Monday, 24 December 2012

All my lovely gear: part review, part show and tell

Foreword - I love my granddad Albert for one good reason; He passed down the "Artistic" gene to me. He plays piano, and paints amazingly good pictures, he's also a talented writer, and satirist. My dad also has musical talents, he can sing, play guitar, he's a very good drummer considering he's never had a lesson in his life. He doesn't often draw, but when he does its good, he told some pretty awesome bedtime stories in his time, and even though some may think it's a bit gay (I certainly took the piss out of him when I found out, but have come to be mucho jealous) he is an excellent jive dancer!
So I contribute all my love of the Arts to them. Cheers guys.

Anyway, onto the Post...
My dad was having a mooch around in Granddad's attic and found this:


It is a 1965 Hofner Ambassador, we call it The Hoff.

This gem of a find was bought by my grandad some point in the mid 60's. Bless his argyle socks, but he can't remember even purchasing it let alone the date he brought it home. Also by its condition, We reckon it's been in the attic since the late 60's! Well, Dad blew off the cobwebs and got the pick ups re-wound and KABOOM Jazz guitar heaven ensued. This bad boy sounds gorgeous plugged in, or acoustic (though it is not an acoustic, the hollow body and venetian cut outs give its a beautiful haunting resonance) its strings have as far as we can tell never been changed; It was in perfect E standard ( A11/E) tuning even after 40 years!
I took it on stage with me on Saturday for a gig with one of my bands the Diamond Bays (it turned afew heads, and my very respectable musician friend Dewi was impressed by it.) It was however a big risk taking it on stage without a back up guitar or a previous soundcheck; I had no idea how it would sound at a louder volume through my amp... It sounded fucking awesome.

Review time: Introduced in 1965, it's a thinline archtop with twin Type 511 "Staple" pickups (descirbed as Nova sonic pick ups in the original advertisements), and two Florentine cutaways on it's 2" deep body. The Finish is tobacco sunburst, and has fully inset neck joint (as opposed to Hofner's usual cantilever violin style joint). It has a cambered rosewood fingerboard with triple inlayed fret dots, and an adjustable truss-rod. A volume control and dual tone control for bridge and neck pick ups. 3 way pick up selector.

"The Hofner Model Ambassador  was built for Selmer only.  it was a short lived model that deserved to sell better than it did. Serial number designations suggest that less than 500 were produced. By 1968 Selmer was in trouble and not really promoting the Hofner range as it needed to be.
The Ambassador came with two '511' pickups though there was an option for De Armond pickups at extra cost but very few customers appeared to have ordered these. It had a 2" deep body with very distinctive Florentine style cutaways. The only finish offered was 'Tobacco Sunburst'. The Ambassador had a fully inset neck, a change from Hofner usual practice.
The Ambassador was a good looking guitar with a definite solid and robust feel to it. It represented a change from the archtop range that had been built up to this time both in looks and construction. A few exist in private collections but it remains one of the more obscure models, usually forgotten when the Selmer archtop range is discussed. A pity as this was one of the best thinline archtops produced in the 1960s." -

Did you read the bit that said less than 500 made, and only a few exist in private collections? Shiiit, that makes me a private collector of guitars... hells yeah.
Sadly for me, Dad is keeping this one. I'm borrowing it for gigs, but I ain't the owner... yet.


It's a 1976 Gordon Smith Gypsy I call it Gordo

My uncle owned this guitar until about 2 weeks ago when he made the decision to immigrate to Canada (to be a professer in Vancouver as a leading world authority in gerontology, and be in the top 5 of the over 50's iron man contest 2010 etc... clever clogs) NOT THAT CLEVER THOUGH! because He left behind this badboy. His loss my gain; and boy do I mean gain, this thing sounds crunchy as hell through an amp. Great sound, great look. But here's the cool bit...
This guitar is one solid piece of wood, the entire model is carved from one piece... that is just unheard of with electric guitars! , It's body is abit smaller than usual guitars, but due to it's construction its probably more stable that way. It has a single Humbucker pickup right smack beneath the bridge. Its finish is Tobacco burst.
I actually had to ring up the Gordon Smith workshop in Manchester to find out any info with this guitar. The serial number is 00033; that means it was the 33rd guitar they ever made; their records literally do not go back that far, they couldn't give me an original price tag, but they said it would be easily worth £650.


