15 Thommo UK solo dates just announced for October, all tickets on sale tomorrow at 10 am. Fill your boots.
The final episode (and sadly it probably is the final ever episode – see link) of Peter Kay’s Car Share was broadcast last night, though anyone in the know will have seen it weeks ago on iPlayer. Now it’s been broadcast to all and sundry, what do we think? [Spoilers ahead]
I have no hesitation in saying that this was the funniest and most moving television I have seen all year. The ‘Harry Potter’ episode was a bit of dip, though not without highlights, but overall this short series has been brilliant. I sometimes find Peter Kay hard to warm to, but his and Sian Gibson’s portrayals of John and Kayleigh were honest, hilarious and utterly believable. Anyone who didn’t find something in their eye when John watched Kayleigh walk out of his car and his life because he couldn’t confess his feelings for her, just as his dedication to her through the medium of his car radio is broadcast, must have a swinging brick in place of a heart.
Following swiftly on from yesterday’s ”I got hammered and cracked Justin Bieber in the face with a golf club’ says Ed Sheeran’, today we have ‘Sir Rod Stewart apologises over ‘mock execution”
I’m not sure anything will top Princess Eugenie cutting Ed Sheeran’s cheek with a sword while attempting to ‘knight’ James Blunt, but bless our music stars’ little socks for doing their best.
Now that there is just a hint of spring in the air, and those of us who work office hours are leaving work in daylight, the dormant gig-goer shuffles uneasily from his hibernation and raises his snout to sniff the air. Yes, he thinks, it may be time to think about ‘going out’ again.
I can see that my booked events fall into three chronological groups. March is all about spoken word with front row tickets for Ross Noble on his Brain Dump tour (which will be the third time we have seen him in about 12 months), and favourite author Christopher Priest making a rare public appearance for an interview at the local book festival. I’ve loved Priest’s work since discovering The Prestige on a second hand bookstall more than 30 years ago, but have never met him. We also have an application in for a recording with David Sedaris for the BBC. We’ve applied before but been unlucky, so fingers crossed on that one.
Things then take a folky hue as spring turns into summer with Kathryn Williams at Canada Water in April, The Unthanks at Deptford in May, Fairport’s 50th birthday bash at Union Chapel, also in » Continue Reading.
Does anyone else find that when they play videos on websites their iPad then stops playing videaos at all, whether on Safari in the YouTube app or whatever? Mine has been doing that for a couple of months now and it’s becoming a real pain.
The solution to getting videos running again is simple enough (go to settings and reset all) but a) I then have to reset the wifi, the password and other settings as well as passwords on sites like this (I’ve got it all down to a couple of minutes now but it’s a hassle I could live without) and b) when I have done that it will only be a few days before video crashes again and I have repeat all the resets.
Curse you 2017! The sad demise of Brian Pern following a ‘segway mistake’ has been announced. Thotch fans everywhere will find the world a sadder and less musical place today.
Hurrah! It’s National Tinnitus Awareness Week! It’s also a fair bet that those of us who suffer are pretty much constantly aware of tinnitus; that’s what makes the condition such a bugger to deal with.
I’m sure there are many here, like me, who generously donated some of their hearing in the cause of loud rock music. In my case I think I’ve always been susceptible to occasional tinnitus, possibly related to my metal youth, but it has been a constant presence for the last several years. I blame Jake Stigers (brother of the more famous Curtis) and the Velvet Roots, whom I saw in a tiny club with my head near a speaker when I was more than old enough to know better.
And you? I SAID – AND YOU?!
Today I have mainly been playing selections from the Matthew Sweet / Susannah Hoffs Under the Covers project. The song that really snagged on my mind and demanded to be played several times on repeat was You’re So Vain, and the reason for that comes at 2:50 in this video (which, I should point out,seems to have scant acquaintance with the recording. It looks like it was bashed together by a fan).
It’s that husky ‘Well I hea-ea-ear you went to Saratoga …’ that slays me. It often happens, doesn’t it? A performance which you enjoy is made unforgettable by a single little phrase of vocals or instrumentation. Let’s have yours.
Would anybody like one?
What’s that you’ve made …? Oh, ta – don’t mind if I do.
For the first time since I don’t know when we have no plans for New Years Eve. We’re too old to hit the bars in town, and no friend has stepped up to host a party (and I wasn’t about to volunteer). We’ll stay up for the bells to make sure 2016 is firmly nailed to its coffin and probably be in bed less than half an hour later.
