Saturday, December 18, 2010


I was sad, my head hung down I felt really bad
Now I'm glad, glad about the good times that we've had

Monday, November 29, 2010

"I'm A Locksmith"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Felix / Poppy Seed - Nov 18


"Come and enjoy a rare show in the old gallery space upstairs at The Hand and Heart pub, which will be transformed into a haven of comfort and entertainment.

Sharp pianist and cellist Lucinda Chua leads a star ensemble through playful and brooding musical fantasies on dancing, heartbreak and rebellion.
Playing songs from the Kranky release "You Are the One I Pick" and more...

"Gone electric"
Hold on to your pants and hold on to your wives. 2-piece now 5-piece band from Nottingham with influences from Chris Isaak to Etta James.

Thursday 18th November
Hand & Heart Gallery, Derby Rd, Nottingham
£4 on the door"

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Kogumaza / Gareth Hardwick - Nov 11


Originally planned to be NATHAN BELL (of Lungfish) with Kogumaza and Dusty Bible, we found out this morning that Nathan was refused entry to the UK at immigration and sent home.
This is something of a colossal downer.

Let us not wallow in this bad news though. Kogumaza will be unrestricted by a 30 min opening slot for the first time ever for their last Nottingham show before hibernating to make an LP, Low Point's Gareth Hardwick has been coaxed out of gig hiatus, Dusty Bible got through immigration about 15 years ago, Chameleon is booked, the door price is lowered, Nick's got a load of booze in from Lidl and we demand your attendance.

Here's the blurb:

DAMN YOU! in association with RAMMEL CLUB presents...

Kogumaza is people from Bob Tilton, Lords, Wolves Of Greece and more making thick, shimmering riff cycles pitched somewhere between a budget Black Sabbath and Spacemen 3 on half speed playing forever. Frequencies are shifted, drums are echoed to infinity and beautiful patterns emerge from the fuzz and stay trapped in your brain for weeks.

Low Point Records (Machinefabriek, Strategy etc) owner Gareth Hardwick returns to the live arena at long last. "While many experimental artists tend to shy away from intimacy...the cliched presumption of instrumental music being incapable of dealing with private issues in a specific way was effectively disproved by suggestive soundscapes which burned with joy, pain, elation and desire – even if they hardly ever rose above a whisper"

Hoarse blues with a whiff of sulphur and three day oldbooze.

The CHAMELEON Arts Cafe, Nottingham
(Old Market sq / alleyway next to the Bell Inn, above Clinton Cards)
8pm doors
£3 on the door

We'll send the proceeds onto to Nathan Bell to help pay for a little of the wasted airfare so be sure to come down.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Pete Simonelli - Nov 21


Goddamn it! We said NO MORE GIGS.
We said it loads. We basked in the glorious glow of just turning up to other people's shows, paying the money to get in, drinking 3 or 4 continental lagers and then just going home again feeling good.
But sometime earlier this year, the-former-team-Damn-You had the immense good fortune to witness San Francisco (via Brooklyn) band ENABLERS absolutely amaze a crowd of people at the Pavement ATP like few bands we've ever seen before. Seriously, it was almost religious.
We felt re-energised. Afterwards, bonds were forged over continental lagers and we decided that we would always put a show on for any of these men should they ever pass through our fair town.
It was like the Goonies but everyone was way, way older.

When vocalist Pete Simonelli said he was planning a spoken-word tour we couldn't resist. Pete's unique vocal delivery (part spoken, part shouted, always utterly compelling) and winding tales of the noir-ish underbelly of the city and it's characters make Enablers so special and we're as intrigued and excited as you should be that he's doing this short spoken word tour and that it's coming to everyone's favourite tea shop. Here's the blurb for you:

"In addition to being the vocalist and co-founder of the San Francisco-based band, Enablers, Simonelli is a published poet, writer, and playwright. A native Californian, Simonelli spent eighteen formative years in San Francisco, documenting, observing, drinking, reading, loving, betraying, working, and writing--- attributes and setbacks that, over the years, have led to many a Second Chance, for which he is very grateful. And call it birthright, boon, or bane, but as one who too often veered in westerly directions (much to the amusement of his friends and bandmates), Simonelli moved east in 2008 and now makes his home in Brooklyn, New York. These shows will see Pete reading from his new book 'One Brittle Nerve' and he will also have a new record that will be a 3 way split between pete / McWatt and Black Octagon."

In addition to Pete (and continuing our totally-acoustic-with-no-PA evening) we have one of our favourite bands: MCWATT.
You may have seen them at Lee Rosys before or witnessed their beautiful set supporting A Hawk & A Hacksaw at the Malt Cross a few years back.
We once saw the playing in a crypt a few feet from an entombed corpse. That was a fun night.
Here's what they say about themselves:

"We are a duo. We play double bass, flute and several accordions. We are D.I.Y., and we love playing gigs. We smell good and are polite, even when drunk. Whenever the size of the room and the raucousness of the audience allows, we prefer to play completely acoustically, i.e. not even through the p.a. We like Debussy, Satie, Sea Shanties, British folk music, Charlie Haden, Arvo Part, things of that ilk. People say our songs are really sad, but we do not think so. Maybe we are really depressed"

In addition we have Nottingham's own NICK JONAH DAVIS playing solo guitar. Nick's guitar skills are incredible but unlike some of his peers he never lets them get in the way of the music he writes and performs. While the rest of the fingerpicking brigade disappear into a folk vortex parallel to the speed competitions of 1980s post-Eddie Van Halen excess, Nick just gets on with it. We dig that. You will too.

This is happening on SUNDAY NOVEMBER 21 and we're opening the doors to Lee Rosys at the thoroughly sensible 7.30pm, giving you 30 mins to buy cake before the entertainment starts and it's all done with at a last-bus friendly 10.30
All this for £4 too.

Thursday, October 07, 2010



Part 1 of a forthcoming series of photos.

Feb 25 1967

Chelmsford, Essex.

Happy Birthday Joe Mask


Heather got me to do this for Joe's birthday in September. To address the balance for Emlyn's Mum's cat ending up as the star of this:

Flag For Nottingham

Flag For Nottingham

Nottingham magazine Left Lion asked me and some more local artist-types to come up with a new flag for the city and some words to explain it.

