Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Wendy ’08

January 20th, 2008 2 comments

It has been so long since I last went out clubbing in Leeds and so I jumped at the chance to go to this month’s Wendy House. My housemate, Chris, had thrown together a pre-Wendy party at ours – mainly so he had an excuse to play the new Cascade album, but also to ensure a decent Wendy turnout from the circle. In the end we had about six or seven attendees which is a pretty good effort to be honest.

The evening was quite a success really, we left pretty much at the end – missing only 30-40 minutes or so of the night – as most people drank sensibly and didn’t get into too much trouble! Takeaway was grabbed on the way home and apart from a minor incident involving Michelle, prawn crackers and some waterworks we made it through the night virtually unscathed.

Chris also managed to lose his virginity!

Vinyl vs CD

December 18th, 2007 1 comment

Having spent the past few days moving my room around to accommodate some new furniture and to try and create some separation between the sleeping part of bedroom from the office part one of the bonus side effetcs has been the relocation of my record player.

Previously tucked out the way above my desk, it is now situated in prime position with plenty of room for botht the turntable and the speakers. I have been playing records on it pretty much non-stop since I re-routed the power in my room to accommodate the new changes.

For playing rock music and classical pieces nothing even compares tot he depth and richness of sound produced by a turntable and a 12″ vinyl. Artists such as Brice Springsteen, Eric Clapton and Billy Bragg really come to life and Gustav Holst’s ‘Planet’s Suite’ is transformed from a beautiful work of art to an emotive masterpiece – something that the CD and subsequent MP3-esque digital formats cannot replicate!

I have to admit that some music, like a lot of my metal and dance collection can be just as enjoyable to listen to in digital format as well as on vinyl and a lot easier to find in CD form!

I think next year’s Christmas list will contain a new record player system – ideally a separates system including amplifier, speakers and deck.

Lancashire Hotpots

November 3rd, 2007 No comments

During a routine trawl of YouTube I came across a really funny vodeo about Emos. It is performed by a band calle dhte Lancashire Hotpots a pop-folk band from Lancashire (the clue is in the name). I have posted the spoof video as done by a YouTube user involving Lego figures as I think it adds a special something to the song – not taking anything away from the band’s actual video release.

Anyway, take a look and I believe the single is available from iTunes.

Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) RIP

September 6th, 2007 No comments

Luciano Pavarotti is probably the most well known classical singer in the world. His rendition of Nessun Dorma alongside Domingo and Carreras at Italia ’90 is still one of my top five most moving moments. Maybe it is my affinity with the song that has led me to develop some sort of admiration for The Maestro, but I felt a deep sense of loss this morning when I awoke to the news of his death. He died of pancreatic cancer in his home in Modena, Italy aged seventy-one.

Pavarotti was a typical operatic singer, he was a large man with a voice that many people could recognise instantly. With over thirty years of stage perfomance behind him I wonder if it is too much to say that he was one of the all-time great classical vocalists. He still holds the record for the most curtain calls (at 165) and the fastest selling classical album of all time, a record he shares as part of the Three Tenors.

I think the world will not take this death too seriously, he was known for cancelling gigs, being somewhat difficult to work with and recent scandal about his ability to read music and act on stage tarnished his reputation. I think, however, people will start to realsie exactly what they have lost when they can no longer listen to the magical, smooth voice of possibly the greatest tenor voice ever.

Luciano Pavarotti, rest in peace.

See a rendition of his signature piece, Nessun Dorma, here.

All things Solfest

August 28th, 2007 1 comment

What an amazing weekend!

I attended my last festival of the summer this weekend – Solfest, on the Solway coast up in in Cumbria. It was a really good weekend, it was the ideal combination of good company, good music and brilliant atmosphere. I headed over to Kirkham on Wednesday after dropping Liz off in Potterhanworth so that I could do some of my to-do list before heading up to Solfest on the Friday. Due to traffic and general slowness on my part I didn’t actually get home until tea time, so didn’t really get much done. Ended up watching the England game then heading to bed.

On Thursday I set about my to-do list with some vigour. I managed to clean the car inside and out, pick up some replacement parts for the car and fit them and generally check to see how much work I am going to have to do to get the car through its MOT. I also managed to get all my washing and drying done ready for me to pack for Solfest. I managed to get it all done just in time to pick Michelle up from preston train station as she was flying voer from Jersey specially for the weekend. In the end, the train was about two hours late and I was sat on the platform for most of it. It was boring! Michelle arrived eventually (about 1am) and we headed for home and pretty much went straight to bed as we were leaving at nine the next morning!

