Saturday, February 24, 2007

Britney, Glastonbury and a plague of band reunions

Britney Spears has gone back into rehab for the third time, according to a US report.
The shaven-headed pop princess has already been to two treatment centres over the last week, checking out after just 24 hours each time.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm finding this wee soap opera immensely entertaining - perky virgin pop princess one minute, drug-addled white trash single mother fuck-up the next!
Who'd have seen that one coming eh? It all started so well, those world tours and number one hit singles (with 'saucy videos' to boot!) but Britney still managed to keep a cool head, start a family and show the doubters that she could handle the fickle world of showbiz.
But slowly, gradually, the whole thing was duty bound to hit the shithouse wall at some point - videos faking her own bathtub suicide, getting hitched to some smalltown nobody and cancelling the marriage a couple of days later, then going one better by marrying some gormless whiteboy-rap knucklehead so she could start dropping cracker sprogs....And now look what's happened! Three trips to rehab in a fucking week!! Even Pete Doherty would have trouble topping that!!

These photos of the one-time princess of pop exiting a celebrity drug treatment clinic with a GI Jane buzzcut should be posted up and sent around as a warning to any parents thinking of signing their toddler up for the Mickey Mouse Club and grooming them for a career in fuck-awful pop music and toothpaste adverts - 'YOUR KID WILL GROW UP TO BE A JUNKIE FUCK-UP, START BREEDING WITH SOME Z-LIST VANILLA ICE CLONE AND MAKE A TOTAL ARSE OF HERSELF IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE WORLD - THINK TWICE ABOUT PIMPING YOUR OFFSPRING TO THE SHOWBIZ INDUSTRY'.

And what the fuck is going on with that blond wig??? You look like something out of a David Lynch film, you empty-headed talentless showbiz trollop!! Fuck off into pop obscurity and never come back!!!

Slash will release his autobiography later this year, he has confirmed. The former Guns N' Roses guitarist has begun to pen his memoirs, which will be published by Harper Collins. Slash, real name Saul Hudson, will be assisted in putting the book together by Anthony Bozza, ghost writer for Tommy Lee and others.

Oh I can't wait to read these fascinating insights into the mind of a journeyman guitarist!! I love the way they employ 'ghost writers' for these autobiographies to cleverly disguise the fact that the real authors are too fucking frazzled to spell their own names properly, let alone write a fucking book about their entire lives! Slash may be handy on the old six-stringer but I would think twice before shelling out twenty Euros to peruse his memoirs - the drooling fuckwit would probably be hard pressed to remember anything that happened five minutes ago, let alone twenty fucking years!

I read Tommy Lee's Bozza-monitored autobiography and whilst it was reasonably entertaining (the continued dialogue between Tommy and his own cock that runs through the chapters was a lovely touch), it didn't really rake up anything that wasn't in 'The Dirt' - if you haven't read Mötley Crüe's warts 'n' all account of their rise and fall, I heartily recommend that you do, although we can also blame it for the wave of rock star autobiographies that have sprung up since its release. Over the past few years, every forty something MTV turkey like Anthony Kiedis or Dave Navarro has flung out a half-arsed book recounting their painful childhood and long-standing battle with heroin/cheeseburgers/getting out of bed in the morning etc....We are now at the point where INXS are putting out career-spanning autobiographies - where's it gonna end? Are we going to get 'The Life and Times of the drummer from Dodgy' on the bookshelves next???

The reasons these guys are rock stars and not writers is because they generally have fuck-all of interest to say aside from 'Hey Cleveland! Are you ready to ROCK??' - there are a few notable exceptions, and the Crüe book was one of them, but in order to put together some sort of coherent story for public consumption, it helps if the c*nts can actually string a sentence together in the first place. The best books I've read on music have generally been written by professional rock journalists, sociologists or the occasional literate rock-star (Frank Zappa, Marilyn Manson). If you wanna read up on music and popular culture, check out Lester Bangs, Eric Nuzum, 'I'm with the band' by Pamela Des Barres or the 'Lords of Chaos' study on Black Metal. Give Slash a wide birth - having said that, I hope he includes a chapter on the meeting where Duff, Matt, Scott Weiland and himself decided collectively to attempt to pay off their mortgages by forming Velvet Revolver.

