This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling
will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Monday 17th August
My heart sank as I returned home from Selhurst after yesterday's game with the Arse. It wasn't so much the outcome, or the fact that we were unlucky to lose. No, I went onto Facebook and read Ricky Warwick's post about ex-Polydor press man Martin Burlison, one of the most rock 'n' roll PRs / peeps that I knew back in the day. Martin's default greeting was: "I fooking hate you, shall we have a fight?" and on one notable occasion we actually did get involved in a scuffle on a train on the way back from a gig in Bradford, until someone pulled the communication cord and Malcolm Dome saved the day (as ever). The last time I saw him was at a Palace-Sunderland game on the way back to Norwood Junction station many, many moons ago.... can't recall which team had won, but we exchanged insults and smiles. You Mackem bastid, Martin... on the evidence of Sunderland's form this season, I'm glad you got out early but f**k, I feel old.
Wow, look at this: Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake at back with Heep again for one night only, at a gig in Moscow on October 15. I didn't see that one coming, especially after Ken's disparaging comments on the previous reunion back in 2001. All the same, I really wish it was happening a bit nearer to home!
Sunday 16th August
Up early for a quick run through a deserted park with Bob The Dog and a nice bit of Space Elevator on the headphones – apt given Her Ladyship's Gooner status. Now it's time for tea (with a splash of cherry brandy) and toast before heading over to Selhurst, meeting up again most of the usual faces in the pre-game hangout, and the resumption of the beautiful game. A third consecutive year in the Premier League… wow. To be honest, the start of a brand new footie season is what's kept me going through a pretty dismal summer. COYP!!!
Before I forget, what an inspiring evening of mellifluous, pastoral, uplifting neo-prog from Big Big Train last night at the great London venue Kings Place. You can't go wrong with a band that has three keyboard players (they're an eight-piece, excluding the brass section). This was my first sighting of BBT – they hadn't played live in public for 17 years, so perhaps I'm excused! – but I hope for many, many more! It will go down among my very favourite gigs of 2015 and beyond. This excellent blog-type review from Prog magazine's Alison Henderson sums up the mood to perfection.
Saturday 15th August
I'm only just beginning to regain my composure after an afternoon spent at the management office of Iron Maiden and a special preview of their hotly anticipated new double-album 'The Book Of Souls'. It is, in a word, weighty. And in several words: well… every other heavy metal band should probably put down their guitars and give up.
On the day that a video for its first single, 'Speed Of Light', arrived on YouTube , the office was abuzz, with glasses of bubbly complementing everybody's choice of beverage. I shall resist a track-by track breakdown given that the album doesn't hit the stores until September 4.
However, I'm sure Mr Smallwallet won't mind the sharing of a few excerpts from my notebook. Opening track: 'If Eternity Should Fail' (penned by Dickinson): "Eight minutes and 28 seconds of all that's good about heavy metal."
'The Red And The Black': "At 13 mins and 8 seconds long, and beginning and ending with a bass solo, 'TR&TB' (no relation to the BÖC classic of the same name) is unmistakable as another Steve Harris-penned epic."
'The Book Of Souls' (Janick Gers/Steve Harris, 10 mins and 28 seconds): "Featuring the riff of the year. Featuring the riff of just about any year! My fave so far!"
'Death Or Glory' (Adrian Smith/Dickinson, 5 mins and 13 seconds): "One of the record's most instant tunes, that Smith writing credit is no coincidence."
'Tears Of A Clown' (Smith/Harris, 4 mins and 49 seconds): "Absolutely no relation to Smoky Robinson!"
'The Man Of Sorrows' (Dave Murray/Harris, 6 mins and 28 seconds): "A Davey Murray song at long last! They're always worth the wait!"
And last but definitely not least, Bruce's epic 'Empire Of The Clouds', clocking in at 18 minutes and one second, the longest track that Maiden have ever recorded is a 'Bohemian Rhapsody'-style masterclass in changing moods and tempos, with Bruce supplying its wonderful keyboards whilst relating the tragic tale of the R101 airship disaster of 1930. I was getting a bit misty-eyed by this point, and some bubbly had spilled onto my notepad, but I'm pretty sure it includes the lyrics: 'She's the biggest vessel built by man/A giant of the skies/For all you unbelievers/The Titanic fits inside'. Steve Harris described 'EOTC' as a masterpiece and he's completely, utterly right. Prepare to be flabbergasted.
