heard on the wire

I’m really talking to myself


Every band should have a toilet song, that one moment in the live set when you say to yourself, “I don’t really like this one”, and toddle off to the loo.

After several pints, what else can you do?

Until recently this was my pattern. Sink some decent pints before the gig, a few bad ones inside then wait, increasingly uncomfortably for the toilet song, a track from the disappointing last LP perhaps.

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I’m not used up, not yet


A couple of posts ago I mentioned that over the past 12 months I’ve struggled to find music that has truly astonished me. But then, looking back, that’s been the case for a few years now. Maybe I’m just getting weary; hopefully it’s merely a lull.

Nonetheless, I’d be mistaken if I thought that the past 12 months have largely been forgettable. There has still been much to love, whether soaring post-rock from Motherwell, revived, perky 90s pop from Brighton, or vegan-fuelled indie from just down the road in County Durham.

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Ancient tales from distant lands

Heard on the Wire

When I first started this blog, back in February 2011, the plan was for it to be a repository for all sorts of musings, on technology — the field I’d been working in, food, living abroad, maybe even politics.

Thus the title was deliberately non-committal, taken simply from my twitter username, which itself had initially been adopted as something of a joke — I didn’t really expect to use twitter that much.

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Hard-boiled eggs on a beach with a Blue Flag status


Well, that was all a long time ago. I left this blog in a state of suspended animation as I abandoned a lifetime of aimless career-drifting to become a teacher.

I recall a tweet from last summer that contemptuously — and quite rightly — dismissed those celebrities describing their well-remunerated appearances on Strictly… or its ilk as a journey. The Tour de France, that’s a journey, the tweet said.

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Something’s come along and it’s burst our bubble

NorthumberlandIt’s been a while since I mentioned that I would be taking some time out from this blog as I embarked on a new career in teaching.

That career—well, the training part—has begun and as I expected it leaves no time for musical frivolities. And so it is with some sadness but great expectations that I must bring this chapter to a close.

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I would kill a man just to hold your hand


I’d always thought a lilo was something that panicking parents chase when they realise their children are obliviously floating out to a watery oblivion.

But apparently, it’s the nomme de gloire of one-time actress, sometime model and convict Lindsay Lohan. The things you learn.

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Shoot ’em in the back now

Harry Styles Ramones t-shirt

I harbour too many irrational prejudices. Really, why do vegetarians, tattoos, comfortable shoes, unpolished shoes, men in hoodies, comic books (as opposed to comics), ill-fitting jeans and DSLRs in the hands of amateurs annoy me so much?

The presence of any of them neither inconveniences me nor otherwise diminishes the quality of my life, but still…

I’m learning to control my pique and hide my distaste, but it’s not easy. And it’s most difficult when I see a Ramones t-shirt.

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Why d’you feel the need to rant and rave?

Polish postage stamps

Dear John Peel,

Nothing pleases me more, really, than to get a letter from a real fan and here’s—it would be embarrassing to him to give his full name—but Anthony of Finchley.

And he says, “For me, your programme achieves the dubious accolade of being just about the worst music programme I’ve ever heard. What a horrible, brain-jarring, nerve-rending load of pish. Is this the cream of the crop? Is this the best there is? Have you ever heard of the term ‘beauty’ or how about ‘joyfull’ or try ‘uplifting’? An awful, awful programme.”

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Slam dance the cosmopolis


Some bands go on and on, churning out record after record, selling millions, flying the world in private jets, filling stadiums. Others go quietly about their business, putting smiles on the faces of the few lucky enough to hear their music. These aren’t the bands you’ll hear on daytime radio—you’re lucky to hear them on nighttime radio these days—and who’ll never to get to join Jools for the jam sketch.

They may leave a substantial legacy, like the recently retired Ace Bushy Striptease, or they may just leave a handful of songs that can only leave us thinking what might have been.

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You complain about the mice, but you never clean your kitchen

Tappa Zukie

I like to think of the words in this blog as the equivalent of those little descriptions that you get when you buy a box of chocolates. They may tease, listing fillings and flavours; they may warn—beware of the praline; but they can only hint at the joys that lie beneath the surface of each morsel.

Life, you see, is a carefully curated blog post.

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.




All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.