Saturday 31 January 2015

Ice Road Trucking

It's the last day of January and we have had on and off snow for most of the last week. Today I have a 140 mile journey from Newcastle to Barrow to celebrate my dad's birthday and give him his present. The snow this week has not been heavy but the weather has been cold enough to make footpaths treacherous underfoot , so I'm more likely to slip than anything else. It's hardly an Ice Road Trucker scenario. So looking forward to that as dawn crawls over the eastern horizon.

Uri Geller and The Postbox
One of the problems on birthdays is trying to get a decent card, so I look for unusual post boxes (my dad's work and sort of hobby)  and saw this one here , on the Thames Sonning bridge which has mystified Uri Geller and the local villagers. It looks to be in good repair which would imply that it is painted and maintained, though it's hardly convenient , although it's more convenient than the oriental underwater postboxes  I've seen pictures of  (just Google postboxes)

So it's now time to shower, and pick up the car, and get ready for the drive, but just for an added complication tickets for the 6 Music Festival went on sale yesterday, but each day the tickets are on sale separately. I wanted to go everyday but Sunday is the best one (more bands I want to see) , so I will try for today as Royal Blood and The Fall are playing , and will attempt to get tickets tomorrow as Public Service Broadcasting , Wire , Gaz Coombes and The Charlatans are playing . These are just some of the bands in what are damned near perfect line ups. This gives me an excuse to include the video for Gagarin , so have a brilliant weekend everyone, it's the last day of January which is an excuse to have lots of fun and look forward to a great week next week.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Ain't Friends Just The Best

This post is not about anything in particular. You may know that I am a "man of leisure" at the moment (for leisure substitute volunteer work, interviews, traveling , networking , organising things, and generally not having a lie in but managing a bit of catch up TV, and possibly finally getting my Garageband / Alesis Dock / iPad set up so I may be actually be able to record something in the spare time that is taken up with everything else in this list) . The thing is having things to do does make you appreciate sometimes having some time to yourself.

Yesterday was really special though, a sort of leaving do that turned to an extremely chilled and brilliant catch up with five really great friends I've worked with over the last seven or eight years, and a commitment to doing more of these with the friends who couldn't make it. Starting off with a trip to a couple of record shops with Chris we bot visited Reflex and RPM but didn't get time for Beatdown and bought stuff by newish bands such as Panda Bear and Alvvays. Jon got a seven inch vinyl single by White Lung who I've never heard of as well as some nice beer glasses.

Dat Bar Decor
We then met up with Darren, Neil and Jon is the Central Bar before a leisurely visit to a few Newcastle pubs including The Town Wall, The Forth, The Stand , Dat Bar (where Neil sample some 7.2% lager that they wouldn't sell in pints) and finally finishing at The Head Of Steam. Darren told me that I was getting a subscription to Rough Trade as a leaving present from my team and colleagues (plus an Amazon Voucher , because like 'em or loathe 'em you can't go wrong with an Amazon Voucher and Steve and Sara's has already gone towards my new Samsung soundbar / subwoofer).

It was just amazing to spend a day doing nothing in particular, enjoying each others company, catching up and committing to doing this on a monthly basis. One of the great things about social media, email and mobile phones is that it is very easy to keep in touch these days if you want to. Next week I have my dad's 80th birthday and his present is going to be to get him online, so that will be great fun.

Oh and the cheery on the top of yesterday's cake is that my phone is temporarily reconnected while they sort me out with a proper tariff.

I was trying to think of a decent piece of music to go with this and the Steve'N'Seagulls just presented itself, uplifting , great fun and impressive , sort of like yesterday.

All in all and absolutely brilliant day and looking forward to a lot more like this

Thursday 22 January 2015

Disaster Can Be Fun

This week has been a bit of ups and downs and today had it's share of potential disasters, starting with my phone company disconnecting with no notification with flagrant disregard  for OFCOM guidelines. I'm not going to name them but you will know who they are.

Then I had a 10AM interview so decided to get a taxi to ensure I got to the place on time. Half way there I realised I'd forgotten my wallet and bus pass. The guy from ABC said I could owe him the money , but I said I also had to get back and wasn't sure when the interview would finish so I needed to go home and get my stuff. While it turned out costing me about three times as much as expected, I'd allowed plenty of time which was useful as Cobalt Business Park has lots of nameless numberless buildings making it difficult to find the place , but we sorted it out and we got there with ten minutes to spare.

Then I got a Facebook message asking about my availability from a great friend with a very tantalising and interesting scenario, so there is a call tomorrow top discuss that which will be followed by another afternoon at Oxfam which I am looking forward to.

The music has to be Van Der Graaf Generator's beautiful "Afterwards" from "I Prophesy Disaster". Some people seem to things going wrong as the end of things and an excuse to give up, I just see it as a reason to give it another go and try harder. Preparation and contingency does help, but you should never give up and always take the positives out a situation. It's nearly weekend now, so go and enjoy your tea.

