Wednesday, 27 February 2013

RIP Mark Kamins

This is one of the best records ever. And, even better, it was released on Factory by a Mancunian band. What's sad is that Mark Kamins, the man behind remixing it as well as a crucial player in the discovery of Madonna passed earlier on this year.

Check out the tune and the obit

Factory Floor vs Daniel Avery

Buzz bands round London are ten a penny but none have buzzed so frequently as Factory Floor. This industrial noise trio just about reach the brink of getting out of there arty, post-punky-dancey niche before falling back again to general indifference and shrugging of shoulders. But this time, perhaps, things could be different. They're doing some 'big tings' (on the more 'dancier' side of their sound) proving that 'funk' and the subtle employment of the 'funk' is all important. Let that be a lesson to you buzz bands of the future. Use more funk.

Below, they get all musically intertwined with Weatherall prodigy Daniel Avery and it sounds fucking mint. I spoke to Factory Floor back in January and found out one of their members lives in a caravan. Shocker.

Read the full interview

The Cotswolds and a complaint

What and where is the Cotswolds? It's a good question cos without a map and some knowledge of the South West, it's a slippery little geographical eel to pin down.

In the 'Die Hard' sense of the word, not a right lot seems to go down out there. There aren't any explosions or blood soaked white vests. Or not ones which we saw anyhoo. But our weekend still had plenty of highlights and hi-jinks of the almost (non) violent variety. We'd packed an eclectic selection of DVDs (including Hotel Rwanda and Grease 2) just in case the worst happened. Yep. That's right. What would we do if there weren't any boozers? Thankfully, neither of these two entertainment options came to pass...

We drank on the train over on the Friday afternoon, drank when we got there (to Moreton-in-Marsh map fans) and were still drinking when we spoke to the buck-toothed local whose pants were too short and eyes too close together at the bus stop. He was catching a ride to spend the weekend with his mum. We didn't start talking about his look until we were out of ear shot. That was the vibe.

A number of 'moments' occurred while we were in the heart of the wilderness. The first night was spent in the hotel bar of our temporary residence in Blockley. I was accused of looking like the singer out of the Pogues (I don't - or at least, I still have all my teeth). Then accused of having a list of things to do while we visited the Cotswolds by one evangelist who had recently decamped to the 'wolds' from The Wirral. We didn't have a list but he was adamant that we did and all his suggestions of things to do, though great, wouldn't fit on it. Mate. We. Don't. Have. No. List.

The next day was walking day and like the intrepid adventurers we are, we stomped off into the great unknown with only a bad photocopy of a hike purloined from the internet to aid us. It started off badly by going in the wrong direction but soon we were out in nature, jumping through murky puddles and taking photos of sheep having a cheeky piss. What a vibe it was to be in the great outdoors. I had a moment of extreme masculinity where I thought the place we'd ended up in was the actual place I'd been aiming for with my very basic orientating abilities. It lasted for a moment until we realised we were not where we thought we were at all. In fact, we were back in Moreton-in-Marsh (where we'd departed from the choo choo) but, for a few seconds there, I felt like Hulk Hogan.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the pub - three pubs to be exact. I was accused of looking like Where's Wally (standard). We ate a pasty (standard). Fraternised with a small child (not as standard but still getting standard). I also had a mild altercation with an 18 year-old grebo which resulted in me-sen telling this youth to 'fuck off'. Don't remember getting back to the hotel. Again all standard. 

Sunday was our final day and after somehow making breakfast, despite a sickly hangover, we managed to escape the clutches of Blockley utilsing a local taxi dude. At this point, when we landed yet again in Moreton-in-Marsh, we visited the Victoria Coffee House and endured a culinary disaster. We can laugh about it now, but at the time it felt like a total finger in the eye. Here's my email of complaint. I neglected to mention the arrival at the eatery where I disappeared for half an hour conducting necessary business in the sweltering toilets. The whole thing was distinctly yucky. And the Victoria Coffee House still hasn't replied to my email.


