Sunday 26 October 2014

Beat The Clock, An Urge For Offal and THAT Goal

Some of My Watches
Chose the title from a brilliant Sparks and Giorgio Moroder collaboration from their album Number One Song In Heaven. In our fantastic digital age all of the clock resetting is done for us apart from the odd analogue device (like my Beuchat and iToc watches, wall clocks, heating clock) plus the digital cooker clock and the wall timer for the living room main light.

Many years ago I went a whole day without realising the clocks had changed, luckily I switched on the TV in the evening , thought there's something very amiss here, then realised what had actually happened.

New Album
Today sounds and looks very windy and I'm not looking forward to the fact that it's going to be darker an hour earlier but that's just the nature of the beast. I'm not sure daylight saving actually saves anything much anymore in the 24/7 world that we live in, although in a bit of good news Fiona's friend Tim informed me he'd heard a new Half Man Half Biscuit album, "Urge For Offal" on Spotify so that is about to be ordered when I've posted this. I I listen to it on Spotify the band will probably get paid about 0.0001p per track. The mega selling Daft Punk album Random Access Memory resulted in a payment of £13K from Spotify which might have paid the tea bill!

 I've nothing against the Spotify model , but it's pay per play model just doesn't work in favour of the artist. Apparently Spotify plays have generate me 1p in the last 12 months on a piece I did for the artist Rebecca Cother for the slideshow below, but I didn't do it to make money , just to see how easy it was to do.

Oh another good thing is that Preston's Joe Garnerweighed in with hat trick to give us victory against Fleetwood Town yesterday and put us second in the table, so it's an excuse to include THAT goal:

Anyway I hope you enjoyed your extra hour in bed and enjoy the rest of the day.

Saturday 25 October 2014

Darkness To Light

One of the good things about Autumn / Winter is the fact that some days you wake up in darkness and get to see the sun rise andthe day come up. This brings in me a feeling of exhilaration. In summer you wake up and it's light and you've missed thousands of sunrises, although you are warm and you've had a night's sleep.

Also I got a response from First Transpennine about a refund request I put in last night where they're giving be a full refund rather than charging me a ten pound admin fee which is nice. Even corporate entities can sometimes act sensibly.

The French Oven Are 9
I've noticed the excellent French Oven Bakery in the Grainger Market in Newcastle have added me to their circles. We are so lucky in Newcastle having such a concentration of excellent  people like these on our doorstep. One of their vans is parked in the road behind me so it's nice to know that such great people live close to me, being almost neighbours.

Although I normally write blog entries a little longer than this, today will be short, but I am going to have another enjoyable weekend and having a good week.With a few friends at work we'd put a couple of lines on the Euromillions lottery but didn't win even the tiniest morsel , but it gives a little feeling of togetherness, and the jackpot's still not been won, but to be honest I rather be happy than rich , although as Woody Allen puts it:

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” 

Still the day is looking bright and we have the whole weekend to go, which will be great fun, so you go and enjoy yourself , I intend to. I never knew that Louis Prima had done "Enjoy Yourself", always thought Prince Buster had written, a great song always put's a smile on my face as does Mr Prima.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Rainbows and Robots

Rainbow over My Road With Pan Dimensional Car
This is a very short post, but this morning I went out for a paper , and we've had wind and rain, and as I left the house saw this amazing rainbow. So I photographed it. As I walked up the road it still seemed as clear from end to end , and I could see more of it and a lady coming the other way remarked it was the most impressively clear rainbow that she had seen in many a year. I looked back again to take another picture but the span was too big for my phone lens. So I tries the panorama shot which is what the shot above is.

There was a car coming up the road which is why I've lost half of it as it was moving at the time. This is probably the biggest rainbow I've ever photographed.

Out of the rain and bad weather we got this wonderful rainbow against a very blue sky.

And it's something to analogise with that sometimes out of apparently bad things sometimes good things can come. It's not always the case although if you look for positives you can usually find them, well I can, and I'm pleased that most of my friends can.

