Friday, 31 December 2010

The conclusion of 2010 - The beginning of 2011

So, another New Year is upon us and it is a time for reflection. It is also apparently a time for me to question a lot of things. This blog will contain some questions about optimism as well as this question – why do people still say “happy holidays” after Christmas? The holiday is Christmas; New Year is just a bank holiday. As we get closer to another New Year’s Eve, I remember writing a blog for this page about 2010 and optimism that comes with New Years Eve. I talked about how I didn’t understand why people get optimistic at this time of year but yet find myself falling into this trap. I mentioned a number of things about 2010 which could happen and I thought I’d just go over them now and see what has happened and what hasn’t.

2010 thought 1 – New Job – Leave Iceland and get a new job.
Achieved? Yes
Outcome – I left Iceland and got a job working for Portsmouth University as a decontamination technician

2010 thought 2 – New Government – Labour lose the 2010 Election to the Conservatives – a fear that BNP would enter UK Parliament.
Achieved? Partially
Outcome – Labour lost power at the 2010 general election and the Conservatives became the biggest party in the House of Commons but they are not completely in power as they are in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. The BNP got nowhere near winning a seat in Parliament.

2010 thought 3 – See friend who I hadn’t seen for years – See Avatar
Achieved? Yes
Outcome – I did see the friend who I talked about seeing Avatar with. We saw Avatar (that’s a shit film right there). We also saw Alice in Wonderland and Toy Story 3. Both very good films! I am trying to think if there had been others but I can’t remember.

Okay, those objectives were completed for the most part so 2010 was a good year on that front. There were other things which were good about 2010 including:

• Seeing Rammstein finally.
• Going to a festival for the weekend having not done so in 2009
• Quitting smoking for 3 months
• Continuing my mobile phone relationship with Apple and getting an iPhone 4

So this year was quite a good one for me in many respects. It has not been perfect I accept but no year can be I feel. So because of the various little good aspects of last year, I have a few hopes for 2011. I know optimism is easily wasted so some of these things I am going to have to be really tough about. In 2011, I want:

• To lose weight – It is about time I got serious about this issue. I have said many times that I am going to do it and then don’t. I actually find myself with the correct mindset to do it this time (other times when I’ve said this, there has always been an acceptance of inevitable failure as well as cynicism). Right now, I am committed to this desire.
• To quit smoking – as I type this, I have no real NYE plans. Regardless of location, I intend to smoke a cigar at midnight of the change to 2011 and then quit smoking. I am dealing with cravings so much better than I was and I feel again my mindset is in the right place to try it. We shall see.
• To continue using the iPhone. My contract expires in December. I intend to stick with Apple, whether they release a new handset or not. I love my iPhone 4 and can’t see why I wouldn’t love the iPhone 5 or whatever it is. This might be achieved in 2012 but that is ok.
• See SOAD. I have a ticket to Sonisphere to see Metallica and Slipknot. I really want to see SOAD as well so in some shape or form, I want to be at Download for the Saturday when SOAD play so I can finally cross them off my bucket list of bands.
• To continue career progression – either advance in my current job or change jobs so I am building a career.

These things will not come easily to me and therefore a lot of work is required next year to achieve these goals. I should point out that I will review these when I do the “hey its 2012 blog” and we’ll see what sort of year I’ve had. I was going to finish it here but I have decided to add a little bit extra one and talk about my favourite gigs of 2010 as a big part of this blog is about live music. 2010 has been a good year for me on all live music fronts aside from one and that is no Metallica this year. This will be sorted out in 2011 I guarantee it!

Best Gigs of 2010 – I’m going to talk about all the gigs that make the list in some detail and basically relive them. First the ones that didn’t make the top 5, and then somewhat appropriately, the top 5! I will not be including festival slots in this list. If I was, Alice Cooper would be in the top 5 as would Rammstein’s Sonisphere set. Anyway, here we go.

Honourable Mentions – For sake of ease, I’ll cover these with old words where possible.
• Bill Bailey – Leicester Square Theatre x2. Both shows were hilarious and had their own moments of win. When thinking of the two shows I think of the 2nd more fondly because more happened musically and the fact Bill being ill made some of the show funnier than I thought possible. Sorry, did you say Oud?
• Skindred @ Wedgewood Rooms. They “were just something special though. The atmosphere was incredible. The set list was genius. There's very little I can say because there aren’t enough superlatives I can throw at this band to accurately describe them. Fantastic gig and I can’t wait until I get the chance to see them live again”
• Airbourne @ Portsmouth Guildhall. They “were fantastic. The set list was superb, the band were great live (as per) and there was even the obligatory moment of craziness. The lead singer went through the crowd to play on the sound desk. Damn.”
• Lacuna Coil @ Wedgewood Rooms. They “were fantastic! I cannot believe I even second guessed myself about going. They released an album in 2009 called Shallow Life which not only did I not know about, I only heard it in July for the first time. The album is superb, probably their best yet. There are a few fantastic songs on the album which come across great live. I’m Not Afraid; Survive; I Won’t Tell You; Underdog; and Spellbound – all fantastic songs. They played a fair whack off Karmacode which is by no means a bad thing!”
• Motorhead @ Southampton Guildhall. “Then it was time for Motorhead – and it started with the iconic declaration from Lemmy – “We are Motorhead, and we play Rock and Roll!” Awesome performance from a band celebrating their 35th year. This show had it all – awesome music, Lemmy telling a bottle thrower he’d knock them the fuck out, a band playing louder than anything else. Oh, did I mention the awesome music? Just in case I didn’t, the setlist was fantastic. There we go”

So these are the gigs that were all very awesome. However, they were just bettered by these next 5. Starting with no.5 it is:

Number 5 – Rage against the Machine – Finsbury Park, London.

The effort that went into this gig was quite something. It all started from the race for Christmas No1 in 2009; would it be X-Factor or RATM? Well, as we all know it was RATM that won the day in the end. They announced during the campaign that should they win, they would hold a victory party in London which included them playing a gig. Now, I’d have been up for this anyway because I love RATM, but it was also free. Now not only did this spark my interest but also seemingly most of the damn country! Getting tickets was a thankless two hour epic but we got there in the end. The actual gig was awesome in that there were loads of people outside asking if they can “buy tickets” for this gig that’s a) free; and b) has tickets that have individual photos of the ticket holder on.

Anyway! We arrived in time to see Gogol Bordello. They were pretty damn good actually – a very fun band. If memory serves, I remember thinking their set got a bit long after a while. They were good but it was a touch repetitive by the end. Annoyingly, I can’t accurately confirm what I thought at the time because apparently I didn’t review the gig, oh well. RATM were superb though which made everything good. The pre-show cartoon introduction from Simon Cowell was hilarious. Testify is such a good song for them to open with. The set was quite different to the one I saw in Germany as well so that was quite cool. I now love White Riot by The Clash because of this gig. Before the last song (Killing in the Name – like I really needed to type that), they played a clip of McElderrys song which got heavily booed. The song purchasing statistics came up which showed that not only did RATM win, they won by a wide margin. With the words “YOU MADE HISTORY!” on the big screens, Killing in the Name started. Excellent

Number 4 – My Chemical Romance – Hammersmith Apollo, London.

Children, let this be a lesson to you. If you are going to a gig where the majority of the crowd is a) children; and b) female, then it might be advisable to not turn up at said gig with a hangover. I did this, and it hurt. The night before this gig, I was staring at the possibility of my beloved football club going out of business. Imagine how happy I was in the morning when I found out that this was just a bartering tool used by the administrators and that the club won’t go out of business. A massive hangover, for nothing! Anyways, London was cool. Strolled up Whitehall and by the Commons which to me is always fun because I am interested in politics.

The gig! Well we ignored going in straight away because the first “band” on, well the least said the better. We went in just after they finished and two things of note occurred before the gig. The first was a guy really throwing up, which was fun to listen to while queuing. The second was me saying to Dave “I hope they don’t test the lights because this crowd will scream and that will hurt my head”. Sure enough... *Lights Drop* *Girls Scream* *Lights Come Back on* - THANKS LIGHTING TECH!

The set they played was pretty much a best of with new album stuff included which for me couldn’t be topped. I actually can only think of one song which would have made it the perfect setlist for me which is Headfirst for Halos. Highlights of this set for me are not possible to do because everything I heard was awesome. We did leave slightly early to make sure we got the train but it was a fantastic gig and fully deserves the no.4 spot from 2010 gigs.

Number 3 – Ginger and Friends – Talking Heads, Southampton.

This is what I wrote yesterday which also appears on this blog. “This gig was the 2nd I’ve seen in the format of the headline act supporting themselves with a band in the middle. Ginger and Hot Steve did an acoustic set before the gig. This was very good – awesome music and fun crowd interactions. Highlights of this set for me (aside from being down the front) were Loveshit, This Is Only a Problem and Geordie in Wonderland. Geordie in Wonderland being the best I’d say purely due to the fact the crowd took over vocals and did a massive sing-along which was just awesome. After Oaf, Ginger and Friends came out and played what can only be described as an awesome set. If you love Wildhearts/Ginger music, then this set had it all. Usually I would say the highlights of a set at this stage but it isn’t possible because it was all awesome.” However my personal favourite songs of the night for me are My Baby Is a Headfuck and Vanilla Radio. Everything else is in a very close 2nd tie. I’d love to say what songs I’d have like to have heard as well but I fear I’ll write a near 4 hour setlist and as awesome as that would be, it’s never going to happen! Sorry for copy/pasting that review and reusing old material again, but it’s very hard to find fresh words to review something you’ve just reviewed.

