Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #4

Yes, it’s that time again – a playlist of 45rpm singles that have provided me with an evenings entertainment.

I have a stack of 7″ records that haven’t been listened and filed away yet.  So I spend a night listening to them, both sides, in order.

As you can imagine, there are some dodgy songs in amongst the good stuff.  And this week, there are some corkers.  However, the rules are: the songs MUST be listened to.  I own them, so I must be responsible!

Here’s the list:

  1. Joe Dolce – “Shaddap You Face” / “Ain’t No Hurry”
  2. Sinitta – “Shame Shame Shame” / “Maybe Someday”
  3. The Charlie Daniels Band – “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” / “Rainbow Ride”
  4. Rod Stewart – “Angel” / “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)”
  5. Kate Bush – “Babooshka” / “Ran Tan Waltz”
  6. Tom Jones – “Help Yourself” / “Day by Day” / “Delilah” / “Smile”
  7. Bananarama – “Love in the First Degree” / “Mr Sleaze”
  8. The Timelords – “Doctorin’ the Tardis” / “Doctorin’ the Tardis”
  9. Pig Bag  – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag” / “The Backside”
  10. Blondie – “Union City Blue” / “Living in the Real World”
  11. The Sweet – “Hell Raiser” / “Burning”
  12. The Who – “I’m a Boy” / “In the City”
  13. Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence” / “Memphisto”
  14. Free – “My Brother Jake” / “Only My Soul”
  15. Nazareth – “Love Hurts” / “This Flight Tonight” / “Broken Down Angel” / “Hair of the Dog”
  16. Lalo Schifrin – “Jaws” / “Quiet Village”
  17. Rainbow – “I Surrender” / “Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit (Maybe Next Time)”

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #2

Here we go again!  Quick recap:

I’ve bought loads of 7″ singles; some good, some bad, some ugly.  I decided to listen through the pile by having an evening playing them all in the order in which they were bought; oldest first, A side then B side.  This is the list of what I played.

As before, some of these songs are absolute gems – some are absolute stinkers.  Don’t judge me; this is already difficult enough for me to confess.

Yes, there’s another Sinitta song.  I know it’s terrible, but in my defence she’s in my record collection ‘cos she’s a babe.  Trust me, she’s well foxy on the cover of this single.  So, sorry about that one.

All in all, though, I feel this is a much less cheesy selection than last time.  There might even be a few cool choices.  And remember – this is all 7 inch vinyl only!

Now, shall we proceed with the embarrassment?

  1. Steve Winwood – “Higher Love” / “And I Go”
  2. Sinitta – “Hitchin’ a Ride” / “I’m On My Way”
  3. Madonna – “Papa Don’t Preach” / “Ain’t No Big Deal”
  4. Bob Dylan – “Is Your Love in Vain?” / “We Better Talk This Over”
  5. Peter Gabriel – “Games Without Frontiers” / “The Start” / “I Don’t Remember”
  6. George Harrison – ” My Sweet Lord” / “What a Life”
  7. Madness – “Shut Up” / “A Town with No Name”
  8. Toyah – “Thunder in the Mountains” / “Street Addict”
  9. The Jam – “Town Called Malice” / “Precious”
  10. The Beat – “Ackee 1-2-3” / “Monkey Murders”
  11. The Selecter – “Missing Words” / “Carry Go Bring Home”
  12. Blondie – “Denis (Denee)” / “Contact in Red Square” / “Kung Fu Girls”
  13. Herbie Hancock – “You Bet Your Love” / “Knee Deep”
  14. Stevie Wonder – “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” / “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday”
  15. Roxy Music – “The Same Old Scene” / “Lover”

Any comments/abuse on the above are welcome, I’m getting used to it.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoy – will be back soon with more.

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub

Regular readers will be aware of my love for vinyl records: beautiful, spinning discs revealing a world of aural pleasure.  Most of my attention is devoted to albums, though I’ve also amassed a fair collection of 7 inch singles over time.

