Saturday, 28 February 2009

Footy! Take 4

Due to being away this week I didn't have time to ask for any friends opinions on this weekends fixtures and am now throwing myself to the lions and going it alone. I'm like Jack Bauer defying the wishes of CTU. Or John Locke trying to save the island.

Here's my bet:

Everton - West Brom
Chelsea - Wigan
Bristol City - Blackpool
Swansea - Charlton
Wolves - Plymouth
Peterborough - Southend
Rochdale - Grimsby
Lewes - Histon
Wrexham - Salisbury
Oxford - Torquay
Gateshead - Vauxhall
Redditch - Stalybridge
Hamilton - Rangers
Celtic - St Mirren

50p to win £199.60

Come on my beauties! I've gotta find the money for a 2 week US roadtrip in the next 17 days and am currently halfway through my overdraft. This shit is make or break.

I'm selling you the whole seat but you're only gonna need the edge!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Papa's got a brand new band

Hi World
Sorry for being incommunicado the last few days, I've been "living it up" (or so I'd like you to believe) in our nation's capital. Although to be fair, for all of my tiredness and hangover struggles since returning home yesterday evening, the previous couple of days proved very successful. I had five meetings which included agreeing an exciting split release with another label, chatting about making a very long-overdue new signing (you'll know what I mean when we announce it), making plans for our forthcoming US roadtrip, having a very interesting conversation about digital marketing and blogs (ok well I think that stuff's interesting, shut up!) and chatting to the guys at Hassle as we make big plans for the forthcoming Blakfish record, which we'll be co-releasing this summer. To round it all off, the 'fish played Old Blue Last Wednesday night alongside Shield Your Eyes and the best band in Ireland, U2. No, wait... I mean Adebisi Shank. Sorry, Radio One's relentless promotion of Bono and his merry mates is obviously polluting my mind.

You won't believe how addicted I am to the Shapes EP right now. Seriously. If I didn't have bills to pay and a band to stay on the right side of, I'd upload it right now with the words: "Told you..." but I'm afraid you're just gonna have to go on waiting. We're going to put a track up online in a week or two though, and it just so happens to be my favourite from the CD. I hope you all like it as much as I do or I'm gonna feel a little bit silly after all of this gushing praise.

Have you watched the below Kevin Devine video? I really hope so.

Right now I'm busy teasing Twitter about a new signing we've made. Well, it's technically not 'new', as such. We've had this release agreed for over 6 months now, but it's been a case of trying to work in into a schedule that works for both the band and us. We've finally managed it and as I'm about to break the news to our lovely Tweeps I might as well post it here too: It's none other than (eerie) Indiana's very own, Native. You might remember them from many Shapes-esque glowing blog posts last year?

The 'We Delete; Erase' EP will be out in the UK on April 20th and the band are hitting the studio with Chris Common (who just knocked up the Blakfish record) the same month to record their debut album for our friends, Sargent House. Here's a video of them doing their thang:

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

New DiS column

So you know what they say about the difficult second album, right? Well here's mine. Hope you like it.

If you do nothing else today (apart from read the above, obviously!) then you should watch this video. You are literally wasting my time and yours if you don't, as everyone needs this song in their life. Forget your Newt from Hollyoaks approved take on it all, this is what it really means to be emo...

An open letter to all BSM bands

More artwork like this, please:



PS. This my 400th blog entry. Glad it was a good one, I wouldn't have wanted to ruin this moment

"I'd like to think we're not quite so overwhelmingly emo these days"

Interview with me on the Stranded In Stereo blog. Have a read

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Stereo Is Bleeding

It dawned on me over the weekend just how many new releases we have coming up. The vast majority of my music listening time is always filled with BSM bands, but it's absolute extremes right now. Not even God's iTunes, Spotify, can stand this pace. Apart from Speaking of Heroes (my first emo love, re-discovered this week) it's the battle of the 'Monsters as the new releases flood in and all vy for speaker time. Here's a quick round-up of what you have to look forward to:

Copy Haho
I've been banging on about this band for well over a year and their first EP for us is finally out. It's available via iTunes now, will be in shops next Monday and mailorders should have started arriving at the end of last week. I can't tell you just how much you need this band in your life. I'm at the point where I can't imagine going more than a week for the rest of my life without listening to these five pop hits.

The Tupolev Ghost
Our next release. Their self-titled mini-album is released at the end of March and their DC-inspired rock anthems have been tearing new wholes in the side of my head for a few weeks now. We have lots of plans for these guys over the next year or two so get used to it!

Shapes
I loved their first EP and although the new one isn't yet mastered, the mixes are sounding brilliant and I think we could be looking at the next band to have a crack at the unfortunate hole left by Meet Me In St Louis. I'll post a new track on here as soon as one's ready and the EP will be out in May.

Wintermute
Still waiting on the final final masters for this one but it's an album packed full of jangly indie hooks and catchy choruses. One of the most pop records we've released in recent times. I hope to get a couple of tracks up online for you all to hear very soon. 'Dead Or Not...' is, of course, still available from www.bsmrocks.com/friend

Blakfish
They buggered off to Seattle for a month to record this and having heard demos of most of the new songs, we were confident they'd pull something out of the bag. As it turns out, they ripped the bag to shreds and pissed all over the remains. The whole thing sounds huge. 'We Beg, We Borrow, We Steal' is possibly my favourite Blakfish song yet and we'll all be singing "it could be worse, we could be dead, I don't know how we survived but all I know is, we did" by the end of the summer. Look out for very exciting news about this release, coming soon. It'll be out at the end of May, that's all I'll tell you for now.

