Saturday, 30 November 2019

Black Friday

I know it's the day after Black Friday but until last year I didn't know why Black Friday was called Black Friday. I'd always assumed it was something bad like the Black Friday stock market crash of 1869 or the Black Monday one of 1987 and the Black Friday of 1989, and this was reinforced by the Steely Dan song I'm going to soundtrack this with from "Katy Lied".

But now Black Friday is the "sale" to mark companies going into the Black,except really we know that isn't true, it's just another "sale" to offload the crud that they couldn't sell at full price to make way for "new stock".

The thing is something is only a bargain if you wanted it anyway, I knew a guy who bought industrial coffee makers each Black Friday which was going to cost a fortune in running costs. I said I got my beans freshly ground at Pumphreys, and I have a cafetiere and that more than does me, though I'm hardly a coffee aficionado.

This month this blog has had over 50K visits, I'm not sure that'll happen again though I said that last month when I went over 40K so who knows.The post a day for this year is something within reach and if I don't do it now I won't do it so in December you will see days with multiple posts like today.

So I will leave you to enjoy a little Steely Dan (and if you want to know the origin of that check out "The Naked Lunch" by William Burroughs.

Keep In Lane

Sometimes the odd things cause me to write posts. Yesterday I was walking to work and the path was littered with puddles so it was difficult to keep in a straight line as I didn't want soaking feet and there were people walking slowly in my direction and towards me and they were trying avoid puddles as well.

The ideal thing when you are walking is that you keep to the defined path, but everyone was all over the place, at want point I had to walk outside of the parked cars on the main road.

This reminded me of an instrumental piece that I bought in the early seventies called "Floating Music" by Come To The Edge and ensemble featuring and led by percussionist Stomu Yamash'ta and I bought it as a mid priced Island release because of the beautiful cover. It was also the first album that I bought when I started recollecting vinyl.

The piece was "Keep In Lane" and the premise was that the instruments kept in their own lanes but played at different speeds overtaking and being overtaken but keeping to their own path. Whatever the concept I think it is an excellent piece and you can judge for yourself. I still love it and a digital copy often accompanies me on my walk. "Keep in Lane" is eighteen minutes into the video as I could only find it as part of the complete album, though the whole of it is worth listening to.

This is the final post of November 2019, it's a bright frosty day and I am now packing and waiting for a taxi to take me to the station to take me to Settle , Christmas Lights and the Pigs In Blankets Pie at The Talbot.

 Turkey breast meat and bacon wrapped sausages in gravy 
 topped with a puff pastry lid 
 served with roast parsnips and chips "

Thursday, 28 November 2019


Today people often try and share Spotify playlist with me. I don't contenance Spotify, it's not my inner Ron Swanson but the fact that it's not a business model that rewards almost all the artists who are on it's available catalogue. I suppose the other thing is that as a teenager if I wanted to share music with friends it required recording records in real time, at first recording via microphone and later when I got a job a music centre which recorded directly from the radio.

I didn't realise that the compact cassette first appeared around 1965 (comprehensive Wiki history here) , I thought it was a Sony invention because of the Walkman which allowed music on the move.

To create a cassette you had to record in real time, the playlist was just the initial plan, even when MiniDisk and CD superseded cassette it was still real time although CD recording speeded up significantly but there is still the production and labelling of the CD to do.

In October 2016 when I was 59 I  started the #ALifeInNumbers  which ran into November that year and I've referenced often since I did it. I haven't burnt a CD for ages and am not sure if I can use iTunes to create playlists (I'm sure you can but it's such bloatware that it is more about trying to make me buy things that actually play music), I may try that soon and then I need to print the CD label (as I still have a printer that can do that!).

I have just remembered that I can use Youtube to create playlists such as this two song ska one here , I used to do mixes on Grooveshark but their model wasn't sustainable, but I am going to investigate Youtube further.

