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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


and so i come to the end of the music themed month.
so much i didn't get to do. so many greats who missed out.

it is funny that music plays an important part in my life. i love music. i love that it can transform my mood or it can accentuate it. i hate that so many people just listen to the pap that is fed them via the radio that they don't explore all that is out there (yeah i'm elitest (sort of) so what). for all that i don't have musical memories - i rarely hear music and get transported back to that day when i first heard or it happened to by playing while something significant happened.
(ok i will admit to having an 'our song' whenever i hear phil collins' 'in the air tonight' i remember the night when me and annemarie probably became a couple which is a bit ironic given phil wrote it in anger over his divorce perhaps it was a sign).
music for me is what i listen to hear and now, it is what it does for me hear and now. there are some albums i haven't listened to in years but will get the urge to play them. there are songs i hated but now like. there are genres i avoided but now listen to.
music is at once constant but it is also ever changing.
while i may sneer at a lot of the pop pap that is played today for a whole generation it is their poetry, it is their expression of the world around them.

there are two musicians who have consistently entertained me.
so i am going to end this themed month with two guitarists, both very different, both excellent.

ladies and gentlemen i give you frank zappa playing a lovely solo, shorter than the studio version (from joe's garage acts II & III) but wonderful none the less.

and he is followed by robert fripp who either as the main man in king crimson, or collaborator with peope such as brian eno or andy summers, or as a solo artist has always thrilled and intriqued.
here he is alone making turning a guitar sound into a ambient soundscape. wonderful stuff.


sometimes with music it comes down to just one thing: the voice. forget the instruments, forget the music, and forget the words. just listen to the voice. does it soar? does it roar?
nowhere is this truer than in the world of rock music.
tenacious d sang
“dio has rocked for a long, long time,
now it's time for him to pass the torch.
he has songs of wildebeests and angels;
he has soared on the wings of a demon. “
and they weren’t wrong. ronnie james dio may have been diminutive but he had the voice of a giant. it was a sad day in the world of metal when he died.
myself and a pal (who doesn’t like to be named, but never reads this so: hello joel) went to see dio several years back. we thought it was going to be one of those let’s promote the new lp but throw in a few favourites type gigs. the later period dio solo albums were ok, nothing special to write home about. we were just going to be in awe of the man rather than sing along to his new album.
ah but the little man fooled us all. the astoria (now sadly gone to make way for london crossrail) wasn’t packed. filled, mostly, with middle-aged rockers all ready to stamp and cheer as dio did his little finger signs to the audience. i doubt if many there could remember much of the album he was promoting. it didn’t matter. the audience was in for a treat, we just didn’t know it yet.
anticipation is always the order of the day at gigs. they rarely start when they say they are going to start. there is always some waiting. then there is a little teasing as a roadie walks out to check an instrument or two, or the sound guy begins playing the intro music too soon.
the astoria may have been a great venue for watching bands – it wasn’t a great venue for just standing around waiting.
the band came on. the audience cheered. we still didn’t know what was in store for us.
first track. ok. it warmed us up.
second track ‘sign of the southern cross’ that can’t be right, but i am not complaining. no that is not possible. fuck me ragged but it is ‘stargazer’. three songs in and already he has played two of his greatest songs. i look at joel. joel looks at me. we are both shocked.
the shocks just kept coming by the end of the night we had ‘mob rules’ ‘man on the silver mountain’ ‘long live rock n roll’ ‘gates of babylon’ ‘heaven and hell’ ‘mob rules’ ‘holy diver’ ‘neon nights’ and more. it was a veritable feast of dio.
we were both as happy as pigs in shit.
it was, without a doubt, the best gig i have been to. it remains the gig i most want to find as a bootleg.
dio what a man. what a voice.
watch out for dio throwing his finger horn shapes and saying ‘this one’.
with the ‘kill the king’ video you see dio in action with one of the great guitarists in rock: ritchie blackmore. there is a story to this song but that will wait for another day.

with ‘heaven and hell’ dio is fronting black sabbath; with dio at the helm they were a much different band to when ozzy was the front man. when i saw them play iommi’s guitar solo was so dull and went on for so long you could see great chunks of the audience sit down. the video is marred is by yet another unsuccessful audience participation section.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


enough of this classic rock shit you keep peddling pat - what are you listening to today. what is modern that is shaking your tree? are you down with kids? are you phat and illin' pat? that is what we want to know.
nay! that is what we demand to know.

simple answer i have no idea what is current and trendy.
while at heart i am always going to be a prog metal fan, a lover of harf and heavy metal my tastes have moved towards the ambient and elctronica fields of people making quiet and loud noises of long drones and pitched squawks. of people playing music on their laptops or twiddling a few knobs on an oscilator. these are people who release their music to thr world on self produced cd-rs. they don't expect fame and don't court.

here are wolf eyes doing a modern version of napalm death

banging on a can and still with enough time to have a drag on his fag.

chinstrokey music up next. this is scanner. i met him once, he blanked me. not to worry though i spent my time looking at his attractive wife. i got into an argument over laptoppers. i am not sure i consider them musicians - for all i kow they are just playing a cd in their laptops. i do think of them as composers - some of whom make fanastic sonicscapes for the world to enjoy. as i explained this theory to several of hem you could see i wasn't going to be on their christmas cad list. that is one thing i have noticed about laptoppers - they do take themselves very seriously.

Monday, August 29, 2011


frank zappa famously said "jazz isn't dead it just smells funny" he also asked his band to 'make a jazz noise here' which just goes to show that even the great man was sometimes confused or contradictory.
just like the rest of us.

i quite like jazz.
i know nothing about it.
what i do like is jazz noise.
the jazz noise of john zorn - well it just doesn't get much better.

it was the painkiller album that first introduced me to john zorn. a blast of screaming rawness that cleared the sinuses and opened the way for a sonic attack.
jrn was the one who lent me the painkiller album. from then on we would swap zorn lps back and forth.
i became a collector of zorn's label, tzadik. through that i discovered all sorts of music from the contemplative to the ear melting; from the serious to the silly.

on my last trip to new york i had intended to drop by zorn's club and hoped to catch the great man in action - if he wasn't there then someone else would be blistering up the place and i would be able to get some cheap tzakik cds all the while doing the chinstrokey thing of a visiting boho. yeah daddio.

life rarely works the way you plan it.
that night i happened to end up dining with a couple of work associates. i persuaded them that it might be an interesting end to the night. we set out in the direction of the club. somehow even though we appeared to have walked in a straight line we had ended up where we had started.
yup. freaky. but true.

so i didn't get to see zorn play at his club.
i didn't get to see his club.
i did get to buy a load of tzadik cds from the wonderful 'other music' store (and for a few years after that i would get regular packages of cds from them - all full of tzadik goodness).

one day i will catch zorn playing at the barbican and he can blast my ears while i do the chinstrokey thing as a mature pretentious wannabe.

enjoy mike patton speaking in tongues while wearing a really ugly pair of nike trainers (though that said mos nike trainers are pretty ugly).

and in a more contemplative mood. check the beard out on the keyboard player. my kind of beard.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


because no list of music that i like would be complete without a nod of the head to some krautrock.
most of the krautrock bands i know and like i was introuduced to by jrn. it would be safe to say that in my later musical years, jrn is the one person who has the greatest influence on my listening tastes and habits. some may say that was a good thing, others may say it was a bad thing. me i am just thankful he opened up a whole other world of noise.

the vid on offer isn't strictly krautrock as it only features one of the members of neu! but it does serve to show how it has endured and endeared.

