From the Tiger's Mouth

Track of the Week: Foals – Give it all

Now I’m Ready to Start.

Oh Hi there. Long time no see.

Yes, I’m bloody terrible at this blogging jazz, but hey, it’s nearly four posts this year, so it’s literally four times more than the year before.

And what a year it’s been: In the past few months there have been a lot of up’s and down’s, but don’t fret, that’s not the purpose of dragging you here – this is a post to look forward, something I’m oft known to forget. Usually I’m stuck staring at my own two feet because of far too many Dreher. However, this is the year of the Goat according to Chinese Scholars, and as a child of ’91 who falls under it’s goaty gaze, I’m apt to grab it by it’s horns. Much is happening and this post is about that much.

First and foremost, I decided to hand in my resignation. Some saw this as an act of madness or trauma to the face – Indeed, you couldn’t fault them: I was in a well paid job, I had security, I had recognition, I got to wear suits and pretend I was in Madmen, I once spent 4 hours colouring in giant Pound and Dollar signs on enormous burlap sacks. Please note, this wasn’t to do with work, I wasn’t the Hamburglar. 

But therein lied the problem, despite my well-cut attire, I wasn’t truly happy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s truly been an experience – I embraced espresso; I became well-versed in the writ of Excel, I learnt that certain phrases of absolute gibberish can garter praise in any meeting (“Can we Take this offline” and “Blue-skies Thinking” stand as personal favourites). I well and truly became a corporate suit. But as those of you who really know me, such a world, although interesting, isn’t the world for me.

That’s not to say that the excursion into the corporate world didn’t prove to be genuinely fruitful: I’ve also made some fantastic friends, some of them life-long who have helped me through thick and thin and for that I cannot thank them enough. I’ve also gained some valuable skills and realised that I can actually get a lot done when I put my mind to it.

It’s this confidence that lead to my next-steps, truth be told.

Sometimes you’ve got to “grab a hold of the pen and take the lead” on life. The meetings grew wearisome and the project wound to a close. I thought it was high time to abandon ship in a sense. I can safely say it was the best decision I’ve made in a long while.

So what’s next?

Well first things first – I’ve decided to invest my efforts in the band; the big ol’ BL. We’re in the midst of making finishing touches to our ‘Soon-to-be-announced’ EP. I don’t want to blow our own trumpet, but I cannot wait to show you what we’ve been up to; I can quite comfortably say that both myself and the lads are proud of what we’ve made. Keep your ears peeled for more information as soon as it becomes available.

We’ve also got a lot of massive shows coming up – Firstly, local legend ‘Rutsfest’ on 24th May. It’s a fantastic day, busting at the seams with local talent and a cracking selection of booze, bbq and activities to keep yourself busy with. If you find yourself in the Wimbledon/Raynes Park this bank holiday weekend I sincerely ask you to check it out. 

Following that, it’s plain sailing to Heather Music Festival in Leicestershire on 24-26 July. We’re going to be opening up the Queens stage and for more details head to the link hanging over these words for more info. 

Finally, we’ve somehow managed to score a slot at Livestock Festival.

Camping: CHECK, Booze: CHECK, Scouting for Girls: CHECK, The Feeling: CHECK, The Hoosiers: CHECK, TOPLOADER: MOFUCKIN’ CHECK!

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Those are actual people I’ve heard of. Like, real bands that are known for music that’s been played on the radio. In fact I’m quite certain all of them have had number ones. I would sense-check that, but it’s late. Fine, probably top 10’s. Either way…BLOODY HELL WERE PLAYING A PROPER BIG FESTIVAL.

Now as some of you quick witted fellows may have noticed, there’s a rather big gap in the calendar between Rutsfest and Heather Music Festival. A whole month infact.

That’s because I’ve decided to bugger off to Central America to live in a tree house.

Yes, you read that perfectly fine. Now, before you worry that I actually have gone stark raving mad, know this: It was always going to happen one way or another. But on a serious note, I felt it was high-time to see some more of this big blue ball hurtling round at millions of miles per hour around an even bigger orange one.

It feels strange thinking that my last true adventure abroad was five years ago. Five long years, with the length of five long winters. Wordsworthean sentiment aside, I’ve had the best five years of my life and I wouldn’t change them in the slightest, but in order to keep that energy going I need to get out and breath in some of the world again. So I’m heading off with one of my best friends for eight weeks, travelling down from USA to meet two wonderful Aussies and live in the Hostel they’ve recently overrun.

Who know’s, I might even “find myself”. Or I’ll get eaten/kidnapped.

Either way stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted as best I can. Expect many a highjinks and preferably as few highjacks as possible.

