Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Bridge To Gwar

Gwar played Liverpool last night, the first date of whats the most extensive UK they've done in years. They said they'd of been back sooner, only the map was covered in animal feces. This is a good indication of what to expect from the shock rockers of their day.

All this touring is in support of their new album, Beyond Hell, which has seen them make a significant effort to develop a more appealing sound. Combine this with them doing a radio friendly and phallus free music video for their cover of Schools Out and it become clear that Gwar are moving beyond the stage show and are actually trying to get noticed as musicians.

The downside here is that they didn't seem as good musically as last tour, and that as we all know, people go for the stage show. Maybe it was time to move on from the Ronald Regan ABC Warrior stuff, but how could they not bring the worm?! They used to grantee an audience member would be eaten every gig, not no more. Its not all bad however, still some good on stage action. sHitler and Nazi Pope are welcome new additions, and the stage props of a giant white rock labeled "crack" is a complete classic. Osma bin Laden is gone, but in whats sure to go down well in Europe, they've a certain Islamic prophet who is de-bearded with gory results.

So despite the new direction and motivation, Gwar still stick to what people expect (The World Maggot excluded), but in just updating the jokes from their heyday I think they instantly make the show out-dated. Their sense of humour however remains highly developed and makes perfect sense to those who are enlightened to what it is they're doing. So while they've changed their sound and objectives they still manage to carry the touch and tradition of Rock 'N' Roll theater and while they've stumbled, they've stumbled only slightly and recovery is still within thier monstrous clawed stride.

And shit, sure beats Lordi

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bat For Lashes, Brundenell Social Club, 18/02/07

Bat For Lashes was a gig I was uncertain about, but, being only a few doors up from my house, how could I pass? The problem is that its all a Bjorky for my liking, and the problem with Bjork is not the music but the fans, and also, Bjork herself. Musically however the album is well produced, full of interesting florishes and the high standard of musicianship makes up for the fact there are songs about wizards and lyrical refrences to "We're dancers in the dark".

Does it work live? After opening with the excellent first single Trophy, I have my doubts, and after being informed in a South coast accent about having too big a curry for dinner I'm almost wishing that Bjork was here instead. But this is early in the set and things pick up quickly. The band are multi-intrumental and clearly tallented, "Whats A Girl To Do" and "Sara" both benifiting from inventive touches. "Sara" especially stood, with Kahn taking centre stage to stamp out a beat on the mic'ed up floor using boot and a sturdy wooden staff, the sound of which filled the venues accoustics nicely.

An encore of new single Prescilla it was all over. I was left with the impression that I'd seen some imaginitive and well thought out musicianship and that live music in general would benifit if more bands stood up as well live as they did backed by studio wizzardry. For £6 it was a a value for money night out, the event was suprsingly well attended, its I'd much rather see Bat For Lashes play again than wait for Bjork to play in The Brundenell Social Club.

You can watch the new video for Prescilla here

Ha Ha, I'm Hobbling!

Bill Hicks was a great comedian, a visionary, but sometimes he played to the whims of his audience a little too much. People followed him a bit too closely for my liking and its very rare for someone to speak against him.

"I've never seen anyone on drugs get into a fight because its fucking impossible"
-I beg to differ

"Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide. Yeah well, so does my car and it still runs"
-You're not a car, you respire, you need that precious oxygen

"Whats the write about jogging? Left foot, right foot..."

And this is where I want to differ, because as my new crutches attest, there is a lot more to jogging than meets the eye. There are a few crucial things I should have learnt sooner rather than later, for example warming up. Some stretches vastly reduces the risk of damaging your muscles and joints.

This brings me onto the second point, support. Jogging shoes, unlike in my general held belief, are far more specialized than one would believe. A physiotherapist told me today than when running you put ten times your body weight in pressure on your joints.

Hence the crutches.

This is a first for me, and as a generally active guy I'm sure the restricted movement will come as a delight, and serve only to enhance my development into The Hyde Park Hobbler. The move to Leeds it seems has now got past the honeymoon phase and left me disabled and unpaid (Work are now two weeks behind in paying me). But being the optomisting guy I am I'm sure my various other plans will come into fruition...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Can't Wait To Be On The Road Again...

I'm on the move again, I've relocated, finding work and accommodation far easier than I did in Dublin, to Leeds. Mountainous terrain, peculiar accents, crisp clean air, Leeds is a far departure. The first few days it has taken time to get used to friendliness from everyone, including the counter staff at Boots.

Living in the far too studenty district of Hyde Park, but at least its not Headingly, which is posh and studenty (Although I do frequently walk past purpose built student compound Opal Park, which is posh, studenty and paid for by daddykins).

This place is record buyers paradise, if only I had my record player. After fitting two ukuleles, a litre of Finlandia Vodka and some drainpipe trousers into my bag there wasn't much room for anything else, but this will be corrected in time. Again, I moved with no money and no job and found far better opportunity here then ever experienced in Liverpool. For a start, agencies where actually keen to take me on, even if it does mean countless telephone interviews and discussions concerning how I would meet sales targets. I'm working now in a coffee place, not exactly top brass stuff, but its over minimum wage, easy work, and just what I'd earn in a far more demanding job elsewhere. Plus, free Tea.

Someone has painted over my street sign so that it reads Rank Place, far too easy a joke. When moving into a house I'd remind people to look for things like mirrors, sinks, kitchen tables and lamps. My house has none of these things. Shaving is nigh on impossible, contact lense remove a opperational nightmare, but I'll survive (Only a two month lease).

So, a new city, new house and job, let the good times role, Lots of gigs lined up, Bat For Lashes, !!!, The Fall, Gwar, Arcade Fire, Howling Bells, good stuff. Working on a comedy script based in a sadly forgotten era, but more on that in a later date.

Till then, one must go and assimilate

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Beer Is A Mans Best Friend

Following the intense activity of Christmas and before the overhyped indulgence of New Years Eve come a quite period, a time for relaxing, not working and general taking it easy. Christmas and New Years are both heavily associated with wine, champagne and fine spirits, so in order to recharge the liver before December 31st I advise swapping to beer.

Beer has a bad image, people don't appreciate its class, they think its a cheap alternative and that drinking from a tin has no grace. Well I can tell you, as fact, that given a choice between cheap beer and cheap spirits (Or so called premiums like Smirnoff *spit*) cheap beer will do you less damage. As for being to aloof to drink from a tin, shit, you end up looking pretty stupid with a fat belly from drinking alcopops or throwing up after mixing wine with your Jack and Coke.

There's a lot of beer out there, the cheapest tins offer the best opportunity, but again there are so many to choose from you can make an ill informed decision and end up drinking Fosters or wearing a vest and drinking Stella. I'm a veteran of the eight tins for five pounds section of Bargain Booze, here's some advice to help you out:


Buying beer there is one important rule, AVOID AMERICAN. Skol is nice and Sweedish, and not only that, its endorsed by a Viking, and Skol is Swedish for cheers. This is one of the first beers to entre my life, excellent for camp fire drinking and the ideal place to start reintroducing yourself into the wonderful world of economy beer.

