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,

Monday 28 October 2013

Be Happy and Enjoy Yourself

Today I found that there was an update to Windows 8 from Microsoft , so I applied it. It was asking to share lots of stuff , and while I like sharing lots of things with my friends, I a bit more reticent about sharing with faceless corporations. I still get slightly annoyed that my Google searches on my PC appear on my phone as well.

XTC Go 2
But this doesn't stop me enjoying myself, and taking delight in the good things that others show me, like new music from around the world , such as a good friend showing me a brilliant XTC album cover, for their second album the excellent Go 2.

Their back catalog is amazing and if you don't know the band you should really check them out.

Pete Burns


I bought the album from Probe Records in Liverpool served , probably by Pete Burns of Dead or Alive, a striking individual even then. He never insulted me , so he must have thought my purchases were at least acceptable.

Anyway, the thing is lots of great music can make you happy , and it makes me happy, and there's one song that I'm thinking of and it was one of my mums favourites. Everybody put a smile on your face, have a great night and a great day tomorrow.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Four Seasons In One Day

Well that's what I've seen to day , lovely blue skies and sunshine the winds and rain as the golden leaves fall from the trees , it's certainly not dull and makes you glad to be alive and experience it. The Sunderland vs Newcastle derby is going on as we speak so there will probably be some disapointed fans in an hours time, I keep telling them it's just a game!

Anyway my weight is coming down slowly so quite pleased about that, and after this I need to go out and post off a CD for a friend, before settling down to write some more of my book , which is progressing as expected.

I chose the title of the post after the rather excellent Crowded House song , one of the many brilliant antipodean bands that have surfaced over the years. I saw them as Split Enz when they still wore their amazing make up and costumes sometime in the 1970s.

Anyway I can't keep blogging, books to write , CDs to post , Catch up TV to watch and coffee to drink, but it's all part of the rich tapestry of life that makes it worth hgetting out of bed every morning and just doing things. Enjoty the rest of the weekend , listen to your music and give a friend friend a big hug, they might not expect it and you both might enjoy it. Have a great day.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Spread The Love

Well after a busy week, the highlight of which was a night out in Brighton with friends, walking along Brighton beach on Thursday morning and catching up with people during the day,  plus the discover of Brighton itself, I'm pleased to say I've got a bit of normality back in my life. I will definitely go back there.

On the train back was taking with an Edinburgh family who had spent the weekend in London, seeing shows including The Commitments , and The Bodyguard the latter featuring the excellent Beverley Knight in the Whitney Houston role. Just have a Beverley Knight album on the player, she is a wonderful singer. I then explained to them the process of Delay Repay as their journey down had been delayed by four hours.

So back home, enjoying not traveling and being able to take time to do things that I want. I'm sure this weekend lots of good things will happen for me and lots of my friends , although for good things to happen you have to do something yourself. Things don't fall into your lap. So phone someone , meet someone, go for a walk , visit a museum or a landmark. There are lots of great things to do. Have a brilliant weekend, give a friend a hug , and spread your love and make the world even happier.

Just found this brilliant version of Alone Again Or by Love , fantastic lyrics as well

Yeah, said it's all right
I won't forget
All the times I've waited patiently for you
And you'll do just what you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are
The greatest fun

And I will be alone again tonight my dear

7 10 A 3

Friday 25 October 2013

Brighton Rocks

Blue Skies over The Grand
Grey Skies Over The Pier
Well actually it's fairly stable , but this week has been manic, and I'd never actually been there before. It's easy to get round and has some amazing architecture , pubs , music and being on thebeach early Thursday morning was really calming and relaxing with the odd situation of having blue skies to the west and grey skies to the east.

Part of it of course  is that I like the sea, although I wouldn't , out of choice, go to Blackpool or Whitley Bay or Skegness.

Looking West is Good
Brighton , Whitby and Craster are the three seaside locations for me, and I would really recommend these three places to anybody.

Each one has it's own character, and I could almost live in each of the places. Brighton has made me feel good despite rolling into the house after half past ten last night.

A definite highlight of my week with some great friends, I would definitely do it again.

If you haven't been you have to go.

And what else could I have playing ..........

Sunday 20 October 2013

Enjoy Yourself

We have blue skies, though summer is over and autumn is here, our precursor to winter. Autumn fills the landscape with amazing colours, as the leaves on trees and plants metamorphose and fall to the ground.

