Four Year Record Reviews – Two – ‘Swim’ – Caribou

clovis

“Do you want to  listen to some music on the way to preschool today?”

“Yes, I want the one with the spirally bits on the cover”.

My daughter means ‘Swim’ by Caribou.  I congratulate her on an excellent choice of CD.  One of the finest releases of the last six years or so.  So to recap, here’s the plan…Princess SWC picks a CD out of a big box, that I am delaying taking up into the loft.  Then we play it on the way to preschool and I reveal what she thinks of it. As usual I will stick the CD on shuffle and see what happens.

Now, I love this album.  Its brilliant and I totally recommend it to you all.  That is all you need to know from me.

“I feel a bit sicky” my daughter tells me as we wind our way down the coast road.  We are travelling a bit slow because we are behind a double decker bus.

“I would feel better if I was on the back of the double decker bus” she said.   This is debatable I tell her.  I ask her if she needs me to stop the car for a little bit.  She says she is fine.  Track One has just started on the stereo so I ask her to listen to the song and see if that helps.

“It sounds like a tiger jumping in the jungle” she said.  Now last night I read her a story about just that I imagine she is thinking about that.

“What makes you say that?” I ask – in fact Track One is ‘Odessa‘ the most accessible moment of the album, its all flutes and guitars and leans heavily on pop music.  It’s also a sweet little break up song and barely mentions tigers at all.

“it has a twiddly bit in it, that’s the tiger jumping in the jungle, it hasn’t made me feel much better though.”

A while later ‘Sun’ comes on.  ‘Sun‘ is brilliant.  “This is a song about the sun, you can hear the voice saying it” I tell her.   ‘Sun’ is actually a throbbing techno house slice of excellence but according to my daughter its…

“Too Loud” she shouts.  I turn it down slightly.  “I don’t like this music, its all bleepy and noisy”.  The song is suddenly interrupted by the Travel Updates which tells me that there is a broken down lorry in Holsworthy, this excites my daughter.  “Is that where we are going?” she asks.

“No” I say.

“Oh, if I saw a tow truck, I might feel a bit better” she said.  Then she goes on to tell me that I should get a tow truck and perhaps we could drive that to preschool instead.  We would get there quicker apparently because we could just drive over all  the over vehicles.  I think now that she is talking about a cartoon that has been on the TV recently about Monster Trucks but I might be wrong.

By the time we get to preschool the track ‘Leave Home’ is on – which I think is the best song that LCD Soundsystem have never made.  I ask her if she is looking forward to her breakfast at preschool, “Yes” she says, “preschool toast is nicer than at home”.  We go into the building and the keyworker there asks if my daughter is ok she shakes her head, and I say

“Oh, yes she is feeling a bit sick this morning its probably just the drive in” and my daughter says

“No, its not, I’m grumpy because daddy played bleepy music in the car and I wanted to listen to what happened to the broken down lorry”.  She then waves goodbye to me and runs off to find her friend Sophie.  I smile at the keyworker, and shrug my shoulders.

So there you have it – Caribou, not quite as exciting as a broken down lorry in Holsworthy.

More next week.

 

The Series With No Theme

no-theme

It is 2.25am on a Tuesday morning. I am blissfully asleep having a very pleasant dream about cricket. When I am awoken by a nudge in my ribs. Now there are two potential scenarios here firstly, my wife has just turned over in bed and nudged me accidentally in the ribs, or secondly, my wife is awake and wants to share her frustration at this by waking me up as well. I kind of shuffle and try and get back to sleep, hoping that it’s the first thing.

“Darling”.

Bugger it’s the second one.

“Are you awake?” – she is whispering – now there are two ways out of this situation, firstly I could say ever so sprightly, “Yes of course, I’ve been awake for hours and was just thinking about cleaning the bathroom, as time is getting on and I want to have a trifle made by 4am” or secondly, I could snore and pretend to be fast asleep.

I choose the first one, only I say “Just” and then add “What’s Up?”. My wife is sitting up in the marital bed. “I heard a noise” she said.

“What sort of noise?” I ask, conscious of the fact that seven minutes ago, I might have shouted ‘”HOWZAT!” in my dream and it come out as something different.