Aye Robot
One of my friends put me on to the Danboard Robot figures which are simple and cute and spreading like wildfire. They're posable and great to photograph as you travel around. I may get one myself although I'm not sure where I would put it or what I would do with it, but I know these will bring smiles to a lot of faces this year and will probably be on a hell of a lot of Christmas lists. My only slight gripe is the Amazon name on the box body , but , again maybe that's part of the charm.

And that gives me an idea for a song for this post, which I hadn't even thought of when I started, I was hoping for "International Robots" but had to make do with "Do The Robot" by Australia's finest - The Saints.

So I'm going to sign off now , everybody have an absolutely brilliant week, I intend to. See you soon

Saturday 18 October 2014

An Apple A Day

Just noticed that Apple is my second most tagged item after Newcastle. While I love Newcastle , Apple I can take or leave, and in fact some folk think I detest Apple. I actually don't , but anyone who tries to get complete control of me in any way whatsoever, I tend to give short shrift to. So that includes , Google , Microsoft,  Sky, BT , Virgin, Politicians and almost everyone who wants me to follow their line.

Then I started thinking am I just whingeing on this blog? If you look at Twitter and Facebook the things that get picked up on are where people are complaining or laughing at others' misfortune, and that is no way to be, but is the may of the world unfortunately.

Social Media can be good or bad , I hate things like Fail Army , but it can mean that you can quickly encourage people and offer them support and spread good news, which is the way I always try t do something. I always try to make my posts positive and have something good connected with it.

So I'm going to have the Onion's Apple Device review on here, which is a fun ridiculous dig at Apple.

It's the weekend and a grey day but there are lots of ways to have fun, if you can read this you're connected , and if you're connected , connect with others positively. It will make you feel better and them feel better.

If something annoys you try and deal with it , instead of moaning, bring sunshine into people's lives and they will usually return it, and you will feel good.

Right that's enough ne age do goodery for today, I 'm going to take some serious drugs and continue having a brilliant weekend. YOU enjoy yourself , lookk in the mirror , smile and say "I am wonderfully happy" then keep the feeling up throughout the weekend.

Have a brilliant day everybody.

Friday 17 October 2014

The Porridge Fairy

I never know how to spell porridge, if you follow the link it lists a few alternatives (porage, porrige, parritch, etc.) so that could explain my confusion , so it's not just the fact that my IQ is less than my show size. Anyway today one of those series of events came together to cause a particular  non situation.

Faerie Tales

I started cooking my breakfast of organic porridge and also made a cup of tea. When I'd measured the stuff out I elastic banded the bag an chucked it in the cupboard. This was stuff I'd got from the excellent Mmm in The Grainger Market ages back and very nice it is too. Anyway I then noticed that the milk in the tea had curdled, and I'd used the same for the porridge , so chucked it away and went back into the cupboard for more oats .... and there were none there!! I thought I saw the bag but it was noodles. Then I finally found the errant bag and it was hidden behind some cans of beans and pulses. How did that happen?

Unless someone ..... or something moved it! Well actually what happened is I threw the porridge bag a bit harder than I though and there was a gap behind the cans where it landed.

Then I thought about the similarity with faith, haunting and magic situations where people don't want to really know the answer and in most cases are just too lazy to find it. It's the basis for atrology , psychic charlatans and religious fraud like Creationism. Oh I cant think the Devil or God or The Fairies did it. Derek Acorah and Most Haunted play on this situation. I mean this are as as valid.

  • My car has stopped, God must not want me to go to worker so he stopped my car: 
    • NO - You've run out of Petrol!
  • The lights have gone out, Satan has plunged us into darkness: 
    • NO - A fuse has blown or you've not payed your bill
  • The porridge has disappeared from the food cupboard, the porridge fairy must have moved it:
    •  NO - you chucked it in there too hard and it went to the back of the cupboard
So anyway that's what happened this morning , but the sun is shining brightly this morning just in tome for a great weekend. Have a fantastic Friday everyone and have an even better weekend.

Thought the rather excellent Bastard Fairies would be an appropriate song for today.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Autumn, Hemp, Nettles and Australian Penetration from Pauline

Autumn is definitely here, the leaves are turning yellow , gold and brown and falling from their trees covering paths and gardens, and it's windy and rainy but we are in the middle of  October. It's dark when I leave for work and dark when I'm getting back and the heating is now on for longer and getting turned up.

