Archive for May, 2012

The Answer. Manchester 2012

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The band            The Answer
The venue          Manchester Academy
Location             Manchester
Date                      13/03/2012

Back in February 2009 I took Bean counter to Paris to see ACDC at the Bercy stadium. Supporting the main act that night were an Irish band by the name of the Answer. I was impressed enough by the support to decide if they ever toured the UK as a headline in their own right I would go along and see them. As luck would have it in mid March 2012 they headlined at the Manchester academy along with a support act of their own and me and BC went to see them. In fairness it should be pointed it was a double headline act but the Answer finished the night and as far as I am concerned that means topping the bill.

If you not seen or heard of the Answer they are a 4 piece full on rock outfit consisting of drums, bass, guitar and vocals with the ability to bang out a good blues track every now and then. The vocalist is a bundle of energy in the Angus Young mould of never standing still and managing to look like cousin IT from the Adams family with St Vitas dance. He dived into the audience during “Preacher” and managed to get everyone around him to sit in a circle. This sort of thing is quite normal up north and does not happen a lot in the Hammersmith Odeon. The set list consisted of something old, don’t follow me and too far gone with lots of new stuff from the revival album. As a night it was pure rock with the venue packed to the rafters enhancing the atmosphere. I was jumping up and down like an 18 year old on crack by the third song. If you have not seen this outfit, go and see them now before they reach stadium level where they will be the size of matchsticks. I am sure you will not be disappointed. Check out their website for more details http://www.theanswer.ie/

Of course the crowd had been warmed up by the previous band the Union.  Formed by Luke Morley thunders ex guitarist this is a powerful rock band with a couple of albums under their belt. Check out their debut album Union and the follow up Sirens song.  The vocalist (Pete Shoulder) dominates the stage with a throaty powerful voice and the ability to tell a tale. His story of how the band were stopped by the police on the way down to Manchester and probably faced a hefty fine on their return went down well. I was in party mood long before they left the stage. I had not heard of this band before but their albums are on my Xmas wish list.  http://www.theuniononline.com/site/

Well before we arrived and shortly after booking the tickets the pair of us decided we would stay the night in Manchester so we could have a drink and something to eat rather than face the drive home and the associated traffic. What we required was a place not too far away from the Academy and not too noisy. And so it was that I stumbled upon the Martin Luther king hotel which fitted in with what we needed and with the price being right I booked for one night. I never gave it a moment’s thought until we arrived in the grounds of the hotel and I thought this looks like an old college or school. And so it was that I had booked us into a theological retreat. I suppose the name should have given it away but I just assumed it was a trendy name like Mandela walks which are given out randomly by the “right on” PC brigade.

I can tell you it in is fact a charming place and if you ever want peace and quiet within the inner city this is the place to go. I could see me staying there for a couple of days to recharge my batteries and unwind but probably not for much longer than that. With an epic concert and a comfortable bed it really was a great night.

Pinstripe terrorists

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Yes yes I know it has been some time but there are mitigating circumstances. Firstly things happen so fast that by the time I get chance to write them down they are already old news. Secondly my ISP YAK YAK has gone on the blink again. Honestly they should be called MUTE MUTE. They are indeed the worst ISP I have ever had. Ok I can hear you saying why does he not change provider then? Well, the location of Chateau Gastanbury means that the nearest exchange is miles away and the copper cables will not get me any better speed regardless of what ever ISP I choose to go with. Secondly each one wants a contract of a minimum of 12 months and in the case of BT it is 18 months. This means if I move I will be paying for a contract I cannot use and cannot get out of. So I am stuck with the worst service provider in the UK. Don’t even get me started on ringing up their helpdesk. The screen apes read from a script and then after an hour or so proudly tell you they cannot fix the problem but they are moving you up to a level two service engineer who will call me back but they can’t say when. I hope YAK YAK go into liquidation and each screen ape ends up signing on they are as useless as the company they work for.

At long last the short cold winter months have finally gone to be replaced by the cold damp if slightly longer spring months. To be fair there have been one or two good days since the solstice but the thermostat on the heating system tells the real story and the gas is burning constantly to keep the house to a reasonable temperature. Yet more work has taken place at Chateau Ghastanbury and the bay window over the living room has been re-felted and sealed. There really is not much more to do, it is a case of finding the inspiration and that has been sadly lacking during the current financial climate which shows no sign of abating despite what the financial commentators of the day say.

Just to prove spring has arrived my old friends the collared doves are back and they are battling it out with a squadron of Magpies for the right to live in the silver birch tree at the bottom of the Tilers garden. Currently the Magpies are winning on sheer numbers alone however Genghis and the local cats seemed to have ganged up on the Magpies as well. When I was little I used to think that Magpies were lovely creatures but now I have come to hate them. They are loud, brash, bullying and cruel showing no mercy to anything that stands in their way. The only thing I can credit them with is the fact they will take on creatures much bigger than themselves, indeed they are no cowards.

In the “could not make it up” stakes, the financial affairs of Europe are in such a state they hardly cause concern any more. Yes the Greeks have had two bail outs so far and we know there will be more, the betting is on when Spain and Italy will present the begging bowl. The great experiment called the Euro zone single currency looks doomed to failure. This in itself seems to be a generational problem as the youngest in our society do not seem to understand what the fuss is about and the older ones cannot understand why anyone even tried to create a single currency across so many foreign and diverse cultures and financial systems. It probably sounded great when someone thought we could all have North European wages, Southern European hours, Irish taxes and East European prices.

Should any of my friends who left these shores for sunnier climes and fame and fortune doubt the decision they made, let me remind them of the price of Petrol in the UK. It is £6.31 a gallon. That is the cheapest I can find it in any of the areas around here. When the Tiler left here it was under £4 a gallon. In some places it is considerably more and a threatened tanker drivers strike induced panic buying and over three days most garages ran out of fuel. On more than one occasion I could not take Rhonda out for a spin because I could not obtain any fuel. If the price of petrol is causing palpitations wait till you hear about gas and electricity. Four years ago my combined gas and electricity bill were around 450-500 pounds a year. Today they are over a £1000 in spite of insulation and the sparing use of each commodity. It is hard to understand why prices have risen so much. I think everyone understands about inflation and we all expect a small increase in prices year on however commodities have rocketed beyond inflation leading to a belief that prices are increasing due to speculators whims.

This would put commodity brokers and speculators on a par with bankers in the popularity stakes but the reality is that they are lining their own pockets at the expense of those who can least afford it. Tales of tankers anchored off shore waiting for petrol prices to rise before they land and discharge their cargo are not uncommon around oil terminals and ports. Wheat and flour is being stored until prices rise to maximize profits for the lucky few. Freedom fighters and martyrs may be causing mayhem but in the background is a bunch of commodity brokers slowly starving the West into submission, indeed they may as well be classed as a pinstripe terrorists.