Monday, 20 December 2010

Wonderful Woman.

Another great FC flag from the prolific Voxra. This one is based on an original design for the TUC which currently resides at The People's History Museum in Manchester. Can't wait to see it 'in situ'.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

White Riot.

fcum, originally uploaded by mithering.

It’s been a week so I guess it’s finally time to reveal what a fucking ballache I found that last round of the cup. Right from the get go, with the reduced allocation from Brighton being made based on bad information or information applied in a bad way, which led to the match down at The Withdean Stadium being categorised as a Category C game. The worst possible rating for expectations of all-round hooliganism and insane puppy-stabbing debauchery. Queuing for tickets for me and The Eldest before the Hinckley game, with season ticket and membership cards in hand. Queuing just before the end of the Hinckley game, with our kid’s membership card in hand, and missing the handbags. The interminable journey down to Brighton. Getting lost, missing the first twenty five minutes, and the angst and misery that generated. Our Kid standing outside the ground, waiting for me to turn up with his tickets twenty five minutes late.

Then the upswing in mood as we took the lead and held on to right near the end. Brighton’s inevitable equaliser, the penalty save and all round Player of the Round performance by Sam Ashton. Back on the coach and stuck on the M40, frost ghosts appearing beneath each vehicle as we did one mile in an hour. Getting up at 5.45 and going to bed at 2.45.

Then the teeth-grinding madness associated with getting tickets for the replay. Calling every day until I finally got through only to find out that all the tickets for Main Stand and MRE were gone. Where were all these fuckers coming from? Ooops, I know, I have four new people from work alongside me in the Cemmy End. The wait for tickets. Throat-croaking, mind-bending illness which also affects The Eldest, meaning he wasn’t able to come along. I’m glad he didn’t, the temperature at pitch side would have killed him. Then being at that game and not being able to sing, not being able to make a noise that would have helped push things on. The faces of the goalkeeper and the defence when the fourth goal went in. Like seeing crushing disappointment on the faces of your children and not being able to do anything about it. The score in the end was meaningless; we were always going to be on the end of a thumping at some point, over-achieving, noisy infants that we were, but somehow it doubling in the last few minutes made it that bit more difficult to take.

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. And now, let’s get on with the league.

Incidentally, the picture above was taken by James "The Curse" Three-Stands who I work with. He's been to the last three home FC games. Each time in a different stand (Main, MRE, Cemetery) and is looking to get to Vegas on Sunday. I've suggested he has a go in all four stands. Just to keep his average up.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Ten Million Quentins - The Golden Mermaid (Video). 1986.

Ten Million Quentins was a band I was a member of in Brighton, for about a year, around 1985-1986. We were the archetypal C86 band before the archetype existed. Not because we were necessarily clever or ahead of the game, more that there were people around us who were. Mainly Josh Dean and Dennis Wheatley. Josh, Dennis, myself and The Paul Griffin Show had a great time during the autumn of 1985 putting on bands on Tuesday nights at The Royal Escape Club on Brighton seafront, under the name of The Big Twang.

The first night saw the then newly-formed That Petrol Emotion play, supported by The Wolfhounds and Whirl. Later gigs in the (roughly) twelve-week turnaround included Primal Scream with The Wedding Present, Microdisney, a Pink Records night starring The June Brides, which also saw the return of The Wolfhounds with McCarthy in tow, Del Amitri and a famous Christmas double bill of The Shop Assistants and The Pastels. And always cropping up on the bottom of the bill were The Ten Million Quentins. The house band of The Big Twang. The baby band of The Big Twang were 14 Iced Bears, formed when a happy clique called The Dancing Boys went off, practiced briefly and emerged as a fully-formed twelve-week turnaround bouncing baby band.

I've posted this for reasons of serendipity, synchronicity and beautiful coincidence. Bored in work I decided to have a quick search for "Big Twang" and "June Brides". Just to see what might come up. What I found was a blog with a picture of myself 'on stage' at The Big Twang Mystery Tour. Twenty five years ago today. To the very day.
Veronica (Bat) Quentin, Janet Quentin, Me. December 15th 1985.
I've posted the video to YouTube before, but it seemed appropriate to liberate it again today for the Silver Jubilee of The Big Twang Mystery Tour. Thanks to Fruitier Than Thou Blog. Here's his review of the day: I hope he doesn't mind me lifting the picture. The picture of me with hair.

Next up, Hacienda DJ Graeme Park with a dyed blonde Human League comb-over and a matelot's jacket. Viva the 1980s.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Chemical Warfare.

Jim Medway's Comical Animal web comic is finally upon us. An anthology dedicated to funny animal strips created by some of the finest comic artists currently pushing a pencil. And it's all free. And all ages. So go and read it. And let The Kids know about it. And if you are interested in Jim's reasons for producing this gem have a look at Kenny Penman's interview with him on the FPI blog. It's all about The Kids and choice and quality and all that other stuff that gets you hugging other grown-ups.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Cat Drug In.

Spotted near Shudehill this morning. A very post-Bansky pussy. It's probably Felix gone viral.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Up Against The Wall XXIII - Chavs Suck.

Writ large on the wall between the bridle path and the eastern side of Heaton Park: Chavs suck. Chad Sucks may have been more appropriate for such a bonny wall, but that's a very small joke only old twats like myself will get.

I Am Kurious Orange 7'' edit.

Spotted. Another Curious George. This one in Stevenson Square on the side of a traffic bollard thingy. Nice use of the yellow. Off to Northwich Vics now. FCUM.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Pretty Polly.

