Blog Archives

‘Humour is the politeness of despair’

So said the polymath Frenchman Boris Vian.

I say, where there is despair, there must also be music.

Gig Review: Little Penguin, Railway Hotel, Southend-on-Sea

I feel I am getting too old to go to gigs. The last mega one I went to was last year where I worshipped at the Temple of Teen Testosterone that is Chase & Status, albeit from the safer margins of the feral sweating moshpit. Apart from a modest, but enjoyable Peace Mix gig at Camden Roundhouse, in between I haven’t seen any live music at all since then.

I am becoming increasingly deaf in my *left ear and after loud music it hurts me more. The deafness has got to a point where I don’t like parties because I can’t hear people, and a lot of the time, in shops, I just give a vacant smile when the assistants ask me a question because it’s too annoying to keep guessing and rarely clarifies the question anyway. Yesterday I was asked something I couldn’t hear at all in a university refectory. I just smiled inanely and was given a sachet of Flora margerine. I deduced that the alternative must have been butter. That’s when deafness is highly annoying because I hate marge.

Anyway, this is all a circuitous way of announcing that last night I Went Out. It wasn’t for long, for the reasons given above and my encroaching general unsociable nature (a double genetic whammy of that is my excuse), but it was with a purpose in mind: to see Little Penguin’s live set at his album launch party. The album is called Chromosphere available here or for iPeeps here. I bought my copy last night. I am glad I did.

I love music, but I don’t find so much to love lately. I am falling back on old jazz pianists and soul singers (not literally) and that’s fine, but it comes as a shock when you realise you haven’t really been grabbed musically by anything new for over six months. Last night put paid to all that. I was more than grabbed, I was transported. I was viscerally and emotionally moved. I was given a bass, electro-dub, industrial-techno, ambient transfusion straight to the central nervous system and then on to my heart. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as the whole experience reverbed right up through my body in the way that I love and had almost forgotten – although forgotten is not quite the right verb. I don’t think I have quite experienced anything like last night. It was a complete sensation that hooked straight into the emotional life of your interior, good and bad. I have written before about the manipulation that lyricism can evoke; without that verbal interference everything in the Chromosphere is pure. It’s Wagner for those of us that can’t stand The Ring Cycle. It’s like lying naked in new snow, in bright sunlight, on a mountain so high that it is not clear whether you are still on earth or in outer space and no-one else except you can climb that high to find out. It is affirming and ineffable in equal measure. It is a journey and it is a truth.

Have I gone too far? Not nearly far enough. More please – although the majority of my listening will have to be done in my middle-aged car because with each little gig, I lose a little more hearing. In this case, it was totally worth it.

For the record, Track 5 Puce Moment is something rather incredible, although I felt like that about Track 4 Polaris last week. I think that’s the thing, this is music of and for the soul and it both resonates and reflects the self back from whatever space or place it came from.

*it’s my right ear – I never could tell the difference…

The middle-aged car with a Chromosphere soundtrack & a pimp tweak from Deviant Art

As much as

I have loved Tinie Tempah and Plan B this year (and I have) I have to admit this is probably one of my definitive feelgood tunes for 2010.

My other is even more shaming.

*If I had have had the proofreading gig the lyrics might have come up a bit different…