Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Much Ado About Mojo

Greetings to AMC fans from Beth of BooksEtc.

While AMC searches for his Blogging Mojo (have you checked under your bed?) I offered to do a guest post. Since I’m on extended blog leave (as in, not sure if I will be returning…) it’s kind of nice to take a brief dip in the blogging pool.

But as I compose this guest post, I find the haunting spirit of AMC looming over my shoulder. (The left one.) I am trying very hard to resist the urge to write about hedgehogs, a Little Steed, a pet cactus (none of which I own), London traffic, chicks and Mr. P. Weller. I am also resisting the urge to use words such as arse, plank, sod it and shite.

Really, as a guest blogger I should write about something that is true and real to me - in my own words.

Oh, bollocks - I’ll write whatever I bloody well please and just hope AMC doesn’t wield his red pen to slash and edit.

I might even include a YouTube video of Justin Timberlake or Celine Dion in this post. Would he allow such rubbish to tarnish the musical standards of his blog? Do I want to invoke The Wrath of Con? Perhaps not…

So what I will write about is what I’ve learned from reading this man’s blog since waaay back when…back to those Teabags and Ashtrays days. (Can I mention that? Are we still in hiding here?) And what I have to say will not swell AMC’s head. It can’t get any larger than it already is.

THINGS I HAVE LEARNED FROM THIS GUY

1. To expand my taste in music.

2. To see my own country (Canada) through the eyes of someone who has a passion for its beauty and an appreciation for the opportunities it offers.

3. That with determination and hard work, a dream can be achieved.

4. That the English have some pretty damn funny expressions. Knackered, eh?

5. That one’s blog can die and be resurrected many times. (I might try this myself…)

So, hey, AMC, while your minions tend to your blog, find that missing Mojo and get back here ASAP to regale us with further tales of the life of an Englishman.

We’ll be missing all that arsef*ckery…


One more thing. (Yeah, I’m wordy…I do need editing.) What kind of a post would it be on AMC’s blog without some music? So here’s a video that combines a Canadian icon (Gordon Lightfoot) with a British one (Paul Weller).




Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guest Post Request

I have decided that I need a break from blogging. My Blogging Mojo has taken a recent hit and the flow isn't flowing.

So, in the spirit of Universal's recent guest blogging bonanza, I'm also throwing out a request to those writers on my sidebar. If you wanted to partake and put fingers to keyboard on All Mod Cons I would love to hear from you. Posts can be about whatever you wish and as short or as long as you see fit. There are no rules really.

Drop me a line and I'll figure out how to make you one of those "Contributors" things. I'd be most grateful if you give it a whirl!

Other brief news...I've had a really good weekend with a wonderful visitor from afar, although I will expand on this another time. In the meantime, I'm going to go looking for my Blogging Mojo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Of Those Days

Yeah, it's been one of those days. Nothing dramatic, just a pain in the arse.

Woke up a little late (due to playing Playstation with the Viking until 12.30, which is way past my bedtime on a weekday), threw my clothes on, left the house and found that I had a puncture on the Little Steed. Fixing a puncture normally takes me about 4 to 5 minutes but due to having only woken up 15 minutes previously, it took freakin ages because I kept forgetting things. One of which happened to be doing the bolts up on the wheel. Glad I remembered that before leaving again.

Then I got lost on the way to work. It should be a straight line (ish) according to the AtoZ but I swear someone moves parts of London around whilst I'm cycling. Either that or my sense of direction is bollocks. Probably the latter. Then I get beeped by some Polish workman in his van for cycling through some roadworks. Ok, I shouldn't really have been there, but I wasn't anywhere near him, so he got told to "go away" in no uncertain terms.

When leaving work, I had yet another puncture. Which meant finding a bike shop, which happened to be fairly close. Although due to someone moving the street from where it should have been, took longer than I wanted it to. New inner tube fitted, but the pump didn't work, so back into the shop I went to use theirs.

Then I got thrown out of the supermarket when I was picking up some pasta because I had Little Steed with me. It actually took longer to have the conversation with security and get out of the shop than it would have done to just let me buy my pasta. I also can't understand why I couldn't wheel my wee BMX around the shop, it's smaller than any of the bloody pushchairs that get wheeled around. And there was only about 8 people in the shop anyway. Bleeding jobsworths!

