Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Have A Cuppa Tea (Have Another One)


Although I hadn't particularly planned it I chose Gong's "Angel's Egg (Radio Gnome Invisible Part II)" and, while I knwo it is a great album my Emopeak headphones seem to reveal new sounds and atmospheres. At time the music seems just like it's knocked together or a singalongs in an English pub, French dive or Morrocan Souk. "Flute Salad" reminds of the feel of the Ethiopiques recordings, simple but sophisticated with guitar and flute playing the same motif.

Many of the songs are acoustic while other go into full blown rock and electronics. Two saxophone guitar riff driven standouts are "I Never Glid Before" and "Eat That Phonebook (Coda).

The "Have A Cuppa Tea" comes from a refrain from "Givin My Luv To You" (though it may be something else as the Gong mythology takes in flying teapots and pot head pixies. You can actually buy a flying teapot here. All in all another great Gong album.

When it came out as teeneagers we were  impressed by the music, but were well aware of the sexually explicit drawing that made up the cover. You can see it by clicking through on the link above, This was at the time of Mary Whitehouse but I don't remember any particular furore over it. I remember at some point a sticker being put on the explicit area of the cover and then another version came out with a hastily redesigned cover (which you can see here), but I'm happy to see that the original cover is the norm in shops these day.

This morning is quite warm so will be walking into work, though the Daily Express are forecasting another Ice Age . My steps for February are going well and I need to average 8.5K a day to hit my target for February, so it hasn't been that difficult a month to maintain my steps.

Also quite please that Preston came out of two matches against two of the best teams in the Championship with draws , though dodgy refereeing decisions cost us in both matches.

Anyway I found a live take of "I Never Glid Before" demonstationg the chaotic precision of this amazing band in black and white ofn French Television,




Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Scary and Monstrous


I've been listening to David Bowie's "Scary Momsters (and Super Creeps)" over the last few days and remember when I first got it when it came out in 1980 and it followed the Berlin trilogy with vicious guitars, and songs that were like nothing you had heard before (ie normal Bowie territory). This was the last album before he hit commercial paydirt with "Let's Dance" which I've never taken to as an album though I like the title track.

Back to Scary Monsters though, and I'm surprised by the amount of sort of recycling even within the album itself . The opener "It's No Game (Pt 1)" contains an approximation of the riff for the title track and "Teenage Wildlife" bears more than a resemblance to "Heroes" but with extra Bob Fripp incendiuary guitar sprayed throughout the song.

I featured "Ashes To Ashes" on my #LikeNoOther series as I cannot think of any song before it that it even references, the post is here.

I've included a live take of "Teenage Wildlife" a wonderful song but you can hear the resemblance to "Heroes". If you don't have a copy of the album get one now.

Have a brilliant Tuesday everybody.


Monday, 19 February 2018

Big Brother


Something happened yesterday, I'm sure it was just coincidence, but it may have been something else. I had been listening to David Bowie's "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" and "Ashes To Ashes" had been playing when I got on the bus, and descided to watch a TED talk about waste in the fashion industry (see the bottom of this post) and it was very illuminating. I finished the talk and resumed listening to the album andit started palying the song "Fashion". Now this follows "Ashes To Ashes" but I cannot be certain that that song had finished. It probably had but I can't help thinking of the phone apps that require access to everything on your phone for no apparent reason.

This is like when you look for something online, then the cookies allow whatever you've been looking for to influence the adverts that appear around the page. You will probably see it on this blog.

Then there are the devices like Alexa and Google Home which have the ability to record everything they hear (in sometimes misinterpreting what they hear). There was the murder case where the authorities asked for recordings to be made available (see here) and think about the implications of that.

The Fiona was telling me how her and a friend were talking about handbagswhen her friend said she was certain that our phones were actively listening to us as later her feed started including what they had been talking about.

While we complain about government and local authority intrusion it seems that we are happily surrendering our privacy to corporate entities that certainly don't have our best interests at heart, the just want our money or preferably to to put us in debt to them to creat a permanent subservience.

The thing is that gives me an idea for a story the opening line of which is "Could We?", which hopefully I will turn into a least a short story if I put my mind to it.

For me the natural accompanying song for this is the menacing "Big Brother" the real closer from David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" . It's a rainy monday but have a good day.




Sunday, 18 February 2018

Big Blue Ball


I am quite surprised that I have managed to hit my step target for February. 10K steps a day til the end of the month would see me well past the mark. There have been a few bitingly cold days where I have been forced to take the bus but most days I have passed the 12,250 mark that I set my self.

I picked out a Peter Gabriel collaboration album called Big Blue Ball that he recorded with numerous artists between 1991 and 1995 over three weeks at the Real World Studios and finally mixed and released in 2008.  The Wiki page is here.

I picked it up digitally when I subscribed the Emusic when they had an excellent subscription model. They are still going but their model became too corporate for me but I am glad they are still going.

The album opens with  "Whole Thing" with Peter Gabriel leading the voclals and closes with the title track, taking in middle eastern and celtic resonances on the songs and pieces. I left you with the titles song but they are all on youtube, but if you want to buy the album it's here. Further information is available on the official Real World site here

Below is the story (part one) if you want to investigate further.

Incidentally this post will take my blog post page views over 150K views in the eleven years I have been posting.


Saturday, 17 February 2018

Swings and Roundabouts


The saying goes "what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts"  or something like that, though it never made any sense to me. I can possibly apply this to my walking. Some of the time I gained from taking redundancy in my last job is now swallowed up by walking.

So in theory I lose time by walking, although the reality is that when I walk I then can't do other things. I do at times consider using the Mobike bikes but then I think I would probably be quicker walking, and walking does give you the ultimate mobility freedom, but I fancy trying a Mobike, maybe in summer.

The other thing is that I use my phone to record my steps and then enables me to listen to music, so I am revisiting so many albums, and thanks to my Emopeak headphones I am hearing detail that I never noticed before like band banter on live albums.

One album I listened to was La Dusseldorf the eponymous debut album by Klaus Dinger's band that he formed after Neu! split around 1975. It features a lot of motorik beats (similar to Neu!) but is more commercial and less industrial. There is a Wiki page here.

I'm going to share the whole album with you so you can experience it , but you can but their stuff as well. Anyway I am tired now so time for bed. Sleep well.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Weatherbeaten


Yesterday was the first time this month I've done less than 10K steps (8.5K) and the simple reason for that was that the wind was so cold it felt like it was burning my face off. So I wimped out and jumped on a bus. It puzzles me how extreme cold effectively feels like extreme concentrated heat, it burns and it hurts. Yes you can put up with it but you do feel as though damage is going to be done to you, so in situations like that I always go for the definitely safer options. So yesterday I was definitely beaten by the weather.

Weatherbeaten sounds like an English Thousand Yard Stare title , they have a habit of running two words together, examples being "Wideshire", "Halfsize", "Comeuppance" and "Halfsize". So the y are the obvious choice for todays post and we will go with "Comeuppance".

There is quite a lot of their stuff available on Youtube and they were giving away their back catalogue digitally recently. I did a slideshow for "God's P45" which I've also included below , although I got a recent copyright notice for it, but that's Youtube for you.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Pancake Valentine


After Pancake Tuesday we now have Valentine's day which is just another commercial opportunity. Again it's a traditional thing where people exchange gifys and tokens. I was under the impression that Valentine cards were sent by secret admirers so you didn't know who the card or gift was from but greetings like "To Girlfriend / Boyfriend / Husband / Wife etc" sort of take the secret and mystery out of it and a Tesco £3 red rose hardly shows a great deal of thought.

