Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Nearly New Year

Happy New Year - spelt out in CDs
Well it's the last day of 2014, and I've been working today, but will glad to be finished. 2014 has been very good with lots of great things happening. I've posted in various blogs the ups and downs of the year and really there have been a lot more ups than downs.

Have met and socialised with lots of wonderful people, been up and down the country on various premises , had some great holidays , seen some great places and done some great things. I read books and listened to music, been to gigs , been dead on my feet from various things and always bounced back.

It's a big thanks you to all my friends and family all over the world and close to home, and I think 2015 is going to be just amazing for me and I hope for all of you. Life is often what you make it although there are times when it tries to knock you off your feet , or so it seems, but often it's how you approach situations that determines what you make of it.

I find joy in lots of things and seeing and talking with a friend means so much to me, better than any physical possession. Was talking with a guy from the car hire place and was saying that since they were kids my girls have had £30 spent on them , and they have always appreciated that, and I do feel for families who need to top last year's £400 iPad for their 6 year old.   It's people , hugs , love and fun that make life good. Possessions are are only good if they make sharing better.

 
 
Anyway this is just a short Happy New Year to you all. I'm including my "Happy New Year in CDs" picture , and possibly my favourite single of the year , "What" by Broncho.

Happy New Year to all of you!!


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Frozen But No Snow But Some Otway



Well woke up this morning to a frozen landscape, frosted rooves and cars, footpaths like a skating rink but still no sigh on snow. I was quite surprised to see someone saying "Right that's Christmas Over" around mid day on Christmas Day, well not in our house , there#s twelve days of Christmas I seem to remember, and I will keep the spirit of Christmas going all year round , caring and helping where I can , friends family and those less fortunate than myself, and let's face it , I am fortunate.

Grainger Market
I'm still suffering from a cough , cold , runny nose, sneezing etc etc but am coming out of it and tomorrow will be a day back at work, clearing all the stuff I've not looked at over the past four days.

I managed to get out for a couple of hours yesterday and get some food at the Grainger Market and some CDs at Reflex.







I suppose my only disappointment was that John Otway didn't hit number one (you can buy it here) , instead some faceless X-Factor contestant hit number one. I do feel sorry for the contestants because who even remembers who won last year's on the years before. The only talk is of the the judges and Simon Cowell, which is all that matters really, anyone can be a contestant.

Anyway , it's Sunday Morning, the sun is shining and I am looking forward to another relaxing day as I sip on my nettle tea and sign off this post. Have a most excellent day everybody.


Friday, 26 December 2014

The Day After Christmas Day



Edge
Well it's the day after Christmas , and I'm "Still Ill" to quote The Smiths, although it's essentially nose cold , running into my throat causing and tickly cough which then can go on for quite a bit. Dealing with it with , paracetamol . drink and chocolate.

Seen and talked with family over Christmas , exchanged presents, great to see people getting perfume they want , no chocolate , I got some clothes including a Kelly's Heroes T-Shirt, a totally not over the top Christmas.




Manage a few films and the Christmas Doctor Who and even caught a bit of the Queen's Speech which focused on the 1914 Truce when the French and German soldiers stopped fighting and played football in a brief interlude before going back to slaughtering each other and the behest of the paymasters safely enjoying a drink and mince pie back in London or Berlin. These days David Cameron, Ian Duncan Smith and George Osborne would have had them shot while Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband and Nigel Farage gave their backing. Remember it was your "working man" who called that truce, not the officers and it does make me sick to hear it romanticised as it is now. We should remember for the right reasons, as a beacon for peace , not a glorification of war.

Oops don't know where that came from, but it's how I feel.

Anyway, I've had and am still having a brilliant Christmas, and I hope you all are too. This Christmas we have four days of being off before having to go to work and clear up the mess on Monday. Have another brilliant day my friends.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Now That's What I Call Christmas Entertainment.



Christmas is certainly upon us and there's a media tradition of Christmas films. I'm still quite amazed that the atrocious tripe served up that is Home Alone is presented as an acceptable example of the genre. I know we all have different tastes and it would be wrong to stop other people from enjoy what they want to watch , especially if the children love it. So stuff like Polar Express , Arthur Christmas , Elf and many others leave me cold and unmoved like a modern Ebenezer Scrooge . They're just corporate tripe to me and my time would be spent better doing something much more interesting.

This year  the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle put on a showing of "It's A Wonderful Life" along with a performance by The Cornshed Sisters, now that's what I call Christmas Entertainment. Tonight they're showing Die Hard which unfeasibly I do associate with Christmas along with The Great Escape. Steve McQueen trying to clear a barbed wire fence on his motorcycle , how much more Christmassy does it get.

Then I love Bill Murray in Scrooged featuring ex New York Doll David Johannesson as his most excellent taxi driver,  and really I thing that Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol really is for me the perfect Christmas Story that all others can only hope to aspire to, with it's lessons , horrors and story of redemption. There have been lots of adaptations over the years and I am yet to see the Jim Carrey version, but think when I do it will score well.

