Thursday 31 December 2020


It's the last day of 2020 and 2021 is already going to be worse for 99% of the UK but that's what they voted for. The USA is trying to dislodge it's incompetent leader while the UK and it's media eulogise their idiot.

Weatherwise it's just very cold, at one point hitting -4⁰C , one flurry of snow.

It is hard to keep positive although I saw my granddaughter this week and her parents and that was really nice.

Postal borders reopened so my backlog of Discogs sales are on their way.

I have been working from home , so listening to a lot of great music as usual.

You can always find positives in any situation and I am going to share one of my favourite ever songs which I was sort of shocked by when it came out. The melody and sound is just so off kilter but it is great and it surprised me because "Cold Blue Excursion" was by Ray Dorset , mutton chopped leader of Mungo Jerry. I found a decent Youtube video for you to enjoy , not to everyone's taste but I like it

So now it's time for work , and this is my final post this year , which has averaged about four posts a week. We shall see what happens in 2021

Tuesday 29 December 2020

The Finest Song About Liverpool

A recent "reply" from Ian Prowse on Twitter has made me think about this. I've always considered Pete Wylie's anthemic "Heart as Big as Liverpool" because the fact that it's anthemic . It is a truly great song regardless of it's connections to Liverpool in it's subject and composer. It should be in everyone's music collection and I think has become ingrained in my Liverpool associations (I worked there on and off for for years). I also love the video and wish there was some way of having a video rotation at the top of this post.

"Does This Train Stop On Merseyside" does take it up a notch. First of all it is a great song, and very simple to play, with a great chorus, but it is also a wonderful four minute history of Liverpool , with references to slavery , locations , the Maryland Pyramid , Hillsborough and much more. It triggers questions in your mind about the city in an excellent way , so much that Ian Prowse and his band Amsterdam actually did a documentary about it.

My favourite rendition is Ian's solo performance in Liverpool cathedral though it was originally released by his band Amsterdam (who , when I first saw them I went and bought their two available albums they were that good) . I am going to share those lyrics here , as well as the documentary and links to buy the music. I think overall Ian Prowse wins this one but you are talking a 9.9 versus a ten, both superb songs.

"Mckenzie's soul lies above the ground
In that pyramid near Maryland
Easyjet is hanging in the air
Taking everyone to everywhere
See slave ships sailing into port
The blood of Africa's on every wall
Now there's a layline runs down Mathew Street
It's giving energy to all it meets
Hey, does this train stop
Does this train stop on Merseyside
Hey, does this train stop
Does this train stop on Merseyside
Alan Williams in the Marlboro Arms
Giving his story out to everyone
Famine boats are anchored in the bay
Bringing the poor and deperate
Hey, does this train stop
Does this train stop on Merseyside
Hey, does this train stop
Does this train stop on Merseyside
Boston babies bouncing on the ground
The riggers beaming out to every town
Whoa... Yeh... Yeh
Why don't you remember
Whoa... Yeh... Yeh
Why don't you remember
Can't concieve what those children done
Guess theres a meaness in the soul of man
Yorkshire policemen chat with folded arms
While people try and save their fellow fans
Hey, does this train stop
Does this train stop on Merseyside
Hey, does this train stop
Does this train stop on Merseyside"

Saturday 26 December 2020


In my last post I was saying that my most played record this week had been "Remember" by Shambeko! Say Wah! and yesterday in my Youtube wandering I found and explanation for the many band names of Pete Wylie. Although this is nowhere near complete here are some that I have found by perusing the track listing of "The Handy Wah! Whole" and other sources:

  • Pete Wylie
  • Wah! Heat
  • Wah!
  • Shambeko! Say Wah!
  • J.F. Wah!
  • The Mighty Wah!
  • Pete Wylie and The Oedipus Wrecks
  • Pete Wylie and The Mongrel
  • .. and many more
This morning I woke up and "Remember" was playing in my head , it is that great a record. If you watch the live take above you will see Pete giving his explanation with examples including Pink Floyd , Fleetwood Mac , Ultravox! (who also have an exclamation mark appended to their name like Wah!) and The Labour Party.

Pete is responsible for the greatest song about Liverpool ever which is "Heart as Big As Liverpool" and that is closely followed by "Does This Train Stop On Merseyside" by Ian Prowse (it's worth checking the documentary on this) but I found a great front room live version with Damien Dempsey of this which you can watch below.

So this is my start to Boxing Day , hpe yours is good to

Friday 25 December 2020

Feeling Like Scrooge

 .. after the ghosts has been.

