The Middle East

The Middle East are an Australian band. I found out about them after I read somewhere that they played SXSW this year and were one of the festivals ‘buzz bands’. I investigated them as they sounded a bit up my street – lots of band members, beards, folk music and a cute girl. Usually ‘buzz bands’ turn out to be more style than substance, or what friends of mine call ‘haircut bands’. Thankfully this lot weren’t. I was pleasantly surprised too to discover they had one of the best songs I’d heard all year – ‘Blood’. I got complete band envy when I heard this. It’s one of those songs that come along, that as a songwriter really makes you go ‘fuck I wish I’d written that’.

Like all the best bands, they’re frustratingly aloof.  In their ‘About’ section on their website (entitled ‘Learn’) it simply reads ‘We’re from Townsville, Australia and we play music.’ They played a few dates in England over the summer and they seem to be playing a handful of shows in their homeland in November, but that’s about it really!

If you’re a fan of lovely, beautiful and euphoric folk music, the best thing to do is go visit their website, enter your email address and you’ll receive the songs ‘Blood’ or  ‘The Darkest Side’ for free. http://www.themiddleeastmusic.com/

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When a band changes it’s name

Sometimes when a band changes it’s name, along with it their fortunes do the same. On the Scottish scene I can think of a few of late; Brother Louis Collective became Admiral Fallow, Young Father’s used to be the highly embarrasing 3style and The View used to be called The Libertines..ahaha.

On a bigger scale the most famous in indie terms has to be Kaiser Chiefs who struggled for years under the moniker Parva, before becoming a bona fide chart shagging success under their new name.

So why do bands do this? A guy I used to know who managed a few bands signed to major labels use to say to bands, never put the year when they formed on bio’s, because as time goes on labels look at that date and assume you must not be very good if you’ve had zero interest, say within 2 years of it.

I think some bands do go on that, and others just get sick of their name. I was in a band called Thieves In Suits. Initially I liked the name, but soon dj’s such as 6music’s Tom Robinson began linking the name to the credit crunch. We would be introduced with something cheesy like “And finally the worlds banks collapsed but along came Thieves In Suits to lift us out of the doledrums.” Eurggghhhh. We weren’t even a political group! We could have easily just changed our name and carried on, if it wasn’t for our completely mental fucking drummer and his constant erection, so we split up instead. 

Sometimes band’s change their names but I end up preferring their old ones. I much prefer Brother Louis Collective to Admiral Fallow for example, or The Dials to Lost In Audio (who once gave someone a cd with their music on it, only for it to turn out to be blank. Genius. Not intentional mind.) 

Anyway, if you can be arsed, tell me this:

What’s your favourite band name-before-they-changed-it-and-became-huge?

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Swearing

Some people have a big hang up about swearing. Apparently the bbc say that, on air, after the watershed, it’s ok to use the word “fucking” if you’re not using it as another word for sex. So “Do you know what’s fucking great? shagging.” is ok.

I was brought up not to swear, or at least not in front of women or my parents. I still get told off if I swear in front of them at xmas.

It was helpful as a teengaer though as I always knew if my dad was really really pissed with me because he would swear. I remember the day I was suspended from school for two weeks, and boy did he swear, albeit in a very comic mancunian way; “Fookin idiot! Fookin hell! What the fook were you thinking”. Weird considering his accent is quite broad Aberdonian.

My mother is constantly getting onto me for swearing on Facebook saying “It’s not nice”. God knows what she’ll make of this.

At Christmas me and the missus went over to my folks for dinner with them and a few aunts and uncles. We got a bit pissed, and later that night we forgot our decency and the bad evil sweary words came bounding out. To my utter disbelief, one of my uncles who was in the fucking forces (I should’ve made a joke about swearing like a trooper at the time) actually told off my partner for her language saying “I don’t believe women should swear”. No my uncle is not Alf Garnett, but by christ it isn’t far off. 

I do have to watch my F’s and C’s sometimes though. The other day we were looking after a friends 5 year old daughter, and the amount of times I swore before realising I shouldn’t do that in font of wee kids was unbelievable.

