How NOT to write about music – 162. Slum Of Legs vs Porridge Radio

Brighton_Pier_at_dusk

Two bands have dominated my musical existence (community? taste? listening?) since my return from Brisbane five years ago. Both are from Brighton. Both have/are releasing albums (one their second, the other their debut) right now. One is going slightly above the parapet and is being written about in effusive fashion in a variety of places – Pitchfork, NME, The Quietus, the regulars. One isn’t – or not so much. Both should be everywhere, all the time. I do not love both bands equally because that would be insane, see patronising. Equal but differently.

I want to use this moment to record that my brain is currently imploding from the sheer musical wonderment of it all, especially as I got sent both albums the week I discovered the debut Roxy Music album 45 years on. I simply cannot process all this magik all at once. Give me space! Give me space. It is enough for me to know that others are taking note, others are feeling as enthused and confused and wired and charged as I have been by this splurge of music and awkwardness and humanity and passion over the last five years. This is music that is not just my heartland but that which defines me. I cannot imagine life without either, and it makes no sense to engage with…

When you’re sad, you’re invisible
A flicker at the edge of an eyeball
When you’re sad, you’re invisible
A flicker at the edge of the disco
At least we are not a painted
Macabre French
Sensation
Benetint & Malevolence 06:49

Collectively, I have written about the two bands on at least 20 occasions… and NONE of those for the mainstream (or even alternative mainstream) press… and yet I am not listening to either album from either band, just revelling in the knowledge they exist and they exist and they exist… this behaviour is similar to the way I way I reacted in the early 1980s when I never actually listened to the first two Birthday Party albums or UT on vinyl because I DID NOT NEED TO, I had the wonderful unpredictable charged unfocused focused live experiences to buoy me, to charge me, even (with Slum of Legs) if it’s been several years now.

My musical memories have never been at fault.
It’s just everything else.

GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY

My mum says that I look like a nervous wreck
Because I bite my nails right down to the flesh
And sometimes, I am just a child, writing letters to myself
Wishing out loud you were dead, and then taking it back
And I used to be ashamed until I learned I love the game
And I slowly move away from everything I knew about you
And my mum gave me this pen, she said it lights up when you press it
And you are still so depressed, and I like that you need me
You will like me when you meet me
You will like me when you meet me
You will like me when you meet me
You might even fall in love
Sweet 03:44

Members of both bands have given me support at crucial moments: and I want to thank them now because I know I ain’t always so good at communicating away from my Other Self.

GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY

Someone commented recently, “do you know how hard it is to keep the same group of six people together for five years?”

GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY
GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY GO DIY

Now, I am cross with myself. How dare I devalue one band by mentioning the other? There are links: some obvious, some not: but that is not the point. Listen to this. Listen to this. I just want to say this to you.

I was thinking of a compromise
When I saw the beauty in your eyes
It heightened something in me so I’ll say so

Now I just want to say this to you
Listen to this, listen to this,
I want to say this to you
You never know, oh oh
(Here we go)
I love you, I love you
I love you, and it’s true and it’s true and it’s true

Listen to This – Dexys Midnight Runners

With its looming ferris wheel and wooden pier, Margolin notes that Coney Island loosely resembles Brighton, the college town on England’s south coast where she met her bandmates and formed Porridge Radio in 2015. What began as Margolin’s lo-fi solo project has evolved into a fierce wrecking crew fueled by unvarnished angst. On the group’s lurching new album, Every Bad—their first release for esteemed indie imprint Secretly Canadian—Margolin is a snarling antisocial who’s constantly at war with her body and mind.
(Pitchfork)

Since emerging with a three-song tape in 2013, Brighton’s Slum Of Legs have maintained the same six-strong lineup, and do you have any idea how hard that is? (In this specific instance, neither do I, but statistically speaking one expects a limb or two to drop off now and then.) Their self-titled debut album, on Nottingham/Bristol label Spurge, is their first release since 2015, but Slum Of Legs’ component parts circa singles ‘Doll Like’ and ‘Begin To Dissolve’ – Krauty/proggy discord, post punk jags, indie pop froth, feminist rhetoric equally exaltatory and condemnatory – remain in place on these ten numbers.
(The Quietus)

Somewhere, I think this fits. Awkwardly. Don’t force it.

