Saturday, June 27, 2015

“Hey Grandpa, thank you for getting up and having a dance with me, I love that old folk song “American Pie” and I love that you can still get on the dance floor at 92 years of age and strut your funky stuff”
“Well son, I am delighted to still be here and to be able to shake my walking sticks in time to the groove”
“The guy in the song sings about ’the day the music died’ and it makes me sad. Was this something that happened in the Great Spotify War Grandpa?”
“Nope, but your history lessons have paid off because it was pretty damn close.”
“Who got hurt Grandpa?”
“Well son, there was no blood spilled and no battle casualties but it was definitely the day the music died.” A juvenile tear formed in the corner of the old man’s eye.
“What’sapp Grandpa, why are you upset?”
“Well son, the music died on the 27th June 2015 and I was watching it live on the old television on the what used to be the BBC but what you know as McNando’s, It was a sight I will never forget.”
“Was that when Elvis died…”
“No son, your history is wrong……”
“Was it the day they found the poet laureate Doherty dead in a skip with a needle in his arm?”
“No son, it was Kanye West headlining at Glastonbury Festival”
“Is that related to the McGlastonBud festival?”
“No…Well yeah, whatever, don’t side-track me son my attention span is as short as it gets. It was a guy called Kanye West.
“I know Kanye West as a resort in Qatar?”
“Yeah, same guy, different brand, this was Kanye when he was a pup.”
“You mean Senator Kanye? Ok, I’m on it, just there are so many Kanyes these days it’s hard to keep track. So how did Senator Kanye kill the music Grandpa?”
“Well, back then, he had a cunt hair of talent stretched to it’s absolute limits, for me it was thinner than a silver Rizla, you even know what a Rizla is boy? Anyway, I thought he was dogshit but the people kinda like him. He shacked up with a lawyers daughter who had a big fucking ass and they were a good team for a while”
“ You mean Kim”
“Yeah, that’s the one. I used to call her Dim Kardashian but she was sharper than a tack when it came to pennies and big asses.”
“So Gramps, how did Kanye kill music”
“Well son, I will cut a very long and very fucking boring story short by saying have a Visagoogle at it and you will probably find it in the McArchive. He pitched up at Glastonbury as a headliner on Saturday.”
“He must have been some hot shit to get that slot Gramps?”
“Well son, he was half of that”
“Tell me the whole story please. I love music and I would love to know who killed it before it became good again”
“Well son, I guess you are of child-bearing age now. At 12 years of age you deserve to know the truth. What I am about to tell you is only for the privileged few. This ain’t for the phone people or the tablet people, they are too far gone, they will never be brought back from the brink but you are still young and fresh and I think you deserve a good shot.”
“Do you want a whisky Gramps? If I get you a whisky will you tell me?”
“Go ‘ead then”
The youngster headed towards the bar and towards the 13 year olds who could buy his Grandad a whisky by proxy.
The ice chimed the crystal glass as it hit the table and the young lad beamed at his elder.
“They only had McJameson’s., everyone has been battering the McGlenfiddich and the Esso so it was all they had.”
“That will do for me, as long as it’s not that McFrack shite that is popular these days. So you want to know the truth son? Are you ready for it? Can you handle the truth of how one talentless bell whiff destroyed modern music with his fat-assed no talent wife?”
“I’m waiting?” (We’re all fucking waitin’. Editor)
“People laughed, people cried, social media went into meltdown when this wanksplash was announced as the headline act for Glasto. That’s what the hipsters called it back then. Made the place sound less like fucking Aylesbury, you can see the angle. Anyway, this guy shows up and does his thing. I didn’t like his thing, a lot of people don’t but a certain type dialled into this bullshit. He used to shout “Wo-oh” and “yeah” and the shit in the middle was nonsense but the people kinda liked it. Then he got too big for his small ass boots, dissed Taylor Swift during the Grammys when he was higher that Virgin Galactic, but the sad thing was he believed his own hype. He thought he was a God, more powerful than the Gods themselves. But, God had more than a DJ and a moving lighting rig. I had seen that moving lighting rig shit back in ’85 with Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
So, he comes on, in camouflage gear like he’s in some fucking war when the only stress he ever had was standing in a queue at the Prada shop waiting to buy his big ass wife a handbag. After he plays his ‘hits’ he gives a shout out to the ‘musician’ behind him and credits him with playing ‘drum machine? Drum machine ain’t no job. Drum machine ain’t no writer or musician. He’s a cunt in headphones on minimum wage!!!”
“Language Gramps, Grandma don’t like the C bomb, behave yourself.”
“I’m sorry son. I guess it’s like all the veterans say “You weren’t fuckin’ there man!!!’”
“How bad was it?”
“Son, I won’t live long enough to tell ya. After the performance the camera cut to Jo Wiley and even she was undecided”
“Dame Wiley??”
“The very same!!! She didn’t know whether to have a shit, shave or haircut”
“Sometimes Gramps, I am glad I was born when I was and didn’t have to see it for myself”
“Well son, when you’re 21 I will tell you about the Stock, Aitken & Waterman years”

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

British No Heart Foundation

Before I begin let me make one thing very clear. This blog is not a criticism of the above charity. I applaud their effort and their fundraising for heart disease and I would not wish to disrespect their work.
Recently, The British Heart Foundation, has opened a brand new shop in North Finchley, a suburb of North London near my home. 
They had a shop already but this new store is huge in comparison and is selling refurbished, or recycled white goods. Great you may think? A nice second-hand fridge for a bargain price with proceeds going to charity has to be a good thing doesn't it? Well, the answer is yes, I guess, unless you are Ken Bowman & Son, an independent dealer in the same marketplace with the added bonus of machine repair. His store is a two minute walk from the new BHF shop. I doubt Garland Electronics are not impressed either as they are ever closer with Glotech Repairs, another white goods store, less than 100 yards away.

Do we really need another shop selling fridges and washing machines within a 500 yard radius.
This is sure to have a detrimental effect on these three local traders and however small that effect is, it is happening at a time when independent retailers are totally under the cosh. Increased business rates, increased rent, the parking restrictions driving customers towards retail parks and away from the high st, the threat from on-line retailers like Amazon, and the already dominant threat from Tesco stores which have popped up everywhere in my local area. 
The independents are paying for stock, paying rates, paying rent, paying employees and probably paying VAT.
The BHF shop get stock for nothing, pays reduced rates as it is a charity, reduced rent for the same reason, has numerous tax breaks and doesn't pay it's staff because they are largely volunteers. If the three others were to operate under those same conditions I think they would probably think it was licence to print money.
Is this new version of charity shops really in line with what the ethic, if there is such a thing, of what a charity shop should be? They are supposed to be single premises, filled with anything from cutlery to second-hand books, not shaping up to take on Argos.

In the two shopping areas that I use, North Finchley and Barnet High St, we are swamped with charity shops. We are not swamped with independent traders as many have all gone out of business because of the reasons I mentioned earlier. The Spires Shopping Centre has now turned into The Spires Eating Centre with a large portion of the outlets selling coffee and those that aren't are almost all major brands. Costa, Starbucks, Thomson, Waterstones, Waitrose, you get the picture.

The front shop that faces the High St, formerly WH Smith, has been taken over by a bunch of locals recycling books. People drop books off and pick some up but no obligation to drop before you pick. In the short time they have been open they have saved over 70,000 books from the pulper. Now whether that is Chaucer or Jade Goody, that has to be a good thing doesn't it? I dropped a big bag of books off there earlier and congratulated the gentlemen there on his crusade to save the written word and assured him of my return. As I walked past the nearby Cancer Research shop they had a rack of books out front with a "buy one, get one free" offer and I wondered if this was a recent introduction and a reaction to the free books available three shops down, just after the PDSA charity shop which also has books. Maybe the charity shops are feeling the pinch now. I wonder how they feel with that ill-fitting shoe on the other foot?


I think we should establish a charity shop for independent traders who have been put out of business in recent years. I think it would be a winner. We could call it The Independent Retailers Against Development (TIRADe). I was thinking more along the lines of "The Suffocating Independent With The Corporate Boot At His Throat" but it didn't really roll off the tongue.
They would be entitled to all of the perks that the big charities get. The shop could be manned by all the men and women who have been bankrupted, or made redundant, and they could fill the shelves with all the bankrupt stock.

As I said at the beginning I have no axe to grind with charity shops and all the good they do, especially independent ones like the North London Hospice, but we need to level the playing field here and re-evalaute the motives of these charities and the catastrophic long term effect they will have on High Streets all over the UK.


http://m.times-series.co.uk/news/10329335.New_charity_shop_in_need_of_household_donations/

http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/directory/1149/70675.php

http://www.garlandelectronics.com/

http://www.glotechrepairs.co.uk/areas/north-finchley-appliance-repairs.php


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wise Words Dec 2006

Welcome to final Wise Words of 2006. I wish you alI a Happy Christmas and I hope Santa brings you all you asked for. I have yet another huge list of rants and observations to get through so I better get started.

