Aw F***!!!!!!!!!!!!

Xmas canx

Oh joy … not. Just found out that the customer who owe me my entire December takehome pay (& who were most of the work I had lined up in January) have gone bust.

Will now be spending this evening trying to giftwrap naught-but-smoke-&-mirrors, and juggle zeros with a calculator without the lights on.

Tell me something to cheer me up, folks, ’cause I soddin’ need it.

What are you staring at? . . . Oh. Oops!

cropped-embarrassed_polar_bear_w1 Embarrassed? Me? Oh hell yeah.

One of the “problems” with headphones/earpieces and music is that I tend to lose myself in the song. Frequently that results in my singing along. I have a terrible singing voice, but what the hell, even I can’t hear it with the earbuds in.
Occasionally though, I find myself doing it in company. Not good.
This morning I have been sat in the canteen area of the school DsSis has her Orchestra practice at.
Noticed I was being stared at. Realised I was singing along. Looked down at my Walkman to see what the song was.

Oh shit.

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More Numbers: let’s be Social about this.

DsD Social

1: sunny afternoon (much to the relief of the host).
2: invitees who sent their apologies for absence.
3: barbeques lit at once to keep this lot fed.
4: RRers in attendance.
5: long-suffering spouses / other adults who put up with the motley crew you see here.
6: empty wine bottles in the recycle bin this morning (don’t even ask about beer bottles!).
7: vegetable kebabs left uneaten at the end of the day (everything else got wolfed).
8: kids running free round the DsD garden.
9: hours the event lasted before the last of us crashed out.

My thanks to saneshane, DaddyPig, gordonimmel and their families for the wonderful time I had – I dunno about anyone else …
Therefore, huge apologies if my vigilance to the cooking detail to mean I was a less-than-attentive host to our guests.
And my even huger apologies (as well as my undying love and admiration) to DsMam for the unflappable way in which she dealt with an invasion three times bigger than she was expecting – my fault entirely.

There was just one detail missing: we failed to exchange the contractual-obligation CD-Rs necessary for the event to be granted fully fledged RR Social status. *** That doesn’t mean there was no music: oh no no no. Here’s one from an album played on the day that Shane and I have discussed several times over the years. ***


But I digress – I humbly submit to the committee that there were sufficient alternative goods and chattels changing hands for official Social standing to be approved. Can we vote? Let me count the hands . . . . .

SOFAR, so good.

sofar-sounds-logo

I met up with DaddyPig the other night, supposedly for me to treat him to a night out for his birthday, but as per everything-DsD at the moment, it didn’t work out as planned. What were we doing? I’d gotten myself an invite to a gig organised by SOFAR, or Songs From A Room to give them their full title. Has anybody else here heard of it? If you have, how was your experience? If you haven’t, read on after the pagebreak …

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It’s My Round on The ‘Spill Challenge

drinking-alcohol-like-a-boss_

First of all, my apologies to all of you – and particularly amylee - for being a pain in the proverbial about which week I would finally get to host. Let me make it up to you: the [virtual] drinks are on me! House rules? Help yourself to as much as you like from the following dozen boozers. Pick one to add to your list of future presents when someone asks what to get you, and one to pour straight down the sink before it makes you sick.

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May Mini-Social Gig, anyone?

I finally got an email from WeGotTickets that made me sit up and pay attention. Southern Gothic murder balladeers The Handsome Family are coming over for a short UK tour in May, and three – yes, THREE – of the dates are easy commutes for me. Can I have a quick shout if you’re interested, please, and with a preference for which venue and date?

Manchester @ The Ruby Lounge – Friday 17th May
Leeds Brudenell Social Club – Wednesday 22nd May
Hebden Bridge Trades Club – Saturday 25th May

Tickets are in the ten to fifteen quid price range, and if we choose either of the weekend dates, I’m considering combining it with hosting a daytime Social on the Saturday.

I don’t know The Ruby Lounge, but HB Trades Club isn’t a big venue, and the guy at The Brud told me he expects this to sell out quite quickly there, so if you can feed your pigeon some go-go juice before you send back your replies attached to its leg pouch, I’d appreciate it.

Cheap Jersey required …

timthumb No no, not THAT type of jersey!

