• JTD

Kitties in quarantine: Barney's Playlist.


I don't know if the 'Candle Club' goes on in any form these days. 'The Talking Heads' in Southampton in which the weekly event took place is no longer where it once stood, if it is standing at all. I had a brief spell of a year as a cafe manager in Southampton. Not long enough to have ALL of my personality stripped of me, but enough time to feel insecure about my at-the-time 'chimney-sweep chic' wardrobe and the reluctant acquiring of taste development for Carlsberg. Like all cities with a Clinton's Cards on the high street, it's not obvious where to start looking for like-mindedness, the little pocket of misfits. There are always those who are lodged between the acceptance of societal norms and 'the alternative', and for these critters it's difficult to find grasp on city like Southampton. Go slam 9 Tequilas down in Bedford Place with the lads, or go slam 9 Gimli's Beard's at The Hobbit. The Candle Club seemed like a comfortable little nook on a Monday night for a socially lost musical individual. I'd been told about it by a friend and thought I'd give it a pop. The name sounds rather enchanting, mesmerising, stimulating, meditative even. Actually the premise is an open mic night in which people have EXACTLY 10 minutes to perform, until a large garish red light engulfs the stage to signify that you've over stayed your welcome. That's where I fist saw him. The Man-Boy. The Lamb-chop addled, wild-eyed, grand-teen wonder perspired frantically over how he could demonstrate his eclectic musical taste, prowess, and multi-instrumental talents whilst the big red light looked on tapping it's wristwatch. He thrashed through a rendition of 'Psycho Killer' as if under gun-point. With no time to waste he moved straight into his Candle Club Slapstick Classic (Somebody in the 9 strong audience shouted for it as I recall) 'Feel my love inside of you', a self-aware original that landed like a punch-up between Bob Dylan and Kiss. Then, as the red light was getting ready to thwack it's buzzer, he picked up his flute. The seconds where ticking. He spat and pheeped and parped and tooted. He ran up and down scales like a lizard looking for an escape route. The rhythm of his performance was provided partly by quick, deep breaths, and partly by the bristles of his moustache flicking across the dome of the microphone. For those of you who have read, or were read George's Marvellous Medicine as a child, this was the sound-track to the making of George's Potion. This was Roald Dhal's 'Peter and the Wolf'. It was manic, it was magic. We'd been having a weird time with the band at that point. We'd somehow been taken to Germany for a show (our second ever show), had a strange time and came back a little downhearted and a bit lost on where to go, musically that is. The moment I set eyes on this kidult, with no determinable age, I knew it was what we needed. I sat down for a chat with him at the bar of the Talking Heads, asked him to play with us. I was twenty-three at the time and couldn't quite grasp why the man at the bar wouldn't serve Barney as we had our conversation. It was only after our first practice that I found out he was 16 years of age. Barney is now the age I was when I met him. I've seen him grow over many years (Mentally speaking of course, Physically he looks younger now if anything) and it's been a joy to watch. Barney is a clumsy, erratic, intelligent, mumbling genius. The best part of all that, is he's always been those things. Barney has been unequivocally himself since the moment I laid eyes on him. Yes he has developed with experience, matured( in some respects) and can very much hold his own. But Barney being as Barney as he's always been is one of the things that has help Town of Cats, keep Town of Cats. Looking forward to having ya back pal. HERE IS HIS PLAYLIST AND ACCOMPANYING WORDS! KITTIES IN QUARANTINE: BARNEY'S PLAYLIST

This playlist is a collection of songs that I reckon have a summery feel. I have been acutely aware of how nice the weather has been these past months as we’re all cooped up inside. I have lived vicariously through these songs, imagining that I am absorbing more vitamin D than is possible in the one hour we’re allowed out. Many of the tunes are explicitly about things like sunshine, or use instrumental palettes from countries with warm climates. Some use found sound closely associated with summer. The last song features the constant ebb and flow of the sea, and Hermeto Pascoal’s vocal solo on “Bebe” is performed with his mouth submerged in water.

Towards the end of the playlist the connection is less explicit. As the member of a touring band now housebound, I’ve found myself missing festivals. The latter third of the playlist sort of evokes the feeling of a festival in the day. That state in which you are partially weary from the heat, but also because of you have a hangover sandwiched between a comedown. Perhaps because I've been sedentary for such an extended period I’m having trouble recalling the more ecstatic parts of the festival experience. But channeling its more mellow, sun-drenched side has been equally as cathartic.

That is the wonderful thing about art, it is at once so tied to place and time, but equally has the capacity to extract us from our own current place and time. For art, film and literature that escape is a matter of projection, we imagine ourselves as the figures we see or read about. But with music the transportation is much more internal. Hopefully this playlist will help you to enjoy a short holiday of the mind, even if you had to cancel the holiday you’d actually booked.