Sunday, February 26, 2006


You probably won't believe this, but I used to be an altar boy. Straight up! I wore a dress and strode around the pews with a brass cross on a stick, bigger than a fishing rod. I gassed rows of fidgety, anxious pensioners with incense, faredodged my way around the stations of the cross, took pound coin tips from mourners at funerals, scratched my plonker under my cassock and rang a handbell at the nubile daughters of the Union of Catholic Mothers.

Now, it's usually at this point that some wag chips in, "Uh huh huh, so did you get abused by priests?" The answer is no. I put this down to the fact that, aged 12, I bore an uncanny striking resemblance to the Infant of Prague. After mass, when the priest would burst into the sacristy (the 'back stage' area), slugging on a bottle of altar wine and jangling his rosary beads around like some Claire's Accessories chain belt, I would simply freeze, stand erect (oh, grow up), purse my lips and extend one hand with two fingers jammed together, eyes glazed in a thousand yard stare. The padre would then mistakenly lunge for the waist-high statue of the Infant Jesus, dragging it towards the nearest cupboard, panting and wheezing and growling, "AH NOW BOY, WE'LL HAVE TO PUT A STOP TO THOSE FISHFINGER AND CHIP SUPPERS!"

Did you know there's actually a newspaper called "The Catholic Mother"? It's produced and distributed for free by the aforementioned UCM, a bizarre coven of fishwives devoted to making their long-suffering kids' lives a complete misery. They pray for their sons to contract stigmata (in order to hamper five knuckle shuffles) and consider the slightest mark of mascara on a teenage daughter's face to be the smear of Satan's own dung. They're not a bad bunch, as completely loopy cunts go. Thank St Greavsie, my ma never joined this sinister cabal, I don't think even she was holy enough to ascend to their ranks.

There's a lot of weird subcultures in the Catholic Church, and I don't even have to go as far as Opus Dei - check out the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, an evil sect of child abusing bitches. This mob even had a teenage splinter group, the Young Vincentians, who, from what I can ascertain, spent most of their time decrying abortion and homosexuality. The big irony being that the latter eradicates the need for the former, but then again eradicate both and the YVs would probably be ranting against the evils of home taping*, drinking coffee or rearing greyhounds instead.

But back to my altar boy days. My brother had been press-ganged into fulfilling this 'job' (we're talking spiritual rather than financial reward here) as a teenager in the 1970s. Only he'd decided he wouldn't mind a bit of the financial reward as well, and began to dip his fingers into the collection plate. A lot of the contributions were made mafia-style, in discreet purple envelopes. Needless to say, my parents discovered a pile of these torn envelopes in his wardrobe and beat the living fuck out of him. As a result, being an altar boy meant my mother felt she had the right to turn out my bedroom on regular inspections, in case I emulated my sibling on his road to Hell.

I mean, how fucking stupid can you get? I'd have thrown the envelopes away at least, the fool. I don't know how much he got away with, but it was around this time he bought his first Honda.

It's quite odd being on the altar. Like a sort of cross between performer and janitor. On the one hand, I couldn't fall asleep, though by Christ, given the amount of sermons I had to sit through on the subject of "The Sunday Sport" ("DON'T BUY IT!!! THERE'S NO 'SPORT' IN THAT PAPER!!") by some pervert in a frock, lying that a 'friend' had sent a copy to him for his 'perusal' , as a warning of the mounting stockpile of PURE EVIL dwarfing the modern world, it's a wonder I didn't drift into a coma. BUT, on the other hand, when you'd see a couple of exquisitely fucking bored foxy girls in the 'audience', manacled to their parents, it became obvious that you were a boy in a dress, and that by mucking about and falling asleep you might get a reputation as the 'bad boy' of the altar. What a paradox. Of course, even if I'd let off a firework, grasped the microphone and started yelling "BOGSIDE, CLYDESIDE, JOIN THE ANGRY SIDE", I'd still have been a boy in a dress, doing nice things for Jesus, an ideal boyfriend only in the eyes of the UCM.

