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2007/03/28 11:49 - Spring poem

Artists and their Garrets

I finished last night's rice for breakfast
I wore a silk Kimino

Sunlight was flooding my new room

And the rooftops I looked out onto could have come from anywhere

At once a memory

Another room like this - Paris - late 1996

A young French chap in glasses was pointing in the direction of Notre Dame

"See that apartment there'?

I couldn't but nodded agreeably anyway.

"That's where Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch'

I nodded again and turned to a girl called Coralie

Who just the day before had told me that 'When you smile, an angel enters the room'.

(You can't see my smile now, Coralie, a graveyard in a drinker's mouth, all the Devil's work. But then Lucifer was an angel once...).

The memory fades

I return

Another Monday without us

Artists and their garrets...

The wound wore on the sleeve

Willing it to heal

But not too much



Further Poems at


Currently watching :
The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season
Release date: By 06 November, 2001

2007/03/17 18:29 - Is there Life on Stage?

is there Life on Stage?
Current mood: mellow
Category: Music

"Dear Mr. Reynolds. Do you have any plans to play a show in East Cheam (Just outside of London)? My wife and I are very fond of your songs, in particular 'The crack in the ceiling'...Hope to see you soon. Best regards, Mr. and Mrs. Joli.

"Aloha. Anthony! You are superb! I would like to propose you a concert. Here in the republic of kagla. We have many fine animals and the vibe is good. We can pay £300 of your earth pounds and all the coffee you can absorb. Please consider it seriously. Here in Kagla you are quite similar to a God. Yours best, Kubla Karn.'

"Reynolds. Why don't you put your finger out, you lazy bastard? Do a tour or something. You workshy fop."

"Anthony, you may remember me from the Colston Hall in 1996. I had glitter on my face and shouted 'Anthony' in the quiet bit. Any plans to come back this way? Ehh, them were the days…"


So. Why don't I tour or even play live or at least do the occasional one off show? Alright. Now it can be told. Here be the reasons why. Maybe then, you'll stop bugging me. Or come through with enough dosh…

I have, in my humble 'career', toured loads. Or at least it used to feel like it. In actuality, I haven't toured with a band since 2002 and have not done a gig (as part of a trio) since 2004.

I started playing in public in 1980 fucking 6.1986!

(As alientated and alienating singer of 'Alien Circuss', the gig was at Bishop Hannon Secondary school in Cardiff, I sang through a freeman's catalogue Karaoke machine via a 16 inch Microphone lead - cutting edge technology then - and my main memory is of having feet like sideshow Bob (They grew well ahead of everything else at that age. I'm actually a shoesize smaller now then I was at 15). I had a cracked lens in my glasses and, courtesy of the fifth formers in the 'audience' paper cups bouncing off badly dyed hair)…

Shortly after I was a drummer, and as a fresh faced 17-19 year old, played with 'True Love' in Cardiff dives like the 'Square club' and 'Sams bar'. (One of the reasons I reverted to singing was to leave behind the grief of transporting and setting up a Drum kit, as much as I truly loved playing).

It goes on. And on. While I make no claims to be any kind of Sammy Davis Jnr, Suffice to say that I played very very often in public parlours between 1986 and 2002.

(My first London gig, fact fans was at the mean fiddler in Harlsden circa 1989! Elvis Costello was in the audience! Or was it Tanita Tikaram…? Either way, it was barely worth the effort and certainly not the drive).

By the time I had a record deal, in 1995, the shows became a bit more…professional and less hassly. When I started playing Europe, (I can't remember the first gig I did abroad. Was it Paris)? I was getting into the swing of things. All I had to do, (apart from co-write the songs, and arrange them, which is hardly part of playing live), was turn up at rehearsals and find out what time we set off for the tour in the morning. When I did turn up at the rehersal room, via taxi from my flat, it was invariably early morning and there were invariably folk in the bus that I'd never met before. This was called the 'crew' apparently. Asides from the rest of the fellows in my band, there were actually people to tune the guitar! - people to drive the bus, people to make sure we awoke on time, folk who relayed messages et al ('Wake up Boss! The Nantes Express need an interview - Now!!) In other words, we were lucky enough to be blessed with roadies and tour managers. Gadzooks! There was even a soundman! Dear Jonathan.

