Bonzo photoset

Some superb photos of the Shepherd's Bush Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band gig I didn't go to!

The King Blues

king_blues_4, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

It's not often you find a new favourite band. The last time was when I ventured bored from the Wooden Bridge in Guildford in the late 1970s up to the Royal and was captivated by my first hearing of The Vapors. The same thing happened at Paul Stapleton's garden party where I first saw and heard The King Blues. They'd sold out of CDs then so I bought one off the website and it's been buzzing round my head ever since ('Taking over, taking over' etc). So tonight's gig at the Albert was no disappointment. The gig started with We am Janet, an Anal Beard spin-off, followed by the consistently entertaining Pog, whose line-up seems to change with every gig. This time, Paul's sister had a new string bass. They did all our favourites and allowed us to join in alternate tracks. Someone at the Catalyst Club once said that the best thing about going to church was that you could sing as loud as you like and nobody would mind. It's the same at a Pog gig. We la la laed and went vegan (you cow sucking pervert) at the top of our voices! It was a relief too to hear his song about football. So, it is allowed to oppose the stadium at Falmer, after all? Phew! What if it were a Bingo Hall, said Paul? Eh? What would Attilla think?

The King Blues were another gear up. Any band as political, and with whistling and ukulele action too, is fine by me. What's with the name though? They don't do blues as we know it - it's more like do-wop ska punk folk reggae rap really. I asked Itch and he said it was a reference to those big Rizlas. The climax was that great community sing-along 'Taking over' with Itch dividing the room into competing halves. The encore had a fine voiced Fruitbag taking over the mike to sing an empassioned 'Bella Ciao' which everyone loved to bits. They are somehow involved with the ongoing Smash EDO protest in Brighton too. So If they are appearing near you, get along there - you are in for a treat.


I noticed when unlocking my bike that someone had vandalised the Banksy kissing policemen outside the Prince Albert, but strangely left George Best alone! This area of wall is usually meticulously conserved, so will it be restored, I wonder?


Roger McGough and Andy Roberts

Roger McGough and Andy Roberts, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Despite being cream crackered from a 21-mile bike ride round Chichester harbour with the Clarion (no, I didn't cycle all the way there, we got the train!), I managed to hobble (cycle) down to the Komedia's new back entrance to see Roger McGough and Andy Roberts. Liverpool poet Roger McGough was consistently laugh-out-loud entertaining, flitting from chair to chair, so as not to confuse the audience, with readings from his poems old and new, and extracts from his autobiography Said and Done. Brighton resident Andy Roberts took time off from the Bonzos tour, to accompany Roger and perform some of his own songs. The second of two sets started with Andy in a Chinese robe accompanying Roger's hilarious extracts from the diary of the friend of Confucious who invented hiakus (didn't catch his name, but he had a young wife!). I also bumped into my old chum and neighbour Curtis Tappenden and his daughter Tilly who were sketching throughout!

Attending a gig like this can work out expensive, what with the entrance fee of £12.50, a couple of bottles of Newcastle Brown at £3.50 each (Komedia kindly supply some decent bottled beers to augment the young-persons' continental lager on tap), a paperback copy of Roger's book for 9 quid (1p above the rrp - Amazon price £7.19 for those thinking ahead) and a copy of the GRIMMS CD Sleepers (for the bonus tracks) for another £12 (Andy was the R and Roger one of the Ms in this short-lived band). But it was signed by Andy (but not by Roger); I'd earlier got my 1967 Penguin Modern Poets 10: The Mersey Sound (already signed by Brian Patten, but unfortunately not by Adrian Henri RIP, which originally cost 3/6d) and After the Merrymaking (1971, 60p) signed by Roger.


Are iPods telepathic?

