Saturday 31 December 2016

The Last Post .. For 2016 ... Happy New Year ... Tomorrow Never Knows

I'm having a quiet day, and looking in to having a lie in tomorrow and not having to go to work on Monday. The weather is very windy and I have been out and shopped for essentials , but am now ensconced on a warm couch with a choice of TV programs at my disposal.

While 2016 has emphasised the fragility of existence , and the continual promotion of bullies and idiots as heroes by the media was not ideal. There is also the continual worship of money as the ultimate end in life, money is just a way of supporting life and is only any use when it is actually moved about.

Anyway I am looking forward to a more positive 2017 despite the monstrous obstacles that we have to deal with. I have met so many positive people in 2016 and retained positive people from my past. I am proud of the achievements of my family, always forward looking.

So this is my Happy New Year to all my friends and people who read my blog. Keep looking forward, keep being positive , don't accept the bad, look out for others and your friends will look out for you.

I am glad for social media because it keeps me in touch with friends who I might have lost touch with. There is a lot wrong with social media but I can deal with the bad bits.

Anyway maybe a perfect song for the new year is the wonderful "Tomorrow Never Knows" and I am going to include The Beatles original from their finest album "Revolver" and the magnificent 801 live version.

Happy New Year my friends ...... Tomorrow Never Knows

Thursday 29 December 2016

Life's A Long Song.... With Tattoos

Tonight I had the chance to do some catch up TV, but I didn't catch up on any TV at all. I've been meaning for ages to test the soundbar out with a 5.1 album and decided to do that. The first album was Jethro Tull's "Thick as as Brick" and I was impressed, and realised I would be doing a lot more listening to albums like this (I  hope my neighbours understand). I followed this with "Aqualung" which I got for Christmas and also contains "Life's A Long Song" which is absolutely beautiful. I remember buying the original five track single which I think Jethro Tull charged 48p for because the price of singles was seen as exorbitant for what may be as little as four minutes of music Ithis was way pre punk). Any the final couplet in that song seems so appropriate for what's been happening recently:

"Life's A Long Song,
But The Tune
Ends Too Soon
For Us All"

That has been sadly true.

On a brighter note there seem to be a lot of Tattoo Parlours springing up.  There are some great names too. I love tattoos but I will never have one, because I couldn't decide which one to have. Two Tattoo Parlours I have friends in are Arthur T Sharpes (Newcastle) and Dirk Parker Tattoos (Shrewsbury) . It's far better having another Tattoo Parlour than another Mobile Phone Shop or Betting Shop or Greggs / Subway / Costa / Starbucks .

Anyway that's my lot, I'm going to bed now, if you want to come remember to switch the light off... I have an early start.

Two Thousand and Sixteen Dot Dot Dot

We're coming up to the end on 2016 and a lot of people are going to say good riddance due to the number of celebrities that have departed this plane. I always say I am the worst person to be around in the case of death , because I remember the good stuff, and because of evolution I do not believe that the mind ends there. I don't how it continues but it's a thing that gives me hope, and if I'm wrong then it hardly matters when I go. Very often the grief is for their own loss and everyone deals with that in a different way. I'd seen Rick Parfitt live a few times but that's as close as it got for me, I have a few Wham and George Michael albums and I STILL have them. These guys have carved their own immortality in our world and we are still as close as we ever were. This might seem a bit narky but it's not meant to me. Twice in my life I have been within a few days of possibly leaving this world, the first time really scared me because I thought I wouldn't see my daughters grow up (they were 2 and 4 at the time)  but thanks to the brilliance of the NHS I'm still here and will be for a long, long time. Anyway enough of this dark stuff.

It looks like I am now doing one post every two days, the last three years have been around 183 posts per years. There have been busy and not so busy months on the blog but it does average out.

So what song should we play today, really I think it should be something uplifting that always makes me feel better and Elbow's "One Day Like This" fills that spot perfectly.

Have a wonderful Thursday my friends

Monday 26 December 2016

Positive Light

It's sad that we've lost George Michael, six years my junior, a great talent but I couldn't listen to a Wham album start to finish and of his solo stuff only "Listen Without Prejudice" and "Faith" go on for the full duration. The thing is George Michael spread a lot of light and positivity in peoples lives like a lot of artists.

Waltz Away George
And he didn't limit himself, I remember he set up his own label (Aegean) and released a single collaboration with Toby Bourke and remarkably ignored artist in his own right. Toby Bourke's work will cost you a lot of money now, but you should try and listen, and of course track down a copy of  "Waltz Away Dreaming"

It is a wonderful song and should be remembered as part of his legacy. As I said, I don't like all George Michael's work, some of it is very bland and formulaic , but with things like this he and his collaborator nails it.

