If it’s not crosswords it’s music, and there are just a couple of weeks to go until I go to see Simple Plan at the O2 Ritz in Manchester as part of their ‘Taking One For The Team’ tour.
It’s quite possible that some of you imagine crossword setters as being devotees of classical music and opera, but it’s not always the case. One of my setting colleagues is an incredible drummer with a prog rock outfit, another an outstanding rock guitarist and, just as in crosswords, it shows that we have a mix of just about everything. Funnily enough – and slightly O/T – one of our setters is just about to move from Xbox to PS3 and join me for (hopefully) regular car-blitzing sessions on Burnout Paradise. It takes all sorts and we are all sorts.
But back to Simple Plan and I wish I could do more to promote this Canadian 5-piece. Let’s nail down the genre to begin with; they are pop-punk – so they take all the musical values of punk but the lyrical messages don’t have that angry shouty aspect. They sing of lost love and teenage angst in the way pop does.
They are also incredibly socially aware. Without shouting it from the rooftops they do a huge amount of fund-raising work, and they communicate with their fans in a way I’ve never experienced before. Their drummer, Chuck, spends most evenings on Twitter responding to messages from fans, and when I had problems identifying the right place to order backstage tickets for the Manchester gig he was in there to help. And even my tweets which don’t ask for help – just complimenting them on a song or mentioning the upcoming gig – get answered. I really love these guys and I want to take this opportunity to link to a couple of YouTube videos which are worth watching until the end.
‘Untitled’ is about the dangers of drink driving. In the first chorus you see images of family members, but just wait until 2:27 when they illustrate what drink driving can cause. It’s incredibly powerful.
‘Save You’ is about cancer, although it ends by celebrating those who have beaten the disease, including relatives of band members. It’s beautifully done:
And I end with what is simply a lovely song – ‘Astronaut’. Peace all:
BTW with these videos you sometimes have to follow the YouTube links as they are blocked on third party sites.