This very ramshackle Half Moon All Stars album, also featuring (my) local favourites Jessica Law and Sam Taplin, was put together way back in 2014 by basically just sticking a recording device at the stage. So, prestine quality live sound it ain’t. But it’s basically the only existing version of an HM/AS band set.

It’s a little rough around the edges. And… it’s also rough in the middle. It’s rough all over, basically. But the band was always at its best at that location: in the musicians alcove of the Half Moon pub on St Clements. And I think (I hope) this captures some of the best of that. Continue reading

When I originally made a note of Janelle Monaé as a potential recommendation I see that I wrote: “Janelle Monaé: take your pick”. I’m going to go with the first track I heard: Tightrope.

When I first stumbled across the video I had that whole “Who the hell is this?! And why have I not heard of them?” I was struck right away by the sense that this is an artist who has got the whole thing together: a great tune, a distinctive sound (or rather, a distinctive take on a familiar sound), lyrics that are actually saying something, a striking visual image and a coherent video that sticks in the memory. Continue reading

On 9 July 2013, novelist India Knight tweeted that she had been enjoying reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, a modern private detective novel with a distinctly classical feel written by an enigmatic former military policeman named Robert Galbraith.  Someone replied to her tweet saying that Galbraith was none other than Harry Potter author and literary titan J.K. Rowling.  This piqued Knight’s curiosity, and she initiated her own detective investigation, which ultimately revealed that yes, Galbraith was indeed Rowling.  The tip-off tweet had come from the best friend of the wife of one of Rowling’s solicitors (who, in a display of conciseness any book editor would be proud of, had managed to trash his professional reputation in under 140 characters).  This big reveal unsurprisingly became a news story in its own right, and led to one of my favourite Daily Mash parody news items: JK Rowling recorded two dubstep albums as Burial. Continue reading

I’m the kind of person, demographically, who should be a Bruce Springsteen worshipper. But for some reason it never quite happened. There are definitely songs of his that I really like. But… well, perhaps it’s just that I feel I can get the same thing from Tom Waits, and I also get a nightmarish and deranged German cabaret freak show host shouting into a megaphone thrown into the bargain.

Perhaps I’m always worried I’m going to find Bruce Almighty a bit too earnest to take, and perhaps that’s why I wasn’t drawn to the idea of him recording an album inspired by the work of folk singer Pete Seeger (half-brother of the awesome Peggy, who lives just down the road). But right from the opening, with the fantastic version of ‘Old Dan Tucker’ (a song with something of a troubling history) it’s clear that being po-faced is not going to be a problem on this album. It actually reminds me of how Bellowhead was sounding at the same time: the big good-time traditionals band. Continue reading

Tested.com is a website hosted by Adam Savage, formerly of the US TV show Mythbusters, although I think the driving force is presenter Norman Chan. And it also frequently features Simone Giertz who you might now (particularly if you’ve seen my social media) is Queen of the Shitty Robot Nation.

Much of this website is devoted to making homemade models of movie props. (Although, when I say homemade, Adam used to work for leading Hollywood special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, so the standard is actually cutting edge – no pun intended.) Or it’s devoted to making cosplay costumes and wearing them at comic conventions. Or it’s devoted to discussing pop culture events, particularly super hero movies.

I’m actually interested in surprisingly few of these. But I love that: I love tuning into regular shows made by people who are fantastically enthusiastic and knowledgable about things that I know comparitively nothing about. Continue reading