Close Minded: If it’s not punk rock I’m never going to like it

Vision New Jersey hardcore punk rock

Before the likes of Spotify opened up a huge swathe of recorded music it seemed to be getting harder the older I got to find new, loud guitar music.

Discovering Epitaph’s Punk-O-Rama series was a key moment that opened up many bands that I’d heard of, but not heard (Bad Religon, NoFX and Rancid being the obvious ones), but also the entirely new (Beatsteaks, Undeclinable Ambuscade and I Against I).

To all intents and purposes my iTunes ‘punk rock’ genre (one of three punk genres I use, because at heart I’m a librarian) is anything that is, was, or sounds like it could be, on Epitaph.

Continue reading “Close Minded: If it’s not punk rock I’m never going to like it”


Well, that escalated fast


In the last week I’ve gone from um-ing and ah-ing over what skateboard to buy, to taking the plunge and diving right in.

I’ve taken my new skateboard to two skateparks in London, local parks in Epsom, Leatherhead and Ashstead, acquired my first skateboarding bruises, practiced kick turns and rolling in (off the smaller ramps!) and had a go, albeit unsuccessfully, at rock n rolls.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading “Well, that escalated fast”

How to buy a skateboard?


I got my first, and only, skateboard when I was ten, which is… quite a few years ago.

It gets worse. It came from a toyshop (Hamley’s in Bath) and was florescent green and pink. What can I say – it was the late-1980s, and the colour scheme made sense at the time.

But, like a lot of things from 30 years ago, much has changed and buying a skateboard nowadays is a heap more complicated than merely avoiding colours that make your eyes bleed. Continue reading “How to buy a skateboard?”

New music: Mastodon’s Emperor Of Sand

Mastodon Emperor Of Sand album

On my desk at work is a Post-It note with the names of four bands a metal-loving former colleague recommended after learning that my musical tastes took in the likes of Bad Brains, Minor Threat and more.

Alongside Baroness (a real favourite in the last couple of years), Torche (can’t decide) and Tides From Nebular (haven’t checked out yet) is written Mastodon, the Atlanta heavy metal band that has just released its seventh album.

I’m not quite as up to date with new music as I’d like – though perhaps this blog will help remedy that. In fact, it’s only in the last month that I bought a second-hand copy of Mastodon’s 2004 album Leviathan, which rocks in all the right places and is heavier than a lot of what I listen to.  Continue reading “New music: Mastodon’s Emperor Of Sand”

Tony Hawk – how does he do that on a skateboard?

Embed from Getty Images

His website may talk of the ‘Tony Hawk brand’, and the above picture is from a demonstration on his massive vert skateboard ramp in Toronto, Canada to launch the Tony Hawk Signature Collection (a ‘comprehensive assortment of apparel, accessories and footwear’ since you ask).

But it’s hard to begrudge the man – one of the most influential skateboarders of all time – his figurehead role.

Particularly when his Tony Hawk Foundation has given away more than $5.2 million to over 550 US skatepark projects in low-income areas around the country to help provide them with a safe place to skate. Continue reading “Tony Hawk – how does he do that on a skateboard?”

Backyard skateboarders: Empty pools and an illegal underground skate scene

Tino Razo backyard skateboarders

The posher ends of Surrey might not be short on swimming pools, but you can’t imagine that any of them are empty for long.

Not so in Southern California, if a new photography book is anything to go by.

Tino Razo’s Party in the Back captures what feels like a uniquely American scene, illegally skateboarding empty swimming pools.

Continue reading “Backyard skateboarders: Empty pools and an illegal underground skate scene”

Dinosaur Jr’s Knocked Around and a heavy dose of guitar schralping

Dinosaur Jr Knocked Around video

Dinosaur Jr kicked off a US tour this week and to mark the occasion released a new video for Knocked Around that was filmed on their last tour.

Taken from the alt rock band’s outstanding 2016 album Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not, Knocked Around is half mellow and contemplative, half thumpingly propulsive guitar work.

Or, as Otis Bperiod – who filmed the video – put it: “It is everything amazing about Dinosaur Jr: soft yet hard with J’s awesome sense of vocal melody and a heavy dose of guitar schralping! I shot the entire video live while on the most recent US tour, and in slow-mo and black and white to capture the way I see tour life.

Continue reading “Dinosaur Jr’s Knocked Around and a heavy dose of guitar schralping”