The adventures of a Jeremy Corbyn T shirt.


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When I purchased my JC (yes he walks on water) T shirt earlier this year little did I know that it would become a hit at Primavera.  (The Catalonian music festival than I was at from Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th June.)

To say we had a laugh would be a rather big undertstatement.

Here goes.  For the sake of modesty, and career continuance, some of the names have been omitted.

I guess the festival started quite badly.  But the only sour nate in a symphony of sugar like proportions.  Jimmy (aged 63 – not real name) and Jock (aged mid 50’s) were jumped in the Slayer mishap.  Jock had his arse attacked with a Stanley knife in an attempt to get the wallet out of his back pocket.

Here’s the evidence of the failed ambush.

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Johnny was less fortunate.  His wallet was removed, along with its not inconsiderable financial contents and four credit cards.

There is, of course, a lesson in all this but I don’t think it is not to mosh in heavy mateal gigs in your advanvcing years.  It is to place your wallet in your front pocket and carry only as much cash as you need for the day.

Perhaps the irony of this story is that only a week before Jimmy had, in his own words, lectured his ex-wife on the importance of vigilance in Barcelona, a city notoriously tainted by the scourge of pickpocketry.

One must practice what one doth preach Johnny.

Moving on, let’s return to the sweeter side of this remarkable event.

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First off, the people.

I made so many new friends.  But it was Jeremy that was the icebreaker.  One gorgeous babe ran 100 metres with her arms outstretched and threw herself around me screaming her love for Jezza.  I was merely a vessel for the delivery of her profound political engagement with a national youth hero.

Literally 20+ times a day this happened to me.  It forced me to wear Corby for two dates not the one for which it had been slated.  And because I had a supply of my son’s Lynx it was off passable odorousness.

But, this was not The Lynx Effect in action.

Trust me. This was The Jezza Effect.

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From this, admittedly biased, sample Jezza has a chance on Thursday.  But you young people need to GET OUT AND VOTE.  It is your futures, not mine, that will benefit most from politics FOR THE MANY, NOT FOR THE FEW.  I repeated this line many times over the weekend.

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Indeed David was so moved by my support that he declared his undying love for me in the only way that means anything…

In the words of Juliet…

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

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It made it through the weekend.

Jimmy is a great storyteller.  And not as fond of the Jezz as I am (in truth I was in a small minority in this regard among my band of 50+ Thatcherite, tweed and cravat wearers.

Jimmy’s view on Labour?

“Jezza and Diane on the back of a motorbike travelling across East Germany.  That’s where they learned all they know about economics.”

Jimmy’s elderly mum however has taste. and i unrepresentative of this Tory loving elderly demography.

“When asked to join in on a toast to Margaret Thatcher her response was

“I’d rather drink pish.” (A quality statement.)

Each day started with a dodgy breakfast followed by the Sangria Sessions, a 132 strong playlist consisting of six Scottish songs and six one hit wonders that we had each supplied in advance.

This was my contribution….

Six Favourite Scottish Songs…

Ankle Shackles  – King Creosote

The State I am in – Belle and Sebastian

Bill Well’s Trio – Presentation Piece 1

Music is Math – Boards of Canada

James Yorkston – Tortoise Regrets Hare

Kosmischer Läufer – Jenseits Des Horizonts  (yes, they are from Leith)

Six one hit wonders

Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins

Der Mussolini – Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF)

O Superman – Laurie Anderson

Rappers – Delight – Sugarhill Gang

The Girl From Ipanema – Astrid Gilberto

Duelling Banjos – Eric Weissberg and Deliverance

I was repeatedly ‘hooked’ for exceeding the 5 minute rule which I am convinced was not communicated clearly.

Now the food in Barcelona is of an epic standard on Thursday we enjoyed Michelin quality dining, Friday and saturday did not reach the heights, although the bills did.  In fact so impressed was our Saturday hostess that she gave us a free bottle of “Scottish” (Alba) brandy.

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And not, as it happens, “cheap pish firewater.” as stated by more than one of our group in a display of ingratitude.  It lasted about 20 minutes.

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I had Paella and tapas all three days.  When in Rome and all that.  (Except we weren’t in Rome.)

