Top 5

The most of March:

1) Birthday – The Beatles

Y’know, cos it was my birthday this month.

2) Dishes – Pulp

“A man told me to beware of 33, it was not an easy time for me” For some reason being 33 feels really different to being 32. Probably just some unfounded superstitious fear due to the fact I’ve had the word “Jesus” in my e-mail address for the last 13 years.

3) Souljacker Part 1 – Eels

“33 years of touch luck”, plus they were amazing the other night

4) EMI – Sex Pistols

I’ve had this in my head since I was told I needed to have an MRI scan. Altogether now; “MRI! An unlimited supply! MRI!”

5) You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover – The Strypes

Love this song, kind of regret not going to see them at the Bodega but there was no way that I ankle was up to it. Hopefully, they’ll be back in Nottingham when the album comes out.

Live In A Lounge

LiaL Screengrab Mar

This month’s Live In A Lounge came live and exclusive from Anthony’s lounge and in memorial of Uncle Monty you can enjoy:

Turntable
Dishes
Late In The Day
She’s A Rainbow
Turn It All Around

Turntable was the last new song that we debuted when we were still playing live, although you can tell how long ago that was as it still refers to Dexy’s Midnight Runners and they just call themselves Dexy’s now. Originally, we were going to do a “Turn” themed LiaL, playing Turntable and Turn It All Around with Turn! Turn! Turn! by The Byrds and Turn by Travis but we decided that it wasn’t such a great idea.

Dishes by Pulp was played because we both turned 33 this month (stage age 26) in an attempt to ward off any of those “not an easy time” vibes. She’s A Rainbow by the Stones was for my project team at work since we’re working on the Rainbow project while Late In The Day by Supergrass is just a great song.

She’s A Rainbow was supposed to be the final “encore” song this month but Anthony accidentally played it before Turn It All Around. That’s why he looks slightly confused that the set just doesn’t end there. Of course due to our strict no overdub, one take policy, we can’t just edit the video to put it in the “right” order. Although the one take policy does ignore the fact that we broke down on the first take when I got the first chorus to the first song wrong!

As always we’ll be back at the end of April with anther set of random songs in another random location…

Live Review: Eels at Rock CIty Nottingham

I saw Eels live last night at Rock City and they were absolutely fantastic. It was the 5th time that I’ve seen them taking them ahead of Super Furry Animals (4 and a bit) and The Flaming Lips (4) Their new album, Wonderful, Glorious is amazing album, really upbeat compared to some of the “Hombre Loco” trilogy and it was great to see them playing those new songs live.

After the last gig I went to at Rock City where I missed the start, I made sure I arrived in plenty of time but this time, I nearly missed the end of the gig. I’d read in the guardian’s review of the Eels’ live show that they’d played an encore to a half-empty venue so I was on my look-out. So, they played their first encore and I was thinking, “well, that won’t be the end of the show” even though they claimed that the “fire marshal” had told them that their time was nearly up.

Then, they played a second encore and the house lights came up when they left the stage. Well, that must be the “secret encore” and everyone else is starting to leave. Fortunately for me, I have to get my coat and there is quite a big queue for the cloakroom. As I’m waiting, I hear a big cheer and the unmistakable sound of live music – Eels are back on stage. By this time the venue is probably less than half-full and so most people missed their last two songs.

For this gig, the band were sporting some natty looking matching tracksuits. In fact when P-Boo, the guitarist came out I thought he looked a bit like Anthony since he has a similar navy tracksuit top. This current incarnation of Eels sound really tight musically and they’re producing some pretty good vocal harmonies. E is clearly happy enough that at one point in the gig he was “doing a Bez” and just playing maracas. In fact the only downside to the three guitar/bass/drums set-up is that it means no keyboards which rules out a number of great songs.

When E introduced the band he joked that people were booing rather than chanting P-Boo (I was saying Boo-urns) That reminded me of a solo gig that Sonic Boom from Spaceman 3 played in London a couple of years ago. He thought everyone was chanting Boooooom at him. In fact they were booing him because it was an awful gig.