Now. Compared to other groups, in particular most of the groups we occasionally toured with (A cast of hundreds, including Tricky, Eels, Placebo, Suede, Divine Comedy etc) the Jack set up was pretty humble. Yet at the same time, compared to the vast majority of the other struggling bums out there it were the height of luxury. This became the norm to me, very quickly. As it would.

I could do what the fuck I wanted as long as I was on stage between 9 and 10 pm or whatever, following the afternoon soundcheck. And I did not, for one moment, consider the venues we played, or the hotels we stayed in or what the economics were. Paris, Cologne, Madrid, Bologna, Basel…

'How lovely…we have fans here too'? I went where the itinery dictated and was delighted on one level to do so. On other levels, the strain of sharing a cramped bus with many men wore ones nerves a bit. For all concerned, I don't doubt.

But let us look at some figures a mo'.

There were seven people in Jack. How much does that cost in terms of flights, ferries, hotel rooms, taxis, food blah blah - Add to which the tour manager, driver, soundman etc

Well, it ain't cheap no matter how many corners you cut... Maybe some of them hotels were budget and our Pier diem's seemed stingy but it could never be inexpensive.

(If we were touring Britain I usually spent all my PD's in one go, on drugs, on the first day of touring).

So think about it. How much is it for you and your partner to go on holiday? Ok. Then add to that the cost of hall hire - the venue. PA. Advertising etc The cost is astronomical. Relatively speaking. Even if the venue is sold out, no one is breaking even unless the venues are huge - this is why the Stones don't tour clubs, for instance.

The most ideal show I pulled off was at an old Victorian music hall called the Players Theatre in 1998. A perfect, atmospheric and seated venue, we had film backdrops etc (This was filmed too. One wonders where it is). The venue held a few hundred and was a sell out. Yet we still lost thousands.

So who takes the loss? The record company does. Its called 'Tour support'. When you sign a record deal there's usually some provision within the contract that the record company must invest money in a tour. This goes onto your debt.. (Jack are still tens of thousands in the red). Ok. From the artists point of view, its worth it. One may hopefully get the chance to grow through playing live although sometimes the exact opposite is true. But one is young and if not dumb, certainly full of come and its a wonderful thing to be asked to play your music live in front of an audience. Plus you get glimpses of other countries and ther cultures, meet interesting people, make friends, plant seeds.

Yet what happens when you reach a point of making and releasing music but there's no tour suppourt? Which happens, eventually, to almost every group that ever signs a deal. (I know, we only notice the Bowie's and the Oasis' etc)

I'm at the point now where I consider myself lucky to have an outlet for my work, no matter how humble the set up may be. I haven't sold millions of product. I'm a marginal artist, who's work is beloved by the few and unknown by the majority. And lets not forget, Jack, my first 'proper' band were a group. None of us received money for shows when we toured. There was no dishing out of dosh at the end of the night. We did it for all the reasons listed above. By the time of Jack's last tour in 2002, the majority of the band were hired. This meant that touring was more expensive than ever. For most of those gigs we relied on tour support. For the last few we got by on momentum and the huge hearts and fecund wallets of visionary promoters. (If you saw us during our two nights in Athens, Greece in late 2002 it was purely down to the vision of the charismatic promoter. The last gig Jack played was in Cardiff and that was just made possible by many of the musicians doing it for next to nothing. But there was a romantic symetry to doing that gig that I needed to encompass, so I asked a favour of my fine fellow musicians).

