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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Sunday 30th January
Had a great time yesterday at the Strumpfest, an annual fund-raiser for multiple sclerosis charities. Apparently last year's total of £1,146.80 was outstripped even before the show began, and an excellent acoustic set from Thunder brought a few extra punters into the Borderline.
With a friendly atmosphere and well-organised structure, I'll be going again next year. Chariot played a brisk early evening set of old standards and appetisers from the forthcoming 'Behind The Wire' album, the event being closed by my favourite new band, Hurricane Party, who just seem to get better and better.
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Saturday 29th January
Well, three weeks later I finally played the Japanese bootleg DVD of Rainbow that Michael Amott so kindly gave me (see 19th December). It's amazing to think that the inaugural Castle Donington gig took place a quarter of a century ago. The 1980 festival was the only Donington I didn't attend. Mum and dad had forced me to make a decision - Rainbow, Priest, the Scorpions et al in Derbyshire, or that year's Reading Festival. UFO, Maiden, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Gillan, Pat Travers, Magnum, Samson, Rory Gallagher and many more; three full days of booze, mud, debauchery and glorious freedom, or just one. It was, in the current parlance, a no-brainer.
The DVD is highly edited and a bit grainy, but great. It includes Graham Bonnet's mysterious mention of mushy peas during 'All Night Long', and a puzzling rendition of the Shirelles' 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow', plus Blackmore thrashing his Strat. There's also a bonus feature that set me wondering. In it, Cozy Powell appears on Tiswas having judged a competition to find the nation's best new young drummer. The winner was Carl Smith, then podgy and aged nine, who'd now be 34 years old. Wonder if he ever joined a band? At the end of his appearance, Cozy even gets flanned by sex goddess presenter Sally James - something I'd have died and gone to heaven for if it had ever happened to me!
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Friday 28th January
Another excellent gig last night. The Inferno Festival at the Underworld was a showcase for five Norwegian groups. Strangely, considering they were probably the best act on the bill, Enslaved opted to go on first. It later turned out they were entered in a fishing competition, and wanted to get
away quickly (honestly!). These Vikings and their fish... what are they like? Keeping the food analogy going, Madder Mortem were perhaps the event's only turkey. Grimfist would have been a meat BBQ platter; nice 'n' spicy. With their futuristic cyber-riffing, Red Harvest a microwavable delicacy.
And headliners Arcturus something flamboyant and gourmet-approved.
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Wednesday 26th January
Oh, joy of joys. Just received finished copies of the Status Quo re-issues. The first six Vertigo Records albums - 'Piledriver' through the immortal double 'Live' - on CD with at least one bonus track, and sleeve notes. Truth told, the liner essays are pretty bland, but the music, THE MUSIC! 'Quo', from 1974, is actually among the finest of the batch. One the band's best five or six numbers, it's nice to hear 'Slow Train' in its entirety instead of live medley form. Even lesser-celebrated tracks like 'Don't Think It Matters', built around one of the meatiest riffs I've ever heard, had me hopping around the room and strumming like a grinning fool at that invisible green Telecaster. I might have to wait till the family go out before returning to 'Live'; maybe dig out the old tennis racket and recite Rossi's song intros verbatim just like I used to. Ahem... what an admission... I'll get me (patched, denim waist-)coat.
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Tuesday 25th January
A cracking show from Napalm Death and Mistress took place at a sold-out Underworld last night. Beforehand, the press had been invited for a few beers and some nosebag as Napalm's new album, 'The Code Is Red... Long Live The Code' (due on April 25), was previewed. The band were happy and confident, and their album justified the positive mood. Present among the early-birds was Jeff Walker, ex-frontman of Carcass, who appears on one of the record's tracks and joined the band onstage. As well as confiding that he's now working on a country and western album (yes, really), Walker delighted in winding up the politically correct Barney Greenway with a joke - "What's the difference between a feminist and a dustbin? The dustbin gets taken out at least once a week!" - but sadly, although ex-vocalist Lee Dorrian was in the house, he could not be persuaded to join in the fun
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Sunday 23rd January
Somewhat sore-headed today after yesterday's amazing 3-0 home victory over Spurs. If Palace can play like that for the rest of the season we'll have no problems. Perhaps the most enjoyable moment came a few minutes from the end when Gabor Kiraly, the Hungarian who's having a brilliant season between the sticks, gesticulated to a fan in the Holmesdale Road stand as if to say, 'Here mate, you go in goal'. After the whistle blew I nipped up to the Underworld for an excellent gig by Polish black-death band Behemoth. I like to keep a clear head if I'm reviewing, so saved the joyous celebrations till after the gig. However, it might've been an error to have consumed 1.5 litres of vile Budgen liebfraumilch piss - the only thing I could locate with a screw top - on the tube journey home.
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Saturday 22nd January
Last night I headed down to Croydon to check out Statetrooper and Lionsheart. The Cartoon's a friendly little club but the experience made me glad that I'm a journo and not a muso. The attendance was feeble; I felt sympathy for Gary Barden - who'd been in with a shout of real stardom during his days with Michael Schenker - when he expressed pleasure at seeing so many punters, stating that Statetrooper will back again soon. He probably should've gone to Specsavers. After Lionsheart's set, Steve Grimmett told me that he'd come pretty close to throwing in the towel a while back - till the rejuvenating arrival of ex-Killers bassist Gavin Cooper, in fact. I'm so glad that he didn't, as he's a lovely geezer with a golden set of David Coverdale-esque tonsils. Too bad that Blaze Bayley got the Maiden gig ahead of Steve, who I believe also auditioned. I was pretty unkind to Lionsheart's 'Abyss' album in the pages of Classic Rock. Hearing some of its contents belted out on stage made me realise it's nowhere near as 'Abyss'-mal as first feared.