Staying in Leith exposes you to some of the most appalling language, especially from parents aimed at their kids. I was in Blockbuster’s last week when a sweet bespectacled little girl about 8 year old bounded in to look at the cartoons, only for her horrible mother to swing open the door and howl “Get your fucking arse out here before I kick your cunt in!”. Nice that she mentioned both front and back bottoms in one sentence though, very imaginative.

But at the end of the day what’s the big deal about adults swearing in front of other adults? Fuck fucking knows. He haw.

So here, just to upset my mum are some of my top ten swear words and the context they can be used in. Enjoy kids.

1) Cunt – “what a cunt”, “he’s a good cunt”, “Ow ya cunt!”

2) Fuck – “Fuck it/them/him/her/that/this/everyone”, “Fuck me!”, “Fuck You”,          “Fuck Off!”

3) Shite – “Oh shite”, “I need a shite”, “I feel like shite”, “I smell like shite”

4) Bollocks – “Yer talking Bollocks!”, “Bollocks!”, “Ouch my bollocks”

5) Bastard – “What a bastard!”, “Ouch ya bastard!”, “Bastarding thing!”

6) Baws – “Yer talking baws”, “Im trippin Baws” also Bawbag – “What a bawbag”

7) Twat – “What a twat”, “He needs a twattin”

8) Pish- “See that Sex in the city? loada pish”, “His gran reeked o’ pish”

9) Cock – “What an absolute cock!”, “I have a sore cock that might fall off”

10) Arse / Arsehole – “Nice arse”, “My boss is an arsehole”, “My boss touched my  arse”.

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Crackhead Queen Whore

I’ve been getting pestered by this fuck head who’s moved in downstairs. His flat isn’t part of our building, he has a separate door from us. I’ve seen him getting pissed up with the local prostitutes over the road. A gay friend informed me the guy was “a skanky crack whore queen”. He plays really shit music really loud at 8 in the morning.

Recently he’s started pestering us for a key to the back garden. Our lovely back garden. First  he said he needed to let his cat roam around out there. We said we didn’t have a key (blatant lie, we do, but he’s not getting it) but to go speak to Phil who is in charge of the upkeep of the garden and supplies new tennent’s with keys.

He obviously didn’t do this as the next time we passed him in the street he muttered something under his breath to his retarded looking friend about “not giving me a fucking key”. I ignored him.

A few days later he somehow got into the stairwell and chapped our door. I wasn’t going to answer the door to him. Later that day downstairs I found ” I’d like 2 C UR cock in my mouth” scrawled on the wall next to the back door. Now last time I looked that definitely wasn’t there, and I’m quite sure shy retiring type Brendan from upstairs, who’s married and has a wee boy, wouldn’t like to see my cock anywhere near him let alone in his mouth.

The next day he then buzzed our flat. The missus answered it. Again it was cracky baws wanting a key. This time it wasn’t for his cat. Noooooo, the excuse this time was a bit more eleborate but still very transparent: 

” My maws just died, and I think my flat mates killed himself so I need to get out the back to look in the window and see if he’s alive”

Jesus wept. No your friend is probably just in a crack coma. Suffice to say he got told to fuck off.

BUT STILL HE CAME BACK.

The next day he buzzed again. His excuse this time wasn’t quite as far fetched:

“I need a key to the back garden cos I’ve locked myself out”

This time the missus got him told. A minute later we headed out to go into town. As we left the main door what did we see? The fucker nipping out of his flat with his rubbish!!

It’s sad that sometimes you have to keep your guard up with certain people. I think if it was anyone else I’d be happy to help them out, but I’ve seen enough of this chap to know I definitely do not want him in my back garden or in my stairwell.

In my head I have this image of him getting a key and turning the back garden into a scene out of shameless. Inviting half of Priscilla’s (a very horrible tacky looking gay bar on Leith Walk ) round and partying til six in the morning, spewing and pissing everywhere.

No sir he ain’t getting a key. He can write cock on the walls as much as he wants, he can entertain us with his crap lies, but he will never get a key to our back garden. EVER.

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And Englands Dreaming?

So it’s world cup time. As everyone knows Scotland didn’t make it, but England did. Personally I couldn’t give a shit. I don’t follow football. I’ll watch the world cup or the euro thing, but that’s it. It’s the same with tennis or darts. I know some of the names but never watch it unless there’s a big tournament and then I get swept away with it all.

