Monthly Archives: July 2011

greef

It’s been a funny old week newswise, as it were.

At the end of last week we were still being spoon fed news on this phone hacking business, a vaguely interesting story that was hyped into the stratosphere of life and death by the sorts of crude hyperbolic and hypocritical journalism that lead to the press bounding over boundaries in the first place. Just as it got a bit more interesting following Murdoch’s school-play trial, the part where our very own cunt-faced PM’s name began to appear alongside the protagonists, the story fizzled out and as far as I can see, it’s business as usual.

Putting everything into context last weekend came the news from Norway regarding the bombing and killing of dozens of innocent people by, allegedly, some far-right penoid. Unlike the phone hacking scandal, people died, lots of them, allowing aforementioned news item to do the same. The situation in Norway dominated the news, and rightly so. It was one of those situations that manage to combine astonishment, disgust and intrigue all in one vicious package.

Then came the news that Amy Winehouse had died and the phone hacking story seemed further away than ever, almost as if it had never happened. All those loose ends left dangling in the ether, the unanswered questions regarding Murdoch’s son’s lies, the meeting with our PM at Downing Street (via the back door) days after the election, his friendship and associations with editors and journalists. A few cops resign… then fuck all.

It may be worth noting, if you’re in any doubt that Murdoch is alive , kicking and carrying on as if he’s merely had to sit forward and brush a fly off his chip supper, then it’s worth noting Saturday’s headline.

“Al Qaeda” MASSACRE: NORWAY’S 9/11

For crying out loud.

As for Amy Winehouse, The Sun’s ex-bread and butter, today we’re informed that stopping drinking killed her. That remains to be seen but the point is that Murdoch, despite everything, is still in the business of making shit up with impunity, without evidence.

Absolutely nothing has changed.

Here’s Gerry’s oddly listed chart with a tune on the floor.

ARTIST
SONG TITLE
Last Week
Weeks On
High Pos
30
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie
NE
1
30
29
Maverick Sabre
Let Me Go
NE
1
29
28
Templecloud
One Big Family
NE
1
28
27
Kaiser Chiefs
Little Shocks
19
8
5
26
The Kills
Future Starts Slow
20
8
10
25
Birdy
Shelter
NE
1
25
24
Cerebral Ballzy
Cutting Class
NE
1
24
23
Charlie Simpson
Parachutes
29
2
23
22
We Are The Ocean
Runaway
NE
1
22
21
She Wants Revenge
Must Be The One
NE
1
21
20
Twin Atlantic
Time For You To Stand Up
17
4
17
19
Bring Me The Horizon
Blessed With A Curse
15
13
1
18
Arctic Monkeys
The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
NE
1
18
17
Foo Fighters
Walk
12
11
4
16
Mona
Shooting The Moon
NE
1
16
15
Miles Kane
Inhaler
9
6
4
14
King Blues
I Want You
10
6
10
13
Limp Bizkit
Gold Cobra
14
3
13
12
Nero
Promises
16
4
12
11
Grinderman
Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man
13
4
11
10
Japanese Popstars
Joshua
8
5
8
9
The Joy Formidable
A Heavy Abacus
18
3
9
8
Enter Shikari
Quelle Surprise
11
4
8
7
Motorhead
I Know How To Die
6
8
6
6
White Lies
Holy Ghost
5
7
2
5
Cults
Abducted
4
5
4
4
Machine Head
Locust
7
2
4
3
Skindred ft Jacoby Shaddix
Warning
3
4
3
2
The Horrors
Still Life
2
8
1
1
All The Young
Welcome Home
1
4
1

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sonniz

Last Friday week I met up with Mark and Andy in a restaurant near Kings Cross. We ordered some wine and some food and discussed heavy metal in dulcet, nay academic tones. We three acknowledged its importance in our lives, even now as adults approaching middle age. We talked of growing up with it and how enormously important our music was to us, how this connection to the music and the bands seemed to mark us out differently.

The hair has gone, jobs have arrived, families established. But it doesn’t stop the love. By the time we three left for the train we’d bonded, in metal. Even if Mark was wearing brown corduroys and a cagoule.

