Saturday 30 July 2016

I Love Seeing People Smile

I love seeing people smile , I love seeing people happy and I love smiling and being happy. Seeing a smile is infectious , I always smile back and sometimes I smile at people and they smile back at me. Yes the context has to be right  (I watch Gotham and have seen some very worrying smiles) , but a smile does make you feel better.

I know society is not good at the moment and I am hopeful we can progress , I detest spitefulness greed and idiocy which seems to be the modus operandi for the government , but my friends and their friends are positive and pleasant people. I love going into work and the only pressure is to get the job done well and that means that there are plenty of opportunities to smile at work as there are lots of wonderful people that I work with.

It does help that the weather is generally summery at the moment , I woke up early and , the sun is streaming through the window although I am still very tired so will be going back to bed after this.

Steffen .. Exit Stage Left with two chairs
There have been a lot of free concerts in South Shields and tomorrow UB40 play Bents Park in South Shields , I tried to get to The Proclaimers and Lindisfarne the other week but I was a bit late and the gates were shut, and there were still huge queues outside , and I was amazed at the number of people complaining that the gates had been shut . It was very popular and public safety is paramount. Oh and my friend Steffen Peddie is playing The Customs House tonight ... now he WILL make you smile (and laugh loads).

Anyway I chose UB40's Sing Your Own Song as it always makes me feel good , and I hope it does the same for you.

Anyway , the weekend is just starting , so smile lots and enjoy other peoples' smiles. It's a simple concept and I know some people are only happy when they are miserable (Usually Mancs and soap opera characters... try Coronation Street and Eastenders, although I have met some brilliant Mancunians in my time such as John Cooper Clarke and others)

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Gravity Clones and Seven Nation Armies

One of those phrases that just came to mind for no apparent reason . Clone can be a noun or a verb in this context and Gravity can be a noun or an adjective. Again this could be used as a band name , like Beach Canaries that I used earlier on in the month.

I am thinking of posting a series of songs on here that for me just don't fit into what we expect. Captain Beefheart made me realise that technical ability was subservient to actual ideas. An idea put into practice is far better that the musical ability to play all the notes perfectly , though maybe I am saying that because I can't really play any instrument. The sort of artists that spring to mind are David Bowie , Beefheart , Zappa, PJ Harvey and Siouxsie & the Banshees and that's just a start.

We're coming to the end of July and next week we hit August , the days are getting shorter and soon people will be complaining that we haven't had a summer despite the current heatwave.

Remind You of Anything?
Yesterday I too a photograph in the stairway at work and a friend of mine remarked it reminded him of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes which is a possibility of a cover for the band I am practicing with although they will be leaning towards the Postmodern Jukebox version so I've included both for you delectation. And that is another coincidence.

So it's a lovely day so enjoy it , it's turning out to be a great week

Monday 25 July 2016


I am quite surprised that I don't seem to have ever mentioned Joy Division in this blog. I have written about New Order and The Hacienda and I am sure a few other related bands, but for some reason Joy Division came to mind this morning , and particularly the song Atmosphere ,  then thanks to youtube I found this promotional video which amazingly I've never seen before.

I love it's rickety pretentious mystery and and the black and white graininess. I don't know if the black and white hooded plus and minus figures are stock footage or commissioned for this video but it certainly is a mind stimulating four minutes with and obviously excellent soundtrack.


I first heard the song on John Peel and that's where I heard a lot of artists for the first time. Looking for image from the vide (I know I could have snipped it , the scary black and white Teletubbies image came up so thought it would be fun to include that.

Anyway , the sun is shining, it's the start of a new week , so everyone have a brilliant time today

Sunday 24 July 2016

Relax and Enjoy

I must admit I haven't been too happy with the events of the last couple of weeks , and I really want this blog to be positive , so I have set up another called And Annoyingly for me to post anything that annoys me and I feel I have to rant about.

So this weekend I have managed to relax , sort the garden out , though I have not managed to get out to Summertyne and was sad to miss my friend Teresa who was playing on Friday afternoon when I was at work , but that's the thing we have to do things like work to be able to do the things we want.

