Monday, 10 January 2011

I was a Lion, Once

Charlie Simpson is very much Marmite when it comes to the rock world citizens, after leaving poptastic boy band Busted in 2005 with a string of hit albums and singles under his belt, the honour of selling Wembley Arena out 11 times in one year, and being the youngest person to win a Brit Award for a space of time; he concentrated on his first love in Rock quartet Fightstar. This riled a lot of the "true" rock fans who said that he was undeserving of plaudits from the Rock world, but after a fantastic debut E.P and one of the defining first albums of the 21st century so far Charlie and his cronies cemented their place within the teeming British rock scene as one of its top bands.

Fightstar toured relentlessly for three years and in between tours they produced two more hit albums in "One Day Son..." and "Be Human", they even found time to release a CD of B-Sides. They became one of the best British bands on the scene and decided that enough was enough, that they needed a break. So in the summer of 2010 they decided that, bar Sonisphere and a random gig in Wakefield, that they would take the year off. This initially sat well with Charlie, but he soon got bored and jumped back on the recording wagon. Simo signed up to Pledge Music, a website which provided Charlie a route to make some money to record by offering fans unique items to pledge on, for example a private acoustic gig in London, a chance to provide gang vocals on Charlie's solo album and a hand written lyric sheet to one of the songs that he would be releasing (the one we went for), along with an exclusive opportunity to view updates and be the first to listen to his new music. On Christmas Day he released to the fans a five track E.P called When We Were Lions and here is what I think of each track.

When We Were Lions: is a track with haunting verses and a hugely catchy chorus. It is a brilliant opening track, that dictates the tempo for the rest of the E.P. A track that shows of the vocal talent that Charlie has, and is a style of music that he fits into with seemingly effortless ease. He pours emotion into the song, and wears his heart on his sleeve, a characteristic that you can't seem to help but notice throughout this E.P.

If  I Hide, Will You Come Looking?: another wonderfully written track, the tempo is a lot more upbeat than its opening counterpart but none of the emotion is lost; Charlie's voice soars through the verses and when the title question is asked in the chorus, you can't help but hope that someone answers him. Lyrically speaking this is a song that paints pictures. "So long to the thunder, you've been hiding up in the clouds now / All your tears have dried up" notes the opening lyric, a line that screams pretentious at the top of its voice, but under the control of Charlie's soothing vocal seems more fitting. A short song, one that ends maybe too soon but a song that invokes a lot of feeling.

The Farmer & His Gun: Lyrically the best track on the E.P, the story weaves in this track is nothing short of wonderful. The message "It's best to lose yourself, before you ever lose your pride" makes you feel good about yourself, and the country influence to this song works so well it's almost scary. It's a track that doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of its friends on the E.P but it is easily one of the best, purely because Charlie knows how to write a song.

Bullet: Initially the realisation that this was a cover annoyed me, especially given that we weren't told that there would be a cover but Charlie really makes this track his own with hauntingly beautiful vocal that makes you wonder why he hasn't put out work like this before. This track, whilst not written by Charlie, makes you wish it was. It is a piece of work that makes you eternally happy that you paid for this.

Lost: Is the track that defines this E.P, the pinnacle of Charlie's writing ability. Musically and lyrically it is a stunning piece of work, elements of Unfamiliar Ceilings and Athea intertwine into something a little bit special. His voice soars and soothes you through near four minutes of pure song writing perfection. This song epitomizes the E.P, it shows off everything that is good about this collection of songs and ends it on such a high.

To sum up, this is a superb piece of work, yes I may be biased because Charlie Simpson is one of my favourite artists, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he proves unquestionably that he can mix it with the best songwriters and may still become the best songwriter of our generation.

Friday, 17 September 2010

My Lack of Fiction

You know that feeling you get when you can't even find a word that summarises how you feel? That unnerving realisation that you just can't explain what is going on in your head, and why your mind is seemingly bereft of any adjectives? Yeahh, that's me right at this present second.

I won't go into detail about it right now, because I still don't feel strong enough to discuss it and I don't think I can right now. But please, if I do seem oddly distant etc it is no fault of your own and it is nothing to worry about. I am simply trying to formulate a set of words to best explain what is going on amidst the fog that I call my brain. I apologise now if I am not the best of people to be around this weekend, not that a lot of people are going to be in direct contact with me...

Again, I'm sorry..

Love 'n' stuff

Sieben (Ash)


Saturday, 4 September 2010

Do you miss the blend

I was going to post a review of our trip up to Leeds for the Sunday of the festival, but I have just started listening to "Jesus Christ" by "Brand New" and now I'm in a funny mood.

