Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the muldoon guide to glastonbury: tips and advice and that

If my guesswork is to be believed, on Friday morning the full line-up for this years Glastonbury will finally be revealed. This is probably a time therefore, that people will really start thinking about their plan for the festival. With that in mind, I present this: 8 nice logical tips for enjoying a trip to Glastonbury, that you probably wouldn't have read elsewhere.

  1. See lots but not all. It's a huge festival, and having been three times I still don't feel I've seen all there is on offer. That's not to say you necessarily have to, but it's worthwhile take some time to explore such wonders as the Lost Vagueness and Green Fields.
  2. Toilet-wise, the long-drops are infinitely preferable to portaloos. All you may wish to do is make sure you don't breath through your nose for the duration of your stopoff. Trust me though, they are better toilets. And it makes it worthwhile camping in the northern fields as you won't have to ever wait longer than 60 seconds to use one of them.
  3. Consider buying a 2nd battery for your mobile cheap off ebay or somewhere. It is possible to recharge at the festival, but be prepared to wait ages, or go whilst everybody else is off seeing one of the huge bands. I brought a 2nd battery in 2004, brought both fully charged along to the festival, and it meant my phone easily lasted the duration.
  4. Wine is probably best, alcohol-wise. Red wine makes more sense too, as it doesn't matter if you're drinking it warm. Buy a box of the stuff (glass isn't allowed on site, remember), and maybe pour out a water bottle of the stuff for youself when you're setting off around the site.
  5. Visit the Silent Disco, which is to be a permanent fixture of this year's festival. It's a surreal tent where everybody has a set of radio-headphones, and you're free to tune between either of two DJs, resulting in occasions where half of the crowd is dancing to Eric Prydz, and the other to Sweet Child of Mine or something.
  6. Don't complain the festival isn't as good as it used to be. Glastonbury has always been unique, but how it used to be run simply wasn't sustainable for any longer. The festival has had to modernise a lot over the last 10 years, but it's still a special, magical place. If you're spending it moaning about the good old days, your ethos probably isn't right for the place anyway.
  7. Don't let anybody tell you how to do it. Stupid, pretentious types will gawp at you for not wanting to see The Who headline, whilst even more pretentious types will tell you Glastonbury is not about the music and that you should spend the whole time taking drugs and talking to monkey-keepers in the stone circle or something. Ignore both. Glastonbury is a huge festival, but it's special because it is genuinely something for everyone. If you want to spend all your time watching your favourite bands at the Pyramid stage, from Kaiser Chiefs to The Pipettes, then do. If you want to spend it in the Dance Village or the Circus, Fire or Teepee fields then do as well. And don't let anybody tell you that you shouldn't.
    I made this mistake in 2004, when I watched Paul McCartney headline instead of enjoying Basement Jaxx on the other stage. Whilst McCartney's set was probably quite good, I spent the whole time just bored chatting away, only recognising about four of the songs he played. Wish I'd seen Basement Jaxx now.
  8. That said, see Arcade Fire. I know I've already contradicted myself horribly in this post, but damn, they'll put on an incredible performance. I can't wait!

Monday, May 28, 2007

warehouse project - beneath the streets: the review

Oh man, so this weekend was the Warehouse Project in Manchester. For those not familiar, Warehouse Project take over random iconic spaces in Manchester, convert them into massive clubs, and get some big names down to play. This time round was for the 3 nights of the bank holiday weekend only, and the location was the former air-raid shelter right underneath Piccadilly train station.

Location wise, it was a huge improvement over last year's Boddington's brewery room. It still felt huge, yet intimate, and the acoustics were spot on this time. Right then, here's how the individual nights panned out:

Saturday: Radio Soulwax

Last year at Warehouse Project, whilst an act was playing, the big screens would flash up the name of the act for all to see.

That would have been a nice touch here too. Never having seen any of these acts before, I had no idea when it was 2 Many DJ's playing, or anybody else on the line-up for that matter.

Upon arriving though, it wasn't long (midnight, to be precise) before a live band hit the stage. They (I've since been informed they were 'Boys Noize') were a surprising blast. It was as if they had gone in to a laboratory, and spent years scientifically calculating what the exact most danceable form of music is. Then, upon emerging successfully, hopped on a train straight to Manchester to bang it out for the first time to a baying audience.