A short walk to Kings Cross then a balls-out sprint to catch the train, through a busy concourse, up some steps, onto the platform and into the rammed carriage just as the doors was closing. Thirty minutes later we were at Stevenage where we alighted and waited for a coach to take us to the festival site.

Here we waited, waited in a stagnant queue of a good thousand people in a huge parking lot by the station, until we three decided the hour long walk to the venue would be preferable. We rambled in the direction of our destination which had been helpfully signposted, we were all feeling sluggish from the wine consumed at lunch and rain loomed angrily over us occasionally giving way to sprinkles of rain. The early weather forecast didn’t bode well for the afternoon either. We trudged on.

We arrived at the outskirts of the site then made our way to the gate through tents and campervans. Suddenly I got the whiff of times past at Reading and I began to regret we’d not decided to stay for the full three days. After another half hour and a bundle at the ticket-check we finally made it into the inner sanctum.

We’d been too late for Diamond Head (bit of a shame, seminal band) but were in time for Anthrax who opened just as we’d got tangled up in an enormous scrum for the bar. We’d decided to get six pints and three shorts the latter we’d do on the spot. We all arrived at the bar at the same time, I got the shots, they were distributed and sunk, then handed a pair of pints which I raised over my head in order to get out of the crowd waiting to get served.

I’d been expecting beer but there had been a cock-up with the order so instead we had cider. Not too bad actually, after a pint I decided it was rather good. Andy said it was better anyway because it’s better when it gets warm. The second went down nicely with Anthrax (sans Scott Ian, annoyingly) pulling off an exuberant set. Before Megadeth came on we went back to bar and repeated our order.

By now we were all in excellent cheer having a lovely time, and ‘Deth were superb too, in fact it’s lead to a renewed interest in them (I bought Dave Mustaine’s biog last week, it’s jolly good). I thought it’d be a good time to get out my little bag of drugs which we all dabbed at with impunity, the whole lot was gone in a minute and we all started to rush our faces off. We got some more booze but due to excesses were forced to navigate as a three, Mark led, Andy held onto his shoulders and I in turn did the same to him. It was the only way. After taking another leak and furnishing ourselves with cider we made it safely back to our spot. Then Slayer came on.

The opening of Raining Blood shot electricity into my head, I think my smile was so wide that you could’ve seen it from behind. I was also rather wasted by this point and utterly lost myself in the set, I didn’t jump about or swing my brain, I just let it inside and gave it some space to explode. Sublime.

By the time they finished I was a mess. We took the three person train to get some more booze as darkness fell, all of us giggling like actual idiots. At some point round eight Metallica came on, I don’t have much memory of this save being a bit jostled and trying to remain upright. I’ve no idea how long they’d been playing but quite soon into the set my fucking back went with an internal ‘pop’ and down I went.

You know who your mates are at times like this. I was utterly incapacitated, so much so I started to straighten up (unfortunately not literally) as the internal emergency services took over. Mark and Alex abandoned Metallica in favour of literally dragging me out of the arena. For this I’m eternally grateful.

After a long drag we managed to find a cab on the perimeter of the site to get us to the station. The cabbie thought I was fucked (I was) and wasn’t too happy about having me in his car until I informed him I had a perforated disc and off we went.

We boarded the train to London; it occurred to me that I’d called on two mates to cut short their day in front of the biggest (if not best) metal band on the globe to help me out.

Can’t imagine the same sort allegiance exists between fans of Take That.

Ladies and gentlemen.


‘cepshun

We arrived at the restaurant just after lunchtime, the place was decked out with lilies, roses and immaculate staff waiting to fill glasses and proffer mouth-gargling hors d’ouvres that sat on a tables groaning with food, one featuring a parmesan cheese the size of a lorry wheel. The last of the guests arrived and we mingled on the deck in the heat and acid-bright sunlight. I still have this overriding memory of looking over the lake as blinding white-light exploded off the water surface before turning to IC, friends, family, as they swirled about each other clinking glasses and enthusing about the venue, the food. Us.

We called the guests in for the speeches, the English version first followed by the Italian translation which sounds a lot more awkward that it was. My brother’s and IC’s speeches nearly finished me off, the former was flattering, funny in addition to being emotive, and my sister-in-law spoke perfectly for my new wife (my turn has been previously documented and the less said about that the better.)

