Tuesday 31 December 2019

Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New

This Christmas and New Year break has seen me hit by 'flu' and a cold and I am still probably only functioning at 50% but still smiling and looking forward to the new decade. We lost the wonderful Neil Innes but we have his digital, musical and comedic legacy to keep smiles on our faces. Technology has enabled some amazing situations, if we lose someone their immortality is now virtually guaranteed (as long as they leave something behind). It is one of the many reasons I post on this blog.

In previous years I have sent texts to people on my phone lists but this year I just see that as spamming them, they know I am thinking about them and I know they are thinking about me.

So this is my "Happy New Year" post taking a line from George Harrison's "Ding Dong" which sort of sums up some of my feelings:

Go Forward
Be Happy
Look Out For Others
Accept Compliments
Stay Positive
Look For New Things
Enjoy Yourself
Be With Friends
Make Me Time
Make Time To Be Social
And Have a Happy New Year

So this is my Happy New Year to you all.

Wrestle Poodles And Win

After the smiling positivity of my last two posts yesterday I saw the news that Neil Innes had unexpectedly died. I'm not sure when  I first was exposed to him via the Bonzo Dog Band, possibly on "Do Not Adjust Your Set" , the the hit single with "I'm The Urban Spaceman" and listening to "The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse" in the Sixth Form College common room  to the annoyance of the "cool heads" but there was a guy there who took no shit from them and we continually played it, and when they listened they liked some of the stuff.

Although essentially born in trad jazz the Bonzo's were the English equivalent of The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa's lot) seemingly anarchic and chaotic but absolutely spot on musicians and composers covering all sorts of genres meaning you didn't necessarily know what to expect. They incurred the wrath of politician Quentin Hogg for crediting him with "Piggy Grunt" on "The Intro and The Outro", and the band continued to delight and surpries.

While Bonzo's songs were often credited to Innnes with front man Vivian Stanshall , they were not a two man unit, with other members contributing much of their repertoire.

But this is essential my remembrance of Neil Innes who along with the Bonzo's was the mind behind the Rutles , absolutely spot on Beatles pastiche band and many other musical and comedy collaborations including beith dubbed the seventh Monty Python member.

So although our Urban Spaceman has left the plane he will always bring a smile to my face , and he's now joined Vivian in the next phase of existence.

Monday 30 December 2019

Stay Happy

This post is post 366 this year and while there are generally assumed to be 365 days in a year it's actually 365.25 days a year so to adjust it every four years we have a leap year , and the devil in me says , "Ah but you've not really averaged on a day, have you?" , so this post is just nails it.

As I was sharing my last post, vehicle I love "Happy" by The Carpenters , I probably love "Happy" by The Rolling Stones even more, with it's joyous hedonistic loping riff and brilliant night out lyrics so that was on my mind during the last post and will be the piece for this post. It's from "Exile On Main Street" probably my favourite Rolling Stones album.

The thing is Amazon's search algorithm seems to have gone all to pot. Search for "Rolling Stones Happy" and yu get "Exile on Main Street" then clothes and playlists and unrelated album, so the list below is my personal choices.

Sport wise this week has been awful for Preston North End and Newcastle which is a bit of a bring down, but I expect both teams to pick themselves up and kick on from here.

I also am not going to hit my step target for the month, although really the monthly target is a notional one as part of the three month Million Step Challenge so that means I haven't really missed a target there, although it feels like it, but again I need to kick on with that. Also the 'flu' I've had really stopped me from walking so I sort of have an excuse.

So without further ado it's back to work now, and remember what a smile can do for for you , smile lots today.

Sunday 29 December 2019

If I Make You Smile ....

... then I take that as a huge compliment. I do like talking to people , sometimes reassuring them that they can deal with their situation like my dad with his upcoming cataract operation. Smiling boosts our health and immune system so just smiling is a quick win. If you smile at someone and they smile back then that's two people who's lives have improved. . Here's a few more reasons to smile.

It may be difficult to smile in bad times but I always try and find positives in every situation no matter how unpositive they may be. A smile always helps.

"A smile is formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth. Some smiles include a contraction of the muscles at the corner of the eyes, an action known as a Duchenne smile. Among humans, smiling is an expression denoting pleasure, sociability, happiness, joy or amusement."

