Beans on Toast at the Cookie Jar!

It has not gone unnoticed that this post has lots of food items in the title. So, if you have come across this post hoping for either a new funky recipe or a video of someone eating beans on toast by a cookie jar you are going to be extremely disappointed.

Last weekend saw a rare visit to Leicester to watch the fantastic, folky and a little bit sweary Beans on Toast. The Venue: The Cookie Jar – a basement venue beneath the coffee shop The Crumblin' Cookie.

Considering 'Beans' wasn't on until 10.15pm, and it was a Sunday night, an impressively sized audience had gathered. Now, if you've ever listened to Beans on Toast before you will understand that musically they are not the most complicated and complex melodies, in fact 'Beans' will be first to point out that they all sound the same. But what you get is a great collection of simple intelligently written songs, with lyrics that immediately strike a cord with listeners. 'Beans' has a way of breaking down the barrier between artist and audience.

It's not just great little songs you get with Beans on Toast, it's an evening of entertainment: funny stories, requests, forgetting verses, impromptu 'beat boxer' from the audience, and my personal favourite….”Right Leicester who likes blowjobs?”.

It was a great set, funny and quirky – bizarre in places – but what you ultimately get is a 'real' singer/songwriter without a glimmer of pretence, and with it a very enjoyable evening.



Frank Hamilton and #decembeer

Last night we had a mosey down to The Barfly in Camden, North London, to see the fabulous Frank Hamilton.

Still celebrating movember...

The gig was excellent – the first and last #OneSongaWeek live show. In celebration of the fact that Frank Hamilton has written a song every week of the year so far, with just one more week remaining. Frank had various special guests who had played a part in various songs throughout the year, including Newton Faulkner. This was quite a difference from the last time we saw Frank, at Cambridge with another dozen people. I think this is going to be a big year for Frank Hamilton. Have a look at the Frank Hamilton blog for more info, videos and pictures. And click here for all the year's songs.

Frank and Newton

One slightly disappointing part of the evening was the selection of beer. There was no draft beer on offer and the only bottle beer was 'Old Speckled Hen' which I had the other day. So not the best place for someone participating in #decembeer. So #24 is Guinness….also in the excitement of being at a Frank Hamilton gig I forgot a picture, although is pretty much what it looked like….

Which brings us to tonight's offering, #25, from Belvoir Brewery….Old Dalby….

It is probably important to say that the weird folks around this part pronounce Belvoir as 'Beaver' – don't ask why, it's just what they do, they are very strange around here. This is actually a fine beer. Ruby red in colour, very malty, with good strong flavour. Still not getting the 'roasted flavours' – just very beery and very nice!



Juneathon Day 16

You may be feeling a bit of deja vu going on….


Yes, once again, I have managed to fail in my attempt at running everyday. Although, given that I now have a new lazy relaxed approach to the whole Juneathon challenge, I’m not beating myself up about it. The excuse I offer to the Gods of Juneathon, to quote many a teenager: “I couldn’t be bothered!”.

Anyway….onwards and upwards….Day 16….

After a lovely lay in, some blog reading and some bacon sarnies, I was ready for a run. A nice relaxing dog jog around the woods – not heard that phrase before!!? (Not to self: must make the runs sound more dynamic).

Headed off for the woods and some trail running. Weather forecast said: “Very windy and possible scattered showers”. It was very windy but once in the shelter of the woods it was pretty pleasant, until the said showers appeared! But as true to their wood as the weather people are, they were ‘scattered’ and didn’t last for long. A pretty uneventful run, I took in most of the trails, as you can see by the route. I don’t want to start the #runart off again, but does it look like a man sat on a rock contemplating the future?

One mildly interesting thing happened, I passed the same hiker three times. On the first time he said, “Good afternoon,” on the second time he gave me a knowing smile, and on the third time he completely ignored me! I’m sure this means something….but I can’t think what!!??

iPod was on shuffle and it came up with some great tunes. I also heard some great lyrics that I hadn’t heard for a while and feel the need to share them with the world:

It’s hard to see the light when the fridge door is closed.
Tip-Toe down the hall, open the door, found out that God is a small sausage roll.

‘Full Fat’ by Newton Faulkner

I think Newton Faulkner is great. He is a genius with the guitar and a fantastic songwriter. Saw him at Cambridge Folk Festival last year and he comes across as a really nice bloke. Definitely on the list of gigs to see.

Who’s that gut lord marching, you should cut down on your porklife mate, get some exercise.

‘Parklife’ by Blur

I was never a great Blur fan, I preferred Oasis, but I love that line, and rather relevant with Juneathon in progress.

