keresaspa: (Seagull)
It's ate bread now given that I've been home since Sunday and, as I suspected, the Dreamwidth exodus seems to have killed this journal stone dead but the tenth annual London extravaganza probably needs to be recorded anygate.

Ergo )
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Hell, even I think I've been away too often recently. The joys of growing up in a warzone, I suppose. And let it be known too that the following load of old rambling nonsense should have been published yesterday but my internet provider decided to give me a day of no service just to remind me who the boss is. Thanks as ever Virgin Media, I would denounce you as vermin but recent events have drawn me closer to that class of creature. Intrigued? Didn't think so but read on anyway, it's good for chilblains.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Diggory)
The short version of this is that London was rather good apart from the going and the coming, which were hell on earth. On the off-chance that anybody is still reading this (and I note in my extended absence that I am now down to one person submitting regular updates on my friends list) I shall expand at some length about what took place.

The Austrian stork nurtures the kites )
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Every time I post to this now I seem to begin with a note to excuse my absence due to the paucity of updates. What can I say, less than auspicious days recently. In the meanwhile however a standing engagement in Edinburgh took me across the sea once more and, as ever, I shall betell the events.

Lay on, MacDuff )

2015 thing

Jan. 1st, 2016 09:03 pm
keresaspa: (Lester and Eliza)
Two days running? God, it's been years since that sort of rot. Anyway:

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Left the Atlantic Archipelago (that's British Isles to you imperialists).

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Never do, never will.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Two of the Donegal Celtic mob died - one from cancer, the other took his own life. To be honest though I didn't know either of them that well.

5. What countries did you visit?
France, Scotland and England. I actually visited a personal best of 24 towns and cities this year, with Larne, Newry, Dun Laoghaire, Banbridge, Paris and Dunfermline all new to me.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Cash on demand, same as every year.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm very stereotypically male about remembering dates so none.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

9. What was your biggest failure?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Usual haemochromatosis plus my vertigo has kicked into overdrive to the point where massive turns are now a daily occurrence and some can last for several hours. I've started having the odd fall as well.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
As noted recently, Mirel Wagner albums.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Oh, you're all great.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Here's a shock - Sinn Fein. I'm not sure if I mentioned that at any time last year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Music as ever. Trips and that too I suppose.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Don't be silly.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"The Road and the Miles to Dundee" by Jim Reid And The Foundry bar Band or "Pasties and Cream" by Brenda Wootton. Neither are available online though so I can't link to them (is it just me or has YouTube removed about half of its music videos in the last week or so?).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? about the same
b) thinner or fatter? ditto
c) richer or poorer? ditto

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Nothing in particular.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Again, nothing springs to mind.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
It's already over so....

21. What was your favourite month of 2015?
No idea. August maybe.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Don't be daft.

23. How many one-night stands?
Mind your own business.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
I've pretty much given up on TV these days. I don't even bother watching the football on Saturday nights sometimes any more.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't think so, although my opinion of Simon Danczuk is really starting to harden.

26. What was the best book you read?
No idea. Been mostly short stories and non-fiction this year. Of the former William Beckford's "Vathek" was probably the best.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Mirel Wagner, as discussed yesterday.

28. What did you want and get?
A new article to get published in When Saturday Comes (in shops 14th January).

29. What did you want and not get?
The new Extreme Noise Terror album, although a copy is winging its way to me from Germany. I'll believe it when I get it and not before as it's fast becoming the new "Things may Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever" for me.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I think I saw a total of two films on TV this year (Midnight Run on ITV Four one night and Despicable Me dubbed into French in Paris) and none in the cinema. Any interest I ever had in films has long since died off.

31. What did you do on your birthday?
Watched Nortel defeat Mossley 4-2 at the Mossley playing fields in the second round of the Border Regiment Cup. It was even less glamorous than it sounds.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As ever, isn't this essentially the same as question six?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I wouldn't. I haven't changed a lick of my image in years but to call it a "fashion concept" would be completely ludicrous. If pushed I'll go with "man who looks a lot older than he is dressing to his wrongly assumed age".

34. What kept you sane?
Assuming I am sane, then the match.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Demi Lovato. I may have the makings of a dirty old man. But come on, eh?!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The quiet death of Irish republicanism and its rebirth as Tory collaborationism, all with the tacit approval of the victims of this development.

