Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Snow, Laziness, Apathy,Lethargy and Ethiopiques


.. and it's cold. Back from Litton, and back to work . This is the part of the year where I thought my walking would take a hit, you can wrap up but sometimes the biting cold and wetness can get to you and you just want to get on a bus or get in and keep warm.

I don't know if it;s an age thing or my natural laziness, but I seem to find it increasingly difficult to do things that need preparation. This can be getting the laptop and mouse out the bag to do a blog post when I'm on holiday. Another is playing a DVD, you have to get up , find the DVD , take it out of the case, switch on the DVD player , tune the TV to the DVD channel, and play the DVD. It's far too easy to take the alternateive route and click a few buttons on the remote and play something on the TIVO, or on demand. Although strangely I still like  playing things on vinyl, and that is very incovenient and labour intensive.

Cooking is similar, I am alwasy tempted to chuck a frozen pizza in the oven, though last night it was mashed normal / sweet potato and bean burger which meant cooking but it was worth it. I still don't do ready meals, although part of that is that ready meals often take as long to cook as it would to prepare from scratch.

I like to be able to walk into a situation and start doing what I want to do, I don't like the preparation , so maybe I'm not lazy , just selective.

I am still hitting my rolling monthly million steps despite the weather, though part of the motivation for that is the fact it helps with keeping my blood sugar under control.

While on holiday I picked up a Best of Ethiopiques album , and I remember listening to some of this music and actually being frightened by it, it was so other worldly atmospheric, but disturbing. I corresponded with Nadine Shah about it, so will include "Yegelle Tezetta" byMulatu Astatke which is a great piece but I find there is a strage menace behind it. Have a great Tuesday everybody.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Snow and Wait


It's te last full day in Litton for this year, and we have had snow. At the sametime my Pixel XL is doing a half a gigabyte system update. In 1990 I was working on a DEC mainframe which was running accounts for a biggish company which had 4 Mb of memory, that's enough room for four minutes of basic MP3 music.

Prior to  that my Cambridge Lynx computer had 3K of memory, I'd bought it because it ran CP/M which was an early competitor for MS/DOS but when IBM came calling the CP/M guy was outflying his plane so Bill Gates got the IBM gig and the rest, well you know the rest, I'm writing this on an ASUS laptop running Microsoft Windows 10.

Did you know that Microsoft have a patent on the technology for SD card slots which apparently is why so many phones don't have SD card slots.

Anyway my walking has been hit by the weather, yesterday it was rain and hail and today it may be the snow, so I will have some catching up to do when I get back.

I've had a brilliant breakfast at High Nelly's in Tideswell, and finally found out that a Derbyshire Oatcake was basically an oat pancake, and they are rather excellent too. There's a picture of my breakfast here.

I'm listening to 6Music and today's Album of the Year choice is Tom Robinson's and it's Nadine Shah's "Holday Destination" which I pre ordered about three months in advance. I have written about it before and it's not cheerful but addresses a lot of current serious issues especially on the title track which I will include here.

Have a great Friday everybody, the weekend is upon us.



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

245


With this post (number 245 this year) 2017 has become my most prolific year for posting on this blog. Maybe my other blogs have suffered but this is my main one. I still have 25 days of 2017 left and, as I say , I have just passed 2013's total. While it would be nice to hit 300, that would mean posting more than two a day til the end of the year, and that is not going to happen. I've posted two posts every three days and I think that is a decent output. I average maybe 250 words a post so that means I have done over sixty thousand words, which may sound like a lot , but it's like when I tried to do the Million Step Challenge, and people go "Wow, that's a lot" when really it's just maintaining 11K steps a day which for me is about five miles a day, so not exactly impossible but that is close to two thousand miles on foot, and I am no athlete, I have friends who will do tens of miles a day showing my efforts to be fairly puny, but they are constant.

I have been keeping up my walking steps and hit 12K today, and one of the albums I have listened to is Public Service Broadcasting's "The Race For Space". Listening to any of their albums you managed to learn something about the past and this album is about the space race in the sixties, using sound samples from the various events, including Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin and the Apollo program. Live they are one of the greatest current experiences you can have.