Singer Axl Rose is also reported to be the subject of an upcoming book by Mick Wall, entitled "W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of W. Axl Rose".

Is that the same Mick Wall from 'Get in the Ring' by any chance? I seem to recall that Mr Rose objected to the aforementioned journalist's comments in Kerrang! circa 1991 (something along the lines of 'Fuck you! Suck my fucking dick!....Get in the ring motherfucker I'll kick you bitchy little ass PONK etc etc).

So now this guy is writing a biography on Axl? I'm not surprised it's fucking 'Unauthorized'!! This might make for some interesting reading - let's see whether those ginger dreads are hair transplants or not!

Guns N' Roses have put back their new album, "Chinese Democracy", although the group remain confident of an imminent release.

Well fancy that for a fucking change!! We're gonna be in the next fucking ice age by the time this album comes out!! It's not exactly going to be a roaring success if your fans are all fucking dead by the time it hits the shops, is it???

Michael Eavis says 175,000 people have registered for this summer's Glastonbury Festival, with one week left to apply.

'Apply' to go to Glastonbury??? Are you taking the fucking piss??? Listen Eavis, we can talk about 'applying' when I'm in the hospital asking for a fucking kidney transplant, but when we're talking about buying tickets for a festival I tend to prefer not to be treated like some kind of dole scrounger asking for housing benefit - if I decided to shell out a squillion pounds to attend your corporate NME supermarket of a fucking festival just to watch the Kooks soundcheck in a field full of cowshite, I expect to be treated like a paying customer!!!

What do you think this is, a fucking Soviet food queue!!! You cheeky money-grabbing fucking wurzel!! You can't even put in decent drainage to stop people's tents getting flooded with piss and muddy bogwater, and you expect us to 'apply' for the privilege of getting royally fucking fleeced to come to your hideously overrated festival!! You might as well turn the fucking site into some kind of Stalinist slave labour camp and ask the gaggle of empty-headed Home Counties brats in Babyshambles T-shirts to 'apply' to come and spend four days sat in a puddle of freezing cold manky pondwater eating fucking mung bean stir-fry whilst some bunch of spotty 6th form indie kids wank around on a stage half a c*nting mile away!! They'd love it!! You greedy capitalist bald bastard! You can stick your fucking festival up your fucking arse! I'm never coming EVER!! At least at Reading you can watch Daphne & Celeste get piss-bottled off when they come on before Slipknot! GLASTONBURY FUCKING SUCKS!!

All Saints are on the brink of being dropped, it has been claimed. The girl group have enjoyed little success since reforming last year, with comeback album "Studio 1" inspiring disappointing sales.

Hahahahahahahaha!!!! What a surprise that was! 'Disappointing sales' doesn't even cover it - this prize fucking turkey of a comeback album wouldn't even have made it out of the shops if Shaznay's mum hadn't gone out and bought a couple of dozen copies so it would register on the charts!! Nobody gives a toss about All Saints anymore - are we going to get every other naff 90s girlband reforming now? Are B*witched back in the recording studio??? Are Cleopatra going out on tour again?? How about this - get Chris fucking Moyles to promote a comedy re-release of 'No Way No Way' by Vanilla! There's a rich seam of worthless unlistenable bollocks to be tapped here!!

Spandau Ballat have no plans to reform, singer Tony Hadley has insisted. Hadley has now insisted they will not be following The Police, The Jesus & Mary Chain, James and Crowded House, who have all reformed in recent weeks.

Thanks Tony, I was certainly losing sleep over that one! I will admit to being partial to a bit of prime 80s Spandau, right through to their demise at the end of the decade in a mess of linen suits and bongo breaks - their stuff is hopelessly anchored to the period but that's kind of why I think it's cool. But this is also why there would be zero artistic justification for bringing it all back now - I can't imagine anything more depressing than watching Hadley drag his 20-stone arse across the stage singing 'Gold' whilst the other guys in the band try to pretend that they don't want to kill each other. Keep your dignity and leave pop music to the new bands.

