Stretch marks. It’s so quiet here in Kehoes, a pub where it is not always so quiet, no it ain’t, no. I sip on my Smicks and ponder. Where are all the yuppies and yuppettes? Where are all the mugwampish bar dwellers?
Instead, it’s me with my friend-like, Ballantine Baines and Redser (a very tall friend of Baines). Chatting easy and looking forward to the FALL. I have seen them three times in the past two years and they have become essential. There are other people there too, a major Fall fan who talks incessantly about music and seems to speak album and song titles. He brings up names of failed Irish bands (Ghost of an American Airplane, Power of Dreams) as if he is the only one to remember them. Fuck you pardner, I know these bands.
Redser tells us about his cure for snoring which I am very impressed with. Place a tennis ball on your lower back, strap it on (ooer) and sleep. It stops you from lying on yer back while sleeping and eliminates the snore. The snore…good riddance. Now where can I get a tennis ball at this time of night. Angered, I feel nicotine is needed. Ballantine and I venture into the Tuesday evening smoking section and spark up. Ahhh…don’t really like to smoke, but it makes you look cool, which is good and better than looking uncool, innit.
Puff, puff goes the magic stick and seems to illuminate me enough for a very well dressed gray man to make a bee-line for me.
“Ahhh, eagghh…boys, just thinking it was you wasn’t it, you did what.”
He drops his copy of the Times on the ground and we keep him from smashing to the ground by holding our feet up in a guard of honour position to break his fall. Thanking us and wiping the grit from the palms of his hands, he starts to berate us.
“You bombed Dresden, didn’t you. Yes, you did, bomb Dresden.”
“Hey honky, I did not bomb Dresden.” Ballantine smirks
“Me either, Pardner.” I drawl. “In fact, unless you can prove my whereabouts in February 1945, you best not be throwing accusations around like that.”
“Yeeeah maaan. Twas the Breetish and my Americano cousins who dropp-ed those there bomberoonies and firestormed that goddam Nazi-land. I was not there or born. Shahhh”
The man’s face pruned up. I don’t think he favours the black man.
He starts to back off keeping his eyes on Baines the whole time. I pull my coat around and drop my right hand. Dresden-man seems to get the message and fades away.
“Hahahahahaha!” I laugh.
“What an interesting man. We should have bought him some Bushmills…and a pipe.”
To the gig.
The Iveagh Gardens in South Dublin is the scene. We enter through some railings and are surrounded by trees and fairy lights (no whores, none whatsoever), and a general sense of niceness and pretentiousness. Following the path around we see about fifty of the quietest people I have ever seen under the influence of booze. I am given a bottle of Erdinger Weissbier. Everybody is drinking it. However, to drink this beer, you need to pour it into a glass at a 15 degree angle. So, without a glass, I pour it into my mouth at a 15 degree angle and soon have an enormous head of beer frothing out of mouth. By keeping my head at this angle I manage to pour the whole bottle into my capable mouth. (No Deepthroating for me, mouth like a pelican’s). I take small amounts into my system by constricting my neck like a snake would. I can’t see the people I am with until I hear somebody shouting that the band is starting. Immediately I swallow the whole amount and it hits the back of my throat and shoots straight through my nose onto a guy’s Formula 1 jacket (You know the type). He is drowndededededed. I can’t help but chuckle. He makes to throw a punch but a blinding headache in the form of sound hits us both. I wonder has a bomb gone off. I rush into the Spiegeltent, which is essentially a tent full of Spiegel.
The images of Sinead O’Connor and Elvis are projected against the back wall and this screaming audio mix of them both is blasted from the speakers. For a minute it’s interesting, then my attention goes, but the din forces its way back into my attentions. Shut up, I think. This is not fucking arty, this is annoying. If this is cool then I suggest that the twit that created it spend some time with a teething child and see how much fucking fun that is.
Then, huge gap, then the FAll.
Greenway and Spurr actually look chilled out for a change and set up. Mark E. Smith walks on, without looking at his wife, and they get going. I don’t recognise the first few tunes, which isn’t being helped by the soundmixing which is piss poor. Smith’s vocals disappear for half a song then return twice as loud as the rest of the band. They rattle though “Pacifying Joint,” “What About Us,” “Boxoctosis” and “I Can Hear the Grass Grow.”
I may be jaded but I’m just not into it tonight, but then it is a Fall gig. Never the same experience twice but always intense. Their gig a year ago in the Village was one of the most intense gigs I had seen in a while. I look around and everyone seems to be having a great time. So fuck it, I step back and let them, no need to complain. Sound is shite though. Tents, tents, I fucking hate fucking tents. Everybody wants to hang out in a tent these days, why? I don’t get it. I like clubs with good PAs…maybe I’m an old fogey, maybe it’s my Romanian upbringing. I fear tents. Festivals now give you the choice of ten tents to spend time in and hear screechy moosic because the bass is lost somewhere near the lions’ enclosure. Aaaah shit. I enjoy “Sparta FC,” but Elena and Greenway’s vocals just don’t work.
They disappear sometime after a jumping “Mr Pharmacist” and come back immediately to finish off the now drunken, excitable crowd. I notice the demographic is a lot younger than usual Fall gigs, and a weird vibe emanates from the front of the stage. They finish off with “Blindness” from the album Fall Heads Roll (a lot of the stuff tonight comes from that album). It’s great song, but the bass isn’t strong enough in this fucking tent. During the song, Fr. Jack just wanders on stage and off again. I’m tired and now hallucinating. The arty fringe crowd have had their fill. Gig ends. An extremely short brawl between girls and boys in skinny jeans erupts and silently flows around us, not causing me to spill the remainder of the beer in my mouth, thankfully. It ends and they all look tired and way past their bedtimes. Poor things. Overall the weakest Fall gig I have ever been at, but still y’know it’s the Fall, so you have to go.
Now for Pie!!