Wednesday 28 February 2018

White February

It's the last day of February and we have had snow. More than usual but hardly enough to bring Newcastle to a halt, though the roads seemed not too filled with motor vehicles. I managed to catch buses and still found time to instagram from Leazes Park as you can see here.

The snow is quite deep , but it is still easy to walk on the footpaths.

One of the strange effects is that the light reflecting on the snow makes it look very light outdoors when all it is is streetlights an dthe moonlight reflecting back up. Snow can be beautiful and amazing at times.

Tomorrow we start into March and I can see that I won't get that much walking done til next week, while in parts the snow is fine to walk on the cold does get to you.

One album I was going to write about and now finally have a chance is Steve Hillage's first solo album "Fish Rising" , whic consists of the dreamy delay guitar heavy "Solar Music Suite" which opens the album before we are hot by the water bubble "Fish" and the ambient guitar of "Meditation of The Snake". Side two hits use with the heavier riff driven "Salmon Song" before more echo delay psychedelia in "Aftaglid". A gorgeously uplifting album and the CD includes "Pentagrammaspin" which I think was a free single given away at gigs and a power trio backing track of "Aftaglid" to satisfy the psychedelic guitar lover in you. Ive just realised that there are three great guitarists (at least) named Steve H , namely Hillage , Hackett and Howe.

AnywayI'll leave you with a live take on "The Salmon Song" from 1977, enjoy.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

A Little Musical Genius

The snow is here and it has made it difficult to walk, although this morning I wandered through Leazes Park and posted some Instagram video and pictures here. I was speaking to  aguy who pointed out that our winter weather these days lasts a couple of days at most but it used to be that these spells lasted weeks , so we actually quite lucky.

I've been feeling really tired over the last few days , totally drained, not sure why. I don't feel bad but was in bed at eight yesterday and will be by nine today. I've actually not been walking as much due to the weather, could that make me feel tired? It is a bit weird.

I decided to listen to Lindsey Buckingham's "Out Of The Cradle"  and was shocked by the neo classical guitar intro pieces to several of the songs on the album. For me the two stand out pieces are "Don't Look Down" and "Countdown", and I will include the latter.

I do regard Lindsey Buckingham as a musical genius and the vide below shows him simultaneously playings the bass , rhythm and whole song on a single guitar, which has to be seen to be believed.

Anyway I di feel tired so will now take to my bed.

Sunday 25 February 2018

My First Mobike

Well today I completed 340K steps for February, with three days to spare. This is just before the really cold weather sets in, so I am very pleased with that.

Today for the first time I used a Mobike. I kept wondering where I was going to use so went from St. Andrews Church round The Grainger Market and parked up on Clayton street. I was berated for not wearing a helmet but given they are a jump on jump off type of thing you don't carry a helmet around with you so I am not sure what the solution is bar being extra careful like I as as a teenager. These are not racing bikes, they have baskets on and are meat for going short distances. I found it difficulat as my legs were too long for the back and when I got off I realised that I could have ajusted the seat. I'll know that for next time.

One of my problems is that if I'm going to go by baike then I will potentially not do the number of steps that I need to do , but that is something that I will deal with in the coming weeks. They will be great for nipping across the Tyne Bridges to places like Arch 16.

So what to play on thsi Sunday night, the obvious one for me is "My White Bicycle" by Tomorrow refering to the Dutch in the sixties who stole bikes and painted the white for people to use for free.

According to drummer John 'Twink' Alder (Pink Fairies), the song was inspired by the Dutch Provos, an anarchist group in Amsterdam which instituted a community bicycle program: "they had white bicycles in Amsterdam and they used to leave them around the town. And if you were going somewhere and you needed to use a bike, you'd just take the bike and you'd go somewhere and just leave it. Whoever needed the bikes would take them and leave them when they were done." The band also featured Steve Howe later of Yes and Keith West who had a hit with "Excerpt From A Teenage Opera". I'm not sure about John 'Junior' Wood.

The free is a good concept but the stealing is not , but if we all used bikes or walked instead of using cars the world would be a much better place.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Hitting It With Words

Two albums I've listened to over that past couple of days are Bob Dylan's "Bringin' It All Back Home" and "Blonde on Blonde". "Blonded on Blonde" is a double album (ie seventy or eighty minutes of music) and opens with the almost comedy stomp of "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35" with it's infection refrain of "Everybody must get stoned" tagged onto a rousing list song, that is followed by a stardard folk blues of "Pledging My Time" not making the most promising or auspicious introduction of what is an all time classic album.

However the next four songs are killers and make you realise that you have something special (follow the link to find out what they are) before a slight lull with "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" which desreves including if only for title (which contains two hyphenated words) but this also fits in with the introductory duo of songs.

