Friday, 29 August 2008

To the BBC: An apology

Re: the post earlier this week about the Reading festival.
I've just been flicking through the EPG on my generic hard-drive video recorder, and noticed that there's a Culture Show special on Metallica on Sunday night.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.....repeat to fade..............

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Brighton DOESN'T rock

I was down in East Sussex/Kent the other week. While I was there I went to Brighton, I've never been there before. I've never been so disappointed in a place in all my life - and I've been to Las Vegas. The weekend before I went it was the Gay Pride festival, it looked like they'd followed it up with a litter throwing festival. Not clean. Even the main road going into the town centre wasn't very inviting.
Some friends of mine told me to go to The Lanes, 'The Lanes are great!' they said. Well, I suppose they're great if you're into a claustrophobic maze of jewellery and t-shirt shops. I spent a tidy five minutes in The Lanes
The seafront can't decide what it wants to be either, is is tacky traditional British seaside or sophisticated cafe culture? Make your mind up.
The beach isn't even suited for bathing, with it being made up of pebbles. The same pebbles which are also deafeningly loud when the waves subside.
To cap it all, it cost me over £11 to park my car for six hours. Bah!

Having said that, I did have a strawberry milkshake to die for in Brighton. Oh, and the Pavillion was pretty groovy, if a little expensive for what is, essentially, a council house.

What I did rate down there though was Dungeness. That is like no place I've ever visited in Britain before. What do you get at Dungeness? Well, you get two nuclear power stations, two lighthouses, a community of arty types living in wooden shacks and the biggest sky I've ever seen in the UK.
What you also get is the end of the line of the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. I'm not normally into railways, but this one's great. It's the sort of uncommonly British day out that gets listed in these two excellent books.
What with it dating back to the 1920s, developers have gone up to it, so you get little level crossings bisecting residential cul-de-sacs. Who can't resist waving from a train carriage to people waiting in cars at level crossings? If you can, then there are no sticky buns for you at my house.
The other end of the line is in Hythe, which is a lovely place, it's got a Waitrose and everything. It was gorgeous sitting by the river eating an ice cream and watching people row boats up and down. I think that was on the day this year when it was actually summer. Apparently Hythe has the longest High Street in Britain, and it was free of New Look, Next, SupaSnaps etc.

Here's some video of the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. I did shoot some myself but You Tube wouldn't let me upload it.
Look, the trains are tiny.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Not very metal

I notice that the editor of zeitgeist was on duty at the BBC's coverage of the Reading* festival this past weekend. Why is is that there was blanket coverage of the event on Friday and Saturday nights but only two and a bit hours on Sunday? Do you think that could have anything to do with the Metallica being the headline act?

When the BBC covers Glastonbury they usually show about an hour of the headlining act. Why not the same with Metallica than? Is it because somewhere in the BBC's music department they don't like heavy metal? They showed just four songs from Metallica's set; the same amount as they showed for the lead 'singer' of the Arctic Monkeys' hobby band. Of course the Last Shadow Puppets are big news in the NME, aren't they? How silly of me. I don't suppose the fact that Metallica have sold over fifty million albums and sell out stadiums wherever they go had any bearing on the decision to only show four songs, instead of an hour's worth of material.

It's always the same with these music snobs though. If you watch any BBC music documentary, the general consensus is that the period 1970-1976 was ruled by prog rock bands with their slow and ponderous workouts. That's usually accompanied by tired stock footage of Genesis-era Peter Gabriel doing a jig in a pixie's hat, Keith Emerson shoving daggers into a Hammond organ and Roger Waters knocking seven shades of shit out of a gong. If it was such a bad period for music, how come those bands sold so many records? Then, of course, you're told this tale of how punk blew everything away. Which is funny, because in 1977 - supposedly punk's year zero - Yes, ELP and Pink Floyd all released massive-selling albums.

I'm not under any illusions here; a lot of prog rock was dross (and here I'm looking at ELP and anything Yes did between 1973 and 1976), but some of it was good, in some cases very good. I love punk, but I think these documentary makers have re-written musical history to suit their own tastes. What are they going to do now that even Johnny Lydon has come out of the closet about his admiration for Van Der Graaf Generator?

One good thing about the BBC's coverage of Reading though was Zane Lowe, a man I'd never really had much time for until this weekend. His enthusiasm and fondness for Metallica was enough to even make the most ardent metal hater soften their stance.
If it was Laverne, Jupitus or Whiley on presenting duties you could guarantee there'd be lots of devil's horn gestures towards the camera while gently mocking it. I've still not forgiven Jupitus for an awful 'ironic' interview he did, on his 6Music breakfast show, with Rush when they were on their 2004 UK tour. Wanker.

What is worrying though is the amount of crap British bands there are out there. I'm mean you The Wombats, Babyshambles, The Subways, The Enemy, Dirty Pretty Things, Foals etc. Only two really stood out for me: Anglo-Australian drum 'n' bass 'n' metal outfit Pendulum (who are what The Prodigy would have been if they hadn't let that Keith Flint idiot write songs) and The Cribs (even though the guitarist comes over as a dick). Where are the next Led Zeppelin or Iron Maiden going to come from?