Here's mine:

"I propose not just a flag, but a whole new secret society for the people of Nottingham, inspired by the Toynbee Tiles, the Freemasons (minus the George W Bush shit) and, of course, the words of Donovan Whycliffe Bromwell.
Nottingham has long celebrated the underdog and applauded the glorious failure. Our cultural exports all fall short due to don't-give-a-shit modesty or they break down in the rush hour traffic at 6.10 somewhere on the A453 on the way to a gig in London, where they were supposed to arrive at 7pm.
It's a curse, but I say we should celebrate this. It's what makes us Nottinghamers, not Robin Hood or "two girls for every boy".
Next time you suspect a stranger is from our fair city, just slip this into the conversation: "Can I sing you a song?".
Use it as a greeting maybe, like the Masonic handshake. Or write it on a wall somewhere without explanation. Trest positive responders kindly and cut them favours.
We've got to stick together"

I should add this flag is very much pro the subject matter. Donovan (aka Whycliffe) has been about since I first moved to the city over 10 years ago. I've had plenty of run-ins with him. The day after I submitted this to Al from the magazine, he sprung up from behind a plant at a pub in town and sat down next to me. The first thing he said was "YOU LIKE MY FACE YEAH?". It freaked me out a little. That's not his problem though.
His story is a sad one ultimately but it's an ongoing one, it's not a fable despite how people might treat it that way and the guy's no cartoon character despite me almost making him one here. I put him on the flag with the utmost sincerity and I hope it's taken that way.

I have been reliably informed the man himself loves the flag and plans are afoot to get a real one made for him by the team at the magazine.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sundae Overdrive

Concord LLC Sundae Overdrive

Just completed this FX pedal fascia design for new company Concord LLC from the US (link to follow once it gets set up). Daed from the company wanted something different to the 2 standardised ways of decorating a stomp-box (very much hand painted a la Z-Vex or super graphic-y like Electro Harmonix: both very nice too I should add, esp. the old EH Black Finger which has always been my favourite pedal design).
So we opted to use a high-gloss full colour sticker on the top of the metal casing. Some slight repositioning later and the Sundae Overdrive had a suitably creamy visual presence with the neat touch of a red LED literally as the cherry on the cream.
Production pictures when I get them...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Part Chimp 7" Sleeve


Do I want to design a screenprinted sleeve for the forthcoming Part Chimp 7" on Gringo Records? Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Undercover User Experience" Book Illustrations








My lack of updates, especially those of an illustration and artwork nature, is down to two people: Cennydd Bowles and James Box. They've just written a book entitled Undercover User Experience that's about to be published by Peachpit and they asked me to do the chapter illustrations.
This is the first "set" of illustrations I've been commissioned to do from scratch and it was a fairly sizeable job made much easier by clear instruction and good ideas from the authors who were a lot of fun to work with. The book sets out to be deliberately free of jargon and offer new angles to approach things from and Cennydd and James felt a slightly abstract and funny set of illustrations would best serve their intentions and steer the final results away from cliches like light bulbs above people's heads.
We ran through several loose ideas for each chapter before settling on a central character who would face different (and slightly bizarre) trials in each illustration, relating in some way to the content of the chapter in question.
Mr Joe O'Sullivan (central character) and Mr Daniel Robert Chapman ("Boss" character) kindly loaned me themselves for an afternoon and I made several hundred photographs of them in increasingly silly poses in Joe's garden to form the basis for the drawings (Sadly, I have sworn to them that I will delete the photos from my hard drive once the book goes to press).

The set of 7 illustrations are shown above, give them a click to see them larger and for more info.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sir Richard Bishop Plays The Beatles

The Brute Chorus Poster


New one for Red Eyed & Blue who are starting up again with this show in September at The Luminaire in London.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


The Ex & Brass Unbound


Now showing over at Flickr and some videos at You Tube.

Kogumaza Activity


(Chinchillafest, May 7 2010)

The L&S014 7" has it's own ordering page at the L&S website here:
Head to the Bands link for info on other L&S artists like Enablers, Nathan Bell, Mugstar and more...

Some recent linkage:

September 4: Hired Geeks all-dayer at The Victoria in London
Truly mindmelting line-up with Part Chimp, That Fucking Tank, Please and a load more including us.
October 24: Nottingham Rescue Rooms with The Ex
Getting to support one of our favourite bands. What's more our friends Bellini are playing Nottingham the night before (fingers crossed).

An LP is in the works as well.

Felix Activity

No posts for a while. Post-World Cup comedown and an enormous illustration job (more of which soon) have taken up my time so some catching up is in order.
Firstly, Felix are playing the Sunday of the Green Man Festival (Aug 20-22) on the Pub Stage at some lunch-style hour I believe. Here's the blurb:
It'll see the debut of The Kevin Smith on drums, fresh from 18 months in Ethiopia and standing in for Elvis while he teaches kids to surf.
To entice festival goers away from a bacon sandwich on the Sunday lunchtime, here is some film of a new song from the last gig on the tour at the start of the year in Cambridge:

There is also a tour diary set of photos from back in Jan/Feb over at Flickr

Felix Groop

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Open Letter To ITV


To Whom It May Concern

I have now been alive for 9 World Cup Finals. 1978 and 1982 somewhat passed me by but I have vivid memories of the 1986 event and every subsequent competition since. What fun some of them have been with great ups and downs and wonderful shocks and surprises.

Yet, if there is one sure-fire dependable constant throughout it all (alongside England's expectation/achievement levels going further and further in opposite directions) it will be that your coverage of matches will be so uniformly numbskulled that, across the country, remote controllers will be hurled TV-ward in their millions. In some strange way it is almost comforting that, no matter how much cash you throw at your coverage, there will be several hundred moments in every game where I feel compelled to swallow my own tongue to put an end to the televisual experience being inflicted on me. You are always reliable. Like death, for example.

This year though, you really have outdone yourselves. Your coverage so far, especially the England v USA game, has far undercut even my own very, very slender expectations for your company's ability to organise the proverbial handjob in a knocking shop.

