Fall from Grace

A Eurovision Odyssey part 5 - The Green, Green Gas of Home

He was deranged, but not even he would consider using sarin gas rather than dry ice during his performance.

Fear and Loving in Heaton Park - Part Twelve - And so to Bed

When abstinence and excess had rendered me peanut brittle: as vulnerable as an altar boy hearing the sacristy door lock and the soft thud of liturgical vestments.

Goodbye cruel world

Leaping off very high structures seems the only sensible course of action for JLS fans, although, as Stephen Watt found out, it’s less enjoyable when it involves a relative.

Teenage girls and other problems

Some knowledge is forbidden, sought only by deranged, twerking dervishes obsessed with degenerate rituals. So how is it that a forty-year writer is privy to their secrets?

My first time: an apology

Yet despite these preparations. Despite my dreams. I was violated in an exhibition centre by four Geordies old enough to be my father. It wasn’t special or intimate, and certainly wasn’t how I’d imagined it.

How Not to Be In a Band - Reality Bites Back

As my hero Les McQueen, former rhythm guitarist with Crème Brulée, says: ‘It's a shit business; I'm glad I'm out of it.’

Incendiary get taken for a ride by Kosmischer Läufer

Whatever, Kosmischer Läufer is a clandestine, Loki-esque version of what Dame Vera Lynne pedalled with White Cliffs of Dover. Or Public Service Broadcasting do with their debut release.

How Not to be in a Band - Fancy Flights

Tonight I’m being whisked back to my Northumberland mansion after our annual sell-out gig on Hadrian’s Wall.

How Not To Be In A Band - Destiny Calling, Collect

Even if Rick Wakeman remixed our entire oeuvre it could’ve been released as a single.

How Not to be in a Band - Mr Bickle’s Wall

From the moment we shuffled onto the stage, like a coach-load of tourists emerging blinking into the harsh Mediterranean sun, until we fled in ignominy our act was shambolic.

Fall From Grace – American Arty Pop Records Made by Earnest Artsy People

Why are these records all so bloody serious, so reverential anyway? Why do they look to be so sodding important? Why do these bands appear with a fanfare and then disappear?

How Not to be in a Band - Opportunity Rings

It is a testament to the power of stardom’s siren’s song, that a man who has suffered acute stage fright in a drum circle agreed to appear before a mass of baying students.

Fear and Loving in Heaton Park: Part Four - I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

When our earnest author, free from the burden of drunken associates, was finally ready to enjoy the gig, an adversary, one he’d buried years ago, manifests to test his fortitude.

The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Factory Floor

As with all these sorts of schemes it came unstuck: the acid came on like a thief in the night and he apparently battled giant snowmen down the M66, swerving to avoid them as they enacted a monstrous snowball fight.

Notes from the fireside - He who is always alone - Smack Wizards, TALIBAM, Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat

And, if I hear this album again, I'll be picking up a nice big stake, assembling a mob of angry villagers, replete with pitchforks and torches, and having me a good old-fashioned Goth hunt.

Fear and Loving in Heaton Park - Cloudy, with frequent golden showers

Having reached his mid-forties without attending an open-air festival, Stephen James assumed that The Stone Roses’ Heaton Park gig would be a baptism of fire. He was half right…

Neneh Cherry & The Thing - The Cherry Thing

Oh dear.

Incendiary Stone Roses 1 - Fear & Loving in Heaton Park - I’ve got a golden ticket

A lapsed Rosarian, Stephen Watt was happy to proclaim – especially to his ticket-holding brother-in-law – that the Stone Roses' reunion was a purely commercial venture. But, when fate, an ‘anonymous’ tip off and the arrest of an associate conspired to provide him with a ticket, he swallowed his pride, put on his bullet-proof jacket, slipped his Glock 17 into his waistband and headed off to where he first saw the light. Would a pilgrimage to Madchester resurrect his passion or be a journey into the heart of darkness?

Home Taping - Side Three: Sex and Tapes and Rock ‘n’ Roll

A workmate spent years trying to enlighten his spouse, and after this extensive period of indoctrination she brought him James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam for Christmas. He snapped it in half and filed for divorce.

Side one: Home Taping is Thrilling Music

I can still recall the first album I taped: Not the Nine O Clock News’ Hedgehog Sandwich. It was recorded tape-to-tape by placing two mono, low-end radio cassette players speaker-to-speaker and pressing play and record. There is very little to recommend using this approach, a point perfectly illustrated by the finished cassette in this instance, as halfway through my mum comes in to ask suspiciously what we’re up to.

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