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Made in Shoreditch

I also contribute a weekly column to Made in Shoreditch magazine called 'Old East End/New East End', where I look at the relationship between the East End of old and new, looking at the changes and the stalwarts in landscape, residents and culture, focussing on one street or district each week. You can find it here.

Great Songs: Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Right, I'm going to write a weekly post on great songs from today onwards, starting with Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale and carrying on with great tracks from way back to modern day stuff, in no particular order or chronology. This post will be updated every Tuesday and will feature among other blog posts. So here goes nothing...

A Whiter Shade of Pale was released in 1967 and stayed at number one in the UK charts for six weeks! Not bad for a debut single.

I've always felt that this is the greatest song to ever be written about nothing in particular. I mean, the words mean nothing do they? "You skip a line fandango/turn cartwheels across the floor". What? But its not the songs lyrical content that makes it great. All that talk of waiters, sea-sickness and playing cards is rather psychedelic, yes, but life-affirming, no. What makes this song great is purely sonic...

That organ melody, those chord changes, why, it's actually Bach is it not? Doesn't matter, it's pure ecstasy, whatever it is. Timbrally, I've always thought of this song as being evangelical, it feels as if one day a rock band went to a church and recorded a track, but not just any old church, this one would have to be The Sistine Chapel or Westminster Cathedral or somewhere equally grand. The song's production gives it that. That slight echo, the feeling of all the instruments being crucial, the emotional vocal. It really has a feeling of togetherness.

Procol Harum knew what they were doing though, each member was a fine musician in his own right and thus, the song feels assured, like this was constructed out of nothing and was recorded in one take. Great pop music does that. All great pop has that effortless feel, it creates an illusion, a myth. It leaves the listener in a transcendental place from which they may never come back.

A Whiter Shade of Pale is a journey. It's a bloody beautiful melody with a whole feeling, like completeness, yet still leaves the listener wanting a bit more.

I understand that there's a bit of nostalgia working it's magic on me here. 1967, summer of love, Sgt. Peppers and all that holds a resonance with me. I wish I'd been alive back then to experience it all first hand, alas I wasn't. The second hand experience I have with it all will do me just fine, however. Again, I must stress, great pop music can create its own nostalgia.

In all, this song is, in my view, a great song because it conjures up emotions of melancholy, joy, fear and love purely through its sonic attributes. Any song that can do that to so many people is great!

Procol Harum

Five of the Best - War & Peace

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Today marks the release of Tony Blair's memoirs. Yesterday, the US hand-over in Iraq got going. There's a lot on the news about war at the moment and so I've taken some inspiration. Here's Five of the Best songs ever made to do with war and peace...

Eminem - Square Dance: A weird country/hip-hop beat sits behind lyrics such as "to join that army and what you do for that navy/you just a baby/getting recruited at 18/you on that plane now eatin' that food, yeah them baked beans/I'm 28 they gonna take you 'fore they take me". Stunning.

John Lennon - Give Peace a Chance: "Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout revolution, evolution, masturbation, flagellation, regulation, integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations/All we are saying, is give peace a chance". Call it wishy-washy, call it what you want, you can't deny that Lennon is right in highlighting we've never given peace a chance. Imagine, hey...

Elvis Costello - What's so Funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding?: The title says it all.

Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA: Probably The Boss' most famous hit (though there is a fair few to choose from), this is also probably his most misunderstood. A complete protest over US foreign policy (or just policy in general) which Reagan missed the point of, but he wasn't and unfortunately isn't alone.

The Jam - Little Boy Soldiers: Weller's most amazing lyric? Possibly. "I'm up by the hills playing little boy soldiers/reconnaissance duty, up at 5:30/shoot, shoot, shoot and kill the natives/you're one of us and we love you for it". Wonderful, character led sarcasm and scathe on the British Army.

The Libertines @ Reading Festival

Monday, 30 August 2010

Wow. Bloody great wasn't it? I didn't attend the festival myself, but just from watching it on BBC iPlayer it felt like I was there. It felt personal...

We all know the story of The Libertines - Doherty's drugs, Barat's dismay - and most of us have been a bit sad that they've not been together for the past 6 years, however, this reunion gig was amazing.

The boys ran through most of their back catalogue and did a wonderful job. There was hugs, kisses and smiles aplenty and the crowd really went wild.

There's just something so alluring about that band. Maybe, in a perverse kind of way, I'm attracted to the heroin-chic glamour of it all. I'm certainly attracted to the great music they made. Maybe it's because when I was 16 they were the best band around. The Libertines, to me, are just a real, proper rock 'n' roll band.

In Doherty and Barat they have two of the brightest, most exciting and beautiful front-men the world has seen. In Gary they have a fantastic drummer. In John they have that straight man, John Entwistle character, holding it all together (or not most of the time.)

At one point, during Time for Heroes, it all got too much for the audience who surged forward and caused a bit of a commotion, but this was just 80,000 people's sheer elation at seeing these guys performing together again.

This was an absolute beauty of a performance and I'm very pleased they're back together again. I just hope they're going to tour after this and if they are I shall be watching by hook or by crook!

The Album

Thursday, 26 August 2010

With iPods, x amount of compilation 2cd, genre specific sets and all manner of online listening tools such as youtube and spotify, one has to wonder: is the album going to die?

Probably not, but I do fear that people look at their iPods and only see the 'shuffle' option. Your iPod has an 'albums' option as well, so why no sit and listen to one of the albums on there. It's very enjoyable.

