a gig, a petting zoo & terrorism foiled, or something

I’m a broken man, but a happy one.

No, not really – broken, that is – just a bit wiped out.  I’d forgotten what a shock to the system all this can be – in a good way, but one that leaves little in memory other than a sense of speed, urgency, hyper-reality and savage well-being.

To be crude, how many orgasms could you list and grade out of a lifetime, much less describe in minute detail?  (Actually, forget I asked.)

I got on the train with my guitar in the afternoon.  How I used to look down on people in my position when I was in a band: the travelling minstrel, the hopeful young geek with his/her instrument case and floppy corduroy druid costume wafting incense and sweat; the middle-aged folkie with chinstrap beard, “special” pointy fingernails and a warm flask of nettle tea in his satchel.  Aagh, Christ, I’d sooner die than join that sinister authentic mass! I thought.

Well, I know better now.  They were (and probably still are) braver, clearer-sighted souls than I.  So anyway, I got on the train, right – it was great, the landscape dropped away and dimmed to a crude matte backdrop even as it broadened and ramified, which was quite nice to watch – it arrived at a station – I’m told this happens a lot – and I met Chris and Esther from Deliberate.

Right, enough of that.  Cheap flippancy aside, it was all great.  The venue was fit for purpose – in fact it was fine.   This in itself is noteworthy, as anyone who’s lost any time hanging round these places will know with an aching, bone-deep, emotionally-vandalised, “is this where my hopes have led me, this rotting wooden cave that stinks of fried food and violence?” kind of knowledge.  The promoter and sound guy were perfectly pleasant, too.

The first act was three laptop-gazing blokes; it sounded okay.  Call me a Luddite, a philistine or a Narcissus; that’s about all I can think of to say.  No really, they were okay.  I just need something a bit more brash and vulgar – or animate even.

Then it was my turn.  It felt good.  It’s always hard to judge past the haze of adrenalin, but I think it went over well.  It was recorded, so pretty soon anyone who likes’ll be able to hear for themselves.

The collaborations with Deliberate were the high point for me – Chris came on to give The Black Membrane a wonderfully turbid and nightmarish drone backing, like the final annihilating horn-blast at the heat-death of the universe (which is always good)…  Then I got to play guitar on their track Volunteer, which after precisely 0.5 of a rehearsal sounded much better than it should.

It was just a buzz to share a stage with other players again.  I’ve been having trouble finding and keeping musicians lately – can’t think why.

So yeah, Deliberate did their thing – which was very fine – then I turned in and passed out.  Next morning, I went to an urban farm, petting zoo affair in Sheffield city centre and stroked a beige goat-like creature.  Maybe it was a goat, maybe some sort of sheep; some shit like that, with funny eyes, anyway.

On the way back to Brighton, I saw a Middle-Eastern looking guy arrested at Victoria Station.  He was a few feet from me at the time, and five or six police piled on top of him and hustled him away; they were very keen to keep his hands out of his jacket, where he kept reaching for something.  He had a conceited, euphoric look, a rapt sneer of martyrdom – either because the harassment and racial profiling to which he, an innocent man, was subject went to confirm his most humiliating fears; or because he was trying to blow himself up.  Of course, he could just’ve been a common-variety villain with no interest in extremist fuckery – it was all curiously workaday in its ugly way, and the body-language was unclear.  Also, they didn’t shoot him.

Don’t worry, I won’t bother labouring to draw conclusions or “put it all into perspective”.  I just got on another train and wrote this bit of internet puff-pastry, didn’t I?  It was a lovely gig, and if it was as exciting to watch as to do, it was pretty damned exciting.

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