Saturday, May 29, 2004Wake me when it's all over
Now that exams are over, Abstractboy can re-commence his interesting and varied lifestyle. There have been some interesting ones recently...a potentially unauthorised walk around the nooks and krannies of University of London's Senate House, a trip to Oxford and a return to going to decent clubs.
The return to going to decent clubs has been the most enjoyable part of finishing exams. Abstractboy used to go to three a week and a few gigs on top of that, but towards February-March, it became increasingly difficult to juggle university work and other things as well. But now he is FREE and isn't restricted to 'Weekend' type clubs like Popstarz.
Special commendation go to Miss-Shapes and Trash, not that there is anything revolutionary or revelationary in acknowledging the greatness of these clubs. Miss-Shapes takes place at the Ghetto on Thursday nights, where the supercool DJ Mikey rules the roost for the best part of the night and spins all the songs you want to hear (apart from Interpol - Obstacle 1, but we don't talk about that). What makes Miss-Shapes so good is that along with a really good, sufficiently interesting, yet sufficiently diverse and relaxed music policy, the atmosphere is friendly and unpretentious.
The reasons for liking Trash are almost contradictory. It has a reputation for being a bit elitist and pretentious and admittedly, it probably is more than most London 'Indie' Clubs, but Abstractboy feels this opinion is just that of those who resent it's progression away from shitty-baggy-trousers-and-
The two clubs are really incomparable because they have different objectives, but both do what they do very well.
Monday, May 17, 2004An open letter and a one-off slip into the first person.
Dear the Killers,
We danced, you played me your favourite Beatles demos, we talked bands, you liked Oasis and I didn't, you bought me drinks, I even gave you a Franz Ferdinand badge that I stole from some 14 year old girls in Bristol. And now you reschedule your date at Glasgow's King Tut's Wah Wah Hut to 27th June when I'll be away inter-railing. You didn't have to. You aren't ill. But now I can't go.
It's a kick in the teeth. I bought the last Cd single. I bought your lovely pink gatefold 7" of Somebody told me. I even bought one for the boyfriend. And of course I'll be buying the re-release of Mr Brightside on all three formats. And the album. And I'm going to the London and Oxford shows. I'm a big fan, don't do this to me.
Well, I guess it's too late now. But don't do it again. Rescheduling dates is never nice, especially if you don't have to.
Thursday, May 13, 2004There is no life outside the city
Having been living in Central London for almost 9 months now, Abstractboy is beginning to realise that he has wasted much of this time. Never again (well, not for the forseeable future) will he be able to afford to live just off the Tottenham Court Road, never again will he have 7 tube lines within 5 minutes walk from his residence. But the whole time he has generally played it safe, rarely venturing out of the area, rarely trying new things. It's quite easy to become complacent, to forget how lucky you are to be right in the middle of a buzzing, vibrant, exciting city. The opportunities and adventures are potentially infinite and it would never be possible to truely say that you know London. Unless, of course, you are a cabbie.
Just this week Abstractboy's exams have taken him to opposite ends of the centre. His Politics of EU Integration exam was in the City Temple, as previously mentioned. It was deep in Holborn, just on the west edges of the city. The day was gorgeous and Abstractboy felt like a city lawyer walking past the courts on Chancery Lane. The City itself just has so much buzz about it. In the bricks and concrete and glass of every building there is so much importance oozing. And for every swish gerkin-shaped glass sky scraper, there are tiny little cobbled alleys. Such contrast in styles makes it all the more interesting. Contrast = good, right?
Abstractboy will probably be living up in Archway next year, so getting around and exploring the eccentricies and interesting areas of London will obviously be a bit harder. So once the exams are finished (MAY 24TH!) Abstractboy will make it his mission to make as much of his time residing in W1 as possible. Expect pictures and revelations*.
*subject to laptop being fixed.
Sunday, May 09, 2004No Regrets?
No, this isn't actually an entry about that Robbie Williams song 'No Regrets'. Sorry.
Abstractboy doesn't have too many regrets really - probably because he isn't that stupid. But when he does do regretful things, they seem to happen on even ages. At 14 he did a very stupid thing and boy does he regret that. At 16 he did two more stupid things - one more regretful than the other.
At 18 though, Abstractboy made his two biggest mistakes ever. It all took place at Reading Festival. Abstractboy takes particular pride in the bands he has seen, but feels this list could have been greatly improved had he actually been thinking. Both of these mistakes were made on Friday evening. Instead of seeing the wonderful Ladytron, he saw the positively dire Darkness. It seemed like a funny idea at the time. You know, go see them for a THIRD time, of course it would still be funny. Well, it wasn't. And on the way to get food he heard the Ladytron set finishing. The synthesisers of pure evil, the icy vocals, the crowd of cool-kids-who-knew-better-than-to-see-the-darkness cheering the triumphant set. Oh, how silly he was.
