Sunday 31 March 2019

An Interlude With Bobzilla

Today while have a wander round the Tyne Bridge and High Level Bridge with Scott we dropped into Arch 16 and we were well impressed by the latest avian based artwork on display. You can see it here on my Instagram feed , I also had to use the loo and was very impressed with the repurposed vinyl single display on the wall (see here).

We had a cafe latte and the guy serving us told us this was all his work and he goes under the name Bobzilla, and apart from being a talented artist (you can see more by visiting his "I Am Bobzilla" site) , he makes a great cup of coffee and is remarkably engaging to talk too. Among other things he is also a DJ and had some excellent sounds playing while we were these. It was so pleasant we had another coffee before departing back across the High Level Bridge to Newcastle.

So you get art , cake , coffee , tea , good sounds and good vibes, a thoroughly excellent half an hour, worth visiting for a coll and chilled atmosphere in which to eat cake and drink coffee.

So it's the day before April Fool's day but it has been a most excellent final day of March , chatting with Bobzilla and enjoying his art and sounds, so continuing with the art theme I've included my slideshow of the Armageddon themes paintings of the North East's greatest artist John Martin. I've just found that the book of his work I have is going for up to £200 on Amazon, like my Handy Wah! compilation on the last post but one.

Anyway hope you have a wonderful week.

Saturday 30 March 2019


It's eleven o'clock Saturday Night, although you could say it's really midnight as the clocks go forward for Daylight Saving rubbish, I've been out with Maureen and Scott and Fiona and eaten some of the best burgers in Newcastle at Meat Stack at The Dog and Parrot, then tonight eaten at Rajnagar for the first time (had lots of takeaways) but had one of my best Indian meals ever (and that was everyone's opinion) , although one has to wonder what happens when you get used to perfection.

The thing is I am now feeling wide awake. Obviously the sugar from that excellent food has obviously stimulated me to whatever. Everyone else was asleep two hours ago after watching an episode of Timewasters and Black Books, both class comedy, if you click on the links you should be able to watch for free.

So I thought I'd just do this post, which is really just a diary entry to remember what I have done today , I think I have managed to put all the analogue clocks and watched forward, and I suppose an appropriate record to share would be Bryan Ferry's "This is Tomorrow" because it sort of is, all my analogue timepieces say it's Sunday but all my digital timepieces say it's Saturday. So I will see you tomorrow, or is it today? Who know?

Dream Complex

I woke from an amazingly complex dream , just having to deal with people who don't understand reality. It reminded me of a situation at the PPA many years ago when I was charged with making 2 + 2 = 5 because someone had run an obsolete report and it didn't balance with the new one. There was an office full of idiots coming up with solution which were basically calculate to n decimal places and that might not solve the problem. I asked to speak to the accountants about it (it was caused by the VAT rate of 17.5% ) but I was told I was not a high enough grade to talk to accountants, so I instructed my team to SAY we were working on it if asked and at the end of two weeks told them it couldn't be done. Luckily in my present job I work with accounts who listen and have a more than basic grasp of numbers.

I was considering mowing my lawn today, but am going to give it another week to ensure it is up to being mowed, it's not laziness, it's being sensible.

I've decided on the theme for #AprilSongs and each day I will post a song relating to that day, it may be simply or complexly related, so Monday may be New Order's "Blue Monday" (or one of the many covers) or something by the Happy Mondays,  while Thursday could be the Theme for Morse / Endeavour by Barrington Pheloung because Morse's boss is called Thursday.

Another beautiful day although still cold, but looking forward to another great weekend.

As it's the ^Music Festival I thought I'd share Pete Wylie's "Heart As Big As Liverpool", mine and John Peel's favourite song about Liverpool , but ignored by the hip 6Music DJs. Amazingly it is not easily available on Amazon, my Handy Wah! compilation going for an eye watering £200, still you can listen on Youtube.

Friday 29 March 2019

Today Is So Gorgeous ...