It's not every day somebody buys you a parrot, but for me today was the day. Meet Angry the Parrot. He was bought for me by Jan who I work with following an off-the-cuff remark that I needed something to protect my now-healing shoulder. Something like a parrot. In retrospect I hope it's not a sign that I'm going to break my leg. Or get poked in the eye.

Up Against The Wall XXII: Furry Bum.

Annoyed by draconian rules that crush what little joy there is in walking the dog? Stick it to The Man with your indelible freezer pen. Then clean up the mess from your shit machine you anti-social twat.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sweet and Tender Hooligan.

Another game, another pitch invasion. Now that the dust has finally settled on Friday night's pulse-pounding, Earth-shattering, epoch-defining action (thanks to Stan Lee for the superlatives, a top, top red) we can brush ourselves down, stick the highlights DVD back on the shelf and start looking forward to the next round. The second round of the FA Cup. Way back on August 20th 2005, when me and that fella above went to our first FC game, it would have seemed a dream that just over five years later we'd be on the pitch celebrating victory over a team 95 league places above us. And what a victory; hard-fought, skillful, last-minute and, naturally, controversial. All those qualities are coded into the red DNA; some things were not left behind when we left Old Trafford in 2005. Passion, noise and a commitment to attacking football came with us. And thank god they did. You wouldn't expect the underdogs, having surrendered a two-goal lead, to carry on attacking. You'd forgive them for hoofing it into the stands; an additional money-spinning replay only 14 seconds away. But that's not the FC way. That's not the United way. And thank fuck for that.

Bloody Mary Morning.

Sunday Morning Come-down. Or whatever that Willie Nelson song is called. I'll google it later. Out in Heaton Park early doors for a head clearer after last night's mentalism.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Guns before butter.

The rights and wrongs of guns aside (mkay?) it's a pretty sad day when a 200 year-old shop goes to the wall. Farewell then to Stensbys of Shudehill, est. 1810.

I Am Kurious Oranj.

Not sure why Curious George has been spray-painted onto a Tib Street electricity sub-station, but he sure is purdy!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Up Against The Wall XXI: Pete's Got A 2-inch Willy.

From The Haunted Playground in Heaton Park. The only one of many I could publish. All the rest had some poor kid's mobile number attached.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

More Songs About Chocolate and Girls #3: March 18th 1967.

Another issue of Valiant, but this one has many more ads than the previous edition from 1965. Click on the images to get a larger version of most. Somewhere I have one of those Golden Wonder Peanut Club badges, and once I find the super space toffee tin full of badges I'll stick it on here.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Happy Birthday.

Oops, late for the birthday post again. Just like last year. Having spent yesterday watch FC United progress to the first round proper (proper!) of the FA Cup by beating Barrer one-nil, I think I can be forgiven my memory lapse.

The only constant ingredient for these posts is that the title is the name of a song, something which some correspondents have spotted, so here is the annual round up. From the top:

The Streak - Ray Stevens.
Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.
How I Wrote Elastic Man - The Fall.
Pennies from Heaven - Al Bowly Festival.
Islands in the Stream - Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
Between the Wars - Billy Bragg.
Nine to Five - Dolly Parton.
A Dazzling Array of Talent - Turbonegro.
Disco Inferno - Trammps.
Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice.
Into The White - Sonic Youth.
Holiday Hymn - Vic Goddard.
Chartered Trips - Husker Du.
Hurry Up Harry - Sham 69.
Mojo Kitty - The Dirtbombs.
Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand.
YMCA - The Village People.
Candy Apple Grey - Husker Du.
Big Gold Dream - Fire Engines.
Everything's Gone Green - New Order.
The Book I Read - Talking Heads.
Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones.
Gordon's Not A Moron - Julie and Gordon.
Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee O Dee - Sticks McGhee.
Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow - The Rivingtons.
Hush - Deep Purple, but I favour Killdozer's cover of it.
Another Sunny Day - Belle and Sebastian.
Toadies - The Minute Men.
All Night Party - A Certan Ratio.
Part-time Punks - The Television Personalities.
Black to Comm - The MC5.
Smokestack Lightning - Howlin' Wolf.
There'll be Bluebirds etc - Dame Vera Liniment.
I'm Alive - The Hollies.
Cigarettes and Alcohol - The Bootles.
Swans - Camera Obscura.
We Are Phuture - Phuture.
Saturday's Kids - The Jam.
Up On The Roof - The Drifters.
Boredom - Buzzcocks.
Paper Plane - The Status Quo.
Toast - Streetband.
Stand Down Margaret - The Beat.
Jackie - Jacques Brel.
Smiley Smile - The Beach Boys.
Eat Yourself Fitter - The Fall.
Park Life - Blur.
Playground Twist - Siouxsie and The Banshees.
MacArthur Park - Richard and Anita Harris.
Parking Lot Blues - ESG.
Pretty Polly - The Byrds.
Lost Cause - Supercharger.
The Kids are alright - The Who.
Rock Lobster - The B-52s.
4D (Fourth Dimension) - The Byrds.
Uncle Joe's Mintballs - Mike Harding.
Time's Up - Buzzcocks.
Time Bomb High School - The Reigning Sound.
Meat Is Murder - The Smiths.
You Can't Get Good Riblets In Space - Man Or Astroman?
The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get - Morrissey.
When Harpo Played Her Harp - Jonathan Richman.
Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love - Ann Peebles.
More Songs About Chocolate and Girls - The Undertones.
F is for Fake - The Sid Presley Experience.
Justified and Ancient - The KLF.
M.I.C.H.A.E.L. - The Man From Del Monte.
Mr. Blue Sky - The Electric Light Orchestra.
I Started A Joke - The Bee Gees.


Friday, 22 October 2010

I Started a Joke.

