Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jump Clones, China Flex Becomes China Flex, Almost

I awoke with a gasp, my eyes flew open and I blinked in the glaring light of the med bay. Where a moment ago the aging Dr. Binarro had stood, all greying hair and yellow teeth, now a young woman stood over me, her cool hand on my brow. I mumbled something incoherent and she smiled.

"Easy pilot, it's always like this on your first time. I'm nurse Kaxi, I'm here to look after you."

I have a habit on waking, and I performed it now, I felt behind my right ear at the place where my implants are plugged in. I gasped and scrabbled in panic for a moment, the nurse closed her cool hand over mine and laughed softly.

"Calm down China, you're not quite your old self."

The skin behind my ear was smooth, missing the row of tiny holes that my normal body had. I looked around, the med bay seemed pretty similar to the one I had just left in, all pristine gleaming steel and the hulking, slightly forbidding shape of the auto-surg. There was a screen in this room though, it was displaying a star shot with a hauler moving slowly towards the base.

"Your first view of Badivefi, does it look like home."

"Yeah," I shrugged, then I feel foolish shrugging lying down so I tried to sit up. She was surprisingly strong as she pushed me upright, my head swam a little and I felt like I'd been on an all night Quafe bender. I reached again for my ear.

"Can I get implants in this body ?", I felt weird without them, sluggish and dull.

"Of course, you have to wait a standard hour."

"Great, I'll wait, I may as well be prepared."

"Where are you headed pilot ?"

"Zero zero."

"First time ?"

"Yeah," I grinned at her, she really was pretty, dark haired, blue eyed, tall and lithe, just the way I like my girls.

"You be careful out there pilot, zero is full of bad people."

"I know," I flashed her best grin again. "I'm one of them." She laughed that soft laugh again.

"I hope you've got friends out there China, it really is dangerous."

"I've got friends, we're with Band Of Brothers."

She looked away and picked up a small glass plate with a selection of brightly coloured pills on it. She held it out to me and I scooped them off the dish into the palm of my hand, I sniffed at them, but could only smell my own sweat.

"Calmers, " she said. "All legal, they'll settle your mind down, of course, we also do legal combat boosters if that's what you think you might need."

I dry swallowed the pills. "Illegal boosters ?" I thought I saw, or half imagined, a tremor pass across her face, just the faintest ripple.

"Under Royal Khanid law you may be arrested for attempting to procure illegal drugs." She put the dish back on the table with a bang. "Are you asking me for illegals ?"

I swung myself off the bad and stood up. "No, I was just making conversation. How long after the implants are in can I stretch my legs and see what Badifevi has to offer ?"

"Another hour, you can eat and drink after an hour, but don't push it or you will feel like death, and no drugs." She hadn't pushed any buttons that I saw, but with a near silent whirring the auto-surg unfolded itself and began to lay out a line of tiny implant plugs on the steel table next to the bed.

"A nice dinner would be good, real planet steak, none of the vat grown stuff, and some Khanid Vefora red," I paused, she didn't meet my eyes.. "And some company."

"I don't date patients China, besides, today Badifevi, tomorrow Zero or Oipo, a girl in every space base."

I blushed a little, I thought she was going to turn me down, androids always do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Album Review : Inflikted - The Cavalera Conspiracy****

For fans of : Pantera, early Metallica, Lamb Of God

Quick history lesson - there were two brothers, Max was pretty good at shouty vocals and guitar, Iggor was great behind a drum kit, they formed a band called Sepultura which became the biggest band ever to come out of Brazil, sold warehouse loads of records and were very popular in the second wave of thrash metal. then there was a falling out, Max left and formed Soulfly who were pretty good, Sepultura were never as good without Max though.

Now Iggor has also left the Seps and the two brothers are back together as The Cavalera Conspiracy along with Gojira's Joe Duplantier on bass and Soulfly guitarist Marc Rizzo.

Iggor obviously has a large influence on the songwriting of the new band / project, whilst Soulfly and Sepultura were both decent honest hardworking thrash acts, they suffered from being a bit samey. In TCC the brothers and the band are invigorated, the music is superbly fast and heavy but with changes in pace, timing and rhythm that remind of 'Roots Bloody Roots'. He is an inventive drummer, most of the time drummers remain in the background of bands, powering the songs along but essentially blending in. Some few drummers though stand out, Metallica's Lars Ulrich did a lot to introduce off beat drumming into heavy metal that would go on to influence bands as diverse as Meshuggah and Muse. Iggor Cavalera has always had the ability to seamlessly blend tribal rhythm's with near blastbeat style drumming, it makes for much more interesting heavy music to have a man with a broad repertoire on the sticks.

The album then, it is fast, brutal, dark and heavy with lyrics to match...

"ultra-violent come and take control
your soul…
ultra-violent come and crush your soul
the storm…
ultra-violent coming with the storm
your world…
ultra-violent come destroy your world

feel the agony, crawling on your knees
feel the agony and the bloodshed
‘til there’s nothing left to bleed
‘til there’s nothing left to bleed" - from Ultra-Violent.