I've always wondered who certain shops were targetting as they advertise their "cheap perfume from £1" or the like.  If the main criteria for buying a present is that it has to be cheap then I would be looking and making something or doing something that was free. This is not getting at people who can't afford things (and everybody should be able to afford things but Western Society is now built on keeping people poor so they can be sold credit and kept under the thumb by corporations on starvation wages), but less of my political ranting.

Here is the Wikipedia take on it and the first thing I think of on Valentine's Day is the "St Valentine's Day Massacre" EP by HeadGirl (Motorhead / Girlschool) named after the notorious event in Chicago in 1929 (you know the date) , so on the cold cold morning it has to be their cover of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates "Please Don't Touch".

Have a rather good day everyone and wrap up well.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Surprise Surprise


I often wander into to record shops and sometimes drop into HMV. It has improved since it went belly up but still seems to be selling to disparate a swathe of goods, but on Sunday I noticed a Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie album. It was a ridiculous £5.99 and so I bought it, knowing that the genius of Buckingham would guarantee some essential listening and while McVie is not part of my essential canon , this comprised a mjor part of the talent that was Fleetwood Mac.

I put it on and the first two songs are Buckingham killers. I've not looked at the songwriting chedits so correct me if I'm wrong but "Sleeping Round The Corner" has a to-die-for chorus, the songs like "Feel About You" and "Red Sun" confirmed that this indeed is an essential purchase, and they both still have it.

I'd said I was going to load some French music to listen to on my walks and one of those was "Camembert Electrique" by Gong , led by Daevid Allen an Australian ex-pat living in France along with Dider Malherbe (Bloomdido Bad-de-Gras), Gilli Smyth (Bambaloni Yoni) , Steve Hillage (Stevie Hillside Village) , Tim Blake and others. I bought it as a Virgin Reissue for 49p in my teens and loved it. Sometimes when you revisit albums from your youth they sometimes don't live up to the memories.

This sorted exploded in my head , a little introductory silliness before the killer riff of  "You Can't Kill Me"  the whole album lets the music melt into each other with spacey glissando guitars and incredibly complex tunes that grab your attention. "Mr Longshanks" seems like a silly throwaway but ther is major playing going on in that, then "Dynamite" and Celine" are enjoyable if challenging and laid back piences. "And You Tried So Hard" is another stand out.

Both these albums have taken a lot of my time ofver the past couple of days and they are both worth spending some time on.

I'll include a song from each one for you to enjoy.

Sleep well.


If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day


I've just noticed it's Pancake Day so what other record could I have as the lead than "If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day"  by Half Man Half Biscuit.  It is one of my many favourites of their songs from the excellent "Cammell Laird Social Club" album and obviously very appropriate.

I've never been a fan of pancakes, always a bit bland for me like butternut squash. You can use them for bulking things out but you always have to add something.

I'm glad to see that the cars aren't frozen up this morning so the walk into work should not be as cold as it has been.

Actually after the last post, I wanted to to mention another album I listened to yestereday, "Apocalypse Girl" by Jenny Hval. The album is as disturbing as the cover (click through on the title to see) and at times very explicit.  When I started I was thinking this is just talking over noise, but the more you listen, the more you grow into it, so on the second listen the noise that was "Kingsize" becomes the song or piece that is "Kingsize".

Soundwise this is a less accented Bjork but possibly more challenging. By the time I had listened to the album I had been won over so I will be exploring more of Jenny Hval. She is someone to be approached with an open mind but definitely rewarding.

OK now time to get off to work, and no pancakes for me today.


Monday, 12 February 2018

It's An Education


This is just a short piece about Public Service Broadcasting. Basically they take archive material and provide a sonic backdrop, and I still don't know how J. Willgoose, Esq. manages all the buttons and instruments to play live and trigger the sound bites.  I have to take their biography and mission statement from their website as they can put it far more eruditely that I ever could

Public Service Broadcasting is the corduroy-clad brainchild of London-based J. Willgoose, Esq. who, along with drumming companion Wrigglesworth and multi instrumentalist JFAbraham, is on a quest to inform, educate and entertain audiences around the globe.

PSB’s uniquely spell-binding live AV transmissions see them weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics as they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future – beaming our past back at us through vintage tv sets and state of the art modern video projection devices.

On Public Service Broadcasting's new album Every Valley, J. Willgoose, Esq. takes us on a journey down the mineshafts of the South Wales valleys, with the stories found there a black mirror to the plight of workers everywhere. Although Every Valley is the story of one industry in a region and time far from ours, the tales of a disenfranchised working class in this age of turmoil could not be more relevant.

Although the concept is localized and historical, J. Willgoose, Esq hopes the story is "applicable to industries all over the western world and possibly beyond, in the way that the Industrial Revolution generated these communities that were so dependent on one particular industry, and what happens to that community when you remove that industry from it, and where that leaves us now"


Today I listened tp "Every Valley" for the first time , even though I have had it for six months and you have read what it contains.

My first taste of Public Service Broadcasting was "ROYGBIV" an acronym for the colurs on the TV spectrum then that was followed by the atmosphere of "The War Room" a precursor to their debut album.

The thing is every time you listen to a Public Service Broadcasting record you learn something, and there are very few bands you can say that about. You won't be singing along to their songs but you can dance and your mind will definely be stimulated.

Their second album "The Race For Space" was more subject focussed as was "Every Valley" . Even singles such as "Everest" will teach you new facts while give you aural stimulation.

They are also probably THE live band to see at the present time, and I have seen them thrice.

So I leave you with "They Gave Me A Lamp" from "Every Valley" , a wonderful atmospheric piece with some telling sentiments. Enjoy.
.

Bitey - We Are Here To Drink Your Beer!!


That was a word Chris Hawkins used to described the cold this morning. The laminate kitchen floor was so cold that I had to put slippers on.  Outside the cars are frozen up and I am considering walking into work today. The sky is clear so it will be interesting to see the sunrise this morning. The roads are clear and on Saturday they were frosted up , and we did have snow flurries during  Sunday night.

Yesterday I was walking past the Westgate Ark Charity shop on Two Ball Lonnen I had noticed they now have cats in the window, and couldn't resist taking an instagram video that you can see here. A lot of people seem to like it and it is cute as hell.

I'm currently clearing recordings frome my TIVO box in anticipation of taking delivery of a V6 box, although as Yodel are delivering it I haven't a clue when I will get it, but rumours have it that it's an improvement on the TIVO box.

Anyway I'm sort of prepared for the bitey weather out there, though luckily I have the option of catching a bus if it really does get too cold.

I wimped out from seeing Alestorm last night but I'll include their video for "Drink" for you to enjoy as I get wrapped up and ready to continue my walking into work to deal with whatever awauts me when I get there. The Alestorm video will definitely wake you up.


I know it's Monday, but be positive and have a great start to the week.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Short Circuits


We had a little snow last night and it has been cold today and though it's been a bit of a forced march I managed to do 15K steps today so that's getting back on the road so to speak.

I am really tempted to do a post of maybe ten words, in fact I saw a blog where the person was posting thousands of posts a year (I have done 1500 in ten years) but when I looked each of the posts just seemed to be links, and that was it, no explanation just a link, and thousands of them. Unfortunately I didn't take a copy of the URL so I can't share it with your.

I think most blogs are a form of diary, though mine tends to morph depending on what I'm doing ate the time. Obviously the walking has become fairly important to me and obviously music and books will always be a big part.

