Saturday 31 March 2018

March Final

It's after ten and this is my last post for March 2018. The weather has been miserable and I couldn't do that much walking although I hit my target for March.

I'm fifty page from completing "The Catcher In The Rye" by JD Salinger an have decided it is worth the effort of completing it, but it's a bit like cleaning gutters or unblocking a drain. It's not pleasant but has to be done. The protagonist is not pleasant. If he were in the UK today he would read the Daily Mail and vote Tory without being articulate eno0ugh to give a reason why. He always finds a reason to despise people especially if they are not well off. He himself is provided for by well to do parents that he is still, for want of a better word, a git. This book makes you think of how to deal with annoyances like Holden Caulfield, a privileged nobody who believes the world owes him whatever he wants. I haven't finished the book so I may be completely wrong in my evaluation, but if you take this book on don't expect to feel better after reading it.

Yesterd I took deliver of "Suffice To Say: The Complete Yachts Collection" on Cherry Red Records  masterminded by Henry Priestman the music behing The Christians. I've moaned that The Yachts had never appeared in digital format apart from the odd track on compilations, but now that has been rectified and I ordered it from the excellent Action Records in Preston, and it really is an excellent set.

It's funny that I was thinking twent quid for three CDs is expensive but it really isn't. In 1975 (I think) I was on the dole and my JSA was £3.25 a week (it was subsidised by undeclared lump work so I could actually live) . Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" came out  and was priced at £3.25. So if albums had kept in line with JSA we'd be paying £80 for an album.

So I will leave you with "Yachting Types" and you can buy the albums mentioned below.

Friday 30 March 2018

To Infinity and Beyond


Today is Good Friday and it was a pleasantly good Friday (apart from Preston getting trashed 4-1 by Sheffield Wednesday) but wandering around the Clayton Street / West Road Intersection I noticed what looked like a Vinyl display in what was Blue Moon. I wasn't mistaken, and it turnes out there is a new vinyl emporium in town called Beyond Vinyl.

Essentially it's a Vinyl shop which will do coffee , cake and paninis and will have a performance space as well, plud of course a lot of class vinyl.

I spoke with the guys in there and touched on the laser etched holograms on the Star Wars soundtrack (which you can see here) and they told me the first laser etched hologram was on a White Stripes album.


Actually it was Jack White's "Lazaretto" and you can see the Angel hologram here but it still bends my mind to think how you could possibly even think about putting that into play let alone actually doing it. Added to that the vinyl album has some weird hidden tracks built in that play at 33rpm , 45 rpm and 78 rpm, but even though I have ordered a copy it's just for the hologram as I alread have the CD of the album. You can see the effect here.


Beyond Vinyl is a new brilliant space for music in Newcastle as well as meeting up . It is similar in concept to the absolutely excellent Long Play Cafe in The Grainger Market (and Quayside) and Pop Recs in Sunderland and I am looking forward to dropping in quite a lot as it is round the corned from where I work and close to Kazbat's Den if you fancy extending your wardrobe.

I've found an excellent live take of "Just One Drink" from "Lazaretto"  to share with you as you read. Sleep well.

Thursday 29 March 2018

Catcher Not Caught


A couple of days ago I started reading "The Catcher In The Rye" by JD Salinger and while I know virtually everybody else has read it, and it gets four and a half stars on Amazon, the only thing I like about it so far is the cover. Published in 1945 therefore of it's time the writing is vaguely film-noir  and the protagonist is just annoying. A friend of mine told me not to bother, which made me slightly more determined to read it and now I'm half way through it. I had the impression it was about a kid skipping school, but it's an older student being expelled (again) and ping ponging between being an annoyance and pretending to be an adult.

Today there ice on cars and rooves and there's fog as well so the walk into work may be a little chilly.

It's the day before the Easter weekend so I now have a four day weekend, I could definitely do that permanently.

Anyway for some reason the video for John Fogerty's "The Old Man Down The Road" from "Centrefield"  came into my head because of the incredibly long guitar lead that runs through. It's an unusual way of linking a lot of disparate scenes of American.

