Friday, 3 December 2010

Fantasy Football

Greetings my brothers and sisters

Allow me to formally begin by saying humanity in its entirety qualifies as my extended family ... therefore you are all welcome.

The snow has fallen, the wikileaks have gone into overdrive and the world cup has gone to the Russians. It's been an eventful couple of weeks.

The alleged corruption amongst FIFA executive committee members exposed to the world by the BBC was one apparent reason for our lack of votes at Thursdays announcement. However, rather than solemnly pondering how our 'stone-wall' bid was denied surely the more pressing issue lies in ensuring that these allegations are thoroughly and independently investigated. World footballs governing body is not immune to the sort of behaviour that seems inherent in modern day big business. And the whole culture of football now revolves around money, so there had to be some inevitability in this being the only path that football could walk down didn't there? Big money breeds corruption. We all know that. Match fixing, agents fees, dodgy owners. How many clubs have come close to or have gone into administration in the past three years ... it's frightening ... ticket prices, merchandise, global branding. Football has expanded in so many ways and is now accessible to so many, but has it lost its soul? Undoubtedly the passion remains amongst the fans but what about the players? Millionaire playboy role models. We have the best league in the world by some distance but as a result an underachieving national side. The world of football is a complete paradox. A working mans game played by the rich and famous. A game which unites people like few other things but breeds hooliganism and violence. A governing body that promotes fair play but is as crooked as UK politicians. When I explore these points I'm utterly repulsed by the world of football ... and then I hear that Match of the Day music ...

So anway, continuing on the sporting theme, David Haye states live on television following his title fight against Fraudley, sorry, Audley Harrison that he'd placed a bet on himself finishing the fight in the 3rd round. He went on to say that alot of friends and family had also placed bets on this exact same outcome. How is it then that the British Boxing Board feel it's ok for David Haye to correct that statement at a later date and be willing to take his word for it??? I'm not suggesting that David Haye innocently-just-so-happened-to-let-slip-his-large-wager-on-himself whatsoever but why would he say this so confidently immediately after the fight? And why didn't Audley throw one punch? This was the fight of his life! I smell a rat and I find it incredible that the governing body don't want to investigate this fight and the comments made by Haye immediately after.

Now onto music my friends. I have been working to try and get my album finished and it's getting there ... slowly! It's been a manic last few weeks and I've only really found time to be getting on with mixing some of the tracks. I still have a few bits of vocals to record and a couple of whole songs to get underway but the main body of work is complete and I'm really excited about the overall project. But that's enough talk ...

Kanye West's album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy got the full Jameson Davison review last week. I think the title sums it up perfectly as it is all of those words. Maybe not so much Fantasy but the title obviously has its own meanings and intentions. It's difficult to rank this album against his others as they all have their own unique brilliance but I think this is a classic album. A true genius at work. Production is flawless as ever. Ideas and techniques are pioneering. Some people may struggle with the content and I could understand why, but for me Kanye has always been funny, witty, and able to produce some awesome metaphors and punchlines. I think the content in his albums reflects his life at that particular stage. I'm a massive fan of content particularly in HipHop as I pride my own music on conscious, thought provoking and inspirational lyrics. With Kanye I find myself drawn into the enitre composition not just one element of it. It's difficult to describe but although I'm aware that he may be talking about something with a materialistic edge to it I'm usually captivated by the production or the flow or the delivery ... Music that moves me is music that makes me feel a certain way and Kanye always seems to make every cell in my body come to life and start dancing majestically. Hard to explain but I gave it a shot. Also the runaway mini film is definitely worthy of a watch.

