Return from Slovenia 

IMG_6039

Well hello there. I was just in Slovenia. It’s an underrated place, and I feel like the people there want to keep it that way. I asked a taxi driver, “What are the major problems in Slovenia?”

“There aren’t any,” he replied, “We have beautiful mountains, relaxed and safe cities, people enjoy themselves – you see them on restaurant balconies drinking their wine, and people have enough money for a house and to live on.”

Now how about that? When asking about problems of one’s home country one usually can spout a list a mile long. But people seem to be happy with their lot in Slovenia. The taxi driver told me, so it must be true.

I can vouch for Slovenia. It is a lovely place. I can especially vouch for the mountains. They’re much better than England’s anyway….

Now I’m back in London, and back to the music.

IMG_6044


Flunkies 

I’ve decided to start lists that comprise of things that have been embarrassing, disappointing, or unfulfilling in some way. Here’s the first.

The Top Five Most Disappointing Gigs I have Played in my Whole Entire Lifetime:

5. Hiva Oa, a band I fooled around with for about four months in 2010, was asked to play a gig at a run-down, trend-infested bar during the Edinburgh Festival. When we arrived two hours before our set, like a good little band, we were told that our slot had been “double”-booked with three other bands.
“We weren’t expecting all the bands to turn up, so we booked more bands than we needed,” explained the “organiser”.
We were told we had a ten minute set including setup. I think the audience consisted entirely of the other 97 frustrated bands that were playing that night. I expressed my feelings by playing the house piano with my floor tom.

[By the way, Hiva Oa are now based in Ireland, and are doing very well for themselves. I heartily encourage you to check them out]

4. I played a show in Tokyo at a British pub called The Dogs Bollocks. The name should have given it away, really. Usually audiences in Japan are eerily attentive, but this particular crowd was mostly rowdy foreigners and people who like rowdy foreigners. I think this kind of venue books bands not because they like music, but because they hate their clientele, and want them hurt their throats after talking over the music they’re not listening to. Mike, the guitarist, ended up reducing our set to three songs. Come to think of it, that would have gone down well at the Edinburgh Festival.

2. After playing a show at ReFuel in Dunedin, a drunken student came up to me.
“I didn’t see you play,” he said.
“That’s nice,” I replied.
“Can I have a go on your drums?”
No. Nobody can “have a go” on my drums. I think I have been asked four times. Once it was a seven year old. I said yes to her. I’m not an animal. So stop calling me that.
Oh, also it wasn’t a great gig.

3. Blind Atlas rehearses in Dalston, and we mostly play in that general area. We don’t tend to go that far anymore because we were offered a gig in Peckham and told the venue is “always rammed.” I’m not sure the booker used the word “rammed” actually, so it may not be right to “”, but you get the general idea. The idea was it was going to be busy, especially since it was a pub on a Friday night.
A couple of my friends from Peckham turned up. I think there were four people drinking at the bar next door. Oh, and one of our girlfriends turned up half way through. I guess rams need a lot of space. Very territorial.

1. One of my first, testosterone-filled bands played at a venue called The Crown in Dunedin, known for junkies, punkies, and flunkies.
The bassist’s girlfriend, who was also the guitarist’s mum was the only audience member. Oh and my friend Andrew, but he was on the door. Not even the junkies showed up.

And there we have it. I hope that lived up to your expectations.


Tap Water 

Pete and I were talking to Steve from Paper Dress Vintage at National Service‘s show the other day. I asked him about decent places in the East London to play a gig. He mentioned:

The Victoria
Sebright Arms
The Finsbury
Paper Dress (well, yeah)
and St Pancras Old Church

I like playing at these venues, and will gladly play them again. But this is East London, not Dunedin, New Zealand. There really should be a more than 5 decent small venues to that host great gigs.
There were no surprises in that bunch, except for St Pancras Old Church, which I’d never heard of. It looks nice, and I became all puppy dog excited, but Pete said that it’s prohibitively expensive put on a show there “unless we can guarantee we can pack it out”. I can’t guarantee my London kettle will sufficiently boil my London tap water.
Does anyone have any recommendations of places with lovely music-loving staff where one can see a super-fun-time-show?
Or are all of the musicians running away to Leicestershire?


Bandwagon 

I’ve been told that a lot of platforms are unsustainable and are going away.

You definitely have to use Twitter. But Twitter is losing money and will go bust soon. You have to upload your music to Soundcloud. But Soundcloud is dying and you’re going to lose all of your music (it’s true, it’s not true, it’s true, it’s not true). You definitely need 90 thousand followers on Facebook, but not me because I just deleted my all of my Facebooks and I feel so much better for it and wow I can finally breathe again you’ll find me in a mountain hut on Snow Mountain in Taiwan. Follow my mountain blog.

Is word of mouth the best way to get people to come to shows? Are Facebook and Twitter just distractions and addictions like alcohol is? Should we be calling people up on their landlines or sending minidiscs through the post?

Blind Atlas has a new website, by the way. Give me a call on my landline and let me know what you think.

Listening to: The Pink Panther Theme Song by Henry Mancini