Monday, June 26, 2006

Football's gone abroad (second half)

So here I am in Barcelona and there’s an England game this evening. There’s already some confusion on when the game is. After much debate, we thought that we are now one hour ahead in Barcelona but according to the time in the paper that the cab driver showed us, the England game is on two hours later than it should be. Unsure of exactly what sort of time warp we have travelled through, we arrange to meet other friends at a bar to watch the game.

The nearest Metro station (or estácio) seems to be closed for building work so it’s a short five minute walk to the next nearest. We buy a T-10 ticket, similar to a CarNet ticket, and the three of us use it to go through the station turnstiles. I’m not even sure that you can use a T-10 for more than one person in this way but no one ever stopped us on our travels and it was a case of entering within the spirit of the law if not within the letter.

Once on the platform, the heat is unbearable, humid and suffocating. A train is mercifully quick to arrive. The carriage is packed and, while air-conditioned, the number of people make it hot and uncomfortable. After a couple of stops, we get seats and away from the doors and the crowds, the air-conditioning seems much more effective. It’s at this point we make another discovery. Someone’s mobile phone goes off elsewhere in the carriage. We all reach into our pockets to check our phones. We all have full-strength signals! Air-conditioning and mobile phone signals? This beats the Tube. Pete is so excited by this that he can’t help phoning a friend we are meeting later, spending a small fortune, just to tell him that he is on the Metro and his phone still works.

We disembark at La Ramblas, which appears to be the main tourist strip of Barcelona. In some ways it is similar to Leicester Square, full of bars, shops, people, buskers and activity. We wander up the street in search of the Jules Verne bar, a supposedly English bar, where our friends are waiting. When we find it, it is packed. There are crowds of people outside watching the screens and there is no way we will get in.

My companions have been to Barcelona before and Plan B is quickly formulated. There’s a good bar off the main strip that should be showing the game. We head back the way we came, quietly hoping no one scores while we find the bar. We wander down some side streets until we find it. It’s not showing the game despite having a TV.

‘Didn’t we see another bar with the game on? Let’s head back that way.’

Round the corner we find a busy bar showing the game. We make our way to the bar and note that it’s still 0-0. I knew I could rely on England not to score while we found somewhere to watch the game. I know I can generally rely on England not to score.

I was looking forward to seeing the game in a foreign country. One of the things I hate about England is our fans. The blaring of car horns, the chanting, the wild celebrations, all after barely scraping a win. It’s embarrassing to celebrate beating smaller teams in such a manner. At least in Barcelona we can escape that, grab a beer and enjoy the game without the borderline racist remarks, the uninformed diatribes and the constant abuse thrown at the players on the screen.

Apart from everyone in the bar seemed to be English. People barged past us as we watched the game, apologising in some hybrid of Essex and Spanish not realising that everyone around them was English too. I doubt there were any Spaniards in the bar and when England scored, the reactions proved this. In fairness, no one reached the depths I’d witnessed while watching games in Brighton and it was a good humoured crowd. I probably shouted my own fair share of abuse at our insipid performance anyway.

After the game finished, we headed back to the Q Bar. As we entered, the second half of the game was confusingly kicking off. Then the penny dropped and the differences in time made sense. Live games were shown on a subscription channel, while Spanish TV showed them with an hour delay.

Another lesson learned.

Football's gone abroad (first half)

This is the second time that I’ve found myself in a foreign country, going to a festival, while the World Cup is on. Eight years ago would have found me in a tent just outside Copenhagen, hunched over a tiny handheld TV, in the dark, trying to tune in to the England v Columbia game while all around me a festival was taking place. I could barely get a reception at the time but could just about work out that we were winning 2-0.

A week later, myself and a friend were rushing back after spending the day sightseeing in Copenhagen for the England v Argentina game. As we passed a bar, we saw England go 1-0 down to a penalty. My friend, being Irish, seemed fairly happy with this but we both increased our pace so as not to miss any more action. As it was, England lost on penalties. I was sat at my friend’s house surrounded by the united nations of Denmark, Scotland, Ireland and Australia. It was with great grace that they chose not to rip into me after such disappointment.