The other problem, I suppose, is iTunes itself. Today's listener has the option to cherry pick his/her favourite tracks off an album and leave the ones they don't know. That is a big worry.

I know this is a much debated discourse, however, it's something I feel strongly about and the 2 or 3 people that happen to bother to read this (in-between flicking through 'songs' on their iPod probably) may just take something from it. I hope, anyway.

Five of the Best - Places

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Here's FotB about places around the Globe... enjoy!

The Clash - Spanish Bombs: 'twould be wrong of me not to include this as it's one of my favourite ever tracks. I couldn't lavish enough superlatives on it!

Ultravox - Vienna: A fantastic song, the high point of Midge Ure's recording career. Shame Geldof was such an arse and ran off with Bono.

Morrissey - I'm Throwing my Arms Around Paris: Mozza's latest offering in single format (excuse the pun) is a treasure. He just doesn't stop.

Led Zeppelin - Kashmir: The greatest riff ever? It might not even be Led Zep's actually when you think of Whole Lotta Love. A stunning track none the same and the Puff Daddy version with Jimmy Page wasn't too shabby either.

Sam Cooke - Meet Me at Mary's Place: This could well be a fictional place, whatever, I couldn't resist, it's an absolute choon!

The Importance of Being Morrissey Documentary

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Right, just a quick post to say that anybody who happens to stumble upon this should first, finish reading the whole blog, I assure you it's very good and then nip over to youtube and watch this documentary. Especially if you are one of those people who fails to see the humour and life affirming qualities in this man's lyrics and instead just dismiss him as 'miserable'.

It was aired yonks ago on Channel 4 over here in the U.K. but is bloody brilliant. I highly recommend it! By seeing him and getting a touch closer (though nowhere near close due to his evasiveness) to how Mozza really is, you may be inspired to listen again. For those of you who don't just think everything he does is a bore and miserable, well, you'll bleeding love it!

Greg Milner - Perfecting Sound Forever (Book Review)

Monday, 16 August 2010


This book is an absolute triumph! Milner takes the reader through the history of recorded sound starting in 1877 and Thomas A. Edison's invention of the phonograph and ending up with today's recording techniques such as Pro Tools via Phil Spector, King Tubby, Steve Albini and many others.

This book is very well researched. Milner gives wonderful insight into the great debates in music recording such as the analog/digital debate, the acoustic/electrical recording debate and the loudness war and dynamic range compression.

This book has many attributes but its main strength is in its balance in arguments. Milner provides both sides of the arguments involved in the story, giving eyewitness accounts from both sides in the aforementioned debates. The analog/digital debate especially opens up some wonderful discoveries.

Milner uses scientific fact partnered with useful insight into the way humans take in music timbrally and also gives us dates, times and events for a historical account with added character in the writing.

For anybody who feels they love recorded music, this book is a must. It's probably the most interesting thing you'll read on the subject.

Caught by the Hook

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

At the moment I'm working at a school for foreign kids learning English and I'm intrigued by their taste in music. There's this one track that I'm told was a big hit across Europe (always a bad sign) that has got me thinking...

On the face of it it's just another dodgy dance tune, but it has this hook which gets stuck in your head. It's very annoying. Needless to say they love it and play it on their phones constantly.

Nice euro-pop venue

There's a lot of other tunes with the same basic sound or tone colour, if you will, but this one knocks 'em bandy and it's all because of that simple hook.

It seems they are all so easily pleased, well, sonically anyway. Anything with a basic song structure and one little bit different from the rest, repeated every so often , is exciting.

I'm not saying we all have to listen to music that is ridiculously complex and subscribe to some Rick Wakeman ideal that the time and key signatures of a song have to be ever-changing and songs must be long and played by seriously skilled musicians, far from it, but I just think that it is a bit moronic to go wild about such simple sonic pleasures.

Looking good Rick

I mean, take a simple punk tune, for instance, or a great hip-hop tune. The music itself will be basic but there will be some form of intellectual pleasure in there such as a great lyric or a crashing drum pattern. Something stimulating.

This bloody awful euro-pop is just drivel. There is nothing. Richard Hell thought his generation was blank, on the evidence I've seen and heard: this generation of European kids is far blanker.

5 of the Best - Law and Order

Monday, 26 July 2010

The theme today is Law and Order... enjoy.

Bob Dylan - Hurricane: An absolute masterpiece based on the injustice of the conviction of boxer Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter.8 minutes slip by so quickly as one is immersed in the sheer power of this great song.

The Clash - Police and Thieves: Hard to choose between this and Junior Murvin's original. I chose this version just because of the superb rasped vocal Joe Strummer applies to it. Gives it an edge.

Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues: Has to be in here. "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die". Great!

N.W.A. - Fuck the Police: Is this the most controversial song ever or just a great protest song? That, my dears, is for you to decide!

Prince Buster - It's Burke's Law: "Wob way dob way dob, way dob way dob". Feeling down? Listen to this!

Kate Nash - Kiss That Grrrl: Reviewed

Monday, 19 July 2010

Fucking awful. Kate Nash is terrible. The mockney accent, the really bad lyrics, the unfunny self deprecation, all of it is terrible.

Kate Nash

This song follows on where every other song she's made has left off. Using a pseudo-motown rhythm and an annoying drum pattern already used on the whole last Amy Winehouse album this song manages to grate on me more than anything I've heard this year.

It is utter tosh and I do not wish to write any more about it.


