Smoke if you got ’em!

Christ, what timing – I was about write this big long Facebook rant on why I wholeheartedly support the Spanish police force shooting Catalonians in the face as a punishment for daring to question Spain’s corrupt and inept capitalist government: how dare those Balearic coastal peasants criticise Spain’s incompetent self-serving status-quo! – if it wasn’t for Spain, then beet-red-in-the-face bigoted insufferable baby-boomer Brits would have nowhere to retire to!

Anyway, it’s insensitive of me to give full credit and spotlight to the Spanish police as there’s an American individual who also just entered himself as a candidate for “Most Murderous Fuckwank That We Despise” – this contender is Stephen Paddock – Stephen, thanks for unloading your gun in the faces of an audience trying to enjoy a concert!

Facebook pals, allow me to ask the question: what exactly was Stephen supposed to do? He was trying his best to uphold the law; and what that means is he was impersonating an officer of the law; and what that means is shooting people in the face if they criticise the hierarchy of inherited privilege.
Stephen Paddock was a GOD DAMNED patriot. If you’re NOT shooting someone in the face at this very moment, then you’re probably doing something obscene like buying lunch for a homeless person. Or worse, like reading chapter 10 of Das Kapital.

Let me reiterate Facebook pals: if you’re not shooting someone in the face to stop/end their arguments, then you’re probably a snowflake spineless liberal who is tolerant of complex ideas; and you probably like things like thoroughly researched conclusions. Yuck, you make me fucking sick to my Weatherspoon’s plump stomach.

If I had to say what I HATE most about this snowflake society, you know my answer: it’s the smart-arses who can do complex thinking. I can’t stand flowery “thinkers”. However, if there’s one thing I LOVE about this world, it’s that I can shoot anyone in the face who makes me feel like I’m an inadequate individual due to a lack of skills in diplomacy, rhetoric and civility.


YouTube Favourites

Last 20 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. Slave To Love (Brian Ferry)
  2. Stayin’ In Black (Bee Gees & ACDC mashup by Wax Audio)
  3. Everlasting Love (Sandra)
  4. You Got It (Roy Orbison)
  5. You Really Got Me (The Kinks)
  6. Miss World (Hole)
  7. Renegade Master (Wild Child Fatboy Slim Old Skool Mix)
  8. Loaded (Primal Scream)
  9. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
  10. A Walk (Bad Religion)
  11. You’re The Voice (John Farnham)
  12. Platform Blues (Pavement)
  13. Know How (Young MC)
  14. Make Up Is Lies (The Make Up)
  15. Sugar (Bikini Kill)
  16. Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics)
  17. Anemone (Brian Jonestown Massacre)
  18. Blueprint (Fugazi)
  19. Beautiful (Clem Snide)
  20. Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson)

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good mashup – I really like the Bee Gees/ACDC mix. Also, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s cover of Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is astounding, I find myself tossing a coin between Stevie Ray and Jimi when trying to decide who my favourite guitarist of all time is.

Grenfell Tower

You might have heard the recurring motif that ‘a government’s first obligation is to protect its citizens’. It’s a trope often trotted out when there is a national crisis, such as a terrorist attack – however, after this platitude of “the government is on YOUR side” is announced by various broadcast mouthpieces, what actually happens is the government can then seize on such tragedy as an opportunity to make a reduction in the public’s civil liberties. e.g. Theresa May considers sex to be appalling, so clearly after Manchester’s and London’s devastation, something has to be done about our wanking and she plans on further internet regulation.

It’s important to remember that, in a capitalist/neoliberal society, the ruling government has only one obligation and that is to ensure the survival of ‘business’ (read that as ‘profitable companies’); your individual life is completely worthless in the eyes of a neoliberal government; but the life of a bank is so priceless that there is no limit to a potential purchase-for-recovery bid when that bank/company/business hits a colossal catastrophe (think quantitative easing after the 2008 capitalist disaster). Only in a fairy-tale of LSD proportion would an author describe a government’s paramount role as “a responsibility to ensure the safety of the population”.

