Friday, 18 December 2009

AMSTERDAMAGE


I hadn’t been to Amsterdam for 6 years, which is about how old I was when I used to play on my mum’s BBC computer. Bat and ball was wicked, and so were Monsters and Chucky Egg, but it’s Frogger I want to give special mention to in this blog. If you’ve never played it, but you’ve been to Amsterdam, just imagine you’re trying to cross the street there and that you’re a frog, and you’ve pretty much got it. The traffic’s nuts: cars, trams, bikes, buses, lorries, pedestrians using running as a legitimate form of business-man-transport. Legitimate not cause they’re late, just cause they’re Dutch.

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My mate Gaz right, when he gets properly on one, there’s no stopping him. He can get knocked down, and he just gets back up again and takes it on the chin and other clich├ęs. He’s like that Chumba Wumba song about Weebles, but less egg-shaped. He spends a while doing what he said was an important dance, a dance that mattered, at strangers in a bar who don’t agree with its significance. Then when the bar closes and he’s not got the audience his dance deserves, he starts telling people he’s Rupert Grint off Harry Potter. He had people taking photos with him all night, and got 3 free tickets into a club, and an apology from the guys on the door for not being able to give him more. By the end of the night he's pushing 13 pence sterling in my hand and saying, "Get me a meat." But than doesn't stop him trying to engage Amsterdam residents in a game of burger tennis using their hedge as a net on the walk home.

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During the weekend I wondered something I’ve wondered a few times before. When you’re intoxicated, and things seem amazing or you have a brilliant idea, is it because you’re mind is in a higher, more open state, or is it because your mind is slowed down and so regular things seem incredible. It’s the old, absolute/relative argument. You know the kind of realisation I mean. Like, when music feels 3D with all the layers criss-crossing and you lay back in it like a massive sonic hammock, or when the person on the telly says the same word as you at the same time with the same intonation whilst looking straight at you. Or when you realise for the first time that even though the chicken and the egg are so closely linked, you never eat chicken and egg as a meal. Bacon and Eggs, sausage and eggs, ham and eggs, but never chicken and eggs, or you REALLY appreciate, and are proud of, portmanteau words like Nanslator and Amsterdamage, or your yawns taste like ironic pins and needles, or you decide you’ll make your fortune by selling Disease Monopoly to Hasbro and that the brown ones would be STDS, and the greens and navies would all be terminal illnesses.

Or you hear a song lyric differently to how you’ve heard it before like:

‘The people you’ve been before

that you don’t want around anymore

they push and shove, and won’t bend to you will

I’ll keep them still” (Elliott Smith Between The Bars)

and you realise that the first bit could mean that you don’t want to be like you used to be, or that you suffered mental illness and want to stay sane, and that the second bit could mean I will prevent these ‘people’ from coming back by keeping them still (inanimate/dormant), or that I will keep them, still. I will still keep them. You realise then that within the 4 different combinations of these various halves there are dozens of different nuances that could apply in each case. Is it, ‘I will still keep them, despite you hating them, because they are part of you, or is it, I will still keep them, so that you don’t have to. I’ll keep them for you, as in the Spanish ‘por’ not ‘para’. I’ll keep them instead of you so that you’re free from the burden. In the first part, if you don’t want to be like before, does that mean you don’t want to act like you used to, or act or think like you used to, or not even have memories of what you were like before?

Here’s a government Ven diagram showing the crossover:

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

LEICESTER MEN TOP FIT POLL

A friend of mine told me the other day that she read in a magazine that men from Leicester are the fittest in the UK, but she didn't know in which sense it meant. Well obviously, it's both. Leggy men like myself are all capable of being both champion athletes and underwear models.

Take David Attenborough. People know he travels all over the world to look at animals that he could just as easily see on telly without having to wait around for ages. What people don't realise is that he travels exclusively by sprinting non-stop for weeks and weeks over mountains and through deserts. Course he walks or stands still when the camera's on him, otherwise he'd just be a blur of muscle. Sometimes he crouches. Now, gorillas are about 10-15 times stronger than your average man, but just look at this one cower as the man-mountain Attenborough threatens to punch it right in its simian face if it doesn't shut up about his coat looking like a flasher jacket:

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Also, I've done a survey and 9 out of 10 girls said they'd get theoretically naked for David back in the imaginary day. That's just how it is for Leggy men. In another survey, 9.5 out of 10 girls said they'd get naked if Gok Wan asked them and he don't even like girls. In case you're wondering, the 0.5 isn't cause I've averaged it out, I asked 20 girls and 2 said they'd get half naked. One said left half, the other said back half.

