Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Postcards from the Provinces #1: Leicester

Welcome to the first in an occasional series of postcards from the more ill-starred and unremarkable of Britain's medium sized, mid-ranking towns, cities and conurbations.

The first post comes from Leicester, the home of Walkers Crisps, reptilian MP Keith Vaz and the 'Grebo' artistic/sartorial movement.

Art: ‘Warbo’ was reputedly one of the pseudonyms of Andy Warhol protégé Jean Michel Basqiuat. This early work found near The Manor public house, former base of the Leicester City hooligan firm known as the 'Baby Squad', seems to indicate an artist still coming to terms with his identity.

Culture: In the 1980s Leicester was the epicentre of the almost instantly moribund Melody Maker/NME christened ‘Grebo’ subculture, being the fertile ground from which notable scene pioneers such as Gaye Bykers on Acid and Crazyhead sprouted. More recently Kasabian have picked up the musical baton.

Dance-floor Etiquette: A noticeable foible of popular dance in Leicester is a tendency to switch rapidly back and forth between moods of mouse like meekness and wild-eyed and unabashed sexual aggression, often within a single middle 8. Conversely, the men-folk keep a brooding vigil around the margins of the dance floor but are not so po-faced as to avoid making sport altogether, stepping in on occasion to steal an unusual hat.

Folklore: Pictured below is an area of wind-swept grassland in Thurnby Lodge(a council estate created after the city’s slums were demolished in the 1950s) which is reputedly stalked, according to local myth by a man with a ‘Freddie Kruger hand’.

Food and drink: A particularly foul regional take on Whiskey and Ginger Ale doubles as a kind of ersatz TCP, replicating both its noxious smell and its taste. If this sounds like something that might interest you I seem to remember the active element to be Laphroig Whiskey. If you plan to use this drink topically perhaps adding Baileys or Malibu to the mix may help.

Walker's Crisps may have been swallowed up by an international crisp conglomerate but Sandworth Brothers, one of the UK's biggest names in the sausage roll/tikka slice game is still resolutely flying the flag for Leicester cuisine in the nation's gut consciousness.

Indie Disco Review:
Mosh, St Nicholas Place.

Entry: Doorman are as inconsistent as is the norm. It is quite possible you will be marched outside to sober up in the rain simply for leaning on the bar. "Everybody does this in London" will not go down well by way of explanation, no matter how jokily it may be intended. The £2 entry charge becomes less reasonable the longer you spend inside.

Smell: Season-old shinpads.

Decor: Sumo's main, vain attempt to break up the dominant indie disco motifs of black painted walls and sticky carpets is to cover large areas of wall space with black and white pictures of callow young concert crowds, sharing an aesthetic resonance with Ezra Pound's imagist work
'In a Station on The Metro' . The faces are frozen in catatonic states of bliss, bewilderment or indifference, benign and oblivious to the events mostly not unfolding before them.

Refreshments: Cheap and nasty. The lager on tap is definitely something to avoid as it smells like piss and is only very slightly cooler in temperature.

Music Policy: Seperate rooms help to aggregate the worst horrors of the DJs' playlists. In the indie room there were odd occasions scattered across the night when it was possible dance to something which didn't make you feel dead inside. These were unerringly brief and followed by 'standards' from acts such as Oasis, The Killers and

Dancing: Drastically lacking in humour. A web of joyless circles, backs turned on each other.


Men: Young men adopt a contemporary variation of the Hijab skilfully crafted from their own straightened hair. There were so many helmets abroad that the dancefloor resembled a Sealed Knot recreation of the battle of Hastings at times. Worth further investigation if you're into Northern 'lad-rock'types, just.

Women: Thin on the ground. A gentleman's Field Mice t-shirt will definitely not recieve the recogntion it deserves. Lacking the self-assurance to share the smallest witticism or bon mot without recoiling as if from a phantom sexual attack. Stocky.

Physiognomy: The young men of the city create the disconcerting effect of having unusually small heads and comically over-developed torsos at the same time.

