BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Friday, February 23, 2007


Chops bangs in his 20th goal of season

Yes, another football post! It has been a very long time since I went to three matches in six days, but I had an offer I could not refuse today, a free ticket in the grandstand.

Now I think I have said this before, the grandstand has very little atmosphere but me mate Mr G. has a cracking seat with a cracking view. And tonight that was just what was needed cos we were treated to a veritable goal feast with City hammering promotion rivals Preston North End 4-1. The score line pretty much reflected the game with city dominating all the way through and Chopra banging in two to take him even further away from the rest of the pack in terms of the leagues highest goal scorer (knocking in his 21st of the season).

At the end of the night we were laying 4th in the league, only 4 points behind the leaders, but there are an awful lot of teams with games in hand around us.

I will say no more, even I am getting bored with all these football posts, so back to more traditional Iguana revolutionary rock ‘n roll fare soon, I promise!


Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"You'll never ban, a City fan!"

Tonight it was time for a top of the table clash away to West Bromwich Albion, who only dropped down from the Premiership at the end of last season. Prior to the game they were on level points with us so there was everything to play for. The game, however, was not the most memorable part of the trip.

Six seasons ago lads from the valleys who like to go away to the football and have a drink on the way got together to form the Valley RAMs (Rhondda Aberdare Merthyr). The RAMs were different from the Cardiff City Supporters Club, who do not allow smoking or drinking on the bus (hence the nick name Pop and Crisps). With the RAMs it was a case of anything goes, so long as all booze was safely tucked away in the boot before we reached our destination; then after the game it was a stop in the first services to get the booze back out. Technically this is not strictly within the law, but it worked well, it meant that a huge portion of the City away following would be shipped to the ground and straight out with the police knowing exactly where they were and what they were up to. Prior to the RAMs it had been cars, vans, mini busses and trains all over the place terrorising the motorways and railways of the land totally unchecked with the forces of law and order having no idea where everyone was.

The RAMs made a major contribution to the fact that arrest figures for Cardiff at away games dropped from being amongst the top in the League to close to the bottom. At one time there were cars being turned over, pubs being set alight and full-scale riots going on with literally hundreds of arrests at some games; last year we only had 6 convictions all season. The home office were using us as a beacon to show how it could be done!

Some police forces were more amenable to this ‘progressive’ drink policy the RAMs had than others, West Midlands Police in particular were having none of it of late and have been sending sniffer dogs onto busses and nicking drivers if they found one empty can on a bus. As a result the RAMs decided it was time to call it a day, being unwilling to put drivers at risk anymore. South Wales police attitude changed and they had told the RAMs that they should not be surprised if busses were searched before they left Wales! The RAMs attitude was no drink on busses, no busses!

So, finally on to the WBA game. With no busses layed on, other than the pop and crisps, I drove up with me old pal Squirrel. This was a ‘voucher’ game, with all fans having to call into the services to exchange vouchers for tickets. In the words of Cardiff Citys man in charge of crowd control “It deters those intent on causing disorder simply because they don’t want to play by the rules and therefore usually decide not to travel. It prevents train travel, which is the preferred method of transport of the Risk Group who may be intent on causing disorder. It allows the Home force to gauge demeanour of the travelling supporter and can help to break down pre-conceived ideas and perception”.

With the RAMs not running busses it meant some 500 people travelling independently which messed plans up a bit and caused delays and hassle, not to mention a lot of bad feeling. A mini protest was organised whereby fans would turn up at the ground with vouchers and demand to be let in, but so few joined in it became a waste of time and those that were protesting spent the evening down the pub and missed the game.

The game was pretty damn good. I hate to use excuses but with three top players suspended and at least two more out injured we were always going to be up against it, especially against a hot team like WBA. But the depleted team, which included two 17 year olds battled well and were unlucky not to get a point.

The city fans were quite vocal but I felt not quite as vocal as usual (lack of drink??). John Hartson of Swansea came in for some stick and Jason Koumas, star of the City side last season, was in for some ribbing. There was one funny moment when we all started singing along with the WBA fans, the whole ground united in its hatred of Wolves, which made me smile.

At the end of the night me and Squirrel jumped in the car and headed home…. Straight home, without having to wait for a police escort or to stop to drop people off. One advantage I suppose of travelling independently!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE: Cardiff 1: Leeds 0

Sparky and his new bird tell us what the score is

Even though they are now bottom of the table and look certain to be relegated, a clash with the once mighty Leeds United always turns out to be an event, sometimes for the wrong reasons, and today was no exception.