'Ultra-Violent' (featuring Down & Pantera bassist Rex Brown) is a real mosh pit maker, fast with easily shouted lyrics, then it slows down into a great big choppy beast of a riff. 'Hearts Of Darkness' thunders in traditional thrash style and again has a big choppy breakdown and some great soloing while Max chants "hearts of darkness, where hate is endless, hearts of darkness' where hope is hopeless..." over the top.

Max's son Ritchie sings some of 'Black Ark' before Dad steps in and adds some real venom, title track 'Inflikted' is going to be explosive live, the siren like guitars and light drums suddenly giving way to a huge rolling wall of noise, "Inflikted - show no mercy - motherfucking weakness".

TCC even manage a bit of humour, inadvertently, I challenge you to listen to the two minute blast of 'The Doom Of All Fires' and not think of the rather dafter 'The Roof Is On Fire' by Bloodhound Gang.

It's good to see that yet another older band producing music of this sheer venom, Max and Iggor have rolled back the years with Cavalera Conspiracy, they've lost nothing of their pace and ferocity, but have benefited from years of experience and practise, Inflikted is probably going to be the thrash metal album of the year.
Old's Cool - The Return Of The Rock Brigade

What's going on here then ? Def Leppard and Whitesnake in the charts, Judas Priest and Kiss at Donnington (ok - Download), Classic Rock magazine selling more copies than NME, Magnum, Motorhead and even Uriah Heep are still alive, it's the very welcome resurgence of the old school rock brigade.

Album Review : Songs From The Sparkle Lounge - Def Leppard****

It's the best Def Lep album for ages, dodgy title aside the Leps seem pumped up and invogorated on this, their ninth full studio album. After selling over 60 million albums the Sheffield lads are still a damn fine rock band.

Unlike 'X' which I thought was a bit lacking in imagnation, Sparkle Lounge is choc full of well penned songs and big catchy hooks. Leppard have dragged celebrity mate, and country megastar, Tim McGraw, in to the studio to sing the opening lines on 'Nine Lives'. McGraw opens the song in a very laid back fashion before the Leps crank it up and provide a great sing-a-long chorus in "Nine lives, nine times to die".

' Cmon Cmon' is another fantastic song, it's a throwback (in the very best way) to the great days of Leppard - Hysteria / Adrenalize. Wonderful layered vocals, big drum beats and a another chorus that's so easy and so infectious that you'll be singing along right away.

And then there's 'Love'. Queen had a certain sound, especially on 'Bo Rap', that was produced in the studio, those multi layered choral vocals, it's a precious, hallowed thing in the rock world, and usually other bands don't try something in the same vein for fear of falling flat on their faces. Rick Savage loves Queen though, and he's confident enough in his own songwriting and in the vocal talents of Joe Elliot and the rest of Def Leppard to have a go, and it's fantastic. Elliot pulls off one of the best vocal performances of his career and the rest of the band are on great form. At the end of the album you get a bonus / acoustic pian version of 'Love', that's pretty fantastic as well.

I'm not giving the album 5 stars because there are a couple of tracks that sound rather like fillers but on the whole this is a cracking album, a proper chunk of Yorkshire rock.

Album Review : Princess Alice And The Broken Arrow****

It has never been cool to like Magnum, they have always been a little off the rock centre, and proud of it. When they were dropped from their record label songwriter / guitarist Tony Clarkin said said "Well, we're not actually very commercial", and they're not, that keyboard influenced pomp rock sound isn't for everyone. There was a glorious moment, twenty years ago (and more of that later), when Magnum did force and album, Wings Of Heaven, into the charts, but then they sank back into their level of middling rock obscurity.

Princess Alice was released early last year, so apologies for the exceedingly late review. The cover art harks back to the covers of 'On A Storytellers Night' and 'Chase The Dragon', and the really good news does the music.

Tony Clarkin has always followed his own path when writing songs, he doesn't pander to current fashions and whims, mostly he doesn't mess about and try to push himself into new unfamiliar fields, but what he does do really well is pen great melodic rock. Magnum have always been accomplished musicians, and Bob Catley has a fine voice, on 'Princess Alice' they combine better than they have done for a while.

The album has 11 tracks, all quite long in the classic Magnum style. I think the best two tracks are 'Like Brother We Stand' and the album closer 'You'll Never Sleep', but there isn't really anything weak on the album, everything is of a consistent good quality. What can I say about Magnum, if you already love them (and I do), then you will love this album, and if you don't care for their soft rock style, then this album certainly isn't going to change your mind.

Album Review : Good To Be Bad - Whitesnake****

I have never really been a big fan of Whitesnake, sure I like the old classics like 'Still Of The Night' and 'Fool For Your Loving', but I've always thought that David Coverdale was a bit of a poor man's Robert Plant.

I have approached this album with an open mind though, and what Whitsnake have done here, 11 years after thier last studio album (and much like Leppard and Magnum) have reached back in time to the time in their career when they were at their best, and have tried to reproduce that sound. To me, this sounds almost exactly like the 'Snake of old, the songs are in a very similar style to those on their early albums, Coverdale's vocals sound great and the guitar work, by Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach I think, is great.

