Thursday, 28 May 2020

30-Day Song Challenge Week 4

Day 23 ( the last week! )
A song you think everybody should listen to A classic, caustic dissection of the UK by Punk's most underrated songwriter, TV Smith, which still unfortunately resonates today:
"The great British mistake was looking for a way out / Was getting complacent / Not noticing the pulse was racing / The mistake was fighting the change / Was staying the same / We couldn't adapt so we couldn't survive / Something had to give / The people took a downhill slide / Into the gloom into the dark recesses of their minds"

Day 24
A song by a band you wish were still together Although I could have gone with an obvious, "classic" band ( Led Zep, REM etc ), instead here's one of my fave bands of recent years - The Sunshine Underground
Typically for me I discovered this band not long before they announced their split and, to make things worse, they were one of the few bands that Sarah and I both liked. Hopefully they'll get back together at some point  -  most groups seem to do this eventually, as the recent reunions for LCD Soundsystem and My Chemical Romance demonstrate. ( Okay, Covid-19 has delayed the much-anticipated MCR reunion but it's still apparently on the cards for next year if the world ever gets back to "normal" )

Day 25
A song you like by an artist no longer living I was a big fan of Whitney's and it's just tragic that her life ended so prematurely. This is a wonderful remix of an old song that was a posthumous hit last year. Hard to believe this song was originally only a B-side as Whitney's vocals are amazing on this Steve Winwood cover.

Day 26
A song that makes you want to fall in love Perfect Skin by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions "She's got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin"
Who wouldn't want to fall in love with someone lik that? Oh, and she's "sexually enlightened by Cosmopolitan"? Can't have it all, I suppose...

Day 27
A song that breaks your heart Reminds me of a girl called Jo Day I had a major crush on at school. We kinda, nearly, almost went out but stayed "friends" and then she left for another school and I never saw her again...

Day 28
A song by an artist whose voice you love One of my fave modern artists, Annie Clark / St Vincent has a deceptively powerful voice, tough and tender at the same time, and is a true inheritor of the art-pop style of Bowie etc. Never quite figured out why she hasn't become a bigger star.

Day 29
A song you remember from your childhood Of course, there had to be an Abba song in here, and what a belter it is, a Glam stomp with the trademark Abba hooks and harmonies. My my!

Day 30
A song that reminds you of yourself Last day of the challenge and it's this self-explanatory tune from Glasgow's underrated Britpop songsmiths The Supernaturals

Well, that was a lot of fun! I had talked about doing a film challenge next but, after discussions with my fellow Twitterers ( that's a word, okay? ), we've now decided to do a 30-Day Comic Challenge where we talk about our favourite super heroes, swamp monsters and slices of life from paper pamphlets of years gone by. Should be interesting...
Hopefully after all that I'll get back to the film challenge. ( Sorry Paul McScotty! )

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

30-Day Song Challenge Week 3

Up to my usual standards as ever, week three is a day late but ( hopefully ) worth it.
Okay, pop pickers, here we go with this week's rundown...

Day 15  -  A song you like that's a cover by another artist
One of my fave loud, weird bands ( Pixies ) covering another of my fave loud, weird bands ( Jesus &Mary Chain ) at 100 mph - not your John Lewis ad type of cover...
Head On by Pixies

Day 16  -  A song that's a classic favourite
This category's open to wide interpretation. I'm going way back with one of my fave songs from one of my fave movies
Singin' In The Rain by Gene Kelly

Day 17  -  A song you'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke
In the unlikely event this ever happened I'd go with ( Engage sarcasm mode. Sarcasm mode engaged. ) this romantic, classic duet from Husker Du - New Day Rising

Day 18  -  A song from the year you were born
Virtually impossible to pick just one song from 1966, pop's annus mirabilis ( Latin? at this time of day? ), but I'm going with this masterpiece from Tina Turner and Phil Spector. I mean, I could have picked songs from The Beatles, Stones, Temptations, Dylan, Byrds, Kinks, Supremes, Dusty, Wilson Pickett, Beach Boys, Four Tops... the list goes on...
River Deep Mountain High by Tina Turner

Day 19  -  A song that makes you think about life
Breathe by Pink Floyd from their emotional Live8 reunion in 2005 Just like Dave Gilmour here, I may have something in my eye