This seems an odd way of telling you about an album only metioning the non classic (in my opinion) songs,  we then have another four songs , before a duo that are still good , precursors to the eleven minutes of "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" the albums tour-de-force , and I have finally mentioned one of the must listen to songs.

"Blond on Blonde" is a band album but "Bringin' It All Back Home" is mostly solo acoustic baring the intro of "Subterranean Homesic Blues" , and when I started listening to it I was thinking "How the hell does he remember those words?"

Some of the imagery in the songs is stunning especially in the quartet starting with "Bob Dylans's 115th Dream" which is based surreally on Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" though Ahab becomes A-Rab , but some ear catch lyrics for me are in "The Gates of Eden" although the abum is littered with them:

Of war and peace the truth just twists
Its curfew gull just glides
Upon four-legged forest clouds
The cowboy angel rides
With his candle lit into the sun
Though its glow is waxed in black
All except when 'neath the trees of Eden

The lamppost stands with folded arms
Its iron claws attached
To curbs 'neath holes where babies wail
Though it shadows metal badge
All and all can only fall
With a crashing but meaningless blow
No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden

Absolutely stunning for me and there is lots more where that came from. The most interesting version I could find on Youtubewas a live take with Neil Young , and you cannot complain about Neil Young and Bob Dylan being onstage performing an awesome song.

Friday 23 February 2018

Some Jarre and Scandi-Noir

In my first for years of posting I posted 6 - 42 - 82 - 46 posts annully. This one is my 54th this year so I post a bit more often and write a bit more and hopefully the quality and content have improved a little. You can see the history on the right hand side. I did set up the blog to be a sort of travel diary, but as I don't travel a great deal that was hardly going to be a long term goer.

And so it turned into what it is today a sort of diary with music included, which sometimes fails when Youtube pull the video for whatever reason.

Last night I watched "In Order of Disappearance" by Hans Petter Moland and featuring Stellan Skarsgård. I was think Fargo with touches of Tarantino and nods to classics such as Steven Spielberg's "Duel". I hadn't seen the tag line  "DEATH WISH set in FARGO and BLOODIER" which does sort of some it up. It's full of black humour (it is subtitled for non Nordic speakers) and one toch I love (and this is not giving away the plot) are the black screens with the name and religious / national ikon of the recently despatched.

Today it looks like winter is returning in the form of cold and frost. I've on the downward slop for February's step totally which I surprisingly breezed through. Yesterday I ended up doing 16K steps even though I'd expected to just hit 12K, but having to go out for supplies when I got home (and managing to forget my wallet three times when I was going up) helped me hit that high.

I finally succumbed and listened to Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygene" . I had heard the pedestrian "Part IV" on the radio and when certain people started gushing about how futuristic it was it just turned me off. It seemed a slight improvement on "Magic Fly" by the French Space. The cod SF cover of of the earth being peeled to reveal a skull was another turn off for me, a good idea badly executed. This album was twenty years after the first fully electronic album , the soundtrack to "Forbidden Planet" by Louis and Bebe Barron.

Anyway I added the second album and have just discovered there is a third one to listen too nad must say I was impressed. It is not pedestrian for large parts and the second album carries more of a sonic punch, which has now whetted my appetite for the third album.

It just shows that it's not a good idea to dismiss music on a snippet, though I don't see me litening to Westlife or Steps any time soon.

It's Friday , wrap up and have a good one.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Have A Cuppa Tea (Have Another One)

Although I hadn't particularly planned it I chose Gong's "Angel's Egg (Radio Gnome Invisible Part II)" and, while I knwo it is a great album my Emopeak headphones seem to reveal new sounds and atmospheres. At time the music seems just like it's knocked together or a singalongs in an English pub, French dive or Morrocan Souk. "Flute Salad" reminds of the feel of the Ethiopiques recordings, simple but sophisticated with guitar and flute playing the same motif.

Many of the songs are acoustic while other go into full blown rock and electronics. Two saxophone guitar riff driven standouts are "I Never Glid Before" and "Eat That Phonebook (Coda).

The "Have A Cuppa Tea" comes from a refrain from "Givin My Luv To You" (though it may be something else as the Gong mythology takes in flying teapots and pot head pixies. You can actually buy a flying teapot here. All in all another great Gong album.

When it came out as teeneagers we were  impressed by the music, but were well aware of the sexually explicit drawing that made up the cover. You can see it by clicking through on the link above, This was at the time of Mary Whitehouse but I don't remember any particular furore over it. I remember at some point a sticker being put on the explicit area of the cover and then another version came out with a hastily redesigned cover (which you can see here), but I'm happy to see that the original cover is the norm in shops these day.

This morning is quite warm so will be walking into work, though the Daily Express are forecasting another Ice Age . My steps for February are going well and I need to average 8.5K a day to hit my target for February, so it hasn't been that difficult a month to maintain my steps.

