Monday, October 6
I think you should read it :-)
Sunday, May 25
Friday, December 22
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
2. The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
3. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
4. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
5. Radio 4 - Enemies Like This
6. Dresden Dolls - Yes Virginia
7. Mystery Jets - Making Dens
8. Forward Russia! - Give Me A Wall
9. The Young Knives - Voices Of Animals And Men
10. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy
11. Howling Bells - Howling Bells
12. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I am That's What I Am Not
13. The Strokes - First Impressions Of Earth
14. Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis
15. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas
16. Hot Chip - The Warning
17. Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
18. Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
19. Plan B - Who Needs Actions When You Got Words
20. Graham Coxon - Love Travels At Illegal Speeds
21. The Rapture - Pieces Of The People We Love
22. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
23. Placebo - Meds
24. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
25. The Dears - Gang Of Losers
26. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
27. French Kicks - Two Thousand
28. The Knife - Silent Shout
29. Liars - Drum's Not Dead
30. The Hot Puppies - Under The Crooked Moon
Lest We Forget
1. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
2. The Rakes - Capture/Release
3. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
1. !!! – Louden Up Now
2. Ikara Colt – Modern Apprentice
3. The Faint – Wet From Birth
1. Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Fever to Tell
2. The Rapture - Echoes
3. Carina Round - The Disconnection
Friday, December 15
So, for two seasons now I've been playing in the Blogger Poker Tour, an excellent event which comprises of a series of $500 freeroll tournaments on poker.com, culminating in a grand final with some big prizes up for grabs. During the first season I cashed a few times and qualified for the final on a couple of occasions - top 4 finishes in the preliminary events being good enough for a place in the final. My poor performance in the grand final has carried on to this season - I've been rubbish! No cashes, and up until the last event, so few points I was behind Paul in the table, despite him having not played the first event and busting out second in the second event. I'm also way behind David who's had a blinding season. One win, and perhaps even more impressive, a second place finish despite having 700 chips left with blinds of 200/400. Nice one Dave-o. I need a big finish tomorrow in the final event, hosted by I'm Just Here 4 The Beer. His excellent idea to offer his host bonus to whoever busts him, providing they meet certain posting criteria has inspired this much overdue post on the subject...
I'm gonna win tomorrow and dramatically grab my place in the final 20, but in the unlikely event that I don't, roll on next season. By then, hopefully poker.com will have Razz!
Monday, November 27
I comissioned my good friend, scouse Table Football legend Dean 'Iron Wrists' Ellison to write a travel guide about the fine city of Hamburg. Here is Dean's guide to the German city. I'll add some of my own pearls of wisdom later, including where to buy the best falafel, the worst youth hostels in town and all you need to know about the mighty FC St Pauli!
"First off, outside the city centre, take the train out to my old 'hood, Suldorf. Right by the train station is your traditional German ice cream parlour. There is nothing else at all in Suldorf apart from pensioners.
Altona is a nice little town that was originally independent from Hamburg, like Salford and Manchester, Birkenhead and Liverpool, Birmingham and Walsall. Its more down market than Hamburg so ideal if you want cheap accommodation, and it has a nightlife of its own worth checking out once. A lot of gigs happen in Altona. They also have a British Indie night once a month and its likely to be the only place you'll hear Happy Mondays or Stone Roses.
In the city centre start sight seeing from Dammtor station, which is by the congress centre. North of this area is the University campus, with some great record stores, cinemas and memorials to the synagogues in the area burnt during Krystalnacht. Also in the area is an Ethiopian restaurant, and the store where I bought Germanys only Half Man Half Biscuit CD (Voyage to the Bottom of the Road).
If you come out the station heading north, go left and you come to an Australian bar where you can see Neighbours and also get all you can eat chicken wings. The Cumbrian chicken wings have jam on, a classic example of the German sense of humour. Walking south from Dammtor towards Ganzmarkt takes you towards the city centre. Going right by the station takes you to a very traditional German pub, litres of beer and bratwurst menus and all, and also towards the press offices of Das Bild.
Going left, takes you towards the town centre, with the Rathaus (Which has a nice cafe in the basement) and towards the Alster. From here you can take a ferry cruise and also visit the many canals of Hamburg. It’s famous for them apparently but I never saw one.
Of course I should mention, while doing all this you should keep an eye of for the smiley face graffiti tag. There are hundreds and no one knows anything about them it seems.
Anyway, from the town hall I'd head down towards the cathedral, one which has a history of burning down. You can take tours and go up the bell tower, and a famous composer is buried there, I just forget which one.
From here head down to the water front, take a right. You'll be walking past the scene of Hamburg’s largest squatters protest. All the houses where taken over and the place was like a war zone for some time. In the end I think they got to keep their properties, they just had to start paying rates and tax on them. This is also where the Sunday morning Fischmarkt takes place, which, should you still be out at 5 AM Sunday morning IS A MUST SEE!!
It is a place for people to congregate waiting for the trains to start again, and also the prime place to catch Hamburg legend Banana Fred in action at his fruit auction. Don't try to take him on with jokes, he'll tear you apart, the man is a legend.
As you head up you come to a small pub by a bridge, bottom of a flight of stairs. This is Hamburg’s oldest pub and a fantastic place to try that first bottle of Astra. It’s a great place of a weekend, with local electronica experiments taking place, but doesn’t get going till late.
Up the stairs takes you to the Reeperbahn. From here on you are on your own, it’s how you'll get the most memorable experience.
If you make you way all across the Reeperbahn my favourite pub is Roschinsksy. Take the left by the KFC, and head down the road (there’s also a good 99c bar) to find it.
At the bottom of the Reeperbahn is Grosse Freiheit Strasse, on which is the site of The Star Club. The pubs in this area are quite expensive and are the more tourist friendly end of the Reeperbahn, but there is another 99c bar, and Dolly’s Dinner do a nice litre of beer, and even a litre and a half.
Remember that on Sundays almost everything in Germany is closed. Not the case in Hamburg of course, because by the train station you get off at for the airport you'll find the worlds second largest graveyard. It has a museum open on Sundays.
As for festive events I'd recommend going in Nov / Dec to catch the massive Dom, a giant carnival with a weekly firework shows. It’s great, and the sell an excellent Hamburg. The Airwolf ride here is where I lost my passport.
Hamburg is also the closest town to the Wacken festival, for all you metalhead readers out there.
Another great venue in Hamburg is Kunst, not far from The Reeperbahn, and where I saw (And song on stage with) with The Misfits."
Tuesday, August 8
Yes i've been away playing poker, sorry.
But I had to show you this - Warwickshire is a hotbed of Superhero based crime it seems.
Thieves steal nine-foot Batman
I'm on the case trying to find out more and track Batman down - more soon.
Thursday, June 15
There is a temptation when creating and recording music to cram as much in as possible. More sounds, more ideas, more instruments, more samples, more, more, more.
Young Marble Giants were something else entirely. They were a band who valued quiet restraint, rather than empty bluster. For YMG, space and silence were something to be treasured and revelled in...
Read the rest of this post on The Art of Noise
Sunday, June 11
Mullet watch rating: High
There could be mullet fireworks in this group which features both the Czech Republic and Italy. The Czechs can always be relied upon for a quality mullet or two and this year should be no exception. According to Wikipedia "Tsekkitukka means Czech hockey hair, based on the Czech hockey players hairstyle. Mullets are a well known and still popular "hockeyhair" in Czech Republic." Pay attention in particular to Arsenal's new signing Tomas Rosicky who has been known to favour the centre-parted mullet.
