Saturday, 18 November 2017

Worn Out, Loud and Heavy

On Your Knees
I just got a new Google Pixel phone , but my Bluetooth headphones were having problems connecting. I read there were issues with the Pixel and Bluetooth but it just seemed to get worse. Yesterday the connection packerd up totally so I thought I would try a cheap pair of Bluetooth headphones from HMV, and the connection was perfect, so basically my old headphones had just died on me, nothing more, and the phone is absolutely fine.

I had visions of going back to a wired connection but I'm glad that I don'tt have to.

The album I was listening to was Blue Oyster Cult's "On Your Feet Or On Your Knees" , I loved the original cover with the limousine outside the church and the vaguely Ku Klux Klan hooded
audience (meant as a sinister / threat image rather than a right wing Christian statement),  and remember getting this as a teenager and being disappointed as it was meant to be HEAVY. It wasn't. Then I thought heavy metal is meant to be LOUD and turned the player up to full volume. This was what it was meant to be like!

My parents were not too enamoured and I then had to resort to headphones to fully appreciate the album, and listening to the album via Bluetooth walking across Leazes the volue was turned up to FULL again. As yet I've not got any noise limiters like on the Sony, but the album does sound good.

It opens with "Subhuman" which sets the mood before the lyrically ridiculous but musically brilliant "Harvester of Eyes"before finishing off with the freight train rush of "Hot Rails To Hell", and that is just side one.

The album continues in the same culminating in two excellent covers "Maserati GT" (Yardbirds I think) and "Born To Be Wild" which has some great dynamics and love the separation of vocals and instrumentation.

Anyway it's almost Sunday so I will hit my pit and see you tomorrow.

Friday, 17 November 2017


Ravensword is a fantasy RPG , and I thought of the word after I thought of Ravesward in a kind of word meddling that the english language allows you do to do. Due to my English laziness I only have smatterings of French, Italian , German, Spanish and Dutch and am not sure if it's as easy in other language. Ravesward could be Raven Sward or Raven's Ward, while Ravensword could be Raven Sword or Raven's Word, and I blame the likes of William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde for the fact that I think like that. Will the overall story is good I find "Romeo and Juliet" tremendously tedious with it's continual word play. I do love the Monty Python sketch where Wilde, Whistler and Shaw trade insults and witticisms in this genre.

Today I woke up and couldn't get to sleep because of a problem at work. It's not a bad thing, but there is a situation with I think I may have a solution to. I don't know if it's age, but when we had mainframe systems, things were so nailed down that you never had to bother about things failing. If it did, systems were designed to catch failares and then easily be rectified.

These days we have distributed processing which is full of so many points of failure because no one seems to bother testing any more, UAT seems to be just assuming what you are given by your outsourced resource will be correct, which is totally wrong.

Anyway I have been listening to Genesis' second album "Trespass" (their first was the awful Jonathan King produced eponymous offering with the odd glimpse of what was to come on Decca), and this connects with Monty Python as both Genesis and Monty Python were on the Charisma label.

"Trespass" has a pastoral feel and lyrically does not fail from being too clever or confident. It is full of memorable melodies that stay with you long after you have listened to them and culminate in the keyboard riff driven assault of "The Knife" which incidentally closes "Genesis Live" which was a budget release with a typical Peter Gabriel surreal piece of grotesquerie and the rear of the sleeve, which I found here:

4:30 p.m. The tube train draws to a halt. There is no station in sight. Anxious glances dart around amongst the passengers as they acknowledge each other’s presence for the first time.

At the end of the train, a young lady in a green trouser suit stands up in the centre of the carriage and proceeds to unbutton her jacket, which she removes and drops to the dirty wooden floor. She also takes off her shoes, her trousers, her blouse, her brassiere, her tights and her floral panties, dropping them all in a neat pile. This leaves her totally naked.

She then moves her hands across her thighs and begins to fiddle around in between her legs. Eventually, she catches hold of something cold and metallic and very slowly, she starts to unzip her body; working in a straight line up the stomach, between the breasts, up the neck, taking it right on through the centre of her face to her forehead. Her fingers probe up and down the resulting slit finally coming to rest on either side of her navel. She pauses for a moment, before meticulously working her flesh apart. Slipping her right hand into the open gash, she pushes up through her throat, latching on to some buried solid at the top of her spine. With tremendous effort, she loosens and pulls out a thin, shimmering, golden rod. Her fingers release their grip and her crumbled body, neatly sliced, slithers down the liquid surface of the rod to the floor.


