52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

hidden well, what are you concealing?

If you take a quick look at my profile on the right-hand side of this page, you’ll see that I mention that I am an INTP. As best as I can remember, that description has been there since this blog began in March 2004. Some of the other words have changed with time, but I have always described myself as an INTP.

What does it mean? Well, I’m sure some of you already know what it means, but for those of you who don’t, it’s one of the 16 personality types identified as part of the Myers-Briggs type indicator test. You can read about it in detail here, but suffice it to say that this is a fairly detailed and well-respected form of personality profiling that enables your colleagues at work to identify the box they should put you in.

Back in 1998, I first sat the test and came out as an INTP (Introverted Thinking with Intuition). Cynical though I was (and am) about this kind of thing, I did quite like some of the things that I read about the characteristics of this personality type:

“Rational, curious, theoretical, abstract and prefer to organise ideas rather than situations or people”
“They approach almost everything with scepticism”
“Logical, analytical and objectively critical”
“Mentally quick, insightful and ingenious”
“Quiet, contained, calm and detached observers”

Hell, I even liked some of the negative stuff:
”May become cynical and negative”
“May be sarcastic and destructively critical”
“May engage in verbal sparring and arguments”

It was all quite interesting - C. in particular found it hysterically funny when she read the detailed description of my profile and agreed with every point.

As part of the whole kerfuffle around my transfer at work, I have been asked to sit the test again as part of a team exercise. It only takes about 30 minutes to take the test, and it consists mainly of choosing between words and different scenarios (“Would you say it was better to be a) hard or b) soft”, “When faced with a deadline do you a) complete the work well in advance or b) work best at the last minute”, “Justice or Mercy” etc. etc.) I had a hunch that I might have changed in the last 8 years, and apparently I have changed.

A bit.

I’ve moved boxes. Where once I was an INTP, now I am apparently an INTJ (Introverted Intuition with Thinking).

“Independent, individualistic, single-minded and determined individuals who trust their vision of possibilities regardless of universal scepticism”
“Decisive, intellectually challenging people focused on implementing long-range visions”
“Conceptual, long-range thinkers”
“Rational, detached and objectively critical”

Again, there’s some truth in the negatives too:

“Can be aloof and abrupt”
“May appear unyielding”
“Engage in ‘intellectual games’, quibbling over abstract issues and terms that have little meaning or relevance to others”

I can see myself in both descriptions (and if you are interested, do go and read the detailed descriptions of all the types) and I actually had a sense that I had changed over the last few years.

There may be a small kernel of truth in it, but it’s basically all cobblers though, isn’t it? (although I like the fact that INTJ is apparently the rarest of the personality types. I'm so vain!)


You can try the test (or one like it) here (I came out as an INTJ again, so it must be half-decent). What do you come out as ? Does it sound like you?

In the meantime, perhaps I’d better change my profile....

Monday, October 30, 2006

you put your left arm in....

I find myself haunted by a remark that great sage Billy Bragg made in a magazine I was reading at the weekend:

What if all the prophets and philosophers are wrong?

What if the Okey-Cokey **IS** what it's all about?


Friday, October 27, 2006

second time was a blast....

Finally it’s Friday. And we get an extra hour’s sleep this weekend too! Yay! Zzzzz.


This week’s guest editor has a special place in this blogger’s heart. I first ‘met’ her when I was sent over to some blog or other (i.e. Jenni's) to argue politics with this daft American girl (i.e. Jenni), and she so completely won me over that I ended up arguing in her corner (sorry about that lord b). To paraphrase the White Stripes, I could tell that we were gonna be friends.

She’s an absolute treasure, and without any further ado, it’s my great pleasure to leave you in her capable hands….

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #46 - Jenni from (amongst other places) Democratic Goddesses of America

1. Na Na Hey Hey - Steam

Totally stuck in my head this week. Maybe it’s because it’s what I am hoping to be singing to the Republicans on November 7th. [ST's note: did Bananarama do a version of this? They were in your list last time . I'm sensing a theme in your internal jukebox...]

2. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

It’s been a cold and rainy week, and somehow every time I am in the car this song is on. And now, even when it’s not, it runs through my head while I am driving. That’s okay, though, because it’s a good song.

3. Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye

I’ve had a bad week. I’m single. Draw your own conclusions. [ST's note - you had a Marvin Gaye track last time too!]

4. London Bridge - Fergie

Not only do I have the song stuck in my head, every time it runs through, I also get the visual from the video of Fergie grinding on one of the Buckingham Palace Guards. I’d like to get rid of BOTH the song and the image.

5. 8675309 Jenny - Tommy Tutone

I heard a great acoustic cover version of this a few weeks ago, and now I just can’t get the song out of my head. Being that my name is in the song, it’s easy for people to trigger this earworm. It makes me want to loudly sing along. JENNY, I GOT YOUR NUMBER! I’M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE! But then I also think it sounds kind of stalker-ish.

6. Lips of an Angel - Hinder

This was recently the answer to a musical question I was asked, and now it is playing in my head. I’m not sure if I like the song or not. It’s not bad, but it’s also not great.

7. No Good Deed - Wicked

This is very appropriate to my current situation, which I won’t get into because I don’t want to depress the earworm audience. No good deed shall I do…again. I don’t know if I believe that, but right now it feels like something I’d like to scream.

8. Little Boxes - Malvina Reynolds

This song is the intro to the TV show Weeds. I love this show. The premise is crazily improbable, but they show their distaste for Bush and the plot is kind of fun. And, the song itself is a political critique. Right up my ally.

9. Since You’ve Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson

Because sometimes a girl just needs a feel good break up song.

10. Right Stuff - New Kids on the Block

Oh oh oh oh oh. Oh oh oh oh. I have no explanation for this one. Maybe sometimes you just need to have a song from your childhood stuck in your head. Maybe I’m just a gigantic loser. In any case, I’ve got the right stuff.

Thanks to ST for having me back! Hopefully I won’t be banned for ever because of that New Kids pick…


Oh, not at all - you are welcome here anytime ("third time I fell in love"???), and I think it's nice to have something other than indie pap on here from time to time... New Kids on the Block included. Whisper it quietly, but that's not a half bad record, is it?