There's a couple of upcoming gigs, next week including a warm up one for Pauline Murray at the Tyneside Bar and Cafe before her first tour of Australia. I've seen her twice fronting Penetration recently , check out posts here. so I am looking forward to that. I recently went for an evening of Nic Cave songs so as yet my gigs there have had an Australian connection.

Blood Better
The other thing this week is that I had noticed that my blood sugar was getting high, yes I'd been on holiday , but it was hitting 12 to 20 at it's worst. I couldn't think what had changed , and then realised I'd run out of hemp oil tablets, and at the same time I read that nettle tea was good for reducing blood sugar , so I got myself some and the blood sugar is now back to normal after a couple of days. I'm quite amazed that something can have an actual effect that quickly so I'm going back to see my doctor to discuss it with her.

So an interesting week, and hopefully we can all keep warm and cozy while enjoying the good things in life. Have a great day everybody. Thought I'd include the Philosopher's Song from Monty Python as it always bring a smile to my face and I'm sure it will to yours.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Ai Weiwei at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Iron Tree

Back from holiday but I was mightily impressed by The Yorkshire Sculpture Park . It's big and it's impressive and it's mostly outdoor. I originally wanted to go for the Ai Weiwei exhibition, but this turned out to be one of many wonders at the place. I've found a copy of the documentary "Never Sorry" to include with this post , but there's details of the exhibitition Ai Weiwei "In The Chapel" , which includes poetry from his father and some wonderful exhibits, The Iron Tree being my favourite, here.

Ursula Von Rydingsvard
I was also impressed with the work of Ursula von Rydingsvard , one of her sculptures hits you when you when you enter the park , which is just off junction 38 on the m1.

The brilliance of the park is that it attracts you to an exhibit, and then as you are studying it you will see another, five or ten minutes walk away, and before you know where you are you are way off your original planned visit.

Because it's mostly outdoor it's best to have a good day for a visit, and make sure you have a camera with you. If you are reliant on film , make sure you have plenty of rolls, and if digital , you may need an extra memory card or two because not only are the exhibits worth picturing, the landscape is wonderful too.

My photographs of the day are here and you can use the website to find out more about the pictures I took.

Ok have a brilliant Saturday , the weather here is fantastic.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Hardwick Cottage Ampleforth and a Vinyl Record Shop

I may have posted this before , but Ampleforth along with Whitby is one of the few places I could probably live. Obviously I love Newcastle and that's where my life is full of friends and family, and I come from Preston and have lots of friends and family there.

This is about the fourth time we've stayed in Hardwick cottage and it provides the ability to be cut off along with the convenience of local amenities within walking distance, as well as pubs and the option to eat out or have take aways. The cottage is here. In May I thought that would be my final visit, but the situation has changed slightly and we will be back at the beginning of December and maybe again next year which really pleases me.

Slim Whitman 78
Elvis at the door
There are lots of small towns near such as Helmsley, Thirsk and Northallerton which I visited yesterday and shockingly found a vinyl record shop. I'm not a vinyl junkie but it was a pleasant surprise to actually find somewhere selling records just off the main street. The name of the shop is BetterDaze and has lots of vinyl, memorabilia, jukeboxes and record players, mainly rock and rock and roll. They also have a Facebook page here.

You're greeted by an Elvis figure when you enter the shop and there were quite a few people in there when I dropped by yesterday afternoon.

So I'm just having a great holiday here and am really enjoying it, and the Happy Days intro always puts a smile on my face. Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday 7 October 2014


It's quite funny how simple things can have unexpected consequences. I'm on holiday in Ampleforth and manages to forget a lot of things, but thank god not the remote for my media player, but I forgot my glasses. Without my glasses I can't really see much detail without them, enough to get by but not to do the stuff I want.

I don't like showering with contact lenses in so effectively to actually do what I want I have to get up and shower and then I may as well get up. It's not a problem but it does mean that I need contact lenses in all day that I don't usually do.

