Angus MacDonald (angus) Thu 15 Sep 11 19:15
What was in the Soviet ships? Were they buying coal?
Angus MacDonald (angus) Thu 15 Sep 11 19:21
Also, how did you happen to write the dolphin/whale story? It seems kind of like an animal fable, but those aren't usually in the first person.
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Fri 16 Sep 11 01:55
I don't know for sure what was on those ships but Newport is where the coal went out and the Iron Ore went in. When I was kid I heard stories about the banana boats and friends Dads finding tarantulas... Day oh! The short story about the Whale and the Dolphin is a re-telling of Moby Dick from the perspective of the whale - It was an idea for a vast musical theater production featuring me and the choir, the Sadies and the Good Brothers that was dead in the water before we'd finished our pints.... Off on a plane to New Orleans for the Ponderosa Stomp right now (thanks Dr. Ike). Will try to keep checking in through the day but don't count on any coherence...
X (joeyx) Fri 16 Sep 11 06:06
Have fun in New Orleans, Jon. Thanks for checking in!
Ari Davidow (ari) Fri 16 Sep 11 07:57
Listening to the music/reading the book is such a treat. The choir is there at the right points--they aren't turning this into choral music (which might be grand, but would be a different production). I love the interleaving of photos and writing about Pill and other places in Wales, mixed with the gorgeous murals(? or smaller paintings) illustrating/embodying the song lyrics, and your own stories. It does seem, as someone already remarked, like a love letter to the place in which you grew up, but one with tendrils to the imagination and your own life that give the whole a context that a "mere" "Now let us praise famous men" would not accomplish.
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Fri 16 Sep 11 23:37
I am in New Orleans and shattered after a long day of PONDEROSA STOMP - when you've had a chat about Tom Jones with Lazy Lester in the men's room there's not that much left to live for. Drove round down by port today and realized that despite the weather and the bright colors New Orleans and Newport have a similar feel... red brick warehouses, concrete with weeds busting through, forgotten stuff It's a tough love letter.
Ed Ward (captward) Sat 17 Sep 11 01:06
Did you perform there, or did you just get flown down as a guest? I keep hoping they'll put me on a panel there, but it never happens. I also gather Newport's never had a hurricane or other natural disaster on the level of Katrina...
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Sat 17 Sep 11 05:21
I did the artwork for this year's poster so I went down to sign a big pile of them. Had a strange humbling moment when a sharpie wielding Eddie Floyd asked me to sign his copy! There's much discussion about whether New Orleans was the victim of a natural or man-made disaster (see Harry Shearer's excellent THE BIG UNEASY) and South Wales has suffered much at the hand of neglect and disdain from Westminster. In 1975 there was an earthquake in Newport that emptied all the pubs but many just assumed it was an IRA bomb.
My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Sat 17 Sep 11 06:56
I hadn't thought of the connection between New Orleans and South Wales before, but that's spot on--they are both the sites of colossal, man-made disasters. Although Katrina was a hurricane and was going to cause damage as a natural event regardless, the main damage and deaths from Katrina were caused by the failure of the levees, along 9th ward and elsewhere. The fact that the levees had problems and needed work was known by the US army corp of engineers for years before katrina struck. I think a lot of the conspiracy discussion about the levees being blown up misses the point--if they are broken and you knowingly neglect them for years, it is just a matter of time, hurricanes come along the coast--that sort of knowing neglect is just as good as blowing them up, imo. This sets me off--but Katrina was a man made catastrophe--and disentangling all the threads will take you through some of the crap that is at the very core of this country.
My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Sat 17 Sep 11 07:01
ok, enough of that, i wanted to post 2 more clips of songs off of SOR. Youghal <http://youtu.be/wboyldSxvrg> Trapdoor <http://youtu.be/rnAmTm4DJTQ>
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Sat 17 Sep 11 21:16
Just played a street fest with the Waco Brothers - it's been a long day. Anyone who hasn't seen The Big Uneasy should see it.
My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Sun 18 Sep 11 13:48
Was your first interest in art? What prompted you to start drawing and painting? What artists interested you when you started? Did you ever go through a phase drawing and painting comic books?
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 16:27
Hey Jon, what makes doing Skull Orchard (and SO Revisited) different from a Mekons (or Wacos) album? Also, are you still doing Great Pop Things, or is that back burnered for now?
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 16:28
I should have said, "What made doing Skull Orchard..."
