Archive for March, 2012

I never never want to go home, because I haven’t Gok Wan…

Posted in Geeks, Heroes, Music, Pointless Nostalgia, Star "Style" with tags , , , on March 12, 2012 by Johnnie

Clever old spammers.  No sooner is Gok Wan in Dublin to peddle his range of retro frames at Specsavers than the cookies get to work trying to find appropriate blog posts to spam.  Congrats to the cookies, then, for finding several posts on IHGN which, for some obscure reason, seem to suggest that I’m a Smiths fan.

Are cookies able to work these things out?   Did they say, “Oh! You know that Morrissey Smith fellah, he wore retro NHS specs before they were retro, didn’t he?  Let’s SPAM his fans!”? Continue reading

Decent Smiths cover shocker

Posted in Geeks, Music with tags , , , on March 5, 2012 by Johnnie

As I’m sure you know, dear reader (singular), I’m a big fan of The Smiths but not a big fan of other people covering Smiths songs.  And when I say “other people”, I sometimes include Morrissey himself, whose present band simply aren’t up to playing songs as intricate as ‘This Charming Man’.

All of which makes it even stranger that a gamer geek going by the name of Lazyitis has produced a fantastic cover of that very song.  I’ve been chair-dancing to this since I first heard it (at the time of writing, about ten minutes ago), and my kids are enjoying it just as much. Continue reading

2002 – A Hella Good year for music?

Posted in Music, Pointless Nostalgia, Radio on March 5, 2012 by Johnnie

This week, BBC 6 music is a decade old, a fine landmark for a station which almost didn’t make it this far. Thanks to the efforts of listeners and well-wishers, it was saved from the chop, and thank heavens. The station’s birthday celebrations have kicked off in earnest this week and, as these things tend to do, made me look back at the year that was.

2002 was a year that promised so much. Without trying to be melodramatic, I think of it as the year that saved music.

The period from 1998-2001 was, in my humble but strong opinion, the absolute worst time for popular music since it began. I look back at the conveyor belt of rubbish that came along, and break out in cold shudders. Of course there was decent stuff in amongst it, but if you consider that it was an era where supposedly cool people turned to David Gray, Macy Gray and Travis, while Red Hot Chili Peppers became one of the biggest bands in the world, it all looked relentlessly dire. Groups like Muse, The Strokes and even The Hives were touted as greatness when, in fact, it all sounded like laughable mediocrity to these ears. Continue reading

A shed of one’s own

Posted in New Stuff, Pointless Nostalgia with tags , on March 2, 2012 by Johnnie

In a damp, misty corner of the garden, in the shade of a dangerously overgrown, gnarled tree, sits an unimposing, unkempt little shack. For many years, it has been unloved and, frankly, unlovable. Filled to bursting with torn boxes, rusting tools and mouldy furniture, all concealed behind a warped door, it looks forlorn, abandoned and condemned.

At least, that was the case until last weekend. In the spirit of the changing season, with its symbolic chucking of all clutter, filth and negativity, I decided it was high time I restored this pitiful shell to something of its original purpose, if not former glory. Continue reading

Sepulchral Notices (or The Mystery of Edwyn Pugh)

Posted in Fiction on March 1, 2012 by Johnnie

Clement Wiffen sat at his desk, his trembling hands obscuring his face.

‘Which one was Edwyn Pugh?’ he groaned.  ‘Are there any photographs?’

‘Maybe family ones, sir,’ said Mr Darkin.  ‘But we can hardly ask…’

‘Damn it, why can’t funerals be more like weddings?’ Wiffen snapped, removing his hands and staring down at the page.  He emitted a long sigh.  ‘This… it’s the end of me.  Us.’

‘Sir, do remember, Grave News is a trade publication,’ said Darkin, sitting down opposite his boss.  ‘The public need not find out.’

‘Don’t be naïve all your life, Darkin.  Of course it will get out.  Why do you think Lambrick and Sons suddenly closed down after 93 years?’  Wiffen stabbed the paper with his index finger.

‘Then it’s bad, sir?’

‘Worse.  Read it.’  Wiffen tossed the paper to his assistant.

Darkin read aloud: ‘“Wiffen and Usherwood Funeral Directors, estd. 1896, is now managed by the last of the Wiffens, Cyril’s great-grandson, Clement – a singularly gloomy individual who should carry an ‘Abandon Hope’ plaque around his neck…”Continue reading