It’s almost Christmas and I can’t think of a better way to start the proceedings that taking a look at the weekly car crash that is “The X Factor”. I have a passing interest in the show as it is on religiously in my house because my wife and kids love it so I have often caught bits of it. I watched the “Big Band” show which was a double eliminator and saw Dionne sent packing, shortly followed by Kerry, in the wheelchair, who lost the “sing-off” with Ashley. I have seen this Ashley kid before slaughtering The Commodores classic “Easy”. This twat couldn't hold a tune if he was carrying it in a bucket. He performed “Moondance” and forgot the words as well as singing it out of tune. He was a way worse singer than the other two girls and he gets to go through. A triumph of style over substance I feel. He is a cocky little prick with nothing to be cocky about. He might get a gig as a Terence Trent D'Arby tribute act some day and he may get a few little girls excited with his handsome visage but he will never be a great singer whilst there is a hole in his arse. I like the Scottish girl Nikkita and was hoping that she would win although second choice would be a large bomb going off in the building and wiping out all the contestants and the judges, especially Louis Walsh. What has he given the music industry? Boyzone and Westlife. Thanks Louis, what would we have done without you? Anyway tomorrow is the big final and we have the little Scouser Ray against the wailing Leonna. I couldn’t call it could you. I reckon the wee Scouse will pull it off because he has the blue rinse vote with his cheeky Scouse smile. He performed on the “Scouse Aid” gig for the Tsunami that me and Noel played and my mother in law thought he was “marvellous”. There’s your proof. This blog should be posted before the final is over so it could be out of date within 24 hours. If it is not posted then my ranting has extended to Olympic lengths and I didn’t get finished in time.

It has to be the most expensive turkey ever known to man despite it being “cold”. I will begin some moans about the society we live in with a small piece about the convicts who were recently given a share of £800,000 for being forced to endure cold turkey when they were taken into custody. I have to say that I have just had a two minute break after reading that last paragraph back to myself. I was thinking what was going to come next and you know what? There isn’t anything! I am truly lost for words. If you have any that you would like to contribute then please do.

It seems the government have stumbled across a solution to deal with absent fathers who have not been making maintainence payments. They are going to shame them by publishing their names on the internet. I am sure that will do it! When it is introduced I am sure that half the named and shamed will be spending their maintainence money on a pc from Dell and some lively broadband so that when their mates come around they can show them how well they are doing. Again, I feel I can’t add anything more to this piece to make it any more amusing or ridiculous. I think a better solution would be going round to the house and taking the sofa and telly. Everyone loves the telly and if you’ve got a telly you need something to sit on.

I will end this bit with a rant about “24 hour rolling news”. I think we are in danger of being over informed. Every tragic event, every murder, every plague, war, famine, disease is now piped into our living room all day, every day. I wouldn’t mind if there was the odd item that would inject a little sunshine into the proceedings but it always seems to be gloomy. It seems the war in Iraq is old news unless some suicide bomber gets a hit of over forty scalps. If it is one death and a few shrapnel wounds we won’t even hear about it. I don’t know if or where it will end but if it does it will be coming live from the Middle East. I think I better wrap this bit up before this sounds like a column in the Daily Mail.

I recently attended a couple of 18th birthday parties, one for my daughter Lois and the other for her boyfriend Tom. Let’s begin with Tom’s party. Nice do. Weird seeing this kids freaking out to “Summer Of 69”, “Don’t Stop Me Now” and Van Halen’s “Jump”. I don’t why they like these tunes I guess they found them in their parents record collections just like we all did at some point. Saying that there was nothing contempory about my old man’s record collection. The only thing that caught my ear was Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Frank. Franks is so big you don’t even have to say his second name. A bit like Robbie….but good. The rest of it was John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk. The evening brought something to my attention that I have wanted to discuss for a long time and something which I have only just fully understood. I am a man and I buy a pair of shoes and I wear them probably everyday until they look shabby and then I buy another pair. The last four pairs of shoes have been exactly the same and the last six pairs have been the same brand. I wear these Merrell street slippers. They are called something much groovier than that but that’s what I call them. I have two pair of kickers and a pair of Grenson boots that are for weddings and shit and are the second pair that I have owned and date back to the last Frankie tour. I have two feet and I reckon four pairs of shoes are going to do me for every occasion and barring a tsunami reaching the first floor and wiping out my wardrobe I reckon I am well covered. My wife, on the other hand, has several pairs of shoes. I remember the last time there was an official census and the count ended at 52. A lot have been lashed since then, most notably eight pairs of converse in every colour. I reckon they would have bagged a few quid on Ebay today. I know that womens shoes hurt their feet but I only found out recently that women expect them to hurt. How did I miss that one. I thought that when they bought their shoes and they hurt it was because they were new and needed wearing in but even when they have been worn twenty times they still hurt. Plasters are applied and feet are blistered and damaged but it doesn’t matter anyway because any amount of suffering is worth it if the shoes are fucking killer. I like a pair of shoes just as much as the next guy but I would not wear them more than once if they fucked my feet up. Anyway back to the 18th and where this rant started. Tom’s Mum had a really high pair of stiletto heels on. They were at least five inches and she was really struggling, especially after throwing a few shapes around the dance floor to “Dancing In The Dark”. They were high and very pointy and I think they could have put in her traction but she seemed happy enough. Feet are killing but I’m still dancing and smiling.

Next up was my daughter’s 18th. She asked me to DJ at her party. Being her DJ involved getting the DJ gear and shlepping it up to the venue and then playing five cds that she had compiled. I got into cross-fading a few tracks and if I would have been getting paid then it would have been money for old rope. Funny thing was the next when I went into the pub the barmaid asked me to do her 21st. Even when I explained that it was not my selection of music she just told me to play what I “played the other night”. The party went really well and bar a few early knock outs and puke ups I think it was a success.

Let’s get musical. First up are “the clean of Scotland”: Clean George IV. This band features two guys who were formerly in a band called Serial P.O.P. that were managed by my mate Grant. I went to see them at The Dublin Castle in Camden the other night with Grant and Smarty and they were fucking amazing. It was the third time I have seen them and they just get better every time. The have a single out at the moment called “The First Blast Of The Trumpet Against The Monstrous Regiment Of Women”. It was Edith Bowman’s single of the week and was also being played by Colin Murray on Radio 1. It was a shame that I think us three were the onl ones who were there to see them. Well, you lot missed out. They are fucking boss. The played a new song called “Fat Equals Death” which has a chorus that has the lyric “Return to Slender. Fat equals death”. Really killer guitar riff that hooks you and drags you along. Should you wish you can hear them at www.myspace.com/cleangeorgeIV

Next up the new Beatles Album. I ain’t heard it yet so I don’t have an opinion. I believe it was written for a Cirque Du Soliel show that is currently in Las Vegas so I guess if you listen to it without the acrobats then you are only getting half the picture. It is a bit weird that it was done by the father and son (I guess John and George are the Holy Ghosts). I saw some of the tv surrounding the launch and seeing George and Giles reminded of someone handing over the family business. Until I hear the “Love” album I will furnish you with my mate’s opinion. He reckons it’s the Beatles Do Jive Bunny”. Whilst we are Beatling I am just listening to a couple of tracks from ”Chaos and Creation In The Backyard”. There is a track called “A Certain Softness” which sounds like it was written about Heather. I wonder what songs will be on his next offering. I suggest “Ripped Off” to the tune of “Get Back”. I have three tracks from his last “critically acclaimed” album. The one I am listening to now is a rip off of “Many Rivers To Cross” and the other one apart from the Heather one is not much cop either. Stay at home Paul and count your money while you still have all of it.

I got to go to a gig recently and was made to feel like a fan which is a very rare thing for me these days. Myself and a few guests went up to Liverpool to see The Real People play at The Academy. Trev, Kev, Tonto, Big Al and I let virgin take the strain and went up for a night out in the pool. We managed to hit the centre of town before the Anglican Cathedral closed and we took the opportunity to go to the top of the tower and have a look at the city below. We had a few locals with us and we had a boss night out. Beer, and then some football, that’s if you count the appalling 0-0 draw the Liverpool got at Middlesbrough as football. More beer and then some Tandoori Lamb Chops for ten (that comes to at least a couple of lambs) and then on to see The Realies. It was boss. It was such a long time since I saw them play I had almost forgotten some of the words. When the gig started I was singing every word (like my Mrs at a Robbie concert). It was great to see a gig in Liverpool where the audience is so much more up for a good time than in London. It was a great gig and a great night out and something I will be repeating next week when I travel north to see them again.

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The View From The Tower Of The Anglican Cathedral Liverpool

Last up on stage are Frost. I got a phone call from Mitt a couple of months ago and he said “Frost” and I said “Yeah ok, if you say so?”. Didn’t know anything about them until I got to the gig. They are prog, with a capital P. Quite mad to hear this sort of music being played in a small club like The Scala. It kinda washed over me a bit because I was not familiar with the tunes. There were three tunes but the last one was 25 minutes long with several different movements. It was good to see four blokes playing their instruments very well and writing some good shit but I need to hear an album because it was all over a bit quick and I was a bit gassed. You can check out Frost for yourself at www.frost-music.com and those of you with prog leanings can let me know your thoughts.

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Frost Live At The Scala, London

I will close the music section with a brief mention about the Ardmore Christmas party. I have been to this party for the last two years and got up and played a few tunes with the boys in my band as they are usually providing the entertainment. I only did three tunes, two of which were covers and then got back to having a few beers with Smarty. Another night to remember (or forget, depends which way you look at it). It was hosted by The Crown Hotel in Cricklewood which was modernised by Ardmore. It is a famous place, especially among early Irish immigrants, but it is a very posh establishment these days and I don’t reckon you would get past reception in a donkey jacket or hard hat these days. I almost volunteered to play with the lads the following night but work commitments prevented me from going but I will be at some point in the future. Go and get my cover on with boys and Mad O’Brien.

