Friday, March 30, 2007

All the friends I ever had are gone

Adam and Joe did some of the best comedy on British television in the 1990s. Their show was famous for using toys to parody famous films and TV programmes. Find below the video of their parody of 'Friends', called 'Furrends'.



Wednesday, March 28, 2007

And it's all over now, Baby Blue

The greatest TV show of all time is soon coming to an end. If you live in the US of A then the final series of the Sopranos is going to be aired on Easter Sunday (that's April 8th).

If you live in the UK and are addicted to the show, then do not search for "sopranos" on google, avoid all emails from America for the next three months and do not read the newspapers. It seems that we (avid UK based fans) will have to be very careful to not accidentally find out what happens. Seeing as More4/E4/Channel 4 will not pull their finger out and give this series in a respectable time-frame, we'll have to wait until the TV overlords decide that we are worthy enough to see this.

I mean what is all that about? Why can't we just have the show the day after the US airing or something? It would certainly stop those little nerdy pricks downloading it from the net, which seems to excite TV executives to a stupid degree. Hey, even better, why not release it on DVD first as soon as the series is over in the States? I know I'd pay £100 for that.

While we're waiting for it to make our way to our shores, why not get some food down our throats, Sopranos style? Regarding the plot line... my money is on AJ entering the "family" and Tony snuffing it. Only time or a misplaced click of the mouse will prove me right or wrong.

In other news I've written a review of the Playing Fields debut album and one of Craig Johnston's debut EP.

It's All Over Now Baby Blue

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Well, it can't be no guitar player

At the weekend I went to the Gibson Guitar photo exhibition at Blink Gallery in Poland Street, Soho. It was great, but as usual I wanted to buy lots of the photos on display, but again I didn’t have the required £1,000 to £2,000 spare. This exhibition is to celebrate one of the greatest guitar manufacturers in the world.

Essentially, loads of rock stars with their Gibson guitars. There were photos of Slash, the Beatles, the Stones, Jimi, the Who, Dylan, Jack White, BB King and U2 and even the Travelling Willburys (which was a bargain at £650! Four stars for the price of less than one!). But what most perplexed me was the inclusion of a recent Madonna playing a guitar. What the fuck is all that about? And she was more expensive than some of the other photos on display. Her photo should have cost about 80p. She now looks like some old tranny-whore.

See some of the photos below. For more photos and details, see their website here. It is definitely worth visiting if you have a spare moment.

Call Letter Blues

Monday, March 26, 2007

You can show me a new place to start

All new singing and dancing rockbeatstone is online. It will enable the website to be searched better by google, people to see more clearly what is new and what is not and crucially, enable the writers to update the website instantaneously.

I’ve written reviews of Tom Waits’s most recent offering, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards, the Young Kinves debut album, and Boys and Girls in America from Springsteen revivalists, the Hold Steady.

Expect some more new stuff on there from myself soon.

Where Teardrops Fall

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sister, lemme tell you about a Vision I Saw (#4)

Visions that encapsulate London. #4 - Estate Agents

Back to my rants about London. In the space of three days a shop space near my office has been turned into an estate agent. Just last week it was an art gallery.

I’ve written about estate agents before and how I hate them and their ways, they seem to be popping up everywhere. They are full of complete and utter tossers, out there trying to make an easy commission. What a load of bollocks. Says it all that an art gallery has made way for these bastards.

But they’re spreading like a virus, attacking the vital areas of London. What was a nice street in Bloomsbury with a ‘village-feel’ to it has instantly been cheapened by the addition of Wanker, Tosser & Sons, or whatever they are called, at the expense of an artists gallery. Sure the gallery was exclusively for the mega-rich but it was part of the street’s character. Now we’ve got white walls and trendy computer screens, with stupidly expensive houses in the window that no-one can afford.

And it’s the same all over London, it seems as if the British obsession with property is killing the soul of our local communities. I hope that there’s a housing crash so the buggers can be brought down to earth and some of these estate agents can one day be replaced by bookshops, record shops, and art galleries. I know that this realistically isn’t going to happen anytime soon, if at all, but one can dream.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Turning children into punks and slaves

It's not everyday that a random trip to the pub results in meeting a former Sex Pistol.

