Tuesday 30 June 2015

Some Random Tangentiality and Pigeons

Spot The Pigeon

A friend was surprised that I could find a elucidate about stuff related to Peru , and set me a task to find a song about pigeons. Two immediately sprang to mind "Pigeons" by Genesis from their Spot The Pigeon EP and "King of Rome" which I have only heard as a cover by Half Man Half Biscuit, but found this live performance by The Unthanks at the 2012 Folk awards. So here's a thing , leave a comment if you want me to write about some random thing and supply an appropriate piece of music. That could lead down an interesting trail similar to Radcliffe and Maconie's The Chain.

Here's the Wikipedia guff on pigeons:

"Pigeons and doves constitute the bird clade Columbidae, that includes about 310 species. Pigeons are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and short, slender bills with fleshy ceres. They feed on seeds, fruits, and plants" See here for  the RSPB definition.

Also pigeons play a part in the history of the Happy Mondays , but I'll leave you to look that up or you can watch this:

Sorry this is just a short post , although I noticed my last post was the 900th on this blog , so I've probably written enough to fill a book, although it would be quite incoherent but filled with interesting stuff. Anyway I hope you comment and leave your suggestions for the next post.

Sunday 28 June 2015

Rap isThe New Rock and Roll ? Kanye Believe It?

This is Glastonbury
It's the last day of Glastonbury and the person who has got most publicity out of this is Kanye West. Befor I start Kanye West has never bothered be either , some people enjoyed the set others didn't , He continually self promotes and part of his spiel for this performance was that Rap is the new Rock and Roll and therefor he was the biggest Rock Star in the world. Well there's a classic of moving the goalposts into the next county to fit your argument ....

Prior to the festival , I was continually moved to laughter by the idiots who wanted Kanye West removed from the bill , probably because he's not "Rock" enough . The thing is Glastonbury is not a "Rock" Festival , it is a festival , in fact probably the biggest festival in the world. People don't go for the acts , they go because it's Glastonbury , and there is so much on , that if you don't like something there will something around the corner that you do like. If you work out what you get for the cost of your ticket, you probably are a very good deal. Complaining about Kanye West is like complaining that Harrods stock Tibetan Yak's Milk Cheese in gold laminated wrapping. I made that up but you know what I mean. The Eavis Family could have sold tickets for the festival five times over, it is a huge financial success and that's what you have to remember. So it's pointless complaining about Glastonbury because it's gone beyond criticism. If you want a more grass roots festival , there are thousands on round the country: Here are five:

..and that is barely scratching the surface...there are half dozen happening on Tyneside this year and lots more throughout the country.

Any back to Kanye West positing that Rap is the new Rock and roll. It isn't . When someone says A is the new B they are immediately on the defensive implying their new product is inferior to the old product, you hear it all the time in film , writing and music, and the nearest example of that being true was Bruce Springsteen being described as the new Bob Dylan. Rock and Roll has developed essentially as melody based over , usually , a 4/4 time signature evolving from blues and folk music.

Rap is different in that it is not sung , it is spoken or shouted over a rhythm. If you wanted you could say that Rap is music for those who choose not to sing. This is no bad bad thing. It's a development of spoken word poetry with roots in the fifties Beat Poets developing through the sixties and becoming it's own form utilsed across all cultures. Pop Will Eat Itselm and Eminem are examples of white rap, then you have Goldie Lookin' Chain , Welsh Charver Rap , as well as the roots rappers such as Wu Tang Clan , NWA , Fugees , Wyclef Jean.

I've just dropped a sprinkling of names showing that Rap is not the new Rock and Roll it is it's own beast and it's all the better for it. You get the odd cross pollination such as Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" especially the reboot with Run DMC ,or theElvis.
sanitized but fun "Ant Rap" by Adam and The Ants, but I'd rather Kanye had declared himself the King of Rap , because he can never take the crown from

Friday 26 June 2015

Peru - Three Directions in One Description

I suppose on of my consuming passions is music and this morning , Peru came to mind, probably because I'd won a small bet on them beating Bolivia, and that recalled the song Big Day from Phil Manzanera's album Diamond Head which features Peru prominently in the lyrics , Brian Eno taking the lead vocals on it. To me Peru related music meant those bloody awful pan pipes (which I sure can sound good when used properly instead of a bloody awful lift music rendition of Berlin's "Take My Breath Away" , incidentally written by Giorgio Moroder

Really I know next to nothing about Peru apart from itin the North West of South America (Three Direction in One Description) . Without looking I can't even tell you if it has a coastline and off hand I don't even know the capital of the place. I do know that Nolberto Solano , one of Newcastle's most loved players , as well as playing trumpet is going to have the first Peruvian restaurant in Newcastle (details here) named after him. Newcastle is well served for restaurants , but as far as I know , never had a Peruvian one.

