Saturday, August 10, 2013

Buy My Snake Oil

Blimey. It's been a while since this was released and there's not been much activity since. Apparently, it was meant to be promoted but the promotions guy ran away. Then I heard he had been hospitalised by a domestic pussy cat. Oh well, that's Kitty Kat Karma for you.
However, the album is still available. Listen for free or download the lot for a measly £3. Your choice of format (WAV, MP3, OGG VORBIS, etc). You can't say fairer than that. And if you buy one or all of the few choice cuts from the Reverbnation page a donation will be made to The Fender Music Foundation. Charidee.
Meanwhile, The Stabilisers are having a little kip. We'll get up soon. Just another five more minutes...
 
Other plugs: Graham Hunt has had a good album review. Stray Photon is featured on a new CD release of Mrs Wilson's Children with Cool To Snog. Marvellous.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hungarian Prog-cast

It's been too long since this neglected blog was updated. It's been a busy time, but not too busy to discover some rare super-psychedelic grooves from behind the Iron Curtain as it was then called.
Here we have a Depcast that does away with my usual drivel inbetween songs, this is more of a mix-tape and it's much better for it.
So Ladies and Germs, we have for your delectation nine songs covering the most popular of Hungarian progressive bands dating from the late Sixties. Some are more obscure than others and some are arguably less progressive sounding. However, it's interesting to note that there was a period when western music was banned for a while in Hungary, but it still seeped through tight border controls with other capitalist novelties like Levi jeans and chewing gum, which means that these bands were quite progressive for their time.

Download here.
 
Here's the set-list:
 
1. Panta Rhei - Út A Városba.
2. Piramis - Mondj Egy Mesét (English version in link).
3. Illés - Goodbye London (Hungary's premier Schlager band).
4. Fonográf - Társasjáték.
5. Locomotiv GT - Ezüst Nyár.
6. Omega - The Man Without A Face.
7. Skorpió - Döntsd El Végre Már.
8. Quimby - Toast (Ska-prog).
9. Piramis - A Fénylő Piramisok Árnyékában (This could've been the score for any Dirty Harry film).

This podcast is designed to whet your appetite, or not. You be the judge.
Oh, and a belated happy birthday to my Dad (17th August), wherever you are.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sonisphere-cast

WARNING! Contains Thrash Metal

A week has passed since the UK's premiere metal event of the year. Not Download (AKA Donington), but Sonisphere. Sonisphere had won this year's prestigious title by hosting The Big 4
bands of thrash on the Friday and Saturday's line-up catered for the, ahem, younger members of the festival audience with an amazing performance from Biffy Clyro. Sunday made up for it with sets by Motorhead, Bill Bailey and metal behemoths Slipknot.

Oh, and Limp Bizkit were there too...

Hear what two South London punters had to say about the weekend by listening to the free Sonisphere podcast.

Yes folks, this is Depcast 17 and you can access it by clicking here.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Podcast!

A Load Of Old Bollocks wishes its waning readership a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Blah. To help you with your vigourous celebrations, I have teamed up with the legendary Howesy in producing a technologically themed podcast fit for any bikini babes who happen to be sunning their hides in tropical climes while the rest of us freeze our cods off. We wish you good health.

Download DEPCAST16/130 here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Save Our Club

Desperate times need desperate measures.
Please sign the petition below to seek the Prime Minister's intervention to stop Crystal Palace football club from falling into the hands of the faceless financial businessmen whose only interest is monetary gain.
The Football Association do not seem to be helping this club - a club which has a long and proud history - that has served its community well for so many years. Ironically, Crystal Palace was just one of the London teams which contributed to the formation of The FA.
CPFC have not only enthused and encouraged youngsters in south east London through the excellent work of its respected youth academy, which has recently produced players like John Bostock and Victor Moses. This work has also had an effect internationally with the achievements at Crystal Palace Baltimore in the USA.
Our club needs your help. Whether you're a fan of the game or not, whichever team you may support, signing this petition is a demonstration against corporate greed whose only vested interest is the fatness of its wallet with little or no regard for the thousands of fans who will be utterly distraught if this club goes into liquidation.
Time is in short supply; thanks for reading this and please sign the petition below ASAP. In addition, please feel free to circulate this message via all means possible.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Topical-cast!