If push comes to shove I'll go for The Muppets Christmas Carol as my all time favourite, I never tire of watching it and has a brilliant balance of humour and sentimentality with a cracking turn from Michael Caine, although my favourite Scrooge or all time is Alistair Sim

I also enjoyed the remake of Miracle on 34th Street with Richard Attenborough which is very sweet.

So everyone enjoy your Christmas , find someone to have fun with ,  whether you are in Newcastle, Sunderland , Darlington , New Zealand , Australia, The USA, Tanzania, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, just have a totally brilliant , brilliant Christmas.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

THe Dangers of Decent Music Ring Tones


Sunderland
It's 2am on the Saturday before Christmas, and I'm still suffering from the current UK novovirus, but after going to bed at seven , woke up at eleven, managed to do most of my online Christmas Card sending from Moonpig , plus a few Christmas Presents which means that tomorrow will be a little less physically stressful. Sunday will not be a good idea for a shopping perambulation as it's the Newcastle vs Sunderland derby, so Sunday will be stay at home.

Anyway I'd been meaning to write this post for a while , but due to being laid low, have not really been up to writing it, but here goes. I like many other people assign favourite songs as ringtones for friends and colleagues. One of the benefits of this is that you immediately know who is trying to contact you and you can answer or ignore as is your predilection:



Here's a few that I have set up:

You can click through to listen to the samples if you so desire, but all of these are excellent pieces of music, not sure why I chose Andy's but he's got it anyway. So the thing is if someone rings you when you're in work or out and about , that's absolutely fine and it serves it's purpose, but and here's the punch.......

...when I work from home I usually have Radio 6 or a CD on, which generally means good music while I work, but when one of these people call I just think it's the Radio, so a couple of weeks back Sue was wondering why I was out of breath as a suddenly sprinted across the room realising Faith No More were coming from my phone and not my radio. Earlier in the week it was the Smiths.

So something to be aware of if you have music ring tones and work from home while listening to music.

Right I'm now going to listen to some classical music music and hopefully drop off into a deep sleep.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Health Report and Yakuza Fast Food Delivery


Since Thursday I've been feeling full of a cold, Friday was a very long day with lots of waiting at bus stops and train platforms , freezing wearing nothing but a light suit, the result of which was yesterday I spent all day bar five hours in bed, hot and not feeling too good. It's not 'flu because I think I'm getting better, with the help of lot's of drugs like LemSip, Paracetamol and Chocolate. Yesterday throat felt like I'd swallowed sandpaper and every time I coughed really did hurt. But the main thing is I seem to be a lot better this morning although still full of a cold.

The lump that I was worried about after returning from holiday is now almost gone, so it probably was an abscess and the antibiotics that I finished yesterday seem to be doing their job, though I'll have a wander over to my doctor's surgery this week to make sure all is ok. Thanks got I'm in the UK and have the NHS so my first thoughts aren't "Can I Afford this?".

The final thing is that last night Fiona had a Chinese Take Away for tea. At 9:30 last night there was a fairly insistent knocking on our front door. I stumbled downstairs , managed to open the front door and was confronted with a shaven headed stocky Chinese guy telling me in no uncertain terms that I had ordered a meal and I owed him £15. I said he must be mistaken as we'd had one earlier, so they must have duplicated the order or something. He then showed me the printed bill , which I took about a minute to focus on, then pointed out that he was on the wrong road!! His demeanor changed and he was very apologetic, after which I went back to bed to continue my recovery.

I've just thought Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London has a beg section on Chinese Food , so that's the song for this post.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

...and another chance of Snow



OK, it's Sunday Morning, cold, there's a forecast of snow, and it's back to work next week. However this week has been great , lots of great things happening and there lot's good things going to happen this week.

Last week I had a relaxing holiday, the weather was good, if cold, but no snow and little ice, and Ampleforth is just a lovely place to stay.

Blyth Spirit
After getting back there was the football , with Blyth Spartans beating Hartlepool away, Newcastle United disposing of Chelsea in an incredibly exciting and entertaining match and Preston North End progressing to the third round of the FA Cup.

I then got the news that my eldest daughter Juliet has got a promotion after several interviews, so lots of good things coming up.






There's birthday celebrations this week for good friends, another friend has finally got a phone after two weeks of rank incompetence from her phone company, and on Tuesday I'm getting a new boiler fitted, and , if all goes to plan this will be a four day week, with a visit to somewhere called John Snow House in Durham on Friday.

At the moment things look cold outside but there's no sign of snow yet. I need to nip out to get papers soon , take lots of drugs and make breakfast before enjoying a relaxing Sunday. Al
though it's just starting to rain now, and the wind is getting up.

I hope your day goes brilliantly, and what better song than the Small Faces "Lazy Sunday" to remember Ian McLagan who we lost this week, but who's life was full of fun and happiness and that's the way to be. A smile on your face produces as many endorphins as eating a bar of chocolate without the calories!

