Thursday, 30 July 2009

Acoustic Lakeside Festival (Conclusion)

After my nap. I felt bit better and we headed back to catch the bands. It was a lovely festival but, as it was the first year, it was quite badly run and everything was running about an hour behind. I didn't mind this though as I already felt bad for missing some of the bands and it meant I got to watch Eight Legs.

I was sober as I arrived back at the festival but still felt drunk. It was as if I had so strongly linked being on that field with being drunk just being there again made me feel hammered. Also maybe it was just another strong association I'd made with the festival but I swear I could see strangers on the periphary of my vision playing Buffalo.

During Eight Legs set Jasper attempted to Buffalo Adam (Eight Legs Bass Player) whilst he was on stage. Adam had hidden an open bottle in his other hand and reverse Buffaloed Jasper from the stage, things were getting out of control.

After Eight Legs set I decided I should give in and start drinking again. Our friends Bishop Allen had turned up so whilst Justin (one of the singers in Bishop Allen) and I discussed our plan to stomp out bad poetry at open mic nights, the rest of Art Brut and Eight legs set about teaching Bishop Allen the game of Buffalo

-Justin and mine's plan to sort out terrible poetry is to start going to open mic nights and when we don't like a poem or a poet threatening them with a thick ear unless they shut up. If that doesn't work we are going to threaten them with a fight in the car park. I'm fairly sure we shouldn't be the arbiters for what counts for good poetry but at least the poets will be passionate about what they are talking about, if the threat of a thick ear is on the cards. Poetry slams will definitely be a lot more interesting once there is some actual SLAMMING going on.-

The festival was running really late now and Bishop Allen went on about an hour and a half late. They didn't Buffalo on stage but when they came off they complained to us that the sound hadn't been that good, as had Eight Legs. I don't normally mind about that kind of thing and both bands had been brilliant despite their bad sound onstage. As we were playing acoustic though I felt more vulnerable than usual, I was starting to get worried again.

Next up was the band due on before us Virginia Jetzt who were actually going on after we were supposed to have started. They sing in German and I'm all about lyrics when Im listening to a band so I only went out for a couple of their songs. At one point onstage the singer picked up his drink with his right hand and I'm fairly certain I heard a few Austrian voices shout Buffalo at him. He certainly had something shouted at him which made him looked confused. Then as I was heading back to the dressing room I saw a huge flash of lightning. There had been a threat of rain all day and now it looked like it was coming true. As Virginia Jetzt came offstage the heavens opened and it started pissing down.

There was a lot of talk about us not going on because it was too dangerous. We were not afraid though and got on stage despite the fact it was completely flooded. We got through about two songs before we were told we had to stop. I'd been psyching myself up all day to play acoustic though and by now really had to go through with it. I told the audience to squeeze under the tarpaulin at the bar at the back of the festival and we'd be down in a bit. Ian Jasper and myself ended up playing the gig stood amongst beer bottles on the bar.

I'm not sure how audible we were but we ended up doing two encores so it cant have been that bad.I think the fact that most of the crowd were singing along helped. For the first encore I asked if I could take a drink from someone to sooth my unamplified voice. Someone in the crowd handed me a beer. I took it in my right hand. About thirty people -not including Eight Legs, Bishop Allen and the festival staff who we had also taught the game- shouted BUFFALO at me. I hadn't been imagining it earlier, we had corrupted an entire festival.

For the second encore we were asked if we knew a cover everyone could sing along too. The only cover we know is The KKK Took My Baby Away and I wasn't sure how well everybody would know that. I was just starting to apologise when we realised, we knew Wonderwall. We had been playing it all day as a joke, people had been trying to teach me it on the guitar. It turns out even if you dont think you do, EVERYBODY knows the words to Wonderwall.

Earlier when Eight Legs had been playing I had recognised one of their songs. Now all the excitement had died down I finally got a chance to ask them how I knew it. It is, they told me whilst people downed beers and screamed BUFFALO in the backround, the music to an advert on British television at the moment, an advert to promote responsible drinking.

I loved Accoustic Lakeside festival. I can not recommend it highly enough. I am definitley going next year even though we are not playing. I will bring a tent though I dont fancy sleeping under the stars again

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Acoustic Lakeside Festival (Part Two)

I managed to get about an hours sleep under the stars. At about 7am people started waking up to take showers and prepare for the day. As they walked past me slumped unconscious a few of them decided to shake me awake and shout 'TOP OF THE POPS" at me. I know it was entirely my own fault that I'd had an unpleasant nights sleep, but Im not very good in the mornings. Luckily for them I really like people shouting "TOP OF THE POPS" at me. If they had shouted anything else I would have more than likely tried to fight them. I tried to go back to sleep, but after a few more people woke me up to shout 'TOP OF THE POPS" at me I decided to relocate.

