[gig review] New Order – Brixton Academy – 03/05/2012

I’m getting old and don’t get out to many gigs these days; although my lovely wife seems to have rediscovered a passion for live music and is regularly off out to gigs with her gaggle of Muser fans. Still, she couldn’t find anyone to go to see New Order with her, so she decided to drag me along instead.

New Order are a great recording band; their back-catalogue is fantastic and there are a very few New Order tracks that I don’t like; I suspect like many of my generation, any kind of affection for dance-music can be directly attributed to them and especially ‘Blue Monday’. But they are very variable live, sometimes awful and sometimes stunning; in the past, this could often be attributed to whether Hooky and Barney had fallen out…still Hooky is no more which may explain why this time in the space of one gig, we got the truly awful and the truly sublime.

Brixton Academy is a tricky venue; it’s sound can be very odd and very unforgiving; bass-lines can boom and bounce; vocals lost and feedback howl. It can feel soulless and empty even when packed to the rafters. I’ve been coming to see bands at Brixton for over twenty years, I’ve seen them conquer and collapse but never in the same gig.

The omens were not especially good, The Whip played support and seemed to be struggling to get either atmosphere or a sound; bass-lines heavier and more thudding than a pair of Beats clashed and smashed.

And the New Order came on, the sound all over the place and Barney’s vocals muffled and cracked. Now, Barney never has the strongest of voices, he’s no Ian Curtis and his nervous demeanour, eager to please, edgey and uncomfortable just seemed to leave you wondering, perhaps now was the time to leave, go home and listen to the records and decide that you’d just seen another bad New Order performance.

Then it seemed to start to come together; Bizarre Love Triangle lifted the crowd and apart from a couple of klaxon-like feedback howls; it was good. A reworked True Faith, with the seminal video playing on the screen brought back the humour and the fun; tight and the desk having found the sound, mastering the venue. 586, Blue Monday and Temptation…the other New Order, the one who can play and lift a crowd were back.

Then they were gone….

To return to their past; covers of Transmission and Love Will Tear Us Apart to leave us with the memories of the band they were. Unfortunately, Barney really never can do justice to the Ian Curtis orginal vocals…he’s simply not tortured enough but they were good enough.

So a gig which sums up the New Order live experience…terrible and sublime. Time for them to call it a day for real I reckon…

Book Review:Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman

Kim Newman takes Doyle’s arch villain Moriarty and revisits him but in the role of main protagonist. The narrator instead of Holmes’ Watson is the sidekick of Moriarty, Colonel Sebastian ‘Basher’ Moran; a Flashman type character to Watson’s squeaky clean Doctor.

He turns them into the mirror images of Holmes and Watson; Holmes keeps bees and Moriarty breeds wasps. Moriarty’s brother also called James belongs to the Xeniades Club, which encourages ‘lively debate’ unlike the Diogenes Club that Mycroft belongs to.

Many familiar characters from the Holmesian universe turn up and more from the fiction of the era, from d’Urberville family to Raffle’s to Fu Manchu. Spotting the references is fun and means that re-reading is on the cards.

Rather than a novel, this is a collection of short stories and one can imagine them be published in a more racey version of ‘The Strand’ magazine; certainly the language, although blanked out and some of Moran’s adventures belong in the pages of more exclusive gentlemen’s magazines of the time.

Newman is probably a much under-rated novelist; he certainly doesn’t seem to get the recognition which is his due but this deserves a much wider readership. One hopes that with current resurgence of interest in Sherlock Holmes that this will pick up some new readers for him.

Get Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles

Welcome….

The idea of this is to create a separate space for all my personal ramblings, the stuff which doesn’t quite belong on the Storagebod blog and the stuff which really doesn’t belong on the Storagebod blog. Now that’s not to say that there won’t be a fair amount of technology related stuff and that’s not to say that you won’t find the odd book review on the Storagebod blog, this just the place where you will get the pure unadulterated Martin.

So a quick bit of background behind the name and stuff, Spellen was coined by friends of ours who came up with it as a short hand for Spell and Helen. Helen is my adorable wife and Spell…well that’s me. Spell has been my online name for nearly thirty years now and dates back to my early days playing MUD and other text games and it was also my nom-de-plume for my early writings on Micronet where I wrote on text adventures and the like as a callow youth. Even to this day, I will answer to the name Spell but as we’ve all grown up, it happens less…even my badge name at the odd convention we go to has reverted to my given name.

So that’s why Spellen…and from that you can probably guess that I’ve been online for an awful long time…been there, done that and got the hat!

If you have read Storagebod, you will know that I am interested in large IT infrastructures, especially storage but also increasingly in how the IT profession needs to change..that po-faced crap can stay there but I suspect that there will be leakage.

But what else interests me? All things tech obviously but I’m also a lover of conspiracy theories, science fiction, music, design and pretty much anything. I just love to know stuff!

I’m going to try to update this blog once a week but I won’t be beating myself up if I don’t!

Anyway, welcome…I hope you enjoy what you read!!