Burning CDs on my raptop on the tube felt like being on tour again. I’d just slept for close to a day, the culmination of my post tour super funk that had gone mainly unseen or heard, buried beneath a ton of work, catching up, last-minute-mixtape, team-changing lunacy, and pre-wedding excitement.
Team wise, I was back where I started – no radio, no press, no manager, just me and my awesome records, friends, family. You. It felt good, for no good reason I could grasp.
I was on my way to play Manga Entertainment’s 20th anniversary party. It was twenty years since Island Records Chris Blackwell set up that company and imported Akira to these shores, changing many lives in the process, including, quite obviously, mine. And now, 20 years since I cut out the first advert for Akira from the back of Vox and stuck it to my bedroom wall, I was on my way to play its birthday party.
So it goes.
I noticed my fly was undone looking at twitter on the escalator. I was nervous about the show. Playing a gig that’s yours is one thing – even if seven people show up, they’re there to see YOU, and will know some of your material, and want to have a good time during your performance. Playing the Manga 20th Anniversary party all I knew was that there’d be 300 people there, and that a good percentage of them were likely to be pissed, what with the free bar and all. Whether they would cared for my particularly unique line in rap pop remained to be seen.
The venue was pretty amazing. Empty of the expected 300 people it was vast, white, cavernous, like the beginnings of film set, or the inside of a space ship. Anime projected onto every spare area of wall. Men ran around constructing elaborate dangling shelves in which to house “the sushi wall”. Beermatts adorned with the iconic Manga logo papered very available surface. I met the folks I’d been liaising with, who seemed distinctly jolly, if a little manic, as might be expected, and sat down with my laptop, to finalise the set, or at least the relative confines of the set, which I then burnt to disc whilst listening to the Paranoia Agent remix of Big Iron, as the early echoes of the butterfly storm approaching fluttered around in my bely. I told you I was nervous.
The soundman was a tall, gentlemanly North American called John, and a very nice man. He was the king of our castle in the corner of the room – a small stage, with some decks on it, framed by a pair of speakers. There were no monitors, which filled me with a small ball of dread – monitors are those big wedge shaped speaker’s you see on stages pointing at the band, that allow the band to hear what the fudge is going on, unless they have those in ear things, which are very expensive, and I aspire to. A further oddity was that the mixing desk, such as it was, was on the stage next to the DJ equipment, behind the speakers, where the soundman would not be able to hear what the rest of the venue was hearing and thus would not be able to mix accordingly.
Well, I thought, he is a professional. It will be fine.
Presently Jacked showed up. Jack came off tour and was throw into a world of pain, and he looked tired and harassed. It was good to see him. We soundchecked, a long, queer process that involved us performing four songs in a row and the soundman running on and offstage repeatedly trying to fathom how it was all gelling together, the little stage with the twin speakers in the corner of the vast echoey aircraft hangar. I made sure my mike lead was good and long, so I could wander out in the venue space, and hear the actual sound. It was variable. Some of the cloakroom attendants gathered to watch the proceedings. Their evident enjoyment gave me hope.
After that, all we had to do was drink amusingly-named Manga-themed cocktails, soak up the atmosphere, steal beermatts and wait for stage time. A bunch people I know, and like, turned up, and we hung, and ate fine sushi bundles and drained the amusingly-named Manga-themed cocktails, and watched street-art hero Aerosol Jim paint an Akira-themed mural outside the venue. A clutch of Cosplayers, or rather, one might say a manga of cosplayers showed up, and posed in front of Aerosol Jim’s mighty artwork for a while, resplendent and joyful in their home-made cartoon garb.
Downstairs the DJ DJed. The effect was something like Tetsuo’s energy blasts in Akira. People seemed to occupy every space in the building that wasn’t within the immediate sonic reaches of those twin speakers. The sound was simultaneously very loud, very top-heavy, and very indistinct. One couldn’t really make out what was being played, yet one could hardly carry out a conversation either. I realized that I was the only person in the room with such concerns. Everyone seemed to be having a lovely time.
At 8:55 I changed into my Run DMC lounge parts and the T-Shirts (plural) the kind bawse of Manga UK had gifted me with, and at 9pm we took to the stage. It was entertainment as war, as Chilly would have it. We had interrupted the chatter of gang of people, many of them industry folk, and attacked them with high end fuzzy sonics from the far corner of the aircraft hangar. Some of them appeared visibly annoyed. Some of them seemed very pleased. I played for both. I worked hard. I utilized the full length of my mike cord, exploring the furthest reaches its fullness allowed me. I high fived. I climbed. I encouraged audience participation.
A performer really does feed off the energy of the crowd. A show can only be as good as the audience allows. Quantum theory applies here, as with everywhere else. The act of observation changes the observ-ed. When the crowd’s energies are mainly focused on their conversations, it is hard to syphon those energies into one’s performance, and to give it back, amplified, as is the righteous path, and the way of the ages. But there were enough active participants, enough open hearts that I was able to do what I came to do. I was thankful to those people. I looked into each and every one of their eye-pairs. My soul thanked them. I was acutely aware of the unspoken conversation. I was certain they felt it.
I decided we wouldn’t play Oh! What A Glorious Thing. It seemed inappropriate. That would be one of perhaps four shows I have done where I have not played that song. Each of them important, legendary occasions, for entirely different reasons.
Marvin appeared, right at the end. It was just the adrenaline dart to the chestplate I needed. He bounded onstage, blur of red, and my powers quadrupled. We romped through BOOM as if we were at Madison Square garden, and it didn’t matter that Marvin’s mike made him sound like he was broadcasting via wireless in 1913. We closed to a springtime precipitation of applause. I thanked my witnesses and my spiritual benefactors from the bottom of my heart. I was grateful, and exhausted.
At the (still free) bar I met lots of wonderful people who were having wonderful times. I left with their enthusiasm ringing in my ears.
