the red penguin

Catch – Bingo

Have I not blogged for three months? Oops – I blame work, study, family and everything else. I only discovered this song about two years ago – it just completely passed me by when it came out in September 1997. It even appeared on Top Of The Pops, and I still missed it, even though I watched it regularly. I’m guessing I might have been still playing OK Computer day and night when this song came out.

But I absolutely love it now and I don’t understand why this band were never bigger. They were kind of Britpoppy – actually with those horns on this track, they were very Britpoppy – but they would have really appealed to the audience for McFly or Busted so maybe they were just the right band at the wrong time.

This single made no 23 and a follow up, Dive In, made no 44. Their one and only album was never released in the UK, and it’s at this point you wonder whether someone has been messing with Wikipedia, because from there you learn that it was only ever released in Indonesia. But it’s true …

Lead singer Toby Slater wasn’t happy with the album. This explains why it was never released in the UK, which probably annoyed the then-mighty Virgin Records who had signed them.

It seems from various YT comments that they did a lot of media in Indonesia and Thailand and built up quite a following there. The album is available – unofficially – on YouTube, and no other streaming services, officially or otherwise.

After Catch, Toby was involved in other bands and event organisation, but sadly died in December 2021 aged just 42. He was the son of singer Stephanie de Sykes, who was a TV staple in the 1970s, and Stu James, lead singer with 60s Liverpool beat band The Mojos, who featured a very young Lewis Collins on drums. Lewis was writing songs with Mike McGear (Paul McCartney’s brother) and was recommended by him to replace Pete Best. Lewis turned down an audition he was offered, and eventually became an actor. I’m glad about this, because the Beatles turned out OK, and I really liked The Professionals.

Thursday 9 February 2023, 4116 views

Is this a piece of your brain?

Twitter is currently an Elon Musk-sponsored binfire with people actively talking about how long it’s going to last. Hard for me to walk away just yet though when it produces comedy gold like this.

Saturday 12 November 2022, 11515 views

Worker & Parasite – The Silent Majority

I came across Worker & Parasite for the first time yesterday and HAD to listen to them. Any Simpsons fan would know why.

Fortunately the abstract absurdity of that cartoon sketch has definitely come over 100% in this band’s music – and videos too. This might actually be my favourite video of the year.

The band are from Melbourne and the song itself is from an EP, released in September, called “Politics: A Case Study Of The Nexus Between Populism, Apathy & Exploitation”. My kind of band on so many levels.

Saturday 12 November 2022, 10950 views

Wunderhorse – Girl Behind The Glass

I don’t know much about Wunderhorse, but this song is champion.

(Sorry for the predictable-if-you’re-my-age pun)

Friday 11 November 2022, 11023 views

dEUS – Must Have Been New

New music from dEUS, out today – I loved Instant Street when I first heard it in 1998 and I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since. This is their first new music in 10 years.

Tuesday 8 November 2022, 11211 views

Rogue Jones – Triongl Dyfed

Great new track from Rogue Jones, even if I don’t understand the words. For fans of Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci etc.

Also – it’s nice to get a press release which ends like this:

*In case the lyrics get misconstrued; Rogue Jones are categorically not suggesting that burning second homes is the right thing to do – this is a song about aliens coming down from outer space to burn holiday homes*

Here’s the rest of the blurb, which taught me something about the triangle in question:

‘Triongl Dyfed’ (The Dyfed Triangle), was the name for the area of west Wales in which there were multiple UFO sightings in the 1970s and 1980s. The central concept of the song is an imagined conspiracy theory that the Meibion Glyndwr holiday cottage arson attacks were carried out by aliens.

Mostly sung from the point of view of the extra-terrestrials – the song borrows from ‘Mae Gen i Het Tri Chornel’ an old welsh nursery rhyme, quotes 70s rockers Edward H Dafis’ hit ‘Mae’n Braf Cael Byw Mewn Tŷ Haf’ (‘It’s nice to live in a holiday home’) and name-checks the legendary singer and actor Bryn Fôn, who was falsely arrested on suspicion of being a member of Meibion Glyndwr, as well as Owain Glyndŵr himself. Both Edward H and Bryn Fôn were extremely accommodating in allowing the band to reference them – Owain Glyndŵr’s silence on the matter is deafening.

As with the whole album, it was recorded in Tŷ Drwg Studios, Grangetown with Frank Naughton and features appearances from Llŷr Parri on drums and Harri Rees on clarinet with everything else performed by Bethan and Ynyr.