...that I went out in the garden and refilled the bird feeders before seven am. When I first started blogging that would have been enough for a post, and as it's more like a diary than anything else, it should really be enough for a post now, but although my posts are still bite sized, one sentence is never enough.

Lots of friends start blogs and come in with a big excellent piece and then that's it. On the one hand they may think that's enough or they may just realise what they have let themselves in for. Here's a few:

These are just a few that seem to have been abandoned, but what they contain is still worth taking time to read and enjoy.

So yes a very short post and I'll leave you with "Eye Know" by De La Soul  because it just came on 6Music and sort of goes with the mood.

Have a great Friday everybody we aren't leaving the EU today and hopefully the whole Brexit thing will crawl away into a corner and die.

Thursday 28 March 2019

Buying Books and Listening To Podcasts

I'm listening to the podcast "How To Burn A Million Quid" the BBC Sounds mockumentary about the story of the KLF and the influence of The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (and my mind immediately connects the Tony Wilson broadcaster, punk leader and Factory Records supremo, but I will put that on pause).

The thing is I have now ordered The Illuminatus Trilogy along with a parralel publication by the KLF themselves. I never knew what KLF stood for but according to the pocast it is Copyright Liberation Foundation but they decided that the letter "K" was way much cooler than "C" so instead of "CLF" we got "KLF". I sort of see what they mean.

So whether or not I will read the book, I am just getting it to see what tangents it zooms off in, rather than expecting any revelations.

The thing is, it does show you that product placement within and environment you enjoy can influence you to actually purchase a placed product, although I am sure this is not a prime example of product placement.

So it looks like more KLF rated stuff to share so I'll go with their Tammy Wynette collaboration before I go to make my tea,

Life Too, Has Surface Noise

All our TV channels are now digital, and we are continually told we need to upgrade to HD, Ultra HD, 4K etc. When you watch a normal channel you often get pixelation and digital drop out. I don't remember getting that with analogue TV, yes sometimes the picture might get fuzzy due to weather conditions or a problem with the ariel but it was never due to the general condition of the signal.

Similarly with sound, over the years we have been steered towards digital rather than analogue. One major benefit of digitally stored sound is it never deteriorates, but ironically with both music and film it has created a situation the things can be stolen and restolen, the original owner creates a digital item to sell, but once it is out in the world it can be stolen and shared and the originator gets nothing.  I have written about this before here.

I bought a GPO turntable and plugged it into a Samsung soundbar with subwoofer and thought it sounded OK but at times missed something. There were also issues with the amp dropping completely out for quiet passages. I listen to digital music on my Google Pixel phone and on my home network and that is fine, and listening to albums on DVD is satisfying as often visuals can be used to accompany the music (I'm thinking Jethro Tull's "Thick As A Brick".

However last night my friend Marek brought my new vintage record player (Period High Fidelity with Garrard Deck and it has a cassette recorder)  from RPM, and we set it up and when it's turned up it really does blow you away. The speakers contain woofers for bass and tweeters for treble and this enhances the sound so much that it comes from the same unit. The digital set up has dragged me away from this. Digital gives you incredible convenience, but analogue because it is a true curve gives a warmer, truer sound.

I posted some videos of the new set up on Instagram here

Yes the older and lower quality records have crackles and surface noise, but as John Peel said "Life Too, Has Surface Noise". I have been particularly impressed with the sound on my copies of "Dark Side of the Moon" and "What Time Is Love".

There is a place for both analogue and digital, although I do feel that analogue is more real and pleasurable , whereas digital is about experience and making money.

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Pocahontas, Podcasts and Cassettes

Pocahontas you ask. Why? You ask. It's been in my head today, the Neil Young song, possibly a result of me reading Michael Moorcock's "The Skrayling Tree" and the song from the acoustic side one of "Rust Never Sleeps" has been running through my head, and I think I may try and record a take of it and put it on Soundcloud, it is a truly beautiful song from a wonderful album. I am listening to it as I write this and it is still as fresh today as when I first heard it.

