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Thursday, 21 July 2011

HOW TO BECOME A GREAT SINGLE PARENT





People say you drink to forget, does it work? I don't know, in some ways maybe yes. I drank and forgot my name, I drank and forgot my address I drank and forgot to blow out the aromatic candles I bought, in my life defining attempt at change. But the drinking never seemed to remove the empty feeling that comes with accepting that the ladies gone. Don't worry she's not dead, she's just stepped over to the right, just that little bit out of reach. A lot of people say “you should go for a run, it will make you feel better”. So I drank a lot and went for a run, these people should explain that the two things are not designed to be done in tandem. They should also point out that when you go for a run you need to leave your house. I woke up hours later muscles and limbs bruised and swollen almost three metres from the sofa where I had begun. Cursing my Converse for they really are not an adequate running shoe. I finished the wine I had left in my glass and thought...”something needs to change”.
Though there is an argument that being a good single parent means making sure you have angled the cigarette smoke away from your childs face, there are a couple more things you can do. That is if you want to become a GREAT single parent. It's often tough to commit to such aspirations but come on. You've hit an all time low. If your going to fail and disappoint yourself, why not get it all done in one fell swoop? The first step to becoming a GREAT single parent involves going to a reputable bookshop and buying the book “Teach Yourself How To Be a Great Single Parent”. This book is the most suitable thing in the shop for telling you what you may need to know on this subject. Ideally take your child to the bookshop with you, this way you are inviting strangers into your world just by holding the book with the ridiculously indiscreet title. At least if anyone hot is in the shop they will understand your available. One of the downsides of being a single parent is that your child usually gives the impression that you are far from single. You don't need to feel guilty about seeking attention, of course you are still distraught over your break up, it's just nice to get some attention. There' a a six in ten chance if anyone did speak to you, you'd probably fart then cry and that would be that. Without your child you may look like a weirdo reading up on the subject so your prepared in case it happens in the future. That's a weird thing to prepare for. As I say there are few opportunities as a single parent to really flaunt yourself, so don't waste this opportunity. Make sure everyone you want to know, knows you are definitely buying that book.
Hopefully you haven't had to wait an hour for the most passable member of staff to be available to serve you. Place your book on the counter and sigh. If your lucky she may say something like “I'm sorry” and if your lucky you will say “don't be, it's a positive beginning rather than a painful end”. You will hopefully have read this on page four of the book when you were flicking through earlier. Leave with your head held high believing you've walked out with her saying to herself “I've just met the next Erin Brokavich”. Don't think about the fact that you took no contact details. Now when you get home stick the kid in front of the TV and begin improving yourself. Now most people know that there is nothing in these books that you don't already know. Also everyone knows that they will hate to identify with anything which is written for mass appeal. Who wants to realise that their depressing break up is the same as a million other break ups. No thanks. Open the book read the words you like...Denial, control,Anger...all great words. The book is definitley not a waste of money. Just read the words in the order you choose and take from it what you want to understand. Remember you're free now, the book is not the boss of you. Occasionally you may read a sentence with the words in the order they were intended to be read in. You may find yourself relating to what it says and weeping uncontrollably. If you find this happens a lot you may need to go back and pick up the sister book titled, Teach Yourself How To Cope With The Book Teach Yourself How To Be A Great Single Parent. When purchasing this one you may look a little mentally unstable. Also you don't want that staff lady to think bad of you, so at least throw in a text book on contaminated water ( I'm sure that is something that exists). If that girl knows her Erin Brokavich this will no end seal the deal and your wussy book will slip into the bag unnoticed. She may write her number on your arm, try not to walk out in a fart trail.