Heres the Wikipedia entry for Peru and I now know it has a shoreline on the West Coast , but still don't know what the capital is. There is certainly some amazing scenery there, and they obviously have a pretty good football team.

So just a short post , but enjoy the song , and I need to educate myself about Peru.

This is Peru

Thursday 25 June 2015

Criminal Records

Odd my last for posts have been two sort of angry ones and two positive ones, The angry ones got double the hist of the positive ones, which I 'm sort of not too surprised about but wish it was the other way round. Not that I don't want people to read my blog, I definitely do , and am pondering whether I can hit a thousand posts and 100K page views by New Years Eve. It is unlikely that I can do both but the 1K posts is achievable as I have 180 days to do 100 posts, so 2 every three days from now til 2016.

It's Criminal
Ronnie Biggs came up in conversation and from that I started thinking of the association that the Great Train Robbery had with the Alabama 3 and Phil Collins and of course the Sex Pistols. I certainly can't condone robbery or what they did , but a mythology has grown up around them , giving them almost legendary status when in fact they brutally killed in their pursuit of money.  Ironically Western society more than ever prizes money over human life.

I was unsure of what song to use for this , but I will go with "No One Is Innocent" by The Sex Pistols featuring Ronnie Biggs , not sure if it was in The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.

Anyway a sort of disjointed post , but it's late and time for bed, hope you enjoy the read, spread the word and help me hit 100K. Thank you.

Here's a quote from Mr Biggs: (click for more)

Sunday 21 June 2015

You Can Always Find Something Good

There's a few things over that last couple of weeks have happened to me that have not been good experience, and too often that often leads to people blowing their top , feeling miserable , getting angry. Sometimes , for some people they deal with it by doing whatever they want to do , the worst examples being red top readers and daytime television viewers. I tend to be exasperated, and find something more positive to focus on. It's not the answer for everyone , but it's the way I deal with it.

There's been loads of good things happening , including getting some nice presents for Father's Day , of course i couldn't get in touch with my dad as he tends not to answer his phone , but I saw him last week and sent him a card.

The sun is shining and weather is good , and a good friend turned be on to Eddie Skiba, sounding like a more muscular Crowded House with a touch of Midnight Oil , with some interesting videos available on Youtube. You should really check this guy out , the music is great and he definitely has social messages for everyone.

SO although the weekend is coming to an end there's just another great week coming up to enjoy.  And when you see things like the image below , you just gotta smile .

Crime Fighting Minions

Saturday 20 June 2015

A Little More Positivity Please

... especially from me. My last post was a little whingy , but hopefully it provided a little food for thought. Sometimes things can not seem good , but when you take the time to look at them sometimes they are nowhere near as bad as you thought. I got my payslip and thought it was a bit down , but was due to starting a new job , some jiggery pokery with tax and this month was my first proper months pay , which made me feel much better.

Classic Hmmm
This is just going to be a short post , nowhere near the last one and really I'm generally feeling good , it;s Saturday night , I've watched and enjoyed Game of Thrones and listen to the classical reworking of Quadrophenia featuring Alfie Boe in the lead. Generally listening to it part of me is saying "No No, its like one of them 'Classic Rock'  albums where they gave rock music the Mantovani / James Last  treatment" , but the other part reckons Alfie Boe makes a good fist of it with excellent support from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra , Pete Townshend , Billy Idol and Phil Daniels taking Keith Moon's parts.

And my overall opinion is a thumbs up. So something I was apprehensive about has turned out to be a good experience , though still not up to the original., obviously. My does of current day music was provided by The Wytches.

But anyway , today has been full of good TV , good music , good food and good fun.

Of and last night was in Trillians and bought a round of four drinks for a tenner. Atmosphere was great , Barbara and Dave are doing a great job and it's definitely an object lesson in being positive.

Sleep well my friends.

Friday 19 June 2015

The Nothing Revolutions ... Getting Lost in Morals and Politics

Even as I put my finger to keyboard I'm still unsure about writing this. I am not going to back any of this conjecture up because you now have at your disposal the sum of knowledge that is the world wide web and internet, and by writing this I am implying that my ideas have some worth, and maybe carry some weight. They do for me, but you can take it or leave it , on what you think. I'm going to get a bit political , and a bit moral about this and am going to include a controversial talk by possibly the only plutocrat I admire Nick Hanauer.