Today has been a very relaxing Christmas Day, and I went out for a couple of walks , and was disappointe dto see the local Spar open , but it is a shop that I would only use as a last resort during the year. I wouldn't use it today as there are few Asian owned stores that are open.

On my walking I wished people "Merry Christmas" and got smiles and "Merry Christmas" in return , which was pleasant and uplifting.

A Whatsapp call with my youngest daughter meant I could see my granddaughter Alexis Leia as well as my son in law and their dog Molly.

Christmas films have been "A Muppets Christmas Carol" and "The Man Who Invented Christmas" both closely knit with Dicken's "A Christmas Carol".

I also spent a lot of time watching videos of Pete Wylie and Ian Prowse on Youtube , composers of the two greatest songs about Liverpool ever , "Heart As Big As Liverpool" and "Does This Train Stop On Merseyside". Either follow the blog tags below or search them out on Youtube.

This week my most played song has been "Remember by Shambeko Wah! (Pete Wylie) and the most played album "This Time It's Personal" by Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell, that has been this weeks biggest hit on my  Instagram Channel here.

So I will go with a live take of "Spanish Harlem" by John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell , not exactly seasonal but a great frun record to end the day on.

Monday 21 December 2020

Winter Solstice - 2020

 Today is the shortest day of the year, that is there is more darkness than light, so after today the days start to get longer.

This always reminds me of the final book in F Paul Wilson's "Adversary" series, where the days just keep getting shorter.

I have been out for a short walk to post a Christmas card to a good griend and outside it is dark and very cold. As I walking I noticed th elights on the West Road which looked almost magical , I would have loved to capture that in a photograph but the were to far away and my Google Pixel camera , good as it is, couldn't capture it. I always think back to twenty years back when we had film cameras and if you took a picture you then had to wait til you finished the film, then send it off to be developed before you knew when the photograph was OK.

Here is a write up about the Winter Solstice which is far better than what I could tell you, although any excuse for a celebration is good for me.

This is also an excuse to share the excellent "Solstice" by the incredibly talented Matt Berry who I also recently found out was one of the voices in "Disenchantment", as well as being part of teh wonderful "What We Do In The Shadows".

Enjoy this year's Winter Solstice , knowing that tomorrow there will be more light.

Thursday 17 December 2020

Two Sevens Clash

This is post number 200 this year , not my most prolific year, but a sort of milestone post and it's about a definite milestone album.

In 1977 Culture released a remarkable reggae album "Two Sevens Clash" . The title obviously referred to the year in which in was released, and while it sort of is an album that anyone with any taste should have in their collection this post is about the odd anniversary reissues of the albumes.

The first one is , as you would expect , a single album opening with "Calling Rasta Far I" and continuing through the album to become as essential as any Bob Marley or Burning Spear albums , that's not dissing those artists but showing how special this one is.

The Thirtieth Anniversary version drops the opener for some reason , then adds dub versions of album tracks, resulting in a still brilliant album , but surely they could have kept the opener. I am listening to this version as I type this, and I am thinking of maybe asking for a vinyl copy as a Christmas present.

Most recently I purchased a download of the fortieth anniversary version, which is less than a fiver for an absolute classic and consists of two discs, the original album with  "Calling Rasta Far I" restored as the opener and second disc of dub versions , reworkings and extra songs. You can listen yo snippets of the albums on the Amazon links below , and it is a wonderful album to listen to.

There is further information on the Wikipedia entry and something I didn't on the origin of the title:

"Singer Joseph Hill said "Two Sevens Clash," Culture's most influential record, was based on a prediction by Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the "sevens" met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day."

So another reason why you should listen to it , and why it should be in your collection, I am gonna line up the 40th Anniversary version for my #MusicWhileYouWork on Instagram tomorrow.

Wednesday 16 December 2020


The weather over the last week has been so depressing , grey and featureless, nothing to photograph and it's too cold and wet to go out. At night there is the odd good photograph to be had , but it is extremely demotivating. Add to this pressure at work (although that is become much easier as I manage to resolve the problems besetting me) , it's already dark and I have finished "The Frankenstein Chronicles" nut still on "The Other Log of Phileas Fogg" and "Imajica" , though TV wise I look at all the series that I could start and at the moment I am shying away from it , though I recently watch a German take of "The Colour Out Of Space" and the unexpectedly excellent remake of "Whiskey Galore".

I usually don't take to remakes although there have been good remakes of bad originals and bad remakes of great originals ("Psycho" and "The Haunting") come to mind.

So I'll just go with Elvis Costello's take on the Leon Payne / Eddie Noack song "Psycho" .