We ended up in a local bar for the Denmark v Brazil quarter final. The bar was busy but not packed as we were on the outskirts of the centre of town. After two minutes, Denmark scored and we all cheered with the locals, backing our hosts with gusto. Seconds later the pay phone in the bar rang and the bar maid answered. Minutes later she was at our table asking us what we wanted to drink. We pointed to our nearly full drinks and said we weren’t quite ready. She shook her head and told us that the owner of the bar, Peter, had phoned to buy everyone in the bar a drink to celebrate Denmark scoring. We, of course got another round in.

Ten minutes later, Brazil equalised and went into half-time 2-1 up. Disappointing but not unexpected. Still, it was a good game and there were another 45 minutes to go. Five minutes after the second half had kicked off, Brian Laudrup equalised. As we all cheered the phone rang again. Minutes later Peter was paying for our beer again.

As entertaining a game as it was, the fairy tale was not to be and Brazil scored the winner. At full time everyone was disappointed but Denmark had played very well and it had been an entertaining, open game, one of the best we’d seen. The phone rang one final time. Was Peter going to ask for his money back? Not at all. For Denmark’s valiant efforts, he thought that those still in the bar deserved one last drink to toast them with.

It would have been rude to refuse.

Shopping

The apartment is perfect. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an air-conditioned living room, fully fitted kitchen and a balcony that overlooks the busy road five floors below. I’m informed that it can sleep eight people if needed, more than enough for three of us and I begin to work out if it’s possible to spend each night in a different bed. It works out cheaper than sharing a hotel room and there’s a feeling of independence and freedom that you don’t get in a hotel. For ‘freedom and independence’ read ‘able to walk around in your pants’.

After sorting out keys, paper work and who was going to sleep where, we select to do what any English man abroad would do. Have a nice cup of tea. Unfortunately, the cupboards are bare so we decide to stock up on some provisions. The nearest supermarket is handily just a few doors away. Shopping in a foreign country is an adventure in itself. Everything seems familiar yet strangely different and while you are sure that you are buying teabags, there’s that little doubt in the back of your mind that they might be condoms or tampons.

There’s no mistaking beer though and my basket was soon filled with twelve bottles of a vaguely familiar looking lager that obviously had another name in Spain. Looking round the supermarket, watching the other shoppers, I discover a piece of wonderful design. The baskets have wheels on them and the handle is extendable! It isn’t long before I am dragging my beer behind me like the faithful companion it has proven to be.

After much wandering back and forth, marvelling at some of the more exotic food stuff, we have the ingredients for the Spanish equivalent of a good breakfast fry up, the prerequisite tea, coffee, milk and whatever basics we had forgotten to pack. Now we just have to negotiate the till. As you can gather, our Spanish is pretty much none existent and I have my doubts about the linguistic abilities of the girl serving behind the till. As it was, I suspect that her English was better than the majority of checkout girls I normally encounter in Brighton but we adopted for the age old method when she asked for money. Thrust a handful of notes at her and hope that we get the right change.

Job done we head home for a sit down and a nice cup of tea.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Joe le taxi (parte dos)

I’m on a plane and don’t even know exactly where we are flying to. Obviously I know the name of the city, the name of the country, but the geographical location on the map is a mystery. There’s a map of Europe with flight routes in one of the airline magazines. My ignorance is compounded as I locate Barcelona. I thought I knew what Spain looked like but I’d never noticed that little strip of land in the north-east that borders France and never realised that the two countries met quite as they do.

Outside the airport, in the sweltering heat, I spot a sign in three languages. ‘Please extinguish your cigarette here, thank you’ is obviously English. The second language appears to be Spanish. The third looks a little like French but it isn’t. Then I realise. It’s Catalan and it must resemble French because Barcelona is so close to the border. Ok, that makes sense. I knew they spoke Catalan. It just took a while to piece it all together.

It dawns on me that I am now doubly ignorant. Not only have I not bothered to learn any rudimentary Spanish, I have failed to learn any Catalan too. I ponder about the similarities with French then stop myself. The Catalonians take great pride in their history. The last thing they would appreciate is some English tourist raping their language by thinking badly pronounced school boy French might just pass.

We queue for a taxi and it is not long before I am taking my second atypical cab journey in the space of a week. Luckily, the driver has a basic grasp of English, and he apologises for its poorness.

“Better than our Spanish”, we joke but I’m embarrassed that I know so little.

Yet again, I find myself slightly unnerved as a cab driver leans across to the passenger side of the car, trying to work out where our apartment is from the map one of my companions is holding. The night time traffic in Brighton is one thing but a busy road in a foreign country during the day is another. I regret not putting my seatbelt on and wonder if it would seem rude to do so at this stage of the journey.

