Carlisle Floods 06.12.15

Not a lot to say about this really. It’s happened again.

Now, I was 10 years old when Carlisle got flooded in 2005, and when the power went out in my house the only thing I was feeling was fury at not being able to save my game of Crash Team Racing and losing a bunch of progress.

Today I’m 21, and in my mature state have learned to save often to avoid this in the future. I also feel absolutely awful for everyone who have lost more than a few levels on a PlayStation game.

We haven’t lost power, or been flooded, and it was such a surreal feeling waking up on Sunday morning and looking outside. The sun was out, the street was dry.

My friend Nash popped round so we could have a wander to see what the damage was. I didn’t get any pictures of the water nearest us, but the rest of this will probably just be pictures with small descriptions and thoughts.

We had a good five hour wander around the place, which has left me with a couple of strained ankles, but there was and is some crazy damage going on around the city.

The bottom end of town was under when we got there, a boat was ready to go and the main roundabout that connects the city was just gone.



Walked around to the castle, the road running alongside it was luckily safe to walk on.


Bitts Park, one of many park areas that were underwater. The one closer to my house seemed to have taken on a lot of water diverted by the new defences, effectively saving a bunch of houses. image

Round the other side of the castle we got a view from the bridge of the other side of the city. Sainsbury’s and the houses around it were hit badly.


imageLooking down at cars stranded in that car park was tragic, a few lights were still flickering as they were filled to the windscreen.

Today (08.12.15) I walked home from work up Warwick Road, the main road from my area to the city centre.

The water is gone, but there’s mud and grime everywhere. Outside houses and businesses, big piles of people’s lives were just lying on the street, water damaged and useless. The community centre car park was still underwater.

Also on my way home I saw two free hot food vans, set up by a local energy company from what I saw, to feed the army and emergency services and volunteers.

There was a man wandering up the road handing out cups of tea door to door, because England.

As promised, the football team were out and about, pitching in and keeping spirits up, taking pictures with kids and helping around the houses.

My manager has been in for the last two days, despite her flat being right next to Sainsbury’s and having no power. She’s in again tomorrow.

I saw a lot of smiles and no tears today, on a road that has been washed out twice in eleven years, with some insurers not offering flood protection after 2005. The community is unbelievable at times like this.

Also great effort by Welling and Oxford, who are donating proceeds from their matches against Carlisle to the flood appeal. Stuff like that is why living in small, underdog kinds of cities can be awesome.

Also this guy happened.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack


Krakow 2015 :)

Hello again!

It’s been ages, a good 20 days since my last post. Since then I’ve been working lots, and had a holiday!

Now I have two days off, it’s payday and I’ve already spent a buttload of money on Christmas presents and my car, so I thought I’d do something free and write about my hols to Poland with Emerald.

It started swimmingly. I got a small amount of sleep in before we set off at about 1:30am. The journey down to Liverpool went by fine, until we got to a closed off section of the motorway and got diverted around to the road leading into the south of the city, where our directions became useless.

We were leaving the car at Alex’s house in Liverpool, and he would take us to the airport. When we got into Liverpool he gave us the wrong postcode and had to come and collect us to take us to his house to take us to the airport. Confusing. Also we literally drove past the airport on the way to his house.

So we got to John Lennon Airport, drove into the car park to get dropped off about 5:30am. Alex then couldn’t get out again because he needed to pay for the barrier and had no wallet, so I had to run over and get that sorted.

After that everything went perfectly, flight was around 7:30 and we got into Krakow for lunchtime.

We spent the first day settling in to our awesome hotel room (Aparthotel Leone, if anyone wants to go), and wandering around near the hotel. We found a supermarket where noone spoke English unfortunately, and a little cafe where you could get a meal and what might as well be a teapot full of tea for £3.

Pretty much everything there is crazy value for money, except the brand name shops because obviously. Emerald did pick up a pair of Vans for £30 though.

Monday it snowed all day, which was fine it made the place look all pretty and we were wrapped up nice and warm.DSC_0028

This was the view nice and early Monday morning from our hotel. Gonna jump into a few pictures since they’re much better than me just describing everything.


This was our first tourist stop, Wawel Castle (and Emerald in the corner doing some mad films). All the snow made it super picturesque and lovely to walk around, which made up for a lot of the exhibits being closed. We had a wander round here through the armory and another place I have totally blanked on. No pictures from there because they aren’t allowed, but Emerald got some clips in there for her film because she’s an international criminal apparently. I got some good shots of the outside though, the two here are my faves.


Came out through the Dragon’s Den, was too cold for the big dragon they had outside to breathe fire, but the river was right over the road and looked very serene in the white wintery white.


