Tag Archives: sunny day real estate

120 Minutes (Give or take a few)

Back in the autumn of 1991 my Dad climbed up on our roof and installed the satellite dish that came free with the washing machine him and my mum had just recently purchased and in doing so opened our family up to a whole new world of television. One of the many new channels in particular had a major impact on me as an impressionable 11-year-old, MTV. MTV then isn’t like what MTV is now, back then it really was music television. Hours of back to back music videos interspersed with shows about music, none of this reality tv rubbish (except for maybe the Real World, but that was pretty great. Remember Puck??). I would spend, what would seem like, whole days watching, absorbing all that was brilliant about music at this time. My favourite shows were obviously the ones that focused on alternative music, being Headbangers Ball to start with and moving on to Alternative Nation and 120 minutes as my tastes changed.

120 Minutes/Alternative Nation turned me on to so many different bands that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. They played amazing, interesting and exotic videos that covered a broad spectrum of alternative music. And because it was on late at night this seemed to add an extra intrigue and danger to the videos. I would record the shows and watch back on VHS over the following few days, there was something about watching it this way as an early teen that added excitement and intrigue and made the music all the better for it. These were shown past my bedtime, they weren’t for me and yet there I would be lapping them up.

I would fantasise a lot about being in a band as a teenager and one fantasy would be that I would get to present one of these shows and choose the videos. None of the bands I’ve been in got anywhere so I never got to fulfil this ambition, but here’s the next best thing. A selection of videos below that I would’ve chosen if it were up to me, from that time that I remember, ones from back then that I’ve discovered since and some new ones. Hope you enjoy!!

1. Rainer Maria – Catastrophe

I don’t write enough about Rainer Maria and the more I listen to them the more I’m convinced they’re one of the all time great emo bands. This video is of course awesome, I like the silhouette coming to life effect but I can’t really condone standing in a paddling pool with a plugged in toaster, don’t try it at home kids!!

2. Jawbox – Cornflake Girl

It still amazes me that this exists! I really loved Tori Amos as a teenager which was a direct result of ‘Silent all these years’ being repeated every hour on MTV and ‘Cornflake Girl’ is a classic, I came to be a fan of Jawbox later on and was blown away when I discovered that they had done this cover. Although I don’t recall seeing it, this is exactly the kind of video you would see late at night on Alternative Nation etc.. In a tired state, staying u past your bedtime you’d sit thinking ‘Does this really exist? Am I dreaming?’ And it does!!!!!!

3. Sunny Day Real Estate – In Circles (Live on 120 Minutes)

Introduced by who else but Iggy Pop (??), this is Sunny Day performing ‘In Circles’ live in the studio in 1994 and everything about it is brilliant from the massive font MTV used to use to say who was talking to the short interview at the start where William Goldsmith tries to give excuses as to why they might not sound great on TV. Which is crazy, they sound incredible, super loud and proper powerful.

4. Maritime – Paraphernalia

I hope they got all the shots for this video in one take, the band performing in a blizzard looks pretty but it don’t look fun. The director probably convinced them it was a great idea and they probably agreed that, on paper, it sounds cool but in reality they don’t look like they’re enjoying themselves. As I said, it does look good and the song is great so it probably all worked out for the best.

5. Knapsack – Cellophane

This video is so gloriously 90’s it hurts. From seeing the band primarily through a viewmaster, watching the band drive around in a car to seeing them perform in a room usually to small to fit a band in. Combine this with close up shots of their guitars and the amazing song then you’ve got all components for the quintessential 90’s alternative band video.

6. Juliana Hatfield – What A Life

This song reminds me so much of being 15 and standing, completely hung over, in the front row of the main stage at the 1995 Reading Festival. Juliana was one of the early afternoon acts and did a wonderful job of lifting my mood after a night of excess that I instantly regretted. All I remember from the night before was throwing up on my sleeping bag, turning it over then getting in it and passing out. When I emerged from my tent in the morning, loads of people I didn’t recognise were saying hi to me and they weirdly all knew my name, what had happened in the night I dread to think. It was a great festival despite feeling rough for the rest of the weekend.

7. Papayer – Heated

This is probably my favourite song of this year so far, I have been trying to get an interview with these guys but my email is letting me down which is more than a damn shame. This video is genius in its simplicity, a prime example that you don’t need the budget of ‘Thriller’ to make a brilliant video that will last long in your memory. I could watch this all day!!

8. Cancer Bats – Sabotage

I love this video and, in theory, I guess it shouldn’t work. Everyone knows that the original Beastie Boys version and Spike Jonze’s video for it is one of the all time greatest music videos, of all time!! But Cancer Bats, number one, nailed the cover and, number two, found a way to pay homage to the original but give enough of themselves to make it different. Their constantly mistaking people dressed as the Beastie Boys cracks me up. Enjoy!

9. Snowden – Anti Anti

Seeing this on MTV lead me to buying the album as soon as I could find it and although the album didn’t win me over, I still think this song is terrific. The use of the lights as the band members gives it a feel similar to the White Stripes lego video but I prefer this. Probably because the song is a billion times better and the video is really well made.

