STOP PRESS : WYRCA UPDATE

It’s just after 5pm on Thursday night and having just got in from work I’ve had the chance to look at the blog’s Inbox. There’s an e-mail arrived earlier at 11.16am from Tim Badger….except it wasn’t. It was from Lorna, his wife.

The contents of the e-mail reduced me to tears as the words were incredibly personal and went into some detail about events and happenings of more than 20 years ago that brought Tim and Lorna together. It also reflected on something else that happened recently that was incredibly stressful for them and was the beginning of a chain of events that led to the sudden ending of WYCRA.

Those of you who were fans of what was by far the best blog on the planet will know that Tim and Lorna have had a rough time of things this past 12 months or so, experiencing a collective pain that very few of us can begin to imagine. They’ve both also separately spent time in hospital recovering from injuries and illnesses during which they demonstrated courage and bravery that would certainly be beyond me. And all the while, they, along with SWC and KC, provided us with a daily dose of entertainment that in equal measures made us smile, cry, grimace and occasionally think that blokes can be twats.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that everyone involved in WYRCA, including the boys’ better halfs, can be considered as close friends, the type who you really care about, which is why there was a real cause for concern that it disappeared without warning.

It turns out that Tim and Lorna have decided that they need to get away and relax for a bit and so, in less than 48 hours, are off to Brisbane, Australia to visit relatives for a few months. When Tim broke this news to SWC, the latter was stuck at Istanbul airport waiting for a late flight. SWC’s reaction was that the blog had to come to an end as he didn’t want to write it without Tim being involved. It was SWC’s idea to delete it. And here he is to say why….

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WYCRA was Tim’s idea, and I’m not doing it without him. Its as simple as that. I should have perhaps have mentioned it on the blog, but to be entirely honest with you, it was easier to just press delete, far easier than I expected it to be. Tim told me yesterday that we should have responded to the comments on T(n)VV, yeah he’s right, we should have done, sorry. In my defence, I have been in court for three days trying to get some scumbag rapists locked up, but that’s not that important to be honest.

I won the Snakes and Ladders you know, it was close but KC rolled a two at the end and I rolled a six to triumph and in all honesty Square 100 was a massive anti-climax because it was

Urban Futuristic by Pop Will Eat Itself

Oh talking of KC, well here’s some good news. She’s getting married. That obviously was the last chapter in her chronicle. She’s marrying a lovely chap called Dominic. She’s known him for a few years now, she met him at the recycling centre where they argued over a cabinet that they both wanted. I wish I made that up but I didn’t.

This was to be the last song she chose alongside her pieces – please don’t hold that against her.

Run – Snow Patrol

The greatest second album ever was ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D city’ by Kendrick Lamar – it really is as well.

‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst

Swimming Pools (Drank)

The Art of Peer Pressure

I suppose it falls to me to thank everyone – via the medium of JC’s blog for all the comments, good and bad, for bearing with us, for reading, laughing, sharing, and all that. I suppose I’ll be back typing at some point. I mean I’ve got two more boxes of CD’s in the loft that need opening.

Take Care everyone everywhere

SWC, KC and the Badgers

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JC adds……

I’ve put this together as quickly as I could and I’m also going to leave it at the top of T(n)VV for a few days so that as many folk as possible see it. I’m going to take a few days off and will return on Tuesday 1st August.

I do hope SWC is as good as his word and comes back here with some guest postings when he gets the inclination.

I want to pass on my warmest congrats to KC and Dominic and to wish them well for a long and happy future together. I also hope KC gets an urge to keep on writing as there will always be a place for her in this little corner of the internet.

Above all else, I want to wish Lorna and Tim a safe flight to Brisbane – the city that spawned The Go-Betweens and is on my bucket list of places to see – along with a very happy and relaxing few months putting everything back together.

I’ve a glass of wine by my side and I’m raising it……to WYRCA. Thanks guys for everything.

PS : SWC won the Snakes & Ladders? I can only imagine the celebrations that ensued………………

ON MANCHESTER

I woke up to the numbing news about the atrocity following the Ariana Grande gig at the Manchester Arena last night.

