It was the heat of the moment.

I woke up in Hull, feeling strange. I had unfinished business.

Magic crab business.

I had to thank the magic crab for sending me back in time so I could interview Lewis Young, recording artist and founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company. It was the proper thing to do.

I sat outside York Minster again, listening to Aztec Camera and thinking about Scotland. Then that ol’ glint caught my eye, and in a flash I was back on that weird beach.

Something wasn't right.
Something wasn’t right.

“Son, is that you?”

I wasn’t his son.

I wasn’t even a crab.

“Take a hold of my claw… I’m dyin’.”

What could I do? I’m a compassionate dude – I took a hold of his claw.

“Son… all we are… is dust in the wind,” he plagiarised.

“Every rose has its thorn.”

Clearly, AOR was providing the old crabby bugger with some comfort.

“Take… these broken wings… and… learn to fly again…”

Now he was taking the piss. Still, I was genuinely sad about the magic crab passing away. I started to tear up as I thought about what he did for me, even though I had been sort of a dick.

“In my life there’s been heartache and pain. I don’t know if I can face it again,” I blubbed.

“You can’t stop now, you’ve travelled so far to change this lonely life.”

“I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.”

I had gone too far – the crab died. I walked away, hands in pockets. Music began to play.

I will, little buddy. I will.
Ashes to ashes, funk to funky.
Advertisements

Bonus! – Interview with Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company

Howdy. This is a sort of deleted scene from the interview I did with Lewis Young – we talk about Adult Teeth act MyOneManBand, but then things get tangential in a remarkably relevant way. Besides, I promised you another part last night. Have a poke at these fine tracks while you read.

See, relevant.

The world we live in, and life in Gateshead.

red gallery

Sean: That Live at RED Gallery (by MyOneManBand), it’s amazing.

Lewis: Thank you. Yeah, it was a good gig actually. Phill really did something special I thought – he was using all coffee cans and stuff like that. He was sampling stuff live and then looping it and it’s just great. It was in this really small white room with no way out. It was sort of like being in a mental asylum with this guy doing these mental things. It was just awesome.

Sean: I put it on with headphones and I sort of felt like it was drilling into my brain, but in a good way.

Lewis: I think that’s what we strive for, so Phill would be happy with that. I think he nearly came down tonight actually. He lives about 20 miles away so he doesn’t always get to make it, which is a shame. He used to be in La Bête Blooms, actually, Phill.

Sean: Was he the bass player who left?

Lewis: Yeah, he went to Antwerp. He played synth in Glass Delusion as well. He just went to Antwerp and kind of left the bands, basically. It was a shame, but he came back, which is nice – came back and did all his solo stuff.

Sean: I’m looking forward to hearing the MyOneManBand and Blackface albums together. The whole idea is really cool, that you listen to them at the same time.

Lewis: It’s kind of like The Flaming Lips’ Zaireeka thing. We didn’t nick the idea from them particularly but it was definitely a starting point. Dark room… whatever devices you’ve got. Different sound sources make it sound like a different album, so if you heard it through a Playstation on your TV it’s almost like a whole different thing. It’s very strange but it’s great so, enjoy, basically.

Sean: Even the isolated tracks on the sampler CD… I remember hearing… I don’t know what it’s called… it’s the one with the basketball.

Lewis: Oh yeah, Basketball in the Park in Bb Major.

Sean: I was listening to that and it came on when I was in Gateshead. They built a big Tesco there.

Lewis: Yeah, I used to work there.

Sean: Really?

Lewis: It was soul-destroying but yeah, I worked there while I was at uni.

Sean: Well, they knocked it down, so…

Lewis: DID THEY?

prairie dog

Sean: Yeah, they knocked it down and built a new one.

Lewis: Oh my god! That’s fantastic. It needed knocking down, especially the back area… disgusting. You just think, “Oh god, this is where I buy my food.” It was all these disgusting guys who worked there, they’d go to the toilet and not wash their hands, then they’d go and put the vegetables out. It was fucking disgusting. It was shocking. It was like a whole other world. I’m glad they knocked it down, that’s great.

Sean: I remember I went to the new Tesco the first week they opened it and, uh, they’d run out of lard.

Lewis: The cornerstone of every diet.

Sean: Well, it is in Gateshead.

Lewis: Yeah, so true.

Sean: It’s nice to be a hundred miles from the place and be making jokes about how crap it is.