After the castle we still had loads of the day left to have an explore, so we decided to have a wander into the Grand Market Square, the biggest of its kind IN THE WORLD.


Pretty sure it was called Grand Market Square…

There were cafes and shops and little souvenir places that sold souvenirs that you might actually want. We even found a little rock and metal stall with a bunch of shirts and Zippos and belts that were cool.


There was also this big long open air market in the centre of the square. Every single stall had at least one showcase of amber coloured jewellery.

On our other full day in the city we took a bus out to the Wieliczka Salt Mines, full of salt and 800 stairs to go down.


The mines were amazing, we spent a couple of hours down there covering 1% of them. Our tour guide was really nice and funny and taught us a lot about the history of the place. They have all kinds of sculptures and carvings and all sorts down there, and some really cool chandeliers made partly of salt.


The most impressive and beautiful part of the tour was just after the gift shop area (so weird seeing ancient stone work behind a vending machine hundreds of feet underground).

A huge cathedral looking room with an altar, 3D carvings in the walls and a statue of Pope John Paul II was the highlight of the day, near the end of the tour.


I have loads more photos from the mines and a few more of the castle, which will go up on a separate post to have them all on show if anyone wants to see them.

Again, the salt mine tour was early in the morning, so just like Monday we had half a day to wander around and explore so we went through the square again to a huge shopping mall, to see if we good get any decent deals compared to back home. Emerald got her Vans and a jumper, I got a nice wooly scarf but there wasn’t much in the way of bargains there, especially compared the rest of the city.

We both got a few cool presents for people, and we got a beastly mug each for tea and things like more tea. I also finally own a Jakub Blaszczykowski shirt, found one for £30 on the way back to the hotel.

So we flew back early Wednesday, had a chill at Alex’s and drove back home so Emerald could get ready for a gig that evening. Krakow is an amazing city, two and a half days was plenty of time to pack in a lot of stuff, it was cheap, the hotel was nice, most of the people are lovely, and I’m sure we will go back one day!

Picture edition of holiday post will go up soon, can’t wait for another holiday next year, Guinness in Dublin sounds very tempting.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Mallory Knox: The Pizza Experience

Had a very productive day so why not do a little more. By productive I mean I’ve washed my clothes, my boots and myself.

Only getting to this one eleven days after actually going, so if I’m correct Mallory Knox will still be on tour and everything!

We actually had a couple of days off to go to this one so we stayed in a hotel near the middle of Glasgow. It was a Z Hotel and was awesome, they have 40″ TVs in all the rooms and tea supplies so we were quite content when we got there and settled in watching Friends for a couple of hours before we left.

The toilet was visible over the top of the frosted glass separating it from the rest of the room, as you’ll see on Emerald’s vlog, so that was fun. This is her being in a hotel.


Set It Off were supposed to be supporting Mallory Knox but for whatever reason they weren’t able to be there, I didn’t actually look into it thinking back. So we ended up just sitting on a couch in the bar area of the ABC for a bit which was fun, we just chatted and laughed and did boring sober people stuff.

Mallory Knox were awesome, I like a curtain drop to start a set it’s fun. They sounded really good, had some really good looking merch that I sadly couldn’t afford and played through a lot of Asymmetry, which is my fav of theirs.


The venue was cool too, it’s been a while since I’ve been to one of the smaller places for a gig. The acoustics and the tightness of the crowd and the space make it more fun for me than a big roomy arena.

We left after my favourite song – She Took Him To The Lake (first encore song) – to get out before everyone else so we could find pizza and our way back to the hotel. Shared a plain tomato pizza that was somehow really nice, I usually think plain pizzas are boring unless they’re deep fried. Fortunately we were in Scotland.

Also there was a giant disco ball.

The next day we went into Glasgow and got some deep fried pizza! It was fried deeply and was a welcome addition to my presumably sky-rocketing cholesterol.

We also had a little wander, did a little shopping, I did a little dance and then we came home.

It was a fun couple of days, don’t often stay over after gigs but I might have to do it more often in future, starting with Fozzy in December. Y2J, Y2J, Y2J. The set MK had behind them kept changing colour and I loved it, I only got a coouple of decent pictures though.


Here is our stay immortalised in YouTube footage.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

No Closer To A Good Pun For This Post…

I’m sure there ain’t a heaven, but that don’t mean I don’t like to picture you there.

This is the most feels line that I am aware of currently in existence.

I had No Closer To Heaven playing on Spotify pretty much as soon as it was released here in the United King’s States of Englandshire. It’s been out for nearly two weeks, and about one week ago, this post would have been a lot sadder and filled with my post-teen angsty disappointment.

