Friday, December 28, 2007

A year has passed and gone (again)

It's that time of the year again.. End of year lists. An easy way for me to increase my blog-post quota by one... Click here to read what I thought of last year.


Album of the year

To be honest not much has really grabbed my attention this year apart from a Bruce Springsteen's Magic which is probably my favourite record and his best since The River. Great tunes which mixes political commentary with great pop-rock tunes. And it's a grower, even after an intensive few months of listening to it.


Also released this year which I adored was Wilco's Sky Blue Sky. A subtle recording which reveals more and more as time passes by. Like a fine wine really. I also bought the Hold Steady's recent album, Boys & Girls in America, which absolutely rocks, but I've already given them an award (see below) and don't want them to hog all the limelight.


Other albums of note include the Felice Brothers latest release, the Tailors album, Wakey Wakey - which I still listen to and love - and Babyshambles latest album, Shotters Nation which, I'm quite surprised to say, is brilliant.


Winner is.... Bruce Springsteen for Magic, for reminding me that old men can still release a vital, riveting and lively album (please take note Mr Dylan).



Concert of the year
Tough one this. I think the Hold Steady's second gig of the year that I saw at Camden's Electric Ballroom would have to be up there. As would their first gig. Wilco at Shepherds Bush was equally brilliant. Arcade Fire at Brixton was great too, although I ended up seeing them five times this year and was pretty bored by the end.

Travelling to Italy and Amsterdam to see Bob Dylan were other highlights, although not necessarily musically... it was more about the people I was meeting and the drinking. One thing is for sure the Milano crowd for Dylan were the nuttiest I've ever seen. They really are starved of good music out there.

Other concerts of note, the Magic Numbers doing a secret acoustic gig at the Windmill, my gig nights at the Windmill, and Metallica at Wembley. Because it was Metallica.

My final decision would have to be the Hold Steady at Camden Electric Ballroom. Because they made me fall in love with rock and roll all over again.

Next year I have a few concerts lined up already including multiple Springsteen nights in London and Helsinki, Two Cow Garage at the Windmill in Brixton and possibly the Broken Family Band.



TV Show of the year

Haven't really watched TV this year. I hate Dr Who, I hate Heroes and Lost and all that bollox. I enjoyed Skins (but can't remember if that came out this year or last). But there was one stand-out. The Sopranos ended in style. Absolute style.


Winner: the Sopranos. For remaining true to the spirit of the show and providing an unconventional and brilliant ending.



Film of the year

This should be easy. Shockingly, I only went to see one film this year... The Simpsons Movie. This wins by default, the two greatest words in the English language (obscure Simpsons joke for the fans there). It was hilarious though. I am going to double that count with a trip to the cinema tonight to see the film on Dylan's life, I'm Not There.


Winner: the Simpsons Movie.










Monday, December 10, 2007

With music in my ears

You may have realised that I've added a new application to this blog. It's a music player which streams tunes from all over the net through to my blog. So you will now have a random song whenever you choose to visit this blog. I've called it He Not Busy Being Born is Busy Dying FM.

Due to technical issues, I've had to place the player at the bottom, so scroll down to see the player and choose tracks.

Here are my first picks and I'll quickly go through the reasons why I chose these tunes. I'll be adding more songs over the coming weeks and will also write about why I chose them.

'Man in Me' by Bob Dylan
Bob in love and for once he's not pissed off at her. Used in the Big Lebowski. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

'Backstreets' by Bruce Springsteen
See my last blog post!

'Shut the Fuck Up' by Cake
Cake are awesome. I saw them at Latitude for the first time ever. From their album Fashion Nugget. They funked and rocked their way through their set with no setlist or idea of how long they had to play. They just didn't give a fuck and delivered one of the best sets all weekend.

'Running To Stand Still' by U2
Hmmmm. I listened to this repeatedly for a while back in October 2007. Not going to go into that but for a few days it was a very special song indeed and one which helped. And I hate Bono. I then ignored it until last week where it came on random on my iPod. And now I'm listening to it all over again.

'Massive Nights' by The Hold Steady
I've had a few massive nights with the Hold Steady. The song encapsulates the wild spirit of rock and roll. I absolutely love it. From Boys and Girls in America.

'Up To Me' by Bob Dylan
Outake from Blood on the Tracks. It's as good as anything on the album. Think of it as a hidden bonus song or something.

'Jungleland' by Bruce Springsteen
New Jersey ? The protagonist's mind ? My mind ? Who knows. All I know is that it is beautiful. Especially the last lines. And the amazing saxophone solo makes me cry. Every time. From Born to Run.

'Killer Parties' by The Hold Steady
The soundtrack to waking up on the sofa at someone's house the morning after a massive party with empty beer cans, cigarette stubs and rubbish all over the room. Amazing.

'I Think I Smell A Rat' by The White Stripes
The White Stripes at their most bluesy. Brilliant in the live context. Come on Meg, fuck that anxiety attack - go back on the road!

'One True Vine' by Wilco
Outtake from their recent album, Sky Blue Sky. This is awesomely lovely. The reason it's on here is that, for some reason, I don't have the song at home.

'ELT' by Wilco
From Summerteeth. So true and a great song to sing when you're drunk.

'Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight' by The Felice Brothers
Saw these guys at the Windmill in Brixton. They came, they saw, they conquered my heart. I love them.

'Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)' by Kenny Rogers
Again from the Big Lebowski (does it have the best soundtrack? Possibly!). A song about LSD, although in an anti-LSD way.

'Gun' by Jeff Tweedy
"Falling out of love, dear/It hurt much worse when you gave up". Fuck yeah Tweedy, write the lyrics of my life why don't you.

'Itchycoo Park' by Small Faces
Now for the pro-drug songs! It's just very happy and makes me smile even though M&S have nicked it for their ad campaign.

'Eight Miles High' by The Byrds
Another pro-drugs song. Great guitars on here. Simply astounding flower-power noise.

'Simple Twist Of Fate' by Jeff Tweedy
Been listening to this a lot. I never thought the original could be bettered. But I was wrong. I love the fact that he sings the Live 1975 lyrics too.

'Totem Pole' by Dan Sartain

Saw this guy last week. He is the new White Stripes. I went a little bit deaf in my left ear.

'I Can Get Us Out Of Here Tonight' by Lucero
Also saw this band last week. Great country-punk. Songs to get drunk to. This is a live version of the song which features on their most recent album.

'Kitty’s Back' by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Possibly the most amazing Bruce song live (at least recorded live). The live version I have is about 20 minutes long... This is a slightly different one, from 1978 (I think). I just love the tempo changes and it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

'I See You, You See Me' by The Magic Numbers
A live version of this song. I've seen them countless times at festivals. Everytime I go not expecting to be excited as I have seen them loads of times before. And everytime this song absolutely kills. It's just so beautiful and moving and it without fail makes me cry.

'Stuck Between Stations' (Acoustic) by The Hold Steady
An acoustic version because I hadn't heard this before. It's got great opening lines. Possibly the best opening lines ever.

'Sylvia Plath' by Ryan Adams
Another beautiful song. I guess every man wants his Sylvia Plath.

Went to See the Gypsy

Friday, December 07, 2007

King of the streets

I've been spending the last half hour going through videos on YouTube. It all started with a link to a Tom Waits video and ended up me watching this video below. It's 'Backstreets' by the Boss from 1975. YouTube is fucking great. Name an artist and you'll find some amazing videos. There's just hundreds of hours of videos up there on all your favourite artists at the touch of a button and for free!

There are two reasons why I am writing about this:
1) I got tickets to see him in London and Helsinki in 2008.
2) It's one of my favourite songs, and I've even named by band night at the windmill after it.

Anyway, I wanted to reproduce some of the comments here that were posted to the YouTube video. These are funny for many different ways. They kind of portray what I think about the show and the song.

"why did i have to be born in the frickin nineties "

"The warts define this performance. His voice is in tatters and still perfectly conveys the emotion. Bruce is a soul man at heart. Plus the band is absolutely COOKING."

