Friday, 9 December 2011

Takamine Acoustic Guitar EN10C

Takamine Acoustic Guitar EN10C for sale - Starting at £300 / Buy it now £350

Bought new in 2000 for £900, this guitar has been a true reliable work horse and has seen many a gig over the years. I'm finally selling it as I'm looking for a different sound now. It is worn as you can tell from the photos, but not to the detriment of its lovely warm tone that has noticeably matured over the years.

A great all round acoustic, perfect if you're a strummer or more into picking or lead as there is a cutaway so you can access the higher frets. None of the strings buzz on any of the frets. The preamp is in excellent condition, giving a good clear sound when DI'd. Researching prices of the EN10s, it seems the mint conditions go for £500 and those with marks go for £400. Would prefer collection, and am based in London, but can post for £25. The guitar comes with the original hard case. This would make a great Christmas present for any budding or seasoned player.

You can hear it on many of the recordings and see it in live videos linked to on my site here:

See all the photos below.

You can bid on this item here:

Revelations: Anton Shelupanov

The latest Revelation I bring you is an interview with Anton Shelupanov: prison reformer, boxer and lead singer of death blues band, Bleak. We talk about prison systems around the world, hyper incarceration, the war on drugs, and why blues is still a relevant modern genre. Also in this interview the main songwriter of Bleak, Yvonne Okoduwa, speaks out about life in Bleak.

For more information on Bleak follow this link:

Friday, 30 September 2011

Revelations: Vinay Gupta

It has long been an ambition of mine to create a series of audio podcasts, in which I interview the various intriguing characters I happen to come across. The name of this series is to be called Revelations with Marmaduke Dando. After a few false starts, I finally have a Revelation in a format I am happy with.

Below you will be able to stream or download the first podcast, fresh off the Revelation press. Listen to me interrogate my first guest, Vinay Gupta, and hear my brain slowly ticking over as it tries to grasp the difference between what is being said and what is being implied...

I do hope you enjoyed that. The trader interview that was referred to in the interview can be found here. If you'd like to find out more about Vinay, you should visit him here,
and follow him on Twitter: leashless.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Sediment of Society

We made a short video to accompany the woozy piano lead, Bukowski inspired, drinking song, "The Last Drink", the other day, all stitched up and directed by Andrew Clarke. Many thanks to him for his patience. It was shot on good ship Minnow, where I reside, and features the rather brilliant Sonia Gurdjieff on the ivories. Take a look below.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Coming home

Uncivilisation festival this year was held in the countryside just outside of Petersfield in Hampshire. Taking the train down from London with my band mates, gave me a sense of nostalgia for where I grew up. This was the same route I would take to visit Portsmouth, when I still had family living there. From the station, the band and I bundled into a taxi and sped off to the festival site to make our soundcheck.

As we passed through the fields and woods of the Meon Valley, I let out a "well I'll be damned" grunt to myself. It was really quite pretty round these parts, and it brought back all the memories of the walks my parents used to take me on. I hated being taken along on the walking group we were a part of. All I wanted to do at ten years of age was to play on my GameBoy or watch television all day long.

The greatest pleasure I could take whilst on those walks was to find a walking stick, then promptly try to trip up my poor mother with it. That memory still makes me chuckle even now. To think though, that I had no interest in any of the natural world as a kid. I would stretch out in meadows as we had lunch somewhere, like some impish druid, mud splattered, grass stains up my trousers, a streak of dirt across my forehead. But I was not revelling in it like I would now. Now I would be like some overzealous student of DH Lawrence, thrusting my hands into the slime of the earth with purpose, to gain pagan credentials, or some such nonsense. As a kid, I was just making the best out of a bad situation. I guess that's just what kids do.

As we pulled in to The Sustainability Centre, the sun was low, and the site was calm except for the Feral Choir singing their lungs out somewhere off in the woods. I was very excited to be there. Having followed the Dark Mountain from its beginning, it had been a firm friend to me in my own personal journey, influencing and reaffirming over these few years. I had written a number of protest songs, which was my own way of contributing to a counter narrative. These included "If This Is Civilisation", "Give Me Detumescence", and my most recent "Infinite Squalor" that was to be debuted at this festival.

Primed with a healthy dose of sloe vodka and some local ale, we got to it, rattling them off to what was essentially a crowd of anarchists. I've no idea how we went down, it was just a pleasure to be there and a part of it all. There was a firm feeling of jubilation around the campfires that night, as if we were all there for a debriefing on a very important mission.