The madness that has wandered along with England making it to The World Cup in South Africa and Scotland not surprisingly getting within pissing distance of the thing, has reached fever pitch. Each sides fans having a pop at each other on facebook and through some witty and some not so witty t-shirts. Someone made the not-very-clever A.B.E t-shirts (anyone but england) only to be shown up by the wit of the S.N.P (scotland’s not playing) one.

I can see how Scots get wound up by England, and I find it all quite amusing, as for the most parts it’s all harmless fun. It’s when it turns fuckin nasty and antagonistic that it really makes me sad.

I was born at Pontefract hospital just outside Leeds. Twice a year we would go up to Aberdeen to visit my parents family. When I was 13 we moved to Edinburgh. I had a massively noticeable broad Yorkshire accent.
Being the new boy at school and being English were not two of the best things to have just as you were hitting puberty. This isn’t some ‘poor me’ sob story of how I was ruthlessly bullied at school, because I wasn’t, I did get some stick but most of it I brought upon myself, but I did however get the odd lame insult for being english.

Luckily I had a dad that warned me this would happen. He would take the piss out of me on a regular basis and say if I could take him taking the piss out of me I could take it from anyone. He also said if anyone called me an english so-and-so to either do two things: 1. Punch ’em
or 2.Laugh and agree with them. I did a lot of 1, and if it was someone I knew would probably beat the shite out of me then I’d resort to 2.

I got so fed up with 1 and 2 ( and a certain fuckin film – cheers mel gibson) that gradually I made an effort to change my accent to blend in. Within a couple of years most of my tormentors had forgotten I was english because my accent was so broadly Scottish.

Now however, I don’t really consider myself English. My dad used to say “You’re not English, you’re a Yorkshire Man. There’s a difference.” I liked that. I have an English partner, and whenever someone says something or acts derogatory towards her plainly because of her accent I get quite defensive and fucking angry. I’ve started reading on Facebook Scots moaning about commentators referring to England as “we”. These folk are the same fuckers who also refer to the team they support as “we” ! I read a comment on Facebook from Dominic Diamond saying in 1998 he was in a pub in London and got taunted for being Scottish. No Dominic, you got taunted because you are a massive wanker.

I’ve a lot of friends who’ve  defended their knocking of England by making excuses saying things like ” Well English folk always take the piss about how much we drink blah blah”, well stop fucking drinking so much then! When I lived in England for 12 years, not once did I hear anyone take the piss out of Scottish people or talk down about them in the slightest. Where’s this mythical place where all english people have it in for the Scots?

Again, a lot of it’s harmless fun, just a certain uneducated minority take it too far, or do the classic only-joking-but-actually-I-fucking-hate-all-english-people thing, and you sense that they actually do believe there’s a pub in England where they all sit around taking the piss out of Scotland and calling all Scots ‘Jocks’.

Tonight it’s England’s first game. I know if they get beaten I’ll probably switch straight to default setting and take the piss out of my English friends. Then again, maybe I won’t. It’s a strange thing, If I was a footballer I could play for either England or Scotland. I was born in England, my mother’s Scottish, all my grandparents and Aunties and Uncles etc are too. I’ve seen it from both sides. I’ve been on the receiving end of getting ribbed whenever England got beaten (euro 96 was quite painful and I remember being in tears after Italy 90), yet now I’m looking forward to ribbing my mates south of the border if they get a tanking. How fucked up is that?

I’ve also been moaning about the amount of England flags and Advertisements I was bombarded with on my recent trip down south, but maybe that’s because living in Edinburgh there’s saltire’s and tartan flying everywhere all year, and it seems the English only get patriotic and get behind there country during sporting events, like there’s no sense of their own history beyond 1966. Who knows. I just got pissed off. It’s like when you love a band for years then suddenly they have one big song and suddenly every dick head is wearing their t-shirt and getting behind them for a few months!

I think the whole England / Scotland thing is always going to be around, and as long as it’s geniune harmless banter then fine, but like anything there’s always going to be some arse hole that takes it too far.

I don’t know enough about football, but the England team seem to be spending more time dicking around doing adverts for kit-kat and going off on safari. Beckhams not playing, neither is that  duran duran fella (rio?) .I wouldn’t be intimidated by them if I was an opposing team, I’d just relish the chance to give them a pasting.

