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TUESDAY NOVEMBER 9

WEB-FRIENDS DAY COMES EARLY

Typical. The mercury was at freezing when I got up this morning at 8am. It's not going above 45 degrees all day. Sunday it was 50 degrees when I got up at 5am and hit 65F (18C) on the Race. The average temperature this time of year in this city is 53-55, and one of these years, I want to run the New York Marathon when it actually delivers. Statistics are like polls, eh? You just can't trust them.

We got to watch the TV broadcast of Sunday's Marathon yesterday evening. What a thrilling finale to the Womens' RacePaula Radcliffe and Susan Chepkemei running neck and neck through the final miles and right up to the 26-mile mark before Radcliffe unleashed a remarkable burst of energy to win by a mere 4 seconds. You don't have to be a runner to appreciate the moment: these are the things sports fans of all kinds live for, the moments that give us faith in the human race. (Pun not strictly intended.)

Not quite a photo finish - and Ramaala misses the tape....


Though the Men's Race was more typically clear-cut, it was not without its own humor: South African Hendrik Ramaala, known until now as a great runner but a disappointing Marathoner, ran wide of the finishing tape held aloft by Mayor Bloomberg and Race Director Allan Steinfeld. Steinfeld joked afterwards that as Ramaala had never won a big race before, "Maybe he didn't know what the tape was." It's also possible he was offended by the Mayor's remarks at the start. I heard Bloomberg give the usual boost for NYC as "the greatest city on earth" and then, inexplicably, for an event that hosts tens of thousands of overseas runners, "Today we are all Americans." New Yorkers I could understand. But Americans, why?

I've yet to see pictures of the Elvis impersonator or the diving team, but surfing some photoblogs yesterday, I did find this beauty of Scooby Doo and Batman running side by side.

Superheroes to the rescue. I'm tempted to look up their times and see just how much their costumes slowed them down.


That picture comes from Amit's Photolog, one of many photoblogs that went straight up on the web yetserday, again proving that the Internet can be a wonderful thing. Also recommended, Faces of The Marathon, by Rion Nakaya, on TheMorningNews.org. And WhatISee.org , with pictures of runners on the Upper West Side wearing the post-race heat sheet. I love the two men drinking cans of Fosters as they walk down the street an hour or less after crossing the finish line. Aussie rugby players? Or just psychos?

And I really like the pictures Alexis Robie took, starting in Park Slope and then heading up to East Harlem, much like my family did. The sponges you see on the road all came in the shape and form of Sponge Bob Square Pants, an obvious promotional tie-in if ever there was one.

Youngna Park also took pictures on 4th Avenue in lower Park Slope. If you don't know Brooklyn, and watch the race on TV or look at these pictures, you might think, '4th Ave looks like a shithole, how can anyone talk up Park Slope?' Explanation: 4th Ave is basically a six-lane highway, pock-marked by auto repair shops, big box stores and a large amount of unattractive housing. I don't get any buzz walking it myself. Park Slope starts as you head up from 4th Ave towards Prospect Park. (Further south, the 4th Ave stretch also includes Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, and those neighborhoods can also claim that the Avenue is the boundary of their neighborhood, not the core of it.)

Finally, if you have the time on your hands, the best Marathon web page is part of the official site. The Race Simulator allows anyone to run the Marathon at any pace, across a map of the route and with the topography shown below. Its best use is comparing your own time with, either, your intended time, or someone else's time. Its very best use is comparing your own time this year with your own time from the previous years, watching where you speed up and slow down, and where you overtake yourself, if that makes sense. (Nothing makes much sense after 20 miles!) Don't waste time watching me slow up; enter the names Paula Radcliffe and Susan Chepkemei and see if the colored dots ever diverge.


Brooklyn band Radio 4 had to cancel their British and French tour this week due to singer Anthony Roman coming down with a mystery ailment. In wishing Anthony a speedy recovery, I'll also pass along his statement (as posted on the Radio 4 web site and by personal e-mail) than American fans check out the new video for 'State Of Alert' and, in the absence of a tour, vote for it on the NME/MTV2 chart in Europe. Writes Anthony, "The song "State of Alert" is an indictment of the Bush regime and their
willingness to use the fear of America to further their agenda and win elections. The video… is by far the most overtly political thing that Radio 4. Since this
voting is for MTV overseas it would be nice for Europeans to see that most of us
are far from supporting this awful, awful man who is still our president."

The video is also a visual tour of New York City, a little like a speed run through the 5 Boroughs. Entirely appropriate for Marathon week.


