Sunday 30 November 2014


Well it's the last day of the month so cue the Christmas songs and curmudgeons although it seems to have been going on for months.

Really we should embrace the original spirit of Christmas, caring for others, giving to make others happy (and hoping others return the favour) , throughout the year. I always try to but am sometimes exasperated by the concentration on money and material possessions and one upmanship you see in people.

When I can I do help others, and when you help others that makes you feel good so it's not all one sided. My help never leaves me short, so that I try to always be in a position to be there for others, sometimes in the smallest of ways. It may only be a word of encouragement, or and endorsement that someone is on the right path.

It's Still November!!
It's not about religion it's about carrying out your moral obligations and if you do then you will get an enormous lift from. There's a lot of new age stuff about wishing for good things and they'll come your way, though I see it as maintaining a positive attitude and doing things that will eventually come back on you with some form of recompense.

Anyway this is getting all philosophical, and you know I'm not that savvy to write about things like that so I need to find and picture and a video for this post which is Govinda by Kula Shaker just because it sounds a bit like Govember, although if you are in Australia it is already December so you can start to feel Christmassy!

Saturday 29 November 2014

Sort Of Normal

After finally getting up today after a good night's sleep today has been a sort of normal day. It's nine o'clock and I don't feel ready to drop. I've had a relaxing day visiting Helmsley, and my holiday has started in an excellent holiday type of way.

The weather is what you would expect in December, but I've certainly seen much worse and have plans to visit Helmsley Castle (part of English Heritage which is free with my Barclays Bank Account) and Castle Howard during the week.

The Last Glimpse Of Summer
Though being away from Newcastle has extracted me from the situation of choosing between four excellent gigs tonight so I can relax, listen to good music , drink , and just feel good. Though this is a remarkably short post it has taken me a remarkably long time to write, for something with so few words in it.

Maybe I am getting tired and maybe I should go to bed. Well my weekend has got off to a great start, I hope yours is the same and I hope all my friends who are enjoying gigs and socialising tonight have an absolutely brilliant time. I have to include a picture of Rebecca Cothers beautiful latest work one here because it is a lovely evocation of the last of summer.

I chose David Bowie's take on Jacques Brel's Amsterdam because my daughter Juliet is doing a presentation on the place this week. And that's another coincidence I've had reason to mention both of my daughters in consecutive blog posts , and that is another reason to put a smile on my face.

2 x 12 x Magna Carta

Quite amazingly this week I have had two twelve hour plus sleeps, one managing to sleep through the alarm the day after finishing work. I obviously needed so rest and recuperation. A good friend remarked that I always forget something when I go on holiday, and this time I did again, although it was just various cooking things, olive oil and the like.

This week I've noticed some odd coincidences , I was reading a book about space and the fact you could buy an acre of land on the moon for about $20 then logged on to Facebook to find my daughter Kirsty had bought an acre of Moon for £10!

Now That's What I Call A Document
After a drive down in thick fog and tea at The White Horse it was bed for me last night, but I'm up now with options of a "Christmas Fayre" in the local Church Hall and visits to local centres. I still can't believe after years of coming to Ampleforth that Helmsley doesn't have a Chemist! The White Horse is a fantastic welcoming pub, all the staff and regulars are friendly and the food is excellent, and at the the moment it's very festively decorated although there will be no Christmas songs til December. Quite right too.

Just noticed it's 800 years since the Magna Carta was signed, though think this needs reinforcing given the state of current governments. Here are Helmsley's details on the Magna Carta page.

Although this post was more about me sleeping a lot, it has morphed into stuff about history and The Magna Carta and the most contemporary music that came to mind is the Jay Zed album so I've included Crown from that album, which is quite good if a bit sweary.Have a brilliant day everyone, I'm enjoying my holiday.

Friday 28 November 2014

No Black Friday Here

Well it's Friday and I'm waiting for my hire car to be delivered so I can drive down to Ampleforth to the holiday cottage for a week of quite after two hellishly intensive weeks. In that time I managed to see an amazing gig and a great talk about robots and what fun they can be and how great libraries are. And that reminds me that last week the BBC were celebrating libraries and Scroobius Pip wrote a poem for them to celebrate all that was good about libraries.

I'm still raving about Jordan Reyne and am going to have to order the rest of her albums, as she has been my going to sleep music all this week. I really wish I'd have bought all her albums at the gig. But anyway , the weather is still grey (and it was yesterday too) , but that's the only thing that is not great today. I'm feeling excellent and happy and looking forward to next weekk/

Did you realise that a week on Sunday it's the anniversary of  the bombing Pearl Harbour? I wonder what put that into my head.

