Thursday, 17 June 2010

The World Cup, Part 2

Thursday, 17 June 2010
SCENE: A KITCHEN. EARLY APRIL.

A mobile phone beeps on a worktop. A man, who is sporting an unsightly beard, picks it up. A woman with very lovely hair enters.

Man: Claire’s just sent you a picture of her new kitten on your phone.
Woman: Oh! Lovely. Er... what are you looking at my texts for?
Man: I wasn’t – on your new phone it flashes up on the screen when you get a picture message.
Woman: Oh? (picks up phone) Ah... lovely. Isn’t she cute?



SCENE: BATHROOM. AN EARLY JUNE EVENING.
A woman sits on the bathroom floor. In front of her is a cupboard, the door of which is open.  She is surrounded by jars and bottles of varying levels of emptiness – bubble bath, shaving foam, moisturiser. She is looking in a zippered bag, filled with makeup. She extracts a lipstick from the bag, removes the lid, and twists the tube.

W: “Scarlet Fever.”

The woman gathers her hair (which is breathtakingly lovely) into a loose knot at the base of her neck. She chuckles.



SCENE: LIVING ROOM. AN EARLY JUNE EVENING.
A man is sitting on a sofa. He is overdue a shave. On the television in the corner there is football. It is the World Cup.

M: (calling upstairs) I said I’ll come up in a minute, I just want to watch the rest of this.

A woman descends the stairs.

W: I thought of a way to make you look away from the football.

The man looks up. He looks back at the television. He looks at the woman again. He stands up.

M: Well, those are certainly... patriotic.
W: Thank you.
M: How did you... er... get the St George’s Cross so straight?  I mean, despite the... er... curvature?
W: It was a tad tricky, to be sure. Especially in the mirror.  You know, backwards and all.

The man cocks his head to one side.
M:  Would have been easier if we were Japanese, I suppose.
W:  Indeed.
M: Well, credit where credit’s due. It is very nice work. EN-GER-LAND.
W: I’m glad you like them.

The man climbs the stairs.
W: Where are you going?
M: To get my phone – I’ve got to get a picture of them.
W: NOT ON YOUR LIFE.
M: Come on.
W: Up yours.
M: Well it’s not as if I’m going to show it to anybody.
W: Not for a million quid.

A few moments pass.
M: From the neck down?
W: Well hurry up then, I’m getting cold.



SCENE: BEDROOM. A JUNE EVENING.
A woman and a man are both looking at a mobile phone. The woman is agitated, yet her hair is inexplicably attractive. The man sports a beard.

Woman: You’re taking the piss!
Man: I’m telling you, I sent it!
W: Well, I haven’t received it. Are you sure you sent it to me?
M: (giggling, progresses to laughter) I hope I sent it to you – who’s name is next to yours in my contacts list?
W: Oh, my holy god. Get. Your. Phone. CHECK IT! CHECK IT NOW!

The man leaves the room. After a while, he returns with another mobile phone.

M: It’s definitely gone. Look, it’s in my ‘sent’ messages.
The woman investigates the phone.  After a moment she appears relieved.
W: (laughing) What a relief!
M: It’ll probably come through later. The second half’s about to start -- shall I open another bottle?
W: Mmm.



SCENE: AN OFFICE. MID JUNE. FIVE DAYS LATER.
Two men and two women are sitting around a table in a room. They are having a business meeting. They are co-workers. One of the women has excellent hair. In the centre of the table are various pieces of paper, and a mobile phone.

The mobile phone vibrates – a picture message has arrived.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The World Cup

Monday, 14 June 2010
SCENE: BEDROOM
A voluptuous woman lounges on a bed. She is very tired, but she has great hair.

A bearded man is next to her.

On the television in the corner is football, with 30 minutes on the clock. It is the World Cup. The contented rhythmic breathing of the couple’s children, who are – at length - finally asleep is, tragically, lost beneath the unrelenting drone of tens of thousands of vuvuzelas.

Woman: Aren’t you going in the bath?
Man: In a minute.

Woman checks weather report on iPhone.