The Jesus & Mary Chain have confirmed full details of their reunion, which will include an appearance at the Coachella Festival. Jim and William Reid have been at the centre of media speculation since the turn of the year and have now announced plans for their first live shows in almost a decade.

That said, I would love to see the Mary Chain live - advancing years surely cannot dim the power of their fuzzed-up Satanic psychedelic rawk 'n' roll. If the Reid brothers can deal with standing up on stage for upwards of an hour without collapsing into acid flashbacks or swinging their guitars at each others' heads, this could make for a good show. Mouthy jock c*nts they may be, but 'Psychocandy' and 'Honey's Dead' still skin your ears something chronic after all these years.

Oasis star Noel Gallagher has laid into Bono, telling him to "shut the fuck up about Africa".
Speaking about bands who focus on political issues rather than playing their back catalogues, Gallagher singled about U2's focus on charities. He said: "Play 'One', shut the fuck up about Africa."
Oasis are set to pick up the Outstanding Achievement at the 2007 BRIT Awards ceremony later this month (February 14). Speaking about their continuing relevance in light of the award, Gallagher told the Telegraph: "We had two number ones last year (in 2005), we're punching our weight with young kids, we still look good."

Someone give Noel a knighthood! The sole voice of sense in a world of pretentious musicians spouting self-righteous shite!! I would perhaps amend his Bono statement to : 'Don't play 'One', indeed don't play ANYTHING and while you're at it, shut the fuck up about life in general and go boil yer fucking heed!!'

Friday, February 09, 2007

Would you like to meet my goat?

My recent vacillations around Paris have been fruitful these past weeks, if only to fill me with rage and venom at the wilful c*ntishness of humanity in this big, heartless city. So great in number are those who have succeeding in getting on my knackers recently that I felt it would be only fair to dedicate a spleen-venting session just to them, so here it is – a concise list of those who get my fucking goat and nay mistake.

Here is my goat, his name is Clarence and he is a thoroughbred Bavarian Scrotmuncher with a silky beard and a butting capacity to rival the impact of an ice-cream van rolling down a hill.

Like him? You can bloody well have him, especially if you figure on the list below :

Charity collectors
I’m sure they mean well, all those fresh-faced students out in the street with their clipboards and colourful jackets advertising the various organisations they are trying to promote which will save us all from the encroaching onset of global capitalist eco-armageddon. The thing is, when I’m walking through an already crowded pedestrian area in front of a shopping centre or a train station, I might not necessarily want to get lectured on starving children, third-world debt or how many hamsters get melted in laboratory tests to make sure that some company’s new brand of eyeliner isn’t dangerous. Call me heartless, but I have other shit to do with my day and if I’m undecided on any ethical subject, a thirty second conversation with some first-year politics student isn’t going to swing me one way or another. If you’re collecting signatures to promote awareness for climate change or something that I already care about, I’ll sign your paper and we’ll leave it there – otherwise, I’ll check out your website later if I can be arsed. I’m not going to stand in the street for ages debating with you, and if I tell you once nicely that I don’t want to talk to you, take the hint and go irritate someone else ok? Do not try to lay some kind of guilt trip on me for ignoring your little speech on saving mankind when you’ve deliberately jumped up in my face and gone straight into your spiel like some kind of fucking circus clown with a moral conscience (and while I’m at it, pointing out that you’re ‘not a nutter or anything’ before you start doesn’t make want to listen to what you say either). On an average day, I don’t want to listen to you lot any more than the swivel-eyed evangelist loonies who drool and gibber about the end of days and giant snakes devouring the planet – you all require more patience and compassion that I have most of the time, so once I’ve made it clear that I don’t want to talk to you, get the fuck out of my face and go bother someone else. Just because you think you’re promoting some kind of righteous cause does not mean you’re immune to a torrent of abuse and possible physical violence if you lay some fucking lecture on me when I’m grumpy, hungover, late for an appointment or just generally not in the mood – and whatever the circumstances, I am NOT about to give you any fucking money either. You think that after getting growled at by tramps for spare change every five seconds in the metro, I’m gonna give up my hard-earned euros just so you can plough it into some hair-brained development project posting chocolate biscuits to orphans in Sierra Leone? Get in line with every other bastard after my cash – the French taxman’s already there and once he’s fleeced me good and proper I’ll start to think about how much ‘spare cash’ I have left for you lot!

