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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

SAMPLERS WILL TEAR US APART: New transmissions from lost souls

An unexpected package arrived today, a demo of some tracks our old pal Dr Alf has been playing about with. It’s basically three reworkings of old Joy Division Tracks, Transmission, Dead Souls and New Dawn Fades.

Alf has worked his magic to lift the bass lines and some of the lead guitar, then laid them over some nifty drum loops to give us quality drum ‘n bass. The vocals are sung by the Alf himself and it works surprisingly well; there will never be another Ian Curtis but Alf’s vocals fit nicely, occasionally sounding like (he will kill us for this) Brian Ferry. The end results are not too radically different from the originals, but different enough to have made the effort worthwhile. Are they cover versions or re-mixes? Who cares! If ya gonna use proper bass line samples to make some d ’n b, you might as well sample one of rock’s finest bassists!

Will these tracks ever see the light of day? Who knows? There would be major copyright issues to be dealt with but if anyone has got the front to deal with it, it’s Alfonso.



A below par City battled it out with a below par Sunderland today in a wind and rain swept Ninian Park in front of 19,530 fans, turning this important promotion clash into a messy 0-1 win for Sunderland. It should have been a draw, but we cannot complain.

Theoretically that was the last of the difficult games this season, so hopefully we may pick up some points in the final run.



Monday, March 26, 2007

DUBLIN: Pubs, history, music and football

Just got back from five days in Dublin, possibly the friendliest city I have ever visited. It was a Cardiff City RAMs tour with 50 of us on the trip to watch Wales play Ireland in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, but to be honest football did not play a big part in the trip.

Apart from the first night when we all got together, we did not really see much of the rest of the motley RAMs crew, it was mainly me, The Artist Formerly Known As Ginger and Secret Squirrel. While the RAMs were off like a stag party without a wedding and drinking large quantities of alcohol, we were seeking out the local culture… and drinking large quantities of alcohol. They went to the races, we went to the castle; they went to burger king, we went to Cornucopia vegetarian restaurant; they went to lap dancing nights, we went to reggae dance hall nights; they went to the pub and we went to… the pub; they went to the football, we went to… the football….. actually, there were a lot of similarities!

Dublin is a well established city, set up by the Vikings and its history has been of resistance for hundreds of years. 800 years ago Ireland was invaded by Anglo Norman forces and the island has was pretty much under ‘British’ rule right up until the early 20th century.

The GPO , site of the siege of the 1916 Easter Uprising

The 'Four Courts'

The most interesting story of Dublin (for us) centres around the ‘Easter Rising’ of 1916. There are lots of sites to visit, locations of battles during the rising, but they are not quite as exciting as one might think. The GPO for instance, site of a major siege during the rising is, as the name suggests, a post office. A pretty impressive post office, but a post office none the less. The ‘Four Courts’ was another building where there was a siege, but to look at it today, unless you know about the history, looks just like a court… which it is.

The castle courtyard, with Liberty appropriately showing her back to the court on the other side of the river with the scales of justice.

The castle is pretty remarkable only in that it is probably the most unremarkable castle we have seen. It does not dominate the sky line as most castles do and you will only find it if you are specifically looking for it. When you find it, from the outside at least, there is not an awful lot to see. Although we suspect the guided tour of the interior is probably more interesting.

The Stilleto in the Ghetto

In 1966 the IRA blew up a huge statue of Nelson, very similar to Nelson’s Column in London, because it was a symbol of British Imperialism. It has recently been replace by a huge metal spike 120m tall built a ta cost of 4.4 million euro. It has had a mixed reaction with some commenting on the idea of having a giant needle in the middle of a city with a growing heroin problem. It is often referred to as the stiletto in the ghetto. It dominates O’Connel Street, which was renamed in honour of the ‘Liberator’ Daniel O’Connel in 1924.

The Artist Formerly Known As Ginger takes time put for a pint of the black stuff in between record shops.

One thing that stands out about Dublin is the fact that almost every third building is a pub (well almost). The pubs are friendly and even when there are big crowds at the bar, a small number of professional bar staff seem able to serve you in a matter of minutes. And they seem to have incredible memories, remembering what your round was amongst the all the customers they are serving and sometimes you find new drinks arriving before you had even decided you wanted another one. The locals a re friendly and even when completely wrecked they are jolly drunks rather than brawlers. This is even true in the Temple Bar, which is wall to wall pubs and restaurants. Temple bar can get VERY busy on times and it is very touristy. It can be something of a draw for those that like international hen and stag parties, but the price of the town does not make it competitive, compared with the likes of Prague and Tallinn.

