Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Few Of My Favourite Things... by Rob Townsend

Alongside regular feature, Getting To Know... is launching an occasional series called A Few Of My Favourite Things. It's pretty self-explanatory and, to get the ball rolling, Bobby Six's head honcho, Rob Townsend, has a stab at it himself:

My Favourite Band
In the early 1990s I fell head-over-heels in love with an indie/pop/dance band from South London. Named Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, they were a two-piece who played guitars and sang over a drum machine. Sans bassist. Sans drummer. I went to every tour they played, bought every T-shirt, copied singer Jim Bob's flamboyant haircut and even sneaked into the MTV studios in Camden to get their autographs. Combining social and political commentary with pop-punk sensibilities to create big, singalong tunes, there was an honesty and integrity to Carter that wasn’t in the slightest contrived and could not be doubted. Regardless of where they stand in the grand scheme of things - whether they are important or nothing more than a footnote on the 90s scene - there is always one band that makes a difference to a person’s life and Carter was that band for me.

My Favourite Gig
There are so many sweat-drenched moments of magnificence to consider. The Flaming Lips brought an incredible kaleidoscopic party to Brighton, while Kitty Daisy & Lewis got Sydney dancing. What else? Well, Regina Spektor at the Opera House, Morrissey opening his show with How Soon Is Now?, The White Stripes and The Strokes playing onstage together at the Reading Festival, the first time I ever saw Bridezilla and had the realisation I had discovered something amazing, singing Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise onstage with The Late Greats at Latitude... the list could go on and on. I think that experiencing Pulp play at Brixton Academy just after Different Class was released tops the lot. I have never seen a performer have such a command over the audience as Jarvis Cocker on that night. He is my hero. In terms of an overall line-up, seeing The Cribs supported by Jeffrey Lewis and Giant Drag was pretty much my indie dream come true.

My Favourite Song
There is a Light That Never Goes Out and Do You Realise?? come a close second and third to this:

My Favourite Album
While I love pretty much anything Tom Waits has ever done and I'll never, ever grow tired of listening to Pet Sounds and The Moldy Peaches, once again Carter USM triumph in this category. I can sing every word of their standout album, 30 Something (which was awarded 10/10 in the NME). They told us about life as it was and constantly conveyed the social deprivation around. Ballad Falling on a Bruise is the absolute jewel in its crown, telling a downbeat tale of dejection (“Some you win and some you lose, I’ve spent my whole lifetime falling on a bruise, and if I had the chance to do it all again, I’d change everything”). Followed on the album by the heartbreaking lullaby The Final Comedown (“I’ve been cut, I’ve been stitched, I’ve been buggered, bewitched and abandoned”) this was Carter’s finest hour.

My Favourite Destination

Sometimes a place and a person just connect. In 2006 took the plunge and ventured to Sydney with no idea whether I was going to be there for a week, a month, or forever.  Within a few days, I had found work as a music critic and discovered a network of wonderful, like-minded new friends. Five years on, I'm still ensconced within its warm embrace. When I am attending some awesome party, reviewing a gig at the Opera House, or just bobbing around in the cool sea underneath unblemished blue skies, Sydney feels like the greatest place on God's green earth.

My Favourite Book
I have recently become more that a little obsessed with Cormac McCarthy. There is so much atmosphere to his words. Whether he is recalling the Old West or conjuring harrowing images of an apocalyptic modern America, you can almost reach out and touch the landscape he has created. Also, the sense of impending peril he brings keeps the tension at a consistent and near-unbearably high level. Take, for instance, All The Pretty Horses. Nothing much happens until over halfway through the story but there is never any doubt that it will happen. It's just bubbling under the surface, waiting to grab you by the throat.

Honorable mentions also go to War and Peace, Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Schindler's Ark, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Fever Pitch.

My Favourite Item of Clothing
With my wonderful girlfriend Emma running Dear Pluto, a whole lotta lovely vintage clothing passes through our place. With such a high turnover of awesome threads at my disposal, I often wear something for a while before growing bored of it. However, I am still just as in love with these shoes as I was when I first chanced upon them. They're beautiful.

My Favourite Film
In my humble opinion, This is Spinal Tap and Bottle Rocket are about as perfect as it gets. I love how the comedy and narrative in these films are driven by a completely natural dialogue and a sense of love and brotherhood amongst the lead characters. Elsewhere, my boat is floated by Life is Beautiful, Shaun of The Dead, The Wizard of Oz, Back To The Future Trainspotting, Toy Story 3, Juno and anything by Almodovar and Hitchcock.

My Favourite TV Show
I am an absolute situational comedy nerd. There is rarely a day when I do not relate a real life occurrence to something that happened to Jerry Seinfeld or to Mark and Jeremy. The lines between reality and fiction tend to blur in my head.

It's hard for me to settle on a favourite show but, if you're looking for pure genius, then you don't need to venture much further than The Office. The thing I especially like about it is how, on first glance, you think it is about David Brent, whereas to dig deeper is to find the sweetest love story based around Tim and Dawn. I have never managed to watch the Christmas special without crying.

My Favourite Memory

As I rummage back through my cluttered brain, there are lots of images that present themselves, like a montage from a slightly-less-cool-than-usual John Hughes movie. Playing cricket in the hazy English morning sunshine on my friend Max's stag weekend was joyous in its simplicity, as were the seemingly endless summer days I spent playing football on the Old Town recreational ground in Eastbourne as a kid (above). Meanwhle, drawing faces on balloons and throwing them from the roof of Hibernian House in Sydney with Emma and watching them dance with the breeze before being swallowed up by the vastness of the city is a happy memory that is as vivid now as the day that it happened.

My Favourite Food
Eggs are the greatest invention of all time. Okay, so they're not actually an invention, but if they were, they would be the greatest invention of all time. Although potatoes would probably give them a run for their money. They are both so versatile. Meanwhile, the most underrated food in the world is spinach. Yum. Contrary to what my skinny frame suggests, I like to eat. A lot. I'm generally into savoury stuff but, to be honest, if I could coat everything I eat in caramel, I probably would.

My Favourite Photo

This forever changes. At the moment, I have two. The first is of me on stage with David Ford as part of his choir at the Corbury Festival a few years ago (above). There was something amazing about looking around the stage and realising that every person there was one of my best friends and had been for many years. The other photo (below) is one of Emma and I that amazing photographer Daniel Boud took when were mucking about playing dress-up at our old place in Sydney. It was a fun afternoon.

1 comment:

Bobby Six said...

If you think you've got what it takes to be featured... give us a shout.