The weird evening started like this. A phone call from my friend Steve who really wants to go to Filthy McNasty’s, probably London’s greatest pub. So I call a few friends who also turn up and we all meet at the pub. There are posters all over the wall from the punk era. Concert and album posters for the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Ian Dury, etc.. Which is cool and very interesting. And we find out that they are being exhibited there as part of a celebration of punk music. Then a guy in a very expensive Italian jacket walks in and I swear that I know the guy but I can’t place him. And this starts to bug me for a while.

Then a bloke goes to the stage section of the pub and introduces himself, he’s David Nolan and he’s written a book called The Gig that Changed the World about the Sex Pistols’ Lesser Free Trade Hall concert that about 7 million people say they were there. What is for sure is that Morrissey, Peter Hook of Joy Division and members of Buzzcocks and Simply Red (urgh!) were. As well as Tony Wilson of Factory Records. The concert is recreated in the film 24 hour Party People. It could well be one of the most influential concerts of all time. Interestingly enough, the Lesser Free Trade Hall is above the real Free Trade Hall where the infamous "Judas!" shout at Dylan in 1966 happens. There is so much musical history in that building. Sadly, it is now a hotel.

After his presentation, we go up to the guy and start talking to him about the book, about the creation of musical legends and we ask him to sign our books which we’ve now bought. And he says, you should get Glenn Matlock over there to sign it and it all clicks into place in my mind.

We all went over, had a chat with him and he was a friendly guy. He is playing a gig at the pub, but he can’t remember which night (punk rock!). A nice chat, got him to autograph my book and got a photo with him.

My friend Steve’s fiancĂ© doesn’t know who he is and starts asking him whether “he’s followed his dream”. “Not yet”, comes the rather bemused reply. Funny as hell, but I'm sure that it is different to the usual questions he gets.

Here’s a photo of Glenn getting pissed with Sid and Nancy. Couldn't find any on-stage photos on the net. This maybe because he was thrown out of the band for allegedly "liking the Beatles" in 1977. Glenn's on the left with a pint in his hand. This must have been taken after he left the band.

Band of the Hand (It's Hell Time Man!)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Next to come was the old gray cat, Uh-huh

I watched the most amazing programme of all time on television last night. No it is not ‘the Sopranos’ or ‘Match of the Day’ but ‘Meerkat Manor’.

It’s an animal documentary about a group of Meerkat’s (surprisingly enough). And it is more addictive than crack. It’s truly brilliant and showcases the amazing social interactions between these creatures. The commentary is also absolutely hilarious. Once over, you just want to find out what’s happening to these creatures.

I highly recommend it. Sunday nights 6pm, BBC two. Watch it and you will be won over. There are clips on the official fan site of Meerkat Manor, as well as games, etc..

Friday, March 16, 2007

A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand and say thanks

As promised here is my second post of the day...

Joss Stone astounded the world a few years back with her voice and covers album. She was a girl of seventeen and sang soul songs like a diva. The press loved her.

Fast-forward a few years and it seems like everyone hates her. She appeared at the Brits and spoke like an American, this in itself is very weird. Her south-western accent had been replaced with a Californian drawl. She now dresses like a wannabe hippie icon of the flower-power generation. On her website she has written a seven thousand word (!) thank you note. Thanking everyone from Lemar to James Brown, “i just miss you and wanna talk to u about so many things. because i know somehow this message will find its way to your spirit.”

This is annoying for a few reasons. Firstly, she doesn’t use punctuation or capital letters throughout (this always pisses me off). Secondly, it is so self-congratulating and lovey-dovey that it makes you want to puke. Seriously, if you have a spare three hours then sit down and have a read of it. You will feel much better because you will now be sure that you are not the stupidest person on the planet.

So in tribute to Joss Stone, I’m going to write my own thank you note for my blog.

i wanna thank the lord and his little baby jesus without which we would not be on this planet and the blogosphere would not have been created.

i wanna thank the good guys a blogger who have hosted my blog. Big up to you guys. Of course thanks to google who own blogger. no evil RESPECT!!! i wanna thank the old dude who invented the internet (Al Gore) peace and green love.

Mum and Dad thanks. theres so much I could say but won’t, as I only have 7,000 words to fill.

James Brown. i miss you so much man. There are so many things that i want to say to you. It is because of you that I started to write a blog. Soul man was my inspiration. i know that you’re in heaven blogging with god now.