On site we, none of us, ate, meaning that the constant 18 hour gaps with over 23,000 steps a day resulted in extreme hunger at breakfast time – Catalonian scabby heided bairns were in short supply by the end of our trip.

Friday’s tapas.  Or ‘Tapas aff’ as we so hilariously described lunches in Barcelona.

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Thursday was T shirt day in which we were each given an ill fitting t shirt that was meant to sum us up.

Mine reflects my occupation.

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But Tim’s is presumably more reflective of his favourite passtime.

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In the middle of the site on a prominent concrete ramp sits the Heineken VIP area.  It provided a challenge that three of us were willing to take.  How to gain access.

Gordon had, after all, been rewarded for returning a lost phone to Lost and Found with two tokens for the Back Stage area the night before, where he and Angus enjoyed free booze and a private gig by the mighty Wedding Present.

We had to trump that.

So we made our move only to be vigorously rebuffed by the Heineken PR representative.

Regrouping after the ensuing Van Morrison gig (not bad) we took a more determined approach.  Posing as a visiting delegation and claiming that we had bought S and N for Heineken we did enough to persuade Maria (a slightly more senior re) to allow us access for a photo and one drink.  “ONE DRINK ONLY”

90 minutes later and best friends with the top dog in Spain we moved on.  Liberally refreshed.  Thank you Heineken it was very kind of you.

The view from the platform of the main arena.

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The Heineken Lager Lovelies with Scotland’s own Lager Lovelies – Smudgerina and I.

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And here’s Smudgerina when she was younger.

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Read more about Smudgerina’s back story here.

Meanwhile back at the festival we had music to consume.  Here is a full breakdown of my consumption and the resulting score out of ten.

Day 1

Triangulo de Amor Bizarro (Spanish for Bizarre Love Triangle) – 8

Miguel. Pish (we lasted one song) – 3

Broken Social Scene – 8.5

We met BSS after the gig at our central drinking HQ.  I kindly shared my nuts with them whilst one of our group questioned guest singer Emily Haines of Metric (part of their 11 strong line up that included, at one point, 6 guitars) on “What’s it like to be Canadian?”  Short indeed was the shrift he received.

I mean.  Would you ask THIS girl THAT question?

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I spoke to her too.  The Jezza factor failed to kick in.

Solange – 8.5

Here’s an excerpt from her performance.  Simply the best lighting, choreography, filming ( a feature throughout of Primavera) sound quality (again constantly outstanding) and costume.

Lord of the Isles – 6 (one man noodling)

Kate Tempest – 9. Quite incredible.  She played the whole of 4:18 in a blind fury that was intoxicating and ended by by calling out “VOTE VOTE VOTE”.  That won’t be her profession of love for Amber Rudd and Co.

Survive – 8  A cheeky wee stumble upon moment.  Very good though and reminiscent of Kraftwerk.

The Damned – solid 7.  Good, but the aficionados felt they were not at their best.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.  9.  I loved them.  In particular their duelling drummers.  Two full kits facing one another and running a constant 180bpm foundation.

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Day 2

Sinkane – 7.5.  Good and more African and Jazzy than I expected.

Mogwai – 8.  An unexpected secret gig in which Mogwai, GET THIS, played the WORLD PREMIERE of their new album in totality.  It comes out in September.

Arab Strap – 9.5 An absolute power House performance by a reunited Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat.  His ability to chug Heineken was unmatched over the weekend.

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Swans – 5.  Just too much hard work I’m afraid.

Seaford Mods – a straight 10.  The lads had real technical difficulties to start.  Primarily no sound other than their baclinre so they didn’t even know we couldn’t herar them.  Gig was stopped, started again, aborted again before finally getting off to what transpired to be one of the best gigs I’ve ever attended.  Even better than November 2015 at La Belle Angele.  This was furious.  And TCR is a classic.

This was my main excursion into the moshpit and I emerged sodden with sweat.

Wand – 6.  Too late.  Too tired.

Day 3

Van Morrison – 7.  Nice, full on Jazz set.  But better stuff was taken over the weekend.

Teenage Fanclub – 8.  My first ever Teenies gig.  It was good.  But not a highlight of the weekend.

