Saturday, May 08, 2004
No, I still haven't got round to writing up the California trip. Perhaps it will take on mythical status: MarkCity's great, lost entry, and people in years to come will talk about hearing a rumour about what was going to be in it. "I heard he actually danced onstage with Morrissey, and then there was the bit where he rescued his girlfriend from a great white shark..." Or perhaps not.

I have, however, been to two gigs since I've been back so thought I'd better write about them. First up were Duran Duran at Wembley Arena, "our spiritual home" according to Simon Le Bon. Calling the vast, soulless warehouse of despair that is Wembley Arena your spiritual home is a bit like saying your favourite restaurant is McDonalds and you want to go to Hell when you die. Or maybe he was just referring to how happy he is that they don't have to physically drag people to their concerts these days.

I was the first of our party to arrive at the venue and was delighted to discover that we were seated in the very back row. You couldn't have got any further back. At least this meant we didn't have to worry about blocking the view of people sitting behind us. Yes, there were people sitting down at the gig. All the way through, not just during the boring new songs that Duran insist on playing. I don't get why people go to rock - alright, pop - concerts and park their arses for the duration. Why not just sit at home and watch MTV? Or rather, VH1.

Duran Duran are a great band who've written tons of great songs, but this doesn't stop Simon Le Bon from being an absolute berk. His between-song pronouncements about the state of the world - and how we are in fact a decent "species...of organism" - made me want to pull my skin off with embarrassment. Then there was the cover of Grandmaster Melle Mel's 'White Lines (Don't Do It)' in which Simon raps. In the same way that Victoria Aitken raps.

Still, 'Careless Memories', with its manga video, and most of the other old hits, especially 'Planet Earth', 'Save A Prayer' and 'Ordinary World' were excellent. Oh, and they played that hilarious 'erotic' (if you find topless girls dancing like chickens in car parks sexy) video for 'The Chauffeur' in the background.

This Wednesday I saw Franz Ferdinand at the Astoria, which has to be the best venue in London, unless you go on a Saturday when the bands have to be off stage by 9.30 to let the G.A.Y. hordes in. The Franz were fantastic - a short, sharp set made up of the whole album plus a few b-sides. We bounced, sweated and sang along. Of course, being brilliant made it far less bloggable than the Duran gig, because nothing funny happened. Perhaps I should make something up: The singer announced that he had a sore throat and they needed a volunteer to sing in his place, so I stepped up and blew everyone away, even making up my own lyrics which the band told me were better than the originals. Ah, yes, it was great.