Howdy Folks,

I know since all the playlist madness I’ve been awful quiet on the blogger-sphere front but that’s because after nigh on 6 months unemployment I was finally offered a job of all things! I started this week at a wholesale nurseries pruning and maintaining a wide variety of ornamental and hardy tree varieties such as Birches, Hornbeams, Maples, Small-leaved limes, Chestnuts, Plums and Crab-apples to name but a few of their common names.

As an arboriculture practitioner I am armed with secateurs and string at all times in my trouser pocket (so i can tell the boss “Sorry but I’m a little tied up right now” etc.). Without wishing to sound too suggestive it has become like an extra appendage or limb which I am training myself to ‘ahem’ whip out and sharpen at ever faster speeds as a sort of fifth finger & second thumb. With the secateurs as my weapon of choice after only 5 days I almost feel naked (underneath my clothes as Shakira sang of course) without them. The drawback is that in winter conditions with constant physical labour, my scratched and brittle hands now do look worse than Les Dennis’ CV and require just as much padding.

Now just to learn several hundred subspecies and genus of immature saplings before spring prematurely rolls around…

Try to write soon my lovelies


2011 Listomania: Herman’s Year in Review Ad Nauseum

Although for me 2011 was a festival-free year in which I never left the country, I did visit the Lakes twice for brief breaks (my ankle and pant elastic respectively). The first was for my ladyfriend’s sister’s 30th birthday which you can read about here* whereby every notable media event in music and film dating from 1981 (her birth year) was exhumed and genetically reanimated back to life.

Oddly enough 2011 began very near to somewhere I wouldn’t get to visit for another 7 months (which isn’t actually that odd at all) – Highgate cemetery stuffed with dead communists who all contributed deeply to the sociological &/or political consciousness of their era. Oh yeah and Jeremy Beadle.

Dictionary Mourner

So in true Philystyle here are some more meaningless lists of last year out of force of habit (refer to 2010 review blog entry). Thus in no particular order:


Top 5 Gigs/Live Music (Not including local/unsigned talent naturally)

John Shuttleworth @ Birmingham City Hall – Well out his comfort zone of South Yorkshire’s rolling heathland with Balti’s & Concrete but still hilarious.

The Abyssinians @ Leamington Assembly Rooms – Summoned the vibe of Holy Mount Zion with their angelic harmonious rich tones akin to a spiritual bath

Hayseed Dixie @ Leamington Assembly Rooms – Kept up the whole hillbilly pretence for 2 hours betwixt staggering banjo soloing & swigs of local Slaughterhouse brew. Filmed their vid ‘Alien Abduction Probe’ at the venue.

Image courtesy of Ray Spence

Ugly Duckling @ Nottingham Bodega Social Club – Full review can be clocked here*. Still bringin’ the party flavours & freshest old skool samples!

Ruins Alone @ Nottingham Chameleon Café – A single unassuming middle aged Japanese man unleashing a cacophony of utter chaos with drums & laptop via “convoluted rhythms, barked out operatic Zeuhl hymns and triggered samples” (Rammel Club flyer)

A Play on Both Your Houses (Less theatre than usual daaarling)

The Lieutenant of Inishmaan @ Leamington Loft Theatre – Genuinely black as a pint of Guinness in a coal shed humour that packs powerful farcical bite.

The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui @ Nottingham Playhouse – Wanting to see a performance of this for some time ever since learning of Leonard Rossiter’s performances of Arturo as the chilling lead. Set at the height of Chicago’s bootlegging trade amidst rife corruption under a mafia-endorsed mayor, Brechtian’s epic & thinly-veiled satirical allegory hits on evil unchallenged. Each scene uses prologues & projector signs to compare events surrounding Hitler’s ascension to power in a highly effective manner despite the melodramatic cartoon gangster stylisation.

Best Worst Films (All of which I first saw this year)

None of these were actually released this year but my life is richer & my laughter coarser for having seen them thanks to those lovely boys at Nottingham Cult Cinema Club Kneel Before Zod (KBZ). Best documentary actually from this year would be Sound It Out about Teeside’s last independent record store run with a whole lotta love – beautifully shot.

1. Samurai Cop – “What does Kitana mean?” “It means Japanese sword”


2. The Room – You know the script (or lack thereof) by now Leeesa A-hut-hut

3. Hercules in New York (Original undubbed)

For Arnie’s extra thespian delivery of course

4. Elves – So, so, so many questions that plague me still. One 4 foot randy elf.

Better try to be scared (and scarred) by the cover cause that's the worst you're gonna get

5. Society – Directorial debut from Producer of Re-animator & erm Honey I Shrunk the Kids. You won’t be the only one laughing your ass off i.e. Epic pay-off


Beer Festivals (Oh don’t make me choose)

Mansfield Road Holy Gr-ale Beer Trail – Size isn’t everything when the little guy can still offer 100 Beers & Ciders between the 8 pubs with a ‘very-nearly’ piano sing-along & lock-in for afters. Although the free bottle incentive for buying a pint in each had all been given away which almost made us feel that what we achieved was of no real lasting value…almost. Mates, ale & an unguarded piano I ask you?

Robin Hood Beerfest @ Nottingham Castle – Gets bigger, closer & nearer every year & every year they break the record for most cask ales then some Queen of Clubs pipes up ‘Just a Carling cheers’. Read my ‘ahem’ somewhat sidetracked review of my CAMRA volunteering experience here*.

Warwick University Beerfest (Guess where?) – A campus on the outskirts of Coventry near an airport for plum-cheeked piss-teethed toffos rejected from Oxbridge? Doesn’t sound much but then you learn it’s the largest of its kind entirely ran & staffed by students nationally so fair play Jolly Hockeysticks!


Houseparties (My categorical obsession is getting desperate)

Bassmonster Dave’s Cottaging Party – Don’t worry there was no actual cottaging as there was only one bathroom with no lock & a very low beam. As a housewarming Moscow Mules were served up with homemade ginger beer. Much later after many missing scenes unspeakable acts occurred. That is all.

Mike’s 90s Youth Club Rave Up – complete with full Panda Pops/Popping candy range courtesy of Macro (surely the only place still selling this stuff?)

Ma & Pa’s Surprise 60th – Aaaah yes the impromptu speech & playing of Happy Birthday (royalties paid). Never again will I take that risk – sos mum. Somewhere in rural Essex a man named Ken Thompson holds the evidence. As we’d just had a huge pub lunch my stomach was dancing to our playlist.

Mike’s Other Party: Seaford B-day BBQ Bash – Reet good knees up this one. Proper summer ales, rays & frisby/cricket games with 100 BBQ Hits comp!

See ya next year, by which I mean this year, by which I mean 2012 you mothers!

Just stay calm & carry on convulsing

*Subclause: All here links are false. You’ll just have to hit up older posts ya lazy gets.