Work. Rest. Play (Pt. 4)

Thanks for checking out the fourth and final part of the tour film, Work. Rest. Play. I made this with my two buddies (Brains for Breakfast and MoJoe) to chronicle our experiences on the road for fun. On this episode, we drop in on a very unique folk night in Bristol, check out the Clifton Suspension Bridge, do a few verbal drive-bys on the streets of London and shoot a music video on the final day in the amazing Brighton! If you like any of the artists, and want any info to check them out, give me a shout. Share this video with your friends, and be sure to check back for more real soon. Also, subscribe to the Chameleon Recordings channel on YouTube to see the other episodes.

Thanks, I hope you enjoy the show.

Craig [Editor]

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UFC: A preview of Pierre/Hendricks, TUF and much more!

UFC World Tour 2013.

St. Pierre and Hendricks ahead of their big fight – Source: The Star Phoenix

Thanks for checking out The Real Mid Card. We hope you enjoy our latest extensive look into the recent happenings in the world of the UFC, courtesy of our resident MMA guy Arun Paul Smith. Beware, this article contains some strong language.

So here’s the deal. We have had two events this week AND The Ultimate Fighter. TUF was pretty much a non-event. Michael Wootten lost to the much favoured American Helmsworth. I’ve got to honest with you, I’m not really caring much about the men this season. The women are the only thing intriguing me enough to continue watching the show. On

Wednesday, we had a UFC event titled Fight for the troops 3. It was actually an enjoyable event. Lots of quick fights and some exciting decisions. The main event was quick. Kennedy getting the TKO early in the first. Another fight on the card that stuck out was Khabilov v Masvidol. Good back and forth action, with dance-like, almost majestic ground work with sub attempts and escapes. The submission of the night for me was in Chiesa v Smith. I’ve never liked Smith, but the way Chiesa got the sub was a thing of beauty.

The shock of the night was Bobby Green winning, but after a kick to the nuts. He kicked his opponent twice in the cup and was deducted a point. He threw yet another kick. His opponent fell to the ground grabbing his manhood. McCarthy thought “Fuck this shit!” and stopped the fight, giving the win by TKO to green. McCarthy said the shot was legal, but what legal shot sounds like it hit the cup. Even on the replays, you can hear that thud as something makes contact with the top of the cup.

Last night was Belfort v Hendo, coming from Brazil. Belfort became the only man in the world to even come close to knocking out Hendo. The stoppage was correct, but the fact that Hendo was still lucid and making an attempt to continue to fight by holding onto Belfort’s ankle leads me to believe that the call of Belfort winning by KO was a bit strong. The question mark that always hangs over any Belfort win is his TRT usage. He has one of the best physiques in the business. How much of that is down to steroids? It’s true that he looks like he did when he was lamping dudes, back in the dark ages of pre-Zuffa UFC. Does anybody really care? Its a bit strange. I can’t put my finger on how I feel about it.

Belfort is now a title contender after Jon Jones plays slap n tickle with Teixiera. The rightful challenger Mr Gustuffson is fighting Jimi Manuwa in London. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Fucking happy about that. Hopefully, I’ll get to go to it! But it’s so bad that he will have to take a dangerous fight with no real upside and a whole lot of risk, while Belfort gets another chance to lose against someone who’s arm he really should have already broken. The question remains, how much has TRT got to do with it. There were plenty of other nice fights on the card and I actually really enjoyed it on the whole.

Coming up next weekend it’s Pierre v Hendricks. I am super excited for this card. Its ridiculously stacked and contains very hard-to-predict fights. This could potentially be the most amazing card of the year. Going back to Pierre v Hendricks. I’m going to try some predictions.

Cerrone v Dunham: I love Cerrone, but he can be amazing one day and terrible the next. That being said I’m going to pick Dunham as he’s tough and good everywhere. Here is a fun fact. Both of their last losses came at the hands of Raphael Dos Anjos. I think that Dunham has a mental edge. I think it will be a decision, maybe even a split, but Dunham gets the nod. Elliott v Bagautinov: I pick Bagautinov simply because I picked against a person with a similar name before and that went badly wrong.

