Monday, November 28, 2005

I always wanted to be a writer.....

I'm having an easy week this week cos I have study leave from work to do an intensive revision course for a professional exam I have to do. An easy week! I scored 45% in the pre-course test so I hope the course works. I have two months before the actual date so plenty of time.

Because this is an easy week it gives me time to reflect on life. I have a great job. I know I bitch and moan about it but it is great. It's just a job that I never dreamed of doing as a kid. I never even thought about it till I was 21 and I'm just really really lucky that I fell into it. I can't really imagine myself doing anything else now. I don't think anything else would satisfy me.

I'm wandering off topic. The title of this post is 'I always wanted to be a writer.....' and that's true. That's me. I always wanted to be a writer. I guess that's why I like blogging. It's the vanity publishing of the modern era.

When I was a kid I just wanted to write comic books or science fiction novels. At around the age of twelve I wrote a script for a Captain Britain comic and posted it off to Marvel Comics in London. It was totally unpublishable because it featured a LSD crazed gang of mutant neds beating up a drunken Captain Britain (LSD, alcohol and gangs were VERY cool at my school) but I still have the very nice rejection letter they sent. It has Spiderman on the letter-head.

Later on I wrote for the university newspaper at my first uni. I had the dubious honour of being the first student (in the 550 year history of that uni) to slip the bad 'C' word into the paper. The editor wasn't doing his job. I was told off. I then reviewed a CD by some obscure american band and randomly embedded the sentence 'Noel Gallagher is a 'c'' into the body of the text resulting in another warning. The editor was really shit.

That was about 10 years ago and I haven't really written anything since. Sure, I wrote loads of rubbish lyrics for the rubbish bands that I played in but they do not count. (Anyone can write 'Fuck you! FUCK you! arrrgh!) I haven't really written anything since.

I guess I could write work related stuff for journals, etc. but I don't know if that would be fun. I'm not sure that anything I would have to say on work related topics would be that original.

I was presented with an interesting opportunity on Sunday. I walked down to a comic geek-fest thing where a couple of successful local artists were signing stuff and chatting to people. One of them was actively recruiting people to write for a Viz style humour comic and asked me if I would be interested. It was tempting but I don't know if I could write that sort of stuff. I don't know if I could write and force it to be funny.

What would I write? Autobiographical stuff? That's essentially masturbation and there is a lot I couldn't write about. Some stuff is too personal. Other stuff could be funny but it would be ethically wrong to write.

Hunter S. Thomson was (and still is kinda) my hero. The energy in his stuff is amazing. I loved the innocence and wide-eyed amazement of Kurt Vonnegut. I like the simplicity of Charles Bukowski although I do think he's a misogonistic asshole. I like some PJ O'Rourke stuff (even if he's a republican).

I like plenty of trash as well: Chris Brookmyre, Neil Gaiman, Carl Hiaasen, Ian Rankin, Terry Pratchett, Chuck Palanhuk. The list goes on and on.

I just wish I had something to say or that I had the ideas or the time. The one thing that my job steals from me is time. I know I probably have about 8 more years of training in front of me. I'll wake up and I'll be 40. A lot of the time I don't even get a chance to read. The job is fun though.

I always wanted to be a writer......


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Franz Ferdinand - live in Glasgow

I'd been waiting to see this gig for months. I had to swap a couple of shifts at work but it was worth it. Glasgows adopted sons played a blinder of a show at the soul-less aircraft hanger that is the SECC.

This is the third time that I have seen Franz Ferdinand. I first saw them at Tin the Park in 2004 where they delivered a euphoric homecoming mid-afternoon set on the back of the early success of their debut album. Grown neds were crying. I saw them again in November of 2004 in Leicester at the De Monfort hall (which is a nice venue by the way). Again they rocked hard.

I feel oblidged to name drop a bit here. I have had some personal interaction with Alex. Back in 1995 he used to book bands at the 13th note in Glasgow when he used the name Alex Huntley. He booked my band a couple of times and told us that we were 'a bit ropey'. Faint praise indeed. Thankfully he has lost the quiff he sported back then and Franz Ferdinand are much, much better than the blisters or the karelia.