Film and TV also are in my ballpark as is Football (real Football not the American Handball game).

This blog is meant to give me inspiration for a book or a novel and my book ended up with 10K words and in a dead end, so I am still hoping inspiration and ideas will come. My friends do help me and inspire me, but this is the only body of written work that I have produced for public consumption.

I said the Jean-Michel Jarre that I had been listening to had encouraged me to listen to mor European music but today was a tiny dip with Steve Hillage's second solo album "L" which featuring a lot a great guitar nodling and thumping covers of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and George Harrison's "It's All Too Much" which appeared on the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack album. One of my favourite moments is when "Hurdy Gurdy Glissando" strays into the monster Maurice Jarre "Lawrence of Arabia" riff , absolutely wonderful, as well as the introduction of Don Cherry to embellish the "Lunar Musick Suite" with his jazz phrasings.

I found a live take of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" for you to enjoy, but the album is definitely worth a visit. Sleep well my friends.


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Rumours of ...


Apparently there are rumours that tomorrow there will be snow. It's raining at the moment and if it gets colder the precipitation may very possibly turn to snow.

I've just found a silver polishing cloth under my computer desk, I haven't a clue if it's mine or Fiona's or something the cleaners from APM have dropped.

Today has been relativelty relaxed and I've only done a little walking but still hit 10.5K steps. I didn't get to town but just walked doing food shopping at Aldi.

I phoned Virgin about the delivery of the new V6 box and got a complete arsey person who told me I'd have to wait in all day Monday after being told it would be delivered between eight and nine in the morning. I put the phone down , knowing I was beaten by the idiot on the other end of the phone who kept repeating the same thing over and over again, but I also know these people actually are told to stick to scripts, so I blame Virgin management, another example of Richard Branson's complete disdan for the public.

This maybe should be on my And Annoyingly blog but I usually try to be positive, there is so much negativity in the world and I don't want any part of it.

So what could be more uplifting than The Addams Family dancing to The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop". Enjoy this, keep warm and dry, and sleep well.



ӔЯ֍


It was freezing this morning but the frost now seems to be fading. For the first time in ages I've had porridge for breakfast and thaks to the new set of pans I picked up forom Morrisons it's just a quick wipe clean.

I've found that listening to instrumental music can be quite good and have been listening to Jean-Michel Jarre's "Aero" which was an experiment in surround sound, and it does sound good on headphones. This is the blurb from the album description on Amazon:

"Aero is Jean Michel Jarre's first experiment in surround sound as well as being the most respectable "best of" album in 13 years. The album features reworked versions of his golden oldies and three new pieces. The result of the new orchestration is a modern-sounding remix album, rather than a definitive greatest hits.

The album was designed and recorded in multi channel surround-sound and is therefore presented on both a CD and DVD in the same package (including Dolby Digital and DTS tracks allowing playback on a standard DVD video player in 5.1 surround sound). Sound quality is top notch as you'd expect although sometimes the transitional pieces between tracks overdo the surround effects for the sake of demonstrating the technology.

The music itself, as a collection of greatest hits tracks, is a surprising choice, presumably designed for the best 5.1 surround sound. There's no "Revolutions", "Chronologie 4", "Ethnicolor", "Calypso", "Oxygene 8" or "Hey Gagarin", for instance. We are treated to fresh, excellent reworkings of classics: "Oxygene 2", "Equinoxe 3" and "Last Rendez-vous". Aging tracks such as "Oxygene 4", "Chronologie 6", and "Rendez-vous 4" have all been brought up to date. The three new tracks recall Robert Miles and Orbital. They're good but there's a feeling they were left over from previous projects. There are too many synth presets sounding too clinical and lacklustre compared to the high standard of sounds used in Jarre's other studio albums. Moreover, there are finer unreleased tracks that could have been included.

Also included on the DVD is a visual track. A close-up of the actress Anne Parillaud's (Nikita) eyes while she listens to the music for the full 73 minutes in one take is typical of Jarre's subtle, minimalist and "non-MTV" visual style. Aero will appeal to those wanting to test their home cinema equipment and those seeking some of the greatest hits of France's electronica wizard. --Colin Neal"

The last few days I've cut down on the walking but still hit over 10K a day so I'm still on track to hit my target for February. Today I will be going for a couple of walks before dealing with Virgin who've given me an upgrade for a reduction in costs, but have been a little economical with the truth. It's a situation where you have to go with it because you are actually better off with it even though it comes with certain inconveniences like not being able to keep your recordings, but if I haven't watched them in six months then maybe I am not losing out.

I've included "Oxygène II"from Aero which sounds excellent on a decent sound system, and it's just playing on my soundbar now, and I hope I haven't disturbed my neighbours Ray and Michelle with the noise.

Have a brilliant Saturday my friends.

 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Are You Experienced?


This is the post I was going to write on Wednesday night. A week or so ago, for the first time I listened to "Electric Ladyland" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience for the first time as rambled on here.

Axis
On Monday afternoon I was in the tyeside Bar and Cafe and notice a young student guy (rough estimat 14-17) , with vinyl from HMV.  I wondered what it was fearing it my be the new Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith, but when he pulled it out it was "Axis:Bold As Love" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. I wanted to congratulate him on his choice of music but thought better of it as it might be for an elderly relative and he might have been an Ed Sheeran or X-Factor fan. The cover of Axis is so striking with it's band as part of an Asian God image.




This then prompted me to revisit "Are You Experienced" and "Axis: Bold As Love" to listen to on my walks. The first album is better but my copy is augmented with singles and "B" sides but I just regard that as desserts after the banquet, as it contains a lot of classics. My friend Harry Clark reckoned that "Third Stone From The Sun" ripped off the "Coronation Street" theme, though Cozy Powell ripped off the Hendrix riff for his hit single "Dance With The Devil". "May This Be Love" is a total beauty with some brilliant speaker panning by the guitar and drums, and the album opens with "Foxy Lady". "Red House" is great blues and is sort of echoed by "House Burning Down" from "Electric Ladyland"

"Axis:Bold As Love" is not as good but still a wonderful album with the amazing anti-establishment anthem "If 6 Was 9" which was used in the film "Easy Rider", "Castles Made Of Sand" and "Little Wing" are two more nailed on classics, and basically if you don't have all the albums I've mentioned in your collection in one form or another , you need to rectify this immediately.

Hendrix studio recordings aren't readily available on Youtube but there are many covers so I've chosen The Pretenders take on "May This Be Love" from their 1990 album "Packed". It's Friday, it's raining , have a great day.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Value For Money


I've just been out to replenish the milk and still ended up buying 2 litres instead of my intended 1 litre. This is because there is only an 11p difference between the bottles, so even if I don't use it all before it goes sour I've probably got more for my money. Tesco sell four packs of Mars Bars and Kit-Kats for a pound, yest single bars are around 80p, so people will spend the extra 20p to get three more bars and a lot of people will end up eating four instead of one, and while it doesn't affect everyone in this way there is obviously some agenda just to keep the population obese. Sorry to whinge about this on a Thursday morning , but due to a ten year virtual wage freeze for most of the country people have to make savings and tighten their belts while corporations and many politicians wallow in ever growing sees of money.

Two guys at the bus stop were talking about bets on the Tottenham vs Newport match last night, expecting a Swansea vs Notts County avalanche. I thought it would either happen or be about 2-0. It was the latter but I didn't actually put a bet on it.