37. Who did you miss?
Cigs as ever.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Can't think of anyone. I've not really met anyone new this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Poor old horse, he must die".

Blue day

Oct. 15th, 2015 08:54 pm
keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
What is it I'm missing about this Chelsea Wolfe character? Everybody rhymes about her like she's queen of the dripping-pan but that last album struck me as a whole load of nothing and I've yet to hear anything by her that rises above the mediocre. Jenny Hval, she's the same. I picked up her album in Scotland after hearing it praised to the moon and I checked out thinking "is that it?".

In a strange sort of reverse sexism on my part I do tend to be a lot more open towards new non-metal/punk music by female artists. What I would dismiss as hipster shite from the chaps I'm more than prepared to tolerate from the chapesses and yet here I am, singularly unimpressed by that which I was confidently expected to love. Whilst the trait has often served me well (my beloved Mirel Wagner was discovered through that route, along with others I've enjoyed recently like Weyes Blood, Waxahatchee, First Aid Kit, Torres, Julie Zenatti, Trash Kit, Angel Olsen and others) I'm still left with the feeling that, especially with Wolfe, I really should like this stuff and am missing something by not doing so. But, having give both a few goes, I'm really not able to warm to either.

I do otherwise have my blind spots I suppose (despite my progressive rock leanings King Crimson don't register with me, whilst my metal taste has never taken in Iron Maiden or anything involving Ronnie James Dio) but for some reason these two have rather annoyed me. Perhaps one or other will click eventually but, no matter how hard I try, neither Chelsea Wolfe nor Jenny Hval appeal to me a fact that, for some reason, just seems wrong.


Oct. 10th, 2015 10:14 pm
keresaspa: (Obelix)
Such is the regularity with which I visit dear Edinburgh these days that it hardly seems worth kicking this thing into life just to describe the latest visit. Still, it's a pattern I've established these last twelve years or so and as such it must continue. If there is a moral to this story let it be thus - don't walk backwards, it gets on everybody's tits.

Mulch )
keresaspa: (Homer rage)
Despite the fact that it was released on Allende Day I sit here still bereft of the new Leaves Eyes album. Thirteen whole days and yet here I sit without my much-needed fix of the beautiful tonsils of Liv Kristine. And yet they constantly complain that their trade is dropping off a cliff because everybody is going over to downloads and/or ordering online. Well pardon me but if you're not even going to stock the new release by a band with a worldwide following like that then what option are you leaving us? In general I don't like ordering new albums off Amazon because of their tax dodging ways and (probably more importantly if I'm being honest) the fact that they're often more expensive regardless of all that extra money but I am rather running out of alternatives.

I'll give it to early October as I'll be in Edinburgh again and the HMV there is a mighty beast of a shop but if they don't have it then the high street will, by their own choice, have to lose my coin on this one. Lord knows I'll never shite a tech-head's turd and to an extent I do revel in my own Luddism but when it's the only game in town what option do I have? Be better at shops, the high street!


Aug. 29th, 2015 11:07 pm
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Hello you *waves*. Yeah, just back from Paris and that, which, of course, means I have to go on at length about the last week. Apologies in advance if this gets a bit incoherent but you should all be used to that by now.

Lundi )

Mardi )

Mercredi )

Jeudi )

Vendredi )

Last straw

Aug. 20th, 2015 08:28 pm
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
These tablets and smartphones and what have you have a lot to answer for as far as I'm concerned. Their tiny screens and limited capacities mean that they struggle to cope with proper websites and so need their own crap versions. Yet, how many websites, looking to cut costs, just think "sod it" and make one across-the-bard site with a lot fewer features aimed at the mobile market but forced on those of us still welded to desktops? Add to that list of good sites butchered to please you touchscreen sheep. Good God that new version is abysmal. a mass of pointlessly huge images, needles white space and very few actual features, all in the name of chasing the mobile moron squad. My favourite site for a long time (an accolade it has lost to rate your music in recent months, at least until they balls it up in a few months) the new version is just horrendous and so far removed from the wonderful old version that I'm actually questioning whether or not it's worth continuing to use it. God knows I love the statistical aspects of music listening (seriously, I'm very OCD about it) but it's nearly impossible to follow now and after a few days of the new site I'm finding it terribly frustrating.