“A bump outside on the driveway it sounded like someone moving something”.

Folks the only thing on my driveway is two cars, two wheelie bins, and a potted tree. It wasn’t the cars being moved and I doubt anyone wants the wheelie bins. We also live in the middle of nowhere so it would quite a long way to carry the potted tree.

“Its probably a cat” I say and turn over, and as I do the security light outside my house comes on, illuminating the whole room. The light is supposed to cat proof – and Rol – like the self-cleaning socks, I have no idea how it works – Suddenly I’m interested. I get up and walk to the window. I can’t see anything, I mean I can see the driveway, but nothing unusual.

“You’ll have to go and check” she says. Right, I think. Great. “Oh, and darling” she says, turning over and looking really snuggly, “put some clothes on first, you don’t want a repeat of the 1997 Guildford flashing incident”. This is true. In 1997, I once accidentally flashed to a bunch of old ladies at a Bus Stop in Guildford by getting dressed in front of the window, not realising the curtains were not fully drawn.   My wife doesn’t seem so afraid of the noise and lights anymore.

I get dressed, well half-dressed and venture outside, there is nothing there, I feel stupid as I grab a small piece of wood from the hedge and dramatically pull back the wheelie bin to reveal nothing but an old crisp packet on the floor, I am realise that I am actually quite scared. I walk round the side of the house and again there is nothing. The security goes dark again plunging me into complete darkness, which freaks me out and causes me to trip over a badly placed hosepipe. Luckily I fall over and set the security light off again, so despite having a twisted ankle, I can at least see it swelling up.

I hobble round to the front again, when something moves in the tree/hedge at the front. It’s not a human for two reasons, firstly, it’s far too brambly in that hedge for anything human and secondly, I’m pretty sure human’s don’t have four legs. I hobble over a peer through the hedge to see a fox legging it across the neighbours lawn towards the farm across the road. I swear and wander back inside.

I get back to bed and then I realise that there is a four year old where I should be. I sigh and squeeze into the space left at the end, my daughter obviously having doubled in size and length since she went to bed last night. I start to doze.

“Daddy”, “Daddy” I shake my head, my daughter is now awake, I look at the clock, it is ten past three. I have been back in bed for twelve minutes.

“Yes, darling, what is it?”

“I can’t sleep, can you read me a story?” My wife is doing the second of the scenarios detailed above by pretending to be blissfully snoozing away. I feel her grinning at me in the darkness, as I sigh and move the cuddly toy owl from my pillow.

I eventually agree to read her a story back in her own room across the hallway. It’s a good story about a dog who could fly and by the time I finish she is asleep I slowly stand up and creep to the door. It is half past three.

“Daddy” I stop. “Why could the dog fly?”

Bugger.

I turn around and sit back down and explain the story to my daughter. One hour later she is finally back to sleep. It has taken two games of I spy, and a further story about a cat who catches a burglar. I also realise that my daughter is holding my hand and now I am afraid to let go of it in case she wakes up. It is about twenty past four and its getting cold. I also need a piss.

It is five am when I finally get back into my bed, some two and a half hours, after the nudge in the ribs. The bed is at least warm and comfy. I lay on my back, wide awake, smiling, I feel alright, yes I have to get up in about an hour, but I have settled the nerves of not one but two people already today.

“Darling”, a sleepy voice says

“Yes, my love” I say chirpily

“The lights come back on….”

Here are the three songs that have been selected by Mrs SWC this week.  All of which are marvellous, particularly the second one.

Not My Idea – Garbage

The North Pole – The Walkmen

Faith – I Break Horses

Enjoy.

(Relatively) New Band of the Week – 4

wall

Cuban Cigars – Wall

Here is this weeks ‘new’ band.   Say hello to New York Post Punkers Wall.  They have gone down the ‘mysterious’ route as in their early days they gave no interviews and had very little social media profile.  It’s all very 2010.  Its also a bit of a daft name.

