Saturday, 31 January 2009

The house always wins

As mentioned below I have a bit of a serious week coming up. You might have noticed my touring schedule begins from tomorrow but I've managed to confirm a last minute addition:

31.01 - Work , gamble, work work work

This preceeds Sunday's similar looking schedule of 'work work work'

Gemma's gone to visit her mum so I've been left alone with Weezer's red album, Soccer Saturday, a daunting to do list and nothing but junk food in the house. To make things a little more interesting I've bet on invested in Emile Heskey to score for Villa against his former side, Wigan, today. My £2 stands to win me £4 profit which will buy me two pieces of the Colonel's finest tonight. I've also placed a bet for you.

20% of everything

Following on from my pledge to give away £50 of free CDs if Coolio triumphed in the recent (clearly rigged. Ulrika, seriously?!) Celebrity Big Brother - which he didn't - I've switched back to a game I know a little bit more about and will be offering 20% off of everything at bsmrocks.com all day Sunday if the following teams win me my 50p accumulator:

Man City win away at Stoke
Arsenal beat West Ham at home
Aston Villa beat Wigan at home

Bolton and Tottenham draw
Fulham and Portsmouth draw
Hull beat West Brom at home
Middlesborough beat Blackburn at home
Man United beat Everton at home


I'll be following the action and posting updates on Twitter so join me there if you want in on the action.

What do you think?

In future weeks I'll be listing certain fixtures on here and asking for your opinions before placing a bet, with greater offers and prizes to those who contribute winning predictions. There's no in team after all. And I suck at gambling!

Check back soon to lend a hand and get us off to a winning start

Friday, 30 January 2009

American isn't a place

I'm sitting here watching Quiz Call on Channel 5. A fat presenter fields phonecalls from mostly barmy Scottish women who are hanging the extortionate expense and calling in to guess films with a place name in the title. That's it, it isn't difficult. Examples of correct answers thus far include Memphis Belle, Crocodile Dundee and Beverly Hills Cop. Easy. Here are some of my favourite incorrect answers:

Grease
The Italian Job
Space 1999
American Beauty
Anchorman
8 Mile

For the love of God, It's 1.43am and well over an hour ago I vowed not to go to sleep until someone wins this stupid contest... Would someone please help me out! Dying slowly and painfully here...

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Out of Office - London!

I woke up in London this morning and really wasn't sure whether this was a good idea or not. Knowing what a busy couple of weeks I had coming up, part of me was screaming "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO HOME AND DO SOME REAL WORK!" whilst the other, relatively relaxed, possibly Rastafarian part was cooly suggesting that I wouldn't want to break my new years resolution before January is even crossed off of the calendar. They both put forward a good arguement.

I went with the chilled out fella.

Today I'm taking the day to wander around London. I'm going to visit Rough Trade and Pure Groove (two independent record shops which despite stocking some of our releases along with many other fine items, I've never actually visited.) I'm going to go somewhere for breakfast, I'm going to accept a free newspaper outside of a tube station, I'm going to catch a bus instead of a train and I might even go and see Buckingham Palace. Who knows! I've been coming to this city for 10 years now, making many hundreds of trips, but not once have I actually taken some time to enjoy it without the pressure of a gig, meeting, friend or some other form of time restricting factor.

So come on then London, what have you got for me?


No rest for the wicked

The extremities of the next two weeks have just dawned on me. I'm a little bit panicked about it right now so to try and get my head around everything - and to give you all a glimpse into the dangerous waters of my diary - I'm going to present the information in the form of a tour schedule:

01.02 - Work work work
02.02 - Fly to Barcelona
03.02 - Do everything there is to do in Barcelona in 24 hours
04.02 - Barcelona / Fly home late evening
05.02 - Squeeze a whole weeks worth of work in to one day
06.02 - Get up at 4am and fly to Belfast for Unconvention
07.02 - Recover from Irish whiskey hangover / Fly home in the evening
08.02 - Forego Sunday relaxing and give in to my 'to do' list
09.02 - Cardiff via London to meet Secondsmile
10.02 - Cardiff to London to Oxford for Shoes And Socks Off gig
11.02 - London for day of meetings and Copy Haho gig
12.02 - Pull off another week-of-work-in-a-day miracle

The fact that it all starts on a Sunday gives you an idea of just how much there is to do. I hate working Sundays, I feel like I'm being cheated out of a real life. My first trip to Barcelona presents a nice little holiday, albeit one week too early, and as fun as Unconvention promises to be, I'm a little nervous about my appearance on their speed-networking panel where I sit alongside major label chiefs and university lecturer dignitaries, trying to give other people advice whilst not caving in to my early morning start and my overwhelming desire to sleep. Once that (and a second consecutive working Sunday) is out of the way, it descends into all sorts of public transport mess as I hot-foot it between Oxford, London and Cardiff in what promises to see me spending more time on public transport than at any single destination. I'm getting tired just thinking about it all.

