Prince The Purple Genius


Its 8.45pm, Prince is already 45 minutes late and the restless crowd claps and whistles which turn into foot stomps and intensified banging. The lights go out, 20,000 fans in Birmingham’s LG Arena erupt. The lights then come back on, met by a chorus of boos; it was pure theatre, with the anticipation constantly building. When the lights go out for the third time it begins. ‘Welcome to Funk’ reads the screen, the white and purple curtain drops leaving Prince centre-stage as he and his band 3RDEYEGIRL launch into new track ‘FunknRoll’ with gusto under smoke and purple lights.

The Minneapolis musical genius reels off a blistering Jimi Hendrix-style guitar wail and disappears in a cloud of smoke. He uses every inch of the stage and makes the audience feel part of the performance.

With his fantastic new band 3RDEYEGIRL songs are slowed down, stretched out or totally reinvented as they rampage from Sly Stone funk to psychedelic pop. Prince’s music and back catalogue spans decades and genres.

The first few songs almost become medley-like, with the third song a grenade-flash burst of ‘Raspberry Beret’. Once Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL settle into a more deliberate tempo and lock into a smooth groove things truly awaken. Prince switches between strut-funk guitar twangs and flicks and sprawling, monstrous guitar assaults that allow screeched, elongated notes to float through the entire arena.

His Hendrix like ability to let a single note hold out, hanging and squealing, squeezing all the life out of it, is as riveting as it is intoxicating. When finished he simply holds his guitar out, waiting for a roadie to collect it, oozing attitude.

The jaw dropping moments keep coming as his unquestionable talent as one of the finest musicians ever shines through. Prince doesn’t just play guitar, Kiss is an opportunity to bust his dance moves with the flair and arrogance of James Brown in his heyday. The Love We Make showcases his piano-playing, and Nothing Compares 2 U is his vocal and lyrical master class. He even does live DJ-style mixing.

But his true calling is with his symbol shaped guitar, as throughout the night he plays a six string, slide, and rounding off with the bass which is like a crash course in funk. The only instrument he didn’t play were the drums but probably only because it meant he wouldn’t be able to dance and play at the same time.

1999’ explodes like a firework and the effortless transition directly into ‘Little Red Corvette’ is seamless and poetic of Prince’s ability. Of course the other classic were played too, squeezed into a remarkable two and a half hours. “Ya’ll ain’t ready for this, I got too many hits” Prince says half way through, and truthfully we were never ready, no venue or audience will ever be. Raspberry Beret, U Got The Look, and a particularly James Brown channelling Musicology lead the way, and Sign O’ The Times followed. My favourite ‘When Doves Cry’ was perfect for audience to sing along to the chorus to which Prince duly obliged.

With a back catalogue that puts the Beatles to shame, more riffs that Hendrix, moves to rival MJ and the showmanship of James Brown, it’s hard to argue against the opinion that Prince is the complete package.

It was a night of funk jam, a barrage of hits and magisterial showmanship proving there is no one in the world quite like Prince. Savour, enjoy and appreciate him while you still can. A true musical genius and an icon of our times, the purple one is still in his prime.

Peace, love and happiness



I’m not afraid of a terrorist

I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I’m afraid of the media
I’m afraid of the scaremongering
I’m afraid of the negative portrayal of Islam

I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I’m afraid for the children of tomorrow
I’m afraid they won’t know the truth
I’m afraid history will be unkind

I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I’m afraid of the shadows in the night
I’m afraid of looking over my shoulder
I’m afraid of my loved ones getting hurt

I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I’m afraid his hatred will fuel your hatred
I’m afraid his insanity will affect your sanity
I’m afraid you’ll listen to him but you won’t listen to me

I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I’m afraid we will all lose hope
I’m afraid integration will become segregation
I’m afraid of going our separate ways

I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I’m afraid you’ll want an eye for an eye
I’m afraid we’ll come to a crossroads
I’m afraid we’ll choose different paths

But the main reason I’m not afraid of a terrorist
I have something they can never take away
I have faith
I believe we can unite as one
And I live in hope
Of peace love and happiness


By TanRockstar Tagged

Love Ain’t Here Anymore

I’m not going to go all Gary Barlow on you as I’d never be able to find the words, however love and relationships, not a topic of discussion you would normally expect me to give my two pennies worth on but I had to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or whatever the expression is these days. Recently I’d been asked to give some relationship advice to a friend, specifically how do you know that it’s L.O.V.E? Now you don’t need to have a 1st in philosophy from Oxford to realise I may not be the best person to turn to for this sort of thing. With my track record, asking me to help improve one’s relationship is like asking the cast of TOWIE to sit on the Treasury Select Committee and give advice on the Libor interest rate scandal.