Jack and Marvin were waiting outside. We shared a spliff as we wandered transport-ward in the English summer drizzle, dripping with goodie bags of Manga Swag. London looked a hell of a lot like Neo Tokyo. I wondered what it would have looked like had there never been a Manga Entertainment. Had I never seen Akira.
So, Pixel sent me a load of photos of last Saturday's gig the other day, but I got them too late to use in the post I wrote about the gig. I have been looking for a reason to post them, and now I have one, in the beautiful shape of Planetnotion's singingly put and factually accurate review. POW!
The bill for Saturday’s We Love Japan benefit at the (cough) “Relentless” Garage had been put together hurredly but with vigour, as is usually the case for such rapidly-announced charity gigs. All credit to the organisers of the night, who not only secured a plethora of bourgeois swag for the evening’s inevitable raffle but who had also coaxed out a rare solo gig out of, and I hasten to repeat the words, 70′s glam legend Adam Ant. I wouldn’t want to be glib, or offer too ready an embrace of kitsch- but gods! I’d come to check out Akira the Don, who had initially been booked to headline- but now I’m seeing an Adam Ant gig! Potential for rock star anecdotes to tell my dad just went through the roof!
Anyway, we’d not come to see the Ant- or that guy from E4 cast as the night’s awkward compere (how do you strike the right tone between recognition of utter tragedy and the desire to have a good night out?)- tonight promised only the opportunity of a rare live outing for the Hackney-based rap-tastic Akira The Don.
This gig, albeit a benefit slot, came at a good time for The Don- shortly after the release of the 25th free mixtape via his website, and before the release of his second proper album, The Life Equation. That mixtape, ATD25- is a phenomenally enjoyable thing- a unstoppable barrage of rapid verses, stupidly good sampling (their remix of Marina and The Diamonds ‘I am not a robot’ is a work of breathtaking alchemy), complementary guest verses and taut production smacking of professionalism and potential. Such sonic results demonstrate well why Akira was initially booked for the night’s main slot. That being said, and making do- a half hour set was more than enough for this enigmatic hip-hop artist to bring his particular ruckus to an audience left tender by the ear-shattering heavy metal band that had preceded (note: that’s not a criticism per se: I think ‘ear-shattering’ is firmly in the mandate for heavy metal bands- central to their raison d’etre, if you will).
Donned in an authentically ‘back in the day’ Wu Tang jumper (from the Iron Flag tour, OG auditers- but besides, what’s with everyone hating on Iron Flag anyway? Ok, it’s not traditional Wu- but it’s got some solid tunes! Akira knows…) and with the help of DJ friend Jack Nimble (who was given his props, no doubt) Akira tore through a set that reflected much of his back catalogue at it’s finest. Old school number “Living in the Future’ was performed with it’s trademark innocence remixed and Akira bouncing around the stage with a glee that was infectious. The beautifully summer ready ‘Oh! What a glorious day!’ gave opportunity for some bona fide sentimentalism, a sing-along in the chorus bracketing odes to cycling down the Kingsland Road in the sun. Pausing between numbers to orate in his uniquely enthused manner (after climbing up a side-stage ladder, noting to himself with excitement ‘Ok, wow- that’s a good climbing ladder..’)- there’s something that’s plain irresistible about the kind of hip-hop Akira the Don is making and all his swagger is ultimately endearing. Calling onstage a troupe of “hip-hop superfriends” (Pixel, Littles, Big Narstie, Marvin the Martian) for the closing number ‘Big Iron’, a standout track from ATD25- the song had the feel of a special moment. The track bounces and jangles like something the RZA might have produced on an upbeat day- and along the finest teachings of the Wu, each verse is magnificent, each rapper’s tone and flow complementing as well as drawing distinction from those around it. And that was that- the support slot feeling all too brief, all too enjoyable.
You know how they say nothing rhymes with Orange? Well, Lozenge kind of rhymes with orange. So that is bunkum. Syringe also, if your accent fits. But I cannot think of a single thing that even comes close to rhyming with ridicule. Pitiful? Minuscule? No. Not good enough...
These things keep me awake at night. For those of us that deal in the arrangement of words, this is serious business. The quest for the ark:
"Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did he know that he riddled with middle men who didn't know diddly."
A litany of literary litter in its wake.
Show me a rapper that hasn't rhymed cool, school, and fool, and I'll show you a cube without corners.
That picture up there was taken by Miss_Lucifer, who posted it on Twitter while we were onstage at The Garage on Saturday night.
It must have been ages since I've played, because I don't remember being able to see photos and feedback from a gig as soon as one has left the stage.
Narstie pointed this out. We were chilling at the bar after the gig, and he had his face in his phone. What the fuck are you doing? I asked him. He was looking at photos from the show.
Like this, posted by @gdpreston:
...and this, posted by @Svend_SPOnG:
Yes, that's right ladies and Gs, I was joined onstage, NOT JUST BY THE MIGHTY DJ JACK NIMBLE, who held me down like a weapon, but by my rap superfriends Pixel, Littles, Lacey, Big Narstie and Marvin The Martian. DAAAAAAMN! I told you it was gonna be some legendary shit.
When we got offstage Adam Ant was waiting for us, offering strange, thin menthol cigarettes. Truly, he was the personification of Charm. Lacey had a little omfgasm, and Narstie had no idea who he was. Narstie enjoyed a little of Adam's solo performance later though. Well, he liked the "ridicule is nothing to be scared of" line, anyway.
Shout out everyone involved for a thoroughly Great night. We made a shit-ton of money for Japan! The bands were all brilliant, the organisation was impeccable, and the dude helping get the bands onstage was a righteous G, who gave me piggyback. Shout out the righteous ladies and Gs copying my improvised dance movies in the crowd. Shout out the dude who did an awesome speed drawing of me which I will post tomorrow when I get it back from Nonny who was kind enough to take my bags home for me fearing I might lose them in a bout of post-gig drunkeness. Shout out to the guy guarding the stage door, a Wu-Tang fan who looked a bit like Prodigy from Mobb Deep. That dude loved the show and it makes me very proud when dudes who love Wu dig what I do.
