Sunday, 23 September 2018

Chas and Dave

I've been woken up again by a coughing fit. I don't feel bad other than the coughing but it does give me the opportunity to pen my own  short remembrance of Chas Hodges who we sadly lost to Cancer yesterday. The older we get, the more this happens, it's the nature of life and time but it still affects us all.but I think thanks top the digital age we still have their filmed memories immortalising them for us.

I never saw Chas and Dave live but saw lots of them on TV and probably have several of their singles in my collection managing to span rock and roll, cockney knees up, music hall, pub sing-a-long music and Londay Folk in to their own unique brand of music call "Rockney".

Their Wiki page is here and there are more in depth tributes such as this one here.

They had worked in many sixties bands and formed in 1975 , opening for Led Zeppelin at Knebworth in 1979. They were loved by everybody regardless of your own musical tastes, if Chas and Dave came on the radio or on Top of The Pops, you never complained because it was a breath of fresh are and a fun interlude and they could also talk.

The had a TV series in 1983 set in an East End pub, but I don't think they ever appeared on EastEnders but it is sad that the duo is now split, but we do have a lot of lovely memories.

Hopefully now I have calmed down enough to try to get  back to sleep, but I'll leave you with their breakthru single "Gertcha" from 1979.

Sleep well.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Not Strictly

While I don't begrudge anyone who watches "Strictly Come Dancing" I do find it's treatment of music very annoying , refining often good songs to be acceptable for an audience that generally doesn't care what music is. Tonight an impressive dance opening, in setting, costumes and execution was let down by the sur refinery hatchet job on Elton John's "Your Song". Why not stick to the original arrangement if you are going to cover it.

Needless to say that was it for tonight for me, but it is a failing of all these types of shows, though at least with Strictly you can see the effort the contestants put into it, and they do get recognition, unlike say "X-Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent" where all you remember are the judges, althe Jedward and Lost Voice Guy are two that I do know.

The Strictly lot were on tonight's "Pointless" and one song I'd forgotten about was the the answer to one of the questions, the excellent "No Matter What" written by the tragic Pete Ham and performed by Badfinger where were one of a handful of bands who signed to the Beatles' Apple label. SO I will leave you with some great music to listen to.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Endless Night

It's four AM and tonight has been punctuated by waking up with serious coughing fits. Not painful or coughing up blood bad but enough to make sure I haven't had a decent nights sleep, also ensuring that I will not be in a fit state for work tomorrow morning. Sitting up and typing seems to give a little respite from this so I'm hoping the antibiotics actually do their job and sort me out.

I don't have a headache but have a runny nose which streams back into my throat causing the tickle and therefor the cough. In the dry air conditioned office environment this also gets exacerbated, so. again another reason not to go into work.

The fact that I'm writing this is a result of being under the weather, but it shows that I am not completely laid low by this, just unable to do anything useful. Maybe a day of rest today, followed by the weekend and Monday my help that. Total rest can help you recuperate, although most of the time you feel you should be doing something.

I chose the title because that is what it feels like, but it's the title of one of my favourite Graham Parker songs from my favourite album of his, and it was co-written with Bruce Springsteen so as good as it gets really, featuring The Boss on backing vocals. I thought found a version by Bruce as well but a different song same title, so waking up and sharing this with you is a positive point of this cough waking me up.

Thursday, 20 September 2018



I'm not going to work tomorrow, or Monday and not going to do anything this weekend. The doc says I have something unpronounceable on my left side and has provided me with a five day antibiotics course. The situation is that I have the most aggressive tickly cough which waits til I'm about to sleep then kicks in causing and coughing fit, not the most restful situation.

I was in bed at eight and it's now ten thirty and sitting up writing this is giving me some respite,, although the chunks of Galaxy plus Buttercup Syrup and other sundry druggy things are keeping it at bay though not sure for how long.

I really had no intention of writing this but I am just hoping it can lull my whole body into a sense of sleepiness. I really can't take any more chocolate and I am not sure what other options I have.

If I do drop off I don't have to get up tomorrow, the doc recommended a couple of days off and spoke with a couple of bosses today before tidying things up and setting my OOO.

