Tuesday 29 April 2014

Mount Zion

In amazes me when there's certain music streaming services advertising the fact that they have 25 million songs you can listen to. I don't subscribe to any because I prefer radio which means generally the artists gets a reasonable amount per play rather than the 0.00007p or whatever they pay for each play on Spotify. I don't know what the answer is because a pay per play means that the model has to be financially sustainable. Anyway, as usual , I'm straying from the point.

Jah Wobble's Umbra Sumnus
I buy albums, usually in CD format with the odd download so the artist has been paid for every song I have of theirs in my collection. I then put a selection on my player (in this case a Samsung Note) which I select at random (I select it, not the player). Yesterday I saw Mount Zion by Jah Wobble a single from the album Umbra Sumnus. This is one of the most wonderful things I've heard in years despite having it in my collection for years. I was hoping to find a copy on YouTube but there isn't so I will put one up. If you click through on the song title you can listen to a sample. The song reminds vaguely of the euphoria generated by The Shamen's Destination Eschaton which I will include as a video here.

Have a great day everyone, it looks foggy but I'm sure it will improve

Sunday 27 April 2014

Orphan Black and Gilbert and Sullivan and Todd Rundgren

After the excitement of last week, this weekend has been fairly quiet, which is nice for a change, though I've still had plenty to do, but most of it has been very mundane.

I'm reading The Humans by Matt Haig and thoroughly enjoying it. I hope everyone I've given it to enjoys it as much, and I am listening to lots of music as usual but haven't done much composing recently, reminds of a quip by WS Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) when a lady asked him a question:

                           Lady: Is Bach still composing?
                           Gilbert: No Madam, He's Decomposing!

Always makes me chuckle.

Orphan Black ... so many

There's a lot of local festivals coming up so I will publish a list on the Spoongig site. Also TV seems to be rammed with brilliant TV series such as The Blacklist, Orphan Black is returning so how Tatiana Maslany remembers who she is or is playing I haven't a clue, but I am so looking forward to that.

Next week is another Bank Holiday, I could easily get used to a four day week.

Sports wise today Liverpool play Chelsea in what could be the Premier League Title decider, If Liverpool win then need another point to guarantee the title , and given their final game of the season is against Newcastle I think that wold be nailed on.

So anyway I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday, but I've included a live recording of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" from Iolanthe, which I first heard on his album Todd in the seventies. Rundgren is one of the most amazing musicians ever managing to include in his canon almost every strand of worthy popular music.I could do a blog post on him , maybe I will this week.

Friday 25 April 2014

World Book Night 2014

The Humans - Matt Haig
My World Book Night was fairly low key. I did;t connect until this year that it falls on Shakespeare's birthday. Although some friends reserved copies of The Humans by Matt Haig, I gave away copies to people I sat next to on trains and buses and station platforms. Evey one was extremely pleasant and engaging, as well as being thankful and interested in the book and World Book Night. No one had heard of World Book Night but a few were aware of World Book Day.

Anyway I've started reading the book and it's a vaguely misanthropic view of the human race, and shows Douglas Adams influences, so to me it's very enjoyable.

Anyway this is just a short post, as I'm off to work soon, so hope you all have a great day, and I would suggest you grab your own copy of The Humans, you may enjoy it more than a little.

Monday 21 April 2014

White Heat

When I was having my second lot of blood taken at the hospital a nurse told me she's been looking for a CD copies of a Newcastle Band called White Heat, I'd never heard of them but said that most things could be found. Anyway there's a few things on youtube (see them performing their debut single above) and this is what you get on Amazon. Discogs is also a good place to look here.

There's info about Bob Smeaton their lead singer here.  There's more stuff here. Their stuff was released on the Valium label , not Virgin as she thought. You can get the album on CD here though from Retro Records who do classic vinyl on CD.

Unfortunately I think there are also some poodle rockers who get in the search mix, but this post is for that nurse who took a lot of blood without causing too much discomfort.

This has been a public service announcement.

Decking Painting Virtually Complete

Decking Left
Yesterday I started painting the decking, I'd cleaned it off with a combination jetwash and decking treatment, and was looking at my fence I painted ten years back and which still looks in fine fettle and thought maybe I'll use fence stain / paint rather than decking  stain / paint. Decking stuff is about five times as expensive. My reasoning is that if using the fence stuff doesn't work and can redo with the proper stuff. So I got some stuff from Wilkinsons.....

