OXROX ALIVE Festival Saturday 5th August 2017

OXROX Alive.jpgYesterday I saw Blaze Bayley sing Wolfsbane’s epic song Manhunt at OXROX ALIVE Festival and I briefly felt like it was 1989 again. The lyric “Ooh! They’ve got their dresses tight! Gonna set this town alight!” made me smile. They don’t write ’em like that any more. The heavy metal pantomime that is Blaze Bayley must have grabbed a whole grove of invisible oranges during his performance. He whipped the crowd up like he was making butterscotch Angel Delight. He was ably assisted by his backing band, who are splendid in their own right as Absolva when BB isn’t on board. He left me wanting more, so I shall have to go and see him again.

I didn’t see all the bands because I was gossiping in the sunshine (I did hear them all from my spot on the grass and it was all marvellous metal as far as my ears could hear). I ventured inside to the attractively curtained* club house for noisy duo My Diablo who are basically two men with the energy and volume of four. I also watched Desert Storm. I’ve seen them perhaps ten times now and they are always musically tight and doomily satisfying.

Heavy Metal Panda welcomes pink Fl’obble to her new home

I also became aware of the great work done by the Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK (RAPCA UK) charity and purchased a Fl’obble from them that matches my hair. I had a great time at this intimate festival and I got chips. This is the life!



*My Nan used to work in Co-op’s soft furnishings department so I notice these details.


The gig in brief:

Number of women having their dresses tight: Lots, including me.

Number of women setting the town alight: 0 (All us women with our dresses tight got into a little huddle and decided we didn’t want to get the festival organisers in trouble by going on a fiery rampage).

Number of crisps flavours available behind bar: 6, plus Smarties were available so I had some of those.

Phrase I giggled most after saying: “Can I offer you a small handful?”

Bands Say The Funniest Things…

Stone TrigFrom 20th to 23rd July I’ll be chronicling the adventures of Terminus as they go on tour with Sykko Dollz and Stone Trigger. I hope all these chaps are having an early night tonight and I hope they’ve planned their tourdrobes*.

I predict it’s going to get quite rock n roll out there. At the very least people are going to eat sandwiches without putting a plate under them. People are going to stay up past midnight. People might not change their pants** every day.

I have no doubt some amusing things will get said while people are cooped up in a van. Until this happens, let’s have a reminder of some words from three great films about playing gigs/touring; Bad News Tour (1983), This Is Spinal Tap (1984) and David Brent Life On The Road (2016).

BadNewsQuotes from Bad News Tour:

Colin Grigson “Another heavy-metal day. No sleep until Castle Donington. Better have some vibes”.

Vim Fuego “Oh Jimi who art in heaven, Hendrix be thy name”.

Spider Webb “It’s all anarchy, innit?”

Den Dennis “I’m not getting back in the van until Alan says we’re heavy metal”.

Spinal TapQuotes from Spinal Tap:

Nigel Tufnell “I’ll rise above it. I’m a professional.”

Nigel Tufnell “They see us onstage with tight trousers. We’ve got, you know, armadillos in our trousers. It’s really quite frightening”.

David St Hubbins “They were still booing him when we came on stage”.

Derek SmallsWe’re very lucky in the band in that we have two visionaries, David and Nigel, they’re like poets, like Shelley and Byron. They’re two distinct types of visionaries, it’s like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water”.

Ian Faith (band manager) “Certainly, in the topsy-turvy world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful”.

BrentAnd finally, although this is a much more recent film and the music isn’t as heavy as I’d like, David Brent’s Life On The Road sums things up nicely with this quote from the Brentmeister General:

“I don’t need to be a rock star, you know? That’s just something I enjoy doing. I can live without being a success. But um, I couldn’t have lived without trying, and I did that. So, and everything works out, doesn’t it? You think you want one thing, along the way, and then you realise you needed something else. Life’s a struggle, with little beautiful surprises that make you wanna carry on through all the shit to the next little beautiful surprise, so yeah. All good”.


*A tourdrobe is a tour wardrobe – the clothes you wear on tour.

