Saturday, 26 May 2012


There was an old lady who swallowed a fly....what a crazy bitch she was, uh?

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider. No wonder those kids did nothing but deride her and her husband beside her.

She swallowed the spider to catch the fly but it just gave her an itch, what a crazy old bitch. Then she got stitch.

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird, but without her specs on it was actually a turd. How very absurd.

She swallowed the bird to catch the spider, which was really quite dumb because everyone knows birds eat worms. Now she squirms.

There was an old lady who swallowed a cat. I don't know why the fuck she did that. What a twat!

She swallowed the cat to catch the bird, this is the bird that was actually a turd, what a nerd!

She swallowed the bird to catch the spider but then washed it down with a cheeky old cider from a motorbike rider.

She swallowed that spider to catch the fly, this is the fly that will make her die. So let's say bye.

There was an old lady who swallowed a dog, which she picked up in the eerie old fog, then sat on the bog.

She swallowed the dog to catch the cat but just think about all of that fat. What a dozy old bat!

She swallowed the cat to catch the bird, never forget that was really a turd. Yes it was merde!

She swallowed the bird to catch the spider, by now she was pissed on the barrel of cider, her husband denied her.

She swallowed the spider to catch the fly, why the fuck did she not just lie? And quietly die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow. I'd love to know precisely just how. I mean right now.

She swallowed the cow to catch the dog, she'd have been better off having swallowed a hog, or even a frog.

She swallowed the dog to catch the cat, but it heard a dog whistle and that was that. So she tried a rat.

She swallowed the cat to catch the bird, which was nothing more than a smelly old turd. Please have a word.

She swallowed the bird to catch the spider which was never really going to stay down inside her, specially with the cider.

She swallowed the spider to catch the fly. It all started off with that pesky old fly. She deserves to die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse...what the fuck, really? A horse? Now it's just getting stupid! To catch the cow? Ridiculous!

This batty old lady had bad indigestion, so many animals caused such congestion. Only one thing would see her right & that's All New Rennie Rapeeeeze. Available in you local stores NOW! Please send cheques payable to moi.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cyndi Sings Supreme as the Rainy Boy Sleeps

Cyndi Lauper at Birmingham Symphony Hall with support from Rainy Boy Sleep - 26/06/2011 - A Review.

Okay then, continuing the reviews of 2011 gigs. Although I seem to have found myself somewhat heavily involved in a lot of new music from more recently formed bands and artists on the independent music scene, I do have some really big old favourites on my list. Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon feature amongst the many but even a bit of Cyndi Lauper finds herself in their company. What a crazy chick she is. I’ll admit she isn’t an artist I’ve ever really followed (The Goonies are Good Enough aside – fun fact for you here, did you know Cyndi Lauper was asked to produce the entire soundtrack for The Goonies? You can woo your pub quiz team with that little nugget now can’t you?) , but I’m grateful for the experience I had at the gig on this tour last year.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from her show to be honest but I had a truly amazing night of musical splendour. What came across so blatantly was how incredibly talented she is and how the maturity marking her performances offers something the likes of Kylie and Madonna never do, nor do I think they ever could or will.

The support act was quite literally a one man band; Rainy Boy Sleep (real name Steve Martin) used his eclectic vocal skills to record percussion and other sounds using his guitar, then playing them back while adding the main vocals. It really is something special to both watch and listen to. A young guy from Derry, Northern Ireland he appeared a little shy as he spoke to the audience in between songs although when actually performing, these nerves didn’t show in the slightest. As soon as he’d finished introducing the song, the very first moment of sound produced, be it from his vocally rendered percussion or the guitar, the nerves were vanquished. I say nerves but it’s more like the nervous energy prior to performing. The kind that actually helps with how amazing the performance can be, and in this case truly was.

His voice has a serene sounding quality to it, amplified beautifully at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham. From the seemingly oddly titled but truly quite wonderful Shopping Centre Song to the atmospheric tones of Your Face and the strikingly resonant Yours Truly there is a welcome depth to the lyrics on offer here in addition to the skilled musicianship.

His brother was selling home-made CDs in the foyer, with which my only disappointment was there only being three tracks on them.  After such a great performance I already wanted a full album so I could put it endlessly on repeat. Rainy Boy Sleep has gone on to support James Morrison on his recent tour earlier this year, so he is receiving a decent amount of widespread exposure and all the very best to him. My only issue with this is purely selfish I admit in that I’ve not been able to afford to see him again. Of course, I wouldn’t think anything of paying the price for another artist’s show just to catch this guy play again. James Morrison is a top talent too and one I would like to see but these are tough financial times and with no pay rise yet again funds can get a little stretched.