High points - the title track 'Good To Be Bad' is awesome, Whitesnake at their best, Coverdale sounds great and the guitars, well, this is what the electric guitar was created for, there are hundreds of crap emo - pop punk bands that ought to have a listen to this so that they realise just what their instruments can actually do. 'Got What You Want' is another stunning up tempo rocker and the ballad 'Summer Rain' shows the softer side of the band to great effect.

Well done to Coverdale and his current version of Whitesnake, you've won over a doubter, good album, great rock / metal.

Album Review : Wings Of Heaven Live - Magnum****

Ah, right, twenty years ago kids, Magnum actually got an album into the charts. Wings Of Heaven was a typically over the top, melodic pomp rock effort, I don't think it was the band's best album. but it did do rather well. Two decades later Magnum toured and performed the album in its entirity, plus a lot of other classic Magnum tracks and some songs from 'Princess Alice' recorded in venues across the UK and France.

I love the sound of the crowd on live albums, that roar always sets me a tingle, sadly here the roar is rather muted, were audiences a bit sparse on the tour ?

Magnum can still produce the goods live though, it's a great run through of some of their classic songs, extended versions of 'Sacred Hour' and 'How Far Jerusalem' serve to spotlight the musical talents of the band, with some excellent and thoughtful solo guitar work from Clarkin and some beautiful and atmospheric keyboards from Mark Stanway.

Wings had a lot of good songs, and Magnum make them sound alive and positive in these concerts, from the soulful 'Wild Swan' to the epic 'Don't Wake The Lion' they're all good.

My only niggles are that in places Stanway's keyboards are not as full and sumptous sounding as they should be, and Bob Catley's added yelps sometimes grate, but otherwise it is a fine live showing from a gret band.

The always compulsory 'Kingdom Of Madness' (oh the memories, one of the first singles I ever bought) closes the double album after nearly two hours of great songs and great playing. 'Wings Live' is a great treat for Magnum fans, and the band are already working on a new album, old's cool ? You betcha.
Would You Like To Write For Yorkshire Soul ?

I would like reviews of....
restaurants etc.

If you want to write an article for the blog then please do, anything would be considered, articles with a Yorkshire interest / bias would be particularly appreciated.

Friday, May 23, 2008

God's own County

An American decided to write a book about famous churches around the world, so he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Rome.

On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read “$10,000 per call”. The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by, what the telephone
was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to Heaven and that for $10,000 you could talk to God. The American thanked the priest and went along his way.

His next stop was in Moscow. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Rome and he asked a nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to Heaven and that for $10,000 he could talk to God. “OK. Thank you,” said the American.

He then travelled to France, Israel, Germany and Brazil. In every church he saw the same golden telephone with a “$10,000 per call” sign under it.

The American finally decided to travel to the UK to see if the British had the same telephone. He arrived in York and again, in the Minster, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read “20p per call”. The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign.
“Reverend, I've travelled all over the world and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to heaven, but everywhere I went the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here”?

The priest smiled and answered, "You're in Yorkshire now son. It's a local call.”

(Thanks to DSP Andy)

Thursday, May 22, 2008 - Watch more free videos
Whatever You Believe, Just Be Nice


"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." - Matthew 7:12


"What is harmful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary." - Talmud, Shabbat, 312


"This is the turn of duty; do naught unto others which could cause you pain if done to you." - Mahabharata, 5, 1517


"Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto other that you would not have them do unto you." - Analects, 15, 23


"Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss." - T’sai Shang Kan Ying P’ien


"Hurt not others in ways you yourself would find hurtful." - Udana-Varga, 5, 18


"That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself." - Didistan-i-dinik, 94, 5


"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." - Sunnah


"Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same." - George Bernard Shaw

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. " - John Donne 1572-1631
Britain's Dumbest Criminal ?

Leeds dwelling scrote Andrew Kellet was convicted by Leeds Magistrates yesterday after the court hear that Kellet shot footage of his crimes and then posted them on YouTube.

The videos included a video of Kellet driving a stolen car at 140 mph, and other vidoes of him refusing to pay taxi drivers and driving away from petrol stations without paying.

Councillor Les Carter, chair of Safer Leeds - a partnership between police and local authorities aimed at cutting crime - said: "Kellett must be in the running to be Leeds' dumbest criminal".

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Come On Chelsea !!!

Please, please, let them win, otherwise my scum fanatic sous chef will be even more unbearable than he has been since they won the premiership.

Update : Oh good grief, what does he know about supporting a team anyway ? He's a Yorkshireman that supports Man U, he ought to be bloody ashamed of himself. Traitor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marilyn Manson's "The New Shit" in American Sign Language

There may be those that think that Manson's music is best appreciated by the deaf anyway......

I went to my doctor the the other day.

The doctor said "Mr Smith, you're going to have to stop masturbating"

"Why ?", I asked.

"Because I'm trying to examine you."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Treats For The Staff

All the girls have worked really hard over the past couple of weeks, so last night I took them out bowling as a treat.......

