Friday, February 18, 2005

twelve things about me

That last post about dithering over the disclosure of bruised heart ponderings made me realise that I haven't actually written that much about me in the form of personal details.

So, as any good writer should do, I'm going to copy Jim Bliss.

Having read his 'eleven things about me' blog post, I realised that I too tend to talk about music and politics and leave you, my dear devoted reader, a little in the dark about myself.

So let's go one better than Jim. Here are twelve things about me. I'm not necessarily proud of all these, but they are all true. Except one.

  • One:
    The first record I bought isn't entirely known. My brother says it was Remember You're a Womble. I have no memory of this and contend it was a record token spent on Little Does She Know by the Kursaal Flyers.

    My brother thinks I say that out of embarrassment at the Wombles, whereas I actually think the Wombles would be perfectly acceptable for a five year old. Little Does She Know, on the other hand, is inexcusable shite.

    The BBC once ran a late night series called Rock Docs where they repeated a wide range of vintage documentaries about rock bands. I caught one about the Kursaal Flyers. You know the bit in Bad News where the van picks them up to set off on tour and they all live with their mums? Yep. So similar I genuinely believe Bad News just lifted it direct.

    It also featured their seasoned pro sessionist banjo player (banjo player!) downing a pint of beer in one go which the proper members of the band cheered on as a marvel of rock n roll excess to which they could only aspire.

  • Two:
    The only pilgrimages I've made to graves are, in order; Wilfred Owen, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Marc Bolan and George Orwell.

  • Three:
    I was once in a band called Clitoris Allsorts. Although we were a trio our publicity photos had four of us in. The extra person was Bastard Barry Beetroot who wanted to be in the pictures, and on no account did you argue with Bastard Barry.

  • Four:
    I am the executor of my brother's will. It is my legal duty to carry out the instructions therein, indeed it will be illegal for me not to ensure the James Bond theme is played as his coffin is carried into the crematorium, placed on a surfboard, draped in a hawaiian shirt, then when the curtains part and the coffin goes into the flames the Beach Boys Surfin' Surfari kicks in .

    'Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learning how, come on a surfari with me...'

    Reciprocally, my family have instructions to play The Laughing Gnome at my funeral. The Laughing Gnome is a joke record, and life itself is ultimately a joke. We're all gonna die, all things pass, there is no final ultimate meaning.

    Also, it's Bowie, my big musical hero. He made it in 1967, freshly signed to Decca's new hip offshoot Deram. Everything on Deram was being a big hit - Cat Stevens, Procol Harum, even idiotic nonsense like I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman by Whistling Jack Smith (you probably don't recognise the name but trust me, you'll know the track if you hear it).

    Bowie, having flopped on several labels already, was another bright hope for Deram. However The Laughing Gnome made no impact at all. And rightly so, it's rubbish.

    Six years later when Bowie had bloomed into Ziggy Stardust and was one of the great rock artists of all time at the peak of his powers, his old label Deram reissued The Laughing Gnome. It went top ten and sold over quarter of a million copies.

    The moral, as Kurt Vonnegut took a whole novel to make loud and clear to us, is that it's so very easy in this life to do things in all innocence that turn out to be a very bad idea and come back and haunt you forever.

    But beyond the profound element, I just like the idea of a record that stupid being played at a funeral.

    My family are also instructed to ensure everyone present joins hand Auld Lang Syne style and sing Ace of Spades.

  • Five:
    The computer I'm writing this on was paid for by the police. I was arrested because a policeman said I bored him. As being boring is not a criminal offence (and even if it were I can nominate a hefty list of more serious offenders), I got compensation off the cop and not only bought the computer but two weeks in the Caribbean as well.

  • Six:
    I've made a real point of personally meeting artists whose work I really like. If you pick your heroes well they're never a disappointment in the flesh.

    One time I met Marty Willson-Piper out of The Church, my all time guitar hero. Unfortunately I'd been awake for a day and a half and gone into an Amsterdam coffee shop, bought the strongest weed in the house had two hefty bongs and gotten so high that even though I was sitting down I had to hold on to the table. Two minutes later this, in turn, became too hectic and I had to put my face on the table.

    At this point Marty came in, had a half hour conversation with the man beside me, then left. I couldn't move or speak the entire time. I was shunted to the gig round the corner half an hour later which in that state was quasi-religious experience. (The gig, not the shunting).

    Although I've met several dozen of the people whose creative output means the most to me, I've only been tongue-tied and starstruck in front of three of them. They are Patti Smith, Mick Jones out of The Clash, and Jill Bryson out of Strawberry Switchblade. Make of that what you will.

  • Seven:
    Although I'm an eco-orientated anarchist, my close family includes an international arms dealer, a racist copper, a genetic engineer, a marine, a road haulage firm director, a racist immigration officer and a prison adminstrator. All things considered we get on pretty well.

  • Eight:
    At a Mudhoney gig in Bristol I was asked for my autograph by a girl who thought I was Sebastian Bach, the singer out of sub-Bon Jovi wet metal band Skid Row. Being taken by surprise I was, in retrospect, dismissive of her to the point of unkindness. Which as it will have sullied Bach's reputation rather than mine is not necessarily a bad thing, and perhaps I should have been downright cruel.

  • Nine:
    I met my first proper girlfriend at a Pogues gig. My friend Trixie had misjudged his intake of my homebrew and stumbled into a random stranger, whereupon he proceeded to give her abuse for it. I calmed him down and apologised on his behalf. She turned out to be great. She wrote her phone number on the back of my gig ticket, which I have to this day. When she got home she discovered Trixie had vomited all down her back. Despite that we saw each other for several months.

    I recently googled her. She's working for a council making sure kids who leave care get as much help as possible setting themselves up in life. She's written a couple of really good militantly compassionate articles on the subject. I knew I was right to feel like I did about her.

  • Ten:
    Me and some friends once broadcast a radio sketch about a facial dickslapping contest between Ian Brady and the reanimated corpse of Sid James. It got no complaints from listeners at all.

  • Eleven:
    I've been on Top of The Pops. It got more complaints from viewers than any other edition.

  • Twelve:
    I used to work on a farm in Lancashire with people who played a game of cash-based theoretical dare; 'how much money would you need to...?'.

    One day someone said he'd fuck a cold headless corpse on a mortuary slab for three and a half thousand pounds, rebuffing disbelief with 'I could pay off my car with that'.

    This, as it turns out, was a good thing for me; Obviously, I quit soon after, finally completely and permanently free of the work ethic.


transblue said...

Do we get extra points if we can identify some of the true ones?

merrick said...

Hey Transblue, you certainly don't get any prizes! They are all completely true, except for one that's totally made up. It would of course spoil the fun if I admitted which one it is.

Anonymous said...

Marty Willson-Piper incident...

I'd like to point out that part of the time you were actually asleep with your head on his arm...He didn't seem to mind. He was quite toasted himself.
All concerned, were pulled up sharp when it was realised that Marty was due on stage at 11 pm. This was at about 11 pm....

You waster you...

Anonymous said...

Kursal Flyers.

Great name for their "come-back" album, though.... "A Former tour de force is Forced to Tour"

Saw them live once. They were OK. (though I've seen many bands that I wouldn't otherwise see, as guests of Fairport Convention, such as Supertramp.. {I'll not tell} and Roy Wood [excellent]..)


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