As to the title of this blog, I ended up stumbling upon “The Suburbs” a few weeks ago and felt that that the track more than adequately summed up my feelings at the time:


Now I’m ready to start.

H x

BENGAL LANCERS WILL BE PLAYING: 

RUTSFEST – 24th May 2015

HEATHER MUSIC FESTIVAL – 24th July 2015

LIVESTOCK FESTIVAL – 02nd August 2015

the Fox and the Hound

Harry Eyes Closed 1

So who do you think you are?

For laying round in my woods

You’re like an animal inside of a farm

You’re like a prisoner inside of a yard

~

‘Cause I’m a jack of all trades

& a master of none

I’m the Lord of the hunt

Of the Fox and the Hound

~

So who do you think you are,

to be misunderstood?

You’re like a blackbox left beside of a bar

No one comes near and no one knows what you are

~ Chorus ~

Can you hear me howl?

Cause I’m not quite sure how…

To Run

Who’s Going to Run?

The End.

the end

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on here. Far too long. Much has been happening and more has been going on. But not a lot has bee said. Much of this, I should have written down a long time ago, but sadly haven’t had the time to get down. Excuses, excuses, excuses…

Not once did I expect to come back and be writing something like this.

But then again, I never expected to hear the news of Terry Pratchett’s death.

Despite his constant talks on the subject of death, his openness on living with Alzheimer’s and his well known support of assisted dying I still can’t process what has happened.

I mean come on – his most loved character was DEATH for christ’s sake.

Either way, news like this comes as a shock whether you like it or not. A bloody massive one at that.

Unlike most, my passion for Pratchett didn’t come from reading his beloved Discworld series, but rather his collaboration with Neil Gaiman in Good Omens. Although I don’t remember the age exactly (11/12? what is certain is that I was a young, less hairy chap back then), I do still remember receiving it as a hand-me-down from my Dad. At first I didn’t realise what treasure had been passed to me, but then I started reading.

Things changed.

In reality, what came from that novel was an appreciation not only for literature, but the realisation that literature can be absolutely hilarious. Never before had I found myself laughing till my sides hurt over words in a book. It’s something I’m sure that many would like to thank Pratchett for.

The characters, the situations, the plot – it’s all just too good to be true. I still hope to be as cool as Crowley one day. Hell, I brought Wayfarers the other day and I’ve been wearing them (some would say like an absolute nob), come rain or shine. That’s one step closer I suppose.

I feel that what followed after reading that novel, in some small way is the moronic hairy man with an appreciation for books that you see before you. I probably wouldn’t have invested those three years in Leicester if it wasn’t for that book and the many more that followed it.

Weirdly enough, I recommended that a friend read Good Omens only a few weeks ago. I remember shouting that it was the very best book I’d ever read and he’d be a fool not to read it in quite a threatening manner. I make the same threats to you now. Go pick up your kindle and download a copy. Better still buy the thing in print. I know I will be: It’s an absolute gem.

Asides from that, I must confess I’ve read Pratchett sparingly. I’ve seen some of the television adaptions and read the odd bit here and there. But even so, this much was clear; his ability to produce emotion in his readers was something very few have and will have the tendency to do.

I audibly wept big wet splodgy tears whilst reading The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.

I was about 17 at the time.

Now I sit here, listening to his Desert Island Discs interview on BBC Radio 4 finding it hard to believe that such a strong character has headed over to the other side.

I must say that whoever runs his Twitter (I have a feeling it’s Rob Wilkins) has managed to give Pratchett the finest send-off possible and something, I’m certain, he’d approve of:

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Untitled

The last message is the one that I owe the title of this little dilly to. As soon as I read that last post it was back to being 17 again, but sadly there wasn’t another page in the novel to turn to.

This time Death really has taken him from us. Utter Bastard.

Well, I hope to God wherever he is, ‘Bat out of Hell’ is playing on the radio.

On your Marks. Get Set.

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Like that, the New Year has started with a rather promising bang. For those out of the loop, 2014 ended in a very relaxed style as Charlie had to have an operation on his foot for reasons practitioners of Medical Science still aren’t fully sure about. Sadly, they couldn’t do anything to fix his face.

Safe to say, we finished the year with our feet up (literally).

But during this time out we haven’t just been scratching our behinds. Asides from that, we finally got our heads together and mapped from the ground up to make certain that 2015 was as fantastic a year as possible. Here’s the first big bit of news:

“The E.P.”:

After months of radio silence I can now happily announce that were heading straight back into the studio with the fantastic Max Perryment to work on our first full E.P. The track list is pretty much set in stone and it’s just a case of getting in the room and smashing the beast out.

And boy, what a treat we’ve got in store for you – I don’t want to give away too much, but safe to say there will be a couple of fan favourites and some new sounds to get your grubby mitts on. Here’s hoping you and I don’t have to wait long.

