Tuesday, 29 September 2009


So, I enrolled back at college yesterday for the second year of my course. It involved a lot of waiting around and an alright free lunch. They had this Hellmann's raspberry and mustard salad dressing which was delicious. I wouldn't have thought those two things would go together, but it was good stuff.
Another two things which I wouldn't have thought would go together are chocolate and cheese. Now, I know you're going to say "Oh Axl, but what about chocolate cheesecake?", but you know full well what I mean. Anyway, Gen bought this chocolate covered cheese and nuts bar, and lo and behold... it tasted awful. Gen said it tasted like feet. It was pretty similar to licking the inside of a shoe. Shame really, it's an interesting idea, and I like it when crazy food combos work.
Having said that, the only other one I can think of right now is when someone bought me a packet of M&S chocolate covered potato crisps one Christmas, and they were pretty disgusting it has to be said.
Ooooh, I did used to love those packs of chocolate covered pretzels they used to do tho. Whatever happened to them? Are they hiding in the same place as Mountain Dew?
I saw an empty Mountain Dew can on the street the other day. I assume it was empty, I wasn't about to pick it up and check. Ah, I used to love that when I was a kid.
Mind you, I used to love Opal Fruits when I was a kid, and the last time I had a pack of Starburst they were gross.
A gross is 144.
In four days time I will be in Malta on holiday. I've never been to Malta before and I'm quite excited, which is weird coz I don't normally get excited about holidays until I'm actually going on them. Yeah. Going with Gen and we'll be staying with some of her family out there. Looks pretty nice from the photos I've seen. And I'll get to eat some awesome cheese, olives, and chocolate cake. And sit in the sun. Does mean I'm going to miss the first week of college proper, but meh, I'll be on holiday!
College. Urff. Had a meeting with the tutors today, and got that feeling I always get at the beginning of term that I'm way out of my depth and that this is gonna be too hard and stressful and the usual self doubts that go with all that. Meh, we'll see what happens I guess.

Hmmm... That's all I can think of to say right now.

Oh, I was looking at the new Lolcats book just now, and this made me laugh so hard I had an asthma attack.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Open Letter.

Dear at least 90% of people who go shopping on Sundays,


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Derren Brown Made Me Do It.

So Derren Brown tried to get everyone to draw the same picture.
I think he failed.
This is what I drew.

Which is slightly different to a bunch of concentric circles representing Stonehenge.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


Something potentially very exciting is happening in Oxford. Something that people seem to either not be talking about, or having a, probably sensible, 'let's-wait-and-see' attitude. I say people, I mean of course the people I know/hang out with/are into music and go to small gigs in Oxford.
The potentially exciting thing is that the Port Mahon on St Clements Street is re-opening. Not as a hotel/restaurant as was originally planned, but as a pub again. Refurbishments are happening as I type. The reason this is exciting is because I have been told that the people who will be running it plan to use the upstairs room as a venue, just as it was before the Port Mahon closed down.

This is an exciting rumour, and as far as I am aware it's still unconfirmed, because of the attitude there was towards the Port Mahon's venue room before. The attitude of 'We'll let you put on just about anything you like as long as people buy some drinks off us.'
This anything-goes attitude made the Port Mahon a sort of haven for experimental music in Oxford, led of course by the now seemingly defunct Permanent Vacation promoters, but also including gigs put on by Swiss Concrete, Poor Girl Noise, and the monthly Oxford free-jazz night. (Although their gigs were stopped by the Port Mahon due to the fact that hardly anyone who turned up to their gigs ever bought any drinks. Fair enough considering that it was free to hire the venue.)
The Port Mahon was a place you could see tiny, really obscure bands playing the kind of gigs you just don't get in Oxford now. To see a venue of that size and attitude return would be an excellent thing.
I'm not totally naïve tho.

