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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

a song about ancient aliens called; "the big picture"

Hiya fortean folks!

I have recorded a new song about ancient aliens called the big picture.

It's a song of hope in desperate times and just maybe one day the mothership will return!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWygh5qpfTA

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Night I Slept In Scully's bed

Yay my debut book is out now. It's called; "Weird - The Life And Times Of A Pocket God" and as well as being about my time in music it's also about all the weird Fortean stuff that's happened to me along the way.
You can find out more about it here;

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/weird---the-life-and-times-of-a-pocket-god/18722334


THE NIGHT I SLEPT IN SCULLY’S BED & JAMMIN’ WITH THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN
“My McCartney bass lines are lost in the fuzz, pure white noise and a rock and roll buzz”
“The Jesus And Mary Chain” by The Pocket Gods



Y
es it’s true kind of. I was still living in that great sweaty mass of energy they call London and had made friends with an American couple, Bob and Carol from Boston. I had met them through my other American friends Dave and Sheri whom I met whilst living in Hungary, and that folks is a whole other book. Anyway they had come to a few of the last High Ones gigs and they thought that I was some sort of pop star.  I was flattered by their attention. They both were well educated Harvard graduates who now worked for that bastion of English small worldliness, The Daily Mail. They had that East Coast intellectual diffident vibe which was coasts apart from the West Coast ‘erbal new agers. They invited me to parties and to gigs and I guess I was their pet Brit pop star “bitch” that they paraded in front of their fellow Bostonian ex pats.
I did wonder whether they were in a cult at one stage, maybe Scientologists or Skulls and Bones Alumni but nothing weird happened, until the last night, just lots of Chablis, cous cous, and baseball guff. The last time I saw them was at their leaving party at their posh house in Crouch End. I had never been to their house before but had heard good things about it. Don’t forget I was living in a sub-let council flat 6 foot by 10 foot surrounded by North London White Trash. I got there and they were pleased to see me. They introduced me to the people I hadn’t already met, and re-introduced me to the people that I should have remembered but didn’t, probably because I was just too pissed the last time I met them that the memory was none more blank.
Carol showed me around the house and there was one weird moment when she asked me to come up stairs with her. I thought fuck she’s making a move on me…you see readers nothing scared me more than an attractive assertive woman who fancied me making a move on me…ever since my childhood I had avoided any sexual relations with anyone as I was scarred big time and it was best avoided at all costs…it took me 15 or more years before I had any confidence in myself and managed to patiently build a loving sex life with my now wife Claire Pocket…the only girlfriend I had was Vicky but let’s not go there just yet…
So Carol took me upstairs, but after a longing look into my eyes, she decided (probably after seeing the fear and dread deep in my icey blue eyes) just to show me around as opposed to showing me a good time…first of all she took me into this bedroom and then said to me; “you know of course this used to be Gillian’s room”…I thought so what who the fuck is Gillian but just said; “oh that’s nice”…she said; “you know that this house belongs to Gillian Anderson’s Mum and that Gillian, who’s Scully from the X files, grew up here before she moved to the States. We’re friends of her family and we’re renting it off them whilst we’re over here. You know Mark they’re looking for a new tenant so if you like I’ll put a good word in for you.”…I was just flabbergasted not only was I a massive X flies fan (that’s how we spell it in Sandringtons) I also fancied Scully, in a non sexual way of course, and Mulder was my hero….a loner, sad but driven and always searching for the truth….he was like me but braver. I knew part of me wanted to out my truth…..but I just didn’t have the strength to face what happened…just as Mulder always struggled reliving the day his sister disappeared….anyway it was well exciting being in Gillian Anderson’s house and I thought “wow I’ve got another name to drop now just wait till I tell everyone!”
We went back downstairs and I got a curious look from Bob and I felt like saying it’s ok mate I didn’t shag your wife, but I didn’t. We all just drank some more and then some more. They then started playing my High Ones CD to everyone telling everyone how talented I was. I was a bit drunk and morose by then and slurringly told them that the band was nearly finished and I didn’t know what to do as I had no other bands or projects lined up. It was time for another weird moment as Carol popped up and said; “Well Mark can you play bass guitar?” I thought can The Pope do a Hail Mary “Yes I can fuckin’ play bass” I replied. She then said; “have you heard of a band called The Jesus and Mary Chain as they’re friends of mine and they’re looking for a new bass player. Would you like me to get you audition?” “FUCK FUCKN FUCKN NORA BATTY” my drunk tourettes was OUT OF CONTROL. “YES FUCKING PLEASE I’LL HAVE AN AUDITION”….
JAMC were a fuckin cool indie band who were famous for playing gigs for 20 minutes and causing riots. They were like the Sex Pistols of the 80’s but indie kids. I didn’t know that they were still going but it would be an experience and after all I didn’t have much else to do.  I was well wasted but needed more booze to calm down and I got so calm that I fell asleep. I woke up in the early hours of the morning as I got a flash of dawn’s crack and thought; “where the fuck am I?” I was in fact sleeping fully clothed in Gillian Anderson’s bed….well the bed in her old room which was cool, until I realised that she would have been about 10 at the time and that was just weird and wrong.
