Side-effects of the Ban

Thursday eve: To the Bullet Bar in Kentish Town Road, to see the band The New Royal Family, comprising Charley Stone, David Barnett, Jen Denitto and Rob Whose-Surname-Is-Unknown-To-Me. It’s Rob’s 30th birthday. He’s wearing a floppy blond wig and handing out free toy plastic dinosaurs. I’m not sure why (perhaps the answer is ‘why not?’). They’re enjoyable and fun and more like rock stars than many of those who do it for a living, frankly.  They also do a pretty faithful cover of Adam Ant’s ‘Young Parisians’, which is as old as Rob – from 1978.

The band on before them are outrageously loud and tuneless and depress the hell out of me when I enter the venue. I wonder if I’m Too Old, or they’re just Too Loud, or both. Thankfully the Bullet is one of those bars who’ve had to sprout a ‘beer garden’ from nowhere (really a back yard), in order to retain their smoking clientele. This way, not only can people sit down and have a cigarette with their drink, but they can actually hold a conversation without having to shout in each other’s ears over a loud band (or a loud jukebox, or loud football on TV). You can’t smoke AND listen to the bands, of course, but it’s a small price to pay for the ‘quiet carriage’ of the garden, in my book.

I read recently that outdoor music festivals are now more popular and lucrative than ever. So I wonder if the smoking ban is at least part of that equation, too.

Among others, I chat to Vicki Churchill, Seaneen M, Anna S, Alex S, and Rhoda B. Charley wasn’t sure if she could get me on the guest list, but as it turns out the gentleman on the door knows me anyway, and simply waves me inside on sight alone. I suppose I’m an Old Face On The Scene to some. And I recall that Fosca played the Bullet Bar in its previous incarnation as The Verge.

I’m listening to a friend’s mix tape of new-ish music, and one track I really enjoy is ‘Busy Doing Nothing’ by Love Is All. I Google them and discover they’re from Gothenburg. In fact, they used to be the band Girlfrendo, whose records I bought and loved while they were going. Love Is All is a world away from that unabashed twee / C86-inspired incarnation: they’re now very much of the CSS / Franz Ferdinand school: muscular and rhythmic. I know so many bands sound like that at the moment (with that slurping disco um-CHUH um-CHUH beat, as ubiquitous now as the ‘Funky Drummer’ style was in 1989), but they do it better than most:

Love Is All – Busy Doing Nothing (Video)

The hired Fosca-mobile is coming to pick me up at 5.30am. Then it’s off to Gatwick, and Madrid.

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