Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saucery


Another album I revisited last week was Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful of Secrets" . My mate Harry Clark always used to refer to it as "Y D" because of the lettering on the cover, which really does pique your interest and draw you in , even though it was just a single sleeve. The astological, astronomical and majikal diagrams, planets and bottles the tapestry wizard and the band photo all made me wonder what was happening inside, and  it really is a cornucopia of sixties psychedelia and Englishness (brass bands and Kazoos, Waters' war obsession "Corporal Clegg")

PinK Floyd = Y D

The album opens with "Let There Be More Light" with it's manic easternised, three note bass intro with slides into the pedestrian ponderous main riff  for theis first slab of space rock on the album. "Remember A Day" follows, a gorgeous Rick Wright song featuring a wonderful rising piano line, and this gives way to the ominous suicidal "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", dark but brilliant. "Corporal Clegg" rounds off side one, which is a more shall we say normal song despite the kazoo led coda march.

Side two starts with the twelve minute title track which has three sections, the first the most ominous part of the album, just sound an noise before morphing into a drum section from hell but finishing with a gorgeous organ based section (also knowwn as "Celestial Voices", possibly influenced by Vaughn Williams.)

"See Saw" follows and like "Corporal Clegg" is a fairly standard formayt song before the closer "Jugband Blues" Syd Barret's final outing with the band, which is a gorgeous jumble sale of sound and a fitting finale complete with brass band.

I've included the "Celestial Voices" from the "Live at Pompeii" film. Enjoy your Saturday evening.

Slightly Suffering


Yesterday I had my 'flu' jab and it's hitting me this morning. So like the sensible person I am I was up at six o' clock to walk to Post Office to pick up an unknown package which turned out to be a copy of Emerson Lake and Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" (or Brian's Salad is in the Surgery as the NME named it) on vinyl, which I wanted for the wonderful HR Giger designed sleeve (which apparently he was never paid for see here). The album is not that good , but the cover is wonderful.

Anyway I got there ten minutes early so walked up the A69 and instagrammed a bit of  Hadrian's Wall which I knew was there but I'd never got the chance to photograph before, so I instagrammed it here

It's Saturday and there's no sign of #StormBrian, and I am ahead on my step target, and I have been listening to a few more albums, on of which is "A Trick of The Tail" by Genesis. It was the first one without Peter Gabriel so possibly didn't bode all that well, and you can hear Phil Collins' influence taking effect although the album is still excellent. One thing that people forget about Phil Collins is that he is an excellent drummer , and also was an accomplished actor and you can hear that on the vocal stylings of "Robbery Assault and Battery".

The Album is bookended by "Dance on a Volcano" and "Los Endos", really two parts of the same piece , featiring a vicious backing to the verses which bears little relation to the melody but is still a brilliant aural assault and worth the price of admission alone. "Dance on a Volcano" slipps into the creepy dream state of "Entangled". Many of the song feature some excellent instrumental codas, and the title track is the penultimate song on the album,was inspired by Tony Banks reading William Golding's "The Inheritors" which described an alien visiting Earth and the reaction to it.

So I will leave you with "Dance on A Volcano"  but the album is worth getting hold of. Have a brilliant Saturday everyone.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Only Two Lou Reed Songs You Know



Still reading "David Bowie:A Life" by Dylan Jones and obviously Lou Reed features fairly heavily. I think Bowie produced his first two albums, the second of which was the very successful "Transformer" which always struck me for the male/female Reed representations on the back cover.

Lou Reed Transformed


Someone said that everybody only knows two Lou Redd songs:


And they know the first for Herbie Flowers brilliant bassline that he got paid £30 for and managing to
get the line about "giving head" past the BBC censors, and the second for the Children in Need version that was released featuring everybody in the world.

As you know my memory is rubbish and I realised I didn't actually know many Lou Reed Songs myself despite having a lot of his albums. Apart from the two about these are the ones that I can think of (And I'm not including Velvet Underground songs which I am fine with), but I'm wondering do Lou Reed songs not stick with you ? Here's the ones I can remeber:


And that's about it. "Berlin" I think had a title track and "Metal Machine Music" was just Part 1 - 4 (a contractual obligation album of beeps which I was surprised RCA released.

So How many Lou Reed songs do you know. I'm going to include the back cover of  "Transformer" so now I can see some of the songs I've forgotten, and I think I know wht I forgot some of them.

Anyway it's Friday, the weekend is here, so have a great day.


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Books To Read


I've been finding it difficult to keep up with the walking, basically due to personal laziness. The thing is the last couple of days I've done more than my required steps to keep my rolling three month million steps going and keep thing am I obsessed or am I focussed and is there a difference. The thing is I know it benefits me physically so I know I have to keep doing it, and I will keep doing it as long as the weather is reasonable , and if it's not I will find another way of keeping up. I have Fenham Community Pool less than ten minutes walk away.

It's funny , while I am not an avaricious reader , I am reasonably well read. I am proud to have passed that on to both my daughters, Kirsty is always reading and recommends some good stuff and Juliet had read "Lord of The Rings" by the time she was 8. Her teacher at her new school didn't believe her so gave her a grilling, and she answered every question he asked. He was well impressed. It's a book I have a few copies of and have read about five times even though it consists of six different books, and often released as three separate books. I was introduced to Tolkein at secondary school and "The Hobbit" was one of the first books we had to read and most of the class loved it. A great introduction and great preparation for "Lord of The Rings".

My favourite book of all time is Clive Barker's "Imajica" , incidentally another book that is often split into three separate volumes. I love it, it has everything you could want from a twisted fantasist spanning five dimensions with magic , horror and lots more.

There are two books that everyone is assumed to have read and be familiar with that I have not touched. They are:


It's something I am going to do something about before the end of the year. I am currently reading "David Bowie: A Life" by Dylan Jones which is essentially a chonological compilation of interview snippets, but still interesting to get an idea of Bowie, although the number of people who come on the when appeared doing "Starman" on Top of The Pops their life changed and nothing would ever be the same again seems a bit far fetched to me. Yes Bowie was innovative but he was also a magpie and loved attention, and this got it in spades.

It can't happen again because at the time most of the population watched Top of The Pops religiously, now we have the internet, and so many ways of communication and finding an sharing information that were not available at the time.

Incidentally at my second ever gig somewhere in Ingol someone asked us to play it, and though I'd never played it before we managed to do it!! 

A lot of people these days can barely listen to two minutes of a song.

So it's obvious what I will leave you with isn't it.....


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

For Openers


In my last post I wrote how a rubbish opening song ("Dr Music") can seem to ruin an album ("Mirrors" by The Blue Oyster Cult). The album is actually quite good but that is the opener and it is just generic tripe rock so you expect more of the same, luckily that's not what you get.

Today I listened to "A Grounding In Numbers" by Van Der Graaf Generator and that doesn't have a great opener, but neither is it bad, "Your Time Starts Now" sets the mood for the album which at times is overly complicated and contrived but that's just VDGG, and it contains a lot of brilliant sections and sequences., but the main point is that the opening track sets the scene and mood and you are happy to go along with the flow.

The Blue Oyster Cult's "Cultosaurus Erectus" is another case in point. It opens with another Michael Moorcock collaboration , the stunning "Black Blade" and while the rest of the album cannot live up to that scorching six minutes of mystic guitar and sequencer magic, you are still on a high from being hit by that opener. The amazing cover of the giant fossilised dinosaur and  the tiny spaceship also helps to set the mood.