Carol asked Gillian’s mum about letting the house to me but apparently she wasn’t keen on having a single musician bloke with not great personal hygiene and limited social skills living in her beautiful 3 storey Victorian house….which was a shame and I was thinking I should have had a wank in that bed while I had the chance….aside - even though I avoided all sexual relationships I knew that I wasn’t gay and that the natural Marky deep inside me fancied women as when I had a wank which wasn’t very often I would fantasize about women.
Well as for the JAMC Carol made a call the following day and I got a call from Jim Reid, one of the Scots brothers in the band, who asked me a few things about myself and told me they were looking to put together a new line up and were looking for a bass player. He said he’d send a tape in the post and if I could have a listen and then come in for an audition at their studio next Thursday that would be great …wow!
So I got the tape but big problem I didn’t have a bass…Jim from the High Ones didn’t fancy lending me his bass so I asked my old mate Bill Johnson (see - he pops up quite a lot in this story) and asked if I could borrow his precious Guild Bass….which he did, once I told him what it was for. “Just look after her she’s a special lady” Bill told me…she was and I did…
So I’d been jamming away to the tape for a few days and had all the songs sussed - this after all was the JAMC famous for their 3 chord songs…and I got carried away adding extra notes and giving the bass lines a nice McCartney veneer. He was after all my favourite bass player of all time. Those counter point melodies made a lot of Beatles songs into classics…RAIN anyone?  The greatest B side of all time. Anyway I was ready to Rock and kick out the JAMS motherfucker and off I trotted to the scary world South of The River...
The audition was at their own studio appropriately called “THE DRUGSTORE” in South London so I got the tube down to the Elephant & Castle. I was trying to relax as I was a bit nervous so decided to walk the last bit instead of getting the bus…..this was another big shot at the big time maybe, but after the letdown of the Shitfield battle of the bands I was a little more laidback about what might happen…I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much but let’s just say I was getting ready to shout at the world and  more importantly my parents – “FUCK YOU, I MADE IT!”
Anyway I had my converse boots on and my very old Sonic Youth T Shirt and was looking good! I got to the studio on time and pressed the buzzer…and pressed the buzzer again….no answer…well I guess this is the JAMC and I probably lost marks for arriving on time…40 minutes later one of the band turns up saying; “You’re a bit early shall we go in?”
So we did – WOW WOW WOW what a fucking studio, this was ace…their famous amps were there with “WILLIAM” and “JIM” written on them in big white letters….and there was ROCK N ROLL STUFF everywhere like Bottles of Jack Daniels, big Fuck off Sofas (obviously to entertain the groupies) and tons of cool guitars…they tried to make me feel at home and told me what was going to happen. They were going to record my audition so that they could play it back and have a listen…I stepped into the bass booth and turned on the amp adjusting the volume to what I thought was a nice level…Jim came running in saying louder, louder and cranked it up past 11. He also kicked on a fuzz pedal so basically it was just white noise…..cool!  I jammed along note perfect to all the toons but my kinda complex groovy bass lines got lost in the fuzz.
Oh well I gave it my best shot….I was waved into the sound booth where the guys had been listening. They said it sounded good and then Ben the guitarist was asking me what I’d done with the bass lines as they sounded more interesting than what he played on the original demo…I just waffled  back some incoherent nonsense about chords and minor thirds…I was star struck…..next stop PUB….
We all went off for a drink and a chat at their local….me on Stella whilst the rest of the band were on either Herbal Tea or Mineral Water…..to which I wasn’t impressed…they were kinda quiet and morose as well and the only time they got animated at all was when I asked them what they were doing at the weekend. They all looked very excited and told me they were going to watch the Chelsea - Man U game with Alan McGee in his private box. They said they go and watch all their home games in his big fuck off box. Corporate JAMC, teetotal, boring…this was a major disappointment to me and though I knew they were older than they were at their peak…I’d seen more life and rock n roll spirit at bingo hour in my evils Nan’s old folks home. However, I still wanted the job so pretended that I was having a good time hanging out with the JAMC. We then went our separate ways; they went off to bed…well it was 8pm…and me back to the Islington dive….they said they would call….they never did. Another chance to hit the big time gone gone gone ….but I later found out that the band never reformed and I guess all good things come to an end….like my band at the time The High Ones…
I recently wrote a song about my all too brief time with The Jesus and Mary Chain imaginatively called The Jesus and Mary Chain. It’s over 6 minutes long and has 3 chords in it. I’m not sure if it’s a work of art or just crap and I guess that’s what I think about everything I write. Is it good or am I just mad and untalented? Am I the Ed Wood of indie pop? These are the questions I keep asking myself but my ego always takes over and keeps my rock star dreams alive.