Tubelord
Technically no longer with us, another lucky label will be releasing their album later on this year, but having heard 3/4 of the record I can tell you it's going to be a big hit. 'Your Bed Is Kind Of Frightening' and 'Cows To The Left' show off a sweet side the guys have only previously hinted at and old demo track, 'Propellor', gets a lovely re-working. It's the record we hoped they would make, you're seriously going to love this!

On top of these, the aforementioned Speaking Of Heroes, the brilliant new demos from Talons and the forthcoming Kevin Devine album (watch the video below - incredible!), my speakers have never been so spoilt for choice. Forget all of the financial worries and negative vibes going around, 2009 is the year for great new music. You'll see...


Saturday, 21 February 2009

A definite win

Arsenal - Sunderland
Man United - Blackburn
Swansea - Doncaster
Southampton - Preston
Leeds - Cheltenham
Millwall - Brighton
Bury - Notts. Co
Rangers - Kilmarnock
Hearts - St Mirren
Peterhead - Stranraer
Elgin - Albion Rovers

50p to win £58 and change.

If it comes in, I'll run a 'two for one' promotion on everything in the BSM shop tomorrow, up until £58 worth of stock has been given away for free.

Deal?

Friday, 20 February 2009

Copy Haho acoustic video

Morning World. What a long and difficult day yesterday turned into. If I never have to cut and fold another CD sleeve it'll be too soon... And the disappointing news is that I have to do more today!

Late last night we took delivery of The Tupolev Ghost's new video, which is amazing! Slightly reminiscent of Meet Me In St Louis' one for '...Energon' I felt. Will be online in a week or two and you can be sure I'll post it here first.

So not to leave you with a horrible, video shaped hole in your life in the meantime, here's one of Copy Haho recording a special acoustic version of 'You Are My Coal Mine' for Clash magazine. There are a bunch from last weeks London show up at www.bsmrocks.com too, if you haven't yet seen them?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Footy! Take 3

Come on Team, we're not gonna quit yet! So we've had one or two minor setbacks but this week is definitely going to be the one!

As per previous weeks I've assembled a team of top class music industry professionals to cast their knowing (or not so, as it's proven thus far) eye over the weekends fixtures, now it's just down to you to leave a comment below or give us a shout on Twitter with your opinion. Come Sunday we'll all be filthy rich and swimming in pools of money!

Saturday 21st February

Full list of fixtures is here. And the "experts" say...

Ben Patashnik - NME (Arsenal fan)
  • Being a Gooner I automatically assume that when we play a team like Sunderland we'll either grind out a 1-0 victory or chuck seven past them in a feast of footballing glory; this week, with Eduardo back, I reckon we'll stuff them – just as Man Utd will do to Blackburn. Portsmouth will delay their inevitable descent into the Championship for another few hours when they draw with Stoke, Wigan will edge it over Boro and West Ham will fall to Bolton's sword. As for Villa, they'll get turned over by a vile, hateful Chelsea team desperate to show off for the new boss
David Riley - Cooking Vinyl Records (Charloton fan)
  • I'm going to go for Championship predictions and start with Charlton and Barnsley to duke out a high score draw. Both clubs broke their long winless streaks in the past week and both ship goals like they are going out of fashion. Much as I'd like to predict a win for Charlton, we have two major problems; the worlds worst defence and the uncanny ability to clutch a draw from the jaws of victory. Fellow strugglers Plymouth Argyle are on a terrible, terrible run and are likely to get demolished by Sheffield United despite the Blades currently stuttering form. The same fate will (hopefully) await fellow drop-zone neighbours Southampton and Norwich who both take-on promotion chasers in the shape of Preston and Burnley. Birmingham have lost Kevin Phillips to injury and, as my only rulebook breaking prediction, I fancy Coventry to take at least a draw away from their home clash, despite languishing mid-table at the moment. Home wins also for Nottingham Forest and Swansea
Paul Savage - Punktastic (Grimsby fan)
  • This week I'm going to be on Betfair with a treble - but instead of backing them I'm laying them. So do a treble of laying Stoke against Portsmouth, laying Wigan against Middlesborough and laying Grimsby against Darlington. Should pay about 5/2

Out of Office - Creativity!

It feels like ages since my last full 'out of office' day and my attempted trip to Barcelona. Due to the last couple of weeks being so unbelievably busy I ended up just getting a couple of hours here and there, bordering on defying my one new years resolution. Well good news folks: I'm back on track this week and dedicating the whole of Thursday 19th February 2009 to "being creative"

Exactly where this vague creative banner will take me, I'm not yet sure, and your suggestions are of course welcome. I know that I need to package a LOT of 09 Collection CDs (printing, cutting, folding, gluing, stickering, stamping, inserting and tinning), I have an idea for a new t-shirt design which I'll be drawing up, inspired by a couple of conversation subjects from yesterday, a new Drowned In Sound column needs writing and I've got a few more ideas to add to my 'BSM Playbook' list of release concepts. So that's arts, crafts and writing covered, if only I had a scrap of musical talent I could write a song and tick music off, too.

All of this, of course, will be taking place in the middle of the front room whilst soundtracked by Spotify, so what I would really like is if people could comment below or Twitter me recommendations for motivational music. I'll be checking back from time to time to pick up your ideas and will post updates of my creative progress and accompanying noise.


Updates:

10:48am - I've gathered, printed and photographed whilst listening to Jaga Jazzist and the Rocky IV soundtrack. Before:



12:06pm - I have grossly underestimated how long these buggers are gonna take to put together! Still need to date-stamp them all yet. Anyway... After:



12:11pm - Going to eat and then crack on with more of these tins. A very nice man on Twitter has just made me a Spotify playlist to help with motivation. It starts with a Hot Snakes Peel sessions EP track. Good stuff!

