New Year Resolutions are bullshit, here are mine…

Nothing too mad… some easy SMART goals so come December I can look back on the year and be a smug bastard!

#1 Maintain over 70 in my Degree
Year 1 I got an average of 84, Year 2 was 80. By this time next year I’ll have my Year 3 marks and hopefully I average over 70. (Bit of a cop out, I’ve already got my unconfirmed semester 1 module mark. I got 79 in my C++ module, so already a quarter of the way there!)

#2 Discover More Music! 
Whaaaaa! That’s not a SMART criteria! Well thankfully, the past two years Spotify sent me a ‘end of year report’ with my listening habits (See below). 

 

So with an arbitrary weighting added to it by the end of the 2018 I hope to hit:

  • 19,483 minutes
  • 1668 artists
  • 2977 songs

The artists and unique songs being the important part. So in theory if they increase it means I’m listening to something I’ve not listened to before. Probably.

#3 Hit 15 stone 
Probably the most difficult, but definitely achievable. It’s losing Two and a bit stone in 12 months. I’m currently moderately active with the usual dips and peaks but my diet can be shocking. So in theory if I get the nutrition right the weight loss should be wee buns (I’d love a bun right now!).  Apparently 14st5lb is the upper weight for the ideal BMI for my height… but fuck BMI.. 15 is a nice round number!

There we go.. three arbitrary targets for the 2018!

EDIT: #3b – beat these.

Related to #3 – if I beat my Fitbit totals from 2017 then #3 should be easier. Co-Dependent if you will. If I hit my “targets” everyday then the following should be achievable:

  • 2,920,000 steps
  • 4015 floors
  • 2555 km
  • 1,314,000kcal
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Innovator?

It’s been five years since Michael Jackson died. Therefore, it’s also five years since I ended up in the Belfast Telegraph commenting on Michael Jackson’s death!

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His death was announced overnight and I found out the next morning on Twitter – remember this is when Twitter wasn’t that big a deal. That morning at work some colleagues snuck out for a cheeky smoke before core time started and they phoned up. Apparently there was a reporter hanging about outside work looking comments.

I jumped out of my seat and went down, with a work chum, for a laugh. I walked about nonchalantly then the journalist asked if I wanted to make a comment. I tried to look surprised and began talking shite.

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The abridged version was:

Conor Fearon (24) from Newry said his music will live on more than the scandals that surrounded him.

“I was very shocked when I heard that he’d died this morning. I listened to a lot of his stuff when I was a kid. I had ‘Bad’ on tape but it only worked on one side.

“I think he’ll be remembered for his singing and hopefully not for the tabloid portrayal of him. He was an innovator.”

The innovator line was edited slightly. I was rambling about (not the innovation of music videos) but how he had heavy guitar riffs and Eddie Van Halen play on his songs. I was talking (mostly nonsense) for about 5-10 minutes. They then took my photo as I was on my way. Note: they decided to put “Innovator” beside my name in the photo. Were they implying I was the innovator?

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The Bad on tape thing was true. We had it in the car though no one in the family seems to remember it. I’m pretty sure it was Side B as they are the songs I remember and when we got to the end of the tape we had to rewind to the start.

When the paper came out on Friday evening my work chum messaged me to tell me I was in it. I was coming out of the cinema (Possibly seeing Year One) so afterwards drove to Fiveways to get a copy! Sadly there doesn’t seem to be an online copy of it.

The next day my ma woke me up to give off to me. My auntie phoned her to wind her up and spun it as if I said we had to make do with a broken tape deck and she wouldn’t get us a CD. She believed it too and thought I told the world we live grew up in cassette squalor.

 

Tee Shirt Famous

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I was downstairs in Voodoo in the middle of January and noticed the staff wearing a tee shirt with a list of bands, on the back, that have played upstairs. We have played Voodoo and I wondered if we were on the list. The tee was displayed behind the bar, as you can buy them for £10, but my eyesight is too bad to read from that distance. The other option was to ask the barmaid if she could turn around so I could read the back of her tee shirt – but, even though I was hammered, I was smart enough to know that sounded dodgy. Anyway, I left it and forgot all about it.

