Sunday, 28 September 2014

Busy Doing Nothing - What Goes On In Your Mind?

The intention was to really not do much this weekend , but I've ended up to doing work , shopping, making beds , and am going to write another two posts on my music blog here due to the fact that I've been to two excellent gigs this week, one for the opening of The Old Fox in Felling with Rigid Digits and the other for a Nick Cave tribute gig and the Tyneside Bar and cafe featuring my friends Jon Lee, Sheena Revolta and Bethany Elen Coyle, though obviously I don't need to say anything about them here otherwise I'd be repeating myself, although repeating yourself is a good way of filling up the page , that's if you you feel you have to fill up the page, which I don't as I'm not being paid for this, just doing it ofr myself and maybe for. your entertainment.

It's funny how when you maybe don't want to do much, you sometimes find lots of things to do, like I set up a Facebook  Your One Song page to see what peoples' favourite song will be if they only had a choice of one! I would hate to only be able to listen to a single song but, the thought of minimalising the Desert Island Discs concept appealed to me. It's like while I have the utmost respect for guitarists who can play complex tunes in complex times with complex solos, I have have a great deal of respect for the one note guitar solos and single (ok maybe two or three) chord songs because that enables ANYBODY to get up and play a song.

Examples are "I'm A Hog For You Baby" by The Coasters, "Tommy Gun" and "White Riot" by The Clash , "Roadrunner" by Jonathan Richman and "Gloria" by Them - there's an instant set list for any band.

Anyway the music I've choset for this post post is "What Goes On" by The Velvet Underground, which The Bok covered for their first gig in the seventies, the band formed on Wednesday, first gig on the Saturday and we'd written half a dozen songs by then!

Anyway I've got a lot of stuff done so far, two more blog posts to go and then I may sit down and watch some catch up TV. Hope you are having a brilliant weekend .

Friday, 26 September 2014

Downs and Ups and The Graham Norton / U2 Connection

This has been a weird week , exhausting and I was looking forward to a quiet weekend , but that's  unlikely to happen , although it's all my own fault, I could stay in and not oversee so work stuff, but really where's the fun in doing nothing.

The Schooner
The other thing Australia and Pirates (see the Mac Barnett talk)  and the Middle East have cropped up quite a lot this week from various sources such as the brilliant TED talk about books that I've included in this post. Tonight the is a Nick Cave night at the Tyneside Cinema Cafe, on Sunday a U2 tribute band on at The Schooner (I assume it'll be a standard tribute although with the Schooner you might expect a Joshua Trio  - which I believe included Graham Norton though I may be wrong -
type tribute), then on Monday night it's GOAT at Newcastle University.

Also it's my birthday next week and have been tasked with writing my best ever blog post, though best is a very subjective adjective although I have it planned out, but it will be personal and substantial , this is a fun challenging gauntlet to pick up. My current most read post is here and the irony is that if you click through to see what it is it will become even more read. While it's a reasonable post , I don't think it's my best post so far , although to be quite honest I haven't a clue what that is.

Anyway it's time for work so I will sigh off now , have a great Friday and a great weekend.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Time To Have Fun

Right it's the weekend and it's time to have fun. So many good things have happened this week (and I don't include the iPhone6 Launch, iOS8 and the new U2 album, which I like) that really I am in a very good mood.

I woke up to early , have got a rant out of my system , and am looking forward to the whole weekend with lots of things to do. I've been invited to lots of free bashes and may or may not partake of some of them. Have an upcoming GOAT concert which is going to be even better because one of my great friends (who's planning a huge Wedding Anniversary bash next year) is also coming.

Hold That Happy Thought
I unexpectedly ran into friends this week and really it's just been an enjoyable if busy week. Two hospital appointments the first of which was not pleasant but the results have been fine. Oh Preston threw away a three goal lead , but it was against my friend Chris's Chesterfield so I'm not too down about that, these things happen.

So I suppose I going to have to take drugs, have breakfast , get showered get up and enjoy myself, and I suggest that you do the same. There may be things to complain about but there's a hell of a lot to enjoy.  Like the fact I can put my fingers to the keyboard , update this blog and wish you all a most excellent weekend.

Go out there and be very, very happy!  And on that note I'll post "Happy" by The Carpenters, because it was one of my mums favourite songs , it makes me happy and I know it makes a lot of my friend happy!!