And again George Michael's life in episodes such as this, are moral pointers as to how we should be living our lives. Do your best, have fun, share what you can and if you can be there for others who can't hit your highs, try and give a helping hand.

Well that's Boxing Day over, both Newcastle and Preston lost but it's been a nice quiet day. Sleep well my friends and be a positive light for all around you.

Sunday 25 December 2016

Surely The Grim Reaper's Scythe Must Be Blunt Now

It's Christmas night and another one has gone. It's pointless me naming names, you know who I am talking about.

As we get older we are going to experience more people leaving this mortal coil, but 2016 seems to have been non stop. There isn't much we can do about it , every one still comes as a shock. Some of these people are relatively young too. OK there may have done drugs, alcohol and tobacco but  usually they have a fitness regime that counteracts it.

People will leave us in 2017 but I hope it is not the reaping that 2016 has been. When Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper died they were all under 22 and Eddie Cochran released a song called "Three Stars" not realising that Cochran himself would be soon joining them. I know this is a short post but I will leave the Eddie Cochran song as a tribute.

Goodnight my friends

On Christmas Day Reach For Love

I really wasn't expecting to post today but so far I've had a brilliant relaxing Christmas. I've managed to talk to some friends and family, got some lovely presents, and am listening to one of them , The Rolling Stones "Blue & Lonesome" , Mick Jagger sounding bluesier than ever almost like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters or, dare I say it Captain Beefheart, and that is just one of the wonderful albums I received today , which I am now transferring to my music server.

There's no snow so it's not going to be a White Christmas I don't think although there's parts of the sky that are black while others are blue and sunny. So really who knows what the weather is going to decide to do.

Be Like Frank
I am sort of wondering what song to play on this one , and though I haven't posted in the #LikeNoOther sequence for ages, which makes me think of Wild Man Fischer but I don't think that's one for today. I remember Frank Zappa telling a story about Larry Fischer meeting his brother one day:

"Larry had the axe, his brother had the bad luck" , which made me chuckle, though I hope his brother was not too traumatized

Just looking out the window and it looks like one of my neighbours has got a new drill for Christmas, I so detest getting or buying anything practical for Christmas and Birthdays, this should be a time of getting something pleasurable and out of the ordinary. I know that is not an option for a lot of people but if you need something you should get it immediately as soon as you can afford it, not wait for Christmas or a Birthday.

I was wondering what to play and it was staring me in the face, Marcel King's "Reach For Love" , it's Shaun Ryder's favourite Factory single, and a truly wonderful uplifting record, from the sadly missed singer , love Marcel's voice. I found this New York Mix which stretches it out to five and a half minutes, and if there's one thing better than a good thing, it's more of a good thing, and this certainly is a wonderfully good thing.

Anyway I hope your day is going brilliantly , I hope that you are going to rest and then kickstart another year of fun, good deeds , enjoyment.

Saturday 24 December 2016

Put A Little Love In Your Heart

It's Christmas Eve, well it's nearly Christmas Day and I have used today to relax, sort of barring walking a couple of miles for some shopping and buying stuff that wasn't immediately needed but not able to get mince pies (which I have eaten lots of already, so the house ins a mince pie free zone).

The estate of Charles Dickens must have made  a mint today as there were at least three takes on "A Christmas Carol" screened, namely "Scrooged", "A Muppet Christmas Carol" and "Scrooge" starring Alistair Sim in probaly the finest Dicken's adaptation after David Lean's "Great Expectations"

Anyway I'm going to wish you a brilliant Christmas and leave you with a message from Al Green and Annie Lennox  . "Put A Little Love in Your Heart"  ... and make the world a better place for you , your friends, your loved ones and everyone.

Time for bed... I think I can hear sleighbells ......

Friday 23 December 2016

Some Christmas Mutterings

This is year is the first I can remember when I have zero social Christmas contact. Tonight I was feeling wrecked so I did miss the opportunity to go and see The Star Spangled Chestwigs but the wind was cold and biting, and I know Shev, Adas, Bill and Paul will have a monster crowd and a great night. The thing is, with a bit of effort on my part, I did have the option to see people and it was lovely meeting very briefly with Krista and Jessica and Asher over the last two lunchtimes. So really I did a bit of solo socialising, and did have a lovely meal with my daughters last week, and in laws at the weekend. The thing is that some people don't actually have a choice. They either can't afford , or have no one to even talk to.

