Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ankle Deep At the NPL

It's been raining practically every day since I came to Glasgow, but I don't really mind. Had I actually been to the last National Pop League I would've been more likely to be ankle-deep in water than knee-deep in snow. I was wondering if there are any more songs that mention NPL apart from that Camera Obscura one? Let me know if you can think of any and I'll play them at my next club night as a wee tribute. I met John the other day at a Butcher Boy band practice, and he didn't seem too sad that it's over. Perhaps Butcher Boy can finally take off as a band now. The new songs still sound amazing and I can't wait for the second album to be released.

I've heard many reports from the last NPL already and it will go down in history as being everything NPL used to be, but just a tiny bit more. It was hotter, the queue to get in was longer, the music was better and people waited as long as 1½ hours to get a drink at the bar. The last song was "Reel Around the Fountain" by you know who. Some of the regulars presented John with a book full of notes, photos and drawings which i sent in a wee letter for and they also got him a seat dedication at the GFT. Stuart Murdoch did a short speech... and I missed it all.

One thing I didn't miss was Calvin Johnson's brilliant gig in the Lansdowne church last weekend. He played in an upstairs hall to a revering crowd that included Stephen Pastel and Katrina, Duglas T. Stewart, Sarah Martin etc. He played an acoustic guitar and sang, without a microphone. I only recognised "Can We Kiss?" and "I'm Down", but it all sounded fantastic. He was supported by Withered Hand from Edinburgh and a band that first seemed to Skeleton Bob but was actually National Park. I've never seen National Park before so that was a happy surprise!

On the Sunday we went to see the second film in the Southside Gallery's series at Stereo. This time it was a short by recent graduate Lila de Magalhaes, followed by her selection The Holy Mountain by Jodorowski (1973). A very entertaining and disturbing film that somehow reminded me of The Quest For the Holy Grail (with the jokes shining with their absence) as the goal of the film is for a group of people to achieve immortality. The Monty Python film, set in the Middle Ages, ends with the Knights of the Round Table being rounded up by the police for having killed the narrator. In this film, when the group has finally reached the Holy Mountain, their leader tells the camera to zoom back and says that nothing has been real - it's all been a film. (The end of Inland Empire, suggests that David Lynch has seen this film as well.)

I've also seen a more recent film, called Sátántangó, by Hungarian director Béla Tarr. It's like a Kaurusmäki film stretched out to seven hours and brilliantly shot in black and white. We saw this at my friend Stuart's place and I'm excited to see what he can dig up from his vast collection to screen at the Don't Die On My Doorstep night this Friday! By now I should perhaps also reveal the identity of our secret guest dj. After all, I don't think many people reading this will turn up at the Flying Duck! Jane McKeown is perhaps best known for having been a member of Lung Leg, one of Glasgow's best ever bands. Now she plays in Peter Parker with the girl from Miss the Occupier and their first gig was at You + Me two months ago. They're next playing at the TAF night at Stereo, along with Sexy Kids and Wake the President. Jane also has a radio show on Celtic Music Radio, which is on every Friday from 6 to 8pm. It's called The Soup Kitchen and it was them who had All My Friends in for a session recently. If you tune in this Friday you'll probably hear a couple of tracks from The Just Joans and The Catalysts.

From September onwards there will be a regular indiepop night at the Flying Duck that will hopefully attract the same clientele as NPL. It will called be Half My Heart Beats and Lynsey and Colin will be the resident djs (well, you probably know who they are if you're from Glasgow). I wish them the best of luck and I hope I can attend sometime. I bet The Smittens feel the same.


Colin said...

Thanks for the mention! We've got a blog at where we'll be posting news, flyer designs, playlists and photos and soon as we've got them.

brogues said...

Disaster for Brogues! Thanks to a scything tackle at the 5-a-side football I've done my ankle in and now I won't be able to dance at DDOMD. How bum is that? :(

The Boy and the Cloud said...

no the chymes for you then :)

congrats on the recent purchases. dare to bring buba to sweden for a spin?

perhaps you should skip the footy next thursday then - never know what's gonna happen!

John said...


Thanks for the mention. If you have any suggestions for getting a gig in Malmo, please pass it on!