Sunday, December 31, 2006

The mighty boosh

I was given the mighty boosh boxset for christmas and I am coming to appreciate the surreal strangeness of the show. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone involved with the creation of the show must once have taken drugs or something. It's funny and freaky.

The show revolves around Vince Noir (the cool trendy Mick Jagger clone) and Howard Moon (the pseudo-intellectual jazzist loser) and their attempts to carve a career in the music business. The cast is filled out by Naboo the Shaman and Bolo the gorilla who regularly rescue our heroes from their latest crisis. It is very, very weird.

I guess the stand-out episode is 'the legend of old greg' which is well fucked up but it is all good. It's a musical comedy with some OK songs that have been written and played by the cast.

I am sure that everyone else in the world is much cooler than me and that you all saw this when it was on BBC3 but if not, check it out.

Join them on a journey across time and space. Old greg has something to show you........

Work at christmas

I hate having to work at christmas but I know that someone has to. My boxing day shift was horrible - a 13 hour slow motion apocalypse. Not fun.

Thankfully I'm off work till the 3rd now - paradise.

The execution of Saddam Hussein

I guess I knew it was coming but it was a bit weird to wake up this morning to hear that Saddam Hussein had hanged. It just didn't feel right.

I think that he was a bad man but I would have liked him to have been held to account for more crimes than he was on trial for. I feel that he should probably been kept a prisoner for the rest of his life to prevent him from becoming a martyr. It would be nice if his death led to increased stability for the people in Iraq but I do not think this will happen. I did not like the television footage of the moments leading up to his execution.

He was probably an evil man but I don't think this was the right way to go.

I'm away to hug a tree now.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mistletoe and wine

Christmas has been good so far this year. I'm not at work; I'm at home with my parent which is exactly where I want to be today. I've had a decent meal and I saw a few old friends in the pub last night. I was able to get a taxi home without any hassle. Life is good.

People have kindly bought me some nice presents. There include the latest Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion which is not exactly full of seasonal cheer as well as a book based on the QI TV series. I have also been given a box-set of the Indiana Jones films as well as a set of the Mighty Boosh TV shows.

I have just finished watching a TV adaption of the Terry Pratchett Hogfather book which was OK and I plan to keep my nose in a book until the Doctor Who Christmas Special comes on this evening.

Sadly, I have a 13 hour shift at work tommorrow. That sucks.


Keep it loose



James Brown is dead

James Brown, the godfather of soul, died today at the age of 73 from pneumonia.

His music changed the world.

I was lucky enough to see him play live once at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow in around 1997 or 1998. The tickets were expensive and I worked out that I had stacked shelves in Sommerfield for 11 hours to pay for the ticket. The show was spectacular and featured 13 dancing girls in different stages of undress as well as a magician. Brown jumped about on stage like a man possessed, screaming out his hit songs, dropping to his knees, playing drums and keyboards. I loved it.

He made many great records over the years including 'live at the apollo', 'black caesar' and 'the big payback'. Music would not be the same without him.

He did bad things in his life too. I hope the good things he did outweigh the bad in the grand scheme of things.


Another cool dead guy


Merry Christmas everybody


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Understanding comics

As some of you may know, I'm a bit of a comic geek. I just love them. I love the art form.

Now that doesn't mean that I am sub-literate or a total social retard (ok, maybe a bit). It doesn't mean that I still have adolescent power fantasies or that I like looking at pictures of musclebound men in latex. It means that I enjoy the comic as a form of entertainment and I think it has as much artistic merit as a film or a book.

I first learned to read with Asterix and Tintin books bought for me by my parents. It was a good place to start and when I have kids I intend to pass them on. These books are well drawn and have good stories (although I admit that the Tintin books have some unfortunate stereotypes in them so my kids may end up just getting Asterix). After that I read the Beano and the Dandy as well as Battle. From there I moved onto American comics like the X-men and the UKs own 2000AD.

So I grew up reading comics for kids and action comics for boys but most people leave these things behind when they hit puberty and I guess I did, for a while. Somewhere I found out that comics could be different. I found books by Peter Bagge, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Robert Crumb, Evan Dorkin, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis and many, many more.

Comics have as much potential as films, books or paintings as a form of expression. I have recently read a very good book on the subject by Scott McCloud. It's called Understanding Comics and you can buy it on Amazon. Check out his website at
He has also written an interesting follow-up called Reinventing Comics.

So, what comics are worth reading?


  1. Hate by Peter Bagge - the story of a loser in Seattle at the height of grunge. The best book to start with is Buddy does Seattle which costs less than a tenner on amazon.
  2. From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell - a fictionalised version of the story of Jack the Ripper that was made into a film by Johnny Depp
  3. Sin City or 300 by Frank Miller - film noir or spartan soldiers
  4. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis - start with book one - the story of Spider Jerusalem, a Hunter S Thompson style gonzo journalist in a dystopian future
  5. Sandman by Neil Gaiman - for your inner goth. Start at book one
  6. Y the last man by Brian K Vaughan - every male mammal on the planet dies except for one man and his monkey. Start with book one
  7. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon - very funny and very offensive.
  8. Love & Rockets by the Hernandez Bros always gets good reviews although I don't like it that much.
  9. Maus by Art Spiegelman is a classic. Spiegelman tells the story of his fathers experiences in a Nazi concentration camp using funny animals. Unsettling.
  10. Palestine by Joe Sacco - a eye-witness account of the authors experiences in Gaza and the West Bank
  11. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - an autobiographical story of a young girl growing up in revolutionary Iran

That is a few to start with. Lots of good stuff is out there. If you have nothing to do one weekend pick up one of these books. You will get some of them in a decent bookshop like Waterstones or Forbidden Planet. If not, try Amazon


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

this is a bit sucky

I just read on the let me live blog at that people who have cystic fibrosis have to pay for their drug prescriptions while people with other diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism get their medicine for free.

Not very fair, is it?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Melvins and Flipper live at the Glasgow Garage

This was a noisy night. The gig was very poorly advertised and it was almost impossible to buy a ticket. The ticketmaster website is shite and nowhere else seemed to be selling any tickets. Luckily plenty of tickets were still available when the doors opened at 6:30.

The first band Porn are members of the melvins and their road crew. They were very loud but generally good. No vocals, all noise and funny clothes.

Flipper are a legend. I first heard of them via Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys. They had the honour of being Jellos favourite band and they were one of the first Hardcore bands to play slow. They have lost several members to heroin over the years. Moby boasts of singing for them once in New York when their singer was in jail. It is almost impossible to hear their music although I did manage to track the Generic Flipper album down on ebay two years ago. It's great. Flipper are a true underground treat.

I never thought I would see them live. Ever. I was wrong.

They were good. Singer Bruce Loose is an obnoxious bastard but he has the venom of the perfect hardcore frontman. The bass player tonight was Chris Noveselic froom NIRVANA who is a very tall man and not the sort of person you expect to see in the garage on a wet thursday evening. We got lots of hits including 'way of the world', 'ha ha ha', 'sacrafice' and 'sex bomb'. The highlight was 'sacrafice' which saw 3 drummers pounding away with guitar support from Buzz Osbourne. Sadly the version of 'sex bomb' (my favourite) was a bit too fast but it was a good set. By the way, Flipper do not sound like Nirvana and are probably an acquired taste.

Next up were Big Business, a two piece group who currently play Bass and Drums in the Melvins. They were good.

The Melvins were amazing. Buzz and the bass player work monk-like robes and sported hair like sideshow bob. The music was punishing but beautiful. Best song was the second version of 'sacrafice' of the night during which Buzz told the crowd of his love for Flipper but it was all good. Another beautiful noise.

I've been listening to 'gluey porch treatments' all weekend.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dialysis and kidney failure

I've just finished my four month stint working on a dialysis unit. It has been a good experience in many ways, I've learned a lot but I could not do it for the rest of my life. People on dialysis are very sick.

You need dialysis if your kidneys stop working. You have two kidneys that clean the blood, removing toxic waste from the body and producing urine. If your kidneys stop working poisons build up in your blood, you cannot get rid of excess fluid and you will die. Dialysis replaces the function of the kidneys.

The whole thing is more complicated than that but that is the basic story. If your kidneys don't work you need dialysis. You are either attached to a machine for several hours on a few days a week or you have a surgical procedure which turns your abdominal cavity into a mini dialysis machine (which is also not ideal as you have to have several hours of dialysis every day although you can walk about while you have it). If you are lucky you might get a transplant but a transplant will at best last for around 15 years and complications can occur.

Many of these patients do not suffer from kidney failure alone. They often have diabetes, auto-immune problems or heart disease. Some of them are very young (19, 20, 21) and some (a few) are well over 80. Many have had strokes or amputations. All of them are dependant on technical advances that have been made over the past 60 years. All of them would have been dead if the year was 1906. Most of them would die if there was a total powercut lasting for three weeks or more in this country. That's a pretty grim thought. I wonder what has happened to people who need dialysis in Iraq.....

I have a lot of respect for these people. For the most part they cope well with having had their lives taken over by disease. We are lucky that in Britain most people who need dialysis get it. It is not the same everywhere. I hope I never need dialyisis.

For more info go to

A good book is Kidney failure explained by Andy Stein and Janet Wild. You can get it on


James Bond and world politics

The world is becoming more and more like a James Bond film. Over the past couple of weeks the news has been filled with the story of a former KGB agent who has died after being poisoned with a radioactive substance. It appears to be part of an international plot of some for.

