Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Paddington Bear - A Very Brave Bear Indeed.

I have been quite upset at the flack that young Peruvian bear Paddington has been getting in the press. He has been accused, quite unfairly, of all kinds of misdemeanours all because he decided to take part in an ad campaign for Marmite. Readers will understand my defence of him. He has been championing marmalade since his arrival on our shores and as we all know to much chunky cut makes a bear a dull boy.

He has obviously decided to branch out a bit and why I am a little concerned that he has fallen for such a cheap marketing ploy as squeezy Marmite (which is obviously the work of the Nazi's or the Devil), his heart is in the right place. Marmite is such a superior spread. It is savoury, spicy and salty and is just the kind of thing to give a young bear a good start to the day. And anyway Marmalade has too much sugar in it and is bad for the teeth.

We, Marmite fans, must stand up for this courageous bear. He likes Marmite and isn't afraid to declare it. Paddington Bear we salute you.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Hiding In The Shadows.

Capodistria and I took a trip last night to Ipswich in darkest Suffolk. The purpose of this dangerous cross border raid from Essex was to see The Shadow Project at The Railway in the town. They are one of my new favourite bands and Capo was suffficiently taken with their debut album to come along too.

For those of you in the know Ipswich has a blackhole of a oneway system. Get lost and you may never see civilisation again!! The directions I printed off from a journey planning site were 'sketchy', so it took an hour at least once we had got into Ipswich to find the venue. Round and round we went. If you missed a turn off, which were not marked with the road number (which our directions were) it took ages to try and retrace your steps back to where you started to try and find teh right way. To bne fair to Ipswich town centre it wasn't its fault that the directions were total bollocks. The major road we had to find was a right turn at a set a traffic lights, a pretty major landmark I'll think you'll agree. Not good enough for shite website directions, oh no. There was no mention whatsoever of traffic lights, right turns or anything resembling a local landmark. We were led to believe that the road changed from the A1214 into the A137, which wasted about twenty minutes.

Anyway after quite a few examples of this we fianally arrived at a very weird looking venue. It had many posters outside for all kinds of 'tribute bands' (I use the term loosely as I reckon many of the true artists would be mortified by some of the shite that is being played in their name) and an awfully lot of Karaoke. We made our way in and I started to worry. There seemed to be no posters up saying 'Tonight all the way from just up the road The Shadow Project" There seemed to be nobody on the door taking any form of payment either (you can see where this is going can't you?) I went up to the bar and asked if the Shadow Project were indeed playing there tonight was met with confusion. It seemed that they hadn't been booked or indeed heard of. I had checked before leaving on their Myspace page and indeed when I got home I checked again. It was there in pixels and white "The Shadow Project - The Railway Ipswich". A 65 mile journey for nothing.

What to do next? We could have just driven home but neither of us hadn't had any tea (or supper if yoiu liove in Bracknell Towers) and we were a tad on the peckish side. We drove into the centre of town in search of an eatery and after dismissing an expensive Chinese and and even more expensive Indian we settled on
4 Street Fish and Chip Restaurant. It was very good indeed. I had King Prawn Tempura to start, whcih were probably the best I have ever tasted and followed it with Grilled Cod(the will grill or pan fry your fish as well as the traditional method) and Chips. Capo had Stilton Stuffed Mushrooms and Grilled Haddock. It was superb. The staff were friendly and atentive and the whole lot (with drinks) was £15 a head. Brilliant place and well worth a visit.
I had intended to write a gig review today but it has turned into a Restaurant review instead. That's a first.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jumped Up Pantry Boy Who Doesn't Know His Place.

The National Film Theatre on London's South Bank is a wonderful thing. It is cheap (six quid for a film), comfortable and people go to watch the film and not talk, eat popcorn and unwrap sweets. It also shows some old classics that you wouldn't find at the local Multiplex.

Last night, Electroboy and me went up 'that London' to see Sleuth, Joesph L. Mankiewicz's excellent 1972 film scripted by Peter Shaffer adapted from his own play. The film pairs up Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine as an unlikely screen double act in a tale of twists, turns, games and retribution.

