April Playlist

its been a busy and varied month musically and I’ve been getting back to grips with grunge, and punk and all that sort of distorted sounding debauchery …amongst other stuff.


  • Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd: O.k so this is an Ode to psychedelics and its so mellow and chilled, a classic. And that guitar solo tho…..


  • I Spy – Rudi: It may be fair to say that I am somewhat obsessed with this rather unknown band from Northern Ireland. Never has there been a catchier song/bassline about someone cheating….


  • Love Will Tear Us Apart Again – Joy Division: Before there was New Order there was Joy Division – a grungy sounding band from Manchester with probably one of the most underrated front men of all time… ah what a tune.


  • Riverman – Nick Drake: I love the recording that is done outside – the wind, and the sounds of his surroundings with the relaxed guitar playing……..


  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen: A golden oldie – the perfect combo of uber cheesy, fantastic musicianship and the guitar solo to end time. not to mention Mercury’s charisma.


  • Crazy Bit*h (live at Crue Fest) – Buckcherry: Oh. My. God. fair to say their lead singer is hot but this song is just filthy – in the best of ways of course!! and the live version ….just watch it on Youtube ahahaha.


  • Lights Out – Royal Blood: Listening to this track it is even more amazing when you consider that the sound is made using only a bass and a drum kit….ok and a hell of a lot of amps and peddles aha. So good.


Single of the Month: Teenage Rebel – the outcasts. teenage angst at its best.


Guilty pleasure: Pumped up kicks – that intro has me. and still so politically relevant unfortunately.




March Playlist

This months tracks that I’ve been listening to….

  • Cosmic Dancer, T.Rex – an ode to dancing through life and with an enviable electric guitar line to boot. The more chilled, but still psychedelic, end of the glam rock band’s oeuvre.


  • Big Time, Rudi – a contemporary of the Undertones. This was one of their singles that did well and it’s clear to see why – I challenge you to stay in your seat….i bet you it can’t be done.


  • Elusive, Scott Mathews – lovely lyrics and acoustic feel and oh so melancholy but it doesn’t seem to be a bad thing here. If you like Nick Drake this one will be a winner I’d say.


  • Mama’s Always on Stage, Arrested Development – an oldie but a goldie, the roots of hip hop from way back when – still an old faithful when it comes to getting people on the dance floor.


  • Lone Digger, Caravan Palace – love this track by the French electro – swing group and was so glad to see them live the other year at Bestival! good electro-swing pure and simple.


  • Freaky Feedback Blues, Benji Hughes – so, so chilled – the stoner’s perfect Sunday morning track.


  • I can Never go Home Anymore, The Shangri – Las – the favourite band of Undertones discoverer Terri Hooley, 60s girlband standard – boy meets girl, parents get in the way its rather tragic really and has a rather haunting feel but it’s a great track nonetheless.


There’s not one particular album of the month because I’ve been listening to too much to decided because …I now have a Mixcloud stream – have a listen….

DJ Decibelle – Mixcloud Mixes


What is ‘subjunctive’ history?

The subjunctive is a mood within grammar – but I am not going to be writing an article on grammar – at least not for the most part! We use the subjunctive within English – often without realising because we are not aware of it – having not had it pointed out to us specifically. I have come across it most in my studies of French – European languages – particularly the Romantic languages use the subjunctive extensively and it is ‘sign posted’ within both pronunciation and spelling. Anyway, I digress.

Basically, the subjunctive is the mood of possibility –  there is an example within ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol: If I just lay here – this implies doubt or uncertainty about what will happen next.

In relation to history – the subjunctive can be applied to moments in time where chance is a key factor in events taking place – I shall give you a few examples…


  • The appointment of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister: Winston Churchill is widely regarded as the saviour of the UK during the Second World War but the course of events of the war may have taken a very different course if it had not been for a case of bad teeth.

In the running for the appointment of who should be leader of the conservative party directly before the outbreak of WW2, there were two candidates – Churchill and Halifax. Halifax was the favourite to be appointed, but on the day of the in-party leadership vote Halifax had to go to the dentist and was therefore not present to do last minute canvassing – consequently Churchill was appointed; a rather shocking turn of events for much of the public as the naval failure of Gallipoli, for which Churchill was responsible, was still painfully fresh in the minds of many.

