Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Wailers Norwich UEA

A few weeks ago…

The Wailers, Peter, Bunny and Bob, joined by the Barrett brothers; Carlton and Aston AKA “Family man”.  A few years later Peter and Bunny left and the group became Bob Marley and the Wailers and conquered the world.  Sometime during the late seventies I became infected with the music which I have loved for a lifetime.  Line ups changed but Bob and the Barrett brothers remained.  After Bob’s death the Wailers continued to tour the world but by 1987 Peter and Carlton were gone, Bunny wouldn’t leave Jamaica so only “Family man” remained but the Wailers still toured.  For some reason I never got round to seeing them, it couldn’t work without Bob, could it?

In 2006 I turned up at the NEC to see UB40 for the third time.  My love of reggae had spread and although much maligned, UB40 were a fucking ace live band.  As I walked into the arena I glanced at the poster and stopped in my tracks; “Special guests, THE WAILERS”!!!  What a brilliant surprise!  After all these years I was going to see the bass player who started it all.  The Wailers walked on and there he was, Aston “Family man” Barrett, the man who provided the rhythm to a large chunk of my life up until then.  I loved the show, Bob’s songs played by authentic musicians, sounding great, getting the crowd moving.  Later UB40 were excellent as ever but couldn’t match the moment when I saw 'Family man' play.

So a decade later and the Wailers are still on tour and as they were playing nearby it would be rude not to go see them.  Unfortunately the first date was cancelled but was rescheduled for this March and the Purple Princess, Maddie and I drove north to the Norwich UEA.  What should we expect?  Well I knew they’d be professional, put on a show and we’d have a good night but are they any more than a tribute act these days?

The band ambled onto the stage, there’s “Family man” settling his seventy year old frame into a chair, minor adjustments then the unmistakable bassline “Natural mystic”.  It sounds great, the band are tight but the crowd is only simmering.  Next is “Buffalo Soldier” the rhythm picks up and the crowd go nuts!  After that it pretty much stayed that way, the Wailers roll out the hits, one after the other; bang, bang, bang.  The audience was hooked, the whole room is dancing and most are singing along.  This is beyond good, this is fucking ace!  I look around, Shelley and Maddie are enjoying it as much as me, this is as good as it gets.

The band look like they are having the time of their lives and this time consists of a few more former bandmates of Marley.  Junior Marvin is on guitar and vocals, Earl “Wire” Linsey on keyboards and Don Kinsey on guitar.  Family man gets the biggest cheer of the night and responds with a trademark grin along with a ‘Black Power’ salute.  Aston junior plays drums and Josh Barrett shares the vocals, I presume these are two of Family Man’s forty one children.  The line-up has an authentic feel and the sound is real, real, real.  This is the nearest thing we’ll ever get to seeing Marley and we are fucking loving it along with the whole room.

The Wailers play for an hour, they don’t let up and the audience doesn’t let them down.  This has taken its toll on Family man who is helped from the stage.  He’s stilling smiling and gives another salute and receives the adulation deserved by genuine A list legend but he doesn’t return for the encore.  The rest of the band play on and replacement bass by Dready Reid (I think?) is up to scratch.  One newer song written by the younger element then a load more classics.  During the night the Wailers played everything on the ‘Legend’ compilation and more; Exodus, No woman no cry, Jammin’, Could you be loved, Lively up yourself, Redemption Song and on and on.  However I have to be a tiny bit picky, “Trenchtown rock” would have been niiiiicce.  Another half hour of music before the Wailers departed for good, they played a blinder and the crowd gave them the reception they deserved.


Some gigs I look forward to for weeks and these are great, other gigs sneak up on me.  I go with no expectations and I’m blown away.  I should have known The Wailers would be good, it shouldn’t have been such a brilliant surprise but it was even more so because of it.
The Wailers in 2006, that's 'Family man' in the background

Thursday, 20 April 2017

I know my place

Maggie May sprung a spring surprise yesterday, a general election in early June.  Now we will find out just how brainwashed the population is.  If there is any hope for our country then the Tory bastards won’t get back in.  I know who I’m going to vote for; I don’t want to live in a George Orwell novel.

Bloody Brexit is a smokescreen, while everyone is distracted by that bollocks the realities of our own society are being ignored.  Baffle me with trade deals and big world bullshit, none of that means jack shit to me.  Talk to me about making our country a better place for the next generations because I don’t believe Brexit will change my life in any tangible way.