Also quite please that Preston came out of two matches against two of the best teams in the Championship with draws , though dodgy refereeing decisions cost us in both matches.

Anyway I found a live take of "I Never Glid Before" demonstationg the chaotic precision of this amazing band in black and white ofn French Television,

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Scary and Monstrous

I've been listening to David Bowie's "Scary Momsters (and Super Creeps)" over the last few days and remember when I first got it when it came out in 1980 and it followed the Berlin trilogy with vicious guitars, and songs that were like nothing you had heard before (ie normal Bowie territory). This was the last album before he hit commercial paydirt with "Let's Dance" which I've never taken to as an album though I like the title track.

Back to Scary Monsters though, and I'm surprised by the amount of sort of recycling even within the album itself . The opener "It's No Game (Pt 1)" contains an approximation of the riff for the title track and "Teenage Wildlife" bears more than a resemblance to "Heroes" but with extra Bob Fripp incendiuary guitar sprayed throughout the song.

I featured "Ashes To Ashes" on my #LikeNoOther series as I cannot think of any song before it that it even references, the post is here.

I've included a live take of "Teenage Wildlife" a wonderful song but you can hear the resemblance to "Heroes". If you don't have a copy of the album get one now.

Have a brilliant Tuesday everybody.

Monday 19 February 2018

Big Brother

Something happened yesterday, I'm sure it was just coincidence, but it may have been something else. I had been listening to David Bowie's "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" and "Ashes To Ashes" had been playing when I got on the bus, and descided to watch a TED talk about waste in the fashion industry (see the bottom of this post) and it was very illuminating. I finished the talk and resumed listening to the album andit started palying the song "Fashion". Now this follows "Ashes To Ashes" but I cannot be certain that that song had finished. It probably had but I can't help thinking of the phone apps that require access to everything on your phone for no apparent reason.

This is like when you look for something online, then the cookies allow whatever you've been looking for to influence the adverts that appear around the page. You will probably see it on this blog.

Then there are the devices like Alexa and Google Home which have the ability to record everything they hear (in sometimes misinterpreting what they hear). There was the murder case where the authorities asked for recordings to be made available (see here) and think about the implications of that.

The Fiona was telling me how her and a friend were talking about handbagswhen her friend said she was certain that our phones were actively listening to us as later her feed started including what they had been talking about.

While we complain about government and local authority intrusion it seems that we are happily surrendering our privacy to corporate entities that certainly don't have our best interests at heart, the just want our money or preferably to to put us in debt to them to creat a permanent subservience.

The thing is that gives me an idea for a story the opening line of which is "Could We?", which hopefully I will turn into a least a short story if I put my mind to it.

For me the natural accompanying song for this is the menacing "Big Brother" the real closer from David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" . It's a rainy monday but have a good day.

Sunday 18 February 2018

Big Blue Ball

I am quite surprised that I have managed to hit my step target for February. 10K steps a day til the end of the month would see me well past the mark. There have been a few bitingly cold days where I have been forced to take the bus but most days I have passed the 12,250 mark that I set my self.

I picked out a Peter Gabriel collaboration album called Big Blue Ball that he recorded with numerous artists between 1991 and 1995 over three weeks at the Real World Studios and finally mixed and released in 2008.  The Wiki page is here.

I picked it up digitally when I subscribed the Emusic when they had an excellent subscription model. They are still going but their model became too corporate for me but I am glad they are still going.

The album opens with  "Whole Thing" with Peter Gabriel leading the voclals and closes with the title track, taking in middle eastern and celtic resonances on the songs and pieces. I left you with the titles song but they are all on youtube, but if you want to buy the album it's here. Further information is available on the official Real World site here

Below is the story (part one) if you want to investigate further.

Incidentally this post will take my blog post page views over 150K views in the eleven years I have been posting.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Swings and Roundabouts

The saying goes "what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts"  or something like that, though it never made any sense to me. I can possibly apply this to my walking. Some of the time I gained from taking redundancy in my last job is now swallowed up by walking.

So in theory I lose time by walking, although the reality is that when I walk I then can't do other things. I do at times consider using the Mobike bikes but then I think I would probably be quicker walking, and walking does give you the ultimate mobility freedom, but I fancy trying a Mobike, maybe in summer.

The other thing is that I use my phone to record my steps and then enables me to listen to music, so I am revisiting so many albums, and thanks to my Emopeak headphones I am hearing detail that I never noticed before like band banter on live albums.

One album I listened to was La Dusseldorf the eponymous debut album by Klaus Dinger's band that he formed after Neu! split around 1975. It features a lot of motorik beats (similar to Neu!) but is more commercial and less industrial. There is a Wiki page here.

I'm going to share the whole album with you so you can experience it , but you can but their stuff as well. Anyway I am tired now so time for bed. Sleep well.

