Thursday, 21 July 2011

A post about some gigs that happened recently

On July 1st we played a gig in New Cross, South London courtesy of Chamber Club. Due to some technical hitches it was something of a shambles, but a lot of fun and we were probably just more punk than usual.

On July 8th I saw banjo hero, and comedy legend Steve Martin, playing with bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers. They were phenomenal and if you get chance I recommend you get down: great tunes, great musicians, great sound, hilarious banter.

If I were to list my top bands of all time the top 3 would probably be Queen, Guns N Roses, and Primus. Freddie's sadly long gone, Axl and Slash have yet to reconcile their differences, and Primus haven't played in the UK for 14 years. Until this month. My associates and I rocked up to Brixton Academy like giddy schoolgirls and had an awesome 2 hours. Highlights for me included Tommy The Cat, Over The Electric Grapevine, and Is It Luck?

About 6 or 7 years ago I saw one of the greatest gigs I've ever seen: They Might Be Giants at Manchester Academy (and was especially pleased to play on the same stage myself a little while later playing guitar with Swound!, supporting The Crimea). So when I heard they were playing just down the road from me in Camden I jumped at the chance to see them again, and was not disappointed. As my companion said in delight halfway through the show "this band has charisma!". Some of my highlights were Alphabet of Nations, Birdhouse In Your Soul (is there really anything more joyous than a room full of people united by a blue canary in the outlet by their light switches?) and, after spending the whole gig saying "I hope they do Fingertips", out it came for an awesome finale. MystEEEEEEEEErious whisper!

Finally Great Men rounded it off with a show at the legendary Dublin Castle in Camden. I recommend the Deuchars (trivia: a million years ago I was barman at a pub called the White Hart in Quorn; Deuchars was one of our best beers). By the way is everyone else digging R-Man's rock stance as much as I am?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

You Should Be Ashamed

In free elections you get the politicians you deserve. With a free press you get the papers you deserve.
Here at Great Men headquarters we have often shaken a weary head at the truly pathetic nonsense put out by middle age fear mongers at the Daily Mail, but recent revelations about the News of the World have been staggering and disgusting and a little bit unbelievable. My initial reaction to hearing of it being closed down was the same as most - good riddance and how-about that horrid bloody woman too... but is that really all that should happen?
The NOTW used to have 8 million readers, currently 2 Million. That’s a lot of people handing over hard earned cash to stare voyeuristically over the bedroom antics of footballers, the choreographed despair of war widows and some dozy bird from Braintree’s nipples. It isn’t the only one; virtually all of the red tops carry variations on this theme. Magazines such as Heat and OK seem to consist of nothing other than the same photo of female “celebrities” being derided as being too fat or too thin depending on whether they have a new part in a TV show. And these things fly off the shelves.
The highest rated TV programmes are either watching ordinary people do odd vainglorious things in order to become celebrities or celebrities doing odd vainglorious things to appear ordinary.
We lap it up every day. We love it. We are not innocent. We are to blame. We should be ashamed.
I heard the Lesser Milliband describe the closure of NOTW was due to “people power”. It was our power that created the desire and opportunity to sell other peoples tawdry secrets to us. We should be ashamed.
What is to be done? Our time alive is precious and short. Let’s use it with care and dedication. The world is a wonderful place full of wonderful people. Put the newspaper down. Switch off the TV. Go to the pub, a friend’s house, the park. Pick up a book, start a band, save for that trip you always meant to go on.
Stop giving your time and money to the smut hounds and celebrity no-marks and spend it on yourself. It’ll be awesome I promise.