One of Brazil's most formidable footballers and personal hero of mine, has died.
A real phenomenal guy who transcended his natural flair and great talent on the pitch, and went on to become a beacon for fair-play and justice.
An unlikely athlete, skinny and almost clumsy, famous for his trademark 'back-flip', who left many a gringo looking fool stranded on the green, an unashamedly heavy drinker and smoker, who'd light-up a ciggie at half-time, and to top it all off, a doctor by degree: smart, funny and articulate to the bone, who spoke openly against injustice and actively for democracy.
Humanity could not have designed a cooler sporting hero if it tried to.
The Brazilian world cup squad of 1982, which he captained, is considered by footy connoisseurs, to be our best, surpassing the talent and heights of the classic 1970 squad;
But it's an unfair comparison, for if 1970 was the best 'old skool' team, when the game was still quite slow and players would keep a good mile away from each other, it is the 1982 squad that marks the beginning of modern football as we know it: fast, furious and shameless - It's a turning point, just as the ugly efficiency of muscle building science and the advertising magnets are taking over and turning the sport into the billion-dollar consuming monster that it is today.
Brazil's 82 World Cup squad is the last bastion, a hallmark for individuality and flair, and Sócrates, the leader personalising the spirit of that wonderful team.
The most appealing aspect of his story, one which I think we can extend to every single field of human endeavour, whereas in arts or sports, is that talent this bright is not a product of 'hard work' and learnt technique, no - it is something way more powerful and out of control: it is a natural gift, randomly scrambled and falling perfectly into place.
Sócrates was like that, effortlessly talented.
He liked staying up late, smokin 'n' drinkin' and would often skip practice - because he could.
He would stride lean and horse-like onto the field, beautifully. This gentle giant without a hint of arrogance, almost like saying: look, look at me, there's this thing I can do without even trying to, it starts in my head, grows in the groin and lands on my feet. It's no big deal, really.
That's just who I am.
About a year ago, a journalist who follows me on twitter, aware of my passion for the Great Doctor, sent me Sócrates' personal email address, as he was gonna be in London for a week. I had every intention of contacting him and get him to speak a few words on a new footie song I'd written. But I never got in touch, the days went by and I completely forgot about it.
Whether we would have met or not is now immaterial, as the idea that we could have met will now live in my imagination.
Here's a Youtube tribute to that great 1982 squad - featuring some dodgyo over-melodramatic muzak and nasty graphics - it worked for me: had to drag emergency box of Kleenex out:
and make sure to take a good look at the team line-up before the match: every shape, colour and size: each one, a unique little talent, and how unlike the pathetic and uninspiring pasteurized muscle-inflated billion-dollar corporate ad selling machine of today's modern players.
Back under the starry sky of the Drugstore cave, having spent a pretty emotional month, overwhelmed by personal stuff.
Wasn't it Lennon who said that life is what happens, while you're busy making other plans?
I guess, sometimes, that pretty much sums it up.
Just as we were gearing ourselves up for a grand finale to our lovely year, with a xmas party extravaganza at the Scala, my father was taken ill - and my life overtaken by a tsunami of events beyond my control.
I try very hard to keep personal/family/work and lovers-life quite separate from the public Drugstore sarabande, but every now and again, and inevitably, the lines get crossed and boundaries blur-up.
So, the Scala gig was put away, as it simply didn't feel right to be celebrating under the circumstances - (needless to say, the few hundred who bought tix for the show, will be refunded) - and I took a few weeks away from this Drugstore life, to hurdle-up within my broken family circle.
I think it was the right thing to do - I just needed a little time and space for some life-atonement.
Funny isn't it?, when you're in your 20s, death is an impossibility.
Then, in your 30s, you start to casually worry about it, but think you got it under control by swapping 'sugar-puffs' for organic muesli.
Now, in your 40s, as your next of kin start to crumble, you do see it for the first time - just beyond the horizon, on that deserted beach where all souls stand upon:
Kent video shoot and the madness of the music industry
A few weeks ago we shot a super lo-fi vid, as a preview for our upcoming single 'Standing Still', for the NME online.
