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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chewi Jewi

August 25- We decided to pause for a quick drink while going about the tiring work of prepping for our departure from London to Reading this afternoon. In the midst of all our rushing around, rushing around, rushing aroooooouuuund, I absent-mindedly left the knapsack holding the very computer on which I am typing this diary entry in the lobby of the hotel. Because of my hurried packing, the charger cord was sticking out of a side pocket. Within a matter of seconds, a bellhop came bursting into the bar with a pained expression on his face.

“The knapsack in the lobby, it’s yours isn’t it?” he asked. “Isn’t it?”

I immediately claimed the unattended parcel, and the man let out a deep sigh of relief. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a bigger world out there in all the hustle and bustle of trying to get from one place to another in a timely fashion, and when one is ultimately reminded, he feels like an asshole. On the plus side—if there is a plus side—nowadays Londoners aren’t so quick to lift your bag if you leave it alone for a second.

The shows at White Heat at Madame JoJo’s and the 100 Club in London were phenomenal. JoJo’s is normally a strip-joint, and the backstage area is lined with computer printouts listing the call-times for pole dancing acts and the songs the ladies dance to. From what we could tell, most of the strippers have surprisingly good taste in music. There was Bambi dancing to “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin, Trixi with “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” by the Kinks, and Prissi performing to “A Quick One While He’s Away” by the Who. (All names ending in ‘i’! Are they playing to the stereotypes, or is it a happy accident?) Strip clubs usually make me extraordinarily uncomfortable—How would my mother feel? What would my wife think?—but with music like that, I think I could dig it. In fact, I think I would like to be a stripper myself, with the Blood Arm as my backing band. Chewi Jewi, that’s what they’d call me.

The White Heat club itself was even crazier than it’s locale. Most venues in London aren’t allowed to sell alcohol past eleven o’clock or so. White Heat, however, had somehow obtained a license to serve liquor until three in the morning. So everyone in the club started drinking as though they’d be forced to stop before midnight, and treated every hour after that as a gift from the beer gods. It was a madhouse. By the time I began my MC duties, everyone in the club was beyond thoroughly sloshed. Kids were wrestling, making-out, and bumbling into one another—the perfect environment for a TBA set. I’m guessing that through the cloud of their hangovers, all the attendees still remembered what turned out to be a very special performance the day after, with fuzzy visions floating about inside their heads of Nathaniel contorting himself around a pole.

If White Heat was intense, then the show at the legendary 100 Club took it to another level. As if possessed by the ghosts of Elton John, Johnny Rotten, and Mick Jagger (our favorite deceased performers to have graced that great stage), the band stirred the crowd to a rabid frenzy. At one point, Nathaniel stole a bottle of Tabasco sauce from behind the bar and emptied it into the eager mouths of gawking audience members, spicing up their evenings even more. Zachary somehow obtained a large bruise on his left cheek, presumably a result of the singer’s shenanigans. As his refreshingly good looks are a welcome bright spot after painfully early wake-up calls, I ordered an official letter of complaint through the Blood Arm management begging for the stop of Nathaniel’s nightly abuse of Zach. We’ll see if it’s heeded.

Tomorrow is Reading, see you there!

-Ben Lee


Anonymous Anonymous said...

whats up with the festivities after the (finally) LA show?

2:40 PM  

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