Tuesday 30 June 2009

The Omega Man (and Woman)

A couple of months back I was having various problems with blood pressure tablets that were affecting me both physically and mentally. The tablets were working but the side effects were rubbish , affecting both thinking process and the causing what Pele describes as 'erectile dysfunction'. The problem is diabetes is a debilitating condition and things are only going to get worse , or so they tell me. A possible solution was Viagara , but it's both expensive , and they only prescribe you four tablets a month , when really I want something that'll work on a daily basis.I then came across this in Boots, Cardio-Ace.

Cardio-Ace is essentially Omega-3 Oil , which can be found in oily fish to name but one source. Not availableon prescription because you can get it from a decent diet. Anyway this stuff works. At my annual Diabetic Review the nurse explained how it works. Basically as we get older our arteries and veins get clogged up with fat and gunk making it more difficult for the blood to get round the body and provide stuff like oxygen for the brain etc. What Omega 3 does is act like a brillo pad on your arteries and veins clearing away the gunk leaving your body in a fully functioning state. Would recomend this stuff to anybody . It works!!

Saturday 27 June 2009

Proper Properganda

Recently got involved with Proper Distribution distributing magazines and reviewing gigs and CDs after reading "Last Shop Standing" by Graham Jones (see here). The book mentions how Tesco demanded ten grand from Proper to talk with them about distribution , to which Proper decided against supplying the supermarket chain.

Despite the apparent impossibilty of competing against the supermarkets and X-Factor production line it's great to see that somebody can still produce quality stuff with integrity. Just tried this Amazon Widget thing here:

The label promotes modern stuff , esoteric stuff , repackages old stuff beautifully and it's a pleasure that they exist and care. The only equivalent I can think of is maybe Voiceprint who are based in Houghton-Le-Spring , I believe.

If you'd like to get involved the details are here and the Properganda page is here

Friday 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson - Not of this Earth (Any More)

Jacko dies at 50 from a heart attack. Sony / BMG Executives must be rubbing their hands with glee.

I'm not a huge fan of Michael Jackson , preferring his early , vibrant Jackson Five work to his later work. Off The Wall was a very good album , but Thriller , despite it being the number one seller of all time (50 million sales and counting) was the start of the slippery slope.

The worst thing is that the media are already trying to dissect his life , talk of family abuse , hangers on crawling out the woodwork.

Just remember his music and slap anyone who tries to dig the dirt.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Motion Blur

In this modern age where things get superceded almost before you buy them , I was suprised (or maybe not surprised ) that HD TVs suffer from something called motion blur , a shadow following something that moves across the screen. Apparentlly the new LED TV sets dont have it. I've always been worried about the HDTV situation which advertises it's product by shoeing and in focus forecound item (such as Wayne Rooney) against a blurred background. I don't want a picture with a blurred background , especially if I'm paying a lot for it.

Incidentally the version of True Colours in the Sky advert is by Ane Brun , available here.

About 5 years back I bought a Beko 32" CRT Television that is still going striong and gives a decent picture. Think I may wait untoil these flat TVs have themseves sorted out.

Last week we had another storming General Fiasco gig , album due in January , at the O2 Academy in Newcastle. This band is so good it's not true. When they introduce a new song you're actually looking forward to it because it's more genius from Owen (bass + vox) , Enda (Geetar) and Leaky (Drumz). They're back in September , I'll be deffo there..

Also next week Blur play the academy in preparation for their O2 Arena Gig. I'll be going for a curry at the Spice Cube.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Remake / Remodel

In his book "Last Shop Standing" Graham Jones (see here) remarks on how Greatest Hits packages and compilations are stagnating the music industry. Apparently Roxy Music have had seven such items , and over the past week there's another Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits, another compilation to celebrate Blur's reformation called Midlife and another Black Sabbath Greatest Hits Compilation.