However to help a friend out, I dished out a few words of encouragement and what generally seemed like common sense advice, but at the same time knowing full well that if the shoe were on the other foot, I would have hung up the phone. It’s not that the advice I gave was bad, it’s just that when it comes to relationships, you generally tend to do what your heart wants and all common sense goes out the window.

For me, ‘Love’ is a word that can bring about a bag of mix emotions and reactions; with some lucky enough to experience it in all its glory, while others see it at its most punishing. I believe everyone will at least once in their lifetime experience it, whether or not they know what it is or what form it takes. I still haven’t decided whether I had it at its most satisfying and heart melting, or soul destroying and heart breaking. I guess in time I will look back and say both.

It is fair to say I’ve crashed and burned big time in this department and it’s taken me the best part of nearly two years of soul searching to find out why, what went wrong, what went right, and what could I have changed? Hope, regret, sadness, relief and many more emotions have all been experienced in a time where I simply didn’t allow myself to move on. It is of course easy to say “oh time will heal the heart, you will get over it, you’ll meet someone else” etc, but deep down you know that feeling will never completely leave you. I think everyone deals with it in their own way.

I remember I was once told that my heart was too fragile, that I’m too innocent and that I haven’t lived and experienced life. Love would chew me up and spit me back out leaving me broken hearted. I laughed at this statement, it sounded like a quote from some Hugh Grant rom-com. And Me? Innocent? Well it made me smile. But it was true, and I had the warnings, I saw the signs, and unlike Ace of Base, the signs didn’t open up my eyes, quite the opposite in fact, I didn’t want to believe them and simply ignored them.

Then once you’ve gone your separate ways, no matter how much you try to forget or move on, you are reminded constantly of love and none more so than through music. Songs on the radio catch you out when you least expect it. One minute you’re in the car driving to work busting a move to Mr Saxobeat and the next you’re in a daze, parked in a layby on some country road for 2 hours unable to escape Heart FM. It’s as if Heart know that you’ve broken up and so every song played reminds you of the most obscure and uncontrollable emotions you once experienced. Big ballads are always the worst, from Bonjovi’s Always to Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing. Two years on, I still can’t listen to Mary J or Usher, I simply have to change the station. Here’s a piece of advice, never ever tune into Heart FM post break-up, or make sure you’re safely locked in a padded room when you do.

It’s funny though how for a split second your heart still skips a beat as a song lyric takes you back down memory lane, but then realisation dawns just as quickly and you simply accept it for what it was and look back with fondness.

When you first experience love, you definitely have the Kina Grannis feel and outlook towards it, best described in her Valentine song as “love, is a special day, we should celebrate and appreciate, that you and me, found something pretty neat” and it’s this feeling that you want to last forever. However life doesn’t work out that way unless you’re one of the lucky few.

I guess you never realise what you have until it’s too late, you get so caught up in the moment that you’re living in a bubble. Heavy D & the Boyz hit the nail on the head when they sang “Now that we found love, what are we supposed to do with it?” and that is the question I never asked of myself. Does anybody though? And should you? Simply put, can a relationship last just on love? Whether you’re a young 18 year old whipper snapper of a student without a care in the world, or a 39 year old executive on the road to a mid life crisis, I believe if the opportunity arises, you have to take your chance and act regardless of your circumstances.

Of course after some time has passed, ‘Love’ may come knocking on the front door once again. Will you be in to answer? More importantly, will you want to answer? Mahatma Gandhi once said “Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable”. A sentiment I have come to appreciate over time.

I know what you’re thinking, this is a very negative take and that you’d rather fall in to a dark black hole than fall in love after reading this post. So just let me say this, if I had my time again, I genuinely wouldn’t change a thing. The highs and lows are what make a relationship as far as I’m concerned and if it’s not meant to be then so be it. There are plenty of fish in the sea as they say, just need a bigger rod next time.

