Lanky fop accused of not knowing arse from hole in the ground shocker
Loud cheers and guffawing laughter ripped around the greater Tunbridge Wells
area (including Cranbrook and that little bit of Lamberhurst that should be
in Sussex but isn't) this week when a straggly, moth eaten, dazed figure was
hauled out from his hidey hole underneath the ladies toilet at The Forum. It
is understood that the lanky dishevelled mess was initially confused and claimed
to have simply been looking into certain toilet blockages, but shortly after
his emergence the armed might of the 5th Marines, the CIA and the USS Enterprise
surrounded the venue and took into custody a certain "Mark Desmond Randall",
the most wanted musical criminal on the UN's list of "top musical fops
we'd like to see clapped in irons".
It is understood that Randall has been the subject of a massive manhunt for crimes against humanity, after it was revealed that he had been storing a huge arsenal of poisonous tunes, mellifluous melodies, and uranium enriched rhymes, and had been intending to unleash them on an unsuspecting public through the Forum's PA system.
"This man is not only dangerous" said one source who wished to remain anonymous but bore a striking resemblance to a certain DJ who used to be on Capital Radio "he is also dastardly, disreputable, a dilettante and a Desmond." Among the tunes found hidden on Randall's computer were Celine Dion, Chris Rea, Clifford T Ward and the Italian Entry to the Eurovision song contest 1974. "If you let me go free" he is understood to have told the troops "I'll tell you where I have hidden the Neil Diamond".
Dear dear readers, it is Xmas. As such, I have decided to decline to reveal how much of the above article is factually based. Have a good one, and thanks for coming this year, we appreciate it.
January 2004 is a special local band month; with four bands playing every Friday and Saturday night. Entry will be £5 per night, or £8 for a weekend pass.
Token ray Gun Dept
The Crayons have one of the largest biographies I have ever read, and is
full of stuff about how they met, who used to be in the band, when they started
playing bass before agreeing to try out for the position of lead nose flute
specialist. However, the problem with all of that is that it doesn't tell
us all the stuff we really want to know, such as why they are influenced by
mackerel, what's their favourite type of gecko, and how many times they use
the diminished fourth in their average intro. Note to all bands taking part
in The Stable - this month's magazine would have been the most boring read
ever if we had simply used your biography pages from your websites. People
don't want to know that Sam joined but then left, they want to know about
important stuff like the price of your strings, your inside leg measurements,
and your pleasuring of badgers as a hobby.
The Crayons have an EP available, and it is a lot more interesting than the biography on their website. They have actually got quite an interesting tale to tell, including the names Johnny Vaughn, Bob Geldof, Xfm, and The Big Breakfast. Ask them about it. They make a noise like all the best bits of the Bluetones being rogered in an uncompromising position by the best of British art school pop (think Kinks, Clearlake, Robyn Hitchcock). Token Ray Gun Department have taken the alternative route to spreading the word about themselves by creating a website that has no content. I am therefore able to make up my own details about these international men of mystery. Two of them like to go hill climbing at weekends dressed as nuns, whilst the remaining members can regularly be seen in Tunbridge Wells carrying out their mission to persuade people to eat more dairy products by dressing as Ernie the fastest milkman in the west. TRGD are influenced by Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Steps, Terminal Twist, The Beatles and Celine Dion, and at least some of this is true. ERIC are a four piece band from Tunbridge Wells/ Crowborough area. They like listening to bands like 'Mogwai', 'The Reindeer Section' 'Sigur Ros' and 'The Cure' and are definitely getting sick of the majority of bands on TV these days. They have played at the Forum a few times and have a sensible sized biography with information in it that might lead you to deduce what they sound like. Well done Eric.
Flee The Scene
All The Time
Formed during the early part of 2002, CARPE DIEM consisted of Tony ( I know
Animal, me) Douglas (vocals) and Paul Seldon (Guitar), who had both decided
to leave their other band and form their own. The final links were found in
Doug (drums) and Mole (bass). The concept of the early material was simple
- create up tempo metal songs that kicked ass and got people moving. Though
Carpe Diem have only played four gigs so far in their local town of Tunbridge
Wells, they are already building a reputation of not only a great original
metal band, but one which delivers the most explosive live shows around. FLEE
THE SCENE have a great website which is all whirly bits and things flying
around, rather like Billy Smart's Circus only with JPEGs and Flash 5.0 instead
of scantily clad Rumanian gymnasts. One slight problem for those of us wishing
to promote the band in print however, is that you can't actually copy any
of their press stuff. So, another lesson to learn there local musicians -
worth having a press section of your site where you can download photos and
the biog in a usable format. Anyway, FTS got together in 2003 and like Heavy
Metal, although they cheerfully announce that they possibly like it more than
their neighbours. Their slogan is "We're a metal band, we do what we
want!" EBALIS meanwhile, is an acronym and stands for Everybody Always
Lives in Sorrow. (Wow, lets have a competition to see if anybody can come
up with a better one - Ed) The band line up at the moment is Troy - Vocals,
James - Drums, Chris - Bass/Vocals, Andy - Guitar/Vocals, Jody - Guitar. Music
wise they pitch up on the heavy end of the spectrum, parking their tent firmly
in the shouty vocals with some quiet guitar bits section, right near the toilets.
(Isn't that a little Dalek hiding by the bassist in their photo? - Ed)
ALL THIS TIME don't provide very many biog details, but they do let you know that at last the ball has started to roll with ATT, having played three times at the forum in just over a month. This looks set to continue as they have just recorded their first EP featuring four tracks: Song To Lift Me Up, Buried Myself Alive, So simple and Just Go Away. They are also hoping to get some All This Time T-shirts and were wondering how many people would be interested in buying one. Form an orderly queue please.
Hang the DJ
Something a tad different here whereby we introduce an amazing new concept
. Ever dreamt of impressing your friends by spinning top 'platters' like 'Lady
In Red', Agadoo, or anything by Joeyfat!
Well now's your chance to be the new taste-makin', lip-smackin', groovin' lurve God of a DJ.
This promises to be a rip-roarin' laugh of an evening, with a mix of the good, the bad and the downright Celine Dion being played. The Forum wil be hostage to whatever music tastes you the audience cum DJs play! However, to schedule this show, and avoid possibilities of Papa Roach being played all bloody night, you just can't turn up with your CDs or vinyl All you have to do is email email@example.com, list the 3 or 4 discs you intend to play on the night, and bingo, for 15 minutes YOU, yes YOU could be a well hung DJ!
Seven Story Down
Bad Picture are SO old fashioned they don't even have a website. Come on ladies, get with the 21st Century. I would have rung them up and asked them stuff, but this job is hard enough without trying to do that, and in any case it's Christmas and I have my eye on some mince pies. Consequently, can't tell you much about them, except that they don't realise the potential of being online, and are therefore possibly eccentric hermit types. In contrast, the Rivers website is marvellously over the top, claiming they are the greatest band in the history of popular music and all sorts (and their manager is an Olympic standard name-dropper - Ed) This is more the type of stuff we want, and if the band are half as good as their biography makes out then great things await them. They say that they have an incredible selection of songs and that within this collection of songs is one composition sure to become a future entry in the top 50 songs of all time, and possibly win the Nobel prize for contributions to world peace. Apparently it only takes one listen to entice the listener into a daze as the strong medley lasso's you into a trance, makes the hair's on the back of your neck stand out straight & warms you up inside. They go on to boldly state that Standing In Your Shoes will undoubtedly win Ben Hatwell & Rivers an armful of awards, and that day is not far from today. Top notch blurb and about time too. It's amazing whilst trying to write these articles how many of the bands didn't have websites or links that worked, or whose web pages and supposed information turned out to be a dead end with no content. So, SEVEN STORY DOWN are also international men of mystery, although in this particular instance my browser did prefer the information that "the page contains no data". This doesn't tell us much, but it does tell us the importance of maintaining your website if you are in a local band so that people can at least get a grip on what you might look or sound like. Speaking of which, THE IMPECCABLES couldn't be bothered by all that Biog stuff, but their website has got some really great pictures, and from these it is easy to deduce that they like the Libertines and the Strokes and all things skinny tied, jumping about and shouting. Actually, I would go so far as to describe them as Tun Wells' best dressed band. Just hope the music is as good.
They would probably be the first to admit it, but ISKRA owe more than a passing debt to Pink Floyd and not to make the comparison would be foolhardy because at times it's virtually blatant, as is the distinct influence of early Hogarth-era Marillion, but it doesn't alter the fact that they're damn talented young men. Solitary keys, fluid angular bass and a ton of feedback, slowly build into gorgeous Snowy White-esque guitar gregarious, Gregorious Hawkwind/Amon Duul-esque melodies weave an Ozricsy web of abstract new age psychedelia (Nice photo by the way fellahs - serious Ed). LO-ODIO website describe themselves thus: "...As you can see, there is no information about us.There are two reasons for this: Firstly, we are a bit hard to describe, and none of us being music jouno types we havn't the first idea what meaningless genre to catoragise ouselves into. Secondly, we are lazy arseholes who can't even be arsed to put in ten minutes worth of hard graft to ensure we have a respectable, informative website...". NOVACAINE are, depending upon which particular version's website you come across are a metal band from Illinois, or an Australian bar band. Must try harder! VELDT meanwhile are the fop Randall's fave raves; Based in Brighton, Veldt record and perform songs in their own unique style, with influences ranging from sixties film scores (Morricone, Barry, Budd) to the loops and samples of the darker corners of modern pop.Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Lloyd Wadey, guitarist/producer James Waterland and cellist/keyboardist Mike Alexander combine to create a textured, brooding sound, evocative of the melancholia-tinged urban landscape which their lyrics reveal - a world of paranoia and self-doubt, of mornings full of regret, shot through here and there with tantalising glimpses of hope. A rough collage of 60s summer pop, Walker Brothers and early Pulp with a lounge lizard Portishead. All this, and a guitarist who's not only a Tim from'The Office' looky-likey, but also collects Air France and Pan-Am Cabin Crew uniforms and BOAC sick-bags of the 1960s. What more do you want?
Crab in a Cab
One Track Mind
At the Deli
CRAB IN A CAB formed in 2002, consist of Chris Dt, the gorgeous, luscious,
pouting Emma, Jack, Ali and Adam Avards, and all live in their home-made studio
constructed out of yoghurt cartons and rehearse 6 hours a week (Your secret's
safe with us - Ed) Bloody 'ell this is hard work.
Which of the following statements are true; ONE TRACK MIND are a) a Japanese ska-punk band. b) a melodic punk band from San Diego, California. c) a punk band from Melbourne, Australia, or d) a five piece ska punk band from Sevenoaks, who all go to Judd School in Tonbridge, believe that "...reggae was the inspiration for ska, and in turn ska-punk..." and whose website is inaccessible. The correct answer is in fact, all of them
AT THE DELI are, oh yes, a ska punk band from Pikey Country, Paddock Wood (Form the wagons into a circle - concerned Ed). So that's alright then.
Meanwhile, to ring the changes a tad, GRAPESEED BANDITS are, let me consult my notes a moment, a ska-punk band from Crowborough, who feature Claire Wickens on tonsils. Rumour has it that the Bandits are not long for this Earth, so catch 'em while you can.
To re-cap then, a veritable fest of ska-punk featuring one band who make things for Blue Peter, another band who appear to be multi-national, another who simply can't be arsed to to do any promo for themselves, and another who are splitting up after this gig ! Great!
Well thanks a lot! Bollocks. Bollocks to the lot of you. I've had enough. I'm retiring to a darkened room and leaving this crazy world of ska-punk (Sound of comforting blanket being draped around the fop's shoulders, and a kettle gently whistling on an Aga stove etc etc etc)
Reasons to Remain
9-VOLT believe in the power of simple drama and unpretentious good tunes.
Drummer Dave Richardson is a startlingly fluid and expressive drummer and
works with rhythmic synchronicity alongside bassist Greg Cheney that they
seem almost mentally fused together and between them they create the rare
spectacle of a rhythm section actually being interesting to watch. All round
good egg, frontman Chris Hoad is a potential cult heartthrob, and yet there
are no signs of egotism within his spirited and versatile performance. Talking
of heart throbs brings us neatly to CARNIES. Those Tonbridge ne'er-do-wells
who always pack the place out wherever they play.. Deafeningly intense and
rackety, the lads create a 'cacophanous controlled emo-menace' (Copyright
Moanin' Millsey). Oodles of powerchord riffs, underpinned by bowel trembling
drums, go hand in hand to create an exciting jagged edge nu-metal. REASONS
TO REMAIN have a website that at first glance looks like a cover to a Mills
and Boon romance book; the sort your Mum might read whilst having a dump.
Alas, it has fuck all info on the band, as such all I learned was that their
EP is called 'Broken hymens & Open arses', or something like that. Get
on the case lads and sort it oot! ZUCCHINI have an exhaustive website, which
having read their biog, I feel as though I know the band intimately. I must
echo my colleague's earlier comments about bands biogs. We're not interested
in the ephemera of your private life; we need to know what you sound like,
what you look like and where you're playing. Having said that, ZUCCHINI are
a fucking top-notch band with great songs, a fantastic singer, and generally
a great bunch of guys. But you wouldn't necessarily glean this from their
website. Cut the crap fellahs, you're worth more than your website would let
us know, and I quote your own website here, "..Writing a band biography
is such a difficult thing to do because it can be boring, you can babble on
all day but at the same time you don't know if you
have left anything vital out, so we apologise if it sounds that way as we don't write biographies. We write and play music..." Nuff said
The Acoustic Strawbs
Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper met at school in West London, and, influenced at first by the late 50s skiffle boom they put together a jug-band called the Gin Bottle Four. Next the pair switched to blues, folk and bluegrass music - getting into blues legend Leadbelly and traditional folk performers such as Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. Originally called the Strawberry Hill Boys (in Twickenham), the Strawbs history reads like a veritable who's who of the Folk and Rock world. Past members include: folk legend, the late Sandy Denny, Led Zep's John Paul Jones and Nick Drake's cellist Claire Deniz. But it was when ex-Bowie keyboardist, the be-caped, drinkin' for England, King Arthur On Ice spectacular, pre Yes, keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman joined them in 1970 that the Strawbs sidelined their whimsical sub Fairport folkisms, and succumbed to the lure of that there new fangled elecktrickery and turned the amps up! The new band then travelled round the country on a package tour with Roy Harper, and started to get excellent reviews in the music press. Rick was with the band for little over 15 months, a period which had seen the Strawbs catapulted from the folk clubs to stardom, concert halls and electronic music. From The Witchwood is highly regarded by many as landmark in "prog" music. Moving on to 1973 saw "Part Of The Union", an atypical Strawbs song reach the number 2 slot in the UK singles chart, held off the summit by Sweet's "Blockbuster" and Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize". Finally calling it a day in 1974, the lads have reformed and split up many times. Only after 30 years have Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Brian Willoughby got together to tour as the Acoustic Strawbs. Well worth checking out, and witnessing a part of rock's rich heritage.
Long Beach Shortbus
Long Beach Shortbus will shortly be releasing their highly anticipated full
length LP due in stores February, 2004. They kick off their tour in February
2004 with 33 dates in Europe. If you are wondering why we have them so high
up the bill for January for what might seem at first glance a virtually unknown
band, let's look at the line up and do some maths. Long Beach Shortbus are:
Eric Wilson of Sublime and Long Beach Dub Allstars, Ras-1 of Long Beach Dub
Allstars and Jah Childre, Trey Pangborn of Falling Idols, Bargain Music and
Long Beach Dub Allstars and finally Damion Ramirez of Fathom, Prototype and
Capitol Eye. Between them they have sold over 17 million CDs. Their new album
is being brought to you by possibly the biggest independent label on the planet
right now, the amazing Skunk Records. Shortbus started as a side project,
away from Long Beach Dub Allstars for Wilson and Ras when they had some downtime.
To RAS and Eric it was and always be about the music. They quickly recruited
legendary Long Beach lead guitarist Trey Pangborn to join them in some impromptu
jam sessions. Recognizing the need for a drummer, Kelly Vargas the original
drummer for Sublime and Slightly Stoopid agreed to fill in until auditions
could be held to find someone for full time duty on the skins. Long Beach
Shortbus is the last standing legacy of Sublime and the Long Beach Dub Allstars.
Their CD, "Flying Ship of Fantasy" due in February of 2004, will
surely stand on its own…with or without the hype of the band members
previous band affiliations. A truly exceptional show that you should not miss.
Also appearing will be 1906, formerly The Everlasting First (an Arthur Lee connection mayhaps? - Ed). Hailing from Tunbridge Wells, 1906 are garage pop/West Coast psychedelia which quite frankly is a welcome relief from the usual ska/nu-metal rut that most of the local bands appear to ploughing. This is 2004. We all want something new, something exciting, something NOW.
Are we going to get it? Only time will tell.
Saturday 31st - Sunday 1st Feb
Hosts a load of bands releasing records this weekend or thereabouts.
On the saturday an object will be given to attendees. This object when presented on sunday night will enable half price admission. The object may then be kept or swapped with another object on the swap table.
Cove - mini lp imminent on jonson family records - they play tight, they play angular, they play riffs.
Matra - mini lp out on unlabel - melodic electronics and dub
Songs of my Lap - a growing reputation for surreal and sublime live sets
Cat on Form - angry loud writhing screamery with sensive bits and ooh a little bit of politics
Charlottefield - single and lp out soon "...television meet june of 44 ..."
Hey Colossus - album out Jonson Family Records called: 'Hey Colossus Hates You and You'
Every other Thursday, it's Tunbridge Wells' original, funniest and
best value for money stand-up comedy club.
At least four acts for only a fiver.
Just cast your little 'mince pies' (Been watching Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins
again? - Ed) to the pix of the up coming acts appearing at Comedy Forum this
month. Big names from the stand-up comedy world one and all. With the exception
of Tony Law, none of them do much TV work, therefore, unless you're a live
comedy afficianado you may not have heard of them. But believe you me, chances
are you will very very soon.
Every month we're lucky to have 8 fantastic acts appear at out humble little shit-hole of a venue. Charging a mere five pounds admission price for each night, this really is value for money entertainment, a guaranteed laugh a minute night out.
Thursday 8th sees VALENTINE FLYGUY, ZOE LYONS and ANDREW
O'NEILL. In the beginning there was Rock 'n' Roll, this in turn evolved into
Rhythm 'n' Blues, which mutated into Starsky and Hutch. Amongst the would
be auditionees for the part of super pimp Huggy Bear, was one Valentine Flyguy.
Who having been rejected for said part, turned to a life of stand-up comedy.
A wide boy with wide collars and flares, Valentine inhabits a world of mo-fo's,
guns and deep fried Mars Bars.
ZOE LYONS has created a huge buzz around the London comedy circuit in recent months. Her grounding as an actress gives her great stage presence and supreme confidence which, combined with sharp writing produces a highly enjoyable act.
Thursday 22nd sees the excellent Canadian comic Tony Law. Tony has recently been the only funny thing on the Channel 4 comedy series Does Doug Know, and his stage act is superb.He shares the same surreal sense of humour as Eddie Izzard and Harry Hill. COLE PARKER has been described as a very dark physical blend of satire and surreal observation, punctuated with topical humour.
All in all, yet another fab month for comedy, so make the effort you lazy fuckers, do yourself a favour and experience for yourself the magnificence of live comedy.
Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan
Wherein our very own Victor Meldrew of the moshpit gives us the lowdown on what he's had sad occasion to witness at Europe's second largest toilet
Miss Black America
Saturday, 13th December
COFFEE BREAK CORNER
You know, somebody once said that we all have a doppelganger (with fries),
a spittin' image, a double, a looky-likey. For instance, there have been rumours
that a DJ famous for a TV show featuring Hot Gossip, and creating characters
likeCupid Stunt and Sid Snot has a doppelganger right here in Tunbridge Wells!
Whose scam is to go into Sue Ryder charity shops and running up bills of as
much as £4.32p, then having the audacity of asking for the bill to be
sent to Capital Radio c/o Kenny Everett.
If my mole at the Forum is to be believed, even stranger things are afoot following reports that the (ahem) popular, hilarious Transylvanian neck-braced japester Avid Merrion of Channel Four's ' Bo Selector' has been spotted hanging around the PA balcony at the Forum. Even having the temerity to shout 'comic'things at hardworking touring bands while they're soundchecking Supposedly hilarious things like; "Could you give me a bit of bass drum and snare please", "Do your keyboards always make that funny buzzing noise?", and "I know it might sound shit to you onstage but it sounds good up here". Quite frankly, he must be stopped. Go Home Avid and bring back Max the Evil Soundguy from his self-imposed exile in Bristol.
At this juncture we would like to dispel any blatant lies that Kenny Everett and Avid Merrion will be performing a 15 minute set at HANG THE DJ nite on Thursday, January 15th .
We always like to hear from new contributors, new bands, new people, people who hate swearing, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.Because believe you me, it's a right hard slog making up all the lies, half-truths and general bollox that we lovingly/laughingly call BLAM
You can write to us at
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the office enquiry line on 01892 545792
We also have a brand new website where you can find out all about what's on, and laugh at the photos of the damp mattressed fainthearts that 'work' here. That's at
You can also email us, so do that to:
On the website you can book tickets, find out what's coming up, get a map, get a life, play our hi-tech computer game: TOILET CLEANER 3, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming
The address for that is http://members.boardhost.com/twforum