Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nights over New Year

Started my week of nights over New Year. Currently dying of a head cold but can't call in sick to night shift or festive season shift because everyone woud think I was taking the piss. Propping myself up with caffine, paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Medicine sucks.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sicko by Michael Moore - DVD review

Michael Moore may not be the most objective film-maker in the world but I think that his heart is in the right place. Sicko (which I have just picked up on DVD from America) looks at health inequalities in America.

Health services in America are not free at the point of need. You only get essential health care if you can pay for it or your HMO will let you have it. Sicko is filled with examples of avoidable death that is due to insurance red tape. The worst example, for me, was the story of a young girl with sepsis who had health insurance. Her mother called 911 and an ambulance took her to a hospital that was not approved by her insurance company. The insurance company told her mother to drive the girl to an approved hospital but she died on arrival.

The NHS and other European health services are held up as a model of excellence which does seem odd to me as an NHS doctor. However we are a social medicine provider and that makes me feel good. I never have to tell a patient that we can't treat them because their insurance will not cover them and I hope this never happens in Britain.

The archive footage of the American Medical Association opposing state funded health care is rather offensive and I now have another reason to dislike Richard Nixon. This film may be propaganda but I like it.

For more see

If you are American and you want free health care you can always marry a Canadian


Escaping d&v for christmas

I'm happy today cos I've finished my last shift for 7 days without catching the winter vomiting bug that is doing the rounds at work. Most (if not all) of my colleagues have been off with vomiting and diarrhoea and I've been scared that I would end up spewing my load during the festive season. I've been washing my hands about once every 30 seconds which is possibly pathological and generally acting as if everyone I meet has SARS.

I've survived and I'm home for christmas.

I do have to go back to work to start nights next Friday but by then the virus might have left the wards. A week of nights at New Year is a bit of a bastard but at least I don't need to worry about finding a good party. I expect to see a lot of overdoses and alcohol withdrawal which is never cheery. Overall though I prefer to have christmas off.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Medicine Balls: Consultations with the world's greatest TV doctor by Phil Hammond

As a doctor I like books about doctors. I like some TV programmes about doctors (like Cardiac Arrest and House) and I hate others. I like Phil Hammond although I realise that some people might not.

Hammond has been a medical correspondant for Private Eye for many years and was involved in exposing the Bristol heart surgery problem several years ago. He has honestly exposed medical culture to the world. He has appeared on TV several times and he also does occasional stand-up comedy shows. I saw him at Warwick University about 6 years ago and I enjoyed the show. I have read some of his last book Trust me I'm a Doctor.

I was a bit disappointed with this new book. It consists of transcripts of his 89 minutes to save the NHS and an earlier stand up show. The transcripts are funny and interesting but the book is padded out with some less amusing stuff ('comic' skits about consultations). Hammonds negative view of modern medicine and the NHS is resonant with most junior doctors that I know but I hope his next book is better. From what I remember Trust me I'm a doctor was better.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Musicophilia - Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

This book deals with two of my obsessions - music and neurology. I first got into Oliver Sacks in the third year of my Neuroscience BSc at Glasgow Uni. Until I read his work I'd never really thought about being a doctor but I found that his writing put a human face on the various conditions that I learned about in my lectures. Eventually I decided that I wanted to be a neurologist like Oliver Sacks and applied to medical school which got me to where I am today.

In this book Sacks looks at how music interacts with the brain. He describes musical auras which precede epileptic seizures and seizures which are triggered by music. He writes about the neurological basis of advertising jingles and musical hallucinations. He also talks about how music can help people with conditions like Parkinson's Disease or amnesia as well as the specific neurological problems that can affect musicians (which has left me thinking that I might have a bit of a dystonia affecting my left hand when I play guitar too much.)

He also describes musical hallucinations in deaf people and synaesthesia. I actually wish that I had synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which sensory input is cross-wired and musical notes can be associated with colours or tastes. It is for the most part harmless and it sounds like it might be interesting.

He writes about a rare congenital condition called Williams Syndrome that results in unusual musical abilities and about musical savants. I have learned a fair bit from this book although much of what he writes about has already been covered in his previous works.

I enjoyed this book although I would advise a new reader to start with The man who mistook his wife for a hat (which supplied the title of a Travis album) or An anthropologist on Mars. I would also tell a new reader about the film Awakenings although I would reassure the reader that Sacks books are not as sugary as the film inspired by his work.

For more try

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Required Records - Gulag Orkestar by Beirut

I kinda got lazy and stopped writing the Required Records blog ( ) about a year ago. I never really wrote on that page much anyway which is sad because I love CDs and I love writing about music. I've decided instead to just do all my writing on this page for ease.

Gulag Orkestar (combined on CD with the Lon Gisland ep) is a great record. I picked it up randomly about a year ago from Avalanche Records in Glasgow. I liked the cover, a faded photograph of two women and a car. The photos were apparently found in the back of a library book. I might have read something about the band on the internet before then but I'm not sure.

The music is very folky, unlike most of the indie and alternative stuff that I listen to. Many of the songs have little or no guitar on them and much of the instrumentation is entirely acoustic. Zach Condon (the main Beirut guy) has clearly been very influenced by Eastern European music and makes use of time signatures that are unfamiliar to Western ears. He is backed by some good musicians including Jeremy Barnes (of Neutral Milk Hotel and Hawk and a Hacksaw fame).

A lot of people seem to have an immediate response to this CD because it sounds very different to much of what you hear on the radio or TV. It has a more natural sounding production. The stand-out track is probably Elephant Gun from the Lon Gisland EP although it's all good.

I recommend this record to anyone with jaded ears.

Try for more

Die Hard 4 - DVD review

Die hard 4 (or 4.0 as it seems to be called for some weird reason) is a violent, stupid superhero film. I admit that I enjoyed it but I was pissing myself with laughter for much of the film. Bruce Willis returns after more than a decade as super-cop John McClure who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In this film he somehow ends up in conflict with some evil superhackers who manage to destroy America with a ZX Spectrum. He kills them all easily while performs superhuman feats. He can jump onto a fighter jet and survive falls from great heights. He is immune to explosions and falling masonry. My favourite scene involves him firing a bullet through his own body to kill a baddie. I'm not a surgeon but I do have some knowledge of anatomy and I know that he should at least have a pneumothorax and probably massive internal bleeding from his right subclavian vein but McClure is still able to walk about and make smartass comments with no obvious disability.

Kevin Smith (of Clerks and Chasind Amy fame) makes an appearance as a fat computer nerd who likes Star Wars. He does this well weirdly enough.

An enjoyable movie but I hope to fuck that viewers do not think they have the endurance of John McClure because he is tougher than Wolverine.

Friday, December 07, 2007

American Gangster - Film Review

I didn't know much about this film before I went to see it. Obviously I knew it was a gangster film and I am not averse to good gangster films but I did not realise that it is based on a true story.

Frank Lucas was an inventive and violent drug dealer in New York in the late '60s and early '70s. He found a way to obtain high quality, cheap heroin and sold it at a price that could not be beaten. He created a smack supermarket. He must have been indirectly responsible for a great deal of misery and early death in Harlem.

Despite this negativity Lucas was a 'good family man' who always took his mum to church on Sunday. He rubbed shoulders with the good and the great. He made a lot of money before he was finally arrested.

Lucas admitted all his crimes and gave evidence that led to the conviction of many corrupt policemen and criminals. He was released from prison after 16 years.

I enjoyed the film. It is well made and is one of Ridley Scott's better films. The only thing that made me uneasy was the thought that some people might see Lucas as a role-model. That would not be good.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

radiohead tickets

I now have tickets to see radiohead on glasgow green in june. that is almost as cool as having my bloody valentine tickets but not quite

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The end of the Sopranos

I've just finished watching the last few episodes of the Sopranos. I'm a bit sad that it's over. I don't want to spoil the end for anyone but it does go against expectations. The last few episodes perhaps aren't the best of the series but they are still good. As a body of work the six seasons of the Sopranos are close to perfect.

I know the show is not to everyones taste. Many people would not like the violence, or the swearing ot the drug abuse. I guess that many people would feel that these things are glamorised by TV. I hope that the Sopranos attracts intelligent viewers who realise that Tony Soprano is a bad man and not someone you should aspire to be. There will be stupid people out there who would want to model their lives on the fictional New Jersey Mafia but most people will just enjoy the inticate plots and the well-rounded characters that made this show so good.

I would love to see more but I guess that is unlikely to happen.

The Night Watch books by Sergei Lukyanenko

I'm guilty of buying books and not reading them. I love books as objects. I love the way they look and the way they feel. I really love reading them but sadly work conspires to stop me from reading as much as I would like. Sometimes you just have to make the time to sit down and read. Over the last week I managed Night Watch, Day Watch and Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko and I'm glad that I did.

Elsewhere in this blog I have written about the film versions of Night Watch and Day Watch which I enjoyed. They are strange Russian language fantasy horror films about the supernatural in modern Moscow. The films are good (if a little weird) and they led me to the books. The books that I bought and put in a pile beside my bed several months ago.

I sat down and started reading the books two weeks ago and they captured my brain. The blurb on the cover describes them as 'the Russian Harry Potter' but they are better than that. These books are for adults. I don't think you could describe them as serious literature but they do deal with moral relativity and the difference between good and evil. And vampires. And werewolves. And ancient great magicians.

The series deals with Anton, a young Other (supernatural being) and his 'hero's journey' as he develops from an inexperienced Night Watchman (a supernatural policeman who upholds the law and controls evil vampires) to a Great Magician who can do lots of cool shit.