I happened to catch PMQ's on Wednesday afternoon and was amused at Camerons ability to tear Milliband to pieces with relative ease. There is something about the skill with which he performs in front of the House. Some of his comebacks are monumental and hilarious but politics is so devoid of any fire and life. I don't see a real champion of the people in that arena ... has there ever been I guess is the question? Could a revolutionary ever engage with the political world? Could the political world ever be completely revolutionised? During a trip to Wales in the summer a dear friend who I look up to as a peer and mentor told my friends and I of his recent meetings with Mr Cameron as he regualrly briefs the government regarding youth policy. When I asked how Cameron seemed as a person and his credentials to lead this country he replied that as well as being charming and genuinely approachable he comes from a very wealthy background and has been very successful. Without meaning to misquote he insinuated that David had 'nothing to prove' or perhaps 'wasn't in it for the money'. I contemplated those remarks for some time after that conversation and it led me to this conclusion. Although I'd agree that being successful, intelligent, passionate and strong willed are possibly key elements of any would be prime minister, there is one thing that Cameron or any other PM for that matter hasn't experienced .... and that's being poor. They haven't seen life through those eyes nor experienced any of the hardships that come with that. So why does being well educated and wealthy mean you're fit to lead the country? I think the political and voting system in this country suck and are in need of radical change, but I'd like to see somebody in number 10 who knows how it feels to be caught in the struggle. Somebody who embodies Love for their people, who knows true compassion, who fights for justice, who cares for the planet and who takes on big business and corporations. GODDAMNIT somebody who can freestyle his PMQ's whilst Mr Speaker beatboxes a dirty HipHop rhythm and the backbenchers push their trigger fingers in the air!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ................ woops sorry I always do that.

Well there you have it folks, I think I'm done now so until next time I'll leave you with this. The government want ex military personnel to become teachers in school. Right so not only do we want to bombard our young people with images of war on the telly daily and try our hardest to recruit them into the killing machine that is the army, but we also want those whose minds have been scarred by the horrors of war to be teaching them in our schools??? What next, PT instructors taking games lessons? Medicine balls in the detention halls? Drills in the playgrounds? Way over the top I know but ....

Oh and one more thing. Saw a great film called Once. Any musicians and music lovers out there will particularly love it.

Peace and One Love


Monday, 15 November 2010

The differing degrees of Freedom

Allow me to formally begin by saying Peace, Love and Good Health to all of my fellow Human Beings. Humanity in its entirety qualify as my extended family and you're all welcome.

In the midst of blustery, rain driven, autumnal days and frost bitten, spine chilling, wintry mornings I find myself wearing a 'michelin man' amount of layers, drinking herbal tea like I used to drink beer and having lots of baths. The latter of these warmth inducing manouveures is the most addictive of these tactics. Having a bath has now become my profession. I read, write, design, manufacture, deliver, have team meetings, play guitar, watch movies, and hold an annual general meeting all in the bath. When not in the bath I visit friends and family to wake my toes and fingers from numbness. Soaking up the generous heat from their luxurious central heating systems I eat their food, drink their tea and poke fun at their carbon producing wretched lives. I then go home, get cold, and sob uncontrollably. Sometimes I drive to town and back just so I can put the heaters on in the car. I then park up for half an hour and listen to 5live whilst drinking bovril from my thermos flask. When I'm out of petrol I run to the garage and back. This is a sentimental rekindling of a teenage ritual with the main difference being that I return 'Rizla-less'. But cold has its up sides. It teaches us to hug people more, to drink more tea, and to do 20 star jumps in the morning.

The inability to keep my house warm is both personal and practical. I refuse to give the energy companies large amounts of my money for their extortionate supplies. I'm shocked that so many continually line the pockets of these resource plundering, soulless obese dogs (bored of using fat cats). The profits that these companies make are sickening. Nobody needs to be turning over that much profit. There's only so much you can do with money before the rest of it has to sit in a bank somewhere. There's no justification for extorting people and constantly pushing up prices. None. I also have a problem with the house in which I live in that it is ridiculously insufficiently insulated. Heat escapes quicker than it can be produced. I don't own it. Enough said. Even if my house did contain the heat for long periods I still don't feel I could turn on the heating as and when required. How can I speak of Mother Earth's critical condition and then feed those who batter and bruise her body and drain her lifeblood? When will green energy truly be harnessed? Michael Eavis has just installed the largest private solar energy generator in the world at his farm. The beast can generate enough power to fuel 40 homes annually. It will earn him 60k a year in electricity generated for the national grid. Awesome bit of business if you ask me.

