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My A to Z of 2005

Posted: January 13th, 2006, by Chris S

(Each has a link enabling you to waste literally hours at work flicking through them all for your amusement)

A is for ASTRA, my new car. I was trying to work out why a family estate car would have completely blacked-out windows then I found out the previous owner was an ‘adult entertainer’. And there was me thinking the smell of cum in the car was coming from my trousers. I am trying to avoid searching the internet for dogging videos with the previous owners name in the credits – but it’s only a matter of time before curiosity gets the better of me.
B is for CHARLIE BROOKER and his book Screen Burn, a compilation of all his TV review columns for the Guardian. I write reviews infrequently because I simply run out of ways of expressing my raging anger and/or abject misery. Brooker doesn’t suffer such a problem. He is a master of description; example: baldy bad guy Ross Kemp’s tendency to nod to emphasise key lines is described by Brooker as looking “like a testicle bobbing in the bathtub”.
B is also for BILGE PUMP. It must stink to be an American touring band and look at your itinery and see you have Bilge opening for you. I wouldn’t even bother showing up. I love this band.
C is for CITY COUNCIL who I have managed to last a year as an employee of without being fired which, frankly, is amazing.
C is also for CHONG, an amusing term for a bifter, a doobie, a jazz cigarette etc.
D is for DAMN YOU’S 100TH GIG. Our little gig-putting-on collective was 100 gigs old in November and we celebrated in style with a huge show at Nottingham Trent University with Melt Banana topping the bill. I even got interviewed in Nottingham Evening Post. Made my Mum happy anyway.
D is also for, like, DUDE, a word that totally saw increased usage in 2005.
E is for the EARTH which I found out is hollow with a population living on the inside of the planet, drawn to a magnetic centre somewhere in the crust and illuminated by the molten core which operates as a second sun, held centrally in the hollow core by the equidistant gravitational pull from all sides. It’s true. It explains Heaven, religion, sea monsters, the Bermuda Triangle, Nazi UFOs, compass problems at Magnetic North or South, Atlantis and the Northern Lights. Ask me about it sometime.
F is for FAHEY BLOWS HIS NOSE, the outstanding track from this year’s Live John Fahey CD The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick.
G is for GUITARS. It’s been a quiet year, I only bought the one guitar (a see-through Dan Armstrong like Greg Ginns) which I have subsequently sold because I couldn’t justify owning it. What’s happening to me? Am I getting sensible? I did find myself shopping for Stratocasters on Ebay and I borrowed a Gibson off a friend and though it sounded good. I am worried.
H is for THE HOLD STEADY. I am a chump for forgetting this from my albums of the year. A friend did me a CDR of their second album and what struck me as being a little too stadium rock and a little too cheesy and American to begin with quickly wormed its way to my heart and became the “CD most likely to be reached for”. I keep blathering on to Coogan about this and how much he’d like it and then we both found out that we once told the guitarist off like outraged parents for playing piano in our old house at five in the morning when he stayed with his old band. Oops.
I is for IAN SVENONIUS, who really likes this muuuu-sssssic.
J is for JAY: JAY HOWELL and NEGATRON, a wonderful book from the Sacramento-based artist. Includes the hits ‘Now, I Spank You’ and ‘Sheriff Horsey’s Got A Big One’. Available from Gringo.
To call Jay an American underground rock version of David Shrigley would be wrong. So I won’t. But if you look at his ‘This boner is sincere’ drawing in Punks Git Cut and don’t double over laughing with snot flying out of your face you have no sense of humour and no place in my life! And: JAY DEAN and OLLIE TOOGOOD at Dubrek Studios for their patience, humour and ideas in the recording studio which made what could have been a nightmare (recording an album) one of the most fun experiences of my life.
L is for LORDS SUPPORTING THE MAGIC BAND. A truly cosmic experience.
L is for LEO – both Ted and Chris. Ted for one of the most uplifting gigs of the year when he ruined his vocal chords and brought the house down at Sneinton School Hall and Chris for the better-late-than-never release of his first novel, White Pigeons and accompanying CD of the unreleased Lapse album which I think was my album of the year back in 2001.
M is for MEGADETH who simultaneously made me feel really young and really old at their Rock City show.
N is also for NOVEL, something I started writing and then got bored of. I need to motivate myself. The plot premise is a winner though. A supernatural story of suicide and scheming with an elasticated time frame.
