Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Perfect Man

I've been following some right funny bloggers on twitter for a while (@WorldofSheds, @Sherby57 and @NotlikeParis... you should follow them right now if you're not already... really, don't bother reading anymore of this pish... go back to twitter and follow them immediately!) They make me lol on a regular basis with surreal strafings from their Roflcopters.

Anyway, they've been having some kind of 'blog off' and are all blogging away on the subject of 'The Perfect Man'... I've been invited by the wonderful WorldofSheds, (AKA, Dr Angel), to humiliate myself publicly and have a go.

This is that go.

So... my perfect man is Tony Francis. A made up person consisting of two real people. Those people being Tony Benn and Black Francis. I realise that this really isn't what they mean but it's all I've got.

When I was 13 I used to go and stay with my gran once a week. She had been battling breast cancer for a year or so, and as my Papa had a part time job as a night watchman in a local hotel, I would go over on a Thursday night just in case she needed someone through the night.

These Thursday night's were magical. I'd arrive about 7pm and settle down in the living room and watch Top of the Pops, Tomorrow's World and The Young Ones while my gran stayed in her bed reading big thick impressive hardback books, eating garlic sausage sandwiches and drinking ridiculous amounts of Roses lime cordial.

Once all the news programs had finished I'd set up the 14 tonne zed bed for myself then put some sheets and blankets down for my gran on the couch and get her through for Question Time. In 1983, Tony Benn seemed to be on Question Time every other week and this suited my gran just fine cos she was in love with him!

We would both watch with absolute hero worship as he'd tear into whichever snooty tory happened to be on the panel that week. He would turn any difficult question asked of him into a blistering attack on his right wing rivals and receive such a rapturous applause from the studio audience as to make my gran and I join in.

All through my life he's been there fighting for society's downtrodden and poor. When he made this appeal ( on BBC News a couple of years back I donated immediately. An absolutely brilliant orator and a man of principle and decency. I will cry when he goes.

Black Francis probably shouldn't be included here as he is more of a god.

Those unbelievable songs have soundtracked my adult life. The noise, the screaming, the quiet bits... If you've ever had a really really bad day, get in your car, put a pixies track on (may I recommend 'Tame' if it's been a particularly pissy day) turn it up loud and scream along at full volume. 

You. will. feel. better.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Great TFC Article from Sounds in 1990

FUCK, AYE!" The leering Gaelic battle cry is spat out for the twentieth time in a hour by the whippet thin Teenage FC drummer.

