Friday, 31 August 2007

Another Gig: So So Modern at The Cellar, Oxford, 29th August.

Vacuous Pop and Abort Retry Fail? jointly put this one on.

First up were Baby Gravy. I'm not entirely sure why I like Baby Gravy. They sound like X-Ray Specs but keep going out of time and still seem not to be able to really play their instruments that well and personally I never really liked X-Ray Specs anyway. Half the time they don't look like they even want to be there, but there's some sort of youthful "Let's have it!" approach to this ramshackle noise underneath it all that just seems to draw me in.

Next up was Clanky Robo Nutjob Knobrot Or Whatever The Fuck His Name Is. Mmmmm. Yeah. There's a joke that got real old real quick. First time I saw him I enjoyed it. Second time it was boring. Now it's just annoying. He's like a shit one man version of The Walk Off.

So So Modern were headlining. So So Modern are contenders for Most Appropriate Band Name sounding very much like now. Indie rock you can dance to with plenty of synth and a healthy nod to the 80's. The only problem is that being from New Zealand, it's more than likely they'll be forgotten as one of the also rans of the zeitgeist when the trend moves on to something else. This is a problem because So So Modern are really really fucking good. They manage to take what is by now a very well established sound (see !!!, LCD Soundsystem, Foals etc), and make it sound almost totally fresh. If they were from the UK, everyone working for an independant record company would giving handjobs to their Grandads if it would get So So Modern to sign a contract. It would be a criminal shame if they didn't get the opportunities they deserve because of something so trivial as geography. This is a talented bunch who could easily outlive this trend and become the next Trans Am if they're given the chance.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A Curious Weekend.

Part 1: Me & Mr Viner, Down In The Cellar.

My good chum Mr James Viner was in the Ford for the weekend, so Saturday night was spent boozing with him. We started off in The Star, chewing the fat for a while. Then decided to go to The Cellar. My memories of this evening are quite vague due to too much cider. I remember James taking it upon himself to chat girls up on my behalf, which backfired when they just ended up fancying him. Haha! I remember Helen, Jon, Pippa & Paul being there at some point. Mostly I just remember laughing with/at James. It was fun.

I woke up on Sunday with a hideous hangover and ketchup on my groin.

Part 2: Mary & The BBQ.

Anyone who attended last years Junction Road BBQ Spectaculaaarrrrrrrr will testify to how good it was. This year there was plenty of good food, booze, people and music. It was a pretty nice afternoon, with some good conversation & shenanigans. Then all of a sudden this woman turned up in the garden. This drunk woman in her 50's. All of a sudden she latched herself onto Hootie. It became apparent very quickly that actually no-one knew who she was. People threw apples at her. She didn't leave. People ignored her. She didn't leave. People very unsubtly took the piss out of her. She did not leave. This went on for over 2 hours and involved a water slide, Hootie having a shower and even Tom talking to her from Reading (or were they at Leeds then?) on the phone. Still she hung on to the BBQ like a limpet. Even when she was told to leave she stayed. V & I were telling her why she had to leave and why she wasn't welcome for a good 15 - 20 minutes and she still wouldn't fucking leave. (Exchanges included: "Listen, listen, listen. I've got 4 kids yer age. The youngest is 21, the eldest 31." - "Yes. You've already said that. What exactly is your point?" - "I'm not making a point." and "You 2 are horrible." - "How do you expect to be welcome at a party where you don't know anyone and you insult people?" - "How am I insulting anyone?") Eventually she had to be tricked into leaving, which involved someone literally forcing her out of the front door, while Andrew manned the garten gate to make sure she didn't come back in. The really annoying thing about it though was that when we had finally got rid of her, it was time for me to go myself! Fucks sake.

Part 3: The Walk Off at The Cellar.

