Monday, 27 February 2017

A Short Month


We're almost at the end of February and between February and March for most people is the shortest time between paydays. While I need to be aware of when I get paid these days I'm lucky enough not to be wondering  how I'm going to get through to the next one, though obviously I always did.

Wouldn't it be a great idea if each month we had a short week, a four day week that would give people something else to look forward to. Imagine if the week you got paid was also a four day week. It's just a thought. The thing is if you create a great working environment with things like that, the productivity will improve because people are concentrating more on their work while they are there. Vary simplistic I know, but I also know what it's like to be on the journey to work and really not want to walk through the door.

Anyway we're at the end of February now, and although I had a very restful weekend I could still do with another two hours in bed. Still it's time to go to work and get this week underway. For some reason Spandau Ballet's "Musclebound" came to mind, love the relentless chorus and the totally over the top video that I've never actually seen before.

Have a brilliant Monday my friends.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

2PM


I managed to go back to bed , get some sleep, get up , get the papers, saw the Daily Mail blaming immigrants for the latest pensions crisis, went into town and bought lots of stuff from the Grainger Market , steppend on to a bus home and now I am writing this as the football is due to start in an hour, Asda are delivering a load of bottled water (taking advantage of  a Topcashback offer) after the games have finished then off to see The Handsome Family at the Sage.

So all in all it's been and it's going to be quite a full day, and I'll probably have to wait til Sunday to have a real rest.

Anyway this gives me a chance to share "Gold" with you, and now it's time for a cup of coffee. I really shouldn't get up and do things during the night, but I still act like a ten year old at times. I can stay up , so I will , I'm not tired honest.

3AM


It's 3AM and because it's Saturday I don't really have to get up for a few hours. Yesterday I had to get up for work and I was really tired, but when you don't have to get up , you can be up during the night and do things like write blog posts. I'm sitting here with a bottle of Coke, well Diet Coke (though I have just noticed it only mentions the name Coca Cola in very small writing on the label.

How times change, Cocaine was once an advertised ingredient in the drink, not they've replaced it with another "bad for you" ingredient , aspartame. The alternative of six teaspoonfuls of sugar in a can is not pleasant either.

This post comes after me eulogising my excellent vegan breakfast at Wildflower, but hey , it's Saturday morning and it's an excuse to bring up Negativland's 1997 album Dispepsi which you can listen to here or attempt to buy here. Definitely one of the best albums ever made and more relevant today than when it came out, with it's cut and paste dissection of marketing and media.

Enjoy your Saturday my friends.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Wildflower Hour and The Quest For The Perfect Vegan Sausage


At the weekend I was jealous cos I missed out on a vegan all day breakfast then I saw Jessica at Wildflower was now doing one. While I love Wildflower , often my work lunch break doesn't give me time to get there, have a meal cooked, eat it and then get back in a reasonable time. Wildflower is probably a ten minute (uphill) walk , and fine on a summers day but in the current climate, not quite as attractive a walk, though what's at the end is so worth it.

Gorgeous Wildflower Vegan Lunchtime Breakfast
Then I thought why not use Facebook Messenger and ask them to start a meal for me. So I did. And they did, and when I got there I got a huge come of coffee and soon was presented with and gorgeous all day vegan breakfast. There was toast, with a lovely spread , beans, hash browns, mushrooms and vegan sausages. I will be honest I am yet to find a vegan sausage I like, but it was so filling that I ended up leaving a slice of toast and half a sausage. It was absolutely gorgeous and you should visit to try this and the many other vegan culinary delights in store.











So a combination of social media and an excellent cafe meant that I had an absolutely brilliant lunch (even though it was a breakfast) and has set my mind ticking on what would the perfect vegan sausage contain? I thinking lentils, chickpeas, spices and herbs (not sure which ones) and some way of binding them together but not making it too dense or inedible. I'm sure that some of my culinary friends can point me in the right directions.

I found this recording of The Wilde Flowers featuring Robert Wyatt singing "Memories" which seemed fairly appropriate even though it's almost fifty years old now.

It's Friday and the weekend starts here. Enjoy my friends.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

That Bit Where....


