Wednesday, 22 September 2010

What was I thinking? Shit outfits through the ages.

When I was about 18 I was the biggest chav this side of Walthamstow, and that's saying a lot. I used to wear fake diamonds in my ears, put a flash of bleach through my spiked gelled hair, go on a sunbed 16 times a week, listen to Ja Rule, wear Reebok Classics, go out looking for trouble........ I could carry on. I was Essex through and through (even though I have always said I hate Essex boys) I think I was spending too much time in Chingford, which truly is the toilet bowl of 'North London.' It's not in London, it's Essex, and I don't care what anyone says. By the way, if any of that description above reminds you of anyone, then they are a dick, and if it reminds you of you, then you're a dick.

University changed me a little bit. I laid off the sunning and started to listen to proper music. Music with a guitar. Music with deep lyrics. Music made by people with a bit of talent. The DJ Luck and MC Neat tapes were thrown away and Bob Dylan began to sing on my Walkman. They were better times. I was no longer shouted at in the street because I was trying to look like David Beckham. They were happier times.

Then I started to dress a little bit weird. Maybe I was trying to hide my many insecurities by looking like a twat. I really don't know. Anyway, as I was going through facebook this morning I noticed a few outfits that were absolutely awful. So maybe you chavs out there, with diamantes sparkling in your ears, can laugh your tiny little meat head brains out at some of the shit things I've worn.

Let's begin.

This beaut of a jacket was bought down Carnaby Street in a shop called 'The Face'. I think it cost me about £200 (yes, I know, I was bent over and raped) I wore it to a Topman party thinking I was the next Daniel Craig. The tube journey from Walthamstow to Oxford Circus was a long 22 minutes. Children were crying on their mother's laps, rudeboys actually laughed and left me alone because I was such an easy target, people on their way home from work looked at me with disgust (their taxes had paid for this lovely blazer) I think I had about 7 pints in the Goose for dutch courage. Needless to say that was the only time I wore that jacket, a kid bought it off me for £125 a few months later (it felt good raping someone else)

This is when I went away to Europe for a few months. I truly thought I was a hippy, I wasn't. I didn't brush my hair, I didn't shave, I put a massive orange headband on, I bought a cotton 'hippy' bag, I smoked roll ups, I had my hair braided, I wore a lot of beads, I slept in a van, I drank cheap lager. I was a prick. However, to this day I really do wish I grew up in the 60s. I would love to have been a hippy, but my mum isn't a wayward artist, my dad isn't a stoner who makes a living by playing music on the corner of Hoe Street. They are teachers. Boring I know.

Wow. Big hair, very big hair. I think I may have just seen Russell Brand in Highgate a few weeks earlier. I really don't know. Anyway, I coated the hairspray on, I back combed with a ferocity that hasn't been seen since the early 80s. Looking back, I think it was a mistake. I remember turning up at the pub to cries of laughter. My head looked massive, maybe it matched my ego. I shocked out this look for a few months, until one morning when I woke up and looked at the back of my head in the mirror. Balding. The Bobby Charlton comb over had to go. I miss it every now and again.

This look was during my Carnaby Street days. Days when I didn't eat. Well, maybe a bowl of soup here and there. No, I'm not pretending to be one of those druggie pricks who says 'Ah man I was so wasted all the time I used to live on cigarettes and alcohol.' I just didn't eat. Anyway, the tight jeans, very low tee shirt, shit waist coat, with shit hair and lots of eye makeup really does look horrendous. I'm about the same size as the girl mannequin next to me. Oh, and the white cuban heeled beatle boots! Well, I'd probably still wear them today but I have no heel and an ankle the size of Vanessa Feltz, so I couldn't pull them on. Fucking lorry. Shame.

We're getting near to the end of my portfolio of shame. Above is when I arrived in Bangkok, looking somewhat malnutritioned and eager for a hiding of a guy heavier than 9 stone. The 'McShit' size zero vest was not a comment on capitalism or the global domination of a fast food restaurant, I don't know what it was for. Teamed with white jeans and too much pubic hair, this photograph represents all that I was, a bit of a bell end. Had a good time in Bangkok though; not many propositions off prossies, but to be fair, I did look overtly homosexual.

