Monday, 29 December 2008

F is for food - Mike

So me and my housemate Matt came up with an idea today. The idea is to eat only food that starts with the letter "a" for a day. Then the next day eat only food that starts with the letter "b" and so on and so on for 26 days in total.

We predict this will be easy at first, but may hit some roadblocks by the 24th day in particular. In order to combat this, we may be allowing ourselves a little creativity in the names of certain foods. So whilst any cheese can be eaten on the third day, stinking bishop in particular can be eaten on the "s" day. And for the 24th day in particular it has been decided that xenomorphs count in the form of mis-shapen cookies and the such so on no paricular day do we have to eat nothing.

This will be a horrowing and perhaps humorous tale. A journey of the self as well as food and as such I've decided to document it day by day, if it goes ahead.

We'll try and keep you informed in the planning stage,
- Mike

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Piss and Shit - Mike

Consider the four human bodily processes of Eating, Drinking, Pissing and Shitting. Each works as a verb demonstrating an action is taking place. They also work as nouns as in this case: food, drink, piss and shit.

But what about the adjectives that show desire to carry out the actions?
You can be hungry and you can be thirsty, but what single words are for the feeling of needing a piss or shit? Sure there are words with connetations such as brewing, bloated and bursting but nothing that clearly and definitively means "I could well do for a piss," or "Christ on a bike if you don't get out of my way I'm going to shit. Soon."

So then, an alternative? Pissy means something else, as does shitty so both of those are out. We need new words in order to save time when pushing past people on the way to the toilet. After all, isn't that what life is truely about?

I propose that the funniest two appropriate yet nonsensical word verifications to be submitted should be considered being introduced. All you have to do is reply and you'll know what to do.

My first one is "kiess". No good.

- Mike

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Proposed Song Order - Alex

Okay, I've had a fiddle with Mike's list, feedback is smacky good:

1.Tell Me Ma
2.Boys Who Left The Band
3.Weigh Anchor
4.Curse the London City Gent
5.Steve The Twat
6.Auld Triangle
7.Cumberland Crew
8.Sideways Up The Rubber Sprocket
9.Old Boys' State
10.Last Blackwall
11.Old Jack
12.Drunken Sailor

Tell me ma - I'll be very happy with this as a first track - once we've had time with aled in the studio.

Weigh Anchor is a big ballsy one, I like that near the beginning.

gent-steve-triangle is a nice little package I think, means steve is earlier in the album so the run up to the end of the album can be more unbrokenly exciting.

Crew and Blackwall are still next to each other, which I think may be a problem. I want the toms in both of those to sound very large and probably similar (though in crew there'll be lots more reverb I suppose). Do you think swopping Anchor and Blackwall would work?

Song Titles ?
Just realised we have no standard way of writing most of our songs - I like a mixture of the first, second and third I've written for each; more feedback!

"Tell Me Ma" / "I'll Tell Me Ma" / "Ma"

"Boys Who Left The Band" / "The Boys Who Left The Band" / "Boys"

"Curse The London City Gent" / "The Curse of The London City Gent" / "City Gent"

"Auld Triangle" / "The Auld Triangle"

"Cumberland Crew" / "The Cumberland's Crew" / "The Cumberland Crew"

"Last Blackwall" / "The Last Blackwall"

"Old Boys State" / "Old Boys' State" / "Old Boy's State" / "State"

"Old Jack" / "Shitbounce" / "Cock In Your Eye"

"Drunken Sailor" / "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?" / "Sailor"

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Proposed Song Order - Mike

So since now we've got a first preliminary mix of all the songs, I bashed out a steamy load of proposed album order. Feedback is tasty.

1. Tell Me Ma
2. Boys Who Left The Band
3. Curse The London City Gent
4. Auld Triangle
5. Weigh Anchor
6. Cumberland Crew
7. Last Blackwall
8. Old Boys State
9. Steve The Twat
10. Sideways Up The Rubber Sprocket
11. Old Jack
12. Drunken Sailor

This was especially difficult because we have three songs that start with variations on "old" which couldn't be grouped together, and a difficult choice for the first song. I've always been against putting Tell Me Ma first, but I think it is genuinly the best choice out of the songs we have.

I've also tried to listen as much as possible to which songs "feel" like early or late songs, with the middle being the hardest to judge.

I'm giving it a listen as we speak, so I'll definately change it later.

- Mike

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Horses and Album Art

At the weekend Smokey Bastard consumed two entire horses - one in Cardiff Student Union (supporting the mincing Mental Image) and one at the very accommodating Royal Oak in Bath, supported by the truly fantastic The Clap.

It was a shitty weekend to drive the nearly five hundred miles I covered but it was great to get everyone together again. We turned up at a rehearsal studio in Cardiff and bought most of our instruments from the bewildered old man there before mostly playing metal/end-of-film-rock versions of our own songs all afternoon. I personally left a tiny bit of wee on the drum stool from laughing so much all afternoon.

We then had a great turn-out in Cardiff Uni, especially considering it's so far away from our nominal base, and bearing in mind that it was in Fuckingwales, which is a pretty hopeless start to almost anything. I've got some pictures on film (so they'll be ages) of some larks, some blood and a chinese set list on Pat's arm, and we collectively ingested a fair old amount of free beer.

Those who had the time to chill out on saturday then, as far as I can gather from Macca, played earthworm jim on the megadrive for possibly longer than a night and a day, sitting in their own filth very happily.

We went acoustic for the Bath gig and the gloriously free bar helped that one to be gloriously shambolic, but we sold a fair old stack of the old CDs so we had petrol to get home, and we also had some good time to discuss the album; what we want out of it and when and what to call it and all that stuff:


Ok, there's some cash in it for whomever's album artwork we use on our upcoming album, but we don't know what it'll look like yet.

We recon we'll try and settle on our favourite four or five album titles, and then we'd like to invite anyone who's interested (and especially a few people we've got in mind, but we're very open to input) to rub one out to go with one or several of the titles, and then whichever artwork is best will probably decide which title we use. Watch this space for more information on this one. The only title we're so far agreed on seems to be 'Propping Up The Floor' but there are definitely others on the shortlist.