Number 2 – Stone Sour – Dingwalls, London.

Having never been to Camden before, this was going to tick that off the list of things to do. It was also going to be pretty high on the “Win!” list as I love Stone Sour, and really did not want to see their show with A7X because it might have meant actually listening to A7X. If you like them, then fair enough but they just aren’t for me. Anyway, what was also going to be win was seeing Stone Sour in a room the size of the Dingwalls. This room can hold 487 people which considering they were playing rooms than can hold over 10000 on this tour meant we were in for something special. The only thing really I wish from this gig I had was a ticket but it was a ticketless affair, no matter! There was no support band which meant the entire night was all about Stone Sour which I’m fine with! I remember walking in, seeing the stage and being shocked at how small it was. The Dingwalls is a dark venue anyway, so it was hard to tell when the house lights went off/on.

When Stone Sour came out, the crowd just blew up. It was unbelievably loud from a crowd as small as it was. SS have always been a good live band (well in my experience of them) so I knew we were in for something special, even if the gig was just a warm up for the big shows. I was exactly right as they played for just over an hour and were phenomenal from start to finish. It is another one of those situations where I’d love to see them add more but the set would become inhumanly long. One highlight I do want to mention is a song which wasn’t planned on being played and comes with its own dance and that is Idle Hands. I think it was Jim Root who played the intro riff and Corey Taylor said “shall we play that? Fuck it, do you want to hear that?” which of course, yes we did! One of the best gigs of the year by far and confirms that Stone Sour is one of my favourite bands.

Number 1 – Rammstein – Manchester Evening News Arena, Manchester.

Firstly, that photo is from Sonisphere, but it’s far better than anything I took at the MEN so deal with it! Rammstein are one of those bands that were on my bucket list of bands that I need to see live. It is a very short list now which is quite nice but when I found out they were touring, I had to go. Granted, Manchester was a bit long winded about doing it but I went there because I love the MEN arena. I saw NIN there mid-2009 so it’s always going to have a special place in my heart (the NIN-fan boy bit). The journey there was very smooth and short of getting lost on the way to the hotel, everything went swimmingly really. The hotel this time gave us a much bigger room which was awesome. Ancoats Travelodge is in an awesome place to stay for a MEN gig because it’s about a 15min walk away.

I had listened to the support band, Combichrist, before travelling to Manchester and was not enamoured at all. Therefore I had advised arriving late enough to miss them but not miss any Rammstein. Well, we failed at that task but it was awesome that we did because I was completely wrong. Combichrist were immense live and I’m really glad we got there when we did. However, no matter how good they were, in my mind I remember thinking they will never top Rammstein and I was right. Rammstein were just mind-blowing, in both performance and stage show. The set was great and the atmosphere was just awesome. This is my gig of 2010 because everything was just right – and again short of increasing the setlist I can’t think of a way to improve this gig. One personal highlight was simply being in awe at the flaming angel wings during Engel. Rammstein top my gig list of 2010 and their Sonisphere set would have come in at no.3 if I was covering festival sets as well.

Well, that covers 2010 for me. It wasn’t a terrible year for me and I have high hopes for 2011. Will things be better? There is only one way to find out. Have a good new years eve to whoever reads this today. For those who read this next year (weird just typing that) then I hope you have a good one. As for this website, I’m sure I’ll be back in a week or so. Look out in the New Year for a review of Sonisphere 2011, Skindred @ Pyramids, Biohazard @ Wedgewood rooms and many more. That is all I have to say, so to close it out – happy New Year y’all. Have a great and prosperous 2011 – whatever you get out of it.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Reviews: John Bishop and Ginger

John Bishop – Portsmouth Guildhall 13/12/10

One longstanding obligation for a comedian is making fun of those people arrive late. The closer they are sitting to the front the better is usually is. This was extra entertaining when 6 people were late for Jason Manford’s show at Portsmouth Guildhall and they not only had seats in the front row, but front and centre – right in Manford’s eye line. However, this obligation can only be upheld on one condition - the comedian has to be on-time himself. Arriving at Portsmouth Guildhall at 19.31 worrying that I would be the late one to face ridicule because the show was starting at 19.30. About 15/20 minutes pass and it is announced that the show is running slightly late so you’ve got time to go and get another drink in. This for me was perfect as I was busting for a slash (that might be too much information, but that announcement was very good to me). I would also like say at this time I found out the Big Four of Thrash (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) are headlining Sonisphere so I was put in a fantastic mood by this. At 20.10 the lights went dim, which in the business means either one of two things: 1) the show is about to start; or 2) the lighting guy has probably just overheard the fact I have a hangover and wants to see how loud he can make the crowd scream (that goes out to you lighting tech at Hammersmith, you arsehole!)

Anyway, in this instance it meant the show was about to start, and after a short animation of Bishop, the man himself arrives on stage, apologising for being late. His reason seems somewhat fair – all the other shows on the tour start at 8pm, so it wasn’t until 7.30 that he realised himself that the show started then. What followed was a rundown of a year in the life of a struggling comedian who has made it big; a middle aged parent who’s been married for 17 years; the differences between those people with kids and those without and the embarrassments that can arise from a new-found show business lifestyle. I will discuss two bits for me which was my personal favourites. He discussed arguing with teenagers and how your wonderful little child will turn into a demon. “There is not a parent in the room who in this scenario hasn’t thought that their child is a twat”. That single line made me laugh for two reasons – 1) my parents were in the room but slightly further away from me; and 2) it is probably very true. The other joke which I loved is about offensive words on the BBC and the 2nd most complained phrase is “cunt” and how the first most complained phrase is “Jesus Christ”. “So if you have a joke which has the punch line ‘so Jesus Christ is a cunt’ it is probably not going to get on TV.” Saying much more about the material would be giving it away so I will leave it there and end with saying he was superb and if the chance arises to go and see him, make sure you do. I’m contemplating going again in April if I get my act (no pun intended) together!

Hatebreed – Wedgewood Rooms 15/12/10

Here’s the thing, I didn’t go in the end. Had a ticket, also had a headache. Can’t be helped sometimes. I’m sure they were wonderful and played everything the crowd wanted to hear. Or, they might have been shite, but I’ll never know. Moving on...

Ginger & Friends – Talking Heads, Southampton 23/12/10

This was probably the gig I was most looking forward to of the post-Sonisphere part of 2010 due to how early I bought the ticket. I saw The Wildhearts last year and they were fantastic – it was literally one of the most fun gigs I’ve ever been to. So when I heard that that Ginger from the Wildhearts would be playing in Southampton and the set would consist of Wildhearts songs, it had to be done. The journey wasn’t anything special other than some of the small stations on the way into Southampton really look like they should be in the deep south in America (or at least in the movie Deliverance). Anyway, the Talking Heads is a pretty awesome venue actually. I’ve only ever been there before for a drink. It is a different shape to the Wedgewood Rooms but I’d say it’s not much smaller. The main difference is that the beer there is good! Yes, £3.20 for a pint of fosters is criminal in a standard pub but for a gig venue to charge this price, that is fine, especially when it’s good beer!

Anyway, this gig was the 2nd I’ve seen in the format of the headline act supporting themselves with a band in the middle. Ginger and Hot Steve did an acoustic set before the gig. This was very good – awesome music and fun crowd interactions. Highlights of this set for me (aside from being down the front) were Loveshit, This Is Only a Problem and Geordie in Wonderland. Geordie in Wonderland being the best I’d say purely due to the fact the crowd took over vocals and did a massive sing-along which was just awesome. After a voyage to the bar and the smoking area, I ended up in the back of the room for Oaf. Oaf is a two piece band who plays pretty heavy music. They were fairly entertaining and did a good job of warming up the crowd. I couldn’t see a way back to the front during Oaf so reluctantly went to smoke again, deciding that if I smoked and they finished that people would likely head back to the bar/come to smoke and I could find a way through. Sure enough, that happened. Ginger and Friends came out and played what can only be described as an awesome set. If you love Wildhearts/Ginger music, then this set had it all. Usually I would say the highlights of a set at this stage but it isn’t possible because it was all awesome. This was literally one of the best gigs of 2010 and I am pleased it is the one which closed out the year.

2010 is at a close, the next post will be a year summary type of deal where I’ll talk about my favourite memories of 2010 and looking to 2011.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Students, Snow and Football Thoughts

Haven’t really blogged in a while about current affairs or every day goings on. Truth be told I’ve not found an issue which has really mobilised me to write a whole blog giving off my opinion. There are a number of events which have occurred which I’ll blog briefly about. Some of these are a bit dated now but I have thoughts on them - not many which is why it will be brief. I discovered today that I am unable to drink alcohol like I did in-between the ages of 17-22. It was a shocking revelation. I thought I’d be ok to just get particularly drunk and while anticipating a hangover, I didn’t count on it being this bad. It is probably a sign that I shouldn’t drink like that again which, while probably the more healthy option is definitely the least fun of the two. Ach well here’s the actual content.

World Cup 2018 – They think it’s all is now.

