Saturday 28 October 2017


Just in case you missed it up top, this is not a proper review of ‘Blade Runner 2049’ in any shape or form. It’s more a rumination upon two questions, one exceedingly fannish (the great Deckard debate) and the other a bone of some contention in the political blogsphere. (Well, us SJWs have to get our virtue signalling in somehow.) Hopefully needless to say, but tackling both takes us into PLOT SPOILER territory…

Token review bit… Yes, it is a good film. In some ways it bears the same relationship to the original as ‘2046’ did to to ‘In the Mood For Love’, for all that those films are very different. It works as the difficult B-side, digging deeper into questions. Despite being long (over 160 minutes) it’s very well paced and does (kind of) work as a detective story.

And despite looking stunning, it doesn’t just look stunning. The imagery often is imagery, rather than an excuse for another CGI-fest. For example, some have claimed that the statues found in abandoned Vegas are a copy of ’Planet of the Apes’. But that misses the point that the shock of seeing the Statue of Liberty sticking up out of the sand is that one day it meant something, and part and parcel of that shock is it being an original. Whereas the Vegas statues were built to be copies, or – to use a very Dickian word – simulcara.

To start on the Deckard debate, we do need to look back at the original. Most people bothering to read this will know this next para already, but…

This sequel was designed so it might fit both originals. The original original, the one first released, turns out to be in essence a love story. Hero Rick Deckard is able to escape into the wild green yonder with his girlfriend Rachael. Who’s a Replicant (a synthetic imitation human), but then love conquers all. Even, it would seem, plot. 

But in the bleaker director’s cut escape is not an option, those luring adverts for the off-world colonies only taunt, and rather than Rachael getting to live as a human there’s the hint Deckard might be a Replicant himself. (There’s now multiple versions, but that’s essentially the division they come down to.)

Original director Ridley Scott has consistently insisted that original original was only ever a studio imposition, that the second version was always his intention. Then more recently he added that Deckard definitely was a Replicant. Now one of these things is more useful than the other. (In fact when he first said that I confess to shouting at the telly, an activity I normally reserve for Tory MPs and anyone associated with ‘Top Gear’.)

In fact, I suspect he’d been on the convention circuit too long and was merely repeating back to fans what they want to hear. Because fans, forever keen to believe they possess secret knowledge denied to norms, had long insisted this. And the problem with it is that it treats Deckard’s status as something of an Easter egg. Each scene, each line of dialogue should be scoured obsessively for clues, with little consideration of how the answer would affect the film overall. But let’s assume that in art, if the creators want you to know something they’re probably going to tell you. So by the same token, if they keep things ambiguous that was most likely a decision too.

‘Blade Runner’ starts with humans being humans and Replicants Replicants, only to progressively muddy the waters. Tyrell, director of the evil Corporation who makes the Replicants proudly insists "more human than human" is our motto. While Gaff’s parting shot to Deckard (in Scott’s version the last line), speaking of Rachael, is “It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?”

Because we don’t. Humans live in a society which dehumanises, which effectively forces them to treat each other as though they’re not human. Deckard wants no part in the Blade Runner business but is forced back in. While at the same time Tyrell is more right than he thinks. The Replicants, the supposed non-humans, are becoming human. Chiefly evidenced in their final battle where Batty, who has been painted throughout as the villain and been shown to kill remorselessly, chooses instead to save Deckard’s life. 

Scott has said of this: “It was an endorsement in a way, that the character is almost more human than human, in that he can demonstrate a very human quality at a time when the roles are reversed and Deckard may have been delighted to blow his head off. But Roy [Batty] takes the humane route.” 

The line turns out to be blurred, the street two-way. So the sequel wisely retains these ambiguities, in fact throws up ambiguities of it’s own. However, does it really match both originals? It’s world is clearly not that verdant green space which the original Deckard and Rachael run off into. It’s a barren wasteland, where only maggots grow and wood is valued like a precious metal. It’s also true that K, the new protagonist is effectively Deckard’s mirror image, a Replicant who starts to suspect he might be human.

Yet, at least as far as the Deckard = Replicant option goes, it firmly follows the original. In fact, those not clued up on these things might miss entirely any suggestion otherwise.

Some point out Deckard doesn’t have Replicant abilities, by which they mostly mean super strength. But there’s no reason why Replicants have to be built to be super-strong, any more than every processing device is built to have bags of RAM. Plus if the plan is to conceal his true nature from him, granting him super-strength might be something of a giveaway. 

