Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Tuesday 30th August
I love a good ol' Guns N' Roses controversy, and for the past couple of days had meant to comment on Slash and Duff McKagan's latest court showdown with W Axl Rose. Now Axl's done it for me. Slash and Duff are suing their ex-singer for the second time in less than two years, claiming he robbed them of $500,000 per annum by fraudulently naming himself sole administrator of GN'R's publishing roylties. At the end of last week, when the pair claimed: "[Axl] is no longer willing to acknowledge the contributions of his former partners in having created some of rock's greatest hits", Rose responded via his lawyer, citing a "clerical error" at his publishing complany. Does this man's skyscraper-sized ego - let us not forget that he famously tried to explain away a cancelled Guns N' Roses tour by suggesting that his manager had failed to tell him about it - never allow him to take responsibility for his actions?
Now Axl is getting mad. His attorney insists: "Rather than pick up the telephone and contact Axl or his representatives, his former partners filed a lawsuit that contained false statements. Slash and Duff are looking for another opportunity to spread untruths in an effort to hurt Axl's reputation and to alienate his fans while at the same time creating a profile for themselves. There is little doubt as to who was the creative catalyst behind the group's success." Aside from the identity of GN'R's in-house genius, the statement has at least two fundamental flaws... 1) Since when did Axl answer the phone anymore? And 2), even if anyone got through, is Rose still capable of rational thought?

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Monday 29th August
Phew... home after my Reading Festival jaunt. Met up with old pal Nige Glazier, with whom I last saw Maiden there way back in 1982. Nige reminded me that my breakfast that year consisted of an entire jar of pickled onions - after which I drank the vinegar! Thankfully, 2005's visit to Berkshire was considerably more sedate (and fragrant). Having picked up my pass I hit the nearest pub to follow the cricket; great timing as England took the final Aussie wicket. 129 to win sounded simple, but of course it didn't turn out that way. Shane Warne had the ball turning and one England victim followed another. Reluctantly leaving the tension behind, I went into the arena for Iggy & The Stooges, but despite Iggy's typically eye-catching antics - his chest was bleeding after just ten minutes! - and the quality of songs like 'No Fun', 'TV Eye', '1969', 'Real Cool Time', 'Dirt' and, of course, 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', my mind was still up at Trent Bridge.
So it was back to the alehouse as Ashley Giles of all people scored the winning runs to put England 2-1 up in the series, with just one more Test Match to follow. Mrs L and I actually have tickets for The Oval, so it couldn't have been set up any better. After such nail-biting suspense, a few cold ones were inevitable.
Song-wise, Maiden stuck to the tour's usual set - delivering it with quite awesome power. With flags fluttering in the cool night breeze, fires buring around the arena and the headliners on top of their game, this was a rock music experience par excellence. Wisely, the subject of Eggfest was ignored from the stage, but the video screens showed fan-made placards - one of which bore the motto: $haron is a c**t. Afterwards the imbibing continued in the Sanctuary marquee, as Rod Smallwood once again attempted to put the word 'hospital' into hospitality. Sadly for an unusually quiet but still contented Bruce Dickinson, as a designated driver he was forced to stay sober. "I have got a crate of beer in the back of the car, though," he confided before slipping away into the night.
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Sunday 28th August
Sad, sad news to report. Voivod guitarist Piggy died of colon cancer yesterday. Denis D'Amour was a modest but gifted French-Canadian musician whose thrash-metal pioneering band deserved far bigger success. Like a lot of Voivod fans, I'd only found he was sick 24 hours before and the band (who these days of course feature former Metallica man Jason Newsted on bass) had been working on a new album before the inoperable tumour was discovered. RIP Piggy, you will be missed.
On a happier note, just received the expanded edition re-issue of FM's second album, 'Tough It Out', Maiden's new double-live 'Death On The Road', and the first three Triumph albums, the latter with sleeve essays from my good pal Mr Jerry Ewing. So I'll have plenty to listen to en route to the Reading Festival.
That said, the other ear will be tuned to the radio, with England in a strong position against the Aussies in the Test Match. Even if we don't win back the Ashes, it's wonderful to read Adam Gilchrist admitting in The Times: "England are doing to us what we've done to other sides for years. They've shown the world that they're a dangerous team. I don't think I've come across a bowling attack that works so well hunting as a pack." A bottle or two of dry white wine will be cracked open if we manage to finish the job by teatime.