**If you’re reading this Mum, I will be changing my pants every day.

Chris Holmes Mean Man, Fat Lils, Witney, Wednesday 28th June 2017

I got to hear “Animal (F*ck Like A Beast)” live last night and a little bit of my musical jigsaw of wishes* fell into place.

However, Chris Holmes is a hell of a lot more than old WASP classics. He’s an uncompromising musical breath of fresh air. When you have “Go F*ck Yourself” written up the side of your trousers** you’ve made some career and lifestyle choices and you’re sticking to them hard. Holmes pointed out there was no use of samples tonight, it was all live.

We got a great set of Mean Man songs with WASP classics interspersed. With the Mean Man stuff we got a description of what each song was about. I wondered if there was an EU swearword mountain that Holmes is trying to deplete? If so he did a great job. Were this to be packaged as a VHS in 1980s USA it would groan under the weight of parental advisory stickers. I got a sense of frustrations spent through song writing and putting the world to rights.

Holmes was generous about sharing the stage and a highlight for me was when he got Dean Thirkettle, singer of local covers legends*** Terminus up to sing “I Wanna Be Somebody”. I felt like everybody in the place was somebody tonight. The audience was comprised of seasoned gig goers who don’t let work in the morning stop them getting a musical buzz.


I went to bed happy, wearing my (signed! By your actual Chris Holmes!) T-shirt that proclaims “Chris Holmes I’m A Mean Motherf**king Man”.


Finally, you can watch this recent interview with Chris Holmes in a swimming pool if like me you watched him on Decline Of The Western Civilisation Part II The Metal Years as an impressionable teenager and want to see a more mature re-creation.



*What’s a musical jigsaw of wishes, you might be asking? You probably have one too, it’s all the music you love and want to experience live and you have to fill in the gaps you haven’t done yet. Some of it has needed doing since you were a teenager and you weren’t old enough for gigs or were broke when someone awesome came to town, or tickets sold out. Some of it is stuff you’ve seen once and was so epic you need to see it again. The particular puzzle piece of “Animal (F*ck Like A Beast) has been niggling at me since I saw WASP at Wacken in 2010 and they didn’t play it. I like that it was on a Wednesday, or hump day, when I finally got to hear it. While writing this I attempted the abbreviation “Animal (F.L.A.B)” but didn’t like it.


**Wonder what shop these came from and if the tailor said “Suits You, Sir” when Holmes came out of the dressing room wearing them? They’re definitely not George at Asda.


***Full disclosure, I’m married to the lead guitarist and may not be the most impartial judge. But you can judge for yourself if you come and see them on tour with Stone Trigger and Sykko Dollz in July.



Happy International Day Of Slayer

Yeah, you read that right, it’s International Day Of Slayer! I’ve just counted and I make 57 mentions of Slayer in Cleo Howard’s Diaries and 44 in the Eviscerated Panda Saga. They’ve been in my ears for years and as a teenager I sulked around garden centres with my family while wearing a Slayer T-shirt, wanting to be left to listen to Slayer on my Walkman (for younger readers a Walkman is an olden days MP3 player that you put cassette tapes in). “Cheer up faceache, I’ll buy you some fudge” my nan would say and I’d muster a small number of words affirming that I suppose I could probably eat some fudge. I bet Tom Araya isn’t eating fudge I’d be thinking. I bet he’s doing something cool and no one has asked his opinion on which is the healthiest looking clematis.

Episode 20 Slayer T

Anyway, here are the January 1997 entries from Cleo Howard’s Diary that mention Slayer:

Saturday 4th January 1997

Tonight at the Green Man (Reading’s best pub, Dear Diary) there was me, Ian, Jenni, Bob and Simon The Raspberry. I love going to the pub. We sat in a corner by a fireplace. There was great stuff played on the jukebox: Megadeth’s “In My Darkest Hour”, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon”, Slayer’s “Angel of Death” and Entombed’s “Demon”.

