Stuff that pops into my head. Innit.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Top 10 Albums of the year

Before we get to the main meat of this post, there's a couple of albums worthy of mention that didn't quite make it into the top 10. Bjork's "Biophilia" and Radiohead's "The King of Limbs" were both excellent returns to form, although at the same time falling a long way short of their artists' stellar best, and Lupe Fiasco's "Lasers" was a minor disappointment -very good but missing something indefinable.

Anyway, onto the list.

10. Mariachi El Bronx -II.
Following up the Bronx' excellent first Mariachi album was always going to be hard, but they've managed to make another one that's actually better than the first attempt.

9. Electric 6 - Heartbeats and Brainwaves.
You pretty much know what you're going to get with an E6 album -insanely catchy pop rock with a slightly unsettling edge to it. This one is better than most of theirs and contains one of the years best tracks in "French Bacon".

8. Janes' Addiction - The Great Escape Artist.
This is way better than I expected -I actually suspect it's way better than JA themselves expected- and well worth a purchase if you like the band.

7. Bon Iver - Bon Iver.
The next big thing. If you're unfamiliar with these guys, you won't be for long. Brilliant folky rock from very accomplished musicians. Check out the song "holocene" to hear them at their best. Also good for fans of bands with missing letters in their name.

6. Skindred - Union Black.
There aren't many truly unique bands about, but Skindred are certainly one of them. They effortlessly fuse metal, ragga and dubstep into one massive thunderclap. Brilliant, but best heard live -and that's the reason they're down at No.6. This album also contains the best version of the British national anthem ever.

5. Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
Don't go into this one expecting something you've never heard the like of before, because on first listen, it's a fairly bland poppy album sung by a man with a pleasant if slightly whiny voice. Simple Math, however has hidden depths -and what depths they are. Lyrically, this is perhaps the most brutally honest album you'll ever hear. Keep listening to it and you'll fall in love with it.

4. Cage The Elephant -Thank You, Happy Birthday.
Conceptually a million miles away from "Simple Math" this is more of a "Happy" album - put this on when you're in a good mood and you'll soon be dancing around the room. I've just realised that that might just be me, but never mind, it's still a cracking album. It's only made No.4 because it's essentially a Pixies tribute album but if you're going to rip off someone, make sure it's someone unspeakably brilliant.

3. Mastodon - The Hunter.
Fan opinion on The Hunter was split, some seeing it as an incoherent piece of rubbish, others -like me- feteing it as Mastodons' finest hour. Rather than an album wide concept the Atlanta boys have given us a collection of largely unrelated songs, but what songs they are.

2. The Black Keys - El Camino.
The worlds' most underrated band return with their second brilliant album in as many years. This is the best rock album of the year by far. No arguments, go and buy it.

1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake.
I didn't want to name this as the best album of the year -mainly because it seems nearly everyone else has- but you really can't deny the fact that it is. And it's the best by quite a large margin.
Musically, it's beautifully arranged and Harveys' voice is clearer and sharper than ever. Lyrically it's both powerful and sensitive without ever becoming maudlin or depressing, and she handles difficult subjects with subtlety and ease. It's not far short of a masterpiece.

PJ Harvey, yesterday. Brilliant.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Worst Albums of the year 2011

This kind of falls into a couple of distinctly different categories -those albums which are not terrible but a bit dull, those which are disappointing because they've been made by bands who are usually ok and those which are frankly, poo.

In the "not terrible but a bit dull" section first up, it's the Subways.
Their album "Money and Celebrity" can best be summed up as a party album for people who like rock. It's not all bad -indeed, the first single from the album " We don't need money to have a good time" is quite good, but everything else on the album sounds the same to the point where they all meld into one whiny singalong mess. Not good.
In the next category are Kasabian, which I have to say came as a bit of a surprise.
To my mind at least, Kasabian had been steadily improving, each album showing some progression -but "Velociraptor!" is a massive leap backwards. It also features some of the worst lyrics I've ever heard. The album comes across as an incoherent mess. Must do better lads.

Ok, now we're into the "Poo" section.
Normally, in any other year I could think of, Gold Cobra would have run away with the worst album of the year award, for reasons I -and quite a lot of the rest of the web- have discussed before (hint ; He stands at the front and wears a cap).
Sorry Fred, this year you've been blown away in the crap stakes.

Enter Metallica and Lou Reed with "Lulu".
A double album, no less.

