Archive for the 'Music' Category

Weekend listening: “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”

July 14, 2018

Featuring the smooth & delightful guitar stylings of Mr Simon Hopkins.

Thanks to Simon as always.


Weekend listening: “Ode to Brexit Unstoppable #DrumNBass Version”

April 28, 2018

Somewhere on the planet it’s always Saturday night…

So turn up the bass… hoven!

Weekend listening: “High Heels Police Force”

February 10, 2018

Thanks to DJ Southwold for the lead guitar.

Protip: if you pitchshift an ordinary clarinet (and the way I play clarinet is ordinary at best) down an octave you get the sound of a bass clarinet.

Thereby saving you both the expense of a real bass clarinet and the trouble of carting it around…

Mark E Smith: not a “national treasure”

January 28, 2018

When they started, The Fall would get bad reviews. I remember listening to an edition of Radio 1’s “Round Table” where The Fall’s new single ‘Kicker Conspiracy’ was played. The guests thought it was rubbish. They sniggered and joked. To me it sounded harsh, exciting, risky (they left the mistakes in!).

‘Kicker Conspiracy’’s prophesy was that football would turn from an “honest game” into an empty international entertainment event bloated with money.

When people die, we try and say nice things about them. This is to reassure ourselves, that the world is a kind place, in the face of the available evidence. We play their music again, to reassure ourselves that something hasn’t been lost, in the face of the available evidence. We come up with cod psychology to explain their bad behavior.

What can be missed is context, especially when the act concerned has had a long and prolific career.

When ‘Kicker Conspiracy’ was released “indie music” was a network of amateurs, chancers and record shops with music press backing and the support of one influential radio DJ. New Order were just about to make their commercial breakthrough with “Blue Monday”. ”Alternative” music had not yet been homogenised into just another genre, supported by a national radio station.

England is a place where bad things happen. The clichés of English pragmatism, the stiff upper lip and the sense of humour are tactics designed to disguise and repress the propensities of the English for violence, ugliness and discord. Scratch the surface and you find an atavistic, coldly destructive, pagan sensibility: a sharp nastiness which crosses classes, political allegiance and cultures. The works of William Blake (despite attempts to turn him into a socialist hero) and the work of Margaret Thatcher have much in common. If you try and tell that truth you are likely to be marginalised, and get bad reviews.

But it is thrilling when for a moment, or series of moments, someone who understand and embodies those impulses, and can see and describe them clearly, turns that nastiness into bitter, harsh, exciting sound.


Mark Smith at number 1, new Fall track at number 2. R.I.P. MES


Weekend listening: “Ode to Brexit”

January 13, 2018

2018 will be the year of the Kastle synthesiser.

You have been warned…

Weekend listening: “In A Sentimental Mood”

September 9, 2017

Duke Ellington wrote some fantastic music.

My hunch, from listening to his music, is that he understood that dissonance and noise aren’t horrible things to be avoided, nor are they ideological ends in themselves to attack the bourgeoisie (an opinion usually held by people who are members of that very same bourgeoisie and think by traumatizing their fellows they are going to make some kind of political breakthrough but usually end up looking pretty bloody stupid), but just another tool in the box of expression.

So I hope the Duke and his descendants will forgive my rather “smeary” moments on this version of one of his greatest melodies. I think they will because the guitar playing of Simon Hopkins is subtle, sophisticated, powerful and operating at a higher level.

Thanks to Simon (and the Duke)…


Weekend listening: “If I Say How Much I Love You”

August 12, 2017

I saw “Casablanca” for the first time this year.

It’s a good film. A propaganda movie. But since the propaganda is: “forgive the people you love and fight the Nazis”, it’s easy to swallow.

In it Humphrey Bogart utters the famous line that people’s problems, “…don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world…”

Which seems pertinent (the headline in this newspaper from Iran apparently translates as “World in the hands of crazy people“, although what’s behind the link may have have changed by the time anyone reads this).

So although it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, it’s still pleasing that this piece of music, (dedicated to the love of my life @AndroidAnnee) has now been played over 100 times on Soundcloud.

I have no doubt that this is down to the masterful and subtle guitar work of my good friend Simon Hopkins rather than anything to do with me.

To anyone who listened, thanks.



Sunday listening: “High Heels Police” #blues

July 2, 2017

behind your back

with their clickety clack

you better cover up

they dont wanna see you

high heels police words

A “Wail of Sound” production.

Why @DeathValleyGrls are cool in one picture and one tweet

June 7, 2017


(I still can’t quite believe I saw my two favourite bands of right now @DeathValleyGrls and @TheDartsUS, together, for free, only two weeks ago. Thanks to @BITCHCRAFTBTN for the night, to @simonphopkins for the hospitality and @bspeed8 for the tweet)



@DeathValleyGrls on tour last year

April 17, 2017

San Francisco / Reno / Eugene / Seattle / Vancouver / Portland / Tacoma Spokane / Boise / Salt Lake City / Denver / Lawrence Shot with: Konica Hexar AF / Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 / Canon Rebel 2000

via On Tour with Death Valley Girls —

I missed this excellent set of photos from last year so I’m rectifying that now…

Onwards to Brighton in May!