N is also for NOTTINGHAM. 2005 was better than 2004 for me but in terms of how I feel about the city I live in; new depths have been excavated. I find I am increasingly busy and so the idea of over-analysis is not an option to me. Nottingham seems to have suddenly become packed out with people who over-analyse everything and I mean EVERYTHING. So the days of going out and having a good time are numbered. You might value the 3 hours on a Friday you’ve allocated to get hammered and forget about work etc and be with friends but you can bet someone will want to discuss the gig they saw in great detail or why Sub Pop isn’t a credible label anymore or why using an electric guitar tuning pedal is not ‘real’ or what the best Sonic Youth album is etc etc (all of those are genuine topics I’ve been party to heated discussions over). I blame art students and their complete lack of being able to grasp the difference between living conceptually and living to pay your rent. In 5 years they’ll have burnt out their creative urges by thinking about everything too much and I’ll be able to discuss my mortgage with them in Nationwide.
O is for OFFSPRING. Everyone is having them! Congratulations to Simon & Sarah, Chay & Jodie, Tom & Amy, Greg & Val.
P is for PROPERTY. I had a real pain-in-the-arse experience this year when I went to get a mortgage for the first time. Amazingly I managed to get one after much mathematics and bending rules only for my landlady to decide she didn’t want to sell after all. I was nearly a homeowner.
Q is for QUAGGA a recently extinct member of the horse family of Southern Africa. Q is also for QUADRIVIUM – a course consisting of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. Q is also for QOTSA – get it together Homme, how hard is it?
R is for JOHN REIS who was a guitar revolution to me this year when I saw Hot Snakes play a couple of times. The man is a downstroke riff machine. A god of the chug and the klaaang.
S is for DAVID SHRIGLEY. I am smitten by this man’s work, thanks to Lady Lucky Chua bringing me up to speed with what’s hip in the art world. Or at least what was hip 2 years ago. Shrigley frequently makes me piss my pants only to burst into tears one page later.
S is also for THE STOOGES who blew my mind at their Don’t Look Back performance of Funhouse. So much so that S is also for THE SNEINTON STOOGES, the Xmas Stooges tribute band I was involved in. I got to pull rock poses, wear a Nazi cap and shades, play through 2 amp stacks and use a wah wah and it was allowed because it wasn’t me it was Ron Asheton! Brilliant. It was one of the most fun things I have done, I’ll post some pictures when I get them as the costume Gaz (Iggy) had on was unbelievable.
T is for THIN LIZZY, a band I’ve always liked but never loved – until 2005. Watching Lizzy Live & Dangerous on video you really get the sense that this is a band that, at their peak, were indestructible. It’s amazing to think Brian Robertson was 18 when he joined Lizzy. I guess it explains a lot in a way. The Jailbreak album will always lift my spirits no matter what mood I am in.
U is for UNWOUND who should get their fucking shit together and sort it out.
V is for VALVE AMPS. 2005 was the year of the amp blow-up. Over and over and over again.
W is for the WHISTLING MOUNTAIN BEAVER’S REGGAE LOCKDOWN, a true life event that should really have come from Curb Your Enthusiasm. My friend The Whistling Mountain Beaver had been harbouring concerns that she was living 10 years in the past. This manifested itself in lots of chance meetings with Britpop B-listers. She also hates Reggae. She rang me early one Saturday morning to inform me she had woken up in a strange flat following a large night out. After much detective work she realised she was at the abode of Skin, former lead singer of Skunk Anansie. This is hilarious enough but on top of that she couldn’t actually get home because she was in Notting Hill and the carnival was on. She was literally TRAPPED IN THE PAST BY REGGAE.
X is for XMAS – not bad for once, very relaxing, got to hang out with Ross, Kai and Kevin lots. Also my Mum got me the Harry Smith Anthology, my girlfriend got me a Don Van Vliet exhibition book and my Dad got me a camera – RESULT!
Y is for NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE and specifically Don’t Cry No Tears which is such a brilliant Sunday morning song whatever the weather. Like Lizzy, Neil Young has been something of a revelation this year – a rediscovery from my existing record collection. I recommend Zuma for the recently broken-hearted. Uncle Neil’ll sort you out.
Z is for ZZZZZZZZZ which is something I got about 6 hours of in 2005. Hallucination through sleep deprivation is an interesting experience. I thought I was being attacked by very small people. It’s almost been something of a competition this year to see who is most tired:
“How are you?”
“I’m just really tired”
etc. My New Year’s Resolution is to go to bed earlier. And stop wanking.
Actually, they’re kind of connected.

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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