Gus plus

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Went to the Marlborough Theatre last night to see me old mate Gus 'Legendary bass player' Garside perform at a Spirit of Gravity gig. It'd already started promptly when I arrived, but I saw him play with a couple of laptop guys - Thor Magnusson and I think Dan Powell - a live processing of double bass. Gus performs regularly at Safehouse and in In Sand, but is currently the only musician on the planet not to have a MySpace site.

He was followed by a laptop guy called Chevron who was a bit relentless and gave me a headache. Top of the bill was Bela Emerson, who played a futuristic cello and twiddled and tapped loads of foot pedals, doing what Gus usually does without the laptop guys, sampling and looping I believe it's called. She also had a go on the musical saw and a guitar-sized cello type thing with lots of strings that may well have been a viol. Melita took some great snaps of her and put them on her blog. Rather good, albeit a bit repetitious, as you'd expect! No real ales, had to drink Fosters - yuk! (Could have had a Continental-style lager, but as they all taste like piss, I went for the cheapest.)

Curt's poem

As promised here's the poem Curtis wrote: Alan (Fred) Pipes A 60th birthday tribute Let me tell you about Alan, I mean, Fred- Fred is a journalist, Fred is a whiz. Fred hacks computers, Fred does 'the biz.' Fred's a celeb, A website enigma; Fred's got no problems, It's you with the stigma! Fred does good drawing, Fred snaps road signs, Fred colours in well, Never over the lines. Life and soul at the party, Fred is the best, Never the host, but always The guest. Fred likes Elvis, Fred is a jazzer; Fred likes Jo, Angie and Kazza. Fred likes his illustrators In the English tradition, Fred likes Grimwood's paint strokes, But prefers them done by Titian. Fred is unique, Biking 'urban' he has mastered, Fred does extreme sport, In cycle lanes when he is plastered! Fred does recycling, And Fred is green; Fred is strong, and Fred is lean. Fred is bald, He has no hair, Fred wears glasses, But he doesn't give a shit (He don't care). Because- Fred is loved, And he's our lover. Fred is unnoticed, incognito, Sort of undercover; Except when his cover's blown, Like his namesake, Pipes; So let me tell you a little bit more About our Fred, and what turns on His lights. A man sees a pretty girl, He wants to snog her; Fred sees a pretty girl, He wants to blog her. Just to put her on his laptop, Stroke the glowing mouse; Quaff a glass of red, And when the computer's fan starts whirring, It's time to think of bed. But first catches up on 'Corrers', Eastenders, Gets lathered up on weekly soaps, Pours nightly cocoa, warms his slippers, Reads an arty tome and soundly hopes That tomorrow will bring more Fortune and fame, A free bus-pass, caressing the best of What life has to hold, Not bad for a lad Who's still in short trousers, Even though he's just sixty years old! Curtis Tappenden, 25.03.07 Performed with a toast at Fred's Birthday Soiree, Dragonfly House, Brighton.


Bus Pass

Bus Pass
Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Bus Pass! Yes, I finally got mine, and many many thanks to everyone who came to help me celebrate the fact on Sunday. Thanks to Marc and Angie of The Dragonfly House for hosting the soiree at their gaff, to Palaeobus of Worthing for supplying the Magical Mystery Tour in former Southdown National BCD 802L, and Brian Grimwood of The Butchers of Blues for letting me hijack his gig at The Albert. Sorry if I appeared flustered at the start (people were queuing to get in!) and I hope you enjoyed Angie's spread! Prize for furthest travelled goes to No 1 son and heir Sam for flying down from Edinburgh. Second prize goes to Graham Clarke who drove down from Harrogate, via Guildford. Oldest partygoer was Doris, Sam's granny, who at 82 was jiving with the best of them. Finally, a big thank you to Curtis Tappenden for his tribute poem, which will be reproduced on this blog as soon as it is typed. A DVD of the gig will be available soon, and if you want the playlist for the bus (which included the excellent track 'Bus Pass' by Anal Beard) let me know.

Thank you for all your lovely cards and pressies - Paul Cemmick did me the most fantastic card, reproduced in two parts, here (click to enlarge). More pix on Flickr soon.