I’m not after a jumper, I’m after some Spillers’ tips. We don’t have a holiday booked yet during the school summer break. Lifelong Gerald Durrell fan DsMam has always wanted to go back to Jersey with the kids, as the last time we went was before DsSis was born. (Technically, Jess has been there: Julie was six-or-seven months pregnant with her at the time!) The trouble is, an awful lot of things have changed over the last dozen years, and therefore we’re starting our search again from scratch. We don’t know anybody out there; we don’t know anyone who goes there for holidays; and even my wife’s old school friend the travel agent has long-since sold her business. That means we’re randomly throwing ourselves at the mercy of the mainstream tourist-fleecing holiday companies, and so far it’s looking prohibitively expensive. Tentative forays into independent internet searches are producing some very dodgy results …


… so that’s where you lot come in. Does anyone know of any independent / private cottage or caravan rentals on the island which are clean, green (don’t really want to be crammed into the fourth-floor attic of a St.Helier B&B) and not too dear? Discussions of any vaguely relevant experiences in the last five years or so welcome. Tips of any hidden gems-to-seek-out or pitfalls-to-avoid will be gratefully received.

If you don’t want to discuss them openly on this thread, you’ve all got my email and/or telephone details.

♫ “OK you lot, take it …” ♫

Ah, it’s great to see a band put some effort in. After years of trying, I finally got to a Thunder Christmas Party gig. After this evening, and with pretty much all of my customers having finished work for the holidays at Friday lunchtime, I think I can safely say the holiday season has started.

2012 has been a strange old year, and in some respects I won’t be sad to see the back of it, but on the other hand, there was the Olympics, LFC collecting silverware again, DsSis at the Royal Albert Hall, the West Country RR Social, the truth about Hillsborough, etc., etc.

But as we get to the end of another year (or even a 5,125 year cycle, if you’re Mayan), let’s start the “out with the old, and in with the new” chit-chat, shall we? I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a better 2013 than you had a 2012.

‘Spill Game, Week 15. – “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

You WILL like what DsD has posted, or we’ll send da boys round, capiche?

The last couple of weeks’ selections from Abahachi and AngryIrishPunk gave me a dilemma: do I continue with their policy of driving us down a narrow track, as a way of trying to make you all listen to a dozen (i) classic rock cuts; (ii) Americana adventures; or (iii) minimalist mood-pieces? My long-lists for this thread included enough options for me to do any of those things. Or was it time to give you all a bit of relief; play safe, pick a load of Spill faves, and see how they ended up being ranked? It might have been fun to watch you agonize on how to split one vote four-or-five ways each!

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Hello Boys & Girls – I’m B-B-A-A-A-A-C-C-C-K-K-K !!!

Oh the joy, the relief, the sheer “Thank-F**K-for-that”-edness! (Sorry yet again for the swearies, TFD; I really AM trying to cut down on my bad language.) Computer back, seemingly fixed, installed, online, and all elements so far talking to each other without any problem. Better than that, the PC is now sat on my new one-piece desk which feels so much bigger than the old one I almost feel like inviting you all over to come and have a picnic on it!

So excuse me a little noisy indulgence, whilst I sit back at my workspace and enjoy a few stress-free minutes, before the reality of just how much admin work I’ll now have to catch up on dawns on me.

The Spillers’ Google Map – RRdond&spill

Dunno if this will link you all directly back to the map, but when AliM said she couldn’t find it, I felt I ought to, as an apology for dissing her “Keep One, Kick One” list.

Cauliflower owns the list, but Tinny is a ‘Collaborator’ with editing privileges, apparently.

Unsocial at the Social

… Leeds Brudenell Social Club, that is, the venue of last night’s sets from Damien Jurado and Megafaun.

“Unsocial, DsD?” I hear you ask. Well, yes, in a couple of ways actually.

First of all, I was on me own. No crocodile tears required folks, this gig was never gonna be gordonimmel or DaddyPig‘s bag, though with hindsight, AliM may well have enjoyed it: sorry, Ali.

Secondly, I was of course driving myself to and from the gig, so sobriety was the order of the day. But as I was feeling a beer thirst (it’d been v.hot’n’sticky most of the day, despite the bursts of torrential rain), I had a pint of lager shandy. Gawd only knows why, but it gave me massive, constant expulsions of gas all evening. If I knew who the poor sods behind me were before they made a rapid exit at the end, I’d’ve been obliged to apologise!