IC and I had planned the table seating but, apart from the speeches, guests were free to mingle, hang out on the decking, sit as they pleased (I’m not sure how the staff coped when it came to serving the food but they did). Being the main attraction IC and I got served first but more often than not we were elsewhere and had to be advised when our food was placed on the table. It may be worth pointing out that the wine was flowing like tap water and it wasn’t your typical 3.99 bottle from Tesco’s either.

The food itself was ludicrously good, there were about seven courses and due to all the excitement I can only recall much of it as delighted bad language, save the lamb ravioli. I took time out to savour this, it was sensational to the very extremes of this planet we call Earth.

The afternoon seemed to zip past; perception of time can be a cruel mistress. The three minute journey in a concrete-packed stinking tube between Liverpool Street and Bank seems to last for a weekend, yet occasions of unadulterated joy occur at some point between a snap of the fingers.

Later in the afternoon, after much revelry, the wedding cake was wheeled onto the decking. It was enormous, the bottom tier the size of an inflatable ring with the smaller top tier reaching to my shoulders and all the gubbins on top dwarfing us both. IC and I awkwardly plunged the knife into the middle of the cake to much applause and, from the staff, laughter. Some ‘icing’ broke away and I automatically stuffed it into my mouth and crunched it down. No one had told me that only the top two tiers were in fact cake, the plaster of Paris I’d just eaten most certainly wasn’t.

When the sky changed from azure to violet, the silver on the water became shimmering gold. IC and I took some time out to sit together on our own and take it all in. By now it was time for the first dance, a distinctly unstable but heartfelt reaction to ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ by Elvis. Some of the older guests said their goodbyes leaving us younger-types *ahem* to see off the evening by the lake, now softly dark with lights glittering in the far distance.

My wife and I stayed until about nine o clock before getting a lift to our hotel. A bottle of champagne awaited us; it was opened on the balcony and down it went. Fucking lovely.

I’ll leave you with Gerry’s chart and a tune from within.

Good after the noon.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Foster The People Pumped Up Kicks NE 1 30
29 Blondie Mother 24 3 24
28 The Wombats Techno Fan 19 8 16
27 Beady Eye Beat Goes On 29 2 27
26 Chase And Status ft Tinie Tempah Hitz 28 3 26
25 The Joy Formidable A Heavy Abacus NE 1 25
24 Frankie + The Heartstrings That Postcard 18 7 12
23 Arcade Fire Speaking In Tongues 27 3 23
22 Nero Promises 30 2 22
21 Adele Set Fire To The Rain 16 10 3
20 Martin Solveig ft Kele Ready 2 Go 14 7 8
19 Limp Bizkit Gold Cobra NE 1 19
18 Twin Atlantic Time For You To Stand Up 21 2 18
17 Grinderman Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man 26 2 17
16 Avenged Sevenfold So Far Away 13 4 11
15 Airship Kids 17 3 15
14 Enter Shikari Quelle Surprise 20 2 14
13 Kaiser Chiefs Little Shocks 10 6 5
12 The Kills Future Starts Slow 11 6 10
11 King Blues I Want You 15 4 11
10 Japanese Popstars ft Tom Smith Joshua 12 3 10
9 Bring Me The Horizon Blessed With A Curse 6 11 1
8 Foo Fighters Walk 5 9 4
7 Miles Kane Inhaler 4 4 4
6 Motorhead I Know How To Die 8 6 6
5 Cults Abducted 9 3 5
4 White Lies Holy Ghost 2 5 2
3 Skindred ft Jacoby Shaddix Warning 7 2 3
2 The Horrors Still Life 1 6 1
1 All The Young Welcome Home 3 2 1


‘eddy

When she finally got to me quivering at the top of the short flight of stairs to the awaiting pews, IC whispered, ‘Bello, fuck off.’

Her smile was one of sheer adoration crossed with a hint of terror, I swallowed down an eruption of hysteria and we gingerly began to approach the pews in front of the waiting priests. We were both mindful of the fact the back of her wedding dress was in danger of catching a heel as we descended the stairs, all of sudden I envisaged her falling forwards and smashing her pretty little face on one of the stone steps. Christ. I tightened my grip.