OK, realistically I know stuff like this doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things but I had got very used to it the way it was and don't want that taken away from me. Reaction across the board has been negative too but I doubt they'll change it back, instead adopting the same "we know best" attitude that sites always take until finally they look around, realise they've made a total MySpace of things, but realise it's too late as everybody has already buggered off in disgust. The sad demise of a once spectacular and virile website.

So whilst it lasts I'll take this opportunity to share with you, under the cut, the ten songs I have listened to most thereon since I took up my membership in January 2009.

So long ago. )


Jul. 17th, 2015 09:43 pm
keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
Is this thing still on? Only one way to find out I suppose:

London )
keresaspa: (Cynthia of Witching Hour fame)
I've had my fingers burnt a fair bit in recent years by albums by ageing artists that I've hitherto enjoyed. 13 by Black Sabbath, Kate Bush's 50 Words for Snow, Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas and Hole's Nobody's Daughter (OK, Courtney is younger than that lot but with her hard-living she might as well not be) all proved very disappointing and soured me a tad on dabbling with the old 'uns still trying to do it. As such during my recent trip to Scotland I passed on by when, whilst dawdling in the Glasgow HMV, I came across a copy of a new album by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Given too that Browner has dabbled with some really rather poor electronic stuff down the years I was doubly put off and let it lie.

I thought no more about it until Saturday when, over an hour too early to venture forth and witness Donegal Celtic's latest defeat (an admittedly narrow effort to a Bangor team that look a decent bet for promotion), I decided to kill a few minutes in Head. Sure enough there it was, Zim Zam Zim by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and, after much deliberation, I succumbed and got the bloody thing. Well, colour me tickled pink because it turned out to be a belter. It's a lot more minimalist than the early classics and, inevitably given his roots as a soul singer, his voice is significantly weaker than it was but he's used that to his advantage, putting in a performance that combines his madcap antics with the worldly wisdom of age. Undoubtedly the high point is "The Unknown":

He may be looking like the love child of Catweazle and June Brown these days and I rather get the feeling that I would be very keen to get away if he sat beside me on the bus but, by jingo, he can still churn the goods out. Lemmy managed it last year with Aftershockand now Art has also shown how an old git album should be done. Brilliant stuff.
keresaspa: (Türkan Şoray)
Music questions, possibly already answered years ago )
keresaspa: (Diggory)
Whilst taking a jook through new releases available at a local record shop the other day one a release by a Dublin-based independent metal label caught my eye. And then I noticed the horrific words appended to the front: "cassette release". What bloody idiot decided to bring frigging tapes back?! Of all the music formats that I have used in my life tapes are by far the worst. They hiss like crazy, the sound quality is atrocious, they go wrong so easily and after a few plays they are virtually unlistenable.

Now hipsters will be hipsters and the fact that they brought them back for their crappy music is no skin of my nose. Just like checked shirts buttoned up to the neck, tattoos of flowers on the back of the hand, those stupid haircuts with the shaved sides and back but almost quiff on top (as favoured by hipster boys and Miley Cyrus alike) or trousers rolled up a bit to reveal a lack of socks I can smirk to myself when I see them and think "what a pile of posey tosspots". But now it is infesting usic that I actually care about I find myself increasingly hacked off at this stupid fad.

I'm not against old formats per se but there needs to be a genuine justification. LPs can have better sound (although that is rather exaggerated in my opinion) and so there is firm justification for keeping hold of them but why do tapes need to continue? The sound quality is bloody awful and it is just easy for a small band with sod all money to press stuff on CD as it is on tape. There is no reason for it other than being a hispter dick (and it's amazing how many of their supporters online always claim not to be hipsters when they so clearly are) and the argument that it is a backlash against the fact that digital ownership is non-ownership is equally a pile of bullshit as vinyl and CD solve that problem without sacrificing quality.

Tapes existed in the past because they were a cheap and portable alternative to vinyl and had the benefit of being reusable and then CDs came along and blew them out of the water. There is sod all need to change that other than just being "retro" for the sake of it. The fact that most of these twenty somethings are being nostalgic for something they never even used in the first place makes it doubly maddening. How can one "miss" tapes when when grew up after they had become obsolete, you Shoreditch knobheads!