The film centres of Olivier's Andrew Wyke, a success writer of crime novels, who invites a new neighbour Milo Tindle over for a chat. Wyke reveals that he knows that Milo is having an affair with his wife and the game begins. Wyke says that his wife, who has expensive tastes, could not be kept, by Milo in "the manner to which she has become accustomed" and proposes that if Milo can support her, he is willing to let her go, so he can in turn live with his mistress. He devises a plan in which Milo would steal his wifes jewels pocket the cash and then Andrew could claim the insurance money. Everybody gets what they want and everybody is happy. Or so it seems!!

I won't reveal more because I don't want to spoil the film but I will say that the film is as twisty and turny as a twisty turny thing and that it has real moments of tension and humour. The performances are superb. Olivier tears up the scenery like he always has and although extremely good is out acted, in my opinion, by Caine. He is quite brilliant and gives his best ever performance. I've always been a big fan of Michael Caine but it can't be denied that he is usually an extension of Michael Caine in his screen perfomances. Here though, he is stretched and pulls it off with ease. When he got the part he famously said "With Olivier, I can't lose. If I'm not as good as he is, nobody will be surprised. If I give him a run for his money, peple will say 'Fancy Michael Caine doing that!'" Well he was right in almost every aspect except he was better than Olivier.

If you can find this on DVD or it is on telly I'd advise giving this film a watch, two or more if you can. I've seen it countless times now and always pick up something new from it. It should be regarded as a classic and perhaps the finest adaptation of a stage play on screen.


Monday, September 17, 2007

I Love Country Music...

...well after a fashion I do. I love the new altternative country stuff. It is raw and sparse and there isn't a rhinestone in sight. One thing I do love about some of the old style Nashville Country and Western music os the ridiculous song titles that some of the songs are given. They are usually about 'your man doing you wrong' or 'Little Sammy being run pover by a truck' or some such nonsense. The songs aren't meant to be funny I'm sure, but everyone outside of Nashville finds them hilarious. Because I'm a lazy sod, and can't be arsed to trawl through the interwebnet to find some real ( and no doubt funnier) song titles I have made up. Here then, and in no particular order, is my take on Country and Western song titles.

  1. Jesus Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas Time.
  2. Daddy Loves His AK More Than He Loves Me.
  3. Don't Go A Whoring Mommy, Please Stay At Home Instead.
  4. He May Be A Klansman, But Daddy Don't Come Home Drunk.
  5. She Said She'd Go And Leave Me, So I Had To Shoot Her Dead.
  6. He Left Me For A Cowhand And Broke My Heart In Two.
  7. My Sister Sleeps With Grandpa, But Grandpa Sleeps With Mom.
  8. Hang A Commie Bastard From The Nearest Tree.
  9. Book Learning Is For Faggots, Gun Toting Is For Men.
  10. God Save Our Christian Soldiers Whilst Bombing In Iraq.

Maybe some of these songs already exist and are being belted out in some Redneck bar in Tennessee. I kinda hope so.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

John Peel Day

11 October marks the third anniversary of John Peel's final broadcast. On the 25 October 2004 John died in Peru. His legacy lives on in the third 'John Peel Day'. With any luck hundreds of gigs will be performed around the country in his memory. Music, especially new and exciting music, was the second biggest thing in John's life (after his family) and therefore having a day set aside for the enjoyment of music is a fine tribute.
Rest in Peace John. By the way the last Fall LP was really quite good.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The House Of Love - Live At Koko Club

The House of Love were probably the first band I went to see numerous times. It's like supporting a football team in a way, following a band around. You have to put the work in. You have to travel to distant lands (well Kent in my case). It was a fine time because the House of Love were superb band. Then they signed to a major label made a dodgy album and imploded.

Some 16 years after last seeing them I was happy to see that, as part of the Don't Look Back series of concerts where bands play one of their classic albums in their entirety. The House of Love played their seminal self-titled first album.

After a dreadful and completely inappropriate support from a pop-ska band who should remain in a pub doing parties for pissed up stag nights, we were eagerly looking forward to HoL. Once the opening bars of 'Christine' rand out it was like being transported back to 1988, when I was younger and getting back to seeing live bands again. The songs sounded as good as ever, although the intervening years have dented the Guy Chadwick's intensity a bit. Followed by 'Hope', 'Road' and the wonderful 'Sulphur' the mosh pit was soon bouncing along (although I only witnessed this from a safe distance). After the album was done the band popped off stage for a bit and returned to give us the classic singles 'Destroy The Heart' and the fantastic 'Shine On'.

