Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Notes from the Underground #2

It’s Saturday night. Where am I? Where are you? Have you been looking for me? I’ve been out there, searching the streets, braving the sweat pits looking for the heartbeat of this city. If you’re lucky I’ll tell what I’ve found. I won’t pretend to have done all this since we last met. A quick glance at your social calendar would prove the dates just don’t add up. As some of you may have realised, I’m not always the most prescient of the Bleed team.

Sometimes I feel like Happy Harry Hard-On from ‘Pump Up The Volume’. All alone at night, either running around in circles screaming along with ‘Kick Out The Jams’ or drowning my sorrows with Leonard Cohen. This is one of those moments, but minus the MC5 and the cheery Canadian. Right now ‘Pet Sounds’ is echoing around my still and barren room. Tonight, I decided the blood could pump around the arteries of London on its own. It didn’t need me to watch over it. I thought I’d stay here and talk to you instead.

How have you been? What have you seen? What have you discovered so far this year? I thought for a moment that I’d found plenty, but then if that’s the case, why am I talking to you as I watch British Summer Time limp in. This is obviously a gap in my diary. So I’ll share my thoughts with you and to try not to let Brian Wilson distract me too much.

You’ll have to forgive me if I’m not chronologically correct, but as my friends may tell you, I’m not always that good with dates. That may be why I’m here leaning against an empty bed, procrastinating about music while my friends are tucked up with their significant others. But at least I have my friends to fall back upon. I was there when our very own provincial serpent, Bremstrahlung X Jones, was dancing among the beautiful people in Bristol’s Thekla. It was I that Brem grinned at as the DJ dropped ‘Lust For Life’ and Brem finally learnt what that primal beat could do to a man. I was still in Bristol the next night, dancing on a chair, probably looking as if I had a vibrator stuck up my ass that someone had kindly tuned to free jazz, while the Check Engine provided that first true buzz of the year.

There have been others since; other moments that justify my motivation. Back in London, being stunned by just how fucking awesome Eska have become since I saw them last. Watching Disoma’s singer crawl around the floor at the Verge, barefoot and howling like a newborn baby as Tom Duggan grinned that special grin of his in the background. Witnessing Southern Record’s very own post-rock teddy bear, Tom Davies, moonlighting as Audiowhore, and feeling the smile spread over my face as he finished his set of fractured, instrumental folk by dancing across the stage to sampled cut-ups of Roy Walker and Catchphrase. Hearing Mountain Men Anonymous blend white knuckle post-rock with electronica and turn themselves into Godspeed You Black Autechre.

I passed through Birmingham to see the triumphant return of Idlewild and to listen while Pete from the Regulars tried to convince me to drive back up there a month later just to watch their gig with the Butterflies of Love instead of waiting for the Butterflies to play London. At least I know I’m loved somewhere, even if it is in Birmingham. In London I may still feel faceless, I may be an unknown quantity, but I’m not without my influence. I introduced a friend to the Les Savy Fav live experience. He looked on in wonder as Tim Harrington (pictured above) brought the lighting rig crashing down onto the stage so that he could run off with the mirror ball. Harrington is punk rock, and I love him for it. In exchange I was taken to see the Appleseed Cast. We queued for three quarters of an hour, in the middle of the Dublin fucking Castle; a bunch of emo-kids in the middle of a nightmare vision of bad mullets. Forty-five minutes sweating like fools while ageing wannabes pushed their way past us with a look of contempt on their haggard face. Yet once we finally found ourselves safe in the dingy backroom, Appleseed and Cursive made it all seem worthwhile.

This may have be enough to last some of you a year. But for me it has merely got my blood up; I need more; I need to keep looking. But it’s no good; I can’t ignore Brian forever. He’s taunting me with his voice, his songs and his message. He’s talking to me. Yes, to me, not to anyone else. He’s waited all these years just to give me guidance. “I know there’s an answer,” he’s saying, “I know now but I have to find it by myself.” He’s right you know. You’ve no idea how much that says to me. Truth be told, neither have I. But I’m still here talking to you. That’s a good start. He went mad, you know? Totally fucking mental crazy. Brian filled his living room with sand because he thought his piano was causing forest fires. I long for the day when I believe that my songwriting is so powerful that it’s capable of causing natural disasters. Not so keen on the living in a house filled with sand part of the deal, but as long as the neighbours don’t complain, I suppose I’d learn to deal with it. In the meantime I’ll settle for finding someone else whose songwriting has that same power. I think that’s why I started on this journey in the first place. There must be an answer; otherwise all of this will have been in vain.

Brian also made his children shit on newspaper in front of the entire family. But as we know, we can’t have everything. At least not yet anyway.