Argentina Bound

December 8, 2006

I’m off to Argentina and Brazil  on Sunday for some well earned rest and adventure. As usual I’ve organised nothing except a sketchy route and 3 nights in a Low Budget guest house in downtown B.A. I did of course check the current odds of a Tsunami hitting Argentina and Brazil at the time I am there which is curently about 3 billion to one so I’m not taking any chances this time. I’ve bought all kinds of quick disaster strategies should that fucker of a wave follow me all the way to South America.

I will be updating my blog over the four weeks and  please feel free to leave any useful travel tips or suggestions below. Have a good one.

A recent verbal scrape with a complete bozo-headed muppet from a digital agency prompted me to keep a few timely insults up my sleeve for future scenarios.  Here are my favourites;

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Wini Churchill

“A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” – Wini Churchill

winni.jpg Great British dissing maestro- Sir Winni Churchill

“I’ve just learned about his illness; let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb

“I have never killed a man but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” William Faulkner

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” – Ernie Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

“He has sat on the fence so long that the iron has entered his soul.” – David Lloyd George

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

“His ears made him look like a taxicab with both doors open.” – Howard Hughes (about Clark Gable)

“He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

”We has delusions of adequacy” Walter Kerr 

“There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln

“You’ve got the brain of a four-year-old boy and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.” – Groucho Marx

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

“He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” – Robert Redford

“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”- Mae West

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” Mark Twain

“A solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.” – Mark Twain

“I didn’t attend the funeral but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”- Mark Twain

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

“He has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends.”- Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts–for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang

Got a decent insults to add? Post it on the comments below

Observer Music magazine recently reviewed what they regarded as the ‘best’ music gigs of all time. Sorry guys you missed a few; here are my favourites;

ACDC- Wembley Arena; 19th, October  1982                                                                      

My first ever music gig and without doubt my most memorable and exciting because I was just sooo relieved that after 6 months of hounding my parents relentlessly they let me go with a crowd of school pals, I was 14. Arriving at Wembley Arena I remember the whole atmosphere inside the venue was electric; the state of the audience; greasy mulletts, denim clad bikers and one bowl-headed public school boy walking around in complete awe. When Angus Young, the lead guitarist finally strolled on in his school uniform smiling under the spotlight the impact of the band almost burst my ear drums, it was 2 hours of the greatest rock n’ roll I’d ever seen. The sounds of the drums and rhythm section were just like this giant noise which made my skelton shudder with excitement. Angus, the manic lead guitarist, leapt around the stage headbanging, taunting his guitar and whipping the audience into a frenzy as he played his instrument like his whole life depended on it. I remember looking back at the crowd and seeing 8 thousand heads and mulletts shaking up and down to the sound  of ‘Angus’ ‘Angus’, this was Rock n’ roll utopia. The highlight was when Angus circumvented the whole of the arena on the singer’s shoulders wrestling through the hords of adoring fans and I leapt over and touched the ragged shorts of the guitar maestro as swept by me for one split second looking over… unforgettable night.  

58941_angus_young_02jpg.jpg Angus Young or AC DC rocking Wembley- Oct 1982

Queen at Live Aid; 13th july

It was complete and utter chance that I got a ticket to Live Aid, (thanks Ali) none of us really knew we were witnessing probably the greatest music event of all time and I just happened to be right at the front of the crowd at 6.44 p.m when the mighty Sir frederick Mercury strolled onto the Wembley Stadium stage. Queen had alot to do, U2 had just played a complete blinder and I wasn’t much of a fan to be honest. But for Queen’s performance was the greatest 20 minute stage music show that has ever and will ever be performed, I still watch it on DVD and it is music perfection. Freddie was on fire from the word go. He whipped the crowd into an almighty frenzy, flirting relentlessly with the camera man and hamming it up at every moment. His piercing operatic vocals gyrating around the stadium bowl and everyone sung along to every word. The site of 60 thousand hands clapping will never leave me, we all knew afterwards that we’d witnessed something special.

 queen_mercury1_bodypa.jpg Freddie Mercury at Live Aid- the greatest ever 20 mins of rock’n roll?

