Tuesday, 29 July 2008


Busy as ever and spilling over with fizz and energy, 3 Foot Ninja have added five new songs to their Myspace profile. They're available for free download too, so get downloading and score some Ninja beats for nowt. You know you want to.

Take Hold of the Feeling
Cardboard Cutouts
Suicidal Valentine
16's Legal
Push Yourself

Click on their Popwatch Link to hear and download the tunes. I've put it near the top look, it's the second one down.

All of them rattle along at a tremendous rate and those Ninja guitars do some serious electric kung-fu riffery. Catch the lads live at the soonest possible opportunity. Check their Myspace for details, but I think it'll be a while until they play in Whitby.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


The Merkins have parted company with their recently acquired drummer Matt. Nothing bad, he just wasn't quite the ticket. "We want a drummer thats gonna drive the band forward and bring a whole new heavy sound to our songs" Pug told me.

There is someone lined up to fill Matt's stool, but the identity of the new Merkin is a closely guarded secret. Keep you eye on Popwatch, as shortly all will be revealed!


About a month ago Popwatch attempted to thrust a rusty dipstick into the thick black oil of public opinion by asking what Whitby Now should concern itself with in the future. 41 Popwatchers responded, and there was a clear winner. We were going to show the results on a pie graph, but Mark Liddell ate it.

Obviously this vote is not going to change anything. Its meant to offer food for thought and present a snapshot of peoples' ideas regarding the course Whitby Now should steer in the future. Its far easier to vote by right-clicking a mouse than it is to raise money, find a venue, arrange security, get insurance, hire a PA and all the other 1001 things Whitby Now have to do before the first band even plays a chord. We should be grateful they do it so we don't have to, and support them all the way.

Luckily last weekend Jeremy Paxman was staying at Saltwick Bay Caravan site, and he generously offered to help me out here.

Hello. I'm Jeremy Paxman off the telly. I do mainly right serious programmes like Newsnight and University Challenge, but I am also a huge fan of the Whitby music scene. I have a signed copy of the Sludge Ghaut LP Spunkmonkey on which Heath has drawn a small penis, and I own the largest collection of Jimmy Lupton memorabilia in existence.


As for the voting, 19% (8 votes) of people thought Whitby Now should promote small gigs all year, but I think this might lead to a lack of focus. Its nice to have something to aim for and build up to each year, however the fundraisers have been exceptional lately, and I can see where they're coming from.

I went to the last one at The Res with Trevor Macdonald. We disguised ourselves as tramps and sat at the back mouthing obscenities. Trevor particularly liked Panda Lasagne. He's still a surf punk at heart, bless him.


4% thought one gig a year was the way to go, and another 4% thought two gigs would be the bee's knees (that's just one vote each, mind). This year I believe two concerts over one weekend will be the order of the day, but this can lead to unforseen problems.

Last year my colleague Kate Adie was arranging a Metal festival in Margate. She was going to hold it over one weekend, with Death Metal bands scheduled for the Saturday, and Black Metal on the Sunday. Sadly no one could decide whether Goatblood Death Massacre were Death or Black Metal. An argument ensued culminating in the band flouncing off in their Range Rover, and the event fell into disarray. So you see, its not always that easy.


A whacking 70% of Popwatchers (that's 29 votes) wanted an outdoor festival type thing. Presumably this would be a one day event in a big field with the bands playing all afternoon and into the night.

Imagine sitting on the grass with the sun beating down, drinking tepid lager from a flimsy plastic glass, whilst Yabbadabbadoo play a punk version of Mull Of Kintyre as a bee crawls up your chino leg. What could be sweeter?

But what if there's a sea fret? What if it rains? I remember when my friend Michael Fish booked Babyshambles to play at the annual Weathermens' Summer Fete. It started to rain, and the band had to shelter temporarily in Michael's house, so their guitars didn't get wet.

When it cleared up, Michael went in to see if they were ready to do their set. But the band had vanished through an open window taking 150 Woodbines and the medicine cabinet from his bathroom wall. So its not always plain sailing when you've the British weather to contend with.

