Friday, 17 December 2010

Juniper review

Here's a great review of JUNIPER, from The Oxford Music Blog - much appreciated!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Ashes '10

I managed to watch some of the last test match, a few early morning beers with my brother in Wakefield enabling me to catch a bit of play. Unfortunately, I haven't seen or heard anything of last night's action, just read about it today - it sounds like another good day for England. What does strike me, though, is just how muddled the Australian selection process has been during the series. I couldn't believe they dropped Hilfenhaus after the first test - he was their best bowler by a country mile in England during the last Ashes, and only injuries, it seemed to me, prevented him from cementing himself in the side subsequently. It appears that the Australian plan for him after recovering from those injuries has involved giving him a couple of games back to get his rhythm again, and then, after seeing him get thrashed around in a test where no bowlers exactly covered themselves in glory, he was dropped. And dropped in preference for a bowler, or bowlers, whose sole criterion for selection over him was that they weren't playing in the first test. Then, however, the Australian selectors really showed their credentials as elite sporting strategists; a lot of analysts and journalists saw the selection panel doing exactly the same thing after the second test as yet more proof that they had lost any semblance of a clue that they might have once had. They were in disarray; recalling Mitchell and Hilfenhaus, and dropping Bollinger and Doherty. But I took a different view - I personally admire their consistency in pursuing a policy of devout inconsistency. One game, boys, and you're out. Then you're in again. Then out. Then in. Then it's all over. It is a policy that has been honed to perfection in English elite sport for generations.

The only thing I hate about this series so far is I can see Warne and McGrath's smug faces as they watch just how important they were to Australian cricket. Those two always win, no matter what happens in the grander scheme of things. In '05, Warne was the best player in the series, no matter what those Andrew 'Fredbull' Flintoff® DVDs tell you. And McGrath's injury probably played a bigger part in the outcome of the series than two or three England players contributions did. Somehow, even if Australia lose, their stock rises. And Liz Hurley as well...? Well, when you're hot, you're hot...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Hill. The Sky. The Window.

The Hill. The Sky. The Window.

Outside it is getting light,
the view organizing itself
into a day like any other.
I am sat opposite my wife,
who is talking about her sister.
I had been unable to sleep,
and had got up and gone downstairs,
with my wife following
shortly after, expressing a
concern that was
equal parts artifice and affection,
urging me back to bed.
All that is hard to muster though,
these days. But the thought
did cross my mind.
She looked good still, stood
in a white bathrobe in our
Instead, I made coffee and tea
and we sat at the table by the window and talked.

I said Look at the hill, the sky, the window.

Anything at all can make sense sometimes.

Monday, 13 December 2010

May's Mantra

Reading the Guardian's live political blog today and it reads like Theresa May has nothing else to offer than criticism for anybody who refuses to explicitly condemn the violence of the protests. "Appalling" violence, apparently. Cause? meet effect.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


To everyone or anyone who came out to see the 'Creeper last weekend.
We had a great time; so thanks for putting us up, putting up with us, or any other variation thereof that might be relevant.
Special mention to the city of Wakefield and Mark Olson for being especially positive, friendly and just all round great.
Thank you.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Did Someone Say Feminism?

Forty years to the month after The Female Eunuch was first published and EVERY SINGLE review I have read of the Warpaint album mentions the fact that they are an all female group. Progress is a wonderful thing...

Friday, 1 October 2010

A Simple "What The Fuck??"...

Some days, I'll be reading The Guardian, and then maybe a good post on a funny sport blog, or maybe something on Mark Eitzel's website. I'll have a good talk about something with my brother, I'll write something I like. I'll see a good bird. I'll take a few wickets. Life will feel good. I feel like it kind of fits.
Then other days, I will see something like this...

Cool Brands

And worse, I'll read about it in the paper I buy and read because it sometimes makes me feel like I might be ok.

Like I say, what the fuck? Do any of those things on there need any more affirmation? Are they really cool? How would you feel about a guy who turned up at your party on a Harley Davidson, with a bottle of Dom in his hand, Iphones, pods and pads sticking out of every available pocket on his Vivienne Westwood motorcycle leathers? He wouldn't take his Ray Bans off indoors, and he would bore the shit out of you talking about his collection of Ferraris and Aston Martins before extolling the virtues of Google Chrome and insisting you all have a game of golf on the Wii. I'll tell you what you would think of him.