I mean, yeah, I'm getting my hopes up, but I'm prepared for the fact that this might not happen. If the venue does re-open, there is no guarantee that it will be the place it was. Oxfordians only have to look at the Wheatsheaf to know how true that is.
The Wheatsheaf is another venue above/part of a pub in Oxford. The Wheatsheaf used to be a sweet little venue, attracting some fucking incredible gigs in it's heyday. Off the top of my head immediately comes the times I saw Part Chimp, Black Dice and Trans Am there, three absolutely phenomenal gigs. If I spent more time thinking about it, I could probably come up with many more.
But the Wheatsheaf closed it's venue. For a time there were no gigs there, and then it re-opened when the pub was under new management. Brilliant, we all thought, fucking sweet. The Wheatsheaf's back!
Only, it's not the Wheatsheaf it used to be. It seems to be being treated as a slight inconvenience, decent & exciting gigs rarely get put on there now, (I can only think of two this year) and the venue itself isn't particularly pleasant to be in; a warm, sweaty, stuffy room in which you can almost feel the air, it's so thick. Maybe it was always a bit like that and it just wasn't a problem because of the gigs and atmosphere it had before. I don't know. Now it's a problem tho.
Anyway, the point of this isn't just to slag off the Wheatsheaf. It's to point out that getting excited about somewhere re-opening can often lead to disappointment. I'm well aware that the re-opening of the Port Mahon might turn out to be a big anti-climax as far as the venue is concerned, but maybe it won't be. Maybe we can get something different and interesting back into the local scene again. A bit of the variety that we once had, y'know? That is something worth getting excited about, I reckon.
After all, we can't solely rely on Vacuous Pop to put on good gigs.

P.S. Reading that last bit over again, I'm probably being harsh by not mentioning You! Me! Dancing! They do put on decent gigs, just mostly gigs by bands I'm not myself interested in. Although, they are putting on Ungdomskullen & BITCHES on Friday, which should be pretty fucking awesome.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Blog Post That Was Originally Going To Be About Death, But Which Turned Into A Pretty Self-Indulgent Deconstruction Of A Part Of Myself. Whoops!

Warning: This post gets a bit 'emo'.

I went to see Daniel Kitson at the Oxford Playhouse last night and it was one of the best things I have ever seen in my life. He is my favourite comedian, and to see him onstage doing his thing was just an absolute joy to watch.
His routine centred around death. Two of Daniel Kitson's aunts have died this year and it has clearly been a subject that has been on his mind somewhat. As it would.
I'm not going to go into the ins and outs of his routine, but inevitably it made the audience think about death themselves. Well, it did me anyway.

I remember when I first realised that I was going to die. I was 8 years old, watching an episode of 'Wogan'. Terry Wogan was interviewing Cliff Richard, and Cliff suddenly went off on one about his Christianity, specifically to do with death and the afterlife and heaven. He didn't just make a mention of it, no, he went on about it for what seemed like bloody ages. I was terrified. I realised that I was going to die one day and it scared me stupid. I cried and cried and cried. I was inconsolable.
For many many years afterwards I was terrified of death. I mean, I'm still pretty scared of it now obviously, but I was absolutely petrified of it when I was a kid. If I ever thought about the fact that I was going to die, I would dwell on it to the point of feeling like I was physically unable to move, and I would just sit in my room crying and thinking to myself 'What's the point of anything? Everything I ever experience is in the past never to be relived. Everything I do is gone already, so why do anything at all? Why not just sit here doing nothing seeing as there's no point to it anyway?' etc etc etc. Actually just typing that has made me feel a bit odd and slightly upset.
This attitude has often stopped me from doing things. Not so much the 'I'm just going to die at the end of it anyway' side of things, more the 'Everything's pointless anyway' side. Almost everything I've ever done or tried to do I have given up on because there's this little voice in my head that started off saying 'What's the point?', but along the way evolved into the voice that also constantly tells me that I'm rubbish and I can't do anything anyway.
There have obviously been things in my life which have helped this evolution of my internal dialogue, but I'm not going to go into them now.
I always give up on things because of this voice. It is a constant source of frustration. It is a constant barrier between me and anything like an achievement. I never persist, I give up far too easily, I am too quick to be put off and demoralised.
This blog is the thing I have most stuck to. I'm not sure why that is, and there have been a number of times when I've nearly deleted it. I'm glad I haven't. I often think that what I write on here is total shit, but I'm glad I've kept it up. I've written some stuff on here that I'm pretty proud of, but more than anything I'm just glad that I've managed to keep one of my projects going, and haven't given up on it.