I will leave you with the excellent "Take The Skinheads Bowling" by Camper Van Beethoven which is just a wonderful song and can bring a ray of brightness into the most mundane of situations.


In October 1979 an AOR band released an album that was reviewed by the NME. The band was Fleetwood Mac, sitting duck targets for the punk driven NME ethic at the time. Even worse this was a double album, the absolute eptome of self indulgence for the bloated dinosaur rockers of the time. This was shooting fish in a barrel.

Meanwhile somewhere in the  USA record execs listened to the follow to the multi million selling "Rumours" and saw their bonuses going up in smoke.

The NME review was shocking in that it acknowledge the absolute brilliance of this double album, driven by the eccentric genius of Lindsey Buckingham with huge contributions from Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood. It was album of the week, this was as unexpected as Brian Clough taking over Leeds United.

I bought the album and totally loved it, and still play it today , end to end. The advent of CD and digital means that you can listen without haveing to flip the vinyl, but music is excellent and it doesn't matter what the medium is.

In 2003 Camper Van Beethoven decided to cover the whole double album (see here) and I was listening to this excellent cover when I was drifting off to sleep the other night. As "Not That Funny" was playing I thought that sounds like Camper Van Beethoven on "Take The Skinheads Bowling" before realising who I was actually listening to.

So I will leave you with 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

I Think I'll ......

How many times do you decide to do a trivial task and it turns into a hell of a lot more than you expected. Today was bin day so I thought I'd just empty the bin in the bedroom last night, this then turned into every bin in the house before dragging out the bin to the the street for the binmen's convenience.

Then there was a couple of days washing up to deal with and one small fabric wash turned into three biggish loads which have to be hung to dy after they've finished, but to make room had to take a load of towels off the drying racks to make room.

Then dug dug out my only two unripped Cracker albums, "Kerosene Hat" and "Redux - Greatest Hits" and I use iTunes to rip CDs. Remember in the early days of Java, when every time you wanted to use a Java enabled app you had to download and install the latest 2 Mb installation and this was pre broadband, it was bloody painful. Well that's what iTunes (and probably all other Apple updates) is like today, 250 Mb to give you the same as you had before with probably more advertising.

The I start ripping "Kerosene Hat" and find it has a hundred tracks on it, most of which are blank spacers, decided it would be quickest to rip and then delete.

So taking a lot longer to do things I expected to do yesterday and today.

ALso my lurgi (I'm off to the docs tomorrow) is causing me to fall behind on my walking targets, so September maybe the first month where I fail tohit the 340K target. It's not bothering me too much as I think it's maybe taking energy that should be going towards recuperation, but we shall see.

So I'll leave you with another Cracker song "Low".

Enjoy your Wednesday

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Get Yer Bloody Lawn Mowed

My lawn does need mowing but it is looking lush and healthy at the moment and I think I will be overdoing it if I try it today, so I will let it continue to be lush. The title is inspired by the title of the latest Half Man Half Biscuit album " No-one Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fvckin' Hedge Cut", the title is starred out on Amazon and I've replaced the "U" with a "V" so hopefully people won't be too offended. The thing is starring things out doesn't hide anything really, people what F**k and Bu**er mean given the context, and it's unlikely the second word will be Butler, Bugker or Butter.

Anyway more of my thoughts on the album, it's much like most of their albums, ie excellent and the instrumentation, playing and productions seems much improved, possibly to the detriment of the lyrics, which are incredibly important in the effect of Half Man Half Biscuit songs sponting the references , connections, ambiguities and hilarities and Shakespearean class word play in there, although Nigel Blackwell may not thank me for that comparison, though him and John Cooper Clarke should be Poet Laureate at some point, two of our greatest populist wordsmiths.

I've chosen "Every Time A Bell Rings" which contains a refrain of the album title, checks in with David Bowie in the first line, takes swipes at Artisan stuff and wannabe cyclist and "It's A Wonderful Life". It's this sort of song that makes them an absolute joy to listen to.

Yes there is darkness in there but it's a sort of loveable darkness, and they are still one of my favourite bands and always will be.