excerpt from book about The Membranes

MAD

BEAUTIFUL

FOOLS 

 

 

INTRO 1

 

“These people are scum,” whined the dwarf in the filth encrusted Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts ‘T’ Shirt as the white heat noise maelstrom exploded out of the creaking rattling speakers, “I’m off to find the plug, that will sort them out.”

   The Membranes glorious sonic cruise thundered on, surfing on the intensCarbohydrate Of Lovenking up the pure beautiful sound; A holy spectral cursing thing, surfing on a searing life affirming rush.

   A shower of ripped paper, some of it on fire, shot up from the sweat soaked front  row thrashers. There was a determined craziness in the room.

  Bits of paint and plaster fell off the seedy ceiling and the drinkers downstairs looked terrified as lumps of the roof fell onto their tables. All of a sudden a demented blurred shape in a home made painted leather spun out of control, brushed aside the Japanese film crew and lifted up a rusting metal crowbar from the percussion’ set and started pounding the floor wack! wack! wack!, with the rumbling backbeat.

   The rest of the crazies shifted a gear. Fat Mark was in the room. It was going to be a long and wild night.

   This was special danger- The Death To Trad Rock Squad had arrived and no one was taking any prisoners.
INTRO 2

 

A mixture of Maloney boots, home hewn hair, paint spattered togs, lust for lifestyle tips and mealy mouthed quips. A rolling blunder review, a well-worn blur of a thousand records, a blur of fast moving nights out. A twenty- four hour, music boho- zone lifestyle; nothing is scared but everything is brilliant- seeking a certain out-there-ness.

   Alive.

 

February 27th 

m way fever 

   Tearing up the asphalt somewhere deep in the night, burning rubber on the M6 the rain spattered main Brit. artery that nails London and the norf together. Feet pumped up high and pushing against the windscreen I’m talking ten to the dozen buzzing off a huge adrenaline rush keeping the driver awake and spouting shit.

 “…this is the only way, faster louder harder, we’ve got top keep cranking it up it feels right,…it’s the only sound that we understand….can we get these amps to play any louder, can we get any more energy from anywhere, we’ve got to burn burn burn…you know the usual stuff…”

   And so it goes into the night, the sweat shod van windows and the stinking occupants collapsed asleep in the back. the pumpkin moon slips out form the almost permanent clouds and we wind down into keels services.

“I love these services, they look great…the way they are so bleak, the way that there is no one here at this time of night, they are so spooky they are like space stations,…look at these people whoa re they…they can’t all be in bands…” gibbber gibber gibber. It’s five hours into the long haul back from Brighton. The art school wimps in the seaside town had been shredded by the music machine and the quick raid was over, there was enough clear profit to pay for the European tour the hand to mouth existence had its latest instalment and the night was slowly melting into dawn.

“You know we could sneak out every night and play somewhere miles away. it’s like being guerrilla unit,” loks up sees Coofy fast asleep under his mouldy brown quilt beer dribbling out of his mouth, smirks and adds, “ or a gorilla unit, ha! ha! ha!…”

 

MARCH 1st:  

QUEENSTON ROAD: LIFE WITH THE LIONS- AT HOME WITH THE R’n’R UNIT…

 

There’s paint everywhere. Pots of paint, poster paint, mangled brushes,  spray cans of car paint, turps jars, cloudy water jars… all heaped up everywhere, a topsy turvey art junkyard. Stencils cut from the ripped up lino from the back kitchen floor are cut into weird pumpkin shapes and are sprawled all over the sitting room floor.

 A puppy, an excitable young collie dog rummages through the artwork looking for food.Not noticing the clouds of smoke and singed smell until he was roughly pulled away, his furry black arse is burnt into the shape of the gas fire rings where he’d been leaning an hour before.

Practise sprays of the stencil stain the concrete floor by the side door of the house before zooming up on the wall, up the drainpipe and over the ground floor windows, and then over guitar cases, on the back of an old ‘T’ shirt and on the trousers of a comotose, fat sloth singer of a fellow underground unit who collapsed asleep on the settee a few weeks ago and has hardly stirred since.

A multi- fucking- colour  spray out. Cans are littered everywhere, the air is thick with fumes, the weak rays of early March sun are suspended in the chemical haze, the backdoor is creaked open and a few figures are sat on a surprisingly warm early March afternoon. The talk is low volume, the tape recorder is cranked hard, a mixture of rehearsal tapes, garbled punk rock and a mish- mash of thirty years crazed and dangerous music is busting out of the wired up speakers- distorting and crashing out down the street.

 

    A  mashed up cassette, with its innards pulled out, is stretched from the door to the hedge opposite- flutters in the breeze, plastic toys peer out of the back widow and from the trees, their dead eyes chewing up the bizarre scenery. Props left over from a video shoot for Yank cvranked guitar popstrers, Dinosaur Jnr. stand awkwardly in the centre of the manky lawn. A six foot plastic yellow fisherman stares his face an education, a weather beatebn plastic snarl and a totem pole sags slightly under its own weight.

 The garden, which prompted a former  owner to burst into tears the year before, is a sprawl of plants allowed to grow wild, amok in a crazed suburb- busting anarchy. Wild plant seeds thrown into the ground a couple of years back had taken root, the rockery had been moved and a garden pond is going mouldy in the far corner- battling for oxygen from beneath the leaf sludge mould. There are several battered, painted up TV’s- their electrical innards pulled out and slogans sprayed over their screens. There is a shed with ‘Stockport Uber Alles’ sprayed on by a chemical fried poet in the late hours of last summer, and an explosion of honey suckle on the back door.

  Just before everything gets too rural, a heap of guitars give the rock’n’roll game away. There is some serious spraying going on. The Membranes are between dates, they have been playing up and down Britain for most of the year and are taking stock before a world tour will take them right through to the autumn.  some of the band are here sprawled around the house and the rest are coming by bus and foot, the clans are gathering. Plans are to be made, there’s a world to deafen, the pop monster is gettin’ mighty hungry.

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