Offering opinions about music seems so trivial right now and on the way into work I was making plans to close T(n)VV for a few days as I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it, including popping in and out of the other places I try and visit on a regular basis.

But then I thought to myself that such a gesture, small and insignificant it might be, only helps those who carried out this shameful attack on young, happy and carefree music fans.  So this blog is carrying on as normal with the posts that are scheduled over the coming days appearing at the usual times – there’s even a couple of bonus posts in the shape of gig reviews today and tomorrow.

For now, and with thanks to a non-musical mate called John Egan for the inspiration, this is for everyone affected by last night, including every resident of that fantastic city and its surroundings:-

JC

THE FIRST BIG BLOGGERS WEEKEND (CONTINUED)

It all starts a bit unusual on the Saturday with myself, Walter, Dirk, Brian, Adam and Drew walking through the town in the direction of Mono. We get there are but it’s not yet open so we wait outside watching the Germans enjoying yet another smoke. CC’s cheery face appears unexpectedly as the doors open and in we go desperate for teas and coffees to take the edge off things. It’s Hangover City.

We gather collectively round a table but not for long as Brian makes a bee-line to flick through the vinyl in a scene that was so reminiscent of High Fidelity. Except there were no cute singer-songwriters and the shop staff were wonderfully helpful, friendly and far from judgemental. The piss taking continued as the caffeine kicked-in with things going up a notch as another pop star wandered in and said hello. Brian’s face when he spotted Stephen Pastel will live long in the memory.

T-shirts, books and vinyl were handed over to the visitors as gifts and thank yous where they were crammed into bags alongside the essential purchases by all and sundry. Back into drinking mode except for Drew who only wanted Irn Bru and Brian who just wanted a bed to lie down in and dream.

Tales of Drew’s scooter days out were told in which Buckfast and Chinese punks featured heavily while Adam talked of weekenders in Blackpool where the entire luggage consisted of a toothbrush and two E’s. Brian continued to pine for a bed in which to lie down and dream.

We then split into two with the tricycle boy leading some out to his native Airdrie for the football and others went out looking for a beer garden with decent scenery and better lager than Tennent’s. A good time was had by all although my own state of mind was partly ruined by the Hibbees.

We all hooked up again in the evening at the Bon Accord where Aldo was waiting and strangeways would come along later. After 24 hours, Drew’s accent was now beginning to be partly understood and so everyone laughed as he told of Brian’s confusion on how to eat a mince pie while watching the game. Dirk mused on why the women in the beer garden had all looked like models and Walter wondered whether he had taken the wrong decision earlier. Brian still just wanted a bed in which to lie down and dream.

We went next to The Griffin where Stiff, Tank and William were waiting as yet more drink was taken and more pish was spoken. Morrissey, Mark E Smith and Phil Ramone were still getting slated. Brian saw some Irn Bru behind the counter and declared it the drink of the devil. The joys of drinking far too much after an 18 hour plane journey and no sleep had clearly turned him insane.

It was soon time for CC to take his leave at which point Brian also decided to realise his day-long ambition of a bed in which to lie down and dream. The rest of us went to Sleazy’s where we found a booth in which we could just sit and take everything in. The lights, the sounds, the décor and the beautiful young people out for the long haul. Same story as Friday – lots of hugging, lots of dancing of sorts etc. etc.

After a while Drew had to head back home and so began the first of the big sad cheerios. More drinking, more dancing of sorts and then outside together to head our separate ways. The Germans though had other ideas and after a quick smoke went back in for a final hurrah while the rest of us sought out taxis and the likes.

On Sunday I went in to make sure everyone still left in town could get to the airport on time which just left the bold Brian who was now fully recovered and refreshed after his much needed bed to lie down in and dream. There’s stories to be told from the rest of the day but they’re more suited to a Coldplay song than one by the Strap.

We met up for the weekend, it lasted for ever; got high with our friends; it was officially summer.