There have been a number of revolutions that have advanced society usually in a tangible way, two examples of this are the industrial revolution and more recently the communication and computer revolutions. These have all provided tangible benefits for mankind , enable the production of quality goods , creating economies of scale and eventually benefiting a great many of the world's population, bringing down the prices of goods through mass production , increasing profits for companies , providing employment, growing markets and dragging a great deal of the western world on an upwardly mobile path.

Horrible side effects of these development caused World Wars , and the greed of an unchecked banking systems caused the Wall Street Crash , which required the planning instigated by Roosevelt in the thirties to get the world back on course , part of which included very tight controls on the banking sector again. This was again hit by War , but then in the fifties and sixties the world grew like hell , though war and conflict was still with us. The rise in living standards meant people could even buy houses , subject to strict lending criteria , but money was always backed by the property people were buying. If you wanted luxury items then generally you saved or at least put down a hefty deposit. This enabled growth backed by stability. One of the problems in Britain was the unions becoming too powerful , there always needs to be a balance, but then the power swung the other way with the toies coming to power and on the back of that a deregulation of banking and credit which allowed lending with virtually no checks or controls.

This fueled and inordinate amount of spending , coupled with mortgages being lent to people who couldn't afford to repay them. This was the first Nothing Revolution , all it created was debt , which provided huge earnings for the financial sector as people hocked their life for the latest things whether they could afford them or not. By Inflating the debt the financial sector creamed of the money from high interest repayments from people who could not afford to keep up. This model worked when wages were increase , but the cracks began to show when wages started to stagnate. People still needed the latest car or iPhone or a new house, because that's what the financial sector told them they needed , and the financial sector needed them to believe it. Fall out from this is that more and more employment is in "service" (call centres and the like) and less and less tangible goods are being produced in the west , shrinking the spending power of markets, to the point where people are running to keep still, and lots of them drop. Money gravitates towards the rich and the poor get poorer. The lack of union power means that people don't have the clout to take on Corporations which are buying governments off to serve there own ends.

The only solution to this is for a Roosevelt type figure to bring Corporation and the Financial Sector to heel increase taxes , implement a real living wage and work towards a full , highly paid employment. People who are on benefits should have enough money to effect the economy in a positive way but should also be helped into work , not beaten with sticks and vilified.

Appy Now?
The next Nothing Revolution is digital media. I see walls of cards to but stuff off Google Play , Amazon and iTunes , and when you buy the items you don't have anything you can touch. It's a collection of zeroes and ones on a card . You can't show it to anyone , it's in the ether , it's nothing. Yes it's convenient , but it doesn't make people appreciate the media, be it film or song or books, often people with download and forget, because it feels like they got nothing.

OK sorry for the lack of laughs and music , but though I would just let rip about this. Hope it made you think.

Monday 15 June 2015

Why Pay For Music?

For years people have said this to me, and now there's a generation that has grown believing you shouldn't have to pay for music , films or anything really. It's a sad situation and a lot of it was casued by the greed of the already rich , when they saw how they could rip off their fans with the advent of CD (Elton John and Metallica I'm pointing the finger firmly at you). Also a little at Led Zeppelin with yet another round of remasters.

When music became digitally copyable (Is that a word) , it was the first time that everyday media could be stolen over and over again. Taping from the radio was always subject to interference and copying from vinyl had to be done in real time. But ......

Just because you can do something doesn't make it right ....

And just because a band is playing in a pub you shouldn't expect it to be free.

There's costs involved , they equipment , getting there , fuel and the graft put into to learning the music.

As for CDs , while recording can be done relatively cheaply and with digital distribution you don't need to risk a costly run of music that may not sell.

Spotify is not a good model for artists as it's based on a pay per play basis , so new artists , at the best, will just get exposure.

And this is what it means, every time you don't pay for something you are effectively shoplifting if
you don't have permission to take that item. Some artists give away their music and make their profit by charging a modest ten or twenty pounds for a gig . I have recently seen Nadine Shah and Du Blonde playing less than a tenner for tickets , having a brilliant night , and I bought their records too. In my small way keeping these people going. So this is really like the opening scene to Reservoir Dogs where the guy won't tip the waitress and the other guys take him to task, I'm one of the other guys.

So if you want to support music , get down to your record shop and buy some records, and get to see a band and pay to see them.

Would you work for nothing ? I think not ... so support music .

I thought the Smiths song was appropriate for this post.

Sunday 14 June 2015

From Newcastle To Cairo

This week has been odd. I've been feeling weirdly sort of down . I have absolutely no reason to be. Also I've been sort of getting a little annoyed about things that might happen. This is not me so I sat down and thought it through and decided maybe I'd being invaded by the spiteful spirit of a red top reader. Doing that seems to have done the trip , I am feeling more like my normal self and hopefully this will just continue.