10. Piebald – Just A Simple Plan

I saw Piebald play live once, when they opened up for the Movielife at the LA2 in London. I missed their last song because they had asked onstage if anyone could put them up for the night. I rushed to the merch stand to offer the floor of my flat, bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for a long time doing the same thing and whilst we were chatting someone got there first. I still tried to get them to stay over but I was competing against 2 girls who were from the same state as them and had a place down the road from the venue, I was never going to win. This song/album took over our lives for a whole summer, it is that bloomin’ catchy.

11. Rollins Band – Liar

This video takes me right back, we were too young for Black Flag so to me and my friends in the early 90’s Henry Rollins was the crazy guy who made video’s like this and popped up in films with Charlie Sheen. There was a countdown of the best alternative music videos on MTV at some point in the 90’s that was hosted by Henry Rollins in which he completely ripped it out of several bands, namely Depeche Mode. We watched this on repeat and would quote him all the time if someone mentioned one the bands he had torn apart with his wry delivery. This video looks just as good now as it did back then.

12. This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

These guys played Margate sometime around 2004 and I became obsessed with this album and especially this song. Annoyingly cut short for the video as opposed to the album version at least this video ticks the box for having a band play moodily in a dark forest. Great use of trumpets too.

13. Built To Spill – In The Morning

When I was at drama school in the early 00’s my friends would always make fun of the music I listened to. One day when I was listening to ‘There’s nothing wrong with love’ on my discman some of them invented a game where they would put my headphones on, press play and watch people hanging out during their lunch hour. The music playing would instantly turn the mundane in to an American high school movie or an episode of Dawson’s Creek and they would take turns in putting the headphones on and then fall about laughing. I guess it was a pretty funny game, they never got what a genius album this was though, the bloody fools.

14. Death Cab For Cutie – The Sound Of Settling

One of the most infectious indie emo songs ever written with a nice video to back it up. What more do you need to say?? It’s only 2 minutes long so not much I guess. Just give it a watch.

15. Sick of it all – Step Down

What a classic! This video taught me all my dance moves, I still do ‘pickin’ up change’ to this day (back pain permitting). You would always see this video on Headbangers Ball or Alternative Nation back in the day, it is a brilliant use of the fake news report style and just people going nuts in a New York basement. They totally nailed us with ’emo style’ too, hilarious that as a young teen, out of all the dance moves they showcase in this video, it’s the one they are taking the piss out of that I would end up doing the most. haha

Thanks for watching.

Get in touch: http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, @alex_itto or ittoblog@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The end is nigh….

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while now. I’ve had little time to do any writing recently so very nearly jacked in the idea for this post but it does, kind of, follow on from a previous one I wrote last year so here goes.

Last week I bought Kerrang magazine, let me tell you for why (in a roundabout way).

Cast your minds back to last summer, you may or may not have read a post I wrote bemoaning an old copy of the NME from 2002 that I’d kept hold of. The issue in question was an emo special, a beginner’s guide to the new hip underground movement that the NME would make out they discovered on your behalf only to then trash it later on. Jimmy Eat World were on the cover, Hundred Reasons and Rival Schools were interviewed within and the whole thing was made to look like a fanzine, DIY style. My main grievance with the issue was that whilst it was trying to introduce its readers to the genre it was simultaneously mocking the whole thing which then made the issue completely pointless. No one who had never heard of it before would be interested and it would piss off and alienate those who were already part of it. At that time bands were trying to distance themselves enough from the emo tag and things like this only made things a lot worse.

nme 1

It probably seems weird that someone would care so much about what they did. I read way too much into the article and definitely took it too personally but at the time it came out of the blue and it felt like it was the beginning of the end. Having been into music since I was a kid in the 80’s, to being a long-haired grunger in my early teens to then falling in love with punk, pop punk, indie, post hardcore etc.. from the mid 90’s, music held a lot of importance in my life. In 1998 the band I was in (the babies three) were making the transition from playing throwaway pop punk into something more substantial. We would spend hours listening to Mineral, Sunny Day Real Estate, Beezewax, Fugazi, The Promise Ring and so on and our music reflected this. We started to feel like we were part of something, bands were coming to play our small seaside town. Our singer, Paul, put on Harriet The Spy in his living room and Appleseed Cast at our local Friday night hangout. Come Easter of 1999 we were going out on a UK tour with two bands, Rydell & Sunfactor, with whom we had just put out a 3 way split CD. In all honesty some of the shows were terrible but some were the most amazing I’ve ever played, the whole time though it really felt like we were part of something that was happening there and then. Up until that point anything I’d been into I was either too young to be a proper part of or had already happened. But this was happening, we were a tiny part of it and it was fucking exciting, we didn’t want or need the mainstream music press to get involved.

tb3

In the UK, in 2002, something definitely shifted. Jimmy Eat World were making appearances on Saturday morning kids shows and selling out Brixton Academy. At the Drive-In were being proclaimed the ‘best band in the world’ and you no longer had to seek out a distro or indie record shop because HMV suddenly had all the bands cd’s that you loved in massive amounts. After then most of my friends were moving on to other things, other bands, other genres. A couple of years later emo came to mean something entirely different and that weird goth definition really did enter the mainstream consciousness and duly pissed over everything I’d been part of that point. When the travesty that is the Daily Mail wrote an article warning parents of the danger of this new cult they called emo then that was the final nail in the coffin.