Wish me luck!

PS. Here's another video of Blakfish completing their descent into madness:

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

When celebrities go mad

We all remember the famous Grange Hill "just say no" campaign, whether it's from the time or thanks to that yetti, Justin Lee-Collins and the all too frequently repeated programme where he re-assembles the cast. However, it would seem that one ex-cast member may have slipped from the righteous path.

Remember Wayne Sutcliffe?



Here's an email I received from the badboy turned rocker last year:

Hi Kev
Following on from our recent conversation I would like to point you in the direction of my myspace page to be considered for your development deal. I have been writing songs for the last ten years since leaving th BBC Series Grange Hill in which I played the part of Wayne Sutcliffe for seven years. I now have over one hundred songs in a very unique style and I am looking to do something with them.
I record and produce all my own material on a digital four track and at this moment in time I am experimenting with diffrent peformance styles. I have recently changed my name to MORTZO which comes from the french for Death (Mort) and the ancient Greek for To Live ( Zo ) The recordings on my page are a little raw but hopefully you will hear the ideas behind what I am trying to do and maybe you will be able to offer me some benifitial advice to help further myself in this crazy mad industry.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

P.J


1) I have never met, corresponded with, or if I'm honest, given so much as a moment of thought to this man.

2) Development deal?

I'm busy today and don't want to be held responsible for influencing anybodies opinion so I'm simply going to leave you with a link to his Myspace, where a small selection of his one hundred songs can be heard, along with two videos: one live performance and one clip from a (hopefully forthcoming) new acting project, including a bizarre and unfortunately brief cameo from none other than football and drugs legend, Tony Adams. Enjoy.

www.myspace.com/desolateicon




Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The world is ending...

...one ridiculous product at a time. Today: The Burger King aftershave

"The scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat"

Oh my.

Last night I had a bizarre dream which, upon waking, I couldn't decide if it fell into the category of 'absolute nonsense' or if I should add it to the 'well done Kev, it's another diamond' list of ideas. After a few moments of careful consideration I decided it was somewhere between the two, almost certainly exists and that I should go for the pee I so desperately needed.

For those curious cats amongst you, this is what happened in my dream:

I was in a school classroom. There were tables laid out to form the perimeter of a large square where I sat along with 15 or so classmates and a teacher prowling around the centre. To my right was a lady called Janine, who was the team leader at my first ever office job some 6 years ago, to my left was a girl who looked like a mole. The small animal, not a cancerous lump. She was a receptionist from one of the major labels, apparently, and her manager just so happened to be our teacher today: Bill Buchanan from 24. Anyone just joining us here I'd like to point out that this is a dream, not reality. I don't want any emails from people calling me a liar, I'm aware Mr Buchanan is a fictional character. The former head of CTU was giving us a lesson on the music industry, focusing on promotional ideas and ways to increase awareness of your artists within the crowded field of competition. I was daydreaming and not paying very much attention. The mole girl passed me some sort of note which I glanced at, screwed up and tossed on the floor. Even my subconscious wasn't up for it. Suddenly Bill points at me and asks a question. "If you wanted to bring a new band to somebodies attention as quickly as possible through the medium of a recorded music release, how would you do it?" - CRAP! I should know this, I've been thinking a lot about this lately. All of the fat men (ideas) rushed towards the exit (my mouth) at the same time, causing some sort of blockage meaning nobody could get out. "erm... erm... A CD...?" I candidly ask. "No Kevin" says Bill sternly "that's a terrible idea. You won't get anywhere unless you're willing to think creatively." The bell rang for the end of class. Shame faced I packed up my belongings and trudged towards the door. Off to Publishing next, maybe I'll do better there?

This is when I woke up and started to think about the idea. I'm not suggesting we should start a school full of ugly people and fictional teachers, but short, concise courses in the music industry using a format we're all familiar with. None of this 3 years learning every technical detail and theory bullshit, let the pupils get on and learn some real life experience in the industry, but just give them a helping hand to get started first.

Imagine a school where bands, artists, journalists, budding record label owners, larger companies new employees and the music entrepreneurs of tomorrow could attend a one day course, moving between classrooms like the old school days, learning in hour-long lessons from experienced teachers before heading out for a cheeky fag behind the bikesheds and a crisp sandwich for lunch. First period is record label basics: the jobs you need to take on and where to turn for help, second is publishing: how it works, why it's useful, third is live music booking, fourth is band management, fifth is music, obviously, and sixth is P.E. By the end of the day you have notes and a basic yet solid understanding of each aspect of the industry. You catch the bus home, drop your bag in and go straight out to play football with your mates before you Mum starts shouting that tea's on the table.