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Wednesday 19th January
A promo of 'Angel Of Retribution', the new Judas Priest album, has just arrived... Nurse, the screens! I'd already heard five tracks (see diary, 20th December), but the album in its entirety is just... just... well, as unrelenting and merciless as I'd hoped. 'Judas Rising' must open the live shows in March, and every track is worth its place on the disc. The closing song, a thudding, bludgeoning 13-and-a-half minute epic about Loch Ness (the chorus goes: "Loch Ness/Confess/Your terror of the deep"), is arguably the most ludicrous thing that Priest have ever done. Given that the band are vying for a younger audience, its inclusion is pretty brave. But get saving those pennies for a real treat on February 28th.
P.S. Please don't ask me to burn MP3s or cassettes of the Priest album, as a punch in the face or being told to fuck off is often likely to offend.
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Sunday 16th January
As anyone who knows me'll attest, I've always loved a bargain. Yesterday I took a trip up North to see Palace's game against Manchester City - a mere £11 return on a National Express coach and all the whippets you could eat. Alas, I seemed to spend far more than the fare in the pub before the game, becoming so inebriated that at half time, with Palace trailing 1-2, I was under the impression that the game was over. If only it had been - we eventually lost 1-3. A depressing trip home followed, tucked up in bed by midnight, scarf lost somewhere along the way. Waste of a friggin' day, and three more valuable points lost. Eeek
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Friday 14th January
An album I received today that made me feel ancient. 'Soft Rock Anthems' is a Telstar-style compilation that cobbles together perennials like 'More Than A Feeling' (Boston), 'Africa' (Toto), 'Dead Ringer For Love' (Meat Loaf), 'Can't Fight This Feeling' (REO Speedwagon) and 'Eye Of The Tiger' Survivor). Except this one is a double, which is more interesting 'cos it also includes such extras as 'Music' by John Miles (an absolute drop-dead classic), 'The Logical Song' by 'Supertramp' (which made me want to whip out the timeless 'Crime Of The Century' album) and Foreigner's 'Urgent' (which reminded me that I really should post my Classic Rock story of the '4' album some time). Why do I mention this? Well, it also featured the original version of 'Ride Like The Wind', first recorded by Christopher Cross but a song I've heard Saxon perform so many times that I'd almost forgotten it was actually a cover. Can time really play such strange tricks on one's perspective?! Apparently they can. I was also horrified to find myself enjoying 'Hey Little Girl' by Icehouse, a band I'd considered utterly foul till now, despite having had the gross misfortune to see them live. Now here I am thinking that they sound a little bit like Roxy Music-lite and making a mental note to look out for them in the £1 rack at the Record & Tape Exchange. Oh dear.
I'll tell you this in advance: If anyone ever sees me preparing to buy a Simple Minds or Chicago album, please do the decent thing and fucking shoot me!
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Thursday 13th January
After weeks of promising, we finally took our two fine lads to see The Incredibles. Even for grown-ups it's an excellent film, though it was extremely disconcerting to note that the fictional lead character (Mr. Incredible) was the spitting image of the real-life Mr. Incredible, Palace manager Iain Dowie. Funnily enough, there's also a lookalike of Br***ton & Homo Al**on manager Mark McGhee in the Big Brother house at the moment. It's a funny ol' world, eh?
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Sunday 9th January
I never like it when Palace lose, but yesterday's game, which saw us exit the FA Cup up in Sunderland, didn't elicit the usual feelings of rage or frustration, nor that awful tightening knot in the stomach. Apparently the team played awfully and deserved to come home empty-handed. I really don't care - that's one defeat and pub team performance which might otherwise have taken place in something important like the league.

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Thursday 6th January
Yesterday my Classic Rock pal Jerry Ewing and I visited a studio in Fulham for a preview of the new Porcupine Tree album, 'Deadwing'. We secretly felt the band would struggle to top their last album, 'In Absentia', but what we heard delighted us. Before unveiling the track 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here' in 5.1 surround sound splendour, Steven Wilson grinned as he asked: "Do you want the uber-prog epic first?" It was 12 minutes long, incorporating all the elements for which the band have become renowned, even featuring a guest spot from Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. The title track was also hugely impressive, also boasting a contribution from Adrian Belew of King Crimson. The first single, 'Shallow', was far rockier and more instant, while the hauntingly spiritual 'Lazarus' was stunningly arranged. Due on March 21, to these ears it's already in the running for the best album of 2005.
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Tuesday January 4th
What a difference 48 hours makes. Still recovering from Palace's great victory over Aston Villa yesterday, a faith-affirming 2-0 win that restored my belief in bouncebackability. Bumped into Harry James, Thunder and Magnum's drummer, just before the kick-off. He had his little daughter with him. The proud look on his face suggested it was a great moment for him, though his cute little offspring seemed far less enthused. Wonder how she felt afterwards? I know that my boy Eddie was thrilled to see the team win after several draws and defeats.
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Sunday January 2nd
Sad to say, yesterday might just have seen the wheels come off Palace's bid to stay in the Premiership. We could and should have got a result away at Fulham, but turned in a shameful second half performance, losing 3-1.
Afterwards I'd planned to head onto the Cartoon in Croydon for a gig by Laurence Archer's Nineteen (funnily enough, my calculations suggest that the former Stampede/UFO/Grand Slam guitarist is a wee bit older than that), but it was cancelled at the last minute. It never rains but it bloody pours, eh?