Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Growing Up Gonzo

Unsurprisingly, we here at Socialism are suckers for anything written about the late, very great Hunter S. Thompson. The latest edition of Rolling Stone has extracts from a new oral history/biography that's been put together by his collegues over at Rolling Stone - obviously it's brilliant... and I quote from his friend Bob Bone...

"I was driving an old M.G. convertible aling Copacabana Beach in Brazil and I suddenly saw Hunter loping along. I picked him up, he was a little drunk, but he said 'That's nothing, The thing that's drunk is in my pocket.' He had a drunk monkey in his pocket. The way he explained it was that he got off the plane in Rio with the monkey and went to a bar, and somebody said they would buy him a drink as long as the they could buy the monkey a drink at the same time. It probably was a bit of an exaggeration but back in the MG, the monkey had thrown up in his pocket and he was kind of smelly.
The monkey eventually committed suicide - we figured it had the D.T.'s. The maid saw it jump of the tenth-storey balcony of the apartment."
  • Growing Up Gonzo
  • John Lydon on Judge Judy

    The world has, officially, gone mad.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Not sure why it's annoying me today, but... it just me that thinks Devendra Banhart looks like the kind of horrible greaser that you'd cross the road (i.e. a fucking motorway at rush hour) to avoid, all horrible Special Brew breath, yellow pointed teeth and heavily matted/virtual dreadlock filth hair... the kind of dirty hippy you'd shield your children's eyes from in case he cast some horrible sex power spell on them, all the while, keeping your eyes on him in case he takes on more crazed, demonic forms... his whimsical savant songs about spiders and wasps and turtles don't give you much hope for the future of music either, esp booming out from mobile phone ads (right on, soul brother!). Maybe I got out of bed the wrong side but today, that guy is scaring me like a modern day, really fey Charles Manson might do. Must we throw this filth at our kids?????

    Underworld "Oblivion With Bells"

    Don't normally do this kind of thing here, but here goes.

    It's been a while since the last proper Underworld album, not sure why that's been, must have been something going on out there in the wilds of Essex that's been keeping them occupied. Anyways, the fifth Underworld studio album, "Oblivion With Bells" landed on the doorstep over at Socialism towers last week. We've listened to pretty much nothing since. The record is brilliantly, uniquely Underworld - one of the few records released this year that actually sounds like it's been influenced by the fact we're living in the 21st century and not a post Sham 69 1979. Lyrically as oblique as ever, musically it's like a walk through the nightclub you wish someone would tip you off about, some perfect place where the records played actually make you want to dance rather than hail the first mini-cab out of there. A couple of tracks take on a Morales bounce (the single "Crocodile" has a proper Def Mix sway to it), a couple of others nod towards Brian Eno's "Apollo" album (possibly influenced by the band's work on soundtrack to the movie "Sunshine") and a couple ("Beautiful Burnout" and "Faxed Invitation") sound like fuzzy headed 5am drives through the city, returning from said perfect club, while the sun lazily breaks through on the horizon, somehow blissed out and mellow with an ominous, foreboding sense of dread at the same time. Used to be a time when every weekend was like that round here for us.

    Anyways, the record is out in the middle of October, it doesn't get much better this year. Awesome stuff.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Farewell to the New Piccadilly

    This weekend sees one of London’s most famous greasy spoons, The New Piccadilly, close it’s doors for the final time.
    The place has been serving up low cost grub to students, bohos, office workers and pensioners since the 1950s, a classic formica clad time warp of a place where the waiters dress as sailors and shout at each other, a place stubbornly untouched by the creeping dread that is ‘human progress’, right there, just outside the door.
    We went down yesterday for a Socialism editorial meeting to say goodbye to the New Piccadilly, somewhere that’s been a safe haven for so many for so long, tucked away as it is from the Mc-High Street, doing it’s own thing. I don't want us to come across all dewy eyed about how things will never be the same, but surely a place like this can co-exist with all those chains selling you two shot soya foaming skinny lattes. Surely somewhere serving just about drinkable coffee in glass cups has a place in our society in 2007???
    Anyways, our meals, in case you were wondering were - starter - 4 slices of bread and margarine. Mains - ham and mushroom omelette and chips/steak pie, chips and peas, cup of coffee/coke. Change from twenty quid for two. It was both reassuring and disappointing to have to queue up because it was so packed - if it had been this busy once or twice a week, maybe it would have survived? In the end, we were just glad to be able to say goodbye. We’ll miss it, what a shame.

