OF The Big Yin - from
Scotland to Hollywood,
plus we interview the
man behind the man;
Billy’s former road
manager, Jamie Wark
B illy Connolly has enjoyed a long-
standing career as one of the world’s best-
loved comedians, while at the same time
carving out a career as a respected motion
picture and television actor. Connolly is one
of Scotland’s greatest success stories from
the comedy industry.
He became the nation’s favourite Glaswegian
in 1975 after an appearance on the Parkinson
show when he told a now famously rude joke
about a hard-up Glaswegian who, after mur-
dering his wife, left her backside strategi-
cally exposed above the grave so that he had
quot;somewhere to park his bikequot;. Parky winced,
and the BBC braced itself for trouble, but the
viewers loved it and within a year the
strange, hairy Scotsman was one of the
biggest stars of comedy.
Known as the “Big Yin” the local boy made
good. Perhaps more than any other Scot who
has been successful outwith the UK, Con-
nolly has suffered from an acute case of the
quot;pedestal syndromequot;, in which prominent
people are built up only to be knocked down.
In Connolly’s view it is the press that ►
TOTAL June 2008 23
Billy picks up his
CBE presented to
him in 2003
has done most of the knocking, and for a good number tering humour of the workplace. This was what pro-
of years he has steadfastly refused interview requests vided him with the self-confidence and the patter to
with Scottish papers, or done them on rather grudging talk his way out of the shipyards and on to the stage.
terms. His live shows with his hugely successful folk band,
Specifically, his beef is with the tartan tabloids that the Humblebums, were characterised by increasingly
made a meal of his distant relationships with his long comic interludes between songs, and eventually
mother and the collapse of his first marriage. But on a Connolly abandoned the banjo altogether to concen-
more general level, Connolly seems to feel he can’t trate on stand-up.
win with the press; if he talks about Scotland he's trad- Connolly’s relationship with Scotland has always been
ing on a past he’s risen above, and if he doesn’t he has complex. His Glasgow upbringing still provides the
forgotten his roots. bedrock for his comedy, but he avoids sentimentalising
quot;It takes me two years to do my world circuit, and by the land of his birth. quot;London is where the action is - I
that time the press have had all that time to paste me mean what’s here? The Apollo? Down there they have
and I've got to undo it in one night,quot; he said. Whether got all the facilities for an actor,quot; he said in
the media view reflects popular opinion is another the late Seventies.
matter, but it is true that deep down we tend to be un- This was the start of his bad press, but also
comfortable with Scots who leave, and return home as showed a realism about the way show busi-
an occasional visitor. ness worked. Leaving Scotland was part of
Connolly’s purchase of a Highland retreat with the title an attempt to transform himself from folk
of “Laird of Lonach” inevitably resulted in him being hero to international entertainer. En route he
slammed as someone who had lost track of his roots; acquired a glamorous wife, in the form of
the subtext being that here was a man who had gotten Australian comedienne Pamela Stephenson.
too big for his (banana) boots. He is a man who is as The couple moved to Los Angeles towards
likely to talk on stage about the peculiarities of life in the end of the Eighties, and Connolly began
his stateside home of Los Angeles as the Glasgow the slow and daunting task of trying to crack
streets remembered from childhood. Hollywood. In this endeavour he had limited
Billy Connolly was born on the kitchen floor of a tene- success; he managed to transfer his status on
ment in Anderston, Glasgow in 1942. His mother left the Michael Parkinson show as most
home four years later, leaving Connolly and his sister favoured guest into a similar gig on David
to be brought up by his two aunts. quot;They felt trapped Letterman, and joined the cast of a moder-
by this instant family and took it out on me,quot; Connolly ately successful sitcom called Head of the
recalled in an interview. quot;There was a system of torture Class.
inflicted on me by one aunt in particular.quot; Connolly has a unique way of talking about
After leaving school at 15, he went on to become an lifestyles and their problems. A prime exam-
apprentice welder in a Clydeside shipyard, but accord- ple of this was his suggestion that cannibal-
ing to Connolly the real apprenticeship was in the ban- ism could provide a solution to the problems
24 June 2008 TOTAL
of over-population and hunger. quot;People are saying there's
not enough food and too many people,quot; he explained.
quot;Cannibalism is the obvious answer. If we ate one person
each, the problem would be halted overnight. You could
eat the unemployed, eat prisoners, eat the homeless.quot; It
has been said that he is a genius in the art of life.
Certainly Connolly had come a long way from Ander-
ston, a fact he readily acknowledged on stage. quot;I am in-
credibly famous and wealthy. I am married to a beautiful
woman. I am laid with monotonous regularity. Don’t you
fucking hate me?quot;
If nothing else this line demonstrates the size of Con-
nolly’s ego, though that has never really been in ques-
tion. Although Connolly held his own in Hollywood, he
never really cracked it. In recent years most of his screen
work has been in Scottish film and television produc-
THE MAN BEHIND
tions, which included The Big Man, set in the world of
bare-knuckle boxing, and a couple of TV films written
by Connolly’s old Glasgow pal, Peter McDougall. His
World Tour of Scotland, a Scottish travelogue mixed
with live stand-up footage, proved hugely successful on
television, and spawned a follow-up shot in Australia;
both were BBC Scotland productions, as was Mrs
Brown, the Oscar-nominated movie in which Connolly
played Queen Victoria’s devoted ghillie, John Brown, a Total talks to Billy’s former
role which resulted in his most accomplished perform-
ance to date.
road manager Jamie Wark
There’s a sense in which Connolly seems to have come a
full circle, having negotiated a more relaxed relationship [Interview: John MacInnes]
with the land of his birth, and perhaps us with him. quot;I
have a deep love of Scotland and I know where the cul-
ture lives,quot; he said. quot;But I'm also a European and I Total magazine can now bring you the story of “the man behind
would suggest that if your nationality is the strongest suit the man”. We obtained exclusive access to Billy Connolly’s
you can play then you are in deep shit.’ former tour manager Jamie Wark who worked with Connolly
Billy’s latest US conquest is an appearance in the latest for over 20 years. He’s seen more than most, the good and the
X Files movie due out in July of this year. bad, the private and the personal.