Having said all that, Daniel Lambert, the fattest man in Britain in the early 1800s (50 stone) was from Leicester, and so was Joseph Carey Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man. Now Danny ain't winning no Tour de France, and Joey's not signing no Hugo Boss contract. And I'm not employing no double negatives.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

STICKS AND STONES IS BACK

For those of you who don't know, I do poetry. Me and my mate Adam started a night called Sticks and Stones about 4 years ago at Strawberry Fields Bar on Woodhouse Lane, Leeds. We have one of the UKs top spoken words artists as a guest, and open mic too. Strawbs burnt down early this year so we've been away for 6 months but now we're back! With a Belter! Boom! Bang! Whoosh! Kapowee! DUBIOUS ONOMATOPOEIA!

Below is the e-flyer for the first one of the season. John Berkavitch is the guest. He is a vision of the near future set in 1989. He was the 2007 Glastonbury Slam Champion, the 2007 UK Slam Champion, has performed on radio 1, radio 4, done two national tours, can breathe under water, and hold himself out from a lamppost (or similar), parallel to the ground, thanks to his freakishly overdeveloped latissimus dorsi. Check it out:


sticks and stones berko

Thursday, 1 October 2009

SOLVING MYSTERIES, SETTING TRENDS



The mystery of who's been smashing my car up has been solved
by deduction. Whilst Ewan was in Hong Kong, my rear windscreen wiper got pulled off, so it must have been Slurpy. We only had two votes on the matter, both saying Slurpy did it, so it's official, you can judge a book by it's vandalizing, sneering, disgusting, bearded cover. Of course, there is the possibility it was someone other than Slurpy or Ewan, somebody else with a massive vendetta against me, like the feminist I held the door open for at the co-op, or that vegetarian guy I offered a block of horse liver to before I knew he was vegetarian, or that racist guy who I was telling that race was not a biological reality, only a social construct, but I'm reaping my revenge on Slurpy regardless. I made him a cup of tea with no sugar in, as I promised two blogs ago, and I've also realised he probably won't look at his passport again until he next travels, so I've done this (I had to photoshop his details out for security reasons, obviously):

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Me, Slurps, Ewan and Gaz are going Amsterdam next month but I reckon after Slurps flashes his passport it might just be me, Ewan and Gaz.

We've finished shooting the video for our next single now. Here's a couple of pictures from while we were shooting:

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Now I'm not normally a trendsetter but I reckon face scars are gonna be big this season. It's a strong look:

Orange wall 3/4

Monday, 28 September 2009

SPINNING PLATES TAB

Me and Krish have been busy this weekend sorting out this guitar tab for Spinning Plates. We're gonna tab out other Middleman songs over the coming months and I'll make them available on here. If you like, you can request a Middleman song and we'll tab it out so you can play it. Enjoy:

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Sunday, 20 September 2009

INNOCENT UNTIL VOTED GUILTY


Alright, this is getting ridiculous, enough’s enough, it’s time to get to the bottom of this thing. At Kendal Calling, my windscreen got smashed, and the guy who came and fixed it said it was definitely from close contact, a blunt object, that is, deliberate. Then, two weeks later, parked on my street, my tyres got slashed, proper slashed. Now, this weekend, my wing mirror has been smashed off my car, on the pavement side, so it can’t have just been a car driving past. Now the only people who were at all crime scenes were my two housemates, Slurpy, and Ewan. Ewan was on his way to Hong Kong by the time I discovered the wing mirror but I hadn’t driven since he’d left so it could be a cleverly timed attack designed to give him an alibi. But I’m not fooled by such deviousness. Because I’m a fan of democratic justice, I’ve decided to settle who did it by public vote. So, have a look at this wanted picture of the two suspects, and leave a comment as to who you reckon did it:

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If I get no comments, I’m gonna toss a coin, heads means Slurps did it, tails means Ewan’s guilty. Then, I’m gonna punish the culprit. If it’s Slurps I’ll make his tea with no sugar even though I know he wants sugar. If it’s Ewan I’ll take match of the day off the sky planner. That’ll learn ‘em!