The trip up to Solfest was generally uneventful, the roads were quite quiet seeing as it was the start of the Bank Holiday weekend though it did start to get busier throughout the day. We arrived at Sarann’s Dad’s house, with who we were staying for the weekend, at about lunchtime. We ate then headed out to Allonby to eat ice cream and walk on the beach. We had met up with Matt by this time too (Kat was also about, but was stewarding at the festival). We hit the festival about five o’clock.

One of the big surprises for me was how full the festival felt. Solfest is a relatively small, family orientated festival with about 5000 ticket holders and about 2000 stewards etc. The festival site itself wasn’t tiny yet the place felt full without being overcrowded. The next big surprise came when checking the programme for the weekend and discovering that Ben’s Brother were booked to play on the Bar Stage – the smallest venue at the festival. This surprised me as Ben’s Brother are currently enjoying quite a high level of chart and radio success and are tipped to headline some of the major summer festivals next year such as Leeds/Reading and V. I dawned on me that their debut album has only very recently been released and they must have been booked for the festival many months ago. I had to see them seeing as it was likely the last time they would be playing such an intimate venue!

They were well worth the entry fee to the festival alone. Sometimes I am disappointed by bands like Ben’s Brother when they play live but this was not the case. In many ways I preferred their live set to their album – which it must be said is a really good album, one I would recommend to anyone – as they managed to really get the audience going with their mix of classic indie guitar riffs and soulful singing. We caught a few other bands on the Friday night including the everpresent festival band that is Ozric’s Tentacles (well worth catching if you can).

Saturday was always going to be a highlight for me – Badly Drawn Boy, The Undertones and Chumbawumba all had slots on the mainstage with the former bands headlining! What a combination – Badly Drawn Boy followed by The Undertones. You would not see it anywhere else! The amazing acoustic sounds of Silent Sigh followed by Teenage Kicks!! It was an amazing night. One of the best evenings of live entertainment in my life!

Sunday was not an obvious highlight for me musicwise. There was pretty much only one band I was bothered about and that was the final act of the festival on the main stage – the everpresent Levellers. However, Solfest had one last surprise for me and it went by the name of Show of Hands. Show of Hands are an English folk group that plays a combination of traditional folk, sea shanties and rock music. They were stunning. I actually watched their set mesmerised by them. I am going to stick my neck out and say I don’t think anything has ever moved me quite so much as their music. I loved every second of their set and could have listened to them all night.

All in all it wa sa massively successful festival and I would like to extend some thank yous. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone involved with Solfest for putting on such a warm and friendly festival. Secondly I would like to thank Michelle, Kat, Matt, Ciara, Toni and Caitlin for helping make the weekend a massive success by being cool festival buddies. A special thanks to Sarann for insisting we went and making sure we all had an amazing time and a massive thanks to Sarann’s Dad for putting up with a house full of students for four days, for feeding us and for generally providing for our every whim!

I recommend this festival to all. I literally cannot wait for next year’s tickets to go on sale!!

Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors

August 23rd, 2007 2 comments

I was listening to the Editors’ new album “An End Has A Start” and the opening track has a very interesting lyric/title which goes “…the saddest thing I have ever seen are smokers outside the hospital doors…” and it got me to thinking. Now, I am not usually found to spout too much social commentary on this blog, but I feel quite strongly about this issue.

This post is actually not about smoking per se, but on the slow decline of ambition amongst people in this county. Britain was founded on industry, on the ambition, work and accomplishments of individuals – but not just individuals, of the nation as a whole. This just isn’t true anymore. Take, for example, the title of this post. Is there anything more depressing and indicative of modern society than the sight of ill people killing themselves?

The news continued this theme of declining social values last night when it introduced the story of an eleven year old boy, shot dead by a teenager ina drive by shooting on a BMX bike! You can read the full story here. This shooting is just one in a long line of teenage murders. Murders committed by teenagers on teenagers! This is particularly prevalent on London and Manchester, but the most recent one happened in Liverpool. This whole culture and society is to blame. Usually, I am pretty good at coming up with off the cuff solutions to these problems, usually quite right wing and usually quit impractical. This time, however, I am at a loss. I think we may be at a point where we cannot prevent this from happening again. How can we stop this culture of violence and depravity when it is so far advabced and intertwined into mainstream culture and society. In fact, I would go so far as to say that mainstream culture is itself to blame. We are all to blame for this. We have stood back and allowed too many freedoms and not enough responsibility. As my mum said last night, “’s a pity we can’t transport them anymore..”