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Sun 18 Sep 11 19:44
Oh, I feel like I'm still definitely doing Skull Orchard... it is not put to bed yet The original album was my first solo record and it happens almost accidentally quite late (it seemed at the time)in my sorry career. I was living in Chicago and writing songs that just didn't fit into the Mekons' peculiar writing process and weren't fast (or American) enough for the Waco Brothers. They just piled up and I didn't know what to do with them but after a while I recognized some sort of thematic unity which seemed to point back at Newport. They are mostly songs I wrote on my own which was unusual for me and basically just a response to arriving in Chicago. Great Pop Things was an amazing thing to do for 10 years but it's really hard to do a weekly comic strip and have much else going on in your life. It is on the back burner charring up storm. My favorite thing about doing it was getting these grubby little envelopes through the mailbox from by mate Carlton B. Morgan in Wales and reading his hilarious stream of consciousness tirades. I always knew I was pretty good at drawing and really good at copying. I used to draw from life a lot, people's faces mostly and copy photographs, usually of Newport County soccer players and later sub-Dali style eyeball head dudes in bleak martian landscapes. I remember liking the surrealists a lot but that was the time when every bugger had a soft watch or an Escher on their wall. I wasn't that into comics but I loved the covers on my brother Dave's SF books and spent a lot of time drawing spaceships. His bedroom was like a weird public library dedicated to Asimov, Bester, Heinlein and Dick.
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:25
Never underestimate the power of a sibling with a well stocked bookshelf or record collection! sSince you mentioned it, what is the Mekons writing process vs. well, non-Mekons writing? And related to the spaceships, did Dave turn you on to Dan Dare, the Pilot of the Future, and arch-enemy of the Mekon?
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:33
...as well as Mekon song title?
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:36
Also, Tom Jones shows up a fair amount in you talking about Wales. Have you actually had any contact with your fellow countryman? Perparhaps an underwear throwing incident you'd like to come clean about? How about John Cale? I know I'm operating on the assumption that all Welsh musicians hang out and know each other.
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:38
here's a good video that's buries on the tinterweb... http://a.blip.tv/scripts/flash/stratos.swf?file=http%3A%2F%2Fblip.tv%2Frss%2Ff lash%2F1282126&showplayerpath=http%3A%2F%2Fa.blip.tv%2Fscripts%2Fflash%2Fstrat os.swf&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fangus.blip.tv%2Frss%2Fflash&brandname=blip.tv&bran dlink=http%3A%2F%2Fblip.tv%2F%3Futm_source%3Dbrandlink&enablejs=true&referrer= http%253A%252F%252Fwww.facebook.com%252Fl.php%253Fu%253Dhttp%25253A%25252F%252 52Fblip.tv%25252Fplay%25252FAc6hMgI%2526h%253DSAQAraz-QAQBkca8dMVZ2-x5vnK6U_5W 5ouEu4ccBMqLy8A&source=1
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:41
Here's a tinyurl of that: http://tinyurl.com/3bc5ogk
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:42
Good to see Tony on bass!
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:43
Ah, that video is super fun and sounding great!
X (joeyx) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:49
Okay, this is weird. The video you posted was put up by my pal Angus, and in looking at his other videos, I see he has a file up of me, and some friends, racing couches mounted on wheels down a hill at a 24-hour Tom Waits party I helped host. http://blip.tv/angus/couch-toboggans-145505 Odd, small digital world.
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:54
Lu Edmonds describes the Mekons writing process as: "nobody's allowed to have an idea" - We have a rule that we don't bring much to the table. It's not really enforced and there are blind eyes and loopholes galore, but I wouldn't ever write a whole song and bring it along... Some people generate a lot of material, other work in quality control and brutal editing You can't overestimate the sheer manly mightiness of Tom Jones in South Wales. He is of course a national hero, a beer drinker and a sexy man. My grandmother liked me to get up on a chair at Xmas and sing the savage murder ballad Delilah. Green Green Grass Oh Home is virtually the Welsh national anthem. When I met Lazy lester the other night he asked me if I knew Tom Jones. I don't. Shirley Bassey neither! BUT yes I did meet John Cale once in Austin (at a benefit show I was playing for Alejandro Escovedo) and despite all the warnings I'd received about him he was actually quite lovely. I know his cousins in Newport quite well and I think that saved me. His recording from the early 70s Paris 1919 and Vintage Violence are huge influences on the S.O.R. record. I can't remember how I discovered the Eagle and Dan Dare but my brother Dave did take me to see 2001 when it came out in 1968 and blew my 10 year old mind maaan The band was originally named Dan Dare & The Mekons and at the first gig they were pushed onto the stage on a sofa with the word SPACESHIP written on the side. I wasn't actually at the first Mekons gig being far too busy going to the beach in Wales.
Jon Langford (jon-langford) Sun 18 Sep 11 20:55
I enjoy the tinier size of that url
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