I'm terribly lazy and easily distracted. So thats that then.
What I could do is extol the virtues of this here DVD+R containing the work of many a creative adventurer as put together by the south coasts very own Jason Williams who judging from images found on here has honed his starving homeless basketball player look to utter perfection. The disc is made for dipping and by that I don't mean in your Costa Coffee flat white. The downside to this is that unless you make notes you're going to miss something and I made notes and I've missed lots. I must have done. There's stuff everywhere which mirrors Jase Williams own chaotic scattershot working style. Jase seems to have been out of the loop for a while, at least since the demise of his last band Mothers of the Third reich. I think they gave up because they struggled to get gigs. No shit. Last I heard from Jase he was part of a Black Metal High Impact aerobics team [Motto: drop and give me 666] and here's the poster on the lengthy [240+] PDF/AVI/JPEG booklet thing called NAME AND SHAME which probably contains the artwork of various others named on the back sleeve here who could be Ocelocelot, Paul Tone and the splendidly monikered The Knit Nurse amongst many, many others but none of it seems to be titled so you have to guess. There's collage and photos and digitally manipulated images and the odd glimpse of the injuries Jase usually sustains whilst gigging, cuts to head and limbs usually. Of the moving images we have Jase and Joe Henderson in a room full of people sat cross-legged as Jase honks his sax and Joe smashes a table to matchwood with a sledgehammer. Actions to which the audience look suitably unfazed. Some videos are short short, over and done in a minute or so as with Rasen Krieg and random noise bursts as a wandering hand pulls apart an egg custard or a 12 second film of rudimentary motor moving a pen about. There's video footage of someone talking at a gallery opening and there is of course the very strange and esoteric OK OK Society partaking in some kind of ritual where Ken and Barbie get wrapped up in fishing twine with a key between them [soundtrack by JW and Vomir]. The mighty Filthy Turd appears in a short edited gig highlights video called 'Down at the Bottom of the Pond'. A definite highlight this with the Turd at one point emerging from behind his rig, pre noise onset, head wrapped in cellophane [and in and amongst it many a cassette] and casually announcing to his audience 'Years ago I used to sniff a lot of glue'. The mans a genius. My biggest discovery though and the track that made me say 'really, no' was that of Ego Much. Two tracks here, both field recordings, one from inside the freezer compartment of the fridge the other a lengthier outing containing wind chimes, running water, scraped strings, bottles rolling around a concrete floor, overhead jets, cackling crows, rattling chains all of which have gone through a backward loop of a dog eating its dinner. And Ego Much is ... Jase Williams. Life is full of surprises.
I'm almost better now thank you for asking. Not quite 100% but fit enough to rattle this off and post it. New year. New hopes. New Poang.
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