(Some of you may have seen the film of this if you could be bothered to go to the link on my previous post and watch it. I bet you didn't though, did you.)
Yes, I had to leave coz I was going to see The Walk Off who were doing a gig for an internet company who were broadcasting it. Thing is, what with it being Reading weekend, and August Bank Holiday (official UK BBQ day) and the fact that the gig was announced on like Wednesday, no-one turned up. So Blake decided to use the money they were being paid by Optix and get the few of us who were there drunk, then get us all sitting on stage with them during their set. This became probably the most surreal gig I've ever been to. It pretty much decended into a kind of hilarious drunken choas. My personal highlights were Cotty grabbing a mic off the floor and rambling into it while I leaned over from my stool and made noise on his guitar, going to give Staz a high-five and falling over on the floor followed by her sitting on me after which I stayed lying on the floor until someone poured beer over my face, Blake serenading me ("I love you Axl! I love everything you do!"), and after the gig had finished, Josh trying to figure out what had just happened. Oh, and lots of Maraca playing, while not at all looking like a bit of a dick. The film really doesn't portray the feeling of just total bizarrness that was felt that night. It was mental.

It was totally awesome.

Monday, 27 August 2007

What I Did Last Night.

http://theworldiswatching.com/Optix.Reality.WebApplication/streams/player.aspx

Forward thru the 9 or so minutes of soundchecks.
The words "Ramshackle" & "Drunk" will probably enter your mind at various points.
This is the sound of no crowd.
The sound of chaos.
Or just a bunch of sobriety challenged people.
Whatever, it was the most surreal and hilarious experience to be part of.

4/9/07:- This link doesn't show you The Walk Off performance anymore, but is going to be showing other stuff from The Cellar. Some of it may be worth checking out, some may not.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Shameless Plug For A Friend & A Comedian.

Yes.

The more observant of my regular readers will have noticed that there are 2 new links in my "Axl Approved" section.
"Something For The Weakened" is my chum Alastair's blog, and very good it is too. I know Alastair from my White Horse days. His brain is slightly abstract. Among other things, one of the posts on his blog has a link to the best "Peanuts" interpretations ever (by Charles Bukowski). He used to write for a free local music magazine that I can't remember the name of now. His page was always by far the best.
"Simon Munnery" is the blog of the Comedian Simon Munnery. Pretty self explanatory. For those of you who don't know, Simon Munnery has been an active comedian for many years now through many project names including his "League Against Tedium" shows and the ridiculously, asthma attack inducingly funny "Attention Scum" tv series that was on BBC2 for a paltry 6 episodes. The Controller of BBC2 clearly didn't have a fucking clue what absolute fried gold they had on their hands. I saw him last year at Edinburgh and he was the best thing I saw of the festival, mostly because a group of us went to the pub with him afterwards to "Discuss" further. One of the proudest moments of my life (I'm not kidding, he's one of my heroes) was saying something that made him genuinely belly laugh. I can't remember what it was I said but it involved bricks.

So 2 more surreal minds for you to venture into. Enjoy.

This blog was always supposed to have a surreal edge to it, unfortunately that got overpowered by the aging drunk in me.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Another Bloody Gig Review.

At the risk of becomming seen as a rival to Rhyannon's blog (http://confetticonfetti.blogspot.com/) , I am going to write about another gig. Dead Meadow & Youthmovies at The Cellar to be precise. Hey, if you want me to write about getting drunk solidly for 2 weeks to try and forget/dull the pain of being dumped, then let me know, but I'm guessing you probably don't, so here's this instead. Don't worry, I'll keep it short. I'm tired.

I can't remember a single thing about the first act. Probably the excited surprise of seeing Enders, who I then didn't see again for the rest of the night, and the saying hello to virtually everyone I saw. A few conversations can really distract from watching something.

Youthmovies were quite frankly superb. (Even when Andrews guitar went out of tune for a bit on one song.) Apparently their gig the previous night hadn't been a good one. Well they certainly made up for that tonight. I actually can't remember that much of it now, partly due to the new M.I.A album being fucking awesome, party due to Dead Meadow who were on afterwards.

Dead Meadow were dreadful. Imagine playing a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club LP on an old record player that has a 16rpm setting at said setting. That's what Dead Meadow sound like. The same fucking song over and over again. A real uninspired one trick pony. Songs drowned in fuzz to hide the fact there's nothing to them. I've heard the sound they're emulating many times done far far better. My Bloody Valentine, early Lush, Telescopes, etc etc etc. If you want to hear someone new making this kind of sound, check out The Voices "The Sound Of Young America" album, which wipes the floor with Dead Meadow.