Part two will follow when I read the rest of the book...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Another Life Lesson Learnt Too late



The other day I was receiving important instructions before I began an important job doing the night shift serving Jaeger bombs to thirsty people. While receiving these instructions the instructor stopped and said "why do you smell funny?" This worried me, it's difficult to answer. I said "What can you smell?" She said "fish". Now I've recently become a single and broken embittered man and my brain isn't working as well as it should, regardless it was instantly clear to me that smelling like fish was not a proven good first impression. I had arrived at my work which was very important having eaten a piece of Haddock but in this moment it felt it would be terrible to admit that. Instead I chose to look confused, and plead total confusion as to why I should have this stench attached to me. She replied ambivalently with "Oh I thought maybe you had come from a barbecue". It suddenly dawned on me it would be Ok to admit to having eaten. It would definitely beat being the guy who smells fishy for no reason. I thought about this all the way through my important job satisfying the people, I didn't let it distract me as I am very good at my important job. But I learnt a lesson that honesty is the best policy on some occasions.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dating With Sainsbury's


Hi everybody this is Carrie Bradshaw you know the one from Sex And The City, I drink cocktails with my sassy pals and talk about people's penises. Hang on is that a word? What's the plural for Penis is it Peni? I could google it but what's the point in knowing everything? Call me bitter but I kind of miss the old days when the option of finding out was a bit more difficult and I didn't have to be exposed for being too lazy to type into a search box. Shit I've given myself away it's not Carrie Bradshaw it's me Babak Ganjei. I'm just a guy with a laptop and the Sex And The City theme tune on loop for inspiration. So anyway I got to thinking if the only place I ever go is the Supermarket what can I do to make myself look interesting to the opposite sex (you notice I used the word “interesting” as opposed to attractive. I'm just happy to be of interest). So let me try and impart you with some useful advice to help you in the art of potentially picking up a suitor while getting some food (this is the small print just to warn you nothing that follows has so far led to anything you could call success).You're already fighting a losing battle with the shopping basket under your arm, it's not exactly manly, unless of course if your comfortable in your own skin, in which case everything you do looks self assured and simple and congratulations to you for that.
The first thing you do before you go to Sainsbury's is bath. You're a single parent now(you might not be) and you're not going to go anywhere else(this only applies if your a single parent), so if this is the only place someone is going to see you, you may as well look clean. The supermarket is a great place to pretend you are in total control of your life. Each item can speak volumes about your character which is why it's important to only buy things you don't want to eat. It's probably a good idea to spend as much time as possible in the fruit sections. If you buy lots of fruits people will presume you have a blender and that you are going to make smoothies. How else are you going to get through all that fruit? It can do you no harm to be regarded as a smoothie maker, it's the sign of an aspirational healthy focused mind. Make sure your vegetables are bright and vibrant and you have a good range of colour. People may not instantly appreciate it but it indicates a strong artistic eye, and a sense of style and that shouldn't be taken for granted. Now make sure your noticed looking at the herbs. Not the small little bags of herbs which are already more herbs than you need but the annoying to carry plants in a pot. This will show a commitment to real cooking, and not just microwaving which is another form of cooking. Make sure you get your face in their and smell the thing so you have an inkling what it is you are buying. Once you have your herb pot and your kilos of fruits and veg make sure you parade yourself around a little so people appreciate what it is you have done.
