Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Nice hat Jeff!

'You Are My Face' by Wilco on Jools Holland last Friday.

Leopard-Skin Pill-box Hat

Friday, May 25, 2007

Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

Sometimes I wonder what the point of a blog is. I mean, I’m a nobody who is spouting a load of shite.

I’ve also been having difficulty recently in finding any inspiration of topics to write on. I mean, look at yesterday’s post, that was a bloody joke.

I’m not even inspired to rip-off some internet find and pretend that it is my discovery.

But then I thought, it’s alright, it’s OK, just write about how you’ve got no inspiration.

Boom, there goes another Internet milestone. However, having read many blogs over the last couple of years it appears that this is a subject that many like to write about. In fact it’s probably in the top five topics for blogging (number two to be precise):

1. George W. Bush.
2. “I’ve no inspiration” blog post.
3. Paris Hilton.
4. The Iraq War.
5. Google.

I made that list up, by the way.

Nick Cave has done much the same thing, although he did it in the medium he knows best, song. ‘There She Goes My Beautiful World’ is a song about his muse not providing any inspiration – paradoxically she does of course because he writes a song about it. However, I seem to be veering into a proper blog-post territory now so should abandon this train of thought.

Why is it that such brilliant books/songs/poems were written thanks to streams of consciousness, whereas all I can muster are a few piss-poor gags and ramblings about nothing when I try?

Long weekend in the UK. I’m going to get trollied tonight (and for three days after!). This should be fun. Let's hope it provides me with some inspiration.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Salute him when his birthday comes

It's Bob Dylan's Birthday today. He's 66. Happy Birthday Bob!

Young Bob:

Cool and happy Bob:

Changing course of music Bob:

Tangled Up in Blue Bob:

The Eighties were not kind to Dylan:

The 90s - Comeback Bob:

The 00's - Weirdo Bob (Gods n Generals video):

Current Bob (photo from Birmingham '07):

She Belongs to Me

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My American dream

I went to see Wilco on Sunday night. At the end of the set (which was broadcast live to the world via the internet), an English singer called Bill Fay came on stage to sing his song, 'Be Not So Fearful' with the band. Apparently it was the first time in 30 years that he appeared on stage. See photo below, which I've borrowed from a Wilco fansite. I'll be writing a review soon.

In other news... Bruce Springsteen is releasing a DVD of his recent show in Dublin. I saw the two London legs of this show. Absolutely amazing. I can't wait for the DVD to come out (only two weeks left). See a preview below of the song, 'American Land'. Looks and sounds great.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The motorcycle black madonna

I've written some stuff on Rockbeatstone that may be of interest to you, readers of this esteemed blog.

Firstly, there is a review of the new BRMC which, along with Wilco and the Hold Steady's last release, is the best thing I've listened to this year.

Secondly there is a live review of Grinderman. I had the chance to see them live at HMV. Another free concert I saw was Rufus Wainwright. I never thought I'd see a camper guy than the singer-dude from Scissor Sisters, but I now have! He sung like an absolute angel, I was in complete and utter awe, as were the rest of the crowd who were just so quiet. It has to be one of the most surprising gigs that I've ever witnessed. I didn't write a review as I only caught a few numbers of his, but wow! I will definately look up his stuff, I think he has a new album out at the moment. Gordon Brown is also a fan apparently.

Finally, I've got a feature on bootlegging up. This is the first part of the article which looks at the history of bootlegs, etc... The second part which I shall be writing over the course of the week will look at some of the best bootlegs ever.

Tonight I'm going to see a new band from Denmark called the Kissaway Trail at the Barfly. Should be good.

More astute readers will see that I've added a button to the right of my blog in honour of the free Alan Johnson campaign. I saw this at Asterisk's blog, he wrote a post far more eloquently than I ever could, which says why he felt the need to put it up. I agree with him completly.

Gates of Eden

Monday, May 14, 2007

All non-believers and men stealers talkin' in the name of religion

Here's what happens when you piss a BBC journalist off...

To be fair to him he was being hounded and pestered by Scientologists for doing an indepth look at their "religion". See the rant in full and his report on Panorama tonight (BBC 1).

Slow Train

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm glad to see you're still alive, you're lookin' like a saint

This weekend sees my football team, Southampton FC take part in the playoffs. For those outside of the UK who are reading this blog it is a kind-of mini-tournament where the winner gains promotion to the Premier League. Our first match is tomorrow at St Mary's stadium, and I for one cannot wait. However, I am also a little nervous. In fact I'm nervous as hell. The rest of the season is now completely irrelevant. Our entire season now hinges on us getting through three matches.

There is a good omen however, our manager, George Burely was the last manager to win a playoff at the old Wembley Stadium, so here's to hoping that he can be the first at the new stadium. See the photo of him below shouting out orders.