"NOW That's What I Call Shitfisted!"
p.s. A google image search for 'shit fisted' was never going to be pretty (you have been warned this is gross and explicit), but check out item number five! I wonder if we should use more porn buzzwords as themes when we record in future, to up our hit count...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Limbo - Mike

So here we are in this perpetual limbo. Repeatedly reminded that a preview of the album will be ready soon, yet also painfully aware that except for a few far away gigs, very little is on the plate. And I am hungry. I could eat a horse. A massive gig horse. Num num num.

So I really want to start getting our stuff out there in order to get these colossal horses of gigs, yet I feel the EP is outdated. It doesn't really relate our current standard of playing or professionalism, which I hope will be demonstrated more accurately with the first few previews of the album. I know I could put the effort in and try and get gigs with the old EP or even with only my throbbing bravado, but it's easier to wait and hope. So I wait and hope. I wait and hope for this magic event, and I don't get us any more horses. One day it will happen, and on that day we will eat and we will eat well.

I'm also very aware that since most of the band live far away, gigs are only really worth playing if a) it's a super sweet gig with loads of new people who will perchance love us or b) it pays enough to cover travel costs. These are harder to find, especially without an album. IT IS A PARADOX THAT AFFECTS US ALL.

In brighter news Cardiff tomorrow, then Bath on Sunday. Woo. See you all there.

Piss piss moan, piss moan moan,
- Mike

P.S. Everyone should be watching Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe if they aren't already.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Album titles

So rather than complaining about how the album still doesn't have a name, I decided to write a list of suggestions. I'm also on Carrie's computer so this is the easiest method of keeping a record of everything I write.

The list so far:

Smokey Bastard
The Smokey Bastard sing-a-long song book for kids (you know, for kids)
Young and Teeth

My suggestions (in the order in which they occured to me):

It's time for a pint
Time for a pint
Sit down, shut up, drink and listen
Fuck you for asking
A collection of folk punk songs mostly about old people written by young people
Drinking 'til dawn
Whiskey bullets
Drinking in the devil's bar
The old rose
I can quit any time
Raucous youth
Pub-rawl convoy
Get it down you
Midnight singsongs
Moonshine dreams
So it was me, Mr. T and Hulk Hogan...
Liquid cheer
Milk bottle full of Guinness
Propping up the floor
Hungover discoveries
Let's go get drunk in the fort

My favourite so far are "Propping up the floor" and "Let's go get drunk in the fort".

More to come?
- Mike

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Oh yeah...


Choice Chambers

So as I sat, depressingly alone while my housemates partied the night away, watching Dimbleby ramble on desperately trying to fill the six hour election night he had ahead of him, my mate Dre came in and began to change the channel.

I objected, horrified, but my worry was misplaced.

It was at this point I was introduced to CNN, and I would like to take a minute to list several reasons why CNN's coverage kicked the BBC's election night mumbling session's sorry arse.

1: The Drums

The first thing to strike me was the epic drums used to introduce every single thing that the CNN politics crew (The Worlds Greatest Political News Team as a sign in the background informed me) had to throw at me. It went on for ages. It was like the intro to Brass Eye.

2: The Presenters

They were called Wolf Blitzer and Anderton Cooper.

Wolf Blitzer..................David Dimbleby

Wolf Blitzer..................David Dimbleby

Wolf Blitzer..................David Dimbleby

Need I say more.

3: The Claims

The Worlds Greatest Political News Team was not the only claim adorning the back wall of the studio. As if that wasn't reassuring enough, my eyes were treated to huge, metallic lettering reading:

CNN = Politics


but nothing compared to...


That's right. CNN provided me with an exclusive interview with Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas fame...........via Hologram

Seriously. You Guys.

The presenter actually interviewed empty space and they overlayed a floating image of Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas fame.

They even made him a bit fuzzy and slowed down the frame-rate to make it look like the technology wasn't quite perfect. Y'know...for realism

That, my friends, is television.
The BBC need to buck up their ideas.


You Guys.


Puppy In Whitehouse

Well thank heavens for all that.


Saturday, 1 November 2008

Autumn Update

Hello all!

Wordy one, this time...

Today I feel like it's Christmas already, because: my whole family is home for my birthday this weekend, we had a full on inch and a bit of snow at the end of last week, the heating is on in the house and we're doing a trial run christmas dinner on sunday to prototype the stuffing and chipolatas and bacon asparagus and cranberry bread sauce and the whole house smells delicious already!

But it's not christmas yet - in fact last night was Hallowe'en. Smokey Bastard didn't play a gig unfortunately, since our internal communications broke down a bit when we were offered two seperate gigs for that night and nothing happened - but I made a little pumpkin with candles in and tried to learn how to play blues on the piano with my girlfriend instead, how punk is that?

As it happens, the last time Smokey B got together it was more like easter than Christmas or Hallowe'en, with glorious sunshine and probably our last chance to rehearse outside in Tony's Christmas...veranda? (Some of you may recognise the Christmas room (of not-yet-surfaced live video "fame") with a couple of walls missing - this is Tony Ness's ingeniousness in action, and a good place for acoustic practice).

This reheasal was for a short notice gig mid october at the Eldon Arms where SOPHIE reappeared from France unexpectedly early which was super. We had a lovely time and are gaining quite a soft spot for the Eldon crowd and crew - actually I wonder if it might be a good spot for some occasional sessions? I've been meaning to set someting like that up for ages in Reading, any thoughts anybody?

Unfortunately we didn't manage to pull an appearance from a rather important man from a rather important festival, but we'll keep talking to him and see what we can do in the future...

Back to the present day, Mike and I (and team of about ten other folks) were in Camden on the 30th for Bellowhead's gig at Koko which was absolutely brilliant fun, the brass section visibly plastered and the whole lot of them indulging in a lot of unpretentious japery - by the end of the gig they were all playing kazoos, the sax player had his jacket on inside out to dance like elvis and the bouzouki player was shredding through a wah pedal - so much to see and hear, awesome! We decided their first album doesn't do them justice - my LP of the new album arrives on Sunday for my birthday, here's hoping it's more successful.

Has anyone seen a folk crowdsurf before? The Bellowhead sax player might well have won the prize for the first one ever...