Still I suppose that would be an excuse to replay "Newport State of Mind" but you can check this post from 2015 which has the video ny Alex Warren and Terema Wainwright which annoyed Jay Zed and Alicia Keys but instead I 'll include something else, and thinking about value for money makes me think of the Star Spangled Chestwigs take on Ottowan's "D.I.S.C.O." except as the the Chestwigs you know it's "S.H.I.T.E." but they do mention Iceland . Have a brilliant Thursday everybody.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Nine 'til Five


I know that is most people's working days (well it used to be) but that was my sleep time last night. I was feeling absolutely wrecked. Just did a normal day, came home just put a Ham and Pineapple Pizza in the oven, had that about seven cos I was fasting from eight due to a hospital appointment this morning. Then at nine after two episodes of Mr Robot I was ready to drop, I haven't a clue why.

Yesterday was nice to see the snow, but it was coming down when I was in my sixth floor office so I didn't have to experience the cold , wet and slippiness and by the time I finished it was just cold and dark.

I was going to write a post last night but this isn't it , this is a different one. I also have fragments of a weird dream which involved me being in the centre of Newcastle , going down a brick walkway and being almost too fat to get out of the weirdly shapes other end, being near the Monkey Bar, watching a large aircraft taking off from Gatehead Airport carring a large anchor  to hold down large inflatables in the river Tyne. Just an average day in my head then.

This morning I got up made tea and decaf coffee only to find the milk was turning, so remade using almond milk which is acceptable. I think I am going to have to change my milk buying habits , smaller bottles in future.

Last week I listened to my two favourite Jean-Michel Jarre albums, "Equinoxe"  and "Zoolook". His dad was Maurice Jarre who did some brilliant soundtracks such as "Dr Zhivago", "Ghost" and my favourite "Lawrence of Arabia" . I found Jean-Michel's first album "Oxygene" twee and boring with a rubbish pretentious cover, my attitude has mellowed since it first came out but to me it's a first try, but "Equinoxe" was several steps up the ladder. "Zoolook" used some groundbreaking sound techniques to enhance the listening experience especially on headphones.

So I'll share Christopher Walken dancing to "Diva" from "Zoolook". Have a good Wednesday.



Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Back To Reality


Have a break, especially in Whitby , is brilliant. In insulates from stuff that you have to do, although I was sure that I wouldn't keep up my 12K a day steps that I need to do to hit 340K in February (only 28 days this month), but I did that and more, hitting 18K on Sunday, but I knew yesterday would cause a dip, as it was going to be up, then driving back.

Luckily I took a full day off so that enabled me to do 15K steps yesterday, so there's not too much pressure for the rest of the month. The weather is possibly going to be cold, so that may affect my walking if if we also get rain and strong winds. Rain without wind means you can use an umbrella, wind without rain is just a question of wrapping up.

I came home to find my TIVO box had gone from 60% to 80% full in four days, slightly surprising on one way, but when you think a film can (with adverts) clock in at three and a half hours, and I recorded a few films, maybe it's not that surprising.

After listening and being impressed by Jem's "Down To Earth", her second album, yesterday on my walks I played her debut album "Finally Woken" which opens with the song that got me into her "They" whith it's sampled vocal motif played on a Fairlight or something and sounding like it's been lifted from one of the BBC favourite vocal groups that would guest on Sunday programs like the Swingle Singers orthe like. "They " is brilliant and is worth buying the album for that song alone. While the rest of the album is not earth shattering it is still well worth investigating with some songs that will stay with you.

I'll leave you with "They" and get wrapped up for the walk to work. Have a good Tuesday my friends, this is the start of my four day work week.

Monday, 5 February 2018

P133A


So had a brilliant weekend in Whitby including two meals at The Magpie Cafe and a walk up to and around Whitby Abbey as well as three brilliant breakfast provided by Matt and Craig at Dillons of Whitby (named after the previous owners dog , theirg current dog is called Florence).

I saw seagulls tap dancing (well that's what it looked like to me) though they were tricking morms into coming to the surface , because worms think tap dancing seagulls sound like rain. Still looked so comical to me. Also a night thousads of seagulls were just parked on the river, but I couldn't get a picture (like I couldn't film the tap dancing ones either).

As we were leaving Whitby the snow started coming down and stayed with us along the A171 but there's been little sign of it in Newcastle, although it's very cold.

The title of the post is because the take away pizza box had a type font that made PIZZA look like P133A adn that's the only reason, things like that do catch my eye.

I've been listening to various albums while surprisingly getting throught a lot of steps (75K in the first five days of February), but unfortuantely missed the "Lux Lives"  Cramps tribute at The Cluny on Sunday featuring my friend Jon Lee as Poison Ivy, so I will leave you with Poison Ivy's rendition of Duane Eddy's "Peter Gunn Theme" (Crampified).

Sleep well and keep warm.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Drive


Last night I went to see Reginald D. Hunter and he told the sad story of Harper Lee. Her first novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" was an instant classic, which but incredible pressure on her to follow it up. How do you top an instant classic? She loast friends especially in the literary world because she was being set up to fail. She tried to write but nothing would pass her own criteria, how could it? Check out this Guardian article and decide for yourself, even better go and look for more information yourself. I personally won't be buying a copy of "Go Set A Watchman". This paragraph is completely based on what Reginal D Hunter told us at The Stand last night.

Today I'm driving to Whitby for a weekend staying at Dillons rather than La Rosa , love both of them though. I'll be stopping at the OK Diner maybe going and coming back due to their excellent service and food.

Yesterday was my first day of February walking, and I need to average over 12K steps a day, which I thought might be a problem but I've started off OK hitting 14K yesterday even though it was very very cold. Today may be different though it's ten past seven and still dark. I've not looked outside to see if cars are frosted up but I will find out soon.

Yesterday I was listening to the second album by Jem "Down To Earth" and was struck by several song and the last one "On Top Of The World" has such a beautiful chorus that I have to share it with you. Have a brilliant day.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

February


I've vaguely wondered why February is so short. We have seven 31 day month , four 30 day months and February which has 28 days (29 in Leap Years). Surely we could have five 31 day months and seven 30 day months (February hitting 21 in a Leap Year). I was thinking maybe it's a sort of apology because people tend to be paid earlier in December and then Janauray seems an awfully long month although you don't get the small benefit of the four week February until March. Basically The Romans were to blame (what did they ever do for us?) and originally Februay was the last month of the year, but with various calendrical reorganizations January became the first month of the year (which is odd because the God Janus had a face at the front and back of his head so he could look backwards and forwards so you would expect that to be the first or last month of the year). Anyway here's some links about February:

Wiki
Why it is short

I recently found some John Niven books I was unaware of "Coma", "Old School:Roman" and "Enfant Terrible". "Old School:Roman" dropped through my letter box and I unwrapped it and looked inside and thought my eyes were not reading properly then realised it was a German edition. I checked the orlder (which had been desptched from Germany and the language is listed as German. C'est La Vie I thought, I'll find the English copy but every copy I found was German. John Niven is Scottish. I checked "Coma" - German. "Enfant Terrible" - French.  It turns out these are retitled versions of existing novels, "Coma" is "The Amateurs", "Old School:Roman" is "The Sunshine Cruise Company", "Enfant Terrible" is "Straight White Male". While "Enfant Terrible" is French it has found it;s way into the English language, but why have the German translations got English titles apart from to maybe catch people out.  Luckily I have German friends so it can find a good home but if I were German if I saw an English title I wouldn;t expect it to be a German language book.

Anyway the last of the bands that have covered "Happy" by The Rolling Stones and I'm going for Spirit's "Animal Zoo" from "The Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus" and classic album from Spirit in their first incarnation.

