The Punk, Post-Punk, Gothy Girl is Resurrected.

Gaol Breaker

I’ve bunked off from the gaol. It’s been some 6 weeks or so since I have blogged. I have spent the last 5 weeks crawling out of a weird, wet, dank abyss called Recovery From Major Medical. I have survived a surgery that some don’t, I was lucky I was very fit going in. I am forced off work and we don’t have temp disability here. Why, I feel like I did back in the early 1980s, no hope, no future. I’m alive. Appropriately listening to The Specials ‘Ghost Town’, because the Tibetan Tube Throat singing with accordion/box music at the cafe was really grating on my nerves. Now we’re on to The Fall, ‘Totally Wired. I’m waking up. I pay my taxes, and no real help for me in medical. Oh, yeah, I live in America, the corporate health empire of the world. If you are lucky and live in Canada, UK, Ireland,or the continental EU and have social medicine. Fight to keep it. Here you spend your whole recovery period fending off calls from hospitals while the insurance companies duke it out. So now I am listening to Talking Heads ‘Once in A Lifetime’, wondering where this life is going. And now we segway into ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ by The Beat. Yeah, girls, makeup after a medical just doesn’t want to work. Actually not wanting to work for a while now. Argh. So not going there with the Albatros Eyebrows so fashionable lately. Again, unless you can pull off a good Siouxsie brow, just keep it simple.

This was a life changing event for me, but I am trying to crawl out of it. Vaughn likened it to having a Scottish Basket Hilt or Japanese Katana Sword run through me and twisting the ribs apart. Now I have to heal from it. I managed to get my Sandman tee shirt on, black skirt, black jacket, boots and thigh high socks on. I look like a Gothic wreck. Good. My red curls got unfurled from the stupid braids of sickness.  I drove for the first time, really slow, no maniacal California driving. Was very good and did not play tunes in car, needed to focus. Speed limit, don’t attract trouble. Made it to the cafe.

Ah, ‘Fade to Grey’ by Visage. Ooo, baby I feel even better already. I have been listening to a mix of digital and records when I can get to the turntable. Unfortunately the non-working thing has curtailed any record buying. But I am selling things off on eBay hoping I can maybe afford the 40th Anniversary Reissues of the Bauhaus Catalog on colored vinyl starting next month, check out Peter Murphy’s site for details. I’m working on the second cup of decaf coffee. I made it to my cafe I usually write in. I really just wanted to feel somewhat myself.

Bauhaus to Reissue 6 Records on Colored Vinyl for 40th Anniversary 

Record Store Physio

One of the tests of where I am truly at with the body has been a visit to two local record shops, Music Millennium and Everyday Music. One I actually found a vinyl copy of The Waterboys ‘An Appointment with Mr. Yeats’, which unless you are on the East Coast or L.A. aren’t likely to find. It was nice to hear some Yeats set to music and try to get back to listening to records. At EDM, it was more of an exercise to see how long I could stand up, can I flip record bin dividers, and even better spell Siouxsie right so I could look for the 12 inch? I kid you not, the really bad side effect of being a Ginge and anesthesia, is it may take weeks to get most of your spelling back. It’s scientific. Yeah, so flipping the records in the bin is a great way to tell how you are doing when recovering.

I’m in the Hawthorne. There are two record shops, Exiled and Jackpot. Okay, no money, but the singles bin can be a great find for super cheap. Hmmm. Oooo, playing ‘Generals and Majors’ by XTC now, that’s the marching orders, right. Also, there is a convo going on in the cafe I have been trying to drown out, because I don’t want to know. Time for ‘Sorry for Laughing’ by Josef K right now, turn that volume up.

Alternative/Punk/Post-Punk/ Group 

I’m dying here in Portland. Great music when you get to it, if we can get them to come. Got tickets for PiL and Echo and the Bunnymen in the next months. But really dying for some Alternative Culture. Yeah, you can still be Alternative if you are over 30, get over it.

I lived in San Francisco too long. It’s hard meeting people when they know you’re from another state. Portland may be the Weird Capital, but they can take a while to warm up to you. And finding anyone into my musical tastes near mine has been impossible. I was so desperate I looked on social networking sites. Nada. So, in my insane creativity and having to think about it, I decided I would try an experiment and create a group and see if anyone shows up. Insane, I know. Probably no one will come or be interested, but I have to get into the Phoenix frame of mind, that bird with singed wings is gonna fly. So, I have to craftily word an invitation. What insanity can I brew from this crazy idea, or will it be typical and no one will show?

Sad about this world that we have gotten so distracted we have to meet in pre-fabricated ways like this. It used to be that you met like minds at the record shop. Here if you try to talk to someone about an exciting find they think you should be sent to the looney. Funny thing, you are already there. Isn’t that what it’s about?

