With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“And then he said sent off your right back for taking the base from under his left-winger” Blog Advent Calendar Day 8 December 8, 2014


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Today is December 8th and that is exactly 34 years since John Lennon was savagely murdered. So today’s advent blog post in the ABC of British bands series will feature a quirky band that I believe Mr Lennon would have approved of. It’s day 8 and therefore the letter ‘H’ so today I bring you the legendary Half Man Half Biscuit.

hmhb

The band was formed in Birkenhead, Merseyside in 1984 by friends Neil Crossley and Nigel Blackwell. They were soon joined by Simon Blackwell (Nigel’s brother), Paul Wright and David Lloyd. The band is still performing and recording although Nigel Blackwell and Neil Crossley are the only original members. Their first album has a great title that is a bit of a word play on the Beatles song “Back In The USSR”; it is called ‘Back In The DHSS‘. They broke up in 1986 and then reformed in 1990 with an announcement on the John Peel show. Peelie had always championed the band and they recorded twelve sessions for his show.

Half-Man-Half-Biscuit

The band once turned down an appearance on Channel 4’s ‘The Tube’ because it would have meant missing a Tranmere Rovers match. The band have been mentioned in many UK TV shows including Byker Grove, Hollyoaks, Football Focus and Brookside. Mainstream chart success sadly eluded them but they had many UK Indie chart number ones. ‘Back In The DHSS’ went to number one in the Indie album charts in 1985. EP ‘The Trumpton Riots’ hit the top along with “Dickie Davies’ Eyes” in 1986. Their highest UK Singles chart hit was an album track that made it to number 56 in 2010 thanks to downloads. That song was “Joy Division Oven Gloves” It was taken from their 2005 album ‘Achtung Bono‘ and was part of the online campaign to save Radio 6 with a sadly missed target of reaching number 6. So now I would like you to enjoy some music from a band that I saw live at the Reading Festival in 1990.

HMNB-Wirral

A man who perhaps should have joined Half Man Half Biscuit; Lionel Rich Tea :-)

A man who perhaps should have joined Half Man Half Biscuit; Lionel Rich Tea 🙂

 

 

“But don’t you dare get to the top and not know what to do” – Advent day 11 December 11, 2013


advent-day-11_2078894aCan you believe it’s the 11th December already? Where the hell is the time going. Still I am very close to being in the smug zone; I’ve bought all my presents now it’s just a case of wrapping them, posting some of them and hiding the rest! Have you done all your Christmas shopping or will you be waiting until the turbo kicks in on 24th December? Anyway enough of all that, it is of course day 11 in the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts which means you get two songs with the number 11 in their title.

funny-celebrity-pictures-how-thoughtful-of-uFirst up it’s U2 with “11 O’clock Tick Tock” which is the band’s second single released in May 1980. It was a non-album release produced by Martin Hannett who had previously produced Joy Division among others. There is also a great version of the song on the mini live album ‘Under A Blood Red Sky‘. In their early days the band often played the song twice during their set because they didn’t have much material. An earlier version of the song had different lyrics and was called “Silver Lining”

Julian-julian-casablancas-16833737-667-1000Second tune for today is from Julian Casablancas off of the Strokes; it is called “11th Dimension”. Casablancas is the lead singer of the Strokes and “11th Dimension” is so far his only hit outside the band. It was taken from his 2009 solo album ‘Phrazes For The Young‘. Describing the song as a hit is a little loose; it only charted in Japan where it reached number 48 in 2009. One of Casablancas’ most recent recordings was the vocal on “Instant Crush” from Daft Punk’s planet-conquering album, ‘Random Access Memories’. He has also inspired someone to write a song about him. Notably Courtney Love who included a song called “But Julian, I’m A Little Bit Older Than You” on her first solo album, ‘America’s Sweetheart’ in 2004.

CARD

 

Reading Festival 2013 – Day 1 – Friday 23rd August August 24, 2013


So here we are once again and Nick Horslen and I have arrived at the Reading Festival site for the umpteenth year. I think it’s more than 10 years for us as a team. As for me I have missed only two from the last 20 years. I attended my first ever Reading in 1976 and got in through a hole in the fence, which doesn’t seem so easy to do nowadays. Today turned out to be the hottest day at the Festival for a few years; for the weather at least!