I was in Voodoo again last night, with Leona, for some birthday drinks. I saw the tee shirt again and wondered out loud if we were on it. I went to the bog and when I came back Leona produced a fresh tee shirt for me (a birthday present, if you will). Fortunately we were on the tee.

Tee Shirt Famous

So yeah, that’s the closest My Sunday Hat would get to a tee shirt – but at least we are in good company – there are some cracking bands on it.

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Garage Days re-re-re-re-revisited

Not so long ago GarageBand became free on the Appstore. I downloaded it when I noticed and started playing about with it. After a few minutes I noticed that to get some bass I needed to pay £3.99 for the expansion pack. I had a few drinks in me, so why not.

By the next afternoon I had come up with this:

It was nothing serious. Just a bit of messing around. I then tried to come up with a proper song, but couldn’t be bothered. I decided to “redo” a My Sunday Hat song as I knew it quite well and would help me get used to the user interface.

I then tried to do something on my own. Over a lunchtime I came up with this:

I knocked it together quite quickly so was quite chuffed with it.

Over a few weeks I made a few more tunes and put them on my Soundcloud stream. I then tried to create a “proper” song, with a wee melody in lieu of vocals. This was the result:

I liked it initially, until I noticed a bit of it sounds like the Postman Pat theme. But none the less whenever I get round to writing my Xmas Song I would base it on that. Though to make it Christmas-y I need some sleigh bells… and some church bells in place of the Electric Piano arpeggiator bit.. but Apple haven’t provided that for Garage Band.

Yet.

MSH – “Plog Boast”

Originally appeared here on the My Sunday Hat site… by me


 

It’s been a while since anything has been put on this.  That’s poor form. Sure why not have a cup of tea and a kit kat while you have a wee read about some of our comings and goings since an arbitrary date… why not 1st March?

Kitty Sanchez 

On the actual first of March we played our first gig of 2013 in the Stiff Kitten.

Fearon, Patrick and McKay have been going to the Stiff for years and years (probably around the time it first opened – not Aidan, he was about P4 or something then) so it was cool to play there. However, it was strange when we arrived to soundcheck, as it was the first time we had seen the place fully lit. To quote Patrick we had “no idea how we ever got lost in here!”

It was a nice wee venue and as there were spotlights we couldn’t see the audience (which is good as it still freaks me out a bit). We played our new one (at the moment called “new one”) which includes Patrick changing channels on his amp, and no cock ups occurred… which is good.

Some of us stayed to get hammered after our set. I enjoyed Hologram.

Dabbling

A few days after that we travelled to Dublin for our first ever gig outside NI.

Fearon was the poor schmuck who was volunteered to be designated driver.

We managed to get parked somewhere not very near the venue and had had to carry our crap for ages – it was grim.

The whole evening was surreal. First we got interviewed by Kieron, and his producer Hazel, for 2xm. It was a shocking interview, because we said everything you are not supposed to say in a radio interview – which won’t get mentioned here. Though Kieron and Hazel seemed to enjoy it. At the end Fearon joked “good luck getting an edit”. They’ve since aired it, the whole fucking thing, swears and all, at 3pm in the fucking day! Fair play to them like.

Then the bands played. Then us. There was no soundcheck, we just went on stage, plugged in and hoped, but it seemed to work. We did our set, it was grand. Patrick was pished so was having more fun that usual, but we seemed to get away with it.

After us was a Dublin drum and bass band called WOB! who were my favourite! They were so loud and bassy that the vibrations caused glasses to break (including Aidans full pint)! Nice bunch of lads too. They posted us some tins of Guinness to make up for it!

Last on were the Confusion. They were Patrick’s favourite of the night!