Back in my younger days, I would pick up singles to embellish my album collection with b-side tracks excluded from the main release.  I’d also pick up some interesting, groovy records that were within my budget and offered something different to my music library.

Over the last couple of years, I originally ignored the 45 rpm singles, but gradually I’ve started picking a few up.  One of the main influences for this was my friend Greeny’s jukebox, installed in his home, which I though was really cool.  It inspired me to pick up a few classics, in order to compile a wider range of musical genres on 7″.

You never, know, I may just get my own jukebox one day.

And so I’ve bought singles from record fairs, charity shops and car boot sales to complete gaps in my collection.  This has left me with a stack of 45s that I haven’t got round to playing yet.

So I had the idea for Singles Night:  I would play the records, both sides (A then B) from the top of the pile down, oldest to newest.  Regardless of genre, or what ever mood I was in.  Almost like the random playlists I’ve posted here before, but analogue.

The reader will notice that there are some cheesy, if not disgusting, purchases included amongst the gems in this list.  Everyone has some guilty pleasures; in the land of the 7″ single, my love of the truly awful can be fully exposed.

Here’s the list of what I played.  May the gods of music forgive me…

  1. Dave Edmunds – “Queen of Hearts” / “Creature from the Black Lagoon”
  2. Lipps, Inc – “Funkytown” / “All Night Dancing”
  3. Depeche Mode – “New Life” / “Shout”
  4. Carrie – “The Birds” / “Sugar Fan (Demo Version)”
  5. Deborah Harry – “I Want That Man” / “Bike Boy”
  6. Lovebug Starski – “Amityville (The House on the Hill)” / “Amityville (The House on the Hill) (Dub Mix)”
  7. Sinitta – “So Macho!” / “Cruising”
  8. Sinitta – “GTO (Radiomix)” / “GTO (Instrumental)”
  9. The Firm – “Star Trekkin'” / “Dub Trek”
  10. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – “Mame” / “Our Day Will Come”
  11. Dannii Minogue – “Show You the Way to Go” / “Show You the Way to Go (Dub)”
  12. Partners in Kryme – “Turtle Power” / “Splinter’s Tale 1” + “Splinter’s Tale 2”
  13. MC Hammer – “U Can’t Touch This (LP Version)” / “U Can’t Touch This (Instrumental)”
  14. Selena – “Shotgun” / “Shotgun (Instrumental Version)”
  15. Roxy Music – “Jealous Guy” / “To Turn You On”
  16. Senseless Things – “Hold It Down” / “Crucial Juvenalia”
  17. The Silent Underdog – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag” / Pigbag – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag”
  18. The Beach Boys – “Breakaway” / “Celebrate the News”
  19. Black Box – “Ride On Time Massive Mix (Remix)” / “Ride On Time Epsom Mix (Remix)”
  20. Genesis – “Invisible Touch” / “The Last Domino”
  21. Quincy Jones – “Razzamatazz (Edit)” / “Velas”
  22. Hawkwind – “Silver Machine” / “Silver Machine (Full Version)” + “Psychedelic Warlords”
  23. David Bowie – “Sorrow” / “Amsterdam”

I could write notes about pretty much every one of those songs to elaborate on why they’re in my collection.  Some are classics – Bowie, Hawkwind, Beach Boys etc. and need no introduction.

But as a means of explanation for some of the really ripe songs, let me say this: Sinitta and Dannii are in my collection ‘cos they’re well fit.

Oh, and “Turtle Power” is an awesome song and needs to be heard again!

I hope you enjoyed that playlist, reader.  I certainly did, and there will be more of this in the future.

Cats Playlist

Cats!  I love ’em!

They’re crazy, cute, playful and lovable.  They’re agile and graceful and beautiful.  But most of all, they are loyal little companions who, despite their reputation, are full of affection.

To honour my furry feline friends – past, present and future – I collated another one of my themed playlists.  This collection of songs all have a connection to cats in some way, and create an eclectic compilation that crosses categories.