I had my ear bent on the phone by some self-righteous bunghole the other day who seemed to think that once he mentioned that he was a journalist, I would automatically consider him my intellectual superior and accept his painstakingly researched opinions as the truth, regardless of what I had heard to suggest that he knew fuck-all about what he was talking about. Why is it that journalists think that their views are more important than everyone else’s just because they get paid to spout what is frequently a torrent of ill-thought out, self-serving bollocks tailored to meet their own political/professional objectives at the expense of any depiction of tangible reality? So you clicked around on the net and dredged up a bunch of ‘neutral’ source articles to really fill yourself in on what’s going on, or maybe even spoke to some real people and then twisted their comments to fit the article that you’d already written? Big fucking deal! You c*nts want a medal or something???

Don’t get me wrong, I could have ended up pursuing a career in journalism (although it has been suggested that I am incapable of writing coherent prose that isn’t peppered with obscenities - what preposterous c*nting nonsense) but I changed my mind when I actually met some people looking to carve a career in the same area and realised that a fairly large percentage of them were stuck-up, self-righteous wankers who were more interested in patronising the general public and ‘networking’ at media events with gaggles of coke-snorting public schoolkids trying to slime their way into a newspaper job because their dad knows the Guardian sub-editor. What riles me most about these guys is that those of them who don’t work for the guttersnipe tabloid press (I’m not even going to start on the Fleet Street fuckwits who spin webs of bile for The Sun and co) seem to think that they’re ambassadors for free-speech, tolerance and love to their fellow man. Hey folks, you think blatant political bias is restricted to Rupert Murdoch’s media colony? You fuckers have to toe the line just as much as everyone else, otherwise you’ll find yourself back writing ‘subversive comment articles’ for the student newspaper pretty bloody quickly!

And as for those tossers at Charlie Hebdo currently getting investigated for their frightfully witty Mohammed cartoons from last year – no, not the ones from the Danish paper that set the thing in motion, these clueless c*nts actually published some even more insulting ones that looked like they’d been doodled by some thirteen year old on the back of his bus timetable. (Click on this link and read about it if you’re interested :
They tried to pass the whole publicity stunt off as ‘defence of free speech’, whilst neglecting the fact that they tripled their circulation in the process – nice to see anti-globalists like you lot aren’t afraid to shit on someone else’s culture just to sell a few more papers eh? I hope they rinse you evil fucking bigots for everything you have, you loathsome bunch of arrogant racist fuckstains.

They just brought in a ban on smoking in public places here, which obviously I was very pleased about. But you know what the problem is? Nay c*nt has taken any notice – smokers are still lighting up wherever the fuck they feel like and stinking the place up with their hideous cancer-lollipops while I’m eating, drinking or waiting for a train. Listen chaps, if you’re not ready to toe the line when we ask you nicely, be prepared to catch a hefty fine (or, if you’re lucky in a few months time, a merciless truncheoning from the Sarko-sponsored Judge Dredd police force). And don’t try to convince me that anti-smoking legislation is evil and fascistic – there is NOTHING you poor, diseased nicotine junkies can say to defend your right to fill the air with shite while the general public (and that means pregnant mothers, old folks, sick kids and little old me) have to just stand there and deal with it. You are weak-minded drug slaves to an evil, multinational tobacco empire and the sooner you kick your filthy fucking habit, the better it will be for all of us. You’ll thank me for this later y’know.

Did I ever point out how much I hate Bono? I did? Oh.