Saturday, August 27, 2011



as i have been going on about music most of this month i thought i would make a bit of a confession (and no it isn't that i like jedward): i don't go to as much live music as i should it is partly that i am lazy, it is partly that i don't like big venues and partly because everything seems to cost so sodding much.

anyway i bump into a pal the other day (he doesn't like his name being mentioned, mind you he never reads this anyway so: hello joel). he mentioned that ritchie blackmore's band 'blackmore's night' are coming to the uk. we both want to go in order to see the great man play guitar one more time - even if it is a lute. there is another part of us that views it like a total car crash scenario - more to do with looking at the oddballs than listening to the music.

i go look at tickets.
he is not playing london: not even croydon.
i try birmingham. a few tickets left. try swindon. website down. salisbury. they have tickets available but you can't see where there are. hold on something is wong.
ticket prices are £28 for the gig (and at all venues i have looked at) but the total is more than £56. oh silly me there is a booking fee. even worse they told me there would be a £2 booking fee. so that would make it £60. but it is still more.
oh i missed this rider on the tickets "all tickets purchased online are subject to an additional £1.50 booking fee per ticket."
what the fuck? why?
when i get stuff from amazon it is cheaper - this is what the internet is supposed to do make things cheaper. it isn't like someone has had to take my call and so justify the booking fee (even though you would have thought that selling tickets in a venue would actually be a cost of business - it isn't like tesco and sainsbury's charge you a flat fee for entering the store. mind you give them time).
ok maybe using the internet has a 'cost' to it. so i make one purchase yet i get two booking charges. why? why? why? why?
oh i know why because they love to fucking rip people off.

i am a member of the south bank centre. i am not sure why anymore as the haywad has shown a bunch of shit in the last few years. i get 10% off most performances there. do you want to know what that 10% normally amounts to? you guessed it the booking charge. even when i go there and buy the fucking tickets in fucking person the fucking discount is the fucking booking charge. fucking wankers.

that is why i don't go to as many gigs as i should.
it is why i won't be trying too hard to see blackmore's night playing anywhere around the country.

and any excuse to show some ritchie bending the frets
this is worth it just for the end where you can see a look on his face that seems to cry out i want to strangle an electric stratocaster and make it sing songs of rock and roll passion.

and here is an even odder video. david coverdale singing to a select group of guests at the emi offices in tokyo. crikey i would have like to have been there (and yes just for the music).


"ministers want philanthropists, charities and other groups to put cash into "social impact bonds".

here is a better idea: why not get the rich to pay their full amount of taxes (like the rest of us do) and then the state can use that money to help the poor by making sure that nurseries, schools, hospitals, libraries, day care centres and such like are well funded and well resourced.

just an idea.

oh fuck that! much better that we go back to the days of the 'deserving poor', after all it is their fault to start with being feckless and all.

remember they are not the nasty party anymore and the liberal democrats have made them all soft and cuddly. my arse.
i am hoping that there are a lot of liberal democrats out there who hang their heads in shame at their capitulation just to make sure they have their feet under the table.

Friday, August 26, 2011


because girls rock too.

i was at this gig. i loved the way the fret wanking was kept to a minimum - blokes can't do that. it was a shame 'rock goddess' never made it big.

music is international. it is its own language. what rocks in one country will rock in another (and that is what tenacious d have taught me). one of my more recent music fads was oriental girl rock and punk bands (surprisingly there are a lot of them, or perhaps it isn't a surprise) now i have to say as a category of music it hits all my buttons music that rocks, music that has attitude and it has cute oriental girls. winner.
hang on the box make me smile big time. and i love them long time.
(oh i wasn't at this gig).

i can't remember if i managed to see l7 in concert. if i did it was at ulu and i was there with simon. he liked all the grunge stuff. i just liked it loud. when l7 toured this album (the bricks are heavy) there were a lot of stories about how wild they were - they would even throw their tampons into the audience: total rock.
as for the track - who can say they haven't made up their own shitlist. i know i have - and it just gets longer every day.
amd just for the record they could all sit on my face.

and to finish this off here is doro pesch and warlock - a shouty teutonic rock beauty. she was a metalheads wet dream and showed that rock ladies could dress as badly as the men.

(i think i saw her and warlock at the marquee - but i might have been at this gig).

Thursday, August 25, 2011


you may be aware that london hosts the olympics next year.
you may also be aware of the travails of my ticketing adventure.
what you might not be aware of is the series of ‘tester’ events that are being put on over the next several months in preparation for the games: the london prepares series.
i had sort of ignored them. then they mentioned that the turn out for the basketball event had been disappointing and that there were tickets still left for the final night of the event. mmm i thought maybe i should chance it and go. i check the website and it is a ticketed event. of course this close to the tip-off there is no chance of using the internet ticketing service (though why that is the case i don’t know). it being a sunday there is no one to phone (though why that is the case i don’t know – if there are people there taking the tickets there should be someone there answering the phones: commonsense really). naturally it being one of those websites it doesn’t actually tell you what you want to know where you can find it (why don’t they make these things clear and simple)?
the time i spent hunting around the various websites meant that i wouldn’t get there in time for the game at 6pm so i might as well watch that on tv (the bbc providing the service – guess sky couldn’t be bothered to pay for it). i settled down to watch two games of basketball only to be given one game. that pesky bbc lied to me – let me write an outraged letter to the daily mail. it was all made worse by the fact the game they should was england versus the australians and we lost in the last minute of overtime.
so a note to everyone there are london prepares events (i now believe that the riots were arranged to be part of this) so go check out the site to see if there is something going on near you. give yourself plenty of time to explore the website – you may need it.
none of this is what amused me.
what tickled me was in wondering if i could take my camera with me i discovered their list of proscribed items. a useful document it is too and i am sure will help people decide exactly what they can and can’t take with them when they go to the olympics.
here are a few of the items you can’t take with you:
• weapons including firearms, knives and crossbows
• explosive devices and explosive materials
• ammunition
• incendiary devices
• hazardous substances under the dangerous goods act (such as chemicals, irritants and gas canisters)

now i can see why you don’t want them there – i am not sure why you are listing them in a document. firstly they are illegal and secondly if you are going to be carrying these things around with you a list of prohibited items isn’t going to deter you. i suppose the only advantage of being caught with them when trying to watch the basketball at the olympic park is that you are refused entry – out on stratford high street if you were caught with them you might end up in jail.

and just so we are clear on this it also says

• any other item that is illegal to possess

on the ‘restricted’ side of things they include:

• large quantities of coins
which is either good or bad. good because it implies that stuff on the olympic park is going to be cheap so you don’t need to bring too much money with you. or bad because it is telling you that it is so expensive that you may as well just bring notes because nothing is going to be less than a fiver.

