Sunday, October 31, 2004


Why do we have daylight savings again? Something about farmers? Well, fuck 'em, I say. This 5pm darkness is taking the piss really. I know I should be used to it by now, but...

Another day, another detox mission. I kicked it off with a fast'n'furious swim down at the Brixton Rec Centre, and I have to say it felt damn good to get back in the water after an extended leave of absence. Sad to see, though, that no matter where you go, there's always one macho male whose swimming ability is in inverse proportion to the size of his ego. If you're not good enough to kick it with the big guys, buddy, then get back in the slow lane where you belong. Mind you, it does pay dividends in that it gets me so riled up I get aggressive, and swim twice as fast.

Swimming ability is up there with a sense of humour and acceptable shoe/book/film/music taste in my criteria for the ideal partner, if I could ever be bothered hooking up with one again. There's something rather emasculating about a crap swimmer. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is usually something you don't discover until too late, usually on a paradisical beach holiday, when you end up having to put those gold badge life-saving skills to the test after Chumpboy gets himself into deep water...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBut I digress, as usual. It feels good to have had a productive weekend instead of a housebound, hungover one. Which is not to say Ms G and I didn't head out out to Portobello clutching our heads after a "quiet night in" turned into the usual riotous "getting wiggy with it" session. I got a pair of Nike Vandals (<--) for 20 quid. Ms G got her wallet pickpocketed. And that was the end of the shopping expedition. Bastards.

Anyway, here's St. Reatham at sunset (4pm)...
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> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Stomp, Brothers Johnson

Friday, October 29, 2004

Having already blown all my weekend budget on last night's boozin' and whorin', the most fun I'll be getting up to tonight is changing out of last night's clothes (skank!) and renting Cabaret on DVD, so Ms G and I can pick up some tips for her 30th birthday burlesque extravaganza in December. (A terrifying prospect, as anyone who has witnessed my rug-cutting efforts will attest to.)

I was going to recommend the New Telepathics, playing in Borough tonight, but I've lost Darren's email. My second choice would have been Spektrum at Neighbourhood, but I'm not 100% sure they're playing any more. Other than that, Fesh @ 333? Unabombers at Plan B? Bueller?

Whatever. Rock on for me.

Fake plastic teeth 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe tooth saga nears its conclusion (hopefully), with the penultimate stage completed this morning - that of hacking off the old veneers and filing the remaining real teeth underneath down to tiny stumps (see left - and before you ask, that crusty yellow stuff is impression putty, I couldn't be arsed Photoshopping it off, and yes, check that boozehag skin, mmmmm).

The process is as delightful as it sounds, so - remembering the nightmare four years ago (when I turned up to my appointment still high after getting properly sorted for Es and whizz the night before and almost had a heart attack when the local anaesthetic kicked in) - I vowed I would have an early night and arrive fresh as a daisy to minimise my discomfort.

Did I have an early night? Did I arrive fresh as a daisy? Did I fuck. Though I didn't go down the Pulp road this time, I was still knocking back JD-and-Cokes at 3am this morning while watching an emergency screening of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, losing both my dignity and one of my engagement rings in the process (necessitating a shamefaced next-day-contacting of the partner-in-crime). Damn.

But I digress. The upshot is I've now got enormous Donny Osmond-style temporary teeth for the next two weeks while they whip me up a new set of pearly-whites. Good news for my mates though, as the accompanying lisp should finally shut me up for a bit.

And by the way, the Dominique Tarlé Rolling Stones exhibition rocks. Don't miss it.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Crazy Horses, The Osmonds

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Life's slowed but not stopped these past few days at Smacked Face Towers, not helped by the fact my office Mac decided to freak out and prevent me accessing this site - or else work has wised up to my time-wasting enterprises...

So what's been going on? Let's see, handily summarised in bullet-point fashion:

• I got random-Friendstered for a fourth time, this time by a chap from Harrogate. Odd.

• I heard Quentishtown issue a friend the direst of warnings ever: "Carry on like that, and you'll get a pussy like a wizard's sleeve."

• I went to see Jim Jarmusch's Coffee And Cigarettes. Like the other JJ films I've seen (actually only one, Dead Man - and yes, I know I need to watch Down By Law and Ghost Dog in their entirety), I found it beautifully shot and impeccably acted and directed, but essentially pointless. Those Screen 4 seats at the Ritzy are bloody comfy though, though the coffee is diabolical.

