Quintessential British ‘chap-hop’

Misery and bad news is far too thick on the ground around the world at the moment. Each morning one only has to tune in the radio, turn on the television, or view the first page of The TIMES newspaper to understand that the whole world is going to hell in a handcart! hell in a Handcart

I.E. The constant news feed on the poor lost souls on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, followed by perpetual updates on the Ukraine-Crimea-Russian crisis; the Oscar Pistorious murder trial, Syria’s civil war, Egypt’s turmoil, the massive fraud and corruption charges facing Turkey’s Government, as well as fraud and corruption among various International Police Authorities and their ineffectiveness in fighting crime. In addition to the fraudulent activity surrounding the European Union; Prime Minister Cameron is still dithering over a referendum. To boot; Obama’s pathetic management skills has all but ruined a world superpower.images Sadly stories about NATO’s ISAF plight in Afghanistan is now found among the small columns, or offered as a two-minute news bite… 

‘Enough! enough I say!’ This Sunday we are going to have a change of pace; we can return to the handcart and its pathway to hell another day onwards. Obviously tomorrow being onwards…

‘And Now for Something Completely Different,’ (or at least in a similar vein!) Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the league of gentlemen adventurers in the shape and form of ‘Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer,’ and ‘Professor Elemental.’ mrb-elementalThese two gentlemen present and offer ‘chap-hop,’ which is a quintessential British version of American ‘hip-hop.’ Over the last few years these two honourable men have verbally (though courteously) slugged it out around England. 

images-2The gauntlet for a ‘chap-off’ was thrown down by Professor Elemental.  ‘Fighting Trousers’ by Professor Elemental… You will note that the lyrics follow as a courtesy for our American cousins across the pond, please sing along and join in as you see fit…

Dear Sir,
Regarding your recent foray 
Into the rap business and the scene you portray,
See I don’t normally approve of war games, 
But “He’s biting you” is what they all say

And by Harry, they might be right–
This is chap hop, not an Elvis night!
Shelve this Professor impersonation,
Let it end now, it’s impertinent waiting!

You seem a reasonable chap, 
What you need to do is rap 
But not parody chap hop
‘Cause that’s not proper, just not cricket!
Put away your ukulele or I’ll tell where to stick it!

I – Don’t like your tweed, sir!
Will – Teach you the professor’s ready!
Not – Let’s see who strikes the loudest!
Lose – Put on my fighting trousers!

I’ve got super producers and fans that play me
You’ve got a granddad’s mustache and a ukulele
Don’t look around sir, I’m speaking to you
Roll up your shirt sleeves, Queensbury rules
Never test professors with the cleverest wits
Let’s settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks
On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon
And you’re Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning
When this George Formby clone is performing
Audiences go home before he begins talking
A new career might be more rewarding
I’m a bright Brighton peer, you’re rap’s Piers Morgan

I – Don’t like your tweed, sir!
Will – Teach you the professor’s ready!
Not – Let’s see who strikes the loudest!
Lose – Put on my fighting trousers!

I’m not seeing you at ciphers or workshops with kids or gigs
Dear sir, you’re not worthy of this!
Sold out to Coca-Cola
Used for a trend
And that means you’re banned
From using a pen
Hope it’s safe to assume you won’t do this again
Set foot on my stage and get ruined again
Be out, Mr. B, I’ve set the egg timer
There’s not room in town for two gentlemen rhymers
Leave town by the end of this instrumental
Yours, et cetera, et cetera, sincerely, and so forth,
Professor Elemental

I – Don’t like your tweed, sir!
Will – Teach you the professor’s ready!
Not – Let’s see who strikes the loudest!
Lose – Put on my fighting trousers!

maxresdefaultAs would be expected of a gentleman; Mr B simply took it all in his stride and respectfully replied in his inexorable way ‘Just Like A Chap.’ Lyrics not required due to the use of  clipped English throughout.images