But the worst mistake was yet to come. Abstractboy thought it'd be fun to see Placebo again, having already seen them twice that year already (it was only because the Faint were supporting, honest). At this very moment, he was missing the magnificent Interpol raise the roof off the Radio 1 tent with their chilling, winter Manhattan epics. This is really the stupidest thing Abstractboy has ever done. It's also annoying because Placebo were rather boring too. Not that that should have been a surprise.
Oh well, it looks like Interpol and Ladytron will be back in the Autumn. So it isn't so bad really.
Friday, May 07, 2004Take me to the hospital
Yesterday Abstractboy found himself at Royal Free Hospital up in lovely Hampstead. Don't worry - he was not ill, but because UCL now owns Royal Free (or something along those lines), it doubles up as an exam centre! And quite a bizarre one at that, although UCL does tend to choose odd places to host exams - next week Abstractboy will be visiting The City Temple for his Politics of European Integration exam.
Anyway, having finished the exam half an hour early, Abstractboy felt it would be the decent thing to do to wait for his friends to finish. He sat in the corridor of the Royal Free Hospital just watching the world go by. It was then he realised, being the people watcher that he is, that hopsitals are perhaps the most interesting and cosmopolitan pockets in society. Everyone gets ill - obviously some people are more susceptable to illness than others - and therefore everyone has the need to go to a hospital at some point. This is no great revelation but it is one thing that people may take for granted, or probably not even think about.
Whilst waiting, Abstractboy saw them all The Blacks, The Whites, The Asians, The Poor, The Hippies, The Young, The Pregnant, The Old, The Very Old, The Native Americans (seriously!), The Principled Wealthy (those who choose not to go Boo-Pah), The Young Upwardly Mobile Professionals, The Families, even The Gays. And everyone felt like they were in it together. There was no segregation, no tension. Everyone seemed to be in harmony with eachother. There were couples of all descriptions, of all races, of all mixes. It may seem condescending to be so pleasently surprised by the integration and collective spirit at hospitals, but Abstractboy has always seen CosmopolitanLondon as more of a Melting Pot than a truely cosmpolitan and integrated city.
Whether it is pertinent that everyone be integrated in society is a different debate, but Abstractboy likes to see the collective spirit in hospitals, the pulling together, people in harmony with eachother. It is all quite bizarre, which is probably why it struck such a chord with Abstractboy. But it is nice. Abstractboy likes integration.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004Things could change for you as well
2004 is looking pretty good so far. Abstractboy will be travelling round Europe for 5 weeks in the summer, the Killers have arrived, and, well Franz Ferdinand are ok, but really...2003, y'know. If you like them this year then you are so behind. But it really is looking set to be a rather good year for music, adventures, stuff (apparently some other things do exist).
But one thing that is really going to send a bolt of electricity through Abstractboy's 2004 is the return of the Faint. The Faint are a really great great band, hailing from Omaha, Nebraska and signed to the cripplingly cool Saddle-Creek (because labels do matter), they made brilliant electronic music before there was ever the fashionartfasion concept of electroclash (R.I.P.), they were looking to the 80s for inspiration before H&M and frankly they outlived the Shoreditch Twat (R.I.P.).
So why are they still here when Kashpoint (R.I.P.) and co., well, aren't?
The fact that they were never tied to a fashion movement and made this music on their own accord in a scene far removed from anything that may make you jaded speaks volumes. Furthermore, they actually say something. Their lyrics are laced with abstract ideas, ranging from the suicidal mundanity of 9-5 life (Agenda Suicide), to the haunting story of saving a drowning child in a swimming pool (Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen), and they even dabble in politics (the Conductor - you've probably heard the Thin White Duke Remix - control control control). In fact, the next album looks set to dabble a lot more in politics. It could even become a fully blown habit.
On their last tour they played two tracks off the forthcoming album, one called "Paranoiaattack", which involved a chant of 'Paranoia' and was pretty much about the FEAR and PARANOIA running through America, and the fantastic 'Take Me to the Hospital' (which you can get on the Saddle Creek 50 compilation), which seems to be about that really stupid health insurance business they have on the other side of the Pond. Such deeply affecting themes, executed in such an eloquent, abstract and beautiful manner is surely going to keep them relevant for a good while yet.
They almost cracked the UK market with their last release (and definitely Step 1 in your Get Into The Faint Programme), Danse Macabre, so here's to hoping 2004 will see them get the recognition they deserve.
Don't forget to danse.
FREE (no, really) LEGAL (ditto) MP3s (seriously) HERE
Sunday, May 02, 2004Out of Order
Sadly, Abstractboy's laptop has broken and he will be unable to update this with pictures, memoirs, funny and insightful thoughts for the forseeable few weeks. So no real change then!