NME writers
I could have included these guys in the ‘journalists’ bracket, but it is debatable whether or not what this bunch of snobby little fashion brats throw together between album launches and corporate sponsor champagne parties constitutes journalism in its purest form. Maybe I’m romanticising the past, but when I used to read the music press as a teenager, the writers could actually put together a coherent article without just stringing together a strain of cack-arsed sociology soundbites, designer drug references and lame 6th form politics. But then again, what am I getting upset about? It’s not like there’s much actual writing left once you’ve waded through the reams of ringtone adverts, I-pod promotions and enormous banners for the various brands of hairspray, emo make-up or diet pills that sponsor this shallow fucking lifestyle guide masquerading as a music magazine.

Teachers (in France at least)
I have a longstanding respect for teachers, being a middle-class little shit from Headingley who grew up around plenty of people whose parents worked in schools, and who did well in his exams. So I’ll leave British teachers off the radar for this one. However, their French counterparts get right on my tits for various reasons, namely because they are physically incapable of imagining a world where passing your baccalauréat exams isn’t the single most important thing in the fucking universe. I have to deal with these guys at work all the time and whilst many of them are really nice, there are plenty who are stuck-up megalomaniacs with no grounding in reality, and who probably only ended up teaching because they didn’t have enough friends that could wangle them a job being a fucking journalist. These jumped-up little gobshites start to think the whole world is going to collapse if some poor kid misses a couple of hours of philosophy class – listen, I hate to break this to you lot but school isn’t that fucking important. I’m sure your lessons are extremely stimulating, but chances are most of what you’re teaching will dribble right out of the heads of your students as soon as they’ve regurgitated it on the day of the exam like kittens coughing up a hairball.

The stereotype of French school teachers is that back in the 50s they were all following exactly the same timetable dictated by the ministry of education right down to each individual study hour. Thing is, there’s fuck all that’s changed since the post-war era except that every couple of months the miserable bastards all go on strike because their holidays aren’t long enough or something like that. Aside from the moronic laws against wearing headscarves (another victory for the Front National), they still insist of having classes on Saturday morning when any normal teenager would be waking up in a puddle of vomit after an all-night cider binge tempered only by a brief romantic interlude fingerbanging some pink-haired teenybopper in his mate’s spare bedroom. What sort of a crazy country is this?

Irate mothers
One thing I hate more than anything else is people slapping the fuck out of their kids in the street, and round here you don’t have to go too far before you witness some grim-faced bitch clobbering her poor offspring for no reason whatsoever. You wanna know why some people grow up violent, twisted and psychologically screwed beyond recognition? Not because of heavy metal, horror films or gory video games – it’s cos their parents, the people they are supposed to trust above all others, spend most of their time beating the shite out of them for no reason other than because they can’t control their fucking temper. My folks never laid a finger on me when I was a kid, and I know that I must have been pretty fucking annoying at times – so why is it that when some kid toddles off in the supermarket and tries to open a packet of frozen prawns in the middle of the aisle, his mother’s first reaction is to knock the poor little c*nt across the room? I’d step in and say something, but frankly when I see the beatdown these people are prepared to lay on their own four-year old, I dread to think what they might do to me if I tell them they’re a bad parent…..

Again, most French teachers/journalists fall into this category (actually, make that most French people full stop) so I may be repeating myself, but I think a special mention should be made of those wry political analysts whose answer to all the world’s problems is : blame the Yanks. Of course, this is hardly limited to France – all over Europe we love to look down our noses at the Americans like they’re to blame for all that’s wrong with the world today, ignoring our own countries’ colonial pasts and the fact that we live in some of the richest, most exploitative societies on the planet. The Yanks may currently lead the pack as far as greed, corruption and evil foreign policy go but the rest of us aren’t far behind – whilst we enjoy living in lavish, pampered societies built on slavery, war and sucking out all the money from those parts of the world that our ancestors trampled the fuck out of, we’re incapable of seeing the blatant hypocrisy in pinning the blame for global capitalism and inter-continental religious hatred solely on the USA. That sound a little unfair to some of you? Just to clarify, I don’t like the Yanks’ way of doing things any more than the next European and I’m glad that our society is structured differently to theirs – if I want to go live in some Christian supermarket of a country full of gun-toting lardballs talking a bastardized form of my own language, I can easily move over there (that is once I’ve gone through the customary eyeball scan and cavity search for explosive devices stuck up my arsepipe in order to get a visa). However, I draw the line at looking down my big colonialist European nose at the Yanks – when you look at the globe from the perspective of some of the world’s poorest countries, we Europeans aren’t quite the morally spotless defenders of freedom that we claim to be. We would do well to bear that in mind.