Pallant House

A strange coincidence! I took a day off yesterday to visit Pallant House in Chichester before the William Roberts exhibition expired. I took my bike on the train and was beginning to despair finding anywhere to park (I'd already been told off for cycling in a pedestrianised street!) when I came across a post set back enough not to be a danger to blind people. Inside I had a pleasant surprise - it was half-price on Tuesdays (I had meant to come last weekend when admission was free, but there was engineering works on the line)! So, I stopped off at the modern cafe (decorated with a Patrick Caulfield) for soup and a beer. Next door was an exhibition of 1940s prints for schools with a lovely LS Lowry (Punch and Judy) and an hilarious John Nash of farmers chasing rabbits so they could harvest the field. Upstairs was lots of Brit pop art (more Caulfield, Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton) and two temp exhibitions: Bomberg and his crew, with the giant red, white and blue Vorticist piece 'The mud bath', usually at the Tate, dominating. The other works were more Cézanne, and the Borough Group room included a very crusty Frank Auerbach. The three rooms of William Roberts were pure delight. He paints blobby Stanley Spencer type figures with detached limbs (ideal for animating) arranged geometrically right in your face all on the same plane. I loved the last picture of seagulls (I went through his show backwards) painted in the 1970s - a Vorticist to the end! A 'working class' eastender, he painted Brits at work and play, at the cinema, watching telly, playing football and sunbathing. I was just about to leave Pallant House when I noticed a dark doorway. It led into the old house, of creaky floors and subdued lighting. In this labyrinth were even more treasures. Everyone from 20th century British art was represented: Ravilious, Sickert, Burra, Gertler, you name it. Up the stairs (lined with Susie MacMurray's installation of mussel shells, each containing red velvet), I opened the door and was back in the modernist half by a huge rug by Langlands & Bell of an office block in Rio... Wonderful. Out in the sunshine, I had a quick tour round the cathedral (nice Graham Sutherland painting, some Roman mosaics and a patch of grass in the cloisters called Paradise). Then back on a train full of schoolkids to Brighton. My camera was still set to low-light gig photography, so the snaps I took were rubbish! The coincidence? In the evening, I went to the Sussex Arts Club to see my old friend Jackie Wills read poetry. It was jammed full for a poetry gig I thought, and hmmmph the Harvey's was off. I've never forgiven the Arts Club for emulsioning over the 1930s murals (a cloudy sky in the dome and galleons on the walls) from when it was the Motor Yacht Club (it still retains the ancient targetted urinals in the gents, however). Turned out this was an evening organised by Chichester University creative writing course. Despite being tantalisingly called Pie-Fi, there were no pies on sale! We were treated to music, performing arts X-factor style most of it (quite unlike a Pog or Quietcore gig), tho pleasant enough, intersperced by poets, notably by Jackie (who despite a cold held her own with new tales of adultery) and her friend Lorna Thorpe (Dancing to Motown). Jay Clifton read a story based on an Everly Brothers song title, with driving guitar accompaniment, of sex and scooters, and Northerner Dave Swann talked about his experiences working with prisoners. The songs that punctuated, tho, were a bit more Folsom State Prison than Nottingham gaol.


The Wraiths

The Wraiths
Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

A new venue! New to me, anyway. The West Hill Village Hall is tucked away behind a residential street, not far from Seven Dials. The lady organisers had decked out this delightful urban hall with tablecloths, tea and cakes (so had to pop out to the Co-op to get some BYO booze). They also have a nice line in posters.

Supporting acts were both miserablists, however, and had Lisa and Peter crying into their drinks. The Diamond Family Archive was beardy bloke being miserable on an electro-acoustic guitar and sampler, and Jason Pegg of Clearlake was being miserable on piano. We crave cheery chiaroscuro in the set list: light and shade, light and shade... Spirits were lifted by The Wraiths, a boy girl duo from Bristol who 'put old poems to music' according to their MySpace site. Bought their lovely CD 'This is Charing Cross' for 8 quid. Was drunk in charge of a bicycle on the way home.

Much the same serious crowd were at a Quietcore gig at the Freebutt last Tuesday, which was also mainly slow and miserablist, quite the opposite of a Pog gig. Using my Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction (he was the subject of one of the Catalyst Club talks last Thursday), I deduced that the opener was Andrew Clare from Pine Forest who played a single instrumental ('Tumbling through ne...') that reminds me of a free-form jazz classic I can't remember. He was followed by Davidd Winter singing self-depracating ditties to a guitar so out of tune it sounded like that of a 78rpm delta blues artiste. Peter Moyse was a joy to listen to, but Ginger Lee and her rendition of 'My old man' made it well worth the wait. Only four songs, but it was a free gig after all and the beer was cheap.

If you need cheering up after all this angst, the funniest TV programme at the moment has to be Aardman's Shaun the Sheep with its catchy signature tune, sung in his Northern club crooner voice by Vic Reeves. My favourite episode so far is the one about pizzas, featuring a red double decker bus. I love the farmer's voice and can understand every word he says!