Red Stripe

Lurking in the darkest corners of Morrisons or Aldi, in the occasional restaurant and rather popular in Manchester (Night and Day being my steady supplier). Imported from Jamaica, apparently, this is a genuinely nice beer and great for drinking at more active occasions. Sadly it is harder to find, but you can have it delivered by the good people at

Dutch Gold

When in Rome, do as the Romans. When in Ireland, take ever opportunity to buy Dutch Gold, then bring it back to England for sale on the black market. A bit sweet for some, Dutch Gold has two chief advantages. First, as cheap beers come, this is pretty damn cheap, normally six tins for seven Euro, meaning that this product is enjoyed by a wide strata of social groups, and its distribution in alleyways is a good way to gauge just how safe that shortcut really is . Second, mentioning it over here is a good way to find out just how much of an alcoholic your Irish friends really are.


Essential drinking in Sweeden, Denmark and the Roskilde Festival, also very popular in Ireland but, for reasons totally beyond me, impossible to find in England. I'm including it for reference, because its a favourite of mine, and if you know where to get it you can inform me. Again sweet, the same price as Dutch Gold, its scarcity is its downfall.

I guess this is kinda helpful, if you live in Ireland, if not, Skol is the only readily available beer here. Um, Red Stripe as I said, not everywhere (I knew one offy in Dublin that sold it). I guess, like me you just have to go out an experiment.

Happy Seasons Drinking!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Last Chance To See; Yangtze River Dolphins

If you're after that last chance to see the blind Yangtze River Dolphin you're too late, after 25 million years it has been declared "functionally extinct".

This is another animal from the Dougal Adams book "Last Chance To See", and as far as I know the first one to be exinct. If ever anyone was to question to effect of massive industrial revolution on the flora and funa on local rivers this dolphin is the evidence.

So one of the five species from the book has now joined the chior invisable, which stresses both the need for greater efforts to preserve the planets most dysfunctional animals and the need to raise the profile of animals on the cusp of extinction.

If the BBC need to find a presenter for a show recreating the footsteps of Last Chance To See twenty years on they know where to find me

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Christmas is coming and the Moon is fat, and somewhere in Manchester, just of Oldham Street a record store propritoeor is sacrificing a goat to some Dark God, asking for only one thing. In exchange for the spilling of blood they must use thier shadowy influence to guide the music snobs of the North West towards thier stores and over to thier experimental / Austrilian Rock / electronica etc. sections. I happen to be one of these people, and not wanting to disturb the sinister force I go along and part with my barely earnt money, but if I have to go, I might as well understand my options. So if you happen to be in the same situation heres a quick guide to the record stores of Manchester, just to help you get the most out of the blessed ocassion.

Anyway, these are my favourites and the places I remember the name to. Nex time, the best of the rest and some of the best palces to go vinyl shopping on-line

Monday, December 11, 2006

Motorhead; Colmbiahalle, Berlin 05/12/06

The second mission for Kreuzberg was the catch Motorhead. Last time I saw Motorhead in Germany it was one of their best gigs I'd ever experienced, so in the capital I expected bigger and better. The Columbiahalle mightn't of been as large as expected, but its well tired upper floor vastly increased the capacity while also making it much easier for people to see in a land where the average height seems much higher than here.

This being the tenth time I'd seen Motorhead, and the third this tour I can't help feel as if involved in an experiment, a repeated measures one with endless extraneous variables and no reguard for bias or blind techniques. As could have been statisically predicted Motorhead where everything one would expect, following them abroad is like following a team in the European Cup, only knowing that they'll win every time. As ever they take the the stage to deliver pure, unadulterated Rock 'N' Roll, Lemmy standing with the strength and confidence of a Greek God holding apart the clashing rocks of The Sympegades. Playing so much of their new material its amazing to think how fresh they sound for a band with a 34 year career, and the mandatory classics such as Overkill are filled with an overwhelming force that you understand why the building has no windows.

Seeing them in Germany could put you off going to a gig in England, over there far more people get involved, headbanging, shouting and moshing up a storm. With an unelightend mind my accompanying sibling moved upstairs, wanting a better view. How could he not understand that we hadn't traveled 683 miles to see Motorhead, we'd come to feel and experience pure Rock 'N' Roll tribalism under the guidance of the Stoke-on-Trent Shaman, the be in and amongst the people and the most involved. I guess finding out he wasn't that tall after all must have been a blow to his ego and so upstairs we went, where the view was to be fair, fantastic. And perhaps thanks to an atmosphere and crowd intensity I'll come to only expect in Germany, the place was filled like a Cathedral, intense and powerful stuff. New to the set was early song Snaggletooth, and as well as usual live favourite Sacrifice having an increased brodding intensity, perhaps due to Lemmy smoking and singing at the same time, Just Because You Have The PowerThat Dont Mean You Got The Right struck a special chord and left me thinking that this is one of Motorheads best and yet hardest find songs. Sword of Glory remains my favourite of the new album and is mandatory in the set.

Once again Motorhead have proven themselves the most reliable event on my calendar, proving their abilities in three countries and two time zones. Seeing Motorhead everyone wonders if it will be the last show and so each year I commit to more and more evenings of ear ringing bliss, so I can only wait and wonder to see where my indulgence will lead next year. One thing for sure is that Germany will play a big part in the celebrations.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Born To Die In Berlin; The Ramons Museum

Just back from Berlin, a hectic twenty four hours in a city like no other, this time concentrating my activities on Kreuzberg, Berlings disctric for immigrants, artists and the left. I was there for two things, to catch Motorhead for the tenth time and to visit Berlins Ramones Museum.

Of course, The Ramones Musuem is something you'd only go to if you like The Ramones, but by attending you will be exposed to what it means to LOVE The Ramones. The place is ran by a very devoted fan who saw The Ramones 101 times and aquired a treasure trove of memoribillia off eBay, you know, before it when shit. Over 300 rare promotional items (Flick knives and baseball bats), vintage tour t-shirts and various personal effects adourn the walls, so if The Ramones are what you're into then this is Heaven. Taking a look around only takes twenty minutes at top, making this a great place for a quick break from the massive and overwhelming nature of some of Berlins larger attractions, and its perhaps the most light hearted museum in a city with a very heavy history.

Naturally, having such a neice market and being a part time non-commerical venture openings are restricted to Saturday and Sundays, but openings can be arranged though the website. If arranging an opening for Christ sake, don't stand the guy up, and make sure you knock loud and clear on the door, wait around for 15 mins if it need be. Also, theres a door around the back to try, and knocking out a Marky Ramone beat may just help your chances.

While in the area also check out Porx, a Rock 'N' Roll bar of the beaten track, which while we where there played some pretty full on punk and a German language hardcore version of Dirty Old Town. As if that ain't enough theres tablefootball, the best in town they say, on a well maintained Tornado table. Finally, as if more prompting was needed, they stock Hamburgs finest export, Astra Beer, which is pretty hard to find in Berlin (Or indeed, anywhere outside of Hamburg). To find the bar take the U7 line to Gneisenaustrasse, come out the exit by the kebab shop and go right, up Zossenstrasse to Furbringerstrasse, can't miss it. To head to The Ramones Museum, use the same exit and take what I think is the second left onto Solmstrasse, bottom of the road, left hand side, buy a second hand clothes store.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Why Wait For New Songs?