Thursday 15 February 2018


Yesterday was the first time this month I've done less than 10K steps (8.5K) and the simple reason for that was that the wind was so cold it felt like it was burning my face off. So I wimped out and jumped on a bus. It puzzles me how extreme cold effectively feels like extreme concentrated heat, it burns and it hurts. Yes you can put up with it but you do feel as though damage is going to be done to you, so in situations like that I always go for the definitely safer options. So yesterday I was definitely beaten by the weather.

Weatherbeaten sounds like an English Thousand Yard Stare title , they have a habit of running two words together, examples being "Wideshire", "Halfsize", "Comeuppance" and "Halfsize". So the y are the obvious choice for todays post and we will go with "Comeuppance".

There is quite a lot of their stuff available on Youtube and they were giving away their back catalogue digitally recently. I did a slideshow for "God's P45" which I've also included below , although I got a recent copyright notice for it, but that's Youtube for you.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Pancake Valentine

After Pancake Tuesday we now have Valentine's day which is just another commercial opportunity. Again it's a traditional thing where people exchange gifys and tokens. I was under the impression that Valentine cards were sent by secret admirers so you didn't know who the card or gift was from but greetings like "To Girlfriend / Boyfriend / Husband / Wife etc" sort of take the secret and mystery out of it and a Tesco £3 red rose hardly shows a great deal of thought.

I've always wondered who certain shops were targetting as they advertise their "cheap perfume from £1" or the like.  If the main criteria for buying a present is that it has to be cheap then I would be looking and making something or doing something that was free. This is not getting at people who can't afford things (and everybody should be able to afford things but Western Society is now built on keeping people poor so they can be sold credit and kept under the thumb by corporations on starvation wages), but less of my political ranting.

Here is the Wikipedia take on it and the first thing I think of on Valentine's Day is the "St Valentine's Day Massacre" EP by HeadGirl (Motorhead / Girlschool) named after the notorious event in Chicago in 1929 (you know the date) , so on the cold cold morning it has to be their cover of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates "Please Don't Touch".

Have a rather good day everyone and wrap up well.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Surprise Surprise

I often wander into to record shops and sometimes drop into HMV. It has improved since it went belly up but still seems to be selling to disparate a swathe of goods, but on Sunday I noticed a Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie album. It was a ridiculous £5.99 and so I bought it, knowing that the genius of Buckingham would guarantee some essential listening and while McVie is not part of my essential canon , this comprised a mjor part of the talent that was Fleetwood Mac.

I put it on and the first two songs are Buckingham killers. I've not looked at the songwriting chedits so correct me if I'm wrong but "Sleeping Round The Corner" has a to-die-for chorus, the songs like "Feel About You" and "Red Sun" confirmed that this indeed is an essential purchase, and they both still have it.

I'd said I was going to load some French music to listen to on my walks and one of those was "Camembert Electrique" by Gong , led by Daevid Allen an Australian ex-pat living in France along with Dider Malherbe (Bloomdido Bad-de-Gras), Gilli Smyth (Bambaloni Yoni) , Steve Hillage (Stevie Hillside Village) , Tim Blake and others. I bought it as a Virgin Reissue for 49p in my teens and loved it. Sometimes when you revisit albums from your youth they sometimes don't live up to the memories.

This sorted exploded in my head , a little introductory silliness before the killer riff of  "You Can't Kill Me"  the whole album lets the music melt into each other with spacey glissando guitars and incredibly complex tunes that grab your attention. "Mr Longshanks" seems like a silly throwaway but ther is major playing going on in that, then "Dynamite" and Celine" are enjoyable if challenging and laid back piences. "And You Tried So Hard" is another stand out.

Both these albums have taken a lot of my time ofver the past couple of days and they are both worth spending some time on.

I'll include a song from each one for you to enjoy.

Sleep well.

If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day

I've just noticed it's Pancake Day so what other record could I have as the lead than "If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day"  by Half Man Half Biscuit.  It is one of my many favourites of their songs from the excellent "Cammell Laird Social Club" album and obviously very appropriate.

I've never been a fan of pancakes, always a bit bland for me like butternut squash. You can use them for bulking things out but you always have to add something.

I'm glad to see that the cars aren't frozen up this morning so the walk into work should not be as cold as it has been.

Actually after the last post, I wanted to to mention another album I listened to yestereday, "Apocalypse Girl" by Jenny Hval. The album is as disturbing as the cover (click through on the title to see) and at times very explicit.  When I started I was thinking this is just talking over noise, but the more you listen, the more you grow into it, so on the second listen the noise that was "Kingsize" becomes the song or piece that is "Kingsize".

Soundwise this is a less accented Bjork but possibly more challenging. By the time I had listened to the album I had been won over so I will be exploring more of Jenny Hval. She is someone to be approached with an open mind but definitely rewarding.

OK now time to get off to work, and no pancakes for me today.