Who's up for regressing with me?

Monday, 26 January 2009

My first Drowned In Sound column

See what do you think

Waste not, want not

Sometime this week my first regular column for Drowned In Sound will be going live online. It took me a couple of months and way too many re-writes but I eventually got there. Below is a section I wrote for the original piece which didn't make the final cut. Thankfully some genius invented blogs, the internet dumping ground of otherwise useless crap, so I decided to publish it here instead.

Record label running tip #1

During the early days of BSM I used to head out on tour with our bands quite a lot. I couldn't afford a real holiday (still can't) and as I was living at home it was a good way to escape the chores and act like a rock star for a few days. Being musically inept meant I was no help with soundchecks, a tiny physique ruled out lifting and carrying, my provisional driving licence wouldn't get me behind the wheel and pure laziness wrote off merch selling. I was completely and utterly useless. I'd go days without eating properly, vodka flowed like water and I saw the bright lights for free. Fall asleep cold in Wrexham, wake up violently shivering in Stoke, pour another drink and soon you'll be in Coventry, they were the glory days.

I vividly remember my first ever trip to Scotland. I was with Secondsmile in their cold, breezy van as they supported The Fall of Troy on their UK tour and we were headed for Glasgow on what just so happened to be the day which saw the city's worst snow in more than 5 years. The show has long since disappeared from memory but the post-gig, would-be 30 minute drive to our hosts for the night, which ended up taking over 2 hours in blizzard conditions, is something which will never fade. We eventually made it through, got a difficult nights sleep on a hard wood floor before being awoken way too early by a possessed cat and to find the van completely snowed in. The morning was spent trying to dig the wheels out using chopping boards and baseball bats - the only slightly suitable tools we could find - whilst local scallies pelted us with snowballs. We finally got away and made the icy drive to Liverpool at a steady 30mph, arriving literally 5 minutes before the band were due on stage. As soon as the van door opened a local youth approached us and made un-necessary comments. I'd never before felt so homesick, cold or annoyed.

Basically my point is, fellow independent record label owners: Next time you're struggling for motivation and one of your bands are going on tour, tell them to save you a seat. It'll change your life

Friday, 23 January 2009

BSM '09 Collection

I've been busy updating bsmrocks.com this morning with details of our new series of the compilations, The '09 Collection. Through the course of the year we'll be releasing four new CDs, each one featuring new, rare, unreleased, live and remixed tracks from all of our bands. The discs will be available to purchase separately for £5 each or you can subscribe to the whole series for just £15, for which you will also receive a collector's edition tin to hold the four comps, plus a number of other gifts and offers.

The first in the series, 'Spring', is released on 23rd February and includes all sorts of exclusives including Mimas covering This Town Needs Guns hit '26 Is Dancier Than 4', who return with 'Japanese Ultra Violence', previously unreleased in the UK. There's a brilliant old Meet Me In St Louis demo and Blakfish offer an exclusive album demo as well as an amazing video of a Limp Bizkit cover live from a house party last year (plus a strange phone recording singing a medley of Tubelord songs down the phone in a lounge style!). Pulled Apart By Horses also get involved with the covers, taking a stab at Rage Against The Machine, whilst many other bands (including new boys Copy Haho, The Tupolev Ghost and Wintermute) offer up tracks from forthcoming releases. All in all it's a fine little collection of gems and oddities!

Some of you may remember me asking for feedback a few months ago regarding compilations? I received an amazing amount of support through the comments on this blog and people who read my plea and sent emails full of ideas. I wanted to do my very best to accomodate as many of your wishes as possible into this range and am delighted with the outcome, and do hope you all will be too.

As a token of my appreciation for helping us realise this idea, I'm offering all of our blog readers a subscription to the series for a reduced price of just £13. This offer is only valid for 24 hours so will be removed Saturday afternoon. After that point I'm afraid it'll be back up to the normal £15.

Click here to subscribe for £13 - Offer expired, thanks to all of you who took advantage

Thanks again


Badges for all

Well, perhaps not all, just the lucky Mr Charles Stanley, actually, whose name has been picked at random as the winner of our recent badges competition. Congratulations!

Another contest will be begin in a couple of weeks so check back soon

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Video Mix-Tape #2 - This Town Needs Guns

Following on from Copy Haho's top 5 videos, here are a selection from our favourite local lot, This Town Needs Guns...



1. Bjork - All Is Full of Love (above)
2. Paula Abdul - Opposites Attract
3. Aphex Twin - Windowlicker
4. Beastie Boys - Sabotage
5. Radiohead - Karma Police


www.myspace.com/thistownneedsguns

Out of Office - Wetherspoons!