Another shameless voting request came from Pasc, who asks you to view the selected animations in this year's Nokia Shorts competition and vote for the Berger and Wyse entry – presuming, I trust, that you like it more than the others. I've seen my share of e-mails and web pages insisting that voter fraud occurred wherever touch screen voting was introduced this year in the Presidential Election, and so it occurs to me… It's just as well we don't vote for the President simply by urging our friends to visit a web site and click on a button at their urging, isn't it? It also strikes me, as it has many other people since the concept was suggested and introduced over these following complaints, that an electronic voting system which offers no paper trace is, inherently, flawed. I'm not making a bigger issue of it than that, but still… if you vote by touch-screen, why shouldn't it be registered as firmly as a transaction at an ATM?



When is news not news? When Trent Reznor announces a delay in the new Nine Inch Nails album. I'd forgotten he was even making one; we last heard from him on record in 1999. Pitchfork Media, in its usual sarcastic manner, wonders aloud whether this makes Trent "either a ridiculous procrastinator or obsessive perfectionist." It's possible he could be both. What did happen to that Guns'n'Roses album anyway?


MONDAY NOVEMBER 8

DONE!

3:49:07. Seven minutes off last year's time, ten minutes off my first Marathon the year before that. Put me a further 1400 places higher among the finishers, into the top 15%, and almost into the top 5000. Not a bad way to celebrate the year I turned 40.

Rehydration at Mile 23, just before entering the Park.

It's all worth it! (I think.)

I'll be honest, and admit it was not nearly as fast as I was hoping for. But then I wasn't expecting it to be so hot out there either. After a week of projecting perfect running weather, the temperature abruptly spiked into the mid/high 60s yesterday, and I was among thousands who'd packed wooly hats and sweaters for the long wait outdoors in Staten Island only to find myself sun-bathing instead. It was disconcerting to be standing on the Verrazano Bridge at 10am, waiting for the start, and absolutely dripping with sweat - without having run a single yard. Did nothing to convince me I hadn't come down with a fever - and by the last few miles I was literally throwing cups of water into my face!

Under those circumstances, I should probably have eased off a little from my goal. Then again, I'd trained for a specific time. And I ran that exact intended pace, evenly and comfortably, all the way to mile 18, which is where the sun-trap of First Avenue tips uphill for a two-mile stretch leading to the Bronx. Then it hit me like a brick wall that, for all that training, there was no way I could keep going at that pace, and I made a spot decision to enjoy the rest of the run, walking where it helped, rather than risk injury. It's agonizing enough seeing people dragging one foot behind the other or cramping up and falling to the floor in front of you without actually joining their club!

I'm glad I made that choice. Unlike last year, where I crumbled so badly on those last few miles that I struggled just to beat my previous year's time, I felt great mentally even when I couldn't keep running; my head stayed high, my arms stayed low, and I was all smiles when I worked up a sprint to cross the finishing line. It was only my dead-weight legs that slowed me down at the end!

Easing up on these last few miles also really enabled me to appreciate the crowd, which was relentless in its encouragement – frequently inspiring me to return to a jogging pace when all I really wanted to do was go home. It's amazing: all you have to is tape your name on your shirt and suddenly every second person in the crowd is cheering you on like they've known all your life. I'm sure the crowds are great at all the major Marathons, but on such a day as yesterday it's hard not to believe (again) that I live in the greatest city in the world.

To which end, mega thanks to Posie and Campbell and visiting friend Pascal who came out at three different spots en route to offer me the necessary encouragement. Equal thanks to all the volunteers, from the kids who help line up the corrals at Staten Island to the medics en route, all those manning the dozens of drink tables, and those who offer such heart-felt congratulations at the end as they relieve you of your computer chip and return your baggage; they make you feel like a true hero when really you're just a masochist! And, not that any of them are reading this, but a Monday morning well-done to the lovely people from around the world I chatted with before, during and after the race, including the couple of runners who didn't realise they couldn't actually walk over the Verrazano Bridge onto Staten Island from lower Brooklyn, and who flagged us down for a last-minute ride just before the Bridge closed to traffic.

Campbell was kind enough to draw the Palace crest on his banner...

Jack and Chris precariously hitchiked over the Verrrazano at the last moment.



And congratulations to Paula Radcliffe, whose ability to win a tough marathon course I had previously called into question. Only 11 weeks after failing to finish two long-distance runs in the Athen Olympics, Paula won the closest finish in the womens' New York Marathon in years, with the third fastest time on record. She's got a bit of the David Beckham in her, it seems to me – either amazing her home fans with her almost other-wordly athletic abilities or cruelly disappointing them by copping out. Anyway, she added the difficult New York course to her previous victories at the faster and flatter routes in Chicago and London; if she could add Boston (next year?), she'd be only the second woman to have won all of the top four Marathons. Her media profile overshadowed that of the men's winner, Hendrik Ramaala from South Africa, who deserves no less a commendation; like Radcliffe, he had also failed to finish in Athens.



