Tuesday 29 March 2016

Easter and Seventies Rock

Well there goes the Easter break and it was rather good. Mine started early on Thursday with my youngest daughter's amazing wedding which was just a totally brilliant day , lots of smiling faces , happiness and me renewing long lost friendships.

Maiden Beer Mats
Over the weekend I picked up a copy of Classic Rock magazine because it had some Iron Maiden Beermats and a "Top 100 Rock Albums of The 70s". 

There is a hell of a lot I don't rate such as Aerosmith , I still don't get them , a sort of watered down ersatz Rolling Stones , "Walk This Way" was good and "Living On The Edge" but that's about it , sort of a bit better than Grand Funk Railroad who , thank God ,  we don't hear much.

Powerage by AC/DC was their number one seventies rock album , which I can't disagree with . AC/DC amaze me because every album is virtually the same , every song is virtually the same (have they ever done a ballad? ) but they manage to sound brilliant. I see parallels with Status Quo , who then tried to change their sound (Beach Boys collaboration what a car crash that was) , then recently they went back to basics and started to sound good again.

Anyway this is a short post and an excuse to include "Seventies Rock Must Die " by Lard

Saturday 26 March 2016

De Stressing

I always tell people I don't do stress , I don't do anger , I don't do hate .I try not to let any negative vibes come into my life. I saw a TED talk on the positives for stress which you can watch here. Stress can be good for you if you use it to your advantage. It's like any form of training , you push yourself , often to the realms of pain , but as long as you are not pushing beyond your limits your body and mind can grow stronger from stress training.

We often become stressed when we lose control of situations , but I have always found fun in situations with lots of unknowns . I like solving problems , but if I get stuck I ask for advice , and I always try to prepare for potential mishaps so that at least I have the odd thing to help me if things go wrong. The thing is , most of the time things generally go right.

I always try and extend my circle of friends and give people respect , that way you have someone to call on if you need help . I need both of my hands and more to count the number of people who I could ask for help from if I needed it.

A friend of mine recently told me that I don't stress like normal people , but told me some times I need to just slow down because I try to do so many things at once . Maybe it's just bad planning on my part , but going back I was playing at gig and took a work colleague along , she was a quiet girl but the following day asked me "How Do You Know So Many People?" , I didn't think I knew that many people but I obviously did compared to her. I just said I speak to people  and  keep in contact with them.

I'm pretty unusual in that I can speak to my neighbours face to face and know their names for four houses either side. Most people barely know their next door neighbours and that can actually create stress . I certainly don't have any stress there

I remember hearing the PIL song "Rise" thinking how beautiful it was , in the chorus , but the refrain"Anger is an Energy" which is the title of John Lydon's latest autobiography that I am reading and he explains how anger can be channeled positively to create good things. The book is well worth reading as Lydon is very articulate.

Anyway what was I saying. How am I normally not stress. I prepare for situations , if things suddenly change I adapt to that change . I don't get angry if a bus or train isn't on time , I  almost find it amusing when I see traffic jams full of cars with one person in them. I don't own a car and only drive when I have to.

The other night leaving my youngest daughters wedding late at night I went in the wrong direction , no one stressed , it was suggested we turned round that we did and then  we got back home at a reasonable hour. I know people who would have blown up in that situation.

So look for positives , look for things that make you laugh , don't over reach or try to do the impossible and enjoy as much as you can . That way stress levels go down. Don't look for things that may never happen . Carry a spare tire if you drive , but don't think every time to start your car that you are going to have to use it.

OK that's a few that's about my generally stress free life.

Wednesday 23 March 2016


I think it's really important to enjoy yourself . Although real life often gets in the way.

Whey you are enjoying being warm in bed , you have to get up at some point , but I stretch it out as long as possible

When you are in the bath or shower feeling and enjoying the warm water flowing over you , I love that and probably spend a lot longer in there than I should

When you are with a friend or loved one or both , I love that , but have to depart for work or mow the lawn or some other chore.

The main thing is to try and extend enjoyment into everything you do. I like solving puzzles and problems and have seen virtually every job I do as that sort of task , which then makes it enjoyable, rather than a chore. If you make your job enjoyable , then it stops being a job and becomes a form of enjoyment. I continually look for ways of making things better for me and others and when someone notices that it gives you a great feeling.

I always try and look for positives in every situation and that in itself becomes an entertaining challenge.

But anyway I know I haven't been writing much recently , and I have no excuse for it ,  apart from I have been spending a lot of time enjoying myself and that's no bad thing. And the song it's Baxter Dury's Pleasure , which always makes me happy, ad stimulates my enjoyment.


Sunday 13 March 2016

King of the Castle

I continually berate Novocastrians for not visiting or knowing about some of the amazing things in Newcastle. The Lit and Phil and The Vampire Rabbit are two cases in point. I have been in Newcastle fr 30 years , which is half my life, the first twenty of which were spent in Preston then the next ten Southport / Tarleton / Leyland and then coming up to Tyneside.

Bela Lugosi ... Not Dead
Anyway yesterday , for the first time I properly visited Newcastle's Castle . So I am just as bad as the people I berate. The steps are daunting , and there are lots of flights of stairs that go off on different directions. I could tell you lots about the place but I include the video I took from the top (sorry about fingers and sound) and apart from being a castle it has lots of events on which are wonderful when watched there.

