Category: General Stuff!


RIP Steve Jobs

In the grand scheme of things, there are very few people in the history of the world that can realistically claim to have affected the way the world works. To have that kind of influence, to totally shift mankind off it’s axis, even slightly – it’s unthinkable… but Steve Jobs can say he did that.
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The advance and decline of the coffee shop

It’s a funny thing.

I sat in a coffee shop on Friday, on my own, for the first time in a while. The first time I sat in a coffee shop in the UK, it was 12 years ago. Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow to be precise. The Seattle Coffee Company, it was called, and it was COOL. That’s in capitals for a reason. At the time, coffee was something you made in a mug with instant powder, or bought in a polystyrene cup from a takeaway.
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Quick show-off update

Well, I apologise for the lack of activity recently. I had a college thing to get out of the way, once that was done I just wanted to chill.. then the world cup began.

Once the group stage is over with, I will post a round up of what I liked and what I didn’t. I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for that.

Oh, and why is this a show-off update? It’s from my new phone, using the WordPress Android app! Mobile blogging! Huzzah!

So yeah, that’s about it for now. It’s late, or early depending on your point of view… check back soon for more stuff.

Worry not, Inno Viewers

I have not forsaken thee! It’s Easter hollipops here at Inno Towers, and that means – school’s are off. This also means, every waking hour of mine taken up by keeping a small, hyperactive injury prone child happy.

This has meant one trip to hospital with a broken wrist, a trip to the cinema, and a meeting with Kofi Kingston so far. One week to go… I shall blog tonight (hopefully) with one of my as live-live-LIVE recaps of Raw. Yep, that’s the level we’re operating on.

See you then, then!

UPDATE~~~!!!

New theme!

Yeah, no real point, just to show off that I finally changed the style.

Stole this idea from Ray, just like he tries to steal talent from me by stalking me online.

Oh it’s true. It’s Damn True.

Top 7 of ’09

The best albums of 2009

Well, hello. I’m sure all of you have been sat on the edge of your seat thinking “my, I wonder what Inno’s top records of the year are” – I can sense these things, y’know. I really can.

It’s just as well for you, dear reader, that I have indeed picked my top records this year… and I will regale you with my top seven right here. Why seven? Why not? Everyone does a top ten, and I’m not everyone. Trust me, I’m special. And not in *that* way.

I would just like to give some honourable mentions to the following – Them Crooked Vultures self titled debut, New Device’s “Takin’ Over“, Spinerette’s self titled record, and Gun’s “Popkiller” (even though it’s only a 5 track EP) as they didn’t quite make my list, but are all worth a listen to in their own right. With no further ado, on with the show!

7. The Answer – Everyday Demons

The big question I and presumably everyone else had was would The Answer be able to follow up their stonking debut or would the ‘difficult second album’ syndrome rear it’s ugly head? The answer – arf – was that they had no such difficulties. Everyday Demons was an amazing record… “Walkin’ Mat” and “Dead Of The Night” rocked out like classic Zeppelin, yet tracks like “Why’d You Take A Chance On Me” having the soul of Bad Company and Free. The Answer proved they were no flash in the pan, and will be at the forefront of the UK rock scene for years to come.
Key Track: Demon Eyes

6. Kiss – Sonic Boom

You know what? You listen to this and you swear you’ve heard it before… and that’s because you more or less have. It’s Kiss! You know what you’re gonna get with Kiss… but they do it better than anyone else out there. Lyrics like “Danger you, danger me, Dangerous” just make you grin, and add them to big riffs, big choruses, huge singalong bits… Kiss tick all the boxes. It’s a return to form… you can almost smell the face paint.
Key Track: Stand

5. Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot

Yup, it’s a supergroup that takes the ones Eddie Van Halen kicked out, adds them to the Chilli’s drummer and Joe Satriani… it’s a recipe for ego and disaster, but it’s not. It works in a big way. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sammy Hagar’s vocals, and he shines all over this. It’s tight, it grooves, it drives… it’s just a great feel good, fun time record. Here’s hoping to Chickenfoot volume 2 in the future.
Key Track: Oh Yeah

