Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Grey


The sky is a uniform grey (or is it gray), surfaces outside still are covered in rain / dew, the lawn is finally looking very well but is obviously too we to be mowable and I am drinking decaffeinated coffee as I write this. I've taken the Grammarly spelling  / context checker off because it became too intrusive and was slowing down my typing everwhere. Maybe I should prepare my blog posts in Word to ensure  that it's reasonably grammatically correct and the spelling is correct.

It's my sister Yvonne's birthday tomorrow, which I knew was coming up, but last night my dad said he was worried because he couldn't remember how old she was going to be. I told him she probably wasn't bothered and she would just love a card.

It is amazing how you can miss words out but it still makes sense to you , but to someone else it may look as though you don't know what you are talking about.

I'm not sure if it's raining outside, so I'm not sure if I will be walking into work today.

This weather seems to create an oppressive quiet, though I will disperse that by leaving on my Donna Summer and Malcolm McLaren mix on my player. That's another thing, it now takes a minute to put together a Spotify / Deezer whatever playlist but in the seventies a live DJ had to do that in real time, then we got cassettes (I know there was reel to reel but they were hardly portable) and you could create your mixtape but a sixty minute tape took more than anhour to put together, and if you made a mistake it took even longer.

I'll leave you with Donna Summer's take on Jon & Vangelis' "State of Independence".

Have a great Tuesday

Monday, 20 August 2018

Walking Soundtrack


When I finally started the music as I walked over Nunsmoor, I'd forgotten what I'd set up to play. It was four of my favourite Donna Summer songs and Malcolm McLaren's "Fans" which is a wonderful album.

The four Donna Summer Songs are:

I Feel Love (Original)
I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Remix)
Unconditional Love
State of Independence

People complain because I don't really rate "Hot Stuff" but life would be so tedious if we all liked the same thing, wouldn't it?

"Fans" is jam packed full of gems and I'm going to share Boys Chorus (La Sui Monti Dell'est) with you, some heavenly backing with Malcolm's cockney wide boy / Artful Dodger chorus of :

"All Work
No Joy
Makes Mac
A Dull Boy" 

Which is true for all of us, well it is definitely true for me. All of this music should be in your collection and given the capacity of our devices we cany carry huge collections with us.

So I will be listening to this for a while but feel free to enjoy.



A Quiet Walk


This morning the first half of my walk to work was done without headphones, so it was effectively quiet , just the sounds of nature and the traffic. It is sometimes nice to just have the non silence, although I always eventually need to listen, but more of that later.

I was in Bradley's on Saturday and mentioned and showed them pictures of the CHAT Trust Phoenicx which I decided to route my walk past this morning as you can see here. This was after noticing the excellent notices on the four doors of Dabbawal in High Bridge on Sunday here.

It always gives me a lift to see witty and funny and original window decoration, and this definitely falls into that category.

This post is about harlf the length of the posts I normally do, but when I add this bit and then talk about what piece of music I am going to share it will suddenly self expand and I will have hit my normal 250 word target.

Maybe we can go with the Happy Mondoy's cover of John Kongos' "He's Gnna Step on You Again" (a favourite of my dad's) which the slowed down, baggied up and retitled as "Step On".

Time To Turn The Hourglass


It's Monday Morning, which is nicely alliterative, but it is time to get off to work. The temptation is to get the bus.

Skies are grey, the trees are still green but Autumn is coming and Summer is slipping away, but this mean we get the beautiful colour changes in leaves and bushes.

Given that I have been continuing with th ehourglass analogy (and yes turn it hover and we have a full hourglass of fun time for the week, I am going to choose "Hourglass" by Squeeze, although reminds me of the first ever Squeeze song I heard, the amazing "Take Me I'm Yours" which I think was on the "No Wave" compilation (though I may be wrong about that>

Anyway this is a short post to keep me on track for #August5, it is Monday Morning so have a wonderful day everyone.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Eighty Minute Hour


It is sort of strange and amusing how when the weekend starts petering out that time seems to go so musch faster. It's basically the fact that on Friday night after the Friday afternoon where the clocks seeme dto stop and hours stretched out to seem like eighty minutes or longer despite the fact you were doing so much and seemingly becoming unbelievably productive.

Then when you get out you have the whole weekend , and full hourglass of being able to take it easy and do as you please. Then at nine o' clock on Sunday night the sixty four hours of pleasure time you had are reduced to eleven hours and seven of thoses you will hopefully be sleeping.