I made a long overdue visit to Wales to visit Tim and to attend the official opening of his new studio. His new stduio is fantastic.He managed to get his hands on the old SSL desk from Wessex Studios in London. This desk was probably used to mix two of my favourite albums: “Spirit Of Eden” and “Laughing Stock” by Talk Talk. I reckon I will have to pop up there in the new year and do some recording with the boys in his new huge live room. We spent the evening eating Thai food and putting the world to rights. I did a little bit of star-spotting whilst I was waiting for Tim at Llanelli station. Who should pull up in his Merc but none other than Welsh snooker legend Terry Griffiths. He was dropping off some young snooker protoge at the station. What lovely hair he has. I reckon he is on the same hair dye as Macca.

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Tim's Studio

I almost forgot to mention the wee man. My guitar man Noel had his 30th birthday this week. We had a little gathering at a local Italian eaterie and I took my chance to eat some veal. I feel eating veal in a little off these days. You know, baby calves, in boxes, no life, bred to be ate. Sorry, they taste real good and until a calf comes up with a cure for cancer and fights his way to the top of the food chain then the plate is always going to be his, or hers, final destination. Happy birthday Noel, and as I said on your card, I hope you are still my guitar man when you are celebrating your 40th!

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Dan & Noel

I wanna rave for a little while about my latest toy. I got a new phone. Well, it’s a camera with a phone in it. It has a 3.2 megapixels and a Carl Ziess Tessar lens on it. With the memory card it takes about a million pictures and has an hour of video. I have been getting well into it. Not like I wasn’t before but the pictures I have had out of this phone have been fantastic. If this blog has worked out ok then you should have been able to view some of the pics in this blog. If not it appears I have been foiled. At worst you should see some links to be able to see them. There should be a few snaps below of me getting arty with the camera phone. Any thoughts welcome.

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Ed Smart, Waiting Room, West Finchley Tube.

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Bank Branch, West Finchley Tube.

Note to all car designers. When can we have retractable wing mirrors on all cars??? I recently had the wing mirror smashed on my car. The guy who did it probably didn’t even realise but then again he may have been a bus driver. If you have read any of my previous blogs then you will know that bus drivers are not my favourite people. Anyway, I digress, the wing mirror is busted. So I go on the internet to look for a spare. I find this spares gateway for auto parts and within a day I have four places in the uk that have what I want (except it ain’t sprayed?). So I get a wing mirror for £40. A bargain but still a large £40 pain in the arse. We live in narrow streets and there are cars everywhere. Do me a favour and save us all a few quid and get some retractables on the go. Close door, press key, alarm car, admire your fuck-off, retracting, james bond wing mirrors. Manufacturers can make them go up and down and even defrost them so why not have them disappear into the door. I would rather have that than a heated seat or an ipod compatible car stereo. Wouldn’t you?

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The Kop v Manchester City

Let’s have some sport. I recently went to see Liverpool play Man City at Anfield. The game was poor and the highlight was seeing Didi Hamman warm up alongside the main stand and receive a massive ovation from the Kop and the rest of the assembled throng. What a player. Liverpool fans have seen some great midfield players in their history but I would rank The Kaiser amongst the very best that have ever worn the reds shirt. I was sad to see him leave and would still have him on the books because he is true class. His finest hour for Liverpool was his introduction at half time in the Champions League final against AC Milan. Three nil down, looking grim, hoping it ain’t an absolute spanking, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” live from Istanbul. Oh, it might be ok, Didi’s coming on. I don’t think I have seen him have a bad game. I am sure some pedantic statto may disagree with me but I don’t remember one. The master of keeping the ball because there is no pass, and then falling over to win a free kick. As predictable as rainfall in Manchester. And let’s not forget the goals. I saw the goal that won him Goal Of The Season against Newcastle at Anfield. The man could hit a ball, pass a ball, win the ball and keep the ball. I must say I did take a large amount of joy out of his goal against England in the final game at Wembley. Was it Didi’s goal that made Keegan realise he was “a little way short”? He deserved every clap of the applause that greeted him on his return to Anfield. Thanks Didi, you were the bollocks.

It seems that my club is going to be bought out by the sheik. I don’t think this will be an Abromovich situation like at Chelsea. These people are an investment group with the accent being on investment. Rick Parry, the Liverpool chief exec, was quoted as saying “you only sell the family silver once so you better get it right”. That’s what it feels like to me. Selling the silver. I guess nothing stands in the way of progress and money and I guess it was inevitable at some point down the line. We have a new stadium to build but I believe that we should stay at Anfield. I think in the very near future every club will be struggling to fill their stadiums. The rising cost of tickets and the non-competition of the Premier League I believe that football is at it’s zenith. How intimidating will Anfield be for a Carling Cup game on a wet Wednesday in November when only 30,000 turn up? Liverpool have never played to a crowd of less than 50% of capacity in my memory. If they have, let me know. I know Chelsea have had less than 10,000 at The Bridge during the history of the Premiership. Sorry couldn’t resist it, reminds me of that famous song, oh how does it go? oh, I know “Where were you when you were shit?”. The days of your sky season ticket for the club of your choice are not far away. That’s where the money is. I would ask any football fan reading, or listening to, this to tell me how much they would be prepared to pay to watch their teams home and away games from the comfort of the sofa? If Liverpool can licence their games throughout the world then they will take it. Sky TV have put the hardware in place and people have got used to the hardware now. Instead of the Playboy Channel you can have “green porn” and watch your team instead? Sky’s Premier League exclusivity is doomed. The clubs have got a taste for the money and they want more. Their investors want more and the fans want success at any cost. I would exclude Leeds fans from that last statement as they lived the dream for a few years only to wake and find their club had been sold from under them and the reality was relegation, administration on the goldfish on lease. My prediction is that within the next Sky deal will be the option of the big clubs retaining the rights to the games against the other big clubs and Sky just getting a licence to show the matches. I bet The Emirates Stadium has a nice TV production suite within it as well as more than enough camera points. I am sure every new stadium will. At the end of the day it is just another way that they will try to keep you on the sofa. That’s why I watch all my games in the pub!

Sometime in the next few days I am going to have to do some Christmas shopping. I dropped off a bag of my wife’s clothes at the Cancer Shop next to the studio. I don’t know which particular Cancer Shop it is but it is a Cancer Shop. I went past there again today and I was wondering if it would be possible for me to go into the shop looking for something for the Mrs and actually buy something that I had dropped off the day before. I wouldn’t know half her clothes if they were on a rail in front of me. I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but the thought of me doing that (and being truly capable of doing that) seemed amusing at the time.

I have tried to end every section of this edition with a request for your opinion or input. This especially applies to the podcast. I know that there are plenty of readers because I see the stats and you may not wish to contribute to the comments because they will get lost amongst the Viagra advertisements but feel free to stick something in the forum or drop a mail on the podcast page. It is a new thing for me and any tips comments that will improve my output are welcome.

I want to finish with a culinary topic. Don’t panic, I’m not going to go all Ramsey on you and start effing and blinding any more than I usually do. The topic is Mince Pies. Why can you only get mince pies at Christmas. You can probably get them all year round but they are not called mince pies and they are often disguised as something else. I don’t know about you but I love a mince pie. Mince pie and cream, mince pie and custard, mince pie with another two mince pies. I love them. This year I am going to make a note of when they disappear and then make a note of when they start appearing and declare a “Mince Pie Season”. We could have a website ilovemincepies.com . We could have a forum. Subject: “Mince Pies spotted in Welsh Co-Op”. Subject “Tesco’s Finest Mince Pies Are Not Much Cop”. People could discuss the finer points of Mince pies and their seasonal appearance. I will close as this is getting a bit Eddie Izzard when it is really the result of Ed Smart for it was he who gave me the idea for this section when he said “A puppy’s not just for Christmas but a mince pie is!”, Hope you enjoyed it?

MUSIC BIT AT THE BOTTOM: A – Teen Dance Ordinance, Paul McHeather – Chaos & Creation In The Backyard, Depeche Mode – Playing The Angel, Clean George IV, 4 Way Street – Pretzel Park. Most sounds courtesy of Trev’s Jumping Jukebox.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

4th July 2003

Well it is now Thursday and my legs still look like I have been scalded. That was some cooking I must have got on Sunday. When I got up on Monday morning and shuffled into the bathroom I could hardly see my face in the mirror for the expanding "Karl Malden" nose in the middle of it. It had blistered overnight and the skin peeled off with remarkable ease. It is still very red today, giving me the look of a man who has fallen asleep in his bolognese.
I was up in the loft the other day sorting through the shit you have in the loft and I found a couple of reels of tape. Three were from my dad's house and two were old demos reels. I dragged an old reel to reel tape recorder that I had in the studio back to my house and investigated their contents. The tapes from my dad's house were about thirty five years old so I was expecting some deteriation in the sound quality but I was not disappointed when I clunked the big play switch and the antique sprung into life. The voice coming our of the tiny speaker in the front was my own. I had found my first ever recordings The tape contains me and my sister reciting nursery rhymes, sing-a-song-a-sixpence and baa-baa black sheep. The highlight though was my recital of the story of Chicken Licken. I took the machine up to the studio last night and transferred the tapes onto mini-disc and when I have put them in the pc and cleaned them up a bit I will put them up somewhere for you to hear. The other two reels were old demos from Dancing Girls days with three songs on one and one on another. I recognised the tapes becasue even at half speed I could make out that famous Johnson warble. I could not transfer these because they run at a faster speed than my shitty tape machine would allow so before I can let you hear these I need to find a machine that runs at 15ips. Ah nostalgia!!!
Today is my wedding anniversary, I think it is 18 years, and also the day that my eldest daughter is to be confirmed in church. In case you don't know, confirmation is something you do when you are 13-14 when you go to church and renew your bapstism, sorta. Now you are old enough to know your own mind (and don't we fucking know it!!) you can decide whether you still want to be part of God's family and they give you an extra name as well. After the ceremony my daughter will be back at the house with some of her mates for a little celebration and me and Mrs Nash will be celebrating also. It was only when I got in a three this morning that I remembered that I had not got an anniversary card so I am off out to get one before she comes back from work or I may have played my last note. Personally I think this greetings card racket is a pain in the arse but I know how much you ladies like your token piece of decorative cardboard. On the way I will be caling in to watch my little boys final sports day at his school but this time I am going out in a hat and an overcoat and will be staying out of direct sunlight. Bye 4 now.