Anyway, I've got to go and be nasty to some students on telly shortly, so whatever you voted, have a great Whitby Now, and support them in any way you can.

So its bye from me, Jezzer Paxman. Bye!

If anybody has an idea for another Popwatch vote, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. If your topic is chosen you will win a Boeing 747 full of diamonds!*

*This prize may be changed to a bag of monster munch without notice at the discretion of Popwatch

Sunday, 20 July 2008


At The Popquiz I was lucky enough to find myself seated next to Leafy and Jamie out of The DTs, who I have to admit I didn't know about. Anyway, there's a link to their absolutely fabulous website in the Popwatch Links.

Also John out of The DTs has signed up as a Popwatch author, so look out for his name at the bottom of posts. And tell him to get his hair combed.

Jack out of The Scarlett Alliance has started a Whitby Music Forum for everyone to share comments, news and details of gigs etc. Join up and start forumming. There's a link to that in The Popwatch links as well.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


The next MUSIC IN THE BASEMENT will be at Whitby Coliseum, Station Square, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 1BW, on Saturday 26th July 2008 at 7.30pm.

TICKETS: Telephone: 01947 825000
or from fragile.sm@hotmail.co.uk


The line up is...

ANDY STONE Fantastic guitarist vocalist from York. "I'm a guitarist/singer/songwriter. Usually there's just me and my guitar, but I often have the pleasure of making music with some other, rather talented folks. I'm currently playing and recording guitars for Dan Webster's first Album release. I'm constantly on a long mission to find the right musicians to play on my own first album. Foda (Paul Fothergill) will most definitely be providing his bass skills, but thats as far as I've got! I also occasionally play with two function bands, "The Juniors" and "Blue Nun", which features Alistair Griffin on lead vocals".

MILES CAIN takes his cues from acts such as Billy Bragg, Van Morrison, Waterboys, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. The York-based singer-songwriter has released four albums, including his latest, A Way Of Being Free, released in 2007. He is a seasoned live performer, with gigs at festivals like Beverley Folk Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Greenbelt and venues like Fibbers in York and the Adelphi in Hull. He has supported acts such as Jackie Leven, Martyn Joseph, Juliet Turner and Edwina Hayes. Miles also works as a journalist, poet and storyteller. His website is : http://www.milescain.com/

Also in the Basement will be Whitby's own CHRIS THE POET. Chris is a very talented individual, writing excellent verse about Whitby and its people. Although he'll make you smile, there is also a depth of thought behind his words (it says here).

PANZER ATTACK are a local band from Esk Valley usually know for their heavier sound. At the Basement some members of the band will give us an acoustic set using their own material. This will be a treat for all who are familiar with their musical output. http://www.myspace.com/theashesofsoma (This link will actually take you to the Soma Myspace site, the band that became Panzer Attack. You may as well wallow in Soma's shimmering loveliness. If you then want to experience Panzer Attack, click on their name in the Popwatch links.)

BARBARA HELEN "An extremely talented songwriter, who presents her songs with a voice that ranges between sensitive & soaring! But I love good instrumentation, so the best compliment I can offer is that her guitar picking & strumming is as good as it gets.” Stan Gee*

FRAGILE is made up of Mark Atkinson and Sally Ann Smith, also joined by bass player Kevin Melling, adding a different dimension to their music. Mark and Sally are the organisers of the event and are always interested in hearing from anyone who would like to take part or know of someone who would like to.http://www.myspace.com/fragilesm

THE COMMITTEE are a fantastic young rock band from the Esk Valley who are always in demand.

ADAM MOSS from Whitby is 15 years old and shows the makings of a fine musician. We're bound to see a lot more of him on the music scene in the future.

This post was written by Fragile, and then edited a bit for Popwatch


On Friday 18th July, The Banter, Electric Nightmares and The John Does played at The Rifle Club in a gig promoted by the good people at Rangam.

If anyone who went could review this event for Popwatch, I'd be most grateful. I couldn't make it myself. It doesn't matter how short it is, as long as you were there. Nice to see the gig mentioned in The Gazette though.