See, nothing dramatic. Maybe I'm just cranky today. Some days I genuinely believe that I would be significantly happier living in a log cabin on the side of a mountain with nothing but the wildlife to keep me company. As long as the animals kept quiet after bedtime of course.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stats And Fings

I must admit, I kind of like this internet thing. It's amazing and scary in equal measure as far as I'm concerned. The amount of information out there, accessible to anyone, is absolutely astounding. You really can find out about anything. All that knowledge at your finger tips, and all you have to do is tap your digits on your keyboard, and up pop about 1,210,000 results in 0.23 of a second.

I already know what I search for, mainly things like gig tickets, new songs on YouTube, the name of the pair of trainers I wanted (Adidas Stockholms, just in case you were interested...decided not to get them though..too blue for the rest of the ensemble), a recipe for Flapjacks or for finding out cheap flights to places.

What fascinates me is how some people come across my blog. I've got 2 little stat counter things telling me all kinds of information about those that stop by, and I've become a little bemused by some of the search terms. Some are quite ordinary, and to be honest quite expected. Others are a little off the wall in my book.

I thought I'd share a few of them, and try and expand on the queries for any future searches that are the same.

1. allmodcons, all mod cons blog, all mod cons weller blog - these 3 search terms mean you have indeed arrived at the right place. Give yourself a gold star!

2. things to do to prepare for parenthood - this most definitely means you are in the wrong place. Parenthood advice would be considered fairly low down on my expertise list. It's right below "building a rocket from pubes" on the expertise list.

3. i met noel gallagher - Yep, so did I. Leave a comment next time and we'll compare stories.

4. nose and eatingwoman - I have no idea what this really means. And I didn't leave out a space, the person doing the search did.

5. batman beats of rage mod - I personally think that someone had a fit whilst typing this into Google. It doesn't make sense. At all. Anyone care to enlighten me?

6. why doesn't paul weller speak to bruce foxton - He just doesn't ok. Let's just leave it at that.

7. photo german beating up irishman - I wonder if the person actually found this? What have the Germans got against the Irish? Unless they thought he was English?

8. larges hairy ass - I don't know who larges is, but I'm guessing that he/she has a hairy ass.

9. wetting knickers blogs - This is my favorite. Really. Who on earth writes blogs about people wetting their pants?! Mind you, there's obviously a market for it. No wet knickers here though, I can assure you. And I double checked too.

I also got told the other day via email that someone "stumbled" across my blog. Funny really, considering that I knew this person had been looking at my blog for some time. In fact, they already knew where it was when it was called allmodconsonvideo. I may be many things, but I'm not totally stupid. A little bit, but not totally. The wonders of IP addresses and stat counters eh! No longer on BT, but blueyonder...I'll have to make a note to tell the Viking, I'm sure they'll be along there at some point, if not already. I'm no longer bothered by it all, just sadly amused.

I also have a visitor this weekend, which I'm very much looking forward to. I have to plan "Things to do" if it's sunny. And have another plan if it's raining. Knowing my luck, it'll do both. At the same time.

...just realised, that would mean there's a rainbow! We could go hunting Leprechauns and pots of gold!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shining Personal Endorsements And A Video!

Housekeeping is the name of the game people. As I've mentioned before, I rely a little too heavily on Google Reader to keep up to date with the blogs I read. It makes for a lazy blogger, and my comments on what I read are becoming thin on the ground. Which is shameful behaviour.

It also means that my little list of Places That Interest Me is somewhat out of date. Instead of just editing it and hoping that people notice some new additions, I'm going to make a statement of it. Here are the extras...

LIVE Music Photography
by John Rahim
Aunt Reeny's After Thoughts by Aunt Reeny (Another excellent Canadian!)
A Somewhat Old, But Capacious Handbag by MissPrism (Not a prolific blogger, but check out the most recent post on books)
Just Another Social Profile Really by Ciaran (Lots of music stuff, videos, and just a different take on things)
Paul Weller News by DaveB (For those of us that just need to know)
Stuart Peel by Stuart Peel (An excellent read and fantastically written)

And after much verbal abuse, The Viking has finally given in and started up a new blog. Those of you that read his efforts on the rather shit Yahoo! 360 will know that he's pretty good at stringing a sentence together. There's only one post up so far as he only started yesterday, but please go over and show some loving at Wired-On-Sea. He'll love the attention.

All of the blogs I read and that are in the section on the right are all worth reading. They wouldn't be there otherwise. If you don't know each other, drop by and say hello.