The authorities have the shit so locked down that police recently arrested a man for taking pictures of the council’s city centre Christmas lights. Violent tension around many of the city's nightspots was conspicuous by its absence.

Youth Culture: "Behind the times and playing it safe" J Phillips, Thurnby Lodge, Leicester

So there you have it. A few of the mundane eccentricites that came to light in Leicester, one of Britain's identikit, middle sized cities. Please share you're own experiences of the city with us. Promise to write again soon,

Lots of Love

Polish Ecstasy

x x x

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Saturday Big Race Preview: The Ladbroke Hurdle 14:40 Ascot.

For our first ‘Saturday Big Race Review’ our focus falls on Ascot's 14:35, The Ladbroke Hurdle. A relatively young race, it has been dominated since its inception by Nicky Henderson and Pipe Family horses. It was won last yeat by Sentry Duty who went on to have more successes in large field handicaps and appeared in last season's Champion Hurdle.

As will become traditional we will look at the race from two perspectives: those of 'The Form' and Ten Year (or eight year in this case) Trends.


From a form perspective there seem to be two races which hold the key to a better understanding of this race.

Firstly, the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham which was won on soft ground by Khyber Kim from Harry Tricker on his seasonal debut. The form of that race was given an almighty boost at the weekend when the Twiston-Davies trained hurdler (Khyber Kim) came late to outstay Paul Nicholls Champion Hurdle Prospect (and odds on favourite) Celestial Halo in the Boylesports International Hurdle. With Alan King’s Medermit occupying third place the form has a strong look to it. Harry Tricker a five length second that day is the ante-post favourite for the Ladbroke currently trading at around 6/1.European Dream who finished 6th that day also re-opposes on Saturday.

Harry Tricker has raced many times already this season (so therefore undeniably race-fit) and was arguably well in with the weights that day giving the winner over a stone and 5lbs to European Dancer. Nonetheless he is still on favourable terms with many of the likely protagonists with the 3lb (weight off) claim of Jockey Andrew Glassonbury. Additionally he will certainly not mind the soft going that may arise at Ascot.

Greatwood Hurdle 2nd Harry Tricker

The second race is 3:15 at Newbury last Saturday, an arguably weaker affair won by Nicky Henderson’s Fairyland. Frontier Dancer (2), Dani’s Girl (5), Gee Dee Nen (7) and Henderson’s Know The Law (unseated rider) all re-oppose on Saturday. Second to Sixth finished in a heap five lengths behind the victor and give the form a somewhat muddy complexion though it is notable that it was Frontier Dancer’s first run of the season. The winner had raced several times already this autumn and Frontier Dancer, who by all accounts needed the run will be the horse to take from this race. The only note of warning I would sound is that he has no winning form in the book on going worse than good to soft and the sole win on good to soft came in low class affair at Warwick.

Other horses with strong form which doesn’t lend itself easily to comparison are Paul Nicholls’ top-weight Pepe Simo and John Jo O’Neill’s Get Me Out Of Here. The latter’s run in a Newbury hurdle identical to lasts Saturday’s (two days earlier) was taken in a ponderous time, fully ten seconds slower than the one won by Fairyland. As race times are arguably less of a guide in National Hunt racing he is unexposed and as such could be open to further improvement.


Based on the trends from the past 10 years you are looking for a horse:

• Aged 5 to 7
• Finished in the first 3 last time and posted their highest RPR
• Carrying 10-9+
• Officially rated 122 to 136
• Run no more than once this season
• Run in 5 or less handicap hurdles
• Second season hurdler
• Favourites have a poor record in the race with only 1 winner and 1 place from 8 runnings. 7/8 winners have been priced between 7/1 and 14/1.

Trends indicate: Frontier Dancer, Tullamore Dew, Argento Luna, Mighty Moon,

Trends analysis: There are a few live contenders that miss out by virtue of being third season hurdlers such as David Pipe’s Mamlook (6th in this race last year). Of those highlighted Argento Luna could be worth a look but Frontier Dancer is the one stand out at a decent price (available at 12/1 across the board at the time of publishing).