AND FINALLY, in Smokey Bastard Album news:

-No title

-No tracklist

-No artwork

-No music

(Still not quite finished the last of Sophie's fiddle lines from before she went to Fr, and no rough mix from Aled yet cos he's a jolly busy fourth year, but we're waiting with baited breath for an unmixed mixdown any day now!)



p.s. I know I said 'finally' before, but this guy supported Bellowhead and he's rather good, though admittedly morose. Have a listen, and see if you agree that he should play a banjo sometimes: Sam John Carter

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Well Qualified for The Position

This is a special Smokey Bastard announcement.

Let's all join hands and wish Mr. Wood (of Smokey Bastard bass and vocals) lots of luck getting funding for his PhD, because there's lots of competition and we all want the best for him in his career. We know this is a big deal and we're taking you seriously, big man.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

We're all doomed!

At some point they had to write down ON PAPER the process of MAKING PAPER. This is centuries old self perpetuating technology! The end may have already begun...

- Mike

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Bellowhead Bellowsession

I keep forgetting to say: Pat and I went to London's South Bank on September 21st where there was a huge food festival going on around the Festival Hall to join in with a session with the most impressive Bellowhead, where I had a chance to chat with Andy the trumpet player at some length (mostly complaining about how hard it is to pick up their stab-filled brass lines) and even catch a few moments of their rehearsal as they let us leave our instruments in their room at the Festival Hall.

Pat was rocking the flute for portability reasons, and I was playing trumpet or bodhran depending on whether the key was manageable for improv - and we brought along a few friends for the party including the folkier-by-the-day Rachel Marshall on clarinet and swooning duty.

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of minutes chatting with every single member of bellowhead as I put one of our demos into each of their talented mitts, so I hope one or two of them listened to it.

I also kept saying 'hopefully see you on the festivals circuit next year'. Ahem. Well, you never know, right? Perhaps on the strength of the new album!

And I gave a CD to a youngish man who wanted to start a morris dancing troupe in Reading and was thinking that Smokey Bastard could be his band, or he could maybe come do some one-man-morris at some of our gigs. Stangely enough having had an opportunity to listen to our CD I don't think he's tried to contact us - I wonder why ever not?

Vaguely on this note, just because I enjoy splashing bands about here are some groups and bands I am currently enjoying, both old discoveries and new

Bellowhead (Old favourites: always a good sign when 'plays' outnumber 'profile views' on myspace. going to see them at Koko on the 30th!)

Let's Tea Party (something of a wild card, saw them play with Portland Rise last weekend)

The High Kings (These guys are a bit too slick and moneyspinning, but their 'Rocky Road To Dublin' is by far the best I've heard it done, heard it on Radio 2's wednesday evening folk program)

Terrafolk (These guys are utterly, utterly spectacular live but a bit so-so on these recordings, nonetheless you can not afford to miss their surreal version of 'You Are My Sunshine')

Bad Science (These guys have been in my top five for years and probably will be for a long time, might try and get to see them at the Southampton Soul Cellar on the 28th.)

Rachel Unthank and the Winterset (Thanks to Rachel Garforth for this one, wide eyed child winter folk, can't decide about the music on the myspace really, but it's intriguing - and if you can find 'Blue's Gaen Oot O'the Fashion' anywhere, it's brilliant.)

Jackson Jackson (If you loved loved loved The Cat Empire like I did, don't assume you'll like their trumpet player/singer Harry's side project, which is brilliant but utterly different. Listen out for an unexpected folk traditional in 'Cats, Rats and Pidgeons'!)

Ed, Will and Ginger a-walking-o (Mike found this one and Carrie showed me, it's Coope, Boyes and Simpson - esque, but with a bit more youth and poshness to it)


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Fire unicycle

This is Pete from the Southampton University Circus Society. His unicycle is on fire. This may or may not be completely badass.

Plug over,
- Mike

Monday, 22 September 2008

What a fucking great idea.

Once upon a time I was reading the blog/street art diary of a guy named Poster Child. There was a post in particular that for some reason stuck in my mind although at the time I failed to act on it. It wasn't until recently that I decided to give it a go, although on the more personal domain of my own house.

The idea is as follows: Cut out a paper (or card) moustache that is preferably curly. Stick that to the front of your television. Laugh and make merry every time someone's face lines up with said moustache. Here are some pictures:

With the television turned off.

John Cleese match 01

John Cleese match 02

These are just some examples of the possible hilarity. Best played under the influence of alcohol and an abundance of like minded (inebriated) housemates.

The relevant Post

- Mike

Sunday, 31 August 2008


"A fortnight!" we said.

"No problems!" we said.

"Rhythm section in a week or less!" said we.

Smokey Bastard have been in the "studio" now for about two and a half weeks, and have completed:

Electric guitars

Leaving us still yet to do:

Accoustic Guitars
aaaaaall the vocals
and then be pissed for a day or so with the tape rolling for some atmosphere
(and I'm sure there's more)


On the don't-care-much-that-it's-taking-a-while-really hand though, it's shaping up to sound pretty much like we've all been hoping; some of my personal favourite bits so far include:

backwards stuff
mad orchestral percussion stuff
hugely over-epic guitar sounds (12 channels per guitar line in some places)
the emergence of balls-to-the-wall shitfisted riotous high speed...folk...


Today, when starting to EQ some of our tracks, Aled (our engineer/mixer) asked me this question:

"Do you want it to kick you in the face, or punch you in the guts?"

Please note that there is no third option - whatever happens this record is going to injure you. Roll on week four!


P.s. we've got loads of footage to wack up here in the next few weeks, and we'll try to make that happen, so don't forget to watch this space...Both of you...

Monday, 28 July 2008

Babar Luck

Just a quick one.

The other night we played with Babar Luck at the Cross Kings in Kings Cross. It was awesome.

Alex decided during Babar's set that he wanted to pack up his kit and leave and, understandably, Babar did not take kindly to this. Subsequently, Alex got a telling off in front of everybody and I had a bit of a chuckle.

That's him telt.


