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Bright Lights Come To Wight

Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, Too Many T’s and The Correspondents lit up Ryde venue Coburgs on Friday night, as organisers Galactic Ents once again provided a lively, unpredictable evening in stark contrast to much of the standard festive fare the Isle of Wight had on offer this season.

The Correspondents

A sell-out crowd of around 300 people paid between £14 and £16 to enter Coburgs’ hallowed dwelling, and experience a night of hip-hop, electro and drum and bass from a trio of prominent UK acts.

Embellishing those stellar entertainers on the bill were a host of DJs, including the maverick DJ Nipsy and dynamic Tom Headfunk, thus bequeathing ample scope for a lively audience to regain their composure between main sets.

Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer imparted idiosyncratic, banjo accompanied ‘chap-hop’ with his customary eloquent flair and periodic audience interaction, all whilst parading awe-inspiring facial furniture.

The staccato All Hail the Chap went down a treat and a handful of Christmas songs, including a Reggae interpretation of Band Aid’s increasingly abhorrent Do they Know it’s Christmas? and freestyles from the peanut gallery, were all pleasant enough,

The venue’s acoustics were a mite unstable at times, some diction fizzing beneath the radar due to a lack of clarity from the sound system, although it did little to derail the engaging Mr B, a riveting poet with an appealing USP.  His presence ushered the first pronounced spike in decibel levels across a now packed dance floor.

Leon Rhymes and Ross Standaloft, aka Too Many T’s, entered the fray with customary affable candour, and despite suffering again from sporadic doses of muffled modulation, the duo delivered a memorable production.

1992 Pt. II supplied a flavour of old school rap; a kind of amalgamation of The Pharcyde and Beastie Boys with additional pan pipes for good measure.

Butter Rug yielded the apex of their set, extending a snapshot into the youth of the rappers, by recounting them sneaking into sibling bedrooms to play music that their parents might not have approved of, with a welcome reference to the oft’ overlooked Scatman John (a one-hit wonder whose moustache at one time rivalled Mr. B’s.)

There’s a reason why a myriad of festival promoters are so keen to book and re-book Too Many T’s. Consummate pro’s, veering from a generation of hip-hop stereotypes (no Flava Flav indulgence needed to embellish their verbal skills) they were more than happy to mingle with an appreciative fan base post-set.

Headlining the event with customary wanderlust were The Correspondents, sharing tracks from their March, 2014 debut LP Puppets Loosely Strung, as well as hits from previous EP releases.

The undoubted highlight of the night, this was a master stroke of booking from head-promoter Oli Whitehurst, who was keen to dispel any lingering myths created by the salacious, distorted headlines his promotions’ 2013 Christmas gig received via an antiquated section of local media.

A cocktail of pure theatre, unbound melodies and breezy vocals ensured that the one hour set received unadulterated adoration from a now fervent auditorium.

Seminal track Washington Square went down a treat, the irksomely addictive Fear and Delight had starry-eyed spectators going berserk, while a stage dive from the band’s eminently charismatic and sweat sodden front man Ian Bruce went without a hitch.

A notable painter, Bruce is a virtual renaissance who left an indelible impression upon Glastonbury Festival audiences, organisers and fellow musicians during the summer of 2014.

This was a high-stakes triumph of endeavour for Galactic Ents, who were able to attract a trio of top tier talents to the Isle of Wight, perhaps even more notable was the sell-out status of the occasion, with festivities sustained long into the wee hours.


Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer


Too Many T’s


The Correspondents

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Bestival 2014: 10 local acts that you won’t want to miss!

The UK’s summer festival season comes hurtling towards its conclusion next weekend, with the Bestival taking place at Robin Hill Park on the Isle of Wight.

While the likes of Outkast, Beck and Busta Rhymes have justifiably dominated much of the build up to the event, there are also a host of local acts set for action, Dom Kureen takes a looks at ten of the best (including two adopted ‘Caulkheads.’)


1. Claydon Connor (Bandstand: Friday, 10am)

Yes, I know – 10am on Friday at the Bestival is usually when the previous night’s revellers are contemplating hitting the hay for their daily power nap, or latecomers are lugging tents and booze towards their desired patch of turf, but Claydon Connor is a singer/guitarist well worth rousing yourself to witness.

An erstwhile scholar at the Isle of Wight’s Platform One music college, the 26 year old’s debut album, ‘Feels Like Home,’ released in 2009, provided a glimpse of the predominantly acoustic indie-rock musings of a raw artist who didn’t sound entirely comfortable with the genre.