Inevitably a ‘chap-off’ was organised for all to see with the ‘Marquess of Queensbury rules set as the ‘on stage’ standard. The two titans of chap-hop met in a once-in-a-lifetime ‘dis’ battle to the verbal death. Of which a small exert follows. Mr, B. The Gentleman Rhymer Vs Professor Elemental – Chap Off  Bloody marvellous hey, what!mrbprofeThe Chap Manifesto as found within each copy of The Chap Magazine A splendid read with lots of splendid ideas for chap’s.     Yours Aye.        Normal service will be resumed within 12 hours or so…

‘Tis a Navy Life for Me

My life has been owned over the last couple of months by what is affectionately called a qual in our gentle seagoing service. I sat in, as a trainee, and learned a new job. No, it is not my permanent position out here in beautiful Japan. I simply qualled to serve as a back-up in case I am needed. (Sort of like a male Supreme to the Diana Rosses we currently have on staff. . .)

While I sort out my thoughts on the process, I must offer you the following:

-Jason P Brown was a Marine Corporal during the Los Angeles riots and he offers an amazing first-person account of the affair.

-Cornel Hrisca-Munn is a drummer. And here, he covers the Foo Fighters song, Everlong. Cornel was born with a certain disability that makes drumming impossible. Or nearly so.

-Direct from WIkipedia: Norval Sinclair Marley was a Jamaican of English descent, notable for being the father of the reggae artist Bob Marley. Who knew?

-Cimorelli is a girl group made up of Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren, and Dani. Here they cover Lorde’s RoyalsWith all that estrogen in one family, I wonder if their dad was a Navy pilot? Strange thing, but there’s something about flying. . .

-Rugby can be rough, watch Gareth Raynor knocking out Sam Tomkins.

‘Liftit & Wreckit’ Removals

Four years back my mate called and asked “What are you up to tomorrow around one-o-clock” It being 13:00 hrs on a Saturday obviously meant an invite for a few beers in a local pub, as later that afternoon Wales were playing Ireland (Six Nations Rugby Final). I could taste the first foamy mouthful of Guinness as I answered “Nothing mate where shall we meet”? The reply wasn’t what I expected… BROADWOOD traditional uprightBROADWOOD Traditional Upright Piano similar to the beast mentioned

“Excellent! Drop by my place and you can help me move my Mum’s upright piano, she’s moving into a bungalow and its the last thing to be moved” I wailed and cried and stamped my feet as I reminded him about the live play rugby final. I even mentioned my English body with its Irish heart; all to no avail. Fortunately the kick off wasn’t until 17:30 hrs, time a plenty for ‘Liftit & Wreckit removals’ to do the job, and then catch up the final over a foaming pint of black liquid. 

My chin hit the steering wheel when we arrived at his Mum’s house; her lovely old market town house, had four steep-steps leading to the front door with an iron railing either side of the steps. Bugger! At least his nephew was there with a Ford Luton van with a tail lift. His nephew stepped out of the  van; all 5′ 4″ of him, weighing in at 100 Ibs wringing wet (my mate is 6′ 3″). “Your nephew is on your wife’s side of the family I take it” said I humorously… “Obviously”! came back the reply. Two hours later with much huffing and puffing, and several crushed and bruised fingers, we departed the bungalow and headed for the pub. Wales 15. Ireland 17. Ireland claimed their first Grand Slam since 1948. I drunk myself to oblivion that late afternoon, and woke up the next morning to find a gorilla had been in my bedroom, stole the money from my wallet, tipped over the furniture, threw my clothes every where (except one sock that I was still wearing), and peed in my mouth. What a night though!     The Piano (Two Ex Bootnecks)DownloadedFile

Which leads me on to present day, as I sit here aching from head to toe. This morning I received a call from my mate “What are you up to this afternoon, around two-o-clock”? Not much” came back my reply… “Excellent, I need a favour” said he, I laughed and replied ”As long as it’s not moving that bloody piano again”! He also laughed and said “Actually ‘it is’ moving the piano, my Mum sold the bungalow and she’s moving into a small cottage nearby”. His nephew turned up again with the same hire van, both nephew and van remain the same size, the piano crushed and bruised the same fingers going into the tight door-frame of the cottage. However; this time not one drop has passed my lips, and now I am going for a long soak in the bath. Normal service will resume later.     Yours Aye