Arcade Fire – a straight 10.  Much to my surprise as my two previous experiences of “The Fire’ was anything but burned into my being.  But they are now.  Described rather eloquently (somehow) by one of our number thusly. “The songlist is ordinary (i disagree with that) but so much texture and energy”

Really, this was a display of A list musicianship performed with utter commitment, pumping out their ‘best of’ with verve, gusto and variety.  This is how rock music should be delivered and I hope a lot of up and coming bands were in the audience to see masters at work.

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(I missed Grace Jones.  Drat.)

And, yes, she is.

Haim – 9.  Secret gig.  I wasn’t a fan of Haim despite having seen them before and owning their debut album.  But I am now.  Hugely professional, committed, driven performance.

!!! (chk, chk, chk) – 10.  At 4.15 am I thought this was too late for me but I made it and climbed atop a golf cart for a better view.  It was parked in the centre of the area.

Why?  I know not.

We were also generously supplied for the second time that evening with finest local hashish.  Thank you Amos. Also at Arcade Fire.

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So that’s it. 21 gigs of which 9 I scored at 8.5 plus.  All outstanding gigs worthy of £50+ a ticket.  In reality it cost about £120 total.

Fabulous group of guys.  Great food.  Great drink.  Great Craic.  Great music.  Great flat.

And then on Sunday I went to Sagrada Familia and saw this …

I wept.

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My Glastonbury 2014


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My third, and best, Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts.

It’s the festival that just keeps giving, as with each trip you discover areas that you’ve not been to before.  The moving of Arcadia to the hill was not a complete success as it took it away from the action and the Disclosure DJ set that we went too was just stupidly busy.  It’s the first time I’ve seen strong drugs quite so openly peddled by dealers at Glastonbury, and this too was a negative.

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And of course, it rained.  When I say rained I mean it really, really rained.

Like, biblical man.

The thunder and lightning storm that hit us on Friday at 5.30 was truly spectacular and resulted in the site being shut down for an hour after a lightning strike on the Pyramid Stage.  This meant that Rudimental had to cut their set short.  Shame as it was just bubbling up (they were far better last year at T in the Park).

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Anyway that’s enough of the negativity, the rest of it was awesome and these are my picks.

It was a close call for my favourite act between John Grant, who put in an epic performance that nearly went nuclear when his extended take on Pale Green Ghosts kicked in and Massive Attack who put on a show of such perfection that it just drew your breath.  Both Horace Andy and Martina Topley-Bird were incredible (and, I think, Shara Nelson) in a stunning politically charged set that they refused the BBC to film.  The ground actually vibrated, so powerful was the bass.  One of the greatest musical experiences of my life.  Both these gigs were straight 10/10’s.

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Not far behind, if indeed they were, were remarkable sets by Midlake who really rocked towards the end of their set and Robert Plant whose smattering of Zep songs made a hugely eclectic set unforgettable.  His treatment of Whole Lotta Love was wondrous.

Also on the same glorious level was Dolly Parton, who was billed as something of a novelty act, but she carried off her set effortlessly with brilliant stories between her numbers.  Apparently it may have been Glastonbury’s biggest ever crowd with estimates of over 100,000 at her gig.  To hear 100,000 people sing 9 to 5 was something close to miraculous.

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On the 8/9 out of 10 level were Lily Allen (Is my Camel toe too prominent in this dress, she asked, and she called Sepp Blatter a c***)  Paulo Nuttini pulled off a mega performance.  Nick Mulvey fell into this category and was a new find for me.  His performance of Cucurucu was superb.  As was an early morning slot for Argentinian/Uruguayan Gypsy type tango/jazz from Bajofondo – sheer brilliance on The Other Stage and looking like their lives depended on it being great.  Mogwai rocked the Park Stage as headliners with probably the loudest noise of the weekend.

Everywhere is open to art.

Everywhere is open to art.

My other finds of the weekend were back to back acts on the wonderful West Holts Stage  Firstly The Internet, a soul act that sounds like Jill Scott and looks a bit like Janelle Monae and the wonderfully named The Daptone Super Soul Review from New York featuring the unique (apart from James Brown) Charles Bradley.  See them if you can.

Even the Glastonbury police horses are cool.

Even the Glastonbury police horses are cool.

And last, but no means least was Blondie.  At 68 She hadn’t lost any of her panache and it was a great set with a mix of new and old material.  It’s a bit scary to think that three of the best sets we saw (Blondie, Dolly Parton and Robet Plant) were by pensioners.