W: When are you going in the bath?
M: After this.
W: But there’s an hour left. You said ‘in a minute.’
M: Mmm.

The woman gets up.

M: Where you going?
W: In the bath.

SCENE: BATHROOM
The woman runs the bath. She catches her reflection in the mirrored medicine cabinet. She cannot hear any vuvuzelas. She smiles -- has great hair. The woman gets in the bath. She applies a face pack. She shaves: legs, armpits. She reclines. She exhales,slowly.

The man enters; sheepish. He is still bearded. He has a newspaper tucked beneath his arm.

W: I should have married for money.
M: Oh?
W: Would that I lived in a house in which I could have a bath without someone coming in to shite while I’m exfoliating.
M: Hard luck, that.
W: Indeed. Do an interim flush as soon as it hits the water, if you love me at all.

A few moments pass.

W: Wash my back?
M: But I’ll miss the football.
W: Hard luck, that.

The woman sits forward. She hands the man a small, orange jar.

M: What the...? Why am I standing in sand?
W: It is Papaya Body Scrub. Now get a handful and scrub my back with it.
M: But I don’t like this stuff. It feels wrong. And also, I’m missing the football.
W: Do it, already.

The woman smiles, slyly. The man leaves, muttering. The woman reclines. She exhales, slowly. Some time passes.  The man with the beard enters; animated.
M: Michael Schumacher is ‘The Stig’!!
W: I know.
M: Oh? I’ll leave you to it, then.
W: (through gritted teeth) Spiffing.

The woman reclines, eyes closed. A few brief moments lapse. The man (bearded) enters again.
M: Australia’s had a man sent off; the Germans are scoring goals all over the place!!
W: Mmm.

The man leaves the room.

SCENE: BEDROOM
The television still displays the football match. The woman dresses.
W: Well, I am as soft as soft can be.
M: Mmm.

The woman retrieves a notebook from a drawer and climbs up onto the bed, next to the man.
The final whistle blows. The man touches the woman’s leg.

M: Are you Professor Softison, who has just recently graduated with Soft Honours from McSoftie University in Softville, and who, being so gifted in the art of Softitiousness now has jam-packed lectures, standing room only, filled with others who can only aspire to such dizzying heights of softillism?

The man’s hand moves up the woman’s leg.

W: Bugger off. I’m writing something.

FIN







Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rage Against the Machine, Finsbury Park, London

Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Doubtless you will all remember the Battle of the Christmas Number One from last year and how BLOODY BRILLIANT it was when Rage Against the Machine knocked the X Factor off the top after a Facebook campaign against Simon Cowell and his glorified Karaoke contest? And how Rage ATM are so rad that they promised to play a free gig in the UK as a thank you?

That gig was Sunday.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO BABY! Now, you know I always write gig reviews, and you might not be impressed that I always seem to rave and praise... but seriously? Can I just say? Future Gig Reviewing MammyP: THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED. Raised, girlfriend.

Jase and me (stupidly) decided it would be a good idea to drive to London. “Drive to London? From Newcastle?” I hear you saying. That’s a six hour drive, music lovers. But it’s all good. For a couple of seasoned gig-goers like Jase and me? Him and me BLEED rock 'n roll - it was no problem.

After an hour or so of central London-related driving hilarity (for the sake of our marriage we are going to have to cave and buy a SatNav) we find the hotel and catch the Tube to Finsbury Park and WHA-HOO what an atmosphere already. Fairground rides! Clean port-a-poos! Yummy food stands! No queues at the bar! And best of all... forty thousand other Renegades of Funk almost spiritually unified against a music industry that, at best is saturated with barely listenable one-hit-wonders and at worst tinny teeny flimsy manufactured pop fluff.

Three support bands were on the same bill – Gallows kicked off the proceedings with a fiery 35 minute punk eruption that got us all in the mood to jump up and down and drink more lager, especially when there were a couple of Clash and Sex Pistols covers up for the offing. I took a little video of them covering The Clash "I Fought the Law". They were great – even at times, I have to say, endearing to my punky funky heart, especially when their frontman instructed the crowd to make a Wall of Death, barking at them, “And if you dunno wot a Wall o’ Deff is, you shouldn’ FACKING be ‘ere, roight?!”



