Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A dying god coming into human flesh



I think I posted this video in my old blog back on Live Spaces. After seeing the new Metallica video the other day with its living dead and eastern bloc coolness I went back to have another look at the mighty Frost.

I was fortunate enough to see them live in Madrid after the release of their comeback album Monotheist. This song is from that album.

From the gig I'll never forget bass player Martin Eric Ain's "There is no god!" speech which most of the audience didn't really understand. For example, he asked "Do you believe in God? Do you go to church?" and all the crowd were yelling "Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhh". Duh, this is black metal dudes!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Empty stage


The observant amongst you may notice that I'm wearing my new giallo t-shirt from Dario Argento's shop Profondo Rosso in Rome.

Out of my Head



Another gem from Deadman's 15 October set at Gruta 77. My wife thinks this one could be a big hit...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Rock the kasbah II




I haven't really published much from this year's trips so here are a few pics from our summer long weekend in Marrakech, re-treading the steps of Plant and Page when they were recording their Un-led-ed album.

I'd previously been there in May on a work trip when we'd stayed in tents in the desert and painted a school.

I took my wife there a few months later for a long weekend. We stayed in a fantastic riad with a lovely central patio and rooftop solarium.

It was hot (50+ degrees) in the city but we had a great time shopping in the souks, eating in the main square (and avoiding the multitudinous snake charmers) and visiting the famous baths.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Sunshine Lies



This looks like the same (or very similar) lineup that I saw in Madrid a few years ago. This guy truly rocks. I love the wall of sound the guitars produce and the lead guitar almost constantly soloing is a real hallmark of Matthew Sweet.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Profondo Rosso


Here I am outside Dario Argento's shop Profondo Rosso in Via Gracchi in Rome last weekend.

Thanks to an amazing slice of luck the shop was actually in the same street as the hotel my wife and I stayed in on our romantic anniversary weekend in the city.

I'd first heard about this place on an extra feature on the DVD of Phenomena where Dario was seen in his own shop showing Tim Burton around.

The shop itself is pretty small with surprisingly little memorabilia (though I did buy a couple of cool Argento t-shirts). Downstairs, though, is a kind a brick cellar which has been turned into an Argento museum. It costs 2 euros to go down there and they play a commentary (in heavily-accented English for us, which kind of added to the feel) where they've got piles of framed posters and loads of props and FX from Argento films - both directed and produced as Lamberto Bava's Demons and Michele Soavi's The Church are heavily featured.

I really enjoyed the mirror/picture piece from Profondo Rosso itself where the killer's face is pictured as part of a hideous painting which David Hemmings sees in a mirror as he enters the scene of the first murder in the movie. Wonderful.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Seropram Summer



Another uplifting track from our gig at Gruta '77 on 15 October, 2008. Does anyone think it sounds a bit like Ash?

Friday, 14 November 2008

Time off for good behaviour

Time off for good behaviour. You know, be good in jail and they'll let you out earlier. That's what prisoners normally get.

But not Michel Lapointe, aka Big Mike. This drug gang member was released from jail this week because, at 250kg, he was just too large for his cell.

Put him in a bigger cell, I hear you say. And I agree. Why not? Montreal state and a couple of other prisons in Canada clearly disagreed, so they let him go free.

Apparently Big Mike couldn't fit on the chair in his Montreal prison cell and when he went to bed, his body protruded six inches on either side. Wasn't there something about prison being a place to pay back society for the ills you've caused it? Isn't it supposed to be uncomfortable?

So that's it then? For anyone else who wants to get out early the solution's obvious: Eat like a motherfucker!

So what did Big Mike have to say on his release: "I'm going to have a proper bed and finally have a chair I can sit in."

That's nice then. Anything else you want? A full body massage? A tumbler of malt whisky? A new Armani wardrobe? I'm sure the taxpayers would go the extra mile just for you.

In search of the marxist child



Part of an interview with popular scientist and clear thinker Richard Dawkins, author of - amongst others - The God Delusion.

Some say that his views are just another brand of 'faith' - that atheism is a belief system like christianity. Judge for yourself...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A Tim Burton soundtrack


"...un recital soñador, donde la siniestralidad nos envuelve en un humo denso..."

"...potencia controlada..."

Full review of the gig at Musiqueando.

Sarah Palin: Is Africa a country?



Sarah Palin is the Republican "hail mary" that went wrong!

