Monday, 20 July 2009


I had a brief text message exchange with a friend of mine earlier today. It went like this:
"Hey man, have you heard of a band called Fighting With Wire?"
"No ;)"
Now, aside from the rather abrupt reply to what was admittedly a yes/no question, can anyone tell me what the purpose of the winking smiley is in this message? According to the dictionary, 'to wink' is 'to close and open one eye quickly as a hint or signal or with some sly meaning', yet i can't really see where the possible sly meaning is in that no ... was it a yes? was it a maybe? i'm really confused!

... and this, to me, is symbolic of what is wrong with society today! No, wait, hear me out!

Communication these days is so quick-fire that people don't seem to take a second thought about what they're saying or what they're replying to. Have you actually answered all the questions you were being asked? Have you used proper grammar and diction? Has your predictive text mangled the crux of your message beyond all recognition? Emoticons, for me, are becoming a part of that. I have no quarrel with people using emoticons in the slightest. I use them fairly regularly in texts/emails/msn/etc. But what I do take issue with is the irresponsible splattering of irrelevant smileys all over the place!

For example, there are some people who open up a conversation with a smiley! Obviously i'm talking about MSN or text message or some form of electronic chat! It'd be quite disturbing if someone just came up to you and grinned at you as a prelude to conversation ... although come to think on it that's essentially what they are doing! What happened to saying "Hello, how are you?" or "Hi" - you can't get much shorter than that - or "Hola" or "Jambo" or "Bonjour" or "Howdy" or any of the billion ways humans have for communicating a greeting! So what do i do? I ignore them, until they actually greet me. Thus the conversation goes like this:
Why are you ignoring me?
Because you're an insufferable bore who has all the conversational skills of a decomposing zebra?
Actually that leads my nicely into my next point; modern communication makes it so easy to ignore people, the internet especially is a coward's paradise! I realise this may seem slightly hypocritical given the conversational thread above, but in my defence i only ignore people who are retarded and if someone behaved like that msn conversation in real life (and make no mistake, the internet does NOT constitute real life) then i'd actually tell them to their face what a dumbass they were, obviously in a polite way so's not to make them cry, i'm not a complete tool!

So, what's my point? Well, in all honesty i've forgotten, i was merely vexed and this has served to vent my spleen ... so smile and have a LOLHog/HedgeLOL ;)

Friday, 17 July 2009

caspian - some are white light

I *like* a lot of music, and i *love* a considerable sub-section of this, but every now and then a song comes along that just blows me away completely. My fellow band-member and king of tuning JimmyP introduced me to a post-rock band called Caspian recently who sounded really impressive from what i heard on their MySpace, and after listening to more of their stuff i discovered this one track called 'some are white light' which really stood out to me.

So just *how* good is this track!?!?! This is a rhetorical question, the answer to which is "very friggin' good indeed!", it's the kind of song that makes me want to give up writing music because i know i'll never write anything as good as this!

The bit at 03:40 where everything breaks off except the two guitars for a brief moment is amazing, and you know that something good is coming, then the bass gets proper heavy at 04:10 to say "RAAARRRR, I'm coming to getcha!!!!" and then at 04:30 an epic smile-inducing, finger-widdling riff kicks in and sends a proper shiver down my spine

you can listen to it here at and you bloody well should!

On a slight tangent, I watched The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian the other day; worth watching just for Reepicheep - the swashbuckling mouse played by Eddie Izzard … legend!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

nobody can be uncheered with a balloon

A short while ago it was my 30th birthday, which came as a great surprise to most people who know me as i look about 12 years old. Now, i generally hate my birthdays because i tend to find that like New Year they're a MASSIVE anticlimax! As it was my 30th though the preceeding weeks were choc-full of demands to know what kind of shindig i was arranging for this landmark occasion, swiftly followed by surprise that i hadn't really considered doing anything, and nigh-on-digust that i wasn't really that bothered about doing anything for it

So, in the end i thought 'what the hell' and decided to arrange something because in all liklihood i was gonna regret it if i didn't. I don't drink though, so just your average paint-the-town-red night would be utterly pointless for me and, lets face it, a bit dull. I do however like music (and by like, i mean it rules my life with an iron fist!), so i decided to arrange a gig with some of my favourite bands ... and after a few days of ringing around, i had it all sorted (with the exception of one or two who sadly couldn't make it)

I designed a poster for it, mainly because i just like doing posters. I was thinking about what to do for a while and i realised that the whole 30th birthday thing had left me feeling rather nostalgic, so i thought an almost childish poster would kind of reflect this. It's a simple concept; the idea of trying to hold onto the last remnants of your childhood/student-life are somewhat akin to a child trying to catch a balloon they've let go of. The blue sky balloon is an extension of the 'grass is greener' principle because you generally try and remember the good points about the past. Anyhoo, i took a minimalist approach and i'm quite pleased with how it turned out

In the end my band couldn't play, so i was persuaded to do a last minute solo acoustic slot which went pretty well all things considered. Just in case you're interested my short-but-sweet setlist was:
  1. the art of learning - a song about learning from your mistakes, how apt!
  2. three-horns never play with long-necks - this is my childhood nostalgia song, which contains several references to my childhood (the title is a film reference!), i may blog about this in the future when i've recorded it
  3. the saturday boy (billy bragg cover) - my favourite billy bragg song, i don't think anyone there knew who billy bragg was though!
  4. bring it all back (s club 7 cover) - a timeless classic; a soaring anthem of optimism, and just a bit of fun really
  5. it's ok to cry if jerry lee dies - my newest song and another film reference; i think i'll blog about this one in the future too, mainly because there's a GLOCKENSPIEL involved! :D

As for the other bands that evening?...

  • Hey Hachi make me smile ... they're just kids and only just starting out, but already they've got some amazingly quirky instrumental tunes! They remind me of American Football, who are a band you *need* to hear if you haven't already!
  • Swound! are the most fun band i've ever seen live and it was a genuine surprise and honour that they came to some pokey venue in Derby to play for my birthday, especially as they'd just recently played the BBC1 Big Weekend festival! It actually made my day when they broke off their grand finale to sing happy birthday to me mid-song :) Basically if you ever have a band playing at your birthday, it should be these guys!
  • Ryan Lauder is a good friend of mine and i've had the pleasure of recording some of his demos in my flat. I'm in awe of his voice and some of the songs he writes ... 'no-one writes home' and 'the lord believes' are simply stunning!