I am so lucky in having a wonderful circle of friends, and was thinking of this as I actually picked up my guitar for once and was surprised that I could remember "Rebel Rebel" (the best Rolling Stones song they never wrote) , "Shake Some Action", "People Get Ready" but stalled on "Norwegian Wood".

With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday I now have four days to relax, and not do too much.

I hope all my friends have received their cards and presents and are looking forward to a wonderful time to enjoy themselves.

2016 has left me shell shocked, but I am just seeing 2017 as a time to actually challenge idiots and make a small contribution to making the world a better place.

The wind is blowing outside and there has been some serious rain, but I am going to enjoy this break, enjoy next week and enjoy next year.

So what song should I choose? I reckon "Shake Some Action" , I remember the first time I heard that almost sinister riff transforming in to some gorgeous guitar runs and I still love it today. I always loved the Flamin' Groovies. So enjoy your Friday my friends, look out for others , be compassionte and make the world a better place.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Optical Delusion

This morning I woke up, looked out of the window, across the street and saw Darth Vader looking back in my direction. I blinked, looked again and realised that it was a wheelie bin , not Darth Vader. I quite often look and see things that aren't there, usually caused by failing light, seeing something at an unusual angle , or something looking like something else.

I got thinking, is this how ghosts, miraculous visions, angels and religious icons find there way into real life? I know people who refuse to admit they are wrong even when they have made a huge mistake, and it only takes one of these to convince themselves and the gullible that a ghost or god has manifest themselves. It's just a little thought for a very short post.

I know I said I was going to write about Christmas but we have another few days before that hits us and I must have written a lot of Christmas posts before. I just wanted to say how sometimes we thing we see things that aren't what we think.

So I will include my optical illusion slideshow  with the Temptations "Just My Imagination" for you to enjoy before you go to bed. Sleep well my friends.

Popular In Russia ... and a smidgen of Finland's Finest

Who Loves Me?

Just looked at my view stats for this week and I have been hit twice as much by Russia than the UK., which is nearly three times the hit rate of the USA. The page is in English so it's not that it's a very Russian oriented page or blog. In fact it's not really anywhere leaning, just that it's in English and I write about anything that takes my fancy and feel that may interest others.

My posts tend to get about fifty views on first post but there are pages with almost two thousand views, though they may have been there for many years.

I've just realised that with the graphic this is in fact a very columnar post. Obviously I would love to be popular but that will never happen, though I know I have my hard core of followers who I value very highly.

I think I was going to write something about Christmas and an observation about Darth Vader and a dustbin but I will save that for a later post. It's always good to have a subject lined up that you can drop into your writing.

So the obvious musical piece is by the wonderful Finnish beat combo , The Leningrad Cowboys , backed by the Red Army Choir singing ZZ Top's "Gimme All Your Lovin'" , seriously what's not to like. My friend Krista is Finnish , she is a wonderful designer and has a place KOTA in the Grainger Market. Go and see her and her beautiful place.

Enjoy your Wednesday Evening my friends.

Monday 19 December 2016

Time To Get Up

It's the last week before Christmas and we're getting hit with Christmas Songs and requests for charity donations from lots of organisations. I am sure I have said this recently, but looking out for people and being caring and compassionate shouldn't just happen at Christmas, it should be the norm. The problem is many people are so easily distracted and led by the media to hate those less fortunate than themselves is that society can be horrible at times.

A cliche is the oppressed kick downwards and that is so true today, people get their Red Top that tells them the reason why they are worse off is that immigrants , the sick, the poor, the old are making their life worse and there is no doubt that there are a few milking the system, but people fail to see that that corporations and  big money tax avoiders with the collusion of government are the ones making life worse for the majority.

Anyway I am staying positive. The people I know and number as my friends are sensible, compassionate and make me happy.Try and make sure your circle of friends and acquaintances do the same.

I'm going to include a wonderful Tim Minchin song "White Wine In The Sun" (he's Australian) that my friend Daniel alerted me to. Just had a thought Tim Minchin sounds alliteratively like Tin Machine , David Bowie's excellent but maligned rock band.

Enjoy this and it really is time for me to get up and go to work, and probably you too. Have a brilliant day and week everyone.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Time For Bed

After a day which involved going to Edinburgh and back , semi acknowledging my mate John Scott coming out of Edinburgh Waverley, buying far too many books in FOPP (all essential of course) , I am now ready to fall into bed before another days work tomorrow.

