Monday, 5 December 2011

BBC Sound Of 2012.

Is it really that time of year again already? It would seem so, therefore, in one the few remaining traditions of this blog that I still have left, I will be casting my opinionated ears on this years list. Expect snap judgments, rash statements and generally me trying to prove how clever I am and how much I know about music. Get it? Got it? Good.

On looking at the list, my first impressions are:
a) Everyone looks really stylised.
b) I already think I know who my favourite is going to be.

Right. Let's get this party started.

1. A$AP Rocky
Song listened to: 'Purple Swag'
BBC Sound Of 2012 Tagline: 'Harlem's hottest rap talent.'

This guy has already been signed on a $3 million deal. That's crazy.
This song sounds exactly like a compilation someone I used to work with once played me of hip hop that had deliberately been slowed down to make it some sort of laid back, sexy thing. I remember thinking it was a little weird initially, but then I kind of got into the groove of it and could see how it could work if it was instrumental. The slowed down deeper vocals sounded really annoying though, like when a white middle class man tries to talk in a Barry White voice. Eurgh.
Here, it is an effect clearly used to try and recreate the feeling of being stoned. The thing is though, I feel the same way about it that I felt about that compilation. The beat and the groove are really good. The vocal totally ruins it. Even when he's rapping in his "normal" voice, it's really quite dull and unimaginative. I'm not particularly impressed. It's kind of like a cross between early Cypress Hill and something on Tri Angle records. But not as good as that sounds.

2. Azealia Banks
Song listened to: '212'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Little Miss Naughty.'

Okay, when I said I thought I knew who would be my favourite on this list, this is who I was referring to. I know she just came top of that NME Cool List bullshit, but don't let that put you off. This song is really REALLY fucking good. Electro hip hop awesome beat with a sassy, FILTHY woman rapping over the top. WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?! WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?! I FUCKING LOVE THIS!!
Yes. Just yes.

3. Don Rotten
Song listened to: 'Keep It On A Low'
BBC Sound of 2012 tagline: 'South Londoner, ripe for success.'

The problem I have with most modern London poets is that a lot of them sort of just sound the same and say the same thing in the same way with the same metre and rhyme scheme. There is just a lack of variety. I find the same thing with a lot of UK hip hop. There is nothing in this song that makes me think I will remember it when it's finished. It just sounds generic. No imagination. A bit dull.
Apparently he made a mixtape when he was nine years old with beats he made on an Amiga. Now that would be quite interesting to hear. This song, sadly, wasn't.
I just saw that he's doing a tour with Dappy. Well there you go.

4. Dry The River
Song listened to: 'No Rest'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Folk infused post-punk.'

This song has got one Hell of a terrible intro. An overly earnest man singing about, well, fuck knows, I couldn't make out any actual words in his singing. I imagine listening to that intro is like looking down the road when you're short-sighted and aren't wearing your glasses. You know there are people there, but you couldn't mention anything about them. Yeah. That's the intro to this song.
Okay, that tagline is bullshit. This isn't 'Folk infused post-punk,' this is Noah & The Whale doing American College rock. This is the kind of dreary toss that makes you want to slay public school children so they can't grow up to make earnest ear cancer like this.
Apparently they take their inspiration from 'Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and At The Drive In.' I fail to see how. If any of those people heard this utter gash, they would probably give these boys a slap.

5. Flux Pavilion
Song listened to: 'I Can't Stop'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Bass Cannon gunner.'

Oh, this guy. 'Bass Cannon' guy. 'The filthiest bassline in dubstep' guy. Well, I've heard 'Bass Cannon' many times, so that feels like cheating.
'I Can't Stop' essentially follows the same formula as 'Bass Cannon.' Weak but building intro leading into cranked up synth bassline that just sort of repeats with a little variation here and there to justify its being considered something more than it actually is.
There is a phenomenal lack of imagination here. Seriously.
You can't JUST repeat everything over and over again, you have to be able to justify it. This is just weak. It sounds weak. It sounds dull. It's the musical equivalent of the guy who wins an argument purely because he shouts the loudest and doesn't give you a chance to respond, and when he's finished you feel a bit drained and therefore can't be bothered to try.
That's what listening to this song is like, having an argument with a tedious meathead.

6. Frank Ocean
Song listened to: 'Swim Good'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Bright future for Mr Odd Future.'

Again, I feel like this is cheating, this time because I already have an album by this guy, so I know what he's like. He sings fairly decent modern soul.
Which is the problem. It's fairly decent. It's kind of a little bit nothing. It sort of just sounds a little generic in the same way that Don Rotten did. It's all tried, tested, done before, nothing new to bring to the table stuff. Fine enough, but instantly forgettable.

7. Friends
Song listened to: 'I'm His Man'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Bushwick's brightest multi-instrumentalists.'

Why does that band name and that tagline make me instantly hate them?
Why does this line, 'Brooklyn five-piece Friends formed in 2010 after a bedbug infestation forced a group of vegan restaurant co-workers to cohabitate for a week,' make me instantly hate them even more?
Why does the intro to the video for 'I'm His Man,' a hand fumbling dozily for a cassette tape, finding it then putting it into a cassette player and pressing play, make me hate them EVEN more?
I can't remember a time I pre-hated a band as much as I do this collection of total tosspots.
Which is a bit of a shame, because their song is actually pretty good. It's got a nice kind of laid back US indie groove to it, and the lyrics are a pretty good declaration of remaining independent while still being in a relationship, written in a simple, refreshing way.
But it's all a bit too lo-fi in a deliberately not-actually-lo-fi way. Which sort of makes me hate them.
I just get the impression that they're a bunch of fucking posers. If it weren't for the image they portray, I probably wouldn't have any problem with the sound of their song. I just can't shake the feeling that it's all just a bit too smug and knowing. The song is good, but it leaves a bitter taste.

8. Jamie N Commons
Song listened to: 'The Preacher'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'The whiskey growl.'

This is a very odd song. Well, it isn't ACTUALLY weird, it's actually pretty straightforward. What's weird is that I can't decide whether I like it or not. This guy has clearly listened to a lot of Nick Cave and a lot of Americana and has combined the two to make something that sounds individual but also like everything it's been influenced by at the same time. I can't quite work it out.
I have no idea what my opinion of this guy is. I might try and come back to this again later.

9. Lianne La Havas
Song listened to: 'No Room For Doubt'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Bon Iver's favourite Brit.'

Oh, that's nice. The most interesting thing you can think of as a tagline about someone is that someone else likes them. That fills me with confidence. Jesus, at least make an effort, tagline writer person.
If I worked for the BBC, my tagline for this song would be something like 'Woozy, soul drenched, dream pop.'
I quite like this song. It's nice. The guitar is nice and reverb-y, the vocals are nice and there's never the need felt for it to 'Kick into gear,' and add anything else to over egg the pudding. It's just a nice song that its makers have allowed to be a nice song. I like it.

10. Micahel Kiwanuka
Song listened to: 'Tell Me A Tale'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Soul's new voice.'

This sounds like it was recorded in the 70's. This sounds like Bill Withers. Or someone like that. There is an unavoidably 70's, slightly psychedelic soul atmosphere to this. It almost sounds too much like someone trying to recreate that sound, but the song is good and there's a really nice lack of pretension to it that makes it feel natural, rather than forced, in the same way that that Aloe Blacc song 'I Need A Dollar' does. Yeah, this is good stuff. I like this.

11. Niki & The Dove
Song listened to: 'DJ Ease My Mind'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Sweden's stylish electro-pop.'

Song intro sounds like someone covering a song by The Knife. When the bass drum beat kicks in, it sounds like someone remixing a song by The Knife. Chorus sounds like a remix of someone covering a song by The Knife. Second verse goes back to sounding like someone covering a song by The Knife. Then the chorus comes back and... I think you get where this is going.
n.b. They're nowhere near as good as The Knife.

12. Ren Harvieu
Song listened to: 'Through The Night'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Lancashire lullabies.'

Okay. Reread what I wrote for the Michael Kiwanuka song, but replace 'Bill Withers,' with 'Dusty Springfield,' and replace the word 'Psychedelic,' with the word 'Cinematic.' That's my opinion of this song.

13. Skrillex
Song listened to: 'First Of The Year (Equinox)'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'The brostep pioneer.'

Brostep? BROSTEP?! SERIOUSLY?! That makes me sick. As a word to describe a sub-genre of music that is worse than fucking 'Chillwave.' Brostep? Fuck. Right. Off. You. Massive. Douches.