They’re loud, they’re smart and they want us to be better people. Porridge Radio are about to conquer the planet with their breakthrough album ‘Every Bad’, a record of art-rock mantras that betrays their towering ambition and cocksure spirit. Matthew Neale talks to singer Dana Margolin about being hailed by Nirvana’s best mate, the dread of being branded a political band and why it’s important to make a difference.
(NME)

 

How NOT to write about music – 158. Slum Of Legs

Slum_of_Legs

Here’s the deal. Other pundits will give you more considered, nuanced takes on Brighton’s Slum Of Legs – whose debut self-titled album has just been released, four or five years later than some of us might have hoped. They will use words like “post punk jags” and “indie pop froth” and draw comparisons to names such as Mary Timony, The Ex and… oh just go and read the bloody thing, why don’t you? That’s all fine and good. That’s what decent critics do. Contemporise, extemporise, cheer lead. Shake those fluffy pom-poms. Look serious. Make relevant contextual (social, political, cultural) connections so the reader can understand without listening.

Me? I just say, have a fucking listen.

Me? I say, have a listen.

Critics do what critics must. I long ago gave up such trappings.

Me? Slum Of Legs inspired me to plagiarise a much-loved children’s book.

I view myself as a fangirl, camping out for days before the event in the hope of touching the hem of the anointed garment, throwing away marriages and happiness in a futile quest to put across my adoration for music.

Case study one.

I’m gone. Solid. Stuck here, thinking. Stuck here, thinking that Tamsin can articulate loneliness and hope and the thrill of the dance floor much better than I ever could. Stuck here, entertained thoroughly by all the shenanigans going on on stage. Stuck like glue. Stuck here. Of course it is sadder not to dance at all than to dance alone. Of course we all – kindred souls us; the trans folk, the gentile hipsters, the students, the old and weary – are stuck on the edge of a dance floor, not allowed in except for brief brilliant bursts of crimson. Of course my head is bobbing. Stuck, caught in a trance. Paralysed. Doll-like. The difference between Slum Of Legs and most anyone else is that if Slum Of Legs don’t get me, they’d tell me to my face. (Not Brisbane at all, then.)

Check the title of the blog entry again. I agree, with the benefit of years of isolation. that it is open to misinterpretation. At the time, all I wanted was to communicate was my passion for the music. And that was it. As I wrote in July 2015, “For 35 brief minutes I have found my home again. I leave just as Tamsin is pulling down the keyboard-player on top of her, and catch my bus with two minutes to spare”.

NOTE: the pull quote above is referring to the song in the YouTube clip.

Let the other critics do what critics must: validate, disseminate,  converse, add layers of understanding and enjoyment. It has been five years now, and I am still not quite ready to listen to the new Slum Of Legs album. Let me savour the anticipation (“Anticipation is so much better” – Delta 5) for a bit longer. Please. I will get back in contact when I have: some moments are too important to rush.

Me? I cannot do any of that. Right now, I want to savour the memory of when I saw Slum Of Legs perform for the first time – a mere month after our return from Brisbane – and felt that yes, there may be a place for me here after all. Let me savour the memory of a time when I had a home and friends and I was in love with Brighton and music and Slum Of Legs once more.

I walked down to the venue, savouring the warm summer evening. I caught the bus back home, with two minutes to spare.

I had a home.

