Friday, 30 May 2008

God Fearing

Roz and I watched Jesus Camp on Tuesday (after getting back from Deceptacon). It was one of the most disturbing things ever. It is a documentary about a summer camp run by evangelicals where they train kids to hate anyone different from themselves. They are taught to channel the spirit of the lord, misuse science, feel sinful for having natural desires, oppose abortion, etc. They are not ever taught to question the nature of anything, but to live by the fear of God alone.

These children are absolutely and completely used and manipulated in a completely calculated way. And these kids are helpless - they love being told how special they are and that they have been chosen to "take back American for Christ" (there is a horrible nationalist subtext behind most of the teachings), but you cannot help but find them unbearably smug and idiotic. (Christian children are the most annoying type of children, and evangelicals are the most annoying type of Christian.) I hope that at least some of them will grow up to question what they have been indoctrinated with, but some of them won't at all. So it will keep on going, for centuries at least.

If you haven't seen Jesus Camp then it is probably on YouTube, I'm guessing with hundreds of comments from godnuts countering athiests with stuff like "fine if u want the devil to have ur ass in hell fag" (that is a real comment I saw once). There is a nice cameo from Ted Haggard, who you might recognise as the anti-drugs anti-gay preacher who was revealed as a gay drug-user. Sweet.

It makes me happy that we have Cool Science, but I wish the lyrics were a bit more specific, a bit more direct. It is a bit of a confused song (like most of ours). I might change the words a tiny amount when we record our EP. I think that's allowed - like John Lennon recording Revolution twice and saying "count me in" on one version and "count me out" on another. He wasn't being careless or covering his back; he was documenting his own confusion on a massive issue that was impossible to cover in a three minute song. I want Cool Science to be accurate to us when we record it.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Second Ever Football Post

Bleurgh. This time regarding Wembley loss. I don't think football could make me cry, but it did come very close on Saturday. A sort of success beckoned that is not guaranteed to happen every lifetime (see Rochdale's 34 years without promotion or even relegation), and it is hard to not to get caught up. It is weird to pay to feel so crap, it is sickening to hear 40,000 people feel absolutely and truly jubilant. Wembley is tainted (until The Bumblebees play there).

There is always next year. But next year will be crap, I think everyone secretly knows that - sometimes this year is all you get. We went from being 1 game away, to being 46 games away, and that seems like a pretty huge jump backwards. Luckily I will be in Oxford next year, so I can watch us fail from a numbing distance.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Catch-Up Two

Last Sunday was SHOP, which is a sweet place on Christmas Steps, which is a pretty sweet place in itself. We played without the laptop, which was nice because we could rallentando our little hearts out. It went pretty well, we kept the banter to a minimum to maximise rocking time. Roxanne:theearlyyears played after us, with Chris, who is from New York. They were quiet and intimate, and probably suited the gig better than us. Roxy has a really nice voice. Winston Echo was generally great. "Bureau de Change" was my favourite.

Tuesday we played at St James' Wine Vaults in Bath. We played quite badly, and it was my fault. After us were Drunkard's Ball who we didn't watch cos we didn't like their soundcheck, Oxygen Thief who I absolutely loved, and Lego Castles who I got bored of quickly. Tuesday night was also the time that City beat Palace, so I was mainly interested in that, really. It was a potentially cool place to play, but we didn't have that much fun. Oxygen Thief (who is also sometimes called Barry) gave us a lift home, making me think him even more brilliant.

Dull catch-up complete. I have to go now THANKS.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Long Weekend, Check-In

One week of non-blogging has passed. So put the kettle on, I have lots of words to type.

Last Thursday we had our ONLY Bumblebees practice in preparement for three gigs in three days. We had three new songs to practice, and happily we pretty much made them sound good. We stuck to the same setlist for all the gigs, mainly because it meant we didn't have to swap the drum tracks around.

This was the setlist:

Perfect Holiday
My Kaleidoscope
The Internal World
Fluffy Clouds Of Joy
Mysterious Guitar
Cool Science

The next morning Roz and I went outfit shopping, whilst Bert was at work doing whatever he does at work. We got some yellow t-shirts, some black ribbon, and some artificial flowers. We stuck the ribbon on the shirts. The idea was to be bee-like, but I'm not sure how well it worked. We only wore it on the Friday in the end, just cos it got really sweaty and the ribbon started falling off. I like the idea of outfits though - it's like being in the army, only fun.