Autumn Garden Colours
Every opportunity you get you should find something to enjoy. It maybe taking with a friend, listening to music you love , going out for a walk, reading a book , watching a film or a show. All of these things and more can lift your spirits and set you up for the week ahead, whatever you have coming.

If things are going to be hard, it's good to prepare yourself my making yourself feel good when you have the opportunity. A friend posted an interesting article about the 21 things that happy people do. The list is here, please read and take them on board.

While I know there are certain people who embody the apparent oxymoron that they are only "happy when they are miserable" , I'm unlikely to persuade them to change their view on life , but I hope that for everyone else, you will take some time today to make yourself happy. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and set yourself up for the coming week.

I've included the joyous Later.. medley of Madness/ Enjoy Yourself featuring Prince Buster and Suggs of Madness for your enjoyment.

Friday 18 October 2013

Sonic Wonders

Some of my favourite mood music are three albums I own by Beaver and Krause. I was intrigued to find a TED talk by Bernie Krause, and thought I would give it a try because the name sounded familiar. Bernie is a very very engaging speaker and gives and absorbing talk on the sounds of our world and how they can indicate the health or otherwise of localised ecosystems.

The talk had bme spellbound and have one of his albums playing at the moment, and it's amazing how much peace the sounds of the natural world can give you, whether it's for relaxation , meditation or otherwise. The music of the natural world.

I know this post is going to sound all new age, but I do believe it is far better to work together and in harmony than to try and further your aims through aggression. I love the sound and feel of rain as well as sunshine, I think that snow is wonderful and am happy in most sorts of weather.

Wonderful Sonics

Anyway I've included the talk, please do watch and maybe leave a comment. I was talking to a businessman on the train and he had never heard of TED but was extremely interested in what I told him and said he would check it out when he had biked home from Newcastle.

This is the start of my weekend which is a precursor to a week that will see me in London and Brighton, so I may or may not be active on here, but we shall see. Have a fantastic weekend and keep on being inspired and positive,

Thursday 17 October 2013

We Need More Love And Positivity

I'm seeing a lot of picture posts on Facebook, which aggressively imply that the poster with take retribution on someone who has crossed them in some way, even unfriended them on Facebook. Every so often I have a clear out of contacts , sometimes accidentally deleting people. Recent me and someone I'd accidentally unfriended took two months of attempting to reconnect, including manny missives to Facebook admin. We only play Scrabble together but the unfriending put that at risk, but we managed to sort it eventually.

Love and Be Positive
The TED talk above is a wonderful inspiring story of someone who overcame adversity and now lives a wonderful fulfilling life.

So people think that treating others badly shows that they are strong. It doesn't it just shows your transgressors have rattled you , and therefore succeeded. I admit that sometimes you have to fight but that should be a last, not first resort.

The best and biggest things are built by people working together it a spirit of co-operation, and sprinkled with a healthy dose of love and respect. So find a friend , give them a hug or a kiss, do something together , even if it's a chat , or a coffee or a drink. Do something together, you never know what may come of it. Work together and you will achieve far more that working in a fractious , frictional environment. Wars and negativity and aggression destroy , Love and cooperation can build lasting monuments.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Picture This

Deanham Gardens
This morning, it was very foggy , but I thought in the dark and with the streetlights I may get an interesting picture. The main road had a few cars, but then I took a static picture down a side street. As I instagrammed it there seemed to be some really odd effects possibly caused by the mist , but I took the picture and this is how it turned out. Lots of people seem to really like it, which is fine by me, and makes me want to keep taking pictures. I know that there are billions of digital photographs out there, but it just gives me a warm feeling to post something that someone actually likes. It makes such things worthwhile although ironically most of the good feedback has come on Facebook!.

Thank you to all you who like the picture, and have a great night. There are lot's of pictrure related songs , but I'll go for Bread's If:

Monday 14 October 2013

Three Really Nice Things

Today three people have really made my day just by appreciating something I had done. What I did wasn't much but it does make you feel good when people appreciate your efforts on something. The people will probably never see this but it is amazing what effect a simple well intentioned thank you can do. It makes you want to try harder for people and makes you appreciate those people as well.

This is going to be a short post because it's really just about another way you can brink positivity to the fore and make people happier. If you engage with people , talk with people , your smile can carry through the most mundane of mediums , even text.

So if you can thank someone for something, do it with a smile, and bring sunshine into yours and their life. Enjoy tonight everyone. This also gives me an excuse to include one of Barclay James Harvest's rockier moments which I first heard on the Old Grey Whistle Test , and it is an absolute killer riff. As I said Enjoy your night.