I'm actually quite interested to hear Skrillex. Skrillex is a name I've read and heard many many times, but I've never actually heard any of his stuff. I know he's considered some sort of 'Next big thing,' or whatever, but I've never actually encountered his work.
Here goes.
Okay, firstly the director of the video needs to realise that he isn't Chris Cunningham.
Secondly, there is a phenomenal lack of imagination here. Seriously.
You can't JUST repeat everything over and over again, you have to be able to justify it. This is just weak. It sounds weak. It sounds dull. It's the musical equivalent of the guy who wins an argument purely because he shouts the loudest and doesn't give you a chance to respond, and when he's finished you feel a bit drained and therefore can't be bothered to try.
That's what listening to this song is like, having an argument with a tedious meathead.
Yes. I did just cut and paste that from what I wrote about Flux Pavilion. Quite frankly, this song doesn't deserve anything better than that.
I genuinely don't understand what all the fuss about this guy is.

14. Spector
Song listened to: 'Grey Shirt & Tie'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Dalston superstars.'

Again, why does that band name and that tagline make me instantly hate them?
The photo of them on the BBC Sound... list makes them look like absolute tossers too, which makes me hate them even more.
Apparently, 'They've been dubbed East London's answer to The Strokes.' If by that, you mean that they take a sound older than they are and attempt to recreate that for a modern audience but don't add ANYTHING to it, then whoever it was who dubbed them 'East London's answer to The Strokes,' is absolutely correct.
They sound to me like Tears For Fears.
Tears For Fears had two members and actual talent for songwriting.
Spector have five members and sound like they listened to Tears For Fears one day and went 'Cool, that sounds easy,' and then for some reason no-one ever told them they were wrong. I don't know why, maybe all their friends secretly hate them or something.

15. Stooshe
Song listened to: 'Betty Woz Gone'
BBC Sound Of 2012 tagline: 'Pottymouth pop.'

Remember that band Cartoons who did that song that went 'Ooh ee ooh ah aah, ting tang walla walla bing bang'? Stooshe look like a trendy London version of them.
Apparently, 'A line in Stooshe's bio describes them as 'Salt N' Pepa meet Odd Future' while the Guardian recently pegged the London trio as an 'X Rated En Vogue'.'
Neither of these statements are true.
Remember Shampoo?
Stooshe sound like a modern day version of Shampoo.
And no, that is not a good thing.
It really isn't.

And that's it. Well, it's been fun. Sort of. And in the tradition of the end of this tradition, I will list my personal top three:

1. Azealia Banks.
2. Michael Kiwanuka.
3. A tie between Lianne La Havas and Ren Harvieu.

Although, I should mention that Friends might have been in that top three list, if I could separate their song from them.
Also, Jamie N Commons may have made my top three, if I could actually figure out what my opinion of him is.

Overall though, I have to say that this list has been better and more interesting than the last three years lists have. That's pretty encouraging, no?

Monday, 21 November 2011

"Is it so different now, or is it just the way I feel?"

I've started reading this.
Hopefully this will lead to me never writing another blog post like the last one ever again.
Basically, something is wrong and I need to sort it out, so I'm trying.
My meltdown was pretty public, so I figure I may as well make the attempted recovery public too.

P.S. If anyone is wondering "Why doesn't Axl just get some therapy?" I have seen three councillors in my life. The first tried to blame everything on my parents getting divorced when I was five years old, which is bullshit. The second seemed normal until he started going on about how "Traumas that happen to us when we're in the womb can have an effect on us much later on in our lives," which, I'm sorry, is just a bunch of total arse. The third actually did help for a few weeks, but it got to the point where we were just saying the same things over and over again and it wasn't actually helping because nothing was moving forward.
That's why I'm reading this book rather than go to more councelling. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that it works for some people, but it just doesn't for me.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Oh, Axl... You Silly, Silly Boy...

WARNING: This is a very personal, self indulgent post. If you don't particularly fancy reading about my shit, I'd suggest giving this one a miss.

So... Something bad happened, only it wasn't really bad because it was necessary, but it still felt really bad. Then something really good (and I mean, like, amazing) happened, only it wasn't really good because it ended fucking horribly. Then something good happened, which then also became something bad. Now, this last bad thing really was very minor in the grand scheme of things, but it happened to be the thing that tipped me over the edge and I sort of had a total fucking meltdown.
(Seriously. It was SO undignified.)
There are other things that have also been bad. These things have not helped.
And that's as much detail as you're getting I'm afraid, because if I've learned one thing while doing this blog, it's that writing personal things about other people is almost always a really fucking bad idea.
Which is surprising really, as the one thing I have forgotten how to do is behave like a normal person. I seem to have become unable to deal with anything in a rational, reasonable way.
Which is why, after this latest bad thing, I threw my phone onto the roof of a nightclub and had to buy a new one.
Which highlights the one big problem that has come of all this.
I appear to have become determined to lose all of my friends.
See, you throw away your phone, you throw away your sim and memory cards too.
Which means you have to ask people to give you back their numbers.
Which is fine, IF you haven't become such a grumpy old curmudgeon that no-one actually wants you to have their number anymore.
Because the thing is, if you continuously get really drunk and tell everyone to fuck off, eventually they actually do just fuck off.
And why wouldn't they?
I would.
So, the way things are going, I won't have any friends left by the end of the year. I am currently not talking to at least two of my very best friends, and neither of those are about to be sorted anytime soon, and a good few recent good friends aren't talking to me, and most of my not so good friends just can't be bothered with me anymore.
"Oh boo fucking hoo, Axl."
Yeah, that's pretty much the appropriate response, because virtually all of this is my own stupid fault.
And none of it's about to change anytime soon.
So come new year's, I'll probably be doing exactly what I'm doing now.
Listening to Tom Waits and writing some pathetic little self pitying blog post about my stupid little life.

Hmmm... I don't really like the sound of that. Maybe I should just stop being such a dick instead.

We'll see.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I Appear To Be Watching The X Factor.

Why am I doing this?
A bunch of boring boys just sang a boring and now it's adverts already.
Now it's attempting to make me care about someone because they used to be in a relationship and are a little overweight. She is not fat, but has probably been called fat in her lifetime, because people have a tendency to be fucking dickheads.
And now she is singing a boring song boringly too.
She looks like Edvard Munch's "The Scream" when she sings.
Apparently it was a "Massive song." Sounded boring to me. Apparently she "Sang the heck out of that song."
Okay, maybe she is a little fat, but seriously, who gives a fuck?
And now it's adverts again?! Do they have an ad break after every song now? That's gonna get real fucking annoying.
I was on the loo. Who's this guy? In the rehearsal clips he looked like a cross between Matt Cardle and Chad Valley. Now he looks odd. And he is singing a boring song in a boring way. Is it boring week on The X Factor this week, or is every week boring week?
I don't know, I haven't seen any of this series. I've been avoiding it. Why am I watching this?
Oh God, he just did something really horrible with his lips that made me feel a little bit sick.
Apparently he's in a league of his own. I agree, if that league is a league of people who've made me feel physical ill purely by the power of lip quivers. Then he is definitely in a league of his own.
Why would you want to be in a league of your own? Surely that would be defeating the point of being in a league in the first place. Also, if you're in a league of your own, then technically it can't be a league, surely.
Wow! No advert break!
Who's this girl? She looks Irish. Is she Irish? She sounds Irish too. I think she's Irish.
Oh, and now we have a sob story. Yeah, go on X Factor, exploit this girls misery, why don't you?
She has a very odd singing voice. She sounds like a cross between a very lonely girl and an Icelandic wood imp. A bit like a childish version of Björk without any of Björk's vocal power.
The one out of N-Dubz just said one of the most trite things I think I've ever heard in my life.
Gary Barlow just sounded really creepy, like he's a teacher trying to fuck one of his pupils.
More adverts.
I stated cooking food and have come back to find a boy who looks like a cross between a Thundercat and a member of The Horrors singing very badly.
This is truly fucking horrible. I'm going back to the kitchen.
Back briefly. Oh, is this guy this year comedy entry? Okay, thing about Jedward and Wagner was that they were fun. This guy's just shit. It's kind of embarrassing.
Back now. Adverts. Did I miss them all doing that "Oooh, ha ha, I don't quite know how to react to the comedy act!" thing? I bet it was HILARIOUS.
Oh no, sorry, just the next singer. Thought some really creepy guy had broken into my flat.
Mate, if I could see my heart beating thru my chest, I'd be straight on the phone to NHS Direct rather than singing some slushy love shite about it.
*Enter generic judge comments here. Same things all tv judges have been saying for years.*
I'm sorry, but he looks so fucking creepy.
(Dermot, this guy isn't going to understand a Hades reference. He looks like he barely understands his own underwear.)
Girl band. Let me guess, everyone hates them, right?
Apparently, yeah.
It would help if they didn't look like total idiots.
Oooh, graffiti. Is this going to be "Edgy"?
But they're not bad actually.
Oh. They just got to the chorus. Oh dear.
Yeah, this lot will not be bucking the "No-one likes the girl bands" trend.
The judges don't agree with me.
Oh God, please stop with the clichés, judges.
(Actually, I am pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, so I myself do just reinforce this stereotype and am therefore in no real position to complain.)
That's what I'm supposed to think about her, right?
To be fair though, she can actually sing. She is clearly a better singer than any of the others.
Okay, there are more to come but I've had enough of this now. I'm going to the pub. I'm going to get drunk.
Bye bye X Factor.

