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Causeway Rebels, mixin’ with the Trebles

teamfresh

February 5, 2016 | No comments

“This week’s employment figures are good news for working people. With our country facing new risks in the global economy, we will stick to our plan to continue delivering jobs and security across the UK.”

Risks, I presume from the £1.56tn, and growing, national debt of the United Kingdom. The one that really doesn’t matter who the fuck created, it isn’t going away by cutting the ability to create work. It’s simple mathematics that a child could understand.

This isn’t trimming the food bill down at Tesco the month after the holidays because the Christmas spend has been ‘a touch on the side of the gregarious’.

Risks, I again presume from the bubble created by the stripping of state assets world wide, which has already caused the Asian markets to devolve into chaos not once, but twice – and it isn’t even February yet.

The above quote, was from the words of the one true Lard of the Manor-born, Porcine Minister of the United Kingdom himself, David Cameron on 21 January at 12:32.

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…I felt compelled. Driven, a fucking oracular sense to speak. So. Eight minutes later, I responded.

Where are these jobs David…in private business?

All I see are insecure, temporary based employment positions; fake jobs and basically intern-ships that fudge your numbers to make it look like there is in any way not a crisis of real full-time employment out there.

I used to work for the Civil Service here in Northern Ireland and I never once met a ‘sponger’, or someone who wouldn’t want to work if they could find access to prospects that could suit their specific circumstances – people get demonised as it’s easier than accepting the truth that for those at the bottom of the net, job prospects are dismal.

And for people in my position, with my education, they too are also now dismal.

It’s ‘trickle up decay’, and it’ll hit your class also.

There are plenty of jobs that need done in the United Kingdom, but no one is providing them. Your cutting of the state is the absolute opposite of what you should be doing, and you bloody well know it.

We’re not the only country in this position, and you don’t even need a degree in economics to read the data and see that we are haemorrhaging the future of not just my generation, but that of my younger brother’s, and beyond.

Now, as much as I try to not get involved in what other human beings get up to – my love/hate/hate/love relationship being the primary reason – there’s a certain frantic, febrile, burrowing feeling in my soul as I listen to this constant stream of Orwellian (or Lloydian/Moorish, depending on which side your cup of tea is buttered on) nonsense that is being trotted out.

I am never one for likes, for social appreciation and the oul’ enjoyment of one’s comments landing a dig so severely polished that everyone else gives you a wee, “Good for you son.”

…but it was nice to see such an almost unanimous response of sense, bar the odd person in a position of comfortability. You know the type, normal hard working people with two-point-four wives and a time-share child Cyprus. Grafters who have worked hard to get into the position they’ve been, no help, all their own ball-sweat and stunning ravished perspiration.

Over a week later and I’m still getting people commenting on it, liking it. Talking about it. I’m so happy to not be alone in thinking the we’re three days away from a fire-sale before the year ends.

As much as I use social media in the exact manner that it was designed to be used for – bar the selfies – which as someone with NPD (Narcissistic Personalty Disorder), and having been a photographer, I just don’t get. Although that in itself is a bit of bullshit, because statues were the original selfies. I’m just getting old, feeling a touch too ugly to join the shining masses(1), like Brian, Daisy, Mike and Tim walking up the stairs to Amber’s party in Spaced.

who all look great, there’s no denying it.

in between the #sandinmycrotch, #brianblessed commentary that makes me think that somewhere, somehow they are also crippled by the same good old anxiety I’m crippled by just looking in the mirror. They’re just sharing it with everyone in a manner that it dissipates in some fantastic shared release.

Like an anxiety orgy.

Tangent.

That said: I had this to say to David, and I’m quite glad that hundreds of folks ended up getting behind it.

There’s something to be said for luck and timing in what I said, how, and when I said it. I’m under no illusion that making my post a mere eight minutes after his ridiculous social media update helped; though in the ensuing debate I managed to find another fellow Aspie (Asperger’s Syndrome for the uninitiated) who happened to be a happy Tory. This was…

…a shock. Though I can appreciate his interest in graft, and his own admittance to having a lack of empathy for other folks who haven’t had his course in life. He’s come out on top, and I’m fucking absolutely ecstatic with that.