14:08pm - Seriously, where is the time going?! I've managed to package up a few more 09 Collection sets, listened through the CD (which, may I add, is brilliant) and the Speaking Of Heroes album (my favourite band from MP3.com - still sounds as good now as it did all those years ago) and have just designed a new t-shirt. What do you think? Would you buy it?



15:17pm - New BSM badge design. Rocking out to Jay-Z's 'Black Album' and the new Talons tracks. They sound like a mix of all of our bands!



15:49pm - I've moved my one-man paper folding production line back to the computer so I can read a few emails whilst finishing these off. Well, I say finishing, that's a very hopeful use of the word! Gotta start my Drowned In Sound column soon but having just logged onto Myspace and become infuriated with the number of "thanks for the add" comments I need to deny, it's safe to assume this months piece is going to have a slightly negative slant.

23:15pm - After a couple of short breaks I have finally finished printing, cutting, folding and scoring every sheet of card I can lay my tired little paws on! Phew. Unfortunately it's only half the number I need to cover all of the orders. What a weekend I have ahead. Thankfully the forthcoming Shapes EP mixes have got me through the past hour and I now feel ready to take on the world and all of it's challenges

...Tomorrow

I'm done with today. Creativity is tiring

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Awesome competition #2

It's competition time, gang!

Following on from January's contest to win 100 badges from our friends at Awesome Badges, we're running a new one to win 50 bottle openers for your band/label/club night/whatever.

A few weeks ago I discovered the late night Channel 5 wonder that is Quiz Call. Seemingly the concept of the show is that all sorts of idiots ring up (an average of around 350 idiots per minute, paying £1 per call, according to the information on the screen) and wrongly answer simple questions. I became fascinated by the number of people who believed that "American" was the name of a place... And don't get me started on the old woman who called in and suggested 8 Mile!

I thought this would be a good chance to stick it to them and show that BSM fans are the sharpest tools in the drawer. Don't let me down!

Question: A city is named in the title of one track on Meet Me In St Louis' debut album, 'Variations On Swing'. What is the full track title?

Simple, right?

Send your answers to bsmrocks@googlemail.com by 12pm on Friday 27th February. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.


Monday, 16 February 2009

New week, new band

Morning world!

Putting on a gig, and getting drunk at said gig, didn't turn out to be quite the gentle start to the week I'd hoped for. Partly because of the number of friends in attendance and partly because of the massive party vibes DJ Mike Hemsley was throwing out with his mix of R&B and hip-hop flava's. My head's certainly cloudier than I'd like it to be right now, but we've got a BIG week coming up this week so there's no time to be sitting around complaining. Here are two things to kick your Monday morning off in style:

First off, it's my great pleasure to announce that the wonderful Shapes have joined our ever-expanding roster. The rowdy three-piece make so much noise you could be mistaken for thinking they're the ghost of Meet Me In St Louis, reduced in size, relocated to the Midlands and listening to pirates whilst they write their brilliantly powerful, twisting rock smashes! They're playing a free show at Rota (Notting Hill Arts Club) in London this Saturday, on stage at 6pm. The bad news, however, is that drummer Gav had his hand badly damaged by a bottle on Saturday night attempting to break up a fight, which means he'll be out of action and replaced by Wiz from Blakfish for the evening. I don't think that will make too much difference to your soon-to-be throbbing eardrums though.

Secondly, I'm delighted to show you this, the new video for 'Dead Or Not He Was Wearing Sunglasses' from Wintermute. The track (it's a pop hit, right?) is taken from their forthcoming album, 'Robot Works', and can be purchased on limited edition 3" CD from our online shop, or downloaded for free from www.bsmrocks.com/friend


Saturday, 14 February 2009

Stupid football

6 right, 2 wrong, 2 postponed. Another week waiting for wealth.

See the comments for the full run-down of results

Next week is ours, no question!

It's go time!

After last weeks disappointment I've plumped for a slightly more realistic bet today, with the odds coming in at an almost take-it-or-leave-it 76/1. Thanks once again for all of your tips, some great advice and, just like last week, a couple of strong disagreements. This is what we're on, Team:

Watford - Chelsea
Bristol City - Southampton
Leicester - Swindon
Birmingham - Notts. Forest
Peterborough - Yeovil
Harrogate - Solihull Moors
Oldham - Northampton
MK Dons - Hartlepool
Rushden & Diamonds - Lewes
Brentford - Port Vale

All home wins today, so that means we're definitely going to win, you'll see...

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, 13 February 2009

Nylvi interview

I was interviewed by Nylvi magazine this week. You can read what I had to say about inspirations behind the label, understanding fans, vinyl, our plans for the future and more right here.

One day I'll hopefully get around to linking up some of my other interviews from the past year or two. It's so flattering thinking back through the number I've been asked to do. Why anyone cares what I have to say I'll never really know, but I'm not going to complain. All hail the internet!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Footy! Take 2

Well we missed out on winning a small fortune last week, Team, but not to worry, this is a new week and with that comes a fresh opportunity to pocket some winngs and write ourselves into the history books of gambling champions.

I'd like to welcome this weeks tipsters to the blog. Right now they're all feeling confident, but the same could be said for last weeks batch, and as we found out the hard way, confidence doesn't pay the bills.