So I am going to take one of the most positive songs from a brilliant album , the wonderful "Go", live at the 6Music Festival at The Sage in 2015, and I was in the crowd watching them. Enjoy, and I shall soon slip off to bed. By the way this post runs over three hundred words so if you have read all my posts this year you have read over 60K of my words.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Sleepless In Litton


Not exactly, but my sleep patterns this week have been a little weird, going to bed around ten, then wakig up every two to three hours untill about fuve am then drifting into vivid dream sequences, which in themselves are fairly mundane mixing up familiar places and people , like work environments, before waking about eight o'clock and sort of wanting to go back to sleep, but knowing I am awake so getting up shaving and showering and getting dressed.

Today I've been in Bakewell, and managed to do 11K steps with a walk from Litton to Tideswell and back, and was surprised in how quickly darkness fell.

I got back to Music In The Green in Bakewell (I first wrote about it here - February 2016) and bough a rare Five Hand Reel vinyl album "A Bunch of Fives" which I have never seen before, so I added that to my collection. It was a 1979 album after the departure of Dick Gaughan, I can't find any digital music from the album so I will leave you with "Bratach Bana" from their first incarnation.

It Wasn't Tuesday


For some reason I spent yesterday thinking it was Tuesday, I suppose that can happen when you are away on holiday, and the benefit is that as today is Tuesday , in a way I've mentailly gained a day. I have been trying to keep up my steps and didn;t think I would make it yesterday.

I realised that effectively just walking to hit the number of steps is a bit boring like all the things that I don't like doing, but I usually have to have a place to go to or something to see or a place at the end to , but do realise that I need to keep walking to stay reasonably healthy.

Yesterdaywas spent at Chatsworth and generally relaxing, and today will be a trip to Bakewell.  There's some instagram pictures here.

It's strange how there is often a psychological block that stops you from doing things, I thought that Tideswell was too far to walk just because it's a featureless country walk but itturns out it's not so featureless or far as I thout there's some more pictures here and here.

I was thinking of including songs based on what day it is, until I can't think of anymore, so the #SuddenlyItsChristmas sequence has not lasted that long has it.

So today I'll include "Tuesday Aftertoon" by The Moody Blues from "Days of Future Passed" , which is the first in this maybe not to lengthy sequence

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Still Loving Bowie's Music


I'm in Litton and the weather is very mild, not wintery at all. I easily walked from Litton to Tideswell and back , twice , ensuring I am on top of my step target fr December.

In the Red Lion I met a 96 year old who looked extremely well regaling us with tales of being called an old codger by people who were actually older than him. I remember the first time I became aware of age thinking that sixteen was old, then it slowly crept up with the evenual realisation that there was sweet nothing you could do about your body aging but you can make sure your mind doesn't get old by doing the things you enjoy and keeping as active as you can.

I turned sixty two months back and still feel and act like I did forty years ago, I just ache a bit more and take a bit longer to recover from things but that is just life . I knew someone once who was sixteen going on sixty fiv, I intend to stay the opposite.

Tomorrow I think it's the Chatsworth Christmas Fair, but essentially this week is about doing nothing mainly.

I am not posting a seasonal song today but have been listening to "Christian F" a soundtrack consisting of third period Bowie songs , which includes a live take of "Station To Station" which as I listened to it became my favourite Bowie song. I know others will replace it, but that's Bowie for you so I will leave you with "Station To Station" as you prepare for another day of work and I prepare for a day of relaxation.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Suddenly It's Christmas


Oh I do love Loudon Wainwright III, and this really sums up the commercialisation of Christmas and it's funny too. I mean you have those Coca Cola lorries, what really has that got to do do with Christmas.. but remember that Coca Cola stuck their brand on Christmas so well that Santa dresses in Coca Cola colours.

Christmas is a time for reinforcing good things , looking out for people , connecting with those you haven't seen , and spreading happiness, although personally I would like that to be permanent m, not just at Christmas.

At work they're doing a Secret Santa, but I have opted out of it , not because I'm a curmudgeon or anything , but I don't need anything and so I'm gonna spend a tenner on a bag of goodies and drop it it to the Food Bank in the Grainger Market (and I'd rather not be doing that but while we have this government it's one way of helping those affected by their spiteful bullying)

This morning I went to the post office to pick up a letter that contained a code for me to download Office 2016. It cost me a tenner off Amazon here and I had to contact support to get a link for the 64 bit version , but all seems to be good now.

