Sunday, 27 January 2008


RIGHT. Those of you who are my MySpace chums may remember me posting this as a MySpace Blog a while back:

"Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You can hold me to this.

If there's a better album than the new LCD Soundsystem album released this year, I'll eat my own spunk."

WELL as it clearly says in that post about my albums of 2007, Holy Fuck's "LP" is my favourite album of 2007.

So I looked for some porn on the internet:


Now, as you lot may or may not know, I don't find a lot of porn sexy, so when I find something I like I tend to get excited:


So I found something I liked. It was time to get down to business:


Which didn't take very long:


Then a sudden dread filled me as I realised quite just what I was about to do:


But I did say.....


Note me looking at the camera to make sure it was in shot. I would NOT want to have to do this again!!

I am NEVER doing that again!!


NEVER let it be said that I am not a man of my word:
I'm going to be a lot more careful about what I say in the future.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Axl's Album Of 2007.

N.B. This post has already been changed since it was originally posted.

Last year I tried to do an albums of the year list on this blog. Due to a number of reasons that are far too boring to go into, this ended up never actually happening. This year I wanted to make sure I did it this time, but am having the same problems. So a list may come later, if I can sort it out. In the mean time though there have been 5 albums which have always been the ones in the top 5 positions. So I've decided to share those with you now, just in case I don't end up doing the list itself.

My favourite album of 2007 was the album "LP" by Holy Fuck.
Don't let the band name fool you, this isn't some sort of confrontational loud noise beast. No, behind the name lies a band who have listened to a lot of Krautrock and decided that the thing that it needed was to be sped up. What you end up with is a band that's half krautrock, half electro-dance, and if that in itself doesn't make you cream instantly with excitment, then what the hell's wrong with you but listen to it anyway, coz basically it's an amazing album.

The other 3 positions would almost certainly be:

2. Radiohead - "In Rainbows"
3. LCD Soundsystem - "Sound Of Silver"
4. Shape Of Broad Minds - "Craft Of The Lost Art"
5.= Olafur Arnalds - "Eulogy For Evolution"
5.= Burial - "Untrue"

After that it gets a bit hazy and very changeable depending on what mood I'm in and how well my memory serves me at the time. Already I've had to change this post because I forgot about Burial. Yes, I'm a loser, but hey, I'm doing better than last year!

Friday, 18 January 2008

Some Songs What I Wrote.

I've started coming up with songs recently. It's fun and adds a little something to my boring daytime working life.

I wrote a song for Craig at work recently. I found it again today. Here it is:

Song For Craig.

My name's Craig,
I like to look at things.
Big things,
Like the Eiffel Tower,
Small things,
Like an ant or a breadcrumb,
Strange things,
Like tobogoning monkeys,
Normal things,
Like an ice cube in Diet Coke,
Boy things,
Like football and skateboards,
Girl things,
Like lipgloss and boobies,
Nice things,
Like kittens and cheesecake,
Gross things,
Like a vomiting reindeer.
I could show you some things,
Come and look at things with me,


And for those of you who may have missed it, or aren't on Facebook, a song I wrote that doesn't have a title:

"What would you do if Axl died?"
"I don't know how I would survive,
I would lay flowers on his grave,
I would keep him as a slave."

"What kind of slave would he be?
He's dead in the ground and he can't move!"

"He would be my SEX SLAVE!
I would keep him in a bathtub of vinegar,
And take him out and have sex with him,
Whenever I wanted."

Axl the dead sex slave!!


I also came up with a song about being a farmer and catching crows and planting them around a scarecrow so they would be constantly scared, but the lyrics were sadly not as good as the concept.

I was also challenged to write a song about Woking by Micaela.
I came up with a song about a group of kids coming up to me and asking me to buy them fags and me telling them to buy them themselves. They call me a wanker, so I kill them and bury them under a golf course, but I can't remember which one it is coz there's like 9 of them. Then the second verse was about how how Giuseppe Verdi never went to Woking.
The problem is that I didn't write the words down so I can't remember what they were now.

That's all for now on the song front. Hope you enjoyed them. I may put more up.

My 2nd Gig.

January 12th was when a bunch of people in the Port Mahon got to see my 2nd gig with Traktors. It was a different beast to last time. For a start we used no guitars, instead choosing to opt for keyboards, a synth, a wine glass and a lot of pedals and a mixer. There was a mic involved aswell. Whereas the last one was a more free-rock affair, this time we had a structure. We even had melody! A tune!