There was only one solution, I had to get chucked off the altar, which I managed successfully by deliberately dropping every implement given to me on a Sunday 11am service of pure chaos. I then feigned mock outrage at the priest's suggestion that I give up carrying the cross to one of the other suckers, and used it as a pretext to tell my parents I considered it the ultimate humiliation - how dare he demote me. Luckily, my dad was mad enough to buy this and spent a half hour ranting about priests being a shower of bastards, not like the real ones back in Ireland. Sorted - now all I had to do was bunk off mass full stop, but that's another story for another time...

(*- 'home taping' -primitive 20th century method of music piracy, most infamously endorsed by a Satanic pop group called Bow Wow Wow)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Now, there's a school of thought that David Irving shouldn't be pooing in a bucket and watching Austrian daytime TV in clink, because a) it'll turn him into a martyr of the far right b) it contravenes the basic right to free speech, and we should merely ridicule and expose him, lest we too have our freedom of expression curbed by the state.

My answers to these 2 points are a) who fucking cares who the far right adopt as a 'martyr'? They adopted Ian Stuart, and oh wow, what? Do the International Jewry now toss and turn in their beds knowing that Combat 18 believe that the wag behind such thoughtful nationalist polemic as What a laugh we had on Friday night / And the bird you went with, what a sight / And you made excuses for her face was actually murdered by Mossad, instead of tipping the van over with his fat arse? b) my personal school of thought is that "life sucks, get a crash helmet", which means I don't believe we'll ever attain some static, universal standard of justice where all are treated equally. So, never mind all that "well, we won't be allowed to say this next..." jive, just think, he's a prat, and he's been banged up just a month short of his 68th birthday and cheer yourself up. Small pleasures, grab em where you can.


So anyway, Ninja Tune sent me this promo CD by Spank Rock, and you may be thinking, "Pah, marketing hype", but I'm bound by a lifelong commitment to the advancement of good old-fashioned MANNERS and would no sooner hurl a free gift from the window than I'd deprive some old bag of a seat on the tube - that could be my mother, y'know

Speaking of defenestrating objects, I've recently taken to hurling things onto the Blackstock Road, in order to brain a brainless couple of *rs*n*l-supporting idiots who keep having their tossers' tiffs RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR BLOCK, on regular 2am shifts. I spent about a week in Barnes Wallis mode, flinging empty San Miguel cans, filled with a small amount of tap water and some fag butts for ballast, downwards from my window ledge - but to no avail! The couple kept on arguing. But behold, two Sundays ago, the phantom hand of Danny Blanchflower came to my assistance, and having lobbed can-missile number 6, I heard a satisfying "UGGGH!!! WHAT THE FU...SOME CUNT FREW THAT AT ME! CUNT!" waft upwards from the street. Well, it was cheaper than buying the new Whitehouse album...

Anyway, back to the review. I will try and be as honest as possible, as befits a blog of this nature. I'm aware that some sceptics will probably think I've made the 'Spank Rock' album up, that it's "another lie", a non-existent release like Necrosodomize Those Weeping Girl Guides, To Appease The Mighty Baphomet by Phallic Inferno, or the anti-nazi,cockney-polack skiffle anthem, My Old Man Jumped Off The Train To Maidanek (actually the latter was sort of true...). Well, doubters can't be helped. Of course, when someone reveals that Neal Armstrong DID see a Soviet Flag on the Moon, you'll know better - but til then....


Ted Rogers : Well, 'Spank Rock' , what could that be? You've got 'spank' which is one way to discipline a naughty child, which would mean corporal punishment...."bring back the birch!"....birch trees, more trees could mean conservation, the natural world...and that would tie in with 'Rock'...we might be looking at geology now...rock formations, rock clusters...rock cakes? So, we're talking about baking. Now what's a 'baker's dozen'? 13...unlucky number tonight, you were hoping for a review but've got the bin!!

Oh for fuck's sake, grow up.