Anyway it was a diverse crowd on this icy cold night in the SECC. Teeny boppers rubbed shoulders with rock grandads. Neds were present in their buckfast soaked glory. It was a sold out show.

The support bands sucked. The editors (one of the supports) sucked in a coldplay like manner. They had a digital delay pedal and they were not afraid to use it.

The Franz boys saved the night. In the past they have been described as formulaic. It has been said that all their songs sound the same. Tonight they let the music breathe.

The massive commercial success of the band has afforded them a light-show that would not be available to most indie-rock bands. A video screen showed black and white images of the band on stage while clips from their music videos accompanied individual songs. Highly designed banners featuring images of the band hung behind the massive stage. The images were mechanised and changed between songs.

The guitar rock was loud and it was good. Most of the songs were dedicated to friends in the audience and exposition on lyrical texts was delivered. The band seemed glad to be in Gladgow. Indeed the lyrics to Michael were changed to 'Glasgow on your beautiful dance floor...'. The set ended with 2 extra drummers joining in on 40 feet.

It was a good night. I went home happy. The SECC still sux though.


Teenage Fanclub - live in Glasgow

For the past 16 years Teenage Fanclub have always been there. People often take them for granted. They are never the focus of your attention, just a lingering warm feeling at the back of your mind. But they have a secret.

Teenage Fanclub are very good.

I previously saw the Fannies in Glasgows Grand Ole Opry around about 1998. I had heard lots of their stuff at that time but I wasn't a massive fan. I had a good night of bouncing about and smiling. It was fun.

In the intervening time I have lived in England for five years. I would listen to the Fannies because they reminded me of Glasgow and Scotland. Mellow Doubt is one of my favourite songs ever. They are a great band.

So now that I'm back in Scotland I took the opportunity to see them again. I bought a couple of tickets and forced a mate to go and see the with me. He had heard their greatest hits CD and was not impressed. 'They're pish. All their songs sound the same.'

After this gig he was a convert.

Before the band came on I kept meeting people that I know. I ran into a few friends that I hadn't seen for several years. Mobile numbers were exchanged. I also took the opportunity to purchase a classic design t-shirt.

The band opened with 'hang-on' and continued with a mix of classics and new songs. Most of the new songs were pretty good with the minor exception of one that sounded a bit like Chris Rea. The sound was great. Mellow Doubt, The Concept, Sparkys Dream and Everything Flows. I don't want control of you. Tasteful noisy guitars. Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr meeting Big Star and The Byrds.

On the way out you were almost tripping over the Glasgow indie-rock mafia. My mate couldn't stop smiling and told me that the Fannies were indeed very, very good. Then he got a parking ticket.

That's life


Friday, November 18, 2005

The real spinal tap

This is really a post-script to my last post.

I just got back from the pub where I was chatting about rock documentaries like Dig! and I realised that I had not mentioned one of the funniest rock documentaries of all time - 'some kind of monster-a film about metallica'.

Many people would not watch this film cos it is about metallica. Many people hate metallica but you do not have to be a fan to enjoy this film. If you like Spinal Tap you will like this film. The band fight about songs, break up and then enter group therapy to save their career. Cameras follow them everywhere. Meet the drummers' comedy dad! Laugh at the spoilt excesses of multimillionaires! See the most extreme temper tantrums this side of elton john!

It is funny.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dig - DVD review

I'd been waiting to see this documentary for a while so I was glad when I found out that it was now available on DVD. It had a really limited run in the cinema meaning that I missed it.

Dig is the story of two American alternative rock bands, The dandy warhols and The brian jonestown massacre. I think that these bands have really crap names. Cheap one note jokes. Despite my dislike of their name I do quite like the music of the dandy warhols. I own a few of their CDs, I think their songs are catchy and their lyrics are funny. It goes against all my rock snob instincts but I am a fan.