At the end of the night there was a “clap-0-meter” to determine who ‘won’. We were tied to the Confusion and there was a sudden death clap off, The Confusion won (aided by Patrick too – he loved them!).

Still, we had a ball and headed home. Fearon made it to bed at 4am. Patrick and Aidan had work at 6am. Patrick got to go home. Aidan didn’t. Fearon had sense to book the day off.

Scene Missing

Not alot happened for a while. Snow, then Easter holidays and all that bollocks, and McKay had to go to Greece for work. When we did get together we we tried to write a new song (henceforth known as “new-new one”). It’s still not totally finished. We are on a third draft as we scrapped it twice. Now the structure is finished, we will have it ready soon.

We had a photoshoot too. After our gigs  in Love and Death Inc, we thought that would be a nice backdrop. We had a laugh, though some of them are ridiculous!

Fearon and McKay also met Mick Foley!!!!

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We also have scheduled another day recording for next month – when we will record “new one” and “new-new one”

Tom Petty

We were also on Through the Wall last week. We (minus Aidan who was sick) did an acoustic set.

The first song we did was “new one” which we had to name. We didn’t name it until 5 seconds before we went live. Host James laughed at our shambles. McKay and Patrick checked the lyrics and called it “Jacket”. I doubt it will stay that way.

Later on we did an interview with Patrick as designated speaker. I’m surprised we allowed this after last time (see above), but he was sober and just kept talking about Tom Petty. He literary said his name 7 times in a minute.

We followed this up with a cover of Beck’s “Lost Cause” – a song that none of us had heard until two days before! We really don’t prepare well, do we?

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We finished our time on the show with Breaks. Which we were plugging as a single. Woo.

We had a blast (pun absolutely intended!) and James was a great laugh!

Plans

Yeah, we are going to release Breaks as a single. On Friday. Check out our shiny new look Bandcamp for details.

Also, Patrick caught the acoustic bug (not really, he always loved the thing!) and is doing a solo show this Friday in McHughs. It’s for charity. Expect some Tom Petty covers. Go!

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Yeah, it’s billed as all of us, but circumstances meant that Patrick is only doing it. Though I think the rest of us are going to go… yay!

MSH – “The My Sunday Hat awards 2013”

By me … Originally appeared here on the My Sunday Hat site


 

…aka The Hatties!

In tribute to some of the obscure Grammy’s, which are tonight therefore topical, we’ve came up with our own tedious awards.

AWARD!!!

If any massive, faceless, corporation want to sponsor these awards, feel free to contact us… 

Also, is it narcissistic to a) name made up and meaningless awards after us and b) subsequently give some to ourselves? Well if it is… I don’t care! There is no structure here and are solely awarded on a whim…

Ukeleue player of the year (“noms” in bold):

Fearon was a shoe in most of the year as Patrick doesn’t have access to a Uke any more  The band’s visit to Blast 106 in August, for an acoustic performance, was going to cement Fearon’s claim to this award, until a rehearsal at his house few days before. McKay picked Fearon’s uke for the first time and improvised something that sounded like a mandolin for Further… He did the same live on the radio with no practice. Prick.

Winner: Darren McKay.

The Arrigo Brovedani award for Smallest Crowd.

The Courthouse Gig at the start of November wasn’t as busy as expected, possibly due to the arrest of a prominent local and expected riots. Though there was still a healthy amount of people there, including the other bands, their friends and regulars.

The Beach Club gig was really quiet too, but unlike the winner it had the advantage of the other bands being there. Plus we started when the doors opened so some people started showing up during the set.

Heat 1 of the Love and Death jam was sparse during our set – as we were on last, and on a school night, people started leaving (even the other acts had left). Though the judges were obliged to stay, a few others voluntarily braved it out too. Plus it’s a small room – so less depressing.

tanglecrowd

The deserving winner is Tanglewood! On a rainy Saturday morning we turned up on time, the stage wasn’t finished so we were delayed by over an hour! We hoped this would mean that when the gates open people would flock to the stage and we would have a big crowd for our set!

