Tag Archives: music

A Night At The Astoria

astoria-and-centre-point

The Astoria.  Image from http://www.urban75.org

By concrete honey-combed Centre Point
Briskly paced towards Soho
Passing illuminated tooting taxis
Striding down the Charing Cross Road
To join a queue of  alternatives
Outside the stuccoed dome crowned bay
Under the fretted signage board
Spelling the name of the band who’ll play
Tonight, at the Astoria

Earnest in Camden High Street fashion
Invested Kensington Market attire
Sticky carpet hugged our tread
Glued our shoes to a concert flyer
And another, and another
Patchouli on the dance floor
In the mosh pit, down the front
Cramming narrow stairs and crowded corridors
Tonight, at the Astoria

Black buckled winkle pickers
DMs, Converse, cowboy boots
Only those walls knew what we were
Dressed in t shirts ripped and loose
Painted leather on our backs
Tassled skirts and Celtic gods
My bloke’s hat, flour dusted like Carl’s
A new militia danced in clogs
Tonight, at the Astoria

No more the legend, the dirty old friend
No more thoughts of getting out alive
The heavy handed security ejection
Of devising a way to get back inside
Romance could not save you
The Mayor would not waiver or
Heed the petition that meant you were loved
But you made us legends, you were our saviour
Those nights, at the Astoria


Happy Birthday Amy

There’s a star
Soft as pearls
In the sky tonight
A diamond in the ink
Listen
Amy’s closer thank you think

amy

Celebrating the work of Amy Winehouse on 14th July 2016, the day that she would have celebrated her 33rd birthday

 


No Through Road Trip

campervan

We were nearly there
You in the driving seat
Him with the map
denim shorts
patchwork patches
grandad cardies
Swan Vesta matches
Me in the back
with Giggly Sis
hippy frocks and
bright red socks
headscarves, dreads
and celtic art
all off to a festival
heard about on the vine
from a bloke down the pub
with a roll up
a nose ring
a quintessential
dog on string

We drove between hillsides
sussing the signs
followed the road cutting
Welsh weathered divides
Campervan motor
ticking along
like grit in the oil
was singing a song
“Next left!” He spied
tracing the route with a finger
no-one around
not a throng
not a crowd
were we sure this was right?
would we party tonight?

The engine whirred
in the steep of the climb
remembering its birth year
was ‘79
Giggly Sis
took a swig from her can
and pointed ahead
to a crusty with van
who followed an ambulance
with curtains
and buses
with chimneys atop
These weren’t our kind
but authentically
Traveller
we had to admit
we were authentically
Amateur

This crowd were like family
closed up and so tight
they wouldn’t want us
around for the night
and as for the music
the tents and sound systems
there was nothing but one bloke
on bongos with rhythm
You wound down your window
I held my breath
“Alrigh’ mate
anything going on
around here tonight?”
Mate, in his khaki
his earthy clad boots
rainbow woolley
a trench coat
hair matted like roots
shrugged
didn’t smile
couldn’t beguile us
a gentrified nod…
Well!
Not wishing to appear
rude or unclear
we kept bumping along
the occupied track
You held the wheel
He held the map
relieved to discover
a route to get back
“Keep going ahead
then bear to the left!”

Jagged with rock
craters like pockmarks
far more minor
than a casual mistake
the “road” crossed the ridge
and melted away
“Oh for f**ks sake!”…
You put on the brake
and got out the Camper
twirling dreads with your hands
He took the map
and examined the land
Roman road
and maybe
probably
300AD

I cannot believe
just what happened next
it was me in the driving seat
laughed at by Sis
sheep on both sides
sure footed and ruffled
the only way down
looked nothing but trouble
“Left a bit!”
“No Right!”
“Take it easy”
“Too tight”
“Hard! No! Gently”
“Easy”
“Oh God!”

Tyres puffed
under suspension’s lament
every scrape every crunch
echoed a dismal descent
palms spread
You braced the side
tin cans and pans
rattled inside
He with the map
flapping his hands
“Steady!  Keep steady!
I’ve got a plan!”
Locked on
white knuckled
I tried to sit happy
above
what felt like
a crumbling chassis
“I’m going over! Gonna roll!”

But as I swore
I couldn’t hold
another inch
another quiver
the valley below
grew clearer and nearer
He with the map
climbed back inside
“Now drive!  All the way
Down the hillside!”
Giggly Sis
and You got in
rocks became
mole hills
deep craters thinned
we flew all the way
racing inkspotted earth
realising just what
our lives were worth
retracing the route of
a Roman road
back through the woods
tearing through brambles
damp bark and moss
back to our roots
forgetting our loss
as a pathway wound
weaved and tangled
and we drove forth
spangled and mangled
Campervan motor
ticking along
like grit in the oil
was singing a song


Rock n’ Roll Things To Do With The Kids

I’ve been racking my brain recently to discover ways in which we rock and roll mamas and dadas can devise a really cool day out with our kids; how we can do this AND retain/increase our credibility as well as enjoying the experience ourselves.