The Real McKenzies

If I make it through this week of killer Phisio (yeah actually they have me going to medical Physio), Vaughn has said we will attempt to see a great Canadian/Scots Punk band called The Real McKenzies I have been listening to for the past few years. If I can show that I am doing better. I need to see if I can manage to get through a show, even if it means being taped to the pillar and doing Pathetic Pogo. I may do a chair Skank if I can find one. But my minder is telling me it depends on how I do this week. So bunking off and driving and making it back in one piece will count I hope.

Oh, and for those of you in the US (West Coast), and don’t know yer ancient history, Gaol here refers to jail. It’s how it was spelt in dem olden days.

We’ll leave this on Elvis Costello’s, ‘I Can’t Stand up For Falling Down’. But really, ending on XTC’s ‘Dear God’, because our world is just as bad as it was 40 years back and what have we learned in this time? Share the music, share the lyrics, wether it’s old school or new groups, get the music out there. It’s the only way to save this race. Hope you enjoyed the convoluted playlist.

Why Didn’t They Play My Song? And What About Their Politics?

There seems to be a growing trend in concert goers that THINK they own the show. The experience is their personal right to have the perfect show and evening. The band is playing for them alone. The culture of selfies and preferred venue placement at the front of the stage has ruined many shows. I don’t go to these kind of shows, where you pay extra to be closer to the band. I think a show should be a moving and free thing, where everyone has the chance to get close to the stage. I also don’t think the audience is that entitled. It’s a mutual trust relationship between you and the band, a reciprocation of band and audience. There is respect involved.

What Happened to MY Song?

We have all been going to gigs for years now. You know the ritual. For weeks before the show, you play all the bands albums and 12 inch singles. You remember and practice all the lyrics so that when your song is played, you can belt it, baby.

The concert is going great, the band are mostly playing new stuff you may not know so well. They have been touring for 3 months in the US and Canada, 20 cities. You sadly are on the West Coast and one of the last places the band is playing. Sometimes that means the band is pretty exhausted by the time they get to your town.

The concert is nearly over. They have played a few of their hits, but not really that anthem you have been waiting for. Then it’s over, and they didn’t play it. You leave, people are grumbling about it. “They didn’t play our song.” Then take to Twitter for a shit parade on how bad it was that their song did not get played.

Back when I was a kid and going to punk shows, the audience would start throwing things. And sometimes the band was the one that started throwing things, because the audience was rude. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t enjoy that experience, didn’t at the time. I just wanted to dance. I certainly don’t want it happening now.

Stop whining. The band has had to play 20 cities and sometimes 2 shows per city, maybe 3. That could be 40+ shows. Plus any appearances on TV and in Record shops, and any festival they may have added on to. They have played their whole catalog of whatever music is playable to an audience. What does that mean? Not every song translates well to various venues, or especially outdoor concerts. Sound is always key, and depending on the place it’s being played in and the sound quality of that hall or venue, and equipment, some songs will not translate well. The music may become distorted, if really audible at all. An audience of 20k outdoors is no small feat. Certain songs just won’t do well for an outdoor gig.

After the band has played a few cities, they also need to change up their sets. Some bands will stick to sets and make small changes, the musicians really prefer to keep to a set. Others are notorious for changing the set to fit the venue or area, which can be good for you. In the US that translates to from state to state, East Coast, West Coast, the tastes of the audience are reflective of the place they are in. They are still fans of the band, but it’s a local custom to react differently than say in San Francisco. If the band is traveling through Europe, and you are traveling and lucky enough to catch them there, they may have experience with a German audience and how they like their concerts, and in Spain or France, it’s a whole different thing with their cultures. There is a lot to consider. Just enjoy the show and experience.

Music and Politics

Some bands are flexible, some are not. Irish Punk or hard metal groups will probably not have patience for this: You getting up to the stage and requesting songs, like they are a wedding DJ. I have seen this at shows and just cringe. Some bands are good about how they handle it. You may get a serious confrontation if you get obnoxious about the music you want to hear. Bands still can throw things at audiences just as audiences sometime throw things at bands. There is always someone who tries this, and probably your ridiculous friend. Stop them.

I have seen some interesting ways song requests or political conflicts were handled by bands. Some very well done, diplomatic, and some right back in the persons face. There is also the possibility of band members talking about politics, something they may support as a band, or talking to the crowd about something that happened locally. I have heard some idiot in the crowd get confrontational with them. Bad idea. There have been shows that have been cancelled half way through because someone got into it with the band, and the band members decided to stop the show. And that was really not fair to the band and the other 1000 or more people there besides that one person.

Kindness Does Matter

Please be a responsible fan and an adult. Yes, I was sad I didn’t get to hear my song too, but there was probably a good reason for it, they were just tired of it after 40 shows. You would probably hate doing it that many times if you were playing it. So, play it on the way back home. Send them a responsible Tweet, “Great show, had hoped to hear (blank), but you guys are probably tired of it by now. But I really like your lyrics for that one.” Be good about it. Don’t make the band not want to come back. And don’t bash on Twitter about it. And if you are really, really nice about it, they may Tweet you back.