You can compile a similar list, and I hope you and your cat enjoy!

  1. Mongo Santamaria – “El Pussy Cat”
  2. The Cure – “Love Cats”
  3. Johnny Cash – “Mean Eyed Cat”
  4. Barney Kessel – “Something for Cat”
  5. The Presidents of the United States of America – “Kitty”
  6. The James Taylor Quartet – “Faster Pussycat”
  7. Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut”
  8. Hanna-Barbera – “Top Cat (Main Title)”
  9. Howlin’ Wolf – “I Ain’t Superstitious”
  10. Tom Jones – “What’s Ne w Pussycat?”
  11. Marty Paich – “The Cat”

    My cat, Jenna

  12. Ted Nugent – “Cat Scratch Fever”
  13. Primus – “Tommy the Cat”
  14. Jacknife Lee – “Here Kitty Kitty”
  15. Rolling Stones – “Stray Cat Blues”
  16. Pete Moore & His Orchestra – “Cat Walk”
  17. Alice Cooper – “Gutter Cat vs. The Jets”
  18. Beyonce – “Kitty Kat”
  19. Hanna Barbera – “Top Cat (Underscore)”
  20. Devo – “Pink Pussy Cat”
  21. Danzig – “Wicked Pussycat”
  22. Celia Vaz/Friends from Rio – “Francisco Cat”
  23. Roni Size – “Mad Cat”
  24. R.E.M. – “Star Me Kitten”

Bonus points if you know why the Howlin’ Wolf track is included…

Sadly, I forgot to add Nina Simone’s “Feline Good” to the list…

Till next time: ciao, cat lovers!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #10

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 2nd December 2016

“Another Vinyl Night, Daddy?” my six year old daughter asked.  Yes, sweetie, another!  After a bit of a quiet stretch, there seems to have been a little more vinyl action recently.  Well I ain’t complaining!

Back to the Queen’s Head in Mold for another Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, arranged/organised by Halcyon Dreams and VOD music.  You know the routine by now: play a 15 minute set of whatever tunes you like, vinyl only.

I travelled up with my good pal Brother Adam.  We got to the pub nice and early and had some food before the music started.  Happy to report that the food was very good indeed – I ordered BBQ pulled pork tacos, and they were mighty fine!

Next up, it was my turn on the decks.  This time I played the following:

Revolting Cocks – Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?

I was in the mood for slaying with some off the wall crazy tunes.  Revolting Cocks (or RevCo, if you’re in polite company) are an offshoot of Industrial giants Ministry, so this take on the old Rod Stewart cheese fest was sure gonna rock the house.  Imagine the seventies original put in a blender with sleazy guitars and a big, head throbbing beat and you’re most of the way there.  Ideal for any strip club.  This song can be found on the “Linger Ficken’ Good” album, though my version was from a clear vinyl 12″ that came in a liquid filled plastic sleeve.  The liquid looks very dodgy.

Vince Taylor – Brand New Cadillac

Absolute classic old school rockabilly mayhem from Vince Taylor, this version is from a recent acquisition called “Rockabilly’s Gravest Hits”.  That record is well worth the money.  I originally heard The Clash’s cover version on their “London Calling” album; years later I wound up jamming this song in a band practice.  It’s highly addictive, full throttle rock and roll and I love it. dz

Dread Zeppelin – Heartbreaker (At the End of Lonely Street)

For anyone not in the know, Dread Zeppelin specialise in reggae styled covers of Led Zeppelin songs.  With an Elvis impersonator on vocals.  This song, from a 12″ single, is a mash-up of Zep’s “Heartbreaker”, with “Heartbreak Hotel” thrown in for good measure.  Great fun and surprisingly good – the novelty factor works well on this number.

So there you have it – another great Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  As it was the Christmas special, there was a buffet to enjoy as well as the great music.  Thanks to everyone, it was a great night.  Looking forward to more in 2017!

