Saturday, 25 February 2006

"Hall of Fame is a Piss Stain" ~ Sex Pistols

The lads are at it again, or at least Mr Lydon is, and good on 'im I say.

It's a relief to know that some of one's heroes are still true to themselves for whatever reason and I can only admire that.

Just as Buffy still fights 'the man' and promotes native American rights and the rights of all indiginous peoples, the Sex Pistols will always stand for the filth and the fury, irrespective of the filthy lucre, the challenge to the norm and loud scary, music.

Never an antichrist but always an anarchist, and that's what we sometimes need most.

Friday, 24 February 2006

Top Ten iPod

And this week, the top ten is:

Apply Some Pressure ~ Maximo Park
Graffiti ~ Maximo Park
Stray Talk ~ Maximo Park
I Won't Let It 'Appen Agen ~ SLADE
Do You Believe In Miracles ~ SLADE
Rock And Roll (Part 2) ~ Gary Glitter
Don't You Want Me ~ The Human League
Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While) ~ Kim Weston
Helpless ~ Kim Weston
You Hit Me Where It Hurt Me ~ Kim Weston

Now that's an interetsing list but I think I need more variety!

International Superstar DJ

Well, not quite, but I've done my first ever DJ set tonight as part of the 'Record Bag' at the Retro Bar. I tried it for the first time tonight and enjoyed it immensely - turn up with your 5 favourite tracks and do a mini DJ set.

It was Dawn Right Nasty's birthday bash tonight so I leapt in, full of nerves at first, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Obviously, my set was the best...

Mine was all 1972 tracks, some of which people came up to me to ask who they were and were they generally available (I like to educate as well as entertain). The list was:

Buick MacKane - T Rex (The Slider)
New York City - John Lennon & Yoko Ono (Sometime in New York City)
Wig Wam Bam - Sweet (Funny How Sweet Coco Can Be)
The Harder They Come - Jimmy Cliff (Jimmy Cliff - Reggae Greats)
Mama Weer All Crazee Now - SLADE (Greatest Hits)

Well, I had to end with the Lords of Noize! I thought it was a nice collection of songs, all offering something different. I was surprisingly nervous (I've delivered speeches to a couple of hundred people before but this was a bit personal, it was my music) but soon got into it. Time fled too quickly and I could happily have played a few more tracks.

Luckily there was a good age mix at the Retro tonight so some people actually recognised some of the songs but the main point is that I did it! Fuelled by Guinness helped of course. I might have to do it again, maybe on a 1977 theme...

Watch this space...

Christopher also did a set - his included what I think are called wrappers. I'm familiar with those - they have them in Macy*s and they wrap up your Christmas tree ornaments very carefully in tissue paper and put them into secure boxes. Wrappers obviously have an important social function.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Simone de Beauvoir or Alice Cooper?

I'm half-way through a biography of Simone de Beauvoir which tries to map her life against her development as a philosopher and writer including, of course, her relationship with Sartre. I read Sartre decades ago but she's been little more than a name really, an early feminist.

I'm up to where they both begin to detail existentialism in their writing, living the philosophy they gave birth to along with their extended family of lovers and friends. Choice, liberty, personal freedom, living, action, the now, existence. There's a lot of thinking to do to get that fixed in my mind. But it's a fascinating read.

On the other hand, I'm listening to my new Alice Cooper CD at the moment - he's much easier to understand! I wonder which one would win a Celebrity Death Match scrap?

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Glitz, Blitz and Hits

That last post has literally forced me to put on my 'Very Best of Sweet' DVD (a birthday present from a ha'peth last year) with the sub-title of 'Glitz, Blitz and Hits'. So tasteful as always. So sad that two of 'em are no longer with us and one lives in America, leaving only Andy Scott to fly the flag over here.

Brian Connelly had a great voice, very versatile - from the soulful version of the Supremes 'Reflections' from the first album to the hard rock of the later albums. He could do it all and he looked the part too. I remember seeing him being interviewed on a Channl 4 programme about '70s music a few years ago and he was so damaged by booze n drugs that he could hardly talk. So sad.

They did some great songs and I still think 'Ballroom Blitz' is one of the greatest tracks ever! Signing off now to enjoy the DVD!