With an alcohol veil descending it was off to the Crobar where I toasted my dear mother, who we lost three years ago today. Miss ya mum!! Xxx
[Edit: Hahahaha. Palace's game with the Arse is moved to tomorrow for Sky TV, but as I type Scumwall are three down at home after just 25 minutes. How nice to see them maintaining last season's incredible form.]
Friday 14th August
I'm feeling a bit like a school kid on Christmas morning! Am extremely big Iron Maiden-related day lies ahead. Now... which from those several piles of T-shirts should I wear? Hmmmm...
Whatever one's view of Mark Ellen – to me, the man represents the very paragon of smugness – his interview with David Gilmour in the new ish of Classic Rock is su-fucking-perb. Good, sensible questions; reasonable, honest and well articulated answers from Gilmour – "I didn't care for Roger [Waters]' suggestions about the set-list [for the Live 8 reunion]. In the end, I thought, actually we're Pink Floyd and he's our guest, and he can just do what we tell him to do or fuck off" – and a relaxed vibe with plenty of scene-setting colour. What more do you want?
Thursday 13th August
I'm busy researching for this evening's phoner with Mike Slama, the English-born but LA-based guitarist of the band City Boy... how great it is to hear these again ('Young Men Gone West' and 'It's Personal' are the only two that I own on CD). Rarely has a fusion of AOR, prog and pop sounded better! Their albums 'City Boy' and 'Dinner At The Ritz' and 'Young Men…' and 'Book Early' are both about to be re-issues as two-on-one packages with bonus tracks and sleeve essays by my pal Malcolm Dome. They're well worth checking out.
Wednesday 12th August
I had so much fun last night on Cutting Crew's Cutting Cruise along the Thames. A free bar, songs old and new (from the forthcoming album 'Add To Favourites'), plenty of witty banter from Nick van Eede - I loved his story about wearing a blue latex dress and a pair of false boobs on the night he met Jimmy Page! - and choice covers including 'Better Be Home Soon' by Crowded House, though I did seek the lifeboats when they played a song by RE-f**king-M. And it was nice to see Sepp Osley from Blurred Vision join in for a version of Stevie Wonder's 'Living For The City'.
I've just conducted an enjoyable phone interview with Steven Wilson. There's good news for fellow fans: in the wake of the internet streaming of SW's recent Los Angeles show, I just asked whether, in this consumerism-obsessed society of ours, watching a concert from ones living room sofa could be the future? His reply: "God, I hope not". So it's official: you can't beat a night out on the ale at the Camden Underworld on any given day of the week!
Tuesday 11th August
I'm gradually getting back into the gig-going routine though regrettably I've only one concert this week. But oh boy, I am looking forward to seeing Nick Van Eede's 2015 version of the Cutting Crew line-up performing this evening on a boat on the Thames. [Edit: No, scratch that last comment, Thrilled that I've managed to blag a ticket see Big Big Train on Saturday night. Their albums and EPs are the dogs' bollocks. This song is wonderful, lighter-waving slice of arena-friendly prog... love it!
Monday 10th August
Today was spent recording a new interview with folk-rock legend Richard Thompson, who is about to tour the UK with his Electric Trio, and adding the final touches to my retrospective story on the Tom Robinson Band. I still bloody love this song, the title cut of the group's debut album, released in 1978.
Today's diary wouldn't be complete without a shout-out to my multi-talented and endlessly patient webmistress who celebrates a very special birthday today. No doubt she'll spend most of the day as she always does... waiting for me to send her my diary update so she can upload it immediately and then crack on with the important business of drinking the wine-cooler dry. As she often reminds me, I just don't know how lucky I am to have her looking after all my webby needs.