and if proof was needed that it was going to cost you a lot this is also restricted

• unreasonable quantities of food (i.e. beyond the equivalent of a small packed lunch)
so make sure you have your credit cards with you as you will need them. of course one man’s packed lunch is another man’s snack. i guess they are going to decide on what is a ‘small packed lunch’ based on your girth. not that you can take too much with you as they have a restriction on the size of bags you can have.
the bag thing is sensible because you never know if they are going to be carrying in hand grenades with their extra round of sandwiches.

i am sure it is a document that will deter terrorists. i know i wouldn’t be packing and extra portions.

go on you know you want me to say it: it is health and safety gone mad (until someone does shoot someone and then the daily mail will ask why didn’t they do something to prevent guns being carried on to the site).


cock rock is the cudgel that the nme reading musical chattering classes used to beat down heavy metal. ‘oh it is so misogynistic’ they say. look how it demeans women they moan. meanwhile they will praise any number of less than pleasant rap and hip hop musicians who sing about bitches and hoes.
the quintessential cock rocker is david coverdale. rock music’s equivalent to richard burton.
he came to fame with deep purple, gained superstardom with his own band whitesnake.
coverdale must love the top he is wearing here as he wears it again on stage, but in london. glen hughes who also helps out on vocals is forever associated with mars bars, jon lord wigs out on keyboards. as ever ritchie does what ritchie does on guitar which is why he is still one of the greatest even if he is a little mad.
(oh that rainbow you see in the background - watch out for its next appearance).

several years later he would record ‘ain’t no love in the heart of the city’ it remains one of my favourite songs. i first heard it on a double live album (natch), it was one of those lps i would play with the lights out and by the glow of my three bar electric fire i would practice my bass guitar scales and pretty soon i was just air-bassing (which is why right now i can’t even play the spoons).
this live video from donnington is notable for the fact that the crowd actually does sing when the asked to rather than the usual deathly silence that greets the band when the audience just stays schtum.
as whitesnake got bigger and crossed over from blues rock to chart topping pop metal coverdale became part of that big haired bare chested group of rockers who were overly made-up and overly airbrushed. it was all a little silly.
my ex told me i was wrong to listen to whitesnake because they were sexist. in retaliation she made me listen to the beatles – which was worse because they were shit. i came home early from work one day to discover her playing one of their albums, she never explained why. it did mean i didn’t have to listen to the beatles anymore. so that was a result.
i haven’t really paid much attention to what coverdale has been up to in recent years. frankly it doesn’t matter with the deep purple and first batch of whitesnake lps he carved himself a place in my rock pantheon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


monty (to this day i have no idea why he was called monty) introduced me to rush. he was very proud of his red vinyl copy of ‘hemispheres’. i was happier when i bought a copy of it very cheap in a remainder bin from ‘our price’.
when he used to visit my parents place we would sit in my room and listen to various lps, as we would listen he would rearrange parts of my bedroom so that he could air drum. it was awesome to watch. he wasn’t alone i may have strummed along on my poorly tuned bass guitar – even as i knew the best i would ever be would be an air-bassist. as i learnt to live with my lack of musical talent monty continued with his quest to be a drummer.
a mate of ours was in a band. we went along to see them in some dodgy little wine bar. they were a punky sort of outfit. monty was a little squiffy so he spent a bit of time banging on a fire extinguisher (well you do: don’t you). he banged and banged as the night went on. come the encore and my mate dragged him up to play drums. it was going to be a frenetic version of ‘english country garden’. the kit was a simple bass drum, a snare, a tom and a couple of cymbals. a crash bang wallop affair. not to monty. as he took to that drum stool bumbles wine bar (for it was there) was transformed into madison square garden and the kit had transmogrified into a triple bass, multiple toms, many cymbals, a gong, chimes and lord knows what else. as the band played ‘english country garden’ monty was in a world of his own playing some cosmic drum epic. it was such a shame he was out of time with the band.
monty wanted to be neil peart. who could blame him peart is an excellent drummer and a pretty fantastic lyricist. peart joined rush after their first album and quickly turned them into a cerebral prog band. lots of long songs that stemmed from his reading of ayn rand. we used to annoy monty that peart was a closet fascist. the voice of rush is geddy lee for many years his was an acquired taste but age and stylistic changes in the band’s sound have taken away a little of the screech. his bass playing has remained a thing of beauty to behold and to listen to. alex lifeson provides the very electrifying guitar sound. for a three piece they create a tremendous wall of glorious sound. in short, even allowing for their dubious politics, rush are (as monty would say) a brainblast.
but it doesn’t end there. i went to see rush with monty at the famed hammersmith odeon. we were down the front. it was the permanent waves tour. we were rocking to ‘jacob’s ladder’ (or it might have been ‘natural science’. i was air-guitaring like a loon, monty was gazed on in rapture at those he worshipped. i looked down the row we were on and i could see three blokes were all in the middle of a synchronised air-drumming session. this was one of the funniest things i had seen for a long time. i nudged monty; after all he had to see this. he turned, he looked. he looked for a little longer. then dismissively he said: “they are a beat out”. what could you say to that? the master had spoken.
so sit back and enjoy some of the finest prog created by man.
remember all you have to do is put your hands to your temples and say after me: “brainblast”.

in the 'red barcchetta' video there is a hint of the quirky voice that geddy has had all the time. you can see neil bang his drums his total concentration verging on boredom, while alex goes from being a sleepyhead to gurning guitar hero.

xanadu is not based on the olivia newton john movie but the coleridge's 'kubla khan' but you knew that. check out the double necked guitars - i always wanted a double necked bass. this is a younger rush. alex still gurns, geddy still looks like he is auditioning for witchipoo and neil is just a bit more animated.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


so a sad farewell to the bendy bus.
no more will i have a journey in a 25 bendy bus. they are no more. they are gone.
i will miss them.

what i won't miss (because it is still there) is the madcap driving and scant regard to destination that has become the hallmark of the 25.
more things change the more... you know where i am going with this (which is more than can be said sometimes for a journey on the 25).


it is a sunday night - so for your delectation and delight i present you with arlo guthrie's 'alice's restuarant'. i first heard this on nicky horne's 'your mother wouldn't like it'. from the first hearing i liked it. i enjoyed the light humour of the piece. i was attracted to the form of it - a long musical shaggy dog story that has echoes of prog and zappa. it was also my first conscious introduction to folk.
arlo is the son of woody gutherie. i tried to listen to woody, i never really took to it. arlo is someone i will listen to every now and again (and not just alice's resturant).
(spare a thought for arlo he has been doing this track for a very long time).

