We last played live about ten years ago. We dressed like Kraftwerk and one of us played the Keytar. Him I'd imagine. I read from a book of spells and opened an umbrella inside whilst talking about how our luck couldn't get any worse. Lots of it was improvised. We used to rehearse using the CD player in his car. Matt Biscuit from the Art Goblins was in the "band" briefly too. Although I cant imagine what he did. Maybe he played the guitar, maybe he just danced. To explain the relevance of this painting to the Future And The Boy songs though I need to tell you the story of the Art Goblins.
The Art Goblins were my first band, well the first one that played live. I'd had one previously called The Fantastic Folk Devils R.F.C. That had songs about alcoholic cheese. Luckily that one never saw the light of day.
The Art Goblins began as a semi-serious three piece. Me and another singer called Dave and our friend Steve on guitar. We didn't have a drummer and we took it in turns to shout our lyrics. I remember Dave had a particularly good song called Beware Of The Skies Because Penguins Can't Fly. Mine were mainly half remembered Pulp B-sides. The first show went all right. So we thought we'd add two or three bass players to our already unusual line up. The second show was terrible and we sort of split up. One of the bass players we had added though was a guy I'd just met called Jasper who was obsessed with Brit-pop and some how he convinced me, or maybe I convinced him that we should carry on as a sort of arty-britpop band.
For a long time we were one of those pretend bands that doesn't play live, rehearses occasionally and talks about itself all of the time.
Then one day we got a stable line up. And played a gig. I was a lot more worried about my terrible singing voice then than I am now and to distract from it I used to do stunts on stage. I'd hold up signs, escape from a sack, play a vacum cleaner as an instrument. That sort of thing. People seemed to like it (well our friends). Then everyone went to university and we had to start again.
It didn't take long to start again though. We found three people in a club and became best friends with them because one of them was wearing a Half Man Half Biscuit T shirt. I was so delighted that we finally had a proper line up I went around telling everybody how brilliant we were. All the time. Everybody. Even the people who were drinking in the pub in Westbourne where I worked. I think that is how The Art Goblins got added to the bill of the Westbourne Traders Association Fete
Westbourne is quite an affluent area of Bournemouth and for the day of the fete they'd booked a proper PA and lots of tribute bands. There was a tribute to Phil Collins playing, a tribute to ABBA and loads more bands of that ilk. We were all playing on the forecourt of the pub. We were the only non-tribute band playing and we were on first. As it was a summer fete on first meant at about mid-day. Which is quite a busy time for a summer fete. We went down really really badly.
The set began with me making a joke by pretending I thought we were playing a fundraiser for the trade unions and singing a little bit of There Is Power In A Union by Billy Bragg. If anything that was the bit of the set that went down the best. By the time we'd got to the part of the set where I'm handcuffed and climb into a sack with a hoover (with the intention of escaping before the air gets sucked out) whilst growling and muttering
"Are you afraid of the art?.....ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE ART?"
The organisers were trying to turn the PA off. They were definitely afraid of the art. I think I saw some children crying
Luckily (or maybe not) I'd made really good friends with a guy called Derek who was sort of in charge of the fete and he refused to let them turn us off till we'd finished our set.
The set ended with me having a row with a gentleman who had covered his ears and was screaming
'THAT IS NOT MUSIC"
My argument was that it was Clever Clever Jazz and that he was too stupid to understand.
I imagine we must have been quite an unusual sight bickering like that at 12.30pm on a Sunday in Westbourne surrounded by crying children.
Anyway after the horror of playing the only Westbourne traders fete that was ever held. Whenever any of the Art Goblins did anything a bit unusual just for fun we used to describe it as 'Clever Clever Jazz' especially if nobody else liked it.
Future And The Boy was often described by Nicky and I as 'clever clever jazz'.
Now that does not sound like a ringing endorsement for a single. But I am actually quite proud of some of the songs Nicky and I recorded later on as Future And The Boy when we lived together in London.
Leaving Home Records are releasing two of those songs as part of a split single.
Skin Flick/Charity Shop by Future And The Boy is out on April 5th as a split single with a band called Micropenis
And can be bought from HERE for four pounds on vinyl. They also still have a few of the Art Goblins Fuck The MSP record that was single of the week in the NME and comes on glow in the dark green vinyl.
"Clever Clever Jazz" Paintings are made of Cotton Canvas (16" x 20") and Acrylic paint. They are £117.50 including postage.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org