It's Wednesday morning and my Jamaican rum hangover is causing me minor grievance. I'm sure everyone has their own cures to remedy this situation, mine is to get out of the office and go to Wetherspoons.

Today I've decided to pack up my laptop, notepad and what's left of my dignity and head down to the local branch of everyone's favourite budget bars. Having recently announced even lower prices - including a 99p pint and a series of £2.99 dishes - a tenner should see me through the 'working' day with two square meals and the hair of the dog. What it does for productivity, we'll have to see.

Last weeks day off gambling wasn't quite the fiscal success I'd dreamed of, lets hope today proves more fruitful, although horrid visions of old men wildly losing control of their drink-addled bladders and my laptop sticking to the IPA-soaked table don't fill me with optimism.

Wish me luck!





Updates - taken from Twitter

11:26am - Decided the best way to beat my rum based hangover is to drink more. Sailor Jerry and coke: £1.29. Full English breakfast: £2.69. Notepad out. It's go time!

11:45am - 2 old men debating "who needs a smack" and some toff students discussing port. These groups need to meet. Wetherspoons 4eva

12:12pm - Old woman just thanked her 80+ year old husband for lunch then, with a nudge and a wink, said "I'll try and pay you back tonight" - DISGUSTING!

12:46pm - Bored of 'Spoons, going for a one man pub crawl around Oxford. 2 pages of release ideas so far. Moving onto vodka to mix things up a bit

12:57pm - Student in the corner just described You Me At Six as "indie metal." Where are the guys from earlier and their "smack list" when you need them?

13:44pm - Feel like shouting "I'm more drunk than you" in the High Street but my smug, glazed eyes say it all. Oxford has enough scruffy drunks anyway

15:10pm - It's all over! I had one too many good ideas and opted to come home and act on them rather than buy another drink. It was fun whilst it lasted


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Drowned in Big Scary Monsters

Check this shit out

Gig for a quid

I was thinking recently that pretty much the only thing inflation hasn't hit is the money bands demand for gigs. There's always talk of the ongoing decline in recorded music sales along with a certain defiance about the success of live shows, yet touring support bands have been receiving £50 a night for as long as I can remember. Even during those crazy petrol price doubling times last year, everyone was still paid the same low rate.

As an occasional promoter I can see it from that point of view too. Just because fuel costs have gone through the roof it doesn't mean that all of a sudden their attendances are doubling - there's simply no extra money available in most cases. So what can the bands do? With a rise in their fees unlikely to happen anytime soon the options seem limited to (a) relying on merch to cover their extra costs, (b) cycling to gigs, (c) limiting themselves to shows no further than a few miles from their homes or (d) put up or shut up. The poor buggers.

When bands get a certain size and stature they'll likely take on a booking agent to help them out with securing tour supports and higher guarantees for their shows, a vital helping-hand in keeping the wolf from the door, although it must be said that this mob of stardom-chasing fools should probably be re-thinking their choice of staff. £100 guarantee in a 20,000 capacity venue? What were they thinking?

Monday, 19 January 2009

Another week, another blog

Monday morning and another tired battle with procrastination. Saturday night and all of its Jagerbombs left me unable to sleep until 7am Sunday morning, something which is likely to haunt me for the next couple of says and make working a highly unwanted nuisance. I don't have too much choice, however, as we've got a busy week coming up including these assorted highlights:

Later today we'll be announcing a new band at www.bsmrocks.com. They're loud and I think you'll like them. They have a mini-album coming out in March and I might even post a free MP3 from it on here.

Also going live on the website this week will be news of a brand new BSM sampler CD, which is really exciting. I've been plugging away on it slowly for a few months now and am delighted with the outcome. Expect to read more about that one on Thursday.

Following on from Copy Haho's poptastic selection, This Town Needs Guns will be telling you their top 5 all-time favourite music videos.

The winner of our Awesome Badges competiton will be announced. Closing date for entries is Thursday so you still have time if you want to get involved.

And I'll be enjoying another day off, possibly in the company of the multi-talented Toby Hayes. You know, him from Shoes And Socks Off, Meet Me In St Louis and Shield Your Eyes.

Come back soon...


Friday, 16 January 2009

Out of Office - Gambling!

Another week, another day off. I have a small hangover and have decided that I'm going to follow last weeks day of NFL watching with another equally productive, sofa-based activity: gambling!

Times are hard right now so what better way to increase my finances than by doubling my money through betting? There's just not enough independent record labels funded by gambling these days.

I'll be updating this blog (and Twitter) throughout the afternoon with my progress, winnings and hot tips. It'll be like an afternoon out at the bookies with your favourite disgusting tramp.