All this is a far cry from the past when the old year has been seen out through a haze of booze, hugs and singing. But one of the reasons I have always preferred Hogmanay to Christmas is that it is voluntary; if you prefer to opt out no one will accuse you of being a Scrooge, so a quiet, through probably slightly drunken*, night in it is.
How about you? Wild partying or slippers an cocoa long before the fireworks go off? Best wishes for 2017 however you mark its coming.
* an added bonus of not having plans later is that we’re sipping Campari and prosecco right now.
The Stones are to forego their share of the royalties from a cover of You Can’t Always Get What You Want which is to raise funds for the Jo Cox Foundation. Mick in particular has never been known for the glee with which he opens his wallet so it’s nice of them to generate a little Christmas cheer out of one of the most shocking events of a year which has contained so many.
Or at least the vinyl lover who no longer plays their records.
A quick heads up. My local Poundland is selling record frames for, well, a quid. I thought some around here might want to stock up or request some as gifts. I can’t speak for the quality of the frames, but the ones I saw in store a least look the part.
New album out in spring (a typically eccentric addition to the Diversions series in the form of a album of the songs of Molly Drake) and a series of mainly very-small-venue gigs. For some reason the tickets for the earlier of the two London gigs, at The Albany in Deptford, are only a tenner each. Get ’em while they’re hot.
Last night I did something which I don’t think I have ever done before at a paying gig, and that is walk out before the end because I had enough and couldn’t be bothered to stay. I’ve had to leave gigs early because of transport issues before. Once or twice I’ve missed looked-forward to shows due to illness. But this was different. I couldn’t wait for the set to end and left.
It wasn’t really the act’s fault (I’ll save naming them till the end, because their identity isn’t really the issue) but for the first time I found myself becoming aware that my feet were sore enough from standing, that I was getting fed up enough of the ‘hilarious’ drunks in the corner, that I wasn’t going to hear anything better than what I was already a bit bored with, that if my phone hadn’t had a flat battery I would have checked for wifi and browsed my Facebook. So I turned to my other half and said, ‘What do you make of it?’ Barely were those words out of my mouth she said, ‘I’m ready to go whenever you are.’ And so we headed for the door.
I’ve spent the last couple of days decorating the living room, which means that I have had to move all the piles of CDs, DVDs and books for which there is no longer room on the shelves and, for the moment, pile them in the spare room ready for selling or charity shop disposal. It hurts getting rid of this stuff, doesn’t? I’ve done it before and honestly not regretted losing my precious possessions, or re-bought them, but I still hate to see them go.
Yesterday I went out for a walk after being cooped up in my flat for so long and came across this heart-breaking sight. I asked the couple in the house before having a rummage and it turns out they are moving somewhere smaller but none of the local charities could take such a large donation (about 2000 books, they thought). I rescued some of course, including firsts of Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler. No great financial value, but I couldn’t let a copy of The Quiet American that someone had cherished so much that they had stored a 1967 newspaper clipping about a screening of the film inside go to landfill.
For some reason I have never really paid attention to Mogwai, but I watched the DVD of Zidane today and one of my favourite things was their soundtrack. I have downloaded a few free (legal) mp3s which I like too, but as with any band with a sizeable back catalogue it’s difficult to know where to start investigating further. I tried archive.org, but there are more than 250 gigs on there to choose from, which I throw in for the information of existing fans – link follows.
I know that they are much admired by some around here, so any particular stage of their career to try?
The Coliseum, London
When you consider the less promising material which has already been turned into juke box musicals, it’s surprising that it has taken so long for Bat Out of Hell and the rest of the Jim Steinman/Meat Loaf catalogue to make the transition. Bat developed out of an intended stage show, but only now, 40 years later, is it to become the full rock and roll spectacular that it was always meant to be. Perhaps the time was just never right while Meat was still touring, but it is well documented that he has struggled with performing in recent years, and there’s no shame in that – he’s poking 70 with a very short stick and these are demanding, lung-busting tunes.
If you are one of those joyless individuals who can honestly claim that they never strummed a tennis racquet to Paradise by the Dashboard Light or imitated the revving motorbike in Bat Out of Hell you may as well stop reading now. Taking big, overblown rock songs and transferring them to the stage isn’t going to change your mind. The plot aims to do full justice to to a project which rarely allowed » Continue Reading.
Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy Taxi to the terminal zone, Cut your engines, cool your wings, And let me make it to the telephone
I found myself humming a tune I hadn’t thought about for decades today, but nothing I Google can tell me who the singer was, and if anyone will know it’s sure to be someone here.
