Chris Stein’s photography exhibition

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somerset house up the strand in central london is one gem of a place to hang out .. right now they’ve got an ice rink in the central courtyard with giddy folk falling on their arses,while others, even in wheelchairs, get taken by their carers for a spin over the freeze. there’s a huge tree laden with massive balls that truly stinks of christmas if you go up close enuff to sniff…that smell comes by way of fortnum & masons, but y’know..whatever.

the best thing though is chris stein’s photography exhibition in one of the many galleries off the main courtyard. entry is free,and the pictures are even more that i mean,they’re loose… direct from the eye of a man who was boyfriend, guitar player,co-songwriter,and friend to anyone in the frame of every photograph. you’ll get a strong sense of all that if you read chris’s fantastic little anecdotes that reside by nearly every blow-up in the gallery…the affection for his extended rock and roll family, which includes everyone from iggy,joan jett,the ramones, is instantly obvious.there’s real sadness too, like the time joey ramone called chris from his death bed to say goodbye.i particularly loved this shot of debbie and clem the drummer…clem looks so sharp it’s almost funny…see how people on the street just have to stop and stare.19ae7e26-7631-4567-bd17-311fa193c925

one of the lovely things about chris stein is how all the way through the blondie years,he never bragged about his genuine study of the arts.with camera in hand from early on,he and debbie rode highs that were followed by the worst lows from falling dangerously sick..he only refers to it once as“that long assed illness”, yet nearly died,while debbie sacrificed stardom to bring him back from the brink by devoting herself as a 24/7 nurse…and after the multi million albums sales, they found themselves completely fleeced and penniless, with no safety net to catch them…

however,time is kind to their legacy..the music they made hasn’t dated at all…they’re also one of the few bands who emanated a style that doesn’t look silly 35 years after the other thing i picked up on from this exhibition was how blondie were serious was a big deal for them when they flew over here during the punk era for the first time…especially for their good looking drummer clem burke…it’s funny y’know…the coolest people i know in america are all anglophiles….but can you blame them?, and can you blame us for loving the great american songbook?….if there really is a ‘special relationship’ between the states and europe,it’s surely there in our mutual world of music…both have been selling each others music back and forth to each other for decades… after all…what would the beatles be without little richard or the everly brothers..chris stein will tell you himself how blondie’s ‘heart of glass’ was born out of a love for the bee gees ‘stayin alive’ and the european sound of kraftwerk.22bengal-hartman-slide-9GLB-jumbo

i’ll leave you with a freely downloadable song of my own that was born of my love for chrissie hynde and blondie…so dear reader.. if you’ve got a little time on your hands,you could do worse things than spend a couple of hours in somerset house…rudolph the red nosed reindeer is ringing out down the decorated corridors and around the ice rink,but in one gallery,it’s pure ramones,iggy and blondie…. afterwards you could dander for a while by the river thames, which is easily accessed in through the out door of this charming house….lots of love, pop pickers…mary fairy liquid.  

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letting the guard down for the lens

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there are folk who can finger their way around a camera like it’s second nature to them,but i’m an absolute disaster when it comes to technology, so the plan is always to try make these very limitations work for me as best as possible.

brian eno and david bowie had an interesting strategy for keeping things spunky in a professional recording studio..they’d get their top banana world class musicians to swap instruments in the hope that it would revive a raw urgent feeling if things got a little bit too slick. a perfect example of that is the bowie song ‘boys keep swinging’..the drummer swaps places with the guitarist and so forth. the results sound like high school kids playing at an end of term celebration.

i sometimes think about that when i get round to making videos…it gives me hope that i might get interesting results if i just thrust the camera into the hands of a friend who isn’t familiar with the toy. in the case of this clip i was lucky enough to be hanging out with a very intrepid seventy year old …one day we got high on marijuana fruit juice,then headed towards a wind storm in a quarry…it was hot and dusty…my video camera was foreign to him…his eye sight wasn’t great, but he ripped his way through the dust clouds like a thirty five year old…we were both a mess afterwards…the dust gave us sort throats and eyes for days. that evening we viewed the footage laughing …to a slick pro it may have looked unusable..but in my eyes it felt loose and freeform..and i love that.

the footage then just sat around until the right song got written that might lend a strange sense to the drama … y’know there’s a lovely moment when you slide the right piece of music underneath some video footage for the first time, where it all suddenly comes alive .. it’s a wonder of nature how music can drive an emotional charge into moving pictures.

there’s also something wild about letting the guard down and giving yourself up to a camera lens. you’re never sure what it will reveal about the case of this video all i can see is damage and wilful isolation, in search of resolve.

always…mary of the wilderness .

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as malcolm mclaren once said “paris is jazz…jazz is paris”.