I relocated down to the lake. It was quieter down there and I hid under a blanket so no one would know to shout "TOP OF THE POPS" at me. I drifted in and out of sleep for a couple of hours before finally giving up and reading the 'Just William' book I had with me. I'd like to be able to say that after sleeping by a lake, under the stars and amongst so much scenic beauty, that I felt truly free for the first time in my life. Sadly that is not the case though. I felt truly awful. I must have looked it too as people were beginning to point. Eight Legs arrived and I could see them looking horrified at me from the corner of my eye. I was in no state to play beach football.

The rest of Art Brut (minus the other person who slept in a field) all turned up at 11.35 ready for the football. They'd asked me to commentate on the games that we weren't playing but I delegated that role to Ian, who I knew would be much better at it than me. He was brilliant. Interviewing himself as Alan Hansen and making puns on all the other teams names. Eventually the other person that had slept in a field turned up and we began to play. Unsurprisingly we lost spectacularly. Now sober, I remembered that I wasn't fearless. I was the opposite of fearless. I was terrified of the ball. I was even flinching if the ball came near me when I was sat on the subs bench. Previously I'd thought we'd just have to lose the one match and then I could go to the hotel and rest. Turns out that is not how it works. We had to lose four games over the course of three hours. I was a mess by the fourth game. I did manage to score two goals though. Eventually we lost to everybody and we could go back to the hotel for rest.

As we were leaving I thought I saw some people I didn't know 'Buffalo-ing' each other but I put it down to a trick of the light mixed with exhaustion from the football. Whilst I'd been playing football too I thought I'd heard people shouting Buffalo but had put it down to my over active imagination.

When we arrived back at the farm house we were staying in. I really wished I'd stayed there the previous night. The lady that ran it was lovely and all the food in her house appeared to be from her back garden. Eggs, Strawberry Jam, Honey, Vegetables of all sorts. I think even the Sprite she was serving us came from a well in her backyard. This made me feel even more embarrassed than I had previously for acting like a 'Lad' as we seemed to be staying in a Famous Five novel.

Eventually though I had a bed and could sleep for a few hours, wake up and pretend everything that had happened was just a bad dream.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Acoustic Lakeside Festival (Part One)

When Bob Dylan went electric his friends warned him against it. When Art Brut told our friends we were going to be playing an acoustic set. They tried to physically stop us. Our tour manager Ed told me he was going to scream 'Judas' at the stage.

We had been booked to play an entirely acoustic festival at a lakeside in Austria. Being a fan of Jonathan Richman I had immediately said yes when we were offered the gig. In my over active imagination I thought we would be able to play our songs in a similar style to his. Not everybody in the band was as confident as me that this would be the case though and as the festival approached even I was getting a little bit worried. We had a couple of practices and it sounded ok. We are quite a strange band to ask to play an acoustic set though as we are 'punk as fuck'. As the festival approached my trepidation grew, there were suddenly some doubts in my mind. Maybe playing an acoustic festival wasn't such a good idea. Also we had promised to play in a football tournament the morning of the day we played. I had no doubts there. I knew that was definitely a bad idea.

The festival was near Klagenfurt. Ryanair only fly in and out of Klagenfurt every other day so we arrived early the day before we played and visited the festival. It was in a beautiful location right beside a lake full of people swimming. We went for a swim, had some schnitzel and then joined in the fun at the festival.

Before I go any further. I should let you know that at the moment in Art Brut we have become obsessed with the drinking game Buffalo. I dont know if you have played Buffalo. Here are the rules. If you are holding a drink in your right hand and someone shouts 'Buffalo' at you, you have to finish the drink off in one go. Unless you have an open drink in your other hand in which case the person who shouted 'Buffalo' has to drink theirs. A fairly simple game.

Anyway another English band called Eight Legs were at the festival and we decided that would teach them Buffalo. I am not very good at the game. I think this is where the problems started. Also I sometimes manage to convince myself that booze isn't working and accidently drink a bit too much to get 'kick started'. Convinced I am sober no matter how bizzare my behaviour becomes. That first night at the festival, for some reason, I mistakenly thought I was completely sober.