This morning I started on Pink Floyd's  "A Saucerful of Secrets" which opens with a basic fast bass riff easternised by string bending by Roger Waters before lapsing into a more sedate almost pedestrian three note bass sequence (borrowed by Argent for "Hold Your Head Up"), but again you are hooked. I will write more when I finish listening again but it is a wonderful album.

So I will leave you with "Black Blade" m, before watching a little catch up TV. Enjoy my friends.


Friday, 13 October 2017

One Song


This was to be about how sometimes an album is worth buying just for one song. Today I listened to that album which opens with a turgid plodding rocker called "Dr Music"and then next is the song that that made me buy the album.

The song was the first collaboration between Blue Oyster Cult and science fiction writer Michael Moorcock based on his book "The Winds of Limbo". The song is "The Great Sun Jester" and is a mix of perfect dynamics, a swirling maelstrom of guitar and keyboard arpeggios and lyrics that stay true to the book. In my opinion as close to perfection as you can get.

Remember this is in the days of vinyl where skipping tracks was awkward.

But listening to the album "Mirrors" , the following track , "In Thee" is not bad and the title track is also good. "Moon Crazy" is more than acceptable and "The Vigil" and "I Am The Storm" are good but not classic. "You're Not the One (I Was Looking For)" a less vicious take on "I Am the One You Warned Me Of"from their absolute masterpiece "Imaginos", and "Lonely Teardrops" complete the album.

So really one I'm saying now is that one song can singlehandedly destroy and album. Trim "Dr Music" and you have a good album with an absolutely amazing opener. That's what I will treat you to and theis night of Friday the 13th........

..... and everything is Hunky Dory


The wind is blowing outside and it's dark outside, but it's Friday and the weekend is almost upon us. Last night I sampled the Vegan delights of Grumpy Panda a Vegan American Diner in Gateshead, possibly the only independent eaterie in the center of Gateshead. It's competition is a Nandos and the Wetherspoons pub The Tilley Stone , althe The Doll At The Black Bull also does excellent food, and that is abrilliant music venue where I was at last night watching the wonderful Liquer, a brilliant Cure tribute band (dee review here)

Anyway yesterday's album on my perambulations was David Bowie's "Hunky Dory". From when it was released, the cover of this albym put me (and may other people) off, Bowie's grainy face and yellow hair in a reclining posture, but close up just put me off.

The album is just jam packed with stunning songs, hit singles, and the only two that don't do it for me are "Eight Line Poem" and "Song For Bob Dylan" and they are just silver among the gold. The three chord attack of "Queen Bitch" which I heard played often at discos was the "B" side of "Rebel Rebel" (what a pairing)m "Quicksand"'s amazing imagery always captured, again a "B" side of "Rock and Roll Suicide". The you have "Kooks", "Changes", "Life on Mars" the list goes one, if you haven't got a copy then you should have one. The album closes with "The Bewlay Brothers" another lyrical adventure culminating in an Anthony Newley-esque descent into hel coda.

Anyway it's getting lighter outside, time to brave the weather and set off for work. Have an amazing weekend my friends. Mine started last night.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dark Mornings

I always try to be positive, but can't get away from the relentlessness of nature, this time the fact that as summer fades it's darker and colder in the morning. The good thing is that the light usually eventually comes but it brings with it more instances of the aptly named TLA, SAD. My only worry about this is that it may affect my target to keep up my rolling three month million steps following completing the Million Step Challenge, which I have to thank Fiona for getting me into (with first the 15K challenge then pointing out the Million Step Challenge) as it has improved my diabetic situation no end, so even for that one fact it is essential that I keep doing it.

As I have said I don't do regimented stuff, but walking gives me the opportunity to dynamilcally change what I do while still benefitting from actually doing the exercise to benfit myself however slightly. The problem is if it's dark , cold , windy and raining it might get a bit difficult, although since I started this I have only had one day where I have walked less than 3K. Apparently the average person walks about 5K steps a day , so that means a lot of people do a lot less than that as I do 11-12K a day, and a friends of mine over the last year has been averaging 30K a day (my most ever is about 24K).

As I've said before I cannot recommend Pacer highly enough to track my steps, which since I installed it has not had any problems.

Anyway tonight I am going to see Nadine Shah at The Sage, am tempted by a Cure tribute (Liquer) at The Doll at The Black Bull on Thursday and am going to see Nick Helm at The Stand on Saturday courtesy of my great friend Jon Raine.

It's still dark, but time to set off for work, so will leave you with "Seven and Seven Is" by Love, a raucous slice of garage punk (maybe not what you would expect from Love) which just came on the 6Music now, and I thought I know that that song , but what the hell is it. Now I know.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Running Out - Power and Signals


 Was just thinking habout how reliant we are becoming on mobile devices and how companies are pushing us to become more reliant on mobile devices. We can use them to pay for things, watch things , communicate in a number of ways but they are reliant on two things, power and a decent signal. So you may have your phone phone and think you can use it as your bus ticket, pay for your overpriced coffee or whatever but if the battery runs out then that's you stuck. Similarly of the signal drops then you may be stuck again although some apps provide on device data.

I use my Sony Xperia XA for recording my walking and yesterday went out without it. Incidentally the Pacer software since I installed it has only possibly failed to record properly one, and that may have been my fault, so I am well impressed by it's reliability.  This was one of the few times I have returned to get hold of my phone , mainly because I wasn't sure if I'd left it in the house or actually lost it. I piced it up and the power was on 12% . By the time I got to my destination it was still going on 2% power but must have switched off soon after. I didn't have a back up power pack and although I have one power cable which I could have used to recharge it on the bus, it was in another jacket.

Sometimes a pen and paper is actually better, and although I have the Kindle app on my phone and an actual Kindle Fire they are still dependent on power and signals.

I'm not sure what the answers are to these first world problems, unless someone makes distributed power a reality. Imageine how cool it would be if power was as distributable as a radio , tv or mobile signal. We would truly be a wireless society then although even more vulnerable to losing the source of keeping us up and running.

This could possibly be even extended to replacement body parts, imagine a heart running on distributed power. but I am really flying off  into the outer reaches of science fiction here and I am no Brian Aldiss, and I was introduced to the concept of distributed power by another of my favourite authors F Paul Wilson. I think it was Legacies. one of the excellent Repairman Jack series.

Anyway it's Sunday and I need to relax , so it has to be "The Power" by Snap. Have a good day everybody.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sounds,Pictures and Letters


I've just finished Alexei Sayle's "The Weeping Women's Hotel" and must say that the title is probably opne of the biggest McGuffins I've ever come across. This isn't a put down of the book, becouse the title is where it starts and then you har pushed back into the story of how the protagonist got there, and are soon into a completely different place. While the situation is fairly ordinary , the way that Alexei Sayle presents it keeps your attention and wanting to find what happens next and when you end up where you started it almost comes as a shock, although it shouldn't be. I am really glad I picked it up and thoroughly enjoyed it and think you will too.

I'm just listening to 6Music and have just heard that Alexei Sayle is DJing on there tomorrow afternoon, another coincidence in the tapestry of life.