So enjoy your Thursday and make sure you have all your Easter Eggs.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Keep on Moving


It's Wednesday and I'm feeling better but not 100%. As for many things the solution is "Keep On Moving" , keep active , keep doing things. I said this in my first post of the week and that caused my friend Julie to get "Keep On Movin'" by Soul II Soul as an earworm. That's not a bad thing as it is a great song.

The last two days I've used the bus to get in to work but today I will be walking and have another album loaded to listen to on walk in which I will write about soon.

The song I've chosen is Bob Marley's "Keep On Moving", a pre Island song but it does appear on the deluxe version of "Exodus"  as well as any number of buget compilations. I first remember coming across the song on UB40's first "Labour of Love" album and they do a cracking version too, but it is a great song.

Anyway time to get off to work and to KEEP ON MOVING. Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

There's A Mean Eyed Cat ...


.. so Bill Haley says, but really we have a great Mean Eyed Cat in Newcastle, and I visited it today. I was not feeling physically too good but thought a walk would do me good so went along to St Thomas' St and entered.

The place improved my mood immediately, garage band and rock and roll decor with CoyoteMen memorabilia photos of Johnny Cash and a big Cramps sign over the bar with Dave Campbell playing Mein Host and we chatted on with another couple of guys while I had a Diet Coke and we talked vinyl and rock and roll and the failures of the music industry. You can see a short video I took of the place here.

We were talking about the first picture discs which both Dave and I though was Curverd Air's "Air Conditioning" which you can see here but it was predated by a German Elektra compilation called "Hallucinations Psychedelic Underground" which features The Doors, MC5 and others and you can see here. I sourced both of them from Discogs.

SoThe Detroit Cobras were on the sound syste so I'll leave you with "Cha Cha Twist", but if you want a new slightly different pub  with a great atmosphere, great people , and great music get yourself down there and enjoy it.

I will be back.


Discomfort


I'm currently dealing with (for me coz I'm soft) a fair amount of discomfort ,my lower back hurts after sitting too long so walking and moving is the natural solution to that, but as I am sitting on my comfy chair at home writing this , my lower back is definitely not feeling great.

Also my left hand oddly pains me when I grip anything hard , or say push a door. Again if the hand is immobile for any length of time it does become painful, and is again rectified by movement and use, so that is an excuse to play guitar or piano more, you can always take a positive spin on anything,

This is the reason I haven't wrote and posted over the last couple of days, although my readers have dropped significantly so not many people will have noticed  ☺☺.

I've finally managed to stop listening to The Hawklords "25 Years On"  on my walking, though I do love the album so I think I will share the excellent "Psi Power" with you, which is the opening track from the album.

Enjoy your rainy Tuesday.



Saturday 24 March 2018

The Audacity of Psi Power


I finished "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets" by Simon Singh and now I am embarking on "The Catcher In The Rye" by JD Salinger, which is one of those books that everyone has read apart from me, I'll let you know how it goes.

Today I also managed my first multi track recording using Audacity and managing to deal with teh Windows Latency issue. It involved a little lateral thinking and switching off the sound pass through for the recorded track in Audacity. This basically means letting the recorded tracks play through the computer sound system while listening to the track being recorded through the U-Phoria box which feeds into Audacity via the USB connection. This means I can actually start building songs on my computer, they won't be sophisticated but will end up on Soundcloud here.

Over the last few days an odd thing has happened with my listening, normally I listen to album once or twice at the most but I have had an album on repeat and have listened to it four or five times so far. When I first put on I though the production was a bit lacklustre but the songs were more than listenable. Each song was excellent and slightly influenced by the punk ethic at the time. The album is the debut by the Hawkwind alter ego band Hawklords, and almost every song has a two word chorus refrain., the album is "25 Years On"  and clocks in at just over half an hour.