It's my Epiphone Les Paul standard.

There is great debate between the Epiphone and Gibson community about the difference in quality of their Les Pauls. I'll clear it up here. Epiphone make a good fucking guitar. This Les Paul has been a badass every second of it service to me, even after I've dropped it, banged it into door frames, used it as a huge drum stick on my drum kit's crash symbol, and even run over it on my motorcycle! (long story, long being the list of drinks that I had, and the 'learning the hard way' speech about riding a motorcycle while being pissed as a fart) I've been a bad owner, but this guitar has preformed excellent no matter what I do to it. It's a Warhorse. That said, A Gibson is a fucking Gibson, end of discussion.
Cynthia (that's it's name) was bought as a gift for Christmas 2009; since then I rarely go a day with out giving her a good fingering (sorry, had to get a dirty joke in there)
Totally standard features, red sun burst finish, chrome hardware, humbucker pick ups, gold plastic dual pick up specific volume and tone dials - I love this feature, it allows me to do a nice tremelo effect Ace Frehley style.
As far as Hard Rock goes, this guitar is the Daddy, Huge sound from the Humbuckers, and the weight gives it a really solid feel whilst playing, I feel like I could take it into battle with me, bludgeon a few vikings to death with it, then play a ballad about the day's slaughter Swedish Operatic Metal style.


It's my Hamer. I bought this when I was 16 for £190 from a less than reputable establishment ha.

I have NO idea what this guitar is! I've searched everywhere, on the web, emailed Hamer, asked on countless forums, and got nadda. The best I can figure out is that it was made in Korea as part of Hamer's Slammer series; and it is a variation of the Diablo.
It's a super strat shape with 2 humbuckers (duncan design) the neck one being on an angle. volume dial for both, and seperate tone dials, all metal. It has a Licensed Floyd Rose trem bar - And may I say when properly set up, it sounds like a Stuka dive bomber, simply amazing. Rosewood 24 fret finger board. As far as guitars go it weighs a tonne, but surprisingly plays extremely fast and sleek.
Now here are the differences from every other Hamer, Slammer series, or Diablo.
Mine has dark red/maroon glitter finish, I can not find a single other guitar by hamer with this finish (also I don't care what people say, the glitter looks amazing with a stage light on it)
It's fret inlays are Boomerang shaped, and the fret board finishes on an angle; I've never seen this on another guitar.
I've been offered between £500 and £700 for it (not bad considering I payed less then £200), but I'm not selling, especially since I don't have a clue what it's actually worth.


It's my Ibanez G200ECE-NT Classical Electro Acoustic

Christmas present 2010 (haven't I been a lucky boy?) I love this guitar, I've called her Catalina. I play alot of classical, flamenco and folk music; this guitar hits the spot perfect for all of them. Wonderful to play. Rosewood fret board, Mahogany and Spruce body, inbuilt tuner, and a slider for tone and volume. For le grande finale it has a top notch duo of an inbuilt B-Band UST pickup and SRTn Preamp - to all of you who have no idea wtf that means... and nor should you, because you aren't all dorks like me; it means that I could have this guitar turned up to 11 on the worlds biggest amp, and the only thing you will hear (aside from your teeth shattering inside your head) would be the sweet tone of full bodied, warm toned, pitch perfect sexy flamenco strumming. No feed back. Ever.


It's my Pearl Vision 5 piece drum kit and 5 piece Sabian B8 Pro symbals.

(Apologies, I do have actual photos of my kit, but the lighting in my garage is poor, and due to the limitations on angle in there, I'd have to post about 3/4 pics so you get the idea of it... google images to the rescue instead)
I've been seriously pissing off my neighbors for about 18 months now. I keep this monster locked away in the deep dark depths of my garage, as the walls inside the house can not contain it's ferocious bellowing! I call it the Balrog for this reason. I work in a job where stress can reeeeeally factor in at times, also I generally get pissed off quite quickly, so kicking the fuck out of a drum kit usually helps me chillax. I'm by no means a great drummer, but I can pull of a good bit of Metallica and Muse, so in my modest opinion I'm doing pretty good.

