Sunday, January 03, 2021

The Big Five Oh...


(My 50th birthday present to me)

Yep, I've hit the half century of years on this planet. So I figured it was time to make a return to Fictions, some four years and a bit after the last post. And yes, I do realise that it's effectively shouting into the wind with no one listening after all this time.

But yeah, 50. 

Seems so incredibly old. I remember thinking about age when I was back in school, back when I was sitting on the Priory School hall floor and imagining just what it would be like to be 20, 30, 40, 50 and just not being able to get my head around it. (I also remember thinking how good it would be to get up the courage to actually tell the little girl with the long brown hair how I felt about her - but that's another very long and very interesting story in itself.)

Anyway, back to the age thing. Back when I was 10 it seemed like a lifetime to get to 50. Back when I was 15 and my own dad turned 50, he seemed so bloody old. 

But now I've actually managed to get to 50 myself, it doesn't seem all that much at all. I don't feel old. Not in any way. I certainly don't identify as old. And I definitely don't think I'm anything like what a 50-year-old was like when I was a kid.

So happy birthday to me, 
Happy birthday to me, 
Happy birthday dear me, 
Happy birthday to me.

50 years on the planet.
I've lived in Dudley, Birmingham, Pocklington, and Las Vegas. 
I've been married twice.
I've got a wonderful 21-year-old daughter.
I've worked in many different places and never felt more at home than when I'm around comics, whether that was my first job at Nostalgia & Comics or what I know will be my last job as a writer.

And I've never been happier than I am right now.

50 years... no problem at all.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Best Of The Year - 2015 - Music....

Incredibly this is coming out BEFORE the end of 2015... incredible I know.

Anyway, as always, it's a mix of things I heard new this year and older songs I fell in love with. Enjoy...


Saw this on Jools Holland and immediately sought out the album. Love it, love it, love it. 20s vibe meets electronica. Who could ask for more?



Ok, so the new DD album wasn't a return to all that was brilliant about the band (All You Need Is Now was that), but it was a damn good record, with a few killer tunes. This was the lead single and still a cracking track.


Chuck D really has still got it. Great track off a really great album.


Now, back in time for a Massive Attack remix I didn't hear till this year, of the song that got me into the band.



From Bikini Kill to Le Tigre and on... Kathleen Hanna just writes some excellent songs. 


Seriously, was there anything this year as simply bloody joyous as this? Molly got me into Taylor Swift, and there's so much going on in her stuff, great songwriting, brilliant pop tunes, never more so than this piece of perfect pop. Smiling.



Sleater Kinney returned at the start of 2015 and proved they were just as brilliant, just as relevant, just as fabulous as they ever were.



Loved Hatfield since The Blake Babies, but revisited her stuff this year, and Only Everything was on heavy rotation during one really tough drive this year. A new-found love of her voice came out of that.


Well, here's a first... can I find this on You Tube? Can I fuck. So instead click on the pic for the Last FM page.


The Fantasy is a project to take some classics, well known or long forgotten, and giving them the 12" treatment that simple wasn't available when they were released. I heard this one this year and was completely blown away. Sublime.


It's rather an electronica lite year this year, so where the hell do I put this classic? Well, here seems okay to be honest. This is here because I heard a great new remix of it. Except I can't find that... so here's the classic.



Yeah, wish you were here. Pink Floyd. Why not. "How I wish, how I wish you were here.... "


Weird link thing... my dad used to know Christine McVie (well, she was Christine Perfect back then). Small world. Great song.... and one of those where there's so few lyrics, but they're just perfect...

Sweet wonderful you,
You make me happy with the things you do,
Oh, can it be so,
This feeling follows me wherever I go.
I never did believe in miracles,
But I've a feeling it's time to try.
I never did believe in the ways of magic,
But I'm beginning to wonder why.
Don't, don't break the spell,
It would be different and you know it will,
You, you make loving fun,
And I don't have to tell you you're the only one.
You make loving fun.
You make loving fun.


Another one you couldn't have told me in a million years I'd get into... but here we go, life's a weird thing. And this Lana Del Rey track just kicks me in the guts every time I here it. 


Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly singing a beautifully stripped down duet... such beautiful lyrics as well..

