Friday, February 25, 2011

Sparky T and the Pervy Undertones

Which would totally be the name of my band if I was a singer in the sixties.

For a long time now I've been meaning to go back through my CD collection and put anything I'd missed out first time round on my iTunes; I was a bit selective when I first started iTunes-ing things years ago, y'see, which led me to miss out some quality tunes. Top of the list was this CD…

…Which I missed out because being an old compilation I thought it would drive iTunes bonkers. That and the fact it's got a shiny cover, which I knew the iTunes 'find cover art' thingy wouldn't be able to find, and then I'd have to scan it in, and it wouldn't scan, so then because I'm incredibly anal about these things I'd have to make my own in PhotoShop.

In order of those events, it didn't drive iTunes bonkers, it didn't find the cover, I did scan it, it didn't come out right, and I did PhotoShop my own.


Anyway, what this whole exercise led to was me remembering how much I love music from the sixties. What I didn't realise until today, as I listened to the album on my iPhone, was how utterly, outrageously, inappropriately pervy some of the lyrics were back then.

Let's take a look. We'll start with 'I'm into Something Good' by Herman's Hermits, which quite frankly has a decidedly saucy title before we even get to the lyrics. What exactly is that something good that you're into, Herman? Do tell.

Herman had an interesting tooth situation going on there, didn't he?


Woke up this mornin' feelin' fine
There's somethin' special on my mind
Last night I met a new girl in the neighbourhood, whoa yeah
Somethin' tells me I'm into something good
I think he means her knickers.

Let's continue:
She's the kind of girl who's not too shy
Oh, a prostitute.

Anyway, this deviant continues on, culminating in the line:

I walked her home and she held my hand
I knew it couldn't be just a one-night stand

Were they even allowed to say 'one-night stand' in the sixties? I thought it was illegal or punishable by death just to say those three words in that order.

Let's move on.

Round round get around
I get around
Yes. Well. I think that one speaks for itself.

Oh look - 'Itchycoo Park' by The Small Faces is a lovely song. Until you listen to the lyrics.

Tell you what I'll do (what will you do?)
I'd like to go there now with you
That's nice! A day trip - how delightful!
You can miss out school (won't that be cool)
School? Um … yeeeeeah … that will be … cool…
Why go to learn the words of fools?
What will we do there?
We'll get high
You're pimping drugs to a minor?
What will we touch there?
We'll touch the sky
He doesn't mean the sky.
But why the tears then?
I'll tell you why

Because it just got very rapey.

Moving swiftly on.

Ah, 'Young Girl' by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap - what a brilliant song!

Young girl, get out of my mind
My love for you is way out of line
Better run girl,
You're much too young girl

I think that latter statement needs defining before we go slinging accusations around.

With all the charms of a woman
You've kept the secret of your youth
Because she's a youth, Gary.
You led me to believe
You're old enough
Oh yeah, blame her.
To give me love
And now it hurts to know the truth, Oh,

Oh indeed.

Beneath your perfume and make-up
You're just a baby in disguise
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable right about now.
And though you know
That it is wrong to be
Alone with me
That come on look is in your eyes, Oh,

No, that's just her eyes glazing over from the rohypnol.

So hurry home to your mama
I'm sure she wonders where you are
Particularly if it's a school night.
Get out of here
Run, girl, RUN!
Before I have the time
To change my mind
'Cause I'm afraid we'll go too far, Oh,
Yeah, I don't think I'm going to touch that one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tiddily Tim

Not to get all 'woe is me,' but I've been working really quite hard so far this year. And by 'working really quite hard' I actually mean I've worked everyday since I returned to work after Christmas, including evenings and weekends. By my count, up to just before this weekend gone, that makes a total of 39 days straight. So, yeah, WOE IS ME. Fire up the violins.

Anyway, a couple of weeks back I mentioned this to Glittering Lee, and based off a comment I made around his birthday last year, we decided we should have an evening of cake and champagne. Which admittedly sounds nice, but sounds way more dramatic when you throw in the revelation that I've not had a proper drink in around seven or eight years. In fact, that's probably worthy of…

Exciting, huh?

So anyway an evening was planned, and it was duly entered into my iCal as 'Tiddily Tim evening.'

