Thursday, December 31, 2009

Despite my cynicism here towards the endless reviews of the 'noughties' that have abounded this month, as the decade draws close I've contributed my own nomination in Pennyblackmusic's albums of the decade list by writers (scroll down to see my nomination, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven, album cover above).
That album for me has remained the real soundtrack to a decade undoubtedly defined by 9/11 and everything that followed as a result, far more than the empty posturings of many of the skinny jeans brigade and their fashion spreads. Listening to that incredible album now, nearly ten years after its release, it's as if GB!YE somehow knew in advance just what a turbulent and tense decade the noughties would be, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the anti-capitalist/IMF demonstrations, impending fear of global warming, Al-Qaeda, etc. But with it's dystopian ghostly urban noises and dread-filled samples of preachers/disaffected down-and-outs filling up the spaces inbetween the band at full throttle, what's also interesting is how, in places, the album can even sound like much inspiring electronica, from Burial (something I expanded briefly on in this thread) to Amon Tobin to Fennesz.
Indeed, this is what have always made Godspeed stand out among the likes of Explosions In The Sky and - a horrible label - many other 'post-rock' acts, who started off sounding exciting (listen to EITS' first album) but who, with their latest material, have sounded like they are beginning to regurgitate what is essentially the same predictable dynamics (this doesn't include the likes of Cul de Sac, I might add, who never followed the quiet-LOUD-quiet pattern as many of these bands have). GB!YE - along with other related luminaries of the Montreal post-rock scene such as Set Fire To Flames, Hrsta, Esmerine etc. - have been constantly innovative and unique.

I'll skip books, films, etc. and present just one other nomination - for the category of Musical Villain Of The Decade award...and there can only be one man. And no, it's not Simon Cowell.

Happy NYE, and here's to a new decade.
So sad about Jack Rose, and now Vic Chesnutt and Rowland S.Howard of The Birthday Party too...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

In case you're feeling the winter chill combined with the stress of work deadlines a bit too much...I recommend you read the reply comments to this Sarah Palin 'article' on the Copenhagen summit in The Guardian. You will not be dissapointed.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Recluse Christmas special

This Saturday, 5th December, from 5pm, £5 entry (that's a lot of fives). At it's usual home of The Flea Pit on Columbia Road in east acts include Hybernation, Plus Plus, Skarabee, Same Actor & Isnaj Dui, Viv, visuals and DJs, and more... I