Don't let the bastards grind you down tiger.

Next week: Hopefully we'll have Martin - the artist formely known as bytheseashore, now plying his trade at thatdifficultsecondblog. Last time we got Mariah Carey - let's hope he's worked that one out of his system, eh?

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star]

sad but true...

When I confessed last week to my ropey heavy metal past, I thought that it was something that I had long since put behind me. I am discovering that this is, in fact, not the case: it seems that once a heavy metal fan, always a heavy metal fan.

It started when I caught the Metallica documentary “Some Kind of Monster” on tv last week. The programme invites you to laugh at the real life Spinal Tap. A band so lost that they have a $40,000 a month shrink on their payroll and spend their time sitting around a table in their studio writing mission statements and talking about their feelings, not creating brain-meltingly loud rock music. I think you’re supposed to shake your head and laugh at them – and I did. I also went straight up to my CD collection at the end of the film, dug out the “Black Album” and “Ride The Lightning” and spent the next few days marvelling at what brilliant songs “Enter Sandman”, “Sad But True” and “Trapped Under Ice” are, wondering what happened to all my other Metallica albums and if I still only had them on cassette.

Thanks to a certain someone, this is no longer the case, and so I will be able to spend much of the weekend softening my brain with songs like “Battery”, “Seek & Destroy” and “Harvester of Sorrow”.

My name is ST and I’m a metal head.

.... although, having said that, I am currently listening to “Daisies of the Galaxy” by the Eels, and I’m especially enjoying the song “I Like Birds” which is probably about as far from Metallica as you can get.

If you’re small and on a search
I’ve got a feeder for you to perch on


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I was catching the sparks that flew from your heels and trying to catch your eye...


Razorlight @ Nottingham Arena, 24th October 2006

After yesterday’s debacle, I was in absolutely no hurry to drag myself out of the house and into town for another gig. Thanks to some inside information from Cat, who had seen Razorlight play in Aberdeen on Saturday night, we had a fair idea that they weren’t going to be onstage until 21:45. We therefore opted for a leisurely pub tea and a couple of pints. After a false start in the Slug & Lettuce, we soon landed on our feet when we walked into the Cock & Hoop. More pubs should be like the Cock & Hoop: non-smoking, small and cosy, serves proper beer and has an excellent menu. They usually stop serving food really early, so we were really only popping in for a pit stop before heading on to a local kebab and burger emporium for our tea. Actually, we soon found out that the kitchen was still open, and after a quick consultation, Lord B and I both decided that we would run the risk of missing Razorlight coming onstage for the sake of a proper homemade burger and chips and another pint of decent beer.

It was great. The food was delicious, the stereo was playing an eclectic mix of tunes (Coldplay, The Velvet Underground, Mercury Rev, David Gray) and we soon discovered that our 22 year-old waitress was a massive, massive music fan. Favourite song? “Pretty Green” by the Jam. Best gig? Eric Clapton, The Who and Bob Dylan all on the same day (I know! That’s what we said!). Favourite genre of music? Folk. She was great, although I don’t think she was too impressed when Lord B called her a weirdo. It was rolling around to half-past nine by the time we decided we should probably head on to the arena, so paid the bill and said our farewells to our lovely waitress. My parting shot? Having had a good discussion with her about the Leonard Cohen version of “Hallelujah”, I casually mentioned how I had once seen Jeff Buckley performing live.
“Yes, at Reading in 1994. He was very good”
“Oh really? Oh Wow, I’m so jealous.”
“…yes, I was waiting for Gene to come on”

Ba dum, tch!

With that, we left.

We timed our arrival perfectly. Just enough time to see that the band weren’t on, to get a pint and then head down to the arena floor before the lights fell and Razorlight took to the stage. Cat, you’re a gem.

They played for a little over an hour, and I thought that they were pretty good. What can I say? They played “Golden Touch” third song in – which I thought was the sign of a confident band - and they brought the house down. From that moment on, the sell-out arena crowd was largely eating from the palm of their hand. They were good too. Johnny Borrell certainly isn’t a shrinking violet, and he strutted around the stage staring out into the crowd, looking impossibly skinny and dressed in his trademark all white. They played some of their old stuff (“Leave Me Alone”, “Rock & Roll Lies”, “Vice”, “Stumble & Fall”, “Rip It Up” and so on….) and a lot of their new stuff (which I don’t know quite so well, but included their recent number one single “America” as well as stuff like “In The Morning”, “Kirby’s House” and “Somewhere Else”). For a guitar band, they’re quite poppy, but this works quite well live when they are naturally a little bit rougher around the edges than they are on record.

My attention drifted a bit in the middle. Razorlight have got some good songs, but they’ve only got two short albums to their name, and I’m not sure that’s quite enough material to comfortably hold my attention in an arena. To be fair to them though, if they continue developing at their current rate, in a couple of years time (and with a couple more albums under their belts) they are going to be sensational. Or perhaps Johnny Borrell’s ego will have devoured the band by then (and it is clearly all about him). Maybe they didn’t entirely win me over, but they were very well received by the crowd. By their very nature, arena gigs seem to attract a much more varied crowd than smaller venues, and this seems to result in a more open and less cynical atmosphere. People are willing to be impressed by the band, not waiting to see if they will be. If I was occasionally a bit distracted during Razorlight’s set, I only had to look around me though to see people absolutely captivated by them. In stark comparison to my irritating neighbour at the Raconteurs gig on Monday night, yesterday I found myself standing next to a 10 year old girl who was at the gig with her dad and her younger sister. She was wearing a Razorlight t-shirt, and she was clearly absolutely mesmerised by them. Occasionally she would climb up onto her dad’s shoulders to get a better view and to try to take a photo on her mobile phone. Most of the time though, she was just standing, captivated by the band. I think she was impressed by what she saw and, jaded old gig cynic though I am, it was lovely to watch.

6.5/10 (with extra credit given for Johnny Borrell’s cover of “Milk” by the Kings of Leon)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

live a simple life in a quiet town...