It's like when you are trying to meet a tight deadline (although with devcnt planning you can always meet deadlines as long as everyone does their job and there are no surprises or unexpected hitches).

I've borrowed the title from Brian Aldiss' excellent story which is a wickedly simple concept and I suggest you investigate it further, and you may soon believe it is actually happening.

I always illustrate why time seems to get faster by this concept:

When you are six, you get six weeks summer holiday from school. That seems like forever, a week for every year of your life. To get the same effect now I would need a sixt week summer holiday to see a break as unbelievabley wrong, but we get four weeks a year and I never take more than a week at a time because I don't want endless weeks at work without a break.

Sorry if this is a bit of a downer, it's not meant to be so I'll leave you with "Time Capives" from "Journey by Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come, a wonderful band who were one of the first to you the Bentley Rhythm Ace Drum Machine which once went on a fifteen minute drum solo that they couldn't stop. Ah when things were mechanical in the pre digital age.

Sleep well.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Saturnight


I'm sure the title was used for a Cat Stevens compilation in the dim and distant past, in fact it was a Japanese only live pressing from 1976. Here's the description scraped formAmazon:

"CAT STEVENS Saturnight - Cat Stevens Live In Tokyo (Scarce 1974 Japanese-only limited edition 12-track LP recorded at Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo in June 1974 & housed in a unique numbered sleeve with world tour dates that year printed on the back with an illustrated inner six-page Japanese/lyric insert & obi-strip. "

The title is a contraction of "Another Saturday Night" the song of Sam Cooke's that he covered and had a biggish hit with.

I am enjoying "The Fourteenth Letter" though people are dropping like flies and there seem to be a plethora of subplots to unravel and get tangled in.

I've also finished the last episode of "Timewasters" and hoping that there is a series two in the pipeline.

It's eleven of the clock on Saturday night so Cat Steven's "Another Saturday Night" would be appropriate, although it shares it's title with a great zydeco compilation by Charlie Gillett which I have a copy of on vinyl.

Sleep well.


Friday, 17 August 2018

Friday Night


"Blackness Within Blackness
Shadows Within Shadows
Darkness Within Darkness
Hidden and Sightless
This is Life For Some ......."

I'm not sure what brought that on, reading "The Fourteenth Letter" may have done it.

It's Friday night and I am ready for the final episode of "Timewasters" the rather excellent spiky, jazzy, time travel comedy with class lines, lots of laughs taking on institutionalised racism and sexism with more than a little good music.

I think they have been influenced by Post Modern Jukebox but the comedy quality an dthe music is totally spot on, so I'll include a clip from the series and  a take on Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" by PMJ , ironically returning almost to the Stevie Wonder original ("Past Time Paradise" from "Songs In The Key Of Life").

Finding Timewasters is a little difficult but there may be a legal option here.

So I suggest you sample all of these musical and visual treats, you will feel much improved by them.

Sleep well.

Friday Morning


I was thinking August would be difficult to keep up my steps because of my Liver Biopsy at the start of the month, but surprisingly that's not actually been an issue hitting 20K steps on a couple of days and sitting with a 30K step surplus and close of play yesterday.

I was also thinking that #August50 was an impossible target but after this post I only need to post 18 more entries before the end of the month and we still have two weeks to go, so that's nine posts in each of the next two weeks which is more than doable (is that a word? and how many times have I asked that question).

The problem with doing an hour's walk it that it takes an hour of your time and  to hit my 11K a day that does take two hours and i often think that could be better spent doing someting else.

On my walk to work I am always looking for photo opportunities and vary my routes, but always in the direction of work (essentially Newcastle City Centre) from home. I seldom deviate from this direction except when I have to pick someting up from the Post Office, and to be quite honest I prefer traversing parkland to urban areas.

Walking is a simple form of exercise and anyone can do it and make it interesting. I always found gyms soul destroying but others swear by them, but it's different strokes for different folks.

Today on my walk in I kept with Mike Nesmith and listened to "Tropical Campfires" for the first time, and though it covers some standards such as "Brazil" and "Begin the Beguine" more than adequately the original stuff is excellent, I particularly liked the instrumental "One". Specific late period Mike Nesmith songs are difficult to find on Youtube (ie they are not there) but I found this full concert from 2012 at Union Chapel for your enjoyment, which includes a few songs from "The Prison"

While it is grey , it is Friday and we have a wonderful weekend to look forawd to. Enjoy




Aretha IS Aretha


It was sad  that we lost Aretha and I've seen lots of "RIP" Aretha posts on Facebook, and people suddenly people doing the Facebook sadness as though Aretha were a close family member. It was the same with David Bowie, George Michael, Freddie Mercury and Lemmy and any artist you can think of.

