Monday, 18 July 2011


XTC was never a band I knew much about until Dan joined an XTC cover band so when his Kieran I want was to come watch him play – it was Swindon here we come. Turns out he is a multi talented musician and quite the singer. Having not known many if any XTC songs prior to the gig we were treated to a back catalogue bonanza in a pub that might be Swindon’s saving grace (that and the Glue Pot which had quite possibly the best collection of real ales). XTC were never particularly mainstream successful nor trendy or sold vast numbers of records but they were influential and the Fossil Fools did them proud.

After the gig we decided not to tread the well worn local path to liquid/envy style night spots and ended up in Furnace, the indie rock hotspot – but for some reason Saturday is clearly not the night out of choice in Swindon so it would need a reshow of the XTC fossil fools to venture back to Swindon.

On the way out we came across what is quite possibly the scariest junction known to drivers – the Magic Roundabout consisting of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. Turns out (thank you wiki) it was voted the fourth scariest junction in Britain and having messed it up the first time, we had to manoeuvre around it again to ensure us we were set on the right path. It also turns out that it inspired the song ‘English Roundabout’, a pop song by the Swindon band XTC! What a coincidence, not sure it was on the set list though.

Colin and I swung by the village of Avebury en route back to Cardiff which is and I quote ‘World-famous stone circle at the heart of a prehistoric landscape, in Wiltshire. It is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe’. A great site although not sure what the people in the village hall were doing to loud techno; random yelps and body shaking seemed to be the Sunday service.

Dan XTC can currently be found during July and August as part of a small group cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats. To add to the adventure they are stopping off along the way to play gigs, busk and put their weary bodies through more torment.

Remember the golden rule: if it looks like it's going to hurt, it's worth sponsoring. The ride is in aid of Cancer Research and they are called Buskers on Bikes. Here's their sponsorship page:

and follow them on their adventures here:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ice Cube

You know that feeling when you look at someone and think to yourself, I know them from somewhere and then your brain riffles through your internal address book trying to match the face to a name and some kind of indication of where or why you know that person? Walking out of work yesterday I spotted someone sitting outside a bar I thought I recognised so my brain started to do that internal shuffle; perhaps from London days, perhaps from Radio Cardiff. As I got closer I tried to place them before saying hello completely unannounced. Thankfully just a few metres my brain actually clicked in as on the terrace was Ice Cube. Not the everyday person you expect to see chilling in Cardiff seemingly minding his own business and having a beer by himself.

I knew he was scheduled to play Cardiff at some point but since the closure of the Music Hall I had forgotten to get tickets or find out when or where the gig had been re-scheduled. I resisted the urge to go and say hello because I figured it can’t be often he gets the chance to hang out without people like me pestering him for an autograph. However a quick search and a ticket later I watched the hip hop legend tear down Cardiff Student Union, Solus. He was enigmatic taking the crowd ‘Back to the beginning, Right back to the beginning, the NWA beginning’. He had us in the palm of his hand with all our West Side W’s in the air. Brilliant.