When I left school in 1984, (coincidentally; though we didn’t study that novel, instead we read ‘Animal Farm and learnt to fear communism, strange that…) we were in the middle of a recession but things were much better then than they are now!  Ordinary people had more money in their pockets than they do in 2017 but I digress…  However over the next ten years I was able to earn enough money to travel around the world and put down enough money for a mortgage on a house.  I could have gone to sixth form, polytechnic would have been feasible had I chosen to go down that path and this would not have seen me in debt to the government.

A family member finished her degree course last year and we are all proud of her becoming a nurse in the NHS.  She has had to pay a high price for this education that has trained her to become one of the most valuable members of our society, working in our most treasured national institution and witnesses the reality of underfunding on a daily basis.  The next generation of my family are aged between 14 and 24, the stark reality is they will all struggle to buy houses in the same area that we have lived all our lives.  Rural Britain is being bought up as second houses but that’s yet another issue…

Ever since I’ve been old enough to vote it’s been the same old shit. The faces changed, some wore blue and some wore red but it’s still the same old shit.  Forget party politics red vs blue that’s just another distraction when the plain reality is it’s down to Us vs Them.  Look out of the window, things aren’t as good as they were a generation ago.  Do you really believe this is because of immigrants or Europe?  Don’t you think it’s more likely to be down to greedy men in suits  I’ve read all the Corbyn smears and I’ve read the truth.  He’s not just taking on the Conservative party, he will have to fight the entire Establishment.  Whatever anyone says about him he still has more integrity than this current crop of piss taking Tories, which isn’t actually saying a lot now I come to think of it. For the first time in twenty years I’m voting Labour and there is absolutely nothing any of the campaigns can do to change my mind.  If anyone has managed to reach the bottom of the page I’m not going to ask you to vote Labour but please think long and hard before you vote Tory and if you do so, well you obviously know your place, don’t forget to tug your forelock on the way out.

Now hopefully this will be my first and only word on the subject.  I intend to tune out of all the media bullshit and do my absolute best to ignore the whole shit storm.  Cricket soon!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Still here

I decided to go back to my normal custom of doing everything I can to ignore politics and current affairs but things have got so ridiculous that its proving impossible.  There is so much madness in the world I've found myself drawn back into commenting.

I'll have to start with Trump, even though I live on the saner side of the Atlantic.  I don't accept he is the democratically elected leader of the free world because, for starters, I don't accept a democracy where the candidate who receives the fewest votes can end up elected.  As I have said before, the 'first past the post' system we use in the UK is just as crooked.  We know politicians tell lies, that is a given but Trump is so brazen he doesn't even try to hide the fact.  According to him the truth is whatever he wants it to be at the time.  The Irish PM Enda Kelly is a gutsy man, standing in the White house and delivering a speech critical of the mop haired moron's stance on immigration, fair play!  Contrast this with our own Theresa May who went to Washington and done everything but give him a gobble, the sniveling little witch.  (NB  I say 'our own' but I totally disown the unelected PM of our country).  Finally there are British people celebrating Trump on social media, if you are one of these then you are an utter fuckwitt.

The trouble with Trump is he distracts people from things that really matter.  For example the Tory party has been found guilty of  and fined for electoral fraud which should be big news, another example of our so called democracy being undermined.  This is just shrugged off by the brain washed British masses who are more interested by Trump's latest moronic tweet or Farage's latest borderline racist rant.

There has been more of this crap from Farage in the light of the murderous attack in Westminster last week, he says we should think about a Trump style travel ban on certain nationalities.  How would this prevent a British born murderer is anyone's guess but it did give the twat a soundbite opportunity.  What we have here is a murderous lunatic going on a killing spree and no one should use this for political capital, so far it seems as if this is the case.  Unfortunately there is nothing to stop fuckwitts on social media going on anti-Muslim rants.  No one tried to ban Irish or Catholics from entering the country in the aftermath of the IRA attacks in the seventies and eighties...

Earlier this month the England ODI team went to the Carribbean for a short, three match series.  We absolutely battered them and it was barely competitive.  Once again we have a reminder of just how far the once great cricketing nation(s) has fallen.  Of equal concern was the state of the crowds in Antigua and Barbados.  What has happened to the traditional West Indian cricket atmosphere?  The locals have been priced out of the grounds which were full of pissed up, over weight, middle aged Brits.  Instead of reggae and calypso sound systems the crowds were moving to modern dance music, of sorts.  Sad...

Monday, 2 January 2017

2016

What the fuck was that all about?


