Saturday, 17 November 2018

Music IS a Drug

Today I listened to Pink Floyd's "A Saucerful of Secrets" and followed that up with XTC's "Mummer" and when "Beating of Hearts" came on I thought wow this is so good, I want more. I had been going thru "A Saucerful of Secrets" thinking how sinister and disturbing "Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun" and getting lost in the three part soundscape of the title track, and the songs that close each side "Corporal Clegg" half comedy/half tragedy and Syd Barrett's farewell appearance with the band "Jugband Blues" which seems an almost cut and paste effort but sad realising the burnt out genius that this was showing us, and still is. Evering song is like a pill that makes you want another.

I think "Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun" and the title track on "A Saucerful of Secrets"are absolutely excellent but they are improved on in the live versions on the album "Ummagumma". I remember going into a shop that sold records at Lane Ends in Preston and the hipster salesperson told me they didn't sell singles!! I never darkened their door again.

Someone once described Ramones songs as like Smarties, you cant have just one you have to have lots.

So onto "Mummer" and "Beating of Hearts" which when you listen on headphones you get the low frequency hit after Andy Partridge sings "Louder Than Bombers In Flight" every time, you know it's coming, and eventually it finishes and you want the next one "Wonderland" and interlude before the single "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" and it continues on and you enjoy every moment.

I definitely could not be without music, even when I have nothing to play or not player or musical instrument handy, it's still there in my head, sometimes songs and pieces I know, sometimes things I want to rediscover.

I just felt I had to put this down here, before I go and sort out my tea, it was just an idea or a concept and it's an excuse to share this incredible XTC song. Have a great Saturday Night everybody.

We Want Our Empire Back!

After finishing Michael Moorcock's "History of The Runestaff" I've continued with the follow up trilogy "Chronicles of Castle Brass". The first is sent in a post apocalyptic world (so post that the human race is now functioning again) with the British Empire re imagines as a mad, evil, ever expansive war mongers (which really is close to what it really was, and at the start of the next book there is a resurgence of desire for a return to the "Dark Empire" which closely reminds of the brexit mindset of isolationism while expecting everyone to do what they want.

The best analogy for brexit is the Netflix one from David Osler (@finance_LL):

"I'm going to cancel Netflix and negotiate with each film producer separately, to get the best deal for me and my family #Brexit" 

A Little of the genius of David Osler
 That's it in a nutshell, I don't need to say anymore. You can read more here.  and some of his tweets you can see to the right. Brilliant.

I still haven't got Netflix and was thinking of the time it takes if you want to download a series from an illegal site, with the risks involved, maybe two or three hours. For £5.99 you can get a month of Netflix and watch as much as you want. An hour of my time is worth a lot more than £5.99 so really it's no contest, I will be subscribing eventually.

That's enough of that, today I have to go and pick up some Bowie vinyl that the GPO decided to deliver at mid day on Friday and I do intend to have a most relaxing weekend although that seldom happens and there will be things to do.

 have just started the last episode of series three of "Black Sails" so I have plenty of ways of spending my time.

I was going to choose a Bowie piece as I'd mentioned him, but thinking on "Black Sails" we'll go for some Alestorm to wake us all up.

Have a good Saturday.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Foggy Notions

Walking into work this morning it is very foggy. On the sixth floor you can't see the river, or across the river. With th efog I immediately thought of "Foggy Notion" by the Velvet Underground and was surprised to find the Super Deluxe sets shown below. One thing the Velvet Underground were not is Super Deluxe. They made music that almost anyone could play but they set a template for a million garage bands with songs of three chords or less that could be quiet or noisy but always worth listening to.

The Super Deluxe reminds of phone and broadband companies pushing their superfast and ultrafast services. If it's fast it's fast. that's all you need to know. Same with film and TV with UltraHD etc etc, it's irrelevant how good the picture is if the story is rubbish.

Someone told me I had to watch "Taken" in HD, I recorded it from Film4 and watched it and .... it was just another Liam Neeson film with Liam Neeson being Liam Neeson. I had another friend who told me when you watched a certain sci fi film in HD you could see the space backdrop was a black curtain! I don't want to see that, I want to enjoy the film.

I have the whole original Adams Family on DVD, the picture transfer is appalling but two minutes ito it you don't notice because the script and acting is razor sharp,

So, it's Friday, have a brilliant day.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Middle of the Night Post

Not quite, a lot of today has been wrestling with Power Pivot and finally making some decent progress, but am still affected by the shortened daylight hours, but it does mean I get to see some decent sunrises but it has been cold when walking in a morning so it is very tempting to just take the bus.

