Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Fortissimo Friday: ALL OF THEM FOREVER?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Hope you’ve all had a brilliant holiday... it’s nearly New Years Eve! I am not blogging properly because I am trapped underneath a giant pile of LEGO, held together by Play-Doh with a candy cane sticking out each nostril and my head resting on a pile of Quality Street sweet papers. While I wait for someone to rescue me, here is a little playlist of my Friday tracks from 2010 and 2009:

Dave Matthews Band:

Vampire Weekend:


Adam & the Ants:

Chapel Club:


The Beatles:

Band of Skulls:

Beastie Boys:

Hunters & Collectors:

Inspiral Carpets:

Concrete Blonde:

Billy Bragg:

New Fast Automatic Daffodils:

Imogen Heap:

Friday, 10 December 2010

No Poorly Whales Here

Friday, 10 December 2010

A voluptuous woman is getting ready for bed. As we have come to know, our heroine has excellent hair. A man enters. Quite incredibly, he has no beard.

W: Put the big light off, will you?

M: Wait a minute, I’m just going to get a drink of water.

W: Ew, not out of that manky bottle next to your bed! You know, you should wash that out occasionally. It’s got a worrying greenish tinge.

M: I cleaned it the other day, I’ll have you know.

W: Great. Ssssh. I am now asleep.

(The man switches off the light. A few moments passes.)

M: Anyway – you should know that algae is good for whales.

W: (sitting up) Excuse me… just as a point of clarification, tell me – is one of us supposed to be a WHALE in this scenario?!

M: No, but you know how they say carrots are good for your eyes?

W: What the… what? I am having difficulty finding the golden thread of the alleged logical sequencing in your argument. Think very carefully before you speak next.


W: Er…

M: Well, whales eat algae and you never hear about POORLY WHALES, do you?


Follow the past adventures of our intrepid couple here, here, here and here.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

SUPERCHARGER: 4 December 2010

Sunday, 5 December 2010
Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in.

I know, I know, I haven’t written in ages. I’m sorry. Call it a holiday – it sort of was... I went to Canada at the end of September, and then I guess when I got back, there was so much to bloody talk about and so I kind of procrastinated writing about it and HELLO IT’S DECEMBER?! Whoops.

But I’m back now, and what better way to get things rolling than with a gig review? As you well know, dear readers, something I never NOT write about is when I go to a show and I’m not about to start now. Or do I mean “stop” now? (Errrr...sorry; today it appears that my grammar has a hangover, too.)

ANYWAY. Last night, Jase and I found ourselves kid free (thanks Grandma!) and quite spontaneously we decided to check out SUPERCHARGER at Krash at The Venue in town. Our attendance there was not so wholly accidental as I would make out – I must take a moment to explain that back in the day when Jason was at the height of his ‘hot-for-teacher’ school of 80’s hair metal lunacy, one of his partners in music crime just so happened to be none other than SUPERCHARGER’s front man, the infamous (defined as such at least in my husband’s tales of legendary formative years debauchery and lash) Mr Nick Parsons, Esq. So we went along for equal parts rock gig slash high school reunion slash ridiculously tasty blue-coloured cocktails.

Would Mr Parsons please raise his hand?

Where was I? SUPERCHARGER. Local four-piece + couple of independently released records + teeny weeny venue = right up my street. Thoroughly enjoyed it, despite my usual tendencies towards music snobbery (I know you will all be shocked at such a deplorably scandalous confession). Here is why:

a) Punky chunky bangy thrashy crashy – can't go wrong.
b) Some really good melodies – not a warbling screamer nor a throaty death grunt puke noise-maker to be found.

(...and this is my favourite bit)

c) Some smashing guitar solos that were really well constructed, considered and melodic. I mean, less of the chaotic widdly-widdlies (bad) and more of the gut-wrenching wacka-wee-mow-mows (good).  Know what I mean?

This is my way of saying that I liked it. Lots! Check out their MySpace page.

PS - Holy shit though... I am old.  After the gig it was just a club... and I was like... THE OLDEST PERSON THERE, I swear.  It was packed to the rafters with surly, disagreeable, angst-ridden kids.  It felt a bit weird to realise that I was like... the token old person in the corner.  That same token old person the piss out of whom I used to take (yay, grammar!) when I was a surly, disagreeable, angst ridden kid.  It was enough to drive a girl to drink.  :-)

Check out my last gig review here.

