New Video!

Hello you. A couple o’tings. Firstly, we have a new video for ‘Reasons Not To Be An Idiot‘. It was conceived and directed by Jamie Lenman, lately of Reuben. It goes like this:


Secondly, my old comrades over at have a retrospective thing of all the interviews they’ve done with me in the last three years, to, y’know, co-incide with the release of The First Three Years. Actually a very interesting read, I thought. Enjoy.

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Ah Oxford

Hello from backstage at the Engine Shed, Lincoln. It seems my lifelong oath to never see Lincoln by daylight is holding firm, we only just got here and I’m on shortly. It’s a rarity to come to a town I’ve never been to before these days in the UK, so it’s a shame that we won’t get to see any of it. Ah well.

January 18th will see me and my band at the Oxford Zodiac for a headline show. Huzzah. I’ve been waiting to announce this for some time. See you all there.

Touring with the Levellers is a rewarding experience, particularly for the 14-year-old in me. But damn, the new album is top notch as well. Consider me akin to a pig in shit.

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Nottingham / The Levellers

I’m pleased to report that a few days of going to bed before 9pm leaves me much rested. I’ve also been getting up late, and spending my few remaining waking hours arguing with HMRC about VAT. If you consider that the VAT system essentially forces businesses to work, unpaid, as tax collectors for the state, the least they could do is make the system vaguely functional, or at least comprehensible. As it is, I feel like their “help” page is almost actionable under Advertising Standards legislation.

How deeply un-rock’n’roll of me – complaining about tax admin on my blog. Actually I’ve been snorting crack off hookers all day, honest. Seriously though, being self-employed can be a fucking pain in the arse sometimes – although at the end of the day, I am my own boss and am (nearly) fearless in the face of Kafka-esque obfuscation. PAYE is for pussies.

Right, what was I talking about? Uhm. Ah yes. Nottingham. As we all know, Halloween saw me retching into a bucket backstage at the Rescue Rooms rather than finishing the show, something that goes against my principles, but couldn’t biologically be helped. Anyways, we’ve been looking into a replacement show, initially in January. A problem, however, has arisen, in the dirty backstreet politics (JOKE) of the industry. The wonderful guys in The Gaslight Anthem are taking me on tour, and we’re sharing a stage together at Rock City on 3rd March. Their people requested that I don’t do another show in Notts before that show. So things have been put back. This has then been added to by the fact that, as far as Rescue Rooms are concerned, the fact that we did 11 out of 14 songs at the October show means no refunds.

SO. What to do. On the one hand, basically, anyone holding onto tickets should probably consign them to their shoebox archives (or ebay or whatever). They won’t be valid for the Gaslight show I’m afraid. This leaves me feeling a little uncomfortable about promises unfulfilled, so the solution seems to be this: I’m going to look at scheduling a Notts-only show in early April (ish) which will probably be free entry, or something like that. Hopefully that will make sure everyone is happy. Crappy situation.

(Although I might point out in my defence that a few days before my abortive show in Notts, another famous indie band who shall remain nameless cut off a show after 4 songs in the big room at Rock City on the grounds they were… too pissed to bother finishing. No apologies or re-schedules. Wankers)

The other thing worth mentioning here and now is about The Levellers shows which start tomorrow. I’m going to be on early, so if you’re coming to see yours truly, get down there for the start. See you there.

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My feet are brushing the ground in London town, before I head out in a few days for the UK Levellers shows (about which I am, as many know, piss-excited; when I was growing up, my mum used to drive me and my older sister past the Newbury Bypass protests pretty regularly, and despite her best efforts we became fixated with the record on the sound-systems all day, namely “Levelling The Land”). Europe was excellent fun, very tiring and eye-opening; as ever, Chris is a more dilligent blogger and recordist than I, and his blog is where to go for the gory details.

In other news, The First Three Years is out today! I’m at the Xtra Mile office and we’ve mailed out hundreds already. They look ace. But if you haven’t got yours yet, you should be heading over to the Xtra Mile website to make a purchase. Mhm.

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Start The Madness / Oh Vienna

We made it to Vienna. The last few days have alternated between loads of fun and utter stress. E.g: Switzerland is the best place in the world, we made a snowman in St Gallen and had a snowball fight (in which I managed to injure my elbow, duh). Unfortunately, it took us AN HOUR AND A HALF to find the fucking Avis rental place in Geneva Airport. Fucking hell. Then last night was drinking, 3 hours sleep in a youth hostel full of eurodrunks, followed by 12 hours on the train today. Chris’s blog will have more gory details, I’m sure. Anyway, we’re here, and it’s great to be alive.

