chickfactor poll question: do you suffer from stage fright?

kim baxter: only when I’m playing acoustically for a small audience. my band mate tasha and I recently played at a small bookstore here in portland. we were opening up for our author friends joe meno and nathan larson. we were so nervous! I forgot to breathe the whole time and couldn’t look up. it felt like I had never played a show before. we laughed the whole ride home about how ridiculous it was that a small bookstore crowd totally intimidated us.

james dump/yo la tengo: I do not.

mark teenbeat/unrest: definitely. especially and most certainly if I’m up on stage all by myself. at the chickfactor show I played I got up there and my mind went blank. suddenly I was lyric-less. If I’m playing with other folks on stage it’s usually not a problem.

stephin the magnetic fields: just the reverse: I suffer from stage ennui.

fran cannane: once I had to get off stage and be sick in the middle of a set in chicago at an outdoor festival but that was not caused by stage fright.

corin tucker: I do get nervous, especially in front of large crowds, particularly if I’m singing for someone else’s crowd.

matt lorelei: yes and yes. lorelei was invited to play a gig in princeton, new jersey, in ’91 that ended up being in a living room. those assembled were within arms length of me. I had luckily brought a flask but I had one swig before we started and shook like a leaf the entire time. it was not fun for me.

hannah grass widow: I used to get really nervous, but it’s been a while. I definitely still get an adrenaline rush that infuses the set. there was this one time we were opening for sonic youth at prospect park for celebrate brooklyn. we hadn’t played very many big shows at the time and I can say in retrospect that we were not ready to play for 15,000 people. I got this weird freak allergy attack and my hearing got all weird. It was probably psychosomatic. then we played and it sounded really weird and I realized I was so nervous I forgot to turn on my amp and I was just playing direct. I wish we could play that show again now.

joe pines / foxgloves: it is usually very scary preparing to play, especially as I have no idea how amplifiers, tuners or microphone stands work.

erin a girl called eddy: yes. no specific incidences, but it always amounts to a feeling of sick, hollow dread right before the show. and that’s just the audience.

daniel handler: I watched a friend break down during her bat mitzvah in 1983.  everything about that is a horror story.

bridget st john: most of my stage fright comes in the days leading up to the performance – doubting that I should have agreed to play etc. by the time I am ready to go on stage I am usually quite focused and in a zone. any horror stories have been in recurring dreams of being unprepared and sloppy and starting a song and changing my mind when I can’t get through a song – but then I always wake myself up before it gets any worse!

jennifer o’connor: no, not usually.

gordon the fan modine: if I’m not nervous before a show, I might as well not play it. I think it is a gauge of energy.

gail cf: yes. I only sang onstage with the cover girls in 2002 and it was awful. I was all liquored up and had a cold and seeing the footage of it ensured that I will never do it again.

ian musical chairs: I get quite nervous at first but it wears off pretty quickly.

allen clapp: opening for the ocean blue at the troubadour in 2001, we went to dinner before the show and leisurely walked back to the club. when the stage door opened, the stage manager started screaming at us for being late, and said they had a sold out room and that we were supposed to go on in 1 minute. massive panic attack ensues. I look out, and sure enough, there is a sold-out crowd standing there waiting! the whole set I thought I was going to pass out. In between songs, I kept looking for a secret exit and couldn’t think about anything except running away. argh!

 

 

our 2012 lists, round four!

in case you missed them, here you may read round one, round two and round three as well!

chickfactor editor gail’s top 20 records of the year

1. grass widow, internal logic
2. jim ruiz set, mount curve avenue
3. tender trap, ten songs about girls
4. lightships, electric cable
5. frankie rose, interstellar
6. sharon van etten, tramp
7. saint etienne, words and music
8. corin tucker band, kill my blues
9. veronica falls, veronica falls (technically 2011)
10. lambchop, mr. m
11. beachwood sparks, the tarnished gold
12. the hangover lounge box set, various artists
13. amor de días, the house at sea (technically 2013)
14. yo la tengo, fade (technically 2013)
15. samara lubelski, wavelength
16. black tambourine, onetwothreefour (ramones covers!)
17. songs of the year: grass widow, “disappearing industries” 7”
18. grass widow, “milo minute” 7-inch and video
19. withered hand, “heart heart”
20. dump, “nyc tonight”

mike slumberland’s ten records I listened to the most in 2012

1. four tet, jupiters 12″
2. robert hood, motor: nighttime world 3
3. liechtenstein, fast forward LP
4. lightships, fear and doubt 10″
5. linden, bleached highlights
6. moodymann, why do u feel 12″
7. saint etienne, words and music
8. sea pinks, freak waves
9. various artists, time to go: the southern psychedelic moment: 1981–98 LP
10. young guv & the scuzz, a love too strong EP

sean price’s (fortuna pop!) top ten list

1. chain and the gang “in cool blood” (k records). ian svenonius has now been in three of the greatest rockandroll bands of all time. go figure.
2. the precise moment during “mission bells” when linton and gary olson’s twin trumpet attack kicked in and shattered the mirrorball. (chickfactor 20th anniversary, bush hall, london)
3. ben rivers “slow action”. dreamy, hypnotic and disturbing film installation only bettered by the scotch egg and gallery-brewed real ale I enjoyed in the café afterwards. (hepworth gallery, wakefield)
4. the imposter (dir. bart layton). a documentary that thinks it’s a thriller.
5. dan greene “knife thrower”. illustrations from the mind-blowing alternative universe of the butterflies of love / mountain movers man, on card, wood and whatever else came to hand. (intercambio gallery, new haven)
6. bill fay, life is people (dead oceans). spiritual music.
7. amour (dir. michael haneke). one day he’s going to stop making these crowd pleasing feel-good flicks and turn his hand to something serious.
8. jeremy deller “joy in people”. marvelous, life-affirming art about stuff that matters. (hayward gallery, london)
9. leonard cohen live. three hours of laughing len in concert. at a castle in copenhagen. beat that. (rosenborg castle, copenhagen)
10. porgy & bess. I hear the songs of georgie gershwin. possibly transposed to apartheid-era soweto. (cape town opera, ENO)

