Bleach by Nirvana. 1989

Bleach by Nirvana. 1989.

This article is for those of you out there whose love of Music did not start after hearing the opening bars of Smells Like Teen Spirit which left them obsessed with a 3 piece Garage band from Seattle for most of their adolescent life. My aim is to give you the reader an insight into an album that is largely disregarded due to the popularity of the two preceding studio albums from Nirvana. I feel that people should take an hour out of their busy lives and listen to each of Nirvana’s studio albums and unplugged in New York at least once. But with this article I would like to concentrate on their debut and probably least revered album, Bleach.

Released in June 1989 it received positive reviews but failed to reach the US Billboard album charts selling 40,000 copies in North America. Its bleak lyrics and heavy riffs were at the time competing against albums such as Madonna’s Like a Prayer, Queen’s The Miracle and Aerosmith’s Pump, and the mainstream market was not quite ready for this sound. It would only gain recognition firstly after the release of Nirvana’s second album Nevermind when Bleach was re-released in 1992 and then later after the Death of Kurt Cobain, where all material by the trio was bought en masse. Bleach subsequently reach number 6 in the Top Pop Catalog Chart and sold over 4.0 Million copies worldwide.

But enough statistics!

Let me tell you what I love about this album. From it’s opening Bass riff it drags you down into a beautifully bleak sound that is not quite Heavy Metal, nor is it Rock but the foundations of an entire Genre that would rise out of the rainy region of the Pacific North West of America. Grunge.

I will admit that I probably did not own this album until maybe 1992 or ’93 but in my defense I was 8 years old when it was released and at the time was still worshiping 4 mutated reptilian New Yorkers. Even after it became part of my ever expanding music collection it was hard to see past Nevermind. However my years have learned me and made me realise that although Nevermind is a masterpiece my love of Bleach and In Utero runs deeper. Whether it is because I played Nevermind too much? Probably! Bleach just has that raw energy to it that comes so often with debut albums.

Normally reviewers will advise certain songs that you should skip to because they jump out at that person when listening but I feel that the album has a wonderful fluidity about it and should be enjoyed in its entirety on the first consumption. Picking it apart would be an injustice to the piece of work as often in this MP3 age tracks of albums are disregarded because people are not familiar with them or have not found the time to truly listen. But as this is a review I will list a few of the songs that people should pay specific attention too.

We open with, Blew. Krist Novoselic delivering a truly dirty opening Bass riff  before bursting into life with electric guitar, feedback, drums and rough vocals. It has an almost anthem sound to it and is a true classic that purely and simply starts the whole thing off. Then comes Floyd The Barber that chugs along at a more melodic pace. The first verse begins with the story of a man going to get a wet shave, by verse two it has moved onto the man being strapped into the Barber chair and then sexually molested. And by the third verse the Barber has been joined by his friends where they take turns torturing and finally murdering the man. About a Girl which is arguably one of Nirvana’s finest pieces of work and could be called the calm amongst the storm on this relentlessly heavy album is proven so by the exquisite acoustic version performed in New York during their Unplugged set. It was also used in one of the Guitar Hero games for all of you out there that need a popular culture reference to help you along. Negative Creep which is a lyrically cynical attack on Cobain himself and his own personality flaws, a reoccurring theme across all of his songwriting. It is also one of the heaviest tracks on the album which has lead to it being covered by the Californian Metal band Machine Head. You might also want to check out School, Love Buzz, Swap Meet. In truth I could name all 13 tracks on the Album and point out the pro’s of each but I don’t think that would make for an interesting read. Instead I will leave the conclusions of the reader and their opinions down to their ears and whether they feel inspired or repelled by this article.

I would like to think that you would be able to pick this album up for a couple of quid in a back row of any Independent record shop but sadly this is probably not the case. However, with the wonders of the World Wide Web a copy could easily be delivered to your doorstep with a minimal drain on your income. I would be equally surprised if you can’t find a friend who has the album stored away ready for an all important nostalgic day. If you don’t know anyone who would have it in their record collection then you need to search out and discover better friends.

Finally, I think that I should add something profound to get you to acknowledge this album if the ramblings above haven’t done so already. Nirvana may have ignited the World music stage back in 1991 with the release of Nevermind but it was back in 1989 when Bleach debuted that the fuse was truly lit.


Everything that stands. Part 4.

Everything that stands. Part 4.

Will and Luther raced forward to where Nita and Joshua had just been but over the handrail they could see only the dark outlines of the street below. A heavy foot from overhead brought their attentions back to where they were. Countless creatures streamed down the walkway and had almost reached the level above. The fire exit on that floor burst open releasing yet more beings out into the night.

They took off, spiralling down the metallic shaft at a pace that their pursuers had no chance of keeping up with and they were soon at the base of the staircase. A wire mesh fence greeted them with a padlock on the inside keeping the entrance firmly closed.

Will aimed his gun at the lock but Luther put his hand on the weapon and lowered his friends aim. ‘That lock might give us a bit of time.’ Luther said. ‘Let’s go up a level and jump down.’ Will grimaced at the idea but with a nod agreed and the two of them ventured back up one flight. ‘You go first kid and I’ll be right behind you.’ Will nodded in agreement and lowered himself over the side. He landed and instantly took in his surroundings. The alleyway was shrouded in shadows and even after a few moments his eyes would not adjust to the pitch. To his right a dark puddle had formed on the pavement and it slowly leaking towards his feet. The sound of teeth scraping against bone turned his stomach and he dreaded the sight that he knew would hail him just hidden in the darkness. Luther landed next to him and immediately flicked open his lighter to see what had caught Will’s eye.