Saturday 14th February

A full list of fixtures is here and this is what the music industry think:

Mike Hemsley - Hassle Records (Liverpool fan)
  • I’m going to stick with FA Cup predos (taking that term from one of the guys on the BBC website live text thingy) for this weekend. Seeing as my beloved and infuriating Liverpool got dumped out by the Toffees in the last round, it’s the only way I can keep my interest in the competition. I’m plumping for the beleaguered Blackburn to turn over Coventry (sorry Jack Alcopop!), Sheffield United to get a result at home to Hull, Swansea to hold Fulham to a draw (albeit getting beaten in the replay), an easy win for Chelsea in the post-Scolari days away to Watford, and then for the in form West Ham to stick it to the out of form Middlesborough. As for Sunday, Man Utd will stick it to Derby without too much effort, and I hope and pray with all my heart that Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa boys take Everton to the fucking cleaners
Peter Hill - Rocklouder (Brighton fan)
  • For this weekend i'd start with taking Hull City to put one over Sheffield Utd at Bramall Lane in the cup. The Blades are riding high in the Championship but their home form is a bit on the gash side for where they are. You'll get 13/8 on an away win for Hull. In the league, something's gonna be a bit wrong if Bristol City don't spank Southampton into next week, so take them at 8/11, and in League One Leicester are almost home and dry at the top, so they can't do anything but massacre Swindon on Saturday. 2/5 for the home victory on that. Insisting on putting big money on Brighton to win every week is usually where I come unstuck, but with the new signings we've made in the transfer window and after a pretty good performance in the week (we lost 2-4 at home to Peterborough, but just take my word for it, OK?) you'd be a bloody mug not to put your life savings on a 5/4 home victory against Carlisle this weekend. Finally, down to the Conference, and we feel bad taking money for local heroes Lewes getting a roasting every week, so we'll put our dollar on Kidderminster to turn over Northwich for surprisingly good 4/11.
Brian Magill - Smalltown America Records (West Ham fan)
  • So it's F.A Cup Weekend. A weekend when the form book is but a feeble guide in predicting the outcome of any game. I'm going to go with a cavalier prediction, one that goes against the first rule in any punter's book; Betting on your own team. I can't see anything but a West Ham win over Middlesbrough. Boro's paper thin back line and their anemic front line do not stand a chance of causing a shock at the Boleyn ground. Elsewhere in the fifth round of the Cup, go for Blackburn to see off Coventry with a routine home victory, and there will be no fairytale reunion for Brendan Rodgers' and his Watford team when their face his former paymasters Chelsea at Vicarage road. Sheffield United V Hull is too close to call, and it would also take a brave punter to call Swansea V Fulham. Moving on elsewhere, look for Birmingham to get their stuttering promotion campaign on track with a home victory over Nottingham Forest, Bristol City to continue their surge for the playoffs with victory at home to Southampton, and a Norwich victory against stop-start Preston at Deepdale. Further down the pyramid, get Leeds, Leicester, Millwall, Peterborough and Colchester down on your coupon from League 1 for wins. Wycombe, Brentford and Luton represent good value for wins in League 2
Gavin Cooke - In The City (Stalybridge Celtic fan)
  • Conference North: Farsley have been on a bad run recently but its been mostly away against decent sides - at home they are pretty formidable and play an Alfreton side that have been doing much better than they should. I reckon Farsley at 11/8 is a perfect example of the bookies getting it wrong in non-league and making prices just from the league positions. This will definately be in my weekend bet. Banker of the week is probably Harrogate (6th position, great at home) at home to a very poor Solihull Moors. They're 1/2, and it could be a trouncing. Hinckley 5/4 at home to Gainsborough is bizarre - they're practically even on points with Gainsborough having played five games more. With a still-only-31 Luke Beckett up front, Gainsborough are always a danger, but he's been there a while now and they still haven't really picked up. At that price, I'd definately take Hinckley. Another team performing above expectation are Vauxhall Motors, who are normally relegation fodder but have won 7 or 8 in the last 10 to go top half. I don't think this is a fluke after seeing them earlier in the season - they're hard working and seem to have a bit more belief this year, especially at the moment. They play top of the league Tamworth at home, and at 2/1 would be my dark horse of the week for decent odds.
So what do YOU think? Leave your tips and opinions in the comments or over at Twitter. The bet will be placed tomorrow and like last week I'll be offering some form of relative rewards.


Hangovers and headaches

I'm feeling so antisocial today. Thankfully I work from home, on my own, where I can sit and stew without anyone even noticing my existence. A two-day hangover is never an easy thing to do battle with but when it's aided by a lengthy to-do list it becomes a near-unstoppable force. I'm combating it with the fond memories of the fine Copy Haho and Shoes And Socks Off gigs from the previous two evenings and the excitement of planning a new release. These things take my pain down to a slightly more manageable 8/10 on the headache scale. 10 being 'kill me now', 1 being 'why am I even awake?'

Apologies to anyone who suffered my "I hate London" rant last night. There's something about busy nights in that city which send me out of control. I guess that only accomplishing one half an hour meeting and a very quick drink in a pub in the space of 5 hours is justification enough for my anger, although I must retain at least part of the blame for any transport cock-ups. Note to self: Think about where you're going next time. Don't get sidetracked by a woman laughing to herself on the tube and unwittingly get off a stop too early. Idiot idiot idiot!

In better news... It's Thursday today which means only 48 hours until we have another crack at winning a footballing fortune. Stay tuned, sports fans

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

You know when...

...you wake up in the morning and you can't feel your left arm from sleeping on top of it? And your right leg is inexplicably full of pins and needles? Oh and your teeth have a thick line of fur and your head is whirring like a drill?

My night was brought to me by: Crowds of smelly old women, a man smoking in Wetherspoons, Shoes And Socks Off at The Wheatsheaf, drinking Jagerbombs with Strongbow replacing the Red Bull, planning four SASO albums, making origami CD sleeves and finishing the night with a bottle of champagne, slurring on the sofa... Tuesdays are the new Thursdays, which as everyone knows are the new Saturdays, which long ago took over from Fridays. Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays (especially ones with hangovers) can suck it.