How NOT to write about music – 141. Cornershop

Cornershop
Filmed in Moulsecoomb

As a garden gate to the album ‘St Marie Under Canon’ starts the walk sounding upbeat in nature, and gracious in chorus, praising St Marie for all of our battles that she has overseen and adjudicated, ending with the modern day warfare of the public address sound system: amplifier, echo chamber, microphone and speaker. Music through the sound system is the weapon (or should be). Taken from the forthcoming Cornershop LP ‘England is a Garden’. Pre-order link in the format of your choice: http://bit.ly/CornershopLPpreorder

It feels highly appropriate to link to this, the return of Cornershop, on the day the UK leaves Europe, the juxtaposition of a representation of much that is wonderful and inspiring and life-affirming about this sometimes beautiful, often battered country of ours against the embarrassing, pathetic, divisive, transparently self-serving actions of our leaders who are acting in no one’s interests save their own.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Brexitwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the BoJo bird, and shun
The insidious Moneysnatch!”

He took his cultural sword in hand;
Long time the woesome foe he sought—
So rested he by the missing tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Brexitwock, with eyes of greed,
Came whiffling through the Farage wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The cultural blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Brexitwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

How NOT to write about music – 140. Hinds

Hinds

One of the greatest reviews I wrote since my return from Brisbane in 2015 was of Spanish band Hinds when they played Brighton in 2016. So great, it directly contributed to the break-up of my marriage (alongside several other pieces of writing) – but what the fuck. You don’t become a great music critic by caring for yourself or those near you; having friends; having any sort of self-respect. Also, in fairness, it wasn’t this review and the other reviews per se that caused the break-up of my marriage but my behaviour at the time.

As Hinds singer Carlotta Cosials put it, “I am flirting with this guy/Just to pretend I’m fine”. And of course I am anything but fine now and I never flirt anymore.

And now, way way too late, I realise that of course I would rather have friends and a marriage and a life than be considered any sort of a music critic.

As Carlotta sings below, “I’ve been riding solo, riding solo/Doesn’t feel okay/Make it go away”.

How NOT to write about music – 138. Lankum

Lankum

Goddamn. I am loving this band so much.

Back when I helped helm magazines such as Plan B and Careless Talk Costs Lives (all though the 2000s, in fact), there is no way we would have passed over such rare talents as Dublin’s Lankum. Such emotional, deceptively simple music. The sound of a drone, constant and unsettling. The sound of a drum, slowly beating. Heartbeats. The sound of raw, beautiful voices singing tales of rawness, of beauty. There is so little to dislike here, it throws the rest of life – of your fucking culture – into sharp relief. And not in a good way. Lankum make you appreciate that yes, there are still people out there who care, who can sing, who understand the dreariness of the mundane and the ecstatic pull of the soil. They recall Young People to me (the unknown band we made cover stars of the penultimate issue of Careless Talk: I used the feature as a way of trying to come to terms with my father’s impending death). There’s something unbidden about this music. Just gorgeous. They recall Brighton’s Hamilton Yarns to me, the clarion call of the trumpet. Distant, unbidden.

Just recently I have been enjoying the twin peaks of televisual splendour: The Detectorists and Worzel Gummidge, and it’s the attention to detail, the small things, the minutiae that I so rarely feel these days… the heart, the warmth, the friendships, the companionship, so much of which is missing from my life these days and yet I know that I have but to reach out my hand and grab it. This is what Lankum remind me of, most of all – the secret ways, the fading maps – and this is why I love them so dearly.

Lankum: Dublin folk miscreants. That is a reasonable way of summing them up.

How NOT to write about music – 135. Porridge Radio

Porridge Radio

Wow.

I think that from now on, I am only going to write about Porridge Radio on this blog – fuck everything else, it all pales into insignificance next to Dana and her merry band of mischief-creators and her impetus. I refuse to be sidetracked by mannequins and remembrances of dolewave, Alison Moyet covering songs from Grease or past feuds with musicians who long ago forgot my name. We are on the eve of war, my friend. We are on the eve of war. This is my vow, my pledge of allegiance and if by necessity this means simply repeating everything I have said before when I was far more erudite and revealing (now my joints creak and my bones wane and I do not flex charm) then so be it. I have no fresh words for you, no ways of extolling enthusiasm and wonderment and desire beyond one word. Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

I do not choose to live my life viscerally and am still holding on to the idea that at some point I may not need to but right now I need to. Her line, “My mum says I look like a nervous wreck because I bite my nails right down to the flesh” – who hasn’t lived that? Her line, “And I used to ashamed until I learned I love the game and I slowly move away from everything I knew about me” and her line, “You will like me when you meet me (x4)/You might even fall in love” – who hasn’t lived that. This is how I have been feeling for so many years now, feel right now, probably will always feel – mainly because I refuse to believe anyone could ever love or even like me. I am charming! I am sweet! STOP THE FUCK IT.