The flame flickered in the breeze which cast dancing shades of light across the two bodies at their feet. Nita’s right arm had shattered on impact, the Humerus jutted out the top of her shoulder and her legs were spread apart broken at inhuman angles. Joshua laid across the top of her, his legs also a bloody mess and he appeared to be kissing her. As the light enveloped the scene Joshua became aware of his audience and lifted his head. With a sickening rip Nita’s lower lip came with him and he greedily consumed the tender meat. With a devilish grin Joshua crawled over Nita’s corpse and reached out for them. Before Will could react Luther stepped forward and put his laces of his boot through Joshua’s face. The rest was lost to Will in the shadows but the sound of Luther’s boot caving in Joshua’s skull could not be hidden.

‘Luther.’ Will waited for sounds of violence to stop. ‘We need to go.’

Luther stepped over the carnage he had partly created and took a deep breath.  ‘Let’s go.’

From the heavens light cascaded down onto them as a break in the cloud cover revealed the Moon in its full glory. The stairwell behind them came alive with the horde that now pressed against the padlocked fence. They backed away from the bulging wire mesh and crept towards the street. Things moved in the far reaches of the alleyway before them, drawn towards the sounds of their fellow beings bashing against their metal cage. Legs shattered beyond repair Nita dragged herself towards them, her half eaten face oozing blood down across her chin giving her the appearance that she was smiling at them. With one last look of pity Will aimed his firearm and pulled the trigger. The bullet caught Nita just above the left eye, shattering the back of her skull and ceasing her movements forever. The two of them spun and ventured out into the city.

The flashing orange light from their goal was easy to follow through the abandoned city streets and they were soon testing the armoured car’s locks. With a pleasing click the driver’s door opened, Will flung it open and glanced inside.

‘I’m gonna need your lighter.’ Will offered a hand for Luther to give him the Zippo.

‘No time.’ Luther pointed to the gathering crowd approaching them. He pulled the passenger driver side door open and climbed into the back. Will followed his example and climbed into the driver seat. Like a snake Luther worked his way up through the hole in the turret on the roof. Will searched around the steering column looking for the keys but they did not hang from their dock, so he began to look around the cabin but the poor light prevented him from seeing the interior.

‘Luther!’ He called back into the rear. ‘I’m gonna need that lighter.’ Will noticed movement ahead and took in the scene in front of him for the first time. Forms had begun to sidle out into the Luna lit road, their shambolic movements slowly starting to unite into an increasing mob. Then the clouds did what they do and took away the natural light, the hellish picture somehow taking on an even more sinister look.

Will reached back and placed a hand on Luther’s leg. ‘I’m gonna need a distraction too.’

Luther’s hand shot down to meet his and thrust the lighter into Will’s. ‘What do you need me to do?’ Luther replied.

‘Shoot everything that stands.’ Will flicked the lighter on and immediately began searching for the keys. Above him violence barked out its automatic cry.

Luther lost all sense of time as the bullets cut apart the first ranks of the Living Dead, then the second row, and the third. Each wave bathed in an orange glow briefly before they fell, the road soon becoming littered with the peppered carcases of so many unfortunate souls. His focus on all that approached his line of sight and yet so many shadows still cast across hidden foes from so many different angles. He aimed at all that he could see but even that was not enough.

So much debris littered the vehicle. Used shells formed a golden blanket across most the seating and floor and continued to spread as more empty cartridges rained down into the back compartment. The flame danced its dance with Will searching through every inch of the large armoured people carrier, his ears ringing as the miniature cannon overhead bellowed its tune. Something caught his eye, he dove down into the metal sea and his hand clasped around what he was probing for. In his excitement his gripped loosened on the lighter, it cartwheeled out of his hand snapping shut as it hit the floor but he disregarded it and jumped into the driver seat. The keys slotted pleasingly into the ignition and with a satisfying choke the engine spluttered into life. Will released the handbrake and floored the automatic accelerator.

Bodies crunched and popped under the transports weight. Figures appeared in front of him and then vanished under the front bumper. He picked up to a steady pace and then let out the breath he had been holding. With this sudden release his ears regained some of their use and told him that the turret had stopped. Will chanced a look over his shoulder and found the empty void of death staring back at him through rotting eye sockets. He ducked to the side to avoid the oncoming teeth and fumbled at his belt buckle to draw his firearm. From the darkness ahead an abandoned car was parked in their path and before Will could react the two automobiles collided. His ribs cracked as they ploughed into the steering wheel, the body behind him adding to the blow before it sailed past him and struck the wind screen head first. Its blood plastered the broken window and the flesh on the skull torn back over its forehead. Its head was stuck in the hole the collision had created yet the creature still reached for him, fingers wrapping around his left arm. With a scream of terror his right arm came up from his lap and the revolver opened up into the back of its head. A second bullet silenced it and before he knew it the chamber sounded empty, the fingers around his arm became loose. Will tried to take a breath but it felt like a paving slab lay across his lungs. He lost consciousness.

