Monthly Archives: November 2011

Piper’s Mountain.. a reprise..

Download Piper’s Mountain in PDF Format

I mentioned rediscovering this slightly sinister music book from my Primary School a few weeks back.  Along with these reminisces I dangled the carrot of scanning and uploading the songbook rather than just posting the lyrics to the song in particular that had been nagging away at my subconscious.

Well, thanks to me finally getting over my habitual procrastination (and thanks to the excellent Genius Scan app on my iPhone) I have finally gotten around to it.  So I’ve made a PDF file containing the whole songbook, which I’ve uploaded to this Rapidshare location.

You can tell I was a child of Thatcher’s Britain – the whole premise of the songbook is clearly designed to gear up a generation of children to not want anything much from life!

Now who can remember the one involving a song competition where the hero of the piece fooled the baddy (who was trying to copy his song) by creating a spoof song about a Blackbird?  C’mon… somebody else in the world must remember it!!

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A ménagerie à trois..

Nights like last night make me marvel that people at large will gladly elevate the turgid and passionless shit that fills the charts whilst ignore things on their doorstep that are, well, better.

A gig featuring 3 Daft Monkeys, along with support from 3 Eyed Fox and Ferocious Dog – hence the blog title, not just a reference to the three primate headliners, but three bands all featuring animal references!

It was the headline act speaking about their new single and the difficulty in getting national airplay because it ‘wasn’t mainstream enough’ – last time I checked mainstream music was mostly absolute shit.  Personally I don’t see why, if exposed to it, some good honest creative folk inspired music like theirs shouldn’t appeal to a wider audience than it is currently able to reach.

3 Eyed Fox got off to a great start by covering the Levs, the relatively obscure ‘Red Sun Burns’ too.  A three piece featuring guitar, fiddle and lead vocals – really enjoyable, I wasn’t aware they were playing ’til the night itself so I hadn’t got myself into position to record any vids, but they did have a dutiful friend camcordering the whole gig so I imagine they’ll surface on YouTube soon enough!

Whilst I was bang up for seeing the headline act, having not seen them live before (but possess quite a bit of their recorded material) it was really Ferocious Dog who were the reason for me going.  By god they didn’t disappoint.  The smaller venue than I’d seen them in before and the vantage spot I found at the back of the dancefloor gave me a great view of both the stage and carnage unfurling infront of me.

I have uploaded lots of videos of both Ferocious Dog and the headliners, but it seems only fair to embed their opener which they kindly dedicated to Linda who couldn’t make the gig (her ticket clearly cursed, as the friend I had given it to was also stricken by illness so it remained unused despite attempts to find a home for it yesterday), one of their newer songs called Lyla:

The stage is perhaps a little on the small side for a band of six – but they squeezed on and didn’t bang into one another so perhaps not.  The more intimate sized venue worked really well though.  Check out the mosh-fest to Mairi’s Wedding pt II:

Then on to the headline act – 3 Daft Monkeys (there are four of them with the addition of percussion) feature a twelve-string guitar, a fiddle, a bass and percussion – and they were bloody awesome too.  I like their recorded stuff a lot, but live it just comes to life in a way that is difficult to describe.

The relatively ‘rooted’ stance of Tim Ashton on the twelve-string and lead vocals is juxtaposed by the always-in-motion and incredibly-expressive impish figure of Athene Roberts on fiddle and vocals.  Lukas Drinkwater manages to put across a ‘cheeky chappy’ image from the depths of the stage whilst poor Richie Mulryne is mostly hidden at the back playing a range of percussion with his hands (and feet in the case of the kick drums).

It’s an incredibly engaging live performance and delivers a lot more oomph than comes across on their albums.  A lot of the crowd were in for Ferocious Dog but they stayed with it and really added to a tumultuous atmosphere throughout the headline act too – and they seemed to genuinely appreciate the enthusiasm of the local crowd.  Hopefully that means they feel compelled to play here again soon, as I’d definitely go to see them again.

The highlight for me was the playing of current single ‘Days of the Dance’, which alas I didn’t manage to get a recording of (but you should buy the single, regardless – for 79p you’d struggle to find something better value!).  However, a close second was the excellent Social Vertigo which I did capture – and starts to show how performance and the crowd blend into an amorphous whole.  It also introduces the term ‘a Nottingham fuck up’ which I thought was the preserve of the football team in Red from the area!

Should you happen upon 3 Eyed Fox, Ferocious Dog or 3 Daft Monkeys on your local listings then you could do a lot worse than to give them a listen!

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I’ve been gone ’til Movember..

Hmm, after a brief resumption of a reasonable frequency of blogging I appear to have lapsed for a month.  I’m not so sure what was so busy about October, but apparently I didn’t have much to talk about.  In truth, I’m not sure that do now – but felt compelled to at least break the silence.

Work’s been pretty busy lately, but mostly good busy (as good busy as being a sell-out corporate whore can be, of course), which I guess is a factor.  Of course, in that other great waste-of-time in my life Nottingham Forest, there has been rather a lot going on too… a frankly shit start to the season, overseen by an absolute shitcake of a manager – now replaced with the initially underwhelming but increasingly shrewd appointment of Steve Cotterill.  Still, it wouldn’t be Forest if it were (a) easy or (b) predictable.

Of course, now we are in the merry month of November.  Or, more accurately speaking, Movember.  I like Movember – last year you might remember that I sported a moustache to celebrate this event, this year I’ve upped the ante a little – with a little preparation I’m on course to have a curlable imperial ‘tache by the end of the month.  This necessitates bending the rules of starting the month clean-shaven, of course, but I think it will be worth it.  Generous sponsors have already pledged a chunk of cash – should you wish to do the same you can do so here: 

I even have moustache wax in preparation (eventually the sub-mouth sections will be shaven off).  Depending on how donations go I might pick a threshold at which point I’ll agree do to some crazy moustache dyeing or something.  I shall see.

The other good thing about the eleventh month is Children in Need falls within it.  It’s a great charity, obviously – but the reason it’s particularly dear to me is because of the involvement my esteemed employers have with them – and the fact that they make available the call centre on our site to take pledges.  I’ve worked out that I think this will be my ninth year of taking calls, starting at around 6pm and finishing at 2am.  That sounds a bit like I’m claiming martyrdom, but it’s not like that, honest.

It’s too easy to think that people aren’t nice – and I’ve yet to find a better cure than spending an evening talking to people at their very best.  Undoubtedly charities like this shouldn’t have to exist if humans in general weren’t self-serving profiteers, but whilst of course raising money for the charity is the principle aim, I don’t underestimate the good the process does to me – not in terms of some kind of redemption but because it really reminds me how bloody great so many people are.  Chatting to people moved to help those less fortunate is a fantastic tonic for the world-weary.  I heartily recommend it.

This year our team have some great plans during the day in the office to raise money which is always great fun to be part of – so we should have a day of hard-work-but-fun followed by an evening of chatting to awesome people (plus, of course, it would be futile to deny that there might be what has become the annual tradition of a local TV appearance or two – but, and this is the cunning part – I think I’ve found a way to make sure I won’t be seen, even if it does happen! Muhahaha!  I guess having a moustache does give one a certain air of cunning!






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