rachel blumberg’s top ten music experiences

1. watching black tambourine and small factory at chickfactor NY, brooklyn, ny.
2. playing many happy hours with michael hurley and the croakers at the laurelthirst, portland, oregon.
3. playing with the the cascadia ensemble (me, tara jane o’neil, tender forever, dragging an ox through water, lisa schonberg) at the keep portland weird festival, paris and metz, france.
4. playing with tim rutili (califone) to live film at midnight at huichica music festival, sonoma, california.
5. watching beachwood sparks, old light, and sea of bees at huichica music festival, sonoma, california.
6. playing with tara jane o’neil and mirah at the keep portland weird festival, paris and metz, france.
7. playing with michael hurley and the croakers at my going away party, type foundry studios, portland, oregon.
8. playing with the secret drum band, all over oregon and california.
9. watching sad horse in a very wonderfully crowded valentines, portland, oregon.
10. watching alela diane at the woods stage with friends at dusk at the all around amazing pickathon music festival, pendarvais farm, oregon.

sadie underhill’s (jeffrey honeybunch’s daughter and japanese vocaloid specialist) top ten vocaloids

1. rin kagamine
2. IA
3. CUL
4. gumi
5. len kagamine
6. SF-A2 miki
7. piko utatane
8. lily
9. aoki lapis
10. KAITO

gail’s top ten things to avoid so we can stop climate change

1. meat
2. fish
3. big stupid supermarkets
4. non-recycled loo roll
5. bottled water
6. long-distance food
7. plastic bags
8. big stupid cars
9. waterfront property
10. monsanto

rachel blumberg & jeffrey honeybunch’s top ten cities we visited

1. savannah, georgia.
2. st. augustine, florida.
3. kingston, new york.
4. saugerties, new york.
5. new bedford, massachusetts.
6. woonsocket, rhode island.
7. rochester, new hampshire.
8. tarpon springs, florida.
9. arcata, california.
10. port orford, oregon.

sukhdev sandhu: ten books bought in london at the end of 2012

1. christopher fowler, invisible ink: how 100 great authors disappeared
2. eddie johnson, tales from the two puddings: stratford, east london’s olympic city, in the 1960s
3. kathy battista, renegotiating the body: feminist art in 1970s london
4. daniel poyner (ed.), autonomy: the cover designs of anarchy, 1961-1970
5. metrozones (ed.), faith is the place: the urban cultures of global prayers
6. jason eskenazi, by the glow of the jukebox: the americans list
7. born in flames
8. karren ablaze!, the city is ablaze! the story of a post-punk popzine, 1984–1994
9. maria fusco and richard birkett (eds.), cosey complex
10. hito steyerl, the wretched of the screen

joe brooker (the pines, foxgloves): top ten sentences from james joyce’s ulysses (only one per episode)

1. woodshadows floated silently by through the morning peace from the stairhead seaward where he gazed.
2. on his wise shoulders through the checkerwork of leaves the sun flung spangles, dancing coins.
3. listen: a fourworded wavespeech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos.
4. those homely recipes are often the best: strawberries for the teeth: nettles and rainwater: oatmeal they say steeped in buttermilk.
5. pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch.
6. hot herringpies, green mugs of sack, honeysauces, sugar of roses, marchpane, gooseberried pigeons, ringocandies.
7. miss douce halfstood to see her skin askance in the barmirror gildedlettered where hock and claret glasses shimmered and in their midst a shell.
8. lady sylvester elmshade, mrs barbara lovebirch, mrs poll ash, mrs holly hazeleyes, miss daphne bays, miss dorothy canebrake, mrs clyde twelvetrees, mrs rowan greene, mrs helen vinegadding, miss virginia creeper, miss gladys beech, miss olive garth, miss blanche maple, mrs maud mahogany, miss myra myrtle, miss priscilla elderflower, miss bee honeysuckle, miss grace poplar, miss o mimosa san, miss rachel cedarfrond, the misses lilian and viola lilac, miss timidity aspenall, mrs kitty dewey-mosse, miss may hawthorne, mrs gloriana palme, mrs liana forrest, mrs arabella blackwood and mrs norma holyoake of oakholme regis graced the ceremony by their presence.
9. nevertheless, without going into the minutiae of the business, the eloquent fact remained that the sea was there in all its glory and in the natural course of things somebody or other had to sail on it and fly in the face of providence though it merely went to show how people usually contrived to load that sort of onus on to the other fellow like the hell idea and the lottery and insurance which were run on identically the same lines so that for that very reason if no other lifeboat sunday was a highly laudable institution to which the public at large, no matter where living inland or seaside, as the case might be, having it brought home to them like that should extend its gratitude also to the harbourmasters and coastguard service who had to man the rigging and push off and out amid the elements whatever the season when duty called ireland expects that every man and so on and sometimes had a terrible time of it in the wintertime not forgetting the irish lights, kish and others, liable to capsize at any moment, rounding which he once with his daughter had experienced some remarkably choppy, not to say stormy, weather.
10. furthermore, silly milly, she dreamed of having had an unspoken unremembered conversation with a horse whose name had been joseph to whom (which) she had offered a tumblerful of lemonade which it (he) had appeared to have accepted (cf. hearthdreaming cat).

chickfactor 17!