It is dark outside now and this is an excuse to share Public Service Broadcasting's take on WH Auden's "Night Mail" (the full poem is here) and I was thinking it was a Betjamin poem. I've shared Auden before, Alex Harvey covered his "Roman Wall Blues" as "Soldier on The Wall" and I did a video here.

So that's quite a lot of information is very few words which is always good.

I'm on track to pass 300 posts this year and to post my 2,000th post next year, which is something that I just didn't expect to do so that is good. My walking is also hitting the targets so that is another plus.

Tomorrow is Friday, and I am surprised that I've posted very day this week and could possibly hit 300 posts before the end of November, although that is very unlikely, but it does mean I have been posting an average of almost one a day this year.

So enjoy everything I've shared with you and enjoy your Friday too.

Remember A Day

I walked into work this morning as was listening to Thousand Yard Stare's "Live at Electric Studios" and had been wondering who the intro to the instrumental "Petrichor" remind me of, and today realised it was post Roger Waters Pink Floyd, pretty threatening before returning to familiar TYS territory.

The album is excellent but I have been listening to a lot of them this week so decided to to go to Floyd's last album that featured Syd Barrett, "A Saucerful of Secrets" which my friend Harry Clark referred to as "Y D" because of the titling on the cover, which is one of those that you can always lose yourself in wuth it's magu, planets and magical and alchemical devices and colouring.

The secongd song in is the one I took the post title from and still one of my favourites though I first heard it on "Relics" an early cheap compilation featuring a Nick Mason drawn Heath Robinson like cover, another that you can sit andlook at and lose yourself in though it's better to have the vinyl version than the CD or digital version.

I've shared a version used as a soundtack to the Japanese animation "The Wanderer" for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The Joy Of Rubik

A friend shared a video of an animated (possessed?) Rubik Cube, and it is quite lovely, giving it the charateristics of a small puppy, whating to be friends and make lonely people feel better. The film is called "Scrambled" and is by Polder Animation who have their own Youtube channel.

I remember getting a Rubik Cube in the early eighties and being amused, frustrated, confused, fascinated and obsessed with this simple puzzle device that had so many permutations, most of them being wrong. You see people who can solve them in next to no time but they are great training device for dealing with impact analysis, ie "If I do this, then it's going to affect that, which in turn will affect the other thing".

It is an excellent way of training your mind as well as being a potential time waster, but it is still an amazing small device which can actually discipline you to remember and evaluate the impact of what you are doing.

Actually writing this has made me decide to get another one to see if I can still crack it, and I know it should actually sharpen my minds, although we shall see about that. I am quite amazed at the number of variations on th eoriginal 3x3x3 cube. having seen a 5x5x5 one as well as pyramids and objects with far more tha 6 faces, I'm afraid they would just fry my brain.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018


It looks like Facebook is blocking by blog posts. There's only a handful of hits now, which I assume is from friends, and given that the blog has only three followers I'm hardly headline news.  Last month there were hundreds of visits via Facebook, but now you can count them on two hands. The thing is they've done the same to Spoongig which normally gets a decent amount of hits.

As I mainly write it as a diary it's not a problems, but if I was trying to monetise it or run a business then it could be quite annoying. You should never rely on just one source for anything you do, because if that source dries up then you are fairly screwed.

As I write this I'm attempting to make my own take on an Aloo Chole curry, which Rajanagar do so brilliantly. I was thinking that I'd go for a takeaway, but decided to try my hand at it myself with extra greens and a few olives.

After a busy couple of days, looking forward to a relaxing night maybe even watch some TV, but I will leave you with "Judy Get Down" by Anthony Moore for no other reason than it's an absolutely brilliant song.

Enjoy your Tuesday night.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Do It Again

I am currently working my way through Michael Moorcock's "History of The Runestaff" section of his "Eternal Champion" serious and thoroughly enjoying it. I was worried it might turn out to be like when you revisit old films, music and TV and you think "What was I thinking?" but while the writing style might be a bit clunky and it's full of magical allies popping up when the hero is done fore, it contains some brilliant lasting imagery and sequences, and I like the post apocalyptic implication of Britain as the bad guys though that is just a reflection of the whole British Empire thing.

When I finish this I have a few more books including the Corum sequence which is based on Irish mythology, and I will appraise you of how that goes though I have sure that they are better than The Runestaff sequence as a lot more of the images are still with me, whereas The Runsestaff sequence is almost like reading it for the first time.

