Why Lee Nicol will never walk alone

A clipping from the Bootle Times of Stephen Bolton with the Lee Nicol trophy

A clipping from the Bootle Times of Stephen Bolton with the Lee Nicol trophy

TEENAGER Lee Nicol became the 95th Liverpool fan to have died after following the team to that fateful FA Cup semi-final played exactly 25 years ago today at Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium.

The 14-year-old died in hospital, some days later, having been on a life support machine. Like all 96 victims he has never been forgotten by the city of Liverpool, the club, its fans and of course by the family and friends of those whose loved ones never returned home from ‘Hillsborough’ – a name that is now sadly so much more synonymous with tragedy, chaos, grief, official indifference, corruption and cover up than it is as the  home of Sheffield Wednesday. Continue reading

A tribute to Tony Benn

TELL anyone you’re a journalist and they’ll soon ask about famous people you’ve met or interviewed. While there are usually a few names you can reel off it’s more than simply a cliché to say the most satisfying aspect of the job is meeting everyday people with extraordinary stories. 

That’s not to say however that hacks aren’t excited about the sort of close encounters with the rich and famous that can come your way in the job. Nearly three years ago I was lucky enough to interview Tony Benn, the veteran left-wing campaigner and former MP, who died last Friday, March 14 aged 88. That interview is re-produced at the bottom of this post. Continue reading

Klashnekoff @ the Moon Club, Cardiff

K-Lash3Crop

Klashnekoff on stage at the Moon Club, Cardiff on Weds, March 12

A HEAVYWEIGHT UK MC headliner, solid local support and reasonably priced £7 advance tickets. What could go wrong?

The crowd. Nothing wrong with those that were there, it’s just they probably numbered less than 100. The Moon Club was far from anywhere near full and felt a little flat – more like a crescent moon just not awe inspiring. Continue reading

Biggie Smalls is still the illest

“That shit was the worst rhyme I ever heard in my life/’Cos the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th”

A stencil of Biggie sprayed on a telephone exchange in Cathays, Cardiff

A stencil of Biggie sprayed on a telephone exchange in Cathays, Cardiff, Wales UK

FIVE* years since The Notorious BIG was shot dead in Los Angeles and his giant frame still looms large on hip hop.

Just as Canibus referred to the Big Poppa during his 1998 lyrical beef with LL Cool J, today New York is buzzing as Nas and Jay Z do battle – and both state their relationship to, and respect for, Biggie.

Nas scoffs at Jigga’s assertion that he is now the king of New York. But if it wasn’t for Biggie it would be a crown that had long since lost its shine. Continue reading

Yellowman and Dillinger: Cardiff reggae stop

LIVE reggae shows have been few and far between in Cardiff lately but just like the buses you wait ages for one, and then two influential Jamaican artists come along at once.

Dillinger

Dillinger

Yellowman and Dillinger opened the second night of their UK tour at the Globe, in Albany Road, Roath on Thursday, February 27 and were greeted by what looked like a crowd not far short of its 350 capacity, even with tickets still available on the door. Continue reading

Kanye West: College Dropout to first class honours

“Good dude, bad night, right place, wrong time

In the blink of a eye, his whole life changed”Kanye1

Los Angeles: The early hours of October 23, 2002 a young music producer making his way back from another late studio session is seriously injured in a car crash.

I learned how Kanye West recovered from the night he almost killed himself in a Lexus, to find his voice  - metaphorically and physically following re-constructive jaw surgery  - 18 months later, constantly spinning two thick black vinyl discs at a steady 331/3 revolutions per minute on the turntable my brother had squeezed, with a mixer and a second deck, on the worktop in our tiny kitchen. At times I barely made it past the first five tracks (including the opening skit) as I just dropped the needle back instead of flipping to side B . Continue reading

Will Johnny Football be a winner on Super Bowl Sunday?

THE World Championship – or to be more precise the NFL title – is up for grabs on Sunday but could the real Super Bowl winner be a still amateur college student? SuperBowl48

Super Bowl XLVIII – or 48 if you must – pits the league’s best offensive team, the Denver Broncos against its best defence, the Seattle Seahawks in a fitting collision of rival forces. Continue reading