Nigel Twiston-Davies' Frontier Dancer


An exceedingly tough race to call as there are numerous dark/unexposed horses lurking at close to an each way price. The two who I’ll highlight are Harry Tricker on the back of his Khyber Kim form and Frontier Dancer on the back of trend satisfaction and likely improvement.


Harry Tricker 1* 6/1 (best price advised 12:30 thursday 17th)
Frontier Dancer (each-way) 1* 12/1 (best price advised 12:30 thursday 17th)

You may rest assured that I will back each of my selections with 1 point equal to a dickens (£10).

Monday, 14 December 2009

Player Haterz: #1 Best Xbox games of 2009...

New to Polish Ecstasy is a regular gaming column where I will be hoping to bring the latest games, news and tips. To start this off I thought i’d bring you my top 5 xbox 360 games of the year. I realise there are several games I have missed off due to not playing yet, but once my royalty cheques stop bouncing I will be purchasing and reviewing Borderlands, Left for dead 2 and Assassins Creed 2.

1. Call of duty - Modern Warfare 2. Any game that can make my local MP, the scandal free Keith Vaz, angry due to the “level of violence and realism of the game” has to be at number one. Throw in the intense set-piece levels, double crossing sometimes crazy/confusing storyline, co-op spec ops mode and one of the most popular multiplayer games in history. The only downside to this game is getting rinsed in multiplayer by 12 year old rednecks for coming bottom of your team.

2. Skate 2. For many years Tony Hawks dominated the skate game market but trends changed from the ridiculous to the realistic tricks. Players wanted to do tricks that Eric Kostan, Mike Carroll and PJ Ladd do in their videos. Skate 2 brings this realism to a huge open world city with plenty of banks, ledges and rails to sesh when you are done with the story. Online modes are plentiful from challenges to free skate sessions, you can also film and edit your own tricks and lines to upload online (check the link for my efforts).

3. Fallout 3 - Point lookout (DLC). Fallout 3 came out in 2008 but Bethesda kept the game fresh by including new downloadable content. Point lookout is my favourite by a country mile. It is similar to the rest of the game in the sense of completing quests for XP and scavenging but this is more fun as you are battling inbred hillbillies, cult members and ghouls. One quest even requires you to do it on mind bending drugs.

4. Halo 3 ODST. It’s Halo but this time not as Master Chief. In this game you are playing as a rookie ODST who’s job is to find your team and piece together what happened in New Mombasa. In single player it requires a lot more stealth than the average Halo 3 player(i.e. dumb, racist, homophobic yank) is used to but when played in four playa co-op it is a lot more fun. Online it has a Firefight mode which is similar to Gears of war 2’s Horde Mode. I can only recommend this with three other friends as you’ll need them when cornered by a wave of flying brutes and chieftains.

5. Forza 3. Forza 2 was claimed to be the best driving game of all time, Forza 3 seems to have beaten this. The graphics are sharp, the number of cars and customisable options are huge. The tracks are based on real courses and do get a bit repetitive but this is offset by the inclusion of a rewind mode which helps you replay a bad section by rewinding to before it thus helping you to not have to redo the race. One main fun feature of this game is being able to tune, upgrade and customise your car to sell in the online auction house.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Holy Smoke: #1 Cohiba (Cigarettes)

In life's most profound moments of repose, leaning back on a comfortable chair after a heavy meal or sprawled-out, spent on your bedsheets a smoke seals the deal.

Holy Smoke is Polish Ecstasy's smoker's review. It will concentrate on cigarettes and rolling tobacco until such time as our palettes become sufficiently jaded to move into the world of cigars(for pleasure)or perish the thought, pipe smoking. This column is not for the haggard thirty a day man or woman but for those that smoke for pleasure, when the moment demands it.

