Sunday, 29 March 2020

Chop’s Journal - 29 Mar 2020

The first week of lockdown and the reality of fighting the pandemic has really sunk in. There’s a feeling of camaraderie as neighbours come together to help each other out but it’s early days and we have at least two more weeks of restrictions in place and probably longer. The gigs might have stopped but there are still books & music to help us get through. 


Do What I Want - Irma Vep

Music I’m enjoying

Really enjoying the latest U.S. Girls album thanks to my friend Toby recommending it. I’d listened to a previous release and struggled but I know pal Hawkwind Chris is a fan so when gigs start happening again I think Meghan Remy will be on my watch list.

Also pleased to hear new releases from Dutch VU devotees, Lewsberg, and Aussie punk favourites, Cable Ties. 

Book updates

I’ve had to add a new section as I make more rapid progress with my reading resolution. Of course, that probably means I’ll slow down again but I’m almost back on track with my fairly low bar, one book a month, challenge. Hoping that this gets me back in the habit and I actually surpass that target. 

The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brook Bolander: Another short book though this won a nebula award for best novella. Intriguing retelling of an imagined overlap between the tales of Topsy the elephant & the Radium Girls. I had to check Wikipedia beforehand to understand what those things were but that helped and the author does a great job at pulling the two stories together. 

Other notes

My youngest rarely spends any longer than necessary with us, so I was pleased to get him to watch the whole of Point Break with me. He loves Hot Fuzz and I’ve been trying to get him to watch Kathryn Bigelow’s surfer cop thriller for a while now, and, as expected, he really enjoyed it. We’re going to do Bad Boys next. 

I’ve been doing daily top 5s on Twitter as a distraction from lockdown. Had considered changing my Twitter @ name as I rarely do top 5s anymore but this has reinvigorated my love of thinking up topics & seeing what other people choose. 

I also did an A to Z of bands I’ve seen live on Facebook (nabbed from someone else originally) and realised I’ve not seen a band beginning with Z which makes me think I’m going to end up seeing ZZ Top the next chance I get. 

A - Arcade Fire

B - Big Country

C - Cat Power

D - Dananananaykroyd

E - Ezra Furman 

F - Flat Worms

G - Godspeed You! Black Emperor 

H - Half Man Half Biscuit 

I - Iron Maiden

J - Jethro Tull

K - Kokoko!

L - Low

M - Mogwai 

N - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

O - Oh Sees

P - Pixies

Q - Queen

R - R.E.M.

S - Status Quo

T - This Is The Kit

U - Ultimate Painting

V - The Visual

W - Warmd├╝scher

X - Xylouris White

Y - Yo La Tengo

Z -

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Lockdown Top Fives - Week 1

Lockdown began on March 23rd so this is the first week proper of my lockdown fives.

▪️Monday 23rd: Books you read at school
  1. To Kill A Mockingbird 
  2. The Chrysalids 
  3. The Great Gatsby
  4. Lord of the Flies
  5. Hard Times

▪️Tuesday 24th: Television Sitcoms 
  1. Blackadder
  2. Young Ones
  3. Father Ted
  4. Dad’s Army
  5. Porridge*
*I made a change to my five after the day of replies and swapped Porridge in for Only Fools & Horses.

This was a tricky top 5 so I did a separate US sitcoms one too (I’ve never seen Curb or Seinfeld): 

▪️Tuesday 24th: US Sitcoms 
  1. Community
  2. Parks & Recreation 
  3. Cheers
  4. The Simpsons
  5. Modern Family / Raising Hope

▪️Wednesday 25th: Mr Men characters
  1. Mr Bump
  2. Mr Tickle
  3. Mr Small
  4. Mr Nosey
  5. Mr Messy 

▪️Thursday 26th: Australian Bands & Solo Artists
  1. AC/DC
  2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  3. The Go-Betweens
  4. Courtney Barnett
  5. The Necks

▪️ Friday 27th: Songs About Coffee
  1. Black Coffee in Bed - Squeeze
  2. Cigarettes & Coffee - Otis Redding
  3. Instant Coffee Baby - Wave Pictures
  4. Coffee & TV - Blur
  5. Second Cup of Coffee - Gordon Lightfoot