Sunday 12th January 1997

I lay in bed all morning reading The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy and listening to Slayer’s Reign in Blood album. Then I got up for dinner (cheese crispy pancakes, peas and mash, followed by yummy Viennetta). Then I lay in bed all afternoon until Mum made me go up the shop for her to get loo roll because we’ve run out. She made me brush my hair as well as getting dressed! For Lemmy’s sake, it’s a Sunday, and no-one cares if you buy loo roll with untidy hair. Also, she works in a supermarket, so why do we keep running out of basic stuff?

 Monday 20th January 1997

It was so hard to get out of bed today. I wanted to stay in my cosy sleep fog. If it wasn’t for Mum shouting up the stairs and for Slayer’s “South of Heaven” I’d never have got upright.

Some twats at school today were going on about how great ecstasy is and how Brian Harvey shouldn’t have got kicked out of East 17 for taking it. Frankly I don’t care how East 17 end, just so long as they do.

Meanwhile, I’ve got bigger stuff to think about, should I dye my hair blonde? The Great Kat looks amazing. Ian said she gives him a stiffy of epic proportions. He thinks she would give the best hand jobs in the world because of her guitar virtuosity. I said maybe she’ll tug him off and record his grunting noises and squeals of pleasure as a track on her next album.

Lex and Mopey Dick spoke to me and Jenni today. They are in the sixth form and are Goths. Jenni fancies Lex even more than she fancies Dazza. Mopey needed to borrow some eyeliner. He said he felt naked without it. He talks really slowly, like just being alive is an effort. He sounds a bit like a record played at the wrong speed. His proper name is Richard Rippingdale and he tried to get everyone to call him “Ripper”, which is a very good Goth name, but instead every calls him Mopey Dick, which suits him well.

We did long division in Maths today. I did really, really long division because it seems to take me longer than everyone else.


Eric Gales & Gary Hoey 2nd June 2017, Nells Jazz And Blues Club, London.

It’s Friday night, I’m leaning against something sticky and vibrating and I’m hoping this doesn’t end too soon. I’m watching the penultimate song of Eric Gales’ set and the sticky vibrating thing is the wall of Nells Jazz And Blues Club, West Kensington. What is a Motörhead T-shirt wearing self-confessed metal head doing in a Jazz (small shudder) and Blues Club? Watching really great guitarists, that’s what. I’ve been excited since I queued in the very friendly queue outside, looking through the window of the Sainsbury’s Local below the venue at some unripe bananas.

Eric Gales gets a lot of Hendrix comparisons and these are well deserved but he’s got a style totally his own. My two favourite songs in his set were Sea of Bad Blood and Voodoo Child (Slight Return) which featured the riff from AC/DC’s Back In Black, something that should be heard every Friday night, across every land. For set list nerds, here’s a link: Eric Gales’ Set List.

I love the stories between Gales’ songs. I love that he tries a British accent and can say “splendid” splendidly. He’s one year clean and he somehow leaves you better than he found you. He plays with such passion in his face, wearing expressions that range from a child trying lemon for the first time, to opening a letter reminding you it’s time for a dental check-up, to a dog eating peanut butter, to one of those sneezes that you think you’re going to do but it vanishes. His honeyed words about his wife LaDonna are charming, she plays percussion with such energy. His bass player, Cody Wright, begins be-hatted and then gets too hot for it and drummer Nick Hay pounds his kit like it’s asked him to be rough with it. Talented musicians all, it’s a pleasure to watch them.

The opening act tonight was Gary Hoey, a chap I have read a little about in Lita Ford’s autobiography and met briefly on the Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea III cruise earlier this year. He’s black T-shirted and tattooed and he has a kind of punky grin at times, fifteen percent Sid Vicious, fifteen percent Billy Idol and seventy percent pure Hoey. My favourite songs in his set were Dust And Bones and Steamroller. For set list nerds, here’s a link: Gary Hoey’s Set List.

I know very little about blues but I do know that songs about trains are important and Hoey ticked that box by giving us Box Car Blues. There was a lot of smiling on stage between Hoey, Matt Scurfield on drums and AJ Pappas on bass. They look to be having a great time and it’s infectious.