It opens with "Psi Power" (using the title as the catchy refrain) segueing into "Free Fall" with a slight lull for the short "Automaton" before hitting the title track. "Flying Doctor" is great an it's refrain is "Cabinet Key" and that's the song I will share with you.

The fact that I only gave it a cursory listen when it first came out but now I feel I know all the songs intimately shows just how good it actually is. Definitely another on ethat every one should have.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Millions


Last May I started on a challenge to walk a million steps in three months. I took it up, did it, listeened and rediscovered a lot of my music collection, discovered lots of new places to walk, reduced my insulin intake, lost a little weight and now I'm six weeks away from doing this for a year.

After the initial three month challenge I decided to do 340K steps a month so I would do a rolling million every three months. I though February would be a problem, it wasn't and March started badly with the ice and snow but I am way ahead of my target for the month, with only April to do, and then I'll start again.

It's not actually a huge challenge , less than two hours walking a day does the job and it keeps you a little bit fitter.

I have seen some great sights I didn't know were there including walking bit''s of Hadrian's Wall and areas of Arthur's Hill where they are residential but you can walk a long way without encountering a road.

I was going to go with Spacehog's "Millions" but it isn't on Youtube (I may put a slideshow together) so intead I will treat you to "Tiny Steps" by Elvis Costello. Sleep well my friends.

Turns out the Spacehog song is called "Millions" at all but "Zeroes " and the is one called "To Be A Millionaire", so another example of my memory messing with my memories.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Na Pyg Chi Pig


Not Chi Pig
When I walk up a certaing road I see a car on a drive and the registration plate reads NA62 PYG. I have been convinced this was the name of a band that John Peel played and featured on the Stiff compilation "The Akron Complication". though Amazon list it as "The Akron Compilation".

This is one of a clutch of Stiff release that , to my knowledge, have never been released digitally. The album also features a scratch and sniff cover that releases the smell of rubber when you scratch it.

It turns out the band was not Na Pig (or Na Pyg), it was Chi Pig, and when The Bok went sign up with Rabid Records they raved about this album and played it a couple of times as we plotted world domination (which by the way never happened). The album featured some great. bands and is worth tracking down if you have any interest in music .

It shows how your memory can be fooled when an image supercedes the actuall reality, well certainly mine can be.

Anyway Chi Pig have a lot of great stuff on youtube here and "Miami" seems a wonderful album. This is a band I am discovering forty years after the event. "Dismal Dismissal" is playing as I finish this, but definitely a band worth investigating, but again not served well digitally just three songs on Amazon here.

The thing is there is more music in the world that we can think of listening to in our lives, and there is always something new (or old) to discover.

Right I'm going to make my tea now.

Complete Demotivation


On Monday, after a great weekend I really couldn't motivate myself to do anything. I don't know if it was the overcast weather and the fact that the footpaths were iced up, but I couldn't even be bothered to walk very far and so caught the bus home and into work (not in that order obviously).

Work is fairly pressured but it's the work that is causing the pressure and normally that is a great motivatorm but not on Monday. Of course the other factor was that it was Monday and combine that with potential SAD then you have a fairly toxic situation. I got home and couldn't be bothered cooking or even getting a takeaway so made a tomato sandwich, swithced on the TV feeling really drained and tired, watched fifteen minutes of The Simpsons then went to bed .... and slept all teh way through to six o' clock Tuesday morning.

The weather is still grey skies and not great but after a busy day yesterday dealing with some exasperating people I have come up with a solution to part of a project at work which I expect to get completed today.

The thing is that how I felt on Monday must be a small part of how people suffering from Depression feel all the  time magnified God knows how many times with lots of additional dark feelings. I am lucky, on Monday I knew that I would feel better soon. If you suffer from Depression you do not have that luxury.

Anyway it is now Wednesday and yesterday I was listening to "Ritual De Lo Habitual" by Jane's Addiction and thought it was a time to listen to a different band, which contains among others the brilliant "Been Caught Stealin'".