A long slow soulless moan brought him back from oblivion.

Blood foamed on his lips and a sharp pain stabbed into his left hand side. Gasping for air realisation hit him and he remembered his current predicament. A forceful shove moved the body draped over his left shoulder onto the passenger seat and he painfully turned to see if Luther was still alive.

The tall West Indian’s legs swung down into the cabin and the confined space rattled to life as used casings scattered under his feet. The friendly smile of Luther greeted him no more, only the tattered leftovers of a face hung from the head, all resemblance of humanity lost in his one remaining eye. Behind him another body fell through the hole, followed by a third. More joined them as they pressed down onto their next meal.


Everything that stands. Part 3.

Everything that stands. Part 3.

Will returned to his three comrades and paused as he saw the torn flesh that hung from Joshua’s ruined left buttock, his eyes darted towards Luther’s and the tall man looked away.

‘I’ve checked the whole suite and there’s nothing in here that can help us.’ All three of them deflated at Will’s words. ‘But looking out onto the street below I saw something that could be of use.’

‘Down on the street?’ Nita barked. ‘What fucking good is that?’ Her eyes had welled up with tears and she looked away from the three men.

‘Let’s see what it is before we disregard it.’ Luther added. ‘Let’s go have a look.’

‘Anything to keep me occupied.’ Joshua joked. ‘I might need a hand though.’ He put his weight on his leg but it buckled under him. Luther stepped forward to help but Nita got in the way.

‘I’ve got him.’ She said slipping in under his left arm.

Will turned and headed back into the suite with everyone in tow. He led them to the bedroom which was dominated by a lavish four poster bed and a window that took up the entire wall to the right of the room. The four of them looked out at the black city scape, fires blazing through various buildings providing the only sign of activity. Will pointed to the street below where a single orange hazard light spun on top of a shadowed vehicle and with each turn of the lamp a little more of the transport revealed itself. The four seated Humvee with a mounted machine gun on top had clearly been left by the Military when they had evacuated or been overrun the distinction between the two had long been forgotten. A broad smile crept across Luther’s lips.

‘How are we going to get down there?’ Joshua asked between gritted teeth.

‘Every hotel in the city has to have a fire escape from the roof to the ground floor.’ Will replied. ‘We just have to find it.’

‘I hate to burst everyone’s bubble but even if we get down there and the damn thing is unlocked there is no saying that it will have any fuel in it.’ Nita shifted under the weight of Joshua.

‘It’s a chance I’m willing to take.’ Will responded. ‘None of you have to follow me but it’s the best looking option to come my way in a long time.’ He was already moving towards the door before anyone could give a response. Luther looked at the two interlocked partners, shrugged his shoulders and followed Will out of the room.

Will lingered at the front door to the apartment, listening at the door but hearing nothing. Luther appeared at his shoulder and also pressed his ear to the wood. Both delayed moving for longer than was needed, glancing at each other to see if either of them could make out any sounds from the corridor. Finally they gave up and stepped away from the door. Will stretched out a hand and turned the handle, in the silence it screeched like the brakes of a bus and they both cringed. He pulled the door open, stepped out into the poorly lit corridor and instantly he wished that he hadn’t dropped the torch earlier. Gloom greeted him from both directions and either end of the corridor was lost to the lack of light. Luther joined him in the darkness and began to fish around in his jeans pocket. With a snap and click his lighter sparked to life. Even with the extra brightness they could still not make out one end from the other.

‘You lead the way.’ Will offered. ‘I’m right behind you with this.’ He waved the gun into the light. With a nod Luther began down the hall to their left, slowly they edged further into the obscurity in front of them. A door appeared to their right so Luther tried the lock but it didn’t move. They moved on. Gradually the light began to bounce back at them from a metal double door as the lift became visible and to its left a white wooden door with stairs written above it.

‘Do we try the stairs? Luther whispered but Will whipped a finger up to his lips and then pointed at his ear. They both listened. At first it sounded like the wind blowing through a crack in the doorframe but as it got louder that familiar sound of heavy breathing and shuffling feet echoed up the stairwell. Slowly the two men back away, never taking their eyes of the white exit and retracing their steps. Just as the door became engulfed by the dark something bashed into it and the wooden frame splintered. The thump was followed by another, then a third and with a groan the door gave way generating the sound of multiple forms stumbling into the corridor.

Luther snapped his lighter shut whilst turning on his heel and ran. From the darkness ahead two figures crept towards them and Will raised his weapon ready to fire.

‘It’s us you fool.’ Nita barked at him before he could get off a shot. ‘I take it from your running that we shouldn’t be headed in that direction?’

‘They’re up the stairwell and in the corridor. We have to try the other direction.’ Will didn’t stop to tell her and was already past her midsentence.

He disregarded the darkness ahead of him continuing on at a constant pace and just as he was about to give up hope another white door materialised out of the pitch at him but above this one read Fire Exit. Without slowing down he hit the push to release bar and burst out into the evening air. A quick glance down the metal stairwell produced the all clear he was hoping for and he returned his attention to the open exit in front of him.

Three figures staggered out of the dimness before him, Luther and Nita struggling with an unconscious Joshua draped over their shoulders his feet dragging along behind them. Behind them a wall of rotting flesh flowed through the darkness. Will stepped to the side to let them through and slammed the door shut behind them.