"Smiling Boosts Your Immune System 

 Smiling can also boost your overall health. The act of smiling actually helps the human immune system to function more effectively. It is thought that when you smile, immune function improves because you are more relaxed (thanks to the release of certain neurotransmitters)."

That's a couple of thoughts on why you should smile, and do it now. Your mood will improve, your day will improve and if you share it with others their day improve as well and making lots of people feel better is a total win/ win.

Although I've used this recently, it's one of my mums favourite songs and probably helped me appreciate the Carpenters.

By the way this is post 365 , so I have done one post a day for 2019

Art Decade

I've just realised that this is the last Sunday and the last week of this decade, it just suddenly came upon me, this time next week it will be 2020. I think I am finally getting recovered from the #flu' and speaking to my dad he told me, touch wood, that he had never had it. I do quite feel tongue in cheek when people have it continually. This is not the worst I have had it as I have been able to move, but now I will be expected to be there for people and to do things that are expected of an average human being.

In the last decade I've learned things , forgotten things ,done different jobs, bought things that have turned out fairly useless,, set targets, still not written any songs or a book and we are now on the cusp of another decade.

No doubt there will be some numerical significance gleaned from from the onset of 2020 but you often find such significance is just in the nature of the numbers themselves. Numbers only reach significance when they actually represent something significant. Humans always look for significance and patterns , and lets face it if we could work out how these things work we could improve our lives significantly but random is impossible to predict, that's it's nature.

So anyway I am going with Bowie's song from the instrumental side of "Low" (i particularly like the colour changing underground video accompaniment for this) on the grey drab Sunday morning, it's ironic that I finish this decade by failing to hit my step target for the month, but I am likely to hit a post a  day for the year for  the blog which I didn't expect to hit, so sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don't quite hit it..

The thing is once you have done certain things you do not need to repeat them.

Saturday 28 December 2019

This Here 'flu' and Cold

.. has certainly allowed me to write about my situation and the sheer annoyance of being stopped from living normally and being unable to do even the very basics. This is the first month I won't hit 340K steps for several years although the three month rolling million steps will be fairly safe, as I am currently 57K short for the month and have three days left, and normally I over hit by at least 40K so that will be all good.

The worst feeling is feeling you should be doing something but being unable to do anything because your mind or body is just stopping you from actually doing anything. Your mind's ability to think shuts down and you get this real restlessness to just do something, which in itself is good.

I am annoyed that I can no longer apply labels to the blog, but if I can't I can't. I can still search it.

So I am overheating again, so need to strip off (don't worry no pictures) so what should I go with. There are lot's of medical related songs that I can share, but I'll go with the original Delia Derbyshire / Ron Grainer "Doctor Who Theme".

Friday 27 December 2019


Today I have to rest, no ifs, no buts , rest. I am improving but the end of each day I have regressed, and also needed to majorly cool down. It is always to tempting to just do a little thing, and this morning I heard a bin lorry in the distance so thought it would be prudent to take out my bin and my neighbour's to be picked up if and when the bin lorry comes.

Yesterday I taught myself the basic notes to "Troika" by Prokofiev , the perfect Christmas musical piece and just wondering whether to record it or not, it is relatively simple and I am not going to do the whole piece but I've always loved it sine Pete Sinfield and Greg Lake lifted it for the memorable instrumental section in "I Believe In Father Christmas" which is another perfect Christmas song,

As I blog I keep seeing spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and am not sure if it's my own incompetence of the built in spelling and grammar checker. I also cannot add labels either as it locks up the blogging software, which is more than annoying. I did try Wordpress but found it unusable, I know I'm in the minority, but it just never worked for me.

So we will go with "Troika" by Prokofiev which is lovely, seasonal and relaxing.It is from the "Lieutenant Kije" suite with Sting also raided for "Russians"

Thursday 26 December 2019


I had a relapse yesterday, part of this is due to my mind wanting to do anything and my body not being up to it, this is then followed by me getting into bed, my body overheating , and heating up the contents of my insides and making me feel queasy to sick and unable to eat, which then weakens me further.

Sleeping on top of the bed with the window ope definitely improved the situation. At the moment my physical ability is really just about making a cup of tea and that's it. My problem is that I always go further than I should resulting in a potential relapse.

I know it's still Christmas and I am not one of these loons who are out at the sales in the cold often spending money they don't have on bargains that maybe aren't all they seem. Remember it's only a bargain if you were going to get one anyway. That's me just being a humbug.