Decking Right
.... £7.50 for five litres or ten pound for two tubs.  So got two tubs. I was putting off doing it yesterday as I only had a two inch brush , but it turns out that I ended up doing the lot and using up the five litres of stuff. There's a few patched that need touching up which I can do today but it looks like it's all done for Easter Monday. I was a bit worried as Wilkinson's Country Brown looked more like Dayglo Orange, but remember that these things sink in, and looks to have taken very well.

The Monolith Reappears
So today will be a little touching up but mostly enjoying myself and relaxing, and hopefully the sun will return.

A bit of cutting back, means we can see our monolith water feature once more.

I hope you all have a fantastic day, I know that I intend to. Enjoy your Eggs

Sunday 20 April 2014

Good National Record Store Day

Buy More Records
Well although I didn't see anyone I knew apart from the guys at Reflex and RPM,yesterday was an excellent day. I'm writing this at 3 am just because I was awake and it's the middle of the Easter break which means I can actually lie in today.

Although later on I may be painting decking, depending on the weather. I hope it last a bit longer than in previous years when I finally do it , though I will publish photographs (of the said decking!)

I remember selling my EMI version of Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols for £30 then buying the album on Virgin for £3 , the import single for £1.50 and still having £20 to spend! which brings me on to ....

....I got a copy of Peaches by  The Stranglers from Reflex which was doing some extremely brisk trade, and just wish that certain shops to adapt the speed and courtesy of the guys there, they also had free sweets and chocolate which I forgot to partake of, but they had lots of excellent stuff. I see a lot of copies of the disc were on ebay going for a fortune but you can get their first six albums plus a disc of rarities for under fifteen pounds here. While it's nice to have limited editions, for me it's always been about the music.

Cake at RPM
RPM was rammed as they had cake, DJs and and bands in the courtyard next door, and at certain points the shop was in a one in one out situation. I browsed their second hand vinyl, and saw a second hand copy of the second Roxy Music album "For Your Pleasure". I have the CD, but was thinking about it while I looked round the delights in the  and listening to the rockabilly from the in shop DJ, I went back and it had gone , c'est la vie.

Still it was a great atmosphere and I could have spent a lot of money, which I will do when it's a little quieter.

Good Turnout
Anyway had a nice meal at the Stand , just missed my friend Jon and his daughter Aoife, though he sent me a lovely picture of her, face painted as a lion enjoying orange juice,

Came home and cleaned the decking again so it should be ready for painting today or tomorrow. So after this I am going back to my bed, and going to have a bit more sleep.

Saturday 19 April 2014

I Saw A Magpie

A Magpie
... on the way to pick my books up for World Book Night. When I got there they were nowhere to be found. One for sorrow! Although it's a superstitions and whether you get one for sorrow or two for joy you can always find something to fit in with the interpretation. On the plus side the giving day

Anyway it's National Record Store Day , and I need to go and get a record for a neighbour and maybe buy one myself. The weather is wonderful,  so it's likely to be an excellent day for everyone.

It's also an excuse to post the "Magpie" theme tune from the 1970's performed by the Spencer Davis Group (who used to feature Stevie Winwood) under the pseudonym of The Murgatroyd Band. The cool kids watched Magpie and the boring kinds preferred Blue Peter. It's ironic that the latter program is still with us.

Friday 18 April 2014

Good Good Friday

Great North Passion
Well Good Friday is here, the weather is wonderful, and there is a lot of things on and to do. I was intending to to clean and stain my decking this weekend but there are a hundred and one distractions.

The BBC are staging the Great North Passion at Bents Park in South Shields, I was unaware of it til I caught a preview on TV last night then some friends posted on Facebook, but it is being broadcast on TV and you can see the details here.

A-Z of Us
Tomorrow, hopefully I pick up my books (The Humans by Matt Haig) for World Book Night and it's also National Record Shop Day and I've been tasked with obtaining a copy of Peaches by The Stranglers which has a limited run of 1,000 in the original picture sleeve. Incidentally I downloaded a copy of the A-Z of Humans which is very entertaining, and very worth getting for you Kindle or other eReader. It's only about 50p and very entertaining.

Well that's it for this morning, I'm off out to see what I can see or do. Have a brilliant Easter everybody, enjoy yourself and make the most of everything.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Running Up To Easter

Well Easter is almost here again, although Easter Eggs have been in the shops since just after Christmas. I just wanted to do an Easter post so I could add the Marillion song to my post which, I think I've done before, but the tags don't always work correctly.