Damn, that rhymed! That sounds like some Dr Seuss shit. Maybe its time for me to write my children's book...
Rah though, I gotta shoot now. I am off to Camden to do an interview with Who's Jack, and I need to do seventeen tons of washing and write a video treatment first. May all your endeavours be fruitful. Enjoy the blob blog. And please find me a word that rhymes with ridicule.
OK, first off, and forgive me if you're tired or hungover but
ADAM FLIPPING ANT IS PLAYING WITH US ON SATURDAY AT THE GARAGE! ADAM FLIPPING AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT! SERIOUS YOU GUYS! I AM GONNA BE PLAYING WITH ADAM FLIPPING AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT!
Adam Flipping Ant.
I could go on at length about how he was my favourire thing in the world when I was TWO, how the first record I remember touching was Kings Of The Wold Frontier, how there's a photo of me dressed up as him as a toddler, but you should know that from listening carefully to my songs anyway. I shall save it for after the gig, and I haven't been able to locate the photo yet anyway and you need to see that because it is some next level shit.
So for now, I will just say, BUY YOUR TICKETS YOU CRAZY FOOL. It's gonna be legendary. My rap superfriends are coming out and everything.
Anyway, I gotta go sleep now, got rehearsing in the morrow. It is important that we are AMAZING, as we are walking with GODS.
AKIRA THE DON WILL RELEASE HIS INCREDIBLE COMPILATION ALBUM, LIVING IN THE FUTURE, ON APRIL 18th! YES!
So, last year I asked you what your favourite post WWWY songs were, for the following reason:
"...to those that don’t frequent this wonderful, groundbreaking, epoch defining website, I might as well have died in 2006. So we need to edumacate their asses, before we hit them upside the head with The Life Equation, and change the course of history for ever and ever. What I want to do is this – to put together an EP (extended play) of my finest works, following the release of When We Were Young up until now, the eve of The Life Equation. I will take these recordings, polish them up, treat them with respect and love, give them the mastering I was never able to before, and release them into the world, where anybody can find them."
Well, I took your advice, I made a list of a hundred odd songs, I whittled that list down to my favourites, I whittled that down to my favourites that didn't have great big fuck off unclearable samples in them, then I worked out which out of those worked best together and told a story as a whole sequence, then I made the whole lot work together melodically and thematically and shit, then I added Jamie to the mix, which was a song me and Stephen Hague did that we loved but didn't fit in The Life Equation, then I wrote The Way Back Home to finish that story, and lead into the next. I'd been wanting to write about my American adventure for a long time. It was emotional. The Way Back Home is now one of my favourite songs ever, and it makes me cry.
The songs have all been remixed, and reworked, in some cases with whole new beats and lyrics. Finally, I got the whole lot professionally mastered, and sent it off to my distributor. It is already lying in wait on Amazon, and will soon be on iTunes, and all that stuff.
So! Living In The Future! A compilation of recordings made by me, Akira The Don between the release of my first album, When We Were Young, and my second, The Life Equation! With production from me, Akira The Don, Joey2tits and Stephen Hague! Release date is April 18th! It will be availible as a digital download AND, because you asked me nicely many times, CD! And T-shirt! And poster!
All CD orders get a complimentary digital download delivered on the first second of April 18th. Design to announced shortly. YOU KNOW IT WILL BE FRESH....
You can preorder now at a SPECIAL LOW PRICE! (You can choose your T size as well, cheers Normannumeric for pointing that issue out!)
Preorder CD! £5!
Preorder MP3! £3.99!
Prorder FLAC! £3.99!
Preorder CD + T-shirt! £16
Preorder MP3 + T-shirt! £15
Preorder FLAC + T-shirt! £15.50
Preorder CD, T-Shirt, Poster and Badge set! £25!
All funds will go toward the release of my second LP. And yes, YOUR NAME’S GONNA BE IN THE CD! Well, it is if you helped choose the songs. Thank you for that! You did a brilliant job!
In other news, whatever you're doing on April 2nd, CLEAR THAT! I have been asked by Japan Underground to play a Tsunami benefit at The Garage in London with a gang of awesome Japanese bands. Tickets are on sale here NOW. FB page is here. I AM HONOURED and HUMBLED and EXCITED! What songs do you wanna hear?
First off, I can't post this in the gigs section yet cos I can't have more than one gig at any one time without the site breaking (Zeeeeeeef!) but you need to know cos it's in a month:
I AM PLAYING A BRITISH FESTIVAL!
Early evening slot, Saturday. Welsh border. Magic Numbers are playing too. It is gonna be a really beautiful thing, and I'd love for you ALL to come. Details are here.
OK. You coming or what?!
Second, as promised yesterday, up top there is my remix of Si Cranstoun's Dynamo. Enjoy, I did. And do. Shit goes bump in the day AND the night. It's out later this month, I believe. Si's the guy on the right with the excellent tan, and the dude on the left is my ole pal Jamie Dananananananana-NAN, sometime PR, record label boss, and script writer - he had a hand in that AAA pilot I was involved in. I can't find the pictures I took of Mr Braydz, but you can see some, and hear his music, here.
In other news, I am happy to say that I know more about giraffes right now than I did when I woke up, and its all thanks to Twitter. Today I learned that giraffes communicate on a frequency lower than our human ears can register. AND that 93% of giraffes indulge in gay orgies. Thanks internets, for giving me fresh wisdom daily! I have also seen Jamie Oliver's head spray painted on an X-Box, loads of alternative Wonder Woman costume designs that are all better than the stupid new one, and I heard this ace song in a Sonic The Hedgehog advert. PLUS I emailed lots of journalists and packaged up lots of T shirts and I am off to the post office with them now. I am running seriously low on stock on everything right now. There's only, like, 5 pairs of Don Shoes left, 4 iANDY Ts, 8 Security Ts... I am going to have to do a proper stock count. And do some new Ts and stuff. I have never done a yellow T shirt, have I? Maybe we need one of those. What other sort of stuff do you want?
