With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“But what the heck, they’re not too bad, they talk to God” January 24, 2018


I am truly saddened by the death of Mark E Smith of the Fall. He was one of the alternative music scenes greatest talents. He passed away at home and according to his manager more details will follow in the next few days. He was hospitalised with significant respiratory issues on the Fall’s US tour last year and back in the UK he completed some dates in a wheelchair. At this stage there is no way of knowing whether any of this was connected with his demise. Mark formed the Fall after seeing the now infamous Sex Pistols gig at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1976, they became a fixture in British music following the release of their debut EP ‘The Bingo-Masters Break Out’ in 1978. The band released 32 studio albums from ‘Live At The Witch Trials’ in 1979 to last year’s ‘New Facts Emerge’. They issued a similar number of live albums and more than 40 compilations. Smith was the only constant member of the Fall, around 60 different people played in the band over the years. He was an influence on many, many artists including Brett Anderson of Suede, Tim Burgess of the Charlatans and Billy Bragg. John Peel was a great champion and fan of the Fall, he once said “They are always different, they are always the same”, that strikes me as a very fitting epitaph. RIP Mark E Smith, you will be sadly missed. My thoughts go to Mark’s family, friends and fans.

 

“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 ūüôā

 

 

Colour Me Wednesday, Onsind, No Ditching, Elly Kingdon @ Wharf Chambers Leeds – Wednesday 28th August 2013 August 29, 2013


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Last night finally had the pleasure of seeing a wonderful band from my old stomping ground of Uxbridge playing live. I have championed them before on this blog and their name is Colour Me Wednesday. More them later though as there were other acts on the bill too. This was the first time I had ever visited Wharf Chambers and I will definitely be back. It is a superb venue with a great stage area and a fab little bar. Not only that but it is the only place I have been where even drinking tea could be considered very rock ‘n’ roll!WP_20130828_001

First on stage was the delightful, quirky and very entertaining Elly Kingdon. The poster described her as ukulele folk from Stoke. That much is true but there was a spirit of punk too. Elly manages to effortlessly make songs about depression sound so happy and bouncy. That has to be therapeutic right? I suggest that you check this woman out on-line. She has talent and a ukulele! I loved Elly’s sign on the merchant table, it simply read ‘Elly Kingdon has no merch as she is not a sell out! What’s not to love about that?

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Next up we’re Durham’s excellent No Ditching. A fine all girl five piece who incredibly were playing only their third gig! If that set and their demo CD (of course I bought it) are anything to go by these girls can go much further. The poster described them as Pop Punk from Durham which is a fitting description. But I suspect they have more than just pop punk if allowed to play and grow in the coming months. If they are appearing in your town then get out and show your support.

Next I must make an apology. The poster for the gig showed Onsind as second on the bill. Actually that was a typo and in fact they were top of the bill. Unfortunately having been able to see Colour Me Wednesday earlier than I expected I opted to avoid the last train from Leeds back to York. This meant I missed the whole of Onsind’s set. However after a brief chat with Harriet Doveton I decided to buy Onsind’s CD album Anaesthesiology. I have played it three times today and it’s bloody good. Especially ‘Pokemon City Limits’ with it’s wonderful ‘never trust a Tory‘ chorus. So Onsind please accept my humble apology I won’t miss you again, I promise. By the way your album will be on in the car again tomorrow!

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So on to the band that brought me to this gig; Jen, Harriet, Sam and Carmela collectively known as Colour Me Wednesday. They certainly coloured this Wednesday with their perky, punky, poppy tunes. The poster described them as anarcho-pop from Uxbridge and that is certainly true. They played a great clutch of songs from their new album ‘I Thought It Was Morning’ most of which I’m sure you know because you’ve bought the album. What? You haven’t bought it yet? Why the hell not it’s a great album. Get off your bum and go and buy it now, and I do mean immediately! Just click here and do it! Anyway my favourites on the night were “You’re Not My Number One Bastard”, “Bitter Boys” and what in my opinion should be released as a single (again?) “Purge Your Inner Tory”. This song deserves to become a classic. I am so pleased that I finally got to see this band live and I hope to see them again soon. Drop everything, change all your plans, sell your granny, do whatever it takes to see them play.