CF_17_cover1

chickfactor had a pretty stellar 2012! We set up 12 events, 11 of them were pretty stellar live shows and/or sold-out festivals. Gail published her first photo book, had a photo show in Portland, and we published our 17th issue on paper, featuring Grass Widow, Sharon Van Etten, Bill Callahan, Black Tambourine, Caitlin Moran, Corin Tucker Band, Fence Records, Frankie Rose, Joe Boyd, Joe Pernice, King Creosote, Liam Hayes / Plush, Maira Kalman, Rachel Blumberg, Tae Won Yu; tons of silly polls & smart, funny reviews! Bonne 2013!

Stores selling chickfactor 17:
Other Music (NYC)
Beacon Sound (Portland OR)
Reading Frenzy (Portland OR)
Powells (Portland OR)
What Cheer? (Providence RI)
Needles & Pens (SF)
End of an Ear (Austin)
Quimbys (Chicago)
Atomic Books (Baltimore)
Skylight Books (Los Angeles)
Criminal Records (Atlanta)
Grimey’s (Nashville)
Landlocked (Bloomington IN)

We will also be sending some to Monorail in Glasgow very soon.

And you can always buy it here in our shop. We also have a few posters and coasters left from the London & Brooklyn shows.

Stores interested in selling it can send me a message on effbk or email me.

belle-epoque-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chickfactor 2012 lists: round three

may we present round three of our 2012 lists! in case you missed them, round one is here and round two is here.

joe brooker (the pines): top ten attractive modernist writers

(all to be pictured at their peak, c. eg mid-20s: no alluring oldsters here)

  1. mina loy
  2. katherine mansfield
  3. jean rhys
  4. w.b. yeats
  5. ezra pound
  6. william carlos williams
  7. james joyce
  8. arthur rimbaud
  9. t.s. eliot
  10. virginia woolf

+ one hollywood wild card: anita loos (pictured above), ‘the soubrette of satire’ (photoplay), more stunning than any of them.

 

stephin merritt: movies I liked in 2012

  1. life of pi
  2. searching for sugarman
  3. detropia
  4. a separation
  5. this is not a film
  6. photographic memory
  7. dark horse
  8. bear city 2: the proposal
  9. how to survive a plague
  10. die nibelungen (restoration)

calvin johnson’s (k records) 2012 favorites in no particular order

  1. laura leif, rough beast CS
  2. priests, “radiation” 45 (sister polygon)
  3. dent may, do things LP (paw tracks)
  4. quintron & miss pussycat, “haterz” 7″ (rhinestone)
  5. my friend wallis / watermelon split 45 (student loan)
  6. channels 3 and 4, christianity LP (gelgongo)
  7. cold warps, “slimer” 45 (fundog)
  8. christian mistress, possession LP (relapse)
  9. briana marela, speak from your heart LP (bicycle)
  10. stickers, buy my nightmares CS
  11. the evens, the odds LP (dischord)
  12. ballantynes, “misery” 45 (la-ti-da)
  13. hysterics, EP plus CS
  14. weird TV 12″ EP (perennial)
  15. nite prison, compilation LP
  16. memory boys, send it across to me LP
  17. fred thomas, night times LP (frameworks)

 

gilmore tamny’s (the yips, wiglet) 2012 list

  1. LOIS at the CHICKFACTOR NYC show
  2. bill orcutt and chris corsano show
  3. how to be black by baratunde thurston
  4. various and sundry major stars shows
  5. sweet tooth by ian mcewan
  6. sara marcus reading/benefit for girls rock camp alliance
  7. the endless boogie CD I bought that I don’t think even has a name
  8. jean comaroff lecture “divine detection: crime and metaphysics of disorder”
  9. native cats show
  10. nw by zadie smith

 

james mcnew (dump + yo la tengo)’s list

  1. allen callaci
  2. “check it out w/ dr steve brule”
  3. jing wei
  4. sightings
  5. “delocated”
  6. lambchop, mr. m
  7. great restaurant (stay away)
  8. great coffee place (stay away)
  9. great pedal (don’t use)
  10. “jon benjamin has a van”

 

brian nelson’s (black tambourine) top ten

  1. hanging with my black tambo fam
  2. folkroom records
  3. breaking bad
  4. building stories by chris ware
  5. neil halstead show at IOTA
  6. chickfactor’s back!
  7. honeybunch t-shirt
  8. ibuprofen (25 year running)
  9. anchor steam christmas beer
  10. cut the rope

 

jennifer o’connor’s top 13 things of 2012 in no particular order

  1. running a half-marathon
  2. my dog paco
  3. james mcnew
  4. touring with tom beaujour, tim foljahn, jon langmead, michael brodlieb and amy bezunartea
  5. funkbox
  6. having my music on TV a lot (thanks lyle!)
  7. rihanna’s “diamonds” and singing it with amy bezunartea at the final our hit parade
  8. monthly songwriter’s night with amy, jim, larry, bridget and david
  9. vanessa’s dumplings in williamsburg
  10. “bad religion” by frank ocean
  11. “the bill is due” by mark eitzel
  12. kelly hogan, I like to keep myself in pain
  13. “goldie,” A$AP rocky

 

joe brooker (the pines): one line each from top ten go-betweens songs

  1. “his father’s watch – he left it in the shower”
  2. “I wish you had a big house and that your work would start to sell”
  3. “you’ll get hurt if you play with crooks”
  4. “I can only say it when we’re apart”
  5. “but then the lightning finds us”
  6. “the mangroves go quiet”
  7. “her father works, her mother works in exports”
  8. “I took their top prize and paid them back with rain”
  9. “and I ride your river under the bridge”
  10. “please take out the garbage”