I've been writing Christmas Cards and for some reason keep typing Christmas as Christams , just me getting careless with my fingers. Spelling mistakes are very easy to make and then easy to miss. I am just glad we have spelling and grammar checkers which give you a fighting chance of getting your text right , although sometimes you can use the wrong word even though it sounds right

When I came back I checked some stuff on my PC and thought I would pull out a random album, which happened to be "Going For The One" by Yes. I'd forgotten what an excellent riff that was , and so obviously I will include it here. The album contains the twee "Wondrous Stories" but it is worth buying for the title track alone.

Anyway I will include "Going For The One" and I am going to bed right now.

Sleep well my friends.

Saturday 17 December 2016

Wond'ring Aloud

I don't know what made this song come to mind, but today has been sort of a million miles an hour non stop for me. The original version of "Wond'ring Aloud" is on Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" but I found this version by Ian Anderson and some classical mateys. As I write this I'm listening to Rick Wakeman's "Six Wives of Henry VIII" which I still don't think he's topped though I have always liked him. Love the story of him having an Indian Meal delivered while is was doing nothing during other memeber's solos at a Yes gig.

Anyway today I went to the Grainger Market and finally found my friend Krista's gorgeous Kota store, which really does show off her eye for design , it is a typical sized Grainger Market but she makes it light and big, and the stuff she is selling is beautiful. That is one place you have to visit next time you are in there.

Then I found Hoam Grown CIC  a new organic produce store. Absolutely lovely so I bought some potatoes , got home and realised that I didn't need any. Not to worry , The Grainger Market is full of brilliant places all under the same roof, far better than the chain food aberration that they have turned the Eldon into, still some people see that as progress. I don't.

Ok, it's time for a cup of tea now, enjoy your Saturday my friends.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Totally Wired

This week I bit the bullet and got some wired headphones for my Samsung Note 4. Some update or app has caused Bluetooth to crash settings, meaning I cannot add or access any new device. One of the solutions was to clear Bluetooth data which means it has in fact become unusable. Others are factory reset, uninstall apps one by one (there's about 300 on the phone half a dozen of which that I use).

A couple of months back someone posted that Apple were screwing their customers because system updates were causing devices to slow down forcing customers to buy new devices. Apple aren't, everybody does this. Often new apps require more resources and more powerful processors , it's generally how these things progress although I would like it if I could get my Bluetooth to work again. But whether it's Android, Apple , Microsoft , you will hit these situations. It's not built in obsolescence , it's progress. Yes lots of the software is bloatware , but in our hand held devices we are heading towards Star Trek territory.

The thing is with wires is they always get tangled up and you spend all your time untangling them, though it has enabled me to start watching TED talks, films and listen to music on the move again which is brilliant.

The only song can be "Totally Wired" by The Fall , although I also found a version by The Last Shadow Puppets as well so you get two versions of this amazing song.

Enjoy my friends and have a great Thursday.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Thirteen, Thirteen and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I Am
It's the 13th of December and I've just started Chapter 13 of "I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic" his autobiography. The talk is often cliched, and he comes across as an idiot at times, but he knows this, but you can forgive all this because it is absolutely fascinating. I keep learning lost of fascinating things about football and outside of football. I never knew Ferrari was owned by The Fiat Corporation.

I got the book on the recommendation from Richard Osman on Pointless and it is definitely worth reading. It is quite small print and there are three hundred pages to get through but it's definitely worth trawling through and there is no down he is an entertaining character will the skill.

Anyway "Skinhead Moonstomp" by Symarip was playing on 6Music so that's what I will include. Enjoy my friend and have a great day.

Friday 9 December 2016

There's Only One Thing Worse ........

..... than something not working is something (apparently) working when its shouldn't do. This happened to me this morning. Maybe my reactions were slow, maybe I was tired and if I'd have thought properly this wouldn't have happened.

I switched on my PC and it said there was no internet connection. Hmm I thought, then I thought "Ah My Phone is connected to my router via WiFi, I 'll check that" ... and of course it was working fine. It must be my PC, or the cable, but all my checks seemed to imply that the cabling was fine. I though "I don't want to have to install a new internet thing into the PC" but it was pointing towards the PC being the problem.....

... then I remembered  I had the switch on my phone set use 4G if there was no wifi connection, rebooted the modem and all was fine. I spent half an hour messing with wires and connecting and disconnecting when if I'd have just rebooted the modem all would have been sorted because I thought my phone was running off WiFi when it was really running off 4G. C'est la vie.

