The Darkness – Pinewood Smile 6th October 2017

A sure, steady thumping bass welcome to Pinewood Smile is a goosebumpingly familiar and comforting preface to the expected and equally comforting explosion of vocals and guitar. Welcome in, indeed. The curtains snap open on the fifth album from The Darkness, leaving little doubt about the players on this musical stage. A little siren wail demands complete attention to the smallest detail of the show.

Curtains open, a plethora of scenes unfold. Emotions run from the joyous to perplexed, from sensuous to apoplectic, self-doubt to confidence and several in between – often in the one song. One should never ever take a Darkness song at face value. The music willfully belies the lyrics at times, and the lyrics bite as well as lift and soothe. A ballad as sweetly rendered as ‘Why Don’t The Beautiful Cry?’ lulls, but beauty and ugliness are not always straightforward. ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ is a rollocking rock romp, ending in choral and chord bliss, but who else would include Klaus in singalong opera? Bared souls meet bared arseholes (of all types) in this anthology of poetry.

Plots the long-term and acquainted alike will grasp securely are revealed by ‘All The Pretty Girls’, ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Southern Trains’. ‘Solid Gold’ holds that glorious ‘fuck you’ attitude long held by the band towards a good many things, and here again for the Industry. The word ‘repertoire’ has probably not before sounded so much like ‘repeat twat’. The song has become a fan favourite already because it’s damn catchy, damn sweary, and because fans of The Darkness were at the ‘fuck you’ stage before their collision with the band. Or, they’ve achieved it on the journey. Speaking of journeys, ‘Southern Trains’ gives a much deserved smack to the gonads of a hated British ‘travel’ stalwart. ‘Up Yours’ style in the unlikely protest medium of impeccable heavy rock works rather well. I don’t know if The Darkness thought it would attract so much press, but the tabloids and broadsheets alike have paid it due attention at an opportune moment. ‘All The Pretty Girls’ is a fine mix of bewilderment at the choice of companionship available and sharp acknowledgement of the reasons.

‘Lay Down With Me, Barbara’ – a beautifully sensual, finely observed bundle of easy listening and tenderness coupled with the actual world – as always, Darkness lyrics anchor their higher ideals to normality in oddly endearing and relatable ways. ‘Happiness’ stomps rockness through and over 60’s harmony pop with the effect of both on your feet, endorphins and voice. ‘I Wish I Was In Heaven’ is born to make a jumping gig crowd the Heaven of choice – With You, naturally. ‘Stampede of Love’’s country blues touches butter up for a stonking firework display of sound. ‘Buccaneers of Hispaniola’ adds a touch of piracy to the proceedings with cheerful headbanging swashbuckling. That would be a catsuit and a half…

The music, either blasting or rippling as the vignettes unravel, is an unveiling. The Darkness have always been very very good at what they do. This is, though, a step forward in many respects. The production of harmonies and instrument layering are intense and almost orchestral in their own right. Justin’s voice has strengthened in the mid ranges without losing the impact of his gorgeously decadent forays into the upper reaches of the rock register. On the first album since his joining, Rufus stamps his presence and influence with assured drumming, on equal terms with the exceptional riffs and solos ripped from Dan and Justin’s guitars, and the deep booming pleasure paths wrought from Frankie’s bass.

The familiar and signature sound is here, both instrument and vocal, with a sureness that was certainly not absent before but now more explicit. Confidence heralded the weaving of other styles and tempos to create something wholly but sometimes differently Darkness. Full appreciation of the myriad deft touches will not come instantly, regardless of whether it’s love at first track listen or not. Those softer, slower interludes are a beauty in their own right, creating tales of their own in the midst of full on Darkness.

The telling of dramas is a masters’ craft of varied interpretation and performance where words alone will never suffice. What have The Darkness ever done but create vivid multimedia, multisensual miniatures of humanity?

Apart, of course, from rocking the bollocks off everyone and thing they come across.

Pinewood Smile is available from Ireland, Europe, UK and US tour dates announced. 

Justin Hawkins and De La Soul

De La Soul have a new album out – ‘and the Anonymous Nobody’ – which should be good news for anyone, quite frankly.
Even lovelier news for Darkness fans is that Justin Hawkins features on the track ‘Lord Intended’ – it’s stupendous. Soaring all over the place, guitars and vocals – a gorgeous display of a song.

This is from De La Soul’s YouTube channel, and you can buy it on iTunes etc. Personally I’d get the whole album, because De La Soul are quite superb.


This is the second biopic I’ve seen in the last year. Not usually my thing, I’m not a huge fan of sitting still for a couple of hours, but I make the effort sometimes. The first one I went to see was Control – Ian Curtis of Joy Division. That was an essay in quiet, crushing hopelessness, shot in black and white, funny and grim in equal parts, like the decade it covers.

Telstar, though, is in glorious colour.  It reflects its times perfectly – full of life, new things, discoveries and experimentation. Joe Meek, pioneer producer, is right at the heart of the early 60’s  new mania for pop music – something to DO for the ‘young’, now that they had money in their pockets and time to do things in. Post war austerity seemingly at an end, excesses of every kind kicked in. My impressions, then:

Joe Meek’s excesses were myriad. Work consumed his life, and he consumed the lives of others in his quest for hits, for perfection, for the ideal. He had a ‘family’ around him who could see his genius and worked for it, because they believed in him. He had talent and dedication. What he also had was a sizeable drug habit, in the days when pills were taken like sweets. He already had the arrogance of talent, the conviction that he was always right, and a healthy dose of latent paranoia. Not surprising, given that being homosexual was a dangerous thing to be, back then. We forget. It didn’t make him careful though, because he was arrested in an entrapment that surely never would have stood up in court these days.

That, in the film, seems to have been a turning point, though things had been going wrong already. Meek was a disaster of a businessman. He could not or would not see his own failings, preferring to blame others.  His descent into mania was triggered by so many things – drugs, lack of success, huge money problems,  what he saw as desertion by those he trusted and loved. His drive for perfection cost him a good deal of sanity, as well as friends.  Manipulative, high handed, cruel and given to taking advantage, goodwill ran out for even the most patient.  There’s no sycophantic heroworship going on, on screen. That’s in the story.  

And the bitter irony –  he destroyed those who stood by him to the end. His landlady whom he murdered, and his lover Patrick, who was arrested for that and Meek’s own suicide. Three more weeks… three more weeks and his life would have been so different. Royalties paid, he could have gone on. If he’d gone to work at Apple – who knows what he could have achieved there.

This film is far darker than Control, in my view. The calmness of depression is replaced by the constant action of mania. The effects of pressure are more easily seen, as the instant reactions are on the surface of the man. The film’s  jumping about from flashback to reality to future (or even sideways) heightens that impression. The closed, shuttered, claustrophobic studio, seems to me to be a metaphor for Meek’s mind – look how he reacts when the sun is let in.  The cast played a blinder. They all gave everything in their performances, utterly believable. It’s the situations they were in that weren’t, but it all happened.

Just because I am who I am, I can’t  write this without mentioning Mr Hawkins’ screen debut. Only on the screen for a short time, he made the most of it. He certainly has a presence – well done, Justin. In fact (which is not related to the fact that Justin is in them) the scenes he is in are the only ones that jarred within the film. They in themselves are fine, but I didn’t think they were very well integrated with the rest. The introductions of Billy Fury, Gene Vincent etc were much smoother.      