 

rachel blumberg & jeffrey honeybunch’s top ten tantalizing tastes we treasured

  1. homemade cured ham ginger rhubarb biscuit at huichica music festival, sonoma, CA
  2. sliced beef brisket with collard greens, butter beans, and banana pudding – prince george barbecue, chester, VA
  3. pepe’s white clam pizza, pepe’s pizza, new Haven, CT
  4. portuguese brown stew, antonio’s, new bedford, MA
  5. laksa, taste good malaysian food, elmhurst, NY
  6. phillipino style breakast plate at love bites, saugerties, NY
  7. ramen with kimchi greens and smoked pork shoulder, biwa, portland, OR
  8. falafel, l’as du fallafel, paris, FR
  9. shiso wrapped tuna, daikokuya ramen, los angeles, CA
  10. grilled ginger and plum muffin and side of hand cut bacon, the kitchen, providence, RI

 

michael grace jr’s (the secret history/my favorite) top events/things/phenomena

  1. barack obama/elizabeth warren/sherrod brown are elected/re-elected
  2. the revealing self-pity/fake outrage/fatalism/denial amongst the right upon this occurring
  3. the aislers set & the pines at chickfactor NYC
  4. dr. maz’s DJ set after the secret history/smittens/summer fiction NYC popfest run-up show at rock shop in gowanus.
  5. the northside fest’s “jameson’s artist lounge” remarkably makes free whiskey & ginger beers for about 22% of williamsburg’s population for 3 days straight.
  6. I spin quite a yarn for joe pinefox and carrick blair about my family’s historic ties to the sicilian mafia whilst all at dumont burger.
  7. the moma exhibits robert longo’s “pressure” in the contemporary collection.
  8. the opponent-confidence-sapping genius of andrea pirlo’s chip penalty kick in europe 2012.
  9. west ham united earn promotion back into the premier league.
  10. the debut season of the wythe avenue beatnik basketball association ends with zero fatalities.

 

joe brooker (the pines): one line each from ten stephin merritt songs: only one per LP

  1. “and we picnic in the winter on maple syrup and snow”
  2. “we will dance in the autumn with the leaves in our hair”
  3. “there’s no point pointing pistols at me”
  4. “after all those trains and all those breakdown lanes”
  5. “a crime, crime, crime, sin and illness is time”
  6. “summer left its light green lipstick on our wet faces”
  7. “in fact that’s where music comes from”
  8. “it’s drunk – I’m three”
  9. “the rain won’t change my heart at all”
  10. “I can’t make it twang and beep”

 

janice headley’s (cf, kexp, fantagraphics) top ten comics of 2012 (in no real particular order)

  1. big questions, anders nilsen (drawn & quarterly)
  2. the voyeurs, gabrielle bell (uncivilized)
  3. ticket stub, tim hensley (yam)
  4. marbles, ellen forney (gotham)
  5. my sincerest apologies, jessica campbell (oily)
  6. the cartoon utopia, ron rege, jr. (fantagraphics)
  7. barack hussein obama, steven weissman (fantagraphics)
  8. building stories, chris ware (pantheon)
  9. the making of, brecht evens (drawn & quarterly)
  10. sunday in the park with boys, jane mai (koyama)

 

rachel blumberg’s top ten places in providence so far for eating & drinking

  1. red fez
  2. AS220
  3. the kitchen
  4. julians
  5. white electric
  6. e and o tavern
  7. coffee exchange
  8. seaplane diner
  9. palmieri’s
  10. la lupita

chickfactor top ten lists (round two)

robert mctaggart: top ten cities

  1. copenhagen – because my heart is where home is.
  2. manchester – for all your faults, you were good to me for 27 years.
  3. helsinki/stockholm – for friends, and the joy of being by water.
  4. buenos aires – infuriating, polluted, conceited, thrilling, colourful and completely alive.
  5. tbilisi – kala’s warren of ramshackle beauty. being escorted to narikala by teenagers singing beatles songs. kachapauri. and this building…. (see above)
  6. rio de janeiro – every day brought an “I can’t believe I’m here” moment.
  7. istanbul – architecture, atmosphere and the sheer pleasure of squandering an afternoon with nargileh, mint tea and good company.
  8. vilnius – green and bohemian, warm nights and cold beer at uzupio kavine.
  9. moscow – bloody-minded, a little bit terrifying, thoroughly exhilarating. the new tretyakov gallery and the patriarch ponds.
  10. berlin – because at night, the possibilities just seem so endless.

if this has done anything it’s served to make me want to go to the far east, the west coast of the US and everywhere else. I am aware that I have neglected entire continents. that is something I promise to put right in the near future. and I only left out paris because it seemed too obvious.

 

mark robinson’s top ten list

  1. haruki murakami 1Q84 (book).
  2. moonrise kingdom (film)
  3. miranda july – it chooses you (book)
  4. national geographic (magazine)
  5. la kings tee-shirt
  6. estoner the stump will rise (lp)
  7. the truth (podcast)
  8. roxy music, the complete studio recordings (boxed set)
  9. too much information (wfmu podcast)
  10. lana del ray, “video games” (single)

 

yoshi the aislers set’s top ten list

  1. chickfactor new york – lois!
  2. chickfactor london – the pastels!
  3. game of thrones
  4. deerhoof, breakup songs
5. grouper and jeffre cantu-ledesma performing circular veil at HAU2 in berlin
  5. jiro dreams of sushi
  6. françois & the atlas mountains, e volo love
8. janet cardiff & george bures miller exhibit at haus der kunst in munich
  7. je suis animal at indie pop days in berlin
  8. finally getting around to reading middlesex by jeffrey eugenides while on the beach in sardegna.

