Thursday, 29 December 2016

3 To 1

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is people making the same tedious observation about 2016 being a bit rubbish.

Speaking of things no one cares about, here (in no particular order) are my top 3 albums of 2016.

The Mountain Will Fall - DJ Shadow

This year I got to see one of my musical heroes play live, and DJ Shadow did not disappoint. In fact he was one of the best live acts I've ever seen, with incredible visuals surrounding him. I even shook his hand, so if anyone wants to touch my hand in turn please do let me know. Shadow's new album The Mountain Will Fall sees the trip-hop pioneer continue to push himself into new realms of electronic music, with hip-hop, jazz and euphoria vying for space on the record. The album also gave us one of the best music videos of the year:

Gore - Deftones

In 2016 I finally got to see Deftones, and they also turned out to be one of the best live acts I've ever experienced. Their music is bludgeoning, beautiful and completely transcendent, all illusatrated on their new album Gore. Not only is the opening cut Prayers/Triangles an amazing way to start an album, the track Doomed User is one of the best songs they've ever recorded. I still don't have a clue what Chino Moreno is singing about most of the time, but I can highly recommend running while listening to Deftones; it's like being chased by wraiths.

Three - Blue Man Group

It was always my dream to become a Blue Man (like my other hero, Tobias Fünke) or one of their neon-clad drummers. They're best known for their internationally phenomenal live shows that combine music, comedy and technology to explore a variety of ideas, including otherness as represented by these blue-skinned outsiders. But they also produce highly innovative studio records using many musical instruments of their own invention, often involving hitting PVC pipes to create a strange, melodic, percussive sound. Three is so-called because it's their third album and the Blue Men always appear in threes, and it features more of the same rhythmic alien rock. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Eleven

"Nobody likes jazz that much... even the guy playing it had to take drugs!"

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is songs in 11/8 (or 11/4).

Where would we be without the number 11? Danny Ocean would be bereft of a crew. Spinal Tap's amps would have nowhere to go. [Insert football player - do not forget to come back to this] would have to run around with a different number on his football jersey. But most of all, we'd be without these 5 groovy songs written in the time signature 11/8 (or 11/4) just to be difficult.

Eleven Four - The Dave Brubeck Quartet (1962)

With the possible exception of Stephen Hawking, nobody knows time like Dave Brubeck. The cool-jazz pioneer seemed allergic to straightforward time signatures, resulting in classics like Take Five (which is a pun) and saxophonist Paul Desmond's Eleven Four (which is not).

Eleven - Primus (1991)

This typically disonant track by bass-driven avant-garde rock band Primus showcases Les Claypool's muscular bass riffs, Tim "Herb" Alexander's rolling drum beats and Larry LaLonde's screaming guitar work, with non-conformist lyrics and time signatures.

I Say a Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin (1968)

Although originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, it's Aretha Franklin's version that reigns supreme thanks to soulful vocals and melodic arrangements. The chorus uses an 11-count, proving that it's not just for pretentious jazz and druggy metal.

Whipping Post - The Allman Brothers Band (1971)

I think this blog is really about my music taste being all over the place. In any case, Gregg Allman's blistering Whipping Post riff is written in 11/4 and is well worth a listen if you have 23 minutes to spare. No? Fair enough.

The Eleven - Grateful Dead (1969)

Because I'm incapable of writing a blog or holding a conversation without mentioning the Grateful Dead, check out the scorching beauty of this psychedelic masterpiece and its trippy lyrics. I'm not entirely sure what a "jingle bell rainbow" is, but I'd very much like to find out. 

An honourable mention goes to Hey Ya! by OutKast (2003), for being (presumably) the only number 1 single with an 11-count. The Mario Kart 64 (1996) results screen music also demonstrates the versatility of my favourite time signature. 

A better blogger would have listed 11 examples. Or at least published this blog on the 8th November. Or even just explained what 11/8 actually means. But ironically, I don't have time.


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

It doesn't make any sense!

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is adverts that don't make any sense. 

No, we do not get dressed every day. We're not in the army.

No, we have not forgotten about TalkTalk's mass negligence. And no amount of pandering is going to trick us.

No, Adam and Toni are not taking part in a social experiment. They're taking part in an advert.

Here's Kyuss. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Sick Sad Lidl World

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

This year, cinema adverts have been almost as bad as the films themselves. For example...


