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New James album – Girl At The End Of The World and UK Tour

The new James album Girl At The End Of The World will be released on March 18, 2016 on CD and vinyl and a number of bundles exclusive to the James web store.

The album release will be accompanied by a UK tour in May – tickets are on sale Friday.  Full details can be found on the James website.

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Needles…

A wave of pain as he jabs the hyperdermic syringe into the skin around the outside of my knee.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”
I say through gritted teeth. He smiles and pushes the needle deeper under my knee cap, looks me in the eyes and presses the plunger. My back arches and sweats. A volcano erupts in my belly. My eyes roll up.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” I shout. “I hate you.”
He raises an eybrow, nods to his diminutive sidekick and says.
“Administer the painkiller.”
The sidekick bends out of view from my couch.
“I thought I’d had the fucking painkiller.” I say.
The sidekick returns from the cupboard with two dayglo yellow tennis balls and puts them into my hands. I squeeze.
He removes the needle then with a marker starts exing around the kneecap. Further entrance points.
“How many more.” I say angrily.
“Just a prick.”
And in goes another loaded needle.
“UHHH.” I grunt.
“That was from the belly.” He observes.
“In New Scientist,” I quaver on the word Scientist. ”I read they found that people,” I lurch on People, ”who swear can hold their hands in ice water twice as long as those who keep quiet.” I rise on “quiet.”
I say to distract him or me; or someone.
“Hmmm.” He says, “and another one.” He jabs another one in surpressing a sphinx smile.
“Fuck.” I shout. “That’s the purpose of swearing. To diminish pain.” I gasp.
“Is it working.”
“Fuck you. Can you give me a breather.” I almost beg.
“I find its better to get them over with.” He says and cooly plunges in on the inside of my knee cap.
“RRRR.”
“I’ll scare your other patients.” I say.
He turns to look at me in his blue scrubs.
“I don’t have any other patients.”

Solstice Greetings & New Monsters Video…

Solstice Greetings to you all as another year skittles past between our feet, moving fast amongst the rocks and shallows to disappear over the edge of the waterfall. Where does all that experience, that work, love – where does all that spent time go to?

I finally released “Love Life” last year. It was a labour of love. You really get that with the vinyl special edition. Lee’s beautiful artwork and design give it away.

There are only a few left so now’s your chance to buy what will become a cult item. When I am lucky enough to collaborate in making great music I always have faith that it will find the audience that need it.

We are also putting up another video we made, this time for the song “Monsters.” This one was also scripted and made by my friend Mike Mayers. His C.V includes being D.P on “The West Wing.” Greg Arata spent hours editing it, again as a gift. Thank you so much Gentlemen.

Lucas Revolution is my creepy hitchhiker. He recently toured the USA hitching between gigs. The other actor is a talented young man from Topanga.
I love this video – please feel free to pass it on.
Anyone who came to the gigs will know how strong this whole conceit is. I really hope to build on it.

Thank you for all your support. I’ve had a fabulous, creative year, from Love Life to the James orchestra and choir tour . I also saw the release of a tough independent movie “Poor Wee Me”, that I acted in the previous year. I hope you are enjoying the ride.

Keep up with me on twitter @RealTimBooth.

Love
Tim

Down to the Sea…

Tim & the band performing an acoustic version of Down to the Sea at the Church in Patra, May 2011:

Gloria Descends – Acoustic Gig, Patra, Greece

Check out this video of Tim and the band at the acoustic after show gig in Patra, Greece.

Tour Lookalikes…

Something very strange happened on the Love Life tour. Touching upon the paranormal in fact, so much so that it has been deemed necessary for a formal report to document our findings. There have been an unprecedented number of lookalikes for band members. It is now a fact that every member can be likened to a person of notoriety.

Youth of Today thought it was only right to share these vital discoveries with you good people, so you don’t get confused at gigs and think that we have been abducted and replaced by a gaggle of sportsmen and TV personalities.

On the first night of the tour it was decided that I looked like ‘a young Gryff Rhys Jones’. Well, being the Youth of Today I naturally only knew the more mature variety of Mr. Rhys Jones, needless to say his picture was up on somebody’s phone within seconds, so this is me apparently:

Next came a bizarre heckle in Glasgow, when an audience member proclaimed (to much crowd amusement) that Lee Muddy Baker looked like Celtic forward Samaras. We didn’t actually know till after the gig what he was saying as only Saul was savvy with Celtic football players, and I’m glad he is because I think we’ve located Lee’s long-lost–more-handsome-twin! Anyway here’s Muddy:

Separated at birth….?