Who could forget Roberto Baggio's classic 'Rat's Tail' mullet of 1994. This year Italian mullets are a distinct possibility. The USA side could also feature a few quality mullets, but again the African continent seems not to have discovered the mullet so the Ghana team should be mullet-free.
Mullet watch rating: High
The Croatians could provide some of the best mulleting opportunities in this group, particularly the home based players who have yet to move abroad and discover a good quality barber. The Japanese mullet is a sight to behold. Incredibly the mullet haircut is very trendy and fashionable in some Japanese cities, so I expect at least one or two of the side, probably creative midfielders to have a mullet.
The mullet is ingrained in Australian sporting culture (look no further than fast bowler Jason Gillespie) and the Socceroos should be relied on to continue this tradition. Sadly the Brazilians won't be winning any mullet related titles.
Mullet watch rating: Low
This group could well be largely mullet free. I expect the South Koreans to have the biggest chance of mullet potential. The Swiss and French could surprise, but Togo are a lost cause. If you want mullets then I suggest you probably look elsewhere.
Mullet watch rating: Moderate
Oh Fernando! In 2004 Spanish striker sported a fantastic peroxide mullet for the early games of the European Championship. Then shockingly he shaved it off before the final group game against Portugal. Spain lost 1-0 and were knocked out, with Torres missing a headed chance which he surely would have converted if I he still had his mullet to control the ball and also give him balance in the air. I fear that he hasn't learnt his lesson and is again mullet free. Expect him to miss a succession of easy headed chances.
The big mullet hitters in this group are Ukraine. They are bit of an unknown quantity, bit with several of the squad playing for in domestic football, I expect big things. Sadly Tunisia and the Saudis will both draw a mullet blank.
More mullet analysis to follow. My favourite so far has been Wilhelmsson from Sweden who favours the what can only be described as a 'half finished haircut mullet'. Check it out against Paraguay...
For more World Cup Mullet watching visit Is This A good Idea?. Paul has been providing match and mullet analysis of every single match. Well done sir.
I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!
This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.
Registration code: 5443039
Friday, June 9
The recent vitriol directed at England midfielder Owen Hargreaves by the media and fans alike, confirms something that I have suspected for a long time - Men with curly hair are discriminated against. It's true and below I present concrete evidence to support this. On the other hand, women with curly hair suffer no discrimination or abuse - look at the Queen for example - loved by millions!
The myth - Slightly comic 70s performer with a string of dodgy songs and a silly high pitched voice. Dropped off the pop radar in the late 70s and deservedly so. Recently made a comeback and somehow fluked his way to number one.
The truth - Legend sadly overlooked by musical revisionists who have written him out of his major role in 1970s music, because he has curly hair. His recent number one single was well overdue. FACT!
Eddie Large (Little and Large)
The myth - Even Cannon and Ball were funnier than this poor excuse for a comedy duo.
The truth - Eddie Large is the finest British comedian of the last thirty years. His partnership with Sid Little puts even Morecambe and Wise in the shade. Large is only ridiculed because he has curly hair. FACT!
The myth - Member of one of the most preposterous groups of all time. Queen were a truly awful band, writing such crass songs as Fat Bottomed Girls. May was involved in Queen the musical with Ben Elton, for this alone he should be shot. Recently reformed Queen with Free/Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers replacing Mercury. The reformation tour was dire.
The truth - The greatest guitarist of his generation and also the coolest. Queen the musical was a fine piece of theatre. His marriage to Anita Dobson upped the curly quotient and made him doubly hated. If he had straight hair, he would be Sir Brian May. FACT!
The myth - Turgid piano led indie band most famous for pissing everyone off by being the soundtrack on the Sainsbury's advert. Songs are complete drivel. They make Keane look talented.
The truth - Toploader are the most underrated British band of the last 10 years. This band has more talent than Coldplay, Franz, David Bowie and the Kaisers put together. Dancing in the Moonlight is an all time classic song and would be rated up there with the likes of Coldplay and Blur, were it not for the fact that singer Joe Washburn has curly hair. FACT!
The myth - His indecisiveness, conservatism and refusal to reform the French monarchy led the the French to reject him. Attempts to compromise and stem the flow of revolution were useless and his indecisiveness led to his downfall. Going on the run he was captured whilst having a picnic just miles from the Belgian border, brought back to Paris and guillotened.
The truth - He was hounded by from the throne by French peasants and then beheaded because, all because he had a curly wig. FACT!
The myth - One of the worst players ever to pull on an England shirt. Can't play midfield, can't play right back, completely useless. He must have videos of Sven in compromising positions with farm animals - How else would he get in the squad? Plus isn't he German anyway? He's a spy in the camp...
The truth - Owen Hargreaves is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He anchors the Bayern Munich side, who are the most successful side in Germany. He has more championship medals than most of the rest of the England squad, plus a ton of Champions League experience. He has never shone for England because he has very rarely had the chance to start a game, let along play 90 minutes. People don't like him because he has curly hair. FACT!
Thursday, June 8
Mulletwatch is back!
Danger! High Postage will be scouring the 32 World Cup teams for the best quality mullets. Let's start with a look at the mullet prospects of each of the 32 teams
Mullet watch rating: Moderate - Eastern European barbers have a soft spot for the mullet, therefore Poland seem the most likely country in this group to deliver some quality mullets, but don't discount Ecuador or Costa Rica for a classic hispanic-mullet. Although Germany is the spiritual home of the mullet, the German players seem to sadly eschew the style. Rudi Voller where are you when we need you?*
Mullet watch rating: Low - Sweden seem like the only country that could provide quality muletting opportunities, but I expect a lack of mullets all round. Not since the days of Chris Waddle have England had a quality mullet in their starting lineup. Gerry Francis could provide some mulleted punditry in the Sky studios. Beckham is 6/1 with William Hill to sport a mullet for the Paraguay game. The Paraguayans themselves are an unknown qualtity.
Mullet watch rating: High - Leading the mullet charge is Argentinian left back Juan Pablo Sorin who sports an amazing head of hair. There could be anything up to four mullets in Argentina's starting XI and hairspray must surely be at a premium in the Argentinian camp. Any country from Eastern Europe always has mullet potential and Serbia are no different. Dutch coiffures are difficult to predict and Didier Drogba and his Ivory Coast team mates could provide the elusive African mullet.
Mullet watch rating: Medium - Mexico are always a safe bet in the mullet stakes, with the addition of peroxide and blonde highlights highly probable (and flammable). Portugal are not to be ruled out, but Angolan mullets are unlikely. Having a mullet in Iran may well be an imprisonable offence, a practice that should perhaps be followed by governments of other nations.
Groups E-H to follow...
*In 1990 Rudi Voller was involved in the classic World Cup mullet moment when his hair became the target of Frank Rijkaard's phlegm in the fiery second round encounter between Germany and Holland.
Tuesday, May 30
The 2006 Dot to Dot Festival took place in Nottingham over Whitsun weekend. This year the festival was extended to five venues and saw over 60 bands perform, with the main and small room at Rock City added to the Rescue Rooms, Stealth and the Social. With one wristband allowing access to all five venues, plus a small stage on the Rescue Rooms patio, a busy day is in store.
