Monday, 29 June 2009

I am writing this, not to be the same as every other person on the planet but because I feel I need to reference something. That's right, Michael Jackson. But unlike many others I will not be sucking up to him saying he was a huge influence on my life because that just isn't true. To me MJ was just a strange looking guy who had some good songs in the 80's and he couldn't quite recapture that during the 90's and 00's. What I really intend to write about today is the hypocracy of mankind. Over the last few years I have really seen this come to light more and more.

My first example is Heath Ledger. When he died everyone started hailing him as a great actor when in my view, as a wanna-be actor myself, he was nothing more than good. Previous to "The Dark Knight" nothing he did really gave him credit to his ability. I would hardly call his performances in "A Knights Tale", "Ned Kelly" and "10 Things I Hate About You" amazing performances worthy of him being called "an amazing actor" but as soon as he died (and even before Dark Knight had been released) people started calling him an "amazing actor" which in my view just wasn't true at the time. After seeing Dark Knight, which I was quite sceptical of seeing, I did indeed think it was an incredible performance however this was AFTER I had seen Dark Knight and not just after he had died. Secondly, and no way near in any comparison to Heath or MJ, Jade Goody. She spent years being hated by people because they jumped on the "Jade is a racist" bandwagon but as soon as she gets cancer people start talking about the influence she has had on their lives. And finally MJ. I'm not going to lie and suddenly forget about all the child abuse charges, In my mind it was slightly odd and sick he insisted on sleeping in the same bed as young children regardless of whatever reason he gave for not having a childhood. I also thought his actions whilst dangling his child out of a window were that of a man who is not all that stable.

The point of this post is not to discredit or disrespect any of the above in anyway. It is merely to point out the hypocracy in today's society. People saying what a huge affect MJ was on their lives when mere days before his death they considered him a freak and a peidofile. Or calling Jade a racist bitch but as soon as she gets cancer depicting her as some sort of angel. I am not going to say MJ was a huge influence on my life because he wasn't. Infact I wouldn't even put him in the top ten. I respect him as a muscian but not much more. I think it far more disrespectful to suddenly respect someone in their death when you've been calling them names for years than just to admit even in death they were still those things you originally thought about them. I still think MJ was a strange, wierd nosed, possible peido who had good music but my thoughts on him aren't going to suddenly change because he has passed away.


Peace, love and respect. always.

-- Tom RDD

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The soundtrack of my life...

After just writing all that it got me thinking of the bands and albums that really make music an addiction to me. In short here is a list of the 10 albums that "changed my life" but without straying into the usual Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin etc...

Rancid - ...and out come the wolves: What can I say? A classic ska punk CD from one of the greatest punk bands ever. The album contains some really great mixes of punk, ska and bouncy reggae.

Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview: One of the first ska CD's I ever bought. Always a classic for the young ska punk lover.

Big D and the Kids Table - Good Luck: Another top album. Great songs, great lyrics and catchy horns all the way through. An album I could never get tired listening to.

Big D... - Strictly Rude: The latest Big D record. At first I was sceptical because of the lack of the ska punk style I was used to but I almost immediately started to appreciated the raw reggae sound of the album. Some very good reggae music is to be had in this album.

Voodoo Glow Skulls - Band Geek Mafia: Possibly the bst VDGS albums without a shadow of doubt. Bumpin' horn lines, awesome bass line and lyrics you can swear by.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Let's Face it: Again one of the first ska CD's I ever bought. I found it for £6 in HMV and after seeing the video for "The Impression That I Get" I decided to buy it. What a bargain for one of my favourite CD's. The Bosstones have a really good sound to them and I defy any fan of ska to dislike this CD.

Mad Caddies - Duck and Cover: At first this CD amazed me with the incredible horn line for the song "Monkeys" but after my initial reaction to the CD of just playing the same song over and over again in awe I found a top album that does the tile of "one of the hardest working ska bands today" justice

Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere In The Between: It was a tossup between this and "Everything Goes Numb". Both albums are draw-droppingly good. Streetlight Manifesto are widely considered to be one of the best ska bands today and this album alone, with some of the greatest lyrics ever and horn lines to die for, shows that they deserve nothing but praise.

Home Grown -Kings Of Pop: Without a doubt one of my favourite bands and one of my favourite pop punk albums of all time. Catchy pop punk at it's best.

and finally...

Angels and Airwaves: I-Empire: Didn't expect that did you? Completely out of place with the others I know but I-Empire is probably one of the best music discoveries I have ever made. I used to think of AVA as a pretentious spin off to Blink 182 (who are my all time favourite band) whose front man Tom Delonge was responsible to their demise. However, after actually taking the time to listen to this album I was soon addicted. I find the lyrics soothing and inspiring. The music itself is also somewhat beautiful (if that sort of thing tickles your fancy) and I have fallen asleep a fair few times with I-Empire playing on my ipod.

