Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Sunday Swing in Hackney Wick

If you find yourself in our fair and crisp capital next Sunday, the 20th November, may I suggest that you check out the latest belated Creative Swing. The smell of bagels and a walk of stars will bring you to The Lord Napier, 25 White Post Lane, E9 5EN, wherein you will find all manner of earthly delights - spoken word, dance, knitting, and general arty gubbins. No bagels though. As part of the evening there will be some sort of Keshco performance, presumably involving the singing of certain words and the playing of certain melodies. There may also be a new episode of Johnny Cocktail, for the truly fearless. Best of all, it's entirely free! How could you resist...

UPDATE: Ah, alas, the event didn't happen. Are we surprised? No, we are not. And it would have been a solo performance, which I don't even like doing. But we shall console ourselves, with today's music recommendation - the dense, downbeat Gravity Pulls, by Echobelly (Amazon UK). They're still out there, doing their thing. As am I. As are you. While we can.

Socialism of the Heart

This weekend I find myself attending a get-together called Socialism 2005, in the resolutely grotty surroundings of ULU. The bulk of the event is a forum whereby campaigners and activists of a particular left-leaning persuasion can share experiences and ideas (and, for the lucky, maybe fluids) with the aim of forging a powerful alternative to the pisspoor state of mainstream politics. There would be, you might think, more that unites the diverse factions on the left-wing than divides them. Can greens and reds work together, in a new workers' party capable of seizing the popular imagination? Given the confrontational tone of some speakers today, I fear that, although two into one may go, its only chance is at the cost of much deeply-entrenched ideological pride. And as certain recent political vanity projects sadly remind us, pride can be a stronger political motivator than reason. A united party of the left may provide the public with a coherent name on the ballot sheet as opposed to the rag-bag choice they are currently faced with; but how long before it tears itself apart through infighting? Compromise, as a wiser man once quipped, is a stalling between two fools. Any foolishness in this case, it seems to me, stems to a great extent from this dogged adherence to ideology. But what do I know? I've not even read Marx. Maybe I'm missing out on a perfectly logical and workable grand scheme. I just know that the system ain't going away any time soon, no matter what some may hope. The Socialists and the Greens would obviously fare better under a system of Proportional Representation. But that's clearly not on the agenda either. A pooling of resources could be just the ticket, in my humble late-night opinion. And with the global environmental meltdown in mind, the left had better get it together soon, or their ideology will count for very little.

That's not meant to sound patronising. My contribution to the political struggle thus far has mainly consisted of singing pro-NHS diatribes to the already converted. There's no inscription on my guitar proclaiming "This Machine Kills Fascists". But I like to think I have a little socialism of the heart, at least.

Of course, if you want to hear that phrase set to music, you should probably grab the warm and wise LP William Bloke by Billy Bragg, which is available from Amazon UK here... and you'd be helping sustain this band in the process. Hurrah!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Worldranger Stormbuster Four

Well, the festival season is upon us, and the coming weekend sees the return of Truck festival with its usual roster of bands. Look carefully and you may spot a pair of broad-shouldered taut-bottomed young gentlemen, running around with a digicam and giving away CDs to uncomprehending young ladies. Engage in conversation and receive "Softened Fingers". Or just engage in conservation (of breath) and shake hands instead. It's a fine way to keep trim.

Things hot up next Tuesday, the 26th July, with a little Keshco performance at South London Pacific, which for the uninitiated is a Tiki bar in Kennington. Why not dress for the occasion in a hula girl costume? Now if you'll forgive me, I must search out the old seam sealer. Wouldn't want to get soggy and fungal on a sodden farmstead. Busy yourself with The Julie Dolphin:

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Do The Bambi

Only a week until the rescheduled Creative Swing finally makes it to Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. There's a bulging and varied line-up of alternative cabaret acts, and Keshco will be doing a short electronic set towards the end of the night. Best of all, it's completely free! What are you waiting for? Well, May 8th, probably. More details here.

Going through quite a Stereo Total obsession at the moment. Their show at 93 Feet East (supporting the Musique Automatique album - go and grab) was of course a sexy, funny delight, despite my being hemmed in at all angles by the sweating masses (dancing barely an option apart from a bit of head-nodding); but it was an all-too-rare performance in England. Maybe the record company isn't plugging them enough here. Bah. Their new video is a pleasantly surreal experience, though I can't help wondering if their clothes survived the soap suds.

Our own videos progress slowly. More episodes of Johnny Cocktail are at the editing stage, and take a more introspective path - which doesn't just mean no jokes, though you may beg to differ. You can see them, if you like. Let's do a swap. Now I'm going to have some soup, and then will the old bones out of the door and off to Whitechapel to dodge ghosts of Jack the Ripper.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

tear down the old

So, one month until voting day, my fellow enfranchised citizens. The Tories' hideous billboard campaign has already started. Some public-spirited soul in Hackney took advantage of a burst of wet weather to pull down the bottom right-hand sheets from the latest one, thus removing the party logo, which is replaced with the Orange ident. You see, Mother Nature is a socialist.