Koscheck v Woodley: Similar styles but I’m going with Woodley because he hasn’t yet suffered from a five round beat down at the hands of GSP. I think GSP stole his soul. He has lost two in a row and I think this will be his 3rd. MacDonald v Lawler, the man that give koscheck his last loss: MacDonald has been on a tear since his loss to Condit many moons ago. He has the tools to beat Lawler, but I think that his tenacity will be his undoing. Lawler has ripped through his opponents since coming back to the UFC. He seems to have put the pieces together and I feel that he can showcase his veteran skills and make a run for the title. Lawler by a nasty KO.

Evans v Sonnen: The question going into this fight is what can Sonnen bring to the table that Evans hasn’t ate before? Simple answer. Absolutely nothing. I’m not sure what Evans’ aspirations are, but I do know that he can and will beat Sonnen. He already beat a heavy-handed replica in Hendo. Sonnen is faster than Hendo, but he is not faster than Evans. Evans may well smash Sonnen into retirement.

And now my prediction for the main event of the evening. Johnny Hendricks gets to battle the most dominate champion in UFC welterweight history. Hendricks is a stud wrestler with heavy hands. GSP is a mixed martial artist, with no graspable weakness and an ability to make a mistake and seemingly never make those mistakes again. The biggest question for me though is how much does GSP still want this? This fight will definitively answer this question.

Hendricks doesn’t use his wrestling for takedowns, he uses it for strikes. He is becoming his own biggest fan and loves those knock-outs. The last person to KO GSP was Matt Serra, and that was mainly because GSP was reckless and got caught. GSP is going to pop in-and-out of Hendricks’ range and hit him with those pin point jabs. He may use kicks to take out Hendricks’ legs and go for the double-leg takedown. GSP does not want to stand and bang, he wants this on the ground to work his classic ground and pound game. I think he will use his game plan and destroy Hendricks over the five rounds. If he can weather the first two rounds, this fight is all his. For Hendricks to beat GSP, he will have to use his wrestling and be heavy with the use of strikes against the cage, working the body and then the head to break down GSP. I’m predicting that GSP will win it by soul destroying decision.

Thanks for reading,

Arun Paul Smith

Rare Undertaker match makes UK Smackdown something special

takershieldFor this post, I’m gonna go for more of a recap of what I consider to be the major occurrences from last night’s airing of WWE Smackdown. I’ll ignore the pointless bullshit that makes up half of an episode and focus on anything memorable. With the show being at the 02 Arena in London, I knew going in that one thing I could expect was a good vocal crowd – something that the show in blue almost always lacks. Let’s see what got those Brits going!

Alberto Del Rio v Jack Swagger

A rematch from Wrestlemania featuring two guys who seem to have been opposite each other in the ring every week for the last two months may not scream excitement, but this was a very good opening match. The fact that it was No Disqualification had a lot to do with it. It was a pretty brutal affair with good use of kendo sticks, steel chairs and ladders. There were also some great sequences and reversals from two excellent technicians.

The Shield cut a rather good promo, in-keeping with their consistency both on microphones and in the ring.

Fandango v Justin Gabriel

The ballroom dancing supremo got another great pop from the British fans who have made him moderately famous. Everyone is singing his theme throughout and now it’s more. There are tonnes of signs all over the place, actual Fandango chants and a huge cheer when he wins the match. The supposed heel put away Gabriel within a couple of minutes with the top rope leg drop. It’s a shame for the South African that he has been so drastically buried compared to his old Nexus team-mates Wade Barrett and Ryback, but it’s hardly surprising given what he lacks and they both possess in an abundance. Fandango is over with us, but will the Americans react the same way next week? I doubt it.

fandango12William Regal v Wade Barrett

William Regal put over Wade Barrett in a very quick squash. Regal got a decent reaction for his entrance, but I think it could have been better. It was a good idea to do this match and this finish, but please make it a little longer next time. The two of them could have a good old fashioned wrestling match for English supremacy, but I guess Regal can’t go for too long these days.