Kit Pearl Vision- Black Birch;
22" x 18" Bass Drum (VBL2218B)
10" x 8" Tom (VBL1009T)
12" x 9" Tom (VBL1209T)
14" x 14" Floor Tom (VBL1414F)
14" x 5,5" SensiTone Snare Drum (SH1455S/C)

Symbals, Sabian B8 Pro- Bronze Alloy
14-inch Medium hats B8 Pro
20-inch Medium ride B8 Pro
16" Medium crash B8 Pro
15" Thin crash B8
9" AXX Max Splash


Marshall 50MGDFX 50 watt

This amp has a 12" speaker, two channels (clean and overdrive), five effects options (Chorus/Delay, Delay, Chorus, Flange, Reverb), FDD (Frequency Dependent Dampening), CD ins, emulated line out, and emulated headphone jacks. It also has a footswitch to change channels and turn on effects.
Clean and Overdrive have separate settings. It weighs approximately 3 metric tons, to move it I require a dozen Hebrew slaves being whipped by an ancient Egyptian wearing one of those dog face god mask/hats. Also the cooling fan in the back makes it sound like a space ship when you turn it on! I'll some it up in a word; it's a 'Beast.' 

Line 6 Spider ii 30watt

Great practice amp. I bought it off my buddy Kieran for 30 squids. Well worth the money (especially since they retailed £200 at the time hahahaha). Sounds very nice on all of its 4 digital settings. It has a drive, treble, mid, bass, and master volume dials as well as a channel volume dial (groovey little feature that makes it great to equalise the sound and minimise feedback). It has 2 seperate digital effects dials to allow dual effects: chorus flange, phaser, and tremelo on the first. Sweep echo, tape echo, and reverb on the second. It also has 4 preset channels: 
Clean - well... it's clean.
Crunch - crunchy low gain sound, based on Led Zeppelin
Metal - Bright Overdrive sound, based on Metallica
and my favorite... INSANE
When you press the Insane button this amp turns from sweet little red riding hood, into the fucking wolf! Jeeeeeeesus Christ! It's utterly fucking mental!

Fender Champion DPS 30 watt

I bought this of my BFF Drew for 50 Squids (they retail less than £100 these days, but are extremely good value)  It's a 2 channel 30 watt, solid state combo that has 1 Volume for each channel and Bass, Mid, Treble, and Reverb controls that are used for both channels. There are also a headphone and extension speaker jacks as well as a foot switch jack. It has a stock Fender 10" speaker.
This is not a big amp, to be honest. Joe the lead guitarist from the Diamond Bays and myself use these on stage, and they look ridiculously small compared to other bands gear... BUT, believe me when I say I dare not turn this little beaut higher than 1.5 unless I'm in a rehearsal room or at a gig. It is LOUD (I capitalised the word loud to emphisise how incredibly fucking loud this amp can be) Let me put it this way. Last night we played a gig in a club, our amps were placed just in front of the drum kit, we didn't need to turn them up higher than 3 on the dial. 'Nuff said.

Other stuff...

Other guitars:

My first guitar was a Encore E1BTR. Gloss black finish 3/4size composite body, maple neck and head stock, rosewood 22 fret finger board. Single double coil humbucker pick up, one volume and one tone dial. It also came with a 10watt portable battery powered amp.
It was a second hand Argos special. My mum got it for me when I was about 14... thus began 6 solid months of 'Smoke on the water' and 'Smells like teen spirit'. I played that little thing until my fingers bled (literally! all guitarists will remember a time when they had virgin finger tips) The little amp didn't have an option for overdrive, but I found out that the glue eroded and the pick up was loose, so if I leaned forward it fell out and hit the low strings, making it sound really fuzzy and distorted.
I have no idea what became of that guitar and amp.