I tried writing my own stand up routine once. It was about 4 years ago, and everyone I knew seemed to be either in a band or forming a band. I thought to myself that it was about time someone did something different, so I decided I was going to be a stand up comedian. I told a couple of people about it and they were really encouraging. "You should totally do it" etc etc.
So I tried to come up with a routine. After only about 2 weeks of trying, I gave up. As my old mate from college David Moore always said, there is a massive difference between being funny to an audience than being funny to your friends in a social context. Being funny on stage is much harder.
But I only tried for 2 weeks. And that's probably being slightly generous to me, it was probably in reality even less than that. But the first stuff I wrote down was dreadful. I adapted it and made it slightly better, but it was still no good. Of course it wasn't. This was the first time I'd tried to do anything like this and I'd barely even started properly trying as it was, but then that voice, that "What are you doing? You know you're no good. You can't do this" voice cropped up into my head once again, and that was that. Dream over. Bye bye stand up.
Same thing has happened when I've tried to learn any instrument.
Same thing happens almost everytime I try and write a story of poem.
Same thing happened with my college course I'm doing, which is why I came so close to totally fucking up my first year and passed by only 2%.
Same thing has happened with the 300 x 300 blog.
Same thing happens almost every single time I try to do anything ever.
Which is why I worked an easy job for 7 years. Which is why I haven't really done anything with my life. Which is why I spend most of my free time sitting in my room not actually doing anything.
Because it's just too bloody EASY. And no-one tells me I can't do it. Least of all myself.

Hmmm... Gone slightly off the topic of death and into a very self-indulgent little rant against myself there. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Fuck Buttons, Zun Zun Egui & Theo. Cellar. Oxford. 19th September 2009.

Seems like it's been a while since I wrote about a gig on here. I'm not sure if that's because I go to less gigs now, or because I am just less inclined to write about them now. Either way, it feels like it's been a while, and I went to one Hell of a gig on Saturday, so I'm going to gush about it for a little while on here. The gig in question was Fuck Buttons with support from Zun Zun Egui and Theo, at The Cellar in Oxford.

Now, I a) missed at least half of Theo's set and b) have written about Theo at least twice on this blog before, so I'll keep it brief. Theo is ace. His guitar loops and live drums method (yes he does both, building up the loops then percussing along) just gets better and better every time he does it. The man behind Theo is someone who is really mastering his craft, and it is a joy to see and hear.

Zun Zun Egui are a band who I read a very short review of in a magazine a while back. Can't remember which one. It made them sound interesting though, so I was looking forward to this. They started of by one of the members telling a very bad Fuck Buttons related joke. Oh dear. In my mind suddenly flashed exactly how this was going to go. A band of albeit probably talented people making some sort of bog standard indie balls that they believed in so earnestly, thinking they're the dogs bollocks but in fact being very far from it. My patience would not last long with this lot, especially as they were dressed as hippies. Thankfully however within about thirty seconds my preconceptions were totally molested into submission as it became very quickly apparent that this band are actually really fucking good. They made an absolutely joyous psychedelic noise rock which put me in mind of 'Visioncreationnewsun' era Boredoms, but a slightly more UK indie take on it. Only slightly mind, complementing rather than overtaking. Waves of sound, indecipherable yelped lyrics and beats you could properly get your head nodding to. Music you can lose yourself in. It was fan-bloody-tastic and I'm gutted that I forgot buy a cd off them. I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears out for this lot.

Ah, Fuck Buttons. The duo that thought to themselves "The noise scene's getting a bit dull and navel-gazey. Let's stick some fucking beats on that shit!", and became arguably one of the greatest and most original bands of the zero decade. (That is of course over-simplifying their methods and their output, but it's the best way I can think of to convey their music to anyone who hasn't heard them before.) Now, 'Street Horrrsing' was a fucking great album, but it was still nothing to how they are live. Live, they are a band who you simply cannot ignore. They crank it up and force their sounds under your skin into the very core of your being, compelling you into a full body reaction. It is exciting. It is urgent. It is life affirming. It is total and utter euphoria.

Well, it is to me anyway.

It was far too long since I last saw Fuck Buttons. I was very excited, but at the same time nervous. See, Fuck Buttons would be playing a lot of new material seeing as how their new album 'Tarot Sport' is out next month and all, and there's always that slight worry in the back of your mind when you see a band you love playing new material. That nagging "What if it's not as good? Or worse, what if it's rubbish?!" that plays on your mind until you see what they have to offer.
Well, any doubt was vanquished immediately and the new material is just as full on sensory euphoria experience as their existing material. Maybe even more so!
There really isn't much I can say about their set that won't fall into either total pretentiousness or out and out gushing, but what I will say is that it was just phenomenal. A set fresh with life and showing an evolution of a band with a sound that in any other hands might have easily become stale and dull. I cannot fucking wait to hear the album. It inevitably won't be as good as they are live, but if it's even half as good, it will be an absolute treasure.