That's all I have to say for now. Can you tell how tired I am?

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Statcounter & The Recent Keyword Activity.

So Hannah of Cakeyvoice fame (http://electricbiscuitonline.blogspot.com/ if you can't be bothered to go to my links you lazy fucks) finally managed to convince me to get a Statcounter. The main deciding factor was that you can check how people find your page and what keywords they use in search engines to get to you. She mentioned some funny ones her and Matt (http://goodnaturedslacker.blogspot.com/ lazy lazy lazy) have discovered, which were pretty funny, so I got one of my own. Now I thought I'd have to wait a while before finding somethine that cracked me up, but lo, upon checking today, what did I find?



Boring ones first. One was searching for "Axl out of control", one was looking up the band Fuck Buttons and someone had typed in "Polar Bear Oxford Closed Music" finding my "Death Of Second Hand Record Shop" post. Then came one that tickled me. Someone in Spain found my blog by typing in "Lovely Cunts". Now, I tried typing this into Google to look for myself in there and the number of pages he must have trawled thru before getting to mine is phenomenal, as I gave up looking after the 11th page.



My favourite however, has to be the fact that 2 different people in America happened upon my page as a result of searching for websites relating to:



"Farm Fucking"



I laughed so hard. Again I went to Google and those Yankee Bestiality lovers are a tireless breed. I had to give up after 7 pages of "FARM SEX", "HORSE FUCKING", "DOG FUCKING GIRLS", "ZOO SEX", and so on and so on etc etc etc.

So already this is proving interesting. Can't wait to see what else I get.

Friday, 17 August 2007

NUDE LINDSEY LOHAN NUDE CHRISTINA AGUILLERA NUDE BRITNEY SPEARS NUDE PARIS HILTON SEX TAPE HOT NAKED TEEN BOOBS PLAYS WITH HER WET PUSSY NUDE LESBIAN

Not really.

It's a dirty tactic. A friend of mine called told me he called one of his posts "Nude Christina Aguilera" to increase hits on his blog. I would put a link up to his blog, but I forgot to ask what the adress for it was. Useless me.

No. In fact the real point of this post is to partly boast and partly be really annoyed at the fact that I was in the Oxford Mail today. Yes, if you go here
http://www.oxfordmail.net/display.var.1620883.0.coffee_shop_in_hot_water.php
you can see the whole story about the Facebook Group "Get Fucking Costa Coffee Off Cowley Road", where you will see this.

"Paul Askew wrote: "I die a little inside every time I see it.""

Now initially I found this hilarious. Then I read it again and got quite annoyed. See, I wrote a comment on one of the discussion boards that I felt made a pretty good point. Yet they use part of my first comment on the group page that kind of makes me sound like a bit of an over-dramatic, whining twat.

Cheers for that Oxford Mail.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Oh Yeah.

Matt Riley finally got round to writing a new blog.
Read it yet? It's very errrrrrmmm............
Interesting.

Love Burns All Dayer.

This one's probably gonna be a bit vague and patchy coz I'm a bit tired and the old memory aint what it used to be. Hopefully it won't be too lacking in charisma and wit.