My second guitar was a Cruiser by Crafter ST-120/3TS. Stratocaster style body, sunburst finish. Three single coil pick ups, volume and two tone dials, 5 way pick up switch. Maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets. I still play it from time to time, It's a great sounding blues rock guitar, when you play it with gain the chords seem to have that SRV shimmer/twang sound to them.
I got this guitar when I was about 15. I actually started to learn how to play when I got it. Learning basically consisted of sitting with my friends Kieran, and Chris and trying to play 'House of the rising sun' and 'Entersandman' every dinnertime at school. I got a practice amp with it too a little 15 watt Cruiser CR-15G. (I still use this guitar, lovely even after 7 years)

My third guitar was a Gould Les Paul. My mate Kieran's dad got a truck load of these (shady gitt) so Kieran, Chris and Myself all got one each. Kiers got a black one, Chris opted for the purple sunburst and I went for the White. This guitar was the bees knees. First of all it looks sweeeeeeeeet, the white makes it look glam as fuck, and the gold hardware is just blindingly bing. All your standard woods and frets and Les Paul features etc. For a knock off guitar it actually sounded very good, and the big frets were nice for playing big heavy power chords and drop-D tuning songs. Sadly my dumb-arse sister managed to drop a dart board case on it and put that whopping big dint smack bang in the body :'( (< that's my sad face) also my strap snaped and the resulting drop ended up with a tuning peg splitting so due to the damage I neglect this fine instrument these days. UPDATE: I got this guitar out the garage yesterday and gave it a good clean and took of the rusted strings. I plan on restoring it to it's former Pimp glory.

My first classical. A Stagg C542. Cheap and surprisingly not nasty. This is the kind of quality you get in your highschool music department. I got it on a whim, and actually really enjoyed playing it. Reddish finish, Basswood body, Nato neck (whatever the fuck Nato is) maple fret board. Since I upgraded to the Ibanez this is now a decorative piece on my landing (definition for yanks - top of the stairs).

Other stuff:
Dunlop Cry Baby

This is my WahWah pedal, a hardy block of boombastic! Great for playing a little bit of Voodoo Child, Maggot Brain, or just messing around with chords whilst imagining I'm a mulleted, mustachioed LA detective running around roof tops chasing 'perps' doing forward rolls and shouting "FREEZE SUCKA!" 

A through G Blues Harps

A little gift to myself this year for simply being a top fellow. Keys A through to G chromatic shiny nickel Harmonicas in a very fashionable faux leather case!

Stagg gig bag

Nylon and polyester zip up, 3 pockets, and Velcro fastening and handle. Also has rucksack over shoulder straps. All my guitars minus The Hoff fit in this.

Stagg acoustic hardcase

Good quality solid hardcase for my acoustics. Felt inlay; The Hoff is a perfect fit into this too, so that's handy!

Gordon Smith custom hardcase

Great little hardwood and leather covered hardcase perfectly made to carry Gordo, Gold felt inlining looks bling.

Well there you have it, a definitive essay of all my gear. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Because it just took me four fecking hours to write! Take it easy y'all.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Night shifts + No sleep for 48 hours =

Right guys, Sorry it's been a month. I've been busy Gigging with my bands (posts to come) and I've also been at work solid 3 weeks. that includes an 8 day solid stretch. Safe to say, it wiped me out.

After doing night shifts in a row and not having chance to sleep between to of those shifts I started feeling it! When I get to the point when I can hardly concentrate I try and play a little game where I choose very hard rhyming words and try and make a 4 line poem. This is what I managed... it's not exactly William Blake but considering I hadn't slept in over 48 hours I think I deserve a TS Eliot award!

Waking nights, this weeks Rota
37.5 hours, to fill my Quota
5am im like a stalling Motor
7am nearly time to grab my Coat...a

Having to work while you get to Slumber
fatigue and stiffness cause me to Lumber
the bags on my eyes starting to Encumber
...need 2 slices of thick Cucumber

Midnight munchies going to Forage
nachos and salsa I pay Homage
Jalapeno cheese maybe some Borage
6am cook up some Porridge


There once was a lad called rich
who night shifts were causing a twitch
Half way through his shift, his mind it did drift
being up at 4 is a bitch


seriously a 12hour shift were there is nothing to do can get mind numbingly delirious; I had abit of a Jack Torrance moment...