David Cameron, the Tory leader, suggested that we suspend the driving licence age for those who commit anti-social crimes. A youngster in Bedford was quoted to reply to this by saying “…so? We will just drive anyway…” I am out of ideas. I want to blame the parents, but what can they do if their children are out of control. I want to say that we should just lock them all away and throw away the key, go totally zero tolerance against all violent crime and anti-social crime in young people. Bring in mandatory life sentences for all violent crime. This sounds harsh, but ultimately we are going to need a deterrent that actually deters from crime. A slap on the wrist, an ASBO, community service orders have all been tried and have all failed so spectacularly that it’s actually funny. We need to crack down now. Before it is too late.

Unfortunately, I think we may have already missed the boat on this one. Maybe it is already a case of giving up and going home, starting again from scratch!

Eyes Open – Snow Patrol

August 14th, 2007 3 comments

Yes, the album has been out for quite some time, but I feel that it needs a review as it is currently one of my most frequently played albums at home.

For starters, it is far superior in both composition and content than Final Straw their previous release. Not only does it contain more “anthem” style songs, but the feel of the album is just more appropriate to the band’s sound and ethos. You can definitely feel the direction of the album is one of hope, of developing hurt into strength. It is probably why I am listening to it a lot at the moment as I am currently trying to go through the same transformation – turning past mistakes and disasters into soemthing positive. There are three really good tracks on the album, which I think deserve a special mention. First is Hands Open. It has one of the finest bass riffs I have come across and really carries the message of the album well. It also has one of the most memorable opening couplets I have heard in some time:

It’s hard to argue when
you won’t stop making sense
But my tongue still misbehaves and it
keeps digging my own grave with my

Hands open, and my eyes open
I just keep hoping
That your heart opens

Why would I sabotage
the best thing that I have
Well, it makes it easier to know
exactly what I want with my…

Hands open and my eyes open
I just keep hoping
that your heart opens

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

Put Sufjan Stevens on
and we’ll play your favorite song
“Chicago” bursts to life and your
sweet smile remembers you, my

Hands open, and my eyes open
I just keep hoping
That your heart opens

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

It’s not as easy as willing it all to be right
Gotta be more than hoping it’s right
I wanna hear you laugh like you really mean it
Collapse into me, tired with joy

The othe really good songs are Set The Fire To The Third Bar which features the vocals of the amazingly talented Martha Wainwright (listen to her other stuff and you will see what I mean) and one of the singles off the album, Chasing Cars. Many of you will disagree with this last track, as it isn’t really in keeping with the album as a whole, but I like it. It is the right combination of melancholy and uplifting rock.

Anyway, listen to the album – even if you don’t really like Snow Patrol and I know there are many of you out there. I think there is something for everyone on this album, especially if you like lyrics driven music!

Vegetarian Bikers?

June 17th, 2007 3 comments

It was a question I asked myself numerous times in the week leading up to the start of this years MAG Farmyard Party, would big hairy bikers want to eat primarily vegetarian food at a bike festival? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. I have just returned from my second festival working for Rakesh’s vegetarian catering unit, Nomad’s and the impression I got was that he made a decent profit at the festival despite the atrocious weather and the crazy biker types that frequent these gatherings.

Sarann and I set out on Thrusday afternoon in the pouring rain to meet Rakesh at Duncombe park, Helmsley, North Yorkshire. It was a nice enough drive, despite the rain and Sutton bank is a really nice little area. The rain eased as we approached the festival site, which was a blessing as there is nothing worse than putting your tent up in the rain. We soon had the tent pitched and a full belly of chick pea chana and chips. The rain held until just gone 22.30 and with the rain we headed off to bed. My first shift was at 9am and was a great chance to meet Jeanette, another of Rakesh’s crew and someone I have not had the pleasure of working with yet. She is a lovely lady, full of life and stories ranging from her two sons to Barney (her 2yr old black German shepherd) and her life in York. The shift passed quickly, with the pair of us glad to be in the van rather than the torrential rain outside. Sarann and Lis took over at 1pm, Lis is another of the new colleagues I got to meet at this festival, really good fun and as kind a person as I have had the pleasure to meet with a mischievous streak a mile long!

The weekend revolved mainly about work, I did get out and about a bit, saw several of the custom bikes and had a wander round the stalls. We did venture out at night on the Friday, saw a few cover/tribute bands and a bit of the nightlife, but I ended up on the phone to Liz most of the evenings so didn’t spend too much time out and about.