"I've never seen anything like this, ever. He's known to be one of the best but at the same time he's so terribly underated. There is no one like him. "

"I have seen the future of rock and roll and his name is Bruce Springsteen "
--> "Correction. You have seen rock and roll at it's best. Anything that's come since have been left trailing in his dust "



Joey

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Advertising signs that con you

I feel terrible. I saw this headline on the Guardian website:



More than half of Amazon will be lost by 2030, report warns



and the first thing I thought about was the bloody online shop.



It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Like in the middle of Life magazine

Music fans, especially older ones, will no doubt have heard all about this. Morrissey (who will be affectionally referred to as Mozza in this article) was interviewed by the NME. The published article seems to have some comments which could be construed as racist - certainly they appear to have racist undertones.

Mozza is claiming that his remarks were taken out-of-context and twisted by the NME who wanted to create a sensationalist piece in order to boost fledgling sales. You can read Mozza's full rebuttal over at Rockbeatstone. I'm no massive Mozza fan myself, but I can understand why he's pissed off. The fact of the matter is that he's been set-up royaly by the NME.

I was alerted to this by my mate Will with whom I had an empassioned discussion on this topic on Friday - while standing outside a pub sheltering from the rain, smoking rolled up Golden Virginia, in Brixton. We both agreed the NME had gone to shit, much like Mozza suggests in his rebuttal. One thing they may not have considered is how passionate some of his fans are. They make the Dylan freaks look sane.

Here's what they wrote on Conor McNicholas' (editor at NME) wikipedia entry... It will probably change soon, so I've copied the text as I read it at 15:30 on Tuesday 4th December. Go people power. It will be interesting to see how this all ends. It seems as if it will end in the courts... Still some good has come out of this - he probably can't afford this kind of publicity! And he's going on tour soon and has a future album to flog to record labels.

Conor McNicholas is editor of IPC-run music magazine The New Musical Express, better known as the NME. He sold the magazine down the river in the early 2000s by focusing on inconsequential tabloid rubbish and loads of boring identikit, indie-schmindley, pseudo-rebellious bands. He also bears an uncanny resemblance to a rodent, but has never let this get in the way of his magazine's worship of groundbreaking artists such as Dominic Masters.

His first professional post on a magazine was on a fledgling Manchester publication called Sub where he wrote a spoof horoscope under the pen name of Snufkin, which was not all funny. McNicholas went on to write for the dance press holding senior positions at both Ministry and Mixmag magazines before going on to edit Muzik.

In recent years he has turned the NME into a mainstream pop-magazine, with Lily Allen and The Mighty Boosh appearing on the front cover.

During his editorship Conor has won several industry awards including Consumer Magazine Editor of the Year (Periodical Publishers Association Editorial and Publishing Excellence Awards, May 2005), Entertainment Magazine Editor of the Year (British Society of Magazine Editors, November 2005), Tour of the Year for the NME Awards Tour 2006 (Vodafone Live Music Awards, October 2006), Editor of the Year and Music Magazine of the Year (Record of the Day Music Journalism and PR Awards, November 2006 ) and Brand Building Initiative of the Year for Club NME (British Society of Magazine Editors, November 2006).

In October 2007 Conor was listed as one of the 1000 most influential people in London by the Evening Standard.

In 2007 Conor was one of the judges for the Mercury Music Prize. The winning album was Myths Of The Near Future by Klaxons.

However, there has been some criticism over McNicholas's reign as editor, especially over claims that the quality of writing had slipped, the genres of music covered have become less broad and that the magazine now contains less content than in previous years.

In unrelated music news, I've written a piece for Rockbeatstone on Babyshambles' new album, Shotters Nation. The album is actually very good. Not bad for a smack head.

Last Thoughts on Woodie Guthrie

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm just thankful and grateful

It's Thanksgiving day/weekend in the US of A. Which is nice for them. I'm not sure why they get so excited about it, but it surely is only their version of Harvest Day here in the UK? I don't know enough about the history of it to be honest.

I remember Harvest Day as a child growing up in Sussex. We'd collect food at school and then deliver them to old people in the village as a nice gesture - and we got the afternoon off school. I remember being attacked by someone's dog as well. That was funny. Although not at the time, I was only eight.

Anyhow, happy thanksgiving to the US readers of this blog. Here's the Willam Burroughs poem called "Thanksgiving Day November 28 1986". I'm sure this will offend many, but it's mainly tongue in cheek (mainly...).



Seeing the Real You At Last

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Emptied the trash

England 2 Croatia 3. Ho Hum..



A joke making the rounds on the net - What's the difference between England and Lewis Hamilton? At the end of the day, Lewis still has a McLaren..

Million Dollar Bash

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Uncle fought in Vietnam and then he fought a war all by himself

At the moment, this blog is being reduced to a series of weird and wonderful YouTube videos. For this apologise, I know it's a little bit lazy.

Hope you enjoy this one too. It's Winnie the Pooh meets Apocalypse now - or Apoohcalypse Now.



Legionnaires Disease

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This wheel's on fire

It's fireworks night in the UK tomorrow. Here's a public service video from the 1970s. Do you know where your kids are tonight?



This Wheel's on Fire

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the hot New Jersey night

See below for a map of Bruce Springsteen's New Jersey. You can see all of the sights in his songs.... If you can't see it properly, then click here.

In related news I'll be going over to Proud Galleries this weekend to see this new photo exhibition on the Boss. Rock n Roll photo exhibitions are often the best - there's some great rock and roll photography out there and I'm hoping that this Springsteen one can match the Dylan exhibition I saw at Proud a few years ago.



In other news, I've written a review of Lucero's last album and interviewed soon to be indie mega-stars, It Hugs Back.


Hurricane

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A good car to drive after a war

A piece of bad news came today. My gig for Wilco at Brixton Academy was cancelled. Due to "band illness", no other news yet, hopefully someone from the band will so the right thing and release a statement with news of rescheduled shows next year or something.

Below is a video of 'Radio Cure' from their amazing I Am Trying to Break Your Heart DVD. Get it, watch it, it's great.



Second piece of news, is that Bob Dylan is doing an advert for a gas-guzzling Cadillac SUV. Lots has been said/debated about Dylan doing adverts before - it seems that he is still the only artist whose music cannot be used in adverts. I don't really have a problem with that - just a problem that he chose to sponsor a car which so harms the environment. I guess he doesn't give a toss though. Going back to Wilco they recently used one of their new songs in a VW advert in the US of A. You can see clips of the Dylan/Cadillac advert and Wilco advert below. Dylan on film still always manages to crack me up.






Talkin' World War III Blues

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In broken French

Danny Kelly, football broadcaster and radio presenter, writes on Southampton FC legend, Matt Le Tissier. I've spoken about him before. But here's a little youtube reminder of how great he was, first. I like the way he writes about Matt and it is a loving tribute for one of the greats of the game who is likely to be forgotten because he played for a "small" team.



“Rock and roll”, boogie bigwig Bob Seger once sagely observed, “tends to forget”. So, it seems, do football fans. I am really struggling to understand the reaction to this week’s announcement that Matt le Tissier, of the Channel Islands, Southampton and England, has retired.

I am mystified in two ways. First, by the actual paucity of column inches devoted to the man with the lop-sided face. All right, he took his leave on the same weekend that the Queen Mother did but I’m still astonished so few words has been written about Le Tiss.

Second, what little ink has been spilt over his departure has been tinged with the bitterest bile. The line of argument seems to be “good riddance to a fat waster who chucked away what modicum of talent he had”.

This, I have to say, is incredibly spiteful. And wrong.

So I come not to bury Matt but to praise him. In an age when footballers seem almost universally to walk on feet of clay, and where our own experiences, and letdowns, make it almost impossible to have a footballing hero, Matthew le Tissier is almost beyond reproach. I don’t know how he could have arranged things so that his departure could have been more spectacular or more widely noted. All I know is that he was a one-off, a truly remarkable footballer and that we shall honestly not see his like again.

I suppose that I’m so shaken by his going because he really does represent the passing of an age. Of several actually. Like some strange hybrid dinosaur, Le Tissier represented a number of marvellous strains of the Genus Footballerus, and his tearful farewell at St Mary’s last weekend means the DNA may well have been lost forever. With his final bow, we may have seen the last of such once-revered species as The Lazy Footballer, The Maverick Footballer, The Fat Footballer and The One Club Man.