Me and the Spark decided to make it an all dayer and Spark, romantic old fool that he is, decided to take his new bird who, according to Sparky, eats a lot, down to the game for her first ever football match (typical armchair Arsenal fan!).

We went down on the old choo choo and after breakfast on the run we headed into canton for some refreshments. We found ourselves in a watering hole we do not normally frequent, which turned out to be wicked, lots of old faces and the juke box turned up loud pumping out 70’s punk and ska. After lubricating the neck with a few big boys happy apples we headed for Ninian Park.

16,000+ had turned out for the day and we rammed ourselves into the chav end of the Grange, to soak up the atmosphere. The whole ground was alive with anticipation and memories of recent clashes that have seen City hammer Leeds at every meeting. We squeezed into spaces that were barely big enough for us, but it was not long before more had squeezed in around us meaning we were like sardines.


The bar is alive, with the sound of "What's that coming over the hill, it's Michael Chopra!"

With big turnouts the queue for the bar at half time can be so big you don’t get served until after the restart, so I made an early exit to get the beer in. Typically, I missed Chopra banging in a truly magnificent free kick. I missed out on the celebrations on the terrace but I had the benefit of an action replay on the telly and the bar went bananas.

Oooops. A missed chance to double the score. Never mind, one was all that was needed

For the second half we found ourselves a spot with a bit more room and better view, but slightly less breathing in involved. It turned out to be quite an action packed half, with two city players going for an early bath, including the mighty Chopra. The red card did not come out for a Leeds united handball in the penalty area, even though we were given the a penalty (which was saved). Unrestrained criticism of the man in black was hurled at full voice from all areas of the ground as the home crows egged on the 9 men against 12. The criticism continued in the post match press conference with Dave Jones commenting, 'The referee has come down from the Premiership and he should keep going, cos he aint good enough for this division'.

The last time I saw a game this physical at Ninian Park was when the dirtiest man in football, Dennis Wise, brought Millwall here and it ended up in a 22 man punch up on the pitch and Wise fighting with the kit man in the tunnel. Wise is now in charge of Leeds and he has obviously been teaching him the cheating bully boy tactics he knows best.

"Move along please, nothing to see here"

With three points in the bag, it was back to the hostelry for a few more apple juices and to meet up with more mates, then home to iguana HQ and a night of music and meaningless rambling with Sparky and his new bird.

Friday, February 16, 2007

GET MASHED: GHP releases first ever legal mash up compilation

Mash ups eh! What’s that all about then? Well mash ups have been around for a while now but as an underground club thing. It has stayed mainly underground because on the whole they are illegal, they depend on taking the vocals from one song and putting them over the tune of another and unless you have permission from the original artists you are on sticky ground releasing your mix. This week though saw the release of the first ever fully legal mash up album, by Mark Vidler, AKA Go Home Productions. Appropriately enough, it is called Mashed.

EMI threw their weight behind the project and persuaded the artists to give clearance for the project. Apparently David Bowie was very supportive, Mark having remixed stuff for him before. Iggy pop also supplied masters to enable a ‘cleaner’ mix.

As a result we have things like Iggy Pop’s ‘Passeneger’ with Peggy Lee singing ‘Fever’ over the top and Jim Morrison singing ‘Riders on the Storm’ over the top of Blondie’s ‘Rapture’. It is all very clever stuff and on the less familiar tracks they blend so well you cannot tell it is a ‘cut and shut’. When the mixes feature some of our favourites, like the Iggy/Peggy thing, it is wicked; I am sure some of these tracks will get played over and over for years to come here at Iguana HQ. However, there is an awful lot of disco stuff on there, mixing two tracks that we did not like in the first place; these are impressive for their execution, but once the admiration wears off it is unlikely we will be pulling them out to play to the grand kids (now there’s a frightening thought) to show them what we were playing back in 07. A lot of the stuff on here is disposable, but perhaps that is what pop is supposed to be; for the time being it is bringing a smile to the iguana tribe and some of the stuff on there will be keeping us smiling throughout the summer and beyond.

Cant be arsed to pay for the album? Fear not, plenty of MPFREEs on his website.