I'm also waiting for my new vintage record player to be delivered by my friend Marek from RPM, and wondering what I should play first on it, I only have "Rust Never Sleeps" on digital format, but who knows, that may change.

I've also started listening to "How To Burn A Million Quid" the sort of story of the KLF and it is quite entertaining although it does stop me listening to albums, but that is the nature of interaction, it takes time to do things. I was talking today about the record played and we were talking cassettes which I said were a thing of their time, but you had to put the time in to make a mix tape, whereas sharing playlists as most do today can be done in seconds and it loses the personal touch.

As a teenager I remember making takes and physically splicing them to make music and compilations, there is absolutely no way I could do that today, I'm just not dextrous enough. I have the ideas but not the abilty, and digital often looks easier but always throws some problem in your way.

So I will publish and see what happens next.....

Sunday 24 March 2019

Quietly Strange

Today has been weird, I've not felt like doing anything or even doing something which requires little interaction from me liking watching a film or catch up TV.

Earlier today I walked to Aldi (only about half a mile) got a few things then walked back (Stagecoach buses don't run that way on a Sunday) then realised I'd left my hat (it had looked like rain, so I put it in my bag, took it out when I packed it, and left it on the ledge), so phoned their customer service and they had it, so I walked back again and got it. That did mean I got some steps in and only need to do another 25K to hit this months target.

The weather has generally been good but cold, but when I got back, I just couldn't bring myself to engage with anything. On the plus side I was resting both my body and my brain, but it felt slightly weird just not actually doing anything and not wanting to do anything.

Hopefully tomorrow I will feel more motivated, but this afternoon has been just traveling in neutral. I did post my review of last night's Trash Shack gig here. so that was one positive thing , and it was a great night. I've also just ordered tickets for The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing and the Cluny 2 on Easter Sunday, and Half Man Half Biscuit at The Boiler Shop the following Friday, so I suppose today has not been a totally idle day.

Friday 22 March 2019

Snackwallah Coincidence

It's amazing how I was writing about Bhanga music and Indian Restaurants earlier then decided to gofor a walk a lunch , was wondering how to lunch before deciding on a KFC before diverting to check out the Indian Street Food place in The Grainger Market, Snackwallah.

Snackwallah Platter
What an amazing surprise that was, I ordered a £3 Mixed Snack Platter which I hadn't got a clue really what I was getting but the staff were really helpful and delivered to be a small plate which a think was vegan , but definitely vegetarian (you can see it to the right) and it tasted gorgeous , with some kind of kick to it , but it was an amazingly good  and I will be going again, and thing you should do as well.

If you click on the picture you can see a few more images that I took while I was there.

Obviously this is just a short post, but Iwas training to thing of an appropriate pice which is "Husan" by Bhangra Knights or "Bhangra Knights" by Husan which  was used in a Car Advert many years make.

So it's Friday and I've found another great place to eat in Newcastle.

Waiting For Things To Happen

It's strange at times when you are trying to do a lot of things simultaneously, your focus obviously drifts and because you are waiting for something to complete before you can continue task ne you start on task two that engages you until you reach an impasse and you check task one and you are still waiting for something to complete so you start task three and then forget about task one that then sits waiting for you because you away with the faireies on task four by now.

Part of the reason for this post is to include "Rahaye,Rahaye" or "Rahe Rahe Jaan Waliye" or probably about ten other title variations by The Safri Boys , an absolutely joyous piece of Bhangra that I discovered on a Bhangra compilation many years back and then couldn't remember the title when I wanted to your use for a post in Settle about it's excellent pair of Indian Restaurants Ruchee and Royal Spice . I am lucky I also have Rajnagar round the corner from where I live, as well as Solomon's Dhaba fairly close, so I am well served with Indian restaurants both at home and on holiday. Also when I go to Oswaldkirk in a month or so I can sample the excellent Helmsley Spice.