I kid you not.

Now the intention here was not to get smashed out of my pretty little face, but to instead chill out and have a drink with some mates. Which is exactly what happened. And despite the fact I didn't get smashed, recollection of the evening's events is somewhat fuzzy. I do remember the following, though:

• I do not like rum.
• I do like 'pink fizz.'
• I might have drunk some Taboo.
• I did drink some advocaat. It was vile.
Skip punched me in the head. Neither of us can remember exactly why, but he claims it was 'playful.'
• I believe there is a photograph of Skip looming over me with a lascivious look on his face, and me looking petrified.
• Lee's cat, my new-found niece, is brilliant.

All in all it was a wonderful evening that hit a smidge of a downer when a cough I thought I'd shaken off made a dramatic return, and every time I laughed (which was often; these are funny people, people) I sounded like someone with a 60 cigarette per day habit.

On the plus side, I made it home without any assistance, and didn't have a hangover the next day. Regardless of that, I discovered that Sainsburys' new Chococino muffins are a brilliant remedy for said nonexistent hangover.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Available for commissions

So a lovely colleague escaped left our company last week, and to commemorate the occasion another colleague asked me if I could put together a poster that we could all sign to bid her adieu. I liked this idea because a) it's a lot more personal than a shop bought card, and b) I'm running out of options in the lewd card department at the local branch of Scribbler.

Unfortunately, the commission came the evening before the day it was needed, just as I was considering having a shower and going to bed. Still, there's nothing I like more than a challenge (cash and boobs being notable exceptions), and ART THRIVES ON RESTRICTIONS!

Now, obviously when you take a commission from a client you have to cater the final product to their wishes, so there were a couple of things I was sorry to see go as the thing evolved over the course of about three hours, but really this wasn't about what I wanted and I was pretty darn pleased with the finished article anyway (about the only thing I was prepared to fight tooth and nail for was the inclusion of Lobster Dog, but she was approved with ease).

That being the case, the version I present here is my never-before-seen original incarnation.

Seriously, I'll do this shit for money if you want me to.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

You shall go to the ball/disco!

A few weeks back I found out that one of my favourite bands, Panic! At the Disco, were going to be playing an intimate (not THAT sort of intimate) gig at Bush Hall, which just happens to be my favourite venue. As you might imagine, this sort of news elicited lots of speshul claps from yours truly: it would be nothing less than AWESOME.

Knowing that Bush Hall is a very small capacity venue and Panic! At the Disco is a very popular band, and tickets were only £15, I knew that the gig would sell out pretty much immediately and I had to do everything in my power to get tickets. As an idea of just how much I wanted to go, I even abandoned Saturday morning yoga so I could be at my computer the moment tickets went on sale.

And at bang on nine o'clock one Saturday morning, I logged on to a certain ticket website, popped two tickets in my shopping cart, and furiously tapped out my credit card details. I was going to see Panic! At the Disco! Or not. Because the moment I clicked the BUY NOW button I was shown a message that basically said 'sorry, but we reallocated these tickets while you were putting your details in.'

They might as well have just thrown up a massive flashing TOUGH SHIT! animation.

Now, I was under the impression that when you put tickets in your shopping cart they held them for you for five minutes or so while you entered your details. At least that's been the case EVERY OTHER TIME I'VE BOUGHT TICKETS. So I called the ticket vendor and had a proper moan. Not that they managed to make any more tickets magically appear, but it was quite therapeutic. And of course I wouldn't be so childish to name and shame the vendor in question, but shame on you, See Tickets. SHAME. ON. YOU.

Of course, there are always other means of getting tickets to sold out gigs including whoring yourself another ticket vendor website that has a resale section for people who have bought tickets but then find they can't make the gig. And by that I mean touts who buy shitloads of tickets and then try selling them on there for 80 quid a pop. As much as I wanted to see Panic! I didn't particularly want to drop such an outrageous amount as that on a ticket, so I resigned myself to either a) trying Shepherds Bush's terrifying recurring cast of ticket touts on the night or b) sitting outside on the pavement crying while straining to hear the gig going on inside.