A year of death.
It started in late 2015 with the death of Lemmy.  Given his lifestyle of sex, drus and rock 'n' roll in extreme excess it should have been no real surprise to anybody but we assumed he was immune and would live forever.  What happened next was the "Lemmy effect", famous substance abusers (and others) suddenly realised if Lemmy could die then so too could they.  A self fulfilling prophecy was born and famous people began to check out at an alarming rate.  In January it was Glen Frey followed quickly by David Bowie FFS!  Terry Wogan (liked a drink) and as the year progressed Paul Daniels, Harper Lee, Jimmy Greaves. George Martin, Peter Vaughan, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Ronnie Corbett, Howard Marks (another indestructible), Carla Lane, Frank Kelly, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, Prince FFS!!!, Leonard Cohen, Prince Buster, Gene Wilder, Andrew Sachs, Rick Parfitt, Liz Smith, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds....
Image result for muhammad ali
Of course the greatest sportsman of the modern age, (who didn't abuse anything he wasn't prescribed) Muhammad Ali died in February.  Possibly the greatest human being I've shared the planet with?

And every year, real heroes die too.  People that are unknown outside their circles of family and friends.  As I get older I find myself being touched by this more often and I don't suppose that will change now.  Three more gone but never forgotten.



Football
The signs that 2016 would be a mad year came early on with Leicester City taking a runaway lead in the Premiership.  I have to say I fell out of love with football years ago when it was raped by Murdoch.  Nowadays nearly all the big clubs are owned by foreign billionaires who treat them as ego massaging playthings and don't give a flying fuck about the fans.  Unfortunately most of the fans are too indoctrinated to notice.  Anyway Leicester went on to win the league so fair play to all their loyal fans, who have had a once in a lifetime year and who should be grateful to the billionaire foreign owners and well done to the gentleman manager Claudio Ranieri.
The England national team played in the European championships this summer.  They were shit, even the Welsh were better.



It's official, we live in The post truth era and although this has been true for some time, it became so obvious in 2016 that nobody even tires to deny it any more.  The Establishment media makes a statement, social media spreads the message, the statement becomes fact.  If this "fact" later turns out to be false, nobody notices and if they do, nobody cares.  We know public figures rarely fill the image and personality they hide behind but nowadays social media allows the proles to create a false image to present to the world.  Nothing is real, no person is what they seem.


Brexit & other bollocks
Europe, or more specifically Britain's membership of the EU has always been a right wing argument.  Ukip was formed by a bunch of extreme Tory rejects and lead by Funky Farage.  Cameron pledged the EU referendum to appease disaffected Tories who were being tempted by UKIP.  Cameron felt safe in the certain knowledge that he couldn't possibly lose the vote.  However a chunk of the UK population felt disenfranchised enough to use the referendum as a protest vote.  They registered their anti establishment feelings by unwittingly voting for the establishment and the country voted to leave the EU, narrowly.

Cameron resigned immediately saying in Eton speak "Fuck this for a game of soldiers I'm offski".  Funky Farage said "my work here is done, I've got what I want, you lot can sort this fucking mess out", then resigned the leadership of UKIP once again.  Ironically Nige still collects a pay cheque from the EU...

Meanwhile professional fuckwitt Boris Bollocks who had come out in support of Brexit after considering his career options right up until the last minute was nicely positioned to assume leadership of the Tory party.  He was then dramatically back stabbed by rubber faced wank rag Michael Gove and the Tory party was in turmoil.

When the dust had settled, everyone had resigned and scarpered, not only was the country up shit creek without a paddle but the only people left in the boat were the passengers.  Who was to blame for this right wing cluster fuck presided over by the Tory party?  Well it was Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party of course!  Many Labour MP's who are in reality Establishment stooges with red rossettes tried to oust JC but he survived with an increased majority.

The country was divided by the campaigns and again by the result and subsequent gloating.  Eventually 'remainer' Theresa May assumed control of the Tory party and so became Prime Minister, despite a history of dodgy dealings.  In the name of increases sovereignty and democracy we ended up with a PM that nobody had voted for.

By the end of summer it had become apparent to most that Brexit was nothing but a massive Establishment con job.  The £350 Million promised to the NHS was quickly acknowledged as a lie by Funky himself.  In all likelihood Brexit will not see one single immigrant prevented from entering the UK.  Prices are already rising and the pound is falling.  The lives of working people will not be positively changed in any way.  The architects of Brexit have run and hid behind the sofa.  The government hasn't got the first fucking clue what to do next.  Anyone who points out these facts is labelled a 'Whinging remainer' ( an assault on free speech!) while the triumphant Brexiteers continue to trumpet their ignorance and empty victory.  Brexit is the biggest con of the working class since "Your Country needs You".