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I got to meet an ex-member of The Fall recently for the first time, which makes me want to read this book even more than before now (said person - who will remain unnamed - was in the 'halcyon' period of the early 80s line-up). There are apparently a grand total of 43 former members of The Fall (though that figure could now be higher, of course), which means that the band just pips The Brian Jonestown Massacre (40 former members, if my memory serves me). Napalm Death may have come close, but are disqualified anyway by dint of the fact that they now have no members left at all from their original line-up.
Doubtless there are some brilliant stories told in that book about life on the road with Mark E. Smith. My favourite anecdote that I've heard is that when The Fall appeared on Later on Jools Holland, they made Holland sign a contract stipulating that he couldn't play boogie-woogie piano with them (for those reading this from outside the U.K., it's a late-night music programme where the presenter annoyingly feels the need to play keyboards with every band at the start of the programme). Amazingly enough, he complied. Now that is a band with class.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An inevitable by-product of reaching the end of any decade is that there will be the endless obsessive lists and highlights of that decade reprinted in all the magazines and newspapers (and on Christmas TV too, no doubt). In the middle of the deluge, Pitchfork have been a real highlight, managing to at least have a decent view of music trends and a fairly decent top 20 (among a choice of 200 - count 'em!) albums of the decade list. By contrast, the NME's top 20 seems pedestrian in contrast, even with some surprise choices in there (Primal Scream's XTRMNTR - for what it's worth, their last good moment and symbolically that of Creation Records too; PJ Harvey at six; elsewhere The Delgados at 46; erm, that's about it in the top 50).
I'll admit that Is This It is a fairly decent indie-pop record which you could appreciate - can appreciate - for it's raw instinct, and particularly if you're at a certain age. And this list certainly isn't as irritating as that deeply irritating NME 'cool list'. However, listening to one track from each of those albums on this WE7 link, one thing that strikes me is how cynically produced some of those records - particularly that Strokes track, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs track at 6, that rubbish Libertines song, etc. - really are. The deliberately distorted vocals and production on those songs give the impression that they are desperately aiming for 'authenticity', when it's pretty obvious that huge amounts of money have been spent on these albums. It's as if they don't want you to think that these albums have been produced in expensive 36-track studios, which they almost certainly were. I guess the converse is that you could argue that it's just as well these records weren't overproduced, which is probably true. But, listening to a lot of these bands that were at their peak in the early to mid 00s, I can't help but think how horribly contrived some of this stuff is: the skinny jeans, the deliberately 'raw' production, and (in the Stroke's case) studied air of cool (you know, the 'authentic NYC gang' image - ignoring the fact that they probably weren't exactly paupers) masking an ephemeral talent.
When you contrast it from their NYC contemporaries (not applicable to The Libertines, obviously), it's obvious that acts such as Liars and Oneida have turned out to be vastly more interesting, with the former actually becoming more sonically inventive with each album (culminating in the incredible 'Drum's Not Dead'). GoodnightLondon could blather on about a whole heap of great bands at this point from the other side of the pond that aren't on that list - from Atlas Sound to Wooden Shjips, and a cast of many others, not to mention some acts on this side of the Atlantic - but, in relation to above, what's clear is that time has become the great leveller in deciding what bands have longevity and originality and what don't.
I guess there are a small amount of fairly good choices further down the NME's 100 list, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor and others. And that includes the Liars, in at 58 - but rated lower down the list than Hard-Fi. Need I say more?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Am reading JG Ballard's The Drowned World at the moment, which has turned out to be a deeply prophetic read, particularly after the floods in Cumbria that have happened in the last few days, the latest in what feels like an annual event in England, as well as the omniprescent advertising for disaster movies like 2012 (something that I touched on with a previous post about Ballard here). You could argue that the flooding has nothing to do with global warming, but somehow it feels like their continued existence cannot be attributed simply to normal weather. But it's also eerily accurate in matching the description of what James Lovelock has predicted will happen to the Earth in The Revenge of Gaia, as well as other predictions of future global warming, particularly with this excerpt that mentions a future migration to the North and South poles - exactly what scientists, in fact, have predicted:

"All over the world, mean temperatures rose by a few degrees each year. The majority of tropical areas rapidly became uninhabitable, entire populations migrating north or south from temperatures of a hundred and thirty and a hundred and forty degrees...during the next thirty years the pole-ward migration of populations continued...only within the former Arctic and Antarctic Circles was life tolerable."

Ballard wrote the book in 1962, which shows just how prescient he could be. Did he know something that we didn't?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Goodnight London in association with Pennyblackmusic presents the above this Saturday...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More posts coming soon, but for now...Recluse night at The Flea Pit, £3, Thursday 5th November 2009, Columbia Road, east London. Andy Nice, Isnaj Dui and Rocketnumbernine live for your pleasure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things in London that annoy/baffle me - an occasional series

I timed how long the traffic lights stayed red near my home the other day out of interest. I happened to notice that the light has been staying red for an inordinate amount of time recently when I've crossed the road at this set of lights. I mention this because of Diamond Geezer's post here about the 'experiments' that are taking place with various sets of traffic lights around London. I too have noticed the Orwellian sight of sinister looking men (and women) in uniform, holding weird thermometer-type instruments and phalanxed by tough looking blokes, looking serious while standing at pedestrian crossings. I was tempted to point out to them that the traffic lights near my place have stayed red for precisely ONE MINUTE AND FIFTEEN MUTHAFU***N' SECONDS. I timed it. Seventy-five seconds by my watch. Seventy-five seconds of my life that I'll never get back.
Does that not strike you as frankly ludicrous, or am I the only one? What followed when the lights went green was that it stayed green for approximately...I don't know, twenty seconds, maybe. Perhaps even less (I didn't time exactly how long it stayed green). The net result, unsurprisingly, was that people simply walk across anyway after, let's say, thirty seconds of waiting while the light is red - and continue to do so. By the time said pedestrians cross the road, the light is still red, of course. Which completely negates the reason for having a traffic lights system in the first place. And anyway, what kind of nutter would stand at a traffic light for the whole seventy-five seconds of it being red? (Well, admittedly I did, but that was because I was timing it).
I seem to remember that when I was living in Bethnal Green, there was one specific set of traffic lights that took even longer than seventy-five seconds to stay in 'standing position'. Which begs the question - am I the only one, or have other people noticed that different traffic lights tend to take different amounts of time to change from red to green compared to other lights? We should be told.
Which is why I find the notion in DG's article that pedestrians are getting too much time to cross frankly incomprehensible. So bollocks to Boris if I'm officially supposed to wait even more while the light is red.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recluse music night