I know this is very short , but it's grey and dark and "Pointless" is coming on and I can't be bothered to do an evening walk.

Saturday 12 December 2020

Temporally Speaking

I find it amazing how time flies by if you are doing something that needs to be done , or you are enjoying it, but drags like hell when you are waiting for something , doing absolutely nothing , or doing something that bores you. 

I love doing things that interest me and detest boredom but when time is dragging or flying I always call to mind "The eighty Minute Hour" by Brian Aldiss, where the controllers slow down timepieces when you are at work and speed them up when you are not. If that were the situation , how would we know.

This morning I started out extra early , got things done then , had to do more thanks to a milk leak in my rucksack meaning that had to go in the wash , and suddenlty you don't feel any further forward that you thought you would be but you actually are.

It's a bit like my current paperback "The Other Log of Phileas Fogg" , it's only 166 pages but the font is so tiny it is going much slower than I expected. Having said that, though I know the overall concept and have seen a couple of films I have never read Jules Verne's "Around The World In Eighty Days" , although my girls as children used to love the cartoon character Willy Fogg, but this book is giving me a good grounding in the original book while setting my mind off on lots of "What is happening here" questions. I am enjoying it and , unusually , this is taking longer than expected , and "Imajica" on the Kindle Fire is going very slowly , but , in all honesty , that is a book I never want to end despite having read it several times.

The weather this week has been totally dreich and showing no signs of changing , but weather is weather. The thing I don't like about it is the featureless skies.

There are lots of songs that refer to time , but I'm going with Todd Rundgren's "Time Heals" from the album "Healing", the video was a staple of MTV in the early eighties.

Thursday 10 December 2020

So Nineteenth Century

 My current TV series is "The Frankenstein Chronicles" , a hybrid of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" novel and "Ripper Street". I was a bit apprehensive about this but it has turned out to be a great watch , very high production values and barring what I have told you I don't want to give anything away. Even the abhorrent Laurence Fox turns in an excellent performance , and Ed Stoppard in this series is ideally avoided.

It's definitely nineteenth century with Sean Bean being Sean Bean with the transition of the Bow Street Runners to the Peelers. It is a Netflix series and well worth the temporal investment. I've just realised that Sean Bean's name visually rhymes but does not do so audibly.

My current paperback book is "The Other Log of Phileas Fogg" by Philip Jose Farmer, an alternate take on Jules Verne's "Around The World in Eighty Days" continually asking questions on why certain things happen in the original book that are unexplained and coming out for the real reasons for the events. There are elements of Sherlock Holmes in there and I think a lot of these books are available for free if you have a Kindle or equivalent. So my paperback reading is also nineteenth century. 

On my Kindle I am still reading Clive Barker's "Imajica" so that is more vaguely twentieth century although it reaches back into history and across five universal dimensions.

So that's me being nineteenth century in the twenty first century so to soundtrack this we will share Todd Rundgren's take on Gilbert & Sullivan's "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" from that appeared on his album "Todd"

Love unrequited, robs me of me rest,
Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers,
Love, nightmare like, lies heavy of me chest,
And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers.
When you're lying awake with a dismal headache and
Repose is taboo'd by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to
Indulge in, without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire, the bed-clothes conspire of
Usual slumber to plunder you:
First your counter-pane goes, and uncovers your toes,
And your sheet slips demurely from under you;
Then the blanketing tickles, you feel like mixed
Pickles, so terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you're hot and you're cross, and you tumble and
Toss 'til there's nothing 'twixt you and the
Then the bed-clothes all creep to the ground


Observations on a Piece of Clear Plastic

 A Contact Lens

Sticks to the Eye

Comes To Terms With The Eye

To Focus

And Make Your Sight Good

It is not Mechanical

It Is Not Alive

But It Works

Human Invention

Never Fails to Amaze

So Many Things


This Piece of Clear Plastic

Makes My Life

So Convenient

It doesn't Steam Up

And works 99% Of The Time

Yeah m this is a sort of Dylan like Tarantula stream of consciousness thoughts about wearing contact lenses. Is it a poem. You decide that because it has little structure , doesn't rhyme or conform to anything apart for using words you will find in a dictionary, much like me, but I felt I had to write it down. 

I reckon really it's a non-poem , it looks like a poem, but it isn't. I have actually used that term before. If you follow the Non-Poem link I've actually written about ten of these pieces and that surprised me, it's almost like I consider myself a writer.