We did it in a hurry, as a fun little thing, shot it on my tiny 3mgpix camera, and I confess, was pretty darn pleased w/ the result.
But, as it was shot in small rez, by the time it got uploaded, and published twice as large, it did look a little too low-rez and fuzzy for viewing consumption.
Long story short: a fan decided to donate some cash towards a better video - craze, isn't it? to think that someone out there cares as much as we do, still rattles my heart.
So, last 2/3 weeks we hooked up w/ a few would-be video makers, met production companies - but things started to turn ridiculous pretty fast, in a way that they can in the musicbiz -like: they wanted an 'americana feel', ok, we like the sound of that - but then they mentioned 'old Chevy's' 'neon lights' and the dreaded 'american diner' -hold your horses right there - that doesn't sound good at all - our 'americana' is slightly more subtle than a bloody pair of cowboys boots (hate'em, by the way).
When I heard them discussing what I was gonna wear, probably something long and floaty, that was it - I had one of those 'inner voice' moments, when a big bunch of people around you are telling ya: 'yeah, its gonna be great', but little voice inside shouts: 'no, no, it's not gonna be bloody great. get out, isabel, get outta of here and take your beloved little band away from all this silliness'. and so we did.
I'm keen on collaborations, really am, but you gotta hit me with a great idea - doesn't have to be big or expensive, indeed, some of the best/coolest and most engaging videos have very little to do with size of production, it's all about a strong 'idea'.
Nothing worse, in my book, then to spend the graciously donated cash and end up with yet another run-of-the-mill, generic, meaningless video.
So, we've decided instead to just go to the seaside and do some shooting ourselves. No mega ambition here, just wanna end up with some nice footage, a record of this Anatomy moment, and do something simpler, but meaningful to us.
At this stage of our mini-mouse-career, we're really not trying to achieve anything, hit the bright lights, nothing like that; in fact, that the record is out there at all is the achievement - all I hope is that we stick to our small guns and just keep doing music we wanna listen to, and film stuff we don't mind looking at ourselves.
that's all, really.
Found pretty cool'n'cheap beach-pod on the Kent coast, and we're gonna be close-hauled up there for a few days - taking a decent HD camera along, a bottle of Tequila and a variety of ponchos.
we got our video masterplan.
ps1 - that miss m is taking sunglasses to grey Kent coast, is proof of enduring optmism:
.ps2 - this is where we're heading:.
ps3 - le beach-pod:.
ps4 - and here's the lo-fi homemade preview we did for Standing Still:
As a replacement for last month's cancelled RoughTrade instore, 'cause of the riots, we'll be playing a mini-acoustic sesh, nxt weds at the Cat&Mutton pub, in Broadway Market.
Sesh is hosted by BBC6Music's Chris Hawkins.
Free entry, so come along and buy us a well deserved round of drinks - ta.
Due to the extra-cool response Anatomy has been getting in Germany - and the increased probability of band doing a few dates over there - I thought we should share 'La Berliner', which was originally published on the 'Secret Black Blog', as part of the Anatomy Pledge Project, with the rest of the known Universe.
Bands usually hate their own performances. That, I believe, is an essential genetic trait all artists share, and it is the only tool that any musician can and should use to propel you to aim to do better: your own criticism.
One of the things I've grown to dread about the digital age is that, although it's great that so many people help plug your work, on the other hand, I have no control over it (never a good thing in my book) - and inevitably you end up with a heapload of uploaded pics and videos that you desperately want to delete/delete/delete and erase from google's implacable cached memory.
(bloody Iphones, even 5 year olds have'em).
The day after the St Giles gig, I was kinda dreading seeing the footage back, too many things could have gone wrong: 1st gig w/ new line-up and only 8/9 rehearsals, weird church acoustics, new guitar, pressure to get vino/merch and tix stand ready, and so forth.
Delighted that one of our fans, Gary Simpson, quietly shot 'Lights Out'. By no means perfect, but I think it captures the evening's intense atmosphere really well, and no, Drugstore didn't do too badly either.
I think I can live with this one. just..
'lights out' shot by Gary Simpson /St Giles Church, Anatomy album launch - 18/08/2011
Setting the carousel in motion - prepping the St Giles gig
Church gig. Album launch. New cowboys. Party Competition. Handmade tickets... bloody maradona, what have we taken on?