‘All clear below.’ Will stated as he pushed against the door.

Luther glanced back at Will as they stumbled down the steps. ‘Leave that, they’ll be through it before you can get away.’ Will considered the suggestion, looked around at the tight staircase and then followed.

As they reached the floor below something crashed against the metal fire escape above, follow by another thump and then finally the door swinging open. It struck the handrail with such force that the whole staircase shook and knocked the four fleers of balance. Will caught himself before he could fall hooking an arm around the nearest piece of structure. Nita was not as lucky as her grip on Joshua came loose and she stumbled forward down the next flight of steps catching herself on the barrier at the foot of them. Luther managed to keep his footing whilst retaining a hold on Joshua’s shirt but the injured man lost his balance and landed heavily on his backside.

Will looked up and saw them swarming out onto the stairwell above. He picked himself up and caught up with Luther. ‘Is everyone alright?’ Luther nodded in agreement. Nita looked up to them with a smile which soon faded.

Joshua stared at her but his eyes didn’t have the caring depth that she was used to, only the cold face of death peered at her. With a jolt Joshua lurched forward and reached out for his partner. Nita had no time to react as Joshua’s hands wrapped around her left shoulder and the right side of her waist. His momentum overcame them both, her back bent against the strain causing her to scream and his weight took them toppling over the railing.


Everything that stands. Part 2.

Everything that stands. Part 2.

The onslaught never came.

As his eyes adjusted to the bright room three figures came into focus. A tall man dressed in jeans and a T-shirt stood to his right, hands out in front of him showing he meant no harm, and a broad smile across his dark features. To his left a young woman in some form of law enforcement uniform had a scowl on her face and her arms folded over her chest. The third figure appeared to have the same uniform and was pushing a dressing table up against the door, his broad shoulders flexing with the effort.

Will regained his composure and scrambled backwards away from the new faces. Too his left the gun lay bathed in dusk sunlight; he leant forward grabbing the weapon and then continued his retreat.

‘It’s ok; we’re not going to hurt you.’ The tall man said taking a step forward, his West Indian accent having a soothing effect on Will.

‘Yeah, but we should.’ The woman interjected. ‘He’s led them straight to us.’ As if they had heard her voice the door began to shake on its hinges.

‘This won’t hold for long.’ The man by the door added.

‘Thanks.’ The woman stared at Will with more venom than he had ever experienced, her arms now at her sides fists clenched.

‘Nita, go do something productive and help your partner barricade the door.’ The tall man turned to her and his face made it clear that his statement was not a request. With a heavy sigh she grabbed a chair from nearby and jammed it under the dresser. The tall man returned his attention to Will and took another step closer.

‘Now, what’s your name kid?’ Will raised the gun towards the tall man, fear still pumping through his body and overtaking all his other instincts. ‘Easy my friend.’ He held his hands up in surrender and took a step back. ‘Shall I give you mine first?’ Will lowered the weapon but gave no response. The tall man shrugged and continued anyway. ‘My name is Luther. Her name as you may have heard it Nita and her partner is Joshua.’ The door rattled and scrapped as the horde on the other side pressed forward.

‘Luther, we need to move and fast.’ Joshua remarked over his shoulder. In front of him the middle of the door had begun to splinter. Luther ignored him and took another step closer to Will.

‘Just your name, that’s all I’m after. Giving your name never hurt anyone.’ Will got to his feet but still held the gun out in front of him. As if for the first time he began to take in the room glancing to his left and right, but never really taking them off Luther. The interior was identical to the previous one, aside from the bodies and blood spatter, as was so often the case in large hotels.

‘Just lower the piece son and we can all work this out.’ Luther stepped closer, but Will still did not respond ,his eyes had become distant and he stared down at the metal instrument of death in his hand. Both men stood regarding the black object in his palm.

Their silence was broken by the sound of wood cracking and from the middle of the door a pale bloody hand reached towards Joshua and Nita.

His eyes came back into focus and the situation dawned on him. Will raised the gun again this time towards the door; Luther stepped back and held his hands over his face, but at the last moment Will turned and fire a shot into the centre of the window to his left. The whole pane of glass spider webbed, but stayed in its frame.

‘My name is, Will.’ He took a step towards the window and kicked at the bottom corner of the sheet. It gave way at the second attempt and disappeared down into the street below. Will poked his head out of the empty window frame and looked up. He smiled and ducked back into the room. ‘There’s a balcony on the floor above us.’ Will shoved the gun down the front of his Jeans. ‘We can climb up.’

Luther smiled back at him and then turned to his two comrades who had both stopped at the sound of gunfire, a smile also formed on Joshua’s lips, but Nita remained grim. Three different arms now pushed through the small hole in the door behind them and it began to get bigger. Another shake of the door brought them back to the task at hand and they put their weight back into pushing against the pressing mass from the corridor. Luther joined Will at the window and looked up at their escape route.

‘Not an easy climb.’ Luther offered but then shrugged his shoulders and looked back towards the door. ‘Not much choice either.’ Will gave him a reassuring grin and leapt forward. He caught the underside of the balcony and felt rough climbing proof paint cut into his palms. Through gritted teeth he adjusted his grip and reached up over the side.

