18 December 2012

The Party at the End of the Universe


News in from Folkestone - Sterling musical performances from the two bands KING PORTER STOMP and TWO MAN TING guaranteed the beautiful, friendly crowd an exceptional night’s entertainment at THE PARTY AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE. Yay!

KPS played their “own unique union of ska-funk-dub and afrobeat and top it all off with cleverly crafted conscious rhymes. With massive horn lines, heavy bass and intricate guitar work”, I would add, got the dance floor rocking to the groovy beat. Personally I thought it was funny when they started coming out of their tiny dressing room and filing on stage, they just kept a coming out, the small stage filling up with musicians. It was the first notes and the synchronised bobbing that immediately filled the floor.

Whitstable does the same, and it reminds me of the days of when they used to have really long films or double film bills at cinemas and there’d always be a break to go relief yourself, top up your sweets or alcohol; a proper old school ’milking’ of the venue in the most polite way business like way possible, of course. In Whitstable they’ll have a break if their pint was empty. The vibe just gets going and they go ’well, that’s the end of our first set. We’re just going to take a little break and be back in a bit’. Trigger point. Everyone with that terrible affliction of nicotine addiction promptly runs out of the venue and those alcohol fans suddenly creating a bar that’s 10 deep, leaving the place empty with bewildered non-smokers going ‘where did everyone go?’

This doesn’t happen in cinemas' anymore though as the break is deemed no longer relevant. At this very moment in time there a lot of very long films doing the rounds in cinemas’;  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey lasts for 170 minutes; Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a mere 154 minutes; The Matrix Reloaded punished at 138 minutes; some found The Tree of Life's 139 minutes harder to take. That same article warns that “on the way are the multiple-narrative Cloud Atlas, which overtakes The Hobbit at 173 minutes, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which manages 165 minutes; the Bin Laden assassination story Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hooper's Les Miserables, which both come in at 157 minutes; and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which lasts 150 minutes.” How big are our bladders? That is the question? So, all hail the bands that have breaks and perform two sets; long live respect for bladder. How would Alfred Hitchcock have coped following his famous maxim The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder?”

After the bands I play a few tunes. Everyone is chugging away and we all know it finishes at 2am so we trying to enjoy what is left and to cram in our enjoyment but before that a woman approaches me slowly from the side moving her upturned palm in an exaggerated upward movement gesture. When she reaches the top of the movement her eyes boggle slightly, her head tips forward and to one side. I smile and nod;

“Hi.”

“Can you ‘up it’ a bit?” she asks, leaning into my ear.

“Up it? What does that mean?” both of us know full well what it means. I think she means volume but that is controlled by Chester the sound guy. I think she may mean BPM’s; “I can up the BPM to 125 if you want?”

She shakes her head; “You know?” Does the hand gesture again. “A bit more...” – clench fist back and forwards in piston motion – “…oomph.”

“What kind of oomph?” and then she says it.

“Psy.”

I could recount much more of this conversation word for word, as it does go on for some time, so the dear reader could grasp the interminable monotony and repetition of its deliverer and all the time consuming explanations furnished from my behalf that include ‘it’s a small gig with two bands and a bit of music in-between not exactly a psy conducive experience in the least’ but by that moment I had lost the will to live and could feel my spirit departing this earth.

“Just tell me to fuck off if I’m annoying you,” she posits.

“No, you’re fine,” I say. “Carry on.”

This took twenty minutes and it was twenty minutes I could have took enjoying the house music and selecting a few tracks or whatever. Instead I get another text book lesson in why DJ’s love their public. Tonight, a rather less than average count, I had the following conversations, please see link for explanation; a 3, a 5, an 11, a 12, a 13 and a 16. The reasons why people, ‘psy Nazi’s’ in particular, have no tolerance for other people’s music provokes the question that inevitably generates a long discussion that will take place at another time on these pages.

It was mine and Clare’s anniversary weekend, 6 years of toil and trouble, fun and frolics. The first night of our festivities didn’t start well. She came home Friday after work. We had to go out an hour later to ‘The Party at The End of the Universe’.

“Hi,” I say as she walks through the door.

 I'm exhausted,” she replies and that was the end of that. I went on my own.
She’s fine. I'm OK with her. When horrible things happen we stick together. We've grown together like two gnarled trees twining around each other trying to survive. Survive what? This is life. Bad things happen. It’s hard. You find your people; you find your person. You lean on them. It’s my life whatever happens and she is here for it too.

I could articulate epiphanies or epithets or tell you what really matters in life but I’ll just say; have you looked at her hands?  They’re beautiful. The things she creates with them; her art, her food, her touch. She really doesn’t know how good she is. This modesty thing getting in the way. I love that. Sometimes you just wish people would see themselves the way you do. She’s that good. She’s outstanding.

To love me unconditionally is hard work. Clare and my friends do that for me. I lean on them hard. I have a lot of memories of people; people I’ve lost forever from different lives in different places.  This is the place I fell in love; the place where I found my family. This is where I learnt to be a person. Where I learnt how to take responsibility. And it’s the place I met Clare.

I make mistakes. She’s forgiving. I learn. I make more mistakes. I wreck, we wreck things but we always pick it up again. No matter how bad we think things are and in the middle of my fuck ups and insecurities knowing that she is going to be there and do that for me makes me feel that there is hope for me. That there is someone who won’t give up on me. She is strong; so am I and we believe in this thing we have together and we’ll make it work which is partly why I am writing this to say Happy anniversary, happy 6th

Saturday around 8.30pm we got back home from visiting Carole for her birthday. Clare and I met one of Carol's birthday parties 6 years ago and as well as our anniversary it was also Richards’ Records impresario’s anniversary too as he had met his partner at the same fucking party six years ago. I said to him “Richard, I have 10,000 records at home; do you want to buy them back?” Oh, how we laughed. MDM was having trouble with Traktor but a quick latency expansion solved that.

Also at Carole’s we, I say we, I mean ‘the guys’, proceeded to discuss ‘The Rolling Stones’ at some not inconsiderable length and with the documentaries on TV recently fresh in my head and having just read both Keith and Mick’s biographies we traded 'the stone's built the road' yarns like we had been there ourselves. 

Not that I’m a Stones fan. Or a heroin fan but I regaled what I remembered about Keef’s tale of all this pure heroin he acquired at his French tax exile retreat and how the specific instructions were 3 parts heroin and 97 parts filler. He told of mixing his first batch up and he had 100 grams of it. “Still the best, the purest”, he said. He still had 25 grams of the pure stuff left. They recorded Exile on Main Street in the basement of his house on the stuff. And he still beat fitness fanatic Mick at tennis. And Mick has a small cock.

At this party, where we met, she sat on my knee. We chatted. She was wearing a 1 metre diameter target and couldn't sit down properly. She joked. I liked that. I always thought that she was too serious a person for me. It’d been a while since I’d met anyone who cared about me enough to give me grief.

Anyway, when I got back Saturday night I texted the promoter thanking his for a great night out and asked if he had had a late one on Friday? Apr├Ęs party at Pete Blue’s house I had left them, after a lovely cup of tea, listening to Tony’s acoustic guitar skills. He replied; “Haven’t slept yet, look about 55…” Later he posts on fb “Thank you to all who gave for the winter homeless shelter appeal. We raised £105. Well done x”

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