Next thing you know we’re at the hotel bar and a guy gingerly walks up to drummer Rob Kenny, to ask if he is JK from Jamiroquai, and if so can he have an autograph! They were playing a show across the road from the hotel. I still think Rob should have just said yes and charged him a tenner for his signature:

Ok next up Saul was accused of looking like Richard Hammond from Top Gear, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean after his crash..

Give this man a violin and take his razor for a couple of days and you’re not far off.

So we’re sitting in the van after 2 days and 4 lookalikes and Neil thinks he’s escaped the curse, that he’s a one of a kind, a dead ringer of nobody. No such luck, Tim suddenly realised that he is a young Ray Winstone from the film Sexy Beast:

I wonder what would happen if they had a fight?

Last but certainly not least Muddy proclaims Tim to be Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon or Ben Kingsley – take your pick:

Flash Gordon themed music video I hear you say? Hmmm…

My only worry was that by some bizarre twist of fate they all arrived simultaneously to see us play in Brighton or London and the whole band imploded due to two parallel universes colliding.

Youth of Today

Over and Out

The Nature of Prawns and Reality

So this is Dan keyboard player in the Tim Booth bearded band. I’m writing as the representative of a generation, the embodiment of youth of today. Amongst the Tim Booth entourage I’m the ‘young pup’.

Ironically I’m practically the only member without an i-phone or a mac on tour, it’s actually the older band mates who’ve embraced the modern technological advances, while i’m actually a typical retrospective 2011 mind, living through rose tinted specs at the past by collecting vintage analogue synths, recording music onto tape and listening to vinyls.

Anyway what does this have to do with prawns?

In Kendal, Lee, Neil and myself found ourselves at a food market amongst cheeses, hams, curries and a hog roast. While Neil made a beeline for the Hog, Lee and I went for these HUMONGOUS King Prawns with potatoes, a seemingly exotic and healthy option. The sign on the stand read ‘King Prawnies’ and I remember thinking…’hmmm prawnies?’ These prawns were the biggest i’d ever seen. Seriously big. We sat down to eat and we looked at each other quizzically as it gradually dawned upon us…’are these real prawns?…’ From a distance they looked like prawns but they just didn’t have the bite of a prawn, and looking closer they were molded, they had mold marks on them, and to top it all off they had hilarious pink pigment PAINTED ON!! You could see brush marks! So naturally insensed by this we went to get our money back. It went like this:

Lee: ‘Are these real prawns’
Shop keeper (without flinching) ‘No, they’re Prawnies’
Lee: (without hesitation) ‘Can I have my money back please?’
Shop keep quickly and quietly gave us both a refund.

We went to get a hog roast…guffawing at the idea that it might actually be a ‘Hoggy’, a huge pig mold filled with reclaimed generic meat.

It seemed that we were living in a hyper unreal world. We sat and had coffee at a plastic table with a rustic wooden table design painted onto it.

So in a world where Prawns are not prawns, tables are not tables, food is not food, how can we forge a meaningful reality? How do we not get lost in mundane fakery and illusion?

One place I know I feel real is at my instruments, and especially on stage with Tim and this band. This is a hyper real environment where adrenalin pumps, senses sharpen and moments can fly by in an instant but also stretch to super slow motion. An audience beams out their positive energies, which are in turn reciprocated by the band and spewed back out intensified in a self perpetuating cycle.

To be able to play music to others makes it almost ok to be subjected to fake prawns. Almost!

Youth of Today…
Over and Out.

Kendal touring…

Sitting in a noisy pub in Kendal. I’m glued to the silent screen watching Leeds United’s play-off hopes recede into the distance. Loud pop songs are the soundtrack to my angst. Cheery, boozy locals, oblivious to another tribe’s pain, are singing along having a great time. You have to shout to order a drink.

A bruiser in his 40’s, boss eyed, grabs my arm and sings into my ear:

“I lost my leg to the navy.
My arm to the army.
My cock to the butcher.
Who smothered it with gravy.”