This one I’d say is the most dated now. England had another unsuccessful bid to host the world cup in 2018. I seem to recall a failing bid for the 2006 world cup as well which suggests England don’t have many friends where it matters in FIFA. I did think that we had a really good chance at winning the tournament this time and I thought that, if successful, we’d have put on a damn fine world cup. But, at the end of the day we didn’t win and by the sounds of things, we never even stood a chance. I would like to congratulate Russia on getting the world cup and I also like to say that I think there is no worth in our bid team and the FA acting like petulant children over not getting the world cup. I feel that if there is a legitimate belief in FIFA that the world cup competition should visit new lands then it seems somewhat worthless countries that have hosted the competition submitting bids. It could be argued as unfair but if FIFA don’t want countries that have hosted it before hosting it again, then England are wasting their time submitting a bid. What England needed to do is just accept the bid decision and spend future bid money on actually improving grass roots football. But in one swoop they have not only made themselves look ridiculous by shouting “BUT ITS NOT FAIR” in Russia and FIFAs direction, they have managed to make themselves look like basket cases who aren’t capable of holding a world cup. Good work if you ask me (and yes, that was sarcasm). One day the world cup will come back to England, and I hope that the countries bids that are defeated by England’s will moan bitch and suggest they have bribed FIFA.

I read today on a follow up to this typing that FIFA are contemplating moving the Qatar World Cup 2022 to January/February. Now, I offered congratulations to Russia on getting the 2018 WC and I feel it would be slightly hypocritical of me not to offer congratulations to Qatar, so congrats to them. However this one does seem slightly fishy. It has long been an assumption that when a footballer moves to a team in Qatar, they are getting paid a fortune to do so. Hearing the news that the WC was going to Qatar surprised me quite a lot but I must confess I feel this announcement is fishy. I think it should have gone to Australia (it would have been too easy!) Oh well, too late for that now. But moving the tournament start dates is idiotic and will screw with every club team and every league that operates an August-May season (so almost every league in Europe). Nice going FIFA – way to make a bad situation worse. I didn’t even take this into account (I was thinking more about my own club team again) but what about the African Cup of Nations? Oh, FIFA fail.

Student Fees – The violence

This one is an awkward one for me as I work for a university so I don’t particularly want to be on the record as having a massive go at students and then go back to working with them. However I must admit I’ve found myself wondering what the students that have been protesting the fees are looking to achieve. I’m not entirely sure that bringing London to a standstill is going to make the government say “well actually, the fee’s hike we are proposing is too high, let’s scrap them all together!” That just is not going to happen. I would just like to state again, like I did in the last blog, that I do not support the policy of student fees reaching the possible heights of £9300 per annum but I also am aware we have a massive budget deficit in this country. 13 years of Labour rule has fucked this country to an extent that we have to take some very painful medicine to sort it. Anyway, this wasn’t written as a hidden way to attack Labour, and I don’t feel the need to hide the fact I hate them anyway. Moving on...The protests against the fees are a good thing. Protesting against a government policy which you do not agree with is fine in my eyes. When these protests turn violent though it just turns into little more than an attack on democracy. Why I say this is simple – in a democratic system with free and fair elections, there are winners and losers. If you vote for a party that then does not form government, then it’s not fair on everyone else to cause trouble because your team didn’t win. I can see why the students are unhappy if they voted for the Lib Dems but that was discussed in a previous blog so I don’t feel the need to bring it back up again. So yeah, I somehow feel by smashing up parts of London and attacking the police, the students who are protesting in this manner have probably weakened their argument and ruined any chance of coming to the negotiating table. I would just like to stress again that the very poorest of potential students will not be lumbered with this fee increase – seeing as that isn’t said enough. Strange that the argument that this policy will restrict the opportunity of those from poorest backgrounds to go to university is the one which is used the most – when it simply is not true.

The snow

Well, I was going to talk about the previous snow we had and how ridiculous it was that it bought the country to a standstill but it did. There always seems to be a shortage of road salt when this occurs – you’d think now snow is slightly more frequent they’d build a surplus of this stuff up and save it for a rainy day (well a snowy day actually....oh leave it!) What happened out of the last set of snow is that I had 1.5 days off work, and was stupidly bored. However, I did manage to watch The Shawshank Redemption which was very awesome. We have snow again and it has cancelled my plans for the evening which sucks (in all fairness, the hangover and subsequent other affects of a night drinking also helped cancel said plans). I’m hoping that the snow pisses off fairly quickly and the streets don’t ice up. I haven’t got much to do but I won’t be overly favourable towards the very little I have to do being cancelled because of snow and ice! Also, it is quite funny that in Canada, they had to close schools and businesses after it got “unmanageable” over there – it was -39 degrees and there was 12ft of snow. How is it that say, hypothetically, the temperature could be -25 and the snow could be 7ft and life carries on? That to me sounds nuts (but then I live in a country that shits itself following 7 inches, let alone 7ft!

That’s all folks. I probably won’t blog again until after Xmas now so have a good festive period. Have an awesome new year and I will be back with a reviews blog (which due to my laziness has already suffered) covering John Bishop and Ginger. Just wanted to tag a quick bit on the end to say that the Sonisphere 2011 ticket has been purchased and I couldn’t be happier about my decision. I have been reading thoughts about people annoyed with the booking of festival headliners and bands this year but here’s my rational. The Big 4 is a big announcement (no pun intended). Metallica are always a festive headline band that makes any lineup look stronger (imo – but then I am biased). Slayer and Anthrax might be the questionable choices due to their previous performances at this festival but I’m prepared to look passed that as long as they mix the set up a little (Damnit slayer, play Disciple and New Faith!) Megadeth is also a strong booking as they are a genius live band (I heard they were poor at DL2010 but I wasn’t there so can’t really comment). All four of these bands on the same stage is immense and when I heard it was going to happen, I was excited and hoped I could see it. The other headliners I have already discussed so I won’t go into it again. Also, my choice to go to Sonisphere means I can go and see Judas Priest at Victoria Park and pop by Hyde Park and listen to Bon Jovi. Might even be able to squeeze in a quick jaunt to Download to see SOAD (as I failed to get a ticket to their Paris date) which will be quite nice.

Right, I’m off – Happy Priority Gifting Period to you all, I hope Winterval treats you well.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Sonisphere Wins

Well, they announced the Big Four. I can only really afford one festival a year at the moment. It is Sonisphere, Knebworth.

Soundtrack - Metallica

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Verbalizing Festival Thoughts

Haven’t blogged for a while because I didn’t really feel like I had a great deal to say. I experimented with the short blog format and it is fine although it does mean multiple posts when I have a fair bit to say. Having said that, this post will just be about live music. I did some slight tidying of the blog just to make it look a bit nicer. Got rid of the twitter sidebar as it was too big for the blog (and it was the official design, go figure!) but replaced it with links of my social network locations and a few links to other blogs and web pages. If you want a link adding then all you have to do is ask – there are very few reasons why I wouldn’t put a link there. Moving on, I will be doing a reviewing blog soon covering the next fortnight of activities including seeing John Bishop, Hatebreed and Ginger & Friends. Looking forward to these, although truth be told I have lost a fair bit of excitement about Hatebreed. I reckon that is down to it being the first gig since March that I’d be going alone to.

Speaking of live music, we are well and truly into the first festival season now with several of them making their first announcements. How I tend to view festivals is look at home first and then look abroad. I legitimately consider 3 English festivals before looking elsewhere which are Isle of Wight (IOW), Download and Sonisphere (of those three, Sonisphere is the one I’ve been to the last two years). IOW drew first blood by announcing Kings of Leon, Kasabian, Foo Fighters and Pulp as the first four major bands for its main stage and Tom Jones as its first main act for its “big top” stage. Now, I’m going to see Foo Fighters (this will come up again later) so that is not a massive draw for me. Kings of Leon and Kasabian have a handful of good songs between them but as festival headliners, no thanks. Pulp are the biggest draw for me here and they are playing the same day as Foo Fighters by the looks of things – so if a day ticket becomes available then I might consider it but I don’t think IOW sells day tickets. Download then struck gold really for me.

Striking gold in this context means announcing System of a Down to play your festival. A very brief history of what this means to me is that SOAD are one of my bucket list bands (a very short list now) so the chance to see this band – immense! They also announced Avenged sevenfold for their festival. Well I guess they have to appeal to....I got nothing. Anyway, I feel that was a pretty strong announcement for their first one. Their second announcement for me was a bit lacklustre – Linkin Park (to headline) and Rob Zombie. LP do sod all for me because they had two immense albums, disappeared, and then came back with two very shit albums. Hey, they sell out the o2 arena so what do I know right? ;) Anyway! Rob Zombie is one I’m not fussed about; really due to lack of knowledge and lack of interest to change that so I guess not being excited about that one is my own fault but whatever. One awesome band and some serious meh as far as I’m concerned. Let’s see what Sonisphere did...

SLIPKNOT?! Now that was unexpected. I achieved my aim of seeing them live in 2008 but like any greedy person, wanted to see them again! When I heard the news Paul Gray died, I thought the chance to see them had gone and I was just grateful that I was able to see them the one time! This announcement to me is bigger than SOAD. I knew SOAD would eventually one day come back but Slipknot I thought were done. I said many a time following this announcement that it sold me on Sonisphere because it was huge and I’d just go to see SOAD in Paris, or get a ticket or even (as this isnt a reunion, just a "hey, the hiatus is over" tour,) wait for more dates. Well anyways, then Sonisphere shocked everyone with this announcement and not in a good way (in my humble opinion)...

Say what?! Biffy Clyro are a rock band and have every right to play a rock festival but to headline?! What world are we living in? There is no way they are big enough to headline a festival with such crossover appeal. I might get some shit for that but this is my opinion. This announcement has made me want to look elsewhere for my summer festival choice. You will hear people say “a headliner doesn’t make a festival” which at any other festival, I could agree with. However, at Sonisphere they have a rotation system between Main and 2nd stage so between those two stages at least, there are no clashes. This means that when Biffy is on, there is no alternative. Furthermore, Biffy Clyro are headlining a major festival for the first time on the 9th July 2011. Lets hope they don't do anything stupid and say, support another festival headliner the weekend before in the UK....