When something new and amazing is either slow coming or slow to get acknowledged the industry likes to go back and revive the past, the ongoing posthumous success of rappers is a good testament to this. Now there are two music videos out from long absent, now resissued Aussie band The Triffids, and also another Johnny Cash promo clip.

Both Johnny and Triffids frontman Dave McComb are both real gone, as they would say in Mojo, and both videos tackle this problem differently. The Triffids are low budget and getting a full reissue promgram in the UK from Domino Records, and they've made a clip for Save What You Can, of the groups 1997 Calenture album. By this time they had abandoned their original sound and instead become produces of polished pop, which makes you wonder why this song was never released as a single originally. Without an overwhelming commitment to imaginative thinking the song has been paired to footage of New York Artist Steeve Keene doing what he does best, making many copies of the same painting at the same time without the Andy Warhol consumerism commentary.

The Triffids; Save What You Can

The Man In Black has a far better deal, he's got the following, the money behind him, and most importantly, an endless list of celebrities trying to attach themselves to his legend. It reminds me of the posthumous Joe Strummer video for Redemption Song, the one where they paint him with fliddy arms. Coldplay, Travis, Kid Rock and U2 representing Johnny Cash seems alien to me, and I'm sure that Kate Moss is in there to (She does seem to be everywhere, didn't the media despise her earlier this year?). Johnny said he didn't want the video for Hurt to become his epitath, but if he'd of seen this he may have reconsidered, because considering the songs he wrote I couldn't picture him being a fan of Travis, Coldplay, The Killers or Kid Rock, all of whom get their faces into this list of hacks. A better video would have shown the people whom deserve to get cut down, but then, I guess that thats what this unintentionally does.

Johnny Cash; Gods Gonna Cut You Down

Lets hope some mind expanding and original videos come out soon for people that are still breathing, or that if they insist on not letting Cash go to rest, they at least take something from the far better Personal Files.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lester Bangs Birthday Party Cheescake Jellybean BOOM!

It's getting harder and harder to find something to write, even with events such as another Motorhead gig and Gogol Bordello under my belt. I think I started to feel devoid of anything to say or a style in which to say it, but this has changed since discovering a new writing idol in the form of Lester Bangs.

Lester was perhaps the greatest rock critic ever, far more than a passing reference in an REM hit. His writing was that of a gonzoid music snob, he'd write contradicting articles about bands (Dismissing the MC5 is his first article, then later declaring them the best thing since sliced bread). He also wrote about the bands he loved, praising and dismissing them in turn. He could write endlessly about The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones or Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, he highlighted that they where a product of their time and environment, that their bleak lyrics captured the soul of a collective half in love with death.

Till reading Lester Bangs I never really got Miles Davies, much as I'd of liked to. He was into Miles in a big way, he understood how to appreciate the sound you had to drive around Detroit, and that his experimentation and electronic dablings captured the feeling of an increasingly technological nation with people becoming more and more isolated from one another. I may never get to drive around Detroit, but knowing something like this makes up for that fact.

He also interviewed Jimi Hendrix from beyond the grave, spoke with Bob Marley in Jamaica before international fame and understood why The Rolling Stones meant more than The Beatles,
Heres some free advice, there are two Lester Bangs anthologies on the market, Psychotic Reactions & Catrburator Dung and Mainlines, Blood Feastes & Bad Taste.


But I warn you now, once you come to understand what it means to truly love music, to understand it, take it into yourself and to be able to understand the difference between a passing trend, a piece of shit and a stoke of genius, you can't forget it. This means a lot of crap in your collection is instantly out of date, it means no more Green Day and no more Kaiser Chiefs, it means only settling for the best because your celebratying the highest and holiest art form. These works will guide you on your own path where mediocrity simply stops being an option, and it means far few records in your collection. You know how they say that if you where Scouce for one Saturday night you'd never want to be anything else? Well this is the same deal.

Go take it all in, believe what you want and dismiss the rest, and then go spread the word.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A True Calling...

Ever since it opened almost a year ago I knew I had to see The Ramones Museum, in Berlin. It's supposed to be great, with a good break down of the bands various eras and filled with loads of vintage Ramones memoribillia.

I'll be in Berlin in December, but sadly the museum is only open on Saturday and Sunday. I've e-mailed them asking for an extra opening, so fingers crossed.

If I hadn't already booked the flight there I'd of gone especially for the museum next Friday, November 17th, for the Joey Ramone Look A Like Contest. The idea of this is just fantastic, and I think I'd of made a great international entrant. I've been compared to the gangly Ramone before, and I find it far more flattering and orginal than the normal John Lennon comments, or the more recent comparisons to some Croatian striker who plays from a Scottish football team.

I think I'll have to spend next year in training, get myself a coach, then storm the event next year.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vanishing Dub

This is my first proper return to Dublin in some time, and the first time writing from the field for even longer. Ever the creature of habit my time has been spent revisiting my favorite bars, managing to fit in three trips to the undisputed best pub in Dublin, Whelans, two stops at draught Bitburger serving The Bleeding Horse and picking up a few copies of that exceptional and free magazine Mongrel. It was nice to be reassured that yes, Irish Guinness is indeed different to English Guinness (It has always been a different recipe, now they just make it here instead) and that 35.5ml measures make for far better value spirit drinking, Bob Dylans all around!

While its reassuring to come back to these delights there bad sides are still prevalent. There are still loads of homeless people in the city centre, and people pissing at the corner of every building, and when enjoying a beverage at The Barge you'll see a medical waste disposal box worth of syringes float past. Some scummer also vandalized the Phil Lynott statue, making off with his guitar and arm, hope they caught caught, possibly hung to. It also escaped me that I was arriving, at 9 Am, on a bank holiday morning, meaning everywhere was closed and the indigenous population far away. This was especially crushing to find out after walking to Burritos 'N' Blues only to find it wasn't opening for another hour (By which time I'd of become another person asleep in the doorway).

But its not all bad news, being here for Halloween meant I could see people who make efforts with a costume (This years winners being Hulk Holgan and Vikky Pollard in my opinion) and I managed to right last years wrong and be granted entrance into the diabolically bad Club M, where a pint of Bud cost over five bloody euros. An expensive place to go for one round, which I bought, and paid seven Euro on the door or the privilege.

My return has however given me a valuable insight, that I left at the right time and that I should resist all temptation to move back. This is a fantastic city with a vibrant mix of cultures who's historical significance hangs in the air, but it is a place where its far too easy to fall into a routine, drinking and eating in the same places while keeping the same mediocre job. Life here is so comfortable it doesn't encourage you to reach for something new.

Next time I come back it'll be as a tourist, bringing tourist friends and doing tourist things. No doubt this will mean drinking a lot more superior Guinness (While avoiding the latest in the Brewhouse Series, North Star, which tastes like stale English Guinness) but doing so with the advantage of someone who knows where all the best sites are. So it sounds like my next trip here will be a visit to Wexford Street.

Soon I'll fix that damned digital camera, then I can include photos again...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Motorhead; Dublin Olympia, 31/10/06

My fourth gig in a week, life is certainly picking up. Also, its the mighty Motorhead, or as I quickly come to regard them, They That Can Do No Wrong. Every year I try see Motorhead as many times as possible, and each year I think the magic will not work, and I listen to less and less of the stuff before the gig, and well... It doesn't matter, they still do everything perfectly, as one would expect from a band well into their 32nd year.