If anyone out of The John Does is out there, do you have a Myspace site or anything yet chaps?


The eagerly anticipated Popquiz on Tuesday, July 15th at The Station Inn, was a huge success. £160 was raised for Whitby Now and everyone went home with aching brains, yet happy that they finally knew the length of Gene Simmond's tongue.

Kate Longmate turned up with a wad of questions thicker than a docker's sandwich, and asked them with such poise and style that a fellow at the bar bought her a complimentary drink for having such a richly commanding voice. If you didn't manage to make it, you can test your pop skill by trying the half dozen sample posers at the bottom of this article. These are actual questions asked in the quiz, so you can gauge the level of knowledge required.

There was a round of questions about the Whitby music scene, which the Whitby Now team won. There was a kazoo round, sponsored by Robinson's Jet, and a fiendishly difficult anagram, which is reproduced in the sample questions down at the bottom.

A good turn out, which included The Banter, Folk Devils, The Gazette and the fabulous Dingbats tussled with such topics as how tall Prince is, what the first tune ever played on Radio One was, and how many people there are in Polyphonic Spree.

Although they won the booby prize, this representative of The Dingbats team epitomises the sense of fun and exhuberance that made this quiz a night to remember, as he proudly displays his kazoo and a picture of Cliff Richard stuck to a wooden spoon.

There was a fantastic selection of prizes on offer. Jim Marshall OBE donated a tiny Marshall amp that you can actually plug a guitar into and pretend to be Justin Hawkins. It is inadvisable to attempt to stand atop it during a particularly complicated solo though, as it is barely three inches high. Mr Marshall also provided a signed copy of his book 'The Father Of Loud'. And it it didn't stop there, oh no!

Folk Devils provided a CD voucher, which they then proceeded to win for themselves. Jean from Lander's Butchers came up with a bottle of Bell's Whisky as the raffle prize, a bottle of wine came from an undisclosed source, and there were trophies too. Each winner got a sea creature perched on a silver plinth. Rumour has it that the whale Folk Devils won for the kazoo round is proudly on display in the Sandgate shop as we speak.

In this picture the victorious Sludge Ghaut team, which included only one member of the band in all honesty, sit smugly behind their stash of winnings. Colin and Andy of The Station Inn displayed their considerable largesse by providing beer tokens as prizes, some of which can be seen here in their liquid reincarnation.

Unfortunately one sinister incident slightly marred an otherwise perfect night out. In the debris after the event, crib notes were discovered on the subjects of Wham, Dollar, Take That and The Spice Girls. An internal investigation is currently being conducted. A woman is helping police with their inquiries.

It's seven inches long, by the way.

Gene Simmond's tongue that is.


1. Alex James played bass in Blur, but what is he now well known for?

2. Which band advertised for a bassist with the requirement that they were 'into Husker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary'?

3. How tall is Prince?

4. Name three Whitby pubs Mark Liddell has never played in?

5. Which artist is hidden in the anagram 'An acute girlish air'?

6. Which of the following is a genuine piece of Morrisey tour merchandise?
a. A torch with 'There is a light that never goes out' on the handle
b. A pillowcase embroidered with 'Last Night I Dreamed That Somebody Loved Me'
c. A tartan 'Shoplifters of the World' trolley
d. A Vauxhall viva with Mozza's face emblazoned on the roof.

The answers are in the first comment under this post.

Saturday, 12 July 2008


Ammonites are due to have a new CD entitled 33.3 released on the Reverb Worship label. The provisional release date is July 17th. It will be available in a limited edition of 50 copies with a hand numbered insert, so keep an eye on Popwatch for further news. Click on their link to hear Ammonites' music.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


So Pop Quiz draws near and the latest exciting news is that Robinson's Jet of Whitby, the finest purveyors of Jet jewellery in town have agreed to sponsor the Kazoo round! To celebrate here are some kazoos and a picture of Clicker in his jet workshop!

But that's not all! There is also a fantastic selection of prizes on offer in return for your pop knowledge and your £1 entry fee...