Saturday, August 20, 2011


it may have been the double live album that made me first listen to the blue oyster cult or it may have been the press they were getting their hit ‘don’t fear the reaper’.
i am going with the double live album.
i have a thing about live albums. i really do like them, and if they are a double live album then i live them even more. i think it is to do with the fact that if i like a band on their live album then there is a good chance i am going to like their studio stuff. it is a simple test and mostly it works.
with ‘on your feet or on your knees’ it worked a treat. four sides of musical goodness featuring songs from the bands first three albums (the black and white period). it became a staple listen. i would air guitar (or in my case: bass) to the whole album. the purchase was quickly followed by their other albums.
this live album would be followed by ‘agents of fortune’ which gave them their greatest hit. from there it was downhill, it wasn’t that they became bad it was just that they never hit the heights again. the subsequent albums would have something good on them. perhaps that is the mark of a great band – they can continue to knock out good stuff for years. that said one of my favourite studio albums from the blue oyster cult is one of those so so albums ‘mirrors’.
as a band they were famous for songs that had a bit of wit and menace in them, that they were short and their live shows had lasers (which always seemed to involve them in a media article about health and safety). i never got to see them in their prime – i can pass on seeing them as middle-aged podgy rockers now. after all that is what live albums are for – both me and the band reliving our finest moments again. turning back time.

things to notice about the videos.
‘don’t fear the reaper’ the song has gained a lot of attention recently as it has been appearing in tv programmes – including glee. mr. roeser looks nice in white with a tache and doesn’t look at all like a waiter or in a covers band. eric bloom has a nice beard, always seems to wear similar clothes on stage and does that finger wag in all the live footage of him doing this song live. the guitar break remains a thing of beauty. look there are lasers.
‘cities on flame’ is one of those songs where the drummer takes the lead in singing. it doesn’t happen often. you’ll notice that the keyboard player (allen lanier) can be seen to be smoking – which in today’s climate makes him a rebel. there is a less than successful call and response section (though this is probably down to the sound mixing rendering the exercise pointless). that while donald ‘buck dharma’ roeser is doing a blister guitar break the other guitarist, eric bloom, has gone off to hit cymbals.

their big hit

one of their classic tracks

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


phillip glass is great.

(see what i did there)?

you don’t?

he is a minimalist composer.


his music is sparse, so i only used a few words.
clever huh!

it’s all been ruined by my having to explain it, become a maximalist now. shutting up now. watch the ivories being tickled firstly by an anne robinson clone with an interesting arm action and then the man himself in action.

and the man himself


oh look train fares are going up (again).
look over there more hikes in the cost of home energy.

do you remember when they told us that putting these, once, nationalised industries in the hands of private companies we would all benefit from their greater efficencies and from more competitive prices.
how they lied.

remember this when the tories talk about bringing the market into the national health service. when andrew lansley bangs on about efficiencies that private enterprise can make in the nhs remind him that it didn't work the last time, so don't do it again.
in fact just leave the nhs alone.
thank you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


what’s in a name? i love bruce willis (and yes i have seen him live) and i love bruce springsteen (and no i have never seen him live).
it may have been adam who introduced me to the boss, or i may have heard something on the radio, either way the moment i bought ‘born to run’ i was a fan. it is a close to being a perfect album as you can get. from the opening track of ‘thunder road’ (to this day one of the few songs i can almost sing all the words to) to the epic closer of ‘jungleland’ it is all killer and no filler.
springsteen doesn’t so much write songs as paeans to blue collar hopes, and fears. he is a rock and roll troubadour.
back in the day he was one of a handful of lyricists i wanted to emulate. i had given up ever being able to play an instrument and so thought that i would write songs (but hey i also thought i would be a novelist and a stand-up comic: look how that turned out) and i wanted to tell stories in songs just like bruce.
about the time i was wearing out the vinyl of ‘born to run’ i was studying for my a-level n history so as i read about henry the eighth i was listening to ‘10th avenue freeze out’, ‘she’s the one’ and of course, the anthemic, ‘born to run’. shortly after i dreamt that bruce and henry sorted out the reformation between them, it would have made an interesting answer in one of my history papers. i occasionally have the same dream.
years later and many albums bought and enjoyed i discovered that the overpaid and pretty ineffectual consultant we employed was also a very big bruce fan, he never quite saw the irony in liking songs about working class aspirations while he was pulling down a big fat juicy fee from us for basically doing nothing. i hate when people you have little regard for enjoy the same sort of music you do. it almost renders it unclean. no need to worry bruce and i came through it all.
things to notice about this video.
first off it is probably my favourite springsteen song, second the man is drenched in sweat – watch it spray off of him when he moves. then there is the very large crowd, a reason why i have never seen him live, who wants to be among that many people? not me that is for sure. they are all old chaps but they can sure rock. most importantly when bruce invites the crowd to sing along they do and they do so loudly – so often you see a band invite a crowd to join in only to be met with bemused silence.
enough of me. sit back and enjoy the moment of jungleland.

Monday, August 15, 2011


a change of pace tonight. i am going to quickly focus on two american groups who are among the best proponents of pomp rock. when it comes to pure prog rock there is no need to travel beyond the shores of the united kingdom – elp, yes, king crimson and genesis, to name but a few (true we also gave the world the enid, not everyone is a winner).
somehow the americans took this and gave it a level of glitz and glitter, glammed it up and gave us pomp, or symphonic, rock.
kansas are closer to the prog model not only are there times when there are two vocalists singing, two guitarists playing, two keyboardists playing they have a big bearded bloke playing violin (this was another band i used to convince the ex’s kid that violin wasn’t so bad. i tried my best to bring another nigel kennedy into the world. i failed. you can thank me later). their first few albums are immense slabs of pomposity filled with pretentious lyrics and exquisite musicianship. wonderful stuff.
when you watch the video – check out steve walsh’s shorts, back in the days when shorts were short and you wore them on your waist. steve plays keyboards and he does silly kick dances. check out the hair on robby steinhardt, sadly this is not a great track for him as all he gets to do is prowl the stage, sing some lines and bang a tambourine – mostly he is wishing there was a violin solo he could play. the blonde guitar playing is kerry livgren
the other band is styx. they are more rock than prog but with twin guitars and overblown keyboards and a concept album or two they have a prog edge to them. not that it really matters as they produced a string of top notch albums that stand out among the rest of their work which was mostly ok.
both bands were introduced to me by monty. monty wanted to be a drummer, and singer, i only got to hear him drum the once and that is a story for another time.
on the styx video watch james young, the larger of the two guitarists, do the facial gurnings that so many soloing guitarists do meanwhile tommy shaw, the other guitarist, looks too young to be on stage. this song was written by dennis de young, who looks like he should be appearing in daytime murder mystery movies with angela lansbury, instead he sings this song about ets (i reckon it is david icke’s fave of all time, it is a bit too poofy for danny dyer) in between banging the keyboard like a demented bobby crush and then running around the stage in order to jump onto and off of the piano. i tell you keyboard players are odd.
and if you want to hear an interesting cover version of this song go hunt down cartman, from south park, singing it.