I'm not a Metallica fan, but I can't imagine many of their fanbase will be happy with this. Kirk Hammett's signature guitar solos are largely missing, and bassist Rob Trujillo seems to have been on holiday at the time of recording, so the whole thing is driven along by James Hetfield's chugging rythmn guitar. Terrific. Never mind though, here comes Super Lars and his pet Snare Drum to save the day!
Um, no. Lars' answer to the assault on your ears is to hit everything very hard. All the time. Thanks.
Lou mumbles and stumbles his way through the lyrics at one point shouting "JACK" for what seems like forever. He also pretends to be a girl in one song. No, I'm not making it up.
In what appears to be a desperate attempt to distract the listener, James Hetfield tries to convince us that he's a table. Yes, you read that correctly. Listen

Sadly, and remarkably, these are the better efforts on an album that's best quickly forgotten.

Lou Reed and Metallica yesterday, being poo.

Monday, 5 December 2011


Hello all, I'm back. I'm refreshed, recuperated , re-energised and several other things that begin with "R" as well. And, as a copy of El Camino is in my possession, I'll be doing my top ten albums of the year in  a couple of days -shortly after my worst albums of the year, there's some crackers in that one- and this post which is neccessarily sombre in tone.

In the space of little more than a week, 3 of my favourite sportsmen ever have died.

Last weekend former Everton captain Gary Speed took his own life, seemingly with everything to live for. He was 42. Gary was a husband, father, gentlemen and an Evertonian. That's as fitting an epitaph as you can have.

A couple of days after Gary, Rugby League great Arthur Beetson passed away from a heart attack, aged 66.
In a sport filled with remarkable athletes and tough men, Artie was the most remarkable, the toughest, and -in his position- the best.
Just to let you know how good he was, he played for Queensland and I still loved him-that's something no-one else has managed since.

And this weekend, brazilian football legend Socrates has died.  He was a chain smoker, a qualified doctor and , in a time where the word is overused to describe people , he was truly unique. He was a big man -maybe 6'4- yet he danced and skipped around the pitch with more grace than any footballer I've seen before or after, he had a mass of curly hair, often enhanced with a bandana and a raggedy beard. He was also one of the shining lights of the best national team I've ever seen.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Short thoughts.

The London Olympics -even though they are still some 8 and a bit months away- are managing to piss me off.
To be fair, the olympics always piss me off -what seems like 24 hour coverage of skinny men running in circles for hours at a time, not really my thing- but it's never been this bad before.
Every time an ad arrives on the TV whatever the product is, it's suddenly become the official 2012 Olympic version of it's former self.
So far this morning I've spotted the Panasonic Smart Viera tv - the official tv of the olympic games, Cadburys Dairy Milk - the official tooth rotter of London 2012 and a couple of others as well.
I understand the need for corporate sponsorship, but does everything have to have a commercial tie-in? Really?
Tampax, the official feminine hygiene product of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Scott Weiland, erstwhile singer, professional substance abuser and frontman for the Stone Temple Pilots -who were alright- and Velvet revolver -who were shit- has a new album out. Nothing remarkable about that you might think, and, in a sense, you're right. But Scott has released a Christmas album full of yuletide favourites like White Christmas and such. Are things really that bad Scott?
Is this a desperate attempt to cash in on a seasonal event or a new career direction as a lounge singer? Take a guess.

It's generally around this time of year I do my top 10 albums of the year, but I'm going to hold it off until the new Black Keys album lands through my letterbox. It's due out on December 6th but hopefully I'll get it a bit before that.
If you've no idea who I'm talking about, have a listen to this -it's a great video too.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Giant vicious beast spotted in local forest.

Here it is, captured on film by my wife at the weekend.

Click the pic to see the horror in full size.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Short thoughts.

It's been a while since I did one of these so I thought I would treat you all to a recap of some of the stranger stories that I've come across on my travels around the interwebs.

Is your dog going bald? It is? Well, help is at hand.

Ruth Regina of Miami has started and it''s......different.
So if you're German Shepherd is going a little thin on top or you just want to see your Pitbull with dreadlocks -and lets face it, who doesn't?- Ruth can help. On a side note, Chi has just bitten me. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Could be worse. Maybe.

A British marathon runner has admitted to getting on a bus part way round his course-but only after he was challenged by event organisers. Around the 20 mile mark Rob Sloan decided he was "A bit tired" and boarded the vehicle only to hop off a few miles later and hide in a wooded area of the course. Sadly for Rob, a number of onlookers spotted him as he rejoined the race in 3rd place. I suspect this is part of a plan for next years London Olympics, so if Usain Bolt is suddenly abducted by aliens remember I told you about this conspiracy first.

