Massive blog recluse/”radio presenter”

…and that’s what my business cards will eventually read. I am a blog recluse in the sense that I hardly ever blog but I will shortly be resuming my normal end-of-the-month service ūüôā

edit: the title is hugely misleading and makes little to no grammatical sense but whatever, I always write them first. Technically I’m an anti-recluse. Rant over.

I haven’t reviewed anything in a little while (although I have The Drums coming up in a few weeks, gah!) so here are some links to my reviews for a gig which I went to recently in my uni town…

Sam Brookes w/ George O’Brien & Anna Costello¬†

Purple Radio review

The Fly review 

How to be better than Fearne Cotton with a cherry on top* Р myths about student radio plus my first three late night playlists

...I really don't take myself very seriously...promise...

*it’s fairly easy tbh

So, you may well ask, what have I been doing with myself? I’m a recent convert to student radio since coming to uni, having previously thought of it in fairly pejorative terms. Some myths to clear up on that one…

Myth number 1 – you don’t have to say anything relevant because hardly anyone is listening, and if they are then they won’t be relying on you as a major news outlet.

Mythbusting – yes and no. It’s true that audience figures probably won’t be anything higher than the number of hot dinners you’ve had this week divided by the number of drunk Dominos orders you wish you hadn’t. That said, there is still a sense of responsibility to the listener, so aimlessly rambling on about your week probably isn’t going to get you that Sony award. Conversely, sounding like a self-important LBC compere is just as pointless. So I’m straddling somewhere in the middle, and trying to convey how ¬†passionate I actually am about music.

Myth number 2 Рyou have to play commercial music all of the time. 

Mythbusting – if you’re in a daytime slot then perhaps it may be the case that you are asked to play a specific amount of tracks from A/B/C lists, but that means that there is still some room to manoeuvre. I applied for, and was given, a late night slot which fits my night owl personality as well as allowing me to play whatever I want, e.g.: an eclectic mix of 70s, 80s and 90s gems, new indie music and electronic bits and bobs.

Myth number 3 – student radio isn’t professional standard.

MythbustingObviously the training provided by student stations won’t be the same depth as commercial training or accredited certificates, however it is often hugely relevant and high quality. Learning about how to use a mixing desk and operate programmes, even if they’re inferior/different to those which you may find in a work environment, is always going to provide you with transferable knowledge anyway… As for the standard of output, that depends on the presenter and their own knowledge and commitment I suppose. No pressure for a self-titled teen freelance music journalist then…

Now for my first three playlists…

Week one’s Spotify playlist¬†

Norgaard - The Vaccines 
My Everything - The Thirst 
Video Games - Lana Del Rey 
Come As You Are - Little Roy 
7th Date - Spectrals 
Punching In a Dream - The Naked and Famous 
Avenging Angels - Space 
So Far So Long - BB Brunes 
Ain't Nobody - Clare Maguire 
Lipgloss - Pulp 
Either / Or - Elliott Smith 
Don't Rush - Tegan and Sara
Lullaby - The Cure 
 

Week two’s Spotify playlist¬†

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me - U2	

Wake Up	- O. Chapman	

Follaton Wood	- Ben Howard	

Dna - The Kills	

Hotel California - The Cat Empire	

Hounds Of Love	- Kate Bush	

Bad Feeling - Veronica Falls	

You Do Something To Me	- The Kinks	

Duck Egg Blue	- The Kabeedies	

Somewhere In My Heart	- Aztec Camera	

Shady Lane - Pavement	

Once Around the Block - Badly Drawn Boy
 

Week three ‘s Spotify playlist¬†

Cavern	- Liquid Liquid	

Road to Recovery - Midnight Juggernauts	

Breathe Me In - Sam Brookes	

Heart Cooks Brain - Modest Mouse	

Sentinal Bloom	- SCUM 

Phantom Limb - The Shins	

Forget You All the Time	- Cloud Nothings	

Get Lost - Tom Waits	

You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates

Bottle Up and Explode! - Elliott Smith	

So Light Is Her Footfall - AIR	

69 Fanny Street - The Peth	

This Is the Day	- The The
 
Recommendations are welcome for my show, which is on purpleradio.co.uk on Thursdays from 11pm to midnight ūüôā¬†
 

Vice mag gets geeky *guffaw*

That looks like it says gruffalo doesn’t it? Anyhow… it’s been a while since I tuned into Vice’s vids, but here’s something which caught my eye, probably because I’m a huge anime nerd at heart…