I am living viscerally.

This is Brisbane and this is Brighton and this is a reality and this is everything, all captured in just under four minutes and all I could do it hit repeat and all I can do is hit repeat and all I want to do is hit repeat and all I ever do is hit repeat and all I do is think … the difference between 1991 and 1995 was a lifetime, but the difference between November 2015 (when i first saw Porridge Radio) and January 2020 (now ) is 1460 nights in.

I notice something increasingly about my coverage of Porridge Radio:

  1. It becomes more impenetrable by the sentence.
  2. I focus on the words. But I NEVER focus on the words.

What the fuck is going on here?

EXHIBIT A
Does Jerry Thackray like porridge radio. That is the question. If he does then that opens a whole new level of music to exploration and dissection. I never was good at analysis. I just want to share some porridge radio with you on behalf of my old mate Everett True. He would have liked them for sure. They are startling: florid, open, given to exhaustive repetition and a determination to see the thing through whatever that might entail. The song titles give the game away. The four tracks on the new shared cassette say more to me about my(?) life than the entire back catalogues of The Flaming Lips, R.E.M. and Sebadoh combined. This is partly context and mostly content. Or perhaps the other way around.

If this band were from Brisbane they might be called Bent, or Scrabbled. <-<- man, what a crap thing to write.

I am not exhausted of this sound. I will never be exhausted of this sound. I want this sound clogging up the nation’s airwaves next to Jenny and Kanye and the rest of the rotten bunch. This is my own personal Taylor Swift, my own backstreet Wire.  The reason the singer sounds out of breath and near comatose by the end is because she is pouring all of herself into the moment. And if you think that is not more than enough for me, then you ain’t been reading me, sister.

EXHIBIT B 
On tape, Porridge Radio are all intense this and intense that: acoustic and frail and fragile and presumably suffering from the same sore bear-head that many sore bears have suffered from already. On tape – brashly and sadly (not in the pejorative use) and female – they remind me of a traumatised Sentridoh (Porridge Radio actually cover ‘Gimme Indie Rock’), so beautiful and fresh and unrepentant. Songs about loneliness and hope and scary clowns encountered one too many times. Dana uses repetition and silence like she understands the concepts. So fragile, so worried, so strong. So beautiful.

Live, Porridge Radio (as a band, as a loose-knit collective of friends and dreamers and misfits) are having way too much fun to sound like that. Instead, they mutate into a full-on rock Sebadoh circa 1998 (I do not want to labour this point). More to the point, considering where I saw them first, they remind me and the fellow standing next to me, gently swaying in the mood and maladies, of Blank Realm: the way there is a warped, woozy, drunken beat backing them, the way Dana stretches out her vowels and consonants and whatever else tricksy devices she uses. Live, this is dance music for fucking the world to, dislocated delirium to dangerously dig around the past and present in.  The music in the studio is Marine Girls special: the music on stage is like a full-throttle cunt-out Television or Happy Mondays.

Go figure.

I think perhaps Dana and colleagues – and man, a shout-out to that lady cutting a rug and smiling for no apparent reason beyond the fact she clearly loves to cut a rug and smile; and man, a shout-out to the psychedelic guitarist; and man, a shout-out to that astonishing bass-player and the loose-limbed, too-awesome drum god; and man, especially a shout-out to Dana levelling all her colleagues’ antics and abilities with a tough-eyed vulnerable stare, a shiver of stardust on guitar – I think perhaps that they may be playing a trick on me. I mean, up the road are The Ethical Debating Society and pals, fermenting feminist punk righteousness and here is this band, this inexplicable punctuation mark of a band ploughing their furrow and sounding all hopeless and melodically stunning on tape, out-feministing and out-punking EVERYONE. I have not seen such intensity and honed shouting on stage since… god, I do not know… Ian Mackaye perhaps (and I never even liked Fugazi).