Inspiration even, comes to mind. Though it does not for one minute negate the facts, the drivelling cognitive dissonance that is banging through the airwaves like a chocolate swamp of shite being poured into your ears, your mother’s ears, your children’s ears.

Austerity.

Better together.

Trickle up.

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What insecure, temporary, zero-hour lumps of facile cheese fiddled trouser wallop.

So, I continued.

David, Graeme, Joshua and Simon here give to me at my leisure, quivering quips quintessing whilst lunches were eaten, and keyboards were battered within an inch of their dust-ridden underbellies – and the first three quite possibly posting from their rather comfortable car dealership/IT recruitment agency desks, made it all the funnier.

Whilst Simon the aforementioned Aspie, I was quite happy to debate with. At a level of intelligence too that didn’t want to make me jam the nearest hand crafted artisan football I’d recently had delivered by, as you might imagine Canadian Owl, into my windpipe and inflate it as slowly as physically possible.

But there are jobs. I’m hounded with emails every morning with IT/Computer related jobs.

Experience is the best thing on a CV and leads to security with further employment and experienced skilled individuals, they are certainly not something i’d criticise.

Nobody owes us a living.  Small van sales are up massively. More small businesses seeing fit to buy or increase their fleet. Why do you think that is? The private sector is growing at a good rate, while the public sector moan about hours and ‘conditions’.

The country is in a far better state, and nothing you can say will change that. There are many job vacancies in the Midlands – just that too many British people are unqualified or too bone idle to apply. Matthew Alexander Patton that’s it, divert from my point.

Anti Tory Bandwagon. You are clearly a bigot. Nothing anyone says or shows to you will change you. Bigot because nothing anyone says will change your opinion. Look it up.

And of course, that has quite a safe serve back towards centre-court, by myself.

Pardon the splurge. It’s been a while since the Internet has made me wish it had an off button.

And are you aware of how many applicants are applying for each singular position?

My friends in HR tell me that the numbers go up weekly. There are far more people than there are jobs, and it’s not a population issue, it is directly an issue with job creation – there are not enough chairs at the table being created, and with the dissolving state we are in fact taking away chairs and telling everyone that we don’t have any room left at the table in this country, for ourselves let alone emigrants.

…all the while property lies dormant, and second homes are used as safety deposit boxes for those already on the ladder.

Also, how does a job in IT or Computing relate at all to someone with hands on experience in Gardening, or a background in Manual Labour?

 

Simon, if experience put food on the table then I’m sure more people would really love that experience.

Try buying food with experience, try raising children with experience.

Simon Chapman, you did not pay for your children’s food with experience – you paid for it with money.

Don’t lie. You’re intentionally bending the word experience to mean, earning money. Which is not what we’re talking about here. Internships and steps to work schemes that don’t pay enough to live on, are the issue here.

That said, I appreciate your story and your point; just recognise that you’re lucky that it worked out that way for you. Most people cannot afford to make the sacrifices you clearly made to get where you have arrived at in life, and fair play to that.

And, as private sector jobs are not expanding right across all sectors, and the public sector is being dismantled – this leads to a net loss of jobs, that, the government is in fact in total control of.

This is my point. And you either are being intentionally thick with it, or you are genuinely not aware of this – both are terrible.

Education, Energy, Health, the Parks Service, the Roads Service – all major infrastructure, and the ability to maintain what I like to call the ‘toilet paper’ that makes everything function. Is all being outsourced privately, downsized for profits over people, and closing out in the process the ability to provide fair, secure jobs that could easily be supported by the state and have been provided by the state in the past, under these Labour governments that you speak of.

And on that note, I’m not even the biggest fan of past-Labour, all this centrist nonsense has destroyed us.

So, that said, on a more personal point. That’s fantastic that your one specific sector is on the rise, what is that sector, may I ask?

Simon, to end, if you think this country is in a good state now in comparison to six years ago – you actually won’t be shocked by what will transpire in the coming year, because denialists always trumpet to the end.

