Saturday, 29 December 2007


Hello boys and girls. Time for my reviews of the albums of the year. Enjoy the clips!!


Who would have thought that They Might Be Giants could team up with The Dust Brothers and come up with something amazing. Well, to be fair, I probably would have thought that all along, but this is still pretty amazing. Their last studio album, The Spine, was a pretty hit and miss affair - it seemed to be cobbled together from bits and pieces and outtakes. This one is a hella more coherent. Many of the songs are built on loops and breaks, giving them a kind of menacing and slightly dirty feeling - very very different to TMBG's cutesy reputation. Highlights include Bee Of The Bird of The Moth (featuring an original Rolf Harris Stylophone, given to the band by BBC Radio 2 DJ Jonathan Ross), the Dust Brothers and crazy brass heavy Withered Hope and this song, the album's opener, I'm Impressed. And I am.


This is Roisin Murphy's second solo album and it's a bloody blinder. I think of it as being kind of like anti-opera (much as I love a bit of opera!) because it is, on the face of it, pure style over substance, but there are so many deeper levels to it. The title track, Overpowered (the video for which is below) is a stylish electro tune with lyrics about hormones and chemistry and hidden depths. Second single Let Me Know is a complete and utter 80s piano house romp, but it draws you in. There's even a bit of 90s cheese in there with the song about (possibly) porn called Movie Star. None of it is going to win the Pullitzer Prize, but I know from DJing experience that this shit really gets people dancing. Buy it now. You owe it to yourselves.


My album of late summer. This is largely due to the fact that I saw the band do a live set at La Route Du Rock Festival in St Malo, France. An amazing night if ever there was one. Even the fact that my friend Katty got knocked out and sent to the hospital tent while they were playing didn't stop me dancing. Even the fact that I had lost my other half somewhere and was on my own with a load of French people didn't ruin my enjoyment of it. I'm all heart like that, you see! Standout tracks include the duet with Uffie, The Party, which is pure sleaze, the absolutely brilliant electro funk of DVNO and the pure genius of this track, D.A.N.C.E.


Another Route Du Rock moment, although I'd been salivating at their stuff for a long time on Myspace. New Young Pony Club came onstage before headliners, C.S.S. Let me just say right now that C.S.S. are one of my very favourite acts for years. I'd been looking forward to seeing them live for months. But as soon as New Young Pony Club had finished their set, Mark and I decided that we didn't want to see anymore. C.S.S. would have just seemed lame in comparison, and I didn't want that to be my experience of seeing them live. Do I regret that now? Yeah, kind of. But I HEARD C.S.S. as we staggered back to the campsite on mushrooms (uh oh) and that was an awesome enough experience in itself. Some people say the two bands are fairly similar. In a way that's true. Judge for yourself with this song, Ice Cream.


In 2006 Mark and I went to Sheffield on some nasty business. To chillout in the evening we decided to go to Club NME, not really expecting much except some crap bands and cheap beer. What we got were Monkey Swallows The Universe, a band so amazingly beautiful that we had tears in our eyes. We even blagged our way backstage to ask them if they would be interested in coming to play in Jersey. We knew we NEEDED to see them live again. Somehow we never quite managed to get that together (even though the band were keen) and, with the release of this album and their growing profile, I don't think this is likely to happen really. So maybe another trip to Sheffield on some more pleasant business will be in order in the future. Anyway, I think that this lot have, in the future, the potential to become my favourite band of all time. I'll let the very beautiful song Science speak for itself.

Friday, 28 December 2007


Greetings one and all. Been a marvellous Christmas and all that - drank and ate too much (as usual), had some ups and some downs and even some major dramas. And I've sat around and read a few blogs and realised that the most successful ones weren't trying to be clever - they were just generously written accounts of people's lives. So I decided that I need to have a bit more of that in my blog - so here's my account of some ups, some downs and some major dramas.

I did bloody well for Christmas presents, considering that I'm getting on a bit. My lovely fella bought me a huge bottle of Lolita Lempicka, a Chaka Khan T-Shirt (I did want that!!), a book and a box of kites - 366 kites to be exact - one to build for every day in 2008 (which is a leap year). Considering that we live on a beach, that's a pretty bloody awesome present. I also got various assorted bottles of booze and a really beautiful patchwork quilt, which are things that I have always loved - probably something to do with my obssession with all things Americana. And Emo made us a bottle of chilli oil, which was sweet and lovely and helped with Christmas dinner no end.

