Monday, June 30, 2008

To Here Knows When

Most of today I've been wandering around like the Bionic Woman prior to receiving her aural implant. I can hear nothing.
Nothing, I tell you.

Last night, I was in Manchester watching my Favourite Band Of All Time, recently reformed after nearly 20 years — and today I’m paying for it, in hammers and anvils.

One of the benefits of outliving Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Elvis is that you get to receive delicious birthday gifts well into your fifties, sixties and seventies, and my date with My Bloody Valentine at the Manchester Apollo was one such — along with a cucumber facial and several bottles of beer that smelled and tasted like they’d been brewed in some medieval artisan’s pants.

So — many thanks to my old mate, Dave, and his old world Scottish generosity. Next year I’m asking for a new pair of ears.

For anyone unfamiliar with crusty old gig haunts close to where Cristiano Ronaldo currently polishes his nipples, the Manchester Apollo is a converted cinema beached on the perimeter of a ghastly industrial wasteland (‘The North Of England’), and as Dave and I drove towards its welcoming maw across the Yorkshire Moors, passing the lakes where RAF boffins tested the bouncing bomb, I couldn’t help thinking, “blimey, I’ve got nothing on.” But that’s enthusiasm for you. My fave band — c’mon, let’s go! (Fortunately, Dave had an old tartan tarpaulin hidden away in the boot of his car which we managed to convert into a fashionable Goth toga. I have no wish to blow my own trumpet, but as we joined the queue to get in, the reception I received from the hordes of gathered fans was nothing sort of ironic.)

Once inside, we fought our way to the bar and fought our way out again just in time for the gig itself, convinced, thanks to the numbers of tattoos and body piercings on display, that we’d inadvertently wandered into a pitched battle between a tribe of berserking barbarians and the Armour Loving Dwarves of Doff Thwack Doff. As it was, the burgundy old-time-musichall decor dripped with the sensuous bloom of a giant pair of french knickers. Oh yes — I know my architectural heritage.

9pm precisely. Cue fifteen minute delay for band — and Spot The Attention-seeking Roadie Competition. I’d have wet myself with anticipation had I not sweated off most of my bodily fluids with sheer unadulterated excitement.

Finally — finally — after nearly 18 years, MBV came on. Last time I saw them was at Leicester Poly (as was) in 1991 and they were sh*te. This time round, their failure to disappoint was on a par with the scene from Miracle On 34th Street when Kris Kringle's mailbag full of letters slaps in front of the judge and the camera pans to...The Kid. For the next hour and a half, my ear drums pulsated deep inside my skull till they blended with each other like a bizarre 3D venn diagram in an orgy of alien sex organ wibblywobblywoobles inches from my hypothalamus.

Here’s the best song of the night. I don’t care if you fucking hate it...


Kiersten said...

I'm beginning to think we've switched ages. Surely I'm the one old enough to be your parent, and not the other way around.

My evening last night consisted of cleaning up, reading a book, playing a card game with the hubby, reading the bible, and turning in early.

Let's just go ahead and agree that you are the 25 year old and I am middle aged. It makes more sense.

Whirlochre said...

You have the energy for playing cards?...

My itinerary for the next hour:

1) Feed offspring.
2) Feed self.
3) Die.

Best I can hope for is that I don't come back tomorrow as anything scaly or wet to the touch.

Kiersten said...

Actually, no, but I humored poor Hot Stuff.

And as long as you feed the offspring before dying, I think you've filled all of your responsibilities.

Listened to the's rather a lot of noise, isn't it? It would be good background for writing certain scenes though. I like lyrics in my music, personally. Glad you had fun though. Someday I'm going to do something cool.


Whirlochre said...

Someday I'm going to do something cool.

So let me get this straight — you're saying that somewhere in a parallel universe there's a Kiersten who is uncool?

Kiersten said...

Oh, WO, you make me smile. I'm so far from cool, maybe it actually is cool.

McKoala said...

Hm, my flatmate liked My Bloody Valentine. Light relief from that other band that didn't sing real words and that utterly depressive bloke that students were supposed to like.

I was more into Prefab Sprout (pre Jordan The Comeback, of course, which was just embarrassing), the Waterboys and anything on the Cherry Red label. Ah, good times.

I have fed my offspring and myself. Time for a glass of wine and a book. Ah, good times.

McKoala said...

Wanted to add that I went to a Prefab Sprout reunion concert a few years ago. I couldn't decide if it was amazing or crap (sorry Kiersten). Too much post Jordan The Comeback. Plus I was secretly pregnant and trying not to vomit on the floor. Ah, good times.

freddie said...

Glad you had fun!

I'm a little worried about your ears, though, WO.

Kiersten said...

