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2007 – "the worst year of my adult life"

Posted: January 3rd, 2008, by JGRAM

2007

Not a vintage year, oh no. And yet on paper I accomplished a fair bit but the amount of effort it all took made me question whether it was worth the hassle.

A few months ago we did a blah blah blah of our current tastes and trends and mine didn’t really change much in the final third/quarter of the year. My year actually started with GRINDERMAN and has now ended with GRINDERMAN – I seem to be able to relate to the lyrics more than ever. Seeing them perform at ATP was a true highlight of my year although the best live show I saw was easily DEVO at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in April.

Despite her silly performance at said ATP, CAT POWER remains my favourite artist although I fear this is both a) predictable and b) what is making me so morose. I’ve managed to find Jukebox online already and it is fantastic – be no means her best recordings but no means her worst.

Also one last ATP shout out to ALAN VEGA whose set blew me away with its beats, ridiculous dark humour and message. The subsequent album completely matched the performance as did the SUICIDE support slot for GRINDERMAN at Kentish Town Forum.

The first gig of the year I went to was THE HOLD STEADY at the Borderline and that was a very tough benchmark to beat for the rest of the year. Without being spectacular or pretentious here was a most earnest of outfits looking to get drunk and have a good time, such drunken shenanigans I hadn’t seen since GUIDED BY VOICES. By the time we saw them on the main stage at LATITUDE their legacy was solid gold. Attempting to catch up on their popularity (and slowly getting there) LES SAVY FAV came out with a fantastic but for some reason really fell flat live, despite Tim Harrington climbing over all and sundry. QUI were also in a similar boat, alt rock legends (well, Yow) making some kind of a comeback. The record was so so but the live show was terrifying in the best possible way although slightly tarnished by the reality that the audience was full of oldsters – young people just do not seem to be into this kind of message anymore. Their lose.

I still listen to RADIO ONE semi religiously at work and I swear modern pop producers are some of the most savvy people in music. I experienced almost first hand the tidal wave of TIMBALAND and DR LUKE at work, with their demands and entourages. The first being genuinely talented and the latter some kind of chancer riding the coat tales of CATHY DENNIS. Personally my favourites are BOOTY LUV. Its basically the two birds from BIG BRUVAZ doing covers but they fucking rule!!!! Every time DAVE GROHL appeared on the radio however I felt like vomiting and killing his family.

THE GOSSIP fucking ruled my world this year. The record, a 2006 release I will admit, obviously spawned Standing In The Way Of Control and to have it all over RADIO ONE follwoed by Miss Ditto all over the tabloids, it genuinely felt like back in 1991 when Smells Like Teen Spirit broke – here was “one of us” representing in the mainstream. Sadly The Gossip ain’t Nirvana and Beth is playing the game a bit too well and basically acting way too fucking nice (say something nasty, be controversial and piss people off – PLEASE!!!!). However every time those crappy recorded drums (by Guy from Fugazi) came on the radio it felt briefly like revolution. Almost hand in hand (the Mudhoney to their Nirvana) CSS briefly appeared in a number of places on their way to their American Apparel endorsement. The record doesn’t hold up but Lovefoxxx most definitely does. Schwing!!!!

One of the last gigs of the year I saw was GZA/GENIUS doing Liquid Swords at the Koko as part of the Don’t Look Back series of gigs. It felt like karaoke as I was surrounded by the whitest and most obnoxious audience I have ever been around (following the close second that was the SONIC YOUTH Daydream Nation audience at the Roundhouse). I have now reached the cranky age (I hit 31 this year) where I have become Larry David and hate having anyone around me encroaching my personal space. How fucking dare they!!! Despite this I did really enjoy GZA/GENIUS though – he has flava!

Records I really enjoyed this year: PISSED JEANS, Visqueen by UNSANE (that band NEVER fails to excite/entertain), COMMON’s album, Weatherman by EVIDENCE (DILATED PEOPLE’s dude’s solo album), Rup On Zebra by RUP, the new ROTHKO album, the THESE NEW PURITANS singles (although the album isn’t so hot), KATE NASH turned out to be totally OK (if ultimately annoying) and Police On My Back by LETHAL BIZZLE was single of the year by a grimey mile. The live versions on the DAYDREAM NATION delux version were astoundingly good. The SHELLAC record was fucking rubbish and the sooner THE ENEMY die in a car crash the better. Also quick, before it gets pulled, buy Transmission by NIRVANA from Play.com – how the hell do they get away with selling such a good bootleg?

Friends bands I love: LIMN, BILLY RUFFIAN, ROCKET NO 9, LONG DIVISION WITH REMAINDERS, SHARE THE SHAME, CATS AGAINST THE BOMB, BIG IN ALBANIA, MASSIVE HOSPITALIZATION, RIGHTEOUS BASTARDS and “Keith” by YONOQUIERO.

The movies on the whole sucked this year. I cannot recall on thing I saw in the cinema I loved. Well, I loved MANHATTAN but that is about 30 years old. I did really “enjoy” OLD JOY but it did leave me feeling depressed but I did feel it captured these times that are a changing. And it came on a day where I chose to go see that movie instead of appearing on Stephen Merchant’s Radio Six show chosing Good Weekend by ART BRUT as my song for the lovers. Another movie I really enjoyed was VENUS. I will watch almost any British to mixed results (such as GIGOLOS and LONDON TO BRIGHTON) but VENUS really paid off. Horny old people, love ’em. I love FAY GRIM even if it did stain the legacy of HENRY FOOL is a tough two hours. HALF NELSON also intrigued in a very sombre and sobering manner.