Pearl Harbour ... with a chance of snow

Art of War
Seventy three years ago today the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour , although the Americans insist on calling it Pearl Harbor, which caused the Americans to enter the war. It's ironic that the media now push the attitude of  "attack someone before he even thinks of going for you" these days which is roughly what the Japanese did, and there's probably something in Sun Tzu's Art of War which was the first book I read end to end on my phone. The thing is war and destruction is a terrible thing and should be avoided. The people who cause it are seldom involved in the fighting , and those who are sent to fight are really just seen as cannon fodder for the perpetrators.



Actually I wanted this post to be positive, but following those thoughts with anything is just going to dissipate any fun , and you can't talk about war , hate and destruction and then follow it up with a smile. So I'll just choose an appropriate song then start a new post. So War by Edwin Starr it is.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Frozen ... December Is Here



Just got up and all the cars are frosted up. Looks like I got back up the road just in time (not a fan of driving on ice).

 Reminds me of a couple of years back when in a William Hill's shop a couple of old guys nearly came to blows because the racing had been cancelled at Newcastle. They blamed the Council. they left the shop moaning and under protest and probably better off than they would have been on a normal day. The thing is there was still racing going on elsewhere , but that wasn't acceptable to them. It is strange how sometimes people have to have something exact when there perfectly suitable alternatives.

Ice Road Baby
Also driving on Ice makes me think of The Ice Road Truckers program. I don't follow it but will watch the odd one and am still amazed to see these people will to drive articulated heavy lorries across frozen, but very deep lakes, Amazing stuff.

This week I also started watch Disney's Frozen which is well up to their normal standard and everyone has heard Let It Go, I've been subjected to it ever since the film came out from certain people who shall remain nameless who were hooked from day one. I'd love to inclde the video but we know Disney won't allow it on Youtube so I'll take Madonna's song of the same name for today's video.

So you all wrap up well and stay warm and enjoy your weekend.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Those Naughty Lumps - An NHS Interlude

Back from a great holiday, but on Monday noticed a small lump on my pelvis, where te leg meets the torso. By today it has become much bigger. It's not painful or anything but obviously needs seeing to. So went to local walk in centre on Ponteland Road , combining it with a small shop at Aldi. The nurse wasn't sure but though it was an abscess, and suggested I saw my own GP, but if there were any problems to come back and see them as they are open til 8 pm and all weekend.

I took up her suggestion and my own practice (Thornfield Medical Group)  got me in to see someone at 5 today, amazing considering I walked out of the walk in centre about 2. The GP had all the notes taken from the walk in appointment and reckoned that it is an abscess and said I should get on anti biotics straight away, and then if things aren't right to go back on Wednesday.

NHS
How bloody brilliant and efficient is that. You walk in and get sorted out straight away. This isn't an emergency, but just an example of how brilliant the NHS is at looking after us. i could go into a rant about certain things, but I wont, just have to say how brilliant our NHS is.

So now it's weekend so everybody enjoy themselves.

I chose this Warren Zevon song , which makes me think of the attacks the NHS is under from the money men. The NHS is not a marketing opportunity it is a service.




Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Still Feeling Great

The Sugared Butterfly
Today I had the best Hot Chocolate I've ever had at Sugared Butterfly in Helmsley. It used to be The Old Police Station, but is absolutely lovely and, as I say, brilliant Hot Chocolate, and I just had the basic one. Chances are I'm going back tomorrow , the people were really pleasant, and it is the sort of place you can feel totally relaxed in and get a choice of both traditional and unusual food. This place is just one of many in Helmsley which is just such a pleasant village. My only criticism of the place is that they have space for an Edinburgh Woolen Mill shop , but still no Chemist! I've been holidaying in the area for about five years and still can't believe that situation still exists.



The holiday is continuing on in a relaxing fashion, not going very far, watching Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire, both extremely worthy series. It's amazing these days how much advertising you can dodge with catch up TV options. I'm surprised they let you fast forward through the adverts, although if you use 4OD you don't get that option. This is why I don't mind paying my TV License, I'm amazed at the number of people who complain about the £130 a year TV License while forking out £100 a month for a Sky Movies and Sport package without batting an eyelid.

Anyway another problem I had today was my phone not connecting to the Holiday Cottage Wifi. I tried lots of solutions on the web and finally solved it by switching the router off and on, nice simple solution, though I wish I'd done it this morning.

Today we've had blue skies, although it's been very cold, but still an excellent day, just good to be well away from the rat race.Thought I would leave you with a bit of Faust , sort of relevant to the holiday, not your average Krautrock , but then I don't think ant Krautrock is average, and if you don't enjoy this then listen to it until you do. It is very good.

So again I've managed to link up a relaxing holiday with some extreme music, but that's just the nature of things, everything is connected if you look for the threads

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Greatest Feeling

One of my friends posted this picture the other day and at first I thought that's not very nice, although it is funny, and in that situation that exactly what you need. Social Media allows us to interact with so many people, offend people, and also make people smile as well. I much prefer making people smile and a laugh.

