Dull, Indeed

I’m not one for absolutely hating bands. I usually accept that they’re just not to my taste and let them be but even I have my limits. The Twang, Hard-Fi and the Enemy are three examples of the bands that just push me too far. They’re an insult to the good word ‘music‘. I try my very best to avoid all contact with them and their music but sometimes it’s just forced upon us. So, what has provoked me to start moaning about them here? This. That’s what.

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Tom Clarke, the Enemy’s chief wailer, took it upon himself to slag off the Arctic Monkeys in a recent radio interview. Now, although I might be a little bit disappointed to hear it, I wouldn’t normally have a big problem with people expressing their dislike for the Arctic Monkeys. True, they are one of my favourite bands but I can’t expect everyone to like them as much as I do. But when it’s a man who made some of the last year’s worst music, I wholeheartedly object. Mr. Clarke commented, as you can read in the corresponding article, that the Arctic Monkeys’ second album, ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, was “dull“. How does he justify this opinion? Well, he says “Certain aspects of their music on the second album and certain aspects of their personas in the press are just dull“. Point made, I think.

The truth is, this is just jealousy. We’ll see who wins all the awards, then, shall we? I think I know which band has the most left in them.

Post-Mortem

There is absolutely no reason on earth why I should want to write my higher-education woes but I’ll do it anyway.

As mentioned yesterday, I had an interview at UCL today. Despite everything arguing to the contrary, I believe that when you come out of the interview, you have a gut feeling of how it went and whether you’re likely to get an offer. Unfortunately, I get the impression the news is not going to be good for me. It’s not that anything went horribly wrong either; it’s more that I just don’t think I was terribly impressive. The thing that’s bugging me the most, though, is a couple of really stupid grammatical mistakes I made (when speaking French – I don’t get that wound up about the accuracy of my English grammar!). The second you’ve said them there’s no going back. It’s not even worth correcting yourself – that only serves to draw attention to something the interviewer may not have already noticed.

Anyhow, I now await my rejection letter and only hope that Edinburgh look upon me a bit more kindly.

Elsewhere, in my humble life:

Whilst on the train coming home today, I spent a good few hours just thinking things over. Perhaps not the most sensible thing for me to be doing, as the type of thinking involved usually only leads to inflated expectations and great disappointment, but I did it all the same. Anyway, in a perfect world I’d say that having this kind of mini-epiphany will prompt me into changing several things about my life, and start a whole heap of others. The root of it is that I just don’t think I’m being all that productive. My friends and I have often had the conversation regarding not devoting too much time to our work. This is because, as I’ve witnessed on a few instances, if that falls through, there’s nothing left. Obviously, this is nothing revolutionary but I’m trying to keep it in mind at the moment.

I’m no study-freak. In fact, I’m positively lazy when it comes to working. I’m quite happy to lie down on my bed and read a book – or even better, listen to some music – but I find it difficult to even spend an hour doing some solid work. So, the case is not that I’ve been devoting to much time to my studies; it’s that I haven’t spent enough time developing things outside of college. Listening to music, reading a book and socialising with friends is all very well but I’m sure it must be possible to put my time to better use and get something out of it. The unfortunate thing is that I’ve just not quite decided what it is yet.

Thankfully – for myself, at least – I’m quite certain that whatever it is will not prevent me from rambling into the abyss as I so frequently do.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture I found today that I thought was quite good.

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Life and Music – Not Necessarily In That Order

Despite it not being what I’d normally listen to, I’ve been listening to Lupe Fiasco a lot these last few days. I suppose it can never do any harm to stray outside the general alternative rock barriers every once in a while. Thanks to such wonders as 50 Cent, I’m always extremely wary of rap/hip-hop music. Perhaps the only music from that generalised genre that I’ve listened to more than a few times in the last year is Kanye West. Anyway, my brother, who has considerably different taste to me, has put me onto Lupe Fiasco’s new album, ‘The Cool’ and consequently 2006’s ‘Food & Liquor’.

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In a strange kind of way, I sort of enjoy being years behind everyone else in picking up on a new album/artist. Which is fortunate, really, because it happens all the time. It’s almost like I’m remembering something that others have already moved on from and dismissed as “yesterday’s news“. Also, not being one to listen to the radio very often – and when I do its usually spoken word – I miss out on singles being overplayed and get to listen to them in the context of the album, as they were meant. You feel less familiar with it and everything just ‘works’ a lot better.