You get up , get distracted, and think "Did I Inject My Insulin?" . There is blood from a puncture on my leg , but was that the Byetta (exenatide) (I have two injections in a morning), so what are the options? (sorry about the multiple probably ungrammatical use of brackets). I aren't inject the Insulin as that is a potential overdose, but not injecting means that I make be not 100% until my next scheduled injection at dinner time (that noon) . It's fine , this has happened before, so I will get through this. The thing is if I have injected then all will be fine, apart from the nagging worry that I didn't inject. The inconvenience of being a diabetic.

I'm still reading Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" and realised I'd never actually thought of him as an age, he just is. He mentions turning 60, tours three hours plus sets and the problems you hit as your body gets older, but YOU never actually get older, YOU just get more knowledgeable, wiser and better, that's how I look at it. You continue learning and improving and getting better until your body lets you down and I remember 40 being unfeasibly old, now you see people of 80 and 90 living full lives and continually enjoying life.

Anyway back to the book and found that Bruce had covered a song by my favourite Australian band The Saints on his album "High Hopes". The song is "Just Like Fire Would" and I'd assumed it was an original. I don't have The Saints version despite having 128 of their songs spread over various albums (Prehistoric Sounds is still my favourite, but I'll revisit that in another post). It's on the album "All Fools Day" which is not available for download, but it's a brilliant song , so I've included both versions for you to enjoy here.

Have a brilliant day my friends.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Russia?


Russia on Top
The last few days visits to this blog have increased due to visits from Russia. I don't know if these are robots looking for evidence of anti Putin / Trump / May or other appeasers, but every so often visits spike due to attention from Russia.

The other one that spikes now and then is Australia, but as you can see there were no antipodean visits yesterday, almost totally European bar Russia, Ukraine,Canada and the USA.

The blog is in English as you can see so it's unlikely to attract people from countries where English is not spoken or written.







Anyway it's just something I noticed this morning so I think we should have something that at least has a Russian feel, so we'll go for The Leningrad Cowboys backed by The Red Army Choir in Helsinki singing ZZ Top's "Gimme All Your Lovin'".

Have an excellent day my friends.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Joy of Communication


There's many ways we can communicate, we can talk face to face, by video call , on the phone, by email, by letter, sign language , graffiti , post it notes, through music and writing (like I'm doing with this blog) , sharing memes on social media such as twitter and Facebook. This is just a very ver short post because ideally I should have left the house ten minutes back, but I thought I would just like to say this.

On my last post my friend Joan asked if I was going to see The Handsome Family. Everything I have heard by them is wonderful and two years ago their "Far From Any Road" was used as the theme to "True Detective" (series one). I thought that the theme would fit well with the titles from "True Blood" so I spliced them together (it turns out both title sequences are 1' 31").

It turns out that the are playing The Sage this Saturday so  there were a few tickets left so I bagged myself a couple.

So I have a great gig to look forward to , at a great venue , thanks to a great friend , and I also may get to see my friends Craig and Sharleen who work at the Sage to.

Have a great day my friends, I have had a great start to the week.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Ten


I've not written for a couple of days , but still feeling absolutely wrecked. I would love a week in bed but that isn't going to happen.

It's been a great weekend spent with friends and enjoying  a lot of vegan and vegetarian food. While I understand the economic benefits of mass veganism, I do enjoy a bacon sandwich. I don't know if that makes me a totally evil person, but I am not going to change in the foreseeable future. Someone once told me that vegetables were really boring, so vegetarian food need to be inventive and enhanced by the use of spices, and this weekends food from The Karma Kitchen, Super Natural and Sweet Memories at Study Cafe

Anyway the weekend has come to an end and as it's ten o'clock on a Sunday night I titled this one "Ten" , so hardly using my brain for that one, although it's probably a score I could use for the food I've had.

Anyway it's time for bed and I could have chosen "Ten"  (the album) by Pearl Jam , or "Perfect Ten" by Beautiful South but I am going for "Call Any Vegetable" by The Mothers of Invention complete with it's Holst - Jupiter sequence. Did you know that the bands name was "The Mothers" but the record company added "of Invention" so the name would be "safer" and not cause offence ... reckoned without Frank Zappa's music....