After arriving a little late, I miss the delights of all girl trios The Smears and The Pipettes, but get there just in time to see Northern Irish band Kharma 45. The Derry quartet play dance rock in the vein of Kasabian. Vocalist Glenn Rosborough is a magnetic presence in the centre of the stage and unfortunately named (and mulleted) guitarist Peter Doherty lays down some nice intricate guitarwork. The track Ecstasy is a stand out, but at times they sound like an indie band with some samples tacked on, which I suppose is exactly what they are. And isn't dance rock a little bit 2004 anyway? If they can overcome the handicap of their terrible name, then this band might get somewhere... maybe.
Round the corner in the downstairs room at Rock City the splendidly named An Albatross are tuning up. Fifteen minutes later they're still soundchecking. When they finally get the exact, precise sound they want in each individual monitor, they hurtle in to their first track which is a blast of unlistenable noise with screeching vocals and a strange choice of instrumentation. They sound like Slayer augmented by a second-hand Casio keyboard. Are they in tune? Are the levels right? It's quite difficult to tell. And as they blast into another shard of brutal Casio-driven noisecore, many of the crowd vote with their feet and go and see what is on elsewhere. I choose to follow them.
Upstairs, laptop-folk troubadour Buck 65 is working the crowd with one of his likeable and slightly political tunes. Sadly though, much of the subtlety is lost in the cavernous interior of Rock City's main room.
Onstage over in Stealth are possibly Doncaster's finest electro quintet, Neon Plastix. Vocalist Patrick Goss is clearly worse for wear, but somehow manages to sing and play bass simultaneously, and almost in time too. Their dirty electro pop gems win over the crowd and the pick 'n' mix thrown into the audience clinches it.
In the Rescue Rooms, Thousand Natural Shocks, are pleasant enough but I can't shake the fact that their singer looks uncannily like comedian Steve Punt, giving me the shivers when I think of the sitcom My Hero.
Next we get some entertaining and angular B52's style surf punk from The Victorian English Gentlemans Club.
Then it's Pistolas, who hail from the punk rock hotbed of Norwich. They're a feisty quartet with a female bassist and a nice line in angular guitars. Ones to keep an eye on.
Bricolage are like Franz Ferdinand only without the fashion sense. Their twee Orange Juice influenced pop goes down well, but they need to work on their image a bit as nan's knitted jumpers just don't cut it.
Over in Stealth, Swedish trio Revl9n are a band with fashion sense in spades, but seemingly a distinct lack of any musical ability whatsoever. One bloke and two very good looking girls, they are a hit with the men in the crowd, but they don't play in time or in tune - they've got a lot of enthusiasm though. Maybe they are having a bad day, but it looks like clever marketing and a great look has got them a slot on this bill. Their PR people and fashion advisors deserve a pay rise.
Purveyors of workmanlike indie, The Harrisons do their best to entertain in the Rescue Rooms, but it's all a bit pedestrian for my liking. After a few tracks I take my leave and make the trek across town to the Social, where I am greeted with a queue of people trying to get inside to see The Long Blondes. It was probably a bad idea to put one of the hottest bands in the UK on at the smallest venue at the festival. As the queue stretches down the stairs and out the front door it's clear the Long Blondes could have filled The Social twice or three times over.
From my position at the top of the stairs craning my neck to peer through the door, I’m privileged to watch a great band (the backs of their heads anyway) play a brilliant set including two of the stone cold classic pop singles of last year, Separated By Motorways and Appropriation (By Any Other Name). Great songs and a brilliant look uncannily reminiscent of fellow Sheffield band Pulp. They've just signed to Rough Trade and I expect imminent chart domination. Anything less would be a travesty.
Back across town and another queue, this time merely to get into the Rescue Rooms courtyard. A surly bouncer informs us that they are operating a 'one in one out' policy, but when ten people leave, he only lets two people in. Then he lets in two people wearing white wristbands jump the queue and walk straight in - it's either full or it isn't, surely? One guy is flatly refused entry for queue jumping even though he has been standing next to me for the past twenty minutes. No amount of protesting can sway the security man.
At Stealth, yet another queue and this time nobody is allowed in at all, unless they have a white wristband that is. As a consequence I miss Klaxons, one of the bands who were top of my list to see. The bouncer won't even let us have the door to the downstairs room open so we can listen to them perform.
With entry barred from Stealth, the choice of the next band is seemingly made for me as I catch the Good Shoes in the Rescue Rooms. They're a band who I know next to nothing about, but who manage to whip a packed Rescue Rooms up into something approaching hysteria. Like a spiky South London Futureheads and get the crowd moshing like no other band I've seen so far today. I can't recall a single one of their songs but I'd definitely see them again.
Headliners Bromhead's Jacket are the southern equivalent of the Arctic Monkeys, with their tales of small town life, Samsungs and girls. Brilliant lyrics, great tunes and an engaging frontman mean that this band are one breakthrough song away from moving into the mainstream. They also have the best song lyric of the day "She's gone to get her wotsit waxed". If they aren't on the NME tour next January, I'll eat my hat.
All in all Dot To Dot's second year has been a success, albeit one with some issues to address for next year.
For value, over sixty bands for less than twenty quid can't be beaten and the lineup was fantastically eclectic with something for most people. However, either there were too many tickets sold or the decision to put some of the bigger bands on in the Social and Stealth needs to be rethought. The ever-present and sometimes slightly aggressive security and the wristband hierarchy, meant that for me at least, the event will be partly remembered for bouncers rather than the great music.
This time next year I expect some of the bands at Dot to Dot could be grazing the upper echelons of the charts and enjoying high slots on the bill at the likes of Glastonbury and Reading. It's a forward thinking and progressive booking policy that has served organisers Liars Club so well over the years. At the Dot To Dot Festival or at any Liars Club night, you know that even if you haven't heard of half the bands on the bill, you'll have a great night and be listening to the bands on Myspace the following day.
I would have loved to have seen the likes of British Sea Power, The Mystery Jets and The Automatic, but the beauty of Dot To Dot is that there are so many good bands that some are bound to clash.
And if anyone knows how I can teleport across town from Rock City to the Social, please let me know!
Sunday, May 21
Saturday, May 20
The man is a legend - now Ian Holloway is gone, he's the best in the business...
On Wayne Rooney's first selection for the England team:
"Its an incredible rise to stardom. At 17 you're more likely to get a call from Michael Jackson than Sven Goran Eriksson."
Reporter: Gordon, Do you think James Beattie deserves to be in the England squad?
Strachan: I dont care, I'm Scottish
Reporter: "Gordon, can we have a quick word please?"
Strachan: "Velocity" [walks off]
Reporter: Welcome to Southampton Football Club. Do you think you are the right man to turn things around?
Strachan: No. I was asked if I thought I was the right man for the job and I said, "No, I think they should have got George Graham because I'm useless."
Reporter: Is that your best start to a season?
Strachan: Well I've still got a job so it's far better than the Coventry one, that's for sure.
Reporter: Are you getting where you want to be with this team?
Strachan: We're not doing bad. What do you expect us to be like? We were eighth in the league last year, in the cup final and we got into Europe. I don't know where you expect me to get to. Do you expect us to win the Champions League?
Reporter: Gordon, you must be delighted with that result?
Strachan: You're spot on! You can read me like a book.
Reporter: This might sound like a daft question, but you'll be happy to get your first win under your belt, won't you?
