Sunday, January 30

Birmingham Bloggers Meetup
Met up with fellow Birmingham Bloggers last night in the first 100% unofficial Birmingham Bloggers meetup. Ben, Andy, myself and honorary Birmingham Bloggers Kenny (Telford) and Donna (Coseley nr. Wolverhampton). Paul sadly couldn't make it as he was off being showbiz in London village.

We met up in the newly refurbished non-smoking Shakespeare off New Street, which is now very nice indeed. We then adjourned to The Anchor in Digbeth, where we were serenaded by a camp, drunken bloke singing Fly Me To The Moon. Next it was a stagger up Digbeth High Street to the Royal George. Finally we visited the Sunflower Lounge to take advantage of the late bar. Interestingly at the Sunflower Lounge, the downstairs room, previously a venue for A Different Kettle Of Fish seemed to be almost entirely full of bald men. Possibly a Right Said Fred or Kojak* convention, who can say?

*Also check out KOJAK - Kit for Objective Judgement and Knowledge-based Detection of Performance Bottlenecks...fascinating stuff...

I almost forgot to mention the fantastic magazine we found on Saturday. Called Craic, it is a monthly magazine for the Irish community in Birmingham. Ben has posted a large selection of Classic Craic over on SWSL and you just need to take one look at the headlines to know this is a magazine you need to be reading...

Pensioner (74) 'tore skin off' his estranged brother

Motorist attacks traffic warden with lump hammer after getting a ticket

At 55, gull found in Ireland is oldest wild bird in world

Discovery of cow remains sparks fear of ritual killings

Dancing cleric plans palace vigil over 'unfair treatment'

To get yourself a copy of this free magazine, get yourself down to the pubs of Digbeth NOW!

Thursday, January 27

The Scene With No Name RIP
In the aftermath of the splits by McLusky and Ikara Colt, Drowned In Sound laments the demise of The Scene With No Name, but did it actually exist in the first place?

Guy McKnight from 80's Matchbox thinks not:
"The Scene With No Name is just lazy journalism. I think it makes it easier to identify with or perhaps get what journalists are talking about - I'd just like to make it crystal clear that it doesn't exist."

TSWNN came to prominence around the time of the 'We Love This Fucking Tour' tour featuring 80's Matchbox, The Colt and deranged Portuguese punks The Parkinsons. Also lumped in were the Cooper Temple Clause, Miss Black America and a motley crew of others.

"It's not exactly a great start for a scene if it hasn't got a name" commented Nick from The Beat Up in this amusing Lamacq Live documentary.

"We used to invent a new genre at the NME every fortnight." says Steve Lamacq . Like the Camden Lurch. "If you can persuade somebody that there is a scene based in two Camden pubs based on a lurching dance favoured by three people, then you can do anything right?"

Simon Williams claims The Scene With No Name was made up by him and some mates in a pub and had three rules:

1) swear frequently, often for no apparent reason.
2) wear dark clothes (they don't look so dirty after you've rolled around onstage for 25 minutes)
3) play at least one song which sounds like 'New Rose' by The Damned

And now it's over (if it ever existed).

What scene will be next? (personally i'm plumping for the West Bromwich based Yam-Metal scene) What do you think of music scenes in general? Are they just a load of bollocks?


Wednesday, January 26

Official - The Charlatans make you throw up
NME reports 500 people fell ill after a sick rock fan vomited at a gig in Scotland last year. The germs were then spread through the air conditioning system leading to a bout of Winter Vomiting Disease amongst a large portion of the audience. Nice!

Tuesday, January 25

NME Tour @ Birmingham Academy
So here we are at the Birmingham Academy for one of the most anticipated gigs of the year. The NME tour rolls in to town with three of the best bands in the UK and a touch of Las Vegas glamour.

The Kaiser Chiefs are the finest band ever to have been named after a South African football team. Fact. They occupy the coveted ‘lucky’ opening slot on the tour, previously taken by Coldplay, The Coral and Franz Ferdinand.

