"Now if you reach below your seats, you'll find that there are satsumas taped underneath them" Naughty Nathan had big hands. Big enough to comment on. He might have gotten away with it had he not played cajon as a past-time. Problem was when you saw those dinner plates slapping up against the sides of everybody's favourite post-sound-restriction-cerfew-at-a-tiny-festival 'instrument', you couldn't help but notice. At least we couldn't. At least I couldn't. Naughty Nathan served a very brief sentence as the cajon slapper for musical-comedy duo Johnny Biscuits and the Disco Bitch. He was a calm and respectable figure that worked in primary education. A little reserved at times, wore brown shoes and had fucking great big hands. He wasn't their first wooden-box intruder no, that was of course 'Billy Bourbon', whose alter-ego as it happens created all the animation for Town of Cat's Dance Off The Dead Beat music video. The skill-set of some people, honestly. It should be noted here, that neither of funny-little-boom-boom-cube players chose their stage names. Nor did they stay performing with the duo come to think of it. hmm. Naughty Nathan played one show with JB and the DB. Upstairs at Three and Ten. SOLD OUT. Capacity of 60*. He thrusted those belugas into that 420-on-the-level machine exquisitely. Songs that had previously existed for no other reason than to tell the narrative of a young privileged white male in a self-deprecating enough way to make it reasonably funny to a mass audience (cap of 60), suddenly had groove. They churned and fizzed and popped and purred, a bit. Truth-Bomb. I was Johnny Biscuits. Adam was the Disco Bitch. Or the other way round. We had some fluffy backstory that I fail to remember but never-the-less we was them and them was us. Having had several successes (people didn't hate us) being booked for gigs in Brighton that others had dropped out of last minute, we'd finally made it to our first completely and utterly sold out show (60). Naughty Nathan had been drafted in last minute. A friend of a friend. Was 'up for a laugh'.
"Now if you reach below your seats, you'll find that there are satsumas taped underneath them" I'd told Adam how I felt about NN's hands prior to the show, and realising that we had about an hour to fill with four and a half songs I conjured a plan. Surely everybody will recognise how fucking HENCH his hands are. He must know, he must go home and just hold things that other people can't due to their inferior digits ALL the time.
Song finishes, crowd goes mild Joe: Hasn't Naughty Nathan got big hands folks. Crowd(60) :.
Joe: How many satsumas do you think Naughty Nathan can fit in his hands folks?
Crowd(59):. Due to the structure of this blog you know what happens next. NN didn't know anything about this. He sat there and politely smiled as nearly a fifth of the audience approached him, satsuma-ready, PARTICIPATING IN COMEDY. How many could he hold? I don't remember. It's not the point. No.
The point is something happened to us that night. The chemistry of jokes that make the Titanic look buoyant, combined with the addition of rhythm supplied by none other than Nathan's absolutely fucking out of this world humungous holdy-boiz combined and created...evolution. We could not possibly continue to make the bar-frequenting thesps of Brighton and Hove chuckle so moderately with the addition of percussion, nor could we access the hips of those within those happenin' venues down-town whilst making pathetic jokes about hands and oranges. A fork in the road. One way the other. Needless to say, we never saw Naughty Nathan again, but his spirit lives on inside of us. Perhaps he truly was the catalyst that sent us running like little exited toddlers towards band-hood. Then again, maybe not, and everything you've read is pointless. Point is, we've existed together for a very long time Adam and I. We began writing silly songs in University halls, and continued to play together whilst living in different cities, in different places within our own lives. Adam has chugged away on his bass more or less consistently as our band has expanded. We are no longer a duo, we're no longer even a band in some respects, a musical community of sorts one might say. Later, I'll wish I deleted that last bit. Wot I Wrote back up there is one moment of many odd moments we've shared together in the last 11 years. There are many more with better punch-lines (If i gave it some thought), and many that we should probably tell you about in a less open environment.
We persevered, we kept doing it, kept making. Now, we're about to release our second album made by us and all our friends and I've never been prouder of anything my whole life. All of it started with a couple of total idiots. With Johnny Biscuits and the Disco Bitch. Adam, you are a very talented man and a long-standing friend, thank you for sharing this weird little road with me brother. HERE IS HIS PLAYLIST!!!! What Adam has to say about the songs and the times: "This short playlist I’ve put together is a little summation of the styles
, but certainly not all the songs / artists, that I’m into at the moment. I am currently dining out on a diverse palette of icky basses, from J Dilla’s analogue hip hop sounds through to some of the really positive, light, ‘up’ drum n bass productions of recent years, some of which make you feel as if you’re just listening to a lovely song and its relationship to the genre is more incidental than anything else. I also tried to reflect some of my recent experiences prior to lockdown; entering into a new relationship with someone who has got me intrigued in the meeting point between lo-fi sounds and alternative rnb (Solange, Steve Lacy), and with whom I’ve been learning how to dance bachata (Joan Soriano). Music is evocative of time and place, people, pasts and possibilities. For me, these songs are a reminder that in the midst of all this hullabaloo we remain in a continuum and that it’s important to stay conscious, live vividly and keep making memories. Hopefully you can find something here to help you make a big stanky face, wiggle your hips or bob your head along with. Stay safe and big love ! XX
ToC in the early days
Chips in Amsterdam 2010. And yes, obviously.
*Incidentally about two years later a man squinted at me for the duration of time it took me to make his soya flat white, before announcing he remembered me from that show. Turned out they'd let him and his mate take the last two seats upstairs for free. They still came upstairs by CHOICE though, unlike the others, who i'd begged.