From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for September 2011

September 26th Mixtape Guest Blog from Dan Thompson

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When future generations are told about the riots that happened in 2011 I sincerely believe that Riot Clean Up will be discussed with equal importance with those that caused the mayhem and destruction. One man started a movement that single-handedly empowered people to reclaim their communities. Riot Clean Up is a revolution at its greatest, I remember saying at the time it was the greatest form of anarchy I have ever witnessed. He also promotes creative reuse of nations empty shops which is a genius idea in the current economic climate.

Dan Thompson also has superb music taste . I knew a mixtape from him would be literal music to my ears as soon as I knew he adores The Longpigs track On & On so this blog is an exciting post for me, just the introduction to Devon Sproule on its own! My introduction is complete as his diverse choices will say it all. Over to Dan.

“A mixtape is a difficult thing for me. I love so much; the sounds of a low slung punk bass rumbling one minute, a battered double bass being plucked the next. I like ukulele, and big Marshall stacks. Anything with horns is good; but then I’m partial to a capella too. I adore all things British and I love seeing weird Americana live. Music is in my head all day, every day like a soundtrack. Sadly I can’t play anything so the decks in the corner of my office are the closest I get to musical creativity. This isn’t my desert island discs by the way, which would take me months of work and crafting. It’s a snapshot and has all been played in the last few days”
                                                                                                                                             ~ Dan Thompson

1. Devon Sproule – Keep Your Silver Shined (From the brilliant album Keep Your Silver Shined; a perfect snapshot of the America I’d like to live in. Devon Sproule grew up on a commune and she’s at her best on this album producing lyrical magic over lovely, loose recordings).

2. Dusty Springfield – Don’t Forget About Me (One of the sexiest songs ever, with Dusty smouldering over an awesome backing band. Pure heartbreak From Dusty In Memphis – one of the greatest albums of all time. Up there with Trout Mask Replica, Modern Life Is Rubbish, Little Lights, Searching For The Young Soul Rebels and the rest).

3. Get Cape Wear Cape Fly – Morning Light (If ‘It’s kicking off’ is the slogan of 2011 then Sam Duckworth is the soundtrack. Cool chap, with a great band alongside him).

4. Dexys Midnight Runners – Dear Robin (Impossible not to have something  from an album that’s so perfectly formed. Tight, hard and soulful. I have this on vinyl; great sleeve image, perfect typography, awesome liner notes. everything is just right).

5. Lord Terror – Calypso War (The master calypsonians sings about the calypso tradition’s move to Britain. ‘The terror wants war – WAR!’).

6. Hayman, Watkins, Trout & Lee – Dirty Tube Train (My biggest failing? Girls on trains. There’s something about train travel that gets me falling in love and running away for a new life. This is more filthy than romantic but hey… A CD I kept after closing a record shop that I’d accidentally bought).

7. She Makes War – Slow Puncture (Oh – and girls with tattoos and push bikes and songs. They also bring out the romantic in me. Watch the video. This is a lyrical beauty. A song that gets under your skin. Had a sneak preview of her second album and it is shiny, sparkly, sonic brilliance).

8. Emmy The Great – A Woman, A Woman, A Century Of Sleep (A slightly gothic moment from Emma-Lee, sometimes labelled lazily as folk but much darker than that. Has an edge of New York art house weirdness. I was very into the Sister, Siouxsie and Danielle Dax as a teenager. A gloomy blackness still lurks in my soul like bats in the belfry. Or something).

9. Sufjan Stevens – Impossible Soul (Not a song, more a suite of songs. Magnificent and epic should be wrong – I live in Keith Emerson’s hometown, I know how bad it can get. But this is proof that it can work. *Inspirational chorus ‘Boy we can do much more together – it’s not so impossible’).

10. Gene – We Could Be Kings (Worthing’s Dome Cinema on the sleeve, photographed by Rankin. I’ve been playing a lot of Gene lately; largely forgotten, but so much more intelligent than Shed Seven or Oasis. From the good old days).