 

The private sector is for the most part, fixated at the bottom line. We need to put people before profit, because no matter what you think money doesn’t mean anything unless there is an economy to use it with. Look at the minimum wage in comparison to actual inflation, Google it because to tell you it would be spoon feeding you information you, as a working person, should already know about.

Food banks, zero-hour contracts, inflation ratio against a complete lack of wage increases as an average, homelessness, personal debt increases, people paying 60% of their income in rent, foreclosure rates…

A better state, you’re deluded. As insulting as that sounds, and I don’t mean it that way, it’s just the truth.

 

So David, what you are saying is that we have an education issue? This I can agree with.

How do we solve that, instead of crying about it from our pedestals of education and employment?

Why are people bone-idle, how do people fall through the net?

Stop looking at ‘these people’ as hopeless cases to fuck on the dust-pile, that could be you one day. Look at how we can help create jobs that people are qualified for, that people can educate themselves for. Or have you noticed that education isn’t actually free?

Failing that. What would happen if like circa-1997 we got ‘everyone’ a degree and people find themselves still under-qualified.

And, for Graeme in particular – who was less than impressed that I called him Graham.

Also, please look up the word bigot:

“…a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.”

I tolerate your opinions, I just think they’re wrong.

Now, at this point I should admit that I considered myself an anarchist for quite some time – and now consider myself a ‘Libertarian Socialist’ – whatever the fuck all of these labels and terms that elongate and obfuscate the debate of action, whilst we talk and talk on and ever on, even really mean in the face of the glaring daily tragic lack of humanity on display.

We’re a culture of talking, not doing. Climate change creeping in our windows and slicing our throats in the night with a spoon, a little bit at a time just so we don’t notice whilst the inertia needed to make everything move creaks forwards.

Drowning in letting people have their say.

Like, if during the film Aliens, a Face-hugger slowly but surely starts giving you the eye, saddles up and goes to take your space-virginity; and before you’ve even realised your opening salvo. Your questioning retort about human rights, consent and the merits of getting to know someone before ‘going all the way’ – whilst you’ve been postulating the best way to broach the subject of not being parasitically invaded – a Xenomorph has already erupted from your chest.

Oh, poor you.

Stop talking and fucking do something. And I include myself in that.

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Now, before I finish listening to Team Fresh for the thirteenth time on repeat whilst writing this (Bandcamp link above, give the lads some ear time) – no, no one owes you anything, but speaking as a human being; wouldn’t it absolutely amazing that as a species we could leave behind the arrogance of thinking that we as individuals are special little creatures, and that collectively we can aim to aspire to be great together?

Instead of just fucking scrambling to the top. We can still compete, but let everyone have a fair dig at the flag on top of the castle.

Otherwise, what the hell are we doing here?

‘Trickle up decay’ is no small matter – and if you consider the human race as an living cellular organism (and it is), with each of us working components of it; if from the bottom up a necrosis starts happening, a starvation of nutrients so to speak, then that’s not going to stop with just the affected area.

That’s going to grow.

Unless of course, you cut off the diseased parts completely…

And I can imagine, you easily see the territory that we’ve suddenly strayed into there.

Smile, we’re all on camera sure!

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‘A Month In The North, Pigstock Festival Special’

Yes, there has been an entire month’s worth of material to update you all on – but first, and truly with some delirious sense of need last weekend’s Pigstock Music Festival needs to be highlighted. A special case being only my second year in attendance, and having had the pleasure of witnessing Pigstock solidify not into the foundations of some weekend jaunt in a field but (pardon the food reference, we’ll get to that) a Christmas dinner with all of the (in this case, pork, and lots of it) trimmings.

Having traversed campsite, field, parties, said slow roasted pig and stage alike with a grin on my face, here’s a quick run-down of how the weekend in Killinchy panned out.

Hailing from that ‘North Coast Triangle‘ and drilling home the sheer quality of music coming from there, Bomb City 7 almost took down the entire main stage early on Friday night with a final song invasion (and I don’t mean just five or six tenacious individuals) inspired with every ounce of their punk-rap spirit – there was no stopping their Pigstock debut turning into a riot and they truly made a unique mark and name for themselves as a festival worthy band to watch out for.

