Sunday January 31st
I hereby conclude: I am a member of the TENTH sex.
1. Manly Men
2. Womanly Women
3. Boyish Boys
4. Girlish Girls
5. Boyish Girls
6. Girlish Boys
7. Male To Female Transsexuals
8. Female To Male Transsexuals
9. The Intersexed
10. Arch Misanthropic Pansexual Alien Compassionate Curmudgeons (With Bad Teeth).
I only have friends in gender groups 2 to 10. I don’t know any Manly Men. Shouting from moving cars. Jangling keys. Swaggering. Big puffy sleeping-bag-like coats. The ones who murmer “seems like a nice boy” when I’m buying a bag of chips. And I’m not even wearing any make up. I may as well be a different species to them.
Archway, 3am. A man dashes across the darkened street to me, only to stop himself: “Sorry. I thought you was my wife.”
I’m only male because it’s the default gender. The vanilla pronoun. Worldwide. 51% of the globe is female, but they still have their own Minorities Section in bookshops.
Jo Brand on the differences between male and female stand-up comedians: “If men have a bad gig, they blame the audience. If women have a bad gig, they blame themselves.”
Tomorrow Fosca moves into The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. Or at least, an old studio annex. Three weeks to do the bulk of the album. Budget: less than nothing. Or rather, Budget: Love. New recruit Val Jones has already delighted us with her Natalie-Merchant-from-Hull vocal style on “He’s No Help”, which I wrote on the bus back from Oxford the previous day. Appropriately, the song contains a Philip Larkin quote.
Must try hard not to be too influenced by Orange Juice’s album, “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”.. Archness and whimsy are all very well, but I also like lyrics you can cut and paste onto your own life. Useful lyrics. Sympathetic vicar lyrics. Lyrics that are your only true friends. “Everything’s awful, but this song is on my side”. Songs for the waif-like and the wraith-like. For the well read and ill fed.
Terribly excited about the record. Geoff Travis said I was writing a new chapter of the book Morrissey started. Presumably one where the pages are stuck together. And all for the wrong reasons.
Monday January 4th 1999
In the end, I made such a mess of rounding up Fosca types for the one night in the year that most people have already made plans for, that Fosca played as a brand new three piece: myself, plus Farzana and Marnie, the rhythm section in Anglocanadien. They were very good about it.
Afterwards, someone said we were like early Talking Heads. This pleased me no end, of course. The first couple of Talking Heads albums are incredibly good. Beautiful yelps, scratchy undistorted, anti-rock guitars. Songs about buildings and food. And haircuts. And, and, and…
The set was beset by technical problems, like Farzana walking off halfway through “On Earth To Make The Numbers Up”. I thought it was because she had had enough of me jumping about onstage, or thought the band was so awful she had to leave it then and there, or that she was sick. She later said it was because her bass guitar strap broke. I didn’t mind too much, though: we only had one more song to do and that needed no bass anyway. “File Under Forsaken” worked quite well, though. I got to do my Dean Wareham act. Laurence really liked this one, which was good because it’s very Galaxie 500, and he hates Galaxie 500. So it can’t have been too Galaxie 500 when we did it.
A small girl with dark floppy hair and a foreign accent must have liked it, because she asked me afterwards where she could get our records from. I said there weren’t any yet, but she didn’t believe me. “Well, where WILL they be available?”. It was a good sign though: a stranger stopping you to ask about your records.
Cliff Jones, a tall boy with floppy blond hair who sings with Gay Dad was really nice to me. He recommended I should read a Cyril Connolly book, and that the songs needed to be worked on. I agreed.
It worked out quite well in the end, because I didn’t have to buy any drinks all night. After the rider was polished off, people kept buying me drinks. Charley’s friend bought me one because she thought I looked sad. This is what happens when your default expression is one of utter misery most of the time. She talked about how she wanted to leave her breasts at home, taking them off as if they were attached with Velcro. “They’re a pain when playing squash. And when you’re running for the bus”.
The club was full of beautiful people with great haircuts. A medium-height boy with a #1 crop and a red t-shirt said I was reminded him of Marilyn. “Monroe?” “No. Boy George’s friend. Without the smack, though.”
A tall girl with a shaven head played with my hair when I was dancing. A thin black boy with a #2 crop called me his baby. An immensely tall girl called Jackie who said she was 40 and worked for the Financial Times said I reminded her of Andy Warhol. Or was it David Sylvian? Jenni Scott, who is a small girl with pixie hair that writes articles about Jinty Comic and runs “small press” conventions was there. I’ve only ever met her at New Year’s Eve parties. She’s like my own personal Father Time, but with face glitter and a navel piercing rather than a scythe and a big hourglass. She gave me little white pieces of paper with her face and email address stamped on using a specially-made self-inking rubber stamper. They were like acid tabs for narcissists.
I had been invited to other parties that night: Amelia’s, Emma and Marie’s, and the Uncle Bob’s one. But it would have meant trying to get across London on New Year’s Eve with my guitar and big bag of pedals. It was okay, I was more than happy to stay at Club V all night, with all these pretty people and great haircuts, and getting paid to be there in the first place. They played Urusei Yatsura’s “Tiger”. And they didn’t play Prince’s “1999”.
It was a Good Haircut Night.
Saw the new Star Trek film. Dull as ditchwater, but it had the line “It’s been 300 years since I’ve seen a bald man,” spoken with lusty relish. Saw “The Acid House”. Got annoyed that I couldn’t understand one in every three words of the dialogue, so heavy are the Edinburgh accents. And I’m British. It says a lot about my cultural conditioning that I can understand films and TV programmes with heavy American and Australian accents far more. If they try and make it a hit in America, like the previous Irvine Welsh film, “Trainspotting”, I’ll be interested to see if they use subtitles, like they do for Oasis interviews on MTV. It didn’t have Ewan McGregor in it though, which made a change for a recent British film. There’s actually a book out about the last few years of the UK film industry, and it had so much Ewan McGregor in it that in the end they had to sell it as a Ewan McGregor biography instead.