Strachan: You're right. It is a daft question. I'm not even going to bother answering that one. It is a daft question, you're spot on there.
Reporter: Bang, there goes your unbeaten run. Can you take it?
Strachan: No, I'm just going to crumble like a wreck. I'll go home, become an alcoholic and maybe! jump of a bridge. Umm, I think I can take it, yeah.
Reporter: There's no negative vibes or negative feelings here?
Strachan: Apart from yourself, we're all quite positive round here. I'm going to whack you over the head with a big stick, down negative man, down.
Reporter: where will Marion Pahars fit into the team line-up?
Strachan: Not telling you! It's a secret.
Reporter: You don't take losing lightly, do you Gordon?
Strachan: I don't take stupid comments lightly either.
Reorter: So, Gordon, in what areas do you think Middlesbrough were better than you today?
Strachan: What areas? Mainly that big green one out there....
And my personal favourite:
Strachan: I've got more important things to think about. I've got a yogurt to finish by today, the expiry date is today. That can be my priority rather than Agustin Delgado.
Remember, watch Eurovision tonight and vote for Lordi - you know it makes sense...
Thursday, May 4
Watch Boris Johnson's horror tackle!
Sunday, April 23
Forget the new PJ Harvey DVD - Bergerac Series One is poised to be released on DVD on the 8th of May
Don't get too excited just yet though. It seems that the BBC has already put the release back three times, presumably just to piss Will Smith the comedian off.
However - BBC Worldwide now say one DVD will be released every few months, with the whole lot released within two years. I'm putting my order in now for the 10 DVD deluxe box set.
Update: Amazing - There is rumoured to be full commentary on each episode by John Nettles himself!
Listen to Will Smith talking about this amazing turn of events
In this interview he reveals that the BBC Executive he hounded as part of his last stand up show was actually one of his mates... He also confesses to never have ever seen the first episode - And he calls himself a Bergerac superfan - pah!
Monday, April 3
I thought I was obsessed with Bergerac, I mean, when I was a student I built my life around Bergerac repeats on BBC One. Get up at 1, have a bath, some toast, watch Bergerac, then go to the library. In fact I'd even go as far to say that John Nettles was partially responsible for my good grades. And Bergerac would be one of my specialist subjects were I ever a contestant on Mastermind (sadly I'm not allowed!).
However, this was before I knew about Jersey-born comedian Will Smith. I was aware of him of course. People had dropped into conversation about how they had heard his routine about growing up in Jersey whilst Bergerac was being filmed and about how much he liked the programme. Sure, sure I thought - just a publicity stunt, how much can he REALLY be into Bergerac.
Then I read his online biog:
THE ONLY MAN ALIVE WHO CAN LINK ANY FILM TO A SPECIFIC EPISODE OF BERGERAC IN 6 MOVES OR LESS
An extravagant claim no doubt, but could Smith back this up? Short of going to see him in standup and issuing a challenge, I wasn't sure.
Then I found a letter he had written to the BBC trying to get Bergerac released on DVD:
Dear Commissioning Editor of BBC Products,
I write with incredulity at the news that there are currently no plans to release Bergerac on dvd. I urge you to reconsider your decision or at least explain your incomprehensible stance that consigns one of the brightest jewels in the BBC’s crown to the dustbin of obscurity whilst simultaneously polishing for display and sale some of the many turds that have clogged up the airwaves to the point where my set-top box feels more like a septic tank.
Bread – sitcom featuring loveable Scouse family on dole. A lack of work ethic is not loveable.
‘Allo ‘Allo – astonishing for the feat of making the actual war seem funnier.
Rosemary and Thyme – two gardening detectives. Hang your head. Shame on you. Surely you must be feeling the lure of the revolver in the top drawer.
Spooks – this is like watching John Le Carre being made to stand behind a camel with the runs. I don’t want my spies to be young, sexy, and appealing to the maximum demographic. I won’t broken men in raincoats making a dash for the Russo-Finnish border in a clapped out Lada.
On top of that we have the added insult of a full release of Lovejoy. John Nettles may not have ended the show as the lean panther he was at the beginning, but he never grew a mullet or wore a jeans, T-shirt, boot and blazer combo that made Ian MacShane look like the manager of a Rod Stewart tribute act.
Whilst I can and have videoed all but two of the Bergerac repeats on UK Gold, I would like the opportunity to watch them in remastered digital quality without ad breaks but with a commentary from members of the cast and crew. This would help verify many of the obscurer locations which would make the publication of my book Bergerac: A Location Guide a possibility. In addition, I have yet to see repeated any of the many Christmas specials, which are films in their own right.
Frankly this is like telling a devout Muslim, “Sorry pal, Mecca’s closed for the foreseeable.”
I look forward to hearing your explanation.
P.S. If you fob me off with a standard reply I shall come at you like a lost King of Gondor with a reforged sword.
P.P.S. Not literally, your life is not in danger…yet.
P.P.S.S. The “yet” was a joke. I don’t even have a sword. I do eye them up in Forbidden Planet, but according to the security guard you’d have to sharpen them up anyway, they have to sell them dull and blunt by law.
P.P.P.S.S. I feel we’re getting off the point and don’t want to end this letter on a sour note. Though we be enemies we can respect each other for our valour and determination in battle. Like Jim Bergerac and the jewel thief Phillippa Vale.
P.P.P.S.S.S. I am not suggesting that there is any sexual frissance between us. I don’t even know what you look like…yet.
But then if you read through the correspondance, you get this slightly disturbing, but very very funny video (requires quicktime).
OK - Confirmed - this man is more obsessed with Bergerac than me...
Friday, March 31
Last week my long suffering grey hat got run over by a train.
Some of you might know that the same hat has already been run over by an articulated lorry, so this latest brush with disaster is par for the course for my headgear of choice, which clearly has a taste for danger.
If a film of my life were made then the scene would look like this. Jeff Bridges playing me prepares to get off the train at New Street Station (mocked up in a film studio as permission was refused for filming) ready for another long day at the office.
As Jeff/I get off the train, the top of my hat touches the top of the door and spins off my head. Jeff turns and the scene goes in slow motion as he shouts "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo" and the hat slowly falls in the gap between the train and platform on to the track. Let's have some dramatic music too.
Mind the gap indeed.
So now I/Jeff am/is faced with a dilemma. Do I abandon the hat, or try and somehow retrieve it from the track. This will not only be a dangerous task, but one which will make me miss my connecting train and make me late for work, incurring the wrath of.....well...nobody actually as I work flexible hours.
But that's no good as we need a bit of dramatic tension, so lets put in a flashback scene to the morning before as I stumble into the office, late again, and hear the bark of "Huxley, my office", from my boss (cameo appearance from Bob Hoskins). Close up of Hoskins - "If you're late again, you're fired, consider this your last chance sonny Jim" (Those of you who work in the media may consider this unrealistic, but he couldn't use any stronger language as the film is going for a 12a certificate).
Cut back to the present
So the pressure is on, Jeff is in a quandary.
Close up of his face thinking
Cut to close up of the hat lying stricken on the track
Cut to close up of a sign, do not trespass on the tracks, Â£1,000 fine and risk of DEATH
Cut to close up of a tramp with a bit stick
Cut to close up of Jeff, he raises his eyebrow in thought
Actually lets make the tramp blind for a bit of dramatic effect - it's a white stick
And he's played by Stan Collymore
What is going to happen in the film? / What actually did happen? / Did I get my hat back?