Here we tell you his story:
TL You've seen Billy in more intimate surroundings than that
of the general public, how different is his on stage persona to
that of him off stage?
JW Bill’s stage persona is exactly the same off stage, he really
Billy signs an autograph at Celtic park
is no different. The only time you’ll see him in a different per-
sona is when he’s taking time out with his family. It’s then that
he gets annoyed when people keep bothering him – looking for
the BC they see on stage. He likes to keep his family life pri-
vate and that’s where his general dislike of the press comes
TL How was he to tour with, did his banana boots clutter up
JW Of all the artistes I’ve worked with he was one of the best.
He was just so laid back at times he was almost horizontal!
Basically he just let us get on with the job. That’s not to say
there were not moments when my back was really up against
the wall. I’m not telling tales out of school, and Bill would
agree with me when I say that he had a drink/drug problem be-
fore meeting Pam. Those problems sometimes flowed over
into his work when I would have to get in a taxi and start
searching his usual haunts to locate him before a gig. Looking
back now there were some hairy moments when I thought I’m
not gonna find him in time or worse still, that he would be ►
TOTAL June 2008 25
in no fit condition to go on stage. grandeur of his homeland. He them? If so surely to God they
However we managed it some- had been under some pressure at can find a more interesting
how and as they say, the show that time for moving to LA and bloody meal ticket – why do
must go on. abandoning his roots and her- they do it, they slate him, drag
itage, and so grew the new world up some fuckin rubbish from
TL What is your favourite tour tour TV series. This became a yonks ago then scream that he
memory/favourite show with massive success and was proba- won’t talk to them, so that
him? bly the main propellant shooting equates to he’s bigger than them,
him onto a national and interna- so we can knock him off his
JW My favourite tional stage as well as the cine- pedestal instead. Frankly they’re
memory…there are so many it’s matic screen. a bunch of fuckin parasites that’s
difficult to pick just one, but here all. As Bill would say fuck em,
we go anyway. I remember one TL He is often criticised for for- no matter what I do they ain’t
night at the Apollo theatre when getting his roots and hw hasn't satisfied!
a group of wheelchair users played a serious Scottish tour for
caught Bill’s eye. The stewards many years, what do you think TL Did you find it difficult to
had placed them away to a side are the reasons for this? work with him as his popularity
area where they could hardly see seemingly waned in his home
a thing. Bill stopped the show, From top JW I think one of the main prob- country?
jumped off the stage and organ- One of Billy’s lems here is that this is a double-
ized for everyone to brought to early shows in edged sword. He gets panned by JW No, it’s a common miscon-
the front of the stage where they London and, the press for forgetting his roots, ception that his popularity waned
below, his fa-
could see. He then went back on mous banana
yet also gets panned for being so dreamed up by the Scottish
stage and harangued the stew- boots successful in the USA as a Scot- tabloid press. Bill’s as popular
ards for their stupidity, made a tish export. How can you win today as he’s always been, a fact
sketch out of it just like that – against that mentality? Bill’s that can be easily proved by the
and the show rolled on. That’s made it big, of that there’s no sell out tours he does. His last
the Bill I know but few rarely get doubt, he’s a genuine working tour of Scotland actually had to
to see. One other abiding mem- class boy made good story. The have extra dates tagged on to try
ory is that of a naked BC danc- problem appears to stem from and cope with demand for tick-
the fact that this ‘boy made ets, and even then many didn’t
I remember him
good’ left Scotland to try his get to see him. Some of the
hand in the US – was successful main difficulties in working with
thumping a Sunday
both on stage and screen, and we BC were down to the problems
seem to have a problem with created by the press. They gave
that. I don’t know whether it’s a me the largest headaches of all,
territorial thing, he’s ours and we particularly the well-documented
right on the hooter...
want him here, or whether it’s tussles with the media. But hey
more a jealousy thing that’s that’s just Bill for you. He
as Bill would say, fuck
going on. What I do know is sometimes acted before thinking
that Bill hates the fact that he’s of the consequences. I remem-
said to have forgotten his roots. ber him thumping a ‘Sunday
I know for a fact that when he’s Mail’ photographer right on the
back in Scotland he never forgets hooter one night at the Clutha
to look up his old mates and go Vaults bar, the Mail didn’t get
ing on Dundee Law – in a for a drink. He also keeps in their picture but they did get a
bloody blizzard! Mad or what? touch with the old gang and I story out of it. BC – well he just
regularly get calls from him from had a right good laugh at it.