All of a sudden their artistic output is halted.

Thanks to human brilliance and science and things like Facebook ,we can share our memories and listen to Aretha's sing and even watch her perform anywhere we are on our phones, tablets and computers.

I shared her Blues Brothers sequence singing "Think" which summed up  a small part of her brilliance, but she had a brilliant range of singing styles.

I feel for her family, and they will be grieving quite rightly, but her fans should be celebrating what she has done for them ,and enjoy the music she made because all of it made you feel uplifted and feel better. That's what music does for you and and song featuring Aretha will make you feel good.

I will leave you with her collaboration with George Michael, the appropriately titled "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me" .

Have a great Friday and enjoy some of Aretha's music. Remember the wealth of great music she has given us.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Reading The Garden


Tonight when I got home, I decided to read and listen to Mike Nesmith's "The Garden". It's surreal and follows on from The Prison, The narrative is fairly simple and the story can be read as you listen to the album. The narrative is split into chapters that take as their influes seven paintings by Monet:

  1. The Artist's Garden of Giverny (1900)
  2. A Bend in the Epte River, Near Giverny (1888)
  3. Vertheuil in Summertime (1879)
  4. Valley of the Petite Creuse (1889)
  5. Poppy Field in a Hollow Near Giverny (1885)
  6. Wisteria (1920)
  7. Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge (1899)
The album clocks in at 55 minutes but it does seem to pass more quickly than that, or it seemed to for me. The Wiki page is here.

While you don't have to have read "The Prison" itis referred to many times in "The Garden" and it does help if you have experienced "The Prison" fully.

I enjoyed both, though I don't feel I have to reread either but can still enjoy the excellent music.

There isn't too much from either album on youtube so I have included the opener from "The Prison" to give you a taste.

Link Past Geek Talent


I often get requests from people to add me to their networks on Linked In and I usually add them no problem, mostly they are recruitment wallahs , but today took the opportunity to trawl though my network list and cull cetrain people, mainly people who didn't have a photo or who have crossed me since we linked up.

The big surprise was the number of people who I had just forgotten about, and the surprising titles of some who I actually have friendships with and respect for.

I remeber after my redundancy at EE that I was really happy about (though not how they were after) I spent a couple of months with Geek Talent who had a brilliant recruitment concept that used social media connections including Linked In to create relationships between you and recruitment targets They've come a long way since then and were using a lot of software which I found impressive but felt I was swimming the deep end, but the people I worked with knew their stuff and could translate any ideas or notions that I had into something that was actually useful. Their site is worh a visit to find out more about the.

Rather than a music video I've included a video about Geek Talent featuring among others my friends Dominic (the MD) and Keith.

It is surprising how a Linked In request sent me off on a tangent to write this post.



First Visit To The Garden


A while ago I bought "The Prison" a book and album that should be read an litened to together. I read and listened on the train journey to Edinburgh and was quite surprised that I finsihed the book as the last piece of music finished and we rolled into Edinburgh.

I bought the follow up, "This Garden" but as yet haven't done the read / listen thing. On my walk to work this morning I thought it may be nice to listen to the (largely) instrumental album and it was particularly appropriate on my walk through parts of Nunsmoor (some pictures here), although my headphone power ran out halfway through the penultimate piece "Wisteria".

I may actually try to read the book tonight just to see what the experience is like. While Mike Nesmith is a far better songwriter than book writer, it is a engaging concept , and as I have mentioned previously done particularly well withe Camel's take on Paul Gallico's "Snow Goose". I would encourage you to try all three of these, each one will only take you around forty minutes and will definitely treat you to a new concept of enhancing your reading.

We have a lot of cloud, but some blue sky. Enjoy your Thursday.


Let Forever Be


Finally finished "How To Stop Time" an easy / hard read but with an upbeat ending so happy about that, and now I've started on "The Fouteenth Letter" by Claire Evans. It doesn't look like the sort of thing that I normally read but has started very well and I shall inform you how it progresses. I have started other books and films that have an explosive start and then you spend ages waithing for something to happen and nothing ever does. YOu do need something to keep your attention, and the Matt Haig book certainly does that.

I don't know if it's me or my computer or my ISP but everything seems to be getting much slower, possibly due to the number of adverts, and the number of security bits that then they try to bypass. I don't want to stay logged in to most sites, especially not Paypal or Facebook, and I don't want Firefox or Chrome to remember my passwords either.

