Maggots, Michael. You’re eating maggots. How do they taste?

It was 20 years ago today . . . we’ve just had 40 years since Sgt. Pepper and just 6 days ago was the double-decade anniversary of Appetite for Destruction.

Journalists tend to think of anniversaries as a kind artificial peg for stories and unless you work for Rolling Stone, they tend to be ignored. But there’s one I cannot help but celebrate and urge you not to miss, especially if you’re over 28 and the following piece of dialogue brings back fond, fond memories:

Look at your reflection in the mirror. You’re a creature of the night Michael, just like out of a comic book! You’re a vampire Michael! My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out, buddy!

 

Oh yes. On July 31st 2007 it will be 20 years since The Lost Boys came out.

 

lost_boys.jpg

 

My favourite bit in the film? Probably when Sam first goes to the Frog brothers comic strip store and starts rearranging the Superman comics to the horror of the brothers:

You can’t put the Superman, no. 77 with the 200s. They haven’t even discovered red kryptonite yet. And you can’t put the no. 98 with the 300s. Lori Lemaris hasn’t even been introduced.

A great, great film and still stands up today but whatever happened to the stunner who played Star?

 

Update 31st July: Wanna know what the Frog brothers are doing now? Click here.

Electric Soft Parade, Koko, Fri 20th July

Pity The Electric Soft Parade. The Brighton four piece peddle the type of cerebral indie that has seen one past reviewer hail them as the future of student bands. Harsh labelling aside, whatever your take on them, The Electric Soft Parade’s (named after possibly the most self-indulgent of Doors albums) particular brand of think-rock was wasted on the crowd at Koko, most of whom probably woke up Saturday morning with hefty hangovers
to add to their A-level results angst.
 

And if The Electric Soft Parade haven’t sacked their publicist by today they need their heads examined. If you’re that bothered about your sound that you have to keep retuning between songs then you better be sure of your audience and their attention span, but coming on stage straight after a ragtag bunch of ball-breaking screamers like Kharma 45 was just plain unfair on the brothers White.
 
 
Grabbing the attention of teenagers in front of Koko’s stage isn’t difficult, but these little-known Northern Irish rockers trundled on with minimal fanfare, delivered a blast of their U2-inspired electro pop and proceeded to hold the crowd in something approaching rapture for the duration of their super-short set. And super-short it had to be: when your audience is more interested in tonguing the person next to them or comparing luminous rainbow bands, you’ve got to do like the SAS: get in, get what you want, get out . . . fast.
 
Once the headliners came on stage my mate remarked that everyone in the crowd looked young. Mark is 25. But if this thirty-something was a tad peeved you had to feel for The Eelectric Soft Parade’s Alex White who belted out great new single ‘Misunderstanding’ to a largely indifferent crowd and when he proudly teased us with the opening chords of 2002’s corking hit ‘Silent to the Dark’, I could’ve sworn I was the only one
singing and, it seemed, watching.

 

The Johnston humour

Just returned to my desk from a rousing homecoming speech by BBC reporter and former kidnap victim Alan Johnston. Standing on the steps at the rear of Bush House’s car park AJ described himself as “walking on air” and offered up a few anecdotes about his 113 days inside a dingy flat in Gaza.

The explosive belt they made him wear was the real deal and although it lacked a detonator it did have a prominent ON/OFF switch which, Alan remarked with remarkable composure, the kidnappers took delight in flicking after each take . . . man those crazy Jihadis . . . what guys, what laughs!!

Welcome home Alan.

Country Life

To south west London for a taste of Country . . . or is it Western?

In any other scene someone with Rachael Warwick’s skills would have filled the Half Moon’s dingy back room, alas Country doesn’t have the same pull in Putney as in Nashville. Still, a half-empty venue doesn’t stop the iron-lunged Miss Warwick from launching out her tunes with the kind of verve that has seen her rated highly where stetsons and drummers called Billy Bob really do matter, south of Dixie, USA (she really does have a drummer called Billy Bob).

Most of Country music’s bases are well-covered: cowboys, farewells and rodeos are all sweetly treated by the Warrington-born Warwick whose tremendous voice works well in the range marked ‘belting’. She can be tender too – the slow version of Dolly Parton’s Jolene was especially appreciated.

These days it’s customary for almost anything uncool to be reinvigorated with the simple ‘alt’ prefix. Think of the likes of Brendan Benson snarfling the lion’s share of the headlines with his alt-country tag. Rachael Warwick strips away such notions with her proud display of core Country values delivered with technical prowess and stunning good looks. I’m not sure if the UK will ever take Country to heart but if we’re ever to make even a tiny dent across the pond in this most insular of genres then I can’t think of a better ambassador.

Two sides of sterling

Back in May there was renewed talk of Scottish independence following some elections . . . most folks pretty much paid little attention, including most Scots, who know a good deal when they see one. Some though already seem comfortable with a separate Scotland. Take a look at the receipt below sent to me by a pal returning from a trip to Eurozone:

receipt.jpg

As you can see, Scottish notes get a whole 1.43 Euro cents better exchange rate than English notes. Don’t ask me why!!?
I’ve never seen this before. If anything, Scottish money tends to get pretty short shrift at the exchange rate booths that dot the airports of Europe. London taxi drivers especially like to turn their nose up at our lovely currency with its multiple distributors (Clydesdale notes in particular get the oddest looks, followed by Bank of Scotland with RBOS getting top spot in terms of acceptability).
.

He’s oot . . .

Great news. AJ is out and on his way to Jerusalem . . . good to hear that he was able to hear the radio while in captivity. These messages weren’t in vain. He heard them all and has just called them an “absolute inspiration”. Worryingly AJ’s just said that some of his captors had a couple of “goes at my head” and that he suffered “relentless psychological pressure”.

Hamas can capitalise on the publicity they’re about to get by bringing the captors to trial.