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 Everett True

Back when I could still write… (a love letter to Jon Slade, pt 5)

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The Donnas

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

 

BY THE JOURNALIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS EVERETT TRUE (formerly printed in Tangents and possibly Hit It Or Quit It!)

3/12/97

jon.
fuck work.
fuck brighton. fuck everything but fucking.
last night, i watched darren and li’l helen get drunker than two red skunks at night. comet gain waissailed so sweet and sour on stage, rachel giving a rant against wiiija and the armani underwear clutching ragbags in the balcony at the la2 (there weren’t any) and it reminded me of something that wah! or the legend! or anyone else with an exclamation mark at the end of their name would’ve done. even dan! treacy. we danced, oh how we danced – and then that boy from the make- up came on stage and gibbered like a monkey and completely spoiled the mood. sore hand, chapped lips, hair brusquely stroked. gain’s last two songs were like tvpersonalities, and how i wanted to leap on stage athletically past all the security holding the maddening crowd back, but no! i didn’t. i wanted to sing a song i wrote years ago with calvin, that i only performed twice, once when it was all snow and happiness and faded innocence in olympia – oh herculean olympia! – it was called ‘some people are happy all of the time (but i’m not like that)’, ripped off the go-betweens as usual. lung leg sucked. funny how it’s taken me so long to work that out. god, how i hated them.
fuck work.
am listening to mc lyte, because her name is self-descriptive.
i asked david to guess which book was in my pocket – and he did. all i told him was the colour of the cover (pink), the thickness of the volume (slim) and the fact i once compared him to a reject slip from one of this author’s novels. you work it out.
helen was telling me all my misconceptions about her: misconception number four – that i think if i don’t speak to her for six months, she will build a little shrine to me in her bedroom.
fuck brighton. i wanna sleep, but no. i have to fucking bump into fucking placebo in some fucking bar somefuckingwhere off charing cross road, and drink more whiskey and vodka in an hour than my mother. amusing, but pretentious. they told me that big daddy was dead and i cried. they also said he was 74 – and THAT WAS A LIE! motherfuckers.
nice filofax on my desk. smells of leather and the music industry. how i fucking love the smell of the music industry.
fuck.
comet gain are the fucking best band.
period.

5/12/97
last night, we got thrown out a club by a man with a stud through his nose. he say, we don’t like your sort in here. you are everett true, aren’t you? i accepted the five bob note with glee. and said, maybe – well, that was the past, but if you want to hold me responsible, then hell i’m guilty. guilty as shit. there was a brief moment of merriment when the same chap turned out to be one of my companions’ drug-suppliers – ‘yes, i’m throwing you out, but be sure to still buy drugs from me, you hear?’. we didn’t cry, tho. it was one of those clubs people only go to if they’re desperate. rob from 14 iced bears was standing at the door.
earlier i relived my past (yes! i’m guilty!), pogoing to superchunk at the garage, next to the kindly, greying christ of ellinghaus who fed me maker’s mark. i wasn’t planning on going there – i was on my way to brighton – but another figure from ancient history (yes! i’m guilty!) offered me a spacious lift from the west end.
there (yes! i’m guilty!) i had been watching mark eitzel wallow in misery and misogyny in front of a crowd of sympathetic nice people. god i hated him.it was like everything music shouldn’t be – totally formulaic and trivialising, totally dishonest. i couldn’t help but think of chick graning (scarce) the night before being forced to whistle the middle part of ‘jealous guy’ (yes! i’m guilty!) by debbie smith and her outta jolt looking like debbie harry (smoooch!) and forgetting the words to ‘days like this’. there’s fucking honesty and a voice to rub sandpaper to. i would love to meet ya both in nyc. we’re gonna be there jan 25 with nowhere to stay except a park bench in gramercy park, assuming we can clamber the railings and it is snowing.
jack. jack’s the lad. is that george’s jack? or is it jack the tab. earlier, i was in this office bareback. i can do that cos no one fucking cares about me no more. i gotta go and be corporate now. jesus.