I'.m now reading "David Bowie: A Life" by Dylan Jones , ex Loaded editor and a birthday present from Fiona and it's a fairly hefty volume , and I was worried I already had a copy but was getting it mixed up with the Paul Morley biography. As Jones says Bowie's departure has unleashed a tsunami of books. While it still has to really grab me there's a couple of bits that caught my attention.

When Bowie's death was announced he was covering a mens fashion event and as the news spread he said everyone was in tears. Part of me railed against this, thinking most of those people probably would even know the title of a song (Q:"What's your favourite song on the album" A:"Track 4", that answer is only acceptable for Blur's "Song 2" and Scott Walker's "Track 3" and "Track 5") , but Bowie himself was a fashion icon and everyone has a different take on everything.

In th eintroduction to the book, Jones tells how he ws talking to his dad about the book, saying how when he first saw Bowie on Top of the Pops with his orange hair and rainbow body suit, he was totally hooked. His dad's reply was a killer. "You know we only had a black and white telly". That gem made sure that I will read the book , I am expecting more.

Anyway after the number of bland albums I've chosen over the last few days, I decided to play it safe with Halm Man Half Biscuit's "Cammell Laird Social Club" which I managed to mix up with "McIntyre Tradmore and Davitt" and was rewarded with song after brilliant song which also brough a lot of smiles to my face, such as "The Referee's Alphabet" the night after the pedestrian torpor of the England match at Wembley.

Last night  I was privileged to attend my friend Sheena Revolta's "Garageland" photographic exhibititin in Arch Sixteen, with Lady Annabella looking lovely and DJing opening with the excellent "Rumble" Link Wray. I don't think Arch Sixteen has ever had so many people in (it is a lovely place just over the High Level Bridge in Gateshead) just showing the love that her fans have for Sheena's work. Most of the photos are black and white and are beautifully presented. The exhibition is on for a couple of weeks so get yourself along there and enjoy a visual feast.

So what song to choose, I am torn between a Half Man Half Biscuit song and something to celebrate "Garageland" and trying to think of someting that will merge the two, but I think "27 Yards of Dental Floss" will be just fine, have a brilliant Saturday.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Hits and Misses


I decided to listen to the three albums I have by Dave Ackles, I remembered being impressed by "American Gothic" and the song "Road To Cairo" from his eponymous first album is listed as a classic, then there's the final album "Subway To The Country".

My verdict is that "Road To Cairo" is ok and while the first and third albums don't make me want to turn the things off, some of it descends into boring bar room schmaltz, I don't think I will be revisiting them any time soon.

I then thought I'd try the Grateful Dead's  "Go To Heaven" . The opener "Alabama Getawy" is ok country rock but the album just gets blander and blander with "Saint of Circumstance" and "Easy To Love You" the only ones shouwing any signs of life but almost wiped by the awfully bland eighties production. Even the Dead have their off days, another I won't be revisiting.

Which brings me back to "American Gothic" , which , while a little earnest , is a worthwhile addition to any record collection. There are elements of Tom Waits and Billy Joel in here with orchestration recalling the music of that archetypal American Aaron Copland. It takes us through an Americal landscape that predates modern culture, with the unnerving title track which is followed by the beautiful "Loves Enough" before veering off onto another off kilter narrative "Ballad of The Ship of State" and the album continues in this vein until the run out of "Montana Song".

If you have Amazon Prime then give it a listen.

It's time for bed so I'll leave you with "Loves Enough".

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Two Still Stand


The Travelling Wilburys always struck me as  rich rock stars' indulgence, and although I do have all their records the concept grated on me and I found a lot of their songs forgettable. But there was a few geat tunes in there such as "End of The Line" and when you hear Roy Orbison's voice come in on "Handle With Care" you just wonder how the others dare sing in his presence, it's an absolute incredible monster of a voice compared to the others.

Unfortunately we lost Roy and George and yesterday amid lots of confused reporting we found that Tom Petty had gone. Six yeards older than me her went out after finished a fortieth anniversary tour still doing what he loved in a universe that some people only get the Andy Warhol fifteen minutes of fame. Tom never got old, he lived life how he enjoyed it and could have gone on  for a lot longer but it wasn't to be.

The first Tom Petty song I heard was "Anything That's Rock and Roll", a knowing re-imaginig of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" with the Heartbreakers which I bought immediately and followed up buying their eponymous first album , which also contained the Byrd's tribute "American Girl". There was a little confusion at the time because Johnny Thunder' Heartbreakers were very active at the same time though obviosly more punk than Petty.

When Tom released his first solo album, I wondered what we would get and was rewarded with the gorgeous "Free Fallin'" and so it went on. There is always a lot of new music, but I do have a few Tom Petty albums in my collection and a Tom Petty record always give you a lift on the radio. I've just realised he shares the same surname as Buddy Holly's producer, Norman Petty, I must find out if there's a connection there.

Anyway there are two Travelling Wilbury's left standing and still very active, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne, and while since "Face The Music" I haven't been overly impressed with Jeff Lynne's output (the ELO were meant as an experiment in what the Beatles would have done after "Strawberry Fields" if they had continued on that road) , but Bob Dylan's out has varied from from the brilliant ("Tempest") to bland ("Triplicate")

I was disappointed but not surpised to see HMV have a huge Tom Petty display up to capture all the real fans, but that's just business.

Anyway it's time to go to work, have a brilliant Wednesday my friends.


Monday, 2 October 2017

Birthday Thoughts and Thanks


I was 60 yesterday, but on Friday I was incredibly touched when I had a presentation at work. I walked in at 8 to find my desk desecrated (in the nicest way) with "60" banners and paraphenalia, but in the after noon came the presentation and a bag with a cup , som bottles of coke , a bet for Preston and Liverpool to win (they bothe drew :) ) and a very substantian INTU voucher whuch I am fairly certain will be going towards a new handset as I found that Carphone Warehouse are doing the Google Pixel unlocked, which good.

On Satruday Kirsty and Molly came over with more presents including a great personlaised print from her Juliet and Mark, as well as a DVD of the Grateful Dead's final concert and a Blu Ray of Dave Gilmour at Pompeii..

The weekend was then spent at La Rosa and I got more presents from Fiona, plus a bottle of Bucks Fizz courtesy of the lovely staff at La Rosa. Amazingly there was no TV, Video or Music over the weekend , just quiet, not that I'm getting old but it's nice to have the option. I got a phone call from my Dad too and that was nice , and you can see various presents and stuff on my Instagram Channel here.

So all in all everything goes on as before, I still have lots I want to do, and lots I've not done, but this is a big thank your to everyone who's wished me a happy birthday and I hope I can do the same in 2077. Sleep well everybody.

I'll leave with The Grateful Dead's final take on "Terrapin Station" one of my favourite Grateful Dead songs.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Just One Victory

I don't tweet very often (my twitter name is @mikeydred96) though I've just looked and apparently it also reports all the Youtube Videos I like, but I decided to tweet today with this:

"Booking with is like betting with . You give them your money and 99% you never get anything back"

 This may be my last September 2017 post, and I have been listening to a lot of good music , which I will post about but yesterday walking to work I decided to revisit Todd Rundgren's "A Wizard, A True Star" (not as though his confidence wasn't as high as a kite when he titled that) . This album really needs pairing with the follow up "Todd" which I listened to and wrote about here.

