WAS my Blog (Hey! I’m not really a blog I’m a magazine - but not your usual sort of) Magazine. BLOGZINE. It's stopped being anything now, as of April 9, 2008.
But what is online stays online, and what's here is what happened while it was happening. The Chinese above, in Pinyin, is huānyíng, and it means “Welcome” and it’s meant. The girl (pictured) is my television lawyer, just in case. E&D is (or was) a mix of poetry & reviews and sometimes charmingly gentle rhubarb (sometimes with hot custard); it has a heart of rolled gold & the word ‘acerbic’ (is that related to ‘cynical’?) doesn't come into it. There are music reviews too, of gigs at the local music halls. This bit was on hold for a while because I was in China for two years, but now I'm not, though I'm going back soon. Anyway, everything here is all a kind of mysterious (I’d like to say it’s sensuous but it isn’t) zone of gentle & benign happiness (whatever the hell 'happiness' is), where headaches disappear & people are friends, & your shoes never need cleaning, & I hope you enjoy it.
This is a re-designed site, launched in October 2006. You can view the original website, and all the stuff published there, by clicking here.
Oh, & if you want to find out about my poetry, please go to my Home-From-Home which is a site almost as heavenly as this one.
In 1997 or thereabouts I bought a great record, “The Magical World of The Strands” by Michael Head & The Strands. It is a great record, one which the All Music site describes as chamber-pop. God knows what chamber pop is supposed to be. Perhaps it means good melodic, intelligent not heavy stuff with more acoustic guitars than electric guitars, and some strings thrown in for good measure, but since that could describe truck-loads of singers and bands maybe it doesn’t. Think Love and some of The Beatles and you're on track, sort of. Anyway, The Strands became Shack (I think they'd been Shack before, and this was a reversion) and released “HMS Fable” a couple of years later, which I also bought. It’s ok, but not great.
of the songs are crackers. And sometime not long after that record came out Shack played a somewhat ramshackle affair of a gig in Nottingham. I quite enjoyed it, because they played a lot of stuff off the two records I had, the best songs, and even if they were a bit messy it was ok.
I lost track of them after that. I’m not sure why. I seem to have missed a couple of records. Never mind. On Friday they played The Rescue Rooms. Michael Head downed a few beers before going onstage; I know this because he was pratting around near me while he did it. Beer is ok; I had some too. I thought we were in for a another ramshackle gig, and we were. I also worried about his haircut: from a distance no problem, but close up: bad news.
A lot of the songs I didn’t know. This doesn’t have to be problematic. I’ve been to plenty of gigs where I didn’t know the songs, or even didn't know the band, and been blown away. But this wasn’t one of those. The songs I knew, what few there were, still struck me as pretty strong. They did a great thumping “Streets of Kenny” from “HMS Fable”, but the quality of that threw much of the rest into a very gloomy shade. A better song from the same record, “Pull Together”, had none of the emotional power it has on disc, or that it had the last time I saw them play. The new songs just didn’t register at all. Melody? Punch? All missing. And with the band bumbling about between songs, swigging from their cans of beer, only highlighted how much chat was going on among the somewhat uninvolved audience. Quite a few people left early, and by half past ten what had been a moderate sized crowd to start with was significantly less than that. And I left early too.