Then this morning I saw this great animated video which lots of people like, is not offensive and just makes you happy. Some friends were unable to see this so I found it on Youtube, I hope it's visible now



Really the greatest feeling is different depending on the moment. I love it hearing from friends , even just a line by whatever method is available.  A few weeks back I had lunch with Juliet , Kirsty , Fiona and Mark at that was just great everyone talking to each other, being positive and enjoying each others good feelings.

Sometimes it might be writing, sometimes it's hearing a song you'd forgotten about, having a meal in a great restaurant like the Black Lion in Thirsk yesterday, there's lots of things that can be the best feeling ever, it's just whatever feels perfect in the moment.

We're into December know with the run up to Christmas, and yes I'm still on holiday and relaxing and resting. I hope your week is going well and you are having a good time, don't work too hard and do everything you can to feel good.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Govember


Well it's the last day of the month so cue the Christmas songs and curmudgeons although it seems to have been going on for months.

Really we should embrace the original spirit of Christmas, caring for others, giving to make others happy (and hoping others return the favour) , throughout the year. I always try to but am sometimes exasperated by the concentration on money and material possessions and one upmanship you see in people.

When I can I do help others, and when you help others that makes you feel good so it's not all one sided. My help never leaves me short, so that I try to always be in a position to be there for others, sometimes in the smallest of ways. It may only be a word of encouragement, or and endorsement that someone is on the right path.

It's Still November!!
It's not about religion it's about carrying out your moral obligations and if you do then you will get an enormous lift from. There's a lot of new age stuff about wishing for good things and they'll come your way, though I see it as maintaining a positive attitude and doing things that will eventually come back on you with some form of recompense.

Anyway this is getting all philosophical, and you know I'm not that savvy to write about things like that so I need to find and picture and a video for this post which is Govinda by Kula Shaker just because it sounds a bit like Govember, although if you are in Australia it is already December so you can start to feel Christmassy!




Saturday, 29 November 2014

Sort Of Normal



After finally getting up today after a good night's sleep today has been a sort of normal day. It's nine o'clock and I don't feel ready to drop. I've had a relaxing day visiting Helmsley, and my holiday has started in an excellent holiday type of way.

The weather is what you would expect in December, but I've certainly seen much worse and have plans to visit Helmsley Castle (part of English Heritage which is free with my Barclays Bank Account) and Castle Howard during the week.

The Last Glimpse Of Summer
Though being away from Newcastle has extracted me from the situation of choosing between four excellent gigs tonight so I can relax, listen to good music , drink , and just feel good. Though this is a remarkably short post it has taken me a remarkably long time to write, for something with so few words in it.

Maybe I am getting tired and maybe I should go to bed. Well my weekend has got off to a great start, I hope yours is the same and I hope all my friends who are enjoying gigs and socialising tonight have an absolutely brilliant time. I have to include a picture of Rebecca Cothers beautiful latest work one here because it is a lovely evocation of the last of summer.

I chose David Bowie's take on Jacques Brel's Amsterdam because my daughter Juliet is doing a presentation on the place this week. And that's another coincidence I've had reason to mention both of my daughters in consecutive blog posts , and that is another reason to put a smile on my face.



2 x 12 x Magna Carta



Quite amazingly this week I have had two twelve hour plus sleeps, one managing to sleep through the alarm the day after finishing work. I obviously needed so rest and recuperation. A good friend remarked that I always forget something when I go on holiday, and this time I did again, although it was just various cooking things, olive oil and the like.

This week I've noticed some odd coincidences , I was reading a book about space and the fact you could buy an acre of land on the moon for about $20 then logged on to Facebook to find my daughter Kirsty had bought an acre of Moon for £10!

Now That's What I Call A Document
After a drive down in thick fog and tea at The White Horse it was bed for me last night, but I'm up now with options of a "Christmas Fayre" in the local Church Hall and visits to local centres. I still can't believe after years of coming to Ampleforth that Helmsley doesn't have a Chemist! The White Horse is a fantastic welcoming pub, all the staff and regulars are friendly and the food is excellent, and at the the moment it's very festively decorated although there will be no Christmas songs til December. Quite right too.

Just noticed it's 800 years since the Magna Carta was signed, though think this needs reinforcing given the state of current governments. Here are Helmsley's details on the Magna Carta page.

Although this post was more about me sleeping a lot, it has morphed into stuff about history and The Magna Carta and the most contemporary music that came to mind is the Jay Zed album so I've included Crown from that album, which is quite good if a bit sweary.Have a brilliant day everyone, I'm enjoying my holiday.

Friday, 28 November 2014

No Black Friday Here



Well it's Friday and I'm waiting for my hire car to be delivered so I can drive down to Ampleforth to the holiday cottage for a week of quite after two hellishly intensive weeks. In that time I managed to see an amazing gig and a great talk about robots and what fun they can be and how great libraries are. And that reminds me that last week the BBC were celebrating libraries and Scroobius Pip wrote a poem for them to celebrate all that was good about libraries.