The Shopping Centre Song EP is currently available on iTunes so check it out and bag the marvellous treat before he hits the big time so you're sure to have had a slice of him pre-mania. You can also purchase it here. A talent this promising is not one to miss and I cannot wait until he gets his own headlining show, a wait I’m sure won’t be too long and one fully worth it. He also recently announced on his facebook page he will soon be releasing a follow up EP which has rendered my ears as excited as a puppy anticipating a new bone or squeaky toy. They’re salivating so much I may soon be in danger of drowning if I don’t hear this new stuff soon.

He can be found gigging almost ceaselessly even when he’s not on a tour supporting some big name so keep up to date on his page for future dates. He will be appearing at Cornbury Festival in Oxfordshire but see below for a current list of forthcoming dates.

31st May - Love And Death, Belfast
23rd June - Westport Festival Of Music & Performing Arts
24th June - Millennium Forum, Derry w/ Ray Davies
30th June - Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire

Time For Girls To Have Some Fun (and boys too) 

There’s little doubt Cyndi Lauper is one crazy chick and she puts on one heck of a fantastic show. Her vocals are incredibly strong and flawless after all these years. If her vocal abilities could be siphoned into large barrels I’ve little doubt letting them out around collapsing buildings or bridges would offer the support needed to avert complete disaster.

Showcasing her latest bluesy album, Memphis Blues, this wasn’t what I’d gone along to hear but I admit the performances of these songs with her band were faultless. While you may not necessarily associate her voice with the genre, I can tell you that live it sounds like a perfect fit. Cynders and the glass slipper kind of perfect fit, ironically. The live set up really does the new material the justice it deserves and that can sometimes be lacking with recorded versions. Yet this isn’t an isolated incident and something which affects many artists. The live versions of the new songs were more than enough to entice my dwindling cash reserves from my pockets (they’re not exactly deep, more the funds are lacking) and exchange it for a CD.

The camaraderie she displayed with the band onstage was infectious and delightful to watch. As were the myriad of tales and asides she shared with the audience. If she’s never done an audience with then ITV should get on the phone right away because I cannot see it being anything other than a ratings hit (if you do this ITV please remember who suggested it. Ah, who am I kidding? This is the channel (although let’s face it, one of many,) that was totally fleecing people with its phone-in numbers. Seriously, why do people fall for these things? Yet even now there exist more or less the same amount of these phone-in shows as before. Will people ever learn? Okay, perhaps an issue to cover elsewhere).

A lot of fans probably do go to hear the classics but her contemporary work shouldn’t be and isn’t overshadowed by these. She belted out the bluesy numbers with a star quality that outperforms her contemporaries so much so if they were in an actual live sing-off, she’d win hands down. It was also crystal clear how much she was relishing the opportunity to do the same with the classic hits. Her superiority wouldn’t just put her competitors to shame, the tranquil yet vociferous decibels she emits are powerful enough to force them into deep space or bury them as deep underground as they can get, short of reaching the earth’s core.

About a minute into singing out Shine, Cyndi even climbed down off the stage and danced her way up the aisle with the audience rising from their seats as if welcoming a Queen. Some excited fans stretched out their arms and extending her love she touched those she could reach before holding on to one lucky guy for almost a minute before turning round and heading back to the stage. At one point she was about two feet away from me which perhaps shouldn’t be so exciting but I don’t feel the slightest bit sad to say how much it was. There was no fainting, no pushing or shoving or any negativity of any kind. No bouncers pushing fans out of the way although they did follow closely behind her, naturally.

A real treat for me and a song I wasn’t expecting to hear was Goonies Are Good Enough. As she stood up there dancing from one end of the stage to the other (I wish I had her energy I have to admit) I closed my eyes. Opening them again I was nine years old and inside the TV set in the living room of that house in the Goonies as she sang it out in the movie. Time was reversed; this is the power she has over people.

Each time the Appalachian dulcimer was bought out on stage you knew something very special was imminent. With the band playing in the background Cyndi strummed her heart out as she sang along to classic All Through the Night at the end of which she induced a trance-like state upon the crowd with a melodious near operatic climax. It was goosebump inducing! This was followed up with an intimate rendition of Time After Time after telling a lengthy story about her crazy grandmother.

Showing off her agile abilities by jumping and dancing her way from one end of the stage to the other while belting out Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, you would be completely forgiven for thinking it was actually1983.

