the red penguin

Thousand Yard Stare – Espirit du Corps

I’ve recently started to follow nothingelseon on Twitter. It’s fascinating as he’s currently putting up every NME and Melody Maker cutting from 1991 that he can find. Around that time I bought both papers and religiously read them from cover to cover. So I probably did read this interview with Thousand Yard Stare from June 1991 that he posted a couple of days ago:

Who would have thought that, over 31 years later, I’d be writing a blog talking about the band’s new single and album? They’ve been hard at work with new releases since they reformed in 2015. Here’s the video for new single Espirit du Corps – a new album, Earthanasia, is out on October 14 and you can buy it through the TYS webstore.

I’ve just remembered too that Earthanasia was the name of the Goodies Christmas Special in 1977 – one that scared the shit out of me and almost ruined my Christmas!

Friday 23 September 2022, 840 views

Adwaith – Eto (live at Maes B)

Adwaith’s Bato Mato album is one of my favourites of the year, and Eto (Again) is one of the standout tracks on it.

This is their performance at Maes B – the world’s biggest contemporary Welsh language music festival and the little brother of the National Eisteddfod. It was held in Tregaron, Ceredigion from 2-8 August this year.

I’m very tempted to get tickets for next year’s event; Welsh language bands are getting better and better.

Thursday 22 September 2022, 732 views

Jesus Jones: master criminals

Why does Jesus Jones tweeting about how to perfectly defraud hotel minibars fill me with such joy?

Monday 19 September 2022, 958 views

Snow Coats – Anyway

A band from the Netherlands who have just released their second album, “If It Wasn’t Me, I Would’ve Called It Funny”, on the wonderful Alcopop! Records. I’ve been playing it a lot and it’s definitely going to end up in my top 5 for the year.

Glad I heard their music before I went on the internet, or I might have been put off. I Googled Snow Coats and the first review that came up referred to them as “emo indie alt-rockers”. They are NOT emo – the vocals are sweet and audible and they don’t do that stupid throat-screaming thing at all. You can’t just thrown a load of words and hope that people read it because they like one of them!

Sunday 18 September 2022, 927 views

Salad – Plank

Sometimes you just have to post a song because you’d forgotten how good it is. The CD single this is taken from is still sitting in a box of many CD singles I have in my loft. I might not have heard this song in its original form for 25 years until today. So thank you to all those people who upload obscure B-sides to YouTube – it’s a valuable service when Spotify and other streaming services overlook complete discographies.

When Salad reformed in 2016 this was the first song they played – acoustically, just Marijne and Paul, at Antenna Studios in Crystal Palace. They’ve since played it a few times so I’m guessing it must be one of their favourites too.

Thursday 15 September 2022, 1201 views

Sink – Drainpipe Jane

I used to voraciously consume the music press every week from the late 80s to the mid 2000s, my knowledge backed up by visits to record shops and listening to shows such as Gary Crowley on GLR. So I am amazed I missed this band first time as they would have been right up my street. Literally. I lived in a flat on the A12 in Romford at that time.

Sink were from Ipswich and active between 1988 and 1991. This was a single they released in 1991 and is taken from their album Vega-Tables, which is available on Bandcamp. Singer Ed Wenn (I think Ed was the singer!) is now playing with a new band, Dealing With Damage.

I noticed that the album was recorded and mixed by Richard Hammerton between January 3rd-24th 1991 at Purple Studios, Great Yarmouth. Richard was the lead singer of another great East Anglian band from that time, Stare.

Tuesday 6 September 2022, 1559 views

Looks legit

Spam emails have been pretty dumb for years. It’s not necessarily accidental – the idea is that if you reply to a really stupid one, you’re ready to be duped for anything. But this?

The new president Mr Joe Biden, has signed to renew all your documents that is expired and deliver your ATM Card in package to you, and the only necessary money you have to pay is IMF international monetary fund to sign for the activation of your ATM card which is only $500 to avoid story or any more fee after, so you can use your card immediately you receive your ATM Card,so get back to us for more information and also make sure you send your information to us to avoid wrong delivering.

They’re only asking for personal details, and I’ve got a couple of ex-bosses I could sign up …

Tuesday 6 September 2022, 1604 views

The Divine Comedy – Barbican Hall, Barbican

A gig I booked in March 2020! Covid was upon us and we were two weeks away from lockdown, but I still bought tickets thinking it would all be over by the autumn. And two and a half years later, here we are. Here’s my original ticket, discoloured after being pinned to my notice board next to a window for 30 months.

And here’s a flyer for the rescheduled dates, which ended up getting rescheduled again:

The Barbican emailed me this morning to say “we don’t do programmes any more, click here for our digital programme”. (It’s a web page). The page has Neil Hannon talking about tonight’s show:

Fin De Siècle (1998) / Regeneration (2001)

‘Fin De Siècle was me saying, “But I’m an artist!” and directing things in strange and wonderful directions. There’s crazy stuff like ‘Eric The Gardener’ but also ‘National Express’ and ‘Generation Sex’ – our biggest hits. But by the end of the ‘90s, the scene had changed. Nobody wanted a man flouncing around with an orchestra behind them. So, after the mania of Britpop, in a massive attempt to not go down with the ship, I made Regeneration, which was more serious with more guitars. It was me, famed producer Nigel Godrich and my excellent band on an equal footing. Call me an egomaniac, but I felt disconnected and I wanted more fun.’