And she/they is/are having fun.

It occurs to me that perhaps Dana changed the entire tone of the set seconds after seeing my miserable performance and then I slap myself across the face for being so presumptuous.  But I reckon she has the ability to do that.

Such Mary Poppins magic. Such an embarrassment of embarrassments. A cosmic love-bomb. On no level do Porridge Radio disappoint. On every level, they exceed any pallid expectation and drivel imagination I may have had about them before tonight. I had only seen 30 seconds of their music before. (I lied about the extra 10 seconds.) Tonight was like being let in on the greatest secret in the world, so great because there is no way – NO FUCKING WAY – that anything I type comes close to capturing the essence of Porridge Radio, and they will probably have mutated and changelinged and turned into something even more separate and other in the time it takes me to type this thought.

If only this was Adele.

If only this was Sam Smith.

If only this was David Cameron.

EXHIBIT C
I watched 40 seconds of the greatest band. I pretended I had watched 40 minutes when I spoke to them later because hell it’s embarrassing to have watched 40 seconds of the greatest band just as the “thank you’s” kick in and then enthuse to the band how wonderful you think they are and can they play a show with you in Worthing in November, please please please. I asked the promoter too. It is my new way of mating. See 40 seconds of the greatest band and then turn on the 54-year-old charm. Someone had whispered “Raincoats” downstairs and I scorned and they looked embarrassed too, because they were downstairs and so if it was true why were they there and if it was not true why were they saying it, and so I took the steps three at a bound only to discover 40 seconds of the greatest band, and not only was it both true and not true but it was wonderment, magic, sparky nervous magic. Whispering as if it was an orchestra, and so special. I am a git, frankly. 40 seconds I watched, and 40 minutes was there for the taking like a manifesto: the key to the newest treasure chest was in my hands and I failed to turn the lock until just so close to being so late. WHAT ELSE HAVE I MISSED IN MY MANIA?

Read not my words. Read my words and weep for my future. Read not my words, and listen. Five or six of them on stage (I did not have time to count) and they were in the groove, lost in music. Caught in trap. More intimate than the sexual act (not that that is saying too much, really). A call to hugs for the lost and flighty. Ivor Cutler distilled through an alternative lens and alternative reality. Marine Girls re-imagined by a generation that has their own beachcombers. A cosmic love-bomb. Psychedelic whispering. I took all of this from 40 seconds, easy. I have that ability. So lonesome, so awkward. So beautiful. I relived the 40 seconds over and over in my head for weeks afterwards. It feels like weeks since I last felt their touch. (It is days.) You will not understand. You will understand.

Love.

This is yours, if you just stop talking and listen.

ESHBIT D

I have seen Porridge Radio on several occasions since the initial 30 seconds: last time around with Aus sweethearts Terry at the Green Door, where I had just performed myself (as ever) to a dwindling crowd of sorts (as ever). Dana is constantly changing, constantly creating – again, in her mania, she reminds me of (a far more talented) myself. In Brisbane, I recorded over 300 songs with The Deadnotes. Her solo music is frequently very insular, softened on cassette tape: sad, melancholy, bittersweet but WOW! she can be abrasive and punk with her full-on fucking greatest band in the world. Last time I saw them, I was waylaid, beaten down and did not have a chance to watch them even though they were inches away, god fucking damn it but life is not consistent or fair and I know I can always return to this music, to this special place that Dana and her friends have created for me.

This is a strange bewitchment indeed.

ESCHBUT E
“I want us to be kinder to ourselves/and to each other/I don’t want to get bitter/I want us to get fitter/I want us to become good to ourselves and each other” she laments over and over again on this, the greatest song you will ever hear whether you live to be 21 or 203…

….and I had to hide my feelings because I was totally spooked by her performance because not only did it feel like every song she hiccuped and waisailled her way through that night was aimed at me AND ME FUCKING ALONE, OK? even though I k

new that clearly could not be true but it also felt like I was the one up there on stage not her singing those half made-up all incredible songs, me in my glitter size 10 high heels, placing the song on repeat, repeat, constant repeat.