My patented Cider cup holder came in handy.

My patented Cider cup holder came in handy.

I wish I’d seen all of Arcade Fire’s set – we only saw the encores (although Regine Chassagny can’t really sing; either well, or in tune).  It was brilliant on the BBC  iPlayer recording, but we were at Skrillex first.  (Not good).

Other notable performances (all 7/10) were Interpol, The Jezebels, Kaiser Chiefs, Danny and the Champions of the World, New Build, Hozier, Nitin Sawney, Goldfrapp (although a bit one-paced), Rudimental and The Black Keys.

Very few acts were actually bad but those that didn’t float my boat very much were The 1975, Caro Emerald, Toumani and Sidiki and Michael Kiwanuka (who put on an ill-advised set).

Skrillex was just bad.

Other great things were the Classic Rock night at The Chameleon Bar and the Beat Hotel’s many cramped DJ sets including one we saw by FourTet and and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip B2B  (which means back to back apparently).

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Here’s to Glasto 2015!

 

 

 

 

Arcade Fire at Edinburgh Castle 1 September 2011


OK.  This is going to sound like a moan but the bottom line is that Arcade Fire performed extremely well in Edinburgh last night.  The question is; why was I so unenthused.

They played 18 songs in total.

8 from the suburbs, 3 from Neon Bible including the monumental No Cars Go (which was strangely un-monumental),  6 from their classic debut, Funeral, and a new song; Speaking in Tongues which I really liked.

Thanks to Setlist Wiki for this. What an amazing website by the way.

So, the plus points.  Note perfect.  Great mix of songs spanning their career.  Lovely weather.  Fabulous setting. Excellent acoustics. Very interesting use of video throuhgout.  Like this…

And this…

The downside however was much more intangible.

I was expecting an “experience”.  It wasn’t.

I felt totally detached and that’s because even though we had good seats we seemed miles away from the action.

And there were no big screens picking up action on stage.  OK, the video screen behind the band did, from time to time, blend them into the footage but this was more art than entertainment.

Looked good expansively though.

It all seemed very calculated and clinical almost.  And yet, they played a different set at the MEN on Wednesday night and hadn’t played for a month before that, so it’s not as if they are in a tour rut.

Also, I expected Win Butler to have a winning personality and to engage heavily with the crowd.

Not so.

Sure, he had a few brief “Edinburoe is such a beautiful city” moments but no more than that sort of staple, pretty bland rhetoric.

The rest of them, apart from a bit of streamer work by Regine Chassagne and some climbing up the scaffolding by the percussionist, just got on with the task at hand.  On a take of around half a million quid (calm down. Ed.  Ok £200k) for what is still an indie band (the Suburbs has only sold 400,000 copies) I’d have expected a little more of an effort.

Set highlights were Suburban War, Neighbourhood Number 1, We used to Wait, Wake Up (which had the whole crowd going pretty mad), Keep the Car Running and Rebellion (Lies).

I hated Month of May and Sprawl II (looked as if Win was keeping the Mrs sweet by allowing her to close the show with the worst song of the night).

The Brits


Funnily enough, The Brits was good tonight.

OK, so some/most of the music wasn’t great.

I like that big Tiny Tempah song, “Pass Out” (I suppose) but everything else he does bores me to tears.

But 17 million YouTube hits is kind of impressive

Mostly what was good about the Brits tonight was that it genuinely was a celebration of music.

Adele was wonderful, as were Arcade Fire; Cee lo Green was cool as…

Mumford and Sons nearly pulled off one of the most amazing acapella performances ever (but Adele beat them to it and she was better).

James Cordon, mostly, didn’t try to be too funny.

All in all a good show.

What’s more, Arcade Fire won best international; album to follow up their top billing at The Grammy’s on Sunday night and now we (Me , Jeana, Ria and a n other) are going to see them at Edinburgh Castle Esplanade on 1st September.

Surely the world’s best band at the moment. Equivalent, whether you like them or not, to Radiohead, U2, REM, Bruce and The E Street Band, The Clash and Bowie in each of their days?

We are blessed.

2010. In hindsight.


Not a bad vintage actually.

