‘Tour de Picnic’ – The Bicylce Diares #1

I’m delighted to announce I will be taking part in 90km cycle ride that is ‘2Wheels Tour de Picnic’ to raise some much-needed funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin. The 90k cycle will leave Dublin at 9.30 on the morning of Friday 3rd September bound for Electric Picnic in Stradbally Co. Laois taking the quiet scenic back roads through Blessington, Kilcullen and Athy.

While I’d cycle quite a bit i’ve never taken on something as challenging as this so it’s a bit of a step into the unknown especially as there’s a festival to enjoy when I arrive. I will keep you up to date on how my ‘training’ and fundraising progresses over the next nine weeks with a weekly post on the blog. It should be interesting to see how I do on both fronts but it will be fun and most importantly all funds raised will go towards the Neurosurgery Appeal to assist patients suffering from diseases or injuries ofthe brain or spine.

Please give as little or a much as you can afford it all makes a difference – To donate simply go to my charity page or you can post a cheque or postal order just drop me a line here or at barrygruff[at]gmail[dot]com for details, you can also make a donation in person if you would be frequenting the same places as I that is.

Some Syd Barrett Pink Floyd for the occasion – I’m off for a spin, it’s a nice day!

Pink Floyd – Bike

The World Cup & What We’re Missing?

With squads finalised yesterday the World Cup in South Africa is almost upon us but for French hand Ireland could be there in all their sunburnt glory but what’s done is done. It’s an excellent opportunity to see what we’ve really missed out on, great world cup songs. By and large football songs are an awful breed but sometimes they’re pure novelty gold, World Cup songs can be even worse but in 1990 two classics appeared to spur on the ‘Irish’ team attending its first ever World Cup.

‘Put em Under Pressure’ and ‘Give it a Lash Jack’ are football songs par excellence – dodgy samples, stolen riffs and choruses, what more could you want? Perhaps you’re glad we didn’t make it now. Oh well to stave off the hunger for a new generation of songs we have a mash-up of Justice and Put em under Pressure from USA!USA!USA!, lovely stuff!

1990 World Cup Squad – Put em Under Pressure

Liam Harrison & The Goal Celebrities – Give it a Lash Jack

USA!USA!USA! – Put em under Nazareth (Jack Charlton V Justice)

Other legendary or awful football anthems? Be my guest.

Pac-Man at 30

It has to be said Pac-Man is looking pretty well for a lad who’s been poppin’ pills since 1980. Just so you don’t think I’ve lost the plot altogether it’s the 30th anniversary of the release of landmark computer game Pac-Man. I have always been really shit at the game but much like Tetris it’s served me well over the years in wasting time especially when I should be doing something more productive.

In a fitting or not so fitting tribute here is a Pac-Man inspired tune from Ed Rush & Optical, one of the greatest stunts from French prankster Remi Gaillard before leaving you with the immortal words of Kristian Wilson from Nintendo, “Computer games don’t affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music”.

Mp3: Ed Rush & Optical – Pacman (Ram Trilogy Remix)

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Breithlá Playlist

Right muchachos time for some reflection of sorts.

So I’ve kept up this blogging malarkey for over two months now and I’m enjoying sharing my musical (and other) views and discoveries with you all. Traffic to the blog has been growing steadily and I would like to thank you all for continuing to listen to my ramblings. I’ve been thinking of ways to make the blog better, hopefully I will get around to implementing these ideas. Consequently if any graphic designers would like to help me come up with a blog banner/logo I’d be forever indebted. Oh suggestions are always welcome on how to improve things.

As it’s my birthday I had hoped to knock a mix of some sort together but I never really got a chance, after mulling over the possibilities I decided  to post some good cover versions instead. Semi-inspired by listening to LCD Soundsystem’s Joy Division cover comes The National, The King Blues, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Hot Rats, Babyshambles (& Friends) and The Kooks take on some classics. Personally speaking, it’s a good selection of covers doing justice and giving a new lease of life to the originals.

That’s not all, there’s two of my favourite songs, Gang of Four’s ‘Armalite Rifle’ (Riot Dog would be proud)and HMHB’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is a Dukkla Prague Away Kit’.


Mp3: The National – Pretty in Pink (Psychedelic Furs Cover)

Mp3: The Hot Rats – Drive My Car (The Beatles Cover)

Mp3: The King Blues – A New England (Billy Bragg Cover)

Mp3: The Kooks – Victoria (The Kinks Cover)

Mp3: Echo & The Bunnymen – Ticket to Ride (The Beatles Cover)

Mp3: Babyshambles – Janie Jones (The Clash Cover)

Mp3: Gang of Four – Armalite Rifle

Mp3: Half Man Half Biscuit – All I Want for Christmas is a Dukkla Prague Away Kit

IELB Get on Down

A shameless bit of plugging here today for one of my favourite online haunts, Irish Election Literature Blog, a pretty amazing archive resource of Irish political leaflets from way back when to the present day. It’s got plenty of stuff for any of you interested in politics or design but there are piles of hilarious ones too, remember Clifford T Reid’s Euro Campaign?

It’s a blog that I’m delighted to say I have been donating some stuff to lately, it’s definitely worth checking out and if any of you have old election materials lying around send them on.

Elections? Sure it’s always the same result.

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David Cameron ‘Common People’

With just ten days untill voters in the UK go to the polls I’m pretty sure lots of you have already seen this but I hadn’t until today. Someone has cleverly remade Pulp’s classic ‘Common People’ as though David Cameron was singing it, unsurprisingly he isn’t portrayed favourably, it’s no William Shatner version but it’s definitely worth a giggle.

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Achtung Save 6Music!

Unless you have been in hibernation you’re probably already fully aware of the campaign to save 6 Music in the UK from closure as part of the BBC’s cynical cost cutting exercise.  Far from me to repeat ever-changing news it’s just easier to point to the various Facebook groups and websites, which suits my lazy disposition:

The battle  to save the station has taken a rather strange and personally interesting twist with campaigners encouraging the station’s small but dedicated band of listeners to propel Half Man Half Biscuit’s ‘Joy Division Oven Gloves’ into the charts. Birkenheads finest poets, whose tours used to coincide with Tranmere Rovers away fixtures are one of my favourite bands of all time and are utterly unique in the music world, so much so that the ‘masses’ are unlikely to fall in love with them. Although they’ve recorded far more epic, leftfield, amusing and interesting songs, which they could have assaulted the charts with, it’ll be pretty interesting to see how it  fairs out, more so than the RATM Christmas number 1 campaign anyway.

One of the campaign’s coordinators, Chris Shade spoke to the Guardian this week saying:

“We don’t mind if it gets to six or 36,” it had started out as “a bit of a joke”, but the song – from the band’s 2005 album Achtung Bono – has now become an unofficial anthem of the station.

“The important thing is that a lot of people are getting very passionate about saving 6 Music,” Shade said. “I hope it will help make the BBC see sense. It is too important a station to lose. With expanding digital radio coverage I think they will attract a much larger audience to the station if only they give it a chance.”

We’ll have to wait till later on to see how it all goes but best of luck to the campaigners and HMHB, enjoy the tune after the jump.