Tuesday 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013 - Hello 2014

Well it's the last day of December and thought I'd best post this before the day disappears. For some reason the lyrics to George Harrison's "Ding Dong" came to mind, extremely simple and a fitting end to my seasonal song a day for this December. I don't think this song has appeared on any Now! compilation , but really I'm not bothered as I love the sentiments:

"Ring out the old
Ring in the new
Ring out the old
Ring in the new

Ring out the false
Ring in the true
Ring out the old
Ring in the new"

So I hope we have all learned from our 2013, and can look forward to 2014. One of the people I've been most impressed with is Pope Francis. I'm am not religious even though I was baptised, brought up a catholic and taught by Jesuits (most of who were very reasonable and always willing to hear the other persons view).

So going forward , Be Nice, be kind to others , help others less fortunate than you if you can and keep being positive. Hope your 2014 is a major improvement on your 2013 however good that was. Happy New Year!!
Happy New Year!

Monday 30 December 2013

The New Year Draws Near

..and people are totting up their favourite things of the past year, which help provide inspiration going forward. There's always something new to look forward to and always new things to find and old things to discover.

Odeon Now
Inside One of The Odeos Auditoria
Despite having all of Lindisfarne's studio output and most of their live output I'd forgotten about "Winter Song" and this one is performed live at my favourite venue , The Mayfair, bulldozed for an entertainment complex while the old Odeon on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle lies rotting.

The Who Play The Odeon

Now if I had the money I'd buy that place and turn it into a new Mayfair, after all The Who played there in 1971, so if it staged The Who........

Sunday 29 December 2013

Very Tired And It's Work Tomorrow

So a very short post. Then I'm straight to bed.

The (non) Christmas related song has nothing to do with Christmas barring that Santa must draw rings round the world in his sleigh as he delivers his presents, so it has to be....

Super Furry Animals are cool

Saturday 28 December 2013

Tenuous Connections (Only Dogs and Water Horses)

All The World's A Stage
So Kelpies are water horses and Sheepdogs and I'm posting a seasonal song a day, and this is my most tenuous one so far , "By-Tor and The SNOW Dog" by Rush , the version is the one from the brilliant "All The Worlds A Stage" album. It has some wonderful guitar soundscapes by Alex Lifeson. It's today's tune. It's amazing what sort of connections our minds can make.

In the seventies I was listening to John Peel and a song came on called "Finding My Way". At first I thought it was a new Led Zeppelin offering, but no, it was by a Canadian power Trio called Rush, the singer Geddy Lee sounding like a cross between Zep's Robert Plant and Yes's Jon Anderson , a power falsetto.

I checked out the album "Fly By Night" but felt it was a bit wooden , barring "Finding My Way" , however when the live album "All The World's A Stage" was released that all changed and this was a real loud and impressive band.

I've always likened Rush to Abba , both have produced some of the greatest music ever, but often their lyrics let them down. While Abba have the excuse that they were Swedish writing in English, Rush are Canadian , and , unfortunately found inspiration in Ayn Rand. I think they've outgrown that now and are still touring and producing some wonderful music.

Anyway I hope your Christmas is still causing you lots of happiness and hope you have a brilliant weekend.

Friday 27 December 2013

Tiring Week and No Show Snow For Christmas

I've been told by a good authority that Kelpies , as well  as being mythical Celtic Water Beasties are also a sheep dog, more information here. You learn something new everyday , or you can do if you are willing to listen, and that was something I didn't know, but brightened my day as I love dogs.

I've not seen much snow, just a little dusting the side of the road in the Scottish Borders.

Unfortunately I am titally shattered after this week , so this is a short post. Todays seasonal tune is "Snowman" by XTC and hopefully you can see the the time lapse video I did for it in my back garden. Love the song and love the album.


Thursday 26 December 2013

Motorway Kelpies

Yesterday and today I was amazed to pass two 30 metre high sculptures of what I though were horses heads. They are actually Kelpies and you can read all about them here. The main problem is that you see them as you are driving on the motorway (M8 or M9 can't remember) but they are majorly imp
ressive. I actually stopped on the hard shoulder to take some pictures one of which is below:

Kelpies on the Motorway

Anyway, I need to keep the seasonal songs going and thought maybe Can's treatment of "Silent Night" which I have always loved.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas Has Come

..and actually there are still a lot of great seasonal and Christmas records to go and this gem by Saint Etienne is very appropriate for today. About six months back I was in the Opencast Software's offices and their CEO showed me the brilliant map below, a worthy addition to any wall and Saint Etienne used for one of their album covers (words and Music).

Also today is a great time to hear from friends and contact friends and bring each other closers. I've had some lovely messages already and expect to have more during the day.

So have a great day! Anything you like do it more, anything you don't like , find a better way or change it , and always be nice and look out for others less fortunate than yourself.

Have a brilliant Christmas.

As used on Words and Music

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve

.....and this is a beautiful seasonal song, which caused me to buy the first album by the Fleet Foxes. I can hardly believe that this song is four years old.