Sunday was the Love Burns all dayer at the Jericho Tavern. Music was played and booze was drunk. After agreeing with Helen to work the doors, I turned up about 4 & 1/2 hours after it had started. Oops. Just in time to catch about 1 & 1/2 songs of Untitled 1961. I vaguely remember it sounding like some kind of shambolic yet awesome noise. I definitely want to catch them play a full set sometime.
I took to the doors to relieve Hannah from her duties of money taking and hand stamping. I will say now that Hannah did about twice as much work as me in terms of time and even more in terms of people dealt with, and yet we got paid the same. I would feel bad about this, but then remember that Hannah has a natural advantage over me in that she has great boobs, whereas I have a face that scares children. So I think it all evens out. Not quite sure how though...
Indiana. Didn't like them, but whether that was their fault or not I don't know. There were some technical problems (the monitors stopped working) which clearly phased them a great deal. After 2 songs and a lot of fiddling with equipment, they called it a day.
Whatever was wrong eventually got sorted, and next up were Vestibule. Vestibule are one of those bands who are getting better with time, and their new songs are sounding pretty strong. Looking forward to seeing what happens with them.
Hannah comes back to relieve me. I think she says "I'm leaving", and end up hugging her far more than is appropriate. Very embarrasing.
Danny Saul. I remember seeing Danny Saul before at one of Helen's nights and being very impressed by his set. It's rare that live, one man and a guitar really holds my interest and captures my immagination, but he did, and I was really looking forward to seeing him again. This time he'd brought a whole tabletops worth of effects pedals with him. Now the worry here is that a lesser performer would either become pointlessly pre-occupied with his array of toys and lose what made him so good first time around, or that he doesn't make good use of them and they end up either taking away from what he's trying to do, or just adding nothing and being totally un-necessary. Luckily Danny Saul seems to know exactly what he's doing, adding layers and textures, fleshing out his songs and giving us an experience which is utterly mesmerising. Easily one of the best live sets I've seen this year, Danny Saul is a very special talent indeed. Go and check out his MySpace page ( http://www.myspace.com/dannysaul ) and listen to the songs on there. Especially History, which is truly incredible.
Anyway, enough of the Danny Saul Cream-athon.
Next up were King Furnace. Now, I've written about these guys before. It seems that people have instantly made up their minds about King Furnace, so I'll just say that the guys played a solid King Furnace set, that'll fit in with your opinion of them no matter what that is. I will add though that it was interesting seeing Jefferson's instinct for frontman showmanship at battle with his bass playing duties.
I don't really remember Four Days From August. I think I didn't like them. But me, Bevan & Grundy went to get food at some point and didn't get back until they were finishing. I think. I can't really remember that either I'm afraid. I remember taking over from Hannah on the doors, but I can't remember what Family Machine were like at all, i'm afraid. I think we were too busy textually winding up an ex-colleague to really pay attention.
Mephisto Grande cancelled which was a shame.
Borderville were headlining. Like King Furnace, Borderville are a band who people have already set an opinion of that probably won't change no matter what. In Borderville's case it seems to be based on whether or not you liked Sexy Breakfast. As I have previously said before in the potato farm, I did. Borderville certainly share the theatrics of SB, but the sound is slightly different. For his new band, Joe has seemed to approach what I can only describe as a very English sound. At turns witty, playful, at times quite dark, at all times very well spoken, even grand. All things they share with bands like The Divine Comedy, while not really sounding too much like them. They save their best moment for last. The second half of the final song starts with what seems to be an awesome climax to a song, and then gets extended out into a percussion fest, with all but one member taking to the drums, the other guy handling some electronics. It's a great end to the night, and indeed the day as a whole.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Soppy.

Just a soppy thank you to everyone who's given me kind words, nice things and ritual abuse recently. It is all very much appreciated. Kisses for all.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Single Again.

Yes, after more than 2 years, the lady friend has jumped the Good Ship Axl in search of pastures new. Whatever happened to the likely lads? Who knows. "Not everything that should happen, does."

So now now now now the lonesome heal proceeds. A big bloody brick wall. A hot air baloon. But no eye for an eye. No war cry. Just.....

"It starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime,
Or it might all just go down in flames.
If I let you know me, then why would you want me?"
:- Loudon Wainwright III "Strange Wierdos"

Yeah, this is my most self indulgent blog yet, but fuck you, I just got dumped.

So now I'm a 26 year old man who's going grey in his thinning hair, bitter, ugly, hating his dead-end piece of shit job, living with his mum, sitting on his single bed, writing self indulgent crap that no-one reads. Same as before, but it all suddenly feels so futile.

In other words, I feel like shit, so shower me with sympathy, coz I really fucking need some kind words.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Oh yeah, and I saw Prince.

On Wednesday. At the O2 Arena. He must've played for about 2&1/2 - 3 hours. He opened with Purple Rain. His stage was custom built in the shape of his symbol. There were lights. And confetti. And Prince. And we nearly missed an encore. It was about the 5th. Prince is such a tease. Prince made everyone pregnant.