With friends like these

Lager on tap has a new meaning, especially with friends like those of New Zealander Russell Brown! It’s a dream come true for many men. Imagine coming home from a hard day’s work to find every tap in your house had been re-plumbed to flow with chilled lager.article-2423306-1BE0ACB6000005DC-765_634x496

That’s exactly what happened to Russ Brown who fell victim to the ultimate in practical jokes, filmed by his brother and friends on a battery of cameras hidden throughout his home, with the help of a local brewery who supplied the lager. The group of pals carried out the elaborate operation after Russ went out to work for the day. Oh, if only Guinness miracles happened…            Yours Aye.

The Bloodhound Gang Is Still Around?

Bloodhound Gang has not been relevant in years. They were, at best, a fun party band. At worst, they were sex-starved louts whose lyrics were heavily r-rated. Still, good job guys!

Videos posted online of Wednesday’s concert in the Ukrainian city of Odessa show Bloodhound Gang bass player Jared Hasselhoff pushing the Russian white, blue and red flag down the front of his pants and pulling it out the back. He then shouted to the audience: “Don’t tell Putin,” a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The incident outraged the Russian government. Maria Minina, a spokeswoman for the weeklong Kubana festival in southern Russia, said Saturday that the band’s headlining performance the previous evening had been canceled because of its treatment of the flag.

Jared Hasselhoff? Don’t hassle the hoff!

Vince Gill Tore ‘Er Up

I’m a big Vince Gill fan, both of the musician and the human being. Great man, talented and honorable. Which is why I downloaded his newest album, titled Bakersfield. It is all of a day old, he just put it out yesterday with Paul Franklin:

Vince Gill & Paul Franklin - Bakersfield

Vince Gill & Paul Franklin – Bakersfield

Preliminary reviews: very upbeat and smooth.

Don’t tell anyone, but I also downloaded Pearl Pearl Pearl, by Flatt & Scruggs, Bowling Green by Della Mae, Sophronie by Jimmy Martin, and Thirty Years of Farming by James King. Please keep the Sophronie download to yourself. It is a guilty pleasure. (Love ‘em and leave ‘em, hug ‘em and squeeze ‘em. . .)

Pray for Randy Travis

I became a country music fan in the early nineties when I first heard Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, and Randy Travis. I’d avoided the country and western music twang growing up in Los Angeles, but I had a college friend from Fresno who listened to the stuff 24/7. Since he was a state wrestling champ, in the heavyweight division, guess what? I listened to the stuff 8/7. (After all, I did not hang out with him 24/7.)

It grew on me after we ribbed him about it and he went a little country on us. Ever had something called a piranha done to you? It is a wrestling move and it hurts like hell. Essentially, the wrestler has you on your stomach and is rubbing his chin into your traps and squeezing the life outta yer lats. Country music mellowed him out and we all wanted him mellow. A little Friends in Low Places was preferable to getting piledrivers.

I’ve followed Randy Travis’ career ever since and was concerned when he had a dust-up with the law this last year. Now, I just read he is in brain surgery, after a stroke. And reading this piece by the very smiley LZ Granderson, I understand why Randy’s appeal cut across society:

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

Of all the parts that make up my somewhat quirky life, there are few things that raise a stranger’s eyebrows faster than discovering I love country music.

Not a “I like that one song by Lady Antebellum” kind of love for country music either. Mine is a “Barack I would love to join you and Michelle for dinner next Saturday, but you see I have tickets to see Eric Church so …” kind of love.

When did this love affair begin? January 24, 1988. The night I met Randy Travis.

Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for families to gather around the television, and mine had done so that night to watch the American Music Awards. Michael Jackson was receiving a special honor, and Whitney Houston was scheduled to perform. At the time, those two were the most popular singers on the planet but for me, the night belonged to Travis.

I had never heard of him or his mid-tempo ballad “Forever and Ever, Amen” before the show. Everyone knew who Kenny Rogers was, but usually the only country music you heard in my house was the theme song to the “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

But something about the purity of Travis’ voice captured me.

Get better, Randy. . .