I was going to list some significant records for me to pad out this post but here are a few, and maybe I will create a playlist at some point:

  • Abba - The Visitors & Happy - The Carpenters , two of my mums favourites that I still love
  • Lights Out - Jerry Byrne & Sea Cruise - Frankie Ford , two that remind me of my missed friend Chris who we lost to lung cancer
  • Negativeland - Neu! , I was shocked when my dad asked me if I had this record asthis was way out of his comfort zone
  • All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix , if I only could have one record this would be it, Hendrix playing , Dylan's words
  • Hound Dog - Elvis Presley - apparently the first record I ever liked (aged 3)
  • Jig A Jig - East of Eden - The first single I ever bought
  • Come On - Chuck Berry - one of the first songs I played and sang live and I would be condent of doing it now
  • Egyptian Reggae - Jonathan Richman - The first instrumental cover I played live
I could go on and on but I'll stop and share "Happy" by The Carpenters (incidentally the title of my favourite Rolling Stones song , and they - the Stones - covered Chuck Berry's - Come On).

Enjoy this very rainy Thursday.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019


Oscar Wilde famously said "I can resist anything but temptation" and I am definitely the same, and the latest one is that this is post 322, and another 44 posts means that for this year I will have averaged more than one post a day. While I hopefully put quality over quantity, I started the year slowly but it April I posted fifty times that's like four every three days, and in August 2018 I posted 54 times for my #August50 sequence, so although I have trashed a December sequence, I may come up with one because I don't think I'll get the chance to do this ever again because of may inherent extreme laziness. 44 posts in 35 days is most definitely doable, nut we shall see whether I do do it.

Reading "On Some Faraway Beach" by David Sheppard is difficult. The writing and subject matter is excellent but the text is so small and dense that when I look at it my my screams, well not quite screams but becomes avers to, but I start reading and then I want to keep reading. It's just each time I open the book the format tries to push me away. It mentions "Musique Concrète" and a precursor and influence on  some of Eno's output and this also is a perfect description for the effect the book seems to have on me. I was also surprised to find out that Brian Eno's surname is his family surname (though I knew of his brother Roger Eno) but it's a contraction of the word Huguenot so that's something else that I have learned.

I've decided to included "Deserts" by Edgar Varese which is mentioned as an example of Musique Concrète, it is challenging and in my opinion interesting, I'm listening to it as I finish this off. I do like pieces that grab my attention, but it would certainly clear the house at a party, but it's a piece I was unaware of til this morning and has piqued my mind to explore the genre further..

I would definitely give it a try but I know a lot of people will dismiss it as rubbish, but, in my opibion, the function of all art is to have an effect and this certainly does.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Start Again

Surprisingly this month is already the highest monthly hit rate for a month since I started and effectively this seemed to be kicked off my the demise of Google+ , because I looked for another way of sharing my posts and tried MeWe that doesn't really seem to have taken off but provides an easy way to copy the link post which I shared on Twitter. That then seemed to kick it off. Under google posts, generally a good visit count would be 100 , average about 50 but when Google+ went I was lucky to get 20. Facebook doesn't really seem to help although a few of my friends visit via that link.

Anyway after sharing on Twitter I was picked up by Feedburner and since then I have had more than a thousand visits a day, still very few comments, so maybe it's all robots, though I would love to see comments from friends. Yesterday I had 2,600 visits , that's more than one a minute which is impressive.

I finished "The Secret Commonwealth" by Philip Pullman and although I am a very slow reader I always have a book on the go, and while my last few books have been fiction, I have a lot of music biographies and commentaries still unread. I briefly considered "Tarantula" by Bob Dylan which I have read several times, and for me is an easy enjoyable read being a stream of consciousness based narrative by Dylan. I decided to take "On Some Faraway Beach" by David Sheppard , the biography of Brian Eno.

When I opened it I immediately baulked, 450 pages of of tiny unrelenting text, books like this really do initially put me off and need to be special to keep me on board. I'm on to chapter two so it is actually a goer and will be my book for the next few weeks.

Today I am also going back to contact lenses so that's another restart for me, and at the moment the lenses feel absolutely fine.

