Monday, 31 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Tenth Day

"Strange Baby" Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

You still with me? The JSBX have been around forever and you'll recognise some elements of their sound in other bands in this playlist. I've gotta admit this is the first tune they've released that has grabbed me for ages. Another band who played a cracking live session on 6music this tune being a highlight. Turn it up loud!


Sunday, 30 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Ninth Day

"Ra Ra Girls" Wife vs Secretary

A band I know very little about but got to hear thanks (again) to a session on 6music for Marc Riley. I like the awkward angular guitar noise, the video is just plain disturbing though!


Saturday, 29 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Eighth Day

"Maglite" by Wussy

Not technically released in 2012 but I'd not heard the band before 6music started playing the tune this year from the "Buckeye" compilation that brought together the best of their five studio albums and is their first release outside of the USA. The video is pretty cool as well recorded live in an old RV. Annoyingly I missed them play London (with support from Shonen Knife!) back in October but they'll be high on my list of bands to catch next year.


Friday, 28 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Seventh Day

"Where Da Money Go?" The Jim Jones Revue

One of my favourite bands right now and whilst the rest of the album introduced some new elements to their sound both singles off it proved they'd not lost the ability to rock the hell out of a tune. I love the bass and piano intro that maintains it's coda through out and lulls you into a false sense of security before Mr Jim Jones blows your head off with his mighty air-raid siren of a voice.


Thursday, 27 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Sixth Day

"The Descent" by Bob Mould

A proper return to form. Perhaps that's harsh on whatever Bob's done since Sugar released "Copper Blue" in 1992 but I know this is the first time since then he's caught my ear.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Fifth Day

"Coastal Command" by Wild Billy Childish & The Spartan Dreggs

I really wanted to include "Punk Before Chips" a fine tune by the Dreggs that has been a fairly constant feature on Marc Riley's show this year but I couldn't find a copy on YouTube. Anyone familiar with Billy Childish's past form won't notice any radical change in style but I subscribe to the belief that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. This is the title track from one of three LPs the Spartan Dreggs released on the same day in November, nicely sticking two fingers up to record distribution tradition.


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Fourth Day


"Dance At My Wedding" by The Cornshed Sisters

OK, so I intended to pick a new Christmas song to fill this gap but I couldn't find one I liked enough. I toyed with "Christmas Unicorn" by Sufjan Stevens but really it was 12 minutes of tweeness I couldn't cope with so instead here's the stand out track from The Cornshed Sister's debut LP.

"Tell Tales" was one of my favourite albums of the year (though one that didn't make any of my 2012 top fives) so the band were due a bit of recognition on here and this is a lovely tune. Hope you all have a marvellous Christmas Day.


Monday, 24 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Third Day

"The Waves" by Villagers

Were Villagers up for the Mercury prize last year? I can't remember but I did catch a bit of a vibe about them around that time that I didn't really buy into. This track, released in October of this year, caught me a little off guard after I heard it randomly on my way to work via the wireless. A really nice tune, though I recommend you don't spend too long staring at that video unless you want to have funny colours dancing in front of your eyes for the rest of the day.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - Second Day

"Shut Eye" by Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep are a three piece band from Liverpool environs. I saw them support Field Music in February but was a little bit squiffy so don't remember a great deal about either bands. This was the lead single from their debut album and a favourite for me during the first half of the year.


Saturday, 22 December 2012

12 Songs for Xmas - First Day

I did this last year, kind of liked it so thought I'd do it again. Basically twelve tunes I've heard and enjoyed this year that I hope y'all will enjoy as well. This should take us up to my first top five of Twenty Thirteen which, assuming I've got my self sorted out, will be my Top Five Songs of 2012.

"Dark Star" by Poliça

A bit of a sleeper hit for me. I heard Poliça quite a bit in the early part of 2012 but they didn't do a lot for me until I saw them on Later with Jools Holland. Two drummers, two bass players and a singer with auto-tune. It shouldn't work but it does.


Friday, 21 December 2012

Top 5 Christmas Presents

A little bit earlier than normal with this year's festive top five. Christmas is for me all about the magic of waking up and finding a pile of presents at the foot of your bed or under the tree. This top five is about those presents that made my childhood Christmases memorable before I became a Dad and Christmas became a whole different ball game.

Happy Christmas everyone, I hope you have a lovely holiday break and that Santa brings you everything you hoped for.

1. New Bike - I have a fairly vivid memory of coming down to find a shiny new bike in the front room next to the tree. Oddly, I don't remember much about the bike after this so I suspect it was my first with two wheels and didn't last me all that long. You'll probably be disappointed to read it wasn't a Chopper.

2. Scalextric - A starter set with a small figure of eight track and two classic Minis (one Red, one Yellow). Possibly this was the beginning of my love of Mini's (I now drive a proper one, when it's not off the road for various minor ailments) though I probably saw The Italian Job around the same time. We had the track set up all day on the upstairs landing and I remember spending most of Christmas racing various family members.

