Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Happy Monday

June 1st 1991.  Along with about 35000 others I was with Mr G at Elland Road, Leeds watching the mighty Mondays top the bill.  It was a great show, the highlight being “Wrote for luck” which was magical; “Think about the future…”

Twenty two years into the future Mr G and I took our ladies to watch the Mondays again, joined by Mr B and another old pal.  The venue was Norwich UEA and this time we managed to get there in time to have a beer and see the support band, “Sunshine Underground” who were pretty bloody good and we all shuffled our feet.

Playing with the original line up Happy Mondays were celebrating 25 years since the “Bummed” album which made up most of the set.  Even Bez was back with the trade mark freaky dancing but the poor old boy kept needing a rest.  It was great to hear some of the old tunes that hadn’t been played in years but the highlights were the classics “Lazy Itus” and once again “Wrote for luck”.  Shaun was Shaun, comfortable sharing the stage with the old band who played better than ever.  The crowd was loving it, the atmosphere great and everyone danced.  The encore was three more classics “hallelujah”, “Kinky Afro” and “Step on”.  The gig ended in euphoria, everyone went home happy.

That’s the fifth time I’ve seen Shaun with the Mondays, Black Grape or solo.  (Mr G and I bumped into him outside the gig one time, he was shy and polite.)  I’ve been lucky and never seen a bad gig.  None could ever match that mad night in Leeds but I’m looking forward to celebrating the anniversary of “Pills ‘n’ thrills…” in a couple of years.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Ashes nightmares

Day three

Taking the opportunity to watch a little cricket on Sky, Bumble on fire in the commentary box; “balsa wood & UHU…”  Tremlett gets Watson, this is better, I’ll watch a little more…Broad to Clarke & the Aussie wins round one, great cricket!  Five minutes later it’s raining, players off, bed.  That was as good as it got for England.  Really poor captaincy giving singles and making things easy for Clarke to play himself in.  After that the Skipper & Warner both hit centuries and took the game away from England.

Day four

After listening to the boxing, a little TMS.  Cook and the KPego playing comfortably, can we bat all day?  I believe! Drift off to sleep…
…Awake to carnage.  Johnson and Harris have battered England again and the first test has gone to Australia.  It’s been a few years since we’ve gone behind in an Ashes series.

Once again England’s bowlers can come in for little criticism but with Johnson bowling well we may need to fight fire with fire, pick Finn or Rankin who can ping the ball down a bit.  Maybe they’ll consider chopping a batsman and picking an all rounder to strengthen the bowling?  In the short term I can’t see England doing either and expect them to name an unchanged side, despite two batting collapses.

England can point to previous disastrous test openers, notably in India a year ago.  Are England capable of fighting back to dominate again?  Or is this the beginning of the end for a batting line up that can’t score 400+ ?  However it goes I’m looking forward to the next test.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Day two in Brisbane, was that a nightmare?

Dozed off after Oz were all out for 295.  England’s batsmen will have learned from the last series and are due a performance. Memories of the 90's when I woke up this morning, England had been blown away by Johnson and Harris, felt sick.  I sulked all day and tried to avoid even thinking about cricket.  I hate it when England play badly, it’s worse when we play Australia.

I don't think even Oz can lose from here but their win is not a formality, there is still a lot of cricket to be played.  England have to find the form they showed in India nearly a year ago.
The bowlers have done well for England in recent years and can be proud of their performance in the first innings.  I still think England will win the series but we haven't batted consistently since 2010-11, I love Trott & Prior but they're playing for their places now.

For some reason I’m not looking forward to start of play quite as much as I have been…

But Broad gets Rogers with the seventh ball of the morning…C’mon England!!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Keep slagging Stuart Broad please

Sky TV with Bumble on Warne.  Jimmy bowling well but Broad gets the early wicket!!!   Ball just evading fielders too but Warner finding the boundary.  Half an hour gone, 29-1 bed & TMS soon…one more over…one more over…
Dozing, Aussie’s building but Broad strikes again just before lunch!!
Awake in the morning to see 260ish for 7, That’ll do for me!!  It could have been better but for a fightback from Haddin & Johnson.  I sat in front of the tele in time to see Anderson remove Siddle to take England’s eighth wicket but Broad has been the star.  Targeted by the Aussie media he responded with a fifer, Clarke’s wicket with a short ball was sweet!  Close of play, England were happy keeping Australia to 273-8 on a wicket Sir Geoffery described as “Pretty flat…”

Now we’re 100 minutes away from day two.  England will want to remove the last two Aussie wickets quickly then bat for a couple of days.  TMS tonight…

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Ashes now!!!!

As I begin typing there’s 42 minutes to go until the first Ashes test at Brisbane.  England arrive as favourites and I can’t see them losing to Australia.  For that to happen Oz will have to play at the level England reached in 2005 and they just don’t have the players.  If England win the first test and play anything like their best then it will be a no contest.
The teams haven’t been announced yet but Carberry looks set to open with Root dropping down to six.  Prior is fit so expected to play and Tremlett is likely to be the fourth bowler.  Oz look like having Johnson bowling wides and Bailey batting at six.