the broken society is back at the top of david cameron’s agenda. it is nice to know that for a period of time it wasn’t – that is what power does to you: too much time hanging out with paragons of virtue such as rebekah brooks to worry about a moral meltdown in the rest of the society.
but it is back on the agenda. causes and reasons are being thrown about. the health and safety act, the human rights act, poor parenting, computer games, a lack of this too much of that, the bbc, poor schooling.. the list is long.
yet one potential cause is missing. i give you the ‘bullingdon club’. david cameron, george osborne and boorish johnson were all members. none of them have a clue as to how the rest of us live. more importantly the bullingdon club has a reputation for a drinking culture with boisterous behaviour and damaging property.
cameron, osborne and johnson are role models to today’s youth.
conclusive proof i think you will find.
i rest my case.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


i may have mentioned it before - but i would like to reiterate it here: i long for the day when i am paying 50% tax.
that admission is probably the key to way i am never going to be paying the top rate of tax: i am just not driven enough.
lower tax is a particular shibboleth of the conservative party. they believe the lower the tax is on the rich the more the wealth will trickle down. for most of the rest of us we know that this is bollocks (trust me that is a term economists use).
so in a week when there were riots and where, some of, the causes could be laid at the altar of inequality trust a tory chancellor to bring up the subject of the 50-pence rate of tax. george osborne is looking at it in terms of efficiency, because some economists have suggested that tax avoidance and evasion means that the treasury is getting less than expected.
tax avoidance is legal and it just means playing the system to find ways not to pay what you should. strangely when someone on benefits plays the system they are seen as benefit cheats. funny that.
tax evasion is illegal.
so if economists think that tax avoidance and tax evasion is costing the country money then the solution shouldn’t be to drop the rate of tax, because call me a silly billy but if you are prepared to evade and avoid at 50% there is a good chance that you will do the same at 40%, 30% or any amount.
so the solution seems to be: punish those who evade and tighten up the loop holes that allow people to avoid. after all that is what is done with benefit cheats. oh it is just that benefit cheats are not the wealth makers – because as we know all those people who are earning big wedges of dosh in the financial sector are wealth makers. oh hold on didn’t they cause the global financial crisis?
still don’t worry we are all in this together and i am sure that all the hard working people in the country don’t mind seeing those who are earning shed loads earn a lot more, after all they are not the ones who suffer when services are cut.
no matter what george and david say any attempt to lower the 50-pence level of tax has nothing to do with economics – it is just about political ideology.
big society my arse.


i have always liked deep purple. i think it was my pal monty who introduced me to them with the magical ‘machine head’ album. this was the classic line-up, no matter how good the other variations of the band were they never quite matched this lot.
there is another reason why i like this particular line-up they came into my dad’s pub and he sorted them out some food for their rehearsal sessions. i got to go and watch them. i had no idea what or who i was watching. once again fame brushed by me and i didn’t even wave.
in the video you can see roger glover playing a rickenbacker bass – i had a ricky copy and i wanted to be a bass player. the bass line in ‘smoke on the water’ convinced me i was never going to be a rock and roll superstar, it is an easy piece to play, but i couldn’t. another career shot down in flames (see what i did there). there is a lovely bit of musical interplay between jon lord on keyboards (another one who goes off to write a classical piece or two) and ritchie blackmore on guitar, when it comes to rock guitar you have to go some to find a better six-stringer than ritchie.
not only is ‘smoke on the water’ the deep purple song (even though they have several standard classics) it also references frank zappa. see there is a plan here. it also appears on one of the great live albums ‘made in japan’ and appears on one of my favourite albums: pat boone’s ‘in a metal mood’.
get your air guitar in tune and rock out.

ritchie just throwing off a solo for the pat boone version of 'smoke on the water'.

this is pat boone doing 'smoke' live. it is not a pretty sight. the album was fantastic, the lounge lizard take on several classic rock tracks worked well. live it just becomes a little odd. check out pat's dad dance, though compare him with ian gillan in the deep purple live vid and you can see that pat moves more. pat also seems to derive an immense amount of satisfaction from saying 'waaahtar'. the arc of lights in the background has an echo of the first rainbow tour, but more on that later.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


do you remember when they told us 'we were all in it together'?
of course you do.
how could you forget? those smug rich bastards with their shit eating cheshire cat grins. they were telling us we are all in this together.
clever bit of pr, a nice sound-bite for a serious problem. the global crisis had put us all up shit creek without a paddle so we all needed to pull together, roll up our sleeves, put our backs into it: noses to the grindstone time.

the big society. that was what it was all about.

after all look at that nice mr. david cameron. a few silly people cause a bit of a rumpus and he breaks off from his family holiday to sort it out. same with the lovely charming mr. osborne: a bit of a two and eight in the markets and he is back here to calm matters down.
he even broke some bad news for us all "the recovery will take longer and be harder than hoped", he told us.

it won't be quite so hard for some people - such as mr. cameron who was enjoying a holiday that was costing £5000 a week. not sure mr. osborne's was as much, though i am sure he wasn't worrying too much about having to max out his credit cards to pay for it.
just think about it mr. cameron's holiday was £5000 a week, close on a fifth of the average annual salary. this is the man who is telling us we are all in it together.
hey it works for me.

between them mr. cameron and mr. osborne have some ideas on how to get the economy working. they involve cutting taxes on the rich (hey they need those holidays), they involve cutting taxes on businesses (after all why should they contribute to the society they are in - i might be thinking of you mr. branson), they involve welfare and red tape - why not make it easier to sack people but harder for them to claim benefits - sooner or later they will realise that they don't need a minimum wage they just need a few pennies to rub together. what more do they want?
it is a crisis, we are all in it together and some of us have to make hard sacrifices so the very rich can go on holiday.

call 1-800-richcunt to contribute to the david cameron had to cut his holiday short disaster appeal.
remember in the big society - the little guy looks after the big guy.

Friday, August 12, 2011


there were a few very big led zeppelin fans when i was at school. i wasn’t one of them. i have no idea why their blues rock didn’t appeal to me, it just didn’t.
then i was leant a tape of ‘houses of the holy’ and i was toe tapping away.
then someone leant me ‘led zeppelin 3’ and i was bored (when i confessed this to a few of the zep fans at school one of them, karen, told me i didn’t deserve to live) then i heard a bootleg of led zep live it was a poor recording and had a very very long and dull piano concerto in the middle of ‘no quarter’ which just confirmed that john paul jones might have been a good bassist and could tickle the ivories but he should leave the overblown keyboarding to the likes of emerson and wakeman.
skip forward a couple of years: it was a bank holiday, along with my pal, adam; i had just spent the weekend dishing up doughnuts to fair goers. very tired but £50 better off we were in the west end to spend, spend, spend. in ‘our price’ records we heard them playing some tracks from the new led zep lp ‘in through the outdoor’. we both liked it. we both bought it. mine is still in the brown paper bag it came in.
from there on in i was a fan of page, plant, bonham and jones.
never got to see them live, instead i have amassed a very large quantity of live bootlegs, which are the next best thing.
robert plant has gone off and had a successful solo career.
jimmy page has done some bits and pieces but seems to spend most of his time revisiting the led zeppelin legacy by remastering, repackaging and re-releasing led zep. seems to be a great waste of a great talent, if you ask me.
from the video you can see a love of satin, a lot of timotei hair type shaking going on, that robert plant has a rebekah brooks thing going on.
oh and i still can’t stand led zep 3

