Enemies of Freedom

Very sad news recently with the announcement that Chester’s only lap dancing club, the Platinum Lounge, has lost it’s “sex establishment” licence.  This possibly means no more Platinum Lounge, and certainly no more lap or pole dancing.  It also means job losses for girls and bar staff working there.

The reason given by Chester City Council is that the club is in a residential area, and thus disruptive for local residents.  Which is clearly nonsense.  The real reason is that the busy bodies in the City have decided that a lap dancing club is “just not cricket” and would tarnish the reputation of the historic City of Chester.

However, I note that Chester Races is obviously a feature that the residents, business leaders and council whole heartedly approve of.  Chester races, which encourages binge drinking and violence on an unprecedented scale, not to mention traffic and disruption for all those who live or work in the area.  Chester races, the one day when male race goers wear a suit other than when they’re in court.  And the “ladies”, shoe-horned into tiny dresses to reveal their orange tanned cellulite ridden bodies.  Seen later with their knickers round their ankles, pissing in the gutter and being sick on their chips.

I’ve been to Platinum Lounge may times and found that the club was friendly and professional with no sign of trouble or drug use.  Unlike most other Chester venues (and I’m talking about some of the popular places here, not the tiny ones).  Not to mention that the drinks were affordable (unusual) and the music often excellent (very unusual for sad, small minded Chester).  I seriously doubt that I will be spending many evenings in the City from now on, as the alternatives for a good night out are scarce.

The hypocrisy and stupidity of this decision infuriates me.  It is blatant snobbery which will only serve to drive out any diversity in the City and further intensify the antisocial behaviour witnessed every weekend.  

For this reason, I name Chester City Council as my first ENEMIES OF FREEDOM.

Read more here.

The Best Programme on Television

What is the best programme on Television right now?  I’ve been watching the magnificent The Walking Dead, obviously; and just started with Under the Dome.  I can still quite happily get my daily fix of Man Vs Food and Come Dine With Me.  But the absolute best thing on TV right now?  It’s a kids’ show.  It is: The Aquabats! SuperShow!

Chronicling the adventures of five super heroes, The Aquabats! Super Show! melds live action comedy and animation in a combination that entertains kids and adults alike.  They are a five-piece rock band, who also happen to be fearless adventurers ready to save the world from the powers of evil. download

Although they all wear identical uniforms, each of the Aquabats possess unique characters and powers (as well as playing different instruments).  The MC Bat Commander is the leader (and frontman) of the group, though his decisions are not always the most sound.  Bass player Crash McLarson has the ability to grow in size when he becomes “emotional”.  EagleBones Falconhawk plays a mean laser guitar and has an invisible spirit bird, called The Dude, to aid in tricky situations.  Health conscious Ricky Fitness is the drummer with super speed.  And then there’s Jimmy the Robot, keyboard playing android scientist with gadgets galore.

The Aquabats travel together in their Battle Tram; fighting an array of super villains, mad scientists, mutants and monsters.  Everything from zombies, mummies, circus freaks and things from outer space pop up in their absurd adventures.  Like a hybrid of the 1960’s Adam West Batman, the Monkees and Scooby Doo – this show has it all.

I love The Aquabats! Super Show! so much.  In fact the whole family are converted now, following my relentless promotion of the programme at home.  The only negative of this show is that I wish I’d thought of it.  It’s such a cool, and clever, idea.  The fun they must have thinking this stuff up.  Rock stars who are super heroes, fighting crazy aliens and creatures?  It’s B-movie, camp ridiculousness that manages to shoe-horn in as much pop culture as anyone could ever want.

You can catch The Aquabats! Super Show on CITV regularly.  Or buy Series 1 here.  Whatever, just watch it, you’ll love it!

http://www.theaquabats.com/

http://aquabatsblog.tumblr.com/post/52444699390/a-brand-new-blog

http://www.hubworld.com/the-aquabats-super-show/shows/the-aquabats-super-show

Random Bike Ride Playlist #7

OK, this is the last random playlist.  And it’s a short one.  Just six miles.

  1. Tom Waits – “Rain Dogs”
  2. Chimaira – “Empire”
  3. The Smiths – “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”
  4. Jack Johnson – “Staple It Together”
  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Johnny, Kick a Hole in the Sky”
  6. Status Quo – “Down the Dustpipe”
  7. The Beach Boys – “Good to My Baby”
  8. N.W.A. – “Dopeman (Remix)”
  9. Pink Floyd – “A Pillow of Winds”
  10. Consolidated – “Veggie Beat Manifesto”
  11. Broadzilla – “Diamond Sex Goddess”

Johnny Cash R.I.P.

He was the Man in Black.  The original Rock’n’Roll rebel.  He spoke for the downtrodden and forgotten.  He was tormented by his demons and knew both success and despair.  A contemporary of Elvis, his legacy has had an impact on generations of musicians and music fans of all tastes and walks of life.

He was Johnny Cash, and he passed away on September 12th 2003.

If you’ve read my music themed posts previously, you’ll know that Johnny Cash is my favourite recording artist of all time.  As a tribute to my hero, here is a summary of some of my favourite songs from his vast repertoire.