The Raconteurs @ Nottingham Rock City, 23rd October 2006

Watching the Raconteurs last night, I think I’ve worked out what it is that Keane are missing: - spontaneity. The ability to use the song as a base for launching out and just playing from the heart. I’m not saying that Keane don’t play from the heart, but where Tim Rice-Oxley is rather constrained by his choice of instrument and the slightly elegiac nature of his songs, Jack White and Brendon Benson are able to use the song as a starting point for letting rip. It would be wrong to say that this makes the Raconteurs a more soulful band than Keane, but they certainly seem a lot freer and more experimental. I think, at heart, I am also something of a guitar man. There’s just something about a well-struck guitar power-chord that reverberates around my soul.

Did this mean that the Raconteurs were a better gig than Keane? Absolutely not. There’s a fine line between being free with the interpretation of your songs and being self-indulgent, and I’m afraid that the Raconteurs fell comfortably on the wrong side of the line. I like to see bands doing more than just reproducing their recorded material at a gig, but neither am I a fan of overly long, duelling guitar solos played at a volume so high that it distorted everything else and made everything else sound muddy.

It’s not that the Raconteurs don’t have the songs either: in preparation for the gig I had spent much of the afternoon listening to “Broken Boy Soldiers”, and it’s pretty good. It’s a decent combination of White’s howling blues with the rather gentler Benson, and in “Steady, As She Goes” they have a stone cold classic. It makes it all the more of a shame then that I found them dull to watch. Dull, and astonishingly loud. My ears are still howling in protest – bearable when you’ve been to a good gig, but otherwise an irritating reminder of a disappointing night out.

I can always tell when a band isn’t up to much at a concert because I allow myself to be distracted by the ephemera around me. In this case, ‘twat at gig’ was very much in attendance. Lord B and I were standing just in front of the railing around the mixing desk. In theory this is good because it gives you somewhere to lean back and enjoy the show. In practice this is a bit of a nightmare, because as the crowd ebbs and flows around you, you have nowhere to go. What started as a bit of backing into me, soon developed into a full on “rush hour on the London Underground” sensation. Although I hesitate to complain about the tall bloke standing right in front of me (after all, I do that to people at every gig I have ever been to), where I will draw the line is at the goon next to him with no awareness of personal space. Actually, he was worse than that. What started out as a bit of harmless backing into me soon developed into a full on wrestle as he obliviously attempted to shoulder his way between me and a girl standing next to me so that he could stand on a little ledge on the mixing desk. I moved slightly to accommodate him, only to find that he then spent the whole gig either elbowing me slightly out of time to the music, or waving a cigarette about an inch from my face. Grrr.

And just to make myself sound even more like a grumpy old man (if that’s possible), I don’t usually mind smoking at a gig, and Rock City is now a fairly well ventilated venue, but yesterday was horrible. Everyone standing around me seemed to have a fag on the go, and by the end of the set, my eyes were stinging and my clothes were stinking. It’s not so much the smoking I object to as the total lack of consideration some smokers show for anyone around them as they blow their smoke straight at you and wave their butt ends carelessly towards your clothing. Roll on the smoking ban.

Actually, none of this would have mattered if the band had been any good. Tonight, sadly, they were shit. I’m a big fan of Jack White and had been really looking forward to this gig. It should have been aces, and even though the band encored with a stomping version of “Teenage Kicks”, I thought they were lousy. I left feeling disappointed, tired and grumpy – and as we headed towards the car park, I wasn’t too surprised to see the band’s bus pulling away. Done, done and onto the next one?

I hope Razorlight are a bit better tonight.


Monday, October 23, 2006

an empty house is not a home

Keane @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall, 22nd October 2006

There are some songs that seem to connect with you on a purely emotional level; songs that raise the hairs on the back of your neck with the opening chord; choruses that make your spirit soar; lyrics that seem to commune with your soul on a deeply personal level. I’m sure it’s a deeply individual thing, but there are some bands / artists who seem to be able to do this almost at will. For me, this is probably best illustrated by The Smiths: there’s something about the combination of Morrissey’s voice and Johnny Marr’s shimmering guitar that nourishes me. It’s not an exclusive relationship though, and there are many other bands and songs that make me tingle.

Keane are not one of these bands.

Don’t get me wrong though, I thought that yesterday’s show was pretty good. The crowd was well up for it and sang their little hearts out. The band responded to this and gave it everything they had. Tim Rice-Oxley flailed his limbs around behind his pianos like a jerkily animated but introverted marionette infected with St. Vitus’ dance; Tom Chaplain ran from one end of the stage to the other, exhorting the crowd with his Freddie Mercury rock posturing; even Richard Hughes looked as though he might break into a sweat behind his drum kit, at one point taking off his jacket.

It was an emotional performance. These songs clearly come from the heart and are delivered from the heart, and yet I found it strangely un-involving. Perhaps it’s the music. Perhaps the piano and the drums alone are too bloodless to convey these emotions, no matter how passionately they are played. Perhaps it’s Chaplain’s voice. He has a great voice, but is it a great rock voice? I don’t think so. Great vocalists aren’t always the greatest singers (think Cobain, Lennon, Reed, Hendrix), and it’s all about the ability to convey the emotion of what you are singing. I’m not sure that Chaplain is able to do this.

It’s a good performance and Keane have some decent songs: “Everybody’s Changing”, “Somewhere Only We Know”, “We Might As Well Be Strangers”, “Is It Any Wonder”, “Bedshaped” – all are performed well, and all bring the house down. Of the new material though, only album opener “Atlantic” really engages with me. It is different to the rest of their stuff, it feels deeper and more organic somehow, and as a result it intrigues me and draws me in. The rest? It’s good, but it feels bloodless. Passionately delivered, but bloodless.

I tried to explain this to Lord Bargain as we walked back to the car after the gig. Of course, Keane are his favourite band in all the world, a band who have spoken to him through some difficult times. Needless to say, he totally disagreed with me. I was finding Keane bloodless because I hadn’t been through the same stuff that Tim Rice-Oxley had been through (and by extension, what he himself had been through), so how could I possibly understand? I started trying to argue that just because he could relate to the songs doesn’t mean that they were written about exactly his situation, or that this would somehow exclude me from appreciating them, but ultimately I gave up. Lord B has an emotional connection and very personal connection with Keane’s music (a connection which led him to the purchase of a set of Keane coasters at the merchandise stall), and at the end of the day, how can you argue with that? They must be doing something right.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

the alphabet of nations

Is there a finer sight in all the world than this season's apple harvest sat in numbered bins outside the cider mill? The smell alone was divine. We're not talking about any old cider either: yesterday we popped down to Herefordshire and paid a visit to Dunkertons, makers of some of the finest organic cider money can buy. Magners it ain't (how have Magners managed to make it a selling point that their cider is made from a "unique" blend of 17 varieties of apple? Doesn't that just make it sound like they've taken any old crap and chucked it in?). I think Dunkerton's "Black Fox" may just be the best cider in the world.