I decided to choose Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" which was co composed with Scottish eccentric avant garde composer Ron Geesin. It features some amazing melodic brass, and this giveds me an excuse to share this wonderful live cover at Théâtre du Chatelet somewhere in France. I'm not certain but I think Ron Geesin is on keyboards on this. It is is nearly half an hour and is and uplifting and exhilarating piece and maybe contributed to my good mood yesterday.

It is Wednesday  so enjoy yourself everyone.

Monday 19 March 2018

The Falkirk Wheel and Stuff


This morning I was sort of woken by a metallic clattering coming from the next room. It was a clothes hanger that had fallen off a radiator and just managed to hit the radiator as it fell to the floor. The problem is that the hangers are almost exactly the same with as my drying radiators and a tiny deviation either way causes them to fall off. This quite often happens when I'm adding clothes to the hangers but I have never ever done anything to rectify it, but this is the first tiime that it's actually happened when I haven't been in the room.

Gardens and footpaths are still white with snow and ice and no doubt it will be very cold out so I can see myself taking the bus into work.

Had a great weekend with friends in Edinburgh , though Matt and Lesley's plane was delayed for several hours but they got home and despite Nick's warnings we tried the impressive looking Café Noir, but the service was frosty and the insistence of serving coffee, tea and "hot" chocolate at 50ºC, ie lukewarm so we decided to rechristen it Café Noir.

Saturday was spent with a first visit to The Kelpies and the amazing and simply brilliant feat of engineering and design genius that is the Falkirk Wheel. My instagram photos are here but you can click on the links to visit the relative sites and you can see the Falkirk Wheel in action below. I had heard of it but really didn't know what it was. Now I do. One of Nick's books is about Scottish canals so we got him to pose with one of his books that was on sale (which Fiona bought and got signed of course) but you can see all his books on Amazon here.

As it's Monday morning I thought Stakka Bo's "Here We Go" is fairly appropriate. It was also one of my girls' favourites in the nineties and is still an excellent record.

So go on wrap up and enjoy your Monday.

Friday 16 March 2018

Weather Warning


It's cold and wet this morning and there is a YELLOW  SNOW warning!! That was so well named, but it's the weekend so if you are really lucky you don't have to get up at all, you can stay in bed all day, if you want.

I am off to Edinburgh so I'm not even doing a full day today, though that means I need to fit a days work into half a day before I finish today, but this afternoon I will be on a train watching TED talks for an hour or so before hitting Edinburgh Waverley.

There can only be one song can't there? Frank Zappa's "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow". Have a great weekend people.

Thursday 15 March 2018

Surreal Kilo


"Q:Why do Computer Scientists get Halloween and Christmas mixed up?
  A: Because OCT:31 = DEC:25"

I had to think a few seconds about that one then it made me smile. Another Mathematical Guffaw from Simon Singh in "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets" a book I contue to enjoy so much I've ordered a couple more of his books, although I am intending to enjoy some more fiction in between servings of Simon Singh.

Today has been bitterly cold, walking down the West Road the wind almost took my face off, a couple of times I had to shelter and contemplated finishing my journey by getting the bus, but I perservered, and walked in.

Work has continued to be challenging but I am on top of things though prefer actually doing things rather than ticking boxes to say that I've done things, and finding that in IT still a remarkable number of people work manually rather than using the numerous tools at their disposal.

I'm looking forward to a weekend in Edinburgh, one of a few coming up, though snow is forecast. Still I'm sure I will have fun walking round , taking pictures and finding presents for friends.


Last year I was told about the Two Together Railcard. For £30 a year you get 30% of rail tickets if two of you travel together. This means if you go say Newcastle to London and the tickets are £210 , you would get the ticket for £150 and even accounting for paying for the card you would still be £30 in pocket on that one journey. If you plan to use the railways this could be useful for you.





So before I sleep I will leave you with Bob Dorough's "3 Is A Magic Number" given the mathematical introduction that I introduced the post with. Sleep well.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Too Much Is Never Enough


Woke up to the sad news that Stephen Hawking had passed. Others will better eulogise than me on the brilliance of the man and his mind, though he is effectively immortal in our new digital world and in the books he has authored. I read "A Brief History of Time" and found it varied between illumination and hard going, but something that everyon should at least attempt to read.

