The music that made me sicker: The Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust


The bruthas gonna work it out

To say I was obsessed with folk music back in the early 90s would be an understatement. My friends and I would regularly get together and listen to Woodie Guthrie, the Clancy Brothers and any group where a large woman was surrounded by three suited men with guitars. We would sit in my bedroom, styled like a 1960s New York walk-up and play records, smoke pipes and talk about revolutionary politics. I sported a beard and wore tweed or a cotton-wool mix jumper, sometimes a cap.

This would lead to some sniggers and pointing from locals, but hey those cats were always like that. Whenever they hassled me or committed violence, I would yell,
“Hey, keep your hands above the Mason-Dixon line, thanks.” Sometimes with a two-finger salute and a ‘keep on keepin’ on’ look. Sweet, my claws were sharp, I tell ya.

Sometimes we would get dixie-fried on rum or gin and discuss the records we needed to get. The one we all agreed on was the Carmichael Brothers, a black folk group from Harlem. Richard, Ben, King, Arthur, Caesar, Roy and Chico made up the group (see above, note: Arthur and Caesar are standing behind the other five and crouching. They were off tha hook those two.) The interesting thing about these cats were that they were the only all-white group in the black folk music scene, which caused consternation at many of the clubs they went to. Gigs would be slated for crashville before they started, with race hate groups attacking them for being black but white customers pointing at Chico’s mop of red hair and Aran jumper querying whether they had the right club.

Anyways, one night while driving around in my lead sled, I spotted a late night record shop open. I flicked through the vinyl for a while, but couldn’t find anything except ‘new’ music. I went up to the cat at the counter and asked where the folk section was. He told it wasn’t that kind of shop. I figured that he didn’t know his groceries at all. I persisted.
“Do you have a folk section?”
“I told you. This is not that kind of shop!” he angrily batted me away.
I walked away fuming spotting the folk section to my left.
I screamed.
“So. What is this?”
“That would be our folk…Oh, sorry man, I thought you meant something else. It is pretty late.”
I angrily pointed at my beard and my jumper and my sandals and threw my arms in the air.
“Sorry man, what can I do you for?”
I stopped hyperventilating and asked him if he had anything by the Carmichael Brothers.
“The Chemical brothers?” he asked.
“Focus your audio man, The Carmichael brothers.” I said.
“Yeah, the Chemical brothers.” he looked at me quizzically.
“Sure, here. The Chemical brothers, Exit Planet Dust,”
I looked at the cover. A couple walking down a road. On the road. This was the beatnik dream right here. It looked modern but the car behind them suggested the era was right. A bright yellow sticker with price covered the album title. I was not deterred.

I ran home excitedly and then ran back to the shop to collect my car. Exhausted, I fell into bed, but not before putting the record on and plugging my headphones in. Sleep came quick, with the refrain of “The brother’s gonna work it out”

Fuckin bangin! I had to get to the shop to collect my new trainers. My shaven head felt real good these days and spliffs were commonplace in my significant armory. I would take the tobacco out of cigarettes and fill with a combination of bud and hash, walk near cops and puff away. Ha, what did they know, the galoots?I had changed. In the words of Nick Cave,

“I’m transforming
I’m vibrating
I’m glowing
I’m flying
Look at me now
I’m flying
Look at me now”

I had been listening to Exit Planet Dust on a loop of fury for about two weeks. It was the soundtrack to every step and every breath I took. The feeling engendered by those electronic bass-lines and breakbeats made me move in a way I hadn’t since a boy when I competed in ballroom dancing competitions which due to a lack of a certain vaccine meant that an outbreak of polio in Dubalin town left me as the winner over and over. Oh yeah! Disco shoes!

My friends looked at me in my red long-sleeved Adidas top, my weathered jeans, shiny new trainers. They seemed unhappy. I tried to lighten the situation.

“Sup, bros”
“You, you look different. Allen said.
“Coz, I’m all that and a bag of chips, yeah?”
They looked at each other and then at me.
“It’s not like I have a glow stick up my arse. (I did) Just new music, new me, y’knaa?”

Things got tense between us. I would drag them to raves and off my head on whatever I could get my hands on, I would be flying around, dancing like a loon. Waving a different glow stick in the air. it really was da bomb as they say. Copping with fly girls, life was sweet. I looked over at my friends in the corner and they swayed gently to this new music, their Aran sweaters with huge sweat stains in the armpits, their drenched cords sticking to their legs. They huddled into each other like sheep in a storm. The uncertainty in their eyes was palpable with a smattering of wooden threads. I felt sorry for them. Those songs, “Chemical beats,” “Chico’s Groove,” “In dust we trust.” They were me now. I had a drumbeat in my head and it wasn’t gonna stop.








Two months later my three friends took their lives by renting a plane and flying it into a mountain. At their eulogy, I eulogised eloquently with emotion,

I’m alive
And I’m alone
And I’ve never wanted to be either of those

I didn’t believe this. If only they had hung on, they would have been there when i combined indie rock, folk and dance music to create the band Folk Implosion.

My name is Lou Barlow and this is my story. The truth is out there, but you can’t handle the truth.



The music that made me sicker: Bonjovi – Slippery When Wet


Bonjovi, circa 1986. Naked. NSFW


A man in a white van deliberately killed a pigeon in front of me yesterday, swerving to connect with the ignorant bird. I put my paws over my eyes to avoid the blood and feathers, forgetting that I too was in traffic and therefore smashing into a miniature family, whose dismissive looks made me realise that they hadn’t suffered any mortal wounds.

I thought of that white van guy, so popularised during the hysterical media years of the Irlanda Celtic Tiger as a man who liked to drive in a white van, stop and eat a full Irlanda breakfast roll. I forget the economic implications of his type as I wasn’t really listening. Maybe he was showing off to the friend in the passenger seat, bragging about his ability to both swerve and off rodent birds. I felt sad for my fellow animal. No one deserves to die because a man’s penis is too small.

This slightly macho behaviour brought me back to my early days when as an 11-year old munki, I saw a musical video where what seemed to be hairdressers or coked up afghan hounds called Bonjovi took to a foggy stage and high-jinked a song called, “You Give Love a Bad Name.” I was instantly intrigued. This is what it meant to be a man I guessed. Immediately I grew my hair into unmanageable split ends and pondered whether a bullet smashing through my arteries would indeed lead me to question someone’s shitty attitude toward love.

Back then I was in love with everybody. Love was all around me. Susannah Hoffs hadn’t yet turned up on my doorstop. Still hasn’t. Every girl who walked by was a potential mate. The year previous my munki penis exploded one night and frightened me so much that I asked for random adult help with the facts of life, which I know now is that your paycheck belongs to someone else. Something Tommy knew only too well in the physically impossible “Livin on a Prayer.” But back then in aul Irlanda, the facts of life were taught as a mish-mash of gentle winks; nudges; black magic; don’t touch that or that; treat women like you would treat your sister; don’t treat your sister like you would treat those ‘women’; gay people only exist in America and for God sake don’t bring a baby into this house until you have a mortgage.

Confused and unfortunately not alone,  I followed this Bonjovi thing to its logical conclusion. From constant listening to Slippery When Wet, I innocently dreamed of a life in ‘sunny’ New Jersey. The sex sounds in “Social disease” made me want to go out find a girl and get whatever disease she had, just so I could hit the streets (of my small village) wearing ripped jeans with a silk scarf, a mullet, a loaded tennis racket on my back and admittedly a very itchy scrotal sac.

Back then I thought that all sexy ladies were no doubt blonde, sported tight denim shorts and had sass coming out of their ass. Years later I learned that denim shorts were the evil refuge of line-dancing motherfuckers both male and female who mated regularly on the slippery floors of my local nightclub. Their children now wander around killing pigeons for sport, think abortion only happens on ferries and believe racism is close to cleanliness or godliness. Can’t remember which.