Go and see it if you can. Joe Meek gave British music a legacy that cannot be ignored.

Soccer Six(sister) 2009

Chelsea FC, 24.5.09

I quite like Soccer Six. I like football, so that’s usually win/win. A day out, and some interesting sights on the pitch. Cool! I had a great time last year. It was at Millwall’s New Den, and after finally getting my press pass, I was allowed on the pitch, got to talk to some of the teams, took some great photos. When the camera wasn’t blowing up, of course.

So, with high hopes, new camera, voice recorder and some sarnies, I set off at the ungodly hour of 6.45. On arrival at CFC, though, chaos seemed to be the order of the day. My name wasn’t on the press list (again) so lucky I took my email with me. I got a gold wristband, and was sent upstairs. That seemed to be the VIP stand… why was I up here then? Back downstairs, and a helpful Samaritans lady pointed me to the press area.

THAT was a complete disappointment. It was half of the East Stand, including the dugout. The pitchside floor level is lower than the pitch itself, handy if you’re not quite 5′ and the barrier is quite high! So, only celebrities that played on that quarter of the pitch were within reach of my camera. I did go back up the stand a little way, but it wasn’t great. Not enough zoom. You needed a camera the size of me to get anything on the far side. Most of the blokes there were professionals and had all the goods. There was no chance of getting any soundbites from anyone either. There were promises that celebs would be brought over to the press, but I didn’t see that happen. No press were allowed anywhere else in the stadium, either. That put paid to my visiting the other Justin fans on the West side.

Some one did tell me there was a press room, with drinks – but when I asked, the press room turned out to be the kit room for the day – all the teams were going in to pick theirs up from there. Oops.

It wasn’t looking very good, until I saw familiar faces in the stand upstairs. I went back up – after a few trials and errors, I ended up in a service lift to the right floor! There wasn’t any direct access between floors, and after that I had to come out of the stadium and back in again through Reception.    Anyway, I did find people to talk to, thank goodness!

I watched some football. Most of it wasn’t very good – if the girls’ teams carry on playing like that, I’ll bloody well get on the pitch myself. WHO wears their hair in a beehive  to play? False eyelashes? Girls – you looked ridiculous, and made girls’ football look silly as well. Yes, I know it was for charity, and credit’s due to them for playing.  Didn’t stop me holding my head in my hands – being an ex player I suppose I’m a bit biased. It was dirty as well, out there!

The men did better, there were some good moves and a few skills out there. Justin played well, but not for long enough to get really into his stride.  He wants to play every week now, so if you need a player… His Telstar team were knocked out in the group stages.  Next year, it’s gonna be  Trojan Football.  Justin’s already fit, looking well and healthy, so the smart money’s on Team Hot Leg to dazzle and beguile. (Although that might be before kick off :D)

This really is a fantastic event. The teams, the games, the charity, everything. This year, with no access to any other part of the ground or to the players, it just felt like a corporate event. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone! If you didn’t have a professional camera or a TV one, it wasn’t fun. If I hadn’t seen those faces up above, I’d have been there on my own all day, 3 hour journey each way, and had nothing to show for it. I’d probably have gone home much earlier.

There WERE Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson lookalikes, though.

There was a Press donation of £25 payable. That’s a lot when you don’t have an expense account, and I didn’t know about it until two days before. I don’t begrudge donating to Samaritans – but for what I got that was useful from it, I’d have been better off in the West stand with my friends, with a normal ticket. I got my press pass to report for the fans, dammit, not to flog my pictures to magazines and newspapers!

Thanks, Chelsea, for really not making things easy.  From what I heard, the  disabled area wasn’t so great either. Although the stewards were apparently pretty good, it’s not handy if people keep coming to stand in front of  the wheelchairs, is it?

Soccer Six and the Samaritans had nothing to do with any of the niggles. They do a great job. Can we go back to informal, next year, please?


Hot Leg – Red Light Fever

Tongue tied is not my normal state. I do rabbit on, and when I’m reviewing something I get all flowery. I like words – but this time, they haven’t liked me and this particular review has taken AGES to write. Knowing what you want to say and not being able to do it is just the pants… Got there in the end!


Hot Leg. Début album. Doormat. Mad rush to electrical appliance – open the envelope, stupid girl! Insert contents, turn power on, settle back for ten intense bursts of bliss. Repeat as necessary.


I’ve got, in my hands and ears, songs to melt to. I’m lucky – I’ve heard all of them more than once live, except for Kissing in the Wind. I know them, recognise them, they’re virtually godchildren!  Wasn’t at their conception, of course, I missed out on the messy bits. It’s very different when you have a nice undistorted sound. Nobody’s shouting in my ear, I’m not trying to take photos and I don’t need to worry about being able to see. I can just relax and truly listen. And yes – to those who asked – I like it. Love it. 


There’s more layers than I’m used to hearing, both instruments and voice. Some vocals are startlingly choral, like in Chickens, and there are layers of Justin’s voice everywhere. His singing swoops and soars as it ever has done, more easily I think. It sounds more assured. There’s more mid-range singing, which I’ve always liked.  Kissing in the Wind and Ashamed are prime examples. Speaking of Ashamed – the nation’s future anti populist tv protest song – there’s a glorious brief moment when Beverlei Brown’s voice slips in beside his, and the two are inseparable until she takes off on her own. Her smooth depth of tone match his beautifully – it was a surprise first time to realise it wasn’t Justin. I want more of that! She makes it sound so easy, dammit.     


I suppose you expect me to eulogise about the guitar playing? Quite right too. Well, it’s as brilliant and beautifully executed as you’d expect. Whatever the flavour – rock solos, bluesy intros, delicate fingering in Trojan Guitar – it’s spot on. Keyboards are prominent – lovely synth in Chickens made me smile – and piano in Kissing in the Wind. You’re not going to get an album without those in!  There’s often a heavy pounding rhythm, bringing Man Rock down to deep and dirty under those deceptively catchy bits that are more Velcro than hooks. You’ll find changes of tempo within songs rather than across the album as whole, but there’s plenty of variety.

I’m not going to dwell on The Darkness. If you hear TD in this from time to time, why should it be a surprise? Some songs were written in 2002, right back in the hard slog days. Justin wrote and recorded this album, working on it for months before Hot Leg were finalised. The future writing will be interesting, collaborating with the rest of Hot Leg.


Have a very careful listen to the lyrics. Ponder them. Draw your own conclusions where you need to. Love songs have realities embedded in them – you can’t have slush without slipping on it sometimes. Prima Donna and Trojan Guitar have their own histories and meanings. However you read them, it’s obvious that Justin’s lyrical adroitness isn’t a flash in the pan. A word or two can change the entire point, feel and thrust of a sentence or song. In Kissing in the Wind, it’s one consonant. That song could be as much about Justin’s fans as the lover it addresses, to my mind. Can’t wait to hear it live.  


Apart from I’ve Met Jesus, which has been top banana since I first heard it, I can’t pick out songs to put above others. They all have something that delights or intrigues. Any disappointments? No. I think I might have preferred to have Extraordinary Woman rather than Chickens, I rather like that song. And Come Into My Arms – mmm, yes, then Cupboard Love and Automa… can’t have too much of a good thing. Albums should have B-sides!  The main problem with the whole album? Listening to it in comfort, I’ve discovered I’ve been singing lyrical bollocks of my own devising all these months. Oops *blush*. 