The nerves, the nerves

O dear, it's starting... the 'Record Bag' nerves.

I've been sort of planning my 15 minute DJ set for a year and a half with the theme of records from 1972. Not the obvious records - the Bowies and Lou Reeds - but maybe songs by bands people will recognise but not necssarily know that particular song. Educate the masses, kind of thing.

I picked 1972 as my 'theme'. Obviously, the theme could be anything - my 5 favourite powwow or SLADE tracks or 5 tracks featuring the word 'hello' somewhere in the song. I suspect some people will assume 1972 is a codeword for Glam Rock but it's not - a lot of my favourite Glam is from 1973 ('Ballroom Blitz, for example, one of the best songs ever recorded). 1972 offers lots of choices - should I play Blackfoot Sue or are they really too obscure? I don't know.

I need to narrow it down to 5 tracks and then play them to check for quiet starts or ends, false ends, etc and see how they gel together. Life's tough, indeed...

And on a lighter note, I've been bidding on eBay for a SLADE album that's no longer available in the shops and I won it and it arrived today - 'Rogues Gallery'. A great, under-rated album full of music to play loud. Which I have already done! Please ignore the cover ... they were in a hats phase...

Saturday, 18 February 2006


He looked a lot like Che Guevara
Drove a Beetle van
Kept his gun in quiet seclusion
Such a humble man
The only survivor
Of the National People's Gang

I screamed and ran
To smash my favourite slot machine

Panic in Detroit
He left me an autograph

I wish someone would phone...

Random lyrics from a most excellent song with fabtastic drumming pounding along on top of the bass with wailing women and twisting guitar. A glorious mess of sound.

Friday, 17 February 2006


Phew! They're out of my iPod Top Ten!

Apply Some Pressure ~ Maximo Park
Graffiti ~ Maximo Park
Don't You Want Me ~ The Human League
Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While) ~ Kim Weston
Helpless ~ Kim Weston
You Hit Me Where It Hurt Me ~ Kim Weston
Do You Believe In Miracles ~ SLADE
You Boyz Make Big Noize ~ SLADE
Darling Don't Cry ~ Buffy Sainte-Marie
I'm Still Loving You ~ Kim Weston

Yes, guess who I've been listening to this week? The delightful Kimmy!

I do actualy have a very wide range of music on my ipey - ABC to XRay Spex via Lynsey de Paul and Jimmy Cliff with the Kaiser Chiefs and Kirsty MacColl adding some melody and the soundtracks to 'Wicked' and 'Grand Hotel' featuring ...

Wor Kimmy ~ It takes one, baby!

Went to see the fabulous Kim Weston at the Jazz Cafe tonight with Chris. Kim was great, thoroughly enjoyed the show, singing along and clapping like nobody's business. Even got to meet her briefly which was a great thrill. I was quite nervous in a way, sitting on the balcony knowing she'd have to walk past us to get to the stage, to come within touching distance of a great Motown legend who never quite made the 'A' list (but should have). And then there she was, walking towards us, down onto the stage and began belting out high octane classic music,

She played a good selection of favourites, miscellaneous oldies and a nice gospel section in the middle of the set, all with powerful vocals and pounding music from her 4-piece band. They all certainly got people moving their feet down on the floor as Northern Soul dancing flowered again!

She sang the 'must do' songs - 'Helpless', 'Take me in your arms (rock me a little while)' and 'It takes two' (her duet with Marvin Gaye, sang with some bloke ostensibly from the audience who'd been lined up). She did a fab version of 'Dancing in the streets' which was written for her and, as she said tonight, 'stolen' from her (obviously some bad feelings are still there). What a voice! A little bit deeper but still powerful enough to cause earthquakes!

Her face looks (to me at least) just the same as it was 40 years ago, unmistakeably her (no doubt with a little make-up to help) but she's not the waif anymore, skipping down some steps in the 'Ready Steady Go' studio as I have her on DVD. Not in her big sparkly black dress bedecked with feathers - her "tight ass dress" as she called it when she tried to sit down to play keyboards at the start of the gospel section. I'd love to see her again - please come back soon, and bring some of your singing chums! You know who I mean ...

Good on yer, lass!

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

"Did you know...?" Lambeth Homophobia Campaign

Commuters coming out of Streatham Hill BR station this evening were given a leaflet by police about homophobia and encouraging people to report incidents.