I’ve got an interview at UCL tomorrow so will be heading down to London for the day. I really do want to go there so am just hoping I don’t mess anything up. I just have to stay calm. Try not to think about it too much.

Like that’s going to happen.

A Post

Yep, unfortunately It is going to be another of those posts that contains random comments about my life and some music I’ve been listening to. As no one actually cares or reads what I’m saying, it may as well be that way. It turns out writing random thoughts out in a post like this is quite therapeutic.

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Its funny how things change, isn’t it? After hearing Men’s Needs I had ranked the Cribs alongside Hard-Fi as another appalling band, based purely on the fact that one of them really can’t sing – you know which one I mean. Anyway, after my brother got the album late last year I started listening to it, if only to recognise a few more of their songs when I saw them supporting Bloc Party. Anyway, it turns out a lot of the other songs on their third album, ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’, are quite awesome, addictive and, dare I say, I might even have got used to the ear-piercing wail on Men’s Needs. Personally, Our Bovine Public is my favourite off the album. It has to be one of the most catchy on there, at least. I think I’ll definitely have to invest in their previous two albums as soon as I can. I’ve been missing out.

Aside from sitting at home, listening to the Cribs’ album and reading a lot more than I ever have done before, there’s not been a hell of a lot else going on in my life at the moment. I wanted to go and see British Sea Power last night; my friends refused because they’d never heard of them. I wanted to buy tickets to see Foals in March; my friends refused, once again, because they’d never heard of them. I wanted to go and see Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, The Young Knives and Late of the Pier; Yep, you guessed it, they didn’t want to go. I tell you what, my friends need to get out more!

At present, I’m waiting to go back into college for the most useless and pointless subject ever to be known. That would be fucking Key Skills ICT; something I’ve been made to pickup because I don’t do the right combination of subjects. Basically, I don’t do Maths or an ICT-based subject. Despite getting A* at GCSE, I’m being forced to go back over a load of stuff that my 3 year old cousin could do. I don’t normally go but I have to show my face occasionally, which is what I’m going to do this afternoon. Anyway, that’s all for now.

 

You’re Second Best

Today could have been awful; another mind-numbingly boring day at work, with no one but the over-70s for company. Instead, it ended up being a bit better. Not loads better. Just a bit.

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Basically, that Foals track that I mentioned yesterday – Cassius – had been eluding me for too long, so late last night I got serious and went on the hunt. Eventually I found a copy and despite its slightly low sound quality, I’ve listened to it many, many times today. I really can’t wait for that damn album to be released.

 

What’s interesting is that this is the second version of this post I’ve written; the first, I realised was just a collection of things that I said in November. It seems a long break from blogging doesn’t work well for the smoothness between posts. Perhaps I should delete some of the older ones then I can quite happily repeat myself! Anyway, I was just going to refer to my hope that Foals aren’t another Air Traffic/Reverend and the Makers. I.e. something that didn’t live up to any hype at all. I’m fairly confident, though, that Foals are a million leagues above the latter two bands. They’ve just turned out to be quite….well, naff. So, basically, I’ve just been saying what millions of people already know; hype ain’t no good for a band.

 

Which is why the ones that creep up on you are usually a lot better. Recently, in the two-month break from posting, I’ve been loving the new Band of Horses album, ‘Cease to Begin’. I don’t listen to it several times a day like I do with other new albums for about a week. Instead, I’ve been putting this album on a couple of times a week for the last few months. It just keeps growing and growing on me. Which is good.

Although they’d already released what I’m told is a great debut album (I must get my hands on that), my uneducated mind had never heard of Band of Horses before. When I went into the record shop in Manchester the other month I was really fed up and bored of all my other music; I needed something new to listen to and something different. As I said on this blog that very evening, I bought it based solely on the shop’s recommendation. All I can say is thank God I was in that mood. It was a real find. Perhaps I should try it more often.

 

It’s Been A While…

Yeah, it certainly has been a while.

In fact, it’s nearly been two months since I wrote anything on here. The reason? I just couldn’t be bothered. Still, I’m not abandoning the whole thing just yet. I figured it’d be fun just to dip into on the odd occasion. Whenever it takes my fancy.