Oh wait, oops! So Sonisphere's main band for the Saturday is a band that the weekend before are supporting another band who are on the circuit headlining? Poor form. Anyway, enough moaning; let’s look elsewhere shall we?

European festivals, how nice and cheap you are! Rock AM Ring is always the first place I look. I think anywhere I see Metallica I will look upon favourably. This festival announced as its headliners SOAD (win), Kings of Leon (feck) and Coldplay (big announcement but not a draw for me as a headliner). No matter I’ll look at Wacken. Hey, Wacken has an awesome lineup at the moment. This lineup includes Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Airbourne, Hayseed Dixie, Sepultura, Trivium and others. Pretty good other bands as well. Problem with that festival is that is 130 euro ticket which is about 150 after fees and postage (still much cheaper than anything the UK has to offer) but a £168 flight – ouch. That basically rules that out. One I have looked at a great deal many years in a row is Graspop. Let’s have a look at that shall we kids?

Now, that is a pretty nice lineup. It has Slipknot (which instantly puts it up there with Sonisphere), Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Judas Priest....well you can see the poster. I will draw special attention to the fact that it has Volbeat. Now, it is awesome to see that Volbeat are on the tour cycle again next summer and that it is in Europe is an extra special win. So this festival has winning me over in that it has strong headliners (although in my ignorance, I only know “Rock You like a Hurricane” by Scorpions) and a fairly strong undercard. Excellent if you ask me.

Ok so what are the findings of this set of ramblings? Let’s analyse shall we?

IOW – Saturday is win, but they don’t do day tickets and the other headliners don’t do it for me. For my 5th festival year, I’m going to pass over the local festival.

Download – SOAD is win. The rest so far is not. I might be tempted to come up for SOAD but other than that, not so good. Early days though and I might still pop up to Donington for the first time since 2007 to see SOAD. We shall see.

Sonisphere – “Why do you build me up, buttercup baby just to let me down?” Well there literally couldn’t have been a more gay way to analyse a festival without actually typing that sentence with a cock in my mouth. Anyway, Slipknot announcement is win but the Biffy Clyro to headline one is bemusing. There is one more headliner to announce and unless it is something which makes me go “wow, ok!” then I’ll pass thanks. I have publicly said to friends that the Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax) would do it for me but there are two others being honest that would do it, and they are Led Zeppelin (well, a man can dream!), Faith No More, Green Day and/or Muse - one of them would get me to Knebworth next year.

Graspop – Strong headliners as far as I am concerned. Slipknot and Ozzy are big names. Scorpions I’m told are awesome live and the undercard is immense so far (Volbeat and Judas Priest, yay!) This is at present in the pole position for me to go to it – but I am giving Sonisphere one more chance. If they don’t announce a headliner I want – I’m coming to Belgium! There are a couple of bands playing a rival festival (which doesn’t have enough to sell me) whom I’d love to see announced for this festival, Kreator being one of them!

Well this was a ramble and a half! The next post which will probably be fairly soon as I’ve finished work for xmas now and this will be a more current events blog. Until then!

Soundtrack of the Blog – Well for the most part it was Biffy Clyro. They are alright at best.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

We Play Rock and Roll

This blog is basically my way of saying “hey, I’ve done things recently and I think you should read about them”. This blog will cover a review of the latest MCR album, Motorhead @ Southampton Guildhall and “Get Comedy Live – Marcus Brigstocke, Jim Jefferies & Rufus Hound”. It would have contained a review about Volbeat but...the least said about that the better. Moving on...

My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

I never expected to be reviewing this bands music for any reason. I used to maintain that I never liked them and for a while this was true. However it was their latest offering, The Black Parade, which opened me up to the idea that maybe this band is in fact good. I listened back to the earlier albums with a refreshed mindset and discovered that I actually do like MCR. Having seen them live (with a hangover, no less) this view was reinforced as not only do they make good music – they are a damn good live band. During the gig, they played a few songs from their new album which at the time still had not been released. Now that it has, I thought I’d give it a look and see if the material I heard live was as good on the studio album and how the rest of the album holds up.

Look Alive, Sunshine – It’s an intro track. But I guess as intro tracks go it’s alright. It’s better than some random ambient noise you sometimes here (5)
Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) - This song is so damn catchy. Great song (10)
Bulletproof Heart - Pretty catchy again. More of a "black parade" style song than the last one, but that’s no bad thing (8)
SING - This is a pop song. It’s not uncommon for a pop-punk band to have a pop song on their album. Anyway, it’s good. (7)
Planetary (GO!) - This song sounded awesome live, and it’s also awesome in the studio. Very good song – Someone’s gotta remix this into a dance/DnB song! (9)
The Only Hope For Me Is You - Really good song. It could have fit in well on their last album. Nice to see them having songs of the faster pop-punk style and slower pop-punk/emo type (8)
Jet Star & blah – It’s a midway talking track deal. No real need for this to be honest (3)
Party Poison - This is awfully catchy. Very good song (8)
Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back - This is an alright song. Maybe it’s a grower; maybe it’s not. Who knows? (6)
S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W - Dear god that was complicated to type. Actually it wasn't that hard, just an inconvenience. Anyway - this song is alright but it’s also quite boring. Alas (4)
Summertime – We’re back into the “pop song” territory again and this one isn’t as good as the last one. In fact, this one is also a little boring. Although, I would say it’s an easy listening song which adds to its draw. (6)
DESTROYA – This song is good. It isn’t the best on the album, or even in the top 3. But it is a good song. (7)
The Kids From Yesterday – This is alright. All I’ve got on that one really (5)
Goodnite, Dr. Death – ANOTHER talking track? Ok MCR, we get it – you like a gimmick. This one was fine as an intro track, but twice more on the album is a waste. Also, a brass band?! Alright then... (3)
Vampire Money – Ah, a strong finish, excellent. It is very catchy. (8)

Overall thoughts: The album started strong, got a bit blah towards the end and picked up with a good last song. Overall the album is pretty good – not a fan of the radio DJ theme in 3 places on the album but there we are. Also, some more really long and weird song titles. Seriously, what is S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W all about? (I moaned about it earlier and here I am typing it again). Moving on, their first single from the album is also their best song (start with your strongest foot and all) but there are a few more potential singles in there as well which is good. Someone (other than me cause I can’t) remix Planetary (GO!) already, its crying out to be remixed!

Motorhead live at Southampton Guildhall

To read my full review of this gig and also see Martin Hoare’s (@M45T1N on Twitter) photos, please go to

It was a late call to go and see Motorhead, but I can honestly say that it was a great one. I’m also quite pleased to have seen two support bands that were actually pretty good this time around. No disrespect meant to Crucified Barbara as I genuinely don’t remember if they were any good when I saw Motorhead in 2006. Clutch, however, were unbelievably dull (strange that I’ve now been to see Clutch at their own gig and they were anything but). Anyway, the opener was a band called Skew Siskin. They were pretty entertaining although truthfully, I found it difficult at times to enjoy due to some sound problems, mainly in the vocals. Only really bad thing I can say about their set was the awkwardness of getting sod all of a response from the crowd when going for crowd participation. However, they are a support band and these people (I’d wager at least 99% of them) were in the room to see Motorhead, not Skew Siskin. During this band, a guy nearby to me got ejected for smoking in the venue. Southampton Guildhall allows people to go outside to smoke and come back in. This might not be overly relevant to the gig but dear god, are all people that dumb? (It was cold granted, but you just spent £26+ on a ticket for a gig and got chucked out during the first band. Well done, stupid). The main support was Michael Munroe’s super-group. They were simply awesome. Tremendous energy and fantastic music. Michael Munroe went for a climb (because why wouldn’t you?) and ended up hanging around 5ft from me, perhaps less. That was unexpected certainly although I’m quite glad he didn’t fall on me! Then it was time for Motorhead – and it started with the iconic declaration from Lemmy – “We are Motorhead, and we play Rock and Roll!” Awesome performance from a band celebrating their 35th year. This show had it all – awesome music, Lemmy telling a bottle thrower he’d knock them the fuck out, a band playing louder than anything else. Oh, did I mention the awesome music? Just in case I didn’t, the setlist was fantastic. There we go

Volbeat @ The Wedgewood Rooms – CANCELLED!

Well, reviewing something that never happened is slightly difficult but fuck it I’ll have a go anyway. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to seeing this band live. I don’t even remember how/where I first heard of them, but it all started with their cover of a Dusty Springfield classic – I Only Wanna Be With You. I saw they got announced for Download 2009 and remember feeling gutted as they weren’t playing Sonisphere. They didn’t tour the UK at the end of 2009 but I hoped that the time would come sooner rather than later that I would see them live. Then I heard they supported Metallica in Denmark (apparently flights to Denmark are out of my price range at the moment) and the desire to see them live increased. When they were announced for Download 2010 I was again gutted to have chosen Sonisphere over Download. However following Download, they announced a headline tour of the UK. Now, I’d have been more than happy for a jaunt up to London to see Volbeat – but that wasn’t necessary as they announced a date in Portsmouth! I snapped up a ticket ASAP and waited patiently for this date to arrive and sure enough, like all days you wait for, it did arrive. However the day before, the gig was cancelled for medical reasons. I was so bummed out about this happening that I seriously considered/am considering a jaunt to London midweek to go and see them. Watch this space...

I said watch this space - the entire tour got cancelled. BOO!