• I came to the realisation that I need to start thinking seriously about the 9-to-5, what with 30 just around the corner and all. So if anyone's reading this who wants to offer an brightish youngish journalistish type a lucrative new career in new media, PR or advertising, do get in touch.

• I decided the inclusion of John F Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech at the end of a mate's set on Friday night was possibly the most genius thing I've ever heard. But then I was rather tipsy.

• I booked a holiday in Naples in two weeks' time. Accommodation tips will, as always, be gratefully appreciated.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThat's about it. Tonight I'm off to this gallery opening (<--). I'm unreliably informed that, though the Stones themselves probably won't be there, Led Zep and other various god-likes might be. Which should be great for more inebriated "I shamed myself in front of rock royalty" tales tomorrow.

Last night on Maudlin Street 

While misting up listening to Joy Division on the Tube this morning (a subconsciously Peel-inspired selection), I was reminded of an amusing fourth (almost-) encounter with the great man.

Another year, another Sonar, we were informed by friends that John would be joining us for dinner. Naturally hugely excited by this prospect, the Donk and I stopped off for a pre-dinner drink to calm the nerves... which inevitably turned into several, and resulted in us staggering to the tapas bar at least three sheets to the wind. Fortunately for us, the Peels never turned up (although Jeff Mills possibly may have - luckily, memory fails me), and we continued to drink our way into embarrassing oblivion, ending up with the Donkey passing out in a toilet and me deciding to protest at the fact I thought we were going the wrong way home by taking my top off.

Anyway, there have been so many wonderful words written about John Peel that I hardly feel I need to add any more. After all, I didn't get to hear the man until arriving in this country five years ago, and even then I was hardly a regular listener. But possibly the thing that has always touched me most about Peelie, aside from the music of course, was his enormous sensitivity - in particular, how speaking of his love for his wife could reduce him to tears. I remember a boy who used to do that, and it must rank as the most wonderful feeling in the world. What a very lucky woman Sheila was. And indeed, we all were.

[Maudlin over-sentimentality ends]

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Atmosphere, Joy Division

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


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John Peel has died of a heart attack. I'm absolutely gutted. :(

4pm EDIT: Just got back from the gym where - listening to Radio 1 saluting the great man with "tracks he would have liked - or maybe hated", such as Layo & Bushwacka's Love Story and The Libertines' Likely Lads (I like to think they changed the playlist specially, rather than coincidentally playing decent songs for once) - I got all teary and had to pop off to the changing rooms for a bit. And all that for a man I've encountered only three times.

Firstly, at a Sonar Pro party in Barcelona, watching him stand back, arms folded, as he unleashed an aural terror assault upon an unsuspecting Spanish crowd. How we laughed.

Secondly, stealing his taxi outside a Radio 1 party, also at Sonar. He didn't seem to mind, despite the fact he'd been waiting there for ages.

Thirdly, finally meeting the great man at a function earlier this year. He was lovely, even faced with a stammering, sycophantic Smacked Face.

One of my friends' favourite possessions is a photo they took of John with Jeff Mills a few years back, at a party for their techno label, Intec. (John subsequently brought it out when he appeared on Room 101, saying he thought he looked like an "old pervert"). I think that kind of sums up why Saint John was so special - he simply loved good music, no matter if it was British techno, Dutch thrash gabba or Zambian skiffle jazz. And he was the dad you always wished you'd had.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Countdown conundrum pt 2 

We've become obsessive list compilers. What started as a harmless game (see previous post) has become a dangerous obsession. Most years we've got sorted (the results of which will be revealed at a later dat). But some years continue to cause problems, thus these sad trainspotting Londoners need your help. And yes, since you ask, I have become Nick Hornby. (And if he's reading, his two cents' worth would be much appreciated.)

So. Here are the contenders - and remember, these have to be tracks that could conceivably rock the party...

That's The Way (I Like It)
, K.C. and the Sunshine Band; Young Americans/Fame/John, I'm Only Dancing (Again), David Bowie; Mothership Connection, Parliament; Lovin' You, Minnie Riperton; Makes You Blind, The Glitter Band; Disco Stomp, Hamilton Bohannon; I Love Music, The O'Jays; Movin', Brass Construction; Love is the Message, M.F.S.B...

