Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Belling The Cat

 My friend Julie lent (is that the past tense of lend) the book "We Are Bellingcat: An Intelligence Agency for the People" by Elliot Higgins. It is a decent size and the print is a good size for my old eyes , but it is slow reading for me because you really have to read every line.

There are only six chapters but the second one about the genesis of Bellingcat is almost sixty pages , a third of the prose in the book. 

This is the blurb about it , I was gonna try and tell you but this does it far better.

 "Bellingcat, the home-grown investigative unit, is redefining the way we think about news, politics and the digital future. Here, their founder - a high-school dropout on a kitchen laptop - tells the story of how they created a whole new category of information-gathering, galvanising citizen journalists across the globe to expose war crimes and pick apart disinformation, using just their computers."

It is thoroughly absorbing and frightening but amazing that a group of people who's main investigative tool is an incredible attention to detail can actually bring such essential news to our intention in a world swathed with absolute disinformation.

An appropriate record is "John Walker's Blues" by Steve Earle from the album "Jerusalem".

I am not sure if you are aware of my writing on Vocal but these are a few of my stories if you would like to sample them:

  1. The Doors of Perception
  2. Too Lazy To Learn
  3. Days
  4. Remembering Sophie Lancaster
  5. Heart as big as Liverpool

Sunday, 10 October 2021

The Thurber Album Addendum

Well I have finished "The Thurber Album" and it is going straight to a charity shop. It's dry and 95% boring. Some good lines.

This is an experiment in seeing if my Vocal links will be picked up

Also my friend Keith's fave Mungo Jerry song is "You Don't Have to be in the Army To Fight In The War" so we will go with that

I am not sure if you are aware of my writing on Vocal but these are my top ten stories if you would like to sample them:

  1. The Operation
  2. Lady of the Water
  3. Words With Friends, Our Vocal Connections
  4. So You're A Racist Now MikeyDred
  5. The Vocal/Facebook Pen Name Directory
  6. Mountain Climbing
  7. Become A Vocal Facebook Group Member And Bathe In The Positivity
  8. Your story has NOT been approved
  9. Snackwallahnelle
  10. Home
All these are well read and loved , and you never know you may enjoy them.

Friday, 8 October 2021

The Thurber Album

I am currently reading "The Thurber Album" by James Thurber which I probably bought because of his funny but misogynist line "A Won's Place Is In The Wrong" , and to be quite honest I am not too impressed. It is the sort of book you would be given by a particularly obnoxious English teacher.

Admittedly I am more than half way through it and will finish it and there were two instances that brought a smile to my face.  

"On his death bed he was asked if he forgave his enemies , he replied I ain't got any , I licked 'em all"


"He instructed the students that they didn't need to take notes, at which points forty of them got out their fountain pens and wrote that down.

My friend Julie has just lent me (is that the right form) "We Are Bellingcat - An Intelligence For The People" , which I am chomping at the bit to read , but need to finish "The Thurber Album" first.

Although it has nothing to do with this post I've included Mungo Jerry's "Lady Rose" because I think it is a beautiful song and I love it.

I am not sure if you are aware of my writing on Vocal but these are my top ten stories if you would like to sample them:

  1. The Operation
  2. Lady of the Water
  3. Words With Friends, Our Vocal Connections
  4. So You're A Racist Now MikeyDred
  5. Mountain Climbing
  6. Home
  7. Your story has NOT been approved
  8. Sonnetwo
  9. Snackwallahnelle
  10. Why Write?
All these are well read and loved , and you never know you may enjoy them.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

So Behold The Man

I cannot believe I have not posted in here this month , but Vocal has become my priority writing platform now. I finished Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell about his experience in the Spanish Civil War and then read "Behold The Man" by Michael Moorcock.

"Behold The Man" combines Heath Robinson Time Travel with the crucifixion and at 124 pages is a fairly quick read which I did really enjoy. There is a little explicit sex but no actual erotica in there. The synopsis reads thus:

"Meet Karl Glogauer, time traveller and unlikely Messiah. When he finds himself in Palestine in the year 29AD he is shocked to meet the man known as Jesus Christ - a drooling idiot, hiding in the shadows of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth. But if he is not capable of fulfilling his historical role, then who will take his place?"

Next up is "The Thurber Album" by James Thurber , a very old Penguin edition . He came out with some good one liners but will see how this pans out.

I have been tasked with reviewing "Workingman's Dead" on Vocal because of this review of Terrapin Station , one of my favourite albums.

I am doing this just before I go to hospital, Because there is zero quality control , it will be very short, but I was worried that the blog was going to miss it's first month in over a decade, but this is here now.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I will include a full copy of "Workingmen's Dead" for your perusal.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Here In Catalonia

 I am currently reading George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" and am shocked how I have drifted into it , ensnared by Orwell's excellent writing. It's about the Spanish Civil War and everything about this book says a big no to me. Boring ,  1930s War commentary about something that I have no interest in at all.

Then I opened the book.

The text was huge almost unparagraphed slabs , only 250 pages but I wasn't going to get through this. 90 pages later and it is a truly excellent read . It brings out the total boredom of war and just as you are getting as numb as Orwell was the bombs drop , the bullets fly , the lack of resources , the dirt and filth , you are in it.

And it is very readable , I am just surprised how good it is , maybe it is just me.

So to go with it I've included Greenslade's "Catalan" from "Time and Tide".

One of the good things about posting on my own blog is there are no limitations or quality control (as you may have noticed , but you can check out my Vocal writing here , which is subject to quality control.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

On The Border

Woke up this morning to thick fog. 

I was dreaming , there was a guitarist and Cher , and he was playing in various styles and she told him to play like Carlos Santana, I thought there is no way he can just play like Carlos Santana without the right guitar and amplification set up.

He started to play and I thought it's nothing like Santana , it sounds like birdsong. This went on for a while and I then realised it was my alarm clock which wakes me up with birdsong. It's the first time for me , I think , that real life and dreams have meshed together so closely . I really don't know if that is a good thing. Is this real life or is it just fantasy indeed?

Obviously the multi style guitarist got me thinking of "Guitar Jamboree" by Chris Spedding , he is a brilliant guitarist but it's just a novelty song.

I finished Tony Hawks' "Piano In The Pyrenees" which turned out to be more about his attempt to build a swimming pool while integrating into the local French community , culminating in meeting up with a former lover. I hope it worked out.

Next book I've nipped over the border with George Orwell's "Homage To Catalonia" about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. It is grim and the pages are huge blocks of text making for difficult reading but it is providing an insight into what happened then.

Now to work.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

The Piano Is In The Pyrenees

I am half way through the book "A Piano In The Pyrenees" by Tony Hawks, and while it is extremely entertaining , the piano got there after a hundred pages without too much trauma, apart from a Luton Van meeting it's demise. The thing is it's a bit like writing a 500 page book on the titanic and a hundred pages in it's on the bottom of the Atlantic. I suppose the film did start a bit like that.

Anyway this is just one of Tony Hawks books (all worth a read and great fun) and some fun stories about an English man relocating to a house in the Pyrenees , the scrapes he gets into and the characters he meets.

The weekend is here and I am not sure what is going to happen. 

I am working through "The Killing" on BBC iPlayer and , if this is really the right word , enjoying it. In the past I have worked so many people who will not watch a program with subtitles, they really don't know what they are missing do they?

As I mentioned "Titanic" I've included "The Unsinkable Ship" from "White Star Liner" by Public Service Broadcasting.