Here's an idea. Listen to two of the most popular BBC presenters to see if it rubs off on you. My result? The bastard son of John Peel and Jeremy Clarkson. Get in...
For those that have just joined us, it's just another free-to-download podcast.
Download here.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Good Name For A Band...

...would be "Vanian On Acid". This is years ago in Berlin. Manic. Confusing. Winged. Bluffed. Chaotic. Shambolic. Sad. Magic.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Harmonised Chaos Alive And Well In London Town




Big thanks to those who showed up, we actually made a bit of dosh from this one. Bad news is that most of the proceeds were drunk on the same night. Oh dear..

Friday, April 09, 2010

Malcolm McMarmite

So it's toodle-pip to a person who appeared to be loved and hated in equal amounts. Some of today's news stories have gone, quite predictably, with the "Godfather of Punk" tag and have also described him as an impressario, mover, shaker, manager and "ideas man".
I've often wondered at that last description as to what constitutes to being labelled as such. It gives a lot of people the impression that Malcolm always had fresh, original and exciting ways to help promote whatever he was up to at the time. Wherever his own inspiration came from God only knows and whether his ideas were his own rather than borrowing them from someone or somewhere else is perhaps neither here nor there, but what he was great at was promotion.
McLaren had said himself that he was a good mis-manager of The Sex Pistols and I firmly believe that he was, despite spending much of his career putting on a bit of a spin when commenting on his own achievements. Inventor of Punk? As in loud noisy guitar music with an attitude that teenagers would love and adults would hate? Don't worry about it, it was all part of his 'Cash From Chaos' initiative. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall when the solicitor reads out his Will.
So he turned lots of people onto Snot Rock, Hip Hop and Opera which was, musically speaking, his finest moment. The Sex Pistols charade, according to him, was always expected to turn into a bloody mess. As to what extent he actually meant this to happen is questionable, but I'd like to think that he perhaps had some form of a human heart lurking behind his internal cash registers. If you ask Viv Westwood, he did. Ask John Lydon and the answer may differ.
When I heard of his passing, the only emotion I felt was empathy for his family and friends. It's best to leave all the ground-breaking, culture-defining, svengali type tributes to writers like Jon Savage.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Staid At Home?


Last Thursday night saw the UK debut of The Galileo 7 at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden, London as part of a Rock Til You Drop night. They were one of three bands on the bill sandwiched between The 4th Suit (who had travelled all the way from Bristol just for this gig) and The Alpha Rays whose performance I missed due to an extremely ungodly start the following morning.
I'd been looking forward to seeing The G7 as a live entity since hearing their guitarist and main vocalist Allan Crockford's demos before he'd even got the bodies together to perform the songs in a live environment. Allan has a wealth of experience on the live circuit (he's an ex-Prisoners / Solarflares / Stabilisers / Headcoats / James Taylor Quartet member plus other bands too numerous to mention) and together with noted session bassist Paul Moss, keyboard player Viv Bonsels and drummer Russ Baxter, have recently come back to Merry Ol' England from a well received tour of Benelux countries. It must have been disappointing for them to play in what was largely a vacuous venue that is capable of holding around 150 punters on their return.
Such scenarios can be a little soul destroying considering the work that's put into organising gigs, not just for bands but for promoters too. It goes against the grain of any nice guy to frogmarch potential gig-goers into a show. Promote too hard and you're in danger of being seen as pushy, but if you take a softly-softly approach you may not be taken seriously. That seems to be a dilemma for Rock Til You Drop's promoter, Toby Burton, a very affable up front gent who has invested shitloads of time into his venture only to be rewarded (on this particular night) with a minimal return. A few hardcore supporters showed up, others would have loved to have been there but due to social as well as financial constraints, couldn't make it.
Rock Til You Drop focuses on forming and maintaining a musical community for the more mature acts and if our peers / friends / supporters happen to be of the same age group then it gets tougher to cajole an audience together for obvious reasons. Most have families to attend to and these cost time and money and if you happen to be an act that is just starting out it can be one hell of a challenge to gain a following. Sure, luck can play a huge part in acquiring positive circumstances but what can you do if you are just depending on hard work and you end up with a poor turnout on the doors?
Perhaps the answer lies in trying to banish the "middle-aged" attitude of the gig goers? After all, thousands of them will turn up to see a favourite name band that they followed as a youngster, what's stopping them from checking out new talent? Maybe those creaking bones can't be bothered to haul themselves out of their comfy slippers and nice warm houses to face the gamble of watching a new or unknown band in unfamiliar surroundings where the beer might taste of piss. Comfort becomes paramount on reaching a certain age, wether it's being able to get home after the gig by public transport or (as a performer) manouvering a smaller amp to venues in order to avoid a hernia as you carry the fucker up and down the stairs for the sake of a paltry half hour's worth of use. Thing is, at our age, we tend to get stuck in our ways. Thoughts of adventure lie in that well deserved fortnight away in tropical lands where everything is done for us which, admittedly, is much more appealing than a miserable night in Camden where you can't relax properly due to tomorrow's impending demands at work and in the home.
As I mentioned earlier, The Galileo 7 had gone down well on the continent having had a captive (but willing) audience. Does this mean that it's an issue of location? Camden has a plethora of live venues, all of them crying out for peoples' attention every night. Are we too spoilt for choice to the point where we can't be bothered to discover anything new anymore?
I really haven't got any remedies for this situation, but I hope it works out for Toby in the end. He's passionate about what he does and he needs more support, regardless of how old you are. As for The Galileo 7 themselves, they had more energy coming from them than many bands half their age do, so here's a middle-aged cliche for you: go see them and rock before you drop. Otherwise you could be in danger of wasting the rest of your lives in front of computer screens reading middle-aged moans like this one.
More pictures here.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Initial Impressions # 5: Aston & Bournville (including competition)