I'm still raving about Jordan Reyne and am going to have to order the rest of her albums, as she has been my going to sleep music all this week. I really wish I'd have bought all her albums at the gig. But anyway , the weather is still grey (and it was yesterday too) , but that's the only thing that is not great today. I'm feeling excellent and happy and looking forward to next weekk/

Did you realise that a week on Sunday it's the anniversary of  the bombing Pearl Harbour? I wonder what put that into my head.

Katy Lied? ... Katy Did
Today I know lots of idiots are getting into fights , being conned by the big stores into buying stuff they don't want. There's fights and police involvement , very seasonal indeed, but that's not for me , I don't do queuing unless there is absolutely no other option. Most of my friends are the same.



The only Black Friday I have time for is the Steely Dan song from Katy Lied and with that I will leave you for today. Hope you have a very enjoyable day.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Remember - Be Positive

Very often I deal with advertising campaigns which say "Don't Forget" (or else something bad will happen or you will miss out). I always say use positive words. Instead of "Don't Forget" use "Remember" , instead of "Don't Fail" say "Succeed". Anyway last night I forgot to take make drugs , except I'd also forgot whether I'd taken them or not so it was a case of potential overdose or feeling a bit rubbish going to bed. I opted for the latter. This morning I have taken drugs and feel fine.

The sky is still grey and it's quiet out, neither hot nor cold.

Would You Touch This Man's Tash?
My friend Glen has had problems with people touching his Tash in Tynemouth (hows that for alliteration?), I think he's grown it for Movember,  so I suggested he goes for the look on the right!

I'm still being amazed by the Australian singer Jordan Reyne,  so it's an excuse to include one of her videos in my post , the amazing Shadow Line.

So be positive and have a great Sunday everybody, always look for the good and good things will come to you , oh and make sure you smile , that's always a good thing.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Not Burning Out ... Burning Bright



This week has been mental and could be deemed as stressful. Planning always helps but when things go wrong it can be disconcerting. It is great to have back up options in place as well as having the ability to deal with things as they occur. Luckily I'm not in that situation that often and have always come out stronger and more confident. I was thinking of a TED talk I watched a while back about stress being your friend, and while it's not good to be permanently stressed , it is good to be under controlled pressure every so often. I , like everyone else, don't like losing control, so wherever possible have safety nets in place, which , ideally I don't have to use.

Things aren't finished , but I am looking forward to having a week and a half's holiday in a very quiet cottage in Ampleforth.

The think is this week I've had a lot of good things happen, not leaste finding out that I have enough loyalty points from Enterprise Car Rental to pay for two weeks hire , which is like finding £200 in your wallet you didn't know you had. I also watched another TED talk about the benefits of smiling which I now try to do as often as possible.. I used the talk a couple of posts back here.

#mikeydredsplaypile
Then last night I was at an amazing concert, saw two incredible acts , Jordan Reyne and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing , both of which I will be seeing again. Sometimes at a gig I'll buy a CD if I like the act. I ended up buying 4 and am listening to the Crone EP as I write this post, by the incredibly talented Australian Jordan Reyne.

So this week has so far turned out to be very rewarding despite the tribulations and the icing on the cake was Preston beating Bristol City after a bad run and Newcastle continuing their winning streak.


Anyway we're halfway through the weekend, and I still have work to do, but am fully confident that i can tackle whatever happens, sometimes you need to change the way you look at things , sometimes you meet things head on. I have done a bit of both this weekend but am looking forward to next weekend when I will be well into my holiday. You enjoy the rest of your weekend, I will enjoy mine.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Backsliding Fearlessly



Mott The Hoople
Don't know what brought that to mind, I think it's the name of a Mott The Hoople song, which will be somewhere in my collection because I do have quite a large one. It's actually on their first album, the one with the MC Escher sleeve featuring the paper crocodiles.

One of the things I like about writing a blog post is the way you can just ignore the rules and flit from one thing to another as your mind sees fit ... or unfit as the case may be.




As I say I don't what inspired me on this post but now as a video for this post I want an Escher animation , you would think that someones bound to have done one on Youtube, and when you look there are quite few on there but this one is very inventive and a joy to watch. The guy looks like a cross between Gru and one of his minions in Despicable Me!

So it's quite a leap from a seventise rock band to a kids animated film , although The Beatles did do Yellow Submarine , so maybe it's not that far fetched , and they have an actual Yellow Submarine in the Matthew Street complex in Liverpool.

Anyway this post has told you little although it may have joined some dots that didn't actually need joining, but I hope it stimulated you or made you smile a little. It's time for bed for me, so I hope you are having a great week and tomorrow it's Friday. Have a good one!!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sometimes I'm Suddenly Awake



It's half an hour after midnight and I'm wide awake. I don't know why. I just am. I really wish I could feel like this on a work morning, but on those days i could well easily turn over and go back to to bed. It is quite amazing how clear headed and awake I feel.