Monday 12 February 2018

It's An Education

This is just a short piece about Public Service Broadcasting. Basically they take archive material and provide a sonic backdrop, and I still don't know how J. Willgoose, Esq. manages all the buttons and instruments to play live and trigger the sound bites.  I have to take their biography and mission statement from their website as they can put it far more eruditely that I ever could

Public Service Broadcasting is the corduroy-clad brainchild of London-based J. Willgoose, Esq. who, along with drumming companion Wrigglesworth and multi instrumentalist JFAbraham, is on a quest to inform, educate and entertain audiences around the globe.

PSB’s uniquely spell-binding live AV transmissions see them weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics as they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future – beaming our past back at us through vintage tv sets and state of the art modern video projection devices.

On Public Service Broadcasting's new album Every Valley, J. Willgoose, Esq. takes us on a journey down the mineshafts of the South Wales valleys, with the stories found there a black mirror to the plight of workers everywhere. Although Every Valley is the story of one industry in a region and time far from ours, the tales of a disenfranchised working class in this age of turmoil could not be more relevant.

Although the concept is localized and historical, J. Willgoose, Esq hopes the story is "applicable to industries all over the western world and possibly beyond, in the way that the Industrial Revolution generated these communities that were so dependent on one particular industry, and what happens to that community when you remove that industry from it, and where that leaves us now"

Today I listened tp "Every Valley" for the first time , even though I have had it for six months and you have read what it contains.

My first taste of Public Service Broadcasting was "ROYGBIV" an acronym for the colurs on the TV spectrum then that was followed by the atmosphere of "The War Room" a precursor to their debut album.

The thing is every time you listen to a Public Service Broadcasting record you learn something, and there are very few bands you can say that about. You won't be singing along to their songs but you can dance and your mind will definely be stimulated.

Their second album "The Race For Space" was more subject focussed as was "Every Valley" . Even singles such as "Everest" will teach you new facts while give you aural stimulation.

They are also probably THE live band to see at the present time, and I have seen them thrice.

So I leave you with "They Gave Me A Lamp" from "Every Valley" , a wonderful atmospheric piece with some telling sentiments. Enjoy.

Bitey - We Are Here To Drink Your Beer!!

That was a word Chris Hawkins used to described the cold this morning. The laminate kitchen floor was so cold that I had to put slippers on.  Outside the cars are frozen up and I am considering walking into work today. The sky is clear so it will be interesting to see the sunrise this morning. The roads are clear and on Saturday they were frosted up , and we did have snow flurries during  Sunday night.

Yesterday I was walking past the Westgate Ark Charity shop on Two Ball Lonnen I had noticed they now have cats in the window, and couldn't resist taking an instagram video that you can see here. A lot of people seem to like it and it is cute as hell.

I'm currently clearing recordings frome my TIVO box in anticipation of taking delivery of a V6 box, although as Yodel are delivering it I haven't a clue when I will get it, but rumours have it that it's an improvement on the TIVO box.

Anyway I'm sort of prepared for the bitey weather out there, though luckily I have the option of catching a bus if it really does get too cold.

I wimped out from seeing Alestorm last night but I'll include their video for "Drink" for you to enjoy as I get wrapped up and ready to continue my walking into work to deal with whatever awauts me when I get there. The Alestorm video will definitely wake you up.

I know it's Monday, but be positive and have a great start to the week.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Short Circuits

We had a little snow last night and it has been cold today and though it's been a bit of a forced march I managed to do 15K steps today so that's getting back on the road so to speak.

I am really tempted to do a post of maybe ten words, in fact I saw a blog where the person was posting thousands of posts a year (I have done 1500 in ten years) but when I looked each of the posts just seemed to be links, and that was it, no explanation just a link, and thousands of them. Unfortunately I didn't take a copy of the URL so I can't share it with your.

I think most blogs are a form of diary, though mine tends to morph depending on what I'm doing ate the time. Obviously the walking has become fairly important to me and obviously music and books will always be a big part.

Film and TV also are in my ballpark as is Football (real Football not the American Handball game).

This blog is meant to give me inspiration for a book or a novel and my book ended up with 10K words and in a dead end, so I am still hoping inspiration and ideas will come. My friends do help me and inspire me, but this is the only body of written work that I have produced for public consumption.

I said the Jean-Michel Jarre that I had been listening to had encouraged me to listen to mor European music but today was a tiny dip with Steve Hillage's second solo album "L" which featuring a lot a great guitar nodling and thumping covers of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and George Harrison's "It's All Too Much" which appeared on the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack album. One of my favourite moments is when "Hurdy Gurdy Glissando" strays into the monster Maurice Jarre "Lawrence of Arabia" riff , absolutely wonderful, as well as the introduction of Don Cherry to embellish the "Lunar Musick Suite" with his jazz phrasings.