Brained on half the Soup Dragons' rider, he falls across the swaying, stinking tour bus as it makes an overnight dash from Nuke-castle to the European city of culture, Glasgow.
T’Fannies have just blown the roof off Newcastle’s shockingly small Riverside Club, converting a new legion of bopping pop fiends to their cause. The sweltering joint was fleshed to the back wall with heat-ridden bodies, and now we’re stuck in a bus with no air, ventilation and foot-rotting sock syndrome! There’s a barrage of stupid jokes and a nonstop rush of energy as the post-gig high refuses to burn off.
Tonight was the second gig on TFC’s support tour with longtime Glasgow buddies the Dragons. Like most of the post-Mary Chain scene, the two band’s careers have been interlinked by musicians, borrowed guitars and stolen riffs. It’s a tightly-knit community in the face of general Jock apathy – an inventive bunch of gobshite popstars with a huge LP collection to plunder and argue about. A battle between high art and bad taste!
TFC’s motormouth frontman Norman Blake is a walking, talking joke shop of a boy, with an eye watering selection of stink bomb one-liner gags and a sackful of melodic toons. Couple this with a Sonic Yoof/Dinosaur Jr axe battle and it’s no wonder that their album has shot from rank outsider foxhole to the upper ranks of the indie chart war zone. TFC are a British reply to the once mighty US invasion force – a retwist of US pop culture, that sees off the more flippant Stateside gear with a heartfelt blast of ideas.
Hip as hell at the recent New York "New" Music Seminar, many judged the Fannies to be the band of the week as they hauled out a Who’s Who of seedy guitar lowlife at their CBGB’s gig and fended off hordes of major label types after the concert.
"One woman was about 60! I couldn’t believe it," squeals Norman who just can’t believe that, after ten years of doodling, mucking around and hanging out, he’s actually managed to get his saggy ass into hip time.
Long renowned as the "mad fucker" mate of archetypal Glasgow band man Stephen Pastel, Norman once played in the original BMX Bandits with Sean Dickson and the brilliantly eccentric Duglas (who occasionally supports TFC by miming to backing tapes). Blake went onto The Boy Hairdressers with current Teen axeman Raymond McGinley, a fresh faced 26-year-old from North West Glasgow – a cultural gap bridged by some tasteful six string. The Boy Hairdressers were, however, a dead duck.
"We got labeled with the post-anorak tag," notes Raymond. "The so-called dirty movement, when everybody got into the ‘sex thing’...Like it was amateur sex and I’m not into that."
"The whole thing was a reaction against people calling it anorak music," adds Norman. "Which was a joke anyway, it was only people in places like Bristol that took it seriously."
The much maligned ‘Anorak’ era, which eventually became the stereotype of indie music, all started because of Stephen Pastel’s tongue-in-cheek 'rak. The piss-taking cynics on the Glasgow scene quickly picked up the garment and the joke soon got out of hand.
The subsequent "dirty" movement, hosted by The Vaselines' tongue-in-cheek pop sleaze, was a reaction against the 7-inch versus 12-inch crap that most of the airheaded fanzines of the time were involved in.
The Boy Hairdressers foundered, but Norman and Raymond kept jamming in Norman’s bedroom in a four room cottage on the sprawling mad bastard back-end of legendary East Glassky suburb Bellshill (Home of Matt Busby, Sheena Easton, and Ian St John).
"With an empty bottle of Buckfast on every corner," cracks Blake referring to the sweet tramp’s wine that can be bought from chemists and has "seriously affected the mentality of the whole area. The Buckfast triangle consists of Motherwell, Coatbridge and Bellshill. People make badges out of the bottle tops – Ha! Ha!
Buckfast – or Singing Ginger, Electric Soup or Goof Juice as it’s known – might rot your brain but it’s brilliant way to get smashed.
"I spent five years drinking the stuff, signing on, lying around and doing nothing," giggles Norman. And it didn’t do him any harm, eh, kids?
Since then the pair have moved on, swallowing the American invasion of ‘87/’88, championing the Neil Young catalogue and soaking up the lazy cranked fuzz that is Dinosaur and infusing it with Norman’s childlike exuberance and charm. TFC possess a cheeky champ enthusiasm and energy that powers them past the cool contenders. In a word, they’ve got charisma.
Support slots to the Pastels, Primal Scream and a swift ten-date run around the States has tightened the Teenies up. And suddenly, they’re hip – "The most American band in Glasgow,"as one wag noted.
The US scene was not, however, what the media make it out to be. The real world actually consists of godawful venues, inadequate PAs and support bands still hooked onto twelfth-generation Hüsker Dü or sucking hopefully on NYC art rock’s cock.
"It was weird, I thought that all the support bands would be amazing," bellows Norman, heaving a greasy lock of hair out of his Just William face. "I mean, it’s such a big country that the law of averages says that there should be more good bands there than here. You could tell where people came from by what their band sounded like. The only cool group we heard out there was the Unrest." He exaggerates, pointing to the pretty powerful NYC grunge act before remembering Urge Overkill and Superchunk from CBGB’s seminar slot.
"The people who go to gigs in America seem to be just the same as over here, not hipper...I used to think that they were more sussed about they’re music but they’re not. They all go for the same reasons, to get drunk and pick up members of the opposite sex.
"A lot of the American bands think that the British bands are fucking lame. I mean I don’t think that’s true, but that’s how the Americans see Britain. They think that the British music scene really sucks."
Bastards! Ungrateful bastards! We invent punk rock and they turn it into beer stained bar rock and then have the cheek to moan about it!
TFC’s transatlantic experience obviously boosted their confidence and has also given them a bunch of new material that will swiftly see off the current debut album set.
"We met Don Fleming and he was mad keen to get into the studio and record some stuff," enthuses Norman. "We laid down about nine tracks really quickly – he was great to work with. Kramer also offered us some production and studio time, but we had to go home."
Those Big Apple sessions have given the band the raw material for their autumn campaign. They’re thinking of putting out three singles before Christmas – ‘God Knows It’s True’, an as yet untitled one and a cover of ‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’.
Mad ideas – especially the cover which they intend to release on October 9th, on what would have been Lennon’s 50th birthday. It will be a 1,000 only issue, available for just 24 hours, making it an instant collectors’ item.
"The B-side will be an etching. We’re trying to get one of Lennon’s lithographs," they say. The cool cover surges gloriously over a grunged-up 12 bar hookline that rides on Norman’s cack infested semi-acoustic axe, Raymond faithfully reproduces the original while the band and Fleming sing along. It’s yob rock at its very best.
Of the other two tracks, which the band previewed at their soundchecks, ‘God Only Knows’ is a Teen classic – yet another keen melody running on a swaggering bass line – while the untitled number sees the debut lead vocal from the shy bassist with the popstar name of Gerry Love. Autumn should definitely see the final ascendance of this band.
The new tight as hell Teenage TFC are a fearsome slap around the face for the cynics who patronizingly dismissed the outfit as "drunken Scots" earlier this year.
"This is the first band that’s been my band," says Norman. "Well, it’s not an all my own way sort of group because it’s a democracy and all that, but it’s not me helping out someone else’s band like in the BMX Bandits which was really all Douglas’ thing."
Strengthened by McGinley’s guitar, the rhythm section of those classically fluid but crack tight undertows that always power this type of gear along (remember the classic Dinosaur trio with Lou Barlow’s vital bass underpinning Mascis’ cool melodic touches?). And although drummer Brendan O’Hare is really a guitarist, he’s a 20-year-old loose nut, a teen waif in the mad fuck trad of Norman, even sporting the same scal/hippoid goattie beard.
TFC’s Glasgow gig was played to the classic ‘Gow audience and, although they received barely a whisper from too-cool-to-fuck hall, they shifted major amounts of T-shirts after the show.
"People here are not so extrovert as elsewhere. They are more laid back and sardonic," explains Raymond. "They get pissed after the band has been on, it all stems from the Splash One days when everyone just stood their acting cool."
Splash Ones was the peak of the Glasgow scene – we’re not even going to consider Wet Wet Wet, Deacon Blue or any of that dishwater dull shit as any kind of valid musical action – which was put together by Bobby Gillespie and his mates and showcased those bands who were cool enough to have a happening bunch of records.
The club was the meeting place and the melting pot and stamped the city with an attitude that’s still prevalent. But how the hometown audience managed to prevent themselves from collapsing into a joyous bundle like the Newcastle crew the night before is beyond me.
The band ooze enough energy to make the laziest bones move – you only have to hear a class track like ‘Everything Flows’ or their rare command of backing vocals that’s prompted Sonic Boom to try to get the band in for vocal harmonies on his undoubtedly fab new gear.
TFC are a classic combination of Neil Young-style bedsit blues, joyous guitar romps and a bunch of romantic songs. Tell me, Norman, do Teenage FC want to be loved?
"Nah, we just want to get fucked!"
The rock‘n’roll wheelbarrow trundles on.© John Robb, 1990