However, I do hope England do alright. Even I know they won’t win the world cup. I think even England supporters know they won’t win. Those days are behind them. I do look forward to this first game though and how I will react and who’s side I’ll get behind. I’ll be watching it with two English people and one Scot so it should be interesting! Weirdly, even though my mum’s one of the most scottish people I know, she’ll be shouting for England. I assume there will be living rooms around Scotland full of people laughing and cheering if England get beaten tonight, some getting rather heated about it and taking it too seriously. Someone just this minute has hung a saltire out of their window across the road from me. Didn’t you hear?: S.N.P

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GigPosters.com


My girlfriend bought me the Gig Posters book for xmas and it's been a gift that keeps on giving. The book itself is A3 size, and inside there's lots of beautiful screen printed and hand drawn flyers for shows (mainly in the u.s) some of which have perforated edges so you can pull out and stick on your wall.

Our flat has about 8 of them framed adorning our walls, and various others were given out as presents. There's also a website for the book where artists upload their posters for you to buy or simply browse. There's some great work on there which you should go have a look at. They will probably have your favourite band on there somewhere.

I'd recommend you buy the book if you get the chance, and they've also added a colouring in book of posters which looks fun.

http://www.gigposters.com

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Albums Released Today:10th May

It’s a somewhat yank affair in the uk album releases this week, with The National pissing over the majority of them with their quality record ‘High Violet’. I can’t stress enough how much you should go and buy it. Anyway enough! here’s this weeks uk album releases

Slash – ‘Slash’ – Yeah I can’t believe this either….


Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’

They’ve gone in a new direction this angular London Math-Pop lot , as in singer Yannis actually sings rather than yelps this time round. Oh and they are now signed to a major label which I find a bit strange. I’m not keen on the cover either. I was taken back by the first single from this “Spanish Sahara”. It’s quite pretty, slow building and minimal. I’ve read a lot of great reviews of this album, but I can be a sucker for glowing write up’s effecting my music purchases. NME loves them so approach with trepidation.

http://www.myspace.com/foals

National – ‘High Violet’ – BUY THIS!!!

I’ve known of The National for a while without ever actually hearing any of their music. For some reason I stupidly decided I wouldn’t like them. I heard this album a few weeks ago streaming on some site and cheekily wire-tapped it. I’ve listened to it every day since and it’s amazing. Great voice, great songs. Oh and I love the cover. I’m buying this.You can get it from Zavvi for £7.85 with free delivery. Bargain. http://www.zavvi.com/cd.dept

http://www.myspace.com/thenational

Dead Weather – ‘Sea Of Cowards’

Meh. Never been fussed with this band. Apparently it’s a good album if you like that kind of thing. I don’t. The sleeve’s not bad.


Unkle – ‘Where Did The Night Fall’

Again. Bothered. Nice bottom though.

 

Hold Steady – ‘Heaven Is Whenever’

I enjoyed their last record ‘Stay Positive’ and again this is meant to be great, although I only listened to 30 seconds of the first track when it was streaming on some site or other, I must say it didn’t grab me by the balls like the first track on ‘Stay Positve’ did. In fact it was a bit fucking boring. The rest of it might not be however, and all of the reviews I’ve read certainly don’t point in that direction.

http://www.myspace.com/theholdsteady


Broken Social Scene – ‘Forgiveness Rock Record’ – BUY THIS TOO!!

Like The National album I’ve been listening to this a lot. If you can afford to buy two records this week I’d make this one of them, awful cover aside.

http://www.myspace.com/brokensocialscene

 

Eli Paperboy Reed – ‘Come & Get It’

I don’t get this and I don’t like it. Shit cover. He looks a wee bit like the gay one in Westlife. I wish someone forced those bottles of bleach down his throat.The Jools Holland brigade love this crap. Idiots.

Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders – ‘Red Light Fever’

LOOK AT THAT COVER. FUCKING RIDICULOUS! This album’s been getting a bit of a kicking in the press so I’m presuming the music’s as bad as the sleeve. The general concensus is that  it’s a pointless piece of shit. Bored drummer syndrome. Stick to the day job!

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