GET COMEDY LIVE – Marcus Brigstocke, Jim Jefferies & Rufus Hound live at Mayflower

Rufus Hound, serving as the compĂ©re for the night, started off. He was very funny talking about male communication and the roles of the different sexes. He did some crowd work which was equally as funny. He had some banter with some people sitting in front of me because they were from Bishops Waltham, and so was someone else. He then introduced us to the first comedian of the night. Awkwardly, I don’t remember his name although that might have something to do with how much I laughed during his set. He wasn’t bad but I didn’t really think the premise of his joke was that funny. His main idea was that there are too many people and we should start killing people, although concerned because that idea had already been done. Marcus Brigstocke came out (after another little set by Rufus) and was genius. The guys who were bantering with Rufus in the first part of the show did not get his style of comedy at all which was slightly annoying as they were talking all the way through the set but oh well. Marcus Brigstockes’ set focused around regional pride (fuck off and grow up), religion, his children and Jeremy Clarkson. I don’t remember if there was anything else because I’m suffering from a brain fart as I write this but he was great. Following a break and a short set from Rufus again (this time focused on women and how they should just suck a cock) was Jim Jefferies. He might, following his time on stage, be my new favourite comedian. His style of comedy is so ‘fuck you in the face with a helpful addition of cunt’ (I’m not sure if that’s a genre – it is now!) He covered his porn star ex (Sadie West FYI), American holidays, children and many other things. He also told a story which needs to be heard to be believed about a disabled mans quest to get laid. I enjoyed his set so much that I picked up his latest DVD (albeit not on the night because I had to shoot off quickly). It’s called Alcoholocaust – seriously, buy this!

Wow that was some reviewing. I have no other gigs to talk about until mid December now but I should be back with some form of thought sometime soon. Peace!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Here's the thing

In the last two posts I was fairly negative. The truth is that reflected my feelings and thoughts at the time. I saw those two things and felt so negative about the world we lived in. And hey, if this website is not a medium for me to express those feelings of negativity – then what is it for? Not everything is negative though, there are some (hopefully) great positives from life, and this blog covers one of them. I wanted to talk in great detail about the release of Aung San Suu Kyi – Burma’s pro-democracy leader. I’ve just learned she has spent the last 15 out of 21 years in detention. I wanted to talk about this in great detail but honestly I don’t know enough about the situation to make the post worthwhile. I have never studied that part of the world and to my shame, I can’t even wing it. All I will say is that her release can only be a good thing, and I hope that she isn’t rearrested for believing in democracy. I read in the news stories about this release that today’s (this paragraph was written on the day of the release) news that she is released is nothing more than a PR stunt and that reform is not on its way. I’d like to think this isn’t the case. I fear I am about to wander into unknown territory by continuing this thought so I will stop here before I do it an injustice.

This week has gone from bad to worse for the smallest party in the governing coalition we have in this country. To say it has been a tough week for the Liberal Democrats would be an understatement. The first blow was that the government would be pressing ahead with the raise in tuition fees. I’m going to sound horrible here, but if I was a student then I would care. But as I’m not, I really couldn’t care less about this rise in fees. I have my degree, so I’m alright! I don’t think, in all seriousness, that it’s overly fair but we’re in a mess as a country and things need to be done. Hopefully when we are in a better spot this policy can be undone and students can return to paying either no fees or very small fees. This was a problem for the Lib Dems as they had pledged before the election that they would fight rises in tuition fees and if they formed government, they would remove them. So by being a part of this government that is proposing this policy, they are seemingly going back on one of their major election pledges. When this was bought up, they argued that they were in a coalition agreement and that there had to be a little give or take. This is fair enough if you ask me. They will likely alienate some of their voters for making this concession to the evil evil Tories but there we are. Then there were the student riots. Protesting is one thing and if you have a valid cause to protest against, then by all means. However the violence was completely out of order and stupid. Special stupid tag goes to the student who threw a fucking fire extinguisher from the building roof at a police officer. Hey stupid, that’s attempted murder you fucking idiot! Anyway, this must have been awkward for the Lib Dems. What was really awkward was the revelation that they planned to change their tuition fee policy BEFORE they started campaigning for the removal of fees. So it transpires even the Lib Dems are politicians. Who knew?! Seriously though, they have shattered the confidence rebuilt at this election that there is a group of politicians that don’t lie. Well done stupid’s.

Hey I tend to talk about live music somewhat. Here’s some more talk about it. Iron Maiden has announced they are going to tour the UK. I really hoped they’d play Hard Rock Calling but a UK tour is good. I want to go because Maiden are genius live. Not entirely sure whether I will buy a ticket though. £37.50+ fees is a pretty reasonable price for Maiden. £5 increase from 2006 arena tour but a £7.50 reduction from the Somewhere Back in Time show. On reflection I probably won’t buy a ticket. While the price is perfectly acceptable for a band of Iron Maiden’s size (I guess), what I need to ask myself is will the show be that much different from the one I saw at Sonisphere? The answer is probably not. They’ve had Dream Theater supporting out in the States and that would be epic. However, Dream Theater with a 30-45min set seems somewhat of a waste. They have songs on their latest that are 15mins long!

Hey more live music talk. One of the things that might have helped make the decision about Maiden is the fact I’ve bought a Motorhead ticket. £26 is a damn fine price for them (£22 in 2006 but whatever). However I managed to avoid paying booking fees and postage costs that Ticketmaster wanted to rape me for (sorry, but over £10 on a ticket that costs £26 is daylight robbery). So I went down in person and bought one. The downside I guess is that I did spend £6 on a train ticket to get the gig ticket – however I see this is an unwillingness to pay the stupid fees Ticketmaster, Seetickets and all the others charge. For a London show I have no choice, but where I can fight it I will. So, this Sunday, Motorhead and Michael Monroe! Result. Also, I bought a ticket for Marcus Brigstocke and Jim Jefferies @ Soton Mayflower. That should be an epic show (especially with Rufus Hound as the MC!)

50 Word Preview: Volbeat is in less than 2 weeks now and I am really quite excited. Their latest album is really good and I hope for a set containing a healthy amount of this new album, some classics and maybe a cover song or two. Yet another Wednesday night gig though, argh!

50 Word Review: The Annihilator gig last Wednesday was fantastic. I said I had reservations but I did my research and it paid off. The gig was really good and Annihilator is an awesome live band. I’m amazed they aren’t bigger here. King of the Kill was my personal highlight of the night.

Next time I post, there will be a review of the Motorhead & Volbeat gigs along with a review of the Marcus Brigstocke/Jim Jefferies show and a look at the new MCR album. It’ll be like a written version of the RRP, if you excuse the fact that there will be no input from Dave. Then again, that won’t be a million miles away from the audio versions of the RRP, am I right?! ;)

Soundtrack of the blog – My Chemical Romance/Iron Maiden/Various football programs on TV.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Some People... (Part Two)

A common thought I find myself having is “what is wrong with people?” I have this thought because I see people (or hear about people) doing things which really makes me sigh. Two things occurred today which really fit into this category. For sake of making it easier to read, I am splitting it into two parts. This part is about the attacks on a mosque in Portsmouth.

I read the story about the poppy burning on Remembrance Day with disgust. We dedicate two (one when the two combine) to bow our heads in remembrance for the brave men/women who lost their lives/injured themselves defending this countries interests in WW1, WW2 and subsequent conflicts. Whether or not you support the conflicts of the 21st Century in Afghanistan and Iraq, this time of year is also a good time to remember the people who have lost their lives in these conflicts as well. That is all this time of year is for, to remember these people. So, as I read this story about the people burning the poppies - I was angry. But the people that I was angry at were the people that burned the poppies – not all Muslims. I suggested in my post on September 11th that I suspect these people aren’t real Muslims and Muslim extremism is not the mainstream view as is portrayed in the media in this country. That is a side point but I believe there really needs to be more focus on the people who do not support extremist Muslims: just focusing on the worst of them fuels the hatred that allows groups like the English Defence League to grow. I honestly hope and believe that the majority of Muslims do not support groups that wish to harm the people of this and other countries.

With this view of mine being as it is, I heard via Twitter that there was a protest today outside the Jami Mosque in Portsmouth. This is following the poppy that was spray painted on it yesterday. The fact people are protesting against this Mosque and feel it is acceptable to protest it and attack it is as bad as the people who think it is acceptable to burn poppies. Maybe people will disagree with that view but I really don’t care – that is just how I feel. I heard the news about this protest and I was angry again. Why people think that these Mosque and the people that run it, even the people that worship there have anything to do with what happened in London is beyond me. Oh, could it be that Muslims burned poppies, and these people are Muslims therefore they are instantly connected. That is a really idiotic point of view. The Imam for this Mosque told the BBC he was mystified why his Mosque was targeted; he also gives his view on the issue better than I could. I will link the story rather than do selective copy/pasting. You can read the story by clicking here (Thanks to Dave Hartley for showing me this link). I think Muhammad Muhi Uddin is absolutely right in the statements he has given in this story. However I can answer his question. He says that he does not know why people have targeted his Mosque. I’m afraid to say that I do – it is because we live in a world that is really quite scary where some people believe everything they are told without questioning it. I said earlier I believe there should be more media focus on Muslim people who do not side with extremist Muslims – a perfect example is in the story above with Muhammad Muhi Uddin. I do not know the man but he seems to be a perfect example of what I am talking about. However, the media do not focus on people like this man; they focus on the “scary evil Muslims that just want to kill you and your family”. They believe the English Defence League when they say that this country will become a Muslim country if we don’t “act now” or whatever it is they say. So when they see a story like the one from Thursday, they instantly think “all Muslims are to blame for this!” Of course there are just people that are complete dickholes as well who don’t seem to realise this sort of behaviour is wrong and unacceptable! That is why the Jami Mosque was targeted – because people are stupid, ignorant and racist. I could post a disclaimer like I did on the last blog but I don’t feel the need to this time because this blog is long enough already. Can I also just say I'm really sad to see there is a Portsmouth chapter of the English Defence League? I don't know why I thought there wouldn't be one, but learning there is one makes me sad

I will post about other little things during the week

Soundtrack of this blog – Ray Davies – See My Friends

Some People... (Part One)

A common thought I find myself having is “what is wrong with people?” I have this thought because I see people (or hear about people) doing things which really makes me sigh. Two things occurred today which really fit into this category. For sake of making it easier to read, I am splitting it into two parts. The first part is about homophobia in football.