I keep thinking of reading a book or watching some TV or listening to music but that might disturb the neighbours. So instead I'm just going to write another blog post.

Now Then Now Then
This week has been good and I'm looking forward to next week, barring an unnecessary trip to London when I have some extremely interesting stuff going on at work, though I will be able to cope, and looking forward to seeing the grammatically challenged The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing at Think Tank on Friday with a few friends, a great venue where I've already seen a few gigs.
Their name is a reference to the chalked graffiti discovered above a section of blood-stained apron thought to have been discarded by Jack the Ripper as he fled the scene of Catherine Eddowes' murder. I nicked this information from the Wikipedia page although Fiona had pointed out the Jack The Ripper connection.

So obviously I've taken a band video for this with a picture of them to peruse at your leisure. Right I will now try and go to bed , who knows , if I sleep on the edge I may soon drop off ......

Saturday, 15 November 2014

One Misty Moisty Morning



Well woke up today to a grey day and and Steeleye Span song which was one of my mum's favourites, though I think I introduced her to this version.
at 1 pm it's still grey , moist and cold. Not the most inspiring weather and a day to be wrapped up and warp inside. The

Today has been quite manic, firstly I had to do some major coding changes on the website as Amazon have changed their tracking method, at least they actually tell you unlike Play.com and Emusic who just stopped their tracking years ago.  That took me a coule of hours and got me thinking about mortality and the fact that as you get older time seems to go faster. As a kid when you were six you got six weeks holiday in the summer and that was like forever. It was like 1/52 of your life  so far. To do the equivalent summer holiday now I'd need more than a year off. It doesn't really pay you to pay too much attention to these sort of statistics, though I suppose I am a little fore resentful of things that take away my leisure and enjoyment time such as work, although actually I do enjoy my work as well, despite some exasperating situations that do crop up.


The French Oven
After that I nipped into the Grainger Market for some fruit and veg and I nearly came out because of the queues at the stalls and the sheer volume of people in there. It was wonderful to see people at The French Oven and all the cafe's with barely a seat free. I didn't bother venturing into the town center as, no doubt , it will be full of Christmas shoppers, despite the fact that it's still six weeks before Christmas. My dad's Christmas strategy usually consists of complaining that there is nowhere open at 8pm  on Christmas Eve.

So I am now back home, and I've cleaned out the wood burning stove and made up a fire , though not yet lit it, it's had one run out this week and it does warm the room very well. So I'm all set up to have another excellent weekend and hope you are too. Have a good one.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sharing is Wonderful



While it's good to have things and be able to do things it's no use at all if you;re the only one who benefits from those things. The problem is with modern society is that the emphasis is on accumulation and possession to the point where it's not enough for you to succeed but others have to fail. The has resulted in a plethora of TV programs which often promote non intellectuality as a desireable trait. You all know what I 'm talking about and hopefully you hold the same disdain for such things as I do.

Just Smile
Today I shared a lovely lunch with Fiona , Juliet, Kirsty and Mark at Dat Bar in Newcastle and it was an absolutely wonderful couple of hours, and the food was good too. I could have gone there on my own five times but it would not have been anywhere near as enjoyable. The food was wonderful and the conversion about everything from Mark's Nokia phone to TV programs , why Juliet and Kirsty didn't like Gotham and Fiona's handbag expertise meant that every second was totally enjoyable and is another thing that I can look back on with enjoyment.




Too many times we put things off for one reason or another, and sometimes weeks turn to months turn to years turn to never, so you should never put off things like this more than once as they can be so rewarding for everyone involved. There were lots of smiles and laughs today and that's the way things should be when it's practicable to be so. It should essentially be the norm in life.

So I know the weekend is nearly over, but do something enjoyable and share it with someone , and have a lot of fun doing it. Put a smile on everyone's faces.

Remembrance Sunday Is Not A Photo Opportunity

One of Rebecca's Beatifully Poignant Paintings
It's Remembrance Sunday , and I really want to be positive on this blog, but this day should be a solemn remembrance of people who gave their lives to defend their homeland. However all I see is cynical manipulation and photo opportunities by politicians celebrities and corporations who would happily send decent men and women to their deaths , to swell their bank balances.

It makes me sick the idiots in the current government who glorify war while making sure that they are in no danger and ensuring that their war bonds and arms shares are paying handsome dividends.

It makes me angry every time I see a Help For Heroes plea for donations, hnot that I have anything against Help For Heroes , they are a selfless caring organisation dealing with the fallout from a
government and their corporate cronies who sent men to defend their selfish interests then washed their hands of them leaving Help For Heroes to pick up the pieces. Click through on the Help For Heroes link and provide some help , also write to your local MP and ask why THEY aren't  looking after war heroes and casualties.
 

Paths of Glory
The problem is that since 1914 nothing has changed , the government and corporation still see us as expendable cannon fodder. Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is still a brilliant damning indictment of the system endemic in almost all modern society. We really do have a long way to go before this changes.