"so let me whisper in your ear
don't you worry they can't hear
all I want to do is to spend some time with you
so I can hold you, hold you"


It might be just me. It might be just the song. It might be just the situation. But you try listening to this without a tear running down your cheeks?


A bit like Taylor Swift this.. young kid, incredibly talented, great songwriter, and one who never really connected with me. Until this. Wow. Wow. Wow. Beautiful love song, means so much X

Monday, November 02, 2015

20 + years in the making... Tattoo #4


Yes. All comic tattoos. All lovely and iconic.
The latest would be an Invisibles blank badge logo... and why not?

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Richard's Best Music of 2014... just a little late..

Ok, so it's now SEPTEMBER. So I've meant to get this done for the last NINE BLOODY MONTHS. Which means I am crap at this. I never used to be crap at this. I used to be so shit hot at getting these things done. Maybe it's my age? Maybe it's just having a hundred and one other things to done at any one point in my life. I don't know. But I do know that I've made a point of getting this done this week, it found a place on the to-do list, which means it gets crossed off right now. This is a good thing.

The BEST OF XXXX CD has been a regular thing at Bruton mansions since way back. It's something I do for me and for a few friends, usually posting them their cds with their Christmas cards. But not this year, oh no.... Sure, I could do them as mp3 downloads, or as Spotify playlists, but there's something wonderfully old-school about making a cd. Which is weird in itself, the idea of a cd being 'old', since I can vividly remember that sense of 'the future' that came with getting my first ever cd - it was The Shamen, Pro-Gen, one of those ace 3inch cd singles that were all the rage when cds first came out.

My first proper cds were That Petrol Emotion's Chemicrazy and Ultra Vivid Scene, Joy 1967-1990. Which puts my first cd player as 1990. Now, seeing as TPE and UVS are still two of my favourite bands, and have never let me down, I reckon that's pretty damn good. As far as The Shamen go, they're one of those bands I love to a point, specifically about half of the Boss Drum album. After that it's pretty unlistenable.

So, as for this year...

Daft Punk & Giorgio Moroder - GIORGIO BY MORODER

I actually wrote about this earlier in 2015, where I called it  beautiful, powerful, the sound of the future. It still is, it always will be I reckon, the chill that shoots down the spine as the words come in, as Moroder talks so simply about the click track, about his choices, about the sound of the future. It's just a magnificent wonder of a track, capturing every moment of Moroder the pioneer.

Daniel Avery - DRONE LOGIC

For those that have the cd just be impressed with the seamless mix from track one to track two, for those of you without the cd you'll have to trust me on this, with a little bit of manipulation, the beautiful end of Moroder, with the click track leading out... click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click .... and the start of Daniel Avery's brilliant Drone Logic is just perfect.

Drone Logic is everything Moroder dreamed of or possibly everything he would have hated, a magnificent drone of a song, repetitive beats playing out so perfectly. The sort of track I put on here knowing some of you will absolutely hate it, but some will love it every bit as much as I do.


Ex of Distillers, Brody Dalle delivers a fabulously loud, wonderfully shouty few minutes of song. Cracking.


New to me. Maybe not to you. Clever and inventive and interesting. And a great lyric in the process.

Ibibio Sound Machine - LET'S DANCE

Not necessarily an unusual sound, especially not when Peel brought the sound of Africa to my ears back in the late 80s and early 90s. But it's a bloody gorgeous sound, energy, energy, energy, a real happy piece.

Le Tigre - HOT TOPIC

I knew of Le Tigre. I heard Le Tigre back when they formed at the tail end of the 90s. But they dropped off my listening radar over the years. Just one of those things. But thankfully, I was brought back into the fold thanks firstly to Julia Scheele's Double Dare Ya! zine and secondly thanks to Spotify. The entire back catalogue hit heavy rotation and of that, this is the one that just stuck around in my head. And frankly, who doesn't love a good list song?


Some bands are album bands. Some bands are best-of bands. I got into The Fall with a best of - the 458489 A-sides and B-sides. And aside from a few subsequent albums they remained a best-of band, the compilation covered much of the time Brix Smith joined and pulled the band and new hubby Mark E. Smith in a slightly different, more poppy, more accessible direction. And then a year ago I got it into my head to start listening to the whole bloody discography. It's necessarily patchy sure, but there's some incredible songwriting coming out of Mark E Smith.