I could just about accept the Chelsea Pensioners releasing their album on tape as it was available on other formats, it was aimed at very old people who have a tendency to be wedded to obsolete formats and I had no intention of buying it but these morons doing cassette-only releases? You won't be getting any of my money, kids. Bloody hipsters!
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
It will come as little surprise that my knowledge of the genre of music entitled "liquid funk" is minimal to say the least. As such when I heard about a scandal involving a sexual video by Wilkinson my immediate thought was "nobody needs to see that, Howard." But as for the rest of this little bit of silly season frippery, the players are very well-known to me.

The Good Shepherd Church is but a two minute stroll from where I live and, whilst I wasn't baptised there (that happened here) both the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation were administered to me within those walls. Equally well-known to me is the parish priest, for in another life Father McKenna was the head honcho (or President as he insisted upon) of my secondary school. In the role of President, McKenna was virtually invisible for much of the year, only to emerge every so often when some function or other was held during the day at the school. Inevitably certain parents would be invited to said functions and McKenna would spend much of them sucking up to the invitees. Equally inevitably the invitees would be those with the most money, brought in to have their arses kissed in return for throwing a little green in McKenna's direction. Given my experience of the man and his worldly ways I have no doubt whatsoever that he would have ensured the famous Wilkinson laid down a bill-fold before undertaking any of his nefarious practices. "Women, priests and poultry have never enough" they once said. A slur on all three as each group is a mixed bag but as I remember McKenna the President he always wanted more. Still, it gets him in the news at least and might bung a few hundred on the plate next week. And equally those of us who had never heard of Wilkinson now have, so all publicity is good publicity in both cases. And all money.

Now if you'll excuse me I must go as this Algeria-South Korea match is proving to be a lot more interesting than I anticipated and I would like to give it a little more attention. Mon the Fennec Foxes!
keresaspa: (Pam Ayres)
The unspeakable monotony of the seemingly interminable grinding bore that is the close season was alleviated to an extent today by the presence of a record fair in the hideously named Oh Yeah Centre. Such occurrences have become semi-regular this last year or so but invariably have happened on Saturdays when I was otherwise engaged standing in the pissing rain watching twenty two knuckle-draggers chasing a bit of leather so for me it was a debut of sorts.

The place itself was stupidly hot (I'm a sweaty cove at the best of times but it was streaming out of me in there) and I did rather baulk at shelling out a quid just to get in, not to mention some of the extortionate prices being asked by the vendors. But despite those drawbacks I always love a nice record fair and inevitably I made off with a decent haul of fun.

Pam bloody Ayres, no less, and only a knicker - gimme a "Hell yeah"! Nuff new tunes is more than worth a schlep down the town and an hour in the baking heat I reckon. Now if we can just have another five or so Saturday events like this to tide me over until the friendlies start then I might just about learn to enjoy the summer.

In my day

Apr. 19th, 2014 07:50 pm
keresaspa: (Corporal Jones)
Donegal Celtic's shock 5-3 win over Dundela on Thursday night ensured that, after a terrible recent run, the club were now effectively safe from relegation, barring a series of results so unlikely that the Grimms themselves would have rejected them as too far-fetched. As a result I was able to decline the opportunity of schlepping out to County Tyrone to watch them lose to Coagh United and stay more local. In the end I settled on Malachians v Kilmore Rec, a match that allowed me to tick off the Greencastle ground from my list of grounds in Greater Belfast to visit (only one to go now). A 3-0 win for Kilmore was the final result, something of a let-down as I always support the Belfast side in these instances but such is life.

Staying relatively local meant that I was able to have a brief look at the tail-end of what a couple of them were doing for Record Store Day. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of Record Store Day. For one, it uses the Americanism "store" rather than the correct "shop". For two, it encourages rarity for its own sake with its limited edition releases. And for three, I may be alone in this but I'm not a fan of music shops thronging with people as it does inhibit one's ability to examine the merchandise in whatever order one chooses.

As I think I mentioned recently Belfast has three independent music shops now. I was aware Dragon Records was hosting an acoustic session with some very boring singer-songwriter and, knowing how cramped it is in there at the best of times, I went there yesterday to pick up a copy of the recent Link-Absolutist split and gave it a miss today. I also stayed away from the recently opened Sick Records as I was also in there yesterday and their selection is far too hip for an old man like me. I did briefly pay a visit to Head but I didn't stick around. The prices of the limited edition stuff were making my eyes water (ten quid for a single?!) and none of it appealed to me much anyway. Meanwhile a disc jockey was blaring out loud techno and even as a youth that old rhubarb didn't appeal to me so I beat a hasty retreat, content to wait for a few days until it has quietened down a bit.