My third gripe is a bit mean of me: I had every intention of getting a T-shirt this evening, but Damien doesn’t do ‘em, and Megafaun only had XS to M left: not a lot of good for the, um, ever-more-generously-proportioned DsD!

Next was the non-appearance of the promised support band. 7pm arrival doors, 8.35 still playing Yahtzee on my phone whilst hiding my new-found gas-propelled levitation skills. OK, the gig was dirt cheap (only a tenner), but if there ain’t gonna be a support band, either don’t put it on the tickets, or at least tell us on arrival.

So anyway, at 8.45, Megafaun climb unannounced and unassuming onto the Brud stage, and for the next 3/4 of an hour give us a happy-go-lucky, slightly shambolic selection of their songs, concentrating very much more on the Grateful Dead / Beach Boys hybrid end of their sound, rather than their “headily absorbing, occasionally unsettling, full-bore concrète music, harsh noise salvos, and wild free-jazz interventions * “ thankfully for me. DsD-fave Get Right (from last year’s eponymous album) was slightly underwhelming – I can lose myself in the 8m30s studio version – but I put that down to it being played early, before we’d all got into a groove. However, they more than made up for that with an extended runthrough of Kaufman’s Ballad, which rocked out much more than the folky album version. They ended the set with Real Slow, which they turned into a lovely noodling jam, and meant they’d left the stage before I realised they hadn’t played Hope You Know, probably their best-known song, and one which is an early contender for the DsD 2012 Festive ‘Spill selections.

I was going to insert a show video of Alberta (the blues number made famous twice by Bob Dylan) here, but my iPhone and YouTube seem to have had a fallout, and aren’t now speaking to each other.

* from Pitchfork reviews … oh, and whilst I’m at it, here’s another quote on the subject of “unsocial” – from the BrightestYoungThings website Megafaun gig review of a show in Washington DC – which after tonight I heartily agree with:

A brief note to the latter half of the audience at the Megafaun show this past Thursday night at the Black Cat’s Backstage: do kindly shut the fuck up next time around.  You can go to any random bar on a Thursday night in DC and have a loud, inane conversation while music plays.  Why buy a ticket just to ruin a great show for people?

Despite my post title and all the moaning I’ve done so far, I have to say that Megafaun themselves were as social and courteous as it is possible to be. I’ll take this opportunity to thank multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook, for taking the time to write down some links for live sessions I can find on t’interweb, after I’d gushed about that live version of Kaufman’s Ballad. I however, was a little unsocial, or at least ungracious, to Phil in return, as Damien Jurado came on stage as we were talking, and I kinda hurried him up and snuck back to my seat.

Damien Jurado is a very intense performer. With the exception of the idiot couple sat on the floor next to me giggling about Canada, pretty much everyone in the room was absolutely rapt. I swear the old line about hearing a pin drop whist Damien sang is true. But again, you could easily describe his stage prescence as unsocial; the amateur psychologist in me would even have guessed at Asperger’s / borderline autistic had I not been pre-warned (by Shoey amongst others) about his lack of audience interaction. But the performances – WOW! You didn’t need to see his eyes behind those dark glasses to feel the blackness and pain; the lyrics, and that voice brought it right to your spine. Abilene and The Ghost Of David in particular were given extra chills by the power of the live performance from the man sat twenty feet in front of me. OK, so I didn’t get to hear either of my two all-time Jurado fave songs (Big Decision and Bad Dreams, if you’re interested), but we did get an ace rendition of Rachel & Cali, amongst several highlights.

When Damien did finally speak to us, it was to tell us that Megafaun would be joining him to play some songs at the end of the set. “At last”, I thought, as I’d been sold this gig on the basis it would be a three-set show, the two artistes on their own, plus one where Megafaun would back Jurado on a selection of his louder songs. Sadly however, we only got two, and no encore. Not very social of you, Mr. J. But here’s one of the two: Nothing Is The News, the opening song from DJ’s new album Maraqopa

EDIT – HMMM, IT WOULD SEEM GONEFOREIGN IS RIGHT: I DON’T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO INSERT ANY PICS OR YOUTUBE VIDS. NOT GOING TO TRY TO SORT THAT NOW (MY ALARM GOES OFF FOR WORK IN UNDER 90 MINS – I THINK THAT’S A NEW RECORD, SHOEY!!)