I'm less keen on BJM. I own their 'best of' CD and it is not in my regular play pile.

My response towards the main characters in these bands is probably the same as my response to their music. BJM are fronted by Anton, a psychotic cartoon version of a rock star. He sings like he is a member of Spacemen 3 and all his songs are perfect xerox copies of your favourite hazy drug drone stoner rock. He systematically violently assaults and alienates everyine he comes into contact with during the 100 minutes of this documentary. I realise that the film has probably been edited to highlight this part of his personality but Anton seems like a very unhappy guy. He just wants to hurt himself.

The dandy warhols are a more earnest bunch. They are corporate whores, signing to a major record label and they feel guilty about it. They continually idolise the BJM despite the fact that anton disses them at everry possible opportunity. They become successful by accident when vodaphone use bohemian like you in an advert in Europe. They are cheezy but they work hard. They seem like nice people.

The film is a bit sensationalist. It never really captures the boredom of being in a band and fighting with people. It makes it all seem like a laugh a minute comedy fist-fight when the reality is probably much more depressing. However it is entertaining and I did enjoy it but I just love music documentaries like this.

I would give it 8.5 out of 10. I will watch it again. And again. If you like this you should check out the ramones 'end of the century' DVD to see the heartbreaking story of one of the most important bands in the world ever. You should also check out the flaming lips'fabulous freaks' DVD for more insanity and real creativity and finally, if you are really hardcore you should see the fugazi 'instrument' DVD to find out about a real independent rock success story (

Anyway, I'm typing this when I should be asleep. Sorry about shit spelling and grammar.

Take it easy


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Back to work

Ah well,

The holidays are nearly over and once again my life will no longer be my own. Thankfully I only have about 3 weeks before I change jobs at the start of December and switch to a less punishing rota. I only have 11 actual working days cos I have a six day training course as well. I might even learn something.

I don't really want to go back to work but I know I have to. Sadly life needs money in this country so I have to work. If I could figure out a way to live without working I would do it. I am a lazy bastard.

I haven't really done anything much this weekend. Read the new Boondocks book 'Public Enemy no.2' which is as sharp as ever. Also read one of the Matt Groening Life is hell books which is pretty good (but not as good as Futurama). I caught one of the new episodes of South Park on MTV. Cartman pretending to be a robot to retrieve an incriminating video from Butters. Sick but funny.

Also read a comic book I'd seen recommended somewhere. It was called Supreme power and it's written by the guy who created Babylon 5. I can't spell his name. The book was pretty good but I think it does have more of a geek appeal than anything else. It applies Occam's razor to the superhero concept with a healthy dose of conspiracy theory paranoia about government agencies thrown in. It's been done before but it was a decent read.

After a quick check, the recommendation came from which generally seems to be a pretty good site about comic books.

That's all the now


Friday, November 11, 2005

Drunk after winning pop quiz.

Just been to a monthly pop quiz at one of the trendier vegetarian punk rock pubs in Glasgow and WON. The quiz is called pop life and takes place in the basement of the 13th Note. It's kinda offensive and Brendan O'Hare (ex of teenage fanclub and mogwai) has something to do with it. He mainly makes obscene noises. It's cool.

Anyway the quiz is pretty easy if you are a music geek like me and my mates. There is also a Bo Selecta round where you have a 'rap-off' against the other teams just like eminem in his 8mile film. I always get forced to do the rap off. Bastards.

Anyway, to cut a long story short - we won. A crate of stella. woo-hoo. I gave it all to my mates cos I don't like alcohol but woo-hoo all the same. The quiz is on the second thursday of every month so check it out if you are not easily offended.

I was looking at the BBC website and it was depressing as always. Apparently race-hate crimes are up 29% this year ( ). I guess that's 29% more idiots that need a brain transplant. What is even sadder is that these figures are apparently from before the london bombs. Why is the world so stupid? People are people and sometimes the ones that are different to you are more interesting. Or sexier.