Whoever started the rumour that elton john is gay is a liar. i hope that you write to mr elton and apologise i have proof of this. love u ej!

To all my friends, who come in to do my make-up before i blog and support me…hugs and kisses. u know who you are

[continued ad infinitum]

Foot of Pride

The sky's changing color

Another music post. It appears that this is the only topic on which I’m writing at the moment. I’ve got so many concerts coming up it’s untrue (check out my MySpace calendar to see what I’m going to in the coming months). Last night I saw the amazing brilliance of Arcade Fire. Such a great band. They play every gig like it’s their last and are just so passionate. I’m lucky enough to be seeing them again tomorrow. Just writing about it is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up again. I'll be writing a proper review on the new rockbeatstone when it is all finished.

But what I really wanted to write about today is Wilco. I’ve written a preview of their new album, Blue Sky Blue on Music For Grown Ups. I can’t wait until it is released and they come to London. I used to like Wilco, I had seen them live and I loved all of their albums and I had a few bootlegs. Then I split up with my girlfriend and all of their songs spoke to me. They nearly all became songs about my life, like the best songs should. I can’t get over how one’s personal circumstances can make the difference between a "good song" and a "truly beautiful song that you can't live without". Jeff Tweedy’s (leader of the band) songs about love are, quite simply, stunning.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Wilco and Jeff Tweedy for writing songs which are dear to me and which have helped me through rough times. Which reminds me of another blog post I thought about writing… I’ll be back later on today.

Farewell Angelina

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Come you Masters of Gwar


In case you were wondering, I’m not ill or anything, I’ve just been busy at work this week, so haven’t had much time to update. I’ve also been busy helping out with rockbeatstone’s new website (coming soon…) and putting things in place for the second of my gig nights, Backstreets.

Today I am seeing the second best live band in the world today, Arcade Fire. I am very excited by this, it will be amazing.

However, tomorrow, for some unknown reason (well, a friend twisted my arm), I am going to see a band called Gwar at the Mean Fiddler in central London. In case you haven’t heard of them, here is how they are described on the venue’s website:

“The band is best known for their elaborate sci-fi/horror film inspired costumes; raunchy, obscene, politically incorrect lyrics; and graphic stage performances.”

They are on their “Europe Must Be Destroyed” leg of their “Beyond Hell 2007 World Tour”. When the term “graphic stage performances” is used it means that they cut off each other’s limbs and the crowd get drenched in fake blood. They also have a massive penis which fires fake urine and semen into the crowd. Last time my friend saw them, they opened with a freak show. This concert is going to rock like no other.

You can check out Gwar here at their website, or as they call it, ‘The Official Cyber-Fortress of Your Lords and Masters, Gwar’.

Monday, March 12, 2007

About the greatest gambler, you all should know him well

This weekend I had the most bizarre stroke of luck. My friend had organised a trip to a casino in central London. We used to go a lot when we were at university, and I hadn’t been since so it was good to go back. I was initially worried that the stakes were going to be too high, with a £5 minimum on black jack (my game of choice) compared to the £1 and £2 minimum’s we had at the Casinos in Newcastle. So it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to hit the table.

I took out £60 on the night, spent £20 of it in the pub (where I confidently declared that I was "feeling lucky today") and had £40 to ‘loose’. I like it this way as I know that I’ll have spent money and had a good laugh at the same time and it helps me keep it all under control. It’s easy to get carried away with these things. I started off with roulette and had a lucky streak and made my first £20 become £50. I then had a drink and some free food before returning to Roulette and managed to loose all of my profit in about ten minutes...

It was then I took the fateful decision to play the cards and I made £100! Luck was quite simply with me. I then took a break and again had a few drinks before returning to the table where I made a further £130! I was just so incredibly lucky. Everything I did was right, each decision brilliant and I had the cards in my favour. I was so amused by this situation that I even tried pushing my luck, took a card on 17 for the hell of it and got 21! Even when I was trying to loose I couldn’t.

But Casino’s in the UK are a funny thing. There’s nothing glamorous about them. They are filled with Chinese people (one player spent £300 in about 2 minutes on roulette and another had a £600 debit card transaction refused by her bank at the cashing desk) and many people who look of a dubious nature. Those dubious characters that fill smoky pubs and who all seem to make deals on their mobile phones while sipping a pint of stella.