Twelve people died in the Grenfell Tower disaster, and the accounts so far describe an excellent response of the firefighters – interviews with these firefighters explained they had to go through 4 or 5 oxygen canisters to constantly go in and out the of the building in order to check for survivors – but this wasn’t enough, they would have needed 10 or 15 oxygen tanks to do the job properly. When Westminster cuts hit the emergency services, this is an easily understandable example of why such cuts are both dangerous and immoral – a large supply of oxygen tanks means a relay team of firefighters can get far enough up the floors of the tower to ensure no one is left behind; to ensure no one burns to death, to ensure all residents are alerted to the emergency. In December 2011, after the financial fall-out, the National Audit Office concluded that the max support made available to banks was £955bn with minimum figure closer to £512bn. A government guarantee, promised by the income generated from public funds. Ironic but completely expected, that for the last 7 years, the Tories have angrily ordered everyone in the country to make less go further.

My leftist stance is known to you all, and it’s highly transparent; I’m happy to always engage in debate, I’m a rationalist and I respect contrary opinions. But for anyone still suspicious of my socialist leaning, let me ask the pertinent question: how do you MORALLY make the choice between Fred Goodwin buying another Desmond Merrion Supreme Bespoke suit for £40,000 and an impoverished family in a wretched block of West-London flats burning to death. In all sincerity, I don’t know how the right-wing live with themselves (unless their wealth includes a gin/heroin blood transfusion).

Here’s Boris Johnson, in 2013 in his second term as London mayor, telling the London Assembly (the group which scrutinizes the London mayor’s activity) to “get stuffed” when his mayoral plan to reduce fire stations, firefighters, fire equipment, etc. is confronted. Boris Johnson… a man of the state… a statesman if you will… responding with “fuck off” to the 12 people who have just lost their lives in Grenfell Tower.

The Rock Club Q&A

Duff Steer review and Q&A with The Rock Club

Hi Lyle, how’s Glasgow treating you today?

It’s a bit drizzly, it’s a bit dreary, but we’re all still out in the streets, holding hands and wishing for a brighter tomorrow.

The BBC 6 music festival is coming to town shortly, does that help local musicians in anyway?

I think so, it should be good for venues, good for bands – I like 6 Music, Shaun Keaveny wakes me up each morning (my radio alarm clock, not him in person), so I’d be more attracted to a festival supported by that station, certainly more than a tour supported by the likes of Radio 1. Being a Southsider in Glasgow, it’s nice to see venues such as Glad Café and Rum Shack included in the festivities.

New Album ‘Duff Steer’, who is in the band and where/when was the album recorded?

The band is…. only me, all on my lonesome. I’ve been a solo recording musician for almost 10 years now, although it’s entirely possible I’ll get back with a full group at some point in the future. Duff Steer was recorded over 2016/2017, backing tracks laid down in my home studio, vocals recorded at Dixon Street studios in Glasgow.

This looks to be your eighth album and your first was 2007? Has your sound changed over the years and how do you feel you have grown as a musician in that time?

So, my first solo record in 2007 was Why Doesn’t My Album Sounds As Loud As Everyone Else’s?, and back then I wanted to try out a fairly heavy-digital sound, with layered drum machines, distorted synths, and guitars overdriven with digital clipping. But really, that was more a one-off experiment – at heart, I’m a guy who likes good guitar sounds, good guitar songs – for example, I really like the style and production of Kurt Vile’s album B’lieve I’m Goin Down… (2015), the opening track Pretty Pimpin sounds amazing. The thing is, when you’re a recording musician who is also your own engineer/producer, it’s really tempting to throw on synths, or techno drum beats, or 5 track guitar solos. And I like that freedom to experiment, but it costs time and doesn’t always work. The one consistent thing about my albums is, each record usually has a couple of songs that don’t work, but I leave them on – good, bad or indifferent, publish and be damned. Then move on to the next one.