And check out my master Gig List here.

Were you at the SUPERCHARGER gig?  Comment and let me know what you thought, too!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Summers in One Direction

Sunday, 12 September 2010
My Dad is a Shipwright by trade. Like me, he was born on the North East coast of England, where the wind that whips off the North Sea is mostly air, mixed with 2 parts coal smoke and 2 parts salt. I’m sure it isn’t blood that pumps through his veins, it’s seawater. Growing up in Southern Ontario within easy distance of the Great Lakes and its canals and waterways went a long way to soothing his salty soul, but every once in a while I guess the airstreams must have carried echoes of the shipping forecasts across the Atlantic and reminded the Oul’ Fella that he was too long away from salt water. So when I was a kid, our summer vacations were usually almost always in road trip form – and always, ALWAYS eastward -- to the ocean.

Nova Scotia, Boston, Prince Edward Island, Cape Cod, Myrtle Beach... regardless of geography the routine would be the same: my Dad would find us a spot to park, walk across the sand, roll his jeans up to his knees as the ebb and flow of the Atlantic Ocean salted the roots of his English heart. “Taste it,” he’d always tell us, “taste the water... isn’t it salty?” And we would, and he’d smile and so did we.

And so here the summer is over – as luck would have it, I found myself between jobs for the duration so I took my own kids to the sea... okay, okay; we only live ten minutes from the thing, but for the first time in my children’s lives I was not working full time during their summer break. We didn’t go far, just day trips here and there, but I hope when they are older that they will remember ‘The Summer That Mam Wasn’t Working’ as one of the most fun they had.

Here is a song from my childhood – one of my Dad’s favourites... and a fitting soundtrack.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ben's Trimmer Review

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Some kids like Ben10 and Transformers. Mine? He likes gardening equipment.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Fortissimo Friday: Dave Matthews

Thursday, 29 July 2010
Yes all right, all right. It’s Thursday. But I’m buzzing today. I’ve had a good one.

And in no small part I’m sure to the fact that I’ve had an earworm all day courtesy of the delectable Mr Matthews.

What I love the most about him? Well, strangely enough, it’s that over here in the UK he’s a virtual unknown. I mean, the man can sell out stadiums in North America in minutes, and yet... here? When he does play gigs on this side of the pond you’re talking one, two thousand seaters, max. And oh, dear readers, you know how I love me my little tiny venues. :-)

Lemme tell you a little story...

Some years ago... oh this was, 2006? Christmas time. Jase and I were doing a bit of last minute shopping in town and we happened to walk past Newcastle City Hall. There’s a playbill up on the side of the building, and it says “An Acoustic Evening with Dave Matthews.”

I’m not joking – I stopped dead in my tracks. All of a sudden, my legs didn’t seem to belong to me, and I bent double at the waist – all I could do was point at the poster, mouth agape, making the occasional squeaky, breathless gasp! Dave Matthews? MY Dave Matthews? HERE? In my town? In THERE? That... teeny tiny... in THERE?

From our position outside the front of the building we made it to the box office in less than 10 strides and before I knew it we had the tickets in our hands. 23 February. Dave Matthews. Hurrah!

Now, let me clarify a point or two... Dave Matthews Band? Hmmm...not so much my cup of tea. A little too jazzy for my liking. But Dave Matthews on his own? Man and guitar? Right up my alley. The place was packed out and to my extreme surprise and delight the esteemed Mr Tim Reynolds was there accompanying Dave through a powerhouse of a set.  A delightful few hours...just what I like –lots of between song banter and a good mix of old stuff  with a good mix of new. Our seats were in the front row of the balcony so we had a perfect view; we felt like he was playing in our living room. Jason was blown away. It was a great gig.

That’s rotten of me, I know. “It was a great gig.” But I’ve been staring at the cursor for the last ten minutes and I just can’t summon the words that would possibly justify how amazing it was. Here – listen, you’ll see what I mean.

