Sound of Rum

29 03 2010

On the last blog that I wrote, I had been to see Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip.  I had been impressed by Sound of Rum who were supporting.  Today I came across this really good interview in the Independent, with Kate Tempest, the lead singer and Spoken word Poet. 

I just thought that I would share that with you.


Dan is Not a Jukebox

26 03 2010

So I went to see Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip for the fifth time last night.  Nothing wrong with that, they are great live and I like their music, which is a great start.  The support was from Sound of Rum, who were female rapper Kate Tempest and a couple of guys playing drums and Guitar.  I liked them a lot, although I couldn’t get over the fact that she sounded like Zack De La Rocha from Rage Against the Machine.  Next up was B. Dolan (no wonder he calls himself B.  Who has heard of a rapper called Bernard?), who is fairly intense, but incredible.  I always like a bit of hip-hop and this was some good stuff.  If my shoulder didn’t hurt from cricket, it would have hurt from Hip-Hop shoulder.

Finally on came Dan and Pip, who started with The Beat that my Heart Skipped, followed up by Sick tonight off their new album.  The new tracks held up well and people were dancing like crazy in the middle.  Dan with his sore throat couldn’t sing properly, but that was ok, as the crowd filled in for him.  Through the 75 minutes, the duo ploughed through most of their two albums.  There were a couple of tracks that I would have liked them to play, but the set was great and finished with Thou Shalt always Kill, Great Britain and Letter from God to Man.

It was a great night, which H and I enjoyed a lot.

Oh Calamity

25 03 2010

I am having a good few weeks.  Last week I had the flight, Last night I was given a Free Ticket to Pompey V Chelsea at Fratton Park.  It wasn’t the best night to go really as an understrength (when I say understrength I mean pretty good but missing a few key players) Chelsea team absolutely slaughtered us. 

It didn’t help that David ‘Calamity’James lived up to his nickname and missed a clearance giving Didier Drogba the easiest chance he will ever have, which he then scored.  Controversy ended the first half as Florent Malouda elbowed Ricardo Rocha in the face and the defender was then stretchered off.  2 minutes later the same happened to Michael Brown who was elbowed by Daniel Sturridge and left with a bloody nose.

In the second half things got progressively worse.  Malouda scored 2, Drogba got another one and Lampard got the 5th.

The moment of the match came when Chelsea substitute Patrick Van Aanholt came on for Jiri Zhirkov and the whole crowd went “Whoooo!”.

With our 9 point deduction through administration there is no way we can avoid relegation now.  On the form we showed last night I don’t think we would have stood a chance of escaping anyway.

2nd Album Syndrome

25 03 2010

A couple of years ago, 2 albums were released that I instantly loved and still do.  Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend, which is probably one of my favourite albums of all time, and  Angles by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. 

I have mentioned them on here quite a lot and am a massive fan of both.  I have seen DLSvsSP 4 times and am seeing them again this week at a sold out gig at the Wedgewood Rooms.

I have just got around to buying the second album by VW even though it has been out for a while.  Partly through it being an expense that I didn’t want and mainly because I didn’t want to be disappointed.  The same went for the new DLSvsSP album The Logic of Chance.

Eagerly I opened the packet and put on Contra, and I hate to say it on first listen I wasn’t too impressed except with the singles Cousins and Giving up the Gun.  Then I listened again, but this time I really listened, the lyrics are great, and although the music is a lot different to the first album I like it.  There are still the almost classical pieces in there, but now interspersed with bleepy electronica.  I get the feeling that I will like this album more as the summer comes on.

No such first listen issues with The Logic of Chance.  I instantly liked it.  The witty, dark lyrics with a social conscience are still there, but the beats sound heavier, more sure of themselves, and it makes this record the better for it.  The use of the guest vocals of Kid A (look her up, she sounds great) on Cauliflower are great and the sample of Kid Carpet on Cowboi fit in perfectly.

Lyrically Pip is still one step ahead of the pack.  I am really looking forward to the gig, which as I have been faffing about writing this, is actually tonight. 

More tomorrow.

Chock’s Away

17 03 2010

Yesterday afternoon I was taken up in a 2 seater aeroplane (an Ikarus C45 for those of you who care) by one of my colleagues.  After a brief overview of the plane and our pre-flight checks we left from Popham and headed on a bearing towards Four Marks before heading to Petersfield.  At this turn we radioed Air Traffic Control to see if we could transit the Southampton airport Airspace.

Brief note here, something that I learnt yesterday, a small plane can fly pretty much anywhere it likes as long as it is under 2000ft.  Over this you get into the Airspace of Airports and you have to ask for permission to cross them.

Unfortunately as it was heavy traffice we had to stay low over Portsmouth, but as a result I got some Photo’s of my parents house, my flat and some great ones of Fratton Park.  As we headed out to sea we turned again and headed west along the Isle of Wight, turning at the Needles and coming back Eastwards past Shanklin and Sandown.  I was allowed to take the controls and do a figure of 8 over H’s mum’s place.  After messing about for a bit we headed for a landing at Bembridge where Mike had to adjust quite a lot because he had come in a bit too high.  Touch down was pretty soft and we had to do a few checks  before we had a cup of tea and a sandwich and then headed back up again.

After a straight run back to Popham we landed after watching the 1950’s Antonov do a loop of the airfield.  All in all this is a brilliant way to spend an afternoon.  Massive thanks to Mike for taking me up.

There are more photo’s on Flickr, so click on the link over there.

Up and Away

16 03 2010

I am very excited, I am leaving work this afternoon to be taken up in a light aircraft.  One of my colleagues at work is an amatuer pilot and asked if anybody in the office wanted to go up.  The office women were not amused, but I was there like a shot.  I am taking my camera and hope to get some good ariel shots.  The flight plan includes circumnavigating the Isle of Wight, so it should be good.