Tomorrow night (Friday 18th September) at The Flea Pit, with Alex Monk, Konntinent, Isnaj Dui and Met playing live.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brilliant 'tribute' to the end of Oasis here in The Quietus. I'm not exactly sure what they mean in labelling Liam "genetically curious"; in any case, considering that I've not listened to an Oasis record in about twelve years, much less took any interest in them, I've found myself strangely fascinated by the announcement that Noel Gallagher has left the band. The idea that the rest of Oasis might carry on without him (at least according to this article) is hilarious enough in itself - who exactly in their right mind would pay to go and see a Noel-less Oasis, never mind buy a whole new album?

I never did understand why (What's The Story) Morning Glory? was always in the top rankings of those 'Top 50 Best British Albums Ever Polls' that Q magazine seems to do. For what it's worth, Definitely Maybe and the Some Might Say EP at least had a punk spirit and energy that made them kind of look vital for a while. Yet Morning Glory must rate as one of the most overrated albums ever (as some people are now finally recognising). It's as if the fact that it sold huge amounts of copies somehow automatically transcends it from it's blatant mediocrity and bestows it in people's minds as a piece of great art, when the likes of "Don't Look Back In Anger", "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova" are just bland from start to finish, with smug, half-arsed lyrics and equally half-arsed chord arrangements, not even bothering to hide their plagiarism. Not that Oasis ever sounded like The Beatles, in my view: they could never have done albums as sonically inventive as Revolver or Sgt. Pepper because, at heart, Noel Gallagher just wasn't remotely inventive, dynamic or imaginative as a songwriter beyond his normal frame of reference. Instead, they just sound like a kind of karaoke version of The Rutles, minus the things that made The Beatles interesting and unique in the first place.
I always found it incredibly irritating the way that they would constantly repeat the maxim "we're the best/biggest band in the world", which they always seemed to do in the mid 90s in interviews, as if being the biggest band in the world equates with releasing the 'best' albums in the world (whatever that means) too. By that logic, the last couple of releases by The Rolling Stones are the best albums ever released (given that they often seemed to be labelled with the sobriquet "Biggest Rock Band In The World"), which clearly isn't true. What always irritated me too at that time was the endless articles claiming that there was 'nothing interesting' in music before Oasis - and, by extension, most of Britpop - came along; or that they 'saved' British guitar music, as if the only guitar music of the 90s that was valid was that which directly referenced the 60s (not that Oasis even did it well anyway). Even as a teenager then, I already thought that the implied notion that that there was a huge gaping hole in the early 90s before Oasis' arrival was patently bullshit.

Anyway, now that Andy Bell is (hopefully) freed from his bass duties with the Gallaghers, perhaps the silver lining is that Ride now could reform, whose first two albums were miles better than Oasis in the first place. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The travails of moving house...I have left the wastelands of Waltham Forest, interesting as it was to see the evolution of the Olympics site at Stratford. I am no more Blazin' Squad's neighbours. Still, expect more regular posts now that I'm settled at a new abode in the capital, nested in the shadows of gleaming spires.