I am stuck. I am stuck. And I have no idea what to fucking write.

EXHIBIT F
I think that from now on, I am just going to write about Porridge Radio and Porridge Radio alone on this blog – fuck everything else, it all pales into insignificance next to Dana and her merry band of mischief-creators and her impetus. I refuse to be sidetracked by mannequins and remembrances of dolewave, Alison Moyet covering songs from Grease or past feuds with musicians who long ago forgot my name. We are on the eve of war, my friend. This is my vow, my pledge of allegiance and if by necessity this means simply repeating everything I have said before (because I was far more erudite and revealing before; now my joints creak and my bones wane and I cannot flex charm) then so be it. I have no fresh words for you, no new ways of extolling enthusiasm and wonderment and desire.

EXHIBIT G
I am not exhausted of this sound. I will never be exhausted of this sound. I want this sound clogging up the nation’s airwaves next to Jenny and Kanye and the rest of the rotten bunch. This is my own personal Taylor Swift, my own backstreet Wire.  The reason the singer sounds out of breath and near comatose by the end is because she is pouring all of herself into the moment. And if you think that is not more than enough for me, then you ain’t been reading me, sister.

EXHIBIT H
Greatest show of 2018, no denying.

My thoughts are disjointed, even for me. How do you capture moonlight in a jar? Semi-linked observations clutter my semi-consciousness: half the crowd dancing like they’re dream-walking through a Kate Bush video to Suburban Death Twitch; a random comment on Twitter (“That’s all the thoughts I had last night. I was too busy being aware that I could see Everett True dancing to process any other information”); The Legend! band described as “bonkers” by a passing piano-teacher; a female comedian outside raving and raving about a semi-improvised shouty sweary number detailing disgust for train rides performed on stage; Chris pointing out that the singer of Vital Idles looks like Lauren might when she grows up; noise and clatter and what-how; another (less random) observation from the same person on Twitter (I’m nicking this one because it’s a good ‘un): “Suburban Death Twitch: if Victoria Wood and Tamsin Greig formed Belle and Sebastian in 1982″; Emily from SBT telling a killer anecdote about how she came over all faint when she spotted Dana from Porridge Radio in the club earlier because “I’ve literally played her album every day for the last year” and stating how she’ll never be dismissive of someone being thrilled at the sight of Paul Simon leaving a hairdressers (check) again; entranced watching Dana so casual and intense and in control and questioning and brilliant and looped and (reminding me of myself) dark during her performance; Suburban Death Twitch magical and blowsy and theatrical and full of songs disenchanted people of all ages can relate to and lose themselves within, killer choruses too, especially the sea-shanty one about “you can take all your clothes off/if it makes you feel younger/if it makes you feel stronger” (check) , not just people my and their age (they are much younger than me); watching so many people dancing and loving watching all these people dancing; Vital Idles sharp  and angular and angry in a passive-aggressive way, five times as loud as everyone else what with drums and all, the bass Devo-questioning and the guitar clipped and truncated and ow!; one dude from the Scots band saying earlier we’re the best three bands they’ve played with all tour (damn straight, I mean… seriously? Who the fuck could compete with three of the fucking finest four or five bands in Brighton?); The Legend! band (Chris, Maria: sax and violin and loops) is about the serious moonlight and the modern dance, the softest numbers are the angriest and the most offensive the quietest… and,..

EXHIBIT J
The problem here is the bar.

The bar is insanely high, No, not for them you dunderhead. For me.

I do not know. Honestly, I do not know where I can go from here. Never known. That remains consistent, but… no. I do not k

How NOT to write about music – 128. Porridge Radio

porridge-radio-lilac-secretly-canadian-press-photo

The problem here is the bar.

The bar is insanely high, No, not for them you dunderhead. For me.