Strip bowling isn't for everyone, but we had a great night !
MP's To Vote Today On Human / Animal Hybrid Embryo Law

But is it already too late........?

Emo Is Killing Our Kids

Well, if you have seen the press reports following the tragic suicide of Hannah Bond then you would certainly think so.

The links between Emo music and cutting / suicide are very much like the old stories (also beloved of certain newspapers) of the supposed heavy metal suicides which eventually led to failed prosecution attempts against some metal acts, Judas Priest for one. To the very best of my knowledge, no bands ever advocate self harm or suicide, it really isn’t good for your record sales if you get your fans to kill themselves.

I’m not sure that our youth are in any more danger today from the ‘Emo’ phenomenon than they have been from any other musical movement. I work with a great group of positive, happy, friendly teenagers who all seem pretty well balanced. There are obviously dangers though to certain individuals.

I do get a slight feeling though apart a small section of the Emo movement. You don’t have to search too deeply on sites like Vampire Freaks to find photos of kids with scars and fresh wrist wounds, and because you can comment on these pics you quickly notice that certainly is not universal revulsion for these acts, a few other kids offer praise and misjudged encouragement for these acts.

The main band that the mostly right wing press have had their knives out for are My Chemical Romance. MCR for those that don’t know them are a five piece rock fronted by the good looking and charismatic Gerard Way, they wer a rather natty line in black Adam Ant cast offs and sing songs with quite downbeat lyrics.

Growing up I was both a punk and a metalhead in different phases, the music I listened to was often loud and fast and angry, but often in their own way the anthems of the time were quite uplifting and positive. When Judas Priest ripped into “Living After Midnight” or Iron Maiden screamed through “Wrathchild” we were living our life and loving it, fists in the air, heads banging and hair swirling. Or we were pogoing like mental buggers as The Exploited warned us that “Punks Not Dead” or The Dead Kennedys took us on a “Holiday In Cambodia”, they were songs of exuberant life or of pointed rebellion, but they weren’t songs of sadness or self harm.

To be fair, I have never heard an emo song that supports self harm or suicide either. I don’t suppose for a moment that in singing “Blood”, “Teenagers” or “Death” that Gerard Way and the increasingly super rich My Chemical Romance are asking fans to harm themselves, it just isn’t like that. The song writer is just putting across some, and by no means all, of his experiences in his own way.

Perhaps it is teenagers that are already troubled that are often drawn to the seemingly death embracing goth/emo scene. Teenagers who are already a little lonely, low in self esteem, unsure of their place in the world and their relationships with peers, parents and other adults can easily from what we would see as normal social interaction.

Many newspapers have claimed that emo glamorises death. I have a tattoo of a skull on both arms and a tattoo of Death (the Neil Gaiman comic character) on my back, am I glamorising the act of death ? I would say no, but the symbols of death are symbolic, they are strong images and this is what I like about them. I also enjoy a lot of loud music with dark lyrics, but it never makes me sad, quite the opposite in fact, I’m full of the joys of life when circling in the mosh pit and screaming out some evil sounding lyric.

One of my most favourite albums is Murder Ballads by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, I listen to it a lot, I go through little stages where I get slightly obsessed with certain tracks (The Curse Of Milhaven, Where The Wild Roses Grow). Murder Ballads is an album chock full of death, pretty much every character you meet in every song dies horribly before the last note is played, I love it, I know the lyrics to every song, and yet Daily Mail readers will find it hard to believe that I don’t want to murder anybody, strange isn’t it ? The final track on the album is a low key number which is fantastically positive and uplifting, it’s called “Death Is Not The End”. Mr Cave certainly has a sense of humour even if it’s as black as a coal cellar at midnight.

The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, the album that has propelled them to mega stardom in the emo and the wider rock world does seem at first glance (which I understand is how many “journalists” work) to be a little downbeat. I actually find the lyrics to be quite dark and introverted, but this loose concept album is based on the words of man with terminal cancer, tough subject matter and never all that likely to be a barrel of laughs. It comes across to me however as a brave attempt by an intelligent and sensitive young man to make sense of one of life’s most desperate situations. Gerard Way uses his lyrics / poetry to explore feelings and experiences he had as a teenager, it doesn’t sound anything like a clarion call to suicide to me.

However, your reactions and attitude to a song or poem or work of art depend largely on your own mindset, your own background and set of experiences and your understanding of and relationship to the world. So if you came to MCR looking for a thought pattern that resonates with your own feelings on self harm or worse then you might well be able to read something into the lyrics that the song writer never intended.

From “Dead” – “And wouldn’t it be great if we were dead. DEAD!” Context is everything in this case, so if you remember that these words are being spoken by a terminal cancer sufferer it is more understanadable.

Here’s a lyric for you……..

Fear and panic in the air
I want to be free
From desolation and despair
And I feel like everything I saw
Is being swept away
When I refuse to let you go

I can't get it right
Get it right
Since I met you

Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over

Life will flash before my eyes
So scattered and lost
I want to touch the other side
And no one thinks they are to blame
Why can't we see
That when we bleed we bleed the same

I can't get it right
Get it right
Since I met you

Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over
Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over.

