Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Black Book #2 Update

Right now the manuscript for book #2 is being edited but is otherwise complete. As soon as Blur finish their stuff up in August, I'll make the final additions and then charge full-steam ahead to finish it and make it available. I'm tossing around a few ideas for a special "extra" or two as well…

Monday, July 23, 2012

Official Blur App

Now available worldwide for iPhone and iPad.

I've just downloaded it, can't wait to dive into it.

UPDATE: the iPad version is the fuller featured version. The iPhone app is light on content, but the iPad has lots of nice videos. I know what I'll be doing tonight when I get home to my iPad!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blur to headline gig at London's 100 Club

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Official Blur Timeline

Go on, have a look...I will!

Blur at the BBC

I just got this in my email (see link):

I'm going to record the audio, but won't be able to watch it live as I'll nr at work (curse you, responsibility)!

Anyone want to try and rip the video for those of us who won't be able to watch?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

SHOW: Avalon, Boston, Massachusetts July 18, 2003

In honor of my seeing Blur live 9 years ago today (yes, this is a semi-vanity posting), here's the recording of the very show. You can hear me holler out a "yeah!" right before Beetlebum starts.


It Was 9 Years Ago Today...

...that I saw Blur live in Boston (July 18, 2003).  I wrote up my memories of that incredible concert for 6 Music to (possibly) include in their Blur special, along with the audio they requested of me.  Below is what I wrote about that night, if you'd like to read it:

I was a junior at university in 1999 when I heard they would be playing a show in New York City showcasing their "13" album at the end of March. I lived north of Boston at the time (~4 hour drive to New York) and was all set to go, had tickets, etc but decided at the last minute to not go due to some tough exams I had coming up. I remember thinking "I'll see them later this year when they come back to the US" which of course they never did. Fast forward to 2003 and they played a show in Boston (actually, 9 years ago to this day...July 18, 2003, and I've got a copy of that show on CD, too). I had ordered tickets well in advance and began to panic as they hadn't shown up until 3 days before the show. It was a very hot and humid July evening (much like tonight!) and they played the now defunct Avalon NightClub on Landsdowne St in Boston. After taking the subway into the city, my brother and I walked the rest of the way to the club, got there early, and made our way right to the front of the stage to stand and wait.  The club ended up filling up to capacity, which was nice...I knew Blur had a huge cult following here in the US so it was nice to see so many fans and talk with them. After the opening band (who I don't remember their name), Blur came on and played a stunning show, nearly 2 hours. Standing at the front of the stage, the view was of course great, we got to shake Damon's hands a few times as he came by and the few times he jumped into the crowd, we held him up and carried him back to the stage.  When they came back on for the encore, they were hanging around on the stage before they started and we got to chat with Alex for a minute before they began playing (he was having a cup of tea, complete with saucer, with his bass slung over his shoulder, waiting for the encores to start!). The coolest thing about the show was it was the first time on the 2003 tour they played The Universal. I also remember Damon wearing a sportcoat over his Fred Perry to start the show, but he soaked through it so quickly that he took it off after only a few songs!  After the show, when milling around to leave, I ended up speaking to a fellow from the UK who was there with his wife and he'd actually been a light tech on their 1995 UK tour so had seen them loads and said this was one of the best shows he'd ever seen them do.  By the end we were all very hot and soaked with sweat and walking out into the muggy summer night didn't help, but it was honestly the best concert I've ever been to to this day and I still remember it fondly. I can even hear myself cheering and yelling loudly on the recording I have of it (I was very close to the taper, maybe ~15 ft away from him).


I got in touch with the people at BBC 6 Music and I will be contributing some material for the Blur special on July 31, woohoo!

Friday, July 13, 2012

SHOW: Reading Festival, England August 28, 1993

By special request, reuploaded (since the old link is dead). Enjoy it this weekend!

A Little Feather in My Cap

I forgot to mention, but yesterday after I posted about the Blur news on my pages, a producer with the BBC (or who does work for them) emailed me asking me to help spread the news about the upcoming sessions. I thought that was kind of flattering that he took the time to do that. I’m a bit humbled by it, honestly!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Under the Westway: William Orbit version

William Orbit posted this version of Under the Westway earlier today before pulling it down off of the internet.  Luckily, things don’t disappear fast enough!
The worst part of it is the autotune on Damon’s vocals. The best part are the different lyrics (which are interesting in their own way), the middle section, and Graham’s guitar playing (as always). Have a listen and share your thoughts.

How You Can Win Tickets

Go to
All of the info is there.

Supposedly, it's going to be a set of rarities and b-sides played by Blur...can't wait!

And as I said, I will be recording it and then sharing with you all right afterwards, so look forward to that!

Today's Blur Announcement

THE NEWS: Blur will be doing 2 live broadcasts on July 31. A session on BBC Music 6 with Steve Lamacq and an hour-long gig on Jo Whiley's show on Radio 2.  Tickets can be won for the Whiley gig, and for the rest of us who won't be in London, we can listen (and in my case, record the audio!) live.