Right, I stuck this on. Do you know that Andrea Parker / DJ Assault tune "Freaky Bitches"? Well, if you dig that, it's a bit similar but with a nastier bass sound. I'd probably have liked this more when I was 16, or if I was listening to it at eardrum-cauterising volume in a club - in a council flat in Finsbury Park, trying to lamp gooners with beer cans, it didn't QUITE make me want to ejaculate over the pigeons in the gas flue (yes, they're still there, honest!). Track 3 was the best, the bass has this nice echo going on and it does sound suitably hard-arsed when played loud. Track 4 was the worst, the 2 Live Crew-style endless references to 'pussy', over a tepid and wimpy riff, got on my nerves, and I had a nightmarish vision of shirted-and-tied city ads team wankers dancing in 'Context' and trying to grind their crotches into girls' bums while simultaneously asking them if they fancy a Southern Comfort, before taking mobile phone pics of their boss being sick and sending them to their pregnant girlfriends at home.

But then again, maybe I just haven't heard it in the right conditions. I strongly believe that music should be heard in carefully selected surroundings. To me, raves weren't meant to be enjoyed in some farmer's field on a blisteringly hot Saturday afternoon- they had to be in some dank, dark venue, way past closing time, with enough strobes to blind a herd of small elephants. No blogger could ever have convinced me to check out "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival on strengths of canonical value or lyrics, BUT when you hear it on a loop tape in a bar in Manila with tank lagging, deactivated assault rifles and camoflage draped all over the walls, it really does makes sense. And as for Celine Dion's assertion that "I love reggae, it makes me think of sitting on a hammock on a beach" - er, what, even Linton Kwesi Johnson's "Di Great Insohreckshan"?

So, I feel the best way for me to PROPERLY conclude this review of Spank Rock's promo CD is for Ninja Tune to fly me to Baltimore, so I can see them in action. Preferably in a roped-off area, with complementary free booze (I promise to behave) and some massive-bootied birds with fake lips (I'm not kidding here) and with stud piercings just below their noses. England's turning me into a spluttering sexophobic, the weather's too rank, I've got followers of the most moronic football club ever spawned having sado-masochistic kebab-slapping rows outside my fucking window and I'm referencing Linton Kwesi Johnson far too much for someone who's 29. PLEASE, just get me out of here - I need to see Spank Rock in the flesh, to feel their basslines completely devastate my spinal column. If it wasn't for the fact that the new series of Footballers' Wives starts soon, I'd just go out now and buy a box of baby budgies, and let the bird flu work its magic.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Normally, I wouldn't recommend looking at, let alone linking to, a forum dedicated to a band - they're usually riddled with sycophants, and very, very boring. But I'll make a one-off exception for the forum hosted by the musically dire UK DECAY, probably Luton's most famous musical sons (even 'Rodney' wore one of their T-shirts in an early "Only Fools and Horses" episode). The link below'll take you to straight to a thread of old Luton punk venues, but if anybody's remotely interested in the layout of the town, or wants to see some of the (daylit) places we used to drive around at night (see Joy Division post, somewhere in December Archive), a few of these photos capture the atmosphere - all these years on and the place really hasn't changed

I was particulary surprised to find out that the old nissan hut, a monstrous shell in Marsh Farm, hosted a Crass gig in 1979. Funnily enough, I used to wonder what'd it be like if some mutoid industrial group played there, unaware that they probably did. Actually, most of the blarney on the forum seems to be about Luton, but I haven't waded through it (yet).

I think the Antisocial Workers (wasn't there some link to Blaggers ITA?) came from Luton too, but I know as much about Lutonian punk as I do about taxidermy, so I'll quit there.


Bye bye.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


1) NINJAMAN - True Love

Ninjaman might have become notorious for bragging about how he'd ventilated a vanload of cops by the age of 2, but he was capable of some responsible social commentary as well, whether condemning zig-zagging motorists from the sanity of his bicycle on "Drink And Drive", threatening to wreak vigilante vengeance on washing line thieves on "Gimme Pass" or upstaging the Grange Hill cast with "No Hard Drugs".