Here’s a little bit of video I took of “Satellite”:

And here’s a bit of Tim Reynolds having the stage to himself:

And (not from our gig) but one of my favourites:

And finally? This is from a show in Atlanta in 1998 – it was this recording that was my first Dave Matthews experience – and consequently the reason why Mr Matthews is in his rightful place in the Top Ten List of Sweating Totally Hot Sexy Men With Whom I Would Run Away In A Nanosecond:

So tell me – do you love him now, too?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Recipe for a Good Day

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

1 girl, age 34
1 child, male, age 5
1 baby, male, age 1
1 husband, age 40

Preparation time: 6 hours
Serves: one

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm behold the deliciousness.
Take your girl, and give her the day off work.  Place the male child at his Grandma’s house, and put the baby in a daycare facility of your choice. Put the husband on a train to Bristol, where he will work for 3 days, 2 nights.

Shower and dress the girl. Let her wear her favourite jeans and that t-shirt that she likes that nobody else likes.

Buy the girl a houmous and grated carrot with coriander baguette and a surprise her with a bottle of Arizona Green Tea with ginseng and honey (not normally available in the UK). Also, let her have a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup because they go very well with the Green Tea.

Gently place the girl in the audience of the Tyneside Cinema where she will watch a French movie and eat her lunch. Simmer for approximately 90 minutes.

After the movie, buy the girl a lovely beaded bracelet and necklace on sale for £5 down from £20.

Also, let her wander in a bookshop and let her find a book of children’s poetry that accompanies an old record from the 70’s that the husband found in a cardboard box in a Cumbrian village bric-a-brac shop on their honeymoon.

Let her thumb her way through at least three boxes of used records and CD’s at that shop down by the Grainger Market whose name you can’t remember. 

Put the following song into her head while she is wandering around her beautiful city:

Send her home from town to a quiet and clean house and make her a cup of Tetley’s Extra Strong tea, which she will drink on the sofa. Add a touch of sunbeam coming through the sitting room window, to taste.

Add just a dash of a phone call which culminates in an exciting informal job interview in two days’ time. Sprinkle in at least two romantic text messages to and from the husband over the day, for good measure.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Jude

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Can't hardly believe it... but 7th July marks Jude's first birthday.  How the hell did that happen?  Didn't I just have him?!


Happy birthday, little fella.


Friday, 2 July 2010

The World Cup - Part 3

Friday, 2 July 2010

A woman is in bed. Next to her on the bedside table is a bottle of eyedrops and some antibiotics. She is unwell, but still, she has lovely hair. The telephone rings – the woman’s friend is calling from abroad.

Woman: (croakily) Hello?
Friend: Ugh. You sound dead.
W: I nearly am.
F: What have you been up to?
W: Sleeping, mostly. Whining quite a bit. Trying to remember to take far too many tablets and not scratch my eyes out.  Ooh, but I have watched two Michael Cera movies this week. His face has been a beacon in my fevered state.
F: He’s from Toronto.
W: Don’t you love it when awesome people are Canadian? I’m pretty sure I’m developing a small crush on him. I have spent a disproportionately large part of today wondering whether he actually tastes all ‘tangy and delicious’ from Orange Tic-Tacs like Juno says he does in ‘Juno’.
W & F: (together) Mmmm.

There is a brief pause in the conversation.

F: So, how is the state of the country?
W: What, because of the Tories?
F: No, dumbass. Because of the football.
W: Oh, that. Yeah, well, we’re all basically doomed. But that’s nothing new. There is nothing as English as disappointment.
F: I’m just sad that Steven Gerrard’s not going to be on the TV any more.
W: Ew, are you kidding?
F: Shut up! He’s cute!
W: Or NOT! Anyway, it’s ‘Steven GER-rard’ not ‘Steven Ger-RARD.’
F: Whatever. You guys also say ‘addy-das’ and ‘jaggew-ar’ when you really mean Adidas and Jaguar.
W: Hey! I’m only trying to help. If you met him and said his name wrong, it would certainly be damaging to your campaign to convince him to initiate a clandestine affair.
F: True.
W: You can have him. I’m quite happy with Frank Lampard and David James. Especially without shirts.
F: Frank Lampard? Whatever. Anyway, he has a cowlick at the back of his head, like me.
W: You're a loser.  Don’t judge Frank for his cowlick. I’m friends with you despite yours, aren't I?

A man (with a beard) enters.

W: Lindsay fancies Steven Gerrard.
F: There’s nothing wrong with him!

The man's facial expression turns to a mixture of alarm and disgust.  (it is barely noticeable behind his fucking giant beard.)

W: Jason just made a face.
F: Fuck off with his face.
W: She wants to be seen as his WAG on his arm.
M: I wouldn’t want to be seen with him dead on my arm after Sunday’s performance.
F: True.  But he’s still cute, though. And Michael Cera, obviously.
W & F: (together)  Mmmm.