The next few years after that I became a little bit lost, musically speaking. I felt jaded and burnt, I wasn’t playing music/finding new bands/buying as many records any more. But that all changed when someone told me to check out Algernon Cadwallader and I was completely blown away. I couldn’t believe a band was playing music like this again and playing it this well, it was so fresh and exciting. This led on to discovering a whole wealth of other bands, a scene was happening again and somebody had declared it to be an emo revival. No one was mentioning the mid-noughties wilderness goth years anymore and instead bands were giving musical nods to the 90’s with bands like caP’n Jazz, Mineral and American Football.

algernon

I was obviously in heaven at this point, I was finding new bands to fall in love with on a daily basis and I then started this blog to help share the good news. I started drawing comparisons with the late 90’s scene and it got me to thinking about what went wrong the last time around and whether that would be likely to happen again, would a band become really big? would bands start to shun the emo tag and start to release sub-standard records because of this? However I looked at it I couldn’t see an end in sight but then Twitter was about to change all that.

Twitter is incredible for finding out things before anywhere else but the news that Fall Out Boy were reforming I could’ve waited for. They were back and people were excited, EXCITED??!!?? In my mind Fall Out Boy have a lot to answer for, years ago a front cover of the NME again had caught my eye in a newsagent because it stated the emo was back in the form of Fall Out Boy. I went straight to their MySpace page, such was the fashion at the time, desperately wanting to hear what the NME was referring to. Instead of being happy that I’d found a new band, I was just left wondering “WHAT THE FLIPPING HECK IS THIS CRAP??” So, to learn they’re back filled me with absolute dread. Feels a bit weird that they’ve reformed during this revival, like when someone nobody likes turns up at a party and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. Are they thinking that there’s an emo scene happening again and if they’re quick they can cash in? Maybe, maybe not but who cares because it won’t change anything.

And this is where the aforementioned issue of Kerrang comes in. With its headline; “EMO, The amazing untold story”

kerrang

When I first saw it I felt deflated, do we really have to put up with this again? And then I started thinking how dumb it was that a 32-year-old was getting upset with what is essentially a kids magazine, a metal Smash Hits. I bought the issue and skipped to the middle section, ignoring the “6 awesome posters”, and read through the “history” of emo. It was obviously re-written in the time-honoured Kerrang tradition of just making it up as you go along because the kids that read the magazine are too young to know any different. A nod at the beginning to Rites of Spring and Embrace then quickly through Quicksand and Far on to Hundred Reasons and Jimmy Eat World to Panic at the Disco, My Chemical Romance and The Used with no time to mention Mineral at all. There was a time that I’d have been outraged by all this but after an initial, short-lived, pissed off reaction I’m now left thinking that I shouldn’t give a shit. Who is it really harming anyway? So some people like 30 Seconds to Mars, well more fool them. If I focus on all the amazing things, bands, records that are about today then its easy to ignore what mainstream magazines are saying. There is an incredible online community of people who I can still reminisce about the 90’s with or enthuse about the new band on Count Your Lucky Stars with.

When I boil it down, when I’m calm and rational I know nothing bad will happen because of this article. But wait a minute, whats this bit at the end when Kerrang talk about emo nowadays?? One of my favourite bands, Tigers Jaw, have their photo on the last page of the article with the tag “Tigers Jaw, the new face of emo”. Tigers Jaw split up on Thursday. What the hell have you done Kerrang, WHAT THE FUCKING HELL HAVE YOU DONE???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

tj

Thanks for reading, get in touch here or on facebook – www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter – @alex_itto

You can download my old bands song from the split mentioned in the post for free HERE

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 10!! (10-1)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

To read more about these songs (100-91) click HERE

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

To read more about these songs (90-81) click HERE

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

To read more about these songs (80-71) click HERE

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

To read more about these songs (70-61) click HERE

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

To read more about these songs (60-51) click HERE

50 – Ghosts And Vodka – Sex Is Popular

49 – Transit – Footwork

48 – Jejune – Solar

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

41 – At The Drive-In – Heliotrope

To read more about these songs (50-41) click HERE

40 – Owen – O, Evelyn..

39 – This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

38 – Rites Of Spring – Remainder

37 – Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

36 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Theo B

35 – The Gloria Record – Grace The Snow Is Here

34 – Saves The Day – Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots

33 – Penfold – M

32 – The Promise Ring – A Picture Postcard

31 – Mineral – If I Could

To read more about these songs (40-31) click HERE

30 – Sense Field – Building

29 – Death Cab For Cutie – The Ice Is Getting Thinner

28 – Dashboard Confessional – Turpentine Chaser

27 – Beezewax – The Snooze Is On

26 – The Anniversary – All Things Ordinary

25 – Dismemberment Plan – What Did You Want Me To Say?