“We believe that the second home crisis in Wales is completely out of hand we believe that government should intervene to prevent house prices from rising so dramatically and to allow young people who grew up in the area to buy an affordable home where they live” said the band.

Tuesday 8 November 2022, 11243 views

Parrot steals reporter’s earphone live on air

A Chilean reporter was live on air when a parrot landed on his shoulder and stole his earphone.

Nicolas Krumm, a journalist for the Chilevision channel, was speaking about the rise in robberies in the local area when the feathered fiend took his earphone.

The cameraman tried to catch the bird to retrieve the earphone, but it flew away.

The reporter later said that the parrot dropped the device and he was able to get it back.

Saturday 5 November 2022, 11489 views

Franz Ferdinand, Los Bitchos – Alexandra Palace, London

My first ever gig at Alexandra Palace, one of the largest indoor venues in the UK, which is probably why I’ve never been here to see live music.

In fact the last time I was here was for a Windows 95 launch. I was working as an accountant for a local private school and my boss decided it would be a good idea to send me down to find out what it was all about, and report back. I drove down there, picked up a few brochures, went home again, and went in to work the next day and told him it was great. So happy memories of a rare day off when I was struggling with the 9 to 5.

Nice views across London though – and they probably look better in the daytime!

For tonight, getting a train there from Basildon seemed like a nightmare of changes and long connecting walks, so I made a snap decision to drive there, as it’s only a couple of miles off the North Circular. This turned out to be a winning move, as the roads nearby had plenty of unrestricted parking available. It took me 55 minutes to get there and just 41 minutes home, which I still find unbelievable.

Two support bands tonight. Unfortunately I missed Medicine Cabinet, ironically because of a different medical cabinet, well, bag. My son’s bag was about 2 inches larger than “a sheet of A4”, which is ths size Alexandra Palace decided is the magic size that you’re allowed to carry in. Firstly, I’m not sure any male has a bag that small, but more importantly it was full of stuff he needed to control his diabetes. So we had one argument with security who were asking why his various tables, needles and insulin couldn’t be carried in my wife’s handbag (which was very small and very full, and our son doesn’t live with us so why would it?) Eventually another person came over and decided it was alright, and then we had to go to customer services to get a wristband for the bag. All this took about 15-20 minutes.

After that everything else was fine. I’ve seen a lot of criticism online about not just the parking but the food and drink facilities inside. There were many, many places to get food and no big queues either. Even Greek food. I really regretted having a healthy dinner before I came out!

I did get to see Los Bitchos though and they were fantastic. It’s easy to pigeonhole some bands but these are at the other end of the ease-of-pigeonholing scale. Latin/punk/funk/prog/surf maybe?

Franz Ferdinand were on top form – Alex Kapranos is still a great showman, the (new) band are tight and the sound wasn’t too bad for such a large cavernous hall too. Obviously being a hits tour, it was all hits, but it’s easy to forget exactly how many they’ve had.

    Los Bitchos setlist:

  • FFS
  • Good To Go!
  • Lindsay Goes To Mykonos
  • Los Chrismos
  • Trapdoor (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard cover)
  • Pista (Fresh Start)
  • Las Panteras

    Franz Ferdinand setlist:

  • The Dark Of The Matinée
  • No You Girls
  • Curious
  • Walk Away
  • Right Action
  • Evil Eye
  • Do You Want To
  • Always Ascending
  • Lucid Dreams
  • Jacqueline
  • Darts Of Pleasure
  • Love Illumination
  • Take Me Out
  • Ulysses
  • Outsiders (with Los Bitchos)


  • Billy Goodbye
  • Michael
  • This Fire

Another rubbish e-ticket

The last two weren’t my photos, I found them on the web somewhere.

Thursday 20 October 2022, 12719 views

Sultans of Ping FC, Big Boy Foolish – The Institute, Digbeth

It’s great to get a real ticket, right? This plopped on my doormat SEVEN DAYS after the gig. I didn’t even know a paper ticket was coming – I just assumed I was going to use the app …

I don’t need any justifications for going to see any gig – but when I get tickets for band whose heyday was the 90s, I always tell myself “this could be the last time I see them”.

I don’t think the Sultans of Ping have announced that they’re giving it all up yet, but this was the first time I’ve seen them in SIX years. Even then they were supporting the Undertones, so only did half a set. Before that I’d seen them in 2014 and 2011 supporting Carter USM, and also co-headlining with The Power Of Dreams and The Frank and Walters at INEC in Killarney just after Christmas 2010.