This is another box of  of delights ranging from blue eyed soul to heavy metal with a Judy Garland cover from "The Wizard of Oz" thrown, into the mix. The cover gives an indication of what to expect, there is a lot for you ears to delight in . Originating on vinyl it is very much two sides of Todd Rundgren.

A Studio Magician


Side one is bookended by the gorgeous elctrified rock of  "International Feel" before directy running into a solo piano take on "Never Never Land", running through about twelve pieces from the throwaway "Dogfight Giggle" to the metal of  "When The Shit Hits The Fan" hetting a number of genres with , of course , no track breaks.

Side two is more blue eyed soul and not quite as manic as side one, but the gorgeous soul medley, shows his wonderful arrangement and musicianship a backing vocals anlthough his lead vocals not quite up to everything else but still worth the price of admission alone. Although more sedate this side still has a metal punch in "Is It My Name" before the big hopeful  finale of "Just One Victory" to play out with.

It's Friday so I will leave you with "Just One Victory" and I would suggest that if you don't have a copy of this album, get hold of it now , with a copy of "Todd". You will not regret it.

Have a brilliant day everybody.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Fog In Fenham and South African Fun


Looking out the window and it's dark and foggy. This is definitely not a summers day, though the light is breaking. I need to go to the post office depot because, as usual, they tried to deliver a parcel in the middle of the day. Whatever happened to early morning deliveries? Oh yes they cut staff and rationalised their operation now it's been privatised to ensure maximum profit for the government shareholders. But there is a chance I may get some good video walking across the park , but we shall see.

Yestersay's walking #AlbumoftheDay was Malcolm McLaren's "Duck Rock". Malcolm was a musical magpie, getting other people to implement his often hairbrained ideas and more than often turning out albums that are at least 75% brilliant, and that is no mean feat. "Duck Rock" is mainluy based on Aftrican Jit, but there is some Salsa thown in with hip hop links wy the "World Famous Supreme Team". The song "Buffalo Girls" was a hit but listening to it now, I can't really see why, it sounds fragmented and awkward , that falls into the album's 25%.

The album opens with  the beautiful "Obatala" before "Buffalo Girls" hits then we hit the uplifting "Double Dutch". There are lots of gems to discover, and while I don't like the use of the word "punk" in anything (especially Bredog Beer, and other mainstream commercialisation"), this is a wonderful piece of Mclarenesque Jit which I will share with you.

Have a brilliant Tuesday my friends.



Monday, 25 September 2017

Electric Fireships


This morning I discovered that boiling a kettles costs me 2p according to my OVO Smart Meter, I've had powere meters before and on the odd occasion they have actually saved me money, one of them alerted me to the fact that we had one incandescent bulb left in the house that I hadn't replaced, and that incandescent bulb increased the house power consumption by 25% . At the time we had two five bulb chandeliers , fridge , TV, heating two computers and god knows what else running and one incandescent bulb (which is basically a heater that gives off light)  caused that increase. The kettle , well you need to boil a kettle so there's not much to be done there.

Yesterday I was listening to "Fireships" by Peter Hammill and while the album is hardly essential listening for most people it doesw contain so beautiful but disturbing songs about control such as "His Best Girl",  and "Incomplete Surrender" and problem the most beautifully frightening stalker song since The Police's "Every Breath You Take", "I Will Find You", which is the one I will share with you this morning.

"A fire ship or fireship, used in the days of wooden rowed or sailing ships, was a ship filled with combustibles, deliberately set on fire and steered (or, where possible, allowed to drift) into an enemy fleet, in order to destroy ships"

That's taken from the Wikipedia entry, which you can read here. Anyway Monday morning is with us once more so time to hit the week and go out and do your stuff. Have a brilliant day everybody.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

200 @ 2:00 AM


This is my 200th post this year and it's 2:00 AM although really I should have gone back to bed, though the fact that this is my second most prolific year so far and th efact that I've not really done anything in the middle of the night for a while made me think "Why Not?". It's two in the morning and this time next week it will be 2 AM in La Rosa in Whitby so I thought I would just get up and write a word or two.

My last two posts have been about two albums that I'd revisited for #Albumofthe Day and other things meant that I missed two albums that I'd been listening to, so I thought I would say a couple of words about both the ones that I'd missed and bring myself up to date on them. The response I got to David Bowie's "Blackstar" was very good, although it's amazing what a picture of David Bowie on your post can do for attracting a few more readers, but that is really the point of writing these these things , to remind me and my readers about great music that we may have forgotten about or just not heard.

The two albums I mised were:

  • Graham Parker & The Rumour: The Up Escalator - One of my favourite albums of his and his final one with The Rumour. Produced with Jimmy Iovine and featuring Bruce Springsteen as co writer and on backing vocals on "Endless Night"  this is just brilliant song after brilliant song from the opening riff of "No Holding Back" not dropping off through "Devil's Sidewalk" and "Stupefaction" until the final song of the original album "Love Without Greed". Another one that should really be in your collection.
  • Spirit: The Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus - A bona fide rock classic absolutely full of songs which you don't realise that you actually know very well. From the enigmatic cover and running order with titles like "Prelude", "Space Child" and "Street Worm" and if you have heard "Animal Zoo" or "Mr Skin" you will recognise them instantly or if not you will be captivated when you do hear them.
Anyway, given that I have two albums full of great songs to choose from, it is a difficult choice but you can either follow the links and listen to samples on Amazon or just find them on Youtube. I'm going to go for "No Holding Back" from "The Up Escalator" , then I am going back to bed.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Oddly Enough .... Todd


Going back to the seventies again for my walking listening, though for the first time I think that Pacer may not be performing as it should,  though it's logged 7K today leaving me to do 65K between now and next Saturday night.

Anyway after the revelation of "Freak Out" and Mark talking seventies music I thought I'd take a ride on Todd Rundgren's "Todd" album, a double vinyl release that I first bought on cassette from Laskey's in Preston Guidhall. I got the album home and the cassette player chewed it so I took it back and exchanged it for the double vinyl edition. Here's the Wiki entry, with links to other albums mentioned.

To most of you Todd Rundgren will mean nothing, if you have heard anything it may be "I Saw The Light" , but you will have heard his work , he was a very in demand producer and was responsible for the sound and some of the paying on Meatloaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" which you will know and maybe even have a copy of.

Anyway Todd was a double album and came in about 64 minutes , the album after, "Initiation"  was a single album and clocked in at 69 minutes , at the time the longest rock album ever put out. It came with instructions to always play with a brand new needle to avoid unnecessary damage to the grooves. That could have got very expensive and people tended to go for the cassette version.

At that time (1974) me and schoolfriends were usually wary of anything outside normal rock paramters, though those parameters were all over the place (I was a fan of The Bonzo Dog Band and T Rex and Northern Soul) , we were also into Krautrock and Space Rock and anything "out there". Soul was frowned upon, although Stevie Wonder, Parliament , Funkadelic, Gloria Jones,The Supremes and James Brown were OK.

Anyway Todd Rundgren came onto our radar and I got the album home and listened to it, four sides that seemed to cover every acceptable base , then a few more also making them acceptable.

The opening "How About A Little Fanfare" is really a continuation from the wonderful "A Wizard/ A True Star" album. The thing is as you listen to this album it has everything and takes you off to places you don't expect to go, "Spark of Life" is almost Krautrock and definitely Space Rock, then we have Gilbert & Sullivan "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" from "Iolanthe", along with some pure soul such as "The Last Ride".

