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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Zachary Dreams; Massive Tour Update

Of what does Zachary dream whilst asleep?

Does he dream of a life in the country? A puritanical, pastoral existence where one’s day-to-day hardships relegate the more trivial worries of what to wear, how much to drink, and on whose lap to sit to the back of one’s consciousness? Does he dream of shearing sheep and milking cows?

Or does he dream of himself as a lowly chimney sweep, killing time on the rooftops of London, wishing for some sort of messiah, some sort of magical woman with a magical umbrella to float down, pick him up, and fly him away?

Or are his dreams merely a ruffled, velvet stage curtain that lifts every morning to his waking life... because really, isn’t he living the dream right now? Sex and drugs and rock and roll, what more does one want? (Blood Arm mothers, please read: The “sex and drugs” part of that sentence is merely idiomatic, and in no way truthful.)

Yours in lust,

Ben Lee

Oh! Here is a quick rundown of our last week in the UK:

September 20, Leeds
-We re-fall in love with the Panic! Club at the Cockpit, at which the stage is rushed, Zebastian is sexually assaulted, and Georgia and Sarah from the Research laugh the whole while through.

September 21, London
-Chalkie introduces us to a roadside American diner, which seems a little stuck on the losing side of our homeland’s civil war.
-We make a pit-stop for a Tiscali session on a Soho rooftop, then go bowling at Bloomsbury lanes. Also, play a show there. We finally discover the real meaning of “friends with benefits.” (Hint: It has a little to do with money, and a lot to do with corn oil.)

September 22, Nottingham
-The Social, already one of our favorite venues, improves its standing in our eyes even further. Nathaniel punches me in the penis. Joel, Sarah, and Ben of the High Society and Dan, bar manager at the Social, teach Zebastian and I what it really means to drink.

Seprtember 23, Sheffield
-Sheffield Sex City lives up to its reputation, and the Plug is perhaps the nicest club we’ve ever been to, let alone performed at. Our dear friends Crazy Pete and Toni drive out from Liverpool, Laura and Alan travel from Manchester to make the evening extra intoxicating. The evening is extra intoxicating.

September 24, Newcastle
-While the band sleeps on our day off, I go to strip clubs with our more successful, yet equally morally bankrupt friends from Maximo Park. Actually, just Lukas. Becky (of the fabulous Pipettes) and Paul escape with clean hands.

September 25, Newcastle
-Our last show of the tour is properly alcohol soaked, and the Dirty Pretty Things play a secret set. Headlining next door: the Ladyboys of Thailand. Real ladyboys, not fake ones. Luckily, our show is better promoted, and the masses remain on our half of the block.

September 26, London
-We re-befriend BBC DJ Zane Lowe over a Radio 1 conversation. Later, Dyan and Nathaniel lead the patrons of the Pelican in raucous, piano and vocal-only renditions of the entirety of the upcoming album Lie Lover Lie. Dan from Supersweet introduces Zach and I to some mind-expanding Welsh effluvium (which is ironically pleasant), and we drink till the band leaves in the morning. I stay behind to visit my foreign children.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nathaniel Escalates His War Against Unwrinkled Clothing

Ironing boards? Nathaniel hates ironing boards! Video courtesy of Chris Svensson.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tour Intimacy Theorem; Liverpool; Glasgow; Pictures

A theorem I’ve been exploring of late: As the amount of time one spends on the road increases upwards toward infinity, the amount of time it takes to feel incredibly close to someone decreases to almost nothing.

Before the Blood Arm existed, I was a sober scholar who spent most of his waking life buried in the library. It would take a great deal of shared experience, deep conversation, and common interests for me to consider someone a ‘good friend.’ Over my lifetime through University, I managed to accumulate perhaps six or seven of these relationships. I wouldn’t have minded more, it’s just that it took a lot effort, and it was difficult to meet persons with whom I was compatible.

Then we started touring.

Perhaps it’s the excess of alcohol, maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but the intensity of the friendships formed in the six hours one spends in a venue and the additional party time tacked-on at the end is almost blinding. Guarding oneself doesn’t seem to be an option, as these bonds are all about bald-faced, fuck-all, I’m-going-to-tell-you-the-truth-so-deal-with-it honesty.

Take Glasgow for example. We spent much of our most recent night in the city drunkenly blabbing with a gaggle of eighteen year-old girls whose faces I only vaguely remember now. And yet they know all about my ex-girlfriend, my intense hatred or certain people, and the testosterone injections I was forced to endure to induce puberty (shhhhhhhhhh). And I know equally painful truths about them. I love those girls. For the eight-odd hours we spent together, they were my best friends in the entire world. It remains to be seen whether we will ever meet again, but if we do, I assume our relationship will pick up right where it left off, though hopefully it will end in nudity and soul kissing then. That’s sort of how it goes on the road, except with more farting and fat jokes.