Peter Piper, Run DMC; Acid Tracks, Phuture; Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders; Love Can't Turn Around, Farley "Jackmaster" Funk & Jessie Saunders; Move Your Body, Marshall Jefferson...

Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty By Nature; Mr Wendal, Arrested Development; Rez, Underworld; Open Up, Leftfield & Lydon; So What 'Cha Want, Beastie Boys; Papua New Guinea, Future Sound Of London...

California Love, 2 Pac featuring Dr Dre; Firestarter/Breathe, The Prodigy; ???, DJ Shadow; No Diggity, Blackstreet; Professional Widow/Funk Phenomena, Armand Van Helden; Beautiful People, Marilyn Manson; Born Slippy, Underworld; In The Trees, Faze Action; Summer Daze, Samba Magic; Inner City Life, Goldie; How Bizarre, OMC...

It's Like That, Run DMC Vs Jason Nevins; Intergalactic, Beastie Boys; Sincere, MJ Cole; Rae & Christian?; Tourism album, Danny Tenaglia; Meridian album, Ian Pooley; Mothership Reconnection (Daft Punk remix), Scott Grooves...

Please take five seconds to vote or nominate fresh candidates in the comment box and make some sad obsessives very happy.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: going berzerk...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Countdown conundrum 

Pffft! What a piece of rubbish the free CD with last night's Evening Standard is. OK, so I shouldn't really complain about free music, but come on, the Standard! What prat in your marketing division thought a chill-out album from crusty old sod Tongy was the way forward? That's like, SO 1995 right now. Mind you, I suppose it suits their cranky Daily Mail readership down to a tee, so why would I expect anything better? Including a glorious Ulrich Schnauss track (akin to finding a diamond in a pile of horse droppings) was a bit off, though - piss off, middle England, he's mine.

On music matters, having big-upped Prince Nelly and his Retro Chart Rundown (again) over dinner last night, the conversation turned to best-ofs, and we tried to concoct the charts we'd hypothetically play, given carte blanche at a bar/club - the criteria being we had to play for maximum crowd response but without resorting to blatantly commercial nonsense.

We opted for yearly top 5s, to make the task easier, and all went well until we hit the 90s - the years "dance music niche-marketed itself to death", to quote Mr B. 1992 and 1993 are still looking well on the shaky side, and what the hell do you play from 1998 that's not totally obscure or rotten fromage such as Stardust? We were - still are - stumped.

The debate rages on. Feel free to chip in your 2p. (This may help trigger the memories - god knows the late 90s are one big blur to me...)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Music Sounds Better With You, Stardust (grrr)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Death becomes them 

I've long realised I'm going to hell in a handcart for my irreverent bad taste when it comes to speaking ill of the dead. I still tell Linda McCartney jokes at parties (eg. What do you call a dog with Wings?...) and I look back with fond memories when I recall the "I'm On The Drug That Killed River Phoenix" song by charming Aussie band Tism.

But I'm not a patch on these chaps. Step up, Inspector Sands, putting the boot into hateful Daily Mail harpy Linda Lee-Potter before the corpse is even cold. And when it comes to Christopher Reeve, my sentiments couldn't be expressed any more succinctly than by the mighty Mr Mulgrew at Everything Is Wrong With Me. Reeve's Village Of The Damned remake still ranks as the worst film I've ever paid money to see.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: (He'll Never Be An) Old Man River, Tism

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


The unrelenting rain over the past week or so has had an interesting effect on South London. Rather than rinsing the drains and gutters clean, leaving a sparkling, fragrant borough, the only effect down south is the flushing out of... shitloads of weed.

Not being a devout worshipper of the ganja god, I'm not too sure as to the relationship between rainy days and dope-smoking, but it seems people more knowledgeable than me have discovered a link. Perhaps the THC is boosted by the humidity, maybe it tastes sweeter in the vicinity of umbrellas - who knows? But south London was certainly floating in a muggy green haze today. Not that it isn't usually, of course (it's the dirty sarf, after all), but today was particularly pungent - and nowhere was safe.