5 of the Best - First Names

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

We all have one in some form or other, in Brazil they have, like, 3 and use one as a nickname. Here's 5otB to do with first names...

Rod Stewart - Maggie May: Easily one of the most famous songs ever made and a bloody good one at that. Classic! A great example of a bad break-up.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Suzie Q: John Fogerty was a much maligned character at the peak of the hippie counter-culture period, but this Bad Moon Rising and the Creedence version of I Put a Spell on You really make me wonder why?

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Suzie Q

The Kinks - Walter: A great song about that kid you thought was cool at school who's actually turned out to be a bit of a dick-head. I bloody love The Kinks.

Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights: Am I cheating? Probably, but the line that sticks in everybody's head is when Kate goes into her fantastic high register "Heathcliff...", definitely a first name! One of the greatest songs ever made.

The Red Dress One, she definitely had it!

The Libertines - What Katie Did: Great riff, cool literature based title and that "shoop shoop, shoop du-lang-u-lang" bit. Can't wait to see there gig at Reading, on the TV of course, there's no way I'm getting my trainers dirty and I do not wear wellies, I'm not a National Trust member.

Florence Releases Another New Single?

Monday, 12 July 2010

This is getting ridiculous! That bloody Lungs album is the new Thriller. Every song from it is being released as a single. How much money can one band make from one album?

Cosmic Love, the latest track to be released from the album sounds no different really from the others to be released.

Piss off!!!!!

I quite liked this album when it first came out. I mean, I felt there was something annoying about Flo herself and I thought it was a bit chorus heavy, but I could see it was pretty good. Now, I hate this bloody album. I hate Flo herself - uncharismatic, annoying voice - and the choruses play in every shop/pub/restaurant I happen to wander into!

I am sick of this album and sick of whoever is in charge of operations at Flo HQ squeezing every last penny out of it!

The Coral - 1000 Years: Reviewed

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Coral, according to the NME (not the greatest source), are "one of the most consistently brilliant bands of the last ten years". Maybe true, they're a pretty good band.

1000 Years is, thus, a pretty good tune. A typically '60s approach is taken and the vocal harmonies match nicely within the choral vocal. It's a melodic little track this one, obviously, it's The Coral, and it flows pretty nicely.

The Coral

The approach lyrically is simple and a tad repetitive but at just 2:52 minutes it doesn't drag on.

Whilst it's not as good as some of their earlier records like Jacqueline or Dreaming of You, it's still a good enough song.

5 of the Best - Water

Monday, 5 July 2010

Today's 5 of the Best is on something we all need... water! So wet your whistle on this little lot.

The Stone Roses - Waterfall: Dream-like harmonies, infectious riff, great middle 8, this song has it all.

The Stone Roses - Waterfall

Max Romeo - Wet Dream: "Every night, me have wet dream, me think of her." Brilliant! The least poetic song ever, possibly. Straight in with what he thinks.

TLC - Waterfalls: Classic bit of dodgy '90s R&B. I really like it though.

Billy Joel - The River of Dreams: One of the New Yorker's most famous tracks and a great melody on the vocal. Sing it with me "In the middle of the ni-i-ight..."

Billy Joel - The River of Dreams

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset: Technically I'm cheating, but he does mention a dirty old river, so I think technically I'm not! Fantastic song this, just beautiful. Ray Davies at his storytelling best.

Let the Track Run... and Shut Up

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Right, BBC Radio 1 pisses me off for many reasons. There's the shit music it plays, the annoying DJs (more of which in a minute) and constant news bulletins.

But the most annoying thing about Radio 1 is its breakfast show with Chris Moyles. The guy's a dick. He thinks he's hilarious, he's not. He talks way too much. Literally, you're lucky to hear two songs an hour on his show. Moyles truly believes that his popularity must mean his formula is brilliant. It's not.


Seriously, the British public will eat up anything served to them (metaphorically). You serve them JLS or N-Dubz, they'll eat it up. In the 90s when they were fed Blur, Pulp and Oasis, they ate it up - difference being what they were served was nearer to Lobster than the microwaveable Pizza they're served these days.

When the station has shows that get down to playing some actual music, it's shit music anyway. Scott Mills in the afternoon plays some of the worst crap I've ever heard.

Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music are way better, listen to them, not Radio 1.

5 of the Best - Tears

Friday, 2 July 2010

Here's 5 of the best to do with your eyeballs leaking...

Aerosmith - Cryin': I love this track, Tyler's vocal is superb. Great 90s video as well.

Aerosmith - Cryin'

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Tears of a Clown: Fantastic soul classic. Smokey's high register voice on the refrain line makes it all the more potent.

Justin Timberlake - Cry Me a River: "You don't have to say, what you did", one of the most iconic stars and one of the best pop songs of the 21st Century.

Johnny Cash - Cry, Cry, Cry: The American hero lets loose on one of his greatest songs. Superb!

Johhny Cash - Cry, Cry, Cry

The Beatles - Cry, Baby, Cry: Doing these '5otB' thingys makes me realise how many great tracks the fabs have recorded. Not that I didn't know already. This one, from The White Album, is a gem!

The Futureheads - I Can Do That: Reviewed

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Sunderland's Futureheads have been going a while now. Whilst their obvious highpoints on single both commercially and musically were Decent Days and Nights and their cover of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love, recently they've had a return to form. Self-released album The Chaos wowed the critics and thus got some very good reviews, and this, the second single from that album is pretty good.

