Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The rain seeps into everywhere at the moment, from the buildings I’ve entered, to buses, shops and cafes. Poor bedraggled tourists in the centre of London shield themselves from the onslaught from the sky. If the current floods are set to be a regular blot on the landscape here in the UK, it’s a sign that global warming is here to stay; and the implications for London are one of ever more wet weather and misery.
It’s followed me around everywhere as I’ve moved for a few months to entirely new environs: West London (hence my delay in a new post). The landlord sold my last abode in East London to an unnamed new owner, so I had to move. Getting used to my new (mostly unfamiliar) settings, the last few weeks have been spent living under huge, sheet grey monolithic rain clouds, moving at fast speed with the wind, only the faintest tantalises of blue sky peeking out every now and then. Indeed, there have been some days where no blue sky has appeared at all, just a windswept, colourless, sheet-grey vista above. Fog occasionally permeates the landscape too, reducing visibility.
Combined with the dystopian environs of the Hammersmith overpass nearby, and surrounded by a futuristic skyline of corporation skyscrapers and industrial warehouses, I’m beginning to feel like something from a Godspeed You! Black Emperor song, full of urban decay and dread (there’s even a hilarious ‘Inspired by Godspeed You! Black Emperor’ Flickr group of evocative post-industrial looking photos).
Speaking of Godspeed, it’s great to have them back after a nearly ten year hiatus. The last time they were a going concern, it was before the financial crash and the tumescent implications for the global economy. In a month where revelations of endemic tax avoidance are everywhere while Government cuts bite (at least in the UK), Godspeed somehow feel as relevant as ever. They still sound like the end of the world too, of course. A while ago, I wrote praise of an album by theirs, released at the dawn of the last decade. Twelve years later, it’s been great to see them live, first at ATP at Butlins (an incongruous setting if ever there was one) and recently at the Forum, along with an entirely new album, exactly ten years after their last one. At the former set of concerts, they even played the majestic track in the YouTube vid above from their 2002 album (was it really that long ago?) Yanqui UXO – all twenty glorious, extraordinary minutes of it. I could link to the whole song elsewhere on YouTube, but some guy (presumably the annoying small portrait of someone on the right of screen) has come up with a pretty good video which , dissapointingly, only features the second half of the song. But still, what a second half. Watch in the full screen version. Of course, thinking about that video, what Godspeed really need to soundtrack is Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (or better still, 2001: A Space Oddysey), despite Philip Glass having already scored a famous original score for it. Now that really WOULD be something.

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