Oh, and there isn't really an award for their capture as the poster suggests, but if you see either of them, give them a menacing fist shake. I'd appreciate it.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

SMASHING LEEDS AND READING


We drove down after writing a new song and got to Reading at 4:30am, camped just behind our stage. Next day Ewan goes out flyering before our gig, puts the flyers in a bin and just makes it rain instead. We smashed the packed tent:

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An all nighter of debauchery later and even the flocks of geese overhead start sounding like a clan of asthmatic joggers. I’ve got a gig poetrying at midday and Slurpy’s passed out in the middle of the path in guest camping. I try to move him and cover him up so he won’t get too sunburnt but the t-shirt over his face just makes him look dead. I nearly throw up with the effort of the gig, get back to Slurps and find out a fire engine came along, was stopped in its tracks by slumbering Slurps, couldn’t wake him up and the firemen had to get out and move him. We might change our name to Woken Up By Firemen.

We hallucinate our way up to Leeds and stand in front of Radiohead. Some girl from Middlesborough tells me Princess Beatrice just touched her gash (her words) then hitches her skirt up, squats in front of me and pisses. The gig the next day is wicked and the crowd are well up for it:

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We get interrupted mid-interview by somebody asking if we can play the BBC Introducing stage for Alan Raw in 15 minutes as somebody’s dropped out. We do it, even more fun-ly than the first gig and the crowd are wicked:

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Then back on the debauchery. Lee takes his trousers down in an interview and falls asleep and Slurpy makes some ironic comment about Krish being the token. Basically we’re on a charm offensive, or an offensive, anyway.

Later on I’m stood next to the Jamaican Bob Sleigh team and there’s a helicopter going over Jamie T’s shoulder. Now whatever you say about Mr T. (that’s the musician not the guy who works for Snickers) he does a cracking job of looking like 1995. The snickers guy’s more of an ‘80s man.

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After Faith No More Jess Hatches a plan to kneel down behind Gaz while I push him over. I refuse. She insists. I refuse again. She insists harder and given she’s Gaz’s girlfriend I decide it’s ok, but I don’t want to do the pushing cause I still feel bad, so I say I’ll be the inanimate object he’s pushed over, and she can push, thus alleviating my guilt. I go and kneel down behind Gaz and Jess does nothing. Gaz stumbles over me backwards, falls really heavily and can’t get up, saying he heard a crack or something. I feel terrible. Jess asks what I was doing. I ask why she wasn’t pushing. She says I got the wrong man, she was saying Slurpy all along as it was his birthday, not Gaz, and Slurpy’s still oblivious to the whole thing. I feel bad but later on, when Gaz gets stranded in the mud on one welly, it doesn’t stop me laughing long and hard enough to warm my belly with lactic acid.

Some geezer stops me to ask if I can feel his toes. It’s not a request, just an enquiry as to whether I’m also aware of the sensation in his lower phalanges. Then we’re sledging down a mud-hill after dancing to a tree-house DJ whose main aim seemed to be to make us really aware that he was DJing by letting one track completely finish and allowing a couple of seconds of silence before playing the next one. Here's some video footage from before we started forgetting to film:


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

KRISH WARHOL IN IRELAND


We had our first international tour in May; a one day tour of Ireland. I meant to record it all but got sidetracked by laughter and alcohol. I did manage to get a bit of us judging Ireland's Got Talent on film though, in the centre of Dublin. Check out the jealousy in our faces


The flight went pretty smoothly apart from when Krish cried his eyes out the entire flight. Nobody even got fondled too badly by the security guys. Doesn't always go so uneventfully though; here’s my top 5 airport moments:


5: Arriving for a flight in Nice 4 hours early and not being able to find my flight on the departures board, only to discover I’d missed it by a day.

4: Being an Eastern immigrant and finding myself stranded in JFK airport and having to take up temporary residence there. No wait, that was Tom Hanks and it was rubbish. I did once save a bunch of Americans from deadly snakes by shooting a hole in the side of the plane and letting the pervy-tongued slithery death-ropes be sucked out.

3: New Year’s Day (my birthday) 2008. Having passed out in the airport toilet, I was woken up by Ewan ringing me to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep and missed my flight. I had to sprint to the plane and then filled a sick bag before getting to my seat.

