Camera Obscura Blog: Lee
18 October 2010
“Thanks, we'll try and bring some medals back, haha”, shouted back some of the Scottish badminton team.
“No, I meant wi your accommodation!”
Pretty exciting trip we just had ourselves there. 3 nights in Beijing, literally 3 nights, I felt like a businessman, but not a very good one. I can't be bothered ironing shirts for a start. I imagine businessmen ironing lots in hotel rooms.
Watched a cracker on the way over, Jacques Audiard's 'Un Prophete', which was amazing even on one of those crappy airplane tele chairs AND and the wifey in front had reclined to the max even though she was only about 4ft high. It was out the same time as 'White Ribbon' and I forgot to check it out at the cinema. Anyway, China!
We had arrived on the morning of October 1st, national Day. A big national knees-up to celebrate big Mao and the lads proclaiming the PRC in 1949. A year eventful for also producing Lionel Ritchie (20th June), John (the good..)...Belushi (4th Feb.) and Maurice Gibb (22nd Dec), what a year!
Consequently the city was pure rammed, as they say over there. We had a meal and then visited Tiananmen Square - it was hard to see this massive square even when standing in the middle of it because of the terrible “fog”. People wanted pictures of us and not because we play in Camera Obscura, some asked and others didn't. An orchestra played in the square, people were throwing furry-looking things that lit up when they fell and for a while we lost Kenny! After finding the Kenny we finished the evening in a bar that seemed to be decorated completely in empty cigarette packs.
It wasn't all smog, squares and missing guitarists of course, we were in China to work. If you've never experienced a sound check at 10.30 in the morning then you're doing okay, don't change a thing.
We were playing as part of the “Modern Sky” Festival with the Big Pink, Blonde Redhead, Free Energy and Bert Anderson from The Suedes. The gig was fun, thanks to all the kids who watched us, and we had some drinks and then some of us went out after and had some drinks again. There was a 7-11 near the hotel, where I got a cup of noodles (not an actual Pot Noodle, Nigel, there's a difference) that seemed to have bits of dried meat in it and at least 4 packets of 'taste'. Felt right at the time.
On our day off we ventured to the Summer Palace, which was built circa 1750 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and started life as the Garden of Clear Ripples. The palace is dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake and is quite simply stunning. In case the view isn't enough for you, in the car park outside you can get one of those waving hand Mao watches for 50p and the Chinese equivalent of a “See You Jimmy” hat! Dancer! I think Gav may have bought one......
19 June 2010
I suspect that my slight hangover is also playing its part in my current state of muddled distraction. Was worth it all the same. Watched the marvelous England game at a friend’s flat (I’m definitely going to be following that bird, I think it’s got a bright future ahead of it no matter what goal post it chooses to perch on next season) and had a few scoops. The chat veered into the world of film after my “friend” made me listen to Tommy Live by the Who. Ok, let’s get one thing straight, I really, really, really do not like musicals. I loathe them, lots of people waving fingers in each others faces and shout-singing “NO NO NO!” over and over again, awful! The most palatable I can think of is Mel Stuart’s 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. What’s not to love? A brilliantly crazed and mischievous Gene Wilder, annoying children being dispatched off in the most inventive ways, creepy painted midgets and an acid trip scene set on a chocolate river! I do often think that kids films (and movies in general) in the late 60s and 70s were a little bolder than they are now. If anyone thinks I should open my mind on the musical front then post your suggestions below.
After hearing the ‘See Me Feel Me’ motif for the 5th time I pleaded with my beer accomplice to ditch Tommy, he obliged and treated me to some Pentangle. We recommended a couple of Australian films that we’d both seen recently to each other. Mine was Ted Kotcheff’s 1971 (OH what a year!) Wake In Fright which I notice is filed under “Foreign/Negative portrayal of Australia” in Wikipedia’s ‘Not Quite Hollywood’ film reference section. Not without good reason. This film is a cracker! I saw it at the Glasgow Film Festival, noticing a Nick Cave comment on the programme about it being “the scariest film ever made in Australia” or something like that. It is pure sun bleached grainy small town horror, absolutely depraved and reeking of alcohol. It’s got possibly the best homo-erotic, drunken kangaroo culling, bar fighting, foul mouthed insult slinging scene I have ever witnessed. A true lost classic. Also, Donald Pleasence tears it up, he is fantastic! You simply need to see this film although it seems to only exist on the film festival circuit right now, but hopefully that will change. For you literal-minded Americans this film is titled “Outback”, imaginative. In addition to the musical plea above, I’m also taking recommendations for Australian films. Can you tell I’ve got some time on my hands?