The Futureheads

I Can Do That is unmistakably a Futureheads song. With frontman Barry Hyde's unmistakable Mackem accented vocal and the usual choppy guitars and vocal harmonies it's got their identity stamped all over it. With lots of bands one can get annoyed with the constant churning out of similar songs one after the other, but for some reason, with The Futureheads, it's not so bad.

It's not breaking any new ground, but as the saying goes: "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

Does Anyone Own A Beverly Knight Record?

Every time one of her records is out the advert tells us "she's the biggest British female R&B singer" or something along those lines. Well, everyone I speak to about this agrees with me...

Beverly Knight is shit. Uncharismatic, annoying, songs are boring. Sure, everybody likes the "shoulda', woulda', coulda'" song, I do, it's a good song. But the rest of it is a pile of shite!


What brought me on to this subject today is an advert I saw for QVC, Knight will be appearing on the home shopping channel for some reason. It made me think "How desperate can one artist be?"

Beverly Knight has been plugging away for years with lacklustre album after lacklustre album. GIVE UP. If you've not made it by now love you never will.

It annoys me that in her adverts the voice over gives her that tag of 'biggest British female R&B singer'. Surely Leona Lewis is that now. A few years ago, surely somebody like Ms. Dynamite was. Never Beverly bloody Knight.

Five of the Best - Weather

Sunday, 27 June 2010

It's very hot today, which has got me thinking... about songs to do with the weather.

The Beatles - Rain: Fantastic fabs track. Clever lyrics and cool Lennon vocal.

The Beatles - Rain

Bob Dylan - Blowin' in the Wind: Do I really need to say anything about this song? Whatever I say will have been said about it, so analysed has this song been. Let's just say it's one of the greatest pop songs ever written.

The Undertones - Here Comes the Summer: 1 minute and 45 seconds of the most exciting, joyous and electric punk rock ever recorded. It could bbe the middle of January and this would still excite me.

The Libertines - Don't Look Back into the Sun: I bloody love this song. Reminds me of being 16 and not giving a shit. When I hear it it takes me back there.

The Libertines - Don't Look Back into the Sun

The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun: George Harrison's finest hour on The Beatles' finest album, Abbey Road.

Right I'm off to top up my tan.

Never Mind

So, England are out. Beaten by a far superior German team. You can't argue with 4-1. Anyway, I want to focus on some of the things we do in this country that are good. We've always had a great music scene, well since the '60s anyway. We've got a rich vein of great comedy shows, especially over the last 30 years with everything from Blackadder to The Office to Peep Show. So let's not get too disheartened.

Blackadder himself

I knew before today's game we'd lose. It's the Germans! Always efficient, always good at tournaments, always able to beat the English (barring that one time in '66). I'm not too pissed off, I think the team has improved under Fabio Capello. Look at what he inherited, a team that didn't qualify for the European Championships. Last 16 of the WC is a big improvement.

Fabio Capello

The annoying thing now will be the sensationalist press and their vilification of a harmless scapegoat. It will probably be Capello, not sure he'll care too much though. He's one of the game's best managers and it shows the England players up rather than him. He can get the best out of good players. Our boys just aren't this.

Being... N-Dubz

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

N-Dubz. Our chavviest pop group ever? Well, probably. This show is meant to give us insight into N-Dubz' life and boy does it.

Dappy and Fazer, the two male members seem to still be content with hanging around the shithole they grew up in in NW London. Dappy admits, whilst getting on the tube, that his Oyster Card purchase is the first time he has ever paid for the tube. They've sold 1.2 Million records and Dappy still bunks the tube. Ridiculous.


Tulisa, the groups female member, however has embraced her new-found life as a celeb. She drives round in a (horrendously tacky) white Audi sports car with the top down, gets her nails done and turns up late to things due to heavy nights. In an odd way, she's quite attractive. A sort of sexy chav, I suppose (who knew there was such a thing?) Tulisa, though, I must say is way more likeable - due to maturity, better articulacy and, well, general personality actually - than Dappy and Fazer.

During the show Dappy goes off on a political tangent whilst stood outside a council estate. He pleads with David Cameron not to take people's benefits away. Well, hold on a minute, I totally agree with the welfare state, but these people living in his tower block! Surely they are not all disabled! Surely they could do some form of labouring, cleaning or something if their qualifications aren't so good! They live in Chalk Farm, about 20 minutes walk from the centre of London! Surely they must be able to get even a part-time job. Grrr. Dappy by name, dappy by nature.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Anyway, good show, just the subjects that are annoying. Barring Tulisa actually, she seems quite nice.

Eminem - Recovery: Reviewed

Tuesday, 22 June 2010


What a surprise this album is. Hints of rock, dance, electro and anything and everything appear. It's superb. It's certainly the most experimental hip-hop album I've ever heard.

Starting off with a slightly weak song, Cold Wind Blows (by Em's standards), this album get's going on the second track, Talkin' 2 Myself. This track sees Em reflecting upon his last two albums and telling us "Encore, I was on drugs/Relapse I was flushing 'em out". With a fantastic muted guitar riff and heavy hip-hop beats offset against Eminem's fiery, intricate lines and Kobe's great vocal chorus give us an early high point in the album.

Eminem/Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie

4 tracks in and we have Won't Back Down feat. Pink... very different. Its backing track is not what you would expect from a hip-hop song. This, however is what this man is all about. Em shouts his rap over the top of a Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar riff and Mitch Mitchell style drum part and Pink sings our chorus with her usual rasp and angst. A fantastic song, a real treat for fans of crossover sensibilities.