The media is full of wild accusations. The former spy named Vladimir Putin as the main suspect in the days before his death but it is difficult to believe that the Russian government would be stupid enough to murder someone and leave a clear forensic trail. The plot is thickening as an Italian 'professor' who allegedly has a murky background has also been involved.

I'll be interested to see how this one turns out. Possibly as the plot to the next Bond film.....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kansas to outlaw practice of evolution

Headline from todays edition of the onion. try

Also, has the Iraq war now lasted longer than world war two? Possibly from an American point of view.......

Ate in Michael Caines restaurant in Glasgow tonight. It was good. Not cheap but good.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Twilight Singers - Live at Oran Mor, Glasgow

This wasn't the best gig that I've been to this month but Fishbone and TV on the Radio were both exceptional. I really like the Afghan Whigs (singer Greg Dulli's first band) but I only own two Twilight Singers records. I don't listen to them too much.

Nonetheless I was looking forward to the gig. Dulli has a good voice and a reputation for being a strong live performer. It was also the first time that I had been to a concert in the Oran Mor, a converted church on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road. About 10 years ago I lived in a shitty student flat on Great Western Road opposite the building when it was derelict so it is nice to see that it has been done up. It's quite nice inside now.

Support was supplied by a guitarist (?Jeff Klein?) from the Twilight Singers playing some of his solo stuff. It was depressing.

The main set was loud. My ears are still ringing. Dulli was in good voice although he is a bit 'fat elvis' now (sorry). Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees/Queens of the Stoneage/Kurt Cobains friend) was on hand to sing five songs including a version of Where did you sleep last night? by Leadbelly. We were also treated to a TV on the radio song in the encore which was entertaining.

The crowd was composed of ageing musos on the wrong side of 30 who were into the Afghan Whigs the first time around. I would like to take this opportunity to say 'hi' to the wanker with the blonde hair and black jacket who said 'fuck off' as my friend and I walked in front of him before the show started. You, sir, are a cock (I doubt he'll read this, I doubt he can read). I was glad to see that a group of people much taller than me soon stood in front of him.

So, it was an OK show. I'm glad I went but it could have been better. I wish I'd seen the Afghan Whigs.....


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fishbone - live at King Tuts, Glasgow

I nearly didn't go to this show. I didn't have a ticket, it was raining and I was on-call until 9. I'm glad I made the effort. A lot of my friends were there (one from Bristol and another who has just got engaged) and the show was great.

I have a confession to make. I don't really know much Fishbone music. I saw them 13 years ago at the Glasgow Barrowlands with Bad Brains and the Goats but I had to leave early. It was a school night and my mum actually came to pick me up. I was 15 and legally not allowed yo be in the venue. My mum actually knocked on the door to get me and was allowed backstage. I think she actually met the Bad Brains which was cool cos they were one of my favourite bands.

Anyway, I digress. I don't listen to Fishbone much. I have an old LP in a crate somewhere but I haven't listened to it in 13 years. After tonight I'm going to change my ways and raid ebay.

The first band were a funk-rock combo from Bordeaux. The singer bore a striking facial similarity to Sacha Baron Cohen and the band were funny in a Borat sort of way. Lost in translation but entertaining.

Fishbone were a revelation. The musical talent and energy that they displayed was amazing. In a 2 hour set they employed several instruments that I could not name as well as a theramin, Bass, Alto and Tenor saxophones, Trumpets plus the usual array of guitars, etc that you would expect from a modern rock band. Seven large men crowded the tiny stage of King Tuts. It is small. I've played there.

Singer Angelo wore a kilt and a pork-pie hat. He spent half of the set in the crowd. The band seem to be quite into physical comedy with lots of on-stage slapstick moments. Norwood (the bass played) also offered some political opinions before their 'dance with Saddam' song. He pointed out that the Bush family were in the past friendly with both the Bin Laden family and Saddam Hussein. He expressed a desire to attain world peace through partying with Bin Laden instead of shooting people. He said that he wanted to 'party with Bin Laden, fuck his bitches, drink his booze and smoke his weed'. While I realise that these sentiments have a noble pacifist inspiration I feel that they also display a lack of understanding of Islam.

Back to the music. Amazing. Ska funk punk rock. Everyday sunshine. Date rape (a sublime cover). Freddie's dead (Curtis Mayfield). Many more I am unable to name. Brilliant.

If you ever get a chance to see this band, take it.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Lazy film review - Superman Returns

Just saw the DVD. Didn't like it. Too dark and serious. Bryan Singer should have done x-men 3 instead. Not sad that I missed it in the cinema.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

TV on the radio - live at the Glasgow ABC 2

For some time now I have been waiting to see TV on the Radio live. Their album Desperate youth, bloodthirsty babes has been a constant fixture on my personal playlist since I heard it a couple of years ago. New album Return to cookie mountain is growing on me. Tonight was the first chance that I had to see them live. My level of nervous anticipation was quite high. I was scared that I would be disappointed and that they would spoil it somehow. A mate had seen them in edinburgh earlier and assured me that they would be good. He was right.

The support band were ok. I can't remember their name. if I do I'll put it in here (.......). Noise with a bit of stooges and spacemen 3.

Tv on the radio were even better than I expected. What was great was the organic quality of their live show. The lead singer Tunde Adebimpe danced around the stage like he was in a gospel choir. Star producer/guitarist David Andrew Sitek had a set of windchimes hanging from the headstock of his guitar for most of the gig. Songs were adapted to the live performance. Wrong way was fast and joyous. Bomb yourself was punky and aggressive with a heavy james brown style bassline. Dreams, ambulance, wolf like me and satallite were all played in a way that revealed new facets of the original song. Recent single I was a lover was excellent.

My mate was worried that they would be a bit serious live but generally they seem like a party band. They took the time to slag off Donald Rumsfeld and at times the stage was filled with smiling lunatics madly banging improvised percussional instruments.

The hipster crowd (usually scum) were into it, singing, dancing clapping and interacting. Tunde told the crowd that he loved playing in Glasgow and invited everyone to come to Manchester the following night before saying how much he disliked Manchester.

The sound quality wasn't great but the noise produced by the band was amazing. Dreamy sweeps of white noise and pulsating rhthymns. Imagine my bloody valentine if they were a barbershop quartet jamming with lee 'scratch' perry. I am hipster scum.

Here are some reasons why you should buy a TV on the radio album if you are a music snob
1. David Bowie sung on their last album.
2. David Andrew Sitek produced the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Liars.
3. They are on genius american cooler-than-you record label Touch n go (home of steve albini)
4. They are also on 4AD in this country (home of the pixies)

If you are not a snob just but the first album cos it's fucking good.

Someday, when I'm old and close to death I hope my grandkids (if I'm lucky enough to have any) will say to me

'grandad, tell us about when you saw tv on the radio'


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thank you for smoking - film review (and a bit of a book review and some stuff about the author)

I first read the novel Thank you for smoking several years ago when I was living in shitty hospital on-call rooms in some non-descript place in the West Midlands. I can't remember exactly where I was (I was moving about a fair bit at that time) but I loved the book.

Christopher Buckley was once a speech writer for George Bush senior. I realize that based on this fact I should refuse to read any of his books but they are so good that I can't help myself. He is an intelligent guy and I just have to listen to a few extra Jello Biafra records to atone for my sins.

Anyway I love the book. It's about Nick Naylor, a man who is a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. He is a 'spin-master' who has the job of promoting smoking and denying that any links exist between cigarettes and ill-health. He is the smiling face of death and he knows it. He hangs about with similar publicists for the fire-arms and alcohol industries.

In the book events conspire to make him think about his job.

The film is a pretty faithful adaption. I liked it. The cast fitted my mental image of the characters from the book. It has been simplified enough to appeal to a minstream audience but it's still pretty intelligent. I urge you to try and see it.

It also touches on some issues that I've written about before. Public health and the nanny state. I hate smoking with a passion because members of my family have died of lung cancer or other cigarette related diseases. I meet people on a daily basis who have horrible diseases that are limiting their lives in terrible ways mainly because they smoke.

Smoking sucks but I believe that people should have (some) right to choose while tobacco is still legal in this country. I do support the smoking ban in public places in Scotland because I hate being in a room where people smoke and I hate smelling of smoke. On a recent trip to England I really noticed people smoking in pubs and it was unpleasant,

In the past lung cancer was a rare disease. Hopefully that will be the case again in the future (as Harry Burns, Scottish chief medical officer, recently said).

Until then, check out the film or the book. I hope they will make you smile.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wolfmother - live in Glasgow

I went to this gig without being too familiar with any of the bands on the bill. The show wss part of the MTV2 spanking new tour. It was very much a package tour show with four bands with very different style.

I didn't see much of the opening band the MacAbees (possibly spelt wrong). I was not upset because they weren't too good. The next band, fields, were a half-hearted tribute to my bloody valentine. They couldn't really pull it off. All noise with no heart. Forward Russia were not much better. Their sound is trapped in the post-punk era and not in a good way. One of my friends told me that their album was not too bad but I don't intend to find out.