Let’s deal with the fat/lazy thing first. The Guernseyman is 6-foot-1 and for most of his career weighed in at 13 stone. Hardly likely to win him Slimmer Of The Year but no heavier than, say, recent Footballer Of The Year David Ginola. Whatever his waistband, there’s no point denying that Le Tissier was not the most athletic fellow ever to grace the greensward, but that was of little comfort to the defences that he regularly tortured before age and infirmity caught up with him. Somehow, from inside that shambling frame he found the right physical stuff to do his wonderful job.

In all, this supposed tub of lard has turned out 541 times for Southampton (starting 463 matches) and managed to drag his lazy arse into position to score against supposedly superior athletes on a mere handful of occasions. A mere 210 occasions to be precise! And what goals!

In the years running up to the emergence of David Beckham, nobody scored a greater number of spectacular efforts. Equally, all of Le Tissier’s goals seemed to be fantastic. The fellow seemingly never managed a tap-in or a bobbler; they were all twinkling dribbles, howitzer blasts or geometric chips. They used to say that you were either a great goal scorer (Lineker, quantity over quality) or a scorer of great goals (Gascoigne in his prime, or Bobby Charlton); Le Tissier was both. He was also, for the record, statistically the best penalty taker in the top division in the Nineties.

Even more damaging to his reputation than the fat thing has been the accusation that he is a maverick, that he cannot fit a team pattern. On the surface, this argument would appear to hold much water. A succession of England managers were too frightened of Le Tissier’s supposed lack of team play to put him in the national side. But the players who he played with week-in, week-out knew better. They realised that if they were prepared to run the extra yard for their genius colleague, to graft that bit harder to gain him a yard of space, a speck of time, he would reward them with the most precious coins in football’s currency, a pile of magical, win-bonus bringin’, relegation-avoidin’ goals and assists.

And Le Tissier was completely aware of his shortcomings. Barry Horne sweated and grafted and ran and toiled for Matt for several seasons in Southampton’s midfield. The Welshman recently told me that after every game, when people would be clamouring to congratulate and lionise Le Tissier, the winger would take time out to personally thank his team-mates for their efforts on his behalf.“To be thanked by a pure footballing genius”, Horne said, “was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

There are those too who criticise Le Tiss for not leaving Southampton and trying his luck at a bigger club. Again, Horne has been enlightening. In the early Nineties, Le Tissier had indeed agreed to join one of the capital’s giants. At the last minute he went to that club’s manager and asked to be released from his obligation, saying he couldn’t bear to leave either Southampton the football club or Southampton the city. Of course he can be accused, in the modern parlance, of “lacking ambition”, but, ultimately, he followed his heart (exactly as he did when playing the game) and which of us can say that that is ever a bad thing?In sticking by the team he loved, he probably sacrificed a wheelbarrow full of cash. To some that might make him a fool. To me, and millions of other football fans, it assures his status as a hero.

It is ironic that the player who most closely matched Le Tissier for pure skill should have been the Saint’s nemesis. Glenn Hoddle never forgave the Southampton man for his admittedly lacklustre performance (of which he was by no means alone!) against Italy when England lost the World Cup qualifier at Wembley in February 1997. Hoddle dropped him from the squad and waited a year before giving the wing wizard an ultimatum at the back end of the following season: Show me what you can do and you’ll go to the World Cup. The supposedly lackadaisical Le Tissier scored seven goals in Saints’ last nine fixtures and, in a B international against Russia that the press rightly regarded as a trial for the Southampton man, he scored a hat-trick. And hit the woodwork twice. Yet Hoddle didn’t even include Le Tissier in the provision squad for France 98.

Things were never the same after that. Except, that is, for one glorious day last May. They were playing the last ever match at The Dell, the ramshackle ground that Southampton had occupied for a lifetime.T he greatest player ever to regularly grace that pitch (with apologies to Ron Davies. Mike Channon, Terry Paine, Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer) was on the bench. Southampton and Arsenal were sharing four goals when Le Tiss finally meandered out onto the sun-washed grass.

Of course he scored the last ever goal at the ground. Of course it was a last minute winner. And of course it was an absolute stunner. Further, it was proof that the gods of football are still taking a very active interest in what goes on and that they have a special place in their hearts for the stroller from Guernsey. It remains one of my favourite ever goals, and Matthew le Tissier is one of my favourite footballers.

I love the way he played. I loved the fact that he owned a nightclub. I love the fact he shagged busty actress Emily Symons out of Home And Away/Emmerdale. I have even forgiven him for not joining Spurs.

His passing from the game should not be a matter for carping and pettiness.Instead there should be bunting in the street, a nationwide ringing of bells and a recognition that this was, as Saints fans have always averred, a God.

© Danny Kelly 2002

Bob Dylan's New Orleans Rag

Monday, October 15, 2007

But it's like I'm stuck inside a painting

Ladies and Gentleman...Bob Dylan the artist. It is going on display in Germany. Expect it to go for a fortune even if he isn't the best artist in the world (see also: Ronnie Wood's art). I like it though, it could have been a great cover to Blood on the Tracks (not that the cover isn't great already).



Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight

Many people have been blogging about this new TV series (well, new in the UK) called Flight of the Conchords. It's an HBO comedy that is set in New York where two aspiring rock and roll stars (who also happen to be from New Zealand) are trying to get somewhere with their music. It's very Curb Your Enthusiasm, although the difference comes with the songs which are parodies (obviously). They break into song in the episodes. And these songs are truly funny. They take the piss out of artists, genres and themselves in such a brilliant manner.

Here are a couple of the best, youtube even has full episodes which you can watch (until HBO taken 'em down):

"I can't believe, that i'm sharing a kebab with the most beautiful girl I have ever seen with a kebab"




"I rap about reality like me and my grandma drinking a cup of tea"



In other me news. The gig night went very well, thank you. Some great bands on stage. I've also written a review of Manu Chao's new record, La Radionlina.

Chimes of Freedom.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people

This is kind of my bootleg series. Something I wrote but which hasn't be published. But I'm doing it here. It's my review of the Concert for Diana which I wrote in real time in the Summer. I think it's quite funny to be honest.... Let me know what you think, perhaps this takes you back. Christ that concert was shit.

Quite possibly the worst idea for a concert ever - the Princess Diana concert has been organised to...well I don't really know why. It all seems like an attempt to keep the memory of Diana alive and we all know how much the English people love this kind of thing, allows us to wallow in some kind of national moment of melancholy, happiness and respect. Happy Birthday to Lady Di who would have been 46 this year.


Although this will be published after the event, I am writing this in real time. I know that many regular readers will be interested in how this event went, but were probably busy mowing the lawn. No fear, Rockbeatstone is on hand to give you the complete low-down. Please read on as I go through all of the acts and comment on the sycophantic and disgusting TV coverage. This is very much a real-time blog affair, I'll be writing my comments down as they come into my mind.


Pre-concert
The interviewer woman in the stadium to a couple who are all dressed up in Union Jack costumes. "Who do you want to see?""Elton John. But otherwise I'm most excited about seeing William and Harry"


Jamie Theakston has just described Supertramp as "sophisticated". He's going through all the music Diana loved, apparently ‘Lady in Red' was her favourite song. "As a child Diana also loved to dance and in 1976 won her school dancing competition", whittles Jamie, trying to justify the idea behind the concert. Like who gives a flying fuck?


Now Andrew Marr, ex-senior political correspondent with the BBC and former editor of the Independent is being interviewed for some reason. Has the entire BBC gone mad? He's most looking forward to seeing Status Quo and Lily Allen. "Lilly is a big favourite of mine". Hmmmm...


"The eyes of the world are on Wembley Stadium", says Theakston. Hang on a minute Jamie, I think you're overstating how much people in Africa, Asia and South America give a shit. I'm sure the people of the refugee camps in Darfur are tuned in though. A kind of real life tragedy that Diana may have highlighted had she been alive.