In the London casino there were also a few people who looked like whores. I’m not kidding you, a woman who spent her time around the tables on the look-out for someone who had won it big and who had her breasts on constant display for all to see. This is about as far from the glitz and glamour of Vegas as it is possible to get.

But I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I’ve always approached gambling as a pleasant past-time which I do from time to time. This weekend I got lucky, but next time I won’t be as lucky, it’s when you’re expecting that big win to come around on the next roll of the roulette wheel, the next throw of the craps dice, the next croupier at black jack, the next roll of the slot machine that you’ve got a problem. Unfortunately, there were plenty of people in the casino at the weekend who were thinking like that. These are the people who will need help when the super-casinos come around and gambling is further liberalised.

I won't be making a trip back to the casino for a while... I'm going to enjoy the winning feeling for a long time before I return - I'll only end up loosing. It's the nature of the game. And hopefully some of those sorry sorry people in the casino will realise this soon. But I think they won't.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Where all the cars are stripped between the gates of night

Some of you may be wondering what I do for a living. Sure you’ve seen me write about music and sport, but that’s just for fun. You’ve heard about me organising a gig night – that too is just for fun.

I’m actually a mechanic during the day. Yesterday a journalist came to speak to me about my other hobby. You can read what he’s written about my life here.

Golden Loom

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I'll just bid farewell till we meet again

Another Dylan post - yes I know... I promise to write about something else tomorrow.

Uncut magazine have a daily treasure trove of stuff found on YouTube. Today’s is the Bob Dylan performance of ‘Restless Farewell’ at Frank Sinatra’s 8oth birthday party. It’s an amazing performance of this song which every time I watch sends shivers down my spine and along the back of my neck.

The look on Sinatra’s face at the end is priceless, he looks like he’s had one of those life changing moments, one of those transcending Dylan moments when you can’t help but be in awe. I’ve been lucky enough to witness a few moments like these myself. He just looks like he’s seen a ghost. Dylan may never be as good a singer as Sinatra was, but I bet that at that moment in time Sinatra would have swapped his voice and all of his success for the ability to write a song only half as good as ‘Restless Farewell’.

But then after the camera pans to David Hasselhof who is trying to fight back the tears…and I laugh which is a shame as I’ve been so moved by the performance. I guess Hasselhof does weird things to you. Here’s my favourite verse from the song:

“Oh ev'ry girl that ever I've touched,
I did not do it harmfully.
And ev'ry girl that ever I've hurt,
I did not do it knowin'ly.
But to remain as friends and make amends
You need the time and stay behind.
And since my feet are now fast
And point away from the past,
I'll bid farewell and be down the line.”

Wow. That Dylan has a way with words. I think he'll make it big some day. Here's the video:

Restless Farewell

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

As she was walkin' by the arcade

Arcade Fire countdown: Only eight more days to go until I see the second greatest live band in the world play Brixton Academy (second only to Wilco).

I've been listening to their new album Neon Bible. Great stuff. I especially like track two: 'Keep the Car Running' and of course 'Intervention' which I first heard around Xmas time. Best line from 'Intervention' is this one by far: "They're singing hallelujah when defeating your heart".

But the album is all about mood, and there's stacks of it on Neon Bible. I'll write a proper review when I get the time and post a link to it here. Can't wait until next Thursday though, i'm stupidly excited by the prospect of seeing this band again.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thinking about the government

Here is a wonderful colour photo of the world's most famous, and probably first, music video: 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'. This was filmed when Dylan visited the UK in 1965 and can be seen on the excellent documentary, Dont Look Back by D.A. Pennebaker. It's coming out in an expanded edition over the next few weeks in the UK. The shot was taken in the alley behind the Savoy in London where he was staying.

Subterrnanean Homesick Blues

'Bout an old man who never done wrong

So I’ve written an article on the UEFA Champions League and how it is now a crock of shite.

And I’ve received some feedback. Apparently people think that I’m a 60 year-old fart. Maybe I am in spirit but I'm certainly not in body.

Read the controversial article now.

Man on the Street

Monday, March 05, 2007

Boys in the street beginning to play

So my gig night (Backstreets at the Windmill) got underway to a flying start. We were lucky with the last minute addition of Prinzhorn Dance School and unlucky with the rain. But overall I think everyone had fun. The night was part of an idea to promote the magazine I write for, Rockbeatstone.