You'll have to watch the film to find out, as that is where the trailer ends...
*If you actually know what did happen, then make sure you write SPOILER in the comments box first, like they do in IMDB
Thursday, March 16
I blame the White Stripes. They were the band that first started the trend of using a minimal amount of instruments, opening the floodgates for a stream of bands that lack a full complement of musicians.
One such band are Koala Grip, who have a stripped down electro-rock sound with a guitarist, bassist and female vocalist accompanied by a drum machine and sampled keyboards.
The Kings Heath based trio are and certainly a much more professional and assured outfit than many of their fellow Brum bands and are creating somewhat of a buzz in local circles. Either that or they have a few keen friends who are very good at postering and flyering in local record shops.
It’s easy to see why as in singer Miz they have a born frontwoman. Cool, sassy, sexy and in control, she holds the attention of the crowd as Stevie K and Mr Ant lay down the guitar and bass. It is a great credit to them that they don’t look out of place playing before two nationally touring bands.
My one gripe would be that because they use recorded drums and keyboard effects, their sound doesn’t fill the cavernous metal interior of the Barfly. However this is a problem not unique to them and in a sweaty packed club, I’m sure they would go down a storm. Keep your eye on Koala Grip
Next come The Violets. This twitchy London three-piece don’t have a bassist, just guitar, drums and some powerful Siouxsie Sioux-like vocals.
They’re an abrasive and compelling prospect with the choppy guitar work of Joe Daniel in particular standing out. At times it seems as if he is about to lose control of the song, but he always reels it back in, staying perfectly in time.
Vocalist Alex struts around, kohl-eyed with bleach blonde hair and an attitude that says she’s not to be messed with. She spits out her vocals with venom and bile, prowling the stage.
Feast On You is the stand out track of the set, all angular guitar, tribal drums and piercing vocals. And where that came from there are half a dozen more songs of the same calibre.
Again though, they suffer the same fate of their slightly top-heavy sound echoing round the submarine-esque Barfly. It’s a shame, as I would like to hear more of the lyrics and the details in the guitar playing. Maybe next time.
No such sound difficulties for White Rose Movement, who provide a full complement of drums, guitar, bass and keyboards.
White Rose Movement have been much-hyped by the NME and are about to release their debut album Kick. Suave and immaculately tailored, they look as if they would be equally at home on a catwalk as onstage on a freezing Friday night in Birmingham.
But cor blimey guvnor, they are a serious lot, maybe a little too serious. Even more serious than Midlands Today’s Nick Owen when he’s doing a particularly sad story about an injured animal.
“Are you having a good time” deadpans frontman Finn Vine at one point, though he might as well have added, “Cus we’re not”. The lanky singer reminds me in equal parts of Ian Curtis and this bloke I used to know called John.*
Thankfully tonight he keeps his dancemoves in check, restraining himself in the main with the odd flick of his side-parted hair.
Something else that deserves a mention is the hair of bassist Owen Dyke, which could only be described as a reverse peroxide mullet. How he manages to see through it to play is anyone’s guess, and he tops off the look with a jaunty White Rose Movement Nazi-style armband that is sadly not available from the merchandise stand. One speculates that if he did in fact live in the Third Reich, he would soon be called in by the Gestapo for a spot of gentle questioning due to his dodgy barnet.
In some ways it’s a shame that this band places so much emphasis on image, as they have some fantastic tunes. Love Is a Number and Alsatian are searing slices of robotic-post-punk-disco, with choruses that burn their way into your memory, sounding even better live than on record.
New single Girls in the Back is just as good, and if the songs they play tonight are anything to go by, their album Kick could be one of the best of 2006.
In a venue where it is sometimes difficult to achieve a good sound, White Rose Movement make it seem easy, blasting through the speakers with a wall of noise.
However, onstage they are a little awkward. They’re aloof, morose and do precious little to interact with the audience. There’s little spontaneity and the personality of the individual band members doesn’t come through.
It’s a major negative for a band that look and sound really good. Perhaps they should take a lesson from Nick Owen and slot in a corny joke or two, or a bit of banter with the crowd now and again. A bit of humour would certainly make them seem more human and give a chance for more people to hear their songs.
*John once fell asleep whilst sitting against a fireguard whilst drunk and woke up several hours later with a back like a noughts and crosses board. This injury later became known in local medical circles as a case of 'fireguard back'
Thursday, March 9
Prior to seeing Nights at The Circus at the Warwick Arts Centre I was intrigued to how such a surreal and magical novel could be transferred to the stage. However, I am pleased to say that I certainly wasn’t disappointed and that the play was just as vivid and colourful, humourous and disturbing as Angela Carter’s novel.
Natalia Tena who plays Fevvers the ‘Cockney Venus’ is just I imagined her to be. Both vulgar and alluring in equal doses.
Her trapeze routines are well choreographed and her ability to sing in both an extremely quiet and childlike voice (as at the start of the play) and in a loud cockney slur highlights that Fevvers is a complex character who knows when to turn on the charm and when to act innocently.
Tena is extremely convincing in this role and her costumes are certainly well thought out and daring. The fact that she is topless by the end of the play does not actually seem to be out of place after the wild carnival that unfurls once the characters arrive at the circus in St Petersburg.
In fact all of the roles are well acted and it was rather bizarre to see that there were only actually eight people in the entire cast when they came on at the end for the final bow. They created the illusion of there being a much larger cast.
The idea of having Lizzie played by a man is an inspired one considering that Liz hates all men and sings songs about how to crush them – a nice irony. Liz, played by Carl Grose is half pantomime dame, half inspector Clouseau (you’d have to see the play to understand this really.)
Amanda Lawrence who plays Ma Nelson, and Mignon shows her versatility as an actress as they are completely contrasting roles and her song with the Princess of Abyssinia is one of the most touching moments in a play which is as wildly unpredictable as the novel. Walser the journalist is shown as being refreshingly naive in a world of chaos. The idea of him starting off sitting in the audience reviewing the play is a nice touch.
The most disturbing scene in the play is when Buffo the Clown sings a song about how he beats his wife Mignon (who is later liberated from this awful alliance). The audience are shocked, afraid to laugh at the seemingly humorous take on an extremely sensitive subject.
The character who gets the biggest amount of laughs is the outrageous American Colonel Kearney and his pig Sybil. Well, actually, maybe it’s his hand puppet pig which gets the most laughs.
There are other puppets used throughout the play such as the one used to demonstrate how Fevvers learned to fly. Through the use of clever lighting and atmospheric music this helps the audience to imagine the scenario. Also the idea of the tiger masks with glowing lights and the use of saws to represent their growling is very clever.
Emma Rice has certainly found a way of portraying the most fantastical parts of the plot effectively and Nights at The Circus is a production which shows no limitations and pushes the boundaries of the Theatre.
Sunday, March 5
Described by the Walsall Gazette as "the most dangerous band in the Black country", you can see StrangeTime at the following venues in the near future:
Wednesday 15th March - Wolverhamptom Little Civic w/ Story One, Redshift & San Andreas
Saturday 8th April - Birmingham Actress & Bishop (HEADLINING!) w/ Taxi & Four Foot Soldiers
Sunday 21st May - Birmingham Flapper & Firkin w/ Cellar Door & Crashdown Revival
Also there are gigs coming up at Coventry Golden Cross and Walsall Wharf10 Bar - Dates to be confirmed.
