Monday, June 29, 2009

Legends Join Forces

Neil Young joined by Paul McCartney during his performance of A Day In The Life at Hyde Park two nights ago.

I was at Neil's Aberdeen concert last week, and it was one of the best I've been at in a long time - even without Macca guesting.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Soul: Michael Jackson - Billie Jean

It may not, strictly speaking, be soul music, but today's video couldn't be anything else.

Mrs Wife and I were due to see Michael Jackson in concert at the O2 Arena in London in three weeks' time, and I'm absolutely gutted that we'll now never have the chance.

This is the King of Pop's live televised coronation from the Motown 25th birthday party, when he performed the moonwalk for the first time in front of an audience.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

You Want To See WHAT?

I've posted fairly frequently in the past on the Google search terms that bring you strange denizens of the worldwide interweb to this far-flung outpost.

Two strange search queries directed punters this way earlier today (click on pictures to make them bigger):

First up, "sniffing sweaty jock cups". Beautiful. Just beautiful. Well man, whatever gets you off...
Then, perhaps even more disturbing:

Seriously, why would anyone want naked pictures of Ian Durrant? This search term has actually popped up here before.

You're a sick bunch....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Ten - My Ten Favourite Michael Jackson Songs

In Memoriam.
1: Billie Jean
2: Smooth Criminal
3: Beat It
4: Man In The Mirror
5: Bad
6: Leave Me Alone
7: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
8: Rockin' Robin
9: The Girl Is Mine
10: Thriller

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Day At The Circus

Music history is littered with over-reaching statements bearing no relation to hard fact.
John Lennon claimed, at the height of The Beatles' fame, that they were bigger than Jesus. Keeping up his own Fabs-robbing legacy, Noel Gallagher later went one better, saying Oasis were bigger than the Messiah's own daddy.
Paul Weller, upon hearing that John Peel had declared The White Stripes' Jack White to be "the new Hendrix" responded by saying "That old cunt should know better".
And though he was a fictional comedy character, Alan Partridge's assertion that Wings were "the band The Beatles could have been" can never be forgotten.
So today, when I state that Take That are as close as this generation may get to having its own Beatles, my tongue is only partially in my cheek. And my second assertion, that Take That are the live band The Beatles could have been, will no doubt be ridiculed.
When Mrs Wife's friend had to pull out of attending the last of Take That's three Glasgow concerts on Sunday, I was drafted in as a last minute substitute. I had no qualms about attending, but said all along that I would rather see a genuine fan take the ticket. But when no such fan could be found at such short notice, I made the trip to Hampden, little more than a week before I'm due to go there to see AC/DC.
We made the mistake of entering the stadium when the gates opened at 4pm, unaware that opening act Gary Go wasn't due onstage until around 7pm. As a result, we spent far too long standing in the heat and in the midst of a crowd that wasn't so much moshpit as menopause pit.
But enough of the preamble - why am I making ridiculous claims that Take That are this generation's Beatles?
Firstly, the show itself. Based around a Circus theme, in tribute to the band's latest album of the same name, I have never seen such a vast and complex set up for a gig. I've seen stadium gigs by The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Bon Jovi, Oasis and U2, but the shows put on by all of those members of the stadium rock elite pale into near insignificance when compared with the sheer scale of Take That's Circus. A troupe of dancers, jugglers, trapeze artists, acrobats, tightrope walkers and other assorted circus performers formed an intricate part of the show. As did a full-size mechanical elephant that rose from the second stage.
The opening sequence saw these circus performers take a long walk from the main stage to the second stage, evoking a psychedelic take on a Victorian circus that brought to mind The Beatles' work around 1967 - think Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite turned into a Yellow Submarine-style live action movie and you're getting close.
Amongst all this hoo-ha, a vast cloud of balloons made its way to the second stage, and at the crescendo of this introduction, the balloons rose to reveal the four members of Take That dressed in black militaristic uniforms that fell somewhere between those worn by The Beatles on the cover of Sgt Pepper and those sported by My Chemical Romance in their Black Parade phase.
And it's that showmanship that leads me to my claim that Take That are the live band The Beatles could have been.
If, instead of splitting, The Beatles had gone the way of the Rolling Stones and become a massive globe-touring stadium band, I can imagine that their show, or sections of it at least, would be similar to what Take That put on for Circus - pageantary, the idea of making a show a real event, a huge psychedelic video screen as a backdrop and a lot of matey, self-deprecating banter.
So perhaps you'll forgive the comparison - is it so difficult to imagine The Beatles, had history played out differently, playing to a million people in the space of a month on a UK stadium tour, backed by one of the most lavish stages ever built?
But that still leaves my second claim unanswered - that Take That, musically, could be as close as this generation will get to a Beatles of its own.
First off, I don't mean for a second that Take That have anything like the genius of The Beatles.
But few bands ever rise to a stage where they can play to packed stadia night after night. And while there were definitely considerably more women in Hampden last night, there was also a substantial number of men - all of whom, I'd imagine, could probably name 10 or more Take That songs (and, dare I say it, sing along).
The only other British band of a similar age group to Take That with the ability to effortlessly fill stadia and have all 55,000 people sing along with their songs is Oasis. But Oasis perhaps don't have the same across the board appeal - you can't imagine two parents taking their primary school age son and daughter to see Oasis, can you?
And so it comes to pass that I, a massive Beatles fan who should definitely know better, have just spent a rather lengthy blog post discussing Take That without actually mentioning any of their music - including the rather special Back For Good and Shine, both of which could probably slot fairly comfortably into The Beatles' back catalogue - and reaching the conclusion that they're the post-Millenial Beatles.
I'm blaming the Scottish summer sunshine....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Soul: Sam and Dave - Soul Man