There were so few people I can remember each person. There were a consistent nine. Plus as we were in a big field instead of a bar it seemed even less! At one point the next band were watching our set so I think we peaked at 13 – so I think that was more than Fighting with Wire who headlined the second stage – which is ridiculous! So, every cloud, I guess? (though FWW are from Derry and don’t have the advantage of three members having family living within 10 miles.. Patrick’s sister even lives on the Narrow Water grounds and only turned up for half of our set, even though she was in the site!)

Patrick’s Man crush of 2012:

Stevie Mac
The sound guy at Auntie Annies.. no, the other one.
Clark Philips
James Magill

Patrick doesn’t like anyone… he barely tolerates us, so for him to say someone is “cool” or “dead on”, as was the case of all our nominees, is quite an achievement.

Clark’s win may have to be referred to the Dubious Awarding Committeethough. The reason being that Patrick had a burrito for the first time that day and was extra excited, and may have gave Clark an unfair advantage.

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Critique of the Year – Sponsored by Banner permanent markers.

Some people have made opinions of us. Some of them have used prose to convey these opinions:

At the start of January we had our first ever gig with Aidan. Brian Coney was there and described us a “pub-rock” and “a more endurable manifestation of Stereophonics’ sound”. We looked at that constructively (he was right!) and it spurred us on to get as far far away from that as possible.. (I think we thanked him the next time we met him)

An EP review on Goldenplec described us as “Lyrically intelligent, melodically tight and quietly self-confident..” which had us *literally* blushing.

However, my favourite was a piece of graffiti in the back of Auntie Annies. In my opinion disdain is better than indifference – and the fact someone had to see the sticker, find a marker and then write a profanity shows a lot of disdain!

Winner: Anon.

Social networking achievement of the year!

This award is shared by Chalcho’s Belfast and Big Fat Burrito in Toronto. These two quality burrito places follow us on twitter which is a) pretty cool and b) sums up Band Tweeter #1, aka McKay’s tweeting habits.

Hopefully Boojum will follow us soon.. Not Mex, we don’t care for them.

Runner up 1: McKay and Fearon randomly ended up on the Tennents Facebook page  page

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Runner up 2: Tom Petty tweeted us!

I may have put these in the wrong order.. meh!

Shortest distance to travel to gig:

Criteria for this one is distance from their house to venue – using shortest route on Google maps.

Aidan – The Pavillion – 0.6 miles
Patrick – Beach Club – 1.8 miles
Fearon – Auntie Annies – 3.5 miles
McKay – Courthouse – 0.3 miles

Lazy Satire award:

Fearon had a Ferrari flag on stage for a few gigs, until one time he was using a bass amp that he couldn’t put it on, because it would cover the fans inside and make the amp over heat. He felt his identity being corroded In a rush, he chucked it to the side, and just got on with it. The flag was never seen again, because, let’s be honest, it was a bit silly and no body else wanted it there… He might bring it back for a designated day.. say if Alonso wins the championship.

#fleg

Song we are happiest about never having to play again.

Born to Run
Son of a Bitch
Drowned in sound.
Time goes slowly

It really was another level of shit, wasn’t it?

Silliest Song never to see the light of day

At the very start we had a song called Jovi. Yep, named after himself. It had something like 3 solo’s (including finger tapping, pitched harmonics, whammy bars .. all that crap) and a key change!

We didn’t get to unleash this beast at our first gig because we ran out of time. But we think maybe it was because the organizers realised the audience didn’t bring spare socks – and after we rocked them off – the prospect of bare footed patrons and the health and safety implications worried them and had to stop us.. yeah, that, or they stopped us because we were shit.. one or the other.

Bruce Springsteen Award for set length.