Enjoy the first day of February 2018, the last time it will ever happen my friends.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Did I Really See This?


I don't know if it's just age or what, but I often think I see things, then look again and realise it's just a trick of the light, and arrangement of shadows or something else. I remember seeing a program about a guy who had seen a ghost at work and when he looked into it (he was a scientist) he actually replicated and showed that it was some device that caused air oscillations at a certain frequency that caused the "ghost" to appear. A couple of months back I saw this "flying saucer as I walked out of my front door. It was a cloud formation and a couple of seconds later it was gone. However there are a lot of people who would say that this WAS a flying saucer, and I suppose it could have been, but the probability to me is that it was just an unusual cloud formation.

Flying Saucer
The thing is that we should always question things and demand proof, even if we have to get that proof ourselves. Although we can assume that some things are true because we trust the framework that helps reinforce our belief. I  believe that my keyboard and wires are working because I can see the words appearing in front of me on the screen. That reminds me I had dream that I got a computer last night but it had a CRT screen, that just got dredged up from my mind because of the analogy I was using.

So my lost contact lens has not appeared although my left eye is a bit irritated, but is that because I have two contact lenses in there or is it just psychosomatic. I don't know but I will keep you posted.

So next in the artists who have covered The Rolling Stones' "Happy" is Nils Lofgren and wile my favourite Nils Lofgren song might be "No Mercy", I've gone for "Secrets In The Street", cheesy eighties video with a great sequencer intro and outro used  as a backdrop to an excellent song with some brilliant guitar lines.

Have a great Wednesday


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Sleep


After spending half an hour waiting for Excel to save my workbook, I was not happy when it crashed, said it had recovered my  workbook (and the hours work I'd done on it) and restored it to it;s state as it was when I started. Still I just closed down my laptop and will do it all again tomorrow morning except then I am sure it will work. They say a bad workman always blames his tools, well 95% of the time Excel is really useful, but every so often it can really let you down. Really when you thing these programs just move round binary digits and such a clever way you can do some incredibly useful calculations and analysis.

I suppose that it still puts a strain on my tiny mind. Tonight I managed to lose a contact lens. The worry is that's it's still somehwere in my eye. That happened to me once before, so we shall see if it resurfaces at some point.

Anyway I said my next three posts would feature artists's who'd covered the Rolling Stones' "Happy" and the first of those are The Pointer Sisters with their excellent cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire".

Right it's time for bed, there will be more tomorrow.


Encouragement


One of the great thing in life is when people say what you are doing is good, that they enjoy it, that it makes things better, and that does give you a lift and makes you want to do more. In a work situation this encourages teamwork and working together. Outdie of work it makes you want to interact more and work with and help others. It can bring your life to another level.

You get the opposite, people looking to find faults, trip people up and cause trouble and mischief, the sort of people who are only satisfied when they and others are miserable. It's not enough to succeed, somebody else must fail.

Part of my job has always been to spot faults and errors and to fix them, the fix rather than blame culture is so much more positive. Also encouraging others gets the best out of them.

Social interation also helps in a work situation because if you talk about non work things, it becomes easier to share ideas and deal with problems.

I wrote this post because someone gave me some encouragement, it was unexpected, but it was appreciated.

Also yesterday I saw someone almost resorting to violence because of a small mistake in a shop, and the person behind the counter was being very helpful but the customer was having none of it and ended up being ejected, it would have taken five minutes to sort his situation but he wanted blood.

Anyway I thought I'd try and find a cover of one of my favourite all time songs "Happy" by The Rolling Stones, and listened to covers by Nils Lofgren, The Pointer Sisters and Spirit but for my mood all fall short of the Stones doing that song. However my next three posts will include songs by each of those bands.

Anyway it's Tuesday, it's still dark but dry so have a brilliant day.

Monday, 29 January 2018

A Monday To Experience .....


I've just finished "Cold Hands" by John Niven and started "No Good Deed" qualified ominously by the completing phrase "Goes Unpunished" but while this are started with some dark situations at least there is humour in there. This is to take nothing away for "Cold Hands" but don't go there look for humour however dark there.

Weather outside looks drab but dark and dry so a walk into work is on the cards, and currently my listening is "Electric Ladyland" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience which I always listened to in sides (four odf them). Now I'm listening to it in effectively on chunk. One thing I 'd forgot was the two "Voodoo Chile" sole songs, one the fifteen minute blues jam and the other the "(Slight Return)" killer riff post departure number one single.

Electric Ladyland was the name of Hendrix's New York studios and when it first came out it was sold in brown paper bags as the cover featured a lot of naked women which you can see here. It was then split into part one and part two and packaged with more "acceptable" covers, but I do prefer the original (which you can see in this group of dodgy covers here).

It also contains his cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" which if I was allowed only one single on a desert island, that's what it would be. The lyrics of Dylan allowing Hendrix's voice full flow (he was emabarrased about his own lyrics so tended to hold back on his own songs) the his guitar work backed by The Experience absolute perfection for four minutes.

My favourite song is "1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)" which takes up most of side three and am definitely looking forward to hearing that on my walk into work, but I will leave you with this live take on "All Along The Watchtower", enjoy your Monday my friends.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Threks


When I sign in to do this blog I have to press "Sign In" on three different screens. Now OK I habitually delete cookies and such ensure web stuff I do is showing the current expected version but I don't know why Google has this incredibly inefficient log in process. In fact while I accept that cookies can be useful, they should not be used to store sensitive or secure information, although maybe that's just my opinion.

I've finished the latest John Niven novel I was reading "Cold Hands" and was surprised that there were zero laughs, these was a very dark pumped up Irvine Welsh with some disturbing insights into the natures of revenge and madness. While it is excellently written it was not an easy ride, so I'm hoping "No Good Deed" may provide a little light. I am fine with black humour but when you find yourself in a world of total darkness that gets scary.

Today has been a great day, my Dad's 83rd birthday and he's finally using his computer, then we finally caught up with Mark, Helen , Eve and Jess over a Sunday Lunch and high def Harry Potter movies.

Step wise this is the first day I have done less that 5K since a rainy day on holiday in Yorkshire, but I am  still ahead of the game for my January walks. February may be a different matter.

The word Threks is non existent as far as I know and was shome letters I was trying to make a word with in Scrabble .

One of the many things I have to thank my Dad for is introducing me to Johnny Cash , his "Greatest Hits Volume 1" was in our house and often on the stereo Radiogramme that we had, and from that I'll choose "Five Feet High and Rising" before I hit my bed. Tomorrow is Monday ....... the start of another wonderful week of life ....


Friday, 26 January 2018

Work


I suppose a sign of you enjoying your job is you don't begrudge thinking about solutions to problems when you are away from work. I'm wrestling with a problem of testing a system updateby  basically replicating the live system using Excel. The set up is all over the place so there is no consistency between units. When Iasked to do this last year I set out what needed to be done and was then told that the testers were taking "a different approach". If I had a COBOL set up this would be a cinch to set up , though I think I may be able to do it using SQL but stepping back it's OK how differnt units need to be treated differently but then you get the exceptions thrown in , sometimes for no other reason than "they need to be treated differently". The thing is solving things like this makes time fly, especially when you are working with good people. The other thing is failure is not an option, so it will be done, and there is a tedious manual option, but that is a last resort.

I can;t believe this is the first time I've mentioned COBOL on this blog, though I've not used it for fifteen years it was my first programming language and as far as I know is still used for large batch processing operations in places.

Anywaty it's Friday Morning, the weekend is closer, the weather is mild but boring so I will be walking to work and am currently listening to Hawkwind's "Space Ritual" which I bought on vinyl recently and still looks wonderful and sounds excellent, over the top riff driven space rock smattered with poetry readings. I saw Hawkwind a couple of times and loved the music and light show, and listening now I'm impressed by how simple the song constructions are while still sounding impressive (well they do to me). I've chose "Orgone Accumulator" which lifted the "Green Onions" riff and went on for ten minutes but it's still a great song.

Have a great day everybody.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Future Games


Yesterday I was listening to Spirit's "Future Games", my favourite album of all time. I mentioned it in a favourites post here. It was the first time I'd heard an album where sound snips from film and TV were woven into the fabric of the album. The songs a classic second stage Spirit with Randy California's etherial voice and guitar playing and Ed Cassidy's (Randy's father-in-law) guttural Jack Bond interjections, with effortless covers such as "All Along The Watchtower". Into this seemless tapestry are woven The Muppets, Star Trek and Science Fiction "B" Movie dialogue. The song I included gives you a feel for the album, and if you like that just buy the album. "Spirit of '76" has a similar feel to it though not quite as seamless but still brilliant.

It;s like a film for the ears. I'd often go to sleep listening to it after a shift as a computer operator when I got the chance. Though often I'd finish a night shift and my dad would ask me to just drive a wagon to a site and drop off some stuff, and I'd get there and they'd want me to some more stuff to another site going on til the end of the day and I soon be back on the computer night shift. As I was about 19 at the time I could take it.

Big Audio Dynamite were another band that used this process in their early albums successfully and their first two albums are brilliant, highly worth listening to.

Oh by the way Blue Oyster Cult's "Curse of The Hidden Mirror" is a class album if you can get hold of a copy, some of the lyrics a bit AOR but all the songs are brilliant.

Anyway it's time to set off for work, have a brilliant day everyone.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Dreams and Hidden Mirrors


Spmetimes what you east can cause you to dream. Cheese is a  good one if you want to dream. Last night I had Aloo Chole a chickpea and potato curry along with some Sag Aloo from Rajnagar. I finished about half of it so I will be warming up the remainder tonight for my tea tonight and looking forward to it. I don't think that's the normal food to stimulate dreams although it's very good.

Anyway last night was a night of mental fragmented dreams. To start with there was something to do with the music on Nick Lowe's "Bowi" EP then I was in a high rise office block in Liverpool (I used to work in JM Centre in the early eighties. Then there was some work going on at the entrance to an underground car park , there were two guys doing it and has a small two seater smart car.

One of the guys walked into the car park and suddenly a big chunk of the floor sank about a foot. The guy ran in to so solid concrete floor , lay down and faded as if teleported. The other guy's girlfriend turned up and told him to clean the concrete dust from the passenger seat. She went into the underground car park and sank calf deep into another hole.

I'm not sure what happened then, but I was thinking how the hell do you deal with a really big sink hole? What if one appears in the middle of the streat and it's miles deep? You cannot just fill it can you? I'm sure someone will have an answer.

Well today it's dark and rainy so my steps are going to take a big hit, but that's fine as I am far ahead of my target so all is fine.

Current listening is "Curse of The Hidden Mirror" by Blue Oyster Cult. I bought this for completion but it's actually a very good album. Closer to "Imaginos" than "Agents of Fortune" that further over the top and veering into mystical Lovecraft type horror, as illustrated by track 3 "Old Gods Return".

"Now is the time the moon is in alignment 
With the unknown zodiac, the untold sign 
Of the fiery maniac within each breast 
Awaits a stirring irridescent whirring 
Of a six eyed god whose wings beat In a time so odd, so very odd 
And we're all lost, all of us blessedly lost "

Classic over the top BOC lyric fest.

The opener "Dance on Stilts" is a brilliant song (though the title doen's lead you to expect it) and the coda is just gorgeously excellent. The album doesn't seem to be available digitally and it is very expensive on CD but is worth getting hold of.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

On A Fiction Kick


Just reading "Cold Hands by John Niven, a Christmas presnt from Fiona when I found two John Niven books I hadn't heard of. John Niven to me is essentially darkly comedic with some serious points, but this is marked as a "thriller". I got it because it was John Niven and following on from the first "Book of Dust" by Philip Pullman must mean I am on a fiction kick.

While "Cold Hands" is more Irvine Welsh with it's flashback sections there is no comedy in there. That doesn't mean it's bad, it's anything but, reminding vaguely of the TV Series "Tin Star" based on it's location / relocation premise, but something has just happened which is the literary equivalent of being hit by a truck (that's a good recommendation for a "thriller").

Outside it's black, grim, wet and cold and even the snow has gone. This is the sort of morning when the walf to work doesn't look so inviting, and I have a nine o' clock meeting which, shall we say , may be challenging, but luckily my views on systems are taken seriously so I am in a good place for it.

So what should I play. Yesterday I was listtening to Bob Dylan's "Tempest" his last great album, and found a Sony album sampler on Youtube so thought I would give you a taste before I set off for work. I love the sound of his voice on this album, and the lyrics and songs are brilliant depite lifting the "I'm A Man" riff for "Early Roman Kings" just wonderful.

Have a great day.




Sunday, 21 January 2018

When You Don't Have To Get Up and The Coconut Connection


... but at six AM you are wide awake. You sort of have to get up, it is nice and warm in bed and because it's weekend the heating hasn't come on yet. These days I'm finding the thought of having a shower a chore, especially early in the morning, but once I'm in I don't want to come out. I don't do cold showers so enjow the warm water and current shower gell is Coconut and Vanilla and current shampoo is Coconut and Keratin. I'm not a huge fan of coconut although I quite like Bounty Bars. Then when I'm in the shower I don't want to come out because of the chore of having to dry myself and put my contact lenses in, luckily I don't do make-up or hair drying, but in it's place I need to sort out my medications for the day and take them and inject myself. On a normal day this is all done before six thirty AM and today I will probably do the medication in the next hour (it's seven thirty now). So that is my usual start to a day.

They are forecasting snow or rain later and it's still dark now as well as still being cold with icy footpaths and iced up car windscreens. I was speaking with a lady who was clearing her windscreen yesterday. She said she was going in the car as she had already slipped and fallen three times, buut seemed in fine fettle. I thought she was maybe fifty and she told me she was seventy!! I don't know if my idea of what old people look like has changed as I passed sixty this year, but I do remember thinking sixteen was old, and seeing a documentary about Tyneside in the sixties and this guy was talking (I thought he was about forty, he was seventeen).

Anyway what song should I choose this mornin. Yesterday I was listening to 6Music and some guy was talking about band who exude joy in their performancesand one of the bands he metioned was The Avalanches guerilla sampling Australian Mad Hatters and  that has turned me on to "FRankie Sinatra" from their album "Wildflower" , love the song , love the video , love the band. Enjoy my friends. After this played "Frontier Psychiatrist" came on which contains the line "Crazy as a Coconut" so as it's the bands finest moment and because of the Coconut connection I have to include that as well. An Avalanche crazy Sunday.

Have a good day friends.


Saturday, 20 January 2018

And One More


Today I didn't really do much except getting some  essentials and refilling the bird feeders. It is still cold and there is still snow about, but it is Saturday night, the middle of the weekend for us Monday to Friday workers.

I've gone on in my last post about the number of words that I writes and I suppose even if I stopped this post now it's just adding to the number of words that I have written today and a few more more for you to find your way through. Well this is just over 90 words so far, so not that many for you to digest.