And to finish off the gallery, here I am looking like a chav. Like many trendsetters do when harping back to the 60s Mod look or the 80s Glam look; I'm reliving my 90s c*nt look. Horrible bright blue shirt, cut off jeans (and probably a pair of Patrick Cox Wannabe backless shoes on my feet) this photograph finishes off my blog very nicely indeed. Girls, form an orderly queue.

Thanks for reading. Anyone got a job for me? I'll gut pigs, I'll test suppositories. Anything.

Spare change guv'ner?

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Nothing to lose with the Van Doos.


We've all heard that age old story before, young musicians moving towards the bright lights of New York City, kids from Maine travelling through the Wild West to settle at the golden shores of LA. All of them chasing a dream, a dream to be somebody. It was similar circumstances with the 'Van Doos.' A trio of lads from the sleepy hills of Yorkshire, packing up their lives' in their rusty Volkswagen Beetle and cruising down the motorway to the fresh air of the big smoke, London Town. And they are chasing a dream, a dream that I think will come true.

I first met Mr Simon Hutchinson in a pub just off Oxford Circus. He was an interesting chap with a glint in his eye. Sporting a Beatles hair cut and wearing drainpipe jeans teamed with a fitted corduroy blazer; Simon looked like a mix between Brian Jones and Jarvis Cocker. There was an aura around the lad; guys wanted to chat to him, girls liked to look at him. We chatted over pints of Alpine, talked about sixties music, smoked cigarettes and generally got on very well. A Fine Art graduate and down to earth guy, I knew I wanted to keep in contact with the lad and hear some of the songs he was writing with his band.

The original trio of the 'Van Doos' consisted of Simon, Louis and Charlie, all Yorkshire boys with an affinity for the same type of music. The 'Van Doos' name came from a Canadian Military Regiment called the 'Royal Twenty Second', its nickname being the 'Van Doos' after the French 'Vingt Deux.' A name that struck a chord with all the boys.

The 'Van Doos' has a gritty edge to the demo tracks they have produced. A sound that is very different to the many average bands floating around the airwaves today.

'Under the Noise' merges a psychedelic background with a more mainstream vocal front. A sound that shows a maturity and evolutionary quality in its construction, proving the fact that the 'Van Doos' is developing as the London music scene changes.

'Tenterhooks' has a more rock 'n' roll feel to its melody. 'And when you stop moving, I stop moving too, you put me on tenterhooks.' The indie pop of yesteryear seems to have been updated with a 'Van Doos' edge. A melodramatic sound delivered with toe tapping abandon.

'Goodbye Love' has a blues undercurrent lifted by the presence of Simon's voice. A slowed down piece commenting on a lost love that 'hypnotised' Simon under her spell. The song comes to an abrupt end, much like the failed relationship being written about. 'Goodbye Love' adds a depth to the 'Van Doos' catalogue, a wisdom that only comes with age.

Most up and coming bands like to state influences and harp on about bands that 'changed their lives' as they were growing up. Simon, on the other hand, cannot pin point a particular musician that inspired the 'Van Doos' sound. 'I just want to write good songs. Trends in music come and go but a good song will always be a good song, whether it's Abba or Metallica!' Simon has always been and will always be his own man.

There is a passion in the 'Van Doos' music. A drive to succeed and a willingness to do what it takes to hit the big time. As Simon argues; they are individual and forward thinking. The 'Van Doos' do not harp back to an era when the spirit of rock 'n' roll was alive and kicking; they are pushing the boundaries and taking huge steps forward. I for one will be checking their gigging schedules and will be trawling the pubs and bars of East London to hear them perform.

The 'Van Doos' will hopefully be playing at a venue near you in the next month or so, and with a digital release on Young and Lost's website, their sound will hopefully be hitting the mainstream very soon. So watch this space and listen to their myspace- They're a band that is going places, and hopefully I'll be there to witness their rise.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The best and worst of Bestival.

