Friday, 28 May 2010

Top 5 Ronnie James Dio Albums

Sad news the other week to hear about the passing of Metal legend Ronnie James Dio. He had an incredible career spanning six decades, appearing on his first seven inch in 1957, and releasing albums with a roll call of classic rock bands. Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and then back round for a series of reunions before his most recent releases with the RJD-era Sabbath line-up as Heaven & Hell.

I only saw him play live twice, both times with Dio. A 1987 headline show at Hammersmith Odeon was one of the most unintentionally funny gigs I've been to. In support of the band's fourth (and probably worst) album, and at a time when traditional Metal was on the wane, Ronnie managed to squeeze almost as many Metal cliches into the 90 minute set as Spinal Tap. The crowning glory saw a giant metal spider descend from the ceiling as the lead guitarist fired laser beams at it from the end of his strat. Despite that I've nothing but fond memories for Dio's best work and incredible vocals. Rest in peace Ronnie and keep on rocking.

1. "Holy Diver" Dio

2. "Rainbow Rising" Rainbow

3. "Heaven & Hell" Black Sabbath

4. "The Last In Line" Dio

5. "Trying To Burn The Sun" Elf


Friday, 21 May 2010

Top 5 Songs about Nothing

I went to the Garage last night to see the fantastic Japandroids for the second time this year. Their album is called "Post Nothing" so I've compiled this fine collection of popular songs that feature the word nothing in the title to celebrate their brilliance.

1. "All Or Nothing" Small Faces

2. "Nothing Is Easy" Jethro Tull

3. "NothingMan" Pearl Jam

4. "Nothing At All" I.Q.
(NB: I couldn't find a video of this so here's "Human Nature" from the same album. Er, it's prog rock and ten minutes long. Thought I'd mention that now in case you're adverse to that sort of thing.)

5. "Nothing Else Matters" Metallica


Friday, 14 May 2010

Top 5 Football Superstitions (that failed to help Fulham win the Europa League)

This would have been a more upbeat post had Fulham won in Hamburg last night. I'm still absolutely gutted we didn't but I'm starting to accept that it was still a brilliant day and a massive achievement.

1. A bet on the opposing team - I've been doing this in the domestic cups for a while now (actually ever since I didn't place a bet on Leyton Orient beating us in the FA Cup which they managed 1-0) and like to think I've helped us avoid some embarrasing slip ups against the likes of Kettering and Accrington Stanley. Fulham's progress in the Europa league has cost me a small fortune but was worth every penny. I might not bother collecting the winnings from this game.

2. Wearing my lucky socks - Back in the nineties when Mickey Adams was just starting to create a buzz at the club I discovered a pair of lucky boxer shorts. They were yellow, which isn't a colour I'd normally choose but had a remarkably long run as lucky totems. When I got a pair of yellow socks last year I couldn't help but wonder if they held the same magic. They did and I've worn them to games ever since.

3. Dad touching the boot of Johnny Haynes - Dad didn't come to Hamburg and even if he had we'd have needed to make an awkward detour to fit this one in. It's done us proud at home though but doesn't have a 100% success rate.

4. Wearing my lucky replica top - I don't buy a top every year but I got this personalised one from a mate for my 40th and it's been a very lucky shirt ever since. Then again I wore my unlucky "Steve Marlet" shirt (the black adidas one) to the recent West Ham game and we won that 3-2.

5. Going in through my lucky turnstile - Somewhere during our epic 63 game season I started to feel drawn to a particular turnstile. We'd been going in roughly the same place for quite a while but now Number 38 (slightly to the right of the picture below) is the only entrance I'll use.

Photo (c) John Hall


Friday, 7 May 2010

Top 5 Flightless Birds

Something short and easy this week. A nod for the inspiration to Philip Ardagh's book of Absolutely Useless Lists. My eldest got it for Christmas and it's been a bit of a toilet reading hit for the whole family. Which might be more information than you really wanted.

1. Kakapo - Ground dwelling, critically endangered, New Zealand parrot. Numbers dropped to something around 50 in the late 80s and early 90s but conservation efforts have seen a gradual increase in numbers (120+ now).

2. Rockhopper Penguin - Penguins as a species are cool, and the Rockhopper the coolest of all. With it's bleach blond crested head the Rockhopper couldn't look more like a surfer without learning to drive a VW camper van.

3. Inaccessible Island Rail - Brilliantly named and smallest existing flightless bird. Another NZ inhabitant. Most other flightless Rails are now extinct but the Inaccessibleness of Inaccessible Island on which the Inaccessible Island Rail lives explains why this species has survived.

4. Kiwi - National symbol of New Zealand. Shy and nocturnal bird with five species that are all endangered to some degree.

5. Galapagos Cormorant - The only flightless Cormorant in the world. Benefits from the isolation of the Galapagos Isles but remains an endangered species.