Friday, March 15, 2019

Welcome to Peter Clemon's Coventry Music Articles

This Post Remains on top as an introduction to the site. Scroll below for the latest posts.

This Blogspot is part of the Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) archive run by Trev Teasdel.

Hobo was a Coventry music magazine c 1973 - 75 and the archives of the magazine and Hobo workshop and the general music scene of the 70's was originally on Vox blogs c 2007 until recently. Vox closed and the site is being redeveloped and rearranged here - it's still in progress so bear with us.

Photos of the Coventry Music Museum run by Pete Chambers
Do visit the museum if you are in Coventry - website

This Blog
This Hobo blogspot in particular  is for Peter Clemons Coventry music Scene articles for the Coventry Telegraph and beyond. Pete Clemons has a huge database of hundreds of gigs in Coventry from the 60's to the present. Both professional acts and local bands. He has had over 100 articles published in the Coventry Telegraph which, on his request, we've collated here and  have linked them with further material from the Hobo magazine archives.

NEW - Coventry Book Launch Documenting the Music and Entertainment Scene of 1970's by Ruth Cherrington. The Dirty Stop Outs Guide 1970's Coventry.
Available in Coventry from Waterstones and HMV or from Amazon UK here 

Hobo magazine and Workshop are well featured in the book as are many of the photos from the Hobo Archive pages here.Both Pete Chambers and Pete Clemons make a good contribution to the book as well.

  • Early posts on here - if you scroll right down - are Pete's Rock of Ages Posts - gigs in Cov through the ages since the early 60's to present.
  • Later posts are about important music venues in the city and their history.
  • Other posts are about Coventry bands from the 60's onwards.

Pete Clemons and Trev Teasdel at  BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire January 2016

Links to the other Hobo Coventry Music Archive sites 
Coventry Music Scene from Hobo - This is the Hub to all the sites below

Hobo - Coventry Music Archives This is the main Blogspot for the Coventry Music Archives from Hobo Magazine with archive material from HoboMagazine and other Coventry music magazines, feature articles and other documentation. This site is still in development.

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club
The archives of the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club which was opened in 1955 by the Goons and where some of the Two Tone musicians started out and literary figures like Phillip Larkin and much more. many Coventry bands played the Umbrella in the late 60's and early 70's. It also housed Coventry's first Folk Club.

Coventry Folk Club Scene 1970's  
This is the Hobo site for Coventry's longstanding and thriving Folk and Acoustic scene. It covers both folk archives from the 70's and features on some of the contemporary singer songwriters out there now along with Pete Willow's history of Coventry Folk Scene and pdf versions of  his 70's Folks Magazine 1979 / 80. Top names like Rod Felton, Dave Bennett, Kristy Gallacher, Pauline (Vickers) Black, Roger Williamson, Sean Cannon and many more.

Coventry Gigs 1960 to Present (This blogspot in fact!).

Coventry Discos, Venues, Music shops and Agencies / Studios etc.
A steadily progressing blog for a variety of other aspects of Coventry's music scene - the DJ's, Discos, Venues, Arts fests, record shops, studios, music agencies etc etc..

Coventry Musicians Who's Who 
This blog has an A to Z of Coventry musicians. It's not yet complete (if ever!) but there are many names and their bands on already. I will come back to it when the A to Z of bands is complete and add in names not on. Meanwhile if you are not on it - and you should be - or your friends and their bands or if your info is incorrect - do let us know at

Hobo A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists
Meanwhile a huge A to Z of Coventry bands and artists can be found (again in development) here

Profile / Paradise West / Saigon

Profile / Paradise West / Saigon

by Pete Clemons

As I remember, I first crossed paths with bass player Steve Barney, around 1982 ish. He had just begun life as an apprentice at the GEC. I guess that apprenticeship curtailed his musical activities for a while. But not fully and, certainly, never diminished his ambitions as he currently turns out for The Ramrods alongside Danny Cunningham.

As soon as we met it did not take long until we discovered our shared love of music. Although he was on a slightly different level as he was, playing in a band whereas I simply listened to it.

Something I have been meaning to do for a while now is to put together a blog that, in some way, detailed Steve’s achievements. So, after a chat with him, that’s exactly what this will attempt to do.

Steve’s first band was Profile. Profile was formed around 1977 I think. But at the time Profile were the youngest bands around the city in terms of age range.

Steve mentioned ‘We were all school mates. Guy Surtees the creator, singer and guitar. Rich Elson guitar and me bass. We were all at Woodlands School together. We had various drummers Steve Russell, the late Chris Drew and Mad Steve from Squad and the Tearjerkers who guested for us in the studio. We were very young but got to do supports in town at the standard venues. This was when alternative sounds magazine was going on. The single was Guys idea. We could not afford to do it all ourselves so we came up with the idea for several bands to appear on one single and share the costs. Six bands were involved in the project and the result was the ‘Boys and Girls Come Out to Play’ EP’.

Once the cost was calculated to make the record and sleeve, each band had to contribute 1/6 of the costs. The idea was for 3 different bands to feature on each side. As the bands contained both male and female singers there became a blue side and a pink side. Profile were on the blue side and contributed with the track ‘Vince’. Profile originally wanted a different song, ‘Nuclear Future’, to feature on the EP, but had to settle for a shorter one as their preferred choice was too long and wouldn’t fit. So, the final ‘Boys and Girls Come Out to Play’ EP looked like this……….

Pink Side:

Human Cabbages – The Window’s Broken

The Clique Syndicate – Cism

L’Homme de Terre – Get a Grip

Blue Side:

Profile – Vince

Famous Five – Take Over

First Offence – Hammer and Sickle

Steve continues ‘Each band had to design their own part of the sleeve which became a big poster when it unfolded. Guy was the instigator of the idea but, as we were so young, Human Cabbages took over the running of it. When Human Cabbages releases a solo single later... the label was Boys and Girls 2’. ‘Once the EP was released I remember playing in the school assembly at Woodlands School and then selling some records there. While this was going on I think we encouraged a lot of others, the same age as us, to form bands so other local bands appeared - Sedition being one who went on to become Criminal Class. I left Profile in around 1982. They then changed their name and style and became ‘Beachmantango’ with Anthony Harty on bass. I then had a brief spell playing for Criminal Class when their ‘Fighting the System’ record was released’.

Fast forward to around 1986 and another of Steve’s bands, ‘Paradise West’, were formed.

Steve recalls ‘I had just bought a drum machine that connected to my spectrum computer and used that to help write songs at the time. The band at that time consisted of just myself and Gez Moran. We were then joined by guitarist Mark Quinn quickly followed by Craig Grant on drums. Our first proper gig was at New Star in Tile Hill. It was absolutely packed. We then went into the recording studio and did three tracks – Guy Surtees from ‘Profile’ came in to help and did some keyboards and harmonica. We played some great gigs. With GdaƄsk at ‘the Venue’ was a particularly good one. And this is how I got to know Danny Cunningham. For whatever reasons, after that gig, Gez decided to change out the drummer and guitarist. They were replaced by Dave Vallely on drums (who had originally been in Fridays Angels) and Colin Hankinson on guitar. I remember lots of enjoyable gigs with that line up. We supported ‘Havana’ at the Lanch (The Clash’s Paul Simonon’s band). We also did several gigs at the Dive (Lady Godiva). We even did one for the Coventry Carnival in a float. Another that comes to mind was a great one at the General Wolfe which was supposed to be for a ‘battle of the bands’ competition. But as we had so many people down there to see us they let us do our whole set. I left Paradise West, along with Dave and Colin, around 1992/93 I think. I then did a one-off gig playing for ‘Squad’ at Busters as Gus Chambers was visiting from America and wanted to do a reunion gig. Absolutely loved that one’.

Paradise West did change their name for a while. They became known as Saigon who also played many times around the city. The core of Saigon was still Gez, Dave, Colin and Steve but, additionally harmonica player Bryan Lea Bradford would add his talents. Legendary local guitarist, Roy Butterfield, would also join Paradise West / Saigon on stage at many gigs. Steve particularly remembers his amazing guitar solos and slide guitar playing.

More recently, the Profile track ‘Nuclear Future’, which happens to be Steve’s favourite Profile track, has cropped up on a compilation album called ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Originally, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, was supposed to be an album, like the ‘Sent to Coventry’ album. The two cities featured were Birmingham and Coventry. But it failed to materialise at the time. However, the digital age has seen a CD version of that album recently surface. The profile track ‘Vince’ also surfaced. That appeared on a CD compilation called ‘Messthetics’.

Steve finished off with ‘And now I’m currently playing in Ramrods with Danny and Barney Cunningham who have both been good friends since those early days’. ‘I keep hassling Guy about doing a 40-year reunion gig, but he has so far, failed to take the bait’.

As I have said many times - Who knows what the future holds.

Profile - Vince

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mott the Hoople

Mott the Hoople
by Pete Clemons

Mott the Hoople originated from a Herefordshire based group called Silence. They comprised of Overend Watts on bass, Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin on drums, Verden Allen on keyboards and Mick Ralphs on guitar. After arriving in London, Silence added Ian Hunter as vocalist and thus, Mott the Hoople were born. Mott the Hoople were a very hard working and hard gigging group. This early version of the band made some memorable music such as ‘Thunderbuck Ram’, ‘Second Love’ and ‘Walkin With a Mountain’. And during this period Mott the Hoople called into Coventry, and Warwick University, several times.

After four, very good, but not particularly successful albums released between 1969 and 1971 the group famously split up on 26 March 1972 (as documented on the tune ‘Ballad of Mott’ released 1973). But they were encouraged to reform by long-time admirer David Bowie.

David Bowie gave Mott the Hoople a new image and a stronger belief in their abilities. David also produced their fifth studio album ‘All the young Dudes’. In fact, the title track was given to the band by David Bowie and it gave the band much needed success in the singles charts during 1972. Mott the Hoople also embarked on yet another UK tour that, again, called into Coventry.

Davie Bowie then stepped aside encouraging Ian Hunter to assume leadership of the band. This new-found success didn’t stop there as Mott the Hoople went from strength to strength. However, this move of Ian Hunter becoming more the front man of the band, possibly cost the Mott the services of Verden Allen and then Mick Ralphs. The later leaving to join Paul Rogers, Simon Kirke and Boz Burrell in the newly formed Bad Company. Mick Ralphs did, however, stay around long enough to help Mott the Hoople complete the excellent ‘Mott’ album released in 1973.

Mick Ralphs was replaced by former Spooky Tooth guitarist Luther Grosvenor who was working under the pseudonym of Ariel Bender. Morgan Fisher took over keyboards from Verden Allen. This line up cut ‘The Hoople’ album and a ‘Live’ album both released 1974.

Ariel Bender’s association with Mott the Hoople wasn’t a great success and he also became a casualty of the band as he was very briefly replaced by ex-David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson. By late 1974 both Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson had left Mott the Hoople to embark on a partnership of their own.

This now left Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin, Overend Watts and Morgan Fisher to regroup as the truncated, but short lived, ‘Mott’.

Fast forward to 16 January 2009 and an announcement was made that Mott the Hoople line up of Hunter, Griffin, Watts, Allen and Ralphs would be reforming for two concerts at the Hammersmith Apollo. Those two gigs soon, due to the phenomenal demand, became five nights. You would never have guessed that these guys had not performed together for 35 years. It was truly memorable.

Due to poor health, however, drummer Dale Griffin was replaced by Martin Chambers of The Pretenders. As I remember Griffin accompanied the band on the encores.

A further reunion took place in 2013 and this time included other cities away from London. This including Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Sadly, since those reunions both Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin and Verden Allen have passed away.

2019 sees a third reunion of sorts. This time it is the 1974 version of the band and in addition to Ian Hunter will include Ariel Bender and Morgan Fisher as well as full supporting musicians. As well as several gigs up and down the country, this tour will also include The Assembly, Leamington Spa.

Friday, March 1, 2019

From the Jam – All Mod Cons

From the Jam – All Mod Cons
by Pete Clemons

Forty years ago, or at least just over, saw the release of that most iconic of albums ‘All Mod Cons’ by The Jam.

Garry Bushell, in his review, commented on the perceived fact, that, during the run up to the release of ‘All Mod Cons’, the ‘David Watts’ single had apparently relegated The Jam to a spent force. He later pointed out how that comment had been a trifle premature. He continued to mention how the next single ‘Down in the Tube Station’ was a whacking great poke in the ribs pointer to the possible strengths of this, their third and most satisfyingly rounded album.

At its release, and for the normal run of the mill listening public ‘All Mod Cons’ seemed to perfectly capture snapshots of aspects of everyday life, as seen through the eyes of Paul Weller. Wonderful lyrics coupled with great tunes instantly had the making of this, now, classic album. Not only that but ‘All Mod Cons’ also looked back musically and spiritually to the 1960s. Although the record itself was totally grounded in the 1970s.

And judging by the recent crowds at both The Empire in Coventry and The Assembly in Leamington Spa, The Jam are still fondly remembered in these parts. Incidentally, the Leamington Spa gig came 40 years to the day after The Jam played at Coventry Theatre on the ‘Apocalypse Tour’ in support of the ‘All Mods Cons’ album.

At both the Empire and Assembly gigs it was ‘From the Jam’, a hybrid of Paul Wellers super group that contains bass player Bruce Foxton from The Jam’s original line up. They performed the ‘All Mod Cons’ album in its entirety and almost in track order as it appeared on the album. For practicalities, however, ‘English Rose’ was tucked into a quieter seated, more acoustic section, during the middle of the gig. After the main course the set list included hits such as ‘News of the World’, ‘Strange Town’, ‘Eton Rifles’, ‘Private Hell’, ‘Town Called Malice’, ‘In the City’ and ‘When your Young’ which did make me smile due to the fact it was sung by many ‘in reflection’.

As with this kind of gig, by bands from this era, very few words came from the stage. Without any heirs and graces 20 or so songs were delivered in blistering fashion. There was little or no tuning of guitars and certainly no sermons delivered.

At the time of the release of ‘All Mod Cons’ The Jam were still in their ascendancy. Such was the sudden growth of their following at that time meant that, for the Apocalypse Tour, the band were suddenly moved up from playing smaller venues such as The Locarno/Tiffany’s to the larger, grander seated theatres such as the Coventry Theatre.

And what happened to The Jam at the end of their time was totally unprecedented. The trio of Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler and Paul Weller had steered the band to incredible heights. At the time, they were arguably the most popular group in the UK and then, seemingly out of the blue, Paul pulled the plug on it all.

For a short while the country reeled as news of the break up hit the headlines of a lot of national newspapers let alone the music press.

However, for the last 10 years or so, ‘From the Jam’ who have always comprised of ex The Jam band members, have resurrected interest in The Jam and their music once again. They have consistently toured in tribute to all that The Jam created. And the resulting audiences have remained as faithful to the band, just as they had been, 40 years ago.

All Mod Cons  - The Jam - Album

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Tony Visconti

Tony Visconti

by Pete Clemons

Born in New York, the producer and bass player has long become a legend in the field of popular music production.

Tony Visconti first came to London during 1968 after a chance meeting with fellow producer Denny Cordell. After moving to the UK, one of the first albums he had a hand in producing was ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ by The Ivey’s, later to become known as Badfinger.

There then began a partnership, for Tony, with Marc Bolan which lasted right from the outset of Tyrannosaurus Rex for seven albums including the classic ‘Electric Warrior’ when the band were now known by the truncated T. Rex.

At the same time Tony was still playing bass and had teamed up with David Bowie. After a short spell in David’s band The Hype, Tony continued work with David by appearing on his ‘Space Oddity’ album then playing bass on and producing his ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ album. Tony would team up with Bowie again around the time of ‘Diamond Dogs’ in 1974. This continued with production work for the ‘David Live’ album and subsequent albums up until and including ‘Scary Monsters’.

Again, and in parallel to his work with David Bowie, Tony Visconti was working with artists and bands such as Osibisa, The Strawbs, Sparks, Ralph McTell, Thin Lizzy and Mary Hopkin.

The 1980s saw Tony’s services were still in high demand, and equally as demanding, as he was now working with Hazel O’Connor, The Boomtown Rats, The Moody Blues and a host of others.

The 1990s were relatively quiet in terms of production but the 2000s saw an upturn for Tony’s services. David Bowie and Tony would join forces again during the early 2000s for David’s four final studio albums.

And now at almost 75 years old Tony has teamed up once more with Woody Woodmansey, drummer on ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ in Holy Holy. Named after a failed single from the very early 1970s Holy Holy have been creating the authentic sounds of David Bowie’s early songs since 2014.

‘We’re not a tribute band; we are the real deal’, they claim as they are performing songs from the 1969 to 1973 period. Opening this tour with ‘The Width of a Circle’ the seven-piece band go on to perform ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ album, which was never done at its time of release. They then follow that up with the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album in full.

After recording a live album from Shepherd's Bush Empire, during 2015, Tony played it to David Bowie. And apparently the man himself was ‘just grinning from ear to ear’ in acknowledgment.

Admittedly vocalist Glenn Gregory does not ooze the sensuality of the creator of those songs. I don’t think for a minute that is what the audience expects. Woody Woodmansey’s hand speed is, at times, electric. And the twin guitars capture Mick Ronson’s licks perfectly. Between them Holy Holy give truly faithful renditions of David Bowie’s music and are well worth catching if, at all possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Gary Numan

Gary Numan

by Pete Clemons

There is no denying that, at the age of 60, Gary Numan is riding the kind of high that, arguably, he has not experienced since he burst into the music scene with his ‘Replicas’ album over 40 years ago.

I recently witnessed evidence of this where, together with the Skaparis Orchestra, he performed a two hour set to a capacity house at the Symphony Hall Birmingham.

This particular extravaganza was one of just 6 exclusive gigs that also took place in Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester, London and Glasgow.

As to be expected the set list was heavily weighted towards Gary’s more recent and highly successful albums ‘Savage’ and ‘Splinter’. However, the past was not forgotten as he delved into his back catalogue pulling out a song from each of ‘Replicas’, ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Telekon’ albums. And this was my own live date with Gary since those days.

Additionally, Gary brought with him his biggest and most extravagant light show that he had taken on the road for over three decades. And this had been designed specifically for these special orchestral performances.

Arriving at the venue Gary tweeted ‘Birmingham Symphony Hall. I’ve not been here before but it’s really quite impressive. This show is nearly two hours long so we’re bringing the stage time forward a little tonight’.

Gary’s obvious excitement over the prospect of this tour had clearly spilled over into his huge and loyal following. Chants of ‘Numan, Numan’ rang around auditorium as soon as he hit the stage. And this continued in between tracks until it hit fever pitch with the onset of ‘Are Friends Electric’.

Still sporting his jet-black hair and eye liner, the one obvious difference from 40 years ago was that Gary now frequently moves. Whereas once, he had this deadpan, almost robotic like, demeanour when delivering his songs, he now has a repertoire of several shapes into which he contorts his body in heavy rotation while, at the same time, stalking around the stage like a caged creature. And this loop of expression continued throughout the entire gig with very little spoken interaction between himself and his audience.

In addition to the orchestra Gary was surrounded by his regular band. This comprised of a drummer, a keyboard player, a guitarist and a bass player. And between them the sound was dense and heavy. But at the same time the sound became distinctly different when an old tune was approaching.

Another delving into the past came by way of support act, keyboard and viola player Chris Payne, a name you may recognise from the hey days of the touring principle and living ornaments tours. Chris delivered a spectacular and very enjoyable aural, if not visual set, from a pair of keyboards and lap tops.

Gary mentioned that he had often felt that his music has had, at times, a filmic quality. And, that with The Skaparis Orchestra joining them for these six shows, that mix of hard electronic and soaring cinematic atmosphere would finally come fully to life. And so it did, to great effect.

Throughout the gig, I genuinely couldn’t help but feel pleased that for Gary Numan, after all this time, and throughout his highs and particularly his lows, things once again appear to have come together for this one-time pioneer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Strawbs - 50th Anniversary

The Strawbs - 50th Anniversary
by Pete Clemons

Thinking back to the late 1960s when I was becoming a teenager, apart from the normal chart music, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues and Beatles albums and such like, I distinctly remember being totally captivated by 3 LP records of less familiar bands. These were Music in a Dolls House by Family, It’s All About by Spooky Tooth and the first record release by The Strawbs. Although, as I was not aware of at that time, technically, it wasn’t the band’s first album release. That had been an album recorded with Sandy Denny which was abandoned to the vaults. It would, however, see light of day some years later.

Family and Spooky Tooth have both long since split although the charismatic lead vocalist of Family, Roger Chapman, still performs the occasional gig. As does ex Family drummer, Rob Townsend, who turns out for The Manfreds. Remarkably however, The Strawbs are still going strong, and still lead by the bands founder and primary song writer Dave Cousins who continues to produce wonderful music.

The other band members at the time of the first LP, guitarist and vocalist Tony Hooper and double bass player Ron Chesterman had both left the band by 1973. Having said that, Tony Hooper did return for a while from the late 80s through to the early 90s. Ron Chesterman sadly passed away during 2007.

April 2019 will see the band celebrate their 50th anniversary in the United States. But consistently year after year The Strawbs have gigged almost continuously throughout that time either with a full band or acoustically. And it is equally impressive that, for the last 45 years or so, Dave has had guitarist Dave Lambert at his side.

At this point I am not even going to attempt to give a potted history of The Strawbs. It is far too complicated a tale to tell and, besides, it is all out there on the internet to see. Some wonderful work has clearly been done cataloguing the bands history.

However, I would just like to acknowledge this fine debut record because, for me personally, it has been like a life-long friend and has never been far from the record player / CD player. Even today the songs within it have never dated and retained the beauty I first discovered soon after it was released during May/June 1969. On its release Melody Maker called it ‘thoughtful arrangements offset the songs, which are reminiscent of the Moody Blues style’.

The opening track, ‘The Man Who Called Himself Jesus’, even for someone like myself who has never really understood the notion of religion, is immediately compelled to listen. The lyric is so sympathetic to the situation in many ways.

‘That Which Once Was Mine’ – and it’s opening line of ‘If in some capricious moment’ – I wouldn’t have even known what the word capricious meant back then. ‘Pieces of 79 and 15’. Again, there is no way I would have known what that song was all about. Even today, I am still not totally sure. The closest I came to a greater understanding was when I came across an interview with Dave Cousins where he explained that ‘it centred around Tony Hooper’s bizarre experiences in his several, extremely seedy, London flats’. The mind can only wonder.

So, it clearly wasn’t the lyrics that drew me to this record. Maybe it was the music then. As with Nick Drake albums, this album had arrangements added to it, to greatly enhance the songs. Great credit therefore must go to producer Tony Visconti and Gus Dudgeon who recorded it.

‘Oh, how she changed’ / ‘Or am I dreaming’ / ‘Where am I’ / ‘Tell me what you see in me’ – are just totally intoxicating songs for someone of such a tender age. They were written with pure love, passion and whimsy. Or at least that’s how they come across to me at least. And, they capture perfectly, the vocal talents of both Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper. The Preserves Uncanned set, that featured many early recordings from the band known as the Strawberry Hill Boys, and who went on to become The Strawbs, also contained several stripped backed versions of songs that would crop up on The Strawbs debut record. The difference in them is stark and revealing.

As for The Strawbs developing into an electric band, which of course they did during the 1970s, Dave Cousins was clearly looking toward the future as early as January 1969 when, in an interview, he mentions this ambition for the band as well as introducing a drummer.

Do I have any criticisms of the record? No nothing major, only that, as good as the song is – and it really is, I always felt that ‘The Battle’ felt slightly out of context with the rest of the album. The song, as I understand, is about a game of chess. But maybe it was intended to be included as a way of adding some shade dark to all the light.

During their 50 years together, The Strawbs have produced many fine and varied albums. So powerful are some of the lyrics I have seen them reduce people to tears. But the stories and messages within that debut record certainly left a huge impression on me. Maybe it was a simple case that it happened to snare me at such a vulnerable and innocent time in my life, who knows. Whatever the reason though, I am just so thankful that it did happen. It remains today, when called upon, something that’s guaranteed to make me feel a whole lot better about things.