Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Where's Angus Deayton?

A couple of Thursdays ago I went to the recording of Have I Got News For You which I forgot to mention previously. Very funny it was to, Paul Merton is always very sharp & witty. What surprised me was how long the whole show was, lasting around two hours. Just goes to show how much must be edited out. Alister McGowan was the guest host in case you're wandering which one it was. Across the road from the TV studio on the South Bank is a very nice Youngs pub called the Mulberry Bush where we had time for a couple of beers afterwards. Quite modern and airy, it had a quiz machine which we quickly lost money on! You can’t beat a bit of Bully!!!
Went to Colchester for only the second time Saturday. Shambolic performance by Southampton. Thankfully the season is a marathon rather than a sprint and therefore hopefully we can turn it round and start challenging for at least a play-off spot soon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Boy Kill Boy - Astoria 23.10.06

Some acts you go to see who you don't know much about you enjoy and some you don't. This, alas fell into the latter category. Actually they did have two or three good tunes (one sounded like Blur) but the rest was either monotonous repetition or dirge especially in the middle of the set where the band seemed to lose their way completely.
Only the front of the crowd had any enthusiasm and I was thankful when the gig ended allowing us time to get to Bradleys (the excellent Spainish Bar in Hanway Street). To be fair fans of the band enjoyed it, and their music may grow on you if you play their album, but I think they do lack an instant appeal. With the Astoria under threat from the developers it would be a shame if my last gig here was this disappointing.


Shooting Stars

Fairly busy weekend was had over 20-22 October.
Friday saw the brilliant Dan Baird (ex Georgia Satellite) at the Borderline. Opening with ‘Six Years Gone’ he did everything you’d want to hear. Many highlights included ‘Nights Of Mystery’, ‘Younger Face’, and one of my favourite songs ever ‘Sheila’. There was the obvious singalong to ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ and he ended with a great version of Neil Youngs ‘Rocking In The Free World’ (doesn’t everyone cover that song?). Time was had to end up in the dutch pub DeHems.
Engineering works on Saturday meant I watched my first Saints game for ages without any alcohol beforehand. In fact I came home sober too abstaining from a pint at half time or a can on the train home. A dire game but a win is a win as they say.
In the evening met a few friends in Wimbledon and ended up on the common at 1.30am. Not as dodgy at it sounds. A clear sky meant we had fantastic view of the metoer storm as Earth plows through the path of Hayleys Comet. This was the first time I had seen ‘shooting stars’ and it was fairly awe inspiring. A bonus was the fantastic night bus system we have as I left the common at around 2.15am and due to a combination of the 93 and N213 I was home by 3am! Red Ken rules!
Sunday night I ventured to Croydon to see the Dead Men Walking. These are formed of Mike Peters of The Alarm, Kirk Brandon of Spear Of Destiny, Captain Sensible of The Damned and Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats. The set was a mixture of all their songs with a highlight being Mike Peters playing Mott The Hooples ‘Saturday Gigs’ and seguing into ‘Spirit Of 76’. The Captain was an ex-toilet cleaner of the Fairfield Halls and commented on that the toilets were not up to his usual standard. He also wheeled out a special guest, a punk who supported The Damned and had not been on stage for 27 years as his wife wouldn’t let him, who went by the name Johnny Moped. An entertaining night saw the evening end with covers of ‘Something Else’ & ‘I Fought The Law’.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Good Books & The Fields at 93 Feet East 18/10/06

93 Feet East was a new venue for me. I decided to head to this Brick Lane venue to check out two NME highly rated bands, The Fields and The Good Books. Why do all new bands these days have their name preceded with the word ‘the’. I walked from Liverpool Street and managed to see the first half of the Chelsea Barca game in The Gun, a pub by Spittlefields Market and used in a few films. This was less heaving than the pubs near the station which were rammed. Anyway after a pint I went to the venue in London’s notorious Curry district. A funny venue with a large room, with a bar on the left, with a small stage at one end. Adjacent was another room which had more of a trendy bar type environment with a large beer garden. This was open to the general public too. One thing that was noticeable was the high proportion of attractive (well 18-25 year old) women in the audience. Not sure why this would be the case, perhaps new bands attract this sort and when a place is going to be really crowded and sweaty girls are put off. £3.30 a pint or £3.00 a bottle was a little pricey but I managed to get a good place down the front on the left for the first act, the Fields. A short 30 minute set and I was quite impressed. Echoes of Joy Division, each song had an elongated (some would say self indulgent) instrumental ending. Definitely would take a second look at these guys although I think they are lacking a good pop tune you’d be able to sing along too.
In between acts I spoke to the Fields female keyboard player at the bar although due to a combination of loud background noise and a strong Scandinavian accent I could not understand much of what she replied to me.
The Good Books topped the bill, and were a young male band that may be another reason a few girls were in the crowd. They had similar tunes to a band like the Clash but were less rocky and lacked any attitude. Not too bad but I didn’t see anything here that would convince me they will make a big venue one day.
Still for a bargain £6.00 a cheap and entertaining night out was had.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Black Adder Is Not True!