Since my last post, it's been weird to think how quickly technology advances, and specifically to do with music. Following on from previous posts to do with the future of music consumption, I'm thinking of Spotify, naturally, which - at least in the U.K., and Sweden, and certain other Western European countries where it exists - has took off hugely since, well, my last post (the service isn't available - at least yet - in the U.S. and Canada). Hot on it's heels, we now have a 'rival' site of sorts with the Peter Gabriel-funded WE7, which also relies on advertising in-between tracks for its revenue (most of which isn't half as hilarious as the taped messages that Spotify broadcasts of the site's fans - that includes you, Dave from Cardiff, with your intense Oasis/The Jam obsession). It is weird to think that only sixteen years ago - when I first starting going to 'serious' record shops like Rough Trade in Covent Garden (as it then was) and others - your only source for music was the weeklies (remember Melody Maker?); humble indie record shops vs corporate HMV/Virgin high street chains (depending on your preference); or the radio. Spotify has now decentered music to the point where, in those countries where it fully operates, you practically are the record shop. Like many of a certain age, my first encounter with record shops (years before going to the Rough Trade shop mentioned above) was with the long-extinct Our Price. I used to gaze at the sections on Joy Division and New Order, and look with wonderment at their distinctive and mysterious Peter Saville/Factory Records-designed covers. Ditto Depeche Mode, early Sonic Youth, etc. The idea then that they could all be sitting there on my PC was unthinkable. Back then, it would have seemed impossibly naive to believe too in the idea that these albums would essentially be there for free (if you don't count the amount that you're paying for broadband, of course (which obviously didn't exist then)), along with thousands of others - despite home taping having been a common fashion for a while already back then. This isn't even mentioning the mindboggling array of material by jazz artists - I've lost count of the amount of Miles Davis LPs on there. You could, quite possibly, never go to a record shop again and yet play a new album every day with Spotify (though there is no Beatles, Led Zeppelin and a number of others due to copyright issues).
The ramifications of Spotify are obvious: if it stays afloat (and, judging from the backing by the music industry - whatever that is these days - there's no reason why it shouldn't, despite much scepticism), future generations will become used to the idea that music is, mostly, 'free'; the idea, as in my youth, that you had to save for weeks before excitingly trudging to your independent record shop to buy the product, and then taking it home with baited breath, will slowly become defunct. Music is becoming omniprescent, fulfilling David Bowie's prediction that it'll become like running water one day. Of course, in the face of this, some record shops are still thriving, particularly those with attractions such as in-store gigs (which is precisely what Rough Trade and Pure Groove are doing, with the latter becoming less of a generic indie record shop altogether). And Spotify's lack of content from the more interesting and left-field labels (Constellation and Touch & Go, for example, or the Kranky artists) can be frustrating. Indie record shops will still thrive with obscure vinyl and obscure labels, and other examples that Spotify inevitably can't provide.
That said, one search on Spotify brought up material by the likes of Richard Youngs, Phil Niblock, and Keiji Haino, none of which can be accused of being exactly easy-listening (particularly dear Phil's numerous 25-minute long drone tracks in one chord). I guess I'm just nostalgic about the fact that the thrill of one-upmanship that I felt in 1993 when going to Rough Trade, knowing that I was the only person in my school who knew about the shop, those bands and those records, is somewhat gone. In the age of Spotify, everyone is a deeply knowledgeable music fan now, for better or worse.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hugh Hopper RIP

Sad to hear of the news...I once saw him play, at the Camberwell College of Arts - it was in the middle of the 2006 World Cup. Germany had just beaten Argentina earlier in the evening. Charles Hawyard was on drums, grinning manically; Tymon Dogg was coaxing weird sounds out of weird home-made instruments that looked like huge metronomes zigzagged with strings, creating a sort of weird harp; while a performance artist, face painted in white, walked around the room doing odd movements and smiling demonically to the audience. There were other strange performers too.
In the middle of all this, Hopper quietly played bass, his face inscrutable. I kept thinking that I might have seen a wry smile occasionally play on his lips when viewing the surreal nature of events around him, but I couldn't quite be sure.

Monday, May 25, 2009

P.S. The below was inspired partly by my own experiences and partly by Diamond Geezer's various posts on TfL and the Underground in general.
P.P.S. Please don't sue me for this article, TfL. I don't have much money, and can't claim expenses unlike most British MPs'. If you're really aggrieved, I'll buy you a pint or something.
P.P.P.S. The image below was spotted on a wall near the Barbican Centre. No artists name was provided next to the work.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Dear Passengers, this is an announcement from your Station Controller, on the weekend of [insert any here]. The following is a travel update.