Palace also played well yesterday, Andy Johnson's two goals sending Stoke back to the Potteries with nil points. Although Clinton Morrison only came on for the final 15 minutes, he set up AJ's second goal. The pair already show signs that they will go together like Mogg and Way, Morecambe and Wise, cheese and onion and, er... drunk and disorderly.
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Friday 26th August
A little hung over this morning, following an excellent show from Nazareth last night. Met up with them for a few swifties beforehand, my cheerfully merry state rendering the gig all the more enjoyable. Dan McCafferty's voice is a complete biological impossibility - couldn't believe it when he downed a double cognac before we departed the hotel - and you just can't beat songs like 'Razamanaz', 'Bad Bad Boy', 'Shanghaid In Shanghai', 'Turn On Your Receiver', 'Love Hurts', 'Hair Of The Dog' (you probably know it as 'Son Of A Bitch'), 'My White Bicycle', 'Broken Down Angel', 'This Flight Tonight' and all the rest.
Coming home and switching on the telly, I was thrilled to see that Palace have re-signed Clinton Morrison. Teaming him up with AJ, the Eagles should now score goals for fun.

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Thursday 25th August
It's hard to believe that last night was my first live gig since wa-a-a-ay back on August 3rd. As anticipated, during their 65 minutes onstage Trivium turned the 250-capacity Barfly into an uncomfortable sweatbox, but this was an unmissable opportunity to see a band with 'future greatness' stamped through them like a stick of rock. Imagine a pre-sellout Metallica jamming with Iron Maiden. Most of their latest album 'Ascendancy' was aired (including the title track, 'Rain', 'Like Light To The Flies', 'Drowned And Turn Asunder', 'Suffocating Sight' and 'The Deceived') before Robb Flynn of Machine Head stepped up for Sepultura's 'Roots', 'Creeping Death' by Metallica, Pantera's 'Walk' and a karaoke version of 'The Trooper' by Iron Maiden during which everyone present resisted the temptation to bombard the stage with eggs. How mature of us all. But that's what happens when you act your age and not your shoe size. [Apparently Slipknot's Joey Jordison was scheduled to join the fun, but threw his toys from the pram after learning his band had failed to win anything at a magazine's awards ceremony that takes place today, Thursday. Ah, diddums].
Intriguingly, Zakk Wylde has now addressed the subject of Eggfest. "Although I'm a huge fan of the Iron Maiden band and their music, I have a problem with Bruce Dickinson talking shit about America and more personally, about the Godfather of my first-born son," he says. Zakk's allegiance to Ozzy is a given, but does anyone have proof of Bruce saying anything genuinely anti-American? Yes, he spoke about the lethargy of US audiences... does that make him racist? Yes, he waved a Union Jack around during 'The Trooper', but he's done that since the song was released 20 years ago. Does it make him a terrorist sympathiser? The song's about the Crimean War for Chrissake, not Iraq. "How dare he forget the American troops on their home turf?" bitches Sharon. Bit of a red herring if you ask me. I want genuine evidence, and I want it now.
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Wednesday 24th August
Took my eldest lad Eddie to last night's Cup game against Walsall. To be honest, Palace were piss-poor despite winning 3-0, and but for a dubious penalty decision to set the ball rolling we may even have succumbed to a side from a division beneath us. For all his undoubted graft and pace, Wayne Andrews couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo and is arguably the worst striker to grace Selhurst since Trevor Aylott. He must go, Dowie... right now.
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Tuesday 23rd August
Maiden manager Rod Smallwood has posted a comment on the Sharon Osbourne incident. "The scale, viciousness and concentration of the [missile] throwing made it obvious that this was a premeditated and co-ordinated attack," reckons Rod. "I was immensely proud of Maiden who showed great courage and got better and better through the adversity. Their heads never dropped, instead they went on the offensive. It was a truly memorable moment when Bruce went to the very front of the stage during 'The Trooper', and yelling 'This is a fucking British flag, and these colours don't fucking run!' The attitude and ability of the band shone through and made this a truly remarkable rock and roll event, even if for all the wrong reasons." Hear hear.