Fincho - the most dangerous woman in Walsall? (pic by Pete Ashton)
Thursday, March 2
The men of Atherstone gather in the main street of the town to throw a ball around and generally deck each other
I went to Atherstone Ball game. An ancient Shrove Tuesday tradition in Warwickshire dating back to 1198
Monday, February 27
As much as I am loath to criticise our fine boys in blue, the photofits of the criminals in the recent Kent heist left a lot to be desired.
One can only suspect that the police were reaching the deadline for the press conference and the photofit wasn't yet completed:
"We need the guy with the beard" barks the guy in charge of the investigation.
"But it will take two hours for me to render an accurate beard weave using our sophisticated computer technology" says his bespectacled colleague from IT Squad.
The Officer in charge turns to address the rest of the room: "We've got five minutes, any ideas for this photofit?"
Silence... a tumbleweed blows by, an amusing sceensaver kicks in on a junior officer's computer screen, he quickly moves his mouse to stop it.
A detective sits in the corner clicking his ballpoint pen, doing the crossword in the Sun. He flicks to page three where he has drawn a comedy Hitler moustache on the scantily clad girl. "Give that picture 'ere guvna" he says in a cockney accent, because all detectives talk in a cockney accent, just like in The Sweeney. And in two minutes he draws on the required facial hair before they go out to face the media and issue a description.
Unless of course the robber did actually have a beard drawn on with biro. Maybe the fancy dress shops were closed that morning and he fashioned a rudimentary disguise using a Bic he had in his back pocket.
In Crimewatch in a few weeks Nick Ross will be saying:
"Police are advising that if you see a man with a beard drawn on in biro, do not approach him. He may be armed, dangerous and could get a nasty inkstain on your clothes should you try to apprehend him."
Monday, February 20
In one of the most unlikely gigs of the year, The Fall are playing at Stratford-upon-Avon Civic Hall, a venue that usually hosts amateur dramatics and tea dances.
I wonder if I can get an interview-ah with the great man himself...
And if you haven't seen it, make sure you watch my top TV moment of 2005:
Mark E Smith reads the classified football results
Plus, learn talk like Mark E Smith: Mark E Smith speak generator
And download the Mark E Smith handwriting font
Sunday, February 19
Do you want free tea? Let's face it, why would you NOT want free tea. Visit this link, type in your postcode and you can get some free tea. It even detects whether you live in a hard water area or not.
Pass it on to all your friends - Free tea for everyone!
Saturday, February 18
I'm giving the old Sidebar a bit of a spring clean. Once the Postage sidebar was revered and respected the length and bredth of Blogsville, but over time it has now turned into an outdated laughing stock (a bit like Madonna) - but not any more!
Pete Ashton and Long Suffering Wife have been promoted to Gold Class and I'm going through the rest of the list (I'm up to B at the moment)...
Thursday, February 9
I always suspected that Sting had a chauffeur, which is why I choose to use public transport. But now the veruca-infested former Police frontman is suing his ex-driver.
The slightly worryingly named Mick Madadi told British tabloid newspapers that Sting's marriage is not all it seems and he neglects his wife in favour of time along with his banjo:
"Trudie is so needy but Sting is never there. He's just into playing his banjo and getting stoned. The couple are not all they seem."Surely repeated playing of a bluegrass version of Fields Of Gold would be enough to break up any marriage, but Sting refutes these allegations (I'm not sure which part though) and is taking his chauffeur to court.
The Say No To Sting campaign dictates that I immediately stop playing the banjo. This will be a wrench, but I'll manage somehow. Though where the Ukelele stands with regards to this I don't know.
Also, I won't be suing my chauffeur and will instead be rewarding her with an extra packet of Morrisons own brand wine gums, in recognition of the sterling job she does.
In other news, my Northern correspondant Jon 'The Power' Ashley reports in my comments box that Sting has been made an honorary Doctor of Music (DMus) from the University of Newcastle, despite the fact that he already has a honorary doctorate in Music from Northumbria University in 1992.
Nice detective work 'The Power', and let's hope you'll be joining the Say No To Sting campaign by turning down that honarary doctorate from Manchester University for services to Table Football.
Tuesday, January 17
"I was going to buy some healthy seeds and pulses in Holland and Barratt. And then I stopped to ponder...Would Sting by these?
"I decided he would and bought the deep fried banana chips instead. They were real tasty, and greasy, and not very healthy - Sting antithesis
"Thanks Phill for making my life better!"
You too can join the Say No To Sting campaign - Just leave a message in the comments box
Remember - Sting is always wrong!
Monday, January 16
Mike from Troubled Diva has hit the bigtime, appearing on page 7 of the Nottingham Evening Post.
But he was kept off the front page by my favourite newspaper headline ever - Burglar Hid Haul Inside False Leg: Amputee Admits 51 Raids.
The story says:
"When police raided the home of Adrian Newbold, 31, they found three mobile phones, bank cards and a purse inside the leg."
Thursday, January 12
There seem to be an abundance of Life Guru's and Teachers around at the moment and a never ending supply of glossy magazines telling you how to life your life.
But you don't need any of those - simply follow my handy print out and keep guide to a healthy and happy life.
1.When thinking of doing something, particularly new age practices, ask yourself the following question:
Would Sting do this?
If the answer is yes, then do not do this under any circumstances, EVER.
By doing the opposite of Sting, you can live a contented and carefree life.
Remember - STING IS ALWAYS WRONG
Wednesday, January 11
It's finally here - This year there were four bus services in contention, representing three different cities!
1. 951 - Birmingham - Great Barr & Walsall
Still at number one - It was always going to be difficult to knock this route off the top spot. Featuring some of the oldest buses and most kamikaze bus driving this side of that scene with the cliff in The Italian Job (original version). I always seem to get the bus when it is the last trip before the driver clocks off, so they hold their foot on the accelerator just a little big longer, especially going over the humpback bridges on the way to Aston and in Perry Barr - Perfect for that stomach churning Rollercoaster effect.
2. 16 - Birmingham - Hamstead (AKA The Polish Route)
Practice your conversational Polish whilst travelling through some of the dodgiest parts of North Birmingham. The ideal bus route to experience some of those classic Polish bus driver moments. Ask them any other question except "How much is it?" and be prepared to be met by confusion, bewilderment, hostility, more confusion, or a beautiful smile and a shrug which conveys the message - 'I have no bloody idea what you are talking about, I'm from Gdansk.'
3. 69/70/71 - Nottingham City Centre - Forest Fields
For the sheer variety of strange characters and nutters on the bus. Get some chips from Nicole and Ewan at the Moulin Rouge chip shop next to the stop, to eat during the journey.
4. 17/27 - Coventry train station - Coventry City Centre
The bendybus! Especially fantastic if you stand on the part where the bus bends when going round corners. Guaranteed to make you dizzy. Look out of the window to see some of the ugliest buildings in the entire world.