Maybe "Blind Vision" by Blancmange will be a suitable accompaniment.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

The Fabulous Presentations and Music of Chris Rea

 I am writing this because Facebook wont let me properly share a recent YouTube album cover video that I post on three Chris Rea releases :

I have also discovered another set "La Passione" which could be a Christmas present as it's another well presented set with good reviews and given my reevaluation of the first of these sets will be a worthy addition to my collection.

The first one I didn't think I liked. The presentation pack is wonderful but thought the music was a little too sixties stylised. It consists of a book with lots of photographs and some of Chris's paintings (he is a great artist) , two ten inch vinyl albums and three vinyl replica CDs.

Yesterday , thanks to the excellent RPM supplied record player (close on two years old now) I played the first vinyl album , and while very Shadows influenced you can tell it's Chris Rea, and it sounded a lot better than I expected. I am listening to my digital copy as I type this and it is extremely listenable, and you can sort of spot the songs that the tunes have been lifter from, but that is no bad thing, it just adds another level of enjoyment to the listening, and The Shadows are always a great starting point (two of my favourites are "Apache" and "Wonderful Land" and Hank Marvin was responsible for the killer intro to Cliff Richard's best ever record , his debut single "Move It").

As this progresses it becomes more and more contemporary Chris Rea rather than Chris Rea being The Shadows.

"Santo Spirito Blues" is a book with two film DVDs , accompanying CD soundtracks and a stand alone CD bearing the title of the collection. I haven't yet watched the films but the "Bull Fighting" is extremely Spanish influenced guitar and orchestral music and very good.

The biggest surprise is the half hour "Santo Spirito" CD  which sounds like "Wish You Were Here" era Pink Floyd with overlaid accordions, shockingly and unexpectedly excellent and will be on my player a lot more often. A very impressive package.

"Blue Guitars" is an absolute tour-de-force, 11 CDs each with a different blues style all composed by Chris Rea and performed by him and the band , plus a DVD and page upon page of excellent Chris Rea art pieces. When this was released it was about £30 , which is less than £3 a CD, the art book alone is probably worth that. You will pay £60 for a copy on Amazon and there may be copies on Discogs as well.

11 CDs provide about eight hours continual listening and then you have a DVD to watch and an artbook to enjoy. The amazing thing is that this was produced in under two years and I still enjouy dipping into this today.

Hopefully people will check this out, and Chris Rea is an artist who still produces impressive album packages in this digital age. Although you can download the MP3 copies , you really want the physical copies to appreciate how good they are.

A Nightmare

 I woke from , what for me is, a recurring nightmare, although it is very mild compared with what most people would class as a nightmare. I think I am slightly claustrophobic , so it's a manifestation based on that.

Earlier this week I dreamt I was in a house and many of the rooms had no windows, big buildings with no windows I find, creepy, rooms with no windows creepier because you are inside.

The latest was for some reason I was holidaying in the far north of Scotland (which I would like to do) , and while being shown around the place I had to squeeze past the host in the doorway to the "main room" and then felt even being there it was too small to get out. It's this situation where you are at the risk of getting stuck and unable to free yourself and often have variations on that theme, though I always manage to get past the difficult part.

In real like it reminds me of the ascent of Scott's Monument in Edinburgh which manged to combine my claustrophobia with vertigo, but I managed to do that and got some great photographs, and to be honest, my body size is not increasing, so once this lockdown is dealt with (if that happens) I may do it again. Similarly the "gateway to Cow Hill from Grandstand Road is a very tight squeeze for me , although I could climb over or through the fence.

I don't like small caves or underground tunnels and when I see these cavers squeezing through holes , often also underwater it sends my blood cold, I think that happens in the film "The Descent" , which for me is a real horror film.

Other nightmare scenarios are being up high and having to traverse gaps in stairs or ladders to go up, knowing you have to do the same coming back.

The thing is, with all these nightmares, I either get through it or wake up, and with tonight's , because I am on a staycation, I can write about this at 3:30 am knowing I don't have to get up at 5:45 as usual. Every day is like a Saturday , although today I have to go to Newcastle University to help with research into my Cirrhosis of the Liver so it won't be just lying around doing nothing, listening to music , read or playing.

So something dark to accompany this post, or maybe not. I'm been listening to a lot of Chris Rea recently and maybe "Nothing To Fear" is a more suitable piece to sign off with. I just posted a Youtube video of some of his amazing album packaging here, although some people may think that Chris Rea's music is a nightmare but given his prodigiously good output I can forgive "Driving Home For Christmas". 