"True Love" showed Ninja's sensitive side, over a rhythm and chorus that could both have easily sneaked off a UB40 album. Now, don't let that put you off, cos this track is pure class. The whole song's basically a test of his woman's dedication - would she still love him if he was blind? Or how about if he was a beggar? Or what if he was in a wheelchair? Or dead - could she really live without him? The best verse has him asking if she'd take him to the "psychologist" if he was a "madman", instead of ditching him. It's not that unreasonable really, he's just making sure he's got all angles covered.

2) PRINCE FAR-I - You I Love And Not Another

The Voice of Thunder has a soppy moment on the 100% absolutely fucking essential, hasn't-got-one-crap-second-on-it, "UNDER HEAVY MANNERS" LP (the record that inspired Joe Strummer's trousers). There's something really incredible about female voices when they're dub-phased, they kind of blam out over the rooftops (check Trinity's "Three Piece Suit") and create this ethereal echo. Prince Far-I basically pledges his undying love to his bird, with the promise "You may change but I will's true!", and even the most cynical man-hater would be dissolved in a sea of tears by his delivery. Probably. Not like I actually know any man-haters to back up this ill-thought out sentence.

3) DENNIS BROWN - Let Me Down Easy

Even Dennis Brown, one of the coolest men ever spawned on the planet, got dumped at some point. Here he pleads, "Let me down easy, give me time, to get over you bay-beee". It's a mature attitude, one I'd like to emulate at the end of a break-up, instead of listening to the 4-Skins, getting slaughtered and trying to punch the hardest-looking man in the pub (and being killed).

4) UK SUBS - Telephone Numbers

This tune harks back to a halcyon pre-mobile era when your only way of securing a date with some yummy punkette was to scribble her phone number down on the back of your paw, only to emerge from the gig with a dark blue blotch above your wrist, unable to tell the difference between the "6"s and "0"s. And then getting to the telephone box with your last 20p, only to find a load of freshly dumped 4-Skins fans have vandalised it. How many potential love affairs have been scuppered through the centuries, thanks to lack of technology? I'll go to my grave wondering if ***, ****** and ***** just fobbed me off with dead numbers, or if my atrocious handwriting let me down (again). The fact that Charlie Harper was able to compress this fountain of frustration into a 60-second blast of speed-freak punk only adds to this song's brilliance.

5) POGUES - London Girl / Lullaby of London

It's obvious that these tunes, despite their lyrical pretexts, (a final night out in a relationship nearing its end / a bloke singing his kid to sleep) are just thinly-veiled love songs to London. As Woebot pointed out while discussing Vivien Goldman's "Launderette" in his now-legendary Top 100 Records list, these songs hark back to Starbucks-free high streets, hidden alleyways and a more communal capital city.

I understand that admitting to liking the Pogues is about as un-hip as you can get nowadays (like I give a flying), and that some people instantly hate them, perceiving it to be fiddle-de-dee music over the same basic thump, but surely you, foolish sceptic, find it difficult to resist lyrics like these, which could have appeared on a Coil album -

The devil moon took me through the alley
Down by the Kardomah and the Centrale
To the mews running through the backstreets
Where the blacks sold fire and sleep
The devil moon took me out of Soho
Up to Camden where the cold north winds blow
Sucked along by a winter shower
To stand beside your shining tower

The light was going out, the moon was dying
The night was turning to a fine spring morning
The dogs were barking and the kids were shouting
The sun was splashing in a crystal fountain
When the cold winds come to find you
Blowing down from the top of the high rise
I’ll come and take you back down to Soho
Away from all those madmens' eyes

We don't actually get much info on the girl, but then again, The Pogues fell in love with places - is it any wonder that years later, on their patchy "Peace and Love" album, the song "White City" would boast more emotional clout and fond heartache than Simon Bates' entire record collection?