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

Florence: the Jukebox

IMG_6327Forget using your super smart, internet enabled portable phone as a means of playing music.  And forget iPods, too – sadly the swines at Apple have decided to sacrifice their master product, in order to concentrate on their vile mutant phone.  My mate Greeny has a much better music playing machine than any of those.

Greeny has a jukebox.

The jukebox is named Florence.  After Florence and the Machine, as she’s a machine, obviously.  Florence stands proudly in the corner of the lounge, neither dominating the room or sitting back like a wall flower.  But Florence has presence: when the lights are on and the tunes are spinning, you will be drawn magnetically to this wondrous device.

He’s been collecting 7 inch singles since he were a lad, has Greeny.  Now Florence is a treasure trove packed full of delightful vinyl gems.  There’s a wild variety of musical genres in Florence, spanning the decades.  She’s regularly re-stocked and/or has the records switched out and replaced with others, keeping the music selection fresh and entrancing.IMG_6330

Florence holds around 84 records.  Don’t forget that there’s a song on side A and B, so that’s a generous amount of music to enjoy.

It’s a lot of fun gathering around the jukebox in Greeny’s front room, with a few beers and spinning some records.  I would love one of my own, one day – though they cost a few hundred quid, so it’s unlikely.  I’m collecting a few cool 7 inch singles just in case, though…

Here’s a list of the records that are currently stocked inside Florence.  Remember Greeny has to rotate the records, as he has far more than this!  Which songs would you choose to play?

And if you’re interested, this jukebox is a Rowe AMI RI-3.

The tracks:

