Stuff

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.”

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

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.

Dreaming…

There is that time between Christmas and New Year when I am wanting to sense what the approaching year will bring.
I can feel gears shifting and am excited to feel out into what is coming;
this of course may be a phantom of my mind,
reacting to the illusion of the solar calender “end of year.”
But hey, it’s my mind and therefore my fantasy.

Anyway. I’m influenced by world events in this attempt at prediction. I wonder if others hold their breath while they scan the news for some huge event – a 9-11, a Tsunami – that really suggests a shift in the stakes.

But I’m just as influenced by what’s going on with me and my friends. Who’s sick, who’s had great news – breakdowns or breakthroughs.
I seem to be annually sick at this time of year. If you know me at all, you know that illness has been a major teacher, healer, pain in the arse in my life. One of the major benefits of moving to Topanga is that I have been very healthy.
This recent event is a rare outing.

Yesterday Lee mastered our new CD in London. We started it over 7 years ago and it’s been trundling along in the background ever since. It sounds fantastic. Everything has come together beautifully.
But, I was lying here in California, in agony (I’m not going into details); contrasting nicely with the elation I felt on hearing the tracks.
Labour pains? I felt like the 1950’s husband nervously pacing outside the maternity ward. Damn.
My champagne moment spoilt by real pain.
Many of my best moments in life have had that yin/yang balance. So what does that tell me about the coming year…..

So last night, I dreamt that I was with Jim Morrisson; just hanging out. In the dream, he told me I had a very short time to live; incurable, painful cancer. I decided to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
This choice was clear headed with no moral baggage getting in the way.
Do I want to die in loads of pain over a few months or shall I take responsibility and control over how my life end?

Now I’m unsure when the dream stopped and my awakening mind took over, but it went into great detail – saying goodbye to my loved ones, tying up loose ends, etc…
Knowing I had months to live in the dream, I started behaving from a more spontaneous instinctive place; a “fuck you” place.
I wrote from this place more and more directly and honestly about religion, politics, the world we human beings are creating and destroying. My usually carefully weighed up arguments, not wanting to unnecessarily upset those who believe in such institutions, were replaced by furious rants. Another character in me had control of the pen.
And the question arose in my mind – what would happen if I followed this characters direction, shared with people more directly from my being, without censor, in fact, with little regard for the recipient’s response…..?
I’m unsure of the answer. Would my life lead to a greater truth…?
Or just exile and loneliness; I think that’s my fear.
Actually I can see that in the last few years I have been coming more and more from that character in life and in writing: the darker lyrics of the last James CD are his footprint.

There is a book called “The Dice Man” which I read at 21.
It still has a hold in my psyche . The lead character makes decisions and chooses courses of action by rolling a dice.
He then accepts chance and consequence and the character it brings forth from himself.

Oh by the way.
The dream ended with a very exuberant life affirming
J
U
M
P.

Snow, dolphins and magical creatures

Unexpected snow that brings the country to a halt. Went out with some student friends for a snowball fight at 11pm. Groups charging each other and shouting, played on skateboard ramps and a children’s playground. Brings out the kid in me. I was stranded across town – no vehicles running. Walked 3 miles home with no complaint.

On my tweet I sent out a petition form to protect the dolphins slaughter linked to the documentary “The Cove” about the yearly Japanese slaughter of them.  I couldn’t watch the movie, it’s a slasher film. I’ve been swimming with Dolphins in the wild many times. I will eat most things. It’s the paradox of life – we kill to live. But there are some creatures off the menu.

Recently watched Beluga whales for hours – in a flippin’ zoo – with my kid. Now they clearly come from some magical realm that no longer exists, the realm that unicorns come from. I believe they are under threat and I’m amazed they still stick around.

In the name of Corpocracy we are destroying the creatures that make this planet an amazing home.

New Album

Blog.

Four letter word.
Never read one.
Never written one.

Looks like I will be maintaining one for the next few months. Will be beaten into submission if I don’t…

Lee Baker and I have been making this album for years. KK wrote some of the songs with me a while ago. Only now have the stars aligned……

Working title is “In the Palace of the Moon Princess” – it’s a quote from David Mitchell’s amazing new book “A Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.” The title also fits with one of Lee’s original art works that I want to use as the cover. Terry Bickers plays some amazing guitar on a couple of tracks and while Lee was in LA we recorded the Silverlake chorus (a choir) on some tracks in my living room with us all wandering around the room singing random ecstatic lines. I LOVE it – hope I’m not alone.

I think Lee and I have deepened since Bone, or is that aged? No fillers. Should be out in the Spring. Watch out for my flyers at the upcoming James gigs and sign on to my mailing list and give feedback. About time I had my own website, check out the news page to see who I have to thank.

Once up and running our forum will be monitored!