On The Bright Side

Stormy Monday
Well I've woken up , it's dark, it's raining , it's Monday and I have to go to work. The thing is , it's October so winter is coming on , and the rain means that gardens are watered , in fact the world is behaving as expected, which is always a great thing. Credit Nature or credit Your God but enjoy the fact that everything is happening as it should do.

Yes I don't like going to work in the cold and the wet, but the 100 mile round trip from Newcastle to Darlington gives me ample time to read and enjoy myself, although I need to make sure I don't miss my stop because I'm too engrossed in a book.

I've included a video of BB King's Stormy Monday, because today is a Stormy Monday,  which was also the name of a film featuring Sting set in Newcastle!.

Anyway loads of great things will happen this week, try and make one of them happen or be part of it.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Going Mobile With Entertainment

I was pleased to find that the latest version of BBC iPlayer now allows downloads to my phone, actually allowing the same as 4OD. This means that as well as music, and TED I can now watch quality TV on the move.

Mobile Phone History
A lot of mobile companies advertise how brilliant their service is, but it's only any good if you can maintain a constant signal. So it's fine if you are not moving , but when you are on the train very often there's a heck of a lot of signal drop out. That's why you need to be able to download what you want to watch and listen for when there is no signal. Devices these days have huge capacity that you can usually expand with an SD card (unless you go the Apple route) , so this week I am going to be really spoilt for choice.

Although annoyingly the 4OD app still demands you be connected to wifi when my EE 4G would be far better for downloading programs.

I thought I'd include an appropriate TED talk for this post. So Have a wonderful week my friends.

Picture Books

Hell everyone, I'm amazed that the number of views on this blog is about to hit 40,000. Most post get 50-100 views these days, so someone obviously reads it. Thank you to everyone that does.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered the art of Rebecca Cother and said that I'd put together a slideshow which you can watch above. I had a short musical motif going through my mind so played it in Garageband and used it as the soundtrack. It's very sparse and was thinking of Arvo Part's Spiegel Im Spiegel. I'm going to upload it to the various digital providers via Tunecore and will update the post at some future point.

So I hope you all enjoy the post , the slideshow and the music. Have a great Sunday everybody.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Good Things Happen ... Let Them Eat Cake

The lovely ladies at Pet Lamb in the Grainger Market
I had a good feeling about today and it started well enough, as detailed in my previous post, then after having coffee and reading the papers I decided to go in search of provender such as fruit and vegetables. The weather was a little grey so I decided to nip into town, visit the Grainger Market and finish up with a five dollar shake at the Stateside Diner.

I got my stuff from the Grainger Market, wandered passed the excellent Mmm , and came across the interesting looking Pet Lamb. I wandered inside where a lady was just receiving a coffee from the girls. I was impressed with the cake display and the girls were extremely helpful and engaging. I've missed a decent cupcake and coffee shop in Newcastle since we lost Cake on Grainger Street (Johnny Cupcakes doesn't count as it's just a franchise that brings vanloads of stuff from head office). So that really made my day. I bought two cakes and will be visiting there a lot more and I recommend you do the same if you are in or around Newcastle. They have a facebook page here.

Have a great night everyone and there's only one song for me that mentions cake on my mind at the moment, and thats:

Let There Be More Light

Well I'm still looking after myself, trying to eat healthily and I haven't touched coke for week, but the weight is only coming down very slowly . But its is coming down.

This morning I had to go and pick up a package for the local Royal Mail sorting office because my friend Jo from Darlington refused to do it for me (only joking), but rather than wait for the bus I walked and almost didn't notice the journey. Well I didn't until I walked back when I realised that the mile and a half walk to the sorting office was slightly downhill, and therefore the walk back was up hill. Still it would have done me good and I didn't really notice it.

The 3w LEDs Fitted and Working
Anyway I was picking up some LED bulbs for my new kitchen light fittings, fitted expertly by my brilliant mate Dave. The fittings had halogen bulbs and basically when switched on were using about a pounds worth of electricity a day. That is fine because you don't have the lights on all the time, but I just fitted the new LED ones and they are using £1 to £1.50 electricity a month even left on 24/7 !!

LED is the lighting to have if you can get it. And that's why I had to use the Pink Floyd song on here.

So a good start to the weekend, I hope you all have a great one .