Saturday morning, that debriefing began, with talks on collapse, talks on the relevance of the Luddites today, a lesson on how to make alcohol from just about anything, entitled “Prison Booze”, and much more. However, much of that was eclipsed for me by a deeply humbling moment during the talk on the Luddites.

An old man that was sat at the side of the room got up and told the whole room: that he had been in the war, had read the American newspapers, which had excited him, had inspired him to follow the dream that they preached. Said "I worked for an American company for 40 years. I'm retired now, been so for 15 years. I just want to say, that it really hurts. To know that you've wasted your life for nothing."

He sat back down, without a hint of emotion on his face, just matter of fact. I was completely floored, my eyes were streaming, and I couldn't hear anybody else for the rest of the session. For someone nearing the end of their life to make an admission like that, let alone in front of a few hundred people, takes a humility rarely seen. What made it worse was that he was inconsolable, because he was probably right. There was nothing anyone could say to him to make him see it in a different light, and to attempt to do so would be to try to get him to believe in a lie. Utterly heart wrenching.

Arranging the evening Power Down in the woodland hut with that great harbinger looming over me was no easy feat. We laid out the candles, I made the relevant introductions, and promptly sat down on a pew. I paid barely any attention to what was going on in front of me, apologies to my friends that performed that evening. All I could think about was the old man’s words going over and over in my head, “It really hurts”.

Thankfully, I was soon awoken from the broody spell, and post Power Down we were all ushered back to the centre of the festival. Darkness had fallen and everyone was converging around a camp fire at the edge of the woods waiting for something to happen. Soon enough a small group of individuals became distinct from the crowd, wearing robes and with faces painted. This was all part of a performance piece called Liminal.

We were asked not to bother with taking photographs, to switch off our telephones, and to “watch out for the stag”. The group then disappeared into the woods and they beckoned us to follow. A flute began playing at the head of the party, and in single file this crowd of hundreds entered the motley English taiga in complete silence.

We encountered illuminated black and white artworks depicting historic scenes. They almost resembled cave paintings, albeit suspended in mid air amongst low branches. A faun like character, I’m guessing the “stag”, was huffing away somewhere out of sight and charged at the line of pilgrims from time to time. A naked man was lying at the base of a tree in the foetal position cradling a large pelvic bone in his arms.

We eventually stopped in a clearing in the woods where the flautist was still playing accompanied occasionally by a lady singing beautifully with no words. We waited there for all the other pilgrims to arrive in the clearing, to find a space for themselves. Of course, everyone’s interpretation is subjective, but to me it appeared that once the crowd was settled into the clearing, that we began to reflect, en masse. It was an undefined period of reverence, an appreciation of our immediate surroundings and the moment. A few candles dotted around lit up the canopy above us, just enough to give contrast to the clear starry night behind it. I for one was besotted.

I forget how we disbanded, but soon found myself around the campfire singing Dylan and Bowie songs. Naturally. The campfire being the most purest of democracies, no intimidation present, just about everyone offered a song, a poem, or a fragment of something. It didn’t seem to matter what, just that it was a little piece of themselves, almost as a sacrifice. It was a welcome equalisation of the distress from earlier in the day, and with a full heart and a big smile I laid my bones down to sleep.

This was the emotional terrain of the uncivilised weekend for me. Old questions answered, new ones quickly sprung up in their place. And with Portsmouth, the place where I was born and raised, looming on the horizon, visible from the festival site, there was a sense for me of coming home. Coming home to something familiar, but not actually experienced. Something burning in the bones, something inexplicable through science and reason. Perhaps a figment of my imagination, but I don’t see why that should matter in the slightest. What is becoming increasingly clear, thanks to the weekend at Uncivilisation and the Dark Mountain Project in general, is that there is a way through the tough times ahead. That navigation, I think it will be more meaningful than if none were needed. Rather collapse and all that entails, than the promise of infinity.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Virgin to the flame

This post may roll some eyes, I'm sure. To some it was inevitable given the amount of virtual banging-on I've been doing in the last month or so. However, I must share with you my excitement for this set of recordings, 'The House of Balloons' by The Weeknd.

What do I know of it all? Not a great deal. Young chap from Toronto, 21 years old, made it all in his bedroom. Oh that old chestnut eh? Only later do we find out that 2011's answer to Trevor Horn was producing. I know, I know, we've heard it all before.