A short list of albums that I love. Many of them (most of them) are not so out of the ordinary for a fan of ska and punk but if you listen to the albums you will see why most ska and punk loves will have some of these CD's in their all time favourites.

Peace, love and respect.

-- Tom RDD

Just waiting for the afternoon so I can be a kid again...

Many a time in my life I have thought I was born in the wrong period during the 20th century. Part of me wants to experiences the rock and roll' 50's (thanks to a classic childhood film of mine Back To The Future), The some what grotty 70's for the old school ska and punk, the 80's just for the hell of it and more recently I find myself thinking about my own era (the 90's) but wishing I could be the age I am now. Of course I would never change what I have now (love, friends, family and other general things) but I would have loved to experience the 90's as a teenager. More importantly an American teenager living in Orange County (O.C), California. This is not because of TV shows like "The Hills" or "The O.C" but because, for those of you who don't know, The O.C has/ had one of the best music scenes in the world during the late 90's especially for third wave ska. Because I do not have a time machine at hand I am listening to a playlist I created featuring artists such as: Less Than Jake, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Edna's Goldfish, Save Ferris, Sublime, The O.C Supertones, Slapstick, The Suicide Machines and many others to somewhat relive the glorious 90's ska scene. But sadly the ska scene is pretty non-existent in the UK at the minute. Only a handful of ska bands survive as most of the others traded the brass in for tight jeans and stupid hair cuts. It's a pity much of the music scene (any music scene for that matter) these days is so fickle and is seemingly based on fashion and the "in thing" over the actual love and passion for the music. I am all for progression but when bands change styles due to changing trends and fashions that makes them (dare I become a “punk stereotype”… yes) sell-outs in my book.

Below are some lyrics by MC Lars. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who wishes the "old days" could come back. For me it was because I never got to fully experience them. I was only 4 or 5 when punk legends Rancid released the classic"...and out come the wolves" but it sits proudly in my CD collection and is one of my all time favourite albums. Anyway I digress.

Peace, Love and respect. SKA IS NOT DEAD!

-- Tom RDD

Billy built a robot in his parents’garage,
because he had a list of problems that he needed to solve.
He said I’m sick of the Hills, Laguna Beach is fake and wack,
let’s party like it’s ‘96 and bring the horn section back.
Back before Gwen Stefani started rapping withPharrell,
gas cost $1.15 and Goldfinger could sell.
When reality TV wasn’t scripted or contrived,
the brass was fat and bumping and the beats were all played live.
See Billy was obsessed with third wave ska,
the Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Less than Jake, he’d seen them all.
He longed for a time when even Bill Clinton played the sax,
on the White House lawn, and kids wore shades and checkered slacks.

So Billy sits back in the class and
laughs with a notepad on his lap
as he plans his task. To make a
giant robot, how’s that and bring
the real Orange County back!

CHORUS This gigantic robot kills,
he’s gonna come down the block
he’s going to fire at will. He’s got
a cannon on his shoulder and
a laser in his hand. He’s gonna
win the day for Billy make the
city understand.

The robot was completed and it opened up its eyes,
weighing 700 pounds and standing 8 foot five.
With his black coat, black shoes, black hat, set to attack.
He headed to the hills to give those spoiled kids a smack!
Kristin Cavallari got knocked flat as Billy bumped the Aquabats.
He ripped out Mischa Barton’s spine as he cranked Save Ferris and Sublime,
He burned down Heidi Montag’s home as he bumped the OC Supertones.
He screamed while smashing L.C.’s head, “SKA IS NOT DEAD!”

gigantic robot kills, he’s gonna
come down the block, he’s going
to fire at will. He’s blasting bullets
from his elbows, shooting missiles
from his eyes, he’s gonna
win the day for Billy, take the OC
by surprise.

He’ll make you do the Macarena as you rock your Tamagachi,
With your Newton down in Woodstock playing Sega la-di-da-di.
He brought the 90’s back and then he freed Tibet.
If you can’t find this jam on Napster,
then the Wherehouse sells cassettes
(old school)! Gigantic (he
was) Gigantic (this robot) Gigantic
(so very) Gigantic (ska robot!!)

CHORUS This gigantic robot kills,
he’s gonna come down the block,
he’s going to fire at will. He’s got
a cannon on his shoulder and a
laser in his hand. He’s gonna win
the day for Billy, make the city understand.
This gigantic robot kills,
he’s gonna come down the block,
he’s going to fire at will. He’s
blasting bullets from his elbows,
shooting missiles from his eyes,
he’s gonna win the day for Billy,
take the whole world by surprise.
(Ska is not dead.)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

It's only me that can change...