At our Pavillion gig, in September; as a result of constant “dropping” we had to stretch about 25 minutes of material into just under 40 minutes.. that was quite painful. Turns out there are only so many ways to plug a CD.

The Keith Gillespie award for Razz-a-ma-tazz

Keith Gillespie was the only NI player that could do a twirl on Pro Evo 3therefore it’s only right this award is named after him.

The award goes to Aidan for his suggestion of have the four of us drumming, at the same time, during Breaks.

We managed to hold back and only have Patrick do extra drumming, after he played his chords through a loop station.

The idea was dropped altogether for being too silly and as the possibility of disaster was too great! What’s really surprising though that decision was made at the very last minute…

Aidan still hasn’t let go of his dream of multiple drummers. He even suggested it last week.

Dante meets Bosch in a crack lounge Award

Isle of Wight festival: So much rain, mud and surrounded by wankers! Springsteen was good though.

Hell is muddy.Photo by Leona Taylor

Ronnie Drew memorial award for Facial hair of the year:

It was a straight fight between Fearon and Aidan (Patrick made an occasional embarrassing attempt and McKay knows better). Determining the award based on substance over style, hence cementing the credibility of these awards , the only person it can go it is Fearon.

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My Sun..kind of monster award.

Late entry. Remember the scene in Some Kind of Monster when James Hetfield storms out of a meeting and slams the door, therefore leaving Metallica in a state of limbo for months while he was in Rehab?

Well we had a similar situation the other week when Patrick took a huff and went home early. Well, it was like ten minutes early. But we didn’t see him for ages after that… well, two weeks as he was away on a pre planned holiday… not rehab…

Actually, in Some Kind of Monster, Hetfield doesn’t spend five minutes packing his gear as Lars, Kirk and Bob Rock just stare at him, slagging him off and asking if he had dinner Vodka…

Actually, it was nothing like that at all…

Most ridiculous, yet believed, lie.

Another late entry:
McKay and Fearon told Aidan that Patrick had planned to elope on holiday (see above) and go on honeymoon to Russia to see the sites ofStalingrad. Aidan believed it and wished Patrick congratulations the next time he saw him.

Kurt Anlge award for ill cocieved comeback

Fearons beard!

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See you next year!

MSH – “Dateline: Novemeber”

By me.. this originally appeared here on the My Sunday Hat site. 


 

Mckay said ages ago that I should do some occasional blogposts, or something, because I “love that shit” apparently. So why not now? Here is a document My Sunday Hat’s goings on in a, somewhat, busy November.

And what better way to start an article, on November, by starting in October…

Halloween 

Three quarters of the band went on the rip for Halloween, to the shiny new Limelight. Aidan didn’t want to go as he is “too old for that sort of thing” (he’s the youngest!).

What could have happened...

The usual costume criteria applied:  I destroyed my bathroom with body paint. McKay did the sensible thing and bought a good one. Patrick made as little effort as possible (credit where credit is due: he made his girlfriends costume and it was good!).

I can’t remember much of the night, though I vaguely remember giving a fella, dressed as Mankind, a mandible claw.

Recording.. part I

There was a reason I started so early to mention some recording news. On 29th October, we returned to Cloud 9 studios for a extra day recording. Not going getting into details but it was a good customer service gesture IMO (we just wanted the stems). We recorded Breaks and Headlights with the aim to fire on some overdubs in the future, if needed.

Aidan had to leave early so he missed the Frair Tucks for lunch!

Giggage.. part 1

The start of November was really busy. We had three gigs in the space of seven days, and what’s worse no rehearsal time!

On 2nd November, we returned to The Courthouse Bar in Lurgan, where we had our first gig about a year ago. Unlike last year the set went really well (probably because I wasn’t hammered this time!). It was a battle of the band and Sethway won the heat, and rightly so! We got though as runners up, which was a nice suprise, so we get to play again on 7th December. Once again, better than last year when we came last! Paddy and Aidan had to go back to Belfast, so McKay and I got drunk in the bar.. then back to his to drink some more and watch Bret Hart.