I have recently had cravings for a hamburger from MacDonalds or Burger King , you know the trashy ones, but I also know that if I actually got one I couldn't actually eat the damned thing. That's another way my mind works, pushing you to get something that you don't need or actually want.

I suppose this leads on to the title of the post with my music collection, there is always new music appearing and to support this you have to buy the stuff. I always prefer to have something to touch (not a download), but even my vinyl collection needs severely pruning now.

The added irony is that most of my listening is done to MP3 stored on my phone and home network. It's the same with video, DVDs are so cheap but I don't have room for any more and it;s a chore to get the DVD out of the case , turn the player on and play the DVD when you can just press  a couple of buttons and play something from your home network or TV supplier, my inherent laziness taking over.

Over the last two days I have been listening to Jane's Addiction's "Nothings Shocking" and "LIve In NYC" and I realised despite possessing their albums I'd never listened to them. Bought them, ripped them and that was it. I knew odd songs like "Been Caught Stealing" and Perry Farrel's voice is fairly distinct. But I have been impressed by the muscular rhythm section (Dave Navarro on drums) monstrous bass and wild shining gutar. "On The Beach" and "Ocean Size" than open "Nothings Shocking" drag you straight into the album and the quality never drops. The live album is definitely live but a great listen.

So basiclly my music collection will never ever be complete but I am trying to trim it by selling stuff on Discogs but may have to think of a better way of trimming it, but I still have my digital copies (which are backed up as well).

Anyway I need to get off to work so have a great Wednesday everybody

Sunday 11 March 2018

Apathetic


I wanted to write something this morning but could not bring myself to do it. There is nothing wrong but it has been one of those days when I felt I should have been doing things but just couldn't motivate myself to do anything..

I am reading the Simon Singh book and he has a chapter about about a guy called Bill James who is an expert on Baseball statistics and the connection with the Simpsons in that Lisa teaches Bart scientific ways to succeed in Baseball using these statistics. Incidentally I have a friend who is also called Bill James who works with finance so similar area , all numbers.

There are some great quotes, obviosly Mark Twain's

"Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"

The there's

"The man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches"

And

"The average human has one breast and one testicle"

Statistics can be useful but only if the are used with extreme care.

I actually managed 15K steps today, that's about six miles, and I have got round to actually writing this. I have also updated some web sites and watched an interesting documentary on HP Lovecraft called "Fear of The Unknown" but still feel I could have done more.

Anyway using a tenuous Baseball link I'll leave you with Babe Ruth's take on Willam Bell & Judy Clay's "Private Number" which still sounds great today.




Saturday 10 March 2018

A Grey Day Brightened By A Wildflower Visit


We wake up to rain spattered window panes, and walking out you need an umbrella and have to face a cold biting wind, hardly signs of Spring springing. Today I may finally catch up on my steps for March.

I started writing this this morning then had to go out. So basically I have ended up soing another 15K steps so have made up the steps I needed to for this month., so 11K a day for the rest of the month will suffice for me.

The weather has continued to be rainy and drab but has not stopped me walking and I got some shots of a foggy River Tyne here.

I decided to visit Wildflower at Kommunity and this is a lovely evironment to enjoy and have some brilliant vegan food, and was glad to hear at the Night Market last night they sold out of everything (they are that good) . I was chatteing to Asher about music before Jess came in with cake. I had already brunched at The Tyneside so just treated myself to some lovely vegan cake.

Too many times people say "Oh I must visit there sometime" and the still go and pay a fiver for a latte and a cellophane packed sandwich from Starbucks or Costa because "you know what your getting". You're getting homogenised packaged uniformity when you should be seeing what your local community is offering. Starbucks and Costa have their place but they are always seconday to local businesses in my universe.