*Other inspirational lyrics I like at the moment are Devon Sproule’s ‘Dress sharp, play well, be modest’ and Sam Duckworth’s ‘the inconvenient truth is that the power’s with you’

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Written by Anon PA

September 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

On Writing & Taking My Bra Off

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A week ago today I rushed from work down to The Royal Festival Hall to review Brian Wilson for Flush The Fashion. I was unprepared and disorganised (which is very ridiculous for a PA). At 33 it’s actually refreshing to feel inexperienced at something when so much in my life seems to be a matter of routine. Writing for a website is new territory for me, it’s exciting and terrifying. I get so excited about music that I skipped off without a care in the world.

Then my thought process kicked in…..

  1. I realised I didn’t have a pen which seemed like the ultimate rookie mistake. I tend to remember everything I need to (apart from what the boy Lolita swears he’s told me before) and I’ve worked with plenty of accountants that don’t always need a calculator. Ergo I don’t necessarily need a pen to write with. Of course I panicked when I got off at Waterloo and ended up paying £1.99 for one bic biro.
  2. When I took my seat I wished I’d paid more attention during GCSE music as I’m certain we covered Gershwin on the syllabus. But in 1991 I was way to busy listening to Prince & The New Power Generation, Diamonds and Pearls LP, on repeat to of concentrated fully. That’s when I had the revelation that approaching Gershwin like I approached my exams was exactly what I needed to do as that worked out just fine (i.e. zero revision, just turn up and see what happens)
  3. Then I realised just how uncomfortable I was, and the discomfort was all down to having had my bra on for thirteen hours. Not that I needed the encouragement, Twitter persuaded me to take it off. As the lights went down and Brian Wilson shuffled on to the stage I slipped it off. First one strap craftily slipped over one shoulder and over my arm and then zooommmmm, it was whipped off at lightning speed from the other strap. It makes you think whether that first pair of pants thrown at Tom Jones was really just someone in ill-fitting underwear?
  4. Everyone here is really very old but you can see the wonder on their faces as Brian Wilson and his band perform. This is exactly what The Cocoon wrap party was like, but with a band. I want to grow old like this.

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Written by Anon PA

September 23, 2011 at 11:08 am

September 19th Mixtape

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This weeks mixtape is being brought to you by a girl with a very sore head who is sincerely quite shocked that they exist without booze being the prelude. So I must forewarn you to start reading with low expectations. My weekend of skipping around Open House London was annoyingly cut short when on Saturday afternoon I had to finally admit to myself that I did actually have flu and wasn’t just trying to outdo the boy Lolita’s hangover.

Of course it could just be my body’s way of telling me to chill the flippin’ heck out. Last week wasn’t the best. Remember that job I blogged all excited about? Well three days in I discover the company are going down the swanny and will be closing at Christmas. Having just been through the panic of finding a job it’s unsettling to know you need to put yourself out there again. In this current climate job hunting takes time, energy – it’s a full-time job in itself. It’s rotten luck but what can I do but start all over again (while trying to dampen the simmering resentment currently bubbling away in the pit of my stomach). My flatmate has cleverly pitched this turn of events to me as a chance to sort out exactly what I want to do so I can “nail destiny up the arsehole”.

That low came after the excellent high of The Thames Festival and I also got to review Brian Wilson at The Royal Festival Hall for Flush The Fashion. All this on top off the aforementioned Open House. So in spite of bad news London still delivered culture, creativity and entertainment. Ever reliable beautiful London.

This weeks mixtape is as random as last week was for me. Just so you’re aware, the lyrics in Sleeper “Tore up all your photos, didn’t feel too clever, spent the whole of Monday, sticking you together”… I chuffin’ well love that line.

Click on mixtape to play via Spotify.

  1. Jose Germain – Tout Le Monde Veut Devenir Un Cat
  2. The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby
  3. Pulp – Underwear
  4. Sleeper – What Do I Do Now?
  5. The Cribs – You Were Always The One
  6. Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses
  7. Talking Heads – Slippery People
  8. Arctic Monkeys – Love Is A Laserquest
  9. Brett Anderson – Brittle Heart
  10. Television – Marquee Moon
PS. Yes that is a pretentious French version of Everybody wants to be a cat from Aristocats in case you’re wondering. Indulge me this once.

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Written by Anon PA

September 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Peeking In London’s Knickers

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I’ve always called London sexy. Yesterday, thanks to Open House I got to take a peek in her knickers.