We couldn't have some Sunday Soul without featuring this soul anthem at some point. Cracking live performance from Sam and Dave in Finland where they "are giving it to the grumpy Finns the hard way".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Need For Speed

Classy new advert from Vodafone featuring Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen and Barry from EastEnders.

Classy Lady

Click the picture to read the wonderful post from local listings site Gumtree.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wear It With Pride

In the face of the horrendous news that Nick Griffin's band of fascists has managed to return two Members of the European Parliament, the Royal British Legion has taken him to task for his abuse of the poppy.

(That makes it sound like he has a heroin addiction. He doesn't, at least not so far as I'm aware.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back In Blue

Mike, who blogs brilliantly over at Auld Reekie Rants, sent this video of Links Park to me. It's interesting to see how the ground has changed since the year I was born. The worrying observation is that, aside from the replacement of one stand with a more modern version, it hasn't.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Star Man

I'm shamelessly stealing this from another blog (which I can't link to, as it's open to a select few only.

If you ever think that your daily commute takes too long, this might put the distance in perspective.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Soul: Nina Simone - Ain't Got No - I Got Life

I'm loving this live version of Nina Simone's classic Ain't Got No - I Got Life, which includes a funkier rhythm and the lady herself on hammond organ while singing about her boobies.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Best of British

Xfm has published its list of the 100 greatest British songs.
Before I start on a rant, I acknowledge that all such lists are entirely subjective and essentially pointless.
But I'm a man, I'm a geek, I'm a lover of lists and I'm a music snob.
So, to the list. Oasis take the top three spots, perhaps giving an indication as to the voters' demographic.
The Beatles don't feature until number 18, and then with Hey Jude.
They don't feature again until number 31, with Come Together.
Feeder and Snow Patrol both feature. Queen don't. (I'm no fan of Queen, but I would have thought Bohemian Rhapsody might have made the list).
Should The Jimi Hendrix Experience feature, given that two thirds of their members were British?
I realise that by even commenting on the list, I'm validating it. But it all just seems so wrong.
Incidentally, here's my Top Ten:
1. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles
2. Here It Comes - Doves
3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles
4. 20th Century Boy - T.Rex
5. Paranoid Android - Radiohead
6. Made of Stone - The Stone Roses
7. All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
8. Supersonic - Oasis
9. The Devil Walks In The Sand - The Cooper Temple Clause
10. The White Room - Cream
So, having found fault with the inclusion of Feeder and Snow Patrol in the list, I stick Doves, T.Rex and The Cooper Temple Clause in the Top Ten. But that's because I'm right.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I'm no businessman - I like the security of a full-time job and a guaranteed pay cheque at the end of each month.
But I think I'm savvy enough to know that, when naming a company, it's probably best not to name your business after the fictional company from one of the largest film franchises in movie history.
A quick search for the Cyberdyne - the company from the Terminator films that is ultimately responsible for creating Skynet, which builds the titular robots - reveals that several firms around the world share their name with the fictional entity.
There's Cyberdyne Gauges, based in New Eagle, PA. (The ONE by which ALL of the others WILL BE GAUGED!)
Then there's Cyberdyne Systems, a software consultancy firm based in England.
Then, finally, there's the Japanese Cyberdyne, which, worryingly is building robotic suits....

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Please Contribute!

I've been hammering posts out at this farflung outpost of the worldwide interweb for a few years now, and hopefully I've kept some of you entertained during that time.

With that in mind, I'd be very appreciative if you could all find it within yourselves to purchase this ludicrously extravagant 20th anniversary edition of the greatest album ever - The Stone Roses' debut - on my behalf.

All contributions gratefully received!