My thanks are due to the Eye in the Sky and his wife for another great day out in a lovely part of the world.

Ah, Abkhazia.

Land of beauty and contrasting landscapes, from coastal forests and citrus plantations all the way through to snowcapped mountains. Home to some of the tallest trees in Europe and the world, with some Nordmann Firs reaching as high as 70m / 230ft. It is also home to one of the most bitterly fought (and yet strangely unreported) struggles for independence in Europe. Abkhazia has a history dating back to the ancient kingdom of Colchis, the legendary home of the Golden Fleece and the destination of the Argonauts. More recently, Abkhazia was an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union. Georgia declared independence from the USSR on 9th April 1991, and the following year the ruling military council announced that it was abolishing the Soviet Constitution. The Abkhaz government saw this as an attempt to abolish their autonomous status and on 23rd July 1992 they declared secession from Georgia. Troops were despatched and a bloody struggle began with gross human rights violations being reported on both sides. A ceasefire was agreed and independence was declared in 1994, but this has not been officially recognised by a single country (although, oddly, Abkhazia is apparently internationally recognised as a de jure autonomous republic, and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what the distinction is. Afghanistan and Iraq are presumably both therefore de jure puppet states of the USA)

Tensions between Abkhazia and Georgia remain high. The fragile peace is maintained by UN military observers and by Russian peacekeepers. The UN patrols the buffer zone which keeps the Abkhaz and Georgian sides apart. There are sporadic shootings and kidnappings with the potential for violent explosion never far beneath the surface. Abkhazia, turning increasingly towards Moscow, insists there can be no settlement until Georgia recognises its independence, something which Tbilisi has sworn it will never do. There is no sign that a way out of this volatile impasse will soon be found.

What is it that makes a nation independent? Abkhazia clearly has a sense of its own identity. Are they any less of a nation because the UN says they aren't? Did countries like the Ukraine or Belarus lose a sense of their own nationhood just because they were subsumed in the USSR? Did France during the Second World War?

It's amazing what you can learn as a result of an argument in the pub, isn't it? ("Which country comes first in an alphabetical list?")

I'm not sure many Abkhazians would care where they came in that list, as long as they featured in it somewhere.

Heart beats for Abkhazia.

Friday, October 20, 2006

all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

Here's a question for all you philosophers and quantum physicists out there: is it possible for weeks to pass more slowly and for time to travel more quickly at the same time? It must be: why else would it be that every individual day seems to drag on interminably, but the weeks and years seem to fly by? Isn't that some kind of paradox? Every week I ask my colleague Steve how his family are getting on, and his daughter is another year older.

How does that happen?

Anyway. This week's Guest Editor is an old, old friend of mine. He's just given up his job, rented out his house and, as of Sunday last week, buggered off on a trip around the world for the next year or so.

The bastard.

Most revolutionary of all, and after years of taking the piss out of me, Statue John and the Ultimate Olympian for having them, he's set up a blog of his own to tell us all about his trip. So far he's met some penguins in Cape Town, felt a bit wobbly on Table Mountain, and been moved by the spirit of reconciliation on display at Robben Island... It's all very exciting, and he hasn't even got to the MCG yet.

Apparently, he also thinks that having a blog now qualifies him to become a guest editor, so immediately before he got on his plane, he emailed me a list.

Seeing as I've got nothing else on.....

Ladies and Gentleworms, without further ado, it is my great pleasure to present for your earworming pleasure.....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #45 - Poll Star from Poll Star's Wonderings

11 The Stone Roses. I am the resurrection.

I had my ten, but then this is never far from my ear, and I’m not leaving any of the others out. So I’m having 11 (unless I get cheated by Swiss). Fills any dance floor, as it should.

10 Theme from the A-team.

It comes on shuffle and immediately it’s 1985, it’s Saturday, my best friend and I are eating burgers in front of the TV and we’re concentrating. Hard. The machine gun noise kicks in and we’re transported to the Los Angeles underground and we cannot imagine that anything ever will be better than this. We may have been right. If good music is meant to move you, then this puts a big tick in the box.

9 The Mavericks. I just want to Dance the night away.

Dale Collins Quiz night. The White Horse, Oxford. The music round (that we have NEVER won in 10 years of living in Oxford). We’ve got the first dozen name the artists right. Then this comes on; we know it; I can visualise the video; Statue John’s played it while DJ’ing a wedding; can we remember their name? Can we fuck. And the wheels come off. Still not won that music round-and I thought fate would be on my side for my last night in Oxford.

8 Lightning seeds. Ready or not.

Cracking band, great song and it really struck a chord with my shambolic attempts to prepare for my travels.

7 Madness. One Step Beyond.

Perhaps the most English band of all time. When you leave all your friends and family behind for an extended period, I think you’re allowed some dark thoughts. This is the song I want played when my friends carry my casket into my funeral. (and just in case some snake does bite me, I do mean that). [ST's note: is this song really long enough to give us to stagger all the way up to the altar? Can I suggest something a little longer? Wagner's Ring Cycle, perhaps?]

6 Coldplay. Swallowed in the Sea.

For me, the best song off their best album. Anyone who knows me will realise the choice of Coldplay is by no means an attempt to creep to Swiss. In fact speaking of favourites of Swiss, good to see the Darkness’ career flushed back down the toilet it had been trying to creep out of. [ST's note: it's stretching it a touch to suggest that I think Coldplay and the Darkness hold similar places in my affections. The Darkness are obviously a vastly superior band.]