77,000 steps in four days said the app on the phone.  I got myself some sleep eventually on Sunday night after seeing the Blue Jays sneak an unexpected win. It was the perfect end to a perfect gathering. Meeting up soon with Aldo to recall the memories and smile about it all. Drink could well be involved.

mp3 : Arab Strap – The First Big Peel Thing (Peel Session, 25 March 1997)

JC

THE FIRST BIG BLOGGERS WEEKEND

WITH APOLOGIES TO AIDAN MOFFAT AND MALCOLM MIDDLETON

So that was the first big bloggers weekend of the summer.

Starts Thursday as usual with Brian and Walter jetting in from the ‘Dam although Seattle and Frankfurt had been the departure points. I try to do my sound bloke routine by going in with them in the taxi and then spending the afternoon and evening being a genial host. I’m glad I bothered. We did lunch in the Griffin, some culture, some drinking and a hurl on the Glasgow subway. Ended up in the Pot Still chatting to Canucks, death metal bikers from Stockholm and posh folk from the RSNO. Before long it was Friday….

From Rhine Town to  Rain Town, Dirk flew in to be met by CC  and soon we all hooked up to head out west via The Variety and The Arlington where we were joined by Comrade Colin. I was wearing my Ponderosa Aces t-shirt so in some ways Jonny the Friendly Lawyer was also part of the entourage. The sun was blazing down and so we set sail for the Kelvin and outdoor drinking at Inn Deep amongst the students, hipsters and trendies. Why is it these places only serve the worst vodkas? There was no problem getting in but there were no seats available so we stood on the walkway leaning on the fence watching people come and go. This turned out to be sound as we soon spotted Ken from The Bluebells who was kind enough to pose for a photo with Brian before he flogged us CDs of this new band he’s working with called Pronto Mama.

Before long it was off to the Hug and Pint where Drew came in and immediately confused the German boys with his Lanarkshire guttural although they knew right away he was very sound and very funny. Or maybe they were just being polite. The next wee surprise was David from Kid Canaveral dropping by as he was playing there that night as the support act and he too posed for a photo with Brian as well as giving him some lovely vinyl. There was a long haul back into town to Sleazy’s where Aldo had hotfooted it straight from work. By now the lack of food was taking its toll so some crisps were bought and shared although the drink still flowed very freely.

A few changes of clothing ensued with Dirk now resplendent in yet another magnificent Clash t-shirt sourced in Japan worn underneath the coolest of leather jackets. Joey Ramone eat your heart out. We sat down in Tut’s, drinking ourselves even sillier and stuffing our faces with burgers and pizzas. All except Colin who of course had to be all bourgeoisie and have the beetroot falafel….mmmmmm dead tasty. Adam got in just after 8 and so the gathering was finally complete. Beers, wines, vodkas and peach schnapps were ordered and consumed but we decided to bail out before the 350 teenagers upstairs watching Seafret came back to cram us out.

CC went home but the rest of us hit the State Bar where Dirk’s jacket drew admiring glances from the ladies and in one case a sneaky caress. By this time there was some amount of pish being talked but it only added to the fun. We decided Moz and Mark E Smith were bigger tossers than Phil Ramone but it was a close run thing. At midnight it was time to go home.

But unknown to the rest of us, four of the gang went back to Sleazy’s where I’m not sure what happened as I wasn’t there and the others can’t remember. Before long it was Saturday…………

mp3 : Arab Strap – The First Big Weekend

(More to come later today)

JC

BONUS POST : THE TIMES THEY ARE EXCITING

It’s been around 10 days since I last spent any time on this blog and it might well be about another 10 days before I can devote any real time to it again. But hey, there’s the very best of reasons why this is the case.

I initially met a golfing buddy who was over here from Canada before gearing myself up for an unforgettable weekend in which I took in three gigs in two days as well as……………………

HE’S A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY, I’M A LITTLE BIT INDIE ROCK’N’ROLL

Yup. I met Jonny the Friendly Lawyer aka Jonny Bottoms, the bassist with The Ponderosa Aces. I never imagined that anything could possibly top seeing Butcher Boy play a gig for the first time in four years but just 24 hours after that particularly momentous occasion I had the joy, honour and privilege of meeting one of the oldest friends of this blog. It was an amazing few hours that flew in far too quickly and is something I’ll return to in more detail in due course. Oh and I’ll also make time to review his band, as well as the gigs the previous day by the aforementioned Butcher Boy as well as Teen Canteen who also played a set in Glasgow as part of the celebrations of Record Store Day 2017.