Wytches (why is there a new wave of making your band’s name appear to be from ye olde English language?) were first up they sound a little Doorsy and their guitar wig-outs were like a harder edged garage band. Pretty good though.
King No-one from Leeds were on the BBC Introducing stage; fans of Vampire Weekend maybe? I like these dudes.
Night Engine are channeling the vocal ghost of Billy McKenzie and answering the questions can gingers rock and can they funk? The answer in my opinion is fuck yeah! Irish band  Kodaline come on like the bastard love sprogs of Bono and  Chris Martin but with more balls! This band deserves to  be HUGE!
If you want top performance power pop look no further than the fabulous Parquet Courts. Top band! So what were New Found Glory like? As the sign said ‘Pop Punk’s Not Dead! Right on. They played the whole of the  Sticks and Stones’ album.

Next came our first visit to the comedy stage for the excellent Shappi Khorsandi and Idiots of Ants who weren’t so good. They weren’t really able to engage with the audience.

Does what it says on the tin no. 1; Frank Turner – mightily awesome! Although perhaps not as awesome as I have known him to be in the past. His Mum introduced him, which was a nice touch. He also had a Cobain moment as he was pushed on to the stage in a wheelchair; his Mum explained that he had a bad back, however he stayed in the chair for about a minute! Interestingly he got the whole of the Main Stage crowd, including us, to sit down for one of the choruses of “Photosynthesis” to which we all sang along. Now that is a little ironic given that the chorus starts with the line ‘I won’t sit down’

We met 3 thirds of the Tuts and half of Colour Me Wednesday outside the Festival Republic Stage! I saw the Tuts earlier this year when they supported Kate Nash and I am looking forward to seeing Colour Me Wednesday later this week in Leeds. If you are reading this post and you haven’t heard the Tuts or Colour Me Wednesday then I order you to do something about that!

Has Marc Bolan been reincarnated? Nope it’s the Temples on the Festival Republic stage! Kate Nash is supremely talented and after her set I am now an even bigger fan than I was when I saw her in York earlier this year. It was great to see Nadia Tut make it onstage eventually too! A brief note to the festival organisers; what is wrong with a bit of a stage invasion instigated by Kate herself? It would have been fun and no harm would have been done. But at least three people made it up.
System of a Down on the Main Stage; loud, heavy, technically superb but would I ever listen to them outside the confines of a festival? I doubt it. Does what it says on the tin number 2; Green Day. They were very, very good and certainly had more energy than last years Friday headliners the Cure. But in a way it is kind of identikit pop punk. They played the whole of the ‘Dookie’ album, which will be 20 years old next year. I felt that apart from a few songs it hasn’t aged well. “Basket Case” will always be a classic though. The light show was superb and Billie Joe‘s stage presence is unquestionably great. The best part for me was the storming encore of “American Idiot” (I do believe I will never tire of that song) and “Jesus Of Suburbia“. Then just when we thought it was all over Mr Armstrong came back on for a solo acoustic rendition of “Time Of Your Life”. All in all a pretty good day. Now bring on Day 2!

 

“Yes we’re going to a party party, yes we’re going to a party party, yes we’re going to a party party” February 9, 2012


I can hardly believe it really. I started this blog because I was as they say ‘between contracts’ and frankly I was a little bored. But now it’s probably my favourite hobby. Why am I telling you all this? Well the blog is three years old today, 9th February 2012. I have loved every moment and I have met some wonderful people through it too. The most amazing thing is that I would have been knocked out if my viewing figures went into double figures on a weekly basis but now the total for three years is an incredible 1.04 million. I’d like to thank each and every one of you; especially the 51 who have subscribed and the 180 who are following it on Twitter.