Hoey1After the gig Gary Hoey was outside and we chatted and had a photo taken. There’s a lot of sweaty happiness in this picture. A big thank you to our chum Steve Betts for taking it, for being persuaded to join us on a night out and for putting up with all the bass player jokes aimed at him. We had a very good curry (and yes, my husband’s floral shirt did match the wallpaper in the Indian Express restaurant), a couple of drinks and we gave our ears a treat. So what if we’re tired tomorrow?

As we left West Kensington I noticed that the bananas in Sainsbury’s had ripened. The music must have drifted through the ceiling and helped them reach their potential. Whoever eats them is unwittingly ingesting a bit of the magic of Hoey and Gales. That’s going to make for a great snack.

10 Reasons Why Seeing Kiss Made Me Very Happy.

  1. The lyric “It ain’t a crime to be good to yourself”. This should be your new philosophy.
  2. Birmingham is a truly beautiful city. The library was lit up with rainbow lights for Pride.
  3. The song “Lick It Up” is a splendidly life affirming tune and also hints at sexy times. Snigger.
  4. My friend telling me her colleague’s misheard lyric; “I want to rock and roll all night, and part of everyday”. It’s not the correct Kiss lyric (party every day) but it is more realistic and achievable. If you’ve rock and rolled all night, you’re only going to be able to rock and roll for part of every day, not the whole day.
  5. Shouting “Paul, Paul, Paul!” like a crowd of needy drunk girlfriends in a town centre on a Saturday night. We don’t want to be the crowd he doesn’t get on the zip wire for and doesn’t get atop his lazy Susan rotating stage for. Not many men his age look so good in a spangly crop top. He asked how many of us have never seen Kiss before and told us we would remember this night. He took our Kiss cherries so gently and so thoroughly. Phew!
  6. The lyric “These are my people and this is my crowd” sung by fifteen thousand people of which you are one.
  7. Paul and Gene are constants, they’ve been doing this since before I was born.
  8. So much tongue wiggling. Probably way over the legal limit of tongue wiggling.
  9. The joy of hearing Americans pronounce Birmingham.
  10. A scene I like to imagine from Gene Simmons’ life; Mr Simmons, your Avon order is ready. Good. I’m going on tour and I like the shower gel that removes dried fake blood easily from my chest hair.
  11. The crowd singing “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” while walking out of the venue and continuing to sing all the way down the street outside.



I’ve been ready for this gig since 1989 – Kiss 28th May 2017 Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

Hello fifteen year old me in 1989,

Right now you’re grounded and in your bedroom listening to Kiss’s Destroyer LP. You won’t believe it but there’s going to come a time 28 years in the future when you get to see Kiss live!


Mentions of Gene Simmons in the Pandas Saga:

“Cleo was enjoying talking to Shirl. They shared a fascination for Christopher Lee films. Shirl said she was always so nervous before a gig. She had begun playing bass guitar for fun, as a more interactive way of listening to music, stood in front of her mirror at home, pretending to be Jo Bench or Gene Simmons. She had never intended to do it in front of an audience”.

“Zodiac Mindwarp is the very best at this kind of hyperbolic sexual boasting. You aren’t meant to take it literally and get all offended. If he had indeed had twenty-thousand women, he’d needed to have slept with a woman a day from when he was born until he was fifty-five. Compare this to Gene Simmons who claims to have slept with four thousand and six hundred women. Gene is sixty-one years old. If we assume he began having sex at sixteen then that’s sixteen thousand, four hundred and twenty-five days of being sexually active, he’d have had to have slept with zero point twenty-eight of a woman per day, so it’s do-able and he might well have done. At the very least he’s done the maths”.

“Phil rang her doorbell. She let him in and gave him a long kiss in the small hallway. She’d been trying to think of a special sexual birthday treat for him. She struggled to think of a variety of coupling they hadn’t done multiple times. She whispered that she’d give him whatever he chose later.  She thought that anticipation could be an excellent form of foreplay. She had a massive wardrobe of teeny outfits in her bedroom and she had a libido the size of the Grand Canyon. On a good day Suzy could make Gene Simmons look shy”.