His final twist of the knife – though I’m being churlish now – was that he used his longest spoken word speech of the night to tell us he won’t be back “probably for a few years”.  Gee thanks, Damien, rub it in why dontcha? US tour, huh? Check. Other commitments, too, is it? Check. Oh. Wait. What was that? “And I’ve got a baby on the way, so I’m gonna stay home and be a dad.” Aw, damn! Now I feel guilty.

Good luck on that adventure, sir, and oh yeah, parenthood, and committing to it that fully: that DEFINITELY makes you seem unsocial to the rest of us, but you know what? Go for it, with my best wishes, and see you round . . . . maybe.

C’Mon … it’s LOW, and it’s not sold out, ffs!!

Please forward onto your little black books - www.doghouseuk.com
Live Music in Halifax since 2005 : www.doghouseuk.com
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NEXT Friday July 13th at Halifax Minster
LOW + The Steals

Advance tickets £19.50 + booking fee : Buy Tickets Online HERE
 
…: PAY ON THE ON THE NIGHT ON THE DOOR AVAILABLE :…

LOW

LOW will be playing the beautiful Halifax Minster, a 12th Century building steeped in history and a quite winderful venue. The Minster will be candlelit for the evening and there will also be a bar serving real ale, beers, wines and soft drinks. Its a true gem and all who have played there, and the majority who have seen performaces in it are really blown away with the building, its acoustics and the welcome they are given.C’mon is the shortest title of any Low album, which seems fitting, as it also ranks among the most succinct and straightforward entries in their variegated discography. Singer-guitarist Alan Sparhawk has even perfected the “elevator pitch” for C’mon: “Recorded in an old church in Duluth, MN and mixed in an apartment in Hollywood, CA.” But that brief synopsis hides universes. To get to the heart of this album, we must delve deeper into both halves of the creative journey of C’mon.
 
Comprised of new material written on and off the road, the ten-song set was recorded in a former Catholic church, aka Sacred Heart Studio (where the band previously crafted 2002′s Trust). Sparhawk says Low deliberately seeks out circumstances that will generate challenges and happy accidents, breaking them out of established patterns. “We like to work in situations where there’s a character, whether that’s the time period or who we’re working with. A lot of times, the space can set that tone.”
 
The Steals

“Mysterious, haunting, heart-breaking and life-affirming, listening to northern English band The Steals is like hearing something for the first time which you just know, instinctively, is going to become a part of your life for years to come….. This is a breathtakingly brilliant album” ….(Phil McMullen) TERRASCOPE
 
“Static Kingdom is an astonishing record” ….[SIDEWAYS THROUGH SOUND]
 
“Heavenly, Wild, Lonliness on CD” …BLOOM
 
“Static Kingdom” is a beautiful album, informed by folky notions that reminisce of travellers and pre-showgazed innocence, washed in electric instruments, equally swirling in echoes”….. [MANCHESTER MUSIC]

More info to be found at http://www.doghouseuk.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=110
 

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The Doghouse and EL CAMPELLO
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iDunce: iNeed iPhone iHelp – v2.0

AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHH!!!!

YOU MUST BE EFFIN’ JOKING!

It’s not pretty watching a grown man cry, but I’m fairly close to tears right now.
So … CALLING ALL iPHONE USERS:

I’ve managed to lock myself out of my iPhone. I changed the password after the girls figured out yet ANOTHER one, but the very next time I tried to get into the phone, it told me I’ve got the password wrong.
I can’t believe I messed up the change, but nonetheless I’ve tried Capitalising it, mis-spelling it, typing the old one again in case the change hadn’t processed, etc., etc.
But now it’s locking me out for increasing amounts of time after each failed attempt, and I’ve been warned by one ex-user “For God’s sake don’t get to ten failed attempts or the phone will wipe itself”. Um, *ULP*, I can’t be far off that point.

Anybody know what I do now? I can’t find free online advice, and I can’t find it in the hundreds of pages of online service manual.

I need the phone tomorrow.