This season our young team has done bloody well. We are well respected by football commentators and the other managers for playing flowing, passing football (which to be honest is a rarity in the Championship) and we've by far got the best talent. The only thing that has let us down is our defence which has leaked too many goals for my liking. Players of the season for me have been George Rasiak and Gareth Bale. (See photos below).

In other news, when I went out at lunchtime, there were a multitude of TV cameras and journalists outside a building. Apparently, Gordon Brown had just launched his campaign to be elected leader of Labour and thus Prime Minister. It took place in a building next to a building-site, which I guess could hold some relevance and symbolism, although I'm struggling to think what that could be. Anyway, I'm getting to the age where I believe that politics has lost any relevance to my life and almost always fails to change anything for the better. As the Kaiser Chiefs sing, "Everything is average Nowadays".

Also if you thought my review of Wilco's Sky Blue Sky was good then read this one from the Guardian. They do a minute-by-minute look at one album every week which makes for a very particular and comedic review. Here is the concluding paragraph on Sky Blue Sky. (PS: It's out on Monday so go and buy it).

Imagine a lazy, if devilishly handsome and talented boyfriend, moping around the house, making excuses for his lameness, only to allow occasional flashes of his former loveliness to break through his listlessness. And then, when you're almost to the end of your tether, he only bloody goes and gives you the greatest kiss of your life. Wilco, you're maddening!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And landed in Brussels

I'm going to Belgium this weekend to see my family who live out there. There is a game that people play which involves trying to think of five famous Belgians. Wikipedia has a list of famous Belgians, unfortunately I've not heard of most of them so it doesn't work very well and seems to confirm the point/joke. However the inventor of the Saxophone was Belgian (a Mr Sax) and Tintin was also Belgian (and fictional). Perhaps of more interest to you is the article on Belgian beers.

Before I go, it would be great if you read my review of Wilco's new album, Sky Blue Sky.

Finally, here's a photo of the Belgian countryside. Exciting isn't it?

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I wouldn't marry the president, Uh-huh

Well my other country had elections at the weekend and France chose to elect Nicolas Sarkozy as President, known as “Sarko”. Before I start my rant, I’d like to say that I do have the right to vote in France but choose not too – not because of political apathy, but because I feel it is a bit rich for myself living in the UK having a say on what happens in a country where I no longer live.

He’s been touted as a Thatcherite by the UK press, but he is more like Berlusconi to be honest. In France there was no mention of his marital problems, critics claim that his close links to the French media have allowed him to suppress this news which I believe is of importance when choosing a person to lead the country. His wife also had her book, detailing the issues in her marriage, scrapped by the publishers days before release thanks to political pressure from “Sarko” (this was when they were “on a break”). So he’s got the media on his side at the moment.

What interests me the most is this article from the Independent that claims that had the election excluded those over 55, then Segolene Royal would have won. Easily. So we can see a divided France. The young and urban voted for Royal, the older, rural and pensioned voted for Sarko. Many would have been attracted to his authoritarian stance rather than his plans for economic reform. The young on the otherhand seem a little angry, like this blogger's post-election playlist seems to indicate.

Unfortunately, I fear for France. I feel, like Royal did, that he will prove to be devisive. The fact that there are now clearly observable lines across French society is not new to me – these certainly existed when I lived there. But they are now more violent than in the past – many on the wrong side of the line (i.e. the poor) are severely angry at a society that no longer speaks for them or to them. “Sarko”, if he chooses to be as ruthless as he was at the time of the violence last year when he was Interior Minister, will only enflame the situation even more (calling the protestors “racaille” or “Scum” in English doesn’t help). Two nights of rioting across Paris, and other regional cities have greeted the news that “Sarko” is going to be president. This comes as no surprise to me.

But what many British commentators have forgotten is that a French President has less power than a British Prime Minister. In many respects he is a figure-head who prances around the world claiming independence of Anglo-US foreign policy and pisses people off – it’s just what the French President is supposed to do. We’ll have to wait until the elections for the parliament to see whether he has the majority and political force necessary for his reforms to go through.

All I can say is that I am glad that I no longer live in France and have to deal with this shit. Here’s a message of support from Tony Blair, British PM. I guess that says it all. The last thing anyone needs is encouragement from the guy who history will judge as being the idiot who got the UK into an illegal and immoral war. So click on the play button below to see Tony blabbering on in French.

Froggie Went a Courtin'

Friday, May 04, 2007

There was music in the cafes at night

Hello, this is an advert for my gig night. If you live in London, come down to the Windmill. It will be fun. In other music related news, I've written a review of Treecreeper's debut Grain.

FRIDAY 1st JUNE, Doors 8pm (tickets are £4 on the door or available in advance from here) @ the Windmill in Brixton (click here for a map).

Fresh from bringing Prinzhorn Dance School to the Windmill in March, Backstreets is, erm, back and bringing you some of the most exciting bands in London. Backstreets is brought to you in association with Rockbeatstone Magazine.