EDIT: What a palava! So, I cycled to the Post Office in the Heaving Mugg, which was a little like cycling through water, if water was a lot more dense, wherein I was greeted by a Line, as my American friends say, snaking out the door and down the pavement. I enjoyed a 26 minute queue (what a crazy word to have to spell that is!), most of that spent in a two foot wide isle made of stacked up detergent boxes and canned fruit, during which time I met a baby, who was a very polite for a baby, in that she gurgled appreciation when I fanned her with a receipt I found on top of a box of cereal on the top shelf. So thankful was she, in fact, that she let out a mighty trump, so we all had something more interesting and fruity than washing powder to smell. And not only did we, The Brave Queue Of Hommerton have fine fruity scents to breathe in, but we were serenaded by a loud, tanned man in wrap around shades and fatigues, who barked such wisdoms as, "they have mosques AND churches in Poland!" and "how many oranges could you eat before you made a big Orange sick puddle like a monkey?" to all and sundry.
Indeed, they more we ignored him, the louder he got - I say "they" because I smiled at him a few times. "Don't encourage him!" cried the lady behind the counter. "The devil will never be good!" replied Tanned-shades Man, enigmatically.
Actually, I recorded a bit of him with my telephone. Check him out:
Yeah, he was great. Anyway, when I tried to pay for my Voluptuous Parcels, my card was declined, so I had to cycle home to get my other card and back again at top speed. In such a rush was I that I dropped half my bike lock, key and all, through the big metal gate it was tied to. No, I couldn't reach it. No, I couldn't climb it - for it was too tall, and there was nothing to grip. So I spent 20 odd minutes walking around and around this block, trying to find an entrance to back of this big ass gate. It turned out I'd dropped my keys into the back garden of the local Outreach Centre, and they didn't take too fondly to me breaking their trellis and climbing all over their roof trying to get into their back garden. Problem was, they didn't have any access to the back garden bit, had no back door, and their windows only opened 2 inches because it's a bloody Outreach Centre full of suicidal people - although the ones I met were all ever so nice and smiley, and very helpful also, apart from the one old lady who clawed at my arm with a hand like Freddie's and hissed something about "inappropriate shorts" at me.
Eventually I was saved by a forlorn and stressed looking Rastafarian, who said he could help me just as soon as he'd sorted out some business. Turns out the business was dealing with a lady who'd illegally parked in the staff car park and gotten herself a clamp, which he did with admirable tact and aplomb. Then he strode through the Lodge's doors, and returned ten minutes later with my bike lock and key, and the same sad, pained expression. I almost hugged him, then stopped myself, then felt bad about it half the way home, until two crazy little white girls with braces ran out in front of me waving fistfuls of sherbet tubes and liquorice bootlaces screaming what sounded like aboriginal war chants and nearly made me swerve into a lorry.
Good morning gang! Today is a good day, since we all woke up, and for that we must be thankful. Praise Tarim!
Indeed, my throat is sore and my head is fuzzy, but this is what happens when you play strange, chaotic, unrehearsed Ballsacks To The Digital Economy Bill shows in Camden, which is what I did last night. Big up everyone that came down and witnessed the fitness, big up my DJ for the night Max Akira de Wardener, Son Of Zen Pyramid, who is 14 and had NEVER TOUCHED A PAIR OF CDJs before in his LIFE and flipping TORE IT DOWN like a TRUE G, and big up The Indelicates, who came onstage and played a gang of songs with me without ever having done it before. Pretty awesome. SKILLED MUSICIANS! Yes indeed. We did a number of things that have never been done live before, like Security, which was ace with Julia's Piano, and Steven Wells (He Was The Greatest). Last time I was in The Monarch it was for his Life Celebration Party, so it was only right.
Also big up Dan Bull, who did his first ever show last night - I pressed play on the CDJs for him and chopped in little bits of Price songs without warning - and Lilly Ray. I'd never heard Lilly before, and she had some great songs. I need to investigate her further. Thank you Author Girl too, for holding down the merch stand and loaning me those headphones made out of tiny Easter chicks. Amazing.
Also, I THINK the livestream worked. I was running around too much to be able to check in, but as far as I could tell it was streaming anyway. How was it for you out in internetsville?
Littles was supposed to come, you know. Lucky I suspected him to FAIL and never announced him. He rang me just now to inform me that he was knackered after playing paintball for a Channel U, sorry, Channel AKA show all day. "It was nuts fam," he said, as excited as one can sound when evidently Very Tired. "They was sneaking about behind trucks but I got Ghetts and Scorcher good. We lost though fam. I only got shot in the leg, but Narstie got shot in the head."
I was also amazed to learn that they theme paintball these days. The theme? Afghanistan. WOW.
Rah though, right now I have to run to Oxfam or something and find some SHOES, as I am going to The Ritz to celebrate my girlfriend's Mother's 60th birthday, and they don't let you in without shoes. SHOES, not trainers. Can you believe I have no shoes? Amazing. I have some cowboy boots, but the heels are all worn away, diagonal, and they make me walk like an inverse-John Wayne. I also need to find a tie. What's this Ritz like anyway? The only Ritz I have any familiarity with one puts cheese on. Damn, I used to love those things. I could eat a whole box in under an hour.
PS - Anyone got a photo/image from last night with which to illustrate this post?
THIS WEDNESDAY! The Open Rights Group will be leading a demonstration against David Geffen and Peter Mandelson’s Dastardly Digital Economy Bill at Old Palace Yard, London opposite Parliament, next to Westminster Abbey. Read more about it here. Afterwards there will be a GIG/PARTY at The Monarch in Camden, which I will be performing at, in some sort of DJ/Emcee capacity. Also playing live will be The Indelicates, and Dan Bull. TICKETS ARE HERE!