I don't quite know what to say, but I know for sure that it definitely won't be a review, this song always does this to me, it makes me reflective. Maybe it's the tone or the melody, it's airy and reminiscent of those wispy tunes just before really corny  flashback sequences you will find in 1980's American sitcoms. It makes me think, think about the things I wouldn't normally think about i.e reflecting on human nature and the like.

It makes me wonder how good you actually have to be to be able to write something like that, something that influences moods so freely and quickly that it almost takes you by surprise. The context of the song isn't even about reflecting on those things, from my understanding it's about what it would be like too die, or another theory could be what it was like for Jesus to die. It is a genius piece of song writing from Jesse Lacey, who is probably one of the best lyricists of the past decade.

Back to my reflection, I made a discovery recently that being nice doesn't tend to get you anywhere in life. Sure it makes you feel good for the short period that you need to get through the day, but in the long run it just makes it easier for people to walk all over you. That may be a cynical point of view, but I am a cynic so bite me, I also think there is truth to it. People will see you as the person who does things for people because you like to be polite, nice, and want to get on with everyone and will therefore gather around you like a flock of problematic sheep in need of sheering. I am by no means saying that being a tool is the way forward, because then you'll just become a prob-sheep (c), and end up having to swallow your pride and seek assistance from the very people you are nasty too.

Balance is the key, but it isn't an easy thing to master and for most people, like me, it's not in their nature to flitter between good and evil (exaggeration, but it fits in nicely with the whole set up I have going here) like some butterfly with one wing. So what is the answer? Master the balance? Dish out the good with the bad? Cruel to be kind?  Is it hell, the answer is to fade into the background so the problem doesn't occur in the first place. You see, people get the impression that the quiet ones are the weirdo's, but what they don't understand is that we are far more intelligent than they give us credit for. staying in the background, keeping your head down and not sharing problems is the easiest way of not being forced to chose the good or evil path. Sure, it fucks with your head and inevitably you will end up shelling out thousands of pounds on intensive therapy later on in life. But hey, at least you'll be comfortable in the knowledge that you have control of your own sanity as opposed to other people.

Love 'n' Stuff



Monday, 5 July 2010

The most important of the R's

We live in a world surrounded by things that put us down, the constant grind of working to pay off large sums of money we need to borrow to have a supposedly “nice” life. Even in our respite, we flick on the television only to find that soldiers are being killed in pointless wars thousands of miles away, serial killers are threatening to make us all homebound and politicians are doing their damndest to screw over the working class population to line their own pockets with what can only be describe as a shit load of money. All in all, there isn’t a lot in life to make a song and dance about, well not in my life anyway. I have Clazz, but I am hundreds of miles away from my friends and struggling to make ends meet because I am apparently the most unemployable person since Hitler tried to get a second job to pay for the German army.

This is why I love reading, stories, things that will transport me to a world that is different to the crazy one we currently reside in. Words can have a massive effect on peoples mood, whether it is blogs that are critical and make people stand up for what they believe in, or whether they are pieces of fantasy work that make the reader want to become a hero, and slay a plethora of mythical creatures before having their end away with the big boobed heroine who seems to have caught “Princess Peach” syndrome and get’s kidnapped at every available opportunity. It’s an escape, and one I am happy to say I use.

What annoys me is that people seem to think that reading is the nerdiest thing since sliced bread with thick rimmed glasses. Television and Computer Games have chocked the need for authors and their wonderful stories, why read a thrilling book with lots of action and suspense when you have Eastenders... Even famous books have been turned into major films (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter), which would be fine if the films didn’t cut out a lot of the content of the original to save on time so they can add a crap ton of CGI. The only Book to Film remake I can think of that sticks rigidly to the plot is To Kill A Mockingbird, which was made nearly 50 years ago, which speaks volumes about the changing of peoples wants when it comes to Cinema.

People have tried to write to get people back into the idea of reading, Rick Riordan for example, who wrote a series about the son of a Greek God in modern times, it was meant for kids but it was bloody epic. Then they turned it into a film. This wasn't.

Another thing that pisses me off, is the rise in popularity of Stephanie (seeing as spell-check doesn’t like Stephenie, I’m going to go by how it SHOULD be spelt) Meyer. She wrote a little series called Twilight, which everyone seems to be bumming at the moment. I wouldn’t mind if Stephanie Meyer could write something that doesn’t reek of the ruminants of last night’s curry, what I am trying to say here is that she can’t write for SHIT. I am one of the few people in a privileged position to criticise the books, having read them, so people don’t need to jump down my throat about missing the story. I know what the story is, Vampire falls in love with Human, Vampire is stupid enough to get involved with Human, Vampire Sparkles, Werewolf enters, Love Triangle occurs and some boring stuff happens, The End. It’s so mundane it actually hurts me to write about it, not to mention a stunning array of bad grammar and spelling mistakes that make me look good.