Wolfmother saved the night. The Carling Academy is not a great venue. The sound is patchy and it can be difficult to see the band. Wolfmother overcame these obstacles easily. Despite being a three piece they produced a massive sound. The singer sounded as good as the studio recordings and the playing was tight. Their music is rooted in '70s metal like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath but they do it well. I'll be putting the CD onto my i-pod. Catch them if you can. I expect them to become BIG.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Still on holiday

I’m still on holiday. This will be the second delayed post of the week. I’ve done very little. Went for a walk yesterday and took some photos. I’ve read a few books; Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, Fragile things by Neil Gaiman. I’ve started to read The naming of the dead the most recent Rebus book by Ian Rankin.

I’ve read a few comics too. I’ve just finished reading the collected edition of The Goon by Eric Powell. It’s been sitting in my ‘to read’ pile for at least a year and I’m glad that I’ve finally got round to it. It’s a great story mixing gangsters, zombies, circus freaks and vengeful cowboys. The art is nice too.

I’ve also being reading some older comics that I bought from ebay. I’ve just read a trade paperback collection of John Byrnes run on She-hulk. I realise that I probably sound like I’m talking in double-dutch to anyone who has a sense of cool but it was a good read; really cheesy, funny and surreal. It reminds me of some of the Howard the Duck comics I’ve read (you can get them in a big black and white collection pretty cheap). Byrne even manages to make a 7 foot tall green woman appear sexy. Having said that a girl I know once told me that she thought the hulk was a turn on. I also read another Byrne book from the mists of time called the Next Men. It was ok.

I’ve watched some DVDs too. I just watched the first season of Dead like me which is an American series about a girl who is killed by a flying toilet seat before becoming a grim reaper employed by some hidden higher power to help the souls of the dead to the next plane of existence. It’s good. I will try and get my hands on series 2.

I wish I could say that I was doing something more profound. Sadly I’m just chilling out. I wish I had more time off. I have many more books that I want to read but I guess a week is a short time. I’ll have to go back to work on Monday. The price of being a wage slave is high. It must be nice to independently wealthy and not have to work. I could handle being bored. If I had time to play with I probably wouldn’t do much. Work forces me into some sort of activity which is good. Maybe I’ll be able to get a job that I really like eventually. Stranger things have happened.

I’m not missing the mobile phone or the internet. I’ll have access again soon enough. The world can wait.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I’m writing this entry on my laptop as I sit in my room in my holiday apartment. I’m currently on holiday on the west coast of Scotland, 16 miles from Oban on a place called Melfort. I have no internet access and no mobile phone access. The fact that I cannot be contacted is liberating. I don’t think anyone would really want or need to contact me this week anyway.

The weather has been pretty extreme. Yesterday the wind was strong and the rain was heavy. The road was full of fallen branches this morning. From the window of the house you can get a great view of the Loch. The water is rough, tempestuous.

I have been doing as little as possible. I have done some walking. I went for a short swim yesterday. I had a massage this morning. My only concern just now is the avoidance of all concerns. There is time enough in life for thinking.

Many of the places around here are very desolate at this time of year (today is Halloween). Yesterday we visited a place called ‘crow haven’. I am sorry that I have not used the correct Gaelic spelling. It is a small port and marina. Very quiet and under populated. It reminded me of a Nick Cave song from the Murder Ballads album. Cold and lonely. We went to a pub called the Lord of the Isles for lunch. It was quiet, with only two other paying customers and the barman. The most dominant sound was the voice of an upper-class old Englishman as he discussed crossword puzzles. I liked watching the sea against the grey sky. Yesterday was a dull day, in terms of weather and colour.

Today we visited Crinan. We ate lunch in the hotel at the mouth of the canal. The hotel was cold and windswept. The staff was reminiscent of the Adams family (although there was one very attractive waitress). The food was overpriced. A rich Norwegian couple sat at the table across from us. As they spoke they switched languages, mixing English, French and Norwegian. They were in Scotland to shoot pheasants.

I’ve been reading a bit while I’m here and catching up on my CD listening. I’m working my way through the works of Lou Barlow at the moment. Sebadoh III is on the stereo as I write. The music is mournful. It fits the countryside.

You could read this entry and think that I don’t like this part of the world. That would be wrong. I love it. The landscape of the West Coast of Scotland is important to me because it reminds me how small and insignificant man is. No matter what happens in my life these rocks will always remain.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SFX magazine

SFX is probably my favourite geek magazine. I thought I'd write about it because I just bought issue number 150, I'm watching torchwood on BBC2 and it's raining outside and I have nothing else to do.

In case you don't know SFX is a British science-fiction glossy magazine that you can actually buy in most high street newsagents. It's been going for 11 or 12 years now and it covers films, tv, books, comics and computer games (as well as more general nerd stuff).

The latest issue has an interview with Stan (the man) Lee who created Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and the X-men as well as loads of neologisms. It also has an article on Quantum Leap, a TV series that I loved when I was a kid.

The book reviews and film reviews are generally good. It has useful nerd news (about TV shows and films and fanboy shit like that). It has a bit of a sense of humour and it looks good. I like it. You might to.


Daily Record headline

'Glasgow fails terror attack test'

gonna no dae that

I mean, couldn't we just sort it out quickly and quietly without advertising the fucking fact? A wee bit of discretion and more security guards? (plus more police, doctors, nurses, firemen, ambulance drivers, etc, etc)

Better yet, why not come up with a way to stop people wanting to blow us up? I guess that's not too likely though......


Saturday, October 21, 2006

internet insomnia

I have rebound insomnia. I've just finished 12 days in a row at work (3 of which were 24hour on-calls, including last night) and now I can't sleep. Bugger!

So how about a few thoughts for 2 in the morning.

Muslim women and veils. Who cares? Let them wear what they want. I work with the public and I would NEVER ask a muslim woman to remove her veil unless I had a specific (medical) reason to do so. Would Jack Straw ask someone not to dye their hair green or pierce their nose before he would talk to them? Would he ask them to take off sunglasses? I might be missing the point here but it just seems a bit rude to me.

I recently recieved an invitation to play with a medical news review site. It is basically designed to sift through medical journals and highlight information that you would find useful. Thousands of medical journals are published every month and most of the content is crap. Filtering it can be useful but you have to be able to trust your filter (do you believe everything you read in the Sun or everything you see on Sky News?). I guess the main risk in a medical filter is that drug companies might use it to make their products appear more useful. This one is still being developed. Go to and check it out.

For more light-hearted relief of boredom I get my weekly fix of lies and scandal from Popbitch. Go to and subscribe. It's pure sleaze.

For a weirder range of distractions click on the Warren Ellis link at the side of the page. He's a comic book writer (check out transmetropolitan and nextwave - they fucking rock) who searches the internet for unusual stuff.

Hope I fall asleep soon


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad Brains

You wait a month for a post then 2 come along on the same day.

Playing with youtube - found this

It's a video by the Bad Brains the godlike rastafarian hardcore punk band from washington dc. They are so good that you will shit yourself. I saw them once. They were great.

Enough - listen and fall in love


ps - sorry if you don't like punk

Monday, October 09, 2006


Inspired by the brilliance of the Sopranos I've started to work my way through some of the other shows from American TV station HBO. You can pick up most of the good stuff on DVD from CD-WOW at a reasonable price. I started with Deadwood.

Deadwood had been getting some good reviews. It has only slightly impinged on my thoughts because of an energetic advertising campaign. I don't have easy access to Sky so I haven't really seen any of it. I knew that former lovejoy cheese-merchant Iain McShane was involved. Generally not a good sign.

Still, I was curious. The DVD cost £18 - S.F.A. Worth a shot. It was better than I expected.

The show is set in the mining outpost of Deadwood on Native American land in the America of the 1870s. The town is full of thieves and scoundrels. Most of the characters are not very nice. A few of the characters are based on real people including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

McShane is actually pretty good here as Saloon keeper/pimp/general scumbag Al Swearengen. He strikes an uneasy balance between pure evil and charisma (although not as much charisma as Tony Soprano). It pisses all over Lovejoy.

The hero of the show is Seth Bullock, a decent man and former sherrif who is trying to make his forture despite being in constant thrall to his morals.

The show is gritty with a constant air of squalor. People die with alarming regularity and the town is in continual entropy. The primative medicine of the doctor is well portrayed. The language is shocking - there is enough use of the words 'cocksucker' and 'motherfucker' to embarras a busload of Glasweigan schoolkids. I like it. I'm waiting for series 2 to come in the post.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

further tinkering

I've now messed about with this site a bit more. I've gone through all the old posts and added labels to them to make things a bit easier to find.

As I was doing that it became apparent that I've put a lot of stuff up here over the past 18 months. A lot of it is rubbish but I do like some of it. I enjoy playing with the site anyway.

I've slept most of today. Work has been quiet this week but I'm on-call a lot over the next two weeks so it's not always gonna be such as skive. At the moment I'm working on a dialysis unit which is a very different pace of life. Interesting, but I wouldn't want to do it forever.

Just been watching some episodes of a American TV series from a few years ago called the Tick. It seems cool. Might write more about it later.

new stuff on the site

I've been messing around with the site a bit. I've tried to make it more pretty and easier to find stuff. I'm using the new blogger beta stuff which seems cool. This interweb stuff is turning me into more of a nerd than before.

One cool things is the labels that I've started to add to the bottom of posts. They include broad catagories like music, film, books, shite and egomania. Click on a few and explore the site. I love you longtime if you do.


Film review - Clerks II

Clerks II probably only appeals to a select audience. How many people have seen the original Clerks? It's a cult movie for a niche market, the Kevin Smith fan. Luckily, I am a Kevin Smith nerd.