It was a good night which brought back some great memories but it wasn't just a nostalgia trip. It proved that the bands that I new and loved way back when were far more inventive musically than a great deal of the current scene. And now that I sound like my Dad I'm going for a lie down.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Jesus And Mary Chain - Live Brixton Academy

Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain has always been one of my favourite albums. My old vinyl copy was virtually worn away because I played it so much. I loved the great waves of feedback that all but obliterated the vocals.

Mary Chain gigs were infamous. They were often short, chaotic, and violent with brothers Jim and William Reid usually ending up falling out (they apparently didn't get on at all). It pains me to say that I have never seen them live. It was at the time of my accident and I didn't see a gig for a few years. On Friday night though the situation was recitified.

It is always a bit worrying when you go and see a band some 15 years on, especially when you've held them in such high esteem. Can they still crack it? Will it be like your Mum and Dad going to see Freddie and the Dreamers? Well I was relieved when the Mary Chain hit the stage and opened up with 'Never Understand' there feedback ridden masterpiece. It was cleaner, and more proficient than 1985 version but still rocked and set the tone for the evening. They played most of what I would have wanted to hear, Taste Of Cindy, Just Like Honey and finisdhed with a barnstorming version of Reverence from Honey's Dead.

Three of my favourite gigs this year have turned out to be seeing bands that I first got into more than 15 years ago. This, Dinosaur Jr and Buffalo Tom earlier in the year have perhaps proved to me that the current scene is a bit lacking. I like to look forward with music because there is always something exciting that I've not heard yet, but on the evidence of Friday night I will checking the gig listings to see if any more old indie kids are strutting their stuff.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Blog Against The Telethon.

My attention was recently drawn to an online campaign against a Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in the USA that is taking place on Labor Day. Miss Crip Chick is running the campaign over at her blog. The telethon is being hosted by comedy actor Jerry Lewis and unfortunately the event is so steeped in the Charity Model of Disability is nothing less than deeply offensive.

Mr Lewis seems to believe that disabled people are poor helpless creatures who not only need pity and charity he also believes, from comments he has made, that disabled people should not attempt to take part fully in society unless they are 'cured' of there terrible affliction. Disabled campaigners have been quick to step up to the plate and protest against the telethon because it of its overt use of the Charity Model. It promotes pity as a way of raising money for cures. When disabled activists complained Lewis said:

"Pity? [If] you don't want to be pitied because you're a cripple in a wheelchair, stay in ya house

The lovely caring Mr Lewis also said the following:

"I'm telling people about a child in trouble! If it's pity, we'll get some money. I'm just giving you facts!"

It doesn't stop there. It actually gets worse. The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) who run the telethon with Lewis published the following in Parade magazine under a Jerry Lewis byline:

"What if the twist of fate that we hear so much about really happened? What if, when the gifts and the pains were being handed out, I was in the wrong line?" Lewis began . "What if I had Muscular Dystrophy?" was its title.
"I decided after 41 years of battling this curse that attacks children of all ages, I would put myself in that chair, that steel imprisonment that long has been deemed the dystrophic child's plight," he continued.

"I know the courage it takes to get on the court with other cripples and play wheelchair basketball, but I'm not as fortunate as they are," Lewis wrote, halfway into the piece. He had so far managed to include nearly every term or concept offensive to disability rights advocates, and his next sentences would work in the others: "I'd like to play basketball like normal, healthy, vital and energetic people. I really don't want the substitute. I just can't half-do anything. When I sit back and think a little more rationally," he continued, "I realize my life is half, so I must learn to do things halfway. I just have to learn to try to be good at being half a person."

Can you believe the guy? For years disabled people have been seen as second class citizens and have fought an uphill battle just to get access to buildings, jobs and education. It seems that some people don't thing that we are worthy of this as we are "half a person" as Lewis puts it. And this comes from a man who actually believes he is doing some good.

Lewis' attitude stinks. It reinforces every negative attitude there has every been able us (those living with MD and those of us with other impairments and conditions). I would urge you to visit Miss Crip Chicks website and join in the campaign against this Telethon.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

New Ink

I've just had my seventh tattoo. It is a mixture of Polynesian and Japanese symbols and the work was done, as usual, by the rather excellent Giselle at Shamanic Body Art in Westcliff.

Thanks also to Lady B's Editor for sending me the mobile phone photos I sent her back to me by email.