Until Sunday night, when I saw one of the online resale vendors had caved and was selling tickets for £34 (plus an outrageous £14 in handling fees that was whacked on by the website itself). Still, bearing in mind I've been working my arse off this year (not ONE day off since I went back to work on January 4th) I decided to treat myself. That and I considered it a Valentine's Day present to myself that wouldn't have the Catholics condemning me to hell.

My ticket. It arrived the very day of the gig. I was WELL GIDDY when the postman arrived.

SO. Tuesday night I rock up to Bush Hall and, as expected, the queue is basically comprised of a load of teenagers in various states of striped attire, parents escorting the under 18s who looked like they'd rather be at home watching Eastenders, and me standing there reading my copy of the Evening Standard as a result of this being only the second gig I've ever been to on my own; the first time I ever went to a gig on my own was to see Panic! At the Disco back in 2008, which makes me think there's some sort of pattern forming here…

Anyway, after about half an hour the queue began to move and I noticed that there were two people checking the stripe-adorned teenagers for ID. As the queue moved further forward I found myself looking up at this hulking dude and meekly asked if he wanted to see my ID. Against all expectations he said yes. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he's never had anyone so enthusiastically respond to his demand to see ID before, because as I said "yes sir!" and began pulling my driving license out of my wallet he said "OK, fine, don't worry." I, however, fully intended to prove I was over 18, and held my photo ID right up to his massive face. He nodded in a 'like, yeah, WHATEVER' fashion as I wailed "gosh, you've made my day!"

In response he tutted, rolled his eyes, and wearily said "do you want a wristband?" I, of course, said yes.

My wristband. Me and about 200 sullen 15 year-old girls were wearing these. I was so proud. I almost bought a pint just because I could.

And then, against all expectation, I was in, standing in the no-man's land between the heaving throngs of teens by the stage and their indifferent parents lurking at the back.

So, let's be honest: I love everything Panic! At the Disco have done so far. Both of their studio albums and their live CD are in my top 10 albums of all time but, for those that don't know THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF PANIC! AT THE DISCO (what's the matter with you?), since I last saw them the band has, well, broken in two. Two members split off to form a new band called The Young Veins, while the lead singer and the drummer retained the Panic! name and stated their intention to carry on. I was obviously a bit excited when I heard they had a new album coming out in a couple of months, but this was tinged with a degree of uncertainty because, well, I really wasn't terribly sold on the first single they announced.

I pondered this fact as I waited for the new incarnation of Panic! At the Disco to take the stage, while also admiring their lovely wall projection.

And at around 9pm, take the stage they did - and any concerns I had just flew right out the window, because this band were ELECTRIC. Performed live, the new material sounded so good, so very Panic-esque; I was immediately won over by it. What really got me, though, was how lead singer Brendon Urie has grown as a frontman; he was always good, but to my mind, particularly during their last tour, a little hidden behind that tremendous voice of his. Here, however, it was almost like the loss of the other two band members had made him step up his game a bit. He cavorted around the tiny stage like a man possessed, a combination of Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury at their finest; in fact, his performance brought to mind a quote I heard from The Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts a few years back where he said how Mick Jagger was a brilliant front man because he could perform equally as well on a tiny stage in a dingy club as he could on a massive stage in a stadium.

Urie was THAT GOOD. He lived those songs, his facial expressions every bit as important to the story they told as the words coming out of his mouth. And his voice, so incredible last time I saw them, was even better than I remembered it being: from the very first song he was going from the deepest low notes to the highest falsetto FLAWLESSLY. It was a truly remarkable performance.

The rest of the band were great, too. The two new members admirably filling the roles of the departed band members with skill and gusto. This was one of the tightest bands I've ever seen perform live. And as much fun as the audience was having watching them, there was a moment where I looked over at the drummer and he had the broadest grin on his face. Knowing the band are having a good time is always a good sign.

They were on stage for bang-on an hour, and despite having paid over three times the face value for my ticket I definitely consider it money well spent. Apparently they're touring again in April - I'll be fighting tooth and nail to get tickets then, let me tell you.


So, as I left Bush Hall some dude was handing out promotional items in support of Panic!'s new album, Vices and Virtues - little bags containing a sticker, two badges, and a playing card showing either a vice (a skull) or virtue (a flower). "I've got flowers or deer," he shouted. I took one, looked at it and saw he'd given me a flower.