It looked a bit like this:


Now, I'm having a bit of trouble writing about this. See, I thought at the time it went pretty badly, but all the feedback we got was really positive. Most people saying it was better than the last one. Awesome.
It bothered me for ages that I felt pretty bad about the gig, but the fact that everyone really liked it is essentially what matters. What is a performance if not for the audience? The thing a friend helped me realise, is that the audience is gonna hear it completely differently to you anyway, coz you know what it's meant to sound like/how you want it to sound ideally. Whereas an audience are coming to it fresh. No-one there had heard it before, so they were inevitably going to hear it in a different way.

It's strange. I feel pretty positive about it now. I remember all the times I said to mates that their gigs were real good and they weren't positive about them. It always confused me. Though I kind of got it, now I understand.

Yeah, I still can't really find how to write about this properly. I'm gonna leave it now.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Axl, Oh Axl, Why Do Your Boxer Shorts Smell Of Olbas Oil?

That is a good question.

See, for my first blog for what feels like a while, I was a little unsure of what to write about. Over the last few days I have been mulling over possible topics in my head but none of them seemed good enough. Sure, I could moan about my job and the fact that they don't seem to know what to do with me leading to me spending 2 days a week in the basement and 3 on the ground floor with no real ties to either, but I try not to think about that. I could harp on about how the new recording of Mussorgsky's Picture's At An Exhibition is absolutely terrible and surely once and for all proves that Simon Rattle is the single most over-rated person in classical music today, but only about 2 people who read this will even have a vague interest in that. I could write up my opinions on an argument that some friends of mine were having the other day, but that would just get preachy and annoying. I've spent a lot of time on trains recently, but there's not too much to write about that. So yeah, good topics for blogging have been running a bit thin on the ground lately. Today I was going to write something, anything, no matter how bad it was, just to get this weight off from around my neck. But then it happened.

So it was about half twelve and I was at work when I really started needing a poo. Half an hour til my lunch break. No problem. Not for a pro like me. Quarter to one came and I was praying for Dean to come and let me go on my lunch. One o'clock came. Oh my god did I ever need the loo or what! A couple of painful minutes passed. Dean came. I almost ran to the toilet.


Boy did that feel good getting that out of my body. Ok, enough hanging around, this is eating into valuable lunch hour time!
Oooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh fuck. Where's the toilet paper?
So, I'm left with a dilemma. What do I do now? I'm gonna have to pick the right moment and shuffle off to the next cubicle, trousers and boxers round my ankles, grab some loo roll from the next cubicle, shuffle back before anyone catches me in the act, or sees the total atrocity I have left behind in the bowl. Ok. Ready? Here goes.

Just as I was about to open the cubicle door, someone came in and locked themselves in the other cubicle. FUCK! What the fuck am I gonna do now? But at the same time, thank god they hadn't come in literally 2 seconds later!! Then I remembered! I've got a fresh pack of tissues in my pocket! Oh, how they mocked me when I bought a multipack of them and kept them in my locker, well who's laughing now bitches?! That's right, me.

Oh, I should warn you. It gets a bit erm....... detailed from now on.

Right, so I'm wiping my arse with these tissues. Now, the thing is, I've got those Lotus tissues which have olbas oil in them. You know, so that when yer nose is blocked it loosens up yer airways and helps you breathe more easily, and after a bit my anus starts tingling. No, not in a man-love-excitement way, in a weird way. Fair enough, I remember that time that I'd had to use about 3 in a row on my nose once and my nose was tingling for ages afterwards. It was just the olbas oil loosening my airwaves.

That's when I got really paranoid. "Hang on..." I thought, "What if it can loosen more than just airwaves?"
And so for about 2 hours I was really paranoid I was gonna shit myself.
I didn't, but it was a very relaxed feeling down there for a while.

So yeah, now I'm wondering, does olbas oil have a similar effect on the anus to poppers? If you wipe olbas oil on yer anus, does it work the same way as if you sniffed a load of poppers? If so, that would be useful for anyone who was gay and "straight-edge" to know.

Happy bowel-movements everyone! Remember to check for paper first!!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Music & It's Industry.

Isn't music great? The way that without words it can convey the whole spectrum of human emotions, and even with words, isn't it amazing how sometimes someone can find the exact words to say perfectly what you're feeling or what you've wanted to say for so long now but have never known how. Isn't it incredible how it can shape your very mood and can pick you up or sympathise or just let you forget everything and dance.

