Archive for June, 2009

Quick update – new song

June 21, 2009

Just a quick one to say don’t forget the new song ‘The Great British Public Becomes Self-Aware’ was made available on friday via my Independent blog. So read all about it and download the full free EP.

Also a couple of gigs coming up over the next week, one of which I’m only just announcing:

27/06 – Zonino @ Brixton Windmill (all day thing, I’m on about 8pm)
01/07 – Milo, Leeds
02/07 – Shunt, London Bridge


Studio tour and more…

June 19, 2009

Seems a bit daft doing a blog which is just a link to another blog but that’s what I’m going to do cos the other one looks nice and has embedded videos and stuff.

For those not paying attention I’m doing a separate blog for the Independent this week. Yesterday’s blog concerned the gear I use and how I record. It includes a nice little video showing you round my studio with a quick improv at the end.

This is a link to it.

ps – lady gaga born a man without makeup nude pictures naked lol


June 16, 2009

With thanks to Theo of Pocus Whiteface here is a spotting of ‘Fight My Battles For Me’ nestled cosily in the racks of Rough Trade:

Oddly they’ve put me in the US section. I can think of no reason why this would be, but I’m strangely pleased about it.

Send more ‘sightings’ of the album to – maybe I’ll send you all a free mp3 or something?

‘Fight My Battles For Me’ released today!

June 15, 2009

So… the day has come. My album is out out out and in shops to buy. I have seen it, with my own eyes, in HMV Cardiff…


It’s been a long time coming. To mark the occasion the people at the Independent Online and have got me doing a special blog all this week with a free download compilation called ‘Road Safety Facts’ containing mostly non-album tracks.
You can find it here:
(don’t ask why that had to be the URL…)

Casual listeners may find a couple of songs uploaded that you’ve not got already. Die hards will want to wait until Day 5 when there’ll be a brand new song available. Plus assorted musings and reminiscences on nine years of PWL. I’ll continue blogging here too, but won’t be doubling up so add ^that one to yr RSS.

All that remains now is to see if anyone likes it or buys it. Tra la la….

Album out on monday

June 10, 2009

So after a(nother) slight delay it seems all is well for ‘Fight My Battles For Me’ to come out next Monday, 15th June. You should be able to walk into your local Cargo records stockist and buy a copy.

To celebrate this I’ve cut the prices in my website shop so you can still buy it direct from me at the same price as in yr local shop. I’ve also reduced all my older EPs so they’re now £3 each, which is cutting my own throat. I’ve got five kids to feed, etc…

A nice man has written a review of it here which calls it ‘witty and often ascerbic lyrical goodness with increasingly pop sensibilities’.

It’s also now available on Amazon. It’d be nice if those of you who use amazon to buy music could give it a star rating so it might start to pop up in those ‘People who like X also like Y’ things.

For those who like to try before you buy here are a couple of songs to download:

The Gentlemen’s Game
The Memorial Hall

And there are some more mp3s from other recent releases on my downloads page.


June 9, 2009

So the BNP won. 120,000 misguided souls took crayon in hand and doodled something which looked sufficiently like an X to elect a pair of intellectually and morally bereft, knuckle dragging, borderline nazi scumbags into political office. Their ‘we’re not racist but…’ mantra has proven effective. Maybe because of it a few too many people who feel they have legitimate grievances about immigration voted BNP as a ‘protest vote’ against the government’s perceived ‘soft’ line on migrants. This would be the same ‘soft’ line which sees families snatched from their homes at 5am and driven in dark vans to borderline prison facilities whilst their children physically piss their pants with fear, presumably?

There’s been much wringing of liberal hands over this victory, there’s also been some idiots throwing eggs at Nick Griffin MEP. This helps nothing. I can understand the desire to throw various things at the horrible little shit but it just makes his opponents look bad, whilst he continues to attempt to portray himself as a legitimate politician.

The point I’d make about the BNP is that there are too many people who subscribe to this ‘give them enough rope’ idea. They kid themselves that most people in Britain are thoughtful souls who will recognise the true motives of the BNP and, when it comes down to it, will do the right thing and take their vote elsewhere.

Sadly not.

People like simplistic arguments. Every single political party recognises this. It’s why Gordon Brown is currently flailing like a trout in a wind tunnel trying to get people to like him. I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable about the economy to make an informed decision about his policies. Nor are most people who vote. Neither are you, unless I have fans in places I hadn’t anticipated. Lots of economists say what he’s trying to do will work, is working already – there are even suggestions that the economy may already be growing this quarter.

Point is if Brown tries to explain any of this, even if he’s given fair hearing, even if he’s not drowned out by the hang-jowelled bellering of the tories, or whinged into submission by the knee-jerk distrust of the hard left (the kind of people who would rather eat their own shit than entertain for a second the idea that their government might be getting something right), even if he overcomes these things people won’t understand what he’s talking about. And even those who do don’t know for sure if he’s right.

In the face of this a simple argument wins. And there’s no simpler argument than a bogeyman. This is why the BNP are popular. It’s a well recognised fact of evolutionary science that animals are biased towards their in-group, and wired up to be cautious, distrustful, and even fearful of something different and novel. Thus are our primitive brains pre-programmed to note that X group of people have one skin colour (same as me) and Y group have another (not the same as me). Group Y are distrusted without rational analysis. The moment people see someone from group Y behaving in a certain way they can instantly attribute one individual’s behaviour to that of the whole group. This is why people love news programs with black criminals on them. It reinforces the simple paradigm that black = criminal. Or black = sponger. Or black = threatening the racial purity (more on this in a minute) of the United Kingdom.