You could win:

* A Marshall MS-2 Micro Amp

* A signed copy of 'Father of Loud' by Dr Jim Marshall OBE

* A pair of tickets to see Chumbawamba at the Coliseum on the 25th of July

* A voucher for a CD of your choice from Folk Devils CD shop on Sandgate

* Some Beer tokens for use in the Station Inn

Many thanks to Marshall Amplification, Folk Devils, Musicport, Robinson's Jet and The Station Inn for their support.

And remember, you don't need to be a band to enter, the maximum team size is five, but couples, individuals, 5-aside football teams, families, businesses and any other permutations you can come up with are all welcome, the more the merrier!

Tuesday 15th July, 8pm the Station Inn. £1 per person, maximum of 5 people per team.


NEW! This post has been updated with an extremely rare Discarnate live photo!

From the edge of the local music scene, surfing in on a black wave of mutated guitars and sore throat inducing vocals come Discarnate. Purveyors of high quality death, doom, destruction and desolation, and anything else you can think of that begins with D. Except possibly daintiness.

I asked singer and guitarist Dave Barker for a brief history of Discarnate. "Me and Rob Martland (drums) formed a band about 3 years ago, and we've been in the same one ever since, we've just had members come and go as our style's continued to develop. Chris and Matt Dudman (bass/vocals and lead guitar respectively) are brothers, so it wasn't long after Chris joined that Matt did. I've been in a few other bands around Whitby, I played bass for DraYven for a while, as well as some other failed projects. The other guys have been in other bands as well, such as Infidel and Tautology."

Their new songs Face Of Insanity and Purge The Unclean would come into my top ten most listened to tunes at the moment. I often click them on when I'm surfing the web. What I like about this music is that you think you know exactly what's going to happen next, then it changes.

In Face Of Insanity for instance, after a fierce opening salvo of fast riffing and guttural vocals, it all drops out leaving a single guitar riff in the left speaker. Then a subhuman growl hoves in from the right, and we're back in again. Then, suddenly a burst of tuneful guitar interplay takes us somewhere else entirely.

Likewise in Purge The Unclean, which is apparently an old song revamped, a slow riff suddenly appears from the maelstrom before reverting to full belt mayhem again leading to an abrupt ending.

The tracks were recorded at Wayland's Forge in Sheffield. The studio is owned by a guy out of metal band Bal-Sagoth. "We thought it would be better to go there than going to some pop studio who thinks we write songs about ponies and rainbows", Dave reckoned.

Lyrics are Dave's responsibility and the rest of the songwriting is a group effort. A gradual build up of mega-riffage and ideas that eventually coalesce into a workable whole. "In total, we have about 7 or 8 songs, and we're working on more. We also play some cover songs, by bands that no-one has heard of."

"It was great to hear songs that started as an idea in the practice room become a high quality recording that people can get and idea of our sound from". says Dave, who admits Discarnate had never ventured into a studio before. Jonny Maudling at Wayland's Forge guided them through the recording process, and the results speak for themselves. The tracks will be sent out to try and get gigs, recording opportunities and more exposure for the band.

So Dave, will Popwatchers be able to see Discarnate live anytime soon? "Nope, unfortunately not. We just played CultureShock festival a few days ago, and we got a nice response there (aside from the people wearing Burberry caps and gold chains). We managed to sell some CDs too."

They need gigs and they're working on more songs and promoting themselves, although not via the medium of photography, as you can see from the grinning band member's pictures that aren't decorating this article. In fact I've had to resort to the band's logo in different colours and a photo of the studio, and there isn't even a hairy death metaller working the controls on that bugger. Elusive bunch.

Also I've done the text in blood red so it looks a bit macabre, but if anyone leaves a comment saying its too difficult to read and it hurts their eyes, I can change it back.

Support your local Death Metal band!

Since writing this article, the band have come up with a photo, which I've used twice in different ways in the hope that people won't notice and will think its really two pictures. Thanks.

Friday, 4 July 2008


What with our weekly trip to The Station Inn for Quiz Night, usually followed by a pint in The Black Horse and then on to Rosie's (hats off) to hear Carl Robinson, Thursday nights are always special. However Thursday June 26th was even more specialer than normal, because we were invited to the screening of a new feature film.

