Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Whistling In My Ears.

Dinosaur Jr - London Scala 26 June 2007.

I woke up on Wednesday morning with a tell-tale hum in my ears. After 25 years of attending gigs whistling ears is something that I very rarely get these days. It can happen, especially if the sound quality is bad and their is a lot of feedback.Public Enemy at Cambridge Junction last year was an example of this. Sometimes though the ear whistle is caused by one thing and one thing only, very LOUD music.

I was very lucky to receive a ticket to see the best grunge band in the universe on Tuesday. My mate Paul couldn't go so he rang me on Saturday to ask if I wanted his ticket. It was a silly question as Dinosaur Jr have always been one of my favourite bands. I had missed the chance to get a ticket for this smallish venue through general tardiness and jumped at the chance to go.

E F Rice and I met Jack Gestures at Kings Cross satation and after a swift Chinese meal we made our way to The Scala. This is one of my favourite venues in London, it is small and compact, you are never far away from the stage ad if you get there early enough you can get a decent view.

After decent support from Tad (though not the Tad from the early grunge years) the audience were well pumped up for Dinosaur Jr. The original line up have recently got back together again after a fair while apart, although guitarist J Mascis has carried on the name with several different line ups. For those of you who are unfamiliar with their repertoire it can easily be summed up as noisy and dirty. Grunge describes it perfectly.

With new album 'Beyond' recently released I didn't know what kind of set we'd get so I was delighted when they peppered their set with some of their classic tracks such as 'The Wagon', 'Sludgefest' and the big crowd pleaser 'Freak Scene'. The band rocked their asses of with Murph pounding out the beats and breaking an inordinate amount of drum sticks whilst he did it, Lou Barlow thrashing the life out of his bass and J Mascis just being goddam awesome as usual. If there is a better guitarist about I haven't heard him yet. After about 80 minutes of blisteringly loud joy it was all over and we all trudged out into the Kings Cross streets, ears humming away merrily. What a gig that was. And now today I've found out we've got tickets for The Jesus and Mary Chain at Brixton in September. Fuck me life is good.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Bloggers Block.

Have you ever had writers block? If you are a writer you probably have. I would never call myself a writer. I blog about all kinds of shite. Sometimes it has a point to make. I can be a gobby so and so sometimes and I feel very passionate about many things and I will kick off about discrimination be it racism, sexism or disablism if something gets my goat.

I am equally likely to write about the things that I love. Books, food and music are on the agenda here. Most people won't be interested in half (or maybe all) of the bands that I go and see but I would have loved to have been a music journo (without the pretentious bollocks they spout) and it fuels my dream.

I love lists. And I post a fair few. One of my mates once said that Hi-Fidelity, Nick Hornby's book on a music obessive reminded him of me such is my love of listing my 'favourite album track of the 90's' or my 'favourite jazz track'.

But today I can't think of anything to write about at all. Bloggers Block has hit the Boy Marmite.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Alan Johnston

Alan Johnston has now been in captivity for 100 days. The BBC Gaza correspondent was seized by a group called the Army of Islam. At the weekend Hamas had indicated that Alan Johnston's release was imminent but the Monday deadline passed with out him being released.
At 1:15 today thousands of BBC staff across the world will hold a vigil for Mr Johnston and his parents will release 100 balloons marking the days passed since his abduction. The BBC have set up a petition which has been signed by thousands of people across the globe. I urge you to sign it as well.


Friday, June 08, 2007


And so Paris Hilton is sent back to jail. She seemed to think it was not fair judging from the comments she made when she was led from the court. Strange I thought that if you broke the law you had to serve your punishment. Miss Hilton obviously thought her wealth and privilege would offer her a way out.

Good to see American justice works sometimes at least.



If you've had a nasty cold for a week, not eaten properly and consequently lost about half a stone as a result, I have a suggestion.

Eat a big plateful of West Indian Ox-tail Stew with Rice and Peas. Best medicine there is. Unctuous, full of flavour, moreish and dead yummy it was. I feel loads better now.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Kool Thing.

I have just returned from a week away with Lily and Sybil at my parents (named Gran and Uncle John by Sybs). Lily often worries when we go anywhere because as a result of her autism Sybil isn't always comfortable in new surroundings and trying new things. Sybs likes things to remain the same on the whole.

Over the last six months or so Sybil has been showing a real improvement in her communication with others, her conversations are now two or three sentences long and she will often now explain how she is feeling or why she wants to do something. She is also not so worried about going into shops, cafes and the like. This was her fourth trip to my Mum and Dad's place and she likes going to visit them. There are three cats to play with for a start. She always has a good time.

This visit was notable for several reasons. Sybil tried loads of new things and although some of them might appear quite small and insignificant to Sybil and Lily they were big leaps.

  1. Sybil tried a chip. -We have taken her to Burger King/MacDonalds on several occassions when we have been out. Sybil likes to have Fish Fingers and either orange juice or milk. Last week we asked her if she would like a chip. She always says no when asked this but this time she ate one (well half, but you've got to start somewhere).
  2. Sybil played with other children. - I have two adorable nieces aged three and five and they love Sybs. Sybil, though doesn't really mix with other children preferring to do her own thing, even when other children are about. My youngest niece Evie is an entertainer. She is one of those children who loves getting stuck in and is always the first to make friends. On the other occasions they have met they have got on but have not really interacted with each other. However this time Evie's persistence and Maia's quiet wait and see what happens approach worked. Evie had all three of them sliding down the stairs in a row (lots of times), playing fuzzy felt and her a Sybil dug holes together on the beach. Sybil enjoyed this so much that the next day when she saw them she asked them if they could play the sliding game again. This was fantastic.
  3. Sybil went on loads of new stuff in the playground. - One the Friday, our last day we met my sister and the girls at a playground overlooking St Michael's Mount. Sybil went on a death slide type thing, I had to hold her on a push but she went on it twice and laughed a lot and also mastered a climbing frame contraption with netting and logs. She started off very slowly on all fours and by the end was striding across with confidence.
  4. Sybil had her first ice-cream. - Sybs has always said no when asked if she wanted an ice cream in the past. All week she kept saying to me "Can you have an ice cream Mark?" so Lily and me thought she might try a bit of one. On a trip over to St Michael's Mount my sister asked if she wanted one and she said yes. She ate about a third of a large chocolate ice cream and flake (well she ate all the flake, she loves chocolate).
  5. Sybil gave someone a kiss goodbye. - Lily was astonished at this because she has never done it before. She likes a cuddle but if you give her a kiss she does what most children do and shouts "Err Yuk!!" However when we went to see my Nan she gave her a hug when we left and gave her a peck on the cheek.
  6. Sybil went on a boat. - If you've ever been to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall you'll know that at low tide you can get to it by walking across a causeway to the island. This is what we did on Friday. However although we were only there for an hour or so by the time we came to come back the causeway was covered by the incoming tide and the only way back was by a small motorised ferry boat. Lily was worried enough and had to have a fag but although we didn't say anything to Sybs until we got to the steps leading to the boat she made it very clear that she didn't want to go. It was upsetting to hear her saying "please don't take me on a boat". The boatman was fantastic and told Sybil not to be scared and asked her if she wanted to drive, to which Sybil said "No thank you". However as the boat set off and rounded the harbour wall Sybil beamed and said "shall we row". She really enjoyed herself and as a result Lily did too. It was great to see her overcome a fear like that and I'm certain next time we go on a boat Sybs will be all for it.

As I said this may all seen trivial and not much to write home about and many children do new things all the time, however for Sybil these were big things her Mum is very proud of her. I know I am.