I've been playing about with another blog, Required Records, which is gonna be a list of records that I get geeky about. How that blog is different from this blog I dunno but all the same. It's fun and it's cool if I get the time.

Right now I'm listening to the Ugly Cassanova album 'Sharpen your teeth'. It's the side project of Isaac Brock from modest mouse and it's rather good. 'Things I don't remember' is just class. If you go to

you can download the mp3 or the video. Good.

Just read the new Asterix book 'Asterix and the falling sky' and I liked it. I know I am 28 and this is sad. It involves aliens invading gaul looking for a secret weapon that will help them win an intergalactic war. Many reviews have said that this book is shit and Asterix has now 'jumped the shark' but I liked it. The aliens were cool, mildly reminiscent of other famous comic characters and it was better than the last one. Plus, I learned how to read with Asterix books so I'll not let anyone dis them.

Anyway, cease this drunken chatter.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Political cartoonists in the USA

I'm quite interested in comic strips and graphic arts. Most comic strips are rubbish but sometimes they have a point and sometimes they are worthwhile.

Political comic strips have a long history dating back to Punch magazine 200 years ago. More recently there have been a few interesting cartoonists in the right-wing mess that is the America of George Bush.

Ted Rall is one cartoonist that I quite like. I read a big article about him a few years ago and I meant to check out some of his stuff. As I'm on holiday this week I had time to play with the internet and I found a site where you can flip through a selection of his political cartoons.

You can find my favourite at

Another strip cartoonist that I really like is Aaron McGruder with his Boondocks series. The series revolves around two young black kids who move from an American inner-city to live with their grandad in the suburbs. One of them wants to be Chuck D and the other wants to be Snoop Dogg. My favourite strip has one of the boys calling the CIA to name Ronald Regan as a supporter of Bin Laden during the '80s. Class.

A good example of the strip can be seen at where the boys tackle bird flu.

The Boondocks book 'A right to be hostile' would make a great christmas present for any wannabe radical.


PS. From The Onion - still funny

Tuesday, November 08, 2005



Identity theft

Writing this post earlier than I expected. I had meant to write about this story earlier but I just forgot. I was listening to BBC radio4 in my semi-comatose state when I heard about a man who has been using the name Christopher Buckingham for 22 years and has only now been caught. He stole the identity of a baby who died at the age of 8 months in 1963 and he has only now been caught when he had a problem with his passport when re-entering England. He married and has two children, aged 17 and 19, while using the fake identity.

To be politically uncorrect, nuts or what?

The full story can be read at

Now, what would motivate a man to do that? Did he have a criminal record? Was he a murderer? A communist spy? A sad fantasist who wanted to feel like James Bond?

The judge in the trial commented that he had used methods described in Day of the Jackyl. If it's that easy could I go out tommorrow and look for details of a baby who died in the mid to late sevenities and steal their identity? What would I do with my new life? Become a hairdresser?

I know that in the mid-ninties some guy used the name Brandon Lee to return to the high school he had attended 13 years previously before retaking his exams and gaining a place at medical school in Dundee. He was only caught when he drunkenly revealed his secret to a few of his classmates. Further proof, if any was needed, that many doctors are nuts and the profession certainly attracts more than its fair share of loon-balls.

But anyway, back to 'Mr Buckingham'. He has been sentenced to 21 months in prision for various crimes. He has stated, through his lawyers, that he will never reveal his identity. The police say that if he keeps his mouth shut he will walk away if they can't find any details of his past life and potential 'dark secrets'.

All very interesting.

Have other people done this?



dats all fokes


Dreaming my life away a.k.a post-nights narcolepsy

Man-o-man, I'm knackered. I'm still recovering from the jet-lag hangover of my week of nights. I only managed to drag myself out of bed at around 3pm today. I didn't manage to cross the doorstep even though I was planning to buy food. Bed was too nice and warm and the weather outside was just too shite.

I think when you are tired you just have to give in to it or you can burn out. I should be studying this week but I'll start later on. I've borrowed the new Terry Pratchett book from my dad so I think I'll read that later.