The hardier amongst you may care to journey down to dingy Deptford (birthplace of Squeeze) this weekend, to a two-day event called the Fleamarket II. Keshco will be there, amongst 50 other artists displaying their work; say hello, press the flesh, put it away in a suitable drawer. The art is on show from 12-6 both days; followed by a varied programme of music through the evenings. Keshco will be playing (plus projections) on the Sunday, along with the Swedish Folk Song Project, Nigel Burch & the Fleapit Orchestra, and Mandicant. Do come along, it looks set to be a veritable cornucopia of curiousities and creativists. We'll have CDs, badges, and maybe a DVD to sell or swap. In the meantime, if you have been, then carry on and you'll know where to find the bathroom.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

fantastic funnymen

Keshcologists! The new series of "That Mitchell And Webb Sound" begins on Thursday night, beamed out through the skies (and this is the amazing part, quite invisibly) from those boffins at Radio 4. I do more than urge you to listen. I point you towards the nearest radio set and hand you the ear-freshening buds. You don't know how to work these modern machines of metal and microchip? Well come round to mine and have a listen from here. I'll not have anybody going without their weekly quota of Mitchell And Webb, for the next six at least.

From heroes of the future, to hoary old warhorses (of the shed-bound variety). Sunday night. A mediocre Channel 4 programme about pop videos. Aphex Twin secretes himself about halfway down the list, the filthy so-and-so. Suddenly the screen cut to a statement read by his "representative"... Frank Sidebottom. Of all people. How the heart soared, much as if I had inadvertently discovered my old Transformers sticker album (long since gathered to God). Even better, there was no Little Frank in sight. Check out the great man's site. Read his newsletters. Listen to his records. Visit Timperley Aquatics. You'll gush. If you're loose that way. He's trying again, the mojo rediscovered? Has he been waiting for us to catch up, or has he just caught up with his overdraft and suddenly has time on his hands for papier-mache larks? Should I fear he'll be taken up by Hoxton hipsters and leave us behind, the Spec-chums and soggy soldiers who made up his constituency for the best part of the last two decades?

I am spending all my spare hours curled up with felt pens and some homemade animation grids. Intensely satisfying for an otherwise sullen elf... you can see the results very shortly, via the Keshco site. Or maybe I'll keep them to myself. The Mustek DV4000 is very light, but hardly a prestige product. Meanwhile, people with more money make worse things look better on high-end equipment. Hey ho. Let's stick some Pram on, shall we?

Monday, January 31, 2005

Get in the swing

The last few days have been enlivened twofold, firstly by grabbing a few words with delightful kitsch chanteuse Lorraine Bowen at her new fortnightly Vibe Bar residency (trendy area, anathema but that can't be helped); and secondly by the visit of my friend, bandmate and comedy partner Robert, who is a good 48 days older than your correspondent but still young at heart. We spent yesterday working on the voiceovers for an episode of our little film series, Johnny Cocktail, before the evening where we were due to play said film at the latest Creative Swing night, at Rampart (not the Lynx game) in filth-encrusted Hackney. My "Bleached Meadows" animation (burnt onto a RiDisc), albeit of uneven quality due to some parts being improv and my lack of a stable tripod, went down well with a couple of people, and then we put JC's guide to festivals (burnt onto a Datawrite) into the laptop, wherein he got into rather a strop and froze the computer. Filmgoers had to put up with a still of Robert's head mid-sentence filling the screen whilst we tried to extricate the disc. Evidently, Datawrite have some compatibility problems. Or perhaps it was a knackered laptop. Or both.

Girl sat next to Robert: Gosh, is that you on the screen? I didn't recognise you, he's very sexy!

JC in said episode is sporting an accidentally-trendy mohawk in homage to Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver". He's grown it out now.

The night was very good though. Yes. Honestly. I heartily recommend it for anyone desirous of friendly conversation and free food. If you can travel in time. Best film that we saw was a quickie titled "Delphine, The Baker's Assistant" (if I recall correctly... yes I do); you really should seek it out, yes you should. Yes. Honestly. If you fancy seeing JC (or the animation), just whisper in the old earlet...

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Good gracious!

So here I am, at quarter to five in the morning, setting up this thing for the benefit of the viewing several. It's all very nice, isn't it. Just type and...

...well indeed. The inspiration for starting this should be credited to two sources; to lovely Luke, soon to be Stateside, who has had a blog of his own; and also to a Mr James Bachman, whose blog I was perusing earlier this morning in search of information about his burgeoning comedy career. Not in a stalkerish way, just.. perusing (You'll be able to hear his dulcet tones on Radio 4 in "That Mitchell and Webb Sound" some time in February). Reading about his own choice of blog, I was led to something called Movable Type, which seemed fascinating and accessible... until I read the installation instructions. Now, normally I consider myself fairly techno-literate but something in the rather starchy setup document just made me think "Bah! Un-user-friendly!" and shut down mentally. Whereon I headed for the relative ease of Blogger. And easy it is. Cheers. Can't be bothered with the other, even if it has bells on. I have bells in my cupboard.

Homemade carrot cake gives a momentary sugar rush but still the tired legs complain of poor circulation and will me to climb the wooden steps to my own little cabin in Bedfordshire. You may care to recreate the scenario; for this you need a PC with fan set to "annoying" and a CD of the Pet Shop Boys 'Fundamental' playing at low levels (therefore difficult to make out over said fan, rather akin to listening over earphones whilst on a noisy bus).

Why am I here? Could it be because I still haven't made it down to WHSmith to purchase one of their damn fine silver day-to-page diaries? We'll see. Nighty-night...