Friday, 7 October 2011

National Poetry Day, Tuesday 6th October 2011.

Yes, I lied. This post isn't going to be the one I said I would write in my last post, because, well, just because. Instead, for my 500th Potato Farm post (yes, that's right, 500), I'm going to write a little bit about my experiences of National Poetry Day yesterday. I'll try to keep it brief, because, as I said in an intro to a poetry performance I did recently, who likes poetry? No-one likes poetry.

("My experiences" makes me sound like such a tosser, but I couldn't think how to word it better.)

Well, firstly I suppose it started with me writing some drafts in Tate Modern as I was waiting for everything at the Southbank Centre to kick off.
Actually, no. The day kicked off with me walking down a street called The Cut and seeing a man buying a doner kebab at about 9.30am, followed a couple of minutes later by someone in Prét A Manger feeling my hand and saying "Wow... You have a cold heart." (Yes, she definitely did say heart, not hand.) But after that I suppose it started with me writing some drafts in Tate Modern as I was waiting for everything at the Southbank Centre to kick off.
I like Tate Modern. I didn't just write stuff there, I had a look round first obviously. Tate Modern has one of my favourite paintings in it, Picasso's "Seated Nude."
I'm one of those people who likes art but knows cock all about it, so it's probably due to a lack of imagination that I always end up going to Tate Modern. Also, that thing that makes people tend to eat the same thing when you eat out at or get takeaway from a certain place regularly. That "Well, I know I like that, so I'll just have that again," feeling. I suppose that's covered in the phrase "Lack of imagination" really, isn't it.

So, yes. Worked on some poems of my own, then went to Southbank Centre for 1pm to see Michael Rosen kick things off, as the first section was aimed more at children (though there were a fair few adults there too, not just me). Michael Rosen, for those who don't know, used to be the Children's Laureate, and it's easy to see why. He is extremely good at performing to and engaging children. It helps that his poems are very funny too.
Anyway, I don't want this to turn into some sort of review. But there were four names I did note in my phone, of poets I hadn't seen/read before who I thought were good.
Glyn Maxwell:- Oh, that's bad. I can't remember Glyn Maxwell now, but I must've thought he was good, otherwise I wouldn't have made a note of his name (and no, I wouldn't have made a note of him because I didn't like him. I saw a poet who I didn't like, whose poems were pretty much all about the same thing and were delivered in a really dull durr-durr-durr-durr-durr manner, and I didn't make a note of his name, so there).
Catherine Labiran:- Now, I do remember this woman. She was introduced as a new, upcoming young London poet, and I remember thinking when she started her first poem "Oh God, she's just going to sound tediously like about 90% of all other modern London poets, isn't she?" BUT, after the set up of the first four lines, she turned the poem on it's head and was really, really good and didn't fall into the boring traps of so many other London poets. She actually had something really interesting to say about women's perception of themselves and said it in a really engaging way.
(Didn't I say I didn't want this to be a "review"? I guess sometimes it can't be helped.)
I had a similar feeling about Joelle Taylor when she started. That of "Oh God, here's yet another joyless social commentary. Quick, where's the knife to cut my ears off, coz I don't think I can stand yet another droning London poem." I mean, if I were from London this may be interesting, but I'm not so it's kind of like when you have friends who are younger than you who say the same things that you were saying years ago as if they're new and insightful when in fact what they don't realise, and what you didn't realise when you were that age and saying them, is that it's just the same old rehashed, clichéd annoying arse that everyone's been saying for years and years and no, it really isn't interesting to someone who has "been there and done that" as it were. BUT, then about halfway through her first poem, she also managed to start saying something genuinely interesting and in enough of a different way to make you think, "Oh, okay. Yeah, that IS shit. I'm with you now."
The last name I wrote down was Jo Bell. Jo Bell is a well known name in "The poetry world" but I had never read any of her work before. I definitely will be now though, as she was absolutely brilliant.

Rounding things off were three poets I am already a fan of, who were all great. Jo Shapcott, Jackie Kay and Simon Armitage.
Jo Shapcott was a "Consumate professional" as they say (I must admit that I don't entirely know what that means, but it feels appropriate to use it here), delivering her poems flawlessly, but without any sense of perfectionism. It was more that she seemed to be really enjoying being on stage in front of us, which was nice.
Likewise, Jackie Kay seemed to be having the time of her life. She was hilarious. Really fun delivery of her poems and genuinely funny banter in between. Looked like she wasn't even trying. My highlight of the day, for sure.
Simon Armitage by contrast, very dry, but then that's what you've got to expect from him and you either like it or you don't (NOW who's saying the same things that have been going round for years and years, Axl, HMMMMM?). I know people who don't. I do, and I enjoyed him.

The only bad thing was that the Poetry Takeaway was there and EVERY time I walked past there was a long queue, so I didn't get a poem, which was annoying as John Osbourne was on the stall yesterday and I think he's brilliant. I really wanted a poem by him.
Really nice to see a unique and such a good idea as that taking off though. The Poetry Takeaway really is a very cool thing.

AND seeing as it was a Thursday, what better way than to finish off the day than by going to The Roebuck pub in Borough, for my favourite poetry night, "Bang Said The Gun."
This was the third time I've been and I've loved it every time. It is the most fun and atmospheric poetry night I've been to. Those guys really know what they're doing. It ALMOST makes me wish I lived in London so I could go every week. Seriously, I actually like it that much.
AND one of the poets performing made me cry. I told him he nearly made me cry, but that was a lie. There were tears in my eyes and on my cheeks. His name was Oli Foster, and he did a poem that really resonated with how I'm feeling about things in my life at the moment. It was one of those "Oh my God, it's as if they're speaking directly to ME," moments. I am envious of his delivery too. He seemed to get every single word pitch perfect, and could flick between feelings instantly. He was my other highlight of the day.
The featured act was a guy called Tshaka Campbell, who was good, but did slip a little bit into an "All women are goddesses and all men are sacks of faeces" mentality, which was a little annoying.
I entered the open mic contest. Didn't win, but I don't mind. It's just fun to be part of it. Genuinely.

And then home. It was a good day. Despite my "Cold heart."

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Hello Mark, Gareth & The Soup Emu.

Wow! At least three other people still look at my blog! Awesome!

This is just a short one. My next blog post will be a long, rambling and tediously introspective one about me and the act of writing. Woopee. It will also be my 500th post on this blog.

For my 499th post, I just want to share this poem I saw on YouTube which makes me laugh every time I watch it. It's called "Rude Bastards" and is by a guy called Martin Galton. I think it's flippin' great and I hope you do too.


UPDATE: This is also really good, in my opinion. It's called "Father & Son" and is by Richard Auton. Enjoy this too.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Hello Jamie.

Jamie, I'm addressing this blog post to you personally, as I am pretty sure you are the only person who still ever looks at my blog. Just in case there is still someone else who ever looks at this, I will still be writing about things in a fairly vague manner.

I worked some shifts last week covering for someone who was on holiday. This included Tuesday. I'd forgotten how weird Tuesday's are in that shop. When I worked full time, a theory I had was that Tuesday was the day you would get the weirdest people in, and the highest volume of weird people. The Tuesday just gone showed me that in fact not a theory but actual fact.