TL Billy's World Tour of... series all over the world. A tour sched-
really brought him to the fore- ule is both a hectic affair as well TL Billy sometimes courted
front of British television, who as a lonely one. Bill’s one of the controversy with his gags, one in
came up with the concept? most gregarious man I have ever particular regarding Ken Bigley,
met, yet he barely has a friend in was there ever a time when you
JW The World Tour Of concept the world at times and when on had to say to him quot;look, you
came from Bill himself after he tour, sits alone in his hotel room can't do thatquot; or do you think it
had been appearing at the Syd- drinking tea. It’s then he makes was an over reaction by the PC
ney Opera House. Prior to that all these calls to people he brigade?
he had flown back to London to knows. I don’t think he has for-
take part in the BBC’s Parkinson gotten his roots, I think he’s ma- JW Bill always courts contro-
show – again. He wanted to tured and moved on and certain versy regardless of where he is,
come up with a concept that al- people try to make a meal out of what he’s doing, or what the
lowed him the freedom to show that. Why do the tartan tabloids, topic of the subject is. After all
a larger audience his talents as BC calls them, hate him so, is at the end of the day Bill will al-
combined with the scenery and it because he’s a meal ticket for ways be Bill – you can’t change
26 June 2008 TOTAL
him. With his particular style of the problems we were experienc- minute, yet there are other times
comedy it will always be a case ing with fans. There were times when he can be a very lonely
of not being able to please all the when Bill would merely leave man. A touring life is not con-
people all the time. That holds his hotel and stroll down to the ducive to good family relations,
equally well today for all comics venue himself, greeting people and you have to remember he’s
and not just BC. For those who on the way. Unfortunately in now retirement age. Only make
don’t like his type of material today’s society that can no sure you don’t tell him I told you
he’s got two words for you – I longer happen, and I’m certain so.
don’t need to tell you what they that’s just one of the reasons why
are! I do think there are, and people think he’s too big for his TL Has their ever been an unex-
have been times when he’s been boots now, he’s above them so to pected or unusual situation
so close to the line it’s danger- speak, but it’s not that at all, its you’ve found yourself having to
ous, as well as verging on dis- merely prudent security issues. cope with?
tasteful and unacceptable. The
Ken Bigley comment you men- TL Have you ever seen Billy get JW Yes, may years ago I got a
tion was one of them. I think annoyed or angry when ap- call from Bill saying he was
that in all honesty Bill didn’t proached by a fan or someone stuck in a box! One night, about
mean to offend and was sur- who wants to wind him up? 2am, Billy was so drunk he
prised by the backlash. But re- couldn't find his way out of a
member this is what he does, JW There have been many occa- London phone box. Luckily, he
talks about day-to-day issues and sions when Bill’s short fuse has was able to remember my num-
makes light of them. In this case gone off and I have had to step in ber, so he called me for help.
I think he stepped over that line to smooth things over. I have to “It's not that difficult, I said.
I do think there’s been
of decency and it taught him a be honest though he rarely gets
salutary lesson to be more care- annoyed at his fans, with perhaps
times he’s been so
ful in the future. I think he learnt one exception when he’s out
from that lesson, as he’s never with the family. It’s those occa-
crossed that line since to my sions that are precious to him,
close to the line its
knowledge. Sometimes Bill can and he just wants to be treated as
be his own worst enemy. any other dad out with his
unacceptable. The Ken
daughters for a day out. Even in
TL Do you still keep in contact those circumstances he will sign
Bigley comment was
with Billy? autographs, but tries to explain
and make it clear to people that
one of them.
JW Yeah, I see him maybe once he’s with his family for a private
or twice a year and we speak on day and is not there as BC, the
the phone occasionally. We still star that they know. I have to
regard each other as mates. I say that this is more of a problem There's only four sides, one's got
parted company with Tickety- in the US than it is here in Scot- the phone on it and another’s got
boo, Bill’s company on amicable land. I’ve seen him here and the door.”
terms, he understood my reasons people will just call out to him, “I cannae find the door...” re-
and accepted them. After so without necessarily bothering From bottom
peated Billy, utterly wasted.
long on the road it becomes him. He can relax more here Billy in a promo-
“Billy... where are you?' I
draining and very tiring, and ba- with the family up in Aberdeen- tional shot for
one of his tours
sically I had had enough, I shire than he can anywhere else, and, below, in “I'm, eh... I'm... och, somewhere
wanted other challenges in life. which is why he sometimes Glasgow in London”' He was barely co-
sneaks in to Scotland unan- herent.
TL Billy must get a lot of atten- nounced for a break. “Read the address on the notice
tion – especially in Scotland- by the side of the phone”
how do you cope with that? TL Is he “always on”, you know, “I cannae focus.” Billy was
constantly cracking jokes and clearly about to pass out.
JW Well we dealt with it our- going into routines? Fortunately, Bill is a creature of
selves at first in the early days by habit. I willed myself into my car
sneaking him out through back JW Generally the answer has to and drove around all Bill’s usual
doors, using the kitchen en- a resounding yes. Whether he is haunts. It was a miracle that I ac-
trances of restaurants etc, but in the car between hotel and gig, tually found him in the end and
after a while it was becoming too at dinner, relaxing with a cup of managed to drag his comatose
much and too dangerous. We re- tea or even on a day off between body out of its red-box prison.
alised, that is the road manage- gigs on tour he is just hilarious. “I was just enjoying a wee
ment crew, that we needed I’ve seen myself having to stop snooze,” complained Billy.
professional help. Eventually the car because I’ve been laugh- If I had my life to live over again
Bill agreed to us bringing on ing so hard – tears streaming I wouldn’t change a thing.
board a security detail to take down my face and I simply can’t
care of all the issues surrounding function. He can be a gag a
TOTAL June 2008 27
But the music lovers never allow headlining festivals this year after reunit-
their spirits to be dampened, and ing for several shows last year, they are
after spending the best part of £200 set to return to festivals such as T in the
to go to a festival, why should a lit- Park this summer.
tle rain ruin their fun? Tickets for all festivals in the UK are
2008 is the Chinese year of the Rat, selling fast with T in the Park already a
a year defined in Chinese culture as complete sell out. At Total magazine we
a time of hard work, activity and re- know people may be undecided on which
newal. A good year to begin a new festival to go to, so we’ve compiled a
job, launch a product or make a handy guide to the best of the UK festi-
fresh start and if the line ups for the vals and one further afield.
major festivals are anything to go
by, that is exactly what’s happening
in the music business. Who knew
rock groups paid attention to Chi-
[Words:Neil Leslie] The big reunion this year is un-
doubtedly Rage Against the Machine.