 

rachel blumberg: top ten hot sauces of 2012

  1. saucesome – red (from portland!)
  2. saucesome – green
  3. matouk’s calypso sauce
  4. salsa huichol
  5. poblano hot sauce – red jalapeno
  6. pepper plant sauce – chunky garlic
  7. cholula –  original
  8. tabasco – smokey chipotle
  9. tapatio
  10. sriracha

 

lisa the mad scene: 10 things I enjoyed the most in 2012 (in no particular order)

  1. harold lloyd film festival at film forum
  2. fence awaygame festival on the isle of eigg in july
  3. seamus fogarty god damn you mountain lp and live performance (counting as one under the seamus fogarty umbrella)
  4. reading little dorrit (dickens)
  5. the song “heart heart” by withered hand
  6. james yorkston I was a cat from a book lp
  7. drinking bourbon cocktails
  8. olo worms, yard is open lp
  9. volunteering with taran at the woodstock farm animal sanctuary
  10. walking up an sgurr and spending some time at the top sipping scotch and eating cheese with ade, mark and offramp, and then walking back down again.

 

top ten artists gail would like to see reactivated in 2013

  1. opal / kendra smith
  2. squirrel bait
  3. containe / the pacific ocean
  4. marine girls
  5. shitstorm
  6. dolly mixture
  7. glo-worm
  8. salem 66
  9. the cocteau twins
  10. the sundays

 

london tour diary!

oh london, you know how I adore you.

8 november: arrive at heathrow. terminal 5 reminds me of the buildings in the movie brazil. in a coma most of day. spent quality time in crypal with the girls.

9 november: still sleepy. lunch at domali (some kind of cheese and veggie sausage toastie with loads of mustard was in order). jenn connor showed up! dinner at the berry jones casa: butternut squash risotto (which kicks off a week of what feels like a weight-gain diet!).

10 november: went to planet organic (their food boxes are one of the best tasting food bargains in london; and the crazy selection of outrageously expensive food and tea items is way fun to peruse), met lupe, we sat on a couch in muji and talked, then ate delicious thai food at busaba eatthai (pumpkin curry and pad thai I believe!).

11 november: met one of my many u.k.-based cousins for lunch at ray’s jazz café (chickpea spinach dahl). wow, the entire area surrounding tottenham court road tube station is a huge construction mess! went to the hangover lounge at the lexington for an easy, breezy afternoon with close friends. had my first pub version of a nut roast (not a fan), though it came with butter-drenched veggies, potatoes and yorkshire pudding, which I’d never had and is basically a popover to american palates. not bad.

12 november: headed north to go meet up with peter paphides, said hello to his famous wife and lazy cats, we picked up bob stanley, had a cozy pub lunch (the butternut squash risotto), went record shopping (I got a harry nilsson LP), that was fun. bob and I went to the relocated photographer’s gallery (I was a big fan of the old one). my take: location is fine. there is no natural light inside and the overuse of track lighting is blinding. the photo show we saw by tom wood was excellent but I couldn’t wait to get out of the space. ugh, I hate change. there was also a giant display of a LOLcat in the lobby, which I found disturbing. tonight was a chickfactor dinner party at mildred’s, one of the best vegetarian restaurants in london (on my personal menu: mushroom ale pie with mushy peas and chips).

13 november: I head to bayswater to meet up with jessica would-be-goods. we have delicious mezze at al-waha, where she is treated like royalty. we spend the afternoon with her burmese cats, chatting, eating amazing chocolate and looking at designy stuff. I head to one of my favourite bars, the phoenix theater bar, which is unchanged (and there is a large poster of kirsty maccoll on the wall), where I meet with some of my pals from my london magazine days for some halloumi cheese and drinks. then it’s off to walthamstow to meet with some merge records act, which picks me up at the tube station.

14 november: isn’t walthamstow village lovely? I have lunch with stephen coates at one of london’s private clubs (blacks), where the only veg option sans egg is… butternut squash risotto! later I meet travis and we check out the photographic portrait prize show at the national portrait gallery, which I always go to see and I always complain about. it was very dull this year. most of the photos are unbearably sterile, gimmicky and this year had way too many celebs. after that it was off to the curzon soho, where I attended a screening of lawrence of belgravia followed by a Q&A with director paul kelly and the BFI’s michael hayden, a big indie nerd. it was delightful! except that lupe and al were waiting outside for me and wanted to flipping kill me because they were so hungry (we went to taro for bento!).

15 november: today was a chill morning with pam. I imagine domali was involved, I probably ate some kind of heavy-carbed snack like an HBLT. later we picked up her girls from school and took them to the tate modern. after that I met up with paul kelly and his adorable son donovan at the horseshoe pub, where we are having an event the next night. we ended up having a pint at the betsey trotwood, where we talked about the simpsons a whole lot.

16 november: lunch at the gate islington. I had some kind of enchilada. later I headed over to the horseshoe pub in clerkenwell. gaylord turned up, then paul kelly and donovan, and after a number of bothersome technical issues, we were able to proceed! I had a brie and red pepper panini (too rich for my blood). then various pals began to arrive: the aislers set! the jim ruiz set! pipas! amor de días! the berry joneses! the starfolk! we all settled in to watch take three girls: the dolly mixture story, which is so great; and then gaylord conducted the pop quiz that he and pam and I came up with! good fun was had by all and it was just the way to kick off chickfactor 2012: for the love of pop! weekend in london.

17 november: tonight kicks off the live music portion of the weekend at bush hall! with the lineup that is hard to beat:

honestly, not much could have ruined this night. if I could change one thing, it would have been to keep the audience quiet during amor de días but as pam would say: it’s impossible to get a roomful of people who haven’t seen each other in 15 years to be quiet. everything else was just flat out marvelous. gaylord was the best MC! here’s a post on la terrasse.

18 november: today’s lineup was just as spectacular! the lexington is a dreamy venue, love it. gaylord & the hangover lounge folks = the best DJs!