David Gray; Brixton Academy; Dec 2001

David Gray had just broken through in the UK charts with a song called Babylon although I knew little of his music except my Irish cousins raving about him. I was with a group of about 15 , many Irish friends of my pal Sandra, a really fantastic crowd. There was a weird sense of anticpation in the crowd as he came walked on stage, and it was explosive from the first song  and the crowd sung along to every word he uttered mostly drowning out his own words but it jus tadded to the whole atmosphre. Admittedly I’d drunk alot of pop but there was a magical feeling in the Acamedy that night. He finished with a blistering version of ‘Shine’ I thought my Mother was watching me from heaven.

The Cure; Glastonbury June 1990 My first glastonbury was a feast of laughs, entertainment and craic and this incredibly memorable performance by The Cure. It was weird because the singer didn’t move a single inch throughout but the crowd went completely bananas, me included. I remember half way through the show, Robert Smith the singer stopped the show to airlift a girl out of the front by helicopter who had been crushed in the pogo dancing  madness, you could feel a sullen guilty silence afterwards as the crowd subdued until 2 songs later the singer announced the girl had recovered in hospital and launched into a blistering version of ‘inbetween days’ I was smiling for 2 days afterwards, awsome.

  cure.jpg Robert Smith at Glasto- 1990

George McMichael- The Swan Pub, Stockwell; Feb 1992 George Michael was playing a feted string of shows at Earls Court Stadium, £35 a ticket for the Faith Tour..Me thinks to myself on the Saturday afternoon; ‘shall we go see him at Earls Court?. um..no thanks..lets go for some beers instead and see where we end up later’ 3 hours later we are watching South London’s finest impersonator..George Mcmichael, billing himself modestly as ‘the second greatest soul Singer on planet earth’ rocking the dirty, smelly drunken audience at The Swan Pub in Stockwell. Swan door policy;£5 at the door, no trainers (seriously) and leave your weapons with the bouncer..no questions asked. McMichael was the real deal; he had the full Lady Di barnet, the 80’s stubble and all the Wham dance moves..Ok we’d drunken a mighty hat-full of lagers, wine, pop ..you name it, but this felt like it was the real deal! It wasn’t the type of joint you’d take your mother-in law for a cup of tea, it was back-to-basics entertainment. Mcmichael rocked for 2 hours back to back, hits galore.. culminating in a blistering version of the classic ‘Club Tropicana’ and at that moment as I watched McMichael gyrating up on the stage and gasping in the limelight of the devoted audience.. I thought at that moment that there was probably no-one on planet earth having as much fun as us.      

swanc0391.jpg 

Not a venue to take your mother-in-law for a cuppa 

Gotta a gig that was life affirming? Leave a message below and tell us some more

Back in Balham

April 30, 2006

It feels great to be living in Balham, the ground floor flat I am renting has a wonderful feeling of coziness about it, the acoustics in the sitting room are superb and I woke up listening to the birds singing in the garden. I even had a surreal dream on my first night that Neil Young had a agreed to play an acoustic set in my front room as I kind of welcome gig for me and my pals. It neatly fitted into his schedule of 3 nights at The Hammersmith Odeon. I explained on the phone that all the greats rock stars had played small warm gigs before the start of a UK tour; The Stones played the Marquee to 200 fans before their Wembley gig in 82, Led Zepplin played the White Lion in Fulham before their Knebworth shows and my front room in Balham was a nice filla to hone their set- list before Hammersmith, Neil agreed. Bizarely it felt like a real dream to me. Except he never showed. All my friends were sitting around waiting, it had taken some persuading to get them to believe me and the band hadn't showed up.shit!.. and in a fit of anger I woke up.. for the first 5 minutes of consciousness I rushed into my sitting room, underpants on my head, thinking Neil Young and his band might be arriving..before the sound of birds checked my reality.

Going back to live in my Clapham flat at Xmas had felt like that nauseous feeling of going back to a place where you'd outgrown, like when you go back to University and all your pals have left and none of the landlords remember you, 'what do you mean you don't remember me..I spent my life in your pub last summer pal?'. I always believe that certain places in your life have a lifespan, they were great at the time but don't try and repeat it. It's why I didn't want to go back to the Glasto Festival after a gap of 10 years, all those amazing times; driving down in Sarah Hinten's Combi van, back stage passes, watching Oasis playing footy with Robbie and listening to Portishead in that tent..indescribable. I didn't want to go back again and spoil those memories..O.k. laying cable in some of the cubicles isn't everyone's idea of a great weekend. But I relented when Tom bought me a ticket on my return from six months in South East Asia, it was kind of courtesy of his usual generosity that I decided enough time had passsed to go back and he was right..everything was new and better, Lost Vagueness especially and the cubicles had toilet roll and flushed,..total heaven.