Undertaker v Dean Ambrose

The Undertaker defeated Shield member Dean Ambrose in a singles match to end the show. The Shield then proceeded to dominate The Deadman with a three on one assault. Roman Reigns speared him through the barricade, before they delivered a triple power bomb through the announce table. This ending did everyone a favour. Taker got the win and continues to be invincible, and The Shield as a team are yet again pushed as a complete juggernaut that can’t be stopped. It was crazy special to see The Phenom in actual competition on Smackdown of all shows. To make things even more epic, it was in London! This alone would have made the show watchable.

My Thoughts

Sadly the content I’ve discussed makes up only about an hour of the broadcast. A great hour. Nonetheless, in a standard two hour episode of anything, you would expect a lot more. The other hour is filled with wasted time. It makes me wonder why they insist on running three hour editions of Raw, when they can’t be bothered to put on a respectable card for Smackdown.

Their exploits in wasting time include: The Vault (in which they show a match from the past, which is either skipped over or more often than not upstages the actual main event of the show); Divas matches (which are notoriously used as tea breaks or a moment to go get a beer); Raw rebounds (making sure the viewer knows that what happened on the other show is far more important than what they are being expected to stay tuned in to); updates on Dwayne; infuriating Twitter bullshit or Randy Orton and Sheamus (anything involving either of them is like a sleeping pill)

ortonsheamusAll of those things have something in common. They make me want to stop watching Smackdown. Because I’m a hardened fan, I will eat whatever they put in front of me and it will take a whole lot to make me turn away from the product. Many people aren’t in such mental chains. The casual viewer will just get sick of it and tune out. That’s worrying for the WWE. They really do need to get some perspective on how they use their talent roster and how they continue to approach their two weekly programmes. They need to replace all of the pointless time wasting with positive material that actually has the interests of the company’s future at heart.

Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think of Smackdown in general. Any ideas or solutions? Any disagreements? I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

Talking points from Monday Night Raw in London

ukwweLast night saw the biggest wrestling company in the world bring it’s flagship show back to the UK. The 02 in London was packed to the rafters with some of the best wrestling fans in the world. Every time they come back over the pond, we viewers are treated to a show with a real atmosphere and energy. I’ve been to shows in this country many times (televised and otherwise) and it’s just a great time. British fans really do know how to have fun at a wrestling show.

Sadly we are certain to be treated to another eleven months of mostly dull and generic crowds, outside of the traditional strongholds. They will cheer the superheroes, and they will boo the bad guys. I know that the business obviously needs these people, otherwise the basic dynamic that forms the backbone of wrestling would be lost. It’s just nice to see and hear some fans who are intelligent, well read and inventive in expressing their opinions to the powers that be.

As you can tell, I was anticipating a great show with a crowd on fire. I would say it lived up to about half way for me. It wasn’t as good as the hype, but it was definitely an above average episode of Raw. In this post, I’m going to summarize the show, while bringing up what I feel are the main talking points it will spark. Some of them may not be big topics for a lot of people, but these are the things that have got me talking about last nights show. I’d love to have some comments left behind and spark some debate on these issues.

Lesnar v Triple H again

So the show opened with a very typical segment in which Paul Heyman mocked and goaded The Game into coming to the ring to give his response to the challenge laid down previously by Brock Lesnar. He came down and of course accepted, before delivering a pedigree to Heyman, narrowly missing the microphone on the canvas. So it’s set, a Steel Cage match between the two of them at Extreme Rules. What do you think of this? Don’t get me wrong. It sounds like a great match and I’m sure the two of them can have a convincingly tough encounter.

RAW_1032_Photo_173My only concern is that this is now the third time we have seen the two of them face each other. There are so many potential opponents for Lesnar, and so many people he could be putting over for the sake of the future of the business. However, given the fact that they had a brilliant match at Wrestlemania, only to have it stripped bare by a deflated, exhausted crowd, maybe the two of them thought they deserved the chance to have that main event moment together. My love for Brock is so strong that I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this match, even though I should be completely bored with it. I just don’t know how they can really improve too much on their last two matches.

What now for Antonio Cesaro?

So Antonio Cesaro lost the title to Kofi Kingston. Then he lost his rematch. That’s pretty logical if you plan to take the title off him and move forward. Things could now go one or two ways. He could be on the up, and possibly on the way into the title picture. He could be dropped straight into the jungle that is the WWE lower mid-card. Now without even a meaningless title, which direction could he be going next? After losing last night to R-Truth, it seems that question may have been answered. This guy could have some incredible matches with Del Rio, Swagger and Ziggler, but somehow I just don’t see WWE viewing it that way. I have no idea why. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler had one of the two excellent matches of the show.