2: 1998ish, flying back from a family holiday in Spain the plane was delayed 12 hours. After about 10 and a half I woke up from a 20 minute snooze to see my dad, stood on a table with a big mob around him, saying they should start killing members of staff every 20 minutes until they made a plane appear for us, and that way there’d be one ready in 40 minutes. The plane came about an hour later and we got free tea and coffee in the mean time. Incidentally, he recommended a similar technique; shooting whoever was in last place every 5 minutes, to liven up the marathon.

1: Falling asleep in an emptyish food hall in Dublin airport and waking up in a jam-packed food hall, laying flat on my back, in lightweight tracky b’s, fully tumescent. This young couple next to me were hypnotised. Well funny.


Now, we all know Krish was a big deal in modelling until he was dropped for his lack of versatility (we all know his ‘grinzilla’ look), but I never realized how many other bands he’d been in until I uncovered this Andy Warholesque artwork comprised of photos of his old bands. It’s like finding out your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend was Hollywood. Check it out:

Krish Warhol

Monday, 10 August 2009

FESTIVAL HAZE


Style theft and sexual conduits.


Listen right, Mike Skinner stole my style, last weekend, at Kendal Calling Festival. We were on just before Goldie Looking Chain and then The Streets, the sound was amazing and we proper smashed it, about 1,000 people all going nuts. Anyway, after the first song a couple of girls at the front requested some nudity, telling me to show them some ankle and that. I told them why didn’t they? And if 10 girls did, I would too. One girl promptly quit her vestments and hurled her bra on stage. She balanced her ample bozom on the security barriers like a pair of angry, googly, staring eyes. Two hours later, same day, same stage, a few songs into his set, Skinner goes ‘let’s see if we can get 10 girls to take their clothes off. One did. He goes ‘right, 9 more and my keys player’ll strip too.’ Chicken! Didn’t even offer to sacrifice himself as bait. He got 5 or 6 pairs of eyes, Beat me! That’s not the point though, point is, this style theft is a scandle on a par with Tom from Kasabian copying Berko’s red leather stage jacket. Yeah, that. Here’s a picture of the girl:

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And here's one of Slurpy signing some girl. Told you he was a rock star, forget about Cliff Richard, he's like flippin Engelbert Humpedink:

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So this weekend we played at Moor Festival. The Saturday night, this girl starts chatting to me, asks if we’re gonna party after Wild Beasts finish. I’m like, ‘Yeah we’re all going Silent Disco.’ She goes, ‘So we’re gonna party then.’ I say ‘Yeah, we’re all going Silent Disco in a minute, you coming?’ After the fifth time she asks whether we’re gonna party I’m thinking she’s a bit slow, but then I realise I’m the idiot when she asks if I’m coming to party, just me, her and her mate, and she points to some geezer behind her eyeing me up. Turned out they wanted me as a sexual sluice and I didn’t really fancy it. Not my bag being a carnal conduit, I’m no erotic aqueduct, no genital siphon! For the visual learners who still aren’t getting what they were angling for, here’s a diagram I just did on my laptop:

conduit

For those of you who are kinaesthetic learners, I’m working on a danceplanatory version but unless you meet me in person it’ll be of no benefit to you.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

EUROPHILIA

Eurovision Joy Contest

It’s been a month and a half since my last blog, and there’s a very good reason: I’ve been way too busy wetting myself in anticipation of the Eurovision song contest to do anything else. Let’s face it, it’s the pinnacle of musical achievement and we all secretly wished we were Norway’s version of Enrique Iglesias, Alexander Rybak, when he smashed the points record and was told by about a dozen recent Miss World contestants, as they revealed their country had awarded him douze points, that he was really cute. Now I’m sure he doesn’t want to be a puppy but I bet his tail was wagging as he was mentally planning his European tour of Miss World Contestants, mapping out his journey over their hills and valleys. But then a scarier woman flirted with him. She looked like she'd been a Miss World contestant in 1970 and she’d done nothing since then apart from eat fish, bench-press railway sleepers and sunbathe as though old Sol might run out of hydrogen any second and ruin her chances in a competition to grow her own stab-proof leathery skin. I swear if she’d wanted a little piece of Nordic boy, if she’d decided to take him off to a secluded fjord and have her ogreish way with him, he could have tried to fend her off with a combat knife and he’d have broken the blade on her tawny hide. Honestly, pure bark. Like Iggy Pop crossed with a walnut.