Exhibit 1:
I was serving a woman who was looking at me a little strangely. She eventually asked,
"Do you have a sore throat?"
"No," I replied.
"You sound like you have a sore throat."
"No, this is just how my voice sounds. I do get that a lot though." (This is true. A lot of people who don't know me assume that I have a sore throat when they first encounter me.)
"Oh... Well, maybe you have a prolapsed vocal chord or something then."
Cue stunned silence from me as I literally had no idea how to respond to that.

Exhibit 2:
A man came up to me and asked if I could help him. I said yes, but it turns out that was a lie, as he asked:
"Do you have anything like Pink Floyd but made for babies?"
Cue a very long "Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..." from me as I try to figure out how to tell him that just because he's made something up in his head, it doesn't mean that it exists, without being rude. I'm not sure I succeeded.

Exhibit 3:
I was serving someone at the till and their friend/daughter/whatever was on the phone to someone. The phone person then said, very loudly,
"By law, I have to have credit and texts on my phone at all times."
Cue me being baffled for the next couple of hours as I try to work out what the fuck she was on about.

And those are just the ones I can remember/remembered to note down at the time.

If you want to meet the absolute most crazy crazies in Oxford, hang out in the basement of hmv for a day. Dress lightly tho, as the air conditioning still doesn't work.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Album "Total" by Sebastian.

Someone, I can't remember who it was now, mentioned that I never review anything on here anymore. Well, that's because I hate music reviews. Or rather, I hate what they have become.
Almost all music reviews now fall into two categories:-

1) The Empty Review: Smug reviews that serve only to show how clever/trendy/relevant the reviewer thinks they are and barely say anything about the music itself.
2) The Boring Review: Smug reviews written by people who see themselves as being about that trivial stuff and write purely functional reviews that are lacking in any sort of joy or interest.

Music journalism has become stale and filled with people who have no interest in anything past their own egos and seem to have forgotten that people are supposed to actually want to read what you write/publish. If I went out in the street and started handing people cards that just said "Look at me! I'm great, I am!" people would think I were a total dickhead, but dress it up as a music review and it's somehow alright.

Now, my plan for this post was to try and write something that was both fun and informative. This however has the drawback of me seeing myself as above both categories of reviewer and therefore DOUBLE SMUG. However, the fact that I'm even writing this post could be seen as me being obnoxious and smug anyway, so I'm just gonna go with it.

I've become a little obsessed with the new Sebastian album, "Total." I fucking love it, and here is my review of it:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sebastian - "Total"

Kate looked at her watch. Thomas was thirteen minutes late. He was always late.
She took her phone out of her handbag. To kill time she looked at Facebook. Someone had put up a video of a cat supposedly saying the words "I love you." Kate remembered the video she saw a while ago of a dog doing the same thing. It occurred to her that many of the videos of animals on the internet are utterly pointless. Still, they made those boring moments at work much easier to deal with.
Another friend of hers had put as their status, "Go to Wikipedia and click "Random article". This is the name of your genitals."
Kate was surprised to find out that her genitals were in fact Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos. Kate was shocked at the thought that her vagina could have initiated the Trojan War. It hadn't of course, but she momentarily imagined that her vagina was the reincarnation of Eris and had done this in a past life. Kate felt both guilty and powerful.
Thomas arrived with no apology, simply a "Get in."
Thomas drove Kate back to his house.

Once in his bedroom, Thomas told Kate he had something to play her. He took a cd of the new Sebastian album "Total" out of his bag and put it on his stereo. "I love that you still buy cd's," Kate said to him.
The album was a masterpiece of "The French Touch," a particular form of house music synonymous with French dance acts, most famously Daft Punk and Justice. Samples, dirty sounding synths, with beats you just can't help but bounce your head to.
Kate was mesmerised. The music was infectious. She couldn't help but dance.
"Thomas, this is really good!"
"I know, right?"
"This album is so good, it makes me want to take my clothes off!"
"Well, I'm not gonna stop you!"

Kate, feeling the power of a Greek goddess coursing through her body, with a feeling of reckless abandon tore her clothes off and pounced on Thomas. Thomas wasn't used to Kate being so forward. It excited him. He ran his hands over every curve of her body as she kissed his neck and undid his shirt. When she stroked the bulge in his trousers with her thigh, he felt like he was going to come instantly, but he managed to control himself.

They made love. It was the most passionate love either of them had ever had.

Afterwards, as they held each other in a sweaty, post-coital embrace, Thomas said to Kate,
"I think we should always fuck to that album."
Kate agreed.

"Paul, what kind of review is this?"
"Well, I was going for something a little different."
"It certainly is that. What's it saying about the album though?"
"That it's a French house album that's really good, that you can't help but move to. It's exciting. It's primal. And it's really sexy."
"Yeah, sexy! There's a kind of filth element to the sounds he's using that along with creating some hard sounding tracks, makes you want to take your clothes off and fuck."
"So it's a sexy, dirty, dance album?"
"Why not just say that then?"
"I dunno, I just thought it would be fun to do it like this."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Erm... That went in a completely different direction to what I had planned. Hmmm...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Hello Blogger, My Old Friend...

Hi. How've you been? Sorry I've been away for a while. Here is a brief explanation why:

I've been writing my dissertation. It's a creative writing dissertation. I'm writing a play. It's a comedy about three men who kidnap their local MP. What I have learned from doing this is that writing a play is actually really fucking difficult. Every single word I write sounds unconvincing and stale. I didn't think this would be a problem as normally I am told that my ability to write dialogue is rather good, some even say it is one of my strongest points.
I just had to lick Ribena off my laptop keyboard. It tasted like hot pebbles.
But no, turns out that writing a play is an entirely different beast. Dialogue that would be fine in a story, is often awful in a play. You have to almost completely rethink what it is that dialogue is actually doing, and it seems virtually impossible to write good play dialogue the more I try it.
But my tutor likes my ideas. Which is good.
But I have no idea what I'm going to do for my essay.
And every bit of work I do on my play/dissertation creates about three times as much work still to do.
And I have just over three weeks now to get it all done.
Which is nowhere near enough time to get everything done to a good standard.
I'm totally screwed and will probably end up only getting a 2:2 now.
(I am borderline 2:1 at the moment because I am really shit at writing essays.)
If I don't get a 2:1, I will hate myself. I will see myself as a failure.

I am competing in the Hammer & Tongue Oxford Slam Poetry Final next week. I am crapping myself even more than I normally would be due to the fact that Simon Munnery is headlining the event. Simon Munnery is one of my favourite comedians.

I am writing a poem for someone to use in an art project they are doing. It's an awesome idea, but I've gone for something stylistically different to what I normally do and I have no idea if what I'm doing is any good or not.

And I've just been asked to be involved in something I can't tell you about yet. It's a fairly small thing, but it's quite exciting and I'm looking forward to it. It's gonna be happening after all this other stuff is done too, so I'll actually be able to enjoy it.

Whereas right now, I'm going "AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!" quite a lot.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

NaPoWriMo 2011.

April is finished and so therefore is "National Poetry Writing Month."
Out of the 30 days of April, I only missed one; the 16th.
That's 29 poems in 30 days.
(Well, I see it more as being 28&1/2 due to the fact that I only got halfway thru my idea for the 30th poem, but that's just me being picky really.)
Sure, a lot of them need quite a bit of editing and rewriting if I'm gonna use them going forward, but looking at it in that way, I now have a bank of drafts and ideas that I can work on and hopefully make into some pretty decent poems. I'm really looking forward to seeing where some of these go.
(I've done some of them as they are in performances and they seem to have gone down pretty well already, so fingers crossed...)
I'm actually really proud of myself for having done it. Whenever I decide I'm gonna do one of these challenges, I never seem to make it more than a third of the way thru. The fact that I actually stuck with this to the end is pretty awesome for me.

If you fancy having a read of them, they are at my tumblr blog here:
Some of them are humourous, some aren't supposed to be. Some are pretty bad, but others are alright actually. And there are only 2 or 3 that I really hate.

Go on, shoo. There's a good reader.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 30

Day 30: Your favourite song at this time last year.
Oneohtrix Point Never - "Hyperdawn"
I was actually sad enough to go into my page and look up what I was listening to in April last year because I couldn't think of what to put for this one. There wasn't really any one artist or song I listened to significantly more than any other. So I looked at what I listened to on April 30th last year, just to be really pedantic. Turns out I listened to a lot of Oneohtrix Point Never that day, so I've picked my favourite song from the album "Rifts." Enjoy.
(Sadly the sound quality of tis vid isn't great, but it's the only vid I can find on YouTube for it, so it has to do. Listen anyway, it's a fucking great track.)

and with that, we are done. Sorry if this whole thing got tedious. I hope there were enough songs you liked to make it worth it.

