Tag Archives: Mat Devine

10 provocative ice breakers

In one of his recent blogs, Mat Devine, who is one of my most favourite people (like Eugene Hütz and Tim Burton) published a series of 10 provocative ice breakers in response to a fan’s request for help in approaching strangers. His suggestions were:


The Racoon Society)

1. Katzenjammer is a German word literally meaning “cat’s wail” and hence “discordant sound”, used to indicate a general state of depression, bewilderment or in reference to a hangover. Discuss.

2. What would you do with a billion dollars? I’d have my dentist give me Jon Bon Jovi’s veneers. The exact ones. Taken out of his mouth and put into mine.

3. Many people in NYC seem to be doing a lot of heavy drugs AND a lot of yoga. Paradox? Discuss.

4. The famous wedding march “Here Comes the Bride” is actually a refrain from the symphony Lohengrin composed by Wagner, an alleged Nazi. Discuss.

5. Why, in England, does it take 20 rich white dudes on horses and 30 attack dogs to catch one fox? Discuss.

6. Is semen considered meat or fish? How does this affect the sex life of vegans? Are you a vegan?

7. 5.4 million species of animals worldwide remain unnamed. Well? What’s everyone standing around for?

8. I just thought of a perfect name for a metal band: The Cuban Missile Crisis. Conversely, you know what’s a bad name, for a band or a person? Herman. Discuss.

9. Magellan was killed by a bamboo arrow to the face by one of Lapu-Lapu’s militia. Can we joke about that or is it too soon?

10. Enough idle chatter, let’s get down to the BIG issues: ‘Who are we?’ ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘Will Antonio Banderas EVER make a movie that makes me say, “Hey, I actually have a vague desire to see that”? Discuss.

Inspired by the awesomeness of these I thought I’d have a go too:



 1. If the word hairy means having a lot of hair, shouldn’t the word skinny mean having a lot of skin? Discuss.

2. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? But more importantly, what exactly is a woodchuck?

3. According to David Icke, the world is controlled by giant lizards. Considering David Cameron, might he be right? Discuss.

4. Google… Gooogle… Gooooogle… sounds a bit stupid when you say it a couple of times, doesn’t it?

5. If you are what you eat are cannibals just trying to self-actualise?

6. Have you ever considered the possibility that everything around you is a figment of your imagination, you are the only thing in your world that is real and essentially you are completely alone in the universe? Do you need a hug?

7. There was once a mouse in the attic of the house I used to live in and I used to wonder if maybe he and his mouse friends would swarm over me while I was sleeping and eat me before I could wake up. Do you hear scrabbling?

8. Cockroaches have been around since the dinosaurs and a headless cockroach can survive for a couple of weeks before eventually starving to death. Do you think maybe David Icke is worrying about the wrong creature?

9. Every year, the average person is known to ingest 430 insects. I’m trying to stay ahead of the game. Would you like a fly?

10. We can only dream things we actually know. There may be strange faces and/or places in our dreams, but your mind is not making any of this up. You may not remember the places and faces during your life, but your mind does. Creepy, isn’t it?

The chase is on and if you run, I will follow you

Last night Barb and I went to see Kill Hannah at the Astoria. The atmosphere was electric from the moment we finally got into the venue. KH fans are a special kind of fanatical and so everyone was positively itching with anticipation.

Our arrival came halfway through first opening act, Serpico. I’m not sure about them. My first impression was that they were just noisy and not cool and stylishly noisy… just noisy. But their last song was actually really cool. It reminded me of old school AC/DC. I wouldn’t say I was in any great rush to check them out but they didn’t make me long for earplugs.

The next band, was called Gun Dogs… I only found this out post gig, it sounded like they were called, Gun Dart… or Gun Tard or something more like that. They were fronted by two guitar playing girls who weren’t bad in terms of their guitar skills… but vocally… well, let’s just say it was reminiscent of a car going past really fast. Everything was just nyaaaawwwhhhhh. Their set seemed to go on for eternity. All I can say is with the amount of arm waving they were doing, thank god they shaved their armpits!