Some wonderful things have happened today and I hope they keep on happening, that makes life the wonderful adventure that it is. I have now to work out seven more seasonal  songs to see the year out and was contemplating have The Muppets' "Ringing Of The Bells", which turns out to be just another reason to put a smile on your face.

So look after yourself, be happy , do things to put a smile on your face and make sure you have a wonderful Christmas.

Today we have had four seasons in one day, blue skies, bright sunshine, rain, snow, leaves falling , wind blowing , sleet, a lot of weather.

Monday 23 December 2013

A Smile Before Christmas

This song came completely out of left field, suggested by a good friend. It's not that seasonal but embodies many of the qualities that should be encapsulated in the season's spirit. Caring for others and not being afraid to show your own feelings. Prefab Sprout while not my favourite band, have always produced music of excellent quality (though I never liked "King of Rock and Roll").

It also means the song I had for today will now be pushed back til tomorrow, so it's amazing how good things can slowly snowball, and before you know where you are there are lots of good things happening.

Our weather is getting worse but still not absolutely terrible and I have a feeling it will blow over, but I feel for anyone out on nights like this.

I hope you are warm tonight on pre Christmas Eve Eve , so have a great time and always have a smile for someone.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Longer Days Shorter Nights

Apparently we are due an Arctic Storm , a good friend tells  me, and that's confirmed by the cold wind, rain and weather forecast, but it is December 22nd. Today went into town and it was quiet. Went to The Stand in Newcastle for dinner (at 2pm - that's dinner time!), and bought a book of short seasonal stories called Twas the Night Before, Before Christmas' in aid of  NECA (North East Council on Addictions) , there's more details here. I immediately saw there was a story by mate John Scott so read that with more than one guffaw as I ate my tempura coley.

I'd been considering the Lou Reed song for my December list for a few days, but thought it would be a bit depressing, but it is a very listenable anti war song , and a good way to remember the great curmudgeon. A very intelligent man who wrote songs that everyone can play, that is a stroke of pure genius and what made the Velvet Underground truly great. If you you pick up a guitar you can play a Lou Reed song and sound good and cool. I will now have to do that for you won't I?

Anyway enjoy your day, night , and I may as well include a bit of John Scott at the bottom for you to enjoy too.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Today Is The Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice so the days are now going to get longer and lighter.  Though because of the nature of nature , nothing remains totally constant.

Sigur Ros always remind me of winter , I've heard their music and described "for glaciers" and can't argue with this. They are from Iceland so I think I can definitely describe this as a seasonal beauty.
A quote from the Youtube feed :

"The only reason for autumn and spring, is to jump in puddles." -- 
+John Kellden 

Which I can fully understand. The video for Hoppipolla is , well maybe , just what you'd expect from the band, I was hoping for one full of Arctic landscapes as the wind and rain blows outside my window.  Today I was contact by the son of a former work colleague who returned to Australia many moons ago , thanking me for the song I'd posted on his wall for the birthday , It was totally out of the blue , but is always nice to hear from people. The last Christmas song I posted by Glasvegas , I thought some people  may find a little depressing but I am glad friends saw the beauty in it. They are a wonderful band, and I remember my friend Kate saying how much she loved them because of they sing in a broad Glasgow accent (another friend now living in Africa)

Anyway enjoy , this and enjoy the rest of your pre Christmas Weekend.

Friday 20 December 2013

20 Days In

Apparently the Winter Solstice begins tomorrow. So we finally reach the shortest day of the year and then the days start to get longer for us in the Northern Hemisphere and shorter for all my wonderful friends in the Southern Hemisphere. You win some , you lose some. Still we get the cold , rain and drizzle and in the Southern Hemisphere you have wonderful sunshine and warmth so everyone has some good news. I always concentrate on the good news and positives, not the bad , negatives.

At this point in the post I haven't a clue what to days song or music piece will be. I had considered The Goons "I'm Walking Backwards For Christmas"  but don't really think it fit's in with what I want, then I remembered the Glasvegas Christmas EP, so chose this lovely sounding , if very slightly depressing, song by them. I remember this was very expensive when I tried to get hold of it , but eventually found a copy. You can still pay £30 for it though the download is a more reasonable fiver.

Anyway , it's cold , but we can make it warm in our hearts. Be nice to everyone, show compassion , and enjoy your pre-Christmas weekend, and keep on smiling.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Not Quite Christmas Eve

This may have appeared on some compilation or other, but although it's not quite "Oiche Nollaig" (Christmas Eve), Micheal O Suilleabhain's short piano piece it certainly uplifting and enjoyable though possibly trawling jazzy waters.

John Cooper-Clarke once said he complained the the hotel manager about teh roof in his room:

Manager: What's the problem
JCC: I'd like one!

Remember this Christmas there will be a lot of people , homeless and freezing so if you can help, so so , in any way you can. Shelter always need help, especially with the spiteful lot running the country at the moment, so until the revolution comes, help your fellow man if you can. Here's a link for the homeless in the North East.