24 – The Appleseed Cast – Forever Longing The Golden Sun

23 – Far – Really Here

22 – Pop Unknown – Half Of Ninety

21 – Hot Water Music – Remedy

To read more about these songs (30-21) click HERE

20 – Thursday – Cross Out The Eyes

19 – Jimmy Eat World – Goodbye Sky Harbor

18 – Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind Of Cadwallader

17 – Christie Front Drive – Radio

16 – The Promise Ring – Red & Blue Jeans

15 – Reiziger – Waiting day

14 – Cross My Heart – It Doesn’t Take That Many Pills To Sleep Forever

13 – The Van Pelt – Speeding Train

12 – Texas Is The Reason – The Magic Bullet Theory

11 – Planes Mistaken For Stars – Copper And Stars

To read more about these songs (20-11) click HERE

10 – Braid – The New Nathan Detroits

Every time I used to make a mixtape for myself or a friend this would always be the first track I’d put on. It’s the ultimate opener, a big catchy brilliant emo blast. It opens their classic album, ‘Frame and Canvas’, and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Braid are a legendary band, they maybe didn’t get the plaudits they thoroughly deserved when emo first broke big but I like to think that has changed since. Especially as they have returned with new music in recent times.

9 – Jimmy Eat World – No Sensitivity

Despite making some of my favourite albums packed with great songs, my favourite Jimmy Eat World song is taken from the split they did with Jebediah. ‘No Sensitivity’ is a great showcase of Jimmy Eat World doing what they do best, making incredibly likeable emo rock songs with killer choruses. This is always a favourite when they play live and somehow I’ve managed to see Jimmy Eat World play 7 times, every time a pleasure.

8 – Spy Versus Spy – Helpless, Sign In Please

Out of all the bands in the UK emo scene in the late 90’s, Spy Versus Spy was the band we held in the highest regard, to me they were like our Cap’n Jazz. There was just something about them that set them apart from the rest of us, while there were plenty of good bands about in those days Spy Versus Spy were always the band I thought I would love forever. And more than 10 years later I still do so maybe that will be true. Their first mini album is still my favourite although they did go on to make the fantastically brilliant album ‘Little Lights’ which you should stop at nothing to get hold of.

7 – The Get Up Kids – I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel

Getting to see the Get Up Kids while they were touring in support of ‘Something to write home about’ is still one of the best live experiences I’ve ever had. I got to see them play a few times again but nothing will beat that first time, there was just so much energy and fun surrounding their performance that night. Without the slower songs that filled ‘On a wire’ the show zipped along with the band seeming to have the time of their lives, which in turn meant that we were having the time of our lives. ‘I’m a loner dottie …’ is a classic amongst an album full of classics.

6 – Sunny Day Real Estate – In Circles
 I have always loved this song since the first time I heard it all those years ago, but since their reunion show 2 years ago it has seemed even more special. I had tickets to see them play London in 2001, the show got cancelled because of something to do with their booking agents and then the band split up for the 2nd time. I was gutted and thought I’d never get to see this very special band play live. But, years later it was announced they were going to play a one off reunion show in London, excitedly I snapped up tickets only for that show to get cancelled because of the volcanic ash cloud. They did reschedule however and managed to play and the reaction was incredible. When they launched into ‘In Circles’ the excitement in the crowd was palpable and the noise deafening. Guitarist Dan Hoerner looked blown away by this and seeing his reaction made this amazing song even more so.

5 – The Promise Ring – E. Texas Ave
This song is Taken from probably the greatest split 7 inch ever released. The Texas is the reason song on the other side is fantastic, the artwork equally so but it’s the Promise Ring song that makes it truly great. Weirdly my favourite Promise Ring song is the Promise Ring song that sounds least like a Promise Ring song. It’s a lot heavier than they usually are and a lot darker. But it still sounds uniquely like the Promise Ring with Davey Von Bohlen unmistakeable voice sounding better than ever.

4 – Cap’n Jazz – Little League

 Iconic, influential and downright briliant, Cap’n Jazz created a sound that would go on to be copied many times over. ‘Little League’ is a song I can never grow tired of listening too, It’s energy is completely infectious. The way the song sounds out of control and all over the place is its charm. It breaks down, it builds up, it screams at you and makes you want to get up and throw yourself about like a crazy person. Absolute genius.

3 – The Appleseed Cast – Marigold And Patchwork

 One of the best shows I ever got to attend was when my old band supported The Appleseed Cast the first time they played in Margate. At the time they had only released their debut album, ‘End of the ring wars’, but to us they were massive and we were totally excited to have them play in our small town. They seemed really touched by the reaction they got that night and told us that when we sang along to ‘Marigold and patchwork’ it was one of the first times that that had happened to them. They must’ve liked it here because they came back to play twice more. ‘Marigold and patchwork’ will always remind me of a special time when music was the most exciting thing in my world and will forever be one of my favourite songs. You can download this song for free, see below for details.

2 – American Football – Never Meant

 It’s amazing how some of the most influential and incredible music that came from the emo genre was from bands with short existences and limited output. I know Mike Kinsella has been very prolific in his output in various guises, but American Football had one album and one EP yet remain one of the best emo bands of all time. ‘Never meant’ is beautiful, it’s simple yet complicated at the same time and makes me fall in love each and every time I hear it. It’s the perfect song to do that old emo dance to, you know the one where you put your hands in your pockets and gently sway back and forth with your eyes closed? No? Just me then.