Newcastle has a plethory of local food and drink providers though the new Eldon food court is a massive own goal in my opinion, I'm just waiting for the chains to start pulling out.

I mean what sort of moron goes to Jamie's Italian when you have Pani's five minutes away.?  There are hundreds of examples where the name chain has the highest profile locations and most people don't bother looking for something with some soul and heart.

Anyway I think we can go with a true Geordie anthem , Lindifarne's "Fog on the Tyne" (and not the aberation with added Gazza), the original.

Sleep well.


Friday 9 March 2018

A Threesome


After the disappointment of "Budokan" I went back to a couple of the source albums , "Desire" and "Blood on the Tracks". "Desire" was denigrated for the not completely professional violin playing of Scarlet Rivera who had been part of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review.

To me her playing enhances the recordings but like Dylan's voice maybe it grated a little too much on some people. The album opens with the eight and a half minute "Hurricane" the story of Rubin Carter and how he was stitched up by the police for being black. Nothing really changes does it? The song was released uncut as a single , one side stereo the other mono so Bob made sure that if you bought it you listened, and if it was on a jukebox you listened. The forman is similar to "All Along The Watchtower" but more relentless.

This is followed by six minutes of "Isis" with a H Rider Haggard-esque tale of body snatching from ice bound pyramids before we return to more familiar territory with songs like "Mozambique" and "One More Cup of Coffee". Bob as one more narrative ace to play in "Joey", and eleven minute tale of the life and death of a Mafia boss.

All in all an excellent album.

"Blood on The Tracks" was his response to the break up of his marriage and has some wonderful love songs such as "Tangled up in Blue", "If You See Her Say Hello" and "Shelter From The Storm". "Idiot Wind" is a vitriolic tale about a successful chancer and it contains possible my favourite Dyln song, "Lily Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts" a wonderful narrative of gambling and betrayal in the old West.

Between these I sandwiched Public Service Broadcasting's "Live At Brixton" and it's amazing that they have enough material for a live double album for thir first few releases including "The War Room" , "Everest" and "The Race For Space" as well as their first album. I love the way that J. Willgoose, Esq even has his crowd banter programmed into hi keyboard set up. They are one of the best live band syou will see anywhere today.

So if you have never heard these albums I suggest you check them out but please don't use Spotify as it rips off most artists.

Sleep well My friends

Thursday 8 March 2018

Fermat's Last Theorem, Pills, RIP NME on International Women's Day


It is International Women's Day and I am shocked how18th Century most of our politicians and people in power are, continually denying what women want , true equality. But it's similar with race and lots of other artificial human divisions. Misogyny is still rife and is prevalent in men and women. While I would employ a skinny small woman as a hod carrier, I wouldn't employ a skinny small man to do the smae job, but there are lot's of women who would make a far better hod carrier than I. But follow the link and remember treat everyone with the respect they deserve and do not discriminate.

Reading the Simon Singh book I finally found out what Fermat's Last Theorem is and the problems it has caused. In lots of nots he said he had found irrefutable proof that there are no natural numbers (1, 2, 3,…) x, y, and z such that xn + yn = zn, in which n is a natural number greater than 2. This was finally proved in 1995 by Andrew Wiles with help from his friend Richard Taylor . See article here.

Homer Debunks Fermat's Last Theorem
The Simpsons supposedly debunked the theorem and you can too, but only because of the
inaccuracies of ten digit pocket calculators.

I'm only forty pages into "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets" but it is providing me with both entertainment and knowledge. Aren't books just wonderful.

 



Tomorrow the final edition of The New Musical Express will hit the shelves. They went to a free publication but it is the end of a music journalism era but given that most news is gleaned from the internet these days it's probably no surprise. It will probably continue online which you can visit here.

I've been listening to the excellent "Masseduction" by St Vincent and had been hearing "Pills" on the radio and it sounds like a mash up of a Disney Musical soundtrack with a latter day Depeche Mode backing band, and it is brilliant.