It was the first time I’ve made it along to this annual event. I was forewarned that my day would spend a lot of walking and a lot of queuing. Undeterred I shrugged this off. I have legs so the walking is easy peasy, and I am British so queuing politely was bred into me before I was a fully formed embryo. Yesterday I headed to East London where my Dad was born and raised.

In Dalston I mildly offended an architect by not spending over an hour in his house, but he made me take my shoes off and I had a hole in my tights. Also, I like my homes cluttered and lived in. This particular home felt a bit to clinical for my personal tastes. I then spent a blissful hour in Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and found myself plotting how I could stay there forever, unnoticed and left to my own devices but with the occasional visitor. The team behind creating a garden on an abandoned railway are growing a Pizza garden and have built a clay oven to bake the ingredients in once harvested. As I walked to the end of the garden I saw that it backed on to a Matalan. It made me hope that for every awful shop popping up there will always be people on this planet connected with nature, creating little gardens for people to enjoy in peace.

From Dalston I walked down to Shoreditch and finally got close to a sight that’s fascinated me since moving to London. The painted tube carriages that look like they’re precariously balanced on top of a wall make up the Village Underground, an artists community. Sitting in an old Jubilee Line carriage looking across the city felt like I’d been let in on a secret location to cherish.

By now my feet were protesting but I shrugged off their pleas to sit down and eat cupcakes and/or drink cider. In honour of a recent blog post I visited Christchurch Spitalfields, immediately felt guilty about taking photos in a church but did get to witness a bell ringing demonstration which was geekily fascinating. They even let me tug a bell rope (insert your own Carry-On joke here). My final Open House visit was Spitalfields charnel house where I became transfixed on an archeologist called Jane. Listening to her paint a picture of the medieval bone house gave me that same fascinated feeling I got as a child visiting the National History Museum for the first time. That feeling of learning something brand new and at the same time feeling so, so tiny.

Annoyingly my Open House plans were cut short when I had to admit the cold I’d been pretending was in my imagination was actually in my immune system after all. But I still got so much from the day and can’t recommend it enough. It’s impossible to visit all the locations I wanted to nosey in, but it gave me some great inspiration for future days out in London.

I feel I’m due a career change and think maybe there’s a calling for a bell ringing archeologist that lives in an old tube carriage and grows their own vegetables.

Photo’s of my Open House experience can be found on my Flickr

Written by Anon PA

September 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

September 13th Mixtape & Thames Festival

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I spent my entire weekend trotting up and down the Thames for the end of summer festival. All the while plotting this weeks mixtape in the back of my head. The things I wanted to type, the songs I wanted to hear. I had tons to say but then the Hare Krishna’s wiped all my ideas so this is not the post I had intended.

As we sat outside the BFI with double rum & ginger, feet aching after walking around for hours a group of Hare Krishna’s approached with drums and chants at full pelt. It’s not a surprising sight in London. Anyone walking from Tottenham Court Road to Oxford Circus would have tuned into the sound of tambourines and bells gradually approaching. This particular group surprised me by joining forces with a group of drumming buskers and it then mutated to a conga line with bystanders joining in. Sounds confusing but it was a joy to watch and summed up why London is so brilliant. Clad in white robes and sandaled feet they swished past me sweeping up people dressed in jeans and jumpers, their musicians blending with the buskers. Hare Krishna Vs. Buskers mash-up if you like.

The Thames Festival is exactly what I needed this weekend. I know a lot of people can’t stand the idea of organised fun or Boris Johnson so I understand it’s not for everyone. However, with my recent and ongoing rotten luck in the job market reconnecting with London felt important, vital and inspiring. With the boy Lolita, armed with pennies for drink and my camera, we spent the whole weekend between London Bridge and Westminster. A few snaps can be found on Flickr.

We got to toast the Thames on Southwark Bridge with hundreds of others, tables lit up with pumpkin lanterns and strings of coloured lights. We stood on the shoreline when the tide was low under the neon message “We Wanted To Be The Sky” (based on a Cat Power lyric) clutching potent ciders with our toes in the sand. We watched Mercury Prize nominated Ghostpoet play to a crowd happy to stand in the rain to hear the true voice of London today. We watched a carnival procession of the beautiful, insane and strange. All for free.