If this all seems a little personal for a web site that purports to be about music and stuff, bear in mind that this also serves as my diary: every now and then I need to get personal. Thanks again to everyone who offered support; while I believe it would be possible to run a fast, flat – and most importantly, cool climate - Marathon without such a crowd, I can't contemplate ever completing that grueling, hill-riddled, heat-ridden second half of the New York race without the encouragement.


SATURDAY NOVEMBER 6

SORRY, I'VE GOT TO RUN

It's not my style to walk out of my own party. But at least I'd warned people of my intentions, and so at a few minutes after midnight last night - or should I say, this morning - I put !!!'s 'Pardon My Freedom' on the decks, packed up the rest of my records and left a swinging Step On at The Royale almost four hours ahead of closing time. The preceding three hours had been enormous fun, with one of our biggest crowds yet shaking a leg early to the downtempo likes of the Nuffwish 'Loaded Chalice' bootleg, The Clash 'Bankrobber' Dub and Radio 4's 'Nation.'

My wife Posie, despite being seven months pregnant, then played a great short set that included The Rapture's cover of 'Wot?', The Gang Of 4, Pete Shelley, some Stone Roses and Inspiral Carpets, and some Specials. She was soon seen dancing with my Beverley-born life-long mate Pascal to my second brief set, in which I got in a retro-modern segue of Wire to The Futureheads to Franz Ferdinand, paused for the wonderful environmental anthem 'Monkey God' from Tim Booth's solo album Bone (yes, I finally got a copy: it's out in the States in the New Year), before shamelessly playing the baggy hits and then getting the hell out of there.

I've yet to hear how the rest of the night went. I do know that announcing your party's conclusion is the best way to ensure you get good crowds for the time you have left. It seems a shame now to think we're wrapping it up in only a month's time, but the pitter patter of little feet (and midnight feeds) will keep Posie and I on our toes in a different way come the New Year. December 3 promises to be a thundering finale. Please be sure to put it in your diary.

Posie and Pascal find space on the Step On dancefloor.

Crystal Palace find space on the Selhurst Park wing.

If you're wondering why I left Step On early, then you haven't been visiting here much of late. I'm loathe to predict my time for tomorrow: two years ago, I ran 3:59 comfortably; last year I went out too fast in the considerable heat, crumbled in the second half, and was disappointed with my 3:56. Tomorrow's race should, by rights, be my year to get it right and get a fast time, especially given all my training, but anything can happen, and even the favorites sometimes pull up short. (Or don't even finish.) Plus, I'm convinced I caught a last-minute cold from too much outdoor activity this past week, as I've had the sweats for the last 48 hours. Unless they're just my restless nerves. Again last night I couldn't sleep properly - I was lying awake in the early hours wishing I could just get up, get dressed, get down to Staten Island already and get it over with. I finally got back to sleep after starting in on a Martin Amis novel... I admire the man enormously but let's be honest: his dense writing is a fantastic cure for mid-night insomnia.

Looks I digressed.... Let's just say that anything under those previous two times is good going for my age, and allowing that, just like last year, tomorrow looks like being the warmest day of the surrounding two weeks, pushing into the low 60s Farenheit (17 Celsius), then anything below 3:45 is a victory.

And while I do have a personal time goal in mind, I have to remember to have fun. Warm weather brings out the crowd in their millions and makes this a communal event. And so, I look forward to seeing some of you en route. You may not see me, however; though I'll probably put my name on my shirt somewhere, I'll be otherwise incognito under a hat and glasses as protection from the sun, so you'll probably not notice me unless you're looking for my number. It's 6364. Results will be posted here.

It has occurred to me - three years running, in fact - to do the Marathon in a Crystal Palace shirt, for the fun, to offer support and to be easily identified. And it occurred to me again this lunchtime watching Palace's brilliant performance against Premiership Champions Arsenal, holding the Gunners 1-1 despite having only two shots on goal to Arsenal's fifteen-plus, in the type of tightly-fought game that brought back all the best memories of life as a football loyalist. But replica shirts are appalling for performance; they don't allow ventilation which means that after a few minutes, they stick to your skin. So here's my serious question for someone to answer while I'm off wearing Asics:

Does anyone know whether the players wear the exact same shirts as the fans? Or do we pay £40 not so much for a replica as for a second-rate imitation? And if the players do wear a different material, HOW is it different?

You can ponder that for the rest of the weekend, and let us know here if you have the answer. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to run.


FRIDAY NOVEMBER 5

POUR PARANOIA

The problem with running a Marathon, if you take it seriously (and I do): you can train successfully for months, and feel great about it, because the big day itself is far enough way that it's not bothering you. Two or three weeks ago, I was so fit and upbeat and well trained that November 7 couldn't come soon enough. But now that it's upon me, I'm suddenly paranoid about my health, and fully aware that every activity comes laden with dangers...

Massacre Mansion last Saturday? They warned us about two big stones in the pitch black graveyard; I still slipped on them, and very nearly sprained my ankle. Election night? Sure, let's go out and see how people are reacting. Um, it just happens to mean walking around the neighborhood on a cool night and mixing with all kinds of people who may themselves be nursing a cold. Attend the Marathon Expo to pick up my bib, and stay around to check out the clothing and sample some freebie merchandise? Absolutely. It just means two hours on my feet, exposed to hundreds of visiting runners who have just got off lengthy plane journeys, and a subway ride home in rush hour next to a guy sniveling loudly the whole way. Go see my favorite new band, The Futureheads? Absolutely. It just happens to be a midnight show the week the clocks go back, which means it's a 1 am show when I should be going to bed early. That final outdoor run? Sure. Even schedule it after a meeting in Midtown, and right before a last massage nearby to ensure my muscles are all warmed up for the rub-down. It just happens to be absolutely pissing down while I do it, which means traveling home in wet clothes in rush hour. Finally get an early night? Sure, I was in bed last night before 11pm. Could I sleep? Hell, no. I'm wound up like a jack in the box. How the hell do professional marathon runners ever work up the zen to sleeve twelve hours a night up front of a big run? How do pop stars sleep the night before the big televised show? And how do professional footballers ever get to sleep the night before a Cup Final?

I console myself with the thought that thousands of runners on Sunday will be battling jetlag, and thousands more – the vast majority – will have gotten out of bed hours before dawn, on as little as two or three hours sleep. I'm spoiled rotten in that regard; the drive to the starting corral takes all of fifteen minutes from our house, which means I can sleep in until about an hour before I'm expected to be there. That's assuming I sleep Saturday, of course. I may still be reliving Crystal Palace's performance against Arsenal, a game that's being shown live here tomorrow. (Spend the day before a Marathon in an NYC bar with drunk-by-lunchtime Englishmen? Why not?)

The scene on the decks the last time Nick Cain came by with his friends....

Oh, and DJ your monthly party two days before the Marathon? Yes, I'll be at Step On tonight for the penultimate party. Time Out wittily noted in its listing for us this week that "penultimate" means "second-to-the-last, for those who don't partake in Word of the Day." And it's true: we will indeed be wrapping up Step On, at least in monthly form, just four weeks from today. So if you're in or around New York City, please consider venturing out tonight to help see us off in style. Posie and I will be alternating on the decks between 9pm and Midnight; Nick Cain and Allen Keys – who did such a great job in August and doubled our crowd with their boozy friends – will be taking over afterwards along with their own mate Johnny Castle. If you see what looks like an architectural drawing on the wall where normally there'd be a Stone Roses poster, look closer: it's a floor plan of the original Hacienda. Thanks, Si. If you see me in the room after midnight, please kindly walk me to my car. And if you have a cold, don't come near me!! I'm paranoid enough as it is!

Cheers.


THURSDAY NOVEMBER 4

BACK TO THE FUTUREHEADS

The best cure for the blues is… the blues. Throughout my life, I've usually been able to rely on music to lift me out of the doldrums, and last night was no exception. Despite being exceptionally tired during the day yesterday (to the point of feeling hung-over, and purely from the bad election news), I rallied myself to attend The Futureheads' late-night headlining gig at the Canal Room.

When I saw the Sunderland-based group at Rothko in September, I was blown away by their energy, but later wondered whether I was allowing my nostalgia for their old-fashioned sound to cloud my long-term judgment. Turns out I wasn't: these last few weeks, I've been unable to stop playing their eponymous debut album. It's that rare kind of record that has an immediate appeal, yet reveals greater depth with every play. It's got 15 songs, it's 36 minutes long. It's surely my debut album of the year.

The Futureheads in full throttle: Ross, Barrie and Jaff.