Thursday, August 11, 2011


music is a funny old thing you never know when you are going to discover something wonderful.
a friend's brother interviewed circulus, told friend that they were a bit odd and that he had to go see them. just so happened they were playing a local squat warehouse gig the next week. we made our way there, no idea what to expect. the ticket was cheap, so no big risk and better than a night in with the tv.
the warehouse was packed with a very mixed crowd: over there you had the skateboarders showing their moves off, on the other side of the space you had the crustys, there was the intelligensia all dressed in blazers and tweeds with a bit of chin stroking thrown in for good measure. let's not forget the emo and goth kiddies.
various things were going on: homemade movies were being shown, poetry being read, breakdancing taking place, a dj playing odds and sods. in the middle of all of this a band would come on and play.
that is exactly what cirulus did.
they came out and played.
they played and they conquered.
since that night i have been a fan of their breezey madcap medieval prog psychedelic folk fusion. with michael tyack (guitars and vocals) and will summer (pipes) as the two stalwarts of the band - giving it a musical and personal identity; the other memebers come and play in the world of michael and will.

open you mind and let them take you to a place of pixies and sunshine.

i am not overly keen on this line up of circulus, i am not a big fan of the female vocalist they currently have.

musically this is not a great recording but i choose it for serveral reasons: i was there; i know the guy who filmed it; i like the female vocalist, lo polidoro, and it is jolly good fun.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


in the end music is just noise.
music is good.
noise is music.
merzbow is noise.
merbow is good.
it is that simple.

music to relax to....

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


i was never a fan of lou reed or the velvet underground they just sounded dull to me. then my boss leant me lou reed’s ‘new york’ album and i enjoyed it. i still wasn’t a fan. then i was chatting to one of my regular retailers. as ever we were chatting shit about shit. we got to talking about music. he told me how he had bought lou reed’s metal machine music and how he hated it. he described it as three sides of static and feedback.
to me that sounded like three sides of wonderment.
i tracked down a cheap cd version of it.
played it.
loved it.
it was the prototypical industrial noise album.
wonderful stuff.

what you hear in the video isn't really the same as what appears on the album, not that it makes any difference as it is still noisey and it is still ear spilittingly fantabulous.

feel free to join the the chorus it goes like this "wooooaaaarghughghghgaaaaaaaaaascrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeech".

Monday, August 08, 2011


diamanda galas is scary and talented in equal measures. i once played a tape of one of her early albums at work: it cleared the warehouse. in some small measure it made up for all the shitty acid house and garage that i had been forced to listen to.
i saw her perform at the royal festival hall. it was a sedate affair. she was elegant in her evening gown, she tinkled the ivories and sang torch songs utilising the full range of her several octave voice. i had paid a lot to see her, it was a short set, and i was amazed to see goths walking in and out of it to go get an overpriced pint of beer in the bar. me i preferred to sit still and drink up the cacophonous, yet beautiful sounds she produced.
her themes are serious. her music confrontational. listening is part endurance, part experience.
along with john paul jones, of led zep, fame, she made a very poppy, for her, album ‘this sporting life’, it is one of my favourites.
diamanda galas is unique and everyone should try her once.

diamanda confronts:

and here she is with john paul jones, who is probably wondering if he can get her to do a version of 'stairway to heaven'.


before you loot. before you riot. before you tell us all it is because you are disenfranchised or because you are not listened to or because you have nothing to do or because there is no hope or no future or whatever. before you get angry. before you blame the establishment. before you do anything.
stop. think. take a look at yourself.

the death (or murder) of anyone is not to be welcomed.
the death (or murder) of a person at the hands of an agent of the state is something that should not happen lightly. when it does it needs to be investigated and justified. if not justified then justice has to be done.
essentially the same for any murder.

so the next time there is a gang related murder of a teenager in london why don't you rock up outside the houses of the gang leaders? why don't you riot on their patch? why don't you loot their premises?
or doesn't that get you angry?
isn't that an aspect of being disenfranchised?

guess not.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


as far as i can remember the only person who liked emerson lake and palmer at school was a bit of an arse, though it wasn’t his love of prog that made him a prize tit it was everything else about him. more than likely i decided to give elp a go for two simple reasons: firstly greg lake had been in king crimson and back in the days of buying long playing vinyl you read the covers and would follow musicians to other projects. greg lake had been in king crimson, and i loved king crimson. secondly elp had released ‘welcome back my friends to the show that never ends’ a triple (triple!) live album. how could they lose?
they were the prototypical supergroup with keith emerson coming from the nice, greg lake from king crimson and carl palmer leaving atomic rooster. together their mix of classical and rock saw them expand the boundaries and frontiers of progressive rock music. they were proggier than the rest.
yet for all the pomp and splendour there are some sounds that keith emerson gets out of his array of keyboards that would not be out of place on some modern industrial albums.
for a band who have been around for so long and have such a great reputation they have not recorded that many studio albums – and a few of those have been turkeys. the several classic albums they did have provided them with enough material to do many over the top stage shows.
i missed out on seeing them at their recent london outing. not too fussed though as i still have plenty of live bootlegs of them to listen to and enjoy. it is always a pleasure to listen to them again – as it reminds me of those far off days of school when we had those dreams of being something special.
i miss those dreams, but with emerson lake and palmer for awhile i can have them again.

this is one of their earliest gigs. check out how intimate it is, not much room left on that stage with all the keyboards and drums - poor old greg is off to the side almost on his own. what is it that keith emerson is wearing (odd clothes seem to be a staple of prog keyboard players as demonstrated by rick wakeman). another clue to this being proggy is the size of the drum kit, the extra chimes and gongs are a prequisite. what is noticeable is that all three look as happy as larry as they go through their paces. later on they wouldn't be quite so happy with each other as they broke up, got back together and then broke up. here though you can hear that they have a special chemistry that burnt brightly.

this is a wonderful song, even with the chitchat of the people who have recorded the video. it is a recent performance of, part of elp. the main reason for including it here is to counterpoint it against the first video. look at the space between keith and greg - there are two people who are not that keen on each other anymore. then contrast the size of the greg now to the greg then. that is what over 40 years of rock and roll can do to you.
he still has a fine set of pipes though.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


i can’t remember why i wanted to listen to the tubes. i may have read about them in ‘sounds’ or ‘the melody maker’, i may have even heard them on nicky horne’s ‘your mother wouldn’t like it’.
i am pretty certain that the first tubes album i bought was the double live album ‘what do you want from live’ (and i have always had a soft spot for double live albums). i even went to see them on the tour that promoted the live album. if memory serves it was one of my first ‘big’ gigs and i thought i was badly dressed for the occasion (a safari jacket that would not have looked out of place in the wardrobe of the campier roger moore james bond movies, and the previously mentioned manhattan transfer tie. i didn’t look out of place. much).
the tubes provided me a great night of entertainment. the music and visuals combining into the musical theatre that became the hallmark of the tubes stage show. though they were known for the humour in their music, they were also excellent musicians who composed catchy and tuneful songs.
in terms of creativity they had a good innings, now most tubes releases are either live albums or yet another collection. i was lucky enough to have seen them at their peak and to have listened to them when they were growing as performers and creators.
if you have never heard them – then you are in for a treat.