A welcome evolution towards country/Americana rock is evident in Connor’s summer 2014 LP, ‘Under The Big Sky,’ where subtle, captivating instrumental strains accompany increasingly confident and sentimentality dripping vocals – a fact borne out by some rousing, evocative recent live performances, including a memorable Kashmir Cafe set at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival.


2. Buddy Carson (Bandstand: Saturday, 12pm)

When it comes to spoken word (or poetry to give it the ‘non-kid friendly’ moniker), Bestival regulars Kate Tempest and Scroobius Pip are indisputably once again the marquee names on the bill.

There are some real hidden gems amongst the other performers though, with Buddy Carson a must-see for anyone who enjoys intoxication by rhythmic rhetoric.

Hailing from these shores, the talented wordsmith’s work with Flip The Script and Stand Up For Lyricism has not only allowed a myriad of youngsters to benefit from his wisdom, but also brought his regularly anecdotal based introspections to a fresh audience. Even more annoyingly he’s a bloody marvellous singer, nifty with a Cajón drum and regularly donates money to charity without tipping buckets of ice water over himself!


3.  Plastic Mermaids (Matua Stage: Friday 2pm & Bandstand: Friday 8pm)

Mermaids have given this writer a lot to be grateful for: A 1984 film where Tom Hanks gets jiggy with a fish, a cartoon to put on when my niece is getting out of hand and of course that movie simply entitled ‘Mermaids’ with a Cher soundtrack that traumatised my childhood in the early 90’s during what seemed like a 400 week run at the summit of the charts.

Recently I discovered one more delight; this time in the shape of wonderfully experimental 5-piece Plastic Mermaids, now in their fifth year as a collective. Oozing eccentricity, the band’s increasing profile has ensured regular sell-out gigs around the UK and an expanding appreciation from other sections of the industry, with their tracks providing the backdrop for a slew of campaigns and websites.

Dropping début EP, Drømtorp, earlier this month (think early Syd Barrett meets Röyksopp), the quintet were apparently directly earmarked by Bestival top brass as a must-have psychedelic component of the festivities. They play twice, so there’s no reason to miss out.


4. Ba.Dow (Main Stage: Friday, 12pm)

Ba.Dow delivered the goods under intense pressure to deservedly win the Bestival battle of the bands competition earlier this year, having seen off pre-comp favourites Pleasurade and Duveaux.

Starting life as a four-piece, the departure of original front-woman Charlie Jones meant that drummer Jodie Amos was thrust into a dual role, a move that proved a catalyst in accelerating the remaining trio’s development, her spine tingling diction exquisitely supplementing the frequently catchy guitar riffs of Sam Morris and Bradley McGinty.

Expect them to emulate last year’s band competition winners Signals and deliver a stellar half-hour set, gaining a multitude of new devotees in the process – Ba.Dow will be in their element on the main stage.


5. Wille and The Bandits (Bandstand: Saturday, 1pm)

For many attendees the highlight of the 2014 Rhythmtree hippy free-for-all was provided by the high-octane, unpredictable performance of soulful trio Wille and The Bandits, a group consisting almost entirely of big hair and ear popping instrumental sequences.

A 2011 Daily Telegraph write-up describing them as one of the most exciting unsigned acts in the country has been followed by a range of other ringing endorsements from the likes of BBC Radio One and The Independent newspaper earlier this year.

It’s clear that Wille and his bandits have been placed on a pedestal by a clutch of illustrious media outlets – hype vindicated every time they set foot on stage. Despite not being natives, the Isle of Wight has become the guys’ home away from home, as well as a location that accounts for a decent chunk of their rapidly expanding fanbase.


6. Fine Lines (Bandstand: Thursday, 4.30pm)

Fine Lines are an Isle of Wight folk/alternative rock sextet who are something of a local super group, with the majority of members having resided on lofty solo perches before combining forces to create a musical equivalent of The Avengers.

The three singers’ voices mesh well and those who witnessed them at Chorderize in 2013 were unanimous in their praise of the eclectic talents on show, there’s no chance of the ensemble becoming typecast with the likes of Floella Grace, Hester Chambers and Gareth Ashworth each bringing wide ranging interpretations to irksomely catchy compositions.

Half of the band can sing and half can play the guitar – but which halves? Only those who dare to visit the Bestival site as early as 4.30pm on Thursday will ever know.


7. Too Many T’s (Main stage: Friday, 2pm)

Hip-hop like it used to be, Too Many T’s, aka Ross Standaloft and Leon Rhymes, mix shtick with the occasional bout of seriously deep retrospection, atop a series of catchy backing tracks courtesy of DJ Savage Henry.

