Wednesday, September 25, 2013

spreading the love

this blog has inspired me to broaden out my writing, and I've used my knowledge of the B-Town scene to write up a blog for Fairshare music, check it out here!

I have also decided to become a Buzzfeed contributor, I wrote up my very first post earlier today.  it's about my cat

My next steps for this blog are to go back to the library and take some pics. and hopefully get round to writing a few more posts.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Library of Birmingham

Don't you just hate it when you really really wish you had your camera on you? but don't have it.
photo's by Christian Richters
that's how i felt when i visited the new Birmingham Library for the first time earlier today. I was never sure whether i liked the look of it from the outside when it was being built, but actually approaching it, the architecture certainly makes an impression. What was immediately obvious was just how bloody big this new building is. The new library shares its ground with the new REP Theatre, so that's one part of the complex that I've yet to explore. The first things you see when you walk in are the kids section, which looks kind of amazing (shame its only for the kids really) and the blue neon lined escalators which go up and up and up.  follow these escalators and you'll find  the place gets more 'knowledgey' you'll find large areas for research and leather bound books and records while  the overall decor starts to look more traditional, there's a bit more wood up there. Keep going up and you'll find a balcony that you can walk out on and go further and there's a big research section, and a big queue for the lift that goes up to something to do with Shakespeare.

Looking over the travelator toward the scenic liftAfter this I decided to go down to the music section, which is right below the ground floor (below the kids section)  i found this section slightly disappointing, as the CD's and Graphic Novel sections feel like they need a bit more filling, but this is forgivable in a library that's only a week or two old. Down there everything's kind of a big circle, with a glass roof which you can look up through,  i walked round it twice without realising that i'd walked round it twice. Its full of really stylish, comfy looking chairs, including some big circle ones, the sort you can lie in, that seem to have come from  some 60's Sci-Fi film.

 Its a bit difficult finding a computer too, the computers are split between research computers and short or long term internet computers, understandably demand is high so you may have to look around a bit to find one (if you've got a laptop there's sockets everywhere). Overall, the place feels like a fountain of knowledge and once i went in i didn't want to leave, it makes me feel that it's kind of a shame i'm no longer studying.but i may just find a quiet day go in there and educate myself on something. I get the feeling that you could compare this building to any of the other great libraries you may find in the world,  it just has that great vibe about it, a place that you can happily waste a few hours in.

There's some good looking local music showcases and events happening at the library check out  the site to book tickets

Next time i'm in Birmingham u'll go in and take some photos of my own. 

Friday, September 13, 2013


Barely an hour or so ago I was in the Provide shop in Digbeth, Browsing through local branded clothing. when I noticed a couple of cassette tapes next to a a  few copies of Troumaca's debut ' The Grace'. A little question as to how much this tape was and who it was buy inevitably lead to a conversation about this blog and the other local acts.
What I've found out about this guy is that he's a Brummie based producer of ambient, chilled out but slightly left-field dance music. That's not to dissimilar from the CD his tapes were placed next to. He's signed to the american label Shoeboxx recordings. Apparently he works in Self-ridges too and  he's also a student of Music Technology at the BCU.

So far he's released two EP's, Cloud's and Oracle. Both of which are available as free or pay what you like downloads.  See what you think below.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Glee Club 1st September. Desi Central Comedy, Feat Patrick Monahan, Mickey Sharma + more

Never got to see Ray Kins, or take any photos of my own (cameras forbidden)
Since it was my birthday after my and my parents decided to go to the glee club. We didn't know anything about the night other than it was comedy, so being among the few white people in the audience we were a little surprised to see we were at an event by a group called 'Desi Central' and a little confused as to what we might have booked tickets for (we had no idea). Which is why it was so funny when Mickey Sharma, the headlining comedian spotted us white folks and completely understood our confusion.  Mickey made a great headliner, his style being an Asians take on black comedians such as Chris Rock. But more on him later.

 'Show Me The Funny' Winner Patrick Monahan was the compere on this night.  Hes a very funny comedian who works perfectly as a Compere because of his ability to improvise and interact with audiences. I met him between sets and when i told him that I'm a Barista who had to work at Starbucks the next day despite it being my 21st  he hastily wrote it down on a scrap of paper, and bought it up on stage later. Patrick was able to create even more entertainment this night by dragging a Bollywood star who happened to be in the audience as well as a world champion kickboxer and got them to act out his scenarios on stage. We also had a guy who came on and sung a song for us too a song which they said was actually a hit in the (presumably) Asian charts.

Annette Fagon was the first act of the night. She's a loud fast talking girl from Handsworth, who's material is rude and crudely funny. With plenty of jokes about saggy tits and basically just being a slag. Her material was absolutely hilarious and she got the night of to a great start.