I won't pretend to understand what the hell is going on in Syria but its obvious to anyone that a world of shit has exploded over millions of innocents and a few thousand not so innocents.  I don't understand who is attacking who or why but I do understand why people have to flee the region.  The lack of compassion shown by post Brexit Britain is a sickening disgrace.

I think it is also plain for most that the situation in the middle east has resulted from Bush & Bliar's disastrous war in Iraq.  Their attempt at grabbing oil fields under the guise of bringing stability and democracy to the region is a fucking sick joke.  The rise of IS and the terrorism that has occurred on the continent over the last couple of years also stems from those two war criminal's crusade.  Now the attempt to bring freedom to Iraqi's has led to people in Britain having their own civil liberties squeezed, to prevent terrorism. How fucking ironic?


The 2016 Olympics in Rio were brilliant and Team GB done amazingly well.  It was brilliant to see lesser known stars of unfashionable sports grab the limelight from the overpaid ego driven footballers.  Team GB restored pride in our sportsman and its especially nice that all parts of the UK come together to support one team.  My highlights were Mo Farah as ever,  The Women's Hockey team, the cyclists... Andy Murray added a gold medal to the Wimbledon title he won earlier in the year, I'm not a tennis fan (in any sense) but fair play.


The Poppy has traditionally and correctly seen as a symbol of remembrance and peace.  By 2016 it has evidently become something different.  According to FIFA it is a political symbol.  According to some it is a sign of oppression in the middle east, others see it as a sign of support for the military.  To not wear a poppy means you hate soldiers and are a terrorist sympathiser.  I wore a poppy this year, for the original meanings.

Trump FFS
It has been obvious for decades that the US election is nothing more than a charade; "Show business for ugly people" as the saying goes.  There was a decent man called Bernie Sanders who had good ideas and came close to being nominated but the US establishment closed ranks and blocked him.  After months of campiagning and billions of dollars the choice came down to the two worst candidates in the history of the world.  A corrupt woman in the pocket of big business Vs a xenophobic, bigoted fucktard; or as 'South Park' billed it, a Turd sandwhich Vs a giant Douche.  Everyone seemed shocked that the racist hairpeace won though in hindsight, after Brexit, we should have seen it coming from a mile off.

I must admit to being a fair weather Rugby Union fan but this year I managed to follow England's team throughout (rugby league is shite).  If I was home at the weekends I'd watch on TV but I mostly followed the matches on the radio whilst sitting in a boat.  The year began well with an unexpected Grand slam and all of a sudden we had a team that looked impressive.  Even more unexpected was the 3-0 away win in Australia and the team looked even better still.  Following on from that England were expected to win their autumn internationals, which they did in style.  New coach Eddie Jones must take credit for improving the players we have and now there is genuine strength in depth.

Our Test Cricket team has had a mixed year.  A really good win away in South Africa was followed by an expected comfortable win against Sri Lanka.  Late summer saw an excellent drawn series against a good Pakistan team but when the dust settled England would have felt they should have won.  Cricket in the sub continent is always difficult but we underestimated Bangladesh and a draw flattered England.  Five matches in India were always going to be difficult and so it proved, despite some good moments for England the home side won 4-0
Despite this I think the future is bright for England.  We have a growing squad of bowlers that look capable of taking wickets on wickets outside the sub continent.  Our spinners are improving too, slowly.  We have four cricketers than qualify as all rounders and at least two are worth their place in the side for both their disciplines.  It's starting to look like our top order is very nearly settled.  I think we now have the makings of a very good test team, in twelve months time we'll have a good idea if I'm right.
We getting better in the shorter forms of the game too and although I can't get emotionally involved in this type of cricket, I tune in when I can.  We came close in the T20 world cup and played attacking, exciting 50 over cricket all year.  I think we have a very good ODI team at the moment, the coming series in India will be a good test.

So thank Christ that one is over, 2017 can't be any worse can it?  Well the world will have to learn to live with the decisions made last year so who knows, not counting any chickens.  I think I'll go back to my old habits of not watching any news and ignoring the farce called politics, current affairs or anything relevant.  Well I'll try at least.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Music

My daughter the Maddionette has been busy writing her musical reviews of the year which you can read here;  http://maddionette.blogspot.co.uk/#!
She challenged me to write a review of my favourite music of 2016.  This is a little difficult because I very rarely buy new releases so I'll have to bend the rules a little and include music I've discovered or have a new appreciation for, in 2016.

First up is an album that I bought this year but was actually released in 2015, so it almost counts as new.  I've loved Paul Weller's music for a long time and his latest release "Saturn's Pattern" see's the old wrinkly in top form.  It's a good listen all the way through but I particularly like the opening two tunes; Roaring rock guitar in 'White Sky' and the melodic piano hook of the title track.