The following Tuesday (7th November) we played our first ever gig in Love & Death inc. It was another BOTB, but it meant we were part of Belfast Music Week, which was nice. We were the only band in the heat, the other two entrants were singer/song  writers. Not the bad kind.. the good kind! Especially the fella doing some sort of two hand tapping on the acoustic, I loved that!

Photo Credit: G

As we were the only band we had to provide the backline, which usually isn’t an issue, but carrying my amp from high street and up two flights of stairs nearly killed me! Aidan just parked on Ann Street to unload his kit. I should have done that.

We did our set which was a bit yay or nay. I felt songs went well (at start and end) yet others sounded empty (in the middle). The judges didn’t seem to mind as we won the heat. We were chuffed, yet surprised.

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That meant we had to play again on the Friday (9th November) for the final. I felt the set went alot better than Tuesday, but we sadly didn’t win. A band, called Hurdles, won. It was only their second gig, the first being the heat. If only we were that efficient on our second gig! Anyway, expect big things from them lads!

Recording .. Part II

On the 17th November we did some more recording, this time with Clark Philips aka Great Northern Productions. We found out the day before that he records in his house and he wouldn’t have room for a kit. Aidan got it sorted to get his kit set up at his mums house. This sounded a bit dodgy but McKay reassured us by saying  the other recordings sounded really good.

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Anyway, we were recording “Last Draw” (we might rename it) and the day went really well. We turned up at Clark’s house, recorded a scratch track for Aidan to play along to. Went to Aidan’s mums to record drums in her living room. Aidan, as per usual, did it one take, but he recorded it again “just in case”. He even had time to do an extra few cymbaly things for the other tracks.

Aidan stayed at his mums to unpack the kit therefore missed out on a Chalcos for lunch.

We recorded the the rest in the afternoon. It went swimmingly with all these snazzy overdubs and harmonies. I can’t bloody wait to hear the masters!

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Also, Patrick has a platonic man crush on Clark.

Writing

We are currently trying to write new songs, but it’s bloody hard! We currently have two in the pipeline. One that’s upbeat, for a change, and one that isn’t so upbeat. There are no names yet, as usual.

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Giggage.. part II

We were trying to take time out from gigging to make an effort on writing new songs but when the opportunity to play in the Beach Club (30th November), we couldn’t pass! None of us had been there in years but I was surprised how good a venue it is. Sadly it didn’t get a overly big crowd, I’m guessing people were worried it’d be full of skeets, but hopefully gigs continue there and word of mouth means people will give it a try. We were on first so I could get full afterwards. Drinks were only £2.50 til 11! Personally, I really enjoyed Havana House Party. I also got to talk to The Late Twos and thank them for being great at our EP Launch! I also stole a poster and walked into the door, and I tried to get the bouncers to give me the A0 poster as “it would look great in my living room”. They weren’t having it.

beach tweet

Our original drummer “Wheat” came to see us too, nearly a year since we musically parted ways*, and said we “we’re really good”.

Social Media 

We have an Instagram account now. I flirted with the idea with a tumblr, but I can’t be bothered!

We also have not one, but two, burrito places following us on twitter. Which is funny!

AOB

McKay went to seen Bon Iver. He really enjoyed it.

Patrick went to see Ryan Bingham. I have no idea who that is.

We went to the German Beer tent at the end of the month. Aidan tried to insist it was to celebrate a year of him being with us. Patrick didn’t bother his arse showing up.

Coming Up

We’re gigging on 7th December in The Courthouse, Lurgan. Depending how we do (i.e. if we get through) that’ll be our last gig of 2012.

Also, at least 3/4 are going to the Benefit gig in Mandella Hall. It’s going to be great!

erm.. bye

Fearon

*it wasn’t as bad as Mustaine.