The Hill 16 is allive to the sound of music

"Your'e supposed to be at home"

We suppose we should mention the football, as that was the purpose of the trip. Ireland were crap and Wales were crapper. It was like a Sunday league game. The stadium however was a bit special. Croke Park is the home of Gaelic sport and until earlier this month it had not hosted a game of non Gaelic origin. It was site of a massacre during ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1920 when the Black and Tans opened fire on the crowd. Following the closure of Landsdowne Road for refurbishment this year the GAA finally changed the rules to allow rugby to be played there and this was the first ever football match in the stadium. The current stadium is the fourth largest in Europe, holding 82,500 fans. The Wales fans were housed on Hill 16, which gets it name from the fact that it was originally built from the rubble of the stadium that was left after the Easter rising of 1916. the atmosphere was great, the sun was out, the stadium was brilliant, the game was crap.

The Ghost of Rory Gallagher haunts the streets, even at 4am

Dublin has had its fair share of poets, authors, and musicians over the years, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, U2, Thin Lizzy and of course The Dubliners to merely scrape the top. Today the city has dozens of independent record shops and live music venues scattered around the centre and there appears to be buskers on every street almost 24 hours.

On the last night we found our selves in a little club hosting a reggae ‘dance hall’ night which most of the gang enjoyed but it was starting to annoy me towards the end of the night that they never play a record right to the end… it reminded me of Zoë Iguana skipping tracks on the car CD player.

Anyway, we headed home on the Monday knackered and skint. I did think to myself that I would not rush back, but they have started holding an annual anarchist book fair and the word is there is a thriving anti capitalist scene in the shape of the Workers Solidarity Movement. They were pretty orgainsed when we went over for May Day in 2004 and it seems they have grown from stregnth to stregnth ever since. We tried to meet up with them on the Friday afternoon in their social centre, but they were out! Who knows, we might end up at the bookfair in the future.



Sunday, March 18, 2007

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY.... Brecon potest camp against pipeline

Today we called in to visit the protest camp near Brecon against the LNG pipeline that is currently ripping it’s way across South Wales.

The site is one of a number of camps protesting against a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG, gas that has been cooled to liquid form at -161oC) pipeline that will be carrying gas brought in by ship to Milford Haven right across Wales, ripping through some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK, including the Brecon Beacons National Park. The 115-mile pipeline will supply 20% of the supply of gas in Britain.

Apart from the obvious concerns about the damage this will do to the environment, there are serious concerns about the safety of the pipeline. The pipe measuring at 48inches wide will pump odourless gas through at 94 bar. Gas pumped through at this speed is designed to travel in straight lines. This pipeline arches, curves and changes in height, therefore pressure points will be created, weakening the structure of the pipe. And there is the little matter of sections of the pipe running along a fault line that is the UK’s worst earthquake zone.


An American LNG pipeline with a mere 36inch diameter and a lower pressure is kept well away from civilisation and has already been the cause of explosions.

Not even Charlie Dimmock and Alan Tichmarsh could re-create this beauty

The Brecon site is situated meters off the A40 between Brecon and Sennybridge in a beautiful little copse with a stream running through that is going to be devastated by the pipe. National grid claim they will be putting everything back the way it was before they started, which is nothing short of laughable, you cannot recreate this sort of thing, it took mother nature thousand of years to create it!

We will fight them in the trees

The National Park are dead against it, the people who live near by are against it, the people who will have to put up with the giant floating time bombs coming into the harbour at Milford Haven are against it and National Grid have failed to come up with a case FOR it, having shrouded the whole thing in secrecy from start to finish.

Who knows the secret of the wodden pallet box? The entrance to a network of tunnels.

Protesters are fairly well dug in and look likely to be able to hold out against eviction when the big bad wolf comes for quite a while. The hardy few that are there have had to put up with all that the Welsh winter weather can throw at them including rain mud and some of the worst snow we have seen for ten years. However, they need help, and eviction is imminent, so if you can get up there please do what you can to support them, even if it is only to take up supplies. Every little helps!






Thursday, March 15, 2007


Have happened across some interesting psychedelic blogs of late, some of them with MPFREEs to download… check out …

And if you want SERIOUSLY Weird

Many of these were pointed out to us by Colin Powerstepper… nice one you old fish


KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES: There be some weird shit up there!

A CD arrived this week from Peyote Mothership, entitled ‘Transmission 1’. The blurb on the back sums it up “15minute CD of sound collage and music concrete with the occasional exclusive snippet of peyote Mothership music woven in”

What exactly does that mean? Well, it aint exactly music, more.. sounds and noise. It’s a bit like a spaceship orbiting the earth and scanning the airwaves to see what is being broadcast from terra firma but never staying on one channel for more than a few seconds. The only thing we can compare it to is the more wigged out early Orb/KLF stuff.. or the Alex Patterson ‘Space’ album.

If this is your cup of tea, you can get it for free by simply asking the band for a copy and letting them know what your earth address is. Once you have it in your hands, light up a joss stick, turn the lights out, lie down, switch off and absorb… this aint ya dance around the house sing along type stuff.. and it will certainly do your head in sat in a rush hour traffic jam in ya motor (we know, we tried it!).