As ever it's a case of "We Are Motorhead and we play Rock 'N' Roll", after which, the next two hours are a passing blur which does it's best to perforate your ear drums. As this was Motorheads first show in Ireland in two years the set was heavily based on the new material, no bad thing, and as ever hearing the songs live makes them come alive far more than they do on record. Old classics are included, and of course, as we're in Dublin there is a mandatory Thin Lizzy tribute, this time in the form of Rosalie / Cowboy Song.

Of course, I couldn't tell my brother the set list ahead of Sundays Manchester gig, but I have given him some clues. Identify all the songs and win a prize!

Rapier of Respect
Ferrous Fingers
Cemetery Polka
Story of Isaac
2yr old, possessive
Saddam Hussein Collectible
365 Liaisons
Fitz Lang, 1927
Holiday In The Sun
Force Without Authority
Neil Youngs 1980's Production Techniques
Thin Lizzy Cover (Ireland only)
Catergory A Prisoners
John Lee Hooker in a Brothel
PhD Paleontologist

This was the kind of gig where you come away with a warped mile stuck on your face, the kind that tells people your totally wired but straight at the same time. There is a part in Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas where Hunter S. Thompsan talks about waking up with a sore face from excessive manical grinning, although for him I'm sure it involved a massive amount of amphetamines, but it's good to have someone to relate to. As a final testament to the power of Motorhead I'd like to add, I went in this gig with a cold, when I came out it was cured.

Enough said.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New York Dolls, Liverpool Academy, 25/10/06

"When I say I'm in love you better believe I'm in love L-U-V" is a pretty grand opening lyric for a legendry band and sets a challenging high standard for the rest of the set. But they provide a skillful blend of the classics we want to hear and the new songs that we should have heard.

Songs from the last album "One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This" come across as both electric and emotionally charged. "Dancing on the Lip of a Volcano", "Fishnets & Cigarettes" and "Plenty of Music" show that The Dolls timed their comeback well, returning with first rate material as opposed to a lame duck. "Dance Like A Monkey" is perhaps the best known new songs thanks to their performance on The Jonathan Ross Show, the monkey sound effects make it come alive.

Along with the new material we where treated to some covers, Janis Joplin's "Take Another Piece of my Heart", Johnny Thunders "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory", and from the first Dolls album, Bo Diddleys "Pills".

Original member David Johansan and Sylvian Sylvain are clearly happy to be back in the limelight, lots of "Thank you Liverpool!" shouts and banter. Johnsan still moves like no one of his age should be able to, especially someone who looks like a Steve Tyler / Mick Jagger love child. Along with his all too revealing and tight trousers, its easy to understand how little effort it took to anthomorphisize them into monkey for the "Dance Like A Monkey" video.

As the set rolls on the sound gets larger, with epic renditions of "Trash" & "Jet Boy" closing the main set, and the encore starting with the essential "Personality Crisis". It was a daring move to follow such stone cold classics with a new song but set closer "Gotta Get Away From Tommy" proves that the strength of the new material.

The only problem with the set was the lack of any rollicking piano action, although some nifty harmonic void helps fill this gap. Towers of London where a dreadful support act and looked like, and have the musical credibility of Busted. Less said about them the better. Seriously. I have no comprehension of why the venue failed to sell out, so rarely does such a significant band come through Liverpool. At least I can rest safe in the knowledge that the people who passed on this oppertunity, staying home to lick a goats balls or something, missed the best gig in Liverpool for a very long time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blixa Bargled, Preston Charter Theater, 21/10/06

When seeing Blixa Bargeld the only thing you can be sure of is his bad haircut, the rest of the night is impossible to predict. This point was demonstrated by support band Theybreakinpiece, playing a steel cello and a metal birdbath, these most Neubauten influences make them a clear choice of support act. While an interesting opening act, I doubt I'll rush out to by their CD.

Blixa himself took to the stage armed only with amps and footpedels, through which he recorded live loops to produce noise, songs and science lectures. We got detailed notes on the make up of the solar system, asteroid belts, moons and all, with planet names spaced across the loop to reflect their real distance from the sun (Neptune and of course, Pluto, excluded). Next we got some up to date information on cloning and some sample based gene splicing experiments. Very informative stuff.

Perhaps the most unexpected part of the evening was just how funny it all seemed. Maybe it was the atmosphere of a pseudo scientific entertainment we had tickets for, or maybe the fact that in his suit and waistcoat Herr Bargeld looked just slightly Chaplinesque. I'm far more convinced however its the accent, as German comedy is a deadly tool in the right hands. Him simply reading the list of shooters available from Baa Baa had everybody in stitches, but only because of the accent, I'm sure.

My favourite piece was about listening to radio on the Autobahn. It covered quintessential parts of German culture, such as radio stations playing endless English music and unlimited speed limits.

It was sad to see how empty the theater was, but then, he had chosen to stay in Preston. Transport back just to Liverpool was problematic, but had people known it finished for half ten, meaning trains to Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool where still running, perhaps more people would have attended. The real draw however, which I feel I should stress in case the show plays by you in the near future, is that its far more entertaining that it all sounds. Its not all droning samples, screeching noises and human beatboxing, the interludes and descriptions make the time fly and it seemed everyone leaving looked and sounded as if they had enjoyed this pseudo scientific experiment in entertainment.

The Rede/Speech is available to buy from (However, it is in German) and you can watch the trailer here.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Who Says A Uke Band Can't Play Rock Music?

My attempt to recover regular blogging extends now into a second post...

A few weeks ago I attended the inaugural Across The Tracks Festival in Leeds. Unhelpful stage times, early train departures and a mixup which mean bottles of pure Finlandia vodka where left on the counter meant that I remember little of the festival itself, but there was one band I was front row centre for, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
Combining a love of Simon & Garfunkle and destabilizing governments with all Ukulele (And one bass) renditions of Anarchy In The UK, Silver Machine ("For that young man in the front with he sensible haircut") along with Ukulele classics such as Leaning On A Lamp Post, they where the true festival highlight, and the only band whos entire set I caught. The all Uke' sound was fantastic, performance excellent and the inbetween song banter excellent, the only problem was they only played for about 30 mins.

So imagine my delight at finding they're playing in the Salford Lowry, and on good ol' 11/9 as well! Surly there is no better way to overcome uncomfortable memories of terrorist attack and cancelled episodes of Diagnosis Murder. So, if you're after a night out there is no better way to spend £15 than on a ticket for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain! And this time, I can have the delight for more than 1800 strum filled minutes.

I can hardly wait.

The Personal Files of Johnny R. Cash

There was a time when this Blog averaged three posts a day, but recently, like oh so many Blogs its fallen into neglect. Not that I'm not doing anything, I've had a fair few adventures, just been lacking the inspiration.

Till today that is, and you know this'll be a good tale because it involves Johnny Cash and his new album, Personal Files. After being seriously disappointed with the Hundred Highways album I was cautious about this, but it represents recordings some 25 years old while Mr. Cash was in a creative wilderness, performing the spares one man and his guitar recordings that would later revive his career.

