Things are moving.

New music! New gig! But first a few words…

Rodney Dangerfield described Bill Hicks as “so far ahead of his time, his parents haven’t met yet”. I would be so flattered if that were ever applied to Vostok Lake. Now, you see, the thing about Bill’s act is that he was angry and intolerant of bullshit, but he was also fundamentally kind-hearted. I believe that that’s precisely the right posture for any revolutionary. (Although perhaps we’re all scared that if we are as strong and loving and intolerant of bullshit as we want to be, they might fix onto us with their Cancer Death Ray, like they did to Bill and possibly Frank, or just shoot us in the head or crucify us or give us strokes or all of those other things that our culture tells us happen to true revolutionaries.)

"Uh... just what my agenda is!"

Bill Hicks as drawn by Steve Dillon in "Preacher"

Anyway. We promised ages ago that we’d try to blog a demo of a new Vostok Lake song every month, and we finally got around to doing the first one:

“Office Work is Fucking Boring” (subtle title there, folks) was first written in 2007/8, thereabouts, when I was working a really soul-destroying hideous job, as opposed to the relatively nice job I have for the time being. I was reading Pluto Press’ Big Red Songbook – in case you missed the memo, Vostok Lake is a left-wing institution, and we are also interested in folk music, in the sense of “the songs of our people”, “creativity from below”, “sisters and brothers doin’ it for themselves”, etc, rather than the specific style of acoustic guitar music. So I was reading this book full of the songs of the loves and lives and struggles of agricultural workers, coal miners, car workers, even chemical plant workers, and I thought… where are the songs of my people, the white-collar office workers?

The answer, of course, was that I had to write it. The first time I performed it, a prominent local leftist journalist jumped to his feet, applauded and yelled “Screw Joe Hill!” (“Office Work…” is at least more upbeat.) But it has quickly become one of the most popular songs at all of my gigs – even the ones in the South Island where I don’t think they’ve even heard of offices. Because it’s true, although fictional. We are looking to recording this properly and putting it out as a single. This is folk music for the next century, people.

And in other news… The Electric Salon is finally happening. We got sick of waiting for people in Auckland to provide suitable venues for “cyborg folk music” and other weird art, so we’re starting our own. If you, the audience make it a success, there will be more, perhaps at the same venue, perhaps sometime better. Perhaps even on a weekend.

Where: Thirsty Dog, 469 Karangahape Road, Auckland.
When: Doors open 8:30, Thursday April 28, 2011.
Who: Swampy Tonk, Vostok Lake, Scarlett Lashes and the Pseudo Dancers, Benny Profane, et al.
What: Music, drag, burlesque, poetry, gender blur, visual effects, radical cultural politics, lotsa larfs & sex.
How much: $10

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