There is a brief pause in the conversation.

F: How old is he, anyway?
W: I dunno, probably like 25 or 26.
F: Well that’s okay, we’re 33 and 34 so he’s not that young.
W: Wait. I will Google him from my iPhone.
F: Good idea. I am going to Google Steven Gerrard.
W: Fuck! He’s like... 22. He was born in 1988.
F: Damn. No Tic-Tacs for you.

There is a brief pause in the conversation.

F: Oooh, but he has a BIG pile of junk.
W: MICHAEL CERA? Michael Cera has a big pile of junk? Where?
F: No, cradle snatcher. Steven Ger-RARD.

Click here for The World Cup - Part 2.

Click here for The World Cup - Part 1.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The World Cup, Part 2

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A mobile phone beeps on a worktop. A man, who is sporting an unsightly beard, picks it up. A woman with very lovely hair enters.

Man: Claire’s just sent you a picture of her new kitten on your phone.
Woman: Oh! Lovely. Er... what are you looking at my texts for?
Man: I wasn’t – on your new phone it flashes up on the screen when you get a picture message.
Woman: Oh? (picks up phone) Ah... lovely. Isn’t she cute?

A woman sits on the bathroom floor. In front of her is a cupboard, the door of which is open.  She is surrounded by jars and bottles of varying levels of emptiness – bubble bath, shaving foam, moisturiser. She is looking in a zippered bag, filled with makeup. She extracts a lipstick from the bag, removes the lid, and twists the tube.

W: “Scarlet Fever.”

The woman gathers her hair (which is breathtakingly lovely) into a loose knot at the base of her neck. She chuckles.

A man is sitting on a sofa. He is overdue a shave. On the television in the corner there is football. It is the World Cup.

M: (calling upstairs) I said I’ll come up in a minute, I just want to watch the rest of this.

A woman descends the stairs.

W: I thought of a way to make you look away from the football.

The man looks up. He looks back at the television. He looks at the woman again. He stands up.

M: Well, those are certainly... patriotic.
W: Thank you.
M: How did you... er... get the St George’s Cross so straight?  I mean, despite the... er... curvature?
W: It was a tad tricky, to be sure. Especially in the mirror.  You know, backwards and all.

The man cocks his head to one side.
M:  Would have been easier if we were Japanese, I suppose.
W:  Indeed.
M: Well, credit where credit’s due. It is very nice work. EN-GER-LAND.
W: I’m glad you like them.

The man climbs the stairs.
W: Where are you going?
M: To get my phone – I’ve got to get a picture of them.
M: Come on.
W: Up yours.
M: Well it’s not as if I’m going to show it to anybody.
W: Not for a million quid.

A few moments pass.
M: From the neck down?
W: Well hurry up then, I’m getting cold.

A woman and a man are both looking at a mobile phone. The woman is agitated, yet her hair is inexplicably attractive. The man sports a beard.

Woman: You’re taking the piss!
Man: I’m telling you, I sent it!
W: Well, I haven’t received it. Are you sure you sent it to me?
M: (giggling, progresses to laughter) I hope I sent it to you – who’s name is next to yours in my contacts list?
W: Oh, my holy god. Get. Your. Phone. CHECK IT! CHECK IT NOW!

The man leaves the room. After a while, he returns with another mobile phone.

M: It’s definitely gone. Look, it’s in my ‘sent’ messages.
The woman investigates the phone.  After a moment she appears relieved.
W: (laughing) What a relief!
M: It’ll probably come through later. The second half’s about to start -- shall I open another bottle?
W: Mmm.

Two men and two women are sitting around a table in a room. They are having a business meeting. They are co-workers. One of the women has excellent hair. In the centre of the table are various pieces of paper, and a mobile phone.

The mobile phone vibrates – a picture message has arrived.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The World Cup

Monday, 14 June 2010
A voluptuous woman lounges on a bed. She is very tired, but she has great hair.

A bearded man is next to her.

On the television in the corner is football, with 30 minutes on the clock. It is the World Cup. The contented rhythmic breathing of the couple’s children, who are – at length - finally asleep is, tragically, lost beneath the unrelenting drone of tens of thousands of vuvuzelas.

Woman: Aren’t you going in the bath?
Man: In a minute.