It makes more sense to concentrate on his ageing. Short of having Harrison Ford frozen since 1982 on the off-chance of a sequel, they are of course stuck with an older Deckard. In the original we saw with Batty how a Replicant expires. And he doesn’t die like a human, of old age, only faster. He more shuts down. But then like Rachael Deckard would be a special, new kind of Replicant with handwaves allowed. So they could either skirt around that issue, or hint that because of reasons someone might have designed Replicants to mimic human ageing.

As it is, by reintroducing Rachael, they virtually do the opposite. Because this is a rebuilt Rachael, as she was, as only a machine can be rebuilt, the way it was, in contrast to the ageing Deckard. It’s true that Wallace (the wicked capitalist this time) suggests that he might have been set up to get it on with Rachael. But humans can be set up for dates too.

A recurring theme of the film is data, fitting both the techno-future setting and a detective story organised around the search for clues. But the theme pivots to emphasise the unreliability of data; pages ripped from record books, glitches in VR displays, memories which may not be yours.

And that unreliability is associated with the Replicant resistance (more of which anon), particularly with the Blackout – the great data wipe they engineer. But this is itself very much associated with their becoming human. Part of K’s journey of self-actualisation is his developing the ability to lie, when he tells his boss Rachael’s child’s been “taken care of”.

But mostly this ambiguity is associated with Deckard. He’s still alive when he shouldn’t be, living in the abandoned hotel with the glitchy VR. And we’re told quite specifically it was him who covered his child’s tracks.

Which makes his and Rachael’s child a hybrid child, in a plot line oddly mirroring ‘Battlestar Galactica’ a union between human and Replicant. The Replicant resistance don’t want to replace humans so much as insist on their parity, a para-military civil rights movement. So such a unifying child becomes the solution to the whole problem. It might “break the world,” or it could break down “the wall that separates kind”.

K’s accessing the memory of the hidden wooden horse is what leads him on the self-actualisation path, even accessing a name. Ana tells him “someone lived this”, withholding the rather vital information it was her. (The memory is also the microcosm of her life. She has to abandon the horse to preserve it, just as her father has to abandon her to save her.) Yet Mariette later recognises the horse and underground leader Freysa tells him "we all thought we were the child."

Which suggests that Ana slips this memory into all Replicant craniums, as a kind of equivalent to the wake-up code in ‘Humans’. (This works better symbolically. All Replicants can’t be expected to all take the journey to the orphanage, and if they did and hopefully hunted for the horse they’d now find it gone.) When K dies, she experiences from her cell the snow that falls on him, also suggesting some sort of psychic link.

So in brief the answer to the question “is Deckard a Replicant?” is the same as it would be to “does he have African ancestry?” We don’t care, and we’re fighting for a world where that won’t matter to anyone.

For a brief summary of the claim the film has a “women problem”, there’s 
Anna Smith’s piece in the Guardian. Let’s start with Joi, a hologram designed to stop live-alone loners like K getting the blues. (An extension of female-gendered operating systems already in existence, like Siri.) Except, much like K and his orders, Joi overcomes her programming and the two fall in love.

Or does she? Look at little harder, and it’s as deliberately ambiguous as the Deckard debate. There’s a theory that kept apes taught human language were really mimicking rather than absorbing what they were told, fulfilling their role as best they could so as to appease the fruit providers. Similarly K wants not just the off-the-shelf sex toy but for Joi to assume sentience and embark on a genuine relationship with him. She, built to oblige, does just that.

At Forbes, Paul Tassi develops the simulacrum argument. To which we might add Mariette’s line to Joi: “I've been inside you. There's not as much there as you think.”

But how does this relate to the women problem in wider popular culture? At most, by foregrounding it. Which can be a valuable thing to do, but only if you then go on to deal with it. Foregrounding alone achieves little. (Supposing in the original Rachael had a line of dialogue where she said “here I was thinking I was a sentient being who made my own decisions. Whereas as it turns out all I wanted was a he-man to come along, slam me against a wall and tell me how I feel. I am so much better now. Let’s run away together so you can dominate me some more.” That would improve things?)

K does become Joe after a fashion, achieving a form of self-actualisation, even if it doesn’t happen according to the script in his head. Joi, whichever way you read her, is there to encourage this process before nobly sacrificing herself for him in classic girlfriend sidekick mode. And beside K’s antagonist, Luv, Joi is the chief female character in the film. She’s the only female character on the version of the poster above.