So why is it then that currently you can't be heard unless you've clogged up some poor bastards tv set, howling and wailing infront of a panel of "Experts" in a desperate attempt to get the fame you've always desired because you can't handle the fact that your life isn't as perfect as the people in the American tv shows that have clogged up your own tv sets for the past 10 or so years?! These people are not going to be remembered for anything other than being the indicator that the mass market media process really can sell you just about anything in the zero decade.

Don't worry though, for the true fans you can still read about "Proper" music in certain magazines and newspapers. Well, you could if they hadn't all become a parody of themselves. NME really has become Heat magazine for music fans, we all used to joke about it, but now it actually has come true. I keep expecting to turn the page and find "Torso Of The Week" or photographs of someone from Klaxons yawning with a circle around the edge of his mouth and a big arrow pointing to a bit of dribble coming out with a hilarious caption exclaiming disbelief that he can possibly bear being out in public like this. Q meanwhile has become the music industry's MOR bitch, but then kind of always has been really. When was the last time you ever bought something, or even checked something out coz you read about them in Q? Uncut is all well and good, and I'm sure when I'm in my fifties I'll absolutely love it. Mojo still remains the bastion of good mainstream music publishing, but even they seem to recently have been prone to bouts of sucking the executives corporate money cock. How else could you explain the absolute gushing over the Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album? If you haven't heard this album, it's terrible. It defines the word "Bland" perfectly. It's like listening to your parents perfect album. Actually, thinking about it, they did this last year (or was it the year before?) with the last David Gilmour album. For those of you who haven't heard that album, it sounds like Dire Straits were commissioned to record an album for play in a doctor's waiting room. You know that scene in Wayne's World (or is it Wayne's World 2?) where Garth imagines he's at a Kenny G gig, but instead of being in a regular seat, his is a dentist's chair with a dentist performing surgery on him seemingly with no anaesthetic? That's what I imagine happening to me when I think of either of the albums I just mentioned.

All that this means is that the independent market becomes saturated because everyone believes what they read nowadays. So now everyone thinks Hadouken! are somehow ground-breaking and that Gallows are the most exciting new band to come out of Britain in years. The hype these bands have generated, especially in NME (who named the singer from Gallows as the coolest person of the year) is obscene and quite frankly hopelessly misguided.
Look at Hadouken! Oh my god, they're like, taking two genres and putting them together! Only, it's Indie and Grime! So it's fresh and innovative! Bollocks is it. Remember 10 years ago when Prodigy released "The Fat Of The Land"? (One of THE most over-rated albums of all time, but that's for another post. (For the record, I love all other Prodigy albums)) Remember what it did? It combined rock and dance! Then what happened? Every fucker started doing it! It's not new! Stop flogging it to us like it is! In reality, Hadouken! are no more innovative than the Blade 2 soundtrack. Which was shite, apart from the Massive Attack & Mos Def collaboration, which fucking ruled.
I find Hadouken! a really frustrating band, because I actually love the idea of it, and it could work. They almost make it work on a couple of songs, but they just fall frustratingly short. As if they are too aware of what they are trying do and kind of forgot to just get into it.
And look at Gallows. I don't know this for sure, but I'd be willing to be that NME have written an article about them calling them "The saviours of British rock music." The hype the press have managed to create over this band is pretty incredible. I had never actually properly heard them until today. Good god. Actually listen to them. They are so tame it's ridiculous. The only comparison I can make to them would make them sound really good. They kind of sound like Shellac covering songs by The Bronx, only, and here's where it stops sounding good, if both of those bands had virtually no talent. They sound like a metal band who forgot to plug in their distortion pedals. The production's really bad too. The vocals are way too high up in the mix, making them even more intensely annoying (due to the fact he sings like a metal singer, but isn't in a metal band, he's in a band seemingly trying to bring back and modernise the sound of 70's punk) and where's the bass?
Gallows are not young, fresh & new. They are just another average band. That really is all.