Dear Victoria Coffee House,

I'm writing to voice my disappointment regarding my experience at your establishment last Sunday (3 February). Myself and my girlfriend had enjoyed a drink-fuelled, heavyish, yet romantic weekend on the lash in the nearby village of Blockley and were waiting for our train back to London from Moreton-in-Marsh.

With two hours to kill before our choo choo departed and a rising sense of collective nausea developing between us, we decided to try a local eatery in a bid to stave off a hangover of frankly gargantuan proportions. Your establishment happened upon our eye and intrigued by the decor we made our way inside to see about your collection of 'light bites'.

After some careful perusal, we opted for two baguettes - one with chicken, bacon and avocado, the other with salmon and cream cheese. Plus a pastry item. We waited a little while going through the Sunday papers and feeling anxious before the pastry arrived - this came first, then followed by two baguettes. However, unfortunately the baguettes were both with chicken, bacon and avocado and not the salmon one we had ordered. The usual awkwardness between customer and staff member arose - 'Are you sure you didn't order two of the same?' 'Yes pretty sure as we only ordered two things - sorry to be a pain.' The offending baguette was taken back from whence it came and then we waited for our original request to come through from the kitchens.

We waited.

And we waited.

And we waited.

During the wait, we requested that a pot of mayo could come with the original order - the gentleman said 'Sure it's just on its way but it would be no problem to put some mayo in the baguette.' 'Thanks but can we have the mayo on the side as to be honest, mixing salmon, cream cheese and mayo all in the same baguette sounds like a taste sensation made of nightmares.' 'Sure it's coming right up.'

Ten minutes later our new baguette arrived - salmon, cream cheese and mayo all together at last. The servee said it hadn't mattered about the original order being incorrect as she had got to eat the mistaken baguette. We were both chuffed for her and a bit gutted that we'd sent the second back as it surely must have been more eatable than our replacement. We both looked concerned as to the new plate, as yet again, it wasn't what we had ordered. She offered to replace it but despairing for the sake of humanity and on the brink of smashing a glass through frustration (and the fact no one listened to us - twice), we chose to try and eat this new item. The proprietor of the Victoria Coffee House should do themselves a favour and try one of these salmon, cream cheese and mayo delicacies.

It was horrible.

Not only that but the total bill came to £14.80. £14.80! Talk about kicking a pair of people when they're down. We have since got over our terrible experience in your coffee house but for the sake of all future customers (and your business) I would suggest that your staff start listening to customers to ensure they don't commit gastronomic atrocities such as the one we endured on Sunday. Especially as your website claims to offer "the highest levels of service from our friendly team of trained baristas".

Yours sincerely,


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Speaking to heroes

2013 has been massive in many ways already - but no small reason is speaking to music makers and creative types who I'm properly into/in awe of all in the name of 'work'. That in itself is crackers.

The Durutti Column's Vini Reilly is a man who has had a varied, lengthy and very Mancunian musical career. As the first artist signed to Factory Records, he was there at the start of the story which saw lives lost, money burnt but crucially some fucking amazing music made. Vini himself has always shied away from the limelight but over the past few years, his tale has taken a tragic turn. Stricken by several strokes, he lost the ability to play the guitar and also fell foul of the benefits system meaning that by Christmas, he was unable to pay his rent.

A hurried Facebook campaign rallied round the musician and highlighted his plight, causing many well wishers to come forward and donate. I had the chance to speak to Vini in a rare interview during January and got his take on his struggles and the Factory story. It's heart wrenching stuff. Check the link below...

Read the lengthy interview with Vini Reilly here

Happy wig year

Our internet has been completely fucked thus far in the 2013, hence no regular business on here. But at last, Talk Talk have been round and plugged us back into the network. Phew. What a release.
As such we’re going all the way back to the start of the year to fill youse in on what has been going downnnnnnn. Our new year was spent up to our eye balls in beers as you may (or may not expect). But with one crucial addition. Yes. That’s right. A wig. You never know how much more fun you can have on an evening until you throw a wig into proceedings. Just check out how much fun we were having here…