"Can I swap this for a deer," I asked. After all, you never want to be too virtuous, right?


Some videos! Excuse shitty sound quality; I am due a new iPhone this year…

But it's Better if You do

Northern Downpour

New Perspective (with high-pitched profanity beforehand!)

And thanks to this Youtuber, from the New York show they did last week here is their new track 'Nearly Witches,' which gives you a good idea of just how captivating Urie is on stage.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

A fine vintage

Setting fire to things wasn't the only highlight of Wednesday's Better Off Ted evening. In other news, I *think* I actually made Skip happy.

Obviously when you're a guest at somebody else's house it's the done thing to take something for the genial host. In the past I've turned up with Gingerbread Lattes (WIN) and a bottle of Cherry Lambrini (MASSIVE FAIL). This week, however, I actually bought Skip a decent bottle of wine.

And then I took advantage of the materials I have access to at work and transformed it into FUTURE WINE!

Slightly annoyingly, though, when I handed it over to him he simply remarked "you actually bought me a nice bottle of wine!" as if Chateau Picard were a real vineyard and not something from Star Trek's 24th century. I had to point out my handiwork, but on the plus side it just goes to show how authentic-looking my forgery was.

Anyway, from what I understand 2267 is a fine vintage. I just hope he doesn't leave it adrift in space - you never know what it might smash into up there.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I am man: hear me roar

Let's get this straight: while I am a man and am currently in possession of all the prerequisite manly bits, I do have one massive manly failing. And by that I mean I lack the general ability to do some specific manly things - no, not things like wrestle a bear to the ground or punch an elephant; I mean things like put some shelves up, or hang a picture. If you'd like me to pat you on the back when some food's gone down the wrong way or hold your hair back while you're being sick I can do that, but if you ask me to do anything nudging into the general area of DIY I'll more than likely give you a blank stare then call Sparky Pa, because he usually does those sort of things for me.

Although I expect he'd think it a bit weird if I asked him to put some shelves up for you because, quite frankly, as nice as you are he doesn't actually know you.

Anyway, this being the case, you'll excuse me for blowing my own trumpet seeing as I did something I consider to be terrifically manly last night.

The evening began with no hint of the testosterone-fuelled activity that was to follow. Basically, I was off round good ol' Skip's for a chilled out evening watching Better Off Ted, which, incidentally, is brilliant and you should check it out.

Soon after arriving, however, I made what I initially believed to be my fatal error: I asked if there was "anything I could do." I expected to be told to delicately arrange some Jammie Dodgers on a plate or just to sit on the sofa looking pretty, both of which I can do (although I definitely think I'm better at the Jammie Dodger arranging). What I did not expect was to be told to "get the fire going."

Obviously I was more than a tad anxious at being given this order because there were two ways I thought it could go: the first involved me being massively berated for extinguishing the few glowing embers that were sitting in the fireplace, while the second involved us standing out in the cold watching a bunch of firemen putting out an epic blaze that threatened to knock 1666's Great Fire of London into a cocked hat. But, being as Skip questions my masculinity enough as it is I just stiffened my quivering bottom lip and positioned myself by the fire.

As it turns out I needn't have worried, because it turns out making an awesome fire is a talent I didn't know I possessed, but I'm now seriously considering adding 'pyromaniac' to my CV because I got that thing going like you wouldn't believe. Without really wanting to give away the secrets of my flame-generating success, getting a quality fire going requires knowing exactly when to give it a good poke (something I'm reasonably well versed in, fnar fnar) and knowing the appropriate time to get a log-on without quashing your fledging flames. A bit of newspaper also helps, and depending on how you feel about setting fire to a tabloid this could also be regarded as a damning indictment on the state of journalism these days.

So anyway, as the flames licked higher and higher I couldn't help but feel awe-inspiringly manly. To be honest I was tempted to strip my shirt off and bask in the glow of my handiwork like a sweaty woodsman, but I figured that might've been my genial host's intention all along so I just ate another Jammie Dodger and asked after his cat.

I'm a fire-starter, twisted fire-starter.