Going Through Changes is brilliant. Using an Ozzy Osbourne sample for its chorus and a very catchy acoustic guitar riff underneath the verses is a master stroke and lyrically, wow, emotive isn't the word. "I'm hating my own reflection" being just one line showing his self loathing. Seduction is the opposite, though still great, it's completely self promoting.

No Love is superb, it uses Haddaway's What is Love? very cleverly as a sample and Lil' Wayne sounds really good on this (might be the first time I've ever said that). Space Bound is very different as well, the backing track has a real Bends-era Radiohead feel about it.

Cinderella Man is very good. Lyrically stunning. The type of track that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Love the Way You Lie is a genuine rap ballad. This may well be the album's peak. I can see this being a very big song. Possibly a number 1 for Em and Rihanna if released as a single. Her vocal is lovely and a wonderful contrast to Em's aggressive rapping style.

In all, this is a very good album. Lyrically, nothing he ever does will be able to match his second and third albums, but for the sheer change of musical direction, this album deserves to be held in high regard. I do, at points, wish he wouldn't sing so many choruses, but I have to say I can overlook this. There's still a fire in his rapping and lyrically, it's still better than anything released these days by other artists. His sexism and homophobia are still there, but, as I've always felt with Eminem, this is tongue-in-cheek - excuse the pun. At points this album is astonishing. Very pleased with this one, along with MGMT, Eminem has made a record we can really celebrate this year.

The Best Football Chants

Monday, 21 June 2010

Right it's the World Cup, England are playing shite, but there is one discipline within the game where we excel in this country. Football chants. So here's a few of the best I've ever heard in this country.

John Terry is having a party, Bring your missus and your charlie!

5-1, even Heskey scored, 5-1 even Heskey scored.
(Sung about the famous England 5-1 win over Germany to the tune of Go West.)

What's that coming on Gerrard's bird, is it a gangster? Is it a gangster?
(Sung to Steven Gerrard by Man Utd fans in the wake of rumours that Gerrard's wife had an affair with a gangster to the tune of Monster by The Automatic.)

Those idiots playing Friday are not fit to wear this!

10 men couldn't lift, couldn't lift Frank Lampard, 10 men and their dog Spoc, couldn't lift Frank Lampard!
(West Ham fans to their former player to the tune of the Chelsea chant 1 man went to mow a meadow.)

Posh Spice is a slapper, she takes it up the arse, and when she's shagging Beckham, she thinks of Frank Lampard.
(Sung by Chelsea fans about the mega-famous Spic Girl to the tune of My Old Man's a Dustman.)

If you tolerate Rix, then your children will be next.
(Sung to the tune of the famous Manic Street Preachers song in the wake of Rix's arrest for having sex with a 15 year old girl by many, I heard it first at my beloved QPR.)

Gary Neville shags his mother, and his sister and his brother, all the Neville's shag each other, it's all fucking incest!
(Sung at many a ground about the inbred-looking Neville brothers.)

Paul Ince, is a wanker. Paul Ince, is a wanker.
(Sung at QPR for years to the tune of Go West.)

A fine bunch of chants I'm sure you'll agree. Sing them at your own behest.

5 of the Best - Food & Drink

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Today's 5 of the best is songs based around food and drink. Bon Apetit...

The Beatles - Savoy Truffle: "Cream Tangerine, Montelimar". A song devoted to telling us about which tasty desserts to go for with the warning: "but you'll have to have them all pulled out after the savoy truffle". Your teeth that is. Love this one!

The Beatles - Savoy Truffle

UB40 - Red Red Wine: Makes sense really doesn't it. Obvious one. Great party tune.

R.E.M. - Imitation of Life: A sugar cane, cinnamon and lemonade all mentioned here. This is a lovely pop tune: melodic, falsetto vocal in the chorus. Great, happy pop.

Radiohead - Bangers & Mash: Very, very good track. In Rainbows is a fantastic album as well.

Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar: Originally an Irish Folk song, this rocked-up version is brilliant. That signature riff is horribly catchy as well.

Thin Lizzy - Whiskey in the Jar

Had to do a bit of flicking through the iPod for that one. Feeling rather hungry as well.

Growing Old Gracefully: The Sexist Problem

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Rod Stewart hasn't, Mick Jagger hasn't and a few people I know myself haven't. Growing older doesn't always correlate to growing up. Some may question if this is even a problem. Just by drawing attention to it am I being ageist? Well, my problem doesn't really lie with people growing old disgracefully, but rather people's reaction to it...


One of my favourite books, John Niven's Kill Your Friends, has a section which sees the main protagonist, Steven Stelfox - an A&R man who is racist, sexist etc. - list why he feels people don't like to see older female performers at it. Saying stuff like "Clapton - well he just looks like an old muso doesn't he" whilst also saying he doesn't want to see Debbie Harry any more rather sums up a view of many as I see it.

Now, me personally, I feel a bit disgusted when I see Cher behaving like a twenty year old on stage. But I also think "what a dick head" when I see 'Rod the Mod' wearing an outfit that I'd expect some eighteen year old Essex boy to wear. I feel, maybe it's a question of who I have around me, that I am in a club of 1 here. People always bang on about how cool Paul Weller still looks or how cool Mick Jagger still is, but faced with, say, Lulu and her botox or Joni Mitchell's relevance, many see it fine to express disdain.


