2013: A Year Through My Ear

What's up folks? It's almost the end of the year and before we go ape-shit with the yule log let's just take five minutes to reflect upon some smashing albums that hath been bestowed to us. Or at least, here are my top ten.   Arctic Monkeys - AM       Bonobo - North Borders       QOTSA - ...Like Clockwork       Peace - In Love       Editors - Weight of your Love       Beady Eye - BE       Dinosaur Pile-Up - Nature Nurture       Local Natives - Hummingbird       Cage The Elephant - Melophobia       Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are iframe{ margin:0 auto; } p{ text-align:center; }

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Las Fallas Fellas Part 3: “Have you checked in his sock?”

The end is in sight amigos. We are but a couple of days away from our flight back to Blighty. You join us in our apartment in Valencia on a Wednesday night following a day of dossing about in the sun. Be sure to check out part one and two to ensure you’re up to speed on our shenanigans.   It was time for dinner, something that we all very much enjoyed. Showered and refreshed, we headed to a Tapas bar we had recommended to us, that we had tried and failed to be seated at on two nights previously. A short walk away, we soon realised that we were out of luck once more. As we gathered outside in a huff, scratching our heads at the prospect of finding somewhere half decent without a knowledge of just about anything. Then Luna, our apartment rep walked around the corner and took us ...

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Las Fallas Fellas Part 2: “Bloody hell you look wonky.”

You join us a few days into our Valencian vacation. We’d already drank enough for a lifetime and I’d broken a radiator. For more information, you should read up here. Now, where were we...   As we were on the morning of Tuesday, we realised this was the last possible day we could catch the Mascletta and so we had our alarms set for half past eleven to beat the crowds. However, it was already half past eight and, instead of getting three hours kip and refusing to get up, a couple of us decided to just battle through and stay up. We'd soon have it proved to us, if our birth certificates couldn't have confirmed this already, that we weren't eighteen any more. I attempted to try and kill some time and document some of this blog but, due to the amount of juniper-based spirit still running riot in my system, ...

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Las Fallas Fellas Part 1: “My chaperone’s radiator blues.”

It had been just over a year since our last visit to Valencia, and we were about to return with a vengeance. There were a few noticeable differences between this excursion and the former, including the line-up. This year, it was just us gents. Whilst this was nice in theory, we hadn't quite worked out whether we would actually make it home alive; due to both the lack of female restraint and also that we were visiting Valencia during Las Fallas. This is a festival that we didn't know a great deal about other than a few YouTube videos we'd seen. Each of these videos had epic orchestral Band of Brothers style soundtracks and seemed to consist entirely of exploding firecrackers, and swathes of people losing their shit. It was like Bastogne without the bloodshed. But that's all we knew. We were going to a city where everyone wants to ...

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Deconstructing the Tune Repository

About three months ago, I undertook a mammoth task. Well, perhaps that’s a little misleading; this task didn’t come from somebody else - this wasn’t a required duty, absolutely nothing to do with my employment and, truth be told, wasn’t going to benefit anybody else. But that’s my spare time in a nutshell; doing things that take a teensy bit longer than the eventual reward justifies. (As this article exemplifies perfectly.)   So what was the mammoth undertaking? Was I really going to bury a hairy elephant? Well, in short, no. They’re instinct, soz. Also, only the woolly mammoth was hairy. Personally, I like to think a mammoth is a moth’s equivalent of a Queen bee. But what was on the cards? Perhaps training for a marathon? That sounds feasible; it’s not as if I’ve spent the last eighteen months sat down... I get out of breath just saying the word “jog.” ...

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Now The Olympics Have Blown Over…

Now that the London Olympics have blown over, I feel it’s time to write a few words about them. You’d forgotten they even happened, hadn’t you? As our mainstream news media isn’t completely saturated with Olympic fever any more and we’re back to the ‘classic’ murders and kidnappings from the pre-Olympic era, everyone has all but forgotten the momentous month we had recently. You couldn’t glance at a single publication without Sebastian & Coe slyly raping your eyes, as everybody and all of their dogs put pen to paper in honour or the London games. But here I am, fashionably late, to remind you that they did actually happen, and, although my blood boils at people milking things to death (by that I am not referring to poorly-trained dairy farmers, more so people who turn their birthday into a birthweek; you’re not the bloody Queen, come on now) I do ...