30th June 2003

Hello to one and all. If you have been watching the Glastonbury coverage then you will know that me and the boys never got our chance to rock the people in Somerset which is a shame. Normally I would tune in and be very curious to see what was on offer but my mind was poisoned by the fact that we were not there. I will give you an example: My mate sent me a text yesterday asking if I was there and I sent him one back that said "No, I am sitting in front of the telly going ' they're shite, he's shite, what a fucking wanker, we would wipe the floor with this lot'". So instead of facing the sweaty throng in a field I was actually sitting in a field watching my boy play football. He plays for the school team and I have often watched his team play and they usually get rinsed by at least ten goals. This is probably because "competitive" sports are not really encouraged in the school that he goes to. I can understand the philosophy behind this but it peeves me a little. If the people of this country were not a nation of people who got "fired up" for confrontation then we would probably all be speaking French, German or Italian now and I reckon sport is a passionate pastime whether you are an amatuer or a professional. I don't condone "competitive dads" screaming and shouting from the sidelines but nor do I condone not having the will to trounce the opposition. It seems that trouncing is not on the agenda anymore. I would always say "If you can't stand losing then don't play but if you win , then win with grace, and with consideration as to how your opponent might feel". This is something that Sir Alex Ferguson has never learnt whilst growing up!!!!
I digress, the boys got to the final and lost 1-0. There was a little disappointment amongst the ranks but at least it was nice to walk away with some medals, even if they were silver.
Just been out for a few scoops with the irrepressible Mr P and my old man (he was down here on stand-by in case I got the call). I would say that it was a perfect end to the day except my face looks like a smacked arse from all the sun I have had today (no shade at the football) and my bright pink legs are in stark contrast to my bright white feet. I think I will be in for an uncomfortable night so it is a good job I had a few pints of the black stuff to cool me down and make me forget about being "TOOOO HOOOOT MAAAAAN!!". Ttfn.

2

Forthcoming Gigs.

1st August - Eastleigh Festival
For further info go to www.eastleighfestival.co.uk

9th August - Eden Festival
For Further info go to www.edenfestival.org


Welcome to the new look "wise words". The entries have been less frequent because my digi camera was busted and I haven't been able to capture any stills so there will be no pics in future editions and any new pics will be in the gallery section. There should be some nice stills from the recent gig at The Flying Picket. With this new web log format I will be updating more frequetly and will try to make it more like a diary rather than the mammoth newsletter you have been getting every month. This is the last mammoth edition so I suppose we better get on with it.
The new band have been out and made there first mark on a stage with the recent gigs we did. Two nights before the gig in Liverpool we did a little warm up at the boys local on the night of the UEFA Cup Final which unfortunately Celtic lost. We played very well and were primed for the gig in the 'pool. The worst thing about the Liverpool gig was that I had to drive there, do the gig and drive back again all in the same day. I thought we played very well at the gig and the lights and sound were excellent. The only disappointing thing was the low turn-out. Thank you to all the people who did turn up: Lex & Po, Tez & Reidy, Irv & Mark, Mark & Lou, Ian & Pete, Paul & Paul. It was nice to see you all and I hope you enjoyed watching as much as I did playing. There was one important visitor to the gig in the 'pool and this was a lady who does a lot of bookings for festivals including Glastonbury and I am currently waiting a phone call that will most probably not happen. She has managed to wangle us a reserve slot for this year and if someone pulls out then Dan, Niol and myself will be tearing down to Somerset to join Noel who is already there. It would be beyond belief and totally ream if the phone does ring but as you can imagine I have resigned myself to the fact that it won't ring so I do not disappoint myself too much. All that said: you just never know. So althoug Glastonbury is a distant dream there is one festival that is booked which is stark reality. The same lady has booked us to play the Eden Festival in Arrowe Park on the Wirral on the 9th August so if you fancy some fun in the sun then shoot on up to Merseyside. On the subject of Merseyside it was the boys first visit to the 'pool and as the venue is so close to the Anglican Cathedral we managed to pop in there for ten minutes and have a quick look around. You may know that I have sung the praises of this magnificent building in these pages before and it is truly an awesome sight. It was a little unfortunate that we arrived about five minutes too late to go up to the top of the tower which would have been a treat because it was such a lovely day. I also spun them up to Toxteth which was a surprise for them because they were expecting it to be like Dodge City but because of the amount of regeneration that has gone on in the area it all looks quite posh. The only give away is the dodgy little kids running around on BMX bikes. Lastly on the subject of Merseyside, it was good to see Liverpool win the bid for the European Capital of Culture. It will mean a lot of much needed investment in the city and there will be a lot of good to come out of it. Maybe David Moyes can apply for some European funding to help him develop his shite football team.
Now for the obituary column. We have lost a couple of crackers over the last month. First, radio commentator Peter Bromley. He was the horse racing correspondent for Radio Five and following his death they broadcast a tribute programme to him and aired some of his more famous pieces of radio commentary. There is one that always has me welling up and it was when Red Rum won the Grand National for the third time. A great piece of audio but not a good as what I deem to be his best ever which was his commentary on Bob Champion winning the National on Aldiniti. Bob came back from cancer to win the greatest race of all and it was such a fairy tale they made a movie of it with John Hurt playing the role of Bob Champion called imaginatively "Champions". Although I am not a racing fan it is sad to lose such great professionals, especially when they have been at the top of their game for so long.
The other great loss was Mickie Most. If you are my age then you will know more about Mickie Most from his days as a panelist on the show "New Faces". He was the one who the audiences loved to hate because he would always slag the bands off, kinda like Simon Cowell but not such a fucking wanker or such a totally annoying twat (I would love to pull his pants over his head). I used to think he was a bit harsh but he was probably right. They would have these half decent cabaret bands on in powder blue tuxedos and he would say something like "the performance was average, they don't have their own songs and the suits are disgusting" and all the audience would boo but he was absolutely spot on. I had the good fortune to meet him once when Grant and myself went to see him to play him some Dr Jolly's stuff. He was a total cool cat and listened to five songs, really loud and then said "Well, you've got three of the four singles you are gonna need, I really like the direction with the Beach Boys harmonies but what do you think I can do". the answer was not much but he then went on to slag off the music industry in a way that I could never hope to reproduce in this edition and even if I could it would not do it any justice. Mickie produced some great records in his time from "Mellow Yellow" and "House Of The Rising Sun" to "Tiger Feet" and "Every One's A Winner". Maybe we will see him pooping up on satellite tv when they show the re-runs of "New Faces". Nice one Mickie, rest in peace.
News from Big Top: Apart from the rehearsing that me and the boys have been doing I have had some visitors in the shape of The Popes. The Popes were so pleased with their first visit to Big Top they have decided to come back and to some more recording again. Nice bunch of chaps with some nice tunes. I managed to persuade the banjo player Tom to come and play on some of my new tunes in the future which should be a vibe.
Cinema reviews: I ain't been out to the flicks for a while so I had a bit of a cultural burst and went to see "Secretary" which is a bit of a dark "relationship" movie which was not bad. It stars James Spader doing his best "James Spader playing the bad, mad guy". I dragged Irish Ed down to Camden Town to see a Japanese horror/thriller called "Dark Water" which is about a woman and daughter living in a very foreboding tower block that is haunted by the ghost of a young girl. It certainly had the hairs standing up on my on a few occasions and was well worth a visit. Last week I went with Noel to see the new Matrix movie which was quite good. I get the vibe that the people who made it were not too bothered about the story being too strong as long as there were plenty of bombs going off and lots of fight scenes. The CGI is incredible and well worth seeing. I got a leaflet from Ket yesterday that showed the screen times to see The Matrix Reloaded at the IMAX cinema in Waterloo. This is a cinema with a huge screen that is as tall as four double-decker buses and it is a different format from 70mm so I reckon I will go and check that out when it starts in August. Hope you like the new look and hopefully there will be more stuff to read in the coming days. I am at my son's school fayre tomorrow and I might set up a stall doing Beatles songs on my little acoustic for a pound each, what do you reckon, good value????