The reason I’m holding off is the fact that in 72 hours time, I’ll be hooking up with more friends of this parish when Adam (Bagging Area), Brian (Linear Track Lives), Dirk (Sexy Loser) and Walter (A Few Good Times In My Life) begin to arrive in Glasgow where myself, Drew (Across The Kitchen Table) and Stevie (Charity Chic), supported by other friends of our respective blogs such as Aldo, Jacques the Kipper, Comrade Colin and Strangeways will be hooking up in Glasgow over a long weekend after Dirk decided a few months back that it would be a great idea.

I know a few others had been hopeful of making it along but logistics and other issues made it impossible on this occasion. But I’m 100% certain that Glasgow 2017 won’t be the last effort to get a group of like-minded souls together.  Spending a few hours with Jonny has not only more than whetted my appetite for this coming weekend but made me really determined to hook up with many others at some point in the future. There’s something very special about the people who frequent this little corner of the internet and its associated partners and on the basis of past experiences when the blogging mate finally gets to shake a hand a give a hug, then I know this coming weekend is going to be truly special, memorable and worth writing about.

I met Jonny in the company of a long-time mate, Ian, and it was interesting that he said to me afterwards that anyone looking at and listening to us in the Manchester pub would have never believed we had only just linked up in person for the first time given how natural and relaxed we were with one another. That’s actually been true of every blogging mate I’ve been lucky enough to meet over the years and I am hyper-excited at the idea of seeing Adam, Dirk, Walter and indeed Stevie for the first ever time (although in the case of the latter we know we’ve been in the same audience at gigs and so we might meet up and recognise one another) and a reunion with Brian who I met for a very short while back in 2012 when he came to Glasgow especially to see Big Country.

I’m almost 54 years of age and I feel like a kid in the last few days before Christmas, including an inability to sleep properly!!

mp3 : The Lemonheads – It’s About Time

JC

BONUS POST : A VERY QUICK THANK YOU

Folks, how was your weekend?

I certainly hope it was bit less stressful and worrying than it was for my young brother SC, a long-time friend of this blog who pops in every day and leaves the occasional comment – especially when I’ve said something nice about Simple Minds.

The photo above was taken by SC on Saturday afternoon as he and his family (including the dog) were hurriedly evacuating their home not far from Orlando, Florida as a brush fire closed in very suddenly. It was a fire that, at its height, covered 165 acres – and an acre is the size of your average football pitch – so it was a big and dangerous motherfucker.

SC’s home was in serious danger of being burned to the ground, thus the urgent evacuation. The flames got to within 15 feet of the property but thanks to the skills and talents of the Seminole County firefighters, and the deployment of helicopters to pour down huge amounts of water from a great height, the danger was narrowly averted

SC was out of his home for nearly 24 hours before being allowed to return. He tells me, unsurprisingly, that there is very severe smoke damage to the house while it took a pounding from the water that was being dropped from the chopper – his solar panels are goosed while ash from the flames has created holes in the roof. And that’s just for starters.  The clean-up will take months and a lot of dollars.

The cause of the fire will be investigated but it is possible it was caused by a discarded cigarette that set flame to a grassy wooded area that was bone dry from months of no rain. Words fail me that someone could be so careless.

But the purpose of this additional post is just to say a huge thanks to the brave men and women who tackled the blaze over the weekend – and indeed are still on-site as 48 hours on it is still only 90-95% under control – and indeed for the public service they put in each and every single day of the year.

JC

A LITTLE BIT OF ADMIN WORK

moodle_upgrade

I’ve just upgraded to a paid plan with the lot who host this little corner of the internet.

The main thing that you should notice is no more adverts when you visit the site and read the posts.

The domain name has now changed to thenewvinylvillain.com but you should still get here if you use the old address of thenewvinylvillain.wordpress.com

All part of what I hope will be an improved look and feel to the blog in the coming months.

JC