Saturday, August 30, 2008

Writing In Green Ink On The Piccadilly Line

23 Aug 2008:

I love my Dad so much. He is a funny old hotch-potch. A bit like me really - which is encouraging seeing as we are directly related. This morning he is a breath of fresh air in this age of the separated communication of text and electronic mail.

'The next stop is South Ealing'

He lives a simple life and appreciates real things like a bit of nice cheese here and there, old picture frames and writing with old fashioned ink pens.

'Acton Town is interchange only. Passengers wishing to alight at Acton Town must cross the platform and take the next train to Ealing Common where there is a replacement bus service back to Acton Town'

Thank christ my Dad isn't travelling with me - he would spontaneously organise a furious sit-in, a noisy riot. He would scale a wall to get out of the station or would start shouting at the guard. But he is with me - I am reading one of his wonderful, scratchyfluent hand-written letters which prompted me to write this. Being a chip off the old block I boarded the train rather agitated as I realised that I had nothing to read for the next 15 stops.

'The next station is Hammersmith'

Nothing - not even last night's discarded and stale free paper. Sitting still with nothing to do except stare at other passengers is just too boring to imagine and I am not in the mood for playing the fallback option 'who in this carriage would you shag if you had to' game. As it happens, I am glancing around - ugh - no - none of them. What if the world depended on it? More people are coming on. Let's see.


Four massive guts, two extreme double chins, four sensible shoe wearers and a 20-something who is wearing sunglasses inside and um..excuse me...we are in a tunnel now.

Yes but the world depends on it!! Oh, hang a push I suppose I could muster...oh no...he's reading The Daily Record. It looks worse than The Daily Sport. Anyway, my Dad saved me. I remembered that I received a letter from him this morning and shoved it in my bag as I left the house.

'The next station is Gloucester Road. Change here for the Circle Line'

What a beautiful letter and how funny. He does the same thing as me - writes like this - with lots of dashes - and exclamation marks! Like this! We have the same sense of humour and both write very fast. Perhaps that is what it is. It's really nice to get a proper letter, written in proper ink on proper thick paper. He even does little drawings too. So lovely. I used to write letters all the time - and postcards. Now I just seem to e mail and text copiously. I worked on a big international media project last year and from Feb to July I received 9,483 e mails - absolutely ridiculous. I had a day like that yesterday - received around 72. We are filming next week so lots to organise and lots of last minute questions/stuff to sort - but even so! Can't you just pick up the phone? I did that yesterday and the person on the other end sounded genuinely shocked as if spoken communication was an odd thing to be involving yourself in these days.

So here I am writing in a book (black moleskine with squared paper) in fine emerald green pen which I could scan and post up but very few of you could read my 'I should have been a doctor)'s writing. So I shall be modern and type it all up. My Dad's great letter was the seed which grew into the sapling of an idea and despite the fact his letter and this is handwritten, it has all been processed and become part of the technologyjam that is giving us all pinksore eyes and bloggers bottoms.

Adieu. I'm off to work with
Terry Callier, Iggy and the Stooges, and Sparks. I'm so excited.

'Covent Garden'.

I'm here. I'm here. I'm here.

LISTEN AND VOTE FOR ALL MY PODCASTS HERE - new one coming soon...promise...just don't hassle makes me nervous!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Meme Myself and I

Meme. Oh it's all the rage you know - so I have jumped on the memewagon while it is trundling down the road - a smattering of my favourite bloggers The Urban Woo, Billy, and Slaminsky have done it too. Here goes:

1. My uncle once: threatened my Grandmother’s unrequited lesbian stalker with a steel fire poker

2. Never in my life: been skiiing

3. When I was five: I stuck silver stars on my face and pouted

4. High school was: unforgivably the worst

5. I will never forget: my friend who I wish was still alive

6. Once I met: Diana Dors at a film premiere as a child

7. There’s this girl I know: whose passive aggressive nature really upsets me

8. Once, at a pub: I poured a whole pint of beer over a bloke’s head who was patronising me as he dumped me – he was a really screwed up psychoanalyst who eventually left the profession

9. By noon, I’m usually: starting to lose concentration

10. Last night: I tried to get my partner to understand it was better for him to move out than disrupt our child further by me and our child moving out

11. If only I had: a magic flying carpet

12. Next time I go to church: it will probably be for my beloved and most favourite godfather’s funeral – I am dreading it.