I went to watch John Hegley at the BAC last Sunday night, with Nick and Guy, performing his new show Uncut Confetti. John is a well known comedic performance poet and a very talented singer/songer writer, an old mucker of John Peel. He was superb, inspirational. His skill is his ability to observe mundane life experiences transforming them into hilarious stories and poems like his life growing up in the Luton Bungalow. He engages the audience and making everyone particate with complete random and hilarious results. I loved it and bought some of his poetry on the way out. Go see him if your get a chance; http://www.johnhegley.co.uk

Otherwise, I'm looking forward to a fine old summer in Balham!

Office robbed

March 29, 2006

Not a great start to the working week, our office was burgled on Sunday night and they took my laptop and Mat lost his as well, I’m gutted as alot of my work from the last 3 months including proposals, presentations and contacts is lost for ever, its worthless to anyone else. Had a really horrible feeling all day which wouldn’t subside, its the second burglary in 3 months, last time it was my flat, I guess its a lesson learnt about backing up my data.

Watched the superb Channel 4 documentary dispatches ‘Living with Immigration’ which gave me some persepctive. The programme highlights the misery, desperation and abuse in the illegal migration of largely west african people to Spain and ultimately Uk, its a really really desperate situation, the African immigrants camp out in the woods outside Calais waiting for their chance to get to the UK, mostly hidden in lorries its totally horrendous. I have no solution. 

Had a superb Engagement party for my friend Pat Nehring on Sat night with his fiance Lawrence, I am sooo pleased for him, his wife is a total gem, wedding in September, I can’t wait.

Bring on the Summer.

Here and now

March 12, 2006

Its freezing in London today.

I thought Jose Mourino made an arse of himself on Tuesday night. There’s no doubt that his sheer arrogance, confidence and style has been real breath of fresh air to the Premiership but his side were well beaten by Barcelona. Chelsea took a shooing, period. Ronaldino made Drogba look like the over priced muppet that he is, Roni was simply sensational. The sad thing was that Mourino wouldn’t admit it afterwards, he looked a plank trying to make excuses, he would have been applauded just to admit what everyone knew, your side was average and Barca deserved the win.

Have been reading Bono’s biog of quotations, highly insightful on someone I really respect. He discribes in detail how he garnered influence through Fairtrade and drop the dept by pressing the right buttons with the power brokers in Congress, actually very interesting, (although I’m probably making it sound very dull). He sights an example of how Martin Luthar King and the Civil Rights while initially hating Bobby Kennedy they focused on his key aids and colleagues to bring him round to their thinking. Watched Live 8 DVD on friday night. Incredible, although the crowd at Live Aid was alot more lively and we didn’t have all the airhead celebs at the front. My favourites were Joss Stone, Snoop Dog, Robbie Willaims, keane and Pink FLoyd. McCartney and The WHo looked really old, quit while you’re ahead chaps. Elton John disappointed and Pete Doherty looked a c**t, maybe a stint in her Majestys is what he needs.

Lemn.jpg Lemn Sissay

Watched a superb one man play, Something Dark, with Nick and Guy last night about a poet called Lemn Sissay at the BAC in Calpham last night; Lemn Sissay spent the first seventeen years of his life in care and his entire adult life searching for his family. The play revealed the secrets and lies of an incredible past. It was a compelling, emotional and highly entertaining story, I was quite moved at the end. Bizarely met his girlfriend and some of his pals in the bar beforehand ,go see it if you have a chance; http://www.bac.org.uk/whatson.php?view=current All is going well with the business although there are major challenges ahead mainly in a staffing context. Good night and good luck.

London Flamenco Festival

March 1, 2006

Big Mouth Media, the top search consultancy, was banned this week from Google’s index, quite a juicy bit of news in my sector, alot of rumours flying around as to what caused it, looks like case of hidden text in the home page, quite puzzling that they would take risk doing it. I’ve met the main man Steve Leach a few times, quite friendly, its always a bit fractured being friendly to a rival after you’ve done a client pitch, obviously I respect what he’s done and he’s genuinely liked by alot of his clients whcih is not easy in the fickle world of new media and search.

Otherwise for me its just been head down doing SEO strategy reports, quite dull but its improving my skills massively.

Flamenco Festival.jpg Antonio 1.jpg Antonio 3.jpg