Cyndi demonstrated her devout passion for equality and freedom for all with a final farewell message of love which included a special mention for all the beautiful people in attendance who she wished every success. She then went on to finish the encore with a delicate acoustic version of True Colours to which people sang along to from beginning to end.

After such a wonderful evening of great live music from such a beautiful and talented legend, I highly recommend her shows to anyone. I’d happily sit and listen to her talk about what it was like for her growing up, how she got into the music business and the things she’s done, it was pure gold. She deserves all the continued success that comes her way for she’s truly earned it.

I’ve read rumours Cyndi is to release her memoir in the future and while biography is one genre I rarely read, I wouldn’t miss this for the world. If all the stories she manages to tell during just one night at a gig are any indication, I feel this may be a book house spiders will fear. I can almost hear their many legs trembling at the prospect. One thing is for sure, this girl doesn’t just want to have fun; she is still having it after all these years.

Band of Badgers Presents #3 Update: 

I am just waiting for the arrival of my new rather expensive (but much needed) top quality microphone before I can record the next episode. It is all ready and waiting but as this will be a test recording for potential internet radio play it has to be perfect. My waffle will remain of course but I have to contain the podcast to about 58 minutes so I foresee achy fingers after much editing. It will be totally worth it though. I have a great playlist coming up for you and am already working on #4. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Meet Joe Vampire

Joe Vampire by Steven Luna: A Review

What a deliciously scrumptious tasty treat this book is! Buy it NOW! If you need reasons then please read on although the author’s charming way with the words is magic enough to pull you in once you start reading.

Having finished my previous book I started this one while waiting for a train out of Brighton after a few days away. There I was sitting at the train station, eyes transfixed on my Kindle. I even resisted what is usually a strong urge to people watch while waiting for a connection out of London Euston; I just couldn't tear myself away from the story unfolding before me. For the final leg of the journey home you guessed it, I was glued to Joe Vampire thanks to the masterful skills of author Steven Luna in constructing such a gripping yarn. It became, quite literally, un-putdownable (why is this not yet a word? Come on dictionary peeps, get on it!). It’s a wonder I managed to get myself on to the correct trains although I honestly wouldn’t have minded ending up in the Scottish Highlands if it meant I got to carry on reading this book as I made my way back again.

A refreshing take on the vampire tale, Joe is an ordinary dude who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and for which his reward, or punishment if you prefer, is being turned into a vampire. This, as the ‘event’ becomes known, follows what turns out to be a monumental yet comical misunderstanding while out on a group date. Lesson learned – don’t go on group dates, folks!

The combination of humour and suspense Steven builds up around what actually happened that night as well as maintaining an eventful and observant pace throughout is pure joy. Various plot developments keep you thinking and guessing right up to their respective revelations. So, even when you are forced to stop reading - to ensure you feed and water yourself, shower and change underwear, that sort of thing - the wonderfully constructed style of Joe’s blog keeps you well and truly hooked in. There’s entertainment and plot twists aplenty.  

Steven has managed to write a truly original and thought provoking story in a genre that has become largely lacklustre and monotonous over the past decade. Vampires may well not need the air themselves but this author has breathed some much needed new life into the field. While the set up and story are radically different to, say that of The Sookie Stackhouse novels, it nevertheless delivers something as beautifully unique as did the earlier books in that series which no doubt led to it being picked up for television (And yes I do think Joe Vampire should be adapted thus, or a movie perhaps). Writing it in the form of a blog may not be a completely original idea itself but employing the method the way Steven does makes all the difference here.

He also pokes fun at the glamorous yet trashier Hollywood types of vampire franchises, mentioning no specific names. However, this never comes across as insulting or derogatory, instead it fits incredibly comfortably with the style of comedy utilised. Joe has a very dry sense of humour and a sarcastic wit so sharp you will end up checking your neck for vampire bites when you do manage to pull yourself away. ‘The girl behind the counter was a shade past Oompa Loompa,’ is just one observational line that had me startle those in my vicinity as I read and yelped out with laughter. (What? There is too such a thing as yelping with laughter.)

Joe isn’t the only well rounded character in the mix either as the lonesome newbie vampire details his relationships and interactions with best friend Hube, who is the kind of selfless, even overly helpful at times (he offers to be Joe’s food source but not in a sucker fucker way), buddy you’d need if you were to ever be subjected to this. When he shifts to the nightshift at work Joe is also befriended by a vampire he describes as, ‘a female Yoda with knee socks and knitting needles’. Then there’s the ‘overweight, socially-networked media-marketed vampire hunter from the south, Bo, who likes mud bogs and domestic beer’ oh and doing quite a bit of DIY.