The Futureheads' sound is distinctly retro, I readily accept, but then that's true of just about every other band that's made it big this past couple of years. And more so than their obvious peers – Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, The Rapture and Interpol among them – The Futureheads is relentlessly exuberant, intriguingly concise and admirably adventurous. Perhaps most importantly, it says something. For if there's a downside to the 80s revival among rock bands, it’s the general lack of lyrical substance. Franz Ferdinand may have celebrated homo-erotica with 'Michael,' The Killers might have sent up the American alternative scene with 'Indie Rock'n'Roll' and Interpol, just possibly, had something meaningful to say with 'NYC,' but none of these are substantive messages to match our serious times. The Futureheads are themselves relatively light-hearted in their seriousness – 'First Day' is an attack on the 9-5 lifestyle performed with an almost comical increase in speed – but at least they bother to address the issues.

Another reason not to lump them in with the whole 80s revival is because their reference points actually predate that decade. The Futureheads – who, bless them, were not even born at the time – are in fact immersed in 1978, the year The Jam honed their Rickenbacker riffs with All Mod Cons, Wire embraced pop with Chairs Missing, XTC emerged from the Swindon railway sheds with White Noise and the Gang of Four got all sharp-edged and studenty on us with Damaged Goods.

All these influences are apparent on The Futureheads' album. They're even more obvious in the live show, where they're evenly distributed amongst the four members. Guitarist and singer Ross Millard occasionally sings with a Weller-like growl, holds his Telecaster high like The Boss, and with his Harrington-jacket and un-buttoned shirt style, represents perennial British casual street chic. Bassist and vocalist Jaff, barely out of his teens, favors the Fred Perry and tailored jacket mod look; tall and jovial, he represents the group's simplistic youthful exuberance. Hidden at the back, but laden with responsibility considering the group's abrupt rhythms, drummer Dave Hyde wears the sort of lop-sided haircut that would make him a perfect barfly in contemporary New York; he also sings.

Together, the three of them would make a good band. But let's not mince words here: it's primary guitarist and vocalist Barrie Hyde, wisely placed center stage, who separates The Futureheads from all the retroheads. Dressed in an alarmingly tight-fitting suit, blessed with commanding presence and a piercing stare, he is less a Weller or a Strummer than an Ian Curtis or Colin Newman. His sharp moves and yelping vocals absolutely demand the adverb "angular." He's the kind of front man you imagine making a formidable footballer, twisting and turning the defence with a dummy here and a dribble there. And though he keeps his banter to a minimum, he's obviously a man with a serious mind. (As referenced in my previous review, he was formerly a tutor at The Sunderland City Detached Youth Project.)

Barrie Hyde: Demands the adverb "angular"

Bassist Jaff: youthful exuberance

The set at the Canal Room was basically the debut album, opening with the record's initial one-two punch of 'Le Garage' and 'Robot', closing with its distinctive Kate Bush cover 'Hounds Of Love' and finale of and about 'Man Ray,' and otherwise mixing up the order as befits a live set and adding their cover of the TV Personalities' 'Picture of Dorian Gray.' Hard though it is to pick highlights from a set performed at breakneck speed, piercing volume, clinical precision and boundless energy, I'd have to go for those that combined all the influences: 'Trying Not To Think About Time,' 'First Day' and 'Carnival Kids' marry the complexity of XTC and Wire with the gruff fury of The Jam and The Buzzcocks. In the process, they become The Futureheads' own.

There was little lip service to current events; The Futureheads have enough confidence in their music to let it do the talking for them. In turn, you could have been forgiven for thinking that this audience – mostly young and wildly enthusiastic – cared not a toss about the previous 24 hours. Maybe they were just letting off steam like myself. Towards the show's conclusion, Barrie finally announced his hopes that the audience wasn't "too bummed out by recent events"; Jaff felt the need to clarify with an unnecessary "…election shit." Returning for the encore, Barrie dedicated it to a "special someone" and then realized that was too vague. But still he kept it simple; with a quick confirmation of the name 'W', he launched the band into the non-album live show highlight, 'Piece of Crap.' Then they were gone.

Barrie, Dave, Jaff and essential contemporary item: Vox amp

I checked my watch. 16 songs in 40 minutes, including the encore. About what I used to expect from The Jam and Wire. As if to reinforce the obvious, the DJ hit us with a 1-2 of 'White Riot' and 'In The City' but most people were heading for the doors before the modern dance party could get going. The combination of a late show, the clocks going back and the all-nighter many people pulled over the previous 24 hours - along with the energy of those previous 40 minutes – meant we were all well spent. I jumped in the car, and passed up the World News on the radio: I drove home instead singing along to The Futureheads' 'Stupid and Shallow.' Just like being 16 again, my new favorite band had got me over the blues.


WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 3

THE 80s REVIVAL: IT'S NOT JUST A MUSIC THING....

This is a tough morning to get energized, not least because I was up late trolling Park Slope bars with a visiting English friend who wanted to get the "election vibe." He's been here for over a week, and had been understandably surprised by the lack of campaigning here in New York. It had to be explained: New York State perennially leans Democrat, and by such sufficient margin that the Candidates don’t even bother to visit and ask for our vote. I've never been entirely sure if this is a blessing or a curse – it's probably a little of both – but the bottom line for my friend was this: If he felt like this Election was being fought elsewhere, that's because it was.

The New Yorkers' sense of detachment was echoed in approximately 37 of the other 49 States: the campaign money, the negative ads, the personal appearances were all focused on the remaining dozen, and specifically in five intensely close Swing States. As such, and though I live in a resoundingly left-wing community, you still might not have known what was going on yesterday: on my block, the only evidence I could see of Election Day was one front window full of anti-Bush stickers, and a front yard with an American flag and a placard for Ralph Nader.

The lack of visible pro-Kerry merchandise doesn’t mean my neighbours weren't energized, involved, and motivated to vote. They were. But it does perhaps reflect the lack of excitement Kerry was able to generate in the several months since he won the Democratic Primaries. Over these last four years, the American left was only ever united in its hatred of Bush, never in its support of any actively campaigning alternative. As I wrote yesterday, Kerry finished strong - I grew ever more encouraged by his Presidential potential as Election Day grew near, the opposite of how I felt about Al Gore four years ago – but by the time I went to bed late last night, I couldn't help thinking that his personality surge was too little, too late. I'm not sure the vast American public ever felt like they knew him well enough to fully stand behind him.


Anyway, last night, thousands upon thousands of people in Park Slope flocked to the local bars and restaurants, many of which were decorated like New Year's Eve, in the hope that there would be night-time news worth cracking open champagne for. Unlike the neighborhood windows and front yards, almost every gathering place in this 'hood had pro-Kerry Get-out-and-vote messages on its menu blackboards; one out of every three people nervously knocking back a drink was wearing some kind of political t-shirt, button badge or sticker. Typically, and tellingly, almost every one of those was anti—Bush rather than pro-Kerry.

Over dinner – excellent high-carb spicy diner fare at Bonnie's Grill - I tried to explain the Electoral College system to my visiting English friend, and told him not to make any assumptions based on early returns. Everything, I stressed, was staked on that mere handful of swing States. Besides, after what happened four years ago – when some of the networks wrongly called Florida, launching this country into its most disputed election count in living memory – I had no expectation or desire to see the winner announced before morning. As my friend sipped his way through a range of American beers (all of which, I should note, he was impressed by) and I stuck to seltzer (it's a Marathon thing), we were encouraged by Kerry's apparent win in Pennsylvania, while the numbers looked close enough in a number of other States for us to remain optimistic.


But that was with the TV sound down. By the time we trundled home to actually listen to the networks' talking heads rather than merely watch the incoming numbers across the bar, the news was a lot less encouraging. Around midnight, every TV station called Florida for Bush and made the precise same prediction: without taking Ohio, Kerry would lose. And the early Ohio returns showed Bush in front.

A few hours sleep, and nothing has changed. As of 10am this morning Eastern Time, Ohio remains a close call and may not be settled for days – but it's not, as best as we can see, close enough to make a difference. Kerry will have conceded by the time most of you read this. Besides, the Popular Vote is decidedly in Bush's favor. Anyone who feels that Gore was the rightful victor last time, given that he received over half a million more votes nationwide than Bush, will have a tough job not accepting Bush as the legitimate winner today, based on his popular vote margin of several million votes. As best as I can read the figures, the 4,000,000 additional Democrat Candidate votes over the 2000 Election have been completely wiped out by an additional 8,000,000 Republican Candidate votes. In other words, for every new voter the Democrats encouraged to the polls, the Republicans engaged two. Though turn out was higher yesterday than in decades, and the Population is steadily increasing with potential voters all the time, still this following statistic makes disturbing reading: Bush looks like getting more actual votes than any President since Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984.


There will be plenty time – a good four years – to figure out how that happened. I've written enough for now. I feel like the 1980s revival has extended beyond post-punk funk and into the funk of politics. Precisely 20 years later, Bush is the first incumbent Republican to be re-elected since Reagan. But, specifically, I'm reliving the 1983 British election, where a far right Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was decisively re-elected (despite a disastrous economy, increased unemployment, civil unrest at home and visceral hatred from a significant percentage of the population) thanks to an overseas war, the financial backing that comes with being the ruling party, the intensely negative campaigning such money can finance, and deep divisions within the opposition.