The Leeds-based quintet are a strange hybrid of other bands and genres. Guitarist Andrew White looks like a refugee from Ocean Colour Scene, keyboard player ‘Peanut’ is a cross between the fifth Libertine and an extra from Grange Hill. Whist they sound like a jamming session between a clutch of classic British bands - Blur, The Kinks, The Jam and Madness.

It’s an entertaining start to the night, as vocalist Ricky Wilson rushes around the stage, swinging his microphone stand and brandishing a cowbell in a slightly aggressive manner.

Their set is short and sharp, but badly paced. Their two singles ‘I Predict a Riot’ and ‘Oh My God’ are played back mid-set, giving the crowd an early opportunity to mosh, but meaning that they’ve peaked too soon.

They’ve got bags of potential and if they could manage to create their own identity rather than being just a sum of their influences, then they could go far.

London four-piece Bloc Party etched their name onto the hearts of hip indie kids all around the country last year with a string of blistering singles. Dressed in white, they deliver them with the poise and belief of a band destined for great things.

The singles ’Banquet’ are ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ and the magnificent ‘Helicopter’ are mixed in with tracks from their forthcoming debut album ‘Silent Alarm’. The band are known for their post-punk stylings and jagged guitars, but some of their newer songs show a more reflective side and posses and epic quality that sets the band apart.

New single ‘So Here We Are’ is a delicious, swirling, bittersweet, melancholic affair, with frontman Kele Okereke intoning “I made a vow to carry you home”. Whilst B-side ‘Positive Tension’ is more taut and aggressive, but no less impassioned.

By the time they leave the stage after playing ‘Little Thoughts’ it’s clear that this is a special band. Bloc Party manage to convey genuine emotion and touch the audience with their songs, something that the other three bands on the bill tonight sadly fail to do.

Sunderland’s The Futureheads are an oddball collection of characters. All angular guitars, twitching rhythms and rapid fire four-part harmonies, they resemble a sort of post-punk Proclaimers.

Futureheads songs are generally two minute blasts of tightly wound art-punk and they can certainly create quite a racket. The vocals are split between each member of the band; all of them delivered in thick Mackem accents, making the band stand out from the crowd.

In the live arena, they are a rockier proposition than on record. As a consequence of this, some of their more intricate subtleties are lost, which is a shame.

However all is not lost, as singer Barry Hyde splits the crowd into two for the moment of the night. What follows is what can only be described as an A Cappella face off between the two sections of the crowd as the provide the “Uh Oh Oh” introduction at the beginning of their magnificent version of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’. Genius.

Where The Futureheads provide some Northern grit, headliners The Killers bring a touch of showbiz glitz to end the evening. With the name of his band written in lights behind him and his album to of the UK charts, singer Brandon Flowers is in a confident mood. The charismatic frontman plays a sparkly silver keyboard and is wearing a baby pink tie. Clearly he’s not a shy and retiring character.

The Killers sound could be described as all the best bits of Britpop, mixed with some 80’s synths and given a Hollywood makeover. Imagine if Shed 7 had come from New York rather than York and you’re half way there.

Opener ‘Indie Rock & Roll’ is a gentle piano driven sing-a-long start to proceedings. Before long their two best tracks ‘Somebody Told Me’ and ‘Mr Brightside’ are played back to back causing a pogoing frenzy which engulfs almost the entire bottom tier of the audience.

From then on the crowd are in the palm of Flowers’ hand, even though one song seems to merge into the next, indistinguishable from one another. The band are from Las Vegas, a city where style is valued over substance, and despite their Britpop leanings, it does show.

‘The kids’ however, lap it up and after the final chords of the sleazy ‘Midnight Show’ ring out and the band leave the stage, they’re screaming for more.

When more is delivered in the shape of ‘Jenny’ and ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ and the house lights go up, a sea of sweaty, smiling faces is revealed.

