‘Terror’ is the sixth studio album from South London‘s Punk DIY kings Wonk Unit, following on from 2016’s rather spiffing ‘Mr Splashy’. They have inherited some of the best things from some of the finest British bands; Blur, the Kinks, the Members, Madness and maybe even the Streets. From its title alone “Day Job Wanker” evokes the classic ‘Inbetweener’s’ “bus wankers’ scene, unless of course that is just the way my mind works.
“Hope” is the sound of Jonathan Richman had he been British. Lyrically this is a band at the top of their game. Have you ever had one of those nights where you simply can’t sleep? Yeah me too. Well that experience is perfectly summed up in “As The Rest Of The World Sleeps” as a ‘war rages in you’. I have listened to music for more years than I care to remember and without doubt Wonk Unit are one of the most original bands that I have heard in years. Every time I hear a note or style in one of their songs that reminds me of another band it only exists for a few fleeting seconds then the Wonk Unit DNA kicks in to prove their idiosyncratic, intelligent originality. This is crystal clear in the song that is my current favourite, the infectious “Christmas In A Crack House”
Wonk Unit have been around since 2006 and aiding and abetting highly talented songwriter and front man Alex Brindle Johnson are; Pwosion on Bass, Guitarist Kenny and Tommy on the drums. Eugene Butcher of Big Cheese said that “Wonk Unit have managed the almost impossible task of having found their own sound.It’s punk son, but not as we know it”. I find it impossible not to agree with that. In fact if Wonk Unit didn’t exist then someone would need to invent them. This is the sort of band that music needs. No ridiculous frills, great lyrics, massive hooks, humour, vignettes of real life just pure unadulterated Wonk Unit. The new album is due to hit the stores, streaming sites and hopefully your ears on 20th April, courtesy of Plasterer Records make sure your ears are on the receiving end of it. Don’t be a wanker, be a wonker!
They tour far more than many of their contemporaries and they are behind London’s eclectic Wonkfest. There are plenty of opportunities to catch them on tour this year, in the UK and mainland Europe, have you got your tickets?
30 MAR – Hastings, UK, Blackmarket VIP
31 MAR – Reading UK, Readipop
18 APR – London UK, Black Heart*
19 APR – London UK, Black Heart*
20 APR – Manchester UK, Manchester Punk Festival*
21 APR – Cardiff UK, Clwb Ifor Bach*
22 APR – Keighley UK, Exchange*
23 APR – Edinburgh UK, Bannermans*
24 APR – Inverness UK, The Tooth And Claw*
25 APR – Workington UK, Lounge 41*
26 APR – Sunderland UK, Independent*
27 APR – Nottingham UK, Maze*
28 APR – Stamford UK, Mama Liz’s*
29 APR – Grimsby UK, Yardbirds*
03 MAY – Feldkirch A, Graf Hugo+
04 MAY – Wels A, SBÄM Fest+
05 MAY – Zurich CH, Obenuse Festival+
06 MAY – Bern CH, Roesli+
07 MAY – Lugano CH, Casotto+
08 MAY – Salavaux CH, Le Trou+
09 MAY – München DE, Import Export+
10 MAY – Frankfurt/Main DE, Tiefengrund+
11 MAY – Bonn DE, Bla+
12 MAY – Karlsruhe DE, Alte Hackerei+
13 MAY – Braunschweig DE, B58+
02 JUN – Amsterdam NL, Rebellion Festival
22 JUN – Huddersfield UK, The Parish
23 JUN – Uttoxeter UK, The Old Star
30 JUN – Manchester UK, O2 Ritz
05 JUL – Zwickau DE, Störfaktor Festival
07 JUL – Hameln DE, K3
08 JUL – Hünxe DE, Ruhrpott Rodeo
13 JUL – Bath UK, Belvoir Castle
14 JUL – Wem UK, Wemstock Festival
15 JUL – Derby UK, The Hairy Dog
20 JUL – Cheltenham UK, Frog And Fiddle
21 JUL – Fleckney UK, Mayhem At Mick’s Festival
28 JUL – London UK, The Dome – Wonkfest
04 AUG – Blackpool UK, Rebellion Festival
10 AUG – Winchester UK, Boomtown
* w/ The Raging Nathans + w/ The Murderburgers
A big thank you to Wall Of Sound PR for giving me the opportunity to review this fine release.
