Sunday, January 18, 2009


Well, apart from the fact he once bought my dad a pint in a pub in Cricklewood in the late '70s (("Wrote it all himself!" the old man would yell, like McGoohan was fucking family or something)): I was on this journo course, and one of our assignments was to get a freelance piece into a mag or paper. Didn't matter what it was; just as long as you pitched an article to someone and they printed your ramblings. If you got paid it was a bonus. Suffice to say, everyone on the course who applied to "Melody Maker", "Vogue", "NME", "Sky", "GQ" or "Musik" was kicked to the curb.

Gradually, some folks secured breakthroughs. Someone landed an article with "The Voice"; another winged some work with "South London Press". Some girl even bagged a crack at "Homes and Gardens" and was deemed so good she got a full-time job there. Me? I ended up only just managing to get a piece into a security magazine about a new CCTV scheme in Walworth, having screwed up an offer to do a week's work experience with some Surrey-based magazine about supermarket distribution (I turned up visibly hungover and spilt coffee over a PC).

There was a bloke on our course called Rob. He was ex-public school. I don't want to perpetuate stereotypes, but he would call everyone "Mate" while making it sound like "Meat" and was a bit oafish at the best of times. But I actually found him OK - he wasn't snobbish, condescending, pro-Tory or pretending to be an anarchist dissident called 'Spider', anyway - and have a great memory of dragging him and his utterly cantankerous, judgemental, imbecilic rich Danish girlfriend for a "drink" at my then local punk pub, the Dew Drop ((I didn't mention that it was Two-Chord Anarcho-Crustie Thrashcore Night - he turned up in a Paul Smith shirt and chinos. He lasted about 20 minutes - though, in his defence, it was his snotty girlfriend who freaked out, had a paddy and insisted on leaving)).

Anyway, Rob managed to blag an article for "Autocar". This was seriously big shit. OK, I doubt the average BTI reader has much interest in cars. Apart from the Ford Capri, I know next to jack about them either. I prefer motorbikes anyway. But Rob was obsessed with cars and "Autocar" was a massive mag at the time.

His assignment was to interview Patrick McGoohan about the yellow Lotus sportscar he drove in the opening sequence to "The Prisoner", for some 'Classic Cars' section. I mentioned that Patrick McGoogan once bought my dad a pint in the late '70s. "Who is he?" Rob asked me. "The bloke who stuck it up my mum. Used to go on about Yasser Arafat all the time," I replied. ("GET ON WITH IT" - A READER) "No, he was in "The Prisoner", you must know that!" I reasoned. "Sort of, meat - but I never watched it. Wasn't that in the 60s?" Rob asked. "Yeah, but Channel 4 put it on a few years ago," I tried to help.

So, I sat in his kitchen one night, drinking his San Miguel, and explaining the whole concept of "The Prisoner" while his spoilt brat girlfriend did her contrived 'bored' 'why couldn't you ask one of your normal friends round' act. Anyway, he knew about the car in question, so no need to worry about researching the whole thing from scratch. "Autocar" had given him McGoohan's agent's number, no hard work involved at all. Plain sailing. Better than writing about security cameras and talking to some corpse at Southwark Council, anyway.

A week later, Rob was extremely upset. It turned out that Patrick McGoohan had soundly abused him down the phone, rattling off sarcastic replies, interrupting him mid-sentence and then calling him a "fucking twerp" and slamming the phone down. So, Rob never got his interview. I don't want to sound excessively cuntish but, ever since, any mention of Patrick McGoohan's always brought a tear of laughter to my eye. Last time I rented "Scanners" on DVD, I couldn't get into the flick without repeatedly thinking about McGoohan taking a pre-arranged phonecall and barking, "YOU FUCKING TWERP" down the line. I lost contact with Rob shortly after and haven't spoken to him in over 11 years, but the thought of him tutting and muttering "About time...", on hearing that Number 6 has gone to the boneyard, also makes me laugh. RIP.


"Nah, seriously - I eat 5,000 calories a day," the tattooed, muscular black bloke grunts.