"26 miles? That's a really long way"

In Edinburgh the emergency services had to be called to a curry eating contest after competitors started "writhing on the floor, vomiting and farting", sorry,  "fainting". Whilst writhing on the floor vomiting and fainting -or farting, for that matter- are common scenes played out in pretty much all of Scotland's hostelrys, this time they called an ambulance.
The restaurant owner has said he'll tone down the spicyness in future.

"Forget the ambulance call the Gas Board"

Monday, 3 October 2011

I love this.

 I found the following on a random Everton Fansite -I can't remember which one-  and it struck a chord with me. If you're out there and you wrote this, thanks, it's brilliant.
Everton wear an easy grace. They are a Cary Grant smile with a John Wayne walk. Evertonians know that no matter what befalls them or their club, they'll still be Evertonians. The cheers heard at Goodison are exaultations of pure, white-light joy, and despite the barren years at Goodsion, that brilliance will always eminate from it.

However, there is a dimness across the park. It started when God bannished Satan from heaven and Satan snarled, "Fine, but I'm taking Anfield with me," and God replied, "Whatever."

Because Liverpool supporters know that no matter how many trophies they desperately try to jam into their cabinets, at the end of the day they just aren't Everton. They are simply the hatefull step-son who grows up to be wealthy and powerful, yet filled only with spite for his brother.

The dank world of the Liverpool fan is one of pettiness, false pride and faked orgasms. The cheers heard at Anfield sound more like yelps of anger and cries of pain.

In fact, the next time a Liverpool supporter screams and yells at you after their team win a match, simply smile at them. What they are really yelling is, "Do ya love me now, daddy???"

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stirling and its Uni

As I mentioned a while back, my youngest daughter has just started university down in sunny Stirling- home of Braveheart himself, William Wallace- and as I've finally summoned up the inclination to get the photos onto the PC I thought I'd share them with you guys.
And yes, everything in Stirling is named after Mr. Wallace, no matter how tenuous the link.

This prison style structure is one of the halls of residence

The NSA, which is on campus

A campus complete with a rather nice lake

This is Gabi's actual hall, she's about halfway along on the top floor.

This is the Wallace monument, and yes, it looks a bit like a cock.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Bush - The Sea of Memories

First up, an apology. I haven't posted for a fortnight or so because -no, not ebola this time- we've been busy getting our youngest daughter to university and dealing with the fallout of all that entails. I shall try to get back to some sort of regular posting schedule from now on. Thanks for listening. Reading? Whatever, thanks anyway.

And so onto Bush. Remember them? A sort of British version of Nirvana -not as good obviously, although they were far superior to Silverchair -the Australian version, or Nirvana in Pyjamas as I like to call them- they were pretty good and despite being largely overlooked in their homeland, they were quite popular in the US and achieved a fair bit of commercial, if not critical success.
Until a couple of days ago, Bush hadn't released a new album in 10 years -and that was the not very good Golden State.
10 years is a long time, people and tastes change and given that my last memories of Bush were on the aforementioned Golden State, as I started listening to this I was more than a little anxious.

"Will I like this?"
"What if it's poo?"
"Did I ever like Bush?"

Initially at least, it seemed as though my fears were unfounded, as the first 3 songs are good. Very good. Huzzah! Bush are back and just as good as they were on Razorblade Suitcase.

Not by a long shot. After the excellent opening tracks we descend into radio friendly AOR combined with the sort of filler tracks seen on a hundred average rock albums. Did they get bored after the opening of this album or what? Did Gwen come down into the basement and tell Gavin that playtime's over and his friends have to go home now? It certainly seems that way.
A major disappointment.

Bush, yesterday

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Jim White Ruined my Birthday. Again.

Yesterday was my birthday -no, I'm not telling you how old I am- it also happens to be the football (soccer for you, my american cousins) transfer deadline day. And every year on August 31st, Jim White ruins my birthday.
I know what you're thinking -"Ok Fizz, who the fuck is Jim White?" and it's a fair enough question if A) you don't like football, or B) you don't live in the UK.
Jim White is Sky TV's equivalent of the transfer deadline day's Grim Reaper, Megatron and Hannibal Lecter all rolled into one. If you're an Evertonian, that is.
This year, big Jim gleefully told me that we'd just sold arguably our best player to Arsenal. Thanks Jim. Fucker. Stop smiling.
In between shots of Peter Crouch's people carrier, Yakubu smiling like he'd just been given the keys to Pizza Hut and strangely large mobs of youths behind reporters in car parks, it came to pass that Everton had sold 3 players and bought none -bar a couple of "interesting" loan deals, one an argentinian striker who appears to be more Martin Palermo than Leo Messi, and a famously mad dutchman. Brilliant.
Jim white ruined my birthday. Again.