Later on Christmas Day we went to a party at our friends Ben and Stavros' flat. Some douchebag with terrible dyed hair (I won't name him because he doesn't deserve the infamy, but I will say that he has not accepted the fact that ginger hair looks loads better than ginger roots in a dyed black bouffe!) made a very homophobic comment to me. Cunt. He's done this before too. Anyway - Mark proceeded to try to beat him up. Probably not that good an idea, but I still love him for it. Since then I've been getting loads of messages of support from people on Facebook and Myspace and the like, telling me that this bloke is a knobhead through and through. So MEH to him.

Boxing Day we had our cocktail party. Complete and utter carnage. Several people fell down the stairs, random strangers got off with each other and someone decided it was a good idea to put Absinthe in the punch. I was watching people, completely sober, go up and take one small glass of punch and go from sober to steaming in ten seconds. In the end I decided that it really was a case of if you can't beat them join them! Don't remember much about the latter part of the party, but I do know that I was talking to my friend Lucy in a completely incoherent Ulster accent about CLOWN SHOES for about an hour. Then I collapsed. Everyone else left about 5:30am in the end. The next morning the house looked as if an episode of Skins had been filmed in it (see the video below for an explanation of that, non UK peops!) It was all good. All worth it. But I am really looking forward to a completely sober few months in 2008.

The really big Boxing Day dramas happened hundreds of miles away, in my home village of Bispham Green, though. And those dramas are haunting me still. There are two people I used to know called John and Jeanne. I was friendly with them and in the case of one of them I was very friendly. I won't say any more about them, except to say that it all turned nasty and we ended up falling out big time. I was very hurt by it all at the time and felt as though I would never be able to turn my life around, but I did - I moved on, found a man I adore and live in a place far away that is beautiful and suits me down to the ground. I have had no contact with them at all for nearly four years. But it seems as though they are unable to move one. Jeanne's sister decided to attack my sister in law, Sarah, on Boxing Day. It all turned really nasty and my brother, Ian, hit John. And knocked his front teeth out. I was really shocked by this, but then it turns out that John and Jeanne and co have been threatening and abusing my family for months. And I can see absolutely no reason why. Maybe there are reasons and Ian and Sarah just haven't told me about them to protect me.

But Ian was arrested today. The police have told him that it sounds as though he was provoked and that he would probably get a caution. But they can't guarantee that. So it's all kind of up in the air and I feel a bit numb that something that I though was ancient history is still haunting my life in various ways. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that the situation doesn't get any worse.

So - yeah - that was my little account of the last few days. Quite therapeutic actually. Expect some more rambling, random thoughts soon.

And now, Skins.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


I've not written anything for a while, which kind of annoys me because I started out with really good intentions. But, meh. I've just been watching a Channel 4 show about women's sex blogs, and that has inspired me to get the keyboard out again, which is kind of ironic, but here we go...

So there was this woman, who wrote, under the pseudonym Abbey Lee, a blog called
Girl With A One Track Mind. This blog, by all accounts, documented her sexual frustrations, fantasies and misadventures throughout 2004. Eventually she was exposed by a tabloid newspaper as being a nice middle class Jewish girl who worked in the film industry. Tabloid newspapers think, of course, that nice middle class Jewish girls thinking about sex is front page news.

Anyway - on this programme, an array of former bluestockings now running clit-lit magazines and lipstick lesbians, twatted on about how
Girl With A One Track Mind was revolutionary because it showed the whole world that women do think about sex. It challenged the prevailing view in society that women are not sexual beings and it said to me "Hey, you guys! We've got news for you! Women like fucking too! Get over it, losers!" This is, of course, the very worst kind of Channel 4 style lazy journalism, made by people with Cultural / Women's / Media Studies degrees. And it's a load of complete and utter total and absolute bollocks.

Firstly, there is no groundswell of opinion amongst the male population that women don't like fucking. Just the opposite, in fact. I think most straight men I know have an over inflated sense of how much women think about sex. They like to think that most women are up for it all the time. I think this probably isn't true, but men convince themselves that it is and it's what stops them losing all hope.

Secondly, where I grew up, there was never any demonstrable way in which women's sexuality is supressed in the way that these University Sex Kittens would like to think it is. Women in working men's clubs in Wigan are more than happy to say "Nice arse, love!" and grab a fella's butt - and no man they do that too is likely to be shocked. They're not likely to get raped because of it either - though if they both fancy each other, it could end in a nice fuck!

The only reason that these Katie Puckrick lookalikes think that this doesn't happen is because they really want to be Betty Page but they're stuck with being...well...erm...Katie Puckrick. Which is likely to be a cock block for any man, I would have thought.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the kind of women who are remotely impressed by this academic nonsense about women's sexuality fall into two camps. Either they are academic types themselves, who see an opportunity to tubthump about yet another oppression of women - or they are nice middle class women, who hide the fact that their biological clock is ticking away by pretending that they are fiercely sexual and predatory and not at all interested in marriage and children, when, in actual fact, what they really care about is making sure that they can have skinny milk in their lattes. And decaff too. Or even soya. No - not soya. Make that rice milk - because Gillian McKeith says that rice milk is better.