If you are lucky enough to be employed , have a roof over your head, enjoy yourself , be positive, be compassionate and have a brilliant time. Be positive and look forward to the new year.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas ....

...is a Dukla Prague Away Kit, but actually I already have one. Half Man Half Biscuit documented a lot of boyhood memories in this song including Subbuteo, Scalextric and the fact that the damned thing hardly ever worked. Kids these days don't know they're born. I remember the smoking transformer and smell of electrical burning, as well as fragility of Subbuteo.

The title is a play on "All I Want For Christmas is A Beatle" by Cilla Black a play on "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" by god knows who , but the less said about those the better.

Anyway I need to sort out my Christmas Cards (hopefully if Moonpig will play ball), so everyone have a great night and I hope that Christmas is brilliant for you. I now need to track down a song for tomorrow.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Christmas Spirit

A very long day so a short post. I'm actually thinking of writing a seasonal song myself as this was a difficult one to come up with. Full of pertinent points from Ian Anderson , Jethro Tull's "Christmas Song" and a brilliant and worthy addition to the list, they're the first band to have two in my list.

Christmas Spirit should not be just what you drink.

Monday 16 December 2013

Santa Bob

I'm off to work very soon but this is just a quicky. Was listening to Cerys Matthews on 6Music yesterday and she had a guest on playing Christmas novelty records and they played Bob Dylan's "It Must Be Santa" . He got a lot of press for this mad manic polka but, he's Bob , he can do anything he wants, and if he wants to do a Christmas album why not. Remember you don't have to like like it or buy it. But the song is ful of fun and joi de vivre and should not be taken too seriously.

Just enjoy it, and have a great start to the week.

Sunday 15 December 2013

There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mama, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight

Another unexpected prompt from a Facebook group I subscribe to called  "I Used To Go To Newcastle Mayfair" and someone started a thread about the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and posted "There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mama, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight" a song that you have to love just for the title, and is brilliant to listen and sing along to as well.

I remember when the had a hit with a cover of Tom Jones' "Delilah" and Tony Blackburn was absolutely disgusted , "How dare the call themselves 'Sensational' he spat out as they came on,and it was their biggest hit , delivered with panache and a brilliant sense of humour. If Tom Jones had any objection then, I bet he loves it now.

I couldn't find the Top of The Pops performance so an Old Grey Whistle Test One will have to suffice, but it's still good.

Well looking out my back window the sky is blue with a few pink and white clouds, looking better than yesterday, so have a great Sunday everybody.

Saturday 14 December 2013

The Fear Of God

I always thought it was odd that the devil was the bad guy and god was the good good guy but sometimes he was painted as loving and caring and other times as the classic "dies irae" , angry , vengeful, and fearful . so we had to toe the line , go to church on Sundays and basically be scared of him (oh and yes he was a white man). The sequence in Monty Python's Holy Grail gave be a decent slant on this (where he complains about how depressing psalms are).

The thing is if a being is omnipresent and omnipotent then that being will not be concerned with human emotions and motivations , in fact if you can do anything , then pretty soon you would get very bored , well I would. Part of the the joy of living is the uncertainty if things and striving to achieve goals and not knowing what's going to happen next. Yes there are certain things in place and the sun tends to rise and the seasons are reasonably predictable (though still waiting for The Daily Mail & Express's ice ages and tsunamis), so you have reasonably solid foundations to build on when you want to do something.

If there is a god , and I'm hedging my bets by being agnostic, I believe that the god would want us to tho live our lives to the best of our ability, and be kind to every living thing. The insecurity of life is demonstrated in the TED talk below which I found difficult to take in just because of the concepts including the Higgs-Boson particle , and in a tangential move away the seasonal song is "I Smell Winter" by the Housemartins, which I don't think has appeared on any Christmas compilations.

Also the fact I'm doing a seasonal song a day and tagging it with Christmas , means that Christmas is now one of my most common tags on here , soon to outstrip Apple and iPhones! It's quite funny that some of my most used tags are about things that I don't particularly care about , a bit like on Twitter , where if you want your tweet to go viral usually it's a complaint , which surely is not what our god would want if that god were on Twitter.

Oh and I do follow God on Facebook here , he is very good and I can live with this God's existence. Have a brilliant weekend everybody.

Friday 13 December 2013

Suddenly It's Christmas

This song always cheers me up , a Loudonesque take on the commercial season.  Though I'd just heard an acoustic version before, but what the hell I've put this one up. In case you didn't know Loudon is Martha and Rufus's dad and wrote a song for Rufus when he was born called "Rufus is a Tit Man" , how wrong he was!

Feeling better today after a good sleep , so off to work soon

A friend told me to listen to this guy, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, absolutely stunning, I always find it amazing that however old you get there is always something new to discover. Have a brilliant Friday everyone , I will!