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it still blows me away how there’s a train out of london that goes under the sea,and ends up in the centre of paris a couple of hours leave paris after lunch to be back home in the kitchen by dinner time…..y’know not all of modern life is rubbish…so much is good.

we’re both drawn to the jazz. we’re not buffs by any stretch,so it’s mostly a bit of a guessing game,but in paris, jazz is everywhere,and we took a chance on a young american called james brandon lewis.we missioned towards a tiny little club called ‘le duc des lombards’ where they did punchy cocktails…thomas drank his usual lovely smelling ‘old fashioned’,and i had my heady tequila,then this good-looking fellow hits the stage armed with his saxophone,drummer and double bassist….right then and there i worried…no guitar…no sweetener…it was a racket of a noise…like ornette coleman or something..the drummer didn’t nail down a groove once…it was wild,and i felt anxious that thomas would be bored,but he was the one getting into it.the lesson i learn there was never under rate your partner… when you worry about others tastes or limitations,maybe it’s time to just check your own. the james brandon lewis set was mercifully short,and was followed by a more traditional jazz band with all the sweetener i could wish for,yet it’s that mad james brandon lewis sound that lingers…he’s a good memory…the drummer came down afterwards and talked to me….. a sweet sweet boy from maryland[?!] now living in new york…quizzing him on how he survives there, he tells me playing in conventional cover bands doing weddings and bar mitzvahs helps pay the rent … i asked him if tonights music was influenced by ornette coleman,and i can’t remember if it is or not,but he did say he’d been round to his loft… play pool with him!@£$%

the next day we went to a huge exhibition of art brut…do you know what art brut is?…it’s a term coined for work by extremely creative folk who’ve had a life in mental institutions,or have been pushed to the very edges of society…so there’s very detailed work by souls with aspergers syndrome…schitzophrenia..that sort of thing….a lot of it was a true cry for love,safety and understanding… went on and on and on forever,and just when you thought you couldn’t take anymore,you turn a corner and something else was there ready to blow you away again..we loved it…it knackered us.we were there for a good three hours.

no trip is complete without a roll around the gutter,so a final hoot was a paris gay leather bar. it was quite late, and wasn’t busy except for three hardcore hairy bears who were very into each other…one of them was getting a right flogging by the other two…thomas got bored and left me to watch..he’s seen it all before, and outgrown all that he left for bed…and then everybody left till the only folk there were myself and these three handsome bears going hell for leather….just when i thought it couldn’t get anymore interesting,one pulled a police truncheon out of a bag,and attached a big rubber dildo on to the end of the weapon…he then slathered the customised truncheon in axelgrease before feeding the hungry angel with what he wanted…the cries of ecstasy from him were of the chaps then pulled a condom over his own fanny hammer and attempted to ride his colleague, but he couldn’t get a strong enough didn’t seem to matter,so he went back to his truncheon for a while,and then the passive one made a supreme howl of ecstasy which punctuated the end of the evening …they spent the last half hour winding down, then they left together like one happy little family .IMG_1138 - Version 4

midway back to london on the eurostar a woman appeared to ask if i’d answer some marketing survey questions..she asked why we’d upgraded to economy plus or whatever it’s called, and i said “lower middle class snobbery”..the young chap opposite giggled at my answers to her questions,and he,it turns out works for that fresh fruit juice company called ‘innocent’..i told him i drink that muck everyday and like it a lot.i warmed to that brand of juice five years ago cause it was a small cottage business making a very pure product,but he tells me it’s just now been bought over by…..wait for it…….COCA COLA!@£$%^&

on the very last part of the ride home on the train at finsbury park station,a mother, grandmother, with young kids get on and sit right by us…and i’m like oh no…but hopefully they didn’t pick up on that..still it was real selfish of me….i sat watching this young mother and grandmother deal with these well behaved,yet active gradually dawned on me how tired these ladies looked,yet there was a real joyful bond between them…they were so selfless and kind to these constantly curious kids….the grandmother got off at the same station as us,and it was apparent to anyone within earshot that i didn’t recognise where we were, cause the platform had undergone a refurb,and she chimed in to reassure me i was indeed at the right station…she even selflessly directed us to the new lifts, cause she could see we had heavy suitcases…this was all from a grandmother who was exhausted from taking kids round the zoo and buckingham palace all day……….i will never groan ever again when mothers with young active infants board a train…i live and learn not to be such a tight arse.

paris is becoming familiar now…i do like the parisians.. the woman have a natural poise and elegance..they’re maybe more forthright than the english..they get straight to the point…many who know more may laugh,but i can’t say the food is wonderful…london has seriously upped it’s own game over the last ten years….i had the worst moules mariniere on this trip…but then i also had the worst pasta ever in italy… in rome…right there in vatican city.

more than anything, there’s thomas … his kindness and patience..i wasn’t always the greatest of company…i was having the head staggers before we even left,but he was a pure doll to me and i love him….and hats off to you dear reader..i hope you found this little missive a worthwhile read…mary fairy liquid.