THE MULES (Oxford/London) what's come to be known as electrobilly – punky and funky country music with gypsy folk and post-rock thrown in for a bit of spice, but, overall, their music defies categorisation. The band's debut album was released in March to widespread critical acclaim and their song, 'We're Good People' was remixed by Brazilian hipsters, CSS. Their unique sound will make you shake your ass in wild abandon.

MISSISSIPPI WITCH (London) ...caused quite a stir last year with the release of their debut single 'Just for Roosevelt' which was regularly featured on Xfm (John Kennedy's show). This two piece, originally from the hinterland regions of mid-USA, sound like the White Stripes, the Blues Explosion and Captain Beefheart rolled into one. Expect your ears to bleed.

THE WIRE (Brighton/London)This band originally from Brighton but now based in Brixton, will be coming to this gig fresh from the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, and this is only their third concert ever! The Wire combine indie, soul and electronica to devastating effect and their energetic live set brilliantly busts through genres to create a unique sound.

STASH (London)...far from a subdued opening act. Mixing the Ramones with elements of Jimi Hendrix, they should provide enough noise to blast you punters into the party spirit. Quiet they are not.

More information from Rockbeatstone or the Backstreets MySpace

Tangled Up in Blue

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mama, put my guns in the ground

The best blog post in the world was written by this person last week. I've taken the liberty of quoting it in full here. Check out the blog Anti-Crapitalist...

High School shootings

Whilst there are shootings and other stuff in other countries I was reading some of the comments in the UK Times and Telegraph online today from US posters. They were full of those “Fuck you English, we don‘t give shit what you think” posts in response to the debate on America’s obsession with guns.

This made me question whether we are in fact wrong to attempt to comment upon and analyse what is an internal matter for the USA, and whether we have any legitimate right to do so at all.

[Or whether it was simply the case that every NRA cardholding, NASCAR loving, pickup driving, shithead in the US had been told to start posting aggressively on UK media sites by the NRA National Executive].

The Europeans certainly can’t help criticising anything that seems to go wrong in America and you have to sit down for a second and think why we do it.

…… I think I have the answer.

The problem with America, and the reason why acts such as this draw criticism in Europe and elsewhere, is that we are fucking sick of watching your fucking films, drinking your fucking shitty coffee, buying your fucking shitty goods and having our lives invaded every fucking second by the constant bombardment of all of this SHITE that tells us you’re the best country in the world and how your so great at fucking everything. We don‘t ask for it. We don‘t demand access to your culture. You just shovel it into everyone‘s face 24 hours a fucking day until we think were part of it and therefore think we have the right to comment.

I don’t want to watch fucking shite like “Friends” on UK TV, or buy fucking Starbuck’s coffee on my street corner. You did that not me. We didn’t ask for it.

And because you impose your culture on us telling us how friggin great everything is, the minute an event happens that proves that all this shite that you produce in the media is just that, shite, we just can’t resist pointing it out. Because we know that your not all living happy shiny lives in La La Land, and that most of what you generate to show the rest of the world how great you are is fucking rubbish.

The US is not the worlds biggest democracy, it’s a country of big winners and big losers, only your stupid enough to let your losers arm themselves and attack the winners.

The US Government proved after Hurricane Katrina that it does not even give a flying fuck about its own poor or dispossessed so what can the rest of the world realistically benefit from interracting with US culture or values.

Cho Seung-hui is just another armed, pissed off, mentally unstable, loser who should not even have been able to look in a gunshop window never mind be allowed to purchase a fucking gun. Even serious mental health problems, which he had in December 2005, does not seem to preclude you from buying a gun in the free-est country in the world.

Its hardly a shining beacon to the rest of the world and we can’t help pointing that out because the "cultural" imperialism you export to tell us how great things are just fucking pisses us off.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

They all play on penny whistles

On Friday I went to Milan. It was a great trip to a city I’ve never been to before. I went to see Dylan (as most of my recent trips seem to involve him, I thought I’d bring it up early) at the Datchtforum in Assagio, on the outskirts of town.

A small review of the concert. Italian fans are absolutely mental. There was loads of cheering, the fans were really digging it – applauding every guitar solo, hand-clapping, I’m pretty sure there was some moshing down in the front. It makes a change from the gig-weary, cool Londonite crowd that I’m more used to seeing.

Bob-wise his performance was again excellent as it has been on every show I’ve seen in 2007. His diction/singing was again better than anything I witnessed in 2004/5/6. Highlights on that Friday were ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ and a brilliant carnivalesque ‘Desolation Row’ which even had Bob dancing! A great performance of this song.

Another surprising highlight was ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ where the crowd sang along and it had a lot more power than the other versions I saw in Amsterdam, London or Birmingham.

The rest of the trip was taken with sightseeing around Milan’s famous landmarks, and also a wonderful chance encounter with Eric Andersen. Such a nice man.

If you want to see what I thought of Bob Dylan in Birmingham then click on this link here for a proper review. In other news, I've recently moved. More on that later this week.

Desolation Row.

Check me out, if you dare