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Monday 22nd August
The shit has really hit the fan following the Sharon Osbourne-Maiden bust-up at Ozzfest. In a statement, Sharon claims that bassist Steve Harris "personally came to Ozzy in San Bernardino and apologized for Bruce's behaviour this summer," claiming that "this one little man [Bruce Dickinson] tried to ruin the Ozzfest for everyone". Her press release fails to address the issue of which individual(s) might have tampered with the sound, thrown eggs and various missiles and chanted "Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy" over the PA. To their credit, Iron Maiden have thus far declined to comment, save for describing the incident as "a rather bizarre end to a good tour" on their website. I prefer the verdict of an anonymous band manager (not Maiden's Rod Smallwoood) who since posted a lengthy eyewitness account, summing things up with the statement: "The Osbournes are drunk with power. Shame on them, and shame on ANY of the bands that participated in the terrorizing and intimidation."
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Sunday 21st August - part deux
P.S. It's mid-afternoon and I'm learning of an astonishing bust-up between Iron Maiden and Sharon Osbourne at last night's Ozzfest date in San Bernadino - Maiden's last scheduled stop on the tour before flying home for the Reading and Leeds Festivals. According to eyewitness accounts, the plug was pulled on Maiden several times during their 'special guest' set, while a section of the crowd that may have included a disguised Kelly Osbourne further attempted to provoke them by pelting the stage with eggs. After Maiden departed, Sharon told the audience: "Bruce Dickinson is a prick" - to boos and a reported mass exodus of fans from the arena. This is a truly astonishing and highly unprofessional development that almost beggars belief. I salute Maiden for completing their set amid some of the most childish and spoilt-brat behaviour in rock 'n' roll history. It sounds suspiciously like a tragic case of somebody believing their own publicity machine. If there is a justifiable explanation - and it's difficult to believe that there could be - I look forward to hearing it. This a story that will run and run.
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Sunday 21st August
Just been on the excellent metal news site Blabbermouth where a funny interview with Iron
Maiden's singer has been posted. Titled 'The World According to Bruce Dickinson', it tackles many misconceptions in the frontman's life. Bruce acknowledges that Maiden travel round in a private jet, but reveals: "I'm still catching the bus with my Travelcard and then taking the Tube to the airport to get to that private jet." The funniest bit concerns the group's highly-defined sound. "You'll never see an outside songwriter writing for Iron Maiden," swears Bruce. "I suppose we could give Robbie Williams' ex-songwriter Guy Chambers a call. But he's probably busy writing for Metallica..." Miaaoowww - but so true!
Oh yes, I finally finished the hugely enjoyable book Queen: The Early Years. In microscopic detail, it tells the band's story right up to their chart success with 'Bohemian Rhapody'. We learn that Brian May, like most academics, is prone to forgetfulness, often leaving behind his jacket in the most unlikeliest of places and even on one memorable occasion neglecting to bring his guitar to an early show. It's the kind of trivia that I can't get enough of. I also laughed aloud at the revelation that Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury rigged up a periscope at their legendary Kensington Market stall, in order to spy on an adjacent ladies' changing room. That's real initiative.

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Saturday 20th August
Just got in from the match. How amusing. Palace win with a goal from a (long-haired) ex-Scumwall player, just as his ex-teamates have to pick the ball out of the net five times against Reading (co-incidentally managed by ex-Palace hero Steve Coppell). Enjoy it while you can, Mr Ling. Conscience speaking: Palace were bloody atrocious this afternooon. There's no way we'll be promoted if we keep playing as bollox as this. But... bloody Scumwall... ha! ha!... and look at the team one place above 'em... Broken & Homeless Albion... you've gotta laff...
P.S. Happy birthday Kayleigh. Hope your Palace genes are having a laugh at those Scumwall-saddo relatives!!!
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Thursday 18th August
Oh, the shame. Last night England's footballers (and I use the term loosely) succumbed to a 4-1 thrashing from Denmark - the nation's biggest defeat in a quarter of a century. Thankfully it was only a friendly, the team plagued by the usual nonsensical second-half substitutions. But the scoreline didn't rile me so much as the performance. In the Sky TV studio, Ray Wilkins picked up on England's lackadaiscal manner, claiming that if they'd been playing in the Premier League instead of a meaningless friendly, opponents would have been closed down or goal-preventing tackles made. Excuse me, but what the fuck is that all about? Have our international footballers no pride? Trying to entice my two young lads to embrace the game, I'd spent the evening putting up England flags all over the house, making hot-dogs and chivvying them up to savour the match... then our prima donna dickheads just couldn't be bothered to play. In his post-match interview, Frank Lampard's body language was unforgiveable. Coach Sven Goran Eriksson even sheepishly admitted the team had played as if they were still on holiday. If you can't wear the shirt with pride at all times then don't bother, you lazy fucking assholes.