This film was never going to set the box office on fire. There was a reasonable audience in the cinema tonight but a lot of them didn't seem to expect the film that they got. Several people walked out. I'm not sure if they were offended or bored. I don't really care cos I liked it.

The story revolves around Randall and Dante, two 30-something losers who have been in McJobs for several years too long. Dante is about to escape to a new life with a new wife. Or is he getting cold feet?

And then there was this donkey.....

Jay and Silent Bob are back although their antics are tame this time. They really need to work a bit harder to offend me. The film is probably about average for Kevin Smith which is good for anyone else. I laughed. At one point I laughed so hard I thought I might hurt myself. I have a sick sense of humour so this film was good for me. You might not like it if you have 'strong moral values'.

Good, but not his best.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Children of men - film review

I went to see this film without really planning to do so and I'm really glad that I did. It was great.

It's set in the near future in a fascist Britain. The world is in ruins and the last human was born 18 years ago. The population is aging and the world is dying.

The main character leads an empty life until he is kidnapped by a terrorist group led by an ex-girlfriend. She wants a favour.....

The film is grim and gritty and emotional. Something about it really worked for me. The last 20 minutes are great.

Michael Caine is in it and he gets some more classic lines (his tombstone should read 'pull my finger')

ch-ch-ch check it out


Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Sopranos

I'm ashamed to say that I've only really got into the Sopranos over the past month or so. I had seen one or two episodes out of sequence but I had never really appreciated the complexity of the series. The Godfather is one of my favourite films and I generally quite enjoy Mafia themed stuff. I don't watch much TV due to lack of time. I generally buy DVDs of TV shows and watch them at my own convenience. A lot of my friends do this now.

The Sopranos is one of the best.

The eponymous family is composed of Tony, the gangster; his long-suffering wife Carmella and their teenage children Meadow and AJ. The extended family of relatives and criminals fills out the supporting cast.

The star of the show is Tony. He is a classic anti-hero, very charismatic but extremely destructive. He seems to ruin the lives of everyone he meets. He sees himself as a good person but a lot of what he does is pure evil. I can't help liking the character but I know I shouldn't.

The show is quite funny. There are moments of pure slapstick comedy between the serious drama and violence. It is well filmed and the soundtrack is great.

This is one show you should see. I'm sure you know that already.

Check it out


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Talladega nights - The ballad of Ricky Bobby

Down visiting friends in Coventry this weekend. Went to the cinema this evening to see the new Will Ferrell film. I liked it.

Will Ferrell plays a mentally challenged stock car driver who by dumb luck becomes the NASCAR champion, sponsored by Old Spice. John C Reilly is his Top Gun style buddy. Sacha Baron Cohen is his French nemesis. The film basically borrows the plot of Days of Thunder.

I didn't expect much from this film but I was laughing for most of its 110 minutes. Mostly, it's all toilet humour with potty mouth action from children to grandparents. I know that laughing at white trash caricatures isn't pollitically correct but it sure is fun. The soft rock sound track adds to the feel good vibe.

I'll be buying this on DVD (when it's cheap). Watch the end credits for funny fuck-ups.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

stuff I did

I am very pissed off now cos I wrote a really cool post here and the fucking computer ate it or something. It's gone and I can't be fucked re-writing it.

Bastard computer.

Summary of post

Off work - good
Dentist - bad
Passport photos - I'm not photogenic but my old passport was cool
Dhakin - south indian restaurant in Merchant city, Glasgow - very good (but probably spelt different)
Barmaid in Rab Has, Merchant city, Glasgow - very attractive
Talking pish with mates - good fun

The real post was amazing. It was so well written that you would cry at the beauty of my lexical choice and the poetry of my sentence structures. Sadly, it's gone forever.


Monday, September 11, 2006

The last half decade

Five years ago I was very different and my world was very different.

Five years ago I was a student, starting the second year of my post-graduate course. I was living 300 miles away from home. I had just moved into a new rented student dive with two other blokes from my uni. I remember waking up late in the afternoon of September the 11th 2001 (I think it was a Tuesday) and not believing the news when I heard it. I decided that I didn't want to watch the footage from New York as I didn't want to watch thousands of people die. I'm glad I made that choice.

Five years ago I hadn't met a few people who have had a big impact on my life. It's hard to believe how much has happened to me in the past five years. I guess that it is one sixth of my time so far on this planet. It is reassuring to know that I'm still growing and still learning at the age of 29. I want to keep that going. I want to keep my curiosity and keep learning new stuff, keep pushing, until the day I die. Hopefully I'll have another sixty years or so.

I wonder if this website will still exist in 5 years. Will I have deleted it all? Will the internet still exist? Where will I live? Will I be married? Will I have kids? What will my job be?

Life is full of uncertainty. Sometimes it can be difficult, not knowing what will happen. Sometimes it can be the best feeling in the world.

Stay Loose

Peace and love


Sunday, September 10, 2006

29 years and one day

Yesterday was my birthday. I'm now 29 years old. Next year I'll be 30. I've done a fair bit with my life so far but there is a lot more that I want to do.

I had a relaxing day yesterday. I'm on holiday this week and I've been staying with my parents. If I have time off in my flat I usually just end up thinking of work. I spent the day reading. In the evening I met a few friends and went to the dog racing at Shawfield stadium in Glasgow before going to a pub. I only won £15 on the dogs but it was still a good night.

I did something good today. I spoke to one of my friends that I hadn't been in touch with for about a year and arranged to meet up with her later in the week. I'm going back to visit Coventry for the first time since I left there in July 2005. I hope to catch up with some people I worked with and some old friends from uni.

I've been reading some good books lately. How mumbo-jumbo conquered the world by Francis Wheen is one. Another is The funnies by J. Robert Lennon. I'm nearly finished The call of the weird by Louis Theroux and I've been reading a couple of books about tortoises that my mum bought me for my birthday. I hope to read a lot over the next week because I never really get much time to read. I've also been working through series 2 of the sopranos on DVD (I know I'm well behind the times on that one).

I can't believe that I'm nearly 30 and I don't know where I'll be next year. The way jobs are in my trade now I could end up anywhere in Scotland or the north of England if I manage to get a job in my chosen area of interest. It would be nice to settle down somewhere long term but I guess I just have to wait and see what happens.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin -RIP

I was sad to hear that Steve Irwin, TV crocodile hunter has died after being stung by a stingray.

He was entertaining, if maybe a bit nuts.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

I want a pet tortoise

When I was a kid we always had pets. I had a cat and a dog. I also had fish at different times. I guess my parents might have been compensating for the fact that I didn't have any brothers or sisters. I liked having pets. Animals are generally cool.

I moved out of my family home (for the first time) about 10 years ago. Since then I've never really been able to own a pet. Why? No money. Rented housing. Flat-mates. Shitty jobs and anti-social hours that would make it cruel to own a pet.

Now, I have money. I still live in rented housing but in a year or two I should be able to buy my own place. I still work shitty hours. That won't change for a few years.

I was in a pet shop today with one of my friends and I saw a tortoise. It looked really cool and as far as I know a tortoise is a low maintenance pet making it a sensible choice for my chaotic lifestyle. I realise that there is probably much more to tortoise ownership than I know about which is why I'm writing this just now. If a tortoise expert does stumble upon this page I would be grateful for any hints or tips. I won't be buying one for a year or so and I plan to do some research first.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bone by Jeff Smith

I've been meaning to read this book for a long time. I bought it nearly a year ago but I only managed to read it this week (exams and work have been limiting my chances of recreational reading).

Bone (best read in the collected edition) is a cartoon Lord of the Rings. Except it's funny. And not boring. It can be read by children and enjoyed by adults. The story starts with three cousins who are fleeing their home town to escape an angry mob. Phoney is a crooked politician who has finally crossed the line. Fone Bone is the eponymous hero of the book and is something of an intellectual. He is obsessed with Moby Dick and continually puts people to sleep by reading from it. Smiley Bone is the village idiot.

The cousins become lost and are then involved in various adventures involving red dragons and rat creatures. Stupid, stupid rat creatures.

The art is great. It's a bit like classic Disney comics. Simple, clear line drawings that are backed up by strong writing.

Bone was a massive success when it was originally published and continues to be a big seller. It is one of the few comics that are popular with female readers. Everyone should read it.

Check out

The collected edition should be available from amazon. If not look for the first volume out from bonesville

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Passed part two!!!!

By a combination of nerdish hard work and dumb luck I have passed my second big post-grad exam. It was difficult.

One more to go!!!

If I'm lucky this could mean no more exams after I'm 30.

That would be funky

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Poker night

I've just been playing poker with my mates. I haven't played poker for at least 12 years and I don't think I was ever any good at it. I did have some first time luck and I went home 9 pounds up.

We were playing texas holdem, a game that I think I'm totally unfamiliar with. One of my pals has a fancy poker set with chips, etc which really added to the experience. I probably had an unfair advantage because I wasn't drinking so I was betting carefully. Some of my mates just threw all their money away on the first few hands.

I feel a bit guilty about taking money off my mates. I did give them an extra half hour to try and win some of the money back but I was too tired to stay up playing all night. I'll buy them all a pint the next time I'm out with them. Dog racing is a bit better in a way because if you win your money comes from a faceless bookie as opposed to a good mate.

Gambling is evil man. Fun, but evil.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Arthur Lee - RIP

I was sorry to hear that Arthur Lee, the lead singer of '60s band Love, has died at the age of 61 from leukaemia.