1! – Mineral – &Serenading

 I have said for many years that this is the best emo song of all time. If I have said that to you then I’m sorry for the advance spoiler and apologise for the anti-climax to this list. It’s not just my favourite emo song of all time, it is in fact my favourite song of all time. If anyone mentions emo then Mineral is always the first band that jumps to mind, to me they are THE emo band. ‘EndSerenading’ is a beautiful album, Mineral made music so open and emotional that it shouldn’t work but it does work incredibly so. ‘&serenading’ is the penultimate song from that album, it is heart breakingly gorgeous in every way, lyrically and musically. The ending is just perfect, it builds up with repetitive vocals that harmonize at the right moment to elevate the song into the most beautiful of end riffs. Pure brilliant genius!!!!!

That’s it, the list is done.

FREE MUSIC!!! To celebrate ‘Is this thing on?’ has teamed up with the influential and legendary emo label, Deep Elm, to bring you a free 12 track download sampler featuring every Deep Elm song on the list. That includes music by The Appleseed Cast, Planes Mistaken For Stars, Cross My Heart, Pop Unknown, Benton Falls and many more. Click the link below to go there and download it.

http://deepelmdigital.com/album/deep-elm-is-this-thing-on

Also, while you’re there you can check out the infamous 12 volume Emo Diaries compilation series featuring 147 unreleased tracks by Jimmy Eat World, The Appleseed Cast, This Drama, Further Seems Forever (featuring Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional), Planes Mistaken For Stars, The Movielife, Samiam and many more. Download the lot for $29!!

Here is the link:  http://deepelm.com/emodiaries/

Thank you so much for reading. It has been an unforgettable few weeks sharing this list with you and I want to thank everyone that has read/shared/retweeted/commented etc.. It’s great to know that this music still means a hell of a lot to a lot of people. Feel free to share this and let me know what you think, whether you agree or totally disagree either on here or on twitter (@alex_itto)

Now have a facebook page for the blog too, come and say hi www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog

I have updated the spotify playlist, click the link below for that.

Emo 100 (100-1)

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 7 (40-31)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

50 – Ghosts And Vodka – Sex Is Popular

49 – Transit – Footwork

48 – Jejune – Solar

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

41 – At The Drive-In – Heliotrope

To read more about these tracks click HERE for numbers 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81, HERE for no’s 80-71, HERE for no’s 70-61, HERE for no’s 60-51, HERE for no’s 50-41. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

40 – Owen – O, Evelyn

Mike Kinsella’s contribution to the genre is unrivalled and his output as ‘Owen’ has been prolific. But It’s on his latest record, ‘Ghost Town’, that you’ll find my favourite song he’s put out as Owen. You can’t have a top 100 emo songs without having some proper love songs and ‘O, Evelyn’ is a proper good love song, one which I fell in love with on my first listen. Gorgeous!!

39 – This Beautiful Mess – Don’t Go There

‘Temper the wind to the shorn lamb’ by This Beautiful Mess is a really great album full of beautifully sombre indie rock. ‘Don’t go there’ should be a hit song because it has all the right ingredients, infectious catchy verses make way for an even more killer chorus and then this all leads into a middle eight of perfectly twinkly guitars. This was another band we were lucky enough to have play in Margate. Well worth checking out.

38 – Rites Of Spring – Remainder

File:Rites of Springalbum.jpgGuy Picciotto is an unmistakeable presence in music. I obviously never got to see Rites Of Spring play live, only a handful of people did and I was only 5 when they were about and more interested in playing with my Dukes Of Hazzard pedal car, but I did see Fugazi play twice, in 1999 and 2002. His stage presence, charm and energy then were phenomenal, this still comes across too when you listen to Rites Of Spring. ‘Remainder’ is a blistering, influential and above all awesome song.

37 – Rainer Maria – Artificial Light

How could you listen to this song and not fall in love? It draws you in from the very first stroke of the effects laden guitars and hugs you close with it’s sumptuous vocals. The perfect way to open an album, a song that sounds so much bigger than a 3 piece should be able to. Epically beautiful.

36 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Theo B

This song could take the award for ‘Best Bass line in any song ever!!’ The rhythm section control this song, driving it forwards, the guitar is a great topping along with Jeremy Enigk’s voice which could improve any song. ‘Theo B’ really reminds me of college, I listened to ‘Lp2’ constantly back then and this was always my favourite song from that record. Absolutely essential.

35 – The Gloria Record – Grace The Snow Is Here

A few of the great emo bands that split up early went on to form many great bands and Mineral were no exception. Out of all the bands that followed on from Mineral’s demise, The Gloria Record is the most similar in sound which is probably due, by in large, to the fact that Chris Simpson’s unique voice is on glorious display. The first EP they released was a relief to get to those of us who were pining for more and remains as good a listen today.

34 – Saves The Day – Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots

‘Through Being Cool’ has one of the most iconic album covers in the emo genre, recorded when they were still super young, which you can kind of tell and the album is all the better for it. Full of energy and innocence, this was when Saves The Day were at their best although they are still around now going strong, albeit with a much changed line up.

