Mar 28, 2007

Even dental mouthwash drowning victims will be listening to Fat Roland on Refresh 87.7FM

Some old radios

The spirit of the late Tony Blackburn lives on. No, not that Tony Blackburn; he's still alive. I'm talking about Anthony Blackburn*, the Cirencester hospital radio DJ who died in a pool of dental mouthwash in a terrible, terrible medical accident.

I'll be burbling my way though radio shows from this weekend. Refresh FM is a radio station which plugs Christian music, and for the fourth year they have allowed me and my co-presenting ferret Lee loose in their studio.

Lee and I try to bring something different to the broadcasts. Although a Christian viewpoint informs the our general outlook on life, I like to think we're both a bit left of field from that culture. I'm sounding poncey now, so here's when you can hear me.

It's all on 87.7FM in the Manchester (UK) region:

  • Wesley Owen chart show. The first three Sundays of April, 12 noon - 2pm. Manchester's top selling Christian albums, as based on weekly sales at Wesley Owen Books & Music.

  • Late Breakfast Show. Every weekday for the first two weeks of April, 9am - 11am. Banter and thoughts for the day with my fabulous co-presenter Caz. I'll be job-sharing this with Lee, so don't expect to hear me every day, no siree.

  • The Quite Early Show. Every weeknight for the first two weeks of April, 9pm - 11pm. Vague silliness and games. Except for Wednesdays when it's Theatre Of Noise, which involves loud guitars and destruction.

  • Wind Down. Every weeknight for the first two weeks of April, 11pm - midnight. Chilled out acoustic to send you to sleep I'll be on every other night; Lee's doing the other days, so we can take shifts sleeping like what they did in the war.
Oh and I'll be DJing under my name Eyan not Fat Roland. Just so you know.

I'd like to dedicate all of my shows to Anthony Blackburn**, who no doubt will be listening from his brightly coloured watery grave. I must toodle off; the children in South Park are trying to understand transubstantiation. Stan: "Jesus didn't want us to eat him so he turned himself into crackers?!"

*doesn't exist

**still doesn't exist

Mar 26, 2007

Temple Of Transparent Balls and the black, brooding Book Of Dogma

The Black Dog

I cut my techno teeth on The Black Dog (artwork for an interview pictured).

Although I was transfixed by Orbital's repetitive repetitivity, there was something irresistable about The Black Dog's Temple Of Transparent Balls. Maybe it was because it was less obvious; its awkward habit of breaking away from a 4:4 structure made it as dancefloor friendly as a rabid bouncer. I liked that.

So it is with frothing delight that I hear their Parallel album, released two years after 'Balls, is being unleashed today in the black, brooding shape of the Book Of Dogma. Along with the classic Parallel, the new release also includes old EPs Virtual, Age of Slack and Techno Playtime.

Some of The Black Dog went on to gain fame as Plaid, and for that reason alone, this is an important release. The fact that they practically invented IDM / techno in the first place makes it more than important. It's essential. It's electrifying. It's greased lightning. You'd better shape up because I need a man. What? Um...

...I was lost in a haze of hair gel and leather for a second there. Anyhoo, The Book Of Dogma is old fashioned techno at its dull, dour best. As funky as a poodle doing jazz-hands.

Mar 24, 2007

Crouching at the base of a cardboard themometer muttering something about there being too many guitars

Happy Mondays: Bummed

Manc convention insists I be excited about the Manchester International Festival. If I had an oversize cardboard thermometer with 'not much electronica' written at the bottom in black marker pen and 'lots of lovely electronica' written on a piece of star-shaped yellow card blue-tacced to the top, I would hum and haw and then stick my strip of (Top Gear style) card saying MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL quite low on the chart, perhaps very near the bottom.

So no trendy experimental music for my tastes. I will have to make do. arms crossed, lip curled, with Lou Reed (old man's music), Kanye West (hmm, maybe not) and PJ Harvey (oh yes yes and thrice yes).

Or I could save up my pennies for the holy Mancunian marriage of the Fall and the Happy Mondays (record cover pictured) shambling through a joint gig. There'll be nothing civil about that partnership, I can assure thee.

All the events can be seen on the events calendar, as quite rightly they should be.

Oh, incidentally, one of the debates featured in the line-up is called 'Is TV good for society?'. Well, let me just start the debate by giving an in depth opinion on the subject:


Does any of the Festival take your fancy? And shall we go together? I've got a megarider, so we'll have to get the bus in.

Mar 22, 2007

Theatre Of Pictures Volume Three

We have shared a journey of thrills and tribulation, my dear reader. But the Theatre Of Noise podcast blog entries podcast blogging podcast marathon is drawing to a sad, pathetic end, despite two historic posts here and here.

The idea was to tell you what it's like to flollop into a proper recording studio and record a podcast in which we destroyed CDs and bantered like silly boys.

Sadly, all this series has achieved is to force three people to puke violently, to make a small child cry in Harrow, and to bring a Welsh pensioner to the painful realisation that she can no longer tell the difference between Bill and Gareth Gates. The trail of destruction is terrible, but I am determined to see this blog series out.

And so for my third and final entry on the Theatre Of Noise podcast, let me introduce you to some of the things we did on air through the power of photograph.

Your starter for ten. Dan The Weatherman reported on the inclement weather from the confines of a brick:

Podcast Jan 07: Dan

We played a game called Sin Lose Or Draw. Contestants would try and draw a sin (as defined by a fairly right wing Christian website) and their team partner would try and guess what they were scribbling. While people were shouting their guesses, for extra "colour" I would read a list of insults traded between opposing theologians.

This may not sound like an ideal game for radio, like charades on internet forums, but believe me it works like a dream and it will be returning to Refresh FM the week after next.

