Had a good reading last night at Moda: thanks to every one who came out. And especially to JD for cueing up the music. It's a simple addition to the reading process but such an effective one too. Anyway, I'm dog tired today and rather than say anything of note I'm going to just throw out a few links for sites I like. They may have more to offer today than I do.
CRAZY LEGS UNITED
The Clash, Devo, The Rapture, !!!, Renegade Soundwave, Salt'n'Pepa, The Stooges, Electric 6, Gang Of Four, The White Stripes, Chemical Brothers, Perfecto All Stars and B.A.D. - a few of the acts I played on the decks following the Radio 4 record release gig for 'Electrify' at Rare last night. (See the band rocking out to 'Dance to the Underground' at right.)
Rare was better known for a decade as The Cooler, and many of us who hadn't been to the Meatpacking District club since the name-change were confused as to what was meant to be different. Ultimately we decided it was so as to avoid false advertising: it was hotter than hot down in the basement last night, a reminder that The Cooler was always anything but. While I've been shuttling my visitors round town this week, we've stepped into a couple of places - notably Piano's - where the air conditioning could have been set several degrees higher, saving the venue money and ourselves some goose bumps. Not so at Rare. It's an okay name for a club. But Well Done would have been better.
Talking of club changes, this Saturday sees yet another re-opening of New York's infamous Limelight, but this time with a completely new name as well as the inevitable new look. In effect, Avalon will serve as a satellite branch of the Boston-based superbclub of the same name, which maybe indicates that Manhattan is no longer the center of American nightclubbing, let alone the global hub. I wouldn't care much either way, but for my own memories of the venue from the early 90s, and the fact that, with a focus on progressive house/techno DJs like Britain's genuine nice guys Seb Fontaine and Dave Ralph, as well as Boston own John Debo, there's a chance that Avalon will actually put music first. But as with the movie Party Monster, writing about it here may be as close as I choose to get to it. We shall see.
And of course I've written about this stuff more than was healthy anyway. Tonight I'll be hosting a reading from Hedonism at Moda Cafe in Park Slope; DJ JD and myself spent part of yesterday working up some new musical accompaniments for chapters we hope will hold specific relevance. I'm still figuring out a way that American readers can pick up the book without having to pay overseas shipping from amazon.co.uk; in the meantime, you will be able to buy it at the readings.
Ran round town yesterday evening trying to show my London-bred friends
well, it wasn't totally a good time. They wanted to see Ground Zero and asked if I'd accompany them. I hadn't been to the actual site in many months and was impressed by the historical display erected on the viewing fence. It's equal parts informative and sensitive. All the same, taking everything in all over again only served to give me a numbing headache. My friends were themselves deeply moved, but then how could you not be?
To counter our dark moods, we caught the subway up to Central Park for the Circle of Light fireworks display which had been heavily promoted this last week as a state-of-the-art finale to the Park's 150th Anniversary season. By placing microchips in the fireworks, the idea was that they would explode at split-second intervals at precise altitudes, creating a Big Wheel effect across the Park. It was hardly the organizers' fault that one minute before the 7.45pm launch time, the heavens opened and threatened to drown the thousands who'd flocked to the park to witness the event at ground level and it was pitifully ironic that the storm lasted little more than the five minutes' display time. All the same, it was desperately disappointing: a motley collection of bright white fireworks that seemingly exploded at random. You wouldn't rightly expect such a disaster from New York City.
Fiction: the Circle of Light as promised on the Creative Time web site.
Reality: the shower of soggy fireworks delivered under a stormy sky.
Then to the Lower East Side and El Sombrero, a.k.a. The Hat, which is still doing the same thriving trade as it was when I had my first ever New York meal there some 15 years ago. And the prices appear to have gone up only once in that decade and a half; main courses remain mostly a mere $8. The Hat's best enjoyed for the genuine Mexican diner experience and the infamous frozen margharitas that come in pints and can also be bought 'to go' in innocuous soft drink cups (I gave them a miss last night) rather than its food. I've never had a bad experience there, but then I don't eat meat or fish and it's hard to get poisoned by vegetables. Sadly, one of my London friends had the equivalent of an English vindaloo experience, so if you do head there and it is a genuine landmark in a neighborhood that's otherwise changed beyond recognition avoid the Carnetos.
