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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.

Glasto Round Up

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

After digesting some of the great performances from the weekend's festivities at Glastonbury I have to say it looked like a great festival.

Colplay's Saturday night headlining set was dazzling. An array of multicolour lighting and lazers illuminated an electrifying performance and Chris Martin's high octane energy was the stuff of a proper rock star.

Coldplay - Viva la Vida @ Glasto 2011

U2 were very good also. As they should be. A crowd that size is their forte and it showed. Just very comfortable and good.

Plan B put in a great shift, playing the whole Strickland Banks record. His voice and his band sounded great and the big man took it all in his stride.

Morrissey as I've already discussed was good. Kool and the Gang surprised me, really fun performance and their new, young singer handled the crowd extremely well.

Beyonce in all her glory

Finally, Beyonce, well... she was pretty good. I'm not her biggest fan anyway (Rihanna does it more for me in the solo female R&B category) and generally her songs get a little on my tits, but she did what she had to: entertained. At points I found the crowd-inclusive parts slightly nauseating, but nevertheless, she was good.

Coldplay were the big winners in my eyes, though. Well done boys.

Coldplay perform new song Every Teardrop is a Waterfall @ Glasto 2011

Radiohead and Pulp Play Glasto

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Quelle suprise, Radiohead and Pulp have played their 'secret' (nothing is so in today's World chaps) gigs at Glastonbury Festival.

I've not had a chance to look at them yet, but will in due time and will also report on them.

BBC iPlayer had their (Pulp's) 1995 and (Radiohead's) 1997 sets respectively up all last week, this was the first hint. Then came the barrage of whistleblowing online and before long, even a marxist hippie with a severe hatred of computers and news coverage would have had half an idea (not that such a person would be seen dead at Glasto these days for £195 a pop).

The Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury

Still, it's great that there are little extras for those paying the extortionate amount to get into the mega-fest.

A Quick Note on Friday's Post

Well, there was nothing of the sort from Moz then was there. Just a really great set. His only comments on U2, in fact, were "I'll sing quickly, I know you're all waiting for U2" and "Enjoy U2 [to the crowd]".

I, personally (thank heavens for BBC iPlayer), was busy enjoying Morrissey however. Other than a poor rendition of This Charming Man (his band's, rather than his fault due to guitarists just playing the chords and none of the intricate, jangly bits) it was a fantastic gig.

The bequiffed one in all his glory

Running through hits like You Have Killed Me and a fantastic rendition of Meat is Murder (the forethought of which was provided by Moz welcoming the banning of circus animals in the U.K.) he was on top form.

Call me a dreamer, but a Smiths reunion would be nice. Just Morrissey and Marr would be fine (no Mike Joyce confrontations that way).

The Big One: Glastonbury - Morrissey and U2 Take Centre Stage

Friday, 24 June 2011


Tonight will see both Morrissey and U2 take to the world-famous Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival. It is highly fitting that two of the World's most famous acts will take said stage. There may be a problem, though, as two of the most egotistical people in rock music will be taking the stage one after another, namely: Morrissey and Bono.

In the case of Morrissey, everybody knows what a cantankerous old git he can be. I do wonder what he thinks of being essentially the warm up act for the genuine headliners. I do wonder if he will, in fact, make any kind of rant on his hatred for U2 and in turn what that may provoke Bono into.


Morrissey is also well known for his animal rights campaigning and his overt (some might say in your face) praise of vegetarianism. Expect some kind of spout on that and be ready for some kind of Bono rant on third world problems and the like.

The main thing we can hope to expect, though, are two great performances from two truly great rock acts. And maybe a little fire-stoking from Moz, after all: that's entertainment.

5 of the Best - Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

In light of the death of Clarence Clemons this week, here's 5otB from The Boss and his band of merry men.

Born to Run - Just an astonishing feat of building a song to an end goal; in this case the refrain line "tramps like us, baby we were born to run". Springsteen's lyrical imagery is both a celebration and degradation of the gutter and The Big Man's sax solo is, well, stupefyingly good.