However, this gig was brilliant, no booing here. Highlight? Definitely the My Beloved Monster/Mr E’s Beautiful Blues mash-up in the first encore that I’ve christened Mr E’s Beautiful Beloved Monster Blues.

Playing the secret second encore

Playing the secret second encore

The Man From A.N.K.L.E.

Mr Squires, we’re ready to begin your operation

So, after nine months of pain and general annoyance, I finally saw a specialist today about my ankle. After his initial diagnosis of arthritis, he sent me off for an x-ray. Fortunately, apart from a bone spur caused by a previous injury, they looked alright. So, now I’ve got to go back for an MRI scan since it looks like it might be ligament or tendon damage. I have to admit I’m a bit excited about going in one of those big machines since I’ve only ever seen them on TV.

Hopefully, the scan will reveal the problem and then I can go about getting it sorted. Unfortunately, I don’t think that ligaments are going to be a quick fix…

Neighbourhood #3

Moar powa!

Watching the news over the weekend and seeing so many houses without power has made me realise how lucky I am to be now living in a major metropolitan area. My dad lives out in the boondocks and when I was there we used to have a couple of power cuts every winter. Normally, they weren’t too bad but sometimes it would be out for hours. Fortunately, we had a coal-fired boiler so we could at least huddle round that and read by candle-light. We were also only 20 minutes from town so at least someone could pop out and bring back some food.

The last power cut I experienced was when I was living in Melton. I’d arranged for Ant and Stu to come round for an acoustic rehearsal but when I got home the power was out. I decided to head out to grab a takeaway, thinking that the power would be back on before they came round. In the end, we had a rehearsal by candlelight. Now, that’s unplugged.

How do you solve a problem like Marino?

DAN Marino – there’s no problem with him

I watched Friday’s football match with mixed emotions. Yes, it’s always good to see England win, especially when they play well. However, the 8-0 victory was marred by not only the awful England supporters’ band but also feeling bad for handing such a drubbing to a team of amateurs.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that the best way for teams (and in this case a nation) to improve is to play superior opposition. On Friday, the commentators kept referring to a game against Turkey in 1987 that England had also won by eight goals to nil. 15 years later, Turkey were finishing third in the World Cup.

Of course, Turkey and San Marino are completely different. Turkey are a huge nation and it was only a matter of time and organisation before they found a pool of talented players. San Marino are obviously much smaller and so their initial player pool is smaller. Also, with it technically being part of Italy, if they did uncover an amazing player would he really opt to play for them rather than the azzuri?

It’s now over 50 games since San Marino last scored an international goal and they’ve lost all of those subsequent games. While exposure to better teams should lead to improvement, there is a clear lack of development there.

A lot of people have suggested pre-qualifying for teams like San Marino, Andorra and the Faeroe Islands and I can’t help but think that this would be a good idea. Not only would there be an improvement in results as they are no longer so outmatched but hopefully there would also be an improvement in the quality of football as they would not longer keep 10 men behind the ball and try to limit the damage.

However, if the 10 lowest ranked teams are all put together in a pre-qualifying process then UEFA/FIFA must make assurances to those teams that they will still get friendly games, ideally against teams who are in the world’s top 50/100. I think that cricket offers the best example of something like this. The smaller nations get to regularly play against each other and then we see England play games against Ireland and Scotland annually.

Obviously, it’s always going to be tough to compete with a team of semi-pros but it must be an amazing feeling for the players to go back to work on Monday having played against players like Rooney and Lampard. While it feels really harsh to be taking away opportunities like this away from players in the future, it’s surely better for the development of the game in San Marino.

Having said that, I do feel a bit like Gideon Osbourne; cuts for the weakest, making out it’s for their own good while it’s actually for the good of the strongest. And there’s no doubt about it, not having to play the likes of San Marino would be better for England; fewer internationals would, in theory, mean fresher players. However, that honestly wasn’t part of my thinking. Just imagine how good the players would feel if they actually won an international for their country. Who knows, they might even get through pre-qualifying and get to play England anyway…

12 Week Review

Since it’s nearly the end of March, I think that now is as good a time as any to have a “12 week review” of my new year’s resolutions

Dryathlon

Went really well although I didn’t feel any different after not drinking for a month. There were only a couple of days when I even missed having a drink. I still haven’t got round to sending any money off to Cancer Research yet though. Eep.