Once safely down the ceremony got underway, I think. Thing is they were all giving it that in Italian so I had to rely on nods and cues to follow the service. Little bits were in English, not the good bits like ‘I do’ and ‘you’ll obey me,’ just the peripheral stuff about God and stuff. But because it was my wedding and it was leading up the bit where I’d actually marry IC, it was all rather, well, thrilling.

Finally, we said our vows (in English for me, of course) exchanged rings and our marriage was declared. It was indescribably beautiful, significant and moving. And I’ve no intention of commenting further.

Following the splice we had to sign a load of documents in the vestry before passing through the courtyard, stopping to drink together from the spring at the marble fountain and appearing into the sunshine under a swarm of rice and cheers. That was the moment I felt ‘married,’ it still felt wholly unreal but something had definitely shifted within.

We chatted dazedly with guests and family for a while before being taken to Lake Garda by Lorenzo in a Mercedes adorned with flowers and ribbon. I think I sat at the front grinning like I’d just snorted the whole of Peru, put it this way, it was a fifty minute trip and I can hardly recall anything save face-ache.

Sirmone is a beautiful little medieval town on the shores of Lake Garda. IC and I had chosen the town for these reasons and we’d selected the venue for the wedding a few months before the date of the reception. On account of IC’s negotiation skills we’d managed to get a (relatively) good price for what we wanted, an attractive contemporary dining room with a huge deck over the Lake, excellent food, endless local wine, friendly staff, nice bogs and a view to make your eyes pop off.

We arrived at Sirmone and parked a few hundred yards from the venue as the little cobbled streets are designed for meandering, not cars. Despite the fact it was just ‘off season’ (one of the reasons we got the venue at a fair price) there were still fair few tourists wondering about, sat outside cafes and what have you. IC and I walked through the castle gates, a few guests and friends that had already arrived followed behind.

As we were both still in our wedding garb (me with top hat and IC in her sensational white dress) we drew more than a slight amount of attention. People were stopping us to take photos, clapping, shouting congratulations. One restaurateur came out of his eatery and led all his diners and most of the adjacent square in cheers and applause. It was all very bizarre in the nicest possible way.

Last part next week, then it’s back to the usual moaning and shouting.

Here’s Gerry’s chart and a tune. I’m off to Sonisphere right now to see Slayer, among others.

Marvellous.

NO.
ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Nero Promises NE 1 30
29 Beady Eye Beat Goes On NE 1 29
28 Chase And Status ft Tinie Tempah Hitz 28 2 28
27 Arcade Fire Speaking In Tongues 30 2 27
26 Grinderman Nickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man NE 1 26
25 Depeche Mode Personal Jesus 2011 14 7 3
24 Blondie Mother 27 2 24
23 Paramore Monster 18 4 18
22 Black Keys Next Girl 12 10 2
21 Twin Atlantic Time For You To Stand Up NE 1 21
20 Enter Shikari Quelle Surprise NE 1 20
19 The Wombats Techno Fan 16 7 16
18 Frankie + The Heartstrings That Postcard 13 6 12
17 Airship Kids 22 2 17
16 Adele Set Fire To The Rain 6 9 3
15 King Blues I Want You 17 3 15
14 Martin Solveig ft Kele Ready 2 Go 8 6 8
13 Avenged Sevenfold So Far Away 11 3 11
12 Japanese Popstars ft Tom Smith Joshua 15 2 12
11 The Kills Future Starts Slow 10 5 10
10 Kaiser Chiefs Little Shocks 7 5 5
9 Cults Abducted 20 2 9
8 Motorhead I Know How To Die 9 5 8
7 Skindred ft Jacoby Shaddix Warning NE 1 7
6 Bring Me The Horizon Blessed With A Curse 3 10 1
5 Foo Fighters Walk 4 8 4
4 Miles Kane Inhaler 5 3 4
3 All The Young Welcome Home NE 1 3
2 White Lies Holy Ghost 2 4 2
1 The Horrors Still Life 1 5 1


biggdai

At the closing stages of my speech I signalled to my new sister-in-law’s husband who discreetly made his way to my side, with a guitar. He began to play the introduction to the beautiful song he’d written for my lyrics, and cued me in. What came out of my mouth wasn’t the well rehearsed number I’d spent weeks practising, instead, a squeaking cry of pain poured out of my face. I was so startled by the noise it took me a few seconds to realise it was me.

