5 Great Musicians I Am Ashamed To Admit, I Don’t Like. (Blogging 101)

So I am now a full day behind my Blogging 101 Challenge, the assignment for yesterday was to write a post about the ‘Daily Prompt’ from WordPress, that being ‘Ring Of Fire, do you like spicy food?’. And the easy answer to that is, yes, but not too spicy as I like to taste the food rather than have it burned from my mouth, I’d say a Jalfrezi is about as spicy a curry as I go. But being a person who has a mind that can get from talking about moving house to talking about farts in 4 logical steps, I took ‘Ring of Fire’ around my brain for 24 hours and farted out this post (Do you see what I did there?).

But not only do I like talking about farts, I also love me some music, trouble is, when you are a bit of a ‘Muso’ you end up realising that other ‘Musos’ tend to hold certain musicians in high esteem, and anyone who thinks they aren’t that great end up getting berated as a ‘poser’. So this, I suppose, is my confessional, and you lovely people are my Priests, and I offer you this post in the hope that you will forgive me for being a ‘poser’ for not liking such musical greats as…
5. Johnny Cash.

(I’ll give you 10 seconds to work out where I got the idea for this post!)

So everybody knows about Johnny Cash, he is a legend, and that is exactly what I say to anybody who speaks about him. But, I really can’t get into his music, and it’s not just a prejudice against country music, I like a bit of Willie now and again.

who doesn’t?

But if I have to hear ‘Ring of Fire’ one more time I might actually burn out my ear drums with a red-hot poker inserted into my anus, honestly people, get over it. But in fairness, he has made it onto the bottom of the list for one song, ‘Hurt’, that may be the only song of his that I find tolerable, and it’s pretty much only because I really like the Nine Inch Nails original and I have a thing for quirky cover songs.
4. Iron Maiden.

I’m going to start this with an admission; I have seen Iron Maiden live (Somewhere Back In Time Tour, Twickenham, 2008) and through the haze of Guinness I do vaguely remember having a reasonably good time. It was all very theatrical, they had Eddie walking around on stage and all that sort of stuff, and I sang along to ‘Run to the Hills’ like the good little metal-head I am.

I even have 4/5 Iron Maiden albums on my iTunes that I have listened to all of 3 times in the last 8 years. They do have some good songs and they have even better drinking songs, easy to learn choruses, and luckily Bruce Dickinson’s voice lends itself well to screaming at the top of your lungs after 8 or 9 Jagerbombs and a skin-full of Lager. But only in the same way that Bon Jovi lends itself to drunken singing, but if you aren’t trying to destroy your liver, it’s just dull, and it does absolutely nothing for me.
3. Jeff Buckley

If you have never heard of Jeff Buckley, then listen to this…

If you haven’t been touched by that song then you have somehow learned how to transfer your consciousness into a super-computer, trading your emotions for immortality.
He really is a great, and it is a shame that he died at such an early age, for a musician to have the presence of that guy, as well as the musical talent to back it up, well, that comes along once I a generation.
I just wish he would cheer the f**k up, lets quickly deconstruct ‘Grace’, it is a beautiful album, but there is no emotional state you can safely listen to it in, without it puking images of a languishing Sylvia Plath-esque suicide into your mind. If you are in a good mood, then all it does is bring you down, and if you are in a bad mood, then half way through ‘Last Goodbye’ and your beginning to think whether it’s possible to choke yourself to death on the flea ridden cat that lives in the ally way behind your house. (Or is that just me?)

2. Beastie Boys.

*I’m going to put a caveat on this entry and say that I do like ‘Sabotage’, but mostly for the video.

I really don’t understand why the Beastie Boys have gained the reputation they have, I know they are ‘kind of’ the people who invented ‘rap-rock’, but is that really something to be proud of?

But there are plenty of other people, who were doing it before them, take a listen to this and tell me it isn’t a primordial version of rap-rock.

Now to me, not only does that sound better than ‘Sabotage’ (and came out 32 years earlier by the way) but the lyrics are far more intelligent and actually mean something, and he doesn’t sound like he has had a goblin hiding up his ass for the better part of a decade.

