Alex James Is Unwell
Q - June 2000

There goes another glorious day in rock, another sunny hazy Monday at the top.

It started badly. There might have been coffee, but there was only tea, then an objectionable schlepp to an unnecessary spot for pointeless nothings. I was piquey until I got back into town again.

Dave Rowntree was "nerding" in the Tottenham Court Road, doing his secret Dave stuff. I picked him up at the Dominion Theatre, standing in all that chewing gum they keep on the Tottenham Court Road pavements. We'd been to Cash & Carry on Friday, me and Justine. It has an austere Eastern bloc glamour, as everything's in brown boxes, and you get a long wheel-base trolley and a hundred of everything that's boring to buy, like a dustbin of mustard and "Big D" nuts. There is an easy freedom to be found in this bulk buying. Things stop being brands and start just being stuff again if you buy enough of them. Enough Heinz beans is just beans, or enough cola is just a load of brown sticky shit instead of whatever it is on the telly. Dave particularly loved all the tins of beans, so I nominated him for membership of the local Booker. We strolled round to Foyles, the dusty decaying aristocrat of book consumption. Foyles is the tits. It hasn't even acknowledged the late 20th century and is everything a bookshop should be; ramshackle and stuffed with ancient treasure dark corners. Dave never wants lunch so I had proper chip sandwhiches on my on at The Franx. It's got a bit silly with bread and chips in the posh places these days. They've stopped peeling the potatoes, they've taken our butter away and the sliced bread paradigm is a universally acknowledged breakthrough - so why cubes?

I'm teetering on the brink of the crazy world of film. The film world has more posh birds than the land of rock - it's too noisy and smoky for them down here. They like to make noise and give everyone a hard on, which is exactly my job description, so we get on fine. I'm doing a film score. (Everyone else is and you get an orchestra!) There was a test screening for a target audience at, inevitably, the suburban Bluewater shopping mall. It's exactly the opposite of Cash & Carry and Foyles - cleaner than a poof's pantry, devoid of any dust or surprises. I was immediately buying stuff I don't want, so it obviously works. Our test screening "focus group," who are basically Joe Public having a lovely day, get to scare the shit out of a score of tuthless film executives by telling them what they thought of the film. The production team sit back as the street experts expound that such and such a scene "wasn't funny." A multi-million pound pride and joy if breifly and totally in the hands of the public. It's terrifying. I was thinking what a good job it was there was none of this bollokcs where I live, and then I remembered the Top 40 and shat myself. They all seemed to like the music and then we were free. There is always so much to talk about in film circles. I may be some time. Cheerio!


Q - Aug. 2000
Alex James is Unwell

Everyone's going on holiday, innit. Why doesn't everyone piss off in January when it's shite weather? It's only two bob to go anywhere these days: it costs more to see the Arsenal than go to Austrailia. I'm not sure if I want to go anywhere else - I'll stay here and play Perudo.

A popular destination among many now is the rehab thang. Is there a game of "muppet-tag" going on? People are wigging out and booking in, and at any time, one or more of my illustrious colleagues is in one clinic or another, coming to terms with their badness. The awful things is, no-one's drinking anywhere near as much or being anywhere near as ridiculous as in those heady days of the mid-90's. As if to spite them, I cavort and carouse with extra vigour.

I probably shouldn't have re-read Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies, which would make your granny thirsty.

My gallivanting has taken me to the theatre a couple of times this month. Alwasy drink gimlets at the theatre. What a joy it is to fancy one of the chorus and settle into happy dreams for the second act. As the play unfolded I mused what a delightful thing it is to be a bass player, where al lyour beeest ideas are had in your sleep, rather than having to learn all those lines and be someone else. A few gimlets will always give man a sense of excitement.

It's "Fezzie-time" and the agents of the bands who performed at this year's Meltdown are all quietly smouldering that the festival with the best line up had the smallest capacity, so they can't all get their new swimming pools. It was a stroke of genius getting Scott Walker to organise it, him being the single biggest influence on the British music of the last decade. We could hardly say no.

I came into the dressing room to find Damon bully-ragging some poor fucker in a corner who was then introduced as Scott. Graham was looking on apprehensively. I prentended to eat some cheese, which had gone hard, and biscuits, which had gone soft. It's never like you thinks it's going to be when you meet people. The Festival Hall is very grown up and Radio 3. It was nice to make a racket again.

Always very agreeable is the Clerkenwell Literary Festival. It has the best vibe of all the festivals, being a very intimate affair. People were drinking absinthe and writing "poetry" about "bum orchards" at four in the afternoon. Nice work if you can get it.

I'm up and down like Elizabeth Taylor. I've reverted to a nocturnal existence, to being a night creature with swollen eyes, scouring the easy listening section for Randy Crawford and Glen Campbel: musical medicine. I like staring at things and Harry Potter. I fear it's time to sober up and put the CD's back in their cases. Cheerio!