Angry Terrible Happy Things

I tend to come up with different non-gig things to write this blog about, and then such odd things happen at my gigs that its pretty hard not to talk about it. Last night was so laughably awful that I actually left feeling quite pleased with myself. Its odd when something like that happens and I couldn’t quite pin point why I jumped in the car feeling elated with things but I just did. It was my third visit to Coventry in the last three months, which many would argue is too many times, even for those that live there. The last two times haven’t been terrible (see here: and here: but something has always gone a bit wrong, whether its the gig, or Phil Nichol leaving my car boot open as we headed down the motorway. But yesterday was a whole new different level of awful. Like the last time I was there, the show didn’t start till 10.30pm. Neither myself or Jim (Jeffries) knew this and so we turned up far too early, having to peruse the new concrete wonderland in the middle of Coventry’s concrete hell. There is little difference between the two, with the hell bit being very bleak and grey, and the wonderland bit having some neon lights in it, a fancy new theatre, a fountain, some bars and a really shit Pizza Express where it took over an hour to get served. These sort of things are enough to make a large difference. Until some kids take over the area and use it as a skateboard park and mugging hub, then it will become even worse than all the surrounding parts. I love the British eco-system. Money gets put in, nice buildings get put in, nice people move in, violent kids move in, area gets ruined, people move out, money gets taken away, area crumbles, area gets rebuilt again ten years later, cycle starts again. Essentially the children that we persecute and blame for all these things could also be said as the people that keep the economy going. Its like some sort or crop rotation.

I could go on for ages about the Pizza Express bit, primarily how once again a place with a name that suggested speediness has horribly let me down, but there are more things to focus on in today’s bloggery. After being let down visually and culinary, we made our way to the theatre where we were greeted by some hardcore Jim fans who thought it was hilarious to come over, say hello to Jim and then pretend they didn’t know who he was. They were wrong, it was the opposite of hilarious. There are many ways to find out the opposite of hilarious. You can try using correct scientific methods to create a huge machine with which you can spend time reversing hilarity levels until you get an inverse hilarity rating, thus seeing what kind of creature and atmosphere is left in its void. The other way is by being a mega dick. Jim dealt with all this in a very professional manner ie being friendly and joking with them. We then hid backstage and listened as the crowd entered and before the show was anywhere near starting they were already shouting at each other. Calling each other names, pointing and having a go from across the other side of the auditorium. They seemed a mess. Then I went on stage, and immediately became some sort of target in a comedy firing range. I quite enjoyed it. I dealt back some retorts I was pretty pleased with and they got rounds of applause, but then they carried on. So I gave back as good as I got again. Then they carried on. Then they heckled each other. Then they found out someone didn’t live near there so they booed them till they walked out of the auditorium. Then they heckled me again, then each other, then me. It just got boring. I eventually stopped talking, and let them carry on until I’d be onstage for 22 minutes then I walked off. I’ve never been in a situation like that before where about 80% of the audience were all beyond the point of watching a show. I came back stage, where Jim said he was amazed I didn’t walk off after five minutes. The stage manager said that the audience had drunk the bar dry and they’d been confiscating 1l bottles of vodka off people as they came in. There were several of them that had been drinking there since 6pm. The theatre weren’t happy, but oddly I’d quite enjoyed it. I felt pretty good I’d lasted out there for the entire time and that I’d constantly dealt back verbal blows I was pretty pleased with and all the jokes I got out all got really good laughs. As I finally left the stage, a few people also shouted out ‘Don’t go we think you’re brilliant.’ Death or not death? Who knows. It wasn’t even really a set. So I say it was so terrible that in the circumstances I don’t think it could have gone better. I waited for Jim to start and they gave him a good amount of lip at the top but eventually settled down and it looked like it was going to be a good show, so I pegged it back home. If you are going to start a show at 10.30pm that’s what happens. Yeah. (That yeah is to be said in a ‘pointy fingered told you so’ type way please. If you do not read it as such I suggest you don’t read this blog with the gusto it deserves and you should get someone else to read it out allowed to you.)

I had a brilliant journey home thanks to the session band on Mark Lamarr’s God’s Jukebox on Radio 2. If you get a chance to iplayer it, do. The band were Breakestra, who I saw live at the Jazz Cafe way back in 2003. They are funk on a stick and last night provided one of the best live sessions I’ve heard on Lamarr’s show. When I saw them live they were incredible too and I will always remember the main frontman Mixmaster Wolf who had the deepest voice and the greatest name I’ve ever heard. There is something about funk that allows its musical delivery team to gain the best names ever. Mixmaster Wolf. What you have combined there is a legendary DJ title of Mixmaster with a brilliant animal that is able to tear your face off but also raise human kids as there own and howl, Wolf. Brilliant name. I spent some time thinking about what name I would have if I was a funk legend and I quite like T-Jive Doobiedown, but then have left out the vital animal element that makes Mixmaster Wolf’s name so good. Maybe T-Child Eagle Bear, although that sounds like a Native American chief. Any further suggestions welcomed. Anyway, without wanting this blog to get all insightful or anything but for some reason I spent ages on my journey home thinking of loads of things I hadn’t seen or listened to in ages and had to dig them out when I got home. Here are a few of them. Apologies in advance for some possible insightful non-funny stuff and museo type banter:

Blues Run The Game by Jackson C Frank – Jackson C Frank only ever made one album in his life. It was produced by Simon and Garfunkel and after it was finished and released Jackson suffered from severe manic depression. He became homeless in New York for 20 years, during which time he lost his eye in a knife fight. He was finally found again by someone from a record company who got him to record some new stuff, but his voice was so destroyed by his tragic lifestyle that it sounded crackly and broken. Then he died. If that’s not enough reason to listen to the one album he made, then you should do it because its amazing. You can hear all the pathos in his voice as he sings some truly beautiful lyrics.

Nufonia Must Fall by Kid Koala – Kid Koala is a bit of a phenomenon. The last time I saw him he was dressed in a polo shirt and knee length shorts with thick rimmed glasses and an overall look of geek about him. He then proceeded to mix 8 different records at once to create a jazz track from 8 different tracks of instruments. Legendary. I still don’t understand how he can be so cool and uncool all at once. Nufonia Must Fall is a graphic novel he drew, wrote and provided a small CD of music for, with each track being a different page to listen to. Its a really touching tale of a robot who only listens to his headphones and never hears the sounds of the outside world. He meets a girl who shows him the sounds of life are also music and it has a lovely twist at the end. If you get a chance, do go read it. Then also buy all Kid Koala’s albums, listen to them once, realise you probably won’t ever listen to them again as the sound of clay being punched scratched into the sound of a chicken exploding isn’t really easy on the ears.

Kevin Eldon’s Speakers – 8 genius monologues by the man himself. Download them here. Listen to them all but especially listen to the 3rd one. Lamb Fruit Lamb Fruit.

Billy’s Balloon – Just sublime. After this, watch Rejection, also by Don Hertzfeldt.

That’s your day sorted. Thank me if you like. I’ve got the flat to myself this weekend. I plan to fill it with nice things like what I’ve just posted, but I give it about 10 minutes before I burn myself on the oven while dancing around in my pants to Breakestra and then spend it all in A&E.