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hey there beautiful…shine for marys camera.

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dressing up

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how much does therapy costs these days? it’s been a long time. thomas bought me a couple of sessions as a birthday gift around eighteen years ago,and it was surely money well spent.the doctor who was very old and wise, got the gist of my ongoing fear of nearly everything,while pressing home three important words..calm…control..confidence. i can’t say i successfully employ those virtues all of the time,but i do strive to,cause i’m prone to blowing my top…if someone experiments with my buttons,i’ll give wiggle room for a while,but if the bollox persists, it’s only a matter of yards before i vomit up lime green bile.i don’t always regret it,but often i do,knowing full well there was a better way to have handled things….calm control confidence.

as a fourteen year old teenager in northern ireland, i had therapy for roughly a year on wednesday afternoons after school….a while before the therapy,i was taken up to a hospital where they checked about my brain. it was a chilling yet painless experience..they laid me on a stretcher, greased and wired little attachments to my head,told me to relax,and when i closed my eyes i saw pretty little patterns,and that was that…my brain was fine i guess,but therapy was afoot.

the trouble started when i’d been caught missing school..i’d manage to hide from it for several months,until the school finally called my mother to ask if all was alright,but no one asked me…they just rattled up the drama into a worse state.

the reason i avoided school was because of the physical education classes. this completely private hell was born from the idea of having to take my clothes off in the smelly changing rooms for hockey or whatever else.the thought of stripping off naked in front of all those awful stinky boys, struck to the very soul of me …this nightmare escalated till it was all i thought about for roughly two miserable years….in the end they got the truth out of me. a permanent pass out of physical education classes was issued,and that was that…..funny how now you’d be hard pressed to find a keener exhibitionist…i’m forever ripping my kit off for anyone who’s standards are low enough to watch. maybe i’ve fetishised my own worst nightmare in order to cope with it.

do you ever watch that absolutely brilliant cartoon on the telly called american dad? me and thomas love it…you know during the theme tune where he jumps out of bed in his y-fronts and sings ‘good morning usa’?…well i jump out of my armchair,pull my trousers down,revealing myself in the exact same white y-fronts as american dad,while singing along with the telly..thomas loves this…it’s a million miles away from the kid who skived off school cause he was afraid of taking his clothes off in front of other cunts for hockey.

those first therapy sessions as a teenager were such a joke…the therapist would just stare at me for ages..i’d say nothing..but i wasn’t being passive aggressive,i just didn’t know how to articulate anything….she’d ask about the bowler hat and cape i often wore,but i didn’t really know why i was wearing these things…i just loved to…she’d see me flouncing around the tiny farming town in my cape and bowler while she was doing her errands…at fourteen this was my chosen attire,and i must have looked a proper fruitcake,yet somehow it kept me sane…

i’m still dressing up..but the plot thickens now i’ve discovered all these other nelly poofs who do it too.i’d really like to go for therapy again,just to find out what it all means,though these days i tend to lap up the funny side of all this…one time out here in the desert i went to a fetish party where everyone was dressed up as leathermen…skinheads and cops…the club had been greedy and packed too many into the venue, so the real police arrived to shut the party down…it was hilariously embarrassing for both sides to watch fake ravishing cops being turned over by reluctantly real really did piss on everyones fish n chips badly………hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

i’ll finish off now..a load of dentists,lawyers,and doctors are riding into the desert tonight posing as hells angels on expensive harleys among real hells angels on harleys…happy weekend to any dear soul who reads this revery .. mary fairy liquid xxxxxxx

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the naturist resort

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watching very old human beings parade around naked in the sunshine is like some sort of cruel primer regarding ones own fate…the thin ones like me,will end up with skin flapping and hanging off where a backside used to be,while fat backsides look much better…more firm and plump,but sometimes with a fat fucker,as my good friend jef observes, their todger looks like its been sucked up into the big enormous belly,so all you can see is the nut sack and a little button of a bell-end……hahahahahahahahahaha.

forgive me

mary fairy liquid

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a midsummers night on the kings rd.