They even have a song The Green Fields Of France (No Man's Land) by Joss Stone and Jeff Beck which you can buy here and raise money to help the returned war injured , but it's better to listen to the uncensored version which is truly anti war written and performed by Eric Bogle (who also wrote "The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda").


Anyway  , sorry if this post has been a bit of a downer, just remember how horrific war is , most of us don't have a clue, like the people who actually cause wars. Remember in silence and don't glamourise war and do what you can to support those who return , and do all you can to make sure we don't have to fight over oil and money.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Frozen



Woke up this morning and it's cold. Clear cloudless night meant that the temperatures seem to have plummeted but surprisingly I don't see any ice on the cars outside. The guy on the radio has told be to expect zero temperatures (which I assume is centigrade).

Also the radio has just played "Default" by Django Django  which is a fantastic record and made me realise how much great stuff you hear and then semi forget about. It's one of the things I love have about having a big record collection combined with an eclectic taste and when you add to that things like Radio 6 and the internet options you have no excuse for not listening to good music.

Who's Next?
Original I was going to have Frozen by Madonna, but have now decided to go with "Swamp Thing" by The Grid as  Chris Hawkins just played it on the radio introducing the concept of "air banjo" which must bring a smile to everyone's face. Incidentally The Grid was a concept used by Pete Townshend in his abandoned Lifehouse Project which became Who's Next.

Anyway have a brilliant day , I'm off to work.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Gunpowder and Treason and Fireworks


Well it's Guy Fawke's Night and the fireworks have been going on for weeks. It's ironic the the government are the biggest bunch of self serving crooks you could imagine and the supposed opposition are not much better. So if I were to go on about this, then this would be a very depressing and negative post.

The thing is while the banging of the fireworks can be annoying , the colours and designs can be amazing and it means I can use a brilliant video set to to Fireworks from the Blue Oyster Cult's Spectres.

So really this is just a nothing much post in the middle of the week as the weather gets colder, but we've had excellent weather this year and it's been rather good. So enjoy the fireworks , have a good night and remember we're half way through this week. Have a brilliant night.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Halloween is Gone.November is Here and a Tenuous Link between The Toon and Nick Cave



Janus Looking Forward and Back
Well it's the ninth month (of the Roman calendar) and one of those where they'd run out of gods and politicians to name them after (it's been like that since September and will stay the same til the new year when Janus hit's us). The good news is it's Saturday and though it's five am I've had a decent night's sleep despite another early night.

Last night we had a few trick or treaters which were all young kids accompanied by their parents which was nice with on young witch deciding she wanted a tour of the house. They were all well costumed and very well behaved.




Although I find the initial concept of Halloween great fun , it's essentially adult and there's nothing cute about it.  While dressing up as a vampire or zombie can be great fun I wouldn't want to be one or live in a world populated by such creatures.

A friends of mine asked why women had to make their Halloween Costumes sexy , well all I would say is that it's personal choice, and you can still have a great costume without displaying any flesh, but the main thing is to have fun. There's a local Goth Night called the Charnel House and they published some pictures which I used for a slide show of one of the Spoon recordings from a long time ago which I have included as the video for this post , and it contains a lot of different costumes , but more to the point a lot of people having fun and enjoying themselves.



Added to that Newcastle fans are on a high after dumping Manchester City out of the League Cup . City did put out their second string , but their second string was still multi million pound buy internationals , Newcastle put out their second string with a lot of names I hadn't heard of. A Very impressive win. I've just realised I need to include two more videos because of this ( the match and The ShireHorses Nick Cave misappropriation)




Anyway, it's Saturday, I'm going to have a major rest because my body feels like it's been beaten with big sticks , so I think I'll be lounging on the settee watching catch up TV, and still enjoying the weekend. Take a leaf out of the Charnel House crowd's book and have a brilliant weekend everybody.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Beat The Clock, An Urge For Offal and THAT Goal




Some of My Watches
Chose the title from a brilliant Sparks and Giorgio Moroder collaboration from their album Number One Song In Heaven. In our fantastic digital age all of the clock resetting is done for us apart from the odd analogue device (like my Beuchat and iToc watches, wall clocks, heating clock) plus the digital cooker clock and the wall timer for the living room main light.

Many years ago I went a whole day without realising the clocks had changed, luckily I switched on the TV in the evening , thought there's something very amiss here, then realised what had actually happened.


New Album
Today sounds and looks very windy and I'm not looking forward to the fact that it's going to be darker an hour earlier but that's just the nature of the beast. I'm not sure daylight saving actually saves anything much anymore in the 24/7 world that we live in, although in a bit of good news Fiona's friend Tim informed me he'd heard a new Half Man Half Biscuit album, "Urge For Offal" on Spotify so that is about to be ordered when I've posted this. I I listen to it on Spotify the band will probably get paid about 0.0001p per track. The mega selling Daft Punk album Random Access Memory resulted in a payment of £13K from Spotify which might have paid the tea bill!


