Tuesday 31 March 2020

Billy Bolero Again

One of the things about working from home is that my sleeping seems have got much better, not that it was bad, it's just better.I can go to bed later , get up later and still put in a good day. The working environment is not quite as good as work but I have found how to split my 24" screen so that I still have effectively three screens to work on (see here)

Yesterday I was posting on Ravel's "Bolero" and then after searching wanted to include Alex Harvey's "Billy Bolero" but it wasn't available on Youtube, so I found a version with Frank Zappa conducting his band in "Barcelona" which was good.

This morning I decided to put together a slide show but Windows Movie Maker has been removed from Windows 10 and the alternative method is to use Photos which is slow and has far less functionality than Movie Maker. So I downloaded Movie Maker 10 recommended on the Microsoft Store. All was going fine until I wanted to save the project . No you have to buy it, admittedly only a tenner.

But you have to time every clip individually and can't apply durations and transitions across the whole slideshow or time the transitions. So it's adequate and better than Photos.

So I've created a slideshow , and this is the first one I 've done with this software, hopefully I've missed something , and documentation seems to be an unnecessary extra for them, but at least the song is now on Youtube and you can enjoy it, I love it.

It's only available as a demo on digital download , but if you can get a copy of "Soldier On The Wall" then you will be fine.

Monday 30 March 2020

Billy Bolero

The intention was not to post as often as last year , and up to now I am outstripping last year, though last year i posted 50 times in April and doubt that will happen this year, this is post 63 so averages two posts every three days which should be adequate, no one is asking for more and there is plenty of more pertinent stuff for you to enjoy.

Today I went out for a walk, I am slightly worried I am going to miss my monthly target, but it was a beautiful day and it was quite amusing with so many people practising social isolation but waving and shout / chatting greetings. Then I was walking along Nunsmoor Road and there was a woman walking her dog on the other footpath and it wasn't on a lead, and when it saw me it ran into the road , cue much shouting. It's a dog!! Dogs get distracted. The only problem with some dogs is idiot owners.

Then there was another lady who was hailed from across the road by her friend , then her friend stepped into the road and nearly got hit by a cyclist. No malice intended , just a bit of not taking notice of what was happening.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" , it always been a piece I've loved and is like two separate piece played at the same time , the almost menacing simple three note backing, then the beautiful wandering surface melody (does this sound like I know what I'm talking about or make me sound like a moron) . A bolero is

  • A Spanish dance
  • The music it is danced to
  • A ladies' short jacket

Not to sure what inspired Ravel, but it has been picked up by several rock bands such as Frank Zappa , I thought Jethro Tull had , but the piece was "Bouree", Jeff Beck gave us the excellent "Beck's Bolero"  and ELP gave us "Abbadon's Bolero" on their album "Trilogy". The reason it came to mind was that as I was stripping the bed it came on Classic FM but I just started playing "Billy Bolero" by Alex Harvey and I just love that song , but it's not on Youtube yet , ao that's a video for me to put together, so you can make do with Frank Zappa's version, it ain't often you see Frank conducting.

Sunday 29 March 2020

Synchronicity on Monkey Island

I am currently reading "Cabal" (AKA "Nightbreed") by Clive Barker and a priest appeared who is being blackmailed by a ne'er do well and was thing how technology can date both film and writing . The priest says "I burned the negatives" the ne'er do well replies "I made copies". A similar situation underpins "The Righteous Gemstones" except the technology is iPhones and hard drives. That series is wonderful black comedy in which everyone bar none is utterly beneath contempt, absolutely awful in self righteous right wing Christian way.

While going out for a little shopping through hail, snow and rain I decided to play an album I hadn't listened to for many years, "Monkey Island" by the J Geils Band "Monkey Island" was also a favourite game of both my daughters many years ago in the days of efficient code when a game could fit on a single floppy disc.

The album does contain some great songs , "I Do"  is a particularly good rock and soul example and the album features some great harp / harmonica from Magic Dick (why was a harmonica called a harp or a mouth organ) but the title track is nine minutes of epic story telling with an absolute killer chorus. I found a live version from 1977 at Winterland and the intro takes up almost half the song. I think the studio version is better , but this is good.

This is a revisitation of something I know is good, unlike the "Grand Hotel" by Procol Harum which I was unaware how brilliant that still is , so it will be getting a lot of revisitations.

Enjoy , and Monkey Island the game is available on Steam for around a tenner.