I have made close to 450 posts and there have been nearly 530 comments. Some of the more amusing things are the search terms that have landed people here. The top 10 search items for the 12 months to 9th February 2012 are;

lady gaga 10,670

street signs 3,923

esthera sarita 3,555

rod stewart 2,910

imelda may 2,561

bjork 2,019

spencer elden 1,828

michael jackson 1,649

kate bush 1,625

dream catcher 1,385

The Lily Allen Naked experiment clearly still has some residual interest with 368 hits for Ms Allen naked. The naked thing is quite weird; many of you have searched for a favourite celeb naked including; Lady Gaga, Rage Against the Machine, Take That, Bono, Rod Stewart, Kate Bush, Simon Cowell & Louis Walsh. I mean come on people, first it’s not kind of site and second who really wants to see some of those naked? Louis Walsh naked bloody hell that’s perverse!

The largest referrals outside of search engines this year came from;

Facebook.com

williamyoung.org

barelyawakeinfrogpajamas.wordpress.com

pretendinglifeislikeasong.wordpress.com

glasswalking-stick.blogspot.com

A big thanks to all of those. The Will Young one came about after I said some nice things about him in another of my anti X Factor posts.

The most viewed YouTube video from my blog in the past 12 months has been Wyclef Jean‘s “Stripper Song”. It’s a great song but there is no stripper in the clip, it’s just audio!

As for the most downloaded pictures from the blog in the last 12 months, that tells a similar story to the naked searches and the Stripper Song. Here they are in order of popularity;

the most downloaded picture on my blog Feb 2011 to Feb 2012

Number 4 and 5 take things to another place entirely!

Who do you think you're kidding Mr Hitler? That bus doesn't go to Poland

Back in the days when he was a laughing-stock.

And finally I also had the audacity to start three new blogs in the last 12 months. Feel free to check them out, rate them, comment on them and stuff.

http://withjustahintoflearning.wordpress.com/

http://withjustahintofamelia.wordpress.com/

http://starsinmyglasses.wordpress.com/

Thanks again for bothering to take a look it’s a pleasure having you here. I’ll close with a few birthday related songs;

 

“dis regime is racist we know dis regime is bent” January 26, 2012


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this man is a Knight of the Realm................ no seriously, he is!

I think it would be fair to say that there is one area of my life that my Mother may be disappointed in me. That is my dislike of the institution of the British Royal family and all condescending pomposity it has. Yes in case you hadn’t noticed I am very much a Republican (not in the US political sense obviously) and most definitely not a Royalist. Having posted recently about Mick Jagger (aka Sir Michael Philip Jagger) turning down afternoon tea with ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron and Boris Johnson it’s strangely appropriate that a story about those who turned down Royal Honours appeared in the news today. Following a freedom of information request by the BBC a list of those now deceased who have turned down various Royal Honours form 1951 and 1999 has been published. There are 277 people on the list including artists Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and LS Lowry and authors Roald Dahl and Aldous Huxley. There are no rock or pop stars on the list. Read the full story on the BBC site by clicking here.

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Sir Tom shows off his first house

However it got me thinking about those rock and pop stars who have accepted honours and those that haven’t. The obvious list of those who have are the rock and pop ‘Sirs’ Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones and Bono and Bob Geldof who as Irish citizens are Honorary Knights of the British Empire (KBE). Add to that list Dame Shirley Bassey. A large number of British musicians have received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), which is the highest honour a British subject can receive below a knighthood or damehood. Those include: Annie Lennox, Roger Daltrey, Eric Clapton, Sting, Robert Plant the Bee Gees and Rod Stewart. It was alleged that at the time of Elton receiving his knighthood Rod was just a little jealous.

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Macca ponders his failure to win top score in Rate My Mullet

What really interests me though are those rock and pop stars who turned down Royal honours. David Bowie turned down a CBE in 2000 and a knighthood in 2003 and was quoted as saying that “was not what he spent his life working for”.  George Melly and Paul Weller also turned down the offer of a CBE in 2001 and 2007 respectively. Thankfully Keith Richards also turned down a CBE; I’d have been gutted if he had accepted! His comment on Jagger’s knighthood was that he felt it was ludicrous. Influential guitarist and stalwart of the Shadows Hank Marvin turned down an OBE as did Dub Poet Benjamin Zephaniah. At the time Zephaniah publicly stated ‘I get angry when I hear the word ’empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised’ An MBE was offered to John Lydon who turned it down. I’m pretty amazed that they offered him one really.