Since Jack split in 2002 I've found a wonderful collective of musicians that I love to work with when able. I've managed to do so for my forthcoming solo album, 'British Ballads' (a minor feat and miracle in itself). But I can't afford to gig with them. Each musician needs at least a hundred quid a night and this doesn't even consider rehershal costs.

So why don't I strip the whole thing down?

Ok. in 2004 I played a small show in the ancient church of an obscure Spanish town called Besain. I worked weeks ahead putting down backing tracks to Minidisc and practiced with Fiona brice on Violin and Julian Simmons on Piano and guitar. I played guitar and sang etc And...I didn't enjoy the gig. The audience was decent and polite but they weren't, by and large familiar with the work. The set included no 'Hits'. There was little emotional - energy - ping pong or rapport between us and the audience. The trip there, without crew was hellish and the trip back even worse. We were paid 500 quid plus expenses - a very decent amount considering my profile - but the promoter lost money and so did I. I came out of it hundreds of quids down, after travel and practice etc

Yet it was a valuable trip. It made me realise that if I work at all as a singer in a live setting then its as part of a 'rocking' band.

(I won't even consider playing purely acoustic. Very very few people, in my experience can pull that off. And certainly not me. How I'd love though, to See Len Cohen tour with just a guitar NOW. Oh what a joy that would be).

So, until something changes and the fees go up, its unlikely I'll be playing live in the traditional sense.

I still get asked once every couple of months - I'm flattered - and sometimes these offers are for poetry readings. But I loathe going to poetry reasons myself so why would I want to perform in this way? As far as I'm concerned, poetry, like sex, is not a spectator sport.

So for the last few years I've come up with a stock reply ; I won't read or play music but how about my one man show? "An Alcoholic afternoon with Anthony Reynolds'. This experimental and improvised happening consists of nothing more than me sitting at a desk on stage with a few bottles of Chivas and thus relating to the audience, conversing with them, inviting them up to chat about topics of the day etc So far no one has ever called my bluff on this ridiculous idea...until now. I've been asked to 'perform' this ego sucicide ritual happening at the end of the month. My reaction was to run and yet...it'll be a new experience and worth doing for that alone, maybe. I don't like to run from fear unless its likely to be fatal. There is something of a geek show vibe about this but...as Monseiur Ant said, 'Ridicule is nothing to be scared of'. (I never fully understood that line).

And already, I have an idea that this may lead to a different kind of gig, one that incorporates the songs gradually. Iv'e wanted to play a set with a set - standard lamp and comfy armachair - from sitting position, gradually spreading out to the use of a full band, with a narrative throughout. Maybe something even scripted?

Less live and more LIFE on stage...

Currently listening :
The Individualism of Gil Evans
By Gil Evans
Release date

2007/03/12 11:39 - The Tenant

The early hours of Sunday morning saw me descend into new realms of hell.
New levels of self abuse, public debasement, intenal horror and an intensity of sinning against self that leaves me wondering if the whole thing wasn't part of some sort of greater ritual.

For once, I'm to abashed (and bashed) to go into details. Await my memoirs.

Suffice to know that a tender African Washroom attendent in the heaving bowels of 'O'Neills' asked me with all the pity in the world 'Why are you crying for Boy'?. Remotely curious and through a wall of drug and alcohol stunned senses I touched my face before the mirror that I was too scared to look into to find that my face was indeed wet. I'd had no idea. But my face was indeed washy with salt water.. I was immediately after offered 'a woman' for a hundred pounds and only some deep rooted sexual pride hauled me away from such a carnally miserable dance.

Then, picture this. The vague expression of horror and sorrow on the face of the Jazz Cafe's barmaid as I ordered my 6th treble vodka in an hour. This time it was yours truly's right nostril that was issuing, red pretty tears. A good steady flow of claret. Patrick Bateman withouth the capacity (or inclination, or taste) for murder. (Of others at least).

And I got home, on my weary legs, past locked up pubs an victorian jail walls, my broken feet creaking within dulled cowboy boots again and again and again.to a 'night' of No sleep and a mouth made of raw sandpaper and rough flint.

