Friday, December 14, 2012

The difference between girls who wore leopard print then and wear leopard print now

Ayo, the yookay. I seriously taught Madness's manager how to spell saxophone tonight. Most of their fans think it's a trumpet anyway.

ANYWAY New Slang/Banquet is the greatest record store/ indie label/ show makers in the country and we're super stoked to announce our first show of 2013 with them.

I think it's our 7th New Slang? maybe 8th? 9 seems to high. unless you count shows at the Fighting Cocks and Banquets Big Day Out. We are so very, very old. Wevs, ignore the past, embrace the future:
lewes is hiding behind the red.

Support comes from Playlounge, who are sort of ok if you like that sort of thing i guess*, and Dragons That Make Love To Pandas,who we've never heard but feature Mark Rochman off of the internet.

TICKETS AND DETAILS HERE. They call us, cynical indie rock. I'm so stealing that.

*playlounge are fucking awesome.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

second city trauma zone

So it seems like some horrible tradition that every time we return to brummagem after an overseas adventure, there's another historic and awesome local venue shutting down/about to be shut down/scared of being shut down.

This time it's the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath. I've been watching and playing shows in that building since 1995. jesus. It's now one of the best stages and rooms in the city, with gigs run by a lovely bunch of people who work hard for it AND understand not only how important smaller venues like this are to our bedraggled local musical community, but to the massive global scene of established touring bands that can't guarantee 500 people to every show.

And now they're scared cos someone's trying to build residential nearby, and our shitty council has a reputation of favouring noise complaints over culture/music/scene/happiness of population.

This sucks for sure, i'm signing the petition and if you live in Bham and care about your community then you probably should too.


Why should we have to? Why should we consistently have to be so scared and wary. Fuck, I'd like to build a flat next to the hare. I'd like to build flats next to all my favourite venues so i have less distance to my own bed and can have bitchin afterparties in my kitchen.

Our council sold us out years ago when we got bullring. We just wanted a clean shopping centre, with lights that worked. We got (for like, 6 months, thanks spain) Europes Largest Shopping Hub. (The lights still flicker tho)

That was a massive investment, and to keep that reputation, those high end chain stores in business and paying the rent, Birmingham went all snog marry avoid, stripped the grime from its face and tried to fool the rest of the country into thinking it was some kind of culturally aware rennaisance town. The words "trendy" and "upwardly mobile" were probably used at demographic appropriation meetings.

We (as in the city council, me personally was mostly taking pills and listening to Chicago bands) tried to lure people from the rest of the country in with a succession of reasonable priced (for them LOL) high rise flats within stumbling distance of bullring; like a less dramatic (more brummy) version of the hacinda, the eastside punk scene was systematically replaced over a couple of years by a bunch of apartments with a picture of a guitar on their corporate branding.

Even the Rotunda, an epic start to finish story of civic fail and the most iconic piece of skyline we can claim, had false walls and extra toilets installed so customers people could live inside it.

What had been a derelict dingy mess full of discount stores and boarded up failures literally became the new city centre. The old city centre, Corporation Street and surroundings, became a derelict dingy mess full of discount stores and boarded up failures, but if yr one of Birminghams trendy and upwardly mobile new recruits, you can live in your flat, spend your money in the shiny bullring, and never even see the weird  grey deathsprawl that lies north of New St station.

Urgh and really there's no point me whining about it anymore. This is what cities do now. cheap space gets filled by people with no money> people with no money make the best art> cheap space gains reputation from art and becomes expensive space>artists move out

all our council did was encourage the shortening of that cycle cos they realised people with multiple credit cards were more likely to buy expensive sushi and seasonal fashion than a bunch of hobos and punks with embarrassing accents. and, y'know, CHEAP LAND.

this is how cities work now.

so i find petitions like this, no matter how needed, desperately embarrassing. a petition against a proposal for a possible flat to be filled with person or persons unknown that might be selfish idiots. After all those guys and girls have worked for, all the promotion and the hours and sheer love over money mindset that's meant the Hare now has a reputation outside of 0121, they don't even know the name of the idiot thats going to fuck them.

The selling point of city centre living is, city centre living. Like, you live amidst the buzz and excitement and clamour and noise. The arrogance of someone who would move into a flat on Westside and complain about the Rainbow, or opposite the Hare and complain about loud music, frankly, astounds me darling. These are the people we should be specifically targeting and petitioning. - WHY DID YOU MOVE HERE? WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, THINK YOU ARE AN IDIOT AND SHOULD MOVE SOMEWHERE MORE SUITABLE. WE WERE HERE FIRST.

Because the council's always fucked us over, and the worse the economy gets, the larger the deathsprawl, the less incentive they have to invest in art and culture and anything that may or may not see a return in 5/10 years time. They'll always side with the noise complaint idiots. It's not that they don't want us, they just need that idiots money cos we spend all ours on guitars and vodka and gig tickets. This is what our cities are now.

I think the flat will get built. Cos they always get built in the end, and i am a negative person.

but i do think there's good and reason in every human being ever, and i can't help notice how anonymous the constant barrage of threats and closures and license removals are. Has any of us, ever tried talking to any of them?

Lets ignore the cops and the council and everyone in the middle and invite ourselves over with a bottle.

We can be like, thanks for choosing to be part of this community, because cliquefuck or no, that's what they've done. They found us attractive and wanted to be part of it. We can explain that if it wasn't for the Hare and Hounds, or the Flapper, or the Rainbow (or whatever venues next), then Birmingham would be off map for 100s of touring bands around the world, and it's taken years of constant non profit work to build the reputation of these places, so please don't call the council if you get some teenage puke on your doorstep or some police sirens in your dreams because it's a really small price to pay for living in an active and thriving and exciting and connected and FUN part of town.

Wah wah. i know this is hella gay and emo, urgh sharing feelings, is totally not the birmingham way, but honestly, we played like 20 american quasi-legal basements/houses/apartments/warehouses last month, and they all exist because somewhere along the line, some people had conversations something like that one above.

In Chicago, the council only shuts them down when they turn into full on 3 story 5 days a week drug fuelled punk squats. In Durham, our hosts Joe and Ashlee live in this beautiful converted apartment next to the town hall. It was out of their price range, so they wrote to the land lady explaining they were both part of the art community that Durham sells/prides itself on, and it seemed unfair to price them out of their own city centre. In a dozen towns notable for nothing, kids asked their neighbours to be cool and let them have a few hours of noise each month, then they asked their friends to be cool and not act un-neighbourly.


bah humbug / happy christmas

seriously tho, go sign this now.