An addendum to this , if you fit the LEDs and use them for 2 hours a day they will save you a penny a day (each bulb) against halogen. I have 12 bulbs in my house so over the year that'sover £40. No doubt the power companies will have to claw back their profits by increasing prices.

Friday 11 October 2013

Book or TED?

I'm currently enjoying the new excellent John Niven novel Single White Male. The thing is because I'm reading that on the train I've not really had time to watch any TED talks which I also enjoy and find inspiring. Sometimes you can only to one thing you enjoy at once , this is a situation where multi tasking is definitely not an option. So I thought I'd include a book related TED talk.

The books about a writer and in one passage about planning or outlining a book comes up with an interesting observation about Stephen King, which may or may not be true. The protagonist doesn't outline his own novels , citing Stephen King's reason being "If I don't know what's going to happen next, then the chances are the reader won't either". That seems to me like a good reason for not necessarily planning you novel. I actually know the structure of my own book so it's just a case of putting flesh on the bones of the framework that is already there in my head.

Well I'm glad the weekend is here, and looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy myself. Anyway I hope you enjoy the talk and have a brilliant weekend.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Early Morning Observations

And there isn't really that much to observe as it's pitch black outside, but it seems calm , with a little wind. The good thing about getting up at 5am and getting probably a 6.45 train to work is that you get get to see the sunrise on the east coast. There are likely to be some glorious pictures, but most are unphotographable from a train because of the reflections caused by the window. But at least I will get to see them. and they do help set you up for the day.

Well lat night I was messing with the iPad / Garageband / Alesis dock set up before eventually getting it to work and got down a few ideas for a piano piece which I may continue with tonight.
Have a Nice Day
So this is just a short post, have a wonderful day everyone, and always keep focussing on the positives, there are a lot of them out there.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Although sometimes things may not go according to plan , mistakes are made , accidents happen , it rains at the open air barbecue, it's always worth stepping back and seeing the millions of great things in life. Today has seen more beautiful blue skies,  great weather , the odd monsoon like strorm, but hey , that just waters the garden.

While working from home I have had great music playing from 6 Music which is still playing at the moment. The problem with 6 is that when it gets switched on it becomes very difficult for me to switch off. A bit like BBC4.

These are tiny instances of pleasure that make life a joy to love. My eldest daughter has just moved offices , she loves it and it's closer to hokme for her , so that pleased me no end.

Rebecca's Lion
I keep meaning to do an Einaudi / Part type piano piece which I want to do to accompany a picture montage of Rebecca Cother's artwork. If she likes it I'll publish it on Youtube for you., but have to compose it first

For some reason going to go with one of my favourite James songs.

Everyone have a fantastic night , and tomorrow is going to be another brilliant day.

Monday 7 October 2013

Surprisingly Amazed by John Martyn

The late John Martyn is one of my many favourite artists, the amazing performance above left me awestruck and immediately had me captured. However in a completely sideways tangential coincidence I was sorting out my daughter's birthday present and as I was on Amazon I thought I'd check out their MP3 store for freebies and noticed the John Martyn Island Years (£160 on disc) for seven pounds. I don't know if this is mispriced, but if not it is a definite bargain.  Seventeen CDs , featuring nineteen hours of music, which will have knocked up my already large music collection fairly significantly.

Today has been another excellent day, despite visiting a dodgy part of town for a hospital clinic appointment with a very pleasant nurse, and again the weather has been beautiful.Have a great night everyone.

Nant Ffrancon Farm by Bob Armstrong
I could do with a picture and I keep ripping of Rebecca Cother, so I'll have one of Bob Armstrong's instead!

Sunday 6 October 2013

Another Beautiful Day

Another gorgeous beautiful day and I don't know what I'm going to to do just at the moment. The weather this year has been absolutely awesome in fact a brilliant TED Talk about clouds comes to mind so that's why it leads this post. Watch it , it is brilliant.

The book is not coming along as fast as I would like but got another thousand words knocked out last night and have ideas still to get down and it's still stuck around the late sixties early seventies so there is a hell of a lot of information to sift and mine and get down. It's still really at the beginning , but it is the first time I've ever undertaken anything like that. Thank god for the word processor I say. I really couldn't hand write or hand type it. Although I do need to use dictation to get ideas down and maybe even write some of the stuff.

I remember about two years ago on holiday I wanted to see if I could write two thousand words in a day, and I did it here. Whether it makes sense or not is a different matter but it does pale the hundred word essays of early secondary school , I can write a hundred words now without thinking almost , but is that a good thing or bad thing. It could get me a job as a scriptwriter of a Michael Bay film, I'm sure.