After winning the quiz, with the help of Cooky (Sludge Ghaut, The Frictions etc.), despite a controversial answer concerning Mrs Flanders out of The Simpsons, Andy, Kate, Chris Corner and myself made our way to The Bridge Inn at Ruswarp for a few preliminary drinks and some arty film chat.

Then it was off to Ruswarp's leading arthouse cinema, with its tiny state-of-the-art screen for the film itself. Refreshments including hot and cold drinks were on offer, together with a tempting array of snacks and some comfy chairs.

Alright then, we watched it at Kate's house on her laptop, but you've got to get into the spirit of these things, y'know!

The movie in question was The Tales Of Donkey The Whale 2, made by Chris Corner (Sludge Ghaut, Loki, The Frictions etc.) and Dave Ezra. For a 51 seconds long animated feature, it packs a lot in. Subjects such as isolation, alienation, fish fingers, weeing, global warmering and whether a penguin can hold a balloon are all covered. The dancing scene is a particular highlight.

As the director of the film was present, a post screening Question and Answer session took place, conducted by Kate. It is reproduced in full here in order to give an insight into the artistic mind that created this work:.

Kate: Fancy another beer Chris?

Chris: That'd be lovely, ta.

Kate: There's some Tunnock's teacakes on the table if you're partial?

Chris: I'd be rude to say no.

Kate: There's olives too, if you fancy one at some point?

Chris: Ooh no thanks. I don't like olives.

So grab a Tunnock's teacake and a can of Grolsch and relive that screening yourself. Both films, the original and the sequel, are presented here uncut for your delectation so you can make up your own minds. Popcorn is available in the foyer.


Over in the Popwatch facebook group (48 members and counting! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15405436911 if you're in that particular virtual world) the Whitby Gazette are claiming that they will be the team to beat at the Pop Quiz... surely the bands of Whitby can't take that kind of gauntlet lying down?

There are rumours of Yabadabadoo, DT's and even a Sludge Ghaut team... so come on the rest of you... Tuesday 15th July, 8pm at the Station Inn only £1 per member and a chance to prove that the pop kids (and pop-oldies!) of Whitby can beat the local journo's!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008


James Wales the songwriter has emerged from under the cover versions with a brand, some might say spanking, new MySpace page.

So far, there are two tracks. The first is what you'd expect from the pen of a Yabb: a fast-paced howl of small-town anguish ("I'm stuck inside my life again...") called Bring It Down. It's great, as indeed it has to be, because everyone writes songs about how crappy it is to be young, under-valued, frustrated, with acne and permanently aching boy-marbles. To the man's credit, it sounds both real and melodic. Hats off.

The second track is... well, how many of you remember when every band in the world claimed to have (and to have always had) A Dance Element In Their Music? Well, Walesy didn't do that. He just made a big, boingy dance track with lots of dubby spaces, called it Bang Bang (rather than Big Boing) and then blamed his 6th form music teacher for making him write something from "outside the comfort zone." I want to hear more of this, much more. How far outside the comfort zone can the man Wales go?


I have to say I am partial to a good lyric myself, being a lifelong Sparks fan - how could I not be?(My favourite Sparks lyrics later).

However, there is another more philosophical path to musical enjoyment - just open your ears to everything and let it all seep in and bounce and sway along. Does it matter that you can't quite get through the voice decoders of your favourite death metal band? They do use some fancy equipment don't they? Otherwise they would have ever such sore throats the next morning.

Does it matter that Sigur Ros are not only not singing in Icelandic, but in a completely made up language - as long as you get the dreamy haunted quality of their sound? ( Icelandic/Invented - doesn't really matter much to non Icelandic's does it? )

Does it matter that you haven't a blooming clue what The Kings of Leon were singing or talking about at Glastonbury last week, because - overall it still sounded pretty amazing?