Saturday, 26 July 2008

A Return to Bastard Form


I started writing my first blog in months last night at about seven o clock, and believe me I was writing with a wit, vim and fervour that would have knocked you off your seats! In fact, so full of energy was I, after the last few weeks of getting up at 6.30 every day to either go to work (photo, left) or take my sister to work and then four hours of SB rehearsals at Plug n Play yesterday, I fell asleep while typing and fell off my own chair, and then slept for 13 hours on my bedroom floor. With my head on a Mr Kipling lemon slice.
This is literally the first thing I'm doing having woken up very confused and nibbling on lemon icing from my ear (photo, right), and I've got to get to another SB practice by eleven, via Drumwright. As a result, you're getting no wit, zero fervour, and the diametric opposite of vim (which is 'crust') as I race through what would assuredly have otherwise been a very measured and thoughtfully constructed blog entry:
We're going to record an album; the prospect of doing it with John Leckie and Barry Barlow is both closer and further from becoming reality but we're working hard to make it happen.
We've got some gigs, and seeing as we're often too lazy to ask anyone for them we need to get offered more - go to our myspace to listen and contact us.
Very soon we shall be announcing the exciting appearance of our Live in the Christmas Room Acoustic Album/DVD with a raft of new videos and clips online. Watch various online SB spaces, if not this one.
(Grumble) *Hack!* Cough
The other (and main) reason I'm bothering to do this again today (last night's offering was wiped when blogger timed out), EVEN with exceedingly good cake on my face, is that I would like very much for you to see our second video blog entry, which I chucked together yesterday. You'll notice that this time it was only filmed on a mobile phone, and is comprised of footage of a fairly limited genre of activity from our weekend away. This is because in a fairly friendly way we don't much give a shit about this blog, we're only doing it to make each other laugh. Noticed?!

It's too early for this, I'm going to get some juice

Our weekend, by the way, kicked good old english arse: first an appearance in Bath Folk and Ale Festival at the Royal Oak, followed by free bar all night, followd by camping illegally, followed by a six hour drive to Durham just to see Youngblood Brass Band, who absolutly fucking rocked, putting themselves easily in te top two of best bands I have ever seen live - only missing first place because the Durham crowd were a load of squares, kids and mums who stayed sat in their numbered seats applauding politely, and because their set was a slightly dissapointing hour long. Seriously, check these guys out - there is no better mix of genuine musicality and raw unfettered drive than Youngblood, and I hope somebody quotes me.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Temporary Setbacks...

Hey all. Time for a band update…

We have (mostly) returned from our respective uni towns and are once again ready to be in a shit hot celtic punk band. Exams are over and now nothing… well…. now only two things can stand in our way:

Thing in the way number one: Pat has chosen to blemish his impeccable record of unrelenting punctuality, reliability and enthusiasm by deciding on a whim to cycle around Germany, I assume for no other reason than to inflate his ego with regards to how “good” he is at cycling on a bike cycle.

The second problem is that I have paralyzed myself to such an extent that I currently have to be lowered into bed. Luckily it’s just a muscular back injury and will heal soon but while visiting the doctor I was also I informed I might have some sort of lanky disease which means you die from being tall or something… or at least in some cases it lowers your life expectancy but only if you’re some kind of nonce… I don’t know. Anyway I’m gonna find out on Thursday. Its called Marfan’s syndrome but I’ve already decided if I do have it, I’m calling it either Joey Ramone or Robert Johnson syndrome as they had it and it sounds better that way, but I doubt it will come to that…

We also have gigs soon so check the old

- Matt

Monday, 26 May 2008

His Royal Highness the Prince of Cuddles

So there we were, Steve, Matt, Ken and myself were coming home from the Hobbit one warm May evening after a light celebration of Steve's birthday. As we were completing the inevitable crawl back to me and Matt's house for inevitable after pub drinks (Steve got wine from people for his birthday) we stopped suddenly. It appears Steve had kicked something in the face. Matt bent down and saw that it was a stag beetle.

The stag beetle was taken home with it's fork like feet firmly attached to Matt's hands and was thereby dubbed His Royal Highness the Prince of Cuddles in the memory of our yet to be purchased ferrets. Seemingly unresponse to most form of stimuli, incense smoke seemed to be the only thing that perked him up. Since none of us were coleopterists, we had no idea if this was a good or bad thing.

He was kept for a day or two in a pint glass stuffed full of lettuce, figuring him to be a herbivore. He promptly escaped leaving the lettuce untouched. Luckily Matt found him close to his tiny see-through prison and we decided that it would be best for him to let him go. After taking lots of photos.

We'll miss you HRH...
- Mike

P.S. We don't know whether it was because Steve kicked him in the face or whether stag beetles are just shit, but his pincers were rubbish, causing no feeling in the fingers other than a light pinch.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Daytime TV

So there we were watching the most drab and mundane television possible, when the idea of owning a pet came to mind. After brief discussions with house mates, it's possible that we here in Southampton may be getting a ferret or two. This has two benefits:

a) We get to freak people out by not telling them we have any pets and then when they say things like "hey, did anyone hear anything?" we respond nonchalantly with such phases as "oh, you're probably imagining things". Then we get the ferrets to be naturally curious about ankles and boom! Pranks akimbo.

b) We no longer have to pick up any food that we drop.

There is a problem, however, with what to name them. After much deliberation, my housemate Matt came up with the best two:

a) Colonel Marmalade

b) His Royal Highness the Prince of Cuddles

Basically, I'm asking if anyone else can think of anything better.
- Mike

Saturday, 3 May 2008


Boris Johnson is Mayor of London.



Boris "Section 28" Johnson.

Has the country gone utterly mental? I can only assume that the country has gone utterly mental.

Friday, 25 April 2008

I only wanted Mario Kart

On Tuesday, my mate dug out the N64 which, after but a few minutes, gave me a hankering for some Mario Kart. Dan and I immediately went out to try and find a copy of Mario Kart satiate this craving. This was about two in the afternoon.

I awoke hungover Wednesday morning, in Bristol, with a crowd of strangers.

I don't live in Bristol. I don't know strangers.

I did not get Mario Kart.


Monday, 14 April 2008

Christmas Room

Ok, so we've been a little lax lately as to updating our "at least once a week" blog, but with good reason. On Saturday we all crammed ourselves into the festively titled "Christmas Room" at Matt's house and played our little acoustic hearts out to a few friends and family. Don't worry, we're not just nice guys who do nice things to the people who help us out, we actually had an ulterior motive.

We played our acoustic set to our trusted sound engineers Aled and Matt "the Sound" in order for them to record us. In the mixing stage as we speak, the live acoustic album which is yet to be titled will soon be able to be bought from gigs.