So if you want the Loudon Wainwright song it's here, have a brilliant Saturday my friends.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Winter Is Here ... The Magic's Back


Today is the first day of winter and I will theme December on #SuddenlyItsChristmas (taken from the title of a Loudon Wainwright III song. Yesterday we had snow as Autumn drew to a close, and today that snow is frozen making it difficult to walk , so I am wearing boots with soles like tractor tyres in the hope that I won't slip and end up on my bum.

Today there is a disco at Kommunity that started twenty minutes ago at 6:30 am so I will visit that before work. I did , and I'm completing this at 9 pm because I didn't want to be late , and enjoyed a vegan breakfast burrito and a coffee before work. The dancefloor was full and I hope there will be more of these events.

Anyway my first set of seasonal songs were on "The Ghosts of Oxford Street" by Malcolm Mclaren , which features a beautiful version of "Silent Night" by Sinead O'Connor as well as many other appropriate songs, but the one I will choose is "Magic's Back" by Alison Limerick, to usher us into this Winter Season.

If you can find the video of the show , it is worth watching, educational and interesting. McLaren's talent is for getting other people to do things (sometimes joining in) with never less than interesting results.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

When You Have No Plan


After Bowie released "Blackstar" and shortly after left us, we realised that was his parting gift or parting shot depending on your viewpoint. Either way it was, and still is a stunning album. After his death rumours have surfaced about a series of albums to be released in the future but this may just be hope or rumour, lots of Jimi Hendrix material appeared after his death but nothing that could be deemed essential.

Then an EP appeared called "No Plan" consisting of three songs led by "Lazarus" a stand out from "Blackstar" and an amazing song , he knew where he was bound. I made the assumptions these were songs that failed the cut for "Blackstar" and so have put off buying it .... until last week.

Over the last few days I have had it on repeats and , in my opinion the three "new" songs are stunners, not quite up to "Lazarus", but brilliant nonetheless , featuring awesome bass and guitar arrangement with top notch vocals and lyrics from Bowie himself. This is a man and band at the top of their game.

The tracklist is:
  • Lazarus
  • No Plan
  • Killing A Little Time
  • When I Met You

You can pick up "No Plan" for a few pounds, do it and you will be in possession of a masterpiece.

Weatherworn


Winter starts tomorrow (see here), I have a cold , it's dark and wet and cold outside and snow is forecast. As I've said this is the weather that actually stops me walking. Because of the rain , you need an umbrella , but the wind sometimes makes that difficult, but I know that walking is good for me because it's exercise and helps me control my diabetes, and has significantly caused a huge reduction in my need for insulin , so I have to keep doing it.

I am considering do a #SuddenlyItsChristmas sequence of posts for December but did a similar one in 2013 here , but maybe it's a time for revisiting and it gives me something to aim for , or maybe I will just be lazy and not bother. That sequence was seasonal non standard songs to celebrate Winter and Christmas, so my mind is considering how to theme this and weave it into my daily routine.

Yesterday I was listening to XTC's "The Big Express" , XTC giving us their own unique take on the world , this is a particular muscular take and sondgs like "I Bought Myself A Liarbird" and "Train Running Low On Soul Coal" sounding a fresh as when I first heard them. The opening two songs "Wake Up" and "All You Pretty Girls" announce the album in emphatic form and it keeps up the quality to the end.

So as I brave this last day of Autumn I'll leave you with "All You Pretty Girls" , but check out the whole album , it is excellent.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Weatherbeaten


Today is the sort of day that will stop me hitting my walking target, biting cold , rain and wind that is just enough to make an umbrella almost unuseable. It's still raining outside, and today we even had some snow. Luckily for me I am 100 steps short of my monthly target so for November I will hit it, but December, January and February may be a little more difficult, although I knew that was a distinct possibility.

It's still raining outside, and it's still cold, getting into bed is definitely inviting as the heating shuts off for the night.

We even had a short snow flurry today, so we have had a lot of inclement weather.

Today I decided to check if my Office 2010 was 64 bit to go with my PC, it isn't and the official download image is only 32 bit , no option for a 64 bit switch. So that will have to wait.

There are cold drafts in the house, which are caused by the wather outside but feel like ghostly presences.

Anyway the latest album on the player has been Blue Oyster Cult's "Agents of Fortune", titled from a quote that stated that playing cards were fifty two agents of fortune. This was the band's third studio album although they had broken through with the excellent live double set "On Your Feet, Or On Your Knees", and the production on this was far superior to what had gone before.

