Monday, 28 January 2008

all change...

It's all change for Jordan -

I've just started my last week at BBC Manchester - where I have had a fantastic experience, a real insight into how the BBC operates.

On Saturday (at the crack of dawn) I head back to London to move in my new place with my lovely girlfriend, which I am absolutely looking forward to!

And a new job prospect is in the offing, along with constantly scanning for jobs to go into after uni...

Hectic!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

two gigs last night...


OK, so I managed to obtain two tickets to see the Spice Girls at the MEN arena last night. I also got entry to the press conference beforehand...

Did I go?

No, I didn't!

But why?!

I had another gig lined up. Mine!!! I played at Jabez Clegg in Manchester last night, and was glad I did that rather than go to the Spice Girls.

Backing me on the bass was Rory Holland of headline band Destroy The Evidence.

The setlist ran as so...

Zihuatanejo, Ode To The Hudd, Autumn, The Artful Bastard, 一期一会, Olympia WA, シャロン, Donkeys, Losing Touch, Wave Of Mutilation. (first five are mine, second five are covers)

Loved it!

Monday, 21 January 2008

impending gig...

Yup, my next gig is on Wednesday, and I'm looking forward.

My nerves have been settled after a rehearsal yesterday.

Joining me on bass for the night is the multi-talented Rory Holland of Destroy The Evidence - he'll be helping out on all of my own songs and a couple of covers.

So far the set will comprise of ...

Autumn
Zihuatanejo
theARTFULbastard (first play live!)
ichi-go ichi-e (first play live!)
Ode To The Hudd

Olympia WA (Rancid)
Sharon (ROSSO) (sung in Japanese!)
Something by Manic Street Preachers,
and some more...

So come and have a listen! Jabez Clegg, Manchester, Weds 23rd Jan - 7pm
Also, my songs are available at www.myspace.com/jordanallenmusic

Saturday, 19 January 2008

affleck's palace

You may or may not know, but Affleck's Palace in Manchester is in danger of closure.

As a centre for anyone who wants something a little different or alternative, it would be missed by a great number of people.

There are few other places in Manchester where there are a range of alternative, individual shops in one place, and the closure of Affleck's Palace will certainly go someway to making Manchester another 'clone', with high street chains everywhere.

So if you want to see this historical, culturally important place stay open, sign the petition - http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Afflecks

mental blocks and musicians...

On Wednesday I have a gig - the first I've played in some time. In fact, only my second proper solo gig. My first was in Huddersfield. I did do an open mic night in Marylebone in October, but that was only two songs...

So my difficulty comes in choosing what songs to play. I fell out with a number of my songs some time ago, so I'm struggling to pick which to play. Autumn, Zihuatanejo, Ichi-go-Ichi-e (一期一会), theARTFULbastard and Ode To The Hudd will probably make appearances, along with a number of covers.

As luck would have it, I have recruited a bassist for the night. Rory Holland will be joining me on stage to provide a bit of backing... might try to get him on backin vocals too...!


Have you ever suffered writer's block, though? It's a true curse... I have had writers block for months now. I have managed to compose one entire song in the last 6 months, along with partially finished lyrics and melodies. It's incredibly frustrating!

Where to get inspiration?!

To be perfectly honest, I miss playing in a band. I think it is much more fun and satisfying to have people backing you. I used to front a punk band back in Huddersfield called The Disaffected. We wrote our own songs, and even recorded a three track CD in a local studio. Despite the fact that the songs were fairly basic, and we lacked talent, the buzz of playing a gig backed by three mates gave me such a buzz. A feeling of taking on the world.

My bassist (and good friend), Stonnie found a video last month of the band, which dated back to about 2003, showing us recording our CD and practicing in the garage of the guitarist, and it got me all nostalgic.

In my time I have played in a number of bands, and it's always great. So that might have to be my next step... Goodbye solo act, hello band! We'll see..

Songs of the week (well, second half of the week)

Manic Street Preachers - Prologue To History = fantastic opening, and wonderful political song. Really strong lyrics in this one. 'Remember ethnic cleansing in the highlands - no-one says a thing in the middle of En-ger-land'

The Clash - Safe European Home = Joe Strummer at his best. Debating doing an acoustic verse of this. I love the outro, Joe and Mick singing completely different things together... Rudi Rudi Rudi!

そして、今週の日本のソング!

ムラマサ ー 雨が止んだなら = 美しいボーカルメロディー
ミッシェル・ガン・エレファント ー ピンク = すごい! アベのギターはとても上手だよ!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

subterranean secrets

Have you ever thought how interesting it is that most cities have something to hide?

I'm talking about secret underground tunnels, trains, cities and bunkers. Things hidden from the public that are never confirmed as being fact or fiction.

It's something I find fascniating, so I'll share a little with you...

Firstly, Manchester (as that's where I am right now...). In the centre of Manchester is a 1954, Cold War telephone exchange with tunnels stretching out to Salford and Ardwick (named 'Guardian'). Now this one has been confirmed, but it's still interesting... Read more about that here

Next up - London. London's tube network is both fantastic and mysterious. It's littered with disused stations and tunnels that people don't know about. Next time you're on the Metropolitan Line between Baker Street and Finchley Road, keep an eye out for 3 disused stations. Also on the Picadilly Line between King's Cross and Caledonian Road, is another. They're everywhere! I had access to the disused Jubilee Line platform at Charing Cross some time ago... quite interesting. More is here

And it's not just the UK... Moscow supposedly has a secret government underground train line, below the existing network, and some people claim that there is even an underground city, with swimming pools, generators and food... see this article

Lastly, it is claimed that Tokyo has a wealth of tunnels and secret spaces under the city, kept under wraps by the government. One man has investigated - read Shun Akida's account here

Should governments make these places open to the public? Or is it part of our heritage to have such secrets, rumours and myths? Does it add to the appeal of a place?

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

500% Kitano - Nothing to Add!

What a great tagline for a film... '500% Kitano - Nothing to Add!' - Taken from Takeshi Kitano's 'Takeshis'

It gets me wondering when the next Kitano film will be released. I recently bought his latest, 'Kantoku Banzai!' (Glory To The Filmmaker) and absolutely loved it. I first saw it as part of the BFI's Film Festival in London in October. The film really pokes fun at Kitano's varied career, to comic effect.

This of course, followed his superb 'Takeshis' (blog title from this) in which he played two versions of himself, also to superb effect.

So from the man who pioneered the Japanese ganster/yakuza film, what do we expect next? We've had the violence, the bloodshed and the guns. And we've had a sensitive, touching story from 'Dolls'. Obvious humour from 'Getting Any', and subtle humour in most of his other films. 'Zatoichi' gave us a periodical film... so what else is there left for Kitano to try?

This is from the man who is also a comedian, author, presenter and general personality (us Brits know Takeshi's Castle... that was his). In addition to film-writer, director and actor.

All that seems to be left for Kitano is a musical career and a horror film... Or news-reading. Now that might be interesting...

If you haven't seen a Kitano film, check out the following...
Violent Cop - His first director role. Lead actor also. Superb cop/yakuza film.
Getting Any? - Great comedy. Often slapstick, but still above base level humour.
Battle Royale - Purely an acting role, but played superbly.
Kantoku Banzai - The golden touch to his career... this is fantastic. But you might need to watch the others first...

Then check out all the others! Dolls, Zatoichi, Takeshis, Sonatine, Kikujiro, Kids Return, Boiling Point, A Scene At The Sea... there's not a bad one among!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

沢山日本の音楽を聞いています。。。

僕は沢山日本の音楽を聞いています。
2007に沢山いいアルバムを発売しました。
The Birthday - Teardrop
Go!Go!7188 - 569
ムラマサ - Lifull
ムラマサの音楽はとても楽しいだよ。 スカ・パンク。 バンドのアルバム(Twinkle)は私の一番好きです。

でも2008に何アルバムは発売しますか?

ごめん、私の日本語は上手じゃない。。。!

A musical blog

I've been lamenting my lack of gig attendence since I hit London. I fully intended to go to as many as possible, and play as many a possible, and so far all I've managed is Brett Anderson at the Southbank Centre and Manic Street Preachers at Brixton Academy. Granted both were amazing - Brett Anderson with a string Octet was beautiful, and Manics were godlike as always! But I feel I'm letting my side down...

So 2008 is a gig year for me, I have decided! 16th Feb will see me heading back to Brixton for the Dropkick Murphys - for those who don't know them, they are an excellent American Punk band with Celtic influence, hailing from Boston. I last saw them at Manchester Academy in 2003/04 (I forget!). Any band that can integrate bagpipes and a mandolin in to great punk anthems gets my vote! So join me at Brixton on the 16th Feb!

Quite what else is coming up, I have yet to discover, so should be able to let you know by this Friday.

Next week sees me performing in Manchester at Jabez Clegg. I'm supporting a friend's band - the excellent Destroy The Evidence - who you can listen to at www.myspace.com/destroytheevidenceveinforest (check out The Apparitions - excellent song). I'm playing an acoustic solo set, sometime after 7 on the 23rd (Weds). Problem is, I feel I'm lacking my own songs - I fell out with one or two of them some time ago, so could do with writing a few more.

Songs of the week for Jordan:
* Erika - Destination Nowhere: Great tune from this Japanese singer. Used as the theme tune to the recent J-Drama 'Mop Girl'. Really lifting song.
* Northern Uproar - From A Window: Excellent Britpop anthem, great guitars, great northern band.
* Regina Spektor - Us: Possibly the most beautiful song ever written. Captured me the moment I first heard it, sung by a performer in London.
* My Vitriol - Taprobane/Losing Touch: Gorgeous - amazing use of guitars and effects. But where's the second album?!

Monday, 31 December 2007

new year, working in radio, and blog neglect...

Ok, so I feel bad for neglecting my blog for over two weeks... so I'll try to make this one a good post!!!

At the moment I am working in radio, manning the news room of The Pulse in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Covering all the big stories in Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford and anything international that comes up. Writing the stories then reading them live on air.

Bhutto has been a recurring theme in my bulletins lately, as Pakistan plunges into chaos. And it looks like Kenya may be heading the same way. Elections are a tricky thing, and tensions run high...

The local stories are generally quite grim, such as the killing of a 13 month old boy by his family's pet dog in Wakefield.

But the New Year is upon us, so fresh starts all around!

January sees me begin a three week work placement at BBC Manchester, which should be rewarding.

More soon

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

manics... amazing...

video

Saw the Manic Street Preachers at the top of their game last night. A varied set, amazing sound, a band full of energy... Absolutely blinding!

And Brixton Academy was such a perfect venue!!!

Manics - 11/12/2007

The video is You Love Us - can you hear the crowd?!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Japanese Test / 日本語のテスト

Tomorrow is another day of judgement for my (and millions of other people around the world) as we sit out Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). I will be sitting 4-kyuu, which is the first level (ranging from 4-kyuu up to 1-kyuu), and am extremely nervous!

So good luck to anyone out there sitting the exam!

Otherwise, I headed down to Portobello Road Market today with the hope of buying all my Christmas presents... did it happen? Did it heck...

明日日本語能力試験をします。 四級です。 私は。。。 とてもナーバスです。 
みんな、がんばってください!

そして、今日本語でファイナルファンタシーVIIをします。 すごい!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

condoms...

It's been a week since my last blog...

My big story today is counterfeit condoms. I'm covering the story for tomorrow's news day at uni.

It seems that someone has been producing fake Durex and distributing them to shops around London. Already 9 boroughs have been hit, including Harrow. Obviously that's a big worry for students around here...

The thing with these condoms is that there is no guarantee they will protect against infections or prevent pregnancy.

I'm speaking to people from Durex and trading standards tomorrow about it, so we'll see what they advise for anyone who's bought these.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

guitars!

tonight, as part of my journalistic experiences, I will be attending Gibson's charity guitar auction at the O2 (the Dome). the auction includes guitars donated and signed by such artists as Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher and Slash.

should be an interesting night, and a wonderful opportunity to see guitars making a difference - as the proceeds are going to 3 charities - The Prince's Trust being one

today still has rain...