I've just listed some more CDs on Discogs as I need to make some more space and I do have digital copies of most of my CDs. I've just list a lot of Paul Weller if he's your thing. On the one hand it's difficult getting rid of stuff but you have to think if you are not going to play them again then someone else may have them.

It's the same with books and DVDs, if you are not going to use then make room, space is good.

The stuff I don't think will sell quickly are dropped in to Charity shops, mainly the Westgate Ark shop round the corner from me.

So another day like many other days, skies are grey ,but yesterday I sorted a couple of major work things, then came home and watched an episode of Gotham and Black Sails before retiring to bed. Bruce Wayne's car is getting more and more Batmobile like every week.

I have some web updates to do for Bob Armstrong and Woodlands Plants and at Art exhibition Ivelina Goverdovskaya: "Work in Progress" at Arch 16 to attend tonight so not a lazy day today.

For some reason (maybe talking about art) the excellent Michel Gondry video for The Chemical Brothers "Let Forever Be" came to mind, so I'll sign off with that.


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Phone Blinkers


For lunch I nipped to the Mean Eyed Can for a couple of Empanadas and a diet coke (see here), and found it almost amusing the number of people sat in the sun, or walking but engrossed in the mobile devices almost oblivious to anything else.

While I listen to music (and now radio) on my phone I very seldom do anything that distracts me for walking or whatever. If I want to take a picture or video I stop and make sure that I am not blocking anyone or at risk of running into anything.

While listening to John Niven he told me about a book "Makin' Tracks" by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein that resulted in him getting into Television.

So although phones are very useful they do seem to act as blinkers for so many people, blinding them to all that is going on around them. Having said that I have been guilty the odd time of concentrating too much on my phone and nearly walked into to a person or stationary object.

Listening To John Niven


On Sunday 6Music broadcast a show by one of my favourite authers John Niven. The series is called Paperback Writers and has a writer talking for an hour about music that has shaped him and influenced him.  If you want to catch it (before September 2018) you can listen to it here.

Now I'd missed it on Sunday, but then remembered there;s a BBC Radio iPlayer app that you can download onto your phone, and thought "Aha" . As well as music and podcasts I can listen to radio shows on demand on my phone.

So that was my listening for my walk to work this morning. He opened with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Up Around The Bend" a song I loved since I first heard that razor sharp opening riff, although the lead guitar parts seem remarkably muted compared to the main riff.

He played a lot of great music including Television's "See No Evil" which I tried to emulate in my song "Communication" for The Bok  (and failed totally), and actually pointed out a very dark concept of Middle of The Road's "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" that I hadn't countenanced before about losing your mother as a child.

He also talked about and played a song from The Wishing Tree, the band he was a member of in his early twenties who, from the song he played, well worth a listen.

Basically this has given me another option for listening on my walks, which is all very good.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

And Now Blue Sky


After the rain of yesterday, and the cloudy start to today we are now starting to see blue skies with fluffy white clouds. So that obviously opens the door for The Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds" which is probably thirty years old now. It is amazing how time has flown but that is th enature of the beast.

I also think about how, when I started this blog I would sometimes post two or three lines maybe fifty words. I do a few more these days.

One of the good things is that technology does improve over time, although it does allow us to waste more time using it.  This blofg for instance, a lot of people will see as a waste of time.

We can now wastch TV and read books on our mobile devices, as well as playing games, though I've yet to find Quake or Doom for Mobile, all the games are far to sophisticated for my capabilities.

Anyway this is just a short post towards my #August50 project target, so enjoy the rest of your day.


Clouds and Total Football


Looking out of the window and there is an amazing cloud formation overhead. Here's my nstagram post.

Well it looks like the site visits have taken another dive, c'estla vie. The last two nights I have gone to bed early and this morning I was wide awake at 2:30.

I had woken from a dream but the dream was very influenced by the book I'm reading Matt Haig's "How To Stop Time" which is certainly a page turner but the main protagonist is possibly the most depressing since Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant. Both characters have a heavy burden but it does become wearing in the way it's presented., although other charaters do provide the hope and lighter sections.

The rain has taken a break so I may be able to walk into work to day and listen to some good music.

Today is the first round of the Carabao Cup and Preston North End are playing Morecambe, and on 6Music Chris Hawkins has just played "Total Football" by Parquet Courts so it has to be that doesn't it.