Roots Manuva came on next – sorry Mr Manuva... I missed your set because I was having a little stroll around Finsbury Park. We had more lager, some yummy vegetarian spring rolls from the Noodle Bar, queued for the loos for a while, generally scammed the scene, had more lager, and more spring rolls... you understand, right? Because THOSE SPRING ROLLS WERE REALLY, REALLY DELICIOUS.

Then came Gogol Bordello. They got the crowd going but I’m not going to say much about them; they just weren’t my scene. Most of the time they were on the stage I was embroiled in a lively -- yet somewhat tipsy -- discussion with my husband surrounding how they went on tour with Madonna that time. Don’t ask me what conclusions we drew, I couldn’t tell you. BUT! We did have more lager. And spring rolls. GOD DAMN, they were tasty.

Then for the main event. Now, when Rage first announced they were going to play a free gig, I lost. My. Mind! So, so, so excited, saying to Jase, “We GOTTA get tickets, I’ve never seen them before! We GOTTA GET TICKETTTSSSS!!!!!” and actually? I have seen them before. Lollapalooza 1993. And that right there is evidence if you ever wanted it that working on your reserve set of brain cells at the age of 34? Not so much with the smart stuff.

Anyway – seventeen years is a long time, but I tell you... jumping around in the grass to the soundtrack of my formative years... you can’t put a price on that, my friend. I had a BLAST. They came on stage following an introduction in the form of a parody cartoon Simon Cowell, mock-lamenting how he “didn’t get to manage their money... er, um, I mean, their MUSIC,” (or similar). Click here to watch the whole thing. Oh, how we laughed!

Highlights for me? Well, every track they played off their first record but most notably Bombtrack and Know Your Enemy... and Bullet in the Head rocked my tits off. Here’s some more video. Sorry it’s so bouncy-up-and-down-ey, but what can I say? A girl’s gotta rock.


Now, listen carefully: I can’t finish this review properly unless I mention the following indisputable fact – TOM MORELLO IS A GUITAR GOD. Okay – I know I said guitar, but for him? It’s not just a guitar. It’s a percussion instrument, it’s a set of decks, it’s like an amplified extension of himself. When I wasn’t jumping nine feet off the ground and screeching lyrics like a crazy lady, I was totally in awe of him. At one point he yanked the lead out of his guitar and knocked out some beats with it on the palm of his hand, all heard thud-thumpin’ through the PA as if he was hammering on a couple of distortion-drenched timpani. A maestro. And when married to Zack de la Rocha’s poignant vocals and layered between Timmy C’s dazzlingly skilful pulsing bass and Brad Wilk’s barrelling, driving percussion? Is there any audible ecstasy superior to it? Not for me, rock fans. Not for me.


They encored with none other than Killing in the Name – of course – and Jase and me both emphatically agreed we felt like we’d been part of something extraordinary. Worth the seemingly endless driving around in the same triangle trying to find the hotel. Worth the extortionate cost of the petrol we needed for the 12 hour round trip drive. Worth the hangover! It was a free gig – but I’d have paid a month’s salary.


The rumour is that Rage are thinking of recording another album now. Please, please, please let it be true! So I say to Tom, Zack, Timmy and Brad, and the : thank you, thank you, a gazillion times thank you for such an outstanding gig. My star rating? A GALAXY.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

My Latest Earworm

Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Just a quickie tonight to share this cool summer tune with you -- this has been in my head ever since it appeared on the brilliant CD I got in the post from a totally rockin' chick in Portland, Oregon as part of the International Mix Tape Swap.

If you're not signed up already, then you should be!  The deal is:  you make a CD full of your favourite tracks, and make a cool sleeve for it with some liner notes, and you send it to a stranger.  Then a different stranger sends you one.  How frickin' cool is that?!

Anyway -- now I can't get this out of my head.  Me and Ben had it on repeat in the car on Sunday, as we drove around the city looking for hanging basket liners for the garden.  I know, I know.  WE ARE SO ROCK AND ROLL.