Day 20  -  A song that has many meanings to you
I'm cheating slightly here as it's technically more than one song. I wrote about Abbey Road and this song ( and my feelings for both ) on my old 15 Albums blog...
The "Long Medley" by The Beatles

Day 21  -  A song you like with a person's name in the title
Some folkin' folk music crossed with electronica. My first choice was See Emily Play by Pink Floyd but I've already posted a Floyd song. Plus I thought I should go with something more recent before this all turns into one big nostalgia fest
Jon Taylor's Month Away by King Creosote

My apologies for the different fonts on display here  -  I've copied and pasted some of this from my Twitter page and it doesn't fit too well. I wanted to get this post done today and not let things drag on for too long, so it's a bit rough 'n' ready. Unlike myself. I'm smooth as peaches and cream. That's gone through a blender. ( What am I talking about? Blame the lockdown ) I'll see if I can edit things when I get a minute...
Anyway, if anyone would like to take part and post some of their own fave songs in the comments that would be groovy, baby! See you next week pop pickerzzz.

Country roads take me home

As we're now allowed to go ( slightly ) further for our self-isolating walks, this weekend we took a stroll past my old home in the depths of the Gloucestershire countryside. Well, I say "stroll" but we went out for a 4-hour walk and picnic and somehow ended up there. It was the first time I'd seen the house and farm up close in over 20 years so it was quite strange to see the changes to the place but also lovely to remind myself of what a wonderful home I grew up in.

We parked up in the village of Nupend then walked across a couple of fields, through the delightfully named Mole Grove ( a small wood, carpeted in wild garlic, where we saw a couple of deer ) then had our picnic under a couple of oak trees in a recently-mowed meadow. The impressive dead tree above looked like some clawed hand reaching for the sky.

We walked further down the gentle slope and into my former stomping grounds in the village of Moreton Valence where we met these lovely characters. They were very curious to see people walking along the footpath and came bounding across to meet us.

From there we walked along the bridle path into Manor Farm. Unsurprisingly I found that quite a lot had changed in the last couple of decades: some old farm buildings had been demolished, newer ones had been built, and trees which had been planted to screen off the nearby M5 motorway had grown immensely from the saplings I remembered, making a lovely avenue at one point, as seen below:

We walked past my old home and took a couple of cheeky photos whilst I bored the kids with tales of my childhood. Actually, they were both very interested. Sophie had been taken to the farm as a very young girl but didn't remember it while James had never seen it up close.

On our way back to the hill we passed through a small wood, a former coppice which has been left to grow, and which we always just called ( with startling originality ) "the coppice". Sarah was determined to find the grave of my old labrador, Buxton ( aka Buck aka "Where's that bloody dog gone this time?" ) who passed away back in 1993 and was buried in the wood. We'd never properly maintained this and it had become overgrown but Sarah found and uncovered it. It was sad to think that the old dog had been gone for so long but it also provoked warm memories of days gone by and the fun we used to have.

Here are me and Buxton back in the day, a boy and his dog:

So, a lovely day with the family but with some mixed emotions, magnified by the strange times we're living through at the moment. It was great to see my old home again and remember the 23 years I spent there growing up on a working farm with loving parents.

Monday, 11 May 2020

30-Day Song Challenge Week 2

Day 8  -  A song about drugs or alcohol
Feel Good Hit Of The Summer by Queens Of The Stone Age

Okay, it's actually a song about drugs and alcohol  -  there's obviously never enough for Josh Homme. All together now: "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, Ecstasy and alcohol, c-c-c-c-c-cocaine!"

Day 9  -  A song that makes you happy
My Girl by The Temptations

Yep, every time. "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day." And, just like that, the clouds part...

Day 10  -  A song that makes you sad
Shorley Wall by Ooberman

We've all got enough reasons to be sad at the moment but, anyway, this is just a beautiful song. It skirts close to being twee but the heart-rending ending monologue rescues it.

Day 11  -  A song you never get tired of
Once In A Lifetime by Talking Heads

40 years after it was recorded this song still sounds totally unique  -  a masterpiece of twitchy, neurotic funk-pop. It's one of those few songs that I usually have to play twice in a row  -  it's never long enough.

Day 12  -  A song from your pre-teen years
Rubber Bullets by 10CC

When I was very young I was given a bunch of singles by an older friend which basically started my record collection. I've still got them and Rubber Bullets is still a favourite. The video above is actually the album version but the TOTP version I wanted to post is a heavily edited take of the single and, while it's a great view of a '70s band, this features more of the actual song...

