Monday, 31 May 2010


One of the benefits of being the (slightly) older member of Great Men is the appreciation of keeping life simple and truthful. Truth is important – it is also beautiful. People are not. 2 examples of this have piqued my interest this week, both come from the 2nd best selling national newspaper.

Check your mum’s coffee table – it’s probably there – burn it.

C-Bomb will be using the impending World Cup to lock himself away and create the next batch of super human, super sonic riffs. Being a Real Man as well as a Great One I’ll be watching – but far from the sunburned, bulldog tattooed En-ger-land idiots. Patriotism is indeed the egg from which wars are hatched and enjoyed by the kind of people who lapped up the recent story about the “banning” of England football shirts. My favourite example comes from THAT paper:

Heady stuff and provoked suitably angry responses from the enraged masses on the comments page. There is only one problem with the story – best described by Paul de Santis, the bus company’s commercial director: "As time has gone we have reached the conclusion that the incident did not happen”.

No driver on that route matched the “dodgy-foreigner” description given and no other witness recalled the incident. It just didn’t happen. Apart from the possibility of a pitchfork wielding mob scouring the streets of Staffordshire this story seems a little harmless.

Sadly the same isn’t true of another story from that paper. I’ll not dwell on the papers contemptible decision to abuse the suffering and illness of a dying mother for its own political motives. The TRUTH of the matter is that again the paper completely invented the facts around this story.

Rather than the 15 rejections of cancer treatments in the past 18 months that were reported – the agency responsible for appraising new drugs for the NHS actually approved 10 of those 15 and is still considering another. Either the journalist and Editor were criminally stupid or they just plain lied. I have my suspicions which of those statements are correct.

Even successful battles against cancer are terrifying and painful experiences for sufferers and their families. To brazenly lie about cancer treatments to create more fear in order sell a few more copies of your newspaper is shameful.

Check your Mum’s coffee table – it’s probably there – burn it.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Tales of a Sweaty Idiot, vol. 1

So in addition to cooking food and drinking beer, Great Men do actually play music from time to time! Last week such an event occurred in Nottingham at a lovely place called the Golden Fleece, organised by a fellow called Will who has broken every bone in his body but still didn't let that be an excuse to miss us. Excuses that other people successfully used were "my friend got spewy" and "it's warm outside".

Before I go further let me mention a guitar that I call the Black Lodge Telecaster. It's called this because I spent ages with a ruler, masking tape, and spray paint to give it some stripes to look a bit like the floor of the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks. Lemma 1: I am an idiot.

Back to the Fleece: Supporting us were a band called The Cupid Stunt from Leeds, who I'm pleased to say were a pleasure as gentlemen and a pleasure as a band. Great Men approve of The Cupid Stunt. Hopefully we'll get a trip to Yorkshire to play with them some time. Like us they have guitar, bass, and electronically generated drums: a soundman's dream! They do have vocals, but that's probably because Greg can sing and I can't so fair enough!

Then we came on and played all our hit singles. I could talk about the music all day but there's only 2 things you really need to know:

1) Although the night before I'd been planning on playing my red Les Paul, some weird technical glitches meant I played the Black Lodge Telecaster instead. Incidentally guitar gimps I've recently upgraded to 11s and I'd recommend it.

2) It was a hot day. Ignorant commoners everywhere claimed it was a heat wave and that they might die. I crossed my fingers. I also played guitar under some lights near a kitchen that had just given me some tasty fish and chips. Lemma 2: I am sweaty. I am portly and maroon, I am the sky and the water.

Some of you may be scientists, some of you artists, still more of you just not as stupid as me. Long story short when a sweaty idiot plays guitar quite aggressively and said guitar has dubiously painted lines on it, this happens:

I was actually quite relieved because when I first looked down at my guitar I thought I was bleeding black blood.

At this point perhaps you'd expect a moral to the story, or maybe just to discover that I'd learned my lesson. Well yesterday I stabbed my hand with a fork, and now I'm off back to the garage to put a fresh coat of spray paint on my new Les Paul...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Cooking with Great Men : Risotto Pizza

As regular readers will know, Great Men have a close relationship with Ulterior, particularly brothers Benn and Paul. While Benn is busy working on our album down in That London, Benn's Brother is part of the Beeston Strike Team - we're kind of like the Algonquin Round Table. One of our staples is the Awesome Night, which generally involves awesome food, awesome beers, awesome company, awesome music and awesome videos.

For some time now, Benn's Brother has been threatening to combine some of his favourite foods: pizza and risotto. This week, I challenged him to make it happen at an Awesome Night.


2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 chilli
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 handfuls of arborio rice
1 generous glug of white wine
Olive oil
1 litre of vegetable stock
2 deep pan margherita pizzas
Black pepper
Van Halen - Van Halen
Frank Zappa - Zappa in New York
A young Tom Hanks

At this point you're probably thinking "Are these the most rock and roll guys, like, ever?".


  1. Put Van Halen on the stereo.
  2. Chop your onion, garlic, chilli and rosemary up and get it sweating in the olive oil in a frying pan.
  3. Get the pizzas cooking in the oven.
  4. Add salt, pepper and rice to the pan.
  5. Once the rice is starting to go translucent at the edges, add a generous glug of wine.
  6. By now Van Halen has probably finished, so put on Zappa in New York. Pay particular attention to The Black Page drum solo.
  7. Once the wine is being taken in by the rice, start adding the stock. Continue to add the stock gradually as it is absorbed.
  8. When the pizzas are a couple of minutes away from completion, take them out and depress the cheese covered centre by about a centimetre, leaving the deep pan ridge around the outside. This is what we call Gastronomic Architecture.
  9. When the stock is all absorbed and your risotto is nice and gloopy, ladel it gratuitously into the pizza reservoir you've created.
  10. Grate a generous layer of parmesan on top and season with black pepper.
  11. Return to the oven until the parmesan is crisped.
  12. Plate it up and put a good handful of rocket on top of each.
  13. Serve with a can of beer and a DVD of Joe Versus The Volcano.

