Wednesday, 31 December 2008

2009 Blueprint

Plans for 2009...

  • Get Some Frickin' Direction In Life!
  • Do 'Cult' Book Stall At Custard Factory Flea Market y' Keep Bangin' On About.
  • Move Blog Over To Self Hosted Site.
  • Do At Least One Festival...
  • ... And At Least One Holiday.
  • Buy Camera That Actually Focuses.
  • Be More Awesome.
  • Be More Assertive.
  • Be More Creative.
  • Socialise More (with people!).
  • Get Bike Out More.
  • See If You Can Get Facebook To Actually 'Work'.
List to be edited up to Midnight December 31st, attempted till May, Ignored and deleted by June

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Hmm, Is Google a U or an R18 ?

Through the fog of a post Boxing day hangover i've just read of the Culture Secratary Andy Burnham's proposal to classify Websites. Frickin' ridiculous idea which blatantly seems to overlook how the Internet works and how 'net savvy 'the kids' are!. The recurring theme of legislation like this is simple...

Smoke and mirrors!!. A tactic which just gives the illusion that Governments are tackling a 'problem' when it maybe could of been dealt with by existing legislation (but never is).

Now expecting M. Byers and his Mediawatch bland of the few to jump on bandwagon and totally miss the fact that...

The internet is not a Fancy TV, Big library, or expansive Gallery, it's the Internet pure and simple, equally useful & dangerous place as a Motorway, you quite simply wouldn't let unsupervised children anywhere near it.


{Edit} A frickin' culture secratary that knows nowt about the Internet, give me a break

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Wagon Spiel

After the demise of the Royal George donkeys years back and the sad loss of the Market Tavern last year i didn't think there'd be much small venue Punk style noise to be had northside of the City Centre*. But lo and behold  this 'Summer' i stumbled across The Wagon and Horses pub in Digbeth (Adderley St ), perfect sized venue then for 'The Brum Punx Picnic 2008'. An old style boozer with ~100 capacity upstairs function room complemented by a decent sized beer garden (covered in a stroke of genius by a large army surplus tent), staffed by efficient friendly bar staff and stocking some half decent beer. With a regular roster of faces and some great gigs reminscent of The Tavern's best (including a packed Drongo's suprise show at the Picnic) it's one of those places you'd like to see better publicised but then bitch when it gets too popular. Hopefully it can survive the upcoming redevelopments which are threatening to put the kybosh on other (well established) Digbeth music venues and i'll get to see a few more 'Picnics' and take a few more snaps before 'Eastside' rolls right over it (oh, and there's a really cute resident scruffy pooch to).

 Should mention that it also puts on 'straight', discos, Ska nights and such so there's a bit of something for everyone plus it's conveniently close to the Coventry Road bus stops so getting home is relatively hassle free.


KEEP DIGBETH NOISY!


I'm A Mess at the Vegan Prisoners Benefit gig

*(special mention for the GO! Club at The Old Wharf, mainly indie stuff but they do put on some good 'heavier' nights)

(NB: Midge D does not work for the brewery!)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Just A Peasant In The Big City (Plan)...

...see what i did there*.



Still haven't had time to digest Birmingham's Big City Plan consultation document yet so instead i've decided to amalgamate the brief Tweets i did yesterday drop in a couple of quick comments and then probably clarify them later if i can be arsed...
  • Big City Plan? neck out, overall good thing but BIG, Reinventing Birmingham is gonna be a long and costly job,not sure council has cahuna's
    Speaks for itself really, the problem is this plan is BIG, i'm not sure if this (or any Council) can actually pull this ambitious project off.

  • The whole thing needs some HUGE P.R to get Joe Public involved (y' know, those people not on 'net and Twitter)
    In Councils defence a pullout appeared in Thursdays Evening Mail which is a good start, i'd hate to see something like this just thrashed out by I.T literate keyboard jockeys.