Some of the songs may be a bit Jesus heavy but their sound quality is fantastic and the brief spoken introductions bring the songs to life and remind me of reading his two autobiographis (He certainly lead quite the life). I first head about this album in Mojo where the Song Half A Mile A Day was mentioned, but the best track I've heard on the album so far is Cremation of Sam McGee, a reading of Preston born, Canadian wilderness based poet based poet Robert W. Service.

This poem is a grim tale of a man freezing to death while out looking for Gold and making his friend promise to cremate his remains so he can be reminded of what warmth is, with its dark humour and twists making it very reminiscent of Half Man Half Biscuits opus, Tour Jacket With Detatchable Sleeves. This song is the stuff Halloweens are made of and would no doubt would make a great party piece.

Really, anybody reading, forget the American V album, which had far strayed from thier original point of stripped down balladry and stroytelling and had instead become a collection of artists desprrate to work with the ailing man, and get The Personal Files. Some of the songs miss the mark, yes, but its a vital insight into what music meant to Johnny Cash, why he played it and the songs that hit the mark are amongst the best narritivies Johnny Cash ever performed, right up there with The Baron and One Piece At A Time.

This album has made me want to write this at 4 AM, after a late night shift at a bar filled with drunken Irish Hen parties trying to remember a tune, and by writing this I feel just slightly better of for having survived the incident. I also pledge now to make more effort to update and record for my future selfs sake, the damnedable sod.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Big 1 0

Excuse the lack of postings, but I've been working intensly on getting a photo into the BBC magazines Ten Things We Didn't Know Last Week feature. It's been an intense search but I think I'm onto a winner, snapping a pic of Gate 10 of Roskilde Festival. This giant number flaoted eerily above our site casting a calming pink glow and acting as invaluable beacon when finding home. Remember, you saw it here first.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gwar Take On The Mainstream

Now that the media attention over Lordi has passed us by I've had to look elsewhere for my monster rock fix, without it, I fear I forget that brutal distruction and the hands, or claws, of Heavy Metal monsters from space is just a matter of time.

Of course, where else to look but to the might Gwar, whos new album, "Beyond Hell" is on the way (Produced by Devin Townsend, none the less). In a radio freinbdly move everybodies favourite space monster living under Antartica have covered Alice Coopers classic Schools Out, with pleasing results. Delightful.

As if that wasn't enough Gwar in days gone past made great moves to enlighten people on what the joke was all about by appearing on some talk shows. I've gotten into recently, a great was to see footage from the Neighbours 20th Annivery bash. But, keeping on point, witness Gwar put on thier poshest accents for a Joan Collins interview, and clap your hands in delight as Gwar get Jerry Springer eaten on stage, and go on the win over the audience on his show. It's groovey, a mum blames Gawr for making her kid violent and they accuse her of lazy ass parenting. Love it.

God bless Gwar, I can't wait for the next tour...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Roskilde 2006; Holiday In The Sun

So I'm back from another Roskilde. The third party of our traveling group didn't make it, and with the other being far more laid back than me, and being a smoker not a drinker, I was expecting a quite week. However, it still all turned out a memorable time with many lessons learnt.
We got there on the Tuesday, after three flights, and I'd highly recommend an early arrival to anyone attending the festival. First of, its the only way to get a decent site to camp, otherwise you'll end up with 20 mins. walk just to get to the gate. We squeezed into a site adjacent to the railway bridge, known to all campers, but slightly too close to a pissing spot for comfort. Those of you who do get early will benifit from getting to know your neighbours better and not having to camp next to all the English people who arrive on the Wed / Thurs (You're hear to explore new cultures, remember).

Roskilde isn't too expensive, £18 for a crate of festival standard Tuborg (You get £4 back for returning the empties and the crate) and a meal is about £3, but its stillworth picking up supplies in Roskilde town, lots of extra fluids, easy cook food, and of course, Tea making supplies. Hand wipes are also recommended as while the toilets are far better than average, washing facilities are limited. Theres a creat variety of food avliable, Mexican seeming the favourite, which is fine in my books.

Getting there early also gives an excellent oppertunity to check out Christiania, a squaters commune and a self declared free state in Copenhagen. Most people just go there fore drugs it seems, but get past the tacky stores of Bob Marley merchendise and "You'll Never Smoke Alone" scarfs and explore the place in more detail and you should get some appreication of the bigger picture. Always on the brink of closure, check it before its too late.

The actual festival itself was very, very, sunny. I've seen sunny before but this was something else, too hot to stay in a tent past 10 AM, meaning an early start to drinking in the nearest pavillion. The nearest Pavillion to me contained a group of Danes / Germans who loved telling me how they got beer cheaper across the German border (Three crates for a tenner, I think...) and Stevie Wonder jokes. Wheather he had been particularly popular in thier region, or that if he was the only famous blind person they could think of, is beyond me. They shared loads of beer with me and we develope an ingenious system to keep them cool (With the help of St. Pauli Duck):

As for the bands, the headliners could only be desribed as a let down. The Ultilmate Bootleg Guns 'N' Roses Experince came on an hour late and where medicore at best, strained vocals, but November Rain was a tacky lighter swaying highlight. Bob Dylan was a major disappointment, remaining at the keyboard all show and strugling to sing, I do a better Bob Dylan impression than Bob Dylan. . His take on songs where also slow and too instrumental, it was a painful experince, I left during the first song, a strained, delipidated and moribund take on Maggies Farm. It was fitting that so many people said they where only there to see him because they thought he'd be dead soon. His only defense was some first rate harmonica playing, which he seemed to stop as soon as anybody enjoyed.

So with the biggest bands being disappointments, how did the rest fair? Morrissey was amazing, opening with Smiths classic Panic then drawing mainly on his last two albums (Also performing Girlfriend in a Coma). His band where great, the man who put the M in Manchester was in cheery form, and only changed shirts once. After sacking of Dylan I got over to Happy Mondays on the double, shit hot, especially crowded into the dance tent. There was a lot of energy in the tent that night, loved it, wish I'd seen them when they played in Liverpool a few weeks before the festival. Tool where as impressive as one could ever expect, JMK even talking with the audience, and thier sound system was more than capable of killing a man. As always htey had thier impressiove visuals, but some complained that this meant no actual vido of the band playing, no good if your at the back.

One downside this year was not seeing as many bands as '04, where I'd see more bands a day than I did the entire festival this year. This was partly due to the too hot to move weather, but wasn't helped by being practically solo the entire festival. Of the smaller bands that I did see, Hammond Rens, Golgol Bordello, Seeed, Who Made Who, Kiasers Orchestra and Zdob Si Zdub. I'm glad of this, as it makes it easier to talk about bands no one has ever heard of, filling me with music snob smuggness.

The biggest syuprise for me was Roger Waters. I went for the sake of seeing him really but loved his show, starting with Floyd classics like Wish You Where Here, Animals, have a Cigar and Comfortably Numb before goin on the play Dark Side of the Moon in full. His solo material was also well recived while his songs narritives where told over the video screens in comic book format.

In all however there seemed something lacking at the festival. I think this is chifely because I kind of forced myself into going, I'm determind to having a Roskilde where we all make it and I knew it'd be a strain just me and one other friend who I'd drifted away from over the years, but at the same time I refused to not go and miss out. While I felt I was going through the motions of being at a festival, I didn't miss out on 100% of things like I would have had I stayed home. The headliners being a disappointment also failed to help proceedings, but Happy Mondays and Morrissey easily compensated for this, and hey, its not the festival organizers fault thatth e bands fail to deliver.