Friday, 29 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 29

Day 29: A song from your childhood.
MC Hammer - "U Can't Touch This"
The first album I ever bought was MC Hammer's "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em" when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I got it on cassette. The album has a song on it called "She's Soft And Wet." I had no idea what it meant, I genuinely thought it must be about someone who was caught out in the rain or something. People always think I'm joking when I say that, but I was 9 or 10. What else was I gonna think it was about?
Anyway, I played that album a hell of a lot. I loved it, and of course this was the song I loved the most off it. Still makes me smile a bit when I hear it.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 26, 27 & 28.

Day 26: A song that you can play on an instrument.
Day 27: A song that you wish you could play.
Day 28: A song that makes you feel guilty.

Okay. I can't play an instrument, which means that pretty much every song I like is one I wish I could play.

And, a song that makes me feel guilty?! What?! That is one of the most stupid things I have ever read.

Monday, 25 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 25

Day 25: A song that makes you laugh.
Ivor Cutler - "Bicarbonate Of Chicken"
I love Ivor Cutler. Poet, humourist, musician, etc, he is a legend and an idol of mine. This song is possibly my favourite of his. My poetry tutor at college in an effort to get me into poetry lent me some Ivor Cutler albums. The first one I listened to was 'Jammy Smears' which this is the first track of. The rest as they say, is history. Enjoy.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 23 & 24.

Day 23: A song that you want to play at your wedding.
Day 24: A song that you want to play at your funeral.

I'm really getting quite bored of this "Challenge" right now. The categories have just become annoying and vague. I don't know the answers to these.

Friday, 22 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 20, 21 & 22.

Day 20: A song you listen to when you're angry.
Day 21: A song you listen to when you're happy.
Day 22: A song you listen to when you're sad.

These would be pretty subjective and depending on what mood I was in at the time. Especially angry and sad. my choice would depend on whether I wanted to stay angry or sad, or whether I was trying to cheer myself up. I can't seem to answer these at the moment.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 19

Day 19: A song from your favourite album.
Spiritualized - "Broken Heart"
I could never decide on one definite album that I preferred over all others. I would answer differently depending on what day you asked me. One of my favourites was Spiritualized's "Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space." When Sweet G took me to see them performing this album at the Barbican about a year and a half ago now, it was pretty much the best gig ever and cemented this album as the one above all others in my mind. I adore this album. Utterly adore it. I don't think I have a favourite song from it, I think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and it's the album as a whole taken as one piece of work that is simply phenomenal, but I think this probably works best as a song to be singled out of the context of the rest of the album.

Monday, 18 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 18

Day 18: A song that you wish you heard on the radio.
The Unthanks - "Gan To The Kye"
What? That's a really dumb category. Okay, well I'm just gonna say this because I'm a little obsessed with this song at the moment. It's the first song from their new album 'Last' and I think it's an absolutely beautiful song. I especially love the strings.

I have no idea what happened with the previous posts. I appear to have been saving them rather than publishing them, like some sort of massive eejit. They're all up now anyway.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 17

Day 17: A song that you hear often on the radio.
Cee-Lo Green - "Bright Lights Bigger City"
I don't listen to the radio very often, but I seem to hear this quite a lot when I do. I quite like it, but the chorus really reminds me of the chorus of the song "In The Crossfire" by Starsailor. Can anyone else hear it or is it just me?

Saturday, 16 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 16

Day 16: A song that you used to love but now hate.

Can't think of one for this either. I'll have to come back to this aswell.

Two days in a row. That's not very good, is it?

Friday, 15 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 15

Day 15: A song that describes you.

I genuinely can't think of one. I'll have to come back to this one.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 14

Day 14: A song that no one would expect you to love.
Mariah Carey - "Vision Of Love"
Pretty sure I covered this yesterday, but okay.
I don't care what anyone says, this song is AWESOME. THAT FINAL THIRD! LISTEN TO THAT! IT'S GREAT!
I shouldn't have started this challenge. I'm in serious danger of losing all my followers.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 13

Day 13: A song that is a guilty pleasure.
Katy Perry - "Teenage Dream"
I try not to have guilty pleasures as I don't really see why I should be embarrassed by liking something. I still have them though, as it's a state of mind I can't quite get out of. And I think Katy Perry can't write lyrics for shit, but I love the chorus of this song, especially when she sings the line "Don't ever look back." I dunno, there's just something about it that I really like.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 12

Day 12: A song form a band you hate.
Status Quo - "In The Army Now"
I fucking hate Status Quo. I fucking hate this song. Don't listen to it. It's horrible.

Monday, 11 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 11

Day 11: A song from your favourite band.
Radiohead - "Pyramid Song"
Bloody Hell. I have a fair few favourite bands, but I've gone for the band that have probably most consistently been one of my favourite bands since I was about 15. I think this is my favourite song by them. Although now I say that I'm not certain. It's definitely one of my favourites. I just love the slightly haunting quality of it. I think it's really powerful.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 10

Day 10: A song that makes you fall asleep.
Bill Hicks - "Gays In The Military"
I don't really have a song that makes me fall asleep. If I'm on my own, and especially when I was growing up, I wouldn't be able to get to sleep because my mind would become full of weird and often morbid thoughts. That makes me sound like a psycho, but trust me, I'm not. Anyway, to stop me from thinking, I would usually fall asleep listening to comedy, so although it's not a song, it's something that helps me to sleep. I wouldn't say it makes me sleep though; It just helps.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 9

Day 9: A song that you can dance to.
Duck Sauce - "aNYway"
I sort of already covered this with Day 3, but I didn't want to repeat myself, so chose this instead.
I LOVE this track. The first time I heard it was on my birthday in 2009 at the Youthmovies last ever gig afterparty when Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs was djing in the basement at Foals' old house in Jericho (fucking check me out name-dropping like a total wanker) and I danced so hard. On a chair. It was totally awesome. That was a great night.

Friday, 8 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 8

Day 8: A song that you know all the words to.
Pulp - "Seductive Barry"
There are probably a few others, but I chose this song because a) it is one of my all time favourite songs, and b) it contains my favourite song lyric of all time:

"I will light your cigarette with a star that has fallen from the sky.
Breathe in, breathe out, I love the way you move,
don't let anyone tell you any different tonight.
You are beauty, you are class, yeah you showed it all,
but you still kept a little piece back just for me."

Gets me every time. That is just phenomenal.
Anyway, here's the song.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 7

Day 7: A song that reminds you of a certain event.
Flight of the Conchords - "The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)"
This song reminds me of mine and Sweet G's mates Hamu & Naomi's wedding. Me and the G had a right old comedy dance to this that made our mates laugh quite a lot. It was fun. Godd wedding, that one.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 6

Day 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere.
Beth Orton - 'I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine'
This song reminds me of Grenoble in France. I went there when I was 17 for a trip when I was involved with the Pegasus Theatre's youth group. We devised a piece and went to perform it in Grenoble. We spent about 8 days there. At that time I was pretty much constantly listening to either 'Kind Of Blue' by Miles Davis, or 'Trailer Park' by Beth Orton. This song was the one I kept getting stuck in my head. It was kind of stuck in my head for the whole visit. I simultaneously loved and hated that trip for various reasons, but as an experience it is something that will always stay with me. Every time I hear this song, I remember Grenoble.

(This is the least obnoxious fan video I could find for it on YouTube)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 5

Day 5: A song that reminds you of someone.
"The Girl Is Mine" by Michael Jackson featuring Paul McCartney.
Reminds me of my old best friend from primary and middle school, David Savage. He had the "Thriller" album on tape and when I went round to his house, we would often act out some of the songs, specifically this song and "Thriller" itself. David would always be Michael Jackson and I was always Paul McCartney, and we would mime the song to each other pretending we were arguing over a woman.
So when you listen to this song now, imagine two boys aged between about 8 and 10 pretending to fight over a girl who doesn't exist. Awww, how cute.

P.S. For the song "Thriller" I had to be the guy who does the narration bit. As he only really appears at the end, for the bulk of the song I had to pretend to be someone who was really scared of David/Michael Jackson.

Monday, 4 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 4

As I'm doing NaPoWriMo on my other blog (, I'm doing this on here so this blog doesn't get ignored for a month.

Day 4: A song that makes you sad.
'Selective Memory' by Eels.
I find this song absolutely heartbreaking.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 3

As I'm doing NaPoWriMo on my other blog ( , I'm doing this on here.