In summary then; An absolutely phenomenal gig. One of those nights that makes you really fucking happy to be alive.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Other Things TMF Has Taught Me.

*Pixie Lott is marketed purely on the fact that she has the legs of an 18 year old. (Yes, I know that she IS 18.)
* The new Dizzee Rascal 'Holiday' song is dreadful. Really bad. At least as bad as 'Bonkers'.
* Goldie appears in the video for 'Holiday'.
* The Temper Trap sound like U2 covering Friendly Fires.
* Hockey are rubbish.
* A video/song does not need a cooling off period before it is played again. The new songs by Pixie Lott and Dizzee Rascal have both been shown twice in the last half an hour.
* Calvin Harris always sounds like he has a cold when he's singing. (Oh yeah, another lyric I wanted to mention in the previous post is from the new CH song: "I tell my good friends 'Get out the way, of all the lightning hitting the trees today'.")
* American 'R&B stars' have seriously massive egos.
* There is a very good reason why JLS didn't win 'The X-Factor'.
* The guy from the 'Postal Gold' advert is very creepy.
* Madonna will once again take over the world's ears, even though she hasn't done a decent song for years. (And no, 'Hung Up' was not good.)
* A lot of music video directors are total perverts.
* Someone REALLY needs to start making some good pop music again. Especially now that the normally flawless Sugababes have let us down.
* Lady Gaga really sounds like she's trying to impersonate M.I.A. on the Wale track she guests on. (I would say that that Wale feat. Lady Gaga track is good, but I can't tell if it actually is, or if it just seems like it is in comparison to everything surrounding it.)

I'm sure there's more I could say. I may add to this list if I think of any more.

Adventures In TMF (& The Hits).

I just saw the new Robbie Williams song on The Hits. It features a gospel style choir singing the lyric "Jesus didn't die for you." Wow.

Over the last three days I have been watching a lot of TMF, and some of The Hits too. If you don't know what these are, they are UK Freeview channels that mostly play chart music current, upcoming and 'classics'.
Watching TMF is like getting an education in mediocrity. There is however something oddly compelling about it. The Hits less so as they do actually play a genuinely decent song every now and then. I have mostly been watching TMF.
You know that phrase "Chewing gum for the eyes" that some people use to describe tv as? Well TMF is the prime example of that. See, with chewing gum, you get to the point where the gum loses it's flavour and you just keep on chewing for ages anyway because it's become your immediate habit. Occasionally you'll think about spitting it out, but you don't. You just carry on chewing long after you really should be. TMF is like that. I've been watching it (with occasional flicks over to The Hits) for over an hour and a half now. (As I type that, it is 12:16) I really should've stopped at least an hour ago, but it's become my immediate habit.
I don't want to sound like an old knobend here, but after a while all the videos kind of look the same and blend into each other. As a result of this, I think I may have become immune to women in bikinis.

The new Madonna video is on ('Celebration'). In any other situation, I would currently be thinking "Jesus, someone really needs to stop Madonna from writing her own lyrics", however some of these songs have lyrics that are either SO bad or mind-boggling, that even Madonna looks good in comparison.
Especially when followed by the Black Eyed Peas new song ('I Gotta Feelin'), which features the lyric "Fillup my cup, Mazel tov! Look at her dancin, just take it off!", and the new Mika single ('We Are Golden') with the gem "Teenage dreams in a teenage circus, running around like a clown on purpose."

Another lyrical oddity is the new Shakira single 'She Wolf'. The song is awful and the video is just kind of retarded, and at one point I was sure I could hear her singing about feeling abused like a coffee machine. Huhn? What was that? I looked up the lyrics online, and there it is, the lyric "I'm starting to feel a little abused, like a coffee machine in an office."
If you read the lyrics, and you really should, they are pretty awesome in a "What the fuck?!" kind of way: http://www.metrolyrics.com/she-wolf-lyrics-shakira.html
Sadly the song sounds just awful.

All these lyrics and far far more that I've forgotten to mention (like questioning why in Sugababes 'Get Sexy' (which isn't a cover version) are they, an English band, singing the line "If I had a dime for every single time..."?) pale in comparison to the song with possibly the worst lyrics I have ever heard in my life. I'm talking right up there with all songs by The Killers and that Madonna song that says "If you don't like it, then you can eff off. Just go to Texas, isn't that where they golf?"