The rain eased up as the festival progressed, I even managed a little sunburn on the Sunday before Sarann and I headed home. Only eleven days until Workhouse in Wales :-)

Looking forward to seeing Liz this week although she was off to see Muse today, so that is about all I will hear for the next few weeks.


June 5th, 2007 3 comments

Well the first one is out of the way. Sunrise, the first festival on my summer tour, was a good introduction to the world of festivals and the advantages/disadvantages of working them.

Kat, Sarann and I ventured down to Somerset on Wednesday last week ith a full car and full of expectations and apprehension. Well the apprehension was more on Sarann and my part as Kat is somewhat of a festival veteran. After a fairly uneventful trip down the motorways of England, we arrived at the festival site after a mere five hours. We soon pitched the tents and set ourselves up in the rain and went over to meet our new boss and co-workers for the very first time.

Sarann and I had agreed to work for Rakesh in his catering van without ever really meeting him and both we and him were taking quite a risk on this joint venture. Rakesh is a lovely guy, one of the nicest you will meet. His partner, Frances, was also one of the sweetest, kindest, most caring ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I decided that Wednesday evening that I was going to enjoy my summer.

With Kat heading off to do her own thing, Sarann and I ended up drinking wine in the tent having quite a long, meaningful chat. I already feel that we have developed a much stronger, closer relationship than before. Bed soon called us as we were starting our first shift/training session at 9am the next morning.

Thursday was a good day, not only did I really enjoy working with Rakesh, I also found that Sarann and I make a really good team. Rakesh was selling the usual selection of hot drinks, vegetarian hotdogs, his famed chickpea curry and home made, organic chips! The work was hard yet enjoyable, the only issue being the difficulty in preparing and chopping the chips on a campsite with limited equipment. Our first day drew to a close with a meander round some of the stages, a boogie in the dance tent and a chill out in ID Spiral with chocolate brownie and chai.

Friday saw business pick up a bit, whoch meant me and Sarann were working harder. The work was still really good fun, I enjoyed the banter with the customers and the staff and Sarann and I were really starting to gel as a team. As an aside, why is it so ridiculous that Sarann and I are a couple. People understandably assumed we were due to the fact we were working, camping and spent most of the festival with each other. Now I realise that we are not a couple and never will be and that is fine and in fact just the way I like it, but I still took offence and the speed and ferocity of Sarann’s denial.

Saturday was a day of catastrophe. Chipping the potatoes for Rakesh on his tiny little table had been causing me a some lower back pain all weekend; I had ignored it and carried on, taking some painkillers to get me through the day. However, Saturday lunchtime saw me lie down to grab a nap and then be unable to get up again. After a visit to the local medical centre I was diagnosed with a crushed disc in my lower back and ordered to take at least 48 hours to recover, rest and recuperate. This meant I had to let Rakesh and the team down and also meant I was going to miss that last two days of the festival! Things went from bad to worse for Rakesh from then on, losing another member of staff to a bereavement and generally bad luck on all fronts. Sarann, however, was a shining light. Not only did she play nursemaid to me and made sure I was always looked after, she workied like a Trojan for Rakesh, covering shifts and doing overtime. Basically Sarann was a star!

Saturday afternoon and Sunday passed with me lying flat on my back, drugged up to the eyeballs on painkillers and a herbal remdy which worked surprisingly well.

Monday saw us come home.

Summer of Fun

May 29th, 2007 1 comment

I thought it would be best if I let everyone know what I was up to this summer as blog posts are going to be a bit thin on the ground. I am going to be working a number of the smaller festivals this summer with Sarann. We are working at five and paying guests at another. This all means that we will be away for the best part of seven weeks including all the travelling time. I will keep you updated on our progress as best I can.

Sunrise – 31/05 to 03/06, Somerset

Farmyard – 15/06 to 17/06, North Yorkshire

Workhouse – 29/06 to 01/07, North Wales

Buddhafield – 11/07 to 15/07, Somerset

??? – 20/07 to 22/07, ???

Solfest – 24/08 to 26/08, Cumbria

As you can see a massively varied group of festivals, in terms of music, venue and location. I am really looking forward to getting to as much of each of the festivals as possible. I am working for a guy named Rakesh in his catering van. I am doing two four hour shifts everyday of the festivals, so it all depends on timing.

The only diasdavantage of the whole thing is that I don’t get to see Liz all that much, it just happens that the weekends I’m not away are the weekends she is down to work – which sucks!