Monday, 20 December 2010

All Nomadic again

It's always nice to see Christmas in with some music and after getting such a buzz from the Savage Nomads performance in November seeing their last night at the 12 Bar was awaited with eager anticipation.

They didn't dissappoint.

The sound was perhaps a little less polished than at The Hope and Anchor, but the skills of the sound guy were more than made up for by the buzz of the night.

A much more festive atmosphere and a little more anarchy made for a really fun night.

Although, having seen the Nomads twice now, soon I'm going to be clamouring for new material.

The old material is great, but there are only so many times you can listen to the same set list at a live performance; get writing guys.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The minds of the future: the tuition debate

The vote was cast over the value of putting through young people through university.


Well, it's real expensive you see, and so we can't afford it, but you, with no voting rights and possibly no jobs, you can.

27,000 for tuition sound fair, aside from your living expenses, of course?

You can start paying back the 27,000 when you're earning over, say, 21,000.

Never mind if you haven't got houses yet, houses are overrated.

The hypocrisy of power

I mean some of us we have to have two, but you lot, you don't need one.

Oh, did I mention that on top of all this you'll be paying for our wages.

And, most of us didn't have to pay anything.

But times have changed now, we're important and that.

We have to do what's best for the country.

Because borders are more important than young hope and aspiration.

What do I think of all this?

Well I've written to my MP, now I'm going to write to every Lord I can find the name of to ask, politely, if they could ask the V.I.MPs if they could re-think this.

And for the record I haven't thrown a rock at anything yet, but I'm getting painfully tempted.

Better get back to reading those Ghandi books that I was introduced to while I was studying.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Patrick Wooooooooolf: electro folk pioneer

Ok, I realise that some people - particularly folk stalwarts - would say that Bob Dylan was an electro folk pioneer; but trust me 'folks', ha ha, he's a completely different breed.

I have been following Patrick Wolf for a long time now and in some respects this is the best gig I've seen him perform.

He bounds onto the stage in a red boiler suit complete with black belt and red suit jacket with a fantastically angular red flower to complement the black ones covering the keyboard; only Patrrick Wolf can pull this shit off without me wanting to punch him.

The set gets onto a cracking start with Bluebells, one of my favourite tracks off The Magic Position.

The current sound

Since I saw him last he's become far more orchestral in his live performance.

Although I sort of miss the days of him standing pretty much alone on stage fighting to create his beautifully emersive tracks with technical wizardry and sheer passion, he has lost none of his passion and now brings the instrumentation to pack the kind of punch his songs demand.

He winds us through new and old songs seemlessly, telling tales and giving thanks in his classic delicate yet assured style.

Following The Libertine:

New Material

We are introduced to what he calls his Libertine for today, This City.

It proves a beautiful piece with all of the passion, pace and poignancy of his best work.

A sustained and enthusiastic applause brings him back for an encore and he finishes up with The Magic Position, the song that ensured I parted with the cash to buy that particular album.

One last question

So after the ICA gig supporting Franz Ferdinand, the clustered audience at the Barfly, Valentine's night at The Borderline and the magesty of Union Chapel; what's The Magic Position, eh, Patrick?

Monday, 6 December 2010

The homeless view of London

A friend of mine told me a while ago about tours of London conducted by homeless people, organised by sock mob.

To me this sounded like a wonderful idea on a number of different levels, not least because I don't like being herded on and off a bus.

Seriously though, the project sounded interesting, positive and potentially empowering.

I finally found the time to attend.

A different view

Our guide for the day was Sean, he loitered inconspicuously to one side until we started the tour and then quite simply took command as if we were just a group of school children that he was trying to educate.

Our tour centred around Old Street; I had envisaged being led around a very large area but in fact our hour long tour took us round a very small section of Old Street, there was just a surprising amount to be shown.

I think that in a lot of ways I have become quite jaded, or at least I did until I met Sean.

I'm a bouncing ball of naive innocence in comparison to him.

However, I have never lost my home.

The tour

He told us stories, and showed us places I'd never noticed before - and I've spent a lot of time in Old Street.

It was interesting, yet sad.

He showed us a lot of places that had dreamed of a fairer and more charitable world, but had hit the rocks of commercial reality or unscrupulous councils.

I was forced to look through his eyes and it made me ashamed, angry and sad.

Taking stock

A friend of mine challenged some of the facts that he had quoted at me later, it sowed a seed of mistrust that had simply not been there before, but I knew some of them had been accurate and though the journalist in me will try and source some of them, the humanitarian in me is furious that someone's word shouldn't be taken as readily as my honest words are spoken.

This food for thought cost me £5 and kept me occupied at a time of year that everyone seems to be focused solely on the shops.

I will leave you with one statement he made that has not left my mind.

For the Olympics all the homeless people in the area will be asked to move to Derby, those that refuse will be sent to mental hospital for the duration.

Sean thinks he'd prefer the hospital.

Did I mention that he had a wicked sense of humour.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Monsters, yeah all right then

A friend of mine invited me to see Monsters.

I had heard nothing about this film but from the title I assumed it was a kids film.

As it happened I was wrong it was a Sci-Fi clearly aimed at adults or at least older teens.

The main characters are Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) a photo-journalist and his boss's daughter
Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) who has found herself needing an escort out of an (alien) infected 'zone'.

This film had the feel of District 9, but it just wasn't quite as good.

However, it was made for a fraction of the budget entirely by Gareth Edwards.

It was beautifully shot.

The idea behind Monsters was very interesting and equally challenging.

And the acting was practically flawless, I believed what was unfolding at every turn.

My real complaint came that the beginning caught my attention and I was drawn on a ponderous strangely compelling journey.

And the end of that journey failed to meet my expectations.

It was sweet, but very hollywood for a film that had promised so much more.

I'd reccommend it, but you will be left wanting.

Unfortunately, unlike District 9, it doesn't allow much scope or promise for Monsters... 2.