Wednesday, 30 January 2008

All Day Permanent Punk Ain't Gonna Change A Thing

Lightspeed Champion at the Amersham Arms (Friday 12th January): I’m surrounded by Goldsmiths first-year girls in little dresses bopping and hollering to Dev’s downbeat confessions. One of them is taking pictures of herself onstage. Sure, they’re pretty excruciating, but never have I felt so fucking old. If you ever want to blow that feeling out of the water peek in at Carbon/Silicon’s ‘Carbon Casino’, every Friday night until 22nd February at Ladbroke Grove’s ‘Inn On The Green’ (which looks like Lou’s Bar from ‘Neighbours’).

Amongst the odd rock royal such as Marc Bolan’s best friend and mingling Clash superstar Mick Jones himself, a crowd of punk veterans and their families awaited a riot injection last Friday. Some bouncy fucker knocked half my Guinness over me and I was poised to scorn until I realised he must have been sloshed past his bedtime and was probably recording Jonathan Ross.
Carbon/Silicon’s performance, when it finally came, was cripplingly depressing. The songs, written by two guitarists missing their original lead songwriter counterparts (Joe Strummer and Billy Idol), were entertaining enough. Jones was certainly turning on the chugging greying fireball next to me, but his mockeries of the paranoid state of our nation in ‘The Magic Suitcase’ and ‘Caesar’s Palace’, though lapped up by the congregation, resonated powerless. Maybe I’m just an unforgiving, unrealistic absolutist, but the whole affair smacked of futile stagnancy, of punks 30 years on still seething, bitterly dissatisfied but resentfully committed to their lives in the system.

Carbon/Silicon gave their weary disciples an outlet for rage and a rollicking set drenched in sentimentality for the days when punk seemed to threaten to rip society up at the roots. My companion, more at home soothed by the strains of Cat Power anyway, had a Hunter S Thompson moment with the rotund, upper-middle-aged, heaving audience turning into monsters and promptly left. I couldn’t have been hotter on his heels, and I’ve never felt so young!

Seems like all I write about is Morrissey these days! Following a grand residency at the Roundhouse cut short by a throat problem comes a new single preceding his 20 year-retrospective Greatest Hits, released as part of a new deal with Decca records on 11th February. 'That's How People Grow Up', bookended by wailing KristeenYoung vocals and with a soundscape echoing the queered nastiness of 'Viva Hate's darker moments, is a disappointment, like 'Alsatian Cousin' but without the intoxicating venom. A far more appropriate anticipation of his imminent Greatest Hits is the single's counterpart, 'All You Need Is Me’. The quintessentially Moz track boasts the ragged fuzz and regimented stomps trademark of Moz’s resurgence and a poised, hilarious vocal in which he issues a fuck-you to the endless turbulent attacks on his integrity with beautifully bemused elegance.

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