10/12/97
Jon man, where the fuck are you? i am suffering. last night in amsterdam i partook of more class a type drugs than should be possible for a grifter my size and ended up walking through teeming rain along dawn-splattered streets, searching for the final shot after the previous 100 or so. fucking half-an-hour sleep and now i have to pretend to be important. fuck.
tindersticks last night, man – and you’d have roared. ‘we sing sweet and low and sonorous/we’re the tindersticks/fuck off you clapping bastards/cos we’re the tindersticks’ – that’s how it goes. not that i saw too much. they’ve sacked the string section, my terry edwards too – and i’m fucked if i can work out if i liked ‘em. still, afterwards i went round telling everyone how wonderful they are, cos i’m lowlife scum with no fucking integrity. puressence made me sob and stammer, james’ cherubic voice gothic and fuck-you wistful. is there ever gonna be a band i enjoy who don’t remind me of kurt fucking cobain. jesus.
where did we leave off? not you, you BASTARD cos you don’t even fucking acknowledge my presence (and who can fucking blame you, being so american and cool and ENJOYING yourself), but me… ah yes. kaisers, man. from edinburgh. down the free butt. sixties revivalists – some would call e’m a tribute band, but because this is indie and hip no one does – who replicate the beatles circa star club. not as good as the rutles, not even as good as fucking oasis, m’man, i grew tired and old and bored and left charlotte wishing she’s left me at home cos she loved ‘em. fuck ‘em.
fave song right now? ‘breaking up is hard to do’, played so fucking sweetly by me on the old joanna, and occasionally sung by either me or charlotte. monday night, charlotte asked me to quit singing ‘fool on the hill’ cos it was too sad. she had tears in her eyes.

17/12/97
jon, me old china crisis of a former lover. . .
last night. . . ah, fuck that shit.
spice girls movie man! it rocks, but serious. victoria (posh stupid spice) is absolute comic genius the way she changers her accent as the film progresses and misses all her cues. richard e grant (who i have singularly hated since that pile of self-referential hippy student crap, withnail and i) is genius as the odius slimeball of the manager – i believe we’ve all met BASTARDS like him and. . . fuck it, why am i giving you a fucking review? the audience ROCKED, especially all the fan club members.
helen still thinks you and me are gay, and hasn’t forgiven us for the child spoof.
i’ve now finished franny and zooey, a book i grew to hate before the final few pages. artistic religious autitistic flowery bullshit. the first story ROCKS, though.
you and your lady friend ROCK, too.

19/12/97
jon man-beast mandrake
if you draw little squiggly lines all over your computer but don’t actually save, it means you get through the day even slower. two nights ago, i wanderred drunk as a cloud through brighton streets into a nightclub where. . .
. . .spooky Jimmy Stewart-style flashback coming on…
i woke up the next morning (weeks ago) with a smashed pool cue on the stairs and the keys to a pub in my back pocket, i don’t think the security nice men liked me
. . .we gatecrashed Carl Cox’s champagne breakfast and
ate steak’n'eggs surrounded by blue and listening to Grandmaster Flash, but that was only cos we didn’t want to go to the Blur aftershow, where the only person who deserved to be in the VIP lounge was caught rubbing shoulders with the paupers in his floor-length fur coat, ie: Mr Kevin Rowland, who Gary Edwards claims to be best mates with now, so I guess I can never speak to him cos it would hurt too much, even though . . .
listen, anyway, right. blur were as drunk as YOU or ME, rolling round the Centre stage on their backs, the video camera never focused on Alex but instead Graham was the Centre star, making like Mick Jones, poised perfectly on his arse, ripping out those licks. they played that song i hate – woo-fuck-off – and everyone went home, or to a party, or to sleep underneath the stars.
it was surreal. where are you, my sweet? carla sends fishy snookums.

