With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Take me away from this big bad world and agree to marry me” January 4, 2014


ArticleImage-51385Blur, who have been a little inactive on the new music front recently launched some new merchandise which you can buy on-line. Is it branded trainers, hoodies, t-shirts, baseball caps and the like? No, it’s a tea set, beer mats and flat caps. Better hurry up if you want a Blur tea set though, apparently only 300 were made. Click here to get yours. Blimey next they’ll be selling whippets named after the band members and maybe branded pipes and slippers. What other random merchandising can we expect? Cup cakes from Ozzy Osbourne, BingoWings.com on-line bingo from Madonna, X-Factor ear plugs made from Matt Cardle’s ear wax, Robbie Williams and One Direction toilet paper, Olly Murs manure? All your suggestions would be very gratefully received.

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 1 – Friday 24th August August 27, 2012


After what seemed ages the Reading Festival is here again and as usual I made the annual pilgrimage with my good friend Nick Horslen. The first band that we saw on day 1 was the Cancer Bats. I would describe them as hardcore heavy screamers from Canada and they were bloody good too! Dead to Me were on the Lock Up stage and they were rather good and certainly not dead to anyone! I wasn’t sire about the jaunty angled baseball cap though. Coheed & Cambria were on the main stage I found them a bit Biffy Clyro-like but not as good! I suppose you might describe them as 21st century prog rock.

Friends sounded good but sadly we missed most of their set. Spector came next with the first mobot of the day, spookily just after I said to Nick I wonder when we’ll see one from the stage. I like these guys a lot, they have some really anthemic songs especially “Never Fade Away”. Are the Hives the ultimate festival party band? Definitely! They have it all; top hats and tails, attitude, great songs and even a ninja stage crew! We saw the Blackout next, hmmmm seems to be a Shikari influence in there. But I would send the red-haired bloke back to Wales he adds nothing to them in my opinion!

I love Scroobius Pip but I thought that the sound mix for him was terrible. Wow the BBC Introducing stage has a mosh circle and the Attention Thieves worked it well. Very hard and very heavy. Next we were at the NME tent for Passion Pit from Boston. They do what it says on the tin; but with loads more passion than you can fit in a tin and far from the pits! A truly great band. But even after that things went up a notch or two with the great Graham Coxon, what a truly awesome guitarist he is. A little less stage presence than Damon but tons more than Liam Gallagher. A brilliant set and he even has a drummer that looked like a bewigged Mel Smith. We passed by Paramore on the Main stage to see the rather spiffing Bastille who closed with a great 90s dance cover.

The BBC introduced us to the Proxies; I think they’ll be back. The Courteeners were a bit identikit indie pop. I’m sure that if you’re a big fan of them you were in ecstasy watching them. For me they were pretty good but not the most exciting band I have ever seen. Then it was off to the Main Stage to round the day off with Bob Smith’s combo, the Cure. They last appeared at the festival in 1979 and I had never seen them before so the prospects were good. Whilst they are clearly a very tight band, featuring Reeves Gabrels on guitar I think, I don’t think I’d see them again. I am glad I had the opportunity this time though. I felt that the first hour was somewhat soporific but the second part really livened up. So that was the end of the first day and the rain held off too.

 

Reading Festival 2012 – The Preview August 7, 2012


We are now just over two weeks away from the start of the 2012 Reading Festival. Since I moved north to York in 2007 this has become my annual pilgrimage back south where I meet up with my good friend and festival buddy extraordinaire Mr nick Horslen. Undoubtedly soon to qualify as the oldest rockers in a field in Reading (our combined age is definitely over one hundred!) we have attended the world’s number one rock festival for many years. Although I live nearer to the Leeds end of it I won’t be going there until I can only move by Zimmer frame as I have always seen Leeds as the snotty young brother of Reading.

I have mixed feelings about some of the headliners this year. The Foo Fighters are always awesome an I doubt that will change this year. The Cure, who headline the main stage on the Friday night haven’t played the Reading Festival since 1979 so I’d like to think they’ll have something special up their sleeves for this year. It’s Kasabian that really concern me, I find them a little predictable and almost Spinal Tapesque, like someone said today I’m going to invent a rock band. I may be convinced otherwise but for me they come across as Leaden Zeppelin, Slightly Dark Sabbath or Shallow Purple. I am sure that there are plenty of you out there that disagree with that opinion, so feel free to comment.

