Sunday, 20 May 2018

Cynthia Size A

It's been a restful weekend although I copped out and didn't get to The Late Shows but did get a copy of The Concert For Bangla Desh put together by George Harrison on Vinyl from Vinyl Guru. Spent a bit of time walking would town getting some essentials and forgetting about others. Put a brit of grass seed on the lawn to hopefully address the less grassy bit and made my first smoothie in an absolute age with some oranges and apples and frozen smoothie mix, ginger and milk. I'm sure it was very healthy and it tasted dead refreshing.

I don't follow recipes in smoothie making or cookery, just throw things in and hope for the best and it usually comes out good. The worst results are usually just too much so I have to despose of what I can't eat. At least when you are cooking, or making from reasonable fresh stuff you know it's not overloaded with sugar and salt.

I picked up an acoustic guitar today and ran through a basic "Big Muff" (John Martyn & Lee Perry) and was surpised that I knew all the chords but not all tehe words to "Ziggy Stardust" and "Rebel Rebel". Acoustics are so easy to pick up and do things with, although my electronic keybord is quite easy too, but I'm not as dextrous on that as guitar but I can still make some noise with it.

My son in law mark soldered together a synthesiser kit I got for Christmas, he is very impresive with sort of anything mechanical, electronic or computer based, but while the synthesiser is less capable that a Stylophone it is great fun to play with now that it's working.

Cynthia Size A was the name give to Hi T Moonweed's (Tim Blake) synthesiser of Gong's "Flying Teapot album just in case you were wondering where I stole that from.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Enlightenment Is Music You Need A Flashlight To Hear

Not one of mine, but a line from one of the poem sequences in Bob Dylan's "Tarantula". It caught my eye and my mind went into so overdrive trying to figure out what he meant by that and trying to rationalise how it fitted into reality and failed miserably, but, again, that's the point orf art and poetry and writing and music and theatre and film , it's meant to stimulate you and make your mind work and think. I haven't a clue what it means, or maybe I have an inkling but it means that my mind is switched on and functioning.

The weekend Newcastle hosts The Late Shows which is a series of events running into the night and I think I will slip out for an hour or two on Saturday. There is the Vinyl Guru's collaboration "Never Mind The Punk 45" with Gallagher and Turner which reminds me very much of a wonderful book celebrating the same DIY art work which I think it's call Punk:45 but it's downstairs and there are a few such books which are wonderful to browse through (I still prefer real books to ebooks even though I do possess a Kindle), but enjoy seeing the artwork. Punk had a wonderful DIY style which has been subjugated in the digital age due to the ease and simplicity and effectiveness of digital image processing.

So I could actually include a video of The Bok's "Happy Birthday" which Rabid Records were going to put out as a single before they went bust. When we spoke to them they asked us which studio we had used. We said "Studio?". It was recorded direct to cassette. The video I did is here, and the rest of the demos are on Soundcloud here.

Anyway I will leave you with The Damned's "New Rose" which was the first punk record I bought. Mye and my mate Dave Topping, who was guest drummer with The Bok, ordered it from a record shop in Chorley and his was missing a chip from the edge, so effectively unplayable , but mine was OK, as he lived a lot nearer the shop than me he just waited for a replacement to be ordered.

It's Friday, the weekend is here, and the sun is shining. Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Some Words

This has just come from saying goodbye to a dear friend recently and what tends to happen to us at gatherings and events wher you meet up with people you care for and like being with but don't see that often. I am not a poet, but the narrow visual form of a poem can make for simple easy and effective reading. I am still working my way through "Tarantula" by Bob Dylan and that is not easy reading but has grabbed my attention with it's stream of consiousness ramblings and semi-stories. Anyway this sort of sums up my feelings after these events. If it has a title it's "Hi"

Great To See You
Absolutely Lovely
It's Been So Long
I've Been So Busy
Not A Minute To Myself
What Have You Been Up To?
I Know
We must meet up
Maybe a Concert
The Theatre
We Must Do It Soon
Next Week
Or After The Bank Holiday
At The End Of The Month
Or Next Month
We Should 
We Must 
We Will
Til Next Time .......