It was incredible.

More to come when I'm not so tired.

Thursday At The Cellar.

I made the mistake of reading Rhyannon's review of this gig before embarking on my own. Her use of words intimidates me as I'm usually reduced to short sharp phrases like "Really good." or "Fucking awesome!", but I will try anyway. Mainly because I disagree with her about one of the bands.

First up, Mephisto Grande.
Watching Mephisto Grande is like watching two circus carny's who've spent most of their lives listening to blues and Tom Waits' "Black Rider" album. Not surprisingly this sounds like nothing else in Oxford at this, or possibly any, moment. The two of them are clearly very good musicians too which helps. I'm desperatly trying to use a phrase more imaginative than "They were fucking awesome!", but I can't think of one.

Next up, The Great Eskimo Hoax.
Watching The Great Eskimo Hoax is like watching 3 boys who've bought the Big Book Of Math-Rock Cliches, studied it cover to cover and just reproduced every word they read. Somewhere along the line they bought the Postal Service album, and decided to bring that to the table aswell. The result is an incredibly uninspiring and boring experience as math-rock cliche after math-rock cliche are regurgetated to form a hideously dull whole. A big sack of cliches and tweeness. Like watching a school play. Only worse.
I will mention that for the most part the crowd seemed to be enjoying it. I had to go away and sit down at a table. I did start drunkenly heckling them, but coz I was at a table by myself, the only people who actually heard me where Dave & Tricia who were sitting at another table trying not to pay attention to the band.

Last up, Jonquil.
I loved Jonquil's "Sunny Casinos", but had always been a little disappointed with them live. Don't get me wrong, they were always good, they just didn't grab me like the album had.
Thursday was different though. I don't know if it's because they've played a lot more together now, or if they've changed anything in how they play/perform, but on Thursday they were amazing. A beautiful set of dreamy modern folk songs, culminating in the twisted sea shanty singalong of "Lions", everyone bellowing the lyrics out as loud as they could. A wonderful way to end the show. Everyone smiling. Elated.

And then came more booze. Oh dear.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Things That Are Currently Annoying Me.

1. Last FM.

"Scrobbling" has stopped working on my computer. For about the last 2-3 weeks nothing I've played has been logged on there. I even tried turning scrobbling off and back on again. No good. Lame.



2. Being Drunk.

Firstly because it seems to be happening a bit too much. Secondly because It seems I'm starting to become a dickhead. Thirdly because despite these things I still do it and love it.



3. Getting Older.

My hair is thinning. And going grey. And there's less of it. And my knees are getting weaker. And I moan and complain more. And I'm becoming really forgetful. And I'm becoming more cynical. And my eyesight's going. Soon I'll just be a bag of skin in a bad mood holding things that don't work anymore. Boo-hoooooo! Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!



4. Customers.

The continual annoyance of the general public. The lazy, rude, & stupid human race. Some guy threatened me at work the other day coz I asked him to stop swearing at another customer, who he didn't know, and then when he got abusive towards me and I stopped him using the listening post, actually used the words "Don't square up to me! I'll spark you out!" Half of me wanted to beat the living shit out of the cunt, the other half of me wanted to do a big fat belly-laugh in his pathetic fucking face. Luckily for me I did neither. I say luckily because, as much as I would have loved to beat the crap out of him, I am actually a bit of a weakling when it comes down to it, so both those options would have probably ended up with me in hospital. Instead I just stood there not reacting to any of his threats, which seemed in itself to take him down a couple of pegs, and he left.

Prick.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Facelift.

Here at the Potato Farm, we got a little bored. A little bogged down. A little set in our ways. We needed revitalising. We needed a lift. The board of directors had a meeting to see discuss how improvments could be made. After many hours of analysis and arguments, the board concluded that actually the only thing they weren't happy with was the image. So, we've decided to test drive some new looks. Starting with this one. We like this one because of it's "Back to basics" feel. We also like that it doesn't cut the ends off photos, even though hardly any get posted. We like how it makes me talk as if there's a group of us and not just one bitter loser writing and coming up with all this shit.



So here it is. The new look Potato Farm. I hope you like it.