I found a live take of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" for you to enjoy, but the album is definitely worth a visit. Sleep well my friends.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Rumours of ...

Apparently there are rumours that tomorrow there will be snow. It's raining at the moment and if it gets colder the precipitation may very possibly turn to snow.

I've just found a silver polishing cloth under my computer desk, I haven't a clue if it's mine or Fiona's or something the cleaners from APM have dropped.

Today has been relativelty relaxed and I've only done a little walking but still hit 10.5K steps. I didn't get to town but just walked doing food shopping at Aldi.

I phoned Virgin about the delivery of the new V6 box and got a complete arsey person who told me I'd have to wait in all day Monday after being told it would be delivered between eight and nine in the morning. I put the phone down , knowing I was beaten by the idiot on the other end of the phone who kept repeating the same thing over and over again, but I also know these people actually are told to stick to scripts, so I blame Virgin management, another example of Richard Branson's complete disdan for the public.

This maybe should be on my And Annoyingly blog but I usually try to be positive, there is so much negativity in the world and I don't want any part of it.

So what could be more uplifting than The Addams Family dancing to The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop". Enjoy this, keep warm and dry, and sleep well.


It was freezing this morning but the frost now seems to be fading. For the first time in ages I've had porridge for breakfast and thaks to the new set of pans I picked up forom Morrisons it's just a quick wipe clean.

I've found that listening to instrumental music can be quite good and have been listening to Jean-Michel Jarre's "Aero" which was an experiment in surround sound, and it does sound good on headphones. This is the blurb from the album description on Amazon:

"Aero is Jean Michel Jarre's first experiment in surround sound as well as being the most respectable "best of" album in 13 years. The album features reworked versions of his golden oldies and three new pieces. The result of the new orchestration is a modern-sounding remix album, rather than a definitive greatest hits.

The album was designed and recorded in multi channel surround-sound and is therefore presented on both a CD and DVD in the same package (including Dolby Digital and DTS tracks allowing playback on a standard DVD video player in 5.1 surround sound). Sound quality is top notch as you'd expect although sometimes the transitional pieces between tracks overdo the surround effects for the sake of demonstrating the technology.

The music itself, as a collection of greatest hits tracks, is a surprising choice, presumably designed for the best 5.1 surround sound. There's no "Revolutions", "Chronologie 4", "Ethnicolor", "Calypso", "Oxygene 8" or "Hey Gagarin", for instance. We are treated to fresh, excellent reworkings of classics: "Oxygene 2", "Equinoxe 3" and "Last Rendez-vous". Aging tracks such as "Oxygene 4", "Chronologie 6", and "Rendez-vous 4" have all been brought up to date. The three new tracks recall Robert Miles and Orbital. They're good but there's a feeling they were left over from previous projects. There are too many synth presets sounding too clinical and lacklustre compared to the high standard of sounds used in Jarre's other studio albums. Moreover, there are finer unreleased tracks that could have been included.

Also included on the DVD is a visual track. A close-up of the actress Anne Parillaud's (Nikita) eyes while she listens to the music for the full 73 minutes in one take is typical of Jarre's subtle, minimalist and "non-MTV" visual style. Aero will appeal to those wanting to test their home cinema equipment and those seeking some of the greatest hits of France's electronica wizard. --Colin Neal"

The last few days I've cut down on the walking but still hit over 10K a day so I'm still on track to hit my target for February. Today I will be going for a couple of walks before dealing with Virgin who've given me an upgrade for a reduction in costs, but have been a little economical with the truth. It's a situation where you have to go with it because you are actually better off with it even though it comes with certain inconveniences like not being able to keep your recordings, but if I haven't watched them in six months then maybe I am not losing out.

I've included "Oxygène II"from Aero which sounds excellent on a decent sound system, and it's just playing on my soundbar now, and I hope I haven't disturbed my neighbours Ray and Michelle with the noise.

Have a brilliant Saturday my friends.


Friday 9 February 2018

Are You Experienced?

This is the post I was going to write on Wednesday night. A week or so ago, for the first time I listened to "Electric Ladyland" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience for the first time as rambled on here.

On Monday afternoon I was in the tyeside Bar and Cafe and notice a young student guy (rough estimat 14-17) , with vinyl from HMV.  I wondered what it was fearing it my be the new Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith, but when he pulled it out it was "Axis:Bold As Love" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. I wanted to congratulate him on his choice of music but thought better of it as it might be for an elderly relative and he might have been an Ed Sheeran or X-Factor fan. The cover of Axis is so striking with it's band as part of an Asian God image.