I've started watching the new Sky production "Britannia" and it's totally mad with David Morrisey and Mckenzie Crook hamming it up with some huge slabs of unspecified mysticism thrown in with this particular Roman invasion. I don't think I've TV like this since Robin of Sherwood , but because I've cancelled my NOWTV subscription (they didn't offer reduced rates when I said I was leaving), I have a week to watch the remaining 8 episodes, so a binge watching week coming up methinks.

This also uses Donovan Leitch's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" as it's main theme tune so that's another plus point,  but I'll leave you with this to listen to before I go to bed.

Sleep well my friends.

1500


It's not yet eight o' clock , it's still dark (or was when I started writing this), there's snow still on the ground and the cars are white with frost and the footpaths dangerously slippy, and this is my 1500th post hennce the laconic numeric title. It's just over two years (November 2015) since my thousandth post here and when I started I wasn't sure how far this would go. Lot's of friends have started blogs and then left them and I have a few friends who still have current blogs such as the BBC writer Paul Campbell's cleverly titled Scriptuality and a few others.

On the positive side it's Saturday morning so I don't have to go to work and it has been a very intense but satisfying week, managing to get the impossible tasks and donkey work done and not having to worry about the coming week.

I need to shower, take drugs, get dressed then go out to shop for essentials after I've posted this, and start towards my 2,000th post my going on about nothing in particular.

This morning I'm attempting to record stuff to the PC, and while the guitar sound is great the original device I was using created a half second lag on the sound from hitting the string to hearing it, and lets face it Alvin Lee could have played a hundred notes in that time (see Ten Years After playng "I'm Going Home" at Woodstock to see what I mean. Techically it's just very fast and in tune , the song is just basic rock and roll and blues time. My daughter Kirsty was well impressed when I played her this.

I do find it amazing that I metion things on this blog to find I've never mentioned them before in the eleven years I've been writing this. Here's my first post and in the first couple of years the posts were barely notes and now you get a couple of hunderd words. I think possibly the longest post is about two thousand words when I sat down one day in Craster just to see if I could actually do it and it's here.

Anyway I need to kick start the day and I will leave you with Alvin Lee and Ten Years After at Woodstock.

Friday, 19 January 2018

The Day After Yesterday


Yesterday we woke up to a decent snowfall, two or three inches deep in parts as I walked into work. We had sun and the snow started to melt. By the time I walked down Barrack Road the footpath was like slush driven slide. Because it was still so cold the melted snow started turning to ice.

I don't know if it's age or my lardy weight but despite a decent pair of boots I could not negotiate even slight iced slopes, each time having to find an alternative clear path which involved extra walking. This wasn't me being safe rather than sorry, it was me being forced to take a (slightly) different route to get to where I want. The final one being the path from Rosie's bar near the start of the Town Wall to the front door of Citygate. I could,t go on the path and the grass was reduced to a slippery muck, luckily the footpath round was level and partially ice free. Having thought about it no one else was walking on that slope either.

It's like the feeling you get on the bus when you are starting and the bust (apparently) slams on or goes violently round a corner , and I have difficulty keeping upright. Again is this old age or is it just that buses (I still think it should be spelt - or is it spelled - busses, the joys of the english language, I'm English and can hardly spell.

This morning looking out of the window ther is still a decent white snow blanket, though this will now be infused with ice so the walk to work may not be so comfortable. I will tell you tonight how it went.

February will mean increasing my daily steps by 10% to 12,250 steps a day but so far this month I am averaging more than that (12,650 a day at the end of yesterday).

Chris Hawkins played "Calling All The Heroes" by It Bites and that reminded me of the excellent "American Life In The Summertime" by Francis Dunnery http://amzn.to/2DpHDAvafter he left the band, which is what I'll share with you twenty three years after it's release.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Polish Wind


How do you pronounce that? Is it Polish  - relating to Poland or polish - to buff something up? Is it wind - the atmosmeric movement of air or wind - the ,ethod of tightening something up like a spring on a mechanical clock. Then the words wind, wined and, at a push whined could all sound the same when spoken, In isolation you wouldn't know what the person meant. Similarly wind and winned are both the same.

The English language is brilliant for writers and wordsmiths but must be hell to learn as a foreign language.

The reason that this came up is I was watching "Black Lake" last night and the police turned up and the word POLIS was on the car but the end of the word slightly obscured by snow and I though is that POLIS or POLISH ? "Black Lake" is well short on humour although absolutely excellent.

This is my first post in which I have mentioned Poland. Currently I have two Polish friends, Marek who runs RPM and Ola who I work with. At school I had lots of Polish friends and used to rehearse at Chorley Polish Club with my first band Cyrus Teed. I remember the first gig was a snowy night in Chorly and during the drum solo in "Wipe Out" the drum podium  (which consisted of four big blocks) split four ways leaving the drummer and crowd and us "surprised".

Anyway we have had real snow last night (see here on my instagram feed)

I have donned a large pair of boots because I would like to see what Nunsmoor is like covered in snow so that's a ¾ mike walk on snow covered paths but I will post a video on instagram if I get there before I freeze.

For absolute no reason apart from the smow / rain at the start of the video I'm including Jordan Reyne's "Shadow Line" which still gives be goosebumps, reminding me of the first time I saw her (documented here). Wrap up and be careful if you have to go out.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

404

For some reason my blog redirection is not working. It's actually a 503 not a 404 but I watched the dream sequence in Mr Robot and there was a 404 sign on a tree where a house was missing. It's been cold today but the snow dusted footpaths were fine but the walk across Nunsmoor almost took my face off (which many would say would be an improvement) but I warmed up once I hit the shelter of the trees. Tonight more snow is forecast and no doubt it will be very cold.

Snow looks nice and is fine while it is solid and crunchy but once it melts a little the freezes it becomes treacherous. I am not looking forward to that.

I'm currently flipping between Mt Robot and Black Lake on TV catch up , the benefit of Mtr Robot is that I don't need subtitles but Black Lake is creepy and scary and uses a possibly non existent language, so just a small smattering of the glut of excellent TV we have out our disposal and I still have to watch the latest Black Mirror and Orphan Black. That's three excellent series that have the word BLACK in their title. Are my viewing preferences trying to say something to me.

I've been listening to Blue Oyster Cult's "Fire of Unknown Origin" which is a bit rock by numbers. There's probably three songs on there that are worth continual revisiting, the sword and sorcery of "The Pact", the drum heavy Michael Moorcock collaboration "Veteran of The Psychic Wars" and the bona fide classic "Joan Crawford (Has Risen Frome The Grave)" which I've included or you delectation with a great video and slide show.

Wrap up well and keep the heatig fired up, it's going to be a cold, cold night.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Is This A Dream Week?


I woke this morting and the lasting image from my dreams was interpretive dance versions of  Terry Pratchett's novels "Mort" and "Cardiff City vs Preston North End". Yest I know the second one is a football match and not a novel but this is one of my dreams and it wouldn't be a dream if it made any sense would it. This is the first time I mentioned Terry Pratchett on this blog although I' never got into him , though I enjoyed "Mort", that was it, but I know I was in a minority the

Last night I was feeling wrecked, I was heading towards another Diabetic hypo (3.8) and was in bed for nine. Today I am not really looking forward to work as I have an annual donkey work task that I will be lucky to finish today, but I will do it, so maybe that was on my mind.