  • The roots of apartheid: On how weather and a reef sparked the involvement of Europeans in South Africa.                                                                                                   In 1647 A Dutch ship on a return trip from trading in South East Asia went aground whilst going round the Cape of Good Hope. It was a year before the survivors of this disastrous shipwreck were properly rescued. In the intervening time they managed to get ashore to modern – day South Africa and found it to be bountiful enough to wish to colonise it. Once safely returned to Holland the survivors who had been ashore persuaded the authorities to allow them to return to South Africa and thus the centuries long Dutch, later Boer, and in general, White influence and rumbling and tumultuous conflict in that area began – due to some bad weather and a submerged reef.


  • A rather tactical toilet break: Before he was famous for Mein Kampf and the mass annihilation of the 1930s a young man called Adolf was a opportunist lieutenant in the German Army.

Some time between the air raids and offensives of the German army on the Western Front of the First World War a young lieutenant broke off from a game of cards or some-such and decided to make a dash for the shack that served as a toilet. In the intervening time that it took him to get back to the dugout a shell landed and killed the rest of Lt. Hitler’s comrades. So Napoleons epithet of: ‘An army marches on its stomach’ should maybe be replaced with bowels!


Does anyone else know any ‘subjunctive’ historical events – I’d be interested to hear!



5 days behind The Great (Fire)Wall of China

So whilst on my current Asian travels I spent 5 days in Chongqing – a city in the Sichuan province of China – primarily I was there to help deliver a teacher training course but there were many incidental things I found to be of interest….majorly the seeming ‘parallel universe’ of China’s social media sphere, this is due solely to one thing….

China has a physical Great Wall but it also has a cyber Great Wall – an internet Firewall.

China due, in part, to it’s communist history has grown structurally used to censorship both culturally and politically – from the days of Mao to nowadays.

On my arrival to the hotel I was staying at, I was, like a lot of people would, looking forward to checking my emails and Facebook – but alas: no can do.Wifi down: no, computer working fine: yes, well then what? What I was experiencing was China’s modern cencorship.

The Chinese government has decided that certain Western internet staples are not allowed – for various reasons – some make sense but many do not – I can understand the wish to mediate access to pornography but Wikipedia, gmail….etc etc?? It boils down in essence to controlling what Chinese people think about their country – don’t worry – all good things….of course.

”But how do they manage with no social media” – I hear you cry – very well, because they have Chinese controlled equivalents – sometimes so similar to the Western version that estthe symbols or page set out is exactly the same.

Communism has become more and more technological in its propaganda and we, as westerners, see this to be a limitation –  an echo chamber of state controlled information but I would argue it is no different from the mediation of media in the rest of the world – look at Donald Trump’s calls of ‘Fake News!!’ whenever something happens that questions his authority or the manipulation of the information given to the electorate in the run up to Brexit….

The same censorship exists outside of China but we notice Chinese censorship and not our own because we, like the Chinese, are used to our own separate forms of mass censorship and mediation.

February playlist

So what with travelling, I have had to spend various hours in airports, train stations and the like, there are also just some bits of music that will remind me of the past while and I wanted to share these…

  • River Man – Nick Drake: a rather contemplative song but a lovely one nonetheless – I didn’t know this until recently but it was inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem.


  • Holding out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler: a rather guilty pleasure that I am willing to admit – reminds me of NYE and dancing into the small hours …happy days


  • New York New York – Frank Sinatra: in my mind the song for the beginning of a journey – small or large – there is an irrefutable sense of optimism and excitement in this song – a sense of being on the verge of something great…


  • Carey – Joni Mitchell: dear lord I envy that woman’s vocal range…i love this song – a good one for the road.


  • One more cup of coffee – Bob Dylan: much like the above – poetically philosophical also very good whilst actually drinking coffee aha.


  • Primadonna – Marina and the Diamonds: a bit of a personal anthem this one – always gets me in the mood and gives me self confidence – tho maybe not in the most prim or proper ways – if i am playing this song you can well predict that the following events will lead to good anecdotes!


  • Back in the game (Chronixx remix) – Wu Tan Clan: ahhh the morning after the night before….enough said.


Album of the month: New Boots and Panties – Ian Drury and the Blockheads:

Heaven on vinyl – I swear there is a song for literally any situation – from self critique to full on lust, to hedonism to surrealism and all with a very good bassline and personal politics – good old fashioned early punk…

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