The was polished heavy metal with a pop sensibility that took no prisoners. Opening with "THis Ain't The Summer of Love" , lulling us into a slight respite with "True Confessions" before hitting us with the tour-de-force of "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" not letting up with "ETI" before bringing in Patti Smith on "The Revenge of Vera Gemini". By this time you know you have been hit.

Side two doesn't keep up the attack apart from "Tattoo Vampire" but it's still all high quality music.

So there is only one choice of song from this album (but you can easily check out the rest) , but it  really is time for bed now, see you tomorrow.

Monday, 27 November 2017

.... And The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway


My old Bluetooth headphones went the distance and I bought these Emopeak foldable headphones . I am pleasantly surprised at the quality improvement from my previous phones and have been listening to quite a lot of good music. They are a lot bigger than my previous set so don't easily drop into a pocket, but the benefits are worth the inconvenience.

I must say also I am a little annoyed that the blog software no longer does auto highlighting of potentially mis spelled words , so I apologies for spelling and grammar mistakes that appear to be slipping through more frequently these days. The is a spell check button, but that doesn't give the option to add words to the dictionary. I would have though a blog linked dictionary would have been a simple obvious addition.

On Saturday for the first time in ages we went round to Nicolle and Ian's and had a wonderful time (time just flew) and Ian has a small portable Bose Bluetooth speaker which delivers astonishing sound for it's sise and we were treated to an evening of Neil Young songs , familiar and new to me as well as a live version of Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat" which had featured in the last episode of "Peaky Blinders".

One of the albums I revisited was "The Lamb Lies Down Down On Broadway" by Genesis. It was a double album and very often that is just a sign of self indulgence, but at the the time it was the peak of teh Genesis / Peter Gabriel years. The outside of the cover consisted of half a dozen images related to the libretto , on a white background. Insode was the story (you can find a detaled annotation here) which even on a 12" vinyl album consisted of a lot of small print , based on a dream sequence from Peter Grabriel starting on Broadway and about two brother Rael and John, Rael trying to continually save John and losing himself in the process.

Listening to the ninety minues of music I was surprised how coherent it actually is with lots of stand out songs and instrumental sequences and the lyrics standing up remarkably well for a concept album. I was lucky enough to see it live on stage performed by Canadian band The Musical Box at Newcastle City Hall using the original stage set. I found a live performance of "Back In New York City" by an Italian tribute band called Garden Wall that is definitely worth a watch.

The album is definitely worth going back to, and has lost not of it's wonder for me.

With that it's Monday morning, and time for work. Have a great day everybody.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Trains and Peel


Yesterday was spent on Trans Pennine trains to an from Leeds and while they look nice, the seats are not the most comfortable, and though they run from Liverpool to Newcastle there are only three carraiges so they do get fairly packed , though I managed to get a seat there and back so that was a plus. Coming back from Leeds, which is an awful design of a station there was meant to be an Aberdeen train on platform 9D which never appeared, must have been a ghost train.

yesterday I didn't hit my rough daily walking target but I'm still on target to hit 340K for November, though looking out of the window cars are frozen up, so although it's not raining or snowing (yet) it may be a very cold walk in to work, though I may end up taking the bus, we shall see.

Peel It
The other morning I was listing to the first Velvet Undergound album (well actually the first disc of the "Peel Slowly And See" box set , named after the peelable banana skin cover designed by Andy Warhol) . The album didn't sell that well but reputedly caused more bands to be formed than any other album. Of course now it sells by the barrowload and in varies from the siophisticated influence and drone of John Cale "Venus In Furs" , to the garage band / drug mentality of Lou Reed "Run Run Run"/ "Heroin" with the Germanic influence of Nico "Chelsea Girls" / "All Tomorrows Parties"with descents into pure noise "European Son" / "Black Angel's Death Song".




One thing really hit me is the monster drum sound on "All Tomorrows Parties" which combined with Nico's vocals and the manic piano is an awesome sounding song today. So to kick of Friday, that's the song I will leave to enjoy.

Have a good one.