Todd in Names
 "No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator" which is what Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9" would be in an alternate universe. There are a lot of songs to enjoy and when the tape shredding transposition from "Izzat Love" to "Heavy Metal Kids" hits tape owners must have thought that's another one gone.

The album finishes with "Sons of 1984" a live song featuring "First United Church of the Cosmic Smorgasbord" which was the audiences from two live outdoor gigs in Central Parlk And San Francisco making it possibly the biggest number of backing vocals on a song ever (I don't know if that's still true). I think that their names were recorded on a poster included with the vinyl album which replicated the cover using the names.





All in all another essential album, that I have just revisited and been amazed by because it just reminded me of how good it was itn the first place. If you buty it on CD you get some extra live songs including a cover of possibly Jeff Lynne and The Move's finest three minutes "Do Ya" .

Listening to   "No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator" has reminded me that I need to load some Hendrix onto the phone for some more listening, although I am willing to take any suggestions from you.

I've had a good day today, hope you enjoy your evening





Much of The Time We Are All The Same


Yesterday walking through the Eldon I guty was cluctching a load of shopping,, probably to much to immediately handle and almost malked into me as he struggled keep hold of everything, and profusely apologised saying "Sorry" several times. The number of times I see people concentrating on their phones or devices or something else and ending up walking into other people, lamp posts, glass doors, road signs. I am as guilty as anybody else. My nearest I come to multi tasking is answering the phone when I'm walking. If I want to take video and post on instagram or wherever I alaways make sure I stop otherwise I would be walking into tree or traffic and ending up as strawberry jam. I listen to music as I walk and I've had the odd #twiker (thats a tw@ biker) shout at me to get out of the way as I block THEIR FOOTPATH, but I do make an effort to remain in control and be aware , though as you know I get easiliy distracted.

Yesterday I was chatting with Mark my son-in-law who is working through seventies music, mentioning The Doors and Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" which is has been playing on his valve based amp which gives a warmer sound than solid state.

I said during the day I had been listening to The Mothers of Invention's "Freak Out" which was was late sixties rather than seventies but contemporary to The Doors. While I listened to Zappa and The Mothers (the record company insisted on the "Of Invention" as they decided that the public would think it implied a certain denigratory family connection) at school I'd read that The Bonzo Dog Band  were the English equivalent of The Mothers, which I didn't see as I saw The Mothers as complex rock against The Bonzo's comedy jazz (which was anything but simple).

Listening to "Freak Out" the analogy becomes clear, the two bands are very similar , the main difference is that The Mothers are rooted in American Doo Wop and Rock and Rock Roll, whereas the Bonzo's were rooted in traditional jazz and music hall. Both bands were intelligent and sophisticaticated enough to cross and incorporate genres. Some of the songs sound like the nuagty kids who escaped from The Brill Building or Tin Pan Alley , Pure Americam Pop until you listen to the lyrics and realised that complex motif being played is actually a kazoo. Just listening to "Any Way The Wind Blows" which is actually pure pop with a vaguely sinister descending guitar line, but the album wouldn't drive people out of your house put addresses a lot of issues still relevant today "Who Are The Brain Police?", "It Can't Happen Here" and "Hungry Freaks Daddy".

Anyway I'll leave you with the opening song from the album.

It's a beautiful day, and if you are in Newcastle you can go and see the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Kingdom" in Leazes Park. Here's my Instagram video.

Have a brilliant weekend.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Acting Like Magpies


While out for tea last night at Bar Loco I was talking with Juliet and Kirsty about stuff such as technology , and kirsty said that people spent money on new technology these days because often people don't have kids and therefore they have more disposable income and that disposable incime often goes on new tech such as the latest phones, TVs or Blu-Ray boxed set.

Because my daughters are independent I also fall into that category, but I remeber many years ago getting into the stage of buying DVDs because they were so cheap (and I thought I might watch them) , and I saw a Hugh Grant DVD , I think it was "Words and Music" in HMV for £1.99, I picked it up and thought , "But where would I put it?" , the shelves were full. I don't often buy DVDs these days being so lazy that I can't be bothered to get up , find the DVD, put it in the player etec etc, when I have digital content at the touch of a few buttons.

I do the same with CDs though it's slightly different, I will buy CDs at a gig to support bands who actually put the effort in to to turn up and perform. In recent years I saw The Jackhammers as part of a three band line up for £2 at  The Central. There were twenty people there, they were the headliners from Glasgow, so the take was £40 , so I bought some CDs thinking how do these bands do this.

I also buy from local record shops such as Reflex and RPM because if you don't then one day you won't be able to buy anything except the latest Now and X-Factor compilations from Tesco. Sometimes Andy and Marek's recommendations hit the nail , sometimes they don't , but I love walking into the sops hearing something and wondering what it is , and often end up buying the record.

Anyway to get to the point of this post, my #AlbumoftheDay yesterday was David Bowie's "Blackstar". I bought it when it came out but didn't know it inside out and though it was time to revisit. One song on the album is "Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)" jazz based and reminds me a little of The Bonzo Dog Band's "Big Shot" in feel (and without the comedy, though Bowie does have a sense of humour), and that slots seamlessly into the middle of the album. The album is around forty minutes, ideal for vinyl and opens with the eponymous title track which consists of two interwining pieces one brooding two chord atmospheric and the other almost pop stretching out for almost ten minutes. The other standout for me is "Lazarus" which is Bowie's obvious last song, he knew what was coming. The rest of the album could be considered Bowie filler but still high quality , but the two standouts alone make this an essential purchas and essential listening.

The thing is with downloads, you can acquire stuff legally (or illegally) and let it just sit on a hard disc , unwatched or unlistened to, and a lot of people do that, the point being tou have the said item , you don't experience it.

Anyway I am still thinking "Blackstar" but have been listening to more stuff which I will be writing about in the next few days. I leave you with the amazing video for such an amazing song, and yes it does last ten minutes.

It's Friday, the weekend is nearly hear , so go out enjoy yourslef and have a great day.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Parallel Lines


Yesterday on my walk in I listened to "Let Them EatChaos" by Kate Tempest. I've always been imprest by this multi talented artist , she's a writer, a rapper , a poet and probably a lot more. The format of the album is rap poem vignettes of seven capital dwellers in flat land at 4:18 AM. These rap poems are punctuating songs including the towering apocalyptic "Don't Fall In" which I used recently in this post.

I was surpised at the similarities between this album and The Alexei Sayle book "The Weeping Women Hotel" which is nbased in the midlands and London with similar characters, though as yet the book hasn't contained any swearing (I don't think).

I am going to include the excellent "Perfect Coffee", a sad song about being forced out of your home by increased rents, which must happen on a daily basis to a lot of people. I had to include this powerful poem about our evil government. 

Sorry this has turned into a bit of a downer, but the album is rivetting, and sometimes what passes for entertainment can carry a very poerful message, and this ceratinly does.

Have a good Wednesday.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Days of Grey


Looking at the sky outside, it's grey again. Cloudy and it looks like rain. It's also cold. But it isn't raining....yet. is the thing that might hit my walking targets, but the physical benefits are going to keep me trying. As long as I can use an umbrella and avoid getting soaked then I will be fine.

Another thing is the fact that I can listen to music on my walks, and therefore let you know whatalbums I have been listening to.