Regardless...smooth androgynous vocals, heavily treated with a vocoder on many of the tracks, as he sings, stroke, raps his way through them, all to a backing track of electronic beats and wait for it...sped-up looped samples of...only my favourite band of last year...yes that's right...Beach House. What an incredibly heady concoction: dreamy choruses from Victoria Legrand punctuating this urban style croon of obscenities. And thank god it's not just one track, but multiple.

'The Morning' is certainly the standout track on 'House of Balloons', sounding in vibe but not content, like a number 1 hit record from the 1990s. However, this on repeat lasts just a few weeks. After you've lived with these glorious productions for a while, it's like looking into a magic eye painting, suddenly all the context leaps out at you in 3 dimensions. The motive behind the name becomes so ridiculously axiomatic, you feel silly you ever wondered about it.

What becomes clear is that the whole 9 tracks are the charting of a very long weekend indeed. One that is full to the brim with copious amounts of drugs, booze, lust, sex that doesn't happen, sex that does happen, what-is-she-doing-with-him, blow jobs, youthful arrogance, dancers, the list can go on, and does. In short, the ruminations of a teenage boy. Or the graffiti on the path to hell.

But my god, how the loins can stir when put so eloquently. Every party you ever went to, you wish they turned into this. For your mediocre memories, you'd take the mightiest come-down the world could conspire for just that one long evening of a hedonism only imagined in songs like these.

This is so on the mark of the moment it is quite unbelievable. And you may wonder, what this, *clears throat*, curmudgeonly old luddite who's apparently always harking back to days never endured, is doing listening to something so unashamedly decadent and on the pulse.

I tell you, when there is no hope, there is only oblivion. With the choice of jumping or being pushed, The Weeknd compels me to jump head first, like a virgin to the flame.

Download 'The House of Balloons' legally and for free from The Weeknd's site.

Listen to 'The Morning' below.

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Merits of Travel

Like an indefatigable leviathan, the issue of travel keeps coming up in conversations at the moment. Everyone I talk to is vehement that we must be doing it, like some blinkered religion no one stops to question. But the relevance of it, I can't get over the question of whether there is any or not.

We're taught in Britain that it's our birthright. To be able to move freely through the world, to seek employment, adventure, or relaxation, all just as equally essential. We are all middle class now and the world is our playground. We have overcome our capitalist oppressors, *chortle*, and we can now enjoy such luxuries as the experiences that only other countries can offer. Just like the rich once had exclusive access to. Our health, wealth, and life expectancy in comparison with our ancestors and the current slaving masses in the "developing" world, are testament to this.

But does anyone stop to question its relevance? Sure, we can argue that the experience one gains from travelling the world gives us perspective, which helps us make better decisions, enriches us as individuals and in turn our families and communities. That is hard to dismiss.

But to what degree must we travel in order to gain perspective? Must we see every golden cupola the world has to offer? Witness every "primitive" tribe in all the darkest deepest rainforests? Must we all drink from fish bowls of hallucinogenic drugs with bronzed Swedes on Thai beaches? Eat Argentinean steaks on the Pampas they came from?

Surely the benefit of literature is that we do not have to experience these things first hand. That we can be enlightened via proxy. This must be good enough for most of our experiences, our thinking, and the concoction of our world view.

Perhaps it is the same kind of misguided individualism that inspires half the world to be indelibly inked with "unique" tattoos. Is it the effect of the awareness of feeling so insignificant in the world that we must strike out in some way, to be appear original, at all costs? I'm sure these confused ramblings are something along those lines too.

I don't like to bring the environment into this, as horrific an effect our cumulative attempts at individuality are, these quests for a questionably richer fabric of personal history. But surely the same question would, and should arise. If there were no environmental degradation from millions of people taking pointless journeys, surely we must still question the point of those journeys.

Of course, many of them are not pointless. There is little we can do when the globalised world encourages us to fall in love with people from far flung reaches, or retire to overseas "paradises". All of which require us to travel to keep alive those essential connections with our loved ones. I would not begrudge anyone who feels that need, I have felt it myself, of course. The perpetuation of those close relationships is essential, possibly one of the very few rational reasons for journey.

But for all others, I can't get it. Surely our efforts should be devoted to our immediate surroundings. To enrich them, to make them beautiful and pleasant places that we would want to live, relax, love, and retire in, not an infinite squalor we continually want to escape from. Then we would have no need for the greener grass over yonder.

