Tuesday, 6 April 2010



Yep. I'm going to give something back by running 5k for the brilliant Cancer Research UK.

Like most people, I have a personal history with cancer, having lost a particularly wonderful grandmother to it when I was a lot younger. I'm sure that won't be the only time in my life that we meet, either.

So, as I wanted to physically challenge myself this year (inspired by Eddie Izzard) - to hurl myself out of my comfort zone, shape up, feel the burn of a real challenge - I've settled on this.

My run will be on Sunday June 6th around the Bath University campus. For some people, 5k is easy - for me, well, I can hardly run for the bus.

As far as I'm concerned, a PB is a trashy handbag covered in cheap patches.

I've realised I need to buy
1) A pair of good quality running shoes
2) A decent sports bra
3) Some sort of neon lycra ensemble.... what?

I'm hoping that as I've now put the word out it's too late to go back. I just filled in the form in a mad half-hour spurt of madness and as soon as I get my first donation, I'll realise that this is actually happening.

Good! Bring it on! I'm going to be pestering my fitness-mad brother for a training regime, and after I've hoofed my one and only Easter egg, that'll be it.

Now it's just going to be about spreading the word...

Wish me luck!

x Hev

Monday, 22 February 2010


Some great news for popdock, which is that I now have a weekly column over at Bristol24-7, a wicked comprehensive local site that covers everything from fireworks displays to football and all in between.

My column is under 'Bristol Life' - and that's only a tiny part of the site! It's full of anything you could want to know about this city, and wants readers to get involved too. There's plenty of opportunity to make your own voice heard through comments and message boards, and that's just as important for keeping this city the way we like it!

Sorry I've been a little quiet on the posting front, but next week is gonna be such a goodun - Hot Chip, Will Self and, hopefully, Los Campesinos! Not to mention the usual musings, and the guys from Gimme Shelter vintage...

Stay tuned!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Goliath/The Bad Joke That Ended Well/The Scarlet

@ Louisiana 10.02.10

Popped into the Loui' last Wednesday with a hankering for a good chunk of live new music. A mate of a mate was taking to the stage, so after a pleasant pint of Gaymer's Pear, it was upstairs to catch soulful three-piece The Scarlet (previously known as Shades of Autumn).

Two lovely ladies and a gent on acoustic guitar made a very pretty sound - all soulful harmonies and gentle love stories in most songs, including a wicked cover of Paramore's Ignorance. Lead vocalist Sara Lynn has a strong, crystal clear voice with pop and r&b influences, and coupled with nice guitar work from Olly Curtis, the songs gained an emotional fragility that stopped them from being too polished (my usual problem with slick, over-produced chart fillers, no offence Mariah.)

The set could have done with a little more dynamism, particularly as Olly and supporting vocalist Liv Baxter remained seated throughout, making the whole performance a bit static. All three are talented, but it almost felt like a vehicle for Sarah's vocal talent than a comfortable, unified band.

Next up, The Bad Joke That Ended Well. A tongue-twister of a name, but some really interesting music.

This folky foursome were quite shy, letting their banjos, accordions, harmonicas and the rest do the talking. Hiding behind beanies and beards, their sweet mix of Americana-tinged railroad noisiness was more than enough to get the soul soaring.

Looking a bit like the love-children of Devendra Banhart and Steve Zissou, this band were drawing from a whole range of influences. Most songs began simply with a low, gravelly vocal and one bass drum, and built up into all-encompassing layers of lovely, stompy sound.

What with the folk renaissance that's taking place at the moment with bands like Beirut, Noah and The Whale and Mumford and Sons, T.B.J.T.E.W should, hopefully, be set for big things over the next year. Having said that, I hope they aren't just lumped into the same category, as they're making music that's original enough to be considered in its own right.

Last up were Goliath (below), whose slow, guitar-driven atmospheric set put me in mind of The Goo Goo Dolls.

They were trying to build up deft sonic layers into a gradual crescendo, but it just left a bit of a sour taste. Each song began to drag, and the set was early-'90s-rock predictable. They could have been playing the Cold Feet soundtrack. Half the band wore 'cool' matching white shirts and black ties, and their myspace smacks of a wannabe James Bond convention.

They weren't terrible, but the lack of onstage charisma and lyrical drippy-ness really turned me off.
Goo Goo Dolls fans may appreciate, though.

More music coming soon! x

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Last Chance To See...


Just an uber-quick post reminding everybody that the awesome Gorillaz, Tank Girl and Monkey artist Jamie Hewlett 's exhibition Under Water Colours, in aid of Oxfam, is at the Arts House Gallery in Stokes Croft until Thursday! I'm really going to try and make it up there, but wanted to spread the word in case I eventually don't. Damn work always getting in the way! I only heard about it last week, so apologies for not being on it sooner.
image courtesy of oxfam.org
Much love x

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Another one? Oh, go on then..

This gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, as if I've just eaten lots of Wensleydale and crackers...

Yes, today comes the news that Bristol-based Aardman Animations have been nominated for a fifth Oscar for the wonderful A Matter of Loaf and Death. It's great news for the team who painstakingly mold these little plasticine worlds for hours on end. Anyone who can actually do this job deserves an award in my book.

