I occasionally like a bit of schlager. After a day of Children of Bodom, Xandria and Toten Herzen it’s nice to wind down to the likes of Dschinghis Khan.
On my list of regular blogs to visit is the one written by New Zealand historian Matthew Wright. His interests, however, don’t just lie in the past but the present and future too, mixing current science with science fiction. When his book of essays came out examining the curious side of quantum mechanics, Explaining Our … More Interview – Matthew Wright
How many lead singers does a band need? One? Two? Amaranthe have got three. That’s what I call covering the bases. Three singers. A male rock, a female pop, and a sort of growly male death metal one just to make sure no one mistakes them for Lady Gaga teeming up with Linkin Park. (I … More You take three voices into the shower?
There are men who can run as fast as gazelles and women who can dive to great depths holding their breath for up to twenty minutes. But one man from Bolton could defy gravity. Fred Dibnah.
Back in September I reviewed Harry Whitewolf’s novel The Road to Purification, Hustlers Hassles and Hash. Author, poet and traveller, Whitewolf’s writing is a fusion of observation, fact and speculation. I asked Harry about his work, travelling, the number 11 and gn****.
This interview should have been posted here back in May (possibly 2015!), but thanks to a lethal brew of inertia and pre-occupation with a new job and duff car salesmen – excuses, excuses, they’re all just feeble excuses – indie author Leo Robertson has been forced to wait for his place in the pantheon of … More Interview – Leo X Robertson
One day in the 1970s, a new LP turned up in the house. A collection of songs by Burt Bacharach. One song in particular stood out: This Guy’s in Love With You. It wasn’t necessarily the song that connected, but its association with . . . witchcraft! Every Sunday we’d go for a day trip … More Burt Bacharach
Every boy has a hero. Johan Cruyff was mine. << Back to Random Posts
There was a moment, a few years ago, that struck like a harbinger of death; I should have recognised it at the time. In a record shop I asked for the new album by Rush, Test For Echo, and the shop assistant and I both agreed that more people should listen to Rush. It turned … More Rush – When the Music Stopped!
There’s a telling moment during an interview between CNN founder Ted Turner and cosmologist Dr. Carl Sagan. As Sagan contains his anger at America’s refusal to distribute wealth fairly Turner asks him if time travel is possible. Before answering, Sagan offers a wry grin at Turner’s obvious discomfort and his clumsy attempt to change the … More Carl Sagan
Never rename a boat. I recently saw one for sale and it was named the John Thomas. Now, I don’t know where you live, but in Britain John Thomas is an alternative name for a gentleman’s wedding tackle. No one in their right mind would own a boat and keep the name John Thomas. In … More Agnetha Fältskog
Strictly speaking, one of them wasn’t a vampire and one of them is my own creation, but myths have to start somewhere. Contrary to what people will tell you vampires are not yesterday’s news, they’re still the top of the foodchain when it comes to folklore. Here are my top five bloodsuckers and bloodthirsty individuals. … More Vampires and The Bloodthirsty
Do you remember your first proper job? Not the weekend stint in the cake shop, the first post-school full time gig? I remember mine. If you worked for Sherwood Flexibles in Salford between 1983 and 1986 you’d remember it too. (* For legal reasons I’ve changed the names of individuals!) My school exam results were … More My Very First Job
If I mentioned the phrase folk music, you might think of bearded men with one finger stuck in their ear singing songs about wassailing, with lyrics like ‘Oi ‘ad one lassy in the dewsoaked ‘ay, and we went with a way and a hay ninny nonny…’ Jake Thackray wasn’t like that. Unbearded, fingers focussed on … More Jake Thackray
This post was written a couple of days before the sad news of George Cole’s death. I hope this is a fitting tribute to the actor and his greatest character… There are few people whose names enter the lexicon of a language. If you hate the thought of spending money you’re a Scrooge. Block progress … More Arthur Daley
When I was at school at the turn of the decade, a number of sinister forces roamed free. From 1979 to 1981, hormones ruled, self-image was more important than the Cold War and if you weren’t into punk or the New Wave of British Heavy Metal you were the lowest of the low. An absolute … More Are We Safe To Talk About Abba Yet?