On your marks, get set... GO!

Updates

13:58 - Just bet on a horse in the 2pm at Chepstow simply because his name is 'Slayer' - 65/1. I'm such a prick.

14:00 - Come on you stupid nag!

14:02 - Already in last place...

14:04 - Commentator: "Slayer's jumping is going from bad to worse, he's now 12 lengths behind." Next!

14:11 - Snooker seems like a stupid sport to bet on, lets have a look

14:14 - Just bet on Maguire to be in the lead after first 4 frames because the compere introduced him as "he's on fire... it's Stephen Maguire!" It's fair to say that I never learn

14:18 - Maguire building a promising break, this will take him 2-1 up and set me on my way to a glorious win

14:22 - Shit! Maguire misses the black and lets Robertson in. 55 point lead but worried now

14: 26 - Maguire still winning 55 - 29 but Robertson has just missed and let him back in. I've never been so nervous whilst watching this sport!

14:28 - Maguire snookers Robertson who misses 4 times in a row! My boy's back at the table and has enough points to secure the frame. A hard-earned victory which has left me on the verge of a heart attack... and he still needs to win the next frame to net me my £3.08! Can I just have my stake back please?!

14:39 - Maguire keeps potting reds and having bad luck leaving him without easy shots on the colours. I've got pins and needles. A big break is what's needed

14:50 - Oh God... He's missed. Another worrying safety game and there's still just enough points left on the table for Robertson to claw this back

14:52 - Robertson nearly flukes a red. I pretty much wet myself

14:54 - YES! £3.08 winnings puts me £1.08 in profit. That's nearly an hours work, might take a walk down to McDonald's for a job application in a minute. Need to roll my winnings on first...

15:06 - Gonna place a massive accumulator on this weekends football fixtures. Live sports are too stressful!

15:22 - Derby (Nigel Clough's first home game in charge) to beat QPR (who've only one once away from home) is a tempting bet. Might stake one of our bands on it, I wonder what they're worth to a bookies?

15:32 - Done. Chelsea, Sunderland, Coventry, Crystal Palace, Derby, Norwich, Millwall and Peterborough to all win tomorrow. Potential winnings of £369.92. That'll do, it'll pay half of our next CD pressing!

15:50 - Just put an old Jimmy Eat World DVD I forgot I had on to try and inspire me. With the £2 staked on the above accumulator I'm now 92p down for today. Need to win it back! But how...?

15:52 - Does anyone know what the sport 'Bandy' is? 'Cos I just put a couple of quid on Sweden to beat Norway, which will win me a massive 32p.

16:55 - Got sidetracked by emails and trying to find a decent website to play poker on. I fear this may be the end of my gambling day. Roll on tomorrow when my small footballing seed blossoms...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Hulk Hogan

Watch this: Pulled Apart By Horses - Meat Balloon (promo video)



Sick!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Awesome competition!

Thanks to the lovely people at Awesome Badges, we're going to be bringing you monthly competitions right here on Blog Scary Monsters every month this year. There's not a lot in it for me, just the sense of enjoyment which comes in asking people to jump through hoops, but that's ok. It's the minor victories which keep my days interesting.

So, lets kick it off then...

Prize: 100 25mm badges

Question:
What's the name of the diner Blakfish visited on Day 6 of their album recording trip to Seattle?

Closing date: Thursday 22nd January 2008

Rules: Email your answer to bsmrocks@googlemail.com. This is open to everyone, so not just bands, solo artists, record labels and arrogant induviduals who'd like to have 100 badges with their face on. The winner will be chosen at random from the correct enties and will be notified by email.

That's it. Best of Brittish


MPfree?

Yesterday I had an interesting meeting with a man called Simon where we were discussing recorded music, adding value back into physical products and the long tail. Over the past few months I've read a lot of articles and arguements for making music free - for the benefit of increasing other revenues such as live income, merchandise etc etc. The premise being that the further your music spreads, the larger your fanbase will grow and therefore, the more people will be coming to your gigs and wanting your t-shirts. Of course, there are always the optional extras such as deluxe boxets ala Radiohead (who made their most recent record available for any price you chose to pay, and actually made more money from it than from any of their previous albums) or Nine Inch Nails (who, despite making their music free, were still the top selling artists on Amazons MP3 site in 2008). There situations are slightly different to the bands we're working with, being well established, multinational brands with years of major label marketing behind them, but the concept works all the way down.

During our meeting, Simon told me that his philosophy for 2009 is to give nothing away for free. A complete contradiction to the above, but one which also has its merits.

