Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And They Say Cricket Is Boring.

The National Football League has come to London. The Miami Dolphins American Football team are playing one of their 'home' games at Wembley Stadium against the New York Giants. It's on Sky at the moment and I must say I have rarely been so bored. It has often been said that America would never take to cricket because nothing happens and it takes too long!! Well tell me this, why does a game that is one hour long take 3 and a half hours to complete? Periods of play seem to last no more than 5 seconds (and that's a good one). Surely the concentration span of your average American is longer than this?

I'm going for a bath and I bet the bloody thing is still going on when I've finished an' all.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cheers Danny

Along with a couple of fellow bloggers (and friends of 20 years plus) I have set up a new blog called The Long Player. The premise is to write about the albums we have loved and that have had an impact on our lives. It is a real fanboy type of thing to do and Planet Mondo, Piley and me are sufficiently sad to be able to pontificate endlessly on what we believe to be great records.

The first album that was talked about was Power In The Darkness by the Tom Robinson Band. It was the first record that really meant something to me and moved me away from listening to just pop music. A couple of tracks are still amongst my favourites some 29 years after its release. TRB's guitarist was Danny Kustow who remains one of my very favourite guitarists of all time. Danny really goes for it on TRB's records and gives them a raw power and a sound of their own.

I recently joined Danny's Myspace page and was thrilled when he replied to a comment I'd left on his page. It was fantastic to be contacted by someone I'd regarded so highly. This week I emailed Danny and mentioned the post about Power In The Darkness and was really touched when I opened up my Myspace page today and found another email form Danny. He said how brilliant it was that I had written about the album and how true my comments were about it. he said he felt proud and thanked me from the bottom of his heart. It has made not only my day but quite possibly my week, month and year to hear this. Danny doesn't play professionally anymore and he deserves to be remembered as a truly great new wave guitarist. To discover that my post has made him feel proud of his work today is very special.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

With Great Age Comes Great Responsibility.

A rather lovely thing has happened to me lately. I have been with Lily now for over 18 months and it has been fantastic. She is a warm, kind, gorgeous and lovely person who I love lots and lots.
As you may have seen in these pages Lily has a daughter called Sybil. Sybs is a star. She is very, very funny, loves reading, computers, cool tv programmes like Bod, Camberwick Green, Trumpton, Chigley and Mr Benn, likes her comics (she loves the Beano so much that she won't let anyone else read it. Ever.) She likes Bakewell Tart, Jaffa Cakes, fishfingers, breaded fish, chicken nuggets, bread and butter, cheese sandwiches, Kit-Kats, milk and orange juice. She loves pussy cats but doesn't like flies.
She is into music and is a real indie chick. Her current favourites are Teenage Fanclub (that's my Fannies t-shirt she is sporting in the picture above), The Slits (her favourite favourite), Camera Obscura, Belle and Sebastian, Kings of Convenience, The Wonderstuff and Ben Folds Five. I love her very much.
Oh and as of 9th October I am her official guardian. Life is good.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'll Be Back

Tory leader Little Dave Cameron has apparently popped over to California to hold 'talks' with the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently Dave and Arnie had a chat about gun crime. Cameron said "we had a long conversation about crime because really the principle reason I'm here, apart from the Google speech I've made, is to look at the issue of guns and gangs". He said that Arnie had also given him a gift of his dvd's.

Now I know that Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California and all that but I fail to see what input he can have into combating gun crime in the UK. The USA is one of the most violent countries in the world, gun crime is rife and the gun lobby has a massive influence over who gets elected and what laws are passed. I hate the Tories from the bottom of my heart (a legacy from the Thatcher era of the 1980's) but I would have liked to think that the days of them looking to the policies of right wing politicians (ex-actors or not) who promote the right to bear arms, are against same sex marriage and who has authorised the execution of prisioners had passed.

The Tory old guard and their cronies at the Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph are always harping on about the influence of the media and films on our young. I wonder how many of them will jump to condem Cameron's trip to seek the views of a man who made an entire career out of shooting hundreds of people dead in his films?

I'll be very surprised if they do.


Friday, October 05, 2007

iLiKETRAiNS LiVE The Arts Centre - Colchester

The support tonight was from the excellent Norwich band Sennan who hark back to the days of Shoegazey. Had iLiKETRAinS not turned up their set would have been worth the admission price alone. I already have a copy of their debut album and I was very excited to learn that they were playing too. It made for a very enjoyable evening to see two bands at the top of their game.

iLiKETRAiNS are a bit different to your average band. There are no songs about unrequited love or ex-girlfriends. There are no laddish lyrics about starting riots or getting pissed either. Instead the songs are about the most unlikely of subjects. 'A Rook House For Bobby' for instance is about American chess Grand Master Bobby Fischer and other songs, 'Spencer Perceval' about the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated, 'Twenty Five Sins' about the Great Fire of London and other songs are about the Great Plague, the Beeching Report which shut down half the British railway system and ill-fated attempts at sailing around the world in a yacht. Not your normal fare you'll agree. There music is dark and mournful and David Martin's lead vocals are deep and soulful.

Live they really nail it. The musicianship is excellent and the sound they produce soars and takes you with it. As they play a back projection plays montages related to each song. It adds to the whole live experience and really draws you in.

This was a superb night, great music, an excellent venue, ideally suited for the bands and great value at seven quid a pop.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ned Sherrin

Ned Sherrin, presenter, writer, producer, stage director and theatre impresario has died at the age of 76. His place in the big league of British popular culture cannot be denied. He was responsible for producing That Was The Week That Was which, it can be argued, changed the face of British comedy in that its satirical nature had a big influence in the direction of comedy, especially as so much of the 'alternative comedy' circuit was to become satirical in nature.

He produced many theatre productions in London's West End including Side By Side By Sondheim and Jeffery Barnard Is Unwell and produced Up The Junction on TV as well as The Virgin Soldiers for cinema.

In recent years however, Sherrin is best remember for Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4. It was a weekly show (originally on Saturday mornings) that showcased just about every form of entertainer you could think of. From novelists, actors, comedians, singers, musicians and journalists. Graham Norton, Victoria Coren, Robert Elms, Victor Lewis-Smith, Arthur Smith and Emma Freud all worked on Loose Ends at some time early in their careers. He was a great raconteur who seemed to have a story about everyone.

To my mind he was a pioneer and like another great pioneer Anthony H Wilson who also died recently he has left a great legacy behind him and will be sorely missed.