The song I'm talking about is called "Now I'm That Bitch" (retitled "Now I'm That Chick" for radio and tele play) by someone called Livvi Franc. This song is so bad, that over the last three days I have only seen it once. Even these channels won't play it. Even their standards aren't low enough to plug this rancid dog's dick of a song. I could single a lyric out, but they are all just so so bad that you really have to have the full experience. But don't just take my word for it, check it out for yourselves. Go on. It's right there underneath this text and everything.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Another Axl Dream.

So I had a dream last night that I was testing a new armoured body suit for a Government agency, and they had me test it by trying to retrieve three bionic cats, who had been trained and injected with enhancement drug type things by this same agency. For some reason the cats were called Beethoven's Late String Quartets Volume 1, Beethoven's Late String Quartets Volume 2, & Beethoven's Late String Quartets Volume 3. After chasing after and being attacked by these super cats, I managed to catch Beethoven's String Quartets Volume 2 (almost caught volume 3 aswell, but couldn't handle both at the same time) and take it back to the building/facility where a bunch of scientists were. They seemed very pleased that I had managed to catch one of the cats with out coming to any harm at all. They were excited by the mobility and protection I had in this suit. I was on my way back out to hunt the other two down when I woke up.
When I woke up, I was rather confused.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Lunch At Red Star.

You know when you get an unbearable craving for something? Today I had an overwhelming need for a Beef Brisket Noodle Soup at the Red Star Noodle Bar on Cowley Road in Oxford. I tried to fight it, but to no avail, and when 12:30 came round it was off to Red Star for me.
That's right. I went to a restaurant on my own.
I have been to restaurants on my own a few times, and everytime I do it makes me feel like Reginald Perrin. Not the Martin Clunes re-make Reggie (which by the way, although much slated and ignored was actually pretty decent (tho this was almost entirely due to Clunes himself)), but the classic original Leonard Rossiter Reggie, specifically the scene in an episode of the first series where he orders a three course meal of raviolli, raviolli and raviolli (Seriously, if you haven't seen any of the original series, seek it out. It's an absolute comedy gem).
Erm... I've forgotten what my point was now.
But anyway, restaurants are a bit like cinemas. Often people don't understand why or how someone can go to them alone. They are seen as purely social settings. Yeah, tell that to me again when I'm sitting next to a couple who are clearly going thru the motions with each other, all concept of love long since disintegrated as they sit there not even trying to pretend that they even want to talk to each other, wondering what went wrong with their lives and questioning just why they feel so stuck in the utterly joyless situation they've got themselves into.
Aaaaaanyway, there I am sitting with my absolutely delicious bowl of food, reading my Empire magazine. All is good with my lunchtime. Then the other guy who's in there on his own and who has just finished his food says to the guy taking his empty plates:
"Can I, erm... thingy please?"
HUHN?! Can I erm thingy please?!? What the hell?!
Somehow, the waiter guy knew what this loon was on about and brought him his bill.
Suddenly I thought to myself, is this what people think of me? Is everyone here and are all the passers by looking in the window looking at me and seeing me as that guy? An awkward, socially inept, loser?
Then a few minutes after he'd gone, a couple came in and were seated on the table next to mine. After ordering, the man picked up his chopsticks, said "Hey, you know how they used to find water?", waved them about in his hands for a bit, and then prodded them into the womans tits.
I felt somewhat vindicated.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Things That Have Annoyed Me Today.

1. Speech Debelle won the Mercury Prize.
Sorry, is it the early 90's? Is Acid Jazz making a comeback?
BBC News call her a "Rising hip-hop star".
She may rap, but I would not call it hip-hop. It's bad rap-jazz for coffee table based chin stroking sessions.
I think she summed it up best when she said something like "I went to the record company and said I wanted to make a hip-hop Tracy Chapman album" in her post win interview.
Speech Debelle's rapping and music are really very boring.

2. The news are calling Speech Debelle "The surprise winner" even tho she was second favourite to win.

3. Cowley Road Tesco have again stopped stocking something that I buy a lot.
They keep on doing this. It's fucking infuriating. I think they hate me and are monitoring my purchases to deliberately piss me off. This is at least the fifth time I can think of off the top of my head that they've done this. Oh, I just remembered a sixth. And a seventh. I hate you Cowley Road Tesco.

4. Cowley Road smelled like shit this evening.
I don't just mean it smelled bad. I mean it smelled of actual shit. It was horrible.

Thursday, 3 September 2009