There was a news story today about some voting that went on somewhere, somehow, to come to a consensus about The Funniest Joke Of All Time. And a fairly funny piece of Tommy Cooper daftness won. Fair enough, but I told it to my kids and while they laughed at the idea of a bus driver calling a baby 'ugly', they barely raised an eyebrow at the punchline.

So, the joke that should have won it, as it's the starting point for nearly all kids, a joke so basic that every kid gets it; the joke which acts as training wheels for junior humour...

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Doctor Who?
That's right! How did you know?

and a variation...

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Doctor Who?
No, Doctor Doom, this is the Latverian Embassy, isn't it?

I'll be here all week, folks.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mr. Blue Sky.

Tintern Abbey, earlier today. A beautiful bright day and a location which was, surprisingly, less affected by cultural tourism than I would have expected. There was scarcely a sniff of old Billy Wordsworth.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

More Songs About Chocolate and Girls #2: July 17th 1965.

So here, as the second part of an occasional, continuing, series, are all the ads from Valiant, July 17th 1965. All three of them, and two-thirds using Gerry Anderson properties. Click on the adverts below for larger versions. More to follow.


Lucas. Happened upon this today, and as mentioned on its You Tube page, "If you like surf guitar, hillbillies, crusaders, poontang, or Highlander II, then this is the movie for you. It's a short documentary documenting the warped inspirations behind Michael Lucas's schtick bands." I totally missed out on The Knights of the New Crusade so will be exploring further...

Monday, 11 October 2010

Justfied and Ancient.

Norton and Stockton Ancients 2 FC United of Manchester 5.
Seven goals, three pitch invasions, six quid on the gate, 200 pies in the club house, 1526 in the ground for NaSA's record attendance (beating the previous one for a friendly against Middlesbrough) and one police helicopter made this a fun day out for all the family. Well, me and the eldest, actually, and he was the one who went on the pitch, not me.

Apologies in advance for the quality of the behind-camera singing, neilboo will not be be getting a recording contract, but this video captures the day more or less perfectly.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

F is for Fake.

Top end of China Lane this morning. A leftover from the filming of the Captain America movie and timely (no pun intended) as I'm currently reading Men of Tomorrow, Gerard Jones' brilliant social history of the birth of the US comics industry.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

More Songs About Chocolate and Girls #1. June 8th 1957.

One of the many blog or website ideas I had and never carried through was one which would represent adverts from old comics, because I like that sort of thing. So here, as the first part of an occasional, continuing, series, are all the ads from Radio Fun #974, from June 8th, 1957.  All two of them. More to follow.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Slipped, Tripped And Fell...

I'm not a big fan of You Choob videos which are just a crappy gif animation of various photos and record sleeves, but I suspect that's how my blog posts are going to come across for a short while as I'm having to downscale. Why, you ask, why no lengthy posts of self-centred drivel? Well, it's not because I've seen the light and realised that I need to self-edit even more, and I'm not quite over-drawn at the crap metaphor bank yet. The simple reason is that I'm having to go 'Old Skool' and drop the touch-typing for a while. It's a major blow because I now think in touch-typing; I think something and like magic it immediately appears on the screen. Well, not immediately immediately, but compared to how slow I'm typing this blog post it may as well be at the speed of light.

And all because I ran for a stationary bus at the end of a lovely night out spent eating curry with people from an internet forum that I had walked away from a couple of years ago because the people on the forum were getting on my tits. Ran across a rain-soaked Lever Street in case it was about to leave*, then slipped, tripped and fell in the road. Ouch. I'm pretty sure I bounced. I was definitely sure right there and then that I'd dislocated my left shoulder as I reached out, on the deck, with my right hand and found a protuberance that wasn't usually there. Luckily for me a conscientious young couple saw what happened and got me sorted with an ambulance and a night on The Morphine. So many thanks to them, even though they will never read this (unless my life has more coincidental meetings than a Thomas Hardy novel).

So that's why I'm sitting here, arm in crap foam sling, having to look at the keyboard as I type. Slow as fuck. The magic gone

*For the record, it left several minutes later. I'm never going to run for a bus ever again.

Monday, 13 September 2010

When Harpo played her harp.

cycm_rad11, originally uploaded by Course You Can Malcolm. Thanks to Russ.
It feels trite and slightly pretentious to post the lyrics to a song in response to an artistic experience but fuck it, you only live once and it's Jonathan Richman and he's never been one to compromise.

Saturday, Course You Can Malcolm, pre-match at Gigg Lane. You all know the drill by now. I've banged on about it enough; pre-match gig, bottled Holt's, earnest but dull band banging away with only their backline for amplification, tater hash, the sound of men. Always the sound of men. Except it all got swept away this weekend in a tide of female quietness; a wash of calm. To explain; the generic sound of Course You Can Malcolm is that 'rarrgh!' you hear when you open a pub door and everybody is trying to be heard over everybody else. A male chaos that overwhelms and blurts out to the world outside that it's over-warm, dark and smells of farts in here. Come in if you dare.

It threatened to overwhelm Rebecca Joy Sharp, Harpo and her harp, but a hand on the shoulder and a couple of quiet words calmed things, only the crash from the odd empty bottle of Thunderholt hitting the recycling bin momentarily broke the spell. Hand on the shoulder and a couple of quiet words stood at the entrance at the top of the stairs and made sure that anybody coming in was aware that the sound of men was on hold for twenty-two minutes.

She started with an instrumental and you could have heard a pin drop. It was a humbling, sobering experience. Okay, I'd had a couple of bottles of beer and the tendency for sentiment had been awakened, but it was a moving experience to hear such a fragile, beautiful sound in the beige-bricked corner of a football ground. She was, she said, determined to hold to the twenty-two minutes (a requirement for Course You Can Malcolm's main acts - one minute for each player on the pitch) as she'd never done that before, so she pre-ambled before starting her first song proper, on which she revealed her 'schtick', the delivery of meandering spoken-word lyrics in a gentle Glasgow accent. It was all very Belle and Sebastian, so when that band were name-dropped in the first song it all fell into place.