4. The Black Crowes – Before The Frost

Let’s get it out of the way, first and foremost: Yes, it does have that ‘Disco Tune’ on it. And it’s not as bad as you’d think. The Crowes, when they’re on, are world class musicians… and on this record, they are definitely on. They riff away as well as anyone, but they’re at their best when they’re playing the blues and hanging their heart on their sleeve. Chris Robinson’s vocals have never sounded so good, and Rich’s guitar playing compliments him rather than trying to steal show. They still don’t half write some nonsensical lyrics at times, but that’s the charm of The Crowes for me.
Key Track: Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)

3. Lynyrd Skynyrd – God and Guns

If you can overlook the iffy politics of Skynyrd – and to be fair, they don’t deny they are Good Ol’ Fashioned rednecks, tracks like “That Ain’t My America” prove that – this is a colossal record. This isn’t Southern Rock as we know it, this is relevant, modern, flowing, and everything you wouldn’t expect from Skynyrd… bar it being good. This is proof that good bands never die, they just hibernate. Smooth vocals, precise guitars, slick riffs… what a record.
Key Track: Still Unbroken

2. Thunder – 20 Years & Out: Live At The Hammersmith Apollo

Yeah, it’s a live album, so what? And yes, I may be biased as I was there, and these guys have been the soundtrack to my life for nearly 20 years… but blow me, if this isn’t the sound of a band going out on a high, then I don’t know what is. The tracklist is just one skillfully crafted song after another… Luke’s guitar playing is awesome at times, and Danny has never sounded so good. It really does make you wish they were still going, but this is as fine an epitaph to a career as anyone could hope for. Incredible energy on stage, and from the crowd… just an awesome, awesome spectacle, none more so than the epic 17 minute finalé of “Dirty Love“.
Key Track: Dirty Love

1. The Wildhearts – Chutzpah!

The most perfect record of the year, by a long shot. One of the most perfect records I’ve ever heard. Ever. From start to finish, it’s a masterpiece. Huge choruses, huger riffs, amazing melodies, incredible vocals… it’s just… perfect. Ginger and the band have never sounded better on record. I’m not joking when I say that every track on the record would have made a great single. And the final two minutes of the record, the tail end of the incredible title track that covers at least 4 different genres… the guitar work on that is as beautiful, and as inspirational as anything I’ve ever heard. Seriously, peeps – do yourselves a favour and at least go check some of this record out. If there was any justice, this would have been all over the charts like a Simon Cowell wet dream.
Key Track: Chutzpah

So there you go. My choices. No doubt they don’t match anyone else’s – but that’s the joy of the Internet. Have a listen to them if you can… and enjoy!

Technology and the modern traveller

(or “Oi! I’ve got a laptop now so get it right round you!”)

Yup it’s true, I’m writing this miniature missive as hurtle (or given the speed we’re currently doing, limp) out of the sprawling metropolis of Manchester. I’m sat backwards (I specified forwards) at a seat with a tray (I specified table) and no power socket (guess what I specified?) and not even a bloody window!

Yes, friends, not for the first time in my life, this experience with a Virgin has been unfulfilling to say the least… and we’ll leave that anecdote right there, thank you very much.

It’s occurred to me today how much travelling has changed. I remember days gone by when if you were off on a long haul journey, your essential travel item was basically a cheap paperback and a Twix. Now? Laptops, wi-fi enabled phones, USB cables, Bluetooth adaptors, MP3 players… it’s all a blue of gadgetry and bemusement to some folk.

I’m as bad. Earlier to day I had the joy of a 4 hour bus journey on the in-no-way-accurately-named Mega Bus. As it was busy, it was sardine territory and no room to avail myself of my travelling comforts. In short, I had to resort to – shock & horror – a newspaper, a magazine and my imagination!

Sounds awful, especially given the thoughts that usually rattle around the vast, cobweb filled space that passes for my brain, but no, this wasn’t too bad. I had my tunes thanks to my mobile; I took the liberty of purchasing a bottle of Scotland’s ginger nectar, Irn Bru (OK this may be a little too much detail, but thank your stars I’m not John Grisham, or you’d have had a full run down of what kind fo shirt I’m wearing, how I buttoned it and the amount of steps from my front door to the bus station) and I generally chilled out.

