Clutching the latest copy of The Wire I cross Kentish Town High St, head into The Renoir cafe - how bourgeois! - what? - no, it's not, but for three seconds I thought so - The Wire (sofistication) The Renoir (ooh, I say, how artistic!) - cappuccino! well, everyone drinks that nowadays....but not necessarily from The Renoir, which charges £2.60 for a small one, which is a bit steep but it is good and besides, the proletariat never use the place and I'm keen to distance myself from them, being aspirational to that extent if not in actual serious life matters such as a career or house-buying - I joke and have to make that clear in case you really think I mean it - but who knows? subconsciously, am I actually doing that? distancing myself from my class? no!
In my roll-neck sweater reading The Wire - 32 years ago that would have made for a stereotype - the Jazzy type - since The Wire used to feature typical Jazz material (as shown by the cover above) and that would make me a roll-necked-wearing-Jazz-loving-cafe-culture cliché - wouldn't it? perhaps I was, once. But The Wire evolved away from all that, thankfully (for their sales) and so did I - but not always with the latest Wire in the flat because I've had an on/off affair with it - on for the first 15 years, off for about ten (christ, how many years is that? am I really that old?), then on again until now - it's great that it's changed otherwise it'd be just another Jazz mag. Note, the cap 'J' is important in case you think of the slang term, 'jazz mag', for rude publications, although there is a woman on the cover of the latest copy - Marissa Nadler, who I've not heard of (looks inside), apparently she sings 'haunted songs' and funnily enough in one of the photos she does wear a somewhat 'come hither' look whilst laying on a sofa although perhaps that's my dirty-ol'-man imagination. I'm sure the (male) photographer didn't encourage her in a swinging David Bailey style to 'Come on, baby' whilst aiming his phallic lens at her - but there she is, on a sofa, looking....I suppose it's fine for a female songwriter to look like that, these days, even the 'alternative' type - very womanly, lipstick and - it's a feminist issue and I don't know what's right or wrong regarding that, nor am I qualified to say, being a man, last time I looked.
In the mid-90s we (Merry Prankster DJs) used to play events organised by The Wire so I saw Rob Young (current contributing editor) quite a lot - once he mimicked playing trumpet whilst I span a Miles Davis tune at The ICA - funny, the things you remember, isn't it? I played their night at the Spitz club in '97 on stage alongside Derek Bailey, which ended up in the '60 Concerts That Shook The World' (see cover above) and yes, regulars, I'm dining on that one until I go, sorry. I had to tell comedian legend Stewart Lee about it whilst we pissed at the 12 Bar Club Sleaford Mods gig - in the toilet, mind, we weren't that drunk - to impress him because DB is a favourite of his - I don't know how impressed he was but I told him how impressed I was that he answered questions on Bailey for Mastermind. Stewart Lee is the best comedian around bar none; the only one capable of using Miles Davis as an example of timing during a routine, convincingly, if you know about Jazz and if you don't, pointlessly, but that's one reason he's so good, not dumbing down for any potential dimwit in the audience, even an audience of Guardian readers, as he regularly jokes about. Funnily enough, in the last episode of his recent BBC2 series the theme was piss-related, thus reminding me of our meeting in the toilet.
I'm off now to read that Wire. So be good.