It makes me worry for the future of literature when kids would rather watch TV than read a good book or a classic novel. No-one can bullshit me into thinking its boring, the only reason why you idiots think reading is boring is because it has the damned indecency not to have lots of colour and moving pictures. A book is far more exciting than you think if you would just give it a chance, honestly, read Lord of the Rings, Of Mice and Men, Frankenstein etc. Read Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Tolstoy, Rowling, Tolkien, C.S Lewis. And remember, books are far more imaginative and informative than a lot of the crap you see on TV and in Computer Games today, so don’t be an idiot and write them off just because of common opinion.

Love 'n' Stuff



P.S Rest In Peace Jim, You were once of the best writers around and you will be sorely missed.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


I wasn't going to do a blog focusing entirely on football (not soccer), mainly because, a part from people of a certain forum I post on and some select friends, no-one I know really gives a shit about the national game. In fact, the majority of people I know think they are a load of over played fuckwits who should just fuck off. Then I realised that this is my blog, not written for anyone else but my purposes, so all of those people who think that me writing a blog about these "over paid fuckwits" can, well, fuck off.

I want to address two issues that seem to be a talking point this week. Firstly, the England players seemingly "not caring" about the shirt because they had the audacity to relax after a game in which they were humiliated in. SHOCK, I mean how dare these people try and relax after a particularly horrendous day at work. What gives them the right to want to unwind. Of course, I am being sarcastic. Everyone who thinks this is obviously an imbecile who has had their brain stem removed by tabloid newspapers before being forced to eat it.

Think about it this way, if you had a really bad day at work and nothing was going right for you, would you want to unwind and take your mind off of it afterwards? OF COURSE YOU FUCKING WOULD? Only a moron would think that any of these players are in anyway unpatriotic because they lost a game and then decided to have a bit of a party. No-one can throw the "over paid" card into play either, manly because they are not paid to play at international tournaments. In fact, they would have been given bonus's depending on their progress in the World Cup so they are in fact losing out on money for not getting as far.

Would people rather these players dwelt on the loss? Knowing full well that the new season is coming around? These people are highly important to the clubs that YOU SUPPORT. Would you not be pissed off if, say, John Terry hadn't taken his mind of the World Cup and Chelsea had a shit start to the season? Or Peter Crouch, Defoe, Rooney? The national game would suffer and then we would bitch more. LET THEM HAVE A HOLIDAY.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be angry about the result, of course they should, it would only be right for people to expect more from them. But, for the love of GOD don't have a go at them. They all know how badly they did, and they want to forget it. Let them. Don't let the domestic game suffer because you feel slighted. Of course, a lot of you only follow international football and wont bother watching football again until 2012. In which case, shut your mouths until England inevitably go out in 2012 and this whole debate can start again.

Another point is the use of goal line technology. Which, in my humble view anyway, should be an issue that shouldn't even have to be raised. OF COURSE THEIR SHOULD YOU DAFT IDIOTS! Frank Lampard being case in point. It was obvious to EVERYONE that the ball had crossed the line, not to the referee and linesman (to call that man an assistant to the referee would be an embarrassment to the term) of course. But Sepp Blatter (president of FIFA, the governing body of football) seems to think that to take 2 minutes out of the game to consult a small camera THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE GOAL for television replays would be bad for the game and disrupt flow.

I have two issues with this. Firstly, the fact that he thinks it would disrupt the game to make the right call shows me that he is unfit to be the president of the governing body for one of the worlds top sports. It would have taken less time to consult a camera and made the call, than it would have for the goalkeeper to pick the ball up and hit his pass. My second point is another point on the "disrupting the flow of the game" argument, it is seemingly stupid to do the right thing and waste a couple of minutes but when a player who is obviously not injured, when his team are one nil up with 30 seconds to go, goes down like he's had a pickle inserted in his arse and writhes around on the floor for three minutes after an opposition player taps him on the shoulder, is okay...

Sepp Blatter needs to get his priorities straight. If a game like Tennis and Rugby can have this kind of technology, why can't the worlds biggest sport?

It hinders the integrity of an already ailing game, and makes the fans who protest it so much feel worthless.