In the mid 80s I was given a tape by a friend of mine. I don’t think I ever heard of the performer in any other context so it’s highly possible that they never made any national impact their only recordings were tapes sold at gigs. I’m pretty sure he was Northern English, and the songs were very much in the Jake Thackray mould. I remember bits of three of them:
1) The spirit of a soldier contemplates the pointlessness of the war memorial with his name on it (‘Now the kids use it to sit on, and the dogs use it to pee. / They should have saved their hard-earned brass and planted a tree / To be all in remembrance of me.’)
2) A sardonic take on love songs when romance vanishes if it is over-analysed (‘So I don’t think I’ll ever write another love song / Because love is just the interaction of personality defence mechanisms.’)
3) A bawdy seaside postcard of » Continue Reading.
The modern media attaches a remarkably flexible definition to the word ‘celebrity’, as shown by the most recent inhabitants of the Celebrity Big Brother house, whom the Telegraph has helpfully listed for those of us who would otherwise be ignorant of this important cultural phenomenon.
But honest now – how many *you* heard of? Extra points for creative snarkiness.
Who’s in the house?
1. Christopher Biggins – Tick
2. Saira Khan – I think so. Was she a contestant in the Apprentice?
3. Frankie Grande – Nope
4. Ricky Norwood – Not a Scoobie
5. Renee Graziano – Never heard of her
6. Marnie Simpson – Who?
7. James Whale – Yes! Radio talk show host wasn’t he?
8. Aubrey O’Day – You’re making that up
9. Stephen Bear – Search me
10. Katie Waissel – My years of watching X Factor pay off at last
11. Lewis Bloor – Rings a bell, but no
12. Grant Bovey – Used to be (still is?) married to Anthea Turner, I think
13. Chloe Khan – You’ve lost me again
14. Heavy D – I’m guessing rap/hip hop. Not my area
15. Samantha Fox – Finally! A housemate guaranteed to be recognised » Continue Reading.
Cadogan Hall, Chelsea
There may not be much point in reviewing a one-off event which no-one can attend/miss based on your recommendation, but this was a new type of night out for me and I might as well set my thoughts down.
In honour of the 400th year since Shakespeare’s death, and in aid of an actors’ benevolent fund, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed a range of Shakespeare-related music from composers such as Walton, Purcell and Vaughan Williams and Sir Patrick Stewart and Gemma Arterton read extracts from the bard and related writings. Actually, there were far more related writings than I had expected. The Shakespeare extracts were selected largely on the basis of their mentioning music and at least half of the readings were from collections of amusing reviews, actors’ reminiscences and so on. Both actors played the evening for maximum laughs, there not being much point in building a character when you will move on to another (it might be John Geilgud – both attempted impersonations at some point) literally minutes later. Patrick Stewart demonstrated an array of amusing accents, while Gemma Arterton specialised in being spell-bindingly gorgeous. No point in not playing to » Continue Reading.
Checking to see why iTunes was taking to download my regular podcasts just now I discovered that it was because every one of the old Word podcasts was being freshly downloaded automatically into my library. I don’t now if this is because I suscribe to the current ones and they have been republished somehow, but it might explain slow computers and full iPods across the land of the Massive.
Quick heads up – we went to the Stonefree festival at the O2 today where we found that tickets are only needed for the evening and the main arena. The afternoon acts on the other stages, the Fireball in the lobby and the Indigo, are free entry.
I suppose this might have annoyed anyone who splashed out for a festival tickets because they were fans of Michael Monroe or Therapy? and then found out that could have seen them free, but anyway … Today is prog day at Stonefree and Indigo have a bunch of acts I have never heard of (contemporary prog isn’t my thing – you may know and revere the names) but is headlined (from 4 to 5pm) slightly incongruously by Wilko. Full schedule here (remember it’s the Fireball and Indigo only which are free, or at least we’re yesterday –
A quick one – we will be staying in London over the weekend and our accommodation is on Brick Lane, so it would be a sin not to eat some Indian food while we are there. There is loads of choice of course, but we hope to draw on the collective experience of the Massive to pick out a gem on or near Brick Lane.
We have a busy schedule throughout our stay, including shows on Friday and Saturday, so we are looking for recommendations for a quick, early evening, Indian, vegetarian meal. I know you won’t let us down.
I can’t promise to look after this as closely as I should as I’m popping in and out of the kitchen right now and will probably be drunk by the time it’s over, but we need somewhere for all of us (which is more than might admit it) enjoying the show. Away you go.