Big E. Langston has a new entrance!

Okay, it may not seem like the biggest news in the history of the business, but it was pretty damn cool. On the stupid Twitter bar at the bottom of the screen, I noticed that Big E had posted about his new entrance that was coming up on the show. I have to admit that it was quite good. Powerful but understated. He had a singles match with Zack Ryder which wasn’t quite as comfortable a squash as I’d expected. Nonetheless, he put him away with ease and made off up the ramp to his great new music. Perhaps it could be time to split him up from Dolph sooner rather than later. What are your thoughts on that?

The Shield continue to roll on

In the other of two excellent matches on this card, The Shield continued to stay undefeated by beating Team Hell No and the legendary Undertaker in a six man tag team match. I thought this would be the main event and was shocked to see it show up over an hour before the end. Nonetheless, it was a really, really good match. Some excellent sequences (particularly with Bryan and Rollins), some great tension and excitement and most crucially the right ending.

Bryan went for the diving headbutt only to miss and be rolled up for the win by Dean Ambrose. The three guys then made their exit. The Undertaker is still undefeated at Wrestlemania and a loss to The Shield on Raw certainly won’t be cropping up in his Hall of Fame vignette. Kane and Daniel Bryan are unfortunately still Tag-Team Champions. The Shield still have their momentum, and it’s growing with every week. Any other ending as far as win/loss for this match would have been stupid and wrong. This match was definitely one of the successes of the episode.

Fandango comes home

We were given a real treat when Fandango faced British favourite William Regal. As soon as the infamous music hit, the crowd erupted in song. This continued for some time. If he was facing Santino, the general spectacle of the whole thing would have been hilarious enough to make it entertaining. Throw in a genuine legend and you have a very cool moment. Regal is usually restricted to working the pre-show matches on UK tours these days, so to have him on TV in one of the final matches of the card was a really nice touch. Something he, and that great crowd, both deserved. The last few weeks have made me a very proud British wrestling fan, if you haven’t noticed. Fandango continued to gain momentum, at least with the UK crowd. There is no signs of the phenomenon of Fandango-ing going away.

fandangoAJ Lee won a number one contender battle royal and could now be a part of the first coherent, meaningful storyline involving the Divas Championship in recent memory.

Mick Foley and the cheap pop

The Hardcore Legend was back to plug his new DVD and there is no harm in that, it looks amazing! This segment on the other hand, was not. I’m pretty tired of seeing Mick do the super-face/elder role where he comes back to lecture a heel on why they should be less dastardly. Everyone must be pleased to see Ryback now actually being allowed to ‘use his words’ and show some character. Turning him has actually increased his credibility tenfold in my opinion. Foley did the same thing with Punk not so long ago, and its a bit played out. Love to Mick Foley, but do something more inventive with your ad time on Raw.

On the whole I would say the show was solid, not outstanding. It was a good enough episode with two particularly excellent pay-per-view quality matches. There was a distinct lack of star power though. Seeing Taker, Cena and Triple H was cool, but the other three of the big six were missing. With The Rock and CM Punk both healing injuries, they could really do with getting Lesnar on TV more to bolster the card. Some of the lower level stars were also missing. Orton and Sheamus were obviously spared another crucifixion from a British crowd bored of their schtick.

sheamusortonWith the talent they did have, they didn’t really do the maximum they could. Is there any need to make TWO singles matches for Brodus Clay/Tensai and Rhodes Scholars? Really? The guys on the lower end of the roster crying out for a chance must be pulling their hair out, but that’s life! I understand that they can’t help injuries to major stars after Mania, but if you’re going to do a three hour show, utilize the whole roster effectively. On the whole, I can’t complain too much about the show. It was solid, with some flashes of brilliance.

The main purpose of this post was to spark some debate, so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you think about my opinions. Leave yours! Follow the blog, and like the post! Thanks a lot for all the support!

Believe in Fandango!