This may be an obvious statement but Richard Curtis and Ben Elton were responsible for my team drooping points at Cheam Sports Clubs quiz last night. The Question - Out of Sir Thomas More, Charles 1, Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh, who was not beheaded? Now in BlackAdder 2, episode 2 'Head' BlackAdder is appointed High Executioner, with Baldrick doing the chopping honours. On Monday they were to execure or behead Farrell and Francis Drake. Lord Percy even comments that francis Drake should draw a crowd with sailors. Forwards to an episode of BlackAdder 3. Prince George thinks of something he could have said much earlier in the day. Black Adder remarks it is often the case one thinks of something one should have said hours after the event has passed and uses Sir Thomas More as an example saying 'Thomas More for instance. Burned alive for refusing to recant his catholicism must have been kicking himself as the flames licked higher that he never thought to say I recant my catholicism'. So there we have the answer. Francis Drake beheaded, Thomas More burned alive so Thomas More must be correct.
No! Baldrick must have chopped off a toe as the correct answer is Francis Drake who apparently died of a virus. And BlackAdder needs to brush up on his history so his line should state as the axe came towards his neck rather than the flames licked higher.
Yes - before anyone points out, I do need to get out more. Only when i do, the junk I've learned from staying in is inaccurate and useless! Mr Curtis & Mr Elton when you write please make sure you are factually correct!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Down In Kingston Town

A fairly quiet week last week, which is probably what I needed after my week of touring. The pub count went up from 362 to 397 with the four Thea gigs. The Saturday after the Pips saw myself see Saints get upset by an above par performance from QPR. Another howler from the keeper Davies, and hopefully the young polish guy we bought last year will soon be fit to replace him.
Monday I went to the New Inn to see a 3-3 thriller between Watford and Fulham. Think a draw was a fair result but really was a good game. Then a few quiet nights before doing a crawl of Kingston on Friday. We started in the Kingston Tup and followed this by the ridiculously named Honest Cabbage which used to be the Six Bells. We then headed to O'Neills stopping at the Crickerters. All the pubs we went to had live music from a band in the Tup to an acoustic duo in the Cabbage, karoke in the Crickerters and one guy and a guitar in O'Neills. All of which were very good especially the karoke version of I Wanna Be Sedated.
Stayed in Saturday for the lacklustre England game and then watched the film 'Wrong Turn' a horror film starring Eliza Dushku. It was ok but not much plot to it. Guy breaks down in the sticks with another family and mutated humans want to kill them.
Sunday I bought the Tru Calling box set also stars Eliza Dushku. I only managed to see three quarters of the first series and the box has the six episodes of series two before it was cancelled which haven't been shown so hopefully should be good. From memory the first episodes I saw were excellent.
Not much planned this week. May go to the New Inn or somewhere for England Wednesday and am off to Leicester Saturday where there are some fantastic pubs. The Rutland And Derby Arms last time I was there had around 20 different lagers on draught so should be a good day out.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


The Pipettes Koko 29.9.06

The second trip to Camden's Koko in 2 days. This time for the sugary, summerey pop of The Pipettes. Alas, one of my friends was running late so we get to the venue half way through the second song and are stuck near the back. Still an entertaining show similar to the previous times I've seen them (see previous posts). Very nice outfits and some very good performances of 'Judy' Dirty Mind' and 'I Love You'. Lots of hand waving and dancinig involved. We ended up up the road firstly in Tommy Flynns which had an indie Karoke going on and secondly Belushi's which was quieter but still played some very good music. Slightly hungover the next day though.