33 – Penfold – M

The chord progression used at the start of the song is one widely used by emo bands, my old band did, Appleseed Cast did and so did The Police on ‘Every little thing she does is magic’, which doesn’t really help my point but I thought it was worth a mention. Penfold do it and do it well, I love the duetting male and female vocals at the beginning, building the song brilliantly towards the soaring chorus and beyond. Fantastic emo in the Mineral mould.

32 – The Promise Ring – A Picture Postcard

This is a classic emo song slightly marred by the fact the opening lead guitar riff really reminds of the Asda jingle they use in their adverts so instead of being able to relax and enjoy the music I was hounded but visions of weird looking people in green gilets patting their bums whilst grinning madly. That’s my problem, I’ll deal with it and it shouldn’t stop you loving this song. As soon as the song progresses then you lose yourself to it’s many charms. Davey Von Bohlen singing “Couldn’t you take the second bus home? couldn’t you just take me with you?” is one of my favourite moments in any song!!

31 – Mineral – If I Could

Taken from their first, and for many people their best, album ‘The power of failing’, ‘If I could’ is 6 minutes of genius. A lot is said of how emo has no set sound, and I suppose it doesn’t because there are vast amounts of various types of music that fall under the emo banner, but if I was asked what I think of as the emo ‘sound’ I would play them this song. The style, the quiet/loud dynamic, the elongated singing that borders on screaming and the fact that Mineral could make open emotional music without being in the slightest bit cheesey makes them emo heroes of mine. Perfect!!

Thank you very much for reading and sharing and all that. Please feel free to comment/share/slate etc either here or on twitter @alex_itto. I will post the next part very soon. Cheers again x

I have updated the spotify playlist, the link for which is below!!

Emo 100 (100-31)

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THE ‘IS THIS THING ON?’ TOP 100 EMO SONGS OF ALL TIME PART 6 (50-41)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

To read more about these tracks click HERE for numbers 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81, HERE for no’s 80-71, HERE for no’s 70-61, HERE for no’s 60-51. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

50 – Ghosts and Vodka – Sex Is Popular

Emo verges on so many other musical styles, hardcore, indie, pop punk and sometimes most interestingly post rock. Ghosts and Vodka veer that way with a mix of instrumental mathy indie rock from members of Cap’n Jazz, Owls and Joan of Arc. Luckily, as with Cap’n Jazz, they released a complete anthology of all their releases on one cd ‘Addicts and Drunks’, which is a big help to lazy people like me who are a bit slow off the mark.

49 – Transit – Footwork

A lot of the bands that are helping bring emo back with this new revival are either from the more indie or screamo ends of the genre, Transit are heading up things from a pop punk perspective. Their latest album, ‘Listen & Forgive’, leans more to the emo way of things but on their previous effort, ‘Keep this to yourself’, there is a brilliant pop punk energy all the way through the album. ‘Footwork’ is a belter of a track, the part where it breaks down in the middle of the song is emo gold.

48 – Jejune – Solar

Beautiful indie emo from the late 90’s, ‘This afternoon’s Malady’ by Jejune is an album full of well crafted, catchy as hell pop songs. ‘Solar’ is slow paced, dreamy and gorgeous, the kind of music that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling by the end as it escapes into a mass of feedback and distortion.

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

I read recently that Bob Nanna formed Hey Mercedes because loads of bands in the early 2000’s, who were clearly influenced by his former band ,Braid, were suddenly getting big and making a lot of money, money that Braid had never made. Whether that is true or not, I hope he got what he deserved because Braid are a legendary band. Hey Mercedes, which featured 2 other Braid members, were a more straight forward, streamlined emo rock band with a talent for knocking out instantly likeable tunes. ‘Quality revenge at last’ is the opening track of their 2nd album, ‘Loses control’.

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

Taken from an album that I guess is not strictly ’emo’, more an acoustic folk fantasy, Jeremy Enigk as part of Sunny Day Real Estate introduced me to the genre and so his fragile, amazing voice will always give me that emo connection. ‘Return of the frog queen’ was his first solo record, recorded after Sunny Day’s first break up in the mid 90’s. ‘Lewis Hollow’ is just under 2 minutes of delicate beauty, basic tender guitars with a hint of cello and vocals that could melt any heart. A gentle masterpiece.

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

We had a pretty great scene in Margate, I left it in 2000 to go drama school on the outskirts of London and I feel like I missed out on a great deal. One of the biggest times I was reminded of this was on easter break in 2002 when Cursive played a joint headline show with the Appleseed Cast at the Lido in Margate. I was there and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, not only did I get to hang out with the beautiful girl who would a few years later agree to marry me, both bands completely rocked that night. I bought ‘Domestica’ that night on CD, an album so good someone actually stole it from me sometime later, and it will always remind me of that blissful night. ‘The Radiator hums’ is my favourite song by this great band.

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

I have a friend that said that he loved Joan Of Arc because it would help him get to sleep every night. I guess you could take that the wrong way but I can see what he means because the albums can have an almost dream like quality, although that samples and weirder bits would freak me out if I tried to do as he did. ‘Post Coitus rock’ is one of the more regular songs in Joan Of Arc’s back catalogue but it’s far from ordinary. Perfectly twinkly guitar topped off with Tim Kinsella’s brilliant indie lo-fi voice.