I'm not surprised, though. Americans are generally completely clueless when it comes to the rest of the world. Add to that the fact that she believes the world in less than 10,000 years old and what do you expect?

The stories of her abuse of power to try and fire her sister's estranged stage trooper husband seem like child's play compared to all this.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Without Me You're Nothing



Another video from the deadman gig at Gruta '77 on 15 October, 2008.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Love like Semtex


Infadels just keep getting better and better. I first saw them, randomly, at Benicassim 2005 and then again in Madrid a couple of years ago. Now with two albums under their belt and an energetic live show they're obviously going from strength to strength. Motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo from the Infadels gig at Moby Dick on 27 October, 2008.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

More cunts - Engrish re-revisited


These guys from engrish.com crack me up!

Horsing around


Who knows what the fuck Gracie was thinking about when she did this!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Hating


Our opening number from last week's gig in Gruta 77. More videos to come later!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

You are what you search for

Frank Zappa recorded an album in 1981 called You Are What You Is. If the great man were still alive today, maybe he'd give it a slightly different name.

I've quite often wondered who reads my blog, and why. What do they find interesting? The barbed attacks on organised religion? The tongue-in-cheek reporting of ridiculous news and non-news from around the world? Do they like the videos I post from Youtube and my related comments on them?

Some time ago I read a report about how Google had analysed search trends in the US. They took a group of internet users and monitored their search activity over a 6-month period of time - and they discovered something quite interesting.

People try to solve their problems using Google. They type a question into the search engine as if it was some kind of agony aunt. How can I make my boss appreciate my work more? Why doesn't my girlfriend love me any more? Stuff like that. It's an interesting discovery and if you give it a try you'll probably find some "answers" to your nagging questions.

Of course at work we also analyse this kind of thing for our website. We do Search Engine Optimisation to try and improve our ranking on keywords that we think people are looking for - and that relate to us - in order to get increased traffic to our website.

So I thought I'd do a little analysis of my own based on all of this. I had a look at my blog stats and the keywords people had searched for in Google when they found me.

So what did I discover? What were they looking for? My barbed attacks on organised religion? My tongue-in-cheek reporting of ridiculous news and non-news? The videos I post from Youtube?

Nope.

"Tattoed cunt" and "laxative challenge" (and derivatives thereof) both figure at the top of the list.

My question is: Does this say something about them or me?

Back to the thematic drawing board I think.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Welcome to Saudi Britain



This video was recently banned and then reinstated by Youtube. Apparently lots of muslims find it offensive. I think the fact that some people say they are 'offended' by something is never a good reason for censoring it. Indeed, if you listen to what this guy has to say, it's actually quite scary - and something that I wouldn't like to see happen where I live.

The definition of light-hearted

According to the Reverend Dr Peter Mullen, homosexuality is "clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections, and because it is a cause of fatal disease".

Mullen, who is rector of St Michael's Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate in the City, and looks suspiciously like actor Steve Pemberton from The League of Gentlemen, blogged these words the other day.

"Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals," he went on to write, "to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS."

The rector, who has also written for The Torygraph, insists that he meant no harm: "I wrote some satirical things on my blog and anybody with an ounce of sense of humour or any understanding of the tradition of English satire would immediately assume that they're light-hearted jokes."

Light-hearted indeed. The very definition of, if you ask me.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Midnight in Madrid



A couple of shots from my band's gig last weekend in Sala Midnight. Deadman will be back on stage on 15 October in Gruta 77's concurso de rock. And it's free.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

What's your favourite colour, baby?


Living Colour live at Sala Heineken in Madrid on 23 September, 2008. Rock gods.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Free speech for the dumb

In the spirit of healthy debate and "teaching the controversy", a Turkish court has banned internet users from viewing the official Richard Dawkins website after a Muslim creationist claimed its contents were defamatory and blasphemous.

It's amazing how people like this can exist in the modern world.

I guess Dawkins must get called blasphemous a lot, considering his somewhat radical views and reputation as Darwin's enforcer. But I don't think he'd ever advocate banning, gagging or silencing his critics.

In reality though it seems that Adnan Oktar thinks that Dawkins has insulted him in comments made on forums and blogs. Check out Dawkins' "insults".

Istanbul's second criminal court of peace banned the site earlier this month on the grounds that it "violated" Oktar's personality. I've had a look at the story and subsequent comments and I'm not really sure about the allegations.