Love were a great band and their third album Forever Changes is a true classic that has been an influence on many great bands including Belle and Sebastian. Their early single 7x7 is was an early blueprint for the punk sound.

Lee had a a checkered career. He produced several solo albums in the '70s that have been described as classics. I have not been lucky enough to hear these records as they are out of print. He also spent time in prison during the 1990s' for various crimes.

I was lucky enough to see Arthur Lee and a new version of Love playing a set based on the Forever Changes album in Leicester a few years ago. It was a great gig.

RIP Arthur Lee

Sunday, July 30, 2006

How Superman defeated the KKK

I just heard a really cool story yesterday. The story is apparently true. I'm sure you could check the internet for more details but it sounds good.

The story was about a white American liberal activist in America in the 1940s. His name was Stetson Kennedy. He was an active anti-racism campaigner. In the '40s the Klu Klux Klan were becoming more active in the USA. Kennedy decided to infiltrate the organisation and try to sabotage them.

He managed to join up under a fake name. He paid his membership dues and started going to their meetings. He was quite surprised because their meetings were rather silly. It was all about secret handshakes, passwords, funny costumes, 'grand-dragons' and 'hydras'. The KKK made a fair bit of money from protection rackets and other borderline illegal activities.

Kennedy started to pass information to the police and other government organisations. They didn't care and no action was taken. Kennedy realised that much of the power of the KKK came from its secrets and he had a good idea. He phoned up the producers of the Adventures of Superman radio show and suggested that they write some episodes where Superman fought the KKK.

The radio show went ahead and the writers used all the secret details about the KKK in the show. Overnight the KKK became ridiculous. They were exposed as a group of sad weirdos. Membership plummeted.

I found this story in a book called Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. The book used the science of economics to answer questions like 'why do crack dealers live with their mothers?' and 'what do sumo wrestlers and school teachers have in common?'. It's an entertaining book, an easy read and it makes you think.

Check it out


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 - Dead mans chest.

I'd been looking forward to this film since I heard that it would be made. I loved the first pirates film. I saw it by accident with my Dad one weekend when he was visiting me in Coventry. I had no real expectations for the film. It could have been very bad, especially when you remember that it is based on a ride at Disney World. As everyone knows, the first film is great and Johnny Depp is brilliant as Jack Sparrow.

The follow-up could never be as good. Dead mans chest is part two of a trilogy. Even if you did not know this fact you could probably guess. The film doesn't really end (without spoiling too much). It has the feel of a TV series like Lost.

The film is too long. It lasts about two and a half hours and a significant proportion of that is padding. A review (in the Sunday Times, I think) was accurate when it described Depp as being 'more like Frankie Howard than Keith Richards' in this film. The electric presence of Captain Jack has been short-circuited.

The story is average. Some of the special effects are cool but the film might be too scary for young kids. It's funny at times but a good editor was needed.

I'll buy the DVD and I'm looking forward to part 3 but only an average effort.

6 outta 10


Monday, July 03, 2006

football sux

Luckily I'm missing most of the world cup cos I'm studying for an exam at the end of the month. I'm not a big fan of football at the best of times but I have watched the occasional world cup game in the past. However, what I have seen of the games this year has been pretty rubbish with England in particular playing below their potential. Scotland, as ever, didn't even get a look in.

Not been to see any gigs recently. I was sorry to read that Sleater-Kinney (who I saw in Bristol a few weeks back) have broken up. It's a bit of a shame because I think they could have made some really cool music in the future.

I've been listening to some good records recently. Picked up a couple of CDs by the Bad Plus which are good. I just bought the new albums by TV on the Radio and Muse which sound OK as well as the final Johnny Cash album, the one that he was working on with Rick Rubin when he died. I might write more about them in due course.

I haven't really done much else of interest. I had worked 7 days in a row since getting back from Manchester so I was tired over the weekend. I watched a film called Rounders on DVD. It stars Matt Damon and Ed Norton as two poker addicts in New York. Basically Matt Damon is cool while Ed Norton is a twat. It was entertaining. Better than watching paint dry. Or reading this blog.....

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Back at work this morning after a week on a study course in Manchester. I'd only ever spent one weekend in Manchester before so it was cool to spend some time in a new city although I didn't have much of an opportunity to be a tourist. The course was intense with long hours but generally enjoyable. I might even have learned something. The other people on the course were generally cool although a couple of idiots were in attendance (as always). Basically, I was just happy not to be at work.

I was staying in accommodation at the Manchester Business School which was a bit shit. It was overpriced and the shower in my room was reminicent of the ones in my local swimming pool. It looked like something that would be used as a torture venue in Silence of the lambs.

Despite being busy I did get some time to socialize. I met up with an old school friend and his wife who live nearby. We went to the Trafford centre (which is fucking massive) and ate in an American theme restaurant. The food was actually quite nice. The last time that I had seen them was at their wedding reception so I was glad to have a chance to talk to them in a chilled out atmosphere.

I also met up with another pal who writes a pretty cool blog ( and had a couple of drinks in the Dry Bar on Oldham Street. We chatted about old friends who we miss and she was telling me about a music festival thing she is trying to organise. She (and her mates) are trying to set up a two day event in the Dry Bar to showcase a lot of underground bands from around the country. It sounds really cool and I would urge anyone in the Manchester area to go along and check it out. I'll post more details as I get them.

I was a bit starstruck when I was drinking in the Dry Bar. I'm a music geek and the Dry Bar is integral to the madchester myth. One of the more dramatic scenes in the classic 24 hour party people film shows Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays and legendary drug intake fame waving a gun about in what I can only assume was a misguided tribute to the American gangsta rap theme. Obviously this is fictional but in real life Shaun Ryder and Liam Gallagher (cock) are both banned.

I've never met Shaun Ryder although I admire his music. I have met Bez and he was cool. I've met Tony Wilson and he was a cock. Liam Gallagher has called me (and some of my pals) 'cunts' but I know that does not make me special. it's just another mildly amusing anecdote that I won't bore you with here.

Anyway, that's where I've been all week. I like the place and I want to go back some time. Bristol is a bit nicer though.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nick Oliveri and his Mondo Generator - live at the Glasgow Barfly

I went to this gig with low expectations and I was plesantly surprised. Oliveri was the naked guy with the beard in the Queens of the Stoneage. He played bass for them. He was also a member of Kyuss and the Dwarves (aka 'the most offensive band on SUB POP'). Mondo Generator is his own band so no-one can kick him out. He has a reputation for wildness so this show could have been a shambolic mess. It was actually OK.

Before I talk about the headliners I'd like to talk about the support band Titus Gein. They were pretty good. Essentially an instrumental act, their music is a mix between early period Metallica and Air. They are a local band. My only reservation is that the drummer looks like a guy who went to school with me who is a cock. Except fatter. If the drummer is 28 and from East Kilbride please boycott this band. If not (as I am sure is the case) check out My mate thought they were ok but a bit Spinal Tap.

Mondo Generator. Generic hardcore punk. Well played. A few choice QOTSA and Kyuss tracks. Lots of fast bits and swearing. Slow, heavy bits. A rather spiffing version of the popular Black Flag hit 'Jealous Again'. Sweaty, heavy metal crowd jumping about punching each other is a mass act of homoerotic bonding. Mildly entertaining but I've seen it all before. I won't buy any of their records but I would go and see them again if I had nothing better to do.

Very metal crowd. Lots of piercings, facial hair and tattoos that may be job oppotunity restricting in years to come. Very hairy but not 100% male. Things have changed since I wur a lad.

all in all, a pleasant diversion


Sunday, June 11, 2006

X-men 3 - film review

I went to see this film last wednesday. I had been looking forward to it but I was a bit disappointed. I was an x-men fan when I was a kid. I have a big crate of the old comics hidden somewhere in my parents house. I enjoyed the first two films. This one looked good.

Sadly the story is a bit duff and the dialogue is appalling. We do get to see some comic favourites in the flesh - the Beast, the Angel, Juggernaut and kitty pride. They all look good but they just seem like cardboard cutouts. Stiff and lifeless.

The classic 'dark phoenix' story from the comics has been used in a throw-away manner. Wolverine is used instead of Cyclops for key story points in a way that just sucks. Generally this film ain't great.

6 outta 10


Monday, June 05, 2006

Film review - Paradise Now

I caught this film when I was in Bristol a couple of weeks ago. It's pretty emotionally intense.

This arabic language film is set in the Palestinian territories in Israel. At the start of the film we meet two friends who work in a car repair garage. They seem like regular guys. Likeable. They meet a pretty girl who seems to like the more intelligent of the two friends.

Then they are met by a terrorist co-ordinator who tells them that they have been picked for an operation in Israel. I won't spoil the end of the film but it is powerful.

I think it is important to remember that killing people is wrong. This film makes you empathize with two suicide bombers. It is a powerful film that is very well made. You see the grim reality of life in the occupied territories and you can almost understand why they would want to attack Israel. The film does try to make the case for non-violent action in the form of a few expositional monologues from the pretty girl. While what she says is sensible and rational the use of her character in the film is clumsy. She doesn't have much depth.

I don't think I really needed to see this film. I know that life is shit if you are a Palestinian in Israel. I read newspapers, listen to Radio 4 and watch documentaries. I don't think that the killing of one person by another person can ever be morally justified. Hell, I don't even think that violence can ever be morally justified (outside sport). Sadly, we don't live in disneyland and the world is a violent place. This film does make some important points but I did feel uncomfortable watching it.