Jim White yesterday, shortly after ruining my birthday.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mariachi El Bronx 2

When I first heard about The Bronx's plan to do a mariachi album I thought that someone was playing a joke on me. I mean, c'mon, The Bronx. Doing an album of mariachi tunes. What's next, Radiohead doing dubstep? The Deftones releasing a disco album? Muse releasing something good? Exactly. The idea was on the verge of preposterous.
Then the album arrived. And it was the best thing I'd heard the whole year. I could scarcely believe my ears, such was the brilliance of what I was listening to and the quantum shift of the musicians from premier league hardcore punk band to english language mariachi kings.
Now, 2 years later, they're back for more.
The new album runs the gamut of emotions like the first did, but it's more polished, more confident and, crucially, just as good. It might be even better -but I haven't listened to it enough to make a firm judgement on that yet-  I particularly like the story of the seemingly tireless lothario told during "48 Roses" and  the lovesick pleadings of  "Norteno Lights" , but they're all good.
This isn't just a good album for a bunch of punks who've made a mariachi record, it's a good album full stop. It might even be a great one.
Go and get it.

El Bronx, yesterday

Friday, 5 August 2011

Swagger Jagger

As difficult as it maybe to comprehend, I , on occasion, have been accused of being a music snob. Yes, I know dear readers, it's scarcely believable isn't it, but it is true.
I'm telling you this because this week, my snobberry has reached new heights. I'll admit to hating most pop music and to not really understanding how anyone can enjoy the vapid warblings of Dustbin Beaver, Take That, Pitbull, Jason DeRuuuuuuuuuuuul-o and the seeming millions of others who assault my ears on a irritatingly regular basis.
This week though, Bieber is suddenly sounding like Nirvana, and Pitbull is sounding suspiciously like Chino Moreno. Take That, comparatively are Tool, Tricky and Sonic Youth all rolled into one.

Because this week, I heard "Swagger Jagger". It is -and I'm not joking here- the worst thing I've ever heard. Ever...............Evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

It's also due to be No1 in the UK when the new charts come out. I wonder what that says about our society, or is the only thing it says is how far out of touch I am?
I don't know really, but if not being a music snob means listening to this I'm glad I'm a snob. Now, where are those Pink Floyd albums?

Prepare yourselves.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

"A Swan Dive into the Asphalt"

I know what you're thinking, "That's a strange title for a blog post" - and yes, it is, but allow me to explain. It's a line from the song "Swan Dive" by Hed (PE) and it seems relevant to the -somewhat strange- ending of this post. Bear with me, it'll get better. A bit. Maybe.

Anyway, on the Sunday just gone, my wife, my daughter Gabi and myself had decided to head all the way down to sunny Stirling to check out what is shortly to be her hometown for the next four years or so whilst she's at University (college to you guys across the Atlantic), so we packed up the car and dropped the dog off at my other daughters' on the way. More about the dog later.
So, after what seemed about 58 hours we arrived in Stirling and it's actually really nice. It's the usual mix of traditional stone built houses and modern glass and steel edifices, but with thankfully not too much of the modern that it dominates. All in all, it's a thoroughly pleasant little city. Mid afternoon arrived and we decided to head home and collect Chi from my daughters'. so far, so good. My plan was to stay in the car whilst my wife went up to get Chi, but apparently, both Chi and her mum were so desperate to see me -hey, I'm very popular with Staffys- that they both bolted out of the door. Still, no problem, everything is fine. Chi's mum isn't on the lead, but she's used to that and sprints up to me and gently savages my arm -as she always does- and I'm nearly kissed to death -however, at this point in suddenly aware that my daughter is struggling to hold on to Chi -she's incredibly powerful- and then, all of a sudden, she's loose.
She sprints straight past me. I don't have a hope of catching her. This is one of those times when time seems to stand still - she takes a sudden right turn onto the road, a car swerves and misses her- out of my peripheral vision I can see a large white van  and imagine the meeting of van and dog - and before I have a chance to think I've dived onto the road -goalkeeper style- and caught the dog in my left hand. What a relief.
It was at this point I remembered the van. It missed my head by about a foot. If I was any shorter, I wouldn't have caught the dog, much taller and I probably wouldn't be writing this.
My wife wasn't overly happy -I may be understating things here- and began telling me about the thousands of people who die each year attempting to save their pets from peril. I understand her, of course I do, but I could no more of let Chi get hit by a van than I could her, my children or Hope.
Anyway, both myself and the dog are in severe trouble but never mind, we're both still about.