  • AC/DC – a. Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/Big Balls b. The Jack
  • Billy Paul – a. Me & Mrs Jones b. Your Song
  • Blind Melon – a. No Rain b. No Bidness/I Wonder
  • Blondie – a. Rapture b. Walk Like Me
  • Blue Swede – a. Hooked On a Feeling b. Never My Love
  • Bob Dylan – a. Subterranean Homesick Blues b. She Belongs To Me
  • Bruce Springsteen – a. 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) b. Part Man, Part Monkey
  • Catatonia – a. Road Rage b. I’m Cured
  • Chris Isaak – a. Wicked Game b. Cool Cat Walk
  • Crash Test Dummies – a. Afternoons & Coffeespoons b. In the Days of the Caveman (Live)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – a. Bad Moon Rising b. Lodi
  • DNA feat. Suzanne Vega – a. Tom’s Diner b. Acapella
  • Duran Duran – a. The Wild Boys b. (I’m Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement (1984)
  • Echo & The Bunnymen – a. The Killing Moon b. Do It Clean
  • Elton John – a. Tiny Dancer b. Daniel
  • Elvis Presley – a. Suspicious Minds b. You’ll Think of Me
  • Everything Everything – a. Cough Cough b. A.D.
  • Faith No More – a. I’m Easy b. Be Aggressive
  • Fleetwood Mac – a. Oh Well (Part 1) b. Oh Well (Part 2)
  • Florence & The Machine – a. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) b. Are You Hurting
  • Franz Ferdinand – a. Take Me Out b. Truck Stop
  • Glen Campbell – a. Wichita Lineman b. Back in the Race
  • Guns’n’Roses – a. Patience b. Rocket Queen
  • Huey Lewis & The News – a. The Power of Love b. Do You Believe in Love?
  • Ian Dury & The Blockheads – a. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick b. There Ain’t Half Been
  • Iggy Pop – a. Lust For Life b. Home
  • Jimi Hendrix – a. Purple Haze b. Foxy Lady
  • Joan Jett – a. I Love Rock’n’Roll b. The French Song
  • Johnny Cash – a. A Boy Named Sue b. Folsom Prison Blues
  • Journey – a. Don’t Stop Believin’ b. Natural Thing
  • Julee Cruise – a. Falling b. Twin Peaks Theme
  • Kate Bush – a. Running Up That Hill b. Under The Ivy
  • Katrina & The Waves – a. Walking On Sunshine b. Going Down to Liverpool
  • Kiss – a. God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You II b. Junior’s Gone WIld
  • Led Zeppelin – a. Rock and Roll b. Four Sticks
  • Lemonheads – a. Mrs. Robinson b. Being Around
  • Lenny Kravitz – a. Always On The Run b. Instrumental
  • Live – a. I Alone b. Pain Lies On The Riverbed
  • Lou Reed – a. Walk On The Wild Side b. Perfect Day
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – a. Freebird b. Sweet Home Alabama/Double Trouble
  • Magazine – a. Shot By Both Sides b. My Mind Ain’t So Open
  • Neil Young – a. My My, Hey Hey b. Hey Hey, My My
  • Nena – a. 99 Red Balloons b. Ich Bleib Im Bett
  • New Order – a. Blue Monday b. Beach Buggy
  • Norman Greenbaum – a. Spirit in the Sky b. Milk Cow
  • Otis Redding – a. (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay b. Respect/Mr. Pitiful
  • Paul Simon – a. You Can Call Me Al b. Gumboots
  • Powder – a. Afrodisiac b. Shave Me
  • Prince – a. When Doves Cry b. 17 Days
  • Propaganda – a. Duel b. Jewel
  • Queen – a. Don’t Stop Me Now b. In Only Seven Days
  • R.E.M. – a. Crush With Eyeliner b. Instrumental
  • Regina Spektor – a. Fidelity b. Music Box
  • Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – a. It Takes Two b. Instrumental
  • Rolling Stones – a. Gimme Shelter b. Sympathy for the Devil
  • Roxy Music – a. Virginia Plain b. The Numberer
  • Spitting Image – a. The Chicken Song b. (I’ve Never Met) A Nice South African
  • Stealers Wheel – a. Stuck in the Middle b. Jose
  • Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – a. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) b. Another Journey
  • Stevie Wonder – a. Superstition b. You’ve Got It Bad Girl
  • Stone Temple Pilots – a. Plush b. Sin
  • Super Furry Animals – a. Northern Lites b. Rabid Dog
  • Supergrass – a. Richard III b. Nothing More’s Gonna Get In My Way
  • Talk Talk – a. It’s My Life b. Does Caroline Know
  • The Babys – a. Isn’t It Time b. Give Me Your Love
  • The Beatles – a. Hey Jude b. Revolution
  • The Breeders – a. Cannonball b. Divine Hammer
  • The Buggles – a. Video Killed the Radio Star b. Kid Dynamo
  • The Doors – a. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) c. Take It As It Comes
  • The Housemartins – a. Happy Hour b. The Mighty Ship
  • The Kinks – a. You Really Got Me b. All Day and All of the Night
  • The Knack – a. My Sharona b. Let Me Out
  • The Mamas & The Papas – a. California Dreamin’ b. Somebody Groovy
  • The Smiths – a. How Soon is Now? b. Well I Wonder
  • The Trashmen – a. Surfin’ Bird b. Liar Liar
  • The Undertones – a. Teenage Kicks b. Emergency Cases
  • The Who – a. Who Are You b. Had Enough
  • Tori Amos – a. Cornflake Girl b. Sister Janet
  • T-Rex – a. Jeepster b. Life’s a Gas
  • U2 – a. Stay (Far Away, So Close) b. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  • Van Halen – a. Why Can’t This Be Love b. Get Up
  • Vic Reeves & Wonderstuff – a. Dizzy b. Oh Mr. Hairdresser
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – a. Maps b. Countdown/Miles Away

IMG_6325

Tragedy – Gig Review

Tragedy

Wednesday 9th March 2016

The Live Rooms, Chester

It’s my first gig of the year, and another visit to the ever reliable Live Rooms in Chester for some rock’n’roll.  I’ve had a few rockin’ parties at this venue, but this night was destined for greatness.  The exquisite Disco Metal of the one and only Tragedy was scheduled to set the sky on fire with dazzling party anthems.