I did feel that the religious element of suicide bombing was played down in this film although this might be my own cultural prejudices. I find it hard to believe that anyone would kill themselves in a suicide bombing without having strong religious beliefs (although I would underline the fact that these beliefs are very unconventional) and the young men in this film do not seem to be very devout. I don't know if the director is implying that these men are not religious and motivated mainly by politics and/or depression. I don't know if we are expected to believe that they have been manipulated into carrying out their actions.

I could have lived happily without seeing this film. I feel sorry for anyone who lives in the occupied areas of Palestine/Israel but I also feel that violence/terrorism/murder/rocket attacks/etc. can never be justified.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Sleater-Kinney - live at Bristol Fiddlers

On the last night of my wee Bristol excursion I went to see Sleater-Kinney at a venue called the Fidlers. I had never seen them before and despite owning their last album (the woods) I didn't know much of their material. I had only listened to the album once or twice. I had low expectations.

The support band was pretty sucky. They were called 'help she can't swim' (I think) and they were very young. They shouted and screamed and made noise on their various instruments. I plan to never hear them or see them again.

Sleater-Kinney themselves were an altogether better kettle of fish. They were energetic and aggressive from the start. They have a very fat, muscular guitar sound that reminds me of Zepplein, Sabbath and Hendrix. This is backed up by power-house drumming that reminded me of Keith Moon. I didn't miss bass guitar.

I can't really comment on individual songs because I don't know much of their stuff. I liked a song that I think was called 'my life is like a sunny day' best. I will give their record another listen. It deserves it.

My pals all enjoyed the show too. A good result for 4 people who hadn't heard their music before.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Book review - A tale etched in blood and hard black pencil by Christopher Brookmyre

I was busy on my mini-holiday. I managed to read more books in a weekend than I have in the past few months. A tale etched in blood and hard black pencil is the latest blackly humerous crime novel from Chris Brookmyre. I've read all of his books and I think this is one of his better recent efforts.

Brookmyres work appeals to me for several reasons. Usually, they are a fast, easy read. I can normally get through one in a day with little effort. They are well-paced and read like a modern crime movie. His work is often compared to Carl Hiassen. I think Elmore Leonard is another good reference. I also like these books because I recognise the locations. Past novels have had key scenes in Glasgow and at a local supermarket in East Kilbride. This book is mainly set in Paisley. I often feel that I can imagine exactly what Brookmyre was thinking about when I read his books.

I also relate to Brookmyre on a cultural level. I think he is about 8 or 9 years older than me but the experience of a Scottish education that he describes in A tale..... is very similar to my memories of school. The games are the same, the fights are the same, the relationships are the same. He has captured my primary school experience in early '80s small town Scotland (thankfully my life has been free of murder mysteries).

I better actually tell you a bit about the plot of this book. A double murder takes place and two likely suspects are identified. One ends up in a coma and the other contacts an old school friend (now a rich entertainment lawyer in London) for help. This triggers a series of flashbacks that cast light on the murder. The book is actually better than my bland synopsis.

This might be my favourite Brookmyre book. It's a good place to start. Most of them are good but I would leave boilng a frog till last if you want to read them all.

I better mention sick humour. If you don't like sick humour do not read these books.

If you do, have a party


for more info go to

Book review - Who censored Roger Rabbit by Greg Wolf

I finally finished reading this out of print cult classic on the train down to Bristol the other week. Who censored Roger Rabbit? is the cult classic pulp paperback that the goundbreaking childhood favourite is based on. I tracked down a copy on ebay after years of scouring the internet.

This 1981 novel is full of great ideas that were screaming out for a movie adaption. However, the film and the book are very different. Most of the familiar characters from the film are present although it is obvious that the darker aspects of their personalities were erased by the hand of disney. The basic plot is the same - Roger is involved in a crime- but the end points of the story are very different. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who is motivated to track down the paperback (although I recommend you all to do it). A word of warning - there is a novelisation of the film by some guy called Martin Noble. I haven't read it but I advise you to bear its existence in mind if you are playing with ebay.

For more read

So, in summary - an enjoyable read. Wish it was in print.


Bad Plus and Polar Bear - live at the Bath pavillion

I had never heard either of these bands before I went to see them. I've just spent a weekend visiting friends in Bristol and we were looking for something to do. This gig had been advertised in the local gig-guide magazine. I was aware of the existence of the Bad Plus, a jazz band who played Nirvana, Black Sabbath and Aphex Twin; so I was keen to check them out.

We got the train through to Bath and arrived in the venue just as the first band, Polar Bear, started to play. I don't know much about jazz. I like some John Coltrane and Miles Davis and I've read some books but I don't really understand it. I like some of the music but I'm not totally sure of all the theory that goes with it. The hall was full of professional jazz fans and some right tossers (thank you twat with spikey hair who talked through the Polar Bear set).

Polar bear were OK. They play traditional jazz with some electronic effects over the top. The electronic noises are produced by what appears to be a 12-year old playing Sonic the Hedgehog on an apple laptop. They had two sax players, a drummer and a double bass player. The music was energetic at times and chilled at other times. The drummer doubled up as band leader and songwriter. After every couple of songs he would take the microphone to deliver an uncomfortable monologue that implied a keen interest in contolled narcotics. Jazz cigarettes probably. He looked like a member of the Hair-Bear Bunch.

The music was good so all is forgiven.

The Bad Plus were better. They are an american piano-driven trio. The music is alternating dreaminess and chaos. The drummer is brilliant. He plays like an octopus with the energy of John Bonham or a hardcore punk band. He is grinning from ear-to-ear for most of the set. They played an Aphex Twin cover (flim) and an Ornette Coleman cover (song x) but their own stuff was great. When they finished I wanted to hear more. I will try and find some of their CDS. You can hear them on myspace at


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

100 posts

This is post number 100 on Dr Phunk Opinion. Since July last year I've posted 100 entries of varying quality on this site covering any topics that enter my mind. It's good fun and I'm gonna keep doing it. Blogger is better than Myspace.

I'm going on holiday to Bristol tommorrow. I have 6 days off in a row which is great. No need to think about work.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who reads this (if anyone does)


The Da Vinci Code - film review

This movie wasn't as bad as I thought It would be. I expected it to be unwatchable but I did enjoy it.

I read the book around 18 months ago. I had read The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail years ago so nothing in the story was a big suprise to me. The book is good in a 'mental chewing-gum' way. A good read if you want to empty your mind of any stress.

I felt that Tom Hanks was not the best choice for the main character. Harrison Ford would have been better but that would have made this an Indiana Jones film. Hanks is a bit of a non-entity on screen and the best thing that I can say about him is that he didn't get in the way of the story.

The worst bit about this film are the shoddy flash-back sequences. Hanks enters a lift and wrinkles his face. The camera shakes a bit to represent his mental turmoil. It looks crap and I was trying hard not to laugh in the cinema.

I won't say too much about the story but it is OK. I find the subject matter interesting and I think that many other future viewers will too. The Catholic church wanted a disclaimer to appear before this film reminding viewers that it is fictional. I guess you might be spiritually corrupted if you were to misinterpret the Da Vinci Code as a documentary. You would also be fucking stupid but I guess stranger things happen.

Not totally shit. 6 out of 10.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - live at the Glasgow ABC

This gig was what I expected. Long and unexciting.

I have to admit that I only went because of the freakshow element of the band. Anton 'motherfucker broke my sitar' Newcombe is now a minor anti-hero after his sociopathic diva performance in the DiG! documentary. His random violence, drug abuse and self declared genius are all now the stuff of legend. At a guess I would say that about 800 people were at this gig so I realise freakshows must be popular.

As you might expect The Brian Jonestown Massacre have not sold many records.

I do own a BJM CD. I bought their Tepid Peppermint Wonderland retrospective when it came out a couple of years ago. I tried really hard to like it. Anton and I are into similar music. I like Spacemen 3 and the Byrds and the Stones and the Velvets and psychedelic drone rock. So does he. You can tell because his songs combine elements from most of these bands. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it is just a bit bland.

Tonights show was formless. One psychedelic noise jam blends seemlessly into another. At times 5 people are playing guitar on stage. Temelo pedals, reverb, 12-string electric guitars. Shimery. Very, very shimery.

None of the threatened violence or psychotic drama of DiG! was present tonight. The dancer with the monkey sideburns shook his tambourine and lit a cigarette (ROCK AND ROLL!!!). There was a lot of jamming. The most exciting moment came when the heavy handed Rock Steady security ejected a punter for smoking. I am a commited non-smoker. I hate smoking. I was tempted to light a fag in the hope that I would get thrown out.

I guess I'm being a bit harsh hear but this was just boring. I expected it so I can't really complain. Anton seems like his heart is in the right place even if he has 'issues'. If you have seen DiG! you might argue with me about that. To find out more about BJM please go to You can download a lot of their back-catalogue for free from this site. Form your own opinion. Don't believe me. I won't be going to see them again.

Watch DiG!


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saver return my arse

Just bought some tickets for a return train journey from Glasgow to Bristol and it cost £120.

Saver return my arse.

I'm paying to save the environment!



I've been a bit busy over the past couple of weeks so I haven't really updated this page much. Last week I had a friend up visiting from Essex. He had never really been to Glasgow before so I was doing the whole tour guide bit. The weather was OK on Saturday and a bit grey on sunday. It had been much better earlier in the week.