Also this is my 1200th post just thought I'd tell you that, there is probably enough stuff on here to actually work out a book from, I'm sure psychiatrists would have a field day ("He's a Very Boring and Uninteresting Person, Lock Him Up").

So as I write this I am listening to my Faces boxed set that my girls bought me, so I'll play a Faces song and what should it be? "That's All You Need" is probably my favourite slide driven rock song of all time, so I think we'll go with that.

Have a brilliant Friday night my friends, best night of the week, Monday is 48 hours away so plenty of time to relax and have fun.

Thursday 8 December 2016

Is That A Christmas I See?

Three years ago I posted a seasonal song of the the day every day in December, obviously there's no point in me doing it this year but you can sample it here. Christmas is two weeks on Sunday and we'll get bombarded with pleas for goodwill to all men and looking after those less fortunate than us from people like Gary Barlow, who , if they paid their taxes, would go some way to alleviating the suffering caused by poverty. Sorry I went of track there. The point I really want to make is we should spread goodwill and help EVERY DAY and not just at Christmas. I once had a boss who was a miserable spiteful git throughout the year (his introductory words to me were "If I was allowed I would sack you on the spot" ... I replied "and nice to meet you too"), then at Christmas he was everybody's friends. That doesn't work for me. You can always be supportive and friendly.

On a separate not , it's been a good week and on holiday I learned how to use an option on Garageband which I had bought a keyboard for. The keyboard can go back now and I will produce something at the weekend hopefully. with my iPad.

Last night going to sleep I used the iPad to play my copy of "Timewind" by Klaus Schulze to drift off to sleep too. Technology is brilliant at times.

Anyway we're in December now and maybe I will include a seasonal song and I have decided to go with two Public Service Broadcasting songs Elfstedentocht Part One and Part Two . Here's the story:

" In April 2013 we were approached by the organisers of the Explore the North festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. 

They asked if we would use some footage of the Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour), the world's biggest ice skating race, and write some songs around it. 

So we did. "

Have a brilliant Thursday my friends

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Insert Positivity Here

I haven't written anything for a few days which doesn't bode well for me beating last year's number for posts, but who knows where December will go. Looked out of the window this morning and it's foggy and frosty.

Over the weekend Preston threw away the chance of getting something from the match against Sheffield Wednesday when Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle ended up fighting and getting sent off.

Still we have Arsenal in the FA Cup, with two strikers benched by red cards.

Having said that Lee Trundle's penalty here made me laugh though how he manged to get the power while doing what he did borders on genius.

Anyway I don't care I am going to enjoy myself, I discovered something on Garageband that I am going to be playing with and hope to have something put together soon. I do like messing about with musical things although like a lot of things I have to do stuff on my own, and I still haven't got the hang of decent digital recording, I really need to force myself to get used to it.

So I am going to leave you with "Rings Around The World" by Super Furry Animals, because it's always good to talk to people. Sometimes you need time on your own but you also need the stimulation of contact with others, so have a brilliant Tuesday everybody. Be careful on the footpaths and stay safe and happy.

Friday 2 December 2016

Grey Day

It's the second day of winter and the sky is covered in grey cloud, there is light but it's cold. I'm sitting here writing listening to "I Gotta Go" from the new Rolling Stones album "Blue & Lonesome". I am impressed with it.

Ive just noticed also that Newcastle United have a match tonight despite having played 120 minutes against Hull City on Tuesday night. Surely they could have moved it back to Sunday or Monday, but I suppose TV is King and dictates when things happen. That is the problem that TV money is such a huge part of Football's income that Football has to bow down to it's paymasters.

Anyway I am having another day of relaxation, so the obvious tune to include is "TV Is King" by The Tubes. I could have chosen the a track from the new Rolling Stones album but it's an excuse to include something by The Tubes.

Have a wonderful Friday, the weekend is almost here.

Thursday 1 December 2016

The First Day Of Winter

I heard today that today was the first day of Winter. It doesn't seem two minutes since Autumn came upon us. I still haven't cleared the leaves from my back garden, maybe I will get the chance to do that on my return to home. The weather here is cold and foggy, which means I can take photographs and go for walks.

No doubt we will hear predictions of snowdrifts and arctic colds, but I still take my weather predictions by looking out of the window. The weather is a complex beast capable of changing at a moments notice, so I take predictions with a hefty pinch of salt.

Today will be spent in Litton, relaxing and watching some catch up TV, and listening to music. So what else to play but The Housemartins playing "I Smell Winter".

Have a brilliant day my friends.