Twenty-two minutes was perfect. I have a very short attention-span and have, on many occasions, advocated half-an-hour as the ideal set length for any band. Context was also all; anywhere else and hand on the shoulder and a couple of quiet words wouldn't have happened and the drip, drip of conversation would have, inevitably, intruded.

Well when Harpo played his harp, it was a mystery
All the laughing stopped back to the balcony
Chico, Chico, sure to please
Now let's watch him shoot the keys
When Harpo would play his harp, all was still

When Harpo played his harp, it was a dream, it was
Well if someone else can do it, how come nobody does?
Groucho, Groucho, fast as light
Some talk like him but not quite
When Harpo would play his harp, all was still, still

Well Harpo Harpo
This is the angels and
where did you get that sound so fine?
Harpo Harpo
We gotta hear it
One more time

Harpo Harpo
We're in the galaxies and
where did you get that sound so fine?
Harpo Harpo
We gotta hear it
One more time

Do you remember what he would do sometimes before he played?
Well he'd look up to the sky and he'd look the angels' way
Harpo Harpo, when you start
Tears of joy inside my heart
Harpo would play his harp and all was still.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

T H E E M I D N I T E R S - Love Special Delivery

Why did nobody tell me about this band? You have all failed me. Friends. Media. Ears. Failed. All of you.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get.

"Lead singer and quarterback from Sal Ford, Alan Clarke". A typical sound of my 60s/70s childhood was my parents shouting SALFORD! SALFORD! at the Finlandia when some BBC type had, yet again, mispronounced it. Not Sal Ford. Out of context and as part of an early 60s Hollies clip it sounds slightly exotic, but it's still weird the way the American fella deals with Blackpool, Nelson and Burnley but struggles with Salford. SALFORD! SALFORD! SALFORD!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

You Can't Get Good Riblets In Space.

For once, atmospherics and astronomy have combined well in Manchester. The past two nights have seen clear skies for the night-time passing of The International Space Station which currently houses three Russian and three American astronauts. For these passings it has appeared in the southern sky, moving from west to east at quite a pace. Altogether it takes about three minutes to cross the night sky and is highly visible with the naked eye. Here's a picture I took of it using the 'night-time' slow-exposure setting on my digital camera. It's clear, but wobbly. Next time I'll use a tripod.

For information when to see it next, try Heavens Above, or follow @jodrellbank on Twitter for more locally-focussed knowledge.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Meat Is Murder.

I'm sitting writing this at home when I should be at Hursts Cross to watch FC United of Manchester play Ashton United, particularly as I've enjoyed that ground and its friendly staff on previous visits, and FC are on fire at the moment, unbeaten in three and five one winners over Retford United last Saturday. The picture above is from that match, and is of my eldest son. He's been coming to FC with me since the first 'home' game in August 2005, and he now ballboys (is that a verb?) whenever he can. He's proud to be an FC fan, knows why we can't go to Old Trafford, and is developing a great understanding of all aspects of the game. Somebody recently remarked to me, on hearing that another fan's daughter was off to university, that 'the FC experience' had provided us with a group of confident, friendly and intelligent kids. He's right. When we finally move into Ten Acres Lane, the football ground and community facility we're raising funds to build in Newton Heath, I know it'll be in safe hands.

I was also 'doing my bit' on Saturday, selling vegetarian hotdogs in FC United's pre-match gig/club night / carnival, Course You Can Malcolm. It's always a bit of a mixed bag is Course You Can Malcolm; there's usually a local band playing, for free, a set which lasts twenty-two minutes, one minute for each player on the pitch. Except this week there wasn't, instead there was an excerpt from MAD Theatre Company's upcoming Thai Brides and Teacakes, and jolly good it was too. It's worth noting that we're no strangers to culture at Course You Can Malcolm, previous treats have included a Christmas Choir featuring members of the Halle, a mini-play featuring Early Doors' James Quinn and John Henshaw (see it here) and a troupe (if that's the right term) of belly-dancers.  The whole point, though, apart from providing us all with a pre-match pub environment in the bowels of Gigg Lane complete with manly growling, is to raise funds for FC United.  Which is why I was cooking Quorn in a kettle; the Carrot Corner Kettle mark two and The Eldest was getting piss wet-through chasing up and down the side of the pitch.

Thanks to Alistair Adams, one of our wonderful army of volunteer matchday photographers, for the picture. See more of his work at

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Time Bomb High School.

booktemp1, originally uploaded by mithering.
We Never Learn. The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 - Eric Davidson. A review.

It's fair to say that the vast majority of the bands featured in this book will mean next to nothing to 99% of the music-consuming publics, but for me it represents a confirmation that every dog eventually has its day. More so than seeing Urge Overkill or Sonic Youth on Top of the Pops - that was achieved through major label sponsorship and for those singles the pursuit of 'novelty', more so than the eventual arrival of John Waters' queer trash sensibilities smack in the middle of 'normal' culture - My High School Hairspray, anybody? It's almost not worth listing the bands or trying to codify an approach or rationale for their individual trajectories (always, always down, it must be said) because writer Eric Davidson is trying to lasso together a pool full of jerking, slipping, sliding electric eels.