Smelly businessmen on the metro
Guys, I know you’re probably far too busy selling stocks and shares or boffing your secretary between board meetings to find time to invest in a toothbrush and some dental floss, but if we’re going to use the most cramped metro line in Paris together, would you do me a wee favour? BRUSH YER FUCKING TEETH YOU SMELLY FUCKING GREBS.

New young jazz/swing/EZ listening artists
Read : Jamie Cullum, Norah Jones, Katie Melua, Joss Stone etc…Notice any similarity? That’s right, they all make music for the kind of cloth-eared cretins whose CD collections contain nothing but anaemic coffee-table cowflop. I loathe and despise this fake, soulless fucking garbage – Dido was bad enough, but nowadays instead of some frigid housewife groaning about how boring her job is, we get a bunch of smarmy little gits who should be modelling on some toothpaste commercial but instead are manifesting their musical talents by trotting out neutered, flesh-crawlingly smug covers of jazz, soul and swing standards. Why do we need some 22-year old stage school brat covering Nina Simone, what’s wrong with the fucking original? If I wanna listen to jazz, I’ll go buy some old shit performed by a bunch of smack-addled hobos from the 1930s. If I wanna listen to soul, I’ll go buy some old shit performed by some 18-stone black mama singing about how her man done her wrong. And I already hate that kind of Ratpack swing shit performed by Sinatra, Dean Martin et al back in the day so why in God’s name am I going to shell out to listen to that burger-faced little chipmunk Jamie Cullum cover the fucking stuff in 2007?

Patrick Vieira
I used to like Patrick but now Zidane’s retired and he’s captain of les Bleus, I have suddenly realised that the guy is a complete cock. Every time there’s any kind of altercation on or off the field (especially when PV started it himself), you see him looming over the opposition players and pointing his finger like he expects them to brick themselves and run off cos he’s so intimidating. Vieira is a fucking bully, and the older he gets the more he feels he can fling his weight around without any kind of consequences. You may remember how Roy Keane put him in his place a while back in the Highbury tunnel (I’m no massive fan of Keano either, the guy’s a dick but he was right to shut Patrick up that time) and it probably won’t be long before someone else does too.

Staff at Charles de Gaulle airport
Voted as the least polite, most ignorant, mouthy and generally useless airport staff in all of Europe, you’d think the guys that work at Charles de Gaulle would have got the message by now. But no, they’re the same bunch of ill-mannered fucking pinheads that have always worked there and they’re certainly not going to change just because EVERY FUCKING PASSENGER who travels to or through that ghastly concrete bumhole of an airport leaves there thinking ‘wow, I’ve never been treated so badly in my entire life!’. Need any help with anything? Sort it out yourself. Want to communicate in anything other than French? Not my fucking problem. Stuck at passport control because the staff are out back having a fag? Hope you’re not in a hurry pal! What a warm welcome to the country eh? And as that weren’t enough, you then get the pleasure of hitching a ride on the ‘neuf-trois’ express into the city and get hassled for change by Romanian orphans or some bastard playing the accordion. It’s enough to put you off travel altogether.