    Bidder scoops a Hirst painting for £200 at anonymous auction

    From yesterday’s Independent.

    When a buyer from the back of a crowded auction room put a bid in for lot 15, no one matched his modest offer of £200 for a painting filled with concentric circles.
    The bidders, which included some of Ireland's foremost art dealers and media personalities, were at an anonymous auction at which a Damien Hirst painting was being sold alongside 41 others, but no one knew which one until after it was bought.
    So the gasps of astonishment from the audience were understandable when lot 15 was revealed to an original work by Hirst, Britain's most bankable artist, which was created to feature in his famous "spin" series.
    Some of the paintings which bidders had wrongly guessed to be a Hirst had sold for up to £5,000. Among them was a sculpture entitled Two Rats in a Drainpipe, made by three A-Level students from Hammersmith, west London.
    The artist had donated the work, also titled Spin, to the auction at Flatlake Arts and Literary Festival, at Hilton Park, in County Monaghan. The festival organiser, Kevin Allen, who is a film director and brother of actor Keith, said the atmosphere was "electric".
    "I had devised the idea and I had framed Damien's work myself on an oblong mount to put people off the scent. The works of art, which were anonymous and numbered, were brought out for a three-minute quick view, like a horse is at a ring.
    "Five of Ireland's most prominent art dealers were standing at the front. When the bidding started, it was the best theatre I had ever seen," he said.
    The work was bought by the film producer Allan Maloney, who already owns two Hirst Spin paintings, according to Allen, and so recognised the work straight away. But many were confused by other works in the auction that had been done deliberately in Hirst's style.
    "Some kids who had donated works did spot paintings which Damien is known for and some did other spin paintings," Allen said.
    Mr Maloney agreed to have his bargain-buy auctioned again. It was bought for £95,000 by Kevin Spillane, an Irish gallery owner.
    Allen said Hirst had donated the painting in hope that it would go to a worthwhile owner. "He said if I give you this thing, I don't want it to be sold frivolously. I want someone to buy it because they like the painting," he added.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Finally, someone says it like it is...

    Thanks to Andy Kelly for this, we have a new Socialism hero in Chris Crocker.

    Friday, September 07, 2007

    September and we are

    Feeling heavy mellow at the moment, finishing off the written stuff for issue 5 of the ragazine… it’s going to be the best one by far… obviously we’ve missed every deadline we’ve set ourselves so far… way we see it, no-one’s counting the days now the sun is shining… as it stands, we’re currently loving…

    Gravenhurst “The Western Lands”
    Tunng “Good Arrows”
    Japrock sampler by Julian Cope
    “Andorra” by Caribou
    Meantime beers (all of them)
    Blades Of Glory
    Maggie Gyllenhaal for Agent Provocateur
    Pete Fowler’s exhibtion at the new Rough Trade shop
    Edwyn Collins “Home Again”
    Klaxons pill dealer
    “LSD” by Pink Grease
    Clark & Michael

    Robert McFarlane’s book “The Wild Places”
    And, finally, knowing full well that the festival season is over for us… no more fucking mud til next year.

    Erm… with that said… Socialism is also heavily involved in an indoor festival that’s due to happen in our old stomping ground of Cardiff – Heavenly at the Swn Festival takes place at Chapter on November 10th, we should have some kind of crazed stall-type presence down there… come on down and meet the folks!

    And may we say a belated rest in peace to one of the all time great UK beer writers, Michael Jackson, who passed away last week.

    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Can We Be The First... congratulate Klaxons on being the most pilled up people ever to be shown on live television? Their Mercury Prize scoop last night was like an episode of Skins being played at half speed. Hats off to those dudes, they really are livin' the dream. Wih I'd put 20 quid on it when I called it yesterday morning.

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007