Saturday 17 January 2015

The Drugs Don't Work (Very Well)

Or rather, yesterday they worked in the wrong way. My first day volunteering at Oxfam with Brian, Katie , Jan and another girl who came in briefly before I had to leave and may have been called Mary. While going through the basics of what I was going to do I suddenly started getting floaters and bright light lights in my eyes distorting my vision , and getting very trippy . I really had to sit down for a minute before going outside and sitting on a bench. I started to feel a bit better but the sun had gone supernova making even walking impossible for a few minutes. Anyway when I did improve I went back in to see everyone and say goodbye with a view to actually doing something useful on Monday.

I think the reason is some reaction between antibiotics and the blood pressure lowering tablets that I take, although this is the second lot of these antibiotics to tide me over until the minor required surgery (I wont go into that but feel free to contact me if you want to know the gory details).

After that experience the song that comes to mind is the Moody Blues "Legend of a Mind" sbout sixties LSD advocate Timothy Leary, which I've always loved ever since I first heard it on Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show.

Katie's Vinyl Door

But before all that it was great talking to all the staff who were really nice and welcoming, and the most impressive thing for me was Katie's vinyl door and the sheet music wallpaper. The music area is small but very interesting and probably has a better selection of music than HMV Harrogate and Shrewsbury. This is one of the things about blogging is how one particular item can throw up some totally random connected thoughts but maybe thats just me.

Anyway if you get a chance to visit the Oxfam Music shop in Jesmond do so, take a selfie by the vinyl door and spread the word. There is some great stuff and the staff are excellent, well apart from me who had to cry off like a proper softy yesterday.

Anyway enjoy your weekend, I'm feeling better and looking forward to another packed week. I thought this redundancy meant you had nothing to do?

Thursday 15 January 2015

Battleships, Garage Rock, Physiotherapy and The Weather

It's been an interesting week, not least the atrocious weather we've been having.  Had a guy out to fix the roof, which has still to be sorted, but had to rescue him when his ladder blew down . We decided to postpone the work until things got a little better.

The great thing about this week is although I was planning to relax I have been up at or before seven each day. I've doing lots but the most enjoyable thing is to actually spend time with people who matter to me and to catch up with people who I've not seen much of.

So it's been a busy week and I have managed to do quite a bit resulting in job interviews for next week, volunteering to work in an Oxfam Music Shop , catching up with friends at the Tyneside Cinema Cafe as well as taking in some of The Battleship Potemkin, the classic masterpiece silent film from director Sergej Eisenstein from 1925, and committing to some work for events at the cinema as well as possibly performing again, as well as spending time talking about garage rock.

Coincidentally early this week , the guy doing my physiotherapy at the RVI told me his father had worked as a projectionist at the Tyneside Cinema which was called something else then and Tyne Tees had done a film called The Messenger in 1959 (two years after I was born)  about his work. I've not been able to unearth anything further about it but if I do I will update this post.

Anyway it's time for bed, another busy day tomorrow.

Saturday 10 January 2015

New Years Resolution

We're more than a week into the New Year and no doubt resolution have been made and broken. There's bad things happened and the media would have us believe that Armageddon is nigh in one form or another.

My own resolution is the one I live every day tho be happy and positive and there for my friends and family if I can. There's a lot of things I have planned and that's the great fun of life, to enjoy the now, your memories and look forward to the good things that are going to happen.

My Dad
One thing that really made my New Year is finding this photo of my dad who is 80 at the end of the month.So with the boxing theme I'm goona put in Nils Lofgren's "No Mercy" . My dad was a huge fan of Muhammad Ali and boxed for the army and though he won his fights he couldn't continue as he cut too easily, but I've always been proud of him.

My friend Lynn reckons he has a look of Jake La Motta (the subject of Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull featuring Robert De Niro) , and she knows and loves her boxing.

Today we've had sun , rain , wind and snow. That's the nature of weather. On Tuesday I'm getting my roof fixed and having physiotherapy on my left hand that they had sort of forgotten to sort out for me originally but I'm doing my own physiotherapy anyway and things are working out fine.

This week is unfeasibly busy , when it really shouldn't be but it will be great doing something different and not having to get up at 5:30 am. Also I will be a bit more proactive with posting and will let you know any good news as it happens.

Have a great weekend everyone and have a happy new year again.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Twelve Hours Into 2015

Well it's now 2015, after a great New Year's Eve Party at Mark and Helen's managing to catch up with lots of friends and people I haven't seen in ages, talking about all sorts before a round of Auld Lang Syne to ring in the New Year.

Built On Glass
The first album I've put on this year is Built on Glass by Chet Faker recommended by a great friend, which reminds me of Brian Eno and Van Der Graaf / Peter Hamill smoothed down , just wondering if the name is a nod to the great Chet Baker , that's a lot of musical references I wasn't expecting to make in my first post of 2015. They are all worth following up as well as the excellent Chet Faker album.

I'm sure this year will find me liking lots of new music, just like last year and every year before that. There will be books to read, films and plays to see, people to meet, songs to write , my book to finish , which is now two months overdue, this blog to keep going , songs to write, and to try and get Garageband to work properly with the Alesis connection deck on the iPad.

So it is going to be a busy and brilliant 2015, I am so looking forward to it. It's my dad's 80th Birthday in January so there's a surprise party for him and I will have to think of a suitable present to get him. So without further ado I'm going to wish you all a Happy New Year and going to enjoy the rest of my day.

I've include some fireworks from Newcastle / Gateshead last night . Happy New Year again.