Summer in England is generally pretty shitty, but without question we can boast the best festival season in the world. We can reel them off; Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, V, Love Box, Hop Farm, Field Day and many more. Without these little gatherings of music extravaganza, I would most probably be scratching my balls under an umbrella somewhere, praying for the dripping wet sausages sulking on my barbecue to eventually cook in the minus three degree heat. Our summers may not be respected around the world, but no-one can deny that our music kicks global arse. And the closing festival of the season didn't let me down.
Bestival 2010, held on that little piece of wight rock floating about 40 minutes away from Portsmouth in the English channel, was a fancy dress spectacle to behold. Sane people could walk around dressed as Tony Blair's book without fear of reprisal. I thought I even saw a Rolf Harris costume down there, until I found out he was hitting the main stage on Saturday afternoon! Fair play to the man, he brought the house down with a rendition of 'Waltzing Matilda' set to the English national anthem.
Friday night saw Dizzee Rascal headline the main stage. He received a tremendous reception and did put on a truly high voltage performance. However, I was left feeling as cold as the Isle of Wight early evening air. Even as he belted out hit tune after hit tune, there was no real connection between artist and audience, I found myself dancing along to Dizzee as Bestival Radio blared out his tunes the morning after, but remained still during his live performance. Weird, I know.
We spent most of our days pissed in the Drambuie tent only leaving our wicker chairs to catch a set here and there. 'Darwin Deez' were one of my highlights of the four day weekend. They literally jumped onto the Spider stage as the Saturday sun was disappearing under the grey clouds. Belting out hits, such as 'Up in the clouds' and 'Constellations', the lads gave a high energy performance. Adding dance routines in between songs, a comical element finished off a polished routine. It's amazing how Darwin Smith, who has a haircut that resembles a Jewish boy with a perm, seemed to radiate a sex appeal that wasn't lost on my girlfriend.
I also managed to catch 'Cornershop' as they were just finishing 'Brim Full of Asha.' That took me straight back to the nineties, when I was a jumped up little chav in green Levi's and Kappa jumper. The Big Top remained quite empty throughout their set and only really filled up over the weekend when Wild Beasts and the XX stormed the stage. It was the XX's first show since their Mercury Prize victory, and fights broke out in the tent as fans tried to get in.
My favourite outfit of the weekend was the gingerbread man from 'Shrek'. He was strolling around the site being mobbed by girls as he went by, even I couldn't control myself. The guy underneath must have felt like Keith Richards, and at about 4am the next morning I saw him smacked out of his face on lines of icing sugar in the Bollywood field.
Saturday night saw Brian Ferry and Roxy Music light up the main stage with a vibrant performance. Thousands of party goers surrounded the huge screens to witness an amazing show full of jaw dropping graphics and lights that etched the back of brains. They were followed by the Flaming Lips, who carried on the psychedelic trip with gusto. Michael Coyne rolled over the crowd in a huge hamster ball before returning to the stage through a haze of glitter, streamers and confetti. Not just relying on their obvious talent, the band had more drama and intrigue than most West End plays.
Even a torrential onslaught of cats and dogs from the heavens above couldn't dampen the spirits of the many Smurfs, Oompa Loompas and Mad Hatters lurking in the crowds. LCD Sound System and Hot Chip added an electronic edge to the programme, with thousands of young trendsetters piling into each other across the packed field.
Sunday saw the 'Prodigy' close the festival with a set full of raw Rock and Roll. The classics went down a storm with the over-indulged crowd. Revellers were dancing non stop for one and a half hours. Even a weekend full of rain, cheeseburgers for breakfast and laughing gas at all hours couldn't halt the bands many fans. Keith and Maxim left them wanting more. Appropriate to finish Bestival with 'Firestarter' as the closing ceremony would later spoil us with more visual spectacle.
The fairytale was ended abruptly with the burning down of the huge castle sitting on top of the Magic Meadow. It was the perfect ending to a weekend where all would find it extremely difficult to wipe off their face paint, remove their fairy wings and try to settle back into everyday life. With a showing like 2010, Bestival has all the credentials to live happily ever after.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

We all want more from Vilamoura.

It was a blustery morning on Hollywood Way. Sixteen East Londoners were stirring and the teas were flowing. It was that time of year when the Brits would be boozing abroad. Showing their thongs and doing the worm on the empty streets of Vilamoura, arguing with locals and shitting on bathroom floors, eating four McDonald's a day and swearing at Asians selling pilled up toy donkeys. It was time for the English to hit the Algarve.

At 2am in Highams Park, Jason Barra turned up at the Ford residence looking like a fourteen year old rude boy. Blazoned across his chest were the words 'Drink, Drank, Drunk,' a quote that all twenty seven year old men should be proud to wear. To enhance the hoody, 'Raw to the Core' and a one fingered gesture was embroidered into the cotton. It was truly a spectacle to behold, those words would haunt us for the rest of the holiday.