For now though, I just simply can’t get Phil Collins – ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ out of my head, it may as well be my theme music as I walk down the street to the local chip shop, and if anyone ever asks you for relationship advice, you can do much worse than start singing this song….

my mama said, You can’t hurry love, no you’ll just have to wait , She said love don’t come easy, well it’s a game of give and take, You can’t hurry love, no you’ll just have to wait, Just trust in the good times, no matter how long it takes…”

Apologies for the serious and soppy nature of the blog post, not my usual cup of tea, hopefully regular service will resume soon.

Until next time, Peace, Love and Happiness.


P.S – I mentioned lyrics by Kina Grannis earlier who is a wonderful singer songwriter from LA and who I was lucky enough to meet at her amazing gig at the London Chapel earlier this year. I’ve had Kina on repeat on my iPod and in my car. I simply adore this talented lady and cannot recommend her enough. Have a listen peeps, she never fails to brighten up your day 🙂

Meetings, Songs & Flagpoles

Last year I was lucky enough to get promoted at work, well actually luck has nothing to do with it as I am pretty awesome at my job, yes hard to believe I know, but I do manage to fit in a few hours of hard graft, well graft, in between all the custard creams I manage to polish off. It means that my normal working day now consists of meetings followed more meetings and to round the day off, another meeting. I like to think of meetings as ‘places where nothing happens and nothing gets done’.

This is a typical example of how one of my daily meetings might go: Each of the people round the table expresses their opinion on a particular subject or their field of expertise, and surprise surprise each of these opinions is completely different. Then, after you’ve munched on a whole pack of custard creams and drunk a cup of what might be Nescafe gold blend, but could easily be minestrone soup, the director, an overweight bloke in a lilac shirt, and its always a lilac shirt, says: “Well, we’re outside the box here with a new kind of scheme and we can’t know what the result will be until we’ve run it up the flagpole and seen which way the wind’s blowing.”

With some justification, you plainly want to argue with this, but as you draw breath to speak you realise what he just said didn’t make any sense; and anyway, he wasn’t finished.

It’s critical we use blue-sky thinking and that we’re proactive in trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and not be reactive, if we’re to come up with a rough ballpark figure that we can float on the table”

Again, you raise your index figure to make a point, but you don’t know what that point might be, so you simply pour yourself another cup of coffee and because the biscuits have finished, excuse yourself to quickly nip to Aldi for another pack.

As you walk back in to the meeting after 10 minutes of freedom, and a packet of jaffa cakes in hand, you hear Mr Purple shirt, sorry Mr lilac shirt is still at it… “We must maintain an ethos of focus, whereby you don’t bring problems but forward thinking solutions”

I look round the table at all the old engineers, you know the sort of people who would rather play with their blackberry than their Mrs, the ones who whip out their laptops every time they’re on a train and most likely have a 3G dongle belt clip, and they’re all nodding in agreement like the dog from the Churchill tv advert. So you stop yourself from what you really want to say which is: “I’m sorry but what the hell are you going on about?”

Later on in the day, you ring the person who called the meeting and in less than a minute decide on a course of action. Then whilst driving home listening to a bit of Sly & Family Stone, you wonder why it was necessary to have the meeting at all.

To make things a little more exciting and get round the monotonous nature of meetings at work, a friend and I have started throwing in song titles and lyrics in to the conversations to see if anyone would notice. Last week, I managed to say: “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” which I thought was quite impressive, but my friend who is a huge Take That fan took the gold medal as she causally slipped in “You got to be strong enough to walk on through the night, there’s a new day on the other side” It was simply genius, and nobody batted an eyelid.

However, I think I may have got a bit carried away when I quoted Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. Apparently it’s not professional to say “Ooh baby, I’m hot just like an oven, I need some lovin” in front of the director, he kind of frowns upon that sort of thing.

Just last month I had my first ever conference call. What an experience that was. They’re exactly like a normal meeting in that nothing happens, nothing gets done and the leader of the pack still talks rubbish. There is one wonderful advantage mind, and that is you don’t have to sit there remembering not to fall asleep or what Jermaine did after breaking up with the Jackson5. At one point I was spinning around on my chair, forgetting I was on a conference call, and accidentally tangled the telephone wire around my neck and dropped the phone. Five minutes had passed by the time I found the phone and performed a Houdini escape act to rejoin the conversation, and you know what? Nobody had even noticed I’d been away.