Tearing round the stage, beards and all – Axis Of showcased part of what Pigstock is really all about, delivering a much heavier range of bands in comparison to its lighter brothers coming up in the height of Summer. Another North Coast band (as too are And So I Watch You From Afar and Team Fresh – you could almost call the line-up a coastal takeover.

In completely professional fashion Mojofury gave the crowd the perfect build-up towards the end of Friday evening – it was simply a shame that they didn’t have the chance to play their brand of insightful noise that little bit longer, the crowd baying for an encore that just wasn’t technically able to be catered for.

The new post-album songs already have their place amongst the ones we’ve lovingly seared into our minds, and with the album launch just a fortnight beforehand really we were spoiled with second helpings of Michael Mormecha’s emotionally charged sing-a-longs.

The swiftly twisting weather and injuries held over from their recent tour were never going to stop what was perhaps a more relaxed (post-album launch they’ve really nothing left to prove in our eyes, at least for a while the lads can certainly have been said to have earned a rest) and yet powerful performance from And So I Watch You From Afar.

Attempts by crowd members to stage dive, and generally get involved in the action were too numerable to count, but with the cheekiest of successes one of ‘The Rupture Pups‘ (pictured further down) managed to get on stage to work Rory’s (Friers) pedals for him during ‘A Little Bit Of Solidarity‘.

There is so much that could be said about the involvement and want for success that the home audience, and now too their growing international audience, has for these four lads – the absolute sonic-pinnacle of what has come from these shores.

…now, with a pause for critical thought – in a two day festival it’s sometimes hard to balance the two line-ups out. One day either having ‘that band’ (in this case, ASIWYFA) or the other simply not being populated with enough real strength to see the weekend through for tiring audience members.

Heading for the campsite, I was left thinking how Saturday was going to best this – and it did prove to be lighter for the most part, lacking the same power of the ‘heavyweights’, but it was actually very welcome structured as it was, with many of the younger bands being given fantastic opportunities to show off.

Many had pushed the night before right to the limits and were still crashed out in their tents, but a sizable majority still managed to turn out into the frequently wet sunshine to rock out. Despite a few technical hitches with soaked pedal-boards The Rupture Dogs once again showed themselves to be a realistic successor to Fighting With Wire/LaFaro as an angry, growling sonic outfit.

They even have their own successors lined up in the two young lads who have been dubbed ‘The Rupture Pups’, letting them take to the stage for the second year in a row to regale the crowd.

If anyone had fun last weekend, it was definitely them.

abandcalledboy meanwhile have been salivating for the opportunity to ply their sounds at festivals this year, and with a reputation for destroying both equipment, stages and themselves in the process of their shows, they caused some distress for security (the men in florescent jackets had a long weekend looking back over all of this, poor souls) – and despite a thinned audience they held all rapt; bouncing, bloodied as they were throughout their set.

Taking time to relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere, last year’s headlining band A Plastic Rose were down simply for the experience this time out.

Employing equal parts madness, the racing of tents and genuinely causing as much havoc as possible; Dave (Reid), Troy (Heaton) and (an un-pictured) Ian (McHugh) ravaged the campsite and festival grounds for as much entertainment as was humanly possible.

Team Fresh have been off the gig circuit for a while now, pulling together new material and generally solidifying their sound into something even more poignant than beforehand. Pigstock marks an almost serious return to form for them, a statement of intent for the year ahead even – and opening with new song ‘1985‘ (a blinder with more than just their usual political underscoring) is ample evidence of that.

Team Fresh just before going on-stage looked every part the unit; as per, another band with a proponency for the provocative (like their younger cousins Bomb City 7) their fan favourites ‘Barbwire Empire‘ and ‘Rhythm Tradition‘ managed to get the tired heads perking up, ready for the rest of the evening.

And So I Watch You From Afar’s Jonny Adger and the rest of the band continued to enjoy the festival throughout the weekend too, making a point of catching many of their friends down plying their audio-wares.

…and honestly who’s going to realistically turn their nose up at a weekend of beer and burgers (made entirely of pig), in a field, with your mates?