Lukyanenko is writing another book due out next year and I am waiting for it with baited breath. You may enjoy these books.

30 days of night - film review

I went to see this film last sunday after a particularly traumatic afternoon at work. I'd been wanting to see it for some time as I had enjoyed the comic book several years ago. The comic book was based on a rejected film script and sold loads of copies. This raised some interest in Hollywood and now we have an above average vampire film.

The story is set in Barrow, a small town in the arctic circle. Barrow is so far north that the normal pattern of night and day does not exist. Barrow is about to enter darkness for a month and some visiting Russian vampires intend to take full advantage of this. I've always liked Russian vampires.

The film is a bit more intelligent than Blade or your average bite-nite horror. It looks great, avoids cliche's and it has a couple of nice twists. I loved it and I will buy the DVD.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I have my bloody valentine tickets

I managed to get tickets to see MBV. I am happy now.

The Grindhouse films - Planet Terror and Death Proof

I've just watched these two films on import DVD and I'm sad that I never had the chance to see them in the cinema as the directors intended. Tarintino and Rodriguez are both big-names in their own right and together they provide a blockbuster package. Sadly the package was a bit too complicated for the average American so it tanked at the box-office and the films were seperated for DVD release and world-wide distribution.

Planet Terror is a primary-colour zombie film. It's good fun and inventive. Not too demanding intellectually but worth watching. Death Proof is a road/horror movie with a cool soundtrack.

Neither of these films is a masterpiece but they are pure entertainment. If your like rubbish films you should see them.

Daywatch - DVD review

Daywatch is a Russian language film, the follow up to Night Watch which came out a year ot two ago. It is probably best to see Night Watch first to fully enjoy this film.

The story is about two opposing supernatural police forces in Moscow who work together to balance good and evil. It's based on a popular series of Russian novels (which I am currently reading). It has been seen as the Russian answer to the Matrix although it is not as tacky.

It's funny and weird with some big explosions and a twisty plot. I like it. You might too if you want something different.

Jello Biafra - live at the Glasgow Arches

Jello Biafra has been a hero of mine since I was a young teenager. I started to listen to the Dead Kennedys when I was about 12 and the songs were important to me. The anti-authority, questioning attitude of this music probably helped shape who I am. I listened to his music every day for several years.

Biafra is a strong character. He is very anti-corporate and anti-government. He has done his best never to 'sell-out' in punk rock terms. Despite recent legal problems with the other Dead Kennedys he has done his best to avoid his music being used in the commercial sector.

Now he works more as a spoken word performer than as a musician. He has recently recorded albums and toured with the Melvins but for the most part he runs his record labels and does 'spoken word' stuff.

'Spoken word' is an unusual concept. It can be funny but it's not really stand up comedy. For Biafra it is more like a lecture as he details the evils of George Bush II and the military industrial complex. My mate (who I forced to attend) described the event as a 'left wing self affirmation event' enjoyed the evening, possibly even more than I. This is a tribute to Biafra's magnetic personality and natural showmanship. Sadly after 3 hours and 15 minutes I couldn't take anymore and I had to go to the pub. I am a 'sell out' but I will never vote for George Bush.



On Wednesday we went to Avebury for something to do. Avebury is the largest surviving stone circle in the UK. It is rather impressive when you see it. The site is made up of a large ditch surrounding 3 rings of stone circles. Some of the stones are pretty big and it must have taken year to build the site.

No-one knows why the circles were created although a lot of theories exist. Unsurprisingly Avebury is a hippy mecca. The bookshop is a wonder to behold. Books describing a muliitude of alternative and unscientific thought are available there. Faith-healing, UFOs and paganism.

Julian Cope lives near Avebury and signed copies of his two slip-case edition scholarly works on big stones are available at the hippy book shop. My friendly chat with the shop-owner about Mr Cope resulted in her thinking that I was a stalker which was a bit uncomfortable.

We ate in the Red Lion, the local pub. The food was good and I would go back.

There is also a large white horse at Cherhill carved into the hillside outside Calne on the road ro Avebury. Worth seeing, and you don't have to pay for it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I was in the same room as Julian Cope on Monday

Currently on holiday in Bristol. Escaping the cold of Scotland for the cold of the South West. Went to a weird krautrock gig on Monday night in a bar called the Croft. Two German guys were making weird electronic pulsing music. They used to play in Neu!, Kraftwerk and Harmoni. It sounded OK but I was so tired that I couldn't focus on the bands.

The interesting thing about the night was that Julian Cope was DJing. He's a freaky guy. I read his autobiography 'head-on' a few years back. It kicked ass (the book). He was playing heavy sounding rock records most of which I had never heard before and I am unlikely to hear again. It was good shit. He was wearing some sort of German tank commander hat and he just looks like a cartoon character. He also appears to be about 6foot6 tall.

The crowd in this place was weird. Long-haired krautrock fans who all seemed to be on mind altering drugs. My female companion was one of only 5 women in the building. She found it disconcerting.

My life intersected with Julian Cope again, later in the week (to be continued....)

My Bloody Valentine strike back

My Bloody Valentine are playing in Glasgow next year. I will cry if I don't get a ticket.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Arcade Fire - Live at Glasgow SECC

The Arcade Fire are a popular band. They have soundtracked many bus journeys for me over the past few years. They managed to pack the SECC tonight with a crowd that ranged in age from 12 to 70 (there was a white-haired old granny dancing in the crowd beside me. As a doctor I would guestimate her age at 68).

The support bands were ok. First support band, Whitelight, were an Arcade Fire clone but that is not a bad thing. I bought their EP which I plan to listen to. Second band Clinic were nothing special. I saw them about 10 years ago at the Barrowlands and they were shite. Today they were inoffensive. My mate is a fan but I couldn't see the attraction.

The stage set for Arcade Fire was impressive. They had a large church organ at the back of the stage and numerous video screens showing footage of preachers mixed with live stuff of the band. At different times up to 10 musicians were playing. Drums were tossed around and one member of the band seems to wish that he was a stunt man as opposed to a musician.

The set was a good mix of both albums with a few oddities thrown in. My personal favourite was the organ-driven version of Kiss Off, one of my favourite Violent Femmes tunes. I hope to find a proper recorded version of that somewhere.

I left the SECC happy. It would have been nice if it was louder but it was ok. I can't wait to hear new music by the Arcade Fire.

The Boredoms - live at the Glasgow Arches

The Boredoms have been going since 1986. They are one of the most famous noise rock bands in Japan. The Flaming lips played tribute to them on their 'yoshimi battles the pink robots' album. They started out as a hardcore noise punk band before evolving into something a bit more experimantal. I own a couple of the CDs and I think 'vision creation newsun' is probably as good a place to start as any.

Back to the point. When I saw that the Boredoms were playing in Glasgow I ran out to buy tickets.

The support act was another underground noise rock legend; Michael Gira, former frontman of The Swans. He was playing some acoustic songs which were intense but otherwise unexciting. Nick Cave does it better.

I didn't know what to expect from the Boredoms tonight. You never can really. I couldn't see the stage too well at the start but some I believe that some non-musical machine was used to create noise. Sparks flew and weird humming noises were heard. After that there was a drumming frenzy which sounded rather good.

They had a strange percussion instrument on stage. It looked like the fret-boards from several guitars stuck to a central pick up. This was played by one member of the band hitting each fret-board with a drum stick. I suspect that each guitar neck was tuned to a different open chord allowing music to be made. I loved this idea.

They played for about 90 minutes. Bits of it sounded like tribal dance music and bits of it sounded like guitar based noise rock. Some bits just sounded like a Japanese guy with dreadlocks screaming but overall it was fun and I'm glad that I was there. I won't forget the experience and I think I would like to repeat it.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

More songwriting

Just did a bit more songwriting today. More rocky than usual. I played bass and wrote the words/did the singing. We just basically jammed the tune out over a drum machine. The song is called 'you can't gargle sand' and comes from an offensive joke. It will appear on myspace on the 'drphunk and the remnants of punani' page if we finish it soon.

Acoustic Ladyland - live at Glasgow King Tut's

I was surprised that this gig was not sold out. 'Skinny Grin' and 'Last Chance Disco' have been two of my favourite CDs of the past year. I've seen Polar Bear and Fulborn Treversham (alternative identities for the Acoustic Ladyland folk) but I've never managed to see the main event.

The support bands were pish. Indeed, the first support was one of the pishest bands I have seen in a long time. The second band was redeemed slightly by an attractive female guitarist but I can't really imagine myself humming one of their tunes.

Acoustic Ladyland were great but I wish they were louder. Saxaphone player/singer Pete Wareham sang all the songs which are often sung by other vocalists on the albums. He gives a sort of Madness/Clash vibe to their sound. 'Cuts & lies' and 'Paris' sounded a bit different but still energetic. The music was loose and shambolic in a good way.

I wanna see them again and I want more new CDs by them soon. I just wish they were louder.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Talking slowly

With advancing old age I now find that I am generally more direct than I was as a young lad. I am worried that I am sometimes a bit blunt.

For that reason I am shocked that some people still claim to have not really got the message.



Thursday, September 27, 2007

A day at the races

I went to the Gold Cup horse race meeting in Ayr at the weekend. I had never been before. It was expensive to get in (18 quid) and a lot of people were wearing their posh clothes. Neds were also in attendance. The whole event was broadcast live on TV.

I bet on a few races in my normal Aspergers manner. I won £13.20 when one horse came in first although my totals bets amounted to £28 leaving me 15 quid down overall. It's a lot slower than dog-racing and less fun in many ways. It's also harder on the pocket.

An interesting experience.

