Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The state of things

So, for Christmas I got Radio 1 Live Lounge 2.
For those of you who don't know, artists play any song of their choice live on Radio 1. Some do covers of other songs and others dotheir own.

Don't get me wrong some of the covers are really good. Like The Pigeon Detectives cover of "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne. But I couldn't help but think a generation of kids are going to grow up thinking Amy Winehouse originally wrote Valerie, Greenday wrote Working Class Hero and Li'l Chris wrote Ever Fallen in Love.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they're crap covers. It's just that the artists aren't covering them because it was the song or artist that inspired them to get in to music. They are simply singing it 'cos they thought "Yeah, that's good. Fuck it, lets record it and release it. We can make some money out of this."

Does Amy Winehouse even say it was originally by The Zutons when she sings it live? I doubt it. I doubt she could even remember the words in her current state. Remember she forgot to turn up to the video shoot for it 'cos she was too off her tits on crack.

There are some bloody good covers out there though. The band most notable for doing the odd, and rather good cover is Reel Big Fish, an American ska band. Their covers include Take on Me (Aha) and Come on Eileen (Dexies Midnight Runners). But somehow, they're quite obviously covers.

I think it's fine for bands to play covers at a live show,just like Reel Big Fish. But to record it and release it. Come on, it's just not cricket.

Which brings me on to something else wrong with the music business today. Mark Ronson. Who the fuck is he?!

In't he a producer? And he's released an album! Looks like just another money grabbing fool to me. Okay, so he has a few of his own songs, and occasionally does a bit of backing music for artists. But that's not a very strong platform to release an album on, is it now? Does this mean I can release an album because I once sat down and had a friendly chat with the members of Towers of London? No.1

When Lily Allen sang her cover of Kaiser Chief's Oh My God, it wasn't credited to her. No. When that bit comes up at the end of the video telling you the artist and song, on MTV2 and other such channels. It said Mark Ronson was the artist. Who the bloody hell is he?! Was he in the video? 'Cos I didn't see him (granted it was only a pixelated Lily Allen). But, then again I don't know what he looks like... 'Cos he's a producer, and he sits in the glass room at the studio!

People get in to the music for all the wrong reasons nowadays, and I wouldnt be surprised if it's 'cos of all these X factor shows and what not. 'Cos they're a load of rubbish.

Music was once about getting your message across, and making a statement about the world and what you believed. There doesn't seem to be any controversy over artists saying what they believe anymore, 'cos they don't sing about what they believe and what is wrong with the world. They sing about love, and umbrellas. Surely anyone could have wrote umbrella. People only know the "ella ella ella under my umberella ella ella ella" bit.

Local bands are where it's at now.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Ba hum bug

So then... Christmas is nearly upon us again. Which means after work shopping, stressing, and worst of all spending money.

I don't understand Christmas. To celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus (who wasn't even born on 25th December) we buy a tree, put gilttery stuff, twinkly lights and sweets on it, pull crackers, wear paper hats and eat Turkey. I'm sure this was all easily available in Bethlehem at the time.

How does a Christmas tree symbolise Jesus? I for one have never seen a fir tree in any pictures of Bethlehem. Not being a tree expert I don't have a clue where I would go to find a fir tree either. Canadian mountains, perhaps?

And where did the idea of Santa Claus come from?

"Our Christmas mascot will be an obese, old man, with a big, white, bushy beard. He shall also have a particular liking towards whisky and mince pies."

It seems the people who created Santa Claus had no idea that men of this description already existed in Yorkshire.

Can you tell I was stuck for ideas for this blog?

Seasonal rant over, I can now look forward to hours of spending money on things people want, but will probably never use. Ba hum bug

Merry Christmas

Thursday, 6 December 2007


"Where are you from?" The immortal words I hear so often on holiday, bellow from another southerners mouth. I know what their exact reply will be when I say I'm from Barnsley. "BAAAAARNSLEY?!" they wail. No, Barnsley, it has one a, you twat.

So, recently I've been living in Peterborough during the week, and going home at the weekend.
Been a "Barnsley Lad" Peterborough is a bit different. It's flat for a start.

Normally when I go home on a weekend I just see college mates, who mostly live in Huddersfield, and so don't really get to see that much of my home town.

But when I came home on Tuesday night (I had a day off on Wednesday), I realised just how much I miss Barnsley.

I realise that most people who have heard of it think of it as the town where all the scum live, and indeed I reckon some people may not have heard of it. If it weren't for Jeremy Clarkson ripping Barnsley every now and again on Top Gear.

When I went into the chippy just down the road from my parents house in Barnsley, I was greeted with a "Y'oreyt lad? Arr's things? Tha 'ad a good day?" ("How are you? How are things? and have you had a good day?" to you non-Barnsley folk). Never once have I walked into a cafe, shop or fish and chip restaurant outside of Yorkshire or Barnsley to be greeted with such friendliness. And indeed such a great accent. I think once you go south of Yorkshire people care too much about their status and making money.

Barnsley is a simple town, a bit like Royston Vasey (which coincidentally was based on a small Yorkshire town called, coincidentally (again) Marsden). People generally don't care about global warming, or politics, or any other major issue in the world. They're quite happy to just trundle along getting on with their lives and not be bothered by the outside world.

My Mum doesn't particularly like Barnsley. She seem to have adopted the same, negative frame of mind as everyone who has never been there. Even though she chose to move there.

I'm glad the nation sees Barnsley as a shit hole. I fear that if they saw it as anything more it would be ruined, with commercialisation and people who don't understand what it means to be from Barnsley. It would just be another town, with no heritage or accent.

I want to move back to Barnsley later on in life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not narrow minded. I want to travel and see the world and things other people haven't. But my heart is with that bleak mining town up north, and that is where it shall stay.