This week I have also been enjoying Gotham and the recent reboot of Dredd and think I am ready for another week.
Here is The Weather

It's raining outside but still humid , but apparently we are due a torrential downpour tonight. I have been amazed at the number of people I have seen watering their gardens , but I'm no expert.. I havent watered the garden for two years .. that's how good I think the weather has been and the grass is still green and looks good. I do tend to look out the window to find out out what the weather is like, though it's amazing how many people eschew this method and turn to their smart phone to get the information

Anyway enjoy the rest of your weekend, I certainly will. I really should get dressed , the music is Pearl Jam covering The Beatles' Rain ... one of my favourite Beatles songs

Have a good one

Saturday 23 July 2016

Brrrrr........Exit Stage Left

My final thoughts on the referendum results , supporting it with a couple of videos from The Daily Show's John Oliver.

I always go with the majority , because it's the right thing to do, that's the way democracy works. However the Referendum is not a legally binding thing , we don't have to leave the European Union, and the Government have stated that it will be at least twelve months before they invoke Article 50 , but want to start dismantling Human Rights as soon as possible, see here. But I have several points that still trouble me:

Lies, Lies , Lies

  • The Money That was going to be saved to give the NHS , according to Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage  they never said that , it isn't going to happen
  • If we are withdrawing from the EU , a single entity , why have we appointed Boris Johnson to build new relations with European Countries (28 of them)  for trade? I thought that's why we were getting out
  • All of a sudden we can't close our borders to other countries if we want to trade with them , so the immigration situation is not going to change
  • Cameron wanted to remain so he resigned , and Farage and Boris Johnson disappeared to
  • A lot of people voted leave because they believed the lies of the Leave Campaign , or just wanted to protest against the Government, but if the reason people voted was based on numerous lies , then is their vote valid? People have said they should have realised that what the Leave campaign was saying was lies  , but if this were subject to "Sale of Goods" rules the Referendum would be declared null and void
  • Also the "Take Back Control" slogan , we already have all the control we need who are we taking back what from?
 The thing is a lot of people had valid reasons to want to leave, but thousands have been conned. A lot of Leave voters couldn't tell you why they wanted to leave , they just did, some where shocked with the result came in. I certainly was , though I did vote stay.

In the USA they reckon the country will not be so stupid as to vote in that allegedly racist , misogynist serial liar Donald Trump , but the UK voted in the tory party for two terms and have capped it with a vote to leave a flawed but beneficial economic and mutually enhancing bloc, the potention of the electorate to shoot itself in the face in the name of democracy never fails to amazy me.

Watch the John Oliver videos , although it may be too late as we have another Witch in Westminster now.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

The Kindness Of Strangers

This morning I got off the bus and thought I'd get a couple of bottles to see me through the morning given the lack of air conditioning in our building. I then realised I'd left my wallet at home so wandered into the office remembering that my bank and Samsung Note 4 phone could supposedly do contactless payment. And that is what I thought this post would be about.

So went to local supermarket , though I will try with one item , then thought no it'll work so had about a tenners worth of stuff which I scanned then thought tap and pay. Well tap tap tap and nothing happened , I'd followed the instructions switched on NFC and all that but nothing. So the helpful girl in Tesco's said she'd put the stuff back.

Then I noticed an option on the phone app  so pressed it and it said I had thirty seconds to do the transaction. I though great, this should be no problem , so re scanned my shopping basket , pressed the button, tap to pay ...... no way ... so handed back another bag of stuff.

Eat Me

Sort of gave up , but thought maybe it's their machines. So I went to Gregg's. Same result , so I was destined to go hungry , but here's where it gets interesting. I use Gregg's quite regularly but didn't know the server, but the guy said  "Just take it" , I said know , but he said it would be OK , but I didn't want him having to explain why he was £2 down on his till , but thanked him anyway.

Then as I was walking out a guy came after me and said "Here's £2 for the sandwich" , I said I hadn't had one, was slightly confused, but this guy was offering to buy me a sandwich , he said he'd been in the same position. I said no again , but thanked him for his kindness.

