Saturday 23 April 2016

Look What I Found ..... A Long Play Cafe

Today I stumbled across another wonderful find ,  under The Tyne Bridge , next to Popolos , the Long Play Cafe. This place is gorgeous , it does coffee , cake on settees and couches , with retro record players from RPM , wonderful wall art , Bowie and The Beatles caught my eye and they sell second had vinyl , T-Shirts and other music..

They have an Anti Record Store Day wall display . When I asked them about this they told me that to participate in Record Store Day you have to pay a £300 registration then commit to buying NEW vinyl every month. If you deal in second hand stuff that's an overhead you can't justify. Record Store Day started out as a celebration of independence but it's turned in to another commercial troughing.

The Cosy Corner, Beatles , Bowie and Patti Smith

Anyway  apart from everything I've mentioned they put on gigs , serve food, sell very reasonably priced vinyl (I resisted the Prince picture discs), I bought a copy of Genesis' Lamb Lies Down on Broadway , just so as I could read the libretto.

It was great chatting with staff and visitors , lots of people had just discovered the place like me.

Really it's worth a visit if you like good food , good company , good atmosphere , comfy chairs and vinyl , 7" and 12" , black , and other colours and picture discs.

Back In NYC is one of my favourite songs so it's an excuse to play it

The Lamb Lies Down on Vinyl and CD for comparison

Prince Has Gone , 400 Years Ago Bill Went Too

It was incredibly sad that we lost Prince this week , and while I do say the older we get the more this is bound to happen to us , he was younger than me , and infinitely more talented and sexier. A small man without a Napoleon complex, he let his talent do the speaking. My first album was the double 1999. He was soul and rock and rock and roll , sex and fun.

I actually heard some snide comments about him. "Well I wasn't surprised , he was just the same as Michael Jackson" . I can't even begin to educate that sort of idiocy.

With Spoon we even considered some of his songs 1999 , Cream and Peach come to mind . The guy could do anything . Two of his albums were given away free , because he could. He would sell out gigs , cared for his fans, got a bit arsey about his contract with Sony , and showed a sly sense of humour (or should that be humor) when he became "The Artist Formerly Know As Prince" , when asked how it was pronounced Prince Rogers Nelson answered "Christopher".

Now is the time to drag out your Prince collection and listen  to it. And if you you haven't got a Prince collection , Why Not? Don't you dare use Spotify.

Anyway today is World Book Night where I join in marking William Shakespeare's passing by giving away copies of Matt Haig's Reasons To Stay Alive. A truly wonderful exhilarating book about how one man has dealt with a sever breakdown and depression. It is gorgeous, uplifting and if you don't get a copy from me BUY a copy . It is an amazing book.

And it also happens to be St George's Day. I have no problems with National Celebrations but I do have with Xenophobia , Racism and turning it into a marketing exercise for London based beer brands (Like St Patrick and Guinness) . Today at Newcastle Castle there is a big real Celebration with a Dragon and god knows what else.

Have a great day everyone , I'm gonna be in Newcastle giving books away and possibl visiting my friend Karen to see her new puppy in Kazbat's Den.

Monday 18 April 2016

Birthdays And Books and Feeling Positive and Happy

Good Advice
Yesterday I went to my friend Paul Campbell's 50th Birthday Party. I was thinking if he had known me when I turned 50 he could have bought be a bottle of the Singleton Whiskey , but a can of Campbell's Soup , I don't think would have been appropriate, unless it was a Warhol Print and then he would have to find somewhere to hang it.

Anyway as Paul is in London and I am in Newcastle there was a train journey involved. And I am a giver for World Book Night. The book is Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig which is about how he has dealt with and effectively overcome his depression (I know I am not in a position to comment on depression) , and at first I thought maybe this isn't the book to give to a really good friend but .....

The book is easy to read , full of white space , and brimming with hope and positivity , I was hoping to get part of the way through it but I finished and felt really good after reading it. Two years ago I gave away The Humans an novel in which he addressed his depression in a different way and well worth reading. I instagrammed several pages from the book and lots of people reacted positively.

A friend of mine had book the book but could not face it , because she thought it would be difficult. It isnt't . Read it and you will feel great.

Anyway , it's Monday Morning and time to kick off the week , and here is a total feelgood song for you

Sunday 10 April 2016

April Showers

Well it's the first time this year that I have mowed the lawn. Today has been a lazy day but I have had a headache but managed to get a few things done. I have been listening and learning to play the songs for the band so as usually am trying to do too many things that I don't have time for . The reality is that I would hate to be bored and it's always good to stretch yourself just to see how far you can go.

For The Birds
When I walked over the lawn there was a squelch of water and I thought maybe it's not time but it is mid April so I should be starting . It turned out easy to mow , just two lawn mower bag fulls of grass and now the lawn looks half presentable. The instagram video is . here. The thing is once you start , everyone else has to do theirs . I can imagine lots partners pointing out that I was mowing the lawn so their partner should be doing it too.