I love seeing Bristolian celluloid talent properly acknowledged, and when it's a company that keeps working with traditional techniques, (especially up against the technological might of current Hollywood blockbusters, e.g. The Blue Tree People Film) and not cutting corners, bowing to studio pressures or plastering the thing wth guns and explosions - well, that's even better. Then again, that might just be my inner Whether's-Originals-sucking, slipper-wearing technophobe escaping again...

Either way, congratulations Nick Park and team, and long may my beloved Bristol continue making quality animation and film worthy of international recognition!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

snortin' and cavortin': Skins Party 29/01

Yes, the great teenage trainwreck Skins is back on our screens for a fourth series, still 'shocking' us with lewd images of immaculately-voiced shop mannequins taking drugs and being all cool and shit. Don't get me wrong, especially considering the location-bumming nature of the last post, it's great to see programmes set in Bristol, but I've just never got Skins.

Perhaps all these ridiculously beautiful youngsters a-snortin' and cavortin' makes me feel distinctly un-rock'n'roll and a bit old into the bargain, but the dialogue is clunky and the acting is awful. The whole pretentious thing isn't a gritty exploration of a dark, misunderstood young underworld, it's Channel 4's big suits trying to prove how edgy and ker-azy they still are by broadcasting a bit of coked-up nubile tit. (Can you tell I've been reading a lot of Charlie Brooker lately?)

So, it was with two minds that I approached the transparent-PR-athon of the Skins House project at the Old Fire Station. On the one hand, it's great to see emerging talent that's a little under the radar come to Bristol - Ou est le Swimming Pool, Two Door Cinema Club, Man Like Me, Chew Lips and various DJs - have, over the last two weeks, all been under the same roof and for great value, with tickets only at a measly quid.

On the other hand, the great unquashable cynic inside me was predicting crowds of gurning little shits, Nathan Barley-esque fashion horrors and an actual altar at which to worship Effy, Cook and 'the crew' before sacrificing yourself to the god of trashy television.

Friday saw Monkey!Knife!Fight! take residence, with the likes of Turbowolf, Man Like Me, Crystal Fighters and Pulled Apart By Horses gracing the subtly branded main stage, above and below, whilst DJ sets from Shitmat and Scotch Egg kept things ticking over nicely in the upstairs room.

A line-up like this can't really be sniffed at, and, musically, there was something for everyone. The dancefloors were full with a crowd that was noisy without being rowdy. (I didn't really get the chance to take that many photos, as it was quite busy and I was quite pissed, so here's the lovely sign again, from a slightly different angle.)

Big Jeff was there somewhere, and if it's alright for Big Jeff, then it's alright for me. The venue itself is wicked (the great red building sat just before Broadmead) with a spacious but not cavernous interior, and there are different rooms on different levels to stop you getting bored. Get rid of the wanky tv tag and it'd be perfect.

Thankfully the focus was on the music - there were no meet'n'greet autograph booths or 'special appearances' - which was enough to pull in all types of post-teenagers not necessarily willing to gobble down any old E4 bullshit poured down their awaiting throats, but make up their own minds about new and interesting music and a venue with atmosphere. (There were some sartorial 'attention seekers', it must be said, particularly an outfit Rupert the Bear's dad would have really dug and a girl with a cassette tape strapped to her head. Not making it up...)

Anyway, I just hope this isn't the future of live music - that we'll need to rely on multi-million pound corporations with their own agenda to provide these events - because then there'll be too much competition for normal people to get any sort of new and innovative ball rolling.

Maybe I'm taking it too seriously. Checking out new places and dancing to music and dressing up is good, and if there's a chance you can get on some cool tv show, then even better. Or whatever.

Monday, 25 January 2010


It's been one thing and another, which has meant I haven't been updating ye olde popdock as regularly as I should... but, here I am again and ready to post, post, post!

We've seen shed-loads of snow (where hasn't?) and are back to the now nicely comforting January drizzle. Never thought I'd be relieved to see it again, but oh, to be able to walk the Avon tarmac normally once more. Well, without extreme ice-trepidation. Normally for me.

Anyway, there's nothing better on the dark nights than to curl up with a good hot chocolate and get some supernatural telly thrills. And I'm not talking Hollywood-glam-vamp-camp-chic (or 'Pattinswoon', as one teen mag tagged him) but a vampire/werewolf/ghost story filmed on our very own doorsteps- in some cases quite literally.

Yes, the wicked Being Human is back on BBC Three for it's second series, and aside from all the flatmate jokes, Russel Tovey and the way the plot is building up a treat - which I'd love no matter where it was set, it's been extra fun spotting all the Bristol locations. It's a wierd feeling, but all of a sudden you realise that park or florists is on one of your regular routes, and it makes it strangely real. I know, it's full of each and every supernatural freak, but seeing it happening in your very familiar home city balances it out, and it's somehow quite believable.

I've been shouting things like "I walk along that bridge in the background everyday!" (sad) and I'm sure London folk get that feeling every day when they watch anything set in Britain, but it' s great to see acknowledgement of other beautiful British cities, and to have some quality programming coming out of the West country. Something not about cider or tractors.

It didn't have to be set in Brizzle. But it is. So, cheers Beebster, and let's have some more!

Right, excuse the dodgy screen shots... brownie points if you get them all!

...Well, they couldn't leave the suspension bridge out, could they?
(copyright all images BBC)