Who: Wall

Hometown: New York City

The Background: Formed from the ashes of several other punk bands that I’ve never heard of Wall are a four piece (three ladies, one guy) who channel the energy of Kathleen Hanna and the gnarkiness of Mark E Smith.  Their breakout hit ‘Cuban Cigars’ was released last year and since then their star has continued to rise across the UK.

The Hype: Wall are the sound of a fantasy New York, of cracked pavements and broken lives, the rattle of subway cars and the whine of the elderly being assaulted.  They sound like the B-52s if they’d been rasied by the Wu Tang Clan.  That was written by the NME.

For Fans Of: Pink Flag era Wire, Parquet Courts, Bikini Kill

Check Out: Self Titled Debut Ep ‘Wall’ – which is available on Amazon or on Wharf Cat Records.

 

The WYCRA Guide to Festivals Past

reading 1994

Reading 1994 – Sunday

For the second time in around a year I managed to get myself chucked by a lady for dissing a band.  Well sort of chucked, I wasn’t actually going out with this girl, I was kind of hoping that something would happen between Karen and I, but by 10am on Sunday morning I pretty much ruined that,

There we all were having breakfast at one of the many little café places on site and we were all talking about the day ahead and who we were going to see.  I’ll be honest here the line up had not filled me with massive joy.  There was not one band on the Main Stage that I had any real desire to see.  Possibly Therapy? but probably not.

“Anyone but the Red Hot Chilli Peppers” was my first stupid comment of the morning apparently.  This was quickly followed by “Stupid bloody Anthony stupid Kiedis”.  Karen went ballistic at me, I mean absolutely bat shit crazy,  She and Fiona got up and walked off and we never saw them again.  The last word she ever said to me was “Twat”.

If on Saturday Chris and I saw a record high number of bands, on Sunday we saw a record low because we saw three bands in total on this Sunday.  We also saw a few comedians.  The highlight of my day was Eddie Izzard, and that’s not something I can say that often.

The first band I saw that day were Cud.  This somewhat ironically was the first time I had seen Cud since She Who Cannot Be Named dumped me on an escalator at Kentish Town Tube Station some time ago.  I wanted them to be terrible, but you know what they were rather excellent.  They ended with a singalong version of

Once Again – and there was barely a dry eye in the house by the end of it.  Probably.

Straight after that came Echobelly.  Halfway through the show, Sonya said to the crowd ‘Call Me Names’ and so everyone did, then she did a little giggle and said “I like it” and about 15,000 men fell in love with her.

Call Me Names

After that came They Might Be Giants who sent the crowd crazy.  They were tremendous.  Now a strange thing happened at this gig.  I think I stood behind Badger.  I didn’t know Badger at that time, I had no idea he even existed.   But many years later, we were discussing idiots at gigs and he said

“Once at the Reading Festival I saw They Might Be Giants and standing just to my left was a drunk guy in Shed Seven Tshirt (it was yellow) who kept bumping into people and trying to start a fight with them.  He was the biggest idiot I have ever ‘met’ at a gig.  Well apart from Robbie Fowler who I saw at Manics Gig in 2004.”

Now I remember that chap distinctly.  He was stood just in front of me.  How very strange.

Birdhouse In My Soul

Next week – some student japes in Brighton.

 

 

The Saturday Song Challenge – Change(s)

change

Sorry for the delay, I had a squatter taking camp in the blog just then for a few hours trying to change the world one bus at a time.   I’ve managed to get the keys to the blog back by telling Barry that there was a new Scottish Travel Master 2000 passing through Gosport at midday, which appears to have done the trick. So on with the Song Challenge.

You will remember that I changed the rules, last week to introduce a new Scoring System, the more obscure the song, the more points you receive. So sadly today you get no points for David Bowie, as it was just too obvious.

It doesn’t appear to have worked because both the five point song and the four point song remain unguessed. So here they are, you would have a got five points for this

Changes – Dirty Vegas (Inflagranti Mix) a song which I downloaded mistakenly believing that it was Death in Vegas, but actually not. What it is a fairly decent slab of funky big beated house music.

You would have got four points for this and I’m surprised no one got this

Change – Asian Dub Foundation – which is taken from their excellent ‘Rafi’s Revenge’ album and is rather fine.

