Ian Brown at Glastonbury

Clearly I’m missing something. I saw approximately ten minutes of the Glastonbury festival last night – ten minutes of pain in the guise of Ian Brown (formerly of The Stone Roses). The guy can not sing. No arguments – he CAN NOT SING. I had pretty much concluded this when I saw him on the Jonathan Ross show a few months ago.

Now, I can (and do) appreciate many acts whose vocalists are not pitch-perfect, but who carry out their role as a frontman or frontwoman perfectly, with the right energy and enthusiasm to bring the crowd along. Usually, their voice is expressive, if not pitch perfect. Not so Mr. Brown.

Before I get loads of hate mail, I should say that I think that The Stone Roses were a great band. I remember being gobsmacked when I heard Fool’s Gold while working in Switzerland in 1989 and thinking it was probably a long-lost Hendrix song.

However… yesterday evening, what I saw on stage was a guy who made me laugh. I literally laughed at the guy! He looked like a middle-aged man (he is) dressed as a 14-year old chav, suffering from piles, and with the stage presence of a roadie.

The band were good, but my God! – ditch the vocalist!

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Birthday, cold, and Wilf Lunn

34 today, and it’s a Monday. I’m recovering from a cold which finally materialised on Saturday, and left me rehearsing with the band wearing sunglasses, with a tissue stuffed in each ear to ease the headache I had. There was no point in even trying to sing.

A good day all in all today. Quite productive at work and Emma and the girls gave me a surprise birthday tea when I got home.

We had a visit at work from a fire safety consultant, who reminded me very much of the great Wilf Lunn. It didn’t take me long to find his website, which I recommend. Genius!

Yes tribute band and the EU’s CAP

I am suffering from a nasty soar throat at the moment, which has been with me for three days. I usually go straight from soar throats to colds, but thus far the mucous-fest has failed to materialise.

Went to see Fragile yesterday evening at the Robin 2 in Wolverhampton. Fragile are the UK’s top Yes tribute band, and yesterday evening’s gig was special, featuring as it did a 30 minute acoustic guitar spot by Steve Howe of Yes and then a second set, where Fragile played some more songs featuring Steve Howe on his trusty Gibson ES-175 electric guitar. The atmosphere was fantastic, and it was great to see Steve play in more intimate surroundings than the usual big venues.

In current affairs, France is trying to get the UK to give up its £3 billion EU rebate. Tcha, right… When the EU stops spending 40 percent of its revenue on propping up agriculture (which represents five per cent of the population and less than two per cent of its output), maybe we can talk. Until the Common Agricultural Policy has been sorted out properly, Chirac can take a jump. He’s no right to make any such demands when the UK makes a net contribution to the EU 2.5 times that of France. Sort out the CAP guys!

A letter to my MP re vehicle licence duty replacement

I have written a letter to my MP in Nuneaton, Bill Olner (Labour). The letter reads as follows…

Dear Bill Olner

Regarding
the concept of vehicle tracking devices and charge-per-journey raised
by Alistair Darling, could you please advance the rather common-sense
alternative of replacing vehicle licence duty with an extra charge on
fuel at the pump.

Replacing car tax with an extra charge on petrol would:

  • ensure that everyone who used a vehicle paid road tax.
  • encourage people to use cars less frequently, encouraging responsible vehicle usage.
  • offer the possibility of incorporating basic third party
    insurance cover, thereby avoiding the problem of uninsured drivers and
    undue suffering of their victims in accidents.
  • ensure that those who drive more often and cause most wear and tear to the roads pay more.
  • save millions of pounds in administration of the existing vehicle licence system and non-payment of the duty.
  • encourage the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

This strikes me as a common-sense approach to the whole
issue of vehicle tax and encouragement of environmental responsibility,
expecially when the proposed tracking devices concept would cost
millions to implement.

I would be grateful if you could
assure me that this scheme and its merits has at least been outlined to
Mr Darling or raised in parliament.

Yours sincerely,

John Chivers

Let’s see if he responds.