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The Moolah Hoo-Ha

I’ve been thinking about money a lot recently, and I’m not entirely sure why. Despite the recession (which feels like it has been going on for a lifetime), I’m not in immediate financial peril, and for someone who is in their first real graduate job living in London, I think I’m doing okay. It’s the lottery that’s done this; moreover the Euromillions. I’ve always ignored these prize-draw things - I’m dubious enough handing a quid over to a pub-quiz maestro, and for that Great British pound I get the privilege of all my competitors in one room. Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of skill required to triumph at a pub-quiz, but still you’d fancy your chances there over an eight-stage raffle with all of Europe.   And so a week or two ago, I took the plunge into Euromillions, tempted by the £67 million jackpot. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t get me anywhere, and ...

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The Wild NHS Chase

The NHS. Doctors, nurses, and their associates. We don’t like to see them. Nothing necessarily against the individual, but it isn’t all that often you pop in to see one just for a chat and a cup of tea, is it? There’s usually some form of pain or discomfort that takes us to our GP, and (the vast majority of) people don’t tend to get their kicks from pain or discomfort. I found myself in this position, and somewhat foolishly thought getting seen by a GP, or in fact anyone with a relevant professional opinion, would be straightforward. Think again.   I’d had a stiff neck and shoulder for a couple of days by the time I thought about doing something about it. I’m one of those people that will usually just wait and see how things pan up, and something like a stiff neck which I deduced was probably due to ...

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Moving, Just Keep Moving.

Moving, just keep moving. Til’ I don’t know what I’m saying. I’ve been moving so long, the days all feel the same.   I’ll break it to you now, this post has nothing to do with Supergrass, but there’s always time for a plug. I haven’t quite worked out what it is about that track that has it cemented in the “Best Supergrass Song” slot in my memory banks, but I’m pretty sure it’s all down to the bass and piano in the chorus. I can’t sit still to it, I really can’t.   Anyway, onwards to the main feature, all about moving house in London Town. You may have heard horror stories, or you may have heard nothing at all (I’d go to a Doctor about that if I were you. In fact, you’re probably used to the fact you’re deaf by now, don’t worry about it.), but I’m going to share my ...

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Valencia ahoy! Part 3: “I’d Tapas That.”

Cor, is this thing still going? Haven’t we reached the end yet? This has evolved into an arduous novel. Like a government dossier; when the proposal is drawn up it seems entirely necessary, if not vital. However as the project draws to a close it becomes apparent that nobody is going to pay attention to it, and a chemical weapons expert may mysteriously die. Well, I say mysterious, he probably got bashed and smashed by our friend Foon who is somehow still alive in this final episode of Valencia Ahoy! In part one (click here!) we arrived in this glorious city and set up running jokes about our friends bashing and smashing, saw some touristy bits (well, one or two) and got drunk. In part two (click here!), we got hammered some more (Foon got smashed instead) and we wept our way through a gruelling hangover. This was becoming a theme. You ...

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Valencia ahoy! Part 2: “That Had A Computer In It.”

Hello again you cheeky chaps and chaplets (and chaplains, if there are any amongst you, however if you’re wearing shotgun chaps you can gtfo.) You’ve arrived back here for part two of our European adventure, and just in time, too! (I don’t know what that means or implies.) In part one (click here!) we arrived in Valencia, went out on the immediate lash, wallowed in self-pity, went to the Botanical gardens, ordered too much food accidentally, and visited the science museum. You join us at around 6pm on the Saturday, my birthday (irrelevant), following our cold and blustery walk back from the science museum. As soon as we had made it back to the hostel, shit hit the fan. There was a sleeping bag on the bed above Foon. I’ve never seen him bash and smash so angrily. He was flipping beds over and even threw Charlie through a window. Up ...

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Valencia ahoy! Part 1: Aseos Buenos!