I have been trying to organise all the photos and other rubbish I have on my laptop. I'm a great one for Folders and having things in their right place. I found an old video of me taken in March 2006. I've no idea why the video was taken, but we were all sto...erm...drunk. I think. Anyway, check out the short barnet! Considering I loathe cameras being pointed at me, I'm quite surprised that I allowed this to be taken. Must've been off with the fairies.




Song Of The Week this time round is Up Country by Mancini. I've posted about them before, but make sure you take a listen. Outstanding tune. And yes, she is frighteningly hot. But that's just a bonus.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Paul Weller Plays Heidelberg

I've had 2 colds this year. Both of which started just before leaving the UK bound for Heidelberg. The last one arrived first thing on Friday morning, and I prayed it wouldn't take hold until at least Saturday. Unfortunately I wasn't that lucky. I was coughing and spluttering like a trooper by the time the gig arrived. Unlike most men, I do actually know the difference between a cold and flu, but my god I felt like crap. I was also determined to not let it detract from seeing Weller.

As I mentioned in the last post, I was met at the airport by my old housemate (Ze German) and her mum. It's been a pretty long time since we saw each other and it was great to catch up with her. I also firmly believe that driving fast is something that is built into the German DNA, Ze German's mum really didn't hang around! But I was extremely grateful for the lift, thanks again ladies. We hung out for a while in Heidelberg and had something to eat whilst I let my cold firmly set in.

As we said our goodbyes I met up with Sakura and Rainbow Girl outside the venue. We were also joined, albeit fleetingly, by Stefan who was there to take some photos of the gig.

This is All Mod Cons, Stefan and Rainbow girl.


And this one includes the lovely Sakura, possibly giving it a "Hey you" point towards the camera!


I've not been to a gig that was all seated before. And to be honest, I was actually looking forward to taking a load off. Sakura managed to save RG & I seats right at the front, a totally uninhibited view of Weller! First up though were support band Moke, a Dutch based band that I hadn't heard of before, although the lady a couple of seats down from me (who kindly gave me some tissues, cheers luv) said that they were pretty good. And to be fair, they weren't bad. I'm always a little sceptical of hearing bands live when I've never heard any of their stuff before. I like to taste their music over a few "listens" first before hearing them live. You only get one shot at listening to a live song, and if the acoustics are wrong, or the set up isn't right, then you're going to lose my interest pretty rapidly. Much like Glasvegas did at Koko earlier this year. Moke were fairly good though. The set they played built up nicely in tempo and their penultimate song, Here Comes The Summer, was absolutely excellent. Although the last song, unfortunately, missed the target for me entirely. I've had a little listen to the song snippets on their website, and would recommend them. It's just a shame they don't have the full versions of at least a couple of tunes.

Then came the man himself. Having witnessed a gig at the BBC just a few weeks ago that was probably a once in a lifetime experience, Heidelberg as a follow-up was always going to have its work cut out. And whilst I was glad for the sit down, I wasn't entirely convinced that having everyone in seats was such a good idea. I've seen a fantastic collection of Weller gigs, both acoustic and full on, but this was the first time that I had seen one that was, in essence, split into two halves. Straight from the off I thought the sound was a little wrong though. The vocals seemed to get lost behind the guitars at times and when Invisible was played (one of my favorite songs from 22 Dreams) I could hardly hear Weller at all. Having said that, All On A Misty Morning was outstanding (and remains the top song played on my iPod, not that that has any relevance to this at all!). I also felt, at times, that the band were kind of just "going through the motions" when it came to the slower songs. Change overs weren't up to their usual slick standards, with Weller wandering off stage for a few minutes leaving the band to do an impromptu "fill in" instrumental. Maybe playing in front of a crowd, all pretty much sitting on their backsides, in such a small venue isn't that inspiring for the performers.

A change of pace was definitely needed. From both the crowds point of view, and Wellers. And when Out Of The Sinking (1 of my personal all time favorites) started, the blood started to pump. Songs like Sea Spray, From The Floorboards Up, and Push It Along were equally excellent. And the version of Wild Wood, similar to the one played at the BBC, was astounding. However, again there were times when the vocals were almost lost, especially behind Cradocks guitar which seemed incredibly overbearing. Whoever did the sound check, and I know there was one because we heard it when we were outside the back of the venue, needs to go back to basics I think.