Saturday, February 10, 2007

SCRAP HEAD: Better late than never


Back in September of last year I ordered a copy of ‘Wiztonic’ by Headjam from brighton based Scrap Records. For three months I have been stood at the end of the street each morning waiting for the postie to deliver it. With all the snow this week it was getting cold out in the street so I e-mailed them to find out where my CD is. Within 48 hours poor old postie was slogging his way in the snow up the drive, past the guard dogs, to get up here to Iguana Mansion with me CD…. Well, almost.

The CD is out of print so a CDR copy had been sent with a promise of a proper one when they are reprinted. As a bonus prize for me patience a copy of the ScrapkillarRoadmovie Volume 1. You have redeemed yourselves scrapheads, you might be slow but its better than dealing with HMV. Nice one Garry.

HEADJAM: Wiztonic: About as hardcore as they come, anarcho ska punk with a heavy dubby psychedelic edge. Renowned for bucking against the system, we have caught them live a few times, most notably at the ‘eco village’ convergence space set up for protestors at the 2005 G8 in Scotland and at and all night squat party following the Anarchist Bookfair in London in 2005. This CD captures them perfectly, mean moody dark and psychopathic, it may well find itself stuck in the iguana-fi for some time to come.

SCRAPKILLARROADMOVIE: A collection of videos put together by Scrap Records, which is a sort of collective of underground free festival traveller types based around the remains of 2000 Dirty Squatters. It features bands such as 2000 DS, Theodore Bastard, Missing Teeth, Dead Silence and.. Headjam! Mixing live footage, graphix, videos and interviews it is suitably crusty, punk and vegan. It includes footage of Treworgey Tree Festival in 1989 (where I went for me honeymoon) and one of 2000DS going back home to Cwmbran (Valley of the crow) and climbing up Twmbarlam ‘Tump’, which is just down the road from iguana HQ. All in all it is a cracking little antidote to your usual corporate video release. Keep recycling dudes!



PS: Thanx to secret squirrel who bought this as a birthday present for me... shame it did not arrive in time for me birthday, but if we order something else now it might arrive in time for me next birfday!

Friday, February 09, 2007

GLOBAL WARMING????? not today!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

RAINBOW CLASSIC: No comment required

Monday, February 05, 2007

ALIENOIDZ INVASION: Get ready for trance metal attack

Word has reached us via pulse space that we are about to be invaded by Alienoidz from the other side of cyberspace. As yet they have only embarked on a brief reconnaissance mission into our dimension but the footprints they have left behind are quite scary.

They are a five-piece outfit from outer space that seamlessly mix trance and metal into something truly breathtaking. “Metal and dance music, like the prodigy then?” No, these take it to a whole other level, we are talking proper trance and real metal… two types of hardcore meeting to make double f@ckin' hardcore with nails sticking out of it, like the house band on an Klingon bird of prey.

The tracks on the Myspace are simply rough cuts, so we can’t wait to hear the real thing. Shame you can’t download em… come on Noidz, we wanna blast it out of the Iguanamobile stereo!

The word is, there will be a global release in the very near future and a world tour to go with it, and they will be brining their own stages from beyond the edge of the Milky Way, which does not sound very ‘grass roots’ like the stuff we are normally into, but sounds like one hell of a night out.

That’s about all there is to say at the moment, the whole thing is a bit top secret at the moment to stop people panicing, we will say more when we hear anything.

Noidz… you’re ace… it is not often we get so excited about a band after hearing so little. Please don’t disappoint us!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

SAVE CARDIFF PART TWO: Splillers, the oldest records shop in the world

“If you walk down Oxford Street you do not see niche record stores among the chains. We warned Mr Todd (owner of Spillers records) that he is standing in the way of progress. The rent in their present location will at some point be unaffordable” Those are the words of Michael brown, the man behind the plan to redevelop the land on which Spillers Stands. He is a tw@t.

Spillers is possibly the oldest record store in the world, established in 1894. It is something of a legend in South Wales, not simple because of its age but because it is such a damn fine shop. The sales staff are all fanatical music lovers and you can have intelligent conversations with them. Today as I was in there someone came in and asked about DJ Scotch Egg; anywhere else this would have resulted in a blank stare from some student on a gap year, but here it started ten minute chat about Scotch Egg’s set the night before and the merits of techno in the 21st century. Try walking into Virgin and asking about Llwber Llaethog, see if they rattle off a list of CDs available on the shelf; or ask about The Short Bus Window Lickers and see how long it will take them to get hold of a copy of thier CD for you.