HELP, PLEEEEEEEEEASSSSSSSEE!!!!

UPDATE ********* UPDATE

Ee, could you all feel that Beaufort Force 8 sigh of relief just then?

Given that you have to put in a new password twice accurately in order to change it, I asked myself the question “What could I possibly have mis-typed twice in a row?”

I changed the last letter “r” in my intended new password for the adjacent “t” on the qwerty, gritted my teeth and hit OK . . . SUCCESS!!!

I’m back in, and I promise to concentrate on one thing at once in future.

iDunce: iNeed iPhone iHelp

OK, so I finally succumbed and took a bite from the Apple: got myself an iPhone4S. But it’s taken me less than a week to realise I haven’t got a scooby how to do anything on it, apart from play Yahtzee on a free download app that’s now annoying the shit out of me by causing the phone to beep incoming messages that turn out to be unwanted ads at all hours of the night.

My friendly-neighbourhood T-Mobile store bloke took pity on me and got my 1200+ Contacts transferred, and I have somewhat decluttered the homescreen, but that’s about as far as I’ve got.
It turns out I need two new email addresses, three new accounts, and Gawd knows what else. What the hell’s the difference between an iCloud account, an Apple ID and an iTunes Sign-in anyway??

I can’t get the Snooze right on the alarm; I can’t import my own wallpaper; I can’t pick a ringtone from my own music … I haven’t even dare TRY the camera yet!

The iPhone won’t talk to my [temporary] Bluetooth carphone thingy, or to the Parrot kit in Julie’s car at all.

A 7-year-old had to show me how to put it on silent when we were at the Beeb last weekend, FFS! I have gratefully received the tip that applications never close, but merely hide and continue to run unseen unless you expose and close them, and I’ve committed how to do that to memory, but I’d never have found that on my own in a million years!

The User Guide is now paperless, i.e. I have to access it on the phone, which by definition means I’m not in the function I want to learn how to use, and by the time I’ve stumbled back to the right place, I’ve invariably forgotten how to do what I wanted in the first place.

It would therefore appear I don’t have any Apple-logic grey matter in my hurting head. So gimme some tips here, iPhone users. I’ll take and try whatever you’ve got that you think I’ll find useful.

In particular, I want my ringtone back. How do I get UFO’s Only You Can Rock Me to play as calls come in without having to buy again a song I already own about a dozen times?

How LOW can we go?

LOW ARE COMING TO HALIFAX !!!!!

They’re playing Halifax Minster, where I saw shows by I Am Kloot and Dan Michaelson last year, but missed ones from John Grant and The Unthanks the year before. Well I ain’t missing this one.

Tickets for me AND DarceysMam already bought. I’m prepared to pay for one more … for Shoegazer, to return the favour he did for me on the only other occasion I’ve seen Low, [at The Social, in Orlando, FL in Feb 2009]. All you have to do, Shoey, is get here!

Anyone interested? Friday 13th July is the date for your calendars, folks, (if you think you can afford two Northern Socials in three months – I’m still gutted I’m missing DaddyPig‘s 50th with RockingMitch.)

It would be nice if we could make it a bit of a multi-day Social event, but I know I’m working for London2012 on uniform distribution that weekend, and fear I said yes to both Sat & Sun.

Anyhoo, ticket info here:

http://www.doghouseuk.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=110

And deliberately-misinterpreted-to-make-it-look-appropriately-titled Low song here:

I CAN’T WAIT.

It’s 4 charr-i-dee, mate

Please feel free to ignore me here, folks, as I do realise I’m committing one of those ultra-awkward, blog etiquette faux-pas, but …

Full info & sponsor page here:
http://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/claytonsycamores

Those of you who’ve met me will realize that if I try to break out into a jog, earthquake early warning centres all over the northern hemisphere will panic!

Julie (DarceysMam), who hasn’t worn a sports kit outside of Center Parcs for over a decade, has been to the gym THREE times this week in a desperate attempt at training.

Jess (DarceysSis) is wondering if she can get out of the whole thing by sponsoring the other three of us.

Darcey, however, has decided that she wants to help those kids she’s been seeing on the telly. Bless her!

So, on Sunday morning, off we go. Sunday evening? I’ll be all jimblylegged.