Ok charging for everything isn't going to see your music reach as many weird and wonderful corners of the globe, but there is definitely higher value in your work than the £0.00 some people are charging. If you start giving things away for free too early, your fans will expect that throughout your career and you may find it difficult to successfully start pricing further down the line. With money coming in from physical sales, there's cash available to reinvest in the artists marketing, which, if spent wisely, should see a return in a growing fanbase. And if digital fans want to own your recordings badly enough, 79p isn't a steep price to pay. Effectively fewer people receive your recorded output, but you're seeing a financial return for it all, and when I say recorded music, I don't just mean the well polished album masters, we're talking live recordings, remixes, demos, everything! They all have a price. Nettwerk successfuly managed it with the Barenaked Ladies and will continue to do so with their other artists. It's the long tail. Selling less of more adds up to giving away lots for nothing.

I think I stand firmly in the middle of this debate. As a music fan it's a very exciting time, but from a label point of view I can see the reasons for both arguements and as such, find it a little hard to decide what will work best for us in the future. I'm convinced a physical market will always exist (it still makes up the vast majority of music sales - and that includes the major labels who are pissing customers away a lot quicker than us indies and our real music fans) but am not stupid enough to believe it'll always retain its current form. As ad supported streaming websites such as the much talked about Spotify, and cloud computing (your music collection 'online', available to you anywhere, anytime, without the need to carry a memory card) become more and more common, the difference between physical and digital sales will (at somepoint) balance out. I guess we will have fallen one side of the fence or the other by that time, but we'll have to wait and see which way the wind blows first.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Sub of The Day

I'm off to London for a couple of meetings today, although one shouldn't technically be deemed that as it's really just me meeting my friend (who also happens to work in the music industry) in Subway, where we plan to use my buy one get one free vouchers and make plans for our post-SXSW road trip. I'm leaving Oxford at 10am, arriving around 12, two meetings and heading back at 3, to be home again just after 5. That's pretty much a whole working day, yet I'm only actually at my destination for 3 hours. Go figure. Thankfully I now have a laptop so will be taking advantage of the free wi-fi aboard the Oxford Tube so it'll be emails emails emails today.

The America trip is shaping up nicely, however. We've decided to go 'off-road' and see the real America, foregoing New York, LA etc and staying Central. The plan is to hire a car and drive roughly 1000 miles east, through Houston, New Orleans and many other wonderful places before reaching Atlanta, Georgia where we'll fly home. To my slight dismay, the flight from there to London actually requires a transfer in Houston, our first destination, which in my mind feels a little negative. Kinda like we're re-tracing steps instead of seeing new sights, but then again, an airport's an airport. We're not exactly talking the 8th wonder of the world here.

I need an idea for what to do on my day off this week. At the moment I'm leaning towards taking Friday off to gamble and win enough money to pay off all of my debts. A great plan in theory but possibly a little harder than I've just made it sound, and judging from previous attempts at this feat, a financially rocky one too.

Coolio's odds are back down to 24/1. Gangster!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Coolio update

Starting at 13/1 before gliding into second place with odds of around 3/1, Coolio has since dropped to a staggering 40/1 to leave the Celebrity Big Brother house triumphant! Having not watched a minute of the 'entertainment' show, I'm following his progress, and judging him accordingly, by his fluctuating odds on Betfair and am clueless as to what's going wrong. The only thing I do know for sure is that my stake of £50 worth of free CDs is looking pretty safe.

Keep your NME's closer

Three reasons why I quite like the NME this week:

1) Page 35





2) Page 39





3) Page 52





Don't Blakfish just look like the hardest bunch of special kids you ever saw? And how any photographer managed to get Pulled Apart By Horses to sit still and stop grinning for 30 seconds I'll never know. And Tubelord... Well what can you say about tan lines like those?

Friday, 9 January 2009

Video Mix-Tape #1 - Copy Haho

I promised this and then bloody forgot all about it! And I call myself a blogger! Psst.

Over the coming months we're going to try and give you a glimpse into the seedy little minds of our bands via the only reliable entrance: their music taste. We'll be asking each group to give us their top 5 music videos, which should help you shed a few otherwise boring minutes from your working day. And seeing as it's Friday, I'm sure you won't needs your arms twisting to put down your tools and spend a moment enjoying these musical treats.

First up is Scotland's favourite, Copy Haho...



1. Michael Jackson - Blame It on The Boogie (above)
2. Dinosaur Jr - Freak Scene
3. Wham - Club Tropicana
4. The Flaming Lips - Turn It On
5. Pavement - Cut Your Hair

www.myspace.com/copyhaho

These Fakers Need Shooting

It would appear that This Town Needs Guns have picked up their first fakers. Check this out, but don't buy anything! As nice as those flying elephants are, I'm afraid they're not real.