So what's been on the agenda since my last installment? Lots of cycling coupled with bits of running and weight training. It amazes me just how addictive exercise is. It gets you to the point where you begin to feel guilty if you miss a session. It rewards and punishes you in equal measures. It encourages you to be better and then has you feeling completely inadequate at times. But I love it! As with anything else in my life that I feel passionately about I dive into the deepend of exercise and don't come up for air until I've retrieved the pearl from the sea bed. Healthy body Healthy mind is not a myth. And I figure that if I want to make these live shows next year something that people will never forget then I need to be 'Bruce Lee esque' in my focus and balance.

Anyway enough about me. Aung San Suu Kyi has been released this week from her unlawful and unjust house arrest imposed by the military junta in Burma. YYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! This woman is an inspiration. I saw a screening of 'Burma VJs - reporting from a closed country' in Leamington last week and was so moved by the predicament of the people there. I had known of their oppression for some time but seeing the story from the inside was both inspirational and harrowing. Living under the rule of a military dictatorship is one of the worst things I could think of, yet these people drew incredible unity and spirit to protest in the face of fascism. The peaceful, non violent protests were led by monks and involved walking the streets to be greeted by hundreds of thousands of supporters along with sitting down in large groups when faced by the military. The military were then given the order and people were beaten and shot. Even the monks were rounded up and battered severely. Unbelievable. I would recommend that film if you can get your hands on it.

I attended the Free Mumia Abu Jamal protest at the US Embassy in London last week. This was a very inspirational gathering and it gave me hope that people are willing to come together and campaign for what they believe in. Along with the London rally there were protests held in Kingston, France, Germany and Philadelphia. Mumia is an innocent man wrongly jailed for the murder of a police officer. Please visit the link on the right of my page and read of his plight. And then SUPPORT the campaign in whichever way you can! Raise awareness, spread the word, get involved. This is pure injustice. This is a brilliant man who has been imprisoned because he fought for the rights of poor people. Visit the link ... Now!!!

So next week is the release of the highly anticipated new Kanye West album. There is much debate surrounding this man. Controversy seems to follow him. I think controversy follows originality and brilliance. Some believe that his finest moment was his 1st album College Dropout. Some feel that his ego and materialistic ways are too much a part of his music. Some have insisted that his stunt at the Grammys involving Taylor Swift was unforgiveable. One thing I've learnt is that it is easy to judge somebody through just listening to their music or reading of their actions in the media. I saw an interview with Kanye last week that somewhat changed my opinion of him as a person. I have always loved his music. I see him as a pioneer, one of the few who truly do original things and change the game constantly. However I had come to think of him as a narcissistic, attention seeking pillock who'd lost his way as a person. But the interview proved to me that he just LOVES what he does. I mean this guy surpasses me for the LOVE he shows for his art! And that's difficult!!! Kanye explained the Taylor Swift incident in a way that completely changed my opinion of the event. Okay so maybe he did it a little inappropriately but he was in essence being very brave and standing up for something he believed in. He might come across like he's pulling a publicity stunt but after watching that interview I was convinced that he felt something in his heart that night and reacted to it. So anyway my favourite album is Late Registration and I actually gave the last one a miss cos I wasn't really feeling the vocoder laced vocals on every track but I still rated him for doing something different. And in the next blog I'll give you my full review.

And we still have Lupe Fiasco's album to come ... Nice.

One last thing. Anybody into Hip Hop I reckon you should ... download Sway's latest mixtape here ... it's the best thing that I've heard come out of the UK for a long time.

So anyway people ...




Monday, 25 October 2010

We've only just begun ...

