Category Archives: Rants

Weekend Rant: Please, know your shit!

ramones t shirt

I was listening to a live radio broadcast on HCR104fm of the Huntingdon Christmas Lights switch on which we are hosting. One of the live acts was playing the Blues standard “Sweet Home Chicago” and when they finished playing they back announced it as Sweet Home Chicago by the Blues Brothers. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

Ok, yes the Blues Brothers did play a version of this song but they are one name on a very long list that includes the likes of:

Junior Parker

Buddy Guy

Freddie King

Fleetwood Mac

Eric Clapton

and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Sweet Home Chicago is a song by Robert Johnson not any of those named above least of all the Blues Brothers. This kind of thing winds me up. If you are going to cover someone elses song, the least you can do is know whose song it is. I am especially surprised at this from a Blues band as people who like the Blues usually study the form in quite some detail and most will have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Blues.

Now some might say “so what?, they got the artist wrong.” but I am not exactly talking about some obscure Blues player now, I am talking about Robert Johnson, one of the most legendary and influential Blues players that ever existed and arguably one of the greatest guitarists to ever pick up the six string. For those of you who need some educating, Robert Johnson is the blues player who, legend has it, took himself down to the crossroads at midnight and sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for phenomenal guitar skills. He recorded the song in 1936 and the melody dates back even further and was a standard in itself even at that point.

Anyway, I digress, I have seen this a number of times and not only from bands but fans as well. There was the funny scenario a few years back where, that T.V No Talent Show decided that the winner would release a cover of Hallelujah. This led to an outcry from fans who started a rival campaign to have the original version by… Jeff Buckley… to the Christmas number one spot. WRONG! The original was by Leonard Cohen. There are lots of examples I could go into and most of them on the fan side of things are forgiveable I guess. There are plenty of cover versions that have gone on to greater success and are some times even better than the original and if that original was recorded decades before you were born then I can see how it is sometimes easy to mistake a cover for an original. Perfect examples of this include, Hey Joe or All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix – covers of Billy Roberts and Bob Dylan respectively or House of the Rising Sun by the Animals (actually: Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster), Black Magic Woman by Santana (actually Fleetwood Mac) or Hound Dog by Elvis Presley (actually Big Mama Thornton). These are forgiveable but for a band to cover a song and not to have bothered to do some research on who wrote it and what it’s meaning is really bugs me, I do really think that bands should show a bit more respect and know their shit when they get up on stage to play someone else’s song.

The same goes for wearing a bands t-shirt. If you are going to wear a bands t-shirt, you better know your shit because I am going to quiz you on it. Too often you see teeny boppers walking round in Ramones T-shirts but if you ask them to name the members of the band they can’t do it and their names are even LISTED ON THE BLOODY T-SHIRT. The same seems to be the case for AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, The Clash and t-shirts for a handful of other bands. You see these t-shirts on sale in those horrible High Street clothing shops and they are picked up by all sorts of people that are trying for that kind of homogenized, safe but slightly edgy looking High Street rocker/punk look. In most cases they have never listened to the band let alone know anything about them except for the fact they existed at some point.

This really winds me up, band t-shirts are a badge of honour, they give people an instant snap shot of some of the kind of music you like, your possible philosophies in live (depending on the band) and signal you out as a brother/sister in arms or at least someone you can instantly strike up a conversation with. Too many times, I have been stood at a bar turned round and seen someone wearing a t-shirt of a band I like so I try to start up a conversation with them only to have them look at me blankly and say something like “what the hell are you going on about mate”, you then apologise and say that you noticed their t-shirt only for them to say “oh, that, I just liked the look of it”. I even had one person say to me, about the Jam t-shirt they were wearing, “well their an old band and I’m only 19 so how could I know anything about them”. THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU WEARING THE T-SHIRT? The internet could tell you anything you wanted to know about them in about 5 mins as well as provide you with their entire discography (not that I condone the downloading of music at all even if it is legal) for you to listen to.

T-shirts and other merchandise are sacred and special to us true fans, they are our equivalent of football shirts, we wear them because we support the music and the bands that play it. All you teeny bopper, fashion chasers and anyone else with not a single minute interest in the music, please kindly fuck off and leave our t-shirts alone and if I see you in one, you better know your shit because I will be testing you and there will be consequences.

So please, if you are going to pay tribute to a band, either musically through cover songs, or by wearing their t-shirts, patches, hoodies or bags, please know your shit.


Turn on, Tune in and Rock out!


Venezuela Fights Corruption with Corruption

I have just read a concerning report in The Guardian about Venezuelan attempts to fight corruption with corruption by taking steps towards dictatorship.

The Venezuelan General Assembly has granted it’s President, Nicolas Maduro, emergency powers of decree to make laws without consulting Congress for up to a year, in a bid to strengthen government control over the economy, as Maduro goes after businesses he accuses of sabotaging the  Venezuelan economy.

This is a man who recently instructed the military to seize or occupy dozens of electrical appliance stores, slash prices and arrest hundereds of business owners that he accuses of artificially inflating prices (sound like a familar practice?) I can only wonder what he will use these new powers for.

So far his actions have proved popular among Maduro’s working class supporters and even some opponents and Maduro has pledged to keep prices low in a number of industries, limit profit margins to 30% and actively tackle corruption. All of which sounds like reasonable promises to make. I am just dubious about the methods being used.

I am by no means a staunch capitalist and was only having a discussion last night with work colleaguea about the horrid greed and ridiculous profit expectations of big business in this country and how something needs to be done about the ever increasing abuses of capitalist society. The most criminal of all examples being the energy companies whose greed knows no bounds as they force people to choose between eating and heating. I was incredulous when these companies cried out, in response to Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze energy prizes, stating that such an act would prevent them from being able to invest in infrastructure – I assumes this is because it would mean cutting into their £4 billion annual profits which simply won’t do of course. The other example we were discussing was the supermarkets who claim to slash prices when really what they mean is “here is the price but we’re going to artificially increase it for two weeks of the year so we can tell you that we’re doing you a favour”.

It seems that capitalism today means raising the price of essential goods and services to extorniate levels in order to increase profit margins as much as possible even if that does mean bankrupting or even killing your customers. All the government seems willing to do about it is lower the taxes that they don’t even pay anyway! I have a lot of sympathy for any attempts to limit the greed and corruption of big business as I think it is far too prevalent in all corners of the world but I don’t think government corruption is the way to do it.

As if military occupation of businesses wasn’t worrying enough, the method by which Maduro gained these emergency powers is a pure example of unashamed political corruption. Coveniently, just in time for the crucial vote that awarded Maduro his emergency powers, an opposition congresswoman had her right to immunity from prosecution over corruption charges removed allowing a supportive legislature to replace her giving Maduro the crucial 99th vote he needed to gain the power of decree he desired. How very convenient indeed.

Has the power of big business really got to the stage where only the corrupt are willing to tackle its corruption by using corruption of their own?

To read the source article from the Guardian take a trip here:


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You know it’s Christmas when…

Your facebook news feed gets filled up by those annoyong fuckers you usually call friends who get far too excited about Christmas far too early to have any ounce of sanity left exclaiming:

‘You know it’s Christmas when the Coke Christmas advert comes on’

No No No! You know Christmas is coming becauase it is on the fucking calendar. It is on the same date every year. If you need an advert for some major corporation (no matter how iconic it may be) to tell you Christmas is fucking coming then you need to wake up, find your brain and stick back inside your head.

CHRISTMAS IS ON THE 25TH DECEMBER – it’s the same every year and you can shut up about it for another month yet.


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