The first of these things occurred when I was sitting in a Wetherspoons about to have breakfast this morning. An investigative story on Sky News came on the TV which covered homophobia in football. It is something which sadly still exists and is likely going to continue existing for some time to come. The story basically focused on the abuse that football fans would likely give to openly gay footballers. I would like to think that, as a football fan, we are not all tarred with the same brush but I fear this is the case. I would like to state that I would never dream of seriously holding a footballer’s sexuality against them because at the end of the day – it honestly does not matter what sexuality a person is. Seeing this story made me feel sad that we live in a world where a person feels that they couldn’t have a successful career in their chosen field because of something they cannot control or choose. Max Clifford was focused in this story because he said that he has had 4 footballers coming to him asking for advice – all believing that what I just said was true: if they came out, their career would be finished. The overall theme of this part of this post is that I am really sad this is the case.

Two further things came from this story. Firstly, there is a campaign video out from the FA (I think it is direct from the FA but the channel was on mute) relating to this subject. The video shows a male swaggering through a work place office, insulting gay people as he passes them. He then gets in the lift and shouts something (the reporter spoke over this bit and therefore I am unsure what was said). Text comes up on the screen saying “This behaviour is unacceptable here”. The video then changes to the same swaggering man in a football stand yelling homophobic abuse at an unseen player on the football pitch. The text then reads “So why should it be acceptable here?” This is such a good campaign video because put bluntly, it is not acceptable. I think it is the best way the FA can get this message across that homophobia at football isn’t acceptable. The second aspect of the story I wanted to draw attention to was a quote from the President of the Croatian FA from earlier this week. He said: “While I'm a president of the Croatian Football Federation, there will be no homosexuals playing in the national team." This is such an appalling attitude to have towards something which honestly is not a problem. When it comes to football, my main concern is that players play well, and that the team I support plays well. I really could not care less whether the players are straight, gay, bi or anything else for that matter. It doesn’t matter to me – I don’t see why it should matter to anyone else. I don’t wish to come across here as preaching from a mount upon high. I am someone who has and still does use shock value in jokes I tell in social situations where occasionally I have used the word “faggot”. This word is a derogatory word for a homosexual – however in the context I am using it, it is not the meaning I attribute to it. I see “faggot” as an offensive word the same as “cunt”. These words are seen as offensive and I use them as such – I don’t use the word “faggot” to offend gay people – if it does I apologise but that is not the intent. If my use of that word offends homosexuals or anyone else for that matter then the context should be analysed. When this happens, I am confident that the original meaning of these words will not be relevant to the context in which they are used. Does this excuse the use of them? In a social circle I feel it shouldn’t. I am not saying you have no right to be offended by them – but please look at the context in which they are used before demonising me. There is I believe a very small amount of times I’ve ever used that word in the presence of homosexuals anyway – and most of those occasions have been where I have not known that a person involved in the conversation was gay – and were all I believe followed by an apology. I would also just like to state that no-one has had a go at me recently for using these words; I am just clearing up my view in case someone attacks my position on this matter by saying that I do use offensive and derogatory words towards gay people. I use the words, but they are not used in a context of which a homosexual should be offended I hope. Again, I hope that I have not come across as preaching from a mount upon high, I just wanted to share my view on this matter. Homophobia in football should not be a problem in the 21st century and it is very sad to learn that it is.

Soundtrack of the Blog - Ray Davies - See My Friends

Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Greater Expense

Isn’t it funny how you can write about something and then just two short days later things can be completely different? Perhaps it would be better to say that things aren’t completely different but thought processes have changed and thoughts previously expressed may now be different. This is in relation to my “50 word preview” that I did in the last post. I had a fantastic plan all laid out for my trip to Milton Keynes to see Foo Fighters. I had the hotel sorted and the trains planned. I even had started to work out the cheapest way to get to and from London. And then shit hit the fan. I should have realised this would happen but for some reason I didn’t. The hotel price doubled. This meant that my costs went to this:

Ticket: £46.50 (+fees so probably £55-56)
Hotel Room: £60
Train between MK and London: £10 (possibly £7 but for sake of maths, £10)
Travel between Portsmouth and London: £5 (at least)
Travel between Waterloo & Euston: £4-8

So suddenly my plan had an extra £30 tacked onto it which in itself isn’t a massive amount of money but it just made this trip somehow not seem worth it. The worst case scenario of what I’ve listed above costs £155.30. It cost me £162.50 to go to Sonisphere this year without travel. Seriously, I’d love to see Foo Fighters, but even if the trip cost £120, I could save a little more and go to a festival (or spend £25 less and go to Bloodstock). There is a lifeline for me seeing Foos, but it’s still being discussed (sort of). If it happens it happens, if not then it doesn’t (same with anything really). It just occurred to me if I spent £80 more I could go to, and fly to Wacken. That is just nuts. I really want to go to Wacken again but I’m cautious about going to a festival by myself, especially a foreign one! I am facing the prospect of a festival alone next year but I’d like to dip my toe in the water and go to a UK festival alone first I think. Sonisphere sounds good again but obviously everything is hanging on a good lineup. Speaking of festivals, the first announcement was made for Hard Rock Calling 2011. Bon Jovi is headlining the Saturday night which is an awesome announcement. I fully intend to go sit in Hyde Park (not spending £60+) and listening to Bon Jovi. They’ve not announced any other bands but I fully expect them to announce Elton John as the Friday headliner (he’s doing 2 shows at the end of June which take over the Saturday/Sunday of that weekend, so if he wants to do 3 dates in a row, it could work).

Few small thoughts

• Sticking on the theme of music, I first heard of a CD that is due out in just over a week which seemed interesting. Ray Davies is re-releasing a number of The Kinks songs with help from some other bands. I first heard about this CD because Metallica put it on their mailing list that they’d done the song. I didn’t know it was for the CD but I figured that they’d release the single and that would be that. But they’ve done a whole series of these CDs and by the sounds of it, it seems really good. The bits of the song Metallica did (“you really got me”) sounds great as well which does help.

See Album Cover here!

• The black cloud of betting has lifted ever so briefly and allowed me to win a £15 bet and a £2 bet. That was nice because both bets won as a result of Portsmouth beating Nottingham Forest. All in all, that was a win moment. However, it could be back in place if Blackpool can’t beat West Brom. Come on Blackpool!

• “Lebanon has claimed the record for the world’s biggest wine glass, which can hold an incredible one hundred bottles. (Sky News)” I have one question – why?

• A US college will offer a full-time course studying Lady GaGa, it has been revealed. Students at the University of South Carolina will be able to take 'Lady GaGa and the Sociology of Fame' next semester, The New York Times reports. It focuses on what makes someone famous and what it means in today's culture. (Digital Spy). I have one question – why? In a slight extension of that thought, I feel that the “Sociology of Fame” could have the potential to be a fascinating unit of study if handled correctly – but focusing this course on Lady Gaga just puts it in the category of stupid degree and college courses. I still talk about the UK University that offered a degree in the study of David Beckham – I mean just saying it (or typing it in this case) makes me think “what the fuck!” I struggled to find a job in this country and I have a sensible degree. I’d said disparaging remarks about other courses but in all seriousness – if I was interviewing someone and saw they had a degree where one of the units was this one in question that would be a deal breaker for me. Am I alone in thinking that?

I have no 50 word Previews or Reviews for this post. I also have no quotes either. So I’ll start doing Soundtrack of the Post.

Soundtrack of the Post – Metallica – Load. (would Unload be a good name for a Metallica album?)

Friday, 29 October 2010


Before starting on the topic of this blog, I’d just like to say I have renewed the domain for this site for the next two years. 2 more years of talking, ranting and reviewing – won’t that be fun for you all? Wait, please don’t leave! Anyway...

Maybe I just don’t get it? Maybe I have almost reached the age of 24 and have lost the ability to embrace the concept of other people seeking fun from something of which I’ve never really understood. No, I’m not talking about X Factor this time, but I am talking about Halloween. Halloween is fast turning into Christmas in this country. No, not a day off work but a weekend sometimes a week of people dressing up like tits proclaiming to be children of a fictitious devil (ok there are some differences between Halloween and Christmas). I guess what I’m getting at is that Halloween seems to get longer every year. You can buy Halloween stuff at the end of September, club nights run Halloween nights on nights that aren’t Halloween and people have house parties all around Halloween. Speaking of club nights, one I used to go to called Chaos takes advantage of this time of year. They make no changes to the actual club other than maybe putting different shit on the walls and change the music ever so slightly. But they charge £6 to get in as opposed to £5 and drinks are still £3. Being charged more for seemingly no benefit seems like a rip off (if anything, it would be negative for me because I’d either have to dress up and look a tit or deal with people asking “hey man, why aren’t you dressed up?” all fucking night!)

