Items filtered by date: October 2016

Under-cover killing spree

Back in the mid-nineties a friend of mine was going on holiday for a fortnight and lent me his X-Box or PlayStation or whatever it was called. After a couple of years living TV-free, I had just bought a little portable set – the point being that I had never been au fait with all the gaming consoles that were available even then. My only experience with computer games was Spider Solitaire and Minesweeper and various other freebies which came with Windows 3.1. Along with the console, my friend lent me one game, which was called something like ‘Kill ’em all!’ or ‘Death Bastards’. I don’t remember the actual name other than that it sounded like some dodgy metal band. So, having figured out how to plug in and switch on, I embarked on my first mission: it was great fun and I spent hours in front of my little TV shooting anything that moved and dying a lot. Then, after a few days, I stopped playing it. After the initial novelty and buzz I found it totally unrewarding, deeply unsatisfying and, in a bizarre grubby and self-abusive way, slightly nauseating, rather like I feel if I ever read The Sun or The Daily Mail. The time I’d spent killing all those monsters and zombies was lost time, unproductive and not even relaxing. There had been an initial ephemeral pleasure followed by a robotic desire to get past level one and then, ultimately, boredom. I resented even the presence of that little box in my flat and was glad to get rid of it.

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Someone else’s fancy tickled

An underlying principle I try to follow on a daily basis, and something I believe is of the utmost importance, is not to judge people. Try to see the good things, believe that there is a fundamental decent human being in everyone. Okay, sometimes you may be disappointed and sometimes people like Donald Trump come along but so fucking what? Better to go through life believing in people rather than groping through a miasma of mistrust and negativity.

On a handful of occasions however I have met someone who I have immediately disliked. Why? I couldn’t say, but there has been a palpable reciprocal animosity. Like the same poles of two magnets repelling each other. At the same time I’ve felt a reluctant fascination about that person, maybe in trying to identify the root of such instinctive dislike. This was the starting point of Tickle My Fancy, an immediate antipathy between two people, but that’s where my personal involvement in the song began and ended. After that I just let the characters plot their own journey. So it came as a bit of a surprise that, by the end of the song, it emerged as being about a vaguely tawdry relationship between a prostitute and a punter. But hey, that’s what happens sometimes. It’s got nothing to do with me, I just set the ball rolling. GR

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In the heat of the night...

  • Published in Venues

By the end of the performance, the emotional electricity suffusing the audience was palpable: the combination of Bizet’s stirring music for his so-called “Spanish opera”, sometimes seamlessly segued into the genuine classical sounds of Spanish composer Albeniz, provided a heady soundtrack to an intoxicating mix of modern ballet moves and traditional flamenco. Carmen vs Carmen at the Jovellanos Theatre in Gijón was truly a night of so many goodies coming together, a perfect confluence of music and dance, passion and soul. My own soared as the troupe performed an encore. They wouldn’t have been allowed off stage without one, such was the demand from the stalls. The company, Iberica de Danza, had delivered.

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From the bottom you can make your way up

Fear is a debilitating state of mind, the negative root of so much turmoil and worry, be it on a personal level, familial, societal or global. Fear of the outsider seems to be an innate human condition, similarly fear of change, anything that threatens to take us out of our comfort zone. Of course these anxieties are linked, stemming from a fear of the unknown and the potential threats they pose to our individual survival, real or otherwise. It’s the “otherwise” which led to the lyrics of The Bottom Line. I get ridiculously frustrated when people constantly moan about their lot but put up with it anyway; they’d “love to be able to change things” but can’t. What they’re really saying is not that they can’t change things but that they won’t, either because deep down they don’t actually want to or, more commonly, that they’re actually too scared to take a chance. So they put up with their status quo and carrying on complaining. To me this is a no-brainer: if you don’t like the way your life is going, then you have to change course, you can’t rely on others to do it for you. It is a fact that you only live once, that there is no rehearsal: this living performance is it, your life, and the final curtain-call doesn’t allow for any encores.

I call The Bottom Line one of my “preachy” songs. It’s a “put up or shut up” diatribe. You make your choices: if career and money are your goals, then “walking down unknown paths” is not a direction option on your life-map: if domestic bliss is what you crave, then you have to keep those home fires burning. And who wouldn’t want domestic bliss, we’re all human: you’re one of the lucky ones if adventure goes with the paid job. Nor would it do if everybody decided to just get up and go: ultimately our settled society would just collapse, I know that. So what am I going on about? Well, that not everybody does want to get up and go but that, if you’re one of the ones that does, then do it, do it now. ML

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Richer than a glass of fizz

If, and you’ll have to bear with me on this, you compare albums to drinks, some are like coke: they’re fizzy and immediately tasty, they’ll give you a hit and, in the right mood, can be refreshing. Some albums are more like whisky, an acquired taste that doesn’t necessarily provide an instant rush but requires time to appreciate and enjoy fully.

If you drink too much coke, you end up with a cloying, sickly, sticky, gummy aftertaste and you probably think that it’ll be a long time before you want another. If you drink too much whisky too quickly, you’ll get pissed but, take your time, savour the malty nuances and let them mellow, and you enjoy a far richer experience than any glass of fizzy pop.

The Baron in the Trees by the Loafing Heroes is definitely whisky not pop. There is no immediate taste gratification but, in the longer run, you appreciate it more.

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Fiesta time re-ignites community warmth

Business as usual returned to Pinzales this weekend when the Pasito Show was invited back to the village to perform at the Pilarica, the last local fiesta of the season and a biggie at that. The occasion also marked the popular return of the village bar, re-opened after a summer in the doldrums. It was an appropriate confluence. It was actually during a past life of the bar that the Pasito went out of favour. Rumours had it that some of the band members had imbibed so much in the bar during their lunchtime beano that back on stage they were so tipsy that they had to resort to miming to a backtrack. That did it for the Pasito in Pinzales: villages here spend thousands of euros, sometimes as much as 25 grand, on hiring 10/12-piece orquestas for the fiesta blow-out: and for the vast sums involved people at least expect the band to perform live.

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About

Red House Work is the body of music, songs and videos written and produced by the band, Red House, based in Pinzales, Gijón. Here we also give you a flavour of our cultural and musical interests and those of others. Contact us on: redhousepostbox@gmail.com

Red House Work es el conjunto de la música, las canciones y los vídeos escritos y producidos por el grupo Red House, con base en el pueblo de Pinzales, Gijón. En esta web os ofrecemos también una muestra de nuestros gustos culturales y musicales y los de otra gente afín a nuestro proyecto. Podéis contactar con nosotros a través de:redhousepostbox@gmail.com