"What, and you don't put on weight?" the skinny Asian kid whimpers, his veins squeezing through trembling twig arms under the shoulder press.

"Nah," the black bloke shoots back, incredulous. "Course not - I do 4 hours down here, sprint for another hour in the evening...seriously, I'm always eating, I had two Big Mac meals last night, I go through six to eight packs of crisps a day!"

Ian Astbury looked such a cock during the 'Love' era I note, watching The Cult pose and primp their way through She Sells Sanctuary on the video screen, though secretly glad it's not Sash or the Ting Tings for a change. One day, I must borrow someone's iPod and exercise myself fucking bandy while damaging my eardrums with Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel or Black Flag.

The weights room is a strange chamber. This is the Room 101 you never think you'll ever really visit. The home of steroid-popping narcissism, roamed by freaks who've only ever been in love with a tub of Maximuscle and a mirror. I desecrated the Temple the first morning I popped upstairs to have a look around, accidentally knocking two weights to the floor. It sounded like I'd just hurled them through a plate glass window. The Acolytes of Adonis gave me serious evils as I just hobbled my way to the leg press like nothing had happened. There was a Dionysian in their ranks, and that waning moon of a beergut nestling under my St Pauli T-shirt was a red flag to these beefcake bulls. Or maybe it was the fact I was wearing Nike trainers with Adidas sweatpants that gave the game away.

When I first read The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, back as a wee gossoon, I pretty much made my mind up: wine and song, the invocation of chaos, the uncovering of esoteric absurdism and blaring loud records were to form my path in life. I suppose, pretentious as it sounds, I was throwing in my lot with Ian Astbury and heading for the Tavern At The End Of The Universe. If you're a parent and you wanna keep your kids on the tracks, I'd avoid reading this mighty tome to them at bedtime.

It's really important you understand this, cos it's the key to unravelling the mysteries of the weights room. The Adonisians don't 'do' 'posts' about Joy Division; to them, Ian Curtis was some stick insect who should have bulked up. Oh, he killed himself? Well, who wouldn't with a body like that? Now, Arnie, on the other hand - maybe his 90s films all suck, but you could never fault his pecs and dorsals back in the old days. Look, we've even stuck up a massive picture of him over here.

Well - I've worn my St Pauli shirt in a club packed with rabid Rangers supporters before, so a buncha bodybuilders with their tiger tattoos and vests weren't going to put me off. Hence me sitting here, lifting 60kg with my legs and backside, critiquing Ian Astbury's nomad shepherd garb while a black wall of muscle brags about his incredible appetite. Actually, hang on: if he exercises for 5 hours a day, presumably he doesn't work, or just has a part-time afternoon job down the library? In which case, how he can afford to consume 5,000 calories a day?. But then, that's the thing about the Adonisians; while you were sitting round reading Nietzsche, they were reading stuff like Personal Power: 10 Ways to Accrue Financial Success And Retire At 28 and the like.

Occasionally, WOMEN enter the sanctum. This elicits either of two responses:

a) (she's ugly/old) - Have you ever seen the look bus drivers give cyclists when they cut in front of the 171?

b) (she's young/fit) - The ones who are 'resting' suddenly look as if a colossal vat of Maximuscle's strolled past. The ones on the weights start frantically grappling their machines, like ship's captains at the wheel during a tempest. Their mouths form O shapes, they start exhaling like punctured tyres. Everyone knows that a Dionysian can't look after a woman properly. They're too busy cheating with 'the muse' (ie- searching out pubs for philosophical enquiry), leaving Whitehouse and Thai Garage Pop CDs lying around, cooking up shanties on the Pipes of Pan. They simply refuse to believe that what a woman wants - nay, needs- is to be draped off a rock-hard bicep, to parachute onto a glistening six-pack, to feel warm Maximuscle-scented breath engulfing her very core. This is their courting ritual, their chance to flip the pins to 90kg and display their innards tryna burst out of their skins.