The last time I had seen them HEADLINE a gig was at the Well in Leeds in February 2010! And they haven’t played a headline show in London since 2009 – which is why I’m driving half way up the country to go and see them in Birmingham.

Well Essex to Birmingham isn’t half way, but it seems like it. I’m sure that when I was younger, Birmingham used to be a two hour drive at most, but now with speed cameras and restrictions everywhere, endless roadworks and just Too Many Cars On The Road, it’s 2½-3 hours every time and today was no exception.

I didn’t try to book a hotel until this week and found that all the hotels were pretty much £150 upwards (!) but I managed to find one, Ababeel in Acocks Green (about 5 miles from the venue) for £85, so we decamped there and walked down the road to the Punjabi Dhaba Indian restaurant – you have to have a curry when you’re in Birmingham, don’t you?

The gig itself was at the Institute, which I visited in 2019 when I saw the Neds and PWEI there, but in the smaller Institute 2 room, which still held a (sold out) 600 people. Support were from some crazy old Corkers, Big Boy Foolish, a cross between Stump and Carter USM. I hadn’t heard of before but assumed they had been kicking around for years, although BBF has only been together for about a decade and the two people involved have been in a ton of other Cork bands, which no doubt were an influence on the Sultans. Reading up about Five Go Down To The Sea? was really interesting, particularly the jelly babies!

I decided I liked them, not least because they threw a CD at me, which I expertly caught, possibly because at that point I was the only person in the crowd who wasn’t blind drunk. Shout out to the guy next to me who called out for the band to play Armitage Shanks for a solid half hour, before I moved somewhere else. He might still be there shouting those two words for all I know.

The Sultans were majestic; Niall was on great form and they ran through all the crowd-pleasers. It was good to hear I Said I Am I Said and Stupid Kid – listening to Sultans B-sides takes me back to driving to and from my first office job in Gidea Park more than three decades ago. The music is a much better memory than that job!

Although their set was only 1¼ hours long, I still felt exhausted at the end of it. Hopefully it won’t be 12 years before I get to see them headline again …


  • Teenage Punks
  • Mescaline
  • Michiko
  • 2 Pints of Rasa
  • Good Year for Trouble
  • Indeed You Are
  • Rubberman
  • Wake Up and Scratch Me
  • Ladybug Boy
  • Five Years (The Third Bardo cover)
  • Veronica
  • Give Him a Ball (And a Yard of Grass)
  • Stupid Kid
  • Let’s Go Shopping
  • Kick Me With Your Leather Boots
  • Where’s Me Jumper?


  • I Said I Am I Said
  • Turnip Fish
  • U Talk 2 Much

Shake appeared on the setlist as the second encore but they didn’t play it, the lights went up before they could.

Saturday 15 October 2022, 13181 views

Darling Buds, Theatre Royal – Academy 2, Islington

Bought this ticket back in April 2021. The gig was originally meant to be a pre-Christmas gig on 17 December last year, but you know, Covid, so here we are.

I didn’t know a lot about Theatre Royal but I enjoyed their set – they’ve recorded 4 albums over the last 12 years and have some new stuff out soon which I will be listening out for.

As you can probably see I got myself front and centre for this one, since I was on my own! This was possibly my favourite Darling Buds gig – definitely with the setlist as it was a nice spread of all albums, new digital releases and unreleased stuff. There were 4 songs I hadn’t heard before – Oh No You Don’t, Do You Have To Break My Heart, Lost Time and Pretenders – the last one getting played live for the first time. (I think). I’m not sure if Pretenders is actually called Pretenders, or whether the band just think it sounds like them. If I was to guess the name of it I would go for “liar liar liar”.

Flower abuse is always a part of Darling Buds gigs but I got covered in stems and petals tonight. I ended up smelling quite nice.

Matt came off stage to have a chat with me straight after the gig which was nice. A visit to the recording studio for the band to finally get the new songs out there is still imminent!


  • Oh No You Don’t
  • Do You Have To Break My Heart
  • It’s All Up To You
  • Big Head
  • Lost Time
  • Complicated
  • Please Yourself
  • Sure Thing
  • It Makes No Difference
  • Tiny Machine
  • Fall
  • Pretenders
  • Honeysuckle
  • Evergreen
  • Let’s Go Round There
  • Hit The Ground
  • Jump In
  • Shame On You
  • Burst

Saturday 8 October 2022, 13427 views