Which brings us nicely to the three point one and what we really need is some parental help in this situation because we are getting nowhere fast. Now a few years ago at the height of the weird and surprising popularity of The Osbournes, Ozzy and his daughter Kelly did indeed do a song called ‘Changes’ that went all the way to somewhere near the top of the charts – but that isn’t where we are going – we are going over to Rol – who gets the first points of the new system and therefore instantly takes the lead because at the top of his list he puts

‘Glasvegas’ and is indeed right. He is also lucky because only yesterday did I swap the two and three point songs around.   Rigid Digit also gets a point here.  Rigid if you have a blog – shout and I’ll do some linking next time.

Change – Glasvegas – which as some of you will know features, right there at the end James Allan’s (I think) mother with what is literally the dictionary definition of ‘Motherly Advice’. So for the first time in WYCRA history – it’s time for the ( drum roll…) “WYCRA Bonus Points Round” – Your songs (decent ones) that feature mothers in some capacity please….Points will be added next week.

Next up another ‘How did no one get that?’ and I’m looking directly at you Drew here because the two point song is

Change – Underworld – which is taken from the ‘Best of Volume’ CD ‘Wasted’ that I mentioned a few weeks back and was rightly correctly by everyone as to what it was actually called.

Finally an obvious one but not at obvious as Bowie, it’s…

Changes – Sugar – and a solitary point here for Jez who guessed it correctly but points are also awarded to JC, Swiss Adam and Matt who all say the same thing.  You’ll probably all know how much of a fine piece of music this is already.

Bonus Point time for decent recommendations – actually lets just give everyone a bonus point because there were so many good suggestions, I’ll be here all day otherwise.

So ROL is at the top with FOUR points – the rest of you have a mixture of TWO points and One Point but I can’t work it all out right now – I will catch up.

Next Week – the Word is ‘Silence’ – so any answers (genuinely) sent from libraries will be considered first.

HELLO!!!

bus

Welcome to my blog, The Bus Business. This will be a daring, challenging and no holds barred account of my life.

But “Who are you” I hear you yell!

Well I am surprised you do not know because you have found your way here – I am Barry Spoon and for the last fifteen years I have been widely known as ‘The Agent Provocateur of the Bus Spotting World. The Moquette Terrible if you like. I am the envy of the bus spotting world, the man who is responsible for making bus spotting cool again, I am the Fonzie of this shy but exciting world.

But you can call me Barry. Or Spoons. Or Smiley, which is my nickname in the field.

So what can you expect from this blog – well you can expect something different, not just stories about buses or standing in the rain in an anorak armed only with a pencil, a thermos flask, and a notebook jotting down engine numbers and badge details. Mainly that but not just that. I’m going to give you data. Like this….

The Number 7 Bus from Plymouth to Crapstone is the only bus in England to pass a working windmill.

And This…

The 4T bus from Twydall to Eastchurch Marshes is the longest running unchanged bus route in the entire world. How exciting is that!!!!

It has gone EXACTLY the same route for 93 years since it started out in life as horse and cart run taking the workers from the poor house to the factory where they made buttons.

I’m also going to give you photos, buses spotted in the wild, famous buses, buses that have appeared in not one but two episodes of the Bill, buses that are on posters advertising other buses. That is just crazy.

But let’s start at the beginning. How do you become a Top Bus Spotter like me, Barry Spoon. Well here are the five things you will need to be one,

  1. A Pencil – don’t even think about starting without. Don’t use pens, you’ll look like an amateur and an idiot when it rains, scribbling away on the top of your pad trying to get the pen working whilst the rain drips off your hair or glasses.
  2. A Notepad – Pretty self-explanatory really. Don’t use one with buses on it, you will get abused my members of the public who don’t understand the beauty and the majesty of a Route Master 9000.
  3. A Thermos Flask – You will need hot tea to keep you warm as you sit in Cheam Bus Station waiting for the Green Tiger 25S to come past as it only runs once every two hours on a Sunday and even then the traffic in Sutton means its sometimes four minutes late.
  4. A timetable – you can usually pick these up from the bus station. Although not in Huddersfield, there you have to go the so called West Yorkshire Travel Centre.
  5. A Sense of Humour – because you don’t have to be crazy to be a bus spotter but it sure does help.