I was so disappointed with the album after the first listen that it made me genuinely very sad. The Wonder Years are one of my favourite bands and took pop-punk to another level with their last album, The Greatest Generation.

Coming off that I expected ridiculously big things, things too big to ever realistically happen since I pretty much wanted to love it more than TGG after no time at all.

Add the fact that I was familiar with and loved three of the album’s songs before release, and everything else just seemed kind of dull.

Skipping ahead to now, and I must say it is once again a new level that TWY find themselves on. I seem to remember a while ago saying that AB/AP by Fall Out Boy had the best four track run on any album I knew. No Closer To Heaven has the best EIGHT track streak.

The run from Cardinals through to Stained Glass Ceilings is full of intensity, passion and that all important raw emotion that sets The Wonder Years apart from everyone around them.

The last couple of songs aren’t quite as impactful, but the whole thing flows nicely, the sound moving from anger through to acceptance. Call it DABDA, call it Kubler-Ross, call it a coincidence, it works.

I’m not sure yet whether it’s better than The Greatest Generation, but it’s definitely better than my initial opinion of it. And it still keeps them right up there in my list of best bands around.

I had it on repeat all day at work last week, which must have been fun for everyone that loathes my music taste as it is. But I’m happy to say that it has won me over, just took a little time.

Also I listened to Neck Deep’s new album a couple of times this week. Not comparing or anything, Life’s Not Out To Get You is a very good pop-punk record; it’s catchy it’s fun and it’s short, but listening to the both bands shows, to me anyway, how far The Wonder Years have taken the genre in another direction.

Listen to:

  • I Don’t Like Who I Was Then
  • The Bluest Things On Earth
  • Cigarettes & Saints

(Then listen to the rest.)

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Sons of Anarchy – Spoiler FREE!

Only took me nine months from the series finishing to me watching the last episode, but I finally finished Sons of Anarchy.

I started watching it on Netflix a good year or three ago, whenever it was I first had Netflix. It may have had something to do with the two leather jackets I bought last year, but since I have no money and live in England there’s no chance of a Harley appearing on my driveway soon. Not ever ruling it out though.

I’m fairly certain this is one of two non-sitcoms that I’ve managed to get all the way through, the other being the two seasons of True Detective that have been released so far. One of which I don’t really remember much about, thank you Bell’s and Mark.

This show was awesome. It’s about bikers, and has Hellboy in it. I love looking, however Hollywood-ified it is, at what it’s like to be in a motorcycle club. Living vicariously and all that.

Since season 7 – the final one – is the only one I’ve watched in full recently it’s the only one I remember in full. Emerald is currently working her way through the series though, so she’s refreshing me on what’s been going on. But this is the spoiler free version anyway, so it doesn’t matter!

So a nice, short, spoilerless review. Keepin’ it short today.

Seasons one and two were amazing. The MC evolves constantly, plenty of twists and I got the feeling that just about anything could happen at any point. Those tense moments and shattering, devastating scenes made the show incredible in its early years.

Sons was never quite as good for me after series three or so. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it and wanted to keep watching, but it seemed to lose some of its shock value as the series went on. There were so many things going on I honestly ignored some of it, rather than rewinding or reading up on what was actually happening.

The relationships with the IRA, other SOA charters and rival gangs are all interesting enough, and really give enough different angles to keep the show feeling fresh after seven seasons, but sometimes it all just came together in a bit of a bloody mess. Presumably bang on what Sutter was going for.

Can I just take a moment to point out that my phone no longer has a :L emoticon? I also somehow feel really old still calling them emoticons, despite the fact I’m young enough to know the word emoticon. But what if I need to show how laughing I am with a little yellow face? I miss MSN Messenger.

I came back to the show with three episodes of season six left, and then the 13 episodes of season seven. They were, intense. And insane. Like, they were so crazy they made me question my memory of what I’d watched before that point, which seemed like it had a cool, chill, ‘occasionally kill people but we have such a close bond and such manly biker bants that’s it’s kinda hilarious’ vibe to it. Most of the time.

I don’t exactly know whether I should put my reaction to the last scene on here, even without describing it. Just in case. All I’ll say is, with fifteen minutes to go I wasn’t sure what I was going to be feeling about it. Fifteen minutes later, I feeled. I feeled feelings.

The one thing I will mention about the finale is the music. All the way through the series the soundtrack has been amazing, and season seven was probably my favourite for music on offer. There’s some cool hip hop/soft rock, and punk cover of a love song – for a car chase, obviously – and the final song we hear right at the end.

