city-champions

Manchester City Premier League preview 2014/15

Three days and counting. After the supposed pinnacle of world football has passed by this summer with just a restrained flicker of personal interest, the real thing is once again upon us. The World Cup is about patriotism and over-eulogistic pundits, corruption, play-acting and, in the end… victory through German proficiency. The Premier League replaces patriotism with history, eulogy with reality, corruption and play-acting with fairness and passion and, in the end… another Manchester City victory. If only all of that were true. Continue reading

REPRIEVE

Frankie Boyle – shock and awe in aid of Reprieve

In 2011 the Daily Mirror wrote a pile of shite about Frankie Boyle, so he sued them, and was awarded £54,650 as a result. Those defamatory words read by millions may have stuck in the minds of the British public, but quite probably a far less known fact is that he donated his ‘winnings’ to Reprieve, to back their landmark legal attempt to sue the MI6 over accusations that they castigated Shaker Aamer, who after more than twelve years is still imprisoned at Guantanamo, USA’s 9/11 revenge-based human hell-hole, without charge or trial. Continue reading

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Viva Viva Palestina! Scotland unites for Palestine

Scotland united for Palestine today as thousands descended upon the Mound in Edinburgh for a peaceful demonstration against the atrocities in Gaza. With similar demonstrations happening all over the UK the voice from the civilian population at least is clear – end the massacre and bring peace to Gaza and Palestine. With a death toll now in excess of 1000, mostly civilians, and a ceasefire simply enabling the world to see the extent of the devastation, this respite is at best an opportunity to negotiate, for what it’s worth. Continue reading

gaza-palestine

Palestine and Israel – If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor…

20 months ago I felt the need to write about the Middle East ‘conflict’. My focus was aimed at an attempt by the West to bring a settlement to the situation, and peace to the area. Clearly a failed effort we are here once again. Palestinians, sick of being prisoners in the rapidly decreasing land are futilely fighting back. Futile as the current battle is being fought from Gaza, where 1.2m of its1.7m Palestinian residents are refugees, forced from their own land in 1948 to create Israel. Gaza, with a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt which has no army, no air force or navy, whilst Israel has one of the most armed militaries in the world. How do we know? Well, to quote Bill Hicks… we looked at the receipt. Go on, scroll down to Israel… Continue reading

Marvin-Gaye-Anthology

Marvin Gaye – Anthology

My life in music No.15 – 1982

Marvin Gaye – ‘Anthology’

By early 1982 my love affair with the Top 40 was all but over. I still consider 1979-81 to be a fantastic era for music; blessed with the energy of punk, lyrically influenced by the societal issues of the day and stylistically inspired by 60s, ska and roots – at least the stuff I loved anyway. By ’82 synthesisers and emotionless new romantics with fake plastic sentiment had replaced Dexys, The Jam and The Specials. Fuck that. I was looking elsewhere for inspiration and musical kicks. I was heading back to the 60s. Continue reading

comic-rewrite-contest

Rock Regeneration – a question of passion, skill and integrity

I can hold on no longer. It has to be said. The sentiment, the message, the reason for writing this particular piece has been resting uneasily with me for far too long. It’s a monkey on my back that is at last losing its grip. I must write with honesty about subjects close to me – music, writing, creativity and grammar – for I am passionate about all four. Yes, grammar included. I’m a sucker for punctuation. Having spent nearly six years writing about and promoting music in my former hometown of Bournemouth, the subject is close to my heart. Now having spent the last few years watching and reading from a distance, this never-ending bugbear has to be exorcised. Continue reading

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Photos – Spring 2014

Spring blossom, blue skies, eager eyes and smiling faces. Stunning green rivers and centuries-old stone. From our back garden in Musselburgh, to the stunning Edinburgh architecture and on to our beautiful holiday hamlet near Cotignac in France.

“But now it was spring again, and spring was almost unbearable for sensitive hearts. It drove creation to its utmost limits, it wafted its spice-laden breath even into the nostrils of the innocent.” ― Knut Hamsun, Dreamers Continue reading

"Around The World In 80 Days" Premiere - Arrivals

And all the grown-ups will say, “But why are the kids crying?” And the kids will say, “Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!”

So, Rik Mayall died today. Fuck. Such totally unexpected and seriously sad news. Unlike so many who die prematurely, and despite Rik’s penchant for ‘danger’, to read a deluge of tributes to the actor, writer and comedian just seemed so, so horribly wrong. At 56 he’s far too young to die, and well… he was in The Young Ones. No way can Rik be dead. Continue reading

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Lush – ethical retailing at its very best

I’ve spent my fair share of working life within the confines of a retail environment. Long hours, seasonal stress, a pressure to deliver sales, appease and motivate staff and converse amicably with the lovely general public. Bloody hard work, even when the product at your fingertips, music and film, is a life’s passion. Straight from school, fumbling into the stockroom then toy department of WH Smiths, spending the vast majority of the following 25 years in a catalogue of shops, until a succession of redundancies forced my career (hmm…) path elsewhere. I know retail, I’ve done it and I’m glad I’m out. Continue reading