Photoshop Handsome – Everything Everything
My teeth dazzle like an igloo wall, I inhabit, I inhibit y’all!
Can you operate alone?
Chest pumped elegantly elephantine, southern hemisphere by Calvin Klein…
A bejewelled musical box of a song I first heard on the radio in 2009, its hyperkinetic cartoon energy, mouthfuls of words and ideas sung in choirboy falsetto, proper pop chorus and hooks, thrilling drum patterns : an extraordinary construction that made my ears sit up and beg. Here was a band who didn’t give a shit about what everyone else sounded like, who had decided forge their own independent arrogant bloody-minded path through the pop world.…I will gain an extra life when I get the high score…you can respawn anywhere…
I bought the LP immediately it came out a few months later in 2010 and wasn’t disappointed by my own high hopes – Man Alive is, for me the single greatest record of the 21st century so far, a record that is so breathtakingly original that to compare it with Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black – great though that is – is a pointless comparison. The LP that comes close is Kanye West’s Yeezus for musical boldness and pointers to the future, and of course there’s been interesting electronica from Jon Hopkins and Burial, Four Tet, J. Dilla and Flying Lotus, some beautiful music from Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire, John Legend & Vampire Weekend and many more indeed, insert your favourite here, but Man Alive is head and shoulders more inventive more original and more exciting a piece of work than any of the above. Apart from maybe Yeezus….
In early 2010 I lived in Brighton and had a comfortable, settled and engaged life. Happily married, working regularly as an actor on TV and in films, in a great band, season-ticket holder at The Albion (my local football team), good friends nearby to have a pint of beer with, cycling across the Downs on summer’s days to stay healthy and find secret butterfly sanctuaries. I felt connected, satisfied, but as ever, needed a challenge. I’d joined the Green Party 18 months earlier and spent every Saturday since on Caroline Lucas‘ campaign to be elected as the first Green MP in the UK for Brighton Pavilion, the centre of the town’s three constituencies. It was a major challenge. It was a place I felt like putting my energy. And the energy of my ironic LPG-converted 4-wheel drive Grand Cherokee Jeep, which carried volunteers all over Withdean, Patcham, Bevendean and Hollingbury. People came down to Brighton from all over the UK every Saturday morning for a year.
It was a great collective effort which culminated in election day – I spent time outside three different polling booths, then knocked people up, getting our vote out, then once the polls closed fielding some calls as local Press Officer – one from ITN News – and I was at home. I said “we’re quietly confident” – I just made it up – and that became the tag-line for the night on the TV. We had no idea if we’d won. I went down to the count at The Brighton Centre at around midnight, place was buzzing, I had a Press Pass and talked to all the journalists there about IF Caroline wins, who she will talk to and for how long, then a Press Conference on the top floor, then we waited and watched. It took forever – til dawn, but then, the count, the result, the release of tension, victory at 7am in the morning. I ran down to meet Caroline at the door of the counting room and three of us with passes escorted her up the stairs, through the throng of media, cameras in our faces, flashbulbs popping, it was the most rock-star moment I’ve ever had frankly and it was a political victory. Extraordinary. Upstairs the press interviews, the TV excitement, then afterwards the Green gang on the pavement outside, the celebration and then the real work began.
The end of 2009 was also when I first visited Galway on the west coast of Ireland, filming a show called The Guards with old sparring partners Stuart Orme and Iain Glen and Irish beauty Tara Breathnach. What a town though. I was staying in the swish elegance of the G Hotel. A 15-minute walk took me into the pubs, the pubs the pubs of Galway. Are there better pubs than these? Can it be true? One after another they suck you in with their brightly coloured exteriors, their fiddle music and soft southern voices, their velvety pints of Guinness and piles of triangular cut sandwiches, free for drinkers. Dear Frank O Sullivan gave me the guided tour. More than once Galway reminded me of Brighton – the music scene is thriving, the people are laid-back and friendly, it’s artistically alive, racially and sexually mixed and international yet small and manageable. Brighton has more pubs per square mile than anywhere in the UK and more than once I heard it said that “Galway is the graveyard of ambition, the place is full of dreamers and drinkers…”
I think it’s good to listen to the universe if possible and hear what it is saying to you. Perhaps I should mention too, that Brighton and Galway are places where people actually choose to live because they are great places, and The Graveyard Of Ambition is always said in Galway with an undercurrent of pride – they don’t want to be anywhere else. Balls to ambition. This is of course hugely tempting, but perhaps not quite yet. I did hear the universe nattering away eventually, for here I am in New York City having decided to shake things up a bit and escape from the satisfied life for a new experience. To seek out new life, new civilisations. To boldly go to where people are allowed to split an infinitive. Everything Everything spoke to that part of me that is always agitating, looking for change both without and within. They still speak to me.
I was on Twitter in 2012 and being a Follower of the band I read a tweet one day which said “watching Wayne’s World 2 on the tour bus…” Hey guys – I answered (though they weren’t following me) “you made my favourite LP of the century so far !!”
This led to a Mcflurry of DMs and a date four days later in the Waggon & Horses, Brighton, by the Dome…
where Everything Everything were due to play in The Great Escape Music Festival. We had pints, we chatted music, TV, ideas, mutual likes and dislikes, as you do. Then I went to see them play a set, their new LP “Arc” was just out, and is also a fantastic listen. They were, of course, tremendous. I’d seen them before at Concorde 2 in 2010. They’re a fairly ridiculous band live, unfeasibly brilliant. The 3rd LP is about to be released as I speak here in April 2015, trademark crossword puzzle falsetto art pop that forges its own eclectic inspired path I’m happy to report. The moral of the story? Don’t settle. Not yet.
I have to just add me and the boys outside the pub –
Alex (guitar), Michael (drums), Me (fanboy), Jeremy (bass), Jonathan (vocals, everything)
well c’mon it is my blog. And that as well as all the hype I’ve heaped onto the chaps, I’ll have to add that this is perhaps the best pop video of the 21st century too….a ridiculous level of detail and fun therein, both alarming and hilarious. Enjoy!
This has been a three-pub posting.