I’ve seen a couple of reviews talk about the musical montages being overly leaned on throughout the later seasons, and on some occasions I agree that the scene that precedes would be a much tighter, snappier ending. But they get it right more often than not, and when they do it’s glorious, whoever they are.

It’s the last one though, the last song from The White Buffalo & The Forest Rangers, that really just clicks so well. It plays over the top of not quite a montage, more one central, cascading river, every now and then splitting to a off-shooting stream, always returning to the river just before it enters the sea.

There, a nice, deep, meaningless prose to end it on. Would be perfect if I hadn’t kept on writing.

I’ll embed a bunch of my favourite songs into my next SOA post I think.

There have been a few times where I thought SOA had seen better days, that maybe it dragged itself out a little too long. That goes down, in my opinion, to the extended runtimes it had in the last couple of seasons.

That final season though, series finale in particular, was brilliant, because everything and everyone changed from the pilot, yet everything was somehow so familiar. I cared so much about so many. Also Chibs. I want a Chibs prequel on his personal relationship with the IRA or how long he had been involved with the Sons or which is his favourite pattern of tartan. Just anything for more Chibs please.

This was not short.

Emerald is working her way through season four at the minute, might have finished it as we type. Once she’s all done with it I’ll post my spoiler filled version, just in case she clicks it accidentally and then I get in trouble. Noone else can make me be in trouble I’m afraid so if you click on it by accident when it does go up I’m sorry, but it did finish nearly a year ago.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack


Festival Season 2015! #4: Leeds (& Reading)


After a year away, missing Blink, QOTSA and a bunch of other awesome bands, I returned to Leeds Festival for the third time.

I took Emerald and we went down just for the Sunday; this year seems to have taken a rather more widespread, cross-genre approach.

Even though we weren’t there for Alt-J or Kendrick Lamar, I still had a really good time. Leeds was my first festival back in 2012, so I did enjoy going back. I’m pretty sure Emerald will always prefer Download over every festival ever, but she said it was good too, definitely better than T.

I’m sure her vlog will be on YouTube and in this space here soon. Here it is now!

There won’t be many words for this one, we didn’t get to the festival until 4pm, went in and wandered across the hills to the village, and then on to the arena. Nothing much has changed, only now they don’t have Yorkshire tea stands for some godforsaken reason.

Nipped into The Pit stage for PVRIS somewhere around 5. They didn’t sound quite as good as they did at Slam Dunk, maybe because of how much more tent they were in, but I got some videos and they were still awesome and Lynn sounded awesome and seemed more at home in the fields of Leeds, rather than the centre of Leeds. Leeds.

The video I took of them coming out is stupendously smoky, another tent related issue. Can’t wait for them to have more material to play, they’ll be moving up the festival bills soon.

After that we had an hour or so to hang around for Catfish, watched 30 seconds of Atreyu, wandered for a bit and didn’t get a cup of tea because there weren’t any stands around. Instead we sat just outside the Alternative tent, which was playing the last half of Montage of Heck, that Kurt Cobain documentary that Courtney Love doesn’t mind us seeing.

There were a couple of segments of Kurt at Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set, so I am now claiming to have seen Nirvana at a major festival.

Catfish were actually really good. I definitely thought I’d enjoy them more than I did at T, mainly due to everyone at Leeds not being dicks, but they were good to watch and the NME tent (second stage) was overflowing to the point of festival staff having to (attempt to) move the crowd back before the set started.

There were a couple of smoke flare things let off, inside a tent, during the set by some dopey moron who hopefully was put in a much smaller cage than the guy looking for his car. If people haven’t seen that story then I don’t have a link for you right now, I’m sorry.

As Catfish played the sun started going down and… parachuters? parachutists? Parachutes glided around over us for a while, presumably filming.


On the way back to the car we saw Twin Atlantic’s last song, and I’d like to go back and see them somewhere. Apart from that the only other band we went for were Metallica. They were incredible. We’d heard that people at Reading were not at all happy with their efforts when they were down there, but at Leeds they were seriously amazing. Like straight from the album amazing.

For Whom The Bell Tolls, Ride The Lightening, Turn The Page were amazing. They didn’t put on masses of pyro or have a huge stage show, but after so many years they’ve got such a stage presence they don’t really need much else.

Sadly we didn’t make it to the end of their set, which was never the plan anyway since we took advantage of the emptyish roads. Unlike T I had to drive all the way home and get up for work the next day, so an early exit was definitely the way to go. I would have had a cup of tea to keep me alert on the drive, but…


So that has been all of my festival experiences this year, I hope for money’s sake it’s the last. Four done this year so maybe none in 2016, but if an amazing lineup or nice payday comes around I’m sure we’ll be recording/writing about it.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Festival Season 2015! #3: T in the Park

This is being written after I got back from Leeds, and also after I wrote the post about Leeds, so it’s a little strange trying to remember back, but let’s have a go.