To explain, this book is two things; a brief history of The New Bomb Turks, a great punk rock band from Columbus, Ohio who were mainly active in the 1990s, and the chronicling of a non-scene Davidson has seen fit to label Gunk Punk.  To be fair, apart from a transparent rush to the end of the book when it seems he's not really all that interested in the bands he is writing about but his professionalism demands that they are highlighted, it is the only time he is wrong-footed. One can only assume that Gunk Punk, a non-term, came from an editorial / publishing decision intended to give Joe Public a label to attach to this motley bunch of scenes, bands, towns, promoters, labels, fanzines, arseholes, losers, smackheads and drunks.

That's the small print out of the way; the book itself is magnificent. Well, magnificent in the way that a book about DIY bands on tuppeny ha'penny labels in Buttfuck, Minnesota can be. It's extremely comprehensive - I was mired in this scene in the early 90s, publishing four issues of Moral Sense, a fanzine which had (mainly) US garage punk running throught its veins, and I've been hard-pressed to find many glaring omissions or playings down of reputation (personally, I'd like to have seen a tiny bit more about The Phantom Surfers who, despite playing surf music, personify the fun, stupid, basic approach which characterises much of this music). All the 'major' players are either interviewed or mentioned; Gories, Oblivians, Supercharger, Estrus Records, The Mummies, Supersuckers, In The Red, The Devil Dogs, Crypt Records, The Gibson Brothers, The Dwarves ... oops, I promised no list-making was necessary.

Davidson highlights the influence of the Back from the Grave compilations of the trashier end of the 60s US garage punk scene and their 70s counterparts, Killed By Death, on the bands he has written about and its clear that those compilations, along with the economic reality of not being able to afford the good studios or slick producers, contributed to the bluntness of a lot of this music.  It's also clear that most of the good stuff was in the past by the time there was a 'garage' boom fuelled through NME coverage in the earlier part of the century. Distance from the roots led to a lot of pretty weak stuff masquerading as garage, or the lionising of fairly unoriginal (and that in a scene where non-originality could sometimes be regarded a badge of honour) bands who would previously have been confined to the backwaters.

Anyhow, you can judge for yourself to a degree, because there's a free twenty-song download with this book which includes some great stuff. The book also has an index; Lucas, Michael - tick, Long Gone John - tick, White, Jason - tick, Balcarcel, Raul - not included. The greatest band of all in that scene, the never-missed Fingers are relegated to footnote status in an interview with Jason 'Sheer Filth' White. There are also lists of the best fifty singles and the best one hundred LPs (surely it should have been the other way round) and while Davidson misses a trick (again) by omitting The Fingers from the singles list, he makes up for it by confirming that, of the fifty listed, the best of all is 'Teenage Love Bomb' by Australian slop-kings The Dirty Lovers.

Buy it.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

THE GORIES (final show) "Ghostrider"

I've nearly finished reading Eric Davidson's 'We Never Learn' and will review it over the next couple of days. In the meantime, and as a follow up to the Supercharger interview 'reprinted' earlier. Here's a piece from the final days of Detroit's magnificent Gories written for Moral Sense magazine by co-conspirator, Mr. Richard Hector-Jones.  Thanks also to for the video of the band in action.

Archive Interview With Dan Kroha From Detroit City’s The Gories

The Gories hail from Motor City itself, Detroit. To us Limeys, there are not many other places above it for Rock'n'Roll romance. The Stooges, The MC5, Tamla Motown, Derrick May, Underground Resistance... the list goes on.

These Gories fit tastily in with Detroit's finest, these sick little puppies play the rockinest, sexiest, most primitive rhythm and blues this sinner has heard. Just check out Outta Here (Crypt Records LP) to know that I'm not telling you lies. Like Jack O'Fire, they never even consider music as anything other than soul.

Moral Sense contacted Dan Kroha (rhythm guitar/vocalist) and pushed him for dope on the band, Detroit and any other stuff we needed to know. The only other knowledge you need is that Mick plays the lead guitar (in pure righteousness) and sings, while Sister Peg plays the traps in a style so primal it's XXX obscene. Well, she did, but that's all to come.

So, is Detroit the town we think it is?

"Detroit is a lively town and it has its scenes. There are tons of bands here, just not that many you or I would dig. There's a big cheese-o metal scene. Whatever's big on MTV is big in Detroit for the most part."

But what about its rocking history, after all the town has nurtured?

"To get an idea of how MC5/Stooges were perceived at the time, you have to listen to Frijid Pink, Frost, Grand Funk Railroad and other Michigan bands who were big at the time, cos only then do you realise exactly how OUT THERE The Stooges and MC5 were."

Yeah, you do take their importance for granted when you see them out of context.

"People throw around the names because they've become cool. But you know The Stooges didn't get any airplay then. At least 'Kick Out The Jams' was a local hit, but it didn't take long for MC5 to get dropped by Elektra and decide to clean up their act for Atlantic. Don't get the impression Detroit is empty, it's just there are vacant patches. A lot of cooler bands seem to skip playing Detroit altogether. They get a better crowd in Ann Arbor (a rich college town about 45 minutes away). The Blues Explosion did pretty well there but only attracted a few people here. Same with The Gibson Brothers and '68 Comeback.

"The Gories did a gig a few years back opening for The Gibson Brothers. Jon Spencer was with them. After we'd played, Jon came up and raved (though Jon doesn't really rave) about our set, saying we were the coolest thing he'd seen in a long time. I booked them a gig the next night in Detroit and they said, 'No way are we following you guys on stage, we'll go on first'. It sucked because no one was there, but it was fun.

"I've seen The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion a couple of times, and they're rockin'. That Extra Width LP is great! This young girl came up to Jon after their Detroit gig and asked him how did he get so much soul. He said he sucked a lot of black cock, but I'm sure he'd choke on any cock, black or white! That girl had obviously never heard a Stax record. Dig?"