This then prompted me to revisit "Are You Experienced" and "Axis: Bold As Love" to listen to on my walks. The first album is better but my copy is augmented with singles and "B" sides but I just regard that as desserts after the banquet, as it contains a lot of classics. My friend Harry Clark reckoned that "Third Stone From The Sun" ripped off the "Coronation Street" theme, though Cozy Powell ripped off the Hendrix riff for his hit single "Dance With The Devil". "May This Be Love" is a total beauty with some brilliant speaker panning by the guitar and drums, and the album opens with "Foxy Lady". "Red House" is great blues and is sort of echoed by "House Burning Down" from "Electric Ladyland"

"Axis:Bold As Love" is not as good but still a wonderful album with the amazing anti-establishment anthem "If 6 Was 9" which was used in the film "Easy Rider", "Castles Made Of Sand" and "Little Wing" are two more nailed on classics, and basically if you don't have all the albums I've mentioned in your collection in one form or another , you need to rectify this immediately.

Hendrix studio recordings aren't readily available on Youtube but there are many covers so I've chosen The Pretenders take on "May This Be Love" from their 1990 album "Packed". It's Friday, it's raining , have a great day.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Value For Money

I've just been out to replenish the milk and still ended up buying 2 litres instead of my intended 1 litre. This is because there is only an 11p difference between the bottles, so even if I don't use it all before it goes sour I've probably got more for my money. Tesco sell four packs of Mars Bars and Kit-Kats for a pound, yest single bars are around 80p, so people will spend the extra 20p to get three more bars and a lot of people will end up eating four instead of one, and while it doesn't affect everyone in this way there is obviously some agenda just to keep the population obese. Sorry to whinge about this on a Thursday morning , but due to a ten year virtual wage freeze for most of the country people have to make savings and tighten their belts while corporations and many politicians wallow in ever growing sees of money.

Two guys at the bus stop were talking about bets on the Tottenham vs Newport match last night, expecting a Swansea vs Notts County avalanche. I thought it would either happen or be about 2-0. It was the latter but I didn't actually put a bet on it.

Still I suppose that would be an excuse to replay "Newport State of Mind" but you can check this post from 2015 which has the video ny Alex Warren and Terema Wainwright which annoyed Jay Zed and Alicia Keys but instead I 'll include something else, and thinking about value for money makes me think of the Star Spangled Chestwigs take on Ottowan's "D.I.S.C.O." except as the the Chestwigs you know it's "S.H.I.T.E." but they do mention Iceland . Have a brilliant Thursday everybody.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Nine 'til Five

I know that is most people's working days (well it used to be) but that was my sleep time last night. I was feeling absolutely wrecked. Just did a normal day, came home just put a Ham and Pineapple Pizza in the oven, had that about seven cos I was fasting from eight due to a hospital appointment this morning. Then at nine after two episodes of Mr Robot I was ready to drop, I haven't a clue why.

Yesterday was nice to see the snow, but it was coming down when I was in my sixth floor office so I didn't have to experience the cold , wet and slippiness and by the time I finished it was just cold and dark.

I was going to write a post last night but this isn't it , this is a different one. I also have fragments of a weird dream which involved me being in the centre of Newcastle , going down a brick walkway and being almost too fat to get out of the weirdly shapes other end, being near the Monkey Bar, watching a large aircraft taking off from Gatehead Airport carring a large anchor  to hold down large inflatables in the river Tyne. Just an average day in my head then.

This morning I got up made tea and decaf coffee only to find the milk was turning, so remade using almond milk which is acceptable. I think I am going to have to change my milk buying habits , smaller bottles in future.

Last week I listened to my two favourite Jean-Michel Jarre albums, "Equinoxe"  and "Zoolook". His dad was Maurice Jarre who did some brilliant soundtracks such as "Dr Zhivago", "Ghost" and my favourite "Lawrence of Arabia" . I found Jean-Michel's first album "Oxygene" twee and boring with a rubbish pretentious cover, my attitude has mellowed since it first came out but to me it's a first try, but "Equinoxe" was several steps up the ladder. "Zoolook" used some groundbreaking sound techniques to enhance the listening experience especially on headphones.

So I'll share Christopher Walken dancing to "Diva" from "Zoolook". Have a good Wednesday.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Back To Reality

Have a break, especially in Whitby , is brilliant. In insulates from stuff that you have to do, although I was sure that I wouldn't keep up my 12K a day steps that I need to do to hit 340K in February (only 28 days this month), but I did that and more, hitting 18K on Sunday, but I knew yesterday would cause a dip, as it was going to be up, then driving back.

Luckily I took a full day off so that enabled me to do 15K steps yesterday, so there's not too much pressure for the rest of the month. The weather is possibly going to be cold, so that may affect my walking if if we also get rain and strong winds. Rain without wind means you can use an umbrella, wind without rain is just a question of wrapping up.

I came home to find my TIVO box had gone from 60% to 80% full in four days, slightly surprising on one way, but when you think a film can (with adverts) clock in at three and a half hours, and I recorded a few films, maybe it's not that surprising.