Woman checks weather report on iPhone.

W: When are you going in the bath?
M: After this.
W: But there’s an hour left. You said ‘in a minute.’
M: Mmm.

The woman gets up.

M: Where you going?
W: In the bath.

The woman runs the bath. She catches her reflection in the mirrored medicine cabinet. She cannot hear any vuvuzelas. She smiles -- has great hair. The woman gets in the bath. She applies a face pack. She shaves: legs, armpits. She reclines. She exhales,slowly.

The man enters; sheepish. He is still bearded. He has a newspaper tucked beneath his arm.

W: I should have married for money.
M: Oh?
W: Would that I lived in a house in which I could have a bath without someone coming in to shite while I’m exfoliating.
M: Hard luck, that.
W: Indeed. Do an interim flush as soon as it hits the water, if you love me at all.

A few moments pass.

W: Wash my back?
M: But I’ll miss the football.
W: Hard luck, that.

The woman sits forward. She hands the man a small, orange jar.

M: What the...? Why am I standing in sand?
W: It is Papaya Body Scrub. Now get a handful and scrub my back with it.
M: But I don’t like this stuff. It feels wrong. And also, I’m missing the football.
W: Do it, already.

The woman smiles, slyly. The man leaves, muttering. The woman reclines. She exhales, slowly. Some time passes.  The man with the beard enters; animated.
M: Michael Schumacher is ‘The Stig’!!
W: I know.
M: Oh? I’ll leave you to it, then.
W: (through gritted teeth) Spiffing.

The woman reclines, eyes closed. A few brief moments lapse. The man (bearded) enters again.
M: Australia’s had a man sent off; the Germans are scoring goals all over the place!!
W: Mmm.

The man leaves the room.

The television still displays the football match. The woman dresses.
W: Well, I am as soft as soft can be.
M: Mmm.

The woman retrieves a notebook from a drawer and climbs up onto the bed, next to the man.
The final whistle blows. The man touches the woman’s leg.

M: Are you Professor Softison, who has just recently graduated with Soft Honours from McSoftie University in Softville, and who, being so gifted in the art of Softitiousness now has jam-packed lectures, standing room only, filled with others who can only aspire to such dizzying heights of softillism?

The man’s hand moves up the woman’s leg.

W: Bugger off. I’m writing something.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Rage Against the Machine, Finsbury Park, London

Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Doubtless you will all remember the Battle of the Christmas Number One from last year and how BLOODY BRILLIANT it was when Rage Against the Machine knocked the X Factor off the top after a Facebook campaign against Simon Cowell and his glorified Karaoke contest? And how Rage ATM are so rad that they promised to play a free gig in the UK as a thank you?

That gig was Sunday.

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO BABY! Now, you know I always write gig reviews, and you might not be impressed that I always seem to rave and praise... but seriously? Can I just say? Future Gig Reviewing MammyP: THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED. Raised, girlfriend.

Jase and me (stupidly) decided it would be a good idea to drive to London. “Drive to London? From Newcastle?” I hear you saying. That’s a six hour drive, music lovers. But it’s all good. For a couple of seasoned gig-goers like Jase and me? Him and me BLEED rock 'n roll - it was no problem.

After an hour or so of central London-related driving hilarity (for the sake of our marriage we are going to have to cave and buy a SatNav) we find the hotel and catch the Tube to Finsbury Park and WHA-HOO what an atmosphere already. Fairground rides! Clean port-a-poos! Yummy food stands! No queues at the bar! And best of all... forty thousand other Renegades of Funk almost spiritually unified against a music industry that, at best is saturated with barely listenable one-hit-wonders and at worst tinny teeny flimsy manufactured pop fluff.

Three support bands were on the same bill – Gallows kicked off the proceedings with a fiery 35 minute punk eruption that got us all in the mood to jump up and down and drink more lager, especially when there were a couple of Clash and Sex Pistols covers up for the offing. I took a little video of them covering The Clash "I Fought the Law". They were great – even at times, I have to say, endearing to my punky funky heart, especially when their frontman instructed the crowd to make a Wall of Death, barking at them, “And if you dunno wot a Wall o’ Deff is, you shouldn’ FACKING be ‘ere, roight?!”