It's frosty this morning so wrap up and have a great Thursday, and spare a thought for Spurs fans this morning.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

It's National π Week


As you can see I've reached for "π" in the Simon Singh book . Did you know there's a law in waiting in Indiana that defines "π" as 3.2 (Three Point Two see here) to make life simpler. I'm just waiting for the Republicans to draft this into law. The stupidity of many people in power never fails to flabbergast me, and they have such conviction that they are right with absolutely no evidence to back them up.

It's also National Pie Week in the UK. The thing is we've already had a Pie Day this year and at this rate we're always meant to be celebrating something and this week it's Pies. I remeber as a lad going to the back door of The Saddle Inn in  Lea and getting Meat and Potato Pie with peas and gravy, and it was lush and may explain why I am so porky these days.

Today I hit 18K in my steps so I think I might hit my target for March.

So really there's only one song that I can play and that's The Sutherland Brothers gorgeous song "The Pie". It is perfection introduced by a lovely acoustic guitar riff, and they wrote and performed the original of Rod Stewart's "Sailing", and I do prefer their version.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Kwyjibo


From the title you may have guessed I'm reading something to do with The Simpsons , it's with "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets" byd Simon Singh. as mentioned in my last post.

"Kwyjibo" is a word played by Bart in a game of Scrabble. When challenged by Homer , Bart retaliates by defining it as "A fat , bald North American Ape with no chin".

The book is excellent so far, but for me suffers from two faults, the print is too small and too faint making it difficult to read unless under a very bright lights, but that's just a sign of age. If I had it on a Kindle then I could enlarge the font and make the screen brighter but I do like real books.

I managed over 12K steps yesterday so managed to hit my daily steps, but not made much inroads into my step deficit and it is raining today, but I should  be able to walk in today as it is not too windy so I will need an umbrella.

I thought I would continue listening to live Bob Dylan and decided to go with "Budokan" and I am not impressed. The songs are smoothed down almost sounding like some Saturday night family entertainment version by some second rate TV host. The production is damned near perfect, but maybe the rearrangement of "Shelter From The Storm" actually works. The Byrds introduced me to Bob Dylan with "Mr Tambourine Man" and they and Manfred Mann polished up Dylan songs turning them often into things of beauty, but there's a difference in polishing something up and smoothing it out of existence which is what happens on "Budokan".

I found a TV performance by the Byrds of "Mr Tambourine Man" with an introduction by David McCallum (secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ) referring to "Turn,Turn,Turn".

Anyway it's time to get my umbrella and get off to work.

Monday 5 March 2018

Books and Sounds


I've just finished "The Sunshine Cruise Company" by John Niven and although the plot has a lot of holes and is totally unrealistic, the concept is brilliant and it's an excellent and fun romp of taking on several systems and I'd recommend it to everybody.

Next up I'm going into more scientific territory with "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets" by the alliterately named Simon Singh. I'll see how that goes, but I've heard lots of good things about him and he has a large back catalogue for me to delve into.

I'm certainly not going to run out of books to read as I have a huge pile next to my bed.

It looks like the big thaw is happening so the only thing that will stop me walking into work is if it's too slushy to use the paths, I certainly need to do a lot of walking this week, and I would like to be back up to speed by the end of Friday, but we shall see.

It my limited walking I listened to "Shelter From A Hard Rain" a live album from Bob Dylan from a 1976 broadcast. It sounds bootleg quality but ut is a great live album, I love Dylan's live recordings when they're a bit ragged and this is, in my opinion, perfect because it isn't perfect. I love every song on it. I'm not sure if this is from the same gig but it has the same feel, enjoy.


Sunday 4 March 2018

Melt


The snow is melting, it's a bit warmer, but slushy under foot and the fog is closing in. If it freezes tonight it will be treacherous tomorrow.

I've still not hit 11K on any day this month and am now 20K steps down after four days which is not as bad as it could have been, but means I am going to have to make an effort to ensure I don't fall short in March.