So the woman walks in, plonks her pert,lycra arse onto a tiny seat shaped like a pair of Y-Fronts, and begins to flex the rose tattoo on her triceps, and the men grunt, tremble and spray the temple with libations of sweat and sticky brown snot in her honour.

The Cult bleeds into a video for some track called "Beeper". A load of impossibly happy, overexcited youths prance around in dayglo. The words BEEPER flash up behind them all over the screen. Like, fuck off you merry cunts, I'm trying to lose a beergut and nurse badly bruised bones here! The screen cuts to a Sky Sports round-up, Twitchy Redknapp silently mouthing strategy and tactics over an electro bassline and a voice going "BEE-BEE-BEE-BEE-BEE-BEE-PER-PER-PER-PER-PER" A skinny Jewish bloke comes in, plonks himself down at the shoulder press and makes a 10-minute call on his mobile, before going back downstairs. The black bloke heads off in a fit of sanctimonious exagerration - 4 hours, my eye. Still, I've lost 6 pounds since New Year, so maybe these fuckers have got something going for them. I'll tell you about the woman in the "Friends of the Earth" shirt later, I fancy a drink.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Culled from the almighty DREGS fanzine, the only independent publication where you'd get leading lights in the anarcho-punk /Riot GRRRL scenes confessing their sexual fantasies (including having a 48-hour boner, being trapped in a bin and farted on, being violently fucked in a bathroom during a party while someone's dying for a pee and hammering on the door outside, riding someone on a motorbike, head against the bars, and crashing at 100mph); 4-page reviews of Blood & Honour gigs, written by an obvious outsider fronting (sic) it out with the boneheads; tips on relationships from dominatrixes (or is it dominas?); comprehensive guides on which motorway lay-bys were the best to hitch rides from; reviews from Discharge and L7 through Queen Latifah, Shabba Ranks and London Posse to U2 and Smashing Pumpkins; letters from US prisoners about how they'd been struck off the Sonic Youth mailing list for expressing a desire to sniff Kim Gordon's crusty pants (I'm not making this up); diatribes from Andy Martin (frontman of a series of anti-pop groups such as the Apostles, Academy 23 and, currently, UNIT) about spurned gay love, studying martial arts and how 95% of the population need controlling by a totalitarian government - always got a lively response on the letters page; tips on selling fanzines at gigs, from a plastic carrier bag; weird cartoons and graphics; and the saddest/funniest story ever written about being dumped while listening to Joy Division. Oh yeah, and the "Spot the Grenade" readers 'contest. Duncan, we need you back - start a blog or something - even if it's just about motorways! (thanks for the free t-shirt and badge, BTW) Image ripped off what pitifully few remains I could find on the interweb


This is pilfered from 'Pigs For Slaughter', an early 80s London zine for anarchist youth. OK, just in case the wrong people are reading this: I reproduce this solely as a historical curio, and IN NO WAY with the intention of inspiring others to follow the instructions with the aim of leaving one of these crude, DIY bombs outside their local estate agents, debt collection agency, church/synagogue/mosque/temple/Iyengar Yoga centre, Conservatives' club or Starbucks. And if I find out any of you fuckers have been leaving these anywhere near peoples' flats, there'll be a load of Luton Irish navvies with crowbars round, ear-lye in the morning. Scan courtesy of the Apostles' Myspace site. (click on it to make it larger)

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Woofah editors John Eden, Paul Meme and 'Droid' ordered me to lug a box of the new issues down to Dub Vendor. I thought I'd cut out the middle man and flog them to punters outside FWD instead. I was doing a roaring trade - even marked up at a fiver, they were selling like hot cakes.

Suddenly, Mary Anne Hobbs came out of the club. "Oh my GOD, you're Martin, aren't you?" she screamed, flinging herself at me. "I love you! You're the greatest fanzine hack who ever lived!! I can't believe I've just met you!!! Can you interview me in Issue 4? Please? PLEASE??!!" I was just like, OH GAWD...EVERYONE'S STARING. I've never been into clingy women.

You always get punters who try to blag a copy without paying - normally students, or Kevin Martin. I just tell them to fuck off.

