Toastiefest 2004

Life as the cat of royalty should have been easy and pleasant but for Timmy ‘De-Ja-Vu’ Voo his lazy days were somewhat hampered by the constant feeling that he had done it all before.  Whether he was curled up in front of the fire or stalking mice in the cellar, it felt so familiar that he began to question the point of it all.

He was in the kitchen, drinking milk again, on the Monday morning that his master Prince Lancelot-Subterfuge stood at the door of the castle and bellowed into its cavernous insides:  “This Friday I shall be hosting one of my famous toasted sandwich parties.  And I should like it to be known as Toastiefest 2004!”  Timmy lifted his head from the milk bowl and quietly informed his master:  “But it is 2008.”  Lancelot-Subterfuge thought about this and responded by shouting once again:  “Toastiefest 2004!”  With that he mounted his sea turtle and jetted off on one of his adventures, as he always did on a Monday morning.  He would not return until Friday and Timmy was left to spend another week much the same as any other – quiet and peaceful and full of the boredom of routine.  Continue reading

Day #8962

‘Television’s People’ by Misty’s Big Adventure (Review)

It always seemed to be heading to this point.  Yes, there was the energetic monster, the wonky ideas about time and space, and lots of dancing but underneath all that Misty’s Big Adventure have always been standing pointing towards a world going wrong.  On ‘Television’s People,’ a concept album about a man and his television, the pressure of trying to make sense of it all seems to have finally got to Grandmaster Gareth.  On what I make to be their sixth album Misty’s have made an album about paranoia, misery and staying indoors which you may like more or less depending on how paranoid and miserable you are and how much you like staying indoors.

 

The first time I listened to this album was, ironically enough, on the television in our room as we do not have a stereo.  It seemed slightly more fitting that as I did so I was making the bed, fitting because this is an album which is essential listening for the modern hermit, an album that, unlike the band’s previous collections, does not jet off into parallel universes or even into town, but stays firmly put inside the home.  Occasionally the brass section may take an excursion to the attic or Gareth may get his toys out of the garage but for the most part the album comes from the perspective of its protagonist who stays put in front of his telly, musing on lost love and why the Wombles aren’t real.

Despite Gareth’s downbeat lyrics the band remain surprisingly lively and playful, especially in the second half of the record on which our man falls deeper and deeper into his paranoia and, eventually, his tv.  It perhaps lacks the hook of a big song such as ‘Serious Thing,’ which had become a firm favourite in the Misty’s live set before it became the centre piece to last year’s ‘Funny Times’ but this is a very different record and Misty’s seem to be a very different band now.  The new songs which follow the template of some of the band’s earlier successes are perhaps the least successful part of ‘Television’s People,’ coming across as shadows of earlier hits.

Where it is a resounding success is on the tracks on which Misty’s bits-and-bobs-sold-on-tour albums Grumpy and Grumpier Fun seem to be the cornerstone.  Here they play with more freedom, soundtracking the chaos of the protagonist’s brain as he tries to work out quite who is controlling his life and his tv.  My favourite moment comes on ‘There Is Hope,’ on which a newsreader asks the protaganist questions about his life.  At the end he summarises, “Then there is no hope.”  It is barely audible but this is followed by the sound of Gareth mumbling, “there is hope,” only for the newsreader to state again, “There is no hope.”

There is hope.

– I bought Television’s People from Norman Records, which you can do too if you like. 

– Rachel and I will be going to see Misty’s in Manchester on 22nd November with our friends Kerry, Grant and maybe Helen.  You can see them too, there or at any of their other dates which you can find on their myspace page, where you can also hear some of the songs.  Link across there –>

A Cure For The Memory Of Those Lost At Salad

For four torturous hours every day Geath Deoff, former tormentor of all those good and proper on the peg-legged and salty seas, would stand in the salad aisle of his local supermarket and moan and wail whilst looking at lettuce.

He was not alone.  Up and down the coast grizzled men of a certain age, their bodies messes of prosthetics draped all in mournful black, sobbed over salad.  The modern world tried to accommodate them, providing tissues and offering counselling but these men were out of time and out of place, far away from the gory glory days of their piratical meanderings – fighting, stealing, drinking rum and occasionally putting on a pirate fun day to put something back into the community. Continue reading

A Jam-Packed Action Adventure

I had taken a holiday to de-stress after being accused of writing a fraudulent Charles Dickens novel entitled, ‘Jammy Times,’ which was full of subtle reference to very un-Victorian modernities, and jam.  My solicitor got me off the hook and as we sat sharing jam sandwiches at a roadside café he told me that it would be advisable to, “skip town for a bit.”

I took a taxi and then a boat and then a train and then a bus to a coup town in a forest only to find that the cloud had descended all over the scenery I had come to see.  I sat and ate more jam sandwiches by the roadside and observed the surprisingly large military presence around and about, some in red costumes and some in blue.  Continue reading