Anyway as I say it's been a relaxing weekend and tomorrow work starts again. Have lot's of songs to learn , but am going to post Rick Nelson's Garden Party which is just a totally wonderful song

Goodnight my friends

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Justin Bieber vs Guns 'n' Roses (Sex Pistols and Monkees)

My friend Kaz has just taken offence that Justin Bieber has Dreadlocks . I am amazed the amount of offence this guy causes . I can't sauy I have listened to his stuff, I saw him on Graham Norton and found him annoying , a bit like Little Jimmy Osmond singing "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool", but Bieber is an easy target , he sells records (or downloads) by the truckload and can probably have any girl he wants .... which a sort of definition for a rock star.

Then you get Guns 'n' Roses reforming and people going on about how important they are. To me they made one half decent album , I'm ok with em apart from their anagramatic singer , and their main legacy seems to be that they turned up very late for gigs and showed inordinate disdain for their fans.

I am old enough to be a great grandad , and remember parents getting offended at the music I listened to and the clothes I wore. I now get offended when I see kids  wearing Sex Pistols , Nirvana and Ramones T-Shirts because they think they are clothing brands. I don't know if attitudes have changed, I certainly am not your average parent  when it comes to music. One thing to remember is the Sex Pistols were as manufactured as Bieber, like the Monkees and in fact The Sex Pistols covered a Monkees song almost in acknowledgement , so I have included that here.

But I have come to this conclusion, Justin Bieber continues to cause offence and annoy people sell records and get the girls, Guns 'n' Roses reform and their best numbers are cover versions , so it seems to be Bieber embodies the spirit of rock and roll a lot more than most of your classic rock bands.

I still haven't listened to anything by him

Have a great Tuesday everybody

Monday 4 April 2016

Record Store Day, World Book Night and Shakespeare's Birthday (Totally Boatless)

This is  just a short post although we have got into April and there is so much happening this month.
I have picked up my bass guitar for the first time in earnest for several years , as if I can cut it , I will be joining a fifties style rock and roll / soul band.

Then on the 16th it's World  Record Store Day , which means lots of stuff going on around RPM , Reflex , Beatdown and JG Windows in Newcastle. We are lucky that in Newcastle we have four , yes count them FOUR real record shops. The first year it wasn't that well attended but this has really gained momentum and you have queues outside the record shops in the hope of getting that special vinyl version of a particular record. It has got fans listing to music again rather than skipping through their iPod collection.

A Good Book
On the 17th it's my friend Paul's fiftieth birthday , he's a writer and if you are a fan of Casualty , Doctors or Eastenders you have probably seen some of his work. Check him out here , a very cool , witty and nice guy and a great friend.

Then on the 23rd it's William Shakespeare's Birthday , which is the marker for World Book Night. I've been giving books since it's inception and this year I will be giving away copies of Matt Haig's Reasons To Stay Alive in Newcastle on the night of the 23rd. A couple of Years ago I gave a way Matt's The Humans , an excellent book which I would recommend to anyone. This year's book list is here.

So basically it's Monday morning , there is lots to do , and lots to enjoy. April is looking very good for me , I hope it;s the same for you.

And I always think a bit of the Reduced Shakespeare Company always goes down  well , so I've included The Othello Rap - Totally Boatless , that always makes me laugh.

Have a brilliant day everybody.

Saturday 2 April 2016

Bangers And Thrash And Coincidences

Work at the moment is quite intense , just a lot going on , so yesterday took time out and fancied a cooked meal . I wandered through town and decided to go to Trillians as I love the atmosphere , music is good there may be a decent film playing and the staff are brilliant , and they now do excellent food. I chatted with Barbara and saw the Bangers and Thrash , well how could I not , so ordered that with a cup of coffee.

I sat in the area at the bottom of the stairs and noticed there was a bag on one of the other tables, and I know sometime people don't like other people withing a million miles of them , especially when it;s me.Anyway the girl came back and was reading checking her phone so seemed cool with me being there. Anyway my coffee came , then I got a phone call. "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath was playing (which incidentally is one of the dishes that Trillian's serve featuring Black Pudding .. My mums favourite) . So in the phone I was probably talking a bit louder than I should , because of the music and the fact that Trillians is underground and you can lose your signal at any time . The thing is talking louder doesnt help and we all do it and are often too lazy to go outside or somewhere private, well I was yesterday.

After I finished I apologised for being too loud and she smiled and said was fine , the she asked me if I was having lunch and did I want to share a table, as she was waiting for her lunch too. I said yes and we got talking ,  she told me her name was Jane and she was waiting for a Megabus to  London and thought she'd drop in here and she knew they now did food. She told me where she was from and I asked if she knew another friend of mine who lived in the same place and it turned out we had her in common.

We chatted and ate , told her about my daughters wedding , showed her THAT CAKE (if you click on this you get the instagram video), and like everyone she was amazed by it. It turns out we have a lot of common interests so I told about events coming up, and also told her this whole thing reminded me of a recent excellent TED Talk I watched about AirBnB which goes on about the modern "Stranger Danger " attitude that the media and society engenders in us , when in fact most strangers could be friends we haven't met yet. I know that sounds crass, but I've included the talk below

Yesterday I walked into Trillians and saw a stranger and when I left I had a new friend. Yeah modern technology is good for immediately connecting with people.

Have a brilliant Saturday everyone , I am going to .