Here's a video of Toby playing 'I'm A World Class Assassin' live last night...




Copy Haho at the Old Blue Last in London tonight. Time to do it all over again

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sometimes you receive nice emails

To: Kevin Douch
From: Jordie Bokor
Subject: Meet Me In St. Louis are the greatest band of all time

I first heard Meet Me In St. Louis when a friend sent me "Why thankyou Suzie". I got the E.P and it had outstanding moments of brilliance woven within; yet it wasn't until I bought "Variations On Swing" January last year that I truly fell in love. The sharp twisting turns, the raw power, speed and emotion crammed into single songs and the technical prowess of the musicians all combined made it the best album I have ever bought. I genuinely think that it's the best punk/math/post-hardcore album ever released and when people want a seminal album from this genre they should not turn to "Relationship of Command" or "Worship and Tribute" or "The Shape of Punk To Come" by ATD-I, Glassjaw and Refused. They should turn to Variations on Swing.

I have written this because perhaps you don't get many thankyous (perhaps you do haha) but for this album ,and all the other brilliant releases, BSM deserves one big time. Also here is a poorly drawn comic attatched to thankyou for releasing Variations on Swing because without it the hours I've spent listening to it would have been spent on less productive things like schoolwork or getting a part-time job.

Cheers Jordie x


Monday, 9 February 2009

The truth about Belfast

Ok so I wasn't going to tell anyone about this and purposely didn't text my mate Twitter about it because, frankly, I was incredibly embarrassed. But now some time has passed and I'm far enough away from Ireland that nobody can see my blushes, I'm going to admit it...

Saturday afternoon I left UnConvention tired, hungover and dehydrated. Memories from the previous night were still filtering back and I didn't want to leave. My flight was due to depart at 4pm and at 2.45pm I decided I'd left it late enough and casually swent swanning off to the airport. In the taxi there I was joking around with the driver, chatting about everything from football to the weather. I even told him about my bet and how I was going to be over £1000 richer in a couple of hours time. He laughed at this, which in hindsight makes me think he was probably a Timelord, as there was no way he would've doubted me otherwise. We pulled in at the George Best City Airport, I told him to keep the 20p change (I wasn't going to need it, was I? Four figures coming my way), picked up my bag and wandered inside, carefree and happy to see blue skies again. No flight delays for me.

"Hold on... Why's my flight not listed on the screen? That's weird, better check another one"

"Hmm, still not there. I'll go to Information and ask"

A few feet from the desk I'm looking at my flight confirmation. "It's definitely the right date, and time, and going to Gatwick, and..." I stop dead in my tracks. "OH... MY... GOD!!!"

As many of you may already be aware, Belfast has two airports. Can you see where this might be going?

I guess I could blame the hangover, or my casual nature, or the fact that I'd arrived at the City airport so just presumed I'd depart from the same one, but in all honesty it's more to do with the fact that I'm just really really stupid! I rush to the Information desk and explain my situation, get mis-directed to the cashpoints, thereby knocking a couple more precious minutes off, and upon seeing no taxi's eventually hop in a sodding mini-bus outside.

So there I am, all on my own, speeding across Belfast in the back of a mini-bus, staring pale-faced out the window, drumming my fingers repetitively only stopping to punch my forward and scream expletives. We're 30 minutes away and my gate closes in 25 minutes. The traffic mounts up and I call 118 118. "Put me through to the Belfast International Airport" I demand "Belfast City Airport, Sir?" asks the woman "NO! The f*cking IN-TER-NAT-ION-AL Airport!" is my polite response. This wasn't a time to be making friends, a view clearly shared by the lovely woman on reception who flat-out refuses to put me through to anyone in the departure lounge, or even pass on a message letting them know that I'm on my way. "Thanks for nothing, lady!"

We pull up at the airport at 3.29pm. Money is literally thrown at the driver, the door is left open and I flea for my life. I don't remember the last time I've run so fast or cared so much about a bloody plane. All that was going through my head was: "You idiot! You've cost yourself £40 in taxi fares, missed your flight, gonna have to pay through the nose for another and there probably won't be one back to Gatwick today, so you're gonna have to head back into Belfast, plead with someone to put you up and think of a damn good story as to why you're not on your plane! And all because you didn't think to look at your flight confirmation closely enough to check which airport you were leaving from!" - Punching your head isn't so easy when running but swearing isn't a problem, much to the disappointment of the group of old woman I sprint past.

I catch my first lucky break as I hit security and for the first time in the history of flight am the only person there! I rip my bag open with its contents spewing everywhere. "The plastic bag for your liquids is too big" says the fat man behind the conveyor belt. I shoot him a look which says "I will literally rip you apart if you try to stop me going through" and just to add extra aggression to the stare I take my belt off without so much as blinking. "ok, go through" he says. Damn right I'll go through.

On the other side I don't even have time to stop. I'm running through the departure lounge, out of breath, not a drop of moisture left in my mouth, laptop under one arm, open bag and coat under the other, wallet and phone in hand. I round a corner and nearly fall over, just managing to keep my balancing and then that's it... I'm there! Lounge 17, my God Damn lucky number and guess what? They haven't even started boarding the plane! I walk into the middle of the busy room, drop all of my possessions on the floor, look up at the ceiling with a deranged smile and then realise I haven't put my belt back on and my trousers and now dangerously close to getting me arrested. Goodbye Belfast!

Sitting on the plane I'm still desperately trying to force everything back into my bag. A tiny voice pipes up "Excuse me, can I sit here? What are you doing with your bag? Have you lost something? Are you having a good day?" Ah, it's none other than my inquisitive little friend-to-be. "Sit down mate, let me tell you about my day..."