Finally on Detroit, is there really a Stooges museum?

"Apparently there is a Stooges museum at Ann Arbor, where the Asheton Brothers are from (Stooges' drummer and guitarist, Scott and Ron). I've never been to it. It's just some guy who has a house with a bunch of Stooges stuff in it, I guess. Maybe a wax likeness of Iggy and a pair of silver elbow length gloves. I asked Barry Henssler, singer with Big Chief about it, and he wouldn't give me a straight answer."

So what's The Gories story? How did you get fixed up with Alex Chilton (of Big Star, Box Tops fame)?

"The story goes, a friend of ours from Detroit was travelling down South to do some research for a film he wanted to make. He saw Alex in a club down there in Alabama or something and ended up hanging out with him after the show. They were somewhere with a tape player and our friend Dan played him a tape of The Gories and he flipped over it. "Who's that?" Alex goes. Dan goes "It's some friends of mine from Detroit" and Alex said "Here's my number. Have someone from the band get in touch with me. I think I can help them out". So Dan tells me about it, I call Alex, and the first thing he says is 'Who's your drummer?' That's pretty prophetic because he's living with her now. So anyway, Alex loved The Gories from the word go. He said, 'I think you guys would go over well in Europe, I want to help you get a record out over there.' He was already doing records for New Rose, so he talked to the head man there about getting a Gories LP out produced by him. I think if Alex's name was not going to be on it, New Rose would never have done it."

Soon, things turned for the worst.

"We signed a one LP deal with them, drove down to Memphis, got our $6000 advance and recorded. I'm glad we recorded it fast cos we had $1000 left over, which we split between us. That was the only money we saw from New Rose. We were really excited about it at first because The Lyres, The Cramps, Real Kids etc had all recorded for New Rose. They promised us a tour over there, and we thought we were on our way. Of course, the tour never happened. The LP was impossible to find in the USA and if you could find it, the price was outrageous."

Fortunately, the good people at Crypt are reissuing the first two Gories LPs so hopefully the matter will be remedied to an extent. Further more, it gives the public at last the chance to listen to some classic supercharged garage punk.

So what are The Gories up to at the moment?

"No one has officially replaced Peg, although I have been teaching a friend, Christine, a few Gories tunes. The person who replaces Peg has got to be taught that style. No one who already knows how to play drums can do it. There are no new records yet. Mick's doing a lot of writing and is a big fan of comic books. He wants to put out his own, but writes many stories for others. He has ideas for at least four different bands at any one time. He's an ideas man with a highly developed imagination."

With The Gories on the back burner, what are you up to at the moment?

"Well, there's the Demolition Doll Rods, the brain child of my friend Margaret who plays rhythm guitar and writes all the songs in that band. She thought up the whole idea, band name, instrumentation, me as a girl. It's kind of modelled after The Gories which is one of her favourite bands. I play lead guitar and wear Margaret's clothes. She's not big, I'm just small. It's her sister I'm teaching to play drums in the same way Mick taught Peg."

Finally, what is of most importance to you and the esteemed Gories?

"Well, things that will be obvious to any true garage band. Play what you like and fuck what people think, don't try to follow trends. If you feel behind the times stick with it, cos trends inevitably come back round and you'll look like you were ahead of the times all along. Musically, I prefer old guitars and old tube amps that don't have master volumes, then FRY THOSE POWER TUBES!! (That's valves to you Brits)."

Words from the wise cos like I said at the start, The Gories rule.

Richard Hector-Jones

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Rocket From The Crypt - On A Rope.

I'm still working my way through Eric 'New Bomb Turks' Davidson's 'We Never Learn', the story of a web of vaguely-connected DIY music scenes, bands, venues and shakers I had loose involvement with in the early 90s. Once I've read it, I'll try to post a review. In the meantime, here's a Top of the Pops appearance by Rocket From The Crypt. I was in Spain when this was on TV. I know this for sure because I had tickets to see them in Madrid on the Friday night. The show was mysteriously pulled at the last minute due to 'venue problems'. Next day, I bought a copy of The Guardian and saw in the TV listings that the previous night's live edition of Top of the Pops was due to be repeated that lunchtime, complete with an appearance by Speedo and The Gang. Bastards.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Up Against The Wall XX: Morgan is a lesbian with Katrina. Yeh.

From the playground next to Bala's ground. Is Morgan a 'boy' name or a 'girl' name?

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Time's Up.

Kick-off in Bala has been delayed for half an hour for no apparent reason.

Uncle Joe's Mint Balls.

Woohoo! Yay! Off to another FC United pre-season friendly. Another Euro away at Bala Town in Wales. Mints bought.

Friday, 6 August 2010

4D (Fourth Dimension).

Been meaning to post this for a while; an appropriately gimmicky tribute to Frank Sidebottom. 3D picture in shop window with the glasses taped to the glass. I'm sure he would have approved.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Rock Lobster.

This is where Lobstera retired to after ravishing Dawn Davenport in John Waters' Desperate Living - Gulliver's World in Warrington. Pinky and Perky are also here, but more about them soon.

Up Against The Wall XIX: Toe Rag.

Toe Rag., originally uploaded by mithering.

No, this is not the door plate for the London recording studio where the Saturn V Featuring Orbit recorded their "Behind Closed Doors At A Recording Session" 7", instead it's some random graffiti on Copperas Street in Manchester and a much-neglected insult.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Kids are alright.

Very handy coned zone for gamers behind Stalybridge Station buffet bar.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Lost Cause.