I think the answer is sometimes, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. But if you were really showcasing your band and your songs, wouldn't you want the audience to catch all the nuances that you thought you wrote into it? Wouldn't you want them to laugh when you were being funny, sob when you were being mournful, dance when you perhaps issued dancing instructions?

Now, there can be lots of different reasons why the audience aren't picking out your lyrics:

a. they are Icelandic.
b. your PA is really pants.
c. you are not ENUNCIATING PROPERLY DARLING! (said like that shouty actorly bloke with the beard - oh yes, Brian Blessed.)

But I do know one thing that will help you to be better understood. Talk to the audience more, lead them into your song, tell them what it is about.

James from Panda Lasagne did a brilliant job of this at our last fundraiser, and as a consequence he had the audience laughing along with him. Then he surprised them all with a poignant song about his dad, who isn't well at the moment.

He connected with the audience. Ok, some of his lyrics were about dog poo, but Panda Lasagne are a great live band to watch because they interact with the audience.

Ditto the fabulous Forefathers. If Steve wants to attract the audience's attention - then he thinks of a way to do it - immediately and brilliantly. Ok, sometimes he gets his knob out, but everybody at this stage is listening very intently. Hopefully.

As you all know our November weekend of gigs is fast approaching, and maybe the audience there won't be straining for every word as they might at one of our Fundraisers, but this still doesn't mean you can't lead them into it. It is prescious to you, and you wrote those words for a reason. They make the difference between the song you've just done, and the one you're about to do next. Let's hear it for THE LYRICS!

So to one of my favourite Sparks lyrics, which comes from a song about a suicide pact. In it the boy goes first as in the Romeo and Juliette story - the girl changes her mind!

Clck on the mp3 player here to hear the song. You can even sing along with the lyrics! You'll have to be quick though. The singing comes in immediately!

Here In Heaven
lyrics by Ron Mael

Here, there are lots of things to do
And a panoramic view
Of the universe completely surrounding you
And here you cannot buy souvenirs
You're never going back, never, never

Basically, I guess it could be worse
Yes, I do suppose it could be worse

Here, there are many, many sheep
And the people only sleep
And awake to tell how gory and gruesome was their end
And I don't have many friends
And it's really very clean and I'm thinking

Juliet, you broke our little pact
Juliet, I'm never coming back

Chorus:Up here in Heaven without you
I'm here in Heaven without you
Up here in Heaven without you
It is Hell knowing that your health will keep you out of here
For years and years and years
(my favourite line! He is in Heaven - but he is in hell! ha ha)

Dear, do you often think of me
As you overlook the sea
Do I qualify as dearly departed or am I
That sucker in the sky
The fall guy for the first and the last time

Juliet, I thought we had agreed
Now I know why you let me take the lead

Chorus:Up here in Heaven without you
I'm here in Heaven without you
Up here in Heaven without you
It is Hell knowing that your health will keep you out of here
For years and years and years

Second thoughts, is that what you had?
Second thoughts, first I broke my back
Second thoughts, as I hit the sea
Second thoughts, for eternity, for eternity, for eternity...

Feel free to chip in with any comments about the lyrics you're most proud of, or the ones that have most inspired you.

This post was written by Whitbynowsec

Tuesday, 1 July 2008



On Tuesday July 15th, which is just around the corner, Whitby Now are holding a fabulous Pop Quiz at The Station Inn. Surely the pub that serves the best beer in town. Top tip: Try the Daleside Blond. It's gorgeous!

For an entry fee of a measly £1 per contestant, you get the chance to pit your pop wits against the cream of the local music scene, I am led to believe. Teams of up to five pop quizzers are deemed acceptable, and one of the prizes may or may not be a cut out Cliff Richard on a stick! Although it has to be said, at time of going to press, no suitable Cliff cut out had been located. In fact no stick had been found either.

As a taste of what's to come and to hone your pop knowledge ready for the big event, here are three tester questions for the time being.

1. What do Morrissey and Beyonce Knowles have in common?

2. If Guns 'N' Roses played Rosie O'Grady's, which drink would Slash order as a refreshment between sets?

3. Who killed Kurt Cobain?

The answers are in the first comment under this item. Best of luck! See you there!