Firstly, the picture on standard ITV is a pixelated, shimmering whirlpool of confusion. I presume you're getting the pictures from local TV teams in the same way as the BBC? So why does ITV's coverage look like I am watching it on You Tube? On a phone. Behind frosted glass. With cataracts. I can only presume it's a cynical attempt to get us all to move onto your HD coverage instead.
It certainly worked here at any rate as myself and friends settled down with beers and crisps to watch England v USA on Saturday night on the HD channel. We are all hardened ITV watchers by now and know the subtle tricks needed to endure the 2 hours or so at the mercy of you hopeless goons.
Scientists would have a very good example of the theory of evolution in action if they just studied the relationship between the ear and brain of modern football fans in the UK. We have all developed a gland in the frontal region of our brains that allows us to filter out the sound of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend and replace them with a gentle buzz. It used to be that we could just mute their inane chatter and listen to Radio 5 instead but digital TV's minor delay has put paid to that. So we struggle through.
Would it really be too much to ask for ITV to employ someone to commentate or comment on football who just does precisely that? Call me old-fashioned but my concept of a commentator is to give me an audio overview of proceedings with occasional tactical observations I myself would not have noticed or been knowledgable enough to pick up upon. I really don't need them to poetically set a scene for me or to stir my heart to action. I do not need wistful quips. I do not need musings on life delivered by a cretin. I just want to know, in as transparent manner as possible, what is happening on the pitch and, if possible, why.
This is especially crucial when the footage concentrates more on endless, very, very slow-motion replays of minor events than it does on what is actually happening in the now. I understand (or hope for you guys) that you have no control over the pictures as mentioned already. When the local producer chooses to give us a truly bizarre 30 second clip of David Beckham on the bench looking confused (more of an art film really than coverage of a football match), how about the commentary team do their job and let us, the confused people not present at the game like they are, know what is happening? I think that would be nice.
The quality of punditry and commentary on BBC is hardly perfect. Alan Hansen is the human embodiment of a very tighly clenched sphincter and Mark Lawrenson looks and acts like he's been poured into his seat like a Salvador Dali drooping clock with the demeanour of a sulky teenager but at least they offer some insight that is thankfully devoid of bullshittery.
And talking of the BBC, can you please point the ITV graphic design team in the direction of the BBC's visual presentation please? It seems like if there is an opportunity for over-design and over-complication where easy-to-read simplicity would do then ITV will grab it with both hands. The studio set resembles the results of someone shooting the contents of an abbatoir and a fireworks factory at the inside of a Portakabin with a cannon. Easy on the eyes it is not. Even the on-screen score looks like someone smeared a fly across the glass.
The pre-match build up: an hour and fifteen minutes of pure crud before the USA game. An hour and fifteen minutes. 75 minutes. 75 minutes of fluff and ad breaks. 75 minutes that make The Sun newspaper's football coverage look intelligent and insightful. And all of it looking like it was put together for GCSE Art & Design.
Of course I understand that the BBC have the advantage of not having to show adverts to pay for everything and the build-up gives you more ad break time. But do you have to cram quite so many into the programme? My urinary tract is trained to only tell the brain of impending flow issues when the little advert break thing flashes in the top corner. If I watch the full build-up and the match I'm taking a piss every 20 seconds. Perhaps says more about my age than anything but come on, help me out here. I fully expect you to have worked out a way of advertising mid-game by the time the next World Cup comes round. I look forward to it. In fact, it seems like you're already doing it but I'll get to that in good time.
I'm not even going to delve into the "James Corden Presents A Tribute To TFI Friday" programme where footballers, ex-footballers and popstars sat in the middle of a truly squirm-inducing hire-a-party staring vacantly into the middle distance, perhaps looking for their last shred of dignity as it disappeared over the horizon. Or perhaps their agent so they could dispense a swift and justified ass-kicking.

Anyway, I am sure you get my drift. My point is that we expect nothing less than a total joy vacuum from ITV's coverage. We expect it so much that we have developed ways of dealing with it that make it just about bearable. We have no option to watch it elsewhere so we are forced to watch it on ITV and like going to the dentist, or being bummed as payment for an unpaid debt to a loan shark, we can endure it for the greater good just as long as you give us the one thing crucial to watching live football: footage of the match as it happens. But no.
Minutes into the HD coverage of the England v USA game, ITV suddenly exceeded all known parameters of incompetency by switching to an ad break for Hyundai mid-match. The game eventually comes back on and England have scored in the meantime.
What is the meaning of this cruel joke? Was I part of a collective hallucination?
It appears not. I found myself surrounded by grown men in a state of confusion and hurt. A hurt swiftly replaced by anger, vows to never buy a Hyundai (as if it were their fault) and some very unsavoury statements about Mr Tyldesley's personal life that I am not proud of but endorse fully, even in the cold and calm light of day. And to make matters worse, we had to watch the rest of the game in standard jerky definition as the HD seemed to bite the dust with the unplanned ad break.

We can put up with the truly awful and unhelpful commentary; we can let the endless waffling pre-match build-up and punditry wash over us zen-like as though a cool untroubling breeze; we can take a slash in the ad breaks and maybe go to the fridge but for the love of God if you get one thing right just make sure it's showing the match. Please. I beg of you. The 2010 World Cup is now forever tarnished by my missing our country's opening goal. Like stepping in a dog egg on the way to a dinner date. No matter how good the dinner is and how well you clean yourself up, you always think in the back of your mind that you can still smell poo.

So, what I am suggesting is as follows: as penance for this heinous foul-up you do the right thing and hand over all broadcasting to the BBC.
Canvassing the football-watching public I doubt you would find one single person who would disagree with the inherent wiseness of this plan. It would have the added bonus of warming the public's collective heart towards ITV and perhaps you can bounce back from this and make some decent non-football-based televisual matter in the future.

I seriously fucking doubt it but, you know, you could.

I expect this to be implemented with immediate effect and look forward to your agreement on this important matter.