Yesterday that alvum was "Bone Machine" by Tom Waits. When somethone mentions that I always thing of "Earth Dies Screaming", That song along with "In The Colloseum" sounds like the sort of music a minor demon in an anteroom of one of the levels of Dante's Infernal Hades would be making, and I love that. But there are more accessibly songs , almost tender (and Tom Waits does tender well) such as "Who Are You?" and "Whistle Down The Wind", then there is the threat of "Murder In The Red Barn" and "Black Wings" but the one I will share with you is "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" almost a nursey song that we could all do with following.

Yesterday I got another sale on my Discogs store, though I then discovered I need to send it to Finland so that will be fun sorting that out at the Post Office. I am also going to buy a charger for this "non working" iPod as when the guy in CEX tried it a menu did come up, and I can pick one up for a pound in Poundland.

Well I am going to brave the greyness and get off to work now.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Emerald City Binge


I never binge watch but this weekend has seen me watch seven and a bit episodes of Emerald City, which looks great and has pulled some great characters out of the hat (Toto is an Alsatian and the Tin Man is a Steam Punked Steve Austin) , the Wizard is possibly the least convincing charater but even he is more than passable. I'm surprised NBC have cancelled it but I assume it'll join  the likes of Firefly. I am looking forward to the final episode but it has been a great ride.

The iPod I found turned out to be completely dead and Apple manage to be complete arses again by asking me to make an appointment, it's a bloody shop not a surgery , so I went to CEX who checked it out and said it had been water damaged and was completely wrecked. I was going to hand it in at the Police Station on Westgate road but that has been closed down and replaced by one that only opens 9-5 Monday to Friday, that's progress isn't it.

Today's #AlbumoftheDay #1 was Vampire Weekend's "Contra" which owes a lot to Paul Simon's "Graceland" and Sounth African Jit. It is a great album but at times you think you are listening to Paul Simon.

I then put on Fairport Convention's "Babbacombe Lee" their concept album about John Lee the double murderer who survived several attempts to hang whne the gallows assembly failed to work.

Two excellent albums and now it's time for bed.



Still Reading, Still Walking, Stll Listening


It's not yet six o'clock on Sunday morning but I have had a decent night's sleep, though I could probably just go back to bed, but I'd probably start thinking about something. Yesteday I found a 16Gb iPod in the street, I'm not ssure if it is working or if it has been stolen or lost. I am going to hand it in at the local police station as I have no way of checking whether it's working and the may be some kid who has lost their entire music collection (mine currently stand at 500Gb so 16Gb is not a huge collection for me and my phone has about twice that much on at the moment).

Anyway I have finally started reading some fiction after months of music biographhies and history, and mathematics, and I am loving "The Weeping Women Hotel" by Alexei Sayle. It seemed a bit awkward at first because Alexei Sayle is a man and the main protagonists are women, but why that should matter is just a result of sixty years of socity's conditioning on me, but I am past that now and looking forward to picking it up each day. I was possibly expeing some Marxist anarchic comedy or something dark in the realms of someone like Tolstoy or Ibsen but it's anything but, it's well written , easily readable , enjoyable with a sense of humour without being comedic and I still haven't a clue what's going on.

My latest #AlbumoftheDay is Todd Rundgren's "Faithful" which at the time drew criticism because sied one consisted of note for not covers of classic rock songs. Admittedly Todd didn't choose easy targets includeing two of the greatest pop sings ever in The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" and The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" and I've just thought "Rain" which was the 'B' Side of "Paperback Writer", and apparently the bass line on the original songle was so heavy that it could make th eneedle jump the groove. Anyway the problem is that side still comes over as a Music For Pleasure "Rock Classics" album, ie an album of cheap covers. It is more than listenable but it comes as a relief when "Black and White" kicks in on side two. I will leave you with the gorgeous "Clichés" from side two of "Faithful".

Enjoy your Sunday and I will also include Preston's dismantling of Birmingham yesterday which pleased me no end.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Saturday Morning


Just been out for a short ten minute walk to get the papers and it's like a summer's day without the warmth. Nice to walk out but you do need a cout, I think that the T Shirt weather may be over for this year.

My Smart Meter is telling me thatit's already cost me a pound to power the house so far today, which I suppose is a good thing to be aware of. Our house is fairly energy efficient but the biggest cost is gas, we are above average for gas usage but way below average for electricity usage so I assume that makes us averag doesn't it?

Anyway hopefully today I can hit 11.5K steps (this is a bit repetitive I know) and hopefully I can see something interesting and report it to you this afternoon, or tonight.

I've started watching Strike which is actually great fun, and enjoyed episode one of Valkyrien which is available on All 4 but has disappeared from Virgin. My sony blue ray player has a web browser ... but no keyboard option, how good is that. The remote only allows the option of tabbing. That's been well thought out, like so many systems these days, I 'm beginning to think when you get something that really works well it's just a lucky accident.

So before I jog off to do my stuff I will leave you with "Sunshine" by Nazareth for no other reason than it's a very sunny day. Have a good one everybody.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Numbers Game


I've just realised that this is already my second highest posting year ever (2013 was the highest with 244) so given that I am three and a half months away from th eend of the year there is just a possibility that this will be my highest posting years ever. The last two Octobers I have themed a post a day and I may do that again this year as it's my birthday month. Again, going back to the point I made in my last post but one, when you don't think about what you are doing, it makes it a lot easier to succeed.

It's ten of the clock and this is my third post today, and I am looking forward to a good night;s sleep and an extremely relaxed weekend with a little catch up to TV and maybe even not doing a huge amount of walking. It is a long time since I had a real lie in, so long that I have actually forgotten.

I am quite pleased that my Discogs store is going well with another four gone today, I'm not looking to start a business just to trim my collection slightly. This reminded me of  "Rock and Roll Records" by JJ Cale which is so laid back it's almost comatose, but a good record anyway. It is time for my bed now, who's coming?

Just noticed Amazon says:


Includes FREE MP3 version of this album. 


It's not Free, you have to buy the album first to get a copy, and you could rip it yourself anyway without the tags that Amazon include.


Goodnight my friends


See you when daylight hits.


Afternoon Light


Today we have had dark clouds a smattering of rain and I have the light on because it's dark out side. It's not three o' clock yet. I can see a touch of blue sky in the distance, so no doubt in quarter o fan hour it'll be a bright summers day , and right enough it is, so I can switch my light out.

I've succumbed and had a smart meter fitted so my power supplier, OVO, know what I am using every minute of the day.

My DNLA server has been playing up a bit, but it's now finally working. I'm not sure what the problem is as I think Window 10 is deleting applications at random, so the music was just not moving but maybe it was taking it's time to find the actual file even though it had the file name indexed.

I actually wanted Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother", but I've made do with my favourite ABBA song "The Visitors", and wonderful driving piece of dark paranoia, and you can dance to it (if you can dance and feel so inclined, I can't and don't).

So anyway this is just a very very short post about what you manage to do while having a Smart Meter fitted. I was shocked about how much they had to put in a replace to get it working, although the gas meter was obviously a bit complex.

Anyway I now have "Atom Heart Mother" playing on the sound system, so my Kindle Fire and Soundbar set up is now working which is a good thing. I love the sound of Roger Waters' bass on the introduction to the 23 minute incredible piece influenced by Scot Ron Geesin with full brass band and choir, and rather than share the Floyd version with you I'll share a live cover version by some French musicians that is quite amazing, it's at the Théâtre du Chateletand features Ron Geesin on keyboards.Ron did a film soundratck for a film called "The Body" with Roger Waters.

