Friday 30 September 2022


I'd say there are two main drivers behind Are We There Yet? My love of music, one. And secondly my passion for the English language. So, here you go, a few tunes and a brand new word (well, new to me).

I did a playlist for a friend who was going on holiday to Cornwall this week. Not really knowing the sort of stuff she listens to I trusted to luck and went for a mixed bag; listening back to it now it's probably a tad downbeat. However, I needn't have worried. 

And I have no idea which two songs she'd heard; Short of playing a musical version of Wordle with her, I'll ask her next week when she gets back.

Tuesday 27 September 2022


I had a good excuse for missing the opening night of Ian Prowse and Amsterdam's 2022 tour in Nottingham. I was in America. But I did catch them half way round; at the Adelphi in Hull. That was the night I lost it when Ian sang Does This Train Stop on Merseyside. It's what I do.

And then on Saturday we caught the train to Manchester and pulled in the last night: Gullivers in Manchester was ramming. It was also very hot. A small venue above a pub is my favourite environment to watch bands; always has been. If you've ever read my 50 odd gigs piece I wrote back in 2014, there's a fair smattering of pub gigs on there, dotted around the country, hither and thither. Which reminds me, I really must update that list.

Another small venue Ian's playing in a couple of weeks (solo, not with the band) is The Barrel House in Totnes. Ask me if I've got tickets. Of course I have! And, as you can see from the poster at the top of the page, Ian has already announced his Spring dates for '23; yep, I'm currently eyeing up Leeds and Sheffield. If any of these dates are near where you live (or even if they're not) I strongly urge you to blag a ticket. You won't regret it. 

Saturday 24 September 2022

See you 'round the clubs

The way George pronounces care and beware ("take kurr, bewurr") is so enchanting I can't stop smiling every time I hear this. I've written countless times on this blog why young George was, and will always be, the fabbest of the Fabs. And when you watch Get Back and see how frantically John and Paul try and bring him back into the fold after his beautifully choreographed, but short-lived,
flounce you realise how much more they needed him than he needed them. 

George Harrison - Beware of Darkness (Demo) (1969)


Thursday 22 September 2022


I was on business in Worthing yesterday; Brighton's scruffy little brother. My meeting finished earlier than I thought so I rang my cousin Suzie who lives up the road in Hove and invited myself round for a cuppa; we'd not seen each other since before Covid so it was great to catch-up. She still smiles when I call her Suzie; she was always Suzie when we were kids, but now she's a grown up and everyone calls her Susan. Except me. Oh, and we had lemon drizzle cake too.


Today's blog post was brought to you by a sixty-one year old man. Normal service will be resumed, I promise.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Brought to you by the letter D

I could be wrong - it wouldn't be the first time - but in all the years I've been writing about music and popular culture* (and certainly in the last dozen or so I've been curating this blog) I've used many superlatives and adjectives when waxing lyrical about artists and their work, but I don't think I've ever reached for the D word to describe anyone or anyone's music. Until now, that is. 

GusGus** are an Icelandic electronic combo with an impressive eleven studio albums under their belt. This is taken from their tenth, Lies are More Flexible. And, yes, in my humble opinion, it is divine.  

GusGus - Fuel (2018)


* Or stuff, as I generally tell people who ask what I write about.

** From a 1974 German film Fear Eats the Soul, in which a female character cooks couscous and calls it gusgus.

Sunday 11 September 2022

High and lonesome

An impromptu night at the legendary Running Horse in Nottingham last night to catch the monthly residency of one of our city's finest bands - The Most Ugly Child. The last time I was down the Runner I saw them play a very stripped down acoustic set (I think there was only three of them on stage for that one), but last night they were five strong and were really able to let rip.

With a perfectly honed set of alt country* originals and covers (they're huge fans of Townes Van Zandt) the band controlled the setlist and tempo of the evening perfectly; ending, as I guess it always does, with the audience unable to keep seated. Roll on October...

The Most Ugly Child - Paper, Linen, Copper, Lace (2016) 
[Track 4, it's my fave]

* They call their music high and lonesome Americana for the soul; who am I to disagree?

Friday 9 September 2022

How can you laugh when you know I'm down?

Artist: Jeni Amos Rodger

It's subjective, I know, but my favourite London bridge is Chelsea Bridge. To the best of my knowledge this particular Thames crossing is still very much up. Billy Strayhorn wrote a song about it in 1941 (even though he got it confused with Battersea Bridge - the next one along). Strayhorn is not unique in getting his bridges mixed up.


Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Guitarists off the leash (#1*)

On the back of my guitar solo piece a couple of weeks ago I was really interested in some of the comments that were posted in response; not least by old friend of this blog, Artog. Artog comes, and Artog goes; but when he does put his head above the parapet, usually once every five years or so (I suspect he's part of the witness protection program), I always take note. He said he loves it when guitarists do fucked up things. I told him I did too. For instance, Bob 'Derwood' Andrews' from Generation X leaves his calling card all over their first (and best) album. But he was doing it long before on this, the definitive version of No No No (not the cleaner album version or even the John Peel session) - it appeared on the flip side of Ready Steady Go released in February '78. Fast forward to 3:04 and hear Derwood as he tries to keep it together, then listing at the end before finally, and inevitably, slipping anchor. Marvellous stuff, I think you'll agree.

Generation X - No No No (1978)


* Don't hold your breath for #2 - me and long running series don't mix very well. I leave that kind of behaviour to the ineffable Rol.

Saturday 3 September 2022


I found myself up in the North East recently, Sunderland to be precise. I was a bit early for my meeting so I grabbed a coffee in a little caff whilst reading a couple of the flyers from the counter; it seems the Osmonds are coming to town, well, facsimiles of (if you know you know). The Osmonds musical - story by Jay Osmond - is coming to the Sunderland Empire (the West End of the North East) on September 13 where it plays for five nights + a couple of matinees too.

And before you ask, yes, I am tempted. What's not to like? Long before I got into heavier and more 'serious' music, the kind of disposable* bubblegum pop those five brothers used to make was right up my strasse and is still hardwired into my brain to this day; if you grew up in the 70s the chances are those songs are still front and centre in your brain too. 

The Osmonds - One Bad Apple (1970)


When I came back I took a slight detour via Gateshead to pull in one of Antony Gormley's most iconic sculptures. I've passed it countless times bombing up and down the A1, but never before took the time to study it at close quarters. I'm so glad I did. It dominates the landscape without totally taking over, if that makes sense?**. Go and see it, if you haven't already...

* Not that disposable after all; still sounds fresh to these ears.

** I'm playing with you; as you probably know, I hate the expression 'if that makes sense?' If that makes sense?

Friday 2 September 2022

This charming man

Neil Hannon is a charming man; he is charm personified. When I interviewed him for the paper he was continually feeding me lines which meant the piece I was writing (ahead of a local gig he was playing in town) practically wrote itself. I must dig it out and reproduce it here - he really did open up.

But today I learned a new fact about the Divine Comedy's charming frontman. (I've always said you should learn at least one new thing each day; something you didn't know when you got out of bed in the morning.) And today's new factoid...

Hannon is a patron of the Irish animal charity My Lovely Horse Rescue. Well, he would be, wouldn't he? Here's a beautiful acoustic version of a song from his 2006 collection Victory for the Common Muse - the album he was promoting when I spoke to him.

Neil Hannon - A Lady of a Certain Age


Postscript 10.9.22

I've dug out my old archives and can only find the gig review (I'd done the interview over the phone with Neil the week before); it'll turn up, I'm sure. In the meantime...