Tuesday, 9 February 2010

They walk among us

For a change this lunchtime I headed into Soho to pick up a gift for a friend. On my way through Piccadilly Circus I looked up into a face I thought I knew - the bristling moustache, the haunted eyes, the old fashioned headgear - yes, it was none other than Billy Childish.

I know he's only a cult hero but as they go he's right up there. So I was surprised to see him walking so blithely through the west end, utterly unmolested by any of the Japanese tourists. Momentarily fazed, I looked back over my shoulder to see him striding manfully across Shaftsbury Avenue, immaculate old school explorer's rucksack on his back.

I've mentioned before how highly I rate his one time protege Holly Golightly but I don't actually own that many recordings by the man himself. This hardly matters though as, quite unexpectedly, he played my favourite ever gig. I struggle to find the energy to get to many gigs but he was playing a pub on the other side of Richmond so I couldn't not go.

I normally prefer studio versions of songs but the casual energy with which he ripped through two dozen or so songs was riveting. It was extremely loud but somehow, magically in such a confined space, the sound was incredibly clear. Before my eyes there were three men in Victorian military coats banging out some of the most businesslike punk rock I've ever heard.

Due to the lack of Billy Childish here's Mudhoney doing one of his numbers - very good on the car stereo.

Mudhoney: She's just 15

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