Firstly, you would ask what football team he played for, then, you'd tell him, firmly, to fuck off.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

More Old News...

Well. What started out as a great morning sports-wise after watching Arsenal purring around the Emirates like a Rolls Royce last night, with the additional excitement of a big plate of fried chicken in front of me (what an evening!), has turned into an afternoon of semi-mourning with the news that Andrew Flintoff is retiring from all forms of cricket. Now, I have my issues with Fred, not least of which is him living as a tax exile in Dubai, which is where, let's not forget Peter Ebdon lives, for Christ's sake! Snooker's own policeman! You can do better than that, surely, Fred? What do you do - meet up once a month for a game of golf and discuss your tax saving quotient? Maybe once a week email Geoffrey Boycott on Jersey and laugh at how little he is saving each year compared to you boys? But taking that one factor into account as well as having an agent called "Chubby", wearing ridiculous diamond studs and embarking on a shameless friendship with James Corden, last summer at Lord's when he bowled it looked like he was playing a different game to Broad and Anderson - that is how unplayable he was. He made the Australian batsmen look like they'd never faced anything like it. And that look he gave each time he ended his follow through! Almost in the crease with the batsman, looking at him like he wasn't even deserving of a fully fledged insult. Just the look. Like he didn't really understand what the batsman thought he was doing there. He was great that day, and I almost forgave the diamond studs and dinners with Piers Morgan. Almost.
I think more sad than Fred's retirement, which, let's face it, has been coming all year, is that this really feels like the end for a certain type of cricketer - the big, drunk fast bowlers. And the unkempt genius batsmen. The gloriously amateurish fielders that made cricket great. Now it's all hair gel, trion bracelets, wedding ring necklaces, and nicknames ending in "Y". Well groomed footballer types that accidentally find themselves playing cricket.

Jesus. Bring back the drunks.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ifs And Buts...

So, looking like a solid start to the season by the Arsenal but I always have high hopes until about November, when a couple of sloppy and terribly unjust defeats to the likes of (in the old days anyway) Bolton or Hull would have me as depressed as the weather. But I know this season is going to be different. I know it. The new signings look really good, just the sort of players we needed, and from a human point of view I am glad that Wenger didn't buy a keeper. I would love it if the narrative of Almunia's time at Arsenal had a Mad Jens ending, with him turning great over the course of a season, and everyone loving him. Yeah, maybe. A real shame about yet another injury to Robin. He's a great player, but I worry that his career is never going to match his talent due to the injuries. He looks great in that number 10 shirt as well. Anyway, here's to that Autumnal feeling of hopeful expectation. Maybe this year it will last beyond fireworks night. Maybe even beyond Christmas... yeah, maybe.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Old news, but I had to have my say...

I had a good couple of emails with a friend today who is a sportswriter, discussing the spot fixing and how hypocritical some of the reaction has been. It doesn't take a genius to work out how cricketers are going to line up politically on the whole, and I suppose the dubious bombast of idiots like Darren Gough and Michael Vaughan is as depressingly predictable as the fact that this has happened to Pakistan.
There has been some balance to some articles I have seen written on the whole situation, but what I can't understand is how people can react with such vitriol to these things? Where is people's empathy? I know that some ex-pros must have more insight than anyone into the whys and wherefores of how these things work, but surely they can see that it is the gluttony and greed that have permeated the game on every level that is the root cause of all this, not some isolated cultural marker in Pakistani culture. The fact is that those players just can't sell their arses to whatever cheap deodorant company comes dangling a cheque in front of them this month. Or peddle their inane dronings daily on the world's most drivel filled radio station. Where was this uproar at Stanford? Or Modi? It's too easy to sit here in a culture of comfort and start passing judgement from some standpoint of sporting integrity. The moral vacuum in all sport is what enables all this, and that should be remembered by everyone who goes out looking for Pakistani scapegoats.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Recent Personality Report Card Results...

Must try harder.

Eagles In California, Tigers In London

A new piece of writing on Caught By The River...