Day 3: A song that makes you happy.
'House Of Jealous Lovers' by The Rapture.
This song never fails to put a smile on my face. I once danced so hard to this song that I gave myself a really bad asthma attack and had to sit down for about 20 minutes until I could breathe again. And that was with the use of my Ventolin. THAT is how happy this song makes me; it turns me into a health hazzard.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 2

As I'm doing NaPoWriMo on my other blog ( , I'm doing this on here.

Day 2: Your least favourite song.
'Stop The Cavalry' by Jona Lewie.
Every Christmas, this gets played everywhere, and I FUCKING HATE IT!! There is not one single good thing about this song. It has no redeeming feature whatsoever. I REALLY FUCKING HATE IT!!!!

Friday, 1 April 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: 1

There's a thing called the '30 Day Song Challenge' that loads of people are clogging up Facebook with. I wanted to do it when only about one or two people were doing it, but now so many people are doing it that about half of my news feed is people putting up music videos. Which is kind of annoying.
On my other blog (, I'm trying to take part in NaPoWriMo, which means I probably won't be writing anything on here for the whole of April, so I thought I would do the 30 Day Song Challenge on here.

Day 1: Your Favourite Song.
'Dayvan Cowboy' by Boards Of Canada.
This is a song I never get bored of. In my mind it is perfect. I love the video for it too (even if it does cut about half a minute out of the song).

Sunday, 27 March 2011


Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck,
fucking fuck fuck fucking fuck,
oh fuck, I’m 30.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Old Phone Notes #6.

Yes, I'm picking this back up. Been quiet for a couple of weeks coz of college deadlines, getting issue 2 of my zine sorted and helping with bits of an event a mate of mine is organising.

The next lot are from when I went to Tate Modern a while ago. They're things I particularly liked.
One was the piece "How It Is" by Miroslaw Balka. This was basically a massive box which you could walk into. When you did, you found yourself in almost absolute darkness. It was something that caused a quite intense physical reaction, as all other senses suddenly became heightened and you shuffled your way through this box not seeing people until you were just about to walk into them. Even then, you sometimes did. I went in there about 4 times, and the first time I did it was completely disorientating. By the fourth time I was sort of used to it. It was odd though. Each time made me feel something different. By the end I was really enjoying the sensory depravation. I don't want to sound like a total wanker, though I am aware that I probably already do, but it really made me think about perception and also what it is each of the senses does.
Okay I'll stop that now. Sorry about that.

Next one is the name Ed Ruscha. The work I saw of his was photos, I think of Los Angeles and mountains, with text written over the top of them. I can't remember what I specifically liked or wanted to say about him, but I have enjoyed looking at his stuff on Google Images, so that's fine by me.
Same goes for Georges Braque, who I also noted down but can't specifically remember why.

Next, "Ghost Without A Shell."
This is a multimedia project in which a series of artists were given a character from a Japanese manga (NOT "Ghost In The Shell" though, so don't get fooled by the title) that the people behind the project had bought the rights to. The artists each created a piece of artwork which were then compiled into the exhibit. The people behind the project then signed the rights of the character over to the character itself, effectively killing the character off. The pieces then work as a sort of epitaph. I found the idea really interesting. I seem to remember a couple of the pieces not working for me at all, but generally really liking it.
Sorry for a lack of basic info. I dunno, if you think it sounds interesting, look it up.

Lastly, Picasso - "Seated Nude."
This is a painting that I particularly liked and couldn't get a postcard of in the gift shop.
Here it is. I love it. I think there's something really striking and interesting about it.
(image taken from

And with that, I end this post.

Guilty Pleasures.

Now, in theory I don't believe in guilty pleasures. Surely with everyone having different tastes and points of view, anyone should be allowed to like pretty much anything, right? (I say "pretty much," because I think there are a couple of things, murder being one example, that it is not okay for people to like doing.)
However, in practice this just isn't so. I find myself reacting to things that people like with a sneer. If someone says to me, for example, that they like the band Scouting For Girls, my immediate reaction is "Why the fuck do you like those talentless, irritating wankers?"
But really, who am I to talk? I like Simply Red, for God's sake! I, like every single other person in the world, am really in no position to judge.
And yet I do. I can't help it.
Generally speaking I've become better at this. Not just in terms of not judging others for their terrible tastes, but also being okay with admitting my own to others.
There is one thing that never ceases to cause embarrassment though.

I love disco.

Proper, tacky, 80's disco.

You say this to people, and they laugh. They think your taking the piss or, even worse, you like it ironically. Eurgh.
Well, I do not like disco ironically. I like disco full stop. There are few genres of music that make me smile the way that disco does. It is seriously fun. When done well, disco makes it impossible to not in some way move to.
This must be part of why I love it like I do, because I absolutely love dancing.

Anyway, I'm not going to waffle on about this, because all I will do is repeat myself quite a lot. I will just leave you with one of my favourite 80's disco songs. This makes me happy. It also makes me want it to be one o'clock in a dark room with me getting my dance on to it. It is really tacky and really fun and I love it.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Olde Phone Notes #5

This one is a bunch of place names I noted down on the way back to Oxford from Sweet G's 30th Birthday weekend. It's not that I found them funny or cute or anything like that. I just, slightly patronisingly, found something really charming and quaint about them. Like they were stuck in a time period of about 200 years ago. Yeah, that does make me sound like a bit of a wanker, but read these and tell me there isn't something nice and old fashioned about them:

* Piddlehinton
* Troy Town
* Poundsbury
* Briantspuddle
* Sturminster Marshall
* Corfe Mullen
* "Chop & Ale House"
* Canford Bottom

And along with those I noted a place called Zelston, which to me sounds like the name given to a planet in some equally absurd sounding quadrant of space in a 1970's tv sci-fi drama series.

"Blake, we have entered the Geltorg quadrant and should be arriving at the planet Zelston very soon."
"Understood. Orac, can you calculate the make up of the atmosphere on Zeston's surface?"
"Jesus, Blake, can't the universes most advanced super-computer take a nap every now and then?"
"Just do it, Orac."

Errrrrrrm..... Yeah.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Old Phone Notes #2, 3 & 4.

The next note was two quotes:
"Ugly sex is hot."
"I always go back to spit roast."

I can't entirely remember this, but I think my mate Anna who used to be on my college course said these. We were in a pub with another college mate, Humphrey. Think I just wrote them down because they made Humph and I laugh quite a lot.

Then comes:

I think this is a Japanese band I read a bit about in 'Wire' magazine that I wanted to listen to. Hang on...
Yes they are. And they "...feature members of OOIOO and Boredoms." Ooooooh. YouTube time.
First video: They're playing live. They're all wearing deer masks. Two people playing ikembes, two people playing glockenspiels, one person playing bongos. Quite mellow and hypnotic. I like it.
Second video: More live footage. More percussion heavy, similarly hypnotic groove music. I like this band.


Someone once described this as "Really filthy sounding dubstep" to me and I never got round to checking them out. Let's go.
First song, 'Guided Relaxation.' Yup. The description seems accurate.
Second song, 'Ice Cream.' Starts off a bit tamer and with a really irritating vocal, but starts getting pretty filthy about halfway through.
Third sing, 'Act Like A Ho.' See second song, but with filth starting about a third of the way through.
To clarify, filth here refers to distorted, squelchy sounding synth.
Hmmm, they do all kind of sound a bit the same though. Shame. Not enough to make me think this is someone I'll carry on looking out for.

Old Phone Notes #1.

I've been trying to work out what to write on here for a while now. Quite a few times I've started a post and decided that I actually don't want to write it and so delete it. I can't even remember what any of them were about now.
Anyway, this means that it's been back to this blog looking a bit sparse. Today though I was in the pub with m'college colleagues Adam and Humph, when they started having a massive conversation about the programme 'Smallville.' Not giving a toss about Superman in general (I could just never really care about him) I decided to sort out the problem of my phone running out of memory. I discovered a ton of notes I'd left myself and never chased up on, written about or whatever it was I was meaning to do with them. I wrote all these notes down in my diary and am going to write about these notes on here. This is the first part of this potentially tedious project.
(Is it a project? I don't know, but if I call it one it might make it sound like a more interesting prospect to work and read through.)