We hit upon the international language that all men can speak, wherever they gather – football. It seems he thinks that England had a good chance but he’s unsure about Spain. He reaches over to the glove compartment, pulls out a newspaper and appears to start reading it at the wheel. Finding the page he wants, he turns round and taps on the paper. His finger points to the TV listings and the time and TV channel of the England game.

“Sexto”, he repeats several times.

I’m unsure if that’s how many he expects England to score or the TV channel. I only hope we live long enough to see it.

The journey is educational. We discover through a mixture of broken English and Spanish that the driver’s father was a political exile during the Civil War. The Catalonians were on the side opposed to Franco, I knew that much. I even recall that Ernest Hemmingway went off to fight in the war too. I’m not sure when it was but I’m pretty sure it was in the early to mid 20th century. Yet something else to look up when I get home.

The driver’s father lived in London for some years before ending up in Poole. It seems odd trying to juxtapose the image of a young Spanish Revolutionary, exiled from his homeland, and Poole, a small harbour town on the Dorset coast. It’s akin to Che Guevara moving to Blackpool. Fortunately for the driver, his father did return to Spain or else he’d probably be ferrying tourists round the harbour in the rain right now.

We are told that there over a million motorbikes and scooters in Barcelona. I’m unsure how accurate this fact is but looking out of the cab window, there certainly seem to be a lot of them and throughout our stay they are everywhere. It does seem a very popular form of transport.

A small church is pointed out to us. It looks picturesque and again he’s leaning over and reaching into the glove compartment. I start to work on a theory regarding unusual cab journeys and the element of danger involved. He pulls out a small, religiously decorated card and it looks like it has the times that the church is open. We all nod appreciatively.

“I’ve only visited it once,” he tells us,“to get married. That was enough.”

We learn that it hardly ever rains in Barcelona, it’s always hot and you can swim in the sea all year round. The subject of Sonar, the festival we are here for, comes up. We briefly chat about that before nervously looking at each other as we realise just how long we’ve been driving for and that we are now late to pick up the keys for our apartment. Just when we think that we are lost and the driver really doesn’t know where we are going, he pulls over. We pay for the journey, grab our bags and, thankfully, the woman with the keys for our apartment is still waiting outside.

We’ve arrived.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The cutter

Scientists think that there is a danger that the male species is being feminised. Estrogen, from either human waste or birth control pills being flushed away is polluting our waterways. Chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen, such as altrazine, a herbicide, are also finding their way into our lakes and rivers. Male fish have been found with both male and female sexual organs. Both estrogen and altrazine have been detected in our drinking water and while some scientists are linking this to the high prevalence of reproductive disorders in European males, there are still doubts over whether the chemicals affect humans.

Let me tell you. They do.

It’s the only explanation I have for the reason I’m very particular about where and how I get my hair cut and why I seem to actually enjoy shopping for clothes. I don’t have the love of cars that most other men seem to share either and have no idea what a naturally aspirated engine is. I still enjoy watching football but since many women now do too, this is inconclusive evidence.

Last week, I was bound for Barcelona and the day before, prepared as ever, I realised that my hair needed cutting and I simply didn’t have a thing to wear. I’d only had my haircut twice in the last 9 months and hadn’t been that pleased with the results. To me, stylists are like dentists. A good one that inflicts the least pain is very difficult to find and when you do find one, you’ll go to great lengths to stay with them. If my old stylist in Kentish Town was still working in the same salon, I’d probably pay to go to London to get my hair cut there.

Where this vanity comes from, I don’t know. Most of the time it looks unwashed, unkempt and as if I’ve just got out of bed. And those are just the times when I’ve made an effort. Yet, I’m very fussy about who cuts it even though it looks no different than before I paid a small fortune to anyone but me. Ladies, when people fail to comment on your new hairdo, trust me, I share your pain.

So I found myself entering an alien salon, chosen mostly due to being 5 minutes walk from work rather than any recommendations. Greeted at reception, I nervously waited to meet the person I was entrusting with my hair. A figure emerged from a side room and approached me. Twenty-something, bubbly, with a large smile and dyed bright red hair, I felt a little more at ease. The red hair was a good sign. Now for the difficult part, describing exactly what I wanted.