So as the week draws to a break, I am thinking about Indian cuisine and Bhangra Music, which is not a bad thing in my opinion.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Nightmiddling and The Spring Equinox

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and was wide awake. I had been really tired at 9:00 last night , and had a low blood sugar reading which may have been something to do with me feeling sleep, but I thought at 2:30 I might just write a blog post. Then I thought, no I will try and go back to sleep, and obviously that worked because when the alarm went off it was very unwelcome indeed.

I've been advised by my doctor to store up insulin because of the uncertainty of supply with the possibility of brexit (which I hope crashes and burns as it's driven by xenophobic self servers) so I have reduced my dose, so last night's low blood sugar reading did come as a surprise.

Today I can have a shower as the guys at HandymanNewcastle came and sorted the shower and next week will be sorting out a few other little jobs.

So to tie in with the fact that today is the Spring Equinox I will share the opening piece from Jean-Michel Jarre's "Equinoxe" album. I always thought that "Oxygene" was incredibly pedestrian with awful artwork, although listening now it's not as bad as I thought at the time.

When I heard "Equinoxe" I was shocked because it was such a step up, in my opinion, from "Oxygene". I still play the album a lot and noticed that there is an "Equinoxe Infinity" album, which may be worth investigating, I particularly like the cover of it with the Stone Watchers. I'm also tempted by the CD compilation "Planet Jarre" but I will hold out on that one for the time being.

I've always liked Jean-Michel Jarre , and his reputation went up several notches when he staged the Millenium concert in Egypt which you can watch nearly five hours of , complete with penguins here ,  I mean who does he thing he is , The Grateful Dead?

ANyway enjoy your Wednesday.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

The Pleasure of a Bath

While I normally shower each morning, due to a leak in the shower I'm currently having a bath and it is just so pleasant to luxuriate in warm soapy water for a while. I do enjoy showering , enjoying warm water flowing over you as you soap yourself, and it is far more practical than a bath, but it is very pleasant to have a bath once in a while. I often think I will have a bath but then decide against it because it's later in the day or a shower is quicker and more convenient, how often do we choose convenience over pleasure and experience?

Baths are also good if you are aching or suffering from a cold or 'flu' (note the correct abbreviation as 'flu' is the only word I know that is doubly contracted from influenza) but even then sometimes I see it as too much bother not considering the actual benefits that it may have.

So it's Tuesday morning , and I have a hospital appointment which means I will walk there as there is no direct bus, and to find a direct bus will take as long as it does to walk. I think it takes me about twenty minutes to walk there.

So I'm going to leave you with Tenpole Tudor's utterly joyous "Throwing My Baby Out With The Bathwater". Listening to that has really upped my mood this morning.

Have a great Tuesday everybody.

Monday 18 March 2019

Sonic Icons

There's a hairdressers on Two Ball Lonnen called "Icons" and I was on the bus and realised that Icons is an anagram of Sonic (and Coins) and that that Sonic Icons would be a great name for a band , a music book , a music compilation or a Festival.

Some of the bands that come to mind are The Sonics, Sonic Youth and Hawkwind masqueraded as The Sonic Assassins and opened their "Space Ritual" with their excellent Michael Moorcock spoken word "Sonic Attack".

The description Icon is vastly overused and I find it difficult to think of anyone who may be described as a true "Sonic Icon". Here are a few who I would put in that list:

The list could go on , but these are just a few artists who are true Sonic Icons, who challenged the norm on went over the borders of what was defined as the norm and what was acceptable. Without people like this no doubt our soundscape would have been extremely bland and unchallenging.

So who should I choose .......

While Delia Derbyshire with her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop enabling the realisation of Ron Grainer's "Doctor Who" theme is tempting, I'll go with Beb and Louis Barron's "Forbidden Planet" which was the first completely electronic film soundtrack.

