Gatsby : Conclusion. Part Two.

It is finished. Finally. It… Sort of became better. In that there are now two layers to the characters! Fitzy seems to be very good at creating two-dimensional people. And it seems the entire plot focusses around the fact that Gatsby is in love with some bird who fucks off at the end. Big deal. All I got from it was that the entirity of Gatsby’s life was centred around Daisy – his reason for being alive was her. Which was insane as she had her own home, family and life. Ok it wasn’t necessarily a happy one, but Gatsby’s complete disregard for anything that was hers was just unbelivable. His overriding confidence she would down-tools and swan over to his life was cliche and arrogant. Just because he has money doesn’t mean happiness. How can a story centre around such an unstable major character? Christ alive Scott. Or is that what you were trying to say? The whole glitzy exterior of the 1920s hid this incredibly sad inside? I find that very hard to believe that was your only meaning.

I did like the sick irony that it was Daisy who killed her husband’s lover though. That was good. Although it was quite 19th century, quite convenient. Like the house Jane Eyre stumbles across just happens to contain her cousins. And just the right people seem to die at the end of ‘Return of the Native’. All a bit suspect, but it was the most exciting part.

But the insanely irritating narrator seemed to be so terrible at chronologically retelling things I had to re-read things at least twice just to know where I was. If anything, he became less interesting. Maybe it was the style to be deliberately vague, but it really hacked me off. Good work Fitzgerald. Good bloody work.

This novel left very little impression on me, aside from mild annoyance that others can see meaning in it and I just can’t. 1920s fail.

I am slightly concerned that…

… I preferred a support act to the headliner. Although serious kudos to, in this case, That Fucking Tank – I usually despise supports. It literally is a case of me standing, arms folded, saying “Right you juveniles, impress me!”, and they frequently don’t.

This gig took place in Bristol (as most of the ones I attend do) at the Fleece and Firkin, Friday 4th December. I had my trusty gig buddy (The Rt. Hon. Thomas J Bench Esq.), who usually expresses his intense want to attend a musical event and I am left to the particulars. But at least I know what is going on. The Fleece was a new venture for us, but a rather good one – I’d rate it far above the Anson Rooms for cosiness and above the Academy for ambience and style. I had visions of a mere handful of very dedicated fans turning up – making the main act look a little silly for more than one reason – but apparently I underestimated the talent of Lightning Bolt. Although the crowd was a 90 – 10% split, males to females. My gig research this time was intermittent – the main band in question were not altogether to my taste which led to minimal amounts of investigation, and it was almost a physical impossibility to find anything about the first act, The Hysterical Injury, but as it happens this didn’t matter for once. This was much more an evening of experience than just a mere gig!

The Hysterical Injury I was exceptionally impressed with, considering they were a two-piece, and made a much better sound than, for example, the White Stripes can. It was more refined clamour than a five year old banging a drum kit (see Meg White). Good work ‘Injury – very good stage presence and confidence too, which I find unusual in the early supports.

Maybe these are on the up, because That Fucking Tank blew me away. In some cases literally. We were standing next to the speaker. Not the most sensible option, especially considering we saved the earplugs for Lightning Bolt, but given the enjoyment factor it was definitely worth it. Despite a small technical hitch part-way through the set, they held our attention with something of a vice (ie. their talent), and provided some witty on-stage banter with LOUD NOISES that were actually SONGS too! Total value for money. I also particularly liked the stage set-up – drummer SR, guitarist SL, and.. facing each other?! But worked so well – wavelength levels were clearly high, and their live performance excellent.

Now Lightning Bolt are an interesting band. I use this term for a diplomatic stance. Playing in the middle of a crowd may be seen as different but could also just be awkward. To gain a good view, a fan even stood on the pint-rest surround on a pillar. All tables were used as view-points. Social norms were obselete by this point, and by the end of the set, the entourage (consisting mainly of the males) at the front/nearest the band represented something of a river of piranhas.  Decibel-wise, Lightning Bolt had it. It did somewhat seem like a constant stream of noise coming from two (although you may be led to believe it was more) musicians I couldn’t ever hope to see. I caught a glimpse of the somewhat creepy mask of Mr Chippendale, but I feel a safer stance was further away from the headliners as possible. I haven’t shared that much sweat with strangers since a Manics gig. Although the crowd was a huge amount more pleasant here – not quite everyone for themselves, but the maximum amount of enjoyment from the music for everyone as it is possible to have, perhaps.

Really, I’d like to give you a set list from Lightning Bolt, but it would be a grand feat if anyone could pick out all the songs (I use this term loosely) they played (again, loosely). Apparently it wasn’t all improvised. That’s not to say it was bad – au contrare – one has to give it to them for sheer stamina and clear crowd pleasing value. Evidently they are very good at what they seem to want to do (make noise!), but I still preferred our supports. Maybe I just don’t like to stray from the norm. How awfully dull of me…

The X Factor.

Is this programme REALLY everything that’s wrong with entertainment? Is it?

The answer is, obviously, yes. But WHY? I insist on knowing why.

The question seems to be posed “Should we allow the public to choose what music they want to hear?” I think we shouldn’t, based on how god-awful the X Factor contestants are. As far as I am aware, they don’t even write their own stuff. It’s just a series of shite cover versions, that they use to attach their name to a good or brilliant piece of talent, that occured however many years before them. Maybe it should be referred to as “That Singing Show Where People Act Like Twats In Front Of A Panel Of Even Bigger Twats.” You know of whom I speak.

Having said that, should people have to chose from the range of music out there? In many ways yes, because the range is so vast and the talent so deep. And it is altogether a much more organic process. That, coupled with the greater amounts of respect these artists have compared to “The 2006 X Factor Winner” (for example), should lead to better music. And shock! It does. Is it also not much more what art is about? It shouldn’t be “anyone can do music” in an American Dream style, people are talented for a reason! Not to say that people who have no talent shouldn’t dabble-by all means go ahead-but it is plainly obvious there are those with a creative streak, and those who clearly just want to do music for music’s sake.

If such a programme is this terrible, why do so many people watch it? Why is it that I can predict the subject of 95% of Facebook status updates on Saturday evening? Is it morally sound to allow quite obviously ubstable, incredibly untalented “singers” embarass themselves in front of the entire nation? Surely they must be aware of how many people are laughing at them. Why allow this to occur for anything other than entertainment? There is better entertainment than to laugh at people.

And yet – it is somewhat courageous to stand in front of Simon Cowell and attempt to sing. I doubt I’d do it. But then I do know I can’t sing.

This programme is not about music. It’s soul is emptier than Hitler’s charity budget.