When I've finished this set of books I am going to revisit a lot of Clive Barker, "Imajica" is my favourite book ever still, and "Weaveworld" is the book that first introduced  me to him with it's story of a magic carpet in Liverpool. From then I read the "Books of Blood" which contained some excellent stories, but I will see how far I go down that path.

So basically this is just about doing it again, something you have already done or a place you have been, and the reason why you do it is because of the enjoyment and happiness it brings you, so I will leave you with the appropriately titled "Do It Again" by The Beach Boys. Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Helium Echo

This morning I bougght some water from Tesco and for once used one of the auto checkouts. For weeks the echoey voice on many of them has disconcerted me and I've dicussed this while chatting with the real staff and had a laugh about it. This morning it sounded like it was on helium as well as echoing, sounding weirder than ever.

This comes on top of the Poundland ones that great uyou using the voice of Elvis, which  is also very offputting, wondering if next they're going to have some hologram greeter to freak you out even further.

This reminded me of The King, an Irish Elvis impersonator who had an album out called "Gravelands" featuring covers of songs by artists who have since deprated this mortal plain such as Freddie Mercury of Queen, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, (apologies for spelling errors) and it is a more than listenable album, so I'll share his take on "Whiskey in the Jar".

Have a disconcerting helium filled Thursday.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Grey Day To Grey Week

The sky is a uniform grey still, and now the rain has turned up. This is not the most inspiring of weeks, although the fact that in the USA the Democrats have retaken the House of Representatives giving Donald Trump a metaphorical bloody nose (I wonder if he bleeds orange) is a definited bright spot although the Republicans still hold the Senate, just. There's info here thought not sure if it will stay.

I watched this weekes episode of The Walking Dead and there was a major event which should have been a shocking surprise but the Fox announcers kept telling us about it in the ad breaks. It loses it's impact if you tell people about it, but I'm not done with the series yet and am still working through Black Sails and Constantine, and maybe I will watch the film at some point but cant see Keanu Reeves providing as much entertainment as Matt Ryan.

Tonight I am going to see Thousand Yard Stare supporting House of Love at The Boilershop, so it's not exactly a quiet week for me, things are happening and keeping me on my feet.

So hopefuly the clouds will disperse so I will share Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting".

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Fadely Grayley

Well today is another totally grey day, there's fog on the Tyne and the sky is just a uniform singularity of non colour. There's moisture in the air and thi sis the sort of day where SAD kicks in and there seems to be nothing to inspire you. You don't want t walk, because that's all you are doing, it's unlikely that you will see anything worth taking a picture or video of, and the weather seems to vreate that uniform winter silence.

CHAT Trust Phoenix
I did submit an image of the CHAT Trust Phoenix to MyTownPhotography  just because of the general positive vibes it creats in everyone, although taking a photo today would not have been good, so I'll include an earlier one to your right.

I've also got my House of Love / Thousand Yard Stare ticket so tomorrow night will be the first time that I have been to a gig at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle.

Yesterday I did manage my first #cookamealinaminute video which you can see here. It's for Jack Monroe's Chickpea and Peach Curry which will appear in her next book I believe.

I'm not sure which song to share with you, I was thinking something by Pearls Before Swine but couldn't find the song I wanted so we will go with "Grey Day" by Madness., which suits the weather.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Black Turns To Grey

Just looking at the sky out side it was black when I rose and now it's fading out to grey. It's Monday and looks like just another week coming up.

I'm surprised at the amount of walking I have done so far this month, but I am sure that that will drop off soon although I still expect to hit my monthly target, though not sure I will hit the 400K (that's about 200 miles) I hit last month.

The problem is on days like this I have nothing much to say, it's just one of those days, although I am sure something good will happen today. The grey weather is not exactly inspiring, I will start to walk but chances are I am going to get the bus most of the way into work.

I may cook the Jack Monroe Peach and Chickpea Curry tonight and may try to record it on an instagram video. I only have a minute to do that so that could be interesting, maybe hashtag it with #cookamealinaminute which is slightly misleading but you get the idea.

So the obvious music accompaniment to this post is "Fade To Grey" by Visage, which I have for sale on my Discogs store.

Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

When Things Go Wrong

I woke up about 3 AM then went to bed about 4 AM. It that time I managed to screw up access to this blog, put some Thousand Yard Stare onto an SD Card then tried to insert it into my Emopeak headphones, which kept flipping to FM radio and not playing the Music despite saying "Music" (It talks), then I took the card out , reinserted it, and managed to lose it in the headphones. The SD socket had got slightly bend so the card disappeared into the body of the headphones which is an otherwise sealed unit.

