“England expects that every man will do his duty”…

…and every woman will do her duty as well, I pray!

Please help to make a stand against X-Factor, Simon Cowell and the general dumbing down of mainstream culture in the UK by buying a copy of “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine from a UK digital download provider, such as iTunes (UK), Amazon (UK) or 7music.co.uk, as all of these services contribute data to the UK chart.


If enough people buy this single instead of the vacuous crap put out by Cowell’s X-Factory there is a __hope__ that the Xmas number #1 can be a song that means something and represents the true meaning of rock and roll instead of being some half-baked wannabe covering a power ballad with Auto-Tune and a ridiculous production budget hastily papering over the cracks in a questionable talent that needed a brainless talent show to rise to the top rather than appearing on its own merits.

Thanks for your attention – I reckon it would be a quid very well spent…

Exciting Things…

Some friends of mine are becoming Festival Promoters…

I know what you are thinking; some of you are thinking “Oh no, I’ve got no more money for Festivals __next__ year, let alone this” and the rest are thinking “What’s the attraction of camping with teenagers and getting everything I own soaked in order to see my heros the size of matchsticks whilst surrounded by aforementioned teenagers making me feel old?”. Okay there may be some of you thinking “Woohoo!” but I reckon that most of you are in column a or b and nowhere near column c.

Anyway, this festival is:

a) Free

b) Indoors

and for good measure

c) For charity.

So what do you need to do?

It’s easy really, head on over to:

The Invisible Festival (although the “Essential Festival Organiser’s Guide” is not quite available yet it will be in the next couple of days)

and / or

Download the early press-release here

and then of course you can follow them on Twitter:


They are __about__ to announce a bunch of really cool stuff, and frankly this is a really cool idea that is going to raise money for Cancer Research UK and give you fun at the same time, so why not give it a waggle?

Things that will kill the Internet – no I’m not making a joke, it __is__ sad…

Thursday 25th of June, Michael Jackson reported dead in Los Angeles, California.

This news has rendered blogging sites and communities buggy at best and left Twitter failing to respond to every other API call.

That alone is enough evidence to suggest that anyone who wants to be has every right to be sad to hear this news – whatever else may have happened to him, around him or even near him, this giant of the Pop scene for over 35 years gave us Thriller, Billy Jean, Smooth Criminal, ABC and so many, many more.

I salute you with my single-gloved right hand – Rest in Peace, Moonwalk for real and play the Great Gig in the Sky

Thoughts on the concert I attended on Good Friday…

I went to a concert on Good Friday, at the O2, and on the way back I wrote down my thoughts in a notebook, and I have only now “got around” to writing it up:


There is something amazing about the power that exists in music. I was four years old when I first saw “Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope”, and now, almost thirty years later, the mere music from that and the subsequent films can bring up such emotion and whimsy in me as to leave me dazed.

The majestic sweeping strings, the powerful declarative brass, the drums, imposing and bold… This is the stuff that adventure, honour and boyhood dreams are all made of.

As I sat in my knee-injury incompatible seat I was even able to forgive Anthony Daniels who was hamming it up for the serious fanbois and fangirlz. In his defence, there was one particularly nice touch with a golden waistcoat in the second half that __was__ funny. Yep I just sat there and lost myself in the memories.

All of us that forgive (or try to forgive) Lucas for his failures (I mean he seems to define the term ‘bad dialogue’ pretty well), and embrace the simple joy of an epic tale well told can relate to the truth that this evening’s entertainment has once again affirmed; George Lucas owes John Williams and the London Philharmonic. Bigtime.

And a voice from over the water said…

I was just chatting to the most-excellent Janice, who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and she recommended the coolest local band to me:

Ruby Jean and The Thoughtful Bees on Facebook


Ruby Jean and The Thoughtful Bees on MySpace

THIS is why I love the internet… Check them out, they are __really__ cool.


More gig pics…

I only had time to ‘do’ the pictures from the D.S.A. gig from a couple of weeks ago, as well as one more T.A.T.E. pic – here’s one of each…

D.S.A. –

D.S.A. Live at The Rising Sun, Reading

Anna from The Airborne Toxic Event –
The Airborne Toxic Event, Live in Bristol - Anna tunes up...

More to follow after the weekend…


The Airborne Toxic Event…

So, last night and exactly a week before that, I managed to see my ‘new favourite band’ live. These gigs have been in small, intimate venues, in front of crowds of between twenty to forty people, and there is a good deal of truth in the words of Josh from Fleet Foxes when he said on Radio One last night (as I was driving home) that really the best way to see a band is when the space and the crowd are small enough that the band feel they can form a connection with every single member of the audience.

The Airborne Toxic Event (their name comes from a book that I love and that I read at University, called “White Noise” by American writer Don DeLillo), are going to be big. I referenced Fleet Foxes above (another band I would merrily commend to your listening pleasure oh dear reader), and they are all the evidence that I need that I am right about TATE (apart from the cool coincidence that happens when their band name is made into an acronym). Fleet Foxes were unknown when they first came to the UK to play some shows in 2007. Rather like TATE they played a large number of small, intimate gigs around the UK and just let their music ear-worm its way into the alternative scene’s consciousness (I use the term alternative scene here for the big tent that many scenes share that are simply outside the mainstream; sue me). Just like TATE, they were getting a small amount of airplay on the ‘right’ shows on Radio 1 (Colin Murray, Huw Stephens, and eventually Zane Lowe), as well as all of us in the International KEXP community boring the ass off anyone who would listen, and now they are back in the UK, playing venues like The Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and packing its 2,000 capacity… It is also worth mentioning that TATE have a road-tested management / marketing / label team behind them, so with a few music fans starting to talk about them, the right ‘alt’ opinion formers covering them, and a bit of luck they are going to be huge – you heard it here first… 😉

I often ‘go on’ about music on my blog(s), and I know that a lot of what I __really like__ is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like interesting guitar music (i.e. with __something__ fresh about it), and you like Franz Ferdinand and / or The Killers, or Hot Hot Heat, or The Kaiser Chiefs then check The Airborne Toxic Event out. I have nothing to gain from you doing so, except that the more people who like their music here in the UK, the greater the chance that they’ll come back sooner, oh and I do like people to find out about good music too.