All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Richa dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes rIch a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes RiCH A Dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boyall work and no sleep Makes rich a dull boy
aLl work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy All
work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Richa dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes rich a dull boy
aLL WOrk and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes RIch adull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
 All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy All work
and no sleep
makes Rich a dull boy All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy


All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy

All                       all           Allworkand        Allworkand      All work
work                    work      no                        no                     work      and
and     no             and         sleep                   sleep                  and            no
no         sleep       no          makes                 makes                 no               sleep
sleep             sleep             Rich a dull         Rich a dull          sleep           makes
makes                makes      boy                     boy                     makes         Rich
rich                     rich         all                       all                       rich                a
a                          a             work                  work                    a              dull
dull                      dull        and                     and                      dull       boy
boy                      boy         nosleepmakes    Richadullboy      boy  all

all work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
aLl work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
ALL work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
ALl work and no sleep makes RICh a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy

                All            All                      Allworkand       Allworkand        Allworkand
      Work                 Work                   no                      no                      and              no
And                          and                     sleep                    sleep                 no              sleep
        No                    no                       makes                 makes                sleep         makes
            Sleep           sleep                     Rich a Dull        Rich a dull        makesRich a     
                Makes     makes                   boy                    boy                    Rich
                   Rich     Rich                      all                       all                     a
               A              a                            work                  work                 dull
         Dull                Dull                       and                     and                   boy
Boy                         Boyallworkand      nosleepmakes    Richadullboy    all

All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
ALL work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
oh god please be 8am please
soooo tired and bored it's All this damn work and no sleep
its making me so dull
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
all work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy all work and Sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy
All work and no sleep makes Rich a dull boy

Monday, 19 November 2012

Resevior dogs

I go through long periods of inactivity when it comes to art; I can find myself not so much as picking up a pencil for months, no motivation, no inspiration, no reason etc... I occasionally get commissioned to do a picture for a friend or design ideas pitched to me for tattoos and even an album sleeve, but on the whole I only spend 1 maybe 2 weeks in a year gratuitously pumping out pieces like a machine. The most recent form of inspiration came from one of my all time favorite films...
Reservoir Dogs
If you've not seen this film stop what you are doing, and sort your life out! It's amazing, it's cool as fuck and has afew of the best dialogue pieces ever scripted.
Anyway, for the next few days I started drawing scenes

This is the movie Poster
Just a contrast picture of all the guys walking

Mr Pink (playing the world's smallest violin)
Mr pink and Mr White face off

Mr pink pulling his gun on Mr White
Mr Blonde after he cut off the Cop's ear
Mr Orange after shooting Mr White
I also drew some Pulp Fiction scenes, unfortunatly I never finished afew of them... guess I'll have to wait until my next bout of insperation ha. Heres what I did finish anyhow:
Mia Wallace, from the movie's poster
 Captain Koons and the Watch

Zed, Maynard and the Gimp

Marsellus Wallace and Butch tied up 

Well I hope you liked my little sketcharoos. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of them people; And if you have an Ideas or suggestions to get my creative juices flowing again, please, be my guest and demand I get off my arse and do some damn drawing!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A bit of advice to your Teenage self.

"Message to your teenage self." A fellow blogger did this post and challenged others to do one too. At first I thought it was abit silly, but about 5 seconds in I had a nostalgia overdose! It's actually quite touching to imagine giving yourself advice, now you have the experience of life (I get bonus points for rhyming btw) so following the generic questions here we go:

Fashion DOs For Your Teenage Self?

Do, wear your usual gear, black T-shirt with vinyl Band logo; Iron Maiden tops are good for any occasion.
Buy yourself a leather jacket sooner than you did; although the Czech army jacket covered in band patches you usually sported was awesome, a leather jacket can't be beaten; you'd of looked sweet at the concerts and gigs you went to... and you'd probably of have less people approaching you trying to buy drugs...

Fashion Don'ts For Your Teenage Self?

Don't wear baggy jeans with stripes down the side from Latif's, you knew they looked stupid. Just stick with the Tescos "cherokee" boot cuts.
Kudos to washing your hair (which was freaking awesome cause it was long, and well past your shoulder blades), unlike your fellow mosher compadres; but straighten the ends, yeah, using strainghtners is abit poof like, but you'll have less of the feathered/dragged through a bush effect.
Tie your hair back occasionally Cousin It... remind people you have facial features!