Latitude is seven months away and I'm looking forward to it already.  Over the last six years this festival has been the source of the majority of my new musical discoveries.  This year there were several treats.  Grimes played a really enjoyable, high energy set and from what I've heard 'Art Angels' is a good listen too.

Weaves were a big surprise and I really enjoyed watching them in the middle of the day at Latitude.  A hard rock sound with a quirky female vocal, it shouldn't work but it really does.

Soulwax have been around for years but sadly passed me by.  Some of their music sounds like classy indie rock, some is pure dance.  I am growing to love them and their awesome dance set on Saturday night at Latitude was the musical highlight of the weekend.

Maddionette had played me a bit of Panic! at the Disco in the past and I quite liked it.  Seeing them play at Alexandra Palace in November gave me an excuse to investigate them further.  It was a really good show and I've enjoyed discovering this band, in particular the "To weird to live, too rare to die" and "Death of a Bachelor" albums.  As the latter is a 2016 release it actually fits the criteria.

Another band introduced to me by Maddie and Isaac is Twenty one Pilots, really like the "Blurryface" cd, kick arse synth rock! I'm liking 'Vessel' after a few listens too.  This would sound good live so a band to look out for in the future.

Father Xmas (Maddie) brought me a copy of the latest Green Day CD "Revolution Radio" which is a 2016 release.  Not much to say about this but after just two listens I'm liking it, 'Bang bang' and 'Youngblood' in particular stand out.

Finally a proper mention for an album release in 2016!  I liked Red Hot Chilli Peppers 'The Getaway' on the first listen and have grown to love it over the weeks.  'Longest Wave' leaped out at me on that first play (driving to Norfolk) and remains a favourite. 'Dreams of a Samurai' was awesome when we saw them live earlier this month.  There isn't a dodgy song on the album and it's their best release for years.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

What does it mean?

Don't feel obliged to wish me a happy Christmas because I don't really know what it means, do you?  How many people who utter the words are actually celebrating the birth of Christ.  The ghastly "happy holiday" is actually more appropriate but no.  Happy gluttons day.  Happy piss up.  Happy madspend.  Happy I'm going to forget the bastard I am for the rest of the year and be drunk/nice/stupid for a couple of days.

Why are we celebrating?  Presents for children. A few days of work and an excuse to overindulge for most adults.  Celebrate the festival of greed.  Apt when you look at the world around us where greed is worshiped.

It's good to laugh with friends and family, fun things in good company.  Sharing. giving, smiling, followed by eating, drinking, singing and who knows?  It serves as an excuse to bring people together.  If that's what it means nowadays then hell I'll buy into it.  Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Battered in Chennai!

The fifth test was a major case of deja vu.  England won the toss and batted, making a decent score of 477, built mainly around 146 from Moeen Ali.  In return India battered England and amassed a record score of 757-7 dec.  Rahul made 199 and Nair in only his third test turned a maiden century into 303*  England should have been able to bat through the final day and save the match, especially as they hadn't lost a wicket by lunch.  Unfortunately they bottled it and allowed Jadeja to take 7-48, India won by an innings again.

We should have beaten Bangladesh but no one should be surprised at India winning the series 4-0, England were clear underdogs before the series and the result is what many predicted.  The simple truth is; England's current batting line up does not have anywhere enough experience in facing good spinners in helpful conditions.  Kohli was different class this series.  Although our spinners are improving they are not in the same league as Ashwin and Jadeja.  We were outperformed by a better team this year but if the two sides met in England next year, we would win comfortably.

Despite this heavy defeat I think this has been a good autumn for the development of this England team.  After a couple of years of selections that have found little but ruled several players out, it seems as if we are starting to know what our best team is.  Naseeb Hameed looks like he could be a world class player and open the batting for years to come, the search for Cook's partner is finally over.  Keaton Jennings has done enough in a couple of knocks to cement his own spot, probably at no.3.  Ben Duckett and Gary Ballance will go back to their counties, the latter probably permanently.  
There has been talk about the captaincy, will Cook stay on?  Is Root ready?  I hope Cook allowed to continue for as long as he wants the job but if he's had enough then fine.  I'm sure he'll make more runs for the team if he isn't captain, how Root goes remains to be seen.

We don't have another test match until next July now.  A lot can change in that time but from what we've seen this year, my team for the next home test match would be...

Cook, Hammed, Jennings, Root, Ali, Stokes, Bairstow, Woakes, Rashid, Broad, Anderson