Love 'n' Stuff



Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Clazz and I decided a while ago that we should go and see Green Day play at the SECC in Glasgow last week. Well, I say “I”, what I mean is she booked the tickets and then informed me that we were going to Glasgow. Not that I complained to much, seeing as Green Day were a band that I was rather in to back in school and I never really let go of that feeling of teenage fun and games when I listen to “Basket Case”.

Last Sunday we embarked on the epic journey from Uckfield to Glasgow, with a pit stop in London for a few hours whilst we waited for the night coach....More on that later. London is always fun, every time I have been there I continually utter the phrase “I love London”, and it now must rank at least in the top three of my most used sentences. We headed up early, well, after Clazz had closed the shop and we had finished rushing about like goons, trying to pack those last minute little bits like clothes and toiletries. As such, we nearly missed the train.... Which is so unlike us it’s untrue....Dots convey sarcasm on blog posts, right?

As I say, London is amazing, one of my favourite places to be (outside of everywhere on the Isle of Man, obviously) and seeing as we had a few hours to kill before the magnificent night coach, we decided to do a few touristy things. Despite the fact I have been to London on more occasions than I even dare to count, I had never been to Buckingham Palace. I had also only been to Trafalgar Square on one previous trip. We walked for a fair distance, to lots of places and I was pretty damn proud of the amount of things we managed to cram in to such a short amount of time. Highlight of London leg of our journey has got to be winning a Fox’s Glacier mint and a Fruit Salad from a Namco game arcade...Despite the machine screwing me out of 120 something tickets. We spent the remainder of our time wandering around admiring the sunset that descended London into it’s beautiful Neapolitan darkness, before heading to Victoria Coach Station for Leg II of our marathon three day trip.

I hate coaches, with a passion that can only adequately be described through the medium of fire. I have grown accustomed to them though, having lived in Manchester for a few months I used to travel down to see my parents and go to gigs fairly often. Nothing could have prepared me for the arduous trek that lay ahead. 8 hours on a coach is bad enough, but 8 hours that you have to try and sleep through as well is border line on torture. Clazz is used to it, though, coming from Orkney she made the same journey many times, and as such pretty much slept right through. I, however, remained awake for all but 3 hours of the journey, and this is 3 sporadic hours, not continuous. Bored doesn’t begin to describe whatever it was I was feeling. Anyway, we got there at around 8 Monday morning, and headed for the Euro Hostel where we were staying.

Upon arrival we were told that we couldn’t check in until the afternoon.....ARRGGGHHHH! It was 9 in the morning. 6 hours we would have to spend finding things to do on a shoestring budget in Glasgow. So off we went to McDonalds for breakfast....Well, I did anyway....A double sausage and egg mcmuffin is far too tempting to turn down when you don’t realise what you are doing. Glasgow isn’t an overwhelming City like London, nor is it as pretty. But it does have a charm that makes you fall in love with it. Like most people from the South, we have this stereotype about the Scottish that they are all drunken, unhelpful tossers who couldn’t care less about anyone, but we encountered nothing but nice people who are by no means inebriated or tossers. Anyway, I found my new favourite store, Forbidden Planet; it’s a geek heaven/haven. I wanted it all, but I settled for a £9.99 Yoshi Plushie, which is the best money I have ever spent.

We ended up checking in and sitting in the bar of the Hostel, where we met with Alistair. Alistair is one of Clazz’s friends from Orkney, we have chatted on the interwebz and we have had many a debate with one of Clazz’s other friends so we get along quite well. I was feeling a bit worried though, this was the first of Clazz’s friends I had met, and I didn’t want to give off a terrible impression, thankfully I didn’t and we ended up playing pool before walking down to the SECC to see Green Day.

We bid our farewells to Alistair, at least until tomorrow, and sat in the Queue to see one of the greatest bands on the planet. We got lucky, although we arrived a bit later on we managed to get a decent spot in the line and once we got in we even had time to pick up a T-Shirt and still be pretty close to the front.

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts were on first, I’m not a massive fan of the music but that fact that she is getting on a bit and can still produce the goods live is a credit to the industry really. There were a fair few fans of hers in as well so she did managed to rouse a good reaction from the rather young crowd. It was a good set, despite only knowing a couple of their songs I found myself bouncing around and have a good time. We were expecting Frank Turner to be here, but as the Blackhearts carried on for over 45 minutes we began to wonder if he was or not. When they started setting up for Green Day we had our answer, I was a tad disappointed because I have a few friends who rate him very highly and I wouldn’t have minded making my own opinion.