4pm - Elton, James Morrison and Lily Allen
Elton's on the stage. 1st act and he's doing ‘Song for You'. First reaction to Wembley Stadium - loads of empty seats. Maybe it's not only the rest of the world who doesn't give a flying toss. He's now introducing the event and has brought on HRH Prince William and Prince Harry. They're now introducing the concert. "This evening is all about what my mother loved in life". Polite applause from the crowd. Harry gets vaguely political by saying hello to his squaddie mates in Iraq. "We want you to have an awesome time," says Willy. Somehow the ‘awesome' sounds completely forced as if he never uses the word in real life.


Duran Duran are now on the stage. ‘Sunrise' (I think that's what it's called). Surprisingly rocking. Maybe I've already watched too much of this event, time for a cigarette I think. ‘Wild Boyz' sees them shout dementedly on the stage. TV cameras show Harry and Willy in the royal box. Harry's girlfriend Chelsey (whose dad allegedly has business interests in Zimbabwe) is dressed up like a footballers wife. ‘Her Name is Rio' dedicated to the memory of this country's favourite Princess, Margaret, sorry Diana. Got confused for a minute. An over-weight 50 year old man is dancing with his hag of a wife in the front row. There's a lovely synthesiser solo in the middle and then some saxophone. How very Thatcherite.


James Morrisson is now on stage. This requires no further comment. He sings like a girl though. Cue photos of probably deeply dissatisfied 30 year-old somethings who can't remember all the words but still feel the need to sing along. And yes, there they are.


Sienna Miller and Dennis Hopper are now presenting the next act. Dennis looks like a midget. He seems to have come a long way since his days as the LSD fuelled actor in Easy Rider. He's wearing an olive tie with a sky blue suit jacket. They are presenting Lily Allen. Andrew Marr is probably sporting a massive bonk-on right now. Prince Willy is clapping out of tune - he obviously didn't inherit Diana's musical and dancing talents. Lily is wearing a short dress and high-heels. Very different from when she was snapped at Glastonbury dressed as a mushroom in the early hours of the morn with Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys on a drink and drugs inspired binge a few days ago.


Luton Indoor Bowling Club is now the next charity featured in the mini-videos which are played between acts . Fergie from Black Eyed Peas is now on stage doing her thing. I think it would be funny if the cameras showed Beatrice and whatever the other is called, because Fergie is their mum. Not the one on stage, the ginger one who makes loads of dosh in the USA. The crowd seem completely bemused as to what is happening. Which is understandable as most of them are 40 or 50 something white women.


5pm - The Feeling, NERD and Nelly Furtado
I'm already thinking that this is a bad idea. But now I've started, I need to finish.
"Please show the necessary awe" says the voice over. What the fuck? Oh no, it's OK, it's for Keefer Sutherland, so I can agree with that. He looks a bit pissed - Rock n Roll, Keefer. He's introducing The Feeling, who he's seen twice apparently. I can't stand the Feeling. Absolute rubbish. Indie music for people who don't like music. Time to make a cup of tea methinks.
NERD is now on stage. Farrell's now asking Wembley and Great Britain to stand up for peace. Some crazy-beats are now starting, lots of hip-hop ramblings. This is most ridiculous. Would Diana approve? I can't think that Prince Charles would, so she most probably would. Still the wrong act for this kind of crowd, I think. "She's seeexy", sings Farrell. Is he talking about Diana? "Her ass is a spaceship that I'd like to ride", continues NERD. I still like to think he's singing about Diana.


Bill Clinton is giving his thoughts on Diana's work on HIV and land mine charities. Fair enough.
Simon Cowell and some people are on stage. People are booing him. Maybe the crowd isn't as stupid as I thought. Nelly Furtado is doing her thing. She looks pretty hot in a pink dress it has to be said. However, probably best enjoyed with the sound on the TV turned off. Princes Harry and Willy are both strutting their stuff in the royal box. Seems like the Magners has been flowing freely up-there. They can't dance at all.


There's now some ballet being done on stage. Apparently the ENO doing Diana's favourite ballet, Swan Lake. I'm officially bored now. I've just checked the TV guide and this goes on until 10.30 in the evening. I think this was a mistake - I suppose I only have myself to blame seeing as I should have checked before hand.


6pm - Status Quo, Supertramp (nearly) and Joss Stone
Will Young is wearing a bright pink t-shirt and bopping along to Abba while Ferne Cotton interviews him. He loved Diana's style. "And style goes with character", says Will Young. So there you have it. The bright-pink t-shirt wearing X-factor winner has spoken.
After a long break, Status Quo have joined the stage. ‘Rockin' all over the world'. Predictable. They now look like old men as opposed to the middle aged men who started Live Aid all those years ago. Still, probably the best thing so far, which says a lot about the quality of the music on stage.


They've ran out of charities, so they are showing a video of Diana and her kids at Thorpe Park. We're now descending into home video territory.


Dennis Hopper is back to introduce Joss Stone. She's warbling and warbling, closing her eyes and sounding like a poppy-Janis Joplin. All the while, I'm getting ever closer to breaking point. She's spending lots of her time looking at the band and not out into the crowd. Polite applause for Joss from the crowd who also seem a little tired of this now.


Now we have Supertramp. Rather Roger Hodgson from Supertramp. Sophisticated it certainly is. ‘Dreamer'. Now this is a good song. Shame about the solo synth interpretation of it. Couldn't he get his band mates together for this? It would have been the greatest thing of the night. By Far. But he didn't and we're stuck with nearly but not quite Supertramp. A medley of songs from Hodgson, his singing is out of range and to be frank, absolutely pitiful. He's now on guitar and speaking and speaking and speaking and won't stop. It's worse than a Bono rant. ‘Give a Little Bit' is accompanied by the whole stadium singing and clapping. At least he's got the punters out of their seats. Still some glaring red empty sections though.


Orson is on next. They look like they do too many drugs. Beforehand, Ferne Cotton told us how great the day is. I'm getting bored of the BBC telling us what a great day it is every three minutes. As if we're not sure, but the fact that Ferne Cotton and Jamie Theakston keep telling us its great will convince us that it is. Orson are predictably forgettable.


7pm - Tom Jones, Bryan Ferry and Tony Blair
Pre-recorded interview with Fergie. Apparently her set wanted to encapsulate the "inner and outer beauty" of Diana. Funny all I saw was a crock of shite. 500 million people are supposed to be watching this. Poor us. They're now interviewing Sienna Miller. She's hot.


Tom Jones is now on stage. He's old. Plastic surgery still looking good though. He's now playing a song by the Arctic Monkeys of all people. ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' is destroyed. I wonder if Alex Turner is one of the 500 million people watching? I hope for his sanity's sake he isn't. You have to hear him sing, "From 1984". Truly ridiculous (I've used that word a lot haven't I?). Joss Stone is out for another one, she's duetting with Tom Jones. She's dressed like she was at the Brits. Still no damn shoes. Stupid god damn hippy.


Will Young is out on stage dressed in a white suit and so are his dancers. They are doing some silly dance. Is it just me or does the crowd sound completely subdued. There was hardly any applause after TJ & JS? Still I guess it will be forgotten as the BBC ram the "electric atmosphere" myth down our throats. Natasha Bedingfield is now out on the stage, the voice over tells me that her song, ‘Unwritten' was the most played song on US radio last year. She must be absolutely minted. I'm not sure I've heard this song at all.


Boris Becker & John McEnroe are over from Wimbledon. Boris Becker still sounds like a German porn-star. They're introducing Bryan Ferry. He's playing one of his songs. Thank god he's not butchering Dylan as he has done on his recent Dylan covers album. Oh no! I spoke too soon. ‘Make You Feel My Love' is next. STOP IT NOW, BRYAN. Thankfully he redeems himself slightly with ‘Stick Together'. Brilliant song and very up-tempo. Nice one Bryan, but stick to your own songs please. Nobody Sings Dylan like Dylan after all.


Tony cunting Blair is now speaking about Diana. Go away and leave us alone, you're no longer Prime Minister. Go away. God, that has made me even more rageous.


My levels of rage are not going to be lowered by the next band. A medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical songs. I'm off for a moment, this is getting all a bit too much for me. Might put my dinner on to be honest. Webber is being interviewed and still looks like a pug-faced midget. Still he's better than Tony Blair. But only ever-so-slightly. Over on BBC 2 they have the Hampton Court Flower Show, so the BBC is really hitting the Daily Mail target audience this evening.