#1 Cohiba Cigarettes

I made the discovery of this fine smoke one rainy evening in Knightsbridge a couple of months ago. Having arrived early for dinner and not wishing to dissolve under the downpour I strode across the road from my meeting point and past the doorman straight into the deep carpeted, womb-like warmth of Harrods. Wandering past the the perfumes and the footwear section I came to the tobacconist and stopped in, hoping to pick up something french. I ended up walking out with something a little more exotic. Cigarettes made by Cohiba (the famous Cuban cigar producer)supplied in a stylish black and old gold packet. Back outside I found a sheltered spot under the fabled department store's bottle green awnings to put them to the test.

It was pleasing to see that the tobacco described as Black. The term "Negrilles" ranks Cohibas as at least the equal in flavour strength to the dark brown "bruns" tobacco found in Gitanes or Gauloises Disque Bleu.

In the smoking they share many characteristics with their french cousins. Part-hollow filters are the order of the day with the richness and throat-warming effect common to strong cigarettes there in abundance, along with the faintly sulphuric odour. There is enough taste to cut through the richest of meals or mellow the taste of a post dinner Brandy.

Retailing at roughly what you would pay for a packet of Marlborough Shites in a railway station kiosk, their prolonged smoking is likely to bring about the deterioration of you health faster than your bank balance.

A small warning would be reserved for those that enjoy chain-smoking. The feeling in your torso after smoking a Cohiba Negrilles cigarette can be compared to eating one too many bowls of Trifle in that the thought of smoking another in the following few hours is unbearable.

Score: 8/10

Whilst smoking you might imagine yourself to be: Roberto Bolano (author), Garrincha(bow-legged genius).

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Return of Polish Ecstasy

The innocent day-dreams of springtime may have faded, bleached and dried by rays of fitful summer sunshine but as you hurry home through the gloom make sure you try your best to stay alert to new possibilities, for there, amongst the crisp packets and sodden autumn leaves you'll find one. Naked, tousled and glowing with the aura of rebirth, announcing itself not with a cry but with a wink and a smile...

Polish Ecstasy, the dilettante lifestyle font.

Polish Ecstasy will now be updated on a more regular basis with what will equate to the sum of all known wisdom on gambling, music, drinking, sartorial matters, cuisine and whatever else it is seen as fit that we enjoy so stay tuned x

From the front line...betting shop wisdom #1

#1 Follow Fehily

I was in the process of throwing fourty pounds down the drain in a Totesport down near the fountains in Bristol's city centre this weekend when I got to talking to a knowledgeable student of the form. He switched me on to a gem of punting info which I shall pass on to you.

When it comes to level stakes profit, Noel Fehily, Charlie Mann's stable jockey puts the superstar names of the sport to shame boasting around +£35 margin for all but one of ther last 4 seasons. His strike rate may be slightly lower than than some of the his more illustrious colleagues but when it comes to level stakes profit (+£19.56 this season)he easily outstrips Ruby Walsh (-£14.56)or AP McCoy (-£92.42!).


Monday, 2 March 2009

Skill vs Luck vs Instinct in the world of the horse racing gambler

The almost universally accepted standard mix Gin and Juice contains 2 oz. Gin, 2 oz. Grapefruit Juice, 3 oz. Orange Juice and 1 slice of Lime.

The gin and the grapefruit in equal measure, just a little more orange, the crescent of lime like a martian sunset, its a mix which has its undeniable symmetries and asymmetries. While its symmetries lend themselves to wilful, haphazard construction at the barbeque, the public house, the park or the club its asymmetries remind the mixer of the need for constant vigilance: to read and take note of the signs that the helpful night provides.

Whether the gambler can rely on such benevolence from the heady cocktail sloshing around somewhere southward of their own breast is another matter entirely. The measures are more arbitrary, the receptacle more unforgiving and most crucially there is only one single chance to get it right. Fortune itself is the hard liquor in this cocktail and its powerful intoxicating qualities are mixed with knowledge and instinct to taste. A corrosive concoction, it may lead to a gnawing feeling in the pit of of your stomach which, unlike in the case of more conventional beverages, cannot be relieved by vomiting into the nearest flowerpot. Instead you place your bet, take your odds and wait...