Thursday 12 December 2013

Christmas Sentiment

I'm feeling under the weather, so just a shorty before I retire. Arthur Comix reminded me of this song , with , in my opinion, a wonderful rousing chorus. Half Man Half Biscuit are probably my favourite band of all time and this is just a great song , a wonderful antidote to the commercialisation of Christmas.

So really this post has nothing to do with Christmas sentiment , but really you should be nice to your fellow man and have a great whatever festival or god you follow.

Everyone have a great night and I will be back tomorrow with another great seasonal related song.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

You Really Never Know

The only thing worse than something that doesn't work when it should is something that does work when it shouldn't. At the weekend a work laptop wouldn't connect to the home network by ethernet cable, however my home laptop connect up no problem.

Yesterday I tried again with another work laptop. It wouldn't connect. I disconnected everything , rebooted everything , still no go.

Ethernet Adapter
Checked my own laptop that connected no problem , so what was going on? Was there some weird work security? Checked my own laptop and looked at the connections and then it clicked. My home laptop was connecting via wifi, not the plugged in cable.It turns out the problem was a dead ethernet adapter which effectively knocked out the whole wired network. This is what they look like -->

Then this morning the router decided to knock out the wifi , but managed to sort that as well, so all is back on track which is good.

Also his morning Chris Evans played Run With The Fox by Chris Squire and Alan White of Yes , so that can be our Yule Jewel.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

You Never Know

Well the threatened Arctic blizzards have not materialised again,  and yesterday was actually quite warm. Today looks just like a normal day, apart from the fact it's still dark (and there's nothing much we can do about that), but at least we get to see the sun rise.

I've chosen "Blanche Com La Neige" by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Kate was mother to Rufus and Martha Wainwright but sadly died of sarcoma in 2010, a great loss to the music world. But enjoy this and track down the McGarrigle's other recordings , as well as the Wainwright's as well.

Monday 9 December 2013

Another Day

Nothing much to say tonight. There's no snow and the weather is reasonable. It's really been just one of those days. The train wasn't late , neither was the bus, but again it was 2:30 before I got a sandwich to eat which isn't good.

Anyway just wishing peace and good stuff to everyone before I fall asleep.

The seasonal song is The Winter Solstice Song (Yule) by Lisa Thiel, who I know nothing about , but this is a very pleasant piece indeed.

Sunday 8 December 2013


The current weather certainly makes you feel that SAD (Seasonal Affective DisorderDisorder) is very real and unless you have something good happening can make you feel very down. SO if the lack of daylight and gray clouds are getting you down, put on some music to lightedn your heart or call a friend or just go out for a walk.

It's days like these when maybe the tropics start to look appealing, lots of sun and light to just make you feel good.

Today#s seasonal song is Holly Golightly's excellent Christmas Tree On Fire, both funny and brings a smile to your face. And then of course there's always Simon's Cat! Have a great day

Saturday 7 December 2013

Catman and Robin

More unexpected things this morning, of vourse I'm on the lookout for seasonal songs and my friend Lynn posted about having to chase a robin out of her kitchen at work which reminded me of another friend's (Jackie O'Grady) Christmas song "Little Red Robin".

Then when searching for the Little Red Robin song I found Simon's Cat a brilliant cartoon cartoon channel on Youtube originated by Simon Tofield. There's an introductory video on the website well worth watching. Absolutely charming and brilliant. There is a lot of catching up on this to do but sure is wonderful whether you do or don't like cats.

Have a brilliant Saturday everyone!!

Friday 6 December 2013

Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition

One the points of this months blogs is to include seasonal songs that you don't normally hear, and was looking through my Youtube Channel and came across my video of Lord Rochester doing Rudolph's Ruin and The Central a Christmas or two back.

It just shows that things (such as boxes of chocolates and mystery presents) can pop up unexpectedly (like The Spanish Inquisition in Monty Python) , anyway what is totally expected is the very cold weather we are having at the moment. Just glad I am warm and in the house being able to type this.

Spare a thought and maybe a some help for those less fortunate than yourselves, look out for your fellow humans , and one day they will spread the kindness. I've some great encouragement and kind words today , so looking forward to an enjoyable weekend. I hope you have one too.

Thursday 5 December 2013

The Wind Is Up

It's been very load all night and then wheely bin has luckily been blown into a corner, rather than into the road. It is December so it's all we should expect and at least we haven't got rain or the six inches of snow the red tops forecast about three weeks back for our Arctic November.

Anyway it's time to get off to work and see what the East Coast revised schedule has in store for me.

And today's seasonal song is the wonderful "Christmas Song" by the Raveonettes.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Who's That In A Winter Wonderland?

For December I'm including a seasonal related song every day, but not one that appears on any "Now That's What I Call Christmas" album, although I don't think it's too much of a challenge. Also I want it to be stuff that you can listen to as well. So toady it's the turn of the rather excellent Grandaddy.