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Vandalising Album Covers


Vandalism
Was just reading about the design of the cover for David Bowie's "The Next Day" and how a lot of people said it was just vandalising a Bowie cover, and anyone can do that. Well yest anyone can do that, but very few think of doing that. Bowie thought the reactions were hilarious but it has been done before, and Bowie is a great one for lifting ideas.






Vandalism
I'm sure there are many examples of this but one of my favourites is "Another Monty Python Record" featuring a vandalised sleeve of Beethoven's 2nd Symphony , very simple but very effective.

I couldn't find a copy of the original album , so they may have created that themselves so as not to offent the original artist.








Anyway while I have all of David Bowie's albums I realised I had never listened to "Heathen", so put that on the player to check it out. One of the problems with Bowie is that I know all the songs on the albums I grew up with but that stopped when "Let's Dance" came out and I though that's enough for me.

The thing is I  stilled enjoyed the singles and "Everyone Says Hi" is a class song. From the opener "Sunday" through "Cactus" the album is excellent , maybe possibly dipping on "I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship" but it will be getting repeated plays in future.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The War Room


Yesterday I was thinking that this might be a day when my walking targets go out of the window, it  was cold and raining slightly, but it turned out the rain was light and I could use an umbrella so the target was met and surpassed, which was good.

Had a visit to doctors and blood pressure was slightly high, which may be due to drugs trial that I am on, but will nip over and get blood pressure checked again next week. Everything else was fine though there was an issue with white blood cells but a second sample was fine.

The latest album I listened to was the excellent "War Room" by Public Service Broadcasting . There songs are soundtracks to soundbites from films and recording archives and are usually educational.

This is what they say about themselves:

J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth sample old public information films and archive material and set them to new music. Live, the films are screened simultaneously as laptops are fiddled with, drums are pounded, theremins are wafted at, guitars are bashed and banjos furiously plucked. Teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future.


The central piece to the five song album is "Spitfire" based on the film "The First of The Few", based ironically on a driving motorik beat (motorik being a German musical style which I first became aware of listening to Neu!)

The album opens with "If War Should Come" atmospheric and scary government announcements which leads us into "London Can Take It" which feature an American style commentary likening the bombing of London to a boxind match , before we are hit by "Spitfire".

The album quitens down with "Dig For Victory" and "Waltz for George" (about Dunkirk) anlthough I do thing "Lit Up" sort of belongs on "War Room" as it is a wonderful description of a fleet, but you can find that on "Inform Educate Entertain" their full length debut album.

Last night I put "The War Room" on three times to get to sleep to, and never got past "If Watr Should Come" so it certainly helps me get to sleep quickly (because it's relaxing not boring).

Anyway it's time to go and we shall see how today's weather is.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

You Don't Have To Save Up For Music Any More


This is is quote from David Bowie about the way music has become ubiquitous, easily available, effectively free if you want to steal it and even if you buy it you can buy a brand new CD or download for the price of a pint of beer or glass of wine.

I think part of this is that if you got into music as a ten year old, you didn't have an income except maybe a paper round. I remember working for a week for my dad and getting a "Best of T Rex" as a reward from my dad.

While music was available on the radio and when cassettes became available you could tape stuff that you heard, but there was no digital catch up, and if you missed stuff it was missed. Given that I was a fan of a lot of European music often the only way to get an album was to send off a postal order to an import company such as Virgin when it was good and richard Branson actually did some good work. Then you would wait a week or two and eventually the postman would drop it off at your house.

When you get older you get an income and that makes things more affordable, but the digital revolution means we don't have to wait, it's on Vevo or Youtube and you can often download it for maybe a pound , or free if you have certain software.

When Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were here" was released I was claing the eqivalent of Job Seekers Allowance and that was £3.25 a week. "Wish You Were Here" cost me £3.25. If albums had kept pace with JSA we's be paying £80 for an album and I'd still have to save up for it.

These days the combination of cheapness and ubiquity means that music is freely and easily available to everybody in mainstream society, and maybe that sort of taks away the preciousness of it for most of the population.

I  was never a big fan of the Gallaghers but "Holy Mountain" by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds is really good and just to illustrate how easy it is to share I've included in this post but if you do want to buy it, it's here.

Have a great Tuesday everybody.

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


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.

SPLAT!

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-

NAME…………………………….
ADDRESS………………………
…………………………………….
…………………………………….
…………………………………….