If its skill you want simply watch the finesse of touch and hair-trigger timing of Choc Thornton when bringing an out and out stayer through to beat a classier horse (as he did with Medermit against Dee Ee Williams not so long ago http://racingpost.com/horses/result_home.sd?race_id=470755&r_date=2008-12-19&popup=yes).

Turn not to the punter, for there is little bewitching skill involved in horse selection, only an accumulation of knowledge and its application.

Much in the same way as a plumber or electrician is considered to be skilled by the layman, a knowledgeable punter maybe convey an aura of "skill" to the mug or the favourite backer when giving reasons for his selections. Upon closer examination one must agree that our tradesman friends and punters both use knowledge filtered through logic to find the solution to the question that presents itself and that this is something essential to how human beings survived in the world rather than a craft beyond most ordinary mortals.

Learn all that you can of form: jockeys, courses, trainers, trainers at courses, jockeys with trainers for it will stand you in good stead. Above all respect C&D (course and distance) stats as these are the holy grail in form terms (which is why after last year's capitualtion on the famous hill this punter will not be steaming into Binocular for this year's Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham) .

"What about the intricate systems of the professional gamblers and spread bettors" you say? "surely there must be skill involved there?" You've got this all wrong - for these people are businessmen not gamblers and as such should be seen only as the penny pinching cowards that they are.

Though it may seem that talking of studying the form as a practice devoid of skill denigrates the nobility of the gambler and the gamble this is far from the case, for there is skill aplenty required to gain mastery of the whirlwind of competing variables, nagging paranoia and crippling fear of financial ruin and still finally reach the transcendent level of emotional equilibrium required to deposit £20 on the nose.


An elusive beast in gambling as in everyday life, luck is most often seen covetously, knocking around with other, less deserving people. A beautiful girl inexplicably entangled with someone no less if not slightly more of a fool than yourself for instance, or the enduring popularity of Razorlight. Luck cannot be relied upon to make itself known when it is present, to ease you up when you’re poor or to cheer you up when you’re down. In your favour its manifestations will often provide only very relative comforts like being told you are "cute" by someone you want to have sex with or not being flattened by a tram when lost in Croydon.

'They say I shot a man named Gray and took
his wife to Italy/She inherited a million bucks
and when she died it came to me/I can't help it
if I'm lucky.'

From 'Idiot Wind' by Bob Dylan ('Blood on the Tracks' LP)

It may interest those who are not particularly well versed on the life and times of the great man that 'Blood on the Tracks' dealt with the heart-rending break-up from Dylan's then wife, Sara Lownds. Try to imagine the taste of bitter irony contorting his mouth into a wry smile as he sings 'I can't help it if I'm lucky'...you now have a good grasp of the gambler's relationship with the concept of luck. Every joyful explosion of good fortune is sharpened by the memory of past despairs, for every great win there will always be times that you are down, when the shoo-ins came nowhere or when the great horses pushed their/your luck one race to far.

As luck can only be seen to be evident in hindsight or from outside a situation the more scientifically minded of you might be tempted to say that it doesn't exist.

Having said this if my (seemingly now hopeless) pre-christmas, ante-post Cheltenham four timer with Kalahari King, Ballyfitz, Starluck and Simarian cops then the whim of a benevolent universe will be the only possible explanation.


Instincts, those primal forces that surge up from our loins, course through our veins and crackle across what may be left our screen sozzled, booze boggled brains. They can be held up as all that is natural, unmitigated and animal in man but in we, the modern humanity, they are massaged, subverted, perverted and exploited by the endless streams of words and pictures that swim like schools of fish on retainers past our ears and around our eyes.

While I would not advocate a return to the bad old days of cock or dog fighting, the violence, noise and oppressive atmosphere made it a gamble you could not consider without gut feelings aflame and as such a situation whereby your punting instincts were more plausibly and viscerally interwoven with reality.