These songs are not presented as a “Top 10” or an essential guide.  That would take much more contemplation.  This is just ten songs that spring to mind as indispensable.

One Piece at a Time 

Great memories of singing this song at Karaoke.  One of Cash’s more light hearted tunes, with a great rolling rhythm.  Find it on “The Best of Johnny Cash”.

The Man Comes Around

Title track from the fourth American Recordings album.  Full of biblical portent and apocalyptic thunder.

Man in Black

Cash wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and go against the grain.  In this song, the beaten and the cast aside are defended at a time when such views were not healthy for a Country star’s career.  From “Greatest Hits”.

Pocahontas

Cash declared his sympathies with the Native Americans in several key songs throughout his career.  This song pulls no punches yet does it with a beautiful melody.  From the American Recordings boxed set, find it on “Vol. 2: Trouble in Mind”.

A Boy Named Sue

Another comedy tune and an obvious choice, I know.  I picked it ‘cos I’ve sung it at Karaoke many times.  Although I can’t really sing.  This song gave me the confidence to stand up and try.  From “Johnny Cash at San Quentin”.

Hurt

A cover of a Nine Inch Nails song, from “The Man Comes Around”.  If you can listen to this all the way through and not get all choked up by the end, I feel sorry for you.

Ghost Riders in the Sky

When I started listening to Johnny Cash, I realised I remembered this song from when I was a tiny kid.  Though I didn’t know it was him back then.  Cowboys and ghosts, what’s not to like?  I found it on “The Best of Johnny Cash”.

God’s Gonna Cut You Down

From “American V: A Hundred Highways”.  A sombre warning.  Sinners and saints.  Great video.

Folsom Prison Blues

“I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”  You’ll find it on the essential live album “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison” or any Greatest Hits compilation, and you will love it.

Ring of Fire

This was the first Cash song I became obsessed with.  I’d heard other songs but this was the (obvious, I admit) tune that grabbed me.  The impact this song had on my listening habits is immense.  Mexican trumpets.  I blame “Jackass” for this one.  Available everywhere, mine’s from “The Best of Johnny Cash”.

 

Johnny Cash

26/02/1932 – 12/09/2003

 

http://www.johnnycash.com/

A Letter to the New York Post

Some of you have heard the story before, for which I apologise.  For those that haven’t, the details are below.  Strange, the twists and turns we experience.

The email below was written some years ago, after the events of 9/11.  You’ll understand why I wrote it, I hope.  As far as I know, this letter has never been printed.  If you’d like to share it, please feel free to do so.  It may eventually find it’s way to it’s intended recipient.

With continued respect and affection for New City and the people who live there.

From:XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

To: <letters@nypost.com>

Sent: 24 August 2004 21.18

Subject: IMPORTANT: Message from UK

Hi,

I live in North Wales, in the United Kingdom.  I am writing to you in the hope that you could perhaps print a message to a citizen of New York city in your newspaper.

In September 2001 I was staying with relatives in the Washington DC area, on vacation, and decided to take a trip on the Greyhound bus to New York.  I had always wanted to visit the city having seen it on television and read about it over the years.  So two friends and myself decided to make the trip.

When we arrived we explored, and that evening went out to eat and see some more sights.  Around 10.30pm we left the Broomhill bar (I think in Little Italy?) with the intention of going across the river on the Staten Island ferry.  The taxi driver who drove us was a great character, friendly and a real New Yorker.  He asked us what our plans were, to which we replied, “We’re going to go up the Empire State Building tomorrow.”

The driver pointed out the window, and gave us some honest advice: “See that building there?” he asked.  We nodded.  “That’s the Twin Towers.  Go there tomorrow morning; it’s free, you don’t have to wait, and it’s higher up so you get a better view.”  We thanked him and said we’d take his advice.

The next day, as you can probably guess, was September 11th.

My companions and I never made it to the top of the towers (we stayed out late and didn’t get up that morning early enough).  We were lucky, as the horror that unfolded that day proved.

I just want to let that taxi driver know – we didn’t go to the Towers that morning.  Just in case he is tortured by the advice he gave us.  I don’t know the taxi drivers name, just that he drove a yellow cab and was a native New Yorker (his father, he told us, had worked on the Staten Island ferry).  I hope that you can print this letter in the hope that he may read it, so his mind may be eased if this has troubled him.  Because if he has been troubled, he need not worry anymore.  I’m sorry this letter hasn’t been written sooner.

With fondest regards to the people and city of New York,

Alun Jones

Wales

UK

(Email address removed for privacy)

Drink of the Week

I refuse to accept the summer is over.  With some warm weather over the last few days, it’s been quite easy to pretend that summer will go on.  Here’s a drink that’s great for warm evenings, with a melon taste that oozes mellow.  

Midori & leomonade

Midori & lemonade

And what a fantastic colour!

Come on over to the Virtual Hot Tub, take a dip in the virtual water and don’t forget to pick up one of these drinks from the Virtual Tiki Bar.

Midori & Lemonade

  • Midori
  • Lemonade
  • Ice

I don’t really need to tell you how to make this, do I?  Take your glass, add midori, ice and top up with lemonade.  Enjoy.

Soundtrack: “Green Hell” by The Misfits.