8pm - Rod Stewart, Kanye West
P. Diddy is being interviewed by Ferne. He's saying how much Diana meant to him and that it's an honour to play for her. David Beckham is now being interviewed. Apparently he's close friends with Diddy. Beckham is so dull, I'm so glad he no longer is England Captain so we don't have to hear him whittle on for hours. He's also saying something about the Spice Girls reuniting, but I've entered some kind of momentary coma.


Rod Stewart is being introduced by Keefer Sutherland who is going on about his mate Ray who he met in a pub in Wembley down the street. Keefer's obviously got more sense than to stay in the stadium to witness this bullshit. ‘Maggie Mae' is as brilliant as one would expect. Stewart's best song. The whole royal box is swaying for this one. A crowd favourite and probably the best reception for an artist yet. ‘We are Sailing' becomes one of those lighters in the air moments, although smoking is now prohibited in England, so there's very little of that.


Theakston describes today as an all you can eat buffet of music, dance and entertainment. What you mean one of those cheap Chinese buffets that leave you bloated and give you food poisoning?


Kanye West is now running all over the stage with some truly bizarre sunglasses. Some large white monstrosity of a pair. ‘Golddigger'. Another song for Diana? Lots of shouting, can't really make out what he's saying. Maybe I'm getting too old for this hip-hop. I don't think I'll ever really get it. Oh well, my loss. The shots of the crowd are absolutely hilarious. Loads of ageing, over-weight women trying to strut their stuff, not realising that 500 million people are laughing at their "moves".


9pm - P Diddy, Take That, my mind switching off
P. Diddy brings the rap section of this concert to a close. Dressed all in white he' wearing sunglasses despite the fact that the sun has long started to go down. Lots of shouting by Diddy. "Makes some noise for Princess Diana, yo'all...We miss you... we love you... Years ago Princess Diana went to a better place, today we celebrate her rebirth" This is the speech by Diddy. But what the hell has happened? Will Diana return and be reborn live on stage tonight? Now that would be a great feat and certainly a great show closer.


Christ he's at it again..."Princess Diana was our Princess, Diana we miss You, Come on yo'all, make some noise". It's just all a little bit too American for this British crowd. "I love you, we miss you, Prince William, Prince Harry we love you". It's never ending. He is now getting everyone to wave to the heavens to say hello to Diana. For fucks sake. This is absolutely terrible. Probably the worst thing at an event like this since Mariah Carey had all those kids on stage at Live8.


David Beckham is now on stage and he is truly honoured to be here. Apparently. Funny how no one goes on stage to say that this is all a little bit shit. He's now banging on about Take That who he's introducing. I'm not even going to watch this bit.


Ricky Gervais is now on-stage and he's doing the Diana death song from the Office. Elton John is spending ages and he had to fill in with some stuff. Good job Ricky Gervais is naturally funny. He ended up doing the David Brent dance and Bowie's ‘Pug-Nosed Face' song from Extras.


10pm - Elton John
There's no other way this concert could have ended really. The fact that he sang at the funeral gives him automatic dibs on the final place. Elton is now on stage doing his thing. ‘Saturday Night', ‘Tiny Dancer' and some other ones - I'm not really a fan, so I don't know. He does really looks like he's enjoyed the high life throughout his years though - what a fat neck.


Speech by Willy and Harry. Mothers charities, yada yada yada. Just get on with ‘Candle in the Wind' and we can all go home and be done with this. Oh no! Some more videos. Nelson Mandela is banging on about Diana (really, who is the real hero here?) Crap, some home video footage about her life. What a load of tosh.


No ‘Candle in the Wind'. I guess that's for the best seeing as it would descend into morbid tears. Wembley is lit up and it is all over. Time to go home Wembley and for me to switch off.


Conclusion
I'm sorry Rockbeatstone readers, but this is probably the last time that I'll try and do something like this again. I thought I could take six hours of mediocre music which would be on rotation on BBC Radio Two but I just couldn't. I think I'm now going to put on a Neil Young DVD, try and get my grip back on reality. What this concert does prove is what awful taste in music the majority of the UK population have. It really drained my physically and mentally. The Princess Diana concert is symbolic of all that's wrong with the UK royal family. Bloated, with ageing stars and very few highlights and on the BBC. Thank God we don't need to organise another one for a while yet.

Like a Rolling Stone

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The hour when the ship comes in

Sometimes things happen which makes all the tomfoolery of this blog appear irrelevant. What's going on right now in Myanmar, previously known as Burma, is one of those occassions.

I'll leave it to others to comment, this is not supposed to be a political blog, but you get the feeling that a militaristic regime as odious as that in power would have been tackled by the international communty a long time ago, had it had vast amounts of oil reserves (see also Mugabe in Zimbabwe).

However, perhaps we could be on the brink of change anyway with the Monks, students and civilians deciding to take to the streets to protest. What sparked this all off was an increase in fuel duty. So oil is still tied into this all anyway. The country has been getting poorer and poorer and is adrift from the international community with only China as a real friend, meanwhile thousands of refugees are fleeing the country on a daily basis.

One feels a little bit helpless really, looking at this through a computer, but it may well be the first popular revolution broadcast via the internet. This could become a moment of history in the same way that fall of Eastern Europe was, or Tianamen Square. But this time the net is giving people their information and allowing people a say, and we're not watching it through TV sets. This could be a moment in history for us too.

As of time of writing the facebook group to show support to the people of Burma has over 13,000 members. Websites such as the Guardian and BBC are focusing on this issue with a rolling blog and extensive reporting and videos. The Irrawaddy News is covering this extensively too (a South East Asian based news service/blog). Other videos have been posted over at YouTube. The Burnese based blogs reporting this protest are being blocked at the moment, mobile phone coverage has been disabled and internet cafes have been forcefully closed but as the Prime Minister said at the Labour Party Conference today, "The whole world is now watching Burma". You can petition the PM to keep up his actions on Burma, by visiting this website and signing the petition.

Finally, the anarchist in me loves this - you can annoy these companies who do business with the regime. Fuckers. They have no soul.

I hope that a peaceful outcome will arise where members of the military decide not to shoot their own people and turn their guns on the corrupt tyrants running this country. Whatever the outcome the whole world will be watching, blogging and discussing it via the internet.


And you readers will know me well enough now... I couldn't help but think about 'When the Ship Comes In', Bob Dylan's song from The Times They Are A-Changin'... Everything with me comes back to Bob, but it's worth listening to this song, I know I will be tonight..



"Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're dreamin'.
But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it's for real,
The hour when the ship comes in.


Then they'll raise their hands,
Sayin' we'll meet all your demands,
But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered.
And like Pharaoh's tribe,
They'll be drownded in the tide,
And like Goliath, they'll be conquered."


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

See the cross-eyed pirates sitting

Something that crossed my mind. Last week it was 'International Talk Like a Pirate Day'.

This week Gabrielle is plugging her new song.

Coincidence? I think not.


Read my review of Johnny Flynn's gig at the Royal Albert Hall. Pukka.

Farewell Angelina

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Well, I just can't rest without you, love, I need your company

Here's a Bukowski poem for you... It's called 'Men without Women'

finally,
goaded by the high price of
female relationships
he lashed his ankles to the
bedpoles
and tried to reach his
own
penis
with his
mouth:
close but no
cigar.
another of nature's dirtytricks.

finally, in a fury, he gave it a last
madattempt.
something cracked in his
back
and a blue flame
engulfed hisbrain.

after 45 minutes ofagony
he got himself off
the bed,
found he couldn't stand straight.
each time he tried
a hundred knives cut
into both his back andhis soul.

the next day he managed to drive tothe doctor's
office
bent low over the steering wheel
barely able to see through the
windshield.

"how did you do this?"
the
doctor
asked.

he told the doctor
the honest
truth
because he felt
that an informed
diagnosis
was the only chance
for a complete
cure.

"what" said thedoctor.
"you'rekidding?"