Could you read thoughts of despair and suicide into those verses ? I certainly could. Those lyrics are to the song “Map Of The Problematique” by Muse, they are as dark as anything MCR have written but I don’t see any weird suicide accusations being levelled at Matthew Bellamy.

Your home used to be an absolute haven. If you got bullied at school, or if you were just lonely and a misfit then your home could be your castle, with your parents the guardians at the gates. Today though so much of teenagers social livs take place via text messages and across the social networking spectrum of Bebo, MySpace, Facebook, VF, Scrobbler etc., there is no escape to be had at home if people are tormenting you.

A case is going to trial in Missouri where prosecutors will attempt to charge a 49 year old womn with maliciously violating the user agreement of MySpace. Lori Drew’s daughter had an argument with 13 year old Megan Meier, it is alleged that Drew created a fake MySpace persona called Josh Evans. The fake “Josh” then entered into an online relationship with Megan, wooing her online, and the relationship apparently became quite intense. “Josh” then publicly dumped Megan, on her MySpace page, this triggered a flood of abusive messages from “Josh’s” friends and from ome of Megan’s own friends who had believed the things that “Josh” had said.

Megan hung herself in her bedroom and died without ever knowing that “Josh Evans” was not a real person.

The case of another 13 year old, Hannah Bond, is equally disturbing, although without a more thorough knowledge of her life it is harder to judge her actions. As portrayed (again) by the Daily Mail, young Hannah was obsessed with the Emo ‘cult’ and with My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade in particular.

She had self harmed by scratching / cutting and had told her father that this was an Emo initiation. To my mind, if your child if self harming in any way then you have a serious problem which probably requires professional help. Although, as I said above, it’s hard to make judgements about the actions of the people in this case because the reported news has been one the one hand so sensationalised, and on the other so lacking in background.

Hannah killed herself following the sort of argument that thousands of teenagers have with their parent every day. She was refused permission to sleep over at a friend’s house and following the row she hung herself in her bedroom.

Teenagers are vulnerable. They think that they are ‘grown up’ yet they are not, they are not yet adults (in most cases). Most of them lack any real work skills and cannot support themselves. They nearly always fail to understand that the 9 to 5 work that their parents do in order to provide for the family is a worthwhile and honourable thing, work helps you to place yourself in the world. They live almost in a charity situation, dependant on their parents and often coming to resent them at the same time.

If at age 16 someone had asked me what I was, I would have answered “a punk” or “a metalhead” depending which phase I was currently in. If someone asked me that question today then I would answer “a chef”, work defines to a great degree who you are.

Teens with their lack of perspective and the wisdom that comes with age feel everything so intensely that they believe all their experiences at this age are the very best, and the very worst, that life has to offer. When I was a heartbroken boy after the bitter ending of my first “serious” romance I thought that nothing would ever again match that exquisite, bottomless pain. Nothing did until the death of my Mother twenty years later, oh foolish youth.

Kids worry though about all sorts of things, and because they cannot examine their feelings via the lens of a longer life everything to them feels so much sharper. Victories are sweeter, life is to be lived right now to the full, losses are much, much harder to bear.

I think that the most vulnerable teens are probably those with a limited range of interests. Taking myself as an example, I went to Scouts and Army Cadets, I went hiking, camping, caving and sailing, I started a role playing games group, I loved music and went to a lot of gigs. Most of these pastimes took place in slightly or vastly different social circles, so an argument or falling out in one would not seriously damage the rest of my social life.

The more introverted teenager with a tighter circle of friends is liable to be much more at risk if a serious incident or disagreement happens within that group.

An article appeared in the Daily Mail in August 2006 entitled “Emo Cult Warning For Parents”, written by Sarah Sands it painted a hateful and one sided account (imagine that, the Daily Mail being hateful and one sided !) of Emo culture with wildly over the top trumpeting of the supposed “celebration of self harm” that she claimed Emo embraced.

The article was widely mocked by members of the Emo ‘community’, and by Goths who also came in for a bashing in the article.

“So the kids are wearing black and writing bad poetry. Would you prefer that they were out mugging old ladies ? It’s just teenage pretension, most go through it and come out fine at the other end, and as for the self harming, some people will do that whatever music they listen to” – J, York.

“Because of a side fringe and black clothing, people assume you self harm, it’s like saying that all chavs mug people and all police eat doughnuts” – Suzie, Surry.

Both these comments were written on the Mail’s own website by annoyed readers.

So is Emo really killing our kids ? Of course not, it’s a musical style and fashion statement that Mum and Dad won’t like and won’t understand, we all rebelled and had our own cliques, it’s part of understanding who you are.

Some children kill themselves and they have never listened to My Chemical Romace, Panic At The Disco, Bring Me The Horizon etc. Other child suicides will be immersed in Emo culture, or metalheads, or moshers, or whatever next year’s teen craze will be.