The Bakerloo line will not be running in either direction due to the fact that the trains feel like rickety wooden sheds which will implode any minute, setting fire and incinerating all passengers within half a minute. In addition, there will be no Central line due to various engineering works which have outrun their allotted time. Meanwhile, ongoing upgrading work on the Victoria line will ensure that the line will be closed every other weekend until two-thousand-and-muthaf****n’ twelve, that’s 2012. Customers living in the Waltham Forest area should also note that, in the absence of the Victoria line running at Blackhorse Road station, they also won’t be able to get the Overground from Barking to Gospel Oak, which stops at that station, due to repair work on the track. But then who cares about the inhabitants of Blackhorse Road anyway? Frankly, it’s full of weirdoes. Who else would live on a street that’s had roadworks for at last seven years? Krypton Komics looks cool from the top deck of the bus, though. Maybe I’ll see a Deep Purple tribute band at the Standard one day. Residents of this area should note that there are replacement bus routes which go to nearby Tottenham Hale; said residents should also note that this bus route will be completely useless due to the fact that Tottenham Hale is on the Victoria line, which also won’t be running. For passengers in this predicament, we would advise taking another bus route to your destination, which will take approximately three days.
Moving on, passengers are advised not to use the Northern line in the middle of the summer, as (a) it will only confuse the hell out of you if you’re a tourist, what with it’s Byzantine complex of stops and different directions which will no doubt bypass wherever station you want to get to; and (b) the experience of being in a packed carriage in the heat will be roughly analogous to dying a prolonged, agonising death in a vat of one’s own faeces. Passengers are assured that when the new Crossrail line links up with Tottenham Court Road station in 2017, we will ensure that there will be still be an irritating trustifarian busker in the pedestrian tunnels regaling you with mediocre covers of Bob Marley ‘classics’.
Customers should also note that the Waterloo & City will be closed on Sunday, just because it’s always been closed on Sunday, as no-one in control can be arsed to run it. Jubilee Line will be closed in its entirety, which we can assure has been done entirely to spite those poshos who (a) can afford to live in West Hampstead, and/or (b) work in Canary Wharf. The District line will also be closed, because, well, who do you know ever gets the District line anyway?
Meanwhile, the Docklands Light Railway, a genuinely enjoyable jewel in our 'crown', is closed completely due to the fact that the O2 venue has turned out to be a giant spacecraft that’s lifted off and burnt the tracks.
All other lines will meanwhile be closed due to various engineering work that’s clearly taking twice as long as we initially forecasted, mainly due to workers striking / eating peanut butter sandwiches for too long / going down the pub / spontaneously combusting. There will also be no National Rail, due to leaves on the track, everywhere, all at once. Customers should note that the exception is Southern rail, who will conveniently fleece you even if you do have an Oyster card.
Please have a pleasant journey. Eat more vegetables. Watch X-Factor. Shut up and be happy, and carry on buying Oyster cards at ludicrous prices, even though your card will be rendered obsolete half the time due to the fact that the line that you actually need to use won’t be running.

On behalf of TfL staff, thank you for listening. We are transforming your tube. Message ends."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Sad to hear of the death of J.G. Ballard recently. The Guardian’s exploration of his influence (as well as Simon Reynolds’ great article on the man here in Salon) includes his obvious influence on music (The Normal’s classic 'Warm Leatherette' (later covered by Grace Jones), with its cyberpunk adaptation of Crash’s central theme of the psycho-eroticism of car crashes, and Joy Division’s 'The Atrocity Exhibition', named after Ballard’s book of short stories, on Closer).

There’s no mention in the film section of the fact that A Clockwork Orange feels very Ballardian, with its scenes in city underpasses and stylised, neurotic imagery of a psychedelic urban dystopia. Ballard’s “psycho-geography”, his vision of the future, is one where, like Philip K. Dick, technology has often gone wrong and we are surrounded by consumerism, designer drugs, and endless concrete highways. And his writings have often featured subconsciously in the collective imagination: his vision of London immersed in the water, an idea that he explored in The Drowned World and which has taken on a disturbing relevance with increasing worries about global warming and rising sea levels, has found expression in this imagery. And it’s even echoed in the scene in The Day After Tomorrow where a city – this time New York rather than London – is engulfed by water.
But it’s the section on his influence in architecture that’s also interesting, particularly after visiting the exhibition on Le Corbusier at the Barbican. With the surroundings echoing a lot of the ‘Modern Architecture’ and utopian urban planning ideals that Le Corbusier clung to, what was really interesting was to see his vision of housing estates back in the 60s, and what inspired him to erect them. Anyone who has lived in the majority of London – or any other big city in Britain, I guess – will know just how grim and colourless council estates can sometimes look when set against a rainy grey day, which seems to be the U.K.’s speciality in weather so much of the year. They’ve become a ubiquitous part of the landscape even for those who don’t live in one.
Yet there’s something about the images of some of them from the 60s, standing brand new, shorn of much of the decay, grime and weather erosion that they’ve suffered over the years. There’s an almost utopian longing in those old pictures, with the Le Corbusier’s view of the estates being a giant self-contained community that would simultaneously solve housing problems and raise the general quality of life – an ideal that seems impossibly idealistic now.
Yet there are occasions when his architecture does still stand up today, particularly with the housing that surrounds the Barbican itself, which perfectly embodies the original ideals that Le Corbusier strived to – modernist and exciting, with all kinds of new ideas about living and functionality at home, with the images of his examples of work displaying all kinds of unique ideas about furniture and art at home. Then again, after having visited the exhibition, it’s amazing in retrospect to think about his projected ideas – with accompanying diagrams - in 1925 to bulldoze much of Paris north of the Seine, and replace what was there with “sixty-story cruciform towers from the Contemporary City, placed in an orthogonal street grid and park-like green space” (according to Wikipedia). His plans were rejected by those in charge, but the mind boggles as to what would have happened had these developments took place. It’s echoed in these plans in London in the 70s that would have led to Brixton being completely unrecognisable, and which were likewise unimplemented.
Ballard’s landscape is often dominated by these Le Corbusier-like huge housing projects (he even did a book called High-Rise), with their concrete walkways. A few took a dysfunctional turn as the 70s and 80s grinded on, wracked with all kinds of problems, reflecting the kind of dystopias that Ballard explored in his works.

