Am I Wry? No

The spring is at hand, my friends. I can see the little green spear-heads breaking out once more upon the chestnut trees, and the cafe tables have all been moved into the sunshine. Yet my heart is warmed even more by events halfway across the world.

Yes. Yes. You who read this, if you have any heart, will feel for a soldier like me, who has gone through so many trials, none more heartbreaking than missing by a single day the only show in New York by Denmark's Mew. I will confess that for a moment I lost heart, and was inclined to throw myself down in my despair, and to cry out that I had been betrayed. The wound has yet to heal completely, but I take some comfort from the announcement of Mew's first live dates in more than a year. Nothing yet in the States, but the band have scheduled a show in Liverpool on May 16, and will be supporting R.E.M. on a handful of dates along the cold shoulder of Scandinavia in June.

Imagine, my friends, the thrill of joy which it shall give us when the greatest band in the whole world arrives again on these shores. The mere thought sends tears down my whiskers.


Here Come The Tears

Originally uploaded by Hugo4.

The Supreme Saville

Joy Division, New Order, Suede -- when each wanted to rise above their peers, they honoured themselves by recalling the name of Peter Saville, the graphic artist who has no equal. Following a recent flirtation with the world of high fashion, including highly collectible lines for Raf Simons and Clements Ribiero, Mr. Saville has now turned his attention to the more plebian pursuit of skateboarding. Echoing two of Mr. Saville's most famous designs, Supreme Skateboards has introduced a set of four different decks based on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures and New Order's Blue Monday. They are already selling on eBay for $125 each.

I Predict A Cover

I who speak to you have seen so many battles that my old memory can scarce contain their names, and yet of all the sights and sounds which these eyes and ears have rested upon, there is none more beautiful, I think, than that of a perfect cover. What joy I felt then upon hearing that those cunning rakes known as the Kaiser Chiefs shall be including as a b-side on their next single a version of the Cribs' Another Number. Not exactly a stretch musically, but nevertheless I am confident that this number will be worthy of more than one listen. The a-side will be a remix of Every Day I Love You Less and Less. The other b-sides are new songs Not Surprised, Seventeen Cups, and The Letter Song. Not available in your local Rough Trade until May 16, so until then we shall wax our moustaches and click our spurs and let the ferrules of our scabbards wear out by trailing them along the pavement in the hope that we should all become Lasalles.

Back From The Dead

When I first set eyes on Pete Doherty, he was huddled with his band of Libertines in a small room in the basement of the now-defunct Luxx in Williamsburg. He was a slight, pale young man, who looked more like a young priest from a seminary than a leader of the devil-may-care rascals before him. He briefly looked out at me with the vague, dim gaze of a drunken man. Minutes later he played one of the most memorable sets it has ever been my honour to witness. Pete's own handwritten setlist from that show, now framed and hung in the hallway outside my room, is an ever present reminder of that glorious evening. But it was Pete's innocent, ghostlike stare that I recalled recently upon reading in the broadsheets of his recent troubles with the Crown.

While I am not unacquainted with the seductive lure of the pipe, and have witnessed the command it holds over those that are close to me, I believe that Pete's recent difficulties stem from a different problem. You must remember, my friends, that Pete's soul is that of a poet, and thus that his primary struggle shall always be with the English language. What greater challenge could there possibly be for such a man, then, than deciding whether the name of your new band should be one word or two? It is this enigma, I believe, that has consumed Pete for these past months, and has led to the cancellation of so many shows. Is it to be Babyshambles or Baby Shambles? I, for one, put my faith in Pete, and thus shall continue eagerly to await the answer.

Meanwhile, according to the band's website (
www.babyshambles.net), the recording of their debut album is "going well, with 12 songs tracked and 5 new ones being arranged this weekend." So far, the band has recorded:

Gang of Gin
Black Boy Lane
Loyalty Song
A Rebours
Do You Know Me
32nd Of December
My Darling Clementine
Fuck Forever
In Love With A Feeling
8 Dead Boys
Sticks and Stones
"and a new one featuring guest vocals"

The band is also set to record Pipe Down, What Katie Did Next, Alibi, Wolfman, in addition to new versions of Babyshambles, The Man Who Came To Stay and possibly Killamangiro. Six other new songs have been written which may also be recorded in the coming weeks.