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

This is another book that I picked up after reading the article on science fiction in serious literature in SFX magaxine recently. I believe that it is about to be made into a film (although I am unsure if an accurate celluloid adaption will be possible).

The book opens with a man who cannot remember his name. He visits his psychiatrist who tells him this has happened to him 11 times before. He begins to recieve letters written by himself before he lost his memory. These letters hint at danger. It is unclear if these letters represent thought disorder (schizophrenia) or are real.

Eric (the man) embarks on a quest to discover the truth.

The book is written in an interesting manner, with diagrams and examples of 'concrete poetry' (if I remember the correct technical terminology from my high school English classes). The story is OK but it does drift into the territory of 'The Matrix' at times.

Worth a read if you can put up with the sci-fi bits.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Knocked up - film review

Two people have a one night stand and the girl gets pregnant. It happens in real life. She then decides to keep the baby and informs the unknowing father. Hilarity ensues.

This is actually another enjoyable comedy in the style of 'superbad' or '40 year old virgin'. I was laughing a lot when I watched it and it seemed realistic. The birth scenes reminded me of the babies I delivered as a medical student.

I will buy the DVD but I have more money than sense.

8 outta 10


Attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks by Christopher Brookmyre

As anyone who has read any of this blog will know I'm a big fan of Brookmyre. His latest book 'Attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks' is not his best but it is still good. I found it difficult to get into at first, probably because the first chapter is written in the style of a Daily Mail journalist. Brookmyre simulates the Mail style so well that it made my blood boil. The other weird thing about the book is the narration by the ghost of Jack Parlabane, the recurring hero of several Brookmyre novels.

Brookmyre again uses his writing to take well-aimed potshots at the idiots and wrong-doers of this world. My only complaint would be that spiritualists are too obvious as a target but it is still enjoyable.

Worth reading but not his best. Start with 'quite ugly one morning' or 'a tale etched in blood and hard black pencil'


On being 30

I turned 30 on September the 9th. It was a bit weird. I had a meal with a group of friends and spent the night in a Glasgow Casino to celebrate. I had a good time.

So much has happened in my life in the past ten years. I think I've done well. Ten years ago I had long hair and a beard and I looked like a scum-bag. It was intentional. I wanted to be a rock-star or a journalist or an anarchist. Now I'm a doctor. You can't predict these things.

I try not to plan my life too much. Everyone likes to make plans but it is nice to let fate and accident guide things a bit.

Good things and bad things have happened over the last decade. I've loved people and lost people. I've done some cool stuff. I'm almost where I want to be now.

I don't know where I'll be at 40. Hopefully I'll have a steady job. I hope I'm married or with someone. It would be cool to have kids. All the sentimental shit.

It'll be interesting getting to 40


Superbad - film review

This film worked with my infantile sense of humour. The girl I was with seemed to enjoy it too. It tells the story of 3 teenage guys on a quest for sex and alcohol. The guys, as you would expect, are nerds. The girls are pretty. The audience roots for the underdog.

There is some good gross-out humour here. The 'dirty dancing' scene was a personal favourite. Watch if you have a coarse taste in comedy.

8 outta 10


The end of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

As always I have used my holidays to catch up on some recreational reading. I bought 'the end of Mr Y' after reading an article in SFX on science fiction in mainstream modern literature. I have not read any other books by Scarlett Thomas although I may check some out.

The story revolves around Ariel, a PhD student who is writing a thesis on 'thought experiments' and the work of Thomas Lumas, a nineteenth century writer. Lumas had an unfortunate life and was the author of a lost novel, 'the end of Mr Y' which is said to be cursed.

As one would expect Ariel finds a copy of the lost novel and is drawn into the curse.

The book is well written and it contains some interesting ideas. It has some 'hard' science stuff as well as fantasy but it isn't boring. I read it in one sitting. You might like it.


link -

Crooked little vein by Warren Ellis

I've been a fan of the comic books and internet ramblings of Warren Ellis for some time now. I was keen to read this book but I was worried that it would disappoint me. Could Ellis write a real book or would he disappear up his own arse? Thankfully he can write as this short novel demonstrates.

The book is not too far removed from the subject matter of his comic books, especially 'transmetropolitan'. It deals with a detective who is charged with the task of finding the only known copy of an alternative version of the constitution of the united states of america. To find the books he has to trawl through the perverts and lunatics who haunt the American underground. All very run of the mill for Ellis.

Not groundbreaking but a good, quick, easy read. Looking forward to more.


The Go-Team and Caribou - Live at the ABC, Glasgow

I've liked the Go-Team for a while and I was keen to see them. The additional presence of Caribou on the bill was an unexpected bonus. I've listened to them since they were called Manitoba and they released the 'up in flames' album. I nearly went to see them a week earlier so I was glad to have saved my money. That does not mean that Caribou were not good (they were good). It just means that I'm a cheap bastard.

The Go-team are like an indie-pop 'united colours of beneton'. They were bright coloured clothes and they and of mixed gender and ethnicity. They are loud, energetic and fun! The muisc is a cross between AWOL dance legends 'the avalanches' and Glasweigan fey popsters 'belle and sebastian'. Lead singer Ninja is like a demented Blue Peter presenter cheerleading the crowd through supercharged soundbites of indie-rap goodness.

I liked the show. I want to see them again.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunshine - film review

This is another film I missed at the cinema. I regret that because I think it would look great on the big screen. It's a science fiction film by the Trainspotting/Shallow Grave/28 Days Later Team with a script by Alex Garland (who wrote The Beach).

It looks like a classic sci-fi film with great colours and the claustrophobia of travel in a space ship. It reminded me of 2001, Alien and Event Horizon. Not a bad thing.

The story is about a group of scientists on a 'last hope' mission to save our dying sun by dropping a massive nuclear bomb into it's heart to reignite it. They realise that they are on a suicide mission and that they are our final chance at survival. An earlier mission failed mysteriously 7 years earlier.

Everything is going smoothly until they encounter the missing shiop, Icarus one.

I won't give away any more of the story but it looks great and the soundtrack is cool. I liked it but I don't know that everyone else would.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation at the Glasgow ABC

I have written about my love of Sonic Youth and Daydream Nation many times. I first heard silver rocket on a compilation tape given to me in my first year at secondary school (1989-90). I then borrowed a cassette copy of daydream nation from the East Kilbride public library. I copied it and listened to it on my personal stereo religiously. In the past 17 years I believe that I have listened to daydream nation more than 1000 times. I own many other Sonic Youth records and I saw them once before, on their Washing Machine tour, at the Glasgow Barrowlands in the mid-late '90s.

Sonic Youth are great.

My job is a bit shit. It interferes with my life in many ways. I work long antisocial hours and I can be forced to move around the country at short notice. When I saw this show was happening I just bought tickets and thought 'fuck work' I will be miserable of I don't see this. I was initially meant to be on a week of nights this week but I swopped my entire rota to see this gig. I'm glad I did.

The sound was great. The energy level of the no-longer youthful youth was brilliant as they flung their guitars around the stage and had mock swordfights during teenage riot. Noise jams were tastefully inserted into most songs. This was not a dry reading of the record. This performance was alive.

Highlights included silver rocket, erics trip, hey joni, total trash, hyperstation, rain king, the sprawl and every other song they played. A second short set of the best of recent SY albums with Mark Ibold of Pavement on bass was great too. Do you believe in rapture?, incinerate and rather ripped all evoke the old sonic youth fire.

This was a brilliant night. Words fail me when I try to tell you how good this show was. See sonic youth play daydream nation if you can. I want to see them play sister and dirty now.



Slint playing Spiderland at the ABC in Glasgow

This is the sort of gig that I never thought I would see. Legendary obscure American noise rock band Slint playing their classic album spiderland as it appears on vinyl live in my favourite Glasgow venue. As an adolescent I used to fantasize about shows like this.

It wasn't very busy. I went with one mate and caught up with another old friend who is a member of an internationally successful Glasgow noise rock band. We stood and watched as the band ran through spiderland. The band were tight and loud. The show made me want to listen to the album again.

The last show was a new song. My friend, who knows some of the band, tells me that they have recorded some new songs and that a new album may happen. That could be good.

Listen to spiderland.

It's an interesting record.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson is dead

I met Tony Wilson once at a book signing in Glasgow and I thought he was a bit of an arse. I also knew a guy at uni years ago who claimed to work for the Factory 2 label and he was a total cock. Ignoring these small asides Tony Wilson was very important on the UK music scene. His Factory label was inspirational and he provided a home for Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays among others. He released records that have soundtracked my life.

Outwith the actual music Factory was interested in Art and culture. The hacienda had a massive impact on dance culture and probably helped shape modern Britain for good or bad. Wilson was also a television presenter and a regular pundit on arts shows. The film '24 hour party people' is based on his life and is well worth seeing.

He died of cancer on Friday night apparently.


Andy Warhol at the National Gallery of Scotland

I braved the pissing rain and cold of the east coast of Scotland to visit this retrospective of the work of Andy Warhol in Edinburgh. I had to stand in line for 10 minutes getting totally drenched but it was worth it.

I like Andy Warhol because of the Velvet underground/Exploding Plastic Inevitable connection and in many ways I got into the Velvets because of the iconic bananna cover to The velvet underground and Nico. As a teenager I half-read a few books about Warhol including some of his diaries. He was a strange guy but he created strong images.

Everyone knows his soup tins and his Marilyn Munro but this show spotlights many of his less familiar work including his 'multiple elvis' images, his 'stitched photographs' and other portraits of trash cultue icons such as Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones and Liza Minelli. He was very interested in multiple repeated images and the effect is much better when you see the massive pictures in a big space.