I woke up, went into my lounge. It smelt faintly of weed, thanks to the flatmate's customary late-night toke. I walked downstairs where, as usual, the second floor was a fug of saccharine smoke courtesy of no 11's love of the chronic. I walked down the street to the bus stop, where even the torrential downpour hadn't quite washed away the remnants of a previous commuter sparking up. Brixton Road was smokin', Electric Avenue lived up to its Eddy Grant rep, even the air on the bus on the way home hung heavy with the legacy of someone's session. The world's turning green at last - apparently, it's starting in Brixton.

In other news, sad to see the death on Friday of the late, great Dave Godin, who played a massive part in the history of Northern Soul. Coincidentally - and appropriately - I spent Friday night blasting our dinner guests with a large quantity of the music Godin championed. Keeping the faith, or something.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: There's A Ghost In My House, R Dean Taylor

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

This is why I no longer work for music magazines 

Right. Review time. Or at least it would have been if I hadn't drunk so much last night. Damn. I was too liquored even to make a decent job of failing to chat up the Weegie bass player, who ticked all the requisite boxes (Muso: check. Scottish: check. Likes the New York Dolls: check. Throws us cans of beer from the stage: check...)

Thus I refer you to Charlene Ramsey's words in the comments box below, and to anyone else who feels like reviewing the gig properly. All I will say is that the New Telepathics are sensational. Sandy Mill is an absolutely astounding talent and surely destined for greatness, and from now on I won't even consider a band with any fewer than two drummers and two bassists. More is more, folks. I haven't boogied like that for a very long time (probably a good thing, considering my shameful Legs Akimbo stylee).

And should I ever decide to venture out on a Monday again, I'll be heading straight back to the George & Dragon for some more of Prince Nelly's Retro Chart Rundown. It's the idea I should have thought of years ago - top 40s of yesteryear played in a countdown fashion, avec mic and cheesy radio spiel. It's so me it's unbelievable.

Ooh, almost forgot - the triumphant return of Dunhill Blue cigarettes to Smackedville! In new packaging! Cargo sells 'em! They're great!

Sites of the day: Fast Times At Electra High and Rob Manuel's Cyber Busking...

Monday, October 18, 2004

Beats pacific 

In the absence of anything terribly interesting to report - see what happens when you have a well-behaved weekend? - I thought I'd point you in the direction of someone who's never had a well-behaved weekend in his life. Say hello to Life of Reilly, who's finally taken the plunge to commit some of his thoughts to paper/cyberspace. Whether this is wise is another matter altogether... Check out his stream of (un)consciousness here. There's a party going on and you're all invited.

Speaking of parties, tonight Cargo hosts the launch - finally - of the Spacific website (although at time of writing it still seems to be a holding page) and the debut album by the New Telepathics (another band once destined for Southsidesoul greatness but scuppered by the licensing laws, alas), plus DJ sets from various types including the Telepathics' velvet-voiced Sandy Mill, who's just released a new track with former Paper boy Dick Johnson. And it's only a fiver.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Cape crusader 

Much like the fat sows who opt for Diet Coke then figure they've earned that giant slab of chocolate cake, I found my personal rewards account to be in credit this week. Having entertained at home on Friday and dined locally with a friend on Saturday, I spent a satisfyingly minimal amount of cash. So, working on the premise I hadn't gone out on a 100-quid bender, I figured I'd earned a few treats - so promptly spent all that and more on a two-day shopping spree.

It's nice to have something to show from the weekend, though, rather than the usual red eyes, aching head, runny nose and hacking cough, and no doubt the several benefactors of the Smacked Face pounds this weekend were grateful for my decision.

Brixton favourite Joy provided a fab skinny scarf and yet another gorgeous wrap dress to add to the collection, and down the road, Traid once more came up with the goods. Last time their "everything £2" sale saw me bringing home £40-worth of towelling jumpsuits, gownless evening straps and shiny disco flares. This time, I was (thankfully) more restrained, limiting my splurge to two scarves and possibly the most bizarre item of clothing I've ever owned - a tweed cape. I'll be purchasing a pony and a pack of hounds next. Tally ho indeed.

Sunday meant a trip to Spitalfields, and the acquisition of a wrought-iron convex (concave?) mirror and another cape, this time a particularly lovely 1920s rabbit-fur number. (Yes, real fur, save your tirades, I know the arguments and that I will surely burn in hell, but it's just so pretty - and in mitigation, the poor buggers died long before I was born.)