The Monarch 40-42 Chalk Farm Road Camden, London NW1 8BG United Kingdom
23rd March, 2010
For Immediate ReleaseMusical Artists Opposed To Digital Economy Bill Play "Stop Disconnection" ShowStop Disconnection GigMarch 24th, The Monarch, Camden, from 7:30pmStop Disconnection DemonstrationMarch 24th, Old Palace Yard, 5:30pmA group of artists who have been vocal in their opposition to the government's 'Digital Economy Bill' - currently awaiting its second reading in the House Of Commons - will play a one-off gig in Camden following a demonstration outside parliament tomorrow, March 24th.The Indelicates, Akira The Don and Dan Bull have all used the internet to their advantage in their attempts to build careers in music and are disturbed by the Digital Economy Bill which threatens fans with disconnection, places unreasonable demands on ISPs, restricts the development of new models for the sale of music and stands as a threat to the rights of all in the digital age.Speaking today, Indelicates' guitarist Simon Indelicate said:"It has become a devalued cliche of protest to declare that a government action is 'Not in My name' - but, as an artist struggling to find a way to be paid for my work in the new economic climate created by the internet, I repeatedly see this bill being promoted in my name and I am disgusted by it.By attending the demo tomorrow, and by performing at the gig afterwards, I want to send a clear message to the Business Secretary, the Leader of the Commons and all MPs who support this bill that I do not want it passed and I do not agree either that I will be benefited by it or that its draconian measures are needed to protect my copyright."Dan Bull, who has rocketed to internet fame after releasing several videos critical of the Bill including 'Dear Lily' - a rap letter to Lily Allen, taking issue with her support for harsh measures against filesharers - will be performing one of his first live sets at the gig.Acclaimed Rapper Akira The Don, who has built a large following online with his exemplary website at akirathedon.com will also be appearing.The protest and show come hot on the heels of an open letter published in the guardian and signed by The Indelicates alongside Billy Bragg, Caroline Lucas, Graham Linehan, Peter Tatchell, a number of MPs and Lords, the Open Rights Group's Jim Killock and opendemocracy's Anthony Barnett which noted the danger that the Bill will be rushed through without full parliamentary scrutiny and asked that:"those most controversial parts of the bill – covering "technical measures" and court orders for website blocking – either be properly debated, or be taken out of the bill and subjected to genuine democratic scrutiny in a new parliament."For more on the Demo and the Digital Economy Bill see:http://www.openrightsgroup.org/campaigns/disconnectionFor More on the artists involved see:The Indelicates http://indelicates.comAkira The Don http://akirathedon.comDan Bull http://www.myspace.com/danbullTo read more by Simon Indelicate on the Bill see:http://www.indieoma.com/commentaries/simon-indelicate-fudge-really-has-nothing-to-with-itandhttp://www.indieoma.com/commentaries/simon-indelicate-digital-economy-bill-no-puns-no-passion
23rd March, 2010For Immediate Release Musical Artists Opposed To Digital Economy Bill Play "Stop Disconnection" Show
Stop Disconnection GigMarch 24th, The Monarch, Camden, from 7:30pm Stop Disconnection DemonstrationMarch 24th, Old Palace Yard, 5:30pm
Ooh-err missus etc. Anyway. See that? That's my main hard drive that is. I needed to free up some space fast, and some safe clarts on Twitter told me what software to use. I had this prior to that Godawful crash I had the other week but I wasn't using it enough to remember its name. It's called WinDirStat, for the record - no wonder I couldn't remember - and it is mad useful. Although, predictably, the vast majority of my hard drive is taken up by wav files. That's all the blue stuff. The red stuff is MP3s, and the green stuff is raw video. SO THERE YOU GO! My system reflects my being. Ale jaca est.
Yeah. I have been working today, on NON DON RELATED BUSINESS, shock horror - I am doing some freelance website building to help pay the bills. My glamorous assistant (read girlfriend) tells me we're doing twice as good as we were this time last year in the shop, which is awesome, but it's still not quite enough to pay for everything. That is because we live in London. If we lived in, well, pretty much any other place, it would... Rah! Lighbulb moment! Maybe I should move! Doh!
Anyway, tomorrow I get back to Don Business. LP2 RELATED SORTING OUT. POST. VIDEO. COMIC. ATD22 - the details of which I shall start to divulge shortly, but right now its looking like its gonna be, like, an album... pretty much. I am excited, but I don't wanna say anything until I've made the first song. I'll let you know how we go. Natch, it's The All New Weekly Doncast tomorrow as well, live from 5pm, so get ready with your requests. And remember! Like last week, we'll be doing Our Tune: Mail me at akirathedon at googlemail.com with a song to dedicate to someone special, and a suitably moving story for me to tell to the people. That was good last week, inspirational, in fact. We did a song for a mum, a girlfriend, and a brother.
Rah then, I think I said the other day I did a comic strip about my ole pal Frankie Poullain around the same time I did that Death's Head 3 one, back in 03 and I was gonna try and dig it out. Well, never let it be said I am not a man of my word. Here you go:
You know, the more I look at that, the more I think Frank makes an awesome cartoon character. He also kind of looks a bit like Axecop.
Like most people who hung around Camden in the early naughties, I knew most of The Darkness, to varying degrees - Edd The Drummer used to come to my famous after-parties in East Finchley, and eat mushrooms and run around in circles in the garden screaming about giant eagles and suchlike, and Justin used to ask me if I had any cocaine in Bar Undersolo in Camden. I never did, but he always asked anyway, and always smiled warmly and gave me a little hug before skipping off to ask someone else. But Frankie was a gentleman - he'd buy me a pint and we'd talk about 90s rap. The Darkness actually supported my old crew Crack Village this one time at The Water Rats in King's Cross. Frankie gave some backstage motivation - the venue was rammed, but with industry swine, and those are some tough-ass crowds. I didn't care too much in those days though, I just got hammered.