The week ahead

I have a million things to do today but like a group of fat men all rushing for the door at the same time, none of them are able to squeeze out. I've been moping for a day or two, not sure whether it's simple tiredness or my self-diagnosed Stockholm Syndrome. The second would certainly be more interesting.

I'm supposed to be in Cardiff today and tomorrow having a couple of meetings and catching up with an old friend. My longest serving friend, in fact. We've been playing football and arguing since year 4 of primary school. Unfortunately a combination of the above factors and the poor weather has ruined my plans and left me here, in front of the computer, rotting.

In happier news, the next two nights promise a couple of great gigs, firstly in the shape of a rare performance from Shoes And Socks Off, at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford. I'm yet to see Toby play a live solo show so am greatly excited by the prospect, as well as having a chance to catch up with him and discuss our many plans for the year. The SASO project has been so refreshing, it's just fantastic to be able to work on something creatively without the pressure of selling x amount of records, worrying about press targets or planning huge tours, it's just good old fashioned fun with a person I really like spending time with. Simple as. Wednesday night is the Copy Haho EP launch at Old Blue Last in London. It's looking like being 'one of those nights' with so many people to catch up with, meetings to attend and drinks to be drunk, but through all of my complaining, I do enjoy it really. It's a hard life, and all that...


UnConvention

I was going to write a lot about this but might save some of the details for my next Drowned In Sound column instead. Having now had time to carefully think through the events of the weekend, piecing one drunken memory together after another, I think the over-riding feeling I came away from it all with was one of positivity and solidarity. Yes there was bickering during the panels, people with opposing views and whatnot, but it was just so nice to see everyone feeling so passionately about their local scene, and willing to stand up and be counted for it. The fact that an event like this was even conceived, let alone so well attended or so beneficial to this many people was a marvel and something which, sadly, I am yet to experience in Oxford.

To anyone reading this who was at the event: I hope you found the record label panel of some interest. It was my first public speaking performance since school some 10 years ago, and the fact that I had only been in the country for an hour, and not slept the previous night, made for a fairly shaky talk, but I hope I managed to get a few of my points across. I also hope that my comments on being worried about starting a new record label in the current climate haven't put any aspiring entrepreneurs off. It's still a fun and varied career path and one which I very much enjoy, I think it's just important that if you do attempt it, make sure you're going in for the right reasons and thinking creatively about the approach. As many times as I've daydreamed about BSM following in the footsteps of Sub-Pop, Domino and the other bedroom indies turned super powers, I'm just not convinced it's a viable possibility on the basis of selling records these days. I'm sure I'll touch more on this in the DiS article anyway, and there may be some videos online sometime too.

All in all I can't speak highly of my short time in Belfast, I only wish it could've lasted longer and I'd perhaps strayed further than my 2 road zone of venue, hotel and tapas bar. That said, hitting 45 hours without sleep, 12 hours without food and a Noah's Arc drinking philosophy certainly took its toll! Hanging out with Huw Stephens felt a little bit like talking back to the radio, finally meeting some of the wonderful folk behind Smalltown America Records and the Richter Collective was as enjoyable as it was long-overdue, and where do I begin with the array of other wonderful Irishmen who all made an appearance along the way? I also achieved a life-long dream of having someone meet me at the airport with my name on a sign, and made a new friend on my flight home. If I didn't know better I would say that I was delusional and just imagining this Macaulay Culkin-esque inquisitve 7 year old!

Kid: Who do you support? Tottenham? Chelsea?
Me: No, Reading
Kid: Thought so. Where are you going?
Me: Oxford
Kid: Why aren't you flying to Liverpool then?
Me: What? No, it's closer to London
Kid: Are you wearing Joop?
Me: Erm... yeah, how did you... Alright that's a bit weird
Kid: What's your job?
Me: I run a record label
Kid: What do you mean?
Me: Honestly, I wouldn't know where to begin...


Sunday, 8 February 2009

The only way is up

Somehow, even with a super team of music industry insiders and brilliant fans, we lost our bet this weekend. Not only does this mean I have to wait another week before being declared 'filthy rich', but it's time to start pointing fingers...

Below is a run-down of our bet and the scores from each game. As you can see, the difficult weather conditions ravaged our selections, leaving us with a somewhat disappointing 5 correct predictions, 3 incorrect and a massive 7 postponements.

Man City - Middlesborough - 1-0
Watford -
Southampton - P-P
Tranmere -
Leyton Orient - 0-0
Leicester -
Oldham - 0-0
Lewes - Wrexham - 0-2
Scunthorpe -
Cheltenham - P-P
Brentford -
Chester - 3-0
Rochdale -
Morecambe - P-P
Hereford - Brighton - P-P
Southport -
Hyde - 2-0
Stalybridge -
Blyth - P-P
Gateshead -
Fleetwood - P-P
Stranraer - Brechin - 0-3
Elgin - Dumbarton - P-P
Alloa - Ayr - 3-2


I've looked back and carefully studied everyone's tips, leaving me with just one conclusion to be drawn: It's all Jack from Alcopop's fault. With his ultra-confident tips of Tranmere and his "banker" Leicester swaying me, both were entered into the final bet and both, as you can see above, came away with 0-0 bore draws. Poor show, Jack, we'll be looking for a vast improvement next time!


Coming up

As many of the leagues take a break next week it's international time and a whole new world of gambling opportunities. I'll be looking for advice and tips later this week as we take our second attempt at winning a fortune and purchasing the music industry, and will have a number of new industry insiders giving us their opinions too.

Also coming soon will be a league table of our tipsters as we separate the weak (Jack) from the less weak, meaning we all know exactly who's letting the side down. Pressure's on now, lads!

