Category Archives: Uncategorized

AC/DCification

A couple of things have made me write this today.

Kraftwerk and My Bloody Valentine are all over the place and am sure that’s all brilliant.

Erika Elizabeth wrote this //  John Rogers wrote this

Last week I was speaking to an oldest and best friend who I rarely see. He was telling me about how his young son can now sing along to selected Iron Maiden songs, and an AC/DC one (Run to the Hills, The Prisoner, the Trouper, and You Shook Me All Night Long if I remember correctly).

I joked that he had become a classic rock reading guitar head, teaching his kids all the rock stuff. He replied that all the shellac, slint, and even smog/palace have too much swearing for the youngun. I was pleased that this little fella would soon graduate to better stuff, as soon as his head could deal with the swears.

I’ve long berated some folks and heard others make reference to the fact that those magazines like classic rock exist, and in fact the Mojos and Uncuts of this world have your Jimis and your Vans and your Bons on the front, as a result of this failure to fully embrace the new, and only to trust the old. (I went to see the Rolling Stones too and enjoyed it very much. They did play I think TWO (count em) new songs.)

I haven’t listened to the MBV record nor did I go to see Kraftwerk at the Tate. I saw some of Kraftwerk on telly and it looked a bit daft actually. Sounded lovely. I’ll go and take a listen to my records later.

My point is that although our new generation might think being cool, by returning to the cool stuff by our OWN ageing heroes. But there is BETTER stuff being made by these NEW ARTISTS who in turn have been influenced by all the same folks as we were, and then even MORE.

We are actually wilfully BECOMING older and grumpier by indulging all this vintage stuff when we could be encouraging and supporting new stuff.

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Festival Ghettos

I’m mindful of something Tanni Grey Thompson said on Newsnight a few weeks ago, in a discussion with Will Self, that athletes care little about the legacy of the games. It reminds me of a time when I became interested in the power of music (and the arts) to change lives, and to be able to see what it was I did as part of the wider arts community, rather than isolated little events for me and my peers.

Maybe this co-incided with a realisation that the music I made, and the music I loved, was hardly going to be filling any great stadium or festival any time soon. (for proof my finger’s not ENTIRELY off the pulse see Bloc Party, The National, Animal Collective, more). Perhaps it’s just a survival instinct kicking in, or more likely, the beauty of seeing something in the round.

The idea of festival ghettoisation first hit me a couple of years back when I had been invited to an (excellent) festival in France with a somewhat protectionist programming policy. All acts had to be French. This was in fact the first year that they’d allowed singing in English. This is typically French and quite funny if it’s possible to turn a blind eye to the connotations of having a policy like that. I had enjoyed the festival very much. Watching Malicorne a life highlight, plus Dominique A, countless others I forget their names. Phoenix were the headliners, and I saw Charlotte Gainsbourg too. I blogged about it here

Leafing through a magazine in the hotel foyer I saw countless ads for festivals in the different parts of France, some in Germany. Pavement was the main US headliner that summer. They were everywhere. And then there were the usual suspects all over everywhere. You can kinda guess who I mean. It wasn’t very exciting.

Last summer I went to Reading (and Leeds) for the first time in maybe ten years. Some folks were like “eeeewwww” and maintain that attitude. I thought it possible to see a bunch of bands I actually wouldn’t normally see, and maybe I didn’t like them all, but it was an excellent chance to see a bunch of stuff I knew by name but not in person. I remember seeing a gazillion people singing along to Pulp and thinking how this was a special and important event, especially for so many people who maybe go to one festival per year.

At one festival I worked at this summer, I got into a conversation with a couple of academics from a redbrick uni. I got asked what the target demographic was, and what importance it had. It’s just wealthy people isn’t it who can afford £150 or so to spend a weekend in a field watching other wealthy people and eat nice posh food right? There’s no great social experiment going on.

This summer, I worked at a couple of different festivals in London. Community, and Olympic in size and stature.

I had acts play at some of them, and they were very much for the people. Free, or dead cheap. It felt good to be doing something which wasn’t just self- ghetoisation and peer group ego boosting. Bands are in some ways responsible for the problem making the Beeline that they do to the honeypot. We all like to spend entire weekends, and more (they start Wed and finish Monday these days) in the company of our aspirational peer groups. It would do us all good to venture out of our comfort zones from time to time.


Cancer

Cancer’s all around me just now. Not just in my folks and my mates folks. It’s actually in my friends these days. It’s not just something I hear about happening to other people anymore. It’s probably because I’m now OLD. And so therefore are my mates and their wives and husbands and sisters OLD. The real OLD boy living downstairs, my nosey neighbour. He’s got it. A couple of years ago my dad had it. He had this blokey cancer: Prostate Cancer.

Prostate Man

Like a bloke he dealt with it by not really talking about it much and cracking on. This website here: http://prostatecanceruk.org/information can help blokes just keep quiet and crack on and give loads of info so they don’t need to talk about it much. The people do good work and we can support them by sponsoring MY sorry fat ass to do the Berlin Marathon on Sunday 30 Sept.

