Saturday, 4 June 2011

San Francisco part 3

It's not all drawing, boozing and pizza over here you know. There has also been some digging and I don't mean in the hip hop sense of digging for records (although there has been some of that). Annie's parents are redoing their basement which has involved much demolition most of which I conveniently missed whilst still in the UK however there was a hole to be dug. It's been a long time since I did any digging and it only took about five minutes for me to remember exactly why - it's blooming hard work. We eventually finished with the construction of an elaborate steel-reinforced concrete foundation a couple of days ago and I still ache. I never thought I'd be posting up pictures of holes I've dug on this blog but there's a first time for everything...

In amongst the digging and concrete mixing I've managed to do a few drawings too - in fact I rather like the combination of manual labour followed by a few hours of creative farting about. I was quite impressed with the ink wash techniques I experimented with whilst in Santa Cruz so I've been trying to simplify my line work and enhancing my illustrations with similar ink washes. Here's an illustration I did of a photograph taken by Gavin Watson for his stunning 'Skins and Punks' book. The hardest thing for me is resisting the temptation to over-egg every little detail but I just about managed it here for a quick and simple line drawing before layering on several ink washes.

The following day (Thursday 26th) after another afternoon of digging and squaring off my beloved trench we headed into the city to the prestigious Fillmore venue for Yeasayer. I've seen them a few times over the years to the point where I was slightly blasé about going but it only took about a minute to realise how foolish this response was - they're still the best indie-dance-pop band on Earth - I only wish I'd brought along my Benny Bollinger patented 'Rave Cape'. It was going off down the front. So much so Annie insisted we move further back to avoid the sweaty throngs of bouncing hipsters with elaborate hair cuts. Yeasayer played a greatest hits set (pretty much a given considering they're only two albums deep) with a few new songs thrown in. I wasn't especially moved by the new stuff but it took me a while to make the transition from the freakish guitar-dirge of 'All Hour Cymbals' to the dance-pop of 'Odd Blood' anyway so what the fuck do I know? As it was 'Madder Red' was my favourite song of the night and the Fillmore's sound is absolutely incredible as you would expect for a venue steeped in so much history. As we filed out into Geary Street clutching onto our free gig posters (nice touch - bit dubious about the free apples though) Annie and myself squirmed at the realization that Yeasayer were probably 'our' band. Then we both vomited copiously.

On Friday I was feeling lethargic and struggled to get going - I eventually started drawing a rooster-man riding on a motorbike. I'll post it up at some point but I still need to tweak some of it. We then headed into the city for the evening to do some secret special work which I cannot disclose on these pages at this time. Which is a shame as it was good fun and bizarrely high-profile in an art sense but whatever. We did manage to work until two in the morning with a quick donut run at about half one - late night donut runs in the Tenderloin on a Friday are something of an eye opener. It's like the bastard off-spring of a Cannibal Ox song ("crack heads stand adjacent, anger displacement, food stamp arrangements...") and one of those ridiculous real life MTV television programmes based in LA where beautiful simpletons who can barely construct a sentence ('I was like, she was like, he was like') preen around vacuously trying to rut with each other; it makes for an unusual mix especially when you're stone cold sober. The former are TL regulars and the latter are 'bridge and tunnelers' I'm informed. It didn't seem pertinent to mention we traveled in over a bridge...

Saturday morning was the Champions League final US style. Inexplicably Fox had decided to show the football and in doing so constantly felt the urge to remind us exactly how excited we should be to be witnessing such an awesome soccer event. They also chose a fucking cretin by way of a host that I-shit-you-not made me long for Adrian Chiles ("a talking Toby jug full of steaming hot piss"). Within the first ten minutes we were given a full break-down of how the rules to 'soccer' differ from American football, there was a 'Hot Match-Up' section sponsored by Pizza Hut (Pique and Shakira in case you were wondering) and a lengthy and open discussion about Mr. Super-injunction himself. We were also introduced to Wayne Rooney - an awesome footballer known for scoring 'crazy, sick goals' as apposed to being a fat, over-rated, money-grabbing, jug-eared cunt. All of this came to a welcome grinding halt at kick off when I was whisked back to England to the dour tones of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith for the commentary. It was a pleasure seeing Man Utd torn apart with relative ease although I still don't understand why nobody in the Premiership noticed how shit their midfield was during the season. I'm straying a bit far from drawing and records at this point - bare with me.

In the evening we were in a shady part of Oakland at the metal oasis that is 'Eli's Mile High Club' working the door for Midnight Chaser. I nearly didn't get to work the door because I forgot my id. Is that ironic? I've forgotten how all that irony stuff works. Having convinced the bouncer I was over 21 we spent the evening drinking Olympia Beer and taking money on the door whilst three metal bands shredded to varying degrees in the background. The first band Lechourous Gaze were pretty enjoyable - I struggle a bit with guitar solos but when they reigned those in a bit they were pretty tight. Midnight Chaser were a joyous mighty noise - taking the Awesome Righteous Shredding of the Evening award (A.R.S.E) - the lad Scott on vocals seems to have channeled all of the best bits of Rob Halford (rock fist of justice n' all) and seems to possess the lungs of a gargantuan behemoth at least twice his stature. By which I mean he can sing. As for the last band - I wasn't so keen - I couldn't quite grasp their name either. I've seen Anvil. I appreciate they've probably been paying dues forever but it just made me a bit sad. Plus all that daytime boozing for the football caught up with me.

I was going to write more than this but we're currently cat-sitting in a food-free flat in the Tenderloin, it's half one in the afternoon and I'm dead hungry. You are saved for now...

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