I think meetings are the one place where the Americans are ahead of us, they have got it down to a fine art. I was watching Bloomberg the other day (because I don’t have a life) and they showed some corporate AGM board room meeting where the minions say their piece, and when they’ve finished, their top man stands up, thanks them for coming and leaves. They’ve realised meetings are useless for getting anything done, so they don’t bother going round the mill for hours on end, and instead move straight to the follow up phone call where the decisions are made.

That’s why they have Microsoft and Twitter and we have Aunty Glenda’s tea shop and Poundland. They are too busy inside the box making decisions, whilst we are outside the box, fitting a square peg in a round hole, before going to the top of a flag pole and seeing which way the wind blows. Or maybe that’s just me.

Until next time, Peace Love and Happiness.


Make Way For The Beautiful People

Now you would imagine that the world cycling championships for women would be a somber genteel affair, brought to you by Kellogs Branflakes and sponsored by Halfords.

But no. The British team was represented by women aged some where between 21-29 with the gorgeous Victoria Pendleton leading the charge. Now I’m sure I saw Miss Pendleton on the front cover of Zoo wearing an unzipped leather bikers jacket and very little else. Now you can surely argue that maybe the british cycling team were perhaps chosen for their television appeal rather than their ability or maybe I’m wrong.

Back in the old days (yes I’m going there), there were no photographs in the newspapers, so people were allowed to be fat and ugly. Alexander Bell, the great inventor, was a national hero because no one knew he had the face of a baboon. Isambard Kingdom Brunel achieved great success because the great British public had no clue he was a midget.

Back then, skill and intelligence were what you needed to get on. However, with the zoom lens, the tabloids and online social media, neither thing matters a great deal.

We have entered a whole new world, where, to get on, it’s not what you know or who you know, or even what you know about who you know. In today’s society it is all about what you look like. Take David Beckham for example, now I love Becks, the guy is a national treasure, sure he could bend his balls a bit but he was far from being Britain’s best footballer. But he became a global icon because he’s a rather handsome fellow.

Then you have David Cameron, he became the leader of the Conservative Party simply because he is better looking than the smarmy George Osborne or the sleazy Oliver Letwin. What’s more, he will win a second term as Prime Minister because he has more sex appeal than Ed “thunderbird” Milliband. The Labour Party have definitely missed a trick by appointing the wrong brother, not only on an intellectual level but also in the looks department.

Maybe that’s what is missing from politics, to bring it to the forefront of peoples minds. After all, we have a culture secretary, a home secretary and a foreign secretary, maybe we need a hair & beauty secretary who will pose in Vogue and Cosmo every few weeks?

Then there’s Mark Wright and Lauren Gooder. Who? I hear you ask. Well they are from the reality TV world of The Only Way is Essex. Only the other week, their on-off made for tv relationship managed to knock the North Korean Leader Kim Yong’s death off the front pages. Now here was a world defining moment taking place and yet all I could see in the news was a sea of orange & collagen lips.

I understand all of this. Looks count, they really do. After all, you wouldn’t deliberately buy an ugly sofa or an ugly car would you? I know I’d much rather watch my new crush, Natasha Kaplinksy, reading out news on the euro zone crisis than the 10ft tall man giant that is Mark Austin.

I even have a so-called friend who’s an Estate Agent, and his office is staffed by a young blonde woman. When asked why, he said with a grin “it’s all about the totty, and she cost the same as an ugly one”. Aside from him being a complete perv, I understood that too.

There is, however an enormous drawback to all of this. You see Ben Affleck and Megan Fox may look good in a Cape and leather mini skirt, but where would we have been 30 years ago if the only qualifications needed for Hollywood superstardom were perfect teeth and big biceps? Without Dustin Hoffman and his big nose playing Rain Man thats where. And certainly without Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. If the movie were made today, we’d probably get Justin Timberlake feasting on Kim Kardashian’s big butt with a bottle of Crystal.

However, in the not too distant future, I can see a backlash coming. It used to be the case that a person’s social standing caused jealousy and bitterness. You would wonder why the idiotic fourth son of the Duke of a cabbage patch could have caviar for dinner whilst his bright manservant had to make to with a cup of air.