Whichever DJs followed them were very enjoyable, although - through no fault of their own - I can't remember much of them to be honest. Then whoever took over around 3 o'clock was left to put in a great crowd pleasing set mixing in inventive mainstream pop choices with traditional club fare. Spot on, really.

Sunday: Ape vs Metropolis

Or, "Pendulum", as I was happy to refer to the night as.

Now, I've passed up three opportunities to see Pendulum in the past, so in the weeks leading up to this I was wired at the prospect of finally attending one of their shows.

First up though, was the discovery of a set list taped to the bar. The previous night's who's-playing-when confusion would not be a problem.

Then it was on to the floor to thoroughly enjoy DJ Yoda, who's work I was entirely unfamiliar with previously, but his willingness to cast his net surprisingly wide genre-wise was appreciated.

Then: Pendulum. And it was a belter of a DJ set. All the expected favourites were there: Blood Sugar, then Slam, then Fasten Your Seatbelt, then Tarantula - spread out across the entirety of their performance. More than anything, it made me really excited by seeing their full live band show headline the Glastonbury dance tent a month from now. That's one of only 2 or 3 full-band shows they are doing before album two's release around Christmas.

The last time I sweated so much at a gig was Glastonbury 2 years ago seeing Mylo in that same tent. This night topped that. Combining these two elements is probably too much for me to even comprehend.

Whoever the DJs and MCs were that followed Pendulum, they were happy to play standard Drum & Bass fare for the remainder of the night. And we were happy to dance along to it until close at 4am. Great night.

Friday: The Essential Selection Party - Now, I didn't attend this, so fellow coursemate and dear friend Rachel has stepped in to guestblog these words about how Friday night's shindig went down...

The Warehouse Project was an exhilarating and totally mind blowing experience. If I could do it every night of the week, I would.
On the Friday night, Pete Tong mixed in some great commercial tracks, which included Gorillaz' Feel Good Inc. and more surprisingly, the song that now defines the weekend: Razorlight's I Can't Stop This Feeling I've Got. We crammed ourselves into the pulsating crowd only a foot or so from the DJ's themselves and danced into the early hours, only stopping for a drink or to hip-check anyone that got in our way.
As the night came to an end, and we raised our hands in the air for the final time, all I could think was that I couldn't wait until the next one.

Cheers Rachel. Here's to the next one, indeed...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

i was always very proud of my a-level results

It's a weird feeling, waiting for exam results. The last big results I received was 5 years ago now, my A-Level results. I was always very proud of what I got then, but not because they were any good (they weren't).

But yes, it's two weeks since my last exam, and about three more until I get the results. And find out how this last ever bit of education has gone.

Picture the scene, five years ago, and it's A-Level results day. Everybody is opening their results, and most are looking at least fairly happy with themselves. I open mine, and am immediately anxious. They're lower than expected, and lower than what my first choice university are asking for (Manchester Met, incidentally).

So, everybody is mingling about asking how each other did, and people are asking me the same. All the comments are very supportive.

"Oh, you'll be fine"
"Give them a ring, they'll probably still let you in"

That kind of thing. Then there was one person, his name was Duncan Eatch, who asked me how I'd done. I told him what I got, and his face lit up, as he excitedly said:

"That spells the word 'dude'!!"

Cheers, Duncan.

Anyway, I did get into my clearly very fussy first choice university, as you're probably aware, and from that day forward I was immensely proud of my A-Level results.

Hope I don't do as badly this time though. Degree marks are rubbish for making funny anagrams out of.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

what i did yesterday

It was very very exciting. I tidied my room. And then videoblogged it here.

Fun fun.

Also: commiserations to Liverpool for losing last night. I was bloody bored throughout the match. I do like though, how the last football match of the season was the first football match I watched this season. (Club) football is so dull.

Monday, May 21, 2007

radio 1's big weekend - the sunday review

Hi there. I'm knackered.

That's not going to stop me jumping forth and shooting my barrel-load of hot, sticky opinions all over your faces though. Look: mini-reviews of all the bands and everything!