Friday night we played at The Cooler. It's quite a big venue, but is never really that full, and is generally considered to be the loudest place in the world. So the sound is never that good, and it was not that good on this night. Some of our friends came and watched, but not as many as I thought might. I don't think they missed much though. We were a bit under-rehearsed, and it made us a bit lacking in confidence. Near the end I broke my D string. I didn't really recover. Arctic Circle were on after us and great as always. The main difference was the sharp upturn in danciness from their previous sets - I would say they are verging towards twee-funk. Or, twunk.

On Saturday we played our first London gig, supporting Zipper at Monkey Chews in Camden. (Venue fact: we saw an Amy Winhouse documentary the other night and someone was interviewed in the very place that we played! I'm pretty sure that means we've made it...) It was probably our most exciting gig so far. I broke my D string again, this time on literally the first note I played. I asked if I could borrow someone else's, and the guitarist from Zipper (whose name sadly I don't know and haven't looked up) said I could use his. Not only that but whilst we were playing he changed my string for me! The rest of the gig went really well I think. Despite no monitors or owt, the sound seemed really good from where we were standing, and we hardly mucked up at all. Zipper Man's guitar was really nice - apparently it is an old Spanish one that you can't get anymore.

All the other bands were really good (fuzzpop monsters Horowitz, indiepop troubadour MJ Hibbett, and especially Zipper, who literally made me dance). The gig finished with a disco - they played "Canada" by the Field Mice which was nice, cos I requested it.We stayed at Ian's house - he is one of the promoters, and probably is a frontrunner for the World's Nicest Person award. The four of us (three Bees and a Byrion, our friend turned keyboard-stand-carrier) stayed in his front room, which had a double bed in. Bert saw fit to share that with me and Roz. He snored loads.

Sunday morning we said our goodbyes to Ian and went to Camden Market (with directions from Ian's impeccable map). I think if there is a good way to visit Camden Market on a Sunday, it probably doesn't involve carrying guitars, rucksacks, a synth and a keyboard stand. And it probably involves knowing that Camden Town tube station is closed before lugging all the aforementioned equipment there. Still we got some food that was nice. We said goodbye to Byrion at Victoria cos he was going off to see a friend. The rest of us hopped on the Megabus and headed home, and more specifically to the Louisiana, where were the city of Bristol was gathering to welcome their heroes home.

When I say 'the city of Bristol', what I actually mean is Duncan, the sound guy. We were supporting Land Of Talk, an band from Montreal. This time I broke my A string in soundcheck. The other band playing were Meet Me Today, a POWER TRIO of 16-yr-olds playing their first ever gig. This meant that for the first time in Bumblebees history, we weren't the opening band. Hopefully this will happen more and more. They were what MJ Hibbett would call "professional, competent, rocking and tight". We were all that and more. I am really getting into Mysterious Guitar, I think it's great. Sadly not many people were there to witness it (only one member of Land Of Talk watched, I guess the other two couldn't find their way out of the dressing room). Land Of Talk were pretty boring, like a bland Rilo Kiley, if you can imagine such a thing.

We have now played six gigs in total, in about eight months of formal band existence. I think that is pretty good, but I would love to have more. Luckily, we do - one on Sunday in Bristol, and one on Tuesday in Bath! YES!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Bumblebee Gig Frenzy!

We have spent the last couple of weeks trying to get as many gigs as possible. This is how it is working out currently.

2nd May - The Cooler, Bristol. Supporting Arctic Circle at Espionage.

3rd May - Monkey Chews, Chalk Farm, London. Supporting Zipper, MJ Hibbett and Horowitz.

4th May - Louisiana, Bristol. Supporting Land Of Talk. They are from Montreal.

11th May - SHOP, Bristol. Supporting roxanne:theearlyyears and Winston Echo.

5th June - Hobbits, Weston-Super-Mare. Supporting some bands.

It's not bad going, but I wish there were more. Gigs are amazing fun.

Thursday, 1 May 2008


Home and tired, tired and home. It is very nice to be back, I had started to forget what my dog looked like.