Finding common ground between the opposing world of heavy metal and disco was never going to be an easy task.  They’re two genres of music that repel like the same sides of a magnet.  But with Tragedy, the water and oil can, and do, mix.  It’s a hard rockin’ combination of guitar and high pitched disco vocals in a totally crazy metal tribute to the Bee Gees (and beyond).

A heavy metal tribute to the Bee Gees is only the beginning, you see.  As well as Brothers Gibb classics like “Staying Alive” and “Night Fever”, their set is expanded to take in other disco and pop classics.  The mutated songs feature glimpses of riffs from Van Halen, Pantera and more.  One of my highlights was the ridiculously fun idea of warping the intro from Slayer’s “Raining Blood” into “It’s Raining Men”!

Part of the fun of this Tragedy gig was spotting chunks of recognisable metal riffs, and then being dumbfounded by how the band weave them into a late 70’s disco style.  The mash up is suitably gory too – these gruesome Frankensteins have no qualms when it comes to hacking limbs from one sweet pop track and stitching them maniacally to a heavy metal corpse.

With a light show and numerous skits introducing the songs (not to mention Lance the towel boy bumbling across the stage) it’s all very entertaining.  And professional, without being soulless.

For any metal fan with a sense of humour, Tragedy are well worth seeing.  You’ll have a hard time finding a more bonkers night out anywhere.  Great fun!

The Tragedy website is here.

The Live Rooms website is hereTragedy

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #4

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 2nd October 2015

For this month’s Bring Your Own Vinyl Night, I decided to have a theme for my set.  Although it was only early in the month of October, I decided to opt for a Halloween theme.  My music choices would have a horror element, or something dark and macabre.

If you’re not familiar with vinyl night, here’s the basic outline:

  • Hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, turn up and play a fifteen minute set of songs – vinyl only, no CD’s, mp3s, tapes or anything else.
  • Put your name on the list and wait your turn, have a few drinks, listen to the collection of tunes played by other vinyl fans.
  • There are two turntables plus mixing equipment to play your set, plus assistance if you need technical help.

Adam was first up tonight, his set list went as follows:

  • Amen Corner – (If Paradise is) Half As Nice
  • Los Lobos – C’mon Let’s Go
  • Jim Steinman – Surf’s Up
  • Guns’n’Roses – You Could Be Mine

Then it was my turn…

Bobby “Boris” PIckett and the Crypt-Kickers – Monster Mash

What better way to start than with this ghoulish classic?  I found this album a few months ago in a charity shop, and couldn’t believe my luck.  It was only a couple of quid, and worth the investment even though I don’t usually spend more than a pound!  This is of course the sixties gem that sound checks various monsters, with Pickett impersonating Karloff (and Lugosi too).  It’s great fun and essential for any Halloween party!

The Damned – Nasty

The first time I ever heard the Damned was when “Eloise” got to number 3 in the charts.  The second time was this fast paced, tongue in cheek ode to horror movies, on the brilliant Young Ones horror spoof episode “Nasty”.  The Damned appear and play this song in the Young Ones’ kitchen.  I was hooked straight away, saved up some money and bought an album with both tracks on it.  Given the exposure this song had, it constantly amazes me that “Nasty” was relegated to a B-side and hardly ever shows up on Damned compilation albums.  I’ve seen the band live more times than any other, but only saw this song performed for the first time a few weeks ago!  Anyway, the Damned are another essential for a Halloween theme.  Still a great song.

Danzig – Sistinas

Although not a horror related song as such, I couldn’t resist the chance to play something by the Dark Lord of rock himself, Danzig.  Instead of a more obvious bone rattling heavy rock number, I chose this incredible ballad that was hidden away on Danzig III: How the Gods Kill.  Glenn shows off his great vocal abilities here on a song that is more Roy Orbison than Black Sabbath.  Appropriately dark and wind swept, this is a morose beauty of a song.