The floor of the balcony had been made from decking so a good grip was easy to achieve, Will pulled himself up onto the outer lip and then up over the side. He stopped briefly to catch his breath before getting up and leaning over the side. Luther stared up at him.

‘The paint on the underside is serrated.’ Will said showing him his bleeding palm. ‘I’m gonna find something to hang down for you.’

‘Well hurry up because they are almost through.’ Luther glanced back into the room, the top corner of the door had begun to crack and bend inwards.

‘Luther, what’s the plan?’ Joshua quizzed over his shoulder. ‘This door’s about to give way.’

As the words left his mouth the top corner ripped and arms extended into the room. Nita’s head was down pushing against the dresser as a hand took hold of her hair and pulled her towards its fellow reaching limbs. Joshua saw this and sprang up onto the dresser forcing the loose corner of the door back against the outstretched rotting extremities. Luther took a step forward to help and was greeted by material hitting him across the face. A backdraft pulled the curtain out the window, knocking Luther off balance and he swung wildly with his arms trying to get a hold onto anything. His right hand found the edge of the window frame, but also found the shard of glass still lodged in the grouting. It sliced deep into his palm, but he held on regardless of the pain. His left arm got a grip on the curtain and slowly he dragged himself back into the room.

Luther pulled the material from his face and was met by Nita just in front of him, she was bleeding from the back of her head a large chunk of hair had been ripped out and red droplets now covered the shoulders of her uniform. Over her shoulder Luther could see that Joshua was still stood on the dresser, but was leaning to the right and kicking at anything that tried to come through the shredded wood.

Nita grabbed hold of the curtain in Luther’s hands and followed it out of the window. Above her the other end was tied to the balcony and Will leant over the edge looking down.

‘Come on let’s go.’ He shouted down at her.

Luther followed her gaze up and gave Will the thumbs up.

‘Joshua!’ Luther shouted. The stocky man looked up towards his name caller, accessed the situation in front of him and gave a quick nod.

Luther turned back to talk to Nita but found her half way up her climb.

Will gave the curtain an extra tug his end, grabbed Nita under her left armpit and together they fell backwards onto the decking.

She rolled off him and darted back to the balcony edge.

‘Joshua, come on!’ Luther shouted again as he swung out into the open air. His right hand burnt with pain as cut tendons strained against the force of his own body weight, almost causing him to lose his grip. He tried to pull himself up but all strength had left him.

‘My hand is fucked.’ He called up to the two faces above him. ‘I can’t climb.’ He glanced towards Joshua but as the sun set behind him the room became a series of shadows. ‘Pull me up God damn it!’ With a jerk he slowly began to rise up to safety above. Just as his feet reached the top of the window a figure jumped out from the darkness and grabbed a hold of his left leg. The extra weight took Will and Nita by surprise, the two of them crashed against the wooden frame and the curtain loosened from their grip. Luther looked down and saw the grimacing face of Joshua staring up at him.

‘Climb damn you!’ Joshua called up to his counterpart.

Luther shook his head and held back a scream. ‘Climb up me.’ He growled through gritted teeth. Joshua looked at the blood soaked curtain wrapped around the other man’s right hand and nodded his agreement. Will and Nita doubled their efforts but the going was tough.

Shadows formed and from the darkness a shape appeared at the window. And then another and another. One reached forward but missed Joshua and plummeted into the darkness below followed by another three bodies. The night exploded with noise as the four creatures hit the ground hard.

The two men jerked upward as Will and Nita finally got a hold of the makeshift rope.

Another shape leapt from the gloom and this time it caught hold of Joshua. Again, Will and Nita struggled with their haul and found themselves pressed against the handrail.

Before Joshua could react the creature’s teeth sank into his left buttock and its arms tightened around his knees. Joshua released his left arm and swung it down onto the top of his assailants head. He struck again and still the jaws would not separate.

‘JOSHUA!!’ Will screamed out from above. ‘Don’t move.”

Joshua pulled his arm in and grabbed hold of Luther’s leg again just as another individual jumped out of the pitch Hotel room and wrapped itself around its fellow pursuer. Its dead eyes stared greedily up at the two living beings stretched out above it and with a lick of its lips it began to climb up the hanging body ladder. Joshua screamed again as the creature enveloped around him sunk its teeth deeper into his flesh, Luther could feel the last ounces of strength leaving his arms as the climbing being at the bottom of the chain caused them all to swing with its erratic movements. More of them reached out from the shattered window as their momentum brought them closer to the outstretched arms. A few caught hold of their rotting companion’s and began to drag the whole group back into the room.

Suddenly the top half of the biter’s head exploded, it’s vice grip on Joshua vanishing as it fell like a stone taking its hungry friend with it and four other forms wrenched out of the window.

Will dropped the gun on the decking and began to help Nita pulled the curtain up. As Luther reached the lip on the railing he let out a triumphant shout and then tumbled down into safety. Joshua follow, his face drained of all colour and a look of absolute fear.

‘Fucking thing bit me.’ Joshua said holding a hand over bite marks to stop the bleeding.

‘Just stay calm, Josh.’ Nita knelt down next to him and had a quick look at the wound. ‘We need to find a first aid kit. You two go see what’s in this room.’ Will and Luther slid the door open and entered the Penthouse suite.

Joshua looked up to see if the other two were out of earshot. ‘I’m done for, Nita.’