There But For Fortune

I woke up too early , and I don't know if I'm "getting old" but something recently has started bugging which morally should kick off my sympathy switch. If people are worse off than me , if I can I should look out for them but ....

These Guys Help

When it's raining there's a beggar camped in an unsheltered area near where I cross the road for my train . The guy is treating it almost like a marketing campaign , when I know if I were in that position I would be going to St Vincent De Paul in Shieldfield or trying to find somewhere I could shelter. And I well know that there but for fortune go I.

Then coming back from work in the short walk from Central Station to my bus stop on Grainger Street there were three beggars (One of who is fairly aggressive and I've seen often in pubs) and three Big Issue sellers. I have adopted a Big Issue seller and she is a very nice lady with a pitch on Grey Street and have bought from her for years, but three in a ten minute straight walk I just ignore. Again the beggars do have support  in Newcastle , but I don't live on the street and don't even know if I could or what the answer is.

In a full employment economy there shouldn't be a need to beg or to sell the Big Issue but both seem to be multiplying.
Everybody Wants One

This is the day the iPhone6 launched which can set you back £800 for the top end model and Apple sold four million on the first day, and in the week that Apple also negotiated a free download of U2's new album much to many people's annoyance. I'm fine with it but it's a publicity stunt. There is a lot of money in the world , plenty for everyone, but not everyone gets access to it.

I don't really do posts like this but just had to say it. I don't know the answer. I also think I need to write another post very quickly which illustrates my normal positivity , because this makes me feel too much like a Daily Mail reader for my own comfort. It doesn't help that it's September and grey and it's six o' clock on Saturday morning.

I nicked the title from the Phil Ochs song although maybe the Joan Baez version is better know to you. I suppose there 's a lot of articles linking opulence with poverty, which has just reminded me of an excellent TED talk by Nick Hanauer that I need to include:

Right that's that done next up some positivity.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Tomorrow Belongs To Me .... or Does It?

Go Alba!!
Well today Scotland get a say on whether they want to be part of the United Kingdom, and to be honest would you really want to be part of a Union which was being run for the benefit of people like David Cameron and his mates. While I would prefer Scotland to stay, I would also like them to go for independence and give Cameron and his cronies a bloody nose, so I'll be happy for Scotland whatever the result but I've not been happy with the posturings of the Westminster politicians over this.

What song , well a couple from my favourite son of Glasgow. Maybe after tonight we'll have to
rebuild the Wall , and thank God Newcastle is North of it!!

Monday, 15 September 2014

What A Shower .. and The New U2 Album

Last week I took the last plaster off my left elbow, with a little trepidation after the last time it was open to the air, but it's brilliant to have a shower and just wash your arm instead of trying to avoid getting it wet.

Also I've listed to the new U2 album "Songs Of Innocence" and it's fine, if a bit U2 by numbers, but this is a band still going after 35 years with it's original line up and they have produced an album that is good to listen to. As yet nothing jumps out like say "Vertigo" or "Desire", and still thing that "Zoo Station" is very hard to beat as an opener.

The whole thing is a marketing stunt by Apple and U2, but it's generally a win/ win situation they get the publicity and the consumer get's an album by a major band. Simon Donald (Him off the Viz) is not pleased though and reckons this wouldn't have happened on Steve Jobs watch. Under Jobs he reckons yo had the illusion of your iTunes library being yours and private, and the U2 album appearing there is like a thief has broken into your house and left you a present , but he has still violated your privacy by coming into your house uninvited and with no announcement.

U2 Live
Anyway playing the new album reminded me of how great "Under A Blood Red Sky" is. It's very short and remember it was a "budget" album when it came out, and songs like "Gloria" , "Electric Co" and "40" still often play over in my head.

It's the start of a new week, I'm gonna have a great one , you have one too.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Thunderstruck By Bagpipes... another installment Fighting With My Left Hand

Its's been a SAD day, that's SAD as in Seasonal Affected Disorder, as you know I seldom let life get me down, but today's weather has been mostly grey skies and not exactly warm, just one of those days where things don't really inspire you to get up and go.

This week I have two hospital visits, the first of which I'm not looking forward to because it will cause discomfort (and related to the cirrhosis diagnosis a couple of weeks back) , the second will be fine because it's the end of an observational period on my liver that has included two biopsies, but the consultant and nurses I've had looking out for me have been brilliant. I love the NHS.