Go on, admit it, you thought she'd stopped making music ages back didn't you? But you remember those first couple of albums don't you? That voice, that brilliant passionate powerful voice, alongside some great tunes made '87s Lion & The Cobra and the follow up in '90, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Go, just excellent. This is from How About I Be Me (And You Be You), a massive return to form in 2012.


I've more time for Albarn than lots of folk. Blur hit at just the right time for me, and Albarn's musical career since then has been eclectic and clever, and he does a damn good singalong tune as well. Which is just what this is.

Mick Harvey and Anita Lane - INITIALS BB

God knows where I heard this. Radio at some point in 2014 I think. A weird one, a Serge Gainsbourg cover where that lecherous French genius does his usual lecherous French genius thing over Brigitte Bardot.

As for Mick Harvey, well he's an Australian who came along with Nick Cave, forming The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds, and this track is from the first of two Gainesbourg cover albums.

The Rolling Stones - TOO MUCH BLOOD (EXTENDED)

Another one of those Spotify 'lets listen to the catalogue' things, just like The Fall. I'd always had a hankering for some of the Stones music, but it tended to veer towards the more esoteric, Mother's Little Helper, We Love You, that sort of thing. But I also loved, always loved Undercover Of The Night, a thudding, throbbing thing. And when I got to that album I heard this and loved it. Absolutely daft beast of a track, all over the place in its way, Jagger doing something he thinks of as rap probably. There's even an Arthur Baker remix of this that ramps it all up another notch but loses a bit of the driving Stones funk in the process.


Another band who suffer like Damon Albarn does from an over familiarity in people's minds. Blame the massive success they had. But whether they're fashionable or not, Guy Garvey's voice and lyrics are typically lovely in this one.

Robert Smith - C MOON

Ok, it's cheesy. It's predictable, it's a strange idea, Smith doing a twee Paul McCartney song for the Art of McCartney tribute thing. But it's a ridiculously infectious song, and it guarantees a smile on my face.


This is from the final gig the band did in 2014. Well, it's meant to be the final Carter gig, but they've said that before. For a while they settled into a nice nostalgia package of doing a few gigs a year. But no, it seems a little more decisive this time.

But god, Carter were amazing, another band that have long been favourites, ever since I heard Sheriff Fatman. I'd seen them numerous times and always had a fantastic time.

So these couple of songs are just a selection from the whole set that was one the radio. The whole set's well worth listening to. You might remember them as a couple of strange looking indie kids with jangly guitars, crap hair and shite jumpers. I say look past that and open your ears to them, listen to some incredibly perfect pop songs, packed full of an energy that has you bouncing and a lyricist in Jim Bob who really does do the whole modern poet thing so damn well.


These two were picked because of a couple of gorgeously soppy moments where the 40+ me reached out to the younger me 20+ years back and said it might just be ok...

"Say goodnight Jim Bob....
".. goodnight Jim Bob"

and of course, from The Only Living Boy In New Cross...

"Hello... good evening ... and goodbye...."

Both still bring a slight, but very stupid misting to my eye. Dopey git that I am.

Anyway, that was 2014....

Oh, and here's the whole gig....

Sunday, September 06, 2015

That was the summer of 2015...

Christ, it's over. 51 days of summer. A weirdly long summer holiday of seven weeks rather than six.

And if there was one image that summed it up....


Yep. Writing. Gin Martini. I'm still working on both to be honest. The writing's an ongoing thing. But the Martini is getting close to perfection. Currently on a mix of two parts Gin to one part Vermouth, mixed over ice, stirred (not shaken, sorry James), three olives, served dirty (with brine). But I'm working on the exact mix of Gin to Vermouth. I'll get it perfect before Christmas and shall report back.

Ok. There were other things that happened this summer holiday.  

Molly turned 16. It was ace. She also had her exam results. They were ace.
Molly and I went to Anglesey. It was ace.
I went to Dudley. It was ace.
There were other things. Oh, they were epically, wonderfully ace as well. I just can't tell you about them.
Because hey, you really think I tell you everything?