There you go!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Under the Westway CD single preorder

They've decided to release it on CD as well. Have a look and preorder, you know you want to. I did.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blur Announcement Thursday

Special Blur announcement this Thursday on Steve Lamacq's show at 4 pm and Jo Whiley's show at 8 pm. Guesses as to what it'll be?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Dedicated Book Website is Now Live

I now have an official website dedicated solely to the book (courtesy of my friend Michael!). It's live now so feel free to check it out and bookmark it. We'll be adding more content to it in the coming weeks. This will be dedicated solely to the books, both the current one and the forthcoming one, while my other website/blog will still be for news, audio, videos, etc.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How You Can Follow Along

I now have an official tumblr page, so in addition to this website, you can also follow and interact with me at:

I also have a book page on GoodReads (search the book title) if you want to follow there.

And a new website dedicated solely to the forthcoming book (since this site has willingly morphed into a news/media site) is on its way courtesy of a friend who has been far too kind in helping me out simply out of the kindness of his heart. So stay tuned!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Under the Westway and In the Studio

This little gem was released late yesterday by the official Blur YouTube channel. Love it. 

What do you think?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

REVIEW: Under the Westway/The Puritan single

Now that the dust has settled a bit, I thought I'd write a quick review of the new Blur single, Under the Westway b/w The Puritan. Having listened to the first acoustic live performances (Westway from February with Graham and Damon, The Puritan by solo Damon in June), the live performances from the webcast, and the released studio versions, I've got a good impression of the songs in a few different settings.

First, Under the Westway: it starts off with what sounds like some heavily echoed drums before the piano and guitar riff take us into the actual song. It's a classic Damon piano ballad that could be the lovechild of Best Days and Battery in Your Leg. Damon's vocal is delivered with nice emotion and his voice sounds a bit weathered by age and cigarettes and is really powerful and clear, nailing all of the notes with ease. The harmonies with Graham near the end are beautiful and it's a really evocative piece.

As for The Puritan, it was the one I was less excited about after hearing the first acoustic performance, but at this point I think I like it a bit more. Again, it's lead-in is a synth riff before the band kicks in.  Here, the lyrics are less poignant and more aggressive and biting, the song having been written as a response to the backlash Blur got for being rather authentic at their Brit Awards performance amongst the rest of the manufactured music at the pre-packaged event. It's a catchy song that picks up steam and energy as it chugs along to the fade-out "la la la" sing along chorus.

While both songs are very good, I must say that of the 3 new songs we've gotten from Blur since 2003, I still prefer Fool's Day over these. The new single's production is good but I feel it could be better...the mixes feel a bit cluttered to me, especially on The Puritan; it just sounds too busy in the background to my ears. I'm saddedned by the fact that Alex's bass parts are little more than root notes; he's capable of so much more than that, and as he's one of my favorite bass players of all time (and in my opinion, one of the best), I wonder whether this is what he was told to play or all he could be arsed to come up with. My biggest gripe for both songs is the drum sound/production. On both songs, Dave's drums are produced to the point that they sound like little more than click tracks. If you listen to the live versions from the rooftop gig, his drums really sound great and he wails toward the end of The Puritan. On the recorded versions, it very well may be a click track for all I know, and if not, it's a damn shame that they were processed that way.

Finally, perhaps it's a more nitpicking complaint, but neither of these songs (or Fool's Day, for that matter) have choruses. Whether that's lazy writing or just Damon's new style, I don't know, but where the choruses should be are instead short instrumental bursts that leave me longing for a hook. I got (mildly) slapped down by Graham for bringing this up on the official forum, but I stand by this one gripe 100%. Just because I'm a diehard fan doesn't mean I won't stand by my opinion when it's slightly negative and this is one case where I won't be swayed otherwise.

While I really enjoy these songs and I've been humming them and playing them non-stop since Tuesday, some part of me feels like at best, they'd be solid album tracks or B-sides if Blur were to actually make a new album, and aren't necessarily smash hit-single material. However, that being said, mid-tier Blur material is still very welcome and much better than 95% of the dreck that's markerted as music these days. I'm sure if/when these are played in August on Blur's mini-tour, I'll grow to love them even more. If I had to give it a rating, it'd be a solid 7/10

What do you think of the new songs? Feel free to leave your reviews/comments below!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

SHOW: 13 Studios Rooftop, London July 2, 2012

Here, by request, is the audio from yesterday's live webcast. Download and listen over and over again:


Lots of Goodies

Now that the dust has settled, some videos for your viewing (and re-viewing) enjoyment.

First, the official lyric videos for the two new songs:

And now, the two live performances from yesterday's webcast:


Monday, July 2, 2012

Odds and Ends

If you missed it:

-the live stream is available on demand at and also on their official YouTube channel

-the tracks are available on iTunes to purchase and Spotify to listen to

The Puritan

And it's over...this song rocked and sounds like a cousin of material from Parklife and The Great Escape.

Blur's still got it, folks...

Under the Westway

I just watched and listened to Blur perform Under the Westway live and it was fantastic. Tuning in to BBC Music 6 and Steve Lamacq's show to hear the studio version now.

Tune In Now!

"Tick Tock"

"Preparing for Rain"

Piano Tuning

"Getting Ready"

Under the Westway and The Puritan - Lyric Sheets

Just divulged by the official Blur Facebook account. Study up for tonight!

I'm going to do my best to watch/listen live today (the whole being-at-work thing getting in the way, so I may not be able to but I'll try my damndest!). Either way, as soon as a recording of the audio and video is available, I'll post the links here to share with anyone else who may have missed it.  And I'll put up a review and discussion post later tonight or tomorrow to get your feedback on the new songs and the performances.  It's going to be an exciting day!