22/12/97 (1)
jon, me old treacle-tart of a cupcake
i just wanted to wish you and the missus a very happy christmas.
i have such a fancy e-mail server here, you would not believe, or perhaps you would knowing how fat and bloated i have become but recently. last night i was sorting through a bunch of my old letters and shit, reading poems i wrote when 17 just like a manic street preachers fan full of PAIN and DESPAIR and WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN and WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO WHEN I WASN’T EVEN THERE. jeez, what a fucking freak i used to be – not that i’m saying i’m any better or more fully-rounded now. discovered a kick-ass old legend live tape, supporting mctells and calvin in hertford where i mixed the pain with the ridiculous and the distortion and sounded way better than i had any right to. wrote an intro to a nirvana book which was precisely. . . oh, i dunno. . . about 30 words long cos i couldn’t see the point for any extra verbiage. little wolfie is back now and so the kestrel is soaring once more.
are you gonna be in new york in january? let me know. we need somewhere to SLEEP!
your pal and mine, jerry

22/12/97 (2)
now i’m sad because i’m listening to massive attack and i can’t think of one decent reason for that except that i’m too lazy to take out my scraper and change the wallpaper. oh much gaiety over in merry uk as the spice girls career is finished as proved by their new single going straight in at number one AT CHRISTMAS and knocking the teletubbies (oh sweet teletubbies) away. i looked for you on tweenet and i even asked a nice girl named pooh where you were, but no one seemed to have heard of me or you. i should tear up all my juvenelia and let loose the hounds of adulthood but i can’t, because all my juvenelia is contained in ripped up copies of the nme, and no matter how hard i try to set light to them, the flame refuses to die out. i wish i had napped in baby sean’s pad, but they probably wouldn’t've allowed me for looking like a mean ol’ saddletramp bum. i should send you tapes of my voice recanting that line from i’ll cry instead (something about breaking all the girls hearts around the world) but no, i have zero access to technology. maybe a zzzzzip.
take care brotherly dude thang
j

30/12/97 (1)
hello jon. it’s me (jerry t), wolfie and charlotte here. sorry, that’s wolfy with a ‘y’. we’re having a dichotomy – or maybe trichotomy – at least that’s what wolfy reckoned the kestrel told her that was what it was called. we just watched the christmas armistice. it didn’t have chris morris in it. and it wasn’t very good, either. me and charlotte went to see the spice girls movie and we watched it ALL even the credits. but wolfy’s young sister walked out halfway through. wolfy says she has breasts now – that’s wolfy’s sister, not wolfy. i guess you know that wolfy has breasts. (j)
happy fuckin christmas man. (w)
and a fuckin happy new year. (c)
i got a piece of wood for christmas. you can make duck calls through it. i’m gonna take it to bed with me so when i wake up the next day i’m assured of wood in the morning. (j)
i’m being a homebreaker. (w)
i got a 3d puzzle of a carousel, but i need to go down to the seafront to see the one there so i can make it. (c)
are the americans bored of you yet? are you coming home soon? are you in another band? are you a riot grrrl yet? are you enjoying olympia? do you walk in the woods yet? (w)
ah. so young and so much to learn. (j)
charlotte bought a new skirt. it cost an eightser. she’s wearing it now. it is striped. no it’s not. i can’t describe that. how’s your good lady friend? is she a good lady friend? wolfy is wondering whether you’re gonna get married. (j)
for convenience of course. for that fucking big ocean thing – the atlantic. (w)
charlotte bought me a nina simone songbook. it’s cool. the strange thing is, though, most the songs in it aren’t written by her. and it’s way too complicated for my stubby fingers. (j)
you haven’t got stubby fingers, you’ve just got stiff fingers. (c)
i’m trying to think of a good insult. no, don’t write that. you’re like a child you’re like a child you’re like a child a fuckin cranky child (w)
i bought fucking loads of jad fair paper cuts recently. they’re all in a neat stacked pile resting against the wall. i like ‘em. i don’t know what the fuck i’m gonna do with them. i was gonna put them on the walls of my new office, but the way it’s going i don’t reckon i’ll have that office for very long. (j)
you’ve changed the ‘i’ three times there. (c)
it doesn’t matter. (j)
that’s your fuckin catchphrase innit? (w)
oh yeah, you’re only a journalist. (c)
yeah, but not a regular practising one. i’m more of an… (j)
you killed diana. (w)
- ahem – editor now. (j)
i could do your job. (c)
anyone can do his fucking job. i’m gonna quit swearing for new year. (w)
it’s all right. you can tell jon. (j)
you can trust jon not to let anyone else know. (c)

3/1/98
jon. today and yesterday i learnt all the chords to ‘don’t explain’ and now i sing it in a triumphant, sorta pitying manner. where are you my sweet?
jerry