Getting the church gig together was a mega undertaking;
Don't think we could have done it without everyone else chipping in.
From Nick sorting out the Alleycat, Jimmy nicking the wristbands, Pete tasting and approving the wine, to Phil doing, well, a mountain of stuff.
St Giles was a challenge that many a promoter would have shied away from, but stubborn we are, and now, as we finally see the last few items on the 'to do list', our hearts on the verge of precipice, where all this effort will glide into notes and little melodies, and slides and subtle beats, and smiling faces, bottles of wine and songs of sorrow and hope
I feel real touched that all this people have made such an effort to deliver a little drugstore nite music.
And as mentioned earlier today, probably my most profound twit:
hundreds of little anchors kept miss m awake into the wee wee hours:
...and the files and folderskept multipling:
Panic in the streets of LDN - Rough Trade Instore Cancelled
What a craze, craze weekend.
Our beloved city turned into a makeshift mini-war zone.
Subject too complex to digress, and still feeling a bit under the weather, having witnessed more disturbing tv clips than brain can digest.
As a result, and concerned that situation, although now under control, still a bit edgy, we decided to postpone our instore appearance at the Bricklane Rough Trade shop.
It's always a bummer to let people down, but Monday evening Police asked all the shops 'round the area to close earlier - as our instore would have been at 7pm, we felt that there was a small, but possible chance, that we might be putting our fans, crew and band in a vulnerable position - and that's never worth the risk.
For everyone who bought the album at RT store and a wristband, expecting to see the band, we promise, we'll either re-schedule the instore or come up with some other alternative.
It's disappointing for us, but real heartbreaking for all the cool/good/innocent people who found themselves caught in the middle of such volatile situation.
All of our tiny fingers are now crossed, hoping that things will cool off, and our minds and hearts are dead set on delivering a heart-warming performance at St Giles Church next week.
Vinyl arrived - for once this sub-Camille Paglia motormouth is speechless, literally. It's just perfectly pretty and all washed up in blues.
Been incredibly busy, people would be amazed at how many little things need to get done, even at our homemade level.
The St Giles gig is now sold-out, thanks to our word-of-mouth lovers, and already a little over-subscribed. It's gonna be craze, but hopefully a nite - (why have I started using 'nite'?, that's twitter for you, condensing thoughts into monosyllabic rants and raping the language) - anyway, as I woz (aycaramba...) saying, hoping St Giles will be a night when the heavy load of our labour will be lifted away into the church canopy, and together, communion-style, we'll lose our souls in music. Looking forward.
As it's now becoming a habit, just as we're gearing up for a live show, I'm shaking the line-up a little, looking for that elusive perfect fit.
People may think I'm crazy and argue that there is no such thing, that in life we need to learn to negotiate with the imperfect. But I would argue back that I cannot help but strive for what I once saw in a dream; and as the band moves forward, little by little, we're getting closer and closer to the non-vanishing point.
Release date is upon us, AUG 8th, won't flee the country, but hide in the cave and say a little secular drunken prayer to everyone who's been helping along the way.
The empty space in the core remains, but now greatly uplifted by a piece of vinyl with its tine hole in the middle and subtle grooves in translucent light, as pretty and pure as that incredible moment, when the heart of everyman beats for the first time and strikes forward filled with infinite possibility.
Last Rehearsals this week - on weds 19th we hit the studio.
Got shootloads to organise, but have album pretty much sketched out in my head.
Wish I had a little more time off, but feel we're ready to do 'it'.
In retrospect, I think we could/should have run the Pledge a few months earlier, coz it really felt like too many things were spiralling down the little funnel all at the same time, and at one point I was tempted to get the cash out of the band account and do a crazy runner.
But, we got everything done (did I say 'we'?! - wait a second, be fair miss m, the lonesome ranchers did all the posting, and during xmas week!), and it was totally worth the effort.
Shame things didn't work out w/ Mike, of course, goes without saying, intentions were good on both sides, and we all hoped for the best.
But, onwards and forwards we move, towards that sacred moment when that little red button that says: REC is gonna be pressed.