I check to see he has the body parts named in case this is a biographical shanty. No. All present and correct. Should I sing back to him? What’s the local custom to such a greeting? Was this a hit song that I missed ? Pop Idol perhaps ? I smile and nod sagely at him thinking if he attacks, strike hard and strategically then run for it. I clearly don’t give him the correct response and he moves on.

This pub makes me realise what a freak I am.
I hardly ever drink, so pubs make me feel like I’m wearing a very starched suit in a nudist camp. The rare times I do take intoxicants I want things that blast me out of this reality, utterly, down the wormhole to the space where Jodie Foster looks out of the space ship window in awe and stammers, “They should have sent a poet.” I don’t do…this.
People here are having a rum time caterwauling pop song chorus’s to each other. I feel like a snob. Yet “Sit Down” would go down well in this room. Dermot O’Leary is right, there’s a place for this music. The people who made it, they do the same job I do, but I don’t feel of their world. I guess it comes down to intention.

I have a great problem. This band I’m in are already wonderful and when we know what we’re doing we will be fabulous. I didn’t expect it to be this good. How am I going to fit this in to my crazy busy life with James and be with my loving family ? Thank God for Skype but where’s the app that allows smell, touch….. Get a move on Steve Jobs. Star Treck NOW!
My wife ,son and I gaze longingly at each other through the portal of our computers. Willing ourselves through the looking glass down the rabbit hole. You can look but don’t touch.
Nil-Nil. The bruiser grabs my arm and shouts into my ear. “ Come on lets get out of here and go to the Oddfellow Arms.”
“Too late. I’m already there mate.”

Rehearsals & Tour

6am 9.4.2011
Packed and ready to leave for the UK. Rehearsals, promotion and tour of “Love Life.”

In March I flew in for 8 days of rehearsals. Walked in to the Brighton rehearsal studios to find a brilliant 4 piece already rehearsed under Lee’s vigilance. They had rehearsed over the previous months in Lee’s tardis of a studio.

Neil on bass. You may have seen him in My Federation, Lee’s old band. Bass that reverberates through you and a presence to match. A gem.

Rob on drums. Rob’s drummed with me before. Reminds me of a more subtle Gavan – James’s first drummer- he can do the Keith Moon thing but only when needed. I first saw him 10 years ago playing for the Lovegods- immediately went up to him after the gig to congratulate him. Knows how to support a song.

Dan on keyboards. Probably 25. I named him “Youth of Today” as in “So Dan, what would the Youth of Today have to say about this?” Brilliant. A real find. Plays sax beautifully too.

And then there is Lee. Well there has to be one amateur in the group. We’ve done away with the “Muddy Baker” bit and replaced it with “Hairy Watford” (his hometown ) or “ Hairy Watford crack” when there’s no children present. Lee’s the reason this CD got made. He’s the most naturally creative person I know. Check out his artwork on “www.leebakerart.com”. Watch the “Thames to Tama” video of the art installation he just completed with 5,000 school kids. A crazy man overbrimming with energy and enthusiasm.

They all can sing better than me. The rehearsals were as fun as the “All About Time” video reveals.

Oh yeah, and of course, Mr Saul Davies will be joining us for this tour! The video shows his first day rehearsing with this crazy bunch. I’m a perfectionist, if you hadn’t noticed, and Saul makes this just perfect.

So you see I’m flying to the UK with a big smile on my face as I already know what this band are capable of. Now if I can only remember all the words……

Hope you are enjoying Love Life. Sorry about the mess up with the Special Edition.

Look forward to seeing you face to face.
Tim

Surreal

White tiles on the floor. White tiles on the walls. White tiles on the ceiling. An actors theatre make up mirror in front of me. Large, round, bright lights running down the sides of the mirror. I’m sitting on a plain wooden chair. Behind me there is a drain with grille from which occasional echoey voices can be heard.

I have a fever. Sweat drips from the top of my bald head, down my face, drips off my chin. Sweat drips down my arms, down my legs. I’m sitting in the chair, transfixed by the sight reflected in the mirror. Water pools at my feet.