"Did you know...?
  • Lambeth has one of the most visible and vibrant Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities in the UK
  • On average someone is affected by LGBT hate crime at least every three days in Lambeth
  • LGBT people come from all backgrounds and reflect the diversity of the borough
  • Homophobia not only affects individuals but friendships, families, young people and communities."

It goes on to encourage reporting and provides a list of phone numbers and web addresses. It looks like it's been produced by a consortium of organisations including Lambeth Council and the police (9 organisations have their logo on it).

I've never received a leaflet like this at a train station before, handed out by police (I usually get home later than this so maybe I just miss campaigns targeted at the rush hour). It seems very encouraging - right on Lambeth!

I've got no idea whether all stations in Lambeth have been targeted by the police or whether there are particular problems at that end of Streatham warranting action but it might be part of Lambeth LGBT History Month

It's a long time since I've been 'right on' myself. I used to actively support lots of broadly left-ish causes - Amnesty, anti-racism/anti-nazi, Greenpeace, etc etc. I still regularly support Oxfam and passively support other organisations ... maybe it's time for me to re-engage my political tendencies?

Friday, 10 February 2006

The Valley of the Kings

The news today of the discovery of a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings is fascinating. It's obviously not the golden glory of Tutankhamun's tomb but it's pretty exciting nonetheless.

I've been to the Valley a few times, most recently with Chrisopatra, and it's a wonderful place even though it's lifeless and parched, with the sun beating down, rocks and pebbles underfoot, tombs gaping and the tomb guards inviting you in. Entering a tomb is most strange in a sense - not least handing over the entry ticket - it is, after all, a grave. A very old grave, but a grave, a last resting place. And if you pick the right tomb to enter, you're presented with glorious wall paintings with vibrant colours and images. They're not all like that, of course, some haven't stood the test of time so well.

My favourite tomb is the oval resting place dug back into the Theban Hills of Tuthmosis III, the subject of one of the most beautiful statues in the world in the Luxor Museum. It's almost an Indiana Jones adventure to find the tomb: climb up a rickety ladder to a gap in the hillface, go through it and be faced with a bridge over a chasm and then go into the tomb itself, into the first chamber, down some steps to a second and then a third chamber... the sarcophagus. It's not the most elaborate or colourful of tombs but in some ways it's the most exciting to me, an adventure.

I'll follow this story with interest.

Roses at the Station

Birthdays are odd things. I don't really celebrate mine and I never have - don't know why, I'm more than happy to celebrate other peoples' birthdays, but not mine. My birthday has never meant much to me and as a consequence very few people actually know the date. I think it's part of the 'fuss' thing, not wanting to be the centre of attention and all that.

But sometimes it's nice to be made a fuss of, a small fuss. Like receiving a wonder bunch of deep, deep red roses, all wrapped up in ribbons with greenery to bulk them out (including palm leaves - I recall being twatted on the head on Palm Sunday in Barcelona by palm leaves), all carefully wrapped and looking lovely. I've been given flowers before (rarely, it's true) but this is the first time I've been sent any. And a jolly nice feeling it is too. You know who you are, you phantom flower sending daft ha'peth.

Thank 'ee ever so much, you ha'peth and a half.

So what about the station in the title? Well, it's a song in 'Grand Hotel,' a grand musical with the ghost of a dissolute and now dead young baron clasping roses for his beloved Elizaveta, a fading ballerina with whom he fell in love the night before. And he sings,

I'm here Elizaveta at the station//Here with the roses at the station//I'm here Elizaveta at the station//Here with the roses at the station

All my life I have wanted to be here//All my life I have waited to be here//At the station//With these roses!

Roses always make me think of that song. The baron and Elizaveta finding love after all those lonely years and then lose it as he dies but in his mind he is where he promised to be - at the station with roses for his beloved. Nothing can keep him from the station.

Click on the link above to hear a sample of the song (and other songs from the cast recording).