Oh, and this one time he got me and Jeres tickets to see them support Robbie Williams at Knebworth, and we got to drive around the grounds at high speeds in a souped up golf cart with a bag full of pop!
Ah, the old days. I don't miss them, but it's pretty great that they happened. It's nice to have stories. I am going to really enjoy being an old man.
Well if you didn't notice, I have a brand new shop, which took me quite a while to build, during my week of being ill, but rah, it's pretty cool, and it's got CDs and MP3s and T-Shirts with accurate size information and Don Shoes and canvas prints AND original artwork from years and years back in it, so it's pretty much a high end boutique or something by this point. You can buy multiple things at once! The MP3s get sent out STRAIGHT AWAY! Truly it is a thing of futuristic wonder.
So, yeah. Go and have a poke around. You might find some entertainment in my product descriptions, if it's entertainment you require.
So, yeah, that up there is a picture of Jimbob from out of Carter USM rocking his I Am Not Dead (Yeah!) T-Shirt onstage with Chris T-T at the Carter aftershow on Saturday. I was meant to be there, but I was ill. Lame! Still, it's pritty, pritty awesome to have a guy who used to adorn the cover of my Welsh textbook rocking one of my lovely garms at his reunion show. He bought it from my shop too! I didn't even notice, so I must have signed his poster "James", or something. Which reminds me - do feel free to add notes with your orders to remind me of who you are if I know you. Actually, feel free to add notes if I don't know you. Brightens up my post days.
So, I am approaching the realms of the Better, which is exciting, and lucky, as I am off to see my little common-law niece this weekend, and I'd hate to be anything other than a robust, energetic, action packed Uncle Adam for her. I might have to do some exercise in preparation. Last time I saw her she had me chasing a balloon around a living room for 5 hours or something. I may not be an old man yet, but I am certainly not a teenager anymore, although saying that I wasn't the most active of teenagers, as the stinky-jockstrap school-sports culture created a vast and frightening aversion to Physical Activity in me, sending me off round the back of the mobile teaching units with the other scrotes to smoke cigarettes and plot mischief. However, I did live over half an hour from the nearest bus-stop, and 40 minutes from the phonebox, so I did a great deal of walking along a windswept coastline singing Radiohead's Creep to myself on my way to phone my girlfriend. I could't phone her from the landline - my Dad would pick up the phone downstairs and make smoochy noises, and my little brothers would hang around outside the door giggling. Hence my mighty calves. You could smash skulls with my calves.
OK, I am off to post Don Shoes to four corners of the Earth. Literally. With any luck I'll finish the Dead remix video afterwards. Either way, there's gonna be some swell audio visual for your asses tomorrow, so keep it locked.
Ha! That's some footage of our Natural History Museum gig I just found on my Facebook "fan" page that one Nic Cox upped. We're kicking off Working Together. Nice clapping skills, crowd. I might have to kill that Facebook "fan" page though, I never use it. I have a personal one I use a little more (not much), maybe I should just rock with that. Two is confusing, and I hate to not do things properly. Speaking of which, I might delete my Myspace page. Any opinions? I have always hated Myspace. It is ugly and clunky and a cancer on the internet. I hate the idea that people would go there first... and I hate logging into it. I makes me feel gross and nauseous.
Anyway, that AkiraTheDon.com 5.0 is close. All other websites will cease to exist when that ish drops. I'm looking at YOU Huffingtonpost. YOU Guardian.co.uk. YOU... tube. Ha!
Batman & Robin # 3 dropped yesterday. OH BOY it is AWESOME AGAIN! It remnded me of the feeling American Comics gave me when I was reading them as a nipper. Truly. Fast, bold, exciting, packed to the hilt with POW... Yeah, you could wait for the trade, or you could enjoy comics as they were mant to be, right now. Short sharp colourful jabs in the face. KRAKOW!
Yeeeeah, bwoyee. Truth be told, B&R's the only comic I'm reading regularly right now. Presumably there's other worthy stuff happening out there in comic book land. What am I missing out on? Fill figga in, win a no-prize.
Oh, and if you don't read The ISB it's you that missing out. Chris Simms is the funniest comic blogger in the whole damn internets, and today, he returns to one of his favourite subjects - Silver Age Jimmy Olsen Comics, which are REALLY MENTAL THINGS. Check it:
Yowzers. So, um, apologies to the couple hunnerd of you that were trying to listen to that new Drake/Kanye/Wayne/Em joint while I was asleep last night - I started re-upping the tag-less audio, then forgot about it and switched the machine off. Doh. It's working now, and it sounds better today than it did last night. Still not feeling Em on it mind, and I still don't believe a word that comes out of Drake's mouth. He's the most insincere rapper I have ever heard, I swear. 'Specially when he says "bitch". Dude, you don't use that word in real life! Sheeee-it.
Finally, thanks to everyone who's been forwarding my Feat Of Awesome around the internets. I'm gonna do a competition for it tomorrow, so study that ish like it was GCSE's tomorrow. And you gave two craps.
Good morrow brothers and sisters. Never mind the lack of sunshine (less you got some, word to my peoples in Florida). All you need is motivational music. I kicked off my day with some Journey (Don't Stop! Evah!), then moved onto some Andrew WK (go listen in the Blobblog!), and now I'm listening to B.O.B.'s Who The Fuck Is Bob. ahead of the release of B.O.B. VS Bobby Ray next week.
Then I'm gonna listen to my favourite positive Max B joints. I can't listen to I Don' Wanna Go Back... not with him being in jail. That's too sad. That dude's already done 7 years. That's a long time out of a life. Fuck prison. OH! Did I tell you? Littles got pulled back in and re-sentenced. He's out in July! Fingers crossed no Oz-style fuckery gets in the way of that. I'm gonna write to him this week - if anyone's got a message for him, leave them in the comments, or email me - atd at akirathedon dot com.
