6 MUSIC, MeeBOX & SPOON NEWS!
ADAM & JOE ON 6 MUSIC 20th -- 31st AUGUST 2007
Our two week stint covering for the excellent Sean Keavney on the 7am -- 10am breakfast show on BBC 6 Music begins on Monday. I think Joe and I are both a little anxious that doing a 3 hour show every morning for two weeks at that ludicrous hour might test our radio skills to breaking point but we’ll give it our best shot. At the very least I’m looking forward to playing some good music. We’ve been told that we can plunder the Peel Sessions archives too so I’m pretty excited about that. We were going to revive a few of the competitions we used to do on Xfm like Crap Commentary Corner and maybe Celebrity Regression but the BBC seems to have banned everything that is in any way like a competition so that may be out. Mind you, the competition element of those features was never really what made them entertaining so perhaps we’ll find a way to squeeze them past the competition police. I’m looking forward to it!
MeeBox, my pilot for the BBC is now well underway and after a few days of meetings with the very small team at the heart of it I’ve got stuck into writing and looking through some of the chunks of random TV I’ve recorded over the past few months in the hope of having some edit fun with it. I’ve also been lining up a few musical guests for possible inclusion as the fanboy in me is desperate to have some kind musical element to the thing despite the received wisdom in TV that music, especially less mainstream music, makes people switch off immediately. That may or may not be true but all I know is that I loved seeing bands on shows like The Word and even The Young Ones and if I can get some of the music I love into this show I’ll be very happy.
On Friday night I took my camera along to Spoon’s gig at The Borderline (more of which later) and before they went on I filmed lead singer Britt Daniel playing three numbers on an acoustic in the tiny dressing room backstage. I hope it’s a more intimate performance than you would normally see on TV and the idea is for it to look like one of the thousands of videos on the net of people playing songs in their bedroom, except not shit. Rather than just pinning my hopes to one performance then waiting to see if we get commissioned, I think I’m going to try and shoot as many artists as possible then have them in the locker if and when the time comes. Whether the show goes ahead or not everything I shoot will see the light of day on You Tube at some point anyway so nothing’s wasted.
In fact if it wasn’t for You Tube I might be a little more gloomy about the prospects for this pilot, especially in the light of all this stuff about the BBC considering cutting costs by axing BBC3 and BBC4! This article about the whole thing refers to BBC3 having an annual budget of £93.4 BILLION! If that’s not a typo, that certainly does seem a trifle too lavish, even for Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. Our budget for MeeBox is nowhere near a billion though, so maybe we’ll be OK. I don’t think most people understand how expensive it really is to make a TV show however. Just shooting Britt Daniel at the Borderline last night cost over a million pounds. Then watching it back this morning cost another 3 million and editing it all, even though it’s just one locked off shot will probably cost at least 25 million. And all that’s before my fee. It’s crazy.
SPOON NEWS & ‘DON’T MAKE ME A TARGET’ VIDEO
You may well have read or heard me bollocking on about how much I love this band from Austin Texas so apologies if you’re saddened by the prospect of me doing it again but I just gotta! Ever since I bought their album Series Of Sneaks in Sister Ray records in Soho back in 2002 my life has been immeasurably improved by their music. I tried measuring it a couple of times but my music improvement ruler broke around the ‘very, very’ stage so I had to stop. I’ve got so many happy memories with Spoon as the soundtrack but here’s a couple of particularly special ones.
GAY HORNBY WARNING!! (SOME VERY GAY SUB NICK HORNBY SENTIMENTAL MUSO DRIVEL AHOY!)
The first one is a sunny morning in early 2005 the week that Spoon’s album Gimme Fiction came out. I was a massive fan by this stage and a few months previously the band had put a demo version of a new song called I Summon You on their website. It was just Britt and his acoustic and the first time I heard I was knocked out. I got that wonderful feeling you sometimes get hearing a fantastic song for the first time, kind of like the odd familiarity of bumping into an old girlfriend who you kind of still love and you suspect she probably still loves you a little bit but you’ve changed and she’s changed. It’s nice to see her though. We’ve both put on a bit of weight but she looks good. Why is she wearing that hat though? Anyway, I Summon You.
