Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Great Escape 2014

If you'd gone down to Brighton during the start of May for a certain whole weekend, then you'd have been in for a mild surprise. Instead of the chip engorged seagulls swaying above you like obese pterodactyls, bickering familes and braying vegans, you may have bumped into another demograpic - it would have been there skulking about the Lanes, doing the zombie shuffle and masquerading as the music biz. At least what's left of it. For it was the weekend of the Great Escape conference, an event which likes to describe itself as the UK's SXSW (supposedly the ultimate such event of its type - mainly cos it's in Texas), but in reality isn't quite as good. There are loads of bands playing. Loads. Many of them are pants. The few good ones shine like such oases of talent that your chances of getting in to the small venue to see them are slim to totally 'no chance mate you might as well go throw yourself into the sea'. So queuing is what you do. Then queue again. Then queue a bit more.

But we did have a good time although this was due to the sheer depravity of some of the behaviour on offer. Many, many drinks were free as, due to the generosity of few big brands (I'm looking at you here Heineken - thanks!) branding everything so we could toast the biz and the seaside. Drink is what we did, the freer the better. The first day was all about the conference, then drinks, then more drinks, then finding the cosy hotel, then really going for it with the beers. At half one in the morning we were roaming the beaches shouting. At five tings had got slightly more sedate with the Radio 4 podcast coming out. 6am was sweet oblivion before the alarms went off at 8 and it was time to get up for breakfast. Friday (and in fact the next few days) were quite a struggle. This struggle was made slightly better by not visiting the press room. If you ever do go to TGE, then try and avoid the press room. The amount of air kissing in there is off the chain. It probably does one good to cosy up to some of the mothers in there but, to coin a phrase, you can't put lipstick on a snake and pretend it's not a snake. Can you? Even if you close your eyes you'll still here it slithering.

The best thing we saw by miles was the Fat White Family - the queue was ridiculous but the creeping sense of dread, seediness, plus song quality put everything else in the shade. Even though they must reside in the dark. But they blew us away big stylez. Big up the Fat Whites...


Brighton Beach at one in the morning

Running to the sea #rushing

How dare you feed me tinned mushrooms when I've only been to sleep for two hours

Searching for the nearest Greggs and struggling

The Fat White Family - totally 'killing it'

A poor excuse for a chip butty

Binning the last of the nutrients

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cock roll

I've never been on a hen do but I've heard that the drill is based around 'dicks'. Cocks. Members. Throbbing organs. Like the stag, it's the ritual celebration of the last days of freedom before the getting hitched bit takes place. I made this dick shaped sausage roll for a hen do just t'other weekend... kaboom.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Turkey's all inclusive in ma belly

Free beer and free scran are the ultimate wins for the permo-hungry drunk. So, as a reward for all the hither and thither of running earlier in the year, we decided to take an all inclusive jaunt to Turkey to indulge these fantasies for seven days of gluttony, sunning and lengthy sit downs.

We opted for the Voyage Hotel in Bodrum mainly for the venue's blanket ban on kids - plus the review on Trip Advisor made it sound like it wasn't a Turkish jail. And lo, it wasn't. After a turbulent, hungover flight, we landed late in the dark and were bundled into a mini bus before arriving at the Voyage.

Even at midnight on a Saturday, the vibes were elderly, very European and smokey but we discovered that the bar was 24/7 and the food was top drawer. The joint had two very different bars - the one downstairs had a pumping 18-30 soundtrack courtesy of a terrible DJ with a tattoo of Chucky from Child's Play on his leg. The top one was where the various elderly Belgians, French and Germans took themselves to chain smoke themselves closer to death. Both had ticks in their favour. Downstairs didn't feel quite as much like a morgue while upstairs was open all night - plus the place had the addition of our favourite bar man/boy, Barack. Barack was 18, a spectacle wearing geek, socially awkward and untrained in the art of bar work. His quest was to work through the night for a pittance to learn the ins and outs of 'booze'. An admirable endeavour you've got to admit. Over our stay, we taught him about the joys of expresso martinis, shots and Efes and even got behind the bar to help him out. I'd like to hope that he's never looked back.

