Saturday, 26 April 2008

R.I.P. Humphrey Lyttelton.

A genuine hero of mine just died. Humphrey Lyttelton was an amazing man. One of the main men of the post war British jazz scene, he was an expert musician and composer. But he will be most fondly remembered for his radio presenting. This included his jazz shows on Radio 2 and most memorably, the Radio 4 comedy programme "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue."
This is undoubtedly the show he will be most remembered for, his perfect portrayal of the grumpy old man with is totally deadpan sarcasm and innuendos winning the hearts of many. His sheer strength of personality and perfect comic timing and delivery were a winning formula, making him surely the best comic presenter we have known.
Musically, he may well be best known as being the guy who was on the last track of that Radiohead album, but it would be an incredible disservice to him for that to be his musical epitaph. He was after all the first jazz artist to have a song enter the top 20 of the British Top 40 singles chart (with probably his best known tune, "Bad Penny Blues"), and was highly revered by many jazz musicians including the legendary Louis Armstrong, who famously called him "That cat in England who swings his ass off."

An innovator and a true original, and a hero of mine. He will be very much missed. Rest In Peace Humph. xx

GOD This Has Been A Long Week...

After a stupidly hectic few days (our shop is one of the final 5 of which one will be crowned best store in the company so everyone has been running around like a mad-arse trying to make a shop look like a museum), today (25/04) has been like a work based come-down. As 5:30pm came, I was in a total brain numb and was reduced to sniffing marker pens just to have some kind of sensation. I was secretly hoping for a dizzying high and hallucinations. Maybe a conversation with a cocktail drinking elephant, sitting on a canal boat that suddenly appeared where cd shelving units once were. The elephant would take me aboard and we would sail down a golden canal and pluck the fruit of the trees and the elephant would take off it's sunglasses to reveal two faberge eggs where it's eyes should be, which would hatch, giving birth to 30 unicorns who would circle me, singing a mystical unicorn song, then make love to each other.
What did I get? About half a minute of giggling at a song called "Poontang" followed by about half an hour of a mildly annoying headache. Basically, it was like doing a really shit version of poppers.


Don't look at me like that, you have no idea how bored I was.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Brain Dead.

Wednesday was my first day back at work after 8 days off and I think my brain died. I was doing fine up until my lunch break. I was managing to get back into the swing of everyday retail working pretty well, but then I had my lunch. Somewhere in that hour my brain went from being fairly active and attentive, to being in a state of total uselessness where I was unable to do or even understand anything. I was a total mess. I was so unhelpful.

"Do you know if you've got anything by so-and-so?"

"Have you got this album in?"

"Do you know who this song's by?"

"Do you know much about jazz?"

"Is this cd 6 pounds coz it's got dust on it?"

I'm not sure if I'm gonna count that one coz it was Marlon.
Who's Marlon?
You lucky fuckers.
Marlon is possibly THE most annoying human ever. One of those people who seemingly deliberately goes out of their way to wind you up. Very much NOT the person you need to be dealing with when yer brain has been reduced to a liquid and is leaking out of yer ears.

This continued for a couple of days and was recently getting better and today I was almost back to normal when:

"I need your help. Do you have classical music? Do you have guitar music? I'm looking for something that was done in the last 35 years. I've heard it on the radio a couple of times. Can you listen? I recorded it on my camera when I last heard it playing. It is just solo guitar. On it's own."
Plays me clip of a badly recorded guitar piece. The picture on his camera shows the radio and a red sofa. It plays for about 2 minutes and is oddly rather eerie, like an out-take from INLAND EMPIRE or something.
"I don't recognise that I'm afraid."
"No? The play it on local radio quite a lot."
"Yeah, I still don't know that is though. Sorry."
"It is from the last 30, 35 years maybe?"
"Yeah, I'd love to help you, but you see this stuff dripping out of my ears? That's what was left of my brain, so I'm afraid I can't actually help in any way at all because I no longer even posess motor functions."

All my good work undone. Ruined. I was so close to being back to normal too. And now I can't sleep. I bet I could if I still had a brain.

I had a thing to say about Pete Doherty being in the news. It involved the words "Who fucking cares?" and "Talentless chancer with a Morrissey complex", but I can't remember what I was fully going to form around them.

