Yesterday, I was poking round my house trying semi-successfully to get some work done, but mainly failing, when my old pal Ben sent me an email. It turned out that his employers Channel 4 were celebrating the launch of their new digital radio show with a night of unsigned bands for the workers’ enjoyment. Did I want to come because he could get me a pass? I thought about another night of watching DVDs and making websites, grabbed up my coat and headed for the tube.
When I got there, I was impressed, firstly by the fact that I had seen the building before on the news and secondly that they had managed to turn the whole of the ground floor into a bar / gig environment. This guy called Tom Ravenscroft was up on stage talking about giving away some free digital radios. Something about his voice was familiar. Very familiar. Ahh, that’s right he’s John Peel’s son. He was going on about having sent his cv to channel 4 about a million times before they took him on. I was thinking, well you should have just got your dad to write a letter, but actually he was quite humorous so I decided to let him off.
Anyway, a few beers in, having met Ben’s pals and starting to settle into the vibe, I was jarred by the band that were playing. They were some crazy group of asian hipsters who concentrated a lot on what they were doing, nods of non-verbal earnest communication going on between them as they shifted keys, tempo and volumes at will. Still this seriousness didn’t really help because as far as I could make out, they were playing a discordant mess of noise, randomly plucking notes out of the air, throwing in some drum beats and an occasional ear splitting burst of oscillated synthesizer. It really was quite taxing and unlike others that stood there attempting to tap their feet and playing the latter day ‘emperor’s new clothes‘ card of ‘I don’t really like this, but I don’t want to diss it in case it’s cool’, I stood there lauging and popping off strange shoulder movements.
The other bands were alright, but I was glad when we could leave for Ben’s current haunt of Notting Hill and do some serious drinking, without jazz trumpet interfering with our anecdotes. You can have too much of a good thing and I was all media’d out by the end.