Yours Sincerely,
Christopher Summerlin.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

That Brass Band At England Games

My unbridled optimism going into the 2010 World Cup has surprised even me. As a matter of record, before the tournament starts, here's my prediction:
England are going to win the 2010 World Cup.
What's more, we're not going to deserve to. Not really anyway. We're going to witness a vast outpouring of years and years of accumulated good luck and we are going to take the trophy in the spawniest manner ever witnessed. It is going to be excellent.
I can't see anything getting in the way of this except for one ever-present beacon of shitness that ruins every single international game for me, sitting at home watching the TV with a Red Stripe. And I don't mean ITV broadcasting the game (though it frequently makes me want to eat my own ears).
A quick search of the net reveals them to be The Wednesday Band. So annoying that their own club (Sheffield Weds) had to take a poll to decide whether to ban them from their own games.
Perhaps if they learned the rest of The Self Preservation Society it might be tolerable. Or a harmony part to their new "hit" The A-Team Theme. But just repeating the same 4 or 5 note phrases over leaden drumbeats only serves as a reminder of how uncolourful and flairless our national side can frequently be and how Mum-and-Dad-with-a-packed-lunch the travelling support always appears.
So, I beg of you brass band, leave the instruments in England for this World Cup. Or, if you're the poor bastards who have re-mortgaged their house to be in S.Africa and you get sat next to them then do the decent thing and pass on the news that the whole of the country's genuine football fanbase wishes they would shut the fuck up and stop making us all look like retarded xenophobic hand-clapping monkeys. It's our surefire way to winning this thing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fender Jazzmaster For Sale

Fender Jazzmaster

I'm selling this peach of a Fender Jazzmaster on behalf of a friend who has too many of them. It's a 1990s Crafted In Japan model. Originally sunburst, the first owner damaged the body putting a surface split along one of the joins in the 3-piece body. It was professionally repared at a cost in excess of the value of the guitar and refinished in this rather fetching cross between Sherwood Green and Lake Placid Blue making it look a little like a LPB that's faded and "greened" over time. It keeps it's original far-too-bright Japanese scratchplate and looks good for it. Set up for heavy strings, it's currently strung with flatwounds and has been used as a studio tool only since my friend switched to a modern black Jazzmaster. It has it's usual share of dings and scrapes from gigs, a small cigarette-burn on the rear of the neck and visible checking along the wood joins on the body (though not the same crack from the original repair strangely - this is something that these CIJ Fenders seem to suffer from as my friend Neil's similar guitar split along it's join for no reason - this is nowhere near as bad).
He is looking for somewhere around £475 for what is a fantastic and very unique Jazzmaster so let me know if you fancy it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Only In America

Friday, May 07, 2010

Kogumaza L&S014 7"


Kogumaza Rowan Maeve b/w Phantom Itch, limited to 300 copies on Lancashire & Somerset Records on transparent yellow vinyl in a foil-embossed sleeve. Out now: (just use the contact email to get ordering details)
Or you can buy them from us at any of these upcoming gigs:

8 NOTTINGHAM CHAMELEON w/Marvin, Grande Duke
9 DERBY VINES w/Marvin, Grande Duke
13 LIVERPOOL LEAF CAFE w/Enablers, White Foal, Sugar Life

2 MANCHESTER RETRO BAR w/Remember Remember, David Thomas Broughton

Friday, April 16, 2010

2009 8th Annual Damn You! Christmas Covers Party

The annual Christmas Covers Party is a chance for bands in Nottingham to murder some classic songs whilst boozing without care for dignity or coolness and in the process make a massive pile of cash for Cancer Research.
Simmo put together this Database Project on Facebook to assist the memories of those who have taken part or whose ears have suffered over the years.
It's taken me ages but my photos from the 2009 event are here:


Wind Of Change

Thursday, April 15, 2010

COTD 2 - Saab 900


Car Of The Day for today is the "classic" 78-93 Saab 900 series and more specifically, it's "Sven" - my 1986 Saab 900i Automatic.
I owned Sven between early 2004 and sometime around late 2005/early 2006. Registered D21 XJF, Sven was the 3rd and final 900 I looked at one Saturday afternoon. The first was a minty fresh 3-door 90 GL in grey but it looked like shifting out of my price range as the owner had it on EBay and wouldn't end the auction early. I remember he showed me a complete set of spare fuses in a Saab carry case that came with the car.
The second was a 900 Turbo in 2-tone black and grey. It looked amazing but just as I was about to lay the money down, the owner began nervously detailing worrying faults with the car until he bizarrely talked me out of the sale. Finally I went to see a metallic blue 5-door 900i Auto in Leicestershire somewhere and after a short test drive I walked away with the keys.
I'd wanted a 900 for ages. They're stereotypically architects' and Guardian readers' cars and I don't mind that. My Grandad had an absolutely killer 99 Turbo in black with the checkered alloys and a deep orange velour interior (registered "6 GOA" which is now on a Fiesta according to My friend Alex swore by them too and the band I was in borrowed his 900i one evening to shift some equipment and were won over by it's size, grunt and lovely velvety heated seats. When the head gasket blew on my shitty Citroen AX there was only one car that I wanted to replace it.