Easter is probably stolen from a previous pagan festival, but it's an excuse to play the song. The weather looks beautiful but it's icy this morning and I need to get off to work now.

So have a great day everybody.

Monday 14 April 2014

Numbers and Neighbours

I've posted over seven hundred times in this blog and had over sixty four thousand page views. It started seven years ago (apparently seven is the worlds favourite number) so that's roughly nine thousand page views per year 750 views per month on average, although last month I had two and a half thousand page views. The highest numbers come from the USA although maybe some are robots followed by the UK and then Australia.

I'm not bragging (the numbers are quite small), and lot's of bloggers have many more subscribers that I do, although I am sometimes surprised by the people who actually visit my blog. Still sometimes it's quite amazing how the numbers stack up, and if I can entertain someone or make them think or improve someones life in some way then it makes it all worthwhile.

I also use it to record things that interest me, so that I can go back on it , just like a diary, and it means that I can back track and find things whereas before I had the blog I would probably have lost the item in question. I do try to encourage others to start and maintain blogs and it's great to see what people are up to and how they interact with others and they often point me in good directions and set me off on interesting trails.

I've included "Whistlestar" from Cat Stevens'  "Numbers" album that I remember being a fairly expensive package when it came out with lots of extras , and not a little fine music. After he converted to Islam he became Yusuf Islam and is still producing excellent music.

So not my normal blog post, but just something I thought of. This adds to my online history and gives you a little more into your insight about me. I hope your day has been good and tomorrow will be even better,  and I'm already thinking about my next post, which I'm counting on you reading and enjoying. Did you see what I did there? Have a great day.

Oh by they way I've not got my World Book Night Books yet, as the deliveries have been delayed. I'm awaiting an email for them but may get one of my neighbours to pick them up for me. It's brilliant that I know and have excellent neighbours from three houses in each direction. I'm not sure many people can say that these days.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Will It Go Round In Cirlcles?

Number One
I have just been into Newcastle to dispose of an awful Alcatel Tribe phone, donated it via CEX to a Muscular Dystrophy charity, then on the way to Waitrose I dropped in a Windows Record Shop in the Central Arcade.

They're all ready for National Record Store Day, but something I've noticed with them and other record shops in the town is that the amount and range of vinyl on sale is increasing in a big way. In another year or so vinyl may actually be elbowing out CD. Thanks to them I found this Charts page. I can't say I've looked at a music chart for a long time, but at the time of posting it's nice to see the Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey at number one.

I suppose this is one of those situation that demonstrates that sometimes things can be very cyclical, although I suppose the sale of music started with busking , the paper, then vinyl then tape, then CD , then they tried DAT and Minidisc, then you had digital, and now we have the return of vinyl. Live music will always be with us as well. I was thinking of this when I left Windows and saw their husge vinyl window display which made me think of Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles" so that's going to be the music for today.

So if you have any weekend left enjoy it , we have Easter coming so for a lot of us it's only a four day week. Which is good

Friday 11 April 2014

Seven Days

It's the end of another week, and it's been mostly work, sleep, eat and travel. I have World Book Night and National Record Store day coming up and tomorrow I will be picking up my books. Also we have The Mouth Of Tyne Festival (though with the first two headliners being the Brand New Heavies and Toploader I may be leaving early , but Neville Staple will be there and his band were brilliant supporting the Buzzcocks a few years back.

The weather is getting better though I heard there was a Cyclone in the antipodes so I hope all my friends there are safe. Weather can be sometimes great, and sometimes frightening, but it's just pa part of the earth's ecosystem , and the earth is a pretty big and complex thing although it's surpising how many people seem to think that weather should be controlled and predictable.

Anyway the song that comes to mind is 10,000 Maniacs "LIke The Weather", so I'm going to love you and leave you and get off to work.

Monday 7 April 2014

Amazon 90

Over the weekend I bought a Google Chromecast. While the concept is clever it doesn't really give me anything extra to my viewing experience, and took an age to set up, was invisible to my iPad and then on day 2 I had to reset it up again, so against my better judgement I decided to return it. I packaged it up and when through Amazon's return process and first they offer an instant refund, and an option called Collect+ where they offer "alternative" collection points where you can drop the item off.

This turned out to be my local Nisa store which opens at 6 am so I went round and dropped it off. I'm sorry to bypass the Post Office in this way but because of working hours I couldn't drop the package off at my local Post Office til Saturday.

On my may back I got talking to to a 90 year old ex railwayman (original from Byker) , who was eulogising about being out enjoying early mornings and gushing with positivity , and really great old guy, and he's the reason I chose the Kinks song for this post.

So this morning I've had a lift from the old and the new, so that is a fantastic way to start the week, which bodes well for a brilliant week ahead. I hope yours is going to be as good as mine.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Always Look For The Positives

Today I need to find a chemist. It's not an emergency but I need to go to a chemist. I know there is a chemist on Ponteland Road maybe about three quarters of a mile away next to our local NHS Walk In Centre which is next to Aldi.

However Google searches show nothing. If you go to Streetview (a brilliant useful tool) it shows it's still a bike shop (look here) although I know the chemist has been there about 12 months, because I have used it several times, but I don't what it's called or anything.

So I will have to walk there, becase I'm sure that like the NHS Walk in Centre it will be open seven days a week. This means I will get a walk, get some exercise and have a pleasant walk as it's a nice day today. I know people who would be smashing their computer screens if this were the situation, but in every situation there are always so many positives if you are willing to look for them.

The James Brown classic came to mind, but don't you think Ed Sullivan looks and sounds like Richard Nixon?

Have a positive day and keep on smiling.

Saturday 5 April 2014

Time To Yourself, Folk Coincidence and Three Ways to Spell Angie

This weekend I am thoroughly relaxing, not pressured to do a thing. This means no shopping , no planning , just doing what I want when I want, and it's certainly done me good today. I am lucky I can actually do that, because it gives you the change to recharge, think good thoughts and just feel good about life an everything.

Two great friends got married today, I wished them well, but didn't go because I know they would have a lot of friends there adn I know they had a fantastic day.

I had my own fantastic day, just being able to relax, and decide how I'm going to spend this week.

Ralph McTell - Spiral Staircase
Fore some reason the song "Spiral Staircase" had being going through my head. It#s my favourite Ralph McTell song, though I was always struck by the album's beautiful cover. Yesterday I decided to try out a Google Chromecast so ordered one using Amazon Prime and it turned up today. It seemed a bit temperamental setting up , and my iPad refuses to acknowledge it's existence but my Samsung Note is fine with it, but I tried a Youtube video which was fine, then a BBC iPlayer program about Bert Jansch and the first performer was Ralph McTell playing Davy Graham's Angie (or Anji or Angi as it's sometimes listed), which once you can play that you can play guitar. I can't play it by the way.

Anyway that's another coincidence, but it has been a great relaxing day, and I hope your day has been good too.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Strange Dream #69

We all have them. I can remember the tail end of this. I was playing in some kind of football competition , on a full size pitch. I don't know what it was for, I think there had been games involving teams before but "things" had happenend.

This game was one against one against a guy who looked like an eastern European terrorist , moustache and close cropped hair. He took a long shot which I easily saved, but the ball was an odd shape half way between a football and a rugby ball, The guy comes and starts kicking me (a la Daryl's treatment in the last episode of the Walking Dead). I open my eyes surrounded by industrial electric cables, on a wet pitch and the villain is about tho switch on.

I get up and run towards the opposing goal dribbling the ball, but this time he tries to put me off with a flash camera. I'm distracted and vision is affected but still score, end of dream.

Weird or what?

Radiohead's "Nice Dream" came to mind and it's from The Bends which is a wonderful album.

Anyway we are still very foggy here but thanks to British Summer Time it's nice to come home in the light. It's also Thursday which is a day closer to the weekend. So wherever you are in the world, have a brilliant day, be positive, and get ready for a great weekend.

Oh and this is my 69th post this year , just saying ... smiles.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

All Fool's Day and Pixies

Foggy Morning In Fenham
The title is another quote from Vivian Stanshall / Sir Henry Rawlinson at the start of the new Tax year. In the North East we're on our fourth day of thick fog. Yesterday we had a little sunshine , and thanks to British Summer Time we now have light at the end of the day, but a lot of people were feeling the loss of that hours sleep. I was just wondering do they do the same in Australia and New Zealand and the USA?

Anyway I am going to wrap up and have another good day today, with some ideas for music I want to buy and books to read, I still need to read my book for World Book Night , The Humans.

Oh and the Pixies have a new album out, and that can't be anything but good news can it?