I think I am gonna have a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast, wil nip out for eggs to have scrambled eggs and then really rest. I know I've put this blog post together and think I'll go with Graham Parker's "Heat Treatment" , great record, Enjoy.

Wednesday 25 December 2019


Last night I think I shook off the 'flu' , I've lost 9lb but think that this may be muscle wastage rather than losing fat. That may be not too good but means that I am still weak but it has put me in a good position weight wise.

This morning on Classic FM a version of the Christmas Carol came on that sounded like the choir was on speed, and though that "Ah, that's another UK hit single that wasn't in English. The ones I can think of are as follows:

"Gaudete - Steeleye Span"
"La Bamba - Richie Valens / Los Lobos"
"Ça plane pour moi - Plastic Bertrand"
"Autobahn - Kraftwerk"
"Je T'aime,...Moi Non Plus - Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg"

I am sure there are at least two more , which I will add if I remember them, there are others with snippets of non English in them but I am just thinking of the ones with no English lyrics at all.

I will leave you with the Steeleye Span take as I am feeling a little queasy, but at least I have done a Christmas Day post.

Enjoy your Christmas my friends.

Monday 23 December 2019


Today in bed I felt there was someone there with me, I don't know who, but I know someone was looking out for me.

Later I saw a dark sheet hanging over me with hands and a head full of teeth, looking fairly frightening, but I have confidence in my own abilities to fight off flimsy night demons and that is doubled because I know so many people want me back to 100% for both personal and professional reasons, all of them good. The demon stayed where it was and finally melted away but was fairly impressive.

During this influenza some of the side effects have been night blindness, dizziness almost to the point of collapse and a lot of this possibly caused by anaemia, which is not being helped by me not wanting to eat. Today I decided on a fried egg sandwich for breakfast but that just didn't happen, and a trip to the chemist for a folic acid prescription didn't really do me any good either, apart from getting more tablets that I need, thanks to my wonderful doctor at Thornfield Medical Group. I love our NHS.

My mind is tired but by body is awake, I had the heated up remains of a Mirch Aloo Begun from the amazing Rajnagar and managed to eat that without too much of a problem. I am now drinking Hot Chocolate as I write this in the hope I can kick start my body to properly repair itself. I am a bit like my dad in assuming my own indestructibility although I think I look after myself a bit more carefully.

After the dream I think an appropriate sequence would be "Night on Bare Mountain" by Mussorgsky from Disney's "Fantasia" one of my mum's favourite films and a wonderful introduction to classical music for young people, if only they had shown that in music lessons at school I'm sure a lot more of us would have taken notice. The piece also found it's way on to the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack as "Night on Disco Mountain".

The Newest Great Christmas Song

I was remarking that most of the Christmas songs that get repeated plays on the radio are from the seventies, when it seemed everyone was releasing a Christmas song. Most were decent efforts though I though Kate Bush's and Queen's were not up to their usual standards.

Since then memorable Christmas records have been few and far between, although this may be just due to like of radio play, yest we had "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid and "Christmas Wrapping"  by The Waitresses, but you seldom get to hear "Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas" by The Eels or "Alan Parsons in A Winter Wonderland" by Grandaddy.

My own favourite though is "Christmas Song" by The Raveonettes (from 2011, yes I know nearly ten years old) , who if you don't know them are a sort of cross between Roxette and Jesus and Mary Chain, absolutely perfection. This is my all time favourite Christmas song...... so far.

Also they didn't stop with that "Come On Santa" is absolutely gorgeous and "Christmas Ghosts" is sheer perfection.

Water Wins Whatever

I've titled this thinking that it sounds like the name for a Brian Eno piece, as I am still reading the David Sheppard autobiography "On Some Faraway Beach" and I am going to add some Brian Eno CDs to my Discogs sale list, not because I don't like them , just because I have digital or vinyl copies and the CDs are probably never going to be played again, so it's time for someone else to enjoy or discover them. They're not up yet because I need to find the CDs first.

One of the results of having the roof leak is that often when I hear a regular noise I assume it's dripping water, that is a leak from somewhere. This happens quite often and the usual culprit is a ticking watch or a clock. Now I know this is something I am able to cope with but there people out there who this would drive to distraction, you almost start looking for things to be leaks.