Wow ... this feels daunting ... I haven't written a blog for well over 6 months ... I'm actually concerned that I don't have anything interesting to say ... the feeling I get whenever I'm in the company of a beautiful woman, or somebody I hold in high esteem, or someone that's considerably funnier than me ... but I used to find that talking utter 'kawongle' in my blogs actually earnt me a small following. So why change what comes naturally!

Anyway. I must formally begin by saying Peace, Love and Good Health to all of my fellow Human Beings. Humanity in its entirety qualify as my extended family and you're all welcome.

During my last blog I discussed the temporary lodgers I had at the time and my plans for the year. Well, both situations changed. I'd outlined my plans to launch a revolutionary cafe with my soulmate George along with my desire to kickstart the record label that has for so long been waiting in the shadows. However I forgot the most important thing in my life. My Music. Undoubtedly the label would have some sort of impact on my art but I set sail on this voyage a long time ago, and not even to marry Kate Beckinsale would I abandon this ship.

So I've been spending the last 12 months writing and recording this album, doing my usual juggling act with job and life taking the form of the other two fire wielding clubs. And it's been awesome! The album is coming together in a big way now. I have around 80% of it complete. A couple of verses here and there, a few choruses and then the final mixdown of everything and we should be good to go. Mixdown time is usually a tedious process for most but my tracks are 3/4's mixed by the time I've recorded everything as I mix when I'm making the beat, tweaking the beat, and recording the vox. Very efficient me. I even bake cakes and make lemonade.

In between this solid studio graft I've had the most amazing year of my life!!!

It started with an incredible trip in March to The Galgael, an amazing community project in one of Glasgow's poorest neighbourhoods, Govan. This involved meeting the beautiful people that make this project work and one of THE all time legends and hero of mine Alastair Mcintosh (check websites for both in my links section to the right).

We then went to Glastonbury in June. Not only the world's best festival but we had the world's best weather! It was beyond all comprehension. Just incredible. I perfomed on the Thursday night opening the Croissant Neuf tent alongside my brothers George Hardwick and Luke Concannon. Personally it wasn't my best performance due to a lack of recent gigs and just a natural nervousness that crept up on me. But it was immensely enjoyable and a night that I'll never forget. George and I engaged in a battle which had the crowd entertained for some time in between acts. It was Classic! That festival was up there as one of the best things I've ever done! Amazing.

I then had a trip to Wales for my birthday to a cottage which has a special place in my heart with two of my soul brothers. And was paid a visit by a man whom I consider a legend. Great times. This was followed by more epic festival antics at Croissant Neuf's own Summer Party, and more stupendous weekends with the people I hold close to my heart. 

And I've been creating a masterpiece which I truly believe is going to get me some recognition after all this time honing my craft and trying to master my art. 

So where the plan has changed. I now intend to release this album in Spring/Summer 2011 and hit the road. I will have a rucksack full of CD's and will be looking to perform at every open mic, poetry night, acoustic jam and Hip Hop event in the country. I'm gonna be cycling and 'training' my way around the UK sleeping in a tent. Basically I am looking to risk everything to make my dream happen. Go out on a limb in the name of art. Put everything on the line to spread my message and reach out for what I believe in. Follow my heart. Be the change. Give my Soul to the World!!! I'm gonna have a shit hot website and some great merch to go with it. But this album is my seminal piece of work. I've written and produced over 200 hundred tracks since I first picked up a pen and created a beat and only now do I feel that I have something worthy of presenting to the world. This is it. This is Destiny, and this my Fate. Going the distance however long the fight takes. One chance to embark on the journey, look to my sleeve see my heart on my jersey. They can't stop this, could never hold me back, this wasn't a choice it's been embedded in my soul to Rap. Belief, Passion, Commitment and Discipline I look up to the sky I'm never giving in!


So there you have it. I've reintroduced myself. And I promise that from now on I'll be sticking to my original intent for this Blog which is to post an interesting read about those things outlined just under the title.

See you again soon I hope

Peace and One Love