This is it Christmas Eve, day 12 of my 12 days to Christmas series of posts. The final one that brings you famous people from history featured in a song, obviously they have all been real and today is no exception. I bring you the bearded weirdy, the fat bloke in the red coat, yes old saint Nick or as I prefer to call him, Father Christmas. He is real ok, don’t let anyone hear you say otherwise! Father Christmas first appeared in the 17th century and until the Victorian age he was seen as a symbol of adult merry-making and feasting. It was around then that he became the bearer of yuletide gifts, especially to children. Santa Claus is an American traditional name for the Christmas figure. Father Christmas’ coat was depicted as green, brown and even blue. It was a big advertising campaign by Coca Cola in 1931 that switched to the now far more common red robes. As it’s Christmas I won’t be focusing on any particular artist today, but I have selected a diverse set of Father Christmas and Santa Claus songs. Finally I would like to wish all of my readers a very happy Christmas, or happy holiday, or a happy life, whatever floats your boat. Just be happy! If you would like to track Father Christmas’ progress in your area click here.
Glastonbury tickets go on sale in a few weeks, I’ve registered, have you? I have been to quite a few festivals, but if I am lucky enough to get a ticket this will be my first Glasto, after all these years!
Anyway take your mind back to the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970. The first thing of note is that it was called something different then, it was the Pilton Pop, Blues and Folk Festival and all festival goers were provided with free milk. Well Worthy Farm is a dairy farm. It was almost 45 years to the day that it took place. The Kinks were originally scheduled to headline the event but were replaced much nearer the start of the inaugural festival on the site by Tyrannosaurus Rex. Obviously this was just before they became T Rex.
For many of you this is probably not new information. However, did you know who opened the festival in 1970 and then returned to the stage at the end of the second day to close it? It was the marvellously quintessential English band Stackridge! They have played Glastonbury more recently too; in 1999 and 2008. So in honour of that achievement I would like you all to get ready to “Do The Stanley”!
So the London 2012 Olympics is over, at least until the Paralympics anyway. I truly believe that this has been an amazing Olympics and for me usurps England winning the 1966 football world cup as our greatest sporting achievement. What do you think? OK I know the Scots won’t agree with that in the first place, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.
I realise that this post comes some 24 hours after the closing ceremony, but given the musical nature of that ceremony I felt I had to post something. The Olympic stadium was once again amazing; decked out to show a London skyline that included the London Eye, Big Ben and the Gherkin to name but a few. It all kicked off with the delicious voice of Emilie Sande accompanied only by a pianist, who was playing a piano covered in newspaper. After that the tempo really took off with forty members of the cast of Stomp dancing, drumming and percussing (is that a word?) on the recreated mini London Eye in the stadium. On top of all this there was a choir singing Beatles songs.
Next up was cellist and Churchill appearing out of the top of Big Ben and reciting words from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ which was a great link back to the superb Opening ceremony. Obviously it wasn’t really Churchill, it was Timothy Spall. This was followed by newspaper clad crowds depicting the hubbub of London. The whole thing then slowed a little for the arrival of the VIPs; Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) who seems to make even the dullest accountant I have ever met seem exciting and prince Harry representing the Royal family. Clearly he was never going to match his grandmother’s arrival at the opening ceremony! Obviously this was followed by our rather uninspiring, in my opinion, national anthem.
The whole show was a celebration of Britain and the next vignette was real class. It was the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 countdown by Michael Caine from the ‘Italian Job’ and then the iconic three-wheeled van of Trotter’s Independent Trading blew apart and out jumped, yes you guessed it, Del Boy and Rodney in their Batman and Robin costumes. A sublime moment and a nod to one of Britain’s greatest ever comedy shows; Only Fools And Horses.