I tried my best to explain, making pointless hand gestures and pulling at parts of my hair but it’s never that easy. I think it would be easier if I could just sit there and say ‘Create’ and they’d magically give me the perfect style.

“You know, I think it would be easier if I could just sit here and say ‘Create.’”, I inexplicably found myself saying.

“Oh, don’t worry”, she said with a grin, “we can do something with this.”

While washing my hair we got onto the subject of my job and I was surprised to discover that she enjoyed playing video games. I was also a little worried about her love of the game Manhunt, a pleasant little number where you can decapitate victims, slash throats and perform all manner of gruesome acts. It’s the tabloid press’ favourite bête noire and is wheeled out whenever a particularly grizzly murder is committed and the assailant might have played video games.

“I’m not sure I’m comfortable letting you near me with scissors now.”

“Oh, I’m fine. As long as I get it all out while playing the game it’s not a problem.”

I hoped that she’d played it very recently.

As she cut my hair we drifted onto the subject of music and discovered we shared a similar taste and an even similar hatred. It all got a little competitive, with music collections, gigs, festivals and famous meetings compared and despite being 10 years older than her, I’m unsure that I actually won. No, my meeting Mike Patton, lead singer of Faith No More and her hero probably clinched it. It made a refreshing change from ‘Where are you going on holiday?’ and twenty minutes of uncomfortable silence after several further pleasantries.

It wasn't long before the wax was being applied and it was time to see the final result. All that was left was to pay up and then quickly buy some new clothes before my lunch hour was over. Twenty minutes later and £250 lighter I was heading back to the office, laden with bags but happy with my little excursion.
It's got to be something in the water.

She was right though. She could do something with my hair.

Of course, no one noticed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Joe le taxi

There are some differences between cabbies in London and Brighton and not just that most journeys are £20 cheaper. In London, you suspect that the driver will take his time and take the longest route possible while extolling his opinions on just what’s wrong with the world. Head almost permanently set looking over his shoulder, barely observing the road. In Brighton, they try and take the quickest route and get rid of you as fast as possible, trying not to fall into yet another of the same cab conversations.

A typical Brighton cab journey normally involves one of the following questions, as the passenger, rather than the driver, initiates conversation.

“Busy night?”

“Traffic’s bad tonight.”

“Christ, there’s some fuckwits out tonight.”

“How long until you finish?”

Getting into the cab tonight was a slightly different experience. As I opened the door and sat in the back seat, the driver put down the book he was reading. I told him my address and we set off. Seeing my opportunity to avoid the typical clichés, I took it.

“So what are you reading?” I asked?

“Oh, ‘The Firm.’”, he replied.

“Can’t say I’ve read it. Oh, hold on, that’s John Grisham isn’t it?”

At that point he choose to pick the book up and examine the front cover, obviously while still driving through the busy Brighton night traffic, which was just a little disconcerting.

“Yeah, it is. Saw the film years ago and thought I’d give the book a chance.”

“Do you get to read a lot while waiting for fares then? What else have you read recently?”

“Yeah, on the quiet nights. Plus I read at home. The Mrs hates it as she thinks I'm ignoring her. I had some book from the Reader’s Digest the other day. Four books in one type thing. They had an Andy McNab one and another action type story too.”

Given that this was a thick set man, shaven headed and possibly wearing an England shirt, I could understand how the likes of McNab would appeal. He did strike me as more Sun reader than book reader.

“My favourite though”, he continued, “was the third one. It was a romantic story set in Australia. I swear, I could feel the sun beating down on me as I read it. It was a bit Jackie Collins but I loved it. It was beautiful. By the way, you’re the only person I’ve admitted this to. If the lads ever heard about this I’d never live it down.”

I gave him a large tip and left the cab smiling.

I just hope the lads don’t read this.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Football's coming home?

It’s probably not escaped your notice but the World Cup is upon us once again. That can mean only one thing. The office sweepstake. That time when you give someone a couple of quid, pick some no hoper like Angola and realise that the money would have been better spent down the bookies. Still, it’s all a bit of fun, isn’t it?

As ever I signed up, despite suspecting it was a futile exercise. As I went to pay my money, my name went on the list of participants. A list with 32 places, with my name added with those that had already paid, next to the number (can see where this is going?) 23. My heart jumped. That's got to be a good omen. This could be my year. Now to find out if my theory still holds and pick out a team.We gathered together to draw out the teams. Brazil went early, much to everyone’s annoyance but as I waited, a lot of the bad teams got picked out. Most of the big guns were still there and I nervously waited for my turn.

