29 October 2013
“from the moon, the earth looks small, shiny, serene, blue and white. fragile. i really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles, their outlook could be fundamentally changed"
- michael collins
when i was young i never really thought much about space. it wasn't that i didn't like it, i just didn't think about it. i never spent warm summer nights staring up into the cloudless sky marveling at the mystery and wonder of it all. i guess i had enough to worry about on earth. i don't really remember looking up at all.
i do remember doing a school project on space when i was seven. i decided my favourite planet was pluto. i liked it for the same reasons i liked a lot of things when i was young. because it was the smallest and because no one else in my class liked it. and now scientists have downgraded pluto to being a dwarf planet, so my favourite planet isn't even a proper planet anymore. i suppose it was to be expected.
when i was young i wanted to be a cowboy, until i was old enough to want to be a pop star. i never wanted to be a train driver or a fireman, or any of those other things that boys want to be when they're young. and i never wanted to be an astronaut. i've never really liked astronauts. i've always thought astronauts were jocks.
i do have a favourite astronaut though. his name is michael collins. i like him for the same reasons i like a lot of things. because he is the smallest and no one else likes him. he was the third astronaut to go into space in 1969 on the apollo 11 mission to land on the moon, and no one ever remembers him. everyone knows neil armstrong and buzz aldrin, but michael collins has become the great forgotten astronaut. and he is my favourite.
michael collins didn't get to walk on the moon. for twenty one hours while neil armstrong and buzz aldrin were on the moon he was in the columbia command module circling it. every time he orbited the moon, radio contact with earth would abruptly cut off as soon as he went behind it, and for those minutes he was the most alone any person has ever been.
"i am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. i am it."
there's even a song about michael collins on our latest album, and this is the new video that we made for it. the video was beautifully animated by mal hartley from tim owen's original drawings.
you can watch it here on vevo
and you can watch it here on vimeo
hope you like it.
13 August 2013
A couple of weeks ago we were listening to our friends Geoff Lloyd and Annabel Port on the Absolute Radio Hometime show and Annabel played a song that she had written about all the dead dogs that they've been sent letters about from their listeners. Geoff suggested that maybe they could get a "real" band to record the song and then release it. So we got in contact and they seemed very excited to hear from us and the next thing we knew we were in the studio recording a version of the song and they were playing it on the radio.
We're now very excited to announce that our version of the The Dead Dog Memorial Song is available to buy from iTunes all over the world, and all the proceeds go to the amazing charity, The Dog's Trust.
The song even has its own animated video.
It's all very very exciting! For us and for Geoff and Annabel and for dogs and dog lovers everywhere.
We hope you like the song.
17 June 2013
"just thinking of the several thousand macaroni dishes i consumed during my lifetime really pierced me with fear. you can neither die nor live with ease. you just keep eating or making love until the very day of your death, as though you were being carried along on a conveyor belt. i was really afraid of that" - yayoi kusama
"it's scary to watch someone you love go into the center of himself and confront his fears, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of going insane. you have to fail a little, die a little, go insane a little, to come out the other side." - eleanor coppola
the b side to our new single is called 'a world of polka dots', and it's our little paean to the princess of polka dots, yayoi kusama. apart from george michael and andrew ridgeley, i don't think we've ever written a tribute to anyone before, but i wanted to write something about her because i like the way she confronts her fears by filling her work with them. there's a lot of fear in our songs. fear of spiders, flying, the countryside, fear of falling in love, fear of failure, fear of death. i've been afraid of a lot of things over the course of four albums. i guess in a way i like to sing about the things i'm afraid of because somehow it makes me less afraid of them too.
a few years ago i made a list on twitter of all the things i was scared of. i got to sixty five fears and then i stopped. perhaps too afraid to go on. this is the list of the sixty five fears i had so far.
65. finding a dead mouse in my bread
64. deer ticks
62. people i used to go to school with
61. the toothpick fish
60. my ear drums being perforated. particularly by knitting needles or kerplunk straws
59. wind turbines
57. high school musical
56. people touching my wrists
55. double layered car transporters
54. ronald mcdonald
53. developing flu like symptoms
52. getting a splinter in my tongue from a lolly stick
51. extractor fans
50. ventriloquist dummies
49. sneezing too hard and my eyeballs becoming unattached from their sockets
48. meteors crashing into earth
47. crime scene reconstructions
46. roller coasters
45. going into hospital for an operation and not getting enough anaesthetic so that i feel everything
44. getting my fingers chopped off in lawnmowers
43. leaf shredders. for the same reason as lawnmowers
42. hanging baskets
41. being struck by lightning
39. gnarl from buffy the vampire slayer
38. der kindestod from buffy the vampire slayer
37. the gentlemen from buffy the vampire slayer
36. the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang
34. my tongue getting frozen to things when i lick them and having to be cut away
32. people who work in bookshops
31. the speed of mice
30. the easter bunny
29. dinner parties
28. hearing noises in lofts
27. someone ice skating over my fingers
24. garden centres
22. people posting lit fireworks through my letterbox
20. pigeons flying at me
18. peanuts. i might be allergic to them and i don't know
16. getting moles caught in zips
15. bruises under toenails
14 .little tiny stones flicking up off the road and coming in through my car window and hitting me when i'm driving
13. the theatre
12. bookshelves falling over and crushing me
11. grating my fingers off when i'm grating cheese
10. ordering food in restaurants
9. sitting in the bath and it falling through the floor
8. being pushed off train station platforms just as the train is coming
7. accidentally getting a pencil stuck up my nose and then hitting my head so it goes all the way up in to my brain
6. swallowing my tongue
5. putting warm food in fridges
3. bats flying into my hair and getting so entangled that i have to wait for them to die of distress and cut them out
2. cutting my tongue open when i'm licking envelopes
1. rats climbing out of toilets
there are definitely some things missing from the list. i might have to start it up again.
67. my car breaking down on railway crossings