An hour later, I'd sold the lot, making £200. I'm not 100% sure - I think I was meant to return the dosh to Woofah HQ? But I spunked it at an 80s Groove night with some birds instead.

WOOFAH issue 3 is now out and available to buy. Unfortunately, MARK IRATION's not in this issue, so the zine finally gets a PG rating (I think he should have his own column, personally). After his cyclonic ranting in issues 1 and 2, some of the interviewees this time round - the Bomb Squad, Flowdan, that bloke who does Blackdown Blog - come across as a bit...what's the word? Shy? My favourite bits were the piece on the Belle Vue asylum in Jamaica, Soulja talking about pirate radio, the brilliant Woebot cartoon ('Charlie' is the spitting image of Bob the Blob, my supervisor when I worked at Parcelforce 10 years ago), the Badman Commandments, as ever, and a tear-jerkingly emotive review of the Soul Jazz England Story compilation.

My least favourite part was the bungling editorial oversight that saw three CD reviews all containing the phrase "Not essential then..." lumped together on the same page. Not essential then...but you can get your copy HERE, or ask at your local record store. If you've still got one.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I spent most of December '08 housebound with a knee injury. Just limping down to the local provisions shack for a stack of fags, Nurofens and Stella made Scott's trip to the Antarctic seem like a playground snowball fight.

Subsequently, during this bout of exquisite fucking boredom, what did I actually get up to? Well, thru my ibuprofen haze and dodging calls from people at work who didn't know what to do, I learned the Charles Baudelaire poem "Tristesses de La Lune" in French off by heart; I wrote a 1-page A4 pad dissertation entitled Does an interest in online midget porn signify veiled paedophilia?, then scrunched it up and threw it in the bin; I thrashed some fucker 412-198 at online scrabble; I questioned my own sanity; I developed an interest in Johnny Cash; and I made some Rendang curries, which I ate for breakfast, lunch and tea. Here's what you need:

- Some Rendang curry paste. Get it from an authentic shop (though I don't think Sainsburys has managed to distribute a diluted version of this yet?). Alternatively, make your own. You'll have to google for more info on this, I couldn't be arsed to start from scratch. Ooh, how inauthentic! Look, if I can buy a cheap jar of readymade paste from Wing Yip, imported from a country of people who eat it on a regular basis, I'm not gonna waste time hunting down info on what Fucko McGinty's Cooking for Ming Mongs website has to say about sourcing tamarind. I hate people who say You shouldn't buy curry paste, you should make it yourself, it's more authentic! WHY? Why should I waste any more of my precious time doing work for work's sake? The Indonesians know what they're doing, you oafs ((WARNING - DO NOT BUY ANY HIGH STREET SUPERMARKET CHAIN ASIAN CURRY PASTES)). Just tracking down the fucking specialist store with a wounded limb was work enough. Why do you think I do a blog? Cos it's less work than doing a fanzine and it costs sweet F.A to 'publish'. Sorry if I'm more advanced in my commitment to the anarcho-socialist utopia of the 24/7 leisure society than some.


- Chicken / beef / whatever substitute you usually have if you're a veggie (actually, it might not work with vegetables. Try an aubergine, or Quorn, or something. I only went 'veggie' for a month once to try to impress someone, and missed out on a free doner kebab for this act of blatant fraud)

- A pack of dessicated coconut

- Coconut milk (any brand will do, but it's only 39p in Wing Yip)

- Some birdseye Thai chillies

- Fish sauce

- Rice

Right, some people will tell you that you 'need' other garnishes too. Listen to them instead if you like. I've never been a dictator. You can use coriander to garnish it if you want, but my only source of 'fresh' coriander was Sainsburys, so, naturally, it was all wilted and smelt of its plastic wrapping.

I haven't included info on measurements or serving sizes - use your own judgement, for the love of Buddha.

1) Heat up a frying pan. DON'T stick any oil in yet. Sprinkle a generous helping of dessicated coconut into the pan. Push it around a bit. Buy one of those Thai-style shovel things. It makes you feel the dog's bollocks. When the coconut starts going brown, shake it onto a plate.