True, a lot of people mention how Oktar has been found guilty of creating an illegal organisation, and a lot of people speculate about the actions of that organisation, including rape and extortion. He is appealing the verdict. Does this mean he should be treated as innocent until proven guilty, or is he just doing what everyone does when convicted - appeal to slow down the legal process?

Oktar, a household name in Turkey, has used hundreds of books, pamphlets and DVDS to contest Darwin's theory of evolution.

In 2006 his publishers sent out 10,000 copies of the Atlas of Creation, a lavish 800-page rejection of evolution.

Dawkins, one of the recipients, described the book as "preposterous". On his website the British biologist and popular science writer said he was at "a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the 'breathtaking inanity' of the content."

It is the third time Oktar and his associates have succeeded in blocking sites in Turkey.

In August 2007 Oktar persuaded a court to block access to WordPress.com. His lawyers argued that blogs on WordPress.com contained libelous material that the company was unwilling to remove.

Last April, he made a libel complaint about Google Groups, which was subsequently blocked.

He failed to ban Dawkins' book The God Delusion in Turkey after a court rejected his claims that it insulted religion.

So, free speech for the dumb anyone?

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Holiday in Cambodia



Weird how one train of thought leads to another. Having posted the snippet below I had the line "But your boss gets richer off you" going through my head. Then the melody came, then the next line: "Well you'll work harder / With a gun in your back / For a bowl of rice a day," and who else could that be but the truly amazing Dead Kennedys?

I first got into these guys when I was like 15 - I still have a clear vinyl of Fresh Fruit For Rotten Vegetables sitting in my parents' loft - and I've never looked back since. It's intelligent music. I only wish I'd seen them live when Jello was still involved....

The rich get richer

A little factoid that jumped out at me off the screen as I was reading the latest Lucy Kellaway column from the FT:

When CEO pay in the US was made public 15 years ago, they earned about 70 times the average worker’s pay. Now they earn 300 times as much.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Higher education

Given that I like to laugh at the misfortune and mistakes of others, this piece of non-news I found yesterday made me chuckle in a particularly pedantic kind of way.

University students, it seems, have been shamed with a list of exam blunders they've made. And we're not talking errors in quantum equations here - more in the way of spelling your own name wrong kind of mistakes.

One student, for example, claimed that railways were invented to relieve pressure on motorways.

Another gem is from an economics student at City University in London who attributed Northern Rock's downfall to "laxative enforcement policies".

An English literature student from Bath Spa University wrote that Margaret Atwood's book, The Handmaid's Tale, shows how patriarchy treats women as escape goats.

A University of Southampton student concerned by global warming wrote that: "Tackling climate change will require an unpresidented response."

So much for universities taking the crème de la crème of Britain's youth and giving them a higher education!

Is it a dolphin? Is it a crocodile? No, it's the Virgin Mary!

Thanks to globalisation and the Internet, news travels fast these days. But that's not always necessarily a good thing, is it? There are thousands of pointless non-stories out there that are reprinted or replicated ceaslessly by a whole plethora of channels, blogs and sites - this site being no exception.

Indeed, I've probably been guilty of adding to the useless information overload by giving publicity to the kind of bollocks that should be consigned to the computer trash can - and just so I can make some lame joke, or cutting comment about it.

Hell, I'm not proud.

The Torygraph yesterday reported something else I found mildly amusing. Yes, another apparition of the Virgin Mary - this time in Canada. I'm sure that before the days of the Internet nobody outside of Toronto would have seen this piece of news, as it surely wouldn't have been picked up by anyone apart from the local rag. But now it seems that everybody publishes everything so I'm jumping on the bandwagon here as well.

Basically somebody cut the branch off a tree in a garden in a leafy suburb of Toronto and a drunk guy thought it looked like the Virgin Mary. His mother-in-law cried and said it was a "blessing" and the owner of the garden in which the tree lives says she doesn't want people trampling on her garden when they come to look at the "virgin".

What news!

Whatever next? A decade-old toasted cheese sandwich will be said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary and be sold on eBay for $28,000? Oh hang on....

Thursday, 28 August 2008

A disgusting piece of trash

'A disgusting piece of trash' is probably quite close to the truth when describing the Catholic church.

The ever-progressive Pope is once again in the news as he battles to have a modern art sculpture in Nothern Italy banned.

Pope Benedict has called the work blasphemous in a letter to Regional president Franz Pahl.