  • 'CREATE LOCAL' good idea (but you can have too many paintings)


  • 'LIVE LOCAL' as family city, would these be developments for 'Locals'
    a personal bugbear, rejuvination certainly, redevelopment which includes bulldozing over present communities certainly not. As regards to bringing families into the Centre i'll just Cut n' Paste the response i left on Birmingham It's Not Shits forum
    There’s enough issues to be discussed re: The Big City Plan to keep people talking to at least Feb 6th (end of consultation period). I’d just like to touch on the ‘FAMILY CITY’ subsection. Birmingham has a recent history of redevelopments who bring in an influx of people who then object to the ‘vibrant’ centre hubub that was sold to them in the first place. At least one Pub has been closed via this scenario and now some of Digbeth’s entertainment centre’s are facing a similar threat. I’m not sure how attracting families to a City Centre squares with also providing entertainment to the cross section of Brums nightlife?, can a ‘living’ modern City Centre really be family friendly?.


  • 'AUDACITY' a good idea, i.e had some success in past of attracting big events

  • 'BUY LOCAL' is a middle class pipe dream, waste of money, especially if it still supoports Supermarket planning appl' in city centre.
    this tweet was a bit glib and simplistic on my part, buy local is a good idea, trouble is B.C council has continually stiffed small independent retailers. maybe some reparation could be done here.


  • 'FAMILY CITY' How would these families impact on the vibrancy of City Centre entertainment (fiddle & bone, spotted dog as ex')
    as above

  • 'FAMILY CITY' would these families include the Birmingham families it's displaced during previous 'redevelopments'
    as above

  • Consultation period now till Feb 6th, Is that long enough to get 'real' people involved and sort out finer details?,

    As someone has already stated this is an all too brief period especially as it covers the Christmas and New Year holidays, is it long enough to physically get people involved?



Finally comes the obvious crass question, Where is the money coming from giving that we're supposed to be entering a recession?. I think a lot of people in Brum would say they'd rather see the little problems fixed short term before cash is diverted into huge projects long term.

Looking back over this post i can see it looks cynical but i really would like to see this thing work BUT Councils have a rich history of screwing things up and alienating Joe Public, if they can just get the first bit right maybe people will really get behind it and we'll see some actual factual results!.

*(post title is a play on an old Stranglers track from 'No More Heroes' album if you hain't got it go get it!)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Scotch Egg for Dummies

I was a bit dismayed a couple of weeks back to read a dismissive blog remark
about the humble Scotch Egg (retro indeed).Now being a Scottish savoury snack fan i can only imagine this attitude comes from either a bad experience or maybe a traumatic incident with one in childhood.So i thought i'd set the record straight and present the secret to preparing a successful Scotch Egg...


First take one Scotch Egg, any
brand will usually do, this one is a Tesco's home brand.


Cut egg in half, unfortunately this is one thing that only comes with experience as it's not always easy to see how the egg lies beneath the pork.


Take out egg and drop a dollop of QUALITY Salad Cream into cavity.


Squish egg back into the Pork.


Eat egg

trust me,if you've followed these instructions properly you'll NEVER go back to Pork Pies!.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Some Twitter Enlightenment

I was suprised (shocked even) last night at the amount of Social Media types who weren't familiar with Twitters basic SMS commands so plagiarised for your perusal....

follow or f username Follow a user's tweets - you will receive all their updates (on your PC).
leave or l username Stop updates from the user .
delete username Drop the user from your friend list.
d username message Send the message as a private message to the given user. This message will not appear in any public time line and is usually delivered via email.



If update by text becomes available again in the UK here's a raft of others.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Dem Bones Dem Bones


I'll leave it to someone else to review the Punk alldayer @ Flapper & Firkin Saturday 6th suffice to say that Bones (Broken Bones) played, the guitarist that came up with a sound and song structure that said 'Yep, that's a Discharge song'

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Christmas Top Five Songs

Can't believe no one else has done this yet...
  1. The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping Yes, that's right, The Waitresses
  2. The Pogues Fairytale Of New York (natch)
  3. Jethro Tull Ring Out Solstice Bells Pagan festive fun
  4. The Damned There ain't No Sanity Clause
  5. The Business Step Into Christmas Yuletide shouty frolix (can't find Youtube link)
Closely followed by that Greg Lake song that starts 'they said there'd be snow at Christmas' and has that festive little hook in the middle.