I'm doing these places in aphabetical (as opposed to chronological) order of visitation, so let's get the footie out of the way first.

The home of Aston Villa FC is a fine stadium going under the name of Villa Park and its grandeur befits a club of such status; no hot Vimto for sale here then. Following a somewhat unfair result at Selhurst Park, it was off to Brum for the FA Cup replay between us and Martin O'Neil's side. Although this wasn't the final, it was another cup knock-out for Warnock's Red & Blue Army (having been defeated by a far superior Manchester City side in the League Cup last August). Warnock himself would leave us with a draw the following Saturday against Doncaster Rovers before moving on to QPR as their new gaffer. Super bloody hoops.

Villa Park ratings:
Stadium - Fine architectural structure in good nick
Security - Stewards outnumbered by police
Food - Black country pudding
Transport - Free car parking in the nearby industrial park providing you arrive early. It's either that or the train - good luck with the crowds.
(Aston Villa 3 - C Palace 1 - bleedin' penalties, innit. Attendance: 31,874)
Now the interesting part which is a follow up to this post and pay attention, there's a real competition later. Prior to the game, a visit to one of Birmingham's nicer areas, Bournville, was due. It's famous for the Cadbury's - sorry, Kraft - factory and it is a humungous place. It conjures up images of Willy Wonka's fictional HQ described in Roald Dahl's book, but with an art-deco twist to its design in some places. A waft of processed chocolate fills the air as a pleasant after thought.
The onsite Cadbury World Experience is mostly aimed at children, a brief history here and an amusement arcade ride there but if you're wishing for an indepth tour of the factory, forget it. You're allowed to see a (very) brief part of the packaging process - which is a mechanical marvel of engineering - but the rest of the place is shrowded in mystery and taking pictures inside this glorious establishment is forbidden.
Should you manage to make this pilgrimage, be sure to take the ten minute walk around the perimeter of the place to the factory outlet store where you'll be able to buy as much chocolate as you can eat for knock down prices. I got my fill, believe you me. A few more pictures here.
So, onto the competition. We are giving away Cadbury's related goodies to the lucky person who replies with answers worthy of a Golden Ticket. Let's take a look at what you could win. Anthea, please bring on the prizes;
1 x Cadbury Rubik's Cube,
1 x Cadbury World booklet,
4 x Cadbury World drink mats,
6 x vintage Cadbury's picture postcards,
1 x ultra hi-tech Creme Egg USB mouse with mouse mat,
1 x Cadbury World thimball, Flake pen, Cadbury fridge magnet, keyring, leather bookmark and enamel pin badge.
Most items above will be elegantly housed within a Cadbury's vintage style chocolate tin.
I may even chuck in a packet of Koko (unopened) depending on how hungry I get.