One of the absolute highlights of the festival was the Dylan-esque (and I stress to say that so honestly) Dolbro Dan taking to the main stage before math-rock juggernauts Adebisi Shank – possibly the most welcome shock to a decidedly tired audience from the night before, and just an incredibly touching change of pace.

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked by so many people in the front row “…who is this guy again, where can I get his stuff?” – despite with a little patience on everyone’s part, Dan eventually introduced himself with his final song.

I decided to relax after a stressful yet blessed weekend and enjoy headlining band LaFaro simply as an experience, I even brought a seat (don’t laugh) down near the stage and decided to just camp/rock out just to the right of the crowd with BBC Northern Ireland’s Paul McClean.

They were dirty, heavy, long of beard and just the right amount of angry. It was also with a sad sigh that we also appear to be waving goodbye to Herb Magee, their bassist – announcing his departure from the band halfway through set, and what better send off than capping a festival that has honestly delivered the first, and potentially the best of the season already here in Northern Ireland.

What more needs to be said (in reference to the above set of disheveled characters) – the sun crests over us all on the Sunday and no one was ready to settle down. Tent racing (as mentioned beforehand) was again rife, tentpole-saber battles with members of abandcalledboy ensued, games of football with Gacy’s Threads left no drunk staggering target un-aimed at, and general tomfoolery was abound.

Roll on next year.

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Slaine Browne

May 31, 2011 | No comments

Team Fresh

May 31, 2011 | No comments

Team Fresh

…at RADAR two years ago.

January 20, 2011 | No comments

It has been some time since I’ve committed genuine thought onto the (web)pages of this blog, and not for lack thereof – more that there has been such an unbridled sea of raw ideas recently to process that I haven’t been able to coherently staple anything together.

Sounds like a positive force, but actually it’s chaotic and very infuriating.

…but so, as happens at such sweeping occasions as the moving of one year into another, people make lists. I’m no stranger to that myself. So with the utmost bias possible, and no little shortage of hilarious internal doubt and counter-argument, here is my list of top ten bands from Northern Ireland this year.

10. A Northern Light

Quite the breath of fresh air, to see a band who genuinely want to see their audience’s earlobes bouncing with love. Americanised, full of DeLonge and very proud of it. Their launch night was easily one of the best RADAR gigs of the year, and providing that the message within their music continues to be purveyed by positivity as 2011 moves into full view, they shall continue to progress on the well crafted foundations that they’ve made. At the risk of laying down a verbal punchline, ‘Show Me What You’ve Got’.

9. Kasper Rosa

In a fashion that surpassed already high expectations the arrival of EP2 proved itself to be one of the best releases of the year, composed from a probable plethora of internal interests by Dave, James, Ryan & Steven – topped off by a masterful turn from producer Clark Phillips. After rocking out in delightful form at the Pigstock Music Festival, Kasper Rosa again packed out the Spring & Airbrake for their release launch, and deftly pocketing themselves a short tour of the UK during the Summer. As well as all that, they also landed a wonderful slot ahead of 65daysofstatic at the Mandela.

8. More Than Conquerors

Coming up strong throughout the year on a veritable string of good will, the four young lads that make up More Than Conquerors have been knocking down doors like dominoes, and as they say, no wonder. A fantastic first release which set them up from the off as an accomplished act flowed into a few high profile support slots with the likes of Ash, and as the year progressed a UK tour with Fighting With Wire. Much has been said about their fairly swift rise through the ranks and I personally can only see 2011 as being particularly exciting for them.

7. Axis Of

2010 for Axis Of consisted of a large jump in profile via touring, solid début festival performances and a fantastic music video to accompany their release of Port Na Spaniagh. Growing on stage from a punk outfit into an energetic tour de force has firmly cemented them in audiences’ around the country and much like Team Fresh, the opportunity is there for them to spring themselves further along from the platform they’ve set themselves up on.

6. Cashier No.9

Effortlessly groovy, and one of the more mature bands within the community, Cashier No.9 have been busy behind the scenes recording their new album between times regaling festival audiences with their sonic wares. A highlight at Glasgowbury as well as topping off the Belfast Music Week in September the band have been solidly increasing their stage presence throughout the year. If the stellar tune that is ‘Lost At Sea’ is anything to go by, I’ll be looking forwards to what sails out from their instruments come 2011.