You'd think I would have realised I was drunk when I went for a late night swim in the lake or perhaps that I'd have realised when I started promising everybody that instead of playing our own songs we were going to cover Nirvana Unplugged in its entirety, maybe I should have realised I wasn't sober when I started insisting that I was personally going to learn how to play both 'House Of The Rising Sun' and 'Wonderwall' on the guitar and open the festival with those songs in the morning. But no I believed these were the actions of a sober man. So I started drinking Jagermeister.

Have you tried Jagermeister? It tastes like medicine. This is because it is the cure for being sober. I still thought that I was sober though, no matter how much of it I drank. I even started boasting that we were going to win the football in the morning. It was this final bit of boasting that got me in the most trouble.

I had been shouting my mouth off that we could beat any team at the festival, because we were fearless. When a girl who we were playing the next day told me that even if we did win we would have been cheating because we were staying in a hotel whilst all the other players were sleeping in tents. I decided to prove my point that we would definitely win no matter where we stayed by insisting on sleeping on a sofa outside underneath the stars.

It was at about 5am, a bit cold and with a text in my phone from another member of Art Brut (telling me he was lost and sleeping in a cornfield) when I realised that the booze had definitely been working, and I had not been sober.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Talking To The Kids

Not going to Reading and Leeds?

Us either.

On Sunday 30th August we're playing for free at Anonymous festival in Dorchester.

It is a festival organised by the young people of Dorchester. Some of whom I met when they won a Phillip Lawrence award in 2007.

We were flattered to be asked to headline.

I was born in Weymouth which is just round the corner and grew up in Poole which is just down the road. I wish that somebody had been organising free festivals full of local bands when I was growing up.

If your not at Reading and Leeds you should come down. Manbury Rings is right next to Dorchester South train station and the festival shuts at 10pm so you can get the last train home.

Im going to get my face painted like Spiderman or perhaps like a tiger. I haven't decided yet.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Biff! Bang! Pow!

I've written my first Pow! To The People in ages.

It is about Scott Pilgrim it is HERE

It took longer than it should have too write. I think touring has broken my brain.

I think the cure for a broken brain is lots of tea as my brain is on the mend now.

Someone should make Anton Newcombe drink lots of tea.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Insider Outsider Art

I've been mad busy and neglected my art blog.

My friend Sian Pattenden has been busying away at hers though she has recently painted me with a Lion. Here it is.

And HERE is her blog. Insider Outsider Art.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Actually I think we improved it.

Keith Top Of The Pops and I have finally updated our Eddie And Keith Are Listening To myspace.
We Shouted Donovan's 'Atlantis' into a laptop in our front room.
If you want to hear it, it is HERE


I wrote about DC Comics for Under The Radar magazine. I hope they don't mind me posting it here. I don't think that issue of the magazine is out anymore though so it should be ok.

I had to write about why I love DC Comics. Although I had to stick to only a few hundred words. Which I clearly found quite hard.

here it is

I love DC Comics. I have loved them since I was given a pile of Batman comics when I was ten. My only experience of Batman previous to that had been with the very camp sixties TV show. These Batman stories I'd been given, though, were much darker and far more complex than Adam West's goofing about on the television. I was surprised that the characters were expressing political opinions and shocked that people were getting murdered. I'd enjoyed comics previously to reading Batman, but I think deep down I'd always thought comics were only for children and that I was going to have to give them up one day. Discovering Batman made me realise that perhaps comics were something I could take with me into adult life.

Of course, Batman was only the beginning. Soon other characters started popping up in his stories that I wanted to know more about, and before I knew it I was collecting more and more comics. I tried other companies, too. I briefly had a subscription to the Marvel comic Spiderman, but gave it up after a long and boring story about clones. I still read other comics now and then, but it's only DC comics I have a subscription with. Other comic publishers just don't have the same long-muddled history that DC does. Superman's first stories were written in 1938, and Batman's in 1939, and there are a whole host of other characters from the '40s and '50s too. I think this is the main thing I love about DC - the constant struggle of the writers to try and reconcile their characters' long-complicated pasts with current storylines, and also their always-futile attempts to create a definitive universe that all the characters can live in. I can't think of any other art form or even comic publisher that has that problem.

I genuinely love DC comics. It is brilliant to have another universe to immerse myself in, especially when things aren't going my way. I've lived in some crummy houses, had awful jobs and some bad break-ups. But as long as I've had a DC comic to read, I've always managed to be happy. They are brilliant.