Enjoy this sunny afternoon my friends... the weekend is almost here.


Looping About Ed Sheeran

The Graph of Ed Sheeran
Last night I caught a chunk of The Mercury Music Prize won by Sampha which seemed to me functional but bland. There was a recorded performance of Ed Sheeran performing "The Shape of You" on Jools Hollands' Later, and what struck me was that here is a guy who is clever at what he does, putting songs together from basic recorded loops, but unfortunaelely what came out for me was just like any other radio filler and will probably be an X-Factor staple in years to come.

Ed Sheeran is a really nice guy, though , gave a great message from Miami. Basically I like Ed Sheeran a lot but find his music bland and boring hence the graph on the right.

He was followed by Kate Tempest performing the apocalyptic "Don't Fall In" who, in my opinion, musically blew him away.





The first time I saw a loop being used in a live situation was John Martyn performing "Big Muff" on Rock Goes To College in the seventies. He just had this acoustic guitar and a few effects and a tape loop box which allowed him to build up his rhythm to amazing effect, that stayed with me, well today, you can see that below.

The a couple of years ago I walked into Think Tank? saw a girl wearing horns on stage who started with some wordless vocals to provide her backing for "The Shadow Line". That girl was Jordan Reyne. I was truly blown away and she is still the moriginal artist I have heard over the last couple of years. Maybe it was the combination of walking in to wait for the main band, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (who were excellent by the way, thanks for the recommendation Gillian F) , therefore not expecting anything to be blown away by her solo set. I bought three of her CDs so at the top is "The Shadow Line". The official video for it is here, but I wanted to show what she can do live

Have a brilliant Friday everybody.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Art Of Not Trying


Last month I wanted to hit fifty posts but failed miserably, only managing thirty. This month I haven't tried , but less than half way through the month (tomorrow is half way)  I have already done twenty five posts. It's like riding a bike or playing live, as soon as you start thinking about it you fall off or forget what you are doing because you are thinking about what you think you should be doing instead of actually doing.

So I know this is hardluy a substantial post (though it's a lot more substantial tah twhen I first started writing), my posts would be lucky to hit a hundred words. These days I probably average 25-300 words. So if I stopped writing now this would be the lot of what you would get from me , maybe with a couple of pictures.

I suppose these days I look for some kind of thread to keep my posts going, like the walking and the fact I joined Newcastle CAN today on the recommendation of my doctor, and had good news from my optician that everything seems stable on the optical front.

Anyway, as I said , this is just a very short post so I will leave you with "Donna" by theBard of Salford and The Head Ex Strangler, because the CD is on top of my playpile. Sleep well my friends.

On Writing

The thing is, like anything you do, writing is easier the more often you do it. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but the numer of hits per post have also actually gone up. The "Coincidentally Opencast" post is still the most read one currently and that is getting a lot of hits despite being more about the Happy Mondays and their John Kongos covers and the fact that John Kongos was the first person to use a recorded sample in the single "He's Gonna Step On You Again" . Follow the OpenCast link for video and download links.

I've now started reading Alexei Sayle's "The Weeping Women Hotel" and after the Jordan Ellenberg book I was struck that the pages will be solid text, no diagrams and graphs breaking it up every few pages, but words have the ability to stimulate the imagination, though for some reason I found it a bit odd about about a man writing about a woman's experiences. I'm only ten pages and it has my attention so I am looking forward to enjoying it.

So it's time for another walk to work, it's a couple of weeks since I bought a weekly bus ticket now (and they are good value for money), but if I don't have a ticket I will walk and I get to listen to lots of music.

I now look at people at bus stops and think, "You could probably walk to where you are going".  It's true we have inbuilt laziness programmed into us. Twice in recent weeks I've seen people panic because they have missed their floor by ONE floor, as they press the button then go up to the 7th floor before (I assume returning to the second or third, when it would take them a minute to WALK DOWN to their floor)

I've been selling a few CDs that I don't really listen to on Discogs. The pile I had would probably bring me in fifteen pounds from CEX or a bit more for one of Newcastle's second hand record shops. Amazon wouldn't let me sell CDs but the four I have sold on Discogs have brought in £50 so it's been a success. My store is here.

Given how I have been critical of people not walking , I found some film of Deep Purple performing "Lazy" in 1972 for you to enjoy.


Anyway I'm going to set off again so enjoy your Thursday.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Crown of Creation


On the walk in I listened to "The Use Of Ashes"  by Pearls Before Swine and it was as good as I remember , slightly off kilter and dark, and the only vague complaint for me is the sixties production.
 The title comes from a line in the opening track "The Jeweller", and I was struck by the dark lyrics of the song "Rocket Man" which made me think of the illogical tenets of controlling religion.

That was half an hour of strange sixties Americana, and I followed it up with Jefferson Airplane's "Crown of Creation". The music is similar to the songs off "The Use Of Ashes" , and I almost expected Tom Rapp's voice to drift in, but I got Grace Slick and (possibly) Paul Kantner.

"Lather" is lyrically pretty awful but still listenable, and "Triad" is still excellent. The title track is excellent and the album is still enjoyable, and it came to me as one of the albums in the Rhino five disc pack, which are five albums in replica card sleeves, which when first released were around a tenner.

I found this abrasive live take from 1968 on The Smothers Brothers Show, still love this, like you would ever see this on mainstream TV these days.

Enjoy your Wednesday night everybody.

Coincidence, Marxism and Roald Dahl


I have finished the Jordan Ellenberg book , and it was worth reading although hard going for the second half. It seems that maths encompasses a lot more than just addition , subtraction, multiplication and division. Although these are the basics and starting points there is a whole world of concepts out there that are beyond my limited intellect, but I do now know about all these things.

I've now picked up Alexei Sayle's "The Weeping Women Hotel", which is the first novel I've picked up in a long time (I've been reading mostly factual stuff), and Alexei Sayle is an intelligent person, a great comedian and a Marxist (see the last but one post). It's funny how you get these unusual and unexpected connections in writing.

The weird thing about this blog is that you go to log in , then you are presented with a screen inviting you to start a new blog, even though you are logging in to update your blog. It's just a slight annoyance, probably caused by the fact I clear out cookies on a regular basis.

Today is wet and grey but brightening up. I am hoping to listen to "The Use Of Ashes" by Pearls Before Swine (see last post if you want to listen) on the walk to work although if it raining I may have to take the bus then I will dig out a TED talk.

It is the 13th today and I have written about the number 13 several times, and everyone has their own opinions , but 13 being unlucky belongs in the realms of astrology and superstition. It is a prime number so does not fit into many boxes, but that's about it. And remeber a Baker's Dozen where you would can an extra loaf or cake just in case one wasn't up to scratch so that is a case of 13 being lucky for the recipient an dgenerating good will for the supplier.

And today is apparently Roald Dahl day, an author who my girls always loved and wrote some wonderfully subversive children;'s books as well as a lot of great adult books too. If you haven't read any, do something abit it NOW.

I think a sensible music choice would be Terrorvision's "Tom Petty Loves Veruca Salt" and you know why that is ......