People who wish to enter will have to answer in full the following question:
What is the historical link between Aston Villa FC & Crystal Palace FC in relation to the latter's inauguration as a club at the start of the early 1900's?

In the event of a tie-breaker, please complete the following statement:
"I want to have a fat arse and a spotty face this Spring (because / to / for / so that*)...."
*Delete as neccessary.

Send your answers with your name by email to: pusfacechocaddict@gmail.com

Small print:
One entry per person only. Closing date for entries is March 31st 2010. The writer of this blog will not be held responsible for any heart attacks, weight gain, bloated stomachs and dermatological conditions due to this unofficial Cadbury's promotion. The editor's decision regarding bribes is usually final, so the best of British luck to ya.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Cocks Shouldn't Fly

My attention was brought to this email currently doing the rounds in the transportation sector which I've decided to reproduce courtesy of Butch:

An award should go to the Virgin Airlines desk attendant in Sydney some months ago for being smart and funny, while making her point when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo.
A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin's 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travelers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, "I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS".
The attendant replied, "I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out."
The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?" 
Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: "May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please,' she began - her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal. 'We have a passenger here at Desk 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Desk 14."
With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, 'F... You!'
Without flinching, she smiled and said: "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to get in line for that too."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Initial Impressions # 4: Scunthorpe & The Stranglers

Scunny. What's there to say about Scunny?
Erm...
Well...
Shall we just move on to the match?
Glanford Park ratings:
Stadium - corrugated iron shack on breeze blocks
Security - friendly but confused stewards
Food - hot Vimto @ 50 pence a go
Transport - car parking close by. I left shortly after the opposition equalised in the eighty fourth minute, thereby missing Danns's winning goal in extra time. Bugger.
(Scunthorpe United 1 - C Palace 2. Attendance: 5,698). More pictures here.
Next up: The Stranglers. Here's The Meninblack rehearsing their new single. Jet Black is 71 years old.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Initial Impressions # 3: Hit The North

(An occasional travel guide for first timers, sponsored by Redcar Pigeon Fanciers Association)

Day One:
It's not that I'm a shyster (ahem), it's just that I have limited time to discover the joys and woes of England. Leaving at six in the morning, it took me a whole hour to get from Croydon to the other side of the Blackwall Tunnel as the northbound approach of this river crossing was crawling at a snail's pace. Sunday wouldn't have been a problem but I left the start for the following day, so is it any wonder why I don't like Mondays? Once I'd passed that, I watched as the miles of traffic shifted slowly into the capital from the M11; I was escaping to the north and there were more than two chevrons apart between myself and the vehicle in front. Luxury.
After consuming a reasonable fried breakfast at some faceless motorway service station, I arrived in Lincoln at 10.00am. Lincoln is a small city that fits the 'quaint' description but there's two sites that you need to make time for. Lincoln Cathedral looks awesome from the front; it's just like any other cathedral on the inside mind, but worth a mooch just for the stylish wood carvings depicting the Twelve Stations of the Cross. The second sight is the castle, which is a two minute walk from the cathedral. This place held more historical interest for me; it used to be a former womens' prison and is still used as a county court. But the jewel in its crown is that it holds an original Magna Carta and I was eager to give this important document a butcher's. Unfortunately I found out that the original charter was away on tour and replaced with a copy, similar to the one that's displayed in in the cathedral. AWAY ON TOUR! Now why didn't they tell me this in the first place? However, the surrounding exhibition more than made up for the disappointment and also on display is the ancient Charter of the Forest (not a facsimile), written on animal skin and dating from 1217, this was still in use up until 1971 making it the longest remaining statute that was in force in England. The explanation of how both charters came into existence is simple to understand, beautifully well presented and therefore an ideal day out for children. I was in my element.
It's possible to devote an hour to the cathedral and another to the castle. I decided on a time limit for both based on how much loose change I had for the parking ticket machine and besides, I wanted to do lunch in Hull.