*I used to go out with a girl who once informed me that she'd received a prospectus from *Reeding* university. I stopped laughing about six hours later. I got dumped about two days later. Ho-hum.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Fringe benefits

I know there are media types who read this and this won't sound very exciting, but I've just returned from Edinburgh. I still get a rush from seeing telly type people just wandering around going about their business. In the space of three days I've seen, from what I remember, just chillin':
Michael Barrymore
Henry Normal
Paul Jackson
Kirsten O'Brien
Al Murray
The little turd from Son of Rambow
Isy Suttie (my new heart throb from Peep Show)
John Hegley
A bloke with dark hair I can't put a name to but I've seen him on telly and he was showing off his new Italian girlfriend
Richard Herring
Rhod Gilbert
Mike 'The Twat' McShane
David Threlfall

I was thinking of doing a 'funny' Fringe video report and putting it on here, but I couldn't be arsed. Maybe I'll get to put the frighteners on Lauren Laverne next year, eh?

Besides, Danny Baker's right; there are far too many comedians.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Jo Whiley's a tit

I went on holiday a couple of weeks ago, before I went I thought I'd by myself a magazine. Perusing the shelves of a motorway services branch of WH Smith the cover of the current Q caught my eye. I think I must have bought every copy of that magazine between 1988 and 1998, but haven't had it for years what with all their 'list' issues. I only really bought it this time because Metallica were on the cover, and there was a great bit about The Raconteurs inside. Anyway, in the back they have a feature called The Ten Commandments - I don't think I need to explain the gist of this regular feature - and this month it was Jo Whiley. She gets my back up at the best of times, but she's just made it even worse. Get this:
Educate your children "I've shaped my 16 year-old daughter pretty well. There was a brief Spice Girls phase, but I soon crushed that out of her. It was the Arctic Monkeys, I think, that first turned her on to 'good' music. I'm grateful to them for that"

I hate parents who do that. One of the things behind me getting into more alternative types of music at an impressionable age was to piss my parents off, along with growing my hair and a beard and smoking jazz fags. The stuff I was bringing into the house was so much at odds with what everyone else was listening to that it might as well have been coming from another planet. Any record with one of those little Parental Advisory stickers on it was usually taken straight to the till at R&K Records. Even Ice T's Original Gangster album.
What gives Whiley the right to dictate to her daughter what she does and what she doesn't listen to? If she likes the Spice Girls so what? A lot of kids of her generation did. No doubt the child was listening to My Bloody Valentine in the womb.
Which is something you see an awful lot of in Rush fans.
"Er, yeah, when we went for the first scan we had Cygnus X-1* playing. Then when we went for the second scan Xanadu** was playing. At the birth we made sure as soon as the head popped out By-Tor and the Snow Dog*** was cued up on the stereo"

The thing is, with so many kids these days listening to their parents copies of Led Zeppelin 4 and Combat Rock the only way to rebel these days is to fill your iPod with music that's deeply unfashionable. I feel the ELP, Toyah and Celine Dion revival is just around the corner.

*10+ minute song about a doomed spacecraft.
**12+minute song based on the poem by Coleridge.
***10+ minute song about a battle between a dog and a fucking robot.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Diane Keen's tits

I hate ignorant bastards. Not the sort of ignorance from a lack of knowledge, I'm talking about the rudeness kind of ignorance. I say that because I've just seen my neighbours down at Waitrose (get me, shopping at Waitrose, ain't I the posh one?), and they totally blanked me. Well, they blanked me until I made a point of going right into their faces and saying hello. It was like this episode of Father Ted where you keep bumping into the same person.
Why are people like that? The woman from next door makes a point of not speaking when you see her outside on the street. I was always bought up to believe that civility costs nothing. What if there's some sort of emergency one time and they need to speak to me? Fuck 'em.

Anyway, after yesterday's look at the papers, I thought I'd transcribe an actual letter I saw in the Daily Star today:
"Can you print a picture of Kym Marsh in your paper? I reckon she'd be a right saucy minx!"

Why didn't the sad bastard who's written in, no doubt via email, just Google 'Kym Marsh' for his wanking material? Unbelievable.
It reminded me of those letters you get in Viz:
"Please can you print a photo of a vicar blowing out some candles on a birthday cake" or "How a bout a pic of Diane Keen with her tits out? Her smile's enough to brighten anyone's day"

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Tomorrow's chip paper

I've been having a jolly good time reading the papers just lately, I love reading the paper. Here's my selected highlights:

  • Liam Gallagher: says what he likes, and likes what he bloody well says. Even if Oasis are on autopilot these days, I've still got time for him. And he's keeping up the great tradition of V-flicking, eschewing the more American, and increasingly popular 'giving the bird'. And I own a target badge like the one in the pic.

  • I know bugger all about Julie Burchill, but what I do know is that I agree with just about every word she wrote in what I'm sure is The Sun's first think piece.

  • Stuart Maconie speaks sense.

A lowlight:

Saturday, 9 August 2008

You know you're getting old when... acquire an electric ear and nose hair shaver, as I just have. Ugh! Bring on the Wincarnis and big slipper (or 'Footmuff', which sounds like something you pay for in Amsterdam).

Friday, 1 August 2008


Just a quickie before I go, this is excellent news he's far too undervalued in my book. Euro '08 606 was a joy thanks to him.

Going where the sun shines brightly. Hopefully.