It was a peculiar experience. Cameras at every angle, including one IR camera that made everyone's hair look grey, were surprisingly easy to get used to. We started rolling and the pressure was on. We took a while to get swinging, but once we did, we accidently started having fun. The energy of the later songs is apparently something to behold and which I personally look forward to after only the preliminary mixes played through tiny speakers to go on.

A video is also being editted by a kind gentleman I was not introduced to, hopefully one of the band will reply with all the necessary props he's due. No idea when he'll be done since he's doing it in his spare time, but this means the next few updates will probably have some footage snippets from the event, so keep checking back.

Stay festive,
- Mike

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Spot the deliberate mistakes

Macca and Matt told me all about some excellent japanese band we were listening to in my car on the way to the Leytonstone gig, who apparently sit down immediately after every gig and watch a video of the whole performance in order to learn how to do it better next time. Who are they again? Can't remember...they wear matching visors, I seem to remember...

We prefer to try and get good BEFORE we play, but in this particular case (since for whatever reason the gig was a bit shambolic) I think a breakdown of this video someone posted onto our myspace page would at least be a good way to piss off the rest of the band:

1) Inexplicable northen accent on my part

2) I'm sharp by maybe as much as a third when the guitars come in

3) Sophie's flat as a pancake when she comes in

4) Mike's got flowers all over his mic stand - what a gay

5) Matt 'never learnt the melody'

6) Macca and i don't come in together for the last verse

Any more? Andy's laughing at the end, and it makes me suspicious... We'll have none of this 'merriment' thank you very much...


Saturday, 29 March 2008

Easter and all that.


no video this update, but I figured one should happen since it has been more than a week since the last. I presume you're doing well?

This week a lot of the band have been involved in various studious activities. For some of us it's the final year of our uni course, which involves the mad rush of finishing our dissertations before the end of April. Luckily we have a shed load of gigs in April so we're trying to finish as much as we can now. This means that unlike we planned, we have neither recorded anything, nor written many new songs.

Not to worry, I'm sure everyone's coming up with new material on their own, but all I can think about is the Neverhood.

Better luck next time,
- Mike

Friday, 21 March 2008

Something a little bit different:

Enjoy! It's another little bit of my actual degree gone forever...

You may notice there isn't any footage from either of the actual gigs we played this weekend. Correct.


Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Three Guineas on St. Paddy's day

Last night was a first timer for Smokey Bastard - we actually played in an Irish Bar. For the first of the two St. Paddy's day gigs this weekend, we took on the Three Guineas- the pub on the Reading station platform.

A 14 hr day

After a heavy seven hours of rehearsing both old and very new tunes, burning pizzas, watching rugby and generally fart arsing about, the Smokey Bastard train headed on over to the Three Guineas, where in true style we caused havoc to all those in our path and managed to block off the majority of the bus park outside the station for a good 20 minutes. By 8.45, and with a good crowd in front of us, we were ready to go - but our 'working day' was to last for many more hours!

Set and Match

With both Wales and England victorious in the rugby and the irish with a saint to celebrate, the evening was set to be one of celebration. Our first set started with Mrs McGrath, and was an almost entirely acoustic spasm; the crowd were in good form, and much jigging, singing, falling over and guiness drinking was had by all.

The second set saw a somewhat large increase increase in volume as we played through a noisy punk set, which we thoroughly enjoyed. By this point the audience were generally getting more wobbly- the floor became strewn with a few drunken casualties who'd jigged just that bit too far. [Ivo has ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE OF RHYTHM - Alex]

Mais oui, ma mère est dans l'arbre

By half 10 it was all over, after an encore of Mrs McGrath and Steve the Twat. An hour or so and a whole lot of free Guiness later we finally left the Three Guineas and headed back over to the Ness family care home, where further drinking and merriment was had around the burning stove out in the wonderfully atmospheric christmas...shed...

Most notably, a large portion of the evening was carried out in completely nonsense french, while we ate hot buttered crossed buns and put the world right on our terms. Drunken, tired, contented terms at that.

En plus...

Two more days of rehearsing and then a Leytonstone gig - here we come!

-Sophie [with interfering by Alex...]

Monday, 10 March 2008

"Go Long!"

"I Am Long..."

Working backwards from the joint premises that:

  • we all have a strong primal urge to throw whatever we've got to anyone who holds up their hands half cupped together in the cross-cultural sign for 'pass it here!'


  • when throwing things it's obligatory to shout 'go long' on the offchance that the catcher will retort 'I am long', facilitating everybody's feeling rather smugly witty,

we at Bastard have calculated that shouting "I am long!" obliges anyone in the area to throw to/at the shouter whatever object they can fastest throw in his/her direction.

This has turned out to be really useful if someone's holding something you want, since they'll usually end up throwing whatever's in their paws already, even if they don't particularly want to give it up. Also handy if you're feeling cruel and someone is holding something like a slice of their favouritest cake in the whole world (and you feel ready to dodge it).

Just so that I can feel I've covered all the bases, I should say please don't attempt to take advantage of this if you're sat in a particularly large crowd on a pebbly beach, or similar - we've already had some fairly serious biscuit incidents and wouldn't want you to get caught out like we were.

(Better than dubious social commentary, right?)


Thursday, 6 March 2008

Nefarious Various

I am a music man/
I come from far away/
And I can play./
What can you play?/
I play the Gee-tar.

Last weekend, during songwriting, it became clear that Matt couldn't play a scale from a given note ("I've never needed to, shut up!" etc.).

He kept trying, while everyone around him yelled "TONE TONE SEMITONE TONE TONE TONE SEMITONE" in increasingly incomprehensible tones of exasperation and spit-flecked rage, but he was basically trying to do it chromatically no matter what we screamed and jabbered at his perplexed little eyebrows.

Finally, exhausted from such eye-rolling, slavering apoplexy, the band quietened down enough to offer some resignedly damage-limitating advice: "look Matt, it's really not very often a semitone. If in doubt, assume it's not a semitone."

A pause.

"If in doubt, skip a fret, don't just go up to the next one", comes the hopeful rephrase.

*matt looks frantically at the low E string he's playing the scale on*

"skip a fret?" (he looks up, petrified) "I'm going to run out!"