Looking out the window it's still dark grey and featureless, but every day is another day of potential to discover and do new things. The David Sheppard book opens with a quote from the brilliant Edward De Bono who's books and methods taught me a hell of a lot:

"“The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas. It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong than to be always right by having no ideas at all. ”"

... and I suppose that just hooked me into the book. Many of the chapters are named after Brian Eno songs and pieces, so we will go with the creepily ominous  "The Great Pretender" from "Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy" a truly wonderful album.

Enjoy your Monday, Make it special.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

The Final Chapter

This morning I slept through , almost ten hours. It does help when you have switched off your alarm, but again it was a surprise and probably good for me.

When I decided to write this I had one chapter to go in "The Secret Commonwealth" but as the final chapter was only ten pages I could not resist finishing it off. This books has a lot of parallels with what is happening in the world today and there is a touching tribute to the Grenfell disaster (caused by our government getting rid of safety standards to improve profitability) but that's by the way. At 700 pages this is a hefty read and is only part of the "His Dark Materials" / "Book of Dust" double trilogy, and like all great books I did not want this one to end, so I now have to wait til my next birthday for the final installment which I am now actually waiting for.

The last two days have been so grey that I don't think I have even seen the sun. Today is mist rather than rain but yesterday was very rainy.

It is a Sunday morning here an the last week in November.

I was vaguely toying with the idea of posting a good Christmas song each day in December but I sort of did this here in 2013 and after going on about Rush in post number 2113 there was this post in that sequence which was virtually on the same subject with the same points, so I do repeat myself but who remembers what they said on a day six years back.

Music wise I'm going with The Cascades "Rhythm of the Rain" due to this inclement weather, but it's a great song and I found a more than decent live take. Obviously the band have aged but they are in fine form and still sound great.

In the sixties bands imagined they had a shelf life on two or three years and often that was true, but for others they found they could go on and on until they are physically removed from this mortal plane. The Rolling Stones , The Who and The Beach Boys are three that come to mind.

Anyway it's time to do Sunday things now.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Do I Love You? (Indeed I Do)

I am not a fan of Strictly Come Dancing but caught a bit of it tonight in which Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse danced to a cover of Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You? (Indeed I Do" which is one of the greatest singles ever, and a staple of the Northern Soul circuit.

At one point this was the most expensive vinyl single ever sold worth over £25,000 according to this article although thanks to digital such as MP3, CD and Youtube anyone can listen to it and thanks to reissues anyone can own a vinyl copy a;though not the Motown copy of which only three copies may be in existence.

Part of the reason I am writing this, is that although I have the song on several compilations and can listen to it on Youtube I think it might sound great on my record player, so I am considering buying a copy. The cheapest I've seen one is £3.49 plus postage but I will decide whether to do it after posting this. I can get it from Amazon by Monday but that will be a bit more expensive.

On a separate not the visits to the blog are slowly increasing and think that this month will be another record and expect to easily hit 400K visits by the end of the year and maybe half a million some time next year.

So you know what record this is, enjoy it , and below are links to buy from Amazon plus some Northern Soul compilations. Listen to it and I am sure you will want your own copy too.

Lost (in) Music

When Brian Matthew used to do "Sounds of the 60s" he'd get communications similar to "my husband's favourite record is XXXX, could you play it because he has never heard it since 1967 when it went missing in a house move" and more recent Chris Hawkins has a Lost Love feature where people write in with messages akin to "My favourite record as a teenager was XXXX but I haven't heard it since 1990".

Now the thing is we live in a digital age and we can communicate with anyone anywhere in the world instantly if we are both, in some form , online. A benefit of this is that you can usually easily find your favourite record. This blog relies so much on Youtube because you can find virtually everything on there, if I can't find it I will create a slideshow and put the record up there and hope it doesn't get pulled for copyright reasons. Most of them stay and you can check my channel which is a combination of such slideshows and live performances.