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Cold and Flu Remedies - a review

Anadin - a slight lessening of headache but still really really sore. You know like when you eat ice cream too quick.  It's a painkiller from a bygone age (the 80s) that's out of fashion and deservedly so.  3 OUT OF 10

Beechams All in One liquid stuff - Claims to cure blocked nose. LIE.  Claims to help chesty cough. LIE. Also Non Drowsy so that's rubbish. Tastes quite nice but not as nice as the mighty NIGHT NURSE. 2 OUT OF 10

NIGHT NURSE  It's green and minty and makes you sleep great if you take a little bit more than advised. Definitely the best named as you can sing 'My Night Nurse' (but not the Simply Red version) in your aching head as you lie in bed waiting for it to kick in.  8 OUT OF 10

Nurofen - AMAZING... Have been feeling shit all day with a temperature, headache, coughing and all the other symptoms... took 2 nurofen and feel MUCH better... Funky silver packaging with a target on it (letting you know that it TARGETS pain) and the pills are actually quite sweet so you can suck them for a little while before swallowing. Worth the extra expense.  9 OUT OF 10.

Summary. Nurofen and Night Nurse are my 'over the counter medications' pick of the week.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Back from the Canaries

No blogging for last week and no cycling... been on holiday to Lanzarote... Had a fantastic relaxing time... 28 degrees most days... Really is a great idea to go at this time of year i think... resort nice and quiet and getting a good dose of sunshine to get through the coming 6 months of darkness.

Didn't get back until 4am this morning so that, along with a visit to the dentist today has meant no cycle today... Will definitely get out tomorrow though... weather spose to be nice and dry and my new pedals and kleats have arrived.

Off to bed.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Nightblog 5

Been an absolutely beautiful day and I've wasted it all by sitting around watching bloody films all afternoon...  3 hours of 'The Watchmen' which was decidedly 'Meh'... Could have got in 30/40 miles in that time... ridiculous... I need to have more wilpower.

Still, forced myself to get out for 15 miles at 6... the old Traquair route again... Trip down was lovely... Autumn really is in full swing just now... the whole journey just smelled so 'earthy'... takes me back to being a kid and collecting conkers.

Got a good time in tonight too.. 53m 48s with an average speed of 16.9 on the GPS... really want to get it up to 17 at some point this week.

Quiet night tonight I think.. Really should start thinking about packing for Lanzarote holibob on Thursday... do it tomorrow!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Nightblog 4

Really really really dark this morning!

Rubbish time... probably overdoing it a bit to be honest...



Nightblog 3

No big cycle this morning... for the first time in 19 years, work came to me... We had a departmental planning day at Kingsmeadows so decided to take advantage and have a bit of of a lie in. Must be kind of nice working in the same place that you live... took me 10 minutes to walk to work... Still, well worth the commuting to live in a town like this.

Just back from the Cademuir route... very light rain was lovely and cooling on what was quite a warm evening.. although visibility did suffer a little bit... maybe invest in a second Fenix torch?! Any excuse... Was a bit disappointed the pedals and kleats didn't arrive today... hopefully tomorrow.

Chased a hare along the dark side of Cademuir for about  a quarter of a mile before it shot off into the hedgerow...  Owls seems to be very noisy this time of night too!

Listening to Seventeen Seconds by the Cure... all those early albums are so good....

Quick shower then watch my downloaded episode of House, then bed...