The honeymoon period lasted precisely 25 minutes. "The fuel gauge must be fucked" thought I, watching the needle visibly plummet as I sunk my right foot into the shagpile on the way home. Nope: 21 mpg if you're lucky. This thing weighed the same as a tank, was an automatic and probably wasn't in factory-fresh condition under the hood. No problems, I thought, what I saved in buying an older car could be used to fuel it. I remained optmistic. My friends and girlfriend all loved it too and christened it "Sven" on account of it's Swedish heritage.
The Sunday after buying it I took my housemates out to a car boot sale in it. The sun was shining, the electric sunroof worked nicely (as did everything electrical unlike my current Peugeot which electrically shits the bed almost weekly) and it felt like driving a beautifully engineered and very, very rapid tank. The automatic box took a bit of getting used to (Alex's was a manual though it was identical in every other way) but at least it meant I could pick my nose and drive in complete safety. And the illuminated floor-mounted ignition was the coolest thing imaginable.
Other drivers nodded and waved, we got to Calverton in what seemed like three minutes and went and bought some tat and a dirty burger. But come home time and Sven was dead. I may as well have put my key up my arse and turned it. Lucky for me that I am not more mechanically minded as my answer to this was to sit and try the ignition again and again for about 15 mins. Eventually (and as if nothing amiss had gone on), the engine fired and we were off.
Suspecting something hideous was occurring, I took Sven to the lovely folks over at Volsaab in Derby (I don't think they exist anymore). They couldn't find anything wrong with it and so started the biggest problem with Sven. Periodically, the ignition would be dead - nothing. Then give it a few minutes and it'd be fine. This is not so bad on a Sunday afternoon but when you're late for work it's agony. And when you give your car a persona and a name you can't help but feel "he" is just fucking with you on purpose.
I finally got to the bottom of the ignition problem after a drunken friend of a friend overheard me discussing it and declared he could fix it "in 5 mins". Which he did. Something to do with the starter motor.
But by then, Sven had all manner of other problems in the engine department that were slowly turning him from an excellent vintage car into a nice extension to my lounge in that he was very comfortable to sit in but didn't go anywhere.
I finally relented and put him on EBay where I received the princely sum of £31 from a mechanic and his Dad from Wales. The EBay listing fee was £22. I treated myself to a takeaway with the proceeds and bought an Astra Estate with blacked out Barry windows that smelled of cum from an "adult entertainer" I went to school with.
The last I saw of my Saab 900 was on Pullman Rd in Sneinton, where I lived and where I left the aforementioned mechanic trying to get it started to take it away. I didn't look round, I just gave him the keys, took the money and walked away. It was a sad moment. It wasn't there the next day so he must have got it moving. A quick registration check shows it's not around anymore though, unless someone with a sense of humour put a personal plate on it.
This has been my only (so far) foray into classic car ownership and it dented my wallet and my heart severely.
However, despite it being the oldest car I've owned, it was also the fastest as I found out when I nudged 120 on the A1 before looking at the speedo. Prior to that I thought to myself "Wow, the Saab's feeling nice today". It felt better and smoother the faster it went. Pottering over Nottingham's speedbumps seemed to be slowly killing it, but wind it up on a straight stretch of road and it barely wobbled. I slept in it's cavernous boot on several occasions (Simon Feirn once managed to fit a mattress in there for a good night's sleep in Norwich) and I'd never tire of it's gadgets or it's front-hinging bonnet. It's also the only car I've ever owned that drew admiring glances from strangers. I was once at a party and people were talking about how rubbish modern cars were. A young lady piped up that the only car she liked was "the blue Saab on Pullman Rd". I nearly choked on my Red Stripe.

Sven - My Saab 900

So there you have it, COTD 2 is the Saab 900. I see a young chap driving a red one in Nottingham from time to time and a sharp stab of jealousy hits me as I notice him grinning in traffic. I don't think I'd ever ask him to loan me a fiver though. Or give me a ride anywhere important.

Value now: In 2006 it was £31.00 evidently. You can get a near-perfect one now for less than £2000 though.

Pub Quiz Trivia Fact: A 1989 Saab 900 SPG owned by Peter Gilbert of Wisconsin, was driven over a million miles, before being donated to The Wisconsin Automotive Museum.

Saab Central
Saab Museum
Classic 900 Group on Flickr
For Sale in the UK
You Tube

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Plantagenet 3 Artwork


Back when I started doing graphic design freelance work, I did some sleeves for the then-just-starting-out label Jitter, run by then-Moonkat guitarist Richard Lanyon. Richard got in touch recently to say he was starting the label up again and (in his own words):
"I could just burn some £10 notes but it doesn't quite have the same appeal".
The first release is a seven inch by Plantagenet 3. Richard was very specific about the sleeve art and how he wanted it to combine a vintage surf aesthetic with heraldry and the traditions and rules about creating heraldic crests. (I should point out now that I find "heraldic" and "plantagenet" the two hardest words in the English language to type so forgive any spelling errors).
The artwork on the band's Myspace page was a purposefully jarring collage of the two subject matters so we went with redrawing and modifying this and combining the results with Richard's love for Ralph Bakshi's animation and the way he used weird textures to mess with depth perception. It all came out nicely and was lots of fun to boot.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

COTD 1 - De Tomaso Mangusta

It'd be easy for the first Car Of The Day to pick something like the Lamborghini Miura SV or the Ferrari 250 GT SWB and don't worry, I'll probably be getting to both. But in the true spirit of the underdog I'm going for this awesome creation: the De Tomaso Mangusta.

De Tomaso are better known for the successor to the Mangusta; the Pantera (yes, that is where Anselmo and pals got their bandname). Fortunately, the Mangusta wasn't around long enough to sprout the bulges, skirts, wings and general penis-pump paraphernalia of the Pantera and let's be thankful. According to Wikipedia, around 400 of these cars were built, so these are rarer than the proverbial rocking horse shit. In fact, even after years of trailing car shows as a pre-pubescent, I am fairly sure I have never seen one in the flesh*

Named after the Mongoose (the only animal able to eat a Cobra - no coincidence), this prime example of short-gestation-from-designer's-cigarette-packet-to-production-car was designed by the splendid Giorgetto Giugiaro and made between 1967 and 1971. It seems to have been a bit of an influence on the AMC AMX/3 and the Delorean that came after it (the latter also designed by Giugiaro and sharing the gullwing-door design). Not to mention the Monteverdi Hai and the Maserati Bora.

It had a Ford V8 in the middle and it went how it looked: like a jet plane... in the sense that anything over 3 figures on the speedo and you'd need take-off lights due to it's almost 70/30 weight distribution rear to front. Like the Lamborghini Miura, it might have looked bad-ass but it really didn't get along with wind or corners very well.

Like it matters. Look at the thing. Like the Ford GT40 (and to a lesser degree the Lamborghini Espada), it manages to straddle a perfect line between the futuristic Italian designs of the time and the aggressive brutishness of American muscle cars. The gullwing boot doors are insane. I know for a fact that Giugiaro was 28 when he penned the Mangusta but I prefer to think instead of him as being around the age of 12 when he came up with the design and that the board meeting presentation went something like this:

Giorgetto (small child): "The engine is in the back under this huge glass window. So you can see it"
Suit (approx 45 yrs old) : "Why?"
Giorgetto: "Because it looks cool"
Suit: "How does the boot open?"
Giorgetto: "Like this..." (demonstrates glass gullwing-hinged boot doors on a model)
Suit: "Erm... how do you actually get access to the engine with the hinge for the doors running across it?"
Giorgetto: "Shut up"
Suit: "Also, it appears to only be 40 inches high. How will we build this and give the occupants enough head room?"
Giorgetto: "Shut up"

And so on.