Photo by Danny Mitchell.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Port Eliot Festival...

Was a truly great time, by any standards. The show went off pretty well, I thought, the only shame being Greg not being able to play, having cut the top of his finger off the week before. Anyway, yeah, I enjoyed playing, and we sold a few CDs, so that was great. Thanks to anyone who came to watch, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of going next year...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kieswetter Needs Stronger Package...

According to Andy Flower, England Keeper Craig Kieswetter needs to improve in certain areas... "by the time he plays for England again, he'll need to have made his package stronger,"

Time to dig a few of those spam emails out of the old junk file, Craig... you can get the relevant medication pretty cheap these days.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Getting Old

I am feeling old. I am looking old. My hair is greying, and I find myself feeling and doing things that are just older. The last thing I bought for myself was a tartan blanket. Today I ordered a long sleeved polo shirt. A few weeks ago I found myself uttering the following sentence... Well, I do love a good Trojan origin myth.

Got to embrace it I guess, but does the world really need another grumpy old bastard? Maybe I could cheer up with age?
Yeah, maybe.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Feeling fairly short changed by the Dutch last night. I was hoping they would show they could play the Spanish, not at exactly their own game, as their midfield just lacks the class of the Spaniards, but with a swift, slightly more direct, yet still attacking brand of football. Like I say. Short changed. I'm not buying this Spanish moral high ground stuff, though. They were acting up as well, waving cards at Howard Webb every time they were tackled by a Dutch player. They were as petulant and dirty as anyone else last night, and any team with Puyol in it had better have a good lawyer if they are going to hurl accusations of "Anti-Football" about.
My best moment of the night? Alan Hansen saying that it would have been a travesty if the Dutch had won, a victory for football etc etc... well, I'll remember that Alan, when you are smirking like the c*nt you are about some moronic clogger from Stoke or Bolton dishing it out to the Arsenal next year. What do you know about preserving the vestiges of some notion of footballing purity? You were a DEFENDER. And a Scottish one at that.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A New Poem

The Osprey

Late in the day
it was an osprey
first, then two
bald eagles that
flew over as we
put the dinner
things out on
the picnic table
outside the cabin.
We stood watching,
before we set out the
dinner places. The meat,
the wine and the bread.
I couldn't shake
the feeling that we
were somewhere
entirely foreign.
I felt it strongly
all night in that
cabin in the wood.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I Shouldn't, But...

I said to myself I wasn't going to write anything about the football.
I watched the cricket instead. I honestly cannot get excited, sad, happy or feel anything at all in fact about this bunch of idiots. They are a truly unlikeable bunch. How did a German team become more likeable than an England team? John Terry, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, that's how. I bet the Germans even speak better English than they do...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

How Did One Man Turn Portugal Into Australia?

I remember a time when Portugal were full of cult hero type players. Rui Costa, Nuno Gomes, Vitor Baia even Figo (before he did the unthinkable). But now everyone I know wants them to lose. It must be because of him. He even rolls his sleeves up like Ricky Ponting. And everyone I know likes to see Ricky Ponting lose as well.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Harmison Still In With A Chance... Just Not With The Media

"Harmison, 31, has not played international cricket since England beat Australia at The Oval last August to regain the Ashes and set the tone for England's ignominious last tour of Australia by bowling the first ball of the series straight to second slip."

I just read this on the BBC Sport website, and I just cannot believe that people who are paid to have interesting opinions and insight into sport actually peddle this garbage. I mean, does anyone actually think that one ball "set the tone" for a whole test series?
I shudder to think what Steve Harmison must have done to some of the journalists in this country to make them feel like they do. He must be a bad, bad man. Maybe he didn't celebrate every wicket with the kind of chest beating ostentation of Fred, and maybe he doesn't have great hair gel like Stuart Broad. Maybe he doesn't go on Twitter and show everyone what a "funny" bloke he is like Graeme Swann. Graeme Swann, remember. That's a fucking cop's name if ever I heard one.
I've never had less warmth for an England team than I have for this one. They stink of Australia. Cops. Thatcher. Everything that is bad and soulless in the world.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Bad guys and Barca...