Please sponsor me here: https://www.justgiving.com/Howard-Monk

If you’re in Crouch End, the worlds actual EPICENTRE, tonight, Friday 21 Sept, you can come and listen to folks SING THREE SONGS about CANCER, and then give money to ME! Info here: http://www.facebook.com/events/468508836505031/

OK, it’ll not be all about the cancer, but it will be fun, and worthy, and good. So come down. PLEASE.

If not, then SPONSOR MY ASS!


Things I am embarrassed about: Number two in a series. No Pun Intended.

To be honest I can generally deal with the odd shitty band that I have liked in the past and now realise the error of my ways. I can smart a little when I am reminded of one band or other which I have put on who have been truly awful. It’s usually colleagues who mention this, who have done far worse than me.

There’s something way more embarrassing and it’s even not that easy to say it now. I suffer from this Crohn’s/Colitis chronic condition, and it’s the worst kind of annoying and embarrassing thing imaginable.

It basically means I get the shits quite a lot. It means if I fall out of line from a designated diet I have to follow, or get too drunk, or if I am particularly stressed (which can happen a fair bit if you’re me, lately) then there will come a day soon after when I have to stay near the bathroom, and suffer.

I have long wanted to write something down about this, as it does sometimes get in the way and i have to explain again and again. But that’s about it really. I could go into more detail, but it’s not that nice.


Things I am embarrassed about – Number one in a series

“If we’re real music fans, we might even displace a prototype in favor of another based on knowledge that we gain. Take, for example, the song “Twist and Shout.” You might have heard it countless times by live bands in various bars and Holiday Inns, and you might also have heard the recordings by the Beatles and the Mamas and the Papas. One of these latter two versions may even be your prototype for the song. But if I tell you that the Isley Brothers had a hit with the song two years before the Beatles recorded it, you might reorganise your category to accommodate this new information.
Daniel Levitin – This Is Your Brain On Music
Atlantic Books 2008 p159

Having gone on a bit in response to THIS, listing a load of stuff I was not embarrassed about not liking in fact (so fuck you). Like Nirvana (at first), Labradford (who I love), 2001 A Space Odyssey (still yawning)… but those are surely just DEAD OBVIOUS. Sure, there’s a lot of peer pressure when folks who become uber influential mention they’re huge fans of the Houghton Weavers, then everyone’s all over them. So you’ll have these obscure bands being lauded, and mortals like us trying to figure out just what it was that XXXX found in their music.

What’s REALLY embarrassing, for me, given the above paragraph from This is Your Brain on Music, is my knowledge of some of the finest songs, in fact one of my favourites ever, comes from some, well, questionable sources.

I’ll just come out and say it ok. I’ll give you three.

I first heard Motley Crue’s version of Helter Skelter

I first heard Suede’s version of Shipbuilding

And I think it was the GnR version of Knocking on Heaven’s Door that I heard before Old Bob. Ouch.

I actually think I have been more prepared to be uncool in my list. I mean at least Erika was on about some real cool stuff.
I could go on about more embarrassments. Like some baaaad gigs.

But as a friend of mine who shall remain nameless said to me just yesterday: The First Rule of Goth Club – you do not talk about Goth Club.

For the record I still think two of those versions above are alright.

Coming soon… Things I get annoyed about (issue one featuring posh west London bands, and girls (and now BOYS) doing that annoying pixie singing)


Sticking it out

Sam Amidon Liz Green George ThomasLook at this poster here from 2008. Lots of acts, venues, promoters have fallen by the wayside since then.

We did a few shows back in the day at Whitechapel when there was a good dude there working on a decent music programme for Fridays.

We did Agoskodo Teliverek and they were amazing. We did The Twilight Sad and they were amazing too. It got quite loud sometimes and the staff were moody, and it never really sounded good because of a glass wall, despite having superstar soundman Phil Jones (albeit in his infancy) at the desk. And it never made any significant money cos it was too small. We had Oh Ruin play there too and a man too excited shouting during the set.

But I love this poster here, done in the old style by Luke Insect. He did some excellent posters for us. Some of them visible on the Local’s Facebook Page. This show was brought to us by trailblazing groundbreaker Duncan James “Dunc le chunk” Sime, of Red Deer in Manchester. Another piece of excellence.

Great design of course, but awesome that it features two excellent artists that are both enjoying the beginnings of great success the world over. I am proud that my company The Local continues to make our contribution to that success. George Thomas who is excellent too, hasn’t really made much of a sound for a while.

Both Sam and Liz are really special too. In some similar and other not similar ways. Both can reduce a room to silence, hilarity, tears.

My favourite quote from that night, from Liz. As David Thomas Broughton had shown up at soundcheck to say hello/grab a bite with Sam, I was looking for Sam. I said to her have you seen him? Her reply was she saw him going off with DTB for “some kind of musical genius meeting or something”.

See their webs for info on their current activities. Catch them soon.

Sam is HERE ———- Liz is HERE.

Tickets for Liz in London 3 April

Tickets for Sam in London 13 April


I’m a cyclist, a driver and a pedestrian

When I experience, hear about, or witness irresponsible behaviour in a professional context it reminds me of the debates between road users who annoy the hell out of each other all the time.

You get folks saying they’re better drivers ‘cos they’re cyclists and so on.

I hear “all agents are c*@!s”, or “all promoters are slippery”.

I also hear that that which you dislike in others is what you recongnise/dislike in yourself.