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Category Archives: music

(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Protest!) IMN Feature

I wrote a piece for Independent Music News about musicians and politics after One Direction started tweeting about the budget.

If they carry on in this direction, they're gonna end up getting arrested

If they carry on in this direction, they’re gonna end up getting arrested

It starts like this…..

Music has the power to move us and make us do stuff we didn’t even know we could. I’m going to grab my partner and swing them round at a square dance, fo sho, and every time I eat vegetables, I think of The Ramones. Ray Charles only had to ask me once to bend over and shake my tail feather and I still don’t know what doing the mash potato means, but by golly will I do it.

So it totally makes sense for musicians to do the loop-de-loop into politics and use their charm and swagger to influence fans for the greater good.

Check out the full article here.


A guide to handling gig talkers

Oh the joys of a gig. The band so close you can see their frayed shoelaces, the hot air that smells of hard work and being in the comfort of strangers. Strangers that lean on you when they’re not feeling so strong or when they’ve been a bit overzealous in the mosh pit after too many ciders. It’s a happy place. But every so often you encounter the poisonous mushroom that sprouts in the warm, damp conditions and sours the sweet taste. It happened when my Uncle took me to a gig when I was 16 and he was bouncing on the shoulder of a girl he thought was a boy who told him to f*** off. It also happened the other day, when a miserable beard didn’t like me talking to me friends by the bar. Using sarcasm as his weapon (lowest form of wit springs to mind) wasn’t too bad, but then he went forth with his toxic thoughts all over the internet. Try as I might, I can’t imagine skinheads tweeting mean things about those they fought at punk nights. Not very rock and roll.

“Totally mad night last night.  Bottled a punk then bottled it.”

Talking at a gig isn’t the end of the world, but I’ve written a quick guide for those who are less socially ept to help them deal with it. After all, the internet is littered as it is; it doesn’t need any more rubbish.

1. Prepare

As some wise old man once said “acceptance is the first step to enlightenment”. Or something like that. If you go to a gig knowing that it’s not going to be full of tongueless kids and that occasionally, one may embark on a conversation or two, then you’re going to be a lot better off when it absolutely, definitely happens . Gigs are often in public houses. Public house = open to the public. Public = people. People like to talk; we’ve all seen the BT adverts from the 90s. Spend the tube journey there mentally preparing yourself; where there are people, there be noise. You could be at the best gig in the world and chances are a patron may whisper “Bless you” to a man who sneezes. Deal with it.

 Preparing for a Bentcousin gig

2. Choose your spot

The law of logistics quite clearly state that those who are in close proximity to the band are guaranteed to be interested. And those who are hanging back a bit, getting a drink at the bar or snogging by the toilets are probably less into the band than you are. And in this beautiful world of justice, equality and tolerance, you need to accept different levels of attention. If someone is talking, move closer to the band. Chances are the gig-talkers won’t be standing near the speakers, either. Also, if you’re such a massive fan of the band, why aren’t you up the front dancing manically and sweating your tits off instead of hanging back, giving evils and looking for the next person to tell off for talking? Such behaviour belongs in Church, not at a gig.

“Shut your face.  Bentcousin are playing.” 

3. Ask nicely

Now, no one is trying to undermine your manhood or suppress your spirit. If you really feel the need to say something, then please feel free. We’re not in the punk age anymore; no one is going to smash a bottle over your head or find you afterwards in the smoking area and “do you” with a rusty nail for asking someone to be quiet. At the same time, there’s no need to be rude. We will tell our Mums.

4. Socialise

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Why not engage in some friendly banter with the vocal offenders? After all, you’re at the same gig so chances are you have similar interests. If they really are too young and the age gap really is too scary, then maybe you had better stick to conversing with your own friends. Or is it the case that you’re there alone which is why you’re getting ratty at the bright young things who are talking in the corner? There’s no need to be a sour puss because you’re lonely.

“Do you want to talk any louder?  I can’t hear the band.”

Gigs are a sociable environment and like monkeys, we engage in communal activities differently. A mother monkey may sit suckling her young, whilst the adolescents swing from tree to tree. One of the elders crouches over a log, scratching it with a stick whilst the leader monkey sifts through it’s own excrement. Who is anyone to decide on what is “gig” behaviour and how we listen to music?

If you really hate people talking so much and the helpful tips above don’t help, why not hire out Phil Collins to play a private gig for you in your basement and see how much fun you have there.

Bentcousin V Da Nihilists


I met this man travelling and he made me sad.

My Uncle’s songed four versions of it.



Your Mother told you to trust a girl with curly hair,

I’ve heard different and see toddlers stop and stare.

Followed round the supermarket, inspectors don’t believe my ticket,

After swimming in the river you shouldn’t have dared.



America was your land of dreams

You said you had a thing for it when you were eighteen

At 30 you wanted Asia, you travelled alone

You said I hurt your feelings when I walked you home.



You had that thing that women sometimes fall for,

Couldn’t swim, deaf in one ear, who knows what more.

A scruffy stray in pet rescue, you needed someone to adopt you

I didn’t have the key, others would have to open the door.



America was your land of dreams

You had a thing for it when you were eighteen

At 30 you wanted Asia, you travelled alone

You said I hurt your feelings when I walked you home.



Girls in the US didn’t want your name,

In Asia and Dublin things were just the same

Smoking joints in Switzerland, playing football in Berlin,

I don’t know what your doing, but I really hope you win.



America was your land of dreams

You had a thing for it when you were eighteen

At 30 you wanted Asia, you travelled alone

You said I hurt your feelings when I walked you home.