So the evening ends in an away victory for the Americans, with strong performances from our three British bands. It is noticeable that of the bands selected to perform tonight as the cream of the British indie scene, not one of them contained a woman. With bands like The Duke Spirit, The Go! Team and The Zutons around (to name but three), this is a glaring oversight.

Whether any of the bands performing tonight will have the impact of Franz Ferdinand remains to be seen. What is certain is that tonight’s bill is likely to be the best value to grace the Academy this year and that all four bands that appeared are set for a bright future.

Sunday, January 23

Ron's at it again
The St Pauli tour has parallels with West Bromwich Albion's tour of China in 1978, where one of the Albion players John Trewick remarked "You've seen one wall, you've seen them all".

The Albion manager during that tour was Big Ron Atkinson, who was in the news this weekend, pissing away the last remains of his reputation by again making racist comments, this time about Chinese women.

He is alleged to have said: "The Chinese people have the best contraception in the world - but I can't understand why there's so many of them because their women are so ugly."

Ron has again distinguished himself by not actually apologising for his racist comments. Defending himself, he said:

"I cannot believe anyone has complained about anything I said. I went there to help them out and to raise money. I stayed for ages and did photographs. I can't believe this - I just can't believe this. I can't say anything now. I've been ultra-careful about everything. It was an easy evening and everyone enjoyed themselves."

A spokesman for anti-racism campaign Kick It Out said: "This stuff is poisonous really. Essentially he really doesn't understand what he is doing in making these comments. They are deeply offensive."

Our men in Havana
For the past couple of weeks our favourite left wing German football team FC St Pauli have been training in Cuba (In German). The Hamburg club also played two matches - one against the Cuban youth side and one against the full Cuban national team. St Pauli are the first Western team ever to tour Cuba in the Castro era.

St Pauli have taken over to Cuba loads of sports equipment which they will donate to local teams. A fan who has travelled over to Cuba reports that Pauli fans are refusing to travel in local cabs, because their numberplates all begin with the letters HSV (Initials of their Hamburg arch rivals).

The team were invited to a government dinner, but there are no reports as yet as to whether they got to meet Castro. It is worth remembering that Cuba is still very much an international pariah, with American citizens not allowed to visit the country. This makes St Pauli's visit even more important and shows what a politically focused and forward thinking team they are.

Siempre St Pauli!

Friday, January 21

Wednesday's A Different Kettle Of Fish was a roaring success with over 50 people attending and listening to an eclectic set from Monsieur Bergeroo. The enigmatic Frenchman played tracks from Bloc Party, The Others, Death From Above 1979, The Rakes, The Clash, William Shatner, Le Tigre, The Cure, Martini Henry Rifles, Gwen Stefani, Kaiser Chiefs, Futureheads, Gogol Bordello, The Bravery, The Faint, Regina Spektor, Dresden Dolls, Misty's Big Adventure, Interpol and more. Respect to Big Dave for his terrible dancing and even worse Charles Kennedy impression. Also to the French barman who wore a sailor hat, didn't understand what a Spritzer was and managed to pull. Nice work young man.

The next ADKOF's are on 16th February and on 2nd March, when A Different Kettle Of Fish goes acoustic with a live performance from the marvellous Ruth Theodore. Both events are again at the Bristol Pear in Selly Oak.

See you there.

Wednesday, January 19

Don't forget!
A Different Kettle Of Fish
Upstairs @ The Bristol Pear, Selly Oak, Birmingham,
7:30 - 11pm,
£1 entry,
Featuring DJ Phillipe Bergeroo, Ideosphere and DJ Erised

I'll be taking to the wheels of steel at about 8:40 to play some post-punk, indie, rock, electro and Ukranian-gypsy-punk-folk.

And remember - Half price entry if you are wearing a cravat! Qualified cravat authenticators will be in operation on the door.

And coming soon:

A Different Kettle Of Fish goes acoustic with a live performance from
hotly tipped Southampton based singer-songwriter Ruth Theodore.

"The new Kathryn Williams" - Danger! High Postage

Tuesday, January 18

Home Affairs Select Committee discuss darts
Forget the forthcoming election, the Iraq occupation, Prince Harry and Celebrity Big Brother. My MP Tom Watson has been involved in the big debate of the day.

Should darts be officially recognised as a sport?

It seems top level discussions within the Home Affairs Select Committee have placed the issue firmly on the national agenda. We can only hope that darts will feature strongly in Tony Blair's election manifesto.

Colchester Lib Dem MP Bob Russell is a strong supporter of the yes campaign and on Monday raised the issue in parliament:

"Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD): Whether it is her policy to support darts being recognised as a sport.

The Minister for Sport and Tourism (Mr. Richard Caborn): Decisions on whether particular activities and pastimes should be recognised as sports for official and funding purposes are made by unanimous agreement between the sports councils. I understand that the sports councils keep the matter under constant review, but I was pleased to see today that darts has signed up to UK Sport's anti-drugs code, which I welcome.

Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale) (Con): What about drink?

Mr. Caborn: To the best of my knowledge, alcohol is not covered by UK Sport's anti-drugs code. I hope that, in the light of that development, the sports councils will give more serious consideration to bringing darts into the family of sport.

Bob Russell: If the Prime Minister said that he would like darts to become a recognised sport, would the Minister for Sport and Tourism throw a wobbly? Will he make a 180° turn, and throw his full weight behind the campaign to make darts a recognised sport, as millions of players and supporters already believe that it is a sport?

Mr. Caborn: How much further can I go than say that I welcome darts signing up to the UK anti-drugs code? I hope that the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, their sports councils and their English counterparts will consider bringing darts into the family of sport, whether the Prime Minister did, or did not say that he wanted that to happen."

I'm backing the campaign - who's with me?

Monday, January 17

A bit part in a freak show - Ikara Colt RIP

A sad day as Danger! High Postage's favourite angular guitar band have called it a day after five years.

A statement of the Ikara Colt Website from singer Paul Resende said:

"Dear friends, just a quick note to say that the band will be splitting up as of now. We would all like to thank everyone that came to see us, supported us, heckled us. We produced two albums and countless singles and we always said that we would split up after five years and that five years is up, better to go out this way than to turn into some old, tired and jaded outfit. As we always said this was never a career choice or a lifestyle option and sadly most bands I see seemed to be for those reasons. Cheers once again, Thank you and good night."

It seems only coming second in the Danger! High Postage album of the year list hit the band harder than first thought....

I saw the band many times, the first being a blinding gig at the small upstairs room in the Jug Of Ale in Moseley, Birmingham. Then there was of course the infamous Reading stage invasion of 2002 that lead to them being axed from the Leeds leg of the festival (where I was!) the following day. The last time I saw them in May 2004 was a little bit of a disappointment, not because of the band, but because of the crowd at the Custard Factory. The 'Custarati' stood there stroking their cravats and refused to move, afraid of looking uncool for actually enjoying the music - something that The Colt could never be accused of.

Individually the band were all legends:

Drummer Dom - Hitting the skins faster than anyone else I've ever seen, his face contorted in concentration and pain, head bobbing, straining to get to the end of the song.

Bassist Tracy - Prowling the stage, thrusting her bass and swigging from a bottle of red wine.

Guitarist Claire - The secret weapon, hair looking as if it was made from lego, wringing her guitar within an inch of it's life.... but with restraint.

Singer Paul - With his Mark E Smith drawl, razor sharp lyrics and delivery. A twitching whirlwind of cynicism.

And let's not forget original bassist Jon - A man with the coolest leather jacket in art-punk.

Collectively they formed a perfectly balanced musical unit, playing no unnecessary notes - and so this is proven as they were as good as their word, splitting up at their peak and always retaining their outsider status

“We were never chosen for a sort of ‘inner circle’, I think in Britain especially you need the media just to get your message across to people who don’t know. We’ve never had that really.” - Dom, November 2004

I never actually managed to interview the band myself, but here's one of their final interviews from Artrocker.