I now need an image for each post otherwise you get my ugly mug. So I particularly love the pictures of Rebecca Cother and this one caught my eye , because for all of us there is always something good out there  we may have to find it, or we may already have it. Watch that TED talk , enjoy the great weather and have an ebsolutely brilliant day everyone.

Something Has Got To Be Out There - Rebecca Cother

Saturday 5 October 2013

A New Light In My Life

Well rather in my kitchen. Finally replaced the old fluorescent tubes with some halogen (at the moment) spots soon to be replaced with LEDs. Found the LEDs online at Amazon so that means I can do what I want this weekend and not wander round shops looking for light bulbs.

As the sun is rising it's looking like another great day. I just remarked on the Fleetwood Mac song "Go Your Own Way" that I may try as part of my learning to play guitar. The chords are simple but I was just so surprised at the fact that the lyrics use so few words but convey so much. Always though it was a great song from a great album detailing break ups , affairs and the like , but they actually went on to make greater albums and are still touring today forty years on. But here are the lyrics and here is the song and did you know that , rumour has it (see what I did there), every Fleetwood Mac cover has a penguin on it!

Loving you Isn't the right thing to do
How can I Ever change things that I feel?
If I could Maybe I'd give you my world
How can I When you won't take it from me?

You can go your own way! Go your own way
You can call it another lonely day Another Lonely day
You can go your own way!Go your own way

Tell me why Everything turned around?
Packing up Shacking up's all you wanna do
If I could Baby I'd give you my world
Open up Everything's waiting for you

More chorus stuff

Friday 4 October 2013

Mandolins and Six

Just been amazed by the amount of rain today, so no need to water the garden then. Also had the lights replaced in the kitchen though the unit uses halogen and need to replace the with LEDs. Worked at hope and got through a lot more than I expected despite fighting with a network on a selective go slow. Anyway the weekend is here and hopefully I can relax a little.

John Peel playing Mandolin
I'm another year older in numbers but I'm still 15 in my head, looking for fun things to do and ways to enjoy myself. I need to learn more things to play , try a bit of composition on the old iPad maybe using the wonderful Garageband . Was messing about on the mandolin while waiting for files to load today , and just love how the mandolin sounds. I reckon I could compose a song with just two chords on the mandolin, just love how it sounds. Never forget John Peel miming with one with Rod Stewart doing Maggie May on Top of the Pops. Probably made that connection cos I'm listening to his son Tom Ravenscroft on the radio at the moment.

Anyway I feel remarkably relaxed, and ready for the weekend. Looking forward to lots of good things , having lots of fun , and having a great time . Hope you all have a great time too.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Three Feet Round And Falling

I remember John Peel being very depressed because he'd been measured for a suit and his results were 40-40-40. Well I cant actually ever remember buying a pair of jeans will less that 34" waist and since a very long time I've been on 38". Today I put on a pair of 36" John Rocha's that were a birthday present. So hence the title of the post.

I need to get off to work now but just to let you know .

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Busy Doing Nothing ....

Today has been quiet, though took advantage of a free Beefeater meal with work colleagues. Finally reading a "normal" novel , John Niven's "Straight White Male" and been listening to good music on the journey to and from work. I'm aware that I need to do another music video of me playing and continuing to get the use of my left hand completely back ,and need to get some more of the book down. But that will all come in it's own good time.

This is going to be a short post because I am quite tired, although I'm sure I won't be into bed straight away.

Anyway hope you have had a great day, I'm looking forward to the approaching weekend and looking to have lots of fun and enjoy myself.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

A Birthday Is Just An Excuse To Have A Good Time

Well today is my birthday and the biggest surprise was more than a third of my Facebook friends wishing me a happy birthday in one way or another either directly on the site (75 and counting) via email (5) and card (10) , and I am really touched. It really has been a pleasant shock. On the one hand it's easy to post a happy birthday greeting , but it's much easier not to,

So it's a thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I got some nice presents , had a nice tea and watched a wonderful program about the brilliant Nic Jones and his amazing comeback from tragedy.

This is the first post of this month , but I'm just in a very happy mood before I go to be bed. I was considering posting a Rebecca Cother picture, but she may think I'm becoming obsessed with her. Her pictures have really made an impression on me and follow the link and you will see what I mean.

Anyway, again thank you to everyone and sleep soundly. A little bit of Nic for you you all