Unfortunately, Anna Smith then goes on to generalise from her example, saying “Mariette shows initial promise as a strong character who can give as good as she gets, but she is also a sex worker who is literally used as a puppet.”

Uh, no. Not what happens at all. From her first scene it’s made clear she’s posing as a sex worker to gain info on K. She slips a tracker on him which she then uses to save his life and take him to the Replicant resistance. Who are led by a woman – Freysa. And this is the real point where the critique gets derailed. K’s investigations cause him to believe Rachael’s child is a boy, who he then assumes to be himself. Yet he’s completely wrong-ended when Freysa tells him it’s really a girl.

So when Smith writes “it is worth thinking about whether this is the future we want for women in film”, she’s talking about a future where a woman has a central role. This is the very opposite trajectory to the boy power fantasy of for example Neo in ‘The Matrix’, where the regular guy gets to discover he’s “the one”, a rank which comes complete with a sexy girlfriend sidekick. 

Freysa suggests to K he take out the captured Deckard before he can have intel extracted from him, though it’s clear he won’t be coming back from such a mission himself. K then encounters another Joi copy on a bridge, who is back to default sex-toy mode purring come-ons. Bridges, as a symbol in films, are often associated with suicide. This is the point where he bottoms out, gives up entirely on ever becoming Joe, and is liberated to embark on his suicide mission. He’s only a cog. But he can still choose which wheel to fit his cog into.

(I couldn’t quite tell whether K was there to kind of blindside us as we led into the real story, and the whole film was to set up a sequel around the actual antagonism of Ana and Wallace. But the film fared poorly domestically, which I guess strikes that option out and so we’ll never know.)

But from here things get more interesting. Wallace’s plot is to gain for himself the secret of Replicant reproduction. His ostensible reason for this, “I can only make so many”, is the very reverse of sense. Surely the very point of making machines to populate the planets was that human reproduction is so time-consuming and imprecise? So let’s look for symbolic sense. We see a Replicant created the way a foal is born. Though, displeased at his barren handiwork, he dispatches her. But what if he, the future capitalist who has conquered human society so completely he effectively lords it, is now turning his expansionist eye on the world of nature? (A regular SF trope in recent years. Weyland in ‘Prometheus’ wanted to conquer death.)

What Wallace wants to do is seize the ‘miracle’ of birth from women. That might even explain another strange plot flaw. Everyone’s so excited the child is born while not considering that her mother died in labour, which suggests the ‘miracle’ isn’t quite down pat yet. But what if Wallace’s plan is effectively to make women redundant, to do away with them? If so, what more natural figure to lead the resistance against him than a woman?

Which probably takes us into a pointed debate. Is this a dystopian future where male-dominated science and technology are in effect trying not just to colonise women’s bodies but usurp them, and women are fighting back? Or is it another form of gender essentialism, where women’s main role in society is held to be inherently due to their biology? Whether the film has a “women problem” may be down to the form of feminism you adhere to.

Coming soon! Back with the gig-going adventures...

Saturday 21 October 2017


The Green Door Store, Brighton, Sat 14th Oct

This co-headlined tribute to the late John Peel was put on by the good folks at Spinningchilli, who also took the photos.

I’d only seen the Nightingales once before, sometime back in the mid-Eighties, if memory serves on the same bill as Fuzzbox. And at the time found them arch and indie but largely nondescript. I’m not sure if I even knew then that frontman Robert Lloyd was a veteran of punk provocateurs the Prefects, or in those far-off days if I even knew of such. Others would bell me of times they’d seen the band do well, and I’d sagely inform them they were mistaken.

Now thirty years later I am to discover they’re a very fine band indeed! They still have that archness, cladding themselves in some very un-rock-and-roll smart and spangly jackets. And Lloyd namechecks, at at times seems to be channelling the crooning of Sinatra, while commenting on the music as it proceeds. At one point, after forewarning us of “a good bit”, he suggests the band go back and play it again.

But rather than anything indie they’re an exceptionally tight alternative rock band. The songs are played straight through, each jumping between quite different sections - to the point I soon give up trying to tell where one track ends and another begins, and just take the thing as a whole. Imagine a gig as a multi-sectioned sandwich, like a mega Scooby snack. With Lloyd’s voice often playing call-and-response with the more rockist cries of the drummer, the virtuous combination of opposites would seem to be the thing. 