I Fought the Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick MurphysBefore I enlisted in the Navy, I worked at a dozen different food establishments- mostly restaurants, but a couple of resorts and bakeries too. It was good work when I was young. It carried a skill that was easily transferrable wherever I happen to live.

One particular hotel that I applied to work at required that I join a union. I was badly in need of a job, so I wordlessly accepted their rules. For some reason, I think I paid $38 a month for the privilege. I also remember meeting the union representative right when I started working the job. She was a surly, fat lady who had me sign some documents that I hardly read.

It was at a point in my life when I was working breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make the ends meet. I would get home at eleven at night and turn around and start my day at four. For two meals, I worked at the hotel and for dinner I drove across town and worked at a fine dining restaurant. It was oppressive, but I punched through and did it for a time, before settling back to working just the restaurant. When you have to pay rent, you have to pay rent. Did the union ever do anything for me other than take my money? Hell no.

Flash forward to now. And I am looking to download the Dropkick Murphys’ Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya. I know very little of the raucous band. So I look them up and read this:

Dropkick Murphys have been known for supporting working class and union causes, and have a strong relationship with the AFL-CIO. The band has said that they are all Democrats, and during the 2004 United States presidential election were part of Punkvoter, a political activist group dedicated to defeating George W. Bush. That year they also appeared on the Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 compilation contributing the song “We Got the Power”.

On February 22, 2011, in support of Wisconsin workers’ rights, the band released their song “Take ‘Em Down” from the album “Going Out In Style” on their website along with creating a limited edition “Take ‘Em Down” t-shirt which will benefit the Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund. Two days later on the MSNBC news show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, “Take ‘Em Down” was used as an intro song to a news story on the Wisconsin workers protest.

Dropkick Murphys

On Saturday August 13, 2011, Dropkick Murphys issued a statement of solidarity with the 45,000 Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on strike from Verizon Communications, Inc

You know what, I decided I didn’t want the song. Or I’m Shipping Up to Boston, either.

“No more beards” raises eyebrows

The supreme leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has been arrested over the killing of eight protesters during the uprising which toppled President Mohamed Morsi, security officials revealed today. Mohammed Badie was detained late last night in the Mediterranean coastal city of Marsa Matrouh, near the Libyan border, where he has been staying in a villa owned by a businessman with Brotherhood links. The favourite chant from the crowds is “no more beards” referring to the Muslim Brotherhood. As seen in the old westerns, good guys always wore white, and the bad guys wore black; In Egypt it would appear that the good guys are clean shaven, the bad guys sport a beard. ‘No more beards!’ Egypt celebrates arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leader as army hunts THREE HUNDRED followers of deposed president Morsi   Below. Good guys in ‘negative beard’ mode.article-2354953-1AA8885E000005DC-751_964x640 Over three hundred arrest warrants have been issued, each warrant applies to a bearded gentleman from the Brotherhood. Information gained through the freezing of assets, online bank accounts, and off shore accounts, will certainly raise some eyebrows these coming weeks. You smell that? Do you smell that? After shave, son! Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of after shave in the morning’. Yours Aye.

Semper Fiddles

Marine Peter Wilson is a fiddler (in some circles this is referred to as a violinist) in the Marine Corps Band. (He has made quite a career of fiddling around.) Laurie Niles interviewed him for violinist.com:

Take, for example, Peter Wilson. When I found out that he has spent his career playing as a violinist in the U.S. Marine Band, I did a double take. They have violins in the Marine Band? Peter and I knew each other as students at Northwestern University, where he was concertmaster of the orchestra, as well as a member of the band. I knew he had a healthy dose of fun and adventure (like me, he also played in the Disney All-American College Orchestra at Epcot)… but joining the military?

Itzhak Perlman and Marine Peter Wilson

Semper Fiddles: Itzhak Perlman and Marine Peter Wilson

The more he described it, the more I had to know about life as a violinist who plays regularly for U.S. presidents (and has done so for three administrations). He also has served for 12 years as “The Voice of Marine Barracks, Washington, DC,” announcing more than 50 parades and ceremonies annually.