Day 13  -  A song you like from the '70s
Search And Destroy by Iggy & The Stooges

When I was in the Death Planet Commandos we used to cover Search & Destroy ( everyone did! ) and it was just great fun to play. A proto-Punk classic!

Day 14  -  A song you'd love to be played at your wedding
Catch by The Cure

Actually a song we did have played at our wedding. Sarah and I were both great fans of The Cure and this was our "first dance" at our wedding disco. To be fair, the DJ probably got fed up with our lists of demands  -  play this, play that, no bloody "Agadoo" etc. etc.

So, Week 2 accomplished with a minimum of effort and even a guest appearance by Zia from the Dandy Warhols! ( Not that she knows about it but I'm sure she'd appreciate the sentiment and I know she digs a lot of the music here. )
If anyone else would like to join in I'd love to see your choices, just drop me a comment.
See you next week, same time, same channel ( probably )

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Lockdown shelf porn ( not *actual* porn )

During this lockdown we've all become accustomed to seeing newsreaders, celebrities and the like on our televisions, broadcasting from their homes, often with some ostentatiously-positioned books on their bookshelves behind them. These bookshelves often look unbelievably tidy and organised and, in reaction, some ( ordinary ) people have taken to posting photos of their untidy, un-posed shelves too. Never one to miss a pointless trend, I've jumped on the shelf porn bandwagon and so here are just some of my books, with some random Doctor Who DVDs thrown in as a bonus.
Can you spot any of your favourites?

Monday, 4 May 2020

30-Day Song Challenge Week 1

As I'm sure everyone appreciates, we're all trying to distract ourselves during these crazy times. There are many polls, quizzes and the like on t'internet to help people think about happier days and to just generally help our brains keep ticking over. Just for fun I thought I'd post the results of a song challenge I'm currently doing on Twitter, one week at a time. And, of course, the beauty of doing it here at TGW-S is that I'm not hampered by Twitter's character limit so I can waffle on to my heart's content. Here we go:

Day 1  -  A  song you like with a colour in the title
Purple Haze by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

Well, it's Hendrix. What more can I say? THAT guitar riff, " 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky", the feeling that the sky was now not the limit, early psychedelia at its rawest, perfection.

Day 2  -  A song you like with a number in the title
Song 2 by Blur

Song 2. Second song on its parent album, 2:02 minutes long, got to number 2 in the charts

Day 3  -  A song that reminds you of summertime
Walking Barefoot by Ash

Yet another noise-pop nugget from one of my all-time fave live bands. Tim Wheeler's lyrics are often elemental, concerned with the seasons, the weather, the sun and moon, the pains and pleasure of love as if it was an elemental force itself.

Day 4 - A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget
Vienna  by Ultravox

I'm not really a fan of the 'Vox but this is a fine, windswept example of overblown '80s pop. And, no, I won't be going into who it reminds me of.

Day 5  -  A song that needs to be played LOUD!
The Ace Of Spades by Motorhead

Okay, this may not be THE classic Motorhead line-up but it's still a cracking performance of a mighty tune and being part of The Young Ones makes it an important moment in pop culture. Obviously.

Day 6  -  A song that makes you want to dance
Liquidator by The Harry J All Stars

A seminal Trojan Records single. Brings back memories of school discos, Young Farmers discos and youth club discos and pestering every DJ to play this tune. ( I actually didn't go to that many discos but it's a word that doesn't see the light of day much any more so if I can use it 4 times in one paragraph I think it makes the world a better place. )

Day 7  -  A song to drive to
Cadillac Ranch by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce obviously has many "car" songs in his repertoire but this is one of my faves  -  an unpretentious, foot-to-the-floor rocker.
"1, 2, 3, 4...!"

So, that was Week 1. Tune in next week to see if I manage to keep up the manic pace of thinking of one song a day. It's going to be tricky.