I really liked his paintings for children which he produced in the early '80s. I had not been aware of them in the past and I felt that they had a warmth that is missing from some of his more famous work.

It tool about an hour to walk round and I plan to go back before the show closes in October. It was well worth eight quid and I spent a bit more cash in the gift shop. My only grumble was about some of the annoying national gallery staff who didn't like you carrying a rucksack around the show.

Worth making the effort.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Transformers - film review

This film is much better than it should be. It had serious potential to be pish but it is acutally rather funny. The special effects are a bit over the top but it does have some cool action sequences.

Like most Scottish kids of my age I grew up with the Transformers on TV, in comics and as toys. I was totally immersed in them from a very young age. If you had told me back then that a live action Transformers movie would come out one day and look good I would never have believed you.

I will buy this on DVD and I will watch it again. I will go and see the sequel.

You should see it in the cinema if you can


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

thrill power overload by David Bishop

I read this history of 30 years of the 2000AD comic a couple of weeks ago. I've just been inspired to write about it by the Judge Dredd film that I'm watching on DVD as I type. 2000AD, the self-styled 'galaxys greatest comic' is a British institution, as is it's most famous character, Judge Dredd. Most vaguely nerdy guys of around my age or slightly older are aware of it. Pop-culture has been infiltrated by several of it's strips.

I grew up reading comics becuase my dad used me as an excuse to but war comics and Asterix books when I was a kid. Some of the older boys that lived up the street from me used to give me there piles of old 2000ADs when I was 7 or 8 and I managed to read most of the big stories. I bought the reprint editions myself years later.

The interesting thing about this book is the revelation that 2000AD was nearly cancelled several times. It is also sad to hear about how badly some of the creative staff were treated and amusing to hear early artists dismissed as 'just shit'. Pat Mills sounds like an aggressive nightmare but he is still an excellent writer.

I loved this book and I recommend it to all the nerds out there



Monday, July 30, 2007

Bose stereos kick ass

I am lucky enough to be the proud owner of a Bose acoustic wave II stereo system which is the best CD player that I have ever owned. It seems to make CDs sound better than they have in the past. My personal highlight so far has been 'the great destroyer' by Low which sounded like a new album.

Get one if you can. Just don't try to steal mine as I would be forced to hurt you.

The Simpsons movie - film review

I went to see this film with my dad yesterday. I had been looking forward to it for a while because I like the Simpsons. It was good but I'm not sure that it was much better than normal episodes of the TV series. The creators of the Simpsons had promised that this would be a special story but I didn't really think it was.

I don't want to sound like I didn't like the film. I thought it was great and I'm glad that I saw it in the cinema. It was funny and the animation was good. I look forward to seeing it again (and again) on DVD. It just wasn't the best Simpsons story ever.

Friday, July 13, 2007

No free lunch

Been at work. Many sick people. Tired. Few words but important.

Many things that drug companies do are bad (in my opinion). They do a lot to influence doctors into using their products.

No free lunch is a website about the evils of the drug companies. It is sad that we whore ourselves for free pens and sandwiches. I like nice sandwiches but I am in moral turmoil.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Doctors as terrorists

It would appear that the fuckwits that tried to blow up Glasgow Airport and kill lots of innocent children were doctors. Pretty sad.

I'm a doctor. I decided to become a doctor when I was 21 which is a bit older than most people. I never wanted to be a doctor when I was a child. I decided that I wanted to be doctor because I wanted to help people and relieve suffering. I expect that most doctors have similar motivations.

So what the hell happened with these assholes? Eight people have been arrested. All have medical connections according to the BBC website. Two of these people are terrorists - driving a car filled with explosive material into an airport in front of hundreds of people means you are a terrorist. The other six could be innocent. Time will tell.

What would turn a doctor into a terrorist? Is it due to extreme religious views? Was the stress of the competitive job market the final straw? Was it the feeling of being lost in a foreign culture? Hopefully we will find out.

Doctors are just people. Doctors are weak, stupid and petty. Doctors make mistakes. Doctors fuck up. Most of us try hard to help people but it just takes a few bad apples to spoil things for everyone.

One of my colleagues said to me today that she did not want to talk about the Glasgow Airport incident because it made doctors sound bad. At the end of the day, when I walked down Great Western Road today, nobody could tell that I am a doctor just by looking at me. Life is probably more difficult for people of middle-eastern/south asian origin at the moment. Idiots will always pick on people who look different.

These terrorist fuckwits have made the world a bit worse. I am sad that they were doctors but I think that their betrayal of humanity is greater than their betrayal of medicine.

"me and other folk were just tryin tae get the boot in and some other guy banjoed him''

Glasgow has found a new folk hero - John Smeaton

This guy helped the police during the terrorist attack on Glasgow airport. I do not think I would have the guts to do what he did. He also has quite a way with words.

'This is Glasgow - we'll set about you'

Film review - Shrek the third

I liked this film. I liked the first two. I was pissing myself at bits of it. Worth seeing.

Classic bit when the ginger bread man is really scared. Smarties will never be the same....

8 outta 10


Fopp - RIP

I was a bit sad when I heard that Fopp had gone bust. All 105 shops shut on Friday due to financial problems. Fopp was one of the best record shops ever and the store in Leamington Spa kept me sane for 5 years. I bought my Screamadelica LP and my Loveless LP in Fopp on Byres Road a long time ago. I wasted thousands of pounds in Fopp over the past 15 years.

I hope they re-open.

I'm gonna make an effort to spend more money in Avalanche and Mono in Glasgow. They are the last two great record shops left.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport is a core part of my psychic geography. I grew up flying in and out of Glasgow airport for holidays in spain with my parents. We used to pick my dad up at the airport when he had been abroad for work stuff. My parents are meant to be flying out to Spain from Glasgow next weekend,

You may understand that I am pissed off and upset that some crazy fuckers tried to kill hundreds of people there today. Two lunatics drove a car full of explosives into the front of the airport. Luckily nobody died. Luckily the nutjobs were caught. The public and the police were very brave.

One of these assholes is currently being interogated by the police. The other is in hospital covered in burns. He is probably in a lot of pain. He will probably die unless he is very lucky.

These men will not find paradise in death. No just god would reward them for trying to murder innocent children (many young families would be flying out on holiday today as this is the first weekend of the Scottish school holidays). If there is such a thing as hell these idiots will burn.

The attack appears to be linked to the attempted bombing in London last night. More crazy murderers are on the streets of Britain right now. I expect that some innocent people will be murdered before they are caught.

These attacks have more of an impact than the isolated physical assault. They create divisions between groups of people. They push us apart when we should be trying to come together. They make humanity worse and they make peace more difficult. It must be difficult to be a muslim in Glasgow tonight. The muslim community will be blamed for the actions of a few weirdos. It's a shame.

I was in Glasgow city centre shopping at 3:15pm today totally oblivious to events at the airport. I recorded some more music with my mate before I got home and saw the news.

I was saddened but I was not surprised.

I love Glasgow. It is my city. I love Scotland. It is my country. I understand why these nutjobs want to attack us but that does not give them a free pass. We need to catch these criminals but we also need to work against the warped ideas that lead to these attacks. We also need to work hard to stabilise the middle east and try and remove the motivation for these attacks.

Rant over.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Boris live at Glasgow Nice 'n' Sleazy

This gig was full of hipster arseholes and haircuts.

I myself am a dabbler. I had never heard of Boris until my friend texted me to ask if I wanted a ticket to see them. They are a noise rock band from Japan who have taken their name from a Melvins song. They have recently collaberated with another noted noise rock band SUNN(()). I don't know if I have ever heard SUNN(()) either.

For some reason the trendy fuckers of Glasgow have gone mad for Boris. The cramped basement of Sleazy's was sold out and jammed with stupid haircuts. Some of these people had to be Boris fans but I think that some were just there to be seen. I think some of them were taken by surprise.

I had a vague idea of what would occur when my drone rock/grindcore mad friend told me that this show would be 'very loud'. I had a more concrete idea of the situation when he pulled out a box of ear plugs before Boris went on stage and handed me a pair. That was kind of him.

The show was very loud. Bits of the music were very beautiful. It went from slow, quiet instrumental pieces to loud, fast metal to nuclear meltdown noise drones. I never saw my bloody valentine live although I would imagine that the noise segment of 'you made me realise' was similar to parts of this show.

Sometimes, extremely loud droning noises can have a really relaxing effect on you. Music can at times be so loud that you experience it as a physical force, almost like a sonic massage. The end of the Boris set tonight was like that. I think I was able to enjoy it without going deaf because of my ear plugs. I'm reminded of the episode of South Park where the kids search for the 'brown noise', the mythical tone that will make anyone who hears it shit themselves. I used to play bass in a band and sometimes when we were bored we would search for the brown noise, turning off the lights and turning our instruments up as loud as possible while playing one repetitive riff. Sometimes we would turn on a strobe light to make everything seem more freaky. It was good fun. One day the owner of the studio told me that we were so loud that we sent ripples through the ceiling of the room below. I am proud of that.

I like Boris.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wimbeldon Green - the greatest comic book collector in the world. A story from the sketchbook of the cartoonist "Seth"

This is a great comic book about wasted lives and strange men. I liked the other book by Seth that I bought last week so I ordered this one from amazon as it had good reviews. I was well impressed.

The book is a bit like one of those 'talking heads' style documentaries you see about the Beatles or something from the sixties. The tale of Wimbledon Green, the mysterious alpha-male of the collector world is told through a series of monologues from his rivals. There is little in the way of hard facts regarding Green and we are faced with many unreliable narrators (one of my favourite literary techniques).