I mean I'm now working in a great job , close to home. This week I've had meals with friends , family, and loved ones, seen some great films , read some good stuff , heard some great music , a lot of it new, so as you can see , i have nothing to complain about.

I see friends doing great things , helping others and making life good for others , and I suppose I see all this and then get exasperated by the attitudes of a society that worships possessions and money. So that is probably the thing that I was letting get the better of me, and I wont to that.

I have great friends all around the world , all of whom make my life so good , who continually turn me on to new things or make me remember old good stuff like the Lime Spiders , Trillians has reopened with a bang , and things are just cool.

Over Cairo
And today I was listening to some of the great music than I have had the privilege of allowing to Django Django's  "Skies Over Cairo"  come into my house and was amazed by the fact I'd missed it , as I do love the band.

I suppose it's in the same universe as "Night Boat To Cairo" by Madness and could probably have been slipped onto a Black Grape album as well.

Well I am going to bed with that spinning round my head , looking forward to tomorrow, next week , next month  , and enjoying life.

Sleep well my friends

Sunday 7 June 2015

Guilty Pleasure?

Often people talk about guilty pleasure, usually about some record that they shouldn't like but do. I'm
probably repeating myself on this post but what the hell. If you like a song then it's good. As a kid and even into adulthood peer pressure can stop you enjoying what you like. I always go on the premise that 95%  is rubbish and it's your job to find the good stuff, and there is a lot of good stuff about.

So I don't feel guilty about any of my pleasures , good music is good music, and rubbish is rubbish, I've just realised I can build an MP3 sampler on Amazon of music I think is excellent  but you may unfriend me on facebook for, So here is a list for you to sample.

The main song I'm going to choose is the Bay City Roller's take on Tim Moore's Rock and Roll Love Letter, which is rather excellent. I remember the NME deciding that Eric Faulkner was the greatest guitarist ever as he could sol and wave at the crowd simultaneously . Also ironically the only Bay City Rollers track in my collection is on the soundtrack to The Filth And The Fury, Julian Temple's film about The Sex Pistols.  Enjoy your weekend my lovely friends

Friday 5 June 2015

A Bejewelled Case of Regression or Progression

I don't know if you've noticed but the tendency for CDss these seems to be more and more shying away from the jewel case. The jewel case is actually a great idea in that the cover , CD and any other stuff fits in a standard size box. There were a few deviations , but essentially it means that if the box gets damaged you can easily replace it.

Now That's Thick
I don't know if it's due to vinyl's resurgence, but more and more CDs are now coming out in customer sleeves and boxes giving artists and designers free reign to be almost as inventive as they were with the 12" LP. Who remembers Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick" which came in a full broadsheet newspaper , a copy of the St Cleve Chronicle , and Hawkwind's "In Search of Space" and "Space Ritual" in their intricate Barney Bubbles fold out covers with booklets. They made you really want to get the album , and the packaging was a huge part of the experience.

Recent CDs that seem to echo that are David Bowie's "The Next Day" ,  the Led Zeppelin reissues and Prefab Sprout's Crimson / Red, all of which are gorgeously packaged although the do break the uniformity of your rows of CDs.

You also have the Rhino Originals which give you 5 CDs in beautifully renderd facsimiles of the original album covers and retrospective boxes look absolutely wonderful.

It may be that vinyl has given CD a kick up the arse giving the public the delight of interesting  music packaging to complement what you are buying. There's a few examples under here and maybe we should choose Tull's "Thick as a Brick for the music. Sleep well and have a great weekend my friends.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Springing Into June on The Coast Road

The last couple of days has seen some of the most mental weather for a long time , blue skies , rainstorms , high winds , hot sun . Yesterday I was sitting in work and one side of the building was in bright sunshine and the other side looked like snow , but was slow falling rain.

Also yesterday was feeling remarkably disoriented and demotivated by the evening , just coming home and going to bed. I haven't a clue why this was. There was a thing at work where I was told I was doing something wrong , when in fact I was just doing something that no one had thought of before and saving a couple of hours of drudgery. The rest of the day was really positive as well, I am loving all aspects of the job and life at the moment , maybe I'm o/ding on happiness , I really REALLY cannot complain.

The Coast Road
This morning I'm looking through the window as I write this at blue skies , white clouds , green trees and bright sunshine and tonight will be going to to see The Coast Road (the band not the tarmac construction). I looked for them on youtube but the main thing that came through in the feed was the beautiful acoustic piece "The Coast Road" by Stuart Ryan. I've never heard of the buy before but this is absolutely amazing. This means I will definitely go to see them tonight at the Tyneside Bar and Cafe and tell them about this.

It's quite amazing how good  things can happen that you don't expect and this is another one for me.

Have a good day.