Category Archives: Music

My Mix Tape

I have been “eavesdropping” in on a conversation on twitter regarding mix tapes,  Dan Slee has done a wonderful job of summing up the “history” of mix tapes so I don’t have to but I love the whole idea of them being the original Social Media – THE way to share in the 90’s and it got me thinking about some of the tapes I received as teen as Dan puts it:

They could be a love letter, a  sign of friendship or the grandstanding of musical knowledge.

…and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

When I was in senior school I used to swap mix tapes with my friend Jess. We were, in our opinion, the optimum of cool and shared  a mutual love of all the artists and bands the supposed “in crowd” hated, Nirvana, Hole, PJ Harvey, Chilli Peppers, to name a few and with our mix tapes playing through the earphones of our walkman we looked down upon the lesser beings with our musical snobbery. It cemented our friendship and I went on to purchase some of my favourite albums on the back of tracks Jess  included on those now long lost c90’s.

Yet the most impressive mix tape I have ever received wasn’t a tape at all, it was a CD and while I’m sure it started out as a “grandstanding of musical knowledge”   it turned into the greatest love letter I have ever received….

In Steph's Honour

“In Steph’s Honour” given to me by James in December 2005  – 4 months before we became us. He told me then it was an “education” as we liked some of the same music, but he  has since admitted that he was trying to  impress me a little and I have to admit it did!!

Disk 1 – The Rock Show

  1. One Armed Scissor (At The Drive-In)
  2. A Box Full Of Sharp Objects (The Used)
  3. Vessel & Vine (The Lucky Nine)
  4. 57 (Biffy Clyro)
  5. If You Don’t, Don’t (Jimmy Eat World)
  6. The Sign (Foo Fighters)
  7. The Graduate (Third Eye Blind)
  8. Corduroy (Pearl Jam)
  9. Sad and Lonely (Secret Machines)
  10. Stockholm Syndrome (Muse)
  11. My Tortured Soul (Probot)
  12. Superunknown (Soundgarden)
  13. Inspire (Cave In)
  14. (I Am) What I Am Not (Idlewild)
  15. I’m Not Okay (My Chemical Romance)
  16. Beating Heart Baby (Head Automatica)

Disk 2 – Late Night Ditties

  1. Wishlist (Pearl Jam)
  2. I Never Came (QOTSA)
  3. Blue and Yellow (The Used)
  4. Switching Off (Elbow)
  5. Between The Bars (Elliot Smith)
  6. Pink Bullets (The Shins)
  7. Walking On A Wire (The Get Up Kids)
  8. The Light And The Sound (Rocky Votolato)
  9. Scary Mary ( Biffy Clyro)
  10. And Then You Kissed Me (The Cardigans)
  11. Drop (Clarkesville)
  12. Amie (Damien Rice)
  13. Those Crimson Tears (Ed Harcourt)
  14. El Capitain (acoustic) (Idlewild)
  15. The Sun (Joseph Arthur)
  16. Title and Registration (Death Cab For Cutie)
  17. My Sundown (Jimmy Eat World)

Four years and a bit years on I still haven’t made this track listing a playlist on iTunes or on Spotify because nothing compares to the feeling of finding this CD off the shelf , remebering just how much effort went into it and putting it into the player and dancing around my living room. It is such shame that with digital music this is a dying art,  and while Philip John is correct when he wrote that “Spotify needs to get social” I doubt a shared play-list on Spotify or a recommendation on Mflow would have the same feel good impact as picking up something tangible and knowing that someone made it just for you!

Rogue States

James’ cousin’s band Rogue States released their début E.P Lights last year, and to go with it they shot an amazing music video.

The boys organised the shoot themselves, with drummer Stuart Baxter Wilkinson directing, long time friend of his Tim Larcombe behind the camera as director of photographer and the props (lamps and rugs) being stolen borrowed from their wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles houses.

It was shot mid February 2009 in the FREEZING cold Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth, Birmingham – I’m pushing home the point of how cold it was as in one close up of lead singer Michael you can  see the breathe he’s exhaling. Poor boys couldn’t even get the place heated – but in fairness is does add something to those scenes

Excitingly Q have just picked up on the video and are now showing it on rotation on their music channel in the UK,  Sky 364 and Virgin 338, and I urge you all to check it out….

…And if you enjoyed that you can come see them live at one of their upcoming dates in London, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Rogue States


Nearly every teenage boy at some point has strutted his stuff playing air guitar in front of the mirror, delusions of grandeur reflected in eyes and dreamed of being a rock star.