Thunder Road - "Show a little faith there's magic in the night/you ain't a beauty but hey you're alright/and that's alright with me". The first song on the Born to Run LP is the perfect introduction to an album that tells a story of romance and working-class life with such skill and not just lyrically.

Thunder Road

I'm on Fire - Dark, open and easily empathised with, the open letter style I'm on Fire is one of the greatest songs of longing ever written.

Dancing in the Dark - Yeah the drums sound a bit dated, yeah the synths are a tad cheesy and '80s, but it's still a wonderfully catchy tune.

Dancing in the Dark

Blinded By the Light - A really infectious, well-written song with a great chorus that can get stuck in the head easily. Not in a bad way though.

Some Thoughts...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

First things first: It was a big shame to wake up on Sunday morning to the news of Clarence Clemons's death. Clemons was a mesmerising saxophonist and, whereas in many songs it can be an annoyance, he made the sax integral to the sound of Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band. Rest in Peace Big Man.

Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen (from the Born to Run album sleeve)

Also: For some reason (probably monetary) Coldplay have collaborated with dance music giants Swedish House Mafia. The song Every Teardrop is a Waterfall is OK, but it does seem an odd pairing. Still, fair play I suppose, it's good to be multi-faceted.

Finally: I thought Damon Albarn's performance of his new track Apple Carts (from his new opera Doctor Dee)on The Andrew Marr Show (BBC) was beautiful. It was a really sombre little moment and his voice sounds as good as it ever has.

Damon Albarn - Apple Carts (Live on The Andrew Marr Show)

Radiohead @ Glastonbury '97 on BBC iPlayer

Monday, 20 June 2011

In two days time Glastonbury Festival 2011 begins. This year's main headline act will be U2, the Tesco of modern rock, if you will; extremely big, everywhere and you've probably contributed to their fortune in some way. 1997 saw the Waitrose of modern rock, Radiohead; quality controlling, connoisseur's choice and just that bit better than the rest, take the Pyramid Stage by storm.

By this point Radiohead were arguably already at their zenith having given us The Bends and OK Computer. The subsequent boundary pushing that would ensue in the band's later career would only enhance this lofty reputation, with 2007's In Rainbows at its peak. In footballing terms Radiohead go about their business in Barcelona-esque fashion; better than everyone else and probably Unicef approved due to their ethical stance.

Thom Yorke

Analogies aside, Radiohead are fantastic and, in 1997, on the back of contendably their best album (the aforementioned OK Computer), were an obvious choice for Michael Eavis (Glasto organiser).

Watching this gig on the sofa yesterday made me wish I was older than 10 in '97 so that I could have been a part of it all. From opening track Lucky right the way through this was an astonishing set. The ease with which Thom Yorke seems to be able to sing note-perfect whilst helping his band create a beautiful sonic experience instrumentally is dumbfounding.

Lucky from the gig

As I sat there slack-jawed yesterday in awe of Oxford's finest institution (hehe, my brother as a Cambridge alumnus will like that) it dawned on me that the quality on display was and is so rare that it can truly be labelled 'once in a lifetime', the like of which we may never see matched in the future.

Reasons to be Cheerful, Reasons to be Fearful

Friday, 17 June 2011

3 Reasons to be cheerful...

Arctic Monkeys new album is very good. Suck it and See may in fact be the worst title for an album since Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water, but it sounds great. Way better than Limp Bizkit.

Lee 'Scratch' Perry has released more of the Black Ark Dub Plates with a record titled The Return of the Scratch Sound System. It's got 5 stars in Mojo and deservedly so, I gave it a quick listen the other day and from what I heard it's more subsonic dub mayhem and brilliance.

Very soon, everybody's favourite West London superheroes, QPR FC, will be back on Match of the Day. Come on you R's.