Following the signs to the Humber Bridge, I climbed northwards until I drove around an unassuming curve on the A15 where I was suddenly greeted by the imposing sight of the bridge itself. Even in shitty weather this particular structure looks damn impressive; it's no wonder that Phil Brown was eager to come here. The Humber is a large body of water and it's more enjoyable to cross compared to navigating the Severn bridge (note: the tolls do not discriminate against Ford Escort vans by doubling the charge). On arrival at this fishing village, I made my way to the old part of the locality, had fish 'n' chips in a restaurant set aside for tourists - I was the only one there - and saw some typical Northern sights (see below):

Dusk was closing in as I navigated the pitiful rush hour on exiting but I felt slightly dismayed at not having visited two of Hull's prime sights: The KFC Stadium and The Welly Club (the latter being the city's top live music venue which has hosted famous artists like The Housemartins and Cool To Snog), I'll put them on my 'places to do' list for next season.
In no time at all I was cruising along the A165 up to Scarborough which marks the start of the North Yorkshire Moors. There was just enough daylight left to appreciate this vast National Park, the scenery augmented by patches of snow that had not yet melted. Halfway through the Moors and I'm in Whitby; Dracula's English connection. Being pressed for time meant no stoppages but I did get a glimpse of the old abbey as I drove over the town's main road bridge which overlooks the harbour. This is the place to go for Whitby jet.
It was dark by the time I reached Middlesbrough and the only reason I had to stop was to take a piss. This particular city looks quite boring at night but I'm told that it's a veritable disaster area during daylight hours. I'm not sure which time of the day I'd choose if I were to visit again, but I shan't be putting it on the list unless it becomes part of a sporting away fixture. Why else would anyone go there?
You don't get any fog in the Tyne Tunnel, besides which it would've sounded strange to sing: "Fog in the Tyne tunnel is all mine, all mine...", just doesn't work, does it? I'd be bypassing Newcastle for the time being, heading instead to Northumberland.

Day Two:
I took time out to rest, explore the locality and catch up with friends.

Day Three:
I woke up this morning and soon got the blues. My newsfeed reported that Crystal Palace FC had gone into administration and further more, Victor Moses would not be in the squad for tonight's match. Financial problems at the club had been on the boil for quite sometime so it was no great surprise that it would spill over like this. In addition to all our troubles, Newcastle have been top of the table for, ooh, ages and we had a tough challenge ahead. Traveling the half hour journey to the centre on the Tyne and Wear Metro from Whitley Bay was made shorter by a friend wishing me well despite the foregone conclusion. The end result wasn't too humiliating; our lads put up a spirited fight and we've since made up for what has been a miserable week by beating Peterborough (as well as Wolves). Then again, Peterborough have been bottom of the table for, ooh, ages.

St James' Park ratings:
Stadium - in very good nick as it should be for a club this size. Away supporters are ushered to the seventh level (no lifts) of the Sir John Hall stand in an effort to knacker them out so they won't be able to cheer their team on.
Security - that'll be the local constabulary. Tough Geordie coppers on tough Geordie horses telling southerners "if yuz tek anuffa sip o' that drink yuz gettin' banged oop". Like I'm dead scared.
Transport - Tyne and Wear Metro to St James station which stops right outside the ground. Well done, Geordies.
Food - I wasn't that hungry.

(Newcastle United 2 - C Palace 0. Attendance: 37,886)

Day Four:
The journey back south included a pleasant four hour drive on the M1. There's a point on the journey just as you cross the Durham / Yorkshire border where you can see the North Yorkshire Moors to the left and the Yorkshire Dales to the right at the same time (although this might involve a spot of head turning unless you happen to be an eagle or a hammerhead shark). Not long after passing an industrious looking Sheffield, a slight detour was made towards Royal Lymington Spa in Warwickshire (Shakespeare's country). This is quite a posh place, nice, clean, all white Georgian architecture, it's so polite it's offensive. As darkness had already descended on what was a drizzly day, I decided against an exploratory amble about town opting instead for the warmth of the nearest pub just across the road from the venue. The band I had booked tickets for were playing in The Assembly, which was recently given a major overhaul by top bordello make-over man Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen. Give the fella his due, he's not done a bad job and now that the smoking ban is fully enforced, the white architrave should stay white for quite a while. It's a superb place to see a live act as it's a 1,000 seater (or should that be standing?) venue, intimate but at the same time you have lots of room to breath. Either that, or the band could've sold more tickets. I won't go into the merits of HMHB as it's ground that's been covered before but a special HMHB podcast featuring Howesy can be downloaded here and a review of the Leamington gig can be found here.