Katy Lied? ... Katy Did
Today I know lots of idiots are getting into fights , being conned by the big stores into buying stuff they don't want. There's fights and police involvement , very seasonal indeed, but that's not for me , I don't do queuing unless there is absolutely no other option. Most of my friends are the same.

The only Black Friday I have time for is the Steely Dan song from Katy Lied and with that I will leave you for today. Hope you have a very enjoyable day.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Remember - Be Positive

Very often I deal with advertising campaigns which say "Don't Forget" (or else something bad will happen or you will miss out). I always say use positive words. Instead of "Don't Forget" use "Remember" , instead of "Don't Fail" say "Succeed". Anyway last night I forgot to take make drugs , except I'd also forgot whether I'd taken them or not so it was a case of potential overdose or feeling a bit rubbish going to bed. I opted for the latter. This morning I have taken drugs and feel fine.

The sky is still grey and it's quiet out, neither hot nor cold.

Would You Touch This Man's Tash?
My friend Glen has had problems with people touching his Tash in Tynemouth (hows that for alliteration?), I think he's grown it for Movember,  so I suggested he goes for the look on the right!

I'm still being amazed by the Australian singer Jordan Reyne,  so it's an excuse to include one of her videos in my post , the amazing Shadow Line.

So be positive and have a great Sunday everybody, always look for the good and good things will come to you , oh and make sure you smile , that's always a good thing.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Not Burning Out ... Burning Bright

This week has been mental and could be deemed as stressful. Planning always helps but when things go wrong it can be disconcerting. It is great to have back up options in place as well as having the ability to deal with things as they occur. Luckily I'm not in that situation that often and have always come out stronger and more confident. I was thinking of a TED talk I watched a while back about stress being your friend, and while it's not good to be permanently stressed , it is good to be under controlled pressure every so often. I , like everyone else, don't like losing control, so wherever possible have safety nets in place, which , ideally I don't have to use.

Things aren't finished , but I am looking forward to having a week and a half's holiday in a very quiet cottage in Ampleforth.

The think is this week I've had a lot of good things happen, not leaste finding out that I have enough loyalty points from Enterprise Car Rental to pay for two weeks hire , which is like finding £200 in your wallet you didn't know you had. I also watched another TED talk about the benefits of smiling which I now try to do as often as possible.. I used the talk a couple of posts back here.

Then last night I was at an amazing concert, saw two incredible acts , Jordan Reyne and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing , both of which I will be seeing again. Sometimes at a gig I'll buy a CD if I like the act. I ended up buying 4 and am listening to the Crone EP as I write this post, by the incredibly talented Australian Jordan Reyne.

So this week has so far turned out to be very rewarding despite the tribulations and the icing on the cake was Preston beating Bristol City after a bad run and Newcastle continuing their winning streak.

Anyway we're halfway through the weekend, and I still have work to do, but am fully confident that i can tackle whatever happens, sometimes you need to change the way you look at things , sometimes you meet things head on. I have done a bit of both this weekend but am looking forward to next weekend when I will be well into my holiday. You enjoy the rest of your weekend, I will enjoy mine.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Backsliding Fearlessly

Mott The Hoople
Don't know what brought that to mind, I think it's the name of a Mott The Hoople song, which will be somewhere in my collection because I do have quite a large one. It's actually on their first album, the one with the MC Escher sleeve featuring the paper crocodiles.

One of the things I like about writing a blog post is the way you can just ignore the rules and flit from one thing to another as your mind sees fit ... or unfit as the case may be.

As I say I don't what inspired me on this post but now as a video for this post I want an Escher animation , you would think that someones bound to have done one on Youtube, and when you look there are quite few on there but this one is very inventive and a joy to watch. The guy looks like a cross between Gru and one of his minions in Despicable Me!

So it's quite a leap from a seventise rock band to a kids animated film , although The Beatles did do Yellow Submarine , so maybe it's not that far fetched , and they have an actual Yellow Submarine in the Matthew Street complex in Liverpool.

Anyway this post has told you little although it may have joined some dots that didn't actually need joining, but I hope it stimulated you or made you smile a little. It's time for bed for me, so I hope you are having a great week and tomorrow it's Friday. Have a good one!!