The thing is, I've never worn a cape in my life. Now I have two. Hmmm. Maybe the death of Superman affected me harder than I'd thought.

Lastly, just to wrap up the !!! chapter (for they will never be mentioned on these pages again), it's nice to see I wasn't alone in my damning report. The Guardian's review proclaims: "A motley collection of the least funky-looking white people ever... Toe-curlingly unwatchable moves... Live, they are a spectacular car-crash." It even clocks our Travolta reference. David Peschek, if I didn't know you weren't me, I'd think you, um, were. Whatever, I think you and I should get together...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Funkin' For Jamaica, Tom Browne

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Googling idiot 

Looking at the stats today (they continue to climb massively - wahey! Is there an autumnal yearning for Darius up-kilt pictures or something?), I see someone's stumbled across this site by Googling for its in the voice of the head made up of a hole with a piercing round sensationally cold -rubba-duck-duck, for which this venerable tome comes up first on the list of results.

Three words basically - 'what', 'the' and 'fuck?'.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Freefall, Spektrum

From the sublime to the ridiculous 

So tonight (Wednesday, that is) was spent in the lush surrounds of the Astoria, for the much-anticipated !!! gig (that's Chk Chk Chk, kids). The heavily punctuated band's album, Louden Up Now, has long darkened my favourites list on the sidebar, and all accounts pointed to their live performances being even better.

But, er, more on that when we come to it. After a quick tipple at the Phoenix Artist Club - Diet Coke for me all night, I'm still on the detox - we made our way over the road nice and early in order to catch the support act, bright young electro things Spektrum.

Now, to digress just a little here, we've been charting the progress of Spektrum for a while now, being as the drummer, the lovely Isaac Tucker, is a good old Kiwi boy who we've known since his days in Auckland drum 'n' bass outfit Cuba & Gizmo. He actually DJed at a couple of our Southsidesoul nights in Brixton a few years ago, and at one stage I seem to recall he was keen to get his then-fledgling band down to play, scuppered only by the bar's lack of a suitable entertainment licence. Alas, alack indeed. I still have their first demo CD in the pile somewhere though - I'm going to dig it out right now and stick it on...

So that's the gratuitous namedropping out of the way, let's get to the review. SPEKTRUM ARE FUCKING INCREDIBLE. If you get the chance to see this band, take it. Never have I been so mesmerised by a performance. Lead singer Lola is an absolute superstar in the truest sense of the word - growling and yelping, jerking and gyrating her way across the stage, she's part Annabella from Bow Wow Wow, part Grace Jones, part Cramps, part ESG, part Lolita, part succubus. Mind-blowing.

The band draw heavily on their 80s disco-not-disco/new wave influences, which obviously make them ever-so-now in these days of retro-electro worship, but the sheer musicality of it all means there should still be more to pull out of the bag once the "cool" kids decree this trend passe. The band got their big break with the Tiefschwarz remix of Kinda New that's been in everyone's crates this year, but if their new album is anything like their live performance, they are in for one hell of a ride to the top. And so, hopefully, are we. Oh how I love them. Buy their album, y'all.

Which brings us to !!!. Amped up and buzzing after Spektrum, we didn't notice the geeky, bushy-haired chap in a too-tight flannel shirt and his friends wander on stage at first. "Who's this bunch of gimps?" we asked each other. "Is there some Christian rock band playing second support?" Er, no. "They're the exclamation mark kids?!" we exclaimed.

Now I can't say I hadn't been forewarned. The venerable Eli B had cautioned, "They were seriously underwhelming in San Francisco - my companion and I left after three songs. The band is OK, but the lead singer needs some serious work. He's the man who thinks party is a noun, verb AND adjective. After the 10th time he said 'Yeah! Come on and party!', we were calling him the 'frat-rocker of post-punk'."

Never a truer word. The band themselves weren't bad, although (apart from the very cool, oh-so-New York guitarist, who wisely kept his head down and himself to himself) they should concentrate on their jobs rather than run around the stage showing off how many instruments they can play. And as Pal Matty said, the whole wall of sound thing is very impressive, but it's probably just to mask the fact they're not as good live as their studio album would have you believe.