The story is pretty sad. It shines a light on the autistic spectrum style male collecting behaviour that is characteristic to nerds worldwide. As a fan of both comic books and obscure noisy music this does hit me a bit close to home (although I do like women too). The characters are well drawn and the depth of the loneliness of Green is hinted at in some of the sections.

Seth claims that this book was just a case of him 'knocking one out' for fun. He says that it is badly drawn and poorly executed. I think it's fucking good and I urge you to give it a shot.

I'm gonna try and spend less time in Forbidden Planet (or on the internet) and more time talking to women. This book is scary.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hot Fuzz - film review

This film kicks ass. Simon Pegg can usually be relied upon for quality and he does not disappoint here. Much like Shaun of the dead, Hot Fuzz takes a macho genre film plot and subverts it. Pegg plays a sort of super-policeman who is transfered from London to a sleepy English village because he is so good that he makes all the other policemen (sorry, police-officers) look bad. Initially it looks like village life will be boring but there is something sinister lurking below the surface.....

I have watched Shaun of the dead and Spaced many times. I think I will do the same with Hot fuzz. My only regret is that I missed it at the cinema.

10 out of 10 (excellent in its field)


Saturday, June 16, 2007

200 posts

So I have now created 200 posts on this site in the past two years. It's still fun so I'm planning to continue. I know some people read this at times but I'm really just doing it for myself. I like to write and I like to express my opinions. It's good to have an anonymous outlet.

I'll be 30 in September. I don't own a house and I can't drive. I've got a good job but I don't have a girlfriend right now. I enjoy my life and I love Glasgow. I'm lucky that events have recently conspired to allow me to stay in town for another year. It will be interesting to find out where I'll be after another 100 posts.

It's a good life if you don't weaken by Seth

I picked this up in Waterstones at the same time as Exit Wounds. I had heard a lot of good stuff about this book and I was keeping my eyes open for the reissue.

This is very much a personal, alternative comic. I think it is autobiographical. Seth is the main character in the book. He portrays himself as a disaffected loner who longs for a bygone age. He dresses as if he was alive in the 1940s and he becomes obsessed with an obscure cartoonist who published in the New Yorker magazine after the Second World War. He embarks on a quest to find out more about this man. He is so single minded in his quest that his relationship with his girlfriend falls apart.

The art is less polished than exit wounds but the characters are well rounded. I'm gonna check out more books by Seth. You might like this book but if you don't read comics normally I would try something like exit wounds or Hate by Pete Bagge first.

Exit wounds by rutu modan

I picked this up today cos it was a cold, wet Saturday afternoon in June in Glasgow (I'm stretching that a bit far). Exit wounds in a graphic novel from Israel by Rutu Modan. It is the story of Koby a taxi driver in Tel Aviv who meets a female soldier. She tells him that she thinks his estranged father was killed in a suicide bombing at a bus station in Hadera. Together they try to find out if the dead man was really Koby's father.

The story examines the realtionship between Koby and his dad. It turns out that Koby's dad had a lot of secrets.

The art is beautiful. It has nice clean lines and reminds me of Herge and Tintin. It is bright and full of warm primary colours. The script is good and the relationships between the characters are authentic. Comics are often male dominated so it is cool to read a book by a talented female creator.

Israel is not my favourite country but this book gives you a window into Israeli life. This is a good comic to read if you don't like comics. If you read it, you will want to read more.


Film review - Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer

I went to see this film last night because I had nothing else to do on a rainy Friday night in Glasgow in June (see a theme here?). I did not have great expectations as the first one was shit. I do love Fantastic Four comics and I have done since I was a kid so I thought 'what the fuck?' and bought a ticket. I wanted to see how they did the Silver Surfer and Galactus.

This is a better film than the first one. It has more jokes and some good action sequences. The Silver Surfer looks great although I felt cheated by what they did with Galactus.

Not the worst superhero film ever but not the best. At least I didn't fall asleep this time.

6 out of 10

Megadeth live at the Glasgow Barrowlands.

Have you seen Jurassic Park? This gig was like a mosquitto, trapped in amber a million years ago. Megadeth have not changed in any way that I have noticed since I first heard them in 1987/88. I don't really like them much now. I never really did.

So, why did I go and see them? One of my friends had a spare ticket and asked if I wanted it. I had nothing else to do on a wet Glasgow Tuesday in June so I went. It gave me a chance to go to the Barrowlands which is one of my favourite music venues. It continues to be a total dive as always.

I do not own any Megadeth albums. I think I have one of their 7" singles somewhere. I do like their first album 'killing is my business .......and business is good' because of the Nancy Sinatra cover 'these boots are made for walking' and Mechanix, the original version of Metallica's 'the four horsemen'.

I do think that most of their stuff is pish. In my subjective opinion tonights show did not prove me wrong.

Megadeth are competent. They can play their songs. They can play fast. They can walk around while playing. Dave Mustaine can't sing too well. All of the songs have the same sort of structure and tempo to my uneducated ears.

The set was OK. They played Mechanix, Peace sells.... and Symphony of destruction. I didn't recognise the rest.

I like some bands like Megadeth. Classic period Metallica (the first four or five albums), Anthrax and Slayer were all better thrash bands. I like heavy bands like Neurosis and Graveyard Rodeo. I like loads of hardcore punk. Megadeth are just dull.

The crowd at this show was odd. Loads of '80s style metal heads. I guess they do still exist and I don't go to the places where they lurk. I had long hair but it was never that long. The crowd was in a scary, fucked up time-warp.

So it was OK for a wet Tuesday night in Glasgow when I had fuck all else to do.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Further adventures in songwriting

I wrote and recorded another song with one of my friends the other day. It's a bit more introspective than the last one, sounding more like Arab Strap, Mogwai or dub. It's about having a hangover (which we both did when we wrote it).

I came up with the bassline and played it. My mate programmed the drums and played guitar. I then mixed the music track and wrote lyrics. We took a few attempts to get the vocals right. I think it's good but it needs more work.

It's called 'army of 1000 stoned drummers' for no real reason other than the dub-like sound and I'll stick it on myspace when it is finished.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Franz Ferdinand live at the Glasgow Grand Old Opry

I love the Grand Old Opry in Glasgow. It is an amazing concert venue. It's a country and western club in Govan on the south side of the Clyde. The last time I was there was to see Teenage Fanclub in 1998. It hasn't changed. The sound is good, the hall is intimate, the drink is cheap. There is no actual sawdust on the floor but I kinda want to pretend that there is.

I found out about this secret Franz Ferdinand gig when I was messing about on the internet. They are playing two shows in Glasgow to try out some of their new songs. The tickets were cheap and sold out in a flash. It was a good chance to play Glasgow indie bingo. I spotted the ubiquitous Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian as well as various members of Eska. There was also a high proportion of posers in the crowd. The guest list was pretty long.

The last time I saw Franz was at their SECC show a couple of years back. They were ok but not great. The SECC is a 'limited' venue and I think tour fatigue was kicking in for them.

Tonight they were on top form. They opened with a kick ass version of 'michael' follow by 'come on home' and a heavy version of 'shopping for blood'. I nearly shot my load. (I love shopping for blood cos it's about yuppies in the merchant city of Glasgow. I hate yuppies even though I am doomed to become one)

They played some new songs that whilst embrionic show promise. I think they have been listening to krautrock and they were certainly hitting out with some chilly keyboard sounds. The best of the bunch were 'new kind of kick' and 'turn me on' which had some heavy moog keyboard bass that makes me want to waste money on useless musical instruments.

We got a few more hits including 'walk away', 'the fallen', '40 feet' and a countrified version of 'matinee' (possibly a tribute to the venue).

My pal tried to tape 'take me out' on his phone but was stopped by an over-zealous security woman. Total joykiller! Anyhow I think the gig was filmed properly so I hope to see it again some time. My mate did consider trying to film the rest of the show through the fly of his jeans but the prospect of 20 minutes of murky footage of his cock soundtracked by Franz Ferdinand was just too disturbing.

A great night.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Film review - Pirates of the Caribbean - World's end

I went to see this at the cinema today with my dad. The word on the street is that it sucks but the last film ended on a cliffhanger and my dad was keen to see it so I thought I would take the risk. we went to an afternoon show at the local cinema and the place was full of screaming kids throwing popcorn and peanuts. Joy.

The film itself wasn't terrible although the plot was a bit convoluted. There are some great scenes with Johnny Depp lighting up the scene as Jack Sparrow. His first scene in this film, where he appears to have gone mad, is great. It's a bit out there for a kids film but I thought it was cool. I also like the scene where he talks about his 'magnificent vessel' with two young ladies. Keith Richards makes an appearance although for some reason he does not appear to be wearing any make-up.

Basically, it's not entirely pish but it won't change your life. Also, stay in the cinema for a touching bonus scene after 10 minutes of titles.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Peace out (with your piece out) - now on Myspace

As promised my song is now on myspace under the name 'Dr Phunk and the Remnants of Punani'

Check it out at

I want y'all to love one another now


Sunday, May 27, 2007

The decline of western civilisation - a film review

I had been wanting to see this film for years. I eventually obtained a copy from those nice people on ebay and I was well impressed. The decline of western civilisation is a documentary by Penelopee Spheeris who later made her fortune as the director of Waynes World. The documentary examines the Los Angeles hardcore punk subculture of the late '70s/early '80s including one of my adolescent favourite bands Black Flag.

The west coast hardcore scene of the time seems to have been a pretty unpleasant place. Everything I have read about the scene highlights its violence. The punks spent a lot of time kicking the shit out of each other. Some of the punks in the film seem to be un-nice people. Darby Crash, the doomed singer of the Germs, and his girlfriend come across as stupid or immature.