Lewis: Where it can’t hear you.

Sean: Yup.

Lewis: Yeah, Gateshead is a strange one. It was just very… there’s places in Hull that remind me of Gateshead, it’s just what it is. To go from, y’know, Newcastle’s amazing, and you get the metro to Gateshead and you’re like, “Wow, okay.” It’s just literally a mile away and it’s crazy.

Sean: There’s this pocket of The Sage, but when you’re walking there it feels a bit dangerous. It’s a little bit better now that they replaced the Tesco because they pedestrianised that whole area. It’s supposed to be a shopping complex but nobody really wants to open shops so… there’s a Nando’s and there’s a cinema and all that stuff. We’ll see how that goes. It’s a huge Tesco, though. They’ve got all the world foods and all that stuff. Yeah, I love it.

True fact: they knocked down the car park from Get Carter to build the new Tesco. Also, Get Carter was written by a man from Hull.

Lewis: Yeah, it needed something. It was a dying town when I worked there. I think it just needed that [claps hands super-loud]. It’s so weird, because they’ve got Baltic and Sage on that side and then you’ve just got… shit. It’s bizarre.

I served Dwight Yorke in Tesco one time. Very odd – why Dwight Yorke? I mean, I don’t like football or anything, it just seems so odd that Dwight Yorke would come in.

Sean: That’s weird.

Lewis: Yeah, it was just so surreal. I don’t know what he was doing in Gateshead.

Was he on special offer? Is that a football joke?
Gateshead. Header. Yes. Football… yes, yes… yes. Yes.

Sean: My friend saw Phill Jupitus recently in Newcastle railway station. Don’t why he was there, he wasn’t doing a gig.

Lewis: He gets about, he does. A person I work with, she owns a guesthouse as well as working full-time, and he stayed in that. He left this really nice review in the book and a massive full length signature – hey Paul, alright? – yeah, so, nice guy.

Sean: It’s a good tangent, I may include it.

Lewis: Just ribbin’ on Gateshead. Poor bastards.

Sean: Poor bastards.

Really fin.

This does leave some unanswered questions: Why was Dwight Yorke in Tesco? What was Phill Jupitus up to? Is Paul alright?

Sadly, we may never know.

Much appreciation is due again to Lewis for agreeing to do this interview and for not minding that it also ties into a story about a magic crab. Very Dude.

If you haven’t already, look above for a free download of the Adult Teeth sampler. You can also find The Adult Teeth Recording Company on Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Life after Hull, based on true events.

Music is like a beach. You look under a lot of rocks, you find a lot of beach shit, sometimes you find something really special…

I’m getting ahead of myself. It was November, and I woke up with a strange feeling. This was because I was waking up in Hull and that’s not usually where I wake up. Not that I minded.

Hull was very good to me. I had a Subway sandwich, which was as reliably mediocre as any other I’ve had, and I spent some time admiring some very fetching architecture and dodging low-flying pigeons.

sb10066698kt-001.jpg
I have a perfectly rational fear of being shat on.

Ultimately, I found that I couldn’t really go into any shops because people were trying to buy Xboxes in them, so I left for York. On the way I got to see the Humber Bridge, which appears to stretch impossibly and infinitely. A truly awesome sight. I don’t even have anything flippant to say about it, it’s just amazing.

I sat outside York Minster, listening to Aztec Camera and thinking about Scotland. Then a glint caught my eye. Like any true Scotsman, I went over in case it was money.

It wasn’t.

It was a rip in space and time.

I was on a beach. A lot of people were listening to Mumford & Sons. It wasn’t very nice, so I went off for a bit of a mope.

I was having a bit of an explore when I saw something. It was like a rock, but it wasn’t a rock.

“It’s a rock lobster!” I shouted, feeling like an idiot but also a little pleased with myself.

I looked a little closer. It was actually a crab, and I was a crustacean racist. I thought it was dead for a while, but it started a-wrigglin’, then it started talking.

#nofilter

“You have awoken me from my crab coma – I hereby grant you three wishes,” he crabbled.

“Can I wish for more wishes?”

“You can fuck off.”

“There’s no need to be so crabby.”

“It’s one wish now.”

I thought about it for ages. I thought about all my regrets and near-misses. Then it came to me.

“I wish I could go back in time to the Adult Teeth showcase gig and interview Lewis Young, founder of The Adult Teeth Recording Company.”

