"The music was good, but I think the real headliner was the fact the festival was happening at all. Everyone just seemed so buzzed to be back."
Longtime scribe and Riffs & Rhymes columnist Oliver Cable shares his latest dispatch from a near post-pandemic London in a special "letter to" our editor.
Ironic memes are the new anger.
Socially-distanced live music is slowly appearing in certain corners of the world. In a new column, Oliver Cable writes of the fleeting feeling we've missed since early March.
Each person who enters through the doors keeps the fear of failure at bay for another five minutes, and if you can do that enough, it starts to feels like a success. Yet those who come out saying: “I was really blown away" – those are the people I should be counting.
I was too young to see my favourite band when they were my favourite band. I look back with fondness on that youthful obsession, but will I ever be that invested in a band again?
Thanks to the advent of Zoom pub quizzes, I hear most of my music nowadays in ten-second snippets, tiny baited hooks for the fish who work in my brain’s sound archives.
This week, writing a music column is an unwelcome reminder of things I enjoyed doing before the world went into lockdown. And yet, people are finding ingenious ways of getting by.
On Thursday 12th March, Cat Empire played at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was to be my last gig before live events were dropped from social calendars en masse. There’s nothing quite like the sound of an excited crowd, and waiting for the show to start, certain words and phrases rose to the surface like driftwood at the foot of a waterfall.
“An ice-cream wept on the steps of the church.”
Head hunched over desk, hand cramping, my pen decides where it’ll go next. I start writing with no direction and build a map as I go. I’ll know when I’ve got to where I need to be, if I’m lucky, but not how I’ve got there.
There’s nothing to see, just like there wasn’t really much to see when the band were playing, or when the poet was performing. But there is something. Perhaps if we had other senses we wouldn’t dismiss all that is unquantifiable.
It takes an artist not to play every note.
We dipped into the archives for the latest installment of CableWrites. Relive the magical experience of Radiohead live in Portugal, just a few years ago.
The festival shortlists were out. None came out a clear winner: not the right music, poor headliners, no acts announced yet. None, that was, until we looked in our back garden. We were going back to Pinkpop.
An endearing ode to the physical LP and all that it stands for.
His sand-timer coffee cup looks nearly empty. I watch him tilt his head way back to drink it as he plays notes one-handed, not even looking at the keys. The sound which emanates seems to fill the air, coming not from any particular place but echoing from all around me.
Oliver Cable is a writer, poet and organiser of London-based live music and spoken word nights called Nowhere Nights. Now, he's spilling his thoughts onto the pages of this website in a new creative writing column, "CableWrites."