6) NEW YORK MODELS - Love On Video

Some '80s Bobby O one-off production that's hard to get now. I'm sure when it was released it seemed pretty far out, in a "Videodrome" sort of way, with the girl singer reasoning that it's more enjoyable (and less messy) to watch people making love on video than bothering to land a real boyfriend. I don't know if it's just me, but there's something a bit spooky about this song, which begs the question, is it possible to empathise with people from 25-year old videos and documentaries, none of whom you've ever met in real life?

7) THE POP GROUP - She Is Beyond Good And Evil

This is probably the only ever instance where the whispered line "She's the girl of my dreams" sounds like a death threat. Naturally, I played this to my lunatic ex, many moons ago. I honestly thought she'd melt when she heard that line, "Our only defence is together as an army / I'll hold you like a gun". Instead she moaned that it gave her a headache. Western values actually did mean something to her, so much that in 2003, she told me, without a hint of irony, that she supported the war on Iraq (her parents were from Pakistan, by the way). Anyway, sod all that. I still dream, one day, of listening to this song, and the entire "Y" album, while standing at the edge of the Mekong Delta with a cold beer and a fag.


A word of advice to James Blunt - the last person to have a hit entitled "You're Beautiful" was mega-nonce GARY GLITTER. I think "AM FM" came from Italy, but this is another disc shrouded in mystery. It's like a cross between early NY hip hop and a Stock, Aitken and Waterman slow jam, with a girl busting a rhyme about sending out a request to some elusive bloke who's been stringing her along, before deciding that stardom and religion are "boring" and all she really needs is frequency modulation. The chorus is glorious, and leads straight on to the best sax break ever. I don't know if she ever made another record, but this is a trillion times better than leaving a legacy of Sonic Youth LPs.


Admittedly, this is a bit of a cheat entry, because while it's no doubt a heartfelt tune, it just makes me roll around the floor, crying with laughter. It's absurd beyond belief - hearing her doing her fragile little angel act, that line, "There was a fire at the warehouse..." cracks me up everytime. Then it gets really mad, with the sound of a helicopter whirring overhead and some pilot vocal crackle. This is all before the church choir kicks in, by which point my ribs are aching and I'm questioning my own mental health.

10) CHARLIE - Spacer Woman

Space terminology works well in love songs, for some uncanny reason. Is there any better compliment from a woman than "Let me be your phaser"? Are the Homosexuals aware that they rendered romanticism obsolete with the lines "The only thing that gives you away / Is your incredible event horizon?" on their power pop smash "Neutron Lover"? This song's like waking up with one of the characters from "Battle of the Planets". All the more incredible considering I hate science fiction.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Puke-inducing online poll (which I refuse to link to), find an icon that sums us all up - well, forget tea and red buses, here's one for you - Keith Harris (of "Orville" fame), drunk and banging on the Blackpool hotel door of a 20-year old model from Ayrshire, screaming, "*****, please, I love you, I can't live without you, I'm going to kill myself" -

That's it.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I'm a big fan of the Eurovision - as a child, it was my only window on other cultures. How else would I have known that Israel was part of Europe? Anyway, I've decided to craft a 'Song for Europe' entry. It's gonna be an Italo Disco stomper called Love Fascist. So far, I haven't come up with much - a sort of chorus (I'm trying to be serious about this, wipe those smirks off your chops - fuck irony) that goes like this -

Love fascist (fascist!)
He's gonna goosestep all over your heart
Love fascist (fascist!)
His love's gonna tear you apart!

It's about a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. I think the bits in brackets should be sung by a couple of girls. Here's the first verse

You're married to a love fascist
He's dictating your soul
His love's not democratic
His panzers seized control

The second verse'll be about how he grills his wife when she comes home late - I was sort of thinking - You're not allowed to go out tonight / no more dancing alone / his secret service is monitoring / your handbag and your phone but that sounds quite dismal.