Roots Manuva came on next – sorry Mr Manuva... I missed your set because I was having a little stroll around Finsbury Park. We had more lager, some yummy vegetarian spring rolls from the Noodle Bar, queued for the loos for a while, generally scammed the scene, had more lager, and more spring rolls... you understand, right? Because THOSE SPRING ROLLS WERE REALLY, REALLY DELICIOUS.

Then came Gogol Bordello. They got the crowd going but I’m not going to say much about them; they just weren’t my scene. Most of the time they were on the stage I was embroiled in a lively -- yet somewhat tipsy -- discussion with my husband surrounding how they went on tour with Madonna that time. Don’t ask me what conclusions we drew, I couldn’t tell you. BUT! We did have more lager. And spring rolls. GOD DAMN, they were tasty.

Then for the main event. Now, when Rage first announced they were going to play a free gig, I lost. My. Mind! So, so, so excited, saying to Jase, “We GOTTA get tickets, I’ve never seen them before! We GOTTA GET TICKETTTSSSS!!!!!” and actually? I have seen them before. Lollapalooza 1993. And that right there is evidence if you ever wanted it that working on your reserve set of brain cells at the age of 34? Not so much with the smart stuff.

Anyway – seventeen years is a long time, but I tell you... jumping around in the grass to the soundtrack of my formative years... you can’t put a price on that, my friend. I had a BLAST. They came on stage following an introduction in the form of a parody cartoon Simon Cowell, mock-lamenting how he “didn’t get to manage their money... er, um, I mean, their MUSIC,” (or similar). Click here to watch the whole thing. Oh, how we laughed!

Highlights for me? Well, every track they played off their first record but most notably Bombtrack and Know Your Enemy... and Bullet in the Head rocked my tits off. Here’s some more video. Sorry it’s so bouncy-up-and-down-ey, but what can I say? A girl’s gotta rock.

Now, listen carefully: I can’t finish this review properly unless I mention the following indisputable fact – TOM MORELLO IS A GUITAR GOD. Okay – I know I said guitar, but for him? It’s not just a guitar. It’s a percussion instrument, it’s a set of decks, it’s like an amplified extension of himself. When I wasn’t jumping nine feet off the ground and screeching lyrics like a crazy lady, I was totally in awe of him. At one point he yanked the lead out of his guitar and knocked out some beats with it on the palm of his hand, all heard thud-thumpin’ through the PA as if he was hammering on a couple of distortion-drenched timpani. A maestro. And when married to Zack de la Rocha’s poignant vocals and layered between Timmy C’s dazzlingly skilful pulsing bass and Brad Wilk’s barrelling, driving percussion? Is there any audible ecstasy superior to it? Not for me, rock fans. Not for me.

They encored with none other than Killing in the Name – of course – and Jase and me both emphatically agreed we felt like we’d been part of something extraordinary. Worth the seemingly endless driving around in the same triangle trying to find the hotel. Worth the extortionate cost of the petrol we needed for the 12 hour round trip drive. Worth the hangover! It was a free gig – but I’d have paid a month’s salary.

The rumour is that Rage are thinking of recording another album now. Please, please, please let it be true! So I say to Tom, Zack, Timmy and Brad, and the : thank you, thank you, a gazillion times thank you for such an outstanding gig. My star rating? A GALAXY.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

My Latest Earworm

Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Just a quickie tonight to share this cool summer tune with you -- this has been in my head ever since it appeared on the brilliant CD I got in the post from a totally rockin' chick in Portland, Oregon as part of the International Mix Tape Swap.

If you're not signed up already, then you should be!  The deal is:  you make a CD full of your favourite tracks, and make a cool sleeve for it with some liner notes, and you send it to a stranger.  Then a different stranger sends you one.  How frickin' cool is that?!

Anyway -- now I can't get this out of my head.  Me and Ben had it on repeat in the car on Sunday, as we drove around the city looking for hanging basket liners for the garden.  I know, I know.  WE ARE SO ROCK AND ROLL.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Two Girls Down South

Sunday, 30 May 2010
My gorgeous BFF came over from Canada and we had a few days in London.  I know, I'm rotten for not blogging in a while -- will these pictures do for now, until I catch my breath?

When we pulled into Kings Cross, they were filming the final scenes from the last Harry Potter film ... here is Platform 9 3/4's, and the Hogwarts Express! 
No really! I'm serious!

Lions in Trafalgar Square, with St Martin-in-the-Fields in the background.

