What an exhausting few days.
On Thursday we went to the Royal Albert Hall to see Razorlight. I'm not a fan but G wanted to see them and it was for charity and the lead singer is rather decorative so I didn't mind one bit. According to my pal big-nose who saw him in a pub the other week he's only about three foot tall. Ah bless!... a pocket sized pop pixie...
It was a good job we trundled into the Le Bar du Retro for pre-gig lager-beers otherwise we'd have completely forgotten that it was Duckie's tenth birthday party at the Fridge in Brixton on Friday. I couldn't for the life of me remember when I was last at the Fridge but it must have been at least 13 or 14 years ago... I love Duckie special events and I've got so many fond memories of them. Always interesting to take the Duckie spirit elsewhere and the agenda for 2006 is more fulsome than ever. Prior to Brixton however we popped in on Indo, the best bar in Whitechapel, for a chinwag with the proprietors and Keith the Sculptor, before heading for the Whitechapel Art Gallery for the Wigwam gig (Alex James and Betty Boo), which wasn't really a gig more two songs prefixed by Alex James' soundscapes and space-films. We didn't hang around after Wigwam but there were DJ's in three rooms at the Whitechapel so I imagine a good nite would have been had by all. Big mistake for them to let people stub cigs out on all that art-gallery paraquet tho.
The performances for 'Duckie Decade' included the Featherstonehaughs (I think it was them) semi-naked and and draped, twirling on podiums all nite and very much setting the scene, and an enormous white stallion (yes, really) ridden through the crowd by a semi-naked lady in full vaudeville headdress and tit-tassles.
David Hoyle (the artist formerly known as 'The Divine David') firmed up his return to the London stage following a psychological hiatus (six years in sealed retreat in his native Manchester). He's a legend as far as G and I are concerned and G lambasted a bunch of stupid queens who insisted on chattering noisily more or less all the way through his act. G said something along the lines of 'Shut the fuck up or go and stand at the fucking back!!!!'. It worked. Wankers. David's got shows lined up throughout the summer including at Soho Theatre so he'll be on here from time to time. He was still confrontational, and slightly terrifying and it was great to see that the old 'Divine David' artful nihilism alive and very much active. He threw daffodils into the crowd but for some of those silly tarts they should have been hand-grenades. Duckie's not an ordinary club and sometimes people should listen.
We on the other hand would have listened to Hazel O'Conner when she sang later on but we could barely hear! God knows what happened to the sound, but it didn't matter too much.
Simon Strange, Duckie founder and curator extrordinaire, had Can's of Kronenberg at £3 ferried in for the Duckie punters due to the venue only being able to provide bottled beers at £4.50, but then I think the Fridge is the sort of place where they normally only serve water). Various personalties got hammered and Readers Wifes DJ'ed superbly as ever.
On Saturday we enjoyed early evening drinks with Joan Dairy Queen avec charming boyfriend Grant mulling over the previous nite's events and mending our heads with bloody mary's. Mr Justin Bond joined us for a natter then it was time for a fast black to the Royal Albert Hall for The Cure. I love the plushness of the place and going there always reminds me of the Banshees' historic two nites there in 1983, recorded for 'Nocturne'... (ever wish you had been born a few years earlier than you were !!????)... The moment on that album when Stravinsky bursts into Steve Severin's bass on 'Israel' has to be one of my all time favourite moments in sound. The Cure's intro meanwhile was long and choral with blinding blue lights. The last time we saw them was at Hyde Park a couple of years ago when Robert Smith was swigging from a pint glass of what looked like red vino and got plastered at alarming speed. He seemed to have put on a tad more weight this time, or perhaps we were just closer.
The back catalogue got a rigorous plundering with Play for Today, M, The Drowning Man and at least three tunes off Pornography including 'The Figurehead'. They also did 'Shake Dog Shake' off The Top (probably my favourite album) and 'The Blood' and 'A Night like This' off The Head on the Door, the last Cure album I really loved. These songs always make me feel like I'm 14 again (don't laugh, it's true). At the end they did Fire In Cairo, Three Imaginary Boys, Boys don't Cry and Killing an Arab (with a new lyric). I always enjoy the earlier album tracks and these are the ones I go mad for.
The Cure are one of those long stinting bands that attract about six different generations. Teenage kids with their Dads, hardcore goths, young couples, old couples, gay, straight. I guess everytime they release a new album there's a whole bunch of kids who find out about them. I couldn't believe that they played for nearly three hours but with a back catalogue like theirs I guess you could go on all nite. Loved Simon Gallup and his low-slung bass... he looks like an 18-year old from the back (cut off t-shirt, pert buttocks in tight black jeans) and like a ravaged old goth from the front.
They played three encores and the last tune was 'A Forest', which was great in Hyde Park when they lit all the trees up in hallowe'en green, and just as powerful at the Royal Albert Hall only the real trees were replaced by filmic ones.
Marvellous feeling afterwards walking to South Ken feeling as though one had had an injection of one's favourite tunes... Our only gripe was the fact that you can't take alcohol in the auditorium and we should have remembered this from Razorlight two nites before... Next time we're taking loaded hipflasks!
Sunday ended with a mammoth game of Uno with Retro Wendy until about 3 in the morning. It's my new favourite game and even though I do say so myself I was rather good at it... Even beating old cleverclogs Crazy G on several occassions although it has to be said it did take me some hours to get 'into the swing' of what was actually going on. W however remained firmly convinced that I had no clue whatsoever... and I shall of course be using this to my advantage in future bouts... On Monday at the Job du Jour I was not at my best and/or prettiest and needless to say a half day was duly booked. The effort to appear spritely and focused having got the better of me by about 10.30am....