While the season was hijacked by the catholic church, it's obviously rooted in pagan worship and really on god is much the same as another, but doesn't stop us practicing goodwill to all men and women, and really it shouldn't be just now but every day of the year.

We should be there for our friends, family and those in need , we should always extend a helping hand , because if we show kindness to others then they will pass that kindness on. Yes there are a few who will try and take advantage, but don't let them spoil the good stuff. Practice lots of hugs with the person nearest you and you will feel great. Have a wonderful night everyone.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Stitched Up to Shine A Light and Ring In The Solstice

Well the nurse could only find nine of the ten stitches, but she was brilliant a shining example of our wonderful NHS. Am I really that fat, that I can lose a stitch? Removal stung  a bit but should be ok. Also bought a normal fitting LED today from Clas Ohlson. Reasonably priced and it's now saving me about 10p a day as it's on 24/7 so will pay for itself in just over a month.

Ok, seasonal song time and we obviously go for "Ring Out, Solstice Bells" by Jethro Tull.

Monday 2 December 2013

First Monday In December

And I'm going to get the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl out of the the way for today's seasonal song. Just because things are popular doesn't make them bad. You can also get the video on iTunes here.

Today is the first Monday in December, the weather is still mild and no doubt corporations will be trying to get us to spend lots more money over the coming weeks to buy stuff we don't need.

I will not be spending money I don't need to, I will be enjoying myself with friends. I have a choice of six gigs I can go and see this week. I may not see any, but I do have that choice and the half price black friday television never even came on my radar. You should only buy things when you need them or they have something that can positively enhance your life.

So have a brilliant day, a brilliant week , It's time for work. Oh I haven't mentioned the "C" word!!

Sunday 1 December 2013

Here Comes December

The last month in 2013 has started, and the sad thing is that the commercialisation just gets worse as we're with bombarded with excuses to pour money into the pockets of faceless corporate entities. I am slightly claustrophobic ad yesterday went into Newcastle and made the mistake of going through the Eldon to get to Northumberland Street. I could hardly move and people seem to think it's ok to just stop in front of you, push you out of the way or whatever. The reason I was there was to go to the excellent Clas Ohlson for some energy saving light bulbs to replace my last two incandescent ones (in my cooker hood). It turns out they do LEDs for every type of fitting, an excellent shop. I then escaped via the Grainger Market which was far more civilized before returning home.

I'm am going to be thinking of , and talking with friends, being happy and having good times. Be happy yourself and try and make others happy. Make time for friends, don't worry about buying things and have a good time.. And it shouldn't just be now, we should be like this all year round, and it's fairly easy to be nice, so do it.

Maybe I will use December's posts to post a decent Christmas song a day,, so the fist is Light Of The Stable by Emmylou Harris.

I've just thought the letters SO look like 50 which is very good SO for all the birthdays around now I SO want you to have a a SO good time.  There always seem to be a lot of reasons to celebrate at any time of year, sometimes you just need to make yourself aware of them and take the opportunity to celebrate. So do it !!

Saturday 30 November 2013


Woke up at 1:30 am. I am really tired but my brain is in overdrive. No particular reason , but my body can't accommodate what my mind wants to do and I know that I have to sleep. Anyway thought I would make some hot chocolate and I know that will help me sleep, but as i was watching the milk boil I noticed the lights in the cooker hood. Since I moved here I've never actually replaced them, and they are still incandescent bulbs. The only two in the house that are not eco friendly!! And probably the most awkward to replace, but that will have to be done tomorrow morning. The think is once replaced I will probably never replace them again , if incandescent bulbs have lasted ten years the eco bulbs will last at least five times that if not more so that's good.

Anyway I'm feeling a bit tireder , but after lots of nice party invites this week and at least one task for the day ahead I'll publish this post with a wonderful song Eric Clapton covering Jimi Hendrix. I love the Hendrix original, but Clapton's was the first time I heard Little Wing. Enjoy my friends .....

Tuesday 26 November 2013

A Rather Good Day .. so far ..

Well a lot of good things have happened today. I ran into a good friend who I hadn't seen for ages and got an invite to a 50th birthday party next year (to go with a wedding invitation from another friend) so probable lots of great things going to happen tonight I'm sure.

I then got a call from Screachtv who told me I'd won a £25 voucher to spend at The Strawberry ! That was unexpected and a nice surprise.

I watched a program and a film "Rescue Dawn" (well it's a Werner Herzog film with Christian Bale, what's not to like) on BBC iPlayer on my Samsung Note phone, and was majorly impressed with the quality and experience.

I've had some minor surgery, well half of it, resulting in 10 stitches , which need removing next week, so that was slightly worrying , but the doctor was brilliant and didn't spill too much blood. The NHS is brilliant.

And I managed to find the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix version of Signal 30 by Public Service Broadcasting. Just how good is that

Still Dark

..but leaving home in the dark means I can seen dawn rise on the East coast. And it's not raining or snowing (yet). Don't have anything to report today apart from just feeling in a good mood. Maybe it's because I'm listening to Radio 6 which is always good.