The other thing, even if you are not digitally connected, if you are lucky and have one , libraries and record shops can search out music for you, and they would be on the end of a phone. The people who contact Chris Hawkins have no excuse at all, they contact him exclusively by email so are connected.

In the nineties Voiceprint Records based in Houghton-Le-Spring re-released a lot of music digitally. This was a good model because the music was only downloadable so apart from the server and site costs they didn't have to invest in vinyl / cd print runs. There is still music on th eimprint (see below).The problem with digital media is it can be stolen over and over again that applies to video, music and e-publications.

So I should really play a song I have forgotten about, but if I've forgotten about it then I can't remember it so I will just play something that I haven't played for a while, although I want't to also play something fairly obscure which I had difficulty tracking down, but I did on either Amazon or Ebay. That song is "Dizz Knee Land" by Dada from 1992 and it is a great record.The title of the song spelling was changed by the group so as not to interfere with copyright laws, however "Disneyland" is also the nickname for the Orange County Jail.

Friday, 22 November 2019


Actually this is post 2113, the last one here was 2112. I only realised as I was getting towards the end of it and it was all about my eye infection. 2112 was an album by Rush and was pretentious as hell but I always equated Rush with Abba, music generally awesome but lyrics were sometimes very iffy. Abba had the excuse of English being a second language but Rush didn't.

It didn't stop Rush producing some great music and when they reigned back their pretentious side everything was excellent, but even the pretentious stuff , the music still more than stands up. The first song I heard by them was "Finding My Way" from "Fly By Night" on the John Peel show and thought it was Led Zeppelin, they were that good. I must have heard their early albums because I didn't actually by them and generally they were patchy in my opinion, but  the live "All The World's A Stage" changed that which is a live tour-de-force and that was the first Rush album that I bought.

I actually sang "Spirit of Radio" with Spoon and always have difficulty singing rubbish lyrics, "Spirit of Radio" has excellent lyrics, but I don't think I have a recording anywhere of that to see how good or bad I was.

So I really have to included "2112" that took up side one of the album it named. Great music and dodgy lyrics for this Friday.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Eyes Adrift

On Sunday I noticed my left contact lens was a bit curly at the edges but still put it in anyway. By the afternoon my left eye was stinging and I took my lenses out and had to bathe it as it had become very uncomfortable to the point of being painful. Monday and Tuesday I wore my glasses for work and my eye seemed to be better although the aircon at work does dry the eyes out a bit,

Wednesday morning I walked to work ( you can see some of that on Instagram here) with contact lenses back in but when I got into work suddenly I could hardly see out of my left eye and it was also affecting my right eye as well. I ditched the left eye contact lens but was feeling awful and disorientated and got myself back home. At 11:45 I rang C4 Sightcare , my opticians of 20 years, told them the problem, my left eye felt like it was filled with grit or sand, and they asked if I could get it by 12:15 which I said I could. By this time the sun was shining and due to Blackett Street being closed for the Christmas Market I had to walk a fair way to the opticians but I could hardly see due to the bright sunlight and the discomfort in my left eye and nearly walked into a few people.

My optician examined my eye and said the cornea was cloudy, but there was no major problems, although the pressure jets were painful, and prescribed me some GoldenEye Antibiotic Cream. I went home and slept for 5 hours and today has been much the same but the eye in improving. I will probably do without contact lenses over the weekend, although I don't like wearing glasses all day.

So when Kurt Cobain died Dave Grohl formed the Foo Fighters, but bassist Krist Novoselic formed Eyes Adrift who I think only made one album which featured a beautiful song called "Inquiring Minds" which I have found a live acoustic version of  but click on the title for the album version, or buy it from the link below. This is possibly the first paragraph I have written that mentions every member of Nirvana.

You can see that my eye is improving because I can actually write a blog post, so things are improving.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

A Record - Godbluff

This is post 317 this year, that surpasses last year's total of 316, so any more posts this year will just cement 2019 as my most prolific posting year ever. I have no need to actually surpass that, and this year I wasn't actually trying to surpass last year, but I just did.