  • tender trap (watch “train from kings cross station” + “do you want a boyfriend?” + “memorabilia” + “leaving christmas day” here) really really stellar set! loved it. just still cannot get over how ace their new album is! amelia talked about the early days of chickfactor, and how it was celebratory instead of angry like riot grrrl. ended the night with everyone dancing like goofballs.
  • pipas (watch “barbapapa + “bitter club” + “hiding in the park” + “the occasion” + “rock and/or roll” + “wells street” here) pipas won them over, as always, despite no soundcheck, despite knocking over a lovely guitar several times. another band that should not be allowed to be inert. such charm! such songs!
  • the real tuesday weld, who have a foxy new girl singer that attracted every man with a phone camera in the place! always great to see jacques the clarinetist, who commented that the girls in tender trap looked to be about 20. always so entertaining, these guys!
  • bridget st john with brian willoughby (strawbs) (watch “ask me no questions” + “hole in my heart” here) bridget is such a lovely presence. it’s always such an honor to have her play our shows! she played “mon gala papillons,” which was inspired by a chickfactor party in london in 2004.
  • the jim ruiz set featuring the legendary jim ruiz from the legendary jim ruiz group. I only wish tracey thorn and max eider could have been front and center to watch this charming jazz-tinged minneapolis pop group play their london debut.
  • harvey williams + josh gennet (watch “I don’t suppose I’ll get a second chance” + “her boychart” + “colour me in” here) perhaps you remember josh from the u.s. indie band holiday and harvey from such bands as another sunny day, the field mice and trembling blue stars. they also covered carole king & a girl called eddy — my favorite part of the night was teaching ava berry jones to finger snap.
  • the starfolk (featuring brian from the hang-ups and allison from the jim ruiz set, typsy panthre, etc) my first time seeing these guys—they were so great! here is a write-up on la terrasse.

see photos from the weekend here from andrew bulhakmarianthianneliesechris stevensonandy aldridgenatascha unkart.

19 november: it was family time in gerrards cross, buckinghamshire; followed by mellow drinks and snacks at medcalf with travis, josh, sarah, paul, debs & donovan; followed by gentle chilling at lauren’s cozy flat in gipsy hill.

20 november: spitalfields walkabout this morning, checking on how the hood has changed. lunch at mildred’s again, then off to the magma product store. before heading back to SE london to have a low-key night in with the family-friends.

21 november: flew out from terminal 5. they have a wagamama!

 

 

cf poll: it is the end of the world as we know it so we are choosing the soundtrack.

of course it’s nonsense, but if the mayan’s end of world prediction comes true today, what should the theme song be?

darren hanlon: “calendar girl” by neil sedaka.

john the magnetic fields: thus spoke zarathustra! haha, just kidding. it would be “swinging on a star.”

james dump/yo la tengo: “barracuda.” it’s a kick-ass song.

andrew eggs/talk it: “what a wonderful world.”

hannah grass widow: “return to innocence.”

gaylord cf/wfmu: “is that all there is?” by peggy lee.

stephen the real tuesday weld: tommy dorsey’s “I’m getting sentimental over you.”

gordon the fan modine: “perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.”

corin tucker: “it’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).”

daniel handler: miley cyrus, “party in the usa.”

pete paphides: tindersticks: “can we start again?”

shaun brilldream: “goodbye” by the sundays.

dawn cf: misfits “astro zombies.”

erin a girl called eddy: “alone again, naturally.”

michael white: the romantic aesthete in me says “is that all there is?” the realist says “flight of the bumblebee.”

clarissa cf: the final riff of the beatles’ version of “twist and shout.” I prefer, however, the idea that the end of the-world-as-experienced-as-present will only be clear in retrospect: cf. virginia woolf’s “on or about december 1910, human character changed.”

fran cannane: as I see the end of the world is due on 21 december I expect it would be some dreary christmas song.

stephin the magnetic fields: the monkees: “do I have to do this all over again?”

jennifer o’connor: prince “1999”?

legendary jim ruiz: another easy one, “edge of seventeen” (just like the white winged dove) by stevie nicks.

gail cf: “waiting for superman.”

allen clapp: doves: “pounding” (from the last broadcast)

tim dagger: versus “insomnia.”

bridget st john: “you’ll never walk alone.”

joe pines / foxgloves: I am not familiar with this prediction, but I agree with stephin merritt about skeeter davis.

ian musical chairs: the verlaines, “we’re all gonna die.”

 

chickfactor international travelogue: washington, d.c.

washington, d.c.! (part two)

by otessa ghadar, a filmmaker and indie production company owner who made a show called orange juice in bishop’s garden about pre-internet era teenagers in ’90s D.C.

best venues: still love the black cat… also worth mentioning are: comet ping pong. the pinch. quarry house perhaps? went to some cool house shows this summer at wasted dreams & the dollhouse.

best record stores: not many left (sad face!) but red onion is solid and smash and crooked beat still have some picks.

best vintage / thrift stores: love love the value village discount duo, by college park MD & silver spring. otherwise, the georgia avenue thrift has some good picks (especially if you’re looking for housewares).

cheap eats: old city falafel on columbia road! their fixings bar is just dreamy & super veg-friendly. pho 14 is yummy and the takorean foodtruck is pretty clutch too.

mid-range eats: the uruguayan sandwich shop (it’s kitty-corner from 14th street and in a gas station — but don’t let that filling station dissuade you).

not so cheap eats: sticky rice is delicious & probably my favorite. upstairs/downstairs: mintwood & perry’s — same building, different restaurants. what they do have in common is that they are both absolutely not affordable, but if some cashmoney happens to be burning a hole in your pocket, it’s well worth the spend there. honorable mention: el tamarindo’s chicken mole.

vegetarian-friendly eats: ditto on the old city falafel. sticky rice has some great veg. dangerously delicious pies has yummy veggie quiches. fojol bros foodtruck has a pumpkin stew. and umm…do cupcakes count as a meal? because baked & wired’s are just so delicious and very filling. try the “unicorns & rainbows.”