There are some great acts lower down the bill on the Main Stage that for me are ‘must see’ performers. Those are; Florence and the Machine, Paramore, Eagles Of Death Metal, Cancer Bats and the truly stupendous Enter Shikari. The Kaiser Chiefs are third on the Main Stage bill on the Sunday, which I find a bit surprising. They have been lacklustre at best lately in my opinion, what do you think?

I am disappointed that I will probably miss Justice in the NME/ Radio tent as they are on the same time as the Foo Fighters. But there are a number of other bands and artists that I want to see on the NME/ Radio 1 stage; notably the Horrors, the Joy Formidable, Hadouken, the Hives, At The Drive In (who are on at the same time as Kasabian) and most of all Graham Coxon.

On the other stages I will do my best to watch Less Than Jake, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Azealia Banks and Grimes. But of course I can’t ignore the often excellent BBC Introducing stage where Nick and I often pick a band with the wackiest name to see, but we are also open to recommendations too! So I’m currently considering Wet Nuns, Fish Tank, Dingus Khan and Attention Thieves.

Nick and I often meet some really interesting people at the festival and last year was no exception. In fact last year we met a great bunch of people, mostly South African, but with a smattering of Brits. One of the South Africans was a hilarious bloke called Jason Steyn. (Jason if you’re reading this let me know if you’ll be there this year). They shared their booze, we shared our food and supplied me with a Prince Charles mask! if those guys are back again this year and indeed if you want to meet me and Nick we will be just to the left of the front of the lighting/ mixing tower as you face the main stage, although obviously not if we’re at one of the other stages. You can’t miss us, Nick is very tll and grey haired and his festival nickname is Silver Dude. I am somewhat shorter, slightly older and have hardly any hair, my festival nickname is Billy Baldust. (Actually I just made that one up, but there will be a prize for anyone who comes up with a better one!

Anyway that’s enough wittering on from me. I would love to hear your comments on this post or indeed on any of my posts. I would also love to meet you at Reading and would be more than happy to give you a name check on my posts from the festival! Whetehr I see you or not I hope you enjoy yourself!

 

“Someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline, someday I’ll wear pyjamas in the daytime” June 5, 2009


Hello once again dear readers, like I’ve said before it is my aim to get back to more regular posting so here comes the second one for the Jumping month of June. I thought doing this post after a serious spillage incident on the train last week. There I was crammed into my tiny space (otherwise known as a seat) on the 7pm Kings Cross to York train with my nose in a good book (1983 by David Peace for those of you who asked!) Then lo and behold the coffee angel arrived in the aisle with the drinks trolley, now obviously I can’t resist a good coffee so obviously (a repeat word…… obviously) I had to order one, which I did, along with a Kit Kat. At the moment the Coffee Angel was about to place my drink on the pathetic excuse for a fold down table the train rocked (and not in a heavy musical way either) and faster than you can say Caffe Americano with a double shot I was the subject of a minor caffeine downpour. I thought it was rather amusing, my suit needed a dry clean anyway, but coffee angel was worried I was going to complain, but I didn’t and my reward was…….. a free Kit Kat and a fresh cup of coffee. Actually now Ive read that back it sounds dull enough to be condensed to 140 characters and posted on Twitter. But enough of that drivel during the rest of the journey I was moved to come up with a list of coffee related songs for this post. So without further adieu here they are and each one contains a frothy topping and a sprinkle of trivia.

The coffee was better in those days but clearly the coffee angels weren't!

The coffee was better in those days but clearly the coffee angels weren't!

First cup, er sorry first up is “Starfish And Coffee” which is obviously a favourite breakfast menu of ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, Then Known As Roger Or Symbol And Now Known As Prince Again’ or TAFKAPTKAROSANKAPA for short. Prince’s sister is called Tyka, I wonder if her nickname was Chicken at school? Staying with Prince and a loosely related coffee theme, the diminutive one once wrote a song for Sheena Easton called “Sugar Walls” probably not the type of sugar you’d put in your coffee though. But there’s a prize to the first person to tell me what that song is about without the use of explicit language!