And, finally Esther, a big shout out ( as DJs probably still say? ) to Pete and Dave who have been joining me on this trip into stereophonic sound on Twitter. They are, of course, two-thirds of the legendary Kids From Rec Road and you can read their highly unlikely comic strip adventures here.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Overdue Doctor Who Reviews

As I'm even later with my Doctor Who reviews than is traditional for this 'ere blog, I'm just going to jot down a few quick thoughts on Series 12 so far... before it's actually over... starting with

Spyfall ( Parts One & Two )
A hugely confident opening story with the Doctor and friends getting involved in all sorts of globe-trotting Bond-esque shenanigans and coming up against an old enemy. Well, it's the Master  -  not much reason for a *spoilers!* tag at this stage in the game. Some fun guest appearances from Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry ( next series French & Saunders? ), gorgeous location filming in South Africa, and the debut of Sacha Dhawan as that old Jackanapes, the Master, with a reveal almost the equal of the Jacobi / Sim regeneration in Utopia. And the fact that we share a surname with Lenny Henry's character gave James and me a few chuckles at certain lines.

Orphan 55
A slight stumble after the wide-screen adventure of the first two episodes. This story had quite an '80s vibe, even going so far as basically copying the main concept from The Mysterious Planet. Again, some impressive location filming in Tenerife and a fairly creepy menace in the shape of the de-evolved future humans known as Dregs, although this wasn't quite enough to save a weak story with under-developed supporting characters. And, if you're going to get an actress as accomplished as Laura Fraser in the show, why not give her something to do?

Nikola Tesla's Night Of Terror
Proving yet again that the, er, current production team seem far more comfortable with stories set in the past, this episode again went for the "celebrity historical" format, this time centred around the rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Featuring some fine, scenery-chewing guest performances from Robert Glenister and Goran Visnjic and a well-realised early-twentieth century New York, this was the definition of the fun, historical romp.

Fugitive Of The Judoon
In a purely selfish way, I was really looking forward to this episode, as it was set in my home town of Gloucester. As I'd suspected, Gloucester Cathedral was played by Gloucester Cathedral, while the rest of Gloucester was played by Cardiff. ( There were some very "blink and you'll miss it" shots of Gloucester Docks too. ) Not a major problem as it was still lovely to see those irascible space-rhinos the Judoon stomping around our lovely Cathedral in their search for the titular fugitive. And that fugitive turned what had seemed like a stand-alone episode into a pivotal moment in this series' story-arc ( yes, there actually is an arc this year ) because their quarry was revealed to be... another Doctor! Or is she? The introduction of the "Ruth Doctor" was a real rug-pulling event in the show and has opened up some exciting possibilities for the future. Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall injected new mystery into the show with their intriguing script and I'm really interested in where it will all lead.
Oh yeah, Captain Jack Harkness returned too, very briefly. I'm sure we'll see him again before too long.

This one was a bit of a mixed bag  -  a series of seemingly unconnected deadly events around the globe forcing the Tardis Team to split up and look for solutions. The story gave us disappointingly human-like aliens, a fairly sweet gay love story, a nod to Hitchcok's The Birds and yet another environmental message ( after Orphan 55's climate-change warning ), this time centring on pollution in general and micro-plastics in particular. It also inspired me to write the following on Twitter:
Tonight's #doctorwho drinking game:
One shot every time someone is teleported
Make it a double if they're teleported against their will
A pint and chaser every time all the regulars plus guest cast are squeezed into the frame to explain the plot to each other
Good luck!

Can You Hear Me?
A long overdue chance for the human Tardis travellers to return to Sheffield to catch up with friends and family. And, of course, it all goes wrong when a creepy bald guy with detachable fingers (!) keeps popping up to feed on people's nightmares.
It was nice to see more of a focus on the companions in this story. It still feels like we barely know them. The nightmares they experienced were suitably revealing, Graham's in particular ( his cancer returning, an alternate version of Grace haranguing him ) were very affecting. The menace in this episode, the fear-scoffing Zellin, was revealed as an Eternal, another call-back to the classic show, and was a memorable opponent. And, yes, you could have felt very wobbly if playing the drinking game this episode. Which I'm obviously not endorsing. Please drink responsibly. Don't text and drive.