[Cue aploplectic jabbering part II.]


As the academic year moves into it's final stages and the days begin to lengthen into evenings, our schedule is happily beginning to get more busy again. At the moment it's still not much but there are already one or two dates not quite up there yet, including the intriguing notion that we might play at the opening of a 'community garden squat project' organised by some punks in Reading.

Make Punk, not war

This brings me to something bastard have been talking about for a while: I don't care what they say, punks under the age of about 25 are all just hippies with leather jackets and slightly less girly hair.

"Community garden squat project"?! Since when did punks do that? What happened to "shit on the community, it's a cunt"? That's what I'd like to know.

I suppose in honesty it's a good thing that punks havn't given up the aesthetics of their movement (the clothes, the music, the politicism) and have started to care about the environment and are nice to their mummies as well (we're nice to our mummies).

But punks are basically a remnant of a previous generation, and it's heartbreaking but I recon - uhoh, controversial statement - that chavs are the only original 00's subversive youth culture. Wanky, but true, kids. We've got about two years to sort this out before this was the decade of chavs and emo. Time for:

A folk uprising!
Lock up your maidens and get out the battle hoe, this fair country will jig to a new tune...

Sunday, 2 March 2008

To whom it may concern,

So, another week, another song writing session for Smokey Bastard. The whole band were here for this one, although it appears we could only have a full house on the condition that someone was ill, and thus incapable of being any use. Andy drew the short straw, resulting in mumbled groaning and legions of vomit. Despite many snack breaks, impromptu gigs and at least one person setting their head on fire, productivity ensued and we now have three shiny new songs that no one has heard.

The "printing" of the new EP is also complete, and you can buy it at any of our gigs for the tiny sum of one English pound sterling (£1). It contains four songs, which you can sample on our Myspace, and these limited edition prints contain pieces of paper that were all physically touched by various members of the band. You can smell the soothing stench of folk. Don't worry though, Andy wasn't allowed anywhere near them.

As for any surprise announcements, I get the feeling that they're going to be delayed by at least a week. If anyone can hold their breath that long I will be more than impressed.

Yours incoherently,
- Mike

Monday, 25 February 2008

Hey Y'all

It's my fucking birthday. Suck on that, bitches.


Just a Bad Dream

Good Morning, Good Morning

I feel the need to share with you all a touching yarn.

John is the landlord at The Royal Oak; my local in Bath. A few months back he approached us about playing a folk festival, which we said we probably would.

To my surprise, when I went to The Oak I was approached by John's wife who is organising said festival and she asked me if it was true that we couldn't play. This baffled me. Turned out John had had a dream about us not being able to play the folk festival after having seen "No Smokey B" written on a kitchen pad. This had led to confusion and worry.

It was later discovered that this note meant that they had run out of smoky bacon flavour Nobby's Nuts. I saw fit, at this point, to laugh at John seeing as, not only had he become worried about us not playing, he had also neglected to order any more nuts.

That is the end of that, another thrilling episode of the Smokey Bastard blog. I thank you.


Friday, 22 February 2008

Degrees of Uselessness

Tick Tick Tick

In very roughly three months I and a few others in the band graduate from university (all things being well).

It's getting hard to avoid speculation about what might happen when I drop off the end of the playschool-infants-school-college-uni conveyor belt.

One thing is for dead certain:

(I can't work out whether I've put this image here illegally - AppleGeeks Lite kicks total ass, find and love it (and my favourite strip from it) here; that might get me off the hook...)

Degrees don't have the power they used to - I think most people admit that these days - but I'm pretty chuffed about having studied philosophy, since the real value of having studied it is not to be found on the (probably metaphorical in the UK anyway) piece of paper in the 'mail'. The value is that it means I can be philosophical about stuff, man (/dude etc.).

For example:

Hey, so maybe our degrees are useless - but who cares? So's our band, and that still kicks arse...


Monday, 18 February 2008

A Productile Post


After the rhythm section of Bastard spent a long evening on Saturday night songwriting in the Ness Family Care Home, we agreed that Sunday would be a long day, an early start, a generally productive enterprise. "What?!" Bastard gasped, "get back here tomorrow for WHAT time in the frost-bitten god-forsaken winter morning?!" Ten o clock. No excuses.

So, come half past ten i was standing over the mumbling, sleeping form of Mike, in Chris' spare room, while Chris stumbled to the loo in his pyjamas (I say 'pyjamas' - I'm relatively sure they were his clothes from the day before), and a sleepy Andy on the other end of a mobile phone was explaining that Sophie hadn't yet got him breakfast in bed and so they might be another hour or so. Matt, to his credit, was already at the rehearsal, but it's his damn house. That just leaves Pat.

Hi Pat, if you're out there, somewhere.


A solid TEN HOURS of songwriting later we've finished the weekend with some half-covered folk standards, a few half-written bits and bobs and two shiny and complete new songs: an original acoustic folk punk number called "Steve the Finchampstead Twat" and an original balls-out punk ejaculation called (something like) "Old Boys' State".


I think it's interesting that although the lyrics for the two finished tunes were written by different band members completely independently of each other, they both reflect the same subtle change in theme (or maybe attitude) for Bastard. Although we still haven't written a single track which doesn't at least mention drunkenness, drink, drinking or drunks (ahem), both the new tracks seem to be noticably lacking any respect for the whole old-drunken-man-of-wisdom folk tradition that you find glorified even in our own early tunes like Old Jack.

I personally wonder whether the looming prospect of making an album might be having the interesting effect of making us focus more closely on what a folk punk record from our own hometown sounds like, and on writing and saying what we as individuals and as a band have to say and write. That is, as opposed to coming from some abstract idea of what folk punk bands do or say, we might really be heading towards making our very own product.
ok, just to avoid confusion, I should point out that no matter how righteous I get about our philosophy, we're still just a bunch of cunts shouting about stuff, I just think too much.

in other news:

A tiny update: Smokey Bastard gave an official go-ahead to Barrie Barlow, signalling that we're well up for welcoming him on board as our manager subject to blah blah blah. With all his connections and experience as a real musician in the real business, friendly connections to us through the Crabtree Dynasty and an obviously genuine enthusiasm for what we're up to, he looks like just the right man for the job - let's hope it comes to pass!

