Tag: london

Gig review: Box of Ghosts and Years and Years

Last night I went to see my mate’s band, Box of Ghosts, perform at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, London. How to describe them? I suppose the general catch-all term for most up-and-coming bands these days is electro-pop. I think that term doesn’t do anyone any favours any more, it’s too broad.

I could talk about what they sound like: influences of Depeche Mode, Editors etc. Suffice to say they have a sort of sweeping, operatic, dramatic, punchy sound. I’m probably not doing them justice, they’re great live. Just watch the clip of their signature track ‘Silhouette’ below and judge for yourself. It’s a really well put together track. You’ll be tapping your toes without realising.

Following their set was the headline act, Years & Years. Another band that fall into the electro-pop fishing net definition. This particular night was their new single launch, ‘Emergency’. Check a clip of them performing the single.

I think perhaps they have more of a folk element to their music, slightly hard to define at least. The lead singer is interesting. A skinny guy with mad hair and a big, yet delicate, melodic voice.

Having only just heard of this band I’m going to say, for me, their signature track is probably ‘I wish I knew’. Found a nice little clip of them performing on the tube. A great sing-along track.

Anyway, if you like these bands get involved. Follow them on youtube, soundcloud, like them on Facebook – whatever it is you crazy kids do these days.

To sign off I’ve included some tracks below you might want to check out.

Damn, parkour is a tough sport!

parkour injuryWill I ever be any good at parkour/freerunning? I found myself asking this question last night as I sat in a London hospital with – yet another – injury. This time quite a bad one, a deep gash in my shin that needed two stitches.

Let’s rewind for a second. For those not familiar, parkour is essentially a type of movement used to overcome obstacles by way of vaulting, leaping, climbing, rolling etc. It’s done outdoors and – in London – often around housing estates, where there are lots of walls, rails, playgrounds. Ideal places to practice.

Still reading? Well, there’s an organisation called Parkour Generations that do lessons all around London. Well worth a go if you’re looking for a new sport. I realise, from my opening paragraph, I’ve probably completely put off you if you were considering it, apologies! To be honest, you can get injured in so many ways on a day-to-day basis. Crossing the road, preparing dinner etc.

The way I see it, I have no time for the gym, it’s such a static, sterile environment. It’s nice to train your overall body outside, doing something different, challenging, exciting. Injuries are bound to happen in any sport if you’re pushing yourself. You just need to know where your limits are. I was fully aware of mine but ignored the signs, hence the injury.

The video below was taken in the area I was training. None of the guys in the video are me by the way, I am nowhere near their level of skill, but it’s what I aim for. Well, except the flips, I’ll give those a miss!

Plus, these days, parkour has moved much more into the mainstream. No longer a niche, extreme sport, its influence can be seen all over the place, particularly in film over the last few years.

There’s a French film called District 13 which features one of the founders of the sport, David Belle. Well worth a watch if you’ve got the time. Good as a film as well as a showcase for the sport. Also, in Casino Royale there’s a scene featuring Sebastien Foucan, another parkour founding father. Watch the building site chase here, very cool.

So, back to my latest predicament. As I sat there cursing my stupidity at failing to admit my body’s limitations, it occurred to me that – in order to improve – that’s sort of the point. You have to push yourself. Dig deep, double your efforts, whatever it takes really. Cue 80s montage…