5 Snow Patrol. Set the fire to third bar.

You see the Patrol aren’t just anthemic crowd pleasers. Martha Wainwright guests. So many collaborations are just cynical marketing ploys to expose an artist to a different demographic through another artist’s fans in the hope of selling a few more records (anyone for Blue and Elton John? Or Brian May and Five?) Whereas this is simply brilliant song, that happens to be a collaboration.

4 David Bowie. Quicksand.

I have quite a lot of Bowie, yet I always feed I should have more. I’m not sure if this is a song that a lot of people know-it always seems like a hidden gem to me. Beautiful

3 The Farm. Altogether now.

Songs about the first World War aren’t supposed to be uplifting, but this is a song that always me think of my friends and how lucky I am to have them. Guaranteed to pick you up.

2 The Eels. Mr E’s beautiful blues.

So, I’m going off travelling for a while and feel the need to watch some favourite movies before I go. Cue Road Trip, which the Ultimate Olympian needs to watch pronto. One of the funniest scenes I can think of in any movie and much use of this belting song. Make you want to go on a road trip with your mates. And steal a school bus from a blind chick.

1 John Denver. Leaving on a Jet Plane.

This is really the entire top 5 - I’ve been singing it to myself all week long. Just a great song, and really in tune with where I am just now.


Thanks very much mate. Bon voyage and all that. Does the fact that you will be blogging about your time away mean that I won't be getting a Hoff postcard from somewhere exotic, or even a cheeky one from the SCG?

Interesting Fact: Poll Star is exactly 3 days older than me (and no wiser).

Next week: Jenni. (I hope).

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

the elephant won't forget what it's like inside his cage....

C. asked me last night if I wanted to know why she had suddenly turned snippy with me.

We'd been chatting as we cooked dinner. C. had been away the night before, and we were catching up. She was telling me about the "Leaders of the Free World" conference (or whatever) that she had been attending in London, and I was just gabbing away about this and that. As I was telling her how my meeting with my boss had gone, she suddenly became impatient with me. In response, I began to clam up as I became self-conscious about what I was telling her, and wondering why she didn't seem to be interested or if I'd told her all this before and she was bored with it.

A couple of minutes later, she asked me if I wanted to know why her mood had shifted.

Instantly and without really thinking about it, I replied that I didn't think that I did.

"You don't want to know?" She was surprised. She clearly wanted to tell me.
"I don't think I do"
"Really? Don't you think it's healthy that we share this kind of stuff with each other?" She definitely wanted to tell me.
"I don't think I want to know"

She looked at me for a few seconds and then dropped it. We haven't talked about it since.

It's not that I didn't care about how she was feeling, or that there was any reason why I wouldn't want to know, it's just that my immediate gut reaction was that I simply didn't want to know. I have no clear idea why, but I just had this powerful feeling that I didn't want to talk about it, and ultimately I was powerless to resist it.

I'm sure it wasn't that big a deal, but for some reason I just couldn't deal with it.

That's bad, right?

I try to be open, and I'm actually proud of the fact that I usually say what I think and that I tend to wear my emotions on my face for everyone to see... but I can also be very secretive and closed off, even from those people that I love the most.

Curse my metal body.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

a trail for the devil to erase...

Shuffleathon Update

It's been a while right? Well Jenni has posted up her review of my CD. I'm not sure if she wants me to post a direct link or not, so so in the meantime I'll just put up an explanation of why I chose the songs I chose.

I know that there a loads and loads different theories on making a compilation. Hell, I even subscribe to some of them (track 1, side 1 should always be MASSIVE. It should grab the listener by the throat and wrestle them to the ground. Think "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Screamager" or "Back in Black" or "Enter Sandman" or something like that. BOH!). After some consideration, I decided to ignore all the rules. I was really pleased to have drawn Jenni, and I wanted my shuffleathon CD to tell the story of how I've ended up listening to the music that I'm currently listening to. I realised that this would take me through a shouty heavy metal phase that might not be to my target audience's taste, but I also wanted this to be honest.


[deep breath]

1. Intro: "Disco Fudge" - Tyres

This is a snippet from Spaced. In fact, it's this scene. Mostly included because it makes me laugh.

2. "The Riddle" - Nik Kershaw

And so we begin. "The Riddle" was the first album that I bought for myself and Nik Kershaw was the first artist who I really dug. You may only see a pouting midget with a terrible mullet, but I will always see the man who inspired me to write to Jimmy Saville asking if he could "Fix It" for me and my best mate Will to meet him. Jimmy never wrote back.

I had to download this song to include it on this CD, and I have to say that it still sounds remarkably good. It's got a great lyric too. Bad news for all those seeking the answer to the riddle though - apparently he made it all up and it doesn't mean anything at all.

Who knew?

3. "Fireball" - Deep Purple

I discovered heavy metal by accident when I was 13. By accident? Well, I bought "Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden because I loved the album cover. I had no idea what they sounded like. It is a great cover though, and there are probably worse reasons for buying an album

...and I liked it. From there, there was no stopping me. I listened to some terrible shit (Poison? Slaughter? Whitesnake?) but I also discovered some brilliant bands that I still listen to today (Faith No More, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Iron Maiden...) Deep Purple were never really on the A-list but I absolutely loved this song. The first CD I ever bought was a ropey compilation album called "Protect The Innocent". It contained some rubbish, but the first four tracks on the first disc were "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf, "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, "Fireball" by Deep Purple and "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead. It doesn't get much better than that. What marks this song out is the absolutely ludicrous keyboard solo in the middle. Utterly overblown, but completely brilliant. For me it's representative of that whole period.

If you think the story of how I discovered Heavy Metal is bad, perhaps I should tell you how I discovered Bob Marley when I picked up the "Legend" compilation because I thought it was by Bob Dylan....

Maybe not, eh?

4. "I Could Have Lied" - Red Hot Chili Peppers

"Blood Sugar Sex Magik" is probably the album that rescued me from Linkin Park. Well, perhaps not, but it was certainly the album that started to shift my music tastes away from metal. The band themselves were still a long way from the melodic, all-conquering band that we hear today, but this was the album that showed that there might be more to the Red Hot Chili Peppers than funk metal goons with socks on their cocks. "Under The Bridge" is the song that typically gets all the plaudits, but I've always preferred this one. It's just incredibly soulful and I don't think I've ever heard such a heartfelt guitar solo.