Chock’s away!

Marrakech Pt 2.

12 03 2010

Over the course of the next few days we got the hang of the souq’s and how to haggle, we woke up early and got freshly pressed orange juice from the vendor in the Djemma.

We visited some fantastic monuments such as the Ali Bin Yousef Medersa, the 14th century Muslim School. This building is quite spectacular with intricate carvings and mosaics.

For a bit of peace and quiet we headed into the Jardin Majorelle, the wonderful garden set up in the 1930’s and then donated to the city by fashion designer Yves St Laurent.

We also ate some amazing food from Tajines to Kebabs, Prawns, Calamari and Lamb.

On our last day looking around the Souq’s we came across a young guy who was carving on a hand powered lathe and guiding the chisel with his feet. After we had bought some carved ornaments I asked if I could take a photo, which I was allowed to, and then I was told that it was my turn. This was incredibly hard to do and my efforts were quite bodged, but I was pleased with the outcome and had managed to avoid chopping off my toes. It turns out that he had been doing this since he was eleven having learnt from his brother. He was now 17 and a proper craftsman.

After a dodgy start to the week, I had completely changed my opinion about Marrakech, and loved the city, as it is like nowhere else I have ever been before. I think that I would like to go back to Morocco and explore a bit more, but I would probably make sure that I stopped in Marrakech again.

All of these photo’s and a lot more can be found in the Marrakech set on Flickr.

Great Guitarists

10 03 2010

As a fantastically untalented person, I am a great admirer of people who can play instruments, especially the guitar.  This is why BBC 6 Music’s Axe Factor caught my attention.  The underfire station has come up with an amazing list to find the best guitarist of the last 30 years, including Tom Morello of RATM, Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan), Matt Bellamy (Muse) Jack White (The white stripes and the worst Bond soundtrack ever) Slash (Gn’R) Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Graham Coxon (Blur) J Mascis (Dinosaur Jnr.), as well as a host of really underrated artists like Richard Hawley and Robin Hitchcock. 

My vote was a toss up between Omar Rodriguez Lopez (At the Drive in and the Mars Volta) who is technically outstanding and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead).  In the end, it just came down to the fact that Radiohead are my favourite band, and Greenwood got my vote.   
The Axefactor
On another note, 6 Music is the best radio station going, and the BBC would be mad to close it.  You should complete the BBC trust survey in order to voice your concern that the BBC wants to close this great station that costs between £6-10million a year to run and keep making absolute crap like Hole in the Wall, or paying the director general £600,000 a year, or come to think of it paying Chris Moyles.

Marrakech – Pt. 1

1 03 2010

Its funny how your opinion of a place can change. Let me tell you a story…

I am a light sleeper anyway, and when I have something to get up early for I may as well give up on sleep. Its what I should have done the night before we flew to Marrakech. We left my flat at about quarter past 4 to check in and catch our 8.30 flight to be in Morocco by 11.30am. Come 11.30 we were still on the runway. On most planes this is a bad thing , but on an easyjet sardine tin, it is a nightmare. What happened was the pilot made a joke. It went something along the lines of this:

Posh Pilot: Welcome to this Easyjet flight to Marrakech, our journey will take 6 hours.

Passengers: Gasp

Posh Pilot: Only Joking its 3 hours and 15 minutes.

2 minutes later a warning light had come on in the cockpit and a crew was being dispatched to fix it and fill out paperwork in sextuplet. All the while this was happening the cabin was getting hotter and hotter, as we had just left our stand from the runway, a passenger fainted, and we had to go back to our stand while he was taken off t=of the flight much to his annoyance, he wanted to go on holiday and so did we.

Eventually we got into the air and having been sat down for 6 hours we were finally in a wet and rainy Marrakech. Passing through passport control is never exciting, but this one seemed to take three timedsas long as any others I have encountered, luckily our airport transfer was there, and I have to say that it was the best thing that I could have done, entering the city for the first time, is like another world, and there would have been no way in the world we would have found our Riad.

So we went for a walk around the Djemma el-Fna, and I found it to be busy and loud and I was being hasseled everywhere I turned, I put this down to being hungry though, so we had some food, and I tried Tagine for the first time and really enjoyed it.  To be honest, I wasn’t enjoying Marrakech though, and after another terrible nights sleep I had decided that I hated the place.

Our first morning there we had a nice breakfast of bread (the Moroccan flatbread is really nice, I could have eaten it all day) and honey with Mint Tea and we then decided to go out and see some things.  First we headed to the Bahia Palace.  Something about this new morning had changed my opinion, maybe it was the tea, or the fact that it was sunny and warm, or the fact that the colours were bright and cheerful, or there were oranges on the trees, but I started to settle down, and the Palace was a good place to start.  This had taken 14 years to build from the 1860’s and its mosaic and fretwork is simply stunning, and with its fountains and courtyards is an oasis of calm inside the manic city.

From here we went to the Dar Si Said, for more amazing architecture and a look at some Moroccan art.  In the afternoon we had our first real look at the Djemma from the terrace of one of the cafe’s.  Seeing the Snake charmers, acrobats and story tellers gave a whole different perspective on the place, by now I was beginning to enjoy myself.  Even more so when the restaurant stands started turning up.  Over the course of about 30 minutes, the square went from being emptyish to being full of food stands and cooking and wonderful smells, we headed into one of them where I had the best Calamari that I have ever eaten.   After yet another mint tea we headed back to the hotel in a much better fram of mind and went to bed having my mind changed over the course of 12 hours in the city.