Saturday 28 March 2020

No Future

This is not as negative as the title might sound and is an excuse to share the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" from which I extracted the title of this post. When I first heard the Sex Pistols I was sort of disappointed because they were more heavy metal than punk though that also might be down to having decent production

This is about the situation we find ourselves in with the lockdown. Normally we have something we have to do , and something we look forward to , like seeing people at work and socially , going to town , for some people shopping, everything is something to look forward to, but the lockdown has stopped a hell of a lot of that.

I am lucky enough to work from home and make random Teams calls to people to maintain sociability , but if your work is closed down you may suddenly lose a huge amount of social contact. We often think that the people we work with are just co workers but they are often friends and do provide social interaction and friendship as well , giving us something to look forward to.

Luckily I live in Fenham , Newcastle which has wide roads, wide footpaths , parks , green areas like the Town Moor which enables me to get out and walk while maintaining social distancing.

Today I went to the local Boots to pick up a prescription, but it took me well over an hour in freezing conditions. I was worried I was going to collapse the cold was so bad.  The other thing I hadn't thought a bout was there were two vapers spewing out their smoke over everyone behind them in the queue. They complainingly desisted when me and another guy told them they could be infecting everyone  their smoke / vapour hit. Smoking and Vaping is OK as long as you don't breathe it on anyone else.

The thing is you need something to look forward to. We have phones , social media, and an unfeasible amount of TV choice. Then there's books and music.

So we can give ourselves new things to look forward to , however small, something to look forward to is something worth having. There are still people who seem to relish things going wrong and telling you you must be miserable because things will only get worse, but I do not subscribe to that.

Although things will change, we can slightly change our goals and look forward to a bright future when we come out the other side.

So find something you like to look forward to. Enjoy your Saturday.

Wednesday 25 March 2020


Yes , this is post number 2222 , probably the next significant number will be 2345, but this is one of the goals I mentioned in a recent post. I have now got 98 positive reviews on Discogs so still two off the century there. I added a few more CDs one of which was a BEF box set with is going for around fifty mounds so it must be quite rare, but I am never going to play it again so I can make some room.

I'm slightly worried that the lockdown will hamper my walking although I have kept up my steps so far and likely to be ok for March , but April may be a different kettle of fish. I have been out and am surprised at the number of people who seem to go out of their way to stop social distancing, managing to take up the width of a Supermarket aisle on their own, so it just means finding another way round.

So it is quite late on this Wednesday , so I doubt anyone will read this, but given our current situations here's another one for it, "Clampdown" by The Clash.

Thank you and good night.

Home Is The New Work

Today I was going to use a bit of my free time to put together a slideshow of "The Murderous Memorandum" by David King, but I am in contact with him and his partner and my friend tattooist Sophia Gourley and sent a message that he should do that given that he is an excellent artist and musician / composer. I shared my Nick Cane / Dr Faustus video which has proven quite popular and you can enjoy it here.

So that means I need to find something else to put my talents to, I am learning a couple of songs which may find their way to my Youtube channel and I have a couple of deliveries scheduled.

I have the first two series of "Orange Is The New Black"  which I am working through and am now on the final series of 30 Rock, but my TIVO disk is still 75% full so my Netflix trial is still on hold and I need to get a week of Now TV to watch series 3 of Westworld and Series 2 of Britannia.

I supposed that influenced the title of the post, and Home Is The New Work. I am wondering if people will have problems going back to an office environment if this ever gets back to normal. The situation has been predicted is so many dystopian future novels, and I am shocked how incompetent the UK and USA governments have been handling this.

As I am writing this I am listening to "Grand Hotel" by Procol Harum, and to be quite honest I don't think I have listened to it before and it is absolutely excellent. Windows Media Player and being at home is allowing me to explore my music collection a lot more than I have in years. iTunes and even MusicMatch were nowhere near as fast , efficient and convenient. People keep telling me a Kindle with Alexa is fine , but it keeps suggesting I get Spotify , and doesn't even reference the stuff I've bought on Amazon , and as for my ripped music , I can forget about that.

So we'll go with the title track from "Grand Hotel" and it is as impressive as it's title. Check it out.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Isn't Life Changed

So the UK moves towards a sort of lockdown, with too many people think that they are OK. I THINK I am Ok but I don't KNOW that I am OK, and that is probably true for everyone not showing symptoms. My posts will probably address the situation for the near future, but I am thinking this may never be over. Even if COVID-19 is dealt with there may be something more virulent waiting round the corner.

On the other the other hand many forms of Cancer are curable , as a kid that was it , AIDS , SARS etc have all been faught successfully so COVID-19 is just another battle to be fought.

