Tag Archives: United Kingdom

“The bus is full”

Noel Edmonds has made a new play in his “biggest wanker ever” campaign. Now neck and neck with Jeremy Clarkson (no relation), Edmonds has called for immigrants to be thrown out and the UK’s borders closed. According to the News Of The World:

“We can all go down the pub and go, ‘Oh it’s terrible, all these immigrants.’ But what are we going to do in Britain to change this toxic culture if we don’t say, ‘Enough is enough.’

“If I was Prime Minister for a day the first thing I would do would be to close the border.

“Then we could work out how many people we’ve got here.

“Then you get people out who have committed crimes and you look at others who shouldn’t be here. Nobody knows how many people we’ve got here.”

Indeed. I avoided the boycott of TeleCinco for their anti-Catalan stance because I’m not that keen on boycotts. But Noel “cunt” Edmonds has made me rethink my position. “Noel’s HQ”, the wanker’s new vehicle, will be avoided at all costs. Well, it would have been anyway, but now I won’t even tune in to see if he kills another guest.

2006 in review

Two thousand and six has been a pretty eventful year, politically and personally. While for me, the most important event was my wedding to Gemma at the end of September, numerous moments featuring Lt Gen Aguado, Spain Herald, Reial Madrid, FC Barcelona and Solidaridad Española Con Cuba have added spice, and traffic, to the site.

This has also been a year during which Catalan and Spanish nationalism have been among the top issues discussed on blogs, including thebadrash.com. Much has been written in these pages about how I am not a nationalist, nor a supporter of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya – the left-wing Catalan nationalist party. I have, however, spoken out several times against a series of myths and falsehoods which are circulated and often repeated by their critics. Beyond a broadly leftist outlook, I have no party loyalty here or in the UK. I’m most interested by the ways people use language when engaging in political debate – and this includes popular misconceptions about ERC as well as the PP.

This year’s FIFA World Cup wasn’t the most awe-inspiring tournament in history and I reckon it’ll be remembered as something of a low point for international football. But that doesn’t really matter because Barça won la Liga and the Champions League. I predict another league title for them but the Champions League is going to be much tougher. A final against Chelsea is possible but I don’t think that Barça would beat them. But they will have Eto’o and Messi back, so you never know. Anyway, they’ve got some hard work to put in before we need to start thinking about that.

I’ve spent a lot of time this year delving into the back catalogues of various artists on the roster of Drag City Inc., the Chicago based record label. While my obvious link with them is my passion for Royal Trux (I recently purchased “Hero / Zero” with the prestigious release code DC1), I’ve built a strong affinity for Silver Jews, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Neil Hamburger – who has left a comment on this very blog. We were also lucky enough to see Silver Jews in June on what was their first proper international tour despite a career of more than 10 years. They rocked.

As I said before, the highlight of my year was undoubtedly my wedding with Gemma. We had a fantastic weekend in Tarragona and then a splendid honeymoon in post-coup Thailand. We both fell in love with Bangkok and we’re looking forward to a trip to India next Christmas. Meanwhile, we’re passing this year’s holidays in Modbury, my home town in Devon, England.

It’s been a good year: let’s hope that we can say the same for 2007. Though I should mention that I’m not planning to marry again, just to boost ratings.

BNP in Kaiser Chiefs furore

The British National Party (BNP), a tiny, ultra right-wing political group in the UK has sparked anger across the music business by using the song ‘I Predict A Riot’ by the Kaiser Chiefs as the soundtrack for one of their propaganda videos on the website Youtube.com.

A BNP spokesman denied that the video had ever contained a Kaiser Chiefs song claiming, “This isn’t the type of music our party would ever want to be associated with, like rap music we think it’s wrong to play this stuff. What’s wrong with Beethoven?” This reminds me of the argument I had with a neo-Nazi in the Red Lion one evening where he tried to convince me that rock and pop music are bad because they’re both ‘black music’. What an idiot.

The Kaiser Chiefs have yet to confirm whether they will be taking legal action against the party. The video has since been withdrawn from the Youtube.com site after complaints were made about its content. Despite this, there remain a large number of unpleasant, racist films hosted at the site as well as hundreds of members actively involved in posting racist, fascist and homophobic comments to videos and fellow users alike.

It strikes me as very odd that the people who run Youtube.com find nudity disgusting but organised, political racism passable. How can it be that the site’s editors can delete a film with a handful of expletives in it, yet films featuring such disgracefully racist material stay intact?

Neil Hagerty, Ian Svenonius: Two pop music heroes you may not know but, like, should

Pop music can be a difficult terrain to navigate: just what do you feel okay listening to, and can you admit to it? This issue is at the heart of dozens of websites (like myspace.com and last.fm) and grips millions of young people searching for their Pan.