1. Jimi Hendrix.

This is probably one of the most controversial people on the list, but I want to start with a joke I heard by a comedian who was commenting on Heston Blumenthal’s cooking, he said ‘JUST COOK A F**KING DINNER!’ well, I’m saying to Jimi, ‘JUST PLAY A F**KING SONG!’
I should explain that when I was about 15 and just finding my way through the musical quagmire of genre’s that Jimi Hendrix was a pretty consistent factor in all of them, most of the bands I liked said that he was a big influence on them, and most of the girls I liked said similar. So I walked into my local music shop and bought Jimi Hendrix live at Woodstock, took it home in hot anticipation, put it on and listened to what I can only express in writing as ‘ahlsdjfb;;bjbjnannbnbnnbadfjjuhuu z dgbljgva,ljfvb’.

Listen to that song at 1.01 onwards and tell me that isn’t murder to your ears!

Yes, he is great, his guitar skills WE’RE second to none, it was like he owned every inch of the Axe, but today he is pretty much irrelevant, Mozart, he aint. He probably could have been, but since he was the first to use a guitar in the way that he did, he ended up being the experimenter, and the problem with experiments, is that they go wrong sometimes.

So there you have it, my list of musicians I feel guilty for not liking, I know it shouldn’t matter what music I like, and when amongst friends like you wonderful people I’m sure it doesn’t matter too much. And in truth, although I don’t particularly like these musicians, that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect them, without them I wouldn’t have the music I do enjoy, and for that I am eternally grateful. But on some occasions it is better to just nod your head approvingly and pretend to be in awe, but, just to reverse what has become a slight rampage against music, here is one of my favourite songs at the moment, hope you enjoy, but if you don’t, screw you poser!

Things People Never Tell You About Having Children: Part 2 (Blogging 101)

So, todays assignment for Blogging 101 is to expand on a comment I left on someone else’s blog yesterday, with a post today. I left a comment on the lovely Lydia Devadason’s blog regarding her post about her kids valiant attempts to break the bonds of their captivity and conquer the stairgates in their house (check out her post here http://lydiadevadason.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/safety-gates-siblings-and-stardust/). Her reply was that “there’s usually a small part of you that is slightly proud of these ingenious incidents – and we have a lot of those ‘don’t know whether to laugh or cry’ moments lol”, which has inspired me to write a bit more about ‘Things People Never Tell You About Having Children‘. Things like…

Kids Are Funny As Hell When They’re Learning To Talk.

Once you get past the screaming, and wailing, and blah blah blah-ing of your first baby, you will realise that they are suddenly forming words. Simple stuff like Mama, Dada, Juice, things like that start forming and eventually they will begin to form more complex sentence structure. The fun comes in when their ability to form a sentence over-takes their ability to form words. For example one of my daughters had trouble saying F’s and T’s so the number ‘fourteen’ became ‘whore-een’, which is about a 2 on the funny scale I’ll admit.

But the best example comes from my 2 year-old who, when she was leaving nursery the other day, accidentally bumped into a boy who was also leaving. Now, she loves stickers so she offered him one, trouble is, all her ‘st’ and ‘rs’ sounds come out as D’s. so she knocks the boy over, his mum picks him up, he turns to her and she said what sounded an awful lot like, “Oh, sorry d**khead!”

Now me and my Mrs gave that a 10 on the funny scale, the boys Mum wasn’t too happy, but what can you do? Hope that they start speaking properly sooner? Well that comes with its own perils because…

You Childs Questions Will Be Your Undoing.

Tell me what you see here.

I’m guessing you answered ‘a homeless person’, well you know what your child see’s? Questions, lots and lots of questions. Here is a pop quiz, let me see how you do. Imagine I am 5 years old, imagine I believe in Santa, and that my entire knowledge of how the world works comes exclusively from Peppa Pig.

  • Why is that man on the floor?
  • Why has he got all of his stuff in a trolley?
  • Why does he smell funny?
  • Why doesn’t he have any money?
  • Where is his house?
  • Why doesn’t he have a house
  • Why can’t he stay at our house?

Did you manage to answer the questions without showing the ugly reality of the world to a 5-year-old, while still trying to make sure that they see you as a nice person, or the kind of person that deserves to be a parent? Yeah, they love their questions, but not as much as they love morality. Especially when it comes to…

The Twisted Morality Of Kids TV.