We need to keep away from people we don't know (sounds like advice you give to children) but many adults seem to be just ignorant of this. I had to take a bus today , there was one other passenger on the bus so sat well away from them. Then someone else got on the bus, sat on the seat in front of me (plenty of others further away to choose from) and got on the phone to berate someone about the fact that the person they were phoning needed to make sure they kept away from others. Luckily my stop was next so I went to the front of the bus to distance myself and get off to renew my driving licenses.

Sharing "Isn't Life Strange" by The Moody Blues which seems vaguely appropriate for these times. One of my biggest worries is actually keeping my steps up, though I don't see us being confined to houses , just confined to as little interaction with people we don't know as possible.

Today I had a phone consultation re my Cirrhosis of the Liver but I know the consultant well and that was fine. We may find we don't have to travel as much. I remember the shock of someone at work saying "Maybe I shouldn't be travelling to London every day for a one hour meeting. My jaw dropped. Some people are either unbelievably stupid or selfish or both.

Monday 23 March 2020

A Timely Writing - Group Hug

A semi poem for our current situation:

Group Hug

I don't know that you have it
You don't know that I have it
Let's stay a little away from each other
We can still talk
Sing to Each Other
Speak on our phone
or Skype
Or Many Social Media Platforms
Look out for those Who Can't
We Can Still Be Friends
We Can Still Share So Much
You Matter To Me
And (I Think)
I Matter To You
We Will Get Through This
And We Will Hug Once More
Let#'s Look Forward To
A Massive Group Hug
Round Grey's Monument
(Or Wherever)
We Are Bigger , and Stronger thank this
Group Hug

And a song so go with it ... from the appropriately named "Life'll Kill Ya" album another of my favourite Warren Zevon songs "I Was In The House When The House Burned Down "

Sunday 22 March 2020


I'm glad to see that my posting is down this year, although I don't think the quality has improved any.

I am listening to a lot more of my purchased music thanks to this lockdown but also doing quite a lot more planned walking as it would be terribly easy to just stay at home.

I am thirty pages from the end of "Weaveworld" and the story has not gone exactly the way I remembered it,  although it is a definite one for a revisit, and think it would make a great film, it's gonna be followed by "Cabal" which did surface as the film "Nightbreed" in which humanity show themselves to be the true monsters , a situation reflected in how b=people are behaving these days.

I did receive to amazingly excellent news today which I can't share with anyone but close friends until the news becomes public.

I've also caught up on a lot of recorded TV and if it keeps on like this I may have to watch some DVDs , it's a long time since I did that.

We'll go with "Inside" by Jethro Tull which is semi appropriate for these times

Saturday 21 March 2020


The last few days I've forgot things I should know , but the fact that I've remembered that I forgot means my memory is not totally shot, though it has never been good.

Firstly I forgot the name of a model of a Ford that I once had (two cars) , I knew the car just not the model name then I forgot the name of someone I've been working with. Someone mentioned her name and it clicked in, the information is in there just at times it refuses to surface.

I did a search of Ford car models and there it was , Ford Sierra, a car I liked but the name just wouldn't come to mind. And that's the thing , I may not know things, but I know where to find things , or to spot things in the midst of other things. The thing is , if my memory is so bad , how can I know how to find things , because that ability must be something that resides in memory.

It's not something that bothers me, because I always fine what I need.

I'm going to share a Spanish video of Soft Machine's "Memories" with Robert Wyatt on vocals, which is a song I've always liked and has been revisited by Robert down the years.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Windows Media Player?

Yesterday I tried using the recommended Windows 10 Media player Groove which would not recognise the music library. For years I've been using iTunes , but that is just slow , cumbersome bloatware,  and Amazon Music is not much better.

I then went to Windows Media Player and accidentally pressed a small icon which changed the view and very shortly had logged all my network music in it's library (iTunes took about two days to do this) , the only slight problem being that it defaults to the 32 bit version , but I have put the 64 bit version on the quick access bar.

So today I have listed to a Joy Division boxed set, a best of Julian Cope and a best of Warren Zevon. While the sound quality is a bit imperfect , it's great to listen to my own music collection rather than my normal 6Music diet, not that there's anything wrong with 6Music.

The thing is I am very happy with my musical options around my computer.I'm now listening to "God Save Us" by The Oz Elastic band which was released on Apple Records (and featured John Lennon) to raise money for the Oz Magazine Obscenity case.

So we'll go with "Mr Bad Example" one of my many favorite Warren Zevon songs, I think it's a polka , the lyrics are just perfect. Just a thought he looks very like Heisenberg (Walter White) from "Breaking Bad" which would be very appropriate ......