I think that the sad truth is that women have gone from being oppressed by a patriarchal state apparatus, to being viciously and relentlessly oppressed by each other. You only have to glance through the pages of Cosmopolitan to know that this is the case. The basic ethos of this dreadful rag (and many others like it) can be summed up thus: men are all bastards, they are only fit to be mocked and manipulated by their female superiors - but here's how to get one anyway. Or thus: It's okay to be fat - look how cool Dawn French is. She's funny and successful and amazing. But her clothing range is shit. All clothes bigger than a size twelve are shit. So give up chocolate and wheat and dairy and fat and sugar and alcohol - drink a soya decaff latte. But it's cool when a man buys you chocolate. Even better if it's a chocolate cake. With cream. At the staff do - where you can get really drunk on champagne and shag the office hunk. Who won't fancy you in the New Year when you are a fat munter who can't fit into her fabulous Karen Millen dress anymore. So you'll have to go back to the soya decaff lattes again.
You see how ridiculously circular this all is?

Of course, there are some feminists who say that the real people behind this new oppression of women are fatcat capitalists who want to sell things. They're right, of course. But women are not stupid - and there are plenty of reasonable voices saying to them "Come on, girls! Don't buy into this bollocks anymore!" Look at French women - they eat cheese and bread - they drink wine - they can even get red wine and steak on prescription when they're feeling a little depressed. But they have a healthy approach to food and sex and life. So they do nothing to excess. Consequently they're as sexy as fuck for the most part.

So here is my sex blog advice to my female friends - if you think that sex blogs or soft core porn written by women who wear way too much red lipstick are sexy, then you aren't; if you insist on skinny or soya milk in your coffee, then you're frigid; if you read Cosmo and take seriously absolutely anything you read in it then you will be getting divorced before your kids finish University. Eat cream. Give blow jobs. Gorge on chocolate. Find your G spot. Have a fucking massive sarnie, for fuck's sake!!!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Music is my life. It's something that you see on countless social networking site profiles everywhere. People say it and I'm not sure what it means. So I've been thinking alot about it lately and I've come to the conclusion that music isn't my life at all.

But let's get one thing clear from the outset. I love music. It enriches my existence more than I can possibly say. An example - yesterday I had my ipod on shuffle and Nothing But Flowers by Talking Heads came on - a song I would never have specifically picked to listen to. And then I heard the lyrics:

Years ago I was an angry young man I'd pretend that I was a billboard. Standing tall by the side of the road I fell in love with the beautiful highway.

It literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. There couldn't be a more thoughtful, caring, poetic, generous admonishment to tubthumping youngsters anywhere. And all this set to Johnny Marr's glorious guitar, ringing like a bell, coupled with the best rhythm section in rock history. Make no mistake - every single day there are moments when music fills me with complete and utter joy and love.

But music isn't my life. In fact - there are moments when I just want it to go away. I hate it on a Sunday morning, for example. I just want quiet. I'd rather listen to the sound of the waves when I'm walking on the beach. I like to go drinking in places where there is no music, just the gentle hum of conversation and the chinking of glasses occasionally. And is there anything more irritating than being forced to listen to music that you despise? Well, yes, of course there is, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it. At the moment my bugbear is that (I think) Killers song with the line it's indie rock 'n' roll to me. There are few things in the cultural world more lame than that song. And that's another reason why music isn't my life - though I hate that song and hate it when colleagues at work put it on, it doesn't inspire huge feelings of ire in me. I don't really mind - I know that it will be over in four minutes at the most and then I can forget about it.

You hear people who act as though it really is the apocalypse when they are forced to listen to a song they don't like - or even a song they don't know. These are usually people who like to use music as a weapon - to prove to people how much cooler than everybody else they are. Sorry - but music can't do that. Liking Devo doesn't make you cool - Devo are cool, but you aren't. There are millions of Devo fans all over the world (including me) and they can't all be the coolest person ever. Fact of life I'm afraid. Conversely, thinking that the end of the third act of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro is one of the most sublime musical inventions ever (as I do) does not make me naff. I reckon the only people who would think it does would be people who haven't heard it and who don't want to hear it. That just makes me more musically literate than you, I'm afraid.

So. No. Music isn't my life. I'd hate to have to live without it, but it's not that high up on the list of things I would rather die than give up. I fell in love with the beautiful highway, I'm afraid.