‘Don’t say that.’ She replied keeping her eyes on the wound.

‘It’s true though. You’ve seen what one of those bites does to a man. I give it an hour before I turn on you.’ He reached out and turned her face so that she could look at him. ‘Leave me here and carry on.’

Nita blinked back a tear and then shook her head. ‘Not a chance.’

‘I’m dead anyway and sooner or later I will change.’

‘Well, we’ll worry about that when it happens.’ Nita snapped. She wiped a tear from her cheek and gave him an apologetic smile. ‘Sorry.’

He returned the smile and gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze.

Luther returned to them with some bed sheets and a bottle of Vodka. ‘It’s all I could find but it should help stop the bleeding.’ He handed them over.

‘Alright drop them.’ Nita said as she unscrewed the lid.

Begrudgingly Joshua complied, leaning forward and lowered his trousers.

The wound had already begun to coagulate and a black discharge wept out of the multiple tooth holes. Joshua screamed as the alcohol washed over his damaged skin.


Everything that stands. Part 1

Everything that stands. Part 1

Will Haines was running, terror pushing him forward, lungs burning and body aching with fatigue. They would not be far behind, slowly shifting towards him just out of sight in the shadows. Light shone from under a door to his left which brought him to an abrupt stop, he tried the handle, but like so many of the doors before this one it was locked. The sound of something scraping behind him in the darkness stopped his heavy breathing in an instant. Silence greeted him. Continuing down the corridor Will looked for somewhere he could hide and get some rest from this nightmare.

Ahead of him a glimmer of hope formed in the shape of a door stood slightly ajar, a slither of light forming across the corridor floor.  He approached with caution, trying the handle of the door opposite before moving any closer, but it too was locked.

With a deep breath he pushed the door open and stepped into the room.

From what little luminance there was within he could make out a dresser to his right and a bed to his left. As he moved further into the Hotel room the source of the light became more apparent and cascaded out from the far side of the bed. A table lamp must have been knocked over and was lying on the floor, as the light came from the far corner on the floor. Stepping further into the room he noticed something forming a shadow at the foot of the bed and bent down to get a better look. The black object changed shape as his eyes grew accustomed to the light and his heart quickened its beating when it changed form again, from just an object to the outline of a gun. With a smile he reached forward and picked it up.

From his squat position he could make out the back end of a torch poking out of the dishevelled bedcovers that hung half off the bed. Reaching forward he pulled it towards him, bringing a trail of dark and sticky substance that he had grown so used to seeing. With the bulb end of the torch uncovered, the room lit up and revealed a bed of crimson bodily fluids, the previous occupant laid half in, half out of the bed. The legs, which he could only guess were male, were still on the bed with the upper torso twisted over the side. As if being awakened by the light the body slipped further off the bed. He raised the gun and the torch together searching for any more movement, and waited. Time stood still as he remained focused on the half hidden body.

Slowly a head began to appear in front of him, its blonde hair turned red down the right side of its face, the hair stuck to the jawline with blood. He shone the light into its eyes, and the same empty bloodshot look he had faced so many times before, stared right back at him. Without pause he pulled the trigger and the wall behind exploded with shower of violent gore. Will let out the breath he had been holding and did a sweep of the room with the torch’s beam. Nothing else moved, he backed away and moved the beam towards the door.

Any chance of using the room as a place to rest vanished as he shone the light on the open door, as from the look of it the door had been kicked in and wood hung splintered from the hinge. Reluctantly he edged back out into the corridor.

With the torch he was now able to make out more of his surroundings. To his right the corridor ended just ahead, joining another corridor round to the right. He turned to his left and was greeted by a wall of bodies caked in all manner of filth, he panicked and fired a shot into the oncoming crowd, but they continued toward him on their slow approach. Tucking the torch under his arm he tried the handle of the door in front of him again, but it still would not yield.

A crash from the horror soaked room behind him made him twirl one hundred and eighty degrees, pulling the gun and torch up towards the open door. At the back of the room the bed covers were moving, a hand reaching out pulling the figure underneath slowly towards him. He turned the light back towards the oncoming creatures, they were still quite a way off, but he could not even begin to count their numbers. The beam traced all the way across the corridor to the other direction. From the turn in the corridor a hand reached out and grabbed the corner of the wall dragging its owner into sight. Shining the beam back and forth between his three options only added to his panic, and with all his other options exhausted he dropped the torch and reached behind him to try the door one last time. It still did not give. He took a deep breath and weighed the gun up in his hand.

‘Fuck it!’ He leant back against the door and put the barrel under his chin.

His balance gave way as the door opened inwards behind him, sending him tumbling back into the room. He hit the floor hard, knocking the gun from his hand and forcing all the air out of his lungs. As his body fought for oxygen, his eyes struggled to adjust to the change of light, the setting sun beating down through the window behind him. He heard the door slam and footsteps moving towards him. All hope gone, he relaxed and awaited for the onslaught of hungry mouths.


A Spectator Sport?

A Spectator Sport?

So the ever present life partner that is my wife regularly takes it upon herself, along with various friends, to go and take part in organised long distance runs. Due to the working habits of just about every employed person I know the only time they have available to participate in these events is at weekends. Is it wrong that I invariably opt out of going along and cheering her home?

