Flawless songs that are longer than 7 minutes 

You’ve got to hand it to bands/artists that succeed to make great music that is longer than the usual three minute pop song. That is, without ridiculously long instrumentals or remixing. In my opinion, these are some of the best: 
  1. American Pie // Don McLean
  2. Lets Pretend // Drenge
  3. Be Safe // The Cribs
  4. Born Slippy (Nuxx) // Underworld
  5. Loaded // Primal Scream
  6. 1998 (Delicious) // Peace
  7. Teen Age Riot // Sonic Youth
  8. Pictures of You // The Cure   

(vinyl) paradise lost, (vinyl) paradise regained

I’ve just accidentally bought a collectors item. Now I have a dilemma, to listen or not to listen?

Staying at my Grandad’s house in the Lakes, when my parents came home today and told me there was a CD and Record sale up the road, I hardly expected to find anything to my taste. Usually a small town record sale consists of a load of 50s/60s vinyl dumped in a box outside oxfam, fragile, musty-smelling and uninteresting. records

Desperate for an excuse to tear myself away from unprogressive revision, I walked up the road to this place, actually to be pleasantly surprised. The usual cheap 50s/60s stuff was kept to a minimum, and there was an interesting variety of folk, reggae, blues, soul, rock, pop and the dreaded indie-rock genres. To entice the uneducated record connoisseur, the first table was scattered with Beatles stuff. The standout piece was the impeccably clean copy of ‘Sgt Peppers’, with its brilliantly coloured imaginative cover, for a bargain at just £120. I think i’ll pass. I almost bought the soundtrack to ‘Help’ which was only a tenner, but I had to sacrifice that when I found The Smiths section. After chatting with the guy about how much Joy Division and other Manchester stuff he had sold, I soon find out that this was his collection. And it filled a village hall. Half of it is still sealed, he’s ‘a sucker for a good cover’ he tells me, pointing towards a Cramps 75″ vinyl from 1985, that comes with 3D glasses to look at its psychedelic cover, pretty cool, but i’ve never listened to The Cramps, so I can hardly justify buying it for £25 just to stick on the 3D glasses, maybe Instagram the sleeve (as the ‘like’ media whore that I am) and then let it slowly rot beneath my bed for the next 8 months. Anyway, I digress, the reason I am writing this post is because I am in utter disbelief with this record sales guy, and, I suppose the whole record collecting culture. He actually told me that 30 of his LP’s could buy him 3 new cars, with a shameless smile on his face. You’ve got to hand it to him, selling records on is a pretty sneaky way to make an income, because there is no middleman. All the money bypasses the artists, producers, managers (the people who are responsible for making the record great) and goes straight to you. Ignorant you, with your 5 mercedes and your lonely museum of Fleetwood Mac LP’s.

Surely the reason you buy records (correct me if i’m wrong) is to listen to them, to own them and treasure them. I get that people want to take pride in their collection, but do it for the right reason – your records should tell the story of your life, not the size of your wallet. If they are going to stay on a shelf in their plastic until you work out how much money you can get off some other mindless twit for them, then surely they aren’t fulfilling their real purpose, to be played? Maybe I just don’t get the art of collectables.

Which brings me to my next point, wouldn’t you prefer to buy a record that had been played, whether it be at a 1970s university social or in a now pensioners bedroom when they were a teenager, spun endlessly on repeat as they fantasised about approaching Cathy Morris? I guess that’s one of the good reasons that vinyls are still being pressed for new releases, so that in years to come someone will be able to find them, having lived their first life, ready to be passed onto their next proud owner, hopefully not for an extortionate price. It’s strange to think that the music i’m listening to today might one day actually be worth a fair bit of money.