"no, that's whathappened."
"please excuse me,
I'll be rightback."

there was a deadsilence.
then he heard the
soft laughter of
the doctor and the
nurse from
behind the door.
then it grewlouder.

he sat there
looking out the office
window:
there was a park outside
with lovely mature trees, it was
a fine summer afternoon
the birds were out in force and
for some odd reason
he longed for a shimmering bowl
of cool wet grapes.

the laughter behind the door
grew softer again
and then died out
as he sat therewaiting.

Up to Me

Friday, September 14, 2007

Backstreets III - Friday 5th October

I'm organising another gig night. Feel free to come down and bring as many freinds and/or family as you like. This will be another awesome night of musical carnage.

Friday October 5th at the Windmill in Brixton. Four english pounds on the door, doors are 8pm 'til late.

CAPTAIN BLACK (Camden)
This year they've toured the UK with the Holloways and received BBC Radio One airplay thanks to Colin Murray who is a fan. Mixing elements of country, skiffle, punk and pop they live outside any musical scene and their electric live shows have seen them build a large fan base. Perfect Friday night music to get drunk and shake your ass to.

RESTLESSLIST (Brighton)
Perhaps the most original band in yonks... The brain-child of Matt Thwaits (Electric Soft Parade) and Ben Elliot, the line-up was expanded to include Tom White (The Brakes, Electric Soft Parade) and the band Zettasaur. Their debut album, 'The Rise and Fall of the Curtain Club' was released in June on Life is Easy Records and they've toured with Battles and Mystery Jets. Sounds like a madman on crack at some horrific funfair. Has to be heard, and seen, to be believed.

IT HUGS BACK (Kent)
Kent's finest muscial export bring their country rock influenced tunes back to the Windmill. Mixing elements of Wilco and Sonic Youth, they flirt between country-punk rock and melancholia in a heart-beat. They've had a busy year playing a session for Rob DaBank on BBC Radio One, playing the Bestival and End of the Road festivals in September. They've recently released a new single 'Carefully' on Too Pure Records.

ALPHABET BACKWARDS (Oxford)
Windmill debut for this Oxford band who mix nu-folk, country and pop and craft intimate yet atmospheric tunes. One to keep an eye out for in the future.

Plus, as always, Rockbeatstone contributors Jamie & Will spinning tunes until the early hours of the morning!



More information:
Rockbeatstone
Backstreets MySpazz
Windmill website

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And you thinks it's funny

Got these sent to me by a mate, I have no idea where they came from. They made me laugh though!




Lasty Thoughts on Woody Guthrie

Monday, September 10, 2007

Magic in a magical land

Well hello. I know I haven't been on here in ages. I spent most of last couple of weeks fuming at the indignity of not being able to get a ticket for Bruce Springsteen's O2 show. It looks like i'll be searching the internet fan sites for a while yet. Failing that there's the option of a tout. And it is close to Xmas so I guess that could be my present. But having said that fuck you to the touts who sold two tickets for £670 on ebay. Scum bags, I hope that you die, but not before you sell me one at below face value, two minutes before the band are onstage and you start to panic because you need to sell the tickets.

Otherwise, I should have some news about the third band-night that I'm organising. I'll post that here tomorrow.

Oh yes, I also went to see the Hold Steady at the Electric Ballroom. Read what I thought of the band when I first saw them a few months ago. My latitude review is also up. And I've written a review of the new Bruce album which leaked to me on Friday.

What have I got coming up? An unsigned concert at the Bull & Gate tomorrow, Eric Andersen on Saturday (which will be brilliant), then Manu Chao in October at Brixton Academy, finally for the month my gig night at the Windmill on Friday October 5th. Looking at November, I've got tickets for Wilco...again. In December I should be seeing Lucero and Okkervil River.

Mozambique

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Whose screams filled the arena loud


19th December 2007, O2 Arena, London.
SWEET!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Can I blow a little smoke on you?

Sorry I've been on holiday at a mate's wedding and also at a music festival. Finally, on the last night of my break I saw the Rolling Stones at the O2 arena in London.

Long time readers of this blog will remember that I gave up smoking. I have since restarted and it is obviously something wrong and stupid, but what the heck.

The Rolling Stones don't give two shits about all the "smoking will kill you" argument. Indeed, at the very same concert both Keith Richards and Ron Wood were smoking on stage. The UK media has taken a lot of interest in this and portrayed them as the rock and roll rebels.

To me it is pathetic. They could argue that they are props for their stage show. I mean could you imagine Richards without a fag? I remember watching a video of the 1999 tour at some place in Germany and Richards was smoking a spliff on stage... And we all know the infamous drug busts and stories of him snorting his dad's ashes. And were now giving him shit for this?

But what kind of society do we live in where the media portray the Stones as rebelious for smoking a cigarette? It shows how illiberal we have become in this country.

Otherwise the concert was great, although I had vertigo from being too high in the stands (only a little relieved from drinking copious amounts of alcohol) and the music bounced off the roof of the arena. The O2 is a little souless, a bit like a massive shopping centre under canvas. And they have a pizza express there which is odd for a music venue - but I guess it is the future.

You can read somehting I penned during the holidays at Rockbeatstone. A review of the compilation of a relatively unknown singer-songwriter Eric Andersen. He's playing a pub in Walthamstow in September, go check him out. I've also heard the new Bruce Springsteen song. It rocks. Read what I think of that here.

Tough Mama

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship

I'm going on holiday, so I'm going to leave you with a short story by Kafka.

A Little Fable

"Alas," said the mouse, "the world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when at last I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into,"

"You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up."

Mr Tambourine Man

Monday, August 06, 2007

I don't want to believe them, all I want is your word

Wikipedia is a great resource. It is perhaps the best example of Web 2.0 allowing the masses to create something interesting, informative and useful. However it is also open to being messed around with. Here's the early career section of the Wikipedia entry (as of Monday 6th August, pm) for legendary hard man actor, Ray Winstone. Don't believe everything you read:


Winstone was born in Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. His family was originally from Cirencester - half of them moving to London, the other half to Wales. Moving via Plaistow to Enfield when Winstone was 7, his father (also Raymond) was a managing director (he is now retired and living on an estate in Hampshire) while his mother, Margaret, was an heiress. Winstone recalls playing croquet with his friends until "Moors Murderers" Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were arrested after preying on children. Winstone was educated at Notting Hill and Ealing High School. He showed great interest in art, music and history, going on to study Philosophy at Cambridge University.

Winstone had an early affinity for acting; his father's butler would take him to the cinema every Wednesday afternoon, and Winstone later recalled seeing 101 Dalmatians and rushing towards the screen to berate Cruella de Vil. Later, he would witness Albert Finney in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and the bug would bite: "I thought 'I could be that geezer'" he said later.

Other major influences included John Wayne, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson. After persuading his mother to give him some extra tuition money, he took to the stage, appearing as a Cockney newspaper-seller in a production of Emile And The Detectives.Winstone was also a fan of croquet. At age 12, Winstone joined the Surbiton Croquet Club and, over the next 10 years, won 80 out of 88 matches. He was London Schoolboy Champion on three occasions, playing twice for England. The experience gave him a perspective on his later career: "If you can get on a lawn with 2000 people watching, then walking onstage isn't hard."

Friday, August 03, 2007

The seasons they are turnin'

Here in the UK we have a thing called the 'Silly Season' which is where the newspapers have no news to print and the only thing that is included in papers are stories about potential Shark sightings off Cornwall (as seen in the Sun this week which persists with the story despite scientists telling them that there was no Great White in the Sea off Cornwall).

Here in blogland the equivalent of Silly Season is where a blogger posts youtube clips to hide the fact that they have completely ran out of ideas and don't want to write about Britney Spears. Indeed, i've written about this before.

So here are two vids on YouTube. The first is a teaser trailer of the new series of Futurama. Possibly one of the most underrated cartoon comedy series. The writing and gags make it better than any Simpsons episode in the last four years, but all anyone wants Matt Groening to do is write stories of the little yellow family. They totally rip into Fox for cancelling the series.

The second is a video of Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) speaking at a Comic Book convention or something and totally ripping the piss. He should do stand-up.

Enjoy!





Moonlight

Friday, July 27, 2007

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales


The other day I has a cataclysmic vision of a big brother UK.

