Kieron Gillen's workblog




Earlier today, I found myself walking down a street in central Bath I had now idea existed. It's within twenty metres of my front door, and I always presumed it had a brick wall half way down rather than providing a handy short-route through to the green area where the college kids roll ciggies behind the Hobgoblin.

After living in Bath for virtually a decade, these things are a little like suddenly discovering your girlfriend can punch through lead with her pinky.

I've decided to blog now about various events this week as otherwise they'll be lost forever. The weekend will be a mixture of playing code that I'm morally - though, with no NDA, uniquely not legally - required to keep my lips sealed about, on pain of someone's job, and the London Comic Thingie.

Main thing I want to mention is the Dexy's gig on Tuesday night, since I promised about a dozen people to write a little here. Admitedly this is three days later and the mad rush of words has gone, but may leave you with a little more analysis and a little less hyperbolic gibberish accelerating at the speed of thought.

Anyway. Was it good?

Well, I'm keeping a text message from Mr Cynical Ball of Hate, Alec "Furious" Meer, on my mobile from after the gig, stating simply "I feel Wonderful".

Clearly, it could have been terrible beyond belief. Dexys were a band who were all about pride, dignity and... oh, stop sniggering those who can't get past Come On Eileen. Or rather, can't get past their own smug dismissal of Come On Eileen just because they Played This Tune Forever and their gran danced with them to it at some Family gathering. They were a strict, puritanical band and had rules. To see them come back as "Play Come On Eileen 15 times and encore with the theme from Brushstrokes" would have broke hearts.

As it is, Kevin has clearly accepted the fact he's not a young man anymore. Some of the faster songs are taken down a half notch. They play a lot of their grander numbers, opening with the slow ballad "The Waltz" which closed Kamikaze final album "Don't Stand Me Down". In fact, for true Dexy-philes, this was the real joy - not only did they not just play the hits, but they embraced all their works and mostly played a performance based on which of their works were greatest rather than any other consideration.

Top three memorable sections, in reverse order.

1) After the Waltz, dropping into a pure "Let's Make This Precious". And as that comes to an elegant close, like a gymnast hammering down on their spot, immediately sommersalting into "I Love You". You couldn't fit a playing card in the gap between the two, and it felt like flying. And with "I Love You" burning in your ears you can't help but think that "Don't Stand Me Down" could have so easily not ended their career. It's one of the greatest hit singles I've ever heard... that was never, ever released.

2) It wasn't just the songs. Dexys vocals always ran up and down the scale of pure impressionism to pure spoken mundanity, and songs diatribes are twisted apart and reinvented to suit Kevin's modern purposes. It grabbed the mad theatricallity of the famous early Dexy's performance. Point in case - "Until I Believe In The Soul", Too-rye-aye's most magestirial number builds up until you expect it to drop to its whispered monologue. But it doesn't... instead, we drop to a lolloping beat and a Policeman wanders on stage. Cue a dialogue between Kevin and the Cop, as Kevin confesesses to a crime "But doesn't quite remember the details". Eventually the Policeman tries to get more evidence out of him, which provokes "Lights Turn Green" as evidence. And then it falls back to the lolloping beat and the dialogue. "Do you see what I mean?" We're beginning to. He was burning, you see... and the only way to stop the burning was to believe in his sould. The dialogue bounces back and forth, turning into vocals. They turn to the front of the stage, band stepping forward to join them. And then with a wall-of-sex extended band full-body-orgasm we're back to "Until I believe in the Soul". It dies away. Fiddle kicks up, introducing Come On Eileen.

That's the way to do it.

3) The Encore. They come on and play the fucking Theme From Brushstrokes. And I'm shrugging - Gig's been great. They'll probably follow this with "Jackie Wilson Says", which will be a great ending, and we can go home happy.

Except they don't. They end with "This Is What She's Like". All 12 minutes of it. And it's simply the Epic love song in the history of all things, bristling and angry, passionate and painful, dripping all the holy fluids of the body - tears, blood, spunk. And I find myself thinking - how on earth have my expectations of life fell to the point where I didn't think they would play "This Is What She's Like"? It's a beatifically perfect thing. If you have a song like that in possession, you'll use it, as it's beautiful beyond all belief. Yes, it wasn't a hit. Yes, it killed their career. But Pop Music is about more than just the fucking sensible thing. Pop Music is about the heroic and the doomed - and the fact that they were doomed is what actually *makes* it heroic. Listening to "This Is What She's Like" makes me wonder why we ask so little of pop when it can be so fucking much.

As I said, heroic.

Talking about Heroic, news breaks publically about The Ed and Dep Ed of Edge quitting. Dave McCarthy's gone on the record saying he's quit "For Personal Reasons". I've got an admiration for anyone who's willing to throw away security for a personal belief. Dave, clearly, has it.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.