To tide us over until the final album is released, Pete has posted mp3's on the website of 16 tracks from his "Shaking and Withdrawn" sessions, including new versions of Can't Stand Me Now and Ha Ha Wall.


All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead

It would be an unworthy affectation if I were to pretend that my career has been anything but a fine one. That which I am about to reveal, however, is something which you will understand that only the most modest officer would admit. After all, when one has attained such a position as mine, one can afford to speak of what the ordinary might be tempted to conceal.

You must know, then, that despite the multitude of memorable campaigns in which I have had the good fortune to participate -- including Neutral Milk Hotel's first show ever, Radiohead at Mercury Lounge, and Pavement at CBGB's (with the long-lamented Gary on drums) -- there nonetheless remain certain musical titans which I never had the pleasure of witnessing. Of these, I count Felt as one of the saddest of all omissions. There simply are some things which we cannot hope to regain, and I daresay that no one shall ever again know the glory of Lawrence sauntering across the stage to the opening chords of "Primitive Painters."

As these heavy thoughts were passing through my head, I retired to my library for solace, and found it in a dusty leather-bound volume of New Musical Express back issues dating from 1986. There, among the illuminating pieces on youth suicide and FGTH, was Lawrence at his aesthetic zenith, giving a tour of his flat in Moseley while strenuously avoiding any discussion of his latest album (the incomparable Forever Breathes the Lonely Word). For the sake of history, I believe it is important to document those items which gave inspiration to the august artiste at that moment in time:

A batallion of Airwick Solids air freshners;
A small stack of records by Tim Hardin, Lee Hazelwood, Fred Neil and Scott Walker; and
A complete collection of first edition Jack Kerouac paperbacks.

Yes. Yes. A man among men. I tip my pipe and dare say that we shall never see the likes of him again.


Coach Station Reunion

I am aware that in the story-books Morrissey and Marr kiss and make up and Brown and Squire live happily ever after, but for my own part, after countless campaigns, I should be very satisfied with a low-key Field Mice reunion at some small venue in Brooklyn. Indeed, nothing could please me better. My word then, what a treat it must be for those poor lads in Sheffield, who have so little to brighten their dull lives, to see that Liverpool's second-finest, The La's, will be gracing the stage of the Leadmill this June in what will be their first show since the taking of Harlesden in 1991. Both Mavers and Power will strap on their old instruments and toss their saucy heads, doubtlessly sending the blood dancing through the schoolboys' veins. Yes, yes, my friends, if only I could be there. But the roads are detestable and the drink is not to my tastes.


Yes. Yes.

You do very well, my friends, to treat me with some little reverence, for in honouring me you are honouring both good taste and yourselves. It is not merely an old, grey-whiskered officer whom you see draining his glass, but it is a fragment of history. In me you see one of the last of those wonderful soldiers, who were veterans when they were yet babes, who learned to use a sword earlier than a razor, and who during a hundred battles had never once let the enemy see the colour of their knapsacks. The Ritz, CBGB's, Brownies, the Marquee -- we stabled our horses in all of them. Yes, my friends, I say again that you do well to send your children to me with flowers, for these ears have heard the trumpet calls of the finest songs in the land, and these eyes have seen sights of which few live to tell.

Even now, when I doze in my womb chair, I hear the thick, low rattle of the drums, and through wreaths of dust and smoke I can see those great warriors stream before me -- the red-jacketed Doherty in full bloom of youth, Mangum leading his cavalry of cacophonists, and Yorke with his bulldog jaw and Gascon swagger. Yes, yes, my friends, it is to my earlier days that I turn when I wish to talk of the glories and the trials of a soldier's life. For you will understand that when an officer has witnessed so much, and commands so many, even when he is not in the face of the enemy, life is a very serious matter for him. But when he is only a lieutenant or a captain he has nothing heavier than his epaulettes upon his shoulders, so that he can clink his spurs and swing his dolman, drain his glass and dream of Hughina, thinking of nothing save of enjoying a gallant life. That is the time when he is likely to have adventures, and it is often to that time I shall turn in the stories I may have for you.