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

Sometimes the term emo is misused or under played, used to describe any band singing about a broken heart. Sometimes a band can make music so packed full of emotion and intensity that ’emo’ hardly does the band justice. PBTT do something no other band does to me, I know I have gone on about their magnificence in a lot of my previous blog posts, they leave me exhausted. Seeing them live nearly brings me to tears, the gloriously heavy music with the touching lyrics and the intense vocal delivery combine to make a very special band indeed. I literally cannot say enough how much I love this band. They are also very approachable which I found out to my delight last week in Tunbridge Wells.

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

One of the first emo albums I ever bought, little did I know as I stood alone in Tower Records in Picadilly Circus what a profound effect this would have on my life. I had heard people talk about them a lot before I got it but I was still unprepared that they would instantly become one of my favourite bands. ‘Coming Clean’ is a mammouth way to open an album, they hit the ground running with some of the best emo pop punk committed to tape. I remember getting completely swept up in the crowd during this song when I saw them at the Garage in London and loving every second.

41 – At The Drive-in – Heliotrope

I was first introduced to At The Drive-In by my friend who was sat in his flat holding ‘In/casino/Out’ on vinyl and proclaimed them to be the best emo band out there at the moment. At the time we were organising our European tour with our old band and there was a big hope that we were going to play some of these shows with At The Drive-In. Unfortunately, because of college dates, we had to go when it was the Easter holidays and the At The Drive-In dates were about a week before. We weren’t too worried and we had a great time on that tour but now when I look back I can’t believe we missed out and all because of some college play I was taking part in. Just to see At The Drive-In play on that tour just before they broke massive would have been an honour enough let alone actually getting to play and maybe meet the band. At The Drive-In are now a legendary band, their records make me wanna get up and jump around whenever I put them on. I promise my wife that I’ll stop telling this story of what may have been, maybe now I’ve put it here I will, it’s too painful.

Thank you for reading. Keep the comments coming either here or on twitter (@alex_itto) and feel free to share the link. Cheers again x

UPDATE: READ THE NEXT PART, PART 7 (40 to 31) HERE

The Spotify playlist has been updated as best I could, click below for the link.

Emo 100 (100-41)

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The ‘Is this thing on?’ Top 100 EMO songs of all time. Part 2 (90-81)

#emo100

Previously on the Top 100 EMO songs of all time………..

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

To read more about each of those songs read the previous post here, and for some background as to why this list is happening read HERE

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low Standards For High Fives

Who doesn’t love a good beard? These guys can grow them and how. ‘Low standards for high fives’ is the title track from the album of the same name released on everyones favourite German record label, Scene Police. Hunter Gatherer were from Athens, Georgia and played perfect Hot Water Music style emotional punk rock, with duelling vocals and plenty of intensity. Brilliant cover artwork too.

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

Songs don’t come much more gorgeous than ‘Safety’ by Football, etc. Starting off with a simple, swaying indie pop riff and moving into a more layered verse, the song then takes off as it builds into the chorus with plenty of overdrive and never looks back. Lindsay Minton beautifully singing “I’ll build a nest for you, I’ll build the best for you” in the chorus is indie emo at its very best.

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

Some bands may need a whole back catalogue of albums and singles t0 leave a lasting impression, Houston band Race Car Riot managed to do that with just a handful of songs. Never releasing their own full length LP the bulk of Race Car Riot’s output is the 3 tracks put out by Deep Elm as a split EP with Appleseed Cast and Planes Mistaken For Stars, a couple of other tracks appeared on comp albums including the 1st Emo Diaries compilation. ‘Raincheck’ is the only song released with vocals on and is loud, dirty and poetic all at once. Would love to have heard more.

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike Scene

When Taking Back Sunday first emerged just over 10 years ago most of my music friends had gone off listening to emo and moved onto brighter things. So listening to bands that were so obviously, wore it on their sleeves, emo like Taking Back Sunday became a dirty secret, a guilty pleasure. I didn’t care though because a pleasure it was, debut album ‘Tell all your friends’ is now a classic, a high that the band would never reach again. ‘Bike scene’ displays all that was good with that album, brilliant heavy bits, amazing slow bits, multi layered vocals and the most emo of refrains; “I wanna hate you soooo bad, but I can’t stop this anymore then you can”.

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

European bands could do EMO so well, especially Scandinavian bands. Maybe the landscape of these countries would lend itself well to this type of music. And we were lucky enough to get plenty of them come and play our seaside town of Margate. Leiah are from Sweden and play heartfelt emo with indie pop sensibilities, ‘Tiglio’ is a wall of sound topped with almost over the top, Jeremy Enigk style vocals. Gorgeous.

85 – Brandtson – Still Life

Brandston’s first album’Letterbox’ was the band at their moodiest and best. Dark, grungey and emotional ‘Still life’ is six minutes of amazing rock music. I don’t think the band ever bettered their first record, but does that really matter because the record still holds up today and you can see its influence running through some of todays great bands.