A few hundred years ago I used to do a fanzine called Moral Sense with a chap called Richard Hector-Jones. We wrote a lot about what we called Garage Punk, but which also went by a few other names including Budget Rock, Lo-Fi and Totally Shitty Music. Now, heavens above, somebody has written a book about it, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut. Where he gets Gunk Punk from, I'll leave until I've finished the book as it's a term I'd never heard before the book came out. What it did make me think, though, was that people might want to read interviews with some of the bands in the book. So, here, from Moral Sense issue three, is an interview with Supercharger, Daly City, CA's sultans of shite. I hope you enjoy it. There's more.

Rev it up and go with... Supercharger

It all seemed simplicity in itself. One of Moral Sense's most trusted Gentleman Agents had found himself taking a break in the fair German city of Berlin. After he had unpacked his shooting stick and plus fours he found that two of the New World's finest Garage Punk bands, Supercharger and The Mummies, were entertaining the troops at the oddly-named Knaap Club. Putting through a call to headquarters he requested whether an interview with these American entertainers might be in order. We readily agreed and drank a toast to him with the finest matured Highland whisky that very night. It was here that things began to go rather awry

Needless to say, when we received that response from Mr. Greg Lowery, bass guitarist for Supercharger, and the man behind Rip Off Records, we were mightily shamed. Suspicious that Gentleman Agent JW001's answers were a tad on the brief side we had sent a radio-telegram to the United States of America in the hope of receiving more information. What we didn't expect was confirmation that this Gentleman Agent had 'slacked out', neglecting his claret and cigars for a sordid entanglement with the tawdry narcotics of the stinking hippy crash-pad scene. 

Furthermore, the whole world had gone into a state of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome with the news that The Mummies' apparent reformation for a tour of the spas of Europe had only been for what was understood to be a skipful of bandages and rather a lot of liniment, if one knows what one means, after which they were all due back at their ancestral tombs. In the meantime, a second LP now under their belts, Supercharger imploded.


So, let this interview stand as an epitaph for Supercharger. Let those who come after take heed - Supercharger rocked. They rocked shabbily, but they fuckin' rocked. 


Mr. Angry, Karen Singletary, Donny Denim.

Gentleman Agent JW001's questions and answers begin here, any clues as to his whereabouts would be appreciated - he was last seen hitting the Hippy Trail to go 'find himself' in one of those places where nice white boys go. 

Do you get out of Daly City often?

"We play San Francisco about once a month - every six weeks - any more would be like tonight, y'know, audience totally bored", said Greg.

So do you have dayjobs then?

"Yeah, yawned Greg, "I sell motorboats, Darin is a brain surgeon".

And Karen?

"Karen is a drug-runner - she smuggles drugs in children's diapers".

So where did you come up with the name Supercharger?

"Well", whined Darin, "I wanted to be called The Superchargers, but was outvoted by Greg and Karen. Greg said 'Supercharger'".

Moral Sense later ascertained that a Supercharger is kind of like our very own Hot Wheels racing track, and is also part of a horseless carriage. What would these mechanically minded young folk be getting up to once they got back to the land of Mom's Apple Pie?

"Well, I'm kind of excited 'cos my new label should be just about ready to go", gushed Greg, "I'll be home in about two weeks, and should be putting out a one-sided 7" by The Statics soon after".

As this was a double-headed tour with The Mummies, it had to be asked whether Supercharger, too, hated CDs?

"Yeah, well", decided Greg, "we don't hate them that much. I used to have one, but I don't like 'em anymore. The real beauty of vinyl is the hunting for something really rare and just holding it in your hands. You don't get that with CDs".

Are there any bands out there who deserve The Supercharger Seal of Approval in the same way that The Mummies championed yourselves and The Fingers for a while?

"No!! It's the other way around", snorted Greg, "too many bands getting the attention they don't deserve. I see a lot of bands, and the majority of them suck. It's not like I'm saying we don't but I just don't like it".
It appears you don't like much, so who do you hate?

"Hmmm", pondered Greg, "besides each other, we hate everybody. We are a Punk Rock band, we have to hate everybody".

Provoked by this I leapt on the path of low-rent cheap and sleazy journalism by asking them who their favourite fuck was.

"Well I could bet in trouble for this", said Darin, "so I'd better say Danielle".

"I don't want to sound romantic and say definitely Karen", contradicted Greg.

"Actually, she was my favourite too", interrupted Darin, "probably yours, too".

So, besides Karen reading this, what's your biggest fear?

"Oh, I dunno, probably running out of money in Germany", decided Darin.

"Yeah", grinned Greg, "an earthquake happens and a bridge falls. That's my biggest fear, and it's already happened".

Did the split single with The Fingers ever happen?


Oh, okay, then you don't mind me asking about another band? What's Raul Balcarcel from The Fingers up to?

"Ha ha ha!", laughed Darin, "He's up to no good - he just kind of turns up, but he seems to have a lot of fur.

Shane is starting a new band, though".

Right then, you are a punk rock band. If it came to a fight between you and The Mummies, who would win?

"Well, there's four of them and only three of us, but I guess Karen could take on two of them, which would kind of even things out", decided Darin.

"Basically we're wimps", interjected Greg, diplomatically.

So, would you win?

"The Mummies would", he concluded.

"No way, I can't see it happening", disagreed Darin.

Have you any message for your legions of UK fans who were denied a visit?

"HAHAHA! What fans?", asked Greg, "I'd have to say buy some real records and then you wouldn't have to like us".

And finally, your thoughts for the day, gentlemen?

"I guess I just want to shit on the ledge", snickered Darin in reference to the great German plumbing system which forces you to savour your load before flushing.

And Greg?

"I'd just like to say that Germany sucks and Berlin is the ugliest city I've ever been in".

Auf wiedersehen, pet.