As the late poet Glyn Hughes said in a recent interview for the Dark Mountain II anthology, "We are sold aspiration...Earn enough money to get on a plane and fly somewhere else to lie on a beach. Why? You don't need it. Go round the corner and lie in a field instead."

Footage from The Lexington

Some footage of my solo show at The Lexington a few weeks ago below. It’s a playlist, so should load one video after the next, seamlessly. If you don’t want to listen to all though, links to individual songs are below it. New songs debuted, such as “We’ll Go Dancing” and “Old Friend”…Enjoy!

We’ll Go Dancing by Marmaduke Dando

Old Friend by Marmaduke Dando

If You Go Away sung by Marmaduke Dando

The Art of Decay by Marmaduke Dando

We Fucked It Up by Marmaduke Dando

And thanks to Andrew Clarke for filming and putting these together, much appreciated.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Infinite Squalor

Infinite squalor is ushered in,
Like the changing of the seasons,
A natural thing.
Aren't you the clever ones,
Now you have purchase,
To buy up medallions,
And hang them in earnest.

"But how can you blames us? What's to be done?!"
So easy to fuck, so hard to make come.

The lust for labour,
And conspicuous consumption,
Such curious behaviour,
This democratic serfdom.
If you've faith in the system,
Shore up the machine.
Await your end, in mid daydream.

"But how can you blames us? What's to be done?!"
So easy to fuck, so hard to make come.

All shut away now, and tripled locked
With your private libraries,
In your mortgaged box.
The final nail, in this coffin,
Has firmly come, from within.

"But how can you blames us? What's to be done?!"
So easy to fuck, so hard to make come.

Infinite squalor is ushered in,
Like the changing of the seasons,
A natural thing.

Monday, 9 May 2011

An Inhumanist Vision

In recent years, as this blog’s history will testify, I have undergone somewhat of an enlightenment. Discovering the threat of climate change to be irrefutable and learning of the certain realities that peak oil will bring to humanity, has severely altered not only the way I think, but also how I live my life. Peak oil, however, always seemed to me to be more stirring.

Perhaps I found it to be more tangible, the burning of finite resources to power real, touchable objects that surround me everyday of my life. Climate change on the other hand, whilst I can read the studies and draw the same conclusions as 3000 scientists, seems to require greater strength of the imagination. Because of the differences in the emotive effect the two issues have had on me, I’ve often wondered why climate change has received more attention, and yet peak oil is barely spoken about. Why climate change, that is arguably a more abstract concept to get across to the average man on the street, over peak oil, which directly threatens the lifestyles of the Western world?

I’ve finally gotten round to reading The Dark Mountain Project’s published debut, an anthology of poems, conversations, essays, stories and images, that aim to expose the myths of civilisation and attempt to create more honest counter narratives. The first essay in this collection is by John Michael Greer, entitled “The falling years: An Inhumanist vision”, which I believe may shed some light on the puzzling issue of the preferential treatment of some catastrophes over others in the media:

“Compare the recent and continuing furore over anthropogenic climate change to the more muted response to the rapid depletion of the world’s remaining petroleum reserves, and one such distortion stands out clearly. Both these problems are unquestionably real; both were predicted decades ago, both could quite readily force modern industrial civilisation to its knees, and both are already having measurable impacts around the world.

“Yet the response to the two differs in instructive ways. Anthropogenic climate change has become a cause celebre, splashed across the mainstream media, researched by thousands of scientists funded by lavish government grants, and earnestly discussed by heads of state at summit meetings. Nothing is actually being done to stop it, to be sure, and most likely nothing will be done; not even the climate campaigners who urge such drastic action in the loudest voices and most extreme terms have shown much willingness to accept the drastic changes in their own lives that would cut carbon dioxide emissions soon enough to matter. Still, the narrative of climate change has found plenty of eager listeners around the world.

“None of this has happened with peak oil. The evidence backing the claim that the world has already passed the peak of petroleum production and faces a future of declining energy and economic contraction is every bit as solid as the evidence for anthropogenic climate change; the arguments opposing it are just as meretricious; its potential for economic and human costs is as great, solutions are as difficult to reach, and it can feed apocalyptic fantasies almost as extreme as those that have gathered around climate change. Still, no summit meetings are being called by heads of state to discuss the end of the age of oil; there has been no barrage of mainstream media attention concerning it and precious few government grants. Climate change is mediagenic; peak oil is not.