Hell!  you say, That’s not possible!

From tots to teens, I reckon there’s something in this post for those of us seeking a way to keep our rock and roll streak alive as well as making an acceptable impression on our “little” or “large” ones.

So, here goes – and if you think you can add to the suggestions below, please comment, I’d be really grateful for any further recommendations.

 

 Arts & Culture

Saatchi Gallery, London – The Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism
Currently making the headlines is this eclectic and colourful collection.
Open NOW until 4th September 2016
You could always appropriately combine this with a meal out at Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers restaurant in Kensington.

anna stones

Snap Galleries, London
This gallery and shop situated in Piccadilly Arcade, hosts regular pop and rock art exhibitions.  Keep up to date with their calendar for forthcoming collections .
They currently have photographs of The Rolling Stones by Gered Mankowitz  to coincide with Exhibitionism until 28th May 2016.

TV
SRO Audiences
BBC Shows and Tours
Your teen would love the opportunity to be in the audience for a TV show like MTV’s Live Lockdown or Later With Jools Holland or any other favourite show for that matter.
Get onto the mailing lists (those above are the best I have found so far) for news on how to apply for (free) tickets and make sure you act fast as places get snapped up.  Shows are filmed at various studios around the country, so check you can actually get there easily.

London Rock Music Tour – Central London
From Abbey Road to Jimmy Page’s house, this tour explores London’s prime rock and roll sites and there’s loads.  It can take a whole day to see everything, but you can choose to do a morning, afternoon or 8 hour day.  Tour groups are small (16 people only) so that you get the very best out of your knowledgeable tour guide.  I’ve only looked this one up online but it sounds really interesting.

 

Music Cool Stuff

Rock By Baby – various locations in the UK
This could be your little ‘uns first ever gig!  A musical experience that seems to be a hit sensation.
Pop and rock tunes are tailored to suit little ears by real musicians playing an acoustic set.
The next gig is in Shoreditch,London on 18th April 2016.  Tickets can be bought in advance.

Heavy Con, London
30th September – 2nd October 2016
The UK’s first fan driven rock and metal convention, with meet and greets, stalls, exhibitors and talks.  Cool!

Marshall Amps Factory Tour, Bletchley, Milton Keynes

marshall-amps-fridge-1
Marshall is the home of the amplification system used by rock musicians worldwide.  You can TOUR the factory, privately, for FREE!  How’s that!
Booking by telephone is essential.  Tours are available from Monday – Thursday (school holidays – what a treat!) at either 9am or 1.15pm.  Tours are open to a maximum of 7 people and include viewing production, the theatre (subject to availability) and the Marshall Museum.

 

Music Festivals

Here are a handful of festivals happening this year suitable for families with young children and willing teenagers:

Bestival – Dorset
Curious Arts – Hampshire
Down to the Woods – Durham
Glastonbury – Somerset
Green Man – Wales
Isle of Wight Festival
Livestock – Gloucestershire
Looemusic – Cornwall

Having done Camden Rocks, Download and Reading myself, these next festivals are probably better suited to families with older children:

Camden Rocks – London
Download – Donnington
Boardmasters Festival – Cornwall
Reading and Leeds Festivals
SW4 Festival Clapham Common – London

For further excellent advice and recommendations checkout the FestivalKidz.com comprehensive calendar.

 

Eating Out and Sleeping Out

Hard Rock Cafés – Glasgow, Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Dublin
hard-rock-cafe-logo
They are a bit of a cliché but my kids love the chance to go along to these restaurants and have started to collect the t-shirts from all the HRC’s around the world! (so touristy!)  They are full of rock and roll memorabilia for you to marvel at while you munch on your burgers and fries (and probably lots of healthy rock and roll salads too)

Sticky Fingers (Bill Wyman) – London
Well, apparently, you do end up with the obvious – sticky fingers that is!

Rockers Steak House – Cambridge
I’ve never been, but it looks good – can anyone recommend?

Hotel Pelirocco –  Brighton, Sussex
A boutique hotel with themed bedrooms, the occasional acoustic gig and a lively bar open to 3am at weekends!  That said, despite some risqué decor and rock n’roll goings on, the hotel told me that they do welcome families.  The Pretty Vacant Room (which does have some artwork containing fruity language) and the Dollywould Room both have a double bed and a daybed which can sleep a third person/child. Alternatively  the Ophelia Fancy Room and Cloud Cuckoo Land are adjoining rooms, both with double beds.  These rooms are on the 3rd and 4th floors so well away from the bar. I have not been here, but I’d go, with an open mind!

