Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The Wicker Tree - #AnimalAugust #4

A few years back I picked up blu ray copies of "The Wicker Man" and "The Wicker Tree" Robin Hardy films separated by nearly forty years. "The Wicker Man" is a masterpiece and does not need and never needed a follow up, but generally the people who watch  "The Wicker Tree" will be fans of "The Wicker Man" and as such extreme disappoint may be the best that you can experience.

The film was made in 2011 and lots of things hark back to the seventies, some of the acting is very two dimensional, and the storyline (two born again US Christian hicks sent as missionaries to pagan Scotland and ending up as targets for the pagans) is very shallow , though there are some good one liners and digs at Bible Thumpers , Graham McTavish as Sir Lachlan Morrison is excellent as the Christopher Lee / Lord Summerisle figure.

Also the landscape shots and scenery is top notch, even the ruined castle is very impressive.

The problem is that if "The Wicker Man" is this season's Liverpool , the "The Wicker Tree" is this season's Wycombe Wanderers , in their own sphere absolutely fine , but you try and compare and latter is bound to come a cropper.

The film is short , maybe 100 minutes but is probably far more watchable that Nicholas Cage's  "The Wicker Man" remake. and I wouldn't put you off it. I was apprehensive when I saw the IMDB ratings but those fears were , in my opinion, unfounded.

So what #AnimalAugust song should I share with you , it's still a bit reptilian , as the first thing that came to mind is "The Snake" by The Pink Fairies from the "Never, Never Land" album , but this is a 2014 live recording from The 100 Club , where I went to see Ben Waters.

Enjoy the Pink Fairies and give The Wicker Tree a visit.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

The Midgard Serpent #AnimalAugust #3

Still another sixty pages to go in "Everville" and still have no real clue about the Uad Uroboros, the monsters of the book. The Uroboros part is based on Ouroboros , the self sunstaining perpetual worm or snake that surronds the world based on the Midgard Serpent Jörmungandr from Norse mythology.

While thoroughly enjoying the book , I am still confused as to why I bought this and never actually read it, it will definitely be revisited, and I know one of the characters Harry D'Amour maybe just from "The Scarlet Gospels" or "The Great and Secret Show" , so it is slightly surprising.

It is a very grey Tuesday but the rain has stopped and I have been listening to a couple of CD boxes today. One was the first five Alice Cooper albums and this just confirmed that they didn't really take off until "Love It To Death" with some impressive songs with one of their best (and creepiest) "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" sseguing with with frightening but originally funny synchronicity into Rolf Harris' "Sun Arise" . The Cooper song refers to a child stalker and well you know what I mean. The album is still excellent.

"Killer" is even better , but not of the albums hit forty minutes so that was a great morning's listening.

I am now listening to the "Zang Tumb Tuum" box set which is 3CDs and a DVD , and while there is some good stuff on there, I liked the Alice Cooper albums better.

In keeping with #AnimalAugust (and the Midgard Serpent) I am going with the excellent Northern Soul song "The Snake" by Al Wilson , a truly great record that always grabs your attention when it comes on the radio.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Still In Everville - #AnimalAugust #2

Last night , this morning I was having another weird dream , someone had stolen my ladder from my garage , and the garden umbrella looked like it was going to be next , the door was open so I pushed it to close it and it shot out of the garage and landed in the middle of the road. It was hardly the most interesting or inspirational situation so I was happy to wake up and get out of bed.

I'm on the last 100 pages of "Everville" and I definitely have never read this. In 'The Great And Secret Show" the mostrous Iad are a treat on the other side of the dream sea Quiddity , but in "Everville"  we see them close up , this is not something, even with my rubbish memory, I would have forgotten.

I did a couple of Instagram posts yesterday essentially talking about album covers and sets, Instagram limits you to a minute so I have sixty seconds to say what I need to and they have got a surprising number of views and likes , so I will be doing some more. Here's one , but you may have to log in to see it.

So continuing #AnimalAugust I am going to simply go with "Animal" by Def Leppard. I remember buying the "Overture" single on their own Bludgeon Riffola label (which might be worth something now although you can pick it up for about £20 on Discogs  . I heard the record because John Peel played them to death , but once they made it they badmouthed Peel and said he never played them . If he hadn't I wouldn't have bought the record.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

#AnimalAugust and Album Covers

Today I will start the #AnimalAugust sequence , which is basically every post will feature animal related music in band name, song , record label or something else.

Apropos of nothing I was looking at album covers on the internet last night and there are various lists of album covers. Like many things because we are no probably into the seventieth year of album cover design , there are lot of examples good and bad, and was shocked to see glaring omissions and seemingly bland inclusions.

Some of my favourite album covers are a lot more that the front cover (I'm thinking Barney Bubbles and Storm Thorgerson / Hipgnosis ) and sometimes you do get a single striking image but a lot seem to be covers that are just there because the artist is very successful and famous.

Here are some list for you to peruse:

I do buy vinyl albums mainly for the covers, or some uniqueness about them, but my preferred vinyl listen is probably reggae , although I also like electro disco , and finally got a copy of "En-Tact" by The Shamen which can be picked up very reasonably on Discogs  .