Chi, in big trouble, yesterday. And today.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Limp Bizkit - Gold Cobra

Just recently I've been having a bit of a listen to Gold Cobra, the comeback album by Limp Bizkit -hey, everyone has to punish themselves from time to time- and it's not exactly brilliant.
To be fair, I don't think anyone was expecting a White Pony from Florida's finest, but this is....well, as the French would say, merde.
Actually, let me qualify that abit. Four fifths of LB are fine with Wes Borland proving beyond any doubt that he's an excellent guitarist, a solid rythmn section and even poor old DJ Lethal lazily scratching away, no doubt reminiscing about the glory days in House of Pain. The problem with Limp Bizkit is Fred Durst.
Moby once described them as "Rape Rock" but I think "Idiot Rock" or maybe "Retard Rock" is far more appropriate. Durst is a man with little to say and a singularly unappealing way of saying it, hearing a 40 year old singing (sort of) about "Haters" and skateboarding is heading into the realms of ridiculousness, and if I think you're ridiculous, you're in serious trouble.
This is by far the worst thing I've heard this year. Well Done.

A gold Cobra, yesterday

Sunday, 10 July 2011

State of Origin

Yes, I know its several days after the fact but I don't care.

We lost. They won. The same as it's been for 6 long -really long- years now.
There is however more reason for optimism next year than there has been for quite a while. Firstly, on the back of what may have been the worst SOO performance ever -although Justin Hodges' debut runs it close- Anthony Minichiello won't be there. I'm not sure what Ricky Stuart was thinking including him in the first place, does he really not rate Hayne that much as a fullback? Even if he doesn't, wouldn't Brett Stewart have been the better option?
Yes, yes he would.
There are a few other blues whose spots will be under severe pressure too - Mark Gasnier, Ben Creagh and Mitchell "I've got a tattoo of my own name on my arm" Pearce. In fact, if I was the coach, the only people guaranteed their spot in the 17 would be Gallen, Lewis, Hayne, Uate, Soward and Scott.
Next year NSW will be stronger, Queensland will be weaker. At least that's what I'm telling myself.


Friday, 8 July 2011

The what?

Just a short post, the SOO one isn't ready yet, sorry.

This made me snigger quite a lot.

"'ello, ello, ello, is that mayonnaise sir? I'm afraid you're going to have to come with me"

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Incubus - If not now, when?

I could never work out why Incubus weren't more popular. A bunch of good looking guys -apart from the guitarist- who played radio and MTV friendly poppy rock with a bit of an edge. It sounds like a recipe for global success, but, alas, it wasn't. Whether it was the rise of "Nu-Metal" or the fact that they sometimes descended into the realms of Prog-Rock pomposity, Incubus' career never quite reached the heights it could and should have.
But now it's 2011, roughly 10 years after their popularity peaked and they've released a new album- an album which apparently showcases a more mature side to the band.
Yeah, I'm not sure about that either.
Halfway through listening to this, it's becoming clear that the band have used "mature" as a simile. While that would have been fine if mature had been likened to smooth, or even considered, it hasn't been.
Here, mature means dull. Or forgettable. Maybe even dreary.
It has its' moments,  mostly provided by singer Brandon Boyd and his trademark vocal gymnastics - but he's all too often let down by subpar arrangements and production. There's a couple of shrill and squeaky clean ballads on here that could fit straight onto on of those fathers' day special CDs - and that's not a good thing.
Overall, this album isn't exactly bad -there's some decent musicianship and Boyds' voice to redeem it- it just seems a bit half arsed, a bit "that'll do".
Very disappointing.

Incubus yesterday, being mature.

Ps. I'll do a State of Origin wrap tomorrow, when my bitterness has subsided to manageable levels.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Short thoughts. (Sports)

Tonight sees the heavyweight boxing unification bout between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko and it's an intriguing contest for a few reasons. Firstly it's a classic big man /smaller man contest, with Haye giving away about 4 inches in height and around 40 pounds in weight by the time they actually get in the ring.
You might think that that's an insurmountable disadvantage for the Englishman, but I don't think so. He appears to be in peak condition and he was always fast anyway. It's his speed that will be key to the whole contest.
If Haye can get inside the Kazakh born Ukrainians admittedly impressive jab do some damage and get out, I think he'll win.
I hope he wins.