While our previous all inclusive trip had more characters due to the massive scally factor, the ones here were less but almost more out there. We met an ex-squaddie and his wife who were not only massively drunk, but also totally fucked up due to his experiences being shot at by snipers in Iraq. His binge drinking and manic hands gave away his battle scars. Another British couple brought a slightly more normal vibe, just in terms of they'd prefer to do shots rather than sit there chain smoking and talking about killing people.

What else happened? Well we noshed our own body weights in delicious Turkish scran, had a shave (by an inept young dude who accidentally left the taps running while putting my head in a face pack - cue wet legs yo and embarrassment all round) and a Turkish bath/massage. The latter was amazing although it was hard not to laugh when the dude foaming me up had his todger mere cms from my face (although hidden behind a towel). But it all added to the excitement of the experience fo' sure. We went to Kos, a Greek island on the ferry where we ate a banging fish dish and met an Italian French couple who were, yet again, totally drunk and in love with the royal family. Would we go again? Of course fucking of course. It all ended too quickly. It was also a total wrench to leave, mainly cos getting used to using money to pay for things again is hard fucking work... Big up Bodrum.


Night time


Facial biz

Unexplained plastic stallions

Attention to detail

Iskender for breakfast? Don't mind if I do


On Kos under  the Tree of Hippocrates

Red snapper on Kos

Greek ale - delicious



The sudden realisation that when you combine two people, you get Thin Lizzy's frontman

Espresso martinis all around 

Behind the 24/7 bar with new friends


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

One man's shite is another man's unicorn

If you have a peak out our bedroom window (if you can get to it through the mounds of unwashed undies - my unwashed undies), then you'll get an eyeful of the Princess May school's playground in Dalston. During the week it's highly likely the screams and shouts of the kids will wake you from your hangover. However, at the weekend, it's the rumbling of the car boot shaking itself to life which provides the soundtrack to flayling about looking for a glass of water and the ibuprofen.

The car boot has been a constant since we've lived here. Most of the better items in our flat, including clothes, shoes and posh pots, have the origins in the cast offs of other people. Many of the shit DVDs were picked up from an old dude with a 4x4. I even bumped into a good mate from another part of the country who I hadn't seen for nearly ten years in the car boot. It's a right special place so the notion of having our own pitch to raise some charity dosh was one we took to with thick dollops of wild gusto.

In keeping with the other constant since being here, we went for one bev at nearby boozer the Marquis of Lansdowne the night before and ended up having a total skinful with some strangers. It meant only five hours kip until we had to drag ourselves up and into the queue for the booty sale. But no matter. The endeavour still turned out to be life affirming in the extreme. It just so happens that certain people really want other people's shite. We sold millions of CDs, plenty of clothes, books galore, organic coat hangers, and bits of tat that no one in their right mind could use but still couldn't resist. Hotel slippers at the competitive price of 20p. A ring - for you mate 20p. Our arguably wayward way with a haggle almost lead us to flogging a piece of jade possibly worth £100 for a couple of quid but other than that it was a triumph. We made a whole load of dosh, plus the burgers are to die for. What are you waiting for? Get yourself a pitch!

Early doors mateee

Hello you

Selling hard

Despacio is happiness

We went to check Despacio at the Roundhouse back in March on a Friday night and as good as it was, it wasn't the definitive clubbing experience promised by the £30 price tag. Or the hype.

For much of the night, it was some old slightly old dudes playing occasionally inferior, yet slightly more obscure versions of balearic classics. Yet, when it did hit lift off, the peaks were pretty epic and rolling. This wicked mix of the evening has emerged and arguably sounds better than the night itself... Crank it right up...

Saturday, 3 May 2014


It's been over three weeks since the London Marathon and against all the odds I didn't shit myself or fail to make it all the way round. In fact, it was all done and dusted within 3 hours and 52 minutes - there was a lot of sweat, a lot of groaning, some serious swearing and a weird wee within the first half a mile where my penis appeared to be inflating with wee rather than acting as a conduit for its extraction. No matter, it's done and that's that. Thanks to everyone who sponsored me, watched me, shouted at us with words of encouragement, trained with us, helped us raise dosh, and greeted us at the finish line with some fags and Kronenberg. Beer and cigs are a great combo but they never tasted better than they did then...

The fundraising page will be open for a wee bit longer if you'd still like to throw some dosh into the ring.