ssa7 one day in the middle of june or roundabouts i clocked a thing going on down the kings road in chelsea…there’s a chap called morgan howell who does these gorgeous big blow ups of old 45 rpm pop singles…he’s very exacting…gets all the crinkles into the paper sleeves,and they are pure eye candy…i see the bbc has now decorated it’s radio studios with these fun pieces of art……and so i figured i’d head to this gallery where they were giving a bit of a splash. when i got there i found much to my surprise there was more going on than these blow ups of pop singles…they had a hifi shop come along with a gramophone turntable that cost as much as a rolls royce,where they played a new mono pressing of the beatles ‘a hard days night’….now this was an odd thing in itself…imagine this….about three rows of mostly males sitting ever so still while someone made it clear that we were listening to one of the worlds great hifi systems…he then proceeds to play not just one track off ‘a hard days night’  but the whole buggery album..side a and side b,while all these mojo magazine type males sat bolt upright listening to music that was designed for young girls and boys to scream and dance mindlessly to fifty years ago. the whole experience was curiously funny and with beards stroking their chins,and sure,the perfect mono pressing of this beatles record did sound fantastic…i don’t think i’ve ever heard mono in such high quality before,it was lovely on the ear…pure and simple…no exhausting modern production fireworks…just a well healed band playing live to tape.
so there we are in this airless basement on the kings road…three rows of beard strokers listening earnestly to a full album of music that was created for the young dumb and full of cum. to heighten the irony of the situation, is the sad absence of anything remotely rock and roll on the kings road today…not one record shop…..even the punk rockers have gone….it’s hard to imagine dandified hippies ever having set foot on that street now..the chelsea drug store that mick jagger sang of, is now a macdonalds. it’s just not the same place it once was…so i sat there feeling like i’d arrived at a party that ended decades ago…very very strange.

10516705_761586507218458_4108104317037057538_nthe next surprise was a high profile journalist/radio presenter interviewing the mother of all beatles biographers….this man hunts out accurate details of jean paul george and gringo’s lives like no other..his life seems to have been devoted to writing mostly about the seems to have paid him well..his books are the chosen benchmark i’m told….and i’m enjoying this man telling us things like how coincidently all four beatles fathers escaped military service,and had their fathers not done so,those mop topped boys wouldn’t have been free to chase dreams and bugger off to places like hamburg in 1961…this is all fine,but then he turned me off… he explained how in the midst of writing these beatle books his relationship had soured with paul…he then went on to say he wishes paul would stop singing….right there and then i decided i didn’t like this man anymore…how bloody dare he?!…sure i understand that pauls voice isn’t the supple power house it once was,but firstly,if paul wants to sing,then why the fun shouldn’t he…no one’s forcing anyone to listen..but what shocked me,was as a consummate biographer,that he wasn’t curious or interested in how pauls singing would play out on his way to the grave….

i’ve been thinking about this a lot lately….the way singing voices change throughout a lifetime…i love how leonard cohen’s negotiated his singing style…i’m glad he kept on singing for us to hear that…then there’s robert plant,who’s been very smart..he doesn’t yell and scream like he used to…he preserves his voice by not selling out to led zeppelin re-union tours, and  as a result makes sweeter music that suits him at his time in life…he’s looking after his voice..marianne faithful became a very interesting singer when her voice buckled..truly awful sometimes,but so full of character on her record ‘broken english’…and then there’s paul,who just seems to love performing’s not great all the time,but fuck me,it’s still better than most. the thing is…when a voice looses it’s supple tone or range,it’s often replaced with something else..a pathos…a sadness…the mortality edging in…for me that can be so riveting to listen to.the sound of a human voice over his or hers own peak…the roll down the hill..the fading and weakening.. y’know there’s a great song on the latest paul mccartney album,where they recorded him without him really knowing..his voice sounds craggy,and all the more convincing for it…he is very old after all…but there he is…singing his truth,while some biographer would rather he’d stop.  here’s a video..this biographer was vain and smart enough to ruminate on weather the song was written about him…and maybe it was…millions of hims and jim jims who have great authority on someone else’s life that is not their own. here’s the song.  so this nostalgia based evening wasn’t quite over until some old music business executive told us how different things were back in the day…he must have been blind,cause most of us were almost as old as he was….but i was curious about him…never did catch his name…but he had that wonderful combination of a posh talking voice offset with a slight rock n roll lilt to his delivery…like say chris blackwell who ran island records..or marianne faithful… so the evening is now coming to a close. i walk outside where the old music executive is standing on the kerb of the kings road smokin a fag in the balmy london evening…i thought …that looks cool…he looked so relaxed and formidable…tall,and like he owns the very street we’re standing on…he began to wonder away from the gallery,and it looked like poetry to me..this old a suit…nose in the air…smokin his fag..walking away and fully aware of what a glorious evening it is…not dark yet… wouldn’t you know it, i start following him…i was just curious…i wanted to know where he was going…i figured he probably lived in chelsea, and i wanted to see what type of house he lived in….hahahahahaha…so it was fun following this bleeder..he went down all the little backroads to the side of the kings road…little streets i’d never seen before that are lovely…tiny cute little houses in lovely pastel colours ,with opened up interiors….it’s funny how some very rich folk who live in places like chelsea ,but deck the situation out to look and feel like a village on their street….it takes millions to maintain that rustic look in heart of the city.

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