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


We have created yet another blog…. we have been sniffing around You Tube a lot lately and rather than clutter this blog up we have decided to create a PEPPERMINT IGUANA VIDEO BLOG. It will be fairly random, mixing politics, music and fun… plus anything else we like. We will TRY to do one a day, but we have chucked a handful up today to kick things off….


Sunday, March 11, 2007


Many moons ago we were sent a copy of ‘Sporadic Spirogyra’ by Tribe Of Cro, completely out of the blue, for review in the peppermint Iguana Zine. We were blown away by it but knew very little about the band. We did manage to track down another CD, ‘Hydrocultrue’, and kept an eye out for them but never managed to catch them live, eventually we stopped hearing the name..... until...

Last night, while surfing the net, we found them again! Now we are not sure if they split up, had a hiatus or just kept hiding from us, but there does seem to be a return to the live circuit on the cards and possibly a new album.

However, the reason for this post is to send you in the direction of their website, where you can download for free a copy of ‘Virtual Vinyl’ a CD recorded live at the BBC Maida Vale Studios.

This is spaced out psychedelic freeform techno rock at its very best, like the Ozrics but heavier, full on sonic attack with hints of Hawkwind, but more up to date. Flying through loopholes in the rock time continuum visiting the rave galaxy, the metal planet, the dub space, the punk rock underworld and the psychedelic hyperspace.

Now we hate to compare bands cos it is lazy, but it is very Ozric like. Now the Ozrics have been in our top five all time favourite bands for a good many years, so we do not say this lightly… after a few listenings this morning, we think this might be even better than the Ozrics. There we are, said it now. High praise indeed from us.

This album does not stick to any particular blueprint, constantly varying the plan taking you up and down and around like a space shuttle navigating an asteroid storm. And the whole album is available to download for free! Bargain of the century… and safer than drugs! YOU MUST HAVE THIS

Cro myspace


Saturday, March 10, 2007

RETURN OF THE TEN LEGGED DANCING SPIDER: Tarantism hit the banks of the river Taff

The day began with a surreal start, with a giant teddy bear on the A470 at 5am and that was just the first psychedelic moment of the day. Come 10pm I had just about given up on the idea of going out and I was crashed on the settee. Then somehow the autopilot kicked in and by 11pm I was sat in Tarantism’s new van outside the Riverside in Cardiff doing an interview for the Iguana Zine.

Tarantism and the Iguana go way back, well before they played a gig for us over 9 years ago (the week that Tara Iguana was born clue there somewhere as to where Tara got her name). We used to bump into each other quite a lot but we haven't met up for ages, it came as no surprise though that within minutes of meeting tonight was like we had met last week…. and that includes the new members that we have not met before!

Anyway, let’s get on to the gig.

First up was that twat Cosmo doing his Bob Dylan on magic mushrooms thing, making a right cult of himself. Nahh.. what can we say that we have not said before? This man is wasted (in more ways than one), poet, rapper, axe god, revolutionary, porn star, drunkard and the only man we have ever seen that can make a lycra top look baggy… one day this man will be discovered and put in a museum for music lovers to appreciate for generations to come.

Then came Kilnaboy, Pontypridd’s finest rebel rousing anarcho diddly punk jigabout mob. After Cosmo had warmed everyone’s hearts, these lads and lasses warmed up everyone’s dancing trousers, like a damp patch when you’re too slow getting to the toilet. Mixing trad numbers with their own compositions they have the assembled scruffs up and swinging around the floor making the basement venue look even fuller than it really was.

Then it was the turn of Tarantism, setting foot on stage in South Wales for the first time in 9 years; half the crowd would have still been in school the last time they came this way but they were no strangers to this festival posse. They dipped their sonic ladle into the melting pot of styles that bubble away in their back catalogue, spooning out doses of ska, folk, dance and jazz when necessary, plus the odd spiky lump of punk rock to get you dancing up and down as well as swinging back and fore.

Come 2am they wanted to get some sleep before the drive to Cornwall in the morning, but the crowd would have none of it, insisting on a high-octane encore to finish the night. Let’s hope it aint 9 years before the next visit.

I couldn’t find a proper Tarantism video, but this is a video of the Eastendvalley festival that has Tarantism singing over the top…

For the wikipedia definition of Tarantism, click here






TARANTISM LIVE (looky here if you want to download exclusive live stuff)


Saturday, March 03, 2007


To mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, which falls on March 19th, those lovely radical people ‘THE STOP THE WAR COALITION’ have helped Big Toe release a single.

Basically it is a cover version of Edwin Star’s ‘War’ with someone who looks a little bit like him singing on the video. It aint brilliant, your money will go to the SWP, but hey, wouldn’t it be cool to see it at number one. Apparently it is already at number six.. no idea which chart that is, cos it aint the BBC chart. For more information and to download go to