Nice hat Champ. Brokeface Mountain?

Today is also the start of Le Tour, and it looks like it'll be another walk in the park for Contador - well, it will be unless one of the Schleck brothers, Sanchez or Evans can finally get their shit together.
If (when?) Contador wins, will his victory be tainted because of the failed drug test? Maybe. 
Incidentally, if the Spaniard does win he'll be the first rider to win the Giro and Tour in the same season since Marco Pantani.
I hope  Contadors' story finishes in a different way than The Pirates did.

Contador, yesterday

The Copa America started yesterday and hosts Argentina were held to an underwhelming 1-1 draw with relative minnows Bolivia. Kun Aguero's frankly brilliant volley saved Argentina's blushes, but it doesn't bode overly well for their hopes of winning the tournament.
Brazil will probably win again, sadly.

Brazil -about to win another Copa America, yesterday

Ps. I was right about the tennis then.

Monday, 27 June 2011


In case you somehow haven't noticed, here in the UK we're about halfway through the annual snoozefest from London.
And, as every year, the few people who follow tennis will run around excitedly telling everyone in earshot that this year Andy Murray -he's bottled charisma that boy- will win. Hang on, didn't you say that last year? And the year before?
He'll lose as soon as he faces someone good and Nadal will probably win the whole thing. There's a few sports I really hate -Rugby union, a sport played exclusively by homosexuals and the Welsh, during which you kick the ball backwards and forwards until someone lumps it over the sideline, and Synchronised swimming, which appears to be a kind of ballet. In a swimming pool. Without the story. Brilliant. Take something that isn't wonderful in the first place and make it much worse- but tennis is the one I hate the most.
This may be a case of rose tinted spectacles, but wasn't it almost bearable to watch once? You know, back in the late 70's/early 80's in the McEnroe/Borg/Connors and Navratilova/Evert era.
Nowadays, tennis -Wimbledon at least- has been reduced to a series of Stepford wives style grunty Eastern European women and men so dull if they were salesmen they'd have titles akin to Head of Photocopiers, Toners and Inks (East Midlands).

Does anyone else feel the same way?

Captain Charisma, yesterday

Friday, 17 June 2011

Fantasy Band Line Up

I've done these things before, but I've never really given the line up much thought -as in who would be the best fit together- I've generally just gone for someone close to the best in their field and figured they'd all be talented enough to make it work.

This time however, I've attempted to make a line up which I think would actually work together.

Lead Vocals - Jeff Buckley.
Guitars - Thurston Moore and John Frusciante.
Bass - Geddy Lee.
Drums - Danny Carey.

That was the best I could come up with as a cohesive band, although I was undecided between Carey and Mike Portnoy for the drumming spot for a fair while, the Tool stickman getting the nod for his greater subtlety. Not exactly the heaviest band ever, is it?  I suspect they'd be utterly brilliant though, what do you think?

Jeff Buckley, not yesterday. Sadly.

PS. If you don't know who any of these people are, google them - you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The top 10 unintentionally funny company URLs

The top 10 unintentionally funny company URLs

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at
9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their wacky website:

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is
7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always
6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange
advice and views at

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is

Anyone know any more?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

50 things about me.

 Questions courtesy of


Yeah, I was named after a friend of my father


Not sure, but the end of the movie “Babe” makes me blub like a little girl.


Yes, and so do most other people that see it.

Ham. Real ham, not those wet pink squres of disgustingness


I have three, all girls


Not sure, maybe

One brother, 4 years older than me

No, they left the building long ago


I have.


Some sort of muesli - Alpen maybe.


I don't tie them when they're on, so no.


Physically or mentally? One very much so, the other is a bit vulnerable occasionally. You can decide which is which

Vanilla. Or Pistachio if everyone else has said vanilla


I try and read peoples body language, so, pretty much everything
Ugh, not red, so pink it is, unless you mean the singer - in which case neither.


My little squashed nose


No-one really



No, I'm a man
Home meal - veggie lasagne. Restaurant meal - Tournedos rossini


I like most stuff that I consider "good", but if forced to choose I'd go for Trip-Hop


Royal blue, obviously


Fresh baked bread, coffee, babies.


My wife

Depends where it is


Rugby league, boxing




Yellow, like a cat.




None, I'm not sentimental


As long as the film is good, I'm happy either way.


A new version of Moby Dick, it was unspeakably terrible


Denim Jacket


Again, it depends where we are, but here-summer, by far.