(oh, and Jona Lewies 'Stop the Cavalry')

Hmmmm, Might expand this into a top 10 later

Friday, 28 November 2008

Twitter Ye Not

Thinking today that i've had a Twitter account for a few months now (see right if it's still there) and still find it really difficult to form an opinion on. I'll use it one week, go quiet for a month, maybe follow some people the next, Hover over the 'delete account' button and so on. I'm still not completely convinced that it's not just this years internet fad which will eventually be bought up by Murdoch et al and rebranded into something shite marketed at generation X factor (blogs have a similar faddish quality but that's for another post (remember Myspace?). One thing is for certain though (showing my age here) it DOES remind me of my early 80's CB Radio days. lots of late night static and half heard conversations by people using mysterious handles nom de plumes, listen to one now and it's all gone quiet.
  Is it a blog?, is it glorified texting?, is it cheap (usually one way) advertising?, has it any practical use in the non 'blogosphere' world since the update by text option has gone ? , think i'll just have to wait and see.

PS: if your reading this PLEASE FOLLOW ME :)

PPS: I thought camera phones would be a fad so shows what i know

Monday, 24 November 2008

Broad St vs. Black Sabbath

From Memorabilia it's a quick shufty into town for Tony Iommi's induction into Brums Walk Of Stars where it turns out Satan doesn't look after his own after all. Instead yours truly and Sabbath's small crowd of faithful were treated to a lashing from God's merciless icy cold wind and rain which inflatable guitars seemed pretty powerless against.
 I managed to catch a few snaps through the drops but unfortunately what i didn't get was a recording of the presentation speech, hastily put together by an assistant researcher and fumbled through by a befuddled deputy (deputy!!) Mayor seemingly oblivious to who he was handing a chunk of Birminghams pavement to, now that certainly did brighten proceedings up!.

Memorabillia Sells Out (Grrrrr)

From it's humble beginings as a glorified Sci Fi themed car boot sale to its twice yearly stint as an essential geek fest i've been going to Memorabilia for about 14 years. This year though after a couple of hours going round and round in vain i still couldn't find anything eclectic/weird enough to catch my eye (except a couple of exploitation books), Cult appears to have gone frickin' mainstream. Even with a visual feast of Daleks, Cylons, Predators and cosplay Trekkies the only pictures i came back with were of Bizarre's favourite fetish diva Vanessa Upton and her brilliant 'Worn stockings for £30:00' scam idea.

Even more disturbing Fonzie (Henry Winkler) in his sensible jumper looked like y' grandad.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Rockabilly vs. Dr Who and Batman


It's happened again, two spiffin' lineups of gutbucket Rock n' Roll and Psychobilly that not only clash with each other but also with me manning a stall at Memorabilia (i have to be tucked up in bed early Saturday). It's a conspiracy i tells ya!.

Jooks Of Kent @ Nicole's
Magnificatz @ Eddies

Aldi vs Google vs Midge

I couldn't understand why this bland afterthought of a photo was getting so many views on my Flickr. Quick search for 'Sheldon Aldi' on Google (reasonable search terms for a Sheldon resident looking for local Aldi) and there it is, 2nd and 3rd result (complete with unflattering description). You'd think a large corporation like that could better exploit search engines?

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Y' Know it's Christmas When...