I didn't have much time so the main point wast to get to the top and enjoy "The Best View In Newcastle" . I think it was 100 steps up a stone spiral staircase, and the weather was lovely, but although I always say I am ok with heights as long as I feel safe , my vague vertigo started to get the better of me, but I persevered.

While up there I was talking to to a lovely lady from Northampton called Shirley or Sheila (my short term memory is atrocious)  and we were remarking how beautiful and impressive it all was. A friend had brought her up toe Newcastle for a couple of days as she had always wanted to come so I mentioned a couple of places worth visiting and it was good to be able to point landmarks out for them to aim for. Grey's Monument , The Botanist Dome , The Pearl Building , St James Park and The Bridges , The Sage and The Baltic are all very visible.

So today we have another lovely day and I am tempted by the Bela Lugosi night tonight .....but it's sold out so I shall include the Chvrches take on Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" as a small consolation

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Paper and Water

Today is the second day of spring and we have had rain and snow , so plenty of water. This has got lots of my friends jealous that I have snow and they don't. We also had blue skies sun, so four seasons in one day scenario. The snow came down , melted then fell again, melted then fell again and so on for the the rest of the day. I'm sitting writing this hearing the wind blowing down the chimney, wondering whether tomorrow will be any different. Let's face it the weather can do what the hell it wants and we can do nothing about bar make a reasonably educated guess.

Then I took the tiny road from Litton to Tideswell , which at the end has a sharp double right turn. Most of the way it's a single track road. Well what I wasn't counting on was a large articulated lorry stuck , unable to move forwards or backwards blocking the road. Not sure what the poor driver was going to do, but I turned round to find an alternative route. I had £2.25 in my pocket and wanted to get to the cash machine in Tideswell. Getting to the bank, I found the cash machine was "resting" , so used the Post Office to get some pennies.

At Peak Volumes
Coming out of the Post Office I saw a sign saying Peak Volumes , a book shops I was unaware of. I went in and the place is crammed with second hand books. I spoke with the guy and asked if I could take some photographs. He was really friendly. The place is a veritable cornucopia of reading material on lots of subjects such as art, fiction , formula 1, music , chicken farming and lots more. This is the second discovery I have made this week (Music In The Green being the first), third if you count the Litton Shop. I love finding new things and this week has been full of that , making new friends finding new places and just having a good time.

I've chosen Dion's take on Bruce Springsteen's Book of Dreams for the song for this post as it seemed fairly appropriate.

So that's been today, I hope your week is going well.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Lovely Litton Shop

Litton Shop

I didn't intend to write this but feel I must do a short piece on the local shop at Litton. It's run as a co-operative and stocks most of the things you need as well as providing a social focus in the village. It's also a coffee shop . supports a post office and has some excellent home made cakes which I have sampled. It's run on a volunteer basis with support from the Co-Op and has been running for the last sixteen years , becoming an essential part of Litton  village life.

The real plus is the people the manager Carol , Barbara , Tina, Stephanie, Myra, Judy and one of the customers Tony. They have regaled me with stories and opinions and analogies with The Wicker Man, and are amazingly friendly and welcoming. It is gorgeous to come to a lovely village and meet up with such lovely people. And I have an invitation to a Cheese and Wine Evening and Quiz at The Village Hall , a totally lovely place.

If you ever come here or even drive through , you have to check this place out , and check the coffee and lemon varieties of their sponge cakes.

I won't bother with any music for this , but it's just an appreciation of a lovely place with lovely people

Sometimes It's Just Luck

Well it's the first day of March , first day of Spring and we have rain , cold , wind , snow , we have weather. This most is just  some thoughts that got set off as I read Tracey Thorn's biography Bedsit Disco Queen . She is obviously famous enough to release a record and and her autobiography , but that  only came  with her hard work , talent , belief in herself and some huge slices of luck in meeting the right people and being in the right place at the right time. Belief in yourself gives you the confidence to do things , be it writing , applying for a job , building something , making music or introducing yourself to a stranger.

If you have belief in yourself you can help others who are less fortunate that you , you can hold their hands , you can give them advice.

People often look at their lives and say if they had done something differently then their lives would be much better. They can never know this. In my life I have have made lots of wrong decisions , but if I had done anything differently I wouldn't be in the position I am in now , and to be quite honest , I am incredibly happy with my situation at the moment. Yes there I things I would like to be better (more money , less work) but I have a wealth of friends and the ability for the most part to do what I want, the only constraints are time and distance and to some extent  money.

Tracey's Book
I have friends who have become very successful and am still close to them , and it just makes be happy that they share their success rather than flaunt it. But I am sure there are lots of times in their lives where things just fell right.

Again reading Thorn's biography there are so many times when something unexpected happened which then resulted in being the stimulus to produce a song or play a gig, which then eventually resulted in the formation of Everything But The Girl (taken from the name of a clothes shop in Hull where Tracey and Ben Watt were at University) so if they hadn't gone to Hull , they maybe wouldn't have got that name and they may not have been as hugely successful  as they became.

I decided to include Tracey singing with Massive Attack , a great collaboration and a lesson to us , don't dismiss something if it doesn't conform to the norm.

I think the thing in life is to find happiness in what you have and to share with as many friends as possible, and if you don;t have enough friends , talk to people , you never know who you might find. Don't sit back , go out and have fun , and the good times and good friends will show themselves,

So although luck gives us opportunities , sometimes it's up to us to grab those opportunities and create the situation where those opportunities occur. You don't usually get a job offer if you don't apply for a job (although it has happened to me a few times).