Lemon tart or Tiramisu




Computer, and by a long way too


I'm not




The Deftones


Neither really, but the Stones if forced to make a choice.


1928 Mercedes SSK


I have several




 Northern Scotland


I don't really have any fears. I've never been sure if that's a good thing or not


Music, my kids.


"Don't be such a cock all the time"

Guangdong Museum of Art

I haven't done this sort of post for quite a long while, so if you've been missing them - this is for you.

This is possibly the most remarkable building I've seen this decade - there's no hint of committee designed municipal blandness here - it looks like the brainchild of a demented sci-fi writer come to life. And it's fantastic.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

State of Origin

It's the day after the first game in the series, (if you've no idea what I'm on about, it's rugby league played between New South Wales -the good guys- and Queensland -beer drinking rednecks, lovers of pickup trucks and cowboy hats- and it's possibly the most intense sporting contest there is) and with 24 hours reflection on the events at Suncorp, I've come to the following conclusion. We (NSW) can win this series.

Stop laughing at the back.

With a day's worth of objectivism in place it's much easier for me to analyse the game, and  I've come to the following conclusions.

1. Jason King. With a massive 4 hit-ups and 25 metres he must start game 2. Not really. I can't actually remember a worse origin performance than his. Tolman or Galloway in for round 2.

2. Michael Jennings. Made a couple of errors but looked very dangerous with the ball -deserves to keep his spot.

3. Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Dean Young, Trent Merrin. All of these guys play their club footy for St George -the club I support- none of them should be picked for game 2. Hayne, Idris, Lewis and Learoyd-Lahrs as their replacements seems to make sense to me.

And yet, despite some poor performances, we were winning with 10 minutes to go.

6 in a row? Not quite time to celebrate yet.

PS. If anyone is going to get pissy about my Queenslander stereotype, be aware that I love all of god's creations. Even the ones in cowboy hats.

New South Wales, yesterday

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math

Sometimes there are bands that I can't work out why they're not far more popular than they are - Placebo, Lcd Soundsystem, Hot Chip - I'm usually told that they either " look funny", "sound funny" or are just plain depressing.
I'm under no such illusions about the Manchester Orchestra though, I know they look and sound funny, and on occaision they are quite depressing. Happily for us though -and them I imagine- they're also quite brilliant.
Their previous two releases -I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child and Means Everything to Nothing- were good, really good- but never quite reached true greatness, this has.
They're always a heartbeat away from either a bombastic cataclysm or honey sweet crooning, and throughout the highs are tinged with dispair, the lows with hope and all this makes Simple Math an album way, way above most of it's contemporaries.
This will end up in all sorts of year end lists -including mine- and rightfully so. I just hope it brings them a bit more recognition than they've recieved so far.

The Manchester Orchestra looking funny, yesterday.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Short thoughts

Nathan Van Someren, a not particularly well known participant in Australia's 2nd best team sport -AFL- was sent off on saturday. Why am I telling you this? Surely being sent of in the rufty-tufty world of Aussie Rules can't be that rare? Well, no. No it isn't.  But this guy was sent off for having a dangerous haircut. I'm not even making it up. hahahaha

Here's the offending do in all it's dangerousness.

Nathan yesterday, being dangerous.

A man from Brighton has been fined £80 by some particularly joyless bastard from the local council for allowing his terrier to skateboard around the streets of the town -again, I'm not making this up- He was fined for the dog being "Out of control". What, couldn't it land a kickflip properly? Too much rotation on a 360? No, apparently his Lakeland Terrier was a "Risk" because 2 women tripped over his skateboard. Sorry, but if you can't get out of the way of a dog on a skateboard, you should be worrying about other shit before reporting the canine and it's owner to the council.

Not the dog in question, yesterday.

The last week saw the death of Severiano Ballesteros, who I'm shocked to learn, was widely considered "The Greatest" amongst his peers. I'm no golf fan, but this guy's death struck a chord with me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we're the same age -and this has made me think about my own mortality really for the first time- and secondly, the man simply transcended his sport. Even people who have no interest in golf -like me- knew who he was and had nothing bad to say about him -and I have plenty of bad things to say about almost everyone.
Most sports have a star who becomes bigger than the game -Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Don Bradman- in golf it was Seve.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Skindred - Union Black