Liverpool and Glasgow were just as fun as we remembered them being, which is a lot. The show in Liverpool was at the Korova, which we love, if only because it allowed us to meet the fabulous Steve Revo and Crazy Pete of Stealer. (That is not the only reason we love the Ladytron-owned venue/restaurant/café/pub. The food is wonderful, and they have free wireless Internet access as well. And the people! Oh my!)

Glasgow afforded the band an opportunity record an acoustic set at Xfm Scotland with the lovely Stuart, and to hear ‘Suspicious Character’ played on BBC Radio 1, which, for all the Los Angeleans reading this, is kind of like the 102.7 KIIS fm of the United Kingdom. So we were a little excited. The show at the Barfly was epic. We fell in love all over again with the inimitable Flying Matchstick Men, and fell in love with the band Parka for the first time. Then there we partied perhaps a little too much with the boys and girl of FMM, and now we’re in the van driving to Leeds.

Stayed tuned for more party action...

-Ben Lee Handler

Oh! Here are some pictures. The Nathaniel sitting-down-and-performing shots from the Korova and the Barfly are not rarities; the practice has become tradition. It’s fun and easy: When the singer asks you to sit down, you sit down. You can even practice at home before the show if there’s any trepidation.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Pre-Tour Party Ejaculations

I'm told London is supposed to be foggy and rainy, but it seems that every time we've been here it's sunny and pleasant. Either global warming is real, or everyone I know is a liar. (My guess: it's the latter.) Regardless, the sublime weather enabled us to go on a 48 hour drinking binge with our dear friends Chris, Kristina, Dania, Michael, Cat, and a few 18 year-old whose names I can't recall. The debauchery was so immense that it covered half the city, two hotel rooms, a game of frisbee on Primrose Hill, three apartments, and more pubs than one can even attempt to count. Between the six of us (Chalkie included), we took a 5,067,982 collective days off of our lives. (It remains to be seen whether or not Chalkie actually survived the weekend.) We had fun, basically.

Pictures coming as soon as the beautiful Chris Svensson emails them to me!

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

London Panopticon

Now I am in London, reunited with the loves of my life.

We have a few days off before the UK tour officially begins, so Zebastian, Dyan, Superstar Tour Manager Chalkie and I decided to check out the London Eye. The London Eye is a giant ferris wheel overlooking the Thames river, which enables its passengers to see into the homes of pretty much everyone in the city. Over the thirty-five minute rotation, we were able to spy George Michael strolling in the park, Damon Albarn eating a panini he found in the garbage, and the Queen bathing with a litter of puppies. (Zebastian insists that this prolongs life indefinitely, the bathing with puppies. Chalkie says he is full of shit. Dyan and I were just happy to witness some royal nudity.) Anyway, the London Eye was fun, and I recommend a spin to anyone with thirty-five minutes and 13.50 GBP to spare.

Before they arrived in London, while I was at home being tortured by the sinister forces that were anchoring me there, the band had a four-day promotional tour of Paris. I'm told it was amazing--the food was delicious, the champagne was ever-flowing, and the women and men greeted one another with genuine French kisses--and I will be forever jealous. Perhaps Dyan can be persuaded to write a synopsis of their visit, but me, I never want to hear about it ever again.


Ben Lee

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Thursday, September 14, 2006


Heading out now to meet up with the band... Now that all conflicts of interest keeping me from my duties as Master of Ceremonies have been singled-out and killed, I will be able to keep you up-to-date on all things TBA for the entirety of the UK tour and beyond.

The long-overdue winning captions from the contest are coming shortly (provided my plane doesn't crash)

I love you!

Ben Lee Handler

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


SThis message is relayed to you in Secret Code due to the highly-sensitive nature of the subject matter:

The Armblay will be performing a Upersay Secret etsay TONIGHT (6 September) at Acelandsplay at ten pm sharp!

(This is to celebrate the opening of Club NME in Los Angeles, and the presence of our dear friends the Grates.)

Don't tell anyone!

And apologies to everyone--especially Dan from SuperSweet--for the delay in posting the top entries in the caption contest... there are quite a few to sort through, and I've been drinking a lot lately.

Winners will be notified shortly!

I love you!

Ben Lee Handler

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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Blood Arm is Very Popular in the UK

Here is a quickie, as it is the Labor Day holiday in the USA today, and anything remotely resembling work is punishable by death. (If the FBI is reading this right now, trust that I am enjoying mountains of bar-b-que as I type.)

-'Suspicious Character' is #7 this week on the NME chart show on MTV2 in the UK. Help it to #1 by requesting it here.

-Zane Lowe has declared 'Suspicious Character' "Single of the Week." (There should be some proof of this here, though where exactly on the site one can't be sure.) We're honored!

-Caption contest winners will be posted tomorrow, so sit tight!

Below is a video of Zachary and myself performing Primal Scream's 'Country Girl' to keep you company while you are sitting tightly.

I love you.

-Ben Lee