Given that it was only 20 yards down the road, we nonetheless ventured down to Piano's, which in its brief existence has become the hip gig and DJ spot in the 'hood, where we caught an anonymous guitar-bass duo playing to grooved-up backing tapes with a healthy sense of humor and at least a couple of good melodies. Most acts struggle to get five friends down on a Monday; this partnership had at least 50 people hollering their appreciation while a storm raged outside. And from there it was over to Sapphire, the long-standing bar/DJ spot and one of the few in the city with a cabaret license. Mondays at Sapphire are Mondaze these days, with some of the best DJs in the city stopping in to do their thing in a low-key manner. Last night I was equal parts and elated and frustrated to find out Sonic Groove's Frankie Bones and Heather Heart were on the decks. Elated because Bones is a bona fide legend and an inspiration on the New York techno scene, and new mum Heather is an equally revered figurehead for female DJs. Frustrated because I absolutely could not make a late night of it. We left as Heather was spinning one Ibiza classic after another, and the small floor was rapidly filling with those who clearly didn't have to get up early today. Bones we had to miss entirely. Then again, it's not like there won't be another opportunity
Thanks to the NPR Keith Moon tribute and the station's online link, last week saw a record number of hits for iJamming! which is good news, because I spent what was probably a record amount of time on it too. Apart from the lengthy daily musings, which I thoroughly enjoy or I wouldn't write them, a lot of that time was spent trying to figure out how to rescue the Forum from spoiling hackers. The solution would appear to be an upgrade in the entire iJamming! system to include a MySQL database and php. What that means for you is hopefully a clearer site with more flexible design and a discussion board for which you'll need to register so you and I alike can avoid spam and hacking. What it means for me is greater expense on the site. If anyone feels like contributing to make up the difference, e-mail me and I'll gladly take the donation.
I've got two of my very best friends in the world visiting this week, as if it wasn't hectic enough with a DJ spot on Wednesday and a reading on Thursday. Jeni and Denise flew in from London on Saturday (Denise now lives in Sydney and has finally managed to arrange one of her annual trips to the UK to incorporate a journey back via the States); it's their first time in New York since Posie and I got married ten summers ago, and of course much has changed in that decade. To show them a little of Brooklyn - a borough they'd never before stepped foot in - I took them out to Southpaw last night and Ninja Tune's The Art of Listening Tour starring DJ Vadim. Southpaw doesn't usually do DJ events, and it showed: the Russian-born Vadim had sound problems throughout his part of the gig and barely demonstrated his renowned mixing skills. It was left to DJ First Rate to enthuse the crowd with his turntable tricks (which included lifting the Technics behind his head to scratch, and drawing deep tones by bouncing his thumbs on the vinyl) and Emcee Blurum Thirteen to keep the sparse Sunday night audience up on the floor with his amiable verbal flow. A little big of toasting with someone I believe called Cali alongside DJ Automato was also well worth our attention. I notice that the Art of Listening tour took in Mercury Lounge Saturday night and visits Luxx tonight: it's great that Brooklyn's considered a touring destination in its own right, but three back-to-back gigs across just two boroughs clearly split the audience.
Djs Vadim and First Rate cut it up at Southpaw
While we're talking Brooklyn gigs though, I just received notification of a wonderful event at the Prospect Park Bandshell on Sunday October 4 organised by Renewable Brooklyn, "a collective of artists, educators, environmentalists and professionals dedicated to creating a more ecologically healthy way of living" Though they've neglected to mentioned ticket price, admission will get you not just eight hours of music from iJamming! faves like 2 Many DJs and Radio 4, but also Outhud, U.N.K.L.E., and the Handsome Boy Modeling School. You'll also get a 64-page full-color book as a souvenir, and if that sounds somewhat over the top for an 'ecologically healthy' event then I suppose you should rest assured that it will be "printed on paper that is 100% tree free, post consumer waste, processedchlorine free and printed with soy ink." The event is part-sponsored by our borough's own Brooklyn Brewery, which according to Renewable Brooklyn's press release, "has recently switched over to wind power to power its brewery and offices." Good for them. The Brewery, long a source of pride for its excellent India Pale Ale, Chocolate Stout and good-old fashioned lager, "will preview its first batch of organic beer for this event. The brew will be served in biodegradable cups made from corn." What I want to know is: Does that mean we can eat the cups when we've finished the beer?