Hot & Steamy in The Deep Dark Woods

Yeah, that’s two coffees and a tea you see being supped in a Manchester City Centre pub by the Tins and my rather pasty-looking self. Incongruous, you say? Um, probably not, actually … or at least, no more odd than some of the other memories I came away with from The Castle Hotel last week.

In the credit column were racking up another miniSocial and chinwagging with old friends; meeting our charming and erudite Resident Deadhead; enjoying a single rather delightful pint of porter before reverting to driver’s drinks; and getting to see a very good band I’ve been listening to A LOT recently. On the debit side, getting ripped off for on-street parking even in the evening; being oven-baked in one of the most inappropriate rooms I’ve ever had the misfortune to see a band in; and finding a dent in my car roof after the event (good job the dealer I’m trading it to next week missed that on inspection!). I really don’t like Manchester – you can tell, can’t you?

But anyhoo, The Deep Dark Woods.
Despite observations from some of the others that their music may be a little one-paced and samey, I’m really warming to this band. Ryan Boldt has a voice that commands my attention – he can do wistful or gothic, melancholy or menacing – and from even a low-rise stage, a physical prescence to go with it. The seam of Americana the band mine is one they can trade with me anytime.

When I get the chance, I’m going to listen to Tinny’s linked interview, but in the meantime, here’s just one of the highlights from the album the band are currently tour-promoting.


Studio Jekyll and On-Stage Hyde

As the snow comes down at the end of a very quiet Saturday, I figure it’s now or never to post a thread I’ve been pondering for a while.

Amylee‘s excellent Disco thread threw up an example of something that has frustrated me for over thirty years, namely the inability of some brilliant bands to capture their magic on record.

The culprits cited this week were Cameo; my go-to band (since the 70s) to demonstrate what I mean has always been Thin Lizzy, but tonight Matthew, I’m going to be . . . trip-hop, chillout, wouldn’t-harm-a-fly merchants Morcheeba.

Now I will admit that back in my cash-rich, child-free days, I would go to gigs and buy albums on a whim, and I wasn’t always rewarded for my investment. That’s how I picked up debut Who Can You Trust. There was something about that album that got under my skin more than, say, Massive Attack, Zero7, Distant Cousins, or even Portishead did. Trouble was, I couldn’t figure out what it was, and in follow-up The Big Calm I couldn’t even hear it. Oh it was pleasant enough, but I’d have had the tassles on my leather jacket ceremoniously ripped off by the HM Society for voicing that opinion out loud.

Nevertheless, I went to see them live in Leeds, and HOLY AXEHERO, BATMAN! The band generally, and guitarist Ross Godfrey in particular, blew me away. They ROCKED, MAAAANN! Why didn’t they sound like that on record? I went back to the albums when I got home, and w-e-e-l-l-l, yes, I suppose the evidence was there, but it was almost buried under the production. I tried for quite some time to convince friends and family, (even tried on RR once), but with no-one else I knew having seen them, and audio/video evidence of their live prowess pretty much non-existent, I got nowhere. I wrote to the band’s label, their management company; got nothing in reply. Eventually, after diminishing returns (for me) from their next couple of albums, I lost interest.

Well, they’re back, reunited with their early albums’ vocalist Skye Edwards. In fact, they’ve been back for a while, but who knew? I’ve only just caught up with 2010′s Blood Like Lemonade. And GUESS WHAT?!?!?

Er, no. Still the same problem. Hints of their ability to cut loose, but to start with, no more than that. Take Crimson from BLL: lyrically, a deliciously dark tale of love, jealousy and revenge, but musically, same old same old. Good, but … Have a listen though, please, because this is the set-up for my point.

OI! You still awake out there? See what I mean?

But the difference between my frustrations of a decade ago and now is that marriage made in copyright hell - cameraphones and YouTube. The audio quality still isn’t great, but get a load of this live version of the same song:

[Cut to the three minute mark if your patience is running thin here]

Now there’s a sound I’d kill to own a whole album of – Cave-black lyrics, soulful vocals, trip-hop sensibilities, but played in a blues-rock stylee. WHY DON’T THEIR RECORDS SOUND LIKE THAT?

GAH, THE FRUSTRATION’S DOING MY HEAD IN!