Category Archives: Music: inspiring the pen in hand

Real Fans #2

dressed up fans sonisphere

Fashion at its height, Sonisphere 2014 – Photo Anna Ghislena

Real Fans #1

sonisphere kilts

Sonisphere 2014 – photo Anna Ghislena

Altered Sky – Bury It All

I write for Stereoboard in my spare time and due to lack of said time, this happens sporadically.

At the moment, time is on my side, probably the lull before the Christmas storm, but I’m currently reviewing pop punk band, Altered Sky’s debut album Without Wonderland.

Have a listen to the single and I’ll let you know when the review is live.

Anna x

Time for…

Time has truly been skipping by, all caught up in the “live for the moment” ethos.   It has been waving cheerily at me at every turn and I’ve been waving back with the notion that every day is special, wondering what it might bring and if it’s not much, then I’ll make it one to remember or worthwhile at any rate!

This notion is targeted at my young family and not on the notebook consciously stuffed, with good intentions, into the bag that accompanies me everywhere.

I’ve been to a few gigs over the last three months, Black Spiders, The Darkness, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Dr John Cooper Clarke, Foo Fighters.  The occasional three or four hours away from the fam keeps me sane and cements my belief that I am still me.

Then, 1, 2, 3 *click* and you’re back in the room, from whereon time gallops into varying, spectacular juggling acts which involve the zillions of little things that every working mum has the pleasure of performing with on a daily basis.  Reviewing gigs or crafting a poem, falls far behind on the all important Things To Do list.

That’s life I suppose and whilst I pile a few ideas, week by week into the bubbling creative writing cauldron of good intention, in the hope that I may have a new poem ready for National Poetry Day on 8th October,  I thought I’d do the easy thing and share a few photos of some of the gigs I’ve been along to.

So, wave cheerily at time, as it passes you by every day – live in the moment, have a little song, have a little dance, love a lot and don’t put too much on the Things To Do list!

black spiders MK

Black Spiders at The Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes at the end of May 2015

This stoner rock band play hard but they just seemed so physically tired that night.  I wanted to go give them all a hug and a nice cup of tea at the end of the set.  I did give them a copy of my poetry pamphlet “The Will To Gig” though, in the hope that it’s title would cement their faith in what they do.  Not sure if it’s still on the Black Spider coffee table.

 If not, #FUBS #ETSL

(F**K You Black Spiders / Eat Thunder Shit Lightening) – (Their words not mine)

darkness dingwallsJustin at Dingwalls

The Darkness at Dingwalls, Camden, June 2015

What an amazing treat this was.  Launching the new album “Last of Our Kind”, The Darkness, complete with new drummer Rufus Taylor, son of Queen’s Roger Taylor, played a truly intimate gig in the low ceilinged sweat box by the canal at Camden Lock.  Determined to get a better view, my gig buddy and I slunk into the shadows by the side of the stage, hence the dominating presence of the guitar tech in both photos.  We really shouldn’t have been standing there at all and security didn’t make any attempt to move us along until, glammed up and gorgeous though we were, it became obvious that we were nothing whatsoever to do with the special guests in whose “zone” we had ambushed.  But Roger didn’t seem to have noticed us particularly despite us standing right behind him as he scrutinized every beat his drummer son played – yes, picture proof  below of the ledge that is Roger Taylor!!


Next up was:

frank carter

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, The Horn, St Albans – June 2015

I was a bit scared of Frank Carter when I first saw him sing with punk rock band Gallows at Download Festival a few years back.  He was a menacing little wiry young man, a bundle of taught aggression and as nimble as a feather weight boxer.  Then he left Gallows and formed Pure Love which saw him conquer a more pop rock sound and admit that “I’m so sick of singing about hate” on the song Bury My Bones.

Pure Love dissolved and now Frank is back in punk with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and a new album, called Blossom.  They played The Horn, my local music bar and I thought, c’mon Frank, you have got me interested now, scare me some more.  So, I bought my ticket and witnessed the best gig I have been to of the year so far.

With his mum sitting at the back of the venue overlooking a sea of sweaty heads, Frank played with passion and displayed fire and menace mixed with deepest sincerity and compassion.  On the shoulders of the punters he spider man scuttled across the low ceiling to the bar where I was standing and stood above me, tears pouring from his eyes as he sang about his losses and loves – and blimey, hasn’t he got little feet!

Love you Frank.  You still scare me but I would ask you round for tea and cake any day.  Oh, and bring your mum.

John Cooper Clarke

Dr John Cooper Clarke, The Alban Arena, June 2015

Ok, so I have to admit I have never seen John Cooper Clarke, ageing punk poet extraordinaire.  The audience was a modest size, I was expecting more, but the die-hard fans who had come proved themselves, knowing nearly every word to most of his poems.