Click on mixtape to listen to the tracks below via Spotify and raise a toast to the Thames sometime this week (although I wouldn’t recommend drinking from it). 

  1. Summer Camp – Better Off Without You
  2. The Breeders – Cannonball
  3. The Drums – Money
  4. Ghostpoet – Us Against Whatever Ever
  5. Hot Chip – Boy From School
  6. Florence + The Machine – What The Water Gave Me
  7. The Kinks – Victoria
  8. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Tigers
  9. The Only Ones – Another Girl Another Planet
  10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Turn Into
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Written by Anon PA

September 13, 2011 at 11:26 am


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On Thursday 1st September I trotted off to see Pulp for the third time this year, lucky old me. I was also sort of celebrating, albeit in a muted fashion. For those that stalk follow me on Twitter you’ll know I was made redundant a few weeks ago and a melodramatic panic set in. Let me tell you, in this recession riddled climate trying to find a job is harder than what the actual job entails in London right now. I started buying lottery tickets, wondering how long I could stretch out a homemade batch of Daal, considered how much of a pay cut I could budget for. I was never a student, I have always worked, so I am unskilled and unprepared for this kind of life. I’m the kind of idiot that spanks £20 on magazines just to look at the pictures while sat with a monster sized frozen yoghurt while painting my nails with a colour purchased on a whim.

Then I got the job I wanted. Out of all the soulless corporations I’d traipsed through this was the one. Normal sorts who I had an actual laugh with in the interview. What a perfect way to celebrate. Give me a stubbly man with non-existent hips any day of the week to make me feel like I’m in Mecca (lucky for me that description also fits the boy Lolita). I celebrated with my long suffering flat-mate and Jarvis Cocker. Looking back at the setlist it was every song I wanted, if Pink Glove had been included my life would have been too perfect. I’d of passed out like the girl in front of me (who found the grinding during This Is Hardcore too sexual. Not mine. Jarvis Cocker’s). Pulp purists got to hear tracks from Live Bed Show all the way back to Countdown.

Except I felt like I couldn’t cast off the shackles of unemployment quite yet. They were being thorough in their reference checks (in my mind I was just too good to be true, in reality they are a small firm and just being understandably cautious) and until that cleared I’ve continued to temp at a very religious embassy who own giant pritt sticks & eat a lot of KFC. Old colleagues told enough necessary lies about me to give me the green light. I found out yesterday that I start tomorrow.

I never got a chance to sit around in my dressing gown watching Jeremy Kyle THANK FUCK!

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Written by Anon PA

September 7, 2011 at 10:06 am

September 4th Mixtape – Happy Birthday Freddie Mercury

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Sundays mixtape is intentionally a day late so I could pay homage to the sublime, unique genius that is Freddie Mercury. I am certain ALL of you are already peppering your day with Queen, playing with the Google Doodle & in my imagination you’re all wearing mo’s while pushing the Hoover around in high heels.

It is not a day late because I got locked in a pub in Shadwell until the early hours of Sunday morning and therefore was good for nothing but noodles and Dr Who yesterday. Otherwise the tone of this mixtape would have been a slow, pitying weeping. Not what Freddie Mercury deserves at all.

My earliest memories of Queen visually would be watching their performance on Live Aid. I don’t think I truly appreciated how great they were until I saw Freddie Mercury perform. He is one of the greatest frontmen, and a man not afraid to be himself at a time when minds weren’t as open as they are in the year he would have turned 65. He played such a huge part in forming our generations tolerance and understanding. I hope that somehow he left this planet knowing that.

“I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend” ~ Freddie Mercury

Click on mixtape to play my favourite Queen tracks, it’s not easy to limit such a back catalogue. Also if you have the time this week it is well worth watching the documentary Days Of Our Lives. Truly moving. 

  1. Under Pressure
  2. Keep Yourself Alive
  3. Save Me
  4. Tie Your Mother Down
  5. Don’t Stop Me Now
  6. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  7. Killer Queen
  8. Seven Seas Of Rhye
  9. Another One Bites The Dust
  10. I Want To Break Free
  11. Somebody To Love
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Written by Anon PA

September 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm