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BLAM Jan 2005

A word in your ear...

Predictions for the New Year from Mystic Mong

Having consulted the I Ching, the palm of your hands, Auntie Dolly's tea leafs and the Big Boy's Book of How to do Just About Everything, we are very pleased to present Mystic Mongs Astrological Guide to the Year Ahead*.

Aries: An interesting year ahead for the Aryans amongst you, as your scheme to invade Poland comes to fruition and you launch your plan to create some blond and blue eyed children.
Lucky Colour: Red with a white circle and a black cross type thing.

Taurus: You can well afford to be bullish about the new year; look down the back of the sofa for that pound you lost last Wednesday. A tall dark stranger will come into your home in March and may not leave until July or possibly August. You will have no idea why.
Lucky fruit: The Kumquaat

Gemini: Beware the bearer of false tidings gathering nuts in May. She has seen you in your underwear and can't stop laughing. Your parents will reveal an incredible secret to you involving the Russian monarchy and the Ark of the Covenant at sometime between 4.31pm and 4.33pm on February 18th. Act surprised.
Lucky animal: The Peruvian antfish

Cancer: You are one of the most handsome, well endowed people in the world with the brains of Einstein and the looks of a young Steve McQueen. Make the best use of it by spending a lot of time in front of the mirror this year. In March you will suddenly become inexplicably wealthy and gain the ability to balance three tea cups on your nose.
Lucky? I should fucking coco.

Leo: Leo's are traditionally proud people with an independent streak, able to make decisions of the utmost importance without a thought for any negative impact they may have on themselves or others but thinking only of the greater good. They are wilful, soulful and assertive, and they have a special affinity to patchwork quilts of the early 18th Century. You, however, are a spineless ingrate with the brains of a mollusc. You will very likely catch a nasty disease in September.
Lucky Eggs: Duck

Virgo: Virgos are lovers, running away. I said they are lovers, running away. In March you too will find love. A deep and true love that will last a lunchtime. In April you will be brought up on charges relating to indecent behaviour in a public place likely to cause offence to members of the public and endanger livestock. You will be banged up on the special wing for nutcases like you by October and out on parole and re-offending in late November. What a year!
Lucky Electrical Wiring: Earth.

Libra: You are scum. Get over it.
Lucky McDonalds character: Hamburglar

Scorpio: Things will go well for you financially this year, You should think about re-investing your stock options in commodities relating to the exploitation of fish stocks in the Icelandic region. Put a twenty five pound each way bet on Far West in the 3.55 at Kempton on 23rd May.
Lucky Geographical anomaly: Ayers Rock

Sagittarius: Shit! Run! Run! Don't look behind you! Just keep running! Fucking hell, that was close.
Lucky bastard: You.

Capricorn: The year starts well, then gets a bit better, but then a bit worse before it evens out for a bit then gets better, then worse again, better again, fair to middling, up down, in out, shake it all about. You spend the whole year doing the okey cokey. By Xmas 2005 you are knackered.
Lucky Michael Jackson Record: Ben

Aquarius: You are too tall to go on living this way. In May you arrange to have three inches of length removed from your upper thighs and inserted onto your arms. On Friday 3rd June you go for a curry and end up with a sore red patch around your arse. On 7th June you come out with swollen lips in an allergic reaction to Kellogs Frosties. Naked, you now look exactly like a baboon. No change there then.
Lucky Number: 3.14172902

Pisces: Pisceans share many attributes with Goldfish. I said Pisceans share many attributes with Goldfish. NO, I said Pisceans share many attributes with Goldfish. That's right, with Goldfish. Pisceans. Pisceans share many attributes with Goldfish. Yes, that's right, Goldfish. No Goldfish. Yes, that's right, they share many attributes with Goldfish.
Lucky Day: Wednesday 14th July 1869.

*conditions may apply.

Blam is owned and produced by The Forum. We are poor starving musicians and artists who don't even have a garret so there is very little point in coming after us for money just because we accused you of being a donkey basher, but if you are really intent on litigation, then you sue us via
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common, Fonthill, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8YU
But nine times out of ten I wouldn't bother because our lawyers, Shyster, Rippemhoff & Felch are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. Look, rather like 'Our Brave Lads' in the First World War on that momentous Christmas Day 1914 when all hostile thoughts were laid aside as good ol' Fritz (copyright The Sun) got an inflated pigs bladder out and a jolly good game of footer (I believe that's the term, Mr Jarvis?) was played in No Man's Land . In 2005 let's have a truce eh? Be nice to us poor waifs here at the ol' shitter; and we'll never refer to you as a bunch of squirrel fiddlin', banjo playing sausage pilots ever again!

Comedy Forum

Thursday 6th

Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month.

BENJAMIN CRELLIN is one of New Zealand's top international comedians. With eighteen televised stand-up performances and four nominations for his countries highest comedy award he is a nine-year veteran of the industry.

A Prolific, consistent and highly in-demand stand-up, Crellin has written six solo shows. His latest show @WITSEND premiered at the 2004 NZ International Comedy Festival to critical acclaim and then toured to five Canadian Fringe Festivals gaining 4 star reviews and sell-out shows in Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver.

During this time he was seen and selected for showcase performances at The Montreal Just For Laughs Festival and The Vancouver International Comedy Festival.

"Rubber face", "Ash tray tongue", "Robo Cop", "Monkey boy", "Wolf man"" Get off you tosser" - Just some of the names and tags that have been attached to TOBY CALDWELL since school days. A combination of genetic inheritance and hard graft (plenty of practice in front of the mirror as a small child), have enabled Toby to do things with his body that science once thought impossible. Since October 2003 Toby has taken his unique brand of physical humour to the London & UK comedy circuit.
He has performed in numerous London clubs; Downstairs at the Kings Head, the Comedy Café, Laughing Horse, Chuckle Club.
Strap yourselves in Britain you're in for an experience.
From bouncer to 'bean-counter' to Australia's hottest export in comedy, JULIA WILSON has been tearing through audiences with true-life tales that endear her to all who listen. Appearances on stage Down Under , TV, radio and film have honed her dynamic personality to a gutsy edge that can't be rivalled. She doesn't just take the stage, she owns the fucker!
Her Australian style of storytelling is delivered with such honesty and energising pace that a shirt full of sore ribs is guaranteed. A worthy addition to any bill, Julia has been winning audiences over through out Australia with her humour that refuses to be pigeonholed and her personality that refuses to be ignored.

The Fight
Not Katies
Friday 14th

Dudley based THE FIGHT was discovered through a completely chance meeting with New Found Glory frontman Chad Gilbert, who passed the band's demo along to punk rock tycoon Fat Mike of NOFX and Fat Wreck Chords fame. 'Home Is Where The Hate Is' is the seven-song resulting debut.
Instead of being completely pop-punk-based, The Fight offer up pogo-punk and '77 style spunk in their juicy pop-punk offerings, equating to a bounce-off-the-wall, energetic, and at times aggressive sound that you can still sing along with, toying with slight hints of top-40 sensibility while still maintaining a street-punk vibe strong enough to out-wrestle street veterans Rancid, with whom THE FIGHT have been touring the States since January. Check out their website www.thefightmusic.com where you can see various videos of the gorgeous, but 'potty-mouthed' singer K8 say words and phrases that I'm sure her Mother would heartily disapprove of!

The Reputation
Johnny Panic
Towers of London
Saturday 15th

Elizabeth Elmore made a substantial mark on the American indie rock scene in the late 90's. Her former band, SARGE exploded with a barrage of press coverage and fanatic fandom, not only dominating the indie press circuit but appearing everywhere from Rolling Stone (named "Hot Band" in 98's "Hot Issue") and Spin to Playboy and Interview. Elmore wasonly 22 at the time and, in her own words, "had no clue what to think." The attention was well deserved. Sarge played fast power pop with scathingly honest vocals, and Elizabeth never pulled a punch or hesitated to speak her mind. Then, at the height of their popularity, they quietly disbanded in December 1999. Elizabeth entered Northwestern Law School to study to be a lawyer (Hence the straplines at the top of the page then - unimpressed Ed), began touring simply under the name "Elizabeth Elmore," released a split single with Hey Mercedes / Braid's Bob Nanna, found permanent members, then christened the band with the moniker they found most fitting - The Reputation. So why give the project a proper name and not continue under her own name? Elmore explains, "It is my band but it's a band, y'know? I write the songs and take care of the business, but when we're in the van together, we function as a band. Plus, as a woman and the front person, I get way more attention than I deserve anyway. If we'd played under my name, they could have been seen as 'backup players' but they're all an invaluable part of this band." Rounding out the band are Joel Root (bass), a current member of Chicago avant-jazz group Andiamo, Sean Hulet (guitar), formerly of Moreno, and drummer Steve Van Horn. Elmore's music draws its influence from a wide, and seemingly unassociated, variety of sources - Washington DC post-hardcore, alt-country, 70's singer/songwriters, indie rock, and her own favourites from childhood. "The thing is, it would be hard to find direct connections between most of the music I listen to and the music we play," Elizabeth stresses. Whatever the source, The Reputation takes considerable leaps and bounds in Elmore's songwriting abilities. A focused, concise, and -dare we say it? - mature pop sound. Also appearing tonight are those ol' Clash/Manics stalwarts JOHNNY PANIC, bringing their gutter/garage sound. Meanwhile, TOWERS OF LONDON are a London five piece who positively spit attitude. Like Motley Crue mashed up with the Sex Pistols. The band have big time stamped all over them. It's a thrilling, dirty, lascivious, downright nasty exhibition of surly, strutting, in your face rock n roll attitude, and it's backed up with stomping slices of glam punk action. They used to be called The Tourettes; a post Manics rock 'n' roll Rush, and their early pics looked like a gang of Richie Edwards on a glam punk night out. Since then the hair's grown and they've morphed into a feral poodle permed rock beast

The Paddingtons
The Vertigo
The blind Martini Society
Saturday 22nd

If you had to pick one band from the countless promising Hull acts who are emerging from the doldrums of a local music scene which was previously stuck in a dodgy brit-pop- by numbers time warp with Oasis as the one and only messiah, a band whose raucous stage shows and too cool for school garments which, although striking on their own, are merely by-products of an exhilarating range of zealous garage-punk tunes, a single band who are the 'most likeliest' to catapult themselves into the current new wave of much lauded British rock-n-roll upstarts currently terrorising venues up and down the country, then Hull born and bred quintet 'The Paddingtons' are that band.

Tom (lead vocals), Grant (drums), Josh (rhythm guitar), Lloyd (bass) and Marv (lead guitar) proclaim to be "The northern invaders." The Paddingtons play music which on first hearing sounds like a bastard hybrid of The Ramones and The Libertines. It is admittedly uncomplicated stuff played at largely breakneck speed but most notably with an extremely vigorous and tuneful stance. Music that they love themselves as band spokesman Josh explains "I like those passionate two minute songs, forget key changes or whatever."

It is those power punk medleys which have led to interest in the band from all quarters culminating in a single deal with none other than Alan McGee's Poptones label. Not that the reward of a deal has come just like that in a realm of simplicity as Josh describes, "We have been going two years and in that time we must have done about 200 gigs. The first 100 was learning to play the guitar in Hull while the other 100 was just playing gigs and finally gaining that good response." It is the bands own self-belief in what they do which will ensure that any detractors will not get a look-in when it comes to the bands own mind set "We know we have the good songs, if you have not got the sonjgs then people are really not gonna be interested. " explains Grant.

This youthful confidence is what no doubt first attracted the man who discovered the uber-sure Oasis to The Paddingtons. But just how did this man end up signing a band from what was previously known as Beautiful South city? The answer to this lies in a collective decision to play as many gigs down in London, "to get in everybody's faces" smirks Josh. Quite an acute decision based on the burgeoning scene of DIY bands creating and accumulating a scene of its own, and it was the singer one of these bands who The Paddingtons will be eternally grateful too.

"We got some gigs with a geezer we got to know called Dominic who is in 'The Others'(newly signed and hotly tipped London band) , he said something about us and got someone to come and watch us at a gig in London and he would also pass demos on and stuff like that" explains Grant.
One of these five-track demos managed to get into the hands of McGee who was so impressed by these self-proclaimed Northern scumbags that he played them on his radio station leading to many enquiries as to just who this band were and where they could buy their music. That apparently was all that was needed to sign them up on a single deal, the screwed up genius of "Twenty One" which was released nationally in October.

Despite serious interest from a few minor labels, the boys couldn't be happier with their Poptones deal. "Alan is 100% behind us, he likes all these new bands that are coming along and if he is positive about it then I am on his side. We have such a good team there and we have been introduced and they look after us well" says Josh.

Devil Sold His Soul
Fireapple Red
Score One For Safety
Friday 28th

Following the departure of Medhi Safa from noisecore stalwarts, MAHUMODO, the remaining members; Jonny Renshaw, Tom Hariman and Rick Chapple decided to carry on. With the addition of three new gunslingers the band solidified as Devil Sold His Soul. (A band whom when a Google is done on them, comes up with a zillion Robert Johnson references, harumph! - Ed) Whilst musically keeping the ethereal Mahumodo stylee, Jonny and the lads trun things up to theNth degreein a Isis, Cult of Luna and Neurosis vibe. Debut EP 'Darkness Prevails' is available in the new year.