Sunday 9th August
Take that, Delia! Yesterday afternoon Palace won their first game of the new season by three goals to one. Fair play to Norwich City, who on another day could and probably should have got a draw out of the game. Just for once we had a ref that appeared to favour Palace in all of the important decisions - the type of calls that for the last two seasons went against us so consistently. Does this mean that Crystal Palace are now regarded as a so-called 'big club'? Whatever the answer to that question, I sympathize with the Canaries' howls of protest... but I'm very happy that the team bus left Carrow Rd with the points!! Also that Cabaye scored in his debut!
Freeze the moment: England have just won back the Ashes, making the Aussies look like chumps in the process. And Crystal Palace are second in the Premier League, kept off the top spot by goals scored. Hmmm… it could be just the right time to open that case of Piledriver ale!!
Ah yes, onto that delicious feeling of regaining the Ashes! On Friday night, with the final denouement of the Fourth Test apparently looming, and fearing that England could seize back The Ashes as I was stuck on a train to see The Tubes I had knocked off work and headed over to Clapham nice 'n' early to find a pub. By the time I arrived there bad light had stopped play. So, having invested so much time and effort following the series, it was nice to be at home and in the company of my sports bud Eddie as England knocked off the last few wickets to win back the fabled urn!
Saturday 8th August
Many moons ago when I was a nipper I used to listen to Nicky Horne's rock show, Your Mother Wouldn't Like it, on Capital Radio. Horne was correct… she didn't like it, so I was forced to tune in on a transistor from beneath the sheets and with the lights out. I shall never forget the night Nicky played a song called 'White Punks On Dope' by The Tubes – a real WTF moment. Fast forward to last night and I was four rows back as The Tubes played a gig here on South London soil as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations. A house point goes to whoever had the brainwave of putting them on The Grand in Clapham… a terrific, under-used venue with a glittering theatrical history. Here's Mr Quay Lewd, tottering on 18-inch heels, as he sings said song.
Friday 7th August
London went to Goddamned pieces with the underground on strike, and it seemed to me that various other methods of transport were doing their darndest to scupper everyone's journeys. It took me three hours to reach Camden for last night's show by Queensrÿche at the Electric Ballroom, and almost as long to get home. Unable to get a bus up to Tottenham Court Road I also missed the start of Death Angel's set… which made me metal thrashin' mad!
Regarded by many as the band of the night, 40 minutes of Armored Saint simply wasn't enough, and their mix of tracks from the new album 'Win Hands Down' (the title cut and 'An Exercise In Debauchery') sat nicely with old-skool classics 'March Of The Saint', 'Raising Fear', 'Reign Of Fire' and 'Can U Deliver'. Superb! John Bush is still a star!
Though I'd seen him as a member of Crimson Glory a couple of years back, this was my first experience of the Todd La Torre-fronted 'Rÿche. In a word: Wow. Shut your eyes and Geoff Tate was back in the room… but more importantly, it was the *young* Tate, at his rich, sonorous and regal best. I later learned that La Torre had been suffering from a cold that had forced the dropping of some songs. It's pretty hard to believe such a theory. Here's what they *did* play: 'Anarchy-X'/'Nightrider'/'Breaking The Silence'/'Walk In The Shadows'/'The Whisper'/'En Force'/'Warning'/'Silent Lucidity'/'Where Dreams Go To Die'/Guitar Solo/'The Needle Lies'/'NM 156'/'Arrow Of Time' and 'Eyes Of A Stranger', followed by 'Queen Of The Reich' and 'Take Hold Of The Flame'.
Thursday 6th August
In years to come, when people ask about the best game of Test cricket that I ever saw the events of this morning at Trent Bridge will tumble from my lips. Australia were bowled out in a mere 18.3 overs for 60 runs. I was supposed to be working in my office but as the stream of wickets tumbled steadily and I ran back and forth to the house to switch on the telly, it became impossible to focus. This couldn't be happening, surely? The shortest first innings in Test match history, and eight wickets for Stuart Broad - for 15 runs!! WTF!!! All the same, you had to feel sympathy for the Aussie fans. Some prankster had superglued their strides to the seats! Strewth!