A deep and meaningful piece of advice for your teenage self?

Don't be shy, don't be so afraid of an outcome. Say what you want to say, do what you want to do, don't let pratts stop you from expressing yourself. You were a brilliant poet, writer and composer in school, you should of wrote that stuff down, 'cause I'll be buggered if I can remember anything or match it now!

Tips for School?

Well, if you actually went to school that would probably of helped your grades; not drawing Iron Maidens 'eddie' (I still have them, they are top ha) on every blank text book surface and doing the assigned work may of helped too.. . Then again some of your best memories will be of wasting away days skiving on the park with your mates.

Tips for Friends?

You were always a good friend, you never let a person down ever. you always kept your word and never acted two faced; because of this you're friends still respect you... unfortunately many of them are now cave dwellers that prefer playing WoW to socialising outside; As a result you've never developed a night social life.
Do more with Drew, he's always and always will be your best friend and a true champion among men, make more of an effort to visit him at collage and uni.
Finally. don't keep a feud with Chris, he did what he did because it was the right thing, no matter how you or the rest of the group felt. You're going to make up with him anyway so just bury the hatchet there and then.

Tips for Fun?

Just do what you did, Parties and game nights at Kierans were brilliant, few things have come close in the past 8 years. Pull the puppy eyes on Mam more often, get her to buy you more Gig tickets! Try new things, food, (you'll be 19 before you realise you love Indian food and things that burn your tongue) experiences, talking to different people. Get in a band sooner. And sod buses off as soon as you turn 17, get a motorcycle, you laaav them now!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Jolly Hollies

This was the morning... Cold, dark, wet... The usual Northern England really, BUT WAIT! What's that? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's... Well yeah actually it is a plane. It's taken me to my favorite place on the planet; Malta.

This is the view as a write this post:

Glorious no?

Yup I've finally gone on holiday this year. Or more like I've gone to my home away from home. I've been coming to Malta for 23 years (yeah, I'm 22, bonus points if you can figure that riddle out) and love the place. It's a tiny island, 16 miles by 8 miles, full of truly amazing people and places. I stay in the north of the island in an area called Qawra, Buggiba (I'm northern to the core) here I will spend most my time drinking the local brew 'Cisk' and eating as much Bigila (google it) as I can manage.
I decided to make this a sort of holiday diary rather than regular posts (solely to preserve my data allowance abroad)

Day 1: Land around 11, it's glorious, 28degrees not a cloud in sight, the only time you see weather like this in England is when you are watching T.V programmes on places like Malta! I go to sleep and wake up around 7pm, the rest of the evening is spent getting totally rat arsed in the Queens Head (aka Queen's) this place is awesome, big tv n sky sports, good beer and ale, friendly service and patrons, and best of all FREE FOOD! and I ain't talkin peanuts, check this out...

Bigila, it makes me happy...
For every drink you buy you get a free bowl of deliciousness; butter beans, sauteed potatoes, bruschetta, pasta, salsa and crackers, escargot (if that's ur thing) olives, and best of all BIGILA! Being that the owner is a family friend he made damn sure I got my bigila bowl topped up :D


Day 2: lounge about in the sun, eat at Chaplin's bar (also run by family friend, Reno) then I went to the closest Red Lion (guaranteed to be showing UK sports, and serving John Smith's) to watch Warrington Wolves play in the super league cup. I was the only person in there, everyone else was outside watching the football. I'm glad, no one saw my money face as Warrington got their arses tanned by Leeds Rhinos. Then went back to the hotel room to cry into my enormous 20" pizza.