Total Juneathon mileage after day 16 = 54.12

A-Z of New Music

Zombie Disco Squad

We reach the end of March’s Project and The A-Z of New Music……Zombie Disco Squad.

It seems only right that we finish March with probably the biggest load of rubbish we’ve had the pleasure to listen to. The only thing going for today’s DJ/Producer duo is the name, Zombie Disco Squad. The genre? Electro dance music? Or electro, techno, dub step hip hop music?. Zombie Disco Squad are creating the most awful tracks and remixes you can ever wish to hear. Although, if you made me listen to any combination of electro, techno, dub step hip hop I would probably say exactly the same.

I think I may be getting old…..

This final A-Z of New Music blog was brought to you by the letter Z…..

A-Z of New Music


Day 25 of The A-Z of New Music brings us to the letter Y and I’m afraid we have yet more indie, only this time indie rock……Yuck.

Fancy some wah-pedal guitar? If you do then Yuck may be a port of call. Seemingly stuck in the 90s this indie rock band aren’t doing anything new, the odd track maybe worth a listen: ‘Georgia’ or ‘Soothe Me’. But most of the tracks are just a lot of noise! Far too much guitar-heavy, fuzzed out, weird feedback sounding rock.

Overall, Yuck!

This blog has been brought to you by the letter Y…….

A-Z of New Music

The xx

As we reach the last few entries into the A-Z of New Music, coinciding with the end of term, I’m having trouble controlling the excitement. Today we have…..The xx.

Apparently The xx won the Mercury Prize in 2010, although I’m not quite sure how, considering that Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons and Villagers were also up for the prize in the same year. Having spent the last half-hour listening to The xx, quite a few of the tunes I recognise: ‘VCR’ and ‘intro’ definitely sound familiar. The xx surprised me slightly, their self-title debut album, xx, is full of atmospheric melodies, big beats and sullen vocals. Not an album to listen to when you want cheering up, but never the less it has something going for it, not exactly sure what, but something. Standout tracks for me: ‘Crytalised’, ‘Islands’ and ‘Basic Space’. It’s definitely a grower….

Overall, The xx, I’m pleased to say it gets a solid B…..

Today’s blog was brought to you by the letter X……

A-Z of New Music

We Are the In Crowd

The A-Z of New Music reaches the 23rd letter of the alphabet, W, and thanks to @samayres1992……….We Are the In Crowd.

It has taken us 23 days to get some punk but we’ve made it, even if it is American pop punk rock. We Are the In Crowd are from the same mould as Paramore, All Time Low or actually any other group coming out of the States at the moment. In fact, that’s probably the problem, there is just too much of the American rocky-pop-punky stuff around at the moment.The tracks that I’ve heard off their latest album, Best Intentions, are actually quite good, it’s just that I’m not a great fan of the genre, I find at all too similar. Although, I did find this acoustic version of ‘Never Be What You Want’ which is OK……

Overall, I can take them or leave them, which is not probably what you want from a band…..

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter W….

A-Z of New Music

Veronica Falls

Despite the stack of marking that is staring at me, I’ve managed to get round to blogging, this shows the power of the A-Z of New Music. Today, thanks to @davidmarples, we have V………Veronica Falls.

There is no guessing what genre we have tonight, it’s full-on indie, no messing around with various amalgamations of sub-genres. There debut self-titled album, Veronica Falls, is crammed pack full of rhythmic indie pop tunes with catchy melodies and cheerful harmonies. Take a listen to, ‘Veronica Falls’, ‘Misery’ and ‘Beachy Head’, they probably sum-up the album. Although, you could argue we’ve heard it all before. I’m not sure if they’ve done enough to win me over. You decide, new single, ‘My Heart Beats’ was released this week….

Veronica Falls, CD borderline….

Today’s blog was brought to you by the letter V……

A-Z of New Music


We reach U in the A-Z of New Music, from New Zealand……Urbantramper.

Not entirely new I know, they’ve been going for a few years, and I’ve heard a few tracks in the past but never actually got round to giving them a proper listen. Well I’ve put that right today, in fact I even visited itunes and purchased the latest album, Rise and Ride Toward. Urbantramper I like. Genre? It could probably be described as folk-pop, it’s a great mix of tunes, you get ballads through to upbeat foot tappers. Favourites on the album: ‘Southern Hemisphere Blues’, ‘My Grand Plan’ and ‘A Warm Glowing Light’ to name just a few. Having listen to the album a couple of times I’ve decided I really like it. It’s simple and refreshing, well worth a listen….”eating broccoli is eating properly”….

Urbantramper, they get an A from me…

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter U….