Prince had clearly overdone the froth on his Cappucino

Prince had clearly overdone the froth on his Cappucino

Second dose of caffeine is “Black Coffee In Bed” by Squeeze and written by the Lennon-McCartney of their generation; Difford-Tilbrook. They were joined by the rather talented Paul Carrack who in addition to Squeeze and as a solo artist has also had hits with Ace and Mike & The Mechanics. He has also played on sessions by many other bands including Roxy Music, The Smiths and the Pretenders. In a strange coincidence he also sang vocals and played keyboards on a relatively minor Mike & The Mechanics hit called “Another Cup Of Coffee”

You won't like him when he gets angry and Mr Carrack gets very angry if he has no caffeine

You won't like him when he gets angry and Mr Carrack gets very angry if he has no caffeine

The next one of our Barista favourites is “One More Cup Of Coffee” from the wonderful Mr Zimmerman or Bob Dylan to his friends. The song is taken from Dylan’s ‘Desire’ album and is a duet with Emmylou Harris. The song was covered extremely well by Jack and Meg on the first White Stripes album and is occasionally covered live by Calexico. Also none other than Robert ‘Percy’ Plant off of Led Zep recorded the song for his ‘Dreamland’ album in 2002. The song was written at a corner table in the ‘Other End’ nightclub in Greenwich Village New York. I was kind of hoping it had been written in a coffee bar!

Bob tries to find inspiration over a coffee..... come on Bob, Noel Gallagher sat at the same table and wrote "Roll With It"

Bob tries to find inspiration over a coffee..... come on Bob, Noel Gallagher sat at the same table and wrote "Roll With It"

The next one of our old beans in this post is the excellent Canadian band the Crash Test Dummies. Their biggest hit in the UK was “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” but they also released a song called “Afternoons And Coffee Spoons” Both songs were taken from their excellent album ‘God Shuffled His Feet’ In 1995 they recorded a splendid cover of XTC’s “The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead” for the Jim Carrey movie ‘Dumb And Dumber’

In the early days the band even dressed as Crash test Dummies and it certainly didn't harm their pulling power judging from this picture

In the early days the band even dressed as Crash test Dummies and it certainly didn't harm their pulling power judging from this picture

The next act to bring us a cuppa is Holly Johnson off of Frankie Goes To Hollywood with his solo single “Americanos” It was Holly’s second solo hit and reached number 4 in the UK charts. It also features on the soundtrack to the 1989 movie ‘Cookie’ which starred Emily Lloyd, Peter Falk and Jerry Lewis. I know that strictly speaking the song is not about coffee, well not even strictly speaking, it’s actually got nothing to do with coffee. But Caffe Americano is undoubtedly my favourite coffee so I had to include it here. I always drink it black (often with an extra shot) with no sugar and many coffee houses (in this case Costa Coffee) give this an acronym of BAM (as in Black Americano). This lead to me gaining the nickname BAM BAM Bill for a while. Maybe not a great nickname but at least it wasn’t Pebbles! Over the years I have also noticed that black coffee seems to be the drink of choice for the majority of Project and Programme Managers. Does anyone agree?

"Relax" said Holly as he ordered coffees for him and his 'flat' mate Ronnie

"Relax" said Holly as he ordered coffees for him and his 'flat' mate Ronnie

I like a cup of coffee when I am deeply engrossed in a good book but Blur clearly prefer theirs in front of the telly! Well judging from their song “Coffee And TV” Vocals on the verses were from Graham Coxon and  Damon Albarn sang the chorus. the lyrics were all Graham’s and apparently deal with his attempt to give up alcohol. The video for the song features a milk carton called Milky which was created by ‘Jim Henson’s Creature Shop’ Blur were originally called Seymour, I’m not sure that works as well as Blur though. I have seen them live twice at festivals, once with Graham and once without. I certainly prefer them with Graham in the band. So it’s great news that they are reunited for a few gigs this year and possibly some new recording too.