Myself, I pretty much decided that I’d stick with Royal Trux about seven years ago. For me, their blend of free jazz, 70’s opiate-rock, RnB, boogie-woogie and smart, personal, witty, political lyrics was enough. Despite my liking for bands such as The Fall, I am still certain that Royal Trux sum up what it is I want pop music to be: cool, sexy, angry, bored, wasted, wise.

Neil Hagerty, one half of Royal Trux is my first pop music hero. He was a guitarist in Pussy Galore, a band now confined to the ‘most mental album I own’ category (a bit like Royal Trux?!)… and while I’m unsure as to how much influence he had on the values of that group, I’m aware that he was behind their covering the entire Exile On Main Street album. A declaration of intent, perhaps.

Through their albums, Royal Trux have covered enough material for a complete website or two (see the links in my sidebar). Suffice to say, I drank a bottle of vodka the night they broke up. Stupid of me. It should have been juice. Since then, Neil Hagerty has released a series of albums (firstly solo, now with The Howling Hex), all of which I’ve found to be entertaining, challenging and good pop records. My favourites are probably the two solo/band crossover records, Niel Michael Hagerty – The Howling Hex and The Howling Hex – All Night Fox. Continue reading Neil Hagerty, Ian Svenonius: Two pop music heroes you may not know but, like, should

Some pics from this spring


Pete Doherty and Babyshambles at Primavera Sound


The Forum complex in Barcelona


An ‘okupat’ house in Cerdanyola was buned to the ground.
It’s not known who started the fire, but reports say that the Mossos are investigating a far-right wing connection



Andrea wore this classic t-shirt when we went to watch England’s first World Cup game. The robotic monster girl at the counter didn’t even register the hilarious comedy happening in front of her very nose.

We saw this car by the Apolo club/theatre just off Paral·lel. It’s had a hard time.

Took this picture to mock my brother back in bristol when it was cold and miserable there.

Here comes the summer!

Headphobe – new album!

Headphobe (aka my brother) has just unleashed his first album on the world of music. Metanoia is a combination of a lot of mental music like gabba, breakcore and more! The press release:

Headphobe (aka Ned Clarke) has been rinsing the underground scene at clubnights, parties, and raves here in Bristol and across the southwest for the past 3 years.

Headphobe has headlined nights at The Thekla and The Black Swan, his music has had people dancing in a frenzied state for hours and hours to his unique dancefloor sounds at all the best local underground clubnights including… Epoch, Kuantum_Window, Plummet, Toxic Dancehall, Dissident, DMT, Monkey!Knife!Fight!, P.R.A.N.K., Kuntz… supporting many highly respected producers including… Venetian Snares, Hellfish, Crystal Distortion, Chris Clarke, D’Kat, Hammer Damage, Black Sun Empire.
This week Headphobe is performing at Plummet in support of Mu-Ziq.

Headphobe will be performing around the UK in the coming year to promote his debut 12″ vinyl ‘Metanoia’, while he works towards his follow up release in 2006.

Headphobe will also be contributing some new tracks to the upcoming 1 MAN ARMY RECORDS 2xCD Compilation.

‘Metanoia’ is the debut Headphobe release and pulls together the raw atmosphere and the excitable energy of Headphobe’s live set onto record for the first time.

Go to 1 Man Army and buy it now, suckers.

The site does now support e-sales!

Record companies bitching about money (again)

Today’s MediaGuradian carries yet another story about how the UK record industry continues to blame P2P filesharing for poor results and falling record sales. A ‘research’ firm has spent ages working how much money would have been spent by British people if they weren’t busy stealing music instead.

What might have been a more suitable topic for research is: How much more money would British people have spent buying records if the UK record industry spent any money at all on a realistic and genuine effort to pursue new music?

What seems to have happened is that the record company execs looked at the unpredictability of 1990s pop music (first it’s acid house, then Nirvana, then Oasis then Kylie) and thought they’d like a period of stability. Hence, funding went to Coldplay, U2 and their clones… but these new AOR/MOR bands were marketed as ROCK. Which, of course, ain’t the truth. And yeah there was loads of shit around in the 90’s (drum & bass; trance; Dodgy et al) but the same culture that gave birth to (and nurtured) the Red Hot Chili Peppers, also gave birth to Royal Trux.

What I’m trying to say is that I can take all the crap music, if there’s something else being sold which I believe is genuinely ‘independent’, ‘avant-garde’ or just ‘good’. At the moment, the UK record industry is promoting almost no really good music. I’m only 24 so this isn’t an age thing… and i know that there are loads of tiny indie labels out there… but it’s not just independence in terms of money. The UK record industry decided not to gamble on new music… and the UK record buying public has responded in kind. Wake up, BPI: we’ll invest in you when you invest in music.