We drove up straight to the festival, and were on the trail to the car park before I realised that Lydia had to pay for parking at Download and we might need a pass that I didn’t have. I never had to pay at Leeds, and thankfully the parking is included in T tickets as well.

Once we were in the brand new lovely field they chose this year, we had a bit of an explore. Oh, they didn’t swap our tickets for wristbands which I’m very annoyed about. Anyway, we headed over to the main stage to watch James Bay. He was really good, voice was great from what we heard of him.

Problem #1 with T in the Park: the new Strathallan venue is either too small, or the organisers didn’t think that the crowds would be so big, for some reason. To have the rides and other village type things that blare loud music right next to the stages seemed like a bit of an oversight to me.

The following picture is unrelated to the text around it. Be prepared for it to become relevant later on.


Anyway, James Bay was great, we got some noodles and passed by Paloma Faith on our travels. I really like her, she seems like such an awesome person, her sound just didn’t really scream FESTIVAL FUNNESS at me.

I am literally right now this second having to look up the lineup to see if I’ve forgotten anyone, this is how bad my memory is. We were there five weeks ago.

Everything Everything were also at Leeds, we didn’t see them here though. Also, Young Guns have played all three major festivals I’ve been to this year and I haven’t seen them once. They always seem to escape my mind or be on too early.

Good news, while I was saying those words it turned out I didn’t forget anyone, so it’s straight on to the big guns.

Catfish & The Bottlemen played well, probably. We didn’t get a great chance to hear them because of Problem #1, and we couldn’t really see them due to Problem #2.

Problem #2 with T in the Park: a large percentage of the people are dicks. Like, a percentage so high that you can’t just ignore them and go somewhere else, they were everywhere. Maybe we picked a bad day, or a bad year, but it was just bad.

We saw Catfish again at Leeds as you’ll soon read, they were brilliant, so they probably were here as well. At any rate they were too big for the second stage. Big time for them next year.

Stereophonics were my favourite band of the day. Probably one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen, the first time I saw them in little ol’ Carlisle back in 2008 was up there as well.

Seriously they are so very good, Kelly still has an amazing voice and they played a bunch of music that got me right back into their stuff, and British indie-rock in general. Which was just as well. That’s them in that picture up there, it turns out videos on this phone are unsuitable for general watching. So here is one!

Noel Gallagher. The creative force behind my all time favourite band. Seeing him was incredible, and he played Fade Away, which is one of my top Oasis songs. Sorry for the terrible sound quality, Noely G was on top form. Come to think of it all the videos from T had poor quality sound, so sorry if any others make it into the final print of this.

We didn’t stay for much more than that though, we had The Prodigy to go to.

As for The Prodigy, they weren’t quite as good as they were at the MK Bowl in 2009, but that day I was utterly amazed at the arena and the bowlyness of the bowl and the whole show in general. They had ambulances coming out of the stage and green lasers and it was amazing.

At T they still had that crazy energy, and The Day Is My Enemy (pretty sure that’s what it’s called, the new one) is an absolute filth of a music. They’re one of those bands outside my comfort zone that are just too cool not to like.


After that it was hotel time, which was really nice since it allowed me to sleep rather than drive for two hours plus, plus it gave us the Monday to go into Glasgow and do Scottish things, so that was a plus. PLUS, Emerald did another documentary for me to steal and us to watch!

Probably not a festival I’ll head back to, but I spent £90 on three amazing artists and it was so worth it.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Summerslam results! Darren vs Emerald

If anyone hasn’t heard, last week I teamed up with Emerald to have a little Summerslam competition. Well, it’s time to see who won!

This hopefully won’t be as achingly wordy as the prediction post, so I’ll save thoughts on the matches and event as a whole for during/after.

Right then, let’s jump straight in!

Sheamus def. Randy Orton (DH 0-0 EM)

Good start, so the whole ‘Sheamus will lose and cash in’ plan was out the window before half 11. Also Emerald predicted an announce table breaking for this match – albeit before we knew it was on first.

The New Day def. Prime Time Players, Lucha Dragons & Los Matadores (0-0)

Meh, tag teams. Dudley Boys are back though! Sad PTP lost. Next!

Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev ended double countout (0-0)

I probably should’ve predicted that these predictions would go badly. Also this match, ending especially, was just unexciting.