Red Light Fever inflames the senses, it’s true. Drives one to sing and dance, headbanging (can you airheadbang?), and if you’re DEFINITELY alone in the house, striking silly poses at the same time as the above.  Are these not indicators of truly good music? No? Then music’s not fun any more. I want Rock with a bit of life about it, some humour, reality and one or two things to ponder. And some Man, just to spice it up a bit.


Red Light Fever is  out on 9th February 2009, and  available from ,, and . Townsend have a bundle offer on the next single Cocktails, out on 23rd February. They also have the red vinyl LP version.


Track Listing:

1. Chickens
2. You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore
3. Ashamed
4. I’ve Met Jesus
5. Trojan Guitar
6. Cocktails
7. Gay In The 80s
8. Prima Donna
9. Whichever Way You Wanna Give It
10. Kissing In The Wind

SixSister on Tour – Hot Leg and Hot Nights


Justin Hawkins’ first gig since the demise of The Darkness, with his new band. Proud Galleries, Camden, August 6th. That was my goal as  I set out on an overly airconditioned train to the heats of the capital. After a few false starts, I ended up in the pub with like-minded eccentrics, having got changed at Liverpool Street Station. I can’t drink, I find, or eat much. Too hot, and I’m nervous for the lad.


WTF is this ticketing arrangement? If I’ve bought a ticket I don’t really want to have to wait whilst my name is found on a list of people who’ve bought tickets, at the door… Boo hiss to that, on both nights.


Once in, I wander around a lot, bumping into a lot of people and having a natter. Can’t really stay still though till it’s time to take my place (and camera) at the front. Tonight I can’t watch the support, even if Justin excitedly informs me (again!) that he produced them. Tomorrow, I will.


The crowd here is pretty much partisan. Most are the faithful, or on the 200 strong guest list of family and friends. The rest are press, and with a few exceptions (Mr Price, I mean you) are felt to be rather parasitic. Hyenas, even. We’ll ignore them, mostly, shall we? That’s ever been the way of darklings. Here in this room is gathered an enormous amount of goodwill, affection and hope – for the whole band, but mostly for Justin. It is an emotional moment for very many in the crowd.


He bounds onto the stage, plain black shirt and tight trousers of the kind that he was born to wear. Blonder than ever, looking good and healthy and fit. The rest of the band are similarly clad in jeans that surely must have been sewn on, and all in the headbands that HL followers have been giggling over for weeks.


From the minute they start with ‘Theme from Hot Leg’ to set the scene of defiance and mayhem, it’s pretty clear that this will be FUN. It’s a nervous start, with understandable tensions. I don’t imagine that having photographers up your nose for the first three songs really helps your concentration or nerves. Doesn’t help the audience either, dammit! Caught in the glee of rocking out, it’s not an issue though. After the lenses have gone, relaxation sets in and Justin settles in to his natural habitat. That’s the defining moment, when Justin became JUSTIN again. From then on, it was showtime. He’s lost nothing of his talent, presence and tricks. The tight jeans are revealed as slutpants when the shirt comes off, as well as a pair of startling manpants – yellow and hotpink. Lord above, boy, wear low rise thongs… knickers made of kiddy sweets are a bit much for one of my age. The tennis outfit proves popular too. I swear, there’s no VPL on my photos… Plenty of superb new and old tatts, though.


Back to the music. Most of the songs were familiar to those who’ve been around for a fair while, and engendered a fair amount of singing along. They’re all damn catchy anyway, so it’s possible to join in after a chorus. Try it!  ‘Trojan Guitar’ is better live, I think, but Justin’s songs generally are – you need to bop, and in company is better. ‘I’ve met Jesus’ is a real jump about anthem – in fact, so many of them are! ‘Heroes’ too. The two versions of ‘Power of Love’ (Jennifer Rush, Huey Lewis and the News) create surprise, grins, and singing. All good things. The big surprise is ‘IBIATCL’ – Justin starts a speech about being away for a while, and we listen intently, expecting a quite emotional round of thank you’s and the like – but true to form, he does nothing the usual way, and the band launch into The Darkness’ tour de force. The crowd goes wild, and then, it’s all over. Far too soon, because it was a breathless rollercoaster of manrock, manpop, and mansweat.  Yes, it is Darknessy. Some of those songs were written back in TD’s early days. They have the hooks, and the voice that overlays everything IS the voice of TD, so the comparisons are hardly unexpected. It rocks harder than people will expect though. Tough, bright guitarwork ensures that, and the Powerzone keep the  


 Hot Leg, then, are perfectly suited to each other. Consummate professionals all, they’re not kids starting out and learning their trade, and it shows. They’re as tight as their trousers musically, and their stagecraft finely honed. This quartet are most definitely on the same  wavelength. Somehow, Justin is a star, but not THE star. He has a rival in straightfaced silliness in Pete, and in Sam, a bundle of energy and rock jumps to compete with. Darby’s drumming is assured and beautifully energetic. Samuel J Stokes, a fine bassist, is going to find himself with a little flock of Samlings, thanks to that wicked grin in an otherwise fairly demure demeanour. Pete indeed does have liquid hands. He’s FAST! And knows his stuff. There’s not many who can touch him – the accolades I’ve read about his playing aren’t hype. The ego that Justin was labelled with and fell prey to during his problems isn’t going to be nearly so much in evidence from now on, I feel. However, Justin remains true to his innate daftness, and the others share it. The stage set pieces flow naturally, and the incidentals fit together like a jigsaw.


Tonight was a triumphant return by Justin to show that he can still do it. There’s not much doubt about that, he can. Now that the first gig is over, the worries and the nerves about those first few steps back onto a stage he left so precipitiously, it’ll get even better.


Birmingham Barfly 7th August. After little sleep, thanks to the King’s Cross pile drivers, it’s off to Brum. More quick changes, then time for a leisurely stroll to the venue and to the pub to wait. The venue opened late, and it was raining, so there weren’t many happy bunnies in our part of the queue. Pish. Funny how you need a wee more, when it’s raining…  I did catch Saving Aimee. A rock indie boy band? They have a lot of energy, they know what they’re doing, and they’ll grow into this, I’m sure. Justin’s influence is very much there to be heard in their songs. Good luck to them.          

The crowd is not filled with friends and families tonight, so it will be tougher. There are some familiar faces from last night, though. From the minute they arrive on stage, the difference from last night’s performance is obvious. Justin owns the stage from the minute he steps onto it, and the crowd about a minute later. This gig is far less fraught, and relaxing and enjoying is the order of the day. The band’s rapport shines through yet again – they are a close-knit unit. Hot Leg’s serious musicianship and giddy, breathless, funfilled delivery are a delight, in so many ways.


Highlights – Rita Peachey, aged 71, was invited onto the stage after Justin had received a letter from her. She hadn’t been able to listen to music properly since Justin left TD, and missed him badly… until one day, the redoubtable Mr Peachey tossed a newspaper in her direction with the words ‘He’s back!’. She now has the kind of memories she can treasure forever. Take heart, ye young rockers. Your time will come!  As well as that, Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’ appeared unexpectedly from nowhere, which went down a storm. I’m sure that wasn’t played for me, no. Oh, and Sam being carried off stage. That was a moment…  The gig also contained a very public and very sincere dedication to Sue Whitehouse – thanks, respect and acknowledgement. 