In the modern gambling sphere the average punter is divorced from the action, watching it beamed through a screen via satellite from another part of the world. When viewed this way the relevance of instinct must be doubted. It is a bodily reaction, a stirring in the gut that is robbed (unless one is in attendance of the race or game) of any physical bond with the events about to unfold. You cannot sense the mood, taste the air or really definitively tell if the horse has a sweaty arse hole* unless you are right there! Any instincts which you feel across across the telewaves must surely be relatively spurious?

I can offer from recent punting memory an inditement of instinct as a gambling tool. It came when I settled down with a young lady friend of mine to watch the Henessey Gold Cup at Newbury earlier this season. I had long fancied two horses for the race. One was (what now seems completely inexplicably) Nicky Henderson's Oedipe on the nose and the other was an each way punt on David Pipe's Madison Du Berlais. Pipe's horse had come fourth the previous year in the race won by the subsequent Gold Cup winner Denman and in comparison this year's race was not a vintage renewal. I went down to Angel's cafe for my traditional gambling breakfast of liver, bacon and fried onions and disastrously failed to take the 50/1 about MDB in favour of some other no hoper who had entered suddenly into my thoughts as I polished off the yoke with what was left of a fried slice. Of course Madison romped it, leaving Oedipe abosolutely nowhere to be seen and me over three ton out of pocket. Being someone not prone to outwardly manifest outbursts of rage the anger which I turned in upon myself had nothing in common with the noble instincts of other members of the animal kingdom. Gambling can hit you like a drug and in this case the drug was most probably crack.

Untrammelled instincts hastened the fall of Rome and if they are allowed too free a rein in gambling life they will have no trouble in bringing down empires far less glorious. Nevertheless it is instinct that leads us to gamble in the first place and so gamble we shall.

In Conclusion

Some may say the gambler can take comfort from the fact that in his card for the next race, which contains a pre-agreed number of options (subject to non-runners) the world with its maddeningly infinite highways and byways is subdued, simplified and digestible. Yet we know gambling to be just as much about what Pete Doherty in a moment of clarity reminded us was the 'rapture of vertigo, and letting go'.

From this short examination of the relative merits of skill, luck and instinct we can conclude two things: firstly that the aid proffered by the three varies from non-existent to mildly helpful or extremely useful/useless with hindsight; and furthermore that regardless we shall continue to gamble lured back time and again by a profound feeling for our medium, for fate and for romance.

* This is a genuine tip for telling if a horse is not going to be up for it from my Aunt Teresa, an avid racegoer for many a year.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Best Vs Crystal - Part 1

Word reached us of the troubles on Holloway Road so we sent local resident Oliver Jakeman to find out the true story.

In N19 there is a war, a bubbling rivalry which threatens to divide all those who reside within the locus of the post code. Like a roundhead or cavalier, both factions fight to be the most prominent and dominant force in their land. Kebab land that is. The question is - is Best best? Or does Crystal shine brighter than its’ boastful neighbour?

I walked into Crystal around 6pm on a Wednesday and the first thing that strikes you is how busy it is. The men behind the counter move in sweaty unison, like hirsute synchronized swimmers, as meat sizzles and sears on the traditional charcoal grill. The heady aromas of hard graft and meat are overpoweringly delicious and send my stomach into a frenzy.

I took a seat in one of the corners of the restaurant. On a bright green wall hung a wonderful picture that I would pay to come and see alone, never mind eat anything. The image, depicting a loud Technicolor landscape with prancing house and moving waterfall, really blew my socks off and left me feeling hungry, don't ask why.