Wilson started playing the violin when he was two, and his first teacher was his mother, Suzuki teacher Mary Wilson. Currently, he lives in Fairfax, Va. with his wife, Katie, and sons, Bradley, Gregory and Thomas.

In addition to all the military work, he is the conductor of the Waynesboro (Va.) Symphony Orchestra and is an Ysaye specialist (he treated us to some fairly encyclopedic knowledge a few years ago in this V.com thread). He also has teamed with double bassist Aaron Clay, and they’ve made some fun arrangements that take advantage of the wide range covered by the highest and lowest instruments in the string family. They play for educational concerts and other engagements, and their album, Bridging the Gap, was recently made available on iTunes.

Peter took some time from his very busy holiday performing schedule to answer some questions I thought would interest V.com readers. Here’s what he had to say:

Laurie: What was it that made you decide pursue a military musical career?

Peter: My violin teacher in high school, Donald Portnoy (then at West Virginia University) had been a violinist in the very same ensemble back in the fifties. However, while I knew he played at the White House early in his career, I was really unaware that he was in the Marine Band and I was even less aware that there were opportunities for string players in the military at all.

Tiny confession: I just really wanted to title a blogpost Semper Fiddles. . .

The Pistol Annies Go to Church

Sometimes, I am not sure if an article is joking around and making stuff up or they are reporting the truth. In what could be one of the more tongue-ier in cheek-ier pieces, the Pistol Annies get reviewed by John Kordosh:

Angaleena Presley, Ashley Monroe, and Miranda Lambert

Angaleena Presley, Ashley Monroe, and Miranda Lambert

The Annies consist of Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, and Miranda Lambert, who are from (respectively) East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky, and East Texas. We’re not, but sharp-eyed readers may be seeing a trend here. And their fathers all mined for coal , possibly believing climate change to be a myth.

Anyway, the ladies found each other and decided to form a band. They were going to call themselves the Calamity Janes, but a stripper already had that name. Incredibly enough, their first live performance ever was on national TV, on the Academy of Country Music’s “Girls Night Out Special” in 2011. They played their hit tune, “Hell on Heels,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Some purty good music if you all are not familiar with the Pistols. . .

Omnia Hegazy Sings Her Heart Out

Omnia Hegazy

Omnia Hegazy

Omnia Hegazy is an interesting mix of a slightly above average voice and an in-your-face singer. I would not bat an eyelash, nor take note, but she sings of Islam and the inequity she perceives in it. A little piece of hers:

Cover your face
Before you poison all our souls
Cover your mouth
Before it tells us something we don’t know
Cover your body
For your skin incinerates
The will of weakened men who just might lose their faith

Our heads our full of color inside
Why is it that we should hide
Who ever gave you the right to step on our pride?

At the very least, I find the lyrics interesting (in a superior, college sophomore kinda way.) I wish her well and highly respect the brave stance she is taking. It is not a common occurrence. But I think it will fall on deaf ears.

As for the music, maybe it grows on you? If I listened to it a hundred times, will it become palatable? Only one way to find out. Be right back, in four hours. . .

Adam Levine Said ‘I Hate This Country?’

I hate this country. -Adam Levine, on the Voice.

And when the Maroon 5 singer was called on it:

I obviously love my country very much and my comments last night were made purely out of frustration. Being a part of The Voice, I am passionately invested in my team and want to see my artists succeed. Last night’s elimination of Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons was confusing and downright emotional for me and my comments were made based on my personal dissatisfaction with the results. I am very connected to my artists and know they have long careers ahead, regardless of their outcome on the show.

It is interesting that one of his contestants, Amber Carrington, made it through. And he still hates being here. Good of him to observe this one day after Memorial Day. Very patriotic.

Kanye: New Slaves?

I find Kanye West’s rap routine to be boring and predicatable. Between calling himself God or displaying the images for (his new album) “New Slaves” on 66 buildings, including Chicago’s Wrigley Field and New York’s Prada Store on 5th Avenue, it appears Mr. West has issues. New Slaves? The man makes millions of dollars each year. He needs to go get a real job, like being a bike messenger or washing dishes. Try some manual labor, Kanye, you’ll learn about hard work.