On the other end of the scale was Mr Matthew Hornsby, stylist to the stars. He teamed a pair of washed jeggings with cream vintage tee, flowing cardigan and straw hat; a pair of dark brown deck shoes kept the fashionista on trend. Standing next to Jason, we could see the do's and do not's in one room. 'Effortless chic' and 'mug your nan creep'. (Love you Jay)

The flight went without a hitch. Kate slept for two and a half hours, only to stir every now and again to call Adam a dick, Jennifer dribbled on my cardigan, Matt and Joey drank Magners after Magners and I'm sure I saw Jason eat a McDonald's (from where he got, it I do not know)

Everyone was extremely pleased with the Villa. It had a lovely games room with a big screen that played soft porn all day and night, a massive pool where spunk could hide without fear of being noticed, two barbecues where food could be undercooked, plenty of bedrooms for Tash to nap in, a bath for Matt and Joey to splash around in, a kitchen for Jason to heat up his Big Mac in and plenty of wardrobe space for Lisa to put her twenty seven outfits in. The scene was set for a week of drinking, smoking and casual arguing.

So this is what me and Adam will end up with when we make honest women of the Ford girls. It really is quite a scary thought. But what can I say? With my leg and Adam's dodgy shoulder, knee and ankle, they'll probably be pushing us around Morrisons in our wheelchairs.

The 28th of August, Kate Susan Ford's birthday! We all turned up in OAP fancy dress, what are the chances of that happening? Joey obviously got the wrong invite, turning up looking like a middle aged German porn star. Mysterious screams of 'Yar, itz good, danka,' were heard from Matt and Joey's room at silly o'clock in the morning. The birthday girl and her pale looking boyfriend performed a rendition of the Glee anthem before hurling themselves into the pool, Jason picked up a drink, drank a hell of a lot and then got so drunk he had to go to bed clenching his stomach. The toilet seat and he got on very well for the rest of the holiday. Nicola got more jealous as the days went by.

I was having so much fun that I pissed myself (trying to keep in character) then disappeared at about 10.05pm. The day had took so much out of me that I had to go and watch a spot of Countdown, have a cup of tea and put my adult nappies on.

Joey lost hair, Kate gained hair. It was all getting a bit crazy. If the first night of proper drinking was anything to go by, the wealthy people of Vilamoura were in for a rough week.

The rest of the week involved the removal of underpants and flashing of bodily organs. Matt found a very drunk Peter Andre on our games room sofa and got his arse out. One evening I got very drunk and invented a party game that I'm sure you will all be playing at Christmas with your Nan and Grandad; 'Small cock, Small arse.' It involves getting your cock and arse out and singing 'small cock, small arse.' Genius. Another hot evening Adam got his cock out, and on the final night Tash got her arse out. It truly was a holiday of maturity and relaxation.

The constant over 40's porn was a crowd pleaser. Jennifer loved the feel of wrinkly nipples on her head and Matt tried to fist the screen. There were hormones flying all over the place (it must have been the spectacle of mine and Adam's private parts flapping in the wind all week)

Matt's arse got a real airing in Vilamoura. If it wasn't tucked into a tiny pair of swim shorts, it was on show for all to see. But with an arse like that I'd probably have it hanging out all the time as well, maybe even down the Birdcage, Chingford Mount (I hear there was a Miss Birdcage 2010 competition held there recently) Matt could have held his own.

Throwing away her old lady specs and Nora Batty tights, the middle Ford cut a fine figure all week (even the gay guys were thinking about turning)

Why is it that we love buying tacky shit on holiday? If you stuck a battery in a dead hamster and told me my niece would love it, I'd probably hand over five euros. And Mrs Barra didn't let us down with this yelping ginger puppy for her baby, Harvey. I bet Jason was more than pleased to have another annoying little thing in his house (but that's enough about Nicola) Even Charlotte got involved by trying to buy a dancing donkey off a jumped up little Asian man in the Irish pub. 'First you want to buy one, then your friends say you don't want to buy one' (he was getting angry at this point) Tash tried to stick her nose in, until.................... the smash downs of all smash downs. 'Why don't you just shuuuudddddd up.' He had joined the long list of holiday immortals who would never be forgotten. If you're reading this out there funny little Asian man, I want you to play at my wedding.

I believe Kate and I were laughing because David Brennan had just moaned about how people don't take him seriously. He was overheard saying 'I'm not just all muscles,' before jumping into the swimming pool and dancing under the waterfall topless.