I showed him round the university and the Hunterian museum (which has a new medicine in Glasgow display) before walking from Byres Road, down Great Western Road and through Woodlands to the city centre in an attempt to see some of the architecture. Visited a couple of my childhood pubs before sitting in the sun outside Mono on King Street for a while. Then returned to the west end for dinner before meeting people I work with in Vodkawodka (which was loud and expensive) and going on to Bamboo (which is a sht night club). Tried to get into a casino on the way home but luckily failed to get in.

The next day was clouded with hangover. Went to Cafe Andaluz (a tapas restaurant) and ate till we felt like bursting. Went into town and strolled around for a bit. Played pool in a dodgy snooker club. Went to the Stand comedy club and watched some comedians. At the Stand I met a girl who was in the year below me at uni.

A busy weekend. I was knackered after it.

I fell asleep at around 9:30 on monday evening. I was working late on wednesday and I went out again on thursday night. I went to the entertainment complex at braehead for a girls birthday. I had never been there before but it seems pretty cool. Played a couple of games of bowls. They have indoor skiing there which cannot be good for the environment.

that's it for now. enough mundane stuff


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Kevin Smith - why he is cool

Kevin Smith is a hero of mine. I first became aware of him and his work when I was at Glasgow Uni in the mid 1990s. I've always been a media junkie and I was aware of the hype surrounding Clerks on its release in 1994. I can't actually remember the first time that I saw that film but Eddie, one of my hipster nerd pals was a massive fan and he had good taste.

The early films by Kevin Smith appealed because of the pop culture references to comic books and films like Star Wars. The main characters are stoner losers like people I knew. Their lives were not perfect (like everyone). They were bored a lot of the time. Perfect student films.

The other purile star attraction of the films is Jay (and Silent Bob). Jay is a monster. The overgrown adolescent who is 'all about the pussy' and smoking dope. He talks shite like a 14 year old boy and appears to have a similar sex drive. He constantly derides his straight man/partner in crime Silent Bob (played by Smith).

As well as the usual dick/fart jokes his films have tackled serious topics. Chasing Amy is about relationships and sexuality. Dogma is about organised religion and corruption in the catholic church (Smith is a committed catholic and allegedly picketted his own film).

Smith is an actor too. He appears as a recurring character (silent bob) in most of his films and had also had roles in Scary Movie 3 and Daredevil.

Smith also writes comic books. He's actually good at it. He has written several books based on his own films as well as classic characters like Daredevil and Green Arrow. He also writes a blog on his own site and at . The blog on myspace is particularly good with recent entries including 'On the Perils of Strip Clubs' and serials discussing his relationship with Jason Mewes (Jay) and his wife proving to be enjoyable. He also does stand-up comedy/lectures which are entertaining. The DVD 'an audience with Kevin Smith' captures one of these shows and is worth a watch.

Smith has also helped other indie film makers. His biggest success was as producer of oscar winner 'good will hunting' for mates ben affleck and matt damon. Clerks was also made into a cartoon series.

I realise this has been a gushing load of sycophantic bullshit but I do enjoy the mans work. I don't think it's high art but it's entertaining and it makes me laugh. It is good to see the underdog succed and Smith seems to have done that. Clerks II comes out this year and I can't wait to see it.

Newcomers - try Chasing Amy if you are mature. Try Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back iff you are emotionally crippled.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Low - live in Glasgow

I'd been looking forward to this show for some time. The last Low album (the great destroyer - pictured below) was a constant feature on my stereo when it came out at the start of last year. That album was in a new 'not quiet' direction for the band and served as my introduction to Low. I liked it a lot and tracked down a few of their other albums such as Secret Name (pictured below too).

I met my mates (both low fanatics) in Tuts for dinner before heading to the ABC. Support was from My Latest Novel and was distinctly lacklustre. Their music is indie mish-mash borrowing in a magpie like manner from many sources. I won't be making an effort to hear more of their music.

Low were fucking immense. In the past they had a reputation for being very very quiet but tonight they rocked. Four or five songs from the Great Destroyer appeared including Monkey, Silver rider, on the edge of, california and pissing. We also got Starfire from secret name and Canada from Trust (in a rocking version). Guitars were abused in true Fugazi fashion. At one point the singer even played guitar with his teeth/screamed into his pick-ups. This was an intense show.

Vocal harmonies. The interplay between the voices of the 3 members of the band was just beautiful. I was basically awestruck by how good they were tonight. If I ever get the chance I will run out to see this band again. I'm also going to buy things we lost in the fire as soon as I can (a few songs from that album were in the set tonight).

So what do low sound like? Classic, timeless rock. Pure. Like Nirvana but quiet. Like Joy Division. Like what mogwai wish they could be.

Fucking brilliant.

Listen to the great destroyer. If you don't like it write abusive comments below. I think you might like it.


Monday, May 01, 2006

current listening

'holiday' weekend

Another holiday weekend. I had to work today but luckily I was able to get away at lunch time. It was pretty miserable going to work on a bank holiday monday and it wasn't helped by some of my co-workers doing their best to cause problems anyway they could. Some people could start a fight in an empty room.

The rest of the weekend was better. Went to a pals house on Friday night and watched two brand new episodes of south park. One 'a million little fibres' focused on genetically modified towel 'towlie'. This was an extremely surreal episode in which two of the main characters were parts of oprah winfreys body. One body part spoke with an Australian accent whilst the other was Welsh. I could not believe what I was watching. Not the best South Park episode ever but it was surreal. The other episode was 'manbearpig' which was very average.

The weather was great on Saturday. I spent a couple of hours sitting out in the sun drinking iron brew in the beer garden of a local pub. That evening I went to a Spanish restaurant with a bunch of my friends before going to a wedding. I ate myself almost to death in the restaurant so I was a bit tired when we got to the wedding. The real wedding actually took place in Hawaii a few weeks earlier and this was a sort of reception thing. It was a bit different - you could watch the video from the honeymoon while they were walking about in their wedding clothes. Despite the fact that beer was 3 pounds a pint I spent most of Sunday wrestling with a hangover.

Went to Oran Mor on Byres Road for a couple of drinks with my cousin this evening. It was quite nice in there and it made up for having to work this morning. There were some 'interesting' people drinking including one bloke wearing what I can only describe as spice girl shoes. Each to their own.


also go to

for some mad banjo music by a bloke I know

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Night watch (nochnoi dozor) - DVD review

I'd read a bit about Night Watch (nocnoi dozor) when it was in the cinema a few months ago. I'd been quite keen to see it then but I didn't have the opportunity. Night Watch is the first part of a trilogy of Russian fantasy/action films that have been very successful. The films are based on a series of Russian science fiction books by the author Sergei Lukyanenko.

The film is set in modern Russia and revolves around a supernatural police force 'the night watch' who regulate the vampires and other citizens of the dark. For centuries an uneasy truce has existed between the forces of light and dark. The world is full of 'others', human beings born with superhuman powers who choose to be 'light' or dark'.

Anton is the main protaganist in the film. The first scenes show us how he discovered that he was an other and tell us a bit about the mistakes that he has made in the past. Then we see him as he tries to save a young boy from a vampire. During this mission he discovers that the world faces apocalypse.

I believe that this film has been very successful in Russia. It mixes matrix style special effects with a ghostbusters feel. The story is fast moving, includes some original ideas and some good plot twists. It feels fresh. If it wasn't in Russian it would probably be more successful although if this was an american film I think it would be shite (like underworld). I'm sure we have an american remake to look forward to.

I liked this film. I want to see the sequels. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to watch a film with subtitles and likes action movies.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

where i'm at

just finished a late shift at work. at home on the sort of post-work come down. I've probably got a pretty busy day tommorrow and i think i'll have to work on the bank holiday monday too.
I have tickets to see low on tuesday which should be cool.

i've watched a couple of DVDs recently. king kong which was very long and difficult to concentrate on and the constant gardener which was better. listened to the new arctic monkeys single which ain't great. i've been listening to tv on the radio who are excellent. I've written more about them on my required records page where uou'll find a link to my myspace profile that features one of their songs.

I saw an interesting internet news story.,,11069-2148620,00.html Basically this is about a very rare genetic condition that turns muscle into bone. Pretty scary. I'm kinda interested in stuff like that. You wonder if this genetic condition could be responsible for legends of people being turned into stone and stuff like that. I found the link on Warren Ellis' s page (link to the right)

anyhow hang loose


Monday, April 24, 2006

indie rock eye spy

just saw stuart murdoch from belle&sebastian in fopp. he was looking cultural!

bought the new arctic monkeys single. not heard it yet.

work better now. new job on different ward more satisfying.

reading who censored roger rabbit? which was made into the classic film. seems good.

otherwise life is good


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Inside man - film review

Inside man is a good film. Possibly the most mainstream film that I have seen by Spike Lee. It stars Denzel Washington as a disgraced (original) police detective who lands a big case which might give him an opportunity to prove himself and redeem his reputation.

A group of bank robbers pull a highly organised heist taking 50 hostages. The owner of the bank seems to be very personally involved. The bank robbers seem to be more intelligent than everyone else.

The premise is not original and a lot of the characters are thinly sketched. However this is a strong plot-driven thriller that will make you think. It has some good actors and some interesting ideas. I liked it.

7 out of 10

rent the dvd


Superfolks by robert mayer

I actually managed to read a book yesterday. That's pretty good for me. Most of the time I'm too tired but I was interested to read Superfolks. It's an influential pulp science fiction paperback that was initially published in 1977. It is important because it was a major influence on Alan Moore and the adult orientated superhero comics of the 1980s that are filtering though to mainstream movies and culture now.