5. "I Wanna Be Adored" - The Stone Roses

I hated the Stone Roses. For a long time they (together with the Cure) were symbols of everything that I hated about music in the late 80s. Why? Because I wasn't listening to them with my ears, I was paying more attention to the people at my school who liked them. They were all wankers, ergo the Stone Roses were wankers.

Wrong.... It took me several years, but luckily I opened up my ears for long enough to find out what an idiot I was being. "The Stone Roses" is one of the best albums recorded. Full stop. An object lesson in not judging something without listening to it.

I was wrong about The Cure too.

6. "Half A Person" - The Smiths

Ah. The song that changed my life by the band that totally changed my musical direction. The Smiths were another band that I had missed first time around because I decided that I hated them without hearing them. By the time I sat down and really listened to them, I was a first year undergraduate at university and it was a time in my life where I was ready to listen to these strange songs about alienation. Like millions of teenagers before and since, I felt that Morrissey was speaking directly to me, that he understood.

I don't think I've ever recovered.

Other songs have spoken to me more loudly than this one, but this was the one that got me started.

7. "The Seventh Seal" - Scott Walker

I have Mark Preston to thank for this. He was a "mature student" on my course at university (well, he was 25) and he introduced me to the more eclectic pleasures of musicians like David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Scott Walker.

I have a lot to thank him for.

I've spoken about Scott Walker here many times before, but there is something about the combination of that voice with the bleakness of many of his lyrics that really strikes a chord with me. This song is a case in point: it's inspired by the Bergman film of the same name and tells the story of a knight playing chess with Death for his soul.

And losing.

8. "Highway Patrolman" - Johnny Cash

Cash's legacy is monumental. You only have to listen to the "American Recordings" to know that. Funny then that the first Cash song that got me interested was "Daddy Sang Bass".

"Hurt" it is not.

He's now famous for his covers of songs by people like U2 and the Nine Inch Nails, but I've always liked this. It's a cover of a track by Bruce Springsteen and although it pre-dates his work with Rick Rubin, it's very much a taste of what is to come.

9. "Show Girl" - The Auteurs

Ah, fey indie. We're now an awfully long way from Motorhead now, aren't we? The Auteurs were runners up to Suede in the 1993 Mercury Music Prize and they were bloody robbed. "New Wave" is a work of genius and although I occasionally listen to Suede's debut, it's the Auteurs that I keep coming back to.

There's something about the jangley guitars and Luke Haines' weariness that make this song perfect. It's in my all time top 10. Possibly.

10. "Yes" - Manic Street Preachers

My mate Mark used to refer to this lot as "Welsh heavy metal". Perhaps he was right, but "The Holy Bible" in general, and this song in particular, will always remind me of the term I spent in Venice in 1994. I have vivid memories of wandering back to my flat at about 3am through a completely deserted city with mist rolling in across the lagoon.

It was magical, and this was my soundtrack.

11. "Piazza, New York Catcher" - Belle & Sebastian

More fey indie, and another band that I hated on principle before I actually listened to them. I hated the whole idea of this band and the indier-than-thou attitude I felt that they represented.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.


"If You're Feeling Sinister" is the album that turned me, but this song is the one that I love the most. I just love the idea of visiting coffee houses and awarding certificates.

12. "Obstacle 2" - Interpol

I like to think of Interpol as the band that best represent my record collection. They are white. They have two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. They play slightly spikey indie rock. Their lyrics are faintly depressing. The singer sounds like a cross between a lawyer and an undertaker.

I think they're great.

13. "Sheila" - Jamie T

Jamie T's ode to a night out on the Stella is included because it was both the last single I had downloaded and the last gig I had been to when I made the CD, and it was thus entirely representative of where my musical journey had taken me.

14. Outro: "It's Over" - Daisy

We're back to 'Spaced' again, and it is finally all over.

I'm not sure that this runs all that well as a compilation in the traditional sense. It's probably far too downbeat for one thing.... but hell, it's a little meander through my music taste.

It's also my damn party!

Just one CD to go, and we're done. Nearly there.

1. SarahY
2. MandyYreview
3. YokoY
4. AlanY
5. CharlieY
6. KaY
7. spinsY
8. bedshapedY
9. bytheseashoreY
10. Mike Y
11. AlecyaY
sort of review
12. PynchonY
13. Ben Y
14. Flash Y
15. Michael Y
16. Lord BargainY
17. TinaY
18. DelY
19. Mark Y
20. Graham Y
21. Stef
22. AdemYreview
23. ThreelightY
24. Jenni Y
25. Leah Y
26. Pete Y
27. Statue JohnY
28. MonogodoY
29. Him Y
30. Me!
not yet!
31. TheCatGirlSpeaks (virtually)
Ymy review
her review

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

it would be, it would be so nice....

I had that chat with my boss this afternoon. To cut a long story short, there won't be any promotion until February. I do feel a touch more positive about the whole thing though, which is good. Disappointing and frustrating though it is, this news wasn't exactly unexpected. What did come as a pleasant surprise though was the long and open chat that it sparked off with my boss (she's actually my direct manager's boss, but my boss isn't really relevant here). I've known her for a long time now, and in fact worked for her for a few years in a different job. As a result, she knows me pretty well and I know her. She's always been honest and open with me, and I hated the fact that I was starting to suspect her motives. Well, she's just about redeemed herself in my eyes today. It wasn't good news, I know, but we actually spent a good hour chatting about all kinds of things, not least of all my health. It was nice.

She did give me reasons that I'm not being promoted, and although I think it's stupid, I am at least prepared to believe that there is nothing that she can do about it and that she is really pulling for me to get that promotion as soon as possible (she knows that it's now been 5 years since my last proper pay rise and she has already conceded to me that she feels that they owe me). She then told me how much she valued the skills that I have and offered up a few interesting possibilities about where I could take my career. It wasn't earth-shattering, but it was encouraging.

I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't a cynical voice in the back of my head telling me that I'm being played for a sucker - there definitely is - but at the moment I'm going to choose to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I'm still looking for another job, mind. Can't hurt, can it.


