Sounds in Space

Sounds in Space, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

After a pleasant afternoon sitting outside Capers on Gardner Street with a cappuccino and toasted teacake, popped along to the Jubilee Library to culture up with Sounds in Space, a performance by 20 musicians from CoMA Sussex plus New Music Brighton, part of Brighton Live. My old mate Gus Garside was on bass. It started with Library Hollers, for voice and books, but then went on to more musical pieces, albiet mostly improvised, with instruments dotted around the libary, up on the balcony and generally wandering about, for a truly quadrophenic experience – ending with everyone except the tuba and accordian players trooping outside to finish in the drizzle.


Jailbait, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I can't believe I only got to my first Brighton Live event last night after a whole week of free gigs! It was to see the Gretsch twangin' snare snappin' bass slappin' raw rockabilly rock'n'roll of Jailbait, fronted by Mark Stoller (of Dorset fame), at Audio (formerly The Escape Club, and before that The Royal Escape). And what a great set it was too. I'd earlier joined Critical Mass for a bike ride from the Level down to the Corn Exchange where I had to queue to get into the second-night PV (for the plebs) at the Brighton Art Fair. Have you ever had the nightmare that you drop a full glass of red wine at a PV? Well, that finally came true (sorry Kate!), tho no artwork was damaged in the attack! Bumped into lots of old friends and checked out lots of fine art, tho it was a bit of a rush to get round before chucking out time at 7.30pm. Today Gus Garside is among the 20 or so musicians performing at the Jubilee Library, the finale to Brighton Live. If I'd found one of their wonderful orange brochures sooner (only saw my first one last night at Audio) I wouldn't have missed Jacob's Stories, The Poppycocks, etc etc. Ah well.


Otway World Tour cancelled

Well, the John Otway World Tour 2006, late October, early November, has now been cancelled for the second time! Otway was still £100,000 down and Air Tahiti from whom he was hiring the plane were mucking him about. Will I ever get around the world? The Cavern gig in Liverpool on 27 October is still on, so see you there!


The Pipettes

The Pipettes, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

With a name like The Pipettes how could I not like them! At the Corn Exchange last night they were more than ably supported by The Hot Puppies, a band with a sexy gorgeous singer and some theramin action. The sound at that barn of a place was however appalling. So was the beer! I'd met Carol Seatory at the Waggon and Horses for a pint of Harvey's before the gig, while we watched the youngsters queue to get in. Doors opened theoretically at 7pm, but we had to stand around (no chairs!) until 8.30 when the support came on. The room was thinly populated at first by girls in polka-dot dresses and lots of young lads with multi-purpose phones, some tiny kids with their mothers, a few dykes dressed as boys (in school uniforms) and the odd old snogging swinging couple (not you Jo and Laurence!). The Pipettes came on at 9.30 sharp with a Ronettes type drum beat and went through their album 'We are The Pipettes'. I'm not that familiar with their repertoire, but I believe they are all originals, albiet with remnants of 'Teenage kicks' and 'Oh Mickey (you're so fine)' rattling in my head during 'Pull shapes'. The Shangri-Las they are not, but with their sychronised dance routines and catchy tunes like 'Judy', 'Your kisses are wasted on me' and 'I Like a Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)' how can they fail? Love to see them with a big Phil Spector band with brass and string sections. Shame the monitors hid their sparkly shoes. And I don't know which one of the three I fancy most...


Bicycle Ballet

Bicycle Ballet, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Car free day! Shame nobody told the motorists. Those two drivers who crashed head-on outside the Phoenix gallery would have been a lot safer on bikes! I spotted the mayhem as I was on my way to watch the Bicycle Ballet, which was actually quite entertaining (apart from the smelly coloured smoke!) from my high-level vantage point. It was pissing down earlier on, but the sun came out just in time. Spotted Nick Sayers amongst the 'dancers' - with clothes on! Off to see The Pipettes tonight at the Corn Exchange.


Up North

Up North, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Just back from the North of England - land of cheap beer, black puddings and black peas. I went up for a family wedding (congrats Lee and Kasia!) but stayed on for the LMS weekend at the East Lancs Railway. I was hoping to see Princess Elizabeth, but alas the excursion it was on wasn't cancelled. I did see the Jub Leander, 4F 44422 and Jinty 47324. Overheard a couple of old trainspotters talking about seeing 'Semis' (why?) at Preston and I'd forgotten that's what we called the Duchesses, the most beautiful locos ever built!

On the Monday afternoon I visited Bury art gallery, where I was appalled to hear that the council was planning to sell off the family silver - their Lowry - to cover some debts! The gallery staff were resigned to it happening - it's already been removed from view.

Also visited Lois in the Peak District and had an exciting Tuesday afternoon in Speedwell Cavern, on a boat, 200m underground, in an old hand-hewn lead mine! It felt like a Disneyland ride but every so often I had to remind myself it was for real! We were in a metal boat floating on icy water in a tiny underground cavern! The hard hat earned its keep, scouser guide Paul kept up the banter and Lois's two-year old son Joe loved it! The Peak District is awsomely gorgeous!

Wednesday I travelled on the Wirral Line via Liverpool to see the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight. It was closed last time I tried to visit but this time it was open and what a joy it is, crammed with top-quality Pre-Raphaelite paintings and other Victorian delights, including lots of marble naked ladies! On Thursday I took a day-saver to Rochdale to visit their gallery. All Northern towns have collections of Victorian art - that's where the money was back then. It's a lovely museum, and unlike Bury is proud of its industrial heritage, with fascinating exhibits on King Cotton and mining. Loved the architects' drawings of mills and their model villages. But why oh why do museums have to give themselves silly 'modern' names like Touchstones? Sounds like a themed young-persons lager pub! Nice to see the cafe serving Fairtrade food tho. Talking of food, I managed a 60p cup of black peas at Ramsbottom station on Saturday and took in the world black pudding throwing championships, also in Rammy (or Tupp's Arse as we used to call it), on Sunday. The idea was to knock off giant Yorkshire puddings from top of some scaffolding - a photo on Flickr. Hope the food wasn't just thrown away at the end of the festivities.