Get Fitter

I’ve been on a downer on this since I hurt my ankle. I really could do with getting back into the routine of going to the gym even if the other thing I can do is upper body work. The worse thing is that I’m missing out on playing 5-a-side, cricket nets and American football training. I’m off to see a specialist in a couple of days so hopefully I can finally get my ankle sorted.

Give blood

Done once and I’m booked in to do it again. I might even get a third donation in this year.

Go out more

I’ve been to one gig and I’m off to another next week but I’ve not seen anything at the cinema yet this year. Definitely something that I need to work on.

Watch less TV

On the positive side, I’ve not watched a single episode of Family Guy or American Dad this year. However, rather than filling that time with reading books, I’m just watching other crap on TV and playing Football Manager. Hmm, not quite managed a step change in my attitude just yet then.

The Band

I’ve been posting pretty regularly on here which is good. I just need to get Ant posting too. As for songs, we’ve now got four demos that are just awaiting my vocals to finish them off. Just need to find some time to get them sorted.

So, some good things going on. Some work still needed…

Latitude Line-Up

The Latitude Festival made their big line-up reveal yesterday. While my predictions weren’t especially accurate, I did gues two acts; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Veronica Falls and they were the two that I really wanted to see. So, it’s sod’s law that they’ll be on at the same time as each other.

Looking at the rest of the acts, it appears that they spent so much money on Kraftwerk that they couldn’t afford any other proper headliners. When bands like Bloc Party and Foals are headlining festivals, you have to agree with those people who say that there are too many festivals.

There are quite a few things that do have me excited though. Neon Neon performing with the Welsh National Theatre should be awesome. Hot Chip should be good and I’m looking forward to seeing the Mark Lanegan Band too. I’d also like to see Matthew E. White since I couldn’t tell what all the fuss was about from watching a couple of videos on youtube.

Other than that, there are a lot of acts that I’ve heard of, but not heard much by such as Cat Power, Yo La Tengo and I Am Kloot. I say it every year but I really need to make sure I check out some of the smaller bands on-line before we go to the festival so I have a better idea what to see. Although, sometimes it’s fun to be completely surprised and there’s always good stuff on at least one of the stages at Latitude. In fact I think we probably spend more time watching comedy than music last year.

Oh, and no Strypes yet…

I like the Pope, the Pope can cope

Hello ladies

Seeing the new Pope take office reminded me of the time that my parents and I almost accidentally sat through Pope John Paull II’s Easter Mass…

For my 21st birthday, my parents took me to Rome to watch Roma vs Perugia at the Stadio Olympico. It was a brilliant Roma team; Batistuta, Totti, etc and they won the league that year under Fabio Capello. Perugia managed to sneak a 2-2 draw though.

It was Easter and so we’d gone to Rome for the entire weekend. Obviously, we decided to do a bit of sightseeing – the Trevi fountain, the Colosseum and so forth. On the Sunday, we went to St Paul’s Basilica. When we got there, there were hundreds of people queuing to get in. We just assumed that they were tourists like us and did the British thing – joined the queue.

Eventually, we got inside and were shown to a pew. After about ten minutes this elderly gentleman dressed in white came out and started speaking latin. That was when it dawned on us – this was the Pope! Deciding that we didn’t really want to listen to a three-hour mass in a language we didn’t understand we did the decent thing – we slipped out the back Jack (proving that there are fifty ways to leave your altar)

The ex is hex

They’ve started this new thing at work – breakfast club. Everyone who has their birthday in the same month has to go along to a lunch with some of the management team. Since it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, that meant that I had to go today. Now, it was a free lunch and IJ from my team was there so at least I knew someone. Unfortunately me ex-girlfiend was also there.

Now, we’ve reached a point where we’re quite civil to each other these days (ie we just ignore each other) However, at lunch today I found out that she is now coeliac and can’t eat wheat. She never had that problem when we were going out. Is it wrong that I feel robbed of cakes, sandwiches,etc from over 10 years ago?

Actually, speaking of cake, considering it was supposed to be a birthday club lunch there was a distinct lack of the stuff…