....have a brilliant Wednesday

I was just mentioning the 13 wasn't unlucky and my internet went down so I couldn't publish this. So I've just taken this draft and published it on a public computer. C'est La Vie.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

One Nation Underground


Is the name of the album I listened to walking to work today. It's by a band called Pearls Before Swine and in the same psychedelic universe as Jefferson Airplane. The album I wanted to listen to was "The Use Of Ashes" but unbelievably I don't seem to have it . I have a compilation called "The Wizerd of Is" and that may have all the songs from "The Use Of Ashes".

The albums use some great artwork for their covers such as Hieronymus Bosch's visions of hell and the music is quite unsettling and not overly produced.

I've included the whole album of "The Use Of Ashes" for you to listen to , from 1971 and it clocks in at a little over half an hour. It will be on my playlist for tomorrow, as "One Nation Underground" was today.

You can buy your own copy by following the links, although it may just not be your thing. Pearls Before Swine were a vehicle for Tom Rapp's songs though later albums were under his own name.

Feel free to dip your toe in , you never know , you might just like it.

The Housemartins - The Greatest Marxist Band Ever To Pick Up Guitars


I read that statement twice when I read it in Jordan Ellenberg's "How Not to Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life", I know the Housemartins were committed left wing and Paul Heaton definitely still is but does that make them Marxist.

Maybe Robert Wyatt could be Marxist, especially listening to his stuff post Soft Machine. His band after that was Matching Mole which is extrapolated from the French for "Soft Machine" , "Machine Molle" apparently. My french is only 'O' Level but Google translates as "Machine Souple" though the reverse translation comes out as correct.

There were a lot of bands that may have been Marxist  that are in my collection , a possible list here:

And to some extent Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie and the list could go on for a long time.

All these bands are well worth a listen whatever your politics, they are probably all on Youtube so go and have a look and listen. This is one of the great things about this digital age, you don't read this and then think I will have to go and research that tomorrow. I remember in the seventies when you read about a band you often had to look in the music mags like Sounds and NME scour the adverts and then order an album on import, hoping it would be as good as the title and blurmb made it sound.

Anyway I've included "Sitting On A Fence" the song that Jordan Ellenberg used to illustrate his point, and if you want to know what the point was you will have to read Ellenberg's book.

Have a good Tuesday.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Going American


I'm just loading up my phone with a lots of sixties and seventies American music. Although to me they are major players , the only ones you may have heard of are The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Of couse that atter leads off to Paul Kantner and Grace Slick and the wonderful Hot Tuna featuring the amazing guitar of Jorma Kaukonen , who I saw at Knebworth in about '76 when The Rolling Stones headlined , 10CC had a three hour soundcheck, Todd Rundgren's Utopia went over the top with their pyramid and Lynyrd Skynyrd played one of their last gigs before we lost most of them.

I'm also loading up Tom Rapp , Pearls Before Swine and Dave Ackles , all class acts though seriously forgotten these days, but I will be pushing them over the coming weeks as I visit them on my walk to work. I don't think I've name checked so many bands and musicians in a post before, although I probably have.

I leave you with Hot Tuna's excellent cover of Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy" . Enjoy. It's time for bed for me.


Never Saw That Coming


Or maybe I should have done because the weather is unpredictable. I was walking home past St James' Park and suddenlt was hit by a torrential downpour soaking my pants, shoes and socks. The wind was threatening to destroy my umbrella so I sheltered in a covered gateway before chancing the downpour when the wind dropped. I got to a bus stop and eventually the rain subsided. As there was no but I walked a bit further and then the sun appeared. It had gone from torrential downpour to bright hot sunshine in little more than ten minutes.

I was still walking and listening to music. Today's album has been "English Settlement" a double album by XTC full of their angular folk rock and a lot of fine musicianship, The lead single I think was "Senses Working Overtime" and "No Thugs In Our House" is unfortunately very relevant now with the right wing racism being sanctioned by UK and US leaders. Some of my vavourites are the melodic guitar motifs of "Yacht Dance" and the title track Other stand outs are "Ball and Chain" and "It's Nearly Africa" before finishing up with "Snowman" which I will leave you with. One is a live version , the other soundtracking my first snowman at Chateau Dred

The weather is forecasting rain and 60 mph winds tomorrow, hopefully we won't get any snow ... yet.

Have a great evening.

That Was Lucky


An absolute deluge during the night, so glad it held off while The Great North Run was on. There were ceratainlt black couds about during the day. The sky looks a bit clearere this morning so a walk into work is going to happen, but I'll be keeping off the grass, and I won't be mowing the lawn tonight.

It's another Monday and even though it's halfway through September , the mornings are dark and this weather is not exactly the best , but weather is complicated so you take what comes and deal with it insted of moaning about it. Though there are people who are only happy when they are miserable and the weather gives them another reason to complain, and I am sure we have a lot of non sunshine on the way to cries of "We never had a summer" , in reality the last couple of years the weather has actually been excellent.

On my walk in today I will be listening to Primal Scream's "More Light" and I was vauguely thinking of including The Smiths "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" but my mind says have something more upbeat and better, so Primal Scream's "Trippin' On Your Love" would be a good start to Monday , I think.

Have a brilliant Monday everybody.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Early To Bed


"Early To Bed
Early To Rise
Makes A Man 
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise"

That's probably a maxim for the mill owners to get their workers in early. It certainly doesn't apply now. People are expected to work harder and longer for less and the status quo is maintained. It's not like there isn't any money about , there is. At the cash machine I see people withdrawing hundreds as I usually take ten or twenty , or sometimes fifty.

But life isn't really about money it's about having fun and socialising , though money does help you to do that. Anyway I actually am sleepy and intend to have a good night's sleep before walking to work tomorrow listening to Primal Scream and maybe Kate Tempest , "Let Them Eat Chaos" is a wonderful album.

Anyway it's time for sleep and what should we have to go to sleep to? What better than "When You're Falling" by Afro Celt Sound System with Peter Gabriel, sort of perfect. Good Night everybody.

A Day For Primal Scream


Today has mostl y been walking though expending nothing like the energy of the people on The Great North Run. I crossed the bridge where the start took place and posted and Instagram picture here. While I know there are world class athletes taking place I was absolutely amazed to find that the Wheelchair racers covered the 13 mile course in inder 45 minutes , that is close on twenty miles an hour average (that's what I worked out in my head, so apologies if it's wrong).

The albums I have been listening to on todays walk have been:

  • Malcom McLaren - Fans:  My favourite Mclaren album where he takes on Madame Butterfly and Carmen (Puccini and Bizet) as well as Verdi. It's only half an hour long but is absolutely gorgeous while anything but po faced as sometimes classical music can seem . This will have you chasing after the originals as well.
  • Primal Scream - Chaosmosis: Love the title and more baggy electronica than rock, but still excellent listening. The opener "Trippin' on Your LOve" recals the gospel of "Screamadelica"'s "Movin' on Up".
  • Primal Scream - More Light (Deluxe): A rockier Primal Scream from the off of "2013" to the lift of Hawkwind's "Master of The Univers" riff for "Nothing Is Real" on the bonus disc. One to finish on the walk to work tomorrow but another great album
So that's been my Sunday and I'll leave you with the "Boys' Chor us" from "Fans" , but I am sure I will be including some Primal Scream in the future , as I have in the path. Enjoy your Sunday evening everybody.

All Work

No Joy

Makes Mac

A Dull Boy!!