With thanks to Gentleman Joe Wilson who used to sit on stage with Mr Ray's Wigworld.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Sonic Youth 11/08/85 Brighton Beach 3. Making The Nature...

I was at this, but I don't recall it being so much fun. From what I can remember, as the band had their backs to the land the sound just drifted out to sea. It was freezing cold and there were only a couple of hundred people there. The next year it as much sunnier and much busier and I went down intending to see That Petrol Emotion in support of Sonic Youth, but they'd been replaced by Psychic TV so I ended up wandering home.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Pretty Polly.

Sometimes words are enough.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Pictures of Match Stick Men VI.

Vacant Lot., originally uploaded by mithering.
As promised in an earlier posting, here's the lonely monster who appeared at the back of a fenced-off vacant lot on Spear Street in Manchester. He's a nice little fella, but he's started to peel off now. Not sure who the artist is who influenced it, but a work colleague thought it looks like something from a Miyazaki cartoon.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Parking Lot Blues.

Football Car Park Full., originally uploaded by mithering.

Gazza's tears had not even dried on Raoul Moat's discarded England flag when it was time to begin again with the first FC United pre-season friendly against Sutton A.F.C. of the Central Midlands League.  It was a trip which The Eldest and I did not think we'd be making given that first the FC United supporters' Boogie Bus had been cancelled due to lack of interest, followed a week later by the same thing happening to 'The Official Coach'.  In the end it was pointed out that we could take a train to Alfreton, followed by a bus to Sutton, from where we find a way to the ground.
A hiccup (i.e. the usual incompetence) with the Metrolink system meant no tickets at Heaton Park station, followed by ten minutes waiting around to be told that there were no trams, followed by a stop-start trip on the 135 and a dash up to Piccadilly for the train did not make for a relaxing journey.  Tickets, comic and sweets bought I went to the cashpoint. Not working. No cashpoint in Piccadilly Station was working.  All of which was compounded by the discovery, at Heaton Park, that my mobile had also decided to pack in for the day.
No worries, we would get some money at the station in Alfreton.  After a pleasant enough journey through Derbyshire and Yorkshire we got off at Alfreton to discover that the station was smaller than a garage forecourt Wild Bean Cafe, with nothing other than a window from which to buy tickets, and virtually in the middle of nowhere.  We headed up the hill towards 'Town Centre', which we eventually found half an hour or so later.  Having negotiated a High Street full of Shop-Mobility scooters and over-zealous born-again Christians we found a working cashpoint and headed for the bus station.  "Head towards Home Bargains, then go left".  Back on track we took the first of the three buses towards Sutton, the slow one as it turned out and a real locals' bus.
Having reached Sutton we needed to find our way to the town's premier Wetherspoons establishment, The Picture House, where I had arranged to meet my brother in order to get a lift up to the ground.  I scanned the faces outside the shopping centre and spotted three teenage girls with a buggy.  An established part of the Wetherspoons demographic. They quickly pointed us in the right direction and the next thing we knew we were sitting in there enjoying a plate of nachos and watching Sutton's finest brains attempt to negotiate with a 'Use other door sign'.  Oddly for Wetherspoons in a strange town there wasn't a sniff of an FC shirt or scarf. I slightly panicked and wondered out-loud if we weren't in completely the wrong town. It wasn't outside the realms of possibility given our journey and the auto-pilot way in which I'd undertaken it.  Naturally, just when I'd bought another pint, Our Kid turned up.
Love United, Hate Glazer.
At the ground we found out that there was a cricket match going on on alongside the football ground. Somebody had already been there with a black, white and red reminder as to why most of us were there in the first place.  For the record, the home side, Mansfield Hosiery Mills Cricket Club, lost to Caythorpe.
Roll Me Over In Clover.
Once in the ground (£5 for me, The Eldest waved in for free) we found the type of pitch which I thought we would have been playing on five years ago back in the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties League Division Two, on a huge slope and covered in clover.  The crowd, as it turned out, wasn't bad with just under 300 there according to Sutton's own report.  The football was rudimentary.  Sutton had an extraordinary number of giant players, something exasperated by FC United's squad of shortarses, but they also lumbered around like they were carrying sacks of golden goose eggs so were easily manoeuvred around by the fleet-footed red shirts.  Our new striking dynamo, Mike Norton, missed a worrying amount of chances including the one above and looks a bit rusty.
FC went in at half time two up thanks to goals from potential new boy Martin Parker and last season's top player, Jake Cotterell.  (I say went in, but they actually all stayed on the pitch as the changing rooms were shared and currently being used for the cricket match over the road). Over the road, was also where you went to get a pint.  Out of the ground, over the road, into The Pavilion and up to the bar where they were doing a lovely guest ale at £2.36 a pint, then back out of The Pavilion, over the road and back into the ground.
I Don't Like Cricket.
The Pavillion was being readied for the innings break when we headed in at half-time. What you can see above is the childrens' party-like spread waiting for the Mansfield Hosiery and Caythorpe teams. It contributed to an overall sense of pragmatic Englishness of the day. Although that could have been the effects of the bitter.  FC ended up winning by four, with second-half goals from Norton (Penalty) and Roca (tap-in).
The Snipes.
I'd been intending to marry away trips with some birdwatching activity, which I was then going to post on here. As it is, I don't think we saw much of anything bar a large brown moth, so instead here's the mascot for Sutton AFC, the mighty Snipe.

Budget for the day for me and The Eldest (not including drinks): Bus fare from Prestwich to town and back again: £5.70, train fare to Alfreton and back: £15.65, bus fare from Alfreton to Sutton £4.05, big plate of Nachos: £4.29, ticket in: £5, lift back to Alfreton from Our Kid: £0.  Total cost for day: £34.69.