Y' know it's nearly Christmas when your stood freezin' under the gaze of that scary flea bitten Moose in Victoria Square with a pint of fizzy German beer in one hand and a large phallic sized mustardy frankfurter in the other!.
The puzzling talking point this year is that the fancy new lights the Council have splashed out on only seem to come in Blue and White?.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Christmas Lights Turn Off


not just ANY old burgers...
Through some bizarre sense of civic duty i go to this thing every year and i swear it gets 'Chavier' every time, it just ain't about the baby Jesus anymore. I lasted about ten minutes then made my excuses and left for a swift half in town longing for the days when Cliff Richard actually gave the event some class (crikey!!), did manage to get some pictures of a burger stand and a glow stick vendor though. It's all a moot point anyhow as everybody in Birminghan KNOWS Christmas doesn't start until the Frankfurt market serves up it's first Gl├╝hwein, roll on Thursday!.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Custard Factory Gets Satisfaction

I've worked on and off at the Custard Factory for about Three years and have had/heard various gripes and ideas about the place which usually come to nought. But via an old Myspace mate came this getsatisfaction.com/custardfactory, basically a customer service website which enables punters,employees, etc... to provide input, ideas and feedback. Apparently the "Custard Factory has not sponsored or endorsed this site" but it looks pretty officious and hopefully will engage the place more with the public.
Unfortunately the first post starts with a problem i'm well aware of, that being the resemblance of the C.F to a closed off building site but hopefully if more people get involved more positive topics can be discussed. It'll be interesting to see how it all works out?.

S.A.D Blog Entry

I'm not sure if it's the nights drawing in or the fact that i curently feel like crap but i just can't summon up the muse or enthusiasm to write anything except this?.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Och Aye The Swinging Sporran



picture pilfered from Birmingham it's Not Shit
I haven't been in The Swinging Sporran (y' know, formerly The Cabin/B3, on the corner by the Hancock statue) for about Eight years and to be honest i didn't much care for it. I think it was euphamistically called a 'working mens' pub so typically full of the flotsam that's been barred from the other pubs or ejected from the gutter. So Saturday night finds me still knackered after a 5am start but i thought i'd catch a couple of bands before heading home so gave the place another punt. Pleasantly suprised with the refurbishment, the upstairs is still full of 'characters' but what i didn't realise was there's a downstairs function room similar to The Royal George's (boarded up pub by St Martins). About the same size, low ceiling, perfect sized dance floor, cheap bottled beer, very reasonable entrance fee (don't even think of blagging!). It's now home to Rehab promotions who put on some cracking Punk/Metal line ups. Last night featured Northeners T' Kings Of The Delmar and Brums own Obnoxious UK who both put on a good show despite Goldblade poaching all the frickin' punters. Definitely going to be make some more trips there in the future.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Gig in A Halfpipe

I've seen some bands in strange places (typically toilets with a rickety stage installed) but last nights Ramp Jam was a new one, a gig on a Skateboard ramp promoted by Digbeths A Third Foot and hosted by Ideal Skateboards at the Custard Factory. Leeds Garage rockers The Gentlemans Pistols (supported by Stinky Wizzleteat and Doom Patrol) gamely clung on to the plywood sides whilst the mosh competed with the halfpipers (forgive the total lack of skatebording lingo*) for floorspace. Good night allround with much throwing of beer and sliding down the walls.Third Foot bloke says he hopes to have more stuff on there in the future so worth keeping an eye on. I've Flickr'd a load of pictures but amidst the chaos, beer, dust and poor light they didn't come out too good.

* when i were a lad the Holy Grail of Skateboarding tricks was the handstand, whatever happened to them?

Bring It On Home.

Forewent a usual Saturday morning lie in to spend a couple of hours at The Home Of Metal shindig at the Wolv' Art Gallery. Capsule 'sisters' Lisa & Jenny pulled off a blinder showcasing Brums veteran rock bands which ended up influencing the world stage, Zeppelin, Priest and Sabbath alongside Napalm Death & Godflesh. Not just a bunch of pictures but a digital archive of stuff involving photos and interviews (think rock themed D.S.S appointments "where were you '89?","what were you listening to?"). Nice touch with Kerrang's Johnny Doom hijhacking patrons for impromptu talks and reminding me of long gone Birmingham venues such as The Mermaid, Kaleidescope and the Barrel Organ as well as grilling Earaches Digby Pearson. Truth is though i felt like a bit of a fraud as in the 80's i wasn't a Metal fan but a big time Punk poseur, it just so happened that Napalm Death crossed the floor into my Discharge coloured noise threshhold (much like Motorhead did).