But We Seldom Do

We should really make more of an effort to keep in touch with each other, it is far too easy to let it drift but we can make this happen, so let's do it. I'll leave you with a Roy Harper song "Forever", which I have always loved, and love to share this with you.........

You Can Guru, You Can! - Visiting Vinyl Guru?

You know what they say about buses, well it's not usually true of record shops, but the take off of Vinyl sales kicked off possibly by the rise of Record Store Day seems to have sparked that in Newcastle.

I noticed Beyond Vinyl while wandering around the Clayton Street / West Road area where Kazbat's Den  and The Star and Black Swan are located and was well impressed. They have plans similar to the excellent Pop Recs in Sunderland.

On Record Store Day I recommended Beyond Vinyl to Kirsty and Mark as Mark is into Vinyl, and she phoned me to ask where it was as they had just come out of Vinyl Guru. I asked them where that was and they told me and was shocked because I was completely unaware of it. So that's two  new vinyl record shops in Newcastle and if you rope in Empire Records / Long Play Cafe which has been around for twelve months or so that is three new vinyl stores in Newcastle to sit alongside RPM, Reflex and Beatdown, though I still miss Volume and Hitsville USA.

Anyway I finally got to visit Vinyl Guru yesterday and the guy was friendly and knows his stuff. They have a growing selection of new and second hand vinyl, one piece that I am very tempted by but managed to resist. They have a complete section for Bowie stuff and lots of vinyl related artwork and accessories. This means you have two excellent vinyl record shops within two hundred yards of each other.

They are also invoved in a Punk Art Exhibition "Never Mind The Punk 45" with Gallagher and Turner at The Late Shows in Black Swan this weekend so they are not a one trick pony.

The title comes from "The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" interlude from Jethro Tull's "Passion Play" the excellent follow up to "Thick As A Brick". I was surprised to find a video for this on Youtube so thought I would include it, it is rather silly but some of the music is excellent.

Newcastle now has a healthy number of excellent Vinyl shops as well as a brilliant music scene and is one of the many reasons I stayed when I came up in the late eighties. Things have changed and a lot of those have been majorly for the better.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Mary,Mungo and Midges

The weather has been wonderful but one of the annoyances is the clouds of midges that I run into when I am walking, that end up in your eys, nose ears, hair and you feel like you have been infested with nits. I'm enjoying the uplift that the sun gives me but maybe not so much the visitations and close contact of the insect population. You can sometimes avoid them , usually by stepping out into a road but cars are usually a bit more dangerous than a midge.

I stole the title from the children's TV series "Mary,Mungo and Midge"a childrens TV series which I was aware of but never watched , but the title has obviously stuck with me, and exercising my naturally tangential nature now I have mentioned midges for the Midge part of the the title I have to link in the other two characters.

Obviously Mary was a major character in Philip Pullman's "The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ" as she was the mother of the main protagonist and is a very big biblical character.

Saint Mungo (real name was Kentigern) was an apostle of the Scottish Kingdom of Strathclyde in the late 6th century, and the founder and patron saint of the city of Glasgow, and Saint Mungo's is a  charity that helps the homeless and unfortunately we still need them in th etwenty first century due to western society's avarice and worsip of money.

But actually I am am going to leave you with Mungo Jerry, Ray Dorset led seventies rock and roll jugband unfortunately generally onlty remembered for the seventies misogynistic / sexist "In The Summertime" and Ray's sideburns. I loved them because they brought out their records as EPs so you got four or five songs on your vinyl and there was a lot of fine stuff like "Alright,Alright,Alright" and "Baby Jump" but I will leave you with my favourite at the time "You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War" . They are a band worth looking into if your band wants something to cover.

Enjoy the good weather and avoid the midges my friends.