The Misfits – Vampira

To be honest, I was spoiled for choices for a horror theme, there are tons of songs I could’ve played.  Despite risking a Glenn Danzig overdose, I just had to spin a Misfits song.  This band took the horror punk template established by the Damned, the Ramones and the Cramps and ran with it, off into a creepy cemetery populated by every 1950’s B-movie monster ever.  “Walk Among Us” is one of my favourite albums ever, and this short sharp song dedicated to proto Goth babe Vampira is one of their best.

So there you have it – another triumphant evening for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  There were old songs, new songs, obscure and obvious songs.  There’s always something to make you go away and research another band, that’s the beauty of these nights.  My personal favourite was hearing “Gut Feeling” by Devo!  Already looking forward to the next one.  A theme?  We’ll see…

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all of the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Rancid Rock

In which our intrepid adventurers explore a world of oddly flavoured confectionery…

For our recent trip to Sci Fi Weekender in north Wales, my compadres and I were well stocked with food and drink.  Along with the usual savoury food stuffs, there was plenty of sweet: chocolate, cakes, Twinkies.  All the good stuff.

And yet, with the reckless abandon of enthusiasm and the bravado of beer, we were destined for far murkier waters.

Some time previously, I had purchased some novelty rock on a trip to Rhyl.  You know what rock is – long cylindrical sticks; usually peppermint flavoured; either chewy or (as the name suggests) hard and brittle.  Brightly coloured sticks of sugar, the quintessential seaside souvenir.  IMG_3995

It was three sticks for a quid, and I bought these flavours:

  • Chicken Tikka
  • Fish’n’Chips
  • Cookie Dough

After a few beers one night, I decided it was time to experiment with these substances and see what the effects were.  Here are my observations.

Chicken Tikka

Now I love Indian food.  However Chicken Tikka rock is not to die for.  Imagine, if you will, the miserable surprise of sweet tasting rock being replaced by a vaguely spicy Asian flavour.  My brain thought a cruel trick was being played on it.  The rock was chewy rather than hard.  The taste was bland; with a strange, mild spiciness.  Like licking a stick of celery that had been waved near a curry flavoured Pot Noodle.  The only good thing is that this rock wasn’t hot spicy at all, just leaving an insipid warmth on the tongue.  Totally vile.

Disgusto rating: 3/5

Fish’n’Chips

Next up was the Fish’n’Chips flavour.  Now what could go wrong – the amalgamation of two British seaside classics, rock that tastes of fish and chips?  More like what couldn’t go wrong.  The chewy rock was strangely missing the traditional sweetness, instead it was a truly bland flavour with a remote hint of ancient battered cod.  But the smell of it was utterly putrid – a million maritime nightmares sheltering in the salty cove of your mouth.  Plain sailing this was not – Fish’n’Chips rock is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Like that time when, as a kid, you fell over while paddling in the sea; and got a mouth  full of salty seawater, seaweed, and dead crab.

Disgusto rating: 5/5

Cookie Dough

After the previous monstrosity, I was actually looking forward to Cookie Dough flavour.  Surely this one would be OK?  After all, the previous two varieties suffered from the juxtaposition of sweet becoming savoury.  No such luck.  Cookie Dough, despite being generally fantastic when added to ice cream, does no favours for rock.  It just tasted of aniseed.  Big disappointment.  Like being given an Easter Egg that looks great, but tastes of punch in the face.

Disgusto rating: 2/5

All in all not an experience I would like to repeat.  Though it was pretty funny…

Here’s what my friends had to say about the whole sorry affair:

Adam: “They smelt like the arse hole of a dead badger and pretty sure that’s what they tasted like too….  I can still taste it now late at night when it’s quiet in the house and I’m alone in my thoughts.”

Greeny: “I only tried the fish one, I didn’t dare try any others after that cos I wanted to die.  It tasted like cat shit and feet, wrapped in a thong that Jordan had worn for a month.  And it smelt pretty much like that too.”