PS. Imagine if elephants really could fly! Holy smokes, the possibilities!

PPS. On a scale of 1 - 10, 1 being completely inappropriate and 10 being Jade Goody, how wrong is it to use a PS in the middle of a body of text?

Getting back onto the subject of TTNG, Jamie (AKA the bassist) has designed this lovely flyer for their upcoming February tour:



Nice, right? Now start planning how many of those gigs you're going to attend.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Back to work

After yesterdays triumphant day of watching american football and dreaming up some new ideas for the label, it was back to work with a bang this morning as I found myself sat at the computer by 7am. Not particularly through choice, I just couldn't sleep having woken up at 6am thinking I could smell fire. After half an hour of being too lazy/stupid to go and check, instead opting to lay there and "listen for fire" I figured I may as well just get up and do something proactive.

Today I write to you with both good and bad news, each represented with words and moving pictures.

First, the bad news...

Unfortunately Serj, Secondsmile's super-strong drummer for the past 6 years and all-round nice guy (for the past 21 or so years), has decided to leave the band. He'll be dearly missed and we all wish him the very best as he heads off to persue a life outside of music. All I ask is you remember him accordingly...



Now for the good news...

We've announced a new signing! The brilliant Wintermute will be joining our happy little family, with their debut album, 'Robot Works', set for release in April. Before then, however, there'll be a 3" CD single in February (limited to just 100 copies) and the band recorded the following introduction message at a house party on the recent BSM Christmas Tour. Talk about good first impressions...


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Out Of Office - NFL!

Does anyone else feel just a little bit stupid posting things with festive stamps after Christmas? I'm living in a world of fear that the postman is going to track me down and shout "get with the times" or some equally 80's insult at me, probably before flushing my head down the toilet and stealing my lunch money.

Anyway, today's not the day to be dwelling on such work-related nightmares because today is my first day off of the year! That's right, it's Wednesday 7th January and I'm already having a break. Those of you who have seen my previous Out Of Office blog will already know about my plan of working 4 day weeks this year, those of you who hadn't seen it, you know now. I'm my own boss and am putting my foot down here.

Out Of Office - Week One

As it's too cold for this little scaredy cat to go outside and do anything practical I've decided to lock myself away and do something I should've done a year ago... Learn the rules of American football!

I've been watching NFL pretty religiously this season, after getting caught up in the Superbowl hysteria whilst in New York last January and then later becomming obsessed with the TV series Friday Night Lights. Every Sunday I've sat on my sofa and made confused faces as big men run around a field, smashing each other into the ground, pounding chests and dancing like lunatics. As you dig deeper you realise there's a wealth of tactics and strategies, far in advance of the macho exterior of the sport, and for the first time ever, thanks to the book Gemma bought me for Christmas and the beauty of Sky+, today I'm going to sit down and watch ALL of last weekends play-off games, with my book at hand to help me with any confusion. By lunchtime I'll be an expert, by the end of the day I'll be applying for the vacant coaching roles. You'll see. It'll be goodbye music industry and hello manly chest pounding!

Seeya tomorrow


Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Jaydiohead

Following on from below (Coolio... hip-hop... tenuous, right?), I fully recommend checking out jaydiohead.com. Jay-Z vs Radiohead remixes. Pretty massive.

Coolio

Are you watching Celebrity Big Brother? Of course you're not, it's bollocks. But just in case you are, do me a favour and lend your support to Coolio. This isn't quite a call of arms to support my fellow music industry worker, it's purely selfish. Selfish and fiscal.

After winning a glorious tenner on that dappy Micky from EastEnders winning the Celebrity jungle programme a couple of months ago I've decided to roll 3 of my profited pounds onto Mr Gangsta's Paradside to walk out of the house triumphant, with a prize of nearly £50 awaiting me, and no doubt a few thousand extra record sales for him.

The odds of the rapper who likes to say "Shaka Zulu" a lot winning have already halved since the start of the show making him second favourite just behind Mini-Me, who is slowly dropping as the public's slightly disrespectful 'aaaarrrr, ain't he cute' attitude starts to wear off, something which will be gone completely when they realise he's actually a dirty little sexual beast.

So, what's in this for you?

Well, how about this... If Coolio goes on to win Celebrity Big Brother 2009 I will match my gambling winnings by giving away that amount of free BSM CDs. That's not a bad deal really as there's no leg-work involved for you, apart from your well wishes and perhaps the odd text vote, should you feel the need.

Here's a video to inspire you:

Monday, 5 January 2009

Features

Morning campers

Do you ever have those really odd mornings where things don't seem quite right and you've watched so many episodes of 24 over the weekend that you can't help but think the events are all connected and some sort of conspiracy is to blame? Today I awoke a full 2 hours earlier than usual, unable to get back to sleep, found the curtain from the bedroom window had fallen down and I then discover it had been snowing. Weird. Possibly not the workings of a terrorist group, however. Not unless they've really run out of things to mess with.