Sleep well my friends

Friday, 17 February 2017

Days and Banjoes


I'm finding it a bit weird that some mornings it's light but this morning it's dark, I'm sure all is OK and I am just waking, getting up and noticing the morning sky at different times. Yesterday it was light but I was up later as I had a doctor's appointment, but still, due to buses being early AND late , managed to be on the last minutes. Why is it when you're on time the bus comes 2 minutes early and you miss it, then when you wait for the next one it's ten minutes late then the driver insists on taking a ten minute fag break halfway to your destination as other buses sail past.

Still it is Friday and we have the weekend to enjoy, the weather is not too bad , yesterday was cold but bright. It looked like summer outside the office, then you went out and realised it was very old.

I've just been looking through a couple of old blog pages that people have been visiting this week and noticed that some of the Youtube links are no longer there. Some of their draconian copyright removals are annoying. I can understand if people don't acknowledge the original author of the music or are offensive about it, but it still grates about the Christopher Lee video that I posted and they removed after a day (see here)

Looking out this morning and it is quite foggy, so it may be not too warm, and it's an excuse to play Earl Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" this version featuring a banjo solo by Steve Martin (yes that Steve Martin). The piece was originally written in 1949 and has been used in many TV and film chase scenes including "Bonnie and Clyde".

Have a brilliant day my friends.



Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dreams of Cream


It's weird. Last night I had a really intense dream , well I think I did and can't remember a thing about it. Last week I had one and at one point was at a Cream gig , but it was Cream in the 1960s ,  they were playing "Spoonful" and Eric Clapton had an acoustic guitar, then he was just singing. I mean "Spoonful" is very bass riff driven but it just seemed very odd.

Another thing , I was just thinking about rock bands aging , and The Who have lost their original rhythm section (Moon and Entwistle) and The Beatles just have  the rhythm section left, so I wonder if they will ever get together, maybe called The Whootles!!

It is strange how my mind wanders at times.

Anyway I am quite tired, so I'm off to bed and you know which song I am leaving you with.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Time To Go Out


I've said that I've not been getting out then yesterday I missed a North East Steampunk Society gathering again but tonight I am going to see Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart at The Cluny. I'm still feeling not up to it, but I would be kicking myself if I didn't go.

I'm also managing to fit on an eye test and a day at work as well. I found a great live in the studio broadcast which I've included, plus my slideshow for Mount Zion. Jah Wobble's music ranges from the completely out there stuff to the absolutely beautiful, so I am so glad to be seeing him tonight.

We're half way through the week so have a good one my friends.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Connections


Well it's wet and cold outside, but just got to thinking how lucky we are. I remember when the only instant form of communication was  face to face or a landline (remember them). Today you can communicate with not just your friends but everybody. About 50 people will read this and this blog has had more that 120,000 page views since it started, and that makes me feel connected to the world and everyone.

Thanks to my phone I can phone anyone in the world if I have their number and we're both in a signal area. I can share photos and videos and even video call on the phone, and my computer thanks to applications like Skype , Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. When I say I, I mean everyone now has this in their grasps (libraries have free internet access for everyone).

It's a short post but an excuse to play Montrose's version of the Rolling Stones "Connection" which I had on some cheap Warner Brothers compilation in the seventies. It's stuck with me ever since.

Enjoy your Tuesday my friends.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Keep On Keeping On


Last week was very grey then yesterday was actually looking sunny for a while before slipping back into the greyness of the last week and today looking out, I can see all the cars are frosted up. Not the most inviting of Monday mornings, but another week of work is waiting for us.

I had intended to take a walk out to Cow Hill on the Town Moor to take some photographs but was not feeling up to it. Also there's various house related things I need to sort out, and then noticed that my Virgin TIVO box had decided it wasn't recording the first two episodes of the next half season of The Walking Dead but was going to record from episode 3 (well 10 actually cos of the mid season break) onwards, then they seem to have moved The Blacklist onto Sky1 for the next half season and it wasn't going to record that either.