“Your wish is my command.”

With that, the crab scuttled away to do crab stuff and I found myself somewhere a little more familiar.

WP_20141127_015

I was back at the Adelphi Club, and there was Lewis Young sat opposite me.

“So, what’s it like running an independent record label?”

Scotland.

This is a song I listen to when I miss Scotland. I put it on a compilation of songs (known as FSM05) which I listen to when I miss Scotland.

There’s a part of me that feels a little sad that I can’t be in the country that I called home for 18 years tonight. There’s a part of me that feels a little sad that I’m facing the forced separation of my identity – which I have a tenuous grasp on at best – regardless of the outcome of the vote. There’s a part of me that thinks it’s too soon, that it’s a question better suited to more certain times.

And there’s a part of me that is proud to consider myself Scottish because it’s ultimately the closest thing I have to a national identity. There’s a part of me that hates that a country which seems so goddamn separate from England should be ruled from the bottom of a place that doesn’t understand them. There’s a part of me that’s always wanted Scotland to be independent and would be proud to register as a Scottish citizen.

So I find myself here, in the north-east of England, wondering how I ended up doing the things I did and how it was that I ended up here. Why I’m not up there, taking part in the future of my country.

I don’t belong here.

But I didn’t really belong there either.

Maybe belonging isn’t the important thing.

Maybe that’s what this is all about.

Jesus don’t want me for a sunbeam.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Hey, it’s been a while. Sit down over by the fire and let me tell you about what’s really going on.

I started Off Your Shelf when I needed it the most – out of work and unwashed, I had to fill my time somehow.

A lot has happened in the 422 days since Shelfie took his first steps. I’m pleased to say that my unemployment didn’t last very long and that I am, as of 10:33pm on the 28th of July 2014, quite clean.

I’m proud of what we have achieved in our time here. I’m also super grateful to Deputy Holmes for being a part of this whole ‘writing on the internet’ thing. It’s been a blast, H.

It’s been a real pleasure writing for you, whoever’s reading, but it’s time to say farewell. Life is calling and has already left voicemails.

Of course, I can’t leave you without a song. Play it, Frank.

“Up yours, children.”

Glasgow Happenings

You hear a lot about Glasgow, mostly about stabbing. What you don’t hear about is that it’s really, really pretty.

No, really.

What a majestic landscape.
What a majestic landscape.

I’m sleeping on a bunk bed in a hostel with five other dudes – not in the same bed, of course – and even this place used to be one of the most exclusive hotels in the city. It’s huge in the classic Victorian “just make shit big” style. This area is so classy that the door numbers are in Roman fucking numerals.

Thank the lord for Rocky.

I walked to the hostel like an idiot. It was good though. As lost as I did get I also got unlost and didn’t get stabbed nor did I sob down the phone for a taxi. It’s probably about 20-30 minutes walk from the bus station if you don’t walk every-fucking-where else as well.

Bus ride took me from the ever-classy National Express station in Newcastle (it sits neatly between a strip club and the not-so-gay-any-more gay bar Powerhouse) through the most excellent Northumberland back roads and up to Edinburgh, then across to Glasgow’s Buchanan Bus Station – as immortalised in Aztec Camera’s Killermont Street.

Glasgow is a lot cleaner than I expected. You don’t realise how filthy everywhere else is until you go to a place where either people pick up more rubbish or they put it in the fucking bin. Fancy that.

I got into Glasgow around 6.15pm. I got to the hostel a bit before 8.00pm. This gives you an idea of the special sort of lost I was. I had a good time though. In retrospect.

Glasgow philosophy.
Glasgow philosophy.

With my stuff all locked away (thanks for the padlock, Clas Ohlson!) and my poorly phone charging up I went for a wander around the area. I made a fool of myself several times going into places asking if they did pizza, like some sort of stoned maniac.

I wasn’t, but “Sorry, I’m just really tired,” always seems such a pathetic excuse.

The lights represent potential pizza sources. The darkness represents Sean's blindness to literally everything else.
The lights represent potential pizza sources. The darkness represents Sean’s blindness to literally everything else.

Anyway, I found a chippy that did pizza for a reasonable price only to find that they were offering 50% off.

I ended my night scoffing my beautiful £3.50 pizza on the Kelvingrove granite steps (as featured in Taggart) and flicked a v-sign at BBC Scotland in the distance. You would too.