So I loved this song and I worked myself into a such pitch of insane anticipation about the new album that I became convinced I was going to be let down and this would be the one that soured my relationship with Spoon (a little like Get Behind Me Satan did with The White Stripes for me). Nevertheless I ordered my copy of Gimme Fiction from the band’s website and one morning as I was on my way out to a meeting, there it was on the doormat. I couldn’t help dashing back to my computer and loading it onto my I-pod (making myself late quite for the meeting in the process) and then I cycled off in the cold sunshine listening to Gimme Fiction for the first time.
It was great. The first song, The Beast And Dragon Adored seemed almost to be a manifesto for what I loved about Spoon, including the line “When you don’t feel it, it shows, they tear out your soul! But when you believe, they call it rock and roll!” which looks a bit daft written down, but when Britt Daniel is yelling it winningly, it makes sense of the whole world. I could tell I was going to fall in love with this album completely in a few weeks then as I was cycling up Whitehall the proper album version of I Summon You came on. The beginning sounds almost the same as the demo but after a few bars the drums and the rest of the band come in closely followed by these lovely swells of synth that sound like the wonderful atmospheric keyboard beds on With Our Love by Talking Heads. Now this is very Gay Hornby indeed but at that point I got a massive lump in my throat and was close to blubbing like a ladyman right there on my bike. I was just so supremely happy to be hearing this band that I liked so much pulling it out the bag so beautifully! Like meeting an old girlfriend who you kind of still love and clearly still loves you and she isn’t wearing a bad hat. I was dancing on the ceiling. So that’s happy Spoon memory 1.
Happy Spoon memory 2 was Friday night. The new Spoon album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga came out a few weeks ago and once again it’s a lovely old girlfriend minus bad hat. One song in particular called Black Like Me has been causing me a number of lump-in-throat ladyman moments. I saw the band was in town doing a couple of shows so with the help of some folks at 6 Music I got in touch with their extremely genial PR guy and arranged to film something for my show. I turned up at the Borderline with all my video gear in my backpack in time to see Spoon soundchecking. I had never seen them at such close proximity before, especially in such a wee venue. I was over excited. They sounded great. Minutes after they’d finished I was in a dressing room the size of a small lavvy with lead singer Britt Daniel tuning up an acoustic guitar as I hooked up my camera.
Britt played The Beast And Dragon Adored, Black Like Me and Advance Cassette, one of my favourite songs EVER! Despite the fact he was trapped in a tiny room alone with someone who was clearly something of a stalker (he later recalled that a few years ago I actually wrote to him to gush at length about the band), Britt performed his bollocks off, very unselfconsciously. Watching him sing the first lines of Black Like Me, which I’d been listening to on an almost hourly basis for the past few weeks is my happy Spoon memory 2. (Fun fact for any Spoon fans reading this: Britt told me that Dorian’s isn’t a drinking bar as I assumed but a shoe bar in Portland Oregon where Britt gets his boots repaired when he’s in town. In fact re-reading the lyrics for this track, it could well be written from the point of view of one of Britt’s shoes!) The band went on to play better than I’ve ever seen them play. The sound was perfect (the Borderline has got to be one of the best places in London to see a gig) and the band seemed to be having a great time. The guy they have on bass now, Rob Pope, is a fucking demon and Jim Eno and Eric Harvey on drums and keyboard respectively are tight as the seal on an airplane door! Wow, I could go on hyperbolising rockjournalistically but I won’t right now.
I made a video for the song Don’t Make Me a Target from the new album GA GA GA GA GA, which I posted here for a couple of weeks but I’ve taken it down for the time being because it may end up as part of my BBC Pilot, more of which soon…
ADOUBLEDENDUM But now I’ve reposted the video. Here it is.