2) Cut the meat into square chunks. Or triangles if you like.

3) Stick the oil in a wok and crank the hob right up. Wait til it's spitting and smoking and the kitchen resembles that old Public Information Film about domestic chip pan fires. The hotter the better, basically. I bet the 'make your own paste' brigade freak out at this point and turn the gas down.

4) Chuck in the meat. Don't push it around. Just leave it be. After about, I dunno, seems like 4 minutes to me, turn it over (don't fret about time, there's basically 3 stages - a) raw b) cooked c) charcoal. Try and get it between steps 1 and 2)

5) Chuck in a big dollop of Rendang curry paste and coat the meat. If you've got the heat right, you'll now have an intense coughing fit as the spicy smoke assaults your lungs. Then add some of the coconut milk. A can of coconut milk goes a long way, so buy one of those snap-shut container things so you can store the rest in the fridge or the freezer. Don't put the rest of the can in the fridge, ya quack, or it'll curdle. About a quarter of the can should do for this, unless you want the curry all creamy and runny.

6) Stir the mixture round. Turn the heat down a bit. Chuck in your pre-toasted dessicated coconut. Right, the object is to get it all thick and solid. It's a sour dish. Let it frazzle away and stir it a bit every now and then. Now, it depends how salty-tasting you want it, but I'd recommend some fish sauce at this point. But that's just me.It's ready when it stops looking like gravy and more like a dry, thick stew.

7) When it's done, get the chillies for garnish. Slice them vertically down the middle. If you've got the right sorts like I said (instead of going to some crap veg store in Finsbury Park), you'll see a load of seeds. If you're worried about the heat, rub one against your forehead. If it feels like you've got sunburn 3 minutes later,and this displeases you, ditch the seeds. Chuck the chilli strips over the curry.

8) Serve with rice. If you hate cooking rice, I dunno, make some mash, just to piss off the sons and daughters of authenticity. By the way, if anyone has any foolproof sticky rice theories, please leave a comment, I'm always fucking this bit up. A hippie cycle courier once showed me the perfect way to make sticky rice, allegedly. When he did it, it was perfect. I followed his instructions to the letter, but it still came out substandard.

So there you go, food of the gods. It'll keep the sub-zero temperatures at bay, especially if you eat it all the time. And it's really cheap. If I was more interactively minded, I'd suggest an INTER-BLOG RECIPE meme, but I don't want to be the bloke at the football match who tries to get a chant going and crashes into a wall of silence.

Anyway, roll on 2009. We had a big debate down the pub the other day, about midgets. A lot of young women fret about their looks, and spend a fortune primping and preening themselves - and yet most men would pass them up in a flash, to have a tumble with a midget instead. Well, that was my take on it, anyway. Someone suggested that a man dating a midget might just be trying to flatter his anatomy through the prism of perspective, though I thought that was sizeist bullshit. I mean, how offensive can you get? Did you know, the Sex Pistols once kicked a midget offstage? If I was a midget, I'd make sure they never bloody kicked anything ever again.

Speaking of which, my knee's skip dandy now, following some advice to do a bit of 'physio'. I've been going down the gym! I haven't thrown myself around in a sweat-drenched stupor so much since the last time I saw Blaggers ITA. God, you lot should check out the music down there. Any rumours that Euro Rave died with Sash's career are seriously unfounded. Everyone's become so immersed in grimestep, they've taken their eye off 'uplifting euphoric house'. It hasn't faded away into the mists of time; it's built itself up into a MONSTROUS NUCLEAR STOCKPILE and it's audible down the gym, 24/7. It's a weird MDMA-soaked world of bearded men in tiger costumes, Swiss women dressed up as New York cops, fluffy handcuffs, pink bubbles, red sequinned babydoll dresses and endless songs about love, lost love, forbidden love, impending's one big blissed-out jellyfish of trancey lurve, seeping from the speakers, while the silent news channel flashes up footage of bombs raining down on Gaza.

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