"They grab you by the collar and throw you throughthe door,
You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War"

Sunday, 13 May 2018


I've just finished "The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ" by Philip Pullman and in the afterword he says he thinks that people should have their own interpretation of a book, though some authors such as William Golding say there should only be one interpretaion of a book.

Personally I think this is true of all art , be it books , paintings, sculpture, installations or whatever. Often people dismiss art because "anyone could do that". For something to have value as art, the artist has to submit is as art and it has to have an effect, and that is any effect whether it is positive or negative. If you are affected by a piece of art then it has served it's purpose.

I've been mentioning inspiration and certain things this week have caused me to write posts and this is another one that has been caused by something.

When I was in Helmsley's Cut Price Bookstore I was looking for someting to buy (although I don't need any books at the moment, but when does that ever stop us buying a book) and I saw a copy of Bob Dylan's "Tarantula" and I resisted it, and left the shop, but then thought no, support local business and go and buy it. So I did.

I may have had "Tarantula" before but can't remember reading it (though that doesn't mean I haven't read it), and last night I opened and read the explanatory first page, which seemed good, this was followed by some publisher blurb about "Chronicles" , and incidentally I caught a bit of "No Direction Home" on Sky Arts which I got as a birthday present and still haven't watched, and it was quite amusing see supposedly Novocastrian folk fans dissing his electification with plummy home county BBC accents. I think that needs watching soon. Some people cannot accept change even if it benefits them, and while we need constants and conformity we also need evolution and progress.

Anyway I hit the first page of "Tarantula" proper and was hit with a block of stream of consciousness text, with no paragraphs and little punctuation and quite a few ampersands. It hit me like a brick wall. I first thought there is NO WAY I can read this. It's only 116 pages but in my mind was 116 brick walls.

I've read shorter novels, JG Ballard's "Running Wild" is only 110 pages but is a brilliant read, Ballard is my favourite author by the way. Paul Gallico's  24 page "The Snow Goose" can be read as you listen to the Camel album that was inspired it, you can finish it in forty odd minutes.

I will not be finishing "Tarantula" that quickly, though once you start reading the are interlude windows to an alternate parallel narrative which may or may not actually have a story. The book has had an immediate effect on me and I am enjoying it, and this is how all art should affect you.

I'll leave you with something from Camel's "Snow Goose" but do check out these books and then create some art yourself.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

MIss Prince?

The double meaning in the post title is deliberate. In the mid seventies I got an album "The Book of Invasions" by Horslips. That album didn't leave the turntable for two weeks, and it kept all my other music off the record player. This was before I had a walkman so music wasn't really that portable, but if I had had one that would have been taped and on continuous play.

I wrote about "Dirty Computer" two posts back in my PAINT DRAW WRITE post about my friend Nicky's Event Exhibition.

This week I took delivery of "Dirty Computer" by Janelle Monae and I have been impressed by here previous output and to be quite honest this is more of the same, except even better. The opener , the title track fades far too soon and is a surprising duet with Brian Wilson supplying heavenly backing.

Every song you want to keep playing but when the next one starts you know you want to hear that.

A lot of this is in a similar realm to Prince so if you miss Prince Janelle can be your Miss Prince , but for me she is Janelle Mae and amazing visionary artings.

Song like "Pynk" and Screwed are pure single entendre but absolutelty great songs. "Make Me Feel" is "Kiss" rebuilt and reimagined by Janelle.

Today I watched the"Dirty Comuter [Emotion Picture]" which is a film to accompany the album and features all the music from the album and is very impressive, very female power orientated and with impressive setting and some great American calssic style hover cars in the "Pynk" and "Crazy,Classic Life" sections and there is a a wonderful line:

"Mansplaining - I fold 'em like origami"

I know my friend Craig Puranen Wilson / Sheena Revolta would have loved this, but we said farewell yesterday.

Watch this film, it is 45 minutes but you will want to watch it again and then get the album. I really need to listen to something else but at the moment this will not move from my player. I think you may find the same.