Goodbye Allo


In the last week, 2 great bands decided to call quits on making awesome music. That’s not to say that they’ll start making awful music, just that they decided to call time on their bands and play some farewell shows.

I’ll maybe write about Fight Like Apes later. But this piece is dedicated to Allo Darlin’, who finished up with a hot, sweaty, sing-a-long danceathon on Sunday at Scala in London.
I was privileged enough to be there and I genuinely mean to use the word privilege.

But before we get to Sunday, I ought to tell the millions of readers to this blog a bit about the band that I am currently calling the greatest band to ever have written and sung about finding love, losing love, inferiority complexes, swimming (lots of swimming) and fat men eating sausages.

I can’t remember the first time I heard Allo Darlin’, but I remember the second. I was in the car park of Birmingham Airport getting ready to drive home from a days work in Dublin (none of this is relevant). As the DAB radio kicked in when I exited the car park I heard a beautiful, beautiful voice singing about how they could name a star after you and you’d still be complaining. I instantly thought it sounded like something else I’d heard recently and when the name appeared on my radio screen, I realised it was a band I had heard previously on BBC 6 Music.
As soon as I got home, I bought both albums and consumed them as quickly as I could. Elizabeth Morris has a voice that can make the hairs on my arms stand to attention. Which is good, albeit erect arm hairs are pretty useless.

A 3rd album followed to complete the set and give me 31 great songs to play in various order (chronologically by album, alphabetically by song title or , sit down for this one, randomly). I have played these songs over and over and over and over. I’ve even listed them from 1 to 31. But that keeps changing. Isn’t that what is good about great music, you can find something new each listen?

The song writing ability of this band is exceptional. This isn’t the traditional verse, chorus, verse, chorus, come up with any words just so they fit the tune and get on with it band. These are stories that are put to music so eloquently, so beautifully, so wonderfully. Stories that name check many artists, cities and  experiences. Singing about chopping onions or bumping in to someone in a swimming pool or asthma inhalers.
I dare you to try to not sing at the top of your voice to Weezer (Kiss Your Lips) or to not dance like a maniac to My Heart Is As Strong As A Drummer or to not grin like an idiot when Paul opens up Bright Eyes. Go on, try not to do those things.

I have spent hours enjoying all 3 albums over and over again as well as devouring anything that I can find on YouTube. The live clips range from playing in someone’s back garden for a birthday, to playing outside a shop or setting up next to a fence outside a fairground (not in the middle of Paris).
And then I found the clip that cemented their place in my heart. Playing on a dreary day outside what looks like a BBC building, Allo Darlin had campaigned for BBC 6 Music to be saved. A music station so important to me and here is a band that has done things in their music and in their actions to change my life, to have an impact. Elizabeth sings in a couple of songs about being told she’s not a success or that she’s less successful than others. Success doesn’t have to be measured in cash or in record sales (although, I appreciate both of these would have been very good). If success can be measured in impact, then Allo Darlin’ have become the most successful band in my life.

And so to Sunday where I went a did some dancing on my own, to a record that I do own, in a place I’ve never seen before. This band weren’t awful and I like them an awful lot. I had a feeling this day would be amazing.
The video below is of the last 12 minutes of the show. Weezer, Paul Simon, balloons and confetti. What isn’t there to love. I was hoping Bill was going to crowd surf at the end, but instead he looked like he just fancied a rest.
There is now a huge Allo Darlin’ shaped hole in my life. A record is not just a record, a record can hold memories.
Bill, Elizabeth, Paul and Michael. Thanks for the memories


To Be Honest, To Be Fair

Honesty is a funny thing.
It’s the best policy according to a well trodden phrase.
I doubt anyone ever wants to be called out as being a liar.

So why do people constantly use the phrase “to be honest” or “to be fair” ? This would suggest that it’s only that particular sentence in which they are being honest / fair.
In fact, when people use that when talking to me, I instantly assume they’re not being honest and they feel the need to say they are being just as a cover (I’m very cynical!)

In a similar vein, when someone is relaying some information or an anecdote and the person they are speaking to replies with “that’s very honest of you”….how do they know? Surely the only person that knows the level of honesty being given is the person it relates to?

To be honest with you, it winds me up.

Don’t Look At Me (I Don’t Like It)

A few months back, I was minding my own business (sweating away on the exercise bike), listening to my favourite radio station when I heard something that just blew me away.

A sneering, northern woman being derogatory about the features of anonymous people using unheard of (to me) descriptions.
Then the music kicks in. And from that point on, I knew I was about to hear the greatest song that ever did exist.

As a sucker for female fronted indie / rock / pop / punk music, they were pretty much on to a winner the minute the singer opened the song by opening her mouth. When I heard what came out of her mouth a smile replaced the exercising grimace. And once the music joined the vocals, I couldn’t stop dancing on my bike pedals.

The song I talk about it Don’t Look At Me (I Don’t Like It) by The Lovely Eggs and I encourage you all to search it out. If I can work out how to, I will try and put a link to the YouTube video here.

To give you a flavour of what caught my attention lyrically, here’s some of the lyrics

Look at him with his dog dirt eyes
Look at her with her rabbit’s fur teeth
Look at him with his sausage roll thumb (my favourite!)

If you want to be blown away, cheered up, enthused, invigorated or provoked to think, then search this song / band out.
You’ll like it.



Only Just About

I’m no grammatical expert as I’m sure the pedants will be quick to point out. (not having a go at pedants, I am one too…it’s just I’m not that clever to spot too many errors). In fact, one of the purposes of starting this blog was that I had noticed my vocabulary had become somewhat reduced and maybe starting to do a bit of writing (typing) may help broaden it back out to where it once was.

But I’m not a professional journalist or writer whose job requires the ability to be coherent. And here lies my gripe. Why can’t people who are paid handsomely to commentate on sporting events around the world get a grasp of the English language? And it is mainly sports commentators that I notice this trait (possibly because I watch a lot of sport).

How often do we see with our own eyes a skilled, multi-millionaire, footballing wizard beat every opponent on the pitch, the ball seemingly glued to his foot, riding even the most ridiculous of challenges, gets one on one with the goalkeeper, hits a beauty of a shot, but keeper gets finger tips to it to knock it on to the bar and away to safety? And how often will the commentator squeal “the keeper just about kept that ball out of the net”?
Well did the keeper keep it out of the net or not? If the ball did not go in the net, but nearly did due to the outstretched little finger on the left hand of the goalkeeper, then surely the keeper only just kept the ball out of the net?
However, if the keeper’s efforts were in vein and the ball hit the inside of the post and dropped just millimetres over the line, then I accept that he just about kept the ball out of the net.
But I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. He saved it, yet the commentator thinks it’s ok to say just about.

This is not a rare occurrence. Watch any televised (or listen to any radio commentary) football match in the UK or take a chance on pretty much any other sport and you will hear this being used incorrectly over and over again.

It’s unacceptable and should be punishable with the commentator just about keeping their job.


What’s It All About, Alfie?

This blog is intended to be the random ramblings of an ordinary person about ordinary things. Might be music, could be sport, likely there’ll be something about people and no doubt there’ll be the occasional rant about things that make me shake my head

Should anyone ever stumble across this, then woo-hoo, however, if not that’s fine as it’s a place where I can dump the conversations I have with myself in my head (we all do that, right?)

Come back soon to see if I can share some thoughts with the world