Any live dates planned to promote the new record?

Only press promotion for the new record at the moment, mainly to satisfy my ego without having to go outside.

Is music full time for you or is there a day job as well?

Well, let’s put it this way – my income from Spotify royalties for December 2016 was 5p. That’s right, five pence. Read it and weep, wage slaves.

What was the first album you bought and where from?

It was To the Extreme by Vanilla Ice, 1990. I was 10 years old. My sister also took me to see Vanilla Ice that year in Edinburgh. After the show, she looked ill and said “I have never seen so many pelvic thrusts in my whole life”. My next purchase, one year later, was Nevermind along with ACDC’s For Those About To Rock. You can hear all three of those influences in everything I’ve ever done.

One piece of advice for new guitarists just starting out today?

Trade in those guitars for shovels.

Last 10 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. Stand Back (Stevie Nicks)
  2. Entropy in the UK (D-Generation)
  3. False Jesii Part 2 (Pissed Jeans)
  4. Love On Top (Beyonce)
  5. Despair Came Knocking (Daniel Johnston cover by Circuit des Yeux)
  6. Solid Air (whole album – John Martyn)
  7. Tubular Bells (Champs Boys)
  8. Urgent (Foreigner)
  9. Beautiful World (Devo)
  10. Why Bother? (Weezer)

D-Generation is the early 90s dance band which (recently deceased) cultural theorist Mark Fisher was in. Not to be confused with D Generation, the gross glam punk crapfest band from New York.

I really love the cover of Despair Came Knocking. And my love of Devo knows no bounds.

Mark Fisher & Sweet Pee

I was very saddened to hear that cultural theorist Mark Fisher recently took his own life: (

I thought his book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? was excellent. He was only 48 and had struggled with depression. A big loss.

Last 10 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. Warehouse: Songs and Stories (whole album – Hüsker Dü)
  2. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin)
  3. Make Some Noise (Beastie Boys)
  4. She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)
  5. Bulls on Parade (Rage Against the Machine live 2010)
  6. You Know You’re Right (Nirvana)
  7. Bonzo Goes to Bitburg (The Ramones)
  8. Stormcock (whole album – Roy Harper)
  9. One Man Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (Roy Harper)
  10. I’m Gonna Be Your God (Slayer)

Roy Harper’s Stormcock has been a treat recently, highly recommended. Also, Warehouse: Songs and Stories takes me straight back to my punk rock 16 year old self – a big album during my formative teenage years.

Speaking of formative teenage years, The Fife Herald recently ran this piece on my high school band Sweet Pee (photo from 1998):

nostalgia sweet pee

Bizarre and awesome.


Shows I’ve Seen

20th June 2010Paul McCartney (Glasgow, Hampden – support from Sharleen Spiteri)

21st Aug 2007Sonic Youth (Glasgow, ABC)

14th Dec 2006The Melvins (Glasgow, Garage – support from Flipper w/Krist Novoselic)

11th Oct 2006 – Andy Fairweather Low (Perth, Bein Inn)

25th Aug 2006The Rolling Stones (Glasgow, Hampden – support from The Charlatans)

25th Feb 2006 – Hundred Reasons (Dundee, Reading Rooms)

19th July 2001Status Quo (Edinburgh Castle – support from The Beach Boys)

13th July 2001Bob Dylan (Stirling Castle)

10th June 2001Neil Young & Crazy Horse (Glasgow, SECC)

3rd November 2000The Who (Glasgow, SECC)

30th Oct 2000Smashing Pumpkins (Glasgow, SECC)

21st June 2000 – Bill Wyman & The Rhythm Kings (Glenrothes, Rothes Halls)

15th Oct 1999Therapy? (Glasgow, Garage – support from Rico)

4th June 1999The Rolling Stones (Edinburgh, Murrayfield- support from Sheryl Crow)

24th April 1999BB King (Glasgow, Clyde Auditorium – support from John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

Sept 1998 – Noel Redding (Glasgow, Cathouse)

25th Jan 1998Green Day (Glasgow, Barrowlands – support from D-Generation)


There’s been much talk in recent years of how out-of-touch the political and media classes are with society, and this alienated relationship feels particularly pronounced in the UK and America.