Sunday 16 November 2014

Sometimes I'm Suddenly Awake

It's half an hour after midnight and I'm wide awake. I don't know why. I just am. I really wish I could feel like this on a work morning, but on those days i could well easily turn over and go back to to bed. It is quite amazing how clear headed and awake I feel.

I keep thinking of reading a book or watching some TV or listening to music but that might disturb the neighbours. So instead I'm just going to write another blog post.

Now Then Now Then
This week has been good and I'm looking forward to next week, barring an unnecessary trip to London when I have some extremely interesting stuff going on at work, though I will be able to cope, and looking forward to seeing the grammatically challenged The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing at Think Tank on Friday with a few friends, a great venue where I've already seen a few gigs.
Their name is a reference to the chalked graffiti discovered above a section of blood-stained apron thought to have been discarded by Jack the Ripper as he fled the scene of Catherine Eddowes' murder. I nicked this information from the Wikipedia page although Fiona had pointed out the Jack The Ripper connection.

So obviously I've taken a band video for this with a picture of them to peruse at your leisure. Right I will now try and go to bed , who knows , if I sleep on the edge I may soon drop off ......

Saturday 15 November 2014

One Misty Moisty Morning

Well woke up today to a grey day and and Steeleye Span song which was one of my mum's favourites, though I think I introduced her to this version.
at 1 pm it's still grey , moist and cold. Not the most inspiring weather and a day to be wrapped up and warp inside. The

Today has been quite manic, firstly I had to do some major coding changes on the website as Amazon have changed their tracking method, at least they actually tell you unlike and Emusic who just stopped their tracking years ago.  That took me a coule of hours and got me thinking about mortality and the fact that as you get older time seems to go faster. As a kid when you were six you got six weeks holiday in the summer and that was like forever. It was like 1/52 of your life  so far. To do the equivalent summer holiday now I'd need more than a year off. It doesn't really pay you to pay too much attention to these sort of statistics, though I suppose I am a little fore resentful of things that take away my leisure and enjoyment time such as work, although actually I do enjoy my work as well, despite some exasperating situations that do crop up.

The French Oven
After that I nipped into the Grainger Market for some fruit and veg and I nearly came out because of the queues at the stalls and the sheer volume of people in there. It was wonderful to see people at The French Oven and all the cafe's with barely a seat free. I didn't bother venturing into the town center as, no doubt , it will be full of Christmas shoppers, despite the fact that it's still six weeks before Christmas. My dad's Christmas strategy usually consists of complaining that there is nowhere open at 8pm  on Christmas Eve.

So I am now back home, and I've cleaned out the wood burning stove and made up a fire , though not yet lit it, it's had one run out this week and it does warm the room very well. So I'm all set up to have another excellent weekend and hope you are too. Have a good one.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Sharing is Wonderful

While it's good to have things and be able to do things it's no use at all if you;re the only one who benefits from those things. The problem is with modern society is that the emphasis is on accumulation and possession to the point where it's not enough for you to succeed but others have to fail. The has resulted in a plethora of TV programs which often promote non intellectuality as a desireable trait. You all know what I 'm talking about and hopefully you hold the same disdain for such things as I do.

Just Smile
Today I shared a lovely lunch with Fiona , Juliet, Kirsty and Mark at Dat Bar in Newcastle and it was an absolutely wonderful couple of hours, and the food was good too. I could have gone there on my own five times but it would not have been anywhere near as enjoyable. The food was wonderful and the conversion about everything from Mark's Nokia phone to TV programs , why Juliet and Kirsty didn't like Gotham and Fiona's handbag expertise meant that every second was totally enjoyable and is another thing that I can look back on with enjoyment.

Too many times we put things off for one reason or another, and sometimes weeks turn to months turn to years turn to never, so you should never put off things like this more than once as they can be so rewarding for everyone involved. There were lots of smiles and laughs today and that's the way things should be when it's practicable to be so. It should essentially be the norm in life.

So I know the weekend is nearly over, but do something enjoyable and share it with someone , and have a lot of fun doing it. Put a smile on everyone's faces.

Remembrance Sunday Is Not A Photo Opportunity

One of Rebecca's Beatifully Poignant Paintings
It's Remembrance Sunday , and I really want to be positive on this blog, but this day should be a solemn remembrance of people who gave their lives to defend their homeland. However all I see is cynical manipulation and photo opportunities by politicians celebrities and corporations who would happily send decent men and women to their deaths , to swell their bank balances.

It makes me sick the idiots in the current government who glorify war while making sure that they are in no danger and ensuring that their war bonds and arms shares are paying handsome dividends.