Warning: This may kill you.

If you try out our Awesome Recipe, please let us know how you got on. Have you got any other cool ideas for recipes? Variations on a theme include Risotto Calzone and Jambalaya Pizza.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Heifer cow is better than none

Business first: this Thursday, May 20th, Great Men are making our second appearance in Nottingham this year, headlining at the Golden Fleece with another duo called The Cupid Stunt, organised by the wonderful Will of I'm Not From London. You should totally come down for the following 3 reasons:

1) Music
2) Beer
3) It's free, and that includes as many high fives as you can eat

GUITAR GIMP PARAGRAPH 1: Although having previously suggested I might play my Black Lodge Telecaster on Thursday, I busted out my red Les Paul at practice and enjoyed it a lot, so who knows what could happen? And who cares? If you care, please write me a letter, or "electronic-mail" as the kidz say these days.

Yesterday I watched football on the television. Mr Kim made me do it, he promised beer and a dog. He wasn't lying. I'd still rather watch the Marx brothers, which I duly did. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

GUITAR GIMP PARAGRAPH 2: I took receipt of 2 guitars from eBay this week. One is shrouded in security as R-Man and I turn it into the "Great Men Bennecaster" for Mental Benn. The other is a white Les Paul with black binding and I'll share it with y'all as soon as I've cleaned it up and put in some new chrome pickups.

R-Man is in Paris at the moment so in lieu of rock and roll I occupied myself in the only way I know how: driving to Manchester and back. I was kept company by the following albums all of which I recommend:

Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers
Slint - Spiderland
XTC - Drums and Wires
Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible

Oh by the way if you like films and/or Brian Blessed (you've got 2 eyes and a soul haven't you?) then you should have a look at the award winning short Mr Bojagi, written by an old friend of mine. Here it is!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Postcards From The Feedback Den

We've just got back from an awesome few days down in That London, recording our album and doing all manner of other cool things. Here's a blow by blow account, the names have not been changed to protect the innocent:

We travelled down on the train on Friday afternoon with a couple of reebs. We were supposed to have been playing a gig that evening but it had been cancelled when it transpired that the venue was only licensed for a "moderate" amount of awesomeness, and we couldn't guarantee that we wouldn't exceed that. So instead we holed up in a lovely little pub and talked politics with my good friend Claire and her entourage.

On Saturday we headed over to Shoreditch to meet Benn, machine meistro in Ulterior and our close personal friend who'd invited us down so he could produce our album. The fun times flowed thick and fast and we managed to get my guitars down for 8 tracks. Some of my favourite moments of the session were Ben laughing uncontrollably all the way through one of my takes, and our inspired construction of a "feedback den" to get the sound we needed for the first solo on Hot Meat. That evening we had the pleasure of meeting The Fabulous H-Town Savage whose energy both onstage with her band and offstage was formidable.

On Sunday R-Man nailed the bass for all the tracks and McG started work on chroming our drum sound. The highlight of the day for me was when he dropped the biggest snare you've ever seen onto No Fear Of Humans and we all punched the air involuntarily for what seemed like a blissful eternity. We followed it up with the Ulterior staples of London living: street drinking and a Vietnamese buffet. No that's not a euphemism.

On Monday we had lunch with my old pals Robin and Louise, then collected our friend Shaw from St Pancras. Shaw insists that he's our manager, but unfortunately his knack of leaving his satchel behind everywhere he goes leaves me feeling uneasy: that could be my drum machine in there! We then visited the London Film Museum which was disappointing and a bit light on material: Great Men unrecommends! After a pint of Cotswolds lager we were back in the game and met the wonderful Ros for a tour round Parliament. Once Shaw's collection of concealed weapons had been confiscated at the door, we got to see all manner of awe-inspiring rooms, including being left unsupervised in the House of Lords. We then had some reebs in the Parliament 'Sport and Social' Bar before dining like kings in the Parliament cafeteria. Then after a brief meet with Mandelson (I'm pretty sure we were papped - let me know if you see any photos), we had to move on to the evening's main event, a Pavement gig at Brixton Academy. The culmination of most of Regan's life's work, I'll let him tell that story. I enjoyed it tremendously though, and celebrated in true London style with some fried chicken.

On Tuesday we collected our equipment from the studio and bid Benn a fond farewell, before meeting our Strike Team comrade Macca (aka Benn's Brother) for some lunchtime drinks to handover responsibility for London's rock status as we hopped on the train back to Nottingham.

Now I just can't wait for the mixes: they'll blow all of your minds!

For a full photographic record of the trip, check out our Facebook page.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


We just finished writing a new song called Staymaker. The title is inspired by Thomas Paine as we've both just read a book about him by Christopher Hitchens which I'd thoroughly recommend. We've demoed a working version of the song, but we've yet to put the eyebrows on it. That's us up there 'laying some track'.

The real magic is happening next weekend though when we're recording for real down in That London with our good friend Mental Benn, perhaps for a real life record to come out. We're also going to hang out in Parliament and see Pavement. Which is possibly even cooler than hanging out on a sidewalk and seeing Funkadelic. There's a high five going for everyone who stayed on my wavelength through that sentence.

Oh yeah, we're playing a gig in Nottingham on May 20th at the Golden Fleece on Mansfield Road, which promises to be a hoot because they serve nice beer and everything. I might play my sweet looking Black Lodge Telecaster. I'm an idiot who spray paints guitars to look like things from Twin Peaks.