The politically charged US group are
t is said that the only thing that’s sure
making a big return to the festival circuit
in life is Death and Taxes. The only other
after their 2000 break up and with all
things missing from that list would ap-
their festival dates heading for total sell
pear to be summer rain and music festi-
outs, a new album will surely follow.
Rock legends Kiss are also on the come-
From the washout at Glastonbury which
back trail this year. Having played
resulted in the festival being postponed
smaller shows in recent years the band
two years ago to the swamp at T in the
are headlining Download for the third
Park last year which led to 12-hour tail
time, 12 years after their last show at the
backs for traffic as cars entering the
former Monsters of Rock festival.
campsite promptly sank in the mud.
90’s indie group the Verve are also back Festival goers camp out at Glastonbury
28 June 2008 TOTAL
Travel: Again, Download is on the green Babyshambles
T in the Park- July 11,12 and 13 bandwagon. Shuttle buses are in opera- Tickets: Sold Out, but try your luck on
tion from points around the UK as well eBay if you’re really desperate to go.
as buses from the nearest main rail sta- Sometimes tickets are made available
tions at Derby and Loughborough with a nearer the time as organizers release re-
shuttle bus going from the stations to the turned tickets, but these are very limited.
site. If you want to fly, East Midlands Travel: Coach travel had to be booked
airport is right next to the festival site, with the tickets and buses are departing
cheap flights are available from many from all over the country. If you’ve not
UK airports. got a bus ticket, it is still possible to get
to Leeds by rail. National Express, Cross
Glastonbury- June 27, 28 & 29 Country, TransPennine Express and
Northern and East Midlands Trains all
run services to Leeds City Station. From
there it is possible to get a shuttle bus
Headliners: The Verve, Rage Against straight to the festival. The nearest air-
the Machine, R.E.M port for flights is Leeds Bradford.
Other big acts: Stereophonics, The For Reading, the same applies with the
Fratellis, Kings of Leon & Amy Wine- coaches, and for rail travel, it is a 15
house minute walk to the festival site from
Tickets: Sold Out, but try your luck on Reading station. If you prefer you will be
eBay if you’re that desperate to go. able to get a shuttle bus which will take
Sometimes tickets are made available you from the station to the site and back.
nearer the time as they release returns, Please see their website www.reading-
but these are very limited. buses.co.uk for further information and
Travel: TITP is another festival taking Headliners: Jay Z, The Verve & Kings their timetable. See also information on
note of the green issue and is advising of Leon the Plus Bus scheme whereby you can
everyone to travel using the official shut- Other big acts: TBA buy your bus ticket at the same time that
tle buses that can be purchased at the Tickets: Registration for tickets closed you buy your train ticket - www.plus-
same time as tickets. Buses leave from on March 14th so coming across tickets bus.info/(orig)indexmain.htm
points all over Scotland and will shuttle will be very difficult due to the anti-tout-
fans to and from the campsite. There are ing methods put forward by the organis- On the continent...
no train stations near the festival site so ers, but where there’s a will, there’s a Rock AM Ring- June 6, 7 & 8
the bus or the car really is the only op- way. Headliners: Metallica, Rage Against the
tion. Beware however, last year the vol- Travel: National Express are running Machine & Die Toten Hosen
ume of cars travelling to the site led to shuttle buses from all over the country. Other big acts: Babyshambles, The
12-hour tailbacks on all main roads lead- The main station serving the festival is Streets, Queens of the Stone Age & Kid
ing to the site. Bristol Temple Meads and buses are run- Rock
ning to and from the station during the Tickets: Tickets for the weekend are
Download Festival- June 13, 14 festival. There has been no announce- available priced 126 euros.
& 15 ment of special train services to Castle Travel: As Rock AM ring is in Germany
Cray station from First Great Western but flying is the easiest option costing
it is expected shortly. around £80. After arrival in Frankfurt air-
port take the rail link to Koblenz. From
Leeds/Reading Festival- August there shuttle buses will take you to the
22, 23 & 24 festival site.
Played over the weekend of the 16th and
17th of August in Chelmsford and
Staffordshire. Headlining these gigs are
Muse, the Verve and Stereophonics, it
certainly looks like a festival not to be
Headliners: Kiss, The Offspring, Lost missed. Further information is available
Prophets at www.vfestival.com.
Other big acts: Judas Priest, Incubus, Live@Loch Lomond
Motorhead & Disturbed Now in its third year, it’s well worth the
Tickets: Weekend tickets are available at trip to Balloch if only for the spectacular
£130 or £150 with camping. If you want Headliners: Rage Against the Machine, scenery and friendly atmosphere. Tickets
some more home comforts, you can up- the Killers, Metallica are still available, check out www.liveat-
grade to “VIP” packages with tickets and Other big acts: Queens of the Stone lochlomond.com for further details.
hotels from around £300. Age, Bloc Party, Tenacious D &
TOTAL April 2008 29
TOTAL MAGAZINE TAKES A
2000 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
[Words:Danny Harkins] THE 21st
The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem
Certainly the best Eminem album and possibly one of the best Hip-Hop albums ever released. The Marshal Mathers LP is
both dark and amusing at the same time; Amityville is frighteningly sinister while Criminal highlights everything that’s
right and wrong about Eminem; from the hateful, homophobic lyrics to the beautifully constructed, humorous rhymes.
