Posts from 16th April 2002

Apr 02

So The Bedford won the Evening Standard Pub Of The Year then

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 374 views

So The Bedford won the Evening Standard Pub Of The Year then. I had another trip down there at the weekend and it is an impressive pub. Two bars, two (or is it three) function rooms ‘ one with a club/late licence. It truly is all things to all men. Which is of course why while I’ll admit the place is phenomenally successful and gets a lot of things right ‘ I don’t actually like it that much as a pub.

It is a victim of its own success and if you were there at ten pm Saturday night you could be mistaken in thinking there were no other pubs in Balham ‘ or even South London. It was eight deep at the bar, and at 10:30 people started queuing to get to the club upstairs (in keeping with the age and demographic it was on the hip side of cheesy). I joined this queue at 11pm and left it at midnight working out that even the finest venue in London could not be worth queuing an hour for. Security were just unhelpful and there became an odd kind of testosteroned scrabble in the queue ‘ mainly from women. It has all the trappings of a pretty trad pub, is even grotty in places, and yet they have managed to provide a venue which is very popular with women. Food looked very good too and freshly cooked in from of you (not such a good idea with the very stinky fish) but in all the whole place is trying too hard. Fine, reward them with an award and then let them settle down ‘ the place won’t be as big in two years time and then it probably will become a really nice pub.


I Hate Music2 comments • 1,138 views


I rejoice when a band splits up. To me its like Christmas and my birthday all on the same joyous moment. Especially when a band as rancidly unambitious as The Housemartins called it a day. Apart from approving of the member that went mad and tried to kill another member, and subsequently equally approving of his incarceration (anything that stops him from playing is a good thing) – I thought I would no longer be troubled by these Northern jangle-pop peddlers.

Imagine my horror when I heard Song For Whoever. It sounded exactly the same! Paul Heaton’s aren’t I clever lyrics wittily eviscerating the so called scam of having a girls name in your song so you can sell it to girls with that name. A scam which makes little sense because not every girl called Carol has a copy of Oh Carol, and the subsection of stupid girls who will go along with this is massively outnumbered by those with different names who will not buy it out of principle. Of course the song went to number one by dint of it also having loads more girls names in it. Surely it cannot be his smug self satisfied voice.

And no I am not just pissed of that Tanya isn’t mentioned in the song.

The Beautiful South, it soon became clear were the Housemartins without all the pesky other members that used to argue with Heaton. A man for whom ‘Who Ate All The Pies’ is never a tricky question to answer. The South also had a female member for all those time when Heaton wanted to write a song from a woman’s perspective. Indeed so in touch with his feminine side is Paul Heaton that their initial female vocalist left due to the sexist nature of his lyrics. Nice.

Old Red Eyes Is Back: a hard hitting song about alcoholism or a sappy piece written after I gave Heato two black eyes? Of course ‘You’ll sail this ship alone’, no other fucker would get on a ship with you. Unless it was called the Titanic and the iceberg had been booked. You get the idea. This MOR half-crafted half shat-out songs appeals to people who don’t like music*, and I suppose it’s a nice niche market to tap. But it doesn’t make you any good.

*Yes yes, I know I don’t like music too – I hate music. But hatred is much, much more active than merely disliking something. Do you think I’d go to all this trouble otherwise?

Indie Rock Bus Review:

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 336 views

Indie Rock Bus Review: The search for the new continues, and on this short bus journey I was not going to be enlightened. I heard two very freah out the box good tracks, but I didn’t hear anything that I would call groundbreaking. First up was a very early outing for a track from the new Flaming Lips album. I say a track, but it has single written all over it. Indeed it could quite easily become the most annoying single of the year by a long shot. I like The Flaming Lips. I like the sweeping strings, clattery drums and very full production of Dave Fridmann. But its amazing how a few Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips albums down the line this production already feels so old hat.