In other news, my already totally fucking insane diary for next year just got, um, insaner. For a start, the blatantly obvious is out of the bag: I am also going to play the UK Gaslight Anthem shows, solo (apart from London, which is an NME awards show), playing new stuff and rocking face. I’m yet more chuffed to be involved.

Replacement shows for my October stomach illness are starting to come through as well for January – Cambridge, Liverpool and so on. I’m also coming back to Holland (again) in January for the Eurosonic Festival.

Details on all of this can be found on my myspace.

And finally, I’ll be playing at the Dolly Rockers Xmas Party on Saturday (29th) in London. This is better news, seeing as the Proud Galleries show is now sold out.

Christ, I need more sleep.

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Adventures On The Continent

I write from backstage at a Levellers show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, and the depths of tiredness. The first two days of me and Chris T-T’s European adventure have been eventful, to say the least. We arrived in Paris yesterday to find that a principle part of our plan, the car we were hiring for the whole fucking trip, was a problem (due to Chris having no credit card and me having no driver’s license). Fuck. We played a great fun show at La Fleche D’Or and spent a lot of time thinking of alternatives – stealing a car, crying home, taking the train and so on. In the end we sorted it out this morning (thanks, as ever, to Chamoule, the man with the plan) and got a car and set out for the Netherlands. Traffic problems left us super-late and we arrived just in time to play an early set here. Then we remembered we don’t have anywhere to stay here, and managed to book a last minute hotel. Now to eat something…

I shot a new video for “Reasons…” the other day with Jamie Lenman from Reuben. It’s going to be amazing. Details on that when I have them. I’ve also posted up some dates in Eastern Europe with Anti-Flag for March next year, and there’s a lot more live action to come. I need to get some sleep for now though.

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Secrets, Bandnames and B-Sides

I’ve finally had the time to write up the secrets and band-name suggestions that we collected on the recent UK tour. Have fun checking them out, they certainly made us laugh on our journeys up and down the island.

Some news about the First Three Years compilation. It’s due for release on December 1st, exclusively through the Xtra Mile Recordings website. You can go there and pre-order it now (including the first 20 which are signed and numbered). It has 23 songs on the CD, none of the recordings are on either album, and there’s a 24th track that’ll be available through iTunes as well. It’ll set you back the princely sum of ‘a38. Not bad value for money if you ask me!

Finally, we’re going to announce rescheduled dates later this week, for Ireland, Liverpool and a few other places too. Eyes peeled!

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A Time For Change

So, the Rebel Alliance won the war, and Barack Skywalker will be reigning supreme in the White House, and everyone is happy, for now… Which is nice. In other news, I am mostly over my illness, which is great. To celebrate, here’s a link to an XFM solo session I did the other day: Ta-Da! It was recorded early in the morning after the Scala show, so my throat was a little croaky, but otherwise, fresh.

Also! My good, good friends Fake Problems are currently in the UK, discovering the true meaning of weather. They have dates all over the shop (see their page, especially if you’re in Brighton, Nottingham, Peterbrough, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow). Tomorrow night (Saturday) they’ll be playing at The Joiners in Southampton, and you never know, I might just be there with my guitar for a short set too. Tickets here. See you there.

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Rescheduling For Fun And Profit

Right, for those of you who were aching to know, the official word is that I have caught me a bout of Gastro-Enteritis. From the layman’s point of view, it’s still no fun, and I’m sorry to say that all the Irish shows are now off. Balls.

However, the good news is that being bed / bathroom -ridden does not stop me using my computer or the phone, so we’re already knee-deep in rescheduling the shows in Ireland, Liverpool and Nottingham (and hopefully Cardiff and Newcastle as well) for late January 2009. As soon as anything concrete is agreed, dates will be posted.

I also had a very encouraging conversation about the recording of album 3 today, which was nice. Thanks everyone for being really cool about me being ill, it’s heart-warming. See y’all with the Levellers (how excited am I??).

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For The Love Of Christ

In the continuing stream of bad news, neatly mimicking my time in the bathroom, the Galway and Cork shows are going to have to be off I’m afraid. After a day and a half spent on the sofa convincing myself that I was well enough to fly, a short walk to the shops induced more eye-popping stomach theatrics and the concession that Fly BE is not the best remedy for my current ills. I’m trying to work out getting out to Belfast and Dublin, but it’s not 100% at the moment to be honest. As ever, rescheduling frenzies are just over the horizons.

Continued grovelling.

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