Movie let downs: SIMPSONS, HAIRSPRAY, CONTROL, INLAND EMPIRE, WAITRESS and YEAR OF THE DOG.

THE FOG OF WAR remains on repeated play on my DVD – what a movie!

HBO made better television than Hollywood made movies again this year. This was the year I discovered THE WIRE and a smarter and more intricate, social and topical series there will never be. It is obvious why CHARLIE BROOKER raves about it. At times in episodes nothing appeared to happen but later on in the plot you learned everything had happened. I cannot forget how gripped I found myself one Sunday morning when I had to watch five episodes back-to-back. Being the year I only discovered the show, this meant there were four seasons already in place to devour. For me head and shoulders the best season is the second one with its dock storyline but in the form of Stringer Bell it has quite possibly the coolest television character in history. And just like THE SOPRANOS it has a soundtrack/score to die for, not least the closing montage of season two with I Feel Alright by STEVE EARLE. And of course the various versions of TOM WAITS’ WAY DOWN IN THE HOLE is a theme song to die for.

And mentioning THE SOPRANOS it solidified it’s place as the great television show in history with the closing episodes. With the darkest of humour its strong point, after the flat closure of the first half of season six, the final episodes were a genuine emotional rollercoaster that saw me more than once have to cover my eyes winching in the face of pain and humiliation. With his depth of character TONY SOPRANO is one of the few remaining masculine “role models” and his trials and tribulations and continued soul searching made for compulsive viewing until the very end. People tell me they have never sat down and watched THE SOPRANOS and sadly I feel it is too late, you had to be there and learn how to care for characters who were basically fucking bullies and murderers. As numbers fell right up to the end of the series it felt like I was losing loved ones to my enemies – this show has really suckered me in for the last six years and genuinely changed my outlook on life and attitude, perhaps not for the better. And the soundtrack remained awesome to the end, being the place where I discovered It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) by BOB DYLAN and providing me with a massive highlight at LATITUDE when I was telling JOHN COOPER CLARKE how amazing the use of Evidently Chickentown was. It was all about CLEAVER. And for the record I fucking hated the ending, David Chase pulled off a trick of Andy Kaufman proportions which he should be equally admired as shot for.

Other telly: I loved SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAMME for finding new and inventive ways of being offensive and LOVE SOUP which I’ll admit an old show but discovered on DVD this year. And I’ll concede FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS is genuinely funny.

Comedy was fucking stunning, not least for the two week DAVID CROSS AND FRIENDS residence at 100 Club. Not only did CROSS slay both times I saw him but EUGENE MIRMAN proved funnier than ever with KRISTEN SCHAAL and TODD BARRY glowing on a truly amazing bill. RICKY GERVAIS’ FAME show was hit and miss and but exciting all the same. After seeing him several times, I finally met ROBIN INCE and he was a true gent and super witty with it (his MYSPACE blog is the best on the net). The final BOOK CLUB featuring ROB NEWMAN was a truly sad occasion, not least after a second year of being the undisputed highlight of LATITUDE (helping me sneak backstage in the process). JOSIE LONG kicked my ass with her positivity and intelligence another year running (2008 will DEFINITELY by her year) and PAPPY’S FUN CLUB’s Edinburgh (which I saw thrice) was killer and rightfully saw them reaching the newcomers final selection.

Personally my year was ruined by employment agencies, not least the “big two” Hays and Reed. Fools like Simon S****** and Ben W******* condescended me and treated me like scum. I didn’t want to change jobs, I genuinely loved my time at Trevor Horn’s Band Aid recording gaff and working on ZTT and STIFF RECORDS amongst others, but I qualified as an ACCA certified accountant in February (finally!) and deserved real payola. Thirteen interviews later I find myself at a music industry accounts practice on Baker Street. My portfolio has household names as clients (one even mentioned here) but the music industry remains a depressed cesspit of extravagance and wasted money. My commute to London remains a daily four hour roundtrip but honestly, London is worth it.

The closure and subsequent re-opening of FOPP was a lowlight and highlight all in one and now I am back to my old ways of jizzing away my hard earned money on cheap DVDs and back catalogue CDs I am unlikely to never play/watch.

My big accomplishment of the year was my self publishing of JGRAM WORLD, my old blog that got me into all that trouble back in the day. It is a 390 page tome of tangible book! DIY is back in my life!!! And it works as a book, it has an arc and people are genuinely enthusiastic for it. If I am honest it needed more proofing and wasn’t ready to go to print and could easily be edited into something half the size but it is what it is and I am still proud of it even if I do mis-spell Al Qaeda at one point.

The NEW DEN remains my theatre of dreams as MILLWALL plug away at my patience.

PING PONG and Dim Sum was the food to eat.

I only visited ladies of the night twice this year, so that was good and almost fell in love in the final months of the year (fingers crossed for 2008). Christmas was a blow out – I neither got a new dog nor a Nintendo Wii and wound up spending both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in, on my own. That said my cleaning job of my flat Bohemian Grove on 1 January was the daddy!

I am sure I have forgotten a ton of other stuff I did and enjoyed but enough already!!!!

Things to look forward to in 2008:
NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS!
THE BREEDERS!
THE WIRE SEASON FIVE!
MY RESOLUTION TO ACT MY AGE!

Peace.



JGRAM

JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.

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2 Responses to 2007 – "the worst year of my adult life"

  1. Anonymous

    where can one purchase this book?

  2. JGRAM

    I only have copies at home at the moment

    email me on jgram@aol.com