I've also got my application in for 2014 World Book Night with a suggestion for a book that I will give away, although that's nearly six months OK. I'm just wondering if they have one in Australia or the USA, if not they should , it's very good to read. This is also probably the first time I've mentioned 2014 in this blog.

Well there's one song that comes to mind by the wonderful Julian Cope and the Teardrop Explodes. Have a brilliant day everyone, though I am having very minor surgery later on so may be in some pain so I've been told, but all will be fine.

Monday 25 November 2013

Not As Cold Today

...but winter is here, and so am I. While I love snow, it's only when I can get get into the warm and admire it's beauty from a position of comfort. I now have to leave to go to work , so need to wrap up and brave the elements. So thought the Dean Martin performance was an ideal soundtrack, because according to the Mail and Express two weeks back we are due six inches of snow (naughty joke for Game of Thrones fans). But if they keep saying it one day they will be right.

We are closer to Christmas, and although it's Monday there are lots of things to look forward to. Have a brilliant day everyone.

Friday 22 November 2013

Slippin' And A Slidin' into Leningrad

Well looks like winter is coming. I was coming home tonight, cars were frosted up and the footpaths had a layer of frost and were , in parts very slippy. Had been out to The Strawberry and caught up with a lot of friends before getting a taxi home via ABC .

So this is just a short post before I go to bed as the frost bites outside.

The eponymous video is by may favourite Finnish Rock band , the wonderful Leningrad Cowboys featuring Maya Paakari. I was going to go for the Little Richard original or maybe the John Lennon or Buddy Holly cover but you can't knock back the Leningrad Cowboys. Brilliant stuff. Have a brilliant weekend , really pleased at discovering this!!

Here Comes The Weekend

Nothing much to say apart from it's Friday and a dark November morning, but the weekend is almost upon us so we can have time to do what we want and recharge our batteries.Always loved this, and many other Dave Edmunds songs, and always gives me and lots of others a lift.

So just a short message for you to have a great day, and an even greater weekend!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Walking On Sunshine

Yes I know it's pouring down , wet , cold and dark here , but it's always sunshining somewhere and it always will come back to you. For some reason this phrase has been going through my head. It's not that I'm a great fan of Katrina and The Waves, but I am a great fan of being positive and looking for the positives in situations and I know a lot of people who feel the same way as me, and they do really help to inspire me to write things like this.

Nothing comes to you for free, and you may have to work for things, but if you lay some foundations in one way or another then you will benefit from them eventually. It may be as simple as reading a book, planting some seeds , helping someone out or sending off that job application, any of those things can create a result that would not have happened if you had not taken that first step.

Anyway just sending out good wishes and positive thoughts to all my friends around the world , some having good times, some not quite as good , but all will benefit from their own positive actions.

As I say if you're feeling slightly down , pick up a phone and call a friend, watch a film , listen to some music , read some poetry. It will lift your spirit. I've included a song from my favourite Nazareth album for you to enjoy, just for you.....

I'm going to bed soon so all of you have a brilliant night,

Monday 18 November 2013

Have FUN

Lot's of people miss this point and having fun can make you laugh, and making yourself laugh makes you happy and being happy makes you feel good. I was talking to someone about having fun and they had just discovered a comedy club in their town. In Newcastle we're lucky , we have lot's of comedy nights all over the place from pubs that put on comedy nights to the actual comedy venues such as the Hyena Cafe and The Stand.

I've seen my friends Gavin Webster and John Scott at both venues and always come away feeling better than I went in. So if you are looking for fun you can do worse than a decent comedy gig. I'm showing three videos in the post. The first is the brilliant John Scott , the second is Gavin Webster's take on the Gateshead Third Reich , and the third is not funny at all but just a wonderful song called Comedy by the brilliant Liverpool group Shack.

So I expect you all to have smiles on your faces , find something to laugh about and go forward into the week and have lots of fun.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Unexpected Things

This week has been extremely tiring, but yesterday I forgot to take a book on the train. I've just finished Simon Armitage's Gig , very good for my point of view, he's a poet writing about music that I like , we have similar tastes I  can see a lot of parallels in his book and the one I'm writing.

Anyway I was aware I hadn't posted for a few days , not that it's going to change the world, but I hadn't watched any TED talks for a while, and as usual chose a random one by Hetain Patel and Yuyu and I thought it started badly. It looked serious and pretentious. By the time I had finished I was uplifted , had guffawed a few times on the train much to the consternation of certain passengers (probably). Anyway I've included it in the post and think you really should watch it, you WILL enjoy it and get something from it.

Added to that I got some good news from my daughter about her hospital visit, more good news from a  friend about her son graduating, and another friend showed me her original Live Aid program from 1985. So really this week has ended with lots of great news , leaving me feeling rather positive. My leg seems to be fine , with the odd twinge of pain at odd times but I can run for a bus now. Have a great day everybody and keep the good news coming!