The menu is considerably less colorful than the decor of this little north London gem, and reads something like this: meat, meat,meat, stew, baklava, humous, and more meat. While choosing my meat I am presented a basket of flatbread, chilli and yoghurt sauce by a glum but pretty waitress. While I nibbled at the bread that same waitress (with what I think was a smile, but it might have been indigestion) came to take my order of a crystal special with rice and a can of coke - all of which came to a grand total of £9. Don't be put off the price, there is so much meat that I began to sweat just at the sight of it. From left to right of the plate sat two adana kebabs (a sort of spicy sausage of minced lamb resembling two of King Kong's fingers), next to that a plentiful portion of doner meat, sheesh kabab, pork chops salad and rice. The food does exactly what it says on the tin: it's filling and full of flavor but that's what you come to expect in any kebab shop, well the filling part at least. But it's the atmosphere here that makes me want to come back; there's a hum of happiness which emanates from the pores of every customer filling the air with a content smell. As I pay the bill I'm given a piece of baklava on a tooth pick - a nice touch which only emphasizes the sweet taste which i already had in my mouth.

Crystals has a new fan and its left me thinking that Best kebab is going to have to live up to it's name if it's compete with this power house of the kebab world.

Part 2 coming soon.

Young love and Mexican riots - A conversation with Blaine from the Mystery Jets

We spoke to Blaine from the Mystery Jets about music, future plans and more importantly the winner for the Cheltenham Gold cup.

You have had your fair share of ups and downs last year but what was your highlight?

I guess what I enjoyed most over the past year or so has been the band going to places we have never been before. It sounds kind of obvious, but seeing the wider world through the eyes of a touring band is a pretty surreal and addictive. We recently turned up in mexico to a mini riot because we had cancelled a show due to the promoter underestimating the demand for tickets. We rescheduled a last minute radio show with an audience and it saved the day. The whole thing kind of blew our minds. There are places like that (and japan and singapore) where there are is a sort of cult like obsession with all that is english.

What have you got planned for this year? Are you planning to release a new single/album?

Well we keep on saying 'right, this is it, one more show then we are gonna focus on the new album', but it seemingly never stops. We're going back to mexico in a week, then we plan to fit in some demo time. We signed to rough trade in February too, so i think they are keen that we knuckle down to it sooner rather than later, which to be fair is want we all really want to do to. we’ve already got half the record id say, but just haven’t had the time to work it out as a band.

What new bands have you came across that we should checkout?

We had a band support us called the dig in New york who were awesome. kind of like dirgy swampy groove music. One of the coolest things i’ve heard in a while was a preview of switch and Diplo's new record. Its a project called Major Lazer and came about from the time they spent in jamaica working with local kids and local celebrities. Its like a fidget take on dancehall, which in turn is being inspired by western dance music itself. I think it will blow some minds.

What are you listening to at the moment?

A lot of springsteen, late police, the cars, i guess in a way what you’d call driving music, which is kind of a hint to the the direction i'd say some of our new stuff is going down. I want to make a record which you will put in your car and never take out. If all goes to plan it will still be in there when your car gets re-traded or sold off for parts in some ten years time. We'll get there.

Alas Agnes is in my top 10 favorite songs of all time, is there any plans to use the ramshackle percussion more prominently again?

Thats kind of you to say, but to me doing something which is unfamiliar to us is going to produce much more inspired and interesting results than resorting back to sounds and things we have used in the past. We still play Agneslive and I still respect the singles off making Dens, but we're kind of in a different headspace right now. I don’t really wake up and think about how to write songs about transexuals anymore. Weirdly.

I’ve known you for a few years now Blaine, are you ever going to play in Peterborough?

You know i dont even know what or where exactly peterborough is. My guess is it’s a mid to large-sized/market town somewhere between leicester and york, but im probably way off. To be honest, in my experience the more effort you put into visiting places which are out of the way, the more of a response you get back. But saying that, I don’t know if I want to be doing any more pub tours again. I’m kind of over playing on stages where your feet stick to the carpet and your twatting your bass player in the face every 5 minutes with your guitar because your pedal boxes are on fucking top of each other. But in principle, yes. Bring it on.

Can you pick a winner for the Cheltenham Gold cup and we'll put a bluey each way on for you?

Imperial commander, you cant lose with a name like that.