Eminem switches between scenarios and characters effortlessly and makes the odd intelligent point here and there. A con-
troversial classic that today’s Hip-Hop stars could learn a thing or two from.
Other otable Mentions: Rated R (Queens of the Stone Age), The Hour of Bewilderbeast (Badly Drawn Boy),
XTRMNTR (Primal Scream)
Is This It? – The Strokes
Hailed as the saviours of rock, The Strokes have garnered quite a reputation since the release of this
album. Recorded in a basement New York studio, Is This It? lacks a little on the lyrics (seemingly
every song is about ex-girlfriend generated paranoia) but some fantastic guitar riffs and lead singer
Julian Casablancas passionate, crackling delivery on songs like ew York City Cops and Last ite
makes the album a rock classic.
Other otable Mentions: Gorillaz (Gorillaz), Origin of Symmetry (Muse), The Blueprint (Jay-Z),
Songs for the Deaf – Queens of the Stone Age
Featuring former Nirvana drummer and now Foofighters lead singer Dave Grohl on drums, Songs for
the Deaf is a dark heavy rock album generally considered to be the band’s best. The album switches be-
tween the dark operatic atmosphere of Mosquito and up beat, bounce-along tracks like o One Knows.
Grohl’s pounding drums perfectly compliment Nick Oliveri’s bass and Josh Homme’s killer riffs, mak-
ing Songs for the Deaf one kick ass album.
Other otable Mentions: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (The Flaming Lips), Up the Bracket (The
Libertines) and Original Pirate Material (The Streets)
2003 Room on Fire – The Strokes
The Strokes follow up album was always going to be surrounded with hype and while Room on Fire
doesn’t break any new ground it is still a fantastic rock album on a par with their debut. The album en-
compasses everything from the down beat, typically suspicious Strokes track Between Love and Hate
(“never needed anybody” is the constantly repeated chorus) to the fast paced hit 12:51 that’s near im-
possible not to sing along to. Is This it? No it isn’t would be the bad pun of an answer to that question.
Other otable Mentions: Elephant (White Stripes), Echoes (The Rapture), Get Rich or Die Tryin (50
Cent), Absolution (Muse)
30 June 2008 TOTAL
LOOK BACK AT THE BEST
SINCE THE TURN OF
The Libertine’s – The Libertines
The Libertines are a story of love and hate and a drug infused descent into destruction that rivals anything the 1960’s had
to offer, but it’s a story played to its death and beyond in the tabloids. It’s this album however that reminds you why the
Libertines deserved the hype and why you should lament the loss of the band. Pete Docherty’s spiral into heroin addic-
tion, the strain on the relationship between Doherty and Carl Barat, and the eventual break-up of the Libertines is all
chronicled in this post punk rock album that surpasses their debut, Up the Bracket, and all competition for the 2004 top
Other otable Mentions: Eagles of Death Metal (Peace Love Death Metal), Kanye West (College Dropout), Kasabian
(Kasabian) and Arcade Fire (Funeral)
Demon Days – The Gorillaz
Damon Albarn’s pet project reaches a level of maturity with this album, or, that is, as high a level of
maturity an album supposedly created by four cartoon characters can get. Demon Days sounds like
Blurs Think Tank tweaked for 4 years by Albarn and with some hip-hop thrown in. Dennis Hopper’s
guest appearance on Fire Coming Out of a Monkeys Head is particularly clever, if a little preten-
Other otable Mentions: Thunder, Lightning Strike (The Go! Team), Lullabies to Paralyze
(Queens of the Stone Age) and Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (Gogol Bordello)
Cansei De Ser Sexy - CSS
Brazilian group CSS not only produced the greatest album this year but the band’s lead singer, the art-
fully named Lovefoxxx, put in some of the best live performances. Fusing English and Portuguese with
electro pop, Cansei De Ser Sexy features some of the greatest tracks of the year, including Music is my
Hot Hot Sex and the perfectly titled Lets Make Love and Listen to Death From Above.
Other otable Mentions: Pieces of the People We Love (The Rapture), Black Holes and Revelations
(Muse), Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Artic Monkeys) and Waterloo to Anywhere
(Dirty Pretty Things)
Because of the Times – Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon, one of the most promising and interesting bands in recent years, seem to only get bet-
ter with age. Because of the Times mixes the influence of 1960s southern rock and blues with a quiet
understatement. Lead singer Caleb Followill sings with a Creedence Clearwater Revival like southern
croak over a rising crescendo of thunderous drums and guitars. Hardly a particularly radio friendly
album but one that gets better with each listen.
Other otable Mentions: The Good, the Bad and the Queen (The Good, the Bad and the Queen),
Panic Prevention (Jamie T), Shotters Nation (Babyshambles) and the Meanest of Times (The Dropkick
TOTAL June 2008 31
BATTLE OF THE DOWNLOAD SITES
In the month that
iTunes became the
top music seller, Total
The way we listen to music is
constantly changing. From
vinyl to tape, disc to digital,
the music industry has always
been at the forefront of the
However, in recent years, the
music industry has been slow up all over the place; the leak has sold over 4 billion songs viruses, their computer sys-
to catch on to the growth of which the industry thought since its inception. tems slowing down, and the
the internet, and the growth of they had plugged with the In fact, it was recently an- length of time it can take to
online music sharing. closure of Napster only grew nounced that iTunes has over download items.