I had been waiting for this week for quite a while now. Everyone loves going on holiday, even if it's just for a few days, and I am no exception. You can usually tell when someone at work is going to another country a few degrees warmer than Britain in the next couple of weeks; because they fall into a trance. Nothing is their problem, they “can't start anything new” and “just have to tie off some loose ends” - which essentially means doing bugger all bar daydreaming about their upcoming venture and trying to drop it into conversation wherever possible. It gets to the point that your co-workers are probably more excited that you're going on holiday than you are. I wriggled through London on the tube and out to Gatwick on the train to meet my pals who had clambered out of deepest darkest Swindon. We were off to ...

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Sunday’s Ground Gears

The title of this post goes as far to suggest that whilst Sunday is the day of rest for misguided Christians, it is always without fail a day of frustration for myself. But alas, it isn’t. I don’t spend my Sundays doing a great deal as a precautionary measure; the fewer things I come into contact with, the fewer things can rub me up the wrong way. It just happened to be this particular Sunday that a couple of things buried themselves in my skull and tagged themselves under ‘annoyances.’ Maybe I was especially succeptable to irritations that day (unlikely, I just have to think about the possibility of it raining within the next few months and I’m fuming), or maybe it had come to my attention that I should write a blog post and set about observing potential subjects. I’ve got a post in the pipeline about my recent experiences ...

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This is a Circle Line service to: Where you started.

Oh hai everyone. Remember me? I know, it’s been a while hasn’t it? I’m like that Great Uncle you only ever see at weddings and funerals who knows everything about you but yet you haven’t the foggiest who he is or how he has anything to do with you. All you know is that he is one of the messiest eaters of sausage rolls you’ve ever seen, and he is in dire need of a nasal-hair-trimmer. Well no, I’m not like that at all. I don’t know anything about you, my nose hair hasn’t reached embarrassing lengths yet (although there’s probably more up there than on my brow), and I can pack away a dozen sausage rolls with minimal crumbage. It’s probably the fact I douse them in brown sauce prior to engulfing that binds all the pastry flecks, but back on track, it has been a fair time since ...

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…And I’m Feeling Good.

On Sunday night I'm going to make one hell of a mess in my underpants in a field near Reading. I haven't quite deduced whether it will be defecation through amazement or ejaculation through excitement but one end is sure to blow. What's happening on Sunday? Reading Festival closes with the help of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard. “Whoop-de-do”, I hear the naysayers utter, “maybe they can play the same set we've seen for the past two years including both Wembley gigs and the Glastonbury headline slot from last year.” Well, yes, maybe at first glance this shouldn't be as clearer contender as it is for my highlight of the weekend. This will be my eleventh time seeing the Teignmouth trio, and like many have fallen out with them a little with the most recent album. It is also notable that the set-list has been pretty solid for the ...

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Vancouver ahoy! Part 4: Panther Time.

Nearly four months ago, I set off across the Canadian Rockies (yes, and all the other piddly mountain ranges squeezed in nearby) with a chum en route to Vancouver. You join me here for the fourth and final installment of the adventure; the memories of which are slipping away from me like something slippery. (I know, what have I become?) In part one, we completed the journey from Alberta to British Columbia whilst ensuring we got involved in every bizarre situation we possibly could. Part two covered our first night in the city, losing beer pong competitions and insulting local bands; and the third wedge of prose took care of the following day and all the tomfoolery we partook in. Now you join us at approximately 6pm, camped out in the back of Josh's car/van in an all-night parking lot that had become our home. In but a few hours we ...

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Vancouver ahoy! Part 3: There’s Something In The Wheel Arch

Let's not beat about the bush; every instalment of this series is written further and further away from the actual event itself, and subsequently this third helping had potential to be extremely hazy indeed. But as a wise man once said, “shit happens.” On with the show! In part one, we'd just about completed the interesting journey from Banff to Vancouver, part two covered our first night in town, and now we were on our way up to Whistler to shred some gnar. We managed to find the highway that would take us all the 110 kilometres up the coast to our destination, and spirits were high as we drove over an enormous bridge with a great view of the harbour on our left. Then, BOOF. “What was that?” BOOF BOOF BOOF BOOF. “It's coming from the back right of the car.” BOOF BOOF BOOF. “I think there's something in the ...

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