Before the first of 3 encores we were all told to stand up and make our way towards the stage. I think everyone, including Weller, had had enough of all this sitting around malarkey. And believe me, it was worth doing. It was like a completely different gig. Weller had that familiar swagger back, his chin jutting out as he strutted around the stage totally owning the place. The crowd duly paid it back, singing every word and cheering at any given opportunity. Broken Stones was amazing and Wild Blue Yonder (which is getting close to being my all time favorite live song) was complete musical heaven for me.

All in all it was a pretty good evening. Apart from my cold and the dodgy sound. I met some really nice people, including some German lads who were obviously huge Weller fans. Massive thanks again to Ze German & her mum for the lift and to Sakura for saving us seats and giving me somewhere to quite literally crash at the end of the night. Without you all I would've stayed at home and nursed my swollen, dripping, red nose.


Weller! (Courtesy of Sakura)




Cradock


I also managed to get hold of Cradocks setlist at the end, mainly because I'm lankier than most people and could reach it, before they started handing out the photocopies. I also got hold of another plectrum of Weller's! I now have 3, all different! I'm going to need a bigger frame on my wall!

Whilst I'm fairly happy with the photos I took, here's a very small example of the quite incredible work from Stefan.



More of his work can be found HERE. Please note that the images are protected by Stefan Duerr Photography copyright. If you wish you use them, please contact him and ask for permission!

As a little "aside", if you drop by from any other sites to read this review, please feel free to leave a comment. Any feedback is welcome, as long as it's not too harsh!

So there you have it, another Weller gig. Normal "Blog" services will now be resumed until the 10th of November when I'll be off to Dublin to see Weller there, and have a good catch up with Ted, another old housemate!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Please Ensure Your Seats Are In Their Upright Position

Rant And Swear Modes Activated.

Initiating Finger Coordination Programme 73G93X

Attempting To Contact Blogger....Please Wait....

....We Are Sorry For The Delay. Your Call Is Important To Us And We Will Be With You As Soon As Possible...

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Please note that this post contains strong language from the outset. Some viewers may find this offensive. This is what is called a *Warning*. If you carry on reading, and don't like it, don't fucking moan about it you moron! That's what warnings are for, to let you know about stuff coming up.

If I go to an Internet Cafe to use a computer and print some things off, I do not expect to be confronted by someone behind the counter that has failed to master the standard greeting of "Hello". I also do not expect to stand there waiting for several minutes whilst you stare intently at the empty desks, trying to remember which one of your dodgy ripped off PC's actually works, and then grunting to me whilst thrusting out a bony finger in the general direction of a grubby seat. I do expect this PC to work. At least to the point of being able to maintain an OPEN and WORKING browser. This is, after all, supposed to be a business that works on the premise of being an INTERNET CAFE. When the grubby PC doesn't work, and I tell you that it doesn't, I do NOT expect you to repeat the entire process all over again without even muttering an apology.

Also, whilst I'm waiting in a queue to pay for my new purchases, I do not expect the short, fat, bag laden wench behind me to stand SO close to me that my sphincter starts to get hot from her overbearing body heat. Who then has the cheek to whinge because my bag hit her when I turned slightly! Just because I'm not facing you, it doesn't give you the right to be in my personal space! Back off bitch! If I did turn around, we'd be arrested for copulating in public!

When I become Mayor of London, I'm going to ban short people from having umbrellas. Sorry, but anyone under the height of 5'9" will just have to get wet. Or stay at home. Until you lot learn some manners, and notice the fact that your pointy umbrella ends are exactly at my eye height, then bollocks to you. All you have to do is raise your arm a few inches! I do not enjoy having metal and nylon pushed into my face, or feel like I'm auditioning for an Indiana Jones part as I leap, duck and weave my way around shops. I just want to shop like a normal human being.

Another thing, buggy's the size of a small family saloon car. Not Necessary. Ever. Having disc breaks on the thing is quite frankly utterly ridiculous. It hasn't even got pedals, let alone an engine, and with your hugely fat arse you're never likely to get it up to speeds where disc breaks are going to make a difference. No part of our public transport network is designed to cope with such enormous buggery! No matter where you go, you are in the way. You block all the doorways, congest the buses and tubes, make the rest of us walk in the road. Either get a smaller buggy or keep your legs shut next time.