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

Ravensward


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

Regression


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

Extremes


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.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Lyrical Logic


Yesterday I really didn't want to get up. I feel the same today, I would love to lie in but at 6:30 AM I am showered, dressed, taken drugs and writing this, so normality is resumed, sort of. Last week I didn't do much listening to music but on my walk to work yesterday I was listening to Pink Floyd's "Meddle" and was struck by how sometimes the sound of lyrics is more important than logical analysis of them.

A prime example of this is Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak". The opening couplet is:

"Tonight there's going a jailbreak
Somewhere in this town"

Well the clue is right in front of your eyes, it's highly likely to be at the prison / jail. Still a brilliant song though.

One track on "Meddle" , "Fearless" has a similar construct:

"You say the hill's to steep to climb
 Try Me .......
You choose the place and I'll choose the time"

But again a wonderful song managing to incorporate the Liverpool Kop singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" so I am fine with the odd bit of lyrical non logic.

"Meddle" is probably the album that made Pink Floyd my favourite band as a teenager, and contans my favourite Pink Floyd song "Echoes" which took up the whole of ide two and is twenty two minutes long and was used for an amazing surfing sequence in the film "Crystal Voyager", a perfect combination of music and visuals and when the coda comes you really just want it to start again, for me it's that addictive still.

The album opens with "One of Thes Days (I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces)", which comes in quietly on a breeze before going into a five minute two chord instrumental assault. "A Pillow of Winds" gives respite before the gorgeous "Fearless" described above.

"San Tropez" and "Seamus" wind the side down before the wonderful "Echoes on side two. You can tell I still love this album.

Anyway it's time for another walk into work. Have a brilliant Tuesday everybody and I will leave you with the "Crystal Voyager" "Echoes" seqience and "Fearless". If you have time watch both.


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Awake


It's 30 minutes past midnight and I'm sort of wide awake, Part of me wants to sleep and part of me wants to do things. It's not really practical leaving the house or getting the guitar set up, and I don't really want to watch TV (having caught up a bit on American Horror Story and The Walking Dead) so I thought well maybe I will just put something don in the blog.

The wek in Orton I had plans to record stuff and possibly write stuff but ended up doing what I was supposed to do , relax, rest , see my dad, catch up on some TV (the excellent "Deadwood" , well series one) and do a bit of walking and enjoy the countryside around Orton. The cottage is quiet and relaxing and still doesn't habe Wifi although most local pub such as The George , The King's Head and The Black Swan do , but I still managed to trash my data, but that's part of what you do when you are away.

Anyway I am back now and have written a few words, and hopefully it will have moved my mind a bit closer to being able to sleep. I hope to be going to the Tyneside Cinema later today to see  "The Death of Stalin" which should be great fun.

I leave you with a cracking version of "In The Midnight Hour" by Wilson Pickett with Bruce Springsteen, but I'm not sure you can buy this version, but thanks to Youtube you can listen to it.

Sleep well my friends , and I hope my my mind will rest for a few hours now.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Sixteen Miles an Hour


Yesterday we took a trip to Ambleside from Orton. Checking on Google Maps the distance is sixteen miles, but the actual distance is further but due to hills and lakes in between the route is a little more circuitous than the direct sixteen miles and takes closer to an hour to navigate.

It’s not a difficult journey but the sixteen miles does stick in your mind as you drive down the M6 waiting for the turn off to hit the south end of Lake Windermere. While in Ambleside we tried the vegetarian Italian Restaurant, Zeffirelli’s and Fellini’s also home to a cinema.

We spoke with a couple and the man said he’d been eating there for twenty years and it had taken him five years to realise that the restaurant was vegetarian.

Today is the first of November and another start for my step challenge. Quite surprisingly I’ve managed to hit 11K today so that’s a good start although I should have hit 11.5K but a 500 step deficit is hardly insurmountable.

Anyway the data on my Google Pixel seems to me draining and a rapid rate. I’m not too sure why although the tethering has used 2 Gb so it’s probably Windows that decided to do an update, so I may have to buy a data add on, but at least EE have created a few more sensible add ons so it won’t cost a huge amount if I need to buy some extra.

Anyway it’s time for bed, so I will leave you with “Let’s Eat” by Nick Lowe. Sleep well.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Walk This Way




I’ve been walking on a daily basis since March when Fiona got me on the 5000-15000 steps in two weeks challenge. Since then I have been walking an average of 11K steps a day, which has resulted in a little weight loss and a vastly decreased insulin requirement.  Last time I was in Orton I decided I wanted to find The Gamelands Stone Circle, and despite missing it I finally found it.  