Japan seems to be coming under fire today, as its whaling expedition is slated by the US, and it is receiveing criticism over its policy to fingerprint all foreigners entering the country

Monday, 19 November 2007

unhealthy Huddersfield...

How proud one is when one's town is featured on Trevor MacDonald's programme... as having some of Britain's unhealthiest people, and being at the top of the cholestorol stakes (or should that be 'steaks'?)

Poor Huddersfield... 65% of adults there are above the recommended levels for cholesterol. There's more on the Examiner website

Otherwise, the rain came today, along with thunder, which failed to materialise into a storm.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

'I really really wish I could be somewhere else...'

My title today quotes the Razorlight song 'Somewhere Else' and sums up my feelings for the day.

I used to love autumn and winter, but this year and last, I just can't wait for it to end. I want warmth, open windows, short-sleeved shirts! I think I'll aim to move to Hawaii and open a beach bar once I graduate... I think part of the problem this year is being London. Autumn at home (Huddersfield) always struck me as really beautiful, with the changing colours and the falling leaves. In London it just feels bleak.

But enough of that!!! The weekend has been interesting. I enjoyed my first ever full body massage, which was extremely relaxing! I ventured into Regent's Park and Greenwich, both seemingly nice areas of London. Although, after years of seeing pictures of 'the Dome', or the O2 as it is now, I was a little disappointed to see that it's much small than I had imagined!!!

A little news that's grabbed my attention... Asahi News claims that Japan is suffering a butter shortage, and there are worries over prices of Christmas cakes as a result.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Lily Allen and train stations...

Just seen Lily Allen play a fantastic set at Waterloo International Station (soon to lose its International status).

She played 3 songs - LDN, Smile and Waterloo Sunset (by the Kinks) and got a massive response from the small audience there.

By the looks of it, it wasn't publicly announced, as the crowd was small, but soon grew once people realised what was going on!

Today is the last day that the Eurostar will arrive and depart at Waterloo, changing to St. Pancras International as of tomorrow, which is also the 13th anniversary of the first Eurostar train.

a few stories...

Back to university today after illness...

So, a few stories for the day...

Back home, in Huddersfield, schools are to get a £400million investment from Kirklees Council - that's from The Examiner

In Japan, a group of 4 'war orphans' have arrived from China in the hope of finding any relatives and information regarding their real past. The group were among those left behind in China after Japan's loss in World War 2. 2812 such 'war orphans' have been recognised by the Health Ministry. That's from Asahi News today.

And in London, it's the last day for the Eurostar at Waterloo. As of tomorrow the services switches to St. Pancras station.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

books... and still ill...

Well, the illness seems to be reaching its latter end (or so I hope!), so I should be bright and breezy in time for classes on Monday morning!

I've been getting through the last few days with a schedule of sleep, Andrews salts, Lemsip and books. At the moment (and in fact, for the last two years or so, on and off) I have been working my way through the works of Haruki Murakami, and have now moved onto his namesake Ryu Murakami. I have recently finished Haruki's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle for the second time, and feel to understand it a little more this time! At the moment I am working through Ryu's In The Miso Soup. Excellent...

Also, in the Japanese vein, I have been watching the anime series Azumanga Daioh, and the drama Mop Girl, trying to understand them without subtitles. Not as easy as you might think!!!

今、村上の本を読んでいます。 イン・ザ・ミソスープ。 そして、あずまんが大王とモップ・ガールを見ます。 いいですよ! とても面白いだよ。

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

illness and such like...


today brought illness... I think it's flu or cold or something, coupled with stomach ache... not ideal, really.

my blog seems to be attracting more visitors from far and wide also, and my first visitor from Japan too! (ありがとう!)

I have now begun to type up my application for January's work placement. BBC radio stations are my choices, as I think the experience and credence would be excellent. So watch this place...

Tomorrow, I will be in the audience of The Wright Stuff, so tune in to Channel 5 tomorrow morning!

And the photo is my own... the beauty of autumn nights in Shelley, Huddersfield.


NOVA school in Japan has been partially bought by another corporation. G.education Co. will reopen 30 of NOVAs school, after the company filed for bankruptcy in October. There were many English people working for NOVA in Japan, so this will hopefully come as some relief. That's according to Asahi