Thursday, 21 May 2015

4298 in 2015 - a return to the ploppy pants

As many of you will remember I spent a ot of year writing about people shitting their pants, well last Christmas I got my comeuppance. this article was orinially printed in Maximum Rock 'N' Roll in 2014.

Greetings punk rockers of the world, gather round and make yourselves comfortable for I have a tale to tell. It is a story that has been several months in the making, and I’d like to say this is because of the time I’ve spent mulling the topic over, perfecting the exact words I would use to successfully enunciate my sorry tale, but the truth is I’ve been doing the best I can to forget the entire sordid affair for as long as possible.

For nearly ten years I produced the hardcore fanzine ‘Ploppy Pants’. The zine itself went through various phases, from the non-existent content and light interviews of the early issues, through a period as an international hardcore journal, before taking on an almost per-zine approach in the final issues. But throughout this varied history there remained one constant, an obsession with people shitting in their pants. Tales of others soiling their knickers first appeared as a response to interview questions, but the notion obviously struck a chord with my readership and it wasn’t long until I was receiving two or three letters per issue from some poor soul who wanted to tell the world about their very own dung-hamper disaster.

The zine quickly became known for its humorous scatological content, and many punks would buy Ploppy Pants solely to laugh at the embarrassing recollections of underwear mishaps gathered within. It was certainly an aspect of preparing the zine which I personally enjoyed, safe in the knowledge that my own bowels have always remained in full working order no matter how far I had travelled or how many beers I had a drunk. This complacency was to lead to catastrophic consequences.
Christmas 2014 and I am on tour with my band xSAXONx across the South East Asian sub-continent, 2 weeks of concerts spread over Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, twelve gigs in total. This would be the second time I had visited this part of the world and I was looking forward to catching up with old friends, playing with some great bands and of course sampling the delicious local cuisine.  South East Asia is an absolute goldmine of delicious vegan food, which is freely available almost everywhere, from fancy restaurants to street hawkers, twenty four hours a day. This last point was a particular boon to us as since we were performing every night, sometimes coming off stage well after midnight, and so were often looking to eat in the small hours of the morning. Almost every night we would descend ravenously en-mass, usually all the bands who had performed plus half the audience, on some un-expecting street vendor who would set about frying a large wok’s of rice in earnest. This is how we ended every day in Indonesia, eating a tall plate of rice, tofu, tempeh and vegetables lathered in some kind of spicy sauce. I don’t know about the rest of xSAXONx, but I certainly felt like a king.

Despite my elated mood on our fourth night on tour, it was sat in the humid darkness, upon a Yogjakarta backstreet,  that I was to leave any notions of regal ambition, and soon the only throne I would resting upon would be the luckily chanced upon porcelain glory of a western toilet. From this moment forward I was to spend six weeks basing every decision I took upon its proximity to a toilet. I had contracted a nasty case of salmonella. This lovely fellow first raised its head on our flight between Indonesia and Malaysia, “too many chillies last night”, I thought after my third or fourth visit to the cramped AirAsia inflight ‘cludgie’. I had no reason to suspect anything else; it was after all still coming out solid. Little did I realise when I laid down my head that evening that I was about to enter a whole new world self-realisation.

It came first in the night, waking in a hot sweat, every muscle in the vicinity of my ass screaming “Bombs away!” I managed to get to my feet, but that wasn’t good enough, by the time I made it to the bathroom my pants were well spread with a yellow paste. I then proceeded to violently empty my bowels until I was only passing something resembling well diluted orange juice. To appreciate this situation better I need to describe the bathroom. In most Asian homes there is no ‘toilet’ or ‘shower’ as you probably recognise these terms. Instead there is just a large bucket of water, a tap, sometimes a little hose, and a hole in the floor. When you need to go you squat over the hole, and you use water from the bucket to clean yourself up. I was shaking with fever and sweating from the heat, and during this twenty minute ordeal I could barely keep myself upright. It was with great care that I narrowly avoided falling into my own excrement several times. I returned to my corner of the room where we were sleeping a spent and broken man.

When I awoke the next morning I had again left a little deposit in my grundies and decided the best plan of action was to buy some more underwear before the evening’s concert. My friend and host, Matt Norr, took me to his local shopping mall, and after a few quick stops at the public toilet I was standing in a queue waiting to purchase some replacement boxers. The gods that deal with matters of a toilet visiting nature were obviously in a particularly jovial mood that day, and as I stood boxers in hand I felt a warm stream begin to pass down the back of my legs and onto my sandaled foot. I quickly bolted to the previously visited public conveniences and found myself their prisoner for the best part of an hour as I waited for Norr, first to find me, and then to bring me replacement pants and shorts.