My Passion were as psychotically energetic as ever. Even though it was biggest stage I’ve ever seen them play on, Laurence (sporting red skinny jeans, cravat and three-quarter sleeve military style coat) still almost ran over everyone. They played a lot of stuff off their upcoming album, all of it awesome but I did long for Booman and Bitter Too. We got the distinct impression that their set was cut short because Gun Tart overran. I never get bored with Simon slinging his bass around. It was not difficult to see why they got so much pure lust from the crowd.

The Kill Hannah set was really something special. They came out (very cheekily) to Beds Are Burning by Midnight Oil and played with absolutely everything they had. It was very unfortunate that Johnny was not there (I hear whispers of rehab and anorexia but I don’t want to speculate), however Tom, from the fabulous Powerspace, made a sterling replacement. Mat was particularly excitable and declared that what had gotten him through the entire tour as well as the tour bus inferno was the prospect of playing in London and that being onstage in the Astoria was officially the greatest moment of his life. It was a very satisfying setlist including The Chase, The Collapse, Crazy Angel, Black Poison Blood, Lips Like Morphine, new track – Acid Rain and of course, Welcome To Chicago Motherfucker. My adoration of KH is intact and growing with every show!

We had an encounter after the show that proved to me yet again that cigarettes can save your life. Earlier in the night we had met two very drunk, very lovable 18 year-old South African emo boys who had bummed smokes and hugs off us. Coming out of the gig we spotted the smaller of the two who was whinging that the other one had left him because he was “scoring a chick”. This was very evident since his whole face was covered in lip-gloss. He then asked for another smoke which I handed over. At this point the strange man who we had spotted outside the sex shop (it’s Soho… they’re everywhere) following around small Asian girls, rubbing his hands like Fagin, strode up to the little Emo-Saffa and demanded a smoke. He said he didn’t have any at which point Psycho-Perv made to start a fight. I swiftly stepped in and gave him one of my smokes and Barb and I dragged Emo-Saffa down the road with us to safety. Concrete proof… smoking saves lives.

Disappearing penises, flaming tour buses, Satanic Sluts and more

My return to London has made me realise some of the things I missed the most when I was in SA…

–    Psychotically unpredictable weather
–    Soho, with all its insane weirdness
–    Indie boys
–    Music that was not picked by some lame radio station
–    The banter in my office
–    Scurrilous celebrity gossip

I’ll explain…

I knew I was back at work when I handed around the Cadbury’s Top Deck I had brought back from SA in an attempt to prove that SA chocolate is tastier and was swiftly slated by half the team. An argument about chocolate ensued in which it was declared that Galaxy is akin to crack in addictiveness. This was swiftly backed up by the comment, “yes, crack is rather more-ish”. Office banter, a reason for living.

I spent the evening with Josh and Sanna. Josh is giving Sanna her first tattoo as an 18th birthday present and they invited me along to Self Sacrifice as, I guess, a sort of facilitator. Tattoo artists tend to talk to “normal” people as if they are a bit random but since I now have a giant tattoo on my leg, for the first time I was regarded as “one of them” and the tone of conversation completely changed. We even did that thing that tattooed people do where they compare art. Everyone was very impressed with the one on my arm and Maio got a lot of pats on the back for it. Tonight Sanna will be getting some words of wisdom from Bob Dylan inked on her hip and I will be getting my apostrophes that Maio forgot the first time around. We are both swooning at his loveliness.

When we went into the shop it was cold but clear. When we came out it was hailing, like mad. No warning… just hail. The atmosphere was a bit loopy. Everyone was tearing around, the shop owners were trying to lure people into their shops and really it all just looked quite beautiful. We took it as a signal to retire to the Royal George. The George is always packed with weird and wonderful Soho-ites including lovely indie boys. In SA a kind of hyper, rugby-playing, beer swilling masculinity reigns supreme. It completely puts me off. So to be surrounded by lanky boys in skinny jeans with wild hair, crazy scarves and pointy shoes was a return a warm joyous place packed with eye candy.