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All the acts who appeared have a great deal of talent and in a parallel universe where shit like the X Factor doesn’t exist they may already have become very succesful let’s hope they can do it in this universe. It’s on nights like this I really miss John Peel he definitely would have played all of tonights artists!

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“Flying like an autumn wind, lady did you lose a friend?” February 21, 2013


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I first heard Kevin Ayers back in the early 70s and ‘Joy Of A Toy’ remains a favourite album of mine. So it is with sadness that I am posting about his demise. He passed away in his sleep aged 68 on February 18th at his home in France. Ayers was a pioneer of the British psychedelic scene and first found fame with Soft Machine. John Peel once said this of him; “Kevin Ayers’ talent is so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it”. Click here to read the BBC report of Kevin’s death.

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Kevin has worked with many people, including Syd Barrett, Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield and John Cale. He was there for the formation of¬†Soft Machine in the mid 60s. The band was named after the William S Burroughs¬†novel ‘The Soft Machine’. Kevin once sold his Fender jazz bass to Noel Redding from Jimi Hendrix’ band. This was after an extensive US tour. He grew up in Canterbury and lived for some time in Ibiza and France.

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Interestingly he wasn’t the only one in the family with such a pioneering spirit. His father Rowan Ayers was a BBC Producer and was responsible for kicking off the classic BBC music show ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test‘. If you have never listened to Kevin Ayers then I suggest you rectify that right now! I have included a few of my favourite Ayers songs at the end of this post. My thoughts go to Kevin’s family, friends and fans. RIP Kevin Ayers – a true British Rock legend!

 

“I need excitement oh i need it bad” May 2, 2012


At last work has started on cataloging the music collection of the late, great John Peel. A project called The Space at the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket is aiming to recreate his library and home studio. Details of his 25,000 strong vinyl album collection is being put on-line at the rate of 100 per week in alphabetical order. This has already begun and includes Adam and the Ants and Abba. The website does not allow you play the music but it will give links to places where you will be able to listen to it.

Along with the album covers even Peel’s index cards have been digitized¬†for the project which benefits from Arts Council funding. I am looking forward to watching it grow on-line, although one worrying point is that Arts Council funding¬†only runs until October. By this time it is hoped¬†to have at least 2,600 album details on-line. Click here to check out the rather excellent site.

A few years ago I considered the idea of contacting John Peel and possibly Elton John (who also has a very large music collection) with a view to¬†offering my services as organiser and curator of their music collections. I had a vision¬†that this would also include building a database for¬†the¬†collection. So if you’re reading this Elton please feel free to get in touch. I will be in the crowd when you play the Royal Harrogate Showground next month!

what song should I choose to celebrate such a momentous piece of Peel news? Surely there is only one option right? yes John Peel’s favourite song ever; “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones.

 

“She tied my eyes with ribbon of a silken ghostly thread, I gazed with troubled vision on an old four poster bed” July 14, 2009


Hello again dear readers, I’m back with another small collection of ‘onthisdays’ today, this time for July 15th. I should warn you that this post does contain two pictures of naked women (well the same woman actually, Lady Madge). OK so now there are only 50% of readers left, the others have all paged down to the pictures let me say that this blog has a history of naked pics; there’s been Eminem, Ronan Keating and not Lily Allen, although we did run the Lily Allen Naked experiment, check the tags to find out more, but whatever you think you WILL NOT find proper naked pics of anyone here. But I’m sure that won’t stop you looking will it?

On this day in 1973 the Great Western Express Festival took place at White City in London. It sounds like it was sponsored by a train line or train company, does anyone know if that was the case? Anyway trains or no trains the line up included the Edgar Winter Group, Sly & the Family Stone, Canned Heat, Lindisfarne and the Kinks. It was at this White City show that Ray Davies off of the Kinks announced that he was sick of the whole thing and was retiring. He apparently then walked to the local hospital and collapsed, presumably when he saw the size of the queue (my American readers should replace queue with line!). Clearly he didn’t retire for long either.