After recent sightings of the reformed Cravats, they’ve now released their first new record in some forty years – the arena-baiting ‘Dustbin Of Sound’. Though originally operating in the punk era, I’m tempted to say they’re actually a psychedelic band who just do that black and white sort of psychedelic, before the world came into colour. Certainly they’re closer to ‘Arnold Layne’ than ‘White Riot’. Though the new release has flecks of… gasp!… colour on it’s sleeve, theirs is very much a black and white look, white shirts and black ties the order of the day.

Imagine a band which time travelled back to the mid-Sixties and peformed its amphetamine beat music and imaginary spy-fi soundtracks, but with the awareness of all that was coming. So everything they add - psychedelic weirdness, the edginess and grotesquerie of punk, the herky-jerky rhythms of post-punk – they don’t add so much as incorporate, as fold in. Everything they do, they do all at once. (They’d then need to be transported back in time again in order to have their album launch at the Green Door Store. I may not have that bit of the metaphor quite worked out yet.)

Except you’d also need to add in absurdist theatre and decadent cabaret, where cartoon menace mingles with that menacing kind of menace. Lyrics include the barked chorus “hang them, shoot them, electrocute them” and “I didn’t want things to end this way but I’m a liar”. Their psychedelia isn’t of strawberry fields or marmalade skies but of pylons, cows and blaring sirens – parochial Englishness estranged.

If the Nightingales were a layered Scooby snack, the Cravats would be a surrealist strain of sushi, the chance encounter of such divergent elements compressed inside a three-minute sonic shock. Hence I called them, after an earlier encounter, “the systematic deragement of the senses you can dance to”. We can only hope for further interruptions of normal service.

No live footage on yonder interweb so here’s t he video to single ’Jingo Bells’ (with a Hitchcockian cameo from Penny Rimbaud)…

Con Club, Lewes, Wed 18th Oct

Despite catching Japanese psychedelic outfit Acid Mothers Temple whenever and wherever I can, I had missed last year’s visit (glowingly reviewed in no less than the Guardian) 
as out of town.

And their gig before that had been a little too free form, a little too spacey for any gravitational pull to take hold. You want them to land on alien planets where the life, Jim, is not as we know it. But you do want them to land. Or perhaps the hour set was simply too short for such astral journeys. Regardless, it left appetites whetted rather than quashed.

This time they’re definitely putting the rock back into space rock, starting off with a squall of noise and never quite losing the driving beat. They even launch into the harmonica-led riff of Sabbath’s ’The Wizard’, the nearest I’ve seen them do to a cover. (Though the internet claims they’re also known to play ’War Pigs’.)

Though of course being AMT their nearest to a cover isn’t that close to a cover; they bend and twist it, sometimes reverting back to the original, before they’re done. Their ability to shift, transform and mutate feels like they can stay forever in a groove, while at the very same time explore new territory. An AMT setlist wouldn’t be a neat numbered page, but like one of those convoluted looping flow charts mad scientists scrawl on white boards in films.

It’s true, I am often to be found complaining too many bands merely ape past styles, and end up effectively as tribute acts with the reference numbers filed off. And unlike, say, Mugstar AMT very much approximate the look, hippie regalia for stage gear, vinyl in colourful gatefold sleeves filling the merch table. But they never treat psychedelic music as something known, a set of dance steps to be mastered. They’re not reproducing it but producing it, creating not more of the same but more.

And one example would be their ability to incorporate different styles. Heavy doses of both Krautrock and funk are blended in. At one point they break into an entirely unexpected bass and drum shuffle. The ever-active drummer in particular never seems to merely keep rock beats. Expect the unexpected. And still you’ll be surprised...

Usually I have to say ‘not from Brighton’ in this but this time, it’s not from Lewes…

Then a few days later, back on the Lewes-bound bus for...

Con Club, Lewes, Fri 20th Oct

The Hawklords were originally a 1978 incarnation of Hawkwind, after they’d somehow lost the rights to their own name. (I like to imagine a late night card game which went wrong, but suspect something more managerial.) However for nearly a decade now they’ve been operating in their own right. Though only keyboardist Harvey Bainbridge was in the original Hawklords, everybody bar bassist Tom Ashurst can claim some prior Hawkwind/Hawklords connection.