13. What worries me most: me or my son dying in a freak accident and apart

14. When I turn my head left I see: a lovely dark chocolate brown Robin Day Forum sofa and me reflected in a big mirror behind it

15. When I turn my head right I see: fruit, a book by Ronan Bennett, plasticine that has been cut into dalek shapes, the garden

16. You know I’m lying when: I insist and my voice goes so unbearably shrill it could shatter a glass

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: being able to wear really slutty clothes and get away with it and fun

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be: in the Comedy of Errors

19. By this time next year: I'll have hopefully sorted out what is currently plaguing me

20. A better name for me would be: Ms A Polaris – like a missile and straight to the point

21. I have a hard time understanding: sudoku – why does it exist?

22. If I ever go back to school, I’ll: burn it down

23. You know I like you if: I invite you to places and chat incessantly in a very open way

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: the person that gave me the break in the first place

25. Take my advice, never: lie – it’s so disappointing

26. My ideal breakfast is: scrambled or soft-boiled eggs on toast with ketchup and hot chilli sauce and a light dusting of freshly ground black pepper

27. A song I love but do not have is: “Don’t You Think I’m Psycho Mama”? by Leon White (weird Country and Western)

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: have a pint by the pond

29. Why won’t people: stop being so horrible to children?

30. If you spend a night at my house: you would be cooked for, have endless wine poured into your glass, have lots of chats and probably stay up far too late – there would be lots of laughter, music and even an odd game of Scrabble if you are lucky and you would be encouraged to help yourself to anything and you would have towels that would be placed neatly at the bottom of your bed

31. I’d stop my wedding for: someone else suddenly coming along at the last minute who was the ‘real one’

32. The world could do without: BT, McDonalds and the politics of fear

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: have to go on the game for a living

34. My favourite blonde(s) is/are: Cate Blanchett, Debbie Harry, Captain Sensible and Iggy Pop

35. Paper clips are more useful than: those string tie document fastener thingys

36. If I do anything well it’s: because I can’t bear unthoroughness

37. I can’t help but: worry about stuff past gone or in the future

38. I usually cry: really easily – even on the train reading a sad story in the free newspaper

39. My advice to my child/nephew/niece: do what you like and be who you like but don’t bother with hard drugs

40. And by the way: life is what you make it


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Isaac Hayes Dead at 65

Yes - Isaac Hayes, the enigmatic and fantastically talented musician and singer has died at 65 - too young as far as I am concerned. The picture above is of one of my most favourite and very played albums of his - Live at the Sahara Tahoe. I am sure many just think all Isaac Hayes ever did was sing Shaft and voice the part of the chef in South Park - but no - here is a tiny pocket guide to the breadth of his performing, composing and writing talents.

Not many people know that....

Isaac Hayes was a self-taught musician

Isaac Hayes was hired in 1964 by Stax Records as back-up pianist and saxophonist working as a session musician for big names such as Otis Redding.

Isaac Hayes wrote big hits for Sam and Dave such as Hold On, I'm Coming and Soul Man.

Isaac Hayes didn't get a recording contract until the age of 26 in 1969 - he then shot to fame with the release his groundbreaking and influential album Hot Buttered Soul.

Isaac Hayes scored the soundtrack to the film Shaft. It was a number one hit in 1971. He won an Academy Award for the title song and was nominated for another one for the entire score. The song and score also won him two Grammys.

Isaac Hayes appeared in several films including It Could Happen to You with Nicolas Cage and Ninth Street with Martin Sheen.

Isaac Hayes was a Scientologist - which is why he quit South Park in 2006 after they released an episode where Scientologists were made fun of and lampooned.

Isaac Hayes was married four times and has 12 children.

Isaac Hayes was a unique talent and the music world will be a slightly emptier place without him.

Rest well Isaac.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Sunny Duets of Sunny

One of my all time favourite songs is Sunny. There are many versions in existence - Stevie Wonder, Georgie Fame, Bobby Hebb and even James Brown and the Dee Felice Trio as featured on one of my earlier podcasts at some point within the last year. But here is really one of the finest and now very rare and unique versions of that song: Tom Jones and Ella Fitzgerald from a Tom Jones TV Special in 1970. I have the entire show on a very worn vhs tape which bears half a torn sticker with Tom Jones DO NOT ERASE scribbled across it in faded pencil. In fact - I must get it transferred to dvd before it totally crumbles. It features Tom Jones singing with Joe Cocker, Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Ella Fitzgerald and others. It really is wonderful. After years of searching youtube it has finally surfaced - it is at the wrong aspect ratio but nevermind - it really is something else. Here it is:

Tom Jones - the only welshman with soul and Ella whose voice sounded so young and so sweet even as an old lady. How to do a cover version properly page one. I hope you enjoyed it.