Now either he's really excited or they're both seriously injured

Now either he's really excited or they're both seriously injured

The final coffee song in this post is one of my favourites, it’s by the minimally named ‘A’ from Leeds and it’s called “Starbucks“. The original members of the band included three brothers; Jason, Giles and Adam Perry. Since the band took a hiatus (is that code for breaking up?) Jason has worked with Matt Willis off of Busted and has also produced for McFly! Jason do us all a favour and get ‘A’ back together and stop working with these pop muppets! But to be fair Charlie off of Busted’s current band Fightstar are quite good! (Did I really just say that?)

With the proceeds of the single the band bought the worlds first Starbucks Jet Pack

With the proceeds of the single the band bought the worlds first Starbucks Jet Pack

So do you have any favourite coffee songs or indeed favourite coffees? Let me know by adding your choices in the comments

No it was just the earth moving for Milky in the Blur video

No it was just the earth moving for Milky in the Blur video

I will end this post by saying a big thank you to those wonderful people at ‘Dusk’ in York where I did many of my early posts in this blog. Excellent coffee, good food, free wifi (are you reading this Starbucks?) and great company. Check them out and if you know their web address please let me know

Dusk in York

Dusk in York

 

“Got on your Aviator shades, yeah man you’re looking really ace” March 12, 2009


Is it that time again already? Wow here we are on 12th March just a few days away from those nasty old Ides Of March. More of the Ides in a later post….. if I can be bothered, but either way just beware of them ok? Before we get down to business the regular readers among you may recall that the last time this blog included a fart clip the viewing figures went sky high, so here’s another one! This is a fart that disrupts a Council Meeting in the US. Click here to see it and I dare you, no I double dare you not to laugh!

So onto todays delights of which there are six; three birthdays and three ‘onthisdays’

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Leonard Chess the founder of Chess Records. The label was home to some fantastic artists including John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. Mr Chess checked out of this mortal coil of a heart attack aged just 52 in 1969. Strangely enough I won a set of eight Chess compilation albums (these were those big 12 inch plastic things we called LPs back in the day) in around 1975. I think the series was called ‘Chess Golden Decades’ or something like that. It was from a competition in the late great (hey the l’s & g’s get an outing for a publication and not a person!) Record Mirror. The winner was the person who came up with the longest list of song titles that featured colours (“Little Red Rooster”, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” you get the idea. Remember this was way before the internet was even a twinkle in a geeks eye. My winning list comprised of more than 400 titles which was more than double the person in second place. Now that just goes to prove that I have always been a sad anorak doesn’t it? OK not exactly a Chess classic but I couldn’t resist including Chuck Berry’s only UK number one, from 1972 it’s “My Ding A Ling

Chuck's need to pee wasn't going to stop him finishing the song. He just crossed his legs and held on to his ding a ling!

Chuck's need to pee wasn't going to stop him finishing the song. He just crossed his legs and held on to his ding a ling!

Anyway back to Mr Chess, he was born in a part of Poland that is now in fact in Belarus. He was originally called Lejzor Czyz and his family changed his name when they arrived in the US in 1928. I guess that’s a good thing really, I mean do you really think Czyz Records would have had the same impact? The label was based in Chicago and many non Chess acts also recorded at their studios, including the Rolling Stones. The Stones immortalised the Chess address with an instrumental track called “2120 South Michigan” in the mid 60’s. Maurice White who was once a session drummer at Chess Studios eventually went on to form the magnificent Earth Wind And Fire. A band I saw live at Wembley in 1979 😉 So to make up for the earlier inclusion of “My Ding A Ling” here is John Lee Hooker with “Boom Boom

The classic Chess Records label

The classic Chess Records label

Today is also the 40th birthday of one of my all time favourite guitarists, Mr Graham Coxon who will be treading the boards as part of a reformed Blur this year. Coxon played on all of Blur’s albums up to and including 1999’s ’13’. He also designed the cover for ’13’. He only featured on one track for the following album ‘Think Tank’ after a big fall out with the rest of the band, although clearly they seem pretty much reconciled now after he appeared at this years Brits to sing a version of “This Is A Low” with Damon Albarn. Graham has also been quite a prolific solo artist having released 6 albums under his own name, three of those while still with Blur. I have seen Blur twice once with Coxon and once without I definitely think they are much better with Graham in the fold. Here is Mr Coxon with the excellent “Freakin’ Out

Axe Hero or Fashion Victim - you choose!

