Which side of me will win?

Devin Townsend, Plovdiv – review


20 years ago, I saw Devin Townsend perform live for the first time. He was headlining the Highbury Garage in London with his main band of the time, Strapping Young Lad. That tour, as far as I know, was the first – but certainly not the last – on which Devin was his own support act. So, before the main SYL event, he played a short set of songs taken from the then recently released Ocean Machine album. Read the rest of this entry »


Filed under: Reviews, Uncategorized, , , ,

Thomas Mair is not a terrorist


Since the verdict on the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, I have see a lot of people, both on social media and in the press, asserting that the murderer, Thomas Mair, is a terrorist. Additionally, accusations and insinuations of racist double-standards have been levelled at the the media and at some indeterminate “other” section of the public. The general idea being that no one’s calling Thomas Mair a terrorist because he’s white and because he’s not a Muslim.

This is bullshit for two main reasons: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

I once tried to get religious – this is what happened


With religion in the news (just for a change) I thought it’d be an opportune time to do something I’ve been meaning to do for ages, and that is to turn an exchange of emails I had with the UK’s Office Of National Statistics, regarding the classification of religions (or not) in the national census results, into a blog.

During the lead-up to the 2011 UK Census, Metal Hammer magazine spearheaded a campaign to get heavy metal officially recognised as a religion, by encouraging its readers to enter that as their religion on their census forms. Personally, I needed no such campaign. I intended to state heavy metal as my religion anyway, for two reasons: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Manowar, Opinion, , ,

Dad – Epilogue


When you’re experiencing grief, you’re told the same thing again and again – that you’ll come out of it better and stronger.

Every time you hear that you nod unfirmly, more out of duty than out of agreement, affirmation or any other kind of positive expression. You believe it – you’ve no reason not to – but you can’t really conceive of it at the time. It doesn’t really make you feel any better. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dad – Part 6: A moment

He could move his face. It wasn’t exactly expressive though. For most of that final day, he just wore an almost blank, but not quite, expression. You could see the fear, the loss, the exhaustion in his face. And, if you really looked, the love.

And he could move his hand. This I know well. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dad – Part 5: Before you die

That phrase really annoys me. So much so that I might have a rant about it. I used to think ranting was great, but it’s boring. It sometimes seems like it’s all anyone ever does. Not that the kind of petty whining you hear from most people can really be called ranting, but still, there isn’t as big of a difference between whining and ranting as I once thought.

So here’s my Top 1 Thing To Have A Self-Indulgent Moan About Before You Die. My complaint is simple, really. When the fuck else are you going to do anything? Is it really necessary to distinguish this article from all those articles about places to go, things to do, books to read, movies to watch and albums to hear after you die? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dad – Part 4: Clear out

The worst day of my life was not the day my Dad died. That was a bad one, make no mistake. It was right up there, alright. Down there, I suppose. But it doesn’t hit you right away. The first thing that hits you is a sense of relief. Then you get sort of numb, sort of dizzy. Words can’t describe it. You’re kinda disconnected, detached. I’d seen and heard words like that used to describe it before it happened to me and they don’t really do the job, but they’re the best we can do.

The worst day of my life was the second of the two days my brother and I spent clearing out my Dad’s flat. It was, I think, about three weeks after he died. The funeral was done, the ashes were scattered, it was… I was going to say the last thing that needed doing. I doubt that but, I don’t know, there was a sense of finality to it for me anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dad – Part 3: Thirty something

I was really not comfortable about turning 30. I didn’t like the idea at all. I knew it was silly, but I really was a bit panicked. I had this horrible feeling that my young life was over and that I hadn’t done enough of the cool, young things that you can only do when you’re young. I hadn’t had sex with enough different young women. I think that’s basically what I’m saying.

Someone made me feel better. It was Dorota, and she made me feel better on the night I celebrated my birthday. I don’t remember how she made me feel better, but I was surprised at how much sense she was making because, frankly, she’s not one for making much sense. I think what she said was along the lines of, “Things aren’t going to be any different tomorrow just because you’re one year older.” She was right, of course. It’s simple logic – the difference between age 29 and age 30 isn’t real. It’s just a man-made concept. Of course she was right.

But, through no fault of her own, Dorota was horribly, tragically wrong. Almost as soon as I turned 30, my life went seriously wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dad – Part 2: By the way


My mum and dad separated when I was six. I can’t remember them ever really getting along. They were already sleeping in separate rooms when my dad left. I can just about remember a time when they still shared a bed, but only because I remember the rows about my dad’s snoring.

The first time I went to see my dad in hospital he had a sort of presentation prepared. He’d clearly been thinking a lot about things he needed to tell me and ask me now that he knew he was going to die some time soon. One of those things was not that he loved my mum. Or was it? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dad – Part 1: Bodily Function


Several months ago I wrote a handful of pieces dealing with my father’s death. I didn’t write them with this blog in mind but, having thought long and hard about it, I’ve decided to post them here. This, the first, on what would have been his 75th birthday, then five more over the next three months, culminating with the last one on April 16th, the sixth anniversary of his death.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized