I'm a big fan of Brakes ever since I saw them supporting Belle and Sebastian and then started receiving their emails. They're always playing gigs in people's living rooms and things. I've never won one of those competitions but I did get an email last week about a secret gig at the Water Rats. They came on stage at 7.30 and there were around 20 of us in the room at the time. They played a fantastic short set and revealed that 'Heard About Your Band' is about Dominic Masters from The Others (hope they didn't think that was only OK if it was in front of the 20 of us - well, it crept up to about 50 by the end). Almost as good as a living-room gig. The volume was up to the level for a bigger gig, though, and my ears are still buzzing. It's going to be a bore when the hearing properly falls apart.