In my defence there are a number of reasons why these events can be a less than thrilling experience for the spectator. Firstly, the race is by no means a sprint. As these runs will be of a distance that will take no less than an hour at their shortest and over two and a half hours at their longest this all equates to a lot of standing around. When the occasion takes you to a vineyard in Dorking, Surrey on a day that sees temperatures rise to 30 degrees Celsius then these events can be bearable. Sun soaked strolls through the garden of Dionysus with a good book and music flooding my ears from a personal stereo are moments of joy that must be savoured. In this case three hours can pass by quite pleasantly. On the other hand going to Woodford in the London Borough of Redbridge on a cold, snow sodden February morning could only be top as the worst day of my life by a Bank Holiday trip to IKEA.

Another bonus to going along is having the chance to watch a lot of Lycra clad athletic female forms. I’m a pervert, sue me, all men are perverts. They may deny it to your face ladies and you may disagree with me but deep down all men have a hint of the sexual deviant in them. But I digress. On the flip side of the Lycra argument are the less flattering images that come with watching people do long distance running. The looks of absolute agony that cover the faces of a number of the competitors as they approach the finish line could haunt even the most hardened soul’s dreams.

Another perk of these early morning occurrences is the interesting people and surreal moments that you will see.  From a man dressed in a Lion suit causing a dog to go crazy and bark continuously at him until he removed the head of the outfit, to watching hundreds of runners all dressed as Santa Claus doing laps around Battersea Park, London on a cool December day. The people who stand at the finish line with some form of Public Addressing system and encourage the competitors over the line can add another level of amusement to the situation. They can be a great motivator on the final stretch of the course, offering encouragement in the form of shout outs for specific race numbers coming up to their finish line, giving out information about particular charities involved. But they can also be an annoyance to the spectator as they wail the same one liner over and over for three hours nonstop.

I guess the question I’m trying to ask is; am I a bad person for not wanting to spend my Sunday mornings traveling to see people run in circles round a park or vineyard or even the streets of east London? My own argument is that for a number of years of our relationship I would spend my Saturday afternoon’s running around various spaces of open ground pretending that I was a competent football player and not once did she come to watch. So maybe we are both as bad as each other? The fact it did not bother me that she never came should be taken into account and although seeing me at the finish line brings her joy at the end of a hard run she is never offended if I choose not to travel on my weekend.

1994. The best year of modern music?

1994. The best year of modern music?

It was brought to my attention over a few beers by an outspoken friend of mine that one of the finest years for modern music was 1994. He may have even said to me ‘The best year ever for music was 1994.’ At the time I agreed with him having experienced this time in music myself.

A few nights later I pondered his statement and decided to do a bit of research on what albums were released that year. My discovery sparked a number of different thoughts and feelings, some of the albums I knew had had a direct influence on my life at the time, others I had picked up on a few years later and some just outright astounded me that they had all been released in the same twelve months.

This amazing array of music made me think that if the music was so good that year what else of note happened and if 1994 was just a particularly good time in our planet’s history?

United States President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Kremlin Accords a series of treaties that stopped the programmed aiming of nuclear missiles at any nation.

Brazil won their fourth FIFA World Cup in the United States, beating Italy on Penalties.

The cinema also had a good year as films such as Forest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Four Weddings and A Funeral, The Madness of King George and Ed Wood found their way onto the Big Screen.

The Republic of South Africa voted in its first Black President Nelson Mandela in its first fully representative multiracial election. He served for 5 years and his administration focused it’s time on undoing the apartheid legacy, and reducing poverty.

But this article is about music.

The music of 1994 helped influence the way I now listen to and love music. It introduced me to a whole new variety of genres from Dance to Metal and Hip-hop to Pop, before the year in question I had spent my time listening almost exclusively to a three piece Garage band from Seattle. It also paved the way for an eclectic personal back catalogue. Two albums in particular opened my eyes to something more than just Grunge music.

Firstly, Ill Communication by The Beastie Boys found its way into my hands and before long into my heart. Inspired after hearing ‘Sabotage’ on the radio I went out and bought the album. Upon first play I was surprised by the mixture of Jazz, Punk, Funk, Hip-Hop and Rock that drifted out of the speakers at me, it took quite a few listens and a bit of patience for me but I figure it out. It’s a collection of songs that should not really be on the same album together, but somehow they work. This made it clear to me that they were more than just a bunch of white guys making some gimmick Rap songs. They were, in fact, a group of accomplished musicians making inventive and original music. In my opinion their finest work.

The Second album was Music For The Jilted Generation by The Prodigy. A friend from school leant me the cassette and I took it with me on a family holiday. It never left my personal stereo for the whole week we were away and for that entire week all that I heard was the musical genius of Liam Howlett. Ever since I have followed his, Maxim and Keith’s careers with fascination as they continuously make thumping dance music. The mix of rave, heavy riffs and deep base lines still sets my heart pumping and feet tapping to this day. I believe Kerrang Magazine had called it the heaviest album of the year. In a year that included Far Beyond Driven by Pantera, debut albums from both Korn by Korn and Burn My Eyes by Machine Head and the second studio album of Trent Reznor’s material The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails this was a bold statement indeed.