The Fine Art of Noshing vs Scoffing

For those of you in the world that missed it - here is Giles Coren's fantastically rude but correct letter to the sub-editor of The Times. He was a bit pissed off.


I am mightily pissed off. I have addressed this to Owen, Amanda and Ben because I don't know who i am supposed to be pissed off with (i'm assuming owen, but i filed to amanda and ben so it's only fair), and also to Tony, who wasn't here - if he had been I'm guessing it wouldn't have happened.

I don't really like people tinkering with my copy for the sake of tinkering. I do not enjoy the suggestion that you have a better ear or eye for how I want my words to read than I do. Owen, we discussed your turning three of my long sentences into six short ones in a single piece, and how that wasn't going to happen anymore, so I'm really hoping it wasn't you that fucked up my review on saturday.

It was the final sentence. Final sentences are very, very important. A piece builds to them, they are the little jingle that the reader takes with him into the weekend.

I wrote: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for a nosh."

It appeared as: "I can't think of a nicer place to sit this spring over a glass of rosé and watch the boys and girls in the street outside smiling gaily to each other, and wondering where to go for nosh."

There is no length issue. This is someone thinking "I'll just remove this indefinite article because Coren is an illiterate cunt and i know best".

Well, you fucking don't.
This was shit, shit sub-editing for three reasons.
1) 'Nosh', as I'm sure you fluent Yiddish speakers know, is a noun formed from a bastardisation of the German 'naschen'. It is a verb, and can be construed into two distinct nouns. One, 'nosh', means simply 'food'. You have decided that this is what i meant and removed the 'a'. I am insulted enough that you think you have a better ear for English than me. But a better ear for Yiddish? I doubt it. Because the other noun, 'nosh' means "a session of eating" - in this sense you might think of its dual valency as being similar to that of 'scoff'. you can go for a scoff. or you can buy some scoff. the sentence you left me with is shit, and is not what i meant. Why would you change a sentnece aso that it meant something i didn't mean? I don't know, but you risk doing it every time you change something. And the way you avoid this kind of fuck up is by not changing a word of my copy without asking me, okay? it's easy. Not. A. Word. Ever.

2) I will now explain why your error is even more shit than it looks. You see, i was making a joke. I do that sometimes. I have set up the street as "sexually-charged". I have described the shenanigans across the road at G.A.Y.. I have used the word 'gaily' as a gentle nudge. And "looking for a nosh" has a secondary meaning of looking for a blowjob. Not specifically gay, for this is soho, and there are plenty of girls there who take money for noshing boys. "looking for nosh" does not have that ambiguity. the joke is gone. I only wrote that sodding paragraph to make that joke. And you've fucking stripped it out like a pissed Irish plasterer restoring a renaissance fresco and thinking jesus looks shit with a bear so plastering over it. You might as well have removed the whole paragraph. I mean, fucking christ, don't you read the copy?

3) And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed 'a' so that the stress that should have fallen on "nosh" is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you're winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can't you hear? Can't you hear that it is wrong? It's not fucking rocket science. It's fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

I am sorry if this looks petty (last time i mailed a Times sub about the change of a single word i got in all sorts of trouble) but i care deeply about my work and i hate to have it fucked up by shit subbing. I have been away, you've been subbing joe and hugo and maybe they just file and fuck off and think "hey ho, it's tomorrow's fish and chips" - well, not me. I woke up at three in the morning on sunday and fucking lay there, furious, for two hours. weird, maybe. but that's how it is.

It strips me of all confidence in writing for the magazine. No exaggeration. i've got a review to write this morning and i really don't feel like doing it, for fear that some nuance is going to be removed from the final line, the pay-off, and i'm going to have another weekend ruined for me.

I've been writing for The Times for 15 years and i have never asked this before - i have never asked it of anyone i have written for - but I must insist, from now on, that i am sent a proof of every review i do, in pdf format, so i can check it for fuck-ups. and i must be sent it in good time in case changes are needed. It is the only way i can carry on in the job.

And, just out of interest, I'd like whoever made that change to email me and tell me why. Tell me the exact reasoning which led you to remove that word from my copy.