They play only a smattering of Hawkwind songs; having just released their new album ’Six’ (their… oh, you guessed) they mostly rely on their own material. But it’s mostly in the style of late Seventies Hawkwind - mid-tempo numbers with glacial synths and intonatory, often choral, vocals. A sound I have some fondness for, being the era I discovered Hawkwind. (My gateway albums being ’Live 79’ and ’Levitation’.)

And I like the idea of myriad offshoots, like all that Hawkwind touched turned to Hawkwind. In fact it being less polished, more rough around the edges than actual Hawkwind nowadays may even be a plus. It makes them more rock’n’roll, less alternative showbiz.

But there’s something of a dearth of the punchy songs Robert Calvert brought to the band. (Their best example being by Calvert, when they encore with the classic ‘Ejection’.) And there were a few too many spacey ambient sections, which came to feel too much like interludes. Plus, while it’s true Bainbridge sang lead on only a few numbers, his voice was not really strong enough to carry them. (They were perhaps hampered by sometime vocalist Ron Tree being absent.)

It’s perhaps not the point to try and compare them to the classic Hawkwind of the Seventies. And they may have suffered from being in the slipstream of the recent Acid Mothers Temple set. But I find myself more pleased they still exist than keen to see them again.

Also not from Lewes...

Saturday 14 October 2017


Concorde 2, Brighton, Mon 9th Oct

Big Black were one of those back-in-the-day bands I simply loved. But for some arbitrary reason I never caught up with Steve Albini’s successor outfit Shellac. Yet now, some twenty-five years into their existence, they show up for what is bizarrely their first Brighton gig. And as things turn out, if they’re tuned to a different wavelength to their predecessors they’re just as stellar a band. I’d simply been missing out this past quarter century.

In this Quietus interview, Albini states the liberating spirit of punk as the vital thing with those who insist on continually confining themselves to it’s outer style as “stunted”. In the same interview he explained “From the beginning, we decided that we were just going to make records and put them out, and that was it… We were just going to go about our affairs as a band, play shows, make records and let people come across them as they would…. I have a visceral reaction to advertising and promotion.” Which to me means something like “Just build it. Who cares if they come or not?” And indeed they’re still DIY enough to set up their own gear, even packing it away at the end while the bassist continues to thump away at a riff.

However, when Fugazi similarly slipped out of hardcore’s strictures they also (largely) abandoned its love of noise. Whereas Shellac have kept up the same unrelenting abrasive barrage. Though commonly thought of as somewhere between post-hardcore and a noise band, they can employ the heavy riffing of hard rock. But rather than blasting from both barrels their music’s more like one of those maximum ricochet shots marksmen always use in films, unpredictable turns always arriving at their target. Tracks are full of stop-start rhythms and unexpected angles.

Notably every member of the band works it, no-one there just to fill out the sound. Indeed, condensing things down to a trio may have been about eliminating the possibility of on-stage crowd scenes. Drummer Todd Trainer’s placed only marginally further back than the others, with no-one stood in front of him. At one point he even embarks on a (kind of) drum solo, albeit one with the others still chugging away. A rare example of such a thing not causing a rush to the bar.

The band’s own favoured name for their sound is “minimalist rock”. And, as is often with punk music, there’s not just a self-discipline at work but an almost puritan dislike of extraneousness. It’s abrasive enough that Albini attacks his guitar as much as he plays it, with both hands and teeth. But it’s also musical enough that they have a patented method to cover his frequent retreats to retune. At such points bassist Bib Westin ”takes questions” from the audience, the good-humoured humour a strange break from the harshness of the music.

Listening to the blistering force of Big Black was like being run over by a steamroller while it was on fire. Not for no reason was a track called ‘Pavement Saw’. Whereas Shellac are more of a precision instrument. And, though to this day I love Big Black, it’s a welcome change. Big Black were rooted in their Eighties era, holding a truth-telling mirror to Reagan America’s dark underbelly. Whereas Trump’s America wears that dark underbelly on its face, and the last thing it needs is further exposure.

Okay, anyone who’s caught up with Shellac sometime before me, what’s the best album to begin with? The interweb seems to favour ’1000 Hurts’...