So to ‘Do You Realise’ – this exceptionally good new Flaming Lips track. Stripped from much of their whimsy, what is left is the Neil Young lite voice and the Fridmann production – sans kitchen sink merely because you can’t get a kitchen sink to make a decent noise. There is a good tune and sweet repetition of the motif: ‘Do You Realise’. How beautiful you are?’ So far so rock standard. ‘Do you realise how pretty your face is?’ Fine. ‘Do you realise that everyone you know will one day die?’ Follow this up with some upbeat philosophy regarding living ones beautiful, pretty but finite life to the full coupled with a great hook and we have a bona-fide lighters in the air number. This track could give the Flaming Lips a top ten hit and break them big time. And the advice will grate like that of Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen. Freaky Trigger will probably take a positive line in the end – merely because the album is called ‘Ochigo vs The Pink Robots’ – which is as closest we are going to get to an album called Robots vs Dinosaurs! FITE!

Still if there is nothing new in what the Flaming Lips are peddling, at least the sound is only five years old. The Music – what appears to be a twelve year old Leeds band being shaped for next big thingness are giving us something thirty years old. They are giving us Led Zepplin refracted through a Stone Roses prism. Which to all intents and purposes means the okay stuff on The Second Coming. The People (the name of the track name from these lovers of the definite article) manages to sound like a good Second Coming track with a slightly harder edge and even less lyrics than Brown got round to writing. Half a verse and a chorus or two of La La’s and Whoa Whoa’s does not bode all that well – but at least the young singer is erring more on the side of Robert Plant histrionics than bored Brown. The single does sound great – but are we just back in Oasis territory with a new bunch of youngsters reverently treading in the footsteps of yesterdays greats.

The Music were avidly chased by Tony Wilson for Factory 2 a couple of years ago and ended up on a major (not that Fac 2 isn’t) for stupid amounts of money. Wilson says they have the look, the swagger and have already been utterly ruined by their current deal (Wilson however would say that). On the strength of The People they at least some music to keep them going. They don’t have any lyrics though – and basing your career on one of the most disappointing albums ever released seems a touch foolish. Still its one single, like the Flaming Lips had one track and it was a very short bus ride. On the strength of this five stop trip – rock music is still not the place to be looking for innovation. Mind you – nor is a bus ride at eleven at night.

DUEL 2002! Round 2 Match 1

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DUEL 2002! Round 2 Match 1

Welcome to the second round of Duel! 2002, the ongoing search for the worst band in the world at the present time. The second round differs from the first in one important way — from now on we’ll be giving bands extra votes based on your comments (on the Duel!) message board. Each comment against a band can give that band up to two extra votes, based on how convincing it is and how much it makes me laugh (these are the same thing pretty much). Without further ado, then:

Duel! 2002 Round 2 Match 1

Which of these bands is worse?

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Round 2 sees the highest-placed British seed, Starsailor, return to Duel! after a first-round victory over Baxendale. My first encounter with Starsailor was when their hotly-tipped debut single ‘Fever’ CRASHED into the charts. Hey wow I thought, it’s a sizzling new British band, this has got to be good! Well, maybe I was a bit less enthusiastic but I was still unprepared for what I heard – ‘[strum strum] There’s a feev-ah [strum twang] on thuh freeeee-way [tzoink]’. Surely I thought they are TAKING THE PISS, you don’t have freeways in Guildford* my lad. How come at a time when the biggest comedy character in the country is based around the idea that pretending to be American in Staines is laughable, Starsailor get a free pass for imitating Jim Morrison?

Starsailor go up against art-rockers Muse, who had a tough first-round tussle with scary scary Slipknot. ‘Art’ in ‘art-rockers’ here doesn’t mean human creativity striving towards hidden and profound insights, by the way, it means ‘funny chords’ and ‘hair dye’. A great philosopher once said that rock is music about being 16 — as someone fortunate enough to edit a creative writing section at that age I can assure you that Muse have the job bang to rights. They may be the underdogs in this Duel! but an upset cannot be ruled out.

*or wherever this wretched shower come from.