The rod remains hovering just off the ground, a flagpole without flag.
The other passengers have been totally silent, but at the sound of the body dropping on the floor a large middle-aged lady wearing a pink dress and matching poodle stands up and shouts, “STOP THIS, ITS DISGUSTING!”

The golden rod disappeared; the green trouser-suit was left on a hanger with a dry-cleaning ticket pinned to the left arm.  On the ticket was written-


So I'll leaveyou with the "The Knife" , the story and the poets, it's Friday, it's the weekend, have a good one.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


I haven't a clue what that word means or is. It sounds like a house or place is a gothic or fantasy novel, so given my general musical and reading propensity maybe it's not surprising if I have heard it and it has stuck. This is the result of a Google search and it is a place and a charater in Final Fantasy. So I must of heard of it before, or heard it mentioned.

I'm still getting over Shiva's death rescuing Ezekiel in The Walking Dead, it's funny I dealt with Negan's vicious evil but this really made me hurt and sad. I was thinking it had finally run it's course but the is, ironically, life in The Walking Dead yet. I know it's only a story, but it still has power, so it is still on record, along with so many other programs.

So in memory of Shiva I'm including Jah Wobble's take on the William Blake poem "Tyger,Tyger", which I have always loved. William Blake's poetry is amazing, and I've included it for you to read:

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright 
In the forest of the night 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 

In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare seize the fire? 

And What shoulder, and what art, 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? and what dread feet? 

What the hammer? what the chain? 
In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? what dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 

When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the lamb make thee? 

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? 

Wonderful , read , listen , enjoy

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Thirteen Ways To Kill A Poet

This is not about "Thirteen Ways To Kill A Poet" but it's another thing that leapt out at me while ready "David Bowie: A Life" by Dylan Jones. It was an idea for a film that Martin Scorses had, to get thirteen directors to direct sections of a film with that title. He had in mind Terry Gilliam (my favourite director), Wim Wenders and David Bowie (due to stuff like "Ashes To Ashes" and other Bowie videos) but Scorsese due to timings and availability was unable to make it happen, so it remained a dream project.

I also discovered that Duncan Jones (aka Zowie Bowie and director responsible for two of my favourite science fiction films of the last ten years "Moon" and "Source Code") worked on building the puppets for Labyrinth. David had tried to get him to learn a musical instrument saxophone or guitar, but Duncan was always more interested in film.

One of the reasons to read, you can always discover fascinating facts about people who interest you.

Yesterday on my walk to work I put on Genesis' "Selling England By The Pound". I suppose that has been the Tory policy for the UK since I've been aware of politics. Genesis at the time were the acceptable face of progressive rock, but parts of this have not dated that well although overall it is still at excellent album. "The Battle of Epping Forest" was the epic centrepiece to the album but suffers from some sub "Carry On" character humour. Peter Gabriel using the song for several characters , some right down embarrassing now, though OK at the time.

The album is bookended between the gentle but strangely eerie "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" and the list of supermarket names for "Aisle of Plenty" a beautiful coda but the lyrics while sort of clever do grate a bit.

It feature's Phil Collins debut Genesis vocal on "More Fool Me" which closes side one, and his similarity to Peter Gabriel is similar to the Roger Daltrey / Pete Townshend situation in the Who, the vocalists start to sound like each other.

"The Battle of Epping Forest" is followed by what I originally regarted as a throwawy instrumental "After The Ordeal" but that turns out to be an impressive pice, next up is "The Cinema Show" eleven minutes which doesn't start well with some very twee lyrical play but it builds into another brilliant instrumental tour de force.

After the quiet intro "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" it develops with a particularly vicious riff before drifting into the single "I Know What I Like" in which Gabriel hit's us with a West Country accent, but this is controlled and results in an excellent song. "Firth of Fifth" is essentially a nine minute piano driven piece which is one of the high points of the album.

So I'll leave you with a live take of the opening song, enjoy your Tuesday.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Because I Have A Pixel....

.. that's a Google Pixel phone, I have now got to rationalise what I download and put on the phone. No 50Gb of music like I could have on my Sony or Samsung because they have an SD card, no lot's of photos and videos, I need to utilise the space mor judiciously. I could pug a stick in but that would be sooo asking for trouble.

Every app uses up space, every picture , every instagram video, and all the music.