In other news, I did a remix for Flow Machines yesterday, which is getting mastered NOW, and will be out in three weeks. Eyes peeled, it's a blinder.
ALSO! We went way over our allocation of Natural History Museum tickets. They gave us some more, but it wasn't close to enough. I'm gonna be emailing you all later confirming the early bird bookings, and advising those of you that got in too late of how you can get tickets directly through the museum.
So. Cheers to everyone that posted and forwarded and Tweeted my BNP DOA joint yesterday. For the record, I do not condone, or approve of the behaviour of the protestors that acted like the people they were protesting yesterday (specially that guy who kicked the car. What did the car do to you?). I liked Charlton Brooker's idea posted on his Twitter:
"Instead of lobbing eggs, protesters should arrive with 200 v v pretty girls who just point at Griffin and laugh derisively."
Anyway. back to work. BIG THINGS POPPING over here. I am about to fulfil my promise, and the mission I began in earnest in May 2004. And while you're waiting for that to pop off, here's some dope videos made by dope people that have my music in them. YEYAH!
Nicholas Shearon's Paper Animation. To Giro
Novaslogic playing Counter Strike. To Bladed
SiriusHearts' Awesome Monitor. To Click Clack Blam.
FOR THE WIN!
Ladies and gentlemen! It is my very distinct pleasure to announce that Marvin The Martian and Magnum P.I., AKA Pixel will be performing at the Dawn of The Don on May 29th.
Me and Pixel are going to be performing exclusive new material [none of the songs we're performing have ever been performed or heard outside of the studio, if you want classics you'll be at the wrong show. Strictly future classics] at Akira The Don's 'Dawn of the Don' gig on Friday May 29th. Most of the songs performed will make up the new mixtape which Jack is in the process of mixing as I type [real mixing rather than DJ Mixing, that process is a few weeks off at least].
In other Marvin related news, dude has a dope new feature on his website, which I might have to rip off.
In addition to the already stellar DJ line-up of Stephen Hague, Joey2Tits, Blonde Jeremy Deacon & Zombiehamster, I can now announce that Kill Witnesses will also be spinning awesomeness. BUT! WHO ARE Kill Witnesses?
Soon you will learn...
get your tickets, and all the info you will ever need, RIGHT HERE!
IT'S THE DAWN OF THE DON!
And it is confirmed - we're filming the stage and crowd shots for the forthcoming I Am Not Dead (YEAH) zombie-flick. So come in your finest undead garb - or just dress how you normally would and try not to get a chunk bitten out of your arm.
Book online now for guaranteed entry! Ticket comes with FREE shiny full colour A4 gig poster!
£5 per ticket plus £1 paypal/postage per transaction (ie, if you buy 50 tickets, the paypal/postage charge is still but £1)
SORRY, WHAT IS IT? A PARTY! Featuring a live set from Akira The Don & full band, playing classics and new songs from his forthcoming LP, The Life Equation.
WHO ELSE IS PLAYING? Playing BRAND NEW FUTURE HITS LIVE, we are proud to present to you
Marvin The Martian & Pixel
And playing awesome pop music from The 40s to The Now, we are proud to announce DJ sets from:
Stephen Hague Joey2Tits Blonde Jeremy Deacon Zombiehamster Kill Witnesses
Wowzers! WHERE? WHEN? The Gaff 382 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PN o20 7609 3063
Friday, May 29th 2009 7pm till late £6 on the door, or £5 with a flyer - click the image above to open a copy that's big enough to print!
I made a rare trip into town last night to see Ey La Martin Carr. People that know me will testify that I stay stuck indoors like hinges (geddit?!), but Ey La hardly ever plays and I am a big fan of his new songs (apart from one of them, which sounds like Th' Bee-Tulllllz).
Anyway, it was OK. I got hassled by police and their dogs at Highbury tune station, not that I had anything on me. Most times I really, really hate police. Sorry if you're a police. Maybe you're a nice police. All the police I ever come across look at me like I am scum. They give me and my peoples no respect, and seem to actively enjoy bullying people and flexing their power, which we gave them. Man, they put me in a rotten mood most times, swear down.
I don't hang onto rotten moods though. Plus I had my book on me (I'm back into the third act of Illuminatus!, word up Karl, I owe you a email I know!), and I am enjoying that shit deeply. Rah though, if it didn't go and fuck it down on my head in an entirely biblical fashion as soon as I got out of the tunnels. Fuck this Summer almost as hard as last summer. What baffled me was where the hell everyone got their brellas from. It was sunny when I left the house, in a vest and tracksuit, then I surface at Oxford Circus amidst a fuckin' monsoon, and everyone's all brolleyed up. I guess people that, like, leave the house daily are in tune with this sort of shit. Not me.
Anyway. I linked with hotpants and we got down the Social in time to catch Martin Carr La Superstar and Sweary Preggers Mary's set.Which was grayte, especially the song Mary sings on her own about how shit it is of Martin to bring her "all this rain" (church!) and Running, which is my favourite song at the moment. Check a stream of it out right now, you lucky monkey, I'm sure Martin won't mind. Although he is kind of old, and old people don't always get this inernet malarky, do they? Shit, who am I kidding? I'm fuckin' old. Somebody drag me out back and shoot me.
Stream: Martin Carr - Running
Another nice thing about the night was seeing the homie Huw Stephens. Word to Huw Stephens! Weirdly, the headline act, who were called Cats In Paris and were pretty dope, especially when they were focusing on the violin, and whose bassist was gloriously stoned, anyway, their singer looks just like Huw Stephens, but not as handsome obviously, so there you fuckin' go.
Lorry was out too. Usually its nice to see Lorry, but this time he was the bearer of bad news. This American TV show that was supposed to be using two of my songs and thus paying my rent and my sibling-debts got cancelled. SO LAME! I am going to have to get a job cleaning chimneys now or something.