Since forming in 2011, the pair have built a reputation as one of the most authentic old-school rap acts on the British circuit, winning critical acclaim from a host of highly respected authorities on the genre, including the Bestival’s own curator Rob Da Bank.

Performing on the main stage, expect a blitz of lyrics and beats that’ll have even the grouchiest toddler head banging from their push chair. Essential listening for hip-hop fans.


8. Duveaux (Random open mics)

There’s more than a hint of The Divine Comedy about the way Dan Duveaux theatrically fronts the band that carries his surname, although that’s where the similarities end.

A nattily attired five-piece, the indie-rockers performed more than half a dozen times during this year’s Isle of Wight Festival and have remained impressively active throughout the summer, never afraid to experiment with a pleasingly reliable stream of new material.

Simultaneous with that unrelenting work ethic has been an inevitable increase in stage presence and while it may be the front man whose name is on the posters, there’s no doubt that it is the collaborative talent on show that makes Duveaux such a must-see band.


9. The Ohmz (Roots Reggae Stage: Thursday, 6pm & Bandstand: Saturday, 2pm)

In their own words: The Ohmz formed when five goats from a farm wandered into a reggae and tea night at the local, discovered they shared a love of tea (and reggae) and decided to write some songs about that.

Mutual adoration of tea aside, this reggae five-some might be the closest thing that the Isle of Wight has to Bob Marley and the Proclaimers, despite local crooner Derek Sandy’s claims to the contrary.

Booked to fill afternoon and early evening slots, The Ohmz will undoubtedly create a couple of the grooviest, most laid back atmospheres of the entire weekend.


10. Signals (Bandstand: Saturday, 1pm)

Signals are a math-pop, female-fronted four-piece from the Isle of Wight… That’s what all the press releases say.

What the hell is math-pop you ask? Although it sounds like something akin to Carol Vorderman giving live birth on Countdown, it’s actually a genre of music – that’s right, another genre – f**k, I’d only just learned the old ones.

Genres aside, Signals are an explosive, exciting band with a brilliant lead singer in Ellie Price and one of the finest bass guitarists that the Isle of Wight has ever produced in the shape of Alex Vanblaere (he’s the one rocking the hipster look.) They were the first Platform One band that really seemed to blaze a trail beyond the safety of their island and today provide a benchmark for the rest to strive for.

Like the list? Think someone’s missing? Let us know in the comment section below and please like our Facebook page! Most importantly, please support all of the bands mentioned and go and see them if you find time.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Retire Already! Athletes who went on for too long

For some athletes conditioning goes beyond the physical. Sport becomes an addiction that consumes their life. Participating is, as a result, virtually impossible to condemn to past tense, despite the body inevitably screaming to the contrary.

For that reason once great performers are reduced to bit-part players or nostalgia acts, steadfastly unwilling or unable to accept graceful retirement. Kureen takes a look at a few of the most extreme cases.

Muhammed Ali/Cassius Clay

Tick Tock: Ali's need for money meant that he continued long after he was fit for the ring.
Tick Tock: Ali’s need for money meant that he continued long after he was fit for the ring.

Muhammed Ali, the self proclaimed ‘greatest,’ was a superstar both between the ropes and with microphone in hand. Dancing upon his canvas, the artist formerly known as Cassius Clay announced his arrival on the boxing scene in 1964 with a shocking seventh round disposal of reigning World Heavyweight champion Sonny Liston when aged just 22.

A legendary trilogy against Joe Frasier and host of other in-ring battles left Ali physically drained and by the late 1970’s the onset of Parkinson’s Disease was clear for all to see.

Tragically the once great warrior’s hard earned funds had been severely depleted by a myriad of hangers-on, ensuring that he was at the mercy of devious promoters such as Don King, eager to wheel him out for a couple more fights – it was in late 1981 that Ali fought for the conclusive time, a glorified punching bag at the hands of Trevor Berbick.

Ian Rush

Rush Job: Newcastle United and Wrexham signed the striker to diminishing effect.
Rush Job: Newcastle United and Wrexham signed the striker to diminishing effect.

By the mid-1990’s Liverpool FC realised that it was time to put their faith in the bright young forward combination of Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore, thus allowing club legend Ian Rush to join Leeds United on a free transfer at age 34.

After a so-so season, an increasingly desperate Kenny Dalglish snapped up Rush for Champions League competing Newcastle United as a hasty replacement for the injured Alan Shearer and jettisoned Les Ferdinand.

What followed were a couple of domestic cup goals and some of the most leaden-footed displays ever witnessed at St James’ Park. Amazingly, lower league Wrexham took a punt on the Welshman in 1998, but 24 goalless appearances were enough to make them realise their mistake.