By the time we got to the rendition of IBIATCL, Hot Leg had the crowd in their pocket, with their own creation, talent and energy – as last night, and as it was for the remaining two nights. They don’t need this song, though. It’s not what people came to hear, it’s not  going to be their springboard. It was, however, bloody good to hear again live. It doesn’t bother me that he’s singing it. But when you’re already standing on your own two (eight) feet before anyone knows that you’ll play it, it doesn’t need to be a must on the set list.


And so endeth my short tour. Manchester was by all accounts the crowning glory of the four dates, the coming together of all those good things. Glasgow had a crowd that was wanting to be impressed, but I think it was managed in the end. More Hot Leg is on the horizon, but not yet confirmed. Manrock launched, ahoy!


Many thanks to: Hot Leg, Mr Paige, Karl, and the legends that I was pleased to meet.    



 More photos available on album 1  and 2




Justin Hawkins bares his Hot Leg(s)

Justin Hawkins has quietly launched his new band onto the calm waters of MySpace and Facebook – no fanfare, no fuss. Expect, though, for this to change when all is fully revealed, because the press will create one anyway. All we have so far is a lineup and a promise of rockmelted faces. A smidgeon of music and gig dates are to follow – August is the official launch eta. Given the response to the mere hint of his new music, it’ll be a sizzling summer.

After months of recording and working on other projects, Justin gathered his fellow rockmen to the sanctuary known as Hot Leg:

Lead guitar: Last piece of the jigsaw to be gently eased into place was Pete Rinaldi – he plays such a mean guitar that Justin has made him lead. He is generally referred to as being exceptionally gifted, and Hot Leg’s description bodes well – ‘Liquid Guitar Hands’! If anyone wants to admire his work, try Adam (yes, Rick’s son) Wakeman’s Headspace – their EP ‘I Am’ was released in February 2008. He has written and played mandolin and guitar for Cass Fox on her album ‘Come Here’ in 2005. He was also a member of Pauline Taylor’s band, releasing CDs in 2007. His song ‘Cutie Pie’ features on the CDs of Brooklyn artist adee. 2007 was a busy year – he also joined One EskimO following the departure of their guitarist.

On bass – Samuel SJ Stokes, half of the Powerzone. LA based, via Dublin, London and Oxford, he rocked out in The Thieves to critical acclaim. After spending a few years in LA recording, gigging, and building a studio, he’s now moved back to London to be part of Hot Leg.

The drumming half of the Powerzone is Darby Todd. He has worked with (nicked off MySpace, the list is huge)… Derek Nash, Winston Blissett, Dave Ital, Tim Cansfield, Arden Hart, Jerry Springer (no, really!!), Andy Newmark, Phil Mulford, Pete Adams, Gary Moore, Buddy Whittington, Papa George, Bobby Tench, Mickey Moody, Derek Mc Entyre, Otto Williams, John Noyce, Neil Angilly, Mike Post, Thomas Lang, Pete Freezin, Steve Houghton, Dennis Rollins. Protect the Beat, a jazz/funk outfit, is one of his main UK projects. His other work includes West End shows and TV, as well as teaching.

Aaaand… Justin Hawkins. Singer, showman, guitarist, not always in that order. He is best known as The Darkness’ frontman and providing their main songwriting thrust, but has written for TV,, and done a spot of film acting in Telstar, yet to be released.

The sweet high silver notes of rock are BACK.

This project has been going on for some time, and now Justin finally has the band he wanted to back up the music he’s been working on. Expect a lot of rocking and face melting to be happening before too long. By the looks of things, everyone’s very pleased, happy, and being silly. Just the way we like it. More news as it comes.

Do it in the Dark – Justin Hawkins

by Jo

Justin’s latest work for charity took us by surprise and the goolies – he kept this fairly quiet, but now it’s up on his myspace. It’s all in aid of a brand new green issues collective that gives people easy targets to help cut down their carbon footprint – nothing too tricky and things that are likely to turn into good habits. The whole thing with illuminating video is at – cocks can dance, y’know, but if I saw that in my bedroom, I’d either assume it was Superman in trouble, or call an ambulance…
It’s got those unbelievable vocals and soaring rock riffs that we expect from the boy HawkLord, along with some smashing sound effects – the BBC had better check their archives, methinks. The whole experience startles, but it’ll make you laugh yourself wet. What did you expect?
The myspace and dothegreenthing versions are different, so listen to both – Myspace is a straight(er)song version. Justin says in his blog, just clearing up a few things:

”The Green Thing website is slightly misleading in that it names me as the sole writer of Do It In The Dark. In truth I worked with a formidable songwriting partner, Naresh Ramchandani who not only came up with the title, but wrote most of the lyrics for the piece.
As always, I wrote the melodies and music and played everything apart from Ramchandani’s trademark cowbell in the verses. My partner also joined me on BVs.”

He also says that he did it in the dark. Let’s all join him!


by Jo

A quick summary of all that is Justin – he’s somehow become the sovereign of the known universe. Apt, but the coup was silent and deadly. Oh well, all bow, and hold your breath…
The boy has been improving his tennis at the rate of knots. Glorious victories have been celebrated in blow by blow accounts, keeping the natives on the edge of their seats, breathless and rapt. If not giggling helplessly. The one defeat described (the one he’s told us about) is not a disaster – personal trainers are supposed to be fitter, and indeed, when they can run further and faster it doesn’t bode well! Making up his own games and squirrel-worrying followed, but he lost at that as well. Back to the drawing board… The bengals have been killing us with their cuteness – and Cully is now on the mend following nasty female problems. The description of those had me squirming. Eeuughh. Apart from that, swearing at random bad drivers is now an official Olympic sport (London 2012).

Professional stuff! All music is now off the dedicated myspace, getting people wriggling on their seats for what will come next. More songs? Album? Single? World domination again? Unsatisfied Justin feverishly reworking his masterpieces? The maestro will reveal all the glory in his own good time.

And… And… *faints* Justin on the silverscreen! Larger than life (more so!) in a movie about the life of Joe Meek, a 60’s pioneer and legend. He was responsible for The Tornadoes’ massive hit ‘Telstar’, which is Mrs Thatcher’s favourite track, to name but one. Justin plays Lord Sutch, in inspired casting, and his filming is going well. That’s one excited rockgod! Loving every minute… Sutch had a penchant for weird publicity stunts, so see if you can spot one. Jus is being buoyed by his old mucker Ralf Little, and warmly supported by Nick Moran, who co-wrote the script. This is going to be one hell of a film! Kevin Spacey’s in it. Pam Ferris. And Con O’Neill, who plays the lead in the stage play from which this is adapted, is the lead in this as well. Doesn’t always happen like that.
All luck to Justin doing this. It’s a great story, fab cast, and millions of kudos for getting up and trying something scarily new.

A link to more about Joe Meek so you can bone up a bit, and the jusblog link:

Finally – Justin’s much publicised retreat to rehab is almost a year ago as I type. He’s been off booze and drugs since then, and stopped smoking 6 months ago. It’s one of his greatest achievements, conquering his devils in the full glare of publicity. Dealing with the expectations, disappointment and vitriol from ALL quarters, fans included. Let us not forget what was said, thought, discussed. He has emerged stronger and happier for it. He’s won respect back from some, and new respect from others who had no time for him before. What more is there, but infinity and beyond?