Other albums that hooked me in at the time were Dookie by Green Day, a short but sweet piece of modern punk rock The Holy Bible by The Manic Street Preachers a journey into the darker side of their work and Troublegum by Therapy? a masterpiece of heavy rock if ever there was one. All three of them received a lot of playtime and still get dusted off every now and then for a replay. Their best album on all counts by a country mile.

Indie music was taking the industry by storm and the media fuelled battle between North and South England began with the debut album Definitely Maybe by Oasis and with the release of the third studio album Parklife by Blur, with this pairing British media had their two contenders. Other bands from all over the British Isles that were being labelled in the same Britpop category were releasing material. From Sheffield His ‘n’ Hers by Pulp, released their fourth album. Londoners Dog Man Star by Suede, were getting in on the action, Irish four piece No Need To Argue by The Cranberries from Limerick and Bradford based How To Make Friends and Influence People by Terrorvision. Trip Hop was still making noises from Bristol with Protection by Massive Attack and Dummy by Portishead and British music in general had a good year. The Second Coming by The Stone Roses gave us a second and last album by the four-piece from Manchester. The Division Bell by Pink Floyd showed that old masters were still making good music in what would be their last album to date.

British music was also making waves across the pond with Sixteen Stone by Bush becoming massive in the United States and the American market was having a good year also. Grunge may have seen the death of its involuntary hero as Kurt Cobain commit suicide, although MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana did get released, but the Seattle Rock scene lived on with Jar of Flies by Alice In Chains an acoustic EP recorded over two days as a break from extensive touring,  Superunknown by Soundgarden their breakthrough album that brought them notoriety and Vitalogy by Pearl Jam.  The US Rock genre in general continued to produce good work with many diverse acts publicising quality music such as Purple by The Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer by Weezer, Smash by The Offspring, Live Through This by Hole, Welcome To Sky Valley by Kyuss, Grace by Jeff Buckley, Mellow Gold by Beck, and Monster by R.E.M. Mainstream music in the States gave as good as everyone else with CrazySexyCool by T.L.C, Bedtime Stories by Madonna, Ready To Die By Notorious B.I.G., Illmatic by Nas and southernplayalisticadillacmuzik by OutKast adding credit to the year from the RnB/Soul market.

So looking at the list of material above I think I will have to agree with my highly opinionated friend that those twelve months were possibly one of the greatest in modern music history. You may disagree, if so I am willing to hear your argument and open to listen to the reasons you give for an alternative year. But for me it’s all about 1994.

Below is a more comprehensive list of albums and their release dates including many more artists not mentioned above:

Jar of Flies by Alice In Chains. January 24th

Dookie by Green Day. February 1st

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement. February 2nd

Troublegum by Therapy? February 7th

Mellow Gold by Beck. March 1st

Point Blank by Nailbomb. March 8th

The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. March 8th

Superunknown by Soundgarden. March 8th

Vauxhall and I by Morrissey. March 14th

Far Beyond Driven by Pantera. March 18th

The Division Bell by Pink Floyd. March 30th

Live Through This by Hole. April 12th

Give Out But Don’t Give Up by Primal Scream. April 12th

Weight by Rollins Band. April 12th

Let Love In by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. April 18th

His ‘n’ Hers by Pulp. April 18th

How To Make Friends and Influence People by Terrorvision. April 18th

Smash by The Offspring. April 19th

Illmatic by Nas. April 19th

Parklife by Blur. April 25th

southernplayalisticadillacmuzik by OutKast. April 26th

Stacked up by Senser. May 2nd

Weezer by Weezer. May 10th

Ill Communication by The Beastie Boys. May, 23rd

Seal II by Seal. May 23rd

Lifeforms by The Future Sound of London.  May 27th

Purple by The Stone Temple Pilots. June 7th

Regulate…G Funk Era by Warren G. June 7th

Welcome To Sky Valley by Kyuss. June 28th

Music For The Jilted Generation by The Prodigy. July 4th

Portrait of an American Family by Marilyn Manson. July 19th

Burn My Eyes by Machine Head. August 7th

Niggamortis by Gravediggaz. August 9th

Dummy by Portishead. August 22nd

Grace by Jeff Buckley. August 23rd

Without a Sound by Dinosaur Jr. August 23rd

Snivilisation by Orbital. August 23rd

The Holy Bible by The Manic Street Preachers. August 29th

Definitely Maybe by Oasis. August 29th

Change Giver by Shed Seven. September 5th

Stranger Than Fiction by Bad Religion. September 6th

File Under: Easy Listening by Sugar. September 6th

Ready To Die By Notorious B.I.G. September 13th

Monster by R.E.M. September 23rd

Protection by Massive Attack. September 26th

Deliverance by Corrosion of Conformity. September 27th

Divine Intervention by Slayer. September 27th

Under The Pink by Tori Amos. October 2nd

No Need To Argue by The Cranberries. October 3rd

Dog Man Star by Suede. October 10th

Homegrown by Dodgy. October 17th

Everybody’s Got One by Echobelly. October 25th

Bedtime Stories by Madonna. October 25th

MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana. November 1st

Wildflowers by Tom Petty. November 1st

Korn by Korn. November 7th

CrazySexyCool by T.L.C. November 15th

Sixteen Stone by Bush. December 5th

The Second Coming by The Stone Roses. December 5th

Vitalogy by Pearl Jam. December 6th