Sunday, 25 February 2018

My First Mobike


Well today I completed 340K steps for February, with three days to spare. This is just before the really cold weather sets in, so I am very pleased with that.

Today for the first time I used a Mobike. I kept wondering where I was going to use so went from St. Andrews Church round The Grainger Market and parked up on Clayton street. I was berated for not wearing a helmet but given they are a jump on jump off type of thing you don't carry a helmet around with you so I am not sure what the solution is bar being extra careful like I as as a teenager. These are not racing bikes, they have baskets on and are meat for going short distances. I found it difficulat as my legs were too long for the back and when I got off I realised that I could have ajusted the seat. I'll know that for next time.

One of my problems is that if I'm going to go by baike then I will potentially not do the number of steps that I need to do , but that is something that I will deal with in the coming weeks. They will be great for nipping across the Tyne Bridges to places like Arch 16.

So what to play on thsi Sunday night, the obvious one for me is "My White Bicycle" by Tomorrow refering to the Dutch in the sixties who stole bikes and painted the white for people to use for free.

According to drummer John 'Twink' Alder (Pink Fairies), the song was inspired by the Dutch Provos, an anarchist group in Amsterdam which instituted a community bicycle program: "they had white bicycles in Amsterdam and they used to leave them around the town. And if you were going somewhere and you needed to use a bike, you'd just take the bike and you'd go somewhere and just leave it. Whoever needed the bikes would take them and leave them when they were done." The band also featured Steve Howe later of Yes and Keith West who had a hit with "Excerpt From A Teenage Opera". I'm not sure about John 'Junior' Wood.

The free is a good concept but the stealing is not , but if we all used bikes or walked instead of using cars the world would be a much better place.


Saturday, 24 February 2018

Hittting It With Words


Two albums I've listened to over that past couple fo days are Bob Dylan's "Bringin' It All Back Home" and "Blonde on Blonde". "Blonded on Blonde" is a double album (ie seventy or eighty minutes of music) and opens with the almost comedy stomp of "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" with it's infection refrain of "Everybody must get stoned" tagged onto a rousing list song, that is followed by a stardard folk blues of "Pledging My Time" not making the most promising or auspicious introduction of what is an all time classic album.

However the next four songs are killers and make you realise that you have something special (follow the link to find out what they are) before a slight lull with "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" which desreves including if only for title (which contains two hyphenated words) but this also fits in with the introductory duo of songs.

This seems an odd way of telling you about an album only metioning the non classic (in my opinion) songs,  we then have another four songs , before a duo that are still good , precursors to the eleven minutes of "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" the albums tour-de-force , and I have finally mentioned one of the must listen to songs.

"Blond on Blonde" is a band album but "Bringin' It All Back Home" is mostly solo acoustic baring the intro of "Subterranean Homesic Blues" , and when I started listening to it I was thinking "How the hell does he remember those words?"

Some of the imagery in the songs is stunning especially in the quartet starting with "Bob Dylans's 115th Dream" which is based surreally on Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" though Ahab becomes A-Rab , but some ear catch lyrics for me are in "The Gates of Eden" although the abum is littered with them:

Of war and peace the truth just twists
Its curfew gull just glides
Upon four-legged forest clouds
The cowboy angel rides
With his candle lit into the sun
Though its glow is waxed in black
All except when 'neath the trees of Eden

The lamppost stands with folded arms
Its iron claws attached
To curbs 'neath holes where babies wail
Though it shadows metal badge
All and all can only fall
With a crashing but meaningless blow
No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden

Absolutely stunning for me and there is lots more where that came from. The most interesting version I could find on Youtubewas a live take with Neil Young , and you cannot complain about Neil Young and Bob Dylan being onstage performing an awesome song.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Some Jarre and Scandi-Noir


In my first for years of posting I posted 6 - 42 - 82 - 46 posts annully. This one is my 54th this year so I post a bit more often and write a bit more and hopefully the quality and content have improved a little. You can see the history on the right hand side. I did set up the blog to be a sort of travel diary, but as I don't travel a great deal that was hardly going to be a long term goer.

And so it turned into what it is today a sort of diary with music included, which sometimes fails when Youtube pull the video for whatever reason.

Last night I watched "In Order of Disappearance" by Hans Petter Moland and featuring Stellan Skarsgård. I was think Fargo with touches of Tarantino and nods to classics such as Steven Spielberg's "Duel". I hadn't seen the tag line  "DEATH WISH set in FARGO and BLOODIER" which does sort of some it up. It's full of black humour (it is subtitled for non Nordic speakers) and one toch I love (and this is not giving away the plot) are the black screens with the name and religious / national ikon of the recently despatched.

Today it looks like winter is returning in the form of cold and frost. I've on the downward slop for February's step totally which I surprisingly breezed through. Yesterday I ended up doing 16K steps even though I'd expected to just hit 12K, but having to go out for supplies when I got home (and managing to forget my wallet three times when I was going up) helped me hit that high.

I finally succumbed and listened to Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene" . I had heard the pedestrian "Part IV" on the radio and when certain people started gushing about how futuristic it was it just turned me off. It seemed a slight improvement on "Magic Fly" by the French Space. The cod SF cover of of the earth being peeled to reveal a skull was another turn off for me, a good idea badly executed. This album was twenty years after the first fully electronic album , the soundtrack to "Forbidden Planet" by Louis and Bebe Barron.

Anyway I added the second album and have just discovered there is a third one to listen too nad must say I was impressed. It is not pedestrian for large parts and the second album carries more of a sonic punch, which has now whetted my appetite for the third album.