So now its waiting time till Roskilde '08, as seems to be the fashion. After getting so involved in the atmosphere and uniquness of Europes oldest festival this year however theres a strong urge to be back there right now. I'm hoping the dream of getting a crowd of mates to Roskilde doesn't turn into my personal White Whale, or just tempt fate producing larger hurdles to arriving there, but then, for the chance to get 10 days relaxing in a field, it may just be worth it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Cinematic Soul, Woolton Cinema and David Wood (1947 - 2006)

At Merseytravel I seem to get news not available elsewhere. Today for example word spread that the owner of Woolton Cinema, David Wood, had died. Woolton Cinema is Liverpools oldest cinema, dating to 1986, it's also Liverpools only single screen cinema and still had an original 1930's ambiance, it having advanced only slightly beyond the days of having a man play the piano to provide sound (Even stereo would be advanced in that place). To this day it continued to have an ice cream break during movies, the profit generated from ice cream sales during this intermission being a financial cornerstone of the business.

It's also where I had my first job, as a cleaner, and I remember the place and its owner well. For one thing, he made us get to work very early, 6 AM, although nobody else got to the cinema until late in the afternoon. One night I went to work straight from town, walking all the way there from The Krazy House. It was my first experience of sleep deprivation and I remember watching the original 1960's carpet move and swirl, rolling up my legs akin to a scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

And I'll never forget his great distaste for Malteasers. We'd start cleaning the cinema from the back and with ever chair we pushed down some sweets would roll with the downwards gradient of the auditorium to be either hoovered up or to roll right to the front. The only snack spherical enough to reach the screen where the Malteasers, and no matter what we did Mr. Wood would always manage to find one down the front after we left. This was reported to our cleaning supervisor on more than one occasion and went on to be reported to the area manager who made a personal appearance at the cinema to make sure we where cleaning properly. And of course I was, he found no evidence of rouge Malteasers at the bottom of the scene, yet when Mr. Wood came in they had magically appeared! We all had images of him sneaking in after we left and flicking Malteases around the place, an image hard to forget once you've got it into your head.

Malteasers would figure prominently in my life once again a year later when I went out with a girl who had a phobia of them. Suffice to say, she was a bit nuts.

It's sad for someone to die before thier Golden Years like this and it struck me that I've reached a stage in life now where past employers start to die, a sign that I'm getting older myself. Having given me my first taste of employment (The proceeds of which where spent at Glastonbury 2000 and on the then new Rico album, Sanctuary Medicine, and the Iron Maiden best of "Beast of the Beast" (2CD)) he will have a lasting impact on my life, and I think of him to this day every time I eat Malteasers.

The more pressing matter now however is the fate of the cinema. Its certianly a retro style cinema, bound to struggle in this age of surround sound eight screen mega plex super cinemas, and being located so far from town also does no favours to business. My Grandma tells me stories of going to the cinema in her youth, and tells me how it was popular with American soldiers stationed near by during WW2. And for me, it is where I saw movies such as Liar Liar, I Robot, Mission Impossible 2, one of the Lord of the Rings movies (I forget which one) and more recently The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, which weren't really my choice. I did however see Clockwork Orange there, which traumatized me for life.

The cinema itself deserves to be protected from developers keen to knock it down or turn it into a Weatherspoons. It's architecture is unique and memorable, and its atmosphere is unique, right down to the still present ashtrays. It should also be maintained as a memorial to Mr. Woods hard work and old fashioned work values in making the business work in increasingly oppressive times. I also feel that its photographic history needs to be preserved and made avaliable to a larger audience it is sadly missing from te cinemas web site (Link above).

I'll keep this site up to date on any developments regarding the cinema, and I'm going to try get down there at the screen of the next almost respectable movie to enjoy it one last time

David Wood 1947-2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Most Important Thing Is Work

The long abscence of new material here has been to the start of two new jobs. it's a simple comparisson to compare this to the arrival of buses, which in turn is fitting as one of thejobs is working for Merseytravel.

The other one is for Holiday Inn, marking a long overdue return to bar work. The place is big in training and are right to proudly promote thier participation in the Investors In The People scheme, meaning about 5% of my time is spent on training (Which is paid and comes with food and drink). It's a great place to work, nice nvironment friendly people, just have to endure serving stag and hen parties who make up the bulk of the weeekend crowd. Even this ain't too bad as while it means high rate of sales, its only for the first and last two hours of the shift, meaning there are three in the middle with nothing to do. The hardest opart of the job is trying to understand the Northern Ireland accents in my left ear and the thick Scottish accents in the right, stereophonic linguistic hell.

Merseytravel is more about learning all the bus routes and redirecting people to the tourist infomation centre we are most defintly not even though we're down on the map as it, we have the sign above the building and they used to be there. For the record:

"You need top go out the building, left, follow the road down, first left and carry on about 200 meters, it's called o8 Place and it's opposite the new shopping centre".

Having both these jobs at once means most of my life is now restricted to a very small area of town. Lucily I can't see one job from the other as such a clear example of my lisited range of movment would be very depressing indeed. Having 70 hours work a week however more than makes up for this, especially as I'll have no time to spend it at all, some come September (When the Merseytravel position supposedly ends).

I'm also having trouble breaking in my winklepickers, whats made them famous has made a looser out of me as I've now given in and jsut wear my Doc Martins to work. A fair bit of polish and dubbin and they're cutting a respectablee image now, but they coukld never have the grace and style of the 'pickers (Which I tell people I won in a game of cards against a Pole in a brothel).

So till September time, don't be expecting many updates

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Good Lordi! Eurovision Will Never Be The Same Again...

I've been telling people all week, Gwar tribute act Lordi where a sure fire for Eurovisions! Not only did they win with a record breaking score, they've changed peoples perceptions of the event (I wanted to actually see it) and paved the way for a whole new extreme approach to the procedings.

Just think, next year, Rammstein entering for Germany with a song about hunting deer with your bare hands. Imagine the pyrotechnics, imagine the interview with Wogan...

I guess the biggest impact of Lordi being exposed to an audience exceeding 120 Million and reciving unprecidented press attention is that now I can count on an UK tour that goes beyond London (Do I hear Manchester calling?). I imagine there is also some delight in silencing the people who protested against Lordi being chosen to represent Finland, even asking the Prime Minister to remove them.

It must also be a delight to silence the expected critics who instantly assumed they where devil worshippers. As if having a home hit with Devil Is A Loser (And he's my bitch) wasn't enough, what respecting Satanist would wear a hat pictured left? If you're willing to wear a hat like that after three hours in make-up, you're okay in my book. And have you heard thier accents?

As for the people who thought Lordi would give people the wrong impression of Finland, I don't know anyone who thought the place had even a single giant bat creature, mummy or bass guitar playing deamons, and if you did, it would attract a helluva lot of people! Much more than... whatever it is people normally go to see in Finland.

And as for critics who wanted Eurovision to remain glamourous and TV friendly, who could find this picture disagreeable?

As Mr. Lordi said himself "This is a victory for open mindedness". How very true, this is one little event that will keep my faith in the world alive slightly longer.