At the time I only walked if I wanted to go somewhere. Now I feel that the most important thing is to actually walk a distance whether or not I have a target. So on a daily basis I usually walk to work or into town or a pub, and although there are times when I am tempted to get the bus because I am feeling too tired, I usually force myself to walk a bit further.

On this holiday each day I have been a few thousand short but then thought I could just nip out for a walk round the village and hit my target. While in October I have had days when I have not hit my step target, I have made up the steps in subsequent days and I need to do 14K steps over the next two days to make 340K for October and keep up my rolling three month million step total.

This holiday has had a couple of setbacks , firstly running out of needles for my insulin, spending two hours  trying to get  someone to give me some and everyone having a reason to deny me them, before remembering I could buy them, so I could have saved myself two hours there but all worked out ok.

Then we  had a slow puncture on the hire car, but Enterprise sorted me out with that so all was good again.

The song is obvious “Walk This Way” by Big Red and the Grinners. I don’t know if it’s available commercial but enjoy anyway. Have a great Monday everybody.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Pixelgouster


I just got a new phone, a Google Pixel. Getting a new phone is a bit like jumping off a metaphorical cliff, there's no going back but it's easy to do. I got it as my daughter Kirsty has one and loves it and as Android is Google then you don't get the make or networks rubbish that they install and you can't get rid of...and it looks wonderful out of the box.... but then you start hitting annoyances.

First it uses the bigger USB "C" cable so all the cables I have suddenly become redundant for me , though I need them to charge my bluetooth headphones. Next it doesn't take and expansion card, so I'm stuck with the 32 Gb storage, though my first computer had 3K of memory and my first hard disk had 10 Mb capacity so it's still a lot.

Today the Pacer software, that I use to track my steps, stopped dead. I installed Google Fit which is working fine but Pacer is dead. You have to wonder if Google have something that inhibits rival software, Pacer was fine on the Sony.

Photos are stored in the Cloud , so that will use your data allowance if you aren't on Wifi.

This may sound like I dislike my new phone, I reckon by next week I will be completely won over. It charges quickly, does all the stuff you need to do and I installed music playing software called Vinylage Music Player as Play Music seems to only want a subscription service. Vinylage Music Player makes your digital songs sound like they are on vinyl and I though for a first play I would have David Bowie's "Gouster", ironic because it was never released that I know of and certainly not on vinyl.

It appeared as part of a Bowie box set "Who Can I Be Now" but is still not available standalone. The word "Gouster" appears in "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" the album's opener and to Bowie it meant attitude, it's source is from the Latin gustō. Compare Spanish gustar and Italian gustare. Tony Visconti said:

"Gouster was a word unfamiliar to me, but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African-American teens in the Sixties in Chicago," Visconti explains in the excerpt. "But in the context of the album its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness."

"Gouster" was an alternate "Young Americans" and is an excellent soul album. Listening to it, I don't know if it's the software or the phone, but the sound is gorgeous and rich (even with the built in vinyl scratch sounds). I leave your with "Somebody Up There Likes Me" from "Young Americans" and "Gouster", now to chose my music for tomorrow's walk into work.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Happy Trails ....


Still on the Dylan Jones "David Bowie: A Life" and it seems a lot of the articles are about the (insert your superlative here) sex they had with Bowie, although this is like the red top sensationalism, there is zero expansion. If something is fantastic or amazing you say why it is so. I write about things that catch my eye or imagination , but I don't write "I had a fantastic walk to work" or "I saw an amazing band last night" and leave it at that. The only slight expansion is the Angie Bowie / John Bindon / Pricess Margaret situation where obviously something was afoot in the members club.

One amusing interlude is when Bowie invited Glenn Hughes (then with Deep Purple) up to his room. Basically Bowie kissed Glenn but that was definitely not Glenn's taste.

Then we had the really interesting encounter with Amanda Lear. Bowie had seen her on the cover of Roxy Music's "For Your Pleasure" clad in leather and was disappointed with her look when she arrived. But they chatted ad she became aware of holes in his eductation and introduced him to Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch" . Now that is interesting, as the look of "Metropolis" influenced Bowie possibly directing him towards his Berlin period.