The rest of this first day was spent running back and forward to toilets and resting, with my only serious exertion being our performance at the Chaos in Ruma Api festival. This twenty five minutes of leaping about was enough however to ensure that I once again had a sleepless, pantfilling night, including a desperate run for the bathroom where I managed to leave a trail of brown blobs in my wake. Imagine for a moment you have just shat to exhaustion, your head is swimming, and now you must crawl along the floor cleaning up more of your own mess. Humble is the word that leapt most readily to my mind.

The most humbling experience was yet to come however. The following day we returned to the Ruma Api venue, where xSAXONx were again to perform. We were billed to play earlier in the festival line-up this day and I was looking forward to getting it over and done with so I could go lie down and dream of flushing toilets and bog roll. I could feel that I was on the verge of an accident as we took to the stage, and so made the decision to stand stationary front-centre; it felt like any sudden movement would cause an eruption. Of course this being a hardcore concert meant I didn’t have a chance. The crowd, suitable warmed up by the earlier groups were ready for some Scottish hardcore thrash and it was inevitable that one of them would eventually grab me and pull me into the dancing throng. The fight back to the stage was desperate and I was seriously panicking, but with difficulty I made it through our entire set disaster free. Almost in unison with the final strum of the guitars however the charge of the brown brigade came forth in full force and I quickly found myself squatting above the venues ‘luxurious’ hole in the floor, naked and soaking with sweat from being on stage mere minutes earlier. I shat, and shat, and shat, and it was almost ten minutes before I was tidying up my bum with the little hose. It was then, just as I went to pull up my shorts (my boxers having been thrown away in frustrated disgust) that I realised that my flaccid cock and balls were also coated in shit. This was almost too much for me to handle, I had gone from the top of the world mere days earlier, to the my current predicament: no control over one of my most fundamental functions to the point where even the crown jewels were no longer sacred. This was truly one of the most humbling experiences of my life.  The icing on the cake was upon returning to the backstage sofa which xSAXONx had commandeered as home for the evening. Sat contemplating life, the universe and my arse a local girl came up and started firing into me big style, all I could think as I answered her questions was “If only you knew!”

I suffered through the rest of our tour without re-filling my pants, but every time the turds would begin to turn solid again, I’d no sooner be back to throwing cups of dirty soup down the toilet. This continued upon my return to the UK and in the end I had to take two weeks off work as I could not perform my job whilst needing to run to the toilet every thirty minutes. There were a couple more bedtime accidents and by the end of January I was becoming increasingly frustrated, unsure if my bowels would ever return to normal. By early February however, I’m happy to say that things were all back in order, with one or two solid trips per day keeping me regular. The whole business gave me a brand new insight into the stories and recollections I had printed in ‘Ploppy Pants’. On the one hand, I think you cannot truly appreciate the horror of an uncontrollable bowel until you have suffered one yourself, but on the other I can see why so many people wanted to look back and laugh in the pages of my zine at the out of character experience of their ordeal.
In conclusion then, If you are planning to travel to South East Asia anytime soon, keep an eye on what you’re eating, it may the last thing you want to willingly eat for a long time!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Thisclose - live 2014

2014 saw Thisclose playing throughout the UK and making a visit to Dublin to shake the kids down, this video commemorates the One Foot In The Grave New World Tour

Friday, 1 May 2015

Ruin live at the 1in12 club

Very chuffed to come across this video today, a full set from the short lived Scottish/English hardcore smashers Ruin, another awesome band featuring the dulcet string thrashings of Brian 'Brains' Curran.

If memory serves Ruin joined with Cobra the Enemy to play at the 2005 Glasgow Punx Picnic - a legendary afternoon of chaos in what is now the decidedly hipster-fied surrounds of the 78 - can you imagine this lot smashing through a set in there these days!


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Thisclose - LP release show Saturday June 13th.

back where it all started

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Brofest 2015 -- OOOOOOOOOOOWW!!

Well February crept to a close and that can mean only one thing for any serious NWOBHM enthusiast - Brofest time! Brofest - A labour of love brought to us by a dedicated team of hard-rocking hip-swingers who spend their free time living out their Columbo fantasies, feverishly hunting yesterdays heavy-belters and persuading them to dust of their duds and take to the stage in Newcastle, often for the first time in over 30 plus years!. The line-up has always been of a very high quality, and this year was no different with Mythra, Stormqueen and Trespass just a few of the legendary acts to grace the stage. To my shame this year was the first that I managed to make the journey down to Brofest, but having followed the previous events closely I knew I was in for a hot rocking weekend!

Me an the Angel

The first day featured four acts. Openers Mandora were new to me, but really knocked me out, and set the tone for the festival - old boys back for a good time! Aye they looked a bit daft in their rock duds, but its all about the show, and these guys delivered! Here's a video wie me and Munky givin it tits down the front.