As you would guess from the opening paragraph though, the shop is under threat from ‘developers’ trying to homogenise the city centre. It truly would be a tragedy if this shop is lost and replaced with another chain store. A petition to save the shop has been started by a local Assembly Member and an application has been made for a Blue Plack, to mark the site, which has played such an important part in Welsh music over the decades. Go on, sign it, you never know when you might need them to track down something special.

You will be hard pushed to find Robbie Williams in there, but you will find a veritable treasure trove of sonic gems, from Robert Johnson box sets to the latest releases by Aereograme. And if you want stuff by local bands, there is nowhere else to compare.

Over the years, this little dingy shop with photocopies of the sleeves shoved into the racks has probably been the single largest source of music in my collection. Only this week I have parted with my hard earned in there to get my hands on:

KILNABOY: Defy the Stars (local anarcho diddly punk folk.. been trying to blag this off the band but fed up of waiting. Got quite excited to see my name mentioned on the sleeve notes under ‘Thanks to’)

THIS SYSTEM KILLS/THE VIKTIMS: Victims of the system (Split album featuring old mates TSK, loud shouty anarcho punk of the highest order. Dones not mention me personally on the cover but says thanks to all those that have helped over the years, so I suppose it includes me)

TIDYLIKE RECORDS: Legends of The Dark Soul (Collection from this Welsh label with lots of d’n b and break beat stuff on… all packaged in a nice little tin)

FOUR LETTER WORD: Like Moths To A Flame (local punks done good, now have quite a big name on the anarcho punk scene)

ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION: Enemy of the Enemy (Nothing local about this, Bhangara/punk/dub/metal sound clash with attitude. Not sure why I did not get around to buying this when it came out in 2003, but at £4.99 it jumped out at me and has now filled a gap to complete my ADF collection)

MICHAEL FRANTI AND SPEARHEAD: Yell Fire (latest offering of soulful consciousness from possibly the coolest man on earth. Inspired by his trip to the war torn Middle East to make a film about how ordinary people cope with war)

No other shop in Cardiff could have supplied such a fine crop, go on SIGN THE PETITION (or are you some kind of capitalist bastard?)

William Elliott Whitmore Live in Spillers....

SAVE CARDIFF PART ONE: giving away coffee outside Starbucks

Cardiff is no different from any high street these days, row after row of chain shops making it look no different to any other high street in the UK.. or the world even(?)! Some of these chains are worse than others though. Today, Cardiff Anarchist Network targeted Starbucks for some bad publicity, giving away coffee outside and pushing the message Coffee not bombs.

It is difficult to know where to start with Starbucks. They are big.. REALLY BIG. The are making profits of around $10 billion a year and it is estimated they open up 8 new shops around the world every day. Yet while they are raking it in the farmers that provide them with the beans to make the coffee are starving. The farmers that supply them are paid between 2 and 50 cents per pound for the coffee they grow, which then sells at $10 per pound. In 2001 the CEO of Starbucks took home $2,145,000, while the average farmer providing coffee for the chain took home $300 for the entire year. They have started selling fair trade coffee, but this amounts to less than 1% of the coffee sold in their shops. Undoubtedly fair trade is simply seen as greenwash for the company image.

They have a nasty habit of stifling competition, they open up a shop and keep the prices as low as they can, even sometimes making a loss, until they have driven the local competition out of business, then once a monopoly is guaranteed the prices go up.

Starbucks is renowned for being fiercely anti trade union and wants nothing to do with staff unions in its shops. There is something iof a fightback underway though and the IWW have formed their own Starbucks Union… but it is going to be a hard struggle.

Howard Schultz, current CEO of Starbucks, is an active Zionist and as such supports the oppression of the Palestinian People, so it does not make it too difficult to imagine some of the money handed over for your cappuccino ending up going towards perpetuation the misery of the people on the West Bank.

Today free Cafe Rebellion coffee, grown by the Zapatista Anti-capitlaist rebels in Mexico, was handed out to passers by in Queen Street. This is unlikely to have made much of an impact on Starbucks profits for the day but hopefully it planted a seed and some people that normally do not question where there money is going may think about it in the future. If no minds were won over, maybe they will be next time, and maybe one day we might meet up with someone that will even become active. That is what it is all about, chipping away. And chipping away with free coffee and free entertainment has got to be more fun than trying to shove hard left newspapers in someone’s face and calling them capitalist bastards when they don’t sign your petition.