But the true true music fans who are looking for something different still can read any of the growing number of magazines for the more "Specialist" or "Indie" or whatever label you want to give them tastes. The problem with these is that anyone writing for them feels so massively superior, they think they can get away with any old bollocks. So instead of actually reading anything of worth that will actually tell you something about the subject matter, you're treated to some sort of ultimate sixth form wet dream where reviews are written like bad poetry. "This album is like wistfully grazing on a field of clouds and purple daisies while unicorns gambol and spread the sweetest scent around, comforting you, and then suddenly as you get comfortable, one of the unicorns kicks you in the teeth and you are sent bursting thru the cloud, hurtling towards the ground like an injured pheasant might if a guitar had been shot at it. This crash to reality makes you take stock and the whole experience leaves your mouth with an existential aftertaste..." IT'S A FUCKING ALBUM REVIEW YOU'RE WRITING FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, NOT THE COMPLETE POETIC WORKS OF THOMAS FUCKWIT!!! These magazines hail their chosen heroes and lament on how if only the world could know about them then it would be a much better place, yet at the same time they seem to revel in keeping them to themselves, choosing to conduct themselves in ways that would put off most normal human beings, so what you're left with is not so much a magazine, but more of a collection of writings by people with hideous superiority complexes, bragging about how they're so much better than you.
Instead of making an end of year best of list, Plan B magazine chose instead to run a piece with a heading that said something like "We don't make lists. We make discussions." I felt like writing a letter to them with a heading that said "You don't make a magazine. You make unbearable literary wank."
Even my personal fave Wire is guilty of such accusations. Wire at times treat everything a little bit to much like University Coursework, and let analysis get in the way of enjoyment. I have read reviews in Wire that criticise band's albums for being fun and enjoyable without any seemingly deep meaningful substance. SO WHAT?! Are Wire saying we not allowed to just enjoy music? That somehow because it isn't particularly cerebral, it has no worth? That's ridiculous! Just because you don't have to sit down and analyse it to get the most from it, doesn't mean any less effort and care has necessarily gone into it, or that it is somehow inferior and not worth your time.

Lord help you though if you turn to the local zines for an opinion. They read like the specialist mags, but without the university educated editor. So what you end up with here more often than not is a lazy-elitism. Great! Doesn't that sound fun? One has cropped up recently called House Of Tracks, and it is quite possibly the worst thing I have ever read in my life. Half the stuff in issue 2 seems to be the same as issue 1. A lot of issue 2 seems to have happened before October. The writing itself is incredibly lazy and poor. The whole thing stinks of someone with far too much money and/or connections (A second issue of a tiny free mag carrying a full back cover ad for Domino records?) who is just desperate to get into music journalism, but hasn't realised they are shit. To be fair, they could probably get a job for NME.
Also, in the interests of fairness, House Of Tracks have one decent column. Lee's Column takes up about a quarter of a page, so doesn't really have a chance to say anything, but actually reads like it was written by a human being rather than the Indie-Journobot 3000.

It would be foolish to write a piece about the music industry blaming it all on journalism and media though. Major record companies as we know are essentially going to sell their own aunties if it will make them a few quid, but do they need to make it so obvious? In the last few years, a worrying trend has started to occur. As it gets to the Christmas period, albums that were released earlier in the year are being re-released with bonus tracks, bonus discs and extra dvds. The irritating thing about this is that you know it's so cynical, but you get drawn in. I know full well that no matter how long I put it off, I am going to buy the Bloc Party album again, even though I already have it, because of the dvd with their complete Reading Festival performance that now comes with it. And the only reason I haven't bought the last Kings Of Leon album yet is because I can't decide how much I want the full gig dvd that comes on the special edition for twice the price we're selling the cd on it's own for at the moment. It's so cynical and see-through, but they know how to get you. Of course most of the Michael Buble or Paul Potts fanbase are going to want the bonus disc of them singing christmas songs. The oldies love that shit!

The music industry is a bloated monster. The mainstream failures and trappings are slowly but surely filtering through to the independents, because the monopoly the majors have now means the indies have to play along just to survive. It's ruining the industry as a whole.
No wonder Radiohead wanted to release their album directly themselves as a download and detach themselves from all that bullshit. It was a bold step and they were lucky enough to be in a position where they could afford to take it. Sure, they then released it on XL Recordings, but a physical release was always gonna happen, and you get a real sense that they're doing it on their own terms now.