New Year. New Gear:

Santa was a generous wee bastard this year to the Lancers trio. Some nice new goodies to show off along the way:

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First up – the Fender Blues Jr.

This little monster is now residing in my household and dear god does she make a beautiful noise. It’s going to be an absolute revelation taking my own amp with me to shows. Prior to this I owned a Laney that weighed approximately 15 tonnes and was built for playing Death Metal on. Not exactly suitable, but you make do with what you’ve got.

No more excuses now. This tiny 15-Watt box of fun can go from purring like a kitten to howling like a wolf at the turn of a volume knob. I couldn’t recommend it enough. The cleans are angelic but if you crank up the volume and toggle the ‘fat switch’ on, you’ve got an unholy racket on you’re hands.

As for other gizmos, Max has invested in a Micro Korg and my jealousy knows no bounds. With the amount of scope that you can play around with on these things It’s going to add a totally new dynamic to our live sound and I can’t wait to get down to Deptford and have a mess around. It will almost certainly be making an appearance on one (if not several tracks on the EP).

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Although not new, I’ve only recently learnt to really use the BitCommander to it’s full capabilities. Hats off to EarthQuaker Devices for successfully boxing the sound of Satan’s orgasm in a box.

This thing is the sound of the world ending – an analog guitar synth that will give Max’s Korg a run for it’s money. Word’s don’t give justice just to how chunky, aggressive and downright awesome this octave-shifting, ball-tingling bastard is. It’ll be making an appearance on the new recordings don’t you worry.

Go.

To finish this little update off, I’m pleased to announce our first show of the year. We’ll be heading to see our good friend Roof Dog at the Brixton Windmill this Wednesday (21-Jan) as headliners. We’ll be showing off a lot of new tracks we’ve been working on, so come on down and break up the working week with a couple of beers and some hooting and howling.

Doors open at 8pm and it’s only three quid to get in. What more could you ask for? – Here’s a link to find out more: http://windmillbrixton.co.uk/listings/events/21-jan-15-bengal-lancers-the-windmill/

Thanks for checking in, hope to see you up there on Wednesday.

Resolutions II (A Recap)

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It’s 2015 already. God didn’t that fly by quick. It feels like only yesterday that I wrote that post promising so much change ahead. In fact, it’s worryingly easy to find on this site.

Shit.

Before you go jumping the gun saying that I’m a liar and that I said I’d write so much more on this website, give me a moment – I did write. Just not here. Or about the band. Much.

Over the course of a year much happened: I realised I look really good in pink and that I can pull off a collarless shirt (this is a rather late revelation, but still one I’m rather proud of).

I managed that bastard awful run. Turns out it was 42 miles, not 40. That surprise went down worse than watching the red wedding. Whilst getting a prostate exam. (Just to clarify – this didn’t actually happen, I prefer my television viewing to stay separate from my grooming habits).

I’ve also become dangerously blind; the arduous task of locating my glasses now a regular occurrence  as I stumble into the dim darkness of a January morning. To go to work. That’s right, I only ended up going and getting a bloody job. Quite a few actually, which accounts for the rather minimalist look I’ve got going for this website at the moment.

First up – Journalism. I somehow ended up stumbling into a job writing real stories that were published in a real journal read by real people. To this day, I still don’t fully understand how this happened.

Alas it was short lived, as all temporary roles are.

The life of a temp is that of the vacant nomad, travelling but never really finding a home. Or getting paid. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience, I learnt a lot about the writing world from fantastic people and made some great friends along the way.

At this moment, I am still engaged in working. Apparently this has become a compulsory thing to prevent you from starving to death whilst earning fun coupons in the process.  But that’s not to say the writing suffered. I’ve spent a great deal of time writing for a much more organised publication in my spare time (mainly because I’m not running the show) – MusicUmpire.

It’s been a fantastic way to stretch my fingers and expand my repertoire. Over the next couple of months I plan to jump headfirst into a pile of features/articles/reviews/interviews and if you could read them that would be great. Here’s a link – http://www.musicumpire.co.uk 

However, I did slip up on writing about one rather large thing I promised to:

The Band. 

This website has acted as a fantastic canvas for promoting the tracks and showcasing the lyrics – a rather daunting task for any musician to offer up, but it’s nice to make clear that I’m not singing about failing to maintain an erection (‘Can’t get OUT’ not ‘UP’ all you hilarious so-and-so’s out there). But I never really maintained our promises to keep up to date on our goings on and really expand what we’ve been up to.

But that changes. Now.

2014 was fantastic – If not a bit of a culture shock at first. After the comfort of Leicester, London in all her majesty proved a bit daunting.