But whatever you thought of the music - fair to middling at best, in my opinion - was totally overshadowed by the utter tool of a lead singer. Now I'm not one to judge a book by its cover (although I do make first impressions based on shoes), but my first thought, when he bounced on stage throwing cliched rock star Jesus poses and pulling grotesque facials, was that this guy could use a haircut and a new wardrobe. But the worst was yet to come, as he launched himself fully into his rock god act, splitting his pants in the process and offering his buttocks to the NME "for giving us a crap review last time" (thus instantaneously boosting that sorry rag's cred in my eyes). We struggled to find an analogy that did this tosser justice. The lead singer of those Christian bands that used to tour schools in the 80s? A really bad Eddie Vedder wannabe? The drunk uncle at every wedding who thinks he's John Travolta? The random dork who turns up at your after-party on his first pill and jumps on top of your table, gurning like crazy, shouting "Look at me!" and doing air guitar?

All of the above, my friends, all of the above - to such an extent it became embarrassing to watch. We lasted marginally longer than Eli B, but eventually reached breaking point and had to retire to a nearby pub to seek solace.

Why? It's such a good album, one of my favourites of the year. People are oft wont to compare !!! to The Rapture, with dissers of the latter band stating their album doesn't measure up to their live performances. However, the good half of The Rapture's album is very good - and The Rapture on stage are very good indeed. Alas now, when I hear Louden Up Now's stonking electroid tones, all I will see is that spastic idiot attempting the worst Mick Jagger impressions in the world. Which is truly tragic.

Spektrum play Neighbourhood in West London on October 29th

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Time bandits 

The delectable Ms G and I stayed up for hours after everyone else had retired on Sunday morning, polishing off the voddie and cigarettes and shooting the breeze - or more appropriately, shooting the shit. As you do.

For whatever reasons, it turned into a bit of a nostalgia fest, and as well as ransacking the Smacked Face music library for poignant numbers of yore, we also discovered the stack of old magazines I used to write for - and we came across a perfect little fin de millénium time capsule, in the shape of a piece I compiled many years ago for a wee Kiwi rag called RE:MIX Magazine, entitled "More Than 100 Things You Did In The 90s".

How we laughed with retrospective irony at things like the much-anticipated arrival of the Sony MiniDisc and the advent of this new thing called "reality TV". How we gasped when we realised it was only in the last decade that such staples of modern-day life like The Simpsons and PlayStation entered New Zealanders' lives. How we sobbed when we realised the 90s were less than five years ago, yet feel like such another lifetime. We're getting old.

Anyway, for your amuse/bemusement, I've posted the piece over at my garbage-dumping spot, Smacked Rubbish. Time capsules are go.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: 1999, Prince

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Stranger on a train 

I had one of those lovely little Tube episodes on the Northern Line this morning, where you catch someone's gaze and have a 'moment'. He looked smashing - dark, scruffy hair just on the right, non-Hoxton side of asymmetrical, casually stylish (yet not try-hardish or uniform) jeans, jacket and scarf combo, nice beaten-up satchel, a little bit battered-looking (meaning he's had a good weekend and thus knows how to enjoy himself). We spent the journey from Stockwell to London Bridge exchanging meaningful glances, then - alas - it was time to change lines.

I sneaked in one last, longing look over my shoulder as I stepped off the train... and everything was ruined, thanks to his bad, bad choice of shoes - nasty white Reeboks that wouldn't look out of place on White Van Man.

Shoes are such a clincher for me. Call it materialistic, but shoes maketh the man, and next to book/music/film choice, they're the quickest - and most obvious - way to sort the wheat from the chaff.

This being London, of course, you're never actually going to take it any further than just perving at your fellow passengers, but this rule of thumb can be applied to a bar or club situation, or anywhere else you might have a realistic chance of talking to someone you don't know without being automatically consigned to the weirdo box. But the day I see a man fitting the above description, sporting a tasty pair of vintage Adidas (and carrying a copy of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, a Peter Biskind book, Midnight Cowboy on DVD and a record bag chock-full of rare funk), fuck convention - I'm breaking that golden Tube rule and making contact.

> INTERNAL: JUKEBOX: Going Underground, The Jam

Monday, October 11, 2004

She's gotta have it 

Ooh, just spotted Anthony Bourdain's new book, Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking in Books Etc, and for the first time I know the meaning of love at first sight. I adore Bourdain - his A Cook's Tour made me want to pack in the job, mortgage the non-existent house and head to Vietnam for six months - and this from a girl who'd hitherto never wanted to go near South-East Asia with a bargepole.