Other bangers on the first night were Avenger, who's singer was runnin about wie a chainsaw, and Hollow Ground who's singer looked like an elderly Sting and had some top banter, he was well chuffed to be bringing the day to a close and encouraged everyone to join him at the afterparty - I hope I've got that much beans when I'm his age! Whatever Sing and his chums got up to later on, I couldnie say as I dingied the afterparty and went to bed!

Who played when on Saturday and Sunday slips my mind now - Hammerhead below certainly had a few tunes, and their guitarist won the prize for oldest rocker, not sure what the prize was, a help across the road mibbie? Munky offered to buy him a drink anyway!

I'm pretty sure Trespass stormed through their set on the Saturday as well - all the hits and more, really one of the best acts of the whole weekend. And of course High Spirits made sure they could be heard 'loud and clear' on Saturday afternoon and tore through a way too short set of their Scorpions influenced US metal. Showstopping stuff!

This boy was also spotted on the Saturday, not sure if it was one of the Brofesters busking or no, prob made mair cash than the folk on the stage but....

Sunday saw the celtic contributions to the festival, First up were Chasar fae somewhere near Alloa. Really great proggy stuff with some cool spaced out jams. Some folk have compared them to Rush, dunno if I 100% agree with that, but certainly cut from the same cloth in terms of talent - great set!

Then we had the mighty Storm Queen, back from the valleys to let the sirens ring once again. I'd say I'm definately a fan of this lot and to have them smash through my two fave tunes, Battle of Britain and Captives of the Moon, as their openers was a bit of a hairs on the back of the neck moment. Hopefully I'll get the chance to enjoy these lads again sometime.

they also looked cool as!

It wasn't all old codgers however, the new blood was represented by groups like the excellent hard rocking Seven Sisters, and the doomy Amulet who had managed to find Rod Hull to play guitar for them. Two great new acts that will make a name for themselves yet!

In conclusion?

Well in addition to the bands, there was a banging after party on the Sat complete with heavy metal conga and some excellent displays of air guitar, cheap food, including veggie options on site and loads of good merch stalls and distros. Tickets were £35 - adding on hotel and travel and food I spent a bout £130 for the weekend - money well spent!!

Brofest 2016 cant come soon enough!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

vegan 365

I started a blog October last year, xvegan365x, with the idea of posting a picture of a vegan meal every day. It started off well but then I fell about three months behind, life gets in the way eh?

Anyway I just strted numbering the posts instead of dating them, once I reach 365 posts the blog will be complete.

follow this link if you wanna check out some tasty vegan grub inspiration!

some recent eats:

Monday, 16 February 2015

Rodney Shades Band - In The Kingdom

Swinging into your life in a few weeks time - ow!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Rodney Shades Band - Official Merch

really excited about this 7" - Cray Duffin excelled himself in the songwriting dept. on the lead track - The music vid shot exclusively in The Kingdom of Fife will blow your mind!

here's a the b-side for ya, ow!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

welcome to hell, or seitan, or some other bad Venom pun...

I've been aware of Seitan for a long time now, a meat substitute made of wheat, but since it does not seem to be popular in the UK I had never given much though to making it for myself, I assumed it would be really difficult. Well recent endevours have proven that not only was I wrong but it is also rather easy to make a protein rich, additive free meat substitute in your own kitchen. the following is not a recipe per-se but a rough run down of how I went about making my last batch. There are a lot of different recipes on the web and that's how I learnt how to do this, if you feel inspired by this run down just type seitan recipe into google and get cracking!


here are some of the ingredients I used to make the seitan dough. The main ingredient is the Vital Wheat Gluten at the back, its basically gluten heavy flour and works the same way as flour, you mix it with liquid then cook it. I used tapioca flour to give the seitan a bit more of a lift as the first batch I made was quite hard and rubbery.

I put all the dry bits into a bowl, approx

1 1/2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika

to that I added about 1 cup of cold 'veg broth' - basically some of the same stuff I would cook the seitan in which you can see in the next pic - a mix of stock and soy sauce.

once the wet and dry ingredients were mixed I gave it a good old knead, I fond it surprisingly springy and easy to work which i think was down to the tapioca. If you don't know how to knead grab a quick youtube video, its another thing which folk make a big deal about which is quite simple.

you should have something like this after kneading for a few mins, I gave mind a good old stretch out then lattaced it back together, no particular reason except it was fun

Once your all kneaded you need to simmer for 45 mins in the broth and you'll end up with something which looks like this.

quick chop up and you'll have this

and then you can make something tasty like this!

Thats it, simple as really. Normally I'd make double what I did here and eat it over the week, but i was doing this special for x-mas - enjoy!

if yie still dinnie get it watch this vid!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Interview and mixtape from Flo at Dying Victim Productions

Its no secret that I'm a big heavy metal fan, and as some of you will know I have been making a monthly heavy metal and hard rock radio show for a few months now, Radio Rodney (check it out!) A lot of the band I have been playing have been released through Flo's record label Dying Vicitms, which specialises in traditional heavy metal, as well as underground thrash, black and death metal, Flo has been active in the underground from a very you age ( I think I interviewed him for Ploppy Pants when he was still in High School) and his love for all things hard and heavy does not seem to be diminishing!