24th Mat 2003

I guess we should start with today and go backwards. Woke up about one
today after a night out at the local rugby club to celebrate another 40th
birthday but not mine. I good friend of my wife and I, Alex, was throwing
a bash and a good time was had by all except the continual shouting which
happens when you are trying to hold a conversation with someone whilst
competing with the DJ has left me with a croaky throat. I am sitting here
trying to sing along to some top tunes but failing miserably. I only hope
I get it back by Friday or there will be some disgruntled punters at The
Picket. The day before I was out trying to get some secondhand patio doors
for my studio to improve the soundproofing and whilst I was sitting
outside someone's house waiting for them to return I got a phone call from
Afro Mart who asked me if I would like a ticket to see Peter Gabriel at
Wembley that night. What a touch, the seats were only five rows from the
front!!! I toddled off to Wembley and saw Gabriel for the third time. This
show was not as extravagant as the last tour but still top drawer
entertainment. I saw ads for these gigs a few months ago and I was
undecided about going as the gig was at Wembley and I hate the fucking
sound in there as you will know if you read my review of the Foo Fighters.
I cannot begin to describe many of the wonderful things that happened
during the show let alone talk about the great band he had with him but I
will say that it was an excellent belated birthday gift from Mr Mart. Mr
Mart brought his new digi camera with him so I may get a nice pic of Peter
for the next edition of Wise Words.
Moving back to my birthday, I was taken on a surprise trip to Jersey by my
missus which was out of the blue and well appreciated. She had done a few
sneaky arrangements with our friends Steve and Jane over there and we flew
out for the weekend from City Airport which was a first for me. The
airport is in a part of London where they reckon they are going to build
the stadium for the Olympic bid. We landed in Jersey to be greeted by rain
which stayed about for the whole weekend which was a shame but it did not
dampen our spirit and it was a great weekend for us both and it was great
to see our good friends again. The picture above is from one of my
birthday cards which proclaimed that I am now a member of the old git club
but I still feel about twenty odd and not approaching middle age. People
say "Life Begins At 40" but I say "Life Begins At Birth" and age is just a
number. There are no fringe benefits for reaching 40 like cheap seats at
the cinema or a free bus pass so I don't know what the fuss is all about
really. Thank you to the people who sent me birthday wishes, it was very
nice of you all.
Before I went away I had The Popes in my studio doing a bit of recording.
The Popes are Shane MacGowans backing band but exist in their own right
when Shane is busy at the bar which it seems is quite a lot these days.
Nice chaps and a few nice tunes as well. I had a guy called Ed in the
studio not so long ago. My mate Grant had seen him play somewhere and got
him to come to Big Top to bash out a few ideas. Good singer / pianist /
guitarist and he had some great tunes which is quite sickening considering
he is only fucking 20!! His band is called Chopper Harris and I hope to be
able to record them in the not too distant future so that is another name
to look out for. When Grant came to see me he gave me a CD of a band
called "Parlour" from the US and it blew me away. This was not a finished
CD but some demos which were recorded at home. They have a real charm and
the guy who sings has an amazing voice. They have just signed to Capitol
records in the states for about $2 million and I reckon by the time it has
come out of the industry machine it should have been well ruined because
it will not sound like the cd that I have got which is a shame but shit
happens.
I went up to Liverpool for a few days to see the reds play Charlton, a
game which was snatched from the jaws of defeat but we have played better
and got nothing from other games so I suppose I should be happy with a
win. I would have been totally fucked off if we had lost and I had to
drive back in the appalling traffic the next day. We left Liverpool at
midday and after three hours in the car we still had not reached
Birmingham and still had 125 miles to go. I usually travel late at night
or early in the morning because I hate sitting in traffic but I had to
travel during the day and I reckon it is the last time I will do this.
FIVE AND A HALF HOURS later I eventually got home. We keep hearing the
government in this country saying they are going to do something about the
traffic congestion in this country but it is all hot air. I have the
perfect solution and I will bore you with it now. It is estimated that 25%
of the cars on the road are illegal, i.e. no tax or insurance or MOT or
all three. We have a disc on our windscreen that shows our road tax so why
not have another two for insurance and MOT, how fucking simple is that. If
you don't display all three your car is towed away and you don't get it
back until you pay up. This would reduce the traffic by 25% but the
government don't want to lose the 25% of the tax they get from petrol
because even illegal cars are using petrol. No lets just make people pay
more with congestion charges and soon tolling the motorways. Pull your
finger out Blair!! Sorry rant over.
Liverpool failed to qualify for the Champions League and went out with a
whimper at Chelsea. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic!!! I find it staggering
that the players could not raise their game in a match that is potentially
worth £15M to the club. I can only hope that there is a clear out of some
of the dead wood we have had at Anfield in recent seasons. I think Heskey,
Smicer, Berger, Carragher Cheyrou and shit-head Murphy would be a good
start. This is the final paragraph of football until August (MJ
celebrates!!!) and I have to say I am quite pleased because it means I
will not have to travel six hours to see overpaid players turn in such
mediocre performances. I was disappointed to see West Ham drop out of the
top flight and I hope their stay in the Nationwide League is a short one
and that the financial restraints are not too stifling for one of my fave
teams. I was also disappointed to see Celtic fail to lift the UEFA cup but
not as disappointed at the 50,000 Scots who travelled to southern Spain to
watch the game. Anyway I'm off, next edition should not be as long because
I will try to do it sooner.

11th April 2003

Sorry for the huge gap in the wise words but things have been a little
hectic recently. So where shall we begin with this months story?? Let's go
from Saturday and go backwards. My wife threw a party for a work colleague
at our house on Saturday night and we did not get to bed until the birds
were singing at six on the Sunday morning. I managed to escape without a
hangover because I didn't start drinking until about 11. The reason I was
missing was because I dodged the first few hours of the party with a visit
to London Welsh in Kings Cross to see Mal Pope and The Jacks. Mal Pope is
a Welsh singer songwriter from Swansea and his backing band, The Jacks,
consist of all my Welsh buddies (Wal, Tim, Nigey-Nige and Ryan) so I
thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with them for half an
hour. It wasn't any longer because I had to pop back home as my prescence
was being missed at the party. So Saturday ended very well but begun very
badly because Liverpool lost 4-0 to Man United at Old Trafford. It is
never very nice to lose to our fiercest rivals but I guess in light of our
recent good results against them I guess we were due a beating. The
scoreline suggests a beating of major proportions but the game was against
us after five minutes when our captain was sent off after conceding a
penalty after four minutes. Once this happened it was only going to be a
matter of how many they were going to beat us by. On the subject of The
Reds we were also unceremoniously dumped out of the UEFA cup by Celtic.
Again I don't have any complaints as the best team won and Liverpool paid
for the cautious approach in the first leg when they should have gone for
the jugular and killed them off up at Parkhead.
I have been doing a lot of recording up at Big Top in the last month.
First up was Wal and Tone for a couple of days recording some new tunes.
We recorded the backing tracks for two songs, "Answerphone" and "Es La
Vida, Lar". I may have mentioned that I wanted to record an e.p of mini
album before the end of the year and these new songs are the first
installment on that album. "Answerphone" is a song that should have been
included on LGF but I felt that the arrangement of the song we had
recorded was not the best it could be so the new version is more to my
taste and has a more epic finale which is more fitting for the type of
song it is. The other tune is a song about Mad Spanish hence the Spanish
title which is a mixture of Spanish and Scouse. "Es La Vida" means "That's
Life" and "Lar" is Scouse for mate as in "Orright Lar, 'owzit goin??".
Both of the tunes are quite minimal in terms of their production as this
is going to be the theme for the mini album which is provisionally titled
"A Lo Minimo" which again is Spanish for "the minimum".
As well as the old guys in the studio we have also had the news guys (and
one gal) up at the studio. The guys who I am playing with live also have
their own band called "Evo Diablo" but they have Ms Portelly on vocals
rather than me. They were recording a couple of new tunes that I will be
mixing tomorrow. You may have heard these boys jamming with me at Big Top
on the version of Power Of Love. That song has a similair opening chord
structure to "Broke" and I thought it may be nice to slip into it at the
end of "Broke" but we will have to see how it ends up sounding when it is
chopped down to three minutes as opposed to the fifteen minute jam that I
sent to Irv at the Frankie website.
I went over to Fulham to see Mad Mark Blackburn, or as he is usually
referred "The Captain". Unfortunately we didn't do any recording at his
house because he has put all his recording toys away so we drank beer
instead. He was in fine fettle and has already fled these shores to head
back to Thailand.
The interview with Spence Leigh was broadcast just after the last edition
of wise words and he has since sent me a mini-disc of it and as soon as I
have finished typing this then I will record it into the pc and chop it up
for you and post it somewhere if not on this site. There is an interview
with a couple of tunes on the acoustic. One of the tunes is called "4th of
July Everyday" and I played this because Spencer was talking about old
protest songs and I mentioned that I had written this tune but I didn't
bargain on him asking me to play it so I was put on the spot and had to do
it. Whether I was successful in pulling it off I will leave up to you.
On the business front I went to have a meeting with an old friend of mine
last week who has her own distribution netwrok sorted out so I can try and
get LGF into the shops. Liz and Wan used to run a rehearsal room / record
company in North London but have since fled to the wilds of Lincolnshire
so I toodled up there in the car and had a chat about how she can help me
earn a decent living. I have realised that if I am to give the music the
platform it deserves then I am going to need some help and Liz has offered
her help and I think I would be mad to turn it down. Apart from probably
being a lot better dealing with these industry types she is much better
looking than me which can be a help when meeting these record company bods
so hopefuly by the time we have then next installment in the wise words I
should have something more to tell you.
Last but by no means least is the three amigos at the top of the page. I
took this picture during rehearsals after making them listen to the
recorded version of "The Power Of Love". We were rocking last night and
finished with a Maximum Joy Jam which Noels dad filmed so I will try and
capture the bastrd and sent it off so you can all see it but I reckon
George Bush has more chance of capturing Hussain than I have of capturing
us rocking!!!!