Tour Blog #16: Walsall – The Homecoming

IMG_0617So, I’m sitting on my sofa in my lounge writing this final blog on the Brains For Breakfast ‘Work. Rest. Play’ Tour. Before I go into last night, the ride back and today, I’d just like to thank a few people. I’d like to thank Andy (Brains For Breakfast) and MoJoe (Chameleon Recordings) for working with me to make this tour a success on every front. We had a lot of fun together, did a lot of work and helped get the very best out of the tour. We will now begin editing the huge amount of footage we captured into the tour video, which will be released episodically on YouTube. I’d also like to thank everyone who has given this blog a read over the last couple of weeks. I hope you have enjoyed the posts and found them mildly interest. It really means a lot to get the kind of views I’ve been getting. I will also be releasing a photo blog of the tour over the next couple of days, so check back for that and follow the blog if you’re on WordPress.

Now for this final post business. The show at The Pull And Pump in Brighton last night was absolutely great! The perfect way to end the tour. Everything about the show was positive. The venue was a quaint pub made up almost entirely of wood, with lovely staff and an absolutely brilliant couple of promoters. The room was packed out with an audience of people who actually paid attention, made a lot of noise and showed a lot of respect and love to every artist on the night. The place had that sweaty, bar blues feel to it.

The show had a genuine character about it. I would put it in the top three shows of the tour. As I mentioned, the crowd were enthusiastic and encouraging. We even did a whip round for petrol and they gave extremely generously. The artists were all tremendous, easily one of the best bills of the two weeks. The promoters (along with Leeds and Nottingham) were a league above all those others we encountered. They were supportive, generous and beyond helpful. I can’t give them enough credit for the way they handled the whole show, and the way they treated the talent. Most importantly, Andy played a very good set and was greeted warmly by the local crowd.

After shaking a lot hands and saying a lot of goodbyes to all the great people we encountered, it was time to hit the road. We made the long walk back to the car with the merch and instruments through the city centre. The bright, vibrant city of Brighton does seem to suffer from one epidemic which plagues most great cities: homelessness and poverty. We were confronted with a slightly depressing sight as we made our way through the centre. There were many beggars, buskers and folks sleeping rough on the streets. It was a sad thing to see, but I can’t really hold that against Brighton. I’ve been to Barcelona, Venice, New York, Dublin, you name it and I have always seen this.

We got to the car and headed for Uxbridge, London to drop Dan off. It was great for us all to hang out with such an old and good friend, but now we were on our way alone down to Walsall, home. We finally got back about 3.30am and I didn’t get to sleep until about 5.30am. There was some kind of tornado going on in our area last night. The wind was so loud that you heard it over the TV. I woke up today at about 4pm. I was supposed to be at my Birmingham 2022 workshop tonight at 5pm, but there was no way I would have made it. I had to cancel, and now I’m worried that I may not be allowed back, but I hope I will be.

IMG_0625The tour was pretty incredible, but it’s cost me a lot and I’ve had to sacrifice a lot. I’m very broke right now, as you can imagine. This means (for the first time in five years) I will have to miss the annual Leeds Zombie Film Festival, a tradition I carry out every April. I missed Wrestlemania!, I missed two of my magazine workshops, and may possibly have lost the project. All of that stuff is pretty annoying but it was worth it to see all the things I saw, meet all the people I meet and go to all the places I’ve been. I wouldn’t take it back, but I do think I’d do it differently in the future. But, you live and learn. I’m thinking of doing my own free zombie film festival at our place, so I’ll be sure to post about that if it happens.

I’ve loved the last two weeks but I’m happy to be home for many reasons. I feel clean and fresh, comfortable and relaxed, happy and content. It’s been a crazy roller-coaster ride, but now  it’s time to get back to focusing on all the things I need and want to achieve for the rest of this year. I’d like to once again thank everyone for their support. If you like what you read, create an account and follow this blog. Be sure to check back for more posts upcoming (including the tour photo blog) and share this site to your friends if you think they might like it.

Thanks a lot for reading.