“A core difference between the two crises explains why. Climate change, as a cultural narrative, is a story about human power. We have become so almighty through technological progress, the climate change narrative argues, that we threaten the Earth itself. The only limits that can prevent catastrophe are those we place on ourselves, since nothing else can stop us; and even our own efforts might not be enough to stand in our way. It’s nearly a parody of the old atheist gibe: to prove our own omnipotence, we’ve made a crisis so big that not even we can lift it out of our way.

“Peak oil as a cultural narrative, on the other hand, is not a celebration of human power but a warning about human limits. At the core of the peak oil story is the recognition that the power we claimed was never really ours. We never conquered nature; we merely stole some of the Earth’s carbon and burnt our way through it in three short centuries. All the feverish dreams and accomplishments of that era were simply the results of wasting a vast amount of cheap fuel. Now that the easy pickings are running out, and we have to think about getting by without half a billion years of stored and concentrated solar energy to burn, our fantasies of power are proving unexpectedly fragile, and the future ahead of us involves more humility and less grandiosity than we want to think about.”

He wraps this idea up nicely with the following:

“While anthropogenic global warming is a real and serious problem, its consequences are subject to natural limits that current thinking, fixated on images of human triumphalism, is poorly equipped to grasp. Meanwhile, another real and serious problem – the depletion of the nonrenewable energy resources that prop up today’s industrial economy and keep seven billion people alive – gets next to no attention, because it conflicts with those same triumphalist obsessions. It’s no exaggeration to say that the modern world might solve the global warming crisis and then collapse anyway, because it only dealt with those of its problems that proved congenial to its self-image.”

There is certainly something in this. When explaining peak oil to people, one generally encounters a knee jerk dismissal of any looming disruption to our way of life. The comeback is always, “We will find a way to sustain our lifestyles, we always do, we are ingenious, look at what we’ve already created in the world, examples of how humanity innovates to overcome limits are everywhere”.

It’s the same self belief in humanity that Greer talks about, the collective shoring up of mankind’s staggering ego. What does it mean though, to admit that perhaps there are limits that we cannot overcome through ingenuity? Are there psychological issues at work here? The basis of one’s whole way of life, the premise of a belief system that allows one to operate in this modern world, shattered in their entirety.

The admission that there are limits to our species just as there are limits to every other species on the planet, would leave an individual in disarray. This is what peak oil confronts us with. Its limits challenge everything we believed was true about humanity. What individual would willingly accept to go through the process of admission, confusion, humility, and eventually the restructuring of a belief system? It would be much easier to continue along with old beliefs, ones that the majority of the world believe to be true, which no doubt gives a sense of comfort and ease that a rejection of anthropocentrism cannot give.

I find this refusal to engage in any other narrative to be extremely dangerous. To accept only the mainstream memes leaves one open to what could potentially be a significant fall. Entertaining counter narratives, after an initial internal meltdown, can only help make an individual stronger and more resilient to future catastrophes. If those catastrophes don’t materialise, what has the individual really lost? A little time maybe, not much else.

The Dark Mountain Project is shortly due to publish its second book. Should you wish to purchase the first book and help fund the second, visit their website at

John Michael Greer’s blog can be found at

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Criminal Waste of Time

I’ve just finished ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell, a novel about a group of painter and decorators in southern England in the early 20th century. It’s a long rambling text in favour of socialism, the overthrow of the capitalist system, by showing the contrast between the poverty stricken working class and the rich “sweaters” that have everything and do nothing. The title of the book comes from the idea that the working class are happy with the current system and are essentially philanthropists, pledging all their time and strength to make money for the good of others, not themselves. It’s deeply moving at times, and generally convincing…until one character starts talking about how to organise society, and then I get a little twitchy. The following paragraph resonated strongly with me:

“Nature has not provided ready-made all the things necessary for the life and happiness of mankind. In order to obtain these things we have to work. The only rational labour is that which is directed to the creation of those things. Any kind of work which does not help us to attain this object is a ridiculous, idiotic, criminal, imbecile, waste of time.”

I wonder about this in relation to the Current State of Things. Now that we have more rights to protect workers, we are paid much better, we work only 35 hours a week, we have paid holidays…in comparison with workers a hundred years ago, conditions for the masses are greatly improved. However, we are all still employed in irrational labour. We have outsourced food production and industry overseas, leaving us staring at screens and jabbering away on phones. The service industry, which contains no job that is necessary in order to sustain the life and happiness of mankind.

Have we been granted better working conditions in order to placate us and keep us driving the industrial machine? When the people are on the verge of revolt, make a few concessions and they’ll quiten down, and we can keep the system going for at least another century. With comfortably pointless existences, as most of us have now, what need does anyone have for protest? Especially when looking back at history and seeing how much better we have things now.

It’s curious that so many Labour politicians cite this book as an inspiration to them, the reason they got into politics etc. I wonder how many Labour MPs and their supporters really believe that the service industry is a Criminal Waste of Time. Surely there is still purchase in this idea of Rational Labour, but for the life of me I can’t think how anyone would be convinced.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

We'll Go Dancing

Brain's been in a fug the last couple of days, but after the regular chores of an evening last night, I managed to set my mind to finishing off this song about dancing with one's beloved. Think Piaf talking in the verses, and then a dreamy 3/4 whisks you away on the chorus. Taking in the glory of spring that is upon us at present, and a stock misanthropic theme, I bring you..."We'll Go Dancing".

We'll Go Dancing

I search this ugly town, for things that do not spark a frown.
Up treeless avenues, down barren streets that hold no clues.
But round the corner in the park, I find the backdrop to my heart.
Take my hand if you please, beneath blossoming cherry trees...

And we'll go dancing, through the rush-hour malaise,
Desperately advancing, in their separate ways.
And you'll look enchanting, either making or breaking,
What would otherwise have been,
Yet another uniquely dreary, forgettable day.

The insipid urban sprawl, and the ideas behind it all,
Are enough to take your breath away, but never in the same way,
As you do my love, come closer my love.
Click hard your heels on the floor, smash all that The Others adore.
We have momentum and flow, like a petal of Spring snow...

We'll go dancing, through the rush-hour malaise,
Desperately advancing, in their separate ways.
And you'll look enchanting, either making or breaking,
What would otherwise have been,
Yet another uniquely dreary, forgettable day.

Despite the heaven that we hold, you are embarrassed by my bold,
Nature to declare, this is more than an affair.
I slow to savour every aspect, you grow impatient with my step.
And as the band are winding-up, you skip out leaving me hard-up.
I'm left alone now with my thoughts, on this imaginary waltz...

We'll go dancing, through the rush-hour malaise,
Desperately advancing, in their separate ways.
And you'll look enchanting, either making or breaking,
What would otherwise have been, and consequently was,
Yet another uniquely dreary, forgettable day.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Old Friend

My good friend and musician Rebecca Jade, hosts a songwriting night once a month. The aim of the night is to get the usually stagnant creative juices flowing, by proposing a theme for all participants to write a song about. The last month's chosen theme, picked from a hat, was "old friend". From those two words, I've written the following piece. It's debut performance will be at Folke Newington this Sunday.

Old Friend

So long old friend. I've buried you, as you did me. I've got myself back finally.
So long old friend. You may go now, to where your mind, has been all the time.
So long old friend.

I may seem a little bitter, under this sentimental glitter,
But I must protest, I feel a lot less.
As I get longer in the tooth, thanks to the tumult of youth,
It gets harder each year, to part with a single tear...

So long old friend. I've buried you, as you did me. I've got myself back finally.
So long old friend. You may go now, to where your mind, has been all the time.
So long old friend.

All these trivial teenage trials, and tribulations aside,
The lack of a will, undermines the way.
As I get longer in the tooth, thanks to the tumult of youth,
It gets harder each year, to part with a single tear...

So long old friend. I've buried you, as you did me. I've got myself back finally.
So long old friend. You may go now, to where your mind, has been all the time.
So long old friend.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Must We Be Bound?

I present a new song I wrote over Christmas, but finalised last night. It's debut performance will be at Folke Newington this Sunday, March 13th, 2011, doors at 8pm, free entry.

Must We Be Bound

Must we be bound?
From now until the time agreed we lay our promise down,
All efforts to break free will be crushed into the ground,
Must we be bound?
We must be bound.

We may be silly little fools, that think they know it all,
But tell me, when will that cease to be, the essence of mortality?
With no god in which to trust, mine is with yours be as it must,
So fast your hand to mine, it's the blind leading the blind.

Must we be bound?
From now until the time agreed we lay our promise down,
All efforts to break free will be crushed into the ground,
Must we be bound?
We must be bound.

No document is needed or any caution heeded,
When time and money are pissed away on endless nights of debauchery.
And a hangover is the only thing, I've a chance of being intimate with.
Well here's my lot I throw it in, and take what may come on the chin.

Must we be bound?
From now until the time agreed we lay our promise down,
All efforts to break free will be crushed into the ground,
Must we be bound?
Must we be bound?
Must we be bound?
Must we be bound?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Footage from rooms

The last week has seen the band and I play a few acoustic shows, power down style. One of these performances took place in someone's living room in rather swanky part of London, Primrose Hill. That was for people at Songs From a Room, who organise pop up gigs in living rooms in cities all over the world.

The other acoustic performance we gave was at Flashback Records to commemorate and celebrate my debut album coming out on vinyl record. It was an overwhelming night, with the shop bursting with people, the busiest it's ever been said its owner. If you failed to make it down to grab a copy, Flashback is stocking the album 'Heathcliffian Surly' permanently, on CD and Vinyl. Alternatively you can buy over the internet here.

We will be quiet for a month now, and will re-emerge at the Union Chapel on Saturday, March 5th, for Daylight, an afternoon of music starting at midday.

Until then, have a butchers at some of the recent footage below.

Live at Flashback Records:

Live at Songs From a Room:

Friday, 7 January 2011

Review from Sharon O' Connell at Uncut

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Sharon O’ Connell at Uncut:

He describes himself as “a crooner of morose ballads and drunken frisky jigs”, but the eccentric Dando has his sights set on multiple broader horizons. Marrying his mannered and melodramatic baritone – equal parts Noel Coward, Baby Dee and Bryan Ferry – to this quintet’s accomplished orchestrations, he dips into klezmer/gypsy jazz, upbeat indie country, honky –tonk and Associates-style art pop. Dando’s florid delivery and self-conscious romanticism won’t be to everyone’s taste, but there’s humanity and a tender heart here, along with the hubris and professed horror of modern life, as “Odessa!” and “No Tomorrow” attest.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Summary of 2010

Usually around this time of year, I like to rain terror down upon the hell hole venues that I’ve played in, or the wicked promoters that do nothing to earn their title. However, the gripes of previous years don’t seem to have been as prevalent in 2010 now that I recall. Could this be progress, or luck? Pft, who cares. It was nice, let’s leave at that. So to cement some of the memories, I’d like to round up my year with the below YouTube playlist, which is a collection of videos from artists that I've enjoyed immensely in the past 12 months. Here's to another splendid year in 2011.

If you click play above, it should play video after video of the playlist. Tracklisting below:

Timber Timbre - Magic Arrow
Beach House - Norway
Where Is My Mind - Chancery Blame and the Gadjo Club
Black Doe - Mary Epworth and the Jubilee Band
Ultrasound - Sovereign
Kenji Mizoguchi - Geisha Dance from Ugetsu Monagatari
This Is Laura - The Ghosts of Lovers and Hounds
Ellie Goulding - The Writer
Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now (2000)
Dakota Jim - medley of his songs including, We Will Meet Again
Beach House - Better Times
Timber Timbre - Demon Host
Bethia Beadman - Homerton Station
Ultrasound - Everything Picture (live at The Lexington, reformation gig)
Canteloube - "Bailero" - Sung by Netania Davrath
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - I'm Glad
Kenji Mizoguchi - Sansh├┤ day├╗

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Review from Martin Skivington at The Skinny

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Martin Skivington at The Skinny:

Marmaduke Dando has been described as an author channelling the 'horrors and beauties of the modern world', but hyperbole aside, his music sounds something like a cross between Antony Hegarty's weeping recitals and Baby Dee's warped balladry. His debut album, Heathcliffian Surly, is a drink-soaked, literary and almost Victorian collection of morose pop, led by his own piano playing and supported by a five-piece band.

Dando assumes theatrical roles exquisitely throughout, from dejected drunk (Dead To The World) to embracing romantic (All Of Me), while giving a lesson in early 20th Century song in the process. Although it's easy to find his voice overbearing – a notion magnified by a song like Life Can't Get Any Better – the skill and subtle wit of songs such as Give Me Detumescence still indicates an artist who's well aware of his own idiosyncrasies, and capable of using them to his advantage. A curious introduction.

Review from Shane O’ Leary at Unpeeled

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Shane O’ Leary at Unpeeled:

Obviously that headline should read 'genius with beard plays piano', but that's no fun and would undermine any claim to dyslexia. However, we have found a genius and he does, for the moment at least, have a beard.