"Ikara Colt showed that going to see a band did not have to be like seeing a film or an opera." - Big Dave has posted his thoughts over at our MP3 blog, Louder Than War, including his recollections of the stage invasion.

Ikara Colt official site
Sinking Venice
Fantastic Plastic
Ikara Colt Deutsche fanpage

Sunday, January 16

Panoramic view of Lyon Posted by Hello

The book market in Lyon Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 15

Catching up
Just trying to find out what I've missed whilst I've been away. I guess you've all seen this:

Waterstones blogger sacked for writing the Woolamaloo Gazette.

 Posted by Hello
I enjoyed my week in France, but I still don't understand the country. One thing they have got right though is putting Columbo back where he belongs, prime time on a Wednesday night.

The guy who does the voice of the French Colombo is a legend in his own right, taking what Peter Falk says and adding his own mannerisms and characteristics. If there's one thing that France seems to love, it's detectives.

Another prime time programme is Commissaire Moulin, translated as Inspector Mill (At first I though it was Inspector Windmill, but sadly this isn't the case).

And if course there is always Bergerac, he's almost French......

Who is your favourite TV detective?

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Tuesday, January 11

I leave the country for five minutes and this happens

Ikara Colt lose Sticksman. Say it aint so...

Mclusky split. Say it aint so x2....

Links via No Rock And Roll Fun

Joy Division nominated for a Brit Award
Strange things are afoot, as the greatest band of all time have been nominated for a Brit in the BRITS25 - Best Song Award category. Joy Division are up against Ms Kate Bush, Queen, Will Young?! and that fat dancer from, Stoke. They are being quoted at 16/1 to win, so get your money on now.

As for the other nominations, i'll refrain from the usual moaning about how boring and safe they are, but Kasabian with three nominations! Where did that one come from...

Monday, January 10

La Flechette
"When Alexander of Macedonia was 32, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer. Bristow's only 27" Legendary Darts commentator Sid Waddell.

And so it was poetic that we went to see Alexander on the evening Raymond Van Barneveld the World Darts Championship for the fourth time.

For the record I thought the film was pretty good but couldn't understand why everyone had an Irish accent and why Kenny from Book Group was Crateros.

By the way I'm in France. God bless French keyboards, I've no idea where the apostrophe is.

Observations of Lyon. The city is very beautiful, bisected by two rivers, the Rhone and Saone.They love eating tripe, especially breaded, one kind of tripe is ,mysteriously called The Fireman. We have been going out to traditional Lyonnais Bouchon restaurants. Last night I had something called a Quenelle, a kind of fish dumpling. Fincho has been less adventurous and I even found out she had lied to me when she said she had tried snails. The cheeky Goth.

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Friday, January 7

The return of The Bergeroo

He's back and this time he's wearing a cravat.

A Different Kettle Of Fish
Wednesday January 19th
Upstairs @ The Bristol Pear, Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham
£1 entry
Half price admission if you are wearing a cravat*

Featuring the return of the Eric Cantona of the West Midlands indie scene, DJ Phillipe Bergeroo. Playing indie, electro, post-punk, art-punk, punk-funk and maybe a bit of your regular punk too if you're lucky.

Also DJ Erised playing a cornucopia of indie pop classics.

And the genius that is Ideosphere.

*Cravat Definition from Hyperdictionary.com

\Cra*vat"\ (kr?-v?t"), n. [F. cravate, fr. Cravate a Croat, an inhabitant of Croatia, one of a body of Austrian troops, from whom, in 1636, this article of dress was adopted in France.]
A neckcloth; a piece of silk, fine muslin, or other cloth,
worn by men about the neck.

Le Parkour
Just watched a brilliant documentary on Channel 4 called Jump Britain. It's a sequel to a doc called Jump London which sadly I didn't see, about the sport of Le Parkour, also known in the UK as Free Running. Invented in the suburbs of France, the sport is about movement around different urban structures and obstacles.