(Ballard image from the BBC website)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

There's some great posts here (scroll down to Wednesday 28th and Tuesday 27th) from Diamond Geezer about the new tube maps that Transport for London seem to be prolifically churning out at the moment, including in this case ones focusing on disabled facilities and the presence of public toilets at Underground stations.
I had to laugh at this quote that DG provides from the map on disabled facilities, involving a journey from Sudbury Town (wherever that is) to Borough station, which sounds like something only Beezlebub could envisage:

» Enter Sudbury Town (via the Station Approach entrance, not Orchard Gate)
» Take the Piccadilly line (big step up, medium gap) to Green Park (big step down)
» Via lifts and along a 220m passage to get on Jubilee line (big step up) to London Bridge (small step down)
» Via lifts and via street (410m in total) to get on Northern line (level access)
» Ride southbound through Borough station to Clapham North (big step down) and cross the platform (big step up)
» Return northbound to Borough (big step down) and exit via lift to street

I feel tired just reading that. What I’d like to add to DG’s post, other than agreeing that this seems mindbogglingly complicated, is that this involves taking four trains on three different Underground lines - and hoping that they all work. Given the chaotic nature of the London Underground, would it be cynical of me to comment that this is slightly wishful thinking on TfL’s part? Not judging from the daily update on Underground lines that’s blasted at us commuters over the tannoy at the station near my work when we ascend the escalators, in which there is almost always at least one direction on at least one line a day which is at least partially closed for repairs – and don't even think about what it's like at weekends. Taking the Underground can so often be a game of roulette.
In a fantasy world, where TfL was theoretically awarded with unlimited amounts of money, the only answer to truly making the London Underground blemish-free would be to build new tunnels for each line – admittedly, a colossal task – with 21st century signals and new trains. The old tunnels could then be used for cyclists only, which would theoretically be a benefit to transport on the surface.
Sadly, this suggestion isn’t actually uniquely thought up by Goodnight London, but rather by some bloke in a letter to The Independent that I read a while ago. But what a great idea it is. Of course, the idea contains logistical nightmares, and runs into a fair few problems when we consider that some of these lines actually do go Overground for part of their journey, as in the case of the Jubilee line heading westward. Maybe in these cases the new tunnel could join up with the remnants of the track from the old tunnel just before surfacing. The old track would have been kept only in those cases where it goes Overground, with cyclists in the tunnel being blocked by a wall at this point. Then, if the track eventually goes Underground again, the old track could then feed into the new tunnel, after which the old tunnel could then once again be used only for cyclists. Still following?
Obviously, the idea runs into the other problem, which is that it would cost trillions of pounds, and would be laughed down straight away. So instead, despite TfL’s best efforts with continual repairs, we’re stuck with a chronically exhausted network that’s constantly weakened by signal failures and the such-like – and which, of course, is the most expensive in the world to use.
Oh well, I can but dream...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ron Asheton RIP

Nice article here on the great man's (second left in the picture above) legacy.
All those memories of The Stooges live...Hammersmith Apollo three years ago or whenever still must rank as one of the most exciting performances Goodnight London was priviledged to witness, despite Iggy's eagerness that night to display his todger to 5,000 people. I've actually still got a Superfuzz Bigmuff pedal at home called ROCK ACTION - the nickname that was given to Asheton, won in a competition that Time Out were hosting in the music section. It was a promotional gimmick that came with Mogwai's album at the time - Rock Action, named in honour of Asheton. And it's still goes up to volume 11 - well, OK, not physically, but at least eched on the pedal by me.