My kids love watching their early morning TV, favourites include, Peppa Pig and Lazy Town but they especially love Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. If you haven’t got kids then the odds are good that you haven’t watched it. Basically its about two kids, one is an Elf (Ben) the other is a Fairy (Holly), they have a little pet Ladybird called Gaston and they have magical mis-adventures that usually gets resolved by Holly’s teacher Nanny Plum.

Normally it is all the usual crap they have been spouting at children for years ‘Get along with friends’, ‘Respect your elders’, ‘Dont eat glue’ that sort of stuff. But I was watching an episode a couple of weeks ago, and the moral lesson contained within it was ‘Its okay to lie so long as you only do it when you need to exploit someone.’

You see, Nanny Plum had been kidnapped by a Witch, who wouldn’t set her free, so Ben had to go to the King of the Fairies to see if he could help. And by jingo could he help, he know exactly what to do, he went down to see the Witch, and began flirting with her, paying her compliments, and making out that he needed Nanny Plum to cook his dinner for him (even though Nanny Plum was a notoriously bad chef). The Witch was so flattered by the King that she let Nanny Plum go, after this happens Ben says to the King something along the lines of “But you were lying, the witch wasn’t beautiful, she was very ugly, and Nanny Plum can’t even cook!”

To which the King replied “Well Ben, sometimes it’s okay to tell a little lie to make people feel better about themselves, and then they might be nicer to you.”

So yeah King, cheers for that, its okay to lie to people’s faces so long as it gets you what you want.

So there you have it, some more wisdom from a parent, again I could go on and on about this subject, so look out for a part three. All I ask is that you please, just, keep the questions to a minimum, I have had enough of those today and I don’t need any more. 🙂






How to: Make 4 Litres Of Booze For Under A Fiver Using No Equipment!

So as I’m sure (most) of you wonderful people are aware, I am doing the Blogging 101 challenge, and today’s assignment is to post something I usually wouldn’t. So I thought to myself ‘What the hell can I possibly post that I don’t already do?’ I can cook up a half-decent Chilli, but I haven’t used a recipe book, in, ever, so I have no hope in hell of creating one for you guys.
I could post some of my stories, but, I’m very self-conscious about that stuff, so I’m not ready to thrust those into the ether.
So, I poured myself a mug of homebrew, and ‘ding’ went the light bulb above my head.

So here it is, my ‘how to guide’ for making dirt cheap booze with NO equipment.

**Just a little disclaimer, before doing this you need to check the legality of home brewing alcohol in your country, if it’s banned by law where you live please don’t continue reading. Also, although I will give you my methods for filtering nasties from your brew, I can’t guarantee that this method is 100% effective, all I can say is that I haven’t experienced any problems, but that is not to say that you won’t.

One last very important point, there is always an issue regarding home brewing, that being, your alcohol intake can exceed medically recommended levels quite easily, if you feel that you are drinking too much or for the wrong reasons then please go to this website or speak to a doctor to find out what you can do to regain control. Trust me when I say that there is NO shame in it!**

Right, now that’s done, here is what you will need.

  • 5 Ltr bottle of water – £1.10
  • 2 Ltrs Juice (Whatever flavour you want, personally I like Berry 5 Alive the best, whatever you use, make sure the juice has NO preservatives in it as this will kill the yeast.) – £2
  • 500g Sugar (500g will make approx 7% strength alcohol, for a higher percentage use 1 kg which will make approx 20%) – £0.65
  • Wine Yeast + Nutrients to make 5 Ltrs (Can be bought from your local homebrew shop/Wilkinsons) – £1.20
  • Cordial – £1

Optional equipment. (You don’t need this but I find it is better to have it.)

  • 5 Ltr Demijohn (you can get plastic ones for about £2, or glass ones for about £7)
  • Airlock (£0.84p)
  • Sanitizing powder (£3)
  • Funnel (£1.20)

*All prices are approximate, I have linked where I can.

First off, (If applicable, sanitize all your equipment thoroughly) clean off your work surface then pour out about 2.5 Ltrs of water from your bottle (this will leave enough room for the fermentation process), next grab a saucepan and pour out a further 1 Ltr into it. Put it on the hob and once it has started to heat up add the sugar untill it has all dissolved (You don’t need to boil it, I just find that a little heat speeds up the process).

Once the sugar has dissolved pour it back into the bottle and add the juice. Give it a little mix and next add the yeast & nutrients, (From my homebrew shop I can only buy yeast to make up 25 Ltrs so what I do is empty the packet into a jar and estimate about a 1/5 of the contents, if it’s a little over or a little under it doesn’t matter too much.)