Pahl is working hard to get the sculpture removed. "Surely this is not a work of art but a blashphemy and a disgusting piece of trash that upsets many people," he said.

Clearly unpursuaded by his own arguments, Pahl went on hunger strike and had to be hospitalised in his efforts to get his views heeded - and the work of art removed from the Museion museum in Bolzano.

The wooden sculpture, called Zuerst die Fuesse, is by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger and depicts a 4-foot high frog about nailed to a brown cross and holding a beer mug in one outstretched hand and an egg in another.

It wears a green loin cloth and is nailed through the hands and the feet in the manner of Jesus Christ. Its green tongue hangs out of its mouth.

I'm not much for it myself. I much prefer the Dead Kennedys album cover of In God We Trust, Inc., which features Jesus Christ crucified on a cross made of dollar bills.

Kippenberger's work has been shown at the Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery in London and at the Venice Biennale, and retrospectives are planned in Los Angeles and New York.

Freedom of expression, anyone?

Shameless marketing


We give these away free at our gigs. To find out when and where we're playing, have a look at our myspace page.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Ping Pong is coming home



Boris Johnson - buffoon or comic genius? Whichever he might be, is he really the kind of guy you'd want as your leader?

Thursday, 21 August 2008

PC quote of the day

Said John Molony, Mayor of Mount Isa, a quiet mining town in the Queensland outback:

"With five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa.

"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness."

What the fuck is this guy on?

Monday, 18 August 2008

Shit taste in music

My car was broken into this weekend when it was parked on the street near to my house. The bastards broke one of the little side windows to open the door.

The weird thing was, they stole absolutely nothing.

There were a couple of euros on the floor amongst the shards of broken glass from the window. The back seats were pulled down so whoever was in my car could look in the boot. There was nothing there to steal apart from a couple of old t-shirts that belong to the drummer in my band. He wraps his drums in them when we take them to a gig so I guess nobody would want to steal those. The front seats were both reclined a bit and pushed back. I could hardly reach the pedals when I got into the car to drive it to the police station to report the break in. There was a woolen hat that belongs to my wife left on the driver's seat (it had also been in the boot - weird).

The glove compartment, which the thieves left open, was full of CDs. They didn't take a single one. Not even Hawkwind, Dead Kennedys, Weezer, Bauhaus, Matthew Sweet, Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica, Frank Black, Pixies, Voivod... Nothing gone.

Clearly they thought I had a shit taste in music. It was probably a couple of nietas who only listen to reggaeton on their mobile phones. The little shits.

Some of those CDs are actually quite valuable. Voivod's Nothingface hasn't been re-released on CD for ages and people on Amazon are selling the fucker for over 250 euros! This is one time, therefore, I'm quite happy to have a shit taste in music.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Rock the kasbah



The fantastic Rachid Taha covering The Clash classic! Taha is a long time collaborator with another fave of mine - virtuoso guitarist Steve Hillage, once of Gong, who has had a successful solo career of his own - and more recently fronted the electronic project System 7. There's a great documentary on Taha that came with the CD that the Rock the Kasbah cover appeared on. Called Kienes, it follows Taha around on his tour of Mexico and shows him backstage, on the radio and even shopping. All the time Taha plays the joker, laughing at one raido interviewer who asks him whether he considers his music Rai by saying he loves Ry Cooder. He's always said he's more of a punk than a world music guy, and says the first album he bought was indeed by The Clash.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Culebrones





Brilliant!

Rainbow



A never-aired episode from the famous 70s children's show - apparently written by a pissed-up script writer who'd previously worked on Carry On... films. Hilarious! I used to watch this when I was a kid and never got any of the innuendo or double entendres.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Jerry and me


Jerry Only congratulates me on a great gig last night in Madrid's Sala Copernico. Kind of.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Lip up fatty



Forgot to take the camera to the gig last week. Buster Bloodvessel's lost a bit of weight - though he still makes all the "you fat bastard" comments. I'm not sure how much of the line-up was original, though they certainly put on a good show from a very cramped stage (8 in the band) at Gruta '77.

All together - YOU FAT BASTARD!

Do Nothing



Much-covered classic from the UK ska revival in the late 70s and early 80s. Most recently I saw Bad Manners covering this is in their encore in Madrid last week. Another stand-out cover is Frank Black's from the b-side of one his Catholics singles.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Monday, 24 March 2008

The perils of crucifixion

The Philippines government issued an Easter public heath warning - on the dangers of crucifixion.