Have a good day everyone.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Sheets


Probably a good description of the rain I've woken up to thi smorning. Not quite biblical but if it keeps up like this I won't be doing much walking, I didn't do much yesterday either but luckily Friday and Saturday I walked quite a long way. so still ok for August.

It is the 13th, it is Monday, it is raining the sort of day when everything doesn't seem exactly good or inspiring but it has given me something to at least start off this post.

One of the things with these blog posts is that it does allow me to share music that I either like or have eard and found interesting. One of the problems is that I only have a finite capacity to listen, but still manage to fit in quite a lot. I still haven't read and listened to Mike Nesmith's "The Garden" yet even though I had planned to this weekend. That is a record from my yeenage years that I completely missed. I knew about "The Prison" because it was the big box with a book, but at the time it didn't hold any pull for me, but having read and listened to it that has now changed., and I do want to do "The Garden"

This morning on 6Music John Hilcock played "Patience" by Gorgeous Bully which is rather excellent and you can find them here. Too often we always keep going to the past but we should always be open to new things., or life would be very boring, I think you should take a listen you may enjoy it too. Gorgeous Bully have been going for at least four years so it's another band who have past me (and a lot of others by).

It looks to be brightening up now, which is good, but now it's time for a shower. Have a good Monday everybody.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Visits and Numbers


Since I restarted this #August50 the average number of vists, reads or hits per post has probably increased by about 50%. I still don't get that many visitors, no one is going to ask me for an endorsement or product placement, and it may be just robots reacting to the increase in activity on the blog, but it's an interesting phenomenon for me.

The skies are still greay so I suppose summer may be taking a break, but I think that weather is just a very complex process. No doubt people will be telling us that we haven't had a summer again, even though we are in the midst of a drought.

Anyway this is an exuse to share "Goldrush" by Death Cab For Cutie from the album "Thank YOur For Today" which reminds me so much of something else but I can't remember what. I love this video which takes the Bob Dylan "SubteraneanHomesick Blues" lyric sheet format. So I thought I'd include that video as well.


Death Cab For Cutie was a song by The Bonzo Dog Band and I just found some out takes from the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" film of them performing it. So I've gone off on lots of tangents and provided you with three videos for you to enjoy.

Hope your Sunday is going well.

Precipitate


It's been raining during the night, which is a good thing. Still too heavy to walk in, but not threat of biblical floods here in Fenham. I'vewoken up fairly demotivated, and not even had a shower but think a shower will wake me up an dmakeme a little less lethargic .

ven if I stopped writing now this still counts towards my #August50, but I don't feel that I am going to make that at this moment in time.

I had some weird dreams including my friend Juli getting a bubble perm and suiting in it a large school hall where I was trying to take a photograph of an amazing sight through the windows of the moon and the eather next to each other shaded in blue, but I couldn't get a decent shot sho went into the field outside to get a less restricted shot and they had disappeared and all there was was a big blue IKEA like cube.

That is roughly all I can remember of it but I am sure it would provide some psychiatrist or analyst a bit to go one, but as Half Man Half Biscuit stated in "San Antonio Foam Party" which appeared on their excellent "Cammell Laird Social Club" album from 2002:



"Your weird dreams
Don’t impress in any way
In dreams
Weird things are mundane and everyday
Strange to me would be
Buying a loaf
And coming straight home"


Such is the nature of dreams. So that's provided a song for this post though there is quite a lot more music that I do want to share with you, maybe I will take a chance to do that later. Now it's shower time, the maybe get a paper, do a crossword, write a song

Enjoy the rainy Sunday my friends.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Going Mobile


It's a hell of a long time since my daughter Juliet palmed off her old mobile to me introducing me to having a mobile phone. Since then they have metamophosed from handsets with the hus plus of being able to text people, and if you were lucky actually send a picture to the hand held computers that we have now.

You still see the odd person with the old Nokias (thatill work)  or the Doro's (but even they have a smart version now) but I am still waiting for my phaser / teleporter Star Trek one to turn up.

It used to be that if you were meeting up with someone you would specify a time and place and you would all meet up  and all will be fine. No it's texting ,Google Calendars , messaging and the like. We often don't even use our phones and phones prefering to use some form of messaging, and there is an absolute deluge of them.

It's another glorious morning so I will get off, feeling very good although my left shoulder is still painful, but that should be rectified when I go through the physiotherapy.

This is an excuse to play The Who's "Going Mobile" from one of my favourite of their albums, "Who's Next".

Have a brilliant Saturday everyone.