Aurally pleasured by Justin Hawkins

by Jo

Justin has landed! Or pounced. The Hawk has turned into a panther (silly arse, he’s a lion) and slinked his way back into our ears, causing purrs of deep contentment and a state of consciousness akin to an aftercatnip experience. We had warning of a one day 2 album record fest with Magnet Watch, fuelled by at least one Chelsea bum. I mean bun. General mayhem ensued therefore when not one but three new unheralded Justin songs arrived on his profile, then on a new myspace account which is a showcase/info only place. Link at the bottom!

All of the songs were written, performed and produced entirely by Justin, and are unmixed and unmastered. They all stem from early Darkness days, well before Permission to Land. There is information on the profile’s blog, so I’ll try not to reproduce all of it.

As we have three, then, let’s go, one by one.

You Can’t Hurt Me Any More

A home demo from 2001, played once live in Sheffield but it truly does have weird bits in the middle. You don’t want to get those sorts of things wrong on stage, so it was dropped from the set. (I bet 4000 people claim to have been at that gig, now.) It has a very rock AC/DC intro and some hard thumping drums. A nod to Van Halen, too? Well, why not. Rocking riffs, a smashing bit of disco keyboards in the middle and Bob’s your oyster.


Fans’ favourite at the moment, judging by the responses. It has a massive 80’s rock feel, with really strong bass and rhythm lines. That solo bit doesn’t quite fit seamlessly somehow… Stupidly catchy, too, which we know is Justin’s forte. It’s songs like these that melt a girl’s heart. Who wouldn’t want a song like this written for them? Open heart, open feelings. It’s one thing to write those lyrics for effect, another entirely to do it for real. How do you get that huge rocking out to match such sweetness of sentiment?

I’ve Met Jesus

This is my favourite, I’ve been bouncing off the walls singing it badly, annoying the cat. It’s harder, rocks immeasurably, bounces you around. It’s –umm – aahhhhh I love it! The chorus reminds me of ‘I Want Candy’ (Bow Wow Wow’s version, not The Strangeloves’) but I’m not sure that’ll be relevant to many of you. I can see this onstage, see the crowd jumping up and down for it. Hugely singalong, fast, stomping rock. Bless you, my child.

He sounds so good! Every note is stamped with his name, every vocal trick classic Justin. It couldn’t be anyone else. Shivers and thrills just to hear it, but extra to feel the quality sting and caress of sharply sweet voice.

These should have been TD songs. Should have been B-sides or on OWT. They would have fit so well. I’m not sure that they would have got away with ‘I’ve Met Jesus’ – the press would have crucified them for it and misinterpreted it on purpose, just because. There must be so many other good stuff that we never heard, in the archives. BUT onwards and upwards. This is Justin’s work, not TD’s, and it never was. There are, from what I make out, more songs from that era, and another set of new stuff for the album. If he did that sort of work then, with these songs still sort of in the rough, then what has he still up his sleeve? Certainly not just pretty tattoos.

I’m waiting. We’re all waiting – for the Rebirth.

(note – this is now

Making yourself a laughing stock

by Jo

The BBC, not Justin.. whatever you thought about him entering, this was a… some words fail me.

After hearing all the songs, and wincing in parts, it became clear that this was a Big Brovas/Hawkins and Brown sing off. There little originality or talent elsewhere, a ripoff of the most wonderful ‘Preacher Man’.. and I’ll never understand why a foreign national can represent another country in this sort of thing.

It was gonna be tight, this one. Despite the huge Darkling support, Justin had to win over the public, and he is after all someone about whom there are few middle ground opinions. Big Brovas are knocked out in favour of Cindy. When the unbiased neutral BBC make it look like Justin and Beverlei are up against the dire Scooch, a rat began to stink. The voting most certainly wasn’t between the two, cos if it had been.. we wouldn’t have got that result. Set up and fix sprung to mind. Well done to Justin for leaving the stage that way. No doubt he had a few choice words to say to someone.

Post show, and via Justin’s myspace, information started to flow. People not getting through to vote, text votes failing, Scooch having had Helsinki final tickets on their site for 10 days – that was from the fans’ side. From Jus’s end – his supporting banners were confiscated, Scooch’s were not. Scooch had 2 hidden vocalists in the wings singing the girls’ parts. Now, that’s not playing fair, is it? And really, announcing the wrong winner at the end..

I was waiting for Jus’s blogs after that fiasco of a show. Do have a look. If anyone does want to complain to the authorities, then:

I would have thought that phoneins were in enough trouble at the moment. I’d also like to know how fans of the other acts got on with their voting.

Everyone vote for The Ark now, ok?

SixSister goes to Surrey

by Jo

Top Gear of the Pops. A disaster in the filming? Not quite..

Thursday night. Happily plonking along on the laptop, not a care in the world beyond the next day’s maths lesson and what on earth I was going to say about baptism by immersion. google alert Justin Hawkins. Oh yeah.. I heard of him. Nice boy with kittens. I haven’t been reading the alerts much, they’ve all been the same stories about Eurovision, but as things were quiet, I had a look. A link to some blog, saying something about Comic Relief. WHAT??? Justin/TOP GEAR/band???? I’ve never moved quicker to a website. Okay. 50 top pledgers to RND2007 get a pair of tickets to filming on Sunday. Closes at midnight. Quicker than a.. a… fast thing I pledge, conveniently managing to forget to mention it to Mr 2. Oh well, plenty of time for that if I win, which I didn’t think was terribly likely once the news gets out. I don’t have huge amounts of cash right now. BUT I did win! What a nice way to finish a school week, finding that email. Mr 2 took it surprisingly well, I must say, and it was his idea to set off on Saturday morning and stay in the wilds of Surrey overnight. (Not that he had that idea until we were on our way to Sainsbury’s on Saturday morning, but a very good one it was.) Guildford is very nice, readers. Anyway, less of the ramble.

After floating round Surrey all day and checking we knew where we were going, we arrived in a carpark at about 6 and had to kill time until collected for a short yomp round the back of the airfield to the studio. Huge hangar – oo those stretch limousine things they made last week are here. Silly buggers. Had a good wander round, took one or two photos of the set. It’s cold – not unexpected, but it’s seeping up into my boots from the concrete floor over the hours. I guess we arrived in there at about 7.45. Naturally we’re asked to take coats off as they don’t look great on camera. Neither will I, I’m having a bad hair week. There’s a fair amount of setting up going on, health and safety announcements. No loo in here. I must have gone about 5 times in the mobile loos before, after the marathon bladderfilled experience at the Friday Night Project.

As most of you know by now, this was Top Gear of the Pops. Enough to make you 0_0 on its own. But as we know that Jeremy, Richard and James will BE in a band with Justin singing, it was quite intriguing to say the least. Filming starts, with presenters wandering in. We’re over by the band stage. I’ve come all this way to see Jus, and I’m gonna be at the front, although naturally this is purely for journalistic reasons. Can still hear what’s going on over there, where the presenting bit is going on. People being moved by the floor manager all the way through, machinery being moved about. Rooney the warm up man. I have a few walks round the place to stretch. Standing about a lot gives me backache these days, you know. Lethal Bizzle are on first with their new single, of which I understood not a word. Personally, I find rap/hiphop etc impenetrable. They’re well received, though. McFly are there! (there’s another tiny stage in the far corner) and are given a challenge. Write a new song without the words ‘love’, ‘baby’ or ‘heart’ but WITH ‘sofa’ ‘Hyundai’ and ‘administration’, to be performed at the end of the show. Interesting.. Mr Hammond looked remarkably fit and well, all three on good form, the usual cockups abound and lots of applause being rerecorded. I’m not going through all of the programme, you’ll have to watch. There is a general music history lesson, and a chart rundown, though. Scuse me if I’ve lost track of the EXACT order of things but you get the idea.