9th March 2003

As you can see from the text above I have finally got the first gig in for
2003. I am always being asked about when I am going to play live so
hopefully a few of you can start saving for a trip to Liverpool in spring.
The Picket is a great venue and I am looking forward to taking the new
band there and show them my home town. We have been rehearsing on and off
for a while now but getting the first gig in means we have a deadline to
get it spot on and this will increase the rehearsal load. While we are on
the subject of Liverpool, I will be appearing on Spencer Leigh's
Merseybeat programme on Radio Merseyside this evening at 6.00pm. As usual
this is very short notice but you cannot hear it on the web so I guess
most of you would not be able to hear it anyway. Spencer has promised to
send me a copy of it so when it arrives I will put it up on the site.
The peice of silverware above is The Worthington Cup which Liverpool won
last Sunday against arch-rivals Manchester United. The game was held in
the magnificent Millenium Stadium in Cardiff or, as it has been renamed by
some Liverpool fans, Anfield South. It was my first visit to the stadium
and to say I was impressed is an understatement. I was on the top tier of
seating but it didn't matter because every seat in the ground has an
excellent view. The ground also has a sliding roof and this was closed for
the game which heightenend the already electric atmosphere. I met up with
Newport Nikk and a few of his buddies before the game in the worlds most
crowded pub. Unfortunately I could not join them in a huge session because
I had to drive home straight after the game. Liverpool won the game 2-0
and by the end of the game I was standing up singing with everyone else in
our end. It is always nice to give the Mancs a bit of a slapping and the
fact that a cup was at stake made the victory even sweeter.
I had to go to see my old mate Jeff in hospital last week. He had been
admitted for major heart surgery following an angiogram that showed he had
damage to the veins around his heart. He was wheeled in the day after and
given a quintiple heart bypass which is a massive operation in anyone's
book. Considering what he went through on the table I thought he looked
really well when I went to see him but then again I thought he was looking
really well before he had the operation. jeff is a fanatical Everton
supporter and I was surprised that he actually had a heart (or is it the
brain that Evertonians are missing??) Joking aside I was really pleased
that the operation was a success becasue despite his Evertonian bitterness
heis a good egg and the world is a better place with him in it. When I was
visiting him one of his workmates had popped in to see him. He had been to
the Marsden hospital because he was getting treatment for cancer in his
neck. When he told me this Jeff piped up "I told you mate, you don't wanna
work in our place, it will fucking kill ya!". Nice to see his sense of
humour was fully intact even if his heart wasn't.
I have been busy doing acoustic demos for some new songs and hope to put a
few of them down next week if I can gather the necessary musicians
together. Some working titles are: "Es La Vida Lar", "Had (is all we've
been)", "Conspiracy Man" and "Dirty Old Man". I am pleased with the songs
on Le Grande Fromage but becasue it took me so long to complete it I have
grown a little bored by the songs and can't wait to get excited about some
new ones.
On the subject of LGF, I know that some of you have already received your
copies and if any of you would care to put finger to keyboard then I would
like to get a couple of reveiws to post on the site so someone should get
busy.
I was up in Liverpool yesterday to watch the reds beat Bolton Wanderers
2-0 at Anfield. I think the result is all you need to know about this
tawdry game of football. I have seen more life in a tramps vest. I guess
the champagne hangover from last Sunday must have still been hanging
around because most of the team looked half asleep.
Sorry there is not much news this edition but I have been doing mundane
telephone stuff so I have not been gadding about as much as usual but I
will try and up the exotic factor for the next visit when I will hopefully
have some more gig news. Ttfn.

21st February 2003

Sorry about the long delay between the editions of "wise words" this month
but I knew I was going to be attending a few things that I wanted to tell
you about and I thought I would wait until I had attended them all before
I started typing so here goes. I went to the Millwall v Southampton FA Cup
replay at The New Den which was all going well until The Saints scored and
The Lions exited the oldest cup competition with a growl rather than a
roar. As I suspected they had missed their opportunity to progress when
Southampton scored the very late equaliser at St Mary's. It is difficult
for Nationwide teams to get the better of Premiership sides, especially
over two legs. I only hope they recover their form to have a late charge
at the play-offs or my footy season will end after my attendance at the
forthcoming Worthington Cup Final in Cardiff. On this latest visit to
Millwall I approached the ground from a different direction when I drove
through South Bermondsey. For opposition supporters getting off the trains
at South Bermondsey station it must look like they are entering Dodge
City. This is enhanced by the fact that the game was an evening kick-off
and the dark streets made it look even more menacing. Don't let this put
you off ever going to The Den if you get a chance because the atmosphere
in the ground is great and I cannot compare the singing in the stands to
anything I have heard in another football ground but try and go with a
local. To top the night off I got flashed on the way home by a GATSO on
the Old Kent Rd which means I am £60 lighter in my wallet and three points
heavier on my driving licence. Anyway let's move on, we have a lot to
cover.
I have been recording demos of some of the new tunes at the studio but not
without a few days of equipment stress. Me and Simon D had a nice day
tearing out our hair and looking at the blue screen on my studio pc. It
has just been souped-up but was not recognising my audio card. I cannot
begin to explain the shit that was going on but let's just say we
installed the drivers for the card in every way possible, doing it the
windows for dummies way, and then doing it the sneaky back door way and
every time we opened up the audio card utility it said "card not found"??
Aaaaargh...smash the fucking thing...........let's go the pub instead.
Luckily, Simon D had a boffin buddy close by who helped us out and got it
going with a very swift manoeuvre and a couple of clicks. Every time I
think I am getting to grips with computers Microsoft pull the rug out from
under my feet and tell me to go and join the "computer illiterates" line.
The gent who came to our aid is the younger brother of a guy called Steve
Sunderland who suffered a stroke some time ago. Sunderland Senior was
someone I got to know through my mate Stevie B. He used to pop down to my
studio now and then to sit down and talk about, and play, guitars. I never
knew him well enough to say he was a good mate of mine but he was someone
who I was always pleased to see and someone who always had a grin on his
face. All this coupled with a nice touch on the guitar made him a welcome
visitor at Big Top anytime. I suppose my recent flirtations with different
tunings started with Steve Sunderland as he was the first person to show
me open D tuning so, indirectly, he has had a hand in all these new tunes
I have been writing in open D. Steve passed away last week after spending
a long time in hospital and is probably auditioning as I type for the
house band upstairs saying "'Ere Jimi, ever tried DADGAD???". I know this
page has had plenty of dead musicians at the top when they have popped off
this mortal coil and that is why I decided to put a picture of Steve on
the top this week. I think he would be pleased to be in the company of Joe
Strummer, John Entwistle and Maurice Gibb (and that is only in the last
six months). Why did we get on to this subject..............well the gent
who came to our aid with the sound card was Steve's younger brother
Michael who is a mate of Simon D. Small world or what?? He was rewarded
with a swift pint in The Mitre with Marky Mark (again, happier now??two
mentions in a month???) and his wife Lorraine and Mad Spanish.
While we are on the subject of pubs I forgot to mention something that
happened after the Liverpool v Arsenal game at Anfield. I was in The Flat
Iron pub after the game with my mate Pete and we were sitting next to a
couple of Arsenal fans in the pub. I went to the bar and when I came back
one of these guys stuck his match programme under my nose and asked me to
sign it. I looked at Pete and wondered if he had said something to him but
this guy had recognised me!?!? I couldn't believe it. Well weird. The last
time I was "spotted" was in the off licence next to my studio by a scouser
who had seen me every other day for about a week but I have to take my hat
off to The Gooner. Very good spot. I was wearing a fucking baseball cap as
well so he had no "hair clue". Ten out of ten for observation. I signed
his programme next to a picture of Bill Shankley. He was chuffed and so
was I. Good result all round, especially after the draw we snatched from
The Gooners.
After the session in The Mitre with the above mentioned posse I had to
jump a bus to my son's school to MC the International Evening. I always
like the International Evening and I am sure there have been reviews of
previous International Evenings in these pages. The reason I like it is
because there is always some good grub on offer. There is a Japanese
couple who have had children in the school for years and they always turn
up with loads of home-made sushi. I can see other parents talking to them
and saying "raw fish?....oh no, I'm quite full". This leaves the way open
for the sushimeister, fuelled on tumblers of red wine, to creep in and
sneak away with Japan's best home-made. An interesting addition this year
was a couple of African families, one carrying a blinding beef curry. Ok,
what have we learned about other countires?? Fuck all, all you've learned
is I am a fat bastard when I ain't eaten all day and the grub on offer is
good. The only scary moment of the evening came when the headmistress
walked up to me and said "Do you sing in your band?? Get up and give us a
song!!". Luckily your correspondent was able to swerve the invitation and
managed to stay behind the bar serving the other "internationals". As a
people, the residents of these isles are a pretty insular bunch but add
alcohol and food into the equation then you are appealing to
everyone...the drunks and the gluttons. I managed to set up the PA system
and the only downside was the headmistress continually pointing the
microphone into the speaker next to her which resulted in the high pitch
screeching that we have all heard before.
I was lucky enough to be able to pop out last Sunday afternoon to catch
the second half of a Michael Moore double bill at my local arty cinema.
They were showing "Columbine" and "Roger & Me" which was his first movie.
It was a little bleaker than the other stuff he has done but still great
film making, and made way back in 1988. It follows MM's quest to get to
see the boss of General Motors who has just closed down the local GM plant
in his home town of Flint, Michigan, putting 30,000 people out of work. I
won't go into detail but just reiterate what I have said about MM before.
Watch his films and read his books and become a little bit more
enlightened than you already think you are. There is a scene in "Roger &
Me" where a woman clubs a rabbit a couple of times and then proceeds to
skin it. The reason she is doing this is she is on welfare and she is
raising an extra $15 a week by selling rabbits as pets, or meat. The two
women sitting next to me winced when the woman clubbed the rabbit. This
leads me to a point in his new book "Stupid White Men" where he explains
that there two scenes in "Roger & Me": One showing a rabbit being clubbed
and a scene showing an unarmed black man being shot by the police in the
middle of the road. He tells of the complaints received about the rabbit
scene. There were no complaints about the black man being shot because it
is just not a shocking image anymore. I have read the book and I witnessed
this reaction in the cinema, it certainly makes you think.
Fed up yet??? Well, as Jiminy Cricket said "There's more!!!" I went to see
Low on Friday night with a few other disciples and a couple of new
disciples. Me and AfroMart holding the standard with Sloe Joe second in
command, with Raul and Simon D who were Low "virgins". The gig was fucking
wicked as always. It was a The Union Chapel in Islington which is a great
big Victorian church and I won't bore you but you know what I think of the
band, needless to say I was well blissed-out for about an hour. Great
tunes, Mimi is a godess and Alan Sparhawk is a great guitar player (not
forgetting Zak too). I went to the following night with Cujo Kev who was
well blissed-out too. These gigs were Friday and Saturday night but I
missed out a very important Saturday afternoon. I went on the peace march
in central London with my son Taylor. We were joined by Simon D and Leanne
and Debbie with Frankie B and Maria and some friends of theirs who had
come up from Ringwood in Hampshire. Nine very different people all
together with one aim, sort of a microcosm of society. I am not one for
public pronouncements, except in the pub with some chaps, but I thought I
should go, and Taylor was up for it too. I was proud of him because the
only thing he asked for all day was a hot chocolate from McDonalds. Maria,
who is from South America (Chile) asked him if he had been on a march
before and told him that he would remember it for as long as he lived. Her
first march was the "Cinco De Mayo" marches in Argentina. She was marching
to protest about "The Disappeared" in Argentina which was a huge day in
their history. I was pleased he went because this was the biggest peace
march in London and by taking part he has become a part of history. The
march was great and it was brilliant to see so many young people out
there. I don't want to sound like some old twat but I am encouraged to see
that such a large number of the "youth of today" present instead of
drinking lager with Apple Sour chasers in Wetherspoons. Big shout to Tom
Duff Paddy who was out there marching to with the rest of his young
disciples. The police seemd pretty cool and it was great to walk down
Tottenham Court Road without traffic. It was great walking down
Shaftesbury Avenue and being waved to by the cast of "Les Miserables"
hanging out of the windows of the theatre. We got to the park and we said
our goodbyes and headed down into Green Park tube station. My dodgy leg
was giving me a bit of greif as I had been doing more standing than
walking and I thought that we had both shown our support, plus I had to
get back for the next Low gig.
There's more...........still............. Roll on Sunday afternoon and I
am installed in The King Of Bohemia in Hampstead with Kev P, Jim amd Tonto
watching footy before a night out at Dingwalls in Camden watching "Three
Men and Black" which is a punk / two-tone "supergroup". The band is Jake
Burns (Stiff Little Fingers), Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers),
Pauline Black and some other bloke (The Selector). They played various
tunes from their past's and it was a decent nights entertainment but not
as entertaining as Mr P coating me off about the comments I had made on
the website the previous week concerning Mo Gibb and Joe Strummer. As time
is short I will precis "What the fuck can Maurice Gibb teach Joe fucking
Strummer". Most entertaining.
So last night I was at Hammersmith Apollo watching Peter Kay. If you don't
watch "That Peter Kay Thing" or "Phoenix Nights" then you may know Peter
Kay from the John Smith's Bitter commercials that have been showing for a
year on tv in Britain. He was good to see and me and Simon D had a chuckle
or three (this songwriting stuff cannot be stopped). I took my mini-disc
and recorded it, as I did the Low gig, and have spent most of today
recording it into the computer and will bein slicing it up into bite-size
peices as soon as I have finished this edition.
Lastly, I have a release for the album. I hope (fingers crossed) that it
will be available from 3rd March unless I have more grief from the
pressing plant. I thought 03/03/03 sounded like a day when something big
should happen and maybe that happening is the rolling out of the big
cheese. Let's hope so. I am now off to put my aching fore-fingers into
some surgical spirit and hope it won't be quite as long before I put
finger my keyboard again. Ooooohh x 2 Matron.

