Plan B publisher Everett True is done sorting through his desk. This week, he’s written to tell you about how he fell off the wagon (sort of), baffled an entire Cardiff club, and just discovered Amy Winehouse. Apparently, this UK-based author of Nirvana: The Biography (da Capo Press) is magically impervious to the tabloids. A rare specimen, indeed.
THIS WEEK: Everett True visits Cardiff in the company of a few genial antifolk types
Larry Pickleman was the man.
It wasn’t like the venue was heaving at the edges, anyway. To help celebrate the inaugural Welsh SŴN festival in Cardiff, Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens had asked Plan B Magazine to put together a (British) antifolk bill – as recently championed in its pages – and it was perhaps not so surprising that the audience rarely bothered double figures when the headliner was, um, myself (doubling as my alter-ego, kill rock stars/Creation/Sub Pop recording artist The Legend!). Unsurprising perhaps, but there were still a few hardies in Clwb Ifor Bach sheltering from the chill night air, charmed by the delinquent schoolboy, post-Daniel Johnston, naïve expression of Winston Echo (sample heckle: “Is there an Echo in here?”) and his tales of unrequited love and Dracula’s disco party, Crayola Lectern’s surprisingly tanked-up mixture of crazed English eccentricity (sample lyric: “Merry fucken Christmas everyone” – a deliberate echo of Mr Billy Childish’s forthcoming Christmas single) and gentile, lilting English post-Robert Wyatt harmonising, charismatic local Le B’s stripped-bare and bewitching medieval-style folk, and mertle’s one-minute, three-chord, deadpan beautiful tales of an ordinary housewife, albeit one that steals blue bicycles and spits on butchers’ windows. (Her ode to her new washing machine is over in a tenth of the time it takes Kate Bush to finish one line of her recent tumble dryer-inspired confection; and is 30 times more poignant…although I’ve got to say I’m rather fond of La Bush’s song as well.)
But Larry still managed. As he ploughed through his songs – bedecked with wrong-sized guitar and a homemade mixing desk guaranteed to fuck up even the sturdiest of microphones, and songs about “midgets” sticking up the bank and people walking by on the other side of the road, screamed full-pelt like an Irish Republican skinhead engaged in running skirmishes with the police over quirky bouncy tunes that bring to mind (Thurston Moore-beloved) hardcore obstructionists Whitehouse fronting a battery of Oompa-Loompas – he managed to clear the club of even these few hardy souls: reducing the crowd to a severe rump of, um, the other antifolk performers and Louis’ perverse mate. It was an inspired performance, entirely out-of-keeping with the surroundings: the fact that his wife (mertle) had provided such a mesmerising, sweet and downright cuddly view of hometown life only helped to increase the feeling of awe. “Well, you’ve watched everyone else,” he grinned as he took the stage. “And it’s up to me and Everett to save the evening.”
Well, fuck. I tried. My crowd rose from around one person to over a hundred in the space of 10 minutes, as folk started to pour in for the club afterwards: I raced from my sure-fire alienation number (“There’s a man going round taking names/There’s a man going round taking names…Death is the name of that man”) into a rant about how“This one goes out to my 23-year-old self, fucked up on alcohol,” repeated rapid fire, changing the age each time, right into the one about, “How I woke up one morning to discover that my girlfriend had changed into Courtney Love…now, this wasn’t so strange in itself, but what was odd was that Courtney Love had now changed into the living personification of evil,” then into a quick AA rant about how all my friends deserted me a long time ago (pointing to an imaginary bottle of whiskey in one hand, and an, um, real bottle of vodka in the other – my first drink in three years) and then stopped momentarily, not really caring or heeding what sort of storm my sole band mate Chris might or might not have been blowing up on saxophone. And there was absolute fucking silence in the venue. No one was talking. No one was applauding. And the place was rammed. Everyone – just everyone – was staring stage-front in shock.
“Guess I’ll have to give you that one Everett,” commented Larry afterwards.
HUGS AND KISSES TOP 5
Some songs that Everett True has listened to recently
1. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, “Chores” (from the Domino album Jam). A Modest Mouse for hipsters. This is a good thing, I’m given to understand.
2. AMY WINEHOUSE, “Back To Black” (Island single). This is my song of the year, in case anyone particularly cares…I have no real idea who Ms. Winehouse is [Editor’s note: Or ], or what her other songs sound like. I’m absolutely bowled away by the emotion invested in the trite-est of lyrics.
3. GRINDERMAN, “No Pussy Bues” (from the Mute album Grinderman). Feral, deprecating and rocks like a mutha. What more could you possibly want from yr rock music?
4. HIGH ON FIRE, “Fury Whip” (from the Relapse album Death Is This Communion). Trust in Jack Endino.
5. TAP TAP, “100,000 Thoughts” (from the Stolen album Lanzafame).
Can you tell we’ve been voting for our favourite records of 2007 at Plan B recently? Whatever. This still kicks YOUR ass.