A Dragon Con Odyssey Рnow on Motherboard 

Do you know what Dragon Con is? Nor me. But Vice do. Cosplayers are usually more likely to fit into a “Don’t” page in the mag, but on their shiny Motherboard video site you can find out about the intriguing traditions and heartwarming stories behind the ridiculous masks, silly wigs and awe-inspiring accessories courtesy of Vice’s comics editor Nick Gazin, who visited Atlanta’s annual comic convention. As with all Vice documentaries, there are the usual suspects (strange paedos and socially inept obsessives do feature) which are offset by oddities such as a goth band with an obvious Depeche Mode influence and a run in with Carrie Fisher which is more than a little Borat-esque. A must watch for nerds and jocks alike, which can be seen here.¬†

HJ

x

This month I’ve been…
Watching: Top Boy (as was half of the free world I’m sure)
Reading: The Sealed Letter РEmma Donoghue 
Eating: too much, all of the time 

Singles Apr/May + Royal Wedding

If I wasn’t boring I’d be at the Camden Crawl blogging with Vice, enjoying fringe events such as the Nightjar (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Cumberbitches take note) and the film festival curated by Guillemots, as well as obviously listening to music from the likes of Tom Williams and The Boat, Little Comets and Beth Jeans Houghton. Except I’m cripplingly boring and my A Levels (officially) start this week.

Instead I’ll just churn out five of these babies:

“You never review new singles!” “Done” (Apr/May)

The Shoes – Cover Your Eyes (Crack My Bones LP released March, single TBC on Southern Fried)

Late night French radio is good for two things as far as I’m concerned. Besides the super-detailed meteo, sometimes a gem slips through the wireless with all the ease of a Parisian breeze. They’ve mixed for a menagerie of indie bands and had their music featured on Gossip Girl but that’s where the comparisons with serial remixers Justice, samplers Daft Punk and advert song duo Air respectively should end. As brilliant and French as those acts are, Cover Your Eyes is a brooding, dramatic slice of indie which leans more towards the pop than the electro. Seemingly taking its lead from Gaelic influences as well as British indie, its main hook and lyrics (e.g.: the “mathematics of a heart laid bare”) could have been plucked from 80s new romanticism…but how fresh it sounds. I think the whole album could be a winner, as long as I don’t hear “Cliche” on a cliche-d Toyota advert before 2016.

4.5/5

For fans of: Delphic, Zach Hill, Sebastien Tellier.

Japanese Voyeurs – Get Hole (was released 18th April on Fiction)

It’s not very often that I get ridiculously excited about a band who were formed before about 1997, or a band like Japanese Voyeurs who are possibly all talk. Question: is it possible to be a grunge band in 2011? Question: is it possible to have a pain-inducing riot grrrrl wail when the only Veruca Salt of your childhood probably courtesy of Roald Dahl? I’m going to stop asking questions because its ruining the crazy contrast between Exorcist-girl vocals and irregular Pantera-esque chords. Japanese Voyeurs aren’t Japanese but they’ve definitely been doing some voyeurism into Courtney Love’s back catalogue (is “Get Hole” actually a ridiculously obvious ref?!) … and, coupled with even more angry postmodernism, it works. Question: is this for real? Answer: I stopped caring after the first 30 seconds. Memo to Taylor Momsen: watch and learn from Romily Alice, Little J.

3.5/5

For fans of: the 90s, Rolo Tomassi.

The Sound of Arrows – Nova (was released 25th April on Geffen)

Winner of the most self-indulgent video ever award (they made it themselves), this is most certainly a guilty pleasure from the Swedish pair. This is Basshunter and MGMT collaborating at a party hosted by a porn baron, and it fails to conjure up the 80s vibe of Hurts because its a join-the-dots attempt at mainstream electronica with a homoerotic vid I think was intended to go viral. Controversial its really not, however it is strangely compulsive thanks to their Scandinavian pronunciation and predictable themes of stalking (“I’ll never stop following you”). The Top comments on the video sum it up…at the tenth play,¬†I think I have Stockholm Syndrome.

3/5

For fans of: Saint Etienne, Pet Shop Boys, The Teenagers

Barbara Panther – Empire (Album to be released 16th May on City Slang)

Barbara Panther is a Rwandan singer from Brussels via Berlin, mixing potent electronic beats with poetically gothic lyrics, however because she is black she will ultimately draw superficial comparisons with that other black electronic pop singer, Santigold. I personally think any such comparisons would be a waste of time…Barbara Panther sounds like she’d be far more at home among the 70s and 80s artists on my favourite leftfield compilation ever, Disco Not Disco from Strut (which I’m lucky enough to own in physical form). She is vintage and trance-like without wearing her influences too obviously. The Lom remix of Empire deconstructs and reassembles this colonialist anthem (just kidding) with ease, and it is possibly better than the (utterly crazy) original.