Stephen Amell & Neville def. Stardust & King Barrett (1-0)

I got one right! I thought the celebrity had to win, but what a performance by Arrow person! Doing kicks and jumping and stuff.

Ryback (c) def. Big Show & Miz (2-1)

To be honest I was outside for the first half of this match, but it looked a fun little filler match that didn’t exploit Show and Ryback’s flaws. Everyone came out looking pretty good.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose def. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper (2-2)

Emerald pegs me back, sadly. Not happy about the finish, Reigns got an even harsher reception than usual for some reason, but I definitely think if Reigns & Ambrose were going to win they had to be pinning Harper, not Wyatt.

Seth Rollins (c) def. John Cena (c) (2-3)

Well I could not have been more wrong, so despite Emerald’s unhappiness at picking Rollins she was right. New double champ though! Exciting, I shall see if he still has both titles at whatever the next PPV is.

Team PCB def. Team Bella & Team B.A.D. (3-4)

Slightly above the standard Diva match. Wrestling quality is way better, still failing to care.

Kevin Owens def. Cesaro (4-4)

The penultimate match, and I bring it back! This was probably my favourite match wrestling wise, but like the Diva match it didn’t feel like it had any emotion to it.

Undertaker def. Brock Lesnar (4-5)

Aaaaand, my ridiculous decision to throw a Lesnar curveball in lost me our first blog-related wrestling post. Yes. Although, TECHNICALLY, Taker tapped out (!!!) so Lesnar should’ve won. The whole ending made a great match into a bit of a farce, until Lesnar flipped off Taker and passed out.


Winner: Emerald!

Undertaker’s laugh. Just had to say that. Lesnar-Undertaker, Cena-Rollins and Owens- Cesaro were my favourite matches, in that order, Shield-Wyatt coming in just behind them.

Cool, all done. Still really late but earlier than the Wrestlemania one!

I’ll see if Emerald wants to add anything here, until then I may even get another post fired on here today.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

The Wonder Years

This article is about The Wonder Years (pop-punk band). For other uses, go somewhere else. I’ve never watched the TV show.

In twelve days, I get paid. In thirteen, I’ll be picking up the new album by my favourite band by a mile right now.

Metal might be more skilled, pop might be more refined, alternative might be the most ridiculously broad term for a music genre I’ve ever heard, but pop punk is just, happy. It makes me feel happy, feel epic, all the emotions. Isn’t that the point?

The start of university, round about four years ago, Mr Ryan of Flat 2 (full name) gave me a bunch of albums by The Wonder Years, one of his favourite bands (I assume). Being a pop-punk kid as it is, it took me right back to bands like Green Day and blink 182, Sum 41 and Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, the bands coming up in the 90s and 00s when the genre exploded.

Since then, FOB and Paramore have leaned more towards pop than pop punk (absolutely not a complaint, their new albums rank among their best to me), blink have imploded twice, and in general the whole genre has waned in the ‘mainstream’. There haven’t been a lot of records that style of pop punk released in the last few years to a big reception, to my knowledge.

Again, not a bad thing. I’m not one of those people who think because a band sign to a major label and make some money they’ve ‘sold out’ or ‘gone mainstream’. Those bands’ early stuff mostly sounded like it could have been recorded on a budget, in a basement, with a grapefruit.

It’s always nice to hear bands like Neck Deep and PVRIS getting some good Radio 1 airtime, for me though TWY are the yardstick for pop punk right now.

If you’ve never listened to them and like pop punk kinds of bands, or if you just fancy a listen to them, I’ll put a range of vids in here for you all to enjoy. I would just say that if you like the ones on here, chances are you’ll like ’em all. ALL credit for these videos go to Hopeless Records, who have a hell of a lot of top bands signed to them by the way.

Soupy (singer) is THE most passionate, emotional voice on my iPod. Lyrically, they are streets ahead of any band I currently listen to, across all genres, so many songs are so moving and so powerful. The three new songs they’ve released so far are amazing. Cardinals and Cigarettes & Saints are the type I just referred to, only they’ve tightened up their sound even more since their last album.

I Don’t Like Who I Was Then is, as I tweeted as soon as I heard it, VINTAGE, WONDER YEARS. I didn’t do it in quite the Michael Cole voice I wanted, but I was too excited by new music to think about wrestling commentators.

Pop punk has been hibernating for the last decade or so, but with No Closer To Heaven coming out September 4th, Neck Deep getting all kinds of recognition, fingers crossed it’s on its way back to the spotlight. I just hope I haven’t overplayed these three singles by the time the album drops.