Monday 11 November 2013

Pain and Being Positive

Today I had to make a doctors appointment, however a lot of things were thrown in my way which seemed to be making me miss it. First of all my bus was late followed by trains. But while I was thinking this may go wrong , I thought as long as it's not too late I can do it.

I got into Newcastle and walked across town to catch a bus which I jumped on, but as I was walking to my seat a car pulled out in front of the bus, causing him to slam on. I was thrown backwards , but managed to catch a hold of a pole and steady myself with a my right leg , rather too hard resulting in a jarring pain in my right leg, I informed the driver and said I'd report the incident just in case , and told him to do the same. It wasn't his fauldt and it could have been much worse.

Next off we got to Byker Bridge and there was a major accident requiring the bridge to be closed off and the bus to be redirected. I phoned the surgery and told them the situation that I may be late. Amazingly the redirection only added ten minutes to the journey and the doctor's surgery was running ten minutes late so it all worked out OK, and I need to go back in two weeks to have some minor surgery.

So basically I kept thinking positively throughout this and eventually in all worked out. So even when things seem to conspire against you , keep going and the chances are you will get a good result. Although after an early start I'm going to go to bed early tonight. So have a good evening everybody and keep being positive.

Oh and I watched the first two episodes of Yonderland, and it is very good. Made me laugh several times.

Sunday 10 November 2013


Back from holiday finished by an excellent night seeing Public Service Broadcasting (and buying a T_Towel) , but absolutely shattered. The house was freezing but is now warmed up, and this morning saw the first frosty rooves of the year. The sun is out and melting the frost away and then a friend posted the TED talk above. It's only ten minutes , and I knew of Fibonacci numbers, though if you had asked me yesterday morning I couldn't have told you , but this talk reminded me, and despite it being short it is wonderfully uplifting and inspirational.

This afternoon I am hoping the weather will stay sunny allowing me to hoover the garden and dispose of the autumn leaves. Having said that there is still a lot of green leaves on the trees. Looking out the back window I see trees and blue skies, it could be a summers day apart from the fact that it's so cold.

James Spader
Anyway I am getting myself motivated and feeling less shattered by the second, and have lots of things I can do, Last night I finally started watching The Blacklist with James Spader, and rather excellent it is too, although still have a lot of stuff on the DVR to watch.

I'm still annoyed at Facebook's image processing software which just put's my google image up for all posts, which means I have to change it with every post otherwise people see it as just more of the same, which it isnt.

So I all hope you all have a great day and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Keep Taking The Tablets

I'm surprised at the number of advertisements for tablets and the horribly named "phablets". Tablets are gret for looking at things generally, but not that brilliant for keyboard based creativity. I have an iPad and mainly use it for watching downloaded programs on BBC iPlayer and TED.

I actually bought it because a friend showed me Garageband on it, and I've manged to create two pieces of music on it and actually put one on commercial sale just to see if I could do it, so it's brilliant for apps that are customed towards it's strengths, the Artrage app is another good piece of software that is great on the iPad.

I also have a Samsung Note 2 phone which allows me internet and other access as well as having a screen that allows me to watch downloaded programs.

So it just strikes me as overkill the amouth that these devices are being pushed at us, maybe it's the run up to Christmas, but I now just see another tablet. Is it my attention deficit disorder and I want something else to stimulate me? I'm also worried about young children who have these and then ten minutes later are bored. Which is why I thought the Raspberry Pi was such a brilliant concent as it would get kids (and adults) into actually doing things rather that passively expecting to be entertained.

Anyway that's enough and I'm sure a lot of you will have tablet's on you Christmas shopping list for either yourself or your loved ones. And I'm sure you will find a use for yours. Below is a video featuring  my first published piece from Garageband.

Another Beautiful Day in National Sausage Week

Sausage Week
A good friend told me it was National Sausage Week in the UK and there's at least one website with all the details at LovePork a website name straight out of the Carry On canon! Although this theme carried through into the final episodes of series 3 of Game of Thrones, though not exactly rib tickling fun for the victim.

Ironically I've spent a lot of time in Helmsley in Yorkshire and there's been no high profile promotion of National Sausage Week. I think there is only one butcher there but there's a few "artisan" food shops but no prominent sausages! Earlier in the week I did sample some very hot ones from Pern's of Helmsley .

Yesterday I had fish and chips from the excellent Scotts though I should have gone for their small portion as I couldnt't finish the normal, and the also have a jumbo one, no way for me.

Any the weather is again beautiful, there was a frost , but it's blue skies and sunshine here. It's been a week of almost total relaxation, not going far and just enjoying myself. Tomorrow is a drive back to Newcastle for the Public Sevice Broadcasting gig, it's amazing how bands can still come up with new takes on how to make original music so even though it's National Sausage Week I'll post the last PSB video as a header to this post. Have a brilliant day everyone.