Actually, I ended my night in bed. That’s just me being poetic and shit. The underside of the top bunk had been graffitied by those who had stayed before me, so I joined in.

Branded like a cow.
Branded like a cow.

Well, it would have been irresponsible not to.

Tyneside Cinema All-Nighter: What Sean Did

Recently, the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle held another of their Cult Classics marathons. Five films, five pounds, twelve hours. Good value for money and good movies too, but was it a good idea?

Yes. And no.

I can’t deny that it was incredibly stupid for me to so willingly smash my sleeping pattern to bits (it’s Thursday now, I think…) but I just can’t ignore how fucking great it was.

Batmaaaaaaan!
Film one. 10pm. Batman.

Whatever ridiculous genius who decided to show Prince’s Batdance video before the film deserves a shitload of medals. Incredible.

This is the 1989 Batman with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson (known as ‘the good Batman’) and what a pleasure it was to see it for the first time this century in the comfiest seat ever made. Although the Fancy Seats section in the Classic screen was sold out beforehand, a bunch of people decided not to show up. This included the person who was supposed to sit next to me. BONUS SPACE. Stretched out like a motherfucker, yes I did.

I had my first coffee of the night and munched on some popcorn. A fine start.

Film two. 12.30am, Starship Troopers.
Film two. 12.30am, Starship Troopers.

Starship Troopers (otherwise known as ‘Douchebags in Space’) unfortunately did not have a Batdance equivalent. This was a shame. However, the film is absolutely brilliant and the special effects hold up surprisingly well considering the general quality of CGI in 1997. It’s also really funny. Really, really funny. They sucked his brain out!

Please watch this film. If you have already seen it, just watch it again. You deserve it.

I snacked on a nice mixture of nuts and raisins and drank most of my flask of coffee. 😦

Film three. 3.20am. Mallrats,
Film three. 3.20am. Mallrats,

Mallrats is a Kevin Smith film starring the usual lot – Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, blah blah blah. These all-nighters are great for Kevin Smith fans, which I probably am. This is the internet so you probably are one as well.

I also had the good fortune to meet Holly beforehand and we took our first Progress Selfie.

IMG-20131020-00252
It went well.

The film was great but I finished my flask of coffee. Mega lame.

Film four. 5.30am. Monster Squad.
Film four. 5.30am. Monster Squad.

Monster Squad is a film from the 1980s with monsters in it. I really don’t remember it very well. I wish I did but I don’t. Sorry.

About halfway through I took a tactical powernap in the toilet cubicle, a technique I perfected while at college. I also had another coffee and some of a strawberry flavoured candy cane.

Having a very good time.
Here’s what tired looks like.

There was a MASSIVE BREAK between Monster Squad and my next film, so I popped outside for some fresh air. It was scary and I didn’t like it one bit.

Film five. 8am. The Breakfast Club.
Film five. 8am. The Breakfast Club.

Eight in the buggering morning. Fortunately, I seemed to have had a Second Wind and was fine for The Breakfast Club. Sort of. I sat riiiiiiight at the front and sprawled out, my jacket over me like a blanket. I’d never seen this film before and I was surprised that it was a lot better than I’d been made to believe. Great premise, great acting, great movie. That’s how it should work.

Here’s where that sort of being fine comes in. I had a bit of a sob towards the end butI’m not sure if it was because I was incredibly tired or if the film is actually just really sad. I’m not ashamed to say that, if not for the British need to save face in public, I would have been bawling like a baby for the last twenty minutes. I settled for a quiet weep instead.

Me.
Me.

Also, here’s our 8am Progress Selfie:

Is it a shit picture, or is it art? Answers on the back of a Turner Prize.
Is it a shit picture, or is it art? Answers on the back of a Turner Prize.

Holly had understandably gone for her 90 minute bus ride home rather than waiting about in the cold for half an hour before I came out, so I got on with my next mission.

Breakfast.

I saw a lot of the night before as I strolled wide-eyed down the street, doing my best to look normal. Here’s something that definitely wasn’t normal:

Newcastle Upon Tyne-20131020-00273
I think it’s a penguin.

Weird. Anyway, I had more important things on my mind. Namely, bacon.

I groped my way to my most favourite restaurant, Stateside, and ordered myself some French toast (with bacon) and some coffee. Take note here, because I got two huge slices of awesome French toast, two bits of good bacon and two cups of damn fine coffee for £4.65. That’s a fucking great bargain and you should go there all the time. I recommend the onion rings.