I just do not get the need for Halloween. Christmas is one of the last remnants of Christianity in UK society (that and Sunday Trading Laws) but there is no reason for this country to do anything when it comes to Halloween. Yes, there is some historical basis to the festival but spending a fair amount of money to dress up differently on 3 different nights of the weekend just to celebrate a day which means nothing just doesn’t make sense to me. If someone can clear up why you should dress up then please tell me because I just don’t know if there’s a reason (I would say there is no reason but I don’t know for sure). Shops have to put up signs saying they won’t sell eggs and flour to people under 16 over Halloween – the same under 16yr olds which if the media is to be believed, are all carrying knives anyway! I’d rather face a 15yr old who had eggs than one who had a knife (just saying....). I’ve also never got trick or treating. This thought process might just be an extension of my upbringing but I never went trick or treating, and my parents used to tape the letterbox up just in case. I just don’t see the point in dressing up like a zombie clown and walking door to door asking for shit from people you don’t know. One day it’ll end up badly and you’ll knock on the wrong door and the person will give you something you don’t want – a raping. Now I don’t know the etiquette of trick or treat...but I’m prepared to wager that wouldn’t be either!

Halloween for me is a waste of time. So what is the answer? Do we just ignore it and pretend like it never happened or do we start a counter movement? I think it’s time to start the Anti-Halloween movement. By movement, it takes no work to support it. An Anti-Halloween party is a party. Nothing special, no real effort required for it. You don’t stand in a house looking like a cunt which surely is a plus! Maybe I’m a killjoy – I dunno

50 word preview: Foo Fighters have announced dates at Milton Keynes Bowl. Fantastic news for me! I haven’t managed to see them yet so this will be good. It also provides the chance for me to do something cool next year. Just got to book ticket, hotel and travel etc- could be win!

50 word review: Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster was really quite boring. The music was good but it was very samey. It was also not good for people such as me, who don’t really know much about the band. Also, go take more drugs before a show because that probably helps. They looked fucked!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pompey Pains, Hangovers and Capital Trips

Oh Portsmouth,
My only Portsmouth,
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never know just how much I love you
Please don’t take my Portsmouth away...

This was a concept which as a Pompey fan was in a very small place in our minds. If I’m honest with myself, the thought that Pompey could go out of business was a small thought in the back of my mind but never really given any serious considerations. There was even talk that a deal was in place and just needed signing off to take Pompey out of administration and into the ownership of Chanrai. And then on the eve of Friday, 22nd October, a press release was released (that seems a strange thing to say) saying that Portsmouth FC was to be liquidated. Suddenly this little thought given no serious thought became the main thing I was thinking of. Seriously consideration now had to be given to a life without Portsmouth FC (or rather, a life of speaking about PFC in the past tense). It’s hard to describe to non-football fans what it would be like to lose your club – hell it’s even hard to explain it to football fans of clubs that are not and will never be in trouble. The best way to put it would be like losing a loved one (either a family member or a partner). You have a relationship with a club and when that relationship comes to an ugly end, it’s going to hurt. This is where I would go into my thought process of my Friday evening when I found out about the liquidation plans – however these next two photos will explain why that just isn’t possible...

Picture One:

Picture Two:

That is not a 100% accurate representation of my Friday evening on the grounds the bottle wasn’t brand new. But it had about 500ml in there. That was quite something and forgetting the next day involved many a train journey and screaming teenagers, the whiskey flowed. Pompey FC was going out of business and I was determined to toast its downfall along with the downfall of my sobriety.

Morning came, and the sun rose. This was something I didn’t think would be possible in a world without Pompey FC (despite the fact that the club still existed but essentially were on death row). I heard news that the administrator of PFC was saying there was nothing to be worried about. I dismissed this as the word “liquidation” is a word to be concerned with. Anyway, this morning was now filled with sadness, unease and of course, a hangover. I had a train journey to make with the promise of fried foods at the end of it, courtesy of Wetherspoons (well, they were gonna cook it, I still paid for it). Me and Dave (who was not hungover) heard news of promise on the journey to London but again, could not be sure. How can anyone be sure until the paperwork declaring that the club is not going out of business is signed, sealed delivered and yours (hang on, that last bit is from a Stevie Wonder song). Signed, sealed and delivered at least! This news came through thick and fast a few minutes before kickoff. The deal was done – so the weight was off the shoulders, and the hangover was for nothing (which I must confess, did wind me up somewhat). What can be drawn from this? Scaremongering and playing with people’s emotions works; what a fucking horrible message to draw from this situation. But that is the message it would seem. Still, I can proudly sing that I am Portsmouth Till I Die! I know I discussed the virtues of short blogs, and they are easier on the fingers. But this is gonna be a long one. As I’ve now discussed up until the moment we arrived in London, but why were we in London this Saturday? Speaking of which, how did the Tuesday London adventure go? Read on...

Ok, so we arrived in London and the journey there was fairly painless (well, as painless as a train journey with a hangover can be). We had decided to come up slightly earlier than we needed to and visit random tube stops with no real purpose. There is still a mission both me and Dave have and that is to find a Wetherspoons which we visited on a previous London weekender – but that mission failed again on this trip (all the information I have on it is that the ‘spoons in question is literally next door to a major station’s exit, or one of its exits, and it is huge!) Anyway, we did pop by Leicester Square which led to an impromptu walk down Whitehall to the Palace of Westminster and around the general area before strolling back to LS. KFC was the food of choice before heading to the tube to head to Hammersmith. Who would have thought the Leicester Square tube at around 6pm on a Saturday would be busy when it is raining? Anyway, got to Hammersmith after Dave was almost killed by a couple who were essentially using him as a standing mattress (which I thought was hilarious) and then decided to cave. It was near 7pm and my hangover was still going strong as ever. I relented and dropped by a Boots and bought some aspirin. On reflection, they did very little to help me but you know, when you pay 40p for aspirin – you get what you pay for. I paid 40p for aspirin and refused to pay 50p to use a toilet; got to love London at times. After a fair bit of time outside Hammersmith Apollo looking at the queue and thinking: “fuck that” we decided that a trip to a nearby pub made sense. We found a nearby Wetherspoons and sat down for a drink (non-alcoholic for me, the hangover might have disagreed with me drinking alcohol). Anyway, killing time in the Wetherspoons was cool (it was either that or seeing Twin Atlantic). Having successfully avoided TA, we headed back to the venue. There were about 6 people outside smoking which I observed were all the adults who were at the gig taking a break (I’m quite hilarious at times). The reason for the journey was here.

I truly did not know what to expect from a live My Chemical Romance show. I’ve been very outspoken about them in the past and a lot of that was due to having not listened to that much of the music and joining the hate emo brigade. When I matured somewhat, it occurred to me that MCR are actually a really good band. Anyway, someone played with the lights before MCR came on and the crowd screamed. My hungover head disagreed with the high pitched nature of the scream – especially knowing that this was just a lights test. I now dreaded the band coming on stage. Sure enough when they did the screams were deafening which hurt. The actual show was really bloody good. All the songs I knew really well from MCR were played which was nice (right now I can’t single out one highlight because honestly there were so many). There were some others I recognised as well and the new stuff sounded really good (with an honourable mention going to Planetary (Go!)). In an old school moment – when the band played Welcome to the Black Parade, I was stood saluting (this will make no sense whatsoever if you didn’t come to route/chaos in 06/07 and spent time with the friends that I did). The gig was just awesome and a solid 10/10 for their performance. One thing which I do honestly believe is that I’ve never seen a band do what MCR do to a crowd. I’ve seen bands like Metallica/Iron Maiden come really close with people clapping, cheering and signing along (thinking about it, Iron Maiden – Fear of the Dark is probably the closest I’ve seen to whole crowd participation). But MCR did something to that crowd which I’ve never witnessed a band do before. From front row to back, there were people singing, dancing, clapping and (unfortunately for me) screaming. Would this be the same in the o2 arena? Hard to know truthfully – but the atmosphere was electric just like the performance. One of the best live bands I’ve seen (I’ve been to fewer gigs in 2010 but pretty much all of them have had bands that are great live). The journey home was fairly painless aside from how long the fecking train took to get from London to Portsmouth. I’ve been on trains from London to Manchester that were quicker! Some of the stops are stupid. However what was entertaining was if one of these pointless little stations would come up, me and Dave would make jokes about it and someone sitting right near us would get off there. Always awkward, but pretty damn funny at the same time. My Chemical Romance is a great live band and the trip was well worth it. Would I go to see them again? Definitely.