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack

Summerslam Predictions – Darren vs Emerald

This is a suuuuuper long post, but bear with us here.

Finally the card for Summerslam is (presumably) completed, so I brought Emerald back to do what we were planning on doing before the questioning thing: A full card prediction for THE BIGGEST PARTY OF THE SUMMER. Or something.

So we did, here it is. If you can’t be bothered reading some of it, the best matches are towards the bottom, to keep everyone hooked while we are being hilarious banterers.

We also thought it would be fun to do a little competition, so let’s see on Monday who has the most correct predictions. Let us begin! (All the bad language is from Emerald, so be warned there actually is some in one of my posts for the first time ever probably. And it starts almost immediately.)


No caption necessary.

Let’s do this!

Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev

EM: I think, they’re both fairly shit, and I don’t really care what happens in this match because the only thing that I’ll be able to think of is the fact that Rusev’s not even from Russia. That’s stupid. And Dolph Ziggler, his highest point was when AJ cut all of his stuff up on stage. Nothing’s ever gonna be as entertaining as that.

Winner: I don’t know the writers, but I’m gonna say Ziggler.

DH: Ziggler is awesome by the way.

EM: He looks like the missing person from LMFAO.

DH: I’ll probably be starting with the let’s go Cena chants at this point so I won’t be paying much attention. I really like Ziggler, but I don’t really know any background. Sooooo…. I’m going to be boring and say Ziggler as well.

Winner: Ziggler

Team Bella vs Team BAD vs PCB

EM: To be honest the only reason that I won’t be viewing this as a bathroom break is because Paige. I like Paige. So I’m going to say on a hopeful note, that Paige and the other two bitches on her team win.

Winners: PCB

DH: Well I know that PCB, which by the way is a stupid name, I know they changed it because it shared a name with like, a porn channel but still. I know they’ve won like the last couple of matches that I watched but I like Paige and I like the Irish one so I want them to win. This is boring.

Winners: PCB

Kevin Owens vs Cesaro

EM: Going to say Cesaro to win because I think someone called Kevin Owens sounds like he should work at Tesco and not WWE. Disclaimer: I’m not saying anything bad about people that work at Tesco; I really like their sandwiches. Or people called Kevin Owens.

Winner: Cesaro

DH: So, from here on in I think it’s going to be less boring because I think Kevin Owens is going to win. Because he’s awesome…Cesaro’s awesome too…but I think Kevin Owens is going to win. But it’s going to be one of the two best matches of the night.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Stephen Amell & Neville vs Stardust & King Barrett

EM: I’m going to say, Stardust & King Barrett to win because they’re more experienced. They can’t have a King lose (logic) and I like Stardust’s costume (slightly less logic).

Winners: Stardust & King Barrett

DH: Well i’m going to say the other two. Whoever they are *is waving arms profusely* the guy is from Arrow and Neville’s finishing move is called the Red Arrow! Probably, I think. I like that, plus its WWE so they’ll let the famous person win.

Winners: Arrow & Red Arrow!

Prime Time Players (c) vs Los Matadores vs The Lucha Dragons vs The New Day

EM: I really don’t give a fuck about this match. There’s too many people going to be in the ring and I just can’t keep up with it. That’s it.

Winners: The Lucha Dragons They sound funky let’s say them. (Logic has pretty much left the building at this point.)

DH: I also don’t care about this match. But I like the Prime Time Players, I don’t understand how any other team has just magically got a shot and this seems to be pretty much the whole division. So I’m gonna say Primetime Players because “millions a dollas millions a dollas millions a dollas”

Winners: Prime Time Players

Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns

EM: Roman Reeeeigns and Dean Ambroooose. -starts kissing her phone case and rubbing it on her face.- Roman Reigns is bae. (Roman Reigns is on the back of her phone case.) I’m very excited to see Reigns and Ambrose together without that dickhead Seth Rollins. I do like Bray Wyatt, I do, but for this particular match I’m gonna be in my Reigns t-shirt, rooting for Reigns. I think Darren and I are going to have to sit on opposite ends of the table for this match because I know Darren’s going to want Wyatt to win but I think we’re just going to have to lay it on the table now that were separate to be rooting for the other person but console each other and be happy for each other whoever wins, and not rub it in the other one’s face.

Winners: Shield 2.0

DH: So obviously I want the Wyatts to win because I like them. I like Bray, he’s my favourite. I know that Bray beat Reigns at Battleground so I think Reigns and Ambrose are going to win. But I’m going to have my Wyatt t-shirt on and I’m going to be supporting them so I’m going to say they’re going to win. And I think that’s going to be the other best match.