Not that it matters, we weren’t made to wait for long before the legendary pink bunny came sprawling drunkenly on the stage and provoking a mass dance-a-long to the YMCA which was being blasted out of the PA. He swore at the crowd before stumbling off the stage, the crowd were expectant now, and as The Ramones blasted out of the PA and the lights dimmed the sea of people screamed in excitement, myself included. Tre appeared, then Mike and last but not least Billy Joe bounced onto the stage and burst into a 3 hour set of pure magic, finishing with rousing and heartfelt rendition of Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) before leaving the stage to be stared at by thousands of dumbfounded fans, astonished by the party they had just witnessed. It wasn't just a show, it was an event, and one I was very proud to be a part of. Despite the fact there were no trains, and we had a half an hour walk on almost useless limbs, nothing could damped our spirits as we traipsed back and rested our weary heads for our only real night of sleep.

Tuesday was the day we met up with Kevin. Kevin is one of Clazz’s best friends, who had decided to come and stay with us for a while in Uckfield. We wandered around Glasgow a bit more first, his coach from Aberdeen was due at 12 and we checked out at 11, so as most people do, we decided to go to Hamleys, I love this shop almost as much as I love Forbidden Planet, as photos will prove :D . I got to be Bumblebee from Transformers; my life was complete at that very moment. I was more nervous about meeting Kevin; he is one of Clazz’s best friends and will be living with us for a while so I certainly didn't want to be myself and ruin any chance of civility. We met; we got on fine, problem over. We spent the rest of the day wandering and shopping (I got shoes and two Stephen Fry books, yay. Kevin made a Build-A-Bear Tiger called Rory with sunglasses and a guitar.) We eventually met up with Alistair and went to a few pubs before “Night Coach 2: The Return of the Haunted Bus Driver” We said our second set of Goodbyes and left. I fuse to mention Pizza Hut because I nearly died.

The coach ride home was worse than the one there, ‘nuff said. We got to London and got on a train home and by half nine, I was asleep after a freaking amazing few days!

Saturday, 19 June 2010


I was going to do a blog about the World Cup, then I decided that as much as I can rant about how poorly England played last night it's not going to change anything. One of two things can happen, they win against Slovenia and go through to lose in the Quarter Finals to an infinitely better team (Serbia...), or the Draw/Lose and go home to be ridiculed for the worst showing in a tournament since, well, the last World Cup I suppose.

Instead I am going to ramble about on of the other passions in my life, gaming. A tiny expo happened this week, it's name was E3, and some very interesting (although not wholly innovative) things happened. Firstly Microsoft decided to go mad and add a proper motion control system to it's console, which was met with a great underwhelming sigh by the majority of gaming critics. The worst kept secret in gaming, "project natal" is being tipped as the death of gaming by one "credible" source on the internet, basically it's the wiimote system crossed with the eye toy. I don't really know what to make of it, it looks like Microsoft saw the Wii as competition and decided to cash in, which would be no surprise to me, or anyone really. I've always viewed the Xbox 360 and the PS3 as separate entities to the Wii, the former being for serious gamers who want to blow stuff up and gain hit points and the later as something you break out when you want to play some party games. So for Microsoft to do this, plus add some Kinect only titles to the whole situation, makes me wonder where the future of gaming lies. If this is it, I pray to all that is holy the serious gaming companies actually make it so serious gamers can have something to like about it, and not just families.

On the plus side, they are releasing a new Xbox 360, complete with a rather massive 250Gb of memory and the rather wonderful addition of Wifi! all for the same cost as a normal (well probably the elite version) Xbox. Wifi is something I think Sony are going to have to add that to their latest version of the Playstation because I think Microsoft have latched on to something good by adding this. Although they'll lose profits on their ridiculously over priced wireless adaptor, if I wanted to pay £59.99 for an adaptor I would hope that it would connect me to a "super internet" that has unlimited bandwidth and 2,000,0000Mb download speed. Also, the amount of retards on Xbox live who think swearing is an acceptable way of disagreeing/putting your point across/saying thank you, I would expect Microsoft to pay for that for me...

Another good thing about the Microsoft presentation was the announcement that Fable III is coming out in August *Squuueeeee*, although I can see Peter Molyneux fucking it up, he tends to do that with his games....

Nintendo produced the most impressive presentation, announcing new games from the Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Kid Icarus and Kirby series PLUS Goldeneye for the Wii. I loved Goldeneye on the N64, it was wonderfully fun to play and I can't wait for it. Also they showed off the 3DS.... Something that looks cool, but whether it'll actually be any good is another matter entirely. The fact that they put in a slider so you can turn the thing off doesn't really show confidence from Nintendo, unless of course you are of the persuasion that the 3D element is merely a gimmick that they added on to a normal DS console. It'll be fun, anyway.

Can't be arsed talking any more

Love 'n' Stuff