The Pizza I cried into


 I left this momento to add to the memrobilia decorating Chaplin's walls

Day 3: swimming in the sea and working on my tan. *For once my tan did not wash of in the shower to reveal a crimson burn*

Day 4 through 7: more swimming, afew trips to the city * Malta has a DUZ its where the towns overlap to make one huge dense urban zone.* we went by bus. Here's some fun facts; Malta only installed traffic lights within the last decade, inot many people care. It's roads have mainly been dirt or gravel until it entered the EU and got abit of a needed overhaul. Malta is the scariest place in the world to drive. The people are lovely, but they are fucking maniacs behind a wheel! Several people I know who have been over there have agreed and shared their stories: sights such as people driving in the shade, regardless what side of the road the shade might be; cars drop gear and accelerate when approaching round abouts and junctions. Horse and carts over taking and cutting up vehicles. One of my coworkers even saw a bus driver having a fist fight with a motorcyclist whilst in motion!<br>
The bus rides are... Interesting; standard size buses hold roughly 100people seated and stood. Maltese buses cram people in to the point you don't need to hold on, your packed in so tight there's no need; add to that the crazy fucking style in which they drive this becomes a very intensely scary/fun experience. I was next to the driver for a while and saw him clocking 60 going round a blind bend on a coastal road in which the sea was only 2 metres away.

We also went on a cruise on a big sailing boat to the northern islands of Gozo and Comino. This was fun; all u can drink, fresh food n fruit, Sun bathing space on deck, you could dangle your legs over the side and we stopped at some utterly beautiful lagoons to jump in the sea and go swimming and exploring heuwage caves.

Our mighty vessel of fun and the Blue Lagoon of Comino

Day 8: drove all over the island in an open back jeep, the highlight of which was when we were in the middle of nowhere and could see a storm cloud afew miles out to sea "it's a while off yet" - my sisters boyfriends famous words... Literally the moment he said that a hurricane force wind threw every speck of dust up in the air the Mummy style and we had to burn Rubber and haul ass out of there. 70mph down dirt roads, dust, sand, rain and wind battering the jeep, and I had Metallic blasting out 'the four horsemen'... The words totally, fucking and awesome describe this adventure best...
Watching the thunder storm, the lightening kicked ass.

My phone's camera rocks.

Day 9: visited Mdina, a truely beautiful old town. These pictures say it all.

Day 10: come home :( it was 28degrees when I boarded the plane, it was 8 when I got off.
It's been 4 days and I still can't get warm!

Ah well, only another year before I an afford to go again!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Taken 2... The cleaners

I watched Taken back when it first came out. I was utterly blown away by it's merciless grit. The story was excellent, the acting was awesome, and the directing was superb. It is currently honoured in my DVD collection. So when I found out Taken 2 was out I was giddier than a puppy on smack. The second I got back from my holiday I made a beeline straight for the Cinema... I came to fully regret it.
What a sack of shite.

I'm a movie buff, cinema is one of my true loves, but Taken 2 made me sink to the grotty chewing gum stained overpriced Odeon "Premier" seat to point where I wanted to leave before it was even over.
Here's why. (The following contains spoilers... But tbh the directing and writing already spoiled the film so fuck it, but if you still don't want to know the plot and it's colossal flaws just skip to the very last sentence)...

The film was bearable for the first 30mins, Neeson takes his ex wife n daughter all have a Disney style protective dad, disapproving mum, rebellious kid moment then they go to Turkey, bad guys plan on kidnapping and murdering them. Neeson and ex-wife get taken. Neeson manages to sneakily phone his daughter so she could go throw grenades about, and he pinpoints his location by calculating sound speed and direction. Aside from the story being unimaginative and lame, I have 2 issues with this part of the film:
1. Why ring his daughter when he could ring the police, or atleast tell his daughter to contact the police rather than running around lobbing grenades.
2. There was no repercussions for the grenade lobbing, either immediatly or later on. That means absolutely no questioning from either Turkish or USA about a 17year old running around rooftops throwing grenades in one of the world's busiest cities.