He could be right when he says “Nobody wanted a man flouncing around with an orchestra behind them”, as My Life Story ditched the orchestra around this time too. But if it ain’t broke, why fix it?  Regeneration is as strong as any of his other albums, and tonight I get a chance to hear it with an orchestra for the first time.

Anyway! This is my first gig since March, and I haven’t quite recovered after my long walk, but I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. This is an ambitious set of shows – five consecutive nights, playing two different albums a night, so 140 or so different songs in the week. I’ve gone for the third of the five shows, as Fin De Siècle was always one of my favourite albums and I always felt Regeneration was a bit underrated.

I’ve only been to the Barbican once before, for a Latitude Festival launch party in March 2015 (I had to rack my brains for that, and when I failed, I searched my Gmail). I aboslutely love the walk on the upper level from the station. 70s British brutalism at its best! I know this is not a popular opinion …

I wasn’t going to drink but the beer just looked too good, so I had the one. For a restaurant in the middle of the city of London, it was surprisingly modestly priced. No nine quid pints here!

The show itself started at 7.30pm and with a 20 minute interval thrown in lasted just over two and a half hours. The two albums are slightly longer than average and he threw in a couple of tracks from Promenade at the end too. Voice great, music great, venue great. Good night out!

    Set 1 (Fin de Siècle):

  • Generation Sex
  • Thrillseeker
  • Commuter Love
  • Sweden
  • Eric The Gardener
  • National Express
  • Life On Earth
  • The Certainty Of Chance
  • Here Comes The Flood
  • Sunrise

    Set 2 (Regeneration):

  • Timestretched
  • Bad Ambassador
  • Perfect Lovesong
  • Note To Self
  • Lost Property
  • Eye Of The Needle
  • Love What You Do
  • Dumb It Down
  • Mastermind
  • Regeneration
  • The Beauty Regime


  • When The Lights Go Out All Over Europe
  • Tonight We Fly

Friday 2 September 2022, 1703 views

Iskaa and the Red Cars – Desire

Just sometimes you forget about a band until that well known time thief, Facebook, pops something up in your feed about them.

This is a great shoegaze pop single from 2012. Nothing on Spotify, one track on YouTube, but you can find them on Bandcamp.

They’re playing their home town of Eindhoven on 17 September, which is rather annoying for me as I was there a couple of weeks ago!

Wednesday 31 August 2022, 1837 views

The cost of electric living

As I am mystified as to how my electric bill is so high, thanks to @nick_tweeets who tweeted the following info out today:

With the new 52p/kWh electric cap this is what stuff will roughly cost:

1 kWh fan heater / electric radiator = 52p/hour
2 kWh fan heater / electric heater = £1.04/hour
3 kWh immersion heater = £1.56/hour

5w LED light bulb = 0.26p/hour
40w electric blanket = 2p/hour
60w light bulb – 3.12p/hour

8KG Washing machine (A rating) = 26p/cycle
8KG Washing machine (D rating) = 55p/cycle
Tumble Dryer – Heat Pump – A rating = £1.13/cycle
Tumble Dryer – Condenser – C rating = £2.33/cycle

Oven = 52p/hour
Electric hob halogen per ring = 85p/hour
Electric hob induction per ring = £1/hour (surprising?)
Microwave 900w = 47p/hour
200w slow cooker = 10p/hour
1000w 2L Air Fryer = 52p/hour
1300w 4.5L Air Fryer = 67p/hour
Electric kettle = 2p/min

42″ TV = 6p/hour
Computer monitor = 1p/hour
Xbox One S = 6p/hour
PS4 = 7p/hour

Amazon echo dot = 0.2p/hour
Sonos One = 0.7p/hour
Google Nest mini speaker = 0.2p/hour
Laptop = 2.5p/hour

American style Fridge Freezer = 2.5p/hour 60p/day
Freestanding fridge freezer = 1.45p/hour 35p/day
Under counter fridge = 0.6p/hour 16p/day

7.5 kWh electric shower = 6.5p/min
9 kWh electric shower = 7.8p/min
10.8 kWh shower = 9.3p/min

Charge Tesla/ID3 (57.5 kWh/235mile) = £30
4 slice toaster = 4.5p/3 mins
2 Slice toaster = 2.2p/3 mins

Ooh. Fishtanks (nice one @isherwood_rob)
Juwel Rio 180 litre – 152w average = £1.90/day
AquaEl Leddy 60 litre – 31w average = 39p/day

Dishwasher – Full size (Bosch serie 2) = 49p/cycle
Dishwasher – Slimline (Beko integrated) = 39p/cycle

Saturday 27 August 2022, 4423 views