Thursday, 28 June 2012

On a Train

On a train to London. It has been an eneventful  journey. Nothing major happened.
Its sometimes difficult to write about nothing but you just have to let your mind wander and integrate the things you see and hear about you.

Or maybe thinks that happened to you, like last night I weed blood so got myself off to casualty via NHS direct to be diagnosed with a urinary infection. Our NHS is wonderful and the government are trying to destroy it. Funny how Cameron only chooses targets that dont directly benefit him. Also is it a coincidence that Clegg Osborne and Cameron's TLA is COC!

I'm writing this using Blogger on my Samsung Note while I listen to King Charles all very impressive sruff. The Note is an amazing phone remarkably intuitive and functions well on 3G. King Charles are a truly brilliant band. Going to see them at The Cult Festival supporting The Fall in a few weeks.

This is their excellent take on Billy Joel's - We Didn't Start The Fire

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Art of ..... Knowing What You Are On About

A few days ago I posted this on facebook:

"In my e library I have The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Heart of Darkness by Conrad, Origin of the Species by Darwin so why do need to Facebook?"

My friend Josie replied , wittily:

"because the Art of War will take you weeks to read/fully digest and Facebook takes 10 seconds to realise there's nothing interesting happening...."

So I thought I should at least dip into it , and this is what I have found:

  • It's a slim voloume , 50 to 60 pages depending on translation or format
  • It's not really a book , more a reference manual of bullet points on how to conduct a war
  • You can read it in one sitting , but it will take a lifetime to understand
  • It is full of points that relate to everyday life
  • It makes you think
  • It is easy to read
  • It's out of copyright so you can download the ebook for free
 So thanks to Josie I have read the book and will be re reading it . It is remarkable and sensible and my version was remarkably easy to read. I suggest you get a copy now!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

DAT's Your Lot

About twenty five years ago greedy  record companies made a fortune turning people from tape and vinyl to CD on the pretext that the sound quality was excellent and CDs were indestructable and you could smear them with jam and they would still play. Well think of the logistics !!  What really sold CD to the masses was the MacDonalds like convenience of being able to program tracks , skip tracks you didnt like and repeat ones you did as well as random play.

These facilities were actually available on tape and vinyl players , but when a friend of mine demonstrated it on hi cassette player they was a lot of rewinding and fast forwarding .

Anyway , I digress , what has brought this post on on is the re issue by Rhino of Fleetwood Mac's excellent retrospective The Chain , which I bought in its original incarnation about twenty years back. I've been playing it today and very good it is too.

No , after the initial , virtual investment free windfall of CD (records already recorded and often not remastered, remasters were another wave of cash) , they began to circulate rumours of CD decay , and your everlasting CDs would in fact crumble to dust withing five years. To combat this you had to switch to DAT , expensive players , and back to tape with it's inherent fragility and at the the time blank DAT's were as expensive as a full price CD!! This time the public didnt fall for it, and where is DAT now ?

Twenty years on my copy of the Chain is in fine fettle , and CDs are still an excellent and portable storge medium and there are some excellent packages out there . I recently purchased a superb Emerson Lake and Palmer box for around £15 .

So CD is still as bouyant as ever , Vinyl has made and amazing recovery ,  Newcastle still has 3 or 4 real record shops plus HMV and That's Entertainment (The outlet for Music Magpie)  , and music is still brilliant.

Have a nice day!!

I Don't Get Mad ....

But some things do annoy me , like these Chelsea Tractor size buggies that nu parents seem to need to ferry their screeching offspring through the narrow aisles of department stores. In Mars and Spencers yesterday on idiot parent was letting his brat push the device willy nilly through the store , sight into my leg . If you've seen me you know I can play the archetypal immoveable object with aplomb , which I did  in this case. Brat goes sprawling and bawling on the floor , nu parent bloke glares at me , about to launch int to som ecomplaint , before thinking better of it after observing my size and immovability!!

Why the hell cant these idiots use a reasonable sized buggy for round town , but I suppose it's a way of compensating for their own inadequacy , as well as a large car he needs a large baby carriage!!

...and then you get all these people liking Tesco, Asda and the like on Facebook. Don't you realise these faceless corporations don't give a dan about you . You are just a way of making even more money for them . Tesco endorse slave labour , and they will ditch you or their staff if theres another penny in it for them.  They're all the same even when they do the vouchers for schools. Spend three million pounds with them and your school can buy a football. You're just better going down to Sports Direct and buying a few balls for £1.99 each rather than going the Supermarke charity route.

I remeber a discussin with Chris Ball about the nature of Corporations . They're just out for all they can get . If they were at a meal with you they'd just nick all the food from the table , if they see a charity box they'll just pocket it . This is because a corporation is just a self perpetuating entity. The people who work within the entity may be ethical and moral as hell , but eventually the nature of the beast takes over with the aim of perpetrating the existence of the corporation.

Anyway I'll just leave my favourite video coment on this to finish this post:

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Some Bands Do .... Some Bands Don't

Thanks to Carol for reminding me I'd not posted for ages. This has been running around in my head for a couple of weeks. It is a post in response to John Scott and possibly Gavin Webster's detestation of Steely Dan. John's original gripe was that reruns of The Old Grey Whistle Test were marred when Souixsie and The Banshees were juxtaposed with the video below, and I fully support him on this however ......


Reelin' in the Years is a damned fine song . This video doubly marred by the performing seal / walrus hybrid jumping around on staging during his guitar solo. Not good.