SEP 8-14: Central Park Film Festival, Roger (Daltrey) and me, September 11 Revisited, The Raveonettes/Stellastarr* live, Recording Idiots of America,
SEP1-7: Film Festivities, Party Monster, Keith Moon RIP
AUG 25-31: Punk Planet, Carlsonics, Copyright Protection, Cline Zinfandel, BRMC
AUG 18-24: Black Out Blame Game, John Shuttleworth, British Music mags, Greg Palast, The Thrills live.
AUG 11-17: The New York blackout, Restaurant reviews, The Media as Watchdog, What I Bought On My Holidays
AUG 4-10: Step On again, Shaun W. Ryder, Jack magazine, the BBC, the Weather, Detroit Cobras, football and Rock'n'Roll
JULY 28-AUG 3: De La Guarda, The Rapture, Radio 4, Stellastarr*, Jodie Marsh, A Tale of Two Lions, Hedonism launch photos,
JULY 14-27: Manchester Move Memories, Hedonism is Here, Holiday postcard
JULY 7-13: Chuck Jackson live, Step On, Beverley Beat, British Way of Life
JUNE30-JULY6: David Beckham, Geoffrey Armes, Happy Mondays, Step On at Royale
JUNE 23-29: Ceasars/The Realistics live, weddings and anniversaries, Cabaret laws.
JUNE 9-23: Hell W10, The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite, Nada Surf live, Field Day debacle
JUNE 2-8: Six Feet Under - Over, Field Day, Siren Fest, Crouching Tigher Hidden Cigarette
MAY 19-JUNE 1: Ian McCulloch live, New York's financial woes, Six Feet Under, Hedonism, Tommy Guerrero.
MAY 5-18: Live reviews of The Rapture, De La Soul, Carlsonics, Laptop, The Libertines, Echoboy, The Greenhornes; observations on Chris Coco/The Blue Room, The Apple Music Store, Alan Freed, Phil Spector, The Matrix Reloaded, Rare Earth, Tinnitus and Royale!
APRIL 28-MAY 4: Flaming Lips, Madonna, Bill Maher, The Dixie Chicks, the war
APRIL 21-27: Rotary Connection, War(n) Out, Cocaine Talk
APRIL 14-20: Belated London Musings on Death Disco and CPFC.
APRIL 7-13: London Musings: Madness, Inspiral Carpets, the Affair, the Palace, the Jam
MARCH 31-APRIL 6: Music be the spice of life, London Calling: Ten Observations from the Old Country
MARCH 24-30: Six Foot Under, Peaches/Elefant live, MP Frees and Busted Boy Bands
MARCH 17-23: Röyksopp live, Transmission, Worn-Out War Talk
MARCH 10-16: Live reviews: Stratford 4, Flaming Sideburns, Joe Jackson Band, Linkin Park. Why I Oppose The War (For Now).
MARCH 3-9: The Pursuit of Happiness, Weekend Players, U.S. Bombs, Al Farooq, A New Pessimism, Brooklyn Half Marathon
FEBRUARY 24-MARCH2: Orange Park, Ali G-Saddam Hussein-Dan Rather-Bill Maher-Jon Stewart TV reviews, Stellastarr*, James Murphy, The Station nightclub fire, the Grammys
FEBRUARY 17-23: Village Voice Poll, Singles Club, Smoke and Fire
FEBRUARY 3-16: Snug, The Face, Pink, Supergrass live, Keith Moon, Phil Spector, Gore Vidal
JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 2: Communist Chic, Spiritland, Daddy You're A Hero, Keith Moon, State of the Union, CPFC and more on Iraq
JANUARY 20-26: Divisions of Laura Lee, Burning Brides, Words On War, Child Abuse of a Different Kind, Losing My Edge
JANUARY 13-19: Pete Townshend, Pee Wee Herman, South Park and more Pete Townshend
JANUARY 6-12: Interpol in concert, Tony Fletcher's Top 10 Albums and Singles of 2002, More on Joe Strummer and The Clash, Fever Pitch and Bend It Like Beckham.