Setting off towards London on the M40 I thought I'd be home free in a couple of hours. Wrong.
Somewhere between junction 9 and 8a, I feel a slight pop coming from the gas pedal. Odd. I press down with my foot and quickly discover that there is no power. This presents me with a challenge: I'm in the third lane struggling to overtake a petrol tanker who is needlessly hogging the middle lane and to make matters worse, another vehicle decides it would be fun to sniff my arse at high speed (otherwise known as tailgating). Trapped but moving. I have to get over to the hard shoulder and I'm constantly slowing down, this is not good.
85...70...60mph and getting slower.
It's too dark, where the fuck am I?
I know exactly where I am, I'm in the middle of fucking nowhere and about to get stranded. Bollocks! Why didn't I renew my AA membership?
Hazard lights are a miracle of modern times. Apply them and watch how people give you a wide berth. Bye bye petrol tanker, bye bye coffee breath sales executive in a Mondeo rushing home to his wife, hello hard shoulder. As I'm cruising along trying to find the widest spot to the left of the motorway, I see in the distance what looks like a van at a standstill, all indicators blinking simultaneously. That'll do for me, Tommy. Hazard lights are a miracle of modern times.
The two blokes in the van are waiting for the arrival of the breakdown service, which gives us something in common. Barely thirty minutes goes by when this knight in a shining armoured patrol car turns up, deals with the blokes in the van first and then me. The bonnet is popped open to reveal a broken connection between the accelerator cable and the gubbings which lets more fuel into the engine. An improvised running repair with cable ties is hastily made and off I go, which means no two hundred and fifty quid towing fee to fork out = result . Fears of kipping in the car with high speed traffic dangerously whizzing past on a shivering cold morning are thwarted, as for that night only, the county bestows me with the title of Oxfordshire's Jammiest Git of the Month.

I'm home free.

More pictures here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's A Killer!

This one's dedicated to the Milwaukee Cannibals*
Depcast 14 features Toby Burton and Colin Gillman and can be accessed by clicking here.

*A prize may be awarded to the first person who explains the reference.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Initial Impressions # 2: Plymouth

(An occasional travel guide for first timers, sponsored by What's My Pirate Name?)

Here we are again with our second instalment in which we observe distant lands and the cultures contained within. Located approximately 220 miles west of Croydon, Plymouth is best known as a naval city similar to Portsmouth but, in football terms at least, is in a lower league to that of its coastal rival. In fact, you could apply that analogy not just to its sporting prowess, but to the actual feel of the place. You can tell how close to the sea it is by the amount of seagull droppings that can be found. The architecture resembles the modern bits of Ipswich circa 1960s and further proof, should you require it, can be found by Googling images of the city; make sure you just look at the sepia photographs as they accurately reproduce the tone of the buildings (any photographs you see in full colour are false, they've obviously used Photoshop to give the place some pizazz).
Local cuisine is served in the form of the humble pasty (coleslaw optional), a traditional food which is easily accessible and of reasonable cost. A medium sized steak pasty will set you back in the region of a couple of quid. Hint: seek out the Oggy Oggy Pasty establishment near the market. The market itself is there for you to whittle away an hour of spare time, selling bits and bobs such as wellies, pashminas, painted tobacco tins as well as livestock. It's similar to a festival bazaar with the type of goods for sale that can be bought at any decent outdoor music event selling articles that you'd have absolutely no use for once you get home.
Architectural blandness aside, I'm pleased to inform that the natives are a very colourful race; open, friendly, helpful and hospitable - in fact, they'll willingly give you their last-but-one pasty, providing it involves the exchanging of fresh blood. As I waited for the arrival of the bus to Home Park, I was approached by two rather jolly gentlemen proudly wearing their sporting colours. "GREEN ARMY WILL KILL CITY SCUM!" they shouted. I didn't bother to remind them of both sides' respective positions in the league table as it might have hampered their good spirits. Aviva's recent television adverts seem to be a winner with the natives; it puts them on the map. Unfortunately it's a map of a different planet. Even the bus driver - a comely wench with lots of blonde frizzy hair - enjoyed hollering local slogans such as "Geddon, ya Janner!" at every conceivable opportunity. How quaint.
Earlier in the day, I ventured into a HMV store to observe regional purchasing habits of cultural artifacts where I found this displayed on special promotion:

Many Plymothian women of "Amazonian proportions" were out in force on a Saturday afternoon for the gathering of clothes, pasties and, one presumes, DVDs. Amateur anthropologists should take note that over recent years, interbreeding with people from other counties (mainly those passing through on their way to Cornwall) occurred which subsequently has reduced any Norfolk-like features. Thanks to improved social linking services such as Facebook and Bebo, there now exists a wider variety of DNA in the Devonian gene pool than ever before.
Home Park is the only man-made structure in the vicinity to have a different colour other than grey and beige; you've guessed it...it's green. The favourable factor regarding Plymouth Argyle's stadium are the parking facilities. If you arrive a few hours prior to kick off, you'll be able to leave your vehicle just outside the ground with stewards in attendance and there's public transport conveniently close by which will convey you into the city centre; a type of park + ride for away supporters and a veritable advance of civilisation. This is an improvement compared with the situation at Reading and Swansea in terms of time spent waiting to exit post match. As soon as the stewards get out of your line of sight, there's a mad dash by all the front row cars as they head towards a rather narrow exit, which is potentially dangerous to the driver, but thoroughly entertaining to watch as a spectator.

Home Park ratings:
Stadium - horrendous pitch but the ancient cowshed contributes much needed soul to the area
Stewards - drive around in tractors (as they do at Portman Road)
Transport links - satisfactory as described above
Food - Ginsters pasties (quelle surprise)

(P Argyle 0 - C Palace 1. Attendance: 9,318)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Tasting The Brown Stuff


It's time to put the ol' taste buds through their paces and this time, it's personal. In a milk chocolate kind of way.

Good Day by The Chocolate Society

Hey, this effort is enjoyable! It's an ideal accompaniment for a hot mug of Earl Grey. Made of 40% cocoa milk, it's congenial enough without being overbearing which means it's gratifying for anytime of the day. Frivolous of gob (in a perky sense) and worth it.

Honeycomb & Vanilla by Kshocolat

This one's a bit strange; nice idea on paper but orally offensive. It decieves you into tasting the vanilla, but let it linger on your tongue for a little longer and what you're actually tasting is sugar. Not all that surprising considering that 47.3% of the total ingredients is sugar. One for the sweet tooths.

Choxi by Prestat

"Naturally rich in antioxidants" it says on the wrapper. We can deduce that Prestat are targetting the guilty by giving them a health kick in a product deemed a social leper at the local gym. This could be clever marketing but you'll need to eat 25g (or 2 squares) of the stuff daily to gain the benefit of the (supposedly) anti-aging ingredient. Each bar has 6 squares which should last the user for 3 days. Call the ambulance, I've just OD'd.

Milk Chocolate by Devine

Here we have the choccy bar that proclaims freedom from social guilt: welcome to the fair trade assurance (ie; made entirely without Oompa Loompa slave labour). Dazzle those supercilious dinner party guests as you wax lyrically about a cooperative of small holder farmers in Ghana that produce the finest quality of cocoa beans from Kuapa Kokoo, then watch as they make their excuses and leave you to mingle with other people. Speaking of wax, that's the after taste you'll get from eating this, which in turn will make you drop any trendy political pretensions as you bugger off in search of some Galaxy.

Lemon & Pepper by Kshocolat

Another oddball offering by a chocolatier who would be better off making crackers. White chocolate with lemon and pepper is an adventurous attempt at doing something different. Trouble is, most alternative confectionary usually tastes crap. This is just about edible but only if chewing on sweet plastic with a savoury kick happens to be your thing.