I was on the train heading south when the rain starting pouring, going past the Battersea high-rises which were all covered in clouds and rain a computerised feminine voice came over the loud-speakers: "Beggars sometimes operate on thsi train. Please do not encourage them by giving money. If you spot a beggar please inform a member of staff" (or words to that effect).

Looking around the train there were literally hundreds of safety notices: Don't: eat, smoke, hang your head out of the window, put your hands in the door, pull the safety leaver, don't smoke a camel, don't punch the snack trolley, don't do this, don't do that.

Looking around the sanitised carriage there were a few older women devouring their celebrity magazines, seemingly oblivious to all that was around and not caring. It felt like I was in that film where there are no babies in the world anymore, Children of Men. The vision of future London seems to me to be frightfully close to fruition (albeit without the weird baby thing).

Sorry ...I just feel that I realised then and there that things are a little screwy in the UK at the moment. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be here... Maybe I should just chill out, but riding that tain on Monday evening gave me the chills for a country, to paraphrase BRMC, on which I no longer want to waste my love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Then time will tell

Mark Ronson is now a superstar DJ who has redone and remixed many famous and semi-famous songs. He'll will be redoing Bob Dylan's 'Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine' for a new Dylan best-of collection due out at the end of the year.

The Guardian arts & entertainment blog covered this subject this week one of the comments on the article had this joke.

Two dj's are talking in a bar..
DJ 1 says to DJ 2, "fancy going to the movies?"
DJ2 says "dunno, depends who the projectionist is"

And I guess that says it all about my take on DJ culture. Be interesting to see what Ronson does with the song though. He'll probably add a few horns and that'll be it. Attempting to make it sound modern, it will probably end up being the most-dated track on the collection in five years time.

Most Likely You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'd be there on Wednesday night

One of my favourite artists at Latitude was Elvis Perkins. He really tore the house down with his melancholy singer-songwriting. Brilliant stuff. I've written a review of his album, Ash Wednesday over at Rockbeatstone. Below is a clip of my favourite song from the album performed live on David Letterman. When he last was in the UK he played the Borderline - I expect he'll be back playing bigger venues when he's next in London...

Expect a review of the Latitude festival soon.



Percy's Song

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The party's over, and there's less and less to say


There are some songs that you listen to and pass on almost without thinking. Then something happens which makes you listen to it again and reappraise that song. This happened to me today.

I've just come back from the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, which is probably the best festival I've ever been to: stages where we could easily get to the front when we wanted, large open spaces to lie down in the sun, beautiful setting in the woods surrounded by a lake, small stages 'hidden' in the middle of said woods, no aggro, and some great, great, and absolutely mesmerising music from some amazing musicians.

One of the bands we saw were the Hold Steady, probably my favourite band right now. They finished with 'Killer Parties' (as they did when I saw them at Shepherds Bush a few weeks ago), a beautiful end to the set it really made me realise what a great band they were and firmly cemented in my mind what a great set I had just witnessed.

A beautiful slow song, it builds with a repetitive bass line which oozes the feelings of the end of the night. It's truly amazing with Craig Finn's beat-poetry lyrics really encapsulating the spirit of a massive night: "I'm pretty sure we partied, I don't really remember". Which is how the best parties should always be, I guess.

Anyway, I've only listened to this song today - at lunch and commuting into work. I just can't get it out of my mind. I guess that this song fully encapsulates the weekend I've just had. It has just made me smile and smile. I love it when music does this kind of thing to you. It really is an absolute joy to be listening to that song and remembering the weekend I've just had. Music is sometimes a powerful thing.

Other bands I saw were: Wilco, Magic Numbers, Cake, Two Gallants, Herman Dune, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The National, Arcade Fire, Jarvis Cocker (who played 'Eye of the Tiger' as set closer), The Good the Bad the Queen, Elvis Perkins, Cold War Kids, the Rapture and some others I've probably forgotten. Comes with a HeNotBusyBeingBornisBusyDying stamp of approval. I'll be reviewing this soon for Rockbeatstone.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Unless they're from another world

Before I head off to the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, I wanted to show you all my favourite episode of the Simpsons which features a guest voice from the legendary Johnny Cash. He's the fox. In this episode, Homer ends up being deported to another dimension where all is bizarre and not as it seems.



I've also written some stuff. Click for a review of Art Brut's new album, It's a Bit Complicated.

Series of Dreams

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dignity never been photographed
(for some reason, I can't edit my subject line!)

I've recently got the internet at home, so I can now update this blog with loads of photos that have been stuck on my hard drive for the last few months. Here is me meeting Southampton FC legend, Matthew Le Tissier. I went to see Saints v Derby (0-1) earlier in the year.



Another footie related one. This is Barnet v Stockport. Barnet has a quaint ground, vrey old-school. So far from the billions of pounds floating around the Premiership. Another great day out. I like the photo as it is an action shot. Wonder at the beauty of North London behind. What a shit-hole.

I imagine that I'll be updating with photos for a while yet, seeing as I've ran out of interesting things to say. Coming up will be: photos of Amsterdam, Milano and Metallica at Wembley.


Dignity

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

For another plate of food

Metro newspaper in London had this story which Ananova is running, in their informative 'Quirkies' section of their news service.

A guest stunned hotel staff by scoffing 15 fried breakfasts in one sitting.

Businessman Barry Bradley, 47, paid £7.50 for the 'all you can eat' grease mountain, which took more than three hours to devour.

He gobbled up at least 30 sausages, 20 rashers of bacon, 15 fried eggs and three tins of beans, reports Metro.

He even topped it off with six bowls of cereal at the Premier Travel Inn in Tonbridge, Kent.
A waitress said: "We couldn't believe it - he looked like he was never going to stop."


I've also written some stuff. A review of the new Bruce Springsteen album and a review of Mumm-Ra's debut album. Please read them if you're interested in what I have to say about them.

One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)

Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range

I am no McGyver


Yesterday I had the worst day of my life.

In the morning I have a routine as many people do. I get up, turn the radio on, lie in bed for about half-an-hour, get up, put my dressing gown on, gather my towel and head to the shower via the toilet.

Yesterday I did all of this as normal, except when I went to unlock the door, the key snapped and I was trapped inside my toilet. Four white walls, a small window with bars across, a toilet and a cork-tiled floor. I don't think I realised quite how difficult a position I was in for some time. My housemate had already gone to work for the day.

I tried and tried with the end of the shaft to unlock the door, when this failed I even tried to smash the door down, but it opens inwards so I couldn't and I was trapped. I had no watch, did not know what time it was. I sat on the toilet and pondered my situation: what was I going to do? I had nothing to read. There was no sink, bath or shower, just a solitary toilet.

I knew that there was a good chance that my flat-mate Jamie would be back in the evening, however there was even the possibility that he would stay round his girlfriend's for the night or even the entire weekend...this was something that I didn't even want to contemplate. I heard the door-bell go a few times (one of which was my colleague who was worried that work had had no news of my whereabouts), I heard my phone go off every half-hour or so. I was trapped and couldn't do anything.

I had a sudden MacGyver moment and tried to create a device which would help me, but you can't make much out of an empty loo roll and a broken key. And I always was crap with handiwork. Then I thought about using the electricity from the lightbulb wire to burn through the bars but realised that this was a dangerous and stupid thing to do. And it probably wouldn't have worked.

When you're in this situation weird things happen to you. You try to think about interesting things. You think about all the small details and you make an action plan. I was going to wait until my flatmate came home and if he didn't I was going to attract the attentions of my neighbours leaving in the next morning for work (for them to call the Fire Brigade or Police or something) by shouting and stamping at the top of my voice. This was my plan and I was sticking by it. If they didn't hear me then the water in the toilet would sustain me until my housemate was to show up.

Without a watch I could not work out what time it was so I spent lots of time listening to the what was going on outside - I heard the cheers of children - school was over, I heard the construction work stop (it must have been the end of the day, say 5.30pm). I heard the distant rumble of tube trains deep below get further and further apart (it must be towards the end of the tubes).