It's funny how we are often reluctant to take genuine help from others , but my failing phone brought me in to contact with some wonderful unselfish kindness today. I am glad I forgot my wallet because as a result I know there are more kind people near me that I thought there were.

Anyway it's really hot , so there's only one song , from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate , "It's Too Darned Hot" , though I've gone for the Ella Fitzgerald version.

Saturday 16 July 2016

A Little Online History

Around fifteen years back I started my Song of The Salesman website and then I realised that I could ad advertising and sell related music from it. At it's height it was bringing in £500 a month , not it maybe hits £30 , but I keep it going as a hobby with monthly updates. Yesterday I removed two more online music links , namely GEMM who have gone to the wall and Play / Rakuten who have become fairly rubbish. This leaves Amazon and iTunes left as the only online iusic sellers that I can link to.

Emusic used to have a great model but that became shot to hell so I had to drop them , but the problem is that for the sellers that disappear there are no replacement models that will pay me for linking .

Ebay dropped me because I didn't make THEM enough money .

There are online services such as Spotify , but their model wouldn't mesh with mine, others come and go.

Below is a list of the affiliates who have come and gone, a lot still exist in one form or another:

  • Napster
  • GEMM
  • Some Russian Site
  • HMV
  • Virgin
  • Zavvi
  • Emusic
  • 7Digital
  • WE7
  • Woolworths
  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Ebay

There are probably a lot more but I just find it sad that I feel as though for music , online there is much less mainstream choice. There is still a lot of online presences worth looking into such as Noisetrade  who make a lot of albums available free to promote music, Bandcamp  , Soundcloud and many others. Music is certainly not dead , it's thriving , but  it's the grass roots music makers who give us the choice , not the mainstream.

Grainger Market

I suppose it's like the Supermarket model , their ultimate aim is to close down all the competition. Luckily I live in Newcastle and have The Grainger Market and lots of great local food shops like Medina.

Also if you look at online , many people will not venture beyond Facebook and Amazon when the sum of all human knowledge is at their disposal. TV is the same , with have a plethora o f media available but some people don't get beyond Eastenders , X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent.

The thing is there is so much out there if you just open your eyes, but as the bible quote says "There are none so blind as those that will not see"

Anyway , it's gorgeous out there , go out and find something worthwhile to enjoy , me , I'm going to see The Reet Hot Chilli Peppers tonight.

Friday 15 July 2016

Just A Psycho

I'm just reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson and there's quite a lot of disturbing stuff in there, and some worrying things about the nature of psychopaths and sociopaths . Apparently f you start noticing traits in yourself that may you suspect you may be a psychopath then you probably aren't one , but if you don't thing you could be a psychopath then the chances are that you are one. It also reckons the reason for the inequality and unfairness in society is that psychopaths are actually in a lot of high up places of power , and they get there because of their nature.

Are You?
This is something we should be very worried about. We tend to give certain people a lot of leewaybecause it's "just the way they are" but I have seen some disgusting bullying behaviour in the workplace of the years that has been condoned and allowed by company management for the flimsiest of reasons, management often turning on people less likely to cause a fuss to carry the the can for the bully's behaviour.

We see it in politics today and as long as we allow it , it will continue to happen.

I suggest you grab a copy of the book ,  and then try and find something positive to focus on , because it's the weekend and you should really be enjoying yourself, I certainly will be.

There's only one song that will do for this post and it's Elvis Costello's take on the country and western classic "Psycho" written by Leon Payne after he saw Hitchcock's film "Psycho".

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Just A Few Words

Play The Game

It's nice to actually get up on time and have time to make a cup of tea without having to rush out the door to get to work. This is what I intended to do yesterday , but the alarm was running an hour late. I'm listening to Radio 6 and about to run out the door after finishing my tea.

Tonight Wales play Portugal , a big match for both teams , but Wales do have the most expensive player in the world in Gareth Bale , and he can deliver , ad he has a team round him that can do it's job so don't be surprised to see Wales in the Final though all the money will go on Portugal.