Tentatively, I dipped my hand into the bag. I pulled out my piece of paper and as I unfolded it I could see the word ‘land’.

‘Poland?’ I thought, ‘Hmm not that good after all.’

Then I realised.

I had the golden ticket.

England.

So now the hopes of the nation don’t just rely on Rooney’s metatarsals but also on me and my unfounded belief in the power of a prime number.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

You keep me hanging on the telephone

While we’re on the subject of strange things, something else happened this week which has left me somewhat bewildered.

I got a phone call on my mobile on Wednesday afternoon. That in itself is quite unusual as hardly anyone seems to use mobiles to actually talk to each other. It tends to be a medium for text messages and blurry images, checking emails and cheating in pub quizzes.

The display didn’t list a number, purely the message ‘unknown’. Not so unusual as my bank never lists its number and has been phoning me for the last 12 months, trying to sell me a loan, despite my protestations that I don’t want a loan and don’t want to be asked yet again. However, if it was the bank, they’ve taken a new approach to customer services which may explain their high charges.

At first I was greeted with silence and a bit of static. I said ‘Hello?’ a few times and was about to hang up, thinking that it must be some automated dialler that had wrongly called my number.

Then I heard something. A gasp or sigh. ‘Hello?’ I repeated. Again nothing but I wasn’t going to hang up. It was their phone bill and if they didn’t want to talk, it was costing them money.

What I heard next did take me by surprise. The sounds were definitely female. Low moans and gasps, slowly building in loudness and speed. I was getting an obscene phone call and the caller certainly appeared to be enjoying herself.

I was at a loss as to what to do. What is the correct etiquette for receiving smutty calls? Does one hang up in disgust? Does one try to engage the person in conversation?

“Well it sounds like you’re having a splendid time but do you mind telling me who you are and why you are calling me?”

Or perhaps engage in some Beavis and Butthead type commentary?

Huh-huh, yeah, baby, huh-huh, that sounds, like, cool, huh-huh. Do you wanna, like, do it, huh-huh?

Of course, I just sat there in dumbstruck silence.

After a minute, the line went dead leaving me none the wiser to who it was from. It’s not the first time that I’ve had calls from ‘unknown’ but in the past the line has gone dead after I’ve answered.

Maybe I’ve got a stalker.

The magic number

It seems ridiculous now.

I can vividly recall several days before my 23rd birthday the panic as I felt that I was about to officially become old. I was genuinely worried and somewhat depressed at the thought. I now realise how stupid those feelings were but understand why I had them.

Birthdays are checkpoints in our life. A time when we look back and take stock of what we have achieved. Or haven’t. When we go through a mythical checklist of where we think our lives should be compared to our peers and society’s expectations and see how we measure up. I was living in a squat. I was still no nearer to finishing my degree and had little inclination to do so. And I was broke. That extra year seemed to signify the age where it was time to make some decisions and take some responsibility. Time to grow up.

I’d love to say that it was an epiphany. A turning point in my life where I suddenly found my way but I didn’t. Well, not in the way I was expecting.

Absent-mindedly flicking through NME or Melody Maker, I stumbled upon a short article on the number 23 and how many artists regard it as a powerful number. I can no longer recall which artists were interviewed or exactly what was said but it seemed to inspire me and make me rethink. Was it a coincidence that on the 23rd, while living at number 23, contemplating my 23rd birthday that I found this article?

I became almost evangelical in my belief. I converted others to my cause. Bizarrely, it seemed to work. Psychologically, it was probably because we believed in the power of that number that so many positive things happened to us. Research has shown that people who believe that they are lucky do tend to have more luck than those that think they are unlucky. Perhaps it was just the power of positive thought but I would always carry a 23, cut from a newspaper headline, in my wallet. The number would turn up everywhere and when it did, we would hold it with great significance.

I was having the time of my life and those that bought into the 23 theory seemed to benefit too. I ‘ordained’ one friend, presenting him with his own 23 to carry with him. I told him I would share some of the power with him and great things would happen. He went from being shy and geeky, useless with women (we all thought that he was still a virgin) into a confident, Casanova. He was with a different girl every week and loving it. Again, it may have all been in the mind but it worked.