Teenagers are a product of their entire experience and environment, just as adults are. If they are self harming or thinking of suicide it is because something in their world, or in their perception of their world, is seriously wrong. A music lyric may even be the final prompt that puts a knife across a wrist or ties a noose in a long unused skipping rope, but what has happened in that child’s life that has led them to see a lyric in that light to begin with ?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Animator vs. Animation

Neat animation by Alan Becker

It might take a minute or so to load, but it's good.

(thanks to The Lurker)
This Is The Side That The Grass Is Greener On

I was chatting with some of the girls during service last week and they were describing their desire to move away from "dull, boring old Ilkley". Now I'd have to admit that old Ilkers might not be the fast moving, up tempo place to live, but it is beautiful.

I love travelling and I have been lucky enough to see beautiful places all over the world (and the odd hole as well), I was even marginally tempted by Australia for a while, but whilst all those places were lovely when you're on holiday, when you're living there and stuck in a hot and sweaty kitchen all places are pretty much one and the same. Sometimes people move or even emigrate because they think that they can leave all their problems behind them and begin afresh in a new place, for some folk that might work, but other people find that they are their own problem, it was never the location that was the trouble.

I feel a connection to the landscape here, just looking up at the moors gives me a sense of peace and of belonging. Sometimes when I'm up really early in the summer a light mist lies along the river with the trees shrouded and ghostly, as the sun rises through it the scene has an ethereal, spectral beauty.

At this time of year, as the sun sets beyond the top of Wharfedale it reflects in all the windows of the houses along Skipton Road setting them ablaze with glorious golden light. Later as the valley falls into darkness, house lights glow amidst the trees on the other side of the valley and it calls to mind Tolkien's descriptions of Hobbiton and Bree.

My favourite place in the world I think is stood high up on Cam High Road, looking back down into Kettlewell an down Wharfedale. The dry stone walls in the valley bottom both mark out and are one with the landscape. Trees in strong and vibrant green stand guard around the village and are dotted along the valley. Where the valley sweeps up to the moors there are more trees and stands of gorse which early in the year will explode into vivid yellow flowers, here and there are set aside meadows in which delicate wildflowers flourish throughout the summer.

Sounds will reach you on the road, sheep bleat, the buzzing of a farmer's quad bike, the haunting calls of golden plover and nearly always the wind, whether soft and cooling on a hot summer's day, or biting and freezing and carrying with it rain or sleet so hard that it stings any exposed skin, and being Yorkshire, this can be high summer as well.

I love travelling, but I love being here as well, the Dales are in my soul.

The Sound Of Approaching Thunder

Apologies to any alarmed Ilkley / 'Dingham residents, I've been running again, well, plodding actually. Have you noticed that when you were a kid you used to be able to run lightly, seeming to barely touch the ground, but now when I run all I can hear is my big feet banging down onto the ground.

I managed to run to 'Dingham and back yesterday, well, that is I ran nearly all the way, that steepish hill up to Nesfield was a bit of a struggle.
I'll Raise A Glass Of That

I would like to recommend to you the rather fantastic Golden Glory Ale from Hall & Woodhouse brewers in Dorset.

It is a traditional beer with an infusion of peach petals and it tastes fantastic, the peach gives a light and fruity tang to the ale and makes it very drinkable.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leeds Fans Ecstatic After Howson Double

Carlisle hearts were broken this evening when 19 year old midfielder Jonathan Howson struck twice to send Leeds United to Wembley for the Third Division League One play off final.

Let's hope we have more luck than last time we went to football central, I still shudder to remember that afternoon vs. Villa.
What Happened To Yorkshire Then ?

We were awesome in the opening match, then rather average against Notts, and now pathetic against Durham. It doesn't help that the farcical 12th man situation has meant that marvellous Matty Hoggard won't be playing for either Yorkshire or England. What other sport would allow such a stupid situation ?
New Staff

Amelia, she's nice, say hello !










Two builders (Dave and Stuart) are seated either side of a table in a rough pub when a well-dressed man enters, orders a beer and sits on a stool at the bar.

The two builders start to speculate about the occupation of the suit...

Dave: - I reckon he's an accountant.

Stuart: - No way - he's a stockbroker.

Dave: - He ain't no stockbroker! A stockbroker wouldn't come in here!

The argument repeats itself for some time until the volume of beer gets the better of Dave and he makes for the toilet. On entering the toilet he sees that the suit is standing at a urinal. Curiosity and the several beers get the better of the builder...

Dave: - Scuse me.... no offence meant, but me and my mate were wondering what you do for a living?

Suit: - No offence taken! I'm a Logical Scientist by profession

Dave: - Oh! What's that then?

Suit: - I'll try to explain by example .... Do you have a goldfish at home?

Dave: - Er .... mmm ... well yeah, I do as it happens!

Suit: - Well, it's logical to follow that you keep it in a bowl or in a pond.

Which is it?

Dave: - It's in a pond!

Suit: - Well then it's reasonable to suppose that you have a large garden then?

Dave: - As it happens, yes I have got a big garden

Suit: - Well then it's logical to assume that in this town if you have a large garden then you have a large house?

