Before we begin, a quick recap is in order. Bournemouth Unplugged started with 30 musicians all tasked with playing a set of fully original songs.
This has now been whittled down to 20, who must now include a cover in their sets. 
On 16th April, five of the remaining musicians played, so we pick up approximately halfway through the competition, with Hannah Robinson kicking off Round 2, Heat 2.
If you’ve ever heard the phenomenal “Paint it Blue” Hannah should be a familiar voice. Unlike her blues work with the band, her solo writing is of a slower, folkier style, although still with her Motown inspired voice (Those too young to know Motown, think Amy Winehouse) which is best shown off during her cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” This is unfortunately at the expense of some guitar proficiency, which is corrected with the addition of a second guitar and a cajón (A Peruvian box/drum) which fills out the sound perfectly, especially with penultimate song “Monster.”

Tim “Afroninja” Somerfield comes next, so named because he has an afro, and presumably a whole wardrobe full of martial arts black belts. His set can be summed up simply as laid back angst, although experimentation with a loop pedal works well for him, resulting in a sound best described as acoustic Iron Maiden. His choice of cover, the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” goes down well amongst the crowd, although it is not as strong as his original music.

Louise Wade provides a very rock and blues based set, and at the same time manages to screw up the heads of most of the crowd through one of the most inventive publicity stunts ever seen. On entry, the audience are asked which act they’re here to see. Those who arrived to see Louise were rewarded with glow-sticks and “rainbow specs”, the later of which has to be experienced to be believed, but could be described as watching a Pink Floyd light show through a kaleidoscope. Her best moment is undoubtedly one of her original songs: “Love to be Lonely”, for which she is joined by a djembe (African rum) player and a tambourine player.

After these three very strong acts, Tom Clements unfortunately doesn’t stand out quite so much, despite his excellent guitar and vocal work. He does manage one of the stronger covers of the night however, using a loop pedal to play a version of Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” that Mark Knopfler would be proud of.

Unfortunately, Johnny Neeson closes a night of upbeat, generally happy music. A superb guitarist and a great vocalist, Johnny plays a set bleak acoustic rap which doesn’t suit the laid back atmosphere, and on the whole is an incredible mood breaker. A cover of The Doors’ “Spanish Caravan” is the musical high point of the night, but still doesn’t completely fit. 

This originally appeared here:


However, I wrote it, and need to do something with this blog. Here is the unedited version.


Krista Green is one of the nicest people in the known world. Slightly behind Michael Palin in fact.
She specialises in soft, gentle, poppy folk, has a voice as soft as a marshmallow massage, and sings about love and peace and general happiness.This makes it very difficult to say anything bad about her, but thankfully that’s not needed as she is incredibly good at what she does.
Friday night’s gig at the Portsmouth Hoy was one of the stronger ones she’s played, showcasing a mix of original music and covers, all of which seemed perfectly chosen. There were some definite stand-out moments however, including spot on covers of The Black Keys’ “Tighten Up”, All Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and Free’s “Alright Now”, the last of which had the crowd abandoning their pints to join in.
Krista’s main strength however, lies in the quality of her original songs, which have lyrics more akin to poetry than pop songs, for example “Cherry Pie”, which is as sweet as a vat of Smarties, and the heartbreaking “Barry’s Song”, which could have the most cynical individuals needing a few moments to compose themselves.
An old hand of the local scene in Bournemouth, she performs with an understated confidence, allowing her natural, somewhat ditzy personality to shine through while she talks to the crowd. 
It might have been thought that the Portsmouth Hoy would be a bad venue for Krista. It has to be said that she’d fit in better playing some sunny outdoor stage while hippie girls make daisy chains and beatnik boys try to distract them, but she wins most of the venue with little trouble, even getting the hard drinking tattooed dudes at the bar to stop talking about rugby and birds, and have a bit of a singalong instead. 

A few observations

January 8, 2011

So hanging around in the box under my desk, along with dust, Xbox detritus, old copies of entertaining magazines, and Emily, is my notepad of ideas. These thus far haven’t been worthy of a post all to themselves, but here are a few things I’ve noticed in the last year or so.

Little things in games: Lately I’ve spent a lot of time adjusting how I see video games, and what makes, in my mind, a good game. Storyline is vital, but little details are good too. Bioshock had this down quite well, with things like the Plasmid instruction videos (see here) as well as the various things dotted around Rapture, one particular favourite being the man and wife you find in a ruined apartment, an empty pill bottle lying abandoned next to their still bodies. It’s things like this which upgrade a game from being fun (for example Borderlands) to great, such as Bioshock.

Sexism in adverts: There’s an advert dicking about on TV at the moment, where two women with a cold talk about their woes, how one needs to get little Timmy to his rat hunting class while the other has her two children fighting to the death with pitchforks. Then the caption comes up (Something along the lines of “Because you need to do all the work” referring to men being useless apparently). This gets on my nerves somewhat, as the alternative advert wouldn’t get shown.

Dave: Alright Geoff!
Geoff: Alright Dave!
Dave: Gotta pick up a few things.
Geoff: Where’s the missus?
Dave: Not doing it because she’s useless and ill.

This probably wouldn’t get shown.

Music has got a bit shit: One of the best albums of 2010 was Katie Melua’s “The House”. Enough said.

Talking about coalition government: This is not a meaningful expression. The true way of phrasing this would be “The Conservative government, plus the boy who makes the tea.”

Facebook: Apparently the most important thing in our society at the moment. This is kinda hypocritical of me as I use it myself, but I’m sure there are much better things we can be doing. Like setting fire to new phones.