1st February 2003

This is "wise words" coming to you from the frozen waste of North London.
I don't what happens in most other countries around the world, maybe you
can tell me in the forum, but when we have a substantial snowfall the
entire country comes to a standstill. In this case it was not the entire
country but a big chunk of the south east corner. I was arriving back in
London just as the white stuff started falling yesterday afternoon and by
the time I had made the half hour journey north from Euston it was falling
thick and fast. For those of you who don't live in the south it was a big
one and huge tracts of motorway and roads were gridlocked with traffic
after several accidents and no doubt a few sliding bumps. My wife was in
work four hours away and the night staff that were due to take over could
not get into work which meant that she had to stay and work nights in the
hospital which is probably just as well becasue she don't like driving in
the snow. When she came home in the early hours this morning she said the
roads were littered with abandoned cars and even abandoned buses. The only
ones who seemed pleased about the weather were the kids who were out in
the street making snowmen and having snowball fights. The partner of a guy
who works with my wife is Australian and she certainly made the most of it
by going out in the main road and building her own snowman as this was the
first time she had seen snow over here. I take my hat off to her becasue
she was on her own and she is in her late twenties and must have looked
like a psycho to most of the passers-by. I have just come in from my local
pub where I was watching a band and it seems to be on the the thaw but if
it gets colder later then we could be in for some more fun tomorrow. As I
said I have just come back in from my local music venue and while I was
there I received some good news: it seems that the local promoter has lost
his grip on all the music nights there because the band who were playing
had organised this Friday night gig themselves. This means that I will be
speaking to the landlord tomorrow and sorting out a gig for myself and
maybe a little album launch so all of those people who travel to see me
play will have their wishes granted shortly when I announce a gig in
London ( I hope they are still smiling when the see how much a fucking
hotel room costs in these here parts). I will try and have it sorted by
the time I do the next edition.
As I said earlier I was up in Liverpool to watch The Reds take on the
mighty Arsenal. I took the opportunity while I was up there to record an
interview with Spencer Leigh on Radio Merseyside which will be aired some
time in the near future. Spencer is a bit, well actually a lot, of an
authority on music, especially the local music scene and has written books
and contributed many articles about Mersey artists past and present as
well as presenting his show on the radio. I took the Baby Taylor up there
and played a few acoustic tunes which he recorded and I will post the
interview on the site when I get a copy of it. Before I saw Spencer I had
a swift half with Mrs Reed and we discussed the current woes of our footy
team. I went to the game and despite the worries that we might get rinsed
by a team who are at the top of their game we managed to steal a draw.
Although the draw was not as good as a win it was an entertaining game and
it was good to watch the current Arsenal team playing live. While we are
on the subject of football, a subject I know you all love, I went to see
Millwall play Southampton at the new St Mary's Stadium. My mate Liam and I
met up with Southern Claire and The Duke who were our hosts for the
afternoon. It was an exciting game that ended in a draw after the plucky
Saints scored in the dying minutes. I am now looking forward to the replay
down at The New Den next Wednesday. I liked St Mary's Stadium but I feel
that these new stadiums don't have any character and they all kinda look
the same. Liverpool are about to build a new ground and I am not sure if
it will end up looking like one of these generic footy stadiums that are
cropping up all over the place. I guess we will have to see when it is
finished. As long as my seat in the new ground is as good as my seat in
the current one then I guess I will be happy.
Musically the rich vein of writing form has continued and I have been
recording a few things on my new hard disk recorder. I replaced the Mackie
with an Alesis and bought some new computer hardware from PC Dave in
Bolton and with a little help from Ket and my mate Si I have got my gear
running and looking good. I am looking forward to the coming months of
swearing and cursing at the shiny inanimate machinery in my studio when
they decide to fuck up (which they always do). I was thinking the other
day about the comparison between computers and cars. If you bought a car
that stalled everytime you accelerated with the radio and headlights on,
you would take it back to the garage but we all seem to accept the fact
that these machines play up and crash and generally cause us greif at one
time or another. If you pay £1000 for something I expect it to work
brilliantly and before I get mails from the Mac snobs telling me to get a
Mac, shut the fuck up because they fucking do it too.
I have been to see a couple of movies recently which I will review in the
following paragraph. "Gangs Of New York": Daniel Day Lewis is top and Leo
Di Caprio is not. I wonder how many movie roles Leo would get if he looked
like Martin Clunes? In the handsome stakes he gets an Oscar every time but
I don't think he is a very good actor and alongside really good actors
like DDL and Jim Broadbent he just looks a bit poo.Went to see "City Of
God" which is a Brazilian movie about little Brazilian gangsters in the
ghettoes of Rio.This was a good movie if not a little depressing as it was
filmed in the slums of Rio and it makes you realise how lucky we are to
live in houses with heating and electricity.
Now for the obituary column. These pages have resembled chapters of "Breif
Lives" with all these pop stars dropping off. We lost another recently
with the death of Maurice Gibb. When I was a 14 yr old punk the "squares"
were wearing white suits and suffering from Saturday Night Fever and I
could not admit to having any liking of the high pitched squealing
associated with The Bee Gees. I realised that my prejudice was ill-judged
and The Bee Gees have written some great tunes, my personal favourites
being "You Should Be Dancing" and "Jive Talkin'". Whether you like the
high voices, white teeth and big hair (well we have all been there haven't
we?) you have to admit that when you hear some vintage Bee Gees it is very
hard not to shake your groove thing. Maybe Mo is up there now showing Joe
Strummer how to harmonise. I bet if he had done some high backing vocals
on London Calling he could have made Mick Jones sound a little better
(sorry Mr P).
As we have had our Xmas weather a month late I think I will close this
week with a snowman joke.
Q: What did one snowman say to the other snowman?????
A: Can you smell carrots??