For those of you who don't know them -and I suspect that that's most of you- Skindred are one of the UK's premier rock bands. But they're a rock band with a difference, seamlessly melding metal, hardcore, dubstep and, most importantly, reggae, into a unique sound which they've dubbed "Ragga Metal"
The album opens with the surreal title track that features a slow build up to a Drum n' Bass version of the British National Anthem (yes, really). Hmmm......this can best be described as "interesting". Not the greatest of starts, but fear not, the boys are back on track soon after with a belting track called "Warning" which is so good not even an unwelcome guest appearance by the singer from Papa Roach can fuck it up. From here, things go pretty much as expected and as a package this is far superior to their previous effort, "Shark Bites and Dog Fights". But this is not an album that everyone is going to fully appreciate first time and that some might not appreciate ever, especially fans of the more straightforward rock songs they have done, particularly on "Shark Bites....." but as you get used to the many twists that the album throws at you it becomes better and better. Union Black manages to be both a painfully relevant state of the nation address and a hugely enjoyable party record, which in my mind at least is no small feat.

 Skindred, Yesterday. Nice.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wedding? You should have publicised it more.

Apparently, there's some sort of Royal wedding malarkey -don't you just love that word?- taking place quite soon. Strangely, it's hardly been mentioned on the news, in the papers on the web, anywhere at all really. Because of the remarkably low profile being taken by the UK -and I'm sure every other country in the entire world- I thought that you might have been missing out on some of the frankly wonderful collectibles and assorted shit,  sorry, memorabilia that is available to the discerning simpleton consumer.

How about a nice commemorative mug? With the wrong Prince on it.

A tasteful crockery set, with what appears to be a mini FA Cup in it?

Anyone feeling hungry? Have a Royal Wedding Pizza

 Or perhaps best of all, and possibly the most fitting piece of tat I've found -I give you Royal Wedding Tea Bags. Brilliant.

But despite all this........erm........stuff, most peoples attitudes to the wedding and indeed the Royal family in general are best summed up by this plate. Oh well, no knighthood for me.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Deftones - Covers

What's this, a new Deftones album -how did this sneak through without me noticing? Well , strictly speaking it is a new Deftones album - but in reality it's nothing of the sort.
Released last saturday to promote something called "Record Store Day" -no, I don't know what it's about either- this is a combination of tracks from the "B-sides and Rarities" CD/DVD thing from about 5 years ago and the digital deluxe version of Diamond Eyes.

So, is it worth getting then? Well, yes and no. If you're a hardcore Deftones fan like myself, you're probably going to already own everything here, so probably not. However, if you've missed out on the brilliance of Chino singing "Simple Man" or Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur" then absolutely get it. I realise I'm biased, but no other band has done as many great cover versions as the Deftones.

Chino, yesterday. Nices shades.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Killzone 3

So, as I mentioned in my last post I got myself a shiny new PS3 and some games to go with it. Gran Turismo, Tekken, Fifa, COD -all the usual ones. I quite enjoyed COD so decided to get another game in the same genre, the titular Killzone 3.
I get home, fire up the playstation and slide the game into the machine -so far, so good. I have a bit of a run around on the practise mode -hilariously entitled "Botzone"- after 10 minutes or so I'm starting to feel a bit funny. Not good funny, bad funny. As in "If I keep going I'm going to spew" bad.
Now I'm assuming this effect -a kind of motion sickness- is down to the fact that I'm old and a bit crap, but if that's the case, why didn't COD affect me the same way?
Does anyone else suffer from this, and if they do, is there anyway around it?


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Yeah, I know.

I've been neglecting you, my loyal readers -and I apologise for that- but at least I have a good reason for not poting so far this month.
I have acquired a Playstation 3 and some games and have been playing with it and them rather than doing this. Ok, so maybe it's not a good reason for ignoring you, but it is the reason.
What am I going to do to make it up to you -apart from dragging my arse away from Gran Turismo more often- well, read on.

Imagine you're a 15 year old German farm girl and the thing you want most in the world is a horse -reasonable enough, right?- what would you do if your parents said "no" to the acquisition of said equine? That's right, you'd train one of the dairy herd to be a showjumper.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Triple H(ope).

We had her here at the weekend, so I'm going to make you look at photos of her.

Monday, 21 March 2011


I have a complaint. Actually, I have several -some of which are quite nasty, but you don't want to know about that- this complaint is about shoes.
This post was brought about by complete and total envy of the amount of different styles and types available to women compared to men. We have two styles, trainers or shoes -in brown, black or white. Wow, you guys have a million different styles in every shade imaginable, and I want to know why there's such great disparity in the ranges. Do the manufacturers think men don't care? Maybe most of us don't, but I do -I want better shoes, now!

My daughter bought these recently, you wouldn't believe how jealous I am.