I rented a couple of DVDs yesterday. American Pie: Band Camp which is as bad as you could possibly imagine. It's getting into Police Academy territory. Scary. Also rented 'The Descent', a British horror film about some women who have problems on a caving trip. It has some scary, jumpy moments but I kept falling asleep which spoilt the effect for me. Post-nightshift narcolepsy.

I've been rewatching the first series of Lost on DVD. I cheated and bought it from america a couple of months ago. I still think it's great. It's like clockwork, the way it all links together. You get a lot from repeated viewing. Stuff has meaning that wasn't there before. The makers say that they were really influenced by Alan Moore's Watchmen and I can see it.

I was playing with google earth last night. It's good fun although the navigation system could be better. I managed to find the street where I grew up and the building I live in now. Impressive.

Anyhowze, that's enuff for now

More soon


Saturday, November 05, 2005


The Brothers Grimm - film review

Went to see this film yesterday evening after coming off my night shift. I was only vaguely aware of its existence and I only went to see it cos my flastmate was keen on it. She's German so it is kinda connected to home for her. I was pleasantly surprised.

The story is about the Grimm brothers, a pair of travelling con-men who pose as ghostbusters in early 19th century Germany. The land is under French occupation and the authorities force the brothers to investigate some real, fairy-tale spooky happenings in an isolated town.

The cast includes Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Monica Bellucci and MacKenzie Crook (gareth in the office, ghost pirate in pirates of the carribean). I thought the female lead was Keira Knightly but I was wrong cos I am stupid. It's Lena Headley and she's just as good, if not better.

It's a Terry Gilliam film so the sets are ornately designed. The film is very gothic looking and moody with some cool effects. It was pretty funny and I felt that it was a more human film than a lot of his stuff. It was more satisfying than Brazil or Time Bandits. Much better than his version of 'Fear and loathing in Las Vegas' (a favourite book of mine) which was kinda good but kinda sucked ass.

I've done a quick internet search and it looks like this film has been universally panned. My flatmate thought it was average but I did like it. I enjoyed it more than Broken Flowers. I'll give it 8 out of 10 and tell you to give it a shot. I'll watch it again.


Based on this it's a shame he didn't finish his Don Quixote film. It might have been cool

Thursday, November 03, 2005

At the risk of sounding repetitive..........

I really hate nights. I'm sitting about doing nothing at the moment. I've just been playing about on the internet for the past hour or two. I've taken the opportunity to add some more links to the side of this page.

I have one more night to do tomorrow (thursday) and then I'm on leave for nine days. It will be really cool. I can sleep in, do what I want and just enjoy life for a bit.

Before starting my nights I went to The Stand comedy club in Glasgow last Thursday. It's rather cool. They had three or four acts with Bruce Morton as the compere. Bruce Morton used to have a TV series on channel four maybe ten years ago and it was pretty cool.

Anyway he was funny. The headliner guy that night was a bloke called simon munnery (sorry if the spelling is wrong). He too was on TV and radio one as the league against tedium. He also used to write a column in the NME called 'Alan Parker, Urban Warrior' which kicked ass. He's clearly a smart guy and he was saying some interesting stuff. He too was funny.

The rest of the show was cool too. Two young blokes from sunderland did a sort of comedy songs/tenacious D type thing which was funny. There was a younger guy from Glasgow who had a beard and told jokes and stuff like that. As you would expect at a comedy club.

All in all it was a good night and it only cost six quid. I'll go back.

I still haven't been called which is good. I've just bought tickets to see teenage fanclub in a few weeks and I'm going to see Franz Ferdinand soon. Belle & Sebastian and Bob Mould are playing in Glasgow so I'll be going to lots of concerts if I don't have to work.

Life is sweet. Glasgow is a good place, much better than the midlands.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nights suck

On night four of seven 12 hour night shifts. Horrible, horrible job. Boring and repetitive.

I'm kinda annoyed that I'm missing halloween. Normally a good night to go out. That's life I guess.

They don't pay me enough.

3 more to go