Axe Hero or Fashion Victim - you choose!

Finally on the birthdays front today is the 30th birthday of someone once famously described as a ‘rock n roll fuckwit’ by Pete Townshend. Who? Why it’s Mr Pete Doherty of course. He of Libertines, Babyshambles and now solo musical fame and a fair amount of infamy too. As in ‘infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy’ So many tabloid inches have been covered with celebrity prattle about Pete so I won’t dwell on that. But in my opinion he is a great songwriter, I loved the Libertines and also Babyshambles too. I am definitely looking forward to his solo album. To return to something that was covered in a previous post, that something being Janie Jones. Pete featured on a charity cover of the Clash song “Janie Jones” in 2006. Other contributors were Dirty Pretty Things, We Are Scientists, Kooks and the Holloways. The song was recorded to raised funds for ‘Strummerville’ which is a foundation for new music set up shortly after Joe Strummer’s untimely death. here is Pete with Babyshambles doing the excellent “Albion” on the BBCs ‘Later With Jools Holland’

Pete often wondered why Kate had to look so hard faced when he asked her to dress up in her police woman's uniform

Pete often wondered why Kate had to look so hard faced when he asked her to dress up in her police woman's uniform

On this day in 1981 in another monumental piece of hype from Talcy Malcy himself (that’ll be Malcolm McLaren then) Bow Wow Wow were forced to cancel the first dates of a UK tour. The reason for the cancellation was that singer Annabella Lwin aged just 15 would have been guilty of truancy according to the Greater London Council. Incidentally McLaren was the bands manager. Bow Wow Wow were formed after Malcolm began to manage the original Adam And The Ants. He sacked Mr Ant and then brought in Annabella Lwin as the singer. Adam was quite adamant (and Adam Ant) that it did him no harm in the long run though. Lwin’s birth name was Myint Myint Aye, which apparently means High High Cool in Burmese, personally I would have used that as my stage name! here they are with a live rendition of “C30, C60, C90, Go“. Note the Adams & the Ants style Burundi drum beat.

Annabella wondered what on earth she was going to do now that the bands clothing budget had run out!

Annabella wondered what on earth she was going to do now that the bands clothing budget had run out!

On this day in 1988 the phenomenally talented (according to some, but not me) Rick Astley was number one in the US singles chart with “Never Gonna Give You Up” . The song was also a UK number one. Following something of an internet phenomenon last year with what became known as ‘RickRolling’ he found himself voted the ‘Best Act Ever’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Well I suppose even that is better than a win for Robbie W (give me a break I haven’t had a dig at for ages have I?) Anyway ‘Rickrolling’ was a means of sending someone the link to a Rick video by stealth. This led to around 30 million views of Rick videos and presumably 30 million people needing therapy have been a victim of ‘Rickrolling’ The song also gave writers and producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman their fourth UK number one when it topped the UK charts in 1987. They had previously hit the top slot with Dead Or Alive, Mel & Kim and Ferry Aid. OK prepare to be Rickrolled and I promise I’ll be gentle, here is Rick with “Never Gonna Give You Up

oh come on you weren't hoping for a Rick pic were you?

oh come on you weren't hoping for a Rick pic were you?

And finally on this day in 2001 Judy Garland’s “Over The Rainbow” was voted the ‘Song Of The Century’ in a poll published in the US. The poll was produced by the R.I.A.A and was compiled from input by musicians, critics and fans. The highest placed UK act was the Rolling Stones with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. The Beatles reached number 28 with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The top ten was;

1. “Over the Rainbow,” Judy Garland
2. “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby
3. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie
4. “Respect,” Aretha Franklin
5. “American Pie,” Don McLean
6. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Andrews Sisters
7. “West Side Story” (album), original Broadway cast
8. “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” Billy Murray
9. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” Righteous Brothers
10. “The Entertainer,” Scott Joplin

I must say I’m somewhat surprised that the West Side Story soundtrack album made it into the top ten songs of the century, I mean it’s a whole bloody album! If you want to see the whole list just click here.

Judy's secret collaboration with Slipknot

Judy's secret collaboration with Slipknot

 

 
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