This, for some reason reminded me of "Godbluff" by Van Der Graaf Generator, another of my favourite albums, which consists of four songs and is an incredibly atmospheric album punctuated by Peter Hamill's staccato stabbing words and vocals. The NME reviewed it favourably but commented that it needed a format that allowed it to be played non stop (this was mid seventies, 1975). Obviously CD facilitated this but there was the option of recording it to one side of a C90 cassette or if you were posh a cassette player that had autoreverse. Classical music had the same problem, but I play vinyl now and don't mind turning the record over, and also think that twenty minutes is a fine length to listen to a piece of music.

I found a copy of the album, so you can also listen to it non stop now thanks to digital technology or you can buy it on the link below.

This morning I was getting my weekly tablets, and one of the things is that tablets have their own boxes and colour scheme. This morning I notices that my Metformin have changed from a blue compact box to a green long box, the same a s Doxazosin. I had mistakenly pulled out some new Metformin instead of Doxazosin. Now I know we are resistant to change, even when it benefits us, but this is not a good change, I could have been double dosing on Metformin and not getting Doxazosin. Now I spotted it but there may be many who don't do this. I think I may go to chemist and feed this back, you can see here. on my Instagram feed.

It's minus 3 degrees centigrade, cars are iced up, so will be a cold walk to work.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Dry Your Eyes

Over the last two day I noticed the contact lens for my left eye  seemed a bit ruffled round part of the edge and slightly stung when I put them in. Yesterday when I took it out my eye was hurting as though it was was either scratched or there was something under the eyelid scratching it that was moving about.

Also when I was trying to read the eye was was blurry , not looking good.

After much bathing with a warm cloth the eye has calmed down but still seems very dry. On Saturday I would have tried to get my contact lenses in, but even though it's a work day I am going with glasses even though they give me a slight headache if I wear them for more than a few hours, but it will give my left eye a rest.

So really this is an excuse to play another of my favourite songs which I have shared before, but it is worth hearing again, The Streets (Mike Skinner) and "Dry Your Eyes"

Sunday, 17 November 2019

In The Middle Of The Night ...

Sometimes you just wake up and feel you want to do something. I can't concentrate enough to read read, and I can't really pick up an instrument an play because it makes noise and disturbs others, I can't put a record on ar watch TV because when I feel like this it's not a headphones moment, so I find that writing I blog post can satisfy the need to do something vaguely creative and run my mind down a bit so I can then slip back to bed and get some sleep.

It is now five am on Sunday morning, but middle of the night can be any time between going to bed and getting up. It's black outside the window, but not particularly cold so I didn't have to get dressed to write this (but I'm sure you didn't really need to know that) but it is also very peaceful.

This week I will hit my annual record for blog posts which will be 317 (this is post 315 and last year I posted 316 times) . That's like 17 posts every 20 days or 26 posts a month which is fairly close to being daily, although some days I have done multiple posts (like yesterday).. I should actually try to see if I can do a lot of posts in a day, although I don't think it would be possible because all these posts are on the fly  about things that interest me, rather than to hit a target, although if a target is achievable I am often tempted towards it.

So I am starting to feel a little tired so I think we simply go for "In The Midnight Hour" by Wilson Pickett and I found this great performance by him and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform "In the Midnight Hour" at the 1999 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, when Bruce Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

A Handkerchief

We hear so much about recycling these days yet still get our milk in plastic or cardboard disposable cartons and use paper tissues instead of handkerchiefs  and when we see  that we need to sort our rubbish into separate containers so that things can be recycled, I think if we reused things there would be little need to recycle thing. Things would be built to last.

I used to work on a farm and bottled milk which was delivered to customers, and went it was delivered the used bottles were returned and then reused. The only disposable part of the operation was the disposable aluminium foil tops.

Now we use disposable paper tissues when I clean handkerchief feels good to touch , and after use can be washed and reused for a long time. I used to like having a handkerchief although you do need somewhere to put it and keep it, but we are generally good at things like that.

Similarly with nappies / diapers, again washing and reusing saves the need to recycle create landfill.

