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17 September 2005

Sometimes i wish i was human too

Current listening: Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow

nearly a month since i last posted anything so i thought it was about time i wrote something again. i can’t really remember everything that has happened since then but i’ll try.

we went to Sweden a week ago. i had to get on a plane. never fun. we played in a club called Debaser in Stockholm. we spent the afternoon walking around the town looking for a musical instrument shop because we’d forgotten to pack the guiro and the vibra slap. we found a fantastic shop with banjos and ukelelees in the window and all sorts of weird percussion under the counter. then we had to go back to the venue for soundcheck so we didn’t get a chance to see much more of stockholm. it seemed clean though and on the coach back to the airport it kind of reminded me of driving across America, with all the corn fields and the long straight roads. not that i’ve ever been to America, but i have seen ‘The Straight Story’ and it reminded me of that. the show went well i think. we were supported by a band called The Mexicos and before we came on the dj was playing loads of great records. especially good to hear ‘Fabulous Friend’ by The Field Mice being played at a club, and Camera Obscura too. it made a nice change, even if the dj did seem completely oblivious to which records he’d played when i talked to him about them afterwards. language barriers. i have a lot of trouble crossing them. still, it was nice to go out there, and some people travelled a long way across Sweden especially to see us. which was really touching. hopefully we can go back next year.

then last week we recorded a few tracks for a radio one session at the maida vale studios in london. it was pretty exciting to be there. we recorded three tracks. i’m not sure exactly when it’s going out on the air but i guess it’s going to be around the end of september. i think it went okay. difficult to tell withour hearing it mixed. Status Quo had been in the studio just before us and left some half eaten sandwiches in there, but they didn’t look particularly appetising so i didn’t eat any of them. i did go to the bbc canteen while we were there though. the prices were very competitive in there. soup was only 80p. and that included croutons. i wasn’t really in the mood for soup either though. so i just bought some fruit pastilles.

and now we’re getting ready to go on tour with james blunt in october. which is funny. i’m not really sure how it all came about. i suppose it’s quite simple. we were asked, and it seemed like a funny idea. so we said yes. and so we’re doing it. i guess we’d better put some practice in or we’ll be rubbish.

listening to the new devendra banhart album and really enjoying it. it looks like he’s got all his friends in to play on this one, which makes a nice change. favourite songs on first few listens are ‘I Feel Just Like A Child’ and ‘Chinese Children’, even if the words are sometimes a bit rubbish. there are so many new albums coming out that i want to buy. i guess september is one of those months. i really want to get all the Orchids reissues on LTM, and there’s a new Fire Engines compilation coming out on Domino that i’m going to need. and the new Vashti Bunyan album that Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart feature on. and so many more that i keep seeing reviewed in magazines. i still haven’t got the last Malcolm Middleton album. i hate playing catch up.

i picked up a copy of the latest issue of Socialism magazine when i was in Rough Trade on wednesday. there’s a really good interview in it, although it’s more of a conversation between Jeremy Deller, the Turner Prize winner and Nicky Wire, from Manic Street Preachers. at one point Nicky quotes the artist Kyffin Williams as saying “Young artists don’t love anything except themselves, they love what goes on in their minds and they don’t react to anything beautiful. I love what I paint.” i liked that. i’m not sure if it’s always true but i think it can apply to songwriters and musicians too. but i hope that what i write about is a reaction to something outside of myself. i tend to look to other things for inspiration because i don’t find myself particularly inspiring. and if i gaze at my navel for too long i just feel fat.

and today i’ve just been practising breathing and singing. it turns out that i’ve spent the whole of my life breathing wrong. which is a bit annoying. and i’ve been writing songs for the next album. we’ve already got five or six songs nearly finished for it. not recorded or anything, but written. i know what i want the album to sound like and be about. it even has a tentative title. it’s just a case of writing it all now. shouldn’t take too long. the last one only took us our whole lives to write and record. so six months should be enough for this one.

and i had a birthday last month too. happy birthday to me. and happy birthday to you if you had one too x