Add this to the rush of "Platinum Collections", "Dad Rock" compilations for Fathers Day , and similar ones on Mothers Day, Christmas and the like and you can see just how bloated and lazy the corporate music industry has become concentrating solely on moving product rather than nurturing music . The two items should be compatible , though the fact that the industry is run by accountants shows in spades.

I put together a short video featuring recycled music , soundtracked by Roxy Music's Remake/Remodel from their eponymous debut, available for download here.

However in some ways greatest hits are not all bad, they may be a good introduction to a band , and it's good to see bands still touring even if they do rest on their laurels so to speak. Fleetwood Mac (with the genius of Lindsey Buckingham) and Fairport Convention are two that spring to mind. But the best news on this front for was that Arthur Jeffes, the son of the late great Simon Jeffes has put together a band to play the music of the truly wonderful Penguin Cafe Orchestra and will be touring with them , including old and new compositions. Now that IS worth looking forward to. Information here.

Friday 12 June 2009

What's The Meaning Of Free?

After Carphone Warehouse's re-imagining (see Orange Goldspots ad below) of the word "unlimited" in relation to mobile downloads (250 Mb a month se article here) we now have Sky offering free broadband, calls and Sky+ Box as the main thrust of their advertising campaign. In the small porint it does mention that you have to pay a minimum of about £16 a month to get these "free" services.

A similar thrust is 3s "never pay for another phone call" advert , the condition being that you make Skype to Skype phone calls using VOIP and incur the related internet access data charges . Yes, you dont pay for the calls , but you DO pay for being able to make them!!

The Orange Goldspot that uses THAT word:

Thursday 11 June 2009

The Train Can Be Fun

Train journeys can be annoying , borring and infuriating. There's lots of things can go wrong , unexplained delays , drunken idiots , jobsworth officials who just seem intent on obstructing you in any way you can.

However the experience can often be enhanced just by talking to the person you sit next to. Sometimes it can be amazing the number of things you find in common. Speaking to a young lady who alighted at Durham for a 62 mile journey to her job in York, we found that we both like the Sage, Richard Thompson , Half Man Half Biscuit and our conversion finished as she recognised my alarm tone of ELP's Hoedown which was meant to be my alarm call to wake me up at Darlington, which thanks to her I didn't need.

Hopefully there will be more journeys like that and less where they guy at the barrier at Darlington spends an age inspecting my ticket making me miss my train.

Here's the video for "Dickie Davies Eyes" one of my favourites, and it features Forton Services , I remember it when it was modern. When this hit number one in the Indie chart the band split for the first time!!


Saturday 6 June 2009

I Didn't Imagine The Jazz Playing Monks in Bright Orange

In a conversation in the Market Lane last night I was accused of being off my head when I said I had seen a troupe of monks dressed in bright orange playing jazz in the street in Tynemouth. I spoke to a couple of them in the queu for the beer tent in the Priory (Tynemouth Priory that is) where they told me they were called Excelsior (or some derivation thereof) , maybe had a relationship with the Dutch Excelsior Brewery or Football team. Anyway cant find anything about the jazz band on the net , though I'm sure I did at the time. Situation is the only proof I have is a bit of video I took when I saw them at the 2006 Mouth Of Tyne Festival , the sound was attrocious so I've replaced it with Morse Code Melody by The Alberts available on the album "By Jingo It's British Rubbish" here

The video proof is above

Monday 1 June 2009


Scrappage ... Is it even a real word? This must rate as the most idiot waste of tax payers money ever. Supposedly to help the (British?) Car Industry. You get a couple of grand off a new car if you scrap that one one you've kept on the road for the last fifteen years or whatever? Apparently 35,000 people have taken this up , so that's cost us £70m in payouts to car companies for discounts that you could have got with a bit of negotiation anyway!! Then there's the cost of trashing the old car. Recycling?? , will probably end up as landfill.

And the killer punchline .... you can trade in against a new Skoda, Fiat, Ford , Renault , Peugeot etc because we dont really have a British car industry any more !!

I'm keeping my 16 year old Renault Clio until it drops , then it can go for scrap . That's a far greener and more cost effective option.