Britain under Thatcher was not the most powerful nation on earth, however, which is why many people across the world will be aghast at Bush's re-election in a way they weren't troubled by Thatcher's decisive re-election in '83. Then again, the American President is only allowed two terms in office; Thatcher managed three (and her successor one more), before the British people finally kicked her party out of office. The good news today has to be taken where it can be found. And it comes down to this. In 2008, Americans will again be voting for a new President. And this time, it definitely won't be George W. Bush…

Sunday's run is going to feel especially long.

2004 MUSINGS
NOV 1-7: The Futureheads live, The Election, Bono Vox, Step On, The Marathon,
OCT 25-31: John Peel tribute, Park Slope update, Expat Commentators for Kerry, The Libertines/Golden Republic/Sondre Lerche/VHS Or Beta/Concretes live
OCT 18-24: R.E.M., Kevin Tihista, Brian Wilson, Atomique. Anglo-American Angle, Jon Stewart,
OCT 11-17: Fiery Furnaces, Green Day, Bowling For Soup, Paul Weller, The Go! Team, Fatboy Slim, New York Wines and Dines, Dick Is A Killer,
OCT 4-10: Best of Best Of New York, Keep iJamming! Thriving, WebFriends, October Hitlist
SEP 26-OCT 3: This Sporting Life Parts 1 & 2 (football and Olympics), Full Court Music Press, Rudi, The Clash, Apocalypse
SEP 19-25: The Zutons/Thrills live, Brian Clough RIP, Iraq, Hunting, Virgin Trains, Punk Voters, Step On Steps Down
SEP 17: The V Festival Review: Pixies, Charlatans, Scissor Sisters, Fountains Of Wayne. Basement Jaxx, Audio Bullys, Freestyler, The Killers, Pink - and camp cameraderie.
SEP 12-16: Johnny Ramone, Village Voice vs. New York Press, Love Parades
SEP 11: Absolute Affirmation: A New York Hitlist.
SEP 3-10: The Futureheads live, The Good News, Step Off, No Sleep Till Brooklyn
AUG 23-SEP 2: No postings: On summer holiday.
AUG 16-22: 33 Notes on 45 Bands: Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival
AUG 9-15: Step On, The Summer Hitlist
AUG 2-8: Crystal Palace are shirt, Crazy Legs are back, The British are Rapping, Losers Lounge, Step On
JULY 26-AUG 1: Farewell to Orbital, the Nike RunHitWonder, Pere Ubu in the Park, Devo, Dave Wakeling, Berger & Wyse
JULY 19-25: Live reviews: Mission Of Burma/Electric Six/The Fever/Van Hunt/Brazilian Girls/Apollo Heights/L Maestro; Crime Watch, Book Watch, TV Watch, Booze Watch
JULY 12-18: Jeff Mills' Exhibitionist DVD review, Midweek W(h)ines, Los Pleneros de la 21/Kékélé live, The Homosexuals,
JULY 5-11: Nick Hornby's Songbook
JUNE 28-JULY 4: The Streets/Dizzee Rascal/I Am X/Funkstorung live, Wine, Football and festivals,
JUNE 21-27: Lollapalooza, Morrissey, Deadwood, London Calling, Stone Roses, Euro 2004,
JUNE 14-20: Fast Food and Cheap Oil, Party Prospects, More Clash, Radio Indie Pop
JUNE 7-13: MP3s vs AIFF, Step on, June Hitlist, The Clash,
MAY 31-JUNE 6: Benzos/The Hong Kong/Home Video live, Tribute Bands, Lester Bangs, Glad All Over
MAY 24-30: The Clash, Fear Of A Black Planet, Marvin Gaye, Sandy Bull, Richard Pryor, Stoop Sale LPs, Michael Moore, Nat Hentoff
MAY 17-23: 5th Ave Street Fair, James, Surefire/The Go Station live, Crystal Palace
MAY 10-16: Radio 4 live, John Entwistle, Jeff Mills, Wine notes, Joy Division covers
APR 26-MAY 9: Twenty Twos, Morningwood, French Kicks, Ambulance Ltd all live, More Than Nets, Mod, Turning 40
APR 19-25: 5 Boroughs Rock, The Number 3 Bus, Orbital split, MC5 reform
APR 6-19: British Press Cuttings, More Than Nets, Art Rockers and Brit Packers
MAR 29-APRIL 5: The Rapture/BRMC/Stellastarr* live, The Chinese Beatles, Freddie Adu
MAR 22-28: Singapore Sling live, Kerry on a Snowboard, Pricks on Clits, Eddie Izzard, Who's Two
MAR 15-21: TV On The Radio live, Tracking Terror, Bloomberg's Education Bloc, The Homosexuals,
MAR 8-14: The Undertones live, Winemakers Week, Madrid Bombings, Just In Jest
MAR 1-7: Rhone-gazing, Pop Culture Quiz answers, Who's Hindsight, March Hitlist
FEB 16-29: Lad Lit, American Primaries, New York novels, Candi Staton, the Pop Culture Quiz, World Musics In Context
FEB 9-15: Grammy gripes, Spacemen 3, Replacements, Touching The Void, Moon myths, Voice Jazz & Pop Poll
FEB 2-FEB 8: Suicide Girls in the flesh, Johnny Rotten's a Celebrity...So's Jodie Marsh
JAN 26-FEB 1: Starsailor/Stellastarr*/Ambulance live, Tiswas, Wine Watch, Politics Watch
JAN 19-25: Brooklyn Nets? LCD Soundsystem, Iowa Primary, The Melody, TV On The Radio
JAN 12-18: The Unicorns live, New York w(h)ines, Sex In The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, S.U.V. Safety, Bands Reunited
JAN 5-11: Tony's Top 10s of 2003, Howard Dean and his credits, Mick Middles and Mark E. Smith, Mick Jones and Don Letts,