The same consultant, because he is so good , spotted that I may have nerve damage in my left arm that resulted in the op and that seems to have majorly improved my control and strength in my left arm. I'd set my sights on learning to play AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" until I checked out the tab and found that's it's all played on the second ('B') string m so after ten minutes I'd made a decent stab at that on acoustic guitar (with a lot of buzzes and clicks) , so I need something a little more challenging, though I still think the Red Hot Chilli Pipers version on bagpipes is well impressive.

Uneasy Listening
Then I found a friend who with her husband has gone through traumatic times recently, but her little girl has started school , he husband's band (Omnihility)have released a new album and she is going for a dream job so lot's of positivity there which is brilliant.

I've done lots of walking about today, so have got some exercise, and actually had an enjoyable day.

U2 and iTunes gave us their new album whether you wanted it or not and it's playing at the moment and is fine, if just another U2 album, but really it's just a marketing exercise.

I've got another three weeks before a holiday in Ampleforth and have some gigs coming up , including GOAT, which I am really looking forward to.

Anyway enjoy what's left of the weekend , I certainly will

Sunday, 7 September 2014

In The Future Everyone Will Be Famous for 15 Seconds

I very seldom have a rant, more just have a feeling of exasperation at the apparent idiocy of the masses, however after having seen the Sunday Express'  headline today about another migrant invasion I thought I'd let you have my take on the "Ice Bucket Challenge" thing.

Over the years various people have done things to raise money and awareness for certain illnesses and causes. Today the Great North Run took place , which is now the world's greatest half marathon and raises millions for lots of worthy causes. People have trained for months to get into shape to give them a chance of finishing the race and hitting their target.

Now this IBC, it's supposed to be to raise awareness of ALS , I don't know what it is but think it's something to do with Motor Neurone Disease / Syndrome. ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and I was right in my presumption. Here is a wiki definition. IBC seems to be a sort of "charity thing" for the iPod / You've Been Framed / Reality TV generation, the people who can't concentrate on anything for more than two minutes. It requires no training , no planning, and when it's done it's forgotten about. I believe some people have made money from it but eveybody can now put themselves on Youtube for two minutes and may or may not be seen but in most cases will be forgotten.

This is the same generation who buy into the broadband blurb that you can download an album in 40 seconds, but it should take 40 minutes to listen to, but then people skip tracks make playlists and maybe never listen to the album they've downloaded, because it's more convenient to download than it is to listen.

Andy Warhol
In the past Andy Warhol stated "In The Future Everyone Will Be Famous For 15 Minutes", he didn't take into account the idiocy accelerometers.

I think the the fact that the IBC is so ubiquitous has really annoyed me, and many of my friends have taken it to raise money for charities and all power to them, but I think it's good to take a challenge that you can put yourself into.

Anyway that's my rant over and obviously the only song I've going to choose is David Bowie's Andy Warhol so enjoy the rest of your Sunday , I've mowed the lawn and now others are following suit and if you must IBC say what your doing it and promote your charity upfront. Have a great day

Saturday, 6 September 2014

First Week Of September - Judas Priest and Sodom and Gomorrah

..and I've been lax in my posting, but actually busy. Work quietened down so I could actually take a day of to enable me to go for a job interview, however I had also to fit in a visit to the plastic surgery bit of the RVI to follow up my visit to casualty last Saturday and all seemed good and they gave me a new supply of big plasters for my elbow.

Rebellious Jukebox
Because the interview was finished by twelve I had a half day to myself and wandered into down , finally ending up at the The Laing Art Gallery to see a couple of exhibitions , including Kelly Richardson's amazingly hypnotic "Mariner 9" which I'd seen before at Whitley Bay's Spanish City. Also the excellent "All That Is Solid Melts Into Air" with some brilliant juxtaposed images such as John Martin's "Sodom And Gomorrah" close to Judas Priest's "Unleashed In The East". There was also a brilliant jukebox setting which I wasn't supposed to photograph but did anyway.

Incidentally you can explore The Laing online here which gives you an idea where I was.

Today I'm off to see Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick at the Tyneside Irish Centre which should be a good night.

The weather is great and rainy , but it is September so what can you expect. But all in all an excellent week and if you are in Newcastle this weekend get yourself along to the Laing to see some amazing exhibits.