It makes me angry every time I see a Help For Heroes plea for donations, not that I have anything against Help For Heroes , they are a selfless caring organisation dealing with the fallout from a government and their corporate cronies who sent men to defend their selfish interests then washed their hands of them leaving Help For Heroes to pick up the pieces. Click through on the Help For Heroes link and provide some help , also write to your local MP and ask why THEY aren't  looking after war heroes and casualties.

Paths of Glory
The problem is that since 1914 nothing has changed , the government and corporation still see us as expendable cannon fodder. Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory is still a brilliant damning indictment of the system endemic in almost all modern society. We really do have a long way to go before this changes.

They even have a song The Green Fields Of France (No Man's Land) by Joss Stone and Jeff Beck which you can buy here and raise money to help the returned war injured , but it's better to listen to the uncensored version which is truly anti war written and performed by Eric Bogle (who also wrote "The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda").

Anyway  , sorry if this post has been a bit of a downer, just remember how horrific war is , most of us don't have a clue, like the people who actually cause wars. Remember in silence and don't glamourise war and do what you can to support those who return , and do all you can to make sure we don't have to fight over oil and money.

Thursday 6 November 2014


Woke up this morning and it's cold. Clear cloudless night meant that the temperatures seem to have plummeted but surprisingly I don't see any ice on the cars outside. The guy on the radio has told be to expect zero temperatures (which I assume is centigrade).

Also the radio has just played "Default" by Django Django  which is a fantastic record and made me realise how much great stuff you hear and then semi forget about. It's one of the things I love have about having a big record collection combined with an eclectic taste and when you add to that things like Radio 6 and the internet options you have no excuse for not listening to good music.

Who's Next?
Original I was going to have Frozen by Madonna, but have now decided to go with "Swamp Thing" by The Grid as  Chris Hawkins just played it on the radio introducing the concept of "air banjo" which must bring a smile to everyone's face. Incidentally The Grid was a concept used by Pete Townshend in his abandoned Lifehouse Project which became Who's Next.

Anyway have a brilliant day , I'm off to work.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Gunpowder and Treason and Fireworks

Well it's Guy Fawke's Night and the fireworks have been going on for weeks. It's ironic the the government are the biggest bunch of self serving crooks you could imagine and the supposed opposition are not much better. So if I were to go on about this, then this would be a very depressing and negative post.

The thing is while the banging of the fireworks can be annoying , the colours and designs can be amazing and it means I can use a brilliant video set to to Fireworks from the Blue Oyster Cult's Spectres.

So really this is just a nothing much post in the middle of the week as the weather gets colder, but we've had excellent weather this year and it's been rather good. So enjoy the fireworks , have a good night and remember we're half way through this week. Have a brilliant night.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Halloween is Gone.November is Here and a Tenuous Link between The Toon and Nick Cave

Janus Looking Forward and Back
Well it's the ninth month (of the Roman calendar) and one of those where they'd run out of gods and politicians to name them after (it's been like that since September and will stay the same til the new year when Janus hit's us). The good news is it's Saturday and though it's five am I've had a decent night's sleep despite another early night.

Last night we had a few trick or treaters which were all young kids accompanied by their parents which was nice with on young witch deciding she wanted a tour of the house. They were all well costumed and very well behaved.

Although I find the initial concept of Halloween great fun , it's essentially adult and there's nothing cute about it.  While dressing up as a vampire or zombie can be great fun I wouldn't want to be one or live in a world populated by such creatures.

A friends of mine asked why women had to make their Halloween Costumes sexy , well all I would say is that it's personal choice, and you can still have a great costume without displaying any flesh, but the main thing is to have fun. There's a local Goth Night called the Charnel House and they published some pictures which I used for a slide show of one of the Spoon recordings from a long time ago which I have included as the video for this post , and it contains a lot of different costumes , but more to the point a lot of people having fun and enjoying themselves.

Added to that Newcastle fans are on a high after dumping Manchester City out of the League Cup . City did put out their second string , but their second string was still multi million pound buy internationals , Newcastle put out their second string with a lot of names I hadn't heard of. A Very impressive win. I've just realised I need to include two more videos because of this ( the match and The ShireHorses Nick Cave misappropriation)

Anyway, it's Saturday, I'm going to have a major rest because my body feels like it's been beaten with big sticks , so I think I'll be lounging on the settee watching catch up TV, and still enjoying the weekend. Take a leaf out of the Charnel House crowd's book and have a brilliant weekend everybody.