4/1/98
ha!
charlotte is watching red rock west
jad fair prints are on the walls
carla is in her element
i wonder, how can slade be 30? is that right, is that fair? soon i will have known you for half your life. is that fair, is that right?
diddy kong racing is all safely packed away
richard and his girlfriend are back in hove
the kids next door are asleep, dreaming of the day santa no longer exists. a tiny module of a haunted house rests on the dresser, just to my left all manner of strange, unexplainable managerial work files and computer disks sit where once – in a different age and on a different table and in a smaller room – three inches of letters and fanzines and Nick Cave CDs would’ve
the plastic trees of the house neatly mirror those of the rubber plants behind
lights are dimmed
a lava lamp is returned to its former glory amid the relics of a childhood which never existed
two silvery cushions look oddly opulant where once my friend lay
steve gullick is now no wiser, but certainly older
i return to work tomorrow
j

6/1/98
jon jon, the son
vodka lies lined on my desk, five bottles, five beautiful bottles, two blue, one red, one yellow and one purple. shame they’re not bigger. a car attached to a glass waits to run them to my bloodstream.
last night i tumbled over and ran naked through the laurel tree. well, it felt like naked. last night i lusted over no one. last night, i watched a band called avalance tear through a number of presumably sleazy vaguely misogynistic numbers like a heavy elderly cross between blixa and stuart tinder and mr gallon and all those camden and listened to mr andy ross explain. . . no, i’m not sure i did. know who i miss? susan. oh, for those most innocent of times.
j

14/1/98
last night, i listened to al green singing ‘so good to be here’ and i thought about you. i thought about rambling through brighton trashed and depressed, nothing more to look forward to than shoving a few numbers around a computer screen, nothing more to look forward to than the oblivion which doesn’t even come through fucking drink anymore. . .
and i thought about hangin’ out in la, so fiery and supercool, travelling through trashy streets in the back of a hired convertible, wind rushing through our hair, meeting red aunts and wishing that every band was punker – or at least cool chicks with guitars – and wishing that summer would never stop, that someone fucking someone would blow london up and allow me a few fragile dreams before my mind finally stops working on me. . .
and i thought about security and security and how everything remains the same until you want it to and then suddenly everything is way blown out of proportion in despair and lust and dreams of backwoods children. . .
and i thought about that time in new york where we were supposed to be moving flat and we did, early one morning when i was still drunk and naked, swigging from a whiskey bottle and how the polite resident’s association came round and discovered me sprawled out on the mattress, back room – still hospitable and offering the bottle round – and how we had to move back within the hour. . .
the only way to get smashed now is tequila, straight tequila, a whole bottle of it chug-a-lug-a-fucking-lug. are you coming to new york to hang out with me and my ladyfriend and climb up on the roof of the ferry to staten island? it would be most grand if you did.

19/1/98
jon, you can stay at hillcrest ’til yr heart’s content.
or when we return, whichever is sooner.
currently listening to awesome punk CD on lookout! by the donnas – has molly sent you a copy. you should demand it with menaces. it’s the most fantastic fucking tonic for a dull monday morning i can think of – four teen dreams like a cross between runaways and ramones and shaggs. wow is the only word that exists. yesterday, we went to see brighton rock at duke of yorks and everyone cheered when brighton was mentioned. you’d've dug it the most.
my dad might possibly be there.
last night, pastels played all mellow and cool to a sold-out crowd at the lift – oh, they are so skater-kid hip now, all these new old fashion icons with their off-key songs and strange rhythms. charlotte got cross cos i told her i’d given my last toffee to katrina pastel. tampasm have split. edie’s old boyfriend is a coke freak with a racist new girlfriend. cornershop will be supporting oasis and are on their way to having their first proper hit. comet gain are still the best fucking band in the country. i have little more gossip, except that kate is almost unrecognisably grown-up now. and that the donnas RULE! or have i said that already.
rose from brighton rock reminds me in places of charlotte – but i’m no pinkie. yr mate in arms

20/1/98
fucking elo rules, man.
everyone in the office admits it now.
me and stevie-boy watched two of their vids last night.
when you coming?
when we leaving?
it wouldn’t surprise me about the donnas, but they still sound GREAT
i love jewel, too
maybe.
j

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