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Tuesday 16th August
Gutted... no, make that G-U-T-T-E-D. I really thought England's cricketers were going to take a dramatic 2-1 lead in the Ashes series. In the end, the bloody Aussies managed to bat all day in the wake of some ferocious bowling. With nine wickets down and time rapidly running out, the pressure was almost palpable. In the end, we just couldn't get the final breakthrough and secure the win that our domination deserved. Being a Palace fan, you'd expect me to take such disappointments on the chin by now... but, no. I'm still fuming. Back to the world of music, and I just got off the phone with Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel and 'Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)' fame. What a thoroughly decent and interesting geezer he turned out to be, our conversation touching upon his childhood down the road in Deptford - he knew my locale of Catford very well - and spoke of the polio that didn't quite kill him but left a limp in his right leg. There's a rather good new album called 'The Quality Of Mercy' in October. The first since 1979 under the banner of Cockney Rebel, it will be promoted by a good old-fashioned 30-date UK tour (how many bands do those anymore?). I've already earmarked the London show on December 9 as a 'do not miss' date.
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Sunday 14th August
Palace took home a point from Carrow Road after yesterday's 1-1 draw. Having listened to the match commentary, I'm still flummoxed at how we failed to settle a game in which The Eagles won 18 corners to Norwich's one. That sort of domination simply has to be converted into maximum points, or what's the bleedin' point in turning up?
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Saturday 13th August
It had to happen - Ozzy Osbourne has formally announced his retirement as Ozzfest headliner. After several cancellations on the current US trek, during which special guests Iron Maiden have been only too happy to close the show, Ozzy has acknowledged his declining health. "It's time for me to move on and do other things," says a statement, adding: "Ozzfest will carry on in 2006, however Ozzy will limit his performances to only a few, select cities." Respect is undoubtedly due to Ozzy for all he has achieved (musically speaking, at least), but the shoddy, predictable nature of his most recent performances surely made this an inevitability. Still very sad, though...
More regrettable news: Asia have replaced drummer Chris Slade - one of the most likeable men in rock - with Jay Schellen. It's said to be an amicable split, and Schellen's pedigree with the wonderful Unruly Child and Chris Squire's band Conspiracy speaks for itself, but I'll miss Slade's offstage eccentricity and powerful playing.
In between bouts of cricket - I'm praying the Aussies will have to follow on at Old Trafford today - I'm working my way through an excellent book called Queen: The Early Years. Author Mark Hodkinson's research is painstaking, and within a few pages ones realises that few punches will be pulled. "I don't recall John Deacon doing anything, what a boring character," recalls an early aquaintance of the bassist in the very first chapter. Must admit, I'm becoming fascinated by the group's invisible man - who I once interviewed back in 1983. Q Magazine's excellent Queen special had a wonderful feature on the former electronics expert from Leicester, who besides penning such classics as 'I Want To Break Free' and 'You're My Best Friend' once famously declined to meet the real Queen because he "may not have been able to think of anything interesting to say" and lists his favourite meal as cheese on toast.
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Wednesday 10th August
There must be some kind of conspiracy. On my way to interview Steve Hackett this morning, I looked at several newspapers and they'd all printed the Coca Cola League table upside down, with Sheffield United top and Crystal Palace... nope, I can't even type it. CPFC suffered a 2-1 reverse at Wolves last night, shipping yet another late goal, but at least played rather well by all accounts. Am I depressed about it all? How could I be? A new study reveals that all redheads (which I used to be, before setting foot in Selhurst Park and turning grey) carry a gene that makes us less susceptible to pain. Boffins have been testing the theory on mice, and have discovered that yellow-furred ones could withstand three times more agony than any others. Delia and Norwich City this coming Saturday... do your worst!
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Sunday 7th August
Dearie dearie me. Yesterday's opening match against Luton was woeful, especially having picked up The Sun and seen Simon Jordan's atonishing (and slightly cringeworthy) boast of: "We will be champions - I guarantee you. We have the best manager in the league in Iain Dowie and have signed one of the best players [a reference to Andy Johnson's new contract]. We are not playing, we are serious." Well, Jordan was correct in the first part of that final statement; Palace really didn't play at all. Okay, we could (and should) have had two penalties, and Luton's second goal was so offside that Stevie Wonder would have seen it, but unless there's a hundred per cent improvement in just about every area (maybe bar our wonderful goalie, Gabor Kiraly, who even saved a first half penalty), mid-table medocrity is the best that can be hoped for.