Fingers crossed also that we get within sniffing distance of John Leckie producing us, though obviously who knows at this point, busy man, etc etc. Getting a really nice album made was the subject of the very first conversation I ever had with Barrie when we met in the Eldon Arms in December, and so I think he knows how much it means to us to get it right - the suggestion that Mr. Leckie might be able to have a hand is one to really get us salivating!


For those of you who aren't wikipedia: John Leckie's production credentials go in one swoop from really well crafted raw early punk (e.g. The Adverts? Well worth a listening at) through the crunchy sounds of Britpop to the modern, more slick and complex rock, punk and pop (even music chumps will have heard these names: Radiohead, Muse), to the very subtly produced acoustic sounds of artists like Rodrigo y Gabriella or Shiv Kumar Sharma, and beyond. For an almost literally insane list covering Leckie's career, look here.

That John was also involved in the only even slightly celtic offerings that The Silencers ever recorded is probably a good sign, but as far as I can see it'll be mostly the fact that he uniquely has huge amounts of experience in both punk and world music that would make him absolutely THE man to put our sound on a disk.

I said: "that would make him absolutely THE man to put our sound on a disk!"

You think he heard?


Monday, 11 February 2008

Curbing Our Enthusiasm

Greetings kittens,

GOOD NEWS and terrifyingly amusing news for you all this Happy Monday.

Firstly, we met with Barrie from Jethro Tull and things sound sexy and boy did he LOOK sexy. We still need to run things past Mike and Pat who were busy bumming each other elsewhere at the time of the meeting but we're getting close.

The exciting news is that the producer he's asked to record our album is none other than John Leckie, who worked on 'The Bends' with Radiohead and Muse's 'Origin of Symmetry'. COOL! Yes it is cool. As a result, we're pretty much going to TELL Mike and Pat that this is going ahead.

More news soon after we beat them into submission.

In other news, there has been a quite ludicrous turn of events in one band member's eternal quest to "get some ", as it were. For the sake of the story we shall call him MATTHEW NESS. Those of you familiar with Larry David's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' will be ready for the cringe factor. Others may want to wear protective goggles.

So, one evening, Matt was out with boons*. Matt makes a habit of going out with boons. Nobody knows why. Anyway, he was making eyes at some chick. You know the kind of deal where you see a girl, register that she's hot, look away and carry on with your own business but can't stop turning around for another little peek? WELL IT WAS THAT. Turned out she was looking back so the lady's man thought "I'm in". He was not yet in.

She went out into the smokers' alley and Matt sat and contemplated whether he could bring himself to be so contemptible as to pretend he smoked so he could go and talk to her.

While his mind was in turmoil one of the aforementioned boons had already taken action, lit up and told the chick that Matt was all about that shizzle. Not being the quickest of cats, when questioned as to why Matt couldn't have told her this himself, the boon replied "I ....well....erm.....I dunno" and ran away.

This left Matt in dire straits. Upon hearing of this boon's foolish endeavour, he was left to explain to his newfound love interest that he was not, as had been made out, a massive baby and that he could talk to girls if he wanted to.

Come the end of the evening, and after much explanation, she said something like "see you next week" and Matt breathed a sigh of relief and went back to thinking "I'm in". He was not yet in.

This is where it gets a bit silly.

The next week Matt returned with a new entourage of boons, found his woman and initiated proceedings portending to coitus.

Immediately, and without hesitation, a boon arrived to ruin the day.

"Matt's in a band", she blurted.

Matt didn't know what to do. He panicked, as many would, as he worried that he looked like even more of a dickhead. Being sharp of mind, Matt quickly responded "Shut up. Don't say that", turned to the chick and told her, with firm authority, "I'm not in a band". Matt is in a band.

He now has a date with this chick, during which he must not divulge that he is in a band. Unfortunately, Matt and the band are one and the same. Without the band, Matt is a man with no interests. He will also no doubt tell ALL of his friends about this production deal lark so chances of keeping the band a secret are very low indeed.

Safe in the knowledge that she will never find out about the band or the blog, and if she does then it will all be ruined anyway, there will be more news when Matt fucks it up.


*Boons idiots, cretins, imbeciles, simpletons, chumps, pillocks, mongoloids, troglodytes, dimwits, dunces, morons, twits, weakest links, checkout supervisors.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Jethro, The Prosthetic Limb and The Ever-Questionable Dentist

Morning kids. How's tricks?

The majority of the band are meeting with Barrie Barlow this weekend to discuss this here production deal lark. This should hopefully result in some more solid plans which I can then relate to you via this exciting blog so stay tuned.

Apart from that I'm mainly just going to voice some thoughts.

Firstly, I was watching The Empire Strikes Back the other day because I'm fucking cool. Anyway, it got to the very end and it showed Luke's new robotic hand and I got to thinking; Would you get tired using a robotic limb?

I guess this boils down to whether a fully functional prosthetic limb would be actually robotic or just a synthetic replica of the limb it is replacing. Either way it would have to take motor neurone input to be at all useful but would it require oxygen from blood or would it function on a different power source. Would your robotic hand have a charger like a phone? If anybody knows I would greatly appreciate answers.

Sceondly, I'm no dentist but I went to my dentist the other day and I'm having my doubts as to whether he is really a dentist. It didn't used to bother me when I was a kid - The sooner I was out of that chair, the better - but now It's starting to irritate me. I am going to ask you to read the following aloud to yourself.

Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight

No Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, No Eight

How long did that take you? Fifteen seconds? Well however long it was, that is how long my dentist appointments last. He just counts my teeth and then I can leave. No other comments. He doesn't even verify if that is the right amount of teeth. Is it?

In conclusion, not a dentist.

Anyway, I'm done. I'll catch y'all for an update next week sometime, as this weekend I shall be rocking out to Dropkick Murphys and The Mad Caddies.


Monday, 4 February 2008

Johnny Loxley and the Infinite Baffle

So I found out today that apparently you can get different sized infinities. My argument goes like this:

Say you flip a coin an infinite number of times. The probability of getting, say, four heads in a row is 1. It is definitely going to happen, given the number of times the coin is flipped. By the same argument, the probability is 1 that ten heads in a row will show up. And twenty. And a million. But also, an infinte amount of heads, since there's infinite time to do it in.