Anyway enjoy your Wednesday , it's half way through the week and the sun is shining and "Everything Counts" by Depeche Mode is on the radio ,  but I will choose The Referees Alphabet by Half Man Half Biscuit as today's music.

"Wouldn't it be Fun
If They Gave The Ref A Gun"

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Beach Canaries

This was originally going to be called "Time" but about half an hour the phrase "Beach Canaries" came in to my head, it's probably the name of a band and if it isn't it should be.

Anyway what this was basically about was that recently I seem to keep not having enough time to do the things I want to do. I do get them done but often times seems to run away. Maybe it's a sign of getting older. When you are six and you get six weeks summer holiday that's a week for every year of your life , it's like nearly forever, now six weeks comes and goes just like that. Actual time still last the same length ... I think.

A Long, Long Time
There's a science fiction story called "The Eighty Minute Hour" by Brian Aldiss in which the concept is that the controllers slow down the clocks when you are at work and speed them up when you are not. Would you know?  And how often have you looked at the clock at work and almost believed that it's stopped or going backwards.

Some morning when I go to work I am sure I leave at 7:30 but still get through the door at 8 for what should be a fifteen minute door to door excursion. Late buses , traffic jams , and forgetfulness also contribute.

The biggest benefit from leaving my previous job was the 60 hours a month traveling time I got back, and because of that I now commit myself to doing a lot more, seeing people , watching films , going to gigs , I've actually joined a band . So really I am filling up my time. I never sit and think , where is the time going and don't have an answer. I know where it's going , and I am enjoying it.

I love any excuse to talk and meet friends , and share fun times , and that makes life very enjoyable.

I will get a handle o this , and was going to write this this morning but ......

Last week my alarm clock woke me with piercing electronic screeching. I shut the thing down and it had reset itself to factory settings. I reset it all and the following day it did the same so , it was binned. I've spent a week with no alarm , until this morning. I got the new alarm, set and it went off at quarter to six this morning. I showered and went to get dressed and noticed the clocks and watched were reading 7:15 . Had I really spent 90 minutes getting washed and showered? NO , I had  set the clock and hour slow , so getting out to work was a bit of a rush.

Anyway that;'s just some thoughts about time and maybe a good song to have would be Buena Vista Social Club and Coldplay's Clocks from Rhythms Del Mundo.

Have a brilliant Tuesday my friends.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Embrace Hope and Be Happy

Be Leave
After the shock of the EU Referendum we're still here, we just have to put in more effort to make things right. Throughout my life I've been called thick and stupid by people who don't have the ability to comprehend what I say. Michael Gove stated that people were sick of experts and the some of the electorate agreed with him, there are a lot of Red Top Readers out there. Professor Brian Cox says this is  a way back to the Stone Age , check his article here. Who'd have thought I would be taking my lead from D:Ream's keyboard player.! Things Can Get Better.

 A few people who voted leave stated their reasons for voting leave were "Too Many Immigrants" , "Too Many (Unspecified) Laws" and the Leave Campaigners immediately denied responsibility for the claims or promises that they made. It's like buying a 2.8 litre Mercedes and then finding out there are bike pedals under the bonnet and the seats are plastic and the music system is am 8 Track.. Caveat Emptor.

But we are still here and there is a lot to be hopeful about. Look to your friends and the people about you. The people you can hug , the people you can share fun with. This post may be a a bit me-centric and Newcastle-Centric  but I believe that we can come out of this smiling. A lot of things are wrong but I know so many positive people who work together to make things better , that  I do believe that we will overcome the culture of selfishness that has been endemic since the Thatcher / Reagan era. Since then I have seen a lot of good , a lot of people helping others , a lot of great charity work, though I am looking forward to a time when we don't need charity. I don't know how that will happen, but I am sure it will.

So start now , be there for those that need you and want you , smile at people , find something that makes YOU happy and share that with others. I am feeling positive and a positive attitude makes good things happen . Smile , Be Happy , and Share .

Have a Wonderful week. I am sorry that this post is a meandering mess but really , Things WILL get better. I've chosen The Rumour's Emotional Traffic as he song ... well you know why.