Robert Mayer was an 'award-winning' jounalist before he knocked out Superfolks in 1977. It's not amazingly well written. It's just a science fiction pot-boiler but it does have some ideas that, for its time, were original. The story is about a retired 'superman' who lives in suburbia with his pregnant wife and two children. His powers have waned and he has fallen into middle-age spread. He commutes to his boring job as a copy-editor at a newspaper. He never married his 'lois lane' and instead married another woman. He has never told any of his lovers about his secret identity.

A crisis develops in New York city so 'superman' has to come out of retirement and save the day. Sadly he is less potent than he was in his youth and he can barely fly. And a sinister plot is afoot....

The novel is very much of its time, littered with throw-away references to american pop-culture and celebrities. There are also a few hippy references and a fair dollop of swinging '70s sex to improve sales. This is not a great book by any means but it has ideas. The ideas have been seen in films like who framed roger rabbit? as well as comic book classics like watchmen, miracleman and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Reading this book removes a bit of the shine from the genius of Alan Moore (a bit, not all).

So, an interesting read. A cheap thrill. Influential but not amazing.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The true confessions of an internet nerd

I'm on the slippery slope. Broadband internet access is a curse. I'm spending far too much time messing about with this stuff. I've now worked out how to add album artwork to my required records page which makes it look better. I've also been pissing about on myspace and found a cool fridge magnet thing that people can play with. all fun.

been to the pub with a few of my mates this evening. most of them are married now. it's a bit scary. you get the 'left on the shelf' feeling. a bit like a kid surrounded by grown-ups. then you hear that one of these married 'grown-ups' has just had a fist fight with his wee brother for no reason at all and you feel a bit better.

anyway, here are some more pictures of records


dr phunk on myspace!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

giant drag at the barfly in glasgow

i've been listening to this album a lot over the past month. i picked it up because it recieved good reviews and it has made me become all evangelical. I've been playing it to my friends and they all like it too. when we found out that they were playing in the rather small barfly venue for only seven quid we made a mad dash for tickets. and it was worth it.

we didn't know what to expect. we knew that the band only has two members but the album is very layered. would they have extra band members or would they play to a tape? as it happened only two people were on stage (the female singer guitarist and the male drummer everything-elseist) and they made a valiant attempt at reproducing the album. the guitar was loud and the drummer played basic keyboard with one hand when needed. a good attempt.

the singer. the singer. the singer. she has a personality. a bit funny, a bit weird. she comes across like willow from buffy the vampire slayer. she complains about the weather and smoking in the rain. she does an impression of her last scottish audience (standing, blank and unimpressed) and she generally keeps everyone amused. she seemed to become more confident as the show went on. her guitar playing was good although she asked the lighting man to turn up the lights because she is 'a girl and she needs to see her hands to play guitar'. her singing was good as well but I did miss the dreamy multi-track vocals of the album.

they played for about an hour and we heard the album, some b-sides, some new songs and a kick ass version of wicked game. well worth 7 quid. buy the album. see them if they play again. you might become evangelical too.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bonnie prince billy - live in Glasgow

Tonights excursion was to the ABC on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow to see Bonnie prince billy supported by highland folk band Harum Scarum. Before the gig I met my mate in King Tuts for some decent food served by attractive barmaids.

I was not really taken by the first set by Harum Scarum. I could not pretend to be a folk music fan. I have danced to traditional Scottish music in the past and enjoyed it. I have worn a kilt and felt comfortable but I wouldn't really listen to traditional folk music for pleasure. Harum Scarum passed me by.

Bonny prince billy is a zelig type character. Will Oldham (a.k.a billy) was an actor and has operated under many musical identities. He has worked with many different groups over the years to produce some very different sounding albums. His recent tortoise collaberation was an example of this. You never know what to expect from Oldham. Like Bob Dylan he seems to delight in reconstructing his songs on a regular basis. This approach is admirable but it can be annoying.

Initially we had solo Billy tonight. He played several songs including 'ease on down the road' accompanying himself on guitar. Harum Scarum joined him for the rest of the set. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. Oldham looked like he was having fun and some good songs were played. I felt that the power of some songs such as 'I see a darkness' was diluted by the arrangement but it was still good. I was happy to see Bonnie Prince Billy playing his songs in the flesh.

Oldham is an interesting looking guy. He has gaunt features and one hell of a beard. He looks a bit scary. A bit like a potential axe murderer. A bit back-woods. Like his songs. Is this him in character? Is Bonnie Prince Billy pure theatre?

Sitting in the bar my friend and I talked about the 'typical' Will Oldham fan. What would they look like? Who is a 'typical' Will Oldham fan? It was an older, studenty crowd. Intellectual. Intresting hair cuts, facial hair and glasses. Clothing was anti-fashion in a studied manner. I wonder how these people first started to listen to his music. His music is powerful and affecting. I love it myself but I just don't know how he finds a market. I would like to know.

Anyway, the show was ok but it could have been better. My friend said that the last show he caught (5 years back) was better. I'll go and see him again if I get a chance but I hope he has a different backing band.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

night shifts

just finished seven 13 hour night shifts in a row. I've had no life for the past 7 days but I survived and more importantly everyone else did. some of my nights were very busy. last night I only got to sit down and have a sandwich after 9 hours (and that was only for 20 minutes). Luckily I don't have more nights for 4 months now.

I've just recently bought series 7 of south park on DVD from america and it's rather good. Somehow I hadn't seen any of it so it gave me something to watch in the 30 minutes of spare time I had before falling asleep every day. I haven't read anything, watched TV or spoken to any of my friends. The things we do for money....

Back to 9 to 5 normality on Monday. Going to see bonnie prince billy and giant drag next week which should be cool. Life goes on.

This weekend I'm gonna sleep, read and play guitar


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Something to read

Warren Ellis is kinda cool. He writes comic books. One of the best was called transmetropolitan and was published by vertigo comics. It's about a gonzo journalist modelled on Hunter S. Thompson. It is well written.

To try out an issue go to

This story comes from issue number 8 and can be bought in the collection Transmetropolitan: Lust for life. You could find it on if you want to read more.

Warren Ellis is aware that this is on the net. see for more


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the smoking ban and the nanny state

I don't smoke. I really don't like it. My granny died of lung cancer when I was 10. I have my reasons. Generally, it fucking mings.

Over the weekend their has been a massive cultural shift in Scotland. It can be seen in the difference between the two gigs that I went to on friday and monday. On friday I went to see max romeo and I nearly choked to death on the second hand smoke from all the roll-up kings (who seemed to be trying to go to a bang). The next day my clothes smelled really bad. On monday I went to see the evens in a smoke free environment and it was pleasant. I didn't smell like a tramp when I got home.

I had a similar experience in the big blue on great western road tonight. Smoke free and pleasant. Going out is much better now.

I was walking around the city centre the other evening and all the smokers were standing outside the pubs in the rain. It was a sad sight. Cold, wet people slowly killing themselves in the rain. Not all pubs are following the letter of the law. People in the western could be seen smoking a fag tonight.

So, should the state be telling people what to do? Should smoking be illegal? Should people have the right to kill themselves with their lifestyle choices?

I don't know. I've had two pints and my ethical reasoning has gone out the window. I guess what I'm thinking about is the dichotomy between individual freedom and the nanny state. Both of which are good left-wing principles.

Fuck knows


Monday, March 27, 2006

The Evens - live at the Riverside Club, Glasgow

It was raining the sort of Glasgow rain that I love as I walked up the hill to my flat this evening. Cool, heavy, large drops of rain that are somehow comforting and cleansing. It was a good rain because it helped to wash away the blood from the random acts of violence that I had just witnessed at Hillhead underground station. Two or three young guys with large head wounds, bleeding heavily. Ten to fifteen more blokes in their early twenties shouting abuse at each other. I kept my head down and walked past. The chaos brought me back to reality a bit after the fucking brilliant concert that I had just been to.

The evens are a two piece alternative rock band featuring ian mackaye of fugazi/minor threat and amy from the warmers. They play protest music and love songs, kinda like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Except different.

Ian Mackaye is a great front man. In fugazi (who I have seen live 3 times) he is hidden behind a wall of noise and he shares the spotlight with Guy (another great frontman). In the evens, Mackaye is naked, exposed without a wall of feedback. The audience at this show contained around 100-150 people and Mackaye made an effort to look everyone in the eye and make everyone interact. The crowd was taught parts of songs and encouraged to sing along. On the last song everyone in the room was forced to whistle. Whistle anything. Birdcalls, even. It was sublime.

The music of the evens is powerful; simple and dramatic. Dynamic with warm, fuzzy tones and reverb on the drums. The songs are pretty too - it's all downhill from here is the refrain of one song that Mackaye explains is about those times in life when you realise that you are in a perfect moment. This show was life-affirming. It reminded me that all the shit, the fucked up relationships and the grind of work is just a part of life. This show reminded me of the beauty of good music and good experiences.

I enjoyed it.

Getting to the gig was a bit of an experience. My mate and I walked down the Broomielaw and all of Clyde street looking for the venue. Our tour almost took us directly into a small group of junkie neds that we managed to avoid. We had a quick look at some of the grubier parts of the city centre that I normally try and avoid.

So tonight has been beautiful and ugly. Like life