Again showing how easily I get soundtracked where the name of a hairdresser takes me into groundbreaking electronic soundscapes.

Preferring The Dream

Today I didn't want to wake or get up because the dream I was in was actually quite enjoyable and comforting despite being in a spin in a Mercedes the rear ended by a bus, but also being in pleasant surroundings and resetting the heating controls after returning from holiday. I know this makes no sense whatsoever but that is what normally happens with dreams. I suppose the benefit of it is that you wake happy and rested and ready for the day even though it's a Monday.

The sky is full of pink clouds so I am not sure what the weather will bring today.

Recently I have been mightily impressed by the new Gang of Four song "Paper Thin". It reminds me of the best of New Order although with added aggression and sandpaper, well worth adding to your collection in whatever form you decide to take it.

So it's Monday and we are ready to go, I have lots to do and deal with, but if I had nothing to do I would be terribly bored. Maybe if I don't write then it dips my mood so I really have to make sure I actually write something even if I have nothing to write about, although actually you can always find something to write about even if it's the fact that you have nothing to write about.

So get out there and enjoy yourself, it's the best way to go.

Sunday 17 March 2019


A weekend where I cannot bring myself to write anything. I feel I should be doing stuff but can't do anything and am feeling bad because I haven't done anything. I am trying to be positive but it is very hard. I keep find faults with things and things that need fixing but don't have the talent to fix them properly so will have to get someone to do it.

I know lots of people have to go through this and do not have the the resources I can call on to get things done but it is still less than ideal.

The other day I sort of dreamed / thought I had dies but like in films and stories the next stage was how to let people know I was OK and the realisation that I didn't have do deal with the drudgeries of everyday life. The thing is I am still here and well aware of all the good things and great people I know in life so I will be coming out of this sometime soon.

I was feeling so lethargic yesterday that I missed the launch of Dog Years' debut "A Flame In Waiting" so the least I can do is share a Dog Years song with you and if you want to buy the album there's a link below. The song "Spookychurch" apart from having a wonderful title (and I do love the mouse on the cover of the album) sounds in the same universe as The Stooges fronted by Howard Devoto, well worth investigating and getting hold of.

I am quite surprised that I have never mentioned The Stooges without Iggy or Howard Devoto without The Buzzcocks or Magazine, but it's always good to learn something about yourself, or something you do.

Also writing this has improved my mood no end so obviously I need to knuckle down and write more, and not be so apathetic and lazy and miss importants gigs by my friends' bands.

I am als so happy that new music is continually being produced and Dog Years is a prome example of that.

Thursday 14 March 2019

Pans and Pots

I haven't a clue what brought this into my head, but why do I think "Pots and Pans" rather than "Pans and Pots"? The logically alphabetical phrase would be "Pans and Pots" but I always think "Pots and Pans" which may hark back to "Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Bill Haley and His Comets.

I'm surprised that Bill Haley has not appeared on any of my previous posts (he mave have done, but he doesn't have a label until now), he was an unlikely figureheahead in the aerly Rock'n'Roll movevent, being a middle aged, balding, Western Swing artist. I must say I am still impressed every time I hear the guitar solo in "Rock Around The Clock" , a song featured in the film "Blackboard Jungle"  which caused teenagers to rip out cinema seats and riot. It was hardly "God Save The Queen" or "White Riot" was it now?

So here's another prime example of me going off on a tangent, start talking about how a phrase is said and finish up with punk and riots, which is no mean feat in around 200 words.

So the obvious song to include is the Bill Haley song that started this , "Shake, Rattle and Roll". I know it's only Thursday but the weather outside is beautiful if cold.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Here Comes Your Man

For some reason The Pixies song "Here Comes Your Man" has been going through my head. I don't know why. It is a great song by a great band and also makes me think of The Velevt Undergoud's "Waiting For The Man" which we played if the Marsall Law / Bok first gig. The demos we senmt to John Peel at the time are here though he rejecte dthem for being too primitive, though when we were taken up by Rabid Records they asked us which studio we had used. We hadn't, they were recorded live to a two track cassette player - which could explain John Peel's rejection.