(I’m going to say right now that they’re not paying me a thing, I’m just really passionate about good food for cheap.)

I got back home and crawled into bed. I’ve never loved my bed so much.

Until next time, Tyneside Cinema.
Until next time, Tyneside Cinema.

Review: Lavazza Tierra coffee

So, I was in Waitrose yesterday…

Shut up, I'm telling a story.
Shut up, I’m telling a story.

I was in Waitrose yesterday and I felt like treating myself to some fancy coffee. I chose Lavazza Tierra because it is ethically produced because it was on special offer and came in a tin.

I like tins.
I like tins. They’re sophisticated.

Upon popping the lid, I found that there was a secondary lid underneath. I aspire to be that guy in the shop who sniffs things and Lavazza had denied me this with their extensive packaging. Bastards.

This would have been a negative, but it only made me want it more. Lavazza Tierra was a mystery tramp and I wanted a taste. I took it home. £2.99.

Mystery tramp. Not as sexy as it sounds.
You get what you pay for.

The second lid was one of those ringpully tin lids. I opened it eventually. It was a struggle, but I won because I have a beard.

The smell was remarkable. It was not unlike chocolate, but more like coffee. Strong, smooth, seductive… the way a good coffee should be.

I prepared it in my tiny cafetiere, which I take to work in an effort to look cultured. The grounds are finer than usual so the plunge is less satisfying and you end up with coffee mud at the bottom, but this also means an easier clean-up and less crap in your mouth when you get some grounds in the cup because you’re shit at pouring.

I considered measuring out a sensible amount of coffee, but I decided that my usual helping of “too much” would do just as well.  This was a mistake. It turns out that Lavazza Tierra is an espresso, although it fails to mention this on the tin outside of the word ‘INTENSO’. Fuck you, Italy.

The caffeine high was instant and ridiculous. I was master of the universe, I was on top of the world, I was King of the fucking Moon. I put on Coltrane’s Giant Steps.  Vinyl, of course.

Of course.
Of course.

Yeah, I was inside the music, man. Riding the grooves in the grooves. Smoking cigars with the ghosts of dead jazzers. On a unicorn.

Side one. Giant Steps, Cousin Mary, Countdown, Spiral. Turn over. Side two. Syeeda’s Song Flute. Naima. Mr. P.C. Fin.

I came to a shocking realisation as the arm returned to its cradle. This coffee was making me pretentious.

I stuck on Dave Brubeck’s Greatest Hits and performed some surgery on my Blackberry. All of the side buttons had fallen off, so I cut up a toothpick with some scissors and secured the bits in place with some red electrical tape.

"Did I ever tell you about the time I performed an appendectomy with a rusty sardine can?"
“Did I ever tell you about the time I performed an appendectomy with a rusty sardine can?”

I came down. I was wearing a skirt, I brewed another cup.

Mmm, nice.

Review: Trousers

Just in case you didn't know what was where...
Just in case you didn’t know what trousers were.

My favourite trousers are not trousers nor are they meant for me – they are ladies’ jeans with a great big flare.

Why do I wear them? For some reason it’s far easier to get long-legged jeans in the lady section of the trouser department than it is in the area I have been assigned due to my sex.

They’re also really cheap.

The best thing about these jeans is the flare. I’ve never felt so fucking snazzy in my whole life. A walk to the corner shop for some milk is suddenly the coolest thing in the world. I have never been sad in these jeans… my whole life is a Bee Gees video.

Naturally, I’d be Lion-O Bee Gee.

My favourite pair of proper trousers belong to an £8 charity shop suit. The waist was a little large for me so I went to another charity shop the next day and bought some braces, ’cause my belt broke. They made me feel pretty authoritative – like I was a detective from the 1930s, keeping the scum off the streets.

It’s a good to keep yourself grounded in a special sort of reality when working in sales. I’d surely have lost the will to live otherwise.

Unfortunately, my trousers didn’t make it. One lunchtime I noticed that they’d split from arse to crotch, leaving me to walk like a penguin for the rest of my shift and all the way home. It was the saddest day of my life.

And only two days left 'till retirement...
And only two days left ’till retirement…

I work in a real job now, by the way, and I’ve yet to have a trouser accident. I believe that this makes me a successful adult.