84 -Polar Bear Club – Bottled Wind

Sometimes the lines are blurred as to what genre a band should fall into, especially considering there is a lot of overlapping. Polar Bear Club could be viewed as punk or post hardcore but on their latest album ‘Clash Battle Guilt Pride’ there is definately now an emo element to their sound. ‘Bottled Wind’ is proof of this, it rocks along with elements of Rival Schools or Far, both bands that boast amazing rock singers as frontmen just like Polar Bear Club do in Jimmy Stadt. Plus this is my wifes favourite record and she’d think less of me if I had excluded it.

83 – Starmarket – Losing Track

Another Deep Elm band, another Swedish band, what can I say? I’m a sucker for them. Starmarket play big, Braid style emotive rock’n’roll, ‘Losing Track’ is the 2nd song on this record which was originally an EP but then remastered and re-released by Deep Elm. When I was in the Babies Three we put a split cd single on year 3000 records with Starmarket so I obviously have a soft spot for them, and why not? They are rather good.

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and Video Games

‘Guitar and video games’ is taken from Sunny Day Real Estate’s 3rd album ‘How it feels to be something on’. This was the 1st of their records that I bought when it 1st came out and I remember how stupidly excited I was holding it in my hands in Select-a-disc in London. I think the album is completely underrated, in my eyes it’s a masterpiece. William Goldsmith’s sacking from Foo Fighters was a blessing, he had the last laugh because this album completely blows away anything the Foo’s subsequently put out. ‘Guitar and Video games’ begins like an old folk song, a swaying sea shanty of sorts, and then builds gradually into a beautifully dramatic ending. Perfect.

81 – Grade – Stolen Bikes Ride Faster

‘Screamo’ is sometimes considered more of a dirty word than ’emo’ itself, somehow undermining how good a band is just by mentioning the phrase in connection to them. Call them hardcore, emo hardcore, melodic hardcore, whatever. It doesn’t matter, Grade are an awesome band that know how to right a tune as much as they know how to kick arse, with a singer who can sing and scream without losing any passion or power. ‘Stolen bikes ride faster’ is from their classic album ‘Under the radar’ and is an example of how good they were at balancing all the different styles they had on offer.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think. The next part will be posted in the next couple of days. x

Update: read part 3 (80-71) HERE

If you use Spotify, click the link below to hear some of the songs

EMO 100

Watch the video below of Football, etc playing ‘Safety’ live

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Back!! To the future

Hello, I’m writing to you from my hospital bed. Yesterday (28th January) I had my 2nd back operation in the space of 6 months and my goodness I hope this is my last.

I have had ongoing back problems since the 5th of november 2010 (if you wanna read about that then click HERE) and now it’s got to the point where the only option was more surgery. The discectomy I had in July 2011 resulting from a massive prolapse meant I could stand up straight again but didn’t solve the pain. The epidural I then had last september eased the pain and meant I could return to part time work and driving but it proved only to act as a stop gap.
It wasn’t too long before the pain came back and things were getting harder to do. I was having physio but because it was a 40 minute drive home the good work the physiotherapist had done seemed to be undone by the time I got home.

The week before Christmas I had a follow up appointment with my consultant and after talking everything through, and looking at the MRI scan of what appeared to be a pretty pathetic looking bottom disc, we decided that the next step would be to fuse the bottom disc shut. Or as my paperwork states an L5/S1 instrumented fusion pedicle screw fixation.

I had really hoped it wouldn’t get this far and was gutted that it had come to this. After my discectomy the consultant had told me that there was around a 40% chance that it would need fusing and being the positive lad that I am I assumed it wouldn’t happen to me.

So I was booked in to come on the 28th of January to have this fusion surgery and in the mean time I was told to carry on as I had been. But even that became to difficult. I had been working 3 days a week, 4 hours at a time but couldn’t even handle that so I was signed off again 2 weeks before the op. A week before the op it became too hard to drive in to my local town which takes less than 5 minutes. So I’ve had to rely on help from others. Friends and family have been really kind, my wife Hannah has been a superstar.

Yesterday it all happened. At 9.15 I was wheeled in to theatre and put to sleep. The surgeon then proceeded to put 2 screws, rods and a piece of someone’s donated bone in my lower spine. 3 hours later I came too and then spent a pretty uncomfortable night in the high dependency unit. Luckily my work pays for its employees to have private healthcare which I’ve been taking full advantage of. It means that I get to recover in relative luxury, I have my own room with tv, an en suite toilet and shower and daily mid afternoon cake and tea.

As I said I truly hope this will work and signal an end to my back troubles. I’ve let my wife and 3 kids down far too many times in the last year or so. Having to tell them we can’t do things because of my back has worn thin and its something I want to stop. Plus, this morning I got a load of blood down my favourite Sunny Day Real Estate t-shirt, this madness has to end!! Positive thinking, fingers crossed and touching wood is the name of the game. If I can get away without saying that my back hurts one more time then I will be a truly grateful and happy man.

On an almost daily basis I’m seeing adverts for upcoming gigs this year, I want to go to these gigs, I will go to these gigs. See the positive thinking has begun. Thanks for sticking with me guys.

As always, cheers x

My wound and dressing.

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Me managing to sit up and eat cake!!

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