Wednesday 5th August
What a great Skype interview with Kip Winger about this year's one-man solo gig at the Borderline, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 'In The Heart Of The Young' album. Can't wait to hear him do the God-like 'Under One Condition', which Kip said he would re-learn just for me! If Saturday 12th September isn't already in your diary then do yourself a favour and make a note of it right now.
The Classic Rock website has posted my interviews with the four members of Mötley Crüe, conducted at their hotel in Kensington a few days before the band played at Download. It all worked out pretty good in the end, I think...
BTW... yet another great signing for Crystal Palace! Welcome aboard Mali international attacker Bakary Sako, who arrives in SE25 from a prolific spell at Glenn Hughes' beloved Wolves. This guy can make and score goals. What a side Supa Al is putting together! And we got him on a free transfer, too! Taxi for Tiny Penis... sorry Tony Pulis, who was also after him!
Tuesday 4th August
Save for the début of Mr Wickham, who appeared for the first 45 mins just eight hours after signing a contract with the club, last season's pre-season friendly at Dagenham & Redbridge was a bit of a snoozefest. Given that Supa Al fielded a mix of first teamers, squad players and young hopefuls, I still can't believe that we lost 1-0 to a League 2 outfit, though their goalie was without doubt MOTM. Definitely a night to forget. Damn you, Eddie Ling for twisting my arm to make me go!
They sometimes say that a dog returns to its vomit. Well, B**y Z**ora is back at that Unmentionable Team From The South Coast. I rest my case! #theydeserveoneanother
Monday 3rd August
Okay, I'll admit it: I wouldn't know a member of Franz Ferdinand if I happened to pass them in the street, they are simply an irrelevance here on Planet Ling. But I've always been a big fan of Sparks, and since interviewing Russell Mael a few weeks ago I cannot stop spinning the collaborative release from the two groups, known (ingeniously) as FFS. This track is particularly addictive. I'm left wondering whether there's a future in such unexpected collaborations. Just imagine if Praying Mantis were to do one with Sonny Liston? *Winks*…
Oh yeah, this month's Playlist and YouTube updates are in place.
Sunday 2nd August
The Classic Rock website has posted my recent phone interview with Fee Waybill, vocalist of The Tubes . I enjoyed doing this one. Not to self: I must go and see The Tubes at the Clapham Grand in Sarffff London on Friday August 7.
Awwww, how cute. I was just about to doze off when I felt at rustle at my feet. I must've left my bedroom door ajar; it seems that I have company in the shape of Arnie's cat.
Saturday 1st August
I love this little film-ette, documenting the inaugural Ramblin' Man Fair. Goddamit, it was only a week ago and watching the scenes again making me feel nostalgic / borderline weepy.
Anyway, as In type I'm back at my desk following this afternoon's Fulham-Palace friendly. In fact, the pre-match entertainment surpassed the actual game, which petered out at one-all.
Along with my good friend Paul Newcomb, Eddie and I made our way to at Craven Cottage on a boozer cruiser down the River Thames. The deejay on the boat was superb; he played a bit of everything for tastes young & old, including Quo, Lizzy, The Who, Bon Jovi and even some Wham!, interspersed with pre-recorded CPFC songs and chants. As we went underneath Waterloo Bridge he played 'Waterloo Sunset', whilst in Deptford we got a bit of Squeeze and approaching Scumwall territory it was time for 'Ghost Town' by The Specials... though personally, I'd have preferred 'Down Down'. And as we passed beneath Tower Bridge what else but 'Glad All Over', bellowed out by 75 drunken Eagles-mad loonies at a volume to deafen tourists. Proud dad moment: Eddie requesting 'We Are The Champions' as we pulled up at Putney Bridge. Fabulous fun!!
Still in the realms of SE25… it appears that Palace and Sunderland have agreed to the sale of Connor Wickham. I really didn't see that one coming and to be honest am not sure whether it represents good or bad news. The Englishman scores goals and has a very physical presence but is he better than Glenn Murray? The upside, obviously, is that Wickham is only 22 years old. Though the deal has yet to go through, given that he singlehandedly kept the Mackems up for the past two seasons, I'm pretty surprised that they would allow him to go.
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