2003 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE:


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2004




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WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...

JOHN PEEL: A Tribute

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Fiery Furnaces, Green Day, Bowling For Soup, Paul Weller, The Go! Team, Fatboy Slim, R.E.M., Kevin Tihista, Brian Wilson

FESTIVE MEMORIES:
A report from THE V FESTIVAL, Stafford, England, Aug 21-23

FEATURED WINE:
Leitz 'Dragonstone' Riesling, Rüdesheim, Rheingau, Germany, 2003

ABSOLUTE AFFIRMATION:
A NEW YORK HITLIST
(10 new Albums)

FEATURED WINE:
DOMAINE VALLET
SAINT JOSEPH BLANC 2001
Rhône, France

The SUMMER HITLIST:
More culture than makes sense

From the Jamming! Archives
THE HOMOSEXUALS, 1979

DVD REVIEW:
JEFF MILLS - EXHIBITIONIST

BOOK REVIEW:
SONGBOOK by NICK HORNBY

HIGHWAY TO UNHEALTHY:
Why Fast Food depends on Cheap Oil

THE JUNE HITLIST:
12 featured albums, 15 more in rotation, three 12" singles and a handful of books.

FEATURED OREGON WHITE WINES:
Foris Vineyards Gewürztraminer and Witness Tree Pinot Blanc.

THE APRIL HITLIST:
MUSIC, BOOKS, FILMS, TV, BEER, WINE AND FOOD-JUICE

FEATURED WINE:
Aziano Chianti Classico 2001 .

THE UNDERTONES
Live in New York

THE MARCH HITLIST:
REISSUES REVISITED

STELLASTARR*
Live at Tiswas
Live at Bowery Ballroom
Live at Mercury Lounge
Live on the Hudson River
With Joe Strummer
Stellastarr* album review

SUICIDE GIRLS just wanna have fun

FEATURED WINE:
DOMAINE ROGER PERRIN
CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2001
Rhône, France,

THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
Ten That Got Away

NEW YORK W(H)INES Part 2

THE BEST OF 2003
Tony's Top Tens

FEATURED WINE REGION:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES
updated and re-designed

The DECEMBER HITLIST
Bruce, Bowie, Iggy, Joe and Jodie...

From the Jamming! Archives
TONY PARSONS on BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 1984

THE IJAMMING! HITLIST:
Global Techtronica

THE DECEMBER HITLIST Part 2
TRIPPED OUT BRITS: Nine albums of vaguely psychedelic bliss

FEATURED ALBUM:
Eargasm by Plump DJs

FEATURED WINE:
Paul Durdilly Les Grandes Coasses Beaujolais Nouveau 2003

THE DECEMBER HITLIST Part 1
BRITISH DANCE MUSIC:
Down But Not Out

THE OTHER NEW YORK MARATHON: 10 Live Reviews from the CMJ Music Marathon, October 2003

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Albums from UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Iceland, Denmark, New York and New Jersey.

NEW YORK W(H)INES:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

DANCING IN THE DARK:
Bruce Springsteen at Shea Stadium

The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ


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