This one annoys me because he abandons his car in the middle of a traffic jam. Red Bull might give you wings but clearly not brains.


I think I remember going to that club when I was at uni.


Lidl are doing a series of passive-aggressive adverts in which fake customers pretend to voice concerns about the origin of the company's produce, only to have the supermarket wake them up at some ungodly hour, send them out to sea and confront them to prove a point. I'm trying to get involved:
Here's Incubus.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Digging In Your Nails

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is goop (((again) again) again).

It was with mixed feelings, therefore, that I read last month's news that Oscar-winning pseudoscientist Gwyneth Paltrow was separating (though she'd probably call it "consciously uncoupling") from her crypto-fascist lifestyle website goop. 

On the one hand, this will likely result in less bullshit, and a reduction in the amount of bullshit in the world can only be a good thing. On the other hand, what am I going to blog about now?!

Does this spell the end for articles such as this piece calling for yoga to be taught in schools? It actually gave me a flashback to the time my PSHE teacher tried to make us meditate as part of an ill-advised "relaxation" session, which my friend Shaun and I failed to take seriously and ended up having to write sarcastic letters of apology to the teacher. "We are sorry we were too relaxed during Tuesday's meditation lesson..."

Or this article about nail beauty for children, which starts with the unbelievable sentence: "It’s the rare child—male or female, beauty-involved or beauty-indifferent, young or old—that isn’t delighted by a pedicure or manicure."

Admittedly, everything I know about kids could fit on a child's fingernail, but I'm sure children don't care about their nails. Why do you think they're always biting them? It's not for the taste. For a child, it's hard to imagine a worse day than a trip to a Beverley Hills manicurist, followed by an hour of yoga and then all back to Gwyneth's for a gluten-free dairy-free shepherd's pie

But gp lives in a bizarro world, and I might just find that I miss my weekly window into her organic cauliflower brain.

Here's Big D and the Kids Table.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Laughing Navy Types

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

I went to the cinema last night (Star Trek Beyond AKA Mission Impossible in space) and winced my way through another set of insipid adverts, three of which were...


To reiterate, this was before a Star Trek film. It doesn't exactly scream Starfleet.


Because nothing says sexy and sophisticated like Are You Being Served?


#YouKnowItsSummerWhen McDonald's makes you feel sick outdoors.

Here's Donald Fagen:

Thursday, 30 June 2016


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them.

I just went to the cinema (Elvis & Nixon - better than Batman v Superman) and accidentally sat through the adverts because TFL got me there on time, the bastards. These were 3 of the worst.


There were not 1 but 2 separate Coke adverts, in case there was any danger of going a whole day without seeing any Coca-Cola advertising. This one has something to do with football and intimidating night-time rallies. If my country ever does call, tell them I'm not home.


All McDonald's adverts present a bizarre version of the "restaurant" that does not and has never existed. Personally speaking, I can't remember the last "good time" I had in a McDonald's... what year did they have Pocahontas toys in Happy Meals?


If you're sick to death of twee fucking ads / and pray those smug arseholes are hit by a cab / or maybe dismembered by huger killer crabs... there's a beer for that.

Here's Reel Big Fish.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mistress of the Salmon Salt

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is goop ((again) again).

It's time for another round-up of bullshit from everyone's favourite former actor, spiritual guide and pseudoscientist, who doesn't appear in the new Captain America movie as she and Tony Stark have consciously uncoupled.

A few years ago, it was reported that the company was hemorrhaging money (the same company that gave Gwyneth a £350,000 salary plus an interest-free loan of £29,200). Since then, every article has been a barely concealed advert. For instance, this piece about a $700 juicer, which opens with the line: "Mention at-home juicing to anyone who’s really tried it and the first thing that inevitably comes up is the nightmare of clean-up." Unless you put the lid down.

Next, goop helpfully provides some Mother's Day gift ideas, ranging from $650 slippers to a $10,500 bracelet (above). You know, for Mother's Day. 

Some of the other items in the goop shop include a $73 wooden spoon and 1oz of salt for $10 (left).

The bullshit continues with this enlightening piece about beauty companies who chant and play music to their skincare products. Why? I have no idea. But goop is convinced, inviting us to "consider the fact that people bless food all the time," as though that makes it anything other than certifiably insane. 