Travis appear onstage with their new single, a pleasant sound.. three times they do that, with rugby banter flowing. Apparently there was some game that Scotland lost. They played to a backing track with live singing. Supergrass were pretty good, played completely live and had ADE EDMONDSON playing guitar. A god amongst comedians. Unannounced. Doing very silly rock god impressions and playing that axe like Comic Relief depended on it. Still, not bad, if a bit of a feedback freak aagahhh. This was run through twice, an untainted version, and one where TG intervened. Dry ice, enough to suffocate everyone on stage, billowing out of twin exhausts behind Mr Goffey’s drums. A HUGE wind machine blowing the living daylights out of the band. And.. doves and pigeons. James was in charge of releasing them in an overblown rock gesture. Not while the wind machine was going, I might add. They didn’t want to play, though. Fluttered and landed about 5 feet from the unfortunate James, flew off over the crowd into haircuts, and crawled under the barrier at my feet. I picked it up and looked after it until the end of the song, poor thing, it didn’t need big people stamping on it. Even the chicken placed very carefully on stage refused to play. I don’t know what will get cut out of that..

McFly managed to perform their cracking new tune with great aplomb, getting all the words into a rocking little tune. Not bad work, lads!

Finally finally the stage is set up for the big event. A massive set of drums, Jeremy won’t know what to do with all of those! Three backing singers, two keyboards, guitarist.. Jeremy banters with all and sundry. He’s had seven lessons, and predicts a disaster. This is the first time they’ve played together, after a quick rehearsal yesterday. James’ music degree is cruelly brought up, but the poor boy reminds him that this is a far cry from the Bach he plays at home. Richard looks like he can handle a bass, but also looks terrified, as well he might! Justin is introduced at last and appears in black shirt, dusty lilac trousers and leopardskin boots. Never one to dress down if there’s no need! We’re getting Billy Ocean’s ‘Red Light’ thanks to Clarkson. Those backing singers are REALLY good, and indeed carry the whole thing right through. Justin has idiot boards with the lyrics.. they do get a long way through on the first take. Justin gets himself warmed up. Second take – Jeremy somehow loses a drumstick, claiming that his hands banged together. His drumming is awful, I’m reliably informed, but he does know he’s speeding up and slowing down, and threatens to do it on purpose. Richard has SOME idea of what he’s doing! He said last time he played a bass he broke it on someone – I’m sure that’s what he said! Jus stops two takes, doesn’t seem comfy, plainly confused cos he’s singing but it’s not matching the music – is it his fault? Ah. There’s a line of lyrics missing. ‘I’m a professional! I sing what I’m told to!’ The guy looking after the idiot boards is immediately banished to Gardeners’ World. The vocals/music match a lot better after that! Justin relaxes into his singing take by take, adding flashes of falsetto and vocal flourishes. Knickers appear on stage and are festooned round Richard – they are returned to the audience for the next take, to be thrown again. It was difficult to hear Justin at first, but that mike was quiet for Supergrass, I thought It’s a triumphant finish when they run it all the way through for the last time, I suspect partly in relief!

Yeah, it was a shambles, that last song, but it could have been so much worse! It was recognisable, they had professional help, and we were willing them on, greatly entertained. All that could be asked for. Top Gear will have another series, which is just as well, as the three lads need to stick to the day jobs.. Kudos for doing it though.

Now for the Justin bit. He looked healthy and smiley. As gorgeous as ever, no trace of any kind of arrogance, of which he’s often been accused. No scene stealing (although he can do that without doing very much, tbh). Doing his job quietly with no fuss, standing in the crowd and talking to people. I overheard several people behind me saying he’d spoken to them. To see him back on stage and to hear him singing again was just sublime.I was proud. I don’t know how he felt. Am I right in thinking that it’s the first time on stage since last summer? A few qualms would have been perfectly natural, and the contrast between this and a TD gig could not have been greater. I find that the more time passes, the more time I have for the man I’ve been following for so long. I think he’s more of a man than he was, my friends.

He’s a very busy man just at the moment. Good luck for Saturday, Justin, and Happy Birthday.

Lyrics follow! Plus photos. We weren’t allowed to take many, and the one of Jus didn’t come out somehow! WAAAAAHHH!!!!

Red light spells danger
Can’t hold out much longer
‘Cos red light means warning
Can’t hold out I’m burning

You took my heart and turned me on
And now the danger sign is on

Never thought the day would come
When I would feel alone without you
An’ now I’m like a child again
Calling out his mama’s name
You got me on a ball and chain
Doin’ things that I don’t wanta.

I can’t stop running to you
Feel love coming through you
Girl with you beside me
Hold on, heaven guide me.

Red light spells danger
Can’t hold out much longer
‘Cos red light means warning
Can’t hold out I’m burning.

Red light spells danger
Can’t hold out much longer
‘Cos red light means warning
Can’t hold out I’m burning

I had my funk
I played around
Without a love to tie me down

I always used to kiss and run
I never wanted love to catch me.
I thought I had a heart of stone
But now I’m in the danger zone

I can feel the heat is on
Soon the flames are gonna catch me.

I can’t stop running to you
Feel love coming through you
Girl with you beside me
Hold on, heaven guide me.

Red light spells danger
Can’t hold out much longer
‘Cos red light means warning
Can’t hold out I’m burning

Red light spells danger
Can’t hold out much longer
‘Cos red light means warning
Can’t hold out . . .


by Jo

Justin has got together with his mate Beverlei Brown in a bid to be the Royaume Uni’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest this year. The decider is on Jus’ birthday – 17 March – and there are promises of catsuits if they get through to the Icelandic final. If you don’t like the song, that in itself is worth voting for. Ahem. Personally I’m not impressed by the competitors but the Public is an odd school of fish. Jus is excited about it, and tbh I’m not surprised that he decided to do it. He does what he wants to, not what people prescribe that he should, and he does things with all his energy.No half measures. If you don’t know that by now..
Right, he’s just about to be on Richard and Judy. BRB… I hope he tells them big time he’s not in TD anymore. they KEEP saying it. Pffttt Brian Harvey..
Mmm lovely straight glossy dark hair. He looks goooood.
Jus has got the right angle on this. ESC is not about credibility, clinging to it desperately, it’s just about entertaining and having fun. Like TD – definitely not about being cool, cos that was never their aim. The song is ‘They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To’, written by Jus and with long term friend Beverlei involved by trying things out one day in the studio, is a pure pop song with gorgeous falsetto much in evidence. And Beverlei’s fine voice, of course. Let’s not be tooo biased here. She’s worked with LOADS of artists, has plenty of talent and industry experience. It’s a perfect song for Eurovision, even judging by such a short clip. pffftt to the rest. dull dull.

Both seemed confident, with Jus less nervous appearing than in previous interviews. Is it 1-1 he doesn’t like?

Making Your Mind Up. 17 March.