The mood then turned very much to party as madness were driven around the arena playing “Our House” from the back of a truck. This tempo was kept up by the Massed Guards Bands with a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Parklife”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better the stadium was filled with cyclists wearing the most amazing geometric and fluorescent hats. Two of them on tricycles which had Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe as passengers. So we were treated to a fabulous version of “West Ends Girls” on bicycles and tricycles. Could this happen anywhere but the UK? I doubt it!
One Direction were next, like Madness they were on the back of a truck, which sadly wasn’t headed to the tip. OK I have to begrudgingly admit they were at least in tune, but I still don’t like them. Interestingly they were one of just a few acts whose name was flashed onto the screen when they appeared. After that it was back to another great number from the cast of Stomp. That percussion sounded like “Spice Up Your Life” to me. was that deliberate? Who knows? An incredibly talented dance troupe who I think were called Spelbound were next to take the stage. They performed a great routine to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper classic “A Day In The Life”
To keep up the 60s vibe Kinksmeister Ray Davies came on to sing his timeless and classic love song to London; “Waterloo Sunset”. eliciting some great ‘sha la la-ing’ from the audience in the process. Emilie Sande made a return next, minus the newspaper piano and sang over a film montage of some of London 2012’s most tearful moments. The three hundred or so flag bearers entered the arena after that, including super sailor Ben Ainslie fo Britain. Elbow soundtracked this whole piece with a great little set that included the beautiful “Open Arms”. The athletes followed the arrival of the flag bearers and they were corralled into the sections of the union jack which formed the floor of the stadium. Apparently this version of the flag was designed by Damien Hirst. Indian drummers then accompanied the construction of a large structure made up of more than three hundred white boxes. One to represent each Olympic event. The backing track to this was Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. I had momentary butterflies while wishing and hoping that Kate might actually appear herself. But alas she didn’t.
Apparently one of the traditions of the closing ceremony is that it contains the last medal presentation. It is for the Mens Marathon which took place earlier in the day and was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda. This was followed by a thank you and recognition for all the volunteers, or Games makers as they were known from all the athletes. This was followed by a spectacular light show to the unmistakable sound of Queen’s mighty “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a children’s signing choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. This segued into a film clip of Lennon singing the song himself. Apparently Yoko Ono commissioned a special remaster of the song for the ceremony. At the same time a 3D image of John Lennon’s face was built on stage. This was a prelude to the main musical events.
George Michael took to the stage for his first live performance since his life threatening illness he sang “Freedom 90” his new single “White Light” which is in fact all about his brush with death. He seemed fit and well and on really good form. I’m not sure I like the new facial hair style though, perhaps it will grow on me! Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs was driven to the stage as a scooter pillion passenger singing “Pinball Wizard”. I have gone off the Kaisers of late, by I must admit they did a storming version of the Who’s classic. The next part had me positively tingling with anticipation; A series of short film and audio clips of David Bowie. Would he actually appear? Surely not? And surely he didn’t. But his 1980 hit “Fashion” was used as a backdrop to a showcase of British fashion which included a weird march around the stadium from a series of models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
George couldn’t master Mo Farah’s Mobot so he invented the Georgebot
A huge skeleton of what might have been a viking boat was pulled on stage and the hidden figurehead was none other than Annie Lennox. She performed “Little Bird” which was used on the soundtrack of Coppola’s film version of Bram Stoker’s classic story Dracula. The much rumoured Pink Floyd appearance turned out to be nothing more than Ed Sheerhan, Nick Mason and Mike Rutherford doing the Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” accompanied by a tightrope walker who recreated the Floyd album cover with the flaming man.
Russell Brand arrived on stage in what looked like the Scooby Doo van and he was singing, he’s not a bad singer either. He got out of the van to perform the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”. The van begat a giant inflatable octopus from which Fatboy Slim did a brief DJ set featuring his own hits “Right Here Right Now” and “Rockerfeller Skank”. Jessie J then sang “Price Tag” in an open top car she was joined by Tinie Tempah then Taio Cruz with “Dynamite”. All in open top cars. Then all three of them took the stage for a creditable performance of the Bee Gees disco classic “You Should Be Dancing”. As they were performing in front of a drum kit marked up with the name of Beady Eye it was obvious who was going to be on later!