It just shows that it's not a good idea to dismiss music on a snippet, though I don't see me litening to Westlife or Steps any time soon.

It's Friday , wrap up and have a good one.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Have A Cuppa Tea (Have Another One)


Although I hadn't particularly planned it I chose Gong's "Angel's Egg (Radio Gnome Invisible Part II)" and, while I knwo it is a great album my Emopeak headphones seem to reveal new sounds and atmospheres. At time the music seems just like it's knocked together or a singalongs in an English pub, French dive or Morrocan Souk. "Flute Salad" reminds of the feel of the Ethiopiques recordings, simple but sophisticated with guitar and flute playing the same motif.

Many of the songs are acoustic while other go into full blown rock and electronics. Two saxophone guitar riff driven standouts are "I Never Glid Before" and "Eat That Phonebook (Coda).

The "Have A Cuppa Tea" comes from a refrain from "Givin My Luv To You" (though it may be something else as the Gong mythology takes in flying teapots and pot head pixies. You can actually buy a flying teapot here. All in all another great Gong album.

When it came out as teeneagers we were  impressed by the music, but were well aware of the sexually explicit drawing that made up the cover. You can see it by clicking through on the link above, This was at the time of Mary Whitehouse but I don't remember any particular furore over it. I remember at some point a sticker being put on the explicit area of the cover and then another version came out with a hastily redesigned cover (which you can see here), but I'm happy to see that the original cover is the norm in shops these day.

This morning is quite warm so will be walking into work, though the Daily Express are forecasting another Ice Age . My steps for February are going well and I need to average 8.5K a day to hit my target for February, so it hasn't been that difficult a month to maintain my steps.

Also quite please that Preston came out of two matches against two of the best teams in the Championship with draws , though dodgy refereeing decisions cost us in both matches.

Anyway I found a live take of "I Never Glid Before" demonstationg the chaotic precision of this amazing band in black and white ofn French Television,




Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Scary and Monstrous


I've been listening to David Bowie's "Scary Momsters (and Super Creeps)" over the last few days and remember when I first got it when it came out in 1980 and it followed the Berlin trilogy with vicious guitars, and songs that were like nothing you had heard before (ie normal Bowie territory). This was the last album before he hit commercial paydirt with "Let's Dance" which I've never taken to as an album though I like the title track.

Back to Scary Monsters though, and I'm surprised by the amount of sort of recycling even within the album itself . The opener "It's No Game (Pt 1)" contains an approximation of the riff for the title track and "Teenage Wildlife" bears more than a resemblance to "Heroes" but with extra Bob Fripp incendiuary guitar sprayed throughout the song.

I featured "Ashes To Ashes" on my #LikeNoOther series as I cannot think of any song before it that it even references, the post is here.

I've included a live take of "Teenage Wildlife" a wonderful song but you can hear the resemblance to "Heroes". If you don't have a copy of the album get one now.

Have a brilliant Tuesday everybody.


Monday, 19 February 2018

Big Brother


Something happened yesterday, I'm sure it was just coincidence, but it may have been something else. I had been listening to David Bowie's "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" and "Ashes To Ashes" had been playing when I got on the bus, and descided to watch a TED talk about waste in the fashion industry (see the bottom of this post) and it was very illuminating. I finished the talk and resumed listening to the album andit started palying the song "Fashion". Now this follows "Ashes To Ashes" but I cannot be certain that that song had finished. It probably had but I can't help thinking of the phone apps that require access to everything on your phone for no apparent reason.

This is like when you look for something online, then the cookies allow whatever you've been looking for to influence the adverts that appear around the page. You will probably see it on this blog.

Then there are the devices like Alexa and Google Home which have the ability to record everything they hear (in sometimes misinterpreting what they hear). There was the murder case where the authorities asked for recordings to be made available (see here) and think about the implications of that.

The Fiona was telling me how her and a friend were talking about handbagswhen her friend said she was certain that our phones were actively listening to us as later her feed started including what they had been talking about.

While we complain about government and local authority intrusion it seems that we are happily surrendering our privacy to corporate entities that certainly don't have our best interests at heart, the just want our money or preferably to to put us in debt to them to creat a permanent subservience.

The thing is that gives me an idea for a story the opening line of which is "Could We?", which hopefully I will turn into a least a short story if I put my mind to it.

For me the natural accompanying song for this is the menacing "Big Brother" the real closer from David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" . It's a rainy monday but have a good day.




Sunday, 18 February 2018

Big Blue Ball


I am quite surprised that I have managed to hit my step target for February. 10K steps a day til the end of the month would see me well past the mark. There have been a few bitingly cold days where I have been forced to take the bus but most days I have passed the 12,250 mark that I set my self.

I picked out a Peter Gabriel collaboration album called Big Blue Ball that he recorded with numerous artists between 1991 and 1995 over three weeks at the Real World Studios and finally mixed and released in 2008.  The Wiki page is here.

I picked it up digitally when I subscribed the Emusic when they had an excellent subscription model. They are still going but their model became too corporate for me but I am glad they are still going.

The album opens with  "Whole Thing" with Peter Gabriel leading the voclals and closes with the title track, taking in middle eastern and celtic resonances on the songs and pieces. I left you with the titles song but they are all on youtube, but if you want to buy the album it's here. Further information is available on the official Real World site here

Below is the story (part one) if you want to investigate further.

Incidentally this post will take my blog post page views over 150K views in the eleven years I have been posting.