Some of the iconic covers that stand out for me are the first Elvis Presley album which influenced "London Calling" by The Clash , Andy Warhol usually gets two mentions for "The Velvet Underground and Nico"  the front cover of which only features Warhol's name, and "Sticky Fingers" by The Rolling Stones , both quite complex designs although deserving of their place in any list.

At the bottom this post will be twelve of my favourite album covers which you can click through to Amazon to check out although it may go through to the digital copy, there should be links to the vinyl copy.

Sometimes Picture discs can look good , I'm thinking the mandala effect on "Air Conditioning" by Curved Air, and there are some with zoetropic designs which look impressive under the right conditions , plus the laser etched 3D holograms which are  often impressive, first seen on Jack White's "Lazaretto" I believe.

Then you have the Vertigo Swirl which is simple and hypnotic and worth buying any piece of vinyl so you can sit and watch it.

Vinyl , because it is bigger gives more options for creativity.

If you would prefer to support your local record shop check out these in Newcastle from this post here:

So we come to the first #AnimalAugust song which will be "Fireball" by Ducks Deluxe , they also do a cracking version of Sonny Curtis' "I Fought The Law".

Friday, 31 July 2020


When I work in the office I do not listen to music or podcasts because I think it's courteous to be available to my work colleagues. At home it's different, I always have noise on which falls into the following groups:

  • CDs - Currently working my way through my box sets
  • 6Music - My goto radio station
  • BBC Sounds - For Sound Mixes , Programs I've missed and podcasts

Each one has it's own benefits and drawbacks . When you listen to your own music collection you have the choice of what is played , with options to repeat or skip.

BBC Sounds is slightly similar in that you can stop and fast forward, switch and pause, although you do need to be able to stream or download what you need to listen to.

Radio is similar to sounds except that it's live and with both you can discover new music (this happens a lot to me as I subscribe to the 95% is rubbish so look to find the 5% and there is always great music being produced).

So today I am currently listening to 6Music but will soon switch to may latest box , "Citizen" by Steely Dan which I didn't get round to yesterday, and will be fine for this sunny Friday , so I will share "Sail The Waterway" the other Steely Dan song that is not officially available in any digital format, apart from Youtube.

I have decided to go with #AnimalAugust in which every song I post this august will be in some way animal related , either in th eband name , the song name or something closely related like the record label. I should be able to do that.

Thursday, 30 July 2020


Today is grey so that's why the post title came to mind . I thought Grimalkin was a witch's cat it in "Macbeth" (it was a familiar of the three witches) , but it's also an archaic generic name for a cat. While I like photographing cats I treat them like dogs and children , ok as long as they go back to their owners. I tag my pictures with #CatsInNam and was surprised to find an Instagram Influencer Profile here.  I tried searching for #CatInNam on Google but every site that maybe had something then redirected , so you will have to search for yourself on Instagram or Twitter or my tag @mikeydred96 .

My intention today was to listen to "Citizen" by Steely Dan , a great compilation but missing two of my favourite Steely Dan songs "Dallas" and "Sail The Waterway" which the band thought were so bad that they never appeared digitally, but they appear as vinyl rips on Youtube and I recently rebought the 12" vinyl copy from Discogs. So that's why I am sharing "Dallas" with you.

However I picked up on "Babylon's Burning" a rough and ready guide to punk from 1973-1978 and the four CDs while consisting mainly of demos and live takes was very listenable to my ears. I had been thinking of selling the box but it definitely earned it's place in my collection with lots aof great bands on there, and by four thirty with systems not behaving at work I thought it was a good time to wind down.

Steely Dan will be tomorrow, and my box also contains a burned copy of  "Can't Buy A Thrill" augmented by the aforementioned favourites , so I have a lot to listen to tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020


This is my lowest posting month since January 2017 which was a sort of aim this year, so that is good, although I now have an idea for a pig posting next month, sharing songs which feature an animal, which should be fairly easy to maintain, but we shall see what I feel like on Saturday. It is easier to write if you give yourself a theme or thread to follow,

I suppose it's similar when you write a story or a book , you need something to hook the reader , and ideally keep them involved. I'm currently watching "Tales From The Loop" on Amazon Prime and finding it a little depressing, but some of the sets are great , looking like a vaguely alternate 1950's close to dustbowl America. The thing is you are captured because you want to know what The Loop is and does , featuring time slips , stopping and starting time , and conspiracy. It's only eight episodes but if there is a series two I probably won't continue with it , but need to hit the end of series one, so it has me in it's clutches.

I use Google Sheets to track my steps and noticed there was a discrepancy is the running total and the summed total , this meant checking earlier sheets , they all balanced, so I individually checked the daily totals and found one in error which I corrected. It was a really odd error but must have happened when copying cells. It's fixed now.

I have two CDs to listen to in the Velvet Underground "Peel Slowly and See" box , then it's going to be Public Image Limited's "Metal Box" and then maybe "Plastic Box" which should keep me going for the rest of this week (probably ten hours of listening.So I'm going to go with "Fishing" for it's awesome looping guitar riff which I first heard on "Plastic Box" by is from "Album"