Finding the perfect bus is like a lion hunt. You need to become the lion. Practice your roar now…’Grrrr’. You are a Lion.

Here are my five top tips for any newcomers at becoming a Lion

  1. Seek out you location. Arrive early to get a good spot. Some spotters are cunning devils and will think of nothing to barge past you to get a better photo or that piece of glory.
  2. Think about Light. If its dark you can’t read the engine plates or get a decent photo, but you can hide from youths in tracksuits who are high on marijuana or drunk on fizzy beer. They should become bus spotters because the thrill of the bus is the only high we need am I right or am I right?
  3. Don’t be afraid of traffic – whilst it can hurt you don’t be afraid to cross whilst the traffic is still moving – slowly – and remember traffic islands can sometimes provide you with a decent photo opportunity and remember its Dog Eat Dog out there.
  4. Don’t be lured in by false idols – like Vintage Vehicle Fairs. Especially the one at Buckfastleigh in Easter. This is usually frequented by wannabes spotters like Trevor and Julie who claim to be Britains Number One Bus Spotting Couple, they might well be – but this is only because I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment.
  5. Look for the wraparounds – Buses with full wrap around adverts (usually for films or useful spot creams) are really rare and pictures of those will get you instant kudos. That’s what got me noticed. Well that and my stand out fluorescent jacket and red Velcro strapped Thermos combination.

Good Luck Spotters or as the bus drivers call us Moquettes.

More soon.

 

This Little Story A Long Time Ago

is this it

“There’s no harm in talking to him”.

This is Alice, we are out in Exeter at a club called Timepiece and she is trying to persuade me to talk to a handsome yet tragically young lad who is standing at the bar looking deep and mysterious. I shake my head and take another drink. I am pleasantly drunk for the third time in a week, but then Alice has been in town for that week so it’s a special week, a one off week. I am happy, I am smiling and that is pretty much all that matters.

Last night we went out for dinner and drunk the best part of two bottles of wine and then woke my parents up as we played music too loudly in the lounge at half past ten. It was like old times, only this time we were adults acting like children, instead of children trying to be grown up and my parents didn’t seem to mind as we turned the music down straight away.

Tonight however is Friday night and its indie night at the club, Alice and I are probably the oldest people in the club by around ten years. It is the first time I have been in a nightclub in around six years. The last time I went to a club I was in Bristol and my ex and I were out on one of his work do’s. We lasted around twenty minutes in the place. I think they played Dizzee Rascal and that was that as far as my ex was concerned.   I quite like Dizzee Rascal, I tell him in the taxi on the way home. He shrugs and tells me that all rap music is terrible.  As far as my ex was concerned music started and pretty much stopped with AC/DC.

Alice and I went to this club in our formative years, it was the first club I ever went to, as a sixteen year old back in 1996, I remember borrowing some of Alice’s clothes to make myself look older. I was shaking as I queued to get in, thinking that the doormen would see straight through my pathetic attempt to get in and humiliate me in front of a couple of hundred cool and attractive people.  It turned out that one of the doorman was Jake, a lad from our village, so we had no trouble getting in at all.

Anyway back to the club and Alice’s attempts to ‘Get me back in the saddle’ – she has been trying this all week, first with the postman, then with the mechanic at a garage, then with the Turkish waiter at the above restaurant last night and now with this lad at the club.

Last Nite

“I’m not on the pull” I tell her for the twelfth time in five days, although I have to say he is very cute, and unusually for a lad he can rock a pair of skinny jeans, he looks like a young Julian Casablancas from The Strokes as it happens.  I shake my head again, largely to get the filthy images out of my mind that were rapidly appearing thanks largely to the vodka cranberry chasers that I was drinking.