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Never a Knight of the realm but the only one who came close to looking the part as opposed to looking like an anagram of part

The four Beatles all received the MBE in 1965. John Lennon later returned his to the Queen in 1969 accompanied by a note which read ‘I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts’. It has been alleged that his Aunt Mimi who brought him up and upon whose mantelpiece the award lived was not amused!

 

“They say a secret is something you tell one other person” January 5, 2012


Despite all its false starts, technical problems and the death of Producer Tony Adams it seems that the Spiderman Musical may actually achieve big success on Broadway and beyond. The full title of the show is ‘Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark’ and it was written by Bono and The Edge off of U2.

It grossed $2.9m from 9 shows in its first week which beats the previous record of $2.2m taken by ‘Wicked’ from 8 shows in it’s first week in January 2011. Takings for ‘Wicked’ during Spiderman’s first week were $2.7m. Whilst this is a great start for Spiderman it should be balanced against the fact that it is the most expensive show ever put together for Broadway at $75m.

If it remains successful I wonder if it will lead to a whole stack of other superhero related musicals. Perhaps Meatloaf as the Hulk could be an option. What ideas do you have for superhero shows?

I thought I’d finish this post with a classic and appropriate U2 song which you can watch below on the web! (geddit?)

 

“And the future is certain, give us time to work it out” April 12, 2011


OK I know i's not actually Friday today, but that's not really the point is it?

Just a few morsels of news for you with this post, ok for a couple of these ‘news’ might be stretching it and ‘olds’ might be a more apt description. Especially this first one. Many of you will have no doubt heard of Rebecca Black. She is the young lady who recently released what many consider to be one of the worst songs and worst videos ever. There has been an awful lot of nasty, vicious, vitriolic comment about her song. So other than saying I really don’t think the song or video are very good I will try not to add to what has already been said. The key thing that concerns me about this sad affair is that the poor girl recorded the song for a vanity music label; the Ark Music Factory. So now everyone can be a singer, just pay a few grand, or indeed get your parents to stump up the cash and you will get a song, a guest rapper, a vocoder and a naff video. sounds great doesn’t it? But surely you need talent as well? But in these days of X Factor and Idol that probably isn’t the case. Now that in my opinion is a really sad state of affairs. the one saving grace for Rebecca (apart from the millions of YouTube hits) is that the proceeds from any sales of her song “Friday” will go towards the earthquake relief in Japan. judge for yourself, if you haven’t already, by watching the video below. I would also love to hear your opinions on vanity record labels.

Talking Heads - Digging for Crist!

The BBC reported today that David Byrne off of the Talking Heads has settled his case against former Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist after the politician used the Talking Heads song “Road To Nowhere” to attack his opponent in the race for the senate. personally I am really pleased that Byrne took Crist on. What do you think? Read the story on the Beeb by clicking here.

Bono wonders whether he should have put his $558m in the hotel safe rather than trousered it in the pocket of his Speedos

It has now been confirmed that U2 have achieved the highest grossing tour ever with their 360° tour which began back in 2009. They still have 20 dates to go too, but they have already grossed $558 million. That even allows for missing a few dates, including Glasto last year, due to Mr Hewson’s back problems. Are they really worth it?

Dunc with Dad, Dame Dave

Richard Rich and Max Tannone have put together a brilliant free EP based on mixing hip hop sounds with the soundtrack to Duncan Jones (son of David Robert Jones) excellent movie ‘Moon’. Click here to download all the tracks. It’s called the Selene Project and has nothing to do with song strangler Celine Dion, it’s spelled very differently people!

Finally I was honoured to accompany the delectable Catwoman (aka Catherine Lee, my fiancée) to the studios of Radio York on Saturday where live on air she reviewed the newspapers. Once again she did an excellent job, you can still hear the show for three more days by clicking on Radio York’s Julia Booth’s page here. You can also check out the website for her excellent Virtual Assistant company, Kaleidoscope Business Services by clicking here and she would also love you to comment on her rather spiffing series of blogs.

 

 
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