The ease and immediacy of practicing and gigging was something that had come second nature during our times in the East Mid-lands. An easy stroll, a five minute drive. But not in London.  People don’t all live in a single cultural bubble with all that is necessary to perform within arms reach.

Instead you have to get trains, and trains are absolutely useless bastards. Over these 52 weeks I have made it on time to approximately zero practices.

Now many people will know that I am not exactly great with time. In fact I’m so bad, many of my friends have taken to devising a so-called ‘Harry Time’ that multiplies any of my estimations by three. It’s a very good system.

However, for some reason it appears that all rail suppliers based in and out of the city have decided to make it their mission to employ people of the same mind as I, albeit more lax and with no prior knowledge of GMT.

But asides from the delays, everything else has gone absolutely fantastic. Over the year, we’ve gone from strength to strength and I think the shift to the big city has done us a helluva world of good in putting things into perspective.

We gigged heavily, sometimes to great crowds, other times to the stools at the bar. We picked up some sets at local festivals and managed to record a single which recieved a great response, something we never expected (It’s something we still can’t compute).

Greater still, we managed to get signed to a label set up by some of my personal heroes and believe me when I say there’s much stuck in the pipeline.

We managed to build a musical family with those around us: Escapists, Elephants & Castles, King TV, Bellwether, The Jaggs – all of them have helped make the year better and if you haven’t listened to any of them yet I highly suggest you plug some headphones and get cracking. It feels bloody nice to be part of the scene and I can’t wait to see what successes 2015 bring for all of us.

I originally planned that this would be a brief summary before I wrote more on what’s coming up for the Lancers, but as usual i got carried away. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow. Anyway, I’ve gotta get some shut eye so that I can stumble about bleary eyed trying to find my vision. Happy New Year.

Carbon

Carbon is what you’re made from

Carbon is how you leave

You’re not sure what’s going on

Sure as hell don’t blame me

~

People build places

I’m not sure why

The looks on their faces

Is enough to make a grown man

~

If we really are just animals

Made up from basic Molecules

Then it scares the hell out of me

That we’re dust and then we’re history

~

People build places

I’m not sure why

The looks on their faces

Is enough to make a grown man

Question why

Review: TREE

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“Thanks mate, what is it?”

“Two men and a tree”

“What?”

When I first unwrapped my brother’s present and saw the tickets to Tree on Christmas Morning, I didn’t quite know what to say: The picture a silhouetted man standing near a tree with a bucket hanging down didn’t provide much to the imagination. Simply put – I didn’t have a bloody clue what any of it meant.
Quite similar was my reaction when we arrived at the Old Vic, specially customised into an amphitheatre, to an almost empty stage except for a rather large fake tree. We then took our seats situated quite literally underneath the big bastard, right in the middle of it all.

It was all a bit disconcerting – would we be able to see anything? Would we have to spend the whole show necks ajar staring into the heavens? What the hell were we about to watch? It was only then that I realised the two men laying out the rest of the set were the actors, both Daniel Kitson and Tim key themselves.

My Brother and I sat in rather uncertain silence whilst the two chaps spelt out “ROAD” and “stump” in giant lettering across the stage floor whilst everyone else carried on finding their seats, shuffling awkwardly across each other not noticing that the two main cast members were already rattling away taping down (at this moment in time) irrelevant words in the space before us.

Until Kitson climbed up the hulking thing over our heads and all the lights went out. Silence.

Ah. Unobstructed Views.

Ah. Unobstructed Views.

What followed was 90 minutes of stomach-aching hilarity. It’s hard to say too much without giving away the story (indeed, finding out the truth is a major theme), but Tree towers above the rest thanks to the perfection of its script and the performers that so wonderfully execute it.

At times painfully funny and at others unexpectedly poignant, if not downright upsetting (as you mutter expletives under your breath), Tree makes so much with so very little. Simple props: a bucket, a muesli bar, a cup of tea, some nachos – although absolutely pointless if you haven’t seen the show, provide a beautiful sense of depth in this tale about two men and a tree.

On top of this, both Kitson (literally) and Key offer such genuine and natural performances that you end up forgetting about the absurdity of the show before you and really lose yourself. The rhetoric between the two intermingles beautifully; veering from slapstick to sensible. What is even more exception is that it never feels forced which is quite a testament to Kitson’s writing style.

It’s rather disarming to have a famous comedian brush past your feet while drinking a brew mid-act, but with Tree it only helps to engross the viewer that much more. Staring up into the branches of the tree made you feel a part of something.

Quite simply, Tree is a show I actively encourage everyone to see. No matter your sensibilities, you’ll find something to love and you’ll leave the building a little bit wiser but still scratching your head. Genius.

You can find out more about Tree by clicking here.