So it's official then. The bad guys do always win.
Apart from when they fight each other. Then Jose fucking Mourinho wins.
I hoped I would wake up this morning and find that last night's result was a horrible dream. But that never happens. You always wake up and it's real. You're alone. Arsenal lost. He won. The washing up is still in the sink. It is not Saturday. Stuart Broad will always be more popular than Steve Harmison.
Fuck it all. Fuck it all.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Moving and a poem...

I have been moving, so really busy,
just listening to Richard Buckner non stop.
Wrote this about it...


The reason I haven't got one

I said to her
Is because she took it.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

JUNIPER news...

It looks like May 17th is going to be the date for the release of the second Treecreeper album, Juniper.

It's been a long time making it, which is ironic because it contains some of the most ludicrously simple music ever made. Oh well.

We will be doing a London launch show, details of which will be announced shortly, but we have confirmed a show in our hometown, Aylesbury, on May 29th at The White Swan.

Adam will provide a solo acoustic support slot, so it's going to be a fucking great party.

Messi is quite good at football, isn't he?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A New Poem

Lucy, Guitars.

I think about the day
we spent looking for
Cooper's Hummingbird
and the memory is as polished
and shiny and beautiful
as that guitar itself.
About how she looked
when I told her
that I had sold my first
good guitar that day,
the day we met, and how
we drank the money.
Then barely a month later,
drunk again and cocaine now
as well, off that brand new
dark brown back.
But mostly, I think of how she came
through the fuzz and rain
like a ghost of thunder,
played Segovia and Greensleeves,
and how she slept.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Intents And Purposes

It was sickening to see Aaron Ramsey's leg injury while watching the game on Saturday.
I missed the tackle, but watched it back on Match Of The Day.
On one hand, It's hard to criticize Shawcross, and I felt hugely sorry for him when he left the pitch in tears, but equally I just cannot understand this prevailing logic that "...he obviously didn't deliberately break his leg..."
Well that goes without saying, doesn't it? Who would? That doesn't mean you don't know you are going to hurt someone with a challenge, or at the very least don't care if you do. You could only break someone's leg like that if you went in with absolutely no regard for the consequences, and that is what Wenger is saying. Shawcross was so late it was untrue. Especially for someone who is essentially paid to be able to tackle other players. And now about to receive international honours for doing so.
The point is, these are supposedly professionals and if it is the case, as they constantly harp on about, that they all have the utmost respect for each other "as professionals", then surely one would never make that kind of a tackle on a fellow professional. I hear people in pubs and on Sunday league pitches boasting about breaking people's legs and unfortunately there is that streak running right through the game in this country. Right up to the very top. Ask Roy Keane, or Alf Inge Haaland for that matter. While neither Shawcross' tackle or personality seem to be comparable to Keane's and his moronic act of cowardice, the fact is that not caring about the consequences of a reckless lunge is tantamount to the same thing. As the saying goes "To all intents and purposes."
Anyway, mostly I just hope the boy is alright, and returns in red and white like it never happened.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Juniper sleeve

Just thought I would post this, it's the sleeve art for Juniper, and it's a picture of my Grandfather fishing. I think the photograph was made by my Grandmother, when they lived in the Lake District.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Monday, 8 February 2010

Divided By A Common Language

We have a track from Juniper on this great compilation, which is coming out on the 15th March, on a brand new label, called Clubhouse Records

The rest of the track listing is really great, so get over there and have a listen.

I'll post a link to a Buy The Bastard Now page when I have one.


Oh yeah, also, how good was the Superbowl? Much better than watching Arsenal getting bullied by Drogba again... can't wait for him to retire.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Some Musical Stuff

First of all, a concert:

I will be playing a solo show on March 13th, in Pilton, Barnstable in Devon.

The show will be in Pilton Hall, details here...

Secondly, here is a link to a Radio session Adam and I did before Christmas while up north recording our new record. That's Adam that say's "That was wicked, wasn't it?" , not me. Just want to clear that up...

The new Treecreeper album is all done, and there should be some news on what will happen to it next shortly. But it's good, apart from my singing, obviously, and will be called Juniper.

