Friday, April 30, 2004

Somewhere Only We Know

You'd never think a band consisting of only a vocalist, keyboardist, and drummer could really make such powerful music live, but Keane pulled it off brilliantly Tuesday night at their Glasgow QMU gig. For a band that has only released one single, they have already developed a dedicated group of fans, and rightfully so.

I first saw Keane open for the The Thrills last year. The opening band set typically is an opportunity to get a beer and chat with your mates but Keane captured the attention of the entire venue with their sound. When I heard they were touring on their own, I jumped at the chance to see them. And they did not disappoint!

I can safely say that vocalist Tom Chaplin is one of most amazing singers I have ever heard live. He unashamedly belts out his vocals and was always note perfect. Their songs are quite simply beautiful, and the track Somewhere Only We Know is possibly one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard. I have no doubt that this will have been my last chance to see Keane in such an intimate venue. In fact, the next time I see them will be a T in the Park on the NME Stage. Needless to say I am very excited about the second week of May when their first album, Hopes And Fears, is released. The new Ash and Morrissey albums are out the same week.

Monday, April 26, 2004

The Next Day

Lifting awkward pieces of furniture up four flights of stairs has resulted in aches from muscles I didn't even know I had. Since we don't actually get full possession of the new flat until possibly next week (all of our stuff crammed in the living room for now), I had a terrible sleep on a pull-out bed that contains metal bars under the mattress that all seemed to find a way to nestle themselves into my joints. So a little more worse for wear than usual on this fine sunny Monday morning.

Leaving the old flat was quite difficult. It's sad to see a place that was the source of so much life emptied and dark. The final walk through the door is always tough, looking upon very familiar views for the final time. One chapter closes, another begins.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Final Blog from Bellwood Street

The majority of the boxes have been packed and moved, and now it's just a matter of putting away the bits and bobs and give the place a final scrub. And so will end life at the flat that has been home for the past 14 months.

I type this as per usual on the computer next to the back window where the sun is shining down and making everything outside look just wonderful. I've always enjoyed this spot, and will very much miss the view. Despite the odd problem, the vast majority of our stay here has been excellent. This has been by far my most favourite place that I have ever stayed at. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic to leave it behind, but saying that am also looking forward to making the new flat "home". Hoping to enjoy part of this day outside, so I'd best get to it!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Get Me A Ticket For An Airplane

Have finally settled down after a busy wee week. As much as I enjoyed the Franz Ferdinand concert, it resulted in me not getting to bed until 1am, and I had to get up for a 4am flight to London. While that was among the worst wake-up calls I’ve ever had to go through, the 3 days in London (well, Surrey to be specific) was a good mix of work training and time spent in the pubs with a couple of friends whom I had been recently working with back in Fife.

Visited the town of New Lanark last weekend, a World Heritage Site that was once the home of Britain’s largest cotton-spinning complex. Robert Owen, the manger of the mill in the 1800’s, was a bit of a utopian and as such provided his workers with housing, nurseries, adult education, sick pay and my personal favourite – the social centre named the “New Institute for the Formation of Character”. This type of care for the workers during this time was quite unprecedented, and New Lanark was considered a model social experiment throughout Europe. After the mill closed, the place had fallen into disrepair but has recently been restored as a series of museums which captures the old way of life, combined with modern housing built into the old buildings. Definitely a place worth seeing and spending a lazy Sunday in. The village is also in close proximity to the Falls of Clyde and an adjoining nature reserve. The reserve contains a pair of peregrine falcons, and we were quite lucky to spot them both through the help of a ranger and his trusty telescope. Very impressive, and I definitely got the impression they were not birds to be messed with.

How you know you’ve become more British: Indian curries and sausage suppers are the takeaway of choice. Forget pizza or street meat. Oh, and you use the term “takeaway”.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Take Me Out

Many of you by now have heard the buzz about Glasgow's Franz Ferdinand, one of the more refreshingly original rock bands to emerge for ages. I mean, who'd of thought rock music could be so danceable? We somehow managed to get tickets to their homecoming gig at a mere £8 by being incredibly on the ball and buying right after they announced it. The ticket touts were asking for up to £40 by the time the sold out show arrived.

Normally I would go on about how good the show was and all the rest of it, but this time I can prove it! BBC Radio 1 was at the gig and aired it live. Better yet, the BBC website has put the show online. If you fancy giving the show a listen, click here. Trust me, it was bloody brilliant.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Wicked and Weird

When I first started to write this thing that has become H&MS, I always said I’d try to keep the music and movie feedback to a minimum. However, this entry will contain nothing but, so my apologies in advance.

First up, the Buck 65 concert I saw a few weekends back. We caught him at one of my favourite music venues, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, a smaller venue which has hosted many well-known bands over the years on their way to bigger things. Oasis was famously signed after being spotted at King Tut’s by a record exec back in the early 90’s. Anyway, for the uninitiated Buck 65 is from Nova Scotia and categorised as a hip hop artist but I think it would be more accurate to say his music is poetry recited to a mix of country and hip hop beats. Our friends over at the Juno Awards clearly had no idea how to categorise him either, as he recently won the Juno for best Alternative Album of the Year (for Talkin’ Honky Blues, a truly excellent album). If the term "alternative" was vague back in the 90’s, what is it supposed to represent now? But I digress. His music is superb, and his songs tell the tales of various characters with the vividness of the best short stories. The cleverness of the lyrics rank up there with Morrissey in my esteem. And most importantly, his live show is incredible. I believe back in Canada, he tours with a band but oversees he is a one-man show (as he called it, “three-star karaoke”). The man can certainly engage the crowd - the anecdotes and the banter were just fantastic. Highly recommended, album and live show both.

Last night we caught New York’s Scissor Sisters at the Barrowlands. I guess they could be best summed up as a cross between 70’s Elton John, the Bee Gees and the Village People. The camp factor was high, but the fact of the matter was that the songs were solid and incredibly sing-able. They clearly know how to entertain (though the crowd was so adoring they could do no wrong) and they genuinely appeared to be having a good time on stage which is always infectious. They also do a cracking cover of Comfortably Numb which makes the Pink Floyd version seem so deadly dull.

As for movies, I finally managed to see the final piece of Lucas Belvaux’s Trilogie. The individual films (titled in the UK as One, Two, and Three) are a suspense, comedic farce, and drama respectively and can each be viewed as individual films in their own right. However, the twist is that each film takes place during the same week in Grenoble, France and the main characters of one film are the minor characters of the others. And each film contains scenes from the other two films, but when viewed in the context of the film you are watching take on a completely different slant. It’s only after seeing all three films that you fully understand the motivations of the characters and the story as a whole. What you think is going on after one film will not be what you think after seeing the entire trilogy. An absolutely brilliant vision, and well worth committing the time to.