Dave: - As it happens I've got a five bedroom house ... built it myself!

Suit: - Well given that you've built a five bedroom house it is logical to assume that you haven't built it just for yourself and that you are quite probably married?

Dave: - Yes I am married, I live with my wife and three children.

Suit: - Well then it is logical to assume that you are sexually active with your wife on a regular basis?

Dave: - Yep! Four nights a week!

Suit: - Well then it is logical to suggest that you do not masturbate very often?

Dave: - Me? Never

Suit: - Well there you are! That's logical science at work!

Dave: - How's that then?

Suit: - Well from finding out that you had a goldfish, I've told you about your sex life!

Dave: - I see! That's pretty impressive... thanks mate!

Both leave the toilet and Dave returns to his mate.

Stuart: - I see the suit was in there.

Did you ask him what he does?

Dave: - Yep! He's a logical scientist!

Stuart: - What's that then?

Dave: - I'll try and explain.

Do you have a goldfish?

Stuart: - Nope

Dave: - Well then, you're a wanker.

(thanks to Jan again)
LUFC - Must Do Better Tonight

As one of the pundits said earlier in the week...."The difference between these two clubs is that Carlisle would really like to go up, but Leeds have to go up."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Introducing My New Sous Chef.......

There are so many wrong things in this photo of chef Phil that I hardly know where to begin, he's certainly a ladies man, even if the lady is made of latex and sporting a dubious porn star 'tache.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunshiners Haymakers

The sun came out and so did the customers, we enjoyed a very busy weekend, I've had about 6 hours sleep in four nights but hey ho, I can sleep in the Winter. On the formal dining side we did 50 on Friday, 60 on Saturday and 70 on Sunday, with most of those having breakfast and lunch as well. Plus the weather brought hordes of casual golfers, I'm shattered today having worked about 55 hours over the three days.

Cheers to all the staff, Georgie did a 12 hour Chef's shift on Saturday, cheers Georgie. All the rest of the gang including new girl Amelia did well, thanks.

The weekend also threw up the strangest excuse I've ever heard for not wanting to work a shift "I'm having a fake tan and it won't be dry in time". April, you don't need to turn orange to be beautiful.

What else happened ? We found that that Megan can't peel carrots to save her life, Amelia possibly had even weirder taste in music than me, and Lucy found God, apparently he'd been round the corner on table 7 waiting patiently for his fishcakes.
FMB's ? I'd Say So

Britney Spears

Sunday, May 11, 2008

WAR !!!

We're at war in Pardus, i's time once again for the evil Human Federation and their allies to get a sound kicking.

It won't be me doing the kicking of course, whenever war breaks out in the game I have a tendency to get shot down and killed, repeatedly. So I'll just continue trading and try to support the war effort that way.

The kills board this evening is a gratifying shade of Imperial red, death to the Federation !

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cock Of The Week - Dog Owners

Not all dog owners obviously, because there are many, many good pet owners who look after their animals and the mess their animals leave behind, but, there is a certain species of dog owner whose actions are so stupid as to make me want to harm them with a blunt and heavy object.

Many dog owners conscientiously clear up their dog mess, they scoop it up into little bags and then either take it home or drop it in the bin, thanks for that folks, you're doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do and we appreciate your efforts in keeping our streets and parks clear of excrement.

Then, along comes dog owner type two, who also conscientiously scoops up their pet's mess into a little bag, but then hurls the little bag into a ditch / tree / hedge to leave collections of deeply unpleasant parcels festooning the greenery like some perverted festive decoration.

You are morons, you are horrible people, you are Yorkshire Soul's "Cock Of The Week!"
Be warned, if are seen commiting this foul act, a large, angry, beardy bloke will force you to eat up your dog mess with a teaspoon.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wildhearts News

It looks like the two promised Wildhearts albums this year might well both be covers albums, the title for the first album is "Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before Vol 1" and the tracklisting is as follows....

Unsung (Helmet)
The World Comes Tumblin' (The Distillers)
Understanding Jane (The Icicle Works)
Waiting Room (Fugazi)
Geez Louise (The Unband)
Ice Hockey Hair (Super Furry Animals)
Rocket 69 (The Lee Harvey Oswald Band)
Possum Kingdom (Toadies)
Rearrange You (Baby Chaos)
Pep Talk (The Descendents)
Battleship Chains (Georgia Satellites)
Carmelita (Warren Zevon)

The album gets a digital release on the 19th of May, and will be released on Cd sometime during the summer. There are a number of tracks up on the Wildhearts MySpace page.

Wildhearts livethis year ? Confirmed so far are Bulldog Bash (headlining), Download and Hard Rock Hell (headlining) which takes place over the first weekend in December, anyone fancy a metal weekend at Pontins ?
Album Review : The Works - The Wildhearts****

This is a Warner Music 3cd compilation featuring the first half of The Wildhearts career, it includes about half of the albums "Earth Vs. The Wildhearts" and "P.H.U.Q", and some more stuff from the previous compiliation/b-side albums "Fishing For Luckies" and "Don't Be Happy....Just Worry." So why would you buy it ?