This post is probably the most boring one that I've ever written but I'm on holiday so I'm allowed to do things like this. Although I could have gone on about unexpected consequences and that reminds me of a great book by Levitt & Dubner called Freakonomics which details the unexpected consequences of events and actions and poses such scenarios as:

  • What do estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?
  • Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?
  • What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
  • How can your name affect how well you do in life?

And a lot more, it is amazing how simple events can have a domino effect on other events. Anyway that's as deep as I'm going to get today, so enjoy your day  and I will continue enjoying mine.I thought the Guinness advert was fairly appropriate for the subject of this post. Have a great day!

Sunday 5 October 2014

Sunday Sermon:Pitch Black Into Naked Religion

Apologies for this being slightly ranty rather than positive, although it's just some things that have recently crossed my mind brought tho the fore by last nights dream. Given the nature of the post I thought Randy Newman's "God's Song" would be appropriate.

I slept well last night,, but woke up from a dream that I remembered some of. It didn't finish, and nothing bad happened but it was a pre disaster scenario which could be dealt with with certain precautions. This is the dream as it happened. Basically I was is a Pitch Black scenario (Pitch Black being the best sci fi "B" Movie since Alien starring Vin Diesel as Riddick). I was in the deserted outpost building with the knowledge from diaries that were strewn about that the previous occupants had been wiped out by the inhabitants of this planet. I was with a group of people who sounded like eastern European Bond villains, and they had returned from a reconnaissance trip with what looked like tatty Russian dolls about two feet high. I knew from the diaries that these were eggs of the vicious creatures that had destroyed the previous occupant. I said that we had to get the m outside immediately. Then the argument started.:

Them: "How do you know they are dangerous?"
Me: "Look at the evidence, theres been violence here and the diaries have drawings of eggs and descriptions of the creatures that hatched and probably killed them all"
Them: "How do you know that these are the same"
Me: "Even if they're not we should err on the side of caution, leave them outside then we are safe and we can observe with a lesser amount of danger"
Them: "We think they are cute, so they're staying"
Me:"That is not a good idea, being cute in a hostile environment is not an sensible objective stance to take"
Them:"They're staying, we think they'll be fine"
Me: "What do you base that on?"
Them: "The look cute"

Then I woke up, and thought , this argument is a lot like religious faith (Mainly Creationists)  vs  Science. Science always questions itself and that's how truths are discovered, and extreme religion uses this to deny science while refusing to question it's own belief. I know it was a laboured tale to illustrate a basic point but I've met many religious people who use it as a moral supportive code and do not force it others or question others beliefs. My problem is when religion is used as a bludgeon to spread ignorance (ie Creationism).

The Lovers

Anyway the second vaguely religious point was something I noticed from this Facebook post here.  When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden they were happy, God was happy and all was great until Satan got Even to eat the apple and they discovered SHAME and started wearing makehift clothes which got God angry and he chucked them out of the Garden. So using that scenario wearing of clothes is and obvious sign of Satanism , because God wanted us to be naked.

So why is there such a furore when we see a nipple, willy or pussy or bum?  If God's will were to be carried out we should all surely be naked. Actually there is the practicality of weather and keeping dry and warm, and let's face clothes can make a person with the most unappealing body look good. It's that that if we see someone "exposed" there's far more uproar than a knifing or shooting, so if you do see someone either laugh, appreciate or ignore, don't act like a Daily Mail reader.

OK that's my Sunday Sermon , have a brilliant day everyone, I'm enjoying my holiday (and fully dressed)

Saturday 4 October 2014

Starless and Bible Black

I must admit that the first time I came across this ominous beauty of a phrase is when King Crimson used it as the title of one of their great albums. Of course it comes from the opening of Dylan Thomas' wonderful tone poem "Under Milk Wood" :

"To begin at the beginning: It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea."

Anyway, it perfectly describes the feeling of being here in Ampleforth in the middle of the night, but here it id perfect calm and very relaxing, though it was initially disconcerting when I first came as I tend to get a little unnerved in absolute  total darkness when you have no point of reference such as a chink of light through the curtains or late night taxis taking people home or the police helicopter chasing someone down the A1. In Ampleforth there is none of that, just calm and serenity, admittedly in the dark.

Actually the local Church clock auto chimes on the hour, or something does because as I awoke I heard three bell chimes.

Anyway after a good journey down, I found I'd managed to leave my contact lens solution at home (none to be found in Helmsley and about the only thing the loacal Post Office doesn't stock), then realised that I'd left my glasses at home, so once lenses are out the eyestarin gets a bit much for any reading or messing about on the computer, then I realised I'd left the DAB Radio at home (and we have 4!) so that's three things I've forgotten.

Anyway it's almost four in the morning now, so I am going to get back to bed, and leave you with the DubWood Allstars treatment of the intro to Under Milk Wood, which I have loved since Cerys Matthews played it on her 6 Music show. And if you want to watch the recent excellent BBC production, it's here:

Wednesday 1 October 2014

This is Tomorrow ... Wishing You Were Here

This post is part challenge but part something I want to do. It's my birthday and usually you do something special on your birthday. I'm starting this at 6.10 am and will finish it tonight. The challenge as I said before is to write my best blog post ever, but how do you do that? Should it be short and punchy , should it be epic and informative? I know it will be somewhere in between as I have had some thoughts about it and now is the time where the words have got to flow from my fingers to produce this post. The thing is, it wont be edited, these are the words that are coming out, and this is actually part of what may be my best post ever, although you can always say that because if you check out my first posts, they were quite brief, and the observations of single points usually.

Today I tend to ramble a bit more, like today was my birthday and had a lovely surprise at work when my friends bought me a very nice cake which I managed to divide up using plastic knives (we really need to get real knives) , also I have had lots of messages from lovely friends around the world, and close to home, which gives a wonderful feeling that there is so much love and good will among the people I know. I always try to be positive and look for the good in things and today, and the past couple of weeks have made that extremely easy for me.

So what makes a good blog post, I've not written fiction, and reporting on something (like the awesome GOAT gig on Monday with my friends Jon and Julie is not a thing for something memorable, the gig itself was memorable but my scribblings could never really do it justice.

So what is left , well it's good to keep positive and throughout like there are often things that aren't people  that have an effect of you and are things that you want to share with others, and one of the best things in life is sharing things with people, because that get's you talking and helps with the initial lasting hooks and threads of friendships and relationships. It may be a place , an event, a book , a Tv program or a film. ALl of these thing we can all share in.

The sentiment at the top is from a Bryan Ferry song, not one of my favourites but a wonderful line, and sometimes you would just love people to be here with you but that cannot be because of where they are or what they are doing. It's not a bad thing and it is good to have that desire because it will get you out and get you socialising. So if you don't know these are a few of my favourite things:


Magical Imajica
Imajica by Clive Barker. It's fantasy, it's big, it's full of love, sex, magic , adventure and a huge circular multiverse and I never tire of it and love going back to revisit.

It has similarities with other books such as Lord of The Rings and His Dark Materials, both of which I love but this is my personal favourite and will hopefully be reading it again soon.



My Favourite Film
True Romance by Tony Scott, with a Tarantino script and an A list cast of thousands, or it seems like that. You get romance, a mexican stand off, the ghost of Elvis , Dennis Hopper as a good guy, Gary Oldman as a white negro rasta drug dealer , a comic shop , Brad Pitt stoned on a couch and Patricia Arquette taking out James Gandolfini with a cistern top. And that's not the half of it , add a lovely theme from Hans Zimmer and a top soundtrack and you have a perfect film.




Spirit of Adventure
Future Games by Spirit. Basically this is an aural film with vague Star Trek  and Muppets connections, going into trippy pschedelia but always lovely and perfect listening. The film snippets were later picked up by bands like Big Audio Dynamite , and I love them too , but the Spirit album is always with me and will always be my favourite.

So that's a few things that I like to give you a small insight into  me. I hope you found this interesting, but be positive and look forwrd to tomorrow because the always great things waiting round the corner, it's just sometimes you have to go and find them , and when you do it feels absolutely brilliant.