The first note said:
"Techno Welshpool."
Now, I actually remember exactly why I made a note of this. I was watching 'Final Score' or the Sky Sports equivalent one day at work and they were including results from a Welsh football cup, and this team called Techno Welshpool came up. I thought it was the best name I had ever heard of for a football team. I imagined it would be the kind of name a European dance act would adopt. I imagined they would sound quite a lot like the band Scooter.
I Googled Techno Welshpool and found that a site called fanchants (dot) com has lyrics to a chant of theirs. It goes:
"Techno, techno,
Yeh techno, techno,
Yeh we are Techno Welshpool yeh!!!!!!!!!!!"
This has made me think even more that a European dance band really should adopt it as a name. If someone had said to me that those were the lyrics to a Scooter song, I would've believed them. Someone needs to snap this name up while they can.
Why not? We've had football team band names before. Saint Etienne, Kaiser Chiefs, and the first time I went to Paris, there were posters advertising a (then) new album by a band called Astonvilla. I never got round to hearing what they sound like. Maybe I'll look them up on YouTube now.
Oh. They sound like boring, middle-of-the-road rock. How disappointing. Oh well...

So there you go. That's why I noted that down. I reckon I've been meaning to write about that for about three years. And I've been meaning to hear what Astonvilla sound like for longer than that.
This phone notes thing already feels like a good idea. Which probably means it'll be tedious from here on. I do hope not.

P.S. Google also told me that the official name of Techno Welshpool is actually 'Technogroup Welshpool Town F.C." and that they are called this due to the fact that they took on the name of their sponsors. That's pretty weird. I mean, imagine if Manchester United suddenly changed their name to Aon F.C. ...

Thursday, 24 February 2011

This Song.

I cannot get over this song at the moment. SO. FUCKING. GOOD.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Compere The...

... No. I can't do it. That is one bad joke too far.

I'm doing my first ever compere gig on Monday (21st) at the Jericho Tavern. I'm looking forward to it. I've often wondered if I would be any good at this kind of thing, and someone has decided to put their night in my hands. Pressure? Sure, but how else will we find the answer to this question?

I guess the closest I've ever come to compereing is when me and my best friend from primary/middle school David Savage used to make our own tapes. We would do various things like come up with stories we would act out. Or news items, which consisted of children's author Sheila Lavelle trying to read out the news while Bill Murray tried to have sex with her. We were about 7 or 8 years old when we first did this particular story. It was a recurring theme of our tapes.
We would also do our own version of Top of the Pops, in which I would be the presenter and David would perform. It was a little bit like 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' in that I would come up with an artist and song title off the top of my head and David would have to perform it. The one that sticks in my mind is when I came up with the idea of Cliff Richard singing a song called 'The Vomiting Song.' Well, what really comes to mind is when I made David be Cliff Richard do 'The Vomiting Song II,' the first lyric of which went 'The vomiting is getting worse and the people are dying.' I'm not entirely sure why I remember that as well as I do, but I do. I wonder if I still have those tapes somewhere?

Anyway, we stopped making those tapes about seventeen or eighteen years ago now, so I haven't done any compereing since then. I'm kind of nervous about it, but excited too. I'm actually really looking forward to it. It's a three act gig and I'm gonna be doing about five minutes of poetry and rambling before each act, so it should be pretty fun. Not too long for people who've turned up for a gig to get bored (a problem I've had doing music gigs before), but enough time for me to do my thing and (hopefully) make an impact.

I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE (24/2/11, 11:54am): It went really quite phenomenally badly. I sort of don't want to write about it tho.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Things I Think About When I'm Ill: Part 2 - Music.

Now, I think about music quite a lot anyway, so it makes sense that I should think about it when I'm ill.
I've been thinking that it's quite odd that the new, self titled, James Blake album is seemingly, subjectively speaking, a pretty boring album, yet there is something about it that is absolutely captivating me. It's one of those albums where if I'm not listening to it, I often find myself thinking about it, or running through songs or running over certain parts of songs from it in my head. It's deceptive simplicity seems to harbour real soul. I'm becoming a little addicted to it.
I would probably be becoming totally addicted to it, if it weren't for the new Joan As Police Woman album, The Deep Field, which I am also really digging right now. I'm not really sure how to describe it in a way that won't put a lot of people off, so just check it out because, well, I think it's pretty great.

However, I haven't always been thinking about it in the same way as I usually do.
Last night, when I couldn't sleep for being ill, I noticed that the two sides of the lead as it goes into the plug for my Macbook look like a bit like faces. I turned them into characters; one I called 'Harry the happy lead' and the other I called 'Charlie the simpleton cyclops' (oh yeah, one of them only had one eye). I then decided we were going to form a tribute band. As there were three of us, I figured we should be a tribute to The Jam, even though I don't like The Jam. This is the sort of sacrifice I am willing to make for friends. Of course, it turned out that they don't like The Jam either, but now we were committed to the idea. It was decided that I would have to be Paul Weller as a) my name is Paul, and b) neither Harry or Charlie could play guitar. I pointed out that I can't play guitar either, but they said it would be easier for me to learn on account of the fact that, being as they were two sides of a plug lead, neither of them had arms. To be fair, they had a point.
Now, I don't know if you know what it's like to be in a band with siamese not-quite-twins who are joined at the back of the head, but I can tell you it's pretty tough. Arguments started about which side group photos should be taken from. They would always have to be in profile in a shot to get them both in, but both prefer their left side. Also, having a body like a very thin plastic snake, they couldn't quite work out how one could play bass synth (no arms = no playing bass) and drums at the same time, as they both argued that they needed the same segments of their body at the same time. I tried to see if these were problems that could be ironed out in rehearsals, but they were having none of it. This tribute band was doomed.

Do you know what it's like to be ill and awake at gone two in the morning when you've just failed in an attempt at forming a tribute band with two sides of a plug lead for a band you don't even like?
I'll tell you.
Not good.
Not good at all.

Things I Think About When I'm Ill: Part 1 - Thinking.

Being ill means that sometimes I can bring myself to do little more than eat soup and watch things on YouTube. The problem with this is that soup only lasts for so long, and I get bored of YouTube, mostly because I have a little voice in my head telling me I'm wasting my time.
However, all the things that aren't a waste I either can't do or can't concentrate on. Currently I feel utterly hideous from the shoulders up. The rest of my body feels okay, but a little tired because all the energy seems to be going to my head to tackle whatever the hell's in there. This means I can stand up and/or walk for about half a minute before it feels like my body is becoming a cocktail stick that I'm trying to balance a tennis ball head on.
Oh, except for the fact that because my tonsils are sore, I've spent a lot of time reflexively swallowing air, so when I'm sitting down I feel like a tennis ball balancing on a balloon.
In short, it's crap.
I also have the concentration of a... a... a thing with very little in the way of concentration. So I can't do any college work, which is annoying because it would be the perfect time to do it, if it weren't for the fact that my brain seems to think that things like "James sent the letter the next day. He couldn't remember what he had written in his drunken state last night, but he was sure that he still felt the same feeling as what he had written, so he didn't bother to reread it and trusted himself to have stated his point of view in a manner that, while not necessarily appropriate, got his message to those concerned across." somehow constitute decent literature. Stupid illness brain.
Anyway, these things combined mean that I spend a lot of time just sort of sitting around doing nothing at all but thinking (I just wrote that as 'thingking.' Jesus...).
Normally I would put a list of hilarious and ridiculous things I've been thinking here in an effort to amuse you readers, but I can't actually remember what most of what I've been thinking about is.
So this morning I have mostly been thinking about thinking, or more specifically trying to remember what I've been thinking.
I think this is possibly the most pointless way to spend time there is, which doesn't exactly make me feel better, but hey, at least now I can say I've done something with it, even if that is just to make you lot read about it.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

ABCtales Magazine Issue #20.

I'm ill.
When I woke up this morning I couldn't speak. My throat feels like someone set fire to it while I was asleep and my head feels like there are people trying to make bombs in it, only they're not very good at it and the bombs keep exploding.
I hate being ill. It totally impedes my ability to do anything. I bought some soup today. That's the extent of my abilities. I spent an hour writing something in this post which I realised was awful and deleted. I tried doing some college work, nothing doing. Everything that came out of these fingers was garbage. Garbage that had to have a spelling correction every three words because my ability to type has also left me.
So, knowing me as well as I do, I should be a big moaning pile of self loathing and misery right now.
BUT I'M NOT and the reason I'm not is that today I found out that I have had a poem published in ABCtales Magazine, so I am feeling pretty damn happy as this is the first time I've been published (by something I'm not involved in). ABCtales is a writers forum site that I put stuff on sometimes to try and gauge a reaction. I was actually starting to wonder why I bothered with that site as it seems about as useful to me as writing poetry on stones and throwing them into the sea, or at least it did until I was asked to have a poem included in their zine.
The poem they've used is "5 Minutes With The Beatles" (which the editor of the zine appears to have felt the need to change to "Five Minutes With The Beatles." I'm not really complaining about it, I just find it a little odd), which is strange as it's a poem I had sort of forgotten about, it's one I hadn't performed or even thought about performing for months, yet that's the one that the guy specifically asked for. Funny how these things go.
Check it out here It's available as a physical purchase or a free download.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Something I Don't Understand.