But say I limit the music to 10Gb, that's like fifteen to twenty albums, so isn't that enough, really?

I can only listen to one album at a time and twenty albums should see me through a week. I remember a friend telling how they had looked after a vicars house for four days , there was him , two girls, one record player and four albums including the first Velvet Underground album. If four albums was enough for three people for four days, then fifteen albums should be ok for me for five days.

So today's album was not the Velevt Underground , but David Bowie's "Low" , the first of the Berlin trilogy. When it came out I remember thinking that the melody of the opening song "Speed of Life" was very similar to Deep Purple's "Woman From Tokyo" and I still think that today. For some reason I thought that side one only had five tracks ( along with side two's four , the psychedelic Krautrock influence coming to the fore there), and tehre actually five songs bookended by two instrumentals. Whether it's me or my age , Bowie's music is timeless and sounds as fresh now as when it first came out.

Some of side two was appropriated for Philip Glass for his "Low Symphony", very atmospheric feating vocals in a non existent languaguage though "Weeping Wall" borrows the melody from "Scarborough Fair". Incidentally Philip Glass scored the film "Candyman" based on a Clive Barker short story and the music enhances an excellent nighties horror film.

I'll leave you with a live take on the opener from "Low" in 1978 , enjoy your Sunday night.

Saturday, 11 November 2017


Was just wondering if my purchasing of vinyl was a sort of childhood regression. While I have never actually grown up, I do like to have actual things. Digital recordings are convenient to listen to music and watch video on the move, but it' gives a wonderful pleasure to have a wonderfull packaged item.

Albums like Hawkwind's "XIn Seach of Space" (See video here on my Instagram Channel where there are more examples. These include picture discs and I am still stunned by the holograms on the Star Wars - The Force Awakens soundtrack album (see here) which I now have on order.

Public Image Ltd's "Metal Box" shows that you can do similar things with CDs but often the size of things are scaled down, but that is still a beautifully packaged CD.

So basically I am still 15 at heart and I like a lot of the things I liked when I was 15. While a lot of music is coming out on vinyl I seldom see inventive and impressive packaging like the stuff that Barney Bubbles would come up with for Hawkwind or Hypgnosis' packaging for Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of The Moon" and "Wish You Were Here"

So what should I leave you with? I think Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" on vinyl featuring the Vertigo Swirl , still my favourite label , and you can see that on a CD, and at 500 rpm even if you could you would miss the hypnotic effect.

Have a great Saturday night everybody.

Thursday, 9 November 2017


Yesterday while I was out and about I noticed how many places you can charge your device now, although I wouldn't be too happy about leaving an iPhone X at a charging station in Eldon Square, although they probably don't have Apple's latest non standard connector so that situation is probably a non starter. The iPhone X is probably the first extreme on this post costing above a thousand pounds. Most buses and trains also have a pluf for charging as well, although I find amausing how many places still have Wifi without internet access or demand you agree to terms and conditions every time you sign in . They already know who you are so whay do you have to keep agreeing? It's like Apple's Terms and Conditioons.

Today I  connected up my OVO Smart Meter to mi Wifi so I can now see how much I'm using at any time. It does save me submitting readings but I am a bit wary of how the data will be used by them, also it's a daily remeinder of how much things are costing.

Anyway yesterday I was listening to "Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine" by the Cosmic Rough Riders which is still a brilliant listen which opens with four absolute standout songs. One of them however is a pure evil control scenario which has an awesome tune but worrying lyrics about control, which follows on from The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and Peter Hammil's "I Will Find You" and you may be able to surmise the scenario from the title "The Gun Isn't Loaded". The protagonist controls the victim because they do not have the full picture, and how many times to we see that in everyday life. The  lyrics make feel uncorfortable but I have to listen because the music is so wonderful.

It's not a bad lyrics scenario like Rush or Abba sometimes hit , Abba having the excuse of being Swedish , and Rush are Canadian , but bothe produce some amazing music sometimes let down by lyrical ineptitude but that's something for another post.

One of the other standouts on "Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine" is "Glastonbury Revisited" probably my favourite song about Glastonbury, and it is lyrically to polar opposite of "The Gun Isn't Loaded", full of hope , love and inclusivity. I've had the CD for close on twenty years and still still sounds as good today as when I first heard it.

I'll include the two songs from the album which are extremes in the lyrical sense, and I will soon be taking myself off to see Jerry Sadowitz for the first time ever, which I suppose is another extreme.

Enjoy your Thursday night.