Thursday, January 5
Monday, December 26
1. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
2. The Rakes - Capture/Release
3. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
4. Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks
5. Tom Vek – We Have Sound
6. Sons & Daughters – The Repulsion Box
7. Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
8. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods
9. Editors – The Back Room
10. Hard Fi – Stars Of CCTV
11. The Arcade Fire - Funeral
12. dEUS - Pocket Revolution
13. Ladytron - Witching Hour
14. Fischerspooner - Odyssey
15. Clor - Clor
16. The Others - The Others
17. Misty's Big Adventure - The Black Hole
18. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better With…
19. Bright Eyes - Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
20. Gorillaz - Demon Days
21. The Juan Maclean - Less Than Human
22. The Paddingtons - First Comes First
23. Babyshambles – Down In Albion
24. The Kills - No Wow
25. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
26. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
27. Out Hud - Let Us Never Speak of It Again
28. Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth
29. The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightening, Strike
30. Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
31. Stars - Set Yourself On Fire
32. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
33. Beck - Guero
34. The Duke Spirit - Cuts Across The Land
35. The Dears - No Cities Left
36. Idlewild - Warnings/Promises
37. Tom McRae - All Maps Welcome
38. Whitey - The Light At The End of the Tunnel is a Train
39. Million Dead - Harmony No Harmony
40. Nine Black Alps – Everything
41. Broadcast - Tender Buttons
42. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
43. Bright Eyes - Wide Awake It's Morning
44. The Raveonettes – Pretty In Black
45. Brendan Benson - The Alternative To Love
46. Kathryn Williams - Over Fly Over
47. Half Man Half Biscuit – Achtung Bono
48. Hot Hot Heat - Elevator
49. Mahjongg - Raydoncong 2005
50. New Order - Waiting For The Siren's Call
Wednesday, December 21
Possibly the most coveted of all of the 'Posties', there has been strong competition for the title of D!HP Chip Shop of the year in 2005.
And the results are...
1. Lace Market Fish Bar, Nottingham
2. Moulin Rouge, Nottingham
3. Mustafa's, Great Barr, Birmingham
4. Marco's, Great Barr, Birmingham
5. McTaffish Fish Bar, Worcester
2004 winner - This is a new category
So there we have it, Nottingham gets the 1-2, with a victory for the Lace Market. I stumbled into this chippy within the first hour of moving to Nottingham and it served me well. Plus once a slightly crazy man tried to sell me an electric shaver in there - A deserved winner!
Tuesday, December 20
Just because I wanted to be first...
1. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
2. The Rakes - Capture/Release
3. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
4. Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks
5. Tom Vek – We Have Sound
6. Sons & Daughters – The Repulsion Box
7. Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
8. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods
9. Editors – The Back Room
10. Hard Fi – Stars Of CCTV
Previous Winners - Roll Of Honour
2004 - !!! - Louden Up Now
2003 - Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Fever To Tell
More lists and detail to come soon...
Monday, December 19
I have no internet access at the present time, so the passing of ADKOF was marked with silence. Expect D!HP back and refreshed in the new year with 17mb broadband. And of course, before that, the D!HP end of year polls - who will win chippy of the year?
In the meantime, let us pay tribute...
And so it ended with me throwing two mince pies into the canal. A Different Kettle Of Fish officially died on the 6th of December, having existed for sixteen glorious months.
ADKOF started as a way of getting a few of my friends to come out for a drink on my birthday last year. How could they use the old excuses like: "I'm busy", "I'm washing my hair", "I don't like you any more", "Leave me alone or I'm calling the police", or the classic "Don't ever call this number again or I'll kill you..."
After stealing the name from my friend Dean's former radio show, we had a club night with three DJs, in a cool venue (The Sunflower Lounge). Soon we moved to Selly Oak and even there was even a spin off night out of town (in Bath). Then the autumn run at the Flapper and Firkin, culminating in the tossing of pies into an adjacent waterway.
We had a haphazard approach to promotion...
Though we did have very nice flyers and posters...
Bands loved playing for us...
Because we paid them too much...
Though they usually hated most of the other bands on the bill...
Because I insisted on booking bills featuring bands of wildly different styles...
And we spent most of our profits on biscuits...
Thanks to everyone that came along to one of the nights and to all the bands that played (in chronological order):
Ruth Theodore, Mobrown, Zilch, Sinistra, StrangeTime, Beats Capri, Midas, Graham Parsnip Liquidiser Torture Thnk-Tank Experiment, When Bears Attack, 51 Breaks, Drug*Mule, RedShed, Hey! Pablo, Motorcyclestunts, The Pubic Fringe and Trash Fashion.
Thanks to the bands who wanted to play but had to pull out, The Rock Of Travolta, (Hooker), And What Will Be Left Of Them, Old School Tie
Big apologies to Smilex for having to cancel the November gig
And a big hello to The Program, who split up but neglected to mention this to us before their gig at ADKOF - presumably they were too busy combing their mullets.
Other fantastic bands that I would have tried to book for future nights include: Twisted Charm, We Start Fires, Bromhead's Jacket, Bom and his Magic Drumstick, Mirror! Mirror!, The Smears, The Ivories, The Vichy Government, Dead! Dead! Dead!, The Favours, MC Lars. If they play near you - make sure you go and see them and tell 'em A Different Kettle OF Fish sent you.
In the future some of the ADKOF founder members will continue with their own night Wrapped In Plastic.
If you think of A Different Kettle Of Fish as The Stone Roses then Wrapped in Plastic are The Seahorses, whereas I'm Reni (It's the hat!) - not sure who Ian Brown is though.
I have learnt many lessons along the way, which I may or may not share with you in the future - and in this brief time I've fallen in and now out of love with the music scene in Birmingham.
There's still lots of great bands and nights in the city - you've just got to wade through all the mediocrity and find them.
Remember - Support your local band - StrangeTime play at the Actress & Bishop on Friday 20 January - Onstage 11:00pm.
(A Different Kettle Of Fish RIP 2004-2005)
Wednesday, November 23
Don't you often wonder, particularly on those long and lonely winter nights, what happened to the legend that is Jimmy Nail? There are so many things that he could be doing with his talent, manager of a boyband, appearing in Byker Grove, UN Goodwill Ambassador, first team coach at Newcastle United, male model, travelling shoe salesman.... the list is endless.
If you want to know about Jimmy Nail's fantastic music and TV career, you can read his autobiography
Jimmy clearly needs something to do with his time, as well as a steady income to keep him supplied with footwear made from endangered animal skin.
Likewise, his adoring fans need him to be in the public eye and for his profile to remain high.
An ideal solution would have been to see him appear on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here – but sadly the Australian Crocodile Action Front (ACAF) heard about this and issued a veiled threat of shoe related violence to scupper this…
Behold… The Geordiegraph…
The Geordiegraph is a regional variation on the classic polygraph lie detector machine*. Featuring the dulcet tones of Jimmy Nail, the Geordiegraph will tell you if the person you are talking to is telling the truth or lying like a dirty faced scoundrel.
The machine uses samples from the classic Jimmy Nail song Ain’t No Doubt, which spent three weeks at the top of the UK charts in 1992.
The premise is simple. Electrodes emblazoned with the smiling face of Jimmy Nail are attached to chest, face and big toe of the person you are testing. Then when they talk, if they are telling the truth Jimmy sings “Ain’t no doubt it’s plain to see”, and when they are telling a bare faced lie, he sings “She’s lying”. Simple but surprisingly effective, just like the lyrics of The Nailmeister himself.
Remember, the Geordie accent is often voted as one of the most trustworthy, and besides, if you can't trust Jimmy Nail then who can you trust?
The Geordiegraph has been proved by top scientists from the University of Tyneside to be 89% accurate.