So that is the second London trip of last week discussed. Seems strange to work backwards but now I’m going to review the first one. This trip was the first midweek London trip I’ve done without taking holiday from work since early 2009 when I did it twice in 2 weeks. Slight bit of context for this trip – 1) We knew just over a week before doing it that we were going; and 2) I worked 7.15am-5.15pm the day before travelling up to London. Surely there had to be a good reason for this? The reason was to see Stone Sour – a band I’d not seen since 2007 and didn’t think I’d get the chance to see this year (I love SS but not enough to pay £30+ to see them + A7x who I don’t like). They then announced they were doing a tiny show in London in a room that holds 490 people for MTV and that tickets cost £14 (with fees). This gig was worth the pain of working a 10 hour day, then travelling 90mins and tubing across London and back with the end result being not getting home until gone 1am. Anyway, this gig fell on a Tuesday which isn’t exactly a fun day at work to begin with but with the good grace of the other decontamination tech, I was able to escape slightly early so I could get sorted and make the train station for the desired train, which I did. Journey up to London was fairly smooth (thinking about it I’ve said that twice in this blog – I don’t recall any journeys where the outbound leg has been a bastard). Anyway, the travelling to Camden went by fairly painlessly as well (the tube was surprisingly quiet but I guess most of the work traffic will have dispersed by 7.30pm). We had a slight issue in that we got to Camden town station and had no bloody clue which way to go then. After a quick check with Google Maps, we were sorted and on the way. The venue, Dingwalls, is a decent distance from the tube station which is good to know for any future gigs that I happen to go to there. Got to the venue and there was a bastard of a queue (always the way with ticketless gigs). The actual venue in itself is very strange in that it’s all standing but it is on different levels. We got as close as we could and waited for SS. All I can say is holy fucking shit! The gig was superb. Again, another example of a very tight live band with the ability to take over the entire venue (granted not as impressive as the earlier example due to the size) but the atmosphere was much the same as the MCR gig I discussed earlier. This gig had more of a party atmosphere about it and is up there as one of my top gigs of all time. The setlist was near perfect for me (almost everything I like from Audio Secrecy, and the best of their first two albums). There is no song I’d lose from the setlist, but I could easily add 3 or 4 more. The gig was just everything I hoped for and more! The journey back from this one was a bit of a bugger as there was a replacement bus service from Havant which was due to make 3 stops which ended up making about 9. One of those did end up benefiting me somewhat but still, annoying. As I said in the previous posting Wednesday morning was not a work morning for me so everything ended nicely. Two awesome London trips and another two awesome gigs this year. These gigs rank in this year’s chart at 2 (for Stone Sour) and 3 (for MCR) which is quite something. Both fantastic gigs but Rammstein @ the MEN arena is still the best one so far. Next up, Thursday night and the 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Axe Shall Fall

A country sits, waiting and wondering how different life will become. How much harder will things be? How much will this week change their lives? For this week comes the official announcement of where the spending cuts will come. I find myself wondering if this will affect me probably like most people. I don’t support unnecessary cuts to the government budget but I understand the mess this country is in. I also understand that what is coming this week is unavoidable. We’ve had a high tax/high spend government during the good times who overspent and borrowed instead of saved. When things started to go bad, they refused to cut – fearing losing power. What winds me up is this series of spending cuts – known as the Spending Review – was originally scheduled under the last Government. It was due to take place before the last general election, but for this very reason they decided to delay it. I know it’s simply them playing politics by delaying it but they are attacking the current government for having it. What a bag of wank. This is tough medicine, but when the disease is a £150b + budget deficit – sometimes it’s better to take tough medicine, rather than the more popular but inevitably more ineffective medicine which really won’t help matters

I have other thoughts as well

• I’ve just started re-watching Blackadder and it amuses me how I always forget how good it is. I have forgotten so many moments from Gone Forth (It is where I am up to at the moment). I am half way through the final series and it’s already been great to revisit them. I’ll leave this thought alone with this quote. “The only impression he can do is of the man with no talent”.

• In just under 48 hours of writing this very sentence (2 mins to be exact), Stone Sour will have taken to the stage in the Dingwalls. I am really very excited about this. I haven’t seen this band for over 3 years and the new album is really good. I’ve come to the conclusion that Audio Secrecy is a damn fine album. It is not as good as their previous offering, Come What(ever) May but that’s nothing to be ashamed of because that album is phenomenal. I tell you what I am not excited about though – waking up at 5.20am that day and working a really long bloody day. I cannot be arsed with that day before travelling to London but such is the life for someone who hasn’t won the lottery

• I was in Chichester earlier today. I sometimes find myself killing time looking into estate agent windows and day dreaming about the day when you can own a house. Anyway, in Chi they have an estate agent (just one though) which had properties worth a lot of money. Quite a few over £1mil. There was one with house with 5 smaller places to live on its land. That would be win; instead of having a guest room, having a guest house.

Thats all I’ve got for now. This smaller blog thing is easier on my fingers!

"How much money a person has does not define what class they are, you know"
"It does in a brothel. If you pay top whack they'll give you a monocle"

- Johnny Vegas and Marcus Brigstocke debating class

Monday, 11 October 2010

Reviews and Forecasts

I mentioned before that I’d bought a ticket to see Jason Manford very early on this year. I’m not 100% how early on in the year it was but I’d happily guess February. Which means since then, I’ve seen Skindred, Trivium, Jeff Dunham, RATM, Bill Bailey (x2), Airbourne and been to Sonisphere! That is a lot to get excited about before Jason Manford. But I was still; whenever it came up in conversation (whether it was talking about his DVD or the show itself) me and the others who were going would talk about how awesome it should be. Interestingly he had no support. Now I’ve been to comedy shows before in big rooms such as Guildhall and there was no support, but it still seems strange. Anyway, the night before Manford came to Portsmouth – the dinosaur which inhabited a place on Southsea common burned (or was burned) down. This led to some early jokes about that. The show was very good. One of the main highlights for me was him taking a stab at Southampton and admitting he will do the same to Portsmouth when he plays in Southampton (got to admire his honesty). I don’t honesty recall an awful lot of his material right now but it was a good show. I’d definitely recommend going to see him live if you get the chance. He did about 2.5hrs in Portsmouth. It is quite funny because he has a joke on the DVD about someone from the city at a show letting the city down (I made sure to wear shoes just to ensure it wasn’t me). Some of the conversations with the crowd were really quite funny but some were plain weird. I don’t recall the context but someone shouted out about Coco Pops. This might be creative license, but I think it confused Jason slightly before he retorted “COCO POPS, THEY TURN THE MILK CHOCOLATEY!” Not to be outdone, during the Q&A, the coco pops man decided to have another go at being funny and asked him if he preferred werewolves or vampires (a clear Twilight reference). The response was funny (“neither really. If I had to choice a mate I’d prefer a milkman. I’m always low on milk!”) The purpose of highlighting that was that I thought it was funny a previous joke of Jason Manford’s was about someone letting the city down, and this man acting like a complete knob-head – letting the city down. Anyway, it was a really good show and well worth the wait. We discussed going again the next night but money got in the way and also I think it was sold out. Shame – still, Soton next year is a possibility (not actually discussed this with anyone!)

Comedy is all well and good (very good actually) but I hadn’t seen any live music since Sonisphere until last week. Bill Bailey has music in his act but I consider that as a part of the stand up show rather than seeing live music. Anyway, one of the bands I thought I’d definitely see at Sonisphere was Lacuna Coil. Before Soni, they had announced a Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms date but I thought I’d give that a miss as I’d be seeing them at Soni and I’d seen them at the Wedge at the tail end of 2008. However, then stage times were announced and they clashed with Evile. This was tough because I loved both bands. I opted for Evile as I hadn’t seen them since the passing of Mike Alexander (which has just passed its one year anniversary – RIP Mike!) This worked out quite nicely for me because it meant I could justify spending the money going to see Lacuna Coil. However Chimaira were due to play the Wedge the day after LC. My original thought process was that gig takes priority as I’d not seen them do a headline show (just a support and festival slot) where with LC; I’d seen them 3 times previous. Anyway, long story long, Chimaira cancelled their tour so LC became top priority again. I’d like to take this time to thank Chimaira for cancelling their tour as LC were fantastic! I cannot believe I even second guessed myself about going. They released an album in 2009 called Shallow Life which not only did I not know about, I only heard it in July for the first time. The album is superb, probably their best yet. There are a few fantastic songs on the album which come across great live. I’m Not Afraid; Survive; I Won’t Tell You; Underdog; and Spellbound – all fantastic songs. They played a fair whack off Karmacode which is by no means a bad thing! Slaves to Gravity supported and they seemed cool as well.

I said in a previous blog that I am aiming to squeeze one more London trip out of this year. I then managed that and am going to see MCR later this month (in less than 2 weeks to be exact). I somehow managed to squeeze in another. I love Stone Sour. They have released 2 awesome albums (I’m still unsure on Audio Secrecy. It’s a good album certainly but the jury is still out on whether it’s awesome). I really hoped they would tour post Download 2010 as I was unable to get there to see them (and actually I’d probably have missed them in favour of Aerosmith had I gone). They announced an arena co-headlining tour which sounded good aside from one major elephant in the room....AVENGED SEVENFOLD AS THE OTHER HEADLINER?! As a famous dragon from the Den would say: “A’m OOT!” (How lame, I do apologise). Anyway, I have no desire to see A7x again after their “performances” at Twickenham and Wacken supporting Iron Maiden. I was never that much of a fan anyway, but the self titled album just turned me off them completely. I haven’t listened to the new album truth be told but I’m just not interested. Anyway, I had resigned myself to another Stone Sour-less year. Haven’t seen them since Download 2007 and it appeared this streak would continue. BUT! They announced a special headline set for a show at a venue called Dingwalls in Camden. In a nutshell, this band that are touring arenas, are playing in a little room in London just a touch bigger than the Wedgewood Rooms (487 capacity!) Oh how win. I arranged to have a week on Wednesday morning off work as well which is nice. So Stone Sour and MCR make up the London trips this month with a little 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster thrown in at the end of the month for good measure. Excellent!

Final unrelated thought – Am I alone in hating X-Factor? I know this is something I’ve probably spoken about before. And this might seem somewhat surprising as I did mention a previous contestant from the show on the last blog (I was criticised for writing about that, but I see that as more of an immigration and hypocrisy issue than one which relates directly to X-Factor). I’m not going to waste my time on this too much but I really don’t see the draw of this show but the social networks become seriously bogged down with people expressing surprise, or their joy/dismay at picks. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t fucking matter. They’ll pick who will make them the most money, regardless of singing ability. Is the contest fixed? There’s a good chance it is – who cares though? If it is, stop giving them your money, simple!

I’ll do my best not to give them a mention again but my word bookface and twitter were overtaken with this bollocks over the weekend!