Thea Gilmore at The Fleece 26.9.06

Some photos from the Bristol gig.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Four Nights with Thea Gilmore

I took a week off to do four night with the fantastic Thea Gilmore. It started off on Sunday 24th September where I went to the Glee Club in Birmingham for my first night of four. A strange venue where the compare asked the audience to be quiet for the acts, something not lost on Thea when she came on. We managed to have our glimpse of the support here, a one Dan Arboise, a technically gifted guitar player whose music was a) very bland and b) had the knack of making each song last twice as long as it should. Still it was the one and only time I saw him. Thea's performance was ok and surprisingly an hour and a half despite her being 7 months pregnant. 'Juliet' was thrown third in and described as an oldie and we only got one song in the encore but it was a pleasant taster of what was to come.
Tuesday I headed to Bristol, a place I have not been to before. Hitler bombed it a lot according to my mate who accompanied me. More upbeat crowd this time and Thea ended with 'My Beautiful Defence' from her second album, the most obscure song from all four nights I went. There were two big breasted lesbians snogging in front of me at this gig, and an annoying old bloke in a hat and thick glasses trying to pull one of them by some dodgy dancing to 'Girl Is Taking Bets'. He also heckled in a friendly way but still was bloody annoying. Good pub like venue though and a better show. Onwards to Brighton and a three and a half hour train journey.
Brighton is always good for pubs and the Prince Of Wales in Churchill Square is one of the best pubs in the country. Anyway here I was nearly caught out as previously Thea came on at 9.30. Though I'd get into the venue just after nine to get a good place and as I entered I got the opening bars to 'Call Me Darling' the first song. Presumably she was struggling with times was the reason it was an earlier start. This was probably the best gig of the four. She did 'Heart String Blues' in my opinion her best song in the encore & I stood next to a group of girls one of which was having her 18th birthday!
Thursday 28th was the Koko in Camden (where the above photos are from). Manged to get really near the front for this and this is where you notice the similaraties / differences between artists chat in the gigs. Before 'Cheap Tricks' Thea had asked whether there's any wayward women in the venue. Camden was the only one who replied which Thea picked up on. Nigel Stonier (Thea's bloke and guitarist) always noticed the different ways Thea said she was taking a toilet break and 'The List' was being introduced as a murder ballad after Van Morrison's 'Crazy Love' song. A plus was a slightly different arrangement to 'Cheap Tricks' which included a bass solo from the lovely Joanne. The disappointment for Camden though was the set was identical to Brighton where the other two nights it had been slightly varied. Still good to do part of her tour allbeit fairly knackering. Hopefully there be some shows in the new year once Thea has had her baby.

Set (Brighton & London) - Call Me Darling / Have You Heard / Contessa / Cheap Tricks / Everybodys Numb / Juliet / Wild & Beautiful (by Nigel) / Crazy Love / the List / Holding Your Hand / Slow Journey / Red White & Black / Girl Is Taking Bets / We Built A Monster / The Gambler / Rags & Bones / Mainstream ///// Play Until The Bottles Gone / Heart String Blues / Inverigo

Thursday, October 05, 2006


The Cult Brixton Academy 22.9.06

A friday night in Brixton then for a reformation of The Cult. I get to Brixton tube and there are plenty of goths around to celebrate. A beer in the wetherspoons where surprisingly their poster telling everyone how cheap they are, actually tells you its cheaper opposite in the Goose. (£1.89 a pint compared to £1.60). A few cheap pints and a win on the Bullseye machine and I'm off to the venue. Everyone is wearing black, either skinhead or lots of hair and either looking good or skanky!
The Cult come on and the singer Ian Astbury is looking fairly normal, I was expecting an Indian outfit. They start with a dodgy version of L'il Devil but this mainly could be because of the sound at Brixton which often starts a bit odd. By the second song, a seering Sweet Soul Sister they're back on track. Despite Astbury's denials before Revolution, this is clearly an excercise in goth nostalgia with no new tracks being played and a 'best of' set being played with prime cuts from the classic albums 'Love' and 'Sonic Temple'. Rain & Fire Women are obvious highlights and as you'd expect they end with 'She's Sells Sanctury' which has every person in the venue bouncing around. Billy Duffy was fantastic on guitar with every song having an 'A-Z' of riff based rock and Astbury's vocals still sound strong. All in all a welcome return for The Cult!

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