I was a Barrowland virgin prior to this year. This, despite the entreaties of various friends and colleagues extolling its virtues as a venue (hello Lesley Stokes!). In truth, it actually sounded faintly unpleasant; sprung ballroom floor, decor out of a 70s amusement arcade, unpromising location in the arse-end of Glasgow. Not exactly the Ministry of Sound. And, yes, at first glance the surroundings are exactly as described, a potential set from Life On Mars. But as is so often the case, the unpreposessing decor belies the experience to be had. Because Barrowland (or the Barrowlands as most seem to call it) has that indefinable, elusive quality: soul. Like Nottingham's Rock City and London's Forum, the venue has seen better days and looks frankly shabby in the cold light of day. But when the lights go down and the beer starts to fly through the air, it comes into its own.
Download The Streets The Sherry End (mp3) (deleted Aug 2009)
Download The Fall Reformation! (mp3) (deleted Aug 2009)
Pop Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones. The latest in a long line of exposés of, variously, the airline business, the hotel business and the fashion industry by Edwards-Jones, Pop Babylon reads like Jackie Collins meeting Albert Goldman. Strung around a generic narrative featuring the rise of a fictitious boy band, the novel details various showbiz excesses, sharp practices and scandals, vouchsafed to the author by anonymous moles. Unusually, names are named, and Take That, The Spice Girls, Jay-Z, Simon Cowell and others all get it in the neck.
See you in 2009; first up will be Guns and Roses vs. Crass. You see, I do plan ahead! This stuff doesn't just write itself, y'know.