There are even more though so get buying and reading to find out how becoming a vampire can have some really quite serious, if laughable consequences when it comes to the dating game. Dispel all those myths about the Nightwalkers and learn what it’s like from the real deal itself. From the sheer ferociousness of vampire toenails to the best way to round off your fangs several times a day and how to keep your skin from looking too sickly pale. This is very much a vampire book that breaks the mould, treating the subject in a way that instantly connects the reader so much more closely to the main character.

With Joe Vampire, Steven Luna has managed to stamp originality all over a heavily saturated market. If you haven’t already done so then get buying it because at such a fantastic price it’s an awesome not-to-be-missed bargain! Plus, you’ll want to get this first story done and dusted before the follow up is released in the coming months. I’m really excited to find out what may be in store for Joe, Hube and Co and if you read this first volume I’ve little doubt you will be too! 

Check out Steven's Joe Vampire blog for much more about Joe and the author himself with regular updates on what's going on. Steven works tirelessly via Twitter helping to promote fellow indie authors and I'm always happy to retweet these as and when I see them in my feed. Kindle and online publishing is one way forward in this digital age so if you do read Joe Vampire or any other book published this way please take time to share it with your friends. Whether this is by word of mouth (there are still book clubs, right? Oooh, idea sparked for a Kindle based book club maybe?), writing a review for Amazon (or wherever you purchased it from) or via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter & Co, it would be very much appreciated by the authors.

Joe has a page on Facebook > here too.

Music of the Moment:

Each and every time I mention this bit I say how much more of it there is that I'm listening to. I didn't think it possible but this time round there is even more still, so my reviews and specific music-related posts aside I will have to remain very brief.

Of particular note has to be the astounding Sam Beeton. Words really aren't required if you'll just go and check out his website. A 23 year old singer-songwriter from Nottingham, the talent I believe he's already shown is nothing less than phenomenal. 

He's set up something called The Record Club which you can read about on his website. It's a unique idea that puts this artist in direct contact with you in a way that makes you truly feel like these songs are written and recorded for you as fans. I've subscribed to season 2 which has only just begun so it's not too late for you to join and if you do Sam will send you all the the songs already released in that season so you won't miss out if you join later on.

I received my signed, personalised Volume 1 CD this morning with two gorgeous sounding tracks, Call Me the Loner and Something Out of Nothing

Needless to say I'll be purchasing the deluxe double CD of Season 1 pretty sharpish. Featuring 22 tracks I cannot wait to hear all the tunes Sam has to offer. I'm already loving the likes of Storyteller, Lie Low Lie while Good Natured Child and Rain Down On You just blew me clean away. Like I said this guy has a talent that belies his young age but this is certainly no bad thing. Something I'm finding so refreshing about Sam is the versatility he demonstrates in the songs I've heard so far.

Check out some of these below along with Sam talking about his Record Club.


Also - don't forget to check out Band of Badgers Presents. Episodes 1 & 2 are available via the sidebar or go the relevant posts to download or for the links. Sam will be featuring in the next episode.


I'm still to start Leiyatel's Embrace by Clive S. Johnson but this should finally be remedied this weekend. It's going to be a book that requires complete and full attention so I want to give it the respect it deserves as opposed to only grabbing an odd 15 or 20 minutes snippets. I do so require more time in which I can do all these things. I believe the recently released sequel Of Weft and Weave is going well. This also has a Facebook page you can check out and like > here!

A very good Twitter friend of mine, Dionne Lister also recently released her book, Shadows of the Realm (The Circle of Talia). Although I read quite widely when it comes to genre, fantasy is probably the one that features more than the rest so having read the blurb I'm really excited about reading this. You can check it out via the link above which takes you to Amazon or it's also available at Smashwords and there's a paperback edition you can get at Amazon via this link > here!

I bought my Kindle copy but will certainly invest in a hard copy too. Just look at that book cover and tell me you wouldn't want that showing off on your book case? I won't be getting it just for that of course but I do still have a fondness for traditional hard copy books.

There are just so many I need to be reading right now. I desperately want to start Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. Not just because I love the TV series which is back for its second season, as much as I really love it.


If you haven't been to see The Avengers movie yet then I apologise in advance for having to hunt you down and slap your face repeatedly with gigantic stinky wet kippers. Following all the tweetviews I was reading in my Twitter feed after it had been released I was expecting something special and I was not disappointed one bit. It is an amazing film. So beautifully shot and put together. No specific character (nor even the bigger named actors in their roles) hogged more screen time than the other and although there was so much going on and so many of them to keep track of, it didn't once feel too rushed or jumbled up. Mr Buffy, Joss Whedon did everyone proud with this masterpiece. 