4/5

For fans of: Flykkiller, Bjork, Summer Camp

Frankmusik – Do It In The AM (released May 3rd on Cherrytree/Interscope)

Club 18-30 choon which is the wrong side of electronic. Frankmusik’s polished-up vocals plus an appearance from Far East Movement (“who?” I hear you cry) can’t save this turgid cross between an X Factor winner’s third single and the theme tune of a BBC3 documentary on safe sex. Do it the morning kids, in the AM, before your parents find out or you fail your GCSEs! Oh, how the (relatively) mighty have fallen. On the subject of this vacuous piece of Americana, Mr Frank told some kind of Far East Movement fansite that “this new record has got a bit more finesse to it”, which I’m assuming he thinks is the French word for overproduced. ¬†“I‚Äôve finessed the songwriting, the songs are a lot more punchy”, he continued, before defensively adding that his critics could “suck a dick”. FYI that would be in the PM because the AM is far too jam packed with bitches and hoes and Facetime with the lads back in East London. Pitbull circa 2009 he ain’t.

0/5

For fans of: Rohypnol

Got me feeling like a royalist…or not

http://www.vbs.tv/en-gb/watch/rule-britannia/rule-britannia-royal-wedding

Watch!! There are royalists and republicans alike in VBS’ latest production Rule Britannia: Royal Wedding. I loved the wedding myself (softy at heart), as well as tat like this ¬†, but this vid shows the crazy extremism of some and the anger at what is seemingly a symbol of conspicuous consumption by the firm during crazy austerity era 101, as well as the view from the Kings Road and the set of a porn film which really does have the crown jewels. Another great doc which explores the politically sensitive relationship from the point of view of the great unwashed and beyond¬†– some royalists, others ready to burn the palace.

*For what its worth, I love them, and genuinely wouldn’t have had any objection to them shredding quantitively-eased money into beautiful confetti and endless rainbows.

HJ x

“When Bob Geldof was kicked out of Pink Floyd…”

Urrgh, I’m almost a fool. I have to use these Sweet Valley High titles in order to grab your attention. That said, “almost a fool” refers only to the fact that its April Fools tomorrow rather than any intellectual anguish I might be having over my upcoming exams. I’ve almost been a fool millions of times, from fake ¬£20 notes to bogus prizes…just dont trick me tomorrow because I will fall for it.

This pretty amazing (cake vs.) pie chart from This is why you’re fat has caught my foolish attention:

…as has everything else vaguely sweet recently. Weird craving for a proper, gen-u-ine New York cheescake, actually; one of those which looks like a round French cheese and tastes like one too. If anyone wants to bake me one then please go ahead.

Anyways, onto some higher culture. I have enjoyed such cultivated televisual viewing of late, including The Undercover Princesses on BBC3.

A follow-up to the equally cringeworthy culture-clash comedy of¬† The Undercover Princes, this series saw three ethnically-diverse but equally stereotypical “royals” – the Bugandan with a shapely behind and a taste for market-stall weave, the shy, sari-wearing Indian wallflower and the whiter-than-white Europop heiress from Germany, who almost didn’t count as foreign – looking for love in the UK. So, the BBC sent the trio to our culture capital of Essex and watched asmadness ensued. One of Uganda’s princesses, nicknamed Cinderella, found Caribbean match Paul (Paw-ul) on a trip to Asda for mushrooms in a surprisingly tidy scene which was typical set-up fare. Meanwhile, sweet-natured asian princess Aaliya went on a series of disappointing dates with men who looked like Crimewatch-paedo-cut-outs for conversations about the weather, where we almost expected to hear Mad World dubbed over her plight. Eeyorl-liah was a nice girl but socially inept when it came to the opposite sex, and scuppered one of her dates by getting claustrophobia…whilst wearing a helmet. Doh! Instead of love, we got more BBC subtitles over anyone who wasn’t from Essex and a horrible soundtrack which even featured “world’s most overused and dramatic tearjerker” Kissing You by Des’ree. Yes, the song from Romeo+Juliet. A highlight was Xenia from Germany, however, whose much-hyped “relationship” with hairdresser Elliott involved much retarded singing, impressionism and crap dancing. Put her anywhere else and I think this woman would have been labelled a fag hag. Hilarious stuff as always from the BBC’s digital stable, but can we please have some proper princesses next time…this lot really lacked authenticity!