Bar the odd text and a brief update of Facebook on my phone, I didn’t miss being cut off from the technological world. It was rather relaxing to be honest… I think these days, a little bit of peace and quiet – “you time”, if you will – is something that a lot of people take for granted, and I include myself in that. It’s certainly made me want to set aside some time to sit and read again, rather than just shoe-horning in a few lines of the newspapers here and there.

Folks, this is a fast moving world. Sometimes, it pays to slow down and take it all in. Try it, you won’t regret it. Trust me!

— T

15/04/89

It’s fast approaching April 15th, and with that comes memories of The Hillsborough Disaster. It’ll be 20 years since 95 football fans lost their lives on that day, with one poor soul managing to last almost a year before succumbing to his injuries, making 96 people that set off to watch a game of football – and never came back.

It’s almost unthinkable that such a thing could happen. Even worse, this horrific turn of fate happened on live television and events unfolded in front of a horrified audience.

I wasn’t there. I wasn’t anywhere near. I was 13 years old that day, and sat in my home in Glasgow, far from the devastation when I watched Grandstand. I eagerly awaited news of another Liverpool victory – I’d adopted Liverpool as “my English Team” when I began following football on a serious level and discovered Kenny Dalglish.

What I saw had a profound effect on me, and still does. Once the dust had settled, I begged my parents to drive down to Liverpool so I could do something, anything. I settled for signing the book at the cathedral and leaving a scarf at the gates of Anfield.

When Liverpool played at Celtic Park in aid of the victims’ families, me and my Dad were there. I’ve never heard You’ll Never Walk Alone sung with such passion before or since. The image that remains with me of that game is one of hope – the famous Jungle terracing of Celtic Park, usually the domain of the green and white alone was covered from side to side with all the colours of the football rainbow.

From the green of the Celts, to the red of the Kop, with all the blues of Everton and Rangers in between – that day in Glasgow, football was united as a family to remember it’s own. That’s what football should be, and sadly in this day and age isn’t – about.

Strange that a sight so beautiful and moving should be born from a day so terrible and horrific… like a butterfly emerging from the caterpillar, beauty comes from the strangest places sometimes.

RIP the Hillsborough 96. Never forgotten.

Haven’t forgotten!

Content coming this week… part 2 of the Thunder retrospective and maybe more, depends how my psychosis works out…

A power-ful rant…

Well, hello.

Today I want to talk to you about boring domestic issues. OK, some of you have turned off already, I can tell. But I’ll ramble on regardless. I believe it’s good for the soul, as someone smarter than me once said.

Basically the tale is this: Scottish Power supplied me with my power for a long time. All of a sudden, it rocketed from an average spend of £10 per week to nearly £20 per week. I did what any self respecting Scotsman would do. I freaked out at this extra money and looked into changing. Thanks to Martin Lewis and USwitch.com, I did just that – switching to E-On and getting 1 Tesco clubcard point for every pound of electricity I bought… Huzzah!

Then… bizarrely, in my mind – I received a bill from Scottish Power for nearly £50. I phoned and queried, and received another bill for £32! How can I get a BILL when I prepay and only use money that I load onto a key?

I phoned again. I was told that they had “lost” £32 pounds worth of payments as they couldn’t track them. They were from a year ago, and if I had the receipts they would look into it. I’ll tell you now – I don’t keep receipts for my electricity payments for a week, let alone a year! Scottish Power then claimed as THEY had lost MY payments… I had to pay. Not only did I have to pay, but I had to pay in one go, and I had to pay soon, or they would take me to court.

Bastards, was my first thought. I kept that to myself until I hung up the phone. Then I shouted it. Then I checked I’d hung up the phone properly. I had. Whew!

So I get my FINAL REMINDER today, which helpfully tells me I can pay online. Only I can’t, as I’m not a registered customer anymore. Could this be any more dumb? So now I will pay it tomorow at the post office… oh, and I’l bloody well keep the receipt. Hell, I might even scan it and email it to them. Ha!

So yeah… the moral of the story? Scottish Power suck. If I could be bothered, I’d email Watchdog and set Nicky Campbell on them… but I’m not sure that anyone actually deserves to have Nicky Campbell set loose on them. Possibly Swiftcover and/or Michael Winner, but that’s a whole other story…