Then I was messing with CNAMES on the blog redirect and it started saying there's something wrong with this page, although I was trying to rush things and it did say it could take up to six hours, but I expected the old links to work. Anyway it finally seems to be sorted, and I was just wondering whether this would sort the visitor situation. Time will tell on that.

So my headphones still work, and I will use my Pixel Phone as the music source, the blog is working, but obviously in the middle of the night my mind is not fully functional and things seem more impossible than they actually are.

I'm still debating the Thousand Yard Stare gig., they are the support, but I really do need to see them, so maybe tomorrow I will go and buy a ticket, will try and avoid SeeTickets, and it's and excuse to share the wonderful "Version of Me" with you.

Saturday, 3 November 2018


Where Has The UK Gone?
Normally I have about 250 views on the site from the UK. Now it's down to around thirty so I think that probably Facebook is removing me from people's feeds. There's times when I can't even find my own posts let alone other people's so I haven't a clue what's going on, but seriously I can't be bothered to find out.

I know things change and we need to adapt to change, but I haven't noticed any improvements in Facebook. I use it to play Scrabble and have the odd interaction with friends.

I'd received an invite in November but couldn't find it on my mobile, and it was difficult on the PC so that is a definite failure.

So really it's probably just some kind of blip and there are worse things to bother about.

November has started well on the walking front and on Wednesday Thousand Yard Stare are on at The Boiler Shop in Newcastle. I've not seen a gig there and I have never seen them despite them being one of my favourite bands, so I really need to make the effort to get over there and I'm sure I will. They're supporting House of Love so that's two great bands in one great place.

So I will leave you with "God's P45" one of my slideshows for one of their songs, which has a totally gorgeous chorus, like so many of their songs. Listening to this has nailed it, I'm going on Wednesday.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Halloween Minimalism - The Sound of John Carpenter

My last post was about being post Halloween  and I was considering using John Carpenter's "Halloween" theme as an accompanying video. John Carpenter is unusual in that he makes films and also does the soundtracks. His compositions are minimalist  but stick in your mind often using repetitive notes an motifs that carve themselves into you psyche.

I'm not sure what his first film was but I remember seeing "Assault on Precinct 13" and being maightily impressed with it's unknown cast simple but frightening set up and one of the most unexpectedly shocking scenes I've seen in a film, and... of course ... the soundtrack. It's still stands up today despite it being a remake and resetting of "Fort Apache".

John Carpenter recently played at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle and it's not many directors could even think about doing that.

He is responsible for some of my favourite films and all are marked my him, often working with Kurt Russell such as in the remake of "The Thing" and in "Scape for New York" and "Escape From LA".

So it's Friday , enjoy your day and weekend.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The Day After Halloween

Last night was Halloween, I stayed in and watched episodes of Constantine and The Walking Dead, got two tubs of sweets from Tesco (two for seven pounds) and had one knock on the door, a pleasant and well made up family (the parents as zombies the children as witches) who were made up when I told them to take two each.

It seems everyone was out apart from me, though I wasn't aware of anything that was on, and no one would ask me to anything because these days I usually politely decline.

But it's a new month, and I am off to York today (that's twice in a week) so although it's the day after I'll leave you with Sonic Youth's "Halloween" just to include the "Bad Moon Rising" flaming pumpkin headed scarecrow cover although I was thinking  of John Carpenter's superb minimalist "Halloween" theme.

Have a good day

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Past Imperfect, Present More Imperfect

All my posts have been getting around 40 to 50 views until five days ago when they have dropped to five or six. I think this is something Facebook has done because that's where, normally most of my visits come from. It feel a little like all of a sudden you are rubbish and no one wants to interact with you . Often in these situations you think "What have I done?" when the reality is that something beyond your contriol has changed, and you can't do anything about it. Well you could spend a lot of time trying to discover what the problem or change is, but to be quite honest I honestly can't be bothered. I amd sure if I keep writing and sharing stuff worth sharing both readers and robots will return and my stats will increase.

On the walking fron I will finish October on about 420K steps that's about 25% up on my target number of steps. Whether I can keep that up in November is a different story, but as long as I hit my target steps that's all that really matters to me.

This morning I listened to  Public Service Broadcasting's  "Inform, Educate, Entertain" and there was one song I hadn't noticed before, the rather excellent "The Now Generation". The thing I love about them is that you actually learn from listening to their music, so as well as being just great to listen to it's educational as well.  Most of their songs are also like films for the ears, although they often have acocompanying videos that are available via the Public Service Broadcasting Channel on Youtube.