“Ian’s reply came in the form of a quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; ‘Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space’. He followed this up with ‘Don’t panic’ and pointed out that in another, parallel  universe Jez and Cleo got married and lived happily ever after, but in this one they didn’t. In one universe they never even met. In one universe the Spira was never discontinued. In one universe Glenn Danzig is a tall man. In one universe Jason Statham is unable to say the word ‘trousers’ in a threatening manner. In one universe Gene Simmons is a shy man who doesn’t like to put his name to merchandise and refuses offers of casual sex. In one universe Rocky’s wife has a proper girl’s name. In one universe Ted Nugent is a pacifist vegan. In one universe bass players get all the chicks. In one universe Pete Steele has average sized genitals. In one universe furry pants wear Manowar”.


Terminus at The White Swan, Aylesbury 5th May 2017

Covered Pool TablePool tables being covered over is generally a sign that something lively is going to happen and tonight was no exception.

It’s ten o’clock and Terminus has got to rock (now is a good time to sing “You’ve got to lose your mind in Aylesbury, Rock City!”). The power of Friday and the end of the working week compels them. Also two-fifths of the band are powered by meatballs and spaghetti and they need to blow off some steam.

Terminus started with the blues, giving us a bit of Gary Moore, some Free, and the more current Suffocation Blues by Black Pistol Fire.

Then it got rocky. My personal fave is their cover of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction’s “Prime Mover”. I’ve seen this produce looks of delight and looks of puzzlement in the audience. The under-rated Zody isn’t as well-known as obvious crowd pleasers like Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and The Cult’s “Lil’ Devil” but it deserves an outing just for the lyric “Your lipstick flickers round my lightning rod”. It’s pure dirty poetry.

We got some pop-punk next. There was childish pointing at groins while playing Blink 182’s “All The Small Things”. Green Day’s “Basket Case” went down well with the blue haired members of the audience (incidentally, there were enough blue haired people to make me think a randy Smurf lives in Aylesbury).

The stuff I love best in Terminus’s set is the metal; Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law”, Deep Purple’s “Black Night” and last song of the night, Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name”. Except this wasn’t the last song of the night tonight because the crowd cried “More, more, more!” so we got a reprise of Blink 182, Green Day and The Cult.


Terminus were less sweaty than usual after the gig because a 20 inch fan has been added to their on stage set up. It’s seeing a lot of nadger cooling action.

After midnight some of the band were eating kebabs in the shadow of Aylesbury Clocktower, discussing their sex lives (or plans to get one soonish) and their upcoming tour supporting Stone Trigger and the spell check frightening Sykko Dollz. This is going to be an adventure!


IMG_4185The gig in brief:

Motörhead T-shirts in the venue:  4

Stone Trigger T-shirts in the venue: 3

Time last member of the band got to bed: about 3am.

Likely headline in the Bucks Herald:  Reasonably Priced Fish And Chips Offer Upstaged by Out Of Town Covers Band.

Play along at home puzzler: What is Suffocation Blues By Black Pistol Fire about?

Fake News Item: People in the little houses in the pictures behind Terminus complained about the noise.

Houses complaint

Christmas Lemmories

barns-rd-wallpaperI can tell you the exact moment when my flirtation with Motörhead became a full time love of Lemmy. It was Christmas Day 1989 and my Dad had died less than a week ago. I felt as lost as I had ever felt. I was in my Nan and Gramps’ front room with an Iron Fist LP, a No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith LP and a blue vinyl Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers 12”. The local record shops had given up their bounty to the unlikely shoppers of my Mum and Nan, both beige coated (Littlewoods finest) and brown hair bubble permed, clutching a list I’d written of bands I wanted records from for Christmas. I’d done the logos properly of course. Umlauts all present and correct. In later years my Nan would approach a record store counter and ask “Have you got the Hard-ons?” This is an image that still amuses me now.