Sanctum Soho – London
sanctum
If you are feeling flush and a little excitable, this hotel sometimes hosts acoustic sets from bands, it has an in-house bijou cinema and often puts up a few celebs for the night, so perfect for star spotting. Nikki Sixx was there a few weeks ago, Lemmy was often a guest…you never know who you might bump into as the hotel is used for music, fashion and film pr events/launches.

 

Well that’s that!  Hope you have discovered something new!  Please keep in touch and let me know if you tried any of these ideas and obviously, how your kids responded to them!  Whatever you do, make sure you go together, have a great day out, show your kids how to live and rock n roll forever!

Long Live The Fans!

Anna xx


Share links for World Poetry Day

It’s been lovely to discover more blogs dedicated to music and/or poetry recently.  When ever a blogger likes a post I have written I do try to checkout their blog too.  We all do that, right?

What I would really like to do to celebrate World Poetry Day is to keep the introductions going a bit more and would like to invite you all to share this post and include a link to your own blog in the comments box below.  Keep sharing and we will all discover a whole new gathering of writers!  Exciting!

I will Tweet and Facebook the link to this page once comments and links have been entered.

Have a great day and I look forward to meeting some new blogs soon.

Long live the Fans!

Anna x


Eggs, Fudge and Arctic Roll

bands only pic

Photo from BBC and The Joiners

Eric is an intern, yes he’s doing this for free
headset wrapped around hot ears
counting all the crates of beers
ripped jeans show his puny knee.

Backstage riders take the piss
Clipboard says an item’s amiss
The schedule’s tight; he’s been up all night
Too late to get it to the concert site.

Budgets are exceeded; the helipad’s all booked
Dressing rooms are ready; just hope it’s overlooked
The promoter will go mad as the pressure takes its toll
‘Cos it’s a long way to the shop, if you want an Arctic Roll

Egos he will massage; these artists he must tame
Remind them they were unknown once and hungry for the fame
Eric likes those little bands, who will be big some day
They just eat fudge and humus and then get on and play.

But a taste for headline hunting always makes them grow
And soon they start to ask for stuff like “frozen H2O”?
Demands for herbal tea and room for meditation
“Give it to me now, or else it’s cancellation!”

“I want:

M&Ms but no brown ones
Skittles minus the purple ones
a large supply of surprise Kinder Eggs and
Playboy bunnies with really long legs…

counsellors, oxygen and a lovely lady doctor
(in case my hip joint seizes with my foot upon a monitor)
two bottles of Absinthe; some chewy Gummi Bears
jugs of mountain spring water to wash my grapes and pears…

air con, fluffy black towels and gentle ivory soaps
fifty thousand live bees and permission to slaughter white goats
Bottles of brown mustard that must be VERY tasty
a good supply of bacon and a tube of KY Jelly

Make sure you’ve got what I require
These songs should state what I desire:

a Big Cheese Burrito with a plate of Pork and Beans
then Pour Some Sugar On Me Peaches and Cream
Poundcake, Hot Dog, slice of American Pie
Chop Suey, Curry Bun; and don’t ask me why
Finish with more Peaches, a Cake and Sodomy
then slam me a Tequila, because it makes me happy.”

An extra side of barbeque ribs should help save Eric’s soul…

but

“It’s the wrong tray of pork chops!  Now just get me Arctic Roll!”


Real Fans #2

dressed up fans sonisphere

Fashion at its height, Sonisphere 2014 – Photo Anna Ghislena


Shall I compare thee to…?

WONKA

Music fans, readers of poetry, viewers of art – do you compare?

Making comparisons in every day life seems natural.  People compare themselves to others all the time: judging their own performance at work or socially; judging their own views against someone else’s; judging their own appearance in comparison with someone else’s; judging their child’s progress at school against that of the neighbour,  the list of comparable situations is endless.

Read about new or up and coming bands and you’ll find they are always compared to other artists in their genre.  Is this fair?

Copy and articles in the media compare bands and music artists to each other.  Captions in magazines introduce groups with the words “For fans of…”, or “Sounds like…”, and liken them to other artists.  This gives the listener an idea, but the suggestion will always be embodied in the listener’s mind.  Why should a band’s sound be twinned to someone else’s in order to be recognised?