Darby was a Sid Vicious clone who died of a heroin overdose between the end of filming and the release of the documentary. His image is on the cover of the soundtrack CD. The live footage of the Germs in the film is terrible. Darby could not sing and he seemed to have problems walking at times. He would injure himself on stage and fight the crowd. It is not pleasant to watch.

Some of the music that the Germs made was great. Lexicon devil, Media Blitz and Communist Eyes are all hardcore classics and it is worth tracking down. Pat Smear, the guitarist, played in the terminal line up of Nirvana and female rock singer Belinda Carlisle was their original drummer (really).

Black Flag are a much more serious deal in the film. The live footage is tighter that a gnats chuff. This was pre-Rollins Black Flag when they were fast and deadly with Ron Reyes singing. They sound as good as they did on their early seven inches and they look fucking amazing. I was ready to start jumping around my bedroom. If I had this DVD at age 14 I would have injured myself.

The Flag appear to be intelligent in the interview segment. Gregg Ginn and Gary McDaniels (aka Chuck Dukowski) make sense. It is clear that these guys could read. History underlines this impression when you consider the subsequent success of SST and Black Flag.

X are the other outstanding band in the film. They seem intelligent and interesting. Their music is good. Nausea, from their Los Angeles album, plays during the opening credits and creates a suitable atmosphere of unease. I have now been on ebay to pick up some of their other CDs.

Circle Jerks and Fear both give good performances. Fear were very antagonistic towards their audience and nearly started a riot. The other bands in the film were shit although the footage from Slash magazine was interesting.

As I mentioned before, Spheeris went on to direct Waynes World but you should also track down The Decline of Western Civilisation part II - the metal years which has some comedy Ozzy Osbourne footage.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Modest Mouse - live at the ABC in Glasgow

I approach music on a personal level. I associate different music with different times in my life and different people. I also mentally link bands with other bands that I feel are similar. Modest Mouse are sometimes a bit difficult to catagorise. They are angular and funny-shaped and they don't always fit in.

The first guy that told me about Modest Mouse was a bit of a prick. He told me that they sounded a bit like Fugazi (which is good) and that I would like them. However, the guy was so much of a prick that I couldn't listen to the band. They always seemed a bit like a 'too cool for school' band with no real substance. This was around 1996-1998. I soon forgot about them.

Then when I was living in the midlands I picked up the 'Good news for people who like bad news' CD for £5 in Fopp and I was instantly hooked. The band had transformed and had attained a more interesting sound. The lyrics were great. 'Bukowski' is one of my favourite songs.

The Johnny Marr out of the Smiths joined.

Which was weird.

So I got tickets and I went to see them tonight. I was a bit sceptical because I have a live CD of theirs which is not great. In Glasgow they had a six piece band with two drummers (which is normally a good sign). Johnny Marr proved that he can play guitar. Accordians and trumpets were brandished. Isaac Brock shouted a lot and played a banjo.

The set was good and contained a lot of my favourite songs including Bukowski, Float on and Do the Cockroach. The one gripe that I have about the show was the sound. We were in a great position, standing right behind the mixing desk on the balcony in the ABC. We had an excellent view and the sound should be perfect as we were standing next to the sound engineer. Sadly, I do not think that the engineer had ever listened to a Modest Mouse album and the mix was all over the shop. Johnny Marrs guitar was too loud and key trumpet and accordian parts were inaudible which was a bit of a bastard but in general it was agood show.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Apples in stereo live at King Tuts, Glasgow

Yet another fucking amazing gig. This blog must be really boring cos I always say the same stuff. I like Apples in Stereo because their most recent album (new magnetic wonder) is very good and because the main guy, Robert Schneider, produced in an aeroplane over the sea by Neutral Milk Hotel which is one of the greatest albums of all time.

Apples in Stereo should be massive. They right energetic rock music which just makes me happy. They are not massive because they are not photogenic. This is wrong and is a clear example of why the world we live in is fucked. The Apples sound a bit like the Beatles, a bit like glam rock and a bit like something else I can't quite put my finger on.

My friend that attended the gig with me tonight had never heard them before and he was quickly converted. The show started with a keyboard player dressed as Evel Kinevel making some moog like sounds. This soon developed into ecstatic rock wonderment that continued for about an hour. I was able to sing along with most of the tunes.

This band are good. They will make you happy.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This is how fucked things are

I've written before about how the government is in the process of fucking junior doctors. It's not a topic that instantly attracts support from your average man on the street/taxi driver? I mean who really cares about whether or not a bunch of well-paid posh kids get their ideal job. I probably wouldn't care if I wasn't directly affected.

The past few months have seen the allocation system for junior doctors training positions degenerate into anarchy. The MTAS (medical training application service) website has been shut down when it became apparent that it had less security than your average public park and that it was possible to get in and mess about with other peoples application forms. That is a seperate issue from the page that gave you all the applicants demographic information in one handy spread sheet. Just the basics; name, address, criminal convictions, who they prefer to fuck and what god they support. Nothing that matters. Prejudice made easy.

I might be a paranoid conspiracy theory freak but I think that Nu Labour are trying to break the back of the medical political lobby so that they are unopposed in their attempt to fuck over the NHS. Nu Labour seem to have an anti-intelligence agenda and they don't seem to like anyone who is 'too clever' (look how they sucked up to Noel Gallagher during the cool britannia era). Nu Labour don't like people who think. They don't want people who ask questions. Remember Iraq.

In some ways they have succeded. Morale amongst junior doctors is now at rock bottom. In my hospital we have about 25 SHOs (senior house officers - doctors with between 2 and 7 years of experience). Only 5 have jobs in hospital medicine while 2 have been offered GP training jobs. Around 18 good doctors do not have jobs for August. These doctors help the hospital meet waiting list targets. They do investigations for cardiology, gastroenterology and respiratory medicine. They assess people for cancer and heart disease.

In August their jobs will not exist and GP trainees will be there instead. GP trainees are generally good but they don't have the special skills needed to do echocardiograms, endoscopies and bronchoscopies and they will not have the time to learn how to do them during their 4 month placements. Most of these doctors are talking of 'fucking off' to New Zealand or elsewhere.

The consultants I work for are great but in many ways this problem has caught them sleeping. They have worked to develop a good service for years and they have relied on experienced SHOs to help them. They are already cutting clinics for cancer services and cardiology.

Now, I'm one of the lucky ones. I've already been offered a good job. A training job. The computer has smiled upon me and decided that I am worth some continued educational investment. I will take this job if I do not get offered another one. The good job is a couple of hundred miles away in a city I have never been to. It's in a place where I don't know anyone. I don't know exactly where the job is yet, I just know it exists and that it is mine. I don't know what I'll be doing but I'll do it. I need to get paid. I have debts and I like CDs and comic books. I will make new friends and I'll phone my family regularly. I'll work hard and do my best and try my hardest to get a job closer to home next year. I can't complain.

I have a good job while many of my more experienced colleagues are fucked.

The government wants doctors to be stupid. It wants medical technicians who will tick boxes. It does not want us to think for ourselves. Medical research is now frowned upon. Guidelines are produced by the government to tell us the best way to treat our patients. Guidelines tell us which drugs are the best value for money. Pharmaceutical companies only have to lobby in one place nowadays......

Battles - live at the Glasgow ABC 2

This show was a bit like watching a surgical procedure or some sort of gymnastic display. Battles get a lot of criticism for being cold and clinical. I guess that is partially because of their pedegree (drummer from Helmet, math-rock label) and partially because the music they make is different.

Their sound is hard to describe. It reminds me of LFO, Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin but with guitars. I don't know that much electronic music so my range of references isn't that great. Musically, they are tight. They stretch their instruments to the limit and they all seem to be playing at least two things at once.

ABC 2 was packed out and hot. The whole crowd was soaked in sweat and the place smelled like a sauna. It was a good show.

A bizzare thing. After the show some guy came up to me and chatted to me for a couple of minutes. He knew my name and he chatted away but I just didn't recognise him at all. I really am an ignorant fucker. I can't remember most people I met between 1992 and 1999. Not good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

old punk CDs in HMV

Just had a splurge on old punk CDs in HMV. These include 'The feeding of the 5000' by Crass which sounds better now than it did when I was 13, MIA by The Germs which contains everything they recorded and generally rocks and the first album by Fear which is also rather good.

Punks not dead. It just smells that way.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The rise and fall of modern medicine by James Le Fanu

This is a great book. It's a great read and I feel that I have learnt a lot from it. Le Fanu is apparently a GP in London and also does freelance journalism for various newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph (I hate the fucking telegraph but he is a good writer).

In this book Le Fanu looks at the scientific development of medicine throughout the 20th century analysing key advances such as antibiotics, steroids and intensive care. He points out how many of these advances have been 'lucky accidents' as opposed to the result of structured scientific research. Millions of lives have been saved by luck (although a lot of hard work has supported that luck).

He also goes on to discuss the blind alleys that medicine has wandered down in the later decades of the 20th century. In particular he singles out the social theory of disease and the empty promise of genetics as dead ends. I have a sneaking suspicion that Le Fanu's assault on the social theory of disease may be motivated by his political views I do agree with some of his opinions on epidemiology. Sociology took up six months of time at my medical school that I feel may have been more usefully spent on pharmacology or something. Most of the sociologists that I had the misfortune to encounter were dogmatic lunatics (although some were nice enough).

He makes interesting points about how genetics has not really paid off in a useful way in day to day medical practice. His discussion of the rising discontent among doctors is echoed in todays headlines. Many junior doctors now regret their choice of medicine as a career. The ranks of the 'worried well' seem to swell every day.