Oh, the new album by The Kooks is out. Why don't you buy it? Alternatively, you could melt your ears off on an electric oven hob. It would be more fun AND less painful.

Still not as bad as The Wombats though. Fucking hell. Listening to them makes me consider Harikiri as an option to get out of having to hear one more song by those fuckwits.

I'm tired. I need bed now.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Great Eskimo Hoax Reply.

This is a follow up to the previous post. It therefore should be read after it.

No matter how arrogant I am on my laptop in my bedroom, I do believe both sides should be heard:
I sent a message to GEH pointing them towards the blog I just wrote, specifically mentioning that it included my reply to their birthday message.
They just sent me this:


I can wholeheartedly say that that was a complete joke/throwaway comment.
I realise it's not even funny. Mya just said 'im going out for axl's b-day tonight' so i said what i said not thinking she would actually say it - I don't want anyone to go to hell obviously.
I am actually sorry if you took this seriously/personally which it seems like you have, as you've posted a blog on it about two weeks later.

Anyway in reference to your new blog and once again saying things that are inslulting (your words) i have raised the following points/contradictions from a previous Blog of yours:"

But then I was talking to someone I know 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 thought of as any other creative work would be, AND SHOULD BE OPEN TO THE SAME BACKLASHES AND PRAISES AS ANY OTHER FORM OF "ART".


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 dont 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.

That last line is Heroic.
I appreciate that you don't like our music, i don't expect everyone in the World/Oxford to enjoy it - that would be silly. As you've pointed out maybe a more constructive review and a less insulting one would suffice, perhaps?

I'm just glad only 24 people will read how egotistical we are.

From me, the little man

So, reaction number 1 it should've been then. Possibly a little humble pie for my dinner tonight too.

It's actually kind of nice to be proved wrong. Gives me a little faith in people for a change.

Eurgh. That last sentence makes me sound like such a hippy.

My Birthday & The Great Eskimo Joke?

You probably all already know this, but a couple of weeks or so ago it was my newest birthday. Fun was had. A good night of boozing in The Star followed by more booze and dancing at DJ Derek at the Zodiac.
Went back to Micaela's. Being all drunk and talking bollocks about nothing in particular I'm sure.
Next thing I knew I was in an ambulance getting excited about a paramedic having purple gloves.

Basically I blacked out in Micaela's room and fell to the floor hitting my head really hard on her door as I did so. Apparently I woke up after about 10-15 seconds, talked about butterflies being beautiful, took off all my clothes, chased everyone a bit, and then went to the toilet. Then there was a massive thud heard by everyone as I fell off the toilet head first on the floor. An ambulance was called, I was helped to get dressed (cheers Rory!), then I was in an ambulance getting excited by purple gloves and apparently asking if the paramedics liked Human League. Then I sang Human League at them.

Hospital. Here's a handy tip. NEVER go to Hospital while your really really drunk. They DO NOT like it. I remember when I fractured my scaphoid bone in my hand about 3 or 4 years ago, one of the first questions I was asked when I went to hospital the day after my fall was "Why didn't you come in when it happened?". My answer was because I was really drunk. That and the fact that at the time my knee hurt a lot more. The doctor looked at me as if I was a total idiot for having slept on it (not literally on it) and gone in the next day, but now I'm glad I didn't, coz doctors and nurses HATE a drunk man.

ESPECIALLY one who doesn't want to take his clothes off:
Me: "I won't undress in front of you, my nipples are ugly."
Nurse: "Shut it, you'll do as you're told..."