A white rose between two red thorns. Mr Mulhern, looking VERY Irish, donned these hula dancing teeny weeny bottoms that were found in Matt sister's suntan shop (Matt's sister wo wo wo wo, Matt's sister wo wo wo wo, she likes a bit of...............) enough of that. Matthew has obviously hit the fake tan bottles all year round, and I believe that Mr Roper is constantly burnt due to putting in fireplaces across Chingford, dangerous job but someone has to do it.

Can you guess who's arse this is? Yes, Matthew Hornsby. With cheeks flowing out over the edges and sexy tribal tattoo framing his back, Mr Hornsby could be mistaken for a Christian Dior model (Joey may think differently) He has been crowned sexiest male of the week, by me, and that's all that matters.

Looking trim, with one massive arm (the man has been working out) Mr Mulhern has been named runner up in the sexiest male contest. Lack of tan in a bottle let him down.

Quote of the week comes from a certain Miss Steward, who is looking sexy in over sized 'Drink, Drank, Drunk' hoody (which should hit the stores Autumn/Winter 2022) As she lay by the swimming pool, she was overheard saying 'I like to be wearing a flower in my hair when I get out of the water so that people don't think I'm a lesbian.' For that, Miss Steward wins 'sexiest lesbian of the week'.

And now for the rest of the Vilamoura 2010 Awards, which will be given to the winners at the Obelisk, Chingford Mount on Dec 32nd of this year.

Miss Tasha Barra wins 'rear of the year' for her final night antics in which myself and Adam tapped her arse in front of amazed onlookers.

Charlotte scooped the 'I need to go on an adventure' award for never being able to sit still for longer than two minutes.

Kate Susan Ford wins the 'best video' award for girating in front of the camera whilst wearing old lady shoes and getting an arse spanking from a middle aged man in socks and sandals.

Mandy Miles wins 'Brit of the year' for actually dating an Australian person. Chris should be over the moon that he has captured a lady from his Motherland.

No biasty here. Jennifer wins the 'sexiest female' award for constantly looking amazing. End of.

I have given myself the 'most likely to be run over by a low flying plane' award because I probably will next week.

Joey wins 'husband of the year' for letting Matt get his cock and arse out at any occasion without fear of reprisal.

Nicola Barra wins 'wife of the year' for letting her husband eat four Mcdonalds a day without pointing out the health consequences.

As we know, Matt scooped 'sexiest male.'

Mr Roper won the Nelson Mandela 'patience of a saint' award for smiling at Charlotte whenever the ants in her pants kicked in.

Adam came second in the sexiest male competition, but also won the 'best Tom Jones impersonator' gong for his drunken karaoke rendition.

David Brennan picks up the 'Mr Universe' award and the 'worst punch' trophy for picking up 5 points at the arcade machine.

Tom Burgess is crowned 'Mr Bikini 2010' for filling Lisa's swimwear with a swagger that hasn't been seen for a long time.

Brisbane wins the Steve Irwin 'Man of all Men' award for his cricket swing, throwing technique and pool cue action.

Most of our evenings involved taxi rides down to the marina where we would eat steak, drink cheap wine and get hosed down with water by strange Portugeuse men. One night we gambled at the local casino; Adam lost fifty euros on red, Jason lost one hundred euros on black jack and Charlotte tried to get a lift home on a rich Russians yacht. It was a very successful evening.

Jason and I were beginning to fall in love. He was considering leaving Nicola but said he could never walk out on his toilet seat. I was upset but understood.

And then it happened. Mr Barra proposed on one knee. An Asian man selling dancing cows sold him the perfect engagement ring; it was plastic and lit up. My holiday had come to a dream ending.

So here is the motley crew that flew down to the Algarve on the 27th August 2010. However, it is missing the Ward brothers and Donna, who were all sorely missed. I for one am hoping that another trip is on the horizon, especially if David Brennan makes an appearance (I could feel a vibe)

And of course, I am forgetting one person; Jason Barra. He has officially been crowned the 'most loved Eastender 2010' for his 'drink, drank, drunk' hoody, his 'raw to the core' quote, his 'baby I sharted' song, his actual shitting on the floor when proclaiming 'I'm going mental tonight, I don't care if shit is running down my leg', and his four Mcdonalds a day habit. He truly made the holiday.

I can't wait for next year.
Spare Change guv'ner?