Final Score – MacTavish Final – Kingussie 5 (Ryan Borthwick 2, R Ross 3) Kilmallie 4 (L MacDonald 2, J Stewart, M Rodgers)
15 February 2010
As our manager has ‘pointed’ out to us, the last blog we published is soooo 2009 so I thought I’d annoy you all. So here we are, 2010 huh, brilliant! Ayee. We’ve had a pretty good start to the year so far, got a bit of sun, swam in some outside water, watched some bats flying above our heads, ate some strange animal parts, held a mock 19th century Australian colonial penal trial etc. It was so much fun that our soundman was treated with gracious replies such as “F**k off!” and such like every time he updated his Twitter site.
It was great for us to go back to New Zealand and Australia for the first time in 3 years, especially as there seemed to be more of you looking at us with your eyes on the front of your heads and listening with ears…. Great fun, apart from the bit where I tried to cook my own seafood on a big hot granite stone at Auckland harbour and suffered a dodgy tummy for 2 days. I’m a drummer you fools, not a seafood chef! What were you thinking? We also got to play a few gigs with the annoyingly young and talented Slow Club.
We flew from Perth to Tokyo (10 or so hours) in a plane that showed A (ie ONE) Jennifer Aniston film (90 minutes) and moved around a lot too. I almost punched myself in the face repeatedly in order to achieve lovely unconsciousness, ah good days. It was all worth it in order to spend a few days in dazzling Tokyo. We even had a day off, although after an hour wandering around Shibuya and Akihabara Electric Town I thought my brain was going to give up and that I’d wind down like one of those robot dancers you used to see in high streets in the ’80’s. On our last night in Tokyo we were dragged to a Karaoke “complex” and that is where I shall end this exhilarating and intriguing tale. We had a great first trip to Japan and hope to came back for a proper tour, oh yeah!
20 November 2009
Just wanted to thank everyone who came to see us at our recent UK and European shows. Of course the UK is in Europe but it’s not really is it? Just like I can’t do high 5’s with Americans I would also look like an idiot on a bicycle, Europeans do this very well. It’s the main difference between us, honest!
Anyway, we had a blast. It’s the first time we’ve toured so extensively in Europe and I loved every day of it. Of course there were many highlights, the modern art gallery in Oslo with the Jeff Koons’ Michael and Bubbles statue, our first ever stage invader in Aarhus, Britta Persson singing with us in Stockholm, that dog that was working in that pub in Leicester, visiting La Casa del Abuelo in Madrid (one of my favourite culinary experiences ever!), the general craziness of Christiania in Copenhagen (you are now entering the EU), the Boston tea party meat platter made for young Tim by the energetic Karl in Hamburg, the cannoli I ate in Milan while watching the aftermath of a car/tram accident, sitting hungover in a sausage bar in Vienna sipping gingerly on a beer, playing in a library, this list could go on.
Thank you all,
6 May 2009
I went to see ‘In the Loop’ yesterday. As always, I went to the first showing of the day but ten minutes into the film I forced my long suffering girlfriend to dump our gear and move right to the back of the cinema because sitting behind us was a big lunkhead eating with his mouth open. I mean chewing, proper slack mouth chewing. Very loud. Maybe he has some sort of medical problem preventing him from breathing through his nose holes, who knows. Because we were at the “art” cinema there was the usual exaggerated laughter, you know, “HAHA, YES! I GET THIS! HAHA, I AM VERY CLEVER! LOOK AT ME…GETTING IT! HAHAHA! UNDERSTANDING THIS VERY CLEVER/FOREIGN/CUTTINGLY SATIRICAL FILM!”
Anyway, moan over. The film is great. Peter Capaldi and Tom Hollander are fantastic, everyone is fantastic. Gandolfini’s looking bigger than he ever did hunched over the Soprano family breakfast bar breathing heavily into a plate full of last night’s leftovers. I was anticipating the ‘square go’ scene with Gandolfini and Capaldi and was not disappointed. Good swearing too, always important to be constructive with your cuss words.
Which reminds me, I’ve recently been learning how to swear Australian style. Harder than you think.