23 October 2005

Jack the Ripper - 3

He awoke to pale, mid-afternoon light filtering through a grimy window. Still clothed in a dirty coat and coarse trousers he sat up on the bare mattress. The rotten window frame was soft as cork and the glass rattled as he inched it open. A cold breeze pushed in and stirred the evil stench. Shouts and rumbling cartwheels rose from Dorset Street.

Standing, he stretched his stiff muscles then turned his bloodshot eyes to the table with its plate and the remnants of a stale loaf. Sitting on a hard chair he scraped it closer to the table. His unwashed hands tore off a wad of bread. As he chewed, his fingers trembled. From the street below came the strains of a sweet sung melody. Instinctively he smiled but the smile turned sour as he thought of his singing, whoring mother. Her brown teeth had showed when she sang. The siren voice trailed off having no doubt attracted its prey. He didn’t trouble to get up and look.

His bolthole was quiet. He lay on the musty bed and dozed again...

... it had grown dark. Somewhere distant a woman screamed and a dog began deep incessant barks. He drifted up through layers of sleep. From upstairs came a muffled cough and heavy boots on worn boards. Instinctively his hand dropped to the floor and he felt beneath the bed. He withdrew a long knife. Propping himself up on one elbow, he pulled a stub of candle and a match from his pocket. He positioned the knife deftly and trimmed the wick quickly and neatly. The match hissed and flared as he scraped it against the bedstead and lit the candle.

He snuffed the match with leather-hard fingers and began to whittle it. Drawing the blade away from him in slow, gentle strokes he watched the white strips as they curled and fell. Satisfied with his work he used the pick he had fashioned to remove bread from between his teeth. Then with the same implement he absently prised traces of brown from under his nails.

His ears pricked alert as the familiar Irish voice set up its syrupy sweet singing again. The soft tones lilted in the still air of late evening. Slowly he swung his legs off the bed and stood up, placed the toothpick on the empty plate and slipped the knife in his pocket...

12 October 2005

The Editors

What a difference a week makes. The latest band occupying the minds of the British music press is The Editors. But this time the hype is entirely justified. Hailing from the unlikely rock ‘n’ roll hotbed of East Anglia, nevertheless these are smart, intelligent and good-looking boys with a distinctly new sound. Think of the chiming angular guitars of Interpol and cross them with the strident baritone vocals of The Killers. Add sharp lyrics and strong melodies and you have The Editors.

I saw them on Tuesday, the final night of a sell-out tour. Three heads from the front, I had a good view of the stage. My favourite Wedgewood Rooms was packed to groaning point with hot sweaty flesh, stirred to fever pitch by New York City bands The Cloud Room and We are Scientists. These are new wave guitar outfits with echoes of The Strokes and The Stills. There was a whiff of money about this debut tour, the light show came from eight of those fancy programmable pods revolving on universal joints. The Editors wore black shirts and trousers and sported matching black Rickenbacker guitars.

New album, The Back Room, provided just enough material to fill a fifty minute set and these infuriatingly young and charming lads engaged in friendly disarming banter with the notoriously demanding Portsmouth crowd. Sweat poured from their heads and their neat black shirts were drenched to the skin. I got the impression ‘this is us and this is what we do’ but not in any arrogant way. Songs of modern life and love delivered with passion and energy.

I headed into the cool night with my T-shirt stuck to me thinking, “yeah that was all right!”

(There's a couple more pics here.)

08 October 2005

she says...

“Talk to me of your dread fears
show me inside your head,
through salty wet cheek rivers
where your eyes have bled.

Don’t shout and scream in silence
please tell me aloud instead.
Your torment is real and
angry but I know

behind blue eyes your private thoughts
breathe softly when you say my name.”
"Think of it this way, " I reply
"the price of life is pain."

04 October 2005


completed embryo
actual theory
entire portion
fried ice
vigorous lethargy
luxurious squalor
leading follower
bargain gem
scientific art
tender butcher
comfortable coffin
deafening silence

03 October 2005

The Paddingtons

Hype upon hype has raised these twenty-something Hull-based popsters to cult status before anyone in the real world has heard more than a note. I risked a tickets at Southsea’s Wedgewood Rooms for 2nd October and took up position somewhat conspicuously among three hundred college teens.

Support from “Deville” and “Dustin's Bar Mitzvah” set the scene with their untidy, pouting punk. A distinct shortage of finesse was just about balanced by the fake snarling attitude of ‘Jimmy White’s on Crack Again.’ Fashionably late, “The Paddingtons” swaggered on at 10:15pm and ran through a weak set of “Libertines” by numbers rip-offs. Hard to work out why teeny punkers are taken in by these fake rough diamonds, even harder to fathom how adult music journalists are equally hoodwinked. A late replacement guitarist can't have helped but this was poor.

I may be approaching fifty but I know the real deal and this wasn’t it. Eventually the hype-meisters may learn that one catchy single maketh not a classic band. In the meantime guys like these will continue to be pushed forward into an arena they are just not (and perhaps never will be) ready for. Don’t take my word, ask the folk who were sauntering out after half an hour. I lasted forty minutes before joining the stream of early leavers.

Pretend tough boys can’t fool me. Bring back the fucking Libertines and let’s see and hear true passionate Brit Pop, hard and angry.