So all that is in hand, but I really need to get some positive uplift into my life, as currently loads of my time is taken by apparent mundanities, the problem being , I think my complete withdrawal from social interaction may be part of the contribution to this because people do inspire me and  give me a lift, even meeting for the odd coffee is good.

The thing is as people get older they seem to almost ossify in their views, what they want to do, and where they want to go. Sometimes an evening in a warm house with a good book or film is more inviting than trying to engineer a social occasion.

I've also not been to any gigs, as I have mentioned previously, and need to get out to see more bands , and there are opportunities to see lots around Newcastle, with venues such as Trillians, The Black Bull and Think Tank? and bigger venues such as The Riverside, The O2, The Tyne Theatre, The Sage, and Wylam Brewery, so it's not as though there's nowhere to go.

In fact I've just checked and Wilko Johnson is playing The Wylam Brewery in April and there are quite a few gigs on before then.

I really must apologise for the down nature of this post I promise to put a smile on my face and do something positive this week and will leave you with Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner" just cos it's brilliant , and music is always uplifting and this makes me feel better.



Friday, 3 February 2017

SAD and Bittan and Karma Kitchen


The title includes neither spelling mistakes or bad grammar ..... read on ...... dot dot dot


Yesterday I got hit by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is defined as a type of depression. While I felt down I do not suffer from depression, and I knew what the cause of it was. Grey weather, low light, being unable to motivate myself at work, and even going out at lunchtime I couldn't raise my spirits. It's just like a total big nothing. I still managed to do my job and chat with people agreeing that the weather was awful. Rain or snow would have been preferable because they provide something away from the norm, but no it was almost warm and totally featureless. If it was magnified a million times and permanent I imagine that would be real depression and I am so lucky I don't have it because I always find something to look forward to.

Firstly a friend had recommended Karma Kitchen Vegan Indian who actually do deliveries. Follow the link to see their menu. I asked if they could knock together a Bombay Aloo and they said yes, and the delivery would be £2.50 for a delivery under £20. I ordered a chick pea curry and waited.....

..it came m, with a double portion of Bombay Aloo, and basically it was gorgeous. The lady was lovely , delivered quickly and my first meal from them was absolutely excellent. It was very filling, so I couldn't finish it, but I will definitely be ordering from them again and recommending them. They have a Facebook page here.

I'm just reading Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" and he mentions the importance of Roy Bittan's piano contributions to his songs. The number of notes that pour from his fingers and the incredible melodies they weave are on a par with Mozart's "Overture to The Marriage of Figaro" (the Emperor's reaction is absurd as you can see in this clip from the film Amadeus)


..so when I got home I stuck on the DVD of Bruce Springsteen at The Hammersmith Odeon in 1975 (it's on the Born to Run 30th Anniversary edition here), loud which opens with "Thunder Road" which is basically Roy Bittan and Bruce as a precursor to the band coming on for their first gig outside the USA. This is what was watching while I waited for my Karma Kitchen curry, and when it cam I enjoyed watching the rest of the gig. It features the song "Rosalita" which is the song that got be into Springsteen, but I suggest you listen to Springsteen's early albums to listen to Bittan's amazing work (check out this box).

Here's the thing , music does lift my spirits and my friends who suffer form depression are all music lovers. So here's a live version of Rosalita from the late 70's , there's about two chords, it goes on for ten minutes and it could go on all night for me.

It's Friday, It's the weekend, Enjoy



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Did You See?


January 2017 has just left us. In this connected world I don't have to tell you what's been happening, bad things have happened but hopefully this is a kick up the arse that we needed and the world will do something about it. I'm not being specific because I don't need to be.

The thing is we need to do good and be good make that the norm. Make life better by doing something to actually make it better. Yes this sounds nebulous, and I do find it difficult when misogynists,racists and bullies are tolerated , encouraged and rewarded but they are also setting themselves up as targets. They can be shut out. Don't excuse their behaviour.

Anyway February is here and in this post I haven't really mentioned anything, good things are that I am listening to Come On Over by Royal Blood on 6Music, I am dressed and ready for work and probably seeing a good friend at lunchtime.

There are lots of events and fun things coming up, which I intend to get involved wit, you do the same and start a brilliant February.