If you do find yourself drunk in hospital, be prepared for them to find the biggest needle they have and stick it in your arm. I was on a drip. It was in there for HOURS! And it hurt like a bastard.
I HATE needles. Hate them. Until Trainspotting came out, I was unable to watch someone being injected on TV. I still can't sometimes. I especially hate having them in me. I remember being injected at school and I couldn't look at anyone else being injected and had to look away when they did mine. I gritted my teeth and pretended I hadn't felt anything, but really I wanted to cry. I fucking hate needles. So when I'm getting really scared coz they're about to stick the biggest needle I've ever seen into my arm and leave it there for 4 or 5 hours, the last thing I need is the doctor taking the piss out of me. Cheers doc, it isn't bad enough that my girlfriend's laughing at me and thinking how pathetic I am for being really scared and having to squeeze her hand while they stick the needle in my arm, I really need you being a total dick. I don't give a fuck if you have pregnant women in here all the fucking time who don't even blink at the process. You know what? They have a kid living inside them,weighing them down and giving them bad backs while treating their kidneys like footballs all day long and generally putting their bodies through immense pressure and pain both physically and psychologically. A needle in their arm is probably like being gently tapped with a cushion by comparison. And that's just those who are scared of needles. The one's who aren't probably wouldn't bat an eyelid if you'ld dipped their needle in salt first and squeezed lemon juice in their eyes while injecting them, all while giving them a broken glass enema at the same time. Being pregnant is probably one of the most unpleasant & uncomfortable experiences I can imagine, so don't go taking the piss coz they can handle something I can't.

If only I'd thought of saying that at the time

Actually, I'm glad I didn't. They'ld have probably put the drip needle in my cock or something.

After a lovely night spent at Chez NHS, I was informed I could leave now. Thanks. I was given a list of Head Injury Instructions which included things like "If you have unexpected blood coming out of your ears, go to your GP". Yeah, like I couldn't work that one out myself. To be fair it did have a lot of useful info on it, and explained quite a few things over the following week. And I had a headache for about 5 or 6 days. Nice.

All of which has lead me to not be able to remember a great deal of my birthday. Which is a shame, coz I remember that I was having fun up until I blacked out. It was nice that so many people came for a drink, and that a number of people gave me cards or kind words or messages. My favourite of these (even better than getting a singing David Hasslehoff card from Little Paul) was my message from one of Great Eskimo Hoax (can't remember which one of you it was now, sorry), who on hearing that it was my birthday, gave Mya a little message to give to me. The message was:

"Happy birthday Axl. See you in Hell."

Now, I'm not sure which reaction to have to this. It's one of two.
The first is: "Hahaha. Nice. I like his sense of humour. Maybe they aren't such a bad bunch after all."

Now, I'd like to be able to say that my instinct is to go for the first, but sadly, knowing this is a band who are willing to go to such lengths as to find someone on MySpace who has written something bad about them on a blog that averages 24 views a day (yes, that's right. 24 a day. And that's at my blog in general, not at that particular review. Hardly NME or Drowned In Sound is it? Hardly going to damage anyones career by saying that I think a particular band are a very poor excuse for about a thousand other bands that do what they do a fuck of a lot better now, am I? NO! SO GET A FUCKING GRIP! IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE ANY FORM OF CRITICISM WHATSOEVER, DON'T BE IN A FUCKING BAND YOU FUCKING DICKS! GO BACK TO YOUR BEDROOMS AND HAVE A WANK WHILE CRYING IN THE MIRROR! Don't look at me like that, you're the ones who made this personal. But of course, if there's one thing that people who can't handle criticism can't handle even more, it's retaliation. I'll probably get a letter bomb or something for this.), my first instinct is to go for the latter.

Maybe I'll be proved wrong. Who knows?

Friday, 11 April 2008

Morning Venom.

I'm not quite sure how, but the last paragraph of this post managed to get all fucked up and completely out of order. I've fixed it now so hopefully it won't happen again.

I woke up this morning after about 5 hours sleep on Blake & Staz's sofa. Trying to feel vaguely human, I scan my surroundings; a sea of empty booze bottles, spilled tobacco and mostly eaten packets of tortillas. In amongst it is a flyer for gig listings in London. My eyes stop at one band in particular, and my first emotion of the day is anger. There's a band advertised called We Smoke Fags.

Seriously now, what the fuck?! I've never heard this band and I instantly hate them for choosing such a fucking ridiculous moniker. Are these guys 14? Coz when I checked, that was the oldest you could be for that phrase to sound cool, and even then only if you were saying it to other 14 year olds, or younger kids. To think that a group of adults may be responsible for this ridiculousness, sickens me a little. We Smoke Fags. Why stop there? Why not go all out and call your band We Drink Booze or We've Had Sex or We Like Girls, Honest!