The peculiarities in the image Bonjovi projected were that once you got past the L’Oreal beauty of Jon Bonjovi and the “Joan-Jett-with-a-penis” Richie Sambora, the rest of the band were kinda odd-looking. Drummer Tico Torres looked liked everyone’s Dad or at least the most masculine looking of the Pink Ladies. But it was mad keyboardist David Bryan that I used to find intriguing. He seemed to be a from different planet, almost like a different animal. Bryan had that haunted look of a poodle who was doing something not appropriate to his species, an unhappy Bontempi playing shaggy dog who doesn’t want his paw on the keys. No, he wants his water dish. AND Breakfast. Good boy.

Also weird lyrical confusion in “Livin on a Prayer,” as probably mentioned elsewhere, Gina tells Tommy that we have to hold on to what we got, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. Then later tells him that we’ll make it I SWEAR. Which is it Gina? Which? Fuck sake Gina, get it sorted. Meanwhile, Jon’s back seat seems to be a cesspool of bodily fluids of the good times he had with the good ol girls. Later he seems to move on to just banging prostitutes, but y’know with love in his heart.

Anyways, the demented strains of keyboards at the beginning of this album led me into a world that within months I easily figured how to get out of. As a young child I realised this keyboard solo to be the work not of Satan but a buffoned, narcissistic, arsehole Labradoodle. On a school trip I wandered into a small record shop in the blue-slate mine town of Bangor, North Wales and picked up a cassette of Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning.” I stood in a luminescent cave with headphones on with a look of absolute horror as white skinned creatures crawled down the walls and thought, ‘what the fuck have I been doing listening to fucking Bonjovi!??’

The following day after the death of the pigeon, I accidentally killed a small beautiful Blue Tit. For a moment I felt a surge of adrenaline. I knew that feeling Richie Sambora and Jon felt when writing those songs. Balls brimming with the fluid of the Gods, cowboy boots filled with no socks, wet brains with rawk music sparking and setting fires and an optimism that some good ol boys from New Jersey to Tokyo could look the world straight in the eyes and say “I’ve been to a million places, and I’ve rocked them all!”

Then I looked at the emulsified beautiful bird, frowned and felt like shit for the rest of the day.

The best goddamn thing on the Interwebsicle

via Dangerous Minds

Elvana: Just the tribute act needed in times of crisis

Came across these at the weekend. Surely this is the future of live dead music. Genius. What makes it wonderful is that the Elvis impersonator is not even that good an Elvis.

Ah, look heyeugh



I just don’t know what to say about the world today in a way that doesn’t mention…

Drogheda, most Saturday afternoons

Drogheda, most Saturday afternoons

It’s a struggle lately. Trying to find the energy to get this lil munki moving again is hard. What does the munki want to say? What can it achieve? Can this munki seriously consider a run in politics? Where will the numbers come from? Who will campaign for the me?

We live in interesting times: that hoary ol chestnut. The right-wing is taking over. The “I’m not racist buts” are questioning their self-censorship. People can say things now that would once upon a time have forced them to resign a position. The whole world’s in a state of… ah fuck, I’m not gonna say that.

People are worried about immigrants. No one cares anymore that the 2008 economic collapse was caused by the banking industry. People go “aaargh, foreigners!” and then sip from fucking cappuccinos. Racist tendencies slither around the corners of people’s minds, but let that not stop them from gorging on a month of football, where diversity slaps you in the bollocks between every whistle. Irlanda fans are becoming so sound that they’re fucking annoying.

The key issues today are that one country next to us is going to vote on a referendum to leave a continental agreement, for, no fucking apparent reason. The country on the other side has declared hate speech legal and seem keen to elect a real gotham-style villain as their leader, to y’know see what’ll happen. People bitch about the media not attacking Trump more. Every newspaper editor and programme director in the world, not just in America, is trying desperately to wipe the stains off their pants whenever that little realisation kicks in that they will have a constant supply of splashes or lead items for four to eight years, if the planet lasts that long.

It won’t be funny, it won’t be meaningful. As this planet melts and explodes at the hands of stupid men, news anchors will announce the end of days with faux-poignancy and as the flash happens, this munki will be throwing his bottle of rum at the television exclaiming that “they can’t even do the end of the fucking world right.”

What dicks!