Well how long will it be before the normal folk who don’t grace the cover of Heat weekly start to wonder how on earth the cast of Made In Chelsea are all millionaires and why their television screens are full of orange Gavin Henson wannabes?

How long will it be before they notice that their own children, who have an IQ of 159 with a first in Latin, can’t get a job in Starbucks?

How long will it be before your daughter comes back from university with a £40,000 student debt, declares that she has mastered the art of the ‘slut drop’ instead of the stock market and financial derivatives, and now wants to go to a 36GG bust size so she can be the star of ‘Made In Doncaster’.

My fellow British citizens, I urge you stand up and rebel against these so-called beautiful people, if not for your children then at least do it for me. Please, save me from the word “reem” and having to take the starring role in ‘The Only Way Is Wolverhampton’ where I will be forced into sharing a hot tub with Lenny Henry.

Thanks for reading.

Peace Love Happiness


We Need To Talk About Kevin

Now I don’t normally write book reviews but since I was recommended this novel and a number of friends have either read it or want to read it, I thought I’d put my two-penneth’ worth into the mix.

The story is told through the eyes of Eva in the form of a series of letters to her ex-husband Franklin, written after they supposedly separated following their son Kevin’s massacre of his school friends just days before his sixteenth birthday.

Eva’s letters explore their family life from before Kevin’s birth (Eva agonised at length about whether or not to have a child), through his infancy, right up to the time of the massacre.

The theme of the book is one I can only describe as `nature vs nurture’ in the sense that is Kevin innately evil or has he been made evil by a lack of parental love?

The book offers a case for either view: on the one hand Kevin comes across as a cold calculating monster that from infancy onwards repels almost everyone who encounters him, but on the other hand both his parents are hopeless.

Eva is a portrayed as a selfish egotistical mother who should never have become a parent, and Franklin is of a naïve and oblivious nature who never notices his son’s obvious character flaws.  Eva sees Kevin as an inconvienicance who stopped her world wind travelling for a life she never really wanted, the american dream that on the other hand, Franklin so craved.  You could argue it boils down to trust and love, where Franklin fully trusts and loves Kevin as a doting father, Eva as the mother does not.  Associated themes concern the nature of parental care and responsibility, and the way in which parents and society at large should deal with children who sometimes through no fault of their own, do not conform to the norms of acceptable behaviour.

One thing I didn’t like was that the book spent far too long on Kevin’s infancy and then pretty much skipped to his teenage years, with only passing reference to the crucial years in between.  I understand that the initial impressions Eva gets of motherhood and of Kevin as a baby are important but I felt like there was a massive jump in the middle of the story for no good reason except that the first section had gone on for far too long.

This book is thought-provoking and intiguing. It doesn’t answer the question ‘why?’ and it doesn’t say who is at fault, or even if anyone is at fault. Kevin is a monster, he really is, but an important element of this work is whether he was born that way or if he became a monster because of his mother’s inability to “nurture”. The answer is one that you have to find for yourself.

I did find this book hard work to get through and it took an age to finish reading it mainly because it’s so “wordy”. What I mean by this is that Shriver is an author who won’t use one word if she can use twenty and there’s nothing short, choppy and page turning about the plot.  Shriver writes very well but at times she feels preachy and as if we should be praising her for how clever she is which made large sections of the book tedious to say the least.

Overall, it is worth reading because it’s a book which bravely explores an issue that’s suppressed throughout society, and although it’s a fictional work, it’s definitely an interesting topic for discussion.

Thanks for reading.

Peace Love Happiness


Christmas: Don’t suffer in silence!

Hey folks,
The Christmas and holiday season is upon us and usually it’s one of the happiest times of the year for most of us.
However there are also those who will find themselves single and alone, who will be going through hardship, domestic abuse, family break ups and much more with no one to turn to.
Just remember there are people out there who care about you and who you can talk to.
Finding the courage to pick up the phone is the hard part, but once you do, there are hundreds of wonderful volunteers who are willing to listen and be there for you. 
Don’t suffer in silence. A list of help lines and support services are listed below.
I urge all of you who read this to please forward this on.
Thank you
Peace love happiness


0300 123 3393
08457 90 90 90
Alcoholics Anonymous
0845 769 7555
Info line 08000 50 20 20
Victim Support
0845 30 30 900
London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard
0207 837 7324
0845 767 8000
0800 111