Barely Legal

The club kicks out at around 2am, and Alice and I join the queue of people waiting for taxis, it is a balmy old night, its still warm, and there is about thirty people waiting for them, it’s pretty jovial and the mood is quite good. Suddenly from across the road, someone shouts my name, well at least they shout a name, one that I have, I assume that there is someone else with that name in the queue and go back to eyeing up the burger van hungrily.  Then Alice taps me on the back, and says

“Well I never, look who it is…”

It is Kris. Kris and I had a brief dalliance when I was 16 – he was the second, no third boy I ever kissed, the first being a Scottish lad called Angus whilst on holiday in Rhyl with my parents, the second being Luke at a party who kind of just grabbed me during a game of Spin The Bottle. Kris was slightly different though, he actually liked me. When he was sixteen he was shy, innocent and sweet but now aged around 32 he had as Alice keenly pointed out as we waited for the taxi,

“Grown up nicely”.  This was followed by look so filthy that I felt like washing it.

I dumped Kris after going out with him for about three weeks. He wasn’t prepared to cycle the five miles from his house to mine to see me when I had a cold. So I told him that we ‘had no future’ and that was that. I was 16. I could barely spell the word ‘future’ let alone predict it.

“How are you?” he asked. And then we chatted, it was nice. Alice did most of the personal questions “Are you married?”, “Girlfriend?” “Gay?” that sort of thing (the answer was no to all those questions). Our taxi was ready, so Kris said his goodbyes and then a quick “Are you on Facebook?, I mean I looked you up a while back but didn’t find you…”.

I was on Facebook, then I wasn’t, so I said “sort of” and I tell him that I’ll message him. Alice grabs me and drags me to the taxi and spends the next fifteen minutes telling me that I should message him tomorrow. I just look at her and shake my head. She’s going home in three days, As I sat in the cab heading back to parents three things dawned on me, one, that I was going to miss Alice when she left, two I needed my own place and that meant three, I needed a new job.

Oh and before I go, I found a little envelope on my desk at work the other day – it was from SWC and it said inside there on a post it note “You’ve earnt this”.  It was the login and password details for this very blog,  The keys to the blog as he put it later in the office kitchen.  This means that I will now be able to respond to some of the lovely comments you guys have made – I mean I could have done before but haven’t and post whenever I like.  I’ve asked SWC if I can do one of the Saturday Song Challenges and he said ‘Don’t push it” followed by a smile.  That means yes.

Trying Your Luck

 

Spiritualized Thursdays – Medication

medic

Medication

Despite ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ being easily the greatest album of the year, it didn’t bring superstadom, it brought them critical success and a raft of new fans but they still were not the sort of band to play large arenas, and yet for two years they were pretty much the closing act on most stages at festivals everywhere – due to the type of atmosphere that their live shows produced I suppose.  I think the reason why they weren’t at the top of the nation’s shopping lists is because underneath the soundscapes and the carefully crafted musical experiences, was garage rock band prone to toying with jazz and ambience.  Did that make them change and make a pop record?  Hell No.

‘Medication’ is exactly what its title suggests it is, a drug record, an ode to drugs – lets explore some of the lyrics

“Every Day I wake Up and Take My Medication and

I Spend the rest of the day waiting for it to wear off. ”

Need we go any further…

Actually ‘Medication’ was a sort of departure from the old if you like.  It was certainly a rockier number, firmly rooted in Pierce’s garage rock early days, but if you listen the lyrics suggest something else might be on Pierce’s mind

“I’m waiting for the time.   When I can be without

These things that make me feel, this way all of the time”

The song descends into a full on guitar onslaught and its just wonderful – and I’ll go further than that.  I’d say its probably the best song about addiction that there is, yup better than ‘I’m Waiting for The Man’, ‘There She Goes’ and anything Ed Sheeran released during his Lucozade addiction phase of a few years back.  The reason its better is because Pierce was anticipating failure, he knew that the time was probably never going come any time soon.

The B Sides are taken from a John Peel Session I think the first is a lovely if not heavy version of ‘Angel Sigh’ and that is followed by a version of ‘Feel So Sad’ both of which were found on the ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ album but are slightly different due to them being live tracks. The CD came with an addition track called ‘Space’ which I don’t own – again I’ll smile nicely at the nice man from Across The Kitchen Table’….

Angel Sigh

Feel So Sad

The Promo had a version of ‘Smiles’ also from the debut album on it – here that is

Smiles