Amanda, Bryan and a Cat


Quicksilver
Yesterday I listened to "Happy Trails" by Quicksilver Messenger Service. When I first saw the cover I couldn't make out whether the guy was riding toward you or away from you. It was years before I finally got the album and realised he was riding toward the artist.

The album basically consists of three extended workouts and two short songs including the throwaway coda of the title track.

Side one is an extended workout of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" which starts out well but loses it's way losing the threat of the original in some saccharin west coast vocalising.






I walk 47 miles of barbed wire
I use a cobra snake for a necktie
I got a brand new house on the roadside
Made from rattlesnake hide

I got a brand new chimney made on top
Made out of a human skull
Now come on take a walk with me Arlene
And tell me who do you love?

Tombstone hand
And a graveyard mine
Just 22
And I don't mind dying

It's still worth a listen, but is rescued by the introduction of "Mona" another Bo Diddley song which lasts for seven minutes and this one does not let up.  "Calvary" is a psychedelic spaghetti western theme and these three pieces make the album essential listening.

Anyway it's time to get out on the road, so enjoy your Tuesday everybody.





Monday, 23 October 2017

Darkness


It's twenty to seven and looking out the the window it is black, it is Monday and I really need to walk to work not having done much walking over the weekend. I have had the Beastie Boys ("Stake Your Rump") and The Stooges ("1969") spun by John Hillcock on 6Music so all is not doom and gloom. I am hoping it won't be as cold and windy as last night.

I was reading about how Lewis Hamilton, despite being the most successful Formula One driver ever is not universally loved.I find this similar to the Andy Murray situation in tennis. Murray is the most successful UK tennis player since Virginia Wade, but when he won Wimbledon the press missed her out of UK successes (she's a woman) and Murray is Scottish so still not as acceptable as Tim Henman. Same with Hamilton, and could I suggest it's partly media racism. Both of them also do things that the UK press hate... they do their job and succeed, which the press find very difficult to denigrate, so when they run out of insults they ignore them.

Personally I find both sports tedious (F1 is going round in circles sounding like a mosquito, and tennis is stop start and goes on for too long like cricket and American Football), but love Murray and Hamilton for their attitude to their sport and the way the treat the gutter press.


The Brexit and Trump victories have also validated open racism and misogyny, which the red top media perpetrates and its subscribers lap up the hate and spread it often defending the rags becuase of the crosswords or sports coverage.

I today found out about Princess Margaret's allegend liaison's with gangster John Bindon, there is a documentary listed here but I suggest you google to find out more as all the links were to gutter press websites.

So what song for this morning, it has to be "Darkness" by Van Der Graaf Generator, as at ten past seven it's still black outside. Try and have a great Monday, it will get lighter .... I hope .




Sunday, 22 October 2017

Light On - Light Off - Light On - Light Off


I have a couple of solar security lights at the back, a lot simpler that wired one and easily fixable to the wall (you can get 'em from Amazon here) They do what they're supposed to , but when it gets windy (supposedly with #StormBrian) and movement from bushes and trees can set them off , over and over and over , and the poeple that get it are my neighbours at the back. Havin said that , I get theirs too so I suppose we balance each other out. We don't use the back rooms for socialising musch so it's not a huge hassle , but there isn't much you can do about the weather and the lights are functioning as they are supposed to.

The wind is getting up and it's actually cold, and I can imagine this stopping me from hitting my daily steps target, though the reality is is that I will see it as just another challenge, which I will succeed at.

This weekend I have been feeling run down, probably due to my 'flu' jab, and tomorrow it's back to work so I am sure that I really need to get some sleep, that is the way to help your physical frame to recuperate it's powers, so I will choose a piece for you.

It's quite funny how people often see pieces of music quite differently, Richard Osman of "Pointless" stated that teh ELO's "Mr Blue Sky" was the greatest "British" song ever (and we're not talking nationalism here we're talking identity), personally I think it's awful, contrived and formulaic from an ELO past their sell-by date. Maybe something by The Kinks or Beatles might fit that bill, and the ELO have a lot of better songs in their catalogue.

So I will leave you with a Beatles cover of "The Inner Light" ("B" side of "Lady Madonna") by The Grip Weeds. Enjoy it and sleep well my friends.