CD’s are quickly becoming a rarity, too, and we’ve seen it with the bankruptcy of HMV last year. The rise of corporate giants I Tunes have a lot to answer for. When everything becomes digitalised, to quote Renton from Trainspotting, ‘in 1,000 years from now there will be no guys and no girls, just wankers.’ I reckon we’ll miss the sensuous pleasure of records, tapes, and vinyl. Where’s the excitement in waiting for your favourite band to release their new album, if all it involves is pressing ‘download’ and letting a computer pull another £9.99 off your credit card? And whatever happened to lyrics booklets? I used to bloody love putting a CD on my Walkman and following the lyrics page for page when I was about 8. (Until my Walkman broke about three weeks later, useless piece of shit.)

As it happens, what i’ve bought isn’t even that dated, and I kind of hate myself for it. The Smiths 7″ Singles, released in 2008 with two ‘exclusive rarities’ it’s unplayed and i’ve been advised ‘not to take it out of it’s case’. Fuck that. Why would I buy it if I didn’t want to listen to it? Granted, I’m no music dealing expert, far from it, but I refuse to ignore the fact that music should be listened to. I open it and the first thing I see is a slip with a digital download code, suitably placed next to a photocopy of a ticket to see The Smiths in 1986 at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, for £6.50. I’ve just bought 12 of their singles for more than 8 times the price. Oh, the irony. And yeah, maybe I will be able to sell it in twenty odd years if times are hard, or maybe I’ll keep it to remind my older self of my lacklustre teenage years, but for now, i’m going to enjoy it. I hope Morrissey and Marr are enjoying themselves drinking imported tea in their multi-million residences, half the world away from each other.


Other purchases include ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free // The Streets’ CD (for 2 quid!) various Sonic Youth albums, and The Coral’s Singles Collection.

Leslee Udwin’s ‘India’s Daughter’ shows us why we still need feminism.

Even though people may think we’re closer to acheiving gender equality, Storyville’s latest, most contraversial documentary to date, shows us the paradox of various developing countries’ archaic attitudes to women as a part of society. 

Covering the 2012 gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh on a moving bus in India’s capital, Delhi, Udwin doesn’t sugar-coat the brutality of this shocking, but all too common crime. What is particularly interesting is the interviews with the rapists defence lawyers, who are blindly ignorant to their prejudice. Lawyer AP Singh even states in a previously televised interview,  “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.” And he confirms to Udwin in the documentary that his stance remains the same: “This is my stand. I still today stand on that reply.”

Jyoti Singh was a 23 year old medical student who had, despite all odds, successfully passed her exams and was just about to begin her first hospital placement when she left the house to see a film, Life of Pi, one night with a male friend. After the film, the two were spotted and lured onto a bus by a boy who had convinced them they were travelling in the same direction. She never returned home.  

This documentary has stormed the media in the past week, the Indian government pleaded with the BBC not to broadcast it, and many countries have already banned it. It’s scheduled broadcast was Sunday 8th March, International Women’s Day, but following various anxieties and complaints, it was brought forward to Wednesday, 4th March.

It is hoped that it will raise awareness of the silent rape epidemic ans inspire change, not only in India, but throughout the entire world. 

Having visited India last year I have an affinity to the and it’s diverse culture and traditions, but was nontheless shocked by the primative mentality of these Rapists and those who fought to defend them. It was this particular rape that sparked a series of rebellious protests on the streets of Delhi, particularly at India Gate. I felt compelled to share this as soon as i had seen it; watch it while you still can.   


I got carried away with my favourite films…

Trainspotting, Danny Boyle, 1996

I fell in love with this before reading the book, after being forced to watch it because ‘your dad’s second cousin is in it’ (Robert Carlisle – not that i’ve ever met him). It’s not just Ewan McGreggor that makes this film brilliant, it’s the directing, the soundtrack, the era, the Scottish drug scene. This is the kind of film you immerse yourself in, and it affects you. Especially the scene where Renton is locked in his room trying to get off drugs. Amazingly, the grittiness achieved by writing the book entirely in Scottish dialect is pulled off just as well in the film, fuelled by its dreary 80s Edinburgh backdrop.

‘Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life.’