I’d recently recounted my belief in the number 23 to several friends. Trying to exactly explain why it is so important or just how it has made things happen was difficult, the fogs of time obscuring the events and reasons, but the belief still continues. My friend, now happily married and with a child has 23 in roman numerals on his wrist and I’ve spotted one girl in Brighton with the same tattoo on her forearm, so I’m not alone.

The reason for explaining all this is that on Thursday, I was walking to the station to get to work. As I walked towards the footbridge, I noticed a trail of pages, seemingly ripped from a book. The trail led over the footbridge and down the other side. The last page had a heading. Chapter 23.

Maybe it’s time to get that tattoo.

The 23 Enigma is a belief that the number 23 is of particular or unusual significance, especially in relation to disasters.

Unusual circumstances being linked to 23 are mentioned by William S. Burroughs. He tells the story of meeting a ferry captain named Clark who claimed to have sailed the same route without an accident for 23 years. That very day, however, the ferry sank. Later that day, Burroughs writes, he was thinking about Clark's ferry accident when he heard that a Flight 23 on a New York-Miami route had crashed. According to Burroughs, the pilot's name for the flight had also been Clark. Burroughs began collecting incidences of the number 23 in a scrapbook and referred to them in his writings.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The winner takes it all

Battle of the Bands, a competition where barely competent musicians, armed with 3 chords from ‘101 Hits for Buskers’ and delusions of adequacy, play sub-standard guitar rock and the band with the most attractive female members win. With more effort put into their ‘look’ than actual song writing or rehearsing and yet still looking like young Conservatives trying to look rebellious but not that rebellious because ‘what would the folks think’?

What is the point? The only people who attend these nights are friends of the bands, dragged along by the promise of girls, a free pint and 'a chance to be there at the start, man'. Do any of the bands think that A&R men are going to drag themselves down to the Snotbucket and Wimpole in Walthamstow on a Tuesday night and stumble upon their musical genius? Most A&R men wouldn’t stumble across the room if their mother was on fire and you promised them free coke and vodka.

It’s not like A&R aren’t already inundated with a surfeit of wannabes clamouring for their attention, wannabes that already have managers, a following, perform at venues that have some sort of respectability and most importantly, talent, is it? No, of course they’re going to drag themselves to the arse end of nowhere to watch bands take part in a cynical exercise. Where the promoter not only charges the band to enter the competition but also charges their friends to watch. On a dead rubber of a night that wouldn’t get punters through the door for free with beer £1 a pint, rather than the £4 they charge for cans of Tesco brand lager at these events.

And what if, and I think we’ve established it’s a big what if, an A&R man turns up on the night? Blown away by all the acts on the bill, does he only sign the winners as they have won the Battle? If not, why have a Battle of the Bands to decide who is best in the first place?

‘Sorry Mr Cobain. Really loved the act but its back to shovelling fries at McDonalds for you. Pigfister won fair and square. Rules are rules. Plus, their keyboard player is hot.’

Pointless. Has a band ever got a record deal from one of these nights?

No, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s take all these bands, stick them all on the same stage with a variety of weapons and let them have a real battle. Let the winners be the last band standing. Maybe we’ll get to see some proper axe work then. I’d pay good money for that. In fact, I think I’m going to get in touch with Endemol. It’s the sort of high class reality TV they love.

Better still. Imagine KISS, in their fully made-up, 70’s super hero form. GWAR with their outrageous armour and weaponry, deviant aliens hell bent on corrupting humanity. Manowar, Kings of Metal, muscled, lubed and wielding their mighty swords. Put them in a ring in a winner takes all, fourway, WWE style match against, let’s say, just for the fun of it, Stryper.

Yes.

Stryper.

Who isn’t going to cheer with joy to see their black and yellow, spandexed, whiny voiced, Christian rock arses ripped a new one by the 3 behemoths of metal? They say the devil has the best tunes and Stryper went a long way to prove that point and ironically turned more metallers into Satan worshippers than they converted. I’ve only ever met one Stryper fan and his dad was a vicar. You can almost imagine the compromises and shifting of ideals that the poor bloke went through to get that C of E stamp of approval. Just to be allowed to listen to anything that remotely resembled heavy metal, grow long hair and end up a laughing stock by his peers. Poor bastard.

Anyway, that would be a Battle of the Bands. Hell, it would be more than just that.

It. Would. ROCK.

And obviously KISS would win.