But alas, payday's not til Friday, and there's movies, the !!! gig at the Astoria and dinner out to pay for first. But - calling all sugar daddies - if anyone wants to be nice, there's nothing to stop you heading to my Amazon wishlist and making an old girl very happy. (I'll have the Fergus Henderson one while you're there, too.)

I want it, badly. But I have to admit I probably don't need it, given that I have 30+ other cookbooks at home, all gathering dust as newer, bolder, brighter ones come along. The last live-in boyfriend banned me from purchasing any more - and for once, he might have been right. But as far as addictions go, it's a fairly nice one to have.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Why I chose a Friday to begin my detox diet I will never know. It makes no sense at all - I'm starving and burping up foul celery gruel every five minutes, and for what? Come home time and the liquor will make short work of any advances made. What do you mean, just say no? That would be far too sensible.

Anyway, my liver could be in a worse state - I could be this guy. Rock on.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Fun & games 

Cheers to the mighty Inspector Sands for the heads-up on the most unfortunately-named girl in the world.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBut the fun doesn't stop there - further exploration of the Electra High School alumni provides hours of mirth - 1975's Pete Ponce and Skipper Lamb, for starters. And as for 1972, as regular reader 'Life Of' Reilly says, "Troy Bowden & Mike Gatewood. John Jacobi & Steve Lalk. Swapped at birth? It's like some nightmarish game of Guess Who."

Snarf indeed.

Ooh, and a late entry, and thanks to the boys at Dorking Labs for this one - a nice addition to the Smacked Face graffiti files: Wellington's finest grafs. Choice bro.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

It's deadline day and it's all go here. Time for two quick things though:

a) Today we have been mostly listening to Dr Rubberfunk's The First Cut. It's not new and it's not ground-breaking, but it is bloody good. Check it.

b) the stats board shows 200 or so extra visitors today, courtesy of outintheuk.com. Cool! But anyone care to shed some light on why?

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Disco Scene, Dr Rubberfunk

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Not so hot curry 

No surprise to note the near-total omission of Brick Lane's curry restaurants from the 2005 Time Out Eating & Drinking Guide. I've long held the view that the Lane's curry houses are among the worst in London - these days, the place is only fit for drinking and shopping. I've been ill from a Banglatown curry on more than one occasion (and the fact a giant rat ran across my mother's foot on her introduction to the area didn't put it in any better light). Brick Lane in 2004 is about the experience, certainly not the food.

Somewhere that is about the food, however, is one of my all-time favourite restaurants, Rasa up in Stokey Church Street, and unsurprisingly it comes right in at number one in the top 10. Get in there my son! If you haven't been, go. Go!

On a completely different note, one of my favourite Weegies, Matt Papacool, writes to tell me about the BT Broadband Digital Music Awards - and to tell you all to vote for the sublime Radio Magnetic for best online station. And so you should - it wipes the floor with the competition (1xtra, Virgin, Xfm and BBC6? Get out!). Radio Magnetic came second last year, so fingers crossed truth will out in 2004. Vote at www.radiomagnetic.com or www.dma04.com.

Ooh, and tune into Matty and partner-in-crime Bad Boy Billy's 'sophisticated scotch broth' of jazzysoulfunkbreaksnbitsnbobs every Sunday from 3pm-4.30pm. Aye man!

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: We Listen Everyday, The Go! Team

Monday, October 04, 2004

Merry pranksters 

Snarf! My workmate got me good and proper today, as she pulled my chair out from under me as I went to sit down. It's the oldest joke in the book, but it's a goodie. What larks, Pip! What larks!

I loathe those self-important, self-righteous tits who make a point of telling people how much they hate practical jokes - physical humour and pranking being, presumably, the lowest form of wit. Get a life, saddos. While I'm the first to admit they can get tiresome after a while (that's why April Fool's Day stops at lunchtime), to me there's nothing funnier than the perfectly-executed PJ - and the more puerile and back-to-basics, the better.

A mate offers a perfect example of this: "I once hid under a girlfriend's bed for half an hour while she had a shower, just so I could grab her ankle and scare her. Alas when I did finally grab her ankle, her instinctive response was to kick out into my face. (I say 'instinctive', but I think 'calculated' would be a better word...)"