best neighborhood: I’m biased because I grew up in adams morgan, so my heart will always very much be tied to the neighborhood. but truth be told, nowadays adams morgan is virtually unrecognizable from when I grew up there, as a ’90s teen. in a breakfast at tiffany’s kind of way, walking up and down newark street (in cleveland park) always turns my frowns upside down. it’s just so beautiful & peaceful there — walking through is like a retreat. from a livability stand-point, columbia heights has a lot going for it. bloomingdale has charm too. this is actually quite tough, because I have a pollyanna tendency with my city: generally finding something of merit in most neighborhoods.

cheap haircut: eek. I do this myself. usually with some blunt scissors and over the kitchen sink. it’s very cheap. but I also wouldn’t recommend it. 🙂

best drinking holes: I adore the drinks at room 11 (the gin/lavender honey/chamomile one is my favorite — full stop). hmm…also the drink menu at taan is quite dreamy. the red derby is a gem because you can drink cheap beers and play connect 4 at the same time, which is aspirational. I’ll also give the raven a nod, because it’s very comfortable, affordable and low-key.

best coffee or tea houses: my favorite spot might just be firehook (in cleveland park) because they have an actual vineyard outdoor seating area in the back. it isn’t advertised either, so it doesn’t overcrowd. to have a canopy of interwoven grape vines overhead, with dappled leafy light, and a small fountain with birds– it’s like a sanctuary in the city. runners up for tea, I frequent teaism (gen ma cha!) & dolcezza (orchid oolong). although if you’re feeling like a grand dame, having afternoon tea at the willard is the most elegant experience—bar none. tufted chairs, beaux arts opulence… the last time that I had something to really celebrate, I went there with my mom.

best radio station / web station: I’m awfully partial to WBAR (college radio-and-web station out of NYC…where I was actually a DJ for several years). I’ll also give a shout-out to howard U’s radio station which can play some great deep cuts. especially dig their sunday night soul.

cool cinemas: e street! also, west end in georgetown.

best used bookstores: kultura’s is great. second story is a legend. idle time offers a really a pleasant browsing/shopping experience too. oh, but, the cleveland park library does an epic seasonal book-sloughing that is not to be missed. an entire whole foods bag (yes, this is now a unit of measurement) can be filled with as many books as possible for $3.

best place to see art: hillyer art space is pretty great. and I love its neighbor, the philips too. the fridge is also well worth the visit. but let’s just discuss and appreciate for a moment how all of the smithsonian museums are free to the public. d.c. makes me spoiled with all its free museums.

best local bands, artists, writers, designers: the indie surf revival band beach week. emma fisher at the fridge… morgan hungerford west.

parks and green spaces: c&o canal! spanish steps! the potomac overlook is also so key and you feel hidden away, but up high like you’re some powerful hawk in an eyrie. the rope swing on the potomac… (every year the cops tear it down and every year the kids put it right back up. it’s now in a slightly new location. but you can still swing into the river. not for the faint of heart, but perhaps a right of passage when young.)  peirce mill barn…marks an ideal swimming spot in rock creek when the weather heats up.

unmissable highlights: h street corridor. food trucks. smithsonian & other museums (like the textile museum). let’s do some pairings by neighborhood: c&o canal + baked & wired cupcakes. national cathedral + bishop’s garden of course. eastern market + fridge. kennedy center + watergate. ¶ a personal fave is the maine avenue fish market. and the awakening sculpture. I also love what I call the “secret clubhouse abandoned building” by the dancing crab. also, dc brau does free tours. franciscan monastery has beautiful gardens. the “spite house” in alexandria, virginia. toward the bizarre end, the DEA showcases property seized from drug busts — think fancy bling, bongs and more. stranger still, they’ve built simulated “head shops” & “crack dens” — as a cultural study, the curatorial propaganda is just as worthy of examination as the things in the glass cases are. oh, and I recommend catching the DC roller girls. they’ll make you a derby fan. (watch otessa’s videos on the exorcist steps and the c&o canal here)

chickfactor poll: digital vs. physical product

do you make more money from digital or non-digital sales?

bridget st john: physical product and publishing.

hannah grass widow: we make money from both.

stephen the real tuesday weld: digital.

daniel handler: as a musician, I make the most money from symphony orchestras performing something I co-wrote. thank god I have another gig.

fran cannane: we don’t make money.

corin tucker: non-digital, I think. it might be a toss up at this point.

andrew eggs/talk it: N/A

stephin the magnetic fields: physical, still. digital music listening is still largely unpaid.

erin a girl called eddy: neither I’m afraid. the occasional ASCAP royalty check I receive just about covers my entenmanns habit.

gordon the fan modine: it’s been about equal.

jennifer o’connor: about the same on each I’d say. but mainly, I make money from licensing my songs to tv and film.

matt lorelei: in the short term physical product as that is easier to sell at gigs (folks can hold it in their hand). but over the long term digital eventually catches up and may even surpass physical sales.

james dump/yo la tengo: donuts are a physical product, right?

joe pines / foxgloves: I heard a gratifying rumor about royalties from matinee records, but otherwise the closest I have ever come to making any money out of music is because gail o’hara pays proper money to acts she has asked to perform. I have appreciated this.