I do not know. Honestly, I do not know where I can go from here. Never known. That remains consistent, but… no. I do not k

now. Ever since those heady few months after my/our return from Brisbane and it felt that momentarily life was going to be OK and new friends were announcing themselves  and I was able to speak to people and I wasn’t stuck, I wasn’t uncomfortable and I wasn’t stuck. I knew how to make you feel better, so it seemed. In fact, I was buzzing and I was flying and for the first time in years it felt like I could still achieve anything and I saw 40 seconds of the greatest band

And then it stopped.

Not right then. But that was…

…and that was FOUR YEARS AGO fuck has my life gone into reverse, not just decline reverse and for 22 months now I have been stuck. A quagmire. A deluge. A sticking point.  (And sat here, typing these words, this is the 1%… you do not get to see below the surface. It is not possible.) I have been stuck.

And I honestly do not know what to say. The culmination of those 40 seconds of madness, of calamity, of tragedy, was that I formed a book company and for a few weeks I was not stuck, I was not stuck, we did get better, we did get kinder, we did get better, we did manage to…

not be stuck.

And the culmination of those months of horror of never-dawning realisation (now, it is not real: now, I do not need to interact with anyone so I can pretend is is not real: now, I can have breakdowns and crying jags and floor collapses and public/private fantasies because no one FUCKING NO ONE pays attention) was that I ended up playing a series of shows with some incredible people, musicians who encapsulate everythi

ng I believe to be pure and true and troubled about live music – and especially Maria and Dana, and now here they are together and I really do not know what to say.

wow.

fucking wow.

What bothers me most about Dana’s music is the way she uncannily seems to sum up, emody, articulate my stuck emotions but in a way that others can relate to, swo

on over, appreciate. Oh wait. 1) of course, prolific and always examining, always moving along. 2) the uncanniness. And now here she is with Maria on violin. Wow. This is what…

yeah, I remember those heights.

how could i forget

I had to hide my real feelings last time I reported on Dana playing live – and man, it feels that her band is near the ONLY band that have existed for me in – what? – four fucking years.

“I want us to be kinder to ourselves/and to each other/I don’t want to get bitter/I want us to get fitter/I want us to become good to ourselves and each other” she laments over and over again on this, the greatest song you will ever hear whether you live to be 21 or 203…

….and I had to hide my feelings because I was totally spooked by her performance because not only did it feel like every song she hiccuped and waisailled her way through that night was aimed at me AND ME FUCKING ALONE, OK? even though I k

new that clearly could not be true but it also felt like I was the one up there on stage not her singing those half made-up all incredible songs, me in my glitter size 10 high heels, placing the song on repeat, repeat, constant repeat.

I am stuck. I am stuck. And I have no idea what to fucking write.

I have written many times already

and now ace U.S. label Secretly Canadian

have signed them and there is no disconnect, it is still the same people – still bruised and hurtling and caring and musical and inventive and challenging – and Maria is there as well. O

ne of the fiercest rows I had before the divorce was connected with a review I wrote of Maria and her band: and all I was attempting to do in my own humble haphazard hubris way was to express how passionate how alive how full of wonder the music made me fe

e

l.

I can understand now if it was open to misinterpretation but really, that was not

.

And now? Now? You know what. I really would go fucking out snaps fingers to see this band play anxiety and depression or no. I avoided watching them last year or whenever it was because they made me feel totally inadequate, impotent – but listening to t

his song over and over in my glitter high heels, I realise that – as ever – it is me who has missed the point. You know the greatest thing about Porridge Radio in December 2019? For a few glorious minutes, they make me feel adequate again… and that is the greatest magic of all.

I am.

My body’s so uncomfortable.

So talented. So aware.

So smitten. Is it OK that I finally type the words “I have a crush on the singer with Porridge Radio”? I am only talking music here. I AM ONLY TALKING ABOUT MUSIC HERE. Fuck’s sake.

Everything.

#EveryfuckingthingthatIfuckingcherishandloveandadoreaboutmusic