The point I should also underline here before signing off is that it's not just men who have these kind of reactions, many women are just as bad in my experience.

5 of the Best - Days of the Week

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Right, every so often, when I can think of it, I'm going to use a theme and name 5 songs which are the best I can think of within that category. So here goes the first one: Songs to Do with Days of the Week.

Morrissey - Every Day is Like Sunday: A fantastic track and the first one that springs to my mind when thinking of this category. The line: "this is the seaside town/that they forgot to close down/come armageddon, come armageddon now" is typical Mozza. Superb and possibly his best solo number.

Wierd intro on Jonathon Ross, don't worry, he does start singing the song in question

The Cure - Friday I'm in Love: Another obvious one, great tune from a great band. One of my favourite Cure numbers.

Boomtown Rats - (Tell Me Why) I Don't Like Mondays: This, Rat Trap and Mary of the Fourth Form are reasons to like Bob Geldof... sadly there are so many more not to.

The Clash - Police on My Back: Couldn't resist this one. One of the best tunes from one of the best bands ever. It lists every day of the week in its bridge. Maybe the best song on this list (Mozza runs it very close if this is the case).

Police on My Back

Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday: It would have been very wrong not to include this song. Very wrong indeed. A really great tune.

Channel 4

Over here in Britain we have a bit of a thing going on. Since, roughly, the early noughties, people have been aspiring to be something. They all want to be foodies... or, oddly, property developers. There is a reason for this.

The Iron Lady

Since the 1980s and the reign of Maggie Thatcher as our PM, the country has never quite got rid of the idea of the 'yuppy' from it's psyche. The idea of owning your own home, drinking in wine bars and eating in swish restaurants is still ingrained in a huge number of the population. The problem is, many of these people are devoid of any real 'cultural capital'. If they could spout off at will about their favourite Dostoyevsky work or tell you the political implications of Orwell's Animal Farm, then there aspirations towards middle class sensibilities would hold a bit of weight. Many of them, however, and I realise I am generalising here, can only spout off about how asparagus and butternut squash work in a white wine risotto, or the potential of a three bed semi in Reading or somewhere equally boring.

This is where our TV station Channel 4 comes in. It's pretty much there fault. They commission such shows at Gordon Ramsay's F Word and Location, Location, Location. What these shows do is give people who work in 'sales' or 'estate agency' ('real estate' in the US) or in the catering industry the idea that they are 'professionals'. They see Kirsty and Phil from the aforementioned Location... and Sarah Beeny from these property developer shows and instantly feel a rapport.

Why? Well, as I've said, since Thatcher people here are obsessed with pretentiousness. Channel 4 gives them this pretentious programming (love a bit of alliteration) and these morons watch it and lap it up.

Funny Estate Agent Video

There really is no future whilst England's dreaming. Cheers Rotten, you were right.

News and That

Monday, 14 June 2010

Fucking things!

So, the Vuvuzela is the single most annoying thing in the world at the moment. Now I know people may think it more annoying that BP hasn't stopped the fishy killing or that the governments of the U.K. and U.S.A. don't want to stop their Afghan killing, but seriously, that noise (like a swarm of bees or something) is really getting on my tits!

Kylie Minogue has a new tune out called All the Lovers and guess what! It's another electro-pop tune from the still lovely little Antipodean. It's really not all that, in fact it's pretty bad, but still, it's the video we all care about (and by "we" I mean those who fancy women) with Kylie. She's like your mate's fit Mum that woman. Just gets better every year.

Kylie... lovely Kylie.

Lil' Jon, the second most annoying thing in the world, has released an album. Wow. It's called Crunk Rock and I haven't even bothered listening to it as my eardrums are getting enough shit off the Vuvuzelas. I'm guessing with song titles such as Pop Dat Pussy, Like a Stripper and Moist that this is not going to be some ground-breakingly, intellectual album. Probably, in fact, more of the same shite that was really annoying when it was new in about 2004 or whenever it was.

Never mind, hey, I've still got the football itself to keep me happy. Well done to USA, by the way, who got a draw against my beloved England due to a big mistake by our keeper, but by my money deserved it.

The Electric Guitar

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

This, really, is a very short little piece I'm writing. Just an observation of my preferences on guitar playing. So here goes...

I just listened to Pulling Mussels by Squeeze and noticed something. The use of economic, almost stabbing guitar parts is way more appealing, to me, than the legato style chord strumming. Something which has the feel of somebody slashing downwards quickly on their six strings and pulling off slightly with the left hand or stopping the strings with the right, with an almost stacatto effect, really gives a rock song a feeling of aggression. For instance, when Noel Gallagher plays rhythm guitar, the sound is very full (think Wonderwall), whereas when somebody of the ilk of Joe Strummer (I know I mention him a lot, I am a tad biased) or Pete Townshend (primarily on I Can't Explain) plays there is a much more open-closed feeling to the rhythm guitar chords. Kind of, timbrally speaking, a 'stab'.

This kind of 'stabbed' motion gives more of a freedom to a lead guitarist to float his solo over the top, I feel, than if he were required to do it over those seemingly never-ending chord patterns.

Just a thought...

Re-issues and Compilations

Monday, 7 June 2010

The re-issue is a funny concept. Take an album that's already been released (in most cases some years previously), re-package it and re-sell it to the masses. Genarally, in fairness, the product we're being sold is a re-mastered (I'm using that prefix quite a bit here) version and thus our product is a better quality version of the original (sonically, at least). In fact, sometimes, we're given a fantastic product. The Beatles' re-masters, which were released last year, were a real success. Those great songs were given a spruce up by George Martin and came out great.