One thing that actually made me laugh out loud during our conversation was when she suggested that I could have some sort of career counselling from personnel. I'm sure some good people work in personnel, but I'm afraid that all my experiences of them in the last six months have been entirely negative - culminating in them trying to tell me that TUPE law meant that they couldn't promote me (my boss told me today that when she took my challenge back to them on this, they looked it up and then conceded that they were talking out of their arses. Isn't it their job to know things like that? How do they get away with that level of incompetence?).

Career guidance from them? Seriously?


I escaped work at 3pm today to head off to hospital to get some blood taken - about a pint of blood is needed to run a whole battery of tests (full blood count, immunology check, antibody check etc. etc.). They want to just absolutely make sure that they aren't missing something (either obvious or obscure) before we all settle down and wait to see if it's MS.



In better news, we've confirmed that we will now be taking three weeks off in March to go on a sort of pre-wedding honeymoon to explore Ecuador. We're going with the same small fairtrade tour company that took us to the Sahara and Anti-Atlas mountains in 2001. That was a brilliant holiday, and I'm really looking forward to this one. Best of all was the response I got when I disclosed my medical worries to the guy who runs the tour. I thought I'd better tell him now as this will be an active trip and I want him to know what he might be dealing with. His response was brilliant: he knows all about Transverse Myelitis and MS because his partner suffers from it. He has no worries about my ability to make the tour because he took her in September and she was fine. He also says he has the perfect solution.... (and having met the guy before, I have a very clear idea of what that solution is likely to be!)

Really good news and something to look forward to.


... and we won the pub quiz.

The answer I was particularly proud of? According to Jewish folklore, who was the first woman created by God?

Monday, October 16, 2006

while we're in the mood...

As we stepped out of the Royal Academy on Sunday afternoon, we inadvertantly stumbled upon a fantastic little food emporium. It was called Fortnum & Mason or something, and they have an understated little shop somewhere around Piccadilly. We had a little poke around, and I was surprised and delighted to find that they stocked Elijah Craig 18 year old Single Barrel Bourbon.

As far as spirits go, I tend to be a whisky drinker, and I'm particularly fond of the peatier end of the spectrum of Islay malts (Lagavulin, Laphroig... that kind of thing). In spite of the fact that it's at the opposite end of the whisk(e)y taste spectrum to some of these fiery malts, I've also always had something of a taste for a decent Bourbon. I find Tennessee Bourbons like Jack Daniels to be a little too harsh and metallic for my tastes, but I really love the warm, soft, caramel flavours of a good Kentucky Bourbon. Elijah Craig is my absolute favourite - the standard 12 year old stuff tastes wonderfully of vanilla and toffee, and it is now pleasingly available in the off licence around the corner from my house. I'd heard that the 18 year version was even better, but it's like bloody gold-dust. You occasionally see it in swanky cocktail bars, but my attempts to get hold of a bottle of the stuff had been frustrating and I'd been limited to a tantalising snifter in an extortionate cocktail bar.

Not any more. I am now the proud owner of a bottle of this precious liquour from barrel number 1430, barreled on 2nd June 1981. It wasn't cheap, but by God I think it's going to be worth it.

To complete my epicurean delight, as well as picking up some nice looking coffee, a fruit cake and a tin of leatherwood honey, we also found a bottle of Rosso di Montalcino. You might just remember that C. and I stayed in Montalcino earlier this summer and discovered what is reputed to be the finest wine in Italy - the Brunello di Montalcino. The Brunello is all well and good, but it is expensive and needs to be cellared for at least a decade to taste it at its best. The Rosso di Montalcino is one of those wines that is meant to be drunk while it is fresh, and it certainly shouldn't be cellared. It is much cheaper than the Brunello, delicious and ready to drink now. I don't think much of it makes it outside of Tuscany to be honest, so as soon as we saw they had some in stock, it didn't take much decision making to grab their last remaining bottle.

After this, all I could do was stumble into Soho and fall into the first decent looking brasserie that we found. Luckily for us, it was quite a nice one. I had dressed crab, fish stew and a plum and almond tart. C. had wood pigeon breast salad, vegetable tagine and a sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. All washed down by a nice bottle of Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sur Lie.

In the interests of completeness, I should probably add that we had Square Pie, mash, peas and gravy in Selfridges for lunch on Saturday, followed up by a Krispy Kreme donut, and C's brother whipped us up a delicious feast of organic farmer's sausages for our tea.....


Christ. Is anyone else feeling hungry?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

they look just like two gurus in drag.....

It only took me four years to persuade the lovely Yoko that I wasn't just some random psycho off the internet. It then took me all of about four minutes to prove that I am, in fact, some random psycho off the internet by choosing to adopt the "thumbs aloft" pose for the photo.

Hey ho.

Let me tell you, dear reader, that Yoko is every bit as charming as you might have imagined her to be, and more. We only spent a couple of hours together, but it felt as though we've known each other for years - which of course we have.

We do seem to have a magic obscuring effect on cameras though.

Oh, here's a nice one.

She's a treasure, and next time I'll make sure that we have more time for a proper chin-wag.

London was quite nice. The sheer volume of people starts to get on my nerves after a couple of days, but in small doses I quite enjoy it. The Modigliani exhibition in particular was really good. There were only four rooms of paintings in all, but it was the first major exhibition of his work in the UK for 40 years, and some of those painting are stunning.

I as particularly taken with the painting above - draped nude from c.1917. Bugger the Mona Lisa, if you ask me, the expression on this model's face is far more interesting. We have a couple of Modigliani prints around the house already, but I'm very keen to get a copy of this, I think. Sadly the Gallery shop wasn't able to help (they didn't even have a bloody postcard), but I'm sure t'internet will be able to come up trumps.

A good weekend though.

I'm dreading work tomorrow though. That can't be a good sign, can it?


Oh, and Yoko... that French bloke? I have no idea who he was, but I think he was reminding me of the guy who played Harry, the bald Jewish lawyer in Sex and the City - and I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't be in a cinema in Brixton pretending to be French.

Would he?

(and Mark - next time?)

Friday, October 13, 2006

I hurt myself today

This weekend, I will be mostly:

-> eating a tagine whilst entertaining a guest from Switzerland
-> getting started on my CV (enough is enough)
-> meeting Yoko (it's about time, right?)
-> checking out C's brother's new pad in London
-> going to the Modigliani exhibition at the Royal Academy

oh, and posting the Earworms of the Week, obviously.