Here’s a picture of Mikel and Anna during the latter part of last night’s set:
The Airborne Toxic Event, Live in Bristol - Mikel and Anna

They were great, they tore the place up on night 24 of their 30 consecutive UK dates, even though they barely knew where they were anymore, even though only fifty people came out to see them… The little, cute, blonde stood next to me, called Steph was a good benchmark of crowd response; when they played ‘Sometime around Midnight’ she was visibly vibrating with joy, as was I truth be told.

Enough… You’ll either check them out or you won’t, you’ll either like them or you won’t – I did my part.

I would also like to take this time to mention the support acts that I have caught by attending these two gigs, as they have all been rather good…

On the 17th I arrived at the Jericho Tavern, having been told by seetickets.com that there was “No Support”, to discover that there would be two bands playing before the main event. I caught the latter half of the first band – The Socials. I have to say that I was impressed, and let’s be honest that is not always the case with regard to opening acts. They clearly have talent, they were good at the whole ‘being on-stage’ thing, and their material was good ole, foot-tappin’ UK guitar, jangle-pop, mixed with a sense of identity. If they keep playing and recording then you may well hear more from them before too long…

Next up were The Long Insiders, and man did they surprise and delight me. They had a bunch of friends show up to support them, and I got talking to a couple of them (Steve and Kirsty(?)), and I quickly realised that the act was going to be something a bit different, but wow! Imagine a fifties rockabilly meets surf-music band, fronted by a burlesque styled, dark-haired beauty with a voice like a fallen angel and you are getting close. Their music would not be out of place in a noir movie, or gracing the soundtrack of a Lynch movie either, but more than that it was just such a breath of fresh air and excitement, that I found myself singing along and whistling after every tune. If you get a chance to see these guys, take it – they’ve got game.

Last night I caught the last four numbers by The Volt, and I have to say that again I was pleasantly surprised to discover that support acts are sometimes well worth seeing… Click on the link above and listen to ‘Rock my Soul’ on their MySpace page – these guys can play. They’ve got quite a few gigs coming up in December, January and February; if anyone fancies catchin’ one I would be up for it…

Tonight I’m shooting a local model for fun, her portfolio and as a ‘getting to know you’ exercise to see if we like working together, and then I’m charging the camera’s batteries, cleaning down memory cards and printing maps, as tomorrow I am off to see two people for whom I have all kinds of love (but clearly only the appropriate kinds) get married, and into the bargain take some pictures of the events of the day. Apparently I get to stop for a while in February 😉

I know it’s last minute, but…

…anyone in / near Bristol fancy meeting me at The Cooler to enjoy the musical stylings of The Airborne Toxic Event, then it would be cool to see one / some / all (yeah right) of you 🙂

The band are really good – I drove all the way to Oxford to see them last week, and I enjoyed it so much I am going to drive for a total of nearly 4 hours tonight to see them again, before they go back to the US – trust me when I say that the next time they are in the UK they will be here for less time and will cost (potentially a lot) more to see. American bands that start slow-burn being played by Zane Lowe and Colin Murray on Radio 1 and by John Richard on KEXP turn into The Killers, Vampire Weekend etc. These guys are definitely worth seeing before they break. Besides, how many times do you get a chance to see a band that has a classically trained, jazz upright bass player playing bass guitar, and for some of the songs bowing it like a double bass? How many times do you get to see a band that has a classically trained concert violinist playing not only violin, but also tambourine? Their music is interesting, but accessible and their lyrics are sheer poetry, and yet not even remotely up their own arses…

Have I sold it enough? Ah well, I will be there regardless, but it would be nice to see anyone out there who fancies it – see y’all on the flipside…

Lyrics as Poetry – “Sometime around Midnight”, The Airborne Toxic Event

And it starts…
Sometime around midnight
Or at least that’s when
You lose yourself
For a minute or two

As you stand…
Under the barlights
And the band plays some song
About forgetting yourself for a while
And the piano’s this melancholy soundcheck
To her smile
And that white dress she’s wearing
You haven’t seen her
For a while

But you know…
That she’s watching
She’s laughing, she’s turning
She’s holding her tonic like a cross
The room suddenly spinning
She walks up and asks how you are
So you can smell her perfume
You can see her lying naked in your arms

And so there’s a change…
In your emotions
And all of these memories come rushing
Like feral waves to your mind
Of the curl of your bodies
Like two perfect circles entwined
And you feel hopeless, and homeless
And lost in the haze
Of the wine

And she leaves…
With someone you don’t know
But she makes sure you saw her
She looks right at you and bolts
As she walks out the door
Your blood boiling
Your stomach in ropes
And when your friends say what is it
You look like you’ve seen a ghost

And you walk…
Under the streetlights
And you’re too drunk to notice
That everyone is staring at you
And you so care what you look like
The world is falling
Around you

You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her

And you know that she’ll break you
In two