Now it's important you know exactly what you need to be seen buying from this point on and do it in a linear fashion. No turning back on yourself. If you have realised you forgot the capers silently curse to yourself and accept capers are now for another time. You don't want to be seen traipsing around dazed and confused in the store. You are in control. Pick up a baguette as opposed to regular sliced bread. It will instantly give the impression of a more open minded well travelled being. It also has a more powerful suggestive shape. However when picking out the baguette don't attach it to your crotch and pretend it's your penis. If you can't resist the joke, it's best to avoid making eye contact with anybody and giving them a thumbs up. Connoisseurs of this move will tell you it's much funnier with something of colour anyway, an Aubergine, or a courgette, for ultimate subtlety perhaps a fine green bean. Now storm on and pick out some soft cheese, it doesn't matter what as long as it is not Brie that is too obvious, perhaps something with a vein in it.
Dips are important, they suggest a more relaxed approach to feeding yourself, a bit more tapas and a little less Steak House. However what dip can be tricky and needs to be chosen with care. Houmous has been reclaimed by the Graphic Designer market and you don't really want to go there. The Cheese and Chive one offers no real sophistication, and Guacamole suggests you might be having a frat party. I would suggest you go for a small jar of black olive tapenade. People don't seem to know what it is, it comes in a glass jar and is small. For some reason all these things are a positive. Perhaps have a wander into the pet food section and pick out a dog toy, it won't hurt to be regarded as someone who may potentially have a puppy. You can go for a cat toy if you prefer, but dogs seem to be more affectionate and you want to create an image in people's minds of you sitting with your puppy licking your face as you are trying to dip a celery stick into a little black jar while trying to read the new Jonathan Franzan novel. Now i'm not a lady so I can't vouch for them but I'm presuming this image is a step in the right direction for you. Although it is worth remembering that if you do achieve any success with this operation make sure you hide the collection of dog toys you have amassed on previous trips. You will look weird enough having bought just the one when it is clear you don't actually have a dog.
When you get to the refrigerated sections it is important not to get caught out checking your hairline at the mirrored bits on the end. It's probably in the same position as when you left the house fifteen minutes ago. However if you find you have in fact gone back a couple of inches since you set off drop the basket and run across the road, there is a Herbal Inn situated there waiting for this exact moment of crisis. Though seriously, as I said before this rarely happens. Probably nine out of ten times you will get back from the supermarket looking the same as you did when you left the house. The supermarket is not your bathroom which is the ideal place to lock away your vanity, so DO NOT treat it as one. This is also why you should move as quickly as possible through the toiletries aisle. Make sure you look like you know exactly what you want, throw it in your basket and move on. Looking decisive will suggest you have a thoroughly well planned hygiene programme. Spending ten minutes comparing zesty lime shower gel over relaxing eucalyptus ones suggests your bathing is reserved for special occasions.You don't need any of them just one giant white bar of soap, now head straight to the alcohol. This should really be your last stop. Ok so you don't have anything of note to eat in your basket but that's ok your here to make a statement. Now disregard beer from the off, we are only really interested in picking out wine, you will earn respect with your knowledge of grapes . The safest way to look like you know what you are doing is to make sure you are caught picking up the most expensive bottle on the shelf. Before you get to the checkout you can replace it with the wine in the mega deal. No one will remember the label, but they will remember your dedication to good wine and willingness to invest. In no way get tempted into going for the multi buy deal. Being a wino is a turn off, you can pick some more up on the way home and there is no point ruining all your good work so far to save a few pounds.
You should now have a basket laden with all the things people want to see from you, if you have done this correctly the basket will be too heavy to carry and you are now kicking it towards the check out. Take a glance at whose behind you in the que before admitting to having a loyalty card. Sometimes it's good to look disloyal. Pay and leave with your head held up. Once home unpack the bags if you want. Pace around until you've hit an appropriate time to open the wine. Ten paces around should do it. Think back about all your good work, how you went out there and gave a good account of yourself and that over an accumulated period this will pay off dividends. Once the wine is drank celebrate by remembering it's wednesday and you can still get a two for one deal on eighteen inch “Meat Packer” pizzas from the local pizza delivery. It's ok if no one can see you it never really happened.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