In 1998 student Shawn “Nap- larger. Limewire, Bearshare, taken Wal-Mart as the number Limewire also offers a “pro”
ster” Fanning changed the WinMX and Morpheus, to one supplier of music in the service which, although is
world of music forever. His name but a few, attracted United States – a staggering chargeable, offers a faster
revolutionary peer2peer (P2P) Napster’s client base, and the achievement. download speed and a wider
file transfer system was a P2P system was alive and Single songs can be down- range of items.
worldwide phenomenon.It well and to an extent still is loaded in around one minute Limewire can be downloaded
was illegal and robbed the today. with a fast internet connection from its official website.
record industry of millions In 2003, the music industry and cost the user 79 pence.
but, at its peak, it had 26.4 hit back with Apple launching Albums are generally avail-
million users. Soon, however, its iTunes music store service able at £7.99.
came the backlash. The in conjunction with the indus- You can get iTunes from the Bit Torrent
Recording Industry Associa- try powerhouses - Universal, Apple website. Bit torrent is a peer to peer
tion of America (RIAA), who Sony BMG and EMI. This file sharing protocol. Put sim-
had attempted to shut down has recouped the industry mil- ply, music, programmes,
Napster but failed, now found lions in potential lost revenue. games and films are uploaded
new allies in the Rock group Here at Total magazine, we onto a bit torrent website
Metallica and Rap and Pop believe in giving our readers which can then be down-
super forces Dr Dre and the right to make their own Limewire loaded for free. The differ-
Madonna. Napster found choice, in our comparison of Limewire allows its users to ence between bit torrents and
themselves well in over their three of the major services download music, videos, pic- other programmes such as
heads, with the full might and available we will present the tures and other programmes Limewire is that large files,
financial clout of three of the need to know facts about for free. The programme is such as whole albums, can be
biggest selling artists in the them. easily downloaded onto a downloaded. A file is down-
world. It became obvious computer and the site contains loaded by the user from a
early on they could not win, almost all recent music and website using a computer pro-
and in July 2001, the service videos and is fairly easy to gramme called a bit torrent
was eventually shut down. iTunes navigate around. client.
But for the record industry, iTunes now account for over However, as with everything Popular Bit Torrent websites
the damage had already been 70% of online music sales that sounds too good to be include piratebay.com, mini-
done. and the latest figures, released true, it is. Users have reported nova.com and suprnova.org.
Copycat services had sprung in January 2008 show that it a range of problems including
TOTAL June 2008 33
BRIGHT, SHINY THINGS
TO SPEND YOUR RENT ON
Big Button Remote
Isn’t it infuriating when the remote control goes missing? Well that Imagine being stroked by
is much less likely to happen with the Big Button Remote Control - an angel and you’d be
it is nearly a foot long! pretty close to what it
The Big Button Remote doesn’t pretend to be a delicate piece of feels like to have these
jewellery. Programmed to be compatible with all the major brands Angels Fingers brushed
of TV sets, DVD players, satellite and cable receivers, it includes across your body. Send
all the usual functions (volume, channel etc) plus many of the shivers and rapturous
“extras” such as Teletext and Fastext. Setting it up is easy, using quivers through bits of
standard setup codes or the built-in auto code search func- your body you didn’t even
tion. know you had.
• Chunky 22.2mm buttons (just under one inch) • Seven copper “fingers”
• Easy to program • Relieves blockages,
• Programmed compatibility with aches and pains
over 500 devices! • The “fingers” are bend-
able so you can adjust the
surface area to suit tar-
Humphrey the Humping Dog Key Shark
£14.95 www.boysstuff.co.uk £49.99 www.gadgets.co.uk Leatherman
Who on earth thought quot;I know, let's make a Key Shark is a keyboard logging device which Micra
stuffed Chihuahua that records every key pressed on a computer key-
you strap to your leg
board - storing an
and that humps franti- exact copy of every- £22
cally while yapping away thing typed by the
in frenzied delight?quot; user! With enough ca-
Where did that come pacity to store half a mil-
from? We can only sit lion characters (key presses),
back in awe at the thought it can quietly record the average
process, and slowly begin computer user for many months and
to understand how the still have memory to spare. Installation takes If the mighty Leatherman
truly great inventors of just seconds, and the KeyShark starts to record multi-tools of this world
our age spend their free automatically. Key Shark works with PS/2 could have a small and
time. Humphry the Mini Hump- (small round plug) keyboards, and older DIN perfectly formed child
ing Dog (what a delightful name) style keyboards (larger round plug, which re- without alarming the sci-
has straps on his front legs so you can attach him quires a DIN-PS/2 adaptor). KeyShark is a entific community, then
to your leg, then with one squeeze of his ear he small external device, looking like an adapter this would be it. The
begins to, er hump! His humping and yapping plugged into the keyboard socket. It is totally Micra is small enough to
become more and more frantic and culminate in mobile meaning it can be unplugged and the fit on a keyring, tougher
a satisfied groan - perhaps that’s more informa- information can be retrieved on another PC than trigonometry, and a
tion than you needed. Humphrey the Humping without special software - as long as you re- lot more useful.
Dog will incite uncontrollable laughter wherever member the password! Features:
he performs. At least, thats what we’re told. Features: • A sleek, lightweight
Features: • Helpful with recovering important informa- keyring tool set.