GP has form for this sort of thing, having previously championed the idea that being mean to water can affect its molecular structure. So it's not the first time her risible beliefs have landed her in hot water (sorry).

I'll leave you with Blue Öyster Cult. Try playing it to your exfoliating cream.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Our Shadows Taller Than Arseholes

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them... music edition!

1. The cunts suing Led Zeppelin for supposedly plagiarising Stairway to Heaven. All songs are based on other songs, and whatever Led Zeppelin took, they turned it into something new and set a new fucking standard in rock music. In any case, the people suing are the Spirit guitarist's family, so they had no creative involvement whatsoever. Trying to rinse money from a song that's brought so much joy to the world is just greedy, but doing so when you have literally nothing to do with it is pathetic. Mind you, I remember the Olympics when Jimmy Page was on that London bus with Leona Lewis, so I feel I'm owed some compensation too.

2. Jukebox musicals. It's a hack observation, but the idea of creating a show based entirely around someone else's songs strikes me as the height of laziness. I have no interest in seeing the songs of The Kinks sung by people who aren't The Kinks, strung together with a vague nod towards a story. I say this as someone who's sat through both The Commitments and Mamma Mia! During the latter, I preempted every song by saying "ooh, ABBA" in mock surprise. It was really funny. And then it wasn't. And then it was again. 

3. People who insist that music was best when they were young. What, you think it's just a massive coincidence that the best period of music happened to coincide with the time that your tastes were forming, or you were listening to the radio and watching Top of the Pops, or regularly buying the NME? It seems small-minded and arrogant to ignore the enormous history of music and buy into such an unlikely coincidence. Especially as the people in question generally grew up in the '90s. 

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Plus Plus

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and here are three more of them. 

Adverts, that is.


This bizarre corporate tie-in attempts to simultaneously advertise an airline and a horrible film, and fails drastically at both. Batman v Superman? Paint v the Drying Process.


Now with added shitness. Call me cynical, but I don't want my bank being cute at me.


There's something deeply depressing about this one. Maybe it's the awful advert music, or maybe it's the idea that we're doomed to live and die in cars like some wretched Ballardian nightmare.

Here's German funk band Poets of Rhythm!

Monday, 29 February 2016

A Toast

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is goop (again).

Welcome back to goop-watch, where I share some of the wisdom found in this week's Gospel according to Gwyneth.
This enlightening article on giving speeches begins: "We’ve all been there: Cringing through an endless, or obnoxious, or embarrassing, or inappropriate, or just plain self-absorbed toast." Though I'm pretty sure it was meant to say "Oscar speech."

Then Nurse Jackie alumna Liz Flahive gives some advice on making a speech, though if it's anything like Nurse Jackie it'll amount to starting strongly and soon petering out.

The toast theme continues with a recipe for avocado toast. But not just any avocado toast. This avocado toast is "superpowered", so expect to see it in the next Iron Man film, sprinkled with Pepper Potts. Apparently, it will give you "great skin - inside & out." Whatever that means.

Join me next time on goop-watch for more crypto-fascist recipes. Until then, here's A Toast by Malcolm Middleton and David Shrigley, which really says it all.

Saturday, 30 January 2016


There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is goop.

As you'll know if you follow me on twitter or in real life, I'm slightly obsessed with Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website / Hollywood cult magazine, and thought I'd share with you a couple of the insights gleaned from this week's issue.

Drink stewed animal bones

According to goop, "bone broth is a magic superfood" - simply simmer your leftover animal bones for 36 hours and enjoy. This is actually one of many dietary habits that Hollywood A-listers share with the Texas Chain Saw family. 

According to Gwyneth's friends in the bone broth industry, "all the science isn't there yet" and "people who are concerned about lead poisoning from bone broth often point to a 2013 study that has several flaws." So that's reassuring.

Rub your skin with a dry brush

Scrubbing the body using "a soft but firm brush" not only stimulates the lymphatics, it also "sweeps away dead skin cells." I'd argue that the same is probably true of steel wool, but I thought Lymphatics was a character from Asterix, so what do I know?

They recommend brushes made from "medium soft cactus bristles", available for a mere $39 from the goop store - in so many ways a shop for pricks.

Join me next time on goop-watch for more terrifying tips. In the meantime, here's Blind Melon.