Work wise I was run off my feet once again and almost literally in December which proved to be extraordinarily challenging due to the shitness of the weather and the fact that I was researching all over the country.  It was a real struggle, very stressful indeed.

Some great clients which include STV, Ampersand, Corporation Pop, 60 Watt, nmp and LA Media from last year.  But added a few too including Gill’s Cruise Centre, Paligap, and The Usability Lab.

My golf stank pretty much from start to finish and I had a poor Arran and a poor St Andrews.  However one highlight was an Eagle 3 on the par 5 second in the club championships first round.  I won that but went out in round two.  However Forty years of failing to Eagle were finally over. (Tom got about 6 last year alone).

Musically it was a big return to form after very poor shows in both 2008 and 2009.

I’ve already posted my tracks of the year elsewhere which will give you an idea of my top ten albums, but for the record, these are they…

I’m New Here by Gil Scott Heron

Band of Joy by Robert Plant

The Courage of Others by Midlake

Queen of Denmark by John Grant

The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire

Sky at Night by I am Kloot

Elektonische Music Experiment – German Rock and Electronic Music 1972 – 1983

Write About Love by Belle and Sebastian

The Lady Killer by Cee Lo Green

Seasons of my Soul by Rumer

My blog had a record year, just, with 340,000 hits, up 45,000 on last year and beating 2008 by only 1,000.  As a result I hit the million mark last week and raised over £1,000 for St Columba’s Hospice in the process.  Thanks to all who contributed.

I did two music quizzes (one in Edinburgh and one in Manchester) for NABS and these raised £3,500

The Hibees were a farce from year start to end and our Scottish cup hopes look less plausible than for a very long time.  Looks like we’ll be going at least 110 years before winning it again.

Theatre again played a big part in my year.

My role as a director of The Lyceum developed and I thought Mark Thomson had a vintage year.  Every show was a hit in some form or other and the highlights for me were The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Price and The Importance of Being Earnest.

FCT had another good year, my first at the helm and I’d like to thank the fab committee for their support.  Two great shows in Just So and Guys and Dolls and another ENDA award.  Annie’s next but no decision yet on the festival.  Our away day in October was deemed a great success.

Amy started at Uni and is working hard as she has done all year at Dakota.  She bought a virtually new car herself ( a Toyota Yaris) and I was really proud of her for being so focussed to be able to do this.  Ria is working hard at school and did really well in her standard grades.  Tom isn’t and didn’t.

Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap went from 11 to 7.

Sadly Jeana’s blossoming work at Suntrap came to an end when the funding was pulled.  She was devastated and I suspect still is.

We holidayed in California and it was a tram smash of a holiday from start to finish, summed up by this video…

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In books I didn’t read much.  I am enjoying Freedom by Jonathon Franzen but the best of the year was the Red Riding Quadrilogy by David Peace.

fantastic series of horrific police brutality .

And my movie of the year? Well, I saw over 20 movies at the flicks this year and a lot of real quality.  But I plump for The Social Network.  A Prophet was great as was Monsters and The Road, but David Fincher surpassed himself with an amazing script by Aoron Sorkin.

TV show of the year? No Question. Mad Men (we’re playing catch up and only nearing end of season two but it’s fabulous).

In reality TV The Apprentice continues to kick ass.

Digital gizmo of the year?  My iPad… but also my Canon 450 D.  An up and down year on the camera front but happy with my lot and looking for a Canon 5D Mk 1 and a new 28mm prime lens to move on a level in 2011.

Idiot of the Year?  Won hands down by Nick Clegg.  Only cos he sold his soul to the devil.  But he was run close by those fools that lead our government.  You know who they are.  Tony Blair continued to make a right fucking dick of himself and the legacy of Kenny Macaskill is not away yet with Magrahi in the rudest of health.

Sadly I lost a number of friends during the year; Myles, Kathy and Jim, I’ll miss you all.  God bless and love to all of your families.

Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. 21st year running.  How can she bear it?

Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.

And so to 2011.

My hopes?

Hibees win the Scottish Cup.  (That’s just stupid.  Ed.)

Tom gets down to a 4 handicap.

I win something, anything, at Golf.

The kids do well at school and uni.

I am healthy throughout. (And lose rather a lot of weight.)

Both Cath and Jean stay healthy too

The credit crunch doesn’t get worse again.