An Essay about The Flaming Lips to plug a gig by Wet Paint( no it isn't a smart tactic)

Last year I was very excited to see the reformed Pavement play at Brixton Academy, The last time I'd seen them was about ten years before. It was at the same venue, it turned out to be their last gig but I think I was busy trying to light a cigarette when the final show announcement took place, and just presumed the power of the song “Here” was in itself enough to have the 4,000 crowd all leave in a mournful state. I read about the split four days later in the NME and thought “hang on I was there”. So this time it was nice to see them and end it knowing exactly what was going on. However as much fun as it was to be transported to my youth and reconnect with that feeling when the songs were new there was no real excitement because the story of that band and those songs had already been told. I think that is my problem with a lot of these nostalgic gigs, I understand that for a younger generation it may offer an opportunity to witness something that wasn't considered possible, but if you were there the first time perhaps you should be grateful you witnessed that history when it was being made and move on. I'm writing this of course because I've booked a gig on the night Of the Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Deerhoof show, which I feel I should be at and with your help I'm trying to convince myself it will be rubbish. “OOOh you've booked a show?” I hear you ask, well “yes” is the answer. I run a label with two friends called Records Records Records and we turn one in July and we have this show coming up...


Wet Paint

Underground Railroad

Wonderswan

Friday 1st July

Shacklewell Arms, 71 shacklewell Lane


Good I'm glad I got that in this is essentially a giant plug for this show and for a second there I couldn't work out how to shoehorn it in. Now back to the memories...

The first time I saw The Flaming lips was at the first Bowlie Weekender. It was the Belle and Sebastien one. I wasn't a massive fan of Belle and Sebastien though at the time my older wiser girlfriend was, and some of their songs had and still have a massive significance for me. Not so much however to prevent me from wanting to punch someone in the face after three days of duffle coats and lunch boxes,watching the Divine Comedy. Now if you know me I'm not a violent person, but I think I'd hit my twee quota for one weekend. Thank God for the respite that was Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion and Sleater Kinney, and of course The Flaming Lips.

I'd discovered the band a year or so before. I'd bought their album Clouds Taste Metallic on cd from Bournemouth's HMV at an import price of fifteen pounds. In those days it cost a lot to import things to Bournemouth. Hopefully they've sorted that out. I hadn't heard it, I didn't have a clue what to expect, but the name sounded cool and the band on the cover looked cool and I had a feeling it was underground enough to look cool in front of the girl behind the counter who I had a feeling was friends of a girl I thought I fancied. I bought it very much hoping that knowledge of the purchase would spread and cool points would be scored. This is very much my pulling style, planting a seed sitting back and waiting for nothing to happen. Almost a hundred percent of the time it doesn't work, but that's advice for a different article.

The Bowlie weekender was part of the tour that was being used to preview material from The Soft Bulletin. Perhaps two hundred people had squeezed into the smallest room at Camber Sands to see them. It was confusing the first twenty minutes seemed to comprise of playing bits of songs synching up visuals on a small projector, lining up different puppets, and playing songs from start to finish, only to be asked by Wayne Coyne to pretend none of that had been seen. It turned out that was the soundcheck.They reappeared five minutes later to open the set with Race For The Prize, the song they had only just left the stage having played. Yet somehow the 32” projector screen giant gong and props and the sheer enthusiasm on stage created something magical as if it hadn't been seen or done before. This was the beginning of what would become the show that is the greatest birthday party for everyone ever.

Me and my friend Lewis left that tiny room in awe, or at least I was in awe of what a band

could do, It may have at the time looked a bit like a Harry Hill stage show but a little fake blood a ballad sung by a puppet of a nun and a giant gong seemed to add such a wild new dynamic to a live show that made the Ac Acoustics look limp and pedestrian. I have to say as an album the crazy guitars of Clouds Taste Metallic win me over everytime but the ambition or heartfelt intent of those lo-fi special effects shows will stick around forever.


(perhaps this ending is a bit twee but I have a pub date now)

I don't mind if this gets printed leave this in...I have nothing to hide


See you all tomorrow x

A Piece for ...The Line Of Best Fit about Records Records Records records

RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS TURNS ONE


Go back twelve months. Can you remember who was the hot band of the time? Was everyone going crazy for the Drums Or was it the Virgins? Or was it that everyone was listening to Witchhouse? I don't know I'm 32 now, I don't know if it's good for me to really become passionate about Witchhouse anyways. It seemed to involve standing around with your arms out in a jesus pose and being topless, I can't be topless anymore not even with myself, and I definetly can't combine that with having my arms opened wide for as mentioned I'm 32 and when your 32 you need a drink and when your 32 and you drink you can't pretend it never happened, it just sits in the tank until the day you choose to run marathons.Oh I bought the Girls album I liked that are they still a band?

