the civic chronicle - you win some, you KILL some.

Posted in by CIVIL CIVIC | Edit
Well, I'm back in Barcelona and the latest bout of fuckarounds, lucky breaks, victories and humiliations that is "Civil Civic Live" are just so many fading memories.
The sun is shining, I'm unemployed and I can almost hear the sea calling me from where I sit.
May as well indulge in a little bit of public disclosure to get the blood thinned for some snorkeling out at Port Forum.

Chief amongst revelations from the CC Tour Of London was that we can fit all our gear (and ourselves) in a Smart car.

I loved the ATV and enjoyed the giddy rush of firing the water cannon into crowds of people waiting for the bus on our way out of whatever bumfuck European berg we played. But it was an expensive vehicle to maintain, and attracted alot of the wrong kind of attention, much like the disgusting hippie on the out-sized unicycle we spotted talking on his phone while riding in traffic.

Jesus Lord in heaven, I fucking hate Circus Folk.

Moving on to the subject of the gigs themselves I can report the following.
One unholy shitfight.
One meh.
Two decent nights on the town and
One stone-cold CRACKER!
In my experience (which is long and varied) this is roughly the kind of breakdown anyone can expect from playing music in small venues. If you have better averages, please get in touch. You have secrets that the world of shoe-string touring needs desperately.

I've already given many stinking details of the shitfight at Club 333 in my last post. The mild disappointment referred to above was at the Lock Tavern in Camden, which is a nice enough place to drink with friends, but a little under-specced for the shit-avalanche of bad noise which is, for good or ill, our "sound".

We had ourselves a decent time at the Notting Hill Arts club. I expected (from the name) this place to be some sort of florescently lit scout-hall, with bad conceptual art littered around and snooty, downbeat hipsters lounging around trying to look bored. It turned out to be a tight little basement venue with a loud, crisp rig, and the crowd turned out to be of the "urban soundz" type. I lost count of the number of flat-brimmed shit-heads I saw order champagne in a bucket over the bar for their abrasive, sluttish girlfriends. Not really our crowd, but we kept our heads on a swivel and did the business anyhow.

Aaron plays some Brahms on his synthesising accordian, JMJ style!!

Our gig at the Bar Fly (also in Camden) was tied to a launch party for Fly magazine, who had run a Civil Civic interview the preceding week.
It has a generous, high stage and a beefy sound-system, which had me feeling optimistic. It also has the most classic band-gear storage-room I have ever seen, and I have seen many. Not many indoor spaces scream out concepts like "rape" or "junkies" or "existential horror", but see for yourself. This one is an overachiever. Top marks.

Rape, junkies, existential horror. Leave your amp in here.

Speaking of horror, while loitering outside the venue pre-gig, we were introduced to a nice young woman called Francis, who turned out to be one of the columnists for the magazine.
She praised our "jams" and said flattering things about the interview, so I felt obliged to chat for a while. I got no help from Aaron, who was standing to one side with a sullen look on his face, leaving me to do the talking. He was jiggling some small metal objects around in his left hand, like a dice player about to take a roll, but I couldn't see what they were.

I found out soon enough that they were thumb-tacks, because Aaron suddenly plucked one out of his palm and jammed it into Francis' shoulder blade. He actually dropped the rest of the tacks and grabbed her shoulder so he could mash it in with his right thumb.

Francis let out a long, hideous wail and started flapping around like a crippled bat, clawing at her shoulder and barging into knots of smokers who shoved her away as if she was a crazed beggar who had stepped way over the line.

Aaron just sniggered quietly and swaggered off in search of more sick entertainment, leaving me to clean up the situation. It took me quite a while to calm Francis down. She was weeping with pain but seemed more confused than angry.
"Christ", she muttered "I read all those blog posts and I thought it was all horse-shit. But he really is that bad. Unbelievable."
"Hell yes", I replied "You should try touring with the fucker. I only do it because I have a couple of friends who are lawyers, so I know if I just stay on the sidelines I won't go to prison."

She just nodded in a distracted kind of way and wandered off into the street-crowd. I know a lucky break when I see one, so I ducked inside and went upstairs to take advantage of the impressive snack platter provided by the management.

Everyone knows, diabetic bands are always lame.

Aaron went through his usual pre-gig warm up, which amongst other things involves jamming his fret-hand into a toaster to promote callus growth, and also to get the good, hearty jolt that only 240 volts can give. It calms him and makes him alert at the same time, so I make sure to email venues in advance, to organise a nice little 2 slice number as part of our rider.

You can take the Aaron out of rural Victoria, but you cant stop him shoving his hand in the toaster.

There was a pretty decent crowd in the room when we started our set, but I was shocked and saddened when at least two thirds of them fled after roughly five minutes of our unique stylings. A great man once said "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force hammer-dumb pig-people to dig your shit".
A pity, because I would if I could. A cheap padlock in the right place would have forced those fickle crap-eaters to stay and get the whole terrible story.
Se la vie.

Anyway, all this is just typing exercise. The real gig news is that the Flowerpot (again, in Camden) is a SWINGING dive run by human beings, sporting full backline and a well specced public address system. It is frequented by real people who want to see a real band sweat and caper and crack wise.

 Working together to make beautiful music. So cute.

We had spastic conversations with some drunken goons from Brisbane and shmoozed a hepcat London promoter whose breath reeked of scotch. We danced to 5 year old blog-house and terrorized the locals.
I loved the shit out of this place. The gig was fun, the management was humane and the people were goofy and drunk and loose. Flowerpot RULES CAMDEN! Fuck all y'all.

Other tour highlights included the CC Inc strategy meeting at a tiny beer-snob joint called The Rake, attended by Hannah Gould, our Media Assassin who can puke all day and still make her blind date with the Duke of Heathershire, and the cruel and devious Andy Inglis (pronounced Ingles) whose misanthropy seems to expand like a supernova of petty hate every time I see him. I suspect he is actually burdened by an awful voodoo curse, which will only be lifted once he has called every single person on the planet a cunt.
From our point of view (literally) the meeting looked like this...

...and involved a great deal of slobbering and ranting on a wide range of subjects, but not much strategy. The band almost folded at the end of the night when Aaron stole my hat and started openly mocking my bass skillzzz.

The piper WILL be paid, one day, Cupples.

Also, our three hour photo shoot for Oyster magazine was a bizarre and goofy experience in almost every way, and will be the subject of it's own post when we get the proofs back from the lab. There should be some truly shocking and disturbing images in there.

Anyway, this thing is starting to run long, and I just wanted to provide a skittish little wrap-up of the CCTOL for our six dedicated readers.
Hi guys. Miss me?

Catch you bums on the flippy-flop.


  1. Flavie says:

    Paris misses you for sure.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:07 AM

  2. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Flavie! You got a spare room? I'm sick of this Barcelona bullshit.

    August 9, 2010 at 8:33 PM

  3. Unknown says:

    Dude, did Aaron really stab some hoe with a thumb tack? Haha what a badass. You guys are awesome.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:53 PM

  4. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Aaron doesn't carry weapons, he just wings it and makes the best of what God provides.
    Thumbtacks, shoes, plastic bags full of dirt.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:46 PM

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