Cast In The Name Of God

All giant robot shows should end on a ballad:


February 11, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Here, for everyone: Blur in Hyde Park, 3 July 2009

Well, it’s about a month since Blur’s Hyde Park gig, and this being the future gig-goers now get to have an official CD of the night to listen to, also delivered on download which is useful if the posties go on strike because just its the future doesn’t mean it isn’t also 1979 and anyway…

I had a listen. I remembered a few things as I listened and, although I’m awful at writing about music, I wrote them down anyway:

  • I hadn’t registered on the day how much Damon’s voice has deepened since most of these songs were originally recorded. I like it. Graham sounds pretty much the same.
  • Jubilee would be 32 now. Wonder what he’s up to?
  • “Love in the 90s was paranoid.” Ha.
  • Early on in this recording the horns seem a little low in the mix, later they’re more audible. In general its a good mix – the crowd singing along rises in the mix for the more raucous crowd participation bits, and drops down a lot lower the rest of the time.
  • Out of Time chokes me up. Whatever else you think of Think Tank, that song is a great addition to Blur’s songbook.
  • Trimm Trabb becomes a real monster in this version, rattling around.
  • Park Life, on the other hand, bounces all over the shop and sounds like total bloody chaos. Phil Daniels quotes himself from Quadrophenia, a 2009 reference to the mid 90s interest in a 1979 film about the 60s.
  • Damon’s repeated bellowing of “thank you!” to the crowd seem like an almost involuntary, near overwhelmed bubbling of gratitude.
  • “Your mind gets dirty, as you get closer to…” Damon trails off, not saying ’30’. Perhaps because for him, and us, that’s well in the rear view mirror, and sits oddly with a song about sliding into a staid existence. We’ve been there, past it, and we’ve not fossilised yet, have we?
  • Damon gets us to say “Hello moon”, reminding me of the karmic cycle of Batman.
  • I like the way Blur pack and unpack their songs, tightening up their earlier shoegazy stuff and, in this instance, letting Song 2 expand with a slow, deliberate build. Tense, and release, and jump jump jump for your lives.
  • I was absolutely delighted to find, midway through the fantastic extended brass-break, just at a point when I had given hope, that Damon was, yes was, going to do that babbling talky bit in For Tomorrow.
  • Has The Universal ever sounded better than it does at the end of this two-hour, career spanning, lap-of-honour set? Arguably no. Blur have reformed, healed the rifts, surveyed their career, presented to us, and it has stood up to that scrutiny. Yes, the peak of Brit Pop was the peak of Blur’s output, but all of their albums have songs worthy of revisiting years later, and put together its a great songbook from a skilled, charismatic group of musicians. “It really, really could happen.”

And it did.


July 31, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Comments off.


Snow Not much blogging at the moment as winter has taken its grip (although, as the snow in London this morning barely lasted until noon, not that tight a grip), and in between the storms and snow I’ve been busy running around: from London to the North, then back to London for a couple of days, and off to Devon tomorrow for the weekend.

Meanwhile, in a follow up to an earlier post, the attempts by ‘Doctor Who’ fans to get ‘Love Don’t Roam’ into the Top 40 have failed, and indeed met with notably less success than Chris Moyles similar scheme with Billie’s ‘Honey to the Bee’. While it would have been nice to see Neil Hannon and Murray Gold dominating the charts like fey collosi, in some ways it’s reassuring that fans don’t have that much influence over reality. After all, what would follow a ‘Who’ fan takeover of the charts? Government? The world?

A world structured around fandom would be a dystopian feudal throwback with citizens prostrating themselves before the whims of their egocentric masters in the hope of favour, luckless serfs clinging to the edges of rival factions. Sycophancy would be the currency of the realm, and tongues would be removed from anyone heard to utter the dread words ‘talent’ or ‘ability’. And, dear god, can you imagine the corruption scandals that would ensue, presuming some kind of rule of law was even allowed by the lords of this brave new world?

Better, then, that ‘Who’ fans can’t even swing the pop charts in their favour, let alone sweep their own government into power.


January 25, 2007. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Comments off.


An old university friend runs the Echoes night at the Bullet Bar in Kentish Town. It’s an eclectic showcase for new acts, first Friday of every month, and I went along last night. Most impressive act of all were Some Velvet Morning, who have the aura of great things about them. I took some terrible photos, which can be found on my Flickr account.

While SVM were the highlight of the night, all the acts were worth seeing. I’m constantly surprised by how professional young bands are these days, actually hitting the right notes and stuff. A far stretch from the stumbling useless newbies I used to see at small gigs in my youth.

I’ve also been listening to Lucky Soul today, discovered via the magic of the internet. In spite of being touted by at least one blog as a superior alternative to my beloved Pipettes (hmph!), they have merits of their own. Their first two singles can be found in the iTunes music store, and are highly recommended.


January 6, 2007. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.