Last night I watched Ben Wheatley's take on JG Ballard's "High Rise"  which is a flawed masterpiece in my opinion, very 1970s and the buildings look simply monstrously awesome from a distance, but the soundtrack featuseds both Can and Amon Duul II and an awesome take on Abba's "SOS" by Portishead. I can't find this officially available anywhere but found this wonderful Youtube montage from the film soundtracked by the Portishead take.

Monday, 15 January 2018

More Strange Dreams


Good night's sleep but more weird dreams. Often dreams take it something you have seen or are thinking about and I've seen a lot of these Butlins Music Weekends advertised which I think are a great idea but have never got to one yet. But this one had shared flooding showers with no towels, some American artist playing "music you cannot buy" and me playing Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues". Like all proper dreams it made no sense whatsoever but there's obviously bits of real life in there. Our showere ever so oftent needs the drain pod clearing and if I didn't ot would eventually flood, but once every six moths keeps that clear.

Yesterday at the Tyneside Cinema we saw the excellent "Batteries Not Included" while brunching before watch the excellent "Darkest Hour" which features Gar Oldman doing an excellent turn as Winston Churchill. Oldman is a great actor not tied to type as demonstrated by the dreadlocked half-caste drug dealer in my favourite file "True Romance".

Walking yesterday was down but the weekend pverall was fine. It's the 15th of January and I am well over half way to my target for the month, but had my first diabetic hypo (3.3) last night after walking for a pizza.

Apparently it's Blue Monday today (most depressing day of the year), but I am going to have a great day and you should too. It's strange how the media and tradition push things like this on us and we take them on board and make them true. So I've included the brand new Simple Minds song "The Signal and The Noise" for you to enjoy.

Have a brilliant Monday everyone.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Careful With That Axe Eugene - Five Words and a Scream


This morning I went to the local Post Office depot to pick up an item "too big" for my letterbox. Because it was early it was a walk across the park and down Stamfordham Road and I got there ten minutes early.

The album I was listening to was the live disc of Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma" and for the firsy yime I noticed that the rhythm is provided by the guitars, with the drums used more as a musical embellishment whereas on most rock songs it's the other way round, especially on a lot of modern songs where rhytm machines and sequencers are used. I remember when I bought it as a teenager from a record shop at Lane Ends in Preston, the rather haughty guy dismissed me with "We don't sell singles" instantly displaying his musical ignorance. Needless to say I never revisited that shop.

The second song, although it's not really a song more a jam piece and it goes on for a hypnotic eight minutes. The lyrics consist on the title whispered once followed by a scream, and that's it. Then I started thinking (over analsing of course) what was this about.

Was it a murder?

Was it a suicide?

Was it an unsatisfied plea for mercy?

The singer is the one who screams so is he the victim or does the singer take  multiple parts?

All this from five words and a scream.

I've included the version from "Live at Pompeii" for you analysis although this has a few more words in it, some Roger Waters indulgence.

Anyway this is far too deep for a Saturday morning, have a brilliant day everbody.

Friday, 12 January 2018

#ItsNotThem #2 - The Jesus of Cool


Nick Lowe was the producer to have during the punk years 1976-79, he'd cut his musical teeth with the excellent Country Rocker Brinsley Schwarz who went on to back Graham Parker as The Rumour (well some of them did). So how many bands did I mention in that sentence, and I didn't even think about doing that.

Anyway Nick Lowe's first release on Stiff was the double "A" side Heart of The City b/w "So It Goes" both of which appeared on his excellent "Jesus of Cool" album. The song "So It Goes" is a perfect "Thin Lizzy" song, whicjle it is lighter that the Irish Rocker's sound , the dynamics and phrasing are pure Thin Lizzy and I am surprised that they never covered it,

It's a simple descending chord sequence with a virtually spoken dialog / melody, very Phil Lynott / Thin Lizzy.  I know this is a very short post about the Jesus of Cool but follow the links and get a listen to some of his stuff, it is worth your while.
 
Enjoy my friends, I 'm going to bed as I need to be up very earlty tomorrow.


A Little Blue Sky


Today has been grey and overcast with a foggy and misty start. This afternoon though there was a short period when blue sky came through and even a little sun. That soon went though and we were back to the grey cloud cover. The good thing though is that it is Friday and for many of us that means we have the weekend to relax and enjoy although I have to be up early tomorrow morning to pick up and undelivered item from the Post Office. It always amazes me that deliveries of larger than letterbox items are tried aroung lunchtime rather than early or late when there might me somebody in.

This in turn reminded me of that album "Goodbye Blue Sky" by Godley and Creme two very talented Mancunians who made up half of 10CC and from that I've chosen "A Little Piece Of Heaven" for you to enjoy. Enjoy your Friday evening, I may treat myself to a curry from Rajnagar after lunching on a Sweet Potato and Chickpea curry at Aurora Kitchen.

Another Foggy Friday


Well today is the first full week that I have done this year, or it will be when I finish today, and I have done a lot this week so am looking forward to the weekend, most definitely. Outside we have fog or low lying cloud (which I assume are the same thing) as will as a fine drizzle, but it's not windy or freezing so a walk into work is a distinct possibility.

Yesterday I only did 10K steps so that was the first lapse this year but I'm still ahead of where I need to be, which is good. This was because I took the bus in and used that time to watch a couple of TED talks, my first so far this year.

I'm still on a Hawkwind listening trip (literally) and yesterday put on "XIn Search of Space" , I'd been putting off listening to it, because while it has one of the most impresive album covers and packaging the opening track "You Shouldn't Do That" goes on for sixteen minutes. Well I played it and it sounds even better that I remembered , all sixteen minutes , great riff rock for walking to and I will be playing it a lot more in coming months. The album also contains some other great songs like "Master of The Universe" plus extras such as the two sides of the "Silver Machine" single (that and the excellent "Seven By Seven) and "Born To Go" which I first heard taking up most of a side of the "Greasy Truckers" charity album.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Mad Dreams and Orange Bicycles


After waking up after a series of dreams that wer so mad I wouldn't know where to start describing them, and they are fading now. I think part of this may be the slight surreality of the current phase of "La Belle Sauvage" by Philip Pullman that I am on the run in the the finale of.

I'm actually not too tired either although I went to bed relatively early last night so that was probably a reason for feeling reasonable awake, although honestly I could have still stayed in bed for a few more hours but unfortunately one has to get up for work if one does not want to lick rocks for sustenance.

I don't know if I'm setting off earlier or what, but mornings seem to be darker longer (I know that can't be true) but so far this year I haven't seen a decent sunrise. A lot is the overcast cloud when I'm walking in, but at least the last couple of days there hasn't been much ice and it's a bit warmer than it has been.

I'm also surprised that I have more than maintained my required steps every day this year (usually once a week I let it drop off), but the have been no freezing cod wet and windy days that make walking difficult. Also part of my mind is what I have to in February , effectively increase my steps to 12K a day (almost a 10% increase) , though it's funny if you don't have to do it it's quite easy, but when you have to do it it suddenly becomes more of a chore. This pales into insignificance with my friends efforts of 5 and 10 mile morning runs and 50 mile bike rides.

I've seen the Orange  Mobikes in Newcastle (follow the link for five free rides) and thought that would be a great idea but most of the time I can't think of a reason to use them, if I'm going round town I'll walk and if I'm going further I'll use a bus. I'm sure I will use them one day as they look quite good and you don't have to maintain them. I've seen the odd charver trying to nick one and alarms go off .

So maybe on that I'll leave you with Nazareth's cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" about when Dutch students stole bikes and painted the white for everyone to use for free (I think , but look it up.

Have a great Thursday everybody.