3. Transistor Radio - The only present on the list I didn't get from Mum & Dad. Uncle Stan and Auntie Margaret bought me this small plastic radio along with a Concorde shaped gold tie-pin (Auntie M worked for British Airways). At first I was a little nonplussed but when I eventually gave it a go I became enthralled by the stations I discovered. There was a lot of static and foreign voices but I was excited to discover the mysterious Radio Luxembourg and began my discovery of music outside of Mum & Dad's record collection.

4. Subbuteo - The beginning of another minor obsession. This starter set came with a felt pitch (that always rucked up at the crucial moment), two teams (one in Fulham colours obviously), a floodlight (essential for those mid-week late night fixtures) and all the necessary paraphernalia. I probably spent more time trying to collect accessories to make my set look more like a real football ground (camera gantry, grandstand, crowd members, St. John's ambulance crew and the like) than actually playing the game. I did try and keep a mini league going for a while and spent most of my pocket money collecting teams from the wonderful Subbuteo team catalogue.

5. Fulham Kit - My first replica kit (Shirt, Shorts & Socks!) from the 1979-80 season. I'd been to my first game in August and got the football bug. It was an Adidas kit but made from some horrible polyester material that rubbed my skin the wrong way. The shorts never quite fitted me either though I remember wearing the entire ensemble to football practice for several weeks before admitting it was bloody uncomfortable.


Friday, 14 December 2012

Top 5 Lidos

Inspired by Lido the Darren Hayman album of instrumentals named after open air swimming pools. I can't claim to have been to all of them but there's something magical about an open air pool, despite the irony of living in a country where swimming outdoors is such an unlikely activity.

1. Saltdean Lido - This is a real gem with a glorious art deco design. Typically Saltdean has had an uncertain future of late but was recently saved from developers and is in the process of creating a sustainable future with community ownership.

2. Tooting Bec Lido - Tooting Bec Lido is one of Britain's oldest open air pools, opening to the public in July 1906. The Lido is on Tooting Bec Common but swimmers are concealed from views across the common by the surrounding tree covered ramp. The colourful doors of the changing cubicles have made the Lido a popular location for adverts and other filming including the boxing "pool" scene in Snatch.

Image removed at request of copyright owner but please check it out in it's original location here at The Telegraph or see more of the photographer's wonderful work here

3. The Upper Deck - This is a near mythical pool from my youth, a place I heard other kids talk about but never visited. I think it sat on the banks of the Thames near Molesey in Surrey. Photos courtesy of , I love the black & white one of people watching the racing though I'm not entirely sure this is the same pool.

4. Hampton Open Air Pool - The nearest open air pool to where I live now which backs on to Bushy Park. It's gone through a bit of a renaissance recently and has even staged open-air concerts by the likes of Bellowhead and Kid Creole & The Coconuts.

5. London Fields Lido - I don't know a great deal about this one I just like the name. Today around 30 acres, London Fields was originally common ground used by drovers to pasture livestock. The Lido originally opened in 1932. After closing in 1988 local residents fought to prevent it's removal and it reopened in 2006. Fully refurbished it provides the only heated outdoor Olympic sized swimming pool in London.

A couple of extra goodies to share.

The diving board at Weston Super Mare Lido was something to behold.

A lido at Hastings is now just a square of grass. My Dad lives in Bexhill so we drive past this quite often and I can sense the echo of it's former glories. Sad it's gone.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Guest Top 5 Bond Villains by Daniel Smith

This post has been in collaboration with Daniel Smith. I know very little about Daniel other than that he is a big James Bond fan with a passing interest in poker. A man of mystery then which seems rather appropriate considering his subject choice.

Every James Bond film has a primary villain that Bond must face off against and in many cases risk his life in order to defeat. While all have been formidable in their own way, there are some that have stood above the rest of 50 years of Bond films. Today we give the top 5 villains in James Bond film history.

5. Francisco Scaramanga

Christopher Lee has made a career at playing the bad guy and his portrayal of Fransisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun was no exception. Critics and fans of Ian Fleming's books both agree that Lee's character was the spitting image of the character in the original book.

4. Le Chiffre

The character of Le Chiffre was one of the major highlights of the 2008 remake of Casino Royale. His torture of Bond during the film really put him over the top. A little known fact about Mads Mikkelsen is that he is actually really good at poker in real life.

3. Jaws

Jaws is bigger than life, and we mean that literally. He is one of the most beloved and most well known of all Bond villains and wound up appearing in both The Spy who Loved Me and Moonraker. In addition, he has been used in many James Bond video games as a playable character.

2. Oddjob

Harold Sakata played the strong but silent assassin for Goldfinger and has a steel rim bowler that can be used to cut the heads off statues and people. This alone makes him one of the cooler villains of the series, and he never spoke a word.

1. Ernst Stavro Bloefeld

Appearing in four movies, the most of any Bond villain, the leader of SPECTRE is easily the greatest amongst Bond villains. He also is prominently featured in many of Ian Fleming's books. He is the equivalent of Moriarty, but much cooler.