New phones: Things like iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, that bollocks. Anybody who has one of these overpriced bastard things almost certainly spends 80% of their time awake playing with it. Those who are without are left slowly drinking their pints in quiet contemplation of how satisfying it would be to take a hammer to the communication equivalent of Fisher Price, and considering taking up smoking as standing alone outside is somehow more social.

Michael Bublé: He has no soul. He’s been called the “Heir to Sinatra.” Only if he is inheriting a blocked up toilet bowl after Frank had one too many Martini’s the night before. But, technically good he may be, he has no soul, no feeling in his singing. It’s like a Coldplay themed musical.

I don’t know if many people have seen this yet. If not, float along to and have a read. It’s a link to the Daily Mail website, and a column debated whether Druidry is a real religion.

Horrible discrimination aside, the article somewhat amused me. “A bunch of eccentrics who annually dress up in strange robes” could quite easily refer to any other religion, in the case of Christianity the word “annually” would need to be replaced with “weekly” and “eccentrics” would frequently need to be replaced with “Child Molesters.”

“Elevating them to the same status as Christianity is but the latest example of how the bedrock creed of this country is being undermined.” This part resulted in no small number of chuckles from me. It was said, earlier in the column: “Druids have been regarded indulgently as a curious remnant of Britain’s ancient past.” In other words, Druids were here first.

As for Christianity being the “bedrock creed” of the country, it’s nice to see the Daily Mail, a newspaper frequently bemoaning immigration, happily promoting a religion from the Middle East, rather than something home grown in Britain.

But one thing stood out most for me in the whole stinking terrible jumble of words phlegmed up by Melanie: “For it is all of a piece with the agenda by the oh-so politically correct Charity Commission to promote the fanatical religious creed of the Left — the worship of equality.”

Is equality a terrible thing now? Or is Melanie Philips so upset that somebody disagrees with her chosen religion that she’s willing to attack a group of people whose creed consists almost entirely of “Be nice to people and make sure the plants are watered.” Advice often given to children by followers of pretty much every religion known to man.

Holidays are coming

October 7, 2010

Before we start, I am aware that it’s October.

Christmas is on its way here, and shops are beginning to get ready. This is fine, as busy as retail is, it makes sense for them to prepare for what is, without a doubt, the busiest time of the year. Similarly, it does make sense for those with large families to start Christmas shopping early, avoiding the rush. That solution is not for all of us, I personally prefer to do all my shopping on Christmas Eve.

Today, I’ve come to make a few corrections to some beliefs about Christmas.

  1. “I know it’s Christmas when I see the Coke advert/hear Fairytale of New York/get blinded by multiple lights reflected from tinsel.” This is incorrect. You will know it’s truly Christmas when you realise that you have 4 more presents to buy, and every shop is closed with the exception of a petrol station and a corner shop. Stuck for ideas, your girlfriend receives a bunch of flowers which smell oddly of petrol, and a copy of Asian Babes Weekly.
  2. “War on Christmas.” This is a lie. Nobody is declaring war on Christmas, nobody is offended by Christmas, nobody is trying to re-brand Christmas. Winterval? That was a marketing campaign, a marketing campaign which ran over ten years ago. Why does it still get mentioned? And why was anybody offended? Winter pre-dates Christmas.
  3. “We have to call them Holiday Trees now.” Considering the origin of Christmas comes from the birth of a carpenter in a shed 2000 years ago, and before then as a celebration of Winter, why should we care about trees when there are presents to be opened, custard based puddings to be consumed and a new episode of Doctor Who to be watched?
  4. “Here comes Santa Claus.” No. Santa is not coming. He is Father Christmas. Get it right.

According to today’s copy of The Sun, ‘Controversial full-body scanners’ will no longer reveal naked images of all passengers to airport security staff.’

So only the attractive ones then.

After protests from Civil Liberty groups, new software has been developed, which scans for weapons and explosives. Is it just me, or have we now just come completely full circle? We now have metal detectors, gee what an advance.

There must be something in the drinking water. Anybody who expected the full body scanners to go unnoticed must have been dosed up to the eyeballs on horse tranquillizers. It’s such an obvious problem, there can be no other explanation. Maybe they simply assumed that the fear and terror which has gripped the Americans will transfer over to the UK. But it seems we’re made of sterner stuff. Or at the very least, more dignified stuff. ‘Well yes, there is a small chance of horrible flaming death at the hands of a yelling extremist, but at least nobody’s going to see my tackle.’

There has to be a better way to do things. But until that is found, United Nudist Airlines will be laughing at us. They don’t have a problem with people smuggling weapons aboard.

You’ve got to wonder where they keep their passports though.

There’s something very odd about the world.

This is one of the weirder news stories to hit the web in recent times, and it’s difficult to see where to start with this.

The first thing you have to wonder is why somebody decides to moon a biker gang, and why they’d throw a puppy at them. Of all the things in the world to throw, a puppy seems to me to be a very strange choice. A pit-bull terrier would probably have more effect.

And then, what a strange and insane choice of getaway vehicle. Using a bulldozer to flee the Hell’s Angels is just mental, especially if you plan to abandon it and then hitch hike.

This isn’t the most troubling aspect of the story though. What’s more troubling is that this puppy thrower managed to get 5km away on a bulldozer, and then continue to hitch hike. What happened to the biker gang? Didn’t they have this massive desire for revenge? Did they just ignore him?

But then the end of the story tears into view. “The puppy is now being cared for in an animal shelter.”

We now have a caring, animal friendly biker gang around in the world.

You know we’re all fucked when a biker gang return a puppy to a shelter, while swarms of children are brandishing bread knives and cleavers.