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

More Top Ten iPod

Don't You Want Me ~ The Human League
Apply Some Pressure ~ Maximo Park
Darling Don't Cry ~ Buffy Sainte-Marie
Graffiti ~ Maximo Park
Ace of Spades ~ Motorhead
Trouble ~ Pink
You Boyz Make Big Noize ~ SLADE
Big Scary Animal ~ Belinda Carlisle
Shoulda Woulda Coulda ~ Beverley Knight
You Can Cry On My Shoulder ~ Brenda Holloway

Not sure how Motorhead crept in there ... it's the only Motorhead track on the iPod. Honest.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Life 2 [Squared]

I visited the Microsoft Life Squared 'environment' (Life2) this afternoon (I can't do a mathematical 2 representing 'squared' on here so please accept the number instead). It's a little virtual village in the depths of Fulham/Chelsea that's kitted out as the future in terms of technology. And prety impressive it is until you stand back and think.

We had a nice tour of the site, based around an old Victorian school due to be demolished in the next few weeks, looking at technology injected into a small business (Marsh Marine), linked to the school, the home and remote working. They were lovely people one and all, obviously chosen carefully to represent MS. I liked it, it made me think, it made me question what I was doing in terms of work (focusing on ICT in schools).

But with reflection it makes me wonder, 'so what?'. Ok, so there's a thin client computer in every room (or several in every room) all linked up to a wireless broadband connection; you can watch DVDs anywhere in the house, communicate with anyone in the 'village', download music anywhere and watch TV on a range of platforms. And? So? This is now, not the future - it's just not necessarily a 'now' we recognise.

All of this technology is already available, just not necessarily configured in that way with that kind of connection. Is it looking to the future or to what is already possible with a bit of thought? I suppose the latter really. It was certainly thought-provoking but I'm not sure it took us anywhere. Other than to illustrate the future of the so-called "digital divide". I need to mull it over.

The future is fine in small packages.

Monday, 6 February 2006


The new SLADE DVD was released today so I dutifully trotted up to HMV on Oxford Street to pay homage and had an awful shock - the Ordinary Boys (or whatever Preston off CBB's band is called) were playing live... aaarrggghhhhh! Really spoilt the vibe, man. They only did 1 song when I arrived and it instantly made me think it sounded like The Beat from yesteryear.

Fighting my way through the throng of young girls and boys with odd haircuts, I descended on the DVD rack and scooped up my prize! Mine all mine!!!! A new SLADE DVD - cor!

It's titled, 'The World's Greatest Albums - The Ultimate Critical Review' and, of course, it's not authorised and the band aren't on it. It's a bit odd that it doesn't have the album cover as the DVD cover but that's probably why. I hope they're at least getting a goodly share of the royalties.

Basically, it's a load of middle aged men talking about the album (introduced by "Krusher"), all feigning knowledgability and speculating on why the singles weren't on the album, etc - you know the score. But I don't care. One of them even talks about seeing SLADE at Newcastle City Hall in 1973 - that was the scene and year of my baptism of glitter at a SLADE gig! There's some great black n white footage of the band from around 1972-73 that I haven't seen before, so that's fab. And lots of still photos. The quality isn't the best but it's an addition to the collection and gives me some stuff I haven't seen before. I still want more, of course!

Thursday, 2 February 2006

The ultimate Buffy sweatshirt

I got dressed up right proper for work this morning and wore me Buffy Sainte-Marie sweatshirt! The world needs more Buffy and I thought I'd do my bit to spread the word. I haven't worn it often since I don't want the graphic to wash out and you never can tell with American stuff. But today, I thought 'why not?'....

And here's the photo it's based on - the photo on the front of Buffy's Creative Native website.

Pray up your medicine song, Buffy!

Corkscrew hair and a leopard skin jumpsuit

Well, it must be the bopping elf himself, Marc Bolan (you all knew that of course).

I got the new DVD this evening, his bits from his series in '77 called simply 'Marc'. This was clearly his attempt to get back into the groove and start having hits again, lots of posing and pouting, tossing his corkscrew hair and playing the guitar hero for all it's worth. It's great to see him again and it's a shame his 'comeback' was so short - it would've been interesting to see how he would have fared in the 'punk wars' that were to come.

When he first played 'Celebrate Summer' (it's on the DVD several times as his latest release at the time) I exclaimed out loud when he sings the refrain, 'Summer is heaven in '77'. I've got no doubt that he's looking well cool up there right now!

>flicks non-existant hair out of my eyes<