perhaps the song that is most linked to the tubes is the epic 'white punks on dope', this excerpt if from the bbc's much lamented (well by me) 'old grey whistle test'. it is faded out before the end, which is a shame as bill spooner is about to go into his solo.
things to note: fee waybill in his guise of quay lewd topples from his platform boots, a few years later fee would fall from the stage and break his leg. this was annoying for me as it meant the gig i was supposed to attend later in the tour had to be cancelled. check out the monitors on stage - later the tubes will have their biggest commercial hit with the 'remote control' album which was all about the all-emcompassing effect of television (and it was a good lp to boot).

the second track is from the last great lp of the tubes career, outside inside, and is a homage to cheesey exploitation movies. it starts off with a certain lack of professionalism but it does rock.


i would be the last to claim that i am an organisational genius. far from it. mostly i work by the seat of my pants and skin of my teeth.
this probably explains why i am not in charge of a ftse 100 company or leading the country.

i accept that in today's wired world it is harder to stay out of contact than it is to stay in touch.
however one of the consequences of this is that perception is king because we are also bombarded with images and soundbites all the time.

an area of resentment in the workplace is the over holidays - too often there are a few people who cherry-pick the best times to have off, or you get a situation where sufficient cover is not provided so those who are still working have to carry the extra load.
all that is needed to avoid this is planning. simple really.

imagine the conversation in the coalition when david cameron, george osborne and nick clegg all decided to take the same time off.
ignoring the flash-the-cash aspect of their holidays (remember we are all in it together) their let's all bugger off at the same time does hint at a lack of planning. it may even hint at a lack of awareness of the current global situation. hell what could go wrong when your number 1, your number 2 and your number 3 guys are away on family jollies?

perhaps, more accurately, it points to a shared attitude of the three men: they don't give a fuck about us.
just a thought.

Friday, August 05, 2011


a day of being irked.
i blame the hot sticky weather, as it can't be anything to do with me being a miserable son of a gun.

irked at the weather - well that goes without saying. i hate the hot weather.
irked at my boss - who often forgets that we are short staffed and have more work than we can really cope with, but hey can still find time to get a dig in based on a comment from someone who hates doing filing but is happy to blame others for it not being done.
irked by the 25 bus - they seem to have gotten rid of the bendy buses and replaced them with double deckers, only problem is i keep forgetting this and just see the double decker coming and think it is a 205.
irked by bookshops - looking for a number of titles, tried a number of bookshops. no luck. what irked me was that some shops just don't put prices on books. why? how hard can it be to sticker the sodding book so the punter knows what price the darned thing might be. it isn't like supermarkets where there are going to drop the price of beans in response to a competitor. so waterstones if you are wondering why so many of your art books don't move it is because no one knows how much they are going to have to pay.
irked by 15 bus - there is no need to have the heater on in this weather. no seriously. no need at all.


i blame my dad for liking the manhattan transfer. firstly he was keen on what he considered good singing (essentially being able to hold a tune while clearly singing the words). he was easy listening man, or a lounge lizard. so the ground was prepared for enjoying the close vocal harmonies of the manhattan transfer. secondly my dad gave me the copy of playboy magazine that featured a review of the manhattan transfer, while it mentioned their singing skills it was mostly about how they appealed to new york’s underground avant-garde fetish scene (like i knew what they were talking about), so now i was interested.
fast forward a bit and i finally got to hear them. loved them. was hooked.
then somehow my dad got me tickets to see them live. not only that he also managed to get me a kipper tie with their logo printed on it. i was as pleased as punch.
i was wearing the tie the second time i went to see them. i was down the front at the hammy odeon and excited. one of the stage crew was doing a final check and he turned to one of his colleagues and was talking about the band he mentioned how the ‘little girl went out to the stage door and lifted her skirt to fan some air onto her fanny.’ i can’t lie; i was hoping to get a flash before the night ended. i didn’t. still the singing was divine.
even the move from standard harmonies to complex avant-garde jazz stylings have not dented their vocal gold. sit back, click your fingers, tap your toes and be a hep cat daddio.

the first clip features laurel massey (the red head); a serious accident caused her to leave the band. it is also one of several clips from the ‘old grey whistle test’ which i really enjoyed and it was a sad day when whispering bob stopped gracing out screens. i was also in the balcony at this recording and it is probably the closest i will ever come to fame.

back then i had a thing for janis siegel (the other one and famed fanny fanner), i still do. just a shame she doesn't feature that much in the next clip. instead welcome
cheryl bentyne, who is giving a full on demonstration of jazz hands. the other members of the band are just letting her get on with it. the clip ends rather suddenly so we can only imagine how she might have concluded the song: it would have been explosive.

and a bonus track - first time i had heard this one.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


my first introduction to yes was probably listening to them at andy’s place. like the majority of my school chums he wanted to be a musician. he had a very nice black acoustic guitar on which he would chung cha chung cha chung chung cha. while he concentrated on learning scales i was busy air guitaring.
most saturdays a group of us would head into south harrow and go directly to the fondly remembered selanby record store. andy was quite chuffed that he had managed to get hold of 12-inch single of the current yes single: ‘going for the one’ (it may have even been on blue vinyl). from then on each time we went into selanby we were confronted with numerous copies of the 12-inch single, it got so that it seemed the only person in the world who had kept his copy of the single was andy.
as with most long running bands yes have gone through many changes. personnel have come and gone, and some have returned to go again. sometimes it was the sound that changed sometimes becoming very twee other times become much harder. while steve howe and jon anderson were associated with the band you could always point to the ‘yesness’ of the sound.
the two tracks on show here capture yes at the height of their progginess with ‘soon’ from the relayer album. steve howe kicks it all off with a nice bit of slide guitar and then jon anderson comes in cha cha chunging on his guitar. you’ll notice that he was a bit elfin back then, and judging by most of his lyrics he was often away with the fairies. the rest of the band were chris squire on bass, alan white on drums and patrick moraz on keyboards.

the second track in some twenty years later. they are playing one of their more rockier tracks. jon has put on some weight and in order to hide that he is wearing a sheet. steve is still playing slide and still gurning as he plays. chris squire looks like he is wearing waders. alan white just looks older, while the crown prince of prog keyboarders is back where he belongs – that said rick wakeman is looking very sedate (well for him).

yes were proggier than most prog bands – their ability to do twee allowed them to go to places most other prog bands just didn’t approach. over the years they have released concept albums, double concept albums, live albums, double live albums, triple live albums, gatefold cover albums. if that wasn’t enough then the album ‘going for the one’ was a double gatefold album with art from hipgnosis (famous for their work on pink floyd album covers) (the cover features a naked male bum – this echoes the naked male bum on rush albums – prog promoting sexual tolerance! how punk is that!)

sit back and let the prog caress you.
trust me – you’ll love it.