My anarchist side welcomes this breakdown, as part of me remains hopeful that public resentment of these propagandist times leads to pressure which engenders change. However, there’s a prejudice in me that feels people will instead make stupid decisions when they’re angry. Have I been guilty of stereotyping Brexit and Trump supporters? To some degree – but it’s hard to ignore the contradictions in their arguments. The blue-collar populations of America whose lives were destroyed by outsourcing have voted for a billionaire capitalist whose own business uses outsourcing in order to avoid creating jobs or risking money (…/column-trumps-outrage-over-outsourcin…/). In the UK, a significant section of the population stubbornly cling to the belief that their misery is caused by small Polish sausage and cheese shops rather than the gargantuan financial, political and media corporations.

Trouble in Paradise

I’m really enjoying Slavoj Žižek’s “Trouble in Paradise” just now.


This work has turned me onto wholesome red-blooded Commie ‘dialectic humour’:

“A guy sits down in a cafe and asks the waiter for a coffee without cream… the waiter apologises and says they’re out of cream but would a coffee without milk be OK?”

I’ve recently started using Goodreads, why not join me: 

Last 10 songs added to my YouTube favourites list:

  1. House Of Broken Promises – The Hurt (Paid My Dues)
  2. Neil Young – The Needle and the Damage Done
  3. Cat Stevens – Sitting
  4. ELO – The Diary of Horace Wimp
  5. Betty Boo – Hey DJ I Can’t Dance
  6. Rapeman – Two Nuns and a Pack Mule
  7. Green Day – BBC Sessions 1996
  8. Jaco Pastorius – Dear Prudence
  9. Sluts of Trust – Leave You Wanting More
  10. Trouble – Tales of Brave Ulysses



More Maxims

  • Writing lyrics is my least favourite part of creating music. I’ve made some terrible lyrical mistakes in the past which should have been punished by tar and feathering. Approaches which are valid: stream-of-consciousness; critical/political; surreal; punny. Approaches which stink: obvious/literal; love and/or sex; boneheaded banality; nostalgia; twee.
  • Vocal styles which I detest: that screamy screamo/hardcore/emo thing; and similarly, the ‘bowels of hell’ impression of satan that usually happens at some point in a screamy screamo/hardcore/emo track (“OK auld yin, and is the jitterbug too highly sexualised for your taste?”); the whispered baby-voice that accompanies acoustic interpretations of popular 20th Century songs on TV ads just now; twee baby-voice; people who sing from their postcode rather than heart (e.g. exaggerated “Laaahndahn Taaahn”).
  • Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Skrillex earned an average of $42 million last year. Since 2014, I have earned $12.87 in royalties (half of which were my own purchases to test that the royalty system is legit). They say “you gotta live the blues to play the blues”, but I’m broke and my pentatonic riffs always sound like Lenny Kravitz.

The last 10 videos I added to my YouTube favourites playlist were from: Desalvo; Tim Cappello (Lost Boys); Bruce Hornsby; Ghostbusters Theme Remix; Roy Buchanan; David Bowie; Beastie Boys; Stevie Wonder; Gloria Gaynor; Primus

I particularly recommend the Roy Buchanan track (“Sweet Dreams”) – beautiful guitar playing. Also, Desalvo were a band from Glasgow I had the pleasure of watching live in 2008 at the Balcony Bar in Dundee. Excellent stuff, shame they split. Also, Desalvo employed a screaming vocal style which sounds sincere to me – that’s what makes the difference.