Not that I’m making excuses – I’m waaay past that now! – but a hell of a lot has happened in the last two-ish months. So where do I start? Well, firstly, I had an eventful christmas, along with millions of others around the world, which was quickly followed by a three week burst of revision for some Chemistry and History exams; perhaps there were a few less people doing that. But…I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

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Music —> I saw Kaiser Chiefs again; it seemed a bit lame, really, and wasn’t half as fun as when I saw them at the Apollo earlier in the year. Arctic Monkeys were fantastic but I didn’t quite get close enough to the front to get the most out of it. Also, Bloc Party now stand at joint 1st in my best gigs of all time – alongside Muse at Wembley. Adding to the pleasure of Bloc Party’s gig were the superb support acts; The Cribs were great fun (I almost forgot how awful that man’s voice is!) but they weren’t nearly as incredible as Foals. I’ve fallen in love with their music since that concert and am impatiently waiting for the release of ‘Antidotes’ in March. I’ve got a few crappy quality tracks to keep me going but am craving Cassius like nothing else right now. I need it so much and can’t even find a crummy radio rip to satisfy the need. It seems I’ll have to wait for March.

Elsewhere, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to read more; its going great so far. At this rate, I’ll have more than doubled the length of last year’s reading list. It seems the ‘Penguin Popular Classics’ that sell for £1.89 on Amazon are incredibly useful. I’ve got a nice big pile of luminous green books at the side of my bed just waiting to be read.

Something else that’s been consuming a lot more of my money is DVDs. I decided over christmas that I quite enjoy watching a good film before going to bed and so have proceeded to try and build a collection that could rival my CDs number. Of course, that’ll be expensive and will require a lot more time but I’m having fun with what I’ve got so far.

If I get my act together I might even post on here a bit more frequently. Now that exams are out the way. All that remains is to get into a half-decent university! I have an interview at UCL the week after next…..and it’s in french!! Ah well, that’s what I applied for, after all.

Finally.

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the return of my relentless internet littering, look to the blogroll on the right; it’s their fault for not posting as often as they ought to. I’ve been deprived of good quality blogging recently and that’s what has turned me back towards my own.

The Truth Is, Baby, It’s A Lie

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The Hives @ Manchester Apollo – 24/11/07

This was a very last minute purchase (less than two weeks before the concert) but I am so, so glad that my friend asked me if I wanted to go and see the Hives at the Apollo on Saturday. I had only really had a passing interest in the Hives but after I bought the tickets and decided to get to know some of their songs, I became completely hooked. After Saturday’s incredible concert I doubt they’ll be slipping from my memory any time soon. They’ve got me good.

Anyway, onto the concert itself, which is what I came on here to talk about. The Hives put on what was possibly one of the most energetic and physically exhausting concerts I’ve ever been to. The atmosphere in that relatively small venue was incredible, especially as I spent most of the concert right at the front, mere metres away from the band themselves. The whole audience seemed to know the words to every single song, turning the gig into more of a mass sing along. Not forgetting, of course, that Pelle Almqvist is an incredible front-man, despite the nonsense that he spouts in between songs; everything he does keeps the crowd entertained from start to finish. The fact that I only knew a few of the songs didn’t make an ounce of difference – that magnificent atmosphere took me along and made me feel like I’d known the songs for years.

Another bonus was that this wasn’t a set that took a little while to get started; the opening track, Bigger Hole to Fill, is probably one of the highlights of the whole concert. Other high-points included the recent single Tick Tick Boom, as well as the second track off their new album, Try it Again. Of the older songs that I knew, Supply and Demand was a particularly energetic one but I have to say that my favourite moment of the entire concert was when the entire audience sang and moved as one for Walk Idiot Walk, which must surely be my most listened to track of the last week.

Anyway, if you haven’t gathered from that short summary that the Hives were one of the greatest live experiences I’ve ever had, I don’t know what else I can say. I can’t thank my friend enough for dragging me along with him and am already 100% sure that the next time I get the opportunity to see the Hives live, I’ll be right down there at the front again, having the time of my life.

I have a few gigs coming up over the following few weeks and they’re going to have to work hard to live up this precedent. The first of the three is Kaiser Chiefs tomorrow evening, followed shortly by Arctic Monkeys on Tuesday 11th December and Bloc Party on Thursday 13th. Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party are two that I’m really, really looking forward to but as I’ve seen the Kaiser Chiefs before, and bought tickets for this one mainly to keep my friend company, I’m not sure how I’ll find it.

I’ll try my best not to leave it another 8 days before posting on here again.