How embarrassing. I was moping over my own lack of interesting life stories and glossed over a key detail:

Happy Birthday, Whirl.

Glad you had a fun one.

(Also, did you get into the car only to realize that, in your excitement, you had forgotten to put on any clothes at all? In which case, sleep more. Or did you simply realize your clothes were entirely unsuited to the crowd?)

Whirlochre said...

Thanks for reminding me about Prefab Sprout, McK. As I recall they had some decent songs — must check if I have any old LPs in the attic, though I dread to think what else I might find among the cobwebs. Someone round the corner had squirrels nesting between the eaves, so knowing my luck, I'll be attacked by rabid badgers. Or a horse. As for attending a gig pregnant, a friend of mine went into labour at a Pink Floyd concert. I presume she was pregnant before she went in, but either way, decided to name her son Floyd. Fortunately for him, she changed her mind at the last minute and re-named him Zach.

Freddie — my ears seem to be OK now, which is something of a miracle now I think about it. The people closest to the speaker stack were reduced to a tar-like pulp and I imagine the best they can hope for is to be pressed into biscuits for maltreated oxen.

K — this was a belated birthday gift, but thanks anyway.

Robin S. said...

Hey Whirl,

I have to tell ya, I'd never heard of that group befeor- but I just turned your YouTUbe up full bore.

Loved that music.

Also loved your itinerary:

"1) Feed offspring.
2) Feed self.
3) Die."

Ha! Been there a lot lately.

Never heard of Prefab Sprout either - now that I'm reading down the comments. Damn. I missed a lotta stuff.

And Oh. Good Lord. So glad your friend went with Zach insteada Floyd. Floyd sounds like he grew up in my former neck of the woods.

If my daughter brought home a guy named Floyd, we'd have ourselves a little talk.

Whirlochre said...

If my cat brought home a guy named Floyd...

Kiersten said...

Brought home in the sense of a date, or in the sense of dragging him in and leaving him in a mess of gore on the steps? Either way, I don't think you'd be happy with the kitty.

And lol, Robin. But what if poor Whirl's name is actually Floyd?

Whirlochre said...

Blimey! What if it is?

Kiersten said...

How embarrassing. For you both.

Robin S. said...

Oh - not a problem, honey.

If Whirl's name is Floyd, that name of his would become - instantly- one of the best ever.

And a very macho name.

And the name of only the very erduite and

And of the amazing.

And of the Pink-Socked, rather than of the Pink-Floyded. And, as I love love love my Pink Floyd, that, my darlins, is sayin something.

Oh yeahhhhhh.

Robin S. said...

By the way, Mr. Floyd, I'll posyt a thingie, probably on Friday, about doing our voices, OK?

Do you still wanna trade stuff (I'm thinking we may have about 12-14- people) or read our own? I'm thinking maybe read one more of our own writing - as paca, ril, Chris, and hopefully BT will wanna play next week - and Sarah - who we haven't heard either.

Then - two weeks later-when you'r eback from vacation, I think, and before I leave (August 1) switch off. That or aftre we're both back.

Is that OK with you

ChrisEldin said...

This sounds so British.

Quick! I need to fill my head with something else....

Not my taste in music, but I wouldn't mind calling you Floyd.

Whirlochre said...


I'm away from July 12th to 29th but would still love to play.

My reason for suggesting a voice swap is that while we can all get our own heads round our own writing, other people reading it may not (as EE's blog has shown). Ditto, when you read stuff aloud, some writers' words roll off the tongue while others are a sticky read. So it was a readbility test more than anything.

That said, I'm happy to do anything — bar having FLOYD tattooed on my forehead or rolled around in a tub of honey by an enraged bullock.

Chris — you're welcome to call me Floyd as long as I can still visit your blog as Andrea the lesbian.

Robin S. said...

Well, Whirl Floyd,

You're gone the last two weeks in July and we're in Britain from August 1st to August 11th - so that's a month gone.

Let's do our own voices one more time - post on the 10th - and then do a swap around the middle of August, OK?

I agree with you on the point behind the voice exchange - I like it a lot for that reason.

Hell- maybe I'm the only one.

I'll post a quickie question about it and see....

Whirlochre said...


This sounds like more fun than dressing up as Elvis and inviting a hundred fanatical teddy boys to tease my new millennium hairdo into a passable quiff with an uonpened jar of geniune 50s Brylcreem.

Let's do it!

writtenwyrdd said...

This is the reason I have lost the ability to distinguish words when there's a lot of background noise: clubbing in my 20s and 30s.

I remember liking some of MBV's stuff, but for the life of me (shoot the infidel!) I cannot recall any of their songs. It's been SO LONG...

Whirlochre said...

I was the same with Agnar Halbjorn's Viking Balladeers.