TLOBF

I'm home! Belfast was a blast and I'll talk more about that tomorrow. I'm only here for 24 hours before jetting off to Cardiff and London for the next few days, so will probably get my writing done whilst travelling. I still don't really understand plugs on buses, let alone wi-fi, but I love them both. If you're lucky I might soon share a video or two of me stuttering and slurring about record labels with bright lights in my face. I need to check them out for myself first, don't want to commit to anything I'll later regret!

In the meantime, check out my first article for The Line of Best Fit magazine where I recommend 5 bands, written on a bus, as usual.

PS. SOMEHOW the below bet didn't work out. I'm yet to go through the results and see exactly how well we did, but I'll sort that this week too. I'll also be looking for tips on next weeks international games, so come back soon and lend a hand. I'm going to need it!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Like Donkey Kong

I'm off to the airport to fly to Belfast for Unconvention bitterly early tomorrow morning so thought it best I post this tonight.

Thanks once again to all who contributed to this. The outcome is a 50p stake (with Skybet) on odds of 2733/1! We may as well start celebrating the victory now. It's in the bag, lads!


The bet

Man City - Middlesborough
Watford - Southampton
Tranmere - Leyton Orient
Leicester - Oldham
Lewes - Wrexham
Scunthorpe - Cheltenham
Brentford - Chester
Rochdale - Morecambe
Hereford - Brighton
Southport - Hyde
Stalybridge - Blyth
Gateshead - Fleetwood
Stranraer - Brechin
Elgin - Dumbarton
Alloa - Ayr

I decided to leave the highly contentious fixture of Blackburn v Villa out as it was a real split decision looking through everyones opinions, and despite pretty much everyone tipping Liverpool for an easy away win against Pompey, I decided to give that a last minute veto. Sorry! Something about it just doesn't sit right with me and the loss of Gerrard could be a big blow for the Merseysiders. Gavin and Peter's knowledge of the lower leagues has played a big part in the placing of this bet and Angry Boy's Scottish tips could prove invaluable.


Prizes

If we win the above bet, I will personally turn up at the door of everyone who contributed a winning selection (I really hope nobody lives the other side of the world!) and hand deliver a package of any BSM releases you choose, before taking you out for a slap-up meal at the nearest budget pub chain branch. I'll also post your photo on this blog and from that moment forward will pre-fix your name with the word "winner"

For everyone else who is reading this but didn't contribute to the (almost certain) win, I'll repeat the promise of last Sunday's 20% off sale, with an extra 10% discount if you send a tip for the following weeks fixtures.

Frightful weather

Clearly Mother Nature chose to ignore my previous warning...



and has not relented in her rude downpouring of snow...





which is disappointing news...




but I'm consoling myself with all of your big tips...




It's difficult to stay motivated when there's so much fun to be had outside

Must... keep... going...!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Footy!

After last weeks dismal 1/8 correct predictions, I'm asking you for your much-needed help. If you don't like football, I recommend you stop reading right about here.

Each week I'll be placing a little 50p accumulator on a number of Saturday afternoon football matches in the hope to win enough money to buy the music industry. I've assembled a crack-team of fellow muso's to help us on the road to victory, but the more the merrier in this game, and that's where you come in.

All you need to do is glance across the fixtures and post your tips in the comments, below, or on Twitter (remember to mark them with @bsmrocks so I can see them). If we win there'll be free CDs, gig tickets and a sense of pride that you know more than Mark Lawrenson (you should already have that, anyway), along with special bonuses for anyone with particularly good tips, even if the overall accumulator doesn't come in.

Each placed bet will be listed here and you'll be able to follow the progress on Twitter with updates posted on the blog sometime later.

Saturday 7th February

A full list of the fixtures is available here. Read through and get tipping straight away. Here are our thoughts for the week...