Since I had the roof fixed properly by Responsive Roofing the situation has been perfect, but the worry is still in the back of your mind though it will disappear eventually I know. I spoken with lots of people who have come across leaks that they just can't track down, often influenced by wind, wind speed and direction. Water can be insidious, discovering ways through that builders did not even think possible, and remember water can wear away pretty robust stuff, look at  The Grand Canyon and so many gorges carved by water.

So to go with this I'm going the share "By This River" and tranquil piece by Brian Eno from his "Before and After Science" album.


More Strange Dreams

I'm still hit by 'flu' although the benefit so far is a two kilogram weight loss. Yesterday it was 3:30 pm when I woke which meant I obviously needed the rest and sleep. I searched influenza for treatments and it is very infectious, so this close to Christmas I won't me going into work today, and the reason I'm writing this is that I hit the sack at 8pm and woke up coughing so thought sitting up would give a bit of respite and also make me ready to go back to sleep.

I've been having some mad dreams, one that I had a collection of apps on my phone that would tell me when I could go to the toilet , although they all used different criteria. I think that was just due to the back pain I was feeling , and while I am sure there are apps out there for things like that , it's not something I would have or use, and certainly haven't got , though when I woke I did check, and there is nothing there , the only health based apps I have on the phone are Google Fit and EMIS (for booking doctor's appointments and reordering prescriptions).

Then I had this weird dream that I went out late at night and (remember I live in Fenham, Newcastle) and for some reason was at a Metro station in West Jesmond and there was a bus with a huge bed instead of seats, I then took a bus which went down avery narrow street which reminded me of the main street in Totnes (in Devon) and ended up at the seafront in Seaburn (Sunderland) which meant I would have to walk back. This is what happens in dreams although I am sure it will give any psycho analysts a lot to play with.

As I said this was keeping me awake so now I have it down I can go back to bed for rest and recuperation. Possibly an appropriate piece to accompany this is Marilyn Manson's take on the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams are Made of This".

Goodnight darlings .....

Saturday 21 December 2019

Full English

This morning I felt like I wanted a Full English Breakfast, but there is no way I could actually eat one, my stomach couldn't accommodate it. I felt like this a few times before and I know this is a side effect of the 'flu' but I have though what a great invention it would be to experience the pleasure of eating, the tastes and textures without actually consuming. I know we have to eat to keep going but enjoying the pure pleasure of taste is wonderful as long as you are eating something that you like.

I thought I would just mention this as I am now suffering from a streaming cold and still feeling a bit battered although better than yesterday.

This is going to be a very short post because there is not much you can say about a Full English Breakfast , it is what is, and I used to be able to make room for one any time, now it's not so often. I still love the smells , tastes and textures although I am unable to enjoy it as often as I used to do.

I say this is a very short post, but I still think it will pass 250 words which I always set as a general target, and in the past I have done some very short posts, more like notes rather than blog posts.

The song I have got to go with is "Don't Quote Me On That" by Madness for opening line:

"Eggs, Bacon, Beans and a Fried Slice"

I love that song (originally the "B" side of "Night Boat To Cairo"), I love that band.


It's 5:30 am on 21/12 , I've had 9 hours rest if not sleep, and have had back pains and was semi dreaming that I had a email and spreadsheet strapped to my back and that was causing the pain. I know that makes no sense whatsoever and kept thinking of I could close it the pain world go away. The pain has gone and so has the email / spreadsheet. I was trying to think why that was in my mind but there is no reason for it.

I am still very hot (the heating isn't on) but think I am improving, though I think today will be another day in bed just resting and recovering.

I do have Christmas cards to send and thanks to Amazon have got all my Christmas presents.

One good thing about this illness is that it helps with weight loss, which in my situation is a good thing.

Given I am stil not 100% (not even 50%) we will go with The Pogues "Sick Bed of Cuchulainn" , the opening song from "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash" ,which is rather more energetic than I feel at the moment.

Friday 20 December 2019


'flu' is one of the few words with a double contraction, from the full influenza. Last night I came home feeling like I had been stamped on bu cloven hoofed animals and spent an hour just shaking and finally retiring to my bed. Today I intended to go to work and bring home my laptop, but I wasn't even up to that, so spent today in bed in two hour sleep blocks, also only my sight was affected , when it was really dark I could see nothing, and that is scarier that the physical pain.