We ended our evening with a delicious Italian dinner in a hideaway restaurant on Goodge Street. The staff were quite mad. When Josh handed his card over to pay and accidentally keyed in his pin a little early, the waiter declared that he was slowing down the process and would render said waiter with not even enough time to go to the toilet. He finished this off by saying, “by tomorrow I will have no penis.” We giggled all the way to the tube station. By the time I got home it was snowing… in October.

At the moment the talk of the town is Russell Brand’s latest round of dodgy behaviour. During a BBC2 Radio show where he had Jonathon Ross as a guest the two of them rung up Fawlty Towers star, Andrew Sachs, who they were supposed to interview. When he did not answer they left him some naughty little voice mails, including one claiming that Russell had had carnal knowledge of Sach’s granddaughter. This has lead to a national outcry where even Gordon Brown is demanding retribution and Russ has once again been suspended. Personally I don’t know what all the hullabaloo is about. The granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, is outraged… despite the fact that she is currently on tour with a Burlesque group called Satan’s Sluts and actually DID sleep with Russell. She’s not exactly the virgin Mary now, is she? There is a massive financial crisis going on and the Prime Minister is focused on badly behaved radio presenters… I love this country. Find out more here.

And in closing, I am very excited as Barb and I will be going to see Kill Hannah at the Astoria 2 tonight with My Passion opening. It’s both exciting and a relief since the gig almost didn’t happen. While on tour in Switzerland last week, the two bands shared tour bus caught fire and was incinerated. Fortunately everyone is fine but they have lost virtually all their personal possessions and have been reduced to performing in their own merch. You can see actual footage of the bus in flames on singer, Mat Devine’s, blog. I can admit that any casualties or injuries of either of these bands would have left me in a state of disrepair so the fact that all is well is cause for celebration. I will be taking along some fingerless gloves to help the boys ward off the cold! This news of course was passed on to me last week by Jen since no one in South Africa has heard of either band. They’re not as radio friendly as the consistent mindless dance music that Highveld and 5fm pump out, I guess.

Kentucky fried

I have become obsessed with Cage The Elephant. This happens every now and then, when I discover a band and I don’t want to listen to anything else. Now while the absolutely vein-boiling guitar magic of their songs is undeniable, a large part of the obsession is around vocalist, Matt Schultz. I cannot explain my attraction to his accent. The man is from Bowling Green, Kentucky and he sounds full on trash-South. There are extra syllables in his words. He says ain’t. You can even hear the twang when he sings. I should not think this is sexy… but I do. I want to wear his accent like a jacket… I want to lick it! Jen likens this to her desire to sleep in Matt Bellamy’s piano. I’m pretty sure neither of us has taken enough drugs to be this mad. This is Matt Schultz. He’s really not even that cute but if he whispered even the words of Back Stabbin’ Betty (which is really just a string of insults) to me, I’d follow him pretty much anywhere.

Last night Don convinced Kelly and I to watch some of Employee Of The Month before America’s Next Top Model came on. I have to hope that Don was only into it because Jessica Simpson is the female lead because it is possibly the worst start of a film (thank God we only had to watch the first hour) that I have ever seen. Poor old Jess could be out acted by a lidless highlighter pen… and a storyline that involves female shoppers being driven wild by a cashier’s ability to speedily check their groceries is absolutely baffling. Unless this is normal in America… anyone?

Anyway, the film made me think about the logic of attraction. I look at Jessica Simpson and I can aesthetically understand why she is “pretty” but she is so bland and so predictable that I don’t see what about her would excite someone. I have the same thing with many actors and male models that are supposed to be sexy. I am bored by the perfectly cut physiques and immaculate teeth. I wonder what the psychology is behind attraction. What makes some people look at the blonde, buff, tanned and chiselled creatures of the world and pick a skinny, big-haired, tattooed guy with a slightly off-kilter nose (and potentially a trash-South accent if there is one going spare). So kids, what’s your preference… conventionally attractive or sexy-weird… Jessica Simpson or Kat Von D? Daniel Craig or Mat Devine? Cast your vote in the comments…

I think I have obsessed enough for one day…