All their releases are themed so fall into the "concept album" genre, but are still all essential listing from "The War Room" up to the present day "White Star Liner" EP based on The Titanic.

Anyway I will be listening to a bit more of them this week.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018


After walking into work and most of the way back I clocked 14K steps so another 6K today takes me over the 400K mark for October. Yesterday I walked in took some photographs and went for Bob Dylan's "Shelter From A Hard Rain" album. I'm fairly sure this is a bootleg recording originally and I bought it mainly for the duet with Joan Baez" on "Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" which I first saw on The Old Grey Whistle Test and I include here.

The album sounds like the band can just about play , but are actually enjoying themselves, from the opener of "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall" which Dylan originally wrote when he thought the end was coming during the Cuban Missile Crisis and he just listed a load of images and it still stands up today, to the final "Idiot Wind" which is just a brilliant paranoid narrative. At no point do you want to skip to the next song, but I will often repeat play one of the songs, such as "Deportees" of "Mozambique".

Of course the original recordings have better sound (except "Deportees") but they don't capture the feel of the gig. ANother album that I love and constantly revisit.

Anyway I've still not reset my alarm clock, so let myself get up an hour earlier again, but I have a doctor's appointment at seven thirty so need to leave the house at about quarter to seven.

It is Tuesday , so have a good one everyone.

Monday, 29 October 2018


This morning I had a lie in, only half an hour but I thought and just enjoy a bit of extra time in bed. The heating hadn't come on, and I though it did automatic daylight saving changes so thought I'd have to manually change that as well. I'd done all the analog clocks, and the cooker yesterday and all the electronic stuff resets itself, so all was good. I washed and showered, and came in and switched the computer on and noticed my owl wall clock still said quarter to six. I thought the mechanism must be failing, then I checked my phone, quarter to six. Then it hit me, the only clock I hadn't reset was my alarm clock so I'd got up an hour earlier than I thought it was, though that means I feel like I've had an extra half hour in bed and I have an extra half hour to do stuff like this.

I spent the weekend in York and visited The National Railway Museum for the first time, and rathe amazing place. Just go, it's free, and you will spend a lot of time in there seeing these amazing examples of engineering and how we have regressed from luxury to the cattle trucks we have today. I saw this YouTube video of the place which will show it far better than I can describe it.

Coming back on The Cross-Country one, my phone was down to 4% power, but I thought they have charging points, which they do, but they don't work and the staff can't be bothered to see what's wrong. Sad, but when you're paid a pittance to work on substandard kit because the companies don't invest, you are going to think "What's The Point?".

Two records for me are going to happen, another thirty posts I will have posted three hundred this year, I've already done 270 which is a record but three hundred will be nice, and after walking round York (including 25K steps on Saturday) I'm on course to hit 400K steps for the first time in a month, unless the weather turns really bad, but I'm standing on 380K at the moment with three days left.

Amazingly I didn't buy any music in York but my friend Scott bought a best of Dusty Springfield album, with a self deprecating "a bit of easy listening " comment, to which I replied Dusty Springfield is anything but and shows excellent musical taste and suggested he tracked down "Dusty In Memphis".

Anyway it's Monday morning and maybe time to get off to work.

Have a good one.

Friday, 26 October 2018


There was a homeless guy in th epassage down the side of the Tyneside Cinema asking for spare change. I said I had none (which was true) but was going to visit my friend Krista at Kota to make a donation to Craig Puranen Wilson's memorial seat at the Tyneside Cinema. She wasn't in so I slipped a note under the door, and you can still donate of Facebook, but Facebook won't accept anything from me and won't say why despite me raising a ticket about it, so my only way of donating to causes is to send money to the person running it.

Anyway on the floor below is 586 Records and I was hoping to find a reggae 12" and saw "Jammin'" by Bob Marley on 12" and it has a live take of "No Woman, No Cry" on the "B" sided and was reasonably priced giving me change from a fiver.  I had a crack on with the owner who was listening to 6Music remarking I wasn't sure whether it was live or a recording as Tom Ravenscroft sounds so much like his dad John Peel.

This meant I had some change for the homeless guy who asked the guy in front of me if he had any spare change and I think he was surprised that I had come back and gave him some money. The thing is you can't always do that, and sometimes beggars can be aggressive or unfeasibly persistent hassling you for more after you have given them something, but most are grateful for any help you can give them, so I try to help when I can

So this is another excuse to listen to "No Woman, No Cry" by Bob Marley, and we all know what he would have done.