 Posted by Hello

In this article on the BBC Birmingham Website, Andy Day describes the urban extreme sport as:

"Moving from A to B with style and fluidity using everything around you probably describes it best, drawing on martial arts, gymnastics, skate boarding, inline skating and break dancing."

After starting off in France the sport is now growing in the UK and even in Birmingham.

Needless to say, Jump Britain was brilliant. The 'traceurs' were in action on the Forth Bridge, The Angel Of The North, The ICC in Birmingham, Giants Causeway in Ireland, The Baltic Art Gallery in Gateshead, The South Bank in London and most spectacular of all, Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where one of the traceurs jumped over the retractable roof as it opened!

If you missed it, there is a making of documentary on next week on E4, or check out the Urban Freeflow website.

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Thursday, January 6

New Nailbomb Cults Website
Visit the new Nalibomb Cults website for some delicious slabs of the 'Breakiest Breakcore' from Oxford's answer to Alec Empire. Breakier than a broken windbreak covered in Ready Bre(a)k in Broken Hill, Australia.

But just who is the shadowy figure behind the Nailbomb Cults digital empire...? Perhaps we will never know....

Where's the Mayor?
Are you ready for an exciting new feature on Danger! High Postage, starring the Mayor of Dudley? It seems the Mayor has a knack of being in amusing photos. Is he a secret prankster trying to subvert the Mayoral office? Or is he quite simply a publicity seeking Conservative Councillor who will be photographed at the opening of a letter (or an industrial smelting works).

Stay tuned for more in this irregular series:

Unintentionally amusing photos featuring the Mayor of Dudley!

The Worshipful the Mayor Malcolm Knowles we salute you

The mayor visits a blast furnace and smiles to the camera whilst a man tries not to spill a large bucket of something very hot. What is the mayor promoting here? Answers on a postcard! Posted by Hello

The Mayor of Dudley rides a scooter in front of his car, but he really should have should have taken all of the packaging off first. And who is the woman in the background?  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 4

Back In The DHSS
Did you know that you are not allowed to be unemployed and go on holiday? This I found out to my cost at the dole office on Friday.

And yet I thought I'd prepared so well. I phoned the office to check it was open. New Years Eve I thought, there will be nobody there, no queues! I had been working on my limp and the grimaces caused by my dodgy back. And I was determined not to make the same mistake as last time I signed on three years ago, when I helped the woman behind the desk use the computer and they ended up offering me a job at the job centre itself.

As anticipated, when I arrived at the Job Centre in West Bromwich there was hardly anyone there (no doubt they were all boozing away their benefit in an illicit drinking den). After wandering around aimlessly for five minutes, I found the right floor and was seen almost straight away.

The woman behind the desk was very efficient and courteous in taking down my details, such as whether I was an Asylum Seeker and if I was "On the phone". She was just about to give me the extensive form I needed to fill in when disaster struck.

Job Centre Woman:"So i'll make you an appointment for Monday the 10th then"
Me: "Er, I can't make it that day"
JCW: "Oh! (overemphasized for effect) May I ask why?"
Me: "(unable to think of excuse)Errrrr (mumbles) I'm going on holiday...."

At this point she was just passing me the form, both our hands were on the document, but as soon as I said the word holiday it was if an alarm had gone off in her brain. Her grip on the form tightened and her expression took on a distinctly icy quality. We locked stares....... a tumbleweed blew by......

JCW: (eyebrows raised) "Holiday......?
Me: (struggling to pull the form towards me) "Yeah"
JCW: (tightening her grip with an even more steely eyed determination) "And where are you going on (pause for effect)... holiday?"
Me: (gulp) "France"

Using the desk as leverage the job centre woman manages to prize the holy grail of the benefit claim form from my grasp.