The Geordiegraph makes an ideal Christmas gift and is priced £74.99 – available from all good High Street stores.
* Note: A prototype version of the Scousergraph featuring Ian McCulloch (the singer, not the snooker player), was also developed, though this won’t go into mass production. The Scousergraph features the warbling tones of the surly raincoat clad Echo and the Bunnymen vocalist, singing his famous line “Spare us the cutter”.
Unfortunately the only use for the Scousergraph that could be found is when buying an unsliced loaf of bread in Greggs and you are asked, by the slightly over friendly assistant, whether you would like it sliced. It’s true that some people prefer the unsliced loaf, but sadly not enough to warrant a large-scale production of the Scousergraph.
Tuesday, November 22
The festering corpse of A Different Kettle Of Fish presents:
TRASH FASHION, (HOOKER), THE PUBIC FRINGE, MOTORCYCLE STUNTS
Tuesday December 6th
Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham, doors 7:45pm, £3
TRASH FASHION - http://www.trash-fashion.com/
Guntronic disco rave rock!
Two superbrothers, Jet and Mason Storm, and new drumming liability El Diablo are on a mission to dish out hearty helpings of Fashion Fused Mayhem, that the mortal might dine upon forthwith and go hungry no more! Hot-footing down to London from Birmingham one year ago with a fabulous array of neon guitars and synths, Trash Fashion's rich, smooth, tobaccoey blend of Rock, Punk, Metal, Electro, Rave and Disco has been feeding London's Freaks and Vipers ever since! Now they're back for a rare gig on hometurf.
They've rocked hard with the likes of Ladytron, Selfish C**t, Bentley Rhythm Ace and Client as well as headlining many nights of their own in Brumski and London.
With their wondrous array of rippling torsos, spandex and wireless instruments, it would be a crime of fashion to miss Trash Fashion! And try not to have dinner, because you'll be EATING THEIR SKILL!!
"Super spandex neon disorder" No Front Teeth Zine
"Serious fucking Champs type heavy metal guitar action, and some killer Soft Cell basslines. Trash Fashion are poised to take over the world" $Brainlove
(HOOKER) - http://www.hookerstuff.com/
Blistering post riot girl from Manchester
Taking their name from the song ‘Beauty School Dropout‘, from the classic flick “Grease, the female-fronted Mancunian trio play short, sharp bursts of primal punk rock.
(Hooker) have toured with Katastrophe Wife, supported Le Tigre, The Donnas, Interpol, Brassy and The Gossip and played gigs under the Ladyfest banner in Madrid and Berlin.
"Manchester's special little secret"
Armed with a voice even more banshee-like than Corin Sleater-Kinney, singer/guitarist Zoe McVeigh belts out songs that grind and ache with the sharpest of edges…"
Drowned In Sound
"This is one band that has to be seen to believed – do it!”
THE PUBIC FRINGE - http://www.thepubicfringe.co.uk
Situationist Black Country punk rock with a nod to The Birthday Party and The Cramps
Da' Fringe comprise: Larry Clitter, Dusty Enclaves, Nazi Sinatra, Anal Ravine and 'Tiny' Gene Pool.
Mark E. Smith is a huge fan of the band and they've supported The Fall on two UK tours, as well as playing with The Damned and John Cooper Clark
Their mission statement reads:
It's nearly fifty years, Bubba. Half a century of Rock n Roll has brought us to where we are now. Fifty years of invention/reinvention/remake/remodel/ bastardise /plagiarise/quick bucks and failed vision. What’s left? Where to go? Is anyone really convinced that the ‘new thing’ is truly the ‘new thing’, or just the previous generation’s ‘nearly new thing’ repackaged for today’s young bloods?
Elvis was NEW. The Velvet Underground were NEW. Kraftwerk were NEW. Has there really been any need for anything else? All music should be a reaction; to the political climate, personal climate and musical climate. All music should strive to be original, innovative and new.
But it’s nearly fifty years, Bubba…. What can possibly be done that hasn’t been done before? The Pubic Fringe understand this dilemma. It is the reason they formed. This paradox is the essence of P-Fringe Collectivism. Seize your moment and stamp your own vision on the prevailing culture, thus giving people what they think they want…. But on YOUR TERMS. That’s why the Pubic Fringe chose to be a covers band. Karaoke culture’s the norm. An all-encompassing parasite that drains the creative life-blood out of live music, shits megabucks and shows no sign of abating. But, ‘Hey!’ It’s what the people want – they demand it, so the promoters supply it… or is it the other way round?
Either way, people enjoy covers bands cos they know what they’re gonna get. It’s an opportunity to get close and sweaty, and sing along to bands who, in their ‘proper’ incarnation, have managed to undo all Punks hard slog by retreating to the untouchable, anodyne pomp and swagger of the 70s stadium rock cash-cow. The Pubic Fringe, however, are not interested in taking the easy option and slavishly recreating a shared consensus of some one else’s life, work and effort. The Pubic Fringe are NOT a tribute band. The Pubic Fringe prefer the creative interpretation of songs that ignite fires in their collective bellies. The Pubic Fringe revel in introducing their audience to obscure and lesser-known treasures, hitherto denied the luxury of mass acceptance.
This band is not interested in a quick-win regurgitation of totems enshrined in the national psyche.
That is PROSTITUTION.
The Pubic Fringe are not prostitutes.
They may grease glans’ and bleach gussets with Rod Stewart and Dr. Hook, but for the majority, the songs of Steve Alaimo and Kip Tyler are as familiar and enticing as being cupped by an old man’s hand. No shit, Bubba. There’s nothing commercial about THIS sex industry. This is a simple case of consenting adults engaging in private acts in public places. Everyone is a voyeur.
"They are without doubt one of the strangest bands in Stourbridge"
Thursday, November 17
As I sat on the delayed 8:19 train from Walsall to Birmingham this morning, ruminating on the concept of 'continuation betting' whilst flicking through my copy of Harrington On Hold 'Em, I glanced across the carriage and noticed...
A teenage girl reading Doyle Brunson's seminal poker strategy book Super System Two. And what a beautiful site to behold it was.
And whilst we are on the subject of poker, will someone please stop this sick filth now. This man needs to be stopped....NOW!
And also - how can What's New Pussycat? be classed as a poker anthem? Apart from the fact that I'd like repeatedly throw poker chips (the heavy clay ones) at Tom Jones's big fat orange head.
Please nobody buy me this book or CD for Christmas - I beg you...
Wednesday, November 9
To be sung to the backing of a bottleneck slide guitar whilst sitting on a porch in the deep south (or perhaps North Birmingham) and drinking liquor.
Ah've got the temporary traffic light blues,
The water board are digging up my street,
Have you heard the news?
A major fault in the pipes,
Has been detected,
Therefore this interim traffic solution,
Has been erected
Right outside my window,
They're flashing red, amber, green,
It's giving me a headache,
That infernal machine
Flashing, flashing, flashing
Throughout the night and day,
Ooooh please Seven Trent Water,
Ooooh won't you take them away....
Sunday, November 6
The next ADKOF due to feature The Program, Smilex and Old School Tie has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond out control. Apologies if you planned to attend.
Make sure you some to the final one of the year on 6 December, featuring Trash Fashion, (Hooker) and The Pubic Fringe... It could be the last one ever, so make sure you're there...
Also make sure you check out StrangeTime at the Actress and Bishop on Friday 18 November