Graham Gooch

Indian Summer: Gooch was guilty of one tour too many.
Indian Summer: Gooch was guilty of one tour too many.

Graham Gooch’s Test Match career was a strange one. Initially struggling to a batting average in the low 30’s, he suddenly reached a zenith between 1990-93 when aged almost 40, including a remarkable knock of 333 against India at Lords.

Relinquishing the captaincy in 1993, Gooch looked to have called time on his international career after another successful personal duel with Australia, averaging around 60 and smashing a couple of memorable tons.

That should have been that, only for the powerful opener to return to the international fold a year later with mixed results in home series against New Zealand and South Africa. Later that year, aged 41, Gooch was selected for and accepted one more crack at the Ashes down under. An average of 24 and several soft dismissals later he probably wishes he hadn’t bothered.

Brian Clough

“I’m not the best manager in the league, but I am in the top one.” B.Clough.

The special one long before Jose Mourinho hit the scene, Brian Clough was a tough-talking, ultra confident manager who completely turned around the fortunes of struggling Hartlepool United, Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

It was with the latter that “old big ‘ead” won two consecutive European Cups, eking every drop of sweat from a collection of hitherto unheralded players.

A fondness for alcohol dominated his later years, rendering him a slurring mess at times. Such was the esteem that the great man was held in at Forest that his staff and players covered for training ground absences that grew increasingly regular, although a final season relegation in 1991-92 was disappointingly inevitable climax to well over a decade of trophy-laden success.

Nancy Lieberman

Nancy LiebermanNancy Lieberman, known as “Lady Magic”, is considered one of the finest female basketball players of all-time, with a WBL career that spanned almost 20 years.

Finally calling time after extending her record as the oldest player to ever represent the league a few months short of her 40th birthday in the colours of Phoenix Mercury, Lieberan became a coach and analyst over the course of the next ten years.

Infeasibly she returned to competitive action at the age of 50, signing a short term contract with Detroit Shock. Those who witnessed her time on court during this period described it as a once great stallion whose lungs were full of sawdust, as the comeback descended into a poorly judged publicity stunt.

Ian Botham

Beefy: Back problems meant that his career tailed off alarmingly
Beefy: Back problems meant that his career tailed off alarmingly

The stats say it all when you view Ian Botham’s England career.

During his first 51 Tests matches ‘Beefy’ averaged around 39 with the bat and just 23 with the ball, putting him amongst the greatest all-round players of all time.

Thereafter a series of postural issues and resultant weight gain meant that he was often selected based on reputation rather than any great on-field contributions. In his final 51 matches Botham averaged a meagre 28 with the bat and over 36 with the ball. In hindsight he should probably have called it a day after smashing one final pulsating century against Australia in 1986-87, as England regained the Ashes.

Ric Flair

Woooo: Flair's once chiselled physique now looks a little flappy.
Woooo: Flair’s once chiselled physique is now a victim of gravity.

An 18-time world wrestling champion (not 16 as WWE would have you believe), Ric Flair defied the odds by actively competing until the age of 59, when he was defeated in a stellar ‘retirement’ match against great friend Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXIV.

Despite that perfect send-off, the legend was unable to stick to his word and joined Total Non-stop Action (TNA) wrestling, where he continued to bleed profusely and go through his increasingly loathsome comedy routine for the next couple of years, unable to step from the spotlight due to a massive ego and continued lifestyle beyond his means.

Paul Gascoigne

Gazza: Life after football has proved tricky.
Gazza: Booze-fuelled lifestyle and on-field stupidity halted his greatness.

From 1989-91 Paul Gascoigne was regarded as one British football’s brightest lights, having shone for Spurs during the 1989-90 and 1990-91 First Division campaigns and captivating a worldwide audience with dazzling displays and no shortage of tears at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Two reckless challenges in the 1991 FA Cup final against Nottingham Forest ruptured ligaments in Gazza’s right knee, temporarily scuppering a world record £8.5m move to Lazio. When the deal was done a year later for half of that fee it was clear that a yard of pace had been left on the operating table. Thereafter brief highlights such as Euro ’96 were punctuated by a battle with alcoholism and depression, something which continues to dictate the terms of the troubled Geordie’s existence.

Unable to distance himself from the game he loves, nor articulate or reliable enough to find a job as a pundit or coach, the man who once had the world at his feet has recently joined a fourth division Sunday League team at age 47 to fill the void.


Who did we miss? Who would you have liked to have seen on the list? Leave a comment in the section below and let us know!



Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.