Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lunchtime just got better (but more expensive)

Smithfield is within the jurisdiction of the City of London, but outside of the old City walls. It is the furthest that Wat Tylor and the Peasants Revolt reached in 1381 and the furthest that the Great Fire of London got in 1666. And now it plays host to what is probably the City's first and only independent/alternative record shop.

Its called Pure Groove. I got a very pleasant suprise when I walked through Smithfield this Monday luncthime and saw it.

It is a big shop but it only sells 100 titles at any one time. They pick the 100 CDs that they are really into and display them over on one wall. They change the selection every week. It is a great idea: less is more. I will end up going in the store just to find out is in their 100.

They used to be in Archway (North London) but moved to Smithfield in June this year because they could have extra space for instore gigs. The benefit of only selling 100 titles is that it leaves the rest of the store clear for gigs, art exhibitions and installations.

I've been there every lunchtime since I found it. I've bought We'll drive home backwards by Cocosuma and Love, ire and song by Frank Turner. Very happy with both. I felt my age when I read Pure Groove's description of Frank Turner as 'a modern Billy Bragg'.

Here is a video of one of their instore shows: the Virgins. My favourite bit is 5 minutes into the video when they take the band over to the 100 wall and the band comment on the selection and on the other bands represented in it

And here is Frank Turner's instore there:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fulham 3 Celtic 1 (friendly)

In Bishop's Park there is a monument to the men and women from Hammersmith and Fulham who voluntarily went to Spain in 1936 and died in the fight against fascism. I took my son to read the inscription the first time I took him to a Fulham game, but it is usually ignored by home and away fans alike as they stroll to and from matches. So it made a pleasant change today to see a group of Celtic fans pay their homage by standing at the monument after the match and singing some freedom songs from the Irish folk tradition. It made me think how nice it would be to have a friendly against Barcelona (or a Champions League tie, whatever).

Most of Fulham's new signings played at least a half: Bobby Zamora scored with a volley, Zoltan Gera played out on the right wing and showed some subtle touches, John Pantsil played at right back and impressed my daughter with his pink football boots. David Stockdale played in goal and did OK apart from a bizarre moment when he carried the ball out of the penalty area and the referee Steve Bennett kindly waived play on. Tony Kallio came on at left back in the second half and looked tall, lanky, awkward, rangy and difficult to play against - I liked him.

There were patches when Celtic played the ball about well but Fulham were comfortable. Jimmy Bullard looked sunburned and his famous shaggy hair has received some serious attention from a hairdresser with a peroxide look. He was his typical positive, creative but imprecise self. His passing was all awry today but he still seemed to be at the heart of our best stuff in the first half. The Celtic fans jeered him when he fell over the ball in their box and when he put a free kick into orbit over their goal. I'm not used to him getting that sort of treatment - he's one of those rare players even opposition supporters normally like (apart from Bolton fans who don't like his old club Wigan).

Danny Murphy came on with his precise passing, a cut above anyone else's. The best moment of the match was when he chipped a corner direct to Leon Andraeson, unmarked at the edge of the box who smashed a volley into the net.

The Celtic fans were the star of the show, there must have been 12 or 13 thousand of them, they had three quarters of the ground, they made a fearsome noise, and were very friendly.

On the way back I got chatting with a guy who lives in Dover, and belongs to the Folkestone branch of the Celtic Supporters club . He told me they wanted to paint green hoops across the white cliffs of Dover but they couldn't do it because of health and safety considerations.