It's barely higher than the height of the tyres, the rear wheels seem to intrude on the design making it look it's crouching as do the double lamps on the front (changed on some later US models to pop-ups unfortunately), partially hidden under the bonnet lip to give it the look of being permanently hunched forward like it's moving at speed even when it's stationary. Put simply, it's very, very cool. It's not aged so badly either.

According to the excellent Mangusta International website (run by the very definition of the word "enthusiast") under half of the production run still exist. The rest presumably ended up buried in a tree or under several hundred gallons of firehose water at the side of the freeway while the owner (imagine him in mirrored RayBans, smoking) phones his insurance company. Which is what supercars should be about: lunacy.

Value now: $100,000 ish

Pub quiz trivia fact: Kylie Minogue is driving a Mangusta in the video to Can't Get You Out Of My Head. It's also featured in the movie Kill Bill.


(Click the pictures to go to the source)

Car Of The Day - Intro


I've written about cars on this Blog before so I'll save the confession/explanation about being a massive petrolhead. Put simply, I love car design - specifically between the mid 1960s and the early 1980s. Modern supercar/sports car design is all about either technical excellence or extreme ostentatiousness but there was a period where car design represented an almost pure and maybe even naive striving for true creativity. Unhampered by safety constraints, fuel consumption worries and little details like practicality, car designers of the 60s/70s were let loose with a brief no bigger than creating something wonderful that people would want to drive and hope to own. I like that optimism.
Now it seems we'll never see cars like this again. Sure, there seems to be another hypercar released every week that costs a million dollars but they're all hideous and 90% of the time are just driven around as gigantic visual bank statements by their owners and say more about the unfair division of wealth in the world than the creativity of the designer or the individuality of the owner. Seriously - how can anywhere be in recession when someone can spend a million dollars on a car?
Plus, the car is the enemy despite the fact most people have one and lots of people have more than one. Much as it pains me to admit it, Clarkson and the Top Gear folks have at least got something right when they rail against "eco mentalists". I'm anti-some-cars. I'm anti people using them when they don't need to. I'm anti people doing the school run in a Range Rover or buying a BMW that does 190mph and 12mpg and driving themselves, on their own, to work in it everyday. But make a car that is beautiful to look at, fun to drive and with a sense of occasion and people will do everything they can to keep it running. It might do 8 miles per gallon but the owner might only do 2000 miles a year in it. What's worse: someone doing 100,000 miles a year in a Prius that they scrapped their old car to buy and was made on several different continents using components shipped/flown to the factories that themselves churn out pollution OR someone buying, say, an Aston Martin from the 1980s that was handbuilt (and all the parts are still available) and only doing 5000 miles a year. It's crazy.
So: owning an exotic car back in the 60s or the 70s was very different to now. Not just politically. The cars were frequently hard to drive, unreliable and poorly supported in terms of after-sales care so driving and maintaining something like a Ferrari or a Maserati was a labour of love, even into the 1980s. The idea of a car as an investment was laughable also and cars that are now worth several million dollars were used for blasting around country roads for fun and repaired with a hammer by devoted owners who were deemed crazy for buying them.
Modern cars (with a few notable exceptions) are too big, too garish and too over engineered in comparison to appeal to me. You really shouldn't be able to potter to Waitrose in a Lamborghini. Not without it catching fire anyway.
Since I was about 12 years old I've thumbed the For Sale ads in classic car magazines and mentally selected my ideal money-no-object purchases from those available. I still do it now.
So, I'm taking a further stand for the automobile with Car Of The Day: a random and not completely regular look at cars that always make my fantasy garage when flicking through Classic & Sportscar on the bog. I have no mechanical knowledge, save for the experience of what has gone wrong on my own cars, so this is based mainly on sights and sounds.
If you own one of the cars featured, be sure to get in touch. Likewise if the photos used belong to you: I'll try and credit where I know who took the photo but that's not always possible.
I would like to point out that I drive a 1999 Peugeot 306 HDI Meridian Estate in metallic red. It is called "The Pig". I think this actually makes me more qualified to talk about dream cars, seeings I have ten per cent of fuck-all chance of actually owning any of them. Enjoy.

#1: De Tomaso Mangusta
#2: Saab 900
#3: Ferrari 400

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tender Trap Artwork

I've just finished this artwork for the band Tender Trap and their forthcoming album and single on the Fortuna Pop and Slumberland record labels.
In terms of formats and details it's the biggest job I've ever done. The band were super helpful all along the process, giving me clear concepts to work with. The album is called Dansette Dansette, in reference to the portable record player brand. The band explained that they wanted to get across a feeling of happy naivety - of girls dancing to music in their rooms on their own or with friends and the world that music and records in particular can allow someone to escape in.
I thought that was a great idea and I wanted to produce a sleeve (especially on LP) that people would want to look at when listening to the music on the record within it; where if it was the only information anyone had about the band, then it would be enough for them.
They were very keen on some of the drawings I'd done of outdated technical objects, like tape machines or audio equipment so it seemed obvious to use an actual Dansette on the cover. Luckily two of my friends have very nice examples in their houses so I took a series of photos to make the front cover images for the LP and the accompanying 7" from. I also based a lot of the other elements (like the fake sticker on the front and the choice of fonts throughout) on Dansette's own labelling and advertising from the time.
I liked the idea of people dancing around the Dansette so this formed the basis for both of the back covers, using silhouettes to keep the ages and eras of the dancers purposefully vague and timeless.
I'm a great believer in the band photo on a record sleeve for certain bands and I thought Tender Trap should definitely have one. They got their friend, the awesome photographer Alison Wonderland, to shoot them with a Dansette, in suitably bright colours and then I made a drawing from the photo for the inner sleeve.
Even with the CD we wanted to get across the idea of it being a record in the old sense of the word, so the CD face is designed to look like an LP and the CD tray image shows the turntable from the Dansette.
Anyway - it's out soon and it's probably my favourite sleeve that I've done so thanks to them for asking me and to Sean and Mike at the labels for their help. Follow the various links above to hear stuff from it and to eventually buy it. And needless to say, feel free to enquire about my freelance rates.
Click on the images to be magically transported over to Flickr where you can see them all blown up in detail...