So we got to Moor Park in Preston just after 1pm on Sunday afternoon, and upon arriving it was straight over to the Outdoor Arena to see the DJ-off between Zane Lowe - who is as reliable a party DJ as ever - and Mark Ronson, who's forced insertions of average songs from the album he's got out grated from the off. Zane Lowe though was brilliant. Always inventive, never obvious. Perfect. And his final track, Pendulum - Blood Sugar, was hugely appreciated.

Then it was over to the Main Stage to watch most of Just Jack's set. That was surreal: just 3 months ago I saw him playing to just 150 people in Manchester Academy, and now I'm watching him at the back of a 7000 strong crowd. He carries it off though, despite his singles being the only good songs on his album.

Back to the Outdoor Arena after a short break, where Vernon Kay's influence could barely be detected in his DJ battle with Pete Tong. Anybody expecting Tong classics interspersed with Vernon's knack for old-skool cheese would have been disappointed, and it served as a reminder of how difficult it is to enjoy Tong's genre of music without the assistance of alcohol and the absence of sunlight.

First difficult stage clash of the day resulted in seeing Mika on the Main Stage instead of Dizzie Rascal on the In New Music We Trust (INMWT) stage, mainly due to a desire to see more than one act on that stage before the day was out. By all accounts, it was a mistake. Mika wasn't bad, but throughout the remainder of the day we would hear Klaxons, Bloc Party, Zane Lowe, Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley all sing the praises of Rascal's set that we missed. Besides, we left with two songs of Mika's set to go in order to ensure a good position in the crowd for Klaxons.

Kicking off two and a half hours spent in the company of the INMWT stage was Klaxons, who were as energetic as one could hope for. They're a great live band, it's just a shame the audience weren't kicking off enough to make it truly memorable.

No such dangers for Maximo Park. They've got enough singles under their belts to ensure their 45 minute set is a non-stop party. Paul Smith is as reliable a frontman as ever, ensuring they more than hold their own against the prospect of Stereophonics on the Main Stage.

Responsable for my favourite album of 2007 so far (sorry Arcade Fire), Bloc Party were always going to be the most exciting prospect of the day for me. Suffice to say, they lived up to my sky-high expectations. The crowd was clearly big fans of the band, and it was a pleasure to see them in a 2000 person tent ahead of their Arena tour when they'll be playing to venues five times the size.

Then it was a short run over to the Main Stage to see the last 10 minutes of Kaiser Chiefs set, which seemed to be doing well against a tough audience, and a final 45 minutes sitting down shattered whilst Dave Pearce closed the festival with his Dance Anthems.

Great day all round then, very well organised and that. Thanks to Radio 1 and Preston for it, and feel free to rummage through our pictures here.

Right then, role on Glastonbury!

Friday, May 18, 2007

the muldoon guide to alton towers

  • Dear Lord, go on a quiet day. You know: not during the summer holidays, not at a weekend. Book the day off work or something. Why on earth would you wait 120 minutes for one rollercoaster when you could come some other day and never wait longer than 10 minutes?
  • As you've been sensible enough to come on a quiet day, you should then make the effort to queue longer to get in the front row seats on the big rides. I was surprised by how worth the wait it was. Picking a favourite ride is impossible, but the best experience of the day was being front row on Nemesis. Great stuff.
  • It's cheaper out of season too. We paid £18 per person, instead of £34. Well worth it, really.
  • Bring Sandwiches. I can happily report that I got through the entire day without buying one thing inside the park - food, souvenir or otherwise. That'll teach the capitalist heathens!
Also, can I take some the time to thank my dear friends in the 5th Avenue DJ booth for last night? Amongst others, they played these spot on choices of tracks:
  • OPM - Heaven is a Half Pipe
  • The Music - The Truth Is No Words
  • Little Man Tate - Sexy in Latin
  • Muse - Plug In Baby
  • Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
Keep fighting the good fight, gents.

Also also: Somewhat preposterously my video didn't win the Radio 1 competition for Big Weekend tickets. Despite it being better than at least half the actual winners. It's a fix, I tell you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

highly embarrassing blog post

Regular readers will know that this Sunday I'm off to Radio 1's Big Weekend in Preston. But, that's not good enough for me is it? No, I'm a greedy eijit, so I want to go to the Saturday as well. And hey, maybe bring along a couple more friends to the Sunday too if possible.