In the other room everyone else was watching the Top of the Pops Christmas Special but on that day I could take neither the music nor the company. Being in company meant pretending everything was okay and we were having a nice time. Everything wasn’t and we weren’t.

In the front room my Gramp had a music centre with two record decks. Aged five at the end of the seventies I’d stood on his feet and he’d danced me around the room to Abba. Aged fifteen at the end of the eighties I sat surrounded by the swirly wallpaper which was comfortingly unchanged since my earlier childhood and I wondered which of my new records to listen to first. I picked the blue vinyl. I held it up to the window, in front of the Christmas tree that stood on the cabinet of never used glasses saved up for with Green Shield stamps, being saved for a best that would never come. How do we know which days will be our best until we’ve done them all? The tree lights shone through the blue vinyl like a stained glass window with no pesky religious overtones. Any faith I might have had perished while I was watching untimely cancer deaths. It wasn’t just my Dad, I saw a twenty-one-year old with an eagle tattoo soar away from his crumpled careworn parents in the autumn of 1989.
“Beer drinkers and hell-raisers, little girl, baby don’t you want to come with me…”
Before the needle even made it to the centre of the record I knew I had Lemmy now.

***Calendar pages flutter past twenty five years***

Wacken Lemmy.jpgThe last time I saw Lemmy was at Wacken in 2014. I was part of a huge appreciative crowd who watched Motörhead as the sun set. Other favourite Lemmories are the time my husband and I were at the Astoria in London, seeing Megadeth, and Lemmy walked right past us. I actually squeaked with excitement. We also saw Lemmy be a special guest to Hawkwind at Wembley. He made their shambolic sound on that night coalesce into something focused and wonderful.

I think we asked too much of Lemmy, in the same way we sometimes ask too much of our parents. No one in their fifties and sixties can party like they did in their twenties. I didn’t go on facebook at all on the day I found out Lemmy had died, because I wanted to write my Lemmy thoughts before reading everyone else’s. Almost a year later I’m sharing them.

Lemmy left a huge legacy behind him. There are a legion of fans who keep his music alive. There is the wonderful tribute band Motörheadache UK, https://www.facebook.com/lemmymotorheadache

There is Jason Healey’s blog about his listening to Motörhead for the whole of 2016,  https://366daysofmotorhead.wordpress.com/

There have already been many events that celebrate Lemmy’s memory. On 9th June 2016 I was in Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford, to hear Mick Wall talk about his wonderful Lemmy book. I turned up alone and I sat in an empty row of chairs but then spotted a friend and went and sat in front of him, in the empty but for me front row. He showed me his new Motörhead tattoo. It looked great, a wrist based Snaggletooth you always have with you. He introduced me to the friends he was with. It was a small friendly crowd. Other friends arrived late and a little drunk and joined me in the front row, it’s what Lemmy would have wanted. One of them poured me a JD and I smelt this spirit of Lemmy while Joel McIver asked Mick about the Lemmy he knew. Mick made me pause for thought when he spoke about Lemmy’s relationship with his son. I thought of my own Dad, who had worked in this very Blackwell’s bookshop and who gave me my love of reading and writing. I was saved from any gloominess by Mick saying “Women loved Lemmy…He’d ogle your tits like a gentleman”. I turned to the guy beside me and whisper-giggled “Yeah, us women love that”.

We may have lost Lemmy to the great VIP area in the sky but we still have his music and his philosophy of life.

Lemmy Kilmister 24.12.1945 – 28.12.2015

Motörheadache O2 Academy Oxford Saturday 3rd December 2016

Last night I saw Motörheadache keep alive the wonderful music of Motörhead and the spirit of Lemmy. I enjoyed a couple of Jack and Diet Cokes (Barperson: “It’s actually Pepsi, is that okay?” Me:  “Yeah, whatever”) and communed with fellow ‘head fans. By the end of the night the floor was sticky and my ears were humming. I heartily recommend Motörheadache, as long as you can cope with some robust language from Lemm-a-like Rob. I’ll be seeing them again for sure.