Medicine is stagnant. Drug companies play it safe by repackaging old drugs to increase profits. New research is on the back burner because it is dangerous (think of the men involved in the Northwick Park incident last year). The medical progress that we see is analagous to a 20 mile run on a treadmill. It's going nowhere.

'Genuine progress, optomistic and forward-looking, is always to be welcomed, but progress as an ideological necessity leads to obscurantism, falsehood and corruption'.

Think about it the next time you talk to a drug rep about the latest treatment for osteoporosis.


Sunday, May 20, 2007


Just spent the afternoon writing a song with one of my mates. We used a drum machine, bass, thinline telecaster, effects pedals and handclaps. I wrote the words and some of the music while my mate wrote most of the music and supplied the talent.

The song is called 'Peace out (with your piece out)'. In many ways it is an anti-war song and a plea for cultural integration. Musically it is a rip-off of the Violent Femmes.

It will appear on Myspace soon.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Satan's sodomy baby by Eric Powell

This is an offensive comic. The story revolves around Satan's illegitimate love child who is born after Satan sodomises a hillbilly (who had been interfering with a pig - what goes around comes around). It also takes pot-shots at religion, liberals and right-wingers.

It is very funny. Eric Powell is the creator of the award winning comic series 'the Goon'. He was provoked into making a slightly more controversial comic when he was told that he could not use the word 'sodomy' on the cover of his comic. The book was forced into the adult section. In an interview he said, '"OK, if you want to release it in the adult section, I’m going to give you an adult comic.” I upped the ante on all the innuendo and stuff off-panel.'

It's really funny. Read it if you can find it.


Peace out with your piece out


My facebook addiction

One of my mates sent me an invitation to join facebook and I am now addicted to it. I have found friends from school, university, medical school and work and I can send them all offensive messages. It's great. It looks a bit nicer than myspace and I'm using my 'secret identity' on it. I have friends all round the world and tools like this are great to keep in touch.

Check out

spiderman 3 - film review

I was not sure what to expect when I went to the cinema to see piderman 3 last night. I really liked the first film when it came out. I thought Sam Raimi made an excellent adaption of the comic book. The second film was ok but not so great. I had heard rumours that the third film was really not so good.

The film opens some time after the second movie. Spiderman is more experienced and has become a mascot for New York city. Peter Parker is now in a more serious relationship with Mary Jane and is ready to propose to her. For the film to work, we need to have some bad guys.

Bring on the bad guys! We get Sandman/Flint Marko who looks great although they have added one annoying twist that isn't in the comics. We get Venom who looks really scary and we get Harry Osbourn as Hobgoblin. All good.

The film is long but I wasn't bored. It's too scary for young kids but just right for old comic nerds.

Check it out

8 out of 10

Monday, May 14, 2007

crazy, crazy scientologists

Just watched the BBC panorama documentry on the weirdo religious cult of scientology. They are very odd and their PR man seen on the documentary was disturbing. Bad choice of PR man.

Apparently they stalk people who disagree with them. They are weird.

Fantasy alternative careers

I've just been chatting to one of my best mates about the jobs we could do if we were not able to continue in our current career. The job market in my chosen profession is a bit of a bastard at the moment. If the worst came to the worst I might have to seek work in a different field.

I've had lots of jobs over the years, many of which have been shit. The worst job I ever had was working in a record shop over christmas. It just really pissed me off. I've had other jobs that have been much better than that. I liked stacking shelves, I liked being an auxillary nurse, I liked working on a switchboard. I like being a doctor.

But if I had to pick another job, what would it be?

Obviously I would love to be a writer but you can't just show up at the job centre and say 'give me a job as a writer, please'. It doesn't happen. Also, being a writer for pay sounds like hard work. I think you really have to sell yourself and hustle to get paid. I'm not sure that I have the drive to do that. I prefer an easy life.

I decided that I would like to work in a book shop. Good hours, not much pressure, pleasant working environment, customers can read. It's all good. It would be like a holiday. I would get paid. If the worst came to the worst, I could do it.

I could work in a supermarket again if I had to. You do what you need to do to survive. That's life.

Just don't send me back to Our Price

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Hawk and a Hacksaw - live at the Glasgow Arches

A Hack and a Hacksaw started life as a one-man band, the one man in question being former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes (who has also played with Bright Eyes, the Gerbils and Beirut). I picked up the CD of the most recent album 'the way the wind blows' whilst browsing the Neutral Milk Hotel section in a local quality record store (Avalanche). The album is different to most conventional alternative rock, drawing on eastern European influences and using folk instumentation.

I nearly missed the Glasgow show (because I forgot about it) but I was lucky to see a paragraph in the Sunday Times discussing the show as a 'Scottish cultural highlight'. It was fucking excellent.

The support act was Jim Rose, a beardy American who played some instumental acoustic slide guitar stuff. It was pretty cool but nowhere near the standard of the headliners.

The show started with violinist Heather Trost and a Hungarian percussionist picking out a hypnotic tune. Then, from the back of the room, a drum began to sound and 5 more musicians wearing face masks began to march towards the stage filling out the sound of the song. The effect was electric.

When the full band was positioned on stage the magic continued. They mixed original material from the album such as 'in the river' with traditional Transalvainian music. Instruments that I had never seen before were deployed energetically. People danced.

The crowd was very varied. Middle aged couples had come having bought tickets based only on the Hungarian folk music connection. Everyone in the room seemed to enjoy the gig.

After a short break a second set started with an anti-war song 'portland town' which was beautiful. The music seemed to get better and better with elements of improvisation and a jazz like feel towards the end. Trumpets and saxaphones gave it an ecstatic Mexican feeling. This was a great fucking gig. During the last song Barnes again walked through the crowd banging a bass drum. It was spiritual.

We also got a couple of Hungarian jokes and a short lecture on the similarities between haggis and Hungarian food. (As an aside, I had dinner in the Arches cafe before the show. The fillet of beef special was great)

The bands Jeremy Barnes has played with in the past have been like butterflies; beautiful but short lived. Catch A Hawk and a Hacksaw while you can.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


I made an effort to vote on Thursday. I always feel guilty if I don't vote. I have the vague feeling that thousands of people have died over the centuries for me to have the ability to vote. This may or may not be true but I feel that voting is more of a responsibility than a right.

I love to complain about stuff (if any of my real world friends read this, you know how true my words are). Bitching about the evils of politicians is a hobby of mine and I would not be entitled to do it if I just sat on my fat arse watching the telly instead of taking a gentle stroll to the polling station to carry out my democratic duty.

I really hate politicians. I kind of think that anyone who expresses a desire to be in political power should instantly be disqualified. I have a suspicion that I have held for many years that all politicians are evil. I listened to far too many Dead Kennedys records as a kid.

Right now, I really dislike Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, as she is in the process of fucking junior doctos. I am of course biased because I am a junior doctor. I saw her on Question Time making some sneering remark about how we all want to be plastic surgeons instead of looking after old people. The people who want to do elderly medicine are getting fucked over as much as everyone else.

You might have guessed that I didn't vote for Labour and I was glad to see them get shat on at the polls. I also hate the Tories and I disapprove of the SNP. I am proud to be Scottish but I do not trust nationalists of any form. I was also distressed to learn that 15,000 people in Scotland voted for the BNP.

15,000 stupid racist idiots in Scotland.

I actually know a couple of politicians. Both work for the Tory party. One is actually a good guy who played drums in my band and listened to a lot of left wing, straight-edge hardcore punk rock. The other was a sleazy wank. Alan B'stard made flesh.

I was a bit sad that the SNP did so well in the polls. I think Scotland benefits from the union and I think we should keep it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion I guess.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

it's sunny!!!

Sun is shining over Glasgow which is brilliant. I was able to sit outside after lunch and enjoy the sun for a bit. I need some vitamin D (made in the skin from sunlight for all you non-science geeks)

I survived my nights which was good. I can now enjoy the summer. I don't even need to study!


Monday, April 23, 2007

Nights again

I'm on day 3 of another week of nights (my second in 8 weeks). This is due to my place on the rota changing when I changed jobs. This sucks big time. I've been kept busy so far. Thankfully it has been cold, wet and dull during the days so my sleep has been ok. I hope it stays like this until the weekend.

The good thing is, when I finish these nights, I don't have any more until at least August.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Wire - season 2

I finished watching the DVD yesterday and it's great. It's all about how good men can do bad things while they try to be good. Bad men just seem to do bad things.

My favourite character is Omar who is a homosexual African-American sociopathic mass-murderer who lives by robbing drug dealers. Despite his many flaws he does exhibit some morals.

Watching this show is bad for you. TV rots your brain but The Wire is brilliant.

obscure music news

I like obscure music. Mostly so I can feel superior to other people. It makes me think I'm cool. I've found a website for people like me.

check it out


obviously all the really cool people don't like this site cos it's just not cool

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut is dead

It was an amazing bummer this morning to hear that Kurt Vonnegut had died this morning. I heard the news on radio 4's today show. He was a brilliant writer. I read most of his books as a teenager. I wrote a dissertation on Slaughterhouse 5 for one of my English courses. His prose was always crystal clear and his words were always truly inspiring.

He was a great man.

RIP Mr Vonnegut

You all should go out and read his books now

The Wire - some of the best TV I have ever seen

I have to admit that I have been late discovering this American TV show. I first heard of the Wire in an interview with some American rock star on the back page of the NME. I can't remember exactly who the rock star was but he was either in a good band or he listened to some music I like so I trusted his opinion. He said that 'season 3 of the wire was the best TV show that he had ever seen'. That sparked my interest.

I had never heard of The wire.