And finally, to Finish (Boom Boom!) on a comparission, doesn't Mr. Lordi look, and even sing, a fair bit like Lemmy?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bomb The Pentagon? Planes and 9/11

After oh so many years they have finally released footage of the plane striking The Pentagon during 9/11. Well, Judicial Watch forced the release of the video in order to discredit the conspiracy theories. You can watch the video here, and you may be left considering two points:

Why they would release a video like this to try and prove it really happened is beyond me, talk about counter productive! And I know its always going to be dismissed a conspiracy theory, but come on, where the hell is this plane wreckage supposed to be?!!?

Just what was intended by releasing this video is unclear, but I have a theory. I think there are two ways not to be seen, first by staying in sight and second, by staying so incredibly insight that people completely fail to see you assuming you could never be that obvious.

I think the second option is at play here, why would they release evidence to support a conspiracy unless there really wasn't a conspiracy and they know people would never side with the people who claim the planes during 9/11 where diverted, landed, the government gasses the occupants and then detonated bombs within the Twin Towers. Really, who ever support people saying crap like that?

Pentagon, maybe that was a cover-up for some mistake (A good review of eye witness accounts and photos from the scene can be found here), but The Twin Towers really being hit by drones? Some conspirecy sites must be satirical jokes, perhaps set up by The Man himself, or maybe I've jsut been bought in by the lies...

Well, even if we can't prove it was all part of a cover up, at least there is enough evidence out there, like with the Kennedy Assasination and Moon landing to keep people shouting THERE'S NO BLOODY WAY THAT HAPPENED!! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!! LIES! LIES!!

A cynical nation is what we need, but please folks, try and keep it sensible

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Fought The Bank...

Some people say far too much about nothing (backbone of the blog phenomenon) but for the first time in a while I actually have something important to say, simply because it can save you money.

Today I resolved a dispute with Lloyds TSB about a situation known to students and the financially erratic people everywhere, bank charges. Cheque bounced? Not enough funds in the account? Direct Debit trouble? Each of these seem to incur fines from £15 - £30, the last thing you need when in financial deep water. These charges earn banks over £3 Billion per year, and something about them just feels.. unfair.

Never let it be said to not trust your feelings (Feelings get you killed in war!), as this turns out to be true, and a learned friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Money Saving Expert, a site which should be a national treasure, an excellent guide to cutting your costs and getting up to date on legislation the banks don't want you to know.

As well as excellent advice on how to cut car insurance rates, get the best deal for your mobile phone and get loads of free stuff it explains how bank charges such as the ones mentioned earlier breach the 1997 Unfair Terms Contracts (See the page here), and that you can reclaim it (Plus 8% Interest).

Working with the Consumer Action Group these sites give you step by step guidence on how to reclaim your money (PLEASE read all the FAQ's, they really do explain it all), from finding out how much you've been charged (It can come as a shock, have a cup of Tea to hand), telling the bank you want the money back, and if nesecery, how to take the case to court. Although the site administrators are busy guys, constantly being asked to answer stuff explained in the FAQ (I made this mistake and hate myself for it...) the forum users have all felt the burned of trying to disciper and absorb all the info the site provides and dealing with bank mangers and offer a supportive community.

I only got £50 back from Lloyds TSB, less £10 fee for finding what my charges came to (Banks charge you to find this out, although I found out later you can do it yourself for free using the LLoyds TSB internet banking), but £40 will do nicely right now and it feels damn good to get money back of the banks. Initial research on this subject suggested that bank charges can only meet the amount you go overdrawn by, meaning I should of gotten much less, but the bank refunded the full amount as a "guesture of good will".

It's also a training exercise for me, a mere skimmerish. I knew I hadn't many charges on that account, it reflected my ever increasing financial maturity, but now I feel more confident taking on Natwest, both old student account and its accursed credit card.

I hope to regain a fair sum from these accounts, and in keeping with both the wishes of these excellent free support services and my Ancient Scouce Traditions, a good lump of it will got to charity. What I want more than anything however is for more people to know that this option is open to them. Jobseekers could benifit greatly from this advice, as would people on income support, and the people who are kept in the dark and exploited by the people they trust with thier money.

Best of, money can be forced out of the accounts of banks and into the hands of needy charities. There is nothing to loose from at least trying to claim money back, and if you really dont want to take on your bank, at least visit Money Saving Expert for its other fantastic rescources.

Bank customers of the world unite and take over!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Future

There seem to be strange things afoot for 2006...

Half Man Half Biscuit (Now in the Wikipedia) frontman Nigel Blackwell revealed on the Tranmere Rovers website that their next album may well be a golf opera aimed at the US market (Scott Verplank guesting?). Considering this is a man who told The Guardian there was a Biscuit tribute band called "It Ain't Half Man, Mum!", this may be worth taking with a pinch of salt (It certainly cannot be attributed to the Scouce sense of humour as they're from across the water *spit*).

Also up and coming is a new book for John Cale look-a-like / Shooting Stars panelist Will Self, entitled "The Book of Dave". It's a classically Will Self idea, the inane ramblings of an East End taxi driver are written down only to be discovered 500 years later and mistaken for a religious text. I prefare his stuff with some dark humour behind it, as opposed to his damn weird stuff, so I'm looking forward to this.

Maybe it'll shape into a good year after all

I Was Looking For A Job And I Found Two Jobs

Typical, after months seeking full time employment two offers come along at once. It's all too easy to compare this to the arrival of buses, which is fitting, as the second offer is working for a bus companies information line. The second, bar tender for an international chain.

The problem is however which to choose? Something old versus something new? A short term contract versus a first foot into a career in the field? £5.05 an hour versus £8? Hmm...

On top of all that since these offers I've also been invited to an interview in Leeds to be a trainee assistant manger, and an added bonus, its a live in position. So many damn choices all of a sudden, The Fates sure have dealt me a tricky hand.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lost Treasure

Hello Blogfans. I remember the distant past where my spare time was largely taken up by a poorly animated egg with boxing gloves who had a habit of ended up in perculiar situations and having to solve a variety of puzzles while second guessing what parts of the environment where dangerous.

Of course, I refer to Dizzy, of the classic Codemasters games. The endless hours of fun, frustration and spending entire Sunday afternoon in front of that green screen, back in the days before saved games where possible, when the closet thing available was battery back up...

All though late in finding it I found out you can download the second game in the series, Treasure Island Dizzy from the Codemasters website here. Although it is a slightly temperamental emulator it lets you relive the old days, and even save games. But like Hale & Pace or Punt & Dennis, looking back at what ruled your world 10 years ago can be a bit underwhelming...

It can also make you bald with sheer inept egg hating madness, and we all know that thats not what the world needs. In order to relieve you of this, here is the island map.

And if that isn't enough, here's a video showing off some smart arse would can finish the game in 21 mins 39 seconds. However, he is clearly sad because:

a) He can complete it
b) He can video it
c) He shares it

I only assume it's a bloke of course, but we all know it is. I find it hard to believe I could never complete these games, they look so easy now...

