December 2011

Now before I start, Fred, I have to say that this letter may come across like from a fan boy with far too much time on his hands, oinked up on Cherry Coke, and in some ways you’d be correct & unfortunately I am very unapologetic about that.

However, this story is quite far from a pissed off Three Dollar Bill fan boy, continuously craving the sick beats of Pollution – but at Three Dollar Bill is where we start my story….

….the year is early 1999, I’m in my local record store after school (I’m only a wee 16yr old at this chapter), I hear a familiar sound coming from the sound system – I recognise the lyrics but it’s not George Michael spitting venom from the speakers, it’s some american dude. I’m hooked.

At the counter, I’m informed that the sound – still beating in my young ears – is Fred Durst. His band Limp Bizkit had just burst on to the nu-metal scene with their debut album Three Dollar Bill, Y’all! I knew instantly that TDB,Y! was the album I would take home that day. Paying the server I now had this shiny new album in my grubby little hands.

I’m home in a shot, to jam this cd in to my hi-fi system, ready to experience something that would alter my life forever. The first crackly beats of the Intro and into Pollution have their claws deep within my ear lobes, there is no way I am escaping this, this was setting my life path.

For the next year or so, my life evolved around Limp Bizkit. This was helped by the release of Significant Other later in 1999. Limp Bizkit literally exploded on to the main stream with your extensive touring and ferocious gigs. Yeah, you had your haters, but that’s what haters do – they hate. They drive you on to bigger & better things. The haters helped Limp Bizkit to prominence just as much as us, fans.

Years passed, I moved away from home, new bands came on the scene – I had a passion for the music that developed from my hearing Faith that one day in my local record store. Things change – locations, girlfriends, jobs – but there was always one constant in my life – Limp Bizkit. Even through the lean years, and Wes leaving, coming back, leaving, coming back, I still had my Bizkit CD’s – always eagerly anticipating the next album drop.

I was never one of the fans that would listen to the new shit & instantly diss it because it wasn’t a clone of Sour. I embraced every Bizkit album, wearing out the CD as I played it so much (thankfully in this day & age, my media player of choice doesn’t get worn away with the constant playing of Gold Cobra).

I’ve seen the band go through thick & thin, members struggle, members grow, develop in to some of the most awed musicians on the planet. Fred, there is no denying that you have grown in to an awesome director – The Education of Charlie Banks is a masterclass film!

But all this I’ve seen from the sidelines – from the pages on the web, from videos on youtube etc – in the 12 years of knowing that Limp Bizkit exists – I have never seen you in the flesh & playing live. It’s not without trying though.

Had tickets to see ya at Download 10 years ago but you guys couldn’t play, had tickets to see you play you’re free gig in Finsbury Park but things transpired against me & I couldn’t make it down to London.

When you’ve played gigs in europe I was in London, when you played gigs in London I was in New York, when you played gigs in New York I was in London. I’ve missed you at festivals, free gigs, intimate gigs. It’s a chase to see Limp Bizkit live….

…and this is really the point of my open letter to you, Fred. I, along with thousands more, want…no, need…to see you live at some point in our lives. I think it’s time for Limp Bizkit to wake this music world up and get back on that road to play bat shit crazy shows, Wes dressed up like an alien, Otto pounding his drums, Lethal dropping those funky ass beats, Sam working his magic on bass & you, Fred, spitting venom over the masses gathered to watch you guys do what you guys do best – perform.

I’d like to refer you back to an earlier point I made, Limp Bizkit made their name by extensively touring and playing ferocious shows. Why not go back to that? Destroy the shitty music world we live in. Show ‘em what ya got, Fred?

Maybe, just maybe, the recent separation between the Limp Bizkit & your label is a good thing, step away from making a new album & get out there to the cities again. Blow the new kids away, show the old kids that ya still got it – it never went away.

When the world is toured, torn down & destroyed you survey the damage and go on to make another killer album, but right now, the world is ready for another round with the Bizkit…

Here ends my open letter.

Thanks, Fred.

G

Considering the holiday period is fast approaching & after much deliberation, and there was a fair amount of deliberation, I have pulled together my top 5 Christmas movies.

It’s likely you’ll spot your top Christmas movie in my list, but you may be surprised by my No.1 choice. So to my list and it begins with a classic…

5. Home Alone
Where do you start with Home Alone. It’s a great family Christmas Day film, you’ve just eaten your own weight in turkey & sprouts, you sit down to enjoy how Culkin, who gets left at home by his family as they go on a vacation to Paris, outsmarts two crooks trying to burgle the McAllister home on Christmas Eve. Kevin (Culkin) sets up multiple booby traps to try and stop Harry & Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) from robbing his home & bring them to justice. Comedy ensues. Eventually, Kevin’s family make the trip back home in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. It’s beautiful.

4. Gremlins
I mean how can a film about receiving a Mogwai for Christmas, not be in the top 5 Christmas films of all time. It’s the perfect Christmas present – all the rage in the 1980′s. Although it wouldn’t have been much of a film if Billy (Zach Galligan) had kept to the three simple rules:
- never expose it to bright lights (especially sunlight, which will kill it)
- never get it wet (which will make it multiply)
- never feed it after midnight (which will turn it into a Gremlin)

Thankfully, Billy broke the rules ensuring each year we can all enjoy the full glory of Gremlins.

3. Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton, as a drunken Santa & a dwarf as an Christmas elf.

Need I say any more? No. Exactly.

So for the next two Christmas films we have a decision to make; there are two couples in both films that will make my final decision…

2. Elf
So we have Will Ferrell & Zooey Deschanel in this Christmas classic. Buddy (Ferrell) was a baby in an orphanage, who stowed away in Santa’s sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa’s naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter’s relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities.

Finally, Buddy must teach the people of NYC to believe in Santa Claus, this reignites the engines on Santa’s sleigh.

It’s a beautiful, funny movie. Perfect for Boxing Day when you’re hungover and a bellyful of awesome food.

So, with an awesome pair of Christmas coupling in No.2 it leads us to our No.1 spot and likely the best Christmas couple. Ever.

1. Die Hard
Bruce Willis & Alan Rickman. Almost all you need to say about any film. Yet, this is an epic film filled with action, comedy, joy, adventure & the Bruce/Alan combo – everything I look for when I sit down to watch a film.

John McClane (Willis) gets caught up in a terrorist, hostage, takeover of Nakatomi Plaza by Hans Gruber (Rickman). McClane takes out the henchmen of Gruber during the course of the film, before there is a showdown between McClane & Gruber (plus McClane’s wife) with the memorable moment of Gruber falling through window to his demise.

The film has also the perfect line uttered during the film:

Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker!

Beautiful.

unclestudio
Artist UNCLE is fast becoming one of my favorite toy customizers. Super fast. Mega super fast.

Looking at his previous work, which you can check out at his personal site: http://www.unclestudio.com/ (although his site is in still under a little makeover right now (Uncle, if you’re looking for some website assistance I am only a tweet away…)), anyways his previous ‘creations’ are outstanding & inspiring, to say the least.

He has a unique style, disfiguring & manipulating his toys in to creepy – yet awesome – figures. You can see what I’m talking about with his latest Dunny blind box release:

unclestudio

Yeah, I know it’s all kinds of brown-nosing but this guy deserves it & some. I would highly recommend checking Uncle & his work out. You will not be disappointed.

You can follow Uncle within the social media empire too:

twitter – @unclestudio
facebook – Un Cle
site under progress – unclestudio.com


December is always an interesting time, especially the year before a major football tournament takes place. The reason for all this interest was the draw takes place for the group stages of said major football tournament. Today in Kiev, the draw took place for Euro 2012.

Euro 2012 will be co-hosted by Poland & Ukraine, where 16 countries will vie for the chance to lift the coveted Henri Delaunay trophy on July 01.

England, who had failed to qualify for Euro 2008, qualified from Group G with relative ease – which is always a pleasant experience. During the draw, England were placed in Pot 2 – so it was more than possible that they’d be placed in the so called ‘Group of Death’. Thankfully the draw looked kindly upon the Three Lions, where they were picked with co-hosts Ukraine, France & Sweden.

By no means, this isn’t a simple & easy group to advance from but it could have been much worse. Don’t believe me, check out Group B.

Ok, so let’s look a little more in-depth at England’s Euro 2012 opponents…

Ukraine
Andriy ShevchenkoThey are the co-hosts, alongside Poland, so even though they are ranked 55th in the FIFA rankings, they’ll have the home crowd advantage. It is also Ukraine’s debut at Euro 2012.

During the World Cup in 2006, they reached the Quarter Finals – being knocked out by Italy. They failed to qualify for the World Cup 2010.

Ukraine’s main threat, if he is selected, will come from the aging Andriy Shevchenko. The guy is a goal machine, wherever he plays.

Sweden
ibrahimovic
Although England beat Sweden in a low-key friendly last month, they have yet to beat Sweden in an official tournament.

Sweden had an impressive qualifying period, finishing second to Holland but qualifying as the best runner-up amongst all the groups. They scored 31 goals during this period with Zlatan Ibrahimovic the leading goal scorer.

It is in my opinion that Sweden will be the dark horse of Euro 2012. They will be toughest of the three opponents that England will face in the group stage.

France
Franck Ribéry and Karim BenzemaAt the turn of the new millenium France were the team to beat, but after 2002 things began to go wrong – culminating in a disappointing 2010 World Cup and a very public falling out between a number of senior players and their former coach Raymond Domenech.

2012 will be a different French team, now managed by former player – Laurent Blanc. They lost only one of their qualifying games and, with only four goals conceded, it is easy to see Blanc’s influence. No other team in Poland and Ukraine were so parsimonious in the qualifying stages.

Their main threats will come from Franck Ribéry and Karim Benzema, both quality players & often linked to Premiership clubs. Lets just hope they both concentrate on football, rather than underage prostitutes.

France are definitely not the same force that won the World Cup in 1998 and followed it up by winning Euro 2000. It’ll be interesting to see which French team turns up in Ukraine.

England will have to bring their good stuff to get out of this group & they will likely have to do it without Wayne Rooney, due to his suspension. England definitely have potential to do well at Euro 2012, but I’m fairly certain we always say that at every major tournament.

Roll on June 2012.

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