I wanted to ask Flo about his continued enthusiasm and his experiences as both a member of the UK and German metal underground, and he also kindly agreed to make a mixtape of some of the bands from his label for you all - enjoy!

At ten issues it looks like you may be hanging up your fanzine hat Flo, do you feel you took Thrash Attack as far as you could? Any unfinished Business? Do you think the paper zine is still a valid format in 2014?

- Hey Roddy, thanks for the interest in my activities.
You are quite right, for the moment it looks as if the zine is not going to be continued, but I want to call it “on hold”. It’s not like I officially decided it’s over. There has not been any new issue since mid 2012, but that is mainly because of my personal life with many moves and being busy with university, as well as becoming more and more serious with my label Dying Victims Productions.
I am quite happy that I was so persistent and managed to release this 10th issue. Became such a monster but I am happy with it. I do not really feel like there is nothing I could write about under the Thrash Attack monicker, however, I feel like it would have to be a similarly ambitious attempt, i.e. require a lot of work. Also the development of broadening my musical taste which had already been visible in the zine has gone further, hence a more or less “pure” thrash zine would be a bit annoying I think.

I still prefer reading while sitting in the bus/train or lying on my bed so yes I still like paper zines. Obviously the importance of other people’s opinions is not as high anymore as you can listen to anything within seconds. But I consider zines more of a “heads up” if you do not have the time to follow all the bands or the whole scene.
I have also noticed that a lot of the zines have become more focused on the presentation and have become almost book like recently. That does not mean the content is worse, for sure not, but I guess people are trying to make it look more professional and like a collector’s item?

Conversely your label seems to go from strength to strength. Do you find it hard to balance your label activities against the rest of your life? What keeps you motivated? How do you choose what to release, I guess you must get a lot of demos sent to you every month?

Yes it has stuck with me no matter how often I moved my ass to a new place. Moving on a short term bases to different cities for internships, or even to the UK for studying has not killed it so far which is great. I do spend a lot of time on it and often new releases and large wave of orders collide with my professional life or general stressing periods of time. But so far I have always managed to deal with it.
Sometimes I ask myself, what keeps me motivated but well, then again it is rewarding and great fun to find new bands and help them release and in particular distribute their debut release/album/whatever.
It’s also nice to work with friends, kind of adds something to the friendship, at least in my book.
I do not really get a lot of traditional mail, but mostly short stupid mails on facebook “this release album, thx” with a link. I do not even respond to them. Now that I think about it, there were maybe 2-3 bands that approached me and were actually great.
I mostly approach bands which I like. No matter if I listened to them and they are still unsigned or a more experienced band which I enjoy a lot. It’s all gentlemen agreements; hence I would not really want to work with super professional bands.

And of course it helps with finding good new releases for your own collection, a lot of trades are offered and you discover new bands.

I'm especially intrigued by your commitment to re-releasing records on the tape format, many of which are available for free as downloads etc - what has been your motivation here?

Mh, on the one hand I want to get a bit away from that, on the other hand I know myself and people like myself who are more interested in a physical release than just “having” the music as a file. Tapes are rather cheap, so there is not a large threshold, if it sounds cool you might just get it. I also think that people in other countries still like tapes a lot, because importing cds and lps is way more expensive.

Final question - As a German who has lived in the UK what do you see as the key differences between attitudes to Heavy Metal in the Fatherland and Blighty? Why does a band like Manilla Road struggle to sell 150 tickets over here but can headline their own festival over in your neck of the woods?

That is a good question. From my experience there is not a lot going on in the Uk, or let’s rather speak of England since I have not been in any of the other parts, in regards of traditional metal apart from gigs in London. And I think they have become more frequent and better in the last couple of years. Can’t really say anything about the different attitudes, cos I was simply hanging out with underground people who also go abroad for shows. Maybe the average metalhead is just the same in the Uk and Germany? Ok, one thing which I realized is that it seemed to be more difficult to get Londoners to go to a show which is outside of the city which may lead to a worse network?
Germany just has one of the strongest scenes and the biggest network. The frequency of gigs is ridiculous, in particular if you consider shows a few hundred kms away from you. There are weekends with 4-5 gigs that attract more or less the same crowd – in a radius of 300 km. That’s crazy I think.

Thanks for the questions which were refreshingly different from the usual boring ones. Good luck with all your activities and I have a question for you: do you still get submissions from that regular contributor girl to the Ploppy Postman section?

click the cassette to stream the mix tape now

download the mix here
download the tracklist here