To see if my iTunes was telepathic, this afternoon I set it on shuffle. Out of 10,828 tunes to choose randomly from, it chose the following artistes:

Elvis Costello
Bob Dylan
Elvis Presley
Neil Innes
Tragic Roundabout
The Only Ones (so far, so good)
Steve Earle and the Del McCour (!!)
The Kinks
Dylan (again!)
The Flaming Lips
Viv Stanshall
Free Up Session - Sharleen Boodram (!!)
Others - Stan Bowles
The Rutles
The Exciters
John Lennon
John Prine with Iris DeMent (nice)
Carly Simon
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Viv Stanshall (Radio Flashes - longest track so far)
The Mull Historical Society
The Pipettes
Boy Blue (Boogie Children)
Bonzos (again - fantastic)
John Shuttleworth (at last!)
The Beatles
Barry White (!!)
Neil Innes (again)
Duncan Lamont
Car 54 where are you
Charlie Rich
The Beatles (again)
British Sea Power
Elvis Costello (again)
Sly and the Family Stone
Gilad Atzmon
Little Lights
Bonzos (yet again)
Lemon Jelly
Andy Williams
Ben Bernie (Violin) & His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra
Platform Six
The Departure
Kaiser Chiefs
The Miracles
Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
The Church
The Who
Michael Nyman
Michael Nyman again (the first time two in a row by same artiste happened)
Jimmy Vaughn
The Kinks (again)
The Animals
The Byrds

Conclusion: pleasantly surprising, made good choices, tho no Steely Dan (but there again there are none in my collection) or Bruce Springsteen (only 4), but where were The Smiths/Morrissey and David Devant?

It's a Bonzo life

It's a Bonzo life: On the road with Phill Jupitus: an online diary of the reformed Bonzos tour by one of its guest artistes. I decided not to attend the Shepherd's Bush gig as I thought it couldn't live up to last january's Astoria gig. Will I regret it?


Bury's Lowry to be auctioned

Bury council is determined to sell off their Lowry to cover a budget deficit. Here is an online petition for you to sign if you are as appalled as I am: Flickr: Bury Lowry

Up North again

Up North again, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

If it's Thursday, it must be Tahiti. Well, it would have been if the John Otway world tour had gone ahead. So, I'm back in chilly Brighton after my world tour of the North West, home of interesting pies and superior (and cheap) beer. The first gig, at Liverpool's Cavern did go ahead, tho I had to leave while Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze) was doing a mini-set, as I was being put up by friends in Crosby, in the house once lived in by Captain Smith, commander of the Titanic.

'Trudging slowly over wet sand' I sang as I approached the sand dunes and beach at Waterloo, between two lakes of wild birds, to cop the Antony Gormley installation 'Another place' last Friday. Not exactly Angel of the North, but impressive none the less, tho the locals have started dressing the more accessible ones. Then it was onto the train for the Liverpool experience, first a trip on the Ferry across the Mersey (excellent value at less than a fiver for an hour's cruise) in the freezing rain, then for a swift pint of Bowland's Vertigo in the White Star on the edge of the 'Cavern Quarter' (I'd had a pint of Bombardier the previous night in the splendid Volunteer Canteen in Waterloo, a great old geezer's pub), before embarking on the Magical Mystery Tour (again a great value two-hour Beatles-related coach trip around south Liverpool). A swift drink in the FACT cafe, where an Oxjam and some Biennial events were going on, then down to the hotter than hell Cavern 2 for Otway.

Saturday, I was going to explore the Wirral where Grandad was born, but the left luggage at Lime Street was £5.50 and my feet were killing me so I headed to Bolton, via Manchester (the train was a bit crowded - never travel on a match day!). Sunday, I discovered it was a steam event at the East Lancs Railway, with seven locos advertised, including Princess Elizabeth. She wasn't, as it turned out, but 71000 Duke of Gloucester was. Wow, I didn't see much of her (him?) but what a beauty, with the most sublime sound at rest, like someone blowing across the top of a stoneware sarsaparilla jug. I'm not really into tanks, but 80135 (made in Brighton) was also quite good looking in BR green and quite a monster with its backwards pacific wheel arrangement. Also in steam were the lovely jub 5690 Leander, mickey 45157 The Glasgow Highlander, jinty 47324 and class 4 oldie 44422. And the weather was perfect! Had a pint of Gunpowder mild at The Good Samaritan in Ramsbottom, and a tub of hot black peas from the kiosk by the station. Monday, I had a wander round Bury charity shops and Tuesday headed off to New Mills, where I had a quick tour round the spectacular Torrs Millennium Walkway over the energetic River Goyt. Home yesterday was by a long circuitous route (via Barnham) because of a fatality at Haywards Heath.