To that end, I thought it'd be a fun project to enter the Air Guitar competition the station have been running to win weekend passes. Simple concept: record a 2 minute or less video of yourself playing air guitar (or any other air instrument) and upload it to Youtube or somewhere. The 10 best win weekend passes and will be shown on the big screens between acts at the event.

So, yesterday we filmed an entry. And, erm... I didn't hold back. It's really quite embarrassing.

Watch me air guitar along to Maximo Park on Youtube

yeah so i finished uni

As of last friday, I am no longer a student. Now there's a scary thought.

Somebody asked me how I felt about it, and I had no idea how to respond. There's so many conflicting emotions, some of which I'll attempt to detail now: petrified, jubilated, curious, ambiguous, excited, mournful, relieved.

A major theme seemed to be that this is the defining moment where we all have to now grow up and get real jobs. Personally I refuse to think that that's what finishing finals is about. Fun first, job later, i'm hoping will be how I get to play it.

I realise this is a slightly dull post, but people are surprised I haven't acknowledged the completion of my degree on this here blog. By all accounts, make sure you check back here in a couple of days. The forthcoming blog will scare and arouse you in equal measures.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

reader's comments 5: roy chubby brown and racism

The pro Roy Chubby Brown brigade have been out in force since I posted a rant accusing him of being a horrific racist type person. Funnily enough, most of these comments are from folk known as 'Anonymous'.

"It's obvious you dont know what you're talking about. Chubby Brown and Royston are 2 different people. He has a job to do and people pay to see him do that job. Does that make anyone who goes to see him a rasict? Like he and many always say, "They're ONLY jokes.""

What? The documentary showed two different persona's of the man, BOTH being horribly racist.

I might not grasp the nuances of his act - true - but this point still stands: that as an entertainer you galvanise them, you make them think their opinions are acceptable, and you give them an idol figure to look up to and believe in.

People who go to see him are already likely to be racists really, Chubby Brown just gives some of them more impetuous to go from being inwards racist to pro-actively racist.


You're a d**khead."

Charming. Thank you very much.

"Wonderful stereotyping with the Daily Mail remark.

Welcome to the land of bigotry, ya lil hypocrite."

Oh shut up. The Daily Mail goes hand in hand with Chubby Brown in giving people the impression that their views are acceptable, with its front page headlines designed to insight anger from the smallest morsel of newsworthy information. It's a fair target, as are the people that lap it up.

"chubby brown is a fascist halfwit, as simple as.

We can only wish a painful death on the fat idiot."

Oh you kids do exaggerate. Nice to see somebody on this side of the fence though.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

roy chubby brown, and i'm going to radio 1's big weekend

So. There was already a fair number of fun things planned for the week following my last exam (which itself is only two days away, exam timetable fans). But now the plan has just got a whole lot better with the news this evening that i'm going to Radio 1's Big Weekend in Preston on Sunday the 20th.

Sunday was the day I really wanted tickets for. Line-up highlights for me? Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Klaxons, and a chance to witness Zane Lowe DJing again.

I knew knowing people that come from Preston would pay off one day. But anyway: this adds to the growing list of fun stuff that's penned in for the couple of weeks following finishing university for ever: Alton Towers, the course BBQ, Pendulum and Soulwax @ Warehouse Project, The Graduation Ball, the Singstar/Buzz party, Pete Tong/Annie Mac/Simian Mobile Disco at club PR1, Travis, and Simon Amstell in London.

Fun times. May is going to be an awesome month.

roy chubby brown is an awful racist

Last night, following a thoroughly enjoyable CSS gig at Manchester Ritz, I got home and unusually, put the TV on. On Channel 4 they were halfway through a documentary on Roy Chubby Brown. Now, I knew this man to be a somewhat rude, over the top comedian, but what I didn't realise that he was a hideous racist to boot.

