Last weekend was one of the best. I met up with lots of old friends and made a few new ones. On Friday I saw "Breadcrumb Trail", an informative documentary about Slint, at the Cornerhouse. My favourite part of the film was the letter from a five year old girl signing herself Dr Ill in response to Slint's request on the back of the "Spiderland" cover for any female vocalists interested in singing for them to get in touch. She wrote to tell them that she was much too good a singer for their band and wasn't interested. My friend Christian offered to pay for me to see Dean Blunt at Soup Kitchen so off I went to that with him and Eddie to check out some music new to my ears. Former Pan Sonic rhythm'n'noise experimenter Mika Vainio was at his explosive best at Islington Mill later, and Source Direct had me dancing about a bit even though I had to go stand outside the main room every ten minutes or so as it was cranked up so loud. Two attacks of intense strobes in one night (Dean Blunt and Evol's onslaught at the Mill) was a bit too much, and I ended up covering my face with my hat. Paddy from Gnod joined in on Mill roaming drum with Ninos du Brasil.
Saturday began with a new shortened version of "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" on Radio 4, for two hours or so morphing meaningfully into Radio 42. At the Town Hall that afternoon Barry Adamson of Magazine and The Bad Seeds was being interviewed by Dave Haslam, whose Debris fanzine I used to read before ever setting foot in Manchester. Barry was humourous and entertaining and the discussion could've gone on twice as long. Afterwards I headed to the Northern Quarter to buy tickets for Fat Out Fest (www.fatout.co.uk) and Mike Watt (13.4 Ruby Lounge) and then took a quick look at the Cornerhouse Hiker Meat exhibition before heading south to see the Stranglers last British gig on their 40th anniversary tour. They probably played the best gig I've heard them play, with four ornately framed screens above showing notorious scenes from their past and video clips: "Midnight Summer Dream" accompanied by big black panther and little black cat; "Nice'n'Sleazy" with the strippers. After opening with "London Lady and "No More Heroes" I think they played at least one song from every studio album. The big surprise oldie we didn't expect to hear was "Peasant in the Big Shitty" and closing the main set with "5 Minutes" and "Hanging Around" was perfect. It was not yet time to die. Jet Black only played on four songs, "Golden Brown," the singalong number one that should've been "Always the Sun" and "Genetix" and the final two drummer encore of "Tank" with Dave Greenfield firing off big explosions. It was Dave's birthday and he donned a silly birthday cake hat with way too few candles for "Threatened." Baz Warne and JJ Burnel did a silly waltz to "Thrown Away" described by JJ as ther disco number. The first three song encore found them adding an over the top drum solo to the end of "Something Better Change." Other soongs they played included: Peaches, Walk On By, Was It You?, Nuclear Device, Duchess, Skin Deep, Never to Look Back, Valley of the Birds, Time to Die, Lowlands, Freedom is Insane, and in the first encore Norfolk Coast, All Day and All of the Night. After they took a bow and "Meninblack" played us out I headed to the Night and Day where Warm Widow had been playing but it was all over. People were hanging around outside and soon lots of Warm Widow friends headed to Gullivers where the Stranglers were on the jukebox and I got a generous glass of wine Warm Widow bassist Zak Haha was celebrating the remains of his birthday. So Zak and Dave Greenfield share a birthday and both played a gig on their birthday and it was one of the best days ever: the midnight summer dream had begun and I walked on by.