I always take photographs where you're not supposed to take photos.  DON'T YELL AT ME it's my one vice to help exhaust my naturally rebellious nature.  This is the National Gallery - Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers'.  I know, it's bad.  But it was only my phone - no flash.  Vincent wouldn't mind.

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.  One of my favourite buildings, ever, ever, ever.

Isn't it beautiful?

Inside Westminster Abbey.  Somewhere else that you're not really supposed to take photos.  BUT ALWAYS have big boobs, and always buy a guide book, so that you can create a little hiding place for your camera phone beneath your cleavage with the book. Plus, where you put your hands with such an arrangement makes you look all pious and stuff, so like... people think you're in spiritual rapture and wonderment looking at the cathedral BUT REALLY YOU'RE JUST A TOTAL SNEAK.

Poets' Corner.  My favourite part of the whole Abbey; dedicated to England's finest scribblers.

Handel - hero!  Swoon!  And the famous north facade.

From half way up the London Eye...

...and all the way up!

What time is it?  Why, it's Pimms o'clock!
Quote of the afternoon:  "I love when they put all kindsa shit in your drink."

Camden Market - land of great sunglasses and cheap Dr Martens.

TEN POUNDS.  Srsly.  I know!!!

Tower Bridge - I'd never seen it in real life before, in all my trips to London.  It really took my breath away!

My sore London feet and Jenn's sore London feet. 

...and back to St Martin-in-the-Fields to see the Feinstein Ensemble play Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (with a little Vivaldi and some Telemann thrown in for good measure).

...and home on the train.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Band of Skulls, Leeds, Cockpit, Friday 7 May 2010

Saturday, 8 May 2010
So last night Jase and I piled into the car with the babies and we headed down the motorway to Leeds.  Dump the kids off with my ever lovely Auntie Lisa and away to Leeds we went to see Band of Skulls at Cockpit.  You might remember me blogging about the first single ('I Know What I Am') a little while ago.

We got there when the support act was part way through their set - a combination of setting off late and having to drive fourteen times around Leeds' loop road waiting for a flashback to where Cockpit actually was bubbled up to the surface of my memory.  Fourteen times round Leeds loop road is NOT BAD AT ALL given the last time I was at Cockpit I littered the way out with a path of puke puddles like some hammered Hansel from the totally wrong version of that fairy tale. EDIT:  This was like... in 1998 or something, btw!

Anyway -- where was I? 


Support band.  Right.  A cute little indie packet out of Southampton called Thomas Tantrum.  We only saw three songs (sorry about that, kids) but hey -- they were pretty cool! Light and head boppy but not in an annoying fluffy way yet with a driving thunky thuddy rhythm section; right up my street.  If you were dancing to them, you'd definitely be doing a lot of spinny-aroundy moves.  We both enjoyed them and were a little sorry my poor urban navigational skills prevented us from getting there to see the whole set. 

Band of Skulls were brilliant - a short little set, though!  They came on just before 9 o'clock and we were walking back to the car at 10!  That's what you get for only having one record.  I took some really lovely photos.  Jase and I were both a little smitten with their cute-as-a-button bass player, Emma Richardson.  Entranced by her sexy Chrissie Hynde meets Joey Ramone stage presence, we were quite happy to watch her rock out.

Obviously, I know this isn't Emma Richardson.  She's a few photos down.

 Their singer, Russell Marsden, was a powerhouse.  Look up 'reckless abandon' in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of him.  Totally uninhibited, even in such a tiny little venue (and you all know how I love me my tiny little venues).  Jason stood in a kind of rapture only possible to be induced by live hard heavy rock combined with comradely appreciation for a a guitarist and a drummer who also have fucking giant beards.  (No offense, Skull boys, you're lovely -- I JUST WANT MY HUSBAND TO SHAVE ALREADY.) 
Rock me, rock me, rock me.

For a teeny little three piece these rocknrolla's sure do make a lot of noise.  They played most of their record -- not a lot of between-song-banter but who needs that shit anyway -- from where I was standing, the energy and synergy and electricity zapping around their triangle was visibly buzzing, resulting in a tight little rock-your-face-off setlist.  Highlights for me?  Of course the aforementioned 'I Know What I Am'-- but also Death By Diamonds and Pearls and Hollywood Bowl (which I thought was going to be a cover of Bauhaus' 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' at first and nearly shit myself).

Well done, Skulls! 

Here are the photos I took - hope you enjoy them.