• One sexually over zealous Chihuahua tion if the computer crashes • Comes in three colours
• Straps for attaching to leg or table leg • Detect unauthorised access to PC, you will • Weight: 50g
• Squeeze his ear to let him rip learn about it when computer is used when un- • Size: 6.5cm (closed)
• Humps and yelps for up to 30 seconds (sigh) attended • A clip-point knife
• 21cm high • Parents can monitor their children’s com- • A bottle/can opener
• Strap for leg 23cm puter and Internet use • A flat Phillips screw-
• 2 x AA batteries (included) • Employers can monitor the way computers driver
are used by their employees
34 June 2008 TOTAL
W I H NE...
Total’s tips to avoid STDs this summer
How STDs spread STD Stats Preventing STDs Treating STDs
One reason STDs spread so In the UK, STDs have been It's much easier to prevent Don't let embarrassment at
easily is because people rising continually since the STDs than to treat them. The the thought of having an
think they need to have sex- 1990’s. Between 2004 and only way to completely pre- STD keep you from seeking
ual intercourse to become in- 2005, the Health Protection vent STDs is to abstain from medical attention. Waiting
fected. That's wrong. A Agency (HPA) reported a all types of sexual contact. If to see a doctor may allow a
person can become infected 3% increase in the number you’re going to have sex, the disease to progress and
with some STDs, like herpes of diagnosed STIs, with a best way to reduce the cause more damage. If you
or genital warts, through total of 790,387 cases. The chance of getting an STD is think you may have an
skin-to-skin contact with an biggest increase was in the by using a condom. People STD, or if you have had a
infected area or sore. An- number of confirmed diag- having sex should get regu- partner who may have an
other myth about STDs is noses of syphilis which rose lar gynecological or male STD, you should see a doc-
that you can't get them if by a massive 23%, to a total genital examinations. There tor right away. If you don’t
you have oral or anal sex. of 2,807 cases. There were are two reasons for this. have a doctor you may be
That's also wrong because also increases in positive di- First, these exams give doc- able to find a local clinic in
the viruses or bacteria that agnoses of chlamydia, geni- tors a chance to teach people your area where you can get
cause STDs can enter the tal warts, and herpes. The about STDs and protecting an exam confidentially.
body through tiny cuts or rise in the number of STD’s themselves. And second, Some national and local or-
tears in the mouth and anus, also indicates a rise in cases regular exams give doctors ganisations operate STD
as well as the genitals. STDs of HIV, the virus that can more opportunities to check hotlines staffed by trained
spread easily because you lead to AIDS. There is an es- for STDs while they're still specialists who can answer
can't tell whether someone timated 73,000 people in the in their earliest, most treat- your questions and provide
has an infection. In fact, UK with AIDS. It is believed able stage. There are plenty referrals. Calls to these hot-
some people with STDs that at least a third of these of clinics available and drop- lines are confidential. A
don't even know that they people do not know they are in sexual health centres that confidential hotline you can
have them. These people infected as they have not you can use quite anony- call for information is avail-
may pass an infection on. been diagnosed. mously. able on: 0845 122 8690
TOTALJune 2008 37
Q My girlfriend wants us to move in together but I’m not sure. Q Im in charge of running my best mates stag
We’re both 22 and have steady jobs with good prospects so weekend and a group of us are planning on going
money is not the issue. I’m just not sure if I am ready to give up away for the weekend, where do you recommend?
my freedom. I love my girlfriend and wouldn’t want to hurt her
feelings but I don’t know what to do? A There's a lot of places in the UK that are really
good for a stag weekend away. Bristol is good for
A The first thing you must do is talk to your girlfriend and tell a stag weekend, Glasgow is also good for a week-
her what’s troubling you – she may also have similar concerns. end away with mates, especially for a stag week-
Discuss any other issues you have, as this will help you both de- end with clubs like Buffalo Joes. London is also
cide what to do for the best. If you are not ready to move the re- good, with a lot to do and see in the city during
lationship forward, tell her this and ask for more time to think the day and to go out and have a laugh at during
about moving in. The most important thing is not to rush into the night. Newcastle has become popular for stag
any decisions which you may come to regret at a later stage. weekends in recent years, however it is also full
of groups of women on hen weekends. Another
place that we would strongly recommend is
Bournemouth which has become very popular in
Q I’m thinking of buying a monkey. Which monkey should I
A There are two types of monkeys, New World monkeys and Old
World monkeys. New World monkeys have flat noses. Old World
monkeys have narrow noses.
A Rhesus Macaque monkey is an Old World monkey. Albert II
was such a monkey and was also the first monkey in space. He
died on impact, June 14 1949. For more on famous monkeys, see
The Common Squirrel Monkey is a new world monkey. They are
very agile. Also, penguins are quite nice.
Total Answers your Questions
Q I’m a skint student; how can I survive on a food budget of £10 per week?
A Vegetables are your friends. As supermarkets continue their dominance and
force many local grocers out of business, local fruit and veg shops are practi-
Q I owe £25,000 on my credit cards, what cally giving their produce away to entice customers back there. Use this to
is the best way for me to try and get my make a pot of soup. A typical serving should cost about £3 to make leaving
debt down to a more manageable level? you around £7 to spend.
Pasta is another staple food; a large bag from Asda should set you back around
A The first thing you must do is to stop £2.
using them. Then check out the interest With the remaining fiver, shop wisely, look for special offers on the likes of
rates you are paying on your existing cards. chicken and pasta sauces and other things to go with the pasta for a bit of vari-
There are many deals available just now ety. Spare a quid though- you’ll need bread to go with your 9p multi value
which will allow you to transfer balances to beans.
a new card, which in some cases, offer zero It isn’t ideal and could be boring, but surviving on £10 is very manageable as
per cent interest for a fixed period, and long as you’re not fussy.
even for the life of the balance transfer. If
you choose to go down this road, at least
you’ll no longer be paying any interest on
the £25,000 you owe, providing of course
that you can transfer all of it to a new
lender. Lastly make sure you cut up the old
cards, eliminating the risk of ending up in
the same situation.
