Tuesday, 25 August 2009

We play the Macbeth pub

tone · Dark and ominous, suggestive of a world turned topsy-turvy by foul and unnatural crimes

major conflicts · The struggle within a man 's ambition, his sense of right and wrong and the murderous evil represented by dominant ideology and the best interests of the people

themes · The corrupting nature of unchecked ambition; the relationship between cruelty and masculinity; the difference between kingship and tyranny

setting (time) · Modern times

setting (place) · Various locations in the UK & the USA

Do not mention "The Scottish play" or whistle in the boozer

Scene 1: A Shoreditch pub . Gill, King, Heaney & McNeice are in concert. The audience , some winners of tickets, some guests, have all had a drink.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Isn’t we lovely?

Denmark is the happiest country in the world. Everyone is good looking and has fulfilling jobs and the disadvantaged are cared for. They have the best design and the finest furniture. It is all lovely.
Luckily, we don’t stay long. We drive to Sweden, the land of The Hives & ABBA & Volvo, and I dream of London pavements blistered with chewing gum and dogshit where betrayed ex-servicemen are forced to beg homeless in the streets.
The Malmo promoter has done a fine job: tonight we have 6 ( six!) chairs in the dressing room , a fridge that works -holding excellent Chablis - and, sensationally, two My Little Pony and Hello Kitty balloons which we have asked for on the rider. This is because we plan to play “Cheeseburger” and think the helium will help Andy’s voice sound more like a New York waitress. It doesn’t. We are closing the show, the curfew is at 9pm, the crowd is rocking and we play good.
This is the running order:
Return the gift
(it’s not made by )Great Men
We Live, As We Dream, Alone
At home he’s a tourist
What we all want
I love a man in a uniform
He’d send in the army
Damaged Goods
To Hell With Poverty!

Later, we go to the fantastic Malmo Tempo bar where we eat delicious Swedish speciality food and drink beer and wine and fennel flavoured acquavit. Everything is lovely.
Friday, a flight to Trondheim in Norway, with its improbably beautiful fjords and Northern lights up in the Arctic. We’ve travelled from the most contented country in the world to the second richest . We’re asked in an interview what we think of when we think of Norway: Gill says salty seadogs clubbing baby seals and me, Dallas up a Fjord but with Saabs not Caddi's. The reality is , the thoughtful and attractive people are uniformly nice and live longer than Brits or Yanks do. It’s very depressing . The promoter gives us chocolates with a saucy motif of two young sailor women in a state of deshabillĂ© , which is the non-PC logo of the festival. It's a lovely thought. A superb dinner is laid on for band & crew in the outstanding Credo restaurant nearby. It’s the best joint in town and all-time best gig meal. We agree not to get hard arsed on show-day over My Little Pony balloons.
Show day , I bump in to Bobby Gillespie . Primal Scream’s show will be, he says, their 90th in the last year and a half. He’s cream crackered. I don’t know what to say. That night we play our 90th in 2 decades. And Sunday , we fly back to London. It’s all been lovely.