Well, for a triple cd it's a pretty fair price, Amazon was selling for £13, you get 45 tracks to listen so if you think you might like The Wildhearts because you've heard the odd song or two, this would be a fair introduction to the band.

I've got it because I very rarely buy singles, roughly a third of the 45 tracks are songs that have rarely been released elsewhere so for a Wildhearts completist it's a good buy. If you already own some of the more obscure Wildhearts back catalogue releases, you might well want to compare tracklistings before shelling out on this one.

It is a real shame though that the sleeve insert contains no information whatsoever on the band, as Dante Bonutto is credited on the sleeve surely a writer with his depth of knowledge of the British metal scene could have put together a short bio of the band ? Or maybe it's just to save money. Oddly, nearly all the writing credits as listed on the sleeve liner are made out to Walls ? Who is he then ? I thought ginger was the main writer, assisted by CJ and the others. Perhaps this is due to legal problems, do The Wildhearts no longer own their own songs ? It wouldn't really surprise me.
Hope Your Weekend Rocks

I was more than a bit grumpy after finishing work on Sunday night, but when I logged on to MySpazz and got this message from Jan it cheered me up just a bit. Here's to sexy goth girls, cartoon or not.
For One Night Only - We're A Proper Restaurant

On Saturday the Captain held a social mixed golf day followed by a meal, and I was allowed to choose a menu for the night, so......

Sweetcorn soup with roasted cherry tomatoes and chilli oil.

Grilled goat's cheese on a garlic croute with balsamic dressed leaf salad and grilled peppers.

Duck confit on mustard mash with smoked bacon and leek sauce.

Chicken pot roasted with lemon, thyme, basil, white wine and olive oil.

Lightly spiced grilled salmon on a tomato and herb sauce.

Warm chocolate brownie with steeped fruits, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

Fruit baskets with chantilly cream.

Ably served by Rob...

...and Georgie.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bouquets And Brickbats

I often write about the staff here on the blog, and everyone that turned in this weekend did a stirling job, but my most important staff member hardly gets a mention on here so it's time to redress the balance.

My wife Meg keeps the business going, in addition to running the bar and organising the bar staff she does nearly all the table setting, which is a lot of work every day, she waits on when we're having a rush in the kitchen, she clears tables and often pops in to the kitchen to lend a hand when we're getting a bit behind. As well as all this Meg now does all the bookwork which used to take me hours, and I must say she's far better at it than I am and far more organised. I really couldn't keep the place going without her, she's wonderful.

So, Bank Holiday weekend, we've got 70 booked for a golden wedding anniversary, and two of the staff call / text to say they are not coming in. Now this year I have taken on more waiting staff than we have ever had, last summer turned into an endless pain for me, not enough staff and far too many hours worked, this year I'm not putting up with it, it's no more Mr. Nice Guy I'm afraid, you blow me out on a hugely important day like yesterday and we are parting company right away.

Because I had to get staff in to cover yesterday at short notice (big thanks to Georgie !) I ended up without anyone to clear up or serve the junior team in the evening, thus although the function service finished at 4pm or so, I didn't finish clearing tables and washing up until past 9.30pm, I was not a happy chef.

I have a waiting list of kids wanting jobs this year, I'll be making a couple of phone calls later on to replace the girls who are leaving.

The rest of the weekend staff worked really well, head girl / chefling April did well as always, Georgie is becoming a real star, Rob, James, Paula and Lucy all did well and chef Phil had put in a tremendous amount of prep work on Friday making tarts and veg and potatoes and sauces and he's working today so that I can go for a day off with my friends and family, cheers Phil.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ilkley Ward Result

Bruce, Vaughan - Liberal Democrat 553

Dundas, Andrew Peter Alan - Labour 719

Hawkesworth, Anne Gillian Conservative - 3,245

Websdale, Bryan Green Party - 526

Total electorate entitled to vote 11,158

Total number of ballot papers received(including rejected papers) 5062

Percentage poll 45

Number of rejected ballot papers 19

Bradford Council site with full results

Less than half the electorate bothered to turn out, if you can't be bothered to vote, please do not inflict your opions about politics / government / immigration / global warming / pretty much everything really, on anyone else. You have your chance to change things at the ballot box so don't moan down the pub if you didn't get off your arse on Thursday.

I voted for the Green Party candidate, who finished last but within touching distance of the Lib Dems and not far short of the Nu-Labour candidate. I think I would prefer a proportional representation system for voting, although this would probably allow the BNP to get more seats than the two it currently holds, it would also allow more Greens and Lib Dems onto Bradford Council.

Bradford Council Seats

36 seats Labour
35 seats Conservative
14 seats Liberal Democrat
3 seats Green Party
2 seats British National Party
Serious, Thoughtful, Dedicated Politician Wins In London

Ha ha ha ha, oh deary me, Red Ken must have been really bad if you were willing to elect this clown. We eagerly await Boris' next episode of foot-in-mouth, he is the archetypal political accident waiting to happen.