▪️Saturday 28th: Football Kits of club teams you don’t support
  1. AS Roma home (1984-85)
  2. St Pauli home (2008-09)
  3. West Ham United home (1976-80)
  4. Dukla Prague away (1960s)
  5. Coventry City away (2019-20)

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Chop’s Journal - 22 Mar 2020

A pretty weird week as it really sinks in how serious the Covid-19 pandemic is. We’re getting to grips with living our lives in a different way, trying to decipher the often contradictory Government advice but it’s almost stranger how normal everything seems when you do leave the house. 


Gutted to get the inevitable cancellation notification for the upcoming Cable Ties gigs but this latest release from the upcoming album is really great. 

Hope - Cable Ties

Music I’m enjoying

Really been hammering the Porridge Radio album. It’s better than I expected and I’ve loved them live so really pleased to find that translates so well. I’ve also been enjoying the latest Islet album. I think I saw them live around 5 or 6 years ago and remembered them making a positive impression then so it’s great to find them making great music still. 

Other notes

Books: Second book of the year read in less than a week. After Circe I picked out a few books I figured I could get through in a hurry and Don’t You Leave Me Here by Wilko Johnson was just what I needed.

Wilko’s voice & character comes shining through. A really enjoyable read that gave me an insight to the years I knew a bit about (Dr Feelgood & his recent solo success) but really came into its own when talking about his love for his wife, Irene, and his remarkable brush with seemingly terminal cancer. A true original.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Lockdown Top Fives - Week 0

During the Covid-19 Pandemic I started doing daily top fives on Twitter. Took me a while before I started including them in my weekly journal posts so I thought I’d go back and repost the ones I missed. It also turns out I started doing these daily top fives before we went into lockdown so this first batch are week zero. 

▪️Sunday 15th: Top 5 Flintstones characters 

  1. Barney
  2. Wilma
  3. Fred
  4. Dino
  5. Arnold

▪️Monday 16th: Top 5 Songs you loved when you were at school

  1. Heart of Glass - Blondie
  2. Baggy Trousers - Madness
  3. Kids in America - Kim Wilde
  4. Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant
  5. Don’t You Want Me - Human League

▪️Tuesday 17th: Top 5 Film Comedies 

  1. The Blues Brothers
  2. This Is Spinal Tap 
  3. Some Like It Hot
  4. Monty Python: Life of Brian
  5. Carry On Up The Khyber

▪️Wednesday 18th: Top 5 Biscuits 

  1. Fox's Jam Creams
  2. Custard Cream
  3. Ginger Nut
  4. Hob Knob
  5. Digestive

▪️Thursday 19th: Top 5 Movie Car Chases

  1. The French Connection
  2. Death Proof
  3. Baby Driver
  4. The Blues Brothers
  5. Bullitt

▪️Friday 20th: Top 5 Albums of the 90s

  1. Repeater - Fugazi
  2. Nevermind - Nirvana
  3. Out of Time - R.E.M. 
  4. Rid of Me  - PJ Harvey
  5. When I was Born For The 7th Time - Cornershop 

▪️Saturday 21st: Top 5 Songs about Flags

  1. Waving Flags - British Sea Power
  2. Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! 
  3. Red Flag - Laura J. Martin
  4. Territories - Rush
  5. American Flag - Cat Power

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Chop’s Journal - 15 Mar 2020

These are strange times we’re living through. Feels like while the government dithers most people are already starting to avoid unnecessary travel. Despite that, and feeling slightly guilty, I did go and see some football on Saturday. 


“Best and Fairest” Primo!

Music I’m enjoying

I’m really loving the new album by Nadia Reid and thrilled to hear Porridge Radio’s latest album (first as a band I think) is an absolute corker. 

Gigs of the week

No gigs this week, it was always due to be a quiet week and any decision to travel was taken out of my hands when the Sunday night free gig at The Shacklewell Arms featuring The Jeanines, Breakup Haircut & Athabaska got cancelled. 