Anyhoo, here is one of the team's sheets:

Podcast Jan 07: Sin Lose Or Draw

The sins pictured here are (clockwise from top left): thievery, witchcraft and being a conjoined twin. I'm not sure if I've remembered the third one correctly, but the important thing to bear in your filthy little mind is this is the only sheet I could put on this blog. The other sheet had a hand-drawn represention of the sin of fornication, and I will only show it if you really, really, really beg me by leaving a reply on this post.

We also played Chainsaw Challenge, in which a bunch of dim-witted morons vote on which CD is worst and then we destroy it with a power tool. In this case, it was an angle grinder, and the result was:

Podcast Jan 07: Chris Bowater

In case you're bothered, it was a Chris Bowater CD.

And so that was the podcast that was. Don't believe me? Have yet another bloody video on the Fat Roland blog (below)! I'm the fat one looking uncool in my black work clothes. I'm next on radio in about nine days, but more about that in two shakes of an elephant's trousers.

Mar 20, 2007

Say what again

It's too easy to post a video because it's an excuse not to write anything, but I've been a busy bunny, and I couldn't resist this video because (a) I love Pulp Fiction and (b) I love fonts.

By the talented Jarratt Moody.

Oh and it's definitely NSFW for those who (a) love internet abbreviations and (b) love not getting sacked.

Edit: I've rejigged the design of this site, which may make all fonts below this post extra large. I'm sorry about that, but I am called Fat Roland and 'small' is not my middle name.

Mar 11, 2007

F1: can five become 20?

I'm struggling right now to get my minimum 20 entrants for the Formula One Losers League.

I'm sure it will come together in the end, and maybe I am panicking unnecessarily. But the entry deadline is Friday and if I can get at least 20 people taking part, it means a nice, healthy prize fund of £100 (less Paypal charges, my drug-addled attourney advises me to say) split between six potential winners.

I currently have five entrants.

You don't have to know about F1 to take part. Enter through the website, and read more about it on this previous post.

Don't enter because you feel sorry for me, though. Yes, I am using guilt-tripping as a tactic to get people to dip their toes into my fantasy league waters, but it is good fun and will make you smile throughout 2007.

Edit: I did get 20 entrants, so thank you to those who entered.

Mar 10, 2007

Battles: Atlas

Out on April 2nd. I missed out on New York's Battles first time round, but I'm reliably informed that their debut album was cooler than a kettle of flapjacks.

Love it or hate it? What you say?

Mar 7, 2007

Formula One Losers League

Why not join my Formula One Losers League for 2007?

The Formula One Losers League is a celebration of the stragglers and the also-rans in the world's most high-tech sport. It's a fantasy league, but you pick the worst possible team you can. The worse your choices do in the real season of F1 motor racing, the better you do in the League.

The great thing is you don't need to know about Formula One to take part. The reigning League champion knows zip-all about the sport. Just pick four drivers and two constructors, and you're off.


The not-for-profit League costs £5 for the year, and all entry fees can be won (less Paypal charges, which are minimal). Visit the Formula One Losers League website now and enter.

It's all for fun - and it really is very silly despite having strict rules. I'm hoping I can get between 20 and 30 entrants for this year. Any less than 20, and I'll pull the whole thing. That's call emotional blackmail, that is.

And I hope all your team choices crash their cars (a good thing in the League). That's how much I love you.

PS - deadline for entries is in just over a week.

Mar 6, 2007

Theatre Of Pictures: Volume Two

Ah, the smack of willow on fish, the whirr of blade against trunk fur. This is the season for the mammoth-mowing cricket olympics [1920s haddock version]; a true Englishman's sport.

No time for that, however. I have been pottering in the studio with the rest of a collective collectively known under the collective name of Theatre Of Noise. As you know, I promised to keep a picture diary of our podcast, so this second installment follows a first installment, which makes a good deal more sense than mammoth-mowing cricket olympics [1920s haddock version].

>Pointy shoes

So to the first picture we go, with gladdened hearts and pointy shoes. Behold a sixth member of our crew, George. He was our Gmmaz engineer for the day, and is well into his drum 'n' bass, although I've lost his Myspace URL so he doesn't get a nice orange link.

Podcast Jan 07: George of Gmmaz

While we're talking technical, here's a photograph of eight subchannels with red faders. They are red because each one of them (a) increases sound levels and (b) launches a nuclear weapon six miles south of Oswestry, which is fine by me because Oswestry is a frozen shithole much in the style of Winnipeg.

>Making horseshoes

Podcast Jan 07: mixing desk

You have to know your Venetian Snares albums to get that last sentence. Anyhoo, we were given one big microphone and we had to make a horseshoe around it. After the metalwork had finished, we gathered ourselves into an extended semi-circle. (Keep up now...) It felt just like recording the Archers. I hate the Archers. If you listen to it, stop; it's rubbish.

Here's that microphone, set against a background of soundproof glass, our two-page running order, and an Important Red Marker Pen.

Podcast Jan 07: microphone

Look at the microphone. Isn't it a nice microphone? The round thing is a pop shield, which automatically converts any music into an insipid synthesis of a Britney hit.

With pop on our mind, it seemed only appropriate to interrupt our podcast - our "popcast", if you will - to indulge in a smidgeon of karaoke, as led by Fil.

Podcast Jan 07: Fil

>Three legs

Fil took the pictures on this picture diary, although obviously not that one, unless his left arm has a third elbow to enable him to hold a camera from that angle. That's my shoulder on the left. I have just landed upright from a Swedish three legged karaoke flip, which incidentally has only ever been performed successfully by me, the Chuckle Brothers and two former members of Primal Scream, although not at the same time.

I hoped this picture diary of our podcast would be informative and revealing. It's not working out well, is it? Part three, the startling denouement*, coming up soon.

*copyright Nikki French 2007