After a while Neeson and his daughter jack a cab, shoot the police chief to death with out questioning (seems they assumed he was a crook, and not just investigating a girl throwing grenades willingly) and then  go on a crazy drive about the city, the gimmick is she's not passed her test yet. They end up driving directly at the USA embassy building, break though despite taking fire and are safe. 3 issues here...
1. The USA embassy troops unload afew 50cal. Machine gun rounds into the car. A few 50cal. Round would tear a Jeep in half, yet this car takes a dozen hits, keeps moving and Neeson and daughter aren't liquidated.
2. The USA embassy aparantly doesn't use their mandatory basic security installations in Turkey... Where were the tyre spikes, the radio operated steel bollards, the gate even?
 3. Once Neeson and daughter and jacked cab take 20 high velocity huge caliber rounds and crash dramatically through a security check building (seemingly built from balsa wood and lolly pop sticks rather than bricks and concrete) the car finally stops; here's the most annoying part...
Neeson makes a goddamn transcontinental phone call and then has a 5 minute conversation with his daughter about how he will find the men that did this, get back his ex-wife and kill those responsible; and about how he loves his daughter and about what they should have for tea tonight, who are you going to vote for this election and what's your favorite Pokemon and why... Ok maybe not all of that, but seriously, if a car in a Muslim country was driving full speed at the USA embassy, and actually got past the Yanks I SERIOUSLY don't think the Americans would take 5 minutes to do anything; that car would of been obliterated before a monologue could start.

A car at the moment a 50cal. round hits it.

Fast forward 2 seconds...Neeson is now walking the streets of Istanbul in a black leather jacket.
Well, cohesion obviously doesn't matter in this film so I won't even question how he got out of the above situation, the ramifications of the aforementioned actions or even why the Americans let this man loose on a vengeance rampage WITHOUT ANY HELP. Fuck it, I only want to know how he got the jacket; did he stop to buy one on the way to the badguys den, or did the embassy stock the exact same jacket he had from the first movie?

Neeson kills a bunch of bad guys, has a fist fight - shit choreography and camera work btw. Then faces down the boss man, gives him a telling off then says he's free to go. Boss man tries shooting him with the gun Neeson put down after the stern talk; surprise surprise no bullets SHOCK!!! Neeson is pissed about this and shoves the guys face.

Yeah, the man who kidnapped his daughter, her mother, and him then promised he was going to chop them all up and feed them to pigs, then collect the pig poo, use it to fertiliser a field of corn, then burn the field down and salt the ground out of pure hatred etc... Got his face shoved.

creen shot directly out of the film (I promise it is) Neeson slap fights badguy


The whole family is having ice cream because you know, a kidnapping, getting tortured and a the whole horrific experience is no biggy, hell the daughters boyfriend even joins in and everyone has a good old knee slap because Neeson cracks a overprotective dad joke.
Doesn't it make you blood fucking curdle? The original was an 18, it was brutal, and real. This was a 12a sell out for kids. Imagine if they made a Rambo or Terminator film (i believe the original Taken is on par) but made a sequel where there was no real violence, poncy fight scenes and Disney style family friendly jokes. Blood Fucking Curdling.

12A (PG13) certificate.

I found this quote on Wikipedia from one of the producers when asked about another sequal: "We didn't start talking about Taken 3 until we saw the numbers, But then we said, 'Oh, okay. I think we should do a third one.' And Fox wants us to do a third one. We've taken everyone we can take—it's going to go in another direction. Should be interesting."
Hopefully they'll go in the direction of making the next a good film? maybe deepen the plot? maybe make it make fucking sense?

Don't waste your money or time on this shit.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

it's abit wet outside mam!

If you live in the North West of England then you've probably noticed the recent rain. To those who don't live in the North West of England I'll explain; WE HAVE INCURED GODS WRATH, AND HE HAS SENT 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS OF GAILS TO WASH AWAY THE SINFUL. (retort for sensible people and atheists- It's been raining pretty damn hard).
2 months worth of rain in 3 days. Oh by the way two months worth of rain during September and October in NW UK is around 170mm of perspiration; so that's a lot of rain. Warrington had around 6 inches of rain pour down on it from Sunday night last week until Tuesday night this week. Warrington is also in a valley, so the majority of rain from the surrounding higher areas pooled here; this is my street...

This is a street about a mile down the road.

Learner driver... lol

This is not the first flood we've had in a month either, right at the end of August, Warrington was host to a festival known as Creamfields... it also got a tad damp and had to be cancelled...

Well the bright side is the autumn rain can't last forever; We can soon be looking forward to the Winter Snow!