Anyway, in the third verse, the singer announces that he's a communist partisan who's come to liberate her from her husband. Though, what's really bugging me is, should I get a couple of blokes to sing the bits in brackets and have a girl singing the lead?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006



I attended this event last night in the hope that we'd have a bit of a CHAS 'N' DAVE meets STOCKHAUSEN guerilla art riot / knees-up, with people slapping the keys and ranting about torching the German Embassy, as an act of revenge against Der Spiegel for publishing a degrading cartoon of SUPERMAN. Reality can be a tough cross to bear sometimes, and this event was a hike of GOLGOTHA-style proportions. In fact, apart from two blokes who were actually quite good, nobody seemed to bother going up for a 'turn' - well, apart from one girl, who briefly and self-consciously brushed her fingers against the keys, before returning to her friend. OK, so these blokes were 'good' - they could probably get summer jobs playing to geriatric Yorkshiremen in a hotel bar in Cyprus - but let's be honest, pianos are such wank "instruments" aren't they? Good for crushing PG Tips monkeys down flights of stairs, and not a lot else. This was the worst 'event' I've ever been to, though it must be stressed, the Foundry remains a top pub.

JOHN EDEN - Best of 2005 Mix
('Uncarved' link , 'free')

Well, what can I say - absolutely nothing! The track listing is top secret, and I'm forbidden to discuss its contents in case people guess what's on it. I haven't got any interesting reggae stories, really, though I did recently dig out the '76 Horace Ove' film "Pressure" and nearly had a nostalgic sob at the bit where the mighty TOMMY VANCE (RIP) raves about how much he's in love with reggae chanteuse Sharon Forrester. To think that we once had REAL MEN like Vance charming the nation's airwaves - a man who could happily groove on down to Lover's Rock AND take on a muddy field of Hell's Angels and Greasers, dodging lemonade bottles filled with piss, just to announce that Whitesnake would be coming on stage 10 minutes later than scheduled - and now we have SLOBS and DRIPS like Chris Moyles and every single fucker on XFM....I dunno...

I remember when my older brother went through his racist phase, he used to do a 'version' of Linton Kwesi Johnson's "Sonny's Lettah", where he'd sing, "Me timid like a mouse and me break into his house". Oh, hang on, I do have something interesting to say about reggae! Buy THIS...


Very good, could have done without the Massive Attack (ZZZ...) remix though

COBRA KILLER - Third Armpit

Their new album's rubbish, since one of them had a baby they don't throw themselves around or writhe in spilt beer and bodily fluids at their 'gigs' anymore, so buy this instead, from 2002, back when they had rough as fuck beats and decent samples, this is the electroclash version of Extreme Noise Terror filling in KLF's slot at the 1992 Brit Awards (but better)

ORDINARY BOYS - Boys Will Be Boys

Preston the necrophile successfully fucks the decomposing cadaver of Walt Jabsco, 2-Tone re-imagined as a spending spree in ripoff Carnaby Street (ZZZ...) 'mod' store Merc ( famous for selling ludicrously overpriced pseudo-Harrington jackets with faulty zips). Short of a car ploughing into the shifty-eyed cunt and killing him instantly, The Exploited's classic "FUCK THE MODS" has never sounded more relevant. I mean, what would you rather have, a motorbike (ie- NOISY, FAST, allows you to release BILLOWS OF EXHAUST FUMES over Ken and Barbie couples in convertibles)...or a MOPED?? A roofless mini-POPEMOBILE? Wankers.

THE GO! TEAM - new single

Sort of reminds me of what it'd sound like if the "Why Don't You" kids pretended to be Blaggers ITA and got produced by DJ Shadow (ZZZZ....), which isn't actually bad, I like their spirit, but I'm already bored with it. Prediction - Ninja releases her own solo 'rap' album in a few months' time, and everyone disses her as "the new MIA" (except me)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Apparently, at Asger Jorn's funeral, Guy Debord shouted "I wish I could bring you back to life, you bastard, because then I could expel you again!" at the coffin. How mad is that?


Am I dreaming it, or are all of Katie Melua's songs ripped off the tunes from 70s Hovis and Oxo adverts?


You know when Neil Armstrong said "Oh my God" on the Moon, and they 'lost transmission' for 8 minutes? Do you reckon he saw a Soviet flag up there?

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