I know this is not real 'flu' because I can get out of bed and do things , I got hit by this ten years ago and could not leave my bed.

This is why I have been relatively quiet, and I hope I feel better soon, because it doesn't feel good at the moment. An appropriate song I suppose is "Still Ill" by The Smiths, and I found a live take from The Tube in 1984.

I know this post is short but I need to get back to bed, I've only done 212 steps today and have obviously fallen behind with my blog posting but hopefully will feel more up to it soon.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Opa Loka

Yesterday I used some recording software to create a blog post. The name Opa Loka came to mind, I know it is a song by Hawkwind and could refer to the city in Florida , which I didn't know existed.

I had to edit it and it's still messy so I need a lot of practice to start using it in earnest.

Right I'm just going to actually try this as a blog post.

I'm walking.
I just walked across the frozen Leazes Park and I want to see if this actually captures the text, so that I can actually use it for a blog post.

I'm actually walking while I've just put out a stream of consciousness and ,so to speak, a lot of writers  use software to actually scripts or whatever, and then you've got to go through and edit.

I've actually done one of these once before, but obviously I've not done this much, but this one I'm trying to actually hit 366 posts this year and I need to do maybe another 16 .

I'm just walking back now. It's very very cold so I'm not too sure what music I'll use to soundtrack this but obviously I'm going to get this text, get it back, format it, and it'll make  no sense whatsoever so it's going to be a "Stranger Things" for you and  just another test for me but it would be great if I could actually talk and make sense as it means that you can actually say things and nobody's stopping you you can put it out and you can say what you want.

Really I use mine as a diary to remember things or just record things that I either have missed or I want to remember and want to be able to go back to, and I'm not too sure how the police siren is going to affect this because that's what  was happening as I'm recording but I'm going to actually stop this now as my hands are absolutely freezing at St. James's Park.

Need to get across the road to Citygate and hopefully get in the warm have some porridge and maybe a cup of coffee and thinking maybe some Hot Chocolate. I know that Tesco actually sell that so I will divert via Tesco's get some hot chocolate and maybe we'll have a soundtrack by the band Hot Chocolate you actually did some very very good records so this is the end of this ok


We'll go with "Brother Louie"

From 77

Yesterday I recording what was going to be my next blog post, but due to a headache and other stuff last night I went to bed early and will try and use that later today.

This morning I have a hospital appointment for my Cirrhosis trial which has been going on for many years and thanks to this making me aware of my situation it means that my body is still fully functioning if not perfect. You can find all the posts on this if you click on the words or the associated tags.

Tomorrow I have a 7:40 doctors appointment which I do roughly each month as it allows me to officially check my weight and blood pressure, and if anyone is going to help you with your weight loss it's a good doctor and practice and mine is Thornfield Medical Group. who I have been with for twenty years and they have always been brilliant. Despite the nefarious attacks of our current government , they and our whole NHS have always been brilliant.

So I now need to get out of the house, the footpaths are frosty, it is cold, and when I finish at the Freeman Hospital, I need to go to work and sort out data for another idiot HMRC made up requirement going back over ten years running on a network is really not fit for purpose.

So again reading "On Some Faraway Beach" I saw "Love Goes To Building On Fire" and that is this mornings share.


Tuesday 17 December 2019

Exclamation Mark

Although I've rightly described David Sheppard's Brian Eno biography "On Some Faraway Beach" as like wading through treacle (I'm just over half way through, the book is also extremely readable. Almost every page throws up something I either didn't know or hadn't noticed.

The band Ultravox were originally called Ultravox! , a homage to the German band Neu! (originators of motorik, and heavy influencers of lots of bands) , the exclamation mark was dropped at some point , possibly when John Foxx left and Midge Ure joined. That was one thing I was unaware of.

During the Brian Eno and Steve Lillywhite produced first album Brian Eno was invited to work with Bowie (who had recently been producing Iggy Pop) on his next album at the Château d’Hérouville where Elton John recorded "Honky Chateau" and the single "Honky Cat" was obviously a nod to this.

The thing is this album was "Low" , the first of the "Berlin Trilogy" and while Bowie , Eno and Iggy were between Berlin and the Château d’Hérouville I was unaware and always assumed that the album was fully formed in Berlin.

We will go with the finest song from the Ultravox! debut , "My Sex", it is disturbingly good , with John Foxx's monotone machine voice over a fragmented lush backing.