'Awake' sunday morning too early even for cafes. Head pounding and sickness throughout. The flu returning beyond the hangover. (Surely I've long since surpassed hangovers, we need a new term)...

Gradually I come round to some sort of even keel, only the sound of central heating kicking in for company... My body can take it (possibly. A line above my heart hurts when I yawn as If I've burst something). But whatever the essence...the 'me'..? How much more bashing can that take?

By tea time i was wallowing in the afermath. Watching the entire DVD of Micahel Palin's 'Sahara' in one go, eating a warmed up and deliscious sunday lunch from my ma's. reading John Baxter's 'A pound of paper' and wolfing down family sized bars of mil chocalate.

But it can't go on. Christ, no. Jesus Micahel Palin in heaven, no more.
And yet, what do I replace intoxicants and their consuming ritual with? Someone suggested 'God'. But as we know, the big G hasn't believed in the existence of Anthony since 2003.

I don't know. Maybe I'll work out all day like Sean Ryder apparently does now.

Until then if you think of me, think of Polanski's Character in 'The Tenant'. My new ambition.

Thats not a film, its a documentary of my life for the forthcoming weeks...

2007/03/05 17:40 - Nice to be nice

Its nice sitting in a library as the rain batters down, surrounded by fellow bees in the hive.

Its not nice to come home drunk, coked up and horny to an empty flat at 3 in the morning.

Its nice having a record player set up to my wonderful Aztec stylr late 70's marantz album and to wallow in greiving to the sounds of Tom Rush and Gordon Lightfoot.

Its not nice to puke straight for 9 hours and think 'One more and I shall die'.

Its nice to be in recovery mode of a hangover 2 days later, when food tasted all new again and the sound of your mum snapping her cigarette lighter makes you happy and there's a double bill of 'Columbo' on.

Its nice to wallow in TV once a month..especially when you find a daffy new detective series like 'Monk'.

Its not nice to have panic attacks because one thinks one will never get laid again. Ever.

Its nice to obsess about Rolling Stones Tracks that no one else seems to notice..(much of 'a bigger bang').

Its nice to watch the moon swell.

Its nice to be nice.

But its never enough...

2007/02/27 17:32 - Bukowski (did) do this

There are things lacking where I am.

There are no women, cats, Trees or crows.

But there are seagulls.

And silence. Except for the jet roar of the fridge in the night.

'the departed' was shit. It died when Nicholson did.

I can't finish books. I bail out three quarters of the way through.

My ribs are showing, very faintly.

And everyone should listen to Frank Sinatra's 'Forget to remember'.

2007/02/27 17:32 - Bukowski (did) do this

There are things lacking where I am.

There are no women, cats, Trees or crows.

But there are seagulls.

And silence. Except for the jet roar of the fridge in the night.

'the departed' was shit. It died when Nicholson did.

I can't finish books. I bail out three quarters of the way through.

My ribs are showing, very faintly.

And everyone should listen to Frank Sinatra's 'Forget to remember'.

2007/02/20 18:10 - 

2007/02/20 18:10 -  ...hemingway lived near here you know

...hemingway lived near here you know
Current mood: curious
Category: Life

Swimming...at dawn. Wakes you up. As does the sudden glimpse of a DORSAL FIN a few meteres away (!) OHMYGOD whats that touching my foot??? ARGHH>.oh...its a leaf.

Swwimming at Dusk - with a full moon rising above you and a head and gut full of tequila - relaxes you, sends you to sleep, tires the body, allowing it its catching up with the fatigue of the mind...

and scares you..and becalms you - to be part -to feel a part of something TOO big...(An ocean)?

To see moonlight on the ocean floor, illuminating the fauna and the wahtever the fuck it is is something I haven't experienced enough...

I tramp soaking and warm in lunar marine twilight across imprted white sand to the shore and beyond, the bed...

to dream of...(Sigh) cardiff...

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