Once all that is done, (*) replace the cap and give it a gentle shake to get things mixed up, but don’t take to long about this as once the yeast begins to work it will release CO2 and you will end up with a gooey mess all over the place. Once you have finished giving it a shake, loosen the cap enough to allow the gas to be released and leave it in a warmish place (Perfect temperature for brewing is between 18- 25C) for about a week, or untill it has stopped bubbling.

* For those of you with a demijohn and airlock place the bung in tight, fill up the airlock with a little water and push it into the bung untill you are sure it is air tight.

Once everything has stopped bubbling, you should be left with a sediment at the bottom of the jar, and sweet, sweet ethyl alcohol in the rest of the jar. It is now ready to drink, all you have to do is siphon or pour the contents into bottles/glasses/your cake hole, just make sure to leave the sediment in the demijohn/bottle (it’s not harmful as far as I am aware but it doesn’t taste very nice).

Now, I know I said you didn’t need equipment for this, but I do recommend investing in a water purifier to filter any potential nasties from your homebrew. I just use a run of the mill Britta water filter for this. Alternatively you can buy ‘activated carbon‘ from your homebrew shop. This needs to be added to your brew before it leaves the demijohn/bottle and allowed to settle before siphoning (although you should expect to lose at least a litre from your final product, in my experience anyway).

Your final product, after filtering, will have lost some of its juicy flavour, which is where your cordial comes in (I like to use summer fruits as it matches the Berry 5 Alive), just add a bit to taste to your brew to take the edge off.

And there you have it, quick, equipment free booze, feel free to thank me in the comments or, of course, if you have any questions as to the method or anything else, just let me know and I’ll answer you as best as I can.



Why Am I Here?

Why am I here?

So, always one to take criticism constructively, I guess I had better actually be honest this time. (If you are unaware of what I am talking about, this is now revision No.5 of my assignment for Blogging 101) I am here to write, that is all.

My reasons are simple,it’s all I have ever known, it’s what I do, and it’s all I feel I am good at. A quote that springs to mind is in The Dark Knight, when The Joker says; “I’m like a dog chasing a car, I wouldn’t know what to do with it if I had it, I just do.” That’s kind of how I feel about writing, I know I want to do this, but I’m not sure how, so my only option is to chase that car, because, I just do, that’s why.

I have tried blogging before, I managed a very unsuccessful blog several years ago that was basically me rambling on for post after post about nonsense really. It didn’t get many views, but, it was a good experience, because, I just gave up on writing after that. I thought ‘Why am I doing this, live in the real world, you aren’t a writer and you never will be.’ So I focused on my ‘real’ job, and got, bored. Then about 6 months ago, I stumbled onto that old blog, I laughed at myself a little, and forgot about it again. Or at least I tried to, see the thing is, it seemed to stick in my head, I couldn’t get out of my mind how exciting it was to air my thoughts. Especially, when 6 months ago, upon viewing the blog, I had received, over 5 views!!!

Yeah, you can laugh at that, go on, I know you want to :).

But, you know, it was nice, people had heard my voice, and I wanted to have that feeling again. I have been in a writing group for over a year now, and they hear me reading my stories, but a group of 5/6 writers telling stories in a pub is never going to compare to the thrill of shoving my thoughts onto the web, naked and bare for all to see. So I thought to myself, ‘structure Charlie, you need some structure’.

Being a guy with the attention span of a gnat, structure is as rare as diamond farting jellyfish in my world. The 3 unfinished novels, 1 idea for a screenplay, an unfinished DIY table and a half painted canvas lay around my house as bitter testament to that. I am a guy with a lot of ideas and no concentration.

But, being someone who has a compulsion to write, I knew I had to write something. That’s when it hit me, I can write short articles, I can watch a TV show, and assuming I have an hour free, I can write 500 words saying what I liked or didn’t like. It’s not terribly informative, quite whimsical, and often pointless, but it’s mine.

And that is why I do this, because I have to, I have no other choice, and what I write and the way I write is really just a way for me to find a little space in the world where I can make my voice heard. It isn’t a loud voice, and you may not want to hear it, but, for me, just knowing it is heard at all is all I need to keep me happy.