Last night I had one of my occasional ‘big nights out’ and went to see British Sea Power and a full brass band at the De La Warr Pavilion. It was pretty extraordinary. I’ve been a really big fan for years and have seen them a few times, but not with this kind of accompaniment. For the uninitiated - here’s a sample. They are playing the Barbican tonight, would love to have been there.
After a really difficult few weeks I needed the break, I didn’t get any feedback on the work I had done which was being presented to clients earlier that day - so I was fairly tense. I took my seat, which was at the end of a row near as aisle - and as the place filled up - directly adjacent to me a young couple in their late 20’s rolled up with two small children (twin girls, aged about 3 years old ) and a large bag of kids stuff - they took up the whole row. They wore good, trendy clothes, were both really attractive and middle class looking, and had permanent fixed smiles - the kids were horribly cute and precocious, and TOO YOUNG. A 2 hour show, seated, for a musical event, with 3 year old trophy children was always going to end in tears, especially if you are the kind of smug, entitled parents who let their kids do what they want - which included dancing next to me, falling over and into me repeatedly, and stamping on a raised wooden platform that was attached to my chair. The parents were either dealing with one child who was whimpering, or kneeling in front of me trying to stop the other from running away - but allowing them to practice their ballet moves. It got to the point where I was about to leave out of sheer frustration as the red mist descended - someone I know who was in the balcony said that they could see me with my head in my hands. Fortunatly - just as I was about to snap - they decided that two crying children was too much and made a performance of leaving, to the audible relief of about 20 people. Directly in front of me an older couple got up and walked out soon after, according to my ‘man on the inside’ - they thought it was going to be an evening of sea shanties and demanded their money back. Reminded me of the time I went to see Sheila Hancock in a revival of The Anniversary in Liverpool - the couple in front hadn’t done their research and were… yes, you’ve guessed it… on their anniversary. They left at the interval, clearly distressed - I don’t think their relationship was going to last much longer.
The rest of the evening was sublime, and I met some friends and went for a drink in the ‘Albatross’ private members club afterwards - I had to be signed in, old-school style. I know them well, we are very similar in many ways and have a almost identical back story - but they have been a happy couple since their 20’s and have decades of shared history - something I seem to have forgotten to acquire for myself.
Two pints of lager and a £22 taxi ride home later - I was exhausted and woke up today with the worst hangover of my life - probably more from being very tired and run down than anything else (two pints, come on!!).
Today - I was one of the first people to get into ‘Realm of the Unmentionable’ at the Jerwood - the new show by the Chapman Brothers. I loved it. It’s on until January and if you get the chance, you must go. take children if you have them - they love this sort of horror. In one room there is their giant depiction of Hell, thousands of tiny figures in torment in a Nazi themed Hades - grotesque and fascinating at the same time - and really, really funny ( much of the work was hysterically funny, under the veil of horror). In another room was something unexpected, and far more shocking and moving - they had dropped the ceiling down to 5 feet - so you had to crawl into a large white room with only one tiny picture at the end. A small, unexceptional, but quite nice little still life. The shock is in the signature ‘A Hitler’. I know that they bought a selection of Hitler’s terrible landscapes a few years ago and added rainbows and flowers to cheer them up - but this was untouched. The shock was in the juxtaposition - this tiny, modest painting was actually quite sweet, I’d have hung it in my house, - it was really disturbing to look at the delicate brushstrokes and realise that the same hands that made these sweet, inoffensive marks were the same hands that unleaded greater horrors in the world than anything depicted in the tableaux of hell in the other room.
After about an hour I left - the gallery was already pretty full - I hope the show is a great success for them - I’m a member so I can go in any time I like. Here's a review from the Guardian and BBC4 are doing a show about it next week.
I came home, did a bit of general cleaning up and pretty much sparked out. I’m really tired - I have several meetings next week - I need to persuade someone to pay a large invoice and I have quite a bit of creative work to start. I overheard someone talking about Xmas in the COOP, my blood ran cold.
There was a Zombie walk in Hastings today - several hundred people dressed as the Undead ( no connection to The Champman’s - it happens regularly). Some were quite convincing, most were laughing and a bit pissed. On the pavement on the way home there was half a dead rabbit, back half - entrails everywhere. I felt like the show had followed me home.
I’m going to see Belle and Sebastian next week - I’m just a bit excited already.
I mentioned face-blindness a few weeks ago, I probably didn't explain it very well. Here's a better example. If, like me - you cannot reconcile the 'new' Renee Zellweger with the old one ( and I am 100% convinced that they are actually different people ) - you'll understand what it's like for me almost every day. That disconcerting, confusing, frightening feeling that you just don't know who the person you are talking to actually is.