Wednesday, 15 August 2012


I've decided to write this for a number of reasons. Partly explanation (for anyone who feels they require one). Partly as a final emotional outpouring in the name of Mammal Club (for anyone who feels they require one).

Regardless of how sad, happy or gloriously indifferent your reaction is to the following statement: we have decided to terminate the life of Mammal Club... We have decided to terminate the life of Mammal Club.

Dignitas are in the process of co-signing the forms, and every element that used to make up our band is now sat in it's favourite chair, wrapped in a blanket, being cuddled by it's relatives and awaits the soft tap of the pen, marking the full stop... the pen's way of whispering "end". If not mightier than the sword, then surely more humane.

One concern that I have clearly managed to hurdle is that this piece of writing may come across as self indulgent... to the point of vomit inducing. Then I realised that this is far less self indulgent than the labour of:
•writing down things I think about.
•setting those things to a melody that makes my heart go warm.
•setting that to a harmonic background that pleases me.
•spraying it forth with a vaguely aerodynamic beat, and expecting anyone who it hits to tell me how good it is.

A labour that I previously nicknamed "Mammal Club".

So, to a form of explanation.

"...And I play in a band" has long been an accompanying suffix to my well rehearsed introductory performance.
When I was 12 I formed Urban Pilgrims with three other lads who had a shared desire to make shit loads of horrible noise. That, and a desire to have something vaguely meaningful to scratch into bus shelters.
Pretty much since that day I've utilised "and I play in a band". Although, I have noticed that with each year that has passed since forming Urban Pilgrims, the level of pride and volume with which I utter the phrase has decreased steadily. Nowadays it is as barely more than an embarrassed whisper.

I am not fully aware of why this is. Perhaps I associate the phrase with my thoroughly more obnoxious 12 year old self. Or perhaps I associate it with my thoroughly more obnoxious 13 year old self. Or 14 year old self, or 15 or 16 or right the way up to 24 (I am now 25).
What is probably a more prominent reason for the phrase's steady diminuendo... For anyone who doesn't know, diminuendo is the Italian name for the musical device of steadily getting quieter (ladies and gentlemen; my thoroughly more obnoxious 25 year old self). Yes, the more probable reason for it's diminuendo is the fact that the emotional effort I put in to the band no longer produces a proportional amount of emotional reward. I know that I also speak for each remaining member of Mammal Club when I say this.

This is not for one second to be taken as disrespectful to the memory of Mammal Club.

Being in a band has provided me with many moments where I have felt nothing short of Godly.

These moments include:

•Signing a contract in the XL records offices for the release of my first ever single.

•Seeing our 7" vinyl with my artwork on it, for sale in a real record shop.

•Being played on Radio 1, and temporarily suspending my real opinion of Colin Murray.

•The release of a full length EP.

•The release of a better single.

•Reading back the lyric "Every word I speak is just a mispronunciation of your name" and meaning it... about a person who I am by some miracle, or mistake, lucky enough to call my girlfriend.

•Throwing a scotch egg at a heckler and hitting him.

•Whilst on tour, spending a boiling hot day with three of my best friends chucking stones in to lake Ullswater and it feeling like it was sort of my job.

•Sitting in the BBC building in London waiting to play a live radio session and sharing the waiting room with Christine Hamilton. (Actually this one made me feel weirder than it did Godly, but worth including I thought).

•Seeing a complete stranger in the crowd singing the lyrics to a song I've written.

•Reading a tweet from an awe struck girl who's arm I'd signed after Evolution festival, stating that she couldn't believe she'd met me... A girl who two hours later I saw passed out in an alcohol induced sleep being tended to by a St. John's Ambulance volunteer... (again, Godly is maybe generous for this one too. I think this one should probably go in my concerned/responsible list).

•Realising that every second of every Mammal Club song and performance meant something.

Reading that list has nearly convinced me that this is a bad idea... But then I remember every gig we ever played in Middlesborough and it balances out again.
In reality we wrote ourselves into a paradox by putting so much of ourselves into Mammal Club that getting the reaction we felt we deserved was an almost impossible achievement. This is only through fault of our own. And though this mind set might sound damaging, anything other than lumping round your heart, soul, lungs and brain, along with your equipment, to me is nothing short of preposterous.
But our hearts, souls, lungs and brains have taken too much of a beating and drumming up enthusiasm has become harder and harder. Spite and jealousy of shit bands doing better than us is an unhealthy petrol to drive a band on, so it made sense to stop.
If you've ever enjoyed any song/performance/piece of artwork/pun/awkward silence we've ever created then we couldn't be more grateful for how good you've made us feel. In the coming days we will be making every song we're happy enough to reveal available for download from
mammalclub as meagre recompense.

Those who have helped Mammal Club's life along the way directly, know who they are, and to write your names down would cheapen the genuineness of our thanks (that and I can't be arsed to write them all down).

Thanks for making us feel Godly.