Somehow I managed to get through the entire song without deviating from the initial out-of-key din I’d selected from the off. Mercifully my guitarist didn’t put a string out of place which, to a minor degree, saved me from further humiliation. When I finished I noticed my wife was suitable teary, as were some of the other guests. I’m not surprised, it was fucking awful.

The morning of my wedding had begun like a bit of a cliché. Panic. I’d woken up in the hotel with the tiniest of hangovers, this instantly evaporated when it dawned on me what day it was. I was going to get married. In two hours.

My brother -we’d shared a room- got me upright and started shoving various items of clothing into my confused direction as he readied himself for best man duties. This bit was all very peculiar as I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening in reality. Me? Getting married..!?

I was intently nervous, elated and bewildered all at once. I kept looking at myself in the mirror to make sure that what stared back was in fact me. My bro talked to me excitedly, yes, this was nice, I agreed, but still not feeling all there. Also staying at the same hotel was James who dropped by to make sure everything was going to plan. When we were all happy that we’d remembered everything and I wasn’t going to be sick, we went down to lobby where Michel was waiting to take us to the church.

It was a beautiful day, hot, sunny and despite earlier forecasts it looked like the weather would remain good for the whole day. It took twenty minutes to get to the church, during this time I attempted to join in the jovial banter but found myself witnessing the scenario as opposed to living it.

There were already a few guests waiting at the church when we arrived. Michel advised that we had a quick drink to sharpen ourselves up; this excellent idea was put into immediate effect at a little bar a few yards down the road. By the time I’d drained my glass I was hopping from one foot to the other. We returned the church; the handful of people waiting had increased to a veritable throng into which I was thrust from one family member/friend to another.

Suddenly Batman (one of the priests) appeared with a broad smile and suggested I might like to go inside and assume the position. The church was already half full of guests and more followed me in. I was told to stand at the back of the church in front of the rood screen, beyond which was a sixteenth century fresco of the annunciation behind a highly decorative alter, actually really quite ni…

…Then it happened.

The music whispered to life, the murmur of the guests dissipated and I looked to my right where IC was just coming through the door that leads to a pretty little courtyard. She looked so beautiful I nearly exploded into a fit of uncontrolled blubbing, ‘that’s all for you, dude,’ something in my head kept saying. ‘Christ, that’s all for me,’ I said under corrugated breath.

More next week.

Gerry’s chart and a tune. Toodle pip.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Arcade Fire Speaking In Tongues NE 1 30
29 Moby The Day 22 6 12
28 Chase And Status ft Tinie Tempah Hitz NE 1 28
27 Blondie Mother NE 1 27
26 The Blackout Never By Your Side 21 6 16
25 P J Harvey The Glorious Land 17 10 1
24 Arctic Monkeys Don’t Sit Down……….. 18 12 5
23 Brother New Year’s Day 23 3 23
22 Airship Kids NE 1 22
21 The National Conversation 16 14 11 2
20 Cults Abducted NE 1 20
19 The Vaccines All In White 15 7 5
18 Paramore Monster 19 3 18
17 King Blues I Want You 27 2 17
16 The Wombats Techno Fan 16 6 16
15 Japanese Popstars ft Tom Smith Joshua NE 1 15
14 Depeche Mode Personal Jesus 2011 8 6 3
13 Frankie + The Heartstrings That Postcard 12 5 12
12 Black Keys Next Girl 7 9 2
11 Avenged Sevenfold So Far Away 20 2 11
10 The Kills Future Starts Slow 10 4 10
9 Motorhead I Know How To Die 11 4 9
8 Martin Solveig ft Kele Ready 2 Go 9 5 8
7 Kaiser Chiefs Little Shocks 5 4 5
6 Adele Set Fire To The Rain 3 8 3
5 Miles Kane Inhaler 13 2 5
4 Foo Fighters Walk 6 7 4
3 Bring Me The Horizon Blessed With A Curse 2 9 1
2 White Lies Holy Ghost 4 3 2
1 The Horrors Still Life 1 4 1