Today I saw "I, Tonya" a film about Tonya Harding and a great example of how sociaty comes down on people who don't conform to stereotypes, and how people are used as scapegoats even though they are only guilty by tenuous association. A great film with a cracking soundtrack and some amazing ice skating set pieces and a lot of swearing.

So I think I will have an early night as tomorrow may involve clawing back some of the steps I've missed if the weather is amenable to walking.

Below is the trailer for "I, Tonya" and it has to be a song from the soundtrack so I will choose "Can't You See" by The Marshall Tucker Band which was onced used in an advert for Double Cream, but doesn't appear on the "I, Tonya" soundtrack CD. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

Sleep well and keep warm.


Saturday 3 March 2018

Almost Like Christmas


Although the snow is slightly melting it almost feels like Christmas. Then you realise that you have work on Monday, all the shops are open, and there are no presents to open and no Christmas Trees in peoples' windows.

The sky is still grey and featureless. Footpaths are still walkable and today I manage 8.5K steps so I'm only 17K steps down for March which , in theory, I could make up in a day.

The snow is meant to be gone my Monday but it's not showing any signs of retreating at the moment, well maybe it's getting a little warmer and there is a little melting , but this is not the "Killer Winter Weather" forecast by the Daily Express a couple of days back, though I just look at their front page for a laugh these days as ist's either Armageddon weather or some Jeremy Corbyn fake news.

Of course this gives me another excuse to share The Raveonettes "Christmas Song" with you which as you know by now is my favourite Christmas Song ever. Dobbies even used it for a Christmas advert of theirs which is where I first heard it.

Anyway enjoy your SAturday night and we will see what tomorrow brings.

Friday 2 March 2018

Snow No Show


Well we had no snow in 'Nam last night but it's still cold and the snow that fell is still here but possible slowly melting. Roads are fairly clear but I am amazed that certain places have closed their doors for "safety reasons". My friend Julie is dealing with a metre of snow, now that's what you call snowfall as is the dort of thing that stops you getting out. However think about farmers, they don't have a choice they have to deal with the snowfall or risk losing stock and income.

Yesterday was the first day of March and I only managed 4K steps, which is not the least I've done since I started my rolling million steps every three months in May last year, that was 2.8K on a particularly rainy day in Yorkshire. The problem is by Monday I could be 30K steps down by Monday even if I hit 4K a day. But I do know that I can do a decent amaout of steps a day and I can recover that in a week, so I am not too disturbed.

Anyway today is another work from home day. For me that is far more inconvenient that working in the office but that's what happens when you get snow.

The skies are still grey and featurless and I have a feeling it will be cold outside. Anyway I've done my first Wordpress post on Song of The Salesman here and hope that I can now start adding to that in the blog format, we shall see.

So I will now attempt a walk round the block and will leave you with"Fun Lovin' Criminal" by The Fun Lovin' Criminals for no other reason that Nemone just played it on 6Music and of course  band feature Huey Morgan who among other things has a Saturday morning show on 6Music. I had a horrible sight when I searched for Huey on the BBC site and at the end was a picture of the awful Piers Morgan... ughh

Have a brilliant Friday everybody.

Thursday 1 March 2018

March Swirling In


The sky is grey and featureless and the snow is swirling and getting a little deeper. It's cold but not so bad that you can't move out there. Buses and cars are are fairly frequest on the roads. Buses are finishing early but you have to think that the drivers have to get home after they finish.

I am really sick of hearing "The Beast From The East", it's a bit more snow that we are used to that's all.

Anyway I have been listening to Pink Floyd's "Obscured By Clouds" the soundtrack to Barbet Schroeder's "La Vallée" .

They had previously soundtracked another of his films "More" ,the Main Theme countaining some amazingly atmospheric stero panning which sounds wonderful on headphones.

"Obscured By Clouds" opens with heavy synthesiser bombs before treating us to some excellent songs "Wots.. Uh The Deal" and "Free Four" are two favourites of mine, but "Stay", "Childhood's End" and "The Gold It's In The" make the grade as well.