Finally at 12.30am, when I had lost all hope that my flatmate was not coming home, he returned and I shouted and shouted. He eventually handed me some pliers through the window and I managed to grab the end of the key shaft and turn the key. When I was out I was a trembling wreck and stumbled to the kitchen for a long drink of water and some food. I had spent over 16 hours trapped inside my toilet and my legs were shaking all over. But my ordeal was now finished. Never before have I been so happy to see Jamie come home, even if he was completely drunk. I checked my phone - 4 messages and 36 unanswered calls. Oops.

On the plus side me and Paris Hilton now have something in common. I'll use this blog to send her a message. Come and talk to me baby, we've both been through solitary confinement and we both share a common bond: that of stupidity.

But what have I learnt? Never to lock the toilet when I'm the only person in the house. I'd laugh if it happened to anyone else. I'll gradually learn to laugh at this story, but what a day!

Things have Changed

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The glamour and the bright lights and the politics of sin

A History of Tony Blair

Early years - everyone loves him, he's so cool, he plays guitar, he could be our very own Bill Clinton. At Diana's death he coins an iconic phrase that will probably be his only legacy.

Mid years - pisses everyone off by going to war in Iraq, despite the dossier which even a two year old deaf, dumb and blind kid could work out was dodgy.

Late years - Continues to bomb the shite out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Becomes really arrogant. No one likes him anymore - even the Labour Party. Clings onto power because the rest of British politics is inept.

Today - Fucks off from Downing Street. Accepts role as Middle East envoy.

Hold on a minute... First of all Blair goes around the Middle East and bombs the shit out of Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of democracy all the while continually supporting the undemocratic states in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Now he's going to be on hand to help solve the crisis that he has, in part, created? WTF? No wonder the Middle East hates us.

Fuck off and retire you cunt.

Sorry about the language. I'm very angry that I'm going to see his face for years to come. He had a golden opportunity in 1997 to change this country for the better. He never introduced his sweeping reforms of the electoral system, he wasted money on stupid schemes (ID cards, NHS computer project, the Dome) which no one wanted/wants. He had wide-ranging support from the public and could have really changed things. But Blair didn't. Everyting is the same now - we're a little wealthier so I guess people stopped caring. As long as we have our two holidays a year, who cares about democratic reform?

Anyhow, see you later Blair. You will forever be remembered for a war that no-one wanted and a phrase which Alistair Campbell probably wrote for you. That's quite an achievement isn't it? I hope your mother is proud.

Dead Man, Dead Man

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

OK. This is my last post about Glastonbury. TV highlights included Arcade Fire, Shirley Bassey, Arctic Monkeys and a wonderful John Fogerty who showed them all how it's supposed to be done (take note the Killers). Don't know what it was like watching this for real though.

In this post on a messageboard I visit, that of music website Drowned in Sound, there were loads of hilarious comments on the BBC TV coverage.

"Jo Wiley needs to be put down for the good of the nation”

“Pretty much all the presenters are penis farmers”

And the best comment on the crowd, which I think echos what I was trying to say on Friday, is here: “It’s as if the whole of Putney managed to get a ticket”

My favourite comment on the TV footage at the weekend was legendary Mark Radcliffe speaking with Jo Wiley. She was asking him about Mika.

Wiley: “He’s not your scene is he?”
Radcliffe: “It’s not that, I just don’t like him”


Made me laugh out loud.

This year, as well as the Great Escape Festival in Brighton which was in May, I'll be going to Lowlands in Holland in August (Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, NIN, Kasabian, The Killers among many others) and a new one for me in the shape of Latitude (Arcade Fire (again!), Wilco, the Hold Steady, Cake among many others). Latitude is only 20,000 people and they have loads of other stuff going on. Should be fun and not too hectic.

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands

Friday, June 22, 2007

The festival was over, the boys were all plannin' for a fall


This weekend it's Glastonbury ("Glasto") and, if you're in the UK, you'll have no reason not to know this. Glasto has become so big that just about everysingle newspaper has some sort of Glasto coverage. Andy McNabb, the Sun's war expert even had Glasto survival tips. The Daily Telegraph, renowned for it's pro-hippy, youthful outlook even had extensive coverage.

Glastonbury used to be a festival for the alternative. Freaks, hippies, rockers, dissafected youth. Now it's all about the middle classes and Notting Hill set taking a weekend off to go camping in the countryside. There's very little rock and roll about it anymore.

As the dude from musical trendsetters Hot Chip states in the Guardian Glasto blog (FFS!!!):

"Even Glastonbury is threatening to morph into a kind of musical version of the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival. Mums and dads with prams and spliffs and mud, all there together - it looks all wrong".

If you are thinking that I'm bitter about not being there, then you might be right. However, paying £150 to stand at the back of 60,000 people to see musical acts (many of which I have manged to see before in smaller, more intimate situations) on a big screen seems a little ridiculous.

It's far too big a festival for its own good. And it now seems to be attracting knobs - Stupid know-it-alls who never go to gigs, or even listen to music regulary. Glastonbury is the festival equivalent of the music of Coldplay. And these guys and gals always end up playing up the fact that they went camping, it rained, but they were so out of their head on e that they didn't care. And they have a kind of smugness and the view that if you don't go to Glasto then you're not a proper music fan. Like whatever, "you went camping!", talk to the hand!

There are plenty of nicer, smaller festivals which are properly alternative. That's where the cool people really go to in the summer. So fuck you Peaches Geldof, you're not going to out-cool me.

Finally, the weather report: It's currently raining at the festival site.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

So many of my brothers, they still want to be the boss

The internet is great. It allows me to research completly random stuff.


Here is the speech that Bruce Springsteen made before Bob Dylan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the USA (the one that matters, not that shitty Channel 4 knock off).

"The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind. Like a Rolling Stone. My mother, she was no stiff with Rock 'N' Roll, she liked the music, sat there for a minute, then looked at me and said "That guy can't sing". But I knew she was wrong. I sat there and I didn't say nothing but I knew that I was listening to the toughest voice that I had ever heard. It was lean and it sounded somehow simultaneously young and adult.

I ran out and bought the single and ran home and played it, but they must made a mistake in the factory because a Lenny Welch song came on. The label was wrong. So I ran back to the store, got the Dylan, and came back and played it. Then I went out and got "Highway 61". That was all I played for weeks, looking at the cover with Bob in that satin blue jacket and Triumph motorcycle shirt.

When I was a kid, Bob's voice somehow thrilled me and scared me, it made me feel kind of irresponsibly innocent - it still does - when it reached down and touched what little worldliness a fifteen- year-old high school kid in New Jersey had in him at the time. Dylan was a revolutionary. Bob freed the mind the way Elvis freed the body. He showed us that just because the music was innately physical did not mean that it was anti-intellectual. He had the vision and the talent to make a pop song that contained the whole world. He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording artist could achieve, and changed the face of Rock 'N' Roll forever.

Without Bob, the Beatles wouldn't have made "Sgt. Pepper", the Beach Boys wouldn't have made "Pet Sounds", The Sex Pistols wouldn't have made "God Save The Queen", U2 wouldn't have done "Pride in the Name of Love", Marvin Gaye wouldn't have done "What's Goin' On", the Count Five would not have done "Psychotic Reaction" and Grandmaster Flash might not have done "The Message" and there would have never been a group named the Electric Prunes. To this day, whenever great rock music is being made, there is the shadow of Bob Dylan. Bob's own modern work has gone unjustly underappreciated because it's had to stand in that shadow. If there was a young guy out there, writing the Empire Burlesque album, writing "Every Grain of Sand", they'd be calling him the new Bob Dylan.

About three months ago, I was watching the Rolling Stone Special on TV. Bob came on and he was in a real cranky mood. He was kind of bitchin' and moanin' about how his fans come up to him on the street and treat him like a long lost brother or something, even though they don't know him. Now speaking as a fan, when I was fifteen and I heard "Like a Rolling Stone", I heard a guy who had the guts to take on the whole world and who made me feel like I had to too. Maybe some people misunderstood that voice as saying that somehow Bob was going to do the job for them, but as we grow older, we learn that there isn't anybody out there who can do that job for anybody else. So I'm just here tonight to say thanks, to say that I wouldn't be here without you, to say that there isn't a soul in this room who does not owe you his thanks, and to steal a line from one of your songs - whether you like it or not - "You was the brother that I never had"."


Trouble in Mind


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