Tuesday 5 November 2013


This is my 200th blog post this year, so I can still obviously use a keyborad. At some point I want to try and dictate a post into my phone on some microphone and put it up unedited to see if it makes sense. I've still got around sixty days left this year so possibly expect to finish on 240 or 250 posts.

I was hoping to do the Pickering to Whitby steam train run , but just checked the timetable and the winter one kicked in this week, which means no midweek trains. C'est la vie.

Either Facebook or Google have stopped allowing the use of Youtube or embedded images when I post a link to Facebook, which is annoying. I didn't want an image of me for each post, I wanted something relevant to the actual post. I will research into why this is happening.

Anyway, the holiday is continuing with much relaxation, watching The Wire, Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. I now have lots of technology at my disposal so I can download stuff off BBC's iPlayer so I caught up with the excellent Orphan Black on my iPad as well as a program on The Who's Quadrophenia.

Orphan Black
As I type this I'm listening to the J Geils Band using my Samsung Note phone as a music player, though just switched it to the wonderful Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones, an album that should be in everyone's collection.

The thing is where I am in Ampleforth I don't have a mobile signal, so that means another form of total relaxation. It's sometimes nice to just cut yourself off, although I'm obviously posting this, and keeping abreast of the times using the BBC site and posting on Instagram as well so people can see what I'm finding interesting. Well I'm going to put an image on here and a John Cooper Clarke song that I loved from the first moment I heard it, with some great lines and a soft porn soundtrack, take a listen. Everyone have a wonderful day everyone.

Sunday 3 November 2013


Apparently last night we had storms. There was thunder and rain here and the weather here was a bit miserable during the day, but it's November in Yorkshire. You can always enjoy whatever you get. I love sunshine , but I love rain  as well although not too much of either , one will burn you the other will drown you both not what we would want.

The whole point of this week is total relaxation so there may be not too many photographs or even posts. I sure my friends in the sunny antipodes would love to see pictures of a grey rainy day here, and I've posted great pictures of around here on previous Ampleforth and Oswaldkirk (both villages are adjacent) posts. Although I would like to get a photograph of the massive wooden cross at Ampleforth College although I am sure there are many of them online.

Anyway it's always good to take time out to totally relax and it reminds of a TED talk about doing nothing so I thought I would include that for your entertainment. It is very good and makes some great points on how in our modern lives we feel we have to be always doing something. If you take time out then you will be able to do things you want and need to do so much better.

Saturday 2 November 2013

4AM In Ampleforth

I'm sitting here writing this at 4am because I can't get back to sleep. The main reason for this being I went to sleep at 8 pm last night so I've had eight hours sleep.

There's also so something very odd about theis place. I'm scared of the dark. Not darkness as such, but being somewhere with absolutely no visual point of reference. I need a chenk of street light or moonlight from a window, or a light from another rook or something just so I can find my way if I get up. This place isn't like that. It's pitch black, 100 yards from the quiet street and it is pitch black, no light from outside. Obviously I have lights on to post this, but in this place I am fine to negotiate the place in total darkness. Maybe it's because I've been here before and know my way round. You can see the place here.

Anyway I was in bed for a while thinking about things (usually it's worry that keeps people awake) , but good things just kept coming into my head , ideas of nice things to do, places to go , thinking about friends and family near and far away. It's quite amazing how global our friendships can be. Just offhand i have lot's in the USA, around Australia and New Zealand , Tanzania and various other bits of Africa, Germany and probably lots lots more. And these people bring lots of great things into my life in the form of art and music and stimulate ideas in me and cause me to write things like this.

I watch a lot of TED talks which are usually interesting and I've put relevant TED links on a couple of the countries above so feel free to follow and watch. The Australian one is particuculary excellent.

Well have a brilliant weekend and I've include a brilliant Steve F
Steve Forbert as a child
song. I think he was touted as the next Bruce Springsteen, he wasn't just the first Steve Forbert and he has written some wonderful songs.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

He's Behind You

Pantomine Hook
Pantomime Cruella
I think we all really like to be scared in one way or another, for entertainment really. As a child you have pantomime villains , cartoon ogres and Doctor Who's fearsome foes. But as we grow up we become aware of what these really are. I still enjoy a good horror film, play or book and love when something truly makes me jump. I don't like the "horror porn" with nasty things for the sake of it but something that can genuinely frighten you.

A really great friend reminded me today that it was 75 years since Orson Welles infamous radio broadcast of HG Wells "War of the Worlds" which many Americans believed was really happening . You can listen to the whole thing here (in the UK anyway) , and there's a contest to celebrate the occasion here .  This is probably the way to actually scare adults by presenting the story through a familiar medium as a news item.

Recently the Ralph Fiennes version of Shakepeare's Coriolanus featured the newsreader John Snow, and the Channel 4 disaster drama Blackout used this construct, and it can be very effective. It wouldn't surprise me if Welles did it deliberately.

Anyway I found the above version on youtube,  so I hope it will stay there. So you can now listen fully aware that we are probably not being invaded by Martians. Have a wonderful night and enjoy yourself,