There can be no denial that similarities can be identified.  Take Australian rock band Airbourne, notoriously likened to AC/DC .  Lots of the components are there including two brothers, copycat riffs and a lead singer who appears to model himself on a mix of Angus Young’s lead guitarist antics and Bon Scott’s loveable cheek, wit and raspy vocals.  But take away those saleable characteristics, put on to entertain the crowd, and it’s the music that is different.  They do have their own exciting sound, despite it being peppered with something familiar.  Examples of other bands in multiple genres could be dragged up for pages and pages to come, but every one of them is different on some level, it’s just discovering how the sound affects the ear on a personal  level and subsequently how it moves the listener.  Surely that’s what it takes to be a true fan?   I like Airbourne.  I like AC/DC.  I don’t like Airbourne because they have been likened to AC/DC.

Can poets be compared to each other?  Look at the current poetry and spoken word scene, huge and ever growing in popularity.  Many London poets have been witnessed ranting along in monotone modern London  dialect, a little bit street, a little bit middle class, sharing messages about political concern, personal opinion, dilemmas, glitches in our social systems and either make light of them or or target the audience with soapbox fury.  The familiar strain seems to be, who can shout the loudest?  Then again, all their words are valid and their work is listened to and applauded, because they cannot be compared.  Each one has something different to offer and listening hard, or reading close, will open minds and stimulate.  The beauty in each one can be identified as something unique.

Can authors be compared to each other?  Can painters or designers be compared?  Probably, but please try to ignore the comparisons dictated by someone else, it’s lazy.  In writing about bands for the last three or four years, I have been guilty of making a comparison or two myself.  I will do my best not to in future.

There will always be something in a style that stands apart in each group or individual.  That style will catch the eye if we want it to, regardless of any similarities marked alongside anyone else.

Long Live The Fans!

Anna xx


Sons of Icarus – Barfly, Camden

So while the kids are on a sleepover at a friends, I’m off for a little loud music therapy.

Freezing cold, wet Camden on a Saturday night – love it!

Warm, boozy Barfly – love it!

Upstairs, cramped space, low ceiling, PA buzzing – love it!

Earplugs in, Pepsi in hand (I’m such a rebel!), band are on! – Love it!

sons of icarus 2

Sons of Icarus, hard working young guys with a set full of chunky riffs, play to a happy crowd and show off their long awaited debut album.  This album, Beyond the Sun, has been in the pipeline for years.  Sons of Icarus first came onto my radar when they became the first ever competition winners of the Marshall Ultimate Band Contest back in 2010.  I then interviewed them after an intimate gig at the CroBar for Stereoboard in 2013 when they told me their album release was imminent!

Over two years on and they have just released it!  Obstacles get in the way all the time for these bands, but determination and hard work plus the will to achieve drives them along.  And you know what?  They are good!  The place isn’t exactly heaving.  These guys need a little recognition.  The album sounds great.  I’ve played it loud in the car already (yes, the kids needed stimulating after their “all nighter” at the friend’s house) and I shall be reviewing it soon, track for track.

DSC_1017

 

 

 


#RIP Heroes

So, happy new year everyone!  What a way to start.  The funeral of Motorhead’s Lemmy took place yesterday and David Bowie died.

I can’t quite believe I just wrote that.

DAVID BOWIE DIED.

“Don’t be too sad.” said my kid, shutting the car door.

“Don’t worry, I won’t.” I said, and returned from the school run this morning with tears rolling down my face, snot pouring from my nose, the roads, flooded by the rain.

I’m still leaking now, as I write.  I can’t bear to play the radio because it’s all Bowie stuff and I will only make this post short as I will probably short circuit my laptop if any more water gets in between the keys.

MCDHUNG EC009

THE HUNGER, David Bowie, 1983, (c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

I am so pleased to have grown up in my teens listening to and watching David Bowie.  He influenced my love for music.  I was fascinated by his ever-changing style and my friends and I were besotted by his screen performance in The Hunger, a film that we would watch over and over again, never tiring of his soft voice and exquisite looks.  Probably one of my most guilty Bowie pleasures was The Laughing Gnome, that my friend and I used to listen to back at her house on a school lunch break, and we would wonder, why did he do that one?  But it had us in stitches every time.

Lemmy’s passing, now that was a sad day too, but one that I had seen coming having read reports of ill health during 2014/15.  It is, however, a sign of time moving along, little bits of our present that, beyond our control are now past and I feel a little panic at this.

I saw Motorhead play a few times, loud and fast.  Too loud.  Very fast.  The last time I saw Lemmy in the flesh was at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in 2013 when he received the Golden Gods award from Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, and Loaded bassist Duff McKagan.  I and all Lemmy’s fans can be comforted now knowing that they will be seeing him again soon in the forthcoming rock and roll movie (the loudest silent movie on earth) Gutterdammerung, due to be released at events this year.

lemmy

Thank you Bowie for giving me a love for music and creativity.

Thank you Lemmy for giving me tinnitus, I will cherish it forever 🙂

Long Live The Fans

xxx