After listening and being impressed by Jem's "Down To Earth", her second album, yesterday on my walks I played her debut album "Finally Woken" which opens with the song that got me into her "They" whith it's sampled vocal motif played on a Fairlight or something and sounding like it's been lifted from one of the BBC favourite vocal groups that would guest on Sunday programs like the Swingle Singers orthe like. "They " is brilliant and is worth buying the album for that song alone. While the rest of the album is not earth shattering it is still well worth investigating with some songs that will stay with you.

I'll leave you with "They" and get wrapped up for the walk to work. Have a good Tuesday my friends, this is the start of my four day work week.

Monday 5 February 2018


So had a brilliant weekend in Whitby including two meals at The Magpie Cafe and a walk up to and around Whitby Abbey as well as three brilliant breakfast provided by Matt and Craig at Dillons of Whitby (named after the previous owners dog , theirg current dog is called Florence).

I saw seagulls tap dancing (well that's what it looked like to me) though they were tricking morms into coming to the surface , because worms think tap dancing seagulls sound like rain. Still looked so comical to me. Also a night thousads of seagulls were just parked on the river, but I couldn't get a picture (like I couldn't film the tap dancing ones either).

As we were leaving Whitby the snow started coming down and stayed with us along the A171 but there's been little sign of it in Newcastle, although it's very cold.

The title of the post is because the take away pizza box had a type font that made PIZZA look like P133A adn that's the only reason, things like that do catch my eye.

I've been listening to various albums while surprisingly getting throught a lot of steps (75K in the first five days of February), but unfortuantely missed the "Lux Lives"  Cramps tribute at The Cluny on Sunday featuring my friend Jon Lee as Poison Ivy, so I will leave you with Poison Ivy's rendition of Duane Eddy's "Peter Gunn Theme" (Crampified).

Sleep well and keep warm.

Friday 2 February 2018


Last night I went to see Reginald D. Hunter and he told the sad story of Harper Lee. Her first novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" was an instant classic, which but incredible pressure on her to follow it up. How do you top an instant classic? She loast friends especially in the literary world because she was being set up to fail. She tried to write but nothing would pass her own criteria, how could it? Check out this Guardian article and decide for yourself, even better go and look for more information yourself. I personally won't be buying a copy of "Go Set A Watchman". This paragraph is completely based on what Reginal D Hunter told us at The Stand last night.

Today I'm driving to Whitby for a weekend staying at Dillons rather than La Rosa , love both of them though. I'll be stopping at the OK Diner maybe going and coming back due to their excellent service and food.

Yesterday was my first day of February walking, and I need to average over 12K steps a day, which I thought might be a problem but I've started off OK hitting 14K yesterday even though it was very very cold. Today may be different though it's ten past seven and still dark. I've not looked outside to see if cars are frosted up but I will find out soon.

Yesterday I was listening to the second album by Jem "Down To Earth" and was struck by several song and the last one "On Top Of The World" has such a beautiful chorus that I have to share it with you. Have a brilliant day.

Thursday 1 February 2018


I've vaguely wondered why February is so short. We have seven 31 day month , four 30 day months and February which has 28 days (29 in Leap Years). Surely we could have five 31 day months and seven 30 day months (February hitting 21 in a Leap Year). I was thinking maybe it's a sort of apology because people tend to be paid earlier in December and then Janauray seems an awfully long month although you don't get the small benefit of the four week February until March. Basically The Romans were to blame (what did they ever do for us?) and originally Februay was the last month of the year, but with various calendrical reorganizations January became the first month of the year (which is odd because the God Janus had a face at the front and back of his head so he could look backwards and forwards so you would expect that to be the first or last month of the year). Anyway here's some links about February:

Why it is short

I recently found some John Niven books I was unaware of "Coma", "Old School:Roman" and "Enfant Terrible". "Old School:Roman" dropped through my letter box and I unwrapped it and looked inside and thought my eyes were not reading properly then realised it was a German edition. I checked the orlder (which had been desptched from Germany and the language is listed as German. C'est La Vie I thought, I'll find the English copy but every copy I found was German. John Niven is Scottish. I checked "Coma" - German. "Enfant Terrible" - French.  It turns out these are retitled versions of existing novels, "Coma" is "The Amateurs", "Old School:Roman" is "The Sunshine Cruise Company", "Enfant Terrible" is "Straight White Male". While "Enfant Terrible" is French it has found it;s way into the English language, but why have the German translations got English titles apart from to maybe catch people out.  Luckily I have German friends so it can find a good home but if I were German if I saw an English title I wouldn;t expect it to be a German language book.

Anyway the last of the bands that have covered "Happy" by The Rolling Stones and I'm going for Spirit's "Animal Zoo" from "The Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus" and classic album from Spirit in their first incarnation.

Enjoy the first day of February 2018, the last time it will ever happen my friends.