6th January 2003

Happy New Year to one and all. I am currently listening to the Home
Secretary talking about getting rap musicians to change the lyrics to
their songs following the murders of two young girls during the recent
terrible shootings in Birmingham. I saw the same thing in "Bowling For
Columbine" where numerous politicians and newscasters blamed Marilyn
Manson. Pathetic, who do they think they are kidding? I don't beleive that
anybody would aspire to go out and get themselves a gun because some
gangster rapper is singing about it. It pisses me off intensely. We had
all this shit with Tipper Gore and the PMRC getting stickers put on CDs.
If you fancy doing a bit of research on the net then I would recommend you
try to find Frank Zappa's address to congress on the subject of music
censorship, it is an excellent and informed read.
Sorry to start off the New Year with a rant but you know what I am like by
now. I hope you all had a good Xmas and were not ill from any form of
over-indulgence of any kind. I spent the time at home with the family and
managed to escape the holiday period without any major hangovers. I got
some nice pressies for Xmas, plenty of books to read over the coming
months including Lemmy's autobiography, Steve Earle's autobiography and
Lance Armstrong's autobiography.
Spent the day with AfroMart down at his studio putting the finishing
touches to the album. It sounds great and will be sent to the pressing
plant in the next few days and I will have a release date for you by the
next edition. It sounds great and I look forward to hearing what you all
think. I played it to my mate Simon D last night and it was the first time
I had listened to it almost all the way through for quite some time and I
am very pleased with it but bored also. I want to get a six track EP out
this year just to up my output a little. Si and I had been to see City Of
God which is a Brazilian movie about kids growing up in the slums of Rio.
It was a great movie althoug a bit depressing seeing how the other half
live.
I will close this edition with a word about another great artist that has
put his knife and fork down. The passing of Joe Strummer is a sad loss for
music. Although I am not the greatest fan of the stuff he has done since
the end of The Clash, I am a fan off The Clash and Joe & Co played the
music of my teenage years. I was never fortunate enough to see The Clash
live but I have had enough reports of them from Mr P who, being a young
North London punk, got to saw them on many occassions. I remember hearing
their first album and loving Janie Jones and I remember dropping
everything to run round to my mate's house becasue he had the Capital
Radio EP. As a guitarist who played with many different bands as a hired
"gun" then I am sure Joe will have no problem fitting in with the house
band upstairs. I think the only good to come of his passing will be that
it ensures that The Clash will never tread the boards again on the
nostalgia circuit and I, for one, am very happy about that.

21st December 2002

I will start this edition with a mention of a meeting with Marky Mark. Not
the geezer who was in Boogie Nights but nevertheless a geezer who can
boogie. Mark used to play for our footy team and I occassionally get
together for a quick scoop or two and talk about the latest music etc. He
was raving about a new band called Audioslave who have come from the
remnants of Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden. I downloaded a few
tracks from their album and I know why he likes it so. I was telling him
that I was going to take my wife to see Taboo, the play in the West End
about Boy George, and he kindly arranged some free tickets for me so I am
off to see that on Monday and will let you know my thoughts over the
holiday period. I had a nice few beers with Mark and it is always good to
talk to people who are really enthusiastic about their music and I hope we
will be meeting up again in the not too distant future. We touched on our
respective football teams and considering my team's current form this is
the only mention of football in this edition.
Went out for a family meal to celebrate my eldest daughter's birthday. She
chose to go to my favourite Indian restuarant near my studio which was a
result and a decision that was taken under no duress from myself. It's
nice to know that she enjoys the culinary delights from around the world
rather than heading straight for the golden arches for a Big Mac. All my
kids dig Indian food and it makes me think about what sort of food I used
to eat when I was a kid and we had no McD's and Pizza Hut. My mum was a
good cook but nevertheless I used to think getting savoury rice was well
fucking exotic. God knows what I would have thought about eating sushi
(raw fish...............??????? raw.................????
fish..........????) and onion bhajies when I was 12 (not on the same plate
of course). While we are on food I have to tell you about a large trout
that I was given by my neighbour Mary which I cooked for dinner last
night. The same kids who will delve into the exotic were initially very
disgusted at this dead fish with the head still on but after a little
cajoling and me cahsing them around the kitchen with it they each picked
it up and were less grossed-out but still not convinced. It was very nice,
nuff said.
Me and Stevie B went to see Michael Moore's movie "Bowling For Columbine".
It was on in a mutliplex cinema that has a load of really small theatres
and we were sitting in the dark with about 40 other co-conspirators. It
was a great movie and something that everyone should try and see. I won't
go into depth because I don't think this place is suitable for political
rantings but his analysis of the US media makes me question everything I
see on TV and everything I hear on the radio. I started thinking about
this and realised that "my media" (talking to mates, like-minded
individuals, conspiracy theorists, liberals and radicals) is just as valid
as the stuff I see and hear everyday in "their media". In future I will
try and disseminate the information and remember that the news is just the
stuff they want us to know. I think that if you get a book voucher for
Xmas then you should go and buy "Stupid White Men" and it may make you
look at things a little differently.
Nature Call: Every now and again we have a little nature story in these
pages and we have our own version of Animal Rescue this week. Last week I
was pottering about the house and heard the door go. I answered it to be
confronted by my neighbour's little boy, 9 year old Ben, who was a little
distressed and was trying to tell me that a Starling had flown into his
football net and got tangled up and his Mum could not hold it and try to
free it at the same time. I went over and held the bird whilst Ben's mum,
Gina, cut the net from his legs. Ben's concern for the trapped bird was
diluted a little when he saw his Mum snipping away at his footy net.The
little fella was well tangled up (the bird, not Ben) and after a few
minutes the bird was free. I tentatively opened the gloves and was pleased
to see the bird fly away instantly. Hurrah, smiles all round.
I have hit a real hot streak in the songwriting stakes. I have knocked out
about five songs since the last edition and I put it down to changing my
guitar tuning. I won't bore you with the details but I have been playing
in DADGAD tuning and experimenting a little. It is kinda like learning to
play again and it takes a while to work out which chord shapes and
fingering produce the best results (oh matron!) but I am getting into it
and picking up a guitar everyday which can't be a bad thing. New titles
include "Had" and "4th July Everday" and I have been doing a couple of
rough demos. My studio pc has been freaking and has an error on the hard
drive so I forsee some pc expenditure in the coming months. I know that
the computers we use are hardly military spec but it freaks me out a
little knowing that we are all totally dependent on these fucking things
in one way or another. Can you imagine the chaos if every pc in the world
crashed at once. It makes me think that the whole scare about the Milenium
Bug would have been a lot worse if the threat would have been that real.
No TV, no radio, no bank accounts, no cctv, no traffic lights!?!?! It
doesn't bear thinking about.
Moving on to the fella above whose birthday piss up I attended last week.
Oh...... the youth of today?? Where do you begin??? I witnessed "hair
fluffing" of Olympic proportions from Sweeney The Younger. Put the world
to rights with Sweeney The Elder and joined our picture boy for a few
beers. Another late night, good fun at the time but not much fun getting
out of bed in four time to get the kids up but if I'm too old to rock 'n'
roll then I should retire. Continued my socialising with a ticket for one
to see Lord Of The Rings Pt 2. I would not normally do the cinema solo but
I had to see this film before the end of term and the cinemas are filled
with kids. Nice movie, a little less stunning than the first one but only
because all of the "tricks" are as good as the first movie so that level
of computer trickery is maintained and pushed a bit further with the
charachter Gollum. Weird shit, mad eyes but not real, I would love to know
how that shit was done. Went into town to meet Grant and attend the Book
Club with a colourful cast of characters who distribute much wit and
jollification to all in earshot and an arms length.
Anyway enough of me what about the geezer upstairs, not God, Mr Noel
Martin.
Date of birth: 13th December 1976
First started playing bass : I started playing guitar when I was 11 but I
wanted to be a rock star from the age of 7.
First record bought: FLM by Mel & Kim.
Desert Island Disc: Led Zeppelin 2
If you weren't a musician what would you be: I would be achef like Jamie
Oliver because I love cooking.
Which musician, alive or dead, would you most like to meet: Jimi Hendrix,
Jim Morrison and Jimmy Page. (The Three Jimmies)
A big hand for Noel for admitting that his first record purchase was FLM.
I think that is enough to give someone some serious musical scarring. Ta
Noel.
I wish everyone a Happy Xmas and a New year that brings us tolerance and
World Peace, not much fucking chance of that!!