Tuesday, 22 December 2015

John Lydon's 1977 lost tour diary.

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February 8:
First show of the tour. We were supposed to be playing on a boat on the Thames but our label forgot to book the boat. Our guitars got very wet and a fish stole my punk hat.

February 15:
Second show. We opened with “Rebel Against Ham” and the crowd went nuts, they tore the venue apart and rebuilt it as a nicer venue with better acoustics. The owner was very pleased, he’s booked us to play next week in his lopsided gazebo.

February 21:
We picked an album title. We wanted something that said all the other music is bollocks, all you should listen to is the Sex Pistols. The album will be called “Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours”.

March 2:
Our new single “Piss Up The Queen’s Fanny” hit radio. Bit awkward, I caught a bus and the Queen was on it. She asked if we had any new songs, I mumbled something about blueberries and got off even though it wasn’t my stop.

March 5:
To promote the single we did a night of mischief. I knocked over a bin, Steve shouted at a big wheel, Glen stole a traffic cone, Paul burned down Buckingham Palace.

March 6:
Bit of a backlash after the palace burning. The press didn’t like it one bit, and the label cancelled our sold-out gig at the next venue on the tour (Buckingham Palace).

March 11:
More bad press. These headlines are really savage: Reggae Ruffians, Rasta Reprobates, Dub Deviants. Oh wait, those are about Bob Marley and the Wailers pushing a shopping trolley full of corn into a pond.

March 20:
The single went to number one! But those bastards in the media are trying to cover it up. They’re claiming what’s on the top of the charts is A Pleasant Birdsong by A Lovely Sparrow. Glen’s gone to teach that smug bird a lesson.

March 21:
Glen fell out of the tree. He broke fifty of his ribs. The doctor said it’s a miracle he had so many ribs. He’s quit the band to pursue a more lucrative career in being dissected.

April 3:
We’ve got a new bass player. He’s called Sid Balanced Lifestyle. I told him he needed a more vicious name, so he changed it to Sid Centipede. “Have you ever been bit by a centipede?” he asked me. “It hurts more than you’d expect.”

April 10:
Debuted a new song, “Big Ben Is Not A Good Clock”. The man who owns Big Ben was there, he got sad and cried. I felt bad, don’t think we’ll do that song again.

April 15:
Oh dear, I’m starting to suspect Sid is addicted to “horse”.

April 16:
Like I said, I’m starting to suspect Sid is addicted to horses. There were nine of them backstage after the last gig, the bastards ate my big plate of carrots!

April 21:
Last night the Disco Duck opened for us. We were so blown away by its talent and professionalism that we decided there was no point in continuing with our amateur efforts. The Sex Pistols have broken up. I shaved my orange hair off and fed it to a dog. Punk is dead.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark X

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Get rich or die fryin': A guide to making it big in the world of Fish n' Chips.

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Don’t lie to yourself. You want to be rich. We all do. Staggeringly rich. We all want to be so rich we can march into our boss’s office and tell him we bought the company, he’s fired, the company has been renamed Dave Poncenbry Is A Cunt Recruitment Solutions. Dave Poncenbry was my old boss’s name. Except it isn’t, the legal advisor to this publication made me change it as I couldn’t prove Dave was a cunt to her legal department’s satisfaction. But this isn’t about what my old boss is or isn’t called, it’s about me telling you how you can get rich.

If you’re anything like me you aren’t dedicated or smart enough to get rich in a conventional, legal way, like inventing an app that tells people if they should grow sideburns. Nor do you possess the ruthlessness and amorality required to get rich from a big time criminal career. You won’t make a fortune trafficking drugs across the border via geese flock. At best you’ll be in an entry-level position, trying to stuff drug bags into a goose and getting pecked, hard, for your trouble. Take it from me, there’s only one reliable way for someone like you to get rich and that’s illegal, underground poker.

When I say poker I’m not talking about Texas Hold ‘Em, a game played by dimwitted public school boys named Oscar who used to sit next to me at work and complain to Dave that was writing articles about underground poker instead of doing my actual job. No. I’m talking about a form of the game so frowned on by respectable members of society that it was outlawed by the government even before they’d made it illegal to trample nine MP's to death with a horse, which is what an outraged poker baron did right after they signed the anti-poker law. The type of poker I’m talking about is called One-Card Stud.

It is extraordinarily easy to win money playing One-Card Stud. It’s so easy a camel could do it, if that camel had opposable thumbs and a rudimentary understanding of probability. And if it could talk. There’s a lot of talking involved. Forget it, a camel couldn’t win. But you can.

You might think the best place to play this highly illegal form of poker is in an underground casino run by a slick Mafia boss with a name like Luciano Gambarelli. You’d be right, but Luciano Gambarelli told me that if I wrote an article about him I’d wind up with “even less thumbs than a camel”. He meant “even fewer” but I didn’t correct him as, well, the thumb thing, innit.

So where can you play this game that I can write about and still keep my thumbs? There’s only one place. It’s a bar run by outlaw bikers. The bar is called The Pickle & Unicycle. Don’t tell them this is a stupid name for a bar. The last person who told them that suffered what you might call an 'unexplained disappearance'. You might call it that except it’s easily explained, he was murdered by some outlaw bikers.

Now here’s what you do to get in on this hot poker action. You go to The Pickle & Unicycle and you tell the barman the secret code. The code is “I’d like a delicious roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings”. If you went to the wrong bar by mistake you’ll be served a delicious chicken dinner. If you’re at the right bar you’ll be ushered into a poker room out the back but still wish you’d got to eat that chicken. I should’ve told you to eat before going to the bar, sorry.

In the dimly-lit back room you’ll see other players. There’s two types of people who play One-Card Stud. The first is grizzled Iraq war types called “Cobra”. The second type is people who look suspiciously like you, who are there because they too read an article about getting rich playing illegal poker.

When all the players are seated the dealer will produce a single card. The card bears mysterious symbols and the number twelve. What could it mean? Twelve is a number with heavy numerological significance. The ancient Romans used it to signify the twelfth day of the month. Modern calendar manufacturers use it for a similar purpose.

It’s almost time for the game to start. The dealer will tell you there’s a 5000 pound cash buy-in. Sorry, this is another thing I forgot to mention earlier. The other players, who read better articles about illegal poker than this one, all produce the cash. You don’t have the money so you leave, just as broke as when you went in. Later you learn that every other player in that game is now fantastically rich. So you pull together the 5000 quid and return to the bar. Except it isn’t a bar any more, it’s a shop that sells those giant pants you see in the 'before' shots in diet ads. The only sign of the store’s biker history is the muffled screaming coming from the back room.

You’re dejected. Your shot at riches is gone. You curse me and my terrible article. You start to plot your revenge against me. But it’s too late. That screaming from the back room? That was me. It seems that outlaw bikers don’t like articles being written about their illegal poker games either. Tough break for both of us, but no one ever said it would be extraordinarily easy to get rich playing underground poker. No one except me, and as you’ve learned I’m almost as bad at giving advice as I am at not getting tortured to death in a pants store run by outlaw bikers.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Friday, 11 December 2015

Thoughts On Love And Smoking podcast #5. Cave Paintings.

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Nepotism begins at home, they say. It's also nice to see hard graft and talent pay off.
I'll admit up front that I've known Alex for a long while now and I'll be as nepotistic as I like because as well as being a great DJ he's also a lovely lad. Hence it was a no brainer to draft both him and Al for a spot on the podcast. They've been quietly grafting away creating a very individual sound as far removed from the lumbering bloke trance and leaden footed 'chuggers' sound that's so popular with all the middle aged blokes who collect Gazelles and like New Order 'a bit too much' who seem to clog up the dancefloors these days. Touching base with everything from mad african rhythms to echo chamber psychedelia to motorik techno it's a wholly more vibrant and trance* like journey through sound.
But don't take my word for it, chuck another kaftan on the fire have a BIG huff from your hookah pipe and let this flow over you. X

*Clearly when I say trance I'm not referring to Dutch blokes with skinheads in Oakley eyejackets and white tracksuits.

Check out their Soundcloud here.
Heap praise/hurl abuse at them on Facebook here.



As ever, just a note to say that as we've migrated from the constrictions of Soundcloud to Hearthis.at you can still download all the podcasts from our page there. Regarde,,,,



Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Dunsford, the renowned bastard reads your star chart for Christmas.

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Acclaimed astrologer, medium and intuitive healer, Daniel Dunsford charts your incredibly specific horoscopes for the week ahead. If you would like a more indepth forecast please call 0800-965-8788 (calls cost £15 per min).

Capricorn: You will fall down a flight of stairs this week, losing three teeth and puncturing a kidney. On the plus side you will get a few days off work. Also, your eczema is making you look like The Singing Detective – cut out wheat. Or something.

Aquarius: Your spirit guide is trying to get through to you. Stop cock-blocking him. Do not be afraid; he is only trying to help you find your car keys. Wear blue for energy.

Pisces: Most of your friends find you tiresome. Develop your third eye and give something back to the world. Your decree nisi will come through on Tuesday.

Aries: Events triggered by Saturday’s full moon are all very well but won’t stand up in a court of law. If you are thinking of taking a lover/buying leather trousers, wait a couple of weeks as it could be the male-menopause kicking in.

Taurus: The love of your life has married someone else. Move near a 24-hour Tesco and buy a dog instead. Your legacy will be found at the bottom of a lift shaft.

Gemini: You will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders tonight when you are finally cleared of that grievous bodily harm charge. Celebrate with a selection of cheeses from around the world.

Cancer: A touch of the green-eyed monster gets you this week when your best friend wins the Costa book of the year, for his novel Girl With a Great Big Fucking Club Foot. Chin up, its not the Man Booker prize and, remember, the Pulitzer is still up for grabs!

Leo: Your invitation to go on Fifteen To One must be turned down unless you know your capital cities. Otherwise you will be a laughing stock. Do not get into an Austin metro. Ever.

Virgo: Your TED talk will be cancelled this week when you are bitten by a Westie and contract lockjaw. Also, your loft conversion will encounter a delay in completion when a corpse is discovered behind a loose beam.

Libra: That sports jacket you bought from the charity shop has an evil spirit attached to it. Find a local priest or an open-minded dry cleaner.

Scorpio: It’s been noticed you’ve taken to wearing a roundhead helmet on dress down Fridays. Do you have bad taste? Or are you having a nervous breakdown?

Sagittarius: Keep hold of that Co-op funeral care leaflet that came through the door this week. I don’t want to frighten you but there will be some sort of hang-gliding incident on the 17th.

Till next time.
Keep it spiritual. Danny. X

Monday, 7 December 2015

Donald Trump.1946-2015. R.I.P.

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Donald Trump, the business magnate, reality TV star, silly pork faced racist and presidential candidate, died early this morning at his home. He was 69. Trump is believed to have been smothered to death by dachshunds in the custom-built Dog Cube where he slept. He was an enthusiastic promoter of Dog Cubes, stating that most great ideas are formed in high-pressure dog environments.
Trump’s official biography gives his birthplace as Successville, Winnersota, which doesn’t exist. Although he was educated at an elite military academy, he avoided service in the Vietnam War by claiming to be an endangered peregrine falcon and viciously pecking anyone who tried to get close enough to determine if he was really a bird.
Trump rose to prominence in the business world as proprietor of the 'Donnie T’s American Redneck Steakhouse' chain. His restaurants were renowned for everything smelling like chemicals and staff not caring if you got piped off under the table. The chain was forced into bankruptcy after the restaurants were found to not comply with the fire code, particularly the part that says all your restaurants can’t be on fire.
He regained his fortune in the 1980s with a lawsuit against the mighty Sony Corporation. Trump told Sony he was “the guy who invented tapes” and “you gotta give me the tape money”, a claim which Sony executives now admit they “probably should have checked, it sounds made up”.
Television appearances increased Trump’s public profile. A noted samurai sword enthusiast, Trump starred in the NBC reality series 'An Acceptable Sword', in which sword makers would present Trump with swords they had crafted and he would dismiss them with his popular catchphrase “This sword is unacceptable”.
Trump’s fame grew with a bid to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee using an ancient legal loophole in American law that dictates that anyone with a cameo in a John Hughes film, no matter how much of a twat, can run for the presidential office
He delighted the nation with his campaign antics, including wearing a giant novelty cowboy hat and frequently asserting that Mussolini was “right about basically everything”.
Throughout his life Trump cultivated a reputation as a playboy. He claimed to have “banged all the ladies” and responded to questions about whether he’d had intercourse with any particular lady by winking and making the penis-in-vagina hand gesture.
Trump hoped to be remembered for his service to the community, which included knocking the cups out of beggars’ hands and writing threatening letters to war orphans. His charitable organisation, the Trump Foundation, is responsible for burying millions of dollars in the desert where, as Trump put it, “none of you sons of bitches can get your filthy Mexican hands on it”. Mr Trump leaves behind a wife and some kids, a bunch of shitty wigs probably. I couldn't fucking care.

Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Annual TOLAS Christmas Survival Guide.

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Hello. It’s Christmas, and anyone who says it isn’t is lying. As such, it’s time to decorate your house with balls and bits of glitter. This can be a daunting task, but never fear – World Of Crap is at hand to guide you through the process. After reading this handy guide, you will be an expert at filling your house with all kinds of festive shit.
In order to successfully decorate your house for Christmas, you need to prepare by doing the following things –

Playing Slade, Wizzard or Band Aid on a loop until you’re sick of it and want to pull your own ears off.

Getting a bit pissed on something you wouldn’t normally drink, like Advocaat or Cillit Bang.

Looking for “the fucking thing” for 20 minutes before realising it’s in the drawer where you normally keep it.

Crying for four and a half minutes.

Once that’s out of the way, you can begin to transform your house into a Christmas wonderland!

1. Christmas tree:  The tree itself is pretty easy to decorate. Use tinsel, things on strings, or anything that’s fairly easy to wrap around it, like tights. When it comes to hanging things on the tree, please try to be sensible. Baubles, candy canes and chocolate Santas are all acceptable, but don’t attempt to hang anything too heavy on your tree, like cutlery or chairs. Of course, the really important thing is what goes on top of your tree. Any fool can pretty up a tree with tinsel, but who gets that coveted place on the pointy bit needs some careful thought. If you’re bored of the usual fairies and angels, why not try putting your favourite celebrity on top of the tree this year? I like Jim Bowen, so that’s who I've plumped for this year. Jim Bowen is also festive, because I once watched a Bullseye Christmas special, so there.

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2. Festive garlands:  If you have a wall, you can hang stuff on it. Hanging Christmas stuff on the wall gives the illusion of Christmas, which is a tip I learned from some tv show once. Or maybe it was Home Alone, I can’t remember. Or maybe I just thought it. Anyway, some Americans like to spend hours threading popcorn onto string, and then hanging it up. I think a better thing to do is to eat the popcorn and use something else, and also there is an H in the word ‘herb’, so stop saying it wrong. There are lots of things you could make a festive garland out of – just use your imagination.

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3. Wall decorations: There’s nothing that says Christmas like a sign that says ‘Christmas’ on it. But you don’t have to stop there. What about embracing the continental spirit and making a ‘Noel’ sign? Obviously, Noel Edmonds is the most festive Noel, so use him. Sometimes, a ‘wacky’ household may have a ‘Bah Humbug’ sign. You know, as a joke. These tend to be the people whose cars are ‘powered by fairy dust’. Why not follow their shining example and have a modern version of the ‘Bah Humbug’ sign?

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4. Balloons: These are an optional extra, but will add cheer to any household. Always go for assorted shapes and sizes, as this will add variety and stop the balloons getting boring.

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5. Christmas stockings: These are perhaps the most important part of any Christmas preparations, as Santa needs something to put all your overpriced shit into. Socks are fine to use, as Santa is magic and can make a 60” flat screen tv fit in one. Nevertheless, feel free to hang up many socks. You should do this even if you live on your own, because this means more presents from Santa. For example, four socks equals four times the presents. This is the one thing where it’s perhaps best not to improvise. If you don’t have any socks, I suggest buying some rather than trying to use a substitute.

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6. Christmas cards: This is an area in which lots of money can be saved with a few clever tricks. Don’t waste money on expensive cards that you’ll only use once. Simply use whatever cards you happen to already have, or whichever cards are on special offer. With a few tweaks here and there, your loved ones will never know their Christmas cards started life as anything other than Christmas cards!

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7. Something for Santa: You can’t expect Santa to bring you all the stuff on your list if you aren’t prepared to even leave something out for him on Christmas Eve, you tight fisted bastard. I bet he gets pretty sick of mince pies all the time, so this year I’m going to leave something better out for him, something that he’ll probably enjoy more.

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8. Dressing up as Santa: Sometimes, it happens to be the case that your offspring have been vile this year, so Santa will not be coming within 200 feet of them. Therefore, it falls to you to dress up as the big man so they’ll continue to believe in him, even if they’re 19 and should have a job by now. This is easy to do – all you need is a red hat and a beard. Normally, you can create a good fake beard by drawing one on in biro, but a Santa beard needs to be big and white. Superglueing cotton wool to your face will work, but will be tricky to remove without the help of a doctor. An easier alternative is to use a carrier bag! However, do use an appropriately coloured carrier bag, otherwise it won’t really look like a beard.

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9. Wrapping presents: Again, don’t waste money on expensive wrapping paper that will only give you paper cuts anyway – just use an old newspaper! This saves money AND helps protect the planet, I think. And there we have it – everything you need to have a magical Christmas! Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for the big day! Also, if you’re going to my Mum's for Christmas, remember to not eat anything for three months before, as she WILL get the big plates out.

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Till next time.
Big love. Mark. X