I have just returned from a shortened weekend in Canterbury with my friends from UKC that I have not seen in a few months. It was really awesome to see my friends after such a long time and the Canterbury Arts Fest was an excellent way to spend some quality time catching up by spending care free hours in the sun, listening to music and drinking cheap cider. Over the period of the day I managed to close the door on a part of my life which has created a lot of negative feelings over the last year. I won't write the reason directly but after a 3 hour train journey I have found words that describe how I feel about a certain person, who for a while I was best friends with. In short I dropped out of UKC and we are no longer friends. The door closed on this situation because I managed to finally say to his face that I was sorry (even though I do not think I was in the wrong. However it was more important to me to try and resurrect a friendship rather than fight over who was right or wrong) for the events of the past and was sorry if I had ever hurt him. Needless to say he was not interested in my apology but regardless of this, the door is now closed. So in the words of Drewvis...

Including two from ten, you'll see that I was always there
Through every thick and every thin,
From outside, in.
I've stopped believing in things you said that always held me up,
Coz you turned your back on everything...

And now as everyday goes by, it's harder to make things right
But I can see, you're blind - not free...
And all I wanted was to help

I know I owe you things but you owe me much more than that,
If money's all you think I'm worth - then take it back.
And I'll take the hand that I gave you each time I found you off the track,
I wish you so much luck in finding what you lack.

And this is where our journey ends,
I'll see you when my memories come by,
Though I will never understand, why every best friend somehow seems to die.

Peace, love and respect. Always.

-- Tom RDD

Monday, 8 June 2009

Unity. What does it mean today?

I've been wracking my brains to find something interesting to write about. I could rant on about how the recent EU election saw two members of a racist and fascist party (who I will not dignify with a name) win seats or I could talk about North Korea or various other topics on Twitter's topic list. If I'm honest it's the former. There is a constant reminder of the stupidity and ignorance of some of the people in this country. Almost 1,000,000 voted BNP and that is very VERY scary. Luckily I live in the south (whey!) and it really seems we are more open minded and less ignorant (no offence unless you are a BNP voter then all offence intended). I was thinking about why people vote for such extremes in times of instability. The only reason I can think of that normal everyday people (excluding most of the racist bastards that usually vote BNP) would vote for the BNP is because the BNP offer them a scapegoat. Let's face it people don't like being shown their own downfalls so they like to point the blame in another direction because it means they don't have to take responsibility. And on this occasion the head-racist or whatever he calls himself over at the BNP said "Let's blame brown people!" and low and behold the idiots of this country go "oh wait, yeah it's those damn immigrants! Let's blame them!". Now at this point the slightly more intelligent human (i.e. those who count up to and past 5) say "wait a minute. That's not true" But unfortunately those who can't count as high as their own IQ point their ignorant fingers in the direction of a group of people who they fear because they don't know anything about them. Simple human logic really, to fear the unknown but damn it people it's not fucking good enough! The people who believe those stupid BNP campaign slogans like "Veterans vote BNP" (Actually I think you'll find they fought a war against the fascist ideology YOU morons at the BNP SUPPORT so why in the name of Zeus would they vote for you!) or WWJD? (I know the BNP actually used JESUS as a campaign slogan. "WTF?" I hear you cry. Jesus, whether you believe he was the son of god or not, stood AGAINST everything you stand for! He was a Jew and most likely a shade of brown himself! He also thought love and peace was the way forward not racism and xenophobia!

At some point the idiots in this country need to stop being idiots because one day someone like me will get very angry and blow them all the fuck up! I'm all up for freedom of expression and freedom of belief but I don't know how people can be so closed minded (he say's while ranting about a "political ideology") and stupid enough to believe the racist slur that comes out of the BNP's member's mouths.

Let me lay down some straight facts about the BNP before I make this rant far longer than I intended:

- When asked in 1993 if the BNP was racist, its deputy leader Richard Edmonds said, "WE ARE 100 PER CENT RACIST, YES". Although this was almost 20 years ago now a party based on racist views often keeps those views for a long time if not throughout the party’s existence.

- Any black person who commits a crime would also be thrown out of the country, even those who were born here.

- Mixed race relationships would be outlawed.

- According to party number two, Tony Lecomber, the preservation of the white race can be done through a racial eugenic programme

- The BNP, its former leaders and present leader, Nick Griffin, have PROMOTED ANTI-SEMITISM and HOLOCAUST DENIAL

And there are many MANY more reasons why this party MUST be stopped. I'm sorry to push my political views onto people but if you believe in tolerance, peace, love and respect please visit various anti-BNP sites like Hope Not Hate and anti-racist organisations such as Plea For Peace. United we stand, divided we fall.

Peace, love and respect. Always.

-- Tom RDD