DECEMBER 31 2002 -JAN 5 2003: A tribute to Joe Strummer, Radio 4 live on New Year's Eve
DECEMBER 25-30: NO POSTINGS: ON VACATION
DECEMBER 16-24: Metro Area, Breakbeat Science, Sting makes Wine, New York Downtown redesigns, Keith Moon anecdotes, Campbell's jokes.
DECEMBER 9-15: Tiswas, pledge drives, The View from Up North
DECEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Weekend Players and Snow Lit Piano Bars)
FOR NOVEMBER 25-29 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Joe Hurley, Thanksgiving, Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin)
FOR NOVEMBER 16-24 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Longwave, The Pleased, Get Your War On, Powder, Radio 4, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, Ben Neill, Baldwin Brothers, Thievery Corporation)
FOR NOVEMBER 9-15 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes CMJ report including Datsuns, von Bondies and My Favorite, and political Eagles)
FOR NOVEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Halloween, the New York Marathon, and British Cuisine)
FOR OCTOBER 26-NOV 1 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes live reviews of The Streets, Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, Flaming Sideburns, Stellastarr*; Jam Master Jay; Halloween)
FOR OCTOBER 19-25 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Underworld live, Atlantic Avenue antics, Girls and Boys night)
FOR OCTOBER 12-18 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Bali Bombing and stupid editorials, the Electro-Clash festival, VHS Or Beta, Ballboy, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJs, Tom Petty, The Streets, pointless stop-the-war e-mails)
FOR OCTOBER 5-11 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Steve Earle and John Walker's Blues, Dreaming Of Britney, Girls Against Boys and Radio 4)
FOR SEPTEMBER 28-OCT 4 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes White Stripes live, Morel live, My Generation re-issue)
FOR SEPTEMBER 21-27 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Creation live, Village Voice, Wine not Whine and more)
FOR SEPTEMBER 14-20 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Firefighter Andre Fletcher, Untamed, Uncut, and more September 11 Musings)
FOR SEPTEMBER 7-13 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Sep 11 memorials, Did Bin Laden Win?, Scissor Sisters and Electro-clash)
FOR AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Strokes live, The Rising, Saint Etienne, Team USA, a.i., Tahiti 80, Dot Allison)
FOR AUGUST 17-30 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes holiday musings, wine reviews, Luna at Southpaw, and more)
FOR AUGUST 10-16 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes lengthy Who live review)
FOR JULY 27-AUG 9 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Area 2, 24 Hour Party People Party, Hootenanny Tour, 2 Many DJs and more.
FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
FOR JULY 13-19 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, Britishification of Global Rock)
FOR JULY 6-12 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Mike Meyers as Keith Moon, the RAVE Act, John Entwistle, Michael Jackson, Southpaw, Moby Online, Layo & Bushwacka!,(accidentally deleted)
FOR JUNE 29-JULY 5 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup Final, John Entwistle's legacy, The Who's decision to carry on, the meaning of July 4)
FOR JUNE 22-28 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Dr. John, Doves, Mermaid Parade, John Entwistle's death, Timothy White's death, Clinic Firewater and Radio 4 live, The Who's decision to carry on)
FOR JUNE 15-21 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Liars live, GiantFingers, the Big Takeover)
FOR JUNE 8 -14 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, StellaStarr*, Jose Padilla, Dee Dee Ramone, suicide bombings)
FOR JUNE 1-7 DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Southpaw, Six Foot Under, Andrew Sullivan)
FOR LATE MAY DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR MAY'S EIGHT DAYS IN A WEEK'S MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR LATE APRIL LONDON MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR EARLY APRIL MUSINGS, CLICK HERE