Lee 'Scratch' Perry - A bit different

3 Reasons to be fearful...

The Feeling have a new record out.

Toploader have made a comeback.

Chancellor George Osborne... in general. He even looks bloody evil doesn't he?

McCartney and Gorillaz?

If reports are to be believed, then Paul McCartney could be in line to collaborate with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's Gorillaz. The 68 year old Liverpudlian said "We have kind of talked - nothing serious but I like what they do. It's got near a couple of times but we never had the time". (Quote taken from The Celebrity Cafe website).

Gorillaz are well known for their all-star collaborations, with the likes of Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg and Shaun Ryder all having worked with the animated band in the past, as well as The Clash's Mick Jones and Paul Simonon donating their services recently on the band's tour.


Should McCartney enter the fold, one wonders what his role may be. With his voice holding up pretty well these days and his multi-instrumental facets coupled with those of Albarn and Hewlett and a taste for more leftfield influence for Gorillaz this could be an exciting prospect.

With last year's Plastic Beach album being lauded by critics and achieving good commercial success, Gorillaz would be expected to come together again soon, however, with Albarn's many other projects, the question must be asked 'where will he fit it all in?'

Personally, the thought of Albarn and McCartney coming together to record each other's burps would dot it for me, but we shall have to wait to see what happens.

1994 Shooting of 2Pac: Man Allegedly Confesses

Thursday, 16 June 2011

According to Pitchfork Media this morning, a man has allegedly confessed to shooting 2Pac in 1994. The shooting, which led to the infamous bitter and public rivalry between Biggie and 2Pac (due to 2Pac accusing Notorious B.I.G. of being behind the act), was allegedly carried out by a man named Dexter Isaac on behalf of music Exec. (now manager of rapper The Game) James Rosemond.

In light of this it is possible that police could follow up leads and shed new light on both of the unsolved murders of Biggie and Tupac. Though in many quarters it is believed to have been Suge Knight (Death Row Records's boss) who was behind the murders of both men.


Dexter Isaac has decided to confess due to the staute of limitations for an assault passing.

If all of this is believed to be true this could be a big revelation and a step forward in finding out what went on back in those heady East vs West Coast days in the '90s.

The X Factor - Auditions

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

So, yesterday I spent my day in the audience of the third and final day at the Manchester X-Factor auditions and, wow, I think I saw a potential winner, a definite-to-make-the-telly double-act and, of course, many of Manchester's finest, fishwife-esque loud-mouths screaming away at the judges - the new line-up of Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Tulisa from N-Dubz and the familiar presence of Louis Walsh - and the 'talent' or lack thereof.

Firstly, to the potential winner: an Anglo-American woman of 35 who has a fantastic voice. The lady in question, Beverly (born in Tottenham, London, raised in America, now back in England), sang the Minnie Ripperton hit Loving You in note-perfect fashion (yes, even that ridiculously high bit was perfect) and, as they always say 'this is a singing contest', it is worth mentioning that this lady is the finest singer I have ever seen stroll on to the X Factor stage. Fantastic.

Secondly, on to the two young chaps from Bradford. The guys did a superbly funny rendition of a Justin Timberlake song and that new Drake one (the names of both escape me at the moment), with the shorter, geekier one lurching into raps every so often. Very, very funny.

In with the New... The Class of 2011

The crowd were, well, like you'd imagine a British X Factor crowd to be. Loud, lairy and constantly booing, cheering and gasping where appropriate (or not). Mainly made up of females between 16 and 40, the audience had a wonderful array of exclamations to make for home town judge Barlow from "We love you Gary" to, rather crudely, "I wanna sit on his (Barlow's) lap and spin on his cock" from one rather over-zealous 30-something.

In all it was a great audition day and an insight into how the show is put together, even if it all is a little kitsch. Also Kelly Rowland is bloody gorgeous and Tulisa's not too shabby either. Don't worry I didn't shout out any crude fantasies though.