The door opens, I jump up. Dr Prescott enters.
Black leather worn Doctor’s bag in one hand. A wriggling sack in the other. He puts them down to my side. He stops, looks me up and down in horror.
“PPPPParasites.” He stutters.
The stutter comes with an intense facial struggle.
Out of his bag he pulls a bundle of twigs. Misshapen boney fingers. He unscrews the lid of a black jar. Machine gun laughter comes up through the grille. He dips the twigs in the jar and brings them out covered in a black tar.

“GGGGGGGGGGG.” He stops, “ Never mind.” He says.
“ssssssit.”
I obey.
“ssssstill.” He nods his head.
He lights the end of the twigs, they crackle into purple flame. He waits a minute then blows it out. A black smoke pours out accompanied by an acrid smell that makes me want to run. He holds them to my nose.
“BBBBB.”
“Breathe ?” I ask.
“Don’t finish my sentences.” He snaps.
“BBBBBBBreathe.” He points to my nose.
He moves behind me. With one hand he grips my forehead and pulls my head back to lodge it firmly against his stomach. His stomach is extended. It gurgles.
I close my eyes, set myself and take a deep breath through my nose. The smoke goes up through my sinuses, around my eyes. Up into my forehead. Up into my brain.
I open my eyes. I’m immobilized.

Cupping my right eyeball with one hand the Doctor slaps me on the back of my head with the other. My eyeball comes out of its socket into his hand. It’s connected to me by nerves and red wires. I can still see through it! He rotates it to look out into the room. Other hand in my back he leans me forward towards the mirror. He moves my eyeball to the mirrors’ surface and then pushes through. It’s like mercury. I hear a shout coming up from the drain behind me.

Through the mirror I see a dusty attic. There are two dirty windows in the sloping roof. Dust motes hang in the light. One passes close by and I see it’s a planet. The wooden joists and beams are all exposed and old. Dust sheets cover packing boxes and furniture staked up to the sides leaving a pathway down the middle. I see rocking horse legs sticking out from beneath a sheet. That was the horse I rocked by the open fire whilst Mother prepared food. She would serenade me with weepy arias whilst she chopped onions with the extra sharp knives. She’d chop like horses hooves in time to my adventures as Tonto. Tonto the Lone Ranger’s sidekick. Tonto always getting captured. Tonto to be rescued by Kimosabe.

Spiders hang in the gloom. I see a large brown spider looking down at me, from on top of a box, knitting a red mohair jumper. Her husband drags a thread behind him attached to a large wrapped ball of corpses. Protruding from the ball are proboscifgrjtyfgdrdhcgfs wings. He edges across the box towards her whistling “Heigh Ho Heigh Ho.” My Dad used to whistle that every morning at breakfast. The fluffy ball of corpses rolls forward exposing tiny hands and feet poking through.

I hear a faint scrabbling sound. It seems to be coming from inside my ear. It’s joined by more. Then more. Louder and louder. It’s unbearable. I am whisked backwards. Back into the white tiled room. Back through the mirror. Facing it again. The sound is like a waterfall. I see my reflection. The sound ceases abruptly. Silence.

A small brown ant comes out of my left ear. It climbs out and circles around the top. It looks back at me and holds my gaze. The ant puts its tarsus claw into its mouth and whistles. Another ant climbs out of my ear. Then another. Then another. With the roar of a dam bursting, ants pour out of my ear and onto the top of my shaved head. Tens, hundreds, thousands. Some climb down to my chin. They climb on top of each other, over each other, under each other. They hang from my chin like a beard dripping down. Like melted wax. The one at the apex is hanging on. It’s falling. The others try to hang on to him. He can’t hold on and falls. All the ants stop. Silence as he falls and falls and falls out of my vision. I wait for the thud. Nothing.

The ants stay frozen, locked into each other like gymnasts in a human tower, three or four deep. I have brown hair and a beard where before there was none. It’s a beetle cut.

Doctor Prescott leans forward over me and fusses with the wires as he replaces my eye in its socket. He smells of Gilette shaving cream. He brings his lips to my lips. He tastes of butterscotch. As he opens his mouth I see a slimy eel like creature where his tongue should be. It is undulating in his saliva trying to keep moist. Dr Prescott takes a deep breath. He exhales into my mouth. He takes another breath and does the same. Over his ear I see in the mirror. My head is starting to inflate. Dr Prescott is inflating my head with his breath. Between breaths he pinches my lips together to keep the air in. My face is starting to widen, my eyes separating. Breath. Expand. Breath. Expand. Bigger and bigger my head inflates. Surely my head will burst. Stop. Please stop Dr Prescott. I yell inside my head. He stops, pinches my lips together and stands up. He unpins the memorial day poppy from his button hole. He turns to face the mirror to look me in the eye. He raises the pin with a smile and brings it down into the top of my head with a loud bang.

