Tuesday, 5 January 2010

This is a road, not a rally, and you are NOT Colin McRae

So snow has come round again, and once again trying to get anywhere is a nightmare by the sheer lunacy of the average British driver. I am constantly amazed by the things people do in an effort to get from A to B, and am never surprised when they either drive through a wall or abandon the vehicle in disgust.

So here are a few handy hints for you all, based on what I've observed in the last couple of weeks:

  • You are not a rally driver, and you are not a drift racer. Spinning the wheels and trying to drive your car like a speedboat is a fast-track into a wall. Or somebody else.
  • First gear is your enemy. Even a little bit of gas will cause your wheels to spin, and spinning wheels means no traction. No traction means you've lost the battle already.
  • So you want to set off up an incline? That's fine, but sticking it in first, revving its arse off and dumping the clutch will result in you sitting there like a muppet while your tyres dig a nice hole in the ice. Go slow and steady, allowing the wheels to grip rather than smoothing out the ice making it impossible for anyone else.
  • Momentum is your friend. If you've managed to find grip on a bad stretch of road and you want to actually make it to the top, stopping to let people through is a recipe for disaster. The people behind you won't thank you either. Just keep going and everyone will get where they need to be. Cause a blockage in the middle, and everyone is stuck.
  • Brakes are great, except when you don't want to lose traction. Go slowly and roll to a halt, making sure you are not in a position to end up in a skid because your vehicle is still doing thirty but the wheels aren't moving.

Common sense stuff, you might think, but it's depressing how many people try to navigate around the roads like they're in bumper boats. "Point the wheels and MORE POWER!" No, thanks. Leave that nonsense to Top Gear, and let's all just get where we're going (or not) in safety. Thanks.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Year In Gig Form

2009 was a busy year on the live music front, and I managed to beat the benchmark of one gig every month by attending 15 live music events over the course of the year. In no particular order, the bands I saw perform this year were:

Magenta, no less than three times. The first at the CRS BOTY awards, and twice as headliners at the Montgomery Hall in Rotherham. One particular treat was hearing Metamorphosis played in its entirety live on stage.

Mostly Autumn, playing a monumental 2.5 hour set at The Venue in Stocksbridge.

Electric Six twice, the second time supporting the new album Kill in the Sheffield O2 Academy 2.

Doves, supported by the awesome and somewhat bizarre Malakai. Unfortunately this one was cut short due to air conditioning screwups at the O2 Academy, which were righted later as you shall see ...

The Wonder Stuff in Leeds, celebrating the 20th anniversary edition of The Eight Legged Groove Machine.

Threshold at the Rotherham Rocks festival, along with Haze, Crimes of Passion and Beckonsale. I was late arriving so missed Kyrb Grinder.

Reverend & The Makers twice, both in their and my home town of sunny Sheffield. The second gig had a limited edition live recording made, a copy of which I swiftly acquired, adorned with the monikers of the Rev himself and several of the Makers.

Bloc Party on their Bloctober tour, supported by the also amazing Grammatics. Awesome show, awesome lighting, but the crowd were a bunch of morons.

Editors touring their new album In This Light An On This Evening, which I attended for free as a token gesture for the fscking up of the Doves gig earlier in the year.

Pallas, prog veterans and aging rockers that they are, in Monty Hall, Rotherham.

Tragedy, the number 1 all metal tribute to the Bee Gees in the entire world, playing a very, very intimate gig in Sheffield O2 Academy 2.

So there you have it. The target for 2010 is one unique gig a month, a target I almost hit this year with 4 dupes and 1 festival making a total of 10 unique gigs. Some are already lined up, including Lacuna Coil, Frightened Rabbit, Dead Like Harry and Courteeners. Should be good!