You lot, sarcastically: "Oh, that really narrows it down, Axl. Har har har."

Shut the fuck up.

Now, you know when you watch a film or tv programme and someone knows they're about to be killed but first the person who's going to kill them makes them dig their own grave?
Why do they do it?
If I knew I was going to be killed, I sure as fuck wouldn't be forced into digging my own grave by the person who was going to kill me. What are they going to do if I refuse? Kill me? Hang on, aren't they going to do that anyway?
If I knew someone was going to kill me, I would make my death as much of an inconvenience to them as possible. You want to kill me? YOU can fucking well dig my grave, you dick.

Mr Axl's Grumpy Old Man Blog.

So, I watched 'Come Dine With Me' earlier and this absolute cock-end called Brian said "I thought we were having Greek, but it's lamb. Where's the mint sauce?" Earlier on in the week, he'd criticised someone for having a French menu with no French food because he recognised what the food was. Which begs the question, what the fuck? What does he think people eat in other countries? Was he expecting some sort of boiled tortoise? Or maybe slow roast unicorn? Or maybe some exotic six legged, twelve titted animal he'd never heard of because it doesn't fucking exist?! Jesus, the fact that someone can be such a total fucking imbecile in this day and age quite frankly astonishes me.
Yeah, that's right. I just wrote a blog post about 'Come Dine With Me.' I'm embracing my getting-old age, yeah?

And now 'America's Next Top Model' is on and Tyra Banks looks like she's wearing some sort of remodelled high class windbreaker.

I sound like a grumpy old man?
Sorry, what part of "I'm embracing my getting-old age, yeah?" don't you understand?!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Ferment Zine.

So, somehow I forgot to put on here how I'm sort of the editor of a magazine now.
It's a zine I do with two other people (my friends James and Sarah).
What we do is come up with a theme, give that to writers, and then give what they write to illustrators who draw up artwork to go with the poem or short story they've been given.
Anyway, the first issue's been out since about mid-December, and we're working on the second issue now, which we hope to have out in mid-March.
The print run for each issue is 100 copies.
We've had a lot of very positive reaction, but frustratingly that hasn't translated into sales. Yet. I think we've sold just over half of the copies we printed up.
I think this is, at least partly, due to the fact that we made a free pdf download available simultaneously. I think for the next issue we're thinking we'll only do that when we've sold out of physical issues. We do, after all, live in a world now where people seem to feel they are entitled to obtain someone else's work for free, so if that option is there, then that is of course what people will go for.
We're thinking of charging for the pdf while physical copies are still in stock, just in case people really don't want a physical copy that much. Shame, but that's how it is nowadays. God, saying that makes me feel old.

Anyway, please check out our zine over at
It is something that we are incredibly proud of.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Found this note outside my house the other day. It is somewhat perplexing.

Monday, 31 January 2011

So... Update.

Turns out the reason I wasn't up for going out is that I'm a little ill, which I didn't realise until I was at work on Sunday and realised that the groggy feeling I had couldn't possibly be a hangover due to the fact that I hadn't been out and that I was in fact ill.
The reason I thought it was a hangover was that it was a Sunday and I pretty much can't remember the last time I worked a Sunday without having a hangover. Hangovers are bizarrely pretty much the only thing that make working a Sunday bearable, so I just assumed that I was feeling rubbish because it was a Sunday. I was, in fact, unwell.
I also hate myself more than usual when I'm ill, so that should've been another sign too.
Anyway, nothing more to say really, other than this evening I watched 'Frost/Nixon' which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. I had also forgotten how seriously, incredibly hot Rebecca Hall is, but I can't say that because I'll probably get in trouble with my girlfriend.

Wait, hang on... Shit.

Sunday, 30 January 2011


...tonight was the one off return of 'Abort Retry Fail?', the night in Oxford that I used to fucking adore, and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. A proper little party night out, once again. Yes please.
But suddenly, at some point in the afternoon, something in me just went "No, you're not going to have fun tonight, you're going to be grumpy and boring instead for no reason," and so I've missed it and stayed in. I had some food, did the washing up, watched '10 O'Clock Live' (which is a very mixed bag and something I may feel compelled to write about another time) on 4OD, and came to bed. I am bored. Too bored to even write this properly and tomorrow I will feel like shit for not going tonight.
And I just wrote a really moaning blog post about it.
God, I hate myself sometimes.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Rise & Fall & Rise & Fall of Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The other day when I was in the shower, I found myself thinking about Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
No, not like that, you filthy, nasty people.
No, I suddenly got a song by theaudience stuck in my head. Remember theaudience? They were her band years ago. The song was "I Know Enough (I Dont Get Enough)." This kind of typified the band in general. They were slightly joylessly pretentious, like so many of the late Britpop bands were, because they liked the intelligence of Britpop, but not the pop. They were paid attention to though, because pretty much everyone fancied Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
I'm not saying that just as some sort of personal judgement on their music, I clearly remember Sophie Ellis-Bextor on Channel 4's 'The Jo Whiley Show' (remember that? That slightly joylessly pretentious show from the late Britpop era? There seems to be a theme here...), having a go at Neil Hannon (he of The Divine Comedy, a joyFULLY pretentious non-Britpop band of the same era (and still going strong in fact)) asking him something along the lines of how could he look himself in the mirror each morning after being a guest singer on the then latest Robbie Williams album. She basically called him a massive sellout, then a couple of years later did that song with Spiller.
That's a bizarre collaboration right there. A successful European dj collaborates on a track with an unknown singer from a forgotten indie band. It would be like if Tiesto did a track with the guy from Terris (remember them? They were 'the best new band in the world' who were going to set the world on fire but thru a process of massive overhype just fizzled out and became ignored. I actually have their album somewhere. Can't remember what it sounds like now). It would just be weird. But somehow this collaboration worked and Sophie did better than ever, by dropping the pretention and embracing the pop, something a couple of years previously she'd have called someone a sell-out for doing.
Then came her solo album, which was gonna be huge, right? Right?
Well, not really. It was fairly popular, but where I work, we still had copies from our initial orders left over YEARS later, that we only managed to shift once they'd been marked down to £1. Even then I think we've still got some copies lurking around somewhere.

So, erm, I've kind of forgotten the point of writing this. I just kind of thought it was interesting her career has had two rise and falls, that's all. theaudience were seen as a promising band, they petered out. Her solo career looked promising, it petered out, although I believe she is still going, determined to get that third rise. Poor girl. I hope she's a pessimist.

(That's a very clever (God, I'm good) reference to another song by theaudience, 'A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed' which, by the way, as a statement, is bollocks. Pessimism thrives on disappointment. It couldn't survive without it. You fool.)

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Dear whoever makes the 'Compare The Market' adverts,








Yours sincerely,


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Best Way To Eat A Shoe.

Today in the pub me and my college buddies discussed what the best way to eat a shoe would be. After discussing the various ways of cooking it, and whether refrigerating it would help or hinder the task of eating it, we decided that the best way to eat a shoe would be to take a cheesegrater, and grate the shoe on the part that grates it to the finest/smallest size, then take the shoe gratings and put them in a soup (effectively making it a "Shoup", I suppose). Voila. Best way to eat a shoe.
Although now I am wondering what a shoe smoothie would be like (A "Shoethie", if you will).

Monday, 10 January 2011


I just saw an advert for a dating website called Zoosk. You know the kind of thing; 'Unlucky in love? Find someone who's truly compatible with our super-duper mind matching doohickey service!'
There is one problem tho. It's called 'Zoosk.'
I don't think I would want to go out with someone who signed up to a website called 'Zoosk.'
Seiously, 'Zoosk'?!
Zoosk sounds like something a pre-school child would call a kiss.
'Zoosk Mummy, zoosk!' Then Mummy kisses her child which then laughs.
Not exactly the image you want a dating website to give now, is it?