Of course most people can overcome these fears, at least to the point where any self-described liberal who might be willing to admit to an occasional bout of nerves when passing a group of young black men on a dark night can accept that such reactions are wrong and not base their entire world view on them. Some people can’t move on. The same way some people will refuse help overcoming a fear of spiders, others would rather cling to their animal fears than attempt to grapple with nuances. After all, if not all black people are dangerous criminals then how can you feel safe by simply getting rid of all the black people?

There is not sufficient rope for the BNP to hang themselves with. Some people are just racist. Not necessarily very racist, but racist enough to be grateful for an opportunity to express that view at the ballot box. Racist enough to happily accept the idea that all the money the government should be spending on them is somehow going into the pockets of immigrants. As opposed to shoddy Private Finance Initiatives, corporate tax breaks/loopholes, bailing out doomed industries for purely vote-saving reasons, civil service bureaucracy, an NHS overburdened by people’s unhealthy lifestyles, police forces wasting time arresting drunken friday night revellers when they could be investigating drug gangs, burglaries, and tax fraud, and etc etc.

The BNP’s arguments are appealing because people want to believe them. This is the ugly truth. This is what the left can’t accept, the media can’t admit, and the politicians hypocritically try and feed on when they need to appear more right wing. The idea of some idyllic past when everyone who lives in England was English and we all went into each other’s houses to eat scones and sing Vera Lynn songs, and everyone had a job and the only black faces were those of cheerful mining folk emerging from the pit is as appealing to some as it is transparently fictitious to anyone with a passing knowledge of… well, anything.

The outrage expressed at a recent TV documentary describing humankind’s shared ancestry on the plains of the african savannah says it all. I read one quote referring to the skull of an early human ancestor which said something like ‘european man could never have come from something like THAT’. This fingers-in-ears style of delusion characterises both the BNP’s policies and the level of engagement of their followers.

The claim ‘I’m not racist I just want racial purity in my country’ is paper thin, but goes effectively unchallenged in the media. People are comfortable saying the BNP is a racist party, but when faced with their claims that they aren’t they rarely fully engage. Often on the well-intentioned basis that to debate with them is to give them a platform. People rely on affirmations that the BNP is racist, or ad hominems (fairly robust ones I admit) about individual BNP members’ pasts, rather than tackling the substance (such as it is) of what they say.

This can’t work. By confining the BNP to the back rooms of the nation’s pubs, you allow them to project their simplistic drivel unchallenged to a receptive audience on their own terms. ‘We’re people like you, we’re not racist, we’re just worried about our country’. We need to hold their arguments to genuine scrutiny, just as we would any other party. Being dismissive feeds their conspiracy-theorist side and their underdog status. So let’s give this next bit its own line…

A policy of so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation of people born in one country to another based on their racial background alone IS A RACIST POLICY.

It has no basis in recorded history, biological science, or economic reality. It has no basis in ethics. It has no basis in pragmatism in one’s attitude to the modern world. It has no basis in the ebb and flow of the free market. It has no basis in anything other than mouth-breathing, nose picking, shit-for-fucking-brains racism.

You don’t have to be stupid to be a racist, but that doesn’t mean all racism isn’t stupid. You don’t have to consider yourself a racist to entertain racist thoughts. The fact that you don’t vomit uncontrollably when you buy a bottle of milk off an indian shopkeeper doesn’t mean you aren’t racist for wanting to send him back to what you, not he, consider his home.

All eight of my great grandparents were Irish. I am therefore 100% genetically irish. Shall I ‘go home’ to Ireland? I’ve never been there in my life. It’s preposterous. But I’m safe cos I’m not marked as different by virtue of my lighter hue.

We’ve been soft on the BNP. They need to be shown for the incompetent, embittered bigots they are. And their ‘policies’ exposed as shallow, ignorant dogma. It has to start now. There’s a real danger a general election could be called at any time, let’s not see more of these idiots voted into power.

Free mp3 – O Peter!

June 5, 2009

This is a song from my second album – recorded in 2004. It is completely unrelated to anything that may be currently in the news.

O Peter! (won’t you hear my mournful strum?) – this link will expire.

ps – lady gaga was born a man.

Weekend blog

June 1, 2009

So I’m back from a weekend’s touring the land. Started in Liverpool for a gig at Elevator studio’s new ‘Leaf’ tea room/café/bar/venue all round place. Caught up with some people I’d not seen in a while and met a new member of my family. The support was a Chilean electro pop singer called Violeta who played a sort lively electro music on a microkorg and ironing board – it was somewhere between clubby dance stuff and more leftfield electronica.

After that I headed to Manchester for a gig with indiepop promoters Pull Yourself Together supported by odd trans-global antifolk duo Moustache of Insanity and humbly excellent ukelele toting troubadour Jam on Bread. It’s interesting that I got put into those two different categories on two different nights. One night electro, one night indiepop. Anyway PYT and the Moustache boys are really nice people and we stayed up late, drinking and looking up nude pictures of Burt Reynolds (nsfw) on The Internet.

The next day was the Brainlove Festival. Now in its third year, it’s basically a chance to hang out with nearly everyone I like who makes music and watch some great bands. Highlights were A Scholar And A Physician, Napoleon IIIrd’s new more industrial, noisy direction, Mat Riviere’s deliciously dark electro grooves, and singing in John Brainlove’s long-mooted ‘Thee Oracle‘ choir – he talks about it as an interactive art piece, but I really enjoyed it as a re-enactment of some really primitive communal singing. Like the music people probably made in caves. There’ll probably be a video online at some point.

I played a lot of new stuff at the gigs. Particularly at Brainstock. People seem slightly baffled by it. ‘Dark’ was the main adjective used. It seems to be a lot more different from what people are used to than I’d realised it was. They all said they liked it though, and why would they lie?

Still, looking forward to getting it finished and ‘out there’.