Heathers, Micheal Lehman, 1988

This has to be the best high school disaster movie ever. It ridicules the social hierarchy with a popular-girl clique that all go by name ‘Heather’. the name Winona Ryder is flawless in the way she conveys her troubled character Veronica, ‘dear diary, my teen angst bullshit now has a body count.’ It is infinitely quotable and hilariously dark, ‘well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw, do I look like Mother Theresa?’ Heathers 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTmpKgocyYg

Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino, 1992

There had to be a Tarantino film in here somewhere, and I’ve chosen this one because of its sheer simplicity. As always its the disrupted chronology that keeps us hooked, and the brutality of it. My favourite scene: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye7x3jbi_TE

The Graduate, Mike Nichols, 1967

‘Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me aren’t you?’ is a quote from lost college graduate Benjamin Braddock, who’s affair with his parents friend Mrs Robinson is probably the most iconic of all time. The soundtrack to this film was written and recorded by Simon and Garfunkle, featuring ‘The Sound of Silence’ which features in my favourite sequence of the film, and enhances the depth of the narrative entirely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahFARm2j38c

Mean Girls, Mark Waters, 2004

Lets face it, this film rocks. Every girl and most guys have seen it, infact most of us know it word-for-word. It immortalises Lindsay Lohan in the prime of her acting career, and also showcases Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried before they got big. It’s so fetch. And lets be honest it has some morals to it, too… mean girls

Submarine, Richard Ayoade, 2010

Ayoade brings Joe Dunthorne’s massively underrated coming-of-age novel to life along with the help of actor Craig Roberts. A proper British film about the trials and tribulations that come with first love. submarine

(500) Days of Summer, Marc Webb, 2009

This chronicles the romance of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zoey Deschanel) over 500 days. Although, as stated, it is not a love story. This film is the epitome of indie. Embellished with endless musical links to the likes of Belle and Sebastian and The Smiths, it is the essential film for any music-geek. 500

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Phillip Kaufman, 1988

Although it doesn’t do Kundera’s novel justice, it is a work of art on film. Daniel Day Lewis and Juliette Binoche are fantastic. ‘Take off your clothes.’ TULOB

Gone Girl, David Fincher, 2014

Nick Dunne: [Opening lines] When I think of my wife, I always think of the back of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers. The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do? This film, in my opinion, was a triumph for feminism. Rosamund Pike plays the missing ‘Amazing Amy’ with flawless conviction. It’s really well directed and has that essential twist that every thriller needs. This scene is intense, and has probably broken a lot of cinematic boundaries… (sorry for the spoiler) gone girl sex

Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly, 2001

This is essentially a movie about time travel, although it deserves it’s own category. Fucked-up teen Donnie Darko meets Frank, a tall bunny rabbit who tells him the world will end in 28 days, and the film follows him up until this date, which inevitably is the night of halloween. Plus, young Jake Gyllenhaal makes me wish I was ten years younger because he was so attractive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wqVHjK2bQs

Withnail and I, Bruce Robinson, 1987

Set in 1967 London, Marwood and Withnail are two unemployed, unemployable actors who decide to go on holiday in Withnail’s uncle Monty’s, (Richard Griffiths) Lake District holiday home. Disaster ensues. ‘I must have some booze! I demand to have some booze.’ Withnail and i

Wings of Desire / Der Himmel Über Berlin, Wim Wenders, 1987

This is one of the only films that captures the Berlin Wall on film. It follows a group of angels that are guardians of certain people on earth, in Berlin. It revels in its simplicity; the parts seen through the eyes of the angels are filmed in black and white, and the parts seen through the human eye are in brilliant colour. It’s very profound in its execution, and as a consequence extremely thought-provoking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0htOcy1QUkk

Yellow Submarine, George Dunning, 1968

I recently watched this whilst drunk and, for some reason, it had me laughing relentlessly. I can relate to Ringo a lot, ‘Nothing ever happens to me. I’d jump in the River Mersey but it looks like rain.’ http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xv95g8_yellow-submarine-1968-george-dunning-with-beatles-john-paul-george-and-ringo_shortfilms