 I've nothing against the Spotify model , but it's pay per play model just doesn't work in favour of the artist. Apparently Spotify plays have generate me 1p in the last 12 months on a piece I did for the artist Rebecca Cother for the slideshow below, but I didn't do it to make money , just to see how easy it was to do.




Oh another good thing is that Preston's Joe Garnerweighed in with hat trick to give us victory against Fleetwood Town yesterday and put us second in the table, so it's an excuse to include THAT goal:




Anyway I hope you enjoyed your extra hour in bed and enjoy the rest of the day.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Darkness To Light



One of the good things about Autumn / Winter is the fact that some days you wake up in darkness and get to see the sun rise andthe day come up. This brings in me a feeling of exhilaration. In summer you wake up and it's light and you've missed thousands of sunrises, although you are warm and you've had a night's sleep.

Also I got a response from First Transpennine about a refund request I put in last night where they're giving be a full refund rather than charging me a ten pound admin fee which is nice. Even corporate entities can sometimes act sensibly.

The French Oven Are 9
I've noticed the excellent French Oven Bakery in the Grainger Market in Newcastle have added me to their circles. We are so lucky in Newcastle having such a concentration of excellent  people like these on our doorstep. One of their vans is parked in the road behind me so it's nice to know that such great people live close to me, being almost neighbours.




Although I normally write blog entries a little longer than this, today will be short, but I am going to have another enjoyable weekend and having a good week.With a few friends at work we'd put a couple of lines on the Euromillions lottery but didn't win even the tiniest morsel , but it gives a little feeling of togetherness, and the jackpot's still not been won, but to be honest I rather be happy than rich , although as Woody Allen puts it:


“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” 


Still the day is looking bright and we have the whole weekend to go, which will be great fun, so you go and enjoy yourself , I intend to. I never knew that Louis Prima had done "Enjoy Yourself", always thought Prince Buster had written, a great song always put's a smile on my face as does Mr Prima.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Rainbows and Robots

Rainbow over My Road With Pan Dimensional Car
This is a very short post, but this morning I went out for a paper , and we've had wind and rain, and as I left the house saw this amazing rainbow. So I photographed it. As I walked up the road it still seemed as clear from end to end , and I could see more of it and a lady coming the other way remarked it was the most impressively clear rainbow that she had seen in many a year. I looked back again to take another picture but the span was too big for my phone lens. So I tries the panorama shot which is what the shot above is.

There was a car coming up the road which is why I've lost half of it as it was moving at the time. This is probably the biggest rainbow I've ever photographed.

Out of the rain and bad weather we got this wonderful rainbow against a very blue sky.

And it's something to analogise with that sometimes out of apparently bad things sometimes good things can come. It's not always the case although if you look for positives you can usually find them, well I can, and I'm pleased that most of my friends can.

Aye Robot
One of my friends put me on to the Danboard Robot figures which are simple and cute and spreading like wildfire. They're posable and great to photograph as you travel around. I may get one myself although I'm not sure where I would put it or what I would do with it, but I know these will bring smiles to a lot of faces this year and will probably be on a hell of a lot of Christmas lists. My only slight gripe is the Amazon name on the box body , but , again maybe that's part of the charm.

And that gives me an idea for a song for this post, which I hadn't even thought of when I started, I was hoping for "International Robots" but had to make do with "Do The Robot" by Australia's finest - The Saints.


So I'm going to sign off now , everybody have an absolutely brilliant week, I intend to. See you soon

Saturday, 18 October 2014

An Apple A Day



Just noticed that Apple is my second most tagged item after Newcastle. While I love Newcastle , Apple I can take or leave, and in fact some folk think I detest Apple. I actually don't , but anyone who tries to get complete control of me in any way whatsoever, I tend to give short shrift to. So that includes , Google , Microsoft,  Sky, BT , Virgin, Politicians and almost everyone who wants me to follow their line.

Then I started thinking am I just whingeing on this blog? If you look at Twitter and Facebook the things that get picked up on are where people are complaining or laughing at others' misfortune, and that is no way to be, but is the may of the world unfortunately.

Social Media can be good or bad , I hate things like Fail Army , but it can mean that you can quickly encourage people and offer them support and spread good news, which is the way I always try t do something. I always try to make my posts positive and have something good connected with it.

So I'm going to have the Onion's Apple Device review on here, which is a fun ridiculous dig at Apple.

It's the weekend and a grey day but there are lots of ways to have fun, if you can read this you're connected , and if you're connected , connect with others positively. It will make you feel better and them feel better.

If something annoys you try and deal with it , instead of moaning, bring sunshine into people's lives and they will usually return it, and you will feel good.

Right that's enough ne age do goodery for today, I 'm going to take some serious drugs and continue having a brilliant weekend. YOU enjoy yourself , lookk in the mirror , smile and say "I am wonderfully happy" then keep the feeling up throughout the weekend.

Have a brilliant day everybody.