Kevin Douch (me!) - Big Scary Monsters Records (Reading fan)
  • The romantic voice inside is fantasising over Portsmouth beating Liverpool but I'm going to ignore it and instead plump for Man City to beat Middlesborough and Peterborough to do Carlisle in League One. I would like to give my beloved Reading a mention too, but having made the rule of never betting on my own side (it's a double-blow when they lose) I'll leave that for now.
Jack Clothier - Alcopop Records (Coventry fan)
  • Despite the fact I'll be wholeheartedly backing Coventry to batter Wolves after their under-par shower lucked a 2-1 win against us at Molineaux, regional bias might just be getting in the way... Therefore, handsome BSM tipsters, I guess I ought to be a little more careful whilst playing with your hard-earned sheets. So – my Betfair bashing tips are thus… Firstly I suggest lumping on a resurgent Bristol City to beat Norwich away, and heartily believe that Tranmere will bag 3 points against a stuttering Leyton Orient (who have taken just 5 points in the last 10 games). However, my banker of the afternoon would be Leicester City to triumph at Oldham. Although admittedly the Owls are not a bad side themselves, they are nothing on the League One high flyers, who seem to be demolishing near everything in their path.
Mark Bowen - Wichita (Cardiff fan)
  • Look for Blackburn to bore Villa into another 0-0 while 3 second half goals will see Chelsea ease past Hull….. A dour 1-0 win for Everton over Bolton and a 2-0 Citteh victory spells curtains for Southgate…god the premiership is dull isn’t it….wins for Liverpool (drown your sorrows Tony) and Wigan and a couple of draws…..More importantly the mighty Bluebirds long unbeaten run comes to a shock end as bottom of the table Charlton gain their first win in 8 years….
Gareth Dobson - Fear And Records (Tottenham fan)
  • If you want sure fire banging tips, look for Liverpool to take 3 points away from Tony Adams at Fratton Park, and also for Torres to get crocked as well, with David NGog leading the line for the next five weeks. Further down the reaches of the Premiership, doughty Wigan and Fulham will probably play out a no-score draw. Delving into the reaches of the Championship, bank on Norwich to continue their resurgence with a home win against Brizzle City, while it's not too hard to predict Reading will trounce Preston in a 7 goal thriller, either. In the lower leagues, Leeds will beat Millwall senseless and also get a home win (arf) and Leicester to trounce out-of-sorts Oldham.
Stephen Ackroyd - This Is Fake DIY (Man United fan)
  • City may not have been too consistant this season, but with a top drawer keeper and the problem left back position solved, and quality signings like Nigel De Jong getting closer to full fitness every match, they're surely going to be too much for a Middlesbrough side that ranks amongst the worst put out by an established Premiership club in recent years. Quite why Southgate didn't go out and get more players with the quality of Tungay beggars belief. Marlon King and Ben Watson do not a top flight team make. Down in the Championship back Watford to take all three points in the relegation scrap at Vicarage Road and the Wendesday to take advantage of a week off in the Sheffield derby to escape with a point.
JJ Dunning - The Fly magazine - (Chelsea fan)
  • If stuttering Liverpool can’t get a result at Portsmouth then they really don’t deserve to win the Premier League. Tony Adams’ Pompey are poo, and Benitez’s side should leave Fratton Park with all 3 points. Chelsea at home are an enigma this season. Scolari’s reluctance to play to any of his forward players’ strengths is starting to prove their undoing at Stamford Bridge - their last Premier League home win was more thanks to Middlesbrough’s ineptitudes than Solomon Kalou’s finesse. However, last week’s toothless display at Anfield was marred by the unjust sending off of Frank Lampard, and that should be motivation enough to see off a Hull side who were defeated 3-0 at the KC Stadium in October. In the Championship, Reading should beat Preston at home, as the Royals haven’t lost at the Madjeski since November and look well placed to mount a title challenge in the final third of the season, while bottom of the table Charlton, despite registering their first league win since mid-October against Palace last week, should get a stuffing from fifth placed Cardiff...

Some interesting - and at times, contradictory - predictions there, so what do you think? Do you agree with the above? Do you have any red-hot tips of your own? Post them over to us asap and lets get the money rolling!

Snow shmow

A small rant:

As mentioned on here earlier this week Gemma and I were due to fly to Barcelona on Monday. As you probably know, it snowed quite a lot. All morning I was checking and re-checking the travel news, weather forecasts and Ryanair website waiting for info. It was evident that the early flights were going nowhere but all reports suggested that our plane would take off as expected. At around 2pm we took the plunge and drove to the airport, arriving at the car park at 15:59.

At 16:00 they cancelled our flight.

However frustrating, thankfully we had the luxury of being able to turn around and drive home whilst thousands of others scratched their heads and wondered where on earth they will sleep for the night as the prospect of the Stansted floor looked less and less appealing with every cold, passing minute. All in all over 1000 flights were grounded in the London area on Monday.

Yesterday I had the most enjoyable job of seeking some form of financial retribution, which would at least go a small way towards dampening the disappointment of not reaching Barcelona. Here's a brief rundown of the amazing customer service I experienced:

Lloyds TSB travel insurance: Answered their phones quickly but the rude, stern woman seemed to take pleasure in telling me that my insurance doesn't cover adverse weather conditions. Responding to my question of "so is there anything at all I can do?" with a blunt "no" it was clear that empathy was an emotion which cannot be taught. I hung up.

Ryanair: The website claimed I could change my bookings. I wanted a refund so searched for contact details, only managing to uncover an Irish based office phone number and no email address at all. I called the number but after racking up £3 of charges and 30 minutes of frustration whilst sitting on hold, I gave up. Giving in to their blackmail and attempting to change my flights, it was pleasing to discover that would only allow me to amend the outgoing booking meaning it was impossible to get there before our scheduled return. The error message "your outgoing flight clashes with your return - please try again" was grating. No interest in sitting in another phone queue, no email address and a 'help' section which I can only assume was setup as a joke, the chances of resolving this quibble were slim to none. I re-checked the website one last time and finally a link had been posted allowing me to fill in my details and request a refund! In they go, 'confirm' is clicked, no email receipt received (obviously) and a note on screen telling me it'll be 14 working days until I hear anything. Even this felt like a comparative win.

Travelodge: Pretty much re-read all of the above, with similar charges racked up in phone systems but with the added glory of an email address... Which promises an answer within a week. Unlike all of my phone calls, my breath is not on hold.

The absolute cherry on the fucking cake, however, was when I read there's a chance of even more serious snow in the London area on Friday, and guess who's attempting to fly to Belfast that morning? That's right, muggins here. With a wake-up time of 4am that morning and a £20 bus ride to Gatwick, Mother Nature better plan her next step carefully. I watched Die Hard 2 recently and have some serious ideas up my sleeve...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

At home

Not in Barcelona. Turns out snow > Ryanair, much to my disappointment

Monday, 2 February 2009

Out of Office - Barcelona?

Just incase you haven't noticed, it's kinda snowing today...



This - and the fact that Stansted airport has been closed all morning - throws a tiny spanner into the Barcelona works, with our flight scheduled to depart at 5pm this evening. Right now I have absolutely no idea whether or not we're going to make it, but we're going to give it our best damn go!

So, if you're reading this tomorrow (Tuesday), I might be living it up in Barcelona, I may be a human snowman somewhere or other, I could be really pissed off and stuck at the airport or I could be in this very seat updating the blog listening to the amazing new Tupolev Ghost mini-album masters. Lets see...

PS. Download the new Wintermute single from today. Check out the www.bsmrocks.com news page for more