SHHHHHHH…..

Mubarak out, Mubarak out. I had thought he would leave on my birthday but he’s hanging on. Hoped my birthday would become synonymous with revolution: street cred. Instead I’m left with the neo-fascist Charles Lindbergh and Alice Cooper with whom I share my birthday. Thank God for Rosa Parks.

On my birthday, a large coyote came within 20ft of my front door. She bounded off when I came out. She looked like a wolf. From a safe distance she stopped and watched me.

Sometimes I want to shut myself away in a Zen monastery like Leonard Cohen did. Ah but then I’d miss out on the next generation iPad and I’m sure they wouldn’t show the football in the meditation hall.

Yesterday I went hiking in the hills of Topanga with Kate. It was the first really hot day this winter. I said to Kate that there might be some snakes waking with the heat. I swear, less than one minute later there’s this incredible “SHHHHHH” sound. It seems to come from all around us. An instant spike of adrenalin. Rattlesnake. The sound is so startling that Kate bolts past it like a startled deer, passing within 3ft of it. Now I’m on one side of it and Kate’s on the other. If we want to hook up without passing the snake it’s a two mile hike. We each take a step back from the snake and immediately the sound stops.

“How far do you think they can strike?” I ask.

“I don’t know but I reckon they can spring pretty far.”

I start to move a half step forward. On comes the white noise. It’s unnerving. It’s meant to be.

I start to move Chi Gung slowly. So slowly I hope it doesn’t notice. Trying to keep as far from it as possible, my back’s pressed up against the bushes. Half of me is scared, half of me is buzzing. I take 10 minutes to get parallel with it. The next bit brings me right in front of its strike zone and I will be caught in no mans land not knowing whether to go forward or back. I pause for a few minutes to gather my nerve.

When I get directly in front of it, maybe 4 or 5 feet away the back of its coils lift in preparation to strike. Oh shit. I feel the sweat spreading from my armpits. I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt. The ground in front of me is so rocky and jagged if I run I’m bound to fall. Its rattle is held vertically aloft. It has fourteen segments which I think means it’s 14 years old. It’s a big snake. Beautiful markings. Black, brown and cream. Diamond headed. I think to myself that’s where those eastern tiling patterns come from. I try to remember what I know of rattlesnakes.

Last year a man came to re-locate a snake we found outside our open bedroom door. The night before I had dreamt of a snake. Biting my son. Woke with a jump. Wrote down “buy anti-venom” on a stickie. And there it was the next morning. The snake man told us snakes see infra-red; the heat pattern of our bodies. If it bites me it uses up its venom and doesn’t get to eat for 2 weeks until it can produce more. Well that’s reassuring; at least it will have some instant Karma. He told us about this man in Florida, Bill Haast who has been injecting himself with snake venom since the 1950’s. He’s in his 90’s, looks 60 and is incredibly strong and healthy. He’s been bitten over 170 times by snakes and is virtually immune.

I remember in Morocco a snake charmer “dropped” his cobra around my neck, trying to intimidate money out of me. Everybody at the cafe fled. I just sat there. I remember looking down at it around my neck and noting it smelt of chicken. The man jumped back in, grabbed it and was gone. Three minutes later a bead of sweat trickled over my skin where the snake had been and I leapt up. Delayed reaction.

I always thought Rattlesnakes are ok because they warn you with their sound. They don’t want to bite you. Now I can hear that the rattle is not just a warning. It disorientates and freezes before a strike.

I talk to the snake tell it how beautiful it is, sing to it: The Western School of Snake Charming. I told it we meant no harm, and I kid you not, the sound dried, the coils dropped. It looked like it fell asleep!

Kate calls me Dr Doolittle. Says that I dance like a snake. That it recognised kin.

A coyote and a snake. Happy Birthday; should be a good year.