Surprisingly though HMV, who don't really qualify given their chain status, had the only promotion worth bothering about. No limited editions at stupid prices, rather they simply had 40% off all their vinyl for one day only. As I said before I'm not really a purchaser of new vinyl given the expense but I am at heart a skinflint so when a significant chunk is knocked off I am prepared to stump up. Carcass and GBH albums at a one-off knock-down price were enough to tempt me to part with some green. Quite why more music shops don't run similar one-off deals instead of getting caught up in the whole "it's an album you already own but it's on green vinyl so you have to buy it and never listen to it" crap is beyond me (and alas I didn't make it to the one day half-price sale at Track Records in Ballymena). A day that celebrates exclusivity and pointless gouging is not for me but give me a deal and I'm happy to get involved. Otherwise I'll be glad when they all get back to normal and you can have a bit of time to look in relative calm without gangs of hipsters standing on your toes and caterwauling indie no-marks bellowing in your earhole.


Mar. 8th, 2014 08:33 pm
keresaspa: (Diggory)
Butter my arse, but what an absolute pisser of a day that turned out to be. Gnash and stamp.

As yesterday was yet another in my catalogue of blood-lettings (getting mighty sick of that shite) I consoled myself with the thought that at least today I could return to the Suffolk Road and watch my first Donegal Celtic home game for the first time since last year. So off I set, nice and early by my own standards, full of the joys of spring on what proved a fine sunny day. I should have known something was going awry when I reached the town and saw yet another rumpus involving those fucking Nazi flag protest dickheads outside the City Hall who appeared to be in a tussle with a group looking to do something for International Women's Day (Socialist Party, hang your collective heads in shame for running like shite from a group of loyalists grannies and press-ganged children). Still it was all good and I headed off to the west, decamping at the bottom of the Suffolk Road as I fancied a bit of stroll. As I passed Falcarragh Drive (about five minutes from the ground) I thought "must have a look at the phone", as I generally ignore the blasted thing on a Saturday. What do I find therein - a collection of messages informing me about early morning shenanigans, culminating in a "match off" text. So there I stood in the middle of nowhere, twenty minutes off three o'clock, only to discover I had got my run for nothing. Bollocks! My own fault in a way obviously as I should have checked the phone before leaving but I'm still mystified as to how a pitch can be waterlogged when we've had hardly any rain. Honest to God, they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery up there! It's getting to the point where I don't expect to see any more home matches this season because if the pitch is unplayable on a day like that then it'll never be usable again. Why are my anxieties about DC going out of business resurfacing, I wonder?

Reliant as I am on public transport it took me the guts of an hour to get across town to Seaview, more on the off-chance that there might be something going on there rather than with any foreknowledge. Still, Seaview being Seaview, of course there was a match on and, whilst I missed the first half hour due to the Metro bus service being a steaming pile of dogshite, I still was on time to see both goals as Crusaders reserves beat their Coleraine counterparts 2-0. It's strange to think that when [ profile] burkesworks accompanied me there in the summer it was my first visit to Seaview as I am now getting sick looking at the place, given that it is one of the few venues in the city capable of resisting a bit of drizzle. Actually scrub that as I'm not getting sick looking at it at all and am very thankful that it is always there and always has a match available when, as happens so often, one's own team lets one down.

I was out in such good time that I was able to pay a visit to the recently opened Sick Records on my way back. Nice little shop, if a bit hipster for my taste and I generally don't buy much in the way of new vinyl, given how stupidly overpriced it invariably is. Nevertheless their second-hand section, though small, was not without its charms and I was able to touch for a Conflict album and a compilation of Japanese psychobilly. Indeed they had a decent selection of psychobilly at competitive prices which I may well revisit. Classy too that they let you keep the plastic sleeves for your purchases although, given the price of those bloody things, I don't expect that to last too long. Either way, nice addition to the local scene. For breadth of choice I prefer Head (although their recent move seems to have brought about a thinning out of range and a general rise in prices), for good punk stuff and a chance to moan about illnesses I prefer Dragon and for a good old rummage through all sorts of mess and a bit of banter I prefer Track Records in Ballymena but I imagine I'll drop in from time to time and the more choice there is amongst independent music shops the better I suppose.

So not a total loss altogether but nevertheless I am frightfully cross with DC right now. Bloody gits!


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