90% never pick up an instrument.

5% decide it’s not for then and turn to computer games for amusement.

3% try and then give up after their first few testosterone fuelled gigs citing “artistic differences” as a reason to quit

1% will go on and on trying, jumping from place to place trying their luck at becoming the next big thing, but never really hanging around long enough to make it work.

Then there is the last 1% that will hang in there, persistently playing to the same crowd in the same venues with the same band members over and over again until maybe if they are lucky they will get the break they have laboured for, the break they deserve…

…hopefully these guys will be getting their break soon! They’ve worked so hard, for so long they deserve it.

With support dates with Razorlight, the lovely Andy Burrows (formally of Razorlight) signing them to his new record label “Evelyn B” and the imminent release of their debut EP “Kings of the Ghost Town Mile” things are looking up,

Lets hope this upward trend lasts and they get some major label interest soon and in the meantime check them out!

V 2008 – What a wash out!

Saturday saw me attending the V festival in Weston Park, Staffs. What a waste of a Saturday – I could have been doing something interesting like cutting the lawn with some nail clippers or cleaning my toilet with a toothbrush, but instead I was battling the elements to attend the WORST festival I have ever been to!

The rain I could cope with, I had a rain jacket, even if it did make me look like a pea with legs I could cope with the cold, hey I’ve camped at festivals in worse weather. The line up wasn’t too bad plenty of bands for me to see, Even if James didn’t approve of all my choices but what absolutely drove me mad were the coked up middle class pissed tossers who couldn’t give a shit about the music and were only there to get off their faces!


The day didn’t start off too badly, We saw Jack McManus in the Union Arena Tent and then the latter half of The Feelings set on the main stage before I parted company with James and made my way over to the T4 stage for a good old festival sing along to Scouting for Girls with James’ friend Ruth and her friend Becks.

There was a bit of jostling as some of the coke fiends by us barely stayed upright and burnt each others rain jackets with cigarette ends. (Cue for us to move further into the crowd) but they were good to see as it was a proper festival moment, the band look genuinely pleased and amazed at the crowd reaction and the crowd fed off their energy singing along with all their songs and generally having a good time.

Once they’d done I caught the last part of Tom Baxter’s set back in the Union Arena Tent stepping over the bodies in the tent that had collapsed through drug/alcohol abuse and at merely 6:25pm that was my bands done for the day – I didn’t get to see anyone else!!

Yes I know Amy Winehouse made it on to stage (30 mins late, I quote one friend of mine in saying “it was like watching the aftermath of a car crash) but the lure or the V.I.P area dry seating and food was more important at this point. _ The V.I.P area had Nando’s dammit how could I resist something resembling “proper” food at a festival?

Yes, Yes I know Kings Of Leon were playing – I tried to to watch them, I saw and heard none of it from behind a group of 5 of the biggest twats I have ever encountered in my life screaming and shouting and flailing about through the entirety of their set, at one point they stripped off one of the female members of their group to the waist screaming at everyone “don’t look don’t look” well I was trying to look BUT AT THE FUCKING STAGE MORONS. Unfortunately I was too short to see anything but the back of peoples heads or a face full of tit and too far back in the crowd for the sound of the band to carry above the idiots so I missed it but a few chords of “Charmer” and “On Call” – I did consider moving but a quickie scan of the surrounding areas convinced me to stay put as it was no better anywhere else, Where was I supposed to go – to stand next to the guys who started fighting behind us? The only saving grace was we’ve already bought tickets to see them again in December where I will be very carefully selecting who we stand behind!

By the time KoL had gone off stage I was exhausted and quite upset so we made our way back to the Union Arena for The Guillemots but with an hour to wait before they started I sat on the floor while the crowd sang along to Echo and the Bunnymen and ruminated about all the idiots I’d encountered during the day. Desperately tried to dry out and slowly lost the will to live looked up at James to hear him ask “Do you want to go home?”

Hell yeah I did! So at only 9:30pm we packed up and shipped out pausing only for a quick chat with James’ cousin Steve who we’d not managed to catch up with all day.

I don’t think I’m going to bother going again unless the line up is too good to miss, V 2008 sucked, V 2006 wasn’t much better and who can forget the flying torch incident of 2005?? I leave most years thinking why did I bother – so free tickets or no free tickets I think in future if one of “James’ Artists” are playing we’ll go watch them and then leave again!