I think a perfect song for this is "Recycled Vinyl Blues" by Neil Innes written at the time of the early seventies oil crisis when vintl prices went up , but also saw the advent of the 12" single, as if 7" wasn't enough.

So just a few thoughts on recycling when we should be reusung.

The Secret Commonwealth

Although I've not really spoken much about "The Secret Commonwealth" by Philip Pullman, it's a 700 page tome and I am about three quarters the way through it, I am thoroughly enjoying it. It's the fifth is the His Dark Materials / Book of Dust sequence and possibly a little less magical and more political.

The events in the book are reflecting the current political situation in the UK and USA while still staying in the alternate reality of people and their daemons. This is at the same time as the BBC / HBO are showing a dramatisation of "His Dark Materials" and that follows the, in my opinion,  excellent "Golden Compass".

The irony is, and I am sure Philip Pullman did this deliberately, "The Secret Commonwealth" in the book refers to the world of magical creatures. The whole series, books and dramatisations is worth investigating, and I am loving all of it.

When I see a seven hundred page book I think will I ever get through this? When you are coming to the end you don't usually think that's the finish line, you just don't want it to finish. There is always the option to go back and two of my favourite book clock in at over a thousand pages, they are "Imajica" by Clive Barker (my favourite book ever) and "Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkien. Incidentally when my daughter was 8 she told her teacher she had read "Lord of the Rings". He was a little sceptical about this so quizzed her on it. He then realised that she had read it and had star pupil status.

So what music do we have this grey Saturday morning? We could go with Bo Hansson's  1970 album which you can hear here , but it's a bit elevator musicish. I'm going to going with this Peter Jackson "Lord of the Rings" sequence soundtracked by Clint Mansell's theme to Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem For A Dream" which is well work watching on a big screen played loud.

Thursday, 14 November 2019


My intention this morning was to walk into work, but I awoke to a deluge, it's dark and cold, so I think it may be a bus journey. Lots of thoughts going through my mind, a bit difficult to put into works because while not bad or downers they are not particularly positive and are the sort of thing that can put you on a downward path if other bad things happen.

It's another day, and another opportunity and I need to start on some documentation at work, effectively redoing documentation I have already written in a new template. Don't you find that often they template takes 75% of the documentation? The good thing about this is it's a single page, which will obviously expand when it's fleshed out.

I'm a great fan of a combination of white space and laconic text in documentation, because then, in my opinion, it's more likely that people will actually read it. Just like instructions for an IKEA flatpack , you think , sod it I'll just do it.

So as the black sky turns to grey the rain seems to have stopped, so why don't we go for "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" surely a rhetorical question by the brilliant Creedence Clearwater Revival.

This excellent video is part of the 50th Anniversary Vinyl Release (on the stripe below) , and I just love the lyrics to the song that opens with:

"Someone told me long ago 
 There's a calm before the storm
 I know it's been comin' for some time
 When it's over so they say
 It'll rain a sunny day
 I know shinin' down like water 

I want to know 
Have you ever seen the rain? 
I want to know 
Have you ever seen the rain 
Comin' down on a sunny day?"

Enjoy your Thursday my friends.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Time Runs

This morning's post was the 13th post this month on the 13th day of this month and I have done many posts about the number thirteen that you can read here so I won't mention that again (this month).

This morning I got up at the normal time but decided to do some washing and had to package a CD and send it off to Germany from my Discogs store. Given that I laso washed and showered got dressed but all of a sudden two hours had gone and I still had to post the CD.

I got out of the house and noticed the bus I needed to catch leaving the stop down from me, however there was so much traffic that I gently strolled to the next bus stop and caught it there.

There are times where no matter how much you plan things run away from you and you have to deal with it, but other times you take opportunities and things fall into place and at the end of the day things fit.

While it's good to be proactive, it's good to be able to be reactive when the situation calls for it.

So I know a short and almost pointless post, but it provides an excuse to include "Time Is Running Out" by Muse, and Muse is always good.