Thursday, April 13, 2006


It was good new this week to hear that George Clinton And The P-Funk All Stars will be playing this years Roskile Festival, which I intend to attend. Wasting time beofre filling in an application form for a job which was already too late I found myself on the rather colourful George Clinton home page where I came across the informative Funkcyclopedia.

underwater throwdown; magic rythm for splanking noses

Around da way
From the neighborhood. "From around the way"

Big Bang Theory:
Funk set the universe in motion; ignition by Funk. Ain't nothin' but a party in a Black Hole

Black Hole:
Prime zone of Funkativity, nappy dogout, home to Star Child. Celestial body which suckulates the unfunky deep into its chocolaty centre

Bop Gun:
Dr. Funkenstein's greatest invention - one blast capable of splanking the funkless. The Star Child zaps Sir Nose D'VoidofFunk with the Bop Gun and Nose dances to the rythm of the flashlight.

Children of Production:
Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, come to blow the cobwebs out your mind

Clone Funk:
Joyful process by which Funkenstein creates in his own image Afronauts capable of funkatizing galaxies

Cosmic Slop:
Dancing with the Devil to pay your bills

Cro-nasal Sapiens:
The missing stink. Elephantinesnouted prehistoric ancestors of Sir Nose

Dr. Funkenstein:
Mad'glad scientist, master technician of Clone Funk; outer space tribal leader of the descendants of the Thumpasorus Peoples

Standing on the verge of the Beat; a march to the rear towards the Final Splank

Ego Munchies:
All-night crazoid craving for pure egotronic unsatisfunktion

Electric Spank:
High-tech pimping of human instincts by the power brokers/jokers that be

Funk-flesh artillery of the Bop Gun

Used to be a bad word. Irre-ducible essential pulse, life force, hyperventilatin' Groove. Not only moves, it can re-move; will sit and sit and never go sour. "If you got Funk, you got style"

Throbassonic realm where nothing is good unless you play with it and all that is good is nasty

Force by which Funk gets stronger. Shot with the Bop Gun, the funkatized are driven toward the attainment of the P-Funk by their own revitalized juices

Gangsta funk. Examples: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Warren G & Nate Dog.

George Clinton:
One of the most sampled men alive, creator of the P-Funk.

Honey Dip:
pretty young ladies with golden brown complexions

Maggot Brain:
State of mind and then the condition and position of your ass ("Free your mind and your ass will follow"). When you just say "Funk it!" and rise above a spankic situation

Outer space chariot bearing Star Child and Funkenstein back to Earth when it desreves a global splanking

Motor Booty Affair:
Bootyful funktion in downtown Atlantis where you can swim past reality behind a clock's back without getting wet. Ritualistic method of finding the One

Mr. Wiggles The Worm:
Subaquatic, ultrasonic, semibionic Clone of Dr. Funkenstein

The One:
The First Beat; wholeness, metafoolish perfection, as in "Everything is one the One"

One Nation:
Empire of the Groove, collective cathartic mass motor-vation

P.Funk (aka The P.):
Pure, uncut Funk, the Bomb; also Parliament-Funkadelic

Pinocchio Theory:
If you fake the Funk, your nose will grow

Placebo Theory:
Jivation through logic; how Noses everywhere spread fake Funk in place of the P., driving humans into perpetual do-loop or deep snooze

Pleasure Principle:
Pre-spanking self-satisfunktion

Bumpnoxious undersea avatar of Sir Nose

Sir Nose D'VoidofFunk (a.k.a. The Nose, Old Smell-o-Vision):
Putrified purveyor of of the Placebo Syndrome. Extended probosics from faking Funk. He's cool but has no groove; won't swim, sweat or dance

Use of Funk to free minds and behinds from constipated notions; anti-spank

Star Child (alias The Long-Haired Sucker, Sir Lollipop Man):
Official representative of Funkentelechy; protector of the Pleasure Principle. Cosmic John the Bop-tist, arch-recording angel heralding the arrival of Dr. Funkenstein

Law of Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication:
Give the people what they want when they want and they wants it all the time

Thumpasorus Peoples:
Prehistoric ancestors of Star Child and Dr. Funkenstein; also hardcore funkateers

Temptation without representation for purposes of pimpation

Zone of Zero Funkativity (better known as The Nose Zone):
Home to Sir Nose; region of snoozation

Now many would dismiss this as sheer jibberjabber, and, they might be right, but at least its more helpful than the definition of Funk in the Uncyclopedia.

I hope this news Funks up your day

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Breakin' In My Winklepicker Blues

I got blisters on my heel 'cause I got winklepickers on my feet
Yeah I got blisters on my heel 'cause I got winklepickers on my feet (Wooo!),
But they're so fine, black and pointy,
In job interviews they'll go down a treat!

I have long been a fan of the winklepicker as my footweatr of choice, problem is they are damn hard to find, expensive to buy and constly to maintain. The inspiration comes from characters such as Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Iggy Pop and I strenly deny any goth connitations assiated with the shoes.

I bought my first pair in 2004 from Pennangalan Dreams, a fine shoe but in constant need of glue, heels and buckle repair. I paid all this due to my might attatchment to them, I must have spent far more maintaining them then they actually cost to buy, but they met thier end by the end of the year. While living in Germany they came for a night out on The Reeperbahn, it was wet, and the soles simply snapped, tearing the leather, soaking my foot. It was late in the night / early in the morning and it was the final staw, perhaps having had one Jagermeister too many the shoes where removed and thrown (By a friend) under a train. I had some great photos of those winklepickers, but like any break up I think I found them too painful to keep hold of and they've gone. However, heres a stock image of what they looked like:

My new winklepickers came to my attention through the Beatle Wear Website, the store of which is suprisngly, in Liverpool. I knew it wouldn't be cheap, £85 and then tax, but I justified the expense by convincing myself they'd help me get a job ("As what?" you may ask) and in order to overcome the guilt I went to give blood. The shop is in itself very interesting, as its owner, Mark Astbury designs and makes all its gear himself. I briefly played the part of winklpicker consultant as he asked me if I though electric blue or firebox red winklepickers would be a hit. I though he was mad, nobody would want them. But I have since found these alarming images on the 'net (Not for hose with senstive eyes):

He went on to tell me how he was rather popular with musicians, and that last year he had Blondie come in the check out his wears. He also asked me if I had a "frock jacket" as he made them to measure and to suit my long frame. I had said no till he pointed out that they where simply a long blazer, at which point I remember I had one and that it was at the taylors (And here he was trying to steal said taylors trade). Mine is however ill fitting and made from a polyester / wool blend, so as soon as I have money (£250 of it) it may face the chop...

But now I know you're all keen to see these £90 winklepickers, black leather, high cuban heel and none of that centre seem rubbish.

I must admit they're a damn fine shoe, but they're sure are murderous bastards when it comes to braeking them in, as the back of my heel will attest to, and it makes even the short walk to Allerton a nightmare. I will perserver however, till these shoes are under control. My grandad said one of his first jobs was breaking i shoes for people, a service sadly lacking today as I coukld do with said service, but maybe I can exploit this hole and start my own own business (Someone else will do all the foot work of course).

So now me and my winklepickers start what I hope will be a long, prosperous relationship, of being tall, pointy and in my opinion, rather stylish. Otherwise, Mr. Mark Astbury will have a lot to ansewr for...

P.S. While writting this article I found that the exact same shoe I bought at Beatle Wear for£95 is avaliable on Pennangalan Dreams for £70 under the name Cuban Chelsea Boot. D'oh!

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