Still. We had a nice pint afterwards. Mary and Hotpants talked about the Batman film, and me and Martin talked about the Batman comic. Martin knows his Batman. Martin knows Batmite, for fuck's sake! Do you know Batmite? Saying that, Martin hadn't read any of Grant Morrison's recent run (check the blobblog for a look at the next ish), which is deliriously awesome, so he loses points there.
Oh, WEAK. I just burnt my fuckin' muffins.
True stories, we went to Dorset Herefordshire on the weekend, primarily to see Leonard Cohen, secondarily to cook bacon and egg sandwiches on a relatively futuristic camping stove (there's Luke making some excellent eggs up there). Good times!
We were lucky, however, in that another pair of musical collosi were on the bill. Quite unexpected, I thought only, like, Groove Armada played The Big Chill. The Big Chill is basically a middle class music festival for people who used to be clubbists but have since paired off and spawned. Lots of fancy wellies and wheelbarrows full of children and that sort of thing. So, you can imagine my surprise to find The 80s Matchbox B Line Distaster on the bill.
They were playing the Mighty Douche curated tent, and there was no time allotted, so we had to sit through hours of mainly awful stand up and musical comedy before the 80s came on, by which time we were pissed so I, for one, pogoed like a teenager. The 80s are still the best band in the world, despite having lost half of their original line-up.
Sadly I have no pictures of the new members as my fine lady mysteriously took about thirty photos of frontman Guy alone. I have no idea why.
The next day, even more amazing to my eyeballs was another name on the bill.
Yeah, that Jilted John. Gordon is A Moron Jilted John. Paper round-missing, mouse-collecting Jilted John. Performing his first live show in three decades.
I was like, 'what the fuck'? Jilted John put one incredible concept album out at the arse end of the seventies, and that was it. Dude was a teenager then. The whole album was about growing up and falling in love and getting dumped and doing your paper round, I still play it to this very day.
I was excited. What would happen? What does he look like now? Last time we saw him, he was young and moddish and beautiful. Since then there's been rumours of him turning into John Shuttleworth, but who believes rumours?
Anyway. Quarter to five, and the familiar chords of Going Steady, the B-Side to his smash hit Jilted John chimed out across the field, and I ran over to the stage. There he was - Jilted John, flanked by his band, including one-time adversary Gordon The Moron on "backing vocals", which involved some robot dancing and forlorn stares.
Anyway, it was GRAYTE! John was wearing some shorts and looking like a middle aged man, Gordon looked like a forlorn psychopath, Gordon's teenage son lurked about playing bass, and a nice ole cowboy played a guitar. Someone played drums too, obviously. They played Going Steady, Baz's Party, The Birthday Kiss and a morose Gordon-lead number about how the grass on the other side is always dead. We were treated to a single new song, the poignant and well intentioned Keira Knightley Eat Your Dinner, and the set concluded with a raucous Jilted John, the merry "Gordon Is A Moron" chorus drowned out by a jubilant crowd. Obviously they had not rehearsed a great deal, but that added to the charm. They were onstage for less than 20 minutes and it was revelatory. I demand a tour!
Here's a video Luke took of the last song. That's my hat and arm pumping.
After that I almost didn't care about seeing Leonard Cohen. But then I did see Leonard Cohen, and he was even better than last time, in ways. He didn't play as long, due to festival time constraints, but he was as warm, humble, and sonically awesome as before. The unexpected bonus this time was the wonderful atmosphere conjured by the Big Chill crowd.
I think my favourite song was Anthem, again. Although Hallelujah was kind of amazing, helped out by an uncharacteristically tuneful crowd. I'm Your Man was visceral and raw, and Tower Of Song was biblical in its power and authority.
He's playing again In November. Surely he doesn't need the money by this point? Maybe he wants a solid gold toilet. I think he deserves one.
Akira The Don & The Women support The Crimea live at London's Bush Hall on Wednesday, July 9th.
That is tomorrow! Oh gosh!
Trues story though. This is will be Miss Mary Turner's last before she goes off into Pop Superstar World as part of a Brand New Girlband, who are pretty good from what I've heard.
Women old and new will be joining us for this spectacular.
Do not miss!
In other news, Mary is flying to Russia to join a 'Love Russia' Summer Camp team at Chapaevskoye Orphanage, about 4hrs south-east of Moscow, on July 26th.
"In Russia today, between eighty thousand and one million children are officially in care, possibly three million are on the streets," writes Mary. "In the last twelve years the number of children being born has fallen by fifty percent but the number in care has doubled. Alcohol, drugs and poverty are all contributory factors in a society which has struggled through the transition years. 'Love Russia' works to improve the lives of approximately 3500 orphans and disadvantaged children by providing practical help and support.
"For the last 5 years 'Love Russia' has run summer camps in orphanages with great success.The children attending the camps range from 3 to 16 years and some camps are for children with learning difficulties. The camps involve a whole range of activities including craft, games, stories, singing etc."
So there! If you would like more information about the charity or would like to help contribute towards Mary's trip or towards the work that 'Love Russia' does please contact Mary at email@example.com or visit the 'Love Russia' website.
Clever folks will remeber last year I did a remix of The Crimea's brillaint Loop A Loop, and myself and The Women played a show with them at Bush Hall. It was accoustic and it was grayte. ANYWAY! We're doing it again, only this time it won't be accoustic.
This will also likely be Mary Turner's last gig with The Women for a while, as she's joined a girl group and is going to be a mega pop star! So I hope you can all come down and make it a great last night for her. And us.
The gig will be at the at Bush Hall in London on July 9th.
Anyway, that up there is a video of Davey Crimea Man playing a very lush and beautiful song called The Only Living Boy And Girl at London's 12 Bar in March. There's something of the Tom Waits about this song. It is fragile and gorgeous and makes my skin rush. It's possibly going to be on their next album - a demo can be heard on their MySpace.
And if you haven't got their current album, Secrets Of The Wishing Hour yet, you are foolish! It's ace! And it's free! No shit! You can get it right now here. As if you've got anything better to listen to this afternoon!