Said genius also has a name. We're presuming that Marmaduke Dando is a nom de warble as opposed to something his poor, gin-soaked old mum scrawled on his birth certificate before expiring with a fit of the giggles. Said genius also has an album to purvey, convey, sell, flog and place before the bemused and largely non-bearded masses. Said album is called "Heathcliffian Surly" and the big money is on it being a reference to a certain character that sent the muse, licketty-split, to both Kate Bush and Cliff Richard, a threesome I don't wish to visualise again, but an album we should all hear again and again and... you get the idea. There is a proper review on the 'Everything Else' page, but skip that and skip directly to

Heathcliffian', but we'll have a go... Alas, the artiste known as Marmaduke Dando is a
beautiful breeze of fetid air as Bela Lugosi amuses himself, Miss Havisham style in a basement once inhabited by some kind of Bryan Ferry/Brian Eno mutation.

Knockers and the insensitively souless will point out that this is an album with more arch than Archway, more affectation than an incoming princess and far too clever to be good for itself. We call those people 'Conservatives' and point out that "Heathcliffian Surly" is the fine dining version of 'Rocky Horror' and that Marmaduke Dando may well be camper than Baden Powell, but he slips through genres more slickly than a Mozart made of eels. Take something like "The Last Drink", a honky tonk, slow-mo piano stamp around a bordello bar, something that both Leon Russell and Hinge & Bracket would be comfortable with and perfect for. This is such a lovely record that I'm liable to come over all sensible and suggest that you buy it, a
lot and now.

IS IT ANY GOOD? We don't get a lot of genius down our way, but we know it when we hear it.

Review from Dominic Vavlona at God is in the TV

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Dominic Valvona at God is in the TV:

Marmaduke Dando is a tortured soul: his atavistic disposition, seeming ill at ease with the modern world. A self-appointed despairing and melancholic romantic, Dando is unceremoniously catapulted from rubbing shoulders with the likes of Byron, Keats and Dostoevsky in the garret and study room’s of a hazy bygone age, to the harsh realities of a cold dystopian envisioned Metropolis. If further prove of his separation from our technological fetishist society was even needed, a sardonic passage bemoaning about de-humanisation in the face of modernity and progress by the revered and controversial novelist D.H Lawrence, is included as a footnote inside the albums cover.

Musically, our troubled troubadour wistfully croons over a bare and deftly layered accompaniment of mournful piano, searing melodic violins, shuffling drums, and pronounced pining guitars, all swaying between a soundtrack of sorrowful ballads, Weimar epoch cabaret, and Balkan gypsy woe.

Dando’s saddened and stirring swooning vocals share all the more restrained traits of Scott Walker, Jacques Brel, Lloyd Cole and Billy Mckenzie, on this disconsolate and doleful journey. Walker-esque allusions begin with Heathcliffian Surly's opening rue, and tribute of a kind, to the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa, on the track of the same name: picked I assume for its revolutionary bent and historical romanticism – the city was famous for the tragic 1905 workers uprisings, which were depicted in Sergi Eisenstein's ‘Battleship Potemkin’. Our new-age Shelly pens an ode to a place he’s only ever read about and imagined; using its exoticism and mysterious aura to express sentiments to his intended muse.

The reclusive Walker returns, with his own ‘30th Century Man’, which is used as the bedrock for the jangley Apache toms beat and lust-for-life celebration, ‘Life Can’t Get Any Better’; whilst his morose tones echo large on the sadly lovelorn prose of ‘This Is I Ask Of You’.

With his elaborate 18th Century cravats and tailored gentlemen’s attire, the poetic protagonist often drifts into surprising waters: mooning like a carousing mid-70s Bowie and melodramatic Simon Le Bon - of all people - on the French sophisto-noir of ‘If This Is Civilisation’, or revisiting the wry wit and eloquently worded lyrics of Neil Hannon’s Divine Comedy, on the Kierkegaard melancholy of ‘Dead To The World’ – possibly his best outing.

It may seem that with all these influences - worn on our tormented singers sleeves for the entire world to see - that Dando merely apes or pays homage to his inspirational hosts. Yet, in some ways this collection of acutely penned modern stirring songs, carries on the grand tradition of lugubrious and laid bare hymns by his influences with a subtle degree of wit and invention. On paper this album sounds daunting, but somehow at the same time heart-warming, as it chimes with relevance to our own times and attempts to put malady on the map.

Heathcliffian Surly shows that Dando’s cup isn’t just half-empty, but is smeared, cracked and slowly leaking the little content it still has left. To borrow a slightly changed, well-worn line from that Californian sage Brian Wilson, “Dando just wasn’t made for these times”.