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Rock and Roll Slurpy

Other than that, this month we’ve been writing new stuff and playing a few gigs supporting people more famous than us but not nearly as good looking, like Tommy Sparks and the King Blues. Next month we’re supporting The Streets and I reckon we’re gonna have a straight walk off. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholded and Slurp’s has got some right sparklers. And he’s talented, just check out this video of his unconscious circus act, at Latitude festival, balancing hoola hoops on his conk while he snores as though he’s reinventing wind instruments. He turned up to stage half hour before we were due on that day, after falling asleep stood up in a urinal and then waking up tied to a chair with a dress on and makeup. He’s well rock and roll, thinks he’s Cliff Richard or something:


Sunday, 5 April 2009

Middlemanimation for Behind the scenes groaning

It’s been a busy month. It was Krish’s birthday, my latest nephew was born, I spent hours laughing at Alan Partridge, I wrote a commission poem for Rethink charity (I'll post the video in the coming months) and I had to forge my own signature to get a driving license! Seriously, the guy at the test centre asked me to sign to say I was insured on the instructor’s car, so I did, and he said it was wrong. I said how could my signature be wrong when it was me writing my own name? He said it was a signature recognition test and it didn’t match the one on my provisional license, but I signed that when I was 17 and didn’t have a proper signature yet. So I told him to show me it and I’ll forge it but he wouldn’t show me, so I did a ridiculous one that looked even less like my 17 year old not-yet-a-signature and more like Mr Tickle signing a stamp with a whip from another room where he can't even see it, and told him that’s all he was getting. So then, I’ve been all aggressive and he’s badly wanting to fail me, but I smashed it anyway, carefully, at 30mph mainly, staying closing to the curb while reversing round a corner, and passed.
Also, Vibrations came out with our interview in:
Vibrations article

We’ve been writing new songs this month, to be debuted at the Fav in Leeds on Thursday 23rd April, and also recording some older stuff. When listening back to vocal takes from No Sleep Tonight you could hear me making weird groaning sounds that I didn't even know I was doing, so I've taken them, along with other sounds captured around takes, and made them into something bedautiful. I’ve even added some Middlemanimation towards the end. Check it out:

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Dance Masterclass!

Since my last blog we did a photoshoot in the snow, without many clothes on, for Vibrations Magazine. It was a couple of days before valentine’s day and it was proper sexy and massively painful:

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Here’s a poem that’s also sexy and painful, called S and M Valentine:

Violence is red
Pornography’s blue.
I hit purple patches
Combining the two.

Pornography’s blue
And violence is red.
I master them both
Nailing you to the bed.

Anyone whose been to our gigs will’ve been caught up in the maniacal frenzy of true dance. But a little while back we played a gig for the Northern School of Dance and although they were technically alright but there were a couple of things they didn’t understand too well. For instance, one girl was wearing a leopard print skirt, except instead of spots it had leopard’s paw prints, as though leopards are actually born spotless and hand paint each other. But they don’t have paint so what are they using? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Dirty. Anyway, these so called dancers never let themselves be possessed by the espiritu di dance, so I’ve made a little video of us lot dancing to help them out. It’s pretty emotional, you might cry. Shhh, shhh, it’s ok. It’s ok.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

PARTY 2009!

Happy new year everyone! This year's gonna be wicked! 2009 is paved with Fruit Pastels, but only the red and black ones, unless you’re one of those weirdos whose favourite is yellow, you can have the ones I don’t need. To start you off, here’s a pic of me in my work clothes, as promised last blog.

Santaman

We played our first ever private party last week, our mate Ewan’s 30th birthday. It was wicked; check out the video below. There’s a bit during Friends that’s nearly as smooth as when they replaced the old Pippa on Home and Away. One day the blond Pippa disappears and a skinnier, brunette woman just walks into the house, probably having offed the old Pippa, and everyone just calls her Pip cause she’s so confident with it like nothing’s happened and Sally’s all like, “Hey Pip, what are you making for dinner?” and I’m like “Sally don’t be a fucking idiot you can’t trust her, she’s not even Pippa and she’ll put poison in your food you div.” And Sally’s not even suspicious even though she’s lived with Pippa for years and years and should really be expected to spot an imposter. Anyway, here’s the video, keep an eye out for Ewan breaking Krish’s maracas, it looks deliberate doesn’t it?