I've already veered wildly off the point, people think I'm always really negative but actions speak louder than words and this is an article about starting a label in this day and age. So yeah you can scrap negative with the word... stupid. No come on I just can't help myself with that stuff. In September I joined my friends who had earlier in the summer started their own label “Records Records Records records”. Not to be mistaken with Josh Homme's “Records Records records” which is a bit catchier and easier to say. We are one years old this month and still surviving in our madcap shambolic way. It began when Olli recorded some songs with his friend and old Olli n Clive bandmate William and together they had made an album under the artist moniker Round Ron Virgin. They had a revolutionary selling style. They gave the album away for free and also charged for it. They sold one copy which if there was any justice in the world would have been the same fate that would have hit Radioheads “In Rainbows”. Not because it's a bad album or that Radiohead are a bad band, but why should they find a way of being able to find a way of succeeding in the art of giving things away?

My reasoning initially for joining the label was because Olli convinced me he would put out my comic book Hilarious Consequences, I had resisted for a while not because I didn't trust him but because I didn't want him to waste his money. When I realised I couldn't find someone I didn't like to waste their money I decided I'd at least to play my part. We did ok with the book made a load of cash on the launch night. Then I got burgled and all the money was gone. This was the first harsh lesson learnt in the music business. Don't keep all your earnings in cash in a little grey box on the top of a bookshelf. You may think “what an idiot, he just said where he keeps his money” well I don't do that anymore do I?... I keep it in my shoes now instead. When you see me strutting up and down Kingsland Road in some platform boots, you will know we are thriving with success. I put together a compilation of songs in the back of the book as a soundtrack. This was primarily an excuse to get some bands I thought deserved some attention that tiny bit that it would maybe bring. It's mainly a compilation of friends or bands we've been playing with over the years who generally have kept on making wonderful music despite the greater difficulties in getting the recognition it deserves. It included music from Round Ron Virgin, Singing Adams, Big Deal my band Wet Paint my old friend Matt Tong, Dignan Porch and Wonderswan. Putting it together made me realise why I wanted to get involved with running a label, and that was to get this music heard.

It's difficult to sustain a bands lifetime these days. Everyone's in a band and so everyone has a record or an image to sell, and if your lucky you might be the ones taken on the crest of a wave. But it seems to be a fleeting success as the next hot act is right behind waiting to shift those all important first week sales. My band WetPaint has been fortunate to have missed all these waves which is just as well, none of us can surf and two can barely swim. But this means we have slowly gone about making our records and learning what we do without the disappointment of knowing your relevance is fading away. I look forward to turning fifty having a terrible attitude and playing first on to the next Brother or are they called Viva brother now? Is that how it works? Do we need to change our name with each single release until one breaks from the off? Has everybody lost faith in growing and building a career slowly? It's as if the big labels lose all faith in their artists within those first weeks of introducing their acts. They drop their promises and budgets as soon as they realise the NME cover wasn't enough to convince the masses. They add Viva to their name and hope no one can remember what happened before. It's all a bit depressing and shows up a complete lack of confidence in the business and a complete lack of faith in the art. I mean yeah everyone knows you can't sell a cd these days but if your gonna make one then do it in style. Nobody wants to buy a record from a band they feel is gonna disappear without a trace.

Ok there was no reason to mention my band Wet Paint other than to make sure you know I know what I'm talking about because I'm travelling up and down the country playing to a variety of upholstered chairs and barstools and have been doing so for years. I'm not bitter, or even negative, people always think i'm being negative but actions speak louder than words. I read a Stephen Malkmus interview once which struck a chord because within his non committal banter he said they had chosen to be “lifers” with the rock n roll lifestyle. This is in some way what I think we are trying to do hold onto an ideology that may be outdated. We press records and cd's and take them to record shops because we like record shops and don't really want that interaction to be made redundant. We pick artists who will hopefully develop and make more and more interesting music be it with us or with a more established label. We've lasted a year and we've done it not once with any clue how as a business we would ever personally see any profit in it. It's a stressful labour of love. It's not like the seventies anymore when there was only one band in the seventies, I think they were called Genesis, and you could only buy their music on vinyl. And if you didn't buy it you would have to sit in silence, stroking your corduroy wallpaper. They didn't have viva Brother to contend with.