Afterwards we got Sid Singh, who made me laugh a couple of times, but maybe i was just being polite, it made me sad yet oddly proud to see an American comedian completely die on stage in front of a homegrown brummie audience. He was just too nice, and not as rude or as edgy as this audience wanted, as he pointed out he got paid either way, but  i feel that  we produce the best comedians in Britain because our comedians endure the most critical audiences. after a while the audience, particularly the very strongly brummie accented lads at the back. The moment it turned bad seemed to be when some guy at the front started singing in Hindi for no reason whatsoever. I've seen amateur comedians die on stage at open mics, but a professional at a paid for comedy night was new to me.

This was followed by one of the funniest things I've ever seen: a duo of eccentrically dressed old men**, more specially smart yet eccentric wear, jumpers blazers etc, who had a mysterious cabinet. the show was mimed along to a playlist of great songs, guilty pleasures from all eras as everything from Franz Ferdinand to Kylie Minogue was played.  Its hard to explain and hard to make sense of while watching, but the jokes mainly came from perfect comic timing and words. They were called 'The Fantastic Raymond and Mr Timpkins Revue' and i loved them. So for example one might hold up two 'I's and  then another might hold up a big 'U' they'll point to these letters when they're said in the song and then the 'I's will stick on to the 'U' - the next song will be 'Can't take my eyes off you'. 
Its comedy that's timed to perfection and has clearly both been rehearsed and allowed to evolve over time. It'll make more sense if you watch it. 

It was always going to take a lot of effort to top a show like that. But the aforementioned Micky Sharma pulled it off with ease. Mainly by being ruder and cruder than anyone we had seen on stage before. Now i don't know of you've ever been at a live comedy gig with jokes about sex and a great act about the right types of music to do it to, but it is very awkward. Like i said before mickey had the rudeness and brash confidence  that is typically found in black american comedians, yet he gave it his own twist.
It was nice finally visiting the Glee club and seeing what all the fuss is about. Its an odd venue, as it's a small room with tables and chairs and you can order full meals to eat while watching the acts. It felt more like a corporate event than a comedy club.  But overall it was a nice relaxed atmosphere and a good night out.

P.S. I've been having a few technical difficulties that delayed this blog post a bit. I'll try and get this sorted and be back to regular blogs.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Actress and Bishop, 31/8/13 best pics

Duke, Plastic Factory. 31st august, @ Actress and Bishop. Review

So the other day i decided that it would be nice to go see my mates Duke at their 3rd headline gig at the Actress and Bishop. Got there too late to see the first act on, a singer songwriter called James Brough. all I know about the guy is he plays his songs with piano loops, but i didn't catch enough to  do a write up.
I did however get to see the next band on, 'Silverwood' but we went out to get fags* and I don't smoke.  I left with the other guys simply because Silverwood were a bit dull. It was perfectly well made blues based rock played by 4 older men and the songs were alright,  but there was no X Factor, OK but little else.

my camera's got a fish eye setting

'Plastic Factory' are lovely guys and their set made up for the lack of energy in the last band. Truth is i  wasn't concentrating on the music much as I was my camera. This band have a singer who looks the part as well as a great drummer with a hilarious tongue sticking out expression on his face which i just had to catch on camera. In the end i took something like 50 blurry photos of this guy. They played a very short set but the songs and vintage threads bought 90's vibes that livened up the place hugely after the last act.

'Duke' are on a roll at the moment, with this being their 3rd headline gig at the Actress and Bishop. So  naturally the lads were in a good mood. the new songs from the up coming second EP are all sounding great. some of the songs such as 'Never Knock Us Down' have a slightly edgier, darker tone. i'm not saying they've gone goth or anything just that they were less chirpy, with maybe the odd extra minor chord thrown in. Duke may be Birmingham's most underrated songwriters of the moment as I've got Forever Young (We Will Be) still playing in my head after two live hearings.
One song was dedicated to 'That Bitch of an Ex' while Jack announced that 'Whats It got to do with you?' is about when your a teenager and your parents interfere with your drinking. all the songs were played  perfectly well and with  a few found conviction. The Actress and Bishop is clearly a venue that Duke feel at home in and by the end everyone was dancing. There was also a McCartney and  Lennon style Switcheroo between Jack and Lewis. It was a pretty good night.

Duke's first official release, the 'Where are We now?' EP is out soon.

The Set-list

If I Could Fly Never Knock Us Down Forever Young (We Will Be) Won't Let You Down What's It Got To Do With You Today (Day I Die) Take Me Away Going Nowhere --------------------- Best Is Yet To Come

James Brough
Plastic Factory