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26.2 miles in under 3 and a half hours. Sounds easy on paper and I will be posting regular updates, the highs and the lows. Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Russel Grant is my friend

Now, this term is bandied about far too much, “oh, I met the Queen at the Palace the other day, it was so surreal” No it wasn’t. You were at the palace to meet the Queen. That is not surreal

Now I was on the toilet Twittering to the general universe about whether I should go and have some sushi for lunch and in a flash RUSSELL GRANT replies telling me I must.
THAT my friends, is surreal.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Review - William Elliott Whitmore at Borderline


About a decade ago a band limped on to the scene, hung around for a bit and then promptly disappeared, although they stayed together and still release albums and tour.

They were instantly recognisable for singing style of Tom Gray. It was a husky, smoke infused drawly growl which peppered such hits as Whippin Piccadilly and Get Myself Arrested. It was a subtle voice which fitted nicely into their rag tag multi instrumentalist line up evoking a sound more entrenched in the American South than South Bermondsey.

Tom Gray was in his early twenties at the time and had the voice of a 70 year old lifetime smoker and it just oozed from his lungs coating the songs in Americana.

William Elliott Whitmore is into his thirties and whereas he is a Jack Daniels swilling Iowan he sounds much less convincing.

I was taken in by it initially on record and was struck by the stark instrumental use and husky bark which contrasted to great effect.

I was convinced that he was black and knocking on heavens door. When I found out he was only 30 something and white I thought, nice idea.

Then the idea started to grate with each listen but I had already bought tickets for the Borderline gig.

Whitmore is a very personable young man. Bearded and wearing a pork pie hat he was every inch the musician as he wandered around mingling with the punters. He remembered people from previous gigs and spent a fair amount of time with each fan who wanted a chat. If this job doesn't work out he should consider a position in customer service.

Taking to the low, intimate, wee Borderline stage he opened a full bottle of JD and handed it to the audience to polish off. Another nice touch.

His playing style is bold rhythm strokes, be it on banjo, or less successfully on acoustic guitar. The songs are solid and stand up well as solo accompaniment but the playing is rather rudimentary and it all got a bit samey after a while.

He can hold a crowd well and everyone was rapt, but I got a little bored and went back to meet Allan Jones the editor of Uncut.

Another bottle of JD got opened and passed around and he left the stage to huge cheers and I admit the gig improved after the obligatory encore.

The voice, oh the voice. It sounded better and less contrived than on record but it is so put on it sometimes sounds like he is swallowing frogs and trying to regurgitate them again.

Will he be around in a decade? I'm sure he doesn't know anything else, but he won't be on the radar round these parts unless he changes his style as it was just a little tedious.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Abercrombie & Fitch


I have experienced a horrific vision of the future of shopping. It is truly stomach churning.

The Abercrombie and Fitch store off Savile Row is the most pretentious and overblown shop in London and that is up against some stiff competition.

For a start the grand stone building remains nameless. You just know it's there or you don't. You're in or you are out. It smacks of elitism before you cross the threshold.

Outside is a congregation of lumberjacks and eighties luminescence chic, a place to hang. It's a destination for tourists. It's the place to be. Apparently.

Step inside and you pass a half naked, very fit bloke who stands there looking pretty, showing you what you want to look like but can't. Cause you're not pretty enough. You will never be A&F good but you can spend a lot fooling yourself you can with their clothes.

Oh the clothes! They are woeful.

They look like the clothes Next and Burton were churning out 10 years ago. they are dull, samey, cheap and nasty looking bundles of tat.

They are layed out in grand, beautiful rooms which are so dimly lit, presumably to hide the fact that the threads are uniformly shit.

It's a tremendous building and with the right product it could be a wonderful addition to the sumptuous shops on New Bond Street. But they are selling cheap shirts and polo tops to vainglorious wankers who have been fooled into thinking they are buying into something substantial.

On top of the crush of wandering imbeciles being fooled out of their money every surface seems to have been doused by their musty mouldy mildew fragrance. It reeks.

The shop assistants stand around like some kind of Stepford family for the Top Shop generation. What they are trying to acheive has baffled me.

All I like to do on my lunch hour now is to stand and laugh at the fools and their money.

Monday, 6 April 2009

More running


I have started a brand brand spanking new regime.
I am running home from work every week day. That's six and a half miles every day, five days a week.
Then I'll do an 8 or 9 miler on Sunday.
It's so liberating. I am saving £150 per month compared to when I worked in Croydon. That's £1800 per year. And that my little bloggers is a fucking stack of cash.
Allied with burning around 5000 calories every week, I should have about a 2" waist come summer.
Let the good times roll. 

Snail Mail


My auntie contacted me today.
She contacts me about 3 times a year.
She contacts me by post.
How quaint is that? Snail mail the old-fashioned way.
I haven't seen her in about 6 years I think, and all this time we catch up. Very. Slowly.
So we cover the big topics. Ones which can be covered and then left to fester for a few months. 
What are you doing now, how was the snow for you, what does your wife actually do.
Three subjects and then pop a stamp on the envelope and put it in a mailbox.
Can't wait to know what interests her nowadays. 
I'll let you know in August.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Running update


Well last week was kind of a washout. I only managed to run 4 out of the 6 days and it's just not good enough. Only 23 miles were clocked up and that isn't going to get me round a marathon course in under 3 hours.

This week I have done 11 miles over Monday and today. I know tomorrow will be off the agenda as my mate is coming round to drink wine and download copious amounts of music. Then me and the wife will be up and out early. 

Thursday will be a 7 miler then Friday, Saturday and Sunday will see another 20 miles covered.

That's more like it.

Review: Bronson


I still don't have a purpose in life. I want to be successful, happy, have kids, a loving marriage, yada, yada, yada.

When I was 14 I wanted to be a music journalist, and I still do, although the goalposts have changed dramatically. Still, it's an ambition of sorts. I'll take it.

Michael Peterson wanted to be famous for being a thug. A violent, indiscriminate hooligan. And, by jove, he's done it. By changing his name to Charles Bronson, growing a Victorian wrestler's moustache and being bald as a coot, he is infamous. 

Played on screen by the raw talent that is Tom Hardy, Bronson isn't so much brought to life as set in stone. His crimes and temperament are legendary anyway, so being able to visualise it, rather than imagine it is no great achievement. 

The man spent 30 years in solitary confinement. And they said the Watchmen was unfilmable. Why did the director Refn try this of all biopics? The key lies in its execution and place in the film sphere.

It is an arthouse film. Refn's use of theatre, addressing the camera, panto, cartoon and lighting all serve to make a potentially boring 90 minutes utterly engrossing.

Much has been made of the lack of answers the film gives as to why Bronson is the way he is. That is not the point. Bronson is a buffoon, a cross between a Forrest Gump and Ronnie Kray. He has no point and to create this film, Refn has demonstrated that you don't need a conclusion. Just tell the pitiful story of this contemptible, mindless idiot. But tell it well.

And Hardy and Refn combine to leave you, not asking questions, but clapping your hands at a job well done. Hardy's unflinching, bulked up performance ranks alongside Stuart: A Life Backwards and I look forward to him making continually demanding and brave choices.

It is a film I will gladly watch again. Even though I find the character of Bronson so utterly vile and wanton, I can somehow ignore that and just watch a beautifully crafted film. I will not waste one second thinking about his plight, his aims, his point, I just wait with baited breath to see what the team will produce next time.

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