 

2012: our top ten lists (round one)

gail’s top ten list

  1. black tambourine hitting the stage at artisphere on april 7, 2012.
  2. pretty much every chickfactor show (there were 12). the things people said to me onstage and off reminded me why I do/did what I do/did and reminded me of my place in the universe. (I love you new york. I love you london. I love you sf. I love you d.c. I love you l.a. I love you portland)
  3. meeting grass widow, having a great photo shoot and seeing them play three times!
  4. going back to school. I studied psychology and the brain and stress management and public health. neurogenesis!
  5. weekend in olympia. lois, tae, momtch, nikki & calvin’s birthday.
  6. the oregon coast.
  7. watching the dolly mixture documentary with donovan kelly (son of debsey from dolly mixture!)
  8. saint etienne on halloween in portland! also: watching an MLS game with bob beforehand.
  9. may 30: spending the day with joe pernice. we ate lunch, we ran errands, we shopped for bmx bike parts, we talked about music, he chased a petty criminal who stole an iphone, he slept in my car, he played an amazing set at our portland chickfactor party at bunk bar.
  10. portland timbers win the cascadia cup.

hannah grass widow’s list

  1. starting our own label (HLR) and releasing internal logic
  2. getting obsessed with silver apples
  3. touring with the raincoats and joining them to sing “lola” every night
  4. discovering pimm’s cup
  5. scrapers band
  6. making 8 music videos and completely losing my mind.
  7. wet hair band
  8. hollywood nails
  9. stray light gray exhibit at marlborough gallery
  10. shockwave video nights in the cinecave at lost weekend

top ten poetry collections by daniel handler

  1. eileen myles – snowflake
  2. matthew dickman, mayakovsky’s revolver
  3. heather christle, what is amazing
  4. frederick seidel, nice weather
  5. emily petit, goat in the snow
  6. emily kendal frey, the grief performance
  7. dorothea lasky, thunderbird
  8. paul legault, the emily dickinson reader
  9. david ferry, bewilderment
  10. mary jo bang, dante’s inferno

jim ruiz’s top ten belgian or dutch beers he tried this year and liked, with insightful comments

  1. lindeman’s apple. this ain’t cider, takes a moment to adjust but then—yummy!
  2. texels skuumkoppe. tried this in Amsterdam, as the name implies, creamy and delicious.
  3. liefman’s fruitesse. light and refreshing.
  4. casteel rouge. on tap. I’m no beer snob, I just like it. my favorite kriek so far.
  5. delierium tremens. if I’m in the mood for the old straight and narrow, this is as good a belgian as any.
  6. brouwerij timmermans—john martins, bourgogne des flandres. bruin sour beer is a challenging but sometimes it really hits the spot.
  7. heineken—on tap at the melkweg. heineken is better in the netherlands, a very pleasant surprise!
  8. unknown brand gueuze—tried this at tim’s house in london. tart but lovely.
  9. la chouffe—a blonde, lighter by belgian standards.
  10. la brasserie dupont—saison dupont. to be honest, one of the first belgians I tried. still love it.

top ten chapters of moby dick by lois maffeo

are you listening to the moby dick big read? all 135 chapters, one a day, read by academics, writers, marine biologists, melville keeners and movie stars! here are my top ten chapters of the 92 chapters read to date here.

  1. chapter 1 – loomings. read by tilda swinton.

“I always go to sea as a sailor because  they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I’ve ever heard of.”

  1. chapter 11 – nightgown. read by neil tennant.

“truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast.” seems like a very pet shop boy-y thing to say.

  1. chapter 24 – the advocate. read by james woudhuysen.

“among people at large, the business of whaling is not accounted on the level with what are called the liberal professions.” defending the whalemen of the charge that they are all misfit wasters.

  1. chapter 58 – brit. read by benedict cumberbatch.

he makes the word “vast” sound way more vast that the way I say it. (when I say it it rhymes with fast. when he says it, it’s like someone fell into deep space. vaaaaahhhhhhssssst.)

  1. chapter 78 – cistern and buckets. read by david piper. in which a fellow with a speaking voice like david niven reads the thrilling story of tashtego falling into a dead whale as it is being butchered. “and with a horrible, oily gurgling, went clean out of sight.”
  2. chapter 65 – the whale as a dish. read by hugh fearnly-whittingstall.

if you are even glancingly familiar with HFW’s food column in the guardian, you will not in any way find it odd to hear him here describing balls of barbecued porpoise.

  1. chapter 54 – the town-ho’s story. read by joanna hollingworth.

this is moby dick in miniature. and if you only have 45 minutes to spare (rather than 4 months) this shipboard revenge tale is the way to go.

  1. chapter 68 – the blanket. read by andrew brewerton.

beautiful, codeine-slow delivery punctuated by an engaging pronunciation of blubber.

  1. chapter 15 – chowder. read by peter burgess.

“clam or cod?”

  1. chapter 42 – the whiteness of the whale. read by will self.

“bethink thee of the albatross, whence come those clouds of spiritual wonderment and pale dread in which that white phantom sails in all imaginations? not coleridge first threw that spell; but god’s great, unflattering laureate, nature.”

peter momtchiloff’s top 12 favourite recent records

  1. cate le bon: cyrk
  2. goat: world music
  3. beth jeans houghton: yours truly, cellophane nose
  4. om: advaitic songs
  5. the magnetic fields: love at the bottom of the sea
  6. hooded fang: album
  7. nicki minaj: pink friday – roman reloaded
  8. cornershop: urban turban
  9. earth: angels of darkness, angels of light 2
  10. burning hearts: extinctions
  11. django django: django django
  12. cats on fire: all blackshirts to me

top ten words gail doesn’t want to hear in 2013

  1. chillax
  2. chillwave
  3. darkwave
  4. LOL
  5. EDM
  6. skrillex
  7. totes
  8. amazeballs
  9. adorbs
  10. and most of all: just sayin’

top ten words no one wants to hear / other people added to my list on a major social media site

  1. awesomesauce
  2. cray-cray
  3. nom nom nom
  4. hot mess
  5. douchebag / douchey
  6. boom
  7. curated (when it has zero to do with art)
  8. adorkable (see zooey deschanel)
  9. no worries
  10. also: “said no one ever.” wow factor. pop up shop. boutique. artisanal. “I know, right?” really? seriously? webinar. that moment…. melty. moist. chilling out loud. this. best.donut.ever. meme. yay. like. laters. so there’s that.

photograph of black tambourine by jim spellman.