On a more selfish interest at the time i used to subscribe to Sounds (couldn't stand the N.M.E's pseudo political posteuring) and ended up hoarding Ten years worth of the f**kers in my loft so the picture you see above consists of several scans of articles from them which leads nicely to ....

Forty Two years and at last a printed confirmation that i contributed something to someone somewhere!.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Damn Cosmic Coincidences!




Tomorrow looks like some weird Nexus point between the various threads of my interests. So morning i'll give The Home Of Metal a whirl (i conntributed some Sounds papers so there's a selfish interest), then back to Brum to hopefully catch some tattooed babes smash themselves to bits at a Roller Derby. Time for a swift half at Scruffies perhaps then it's a toss up between the gig at the Ideal Skate Ramp or a night with veteran Brum punk stalwarts G.B.H at the Asylum. Truth is though they've lost their Mojo recently so it looks like i'll be swotting up on the likes of 'Ollies', 'Mongoing' and a bunch of other Skate terms i'll never understand in order to get down with the kids at the Custard Factory. Busy day indeed (what would Diceman do?).
Addendum: And The Stranglers are playing The Academy, their first Three albums were frickin' awesome but post Cornwall they ain't that great.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

eee Ubuntu



Installed Ubuntu 8.10 'Hardy Heron' (seriously!?) for eee on Asus. Half hour job start to finish and a doddle. Trick is to comment out 'cdrom' entry in fstab else it won't mount removeable storage without 'root access' error. Looks a lot slicker (and grown up)than the Xandros default install.

Monday, 20 October 2008

IGly Google Interface

Just when i had my iGoogle thing all nicely set up i now find they've put the tabs into a left hand sidebar, on my funky new eee 4G it takes up far too much space on the 7" screen. Even stranger it flicks back and forth between the top and left positioned tabs depending on which computer and even which browser i use. The problem/solution?, logging in via google.CO.UK/ig gives you top positioned tabs, logging in via google.COM/ig gives you the sidebar. I think this feature is in Beta testing so hopefully it'll turn up as an option in settings?.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Baaa Baaa Bar Academy

How on earth does the Bar Academy get away with treating it's punters like frickin' cattle (yes, i know Sheep ain't Cattle but it's the best title i could think of). I'm talking about overpriced (awful) beer, Lack of staff (who do their best), the occasional bolshie doormen, P*ss poor stage (don't get me started on the barrier) and so on...What's desperately needed is some decent ~300 people capacity competition in Brum city centre which might give them the impetus to pull their frickin' fingers out.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Bike Hardware Gender Politics

Nothing looks more sexier and screams "Blokes Bike" than a pair of shiny Black 'bullhorn' bar ends!!.




(yet another street/skip find)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Asussed

I have a new box of tricks, the Asus eee 4g netbook. Plenty of (favorable) reviews elsewhere but a nippy piece of kit, Small as f**k, Cute as a barrel of kittens. Tiny being the watchword it has a compact keyboard (fits my itty bitty digits just great), small 7" screen which is suprisingly easy to read even through my -9 contacts lenses, and a minute solid state memory which just encourages you to use removable/online storage. The real moneysaver/dealbreaker is that it uses the Linux os, i was a Slackware geek for about 12 months so find the hackable nature of this stuff an infuriating adventure. Four hours out the box it's now running a KDE advanced desktop and has GIMP tweaking my pictures. Sits in the bottom of my bag now ready for realtime Pub blogs an' such :).
Stay tuned for the blog in which i sit on the f***er and bemoan spending my money on something you could literally choke on.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Blatant Nepotism I Tells Ya...


