Friday, 9 December 2016

" I wish I was Household Name..."

I'm sat in my late Grancha's reclining chair, that he left me when he passed, I have the new Cutups record The Nerves on the gramophone, having just seen them last night and I'm reading the liner notes, something I always like to do on my first listen to a new record.

In the past two weeks I have been lucky enough to see The Cut-ups and The Take live, two bands who are extremely important to me. I got into both bands around the same sort of time, late nineties early noughties, they were both being touted by Household Name records, at the time I believe.

I first met The Take boys at gigs in Cardiff, at the old Capillary Life (Jawbox) gigs downstairs in The Oz bar. I met Jon from the Cutups at around the same time when he was in Shoe! and I think they opened up for The Take and Douglas, at the Cavern perhaps...

One of my fondest memories of seeing The Take on my 21st birthday in TJ's supporting Bluetip, (New Shoe! Premonition) a birthday I happen to share with Charlie from The Take, Bluetip got him up on stage, sang Happy Birthday to him and made him do shots, my brother had the whole thing recorded on a Dictaphone as well.

Later, I put on The Cutups at Le pub, I believe probably their first Welsh gig perhaps... Anyway they played a bunch of gigs and became great friends especially Reza, as he later studied in Cardiff and I later managed to persuade him to fill in on drums for my band and fulfil a life long dream of playing at the Cavern.

I also somehow managed to persuade Charlie from The Take to fill in on bass for a while too.

Anyway they are both immensely important bands to me personally, excellent musicians and great people. I am truly thankfully I ever got to see them live, listen to their records, let alone make an absolute racket sharing a few members.

To The Take and The Cutups and all who sail in them!

Long live the Cavern!

You can get The Take - Dolomite here for fiver:
You can get Propeller here for £4

You can get The Cutups The Nerves here:

You can hear Bluetip here:
and Jawbox here:

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

No Puffin

This summer I got to once again be utterly captivated by being transported off for a week's residential volunteering on the most spectacular place I have ever been... Skomer Island.

I swam in the sea with Puffins, they are really inquisitive and come quite close, as they can only see your head when you are in the water. When they look under the water and realise how big you really are they are off pretty quickly. We also had some excellent flybys with beaks full of sand eels, whilst we were swimming off the landing.

On one day a very inquisitive seal who we christened Neil, also checked us out very closely, whilst we were swimming.

I set a target of getting 50 birds in a week, whilst my fellow vols had done 50 in two weeks.

I managed to get 49 species falling frustratingly one short for the week.

However, I did finally manage to see the Little owl, on at least three occasions on the gorse bushes near the trig point. So I commemorated the sighting with a little Crudely Drawn Birds Sketch.

My heart was once again stolen by Doris the Fulmar though, easily my fave seabird, so pretty on the wing beautiful little faces.

One of the highlights of the week for me was weighing the Shearwater chicks with the Oxford researchers. I think this picture shows how happy I was.

I also had awesome views of the Short-eared Owl hunting at dusk, which is amazing.

However, I think my fave experience this year was doing a Sea watch in the evening on a particularly stormy day, where the sea was really churning up and the Shearwaters all came in closer to the island, doing what they do best shearing the water in their thousands, an unbelievable spectacle and one I will never forget. I also managing to see two Sandwich Terns passing the island another first for me, thanks to the ever keen eyed Jason.

Doing a Greater Black Backed Gull nest site pellet transect in the pouring rain was also memorable for all the wrong reasons shorts and wellies Rookie mistake!

Once again the Annual Volunteer Kubb tournament was another highlight and I once again "Had my eye in" whilst enjoying a Rev James from my bestie Joe.

Another great week with a truly fabulous team whom I think all benefited in some way from each others company.

Left again heavy-hearted to be going home and leaving my fave island, but with my personal well-being fully restored from an awesome week.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Hello Massagee

I have just returned from one of the most beautiful islands I have ever visited!

I went to Santorini in Greece, for the wedding of my big brother.

He got married in a vineyard, on top of a mountain, overlooking a volcano it was pretty epic.

From the moment we arrived on the island I was fascinated by a small white wall, clinging half way up the side of the Messavouno mountain. 

Early one morning after breakfast I decided to climb the mountain to find out what was behind the wall.

There was an awesome hiking trail leading up to the area loads of cool lizards about,
Erhard's Wall Lizard, hooded crows, swifts and even a falcon I have never seen before called Elenora's falcon. 

When I finally reached the wall I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I couldn't believe what I found... The Spring of Zoodochos Pigi a tiny little church in a little walled courtyard with a tree and behind the church, a cave with the oldest natural spring on the island, perfect for cooling off. In the church you could light a candle for lost souls and there were lads of chintzy religious paintings of the saints, which I always love.

At the top of the mountain was the ancient city of Thera, amazing views and an amazing historical ruin. 

It was definitely one of the best places I have ever visited and I would highly recommend it.

I'm Currently Listening to:

Hot Mass - Nervous Tensions

Members of the Arteries, Dividers and 33

Sounds like: Travis from Piebald having a jam with Slowride

Have been compared to: Cloud Nothings

Veery - S/T

Members of Sundials making a racket

Bangers - Last Songs

It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Cornwall's premier science nerd punxs 

Hesitation Wounds - Awake For Everything
Members of Hope Con, Suicide File, Touche Amore, Slipknot and Against Me?

Honourable mentions to Thin lips, Cayetana, Pinegrove and Generals of Monrovia, Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop.

Current Reading:

These Poor Hands - B.L. Coombes

Fingers in the Sparkle jar - Chris Packham