But for virtually everyone else it's going to have to be the same old negotiation thru the industry, which will possibly take you in with promises and opportunities, build up your hopes and dreams, then spit you out once a newly packaged younger version of yourself becomes the next big thing. Then you can either a) split up, b) carry on, most likely on a smaller label never quite reliving your former glories, playing to crowds who only really want to hear the songs they knew 5 or so years ago, or c) split up then wait it out a while before reforming, by which point your fans will be so happy to see you again they will literally throw their money at you. Unless you're All Saints, whos reformation and album seemed to always be under the radar and was never really given a chance. As if something sinister were going on. Or maybe they were just slightly too ahead of the trend. It can't be anything to do with the quality of the album, look at Eagles. They released "Long Road Out Of Eden" in 2007, one the most utterly awful albums I have ever heard in my whole life, and yet it sells by the bucket load. I have no idea why it's so popular (but then, I have no idea why Eagles have EVER been popular. I'm with Lebowski on this one. "I hate the fuckin' Eagles, maaan."), it sounds like an old peoples home and you can literally feel your brain decaying with every hideous note, but it's the time of reunion and so by default they are very much "In" right now.
Look at Spice Girls. Their tour sold out in about a nano-second because the public never really got their goodbye, so when their reunion was announced, women in their mid 20's all over the country suddenly turned into the world's largest pack of salivating dogs who would've torn your arm off just to catch a glimpse of them all together again.

So if the music industry does die the death that many have said it will do for the last few years for various reasons or other, I think we can all safely point to 2007 as the year it all got too much. It wasn't home-taping or Napster and other file sharing websites. It wasn't the closure of venues and independent record shops. It wasn't bands ignoring record labels and self-releasing their music. It was the hideous over-saturation of the market by reality tv stars and big name reunions.
It won't die though. Ever since I first opened a music magazine, people have been predicting the death of the music industry, and what happens? Nothing. It just carries on the same as it always has.

Thursday, 3 January 2008


So in my time blogging, there have been some odd moments.
There was the right wing racist who found my blog post about the time the BNP tried to friend me on MySpace and insulted me, but never replied to my reply.
There was the record company who found my blog when I said I really liked one of their albums and told me they were happy about me saying so.
There was the woman who left some unbelievable comments on a friend of mines blog - essentially death threats - who it turned out was also looking at my blog because she had Google'd their name, and my blog had come up.
But my personal favourite has to be the Great Eskimo Hoax incident.

For those of you who don't know, I wrote a review of a gig they played a while back on this very blog. I slated them, coz I really didn't like them. Anyway, they found and read this review and decided to find my MySpace page and send me a quite insulting message. (This isn't as bizarre as it seems. There is a photo of me on this blog, and it turns out we had met before, when we sang on the forthcoming Youthmovies album.)

Now, I'd always kind of just written this off as GEH being slightly pathetic. If you can't handle criticism then you shouldn't be making music and putting it out there in the public domain. I told this story to friends and would always paint them in a very bad light. Me, the little man who essentially just writes this shitty little blog that only a few of his friends ever actually read, versus a band who lots of people like and whose egos are so out of control they can't handle one person not liking them.

But then I was talking to someone I from another band (I won't name-drop, there's no point), and this came up, and they made me think differently about it all. They pointed out that in the same way that they put something out into the public domain that is open to interpretation and criticism, that criticism itself is in the same public domain and therefore should be open to the same thing, and he's right. By publishing or posting something, it is essentially a form of literature and should therefore be though of as any other creative work would be, and should be open to the same backlashes and praises as any other form of "Art".

Any doubters to what I'm saying should look no further than Charlie Brooker. Here is a man who is taking the art of criticism and making a career out of turning it into comedy, thru his columns and his "Screen Wipe" tv series. His observations are hilarious and thought provoking, but he is essentially a critic. People talk about him and discuss him as they would any other comedian though, and what this proves is that my mate was right. Criticism is something that is created and put out into the public, therefore should be open to the same treatment as any song, book, album, film, tv show, piece of art, etc etc.

This mate also told me about some of the more personal attacks on him that have been made by critics. This made me understand GEH's reaction. I don't think I was particularly personal, but I was pretty insulting, so I understand it now, hearing it from the other side.

So what's the point of this post? I'm not going to be changing the way I do things necessarily, but I will certainly understand if I face another backlash. If I am critical, why shouldn't I be criticised back?

I saw Great Eskimo Hoax recently, supporting Jonquil at the Cellar. I was probably a little harsh on them before. I still found them derivative and boring, but they are solid polished performers, I will give them that.
They split people down the middle from what I can tell. (Not literally, that would be revolting.) Half the people I spoke to about them didn't like them at all, the other half thought they were fantastic.
There seems to be a trend though. The people who liked them are all in bands. The people who didn't, aren't. What, if anything, you can read into this, I'm not sure, but I find it interesting.

Jonquil though, I think everyone would agree were fantastic.