The Haunting Of Villa Diodati
The long-awaited Mary Shelley episode saw the Doctor and friends gatecrash the infamous night in 1816 when the Shelleys, Byron and Polidori all played the Doctor Who drinking game and told each other ghost stories. Mary, of course, came up with the immortal Frankenstein on that dark and stormy night and this was an obvious opportunity to drop the Cybermen into a historical.
A cracking episode with some suitably eerie, candle-lit horrors and entertaining encounters between the time travellers and the Romantic poets. The Lone Cyberman, as mentioned by Captain Jack, was up to no good near Lake Geneva and was soon causing moral quandaries for the Doctor... as well as snapping necks. This story gave Jodie Whittaker the opportunity to show an angrier, more forceful Doctor, facing up to her mistakes and trying to save lives she'd put at risk. Not before time  -  while the friendly, goofy side of this Doctor is fun, I don't often feel that the character is "alien" enough and this chance to give Whittaker a meatier role was appreciated. This all acted as a precursor to the two-part finale which starts tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

Soundtrack: Various songs by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Stan & Jack by Pete Doree

It's here! The Big One! Kirby says "Don't ask! Just buy it!"

All this hysterical hyperbole ( and agonisin' alliteration ) is my way of plugging this Marvelous new mag by ace cartoonist and faithful friend of The Glass Walking-Stick, Peerless Pete Doree.
As if Pete wasn't busy enough producing The Bronze Age Of Blogs and The Kids From Rec Road 
( seriously, you need to check them out ) he's now pouring all his artistic talent and love for the Silver and Bronze Ages into a brand new comic featuring the amazing, astonishing adventures of Smilin' Stan and Jolly Jack.

Yep, these are the adventures of The King and The Man, fearlessly facing deadly doom in dark dimensions, ably aided and abetted by other cavorting cartoonists along the way  -  Ditko, Kane, Wood and more all turn up as crazy caricatures, fighting frightful foes and cracking wise in weird, way-out worlds. ( Phew! As Pete said to me on Twitter, trying to talk like Stan Lee is exhausting! )

It's all great stuff, very funny and full of a genuine affection for these legendary comic creators and the worlds they conjured up on cheap newsprint all those years ago. It's highly recommended... so...
whaddaya waitin' for? Go and buy the fershlugginer thing awready! You can get it here  -  and tell Pete that Honest Irving Forbush sent you!

( As a bombastic bonus, Pete's been sending out personalised sketches with early orders  -  here's mine above. Get 'em while you can, True Believers! )

Friday, 14 February 2020

Valentine's Day with the Eighth Doctor

A couple of weeks back I went to the True Believers comic con in Cheltenham ( something which is turning into an annual tradition for me ) and I commissioned the above sketch of the Eighth Doctor from the hugely-talented Mike Collins. I'd previously bought a Third Doctor sketch from Mike but this one wasn't for me, it was for my lovely wife Sarah. She's a huge fan of Paul McGann ( as am I, but in a slightly different way ) and, of course, we met the man himself at the Gloucester Comic Con back in 2018. I thought this was a great opportunity to buy a very special Valentine's Day present for Sarah and I think Mike did a wonderful job of capturing the McGann Doctor, in all his Byronic glory.

( I'll post some more stuff from True Believers soon... including more Mike Collins artwork! )

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Random Januaryness ( featuring Star Wars! Punk rock! Welsh mountains! )

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a month called January in a year called 2020.
A ( band of heroic resistance fighters  ) good-for-nothing, lazy blogger decided he should get his blog back on track and post his futile thoughts more regularly. To prove his utter commitment to this idea he didn't post anything until the month called February. This month. Now. Starting with...

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
Late to the party as ever, I finally got round to watching SW:TROS ( great acronym! ) last weekend.
I dragged my old friend Kev along as well  -  like me, he had also grown up watching the original Star Wars movies back in the good / bad ol' days of the '70s and '80s.
I'd recently re-watched Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, just so I could remind myself where the space saga had got to in the previous installment. I'd certainly enjoyed that movie when it was released but now, on my third or fourth viewing, I realised that I really liked it. In fact, I'd say it's the best Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back. Heresy? Maybe. For me, TLJ is a superior Star Wars segment ( alliteration alert! ) because it dares to move the story along, to provide some actual character development and decent dialogue, plus there are some gorgeous visuals along the way. With that in mind, what did I think of JJ Abrams' saga-closing Chapter IX?
Well, it was pretty good. I enjoyed it. Talk about damning with faint praise?