This is pure puerile genius and had me in stitches, being remarkably similar to the time I hid for 40 minutes in a darkened hallway closet, waiting for the then-boyfriend to come home so I could leap out at him, in the hope of giving him a heart attack and inheriting his vinyl collection.

One of the better pranks I ever played was totally unintentional, however, involving a different ex - a chap who had a small colourless mole that resembled an albino baby pea perched on his shoulder. One day, as I was eating breakfast in bed, scribbling plans for the day in a notebook, the beau snoozing angelically beside me. On a bizarre whim, I leaned over and gently coloured in his mole with my fountain pen, and thought nothing more of it. Two hours later, at work, I received a panicked phone call. "Oh my god, my mole!" he sobbed. "Something's happened - I've just got out of the shower and it's pissing black shit everywhere! I'm going to ring the hospital." (I would have let him too, had he not twigged 10 seconds after hanging up.)

But when it comes to the PJ king, the honours must go to Chintz, a former resident at Smacked Face Towers. Some of the dozens of tricks performed by the Prankin' Master include the classic 'hole under arm' gag ("What's that under your arm?", followed by monkey noises/actions when said victim lifts their arm and puts their other hand up to their armpit to inspect) and the 'mystery cuppa scare' (offering to make tea after a big night out, returning with cups in hand, then stumbling, leaving dazed 'n' confused victims awaiting a shower of scalding tea - except he's carrying empty mugs, the rapscallion).

Practical jokes rule.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Battered woman 

To the gentleman on Friday who wagered, "Bet ya ten pence you get shitfaced tonight", the cheque is in the post.

I only popped down the Horse for a quick drink to remind everyone of my existence, having been conspicuous by my absence for a week or two prior to the Greek excursion. But then the voices kicked in. "Deal to the evil throat pixies by drowning them in harsh spirits," they whispered. "Banish them by smoking out their lair."

Anyway, the upshot was a bender of seismic proportions, capped off by an emergency Bollinger run at 10am, after which Smacked Face was forced to retire uncharacteristically early. Yikes. Needless to say, the whole affair merely pissed off the throat pixies, which have now joined forces with the coughing gnomes, leaving me spluttering lung butter at every turn while wincing at the pain of it all.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usChez Smacked Face Towers after the lock-in, our English friends were treated to an array of Kiwi music videos, courtesy of Ms G's Nature's Best DVD. Regular readers will know of my darkly psychological aversion to the land where I was born, but even the venerable Ms G was having trouble avoiding the cultural cringe when it came to trying to explain Dave Dobbyn. How the hell did this man (<--) become a New Zealand superstar?

Anyway, despite many, many plans for yesterday, all I achieved was to sleep until 5pm, wake up feeling ill and settle in to the couch for a night of junk food and DVDs. (NB: do not ruin one of your favourite films by watching the Director's Cut, for it shall invariably be filled with nonsense that was sensibly left on the cutting room floor first time round - cf. Cinema Paradiso. Bunch of arse.)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Rubicon, Alan Braxe & Fred Falke

Friday, October 01, 2004

That Friday feeling 

It's Friday, motherfuckers! Kick out the jams! Smacked Face has been out of action for a couple of weeks, but she's back - and badder than ever. Let's paaaaartay! Wooo-hoooo!!!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAt least, that's what I would have been saying had I not drank too much red wine and smoked far, far too many Marlboro Lights last night, while entertaining the Melbourne Chick and dressing up giant-Afro'd Polynesian boys in pink towelling jumpsuits. My throat feels like nasty throat-pixies have been slashing at it with mini-throat-pixie-machetes and pissing hot acrid throat-pixie urine into the gaping throat-pixie wounds. I'm thinking that proposed spree at the house of Dr Feelgood is going to have to wait.

Mind you, I'm finding it hard to avoid cutting a rug to the fab new Optimo mix, which contains no less than three of my Favourite Tracks Of All Time™: Loose Joints' Tell You Today, Material's Bustin' Out and Bobby O's I'm So Hot For You. Maybe that famous rubber arm could be twisted after all...

INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Bustin' Out, Material I'm An Indian Too, Don Armando's 2nd Avenue Rhumba Band (c/o that Optimo mix - HOW catchy?! Superb.)

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