So, I argued, the chances of getting an infinite number of heads, with an inifinite number of flips is 1. Surely that would mean that the possibility of getting a tails at any time is 0 (which obviously isn't true).

My maths friends told me it's something to do with different sized infinities, so that even though there are two infinities involved, one is bigger than the other. Which is why the probability of getting a tails is not 0. What?

I don't know, it made me think is all.

In other news: a) Drinking tea and beer only staves off hunger for so long, b) Real food is expensive and c) Toast is a life saver.

Don't am stupid,
- Mike

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Band Biology

Funny how these things happen in waves. Right about when macca was bitching and whining in his last blog entry about how bloody annoying computers can be I was busy watching facebook munch up and dispose of a great big long band bio which I wrote (ok my fault for choosing to write it on the web page instead of copy pasting but i'm still angry) and then failing to log into this blog to post the re-written version despite definitely having the right password.

Now I have the right password, here's a shot at potting the personnel history of the band:


Smokey Bastard are a mixture of seven English punks, folkies and bewildered musicians, playing original material and arrangements of folk tunes from whichever country we pinch them.

The Smokey Bastard song 'The Boys Who Left the Band' is ostensibly an autobiographical punk outpouring in the form of a twisted morality tale, finding meaning and motivation in the sordid history of the band.However, it was almost the first song Smokey Bastard ever wrote, it consists pretty much entirely of lies, and the only true things in it BECAME true after the song was written, so if you're looking for a biography of the band, ignore it.

Jonny the drummer didn't so much leave the band as disappear, since after recording 'Boys' with him we havn't actually managed to find the guy.

Cookie the banjoid also hasn't very literally left the band, in his case because although he's no longer a member of the band he's often still here.

Alex the drummer turned up and played the bodhran first try, so he's in.

Sophie the fiddler turned up and played the whole set first try, so she's in.

Everone else has been there pretty much since the band's messy beginnings, rising as it did out of the drinking, smoking, firegazing, singing and crassly insulting sarcastic behaviour which were and are the staple activities in the Ness Family Care Home for Lost Waifs, Strays and Musician-types.

These days, underneath the smell of alchohol and weird green vomit, Smokey Bastard is actually fairly coherant and is pretending to be 'businesslike'. We think this means hats, but we're not sure.

Summer 2008 will involve a uk tour, and milk bottles full of Guinness.

"the end" etc.

Tell me what you think...



I'm in Germany at the moment where my girlfriend's flatmate is chinese. She puts this on her hair I think, or face:

Yes, "SOD Milk".

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Fuck Computers


I am going to use this space to have a brief rant about computers as their antics have hindered several beautiful advancements in the glorious kingdom of Bastard.

Firstly, our new website is nearly complete. "GOOD" is what you might be thinking. The trouble is, some stuff doesn't work right in Firefox and some entirely different stuff doesn't work in Internet Explorer. I don't know why Microsoft and MoZilla don't just sit down, have a nice cup of tea, decide how the internet works and settle for some universal formula. It shouldn't be this hard. Anyway I think most of the Firefox problems are sorted so if you don't have Firefox, get it. It was always better anyway.

The website in progress can be found at
I think you'll agree that it's looking pretty sexual.

Secondly, I intend to start doing some animated blogs but I am rubbish at Flash so I have settled for the "Animation for Dummies" route: MS Paint in conjunction with Windows Movie Maker. Unfortunately this is proving more difficult than I expected after hours of crafting some really rather spiffy Smokey Bastard characters to animate. I'll have to spend more time fiddling with the damn computer-mo-phone in order to work this one out.

Thirdly, I did some basic T-shirt designs for y'all to have a goose at but my interweb is being a whiny little bitch (and, as a result, so am I) and won't let me upload them to the blog.

In other words, Grah.

That is all.
Snog y'all later.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Happy Sharks

Here, for you viewing pleasure, is the latest from Cooky's "Happy Shark" Scrapbook.

"I just ate a whole fat person - heh heh heh."

"Look Ma. I cleaned my teeth real good. No people at all. Also my nostrils look like my eyes."

Possibly more soon. We can't really remember if we made this up about Cooky or if it's something he actually does. The line between reality and fiction has become somewhat hazy. Oh well. Stay Tuned.

Chris (Happy Sharks © Cooky 2008)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Banjo haiku

Cooky is our occasional stage-fellow, he was in the band and now plays with us sometimes. These Haiku are about him.

i am hugely drunk.
whisky whisky whisky whis-
ky whisky whisky

look in my glasses
your drunken soul is upon
my enormous face

banjo is easy
see, i don't need finger picks
my beard is so FAST

Further suggestions welcome.



Aled sent in these Smokey Bastard Haiku and I thought them too good to leave them rotting in the comments box so I shall add them here. - Chris

Bastard Haiku

A smokey bastard
Once told me about a band
Called "Smokey Bastard"

He smelled quite smokey
And was born out of wedlock
Thus "smokey bastard"

By pure happen-chance
This fellow enjoyed folk-punk
Played by his namesakes

(When I say namesake
I am not quite accurate
His name's not "SB"-

It is just a neat
And relevant description
of his aroma

And of his parents'
Marital situation
In his infancy)

Anyhoo, this chap
Who doesn't really exist
Had introduced me

To Smokey Bastard
(That's the band, not the person
who I just made up)

Topsy Turvy

The life of a rock star is erratic, unpredictable and gut-wrenchingly exciting. One minute you're rocking out hard as life, the next you're eating breakfast for dinner. I mean that is just mental.

Mike and I would like the fans to know that we frequently have breakfast for dinner and, although we haven't asked them, I'm sure some of the other guys do too.

It's just how we roll.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New Blog

'ssup, you crazies?

I have recently been commanded to do something I once swore never to do and, as a result, I have created this blog. My excuse is that it is a band blog and not a personal one, and henceforth is at least a little bit less lame.

I think the intention is to be informative with a hint of light-hearted mirth thrown in for good measure but I think the inverse is more likely. I for one don't have much information to share on anything and am mostly going to use this blog to jibber aimlessly about stuff that amuses me.

Expect, in future to find anything from gig and recording info through to stories by Mike about mice making cars out of buttons and the like.

Could be fun. LET'S SEE.

Until then...FLY MY PRETTIES.

Mwah Mwah