Also...if you're sharing a house with me, do not have the heating on full blast then sit in your bedroom with the fucking windows open!! Is your brain that small?! Have you not read about fuel prices?!? Have you always been this stupid or have you had to work really hard at it in evening classes? And if the toilet is blocked, or the drain is over flowing, or the gas isn't working properly, stop coming to tell me about it! You are just as capable as I am of putting an arm down the drain to unblock it! I don't get paid to be Mr Maintenance, believe it or not I do just live here.

Rant And Swear Modes Deactivated.

Off to see Paul Weller in Germany tomorrow! Not staying as long as originally planned, so I'll be back on home turf by 6pm Saturday, but had a serious result for when I land. There were issues with my travel arrangements, one of which meant that I was going to be sitting at Frankfurt airport (not the proper Frankfurt, this one is in a field in butt fuck nowhere) for almost 3 hours waiting for a coach. However, my former housemate, and altogether utter star, is driving down with her old dear to meet me there and drive me to Heidelberg! Complete result! Friends eh, they're bloody blinding sometimes!

Might take my tiny little speakers so that I can plug them into my iPod and play Weller songs the entire time I'm there. Just to let everyone know who I'll be seeing in the evening. I almost feel like it's a calling, the people of Heidelberg are desperately in need of knowing that I'll be at the gig. They just don't know it yet.

Monday, October 6, 2008

1 Week On

It's been a strange old week. I felt a bit weird having met Weller and thought I'd be bouncing off the walls all over the place but it didn't really sink in until the following Friday. When I met Noel Gallagher last year, all I could do was show people the photo & babble on about it for days and days. However, I have pretty much spent most of the week wandering around with some creepy half grin on my face. Yeah ok, I showed a few people the photo & told the story more than once, but by Monday morning things were almost back to normal.

Then on Friday I went out to try and get some new jeans, failed miserably, and ended up spending more money than I can afford in HMV. One of my purchases was a Paul Weller Hit Parade DVD (bargain at £10 for a double DVD!!). There's a little run of some of my favorite songs on the 2nd disc, and as I sat there watching the videos and listening to the tunes it all came rushing back.

I almost always associate a song with something. Be it a feeling, or a person, or an event, and that song will always remind me of that. But Weller's music is a bit different for me. Each song does have a meaning behind it, but it can vary to the extreme. It's like it's adaptable to whatever mood I'm in, or need to be in. Watching the video footage of some of the songs brought back exactly how I was feeling that night, and kind of enabled me to replay it all in my mind in slow-mo. Meeting him is like listening to his songs, I'll be able to remember that night and get whatever I want from that memory, and each time it'll be different. Not sure if it actually gets any better than that, at least for me anyway.

More "Weller" related news...this Friday I'm off to Germany for the evening to see him play in Heidelberg. My travel arrangements are a bit tight for getting there on time due to some last minute changes, although an alternative might mean that I get there early. It's one of those "up in the air" things. Hopefully it'll come off because I'll get to catch up with an old flatmate and friend of mine. I also wish I had a better damn camera, because my phone blows at taking gig photos. Just a little too brassic in order to be able to afford a digital jobby. I actually have better things to save money for...could well be good news on this front too soon, at least I'm hoping so.

Talking of money, I picked myself up a Lottery Ticket last weekend. I've never won a single penny off the lottery, ever. Ok, I've not done it every week but I'd say I'd spent a couple of hundred quid over the last 10 years, or however long it's been going. Well, all that changed at the weekend. I took my ticket in to have it scanned to see if I'd won or not and the guy said that he couldn't scan the ticket for some reason or another. I came home and checked it manually, turns out I've won £10! Result! Kind of typical it won't scan though. Bastard machine.

Also this week, I managed to successfully stab myself with a screwdriver. In that bit of skin between your thumb and finger. Kinda hurt.

I also refused to pee in someones garden (even though they had given us permission on the job we're on because the toilet is out of commission). 2 reasons behind this. 1. The hedge had spider webs in, and I don't "do" spiders and 2. I've hurt my damn back again (is this what happens when you get older?!?) so if a spider DID land on me, and I freaked, then I couldn't flap my arms and legs about with wild abandon as per normal because I'd probably pass out with back pain. Thus enabling said spider to crawl up my nose and nest in my brain. Which is what spiders do.

Song Of The Week is The Stone Roses and Love Spreads. Give it a listen, let me know what you think if you want.

Oh, and here's the photo of me and Noel Gallagher...check out my "I'm at work and have an inbetween haircut" look...*sigh*