Peace

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Tour Blog #15: Brighton – Waves

IMG_0606Today is the final day of the tour. We are joined by Dan, an old housemate and band mate. The four of us have had an amazing day out in Brighton. We are sitting in a pub called the Prince George. I’m hooked up to The Cloud so I can actually upload this post immediately after it’s been written for a change. I think we can all agree that we don’t really want to go, and it’s not because we don’t want the tour to end. It’s simply because this place is so great. I described it as paradise earlier, and I don’t think I was far off the mark.

As for yesterday. The show at Gigalum Bar in Clapham was pretty average. The crowd was okay, but it wasn’t really the right kind of place for Andy’s brand of music. It was still cool to pass through London though, mostly because we got to stay in Uxbridge with Dan. We had a great catch up and watched movies, viral videos and UFC into the early hours. His house mates were all really great guys too. The hospitality we have been shown on this tour has been incredible and restored my faith in humanity a bit. Yesterday was no different.

IMG_0607When we got to Brighton today, we parked the car and headed off around the town. Every building looks different. It’s such a colourful, beautiful place. That’s just the shops and the stalls. I absolutely have to come back here in the summer for a few days with a few hundred pounds to spare. 3 amazing shirts for £8 – what the fuck!? It’s literally like heaven. When we got out onto the sea front, it was too much. The water, the rocks, the skies. You could easily sit out on the beach for hours and hours getting lost in it’s beauty.

We decided to record a couple of music videos down there near the pier. We got some pretty cool material and had a great time doing it. It’s been really cool last night and today getting the band back together, so to speak, hanging out like old times. The only difference is we aren’t underneath a smoggy sky in a concrete jungle, but breathing in pure air and taking in fascinating and spectacular imagery. So much graffiti, so many crazy fashion trends and a lot of happiness.

Brighton is such a creative and positive place, and this is the impression I’ve got from being here for about four hours. I really, really NEED to come back here this summer. I can’t speak highly enough of the place. Passing through London was cool, but I’ve been there a million times and never felt as fascinated and inspired as I have at times here in Brighton. Tomorrow I will post a final update about tonight’s show at the Pull and Pump, the journey back and what it’s like to be back in our natural habitat

It’s almost over. It’s been a hell of a ride. Thanks for reading.

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Tour Blog #14: London – Clapham Common

IMG_0593I’m riding shotgun in the Fiesta on the M4 into London. I just uploaded yesterday’s blog from Bristol outside a service station using their lightning fast internet. That was written in the early hours of this morning. Some interesting stuff has happened since then, and more importantly, because of one particular thing we did, I have a lot of photos I want to share on the blog. This will be one of the final posts of the tour. After tonight’s show in Clapham, we are going to stay In Uxbridge. Then tomorrow it’s the final date in Brighton. We don’t know whether we will be staying overnight and then coming back Thursday or coming back straight from the show. The person we were supposed to stay with is in France apparently, so that’s thrown a bit of a spanner into the works. No such problems tonight though. We are looking forward to tonight.

Now, on to today. We woke up at a pretty respectable time. Well, it was still morning for a change. I can’t say that sleeping on the floor did my bones any good. They are ageing as it is. After shaking off the aches, we decided to head to Clifton to see the awe inspiring suspension bridge. I’m so glad we did. We are almost in London now with two hours to spare, so it was totally worth the hour or so to go and see it. I took some photos and we had a little smoke up there with James, the guy we stayed with yesterday. Once again, we stayed with someone we had never met, and yet again, he was extremely cool, laid back and fun to be around. We have made so many new friends on this tour. I think that has been the best part of it.

IMG_0588Last night’s show was my personal favourite so far. It was a simply unreal experience. Hanging out with James into the early hours was really fun. Seeing the Clifton Suspension Bridge was humbling. Driving around Stokes Croft taking photos of all the graffiti – Banksy and otherwise – was exhilarating. Now we are driving into Central London ready to embark on one of the last legs of our journey. It’s sad to see it coming to an end. I’m looking forward to being home and things being back to normal, but I know after a few days I’ll be wishing I was back on the road.

Please check back tomorrow to see how things go on the last day of the Brains For Breakfast ‘Work.Rest.Play’ tour. I’ll also be filling you in on how we get on at the London show tonight. Thanks for supporting the music, the label, and this blog with your eyes. Keep reading, and please feel free to comment, question or anything.

Peace!