Justin says…

by Jo

Well, lots of things. He’s a well-established member of Myspace now, attracting friends like no one’s business. Conversing with the slightly shocked fans, blogging, being the silly arse we wanted back . No hidden agenda, no blaze of PR. Just Justin and his merry band of feline adjutants – they go very nicely together. I’d quite like the kitten pics back please…
Tis good to see. It’s a stop on my weary way through cyberspace for a giggle, these days. His replies to my messages have been pleasant, honest and down to earth, and his humour’s stamped all over the thing. He’s won a few rather cross people back with his blurb, by all accounts. Hypocrites, they’ve been called. I’m sure there a few, by the law of averages, but a few words can mend what’s wrong. You all know that,
Welcome to Justin the person, from all of those who never or rarely saw anything but Justin Rockstar. And thanks for both.

Latest thoughts

by Jo

The following was written on a train, but much of it appeared on a thread while I was gone.. a case of like minds rather than a rehash. It’s certainly not meant as an apology for Justin’s actions. Just musings and opinion and reporting back on darkling feelings.

A month later, the dust has – well, it hasn’t done anything. It keeps being kicked up by people demanding ‘one last single’ or ‘one last gig’ which would be the most ridiculous thing.. no chance. It was further disturbed by the appearance of an article by a Sky News journalist, whom Justin apparently told ‘I might rejoin later’ and ‘we all need some space’ I hold my hand up on posting that on forum. I wouldn’t normally, because of the furore it causes, but it had been so long since anything was heard. My apologies for the kerfuffle.

As I’ve been predicting to myself for a few weeks, the length of time since he left and the arrival of announcement from him is proving to be a massively damaging PR disaster for both him and Sue. Her part in it all is being questioned too.. from the wrong angle, in my opinion, but.. Atlantic undoubtedly had a part, but they were never popular with darklings. There should have been a huge damage limitation programme by the Justin camp from day one, or before. The exclusive revelations to the sun with no ‘fans’ only’ version doesn’t sit easy. Lawyers gagging orders do not preclude a statement saying ‘Look, I’m really sorry, I’m not allowed to talk but I will soon’ – Justin has lost so much respect. Only time will tell whether hubris or bad advice or both were to blame. He HAD support for a solo career, but it’s fast dwindling. TD fans are anxious about TD. Whatever he issues now, it’s too late for some.

Is this man truly arrogant? He has a streak of it, sure, but he’s capable of self effacement. He’s stuck with this project for far longer than expected, given his restlessness and need for change. It’s a tangled psyche. Driven, but not like Dan. His stresses lie in different directions. Eager to create, with a talent for composition and lyrics. An attention seeker – learning guitar ‘to get girls’, but the thrill of being on stage didn’t pass him by. He’s going to find it hard before long, not being in the limelight. I don’t suppose that it’ll be long before he tests the water.

Remember him saying that his piercings (nipple and defunct Prince Albert) were a way of punishing himself when he did things wrong? You wonder whether the cocaine abuse was another way. Bulimia – longstanding. The removal of himself from TD could be another symptom of Justin’s feeling that he’s really not worthy of what he has. They’re all forms of self harm. It’s not a case of ‘where did it go wrong’ for Justin. It’s a case of when, and what to do now.

I have some Sympathy for this Devil. He knows not quite what he does, and condemns himself accordingly, as the consequences are not top of his priority list. A downfall caused by his own flaws – that’s the true literary definition of a tragedy. Pity it had to affect so many, so deeply.

And the good news…. Dan, Ed and Richie have been hard at work, and when the legal curtains part, all rock will let loose. Thanks to Dan for taking over his myspace and blogging for us. Much kudos to the lad, and to Richie and Ed. xx

Justin leaves

by Jo

So, the day has come we didn’t want to see. Justin announces he’s left The Darkness. Not leaving, left. According to the short announcement, the rest of the band are in shock, and they were hoping he wouldn’t actually go.. which is why, apparently, we heard about it after the fucking Sun. AGAIN. That’s not FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH. Ahem.

For whatever reason, he’s gone. It’s been 18 months since he said that he was considering leaving during the furore involving Frankie’s departure. In my view, some of the reasons for that near loss probably still stand. His recent rehab for cocaine/alcohol addiction (and/or) apparently worked so well that he’s too clean for rock now, if you believe some of the things I’ve read today. Bollocks. Justin needs to rebuild everything he has, now. Things don’t become starry the minute you finish rehab, and he has the bulimia spectre to deal with too. That boy has worked his guts out for this band since Dan signed him up on Millenium Eve. He’s given everything he has, as a crowd pleaser, showman, comedian, musician and brilliant composer. He’s taken jibe after jibe after jibe, been ridiculed, satirised, stalked, been the object of contempt.. it’s just so not easy to take. He may have invited some of that, but he dealt with it as he should, pouring scorn on those who criticise for a kick, who look for copy, not truth. Shame on you all.

Those of us who love him know his worth. His talents should not be allowed to burn out, and they would quite possibly have done, with the added pressures of the new album and touring on the horizon as well as British Whale’s album to release. Those on their own would have been daunting enough straight out of the Priory, without any other problems. And everyone has more than a couple.. The whole truth will out, eventually, one day. To be honest, it doesn’t matter. Justin’s mental and physical health DO. SixSister wish him all the good things he needs to have, and look forward to anything he wishes to do in the future.

Justin’s genius has gone from TD, on a sad day for all darklings. He wasn’t the band, for us, but he was.. its eccentricity. If the band stays together (too much shock to know what to do next, though Richie is billed as taking over the frontman role, which would be interesting.. and would work) it will be different, but we’ll be there. For the Darkness ethos of seriously rocking fun. For ourselves, the darkling community. And for the three lads that are left, giving every support they need.

On a personal note, I’d like to add that Justin has both been kind and has completely humiliated SixSister in the past. However, it is a measure of his star quality, his talent, and everything about him that has kept us impressed by him, and left us able to write this final emotional, heartfelt tribute to someone who brought us all together in the first place. Good luck. Our thoughts go with you, sweet, funny, sexy Justin, and thank you.

The band’s comment

by Jo

Taken from

A message from the band
« on: 16.8.06 at 04:31:34 PM »

After Justin saw a doctor last week and was recommended to “cancel all professional commitments or work-related activities”, we had little choice but to cancel the band’s appearance at the Skanderborg Festival in Denmark, something that the band hate to do, but having been out on the road constantly for such a long time and having not had any time off over the past three years, that’s what Justin has decided to do and we are all agreed that his health must come first.

As everybody found out today, Justin has been admitted to a rehabilitation clinic. We would however like to make it clear that this emphatically does not signal the end for The Darkness, nor are their label Atlantic Records considering ‘dropping’ them. On the contrary they have taken up their option with the band and are looking forward to releasing The Darkness’ third album in early 2007.

We are not here to comment on Justin’s private life – or anyone else’s for that matter – but he is feeling better already and as soon as he is ready we will be going straight into the studio to begin recording album number 3.

We hope you would join us in wishing Justin well – and it is for you to judge if a platinum album, headlining and co-headlining sold out shows across the UK, Continental Europe and Australia, etc. to an audience of tens of thousands of adoring fans can ever be considered a failure!

Dan, Ed and Richie

SixSister on the telly! Maybe…

by Jo

It was a dark and stormy night… oops sorry, couldn’t resist..