I seldom plug bands here but Urban Village's resident fop Joe's band Jensen and the Interceptors are playing on Thursday the 16th October at the Bar Academy (even though that place is a frickin' rip off!) supporting the Big Bang. Be there or be decidedly obtuse angled, bring money!!.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Boot Hill

Annual Shoe Report 2008
50 Pairs
About 25 in regular rotation
Shoes and sandals not Included
DAMN YOU TO HADES T.K MAXX!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

There's Custard In Them Thar Radiatiors

Y' know Winters drawing in on Gibb St when the radiators make this weird dripping sound but never get b*stard warm.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Of Comic Nerds and SteamPunk

A rapid rise from the Custard Factory (c/o CF's own Andy Baker) to Millenium point Birmingham International Comics Show is by far the best graphic novel shindig this side of London. Plenty of whipper snapper independent comic writers which are a breath of fresh air compared with the usual Marvel superhero fodder you get at 'vanilla' fares. Trouble is with a visual feast such as this it's pretty much impossible to photo (spoilt for choice) so i've only caught (and Flickr'd) some bits and pieces and to be frank some Forty odd year old bloke asking some cosplay babe to pose is creepy to say the least!. Roll on next year.

ask nicely and i might show you my Calculus Cat Tattoo

STEAMPUNK


Can't finish without mentioning Gaslight Garage for the inclusion of some incredible SteamPunk paraphenalia, a retro-futuristic subgenre which is turning up some frickin' bizarre eyeboggling material!.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

We Came For Johnny And Screamed For Bob

Top geezer John Cooper Clarke at the Hare and Hounds. He's like your first motor, a bit ropey, splutters and stalls a bit but when he's firing on all cylinders nothing sounds sweeter. Unlike the last 'Hare' show he struck a balance between comedy and poetry that just hit the sweet spot. 'Chickentown','Beasley St' and lymeric faves delivered in that Salford drawl that even made old chestnuts funny again. Best value for money this side of Ken Dodd

Special mention for Bob Log III. that's right folks, he did the whole set in a sparkly fighter pilots helmet fitted with a 300 series phone handset mike. Slide 'trash' guitar, bass drum, footpedal tambourine and Delta Blues driven ditties that had my mate convinced it was Jon Spencer inncommunicado. Kudos to Bob for allowing beardy bloke to sit on his knee when he was clearly expecting a dame (see Flickr).

(note to support act, Asian guys doing comedy about aunts and marrying cousins isn't post modern any more it just ain't funny but muchos respect for braving hecklers and an indifferent audience)

Friday, 3 October 2008

Evidently Chickentown vs. Moped Lads

I haven't made my mind up if i'm seeing Johnny or Peter and the Test Tube Babies tonight but either's a good punt in my book (i suspect 'The Tubes' will be packed hot and sweaty).

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Gorillapodastic! (Blatant Product Endorsement!?)

I'm not always that sold on Gadget Show stuff,it either seems pointless or just too damn expensive but i've just been persuaded to splash out on this Gorillapod camera gizmo. Great stuff, it'll wrap its flexible little rubber legs round anything (ooer), is pretty damn sturdy and even has a quick release boss.
So you can now expect plenty of arty long exposure trashcam shots where the Still lords it over the Animate.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Transgendered Toilets and Jim Bowen (4 Degrees of Separation)


It wasn't so much the story 'toilets with urinals,it's P.C gorn mad' that made me smile it was the fact that the bar is in the affectionately called Steve Biko building (how 80's). At Coventry University (early 90's) we had both Biko AND Mandela bars until in a typical show of student political fickleness Nelson M got Jilted for 'Bullys Bar' as in (Bullseye) which was then opened by Jim Bowen.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Nokiart

I'm still reeling from that unfounded accusation of being uncreative so i thought i'd share my latest piece 'My Trusty Nokia 3310 (unmade cellphone)'. On display in my bookcase and mounted with Velcro so it can be bought back into service in emergencies. Built for pennies, bids start around the £100 mark.