It is now 4:10 am

Friday 4 December 2020

Here Comes The Rain Again

Today has been cold and miserable out , persistent precipitation that just makes it uncomfortable to be out. Today I took a day off work , got a haircut from my local Turkish Barber Skin Fade which apparently refers to a hair styling technique and Ahmet gave me some very nice Turkish Delight which I have already partaken of.

Today has seen me finish off American Horror Story:Freaks which , although there is a lot of graphic violence as generally more a tragedy than a horror story , despite having the scariest clown I know , and the finale was actually quite uplifting (I think) . I am watching "Prodigal Son" with Michael Sheen sort of stealing it amid a brilliant cast and have now started on "The Frankenstein Chronicles" which is wandering the realms of "Ripper Street".

"Coldheart Canyon" is now finished and I don't remember the rather quiet but still decent ending of another excellent Clive Barker novel. The next one is "The Other Log of Phileas Fogg" by Philip Jose Farmer , a book which I have totally forgotten reading but the title gives you clues.

The rain is still falling and there are rumours of snow, although I haven't seen any yet.

I just realised that because I have had a relatively restful day , I can actually do a blog post and am under no pressure to get up early tomorrow and it is nice to feel completely unpressured.

So I am just left to choose a song to go with this and the simplest option is to go with the Eurythmics one that I stole the title from.

Thursday 3 December 2020

The Thirteenth Month

I have often wondered why we have twelve months when we say four weekes is a month. If that were so we'd be starting our thirteenth month tomorrow and would probably called Undecember (latin for eleven is Undecim) . Here is an explanation , apparently the romans started with ten months but then tried to match it to the (just over) 12 lunar cycles in a year so a 13 month year would be out of sync with th elunare cycles.

The thing remind me of imperial weights and money systems  (12 pennies to a shilling , 5 shillings to a crown , then there's half crowns , twenty shillings in a pound and twenty one shillings in a guinea. Then sixteen ounces to a pound, fourteen pounds to a stone etc , then you have twelve inches to a foot , three feet to a yard , six feet to a fathom etc.

Then you have tennis scoring which is weird as hell and the Duckworth-Lewis method in cricket for curtailed matches and all the weird scoring possibilities with light stopping play and more.

Metric is a far more sensible measurement system , although people still have problems with our swith to decimalisation fifty years back.

So this is my first post of the month and think I'm going to go with "The Killing Moon" by Echo & The Bunnymen because of the lunar cycles that prompted this post in th efirst place.

Monday 30 November 2020

Physical Book or EBook on St Andrew's Day

p> I am currently reading two Clive Barker books , "Imajica" (my favourite ever book) and "Coldheart Canyon" (rather excellent) the former on my Kindle Fire the later a hardback edition . The former I'm only a quarter through (though this is the biggest ebook I have ever read) and the latter I am 90% through though it's half the size of of "Imajica" but I still find physical books easier to read than ebooks although ebooks are very convenient.

With a device like a Kindle you can carry a library with you and if you have an internet connection you can add to that very easily , but it must always have power, but that does allow you read in the dark, but reading is dependent on the device having power and working.

ebooks are great for reference books of any form as they allow you to easily search and can be updated and annotated, though you can do the latter with physical books. 

Both formats have their benefits and I benefit from both, although I have added to my ebook library with numerous free volumes which I have yet to read , whereas with physical books I think I whether I have somewhere to put them (I don't but that never stops me).

Today is St. Andrew's day and I have a feeling that Scotland will soon be leaving UK much to the delight of the Scots and Little Englanders, so maybe we will go for the excellent "Little Britain" by Dreadzone.

Sunday 29 November 2020

Leaving The Devil's Country

On my walk on this foggy Sunday I noticed a few cars with a full set of flat tires and two tire outers that had come off something. I would think that if you can't be bothered to keep your tyres up then get rid of the motor rather than sit and let it rot. The cars were all fairly neglected and soften used as a dump for detritus that they had decided not to bin.

Coming to the end of "Coldheart Canyon" and the Devil's Country has served it's purpose and has now unraveled and been taken apart by Lilith and the ghosts and there is still seventy pages left in the book , which has been rather excellent. The Devil's Country is almost a McGuffin as the story could have been told without it, but it's the only part that really stuck in my mind from the first time I read the book.

But the finale now has me wondering what is going to happen next, which is always a good thing when you are reading a book.

So it's a long time since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 , that's not last century, it's the century before last, and I have been enjoying a lot of vinyl over the weekend , and for some reason Cozy Powell's "Fance With The Devil" comes to mind with the riff lifted from "Third Stone From The Sun" which my friend Harry Clark reckoned was lifted from the "Coronation Street" them, listen to them all on the Amazon links below and see what you think.