5. Team Fresh

It’s no surprise that Team Fresh have bounded through this year as they did last, finally releasing their first material in a form that bottles partially some of that energy they bring with them onto the stage. This year also saw them step up to the Mandela Hall on several occasions to acclaim; not to mention once again devastating RADAR. As the new year comes into play hopefully we’ll see another spate of releases and some additional heavyset performances riding along the edge of what may in another world, be riots.

4. Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas

Haven’t heard of Paddy Nash? Well you might not have – but now that the name has been introduced to you, I suggest you give him a listen. With the Enchiladas in tow, Paddy’s album When We Were Brave is one of the most heartbreakingly honest, uplifting collections of songs I’ve ever had the privilege of owning. From one end of the album to the other, the tales of Derry and beyond filter down into you, leaving only the dilemma of whether to put it all back on for another listen, or to just sit back in silence to absorb the power behind one of the great voices of Northern Ireland.

3. LaFaro

It seems we’ve been spoiled by albums this year, and hopefully next year will be no different – LaFaro’s self-titled balls to the wall affair is nothing short of immaculate. It storms your ears, holds your brain down and then asks you politely to listen, all the while staring you down and daring you to think different. I remember when I first heard it, blaring from a car stereo as the sun blazed down and the fields South of Belfast shot past the windows. Aside from spreading their brand of rock via the airwaves, they’ve also been pushing out into the world with tours of Europe, and the mainland UK with Helmet. What’s yet to really hit home I think, is the potential scale of their audience, who seem preternaturally playing catch up with them. One day hopefully, they will.

2. And So I Watch You From Afar

Striding out into the depths of both America and Europe, the four audio-hallions of the apocalypse have been working hard in 2010 – leaving no less intense a stream of flotsam and jetsam in their wake than they usually do. Then of course there’s the matter of ‘that’ tour with Them Crooked Vultures. We’ve been looking forwards to that moment when ASIWYFA jump into a more public consciousness (and fuck knows what happens when it does, I cannot fathom the unified power-bulb of thousands joining together emotionally at their hands) and it is in sight on the horizon. Perhaps it will come in 2011 alongside more touring, an even more epic gathering of far flung souls and the release of their new album. Excitement, is an undervalued word as the North coast machine rolls ever on.

1. Two Door Cinema Club

Bursting into the Summer months with a fabulous album in Tourist History, which I think has since been worn into oblivion – or at the very least soldered into my brain for ever more – Two Door Cinema Club have surpassed all that you could realistically hope for the lads from Bangor. In amongst their far reaching touring throughout 2010, the band have also clocked up appearances on Later With Jools Holland, the Jimmy Kimmel Show, Le Grande Journal and played the inaugural gig at Twitter HQ.

Nuts.

So there you have it. My little, quite insignificant but none the less hilarious viewpoint on local music over the last year. And, as with everything more fuzzy than it is quantifiable there are many omissions I’d probably prefer to have in there, many which almost didn’t make it, and many which actually didn’t; and of course those which I may have forgotten about because I’ve been known to do that.

Special mentions go out to A Plastic Rose, Colenso Parade, General Fiasco, Fighting With Wire, MojoFury & Pocket Billiards – who have all been up to no good this year in many different capacities, be it blowing festivals away, recording, releasing, touring and generally frolicking around the country plying their individual wares in the maddest way possible.

Also, in light of all the good and the great that has happened this year it is with more than a little touch of sadness that I say goodbye to the CutawaysPanama Kings & Skruff; three of my favourite bands to create rumpus around my lady parts.

Here is to 2011 being yet another step better.

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Team Fresh

October 14, 2010 | No comments

…much like this time last year, RADAR evolved (evolution of audience is a nice way to describe it I think, not devolved…) into a riot when the North coast troop took to the stage, a set that defined their continued tightening into some form of efficient audience destroying monster.

As each gig progresses the number of voices shouting back every line of their lyrics at them is steadily increasing.

Proud to see it happen.

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Andrew Dunbar

September 9, 2010 | No comments

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