JCW: "Well you can't have any benefit then until you come back, as you won't be actively seeking work. If you were going to Cornwall, then that's acceptable, but you can't go abroad"
Me: "But it's freezing in Cornwall this time of year.....and besides (prepares to play trump card) How will I find a job in the West Midlands, if I'm in Cornwall?"
JCW: (Determined to outwit me) "You go to the nearest Job Centre"
Me: "But what about if I'm an a remote village miles away from the nearest large town and I don't drive"

At this point the Job Centre Woman falls into my trap. Instead of playing me at my own game and saying something like "How would you get to this remote village?" She says:

JCW: "You could use newspapers"
Me: "But, newspapers in Cornwall wouldn't have jobs in Birmingham"
JCW: "What about the Job Centre website?"
Me: (Slightly too smugly) Ah, I can yes....but can't the job centre website also be accessed from abroad, along with all the other job websites out there?"

The Job Centre Woman looks at me in disgust.

Me: "So I can still 'actively seek work' as you so eloquently put it, whilst I am in France"
JCW: "No you can't"
Me: "I can"
JCW: "No"
Me: "OK, so just give me the form, I'll fill it in now and then you can start giving me benefit on the day I get back from France"
JCW: (With a crafty smile to herself) "I'm afraid I can't do that"
Me: "Go on....it will save time"
JCW: "NO! You must come in after you get back from.....holiday, to collect a form and then you can make an appointment"
Me: "But....."

Monday, January 3

No really.....you don't have to....
Boy George and Cliff Richard are teaming up to record a song to raise money for the Tsunami victims.

According to this article "Ronan Keating may take part if he makes it to a studio near where he is staying in Switzerland." Don't push the boat out Ronan, if you're skiing or having a fondue or something, then don't cancel in on our behalf.

"Robin and Barry Gibb, Chris Rea, Olivia Newton-John and Jamie Cullum are also being approached." WHAT!!!! PLEASE NO!

The song is a cheery little number called 'Grief Never Grows Old' written by ambulance chaser DJ Mike Read (Update: Oh No! It's THAT Mike Read!) Apparently "Read wrote the song before the events of Boxing Day but thought it too depressing to release." So now he thinks he'll release it to get five minutes of fame raise some money for charity.

Here's an idea. Ronan Keating, the Gibb Brothers, Chris Rea, Cliff, Boy George - they all must be loaded. Why don't they give a little bit of their own extensive wealth to charity, then they don't have to make the record at all......

Sunday, January 2

Serious stuff
There's some incredibly powerful stuff on the web and on blogs about the Tsunami. Bloggers can give a differrent viewpoint to most of what is seen in mainstream media, which generally only comes from one perspective.

Scary photos of the Tsunami

A vividly written blog by a survivor of the Tsunami. This is a guy from Colorado who is in Thailand.

"He told me his name with Michael and pointed in the direction we need to go. He left his daughter on the steps and we waded about 50 yards to the left and found his daughter, Grace, clinging to a tree. I realized I had met both of them the night before at the bar during the Christmas dinner party. She was 12 years old. I could see she was badly hurt and already drifting into shock. I thought Mike and I could make a seat with our interlocked hands and carry her to the deck, but then I realized that Michael was hurt as well - he had a broken ankle. He hid it well, but I knew he couldn't stand the extra weight. With Mike's help, I picked her up and waded back to the bedroom."

Photos from the same blogger

A blog and photos by a guy called Fred from Sri Lanka:

"I was a bit shocked to see (on the BBC this evening) boxes being thrown out of the back of a plane as it flew low over a disaster zone. I have no idea where it was, or how desperate the circumstances, but it looked care-less and the thought of surviving a catastrophe only to be killed by a case of Evian is a bit too much.

"The news people keep trying to decide which place has been worst hit, juggling the order in which they announce the countries according to the latest grim statistics. Some loss is beyond comparison."

Nanda Kishore and Suman Kumar blog from Chennai in India.

And some Chennai pictures

An Irishman in Thailand:

"I helped yesterday cleaning around a resort, and we had to stop quickly after one of the guys on my left discovered a body, under some debris. Hard and shocking, when you are not used to that."

And I guess you've all already seen this one:
South-East Asia Earhtquake and Tsunami blog

Boing Boing has been listing many of these blogs.