Linking Inkings – 4th March ’15

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writingA few scribblings that have kept me in organic veg this week.

Sounds Around Town  –  local gig guide  (Swindon Advertiser)

Gig of the Week  – gig recommendation (Swindon Link)

The Swindon New Nu-gaze Revolution – article (Ocelot Magazine)

The Joy of Waiting  –  Sara Lowes – album review (Dancing About Architecture)

Numbskull  – Wesley Wolfe – album review (Dancing About Architecture)

The Lucid Dream  –  The Lucid Dream – album review (Dancing About Architecture)

Eyes in The Canopy  – The Winchester Revival – album review (Dancing About Architecture)

The Adventures of Self-raising Lazarus – IX : of (Gnar)Wolves and Donkeys

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10676187_10203343581620924_2988841955461165579_nSo I went into the radio station early yesterday to work on some sketches for a new show with my co-presenter Sean Hodgson. Our music show, Live and Local, has always contained a few pre-recorded skits and spoof adverts and with the idea of doing a full show of this type, we recently put the idea to our station manager at 105.5, Shirley Ludford. Rather than be given a new time slot for a show that may turn out to be intermittent in its out put or short lived, we were told we could program the show into what would normally be the repeat slot for our regular show. And so work has began.

 

Sean came around to my place earlier in the week to exchange ideas and rough out some sketches and by Wednesday we had a few things shaped up to record as demos, and so sketches called Hallucination (a man trying to claim he can’t work due to being a figment of the benefits officers imagination,) Bi-lingual (a Smith and Jones type head to head) and Gibberish (2 crossword compilers reporting on the local music scene) plus some ideas for a couple of spoof complaint letters were committed to tape. Interesting times.

 

At 2,00, we reverted to our music show presenting mode but due to our booked guest, Drew Bryant, not being able to make the recording we just did two hours of chat and pre-recorded music, which is just as much fun in many ways.

 

The evening saw a bit of a gig clash, which must send some sort of signal to those who say that nothing ever happens in Swindon. My good friend Kieran Moore who promotes under the name Sheer Music had booked Brighton based, Cornish refugees and fantastic punk band Gnarwolves to play The Victoria, but it clashed with my regular acoustic slot at The Roaring Donkey, so sadly I couldn’t attend, though 140 people did which made for a close to sell out room. I did, however, have the company of Neil Mercer and Dave Corrigan playing wonderful folky and rootsy Americana sets and quite a few familiar faces turned up to watch. About thirty in all which is more than enough for the small room we work in. At the end of the night, Si, Matt and Paj from Coasters wandered in for a pint and I proceeded to get a bit wobbly with Si over the next few hours, and as he lives a few streets along from me an early hours nightcap at his gaff was in order before I staggered home.

 

Two busy gigs in a Wednesday must tell people that if you book the right original acts then people will turn out to watch, maybe it is a turning point and people will start moving away from this blanket ban of anything that isn’t a tribute, cover band or doesn’t contain at least one member of their immediate family. Then again, maybe not.

 

In other news a singer tripped over whilst performing at a bogus award ceremony.

Live and Local – 25th February ’15

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thThis week no guest just Sean Franklin and Dave Hodgson gabble for 2 hours…but also play some very carefully selected music as well: Cavalier, Super Square Cloud, Poplar Jake and the Electric Delta Review, Seth Bye and katie Griffin, The Roving Crows, Talk In Code, Elles Bailey, Rumour Shed, Vienna Ditto, The Black Hats, Young Rosie, Jimmy Moore, Tamsin Quin, Billy in the Low Ground.

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Linking Inkings – 26th February

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writingA few pieces than have bought the odd pint of Kozel along the way

Sounds Around Town  – gig guide (Swindon Advertiser)

Reggie Riot  –  Reginald Road  – album review (Dancing About Architecture)

One Real Big Identity Crisis – The Permanent Smilers  –  album review (Dancing About Architecture)

 

 

The Adventures of Self-raising Lazarus – VIII: Still waiting for Bonaparte

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The Men They Couldn't HangSome would have you believe that the past is another country; they do things differently there. That may be but the fairly recent past is often like returning to the location of a string of well-loved childhood holidays, a change but with a wonderfully familiar feel about it. And so it is when you get the chance to watch a band that made such an impact on your younger self, and Saturday night say just that. The Men They Couldn’t Hang burst out of the London squat scene in the early eighties mixing folk and rock and singing torch songs and anthems to blue collar causes, industrial history and the under dog and quickly became firm favourites of mine. Not only mine but my school friend cum housemate Mark, who was in town tonight for the show and who like Prometheus himself is tasked with bringing fire to mortal man…albeit wholesale and at a more competitive price.   A few snifters from a wonderful golden rum he had picked up on his travels and it was off to The Rolleston for a few drinks before heading into the fray of Level 3, the club below. It was great to see plenty of familiar faces, particularly Andy King who competed the trio as not only Wootton Bassett Comprehensive old boys but also ex-St Ivel employees from the day when my hometowns economy relied on toiling before a cottage cheese flavoured pit face.   Down stairs we caught the second half of The Charred Hearts set, whose front man, Dermot, had put the gig together to celebrate his 50th birthday. Solid, melodic punk with a strong local following and for which I have a soft spot for having once stood in on bass for a gig at the first Punk By The Sea festival in Southsea, a fairly daunting experience due to having to play with only 2 rehearsals under my belt and the fact that I was pretty much the only person with long hair in a crowd of 1500 aging punks. Still a great weekend nonetheless.   As this wasn’t really a scheduled or tour gig in the normal sense The Men treated us to a greatest hits package ranging from early classics such as Ironmasters, through Waiting For Bonaparte era greats right up to last years Raising Hell. Nice to see Tom Spenser back in the posse, a man I had watched front his own band The Loyalties, play bass for Tyla and last time round play banjo for TMTCH. This time he took over lead guitar duties allowing Paul Simmonds to stay with the ever-faithful Mandolin.   The upstairs bar was still rammed as we trickled out of the venue, due mainly to the clever booking of a Pogues-esque cider-punk outfit called Mick O’Toole still playing so myself and Mark found ourselves outside the venue clutching a pint and bumping into none other than singer/guitarist Stefan Cush. A top chat was had with him, sordid tales of the bands heyday and even a brief talk with Tom materialised.   More rum and pizza back at my house rounded off one of the most pleasurable gig experiences I have had in a long time. Those that say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be have got it so wrong.

The Adventures of Self-Raising Lazarus – VII: All change and business as usual.

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writer-at-deskSome things change and some things stay the same. In the “blimey, that’s different” column we have a number of changes afoot with some of the sites I send local music pieces to. Due to recent acquisitions of and money injections into Swindon Link my editor there is taking a sideways move as the various directions of the new group are better demarcated into their various interests. I have elected to move with him as I would rather work for an editor who I know gets my work rather than risk working for one who just wants fluff pieces about function bands or the latest 12 year old acoustic prodigy.

 

Amongst these changes my editor at The Ocelot, also acquired as part of the changes and mergers, now splits his time between that magazine and the print version of Swindon Link, so I seem to have ended up with not only the same amount of bosses but exactly the same people. The more things change the more they stay the same eh?

 

In the “business as usual” column the pile of album reviews is backing up as all three of my regular PR companies seem to be submitting more than ever, two based in the UK , Manila and Prescription and the Minneapolis based Tinderbox. As a matter of course, I try to make sure anything sent in physical format always gets a review, digital submissions have to rely on me either really, really liking the music and having time on my hands, something becoming rarer and rarer.

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