Because it was the final Star Wars ever ever ever ( until Disney decide to reboot it all with James Bay or Zack Snyder in charge ) there were a lot of nostalgic, fan-pleasing elements to the movie  -  old characters returning ( some warranted, some not ), many call-backs to previous chapters and a general feeling that this was, again, Star Wars' Greatest Hits  -  The Remix. And mostly that was all fine. There were some spectacular space battles ( hey, it's Star Wars! ), a proper resolution to the Rey / Kylo Ren storyline and a warmly nostalgic ( there's that word again ) epilogue with Rey visiting the old Skywalker homestead on Tattooine where the whole epic had begun.

However, I was disappointed that most of the narrative themes and ideas introduced in TLJ were abandoned by JJ. I thought that the "Rise" of the title would have referred to a rebirth of the Force in the universe as hinted at by that Sorcerer's Apprentice moment at the end of the last movie, but that was seemingly forgotten. The question of Rey's parentage which looked to have been resolved in the last installment was clumsily reintroduced with the previous message that "anyone can be a hero" now negated by retrospectively inserting her story into yet another hidden lineage. And the sidelining of Kelly Marie Tran's character Rose looked very much like a cowardly caving-in to the reactionary #notmyskywalker bigots, and was very disappointing.
Maybe there should have been a more over-arching plan for these movies? It did come across like each part of this latest trilogy was a reaction to previous stories ( whether for good or bad ) and not a concerted whole. All in all, SW:TROS was a fun movie, sufficiently pleasing to old fans like me and certainly not the car-crash that the prequels were. I just wish it could have been something more.

Back down to Earth now, and on the 18th of January I went to my first gig of the year, a benefit for Cheltenham's food bank at the Frog & Fiddle. This went by the moniker of Punks Against Poverty and boasted some top local ( or relatively local ) bands.

Sophie had been home over Christmas so we persuaded her to come along for some ear-blasting Punk rock 'n' roll  -  and a few drinks. Here are Sarah, Sophie and myself with good friend and Borrowed Time superstar Glenn.
We missed the first band who had the un-promising name of Pretty Vacant but saw second on the bill Ska-Punksters King's Alias who played an energetic set, strangely featuring some distorted acoustic guitar noise. After them, all the way from the People's Republic of Stroud, it was time for my most-watched band of all time, the mighty Chinese Burn...

The Burners were on fine form, their catchy Pop/Punk/Disco/ Rock 'n'Roll enlivening the crowd and seemingly making some new converts. Frontman Ben Rigsby was as ever a whirling Dervish, busting out his best Iggy / Rotten / Jagger-esque moves whilst being a danger to the life and limb of his band mates, all the while spitting out his literate, intelligent and acerbic lyrics. I'm always grateful that they're still up there, still blasting out such faves as Shut Your Mouth, John Belushi's Dead and Defending Stalingrad, especially as lead guitarist Dave had been quite ill recently and this was his first gig back with the band. Well done Dave! What a trouper.

Next up were the constantly-gigging Borrowed Time, playing on home turf for the first time in a while and assaulting our ears with their Punk-Metal anthems. BT classics like Under The Radar, Chains and the eco-warning of The Day We Broke The World sounded as impactful as ever and they even unveiled a new song ( the title escapes me now ) which added to their arsenal of sharp, angry songs. They may be living on borrowed time but they're making the most of every minute.

Then there came a surprise as legendary Gloucester Punks Demob played a couple of impromptu numbers. They had all been at the venue, either playing in other bands or as punters, so decided to hit us with some old skool Street Punk for a good cause. Loud, righteous and subtle as a flying brick, Demob may not be to everybody's taste but they always mean business.

The headliners were Swindon's Slagerij ( Dutch for "butcher's" apparently ) who were yet more purveyors of Ska-Punk. I'm not really a fan of this style  -  it can be very generic and I always feel slightly uncomfortable about the cultural appropriation involved  -  but Slagerij certainly put on a great show. Very enthusiastic, very tight and extremely proficient with a pleasingly goofy approach after some far more serious bands. All summed up by their song and probable motto "Turn It Up... Rip The Knobs Off!"
So, a fun night supporting a worthy cause. Here's another pic of us happy punters... with added Caz!

After all that, er, glamour ( cough! ) I'm going to end with some lovely views of freezing cold Snowdonia. I mean, why not? A couple of weeks back we moved Sophie up to North Wales where she'll be training for her next season as a dancer at Haven holiday parks. We spent a very brief and bloody cold time taking photos of the landscape on the journey back. An absolutely stunning area  -  we'll definitely have to go back some time and explore it properly.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020


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