This week I'm going to kick off a few new features on Blog Scary Monsters. 2009 is all about structure, you see..

Out Of Office - As mentioned below, this will see me taking one day off a week in the hope of rescuing my love for this job and finding new creative inspiration. Your ideas are still welcome. Thanks to those who've emailed or left comments so far.

Top 5 Videos - Each month we'll be asking a couple of bands to submit a list of their top 5 videos. This could be their all-time favourites, their best loved nu-metal anthems, the greatest Icelandic bands ever or anything else they desire. Copy Haho will be first up, in a couple of days time.

Competitions - In association with Awesome Badges we'll be giving away a small prize every month. So if you fancy winning 100 badges for your band, or 100 bottle openers with your phone number on to give out to girls on the bus, come back soon...

As ever, this blog is a democracy (kinda) so if there's something you'd like to see, hear or read, let me know.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Thursday, 1 January 2009

01.01.09

Happy new year y'all!



Best news of 2009 thus far: I don't have a hangover. Worst news: I think I have a new cold kicking in whilst still battling the old one! How is that even possible?! Perhaps this will be the year when Kevin Douch finally defies modern day science? It's about time too, if you ask me.

So how was your new years eve? I actually had a great time. I'm not really a massive supporter of the night, often favouring a quiet one with friends rather than a giant, over-inflated, ridiculously expensive one in a packed room of strangers, so making the short walk round the corner to a house which was soon to be trashed by 6 of our closest drunks, a Nintendo Wii, a bag of surprisingly loud party poppers and a bucket of chicken suited me nicely. We had a midnight bundle, which is an idea I can't see catching on, and then like the sickly old man I am, retired with Gemma to drink Lemsip and watch 24. Now that's out of the way, it's time to get this new year show on the road.

Resolutions

I've been in two minds whether or not to make resolutions this year (apart from 'use more sub-headings in blog posts' and 'learn to tidy up after myself'). Part of me knows it's a waste of time as I'll spend longer writing the list than I will following it, the other, hopelessly optimistic part, says I should give it another crack. A fair compromise could be to come up with one all-encompassing rule which will cover every possible resolution I could dream up, whilst still being loose enough for me to break yet justify a winning feeling in a years time. A good rule is: Have more fun in 2009

A would-be Andrew WK song title, I think this pretty much ticks every box. It's not that I didn't enjoy 2008, I just feel as though I perhaps wasted a few opportunities, lost sight of a few important goals, put too much un-warranted pressure on myself and gave too much consideration to finances. So 2009 is going to change. For a start, I'm planning on cutting down to 4 day working weeks, as briefly mentioned below. Over my few short years of self-employment I've worked myself into a mindset of 24/7 shifts, with a severe feeling of guilt if I'm not at my computer by 9am and giving myself more than a 20 minute lunch break. It's time to re-discover why I love this job.

As the first step in this plan I have decided that one day a week, every week, I'll be taking myself out of the office environment where I hope to broaden horizons, learn new things and hopefully watch the skies turning slowly back to blue. And it's not just a purely selfish exercise, believe it or not. Looking back over the past 12 months I firmly believe that all of my best ideas have come when I've taken myself out of my comfortable surroundings (a well known trick to help cure writers block and other creative inconveniences) and my most productive days are the ones which have followed time away from the office.

Help

As always, I'm asking for your help. I now have 52 extra days off which need filling and would like some suggestions as to what I should do. Everything will of course be detailed within this blog, and I'm looking for ideas both related to my job/the music industry, as well as completely removed from it. Some early thoughts include:
  • Learn to drive with BSM (something, at the age of 25, which is long overdue)
  • Ride a horse (I don't like this one but promised Gem I'd include it)
  • Learn to play a musical instrument (could make for some painful interesting videos)
  • Spend a day record shopping (which shops are doing what, how can we use that, etc etc)
  • Take a day to read (books, magazines, anything which isn't on a screen!)

My day off can be flexible and I'm willing to travel for it, so long as it's a 24 hour round trip or can be tied in with something worky the following day. I don't want this to get out of hand and end up with '09 being the year BSM and I crash and burn. As most ideas probably won't fill a whole day I'll be looking for something which I can tackle over the course of a long time as well as a host of one-off ideas to occupy my time. Anything which allows the left side of my brain (or is it the right? I never remember) to stay clear and active on work brainstorming is a bonus, I just want to get away from the damn computer screen!

If you have any suggestions for me, leave them in the comments or email to bsmrocks@googlemail.com - Thanks