Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Cold Turkey.

I feel like shit. I have changed to a new pain killing regime as the dyhydrocodeine I was taking wasn't really working that well. I was in pain most of the time and the drugs was offering about an hour a day relief. So at my trip to the pain clinic afforded me with a new drug to try. I am now on Gabapentin and it is too early to say if they are working properly yet. They are making my head fuzzy and upsetting my stomach (don't ask!!) and I've got to build up to taking four a day over the next week or so.

The problem is coming off the 90mg's of dyhydrocodeine twice a day. They are slow release so leave your body nicely topped up with codeine. Codeine is a treatment for, how can I put this delicately, 'the runs' (as my 91 year-old Nan would say). Take it away and there is trouble. I have also experienced the sweats and shivers (at the same time) and muscle contrations that have made me feel very weird indeed. All this was because I cut down from one tablet a day to two. I'm not stupid enough to stop altogether.

I went to the Doctor yesterday (who is not particularly sympathetic to the pain control cause) and he reluctantly gave me some 60mg dyhydrocodeine so that the withdrawal isn't so bad. And so far (I've only taken one) it hasn't been quite so bad, although I'm am fast approaching another pill. The Doctor gave me a lecture that I should be taking these tablets together and if I took them for a long period I would be sitting on a 'timebomb', completely failing to understand, despite my telling him at least three times in my five-minute interview that that was precisely why I had come to see him. He obviuosly thinks cold turkey is the way to go but I have to work and sitting at my desk shaking and running to the loo every ten minutes is not an option. I'm sure it's not that good for you either.

So I'm exspecting to feel rubbish for the next week or so, at least until I have come off the old drug and started with the new one anyway. One good thing is that I feel so rubbish that the pain doesn't seem to be an issue.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Half a gig for the price of two!

It has been a weird old week gig wise at Chez Marmite. I had two gigs to look forward to this time last week. I was due to see Amusement Parks On Fire on Tuesday and was to follow it up by seeing Billy Bragg on Thursday at an event called Arms Aloft at Acton Town Hall in West London.

On Tuesday I travelled up to Hoxton with my mate Jim to see APOF. I had seen half a set by them at Reading a couple of years back and had bought both there excellent albums so I was really looking forward to seeing them again. Unfortunately it didn't go exactly to plan. We arrived at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in plenty of time but it was clear that the venue were very disorganised when it came to setting the band equipment up. APOF were due to hit the stage at 10 o'clock giving us a shot at seeing a really good set. However, because of a lot of fannying around they didn't come on until 10:30. As we had to leave at 11 for our train we only saw 30 minutes of the set. This is a shame because what we did see was very good indeed. The sound quality as superb and you could really hear the different layers of sound that APOF build up. They are part 'Post-Rock' part 'Shoegazey' and should really be checked out. I hope to see a full set by them soon. Third time lucky.

This was not the end of my 'failed to see what I paid for' week though. On Saturday my best friend from school rang and said that good mate of his had a ticket going spare for Billy Bragg at Acton Town Hall. It was a gig to commemorate the last time Joe Strummer, erstwhile lead singer of The Clash, performed on stage in London. The original gig was five years ago and was a benefit for the Fire Brigades Union. Hugh and I arrived at the venue at about 7:15, just as the doors opened and stood around chatting and having a beer. We went into the hall to watch the support band Take The Fifth a pretty decent Clash covers band and were really looking forward to seeing Billy. However, all was not well.

The support went off at about 9:30 and unfortunately we were joined by a second support band (I won't go into just how into themselves they were but it wasn't a pretty sight). As they didn't come on until 10 o'clock we started to get worried. I asked the bloke running the bar when Bragg was on and he said that he should be on at 11 o'clock!! This was not good news as my last train was at 11:18 and Hugh had a taxi booked back to darkest Buckinghamshire for 11:00. I confirmed the start time with a young woman behind the tee-shirt stall. We weren't not happy! The promoter had not made any mention of such a late finish. If they had we wouldn't have gone. it is impossible to get back from London to the 'Burbs' by public transport that late at night so we wasted £17.50 to see a covers band. Gigs in London never finish after 11:00 unless particularly specified and there was no excuse for this.

I'm sure that we weren't the only ones caught out on Thursday and it's a shame because there was no need for the gig to go on so late. I'm still paying for the travelling in extra amounts of pain which would have been worth it had I actually seen something. I hope I'll be luckier next time.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


I read a letter in Word Magazine written by my mate Planet Mondo about a gig he went to in Cambridge featuring the wonderful John Martyn. All through the gig someone sitting behind him sang at the top of his voice out of tune and with no regard to people actually trying to enjoy the gig.

As a regular gig goer I am becoming more and more frustrated at this kind of thing. My gripe is not with singing however but people who go to gigs and then talk all the way through it. It is known by my mates and me as Londonitus and it is becoming worse and worse. It usually happens at a gig featuring a band that is being talked about and is therefore just the type of gig to be seen at. It is quite evident that some people do not really have any interest in the bands they have gone to see. Whether these are guestlisters who work in PR or the 'industry' I have no idea but I don't think they can be fans of the band.

One case in point took place a while ago now at the ICA in London when I went to see Mogwai. If you are unfamiliar with their work, Mogwai have very loud parts to their tracks and some quiet bits too. The chatter during the quiet bits of this gig (which was in a much smaller venue than Mogwai usually play in thus upping the trendiness quota) was unbelievable. What was more unbelievable was that when the band cranked the volume up the people talking raised their voices so they could be heard!! The arrogance of this is astounding. It was if the band were interrupting their conversation with their music. This isn't an isolated incident either. I have actually heard someone talking at a gig and say "I love this track" and then continue to talk all the way through it!

To attend a gig now and not here chatting all the way through is now so rare my mates and I comment on it. It shouldn't be like this of course and I really wish venues would police things better. The Luminaire in London tells punters to be quiet and as a result your enjoyment of the music is not spoilt by selfish poseurs.

I would therefore appreciate anyone who wishes to have a chit-chat during a gig to do one of two things. Either don't bother coming or, if you really must been 'seen', go and talk in the bar. I'm off to see Amusement Parks On Fire next week in ultra-trendy Hoxton and I fear the worst. I only hope the place will be full of real fans who want to hear them play.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Banksy Unmasked?

Banksy is a bit of enigma. His art has been gracing the walls of buildings, roads, bus shelters and art galleries for many years but his identity is a closely guarded secret. He has rarely been interviewed by the media even when he has been he has never been filmed or photographed. To start with this secrecy was a necessity as Banksy is somewhat of a guerrilla artist. His pieces tend to 'appear' over night and are often highly satirical in nature. They are large graffiti style paintings and are quite brilliant. One of my favourites is a painting of The Mona Lisa wearing headphones and carrying a rocket launcher.

His pictures are now highly sought after and have fetched very good prices at auction (not the ones on the side of buildings obviously). Ten of his works recently sold for half a million quid and his fans include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Recently however a picture has appeared that could well be Banksy at work. It was taken in Bethnal Green in London and shows a man, pot of yellow paint in hand, drawing yellow lines on a wall. Later the picture at the top of this post was completed. Has Banksy finally been spotted? Maybe but I doubt he'll be inviting the worlds media for a press conference. Part of his appeal is his invisibility. The fact that he can suddenly produce fantastic pieces of art and nobody sees him do it is what makes him so exciting as an artist. He is much more legit now (he usually gets commissioned to paint rather than just producing graffiti) but he is still the man when it comes to street art in this country.

See more of Banksy here:

Banksy Online

Ally's Flickr Page

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