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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.

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!"