Emergency Chocolate by Bloomsberry & Co

Groovy marketing of a hip product: "For immediate relief of: Chocolate Cravings, Lovesickness, Exam Pressure, Mild Anxiety & Extreme Hunger". Swiss made 33% cocoa premium milk chocolate - not only should it sell by the bucketload, it'll also solve all the world's problems (or at least make them go away for a bit). The best of the bunch.
* * * * *
And finally (nothing to do with chocolate) my eccentric mate Parsley has been taking advantage of the recent meteorological conditions to make this strange but atmospheric film:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Initial Impressions # 1: Swansea

(An occasional travel guide for first timers)

Swansea: a work in progress

Provisional towns; they're everywhere, just look around you! Why on earth would anybody want to save their hard-earned just to blow it on an all-inclusive fortnight to Benidorm when there are so many delights in the British Isles to explore? Sure, Benidorm's got sun, sea, sangria, excellent seafood and dubious entertainment for the over eighties, but apart from that, what have the Spaniards ever done for us?
Ok, let's forget the Spaniards for a moment and focus on the Welsh. Over quarter of a million of them live in a place called Swansea, which at first glance looks very town-like but has recently celebrated 40 years of city status. It's not the sprawling, towering metropolis that you'd imagine a real city to be, it's perhaps more like a cross between Basingstoke and Crawley with a marina shoved on the end of it. The surrounding countryside (which can be physically seen from some parts of the so called "city centre") is rather hilly and green. It keeps the sheep happy, and if the sheep are happy then so are the natives.

Swansea Transit Authority - Don't touch that handbrake

Bad sheep shagging jokes aside, this former Viking trading post has a rich culture of sorts, most notably it has been the home of classic writers Dylan Thomas (born and bred in Swansea) and Kingsley Amis (Swansea University lecturer). Other luminaries of celebrity who hail from these parts include Chris 'Cookie' Coleman, Micheal "Tarzan" Heseltine, and Lily Allen's dad. Fantastic - it's more than what Croydon ever came up with (Scouser Steve Coppell's makeshift centre forward Coleman was respected by the Selhurst crowd and they voted him as part of the Centenary XI in 2005).
Let's move on to the important tourist sights. Any self respecting day tripper should take time out to pay their respects to the Vetch Field, the former home of Swansea City AFC from 1912 to 2005. Holding a capacity crowd of over 30,000 at its peak, this historic stadium was named after a fruit (not Rob Brydon) that used to grow on the pitch. See it now in all its post glory gory before the local council flog it off to housing developers.
A natural progression after checking out the Vetch Field would be to take an energetic walk uphill to The Liberty Stadium which is the current home to The Ospreys as well as Swansea City AFC. The Liberty Stadium or Stadiwm Liberty as the locals call it, is in nearby Morfa, seats 20,532, cost 27 million quid to build and was made by Geordies. It's efficient, durable and above all else, soul-less which seems to be a prerequisite of every new stadium development. I'm sure the Swans' local rivals at Ashton Gate aren't in the least bit jealous.

Liberty Stadium ratings:
Entry price - is in GBPs
Transport links - chaotic post match exit of vehicles from park and ride facility
Stewards - bi-lingual; all staff are competent in Welsh and Bollocks
Steak slice - soft, elastic-like pastry that holds boiling hot Bovril
Beer - fizzy Carling, pre poured to ensure speedy delivery
Burgers - rank but still alive

Visit Swansea soon before it gets forgotten. Tell all your mates - the ones that have nothing better to do.

(S City 0 - C Palace 0. Attendance: 18,794)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And Lo, The Heavens Spunked On Earth

Last Thursday saw The Stabilisers' new line-up get its official airing at The Hope & Anchor pub in norf London (big, BIG thanks to all those who braved the cold for coming to see us - hope you'll all be dancing to our version of Stop The Cavalry that's on the free CD prior to scoffing your turkey). Also on this punk Rock Til You Drop Xmas special were The Outbursts (who delivered in more ways than one - see review here) and 14 Carat Grapefruit (the Derek & Clive of punk), it was an honour to be there. Unfortunately, the brilliant Punks Not Dad couldn't make it due to weather restrictions which was a shame. Still, I'm sure the prospect of supporting The Buzzcocks will not dampen their festive spirits too much.
You can read a review of the event (penned by Toby Burton) here and here.
Have a great Xmas everyone, Brrrr!