In the seventies a friend of mine, Jon Ashurst,  described Steely Dan as the greatest most boring band in the world ,and listen to them and you can see why that description  fits so well.  The music papers used phrases like "educated rock" etc , which , lets face it rock is meant to blow you away  , if you want sedating listen to the charts.

Then at som point they released the lead track for the film "FM" . "No static at All" they promised and we know that was a lie. AOR (Adult Orientated Rock)  Boz Scaggs , Kenny Logins et al paving the way for poodle rock balladeers of the eighties like REO Speedwagon , the descent into syrup rock of Chicago and other musical disasters and cul-de-sacs.

Steely Dan are probably more detested fro what they caused than what they are.

The thing is Steely Dan have no place next to punk rock , but I have Steely Dan and The Ramones and Sex Pistols in my collection , and dont feel that's a problem . Below is a playlist of half a dozen listenable Steely Dan songs and you should try it , you might enjoy it. Incidentally both "Dallas" and "Sail The Waterway" , "B" sides from their first two singles have been disowned by the band and never officially appeard in digital format , but they are two of my favourite Steely Dan songs! Though my all time favourite is still "Barrytown".

Listenable Steely Dan by Mike Singleton on Grooveshark

Steely Dan arent for everyone , but they are and excellent band , well worth a listen.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

5.1 Vinyl ?

There's a lot of big boxes to celebrate anniversary releases , notably David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and Paul McCartney's Ram.  Now McCartney's release is sort of OK , but if you want the 5.1 mix you have to buty the most expensive box , but you can buy the vinyl separately.

Bowie's box and the Station to Station release require you to fork out for vinyl as well if you just want the 5.1 mix. Pink Floyd have done similar thinks with their immersion sets.

5.1 sound is worth hearing if you have a home cinema set up but you should have to buy the vinyl version as well to hear things in 5.1.

Kink Crimson , Black Sabbath and The Talking Heads have released reasonably priced 5.1 mixes of classic albums without requiring fans to break the bank. So until the 5.1 mixes are available as a reasonably priced option my money will be staying in my pocket. I have the King Crimson , Black Sabbath and Talking Heads albums so I have plenty to listen to.

Obfuscation and Entreprenurs

It amazes me how in IT and web related circles most of the charlatans working in those areas usually cement their indespensability by coming up with new cloudy nebulous descriptions  for what is essentially the same thing.

So subroutines became objects and so on. A few months ago someone sent me an email asking if I had receved a "wire-frame" , I replied no but I had go the blank document they sent me.

I was recently invited to a "deep dive" . I didn't realise we had taken up sub aquatic activities! I think they meant a detailed analysis session!!

The other thing is that the government seem to think the economy could be kick started by using prisoners as cheap labour. Well the entrepreneurs will pay next to nothing while the taxpayer foots the security bill.

everywhere you look people are trying to take you for a ride and not in a good way. Rant over.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Do I Love You - Indeed I Do!

It's well known that this is THE most sought after seven inch single of all time. The following text is by Ian Levine I assume:

"The original version of this song is quite simply the most sought-after Motown and Northern Soul record of all time.The legendary Motown producer, Frank Wilson, made this solo record for Motown which was so rare, and so in demand, that someone paid fifteen thousand English pounds for a copy. He was a big help with the Motorcity project, in 1989 and 1990, and he and his wife Bunny always stay at my house every time they're visiting London. The Motown single "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" became so huge that everyone wanted to see Frank perform it. For years he refused, but finally he gave in and did so at Fleetwood in 2000, in front of two and a half thousand people, the one and only time he said he would ever do this. But previously to that, we had visited him at his Los Angeles home, and filmed him at the piano, so people got to see, on The Strange World Of Northern Soul DVD, this legendary song being performed for the first ever time."

Listen to see how good it is. It does amaze me that things like this can slip out of print while dross such as "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" by Dawn or "Save You Kisses" by Brotherhood of Man are omnipresent.

The reason for this post is the discovery of a song called "Satin and Heartaches" by Darryl Johnson. It was used in an advert for Always Panty Liners , but when I tried to track it down there's no sign on Amazon, iTunes GEMM or anywhere . All I can find is this ReverbNation page with 37 of his songs on  here. So is this a rarer more sought after song that the Frank Wilson waxing?

The Always advert!

Would Jubilee Vit? - A Campaign To Get Minnie The Moocher To Number One For The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Well the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend is here , I'm fairly neutral about the Royal Family though the Charles is Ok . The Queen has outlasted five Popes and is looking suprisedly fine for her age and I reckon that she willl outlast her mum.

Lot's of people are dissing the Royals while taking advantage of the various bank holidays generated for events such as this. I seriously think the most misguided is the attempt to get the Sex Pistols "God Save The Queen" to Number One for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee . The record is 35 years old , and it's quivalent in 1977 would have been trying to get Louis Jordan  or Cab Calloway to number one , though I think Minnie The Moocher would be a worthy Jubilee Number one.Download it here and Make it the Jubilee Number One!!

If you are going to protest , do something new and different, Rage Against The Machine hitting the christmas number one has a lot to answer for , but the face that Amazon were selling the download for 29p may have helped.

Anyway enjoy the Jubilee Weekend , there's pleanty happening. On Monday there's "Dishonourable Subjects" at The Stand in Newcastle, billed as

"A gala evening of comedy and music to mark the head of state being unelected for 60 years. We’ll be taking the piss out of the Royal establishment. Proceeds to local charities." with Gavin Webster, Anvil Springstien, Tony Jameson, John Scott and special guests. SO I'll be toddling along to that.

Also happening is the Newcastle Green Festival , the fact that it's raining should make the grass even greener!!