I've got a bottle of wine that needs opening, so let's just get on with it shall we?

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #44 - Cody Bones from It Is What It Is

Having been a fan of earworms, and Swiss Toni for awhile now, I’m honored as hell that I get to be guest editor, and to actually have an audience for what’s going through my head. I found ST through The Story of Why a while back and was not only amazed by his writing, but I thought to my self “That’s one great mustache”. It keeps me coming back. One of the reasons that I’ve loved the earworms segment is that I seem to have less exposure than ever to new music because of technology. I don’t listen to the radio in the car anymore, I listen to my iRiver. I really don’t watch MTV, or hang out downtown looking for up and coming bands anymore. Oh well, the joy of being 40. Earworms have given me new songs to download and listen to. So without any further ado, here are 10 songs that are not my 10 greatest hits, but more along the line of what I’ve heard lately on my Iriver, and have stuck in my head. Sorry Flash, no Gnu Cnu, but 'White Celebration' is still a crackling song. Enjoy.

1. Hurt - Johnny Cash

I started listening to Johnny Cash when I was young, and he was on the TV show Hee Haw. (Remember, there were only 4 channels to watch back then.) Quite simply, I think that he is one of the greatest musicians to have ever walked the planet. The honesty in his voice and music is so overwhelming to me. I realize that this is a Trent Reznor song, but to me Johnny Cash truly made it his own in this recording. Haunting.

2. Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers

One of the benefits of having a teenager is that they hear new songs before you do. I especially like it when our taste in bands coincide (he doesn’t though). The Peppers have managed to chart in three different decades, quite an accomplishment if you ask me. This also managed to be a good song, unlike the Stones with 'Start Me Up', for their third decade hit. Typical Peppers song, rockin with just enough funk. “Poppa was a copper, mama was a hippie

3. Snap your fingers – Lil Jon

My son’s ring tone. Nuff said

4. Temperature – Sean Paul

This is the type of song that is not quite my usual taste in music, but I can’t get it out of my head. The Caribbean beat is fantastic. My foot is in constant motion when I hear this song even though I only understand about half the lyrics.

5. Certain Romance - Arctic Monkeys

I started to listen to the Arctic Monkeys about 6 months ago when they were mentioned almost every day in blog land. After downloading a few songs, I found to my surprise, that I actually like them. They seem to be a combination of The Clash, and The English Beat, two of my favorite bands, again, a song I don’t seem to be able to get out of my head, but unlike 'Temperature', a song I’m happy to have there.

6. Bullet with Butterfly Wings – The Smashing Pumpkins

My favorite song, by my favorite band. I was living in the near north side of Chicago in the late 80’s-early 90’s, when the Pumpkins were getting their start, and I saw them perform at the Cabaret Metro numerous times. I think that Jimmy Chamberlin is the best drummer in rock history [ST's note: Dave Grohl? Keith Moon? John Bonham? Nico McBrain?], and Billy Corgan is truly a genius [ST's note: ?!?]. “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage” I can’t tell you how many times I think about these lyrics in my everyday life. The good news is that the Pumpkins have reformed, and are in the studio recording a new album. I hope I’m not disappointed.

7. Who Are You – The Who

Of all the big 3 British Invasion bands, I’ll take The Who over the Beatles or Stones any day. The Who, were the first band that I know of to use anger in their music. These boys were angry at the world. The punk rock and alternative music scenes probably never would have happened without The Who. I love music that has an honest attitude. None of this pretend teen angst crap that a lot of manufactured bands try to pawn off on us, The Who, with 'Who Are You', just scream about the emptiness of life. I went to a showing of the movie 'Tommy' when I was 16, and sat next to a beautiful girl, who I happened to like. After the show, she kept saying “I get it, I get it”. Unfortunately for me I didn’t get 'Tommy' then, and it took me years of therapy to get over that one. Oh well, I still love the Who

I woke up in a Soho doorway, a policeman knew my name.
He said You can go sleep at home tonight if you can get up and walk away.
I staggered back to the underground, where the breeze blew back my hair.
I remember throwing punches around, and preaching from my chair

Good stuff, especially the voice. Delivered with attitude and authority by Roger Daltry

8. Cracklin Rosie – Neil Diamond

Jelvis(The Jewish Elvis). To a certain subset of the population, this man is God. I’m not Jewish, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I don’t know why, but he is my guilty pleasure. 'Cracklin Rosie' and 'Sweet Caroline' can also be considered two of the most popular sing along songs in history. Last, but not least, and much to the chagrin of my wife and friends, 'Cracklin Rosie' is MY Karaoke song. I rock. “Cracklin rose you’re a store bought women, but you make me sing like a guitar humming”. In case you were wondering, the song is about a bottle of cheap wine. It doesn’t get any better than this.

9. Backwater – Meat Puppets

This song popped up on my iRiver the other day, and I had forgotten how much I liked it. The album was 'Too High to Die', and was released in 1994. There was also a track on the CD that was listed as #99. Kind of a hidden track called “Lake of Fire”. Oh well, I was a big fan of the Puppets, and this song still rocks today. Take a listen.

10. Playing in the Band – Grateful Dead

In interest of full disclosure, yes I was a deadhead. I saw them perform probably 15 different times throughout the U.S.. My first Dead show was in 1982, and I was at the last show in Solider Field here in Chicago before Jerry died. The dead were just different, no category, no hit albums, just a bunch of guys playing in the band. It’s one of the reasons that I always liked this song. When I got the e-mail for Swiss Toni, it’s one of the first songs that I thought of. ( I like to work backwards.) Jerry’s guitar work, Bob Weir’s singing. The double drum beat. Classic


Thanks Cody. Not sure about your nomination for the best drummer of all time (Meg White? Ringo? Ginger Baker? Mitch Mitchell? Animal?), but it's all good, eh?

Our next Guest Editor is another American (will that be the third one in a row?), but at least I know we'll be in safe hands.... not least because she's just had two CDs in the post from me [cough cough!] Yup. Next week it's Jenni!


[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II]