It was incredibly stressful at the start…technical problems meant a delayed start but we managed to make up time pretty quickly. First on was Adam Killip from my favourite London based band, the Tailors. He did a solo set of bittersweet songs, some hilarious, some just simply moving. A brilliant and genuine guy, his band’s record is out today. I think all of you should look this band up they’re great. I’d also like to thank him as without him none of this would have been possible.

Elks were on next and they simply rocked the place. Including a grand finale where the guitar player moved into the crowd. They certainly were getting into it with passion battling jet lag and illness at the same time. Red Fishes were on after Elks and they too played an amazing set, Chaz, singer and guitarist is a great Bob Dylan fan and we spoke about our passion for his music at length after the show. They’re playing some gigs in April around London so please do go and see them if you have the chance.

The Furies are possibly the most rock and roll guys I’ve ever met. They spent much of the soundcheck time chatting up any female in the room. I’ve got a brilliant picture with one of them winking while he has his arm around my mate Steve’s fiancĂ©e. They quite simply rocked. They’ve certainly got the attitude down to a tee. ‘Money’ is a great rock and roll song too.

Finally, Prinzhorn Dance School, those last minute additions came to the stage. Another great set from them, they were using this as a warm-up to their night at the Astoria with LCD Soundsystem and for a Saturday night gig at Scala. Some great guys, the girl bass-player (I can’t remember her name) seems to be too sweet for rock and roll! A lovely girl, I just hope the industry doesn’t destroy her. Very friendly and chatty, she seemed to be so excited and thanked me for letting them play by giving me a massive and unexpected hug which just felt lovely. There are some people who are just great at giving hugs!

Finally, Rockbeatstone contributors Jamie and Will played a DJ set into the early hours of the morn which included ‘Power of Love’. I hated it (the song, not the rest of their set) but I’m glad that the entire room seemed to be dancing along. A great set from these first time DJs and I'd like to publicly thank them.

At the end of the night, I was sitting with a beer, lost in my own thoughts at the ridiculousness of it all. There were couples left/right/centre getting off with each other which made me laugh. Perhaps my gig night started some meaningful romances. Or maybe it just helped a few people have some drunken fun? But I couldn't help but feel proud looking at all the people having fun around me.

I certainly never felt that I could have done this a few months ago. My thoughts about this came out of the blue, it was just something that I felt I wanted to do and I just buckled down and organised it. Although stressful I had the best feeling after the night was up. I felt on top of the world and to be honest it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like that.

Here’s to the next night, when I’ve recovered slightly and thought about who I’d like to play. I hope you can make it next time. Finally, thanks to the Windmill for trusting me to put on my gig night!

'Till I fell in Love With You

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Things fall to pieces in my face

There is a new album by Wilco called Blue Sky Blue coming out in May. They're playing Shepherds Bush Empire on May 20th and i'll be there. I just can't miss this band coming to London. As I've probably written here before, they are one of my favourite live bands in the world.

You can hear some of the new songs here. 'You Are My Face' is amazing. I think you'll agree that these sound absolutely glorious, possibly some of the best songs of the last I don't know how many years. The lyrics to 'You Are My Face' are below. I feel like crying at the beauty of it all.

Fuck me, I'm emotional today. Maybe I'm having a male time of the month thing.


I remember my mother's sister's husband's brother
Working in the gold mine, full time, filling in for sunshine
Filing in to tight lines, ordinary beehives

The door screams i hate you, hate you
Hanging 'round my blue jeans
Why is there no breeze?
No currency of leaves
No current through the water while
No feelings i can see

I trust no emotion
I believe in locomotion
I've turned to rust, as we've discussed
Though I must have let you down too many times
In the dirt and the dust


I have no idea how this happens
All of my maps have been overthrown
Happenstance has changed my glance
So many times, my heart has been outgrown

Now everybody's feeling all alone
Can't tell you who I am
When everybody's feeling all alone
Can't tell you who I am


I am looking forward
Toward the shadows chasing bones
My face is stitched and sewing
Our houses hemmed into homes
Trying to be thankful

Our stories fit into phones
And our voices lift so easily, a gift given accidentally
When we're not sure we're alone

Everything is Broken

Check me out, if you dare