Winners: Redneck City (I do like Ambrose very much, and Reigns too but not quite as much.)

Ryback (c) vs Big Show vs The Miz

EM: Ryback because out of those three he’s ma fav. To be honest I think Miz’ll just be a bit of an annoyance in that match. The other two are massive, he’ll bounce off them and get hurt and that’ll be him out and then once he’s out of the ring the real men can get down to business.

Winner: Ryback

DH: So I also think Ryback, but I also like the Miz. I think he’s good at talking and stuff. The Big Show is just painful to watch now most of the time. The match he had with Roman Reigns was good. But yeah, I want to see Ryback have the title for a while and I think he’ll win. Also he’s got a really weird shaped head, Do you not think? He’s got like a mohican made out of head.

Winner: Ryback


John Cena (c) vs Seth Rollins (c)

EM: I really don’t know. I feel like the writers are just lazy letting Cena win all the time, and I don’t like Cena, his legs are like the exact same length as his body, and it makes it look like he’s shit himself as he’s walking. And I don’t like his hat, I don’t think he’s a very nice person I think he’s a complete control freak, but I also hate Seth Rollins because he’s a big fat betrayer and as much as I want someone to beat Cena I don’t want it to be Rollins, but I don’t think they’d put Cena up against Rollins if that wasn’t the turning point to Cena losing a big match. So I’m going to say I think… that Rollins will win, but I’m not saying that I’m happy about it.

Winner: Seth Rollins (still not happy about it.)

DH: Right, before you start with your faces and stuff, John Cena has very good to match of the year matches with everyone.

EM: Can I just say before you start with your speech about all the things that make Cena great that I’m not interested in the life and time of John Cena just make your prediction and we will move on from this point in our lives.

DH: I hear what you’re saying, but no. You’ve said your piece, all I’m going to say is he continuously has great matches, recently he always seems to be trying new stuff. Most of the time when he talks it still annoys me, and also I think Seth Rollins is really good, He’s been really good in the ring and really good as like a whiny bad guy and I like that.

Winner: I think it’d be really cool to see someone with two belts at once but I don’t think it’s the right time for either of them to lose theirs so I’m going to say Cena wins by DQ.

Randy Orton vs Sheamus

EM: I like them both. I like Orton, I think he’s really good. Love a good RKO, we all know this. And I love Sheamus I think his whole character’s brilliant, and he recently got his septum pierced like me, and my hair needs redone so right now it is a bit orange. And he’s been really funny lately, so I don’t really have a preference I just hope it’s an enjoyable match to watch, and I hope wrestling wins. But I think what’s going to happen is that Orton will win, and then Sheamus will cash in.

Winner: Orton but it doesn’t really matter cos Sheamus will cash in.

DH: Ok, I don’t think Sheamus is going to cash in and thinking about it that would suck to see someone have two belts for like 5 minutes, but I think Sheamus won’t cash in tonight because I want him to have it for a while, the briefcase. I still think Orton’s going to win though, so they can tease a cash in later.

Winner: Orton

Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker

EM: -sigh.- -bigger sigh.- I don’t know. I don’t see why they’d have this match again if the outcome was going to be the same, and I would like it if Undertaker came back and won, I think that’s what everyone wanted at WrestleMania. Maybe they’ve just had that many letters of complaints that they’re going to rectify that tragedy. And I’d love them to stop selling those Eat Sleep Break The Streak t-shirts.

Winner: Undertaker

DH: Ok, I think that you made lots of sense, it doesn’t really make sense for Undertaker to come back and lose. I do think he sounded a little bit whiny when he came back the night after Battleground. And anyone else coming back and attacking Lesnar would have been booed, but I kind of want him to come back with the biker gimmick. That’d be awesome, and since it makes no sense for Lesnar to win I’m going to have to say that Lesnar’s going to win. BECAUSE CURVEBALL.

Winner: Lesnar

EMERALD’S FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m excited for Summerslam this year. I really hope Reigns finally wins and that I’ll really enjoy the Shield vs Wyatts match but the best match overall will be Lesnar vs Undertaker. Cena is a cunt. Reigns rules all. Wrestling is awesome. I hope they have nachos.

DARREN’S FINAL THOUGHTS:  I just want to say that I also think Sheamus looks awesome since he came back, love the beard braids. The best match for me will be Wyatts-Shield and the whole card in general looks really good.

So, who will win the first blog competition? Leave your comments on who made the better predictions! Oh wait, I’m not famous, I won’t be able to get away with that. Never mind, do it anyway, if you made it this far what’s writing one more word gonna do?

See you after Summerslam!

Have a nice day, bang bang! – Cactus Jack