A group of London Black cabs entered stadium and performed a kind of synchronised dance. Then five of them moved to the centre of the arena and were lit up with some spectacular lighting arrays. This wasn’t the best kept secret of the show, but guess who the passengers in these five cabs were? Yes it was Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Pouty…. oops sorry I mean Posh. It was the return of the Spice Girl. They kicked off with possibly one of the greatest pop singles of the 90s (OK that doesn’t mean you have to like it); “Wannabe”. They followed this with the samba rhythmed “Spice Up Your Life” which they performed while being driven around the stadium atop the cabs that brought them in. As expected after seeing their drum kit earlier Beady Eye were next. Thankfully they didn’t play any of their own stuff, just a cover of “Wonderwall” which seemed to go down really well as a sing along with the crowd. Liam seemed quite nervous to me and is his voice a little rough these days?
ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” was played as a backdrop for a section pioneering flight. This included flying bikes and a failed human cannonball who just happened to be Monty Python star Eric Idle who led the audience in a marvellous sing-alonga-python version of “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”. he even made a great comedic attempt to join in with some Bollywood style dancing. This whole piece was perhaps the equivalent of the Mr Bean set in the opening ceremony. It ended with the real and successful firing of a human cannonball.
Matt Bellamy and the boys from Muse were the next to appear and they performed their song “Survival” which was commissioned for the Olympics. It’s good and their performance was excellent as usual but this is a long way from being my favourite Muse song. Interestingly, as some have likened Muse to Queen they were followed by a film clip of Freddie Mercury performing some improv jazz scat and despite being dead for more than twenty years the audience were enraptured and joined in the whole Freddie call and response thing. This proved to be the overture to Brian May’s appearance and it’s fair to say that he’s quite a good guitarist isn’t he? 😉 As the unmistakable riff to “We Will Rock You” began and Brian was joined by Roger Taylor I was briefly worried that Adam Lambert or someone similar might step onto the stage. Thankfully it was Jessie J, and inspired choice in my opinion. She did a great vocal on the song which never tried to emulate the late, great Mr Mercury.
It was then time to return to the formal activities which meant the Greek national anthem followed by a Welsh Male Choir version of the Olympic Anthem. This was sealed with the Brazilian national anthem and a formal handing over of the Olympic flag from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to the Mayor of Rio De Janeiro via Jacques Rogge. The Brazilians then put on a samba fuelled show to let the world know what to expect in 2016. This culminated in an appearance by one of their greatest sports ambassadors; Pele. Then we had more formal stuff with speeches from Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seb was quite inspiring Jacque was once again the definition of dull in my opinion. The remaining action was the extinguishing of the flame. This began with Take That (thankfully without Robbie) performing the appropriate “Rule The World”. It continued with Darcy Bussell flying in as a Phoenix to join two hundred other ballet dances for an exciting modern ballet.
The petals of the cauldron where the Olympic flame burned were then lowered and were slowly extinguished and at this point I thought that was the end. However there was more to come in the shape of the Who. They were on top form and for a pensioner Roger Daltrey’s vocal power is still damned good. They closed with a rousing version of “My Generation” accompanied by yet another magnificent firework display.
I fell a little deflated after such a brilliant two weeks but so very proud to be British. I truly believe that we really showed the world what we are capable of as a country. Not just in the Olympic events but by how we put on such a brilliant event in itself. In spite of the little hiccups before the start (G4S etc) we really delivered this in style and won a whole treasure box of medals too. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone in Team GB, the organisers, all the other competitors, the BBC, the volunteers/ Games Makers and anyone else who was involved in this remarkable event.
Was this the best Olympics ever? I believe it as. Rio follow that!
Most of the film clips from the ceremony are IOC copyright and therefore difficult to show. So here are two songs that sum things up in a simple way.