On a brighter note, hats off to former Palace and England star Geoff Thomas. Though in remission for leukaemia, he recently raised £110,000 for charity by completing the Tour De France. What a remarkable achievement.
I type this hours after England's stunning last-gasp victory against Australia in the Second Test. Winning by just two runs, it was a nail-biting moment to savour. At the end of yesterday's play the Aussies had been set a seemingly tricky target, but despite Shane 'The Wig' Warne stumbling back onto his own stumps, England's bowlers just couldn't get the final wicket. The Aussies slowly chipped away at the deficit, and at one point were a mere boundary away from seizing victory from the jaws of defeat. Then, staring down the barrel of miserable capitulation, fast bowler Steve Harmison forced Michael Kasprowicz to glove the ball to wicket-keeper Geraint Jones, and the nation erupted with joy. Shove that on yer flamin' barbie, Bruce!
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Saturday 6th August
It's a good job that the missus went to the theatre with some friends last night, as not even England's stirring display in the Second Test could divert my mind for too long from the prospect of today - the opening day of the football season. Palace versus Luton Town obviously doesn't quite ring with the same glamour of an Arsenal or Liverpool fixture, but this morning I'm still feeling like a nervous ten-year-old kid. An excellent interview with Simon Jordan in the Guardian only heightened the feeling. "There were some incidents with the Charlton guys [on the final day of last season] which I'm not going to go into, but they were very rude and quite happy we were relegated," revealed the club's "re-energised" chairman, adding: "The Charlton fans were morons. Their time will come, as it will for their directors for the comments they made. They enjoyed our demise, but what goes around, comes around."
Actually, I don't blame the Clowntown fans for celebrating Palace's misfortune - how could I? I once consumed almost a full bottle of Jagermeister in jubilation when Scumwall lost in the play-offs. It's part and parcel of football. However, I stand by Jordan's vision for the future; a re-built Selhurst Park and regular top-flight status. Taking my two young lads with me on their first season tickets, I certainly won't miss the exorbitant price of Premiership football this year. Instead we'll savour the experience of being big dogs in a very small kennel - the away trips to Plymouth and Hull will be top drawer piss-ups - and hopefully have it all back again in 2006/2007. Bouncebackability indeed.
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Thursday 4th August
Ain't it funny how you take a decent sound for granted when attending a concert? Enthused by their festival performance in Derby (see diary July 30), last night I went to the Mean Fiddler to check out Blackfoot again, and the guy at the desk completely ruined the experience. For almost a third of the 80-minute show, Greg T Walker's bass swamped the geetars of Charlie Hargrett and Bobby Barth, strangling the life from what would otherwise have been a very enjoyable gig. The band were having a ball and the turnout was healthy, but... sheesh... surely the complaints of the punters could have been acted upon? The sound was great for opening act Skinny Molly, who've apparently parted company with guitarist Dave Hlubeck (according to whispers, he's actually back with Molly Hatchet again). So the set concentrated on Skynyrd classics ('What's Your Name', 'Gimme Three Steps', 'Call Me The Breeze', 'Saturday Night Special', 'Simple Man' and 'Sweet Home Alabama') and a smattering of competent original tunes like 'Snakepit', 'Straight Shooter' and 'Too Much'. The ethics of Skinny Molly's continued pilfering of the Skynyrd catalogue - guitarist/vocalist Mike Estes played on the legendary band's 'Endangered Species' album in 1994 and also on the live 'Southern Knights' in '96 - are dubious at best, but I guess you pays your money and takes your choice.
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Tuesday 2nd August
I was nervous about the 9am press conference that Palace had called at the training ground. But thank Christ, it's official: Andrew Johnson has signed a new five-year deal. As everyone knows, contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on anymore, but if it keeps him at Selhurst till the end of next season and we're promoted again that'll be amazing news. And if we don't straight go up, few fans will begrudge him his shot at the top flight with another club. Well done, AJ. Besides notching 67 goals in under 130 games (CPFC's 11th all-time most prolific hitman), you are a man of honour.
Also in the footie world - well, almost - I just learned that after a mere 36 days in charge, Scumwall have relieved their new manager of his position. Steve Claridge hadn't even taken charge of a competitive game - unless you can call a match with Gillingham 'competitive'. Nurse, please sew up my aching sides. Let's all laugh at Scumwall, let's all laugh at Scumwall, la-la-la-la...