Glaswegian indie bands
I saw the Fratellis the other night and whilst they weren’t bad, I could have been listening to the CD in my bedroom for all the effort they made to put on a show. But that’s the thing with Weegie indie groups, they think they’re so effortlessly cool that all they have to do is trot out onstage with their shirt untucked and wank around on the guitar for an hour whilst staring at their feet, stopping occasionally to mutter something incomprehensible into the mic. And if you’re naïve enough to try and interview them, be prepared for the kind of reaction you’d expect from a bunch of 13 year old kids hanging round at the fucking bus stop. You twats are so sure that you’ve inherited generations’ worth of musical genius just on the basis of where you grew up that you can just prance around acting superior and telling everyone else to fuck off (same goes for bands from Manchester and Liverpool). Arrogant bunch of Tennants-swigging pretentious tossbags! Fucking get over yourselves the noo!!

That all might sound a little harsh, so to reset the balance somewhat here are some examples of people who certainly don’t get my goat, not even if my teenage goat-sitter pulled out at the very last minute and I absolutely had to rush out to an important meeting or something. No, these people are the salt of the earth, they are the sunshine of my life and are simply too fantastic for words other than those which I will presently use to describe them :

Portuguese Chemists
I got struck down with some pretty serious digestive problems on my way into Lisbon recently and had to go avail myself of their pharmaceutical services. Luckily, the woman in the chemist spoke a bit of English and was able to help me out without me having to explain my health complaints by way of sign language and crap Portuguese, something that would have been most traumatic in my weakened state. Obrigada!

Portuguese old people who give you free oranges
I was walking around the countryside with some friends when these old folks stopped us and insisted that we accept an entire bag full of oranges that they’d picked that day. Not just one or two, they didn’t let us leave until they’d laid an entire fucking plastic bag full of fruit on us. And a couple of days later, some old lady did it again and said ‘May God bless your entire family!’ You can imagine how hard it was coming back to Paris after a week of people being genuinely kind to you – I was totally thrown out on synch. Portuguese people are cool. I even started thinking Cristiano Ronaldo was alright for a minute there.

Social Workers
The reason I was in Portugal was for a training event with a bunch of youth workers, counsellors and people generally involved in social work. I was therefore looking forward to meeting people who are motivated by the same thing as myself, but my biggest fear was that I’d end up surrounded by goodie goodies wittering on about how deep down we’re all wonderful people. The reality was, none of them were like that – everyone was really sound, very driven by their work but not detached from reality and overall really down to earth and friendly. Plus, once work’s finished these people know how to let rip – if counselling doesn’t drive you to drink in the first place, it certainly teaches you how to sling ‘em back like a beast on the basis on what I witnessed out there. Listen to people’s problems then slay cocktails and dance like a loon – these people are my brethren!

Good chips, good beer, good waffles, good techno and death metal, down to earth but still fiercely proud, the Belgians are fucking cool.

The Pixies
It took me a while to realise that over all four Pixies records (five if you count ‘Come on Pilgrim’ as a separate album), there is scarcely a song I don’t like. ‘Dig for Fire’, ‘Here comes your man’, ‘I’ve been tired’, ‘Holyday Song’, ‘Debaser’, ‘Planet of Sound’… all rules. The only one I am not so fond of is ‘Where is my mind?’ as they play it every bloody day on French radio (why that and never ‘Tame’ or ‘Rock Music’, something I can boogie to?). I’ve had their entire back catalogue on my headphones all week and I never get sick of it.

David Cross & Bob Odenkirk
Why did no-one tell me about Mr Show until now? These guys are a fucking scream – look up their stuff on Youtube, you won’t be disappointed.

The Duchess of Doom
I recently met the duchess on one of her state visits to Paris, acting as ambassador to the kingdom of melancholy and spokesperson for the realm of general nihilism and negativity. I think she had a good time, I certainly did.

French sports commentators
I used to hate these guys but watching France get tonked by Argentina in a friendly last night, I realised that I’d miss them if I moved away – hearing some gravel-throated French dude go ‘ooh la la la la la la laaaaaaaa’ every time Henry takes a shot at goal has an unmistakeable charm to it.

I lost contact with Ash for quite a while but we hooked up again in Leeds at Xmas and put the world to rights over a few ales. Since then, he’s started up a Myspace page featuring a lengthy shitlist which makes my own posts look positively tame by comparison. Go to and check out his merciless destruction of all who try his patience – keep it up Ash!