Other times, however we have to question why these records are being released. A quick trawl through the 'What's New?' section of Spotify will show you that Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet has been re-issued recently and gives us nothing different, really, from the original. Is this just a case of labels squeezing every last penny out of the name of one of their successful artists? Probably...

This brings me nicely on to the compilation. Queen have a new singles collection out, but hang on a minute... don't they have a Greatest Hits 1, 2 and 3 already? The Clash have many a compilation/live album due to the small print in their original contract tieing them to make more than the 6 albums they thought they were required to make and I wonder how many more cases like this are out there?

Now, I love The Clash and Queen respectively, but don't need to be marketed another album every year full of the tunes of theirs I already own.

The Dream

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I have managed to map a perfect route for England to get to the World Cup Final. Here it is:

1. We win our group with 9 points trouncing a below par USA team 3-0 in the first game.
2. Germany in the second round. England win 1-0 with a late Wayne Rooney goal in extra-time.
3. We beat Argentina 4-0 in the quarter final after Messi refuses to play in Maradona's madcap 3-2-1-3-1 system.
4. England beat Portugal on penalties to reach the final, laying to rest the ghost of the last two tournament exits.

Then, unfortunately, we'd probably have Spain in the final. They're a bit good. That could be troublesome.

Today I'm hopeful. Next Sunday could be very different though. I am very cynical when it comes to our national team in tournaments.

Cowboy Mouth - Joe Strummer

Friday, 4 June 2010

3/5 - Based on the fact that the tune is a 1 and lyrics/theme are a 5.

Right let's get this straight. If somebody were to dump their girlfriend for a menial reason such as "she didn't like Man Utd." or "She had a weird big toe", I would think that rather pathetic. Cowboy Mouth however are just merely arguing that "she had to go because she didn't know who Joe Strummer was". Fair enough I say.

Cowboy Mouth

This track was released in 2006, but I myself didn't stumble across it until 2008 sometime when I typed "Joe Strummer" into Spotify, trying to listen to some Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros tunes. I've got to say, the tune itself is pretty poor. Well, no, lyrically it's hilarious. The chunky, yet well produced guitar chords are reminiscent of early Green Day (or middle or late Green Day now I think about it, they don't change all that much do they?) and the vocals are very Billie Joe Armstrong.

Don't be put off by that though. Lines such as "she looked like she slept with Guns'n'Roses / but I busted her singing all the boyband songs" give this track a humorous edge. Not to mention the very theme of the song. Imagine sitting their thinking "what's the worst thing your missus could do? Answer: Not know who Joe Strummer was!"
Joe Strummer

All in all, this track with any other theme or lyrics = dire. The humour of the track however makes it great!

Listen to the track!

Britain's Got Talent (and some freaks)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Britain’s Got Talent. Even the name of this TV show is inaccurate. It’s not that I feel this little Island doesn’t have ‘talent’. Quite the contrary, in fact. There are some great musicians / comedians / dogs (alright, I concede the last example is nonsensical) in this country. However, this show gives us fat blokes from Birmingham doing bad Sinatra impressions (for a Canadian one see Michael Buble), a lady and some dog doing a ‘routine’, two more Jacko impressionists and fuck knows what else (I’ve only watched the last two shows).

Simon Cowell gives us this line about ‘liking fish ’n’ chips’, but what he really means is: “it’s mainly the cultureless losers of Britain who will ring up and spend £1.50 a call on this crap so I’ll appeal to them with some ‘salt of the earth’, ‘every man’ crap!”

That said, I genuinely like Cowell. He’s sharp, charismatic and very funny at times. It’s just this dross (BGT) I can’t stand.

The show itself is bordering on Victorian Freak Shows at times. People who are clearly suffering from delusion (a mental illness) are derided and laughed at by the crowd of supposedly 'normal' people. The degenerates, as far as I can see are in the crowd.

And also, I fucking hate 'street dance'.

My John Lennon Figurine

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I own a John Lennon figurine. Is this sad? My girlfriend seems to think it's the saddest thing a man could own. When I was buying it she told me that it was a complete waste of £12 (I thought it was quite the bargain personally) and that toys were for kids. It is not a toy! John Lennon is one of my absolute music heroes and if I want to get a miniature model of him in his New York City phase then that's fair enough isn't it?

John inspired so many of the great artists that came after him and inspired millions of people to have a more idealistic view of the world (me for one). Sure some people scoff and say he was naive, that is purely because they don't have the capability to just dream and empathise with a world free of hatred. I know that in real life John is reported to have had his moments - violence, heroin addiction, sarcasm - but I just believe that adds to his humanity.

Along with Joe Strummer, Morrissey and Eminem I can't think of a better pop lyricist and can't think of anybody as iconic in the history of popular music (with maybe the exception of Elvis Presley). You say "John Lennon" to anybody in the world and they know who you mean.

So I can get a fucking figurine of the man if I want! Look at his fucking track record! He's a bloody modern day Beethoven! Alright!

Pinch Punch First of the Month

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Here we go then, it's June, it's officially Summer - in the UK anyway - and there's the small matter of the World Cup. Obviously in a music blog it would be mad not to talk about festivals... so I will.