It was, though, in Norwich, the night before this Six trotted off to London to see Justin in action the ‘Friday Night Project’, being recorded on the Thursday for Friday’s airing. This did not however clear the muggy weather at all, and the day looked to be a hot, sticky, sore one. I’ve got a blister the size of a £2 coin on the sole of my foot! Flipping hurts..

Dull train journey over, darklings collected. First stop the pub, natch. The Water Rats, which was indeed swimming in water last time we were there. Went to check out the venue, saw a few people sitting out in the blazing sun. Decided the pub was a better option (see the theme developing?) and stayed there. Our delectable Bex had been invited to ask Justin a question, which meant priority seating for her and her gang.. Longer in the pub as well! We trotted past the long queue and got nicely settled in. Took AGES to get everyone in.. needed the loo then, but decided I didn’t want to miss anything so didn’t go.. mistake! Spent an hour or so gossiping, saying hello to a couple of people, getting excited. Got our instructions from the warm up man Andy.. bet he says those things every week.. there was a lot of watching people run about, general boring stuff.. still.. Justin would be there soon..

We get started with JLC and Mr Carr arriving and do lots of clapping etc. then the moment we’ve all been sitting in sweat for.. Mr Hawkins! Looking very fit, lost a little weight, very sexy in his black suit and beautiful curly hair. Cute in his glasses, too. He does his weekly round up intro bit.. wtf writes this stuff? Not him, certainly. Not enough wit. Comfortably sat behind his desk, he becomes his fluent, sarky, funny self, with profanities strung together in a gracefully effortless way. Some of the banter was top quality.. always on the Hawkins side.. I think some of his wit may have been lost, but the darklings present had a good giggle. We often did laugh, but at things no one else would get.. you kind of get a double layer of insight, sometimes.

I’m not going to go through the whole thing, cos it’s on telly and will be taped by nice people. Just when we thought Jus was being sensible, though, we see him on a doughnut again.. aagahhhh!!! Watch out for his impression of Cherie Blair, and the wind up they did.. we met that guy at the tube station on the way home! Bless him, he was so nice. Quizzes, silly bits, the cash coat… all good fun.. banter with Kasabian, who were on the rosé. How amused were we to see a quiz category called ‘The Damp-ness’ ? hee oh happy memories.. Justin did fab for Charlie, winning her a holiday in America with his darts playing. Oh, there wasn’t a known thing about Jus that wasn’t exploited for our entertainment! Bex did not get to ask her question, which she mentioned firmly to him at the end. I did get him to admit to eating all the Monster Munch, and apologise. Bad boy..

Right, to sum up.. Jus was clever, witty, polished, smooth and charming. Looked bloody good, healthy and happy. He was so much more at his ease than on proper ‘chat shows’ and was thoroughly enjoying himself. He has a knack for this, but needs either just to open his mouth and let it flow, or have better written material. Yeah, I know, this show is not supposed to be comedy genius, but Justin has that, so it should be used. Give him the freedom to spout forth, and someone to spark off, and we’re there. Well done, Justin. More, as usual, please.

We milled about for a time, but really couldn’t be arsed to wait when the pubs of Camden were calling. Managed to get to a loo after about 4 hours.. Damn you Hawkins, no one said bladder control was a Darkling requirement.. and once I started, that was it, had to go every 5 minutes… Drinks, buses, bed. No sleep. Am dead on my feet typing this. All worth it though!

Many thanks to.. Chris with the red and black stripy T, Fee, Bex, Amy and Fi, Hollie and Co, Ian and Chris. Hi to Linda and Howie. Kazza.. where were you… so sorry we didn’t see you, girl.


Rally To Hell

by Laurie (with Dori)

This is an personal account of two dedicated darklings who were able to go and talk to Dan and Justin.. don’t be jealous, that’s not what they wrote it for. I asked them to, just to share, cos no one else could get there.. just enjoy and rejoice in their luck.

Dori, her sister & I get to the CCCM and see some
people around and they turned out to be the other
members. We asked if we could go in and look at the cars and they said sure. So we go in and check out the cars – saw Justin’s ride and Dan’s was the only Rolls there. So that’s when I got the car pics.

We go back outside and wait. They had the street
blocked off and the cars were parked out on the street too. We were on the sidewalk standing around and then Dori turns and looks. “Justin!”

I turn around and there’s Justin with his suitcase
right behind me! “Hi!” Justin tells us, and then wemove so they can get through. Dan also says hi and we just watch as they go towards their vehicles.

Dori didn’t want to bother them but I walked in the garage and there was Dan. He kinda looks at us and smiles and says hi again, and I’m standing right by the trunk of the car as he loads his stuff in the backseat and then he loads up his suitcase in the car’s trunk.

Anyway, he goes back to talking with the guys from the club and we stand around a bit and watch them as they chat. Finally I get bold and go up to Dan as he’s looking through his itinerary. I told him we had the petition to give him and Dori gets it and hands it to him. I just said we did it to let them know that they have fans here that care about them and love them and want them to come back and play, and he’s looking at me and smiling and nodding and agreeing with me about the fans.

He said, “Well I was just on the phone with the record company this morning, so… We’ll see!” He did look through all the pages of the petition and Dori said we had 600 names and we were trying for 1,000. Dori also told him about the US Street Team and I said, “This is Dori, she does the Daily Dose of Darkness Site!” Dan smiles at her and goes, “DDD!”

Then she gets out her catsuit and shows it to him and I think she also said she was at the British Whale shoot (and I also mentioned that we went to some UK shows and he asked which ones. Me: Newscatle, Brighton, Manchester and Nottingham and Dori went to Manchester). I think that’s when Justin was there and Dori also showed him her catsuit and he asked if it was a riding suit or something and Dori’s all, “No, it’s a catsuit!!” LOL

Later I gave Justin that beaded visor. I totally
forgot it was a women’s size visor. Justin put it on and goes, “It won’t fit over my big head!” I asked for a pic of him in it and he’s all, “I’ll come back!! But he didn’t – liar!! LOL!!

Note from Dori: He called his head humongous when he tried to get the visor on. Ha! I asked Dori if she wanted them to sign her catsuit and she said yeah, so I led the charge back in the garage and asked Justin if he would sign it and he did. It says, “Dori – nice suit! Justin Hawkins”. We thank him and then move on to Dan. He says sure he’ll sign it, and then he does (they both put it on Dori’s back to sign it!! LOL!)

I asked for a picture again and he said okay, so
that’s when Dori took that one. Then I look at his
ride and go, “Oh is this your car” and he grins.

“It’s not mine, but it’s the one I’m driving.” I’m all, “Oh cool! You’re gonna have SO much fun! Don’t get in trouble!” or something like that.

So we got back outside and that’s when Justin was
posing with his car. He was so funny! He made a
comment about his co-driver wearing a shirt that was very “Brokeback Mountain” and then when he was
leaning over the car door, that’s when he said
something about “Whitesnake!”

Then they all load up into their cars and drive off. Dori said she waved to Dan and he waved back at her. I was too busy snapping pics to wave. At one point Justin was on the passenger side of his car and he was looking over and smiling at Dan. It was so cute! It wasn’t until after they drove off and I looked at the pics and saw that Dan had the visor hanging from the driver’s side mirror! I almost died when I saw that! It was so cool!

Anyway, we left a note for them at the CCC thanking them for taking the time to talk to us, and again mentioned that there are fans here who want to see them on a tour. We asked the dude there if they were coming back to NY and he said “Probably!” and said he would give them the note.