TOTAL June 2008 39
to be Bad
Release Date 28th April Goldfinger- Hello
Total Rating: 10/10
Release Date- 28/4/08
Glam rock did not start with Total Rating: 8/10
Queen and end with the mea-
gre offerings of the Darkness,
it is still alive and well, albeit After an enforced hiatus
provided by a group of fifty- due to singer John Feld-
somethings. man’s knee injury and his
Thirty years have past and their line up has undergone more al- son’s cancer scare, Goldfin-
terations than Jordan’s chest, but Whitesnake’s sound is still the ger are back with Hello
same. Destiny, their first offering since parting ways with major
With thumping drums and sweet guitar riffs a-plenty, the band label Mojo.
commemorates their pearl anniversary with the perfect mix of And the split has improved the band no end.
big guitar licks and rocky, vocally powerful ballads. Their 2005 release Disconnection otice disappointed many
Must hear tracks include the awesome Call on Me, the title of the bands fans as its clean, polished sound was seen as a
track Good to be Bad and the stand out Best Years, with its gui- departure from their original style. They needn’t have those
tar solos that will leave your face melted in a puddle at your reservations with Hello Destiny.
feet. The album starts off at a blistering pace, the first four tracks
In the 11 years that have past since their 1997 offering Restless are Goldfinger-punk at its best, fast guitar and drumming and
Heart, former Deep Purple front man David Coverdale and gui- whiny, passionate vocals.
tarist Doug Aldrich have been holed up producing this rock and The impressive opening quartet includes the albums stand
roll melee. And it certainly shows; Coverdale feels that this is out track, Without Me, and the upbeat ska track Get Up.
the first “rea”' Whitesnake album in almost 20 years, comment- From there however, the album slows down with an all out
ing quot;It's very butch. Very muscular...quot;. We agree. reggae assault in The Only One. The change of pace does not
Whether it’s for listening to on your iPod on the bus or pump- detract from the albums overall quality, in fact, after the
ing up the volume on your car stereo, Good To Be Bad will breakneck opening, the track allows time for the listener to
have you reaching for your air Fender long before the first recover and prepare for the rest of the album, as from there it
track is finished. goes a little downhill.
The album overall is a solid effort from the band who are be-
Skindred- Roots Rock ginning to sound like their old selves again after their three
Riot year absence and free from the pressures of a mainstream
Release Date- April 21st
Total Rating: 7/10
Skindred describe themselves as “Ragga Metal” and their unique mix of metal
and reggae is back with their new release Roots Rock Riot, the long awaited fol-
low up to their debut album, Babylon.
The band have thus far failed to make an impression in the UK. The Welsh band
have been relegated to playing small venues and their singles and albums have
failed to chart, but if the bands recent success in America is anything to go by
(their last album reached #5 in the Billboard Heatseeker chart), then success at home can’t be far off.
Title track Roots Rock Riot demonstrates everything good about the band; the thrashing guitars and pounding
drums alongside catchy verses and chorus that will have you bopping and singing along within the first few listens.
Other songs on the album range from the brilliant to the average with many sounding just too underground to ever
get the band across to a wider audience. Unless you’re a hardened fan of the genre, you’re unlikely to be greatly
impressed with the album
Roots Rock Riot is though a solid, if unspectacular album. A recommended purchase for anyone who enjoyed their
previous offerings or is curious about the mixture of Reggae and Metal.
40 June 2008 TOTAL
I Am Legend
Release Date- 8/4/08
Total Rating: 6/10
I Am Legend, the movie based on the novel of the same
name by Richard Matheson, was a massive success, gross-
ing over £500 million at the box office. This month sees the
The plot sees Will Smith as Robert Neville, a survivor in a
Manhattan where a lethal virus has killed of the everyone.
Believing that he is the last man on earth, Neville spends his
days wandering the lonely and empty streets of the city try-
ing to find a cure. The movie tends to rely on its lead stars’
performance which prevents it from turning into the usual
sloppy horror flick. Smith cuts a lonely figure as he spends
his days in an empty city and puts in a credible performance as the vampire hunting, cure seek-
ing doctor. The Oscar nominated actor seemingly can’t put a foot wrong these days and his role
in this blockbuster will only further his career. The movie is available in both one and two disc
Release Date- 16/4/08
Total Rating: 8/10
Shameless, the series revolving around dysfunctional neigh-
bours living in a council estate, sees its fifth series being re-
leased on DVD and while most comedy series have become
boring and routine by this point, Shameless delivers possibly
its best offering yet.
The fourth series of Shameless was labelled average when
screened on Channel 4 last year, but the show has bounced
back since the incorporation of a new writing team who
added fresh characters and original storylines, returning the
programme to its inventive, imaginative format.
From the opening episode, which featured Frank in hospital
believing he only had a week left to live, the fifth series has
been a belly ache of laughs which have kept viewers tuning
in week after week.
Release Date- 5/5/08
Total Rating: 9/10
After its first series, Skins became a massive hit amongst a
teenage fan base due to featuring issues they could relate to
while being highly entertaining at the same time. It focuses
on a group of teenagers in a sixth form college.
The second series was highly anticipated by its massive fan
base and is much darker than the first, while still retaining
its comedy value. It features the characters coming to the
end of their college life before heading off to University.
While the second series is quite dark, it still features a lot of
its black comedy which lifts it above other teen dramas such
as The OC and prevents it from becoming just another Hol-
TOTAL June 2008 41