It really was horrific viewing, watching him spit his vile opinions on camera, and trying to defend telling unquestionably racist jokes on stage by saying that he was 'just reflecting this groups views'. No, Chubby: as an entertainer you galvanise them, you make them think their opinions are acceptable, and you give them an idol figure to look up to and believe in whilst they are walking their town, Daily Mail tucked below arm, glaring menacingly at anybody who's skin colour happens to be slightly off-white. Roy Chubby Brown, you are an utterly horrific example of a human being.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

the southern fried chicken song

I've been thinking today about some of the ridiculous and fairly pointless things I've done in the past for no other reason but my own amusement. This led me to remember something pretty embarrassing that goes very much along such lines.

When I was 19ish, working on the grill counter of the customer restaurant at Safeway Gamston (now tragically a Morrisons) in Nottingham, I used to, a few times a night, sell people Southern Fried Chicken meals. Upon customers requesting such damn lovely food, I would offer to sing them the Southern Fried Chicken song. That I made up once. Some would say no thank you, but most would be treated to a quick verse of this song, that I fairly tragically am still able to remember:

"Southern Fried Chicken, so lovely and fresh,
Southern Fried Chicken, only the best!
Southern Fried Chicken, so dainty and true,
Southern Fried Chicken, especially for yoooou..."

Urgh. Not something I'd do nowadays you understand. It's the kind of thing one adopts to amuse themselves whilst trying to get through a 10 hour shift, I think.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

top 10 greatest songs of all time

Thought I'd have a crack at the big one today: trying to work out what my Top 10 favourite songs of all time are...

1. Breathe Me - Sia
2. Drop The Pressure - Mylo
3. Destiny - Zero 7
4. The People - The Music
5. Driftwood - Travis
6. No Cars Go - Arcade Fire
7. Waiting For The 7.18 - Bloc Party
8. With Or Without You - U2
9. Ashes - Embrace
10. Slam - Pendulum

You can disagree with me if you like, but you'd be wrong.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

bono might be a bit of an idiot

I'm currently really struggling with my opinion on something. Furthermore, it's something that I once talked about on here, and that some of you replied to calling me a silly, grotesque idiot.

I still stand by large swathes of what I said in those posts, but now there is an aspect of the man Bono that I'm really struggling with, and that is the - admittedly not exactly new - revelation that the band dodge taxes by moving where their company is based in order to enjoy much lower taxation than they would staying in Ireland.

There's two ways to look at this in my mind:

1) That it is hugely hypocritical for a band that go around preaching about how Governments spend their money to duck out of paying themselves. They are rich enough to afford to play the system, when ordinary irish folk are paying the full brunt of state tax.

2) That - hang on a second - this is a band that already gives 20% of its earnings to charity, and that they have a right to move their operations elsewhere (in this case - The Netherlands) in order to be tax efficient, as guitar man The Edge says in that there Bloomberg article.

And I just don't know which saucy camp I fall in to on this one. It irritates my gin soaked head that companies such as Tesco set up various operations in places such as Guernsey to avoid paying massive amounts of corporation tax that the rest of us have to cough up. But, does the charity work and contributions of U2 mean they are ethically sound in making themselves more tax efficient? It's not as if Tesco is a huge supporter of Make Poverty History like the band. Does this make Bono a filthy idiot?

I do not know. I do know - however - that I now really like the word 'filthy'.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

mmu tent-gate rumbles on

Cripes, the MMU tent controversy rumbles on. It hit the national press at the weekend with a piece in the Sunday Mirror, along with this article in the Mail.

A few excellent points have been raised by people though, that deserve bringing to a wider audience.

Firstly: this is not Manchester Met's fault. Manchester City screwed them over at the last minute, and that is unprofessional and downright out of order of them.

Secondly: why were we not told about this sooner? Our student union says that it only found out about the marquee situation 2 days after the exams had started. This is out of order, as they were instrumental in making the original exam plans workable for students who would have difficulty getting there.

Thirdly: it's also been suggested in some areas that the university has deliberately not told us about the situation, whilst it pushed upon us the need to get the National Student Survey completed, so that this controversy wouldn't effect very many people's responses, and therefore the university's placing. It's a viable theory, and if true, it's underhanded and pretty deplorable.

So then: is the situation MMU's fault? No. Is the bad management of the situation MMU's fault? Yes, yes it is.