We Smoke Fags. There is no way on Earth that is a good name, no matter how you look at it. Either it's the worlds most pathetic brag, or it's some sort of knowingly smug dig at the perception of "Cool". "Hey, if we call our band We Smoke Fags, that would be, like, really funny, coz it's a really shit name, but coz we know that, anyone who slags us off for is, like, missing the point, innit. So like, no-one can ever criticise us, coz then they'll be the ones who look like idiots!" Any way you look at it, that is one odious band name. If I had my way, they'd be swinging from the rafters. Then, knowing my luck, I'd actually listen to some, like it and regret what I'd done.

Anyway, all this venom is not healthy for a stomach that was last night filled with a lot of booze and far too many tortilla chips. My insides were churning and making that gurgling sound that fills me with dread coz I know full well that I'm gonna be on the toilet for an unpleasantly long time. Anyone who's been in a place with me when I've needed and gone for a poo will know how long this can take at the best of times. A full half an hour later I feel a hell of a lot better. "Half an hour? That must've been tedious Axl." Well, no. I looked thru the copy of Bizarre magazine they had in there.

Bizarre magazine is a bit of an odd one. It says on the front that you shouldn't read it if yer easily offended, but I can't really see who would honestly get offended by it. Everything's presented in such a standard manner, that you instantly accept what is being shown to you. So eyelid piercings, balloon fetishes and Myra Hindley tattoos become everyday things. Bizarre present the offbeat as if it were the norm and therefore it all loses any sense of being bizarre. I guess that's the point of it though really. I just think it's very cleverly done. Well written too. If there were a music magazine written this well, well actually it would probably do really badly because no-one wants actual music journalism anymore; they either want gossip or pretentiousness. We need Lester Bangs to rise from the dead with a shotgun and take all these chancers out so we can start again. Although actually, he'd probably take one look at my blog and put me first against the wall. So maybe that's not such a good idea after all.

Friday, 4 April 2008

March Music Summary.

There was so much that I wanted to write about that it became intimidating and then there was too much and so I never did. Here is a selection of very short album reviews that will get rid of some of what I wanted to say, which wasn't all about music, but it's the easiest to get out of the way.

March was a fucking excellent month for albums.

Benga - "Diary Of An Afro Warrior"
Dubstep pioneer comes up trumps with excellent uncompromising album. Sounds like what the BBC wish their drama series about inner city London, that has a name I can't remember but I think it's the beginning of a postcode or something, looked like.

Autechre - "Quaristice"
Machines are raping your ears again, but this time they pause for moments to woo you in the hope you won't report them to the police. Possibly the best Autechre album yet.

Fuck Buttons - "Street Horrrsing"
Kind of like an amazing electro coma. If this is what it sounded like to be in coma, everyone would be getting into them. Su-fucking-perb album.

Elbow - "The Seldom Seen Kid"
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Skip "The Fix" though.

Youthmovies - "Good Nature"

Foals - "Antidotes"
The hype machine finally backs the right band. This album gets better every time I hear it. Even when it's twice in a row. So so good.

Young Knives - "Superabundance"
Pop album of the year, surely. "Counters" must be the song of the summer, it just must.

Thee Silver Mt Zion Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band - "13 Blues For Thirteen Moons"
Just what you expect. Towering, bleak, miserable, depressing, but stunningly gorgeous epic soundscape songs. This time with added hope at the end. Again, possibly their best so far.

Rod Modell - "Incense & Black Light"
When you're awake at three in the morning and the same things go over and over in your mind, Rod Modell comes along and steals those thoughts, takes them back to his lab and crafts fantastic minimal techno from them. Ace stuff.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - "You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into..."
Proof that NME doesn't always get it wrong. A band I really wanted to hate turned out to be the band I wanted Hadouken! to be. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love you lots. xxx

Neon Neon - "Stainless Style"

So that's most of the march music stuff out of the way. I have also been loving Future Of The Left after seeing them live and then getting the album which is fucking ace, am currently listening to the new Why? album "Alopecia" which is well good, and have been absolutely loving the new Missy Elliott single "Ching-A-Ling" and wondering just how she is not the most popular human on Earth ever.

Oh, and Traktors are mentioned in this weeks NME, which made me smile and really want to do another gig again.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, feels good to get that out of the way. Now I can hopefully get back to proper blogging.