Did it read, Don’t do it, it’s nuts?

Did it fuck.

Instead of warning people against self-harm in the name of the Catholic church, it simply advised them to get a tetanus jab first and "use clean nails."

Well fuck me, I think rusty ones would be better for people with the (lack of) brains to crucify themselves. In a kind of Darwin Awards way, it’d give them more chance of removing themselves from the gene pool.

It’s good to see corporate social responsibility alive and well and living in the Catholic world too. The crucifixions in San Fernando City – where 23 people, including two women, were nailed to crosses at three improvised Golgothas – were sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Ahem.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The grapes of wrath

The world’s gone mad – we all know that. But this story proves that there’s still a modicum of common sense left in it.

An accountant who tried to sue Marks & Spencer after he slipped on a grape and injured himself has lost his case and been ordered to pay legal costs.

Alexander Martin-Sklan, 55, sued for more than £300,000 over the 2004 incident in which he said a squashed grape from the store got lodged under the sole of his right sandal, causing him to slip and fall.

He said he suffered a ruptured quadricep, adverse psychological effects and depression following the incident, which meant that his business suffered and he could no longer ski or play tennis.

No longer ski or play tennis? The poor fella.

But the judge ruled against him, determining that while there may have been a grape or some "crushed fruit or similar" on the sole of Martin-Sklan's sandal, he was not persuaded that it "caused the claimant to slip."

The judge clearly has his head screwed on. He said: "In my judgment it was one of those accidents that could happen to anyone." Too many times these days – and especially in the USA - “accidents that could happen to anyone” result in legal action.

Martin-Sklan, who represented himself in the case, was ordered to pay the retailer's legal fees of nearly £20,000. Could he also have been fined for wasting the court’s time?

He refused to comment after the judgment. I wonder if he’s planning to appeal?

So, my question is this: Are grapes like banana skins - we all hear about people slipping on them but have never known anyone who's actually slipped on one?

Awareness test

Friday, 7 March 2008

Manowar


We've all had our fashion faux pas. The only thing I can say in their defence is... maybe Moses gave them a bit of whatever he was on.

Guyana



Joey deMaio - what a genius!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Moses on drugs

Moses was high on Mount Sinai when God spoke to him. Literally, according to a story in The Guardian.

An Israeli researcher claims the prophet may have been stoned when he set the Ten Commandments in stone.

Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says that psychedelic drugs formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times.

Concoctions based on the bark of the acacia tree, frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, contain the same molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.

"The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an altered state of awareness," says Sharon.

He adds: "In advanced forms of ayahuasca inebriation, the seeing of light is accompanied by profound religious and spiritual feelings."

According to the researcher, references in the Bible where people see sounds, is another "classic phenomenon", similar to religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to see music.

And Sharon should know about this - he's tried it more than 150 times. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," he said.

He also thinks Moses was high on mind-altering drugs when he saw the "burning bush".

No shit.

Here's my question. How many other great works of fiction are a result of the consumption of mind-altering substances?

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The perils of texting

An amazing six million Brits were injured last year while texting and using their mobiles.

More than one in ten people were hurt after stumbling into lamp-posts, bollards and litter bins in the street.

The story's from The Daily Star so it must be true.

Friday, 29 February 2008

The Postal Service



Jimmy Tamborello wrote and performed instrumental tracks and then sent the DATs to Ben Gibbard (from Death Cab For Cutie), who edited the song and added his vocals, then sent them back to Tamborello via the United States Postal Service. Hence the name of the band.

The United States Postal Service later sued the band for use of their name. After negotiations the USPS agreed to let the band use the trademark in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of the USPS and a performance at its annual National Executive Conference. Which was nice of them.

Anyhow, the album Give Up is a nice mix of electonica with some indie guitars thrown in by Chris Walla, also from Death Cab For Cutie and who also produced the album.

In January 2006, Josh Melnick and Xander Charity, who had produced the 'Such Great Heights' video, created a similar looking TV spot for Apple. Gibbard said: "It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers' new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for 'Such Great Heights' made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent."

Right on.

Check it out.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Monday, 28 January 2008

Lydon again



From Leftfield's wonderful Leftism album from 1993, Open Up features Lydon and his characteristic vocal style. Wonderful.

Rise



Another blast from the past.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Vampira RIP



Maila Nurma 1921-2008