Breath Of Life

The life and times of Mr Mark Allen....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Media whoring and puking tramps....

Hello Folks,

Hope you don't mind me putting the odd review on here.. It is a side line of mine and enjoy it. It is alwasy nice to find a fantastic new band to plug where I can!

Well the big news seems to be the house I bought last week - with any luck I should be moving in within a month.... The mortgage sailed through - just waiting for the results of the survey..

It is a four bedroomed place with attic conversion near the town centre and staggering distance from a lovely park and Starbucks.. So visitors are welcome....

And more good news. The cooker the kind vendor is leaving is worth £700.. So no problem with the dinner parties!

I have been having my pic in the press again.. After last week's Widnes Weekly News, Cannock Chron and Cannock Post pics in connection with the Transplant Games and the pic with the 'yoof' debate.... I am in The Widnes/Runcorn World this week at the new Halton Lea Library..

I am in that paper next week as they took some pics of my at the table tennis club - a follow up to the games...

Well if a press officer can't get his pics in the paper, who can?

Met up with Jo, Bekah, Erik and Diana this week - friends I haven't seen for ages. But got caught in V Festival traffic....

Friday was a good night at the Park Gate with Jo etc... Saturday saw The Time Travellers Wife at Newcastle-under-Lyme and Sunday was a curry courtesy of the Pool Hayes!

Bekah and I had a good afternoon on Saturday. We went to an old fashioned sweet shop in Stone and then tapas in Newcastle - great, but a drunk bloke was puking outside...

Loebeat's dirty disco

A review I did for NG Magazine... Check them out on Facebook and Myspace... CLICK

There are few times when one gets a band to review when they literally get inside your heart.

This one gets inside it and sets up camp, planting too catchy songs and images and re-programming it to fall for them, completely.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Loebeat, oozingly sexy electro pop for the mind...and the new band rocking my ticker!

Loebeat is multi-talented vocalists and musicians Dicey, Lula & techno boffin Ramdaq.

The band is less of a pop trio and more of a self-sufficient cottage industry for the internet age.

LB write, produce, record and even photograph themselves and have recently been taken under the wing of Alan Erasmus - co-founder of Factory Records- who rarely backs losers!

With offbeat videos (you HAVE to find these on YouTube) - check out foxy Dicey being dragged behind a truck and playing acoustic guitar by a lake - they really have mastered the 'art' of noise.
This is not the throwaway camp pop one sometimes assumes of music with computers.

I guarantee they will blow your dome as their musical Prozac beats away the blues of beat based mediocrity with an epic EP dripping with attitude and chunky beats - like wot we heard in the 80s.

Dicey/Lulu's vocals are sexy and sassy, perfectly complemented with the technical boffinry helping them delivers their oral ecstasy with tunes Lady Ga Ga would...well go ga ga for.

For 30-somethings like me Loebeat transport me back to the electronic bands that used to play The Hacienda and dark student clubs in Manchester the early 90s, with their sequencers and back beats.

Opener Come and Get It - is dripping with neon attitude like Grace Jones on an 80s talk show.
I could also hear Girls Aloud doing it - hey, not a bad thing ok - Sadly I spent a few moments with a friend and an iPod trying to work out which bits the ginger one would sing

But of the tracks here Fire is my favourite as it is very much in the mould of Yazoo - it could be Alison Moyet and the tune is very Vince Clark. Soul from syths.

Dirty Disco is one of those tunes you find yourself humming through the day and thinking. 'What the f**k was that' only to remember (at 3am when it is still in your head) it was from that Loebeat demo.

I am reliably informed they have at least two songs that are even better than these but have not yet made the final demo.

I got into Loebeat through a friend - do your friend a favour and pass on the good news. You may well make their day and give their heart a new beat!

STOP PRESS: Loebeat have just been selected for the BBC6 music podcast. Check them out on Facebook to gigs and forthcoming news.

Monday, August 03, 2009

UK Transplant Games - Coventry... (I know.. COVENTRY! lol)

Hello folks,

Well welcome to the another blog entry in less than a month - what is happening to me eh? Well the week was the UK Transplant Games in Coventry..

The opening ceremony got wide media coverage and you may have seen it on TV or on Youtube - or in the local press...

Chatting to people made me realsed there are people like me with really low lung function who can beat people with 'normal' hearts and lungs....

As usual it was a great time had by all - but the organisers again missed a trick. All the big awards went to the teams who got the most medals..

Surely the Transplant Games are not about that.. I (who have 25 per cent of the lung function of some of the people I competed against) got two bronze medals which I worked damn hard for...

Some people worked much harder than me for no medals...I can think of a couple of poeple on my own team who deserved a mention for their fantastic efforts..

People don't realise always that for some people to finish a race is a greater acheivement than for another to get a gold... One lady finished last in her race - but the look of joy was amazing..

She finished.. How many people in her position would stumble around a track with people who could sprint it? She did it because she was proud fo be able to finish.. and without knowing her.. I was proud of her too...I am glad her team gave her some big hugs at the end... They rock!

Yet all the awards at the end celebrated the teams with the most medals (mostly kidney and heart teams who have perfect lung function and can run like able bodied people)..

The wheelchair race almost brought a tear to my eye - two blokes did 800 metres and were so brave as it obviously wasn't easy...

I enjoyed the javalin (although only came fifth, but didn't disgrace.. _ and came third in the ball throwing event - like a heavy cricket ball you have to throw across a field... More tiring than it sounds...

All the talk was about the World Games in Brisbane - which irritated me as I obviously can't fly that far at the moment - too big a risk for the lungs....

One bloke on our team came up to me first thing and said 'lung capacity still not up then?' - But I found out he is a bit of a prat and looks like a gerbil - so I don't mind...

And if you look at his Facebook page he has some damn dodgy hobbies!

I do also realise now that The Transplant Games are some people's lives...period...

The organisers and team captains do a fine job for no money, it is not them I mean, but it is the athletes I am talking about. A couple I speak to don't have a life outside training!

Luckily most are like me - train to keep well and the games are a bonus.. I had many interesting chats over beer - everyone has a different and no less remarkable story... Scars were compared!

I did realise though a lot of the people going to the World Games aren't actually that good.. which does mean when they are closer to home I could get into the team no problems....

The social side of Coventry was better... Curry on Thursday, Friday I went to the 70s disco (pics to follow) after an exhausting day of table tennis - ended up playing about 20 games for my bronze...and danced way too much...

Oh the table tennis was the highlight for me because I had to work so hard for each match - best out of five each time.. and chain drank water and ate about 5 bananas during the afternoon!

Saturday I went into Brum with Deano and Jamie... and in the evening we met Terry and Justine etc on campus and drank a lot, before being unable to find a taxi!

Sunday night was the ball.. We all dressed up posh and had a great meal and entertainment and some moving speeches.. and danced the night away (yep, the band played that one!)

We then ended up at a BBQ until stupid-o-clock and got back to the hotel about 3ish I think... It was struggle to make it down to breakfast in the morning..

But a smiling Hungarian receptionist is always a good incentive... xxx

I hope to be well enough to compete in the Europeans in Sweden in June.. its another incentive to train eh? (I am still training every morning before work at gym and pool, because without it I know I wouldn't be able to play table tennis and walk into town and dance at a life life)

Hugs xx