I loved the way he took the piss out of himself constantly, the skinniest man I have seen for a long time in this world of fat fighting hugeness, calling himself a “fat fuck” constantly.  He also promoted the possibility of him being on the verge of senility, forgetting his stage times, getting a little flustered occasionally and then admitting to the audience that there were three good things about dementia:

1. You can hide your own Easter eggs.

2.  (sorry, I can’t remember what number two was – looks like I’ve gone that way already!)

 3.  You can hide your own Easter Eggs



The Foo Fighters, Milton Keynes Bowl, September 2015

Well, I decided to stand a little way back this time as I had bagged a comfy spot on elevated ground in bright golden rays.  In hindsight though, I would have gone right into the crowd for some body heat as elevated means flippin’ freezing on an Autumnal evening when the sun has gone down.  Now known as the Break A Leg Tour, Dave Grohl performed the entire set from his bespoke designed mobility scooter. I can only think that it must be the most frustrating way to perform a heavy rock show – on your bottom.  It was a stunning show with support from Brighton duo Royal Blood who played many of the songs from their debut self titled album, and from Iggy Pop, who, at the same age as my own father, skipped continuously about the stage, long blonde hair flowing out behind him, leathery torso as lean as ever – he never changes.  Now I wanna be your dog.  Go Iggy!  Don’t stop!

Advent 3 – The Struts

A new favorite of mine this year.  Great live entertainment.  I wrote a review for Stereoboard earlier this Autumn of their gig at Dingwalls, Camden.

Enjoy this little ditty

Advent 1 – Scholars

Love Scholars and missed them at Sonisphere this year, so they are kicking off my Advent blogs.  Enjoy Hemel Hempstead’s finest rock band!

Loving Mondays

I’ll tell you why I like Mondays.  Its a fresh start.

The weekend has allowed time to mull things over, even if  you are like me and work for half the weekend too, Mondays are still about making the most of what is yet to come for the rest of the week.  Forward planning, putting wrongs to rights, talking to that person you’ve been avoiding for yonks, tackling that dreaded stuff you’ve been putting off for ages, afterall the deadline is tomorrow and then it’s gone – done – dusted – goodbye.

My Monday this week will be about all that, trying to put things into perspective and then bam!  Straight on with the rest of the week.

So, Monday lovers and haters, having just had my review of The Virginmarys gig at Xoyo published on Stereoboard, I am currently writing a review about the Wheatus gig (yes, you may have guessed by now that Monday is actually my day off!  And yes, I have learnt to love Tuesdays too,) I had the joy of attending last week and to get me fired up please join me in a little Teenage Dirtbag, there’s one of those in all of us.  Enjoy.

Long live the fans!

Skam – Holy City

I haven’t ranted about any new bands on my radar for a while, but after seeing Leicester band SKAM live a few days ago, well, I had to.  Yes, I siddled up to them for a little chat (such nice lads), bought the CD, got the T-Shirt and oggled at them on YouTube.

They have released two albums to date and have just finished a blinding UK tour.  According to the Leicester Mercury, they also turned up in the back gardens and living rooms of some lucky fans for some random gigs during the summer, concreting their mission and desire to play live, pretty much anywhere they can.

What do they play?  “It’s balls to the wall rock n’ roll, with singing not screaming.”

Enjoy your week people.

Long live the fans!

Friday I’m In Love – The Cure

I don’t normally “do” charity stuff on this blog but today I received the news that my dear friend, Jakki, is running 10K to raise money for Kidney Research UK.

Jakki’s hubby died unexpectedly from a virus indirectly related to his kidney disease.  He was 33 years old and his beautiful twin baby boys were just 7 months old.

His passing still feels like yesterday.

Jakki and I spent our teens listening to The Cure.  She fancied Robert Smith.  I didn’t.

This is for you Jak, and everyone else who loves Fridays.  X


If you want to support Kidney Research UK here is Jakki’s JustGiving page:


Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights


Sometimes I feel that Kate Bush sits inside her own music genre – there is and never has been, anyone quite like her.

I vividly remember helping (or hindering as a young child does) my mum in the kitchen one day; the radio was on and Wuthering Heights was played.  I was transfixed from start to finish.  It was divine; celestial.

Kate Bush became my vocal role model thereon.  (Yes, when imitating Kate Bush from an early age one does have to be careful not to concern the neighbours; mine thought she heard the cat crying).

I have loved her alternative approach to popular music ever since.  Frankly she rocks – like an angel.

Kate Bush Wuthering Heights Official YouTube