Tender Trap LP


Monday, March 29, 2010

Kogumaza Live Bootleg

We (Kogumaza) played the British Wildlide Festival on Saturday and it was recorded here:

Plenty of stuff not-yet-recorded and plenty of reverb courtesy of Dr Spivoluminous. So go download it. It's free, take it, it's yours.

Tons of good bands played on our day and tons of nice people met as well. Ox Scapula, Shield Your Eyes, That Fucking Tank, Quack Quack, Blacklisters, Human Hair and Max Tundra all conspired to make us buy more drinks and stay all day making the breakdown of the Koguskoda and eventual return home at 4.30am a harsh return to reality. And if you have any idea what the man with the clip folder who bit Matt Gringo's hand was all about then do share it with us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Silver Mt Zion + Kogumaza on Weds

Katy did this beauty...
Doors 7.30, KGMZ 8pm at a guess. Except it's 24th March not 24th February.

Monday, March 15, 2010



Kogumaza 7" Released Today

The first of two Kogumaza 7 inches is released today by the lovely Low Point label. It has two songs on it, you can listen to both here:
It's limited to 300 copies and comes on transparent red vinyl in a yellow paper sleeve. Why not buy one when we play this: ?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Live: Peter Green & Friends, Nottingham, March 12

The back story. All anyone seems to care about is the back story when it comes to music. Record sales decline to miniscule levels but yet music fans still buy magazines by the million and those Behind The Music documentaries still get made. It's because even the most level headed, genuine music fan can't help but be titilated by the idea of stepping behind the curtain and seeing the stuff you're not supposed to see.
It used to be that press officers were paid to keep this kind of info to a minimum. Now, it's a part of their job to give away enough information to somehow validate the product. So a band like Joy Division - a good band, maybe even a great band - get elevated to the status of deities because the back story of their existence validates the product they made. Or take In Utero by Nirvana, an album that sounds incredible but is split between a handful of genuinely forward-thinking, wonderful songs matched to some pretty average tunes left off of Nevermind. But because he topped himself after it's release, the suicidal act is seen as validation for the record and it removes the doubt that what you're listening to might not actually be as good as you want it to be.
Now we're in a situation where any self-respecting singer songwriter has to have had a nervous breakdown (and talked about it in a 4 page spread in MOJO) in order that their new product is seen as being genuine or worthy of attention.
One night this week I stumbled across a treasure trove of photos of Jimi Hendrix taken by fans in the crowd on their cheap cameras. I am too young to have shared the planet with Hendrix so I can't say for sure but there's something very real in those photos to my eyes. You can imagine the man in 3 dimensions: young, spotty, awkward. The smaller venues he played in then look like the venues I go to now, the photos are blurred but lively and they could have been taken yesterday. They brought him to life better than any live DVD or pro photo shoot could have done. And in seeing this you realise he's just a bloke like Ian Curtis or Kurt Cobain was. They fucked up, they made mistakes, they weren't sure of themselves and any act of genius on their part was only recognised and labelled as such by other people not themselves. We, as fans of music and readers of the rock biography, create these things ourselves. That's why the sales of MOJO probably aren't going to downturn to the same level as the sales of albums anytime soon while they keep rediscovering and rewriting the life stories of ordinary people who made some records and hopefully had some bad fortune too to make it a bit more interesting.
After tonight's Peter Green show at the Rescue Rooms, I was taking a piss at the urinal and a man next to me asked me what I thought of the gig. In a rare moment of lucidity I replied:
"It was beautiful"
He replied something along the lines of it being good considering what had happened to Green. In fact, I think he said
"A lot of stuff went down in the 60s"
And there we are at the back story again. Because Greeny, alongside people like Syd Barrett, is one of rock's great lost heroes. A man whose mental illness has been romanticised to sickening levels by a rock press who don't have to tie his shoelaces, show him how to use an oven, cut his fingernails, tell him to take a bath or work out why he keeps cheese in his hair.
So everyone in the room knows the outline of what happened to him. Of how he rejected making money from music, wore a Jesus smock on TV, fried his mind on acid and disappeared from public view before being "found" again and coaxed out to play. Eavesdropping on people's conversations in the crowd is like listening to 20 episodes of VH1's Behind The Music playing at the same time. People love this shit.
But here's the flipside: they still want him to play in the way he used to, to play songs of the era in the same way now and to reignite something within them. This is a shitty road to go down because what the fans of this man are saying is they want him to be a liar.
They want him to sing these beautiful songs like Man Of The World, or songs of genuine horror and defiance like The Green Manalishi (he doesn't play either) and for him to mean them now like they mean something to them. But he meant them so much in the first place that they made him the way he is now.
Take someone like Eric Clapton who sings about the blues, plays the songs of Robert Johnson but yet collects vintage Ferraris and wears Armani. I'm not saying doing the latter is bad, it's just he has somehow managed to keep it just the right side of "real". Real enough to be able to divorce yourself from the original sentiment of the music you play long enough to actually play it and to earn from it.
Green not only doesn't seem to think like that, he actively sought to give the finger to it. At the time when all his contemporaries were bringing in the cash by the bucket, Greeny was giving his away and writing songs like the aforementioned Green Manalishi which, for all it's ominous talk of monsters is about nothing more supernatural than the lure of the dollar and his fear and distaste for it.
Midway through the set tonight the band play Oh Well and Albatross in a little medley. It's unbelievable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I imagined that the voice of Peter Green singing
"Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to"
might be akin to the clouds parting and the giant finger of God pointing down upon the crowd and making us cower in awe. Even now, croaky and quiet (despite the giant PA here the band is noticeably timid in volume to allow Green's voice to be heard), he is in possession of one of the great voices in music history. It's sonorous, human and beautiful. It speaks of sadness but it has tenderness and compassion. Seriously, listen to those early Mac records and it's all about his voice. Something tells me Billy Gibbons might agree too.
At the very least I hoped everyone would shut the fuck up anyway. In actual fact, everyone sings along and claps. It's weird. Not as weird as Albatross though. People talk through it. People talk about it while it's happening. I had a vantage point now where I could actually see Peter Green, sitting stage right on a stool, lightly fingering a pretty cheap looking guitar. He fixed his gaze somewhere above the crowd at a spot on the roof. Even when the bar staff chose to empty the bottle bank midway through he just gave a little grin. At that point something clicked within me and, like the photos of Jimi Hendrix, for a split second I could see him as a real man, 3 dimensional and there in front of me like a total hero. I shit you not.
The rest of the set was throwaway Commitments-style R&B delivered with (too much) taste by a fairly able band. Completely devoid of grit, dirt or passion for the most part. The guitarist (and from what I understand band leader) whooped it up, sang a few songs in a pub style and generally looked and played out of his depth. Green sang a few and picked his spots to add perfectly judged guitar solos that glide and bend like a weird hybrid of Scotty Moore and Albert King. But it never ever looked like becoming emotionally involving, especially not for Green.
But that one second in Albatross, you could see in his face that it meant something and more importantly that he almost didn't want it to. That sort of emotional plumbing is not on the agenda anymore for him or for the music he performs. I figure if music had caused you to suffer such real and human suffering, suffering that goes beyond a magazine article or a documentary, then you'd be very wary of revisiting it again too. It's just too real. But his music and his personality is so powerful and radiant that it's hard to escape these tiny moments where the "old" Peter Green shines through despite absolutely everything - band, crowd, venue etc - being stacked up against this happening.
That's why the show was beautiful. You have a crowd of rock historians, re-bleeting the same old shit from magazines they've read. They want the best of both worlds, they want their rock stars so real it hurts, they want them to speak of their inner turmoil. But they want it on tap. Peter Green was so emotional and so open when he wrote the music they want to hear, that it properly fucked him up. It upset him. He broke his own heart. So he can't sit up there and churn it out but he still wants to play so we get 90 mins of jazz blues and R&B, some good solos and a lot of appreciative pondering on the crowd's part. At the end they'll pat him on the head like a retarded child and say he played well, "despite his problems" and express disappointment in private that he doesn't play like he used to and then they'll read the next issue of MOJO about Dennis Wilson, or Harry Nilsson, or Sly Stone and so on and so on.
Meanwhile, Peter Green has to carry on being Peter Green. It can't be easy. I'd love him to make an album of improvised guitar with Jim White on drums, or front a back-to-basics blues band heavy on volume and low on good taste. Ultimately though, he can do what he wants, it's not my business. When he opens his mouth and sings or lets himself drift away in the moment on his guitar that's good enough for me, no matter how infrequently he feels comfortable enough to do it.
In the meantime watch this and love it:

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Felix On Double Six TV

Bernard Street, Oh Thee 73 and Where Is My Dragon? filmed in Cardiff in January 2010.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"No Peeping" Sketchbook

A few years ago I started trying to draw portraits of people in a small sketchbook. It started at work and then at the ATP Festival when I was manning the merch stand. I didn't want people to sit for the portrait or know I was doing it so I held the sketchbook under the table and drew the person as fast as I could without looking. It gives some pretty peculiar results and sometimes you end up with a strangely accurate likeness that's completely wrong but somehow captures the person. If that makes sense. I really liked the process and the results so started doing more of them, using magazines to draw from as well.
I've used a few of the drawings in posters over the last few years. In those cases I usually work the drawing up with a bit more detail after I've done the initial "blind" sketch. Anyway, I scanned some of them in here:

A few for your eyes...

Prince Circa 1978

Prince (circa 1978)

Néman Herman Düne

Néman Herman Düne (Herman Dune)

Tom Coogan

Tom Coogan (Hirameka Hi-Fi)

Miles Seaton

Miles Seaton (Akron Family)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

You Tube Dismay Pt 3

The 3rd in a series of ongoing pieces of research into the despair-inducing phenomenon of You Tube comments by the public. Eventually, the governments of the world are going to take away the democratic vote and the evidence they will give to prove that people are not responsible enough to make informed and intelligent decisions will be the comments found on You Tube. Mark my words.
Anyhow, here is Harvey Milk's lumbering, wonderful, strangely touching but extremely heavy song I Do Not Know How To Live My Life as audio only on the 'Tube:

And, like a morning on the toilet follows any truly excellent night out, here are some choice comments:

cyurisich (2 days ago)
damn, this is some seriously bad music

daltondeuce (1 month ago)
Yup..this sucks...

PunkOutProductions (1 year ago)
Creston Spiers is my best friend's dad her name is Audrey Spiers!

fraublucher (1 year ago)
Their music is fucking PHENOMENAL but the mush-mouth vocals get on my nerves after awhile. I like the guttural screaming it's just that he sounds like he has a speech impediment like Elmer Fudd sometimes.

GlowStormLion (1 year ago)
translating 'getting stoned' into sounds.... blasted!!

orangespear (10 months ago)
harvey milk are the best band that has ever existed period since The Smiths.

easeone2 (7 months ago)
The Smiths are just gay.

stjreid (5 months ago)
not sure how the smiths and harvey milk got compared to one another... the smiths was a europop band that was great during the eighties and Harvey Milk is a current awesome sludge band out of athens georgia... that's like comparing Depeche Mode to Crowbar or something...

Oh well. Watch this: and remind yourself why You Tube can be good.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Get yourself to 1 minute and 47 seconds.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Elvis Print


I did this for my Mum for Xmas. It's Elvis doing Guitar Man with Al Casey's red Hagstrom Viking on the 1968 Comeback Special. I have a handful of test prints of this if anyone would like to buy one. They are a little bigger than A3 in size (approx 31 x 44 cm) and are litho printed onto heavyweight matt-finish paper. They are a little more expensive than my normal gig posters and can be signed if you so desire.

Brokaw / Farina Poster


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kogumaza 7" Artwork


Mock-up of the forthcoming Kogumaza 7" on Low Point for the purposes of checking how the colours fit together. It's transparent red vinyl with (deliberately off-centre so it looks wobbly when it plays) blue labels and it comes in a golden yellow vintage 7" sleeve that we're getting in bulk from the US. Songs are "Sevens" and "Mara" and it'll be out as soon as it all comes back from the manufacturers.
Both songs have just been put up here to listen to as well:

Felix LP

I keep meaning to post a link to this:

Out now. Buy one whydontyou? Photo-diary of our recent UK tour to follow...

Italian Car Photos

Now showing at Flickr:
MontrealAlfa Romeo308 GTBFerrari DinoDesign HousesFerrari 365GTC4