vintage yes -

yes - getting long in the tooth, but still rocking the free world.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


if memory serves me right i bought my first king crimson record on a bit of a whim.
it was a double album and it was cheap. 'a young person's guide to king crimson' was a compilation, a best of if you will, of king crimson. i don't think i had ever heard them, or of them. as i say it was cheap, it was a double and i was building my record collection, taking chances.
with this one i scored a big fat bull’s-eye.
as four sides of vinyl demonstrated there were many phases in the career of king crimson – the two constants were great music and robert fripp.
fripp’s guitar was very precise almost mathematical, it seared through the music. it was lovely. fripp was able to surround himself with quality musicians and together they created the unique sounds that were the various incarnations of king crimson.
i have never seen king crimson live. i have seen robert fripp live once when he toured with one of his, many, side projects: the league of gentlemen. it was at the famous marquee club. i was down the front. fripp was, as ever, perched on a stool, he was playing up a storm, his leg kicking out in time with the beat. several time he nearly caught me in the head. the other time i saw fripp was at a ‘strangegirls’ gig, featuring his wife, toyah. i wanted to go up to him and thank him for all the years of musical pleasure he had given me but i decided that he was out to see his missus strut her stuff so it was probably not the right thing to do. so i didn’t.
there was a time when i had to sit while the ex’s kid had to practice violin. she wanted him to be able to play an instrument. like all kids who are forced into something he wasn’t as excited about it as she was. strangely i was the one who had to sit through his practice (her argument being she took him to the violin teacher always beat out my argument of ‘it was your idea’). the similarity between ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and ‘ba ba black sheep’ is terrifying when you are trying to tell the little mite that his performance was wonderful only to realise by the quiver of lips that he had been playing the other one. anyway in order to encourage the kid into playing the violin i used to play some of my albums and tell him ‘listen to that violin playing’ in an attempt to make it as cool as possible. it didn’t work. though he did grow up to play guitar in a nirvana influenced band (him and a million other emo kids) so perhaps it wasn't a total waste.
fripp and crimson still produce some fine fine music, yet there is something very special about those first few king crimson albums.
so let me just take this moment to thank robert fripp for all the musical pleasure he has given me and then you can enjoy the thrill of king crimson live performing ‘easy money’.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


it was a fateful day when i stumbled across my first frank zappa album.
it would have been a saturday. it would have happened in south harrow in a record store called selanby – a place that had a mix of new and second-hand records and tapes. i would have been flicking through the used records, there was no order to them just line upon line of used records. i can’t remember which album it was that took my fancy – it might have been ‘chunga’s revenge’ or it might have been ‘one size fits all’ or possibly ‘over nite sensation’. whichever one it was it was most likely that i was drawn to it by the cal schenkel cover. i may have been aware of zappa because of something i had read in sounds or melody maker. it may have just been a whim.
it was love at first play.
if i had to pick just one musician to be my all time favourite then i think it would be frank zappa.
he is a greater guitarist with songs ranging from the amusing little ditty through to the complex orchestral pieces. he was happy to shock; no target out of reach. he would utilise brute force humour or scathing satire. he surrounded himself with top class musicians able to play some of his more outlandish compositions.
i was lucky enough to see zappa in concert a couple of times.
i missed out on his last tour of england thanks to an argument with my ex, i lost it and she ensured that i would feel bad if i went. i didn’t. he never came back.
so sit back and enjoy these two tracks but don’t worry as i am sure we will come back to zappa before the end of the month.


Monday, August 01, 2011


inspired by my recent journey around youtube i have decided to theme this month by having a selection of videos from some of my favourite musicians.

i came to music relatively late. while my contemporaries were indulging themselves in punk (some of them even gobbed on by sex pistols) others were extolling the virtues of led zeppelin. it just didn't seem that important to me.
ah how that changed.
around the end of the fifth form i became a music fan. i suspect it had more to do with the people i hung around with at the time than anyone band or musician. fortunately music fell into my lap and i was hooked. i still am. back then i was interested in who played what on what and that would lead me to new bands and sounds. it was a period of raw exciting discovery.
over the years i would say my tastes have expanded, rather than changed.
unlike some of my pals i don’t have a deep knowledge of music history. i couldn’t tell you where most of what i listen to sits in the ‘history’ of music, i couldn’t tell you who influenced who. mostly i don’t care. i am very much of the mind that if i like it then that is good enough.
there was a time when i wanted to know about the people who entertained me and then i discovered that some of my heroes were total tossers, so now i just listen, watch and read – all that matters is that i like it.
i have very few favourite songs as music relies so much on mood so what gets me going one day may leave me cold another. also i am a child of the long player, so when i listened to music it was always an album experience, even in the days of the ipod i am still mostly listening to full albums rather than a selection of favourite tracks.
enough preamble, on with the show. if i had to choose one favourite song i think it would be meat loaf’s ‘bat out of hell’. i think i caught the video on ‘the old grey whistle test’ and i knew i had to have the album. when i saw the rich corben cover i was sold. who could resist the epic bombast and over the top pomp(osity) that was jim steinman and meat loaf.
this is why the punk wars were fought.
this is why the punk wars were lost.
i give you ‘bat out of hell’.

as an added bonus here is a video of jim steinman doing 'rock and roll dreams come through', it is from the album 'bad for good'. this was supposed to be the follow up to 'bat out of hell' but meat loaf had problems with his throat (as i remember one of his 'cures' was to gargle his own piss)so jim did the follow up himself, with some help from his friends.
and you want to know something? i loved it. still do.
however i had never seen the following video until the other night and what a camp classic it is.
quite what was going through jim steinman's head as he mimed in front of two modern dancers will never be known. jim, looking like gene wilder, has donned a pair of gauntlets in order to sing while a man and a woman dance (and i am being generous here) with a silver guitar. camp is not the word. the somewhat less the macho posturing is aided by the reluctance of the man to let the woman play with his guitar (and we all know what that is supposed to be... don't we).
someone should have butched the whole thing up.

camp as tents it maybe - i still like it


say what you will about the conservative party, but they do seem to be able to pick a hottie or two to represent them.
now i don't (honestly) go around checking out each of the tory mps in order to rate them as hot or not (but if you want to go here).

step forward louise mensch (or bagshawe, depeding on the reporters). she is new to my tripe t list (top tory totty)and i only really found out about her because she has admitted to 'probably' taking some drugs when she used to hang out with nigel kennedy.
probably is a funny word to use - as you either did or you didn't.
probably is one of those words you expect people in important positions to use. on the one hand it might make you sound cool because you did have a rebelious side when you were a teen, but it wasn't that important to you as you have forgotten about it now. it is a word that allows you to appear to be contrite but not actually admitting to anything.
personally i would be more concerned with her hanging out with nigel kennedy than her doing a line or two.

i am not a fan of drugs. i don't like them. i don't take them.
for a long time i had a zero tolerance approach to them. now i have changed my mind - they are not going to go away, as the law stands now it makes the users of drugs into criminals when in many ways they are no more a burden on society than are heavy drinkers or smokers - but they are legal drugs. so make drugs legal. make them available over the counter, tax them, police the quality of them and watch the crime levels drop/

yet the situation that ms mensch/bagshawe finds herself in is symptomatic of debate in this climate. she is being hounded by journalists who have pictures of her with nigel doing drugs.
big deal.
(i wonder if her her questions in parliament about hacking has had anything to do with the photos appearing?)
the 'shock horror' someone did something naughty when they were in their youth, let's bring it up and try to smear them with it type tactics just means that legitimate debate gets sidelined all too easily because people are forced to defend themselves for no reason, rather than just state the facts.

louise - just don't hang out with the fiddle player anymore - it is just not cool and does your image no good.