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Monday, 21 July 2008

Les(s) of that art or I’ll shoot (Part One)

It has been a manic week dear readers. I hadn’t been listening to the Welsh power-pop-rock trio the ‘Manic Street Preachers’. Actually I had but that isn’t why it was a manic week. Instead Emma and I had Les, Richey and Damo to stay from the mighty band ‘Abdoujaparov’. They arrived in LA on Monday night after playing a couple of gigs in the Sacramento area. Guitarist Johnny and his wife Allie (who was also driving them) were staying in a nearby hotel. This was quite lucky as Emma and I’s bungalow isn’t the biggest, but the others made use of our living room and they seemed to fit ok.

They all got into Santa Monica at around eleven in the evening. We thus had to have a few beers back at ours to welcome the merry band of travellers. It was jolly nice to catch up and by the time I got bed it was almost two in the morning. And I had to be in work for nine. How rock n’ roll is that? I may be thirty two but I can still push the barriers with what time I go to sleep. Lucky for me that I can get there in fifteen minutes, meaning that I was able to get six hours of the old shut eye. Margaret Thatcher survived on a lot less, though she was a bit mental (state funeral! I hope I’m still in the US when that happens). Funnily enough I wasn’t that tired at work. I think being sunny all the time means that tiredness evaporates and your heart remains aglow. Or something along those lines.

The next evening Emma and I took the band out and about to Santa Monica. We went to the Library Alehouse where we sat outside and enjoyed dinner under the stars (albeit with some canvas roof over us too). I got properly cooked fish and chips that was yummy in my tummy. Johnny then regaled us all with his wine knowledge. I asked him how he had become such an expert in all things vino. He told me that it was the staff training when he worked at ‘Oddbins’ (for the US readers ‘Oddbins’ is a chain of Liquor Stores back in Blighty). I think it’s jolly good and impressive that Oddbins train their staff so well. I think Johnny knows more than wine expert Oz Clarke (who used to be on ‘Food and Drink’ and who does the audio tour at ‘Vinopolis’). After dinner we went to a couple of bars. One of which was an Irish bar, the other was a ‘Trendy Wendy’ place. Both of them had rubbish singer songwriters playing. This made it hard for a decent conversation and natter. I had a whisky and coke though so it didn’t matter. Once again it turned into another late night and I didn’t get to Barry Bed until roughly the same time as the night before.

I was a little more sleepy eyed on Wednesday perhaps disproving my theory that being sunny evaporates tiredness. I recovered for the gig on Thursday though. It took about ten billion years to drive to Hollywood from work due to bad traffic. We listened to some classic Manic Street Preachers to help us along (as those of you who have been with me from the opening lines know). Even hearing such ace tunes as ‘A Design For Life’ and ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ couldn’t take away the frustration of blocked up traffic and drivers not being able to wait their turn and thus shamefully trying to cut in here, there and everywhere. We got to the ‘Universal Bar and Grill’ eventually though. In a way it was good to get there late as the venue had booked about seventy five bands to play. Most of them were ruddy rubbish. Abdou (as the fans call them) were due on at around ten ish but it wasn’t until almost midnight that they took to the stage.

The venue was like something you see in the crazy American films when it all gets a bit seedy. It was a kind of sports bar (and it even had a TV showing sports above the bands as they played) but it also had a feeling of a rock n’ roll dive. I liked it in a funny kind of way but the nights entertainment wasn’t organized very well. Each band had to set up their own equipment and also do their own sound. It was literally plug in and play. The Abdou boys were very good though despite these obstacles and performed to an enthusiastic crowd, with some people wearing Carter t-shirts there too. And they did forty two minutes which was twelve minutes more than their allotted time. This meant we got a few more songs which made up for the lateness. We didn’t leave until past one and once again I got to bed at around two in the morning. This was for the third time that week! I am now practically on a par with Keith Richards at his height of hedonism. This is especially true as I had two whole pints of lager that night, and one of them was a real pint, and not the ‘light’ beers I have been drinking recently.

It was a top night and brilliant to have Les play in LA, and it was great to see Mark and Cerise (who the boys were now staying with). I also met Jacob who is Carter fan from Boston (I think?) residing in LA who I have emailed a few times (he has just had his debut novel published which I think is ace). It did make you realize though that it isn’t just England that has badly run music venues, in fact places like ‘The Bull and Gate’ are much better in comparison.

Speaking of novels as I did in the brackets above I should mention my debut novel ‘Manhole’. This is coming on a treat and the words flow out of me like nobody’s business when I sit down to write. Once my creative juices get spluttering I just can’t stop typing away. I read back what I had written the other day and I really made myself laugh. Is that a bad thing and a bit too egotistical? I guess that if at the end only I find it funny then at least I have pleased myself. And pleasuring yourself is recommended by some I’m sure.

I did discover this week that when listening to the podcast of Radio Four’s ‘Now Show’ that the word ‘Manhole’ is considered sexist by some UK councils. And it has already been banned in places like the aforementioned Sacramento in the US and they are now called “'maintenance holes''. How rubbish will my book be if I have to call it “Maintenance Hole”? Sometimes the tree hugging non sexist brigade get right on my Barry nerves. I have given up meat (read meat anyway) and I recycle now and everything (I am happy to wash up tins and tomato sauce bottles if that’s what we need to do to save the world). I would even burn my bra (if I had one) for the sake of all the lovely ladies getting treated as well as all the men dudes. It all goes a bit too far when the namby pambys start changing words that interfere with my art though. I could write a long diatribe about masculine and feminine words and their usage, but what’s the point? The world is run by fools. This is like my song ‘Eskimo Invasion’ all over again which got banned as the word ‘Eskimo’ was deemed racist by the vegetarian do-gooders of the world. Do I change the title or risk getting called a sexist by fool ‘Newsnight Review’? Let me know what you think readers.

Anyways (I have added an extra ‘s’ as that what people tend to do here in LA Land. Rather than say ‘anyway’ they say ‘anyways’. I’m not sure why and I guess it’s grammatically totally wrong, but I like it. It sounds nice so I am going to do it too) there is too much to write today for one entry. I want to tell you about my weekend so I shall do that on Wednesday. That means you get three blog entries this week as I shall do the classic blog re-visited on Friday. Sometimes you must wander how life can get any better.

I will entice you by telling you that on Friday I bruised both knees and my elbow in a horrific injury, On Saturday I attended a party in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex, England and I then went to an art festival in Santa Monica a few hours later (!) and I spent Sunday in the company of ex Baywatch babe Tracy Bingham. To find out how the gubbins this happened don’t forget to check back in a couple of days. Unless of course you are reading this past the 23rd July and I’ve already done part two of the blog. In which case I would say to you that you should read this more often. Or perhaps not, just read it when you like. I shouldn’t be a fascist and dictate when you log on here. I should be happy that you take the time at all to hear about our adventures. I think now that I am essentially an author (as ‘Manhole’ is so skill) that I am getting a little cocky. I shall beat my cockiness out, you can be rest assured of that.

See you for part two soon blog fans...

Marc xx

p.s. This weeks shout out goes to my ace mum whose birthday it is on 22nd July. Happy birthday mum and see you in two weeks. xxx

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