According to a recent report in the UK tabloid the Daily Mail (so only a small chance it’s true) Ziggy Stardust is about to be honoured with a plaque in London. In the year that marks the 40th anniversary of the release of what many consider Bowie‘s finest moment it seems that the powers that be may be ready to give Ziggy a commemorative plaque.
Note that this would be very special as they are not awarded to living people. But it’s not a Bowie plaque it is most definitely to honour the Ziggy character. It will be placed in Heddon Street where the cover pictures for ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars‘ album were shot.
Can you think of any other fictitious characters from the rock world that should be honoured in the same way? The Kinks ‘Terry and Julie’ on Waterloo Bridge perhaps?
They say that August is the silly season for news don’t they? well here’s a story in the UK media that clearly shows that there can’t be much else happening in the country. Apparently the government is urging local councils to reduce the number of street signs and bollards and the like. Did you know there is a car park in Salisbury with 63 bollards and only space for 53 cars? Nor did I. Did we need to know? I doubt it. Has that information been life changing for any of us? Not bloody likely. The government line on this is being headed by the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles (what a great name!) and isn’t it pleasing to see that the focus of our wonderful (NOT!) coalition government is focussing on the big issues. Personally I think it’s a load of bollards! Read the story here
So now let’s get back to music and have some streets and sign related tunes, feel free to contribute your own;
“Signs” – Snoop Dogg featuring Charlie Wilson and Justin Timberlake. In my opinion one of Mr Timberlake’s finest performances, a long way from the Mickey Mouse Club that’s for sure. It was produced by the Neptunes and made it to number two in the UK charts in 2004. The lyrics draw from the Gap Band’s “Early In The Morning” from 1982 and Cheryl Lynn’s 1978 hit “Got To Be Real”
“No Matter What Sign You Are” – Diana Ross and the Supremes. This was originally intended as the last single from the girls before diva Diana went solo, but it didn’t sell too well and failed to make either the UK or US top 20. Sadly it wasn’t even the Supremes who sang on it. Diana took the lead but the backing vocals were provided by a session group called the Andantes rather than Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong
“Streets Of London” -Ralph McTell. Ralph first recorded the song in 1969, but it wasn’t released as a single in the UK until 1974. What could be described as a timeless classic it has been recorded by more than 200 artists
“Where The Streets Have No Name” – U2. The video was filmed on the roof of the Republic Liquor Store in downtown LA in homage to the Beatles performing live on the roof of the Apple Building in Saville Row for the Let It Be film.
“Somewhere In America There’s A Street Named After My Dad” – Was (Not Was). I have always loved this band and this is a great song, the video on the link also includes some excellent photographs from Charles Cushman. The key band members were often assumed to be brothers largely because they called themselves Don and David Was. However the truth is that David Was was really David Weiss and Don Was was really Don Fagenson
“On The Street Where You Live” – Nat King Cole. I didn’t really appreciate Mr Cole until I got older, probably because my parents liked him when I was a teenager and it’s not cool to like what your parent’s like is it? This song is actually taken from the musical ‘My Fair Lady’ which is one of Catwoman’s favourite musicals.
“Across 110th Street” – Bobby Womack. Taken from the blaxploitation movie called, unsurprisingly, ‘Across 110th Street’. The song also featured on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Jackie Brown’
“‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street” – Jam. This song was the B Side to the Jam’s 1978 single “David Watts” which was a cover of a Kinks song. Paul Weller apparently listened to a lot of Kinks stuff prior to recording the ‘All Mod Cons’ album. The video in the link is taken from the band’s appearance on the sadly missed Old Grey Whistle Test on the BBC
“Baker Street” – Gerry Rafferty. In the early 70’s as part of Stealers Wheel with Joe Egan, Gerry had a hit with “Stuck In The Middle With You” which was later used in the movie Reservoir Dogs. However it’s “Baker Street” that he is most remembered for and that’s no wonder as it’s a great song.
“53rd & 3rd” – Ramones. This video is a live recording with Rancid. The song was written by Dee Dee Ramone and is about an area of New York that was a major haunt for male prostitutes and rent boys. There have been suggestions that Dee Dee worked there himself in his youth.
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
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!
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!
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