High Renaissance Man – exclusive –

Yes, THIS is what the title of the blog is about! HIGHLY CULTURED MEN!

Vice ran this pretty amazing picture of JFK in a series of hats for next month’s issue…just to cover myself legally I should point out that the pic below is by Tara Sinn of http://www.babydinosaureyes.com/, and it is just so cute. Especially the top hat…can someone please Cafe Press this into a mug/t-shirt/babygrow (with permission ofc).

And here is my horrific illustration for the following feature. I forbid anyone to Cafe Press this:

It’s been less than 2 months since Mr Totally Tom – that’s Mr Totally Tom Stourton and Mr Totally Tom Palmer to you and I – launched their comedy short High Renaissance Man on Youtube. Part one of four is above, and given my damning review of a BBc 3 programme (also above), I advise that our controllors take note: this is what TV needs.

The two Toms – who have somewhat sarcastically declared that they want BBC’s “pinkies”, that’s ¬£50 notes to you and me – have been friends since the tender age of 12, when they met at a sleepover (everybody say: awww!)

Described by Michael Hessletine as “Evelyn Waugh on acid” (100% true quotation), the duo take their inspiration from Garth Meranghi’s Dark Place and Brass Eye among other series’, although this Bristol-based mockumentary is all their own work, and they strongly deny “copying” anyone. In fact, their influences peek through rather than being worn on a collective sleeve, surely the mark of subtle genius. Thanks to the way in which universities are “interlinked” through Facebook, High Renaissance Man has gone down a treat on the interwebs – probably because James Talbot-Smith (Stourton) is the perfectly recognisable Oxbridge-reject¬† turning his hand to uni pursuits such as event promotion with his trademark awkwardness. If Abercrombie did philosophy degrees…

That’s enough from me anyways…let’s read James’ exclusive diary for hannahjdavies.com!

The diary of James – by Mr Totally Tom

D e a r  D i a r y,

J a m e s  h e r e  a g a i n.  F i r s t  o f  a l l,  a s  y o u  m a y  h a v e  n o t i c e d,  I  h a v e  j u s t  f o u n d  a  f u c k i n g

l e a n¬† f o n t¬† t o¬† u s e¬† f o r¬† m y¬† d i a r y¬† e n t r i e s.¬† M a k e s¬† i t¬† l o o k¬† l i k e¬† a n¬† o l d s c h o o l¬† t y p e w r i t e r¬† ‚Äď a n d

i t  u s e s  u p  l e s s   i n k.

Spiked Mathew’s tea with seven grams of Mephedrone this morning. He has an exam later AND his parents are taking us for lunch after. Would love to be a fly on the wall for that one! Even though I will be sort of. He’d better pay me back.

Speaking of pranks, expenses scandal broke out today ‚Äď so fierce! In a bit of trouble with Dad as I ordered a duck house on his account for one of my nights ‚Äď he is soooooo angry. Also v. bum-out as has ruined my Duck and Bass night – apparently freedom of expression has been banned by the government! Sorry, didn‚Äôt realize Tony Blair had collaborated with the Nazis! (Not! – as in I‚Äôm being sarcastic not as in I think Nazis actually are actually in power in real life).

Anywayz, until the next time we meet, see you tomorrow dear diary.

Yours truly truthfully,

Me….James.

*Thanks to the two Toms for their help with this feature…now go and watch all four parts of High Renaissance Man on Youtube!

<br>

LIKE A DRUG

Up on VBS.tv right now, you can click here to watch the first part of the Vice Guide to Film, on Mexico’s Narco Cinema, from their popular internet TV station (you might remember me talking about another VBS production, Swansea Love Story, in a previous post).

I digress: in this series, Vice will be exploring some lesser-known cinematic genres from across the globe, as co-founder Shane Smith and creative director Eddy Moretti explore the relationship between drugs and B-movies in Mexico, Korea and Japan. It’s described it as a foray into the low budget, seedy, fast-paced, straight-to-DVD genre inspired by (and often funded by) Mexico‚Äôs ultraviolent drug cartels. This culture-packed production is essential viewing for all Vice-lovers and beyond, as it also touches on the bizarre pagan patron saint of drug dealers…and a music genre based about trafficking! Throw your guidebooks in the bin, grab un sics (yes, thats a six pack of beer in spanish…spanglish) and click onto VBS.tv instead…


Til next month, adieu (actually, I’m going to be working with Artrocker on Underage Easter festival next week so that might pop up here too)
Yours
x x x x