Right, why do people bother with them these days? I mean, OK, you get to see two good artists, the odd new band, whatever! Paying some horrible amount of money like £180 (about average at Glastonbury this year) for four days of overpriced beer, too many listless indie bands and, probably, wet, muddy feet. Now I reckon you could spread the £180 on three or four bands you really like in venues in any of the major cities in this country, watch a few new bands supporting or the odd old codger, have clean, dry feet and shower before each gig and in the morning, you'd still get your over-priced beer - everyone's a winner baby!

Rant over. I'm praying for some sun, but it's pissing down today in London, a fair few drinking sessions and, of course, England to win the World Cup... come on England! Sing it with me "coz I remember THREE LIONS ON A SHIRT!"

A very pissed off, skinny 'white guuuy' from England

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Right, I've just been watching this show with Jay-Z, Redman, Method Man, DMX and a few others on it. It's called Backstage with Jay-Z and it's attrocious. Jay-Z comes off as OK, but also as a man who is rather shrewd i.e. making a living off of giving record deals to twits who spout off racial stereotypes. Redman and Method Man come off as two off the dumbest little fuckwits going. When sober they look genuinely gormless and use the suffix "you know whaddi'msaain'" constantly. Stoned, they make their sober selves look like the kind of intellectual heavyweights that would be able to take on any given academic within his/her field. The show itself shows how 'RedandMeff' display complete degradation towards any human being who happens to not own a pair of bollocks and a cock and shows both of these wankers up for what they are: daft cunts who truly need to pull their bloody jeans up and learn a thing or two about women's equality and intergration into modern society as absolute equals!!!!!!!

Ja Rule appears and seems much like Jay-Z, a more sombre bloke who really doesn't believe in the shite he preaches, rather just sees a few million to be made. Fair play to 'Jay and Ja' I suppose, that's capitalism hey?

Anyway, this TV show does nothing to quash the thoughts of small minded bigots, but rather just gives them something to go on. This is a real shame as I love hip-hop as a genre and actually believe that Eminem, Jay-Z, 2Pac and Nas are among the greatest artists of the least 30 years. It's also a shame, or rather more-so a shame, as it portrays some of the leading young, black males in the U.S. as daft, weed-smoking idiots who aren't particularly articulate, which is completely fucking wrong and probably fuels dick-heads across the world to believe in their far-right fascist crap!

Come on guys, time to wise up and stop believing you have to behave like some sort of loser just because of your class background, skin colour or the financial turmoil from your youth!

MGMT: Congratulations - Reviewed

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

What a fantastic band MGMT are. With their first album, 2007's Oracular Spectacular, the band provided us with some absolutely wondrous pop songs such as Kids and Electric Feel whilst throwing in the odd psychedelic number like Of Moons, Birds and Monsters and singalongs such as The Handshake and The Youth.

Second album,Congratulations,released last month, is a different beast altogether. Whilst losing none of the appeal of the first album, Congratulations is a more Syd Barrett-esque take on things. Psychedelia is clearly an influence on the album (see Siberian Brakes ) but doesn't overrule the melodic nature. Brian Eno is a fantastically catchy track about the former Roxy Music knob twiddler/whatever he was doing man turned demi-God producer and friend to Bono and Chris Martin. It's this album's Time to Pretend. Lyrics such as "my whole foundation came unglued/when i tried to humanize by ambient light/dipping swords in metaphors/yeah but what does he know?/he's go the whole world behind him he's Brian Eno, Brian Eno!" have more than a hint of tongue-in-cheek qualities about them. Another fabulous look at how both we and an artist can believe their hype.

Congratulations is a complete success, if it's slightly less accessible than the first album, it's certainly no worse off for it. It's their White Album to Sgt. Pepper.

Eminem: Not Afraid (New Single) - Reviewed

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Being the most controversial, recognisable and gifted rapper of his generation means Eminem releases are always big news. With a new album, Recovery, set to come out in June, Not Afraid, the first single from said album is an interesting track.

With a kind of militant, choral chorus with a heavy amount of voice multiplication and verses which include an almost shouted vocal, this track is not half bad. Eminem has always been fantastic at bending the English language to fit into his sometimes remarkably intricate raps and this track is no exception.

The song has a feeling of complete determination about it. Defiant lyrics, littered with the profanities we have come to expect from Detroit's finest export since a certain label ruled the world (Jack White's not too shabby either though, I suppose), Not Afraid, I imagine, is destined to be a worldwide hit, or at least a trans-Atlantic one.

The boy's done good once more!

The Black Keys: Brothers - Reviewed!

Monday, 24 May 2010

The first thing that struck me about this album was the cover sleeve. Sounds a rather obvious statement as this is generally one's first impression when looking at an album. The striking design, however shows exactly what I mean.

The message is rather simple and a kind of geek's approach to humorous album design.

The musical content is rather typical Black Keys territory. Mainly blues based rock with catchy riffs, rasping, blue-note, passionate vocals worked into some fine tunes. Opening track Every Lasting Light is a perfect example of this. Next girl is similar in style and by the end of that I was hoping for something slightly different. Tighten Up, the third track gives a bit of respite. A fantastic riff, breaks in style throughout and a more spacey feel on production give the track a unique and cool identity.

The group have made a good album here, it has to be said. Obvious comparison with the work of Jack White can be drawn, but this is no bad thing. She's Long Gone conjures up Led Zeppelin images and also of what Robert Johnson may have sounded like in today's world.

One of the best albums I've heard this year so far and a credit to the band.