Sorry to go on. Anger, real steaming fucking anger can make a man verbose.
All the best


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Iggy Pop and the Stooges Gear Stolen - A Favour

Iggy and The Stooges are in the middle of a huge tour and have had all their gear and truck stolen. This is a disaster - some rare, vintage custom-built and therefore much coveted and irreplaceable kit has gone forever. Please read the following and help if you can. If you would rather remain anonymous then please send a message to the e mail on my profile and I will pass the information on.

Someone has to have seen or know something.

If anyone who reads this and lives in or near Montreal, Canada or if anyone has ANY INFORMATION - if you get any of the following gear offered to you as a dealer, private collector or even on Ebay - even if in passing you see something for sale that COULD be part of the below list DON'T HESITATE (photo's of some missing gear here):

please, please, PLEASE as soon as possible contact
Eric Fischer at:
cell phone: +1 646 932 1907


all equipment was in a rented penske 15 foot yellow truck
with u.s. (michigan) license plate number AC46493
parked immediately outside the hotel, the theft had to have happened in the morning, between 6:30 and 7:30 am -

truck and all gear stolen

pictures of some of the stolen stuff

Item Country of Origin Serial Number

Red roadcase containing:
Red Gibson 1963 EB-3 bass (this is mike watt's bass!) USA No serial number

Black roadcase containing:r
Reverend Flying V guitar - Volcano black USA #08001

Black roadcase containing:
Reverend Orange guitar USA 03416 ZSL7

Black fibre case containg:
Gibson red SG short scale bass USA No serial number

Black roadcase containing:
Marshall Vintage/Modern Amplifier UK M-2007-07-0926-2 RoHS

Black roadcase containing:
Marshall Vintage/Modern Amplifier UK M-2007-07-0927-2 RoHS

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #1 Slant: M-2007-05-0149-0

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #2 Straight: M-2006-49-0380-0

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #3 Slant: M-2007-05-0150-0

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #4 Straight: M-2006-49-0381-0

Orange Calzone road case containing:
Guitar pedal board and pedals USA/Japan No serial number
Assorted leads USA/UK No serial number
2x mic stands Germany No serial number
Assorted strings and spares USA No serial number
2x Boss TU2 Chromatic Tuner
Boss CH1 Super Chorus
Fulltone OCD Overdrive
Crybaby Wah
Peterson Strobo-Stomp Tuner Pedal
Whirlwind A/B Boxes
Whirlwind Cable Tester
and many many istrument cables
various tools ( screwdrivers, soldering iron, pliers, etc... )
tambourine and maracas

Cardboard box containing:
Assorted replacement drum heads USA No serial number

Gretsch Silver Sparkle Catalina drum kit USA No serial number
26" Kick Drum No serial number
13" Rack Tom No serial number
18" Floor Tom No serial number
4x Cymbal Stands No serial number
1x Snare Stand No serial number
1x Hi Hat Stand No serial number
1x Drum Throne No serial number

Eden D810 Bass cabinet USA D810RP4 0703E5001

Eden D810 Bass cabinet USA D810RP4 0703E5002

Cardboard box containg:
Eden VT300 Bass amplifier USA 0601E5115

Cardboard box containg:
Eden VT300 Bass amplifier USA 0507E5033

Floor Fan CHINA No serial number

Floor Fan CHINA No serial number

Green clamshell suitcase containing:
Yamaha snare drum JAPAN No serial number
Yahama kick pedal JAPAN No serial number
Zildjian Mega Bell cymbal USA No serial number
Zildjian 15" Hi-Hats USA No serial number
3x Zildjian 18" 19" 20" crash medium cymbals USA No serial number

Brown Epiphone guitar case:
Black Epiphone EB3 short scale bass KOREA F300503

1 x Wheeled Black Pelican case (50cm x 28cm x 20cm) containing :
A selection of microphones and microphone accessories, most of which are in separately labeled black pouches. All of the microphones are of Shure manufacture, also a BSS DI box. Inside the Pelican case there is also a Ferrari pencil case containing an iPod, iPod accessories, various small cables and adaptors, a Leatherman Charge, a Stooges AAA tour laminate, some pain killers, some sharpies, some electrical tape, some business cards (Mr Rik Hart). Within the case there is also a big pair of Sony headphones (model MDR7506) with a long curly cable and three very long XLR to XLR mic cables. Here's a more specific list of the microphones :
2 x SM91
5 x SM98
2 x B98
2 x SM81
2 x KSM32
1 x KSM27
2 x B52
3 x SM57
8 x SM58
1 x BSS AR-133 DI Box
(all manufactured by shure)

mike watt's hoot page