I looked it up on wikipaedia and it sounded good. I didn't want to pay too much for the DVD so I ordered it over some dodgy bastard on ebay who took 2 months to post me my box set (direct from amazon - cheeky cunt).

I didn't watch it straight away. My initial buzz of interest had died down. I was on annual leave last week, just bumming around, and I started to watch it on Sunday. It's fucking brilliant.

The series is set in Baltimore. It revolves around the police investigation of some drug dealers in a ghetto. I know that sounds pretty boring but the series is as good as the Sopranos. The plot is unpredictable with more twists and turns than any rollercoaster. The camera work is mainly from a single camera bringing the viewer into the action. The only music in the series is from boom boxes and car radios making the viewing experience more realistic. It's great.

The series was written by a former baltimore police officer and a journalist. Many of the plot elements are based on their real experiences. This is grim and gritty television but it's possibly as addictive as the cheap heroin sold by the drug dealers on the show.

check it out


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Library thing

I have discovered a new internet toy - library thing. This website lets you catalogue your books and allows other users to view your home library. It's mildly amusing.

Check out my library at

Believe me, I have many more books than this


Sunday, April 08, 2007

The interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

The fact that this book was recommended by 'Richard and Judy's book club' did not put me off too much. The sepia tinged photograph on the cover and the blurb on the back describing this story of Sigmund Freud becoming involved in a murder investigation in turn of the century New York was enough to make me part with my cash and give this book a chance.

The book is an easy read in the stlye of the Da Vinci Code. It weaves historical figures including Freud and Jung with a fictional murderer. Jed Rubenfeld, the author, is a Professor of Law at Yale University and once wrote an undergraduate thesis on Freud so he knows his subject. Case histories from the published works of Freud are adapted into the story to good effect.

I enjoyed the book and it has encouraged me to go out and pick up copies of 'Freud for dummies' and 'Introducing Jung' which I am now enjoying. I can see this book becoming a shitty hollywood blockbuster at some point.

A good book for a beach.

Wedding bands

Wedding bands are shit.

Well, not all of them. Just the one I saw tonight. Backing tape, incompetent guitarist. Vocals too quiet to hear. Poor choice of songs.

Shite. Shite. Shite.

Probably cost a grand.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

My guitar fetish

I have an admission to make. I'm an addict. I'm addicted to spending money on useless shite. CDs, comic books, DVDs, neurology text books and guitars. Guitars is the biggie. I own six (or eight) guitars.

What makes this addiciton worse is the fact that I hardly ever play guitar now. I was never very good anyway but now I work so much that I can go for several months at a time without even lifting a guitar. Most of the time I'm just too stressed and tired to pick up an instrument and I'm lucky if I manage to play with my friends more than once every six months.

My week of annual leave has been good because I've had time over the past couple of days to just sit down and play. I've tried to learn some songs by Neutral Milk Hotel and I've been relearning old favourites by Husker Du and the Violent Femmes. I've also been playing old songs that I wrote years ago and I've even tried to write some new stuff. It's great.

I've always had a dream that someday, when I can afford my own house, I would set up a room with a four-track tape recorder, an organ and a computer and just sit and record music when I get the notion. I know that in many ways this is just an adolescent fantasy but I earn a decent wage so I may be able to do that someday. However, that does not mean that any of the music I make will ever be any good....

My favourite guitars are Fenders. I have several; a 1978 solid body anniversary Stratocaster that is rare and worth a bit; a thinline Telecaster reissue with humbucker; a sixites Jazz bass that I found in a pawn shop, a cheap fender acoustic and two nice cheap Fender/squire copies.
The copies are pretty good - a solid body Telecaster and a Jagmaster (which is a combination of a Jazzmaster and a Jaguar). I also own two very cheap, very shit bass guitars. One is in pieces at the bottom of the cupboard in my bedroon at my parents house and the other is in a friends house somewhere.

It would be difficult to pick a favourite instrument. I love them all for different reasons and I have good memories of all of my guitars. Memories of gigs I've played, songs I've written and places I've been. I would like to keep them all for as long as I can.

In the future I will try and make more time to make music. It's good for the soul. I advise everyone to try. It doesn't matter if you are crap as long as you are loud and having fun. Make your own noise, don't try to copy anyone else.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

PACES marks

I've picked a brilliant week to take my annual leave. The weather is great, the sky is clear and the sun is shining. It's difficult to believe I'm in Scotland. The Jesus and Mary Chain wrote 'April Skies' about this place.

Anyhow, the point of my post. My formal letter from the Royal College of Physicians arrived to tell me that I have passed PACES and gained the MRCP. Really.

My final score was 47 out of 56 while the pass mark was 41. When I look at the breakdown of marks there was a real degree of difference between the markers. Clinical exams are subjective and you always get 'hawks' who mark harshly, 'doves' who mark generously and 'smiling assassins' who are nice to you while they stab you in the back.

I guess my mark represents a fair pass although I am not sure that I deserved to pass. I felt that the cases were too easy. I made some big mistakes in the exam although I guess I was able to compensate for those mistakes in other areas. I enjoyed the exam experience and I had good fun on the day. I always thought that post-graduate exams in medicine were something to be feared and should really challange a candidate. To be honest, I had more challenging exams at medical school which I felt pushed me more. I have probably learned a lot since medical school and grown as a doctor. It is hard to appreciate such growth when you are busy working all the time.

I enjoy teaching. I always have. Teaching medical students or junior doctors is one of the best bits of the job. I guess that I have high expectations as a teacher. I ask difficult questions and I always try to push students. I guess I always come across as a 'hawk' but I do enjoy it. I always feel that I have learned more when my teachers have pushed me and shown an interest in me as opposed to when they have been disinterested. I hope I get more time to teach in the future.

My marksheet was accompanied by booklets from the various Royal Colleges advertising the benefits of joining (i.e paying a subscription every year). They own nice old buildings in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow and often offer educational meetings and accomodation. My main motivation for joining is to sit on a leather sofa and smoke cigars whilst pretending to be Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. It's all very 'stonecutters'.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fulborn Teversham - live at the 13th note, glasgow

Third time lucky I hope. The internet ate my last two attempts at this post.

I was lucky to hear about this gig. It was low key with very little advertising. I only found out about it in a mailing list email from the 13th note/miso club.

Fulborn Teversham are another spin-off band from the Acoustic Ladyland/Polar Bear collective revolving around Seb Roachford and Pete Wareham. They are a bit more low-fi with a more punky/Slits style soul guided by the vocals of Alice Grant.

This was a value for money night. Our tickets only cost us £4 each to see a 3 band bill. The first group was Quack Quack an instumental act from Leeds. They were pretty rocking in a keyboard way. They reminded me of Neu or Can with a heavier sound. My friend and I were both so impressed with the show that we parted with six quid each for a copy of their CD. Sadly it was a bit weedy with a thin sound that did not match their live meety goodness. They need a dose of Steve Albini.

Fulborn Teversham themselves were great. I bought their CD off the Pickled Egg website a few weeks ago and I've listened to it a few times. It isn't as punchy as Skinny Grin or Last Chance Disco by Acoustic Ladyland but it's still rather good. I love Alice Grant's vocals. I even made a half-assed attempt to chat her up at the end of their set. I felt dirty. I am a groupie.

The set kicked ass. The band sounded much better live than on CD. We were standing about a metre away from Wareham as he played sax and it was stunning. Great set of lungs. Roachford is an amazing drummer. The crowd was screaming for more as the band were forced to play a truncated set due to the show starting late and a curfew.

Pit et Pat had the thankless task of closing the night. The 3 piece from Chicago had some interesting sounds and some OK songs but they just did not hold my attention like the other two bands.

Acoustic Ladyland are meant to be playing somewhere this month. See them if you can but I have a bad feeling I'm on nights.

For more check out


Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm in a good mood

I've been walking around in a good mood today. This is unusual for me, especially on a Monday, although I am still pretty chuffed with myself. I am now a Member of the Royal College of Physicians and I have attained this position within two and a half years of graduating from medical school (which is as quick as you can do it). There is also a chance that I am the first person from my medical school to do this (as I was a member of the first class to graduate from my medical school in 2004). If I am not the first, I am one of the first.

I've spent a lot of the day thanking the numerous consultants and more experienced junior doctors who helped me prepare for my exam. My other colleagues sitting the same exam have passed too. Everyone is happy.

I have a head the size of a basketball at the moment.

I'm so happy I've even managed to forget about how much the government is fucking all the junior doctors in the UK at the moment (see my post from last week).

Anyway, I am enjoying the gothic noise of the horrors debut album and I have also been listening to the shins. I'm starting to read another book by Christopher Priest.

Today, life is sweet.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The steep approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks

I managed to read another book in less than a week. Miracle.

I picked up the latest book by Iain Banks on Thursday. I've read lots of his stuff since I was a young teenager. I did my higher English dissertation on The wasp factory when I was at school. I love many of his books (especially The Crow Road) because of the Scottish feel to his writing. I really enjoyed his last book Dead air although I realise that it was not one of his more popular novels.

Banks is back on familiar ground with this tale of a messed up family. The family in question are the Wopulds, possibly a cipher for Waddingtons, who have made their fortune with the Empire! board game. The central character is Alban who has ran away from the family business due to liberal attitudes and unresolved emotional issues from his incestuous adolescent love affair with his cousin Sophie. His grandmother, matriarch Win, is a dark and manipulative force who he feels has interfered with his life.

This book has themes in common with many of Banks' previous works; incest, dysfunctional family life, left wing politics and corporate life. It probably isn't his best work but it is worth a read. A new reader should start with The Crow Road.