Last couple of posts I made repeated mention of meeting Mathilda Backlund. What a fuckhead. I've never met that woman. No, the bright young star I met was Tilde Evelina. A zillion apologies to both parties. I've gone back and amended the posts.
Now I've made my feelings about the greasy, cinder block gem that is The Windmill, Brixton, clear to all on a previous occasion, so I won't waste space heaping praise on the staff, the Bong Cave out the back, the crippled eccentrics in the afternoon crowd or the big goofy dogs (huge fucking dogs!).
I'll just take that shit as read and tell ye a tale of terror (*shines torch up underneath face*).
It starts over breakfast in Aarons depressing shoebox in Dalston, as the eerily docile Von Cupples dips his toast soldiers in his boiled eggy weggy. Aaron looks over with a blood freezingly innocent stare and asks me if I slept okay. I start trembling uncontrollably, my egg spoon dropping from nerveless fingers to clang on the table like a tiny Hells' Bell.
You'd be nervous too, if a state registered sociopath laid this creepy look on you over his egg-cup.
But gee whiz. The moment passes, and the new Aaron wanders over to his desk to do some psycho-therapy on the box, which had suffered a personal meltdown the previous night and fucked our gig in Camden. My own feeling was that The Box was just grandstanding, faking a breakdown to draw sympathy and media coverage, but Dr Von Cupples appeared to be able to coax it out of it's funk and the dead channels sputtered back to life, timidly at first, then stronger.
It's just a pathetic attention grab, Aaron. We should just ignore it until it stops being a SHIT.
With The Box in better spirits, we retired to separate rooms and spent the afternoon skypeing dirty limericks to each-other. It gave me time to reflect solemnly on my latest sojourn in the City on the Thames.
This is my thinking face. It drives the chicks NUTS!
Has it been worthwhile? Yes, it has. Is London a sprawling, manic pile of nervous, queasy fun? Yes, it is. Do I miss the Lady Alexandra Cecile Bouche, my 6'2" French stoner super-model girl-bro? Only every second of the long dark night.
It's mixed bag, but there's more peanuts than shit, if you get my drift.
Jesus. What the fuck am I saying now?
Never mind all that, the point is I was living in a fools paradise, totally unprepared for the vicious, screeching left turn that the evening had in store. You see, in between composing bawdy rhymes, Aaron was speeding towards total mastery of The Cube. By my reckoning, his understanding of the Rubikoid mysteries hit critical mass around 6pm, right before we loaded up the Landcruiser to head off to soundcheck.
Something happened deep inside The Baarons mind when he realised that The Cube could be conquered by a mortal intellect. I noticed during the drive to Brixton that there was a struggle going on inside him. He drove in silence and his face was a blank sheet, but every so often he would let out a sharp, high skwawk and jerk his whole body as if someone was poking him in the back with a soldering iron.
Once at The Windmill, I hustled him to unload and set up on stage as fast as possible, hoping to occupy his mind. But there was something about Billy (the super nice guy running the sound-system) that caught his attention in a bad way. He just stood in front of his amp like a statue of hate and stared at this poor guy for at least 5 minutes while playing diminished E chords at painfull volume.
I thought I'd try to distract him by taking his picture (Aaron usually finds camera flashes fascinating), so as a result I caught this image of his death-stare just moments before he launched himself like a pale, skinny torpedo right over the top of the mixing desk.
Portrait of the tense seconds before Baron Von Cupples takes to the air.
The "fight" was over before it began. Aaron hit Billy at head height and slammed him back into the edge of the bar. Billys' head was jerked backwards at an impossible angle and hit the counter with a sickeningly loud crack, like a huge walnut in a vice, while Aaron sailed over the bar and rolled into a stack of Carlsberg crates. The degenerate, beer-drunk locals that were scattered around the pub started cheering wildly and stamping their feet as Billy crumpled to the floor and Tim (the booker) and I jumped on top of Aaron to pin his arms before he could stand up.
It was a rotten, rotten way to start the night, but fortunately it was also the apex of the violence. Billy was miraculously unharmed and after stretching a bad kink out of his neck he declared himself okay. He seemed perversely amused by the whole incident and grinned goofily as we lifted Aaron off the floor. Aaron had twisted his ankle pretty badly and the pain seemed to have a soothing effect. He apologised to Billy for being "a bit over the top" and a nervous calm settled over the room.
After that, the evening followed pretty standard lines for a Sunday night gig in a small, nuts-n-bolts rock dive. To whit...
Beer, beer, yack, yack, beer, yack, play, yack, beer. Everyone we knew was there (like, uh, Andy and Matt and Yasmine and Michelle) and the atmosphere was cool and breezy.
Our passionate, precise, jaw-droppingly powerfull set culminated in a rare live performance of "Stacks On", a performance which was imediately declared "a pivotal moment in the pop history of the new millenium" by this Turkish guy in a Melvins shirt who passed out in the womens toilet and shat his pants. He was unconscious in there for about 40 minutes and no-one wanted to touch him, the reek was so horrible, but eventually two of his buddies dragged him out onto the street, where he woke up and started crying.
Hot damn. Is this a great band or WHAT!?
Here's Aaron post-gig, daring you to fuck with him, while some office-geek in a polo shirt tries to steal the limelight.
In a nice twist, Sara Motherfuckin Shakarchi dropped by for a nitecap, and even let me touch her, which of course kept me awake all night.
Look at the twisted, moronic grin on my face. I am a fool for Mesopotamian royalty.
To conclude, I never did recover all my marbles after the ugly scenes at the start of the night, so I remained on edge until well after we'd packed the car and said farewell to Tim and his no-good cronies. But overall it was a grand gig, despite the violence and the stench of human waste, so I'm going to put it in the "Wins" column.
Thanks to Billy for a fine mix and his good humor in the face of random assault, and of course to Tim and the rest of the staff for being excellent humans. I'm back in Barcelona now, to work on my Autumnal tan, and there's no gigs planned until the end of October, so the blog pickings could get pretty slim.
So while we're apart, eat well, be kind to people, take some excercise and buy yourself a little treat now and then, okay?
Love you. XX.
Live shots donated by muthafuckin M-M-Michelle M-M-Margherita.