Other notes

Books: I hadn’t been making much progress with my resolution to read more this year but finally finished my first book of the year this week (disclaimer: I’m crap at reviewing literature). “Circe” by Madeline Miller is a well crafted reworking of Greek Mythology (mainly related to The Odyssey) which took me way too long to finish. That was partly a result of me reading it on train journeys via Kindle on my iPhone where there were often too many distractions. Once I got over the first 1/4 I really got into the story and thought it  worked very well. Circe as a character won me over and by the end I was very much on her side. 

Football: Going to the football on Saturday felt like going to a speakeasy during prohibition. My pal had been planning the trip for a while as a belated birthday celebration so I didn’t want to let him down. Pretty remarkable that we were heading to Maidenhead United to visit the oldest ground in continual use by one team on a day the National League was the only league that hadn’t abandoned all matches. 

Anyway, we went and it felt good to be out. Maidenhead got a crowd of 1662, and put on a decent performance. They took the lead with a great finish after a fairly unlikely looking lobbed past and went in 1 up at halftime. Stockport County equalised while we were still in the bar, and jammy goal that dribbled over the line apparently, and then got the winner with a corker of a strike. 

We made a swift exit to catch trains home and I bumped into skudder, who’d been in with the Stockport fans, on the way out. Guessing that might be my last out of home activity for some time. Fingers crossed we get this thing under control soon and can return to normality. 

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Chop’s Journal - 1st & 8th March

A double entry as I failed to get last week’s post out on time most likely because Mrs T5 was away and I was busy keeping the house tidy. 


Song of the Week #SOTW #Chopssotw Ginormous - Grimm Grimm

Song of the Week #SOTW #Chopssotw Rise Up Alexa - Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom

Music I’m enjoying

I listened to a lot of Sleater-Kinney & Field Music during the week I saw them live. Also been enjoying new albums from Agnes Obel, Nadia Reid & Cornershop. 

I saw @CitizenMeh at Sleater-Kinney & he reminded me about Wolf Parade who he’d mentioned at a previous gig. I’d not really heard of them, and suspect I confused them with another band initially but this time it registered & I decided to investigate. Having delved into their back catalogue I found I absolutely love them & resolved to catch them on their upcoming European tour. I was then gutted to find out they’ve had to cancel the tour due to Covid-19 though it does at least reduce the pressure on fitting gigs into March & means I’m all set for whenever the dates get rearranged. 

Gigs of the week

Sleater-Kinney @ Brixton Academy (26/Feb) - I was so excited when this date was announced last year and rushed to buy a ticket. Then Janet left and I wasn’t sure they’d ever survive. I needn’t have worried, this was a great night and the band sounded just as good as the last time I saw them. The set was heavy on the latest album but I’m always cool with that. No point seeing a band if you don’t like their latest release in my book. Carrie & Corin are forces of nature and it was thrilling to see them having fun. Katie Harkin, ahead of her stint as SK utility player, opened the night with a smashing solo set. The opening numbers got swallowed up a bit by the Academy’s size but settled down around three numbers in. Big Joanie sounded great and continue to get better each time I see them. 

Field Music @ EartH Concert Hall (29/Feb) - I missed FM on their last tour so was looking forward to seeing them again. They were playing their latest release, a concept album about the end of the First World War and the impacts it had on modern life, in full which was quite the undertaking. I’d seen them do this a couple of years back at the Imperial War Museum but tonight was even better. Not sure if that’s because I know the songs now or the band are more comfortable playing them but it was a brilliant show. 

Dry Cleaning @ Village Underground (3/Mar) - I’ve been trying to catch Dry Cleaning for a while now and it seemed each time I missed them they’d announce a new date in a bigger venue. Glad to finally catch them, at a great venue (VU has a really good sound and is fast becoming a bit of a favourite) and with a great bill. They played just about every song I knew (they’ve only had 2 EPs out) and included a couple of new tunes too. 

Support came from Pozi & The Wants, both also bands I’d been trying to see live for some time. I really love Pozi’s debut album & they played most of my favourites from that. They’ve got a great sound with an unusual lineup of bass, drums & violin. 

The Wants were an unexpected but pleasing addition to the lineup, featuring Maddison & Heather from Bodega.