The Dome Theatre, Brighton, Wed 11th Oct

In the unlikely event anyone reading this doesn’t already know British folk star Richard Thompson, Stereogum have a reasonable primer here. While I have officially seen him perform solo before, in fact in this very venue, it was sometime in the Nineties, and one or two other things have happened since then. So this feels almost like a first time…

Though I think almost every song must have originally been written with a band in mind, the songs are easily strong enough to stand alone. In fact, with Thompson alone on a bare stage, unhurriedly taking the instrumental sections, it’s a reminder than stripping down gigs doesn’t lighten the tone so much as intensify it. His songs traditionally favour clouds over silver linings. Though proceedings are leavened by the odd humourous number, some laugh-out-loud funny and one leading to a cross between an audience singalong and a game to guess the impending rhyme.

The gig is based around two new releases, ’Acoustic Rarities’ and ’Acoustic Classics 2’. Though the acoustic classics series seems devised to represent the solo show rather than the other way around. With Thompson’s output so vast, I suspect I didn’t know many of the ‘classics’. But I can attest there were more of them than the time before last, when he ran right through his most recent album.

In fact, the only other time I’ve heard him play ’Beeswing’ was after an audience member implored him. And it may be the first time I’ve heard him reach back to the Richard and Linda Thompson era of the Seventies/early Eighties, which he does three times. He proudly introduced ’I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight’ as his hit, having reached the mighty chart placement of number 39.

He then promised something I hadn’t heard live before – to celebrate their recent fiftieth anniversary, a Fairport Convention number. I admit to secretly hoping for ’Meet On the Ledge’ but, cantankerous soul that he is, he bypassed his own back catalogue for a Sandy Denny track - ’Who Knows Where the Time Goes.’ Still, despite his self-effacing insistence “she sings it better” it was a fine version, evidence to follow. (I was later to discover that ‘Meet on the Ledge’ is considered part of his “average set list” when solo. You don’t win ‘em all.)

And perhaps the choice was fitting, for there does seem something timeless about Thompson. At the age of nineteen he was already writing the songs of someone who’s lived a dozen lifetimes, and at the age of sixty-eight he’s still doing it. Songs often feel set in a timeless era, the human condition recurring again and again. (Though ironically the much-celebrated ‘Beeswing’ is a rare exception, with its giveaway opening line “they called it the Summer of Love”. It is, I’ve always fancied, a song not just set in but about the Sixties.)

All sorts seem to get labelled a living legend these days, which may have more to do with ‘Q’ magazine having to come out every month than anything else. But every now and again, there’s someone for who the overused tag actually sticks.

The promised ’Who Knows Where the Time Goes’, albeit not from Brighton...

Saturday 7 October 2017


The Hope + Ruin, Brighton, Sun 1st Oct

When the pre-set PA emitted a steady supply of jazz, it was a sign that Mike Watt might not necessarily be returning to his hardcore punk roots that particular evening.

Il Sogno del Marinaio (aka The Sailor’s Dream) are Watt plus a duo from Bologna. The music’s a form of jazz fusion, combining the power chords of hard rock with the fast-fingered restlessness of jazz. There were few vocal numbers, and even when they appear vocals are brief and passing. Rather than aligning with the drums, at the back of the sound, Watt’s bass moves alongside the guitar. Like duo guitarists, except where one was a bass. (If you follow.)

It didn’t do the thing you might fear most. In combining the cool of jazz with the heatedness of rock, you could easily lose the unique qualities of either and end up merely lukewarm. Whereas these waters were too unstill for that. But there were points where the endless turns and tangents lost me. And when freneticism becomes an end in itself it goes nowhere. It was like biting into a stacked sandwich, but unable to combine the tastes in your mouth. Getting only mustard, then only lettuce, then only cheese, then back to the only mustard again.

It’s true, of course, that jazz was an element in Watt’s original band, the legendary Minutemen. But there it was only ever an element, like a secret ingredient slipped in to spice the taste rather than make up the taste itself. 
A little jazz can go a long way, while a lot can just accumulate. 

And it’s true, of course, that Watt’s previous visit to our shores with the Missingmen, performing ‘Hyphenated_Man’ had quickfire changes apleanty. But that felt like a series of musical miniatures compressed within one frame. It was driven by concision, not aptitude.

Yet if it only worked at times, in those times it did work. Highlights for me included an idiosyncratic take on ‘Fun House’ as an encore, reminding us Watt served time in the reconstituted Stooges. And a number whose vocals merely took the form of a war cry, like words were just obstacles to expression.

Not from Brighton (again)…

Sunday 1 October 2017


...only this time at the new home of 500px after being burnt by those rip-off merchants at Flickr. (And thanks to Dave Horsby for the suggested new home.) This time from Brighton's ever-popular London Road area. For the full set go here.