2330  Australia won the toss and will bat…  Sides as expected, the KPego has been presented with his 100th cap.  Shame England didn’t win the toss but if England bowl well in the first session it could be massive psychologically….2339  Shane Warne talking bollocks on TV already…2351 players walk out for the anthems, no baggy green on Clarkes head??  2357 the bowlers are warming up 2359…players taking to the field 0000 here we go….

Thursday, 7 November 2013


It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here, in fact the England cricket team has already landed in Australia and we’re less than a month away from the beginning of another Ashes series, more on that nearer the time.

In the last couple of months I’ve done a bit of fishing and read a load of books, too many to remember right now, maybe I’ll come back to some of those again.  I’ve found my way to a little bit of live music lately too. 
In early September the good lady, Mr Green, Mr Red & I travelled to Leicester to see the mighty Eels for a second time this year.  What can I say?  Eels are brilliant live and we all loved it.  Mr Red had never seen them before and was particularly impressed.  It’s hard to pick highlights because all the songs sound great live.  I love “Fresh feeling” and live this has a very different sound.  "Wonderful Glorious" was just that.  The only thing missing was the “wow factor” of previous Eels gigs.  As expected it was pretty much the same set we saw in March so there were few surprises but it was another first class performance for the best live rock band on the planet.  For a fuller review of an Eels gig, click here.

Towards the end of October I made my way to the Norwich UEA to see “The Cult” along with Mr Red, Mr Blue and Mr Green.  As is usual Mr Green drove and what should have been a relaxing cruise north for me was blighted by nuisance phone calls, as is also usual.  The venue was rammed and the extra hassle outside the hall made us too late to see the support band Bo Ningen.  This was a shame because I’ve seen them twice before and enjoyed them both times.

So the Cult.  Fairly successful towards the end of the eighties I quite liked them at the time and saw them live back then too.  The “Love” album had a bit of a gothic sound and a few stand out tracks which were bloody good.  The following album “Electric” had more of a commercial hard rock sound, a few hits and made loads of money.  I didn’t like it anywhere near as much.  A few more similar albums, drug and alcohol problems, break up & reform etc.  Following the typical rock band path to present day.  Right now the Cult are celebrating their ‘Electric’ album with a 25th anniversary tour, which seems to be the in thing for lots of old bands nowadays.

So the gig.  The hall was packed and the view wasn’t very good at all.  No bother, Mr Red & I are both short arses so well used to gigs being like this.  At one point my view was completely blocked by Mr Red himself, I found the irony of this hilarious but I digress.  The Cult came on and played the Electric album.  This was OK, I remembered a few tracks which were pretty good.  They then went off for a few minutes and left some surreal music/video playing.  This was bollocks.  The Cult returned and played a selection of songs from their other albums.  “She sells sanctuary” was the undoubted stand out, a few others were pretty good.  The singer, Ian Astbury is from oop north somewhere but you wouldn’t know it from the mid-Atlantic accent.  The Cult have no connection to their roots.  There were a lot of hard rock clich├ęs throughout the night, the Cult are not shy telling us how good they think they are.  This is particularly true of guitarist Billy Duffy who can surely play a bit but I can’t honestly tell you how good he is.  He’s very good at the rock ’n’ roll pose and posture.

We all enjoyed the gig but it was not one that remained in the memory, at all.  For example, “Sanctuary…” with Mr Duffy mastering his guitar was a great moment but the high wasn’t maintained by what followed.  The Cult are a decent enough band but that’s as far as it goes.  They’re not as good as they think they are and they’ll never be great.

Finally in early November, Jools Holland with his R&B orchestra at the Ipswich Regent.  As we entered the venue I began to feel uncomfortable.  I’m used to being one of the oldest people in the audience but tonight me and the lady were definitely amongst the youngest.  This wasn’t my kind of crowd.  Also our tickets were in the circle, a good view guaranteed but the atmosphere is rarely as good.  It made a change to see the support act which was Nel Bryden.  From up in the gods she resembled a slim Matt Lucas in a dress but apparently there was a good reason for the hair loss and up close shes a good looking girl.  I’ve seen a lot of singer/songwriter girls with guitars but Nel Bryden was definitely one of the better ones, good songs, good voice.

Jools Holland performed with his orchestra consisting of a twelve piece horn section, drums, bass, keyboards guitar and a couple of backing singers.  At any time there could be up to twenty people on stage.The band was fantastic, great musicians playing  great R&B tunes as tight as you like.  Also there were guest vocals from the awesome Ruby Turner and surprise of the night, Spice girl Melanie C.  Ruby is a Jools Holland regular with a great presence and a fantastic soul voice.  Mel C was a spice girl.  To be fair she doesn’t need the money so I assume she was doing it for the fun of it so that’s OK, I can forgive her and the Stevie Wonder cover was blinding.  But when it comes to singing both the backing singers and Ruby Turner were different league as they showed during the encore “Enjoy yourself”.

Musically Jools & co played a very good show which we thoroughly enjoyed but my misgivings were justified, the crowd was content to sit and clap and only a few danced towards the end.  Good gig that would have been very good with a different crowd.