To describe Isha Koppikar as an underdog is almost contemptuous, but in a world of near tribal loyalty and a suspicious allegiance to following trends and fads and being expected to follow consensus, Isha Koppikar was just that: the underdog, the outsider. One of the finest Bollywood celebrities lost in a sea of misplaced fanaticism. … More Ode to Isha koppikar
‘Electoral democracy, for pretty much the entire nation, is nothing more than a spectators’ sport.’ Rupert Dreyfus’s debut novel Spark explores the individual in the face of big business and reacting against a system geared towards a select self-interested few. In this author interview I asked Rupert about writing, self-publishing and a worldview that led … More Author Interview – Rupert Dreyfus
Coming home from the International Motorbike Show one evening in 1991, my friend sat in the passenger seat of the car said with unrestrained disgust: ‘can we turn this shit off?’ ‘This shit’ was The Fall and I think his patience evaporated when he heard the line ‘the chief elf Norman jumped about on all … More The Fall – Urban Spoils Avuncular
Yes, the greatest band you might never have heard of. But if you have, well, that’s all right then, you can go and read Eric Robson’s tweets for the next ten minutes while I tell these no marks all about them.
Now I’ve got a real treat for you this time. A writer who, if she started name dropping, would put Michael Parkinson to shame. In fact, to put me in the mood I’m gonna type up this interview whilst listening to Children of Bodom’s Hate Crew Deathroll. . . . Say hello to Hilary Mortz, … More Guest Author – Hilary Mortz
You might not be interested in football (and let’s just pause here to remind our non-European friends it is football, not soccer), but Spanish side Valencia have in recent years transcended the sport to such a degree even die-hard football haters would sit up and take notice. Settled on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Valencia Club de … More Supporting Valencia
With a new Nightwish album released, their first since the extraordinary Imaginaerum in 2011, I thought it timely to delve into the archive and bring out a little known song from their 2000 album Wishmaster. Fourteen years ago and since then Nightwish have only had three lead singers (five if you include the temporary arrangement … More Review – Dead Boy’s Poem (Nightwish)
Every so often you read a quote that appears to be about a current issue, but then turns out to have been written four hundred years ago. Anyone who has seen the latest kerfuffle involving Jeremy Clarkson (BBC fracas pulls Top Gear from Sunday night schedule etc) might think the lynch mobs out to get … More The fracas over Jeremy Clarkson’s fracas
Ahead of the Oscars I thought I’d present my own celebration (and recommendations). My six greatest actors of all time. Six? Bit of an odd number? Not necessarily. If you give gold, silver and bronze to three men and three women you get six. So, settle down and read on. My criteria for these six … More The Six Greatest Actors in the World
And lo, a woman came along and kicked his do-gooding ass from one end of the street to the other. … More A real superhero. . .
Elsewhere, in my feature on Nemesea, I recalled how close I came to losing two of my hands. The threat, the near miss came from Delain’s album, April Rain. Was it better than Nemesea’s The Quiet Resistance? My hands survived thanks to the release dates and a technicality. For the kind of metalheads who like … More MetalMonth – Delain
Ronaldo Padavona does not play for Real Madrid. Ronaldo Padavona is better know as Ronnie James Dio. Where the name Dio came from is open to speculation, but he became one of the most admired and respected vocalists in rock music. I could have written a ‘How I Discovered’ post on Ronnie Dio, except how … More MetalMonth – Ronnie James Dio
For the second author profile during Metal Month say hello to Steampunk author Jaq D Hawkins. Jaq is the writer of numerous books on magick and esoterica, along with the Goblin Trilogy. Climb aboard. . . . I started as an occult book writer and began my goblin series as a sort of anti-political statement, … More MetalMonth – Author Feature: Jaq D Hawkins
Richard and Judy, that’s how! Well, sort of, indirectly. I have a vague memory of them speaking highly of Vin Diesel who, at the time, was rampaging through several un-named countries in the guise of XXX. A bald headed human bomb with a voice deeper than the Marianas Trench. And who better to kick off … More MetalMonth – How I Discovered . . . Rammstein