And I know this probably means I'm a total geek but there were a number of moments where I actually got goosebumps. I kid you not. 

I highly recommend you get out and see this film, like NOW! Remember if you don't you're going to get a very red face and smell of bad fish!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Band of Badgers Presents #2


Episode 2: Back For More

Also available on iTunes by clicking here.

I Divide the Sky as it Burns Red over The Dead Famous as written on Page 44 but First Things First there'll be Dreaming Spires as the Rainy Boy Sleeps atop the Winter Mountain proving there's only One Cure For Man, Under a Banner.

So, here I am again but this time with the second episode of my music podcast. Episode 1 went very well and is getting some plays so I'm quite happy with it so far. I have so much more music yet to play as well as much more from all those who kindly featured in the pilot podcast.

Gigantic universe-sized thanks to them all and for everyone who has checked it out so far. I've already got an almost completed playlist for episode 3 which I'll hopefully have out in about two to three weeks (unless you'd like to offer me some money to quit my job and do this full time in which case I'd be able to speed up the turnaround considerably). I thought I'd have this one up online sooner than now but time just doesn't hold up does it? That's a whole other discussion for another post (or 12) so I won't even start getting into my lifelong fascination with time right now.

Okay so I was unable to follow through on my promise of using a better microphone this time round but this is on the 'to do' list, flagged in red and underlined several times. Oh, it's in bold too! I must therefore apologise for the slight sound distortion at times but thankfully this is only during the bits I'm waffling on about stuff so you know what to do! That's right, just hit that fast forward button/option. You might need to get that replaced after just these first two episodes. Or take out some insurance exclusively for that button.

Putting this playlist together was just as much fun as the previous one and features the following:
  1. Introduction - I Divide
  2. The Arrival - I Divide
  3. Paralysed Lullabies - Sky Burns Red
  4. Superstar - The Dead Famous
  5. Answers - Page 44
  6. Let the Good Times Roll, Kid - First Things First
  7. Not Every Song From the Sixties is a Classic - The Dreaming Spires
  8. I'm Leaving Home - Dan Donnelly
  9. Shopping Centre Song - Rainy Boy Sleep
  10. Sarah - Winter Mountain
  11. Digits Point - Howard James Kenny
  12. Blackbirds - One Cure For Man
  13. Another Time - Under a Banner 
The Levellers release their new album, Static on the Airwaves 25/06. You can pre-order this via a number of websites but if you do so by 07/06 at the Proper Music website your copy will be signed.

Please do check out Tweep Nation, the podcast run by Dionne and Amber who I mentioned because they really will have you rolling around the floor laughing your arse off.

Also, a book to add to your reading list, especially if fantasy is a genre you enjoy or like to dip into, is Dionne Lister's recently released debut novel Shadows of the Realm .

I also recommend you check out the line up for this year's Truck Festival because there are some fantastic acts on the bill. I'm a fool for not having a ticket yet but that is also on the 'to do' list. This is right at the top, at the sides and the bottom just so I don't miss it. It also has huge arrows pointing inwards to it and a little note by the side saying I will be severely beaten with very smelly wet fish if I fail to get a ticket and it sells out. I'm on it. I promise. I really don't want to miss this!

The Dreaming Spires I've seen and feature in this episode with their brand new single.

British Sea Power I saw at Beautiful Days Festival a few years ago as I did with US band The Low Anthem who appeared there last year. One of their songs featured one of the guys using a saw as an instrument. Yes, an actual saw as in sawing a plank of wood saw. Like your dad on a Sunday afternoon. 'It's time to just go and saw a plank of wood in half!' (Eddie Izzard) It was different but nevertheless it was musical!

Villagers and Frightened Rabbit I first saw play on Later with Jools Holland and I've been enjoying Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and Mystery Jets for a number of years already. Not 100% sure I've heard any of the others but I need to have a closer look.

The Last Republic I played and championed in episode 1! Fantastic band so to miss out on them when playing so near and with all the other great music on offer I'd need my head examining wouldn't I?

I guess I'll be seeing you there then?

If you have any queries or need more details or links with regards any of the bands featured in the podcast or mentioned here please don't hesitate to contact me at or via Twitter (relevant buttons below).

Coming up in episode 3 then I should have the following:

The Scholars
Sam Beeton
Nick Burbridge
Good Friend
The Epstein
T J Courtney

In addition to a very special musical guest track in the style of David Bowie so make sure you subscribe and tune in for that!

Until then, peace to all of you!

As always thanks to Mark Blasco at for the intro and outro theme.