This time the boys made certain that Ray couldn't leave by sitting on him

This time the boys made certain that Ray couldn't leave by sitting on him

Lindisfarne who were also on the bill that day were particularly successful in the UK in the early 70’s having two UK top 10 hits in 1972 with “Meet Me On The Corner” and “Lady Eleanor“. Perhaps lesser known though is that the band’s Alan Jackson played the mandolin on Rod Stewart’s 1971 UK number one “Maggie May”. This part was once mimed on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops show by the greatest DJ that ever lived, the late great (hey welcome back l & g’s) Mr John Peel.

Clearly sharing the booze would be difficult with hardly any glasses. meet me on the corner and I'll give you some guys!

Clearly sharing the booze would be difficult with hardly any glasses. meet me on the corner and I'll give you some guys!

It was on this very day in 1985 that nude photos of Madonna taken in 1977 appeared in both Playboy and Penthouse this month. I’m not sure whether she took any action but it was just a few years later that she launched her book ‘Sex’ containing naked and erotic pictures of herself. It was hardly pornographic although the price was somewhat obscene. Anyway here is Madge herself with “Erotica” and just remember guys it may make you go blind! You have been warned

Madonna shows the world her pussy.............................cat!

Madonna shows the world her pussy.............................cat!

By the time Madonna published her 'Sex' book the need for Parental Advisory Style Stickers had become somewhat ridiculous

By the time Madonna published her 'Sex' book the need for Parental Advisory Style Stickers had become somewhat ridiculous

Back in 1998 on this day Aerosmith had to cancel an upcoming US tour after the band’s drummer Joey Kramer suffered a bizarre accident. His car caught fire and was destroyed completely as he was filling it up with petrol. he was admitted to hospital with second degree burns.

Joey soon realised that starting fires by rubbing his sticks together was much safer than starting fires in petrol/ gas stations

Joey soon realised that starting fires by rubbing his sticks together was much safer than starting fires in petrol/ gas stations

 

The Boat That Rocked April 12, 2009


How many of you have seen the new Richard Curtis movie “The Boat That Rocked”? Isn’t it excellent? If you haven’t seen it I’ll forgive you for just a short while as it has only just been released, but report to the headmasters office if you still haven’t seen it by the end of the month.

Nick Frost

It’s a comedy set aboard a pirate radio ship in the North Sea in the 60’s. I don’t know about you but I am old enough to remember the heyday of pirate radio stations. Indeed I remember listening to both Radio London and Radio Caroline as a child at home. The film’s station Radio Rock sounds authentic to me. At the time the BBC’s pop music output was tiny at no more than two hours a week. The British government were keen to shut down the pirates, presumably as this would give them more control. At it’s peak it was estimated that more than 20 million people were listening to pirate stations.The government eventually succeeded with introduction of the Marine Offences Act but they clearly understood the value of pirate stations as the BBC launched Radio 1 on 30th September 1967. In fact many of the Radio 1 DJs had previously worked on pirate stations, including Tony Blackburn and my favourite DJ’s Johnnie Walker and John Peel.

Anyway back to the movie. The script is hilarious and the casting is first class. Bill Nighy is truly wonderful as the stations owner. Thick Kevin is a very funny character too. Some of the funniest characters are Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Count, Nick Frost as Doctor Dave and Rhys Ifans as Gavin. Watch out for the ‘chicken’ contest between Doctor Dave and Gavin it’s hilarious. So is the truth or dare scene about flatulence follow through! A special mention certainly goes to Kenneth Brannagh as a government minister too. My favourite character though was probably Angus ‘The Nut’ Nutsford played by Darby Rhys. You may have seen him before as Murray the Manager in ‘Flight Of The Conchords’

The soundtrack is bloody good too. Some excellent 60’s sounds including Procul Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”, Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing In The Street” There is an excellent cover of Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me Baby” (which is one of the 50 songs in my top 10) from Duffy. perhaps the oddest choice of music though is the use of David Bowie’s 1983 number one “Let’s Dance” to close a sixties movie. In a nutshell that is the only thing I didn’t like about the film.

The Boat That Rocked is definitely a feel good movie and has some great laugh out loud moments. Failure to see it is not an option! Check out the film’s official website here.

Radio Rock really does rock!

The Boat That Rocked

 

 
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