I Hate Nicky Campbell (and other things)

Two days ago, driving into London, listening to the radio, the BBC no less, and the phone-in was about the news that Sarkozy and the French government want to ban the wearing of the niqab. How I feel about that is one thing, and maybe I will come to it, but of more immediate annoyance was the stupidity with which this BBC radio phone-in was handled. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. They only had Muslim people on defending the wearing of the niqab, and while I was listening, only men as well. Maybe no women called about it, but I just can't believe that such a coincidental affirmation of "our" media's current agenda actually occurred. That fucking toad Nicky Campbell would have been rubbing his hands together with glee if so.

This wasn't my real issue, though. My main problem is just the casual acceptance that all this discussion of Islam is somehow acceptable because of the terrorist attacks in the last few years. Nicky Campbell practically asserted this view. He is paid by us, and he is espousing this view that ever since 9/11 every aspect of Islamic culture is now up for debate and scrutiny. It's bullshit. The two things are not related... I mean, when I was younger, people weren't discussing whether certain Catholic practices should be banned because of the threat of the IRA. Catholicism wasn't constantly being discussed as this "otherness" that was an inherent, insidious threat to British culture. If the IRA can be distinguished from Catholicism as a whole, why does our media insist on perpetrating this drip feed that Islam and terrorism go hand in hand. They are doing the same with Islam and the oppression of women. Who is complaining about Nun's habits? Not Sarkozy, that's for sure. And not Nicky Campbell.
Am I just so naive as to want a media that doesn't push a racist, jingoistic pro Judeo-Christian agenda? Is that too much to ask for, especially from an organization that we all pay for, whatever our religion? Fucking religion. Fucking BBC. Fucking Nicky fucking Campbell. Fuck... (walks off kicking stones)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Elvis (a bit late)

I have this theory. It's not absolutely thought through, but here it is anyway; I reckon that every boy brought up in the West has this deep-seated sense of melancholy, a small kernel of sadness that no-one can quite figure out where it came from. This begins sometime around the start of puberty, and can be a very real, conscious strickening of the spirit, or it can be a ghostly pervasive blues that you don't even notice. But it's there in all of us, and it comes about because one day, and you can either realize this consciously or it can slip into your psyche unchecked, but one day we all come to the realization that we are never, ever going to be Elvis Presley. Some try, like Gram. But it can't be. He nailed it. And it will never be the same again.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Another Saturday Night...

Another Saturday Night

We are dressed and
in the front room
waiting for the cab.
Time yet for anything
at all to happen.
Living this way
I feel everything
could just fall apart
at any moment.
start unzipping your dress.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A Bad Day

... was only made worse by watching Paul Collingwood's cringe-worthy interviews. His ridiculous insistence on beginning every sentence with "Look..." or "Listen..." a la Michael Clarke (and the rest) is horrific . He must be far too old to be picking up Antipodean vernacular habits like some idiotic gap year student... "eh"?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Next Decade

I normally hate the segmentation of cultural life into arbitrary compartments like decades but the ten years just gone, I will never call it that name, really felt like a time when I was attached in a big way to a certain few sports people. I guess I was the same age as them, and they came through while I was watching and reading about them, while the players that have taken their places just seem like they don't belong to me in quite the same way. They seem like kids, their clothes make no sense to me, and their haircuts look alien. I bet the music they listen to will just seem like noise to me. Will I ever feel like I did about Steve Harmison, or Thierry Henry again?
There were people before them, of course, people like Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Merson, Courtney Walsh and Wasim Akram, but they were men as I was a boy and they seemed magical and other-worldly. Now my age has over-taken the people who I watch playing sport and the existential mortality that comes with that knowledge has somehow diminished my bond with them.

Whatever, here's my five men of the last decade....

Steve Harmison - Wides, homesickness, drink, more wides.
Robert Pires - Hair, chin beard, cheat, better than Henry.
Zinedine Zidane - Headbutts, red cards, and a perfect footballer.
Shoiab Akhtar - Genital warts, extreme pace, drugs, bans, the lot.
Andrew Symonds - Drink problems, loads of sixes, rows on the pitch, fights in the bar.

Here's to the next batch of troubled, angry, depressive, drunks that actually make sport worth watching.