65 Days of Static
Saturday 29th

65 Days of Static make a noise like no other . For the uninitiated, if you take the best elements of post-rock, mash it up with a punk-rock ethic, turn the volume up to apocalypse and get Aphex Twin to munch it all up and vomit it out again you're nearly there. For simplicity's sake, they're the Mogwai you can dance to. This four-piece dish out what are essentially post-rock guitar tunes with additional beats, sound bites and other bits and pieces.
"We've had some good reviewsof our EP, stumble.stop.repeat. There's clearly some people out there who like us. We've even had mail orders from some really obscure places like Canada and Italy." But the band still don't feel entirely accepted closer to home. When asked to describe themselves in terms of an animal, they reply that they'd be a clay pigeon, implying they feel like outsiders being shot at. "I don't think any of the bands in Sheffield really care what we're doing," says guitaristJoe. "There's widespread apathy between bands towards each other. And people don't come out. You have to make a hell of a lot of effort in Sheffield to grab people."
Citizens of Tunbridge Wells, extend the hand of friendship for these noise merchants now!

The Stable

Another month's worth of kaleidoscopic smorgasbord of untapped, unsung, and some still unwebsited talent. You know the score; every Monday three unsigned bands take the Holy Toilet stage and give it their best for 25 minutes.
This month sees:

DYSURIA was created to fill the spare time and lunch breaks of three bored teenagers at Tunbridge wells grammar school for boys. But after about 8 months and numerous line-up changes the band decided to take things a little more seriously, and began to perform gigs, write some serious songs, and begin their journey to superstardom.Dysuria got their name by opening a dictionary picking several words at random and then choosing the best one. (i know what you're thinking: 'If Dysuria was the best what were the rest like?) Pictured left is Pete. Do you know what drums are? Pete does . Pete plays drums for THIS WAY UP. When asked what his favourite bands are, Pete says "Fuck knows!" See Pete hit the drums hard.

Named after their favourite tipple (Wot..not lager and lime? - ignorant Ed), LA FEE VERTE, or 'The Green Fairy' as the learned linguists amongst you may be aware, is the latest venture from the fragrant, swoonsome Nandi, (ex vocalist of that girlie group that no-one seemed to like whose name escapes me) This 5 piece describe themselves as 'soft alt. rock', and have a rather becoming website. Sadly revealing bugger all about themselves, apart from the fact that Richard, the drummer fancies their singer!
I can't begin to describe MOORWATER ................., as I've no info on them. Perhaps Joel or Doug could furbish me with a biog or jpg at some point? This is more like it, STAR SCREAM have a rather fab website ( www.star-scream.co.uk ) with loads of pix, star-struck groupie reviews..the lot! A glammed up two piece featuring X Factor's Tabby looky-likey Adam Harris on what appears to be everything, and the enigmatic, bridesmaid's dress garbed Aoife on bass

Featuring Messa Music's very own Peet on four string duties, FALL TO FICTION are an emo outfit from Heathfield , Fall To Fiction create a sound that is both original and noticable. Much of FTF's music is more emo than post-hardcore, but many of the riffs and lyrics have been inspired by bands such as Finch, Thrice and FFAF.HEADQUARTERS are the unlabel art terrorist/shoegazers featuring none other than ex KICK, Leon Marks

FREEFALL FOLLOWING feature ex members of Forum fave's ONE ABOVE NOTHING, so I'd expect more emo core punk from these fellers. SONGS OF MY LAP is the brainchild of all round good egg and Forum stalwart Alex Hancock; and are also an Unlabel band. Check out www.unlabel.net for downloads etc. THE BODY TRANSPARENT have a wonderful home page for their website...but shite all else. Contact me lads to enlighten me about your sound!
Entry to these shows is a mere four quid, and quite frankly worth every bleedin' penny of anybody's money. Come down and see for yourself the EEC unsigned talent mountain.

Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

Martyn Joseph
Sat. 11th December 2004

Whatever it was that Martyn Joseph expected to happen tonight, it probably wasn't this. After 242 gigs this year alone, from festivals to folk clubs, from Cardiff to Calgary, as he reaches the end of the year and a well-earned rest, he's playing in a toilet and treating it like a casually assembled but intimate pre-Xmas dinner party. With a wry smile and the loquacious geniality of a host effortlessly putting his guests at ease, he's not playing a gig, he's just strumming away playfully to 80 or 90 close friends who have no expectations, merely the desire to be in his company for a few hours and it's just what he needs right now to wind down. This isn't a job, this is pleasure, a random and unexpected delight, so no set list tonight, just whatever feels right, with stories, songs and requests being passed around as casually as a box of After Eights.
It feels almost voyeuristic to be in a room with Martyn Joseph, as if he's revealing too much of his personal secrets, fears and desires, sharing his despair, his hopes, his dreams and his need to strive for a better world. There's an anxious romantic power to his songcraft that seethes and smoulders one minute, gently caresses the next and leaves a lump of guilty bile in your gullet as if we're eavesdropping on a confession. But that's his charm. He makes his listeners feel that he can share something private and confidential with them, and that's as much in the warmth of his stage persona and the pose of noble dignity he adopts, as in the charismatic boldness of the poetry he sings. The probing, anguished lyrics speak of faith, trust and the unbreakable human spirit, but also the wretchedness of love and the sad beauty of life, with all its exquisite sorrows, failings and absurdities. It's almost unbearably sanctimonious and smug of course, but instead of wanting to punch the pious git, you have to stand back in admiration and contemplate giving him a hug instead. Particularly on a night like this, when a humorous mood has taken him over and he lays himself bare, you realise that he's simply a sensitive and highly articulate troubadour with a sense of self-worth developed through honesty, sweat and optimism. Anyone who can write works of such unfathomable gorgeousness as "Kiss The World Beautiful" or "Treasure The Questions" and choke back real tears while playing them for the thousandth time is allowed as much self-satisfaction as he damn well pleases and nobody resents him for it.
In a era that has seen singer-songwriters rise to new levels of prominence, as the nation's coffee tables bow with the weight of 'Acoustic' compilations and glossy magazines extolling the virtues of the new breed against the old breed, it seems surprising that Joseph has remained comparatively inconspicuous over his 20 year career. Despite modest chart success with the appallingly titled "Dolphins Make Me Cry", critical acclaim from the 'serious' press, and recently winning Best Male Solo Artist in this year's Welsh Music Awards, he's still met with a puzzled "Who?" by those that rarely venture beyond exploring the David Grays, Damian Rices or Jeff Buckleys of this world, so maybe he's going to have to die for the mainstream to take anything other than a passing interest.

Though smatterings of all three are reflected in the ingenuity of his tunes and the powerful gritty sob of his voice, there's a far more transatlantic edge to the bulk of his material, with respectful nods towards Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen at one end of the scale, then blatant homage to the workingman's blues of Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp at the other. Just without all that slurring surliness or stars and stripes nonsense to distract you from the sheer strength and power of his balladry and the rich soulfulness of his vocals. Martyn Joseph simply takes you on a journey into his visions and nightmares, presenting images of sorrow and joy, injustice and retribution, with the practiced and accomplished skill of a master storyteller.
Songs, he says, just come to him. They aren't deliberately written, they just seem to suddenly appear for him to grab out of the sky and tuck into his breast pocket. It's perhaps this method of recognising damn good pieces of music that enables him to treat other people's material in an almost playful manner that contradicts the melancholia of his own, as if they give him a chance to therapeutically explore the lighter side of his psyche. His most recent album "Run For Cover" is comprised solely of cover versions that he toys with from time to time, from the bleak protest folk of Dylan's "Chimes Of Freedom" to dew eyed sentimentality from Max Boyce, but it's wryly done, with his tongue wedged firmly in his cheek, and as his wailing falsetto voice fades into gentle echoes, each inventive and passionate reworking gives way to mesmerised and intoxicated applause.
The somewhat sickly and slushy "Cardiff Bay", and the bawdy song-of-praise to saggy-bellied charver boilers "Lesbian Woman" take their toll however, significantly tarnishing the impact of his more dramatic and colourful songs, particularly when he puts on his protest singer head again for satirical stabs at the corruption of those in power, the evils of war and the senseless waste of the world's beauty for the sake of greed. His homage to the jobless mining workers of his home town, the anthemic "Please Sir", and the chilling "The Good In Me Is Dead", a vicious shout of defiance based around the Balkan conflict, seem almost out of place as a result, as if the amiable host has gotten all serious on us and is trying to get the mood back again, if only he could remember what it was like. But that can happen at even the best dinner parties, so we can forgive him this foible as an honest error and allow the obligatory encore of "Liberal Backslider" to wipe the slate clean for the gently comforting and delicate "Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home" to fade away into the darkness with a satisfied sigh and a murmur of thanks from guests and host alike.
Martyn Joseph makes music to close your eyes and dream to. They might not be nice dreams all the time, but they'll at least be ones that you'll remember in the morning.

Paul Mills

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
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The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the office enquiry line on 01892 545792

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Public Liability Insurance Twatometer

We have been inundated with emails from warm-hearted Forum goers enquiring as to how they could help raise the Twat-o-Meter to a healthy level by making an extremely generous contribution over and above the 50 pence exacted on the door.
We were very touched to receive these communiques. and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those concerned.



Lifted (with permission) from the January edition of BLAM! - All queries regarding libel actions should be directed to them