The gig happened on a Saturday, on the Monday mty friend Andy Marshall was the only one left in Marsall Law , between Tuesday and Friday we wrote, learned and found a pick up drummer and played our first gig. We had to ditch the pick up drummer as either he or we didn't have a clue but we finished the gig and it all went down well.

I took a tip from Ollie Halsall on learning to play , to practice with heavy gauge strings and play live with light gauge strings which was great in practice but in small venues caused my guitar to go out of tune as soon as I touched it, though a couple of people said they were impressed my my retuning as I played technique, little did they know......

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Older Than The Internet

Today is the thirtieth anniversary or the World Wide Web as we know it, and it came into my head that my two wonderful daughters are both older than the Internet, which obviously means that I am as well by another twenty five or so years. I was born just as rock and roll really hit with Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.

A  definition of the Internet comes from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):

"The World Wide Web is the universe of network-accessible information, an embodiment of human knowledge."

Tim Berners-Lee came up with the protocol for accessing the Internet as we do today and can be read about via the W3C link above. This is a development of Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network developed by the US Defence Department), and had been put forward by many artists and science fiction writers.

The Who's "Lifehouse" project (which was scrapped and salvaged as "Who's Next") posited a population connected by "The Grid" so in some ways this was an inevitable development, and now we are are connected by mobile devices and computers and smart devices.

People install "smart devices" in their home such as Amazon's Alexa , but that is a step too far for me even though I have a Kindle that has Alexa on it, although it has never been able to answer a question that I have asked it and cannot play my music, apparently only able to access Spotify playlists, and I don't touch Spotify.

I wasn't going to write anything until I saw the anniversary on Google, so I am going include a Chuck Berry song performed by Buddy Holly which you can listen to and watch thanks to Tim Berners-Lee's development of the US Defence Department's prototype.

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday 11 March 2019


I've decided that April will be one post a day with obscure songs possibly related to April. The criteria may vary and even disappear altogether but I will hit at least thirty posts in April. Obviously I may reinclude "April Skies" by The Jesus and Mary Chain which I am including here because, like all their stuff, is absolutely brilliant.

I'm still reading Michael Moorcock's "The Skrayling Tree" and discovered another follow up "The White Wolf's Son" so that is going to be ordered on completion of this post As usual he interweaves lots of traditional mythology in with his own although these are set on Earth roughly post World War II although that has very little to do with the story lines, but it provides me with more to read over the coming months.

My walking over the last two days has severely been curtailed, partly due to having to be in work to catch up after the holiday, but again it's something that is not a major problem.

Today has been a beautiful day but very very cold, but I got some great shots of Newcastle and St James' Park framed by blue skies here.

So this evening I will finish "The Martian" which is an excellent film, and that's it for today.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Strange Lethargy

I just feel tired and lethargic, which is strange after a wonderful and relaxing holiday, with Preston beating Blackburn (again) as well, also a couple of things to do , a delay repay claim, and claim for a lost Discogs delivery (Royal Mail can find the USA, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Japan but not Scotland) and a couple of old phones taken to CEX (A Wiley Fox and a Samsung) , cleared some more CDs to the Charity shops, and basically this afternoon has been spent watching TV  ("The Martian" and "The Lost City of Z" two excellent films) but I have been almost falling asleep.

I did do 21K steps yesterday which is about five miles, and I am ahead of schedule on the walking , and really I have actually done quite a bit without thinking that I have done anything.

Also my writing this year has been very sporadic so I am going to think of a theme for April that will force me to write a bit more often, I'm averaging 1 every two days when I really need to do 3 every four days, but like always, with something that is in my control, I will catch up.

So for absolutely no reason I will play you "Definitive Gaze" by Magazine as  "Real Life" was on the wall in Skipton Sound Bar. Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. It's work tomorrow!