Tuesday 17 March 2020

A Play(List) For Today

Thanks to Sky Comedy I am working my way through Veep and 30 Rock. 30 Rock is not on demand and is broadcasting three episodes a day, which I am trying to keep up with, and am now just two episodes in arrears after watching four of five episodes a day for the last few days. It is an easy watch , and the episodes are short as well as being on the nail funny, but am I watching too much TV?

I'm also going through Lucifer and Picard on Amazon Prime as well as having two Clive Barker books on the go, sio am I doing to much being entertained rather than actually doing stuff?

Also today I went to a local supermarket who's shelves were being cleared by panic buyers and the queues at the tills were backed up with huge loaded trolleys, I laughed , walked out , and went to a smaller local shop, got what I needed and came home. Most of this is fuelled by a lying media and a government that is only bothered about lining pockets of the already wealthy, but c'est la vie , what do I know.

After my earlier post I thought I could list a few songs relevant to our current situation, though it's still not that long when you had to put together a tape in real time rather than a playlist. All the songs link to a Youtube video for you to watch and listen to.

So here we go:
I had to have something by The Cure in , didn't I? And from 30 Rock we have Alec Baldwin in a quartet singing on the underground.

(Don't) Panic

Today is a work from home day testing the network to see in we can come with coronavirus isolation. While I appreciate that the situation is serious and I may have had it (or a variation) and may still get hit by the more viciously virulent COVID-19  but I hope my natural resilience will see me through, but the media fed majority panic buying and lack of corporate planning has left me quite amazed. Some places are like testing the Titanic's lifeboats after the iceberg hits. I see people using hand sanitiser what seems like every two minutes when there is plentiful soap and hot water (the best defence) available. If it weren't so serious it would be funny.

At the weekend Tesco in Clayton Street was almost cleared of toilet roll, but Poundland (next door) had a huge display of Andrx nine packs in the front door, but of course the middle class red top snops would rather have nothing than go to Poundland.

Sorry for the ranty nature of this but it does give me the opportunity to share one of my favourite Smiths songs "Panic" maybe replace the chorus with "Hang The Red Tops".

Be safe, wash your hands , look after yourself and others, be sensible, and if you catch it stay at home. Think of yourself and others

Monday 16 March 2020

We Dream of Magic

I know it's because I am reading "Weaveworld" by Clive Barker and just in the aftermath of another confrontation between good and evil,  Cuckoos and Seerkind . It got me thinking, but  magic is often defined by ritual and repetitive performances, and everyone has some kind of repetitive ritual that they do every day.

So did magic evolve from people doing repetitive things or vice versa. Also sometimes something unusual would happen before or at the same time as tings and become associated with the ritual. So you get lucky socks , they "two for joy" with magpies and many more.

Many people claim they are very logical and dismiss magic, but will still do things in a repetitive way that others could interpret as a magical ritual, such as being at a bus stop at a certain time and a bus appears. We know it's not magic, but take a person who was unaware of how our transport infrastructure works and how would they interpret it.

Often magic is just something that cannot be explained .. yet. That's not to say that certain rituals cannot put us into a state of mind which creates a positivity that helps us do things. People solve problems and it's best to have your mind in a good place to do that.

Also remember that most of the time new things fail, but the only way to succeed is to do things and instigate things, things don't just happen (good or bad).

I will go into work today and many people will tell me they wish it was Friday, I tell them they shouldn't wish their life away , find something to be positive about and enjoy now. I have plans for what is happening today including a doctor's visit and an email deployment and planning for a network test so I have plenty going on today.

So given the vague magic theme in this post I'll go with "The Wizard" by Uriah Heep (on Top of the Pops they did a kettle solo, and kettles are good for making tea and coffee which is always a good thing).

Sunday 15 March 2020

I Usually Forget

My memory is not very good at remembering things, I 've said this before, i Law I could remember what happened in Cases but not the name or dates of the case, in English Literature I can remember what happens in a play or novel but not the names of places or characters, when someone asks me directions I know which way to go , but not the names of roads and landmarks , they don't stick in my mind at all, which is possibly why I was so academically unsuccessful.

The odd thing is that I can deal with mathematical problems and am excellent in knowing how to find answers for things and solve problems, but if my memory is actually so bad, how can I actually do what I do? Although there are people of the opinion that I don't actually do anything, but you can't do anything about ignorance 😊.

The post was originally going to be about targets and goals, which we always need to help drive us, well I do. There are the mundane things, but I do want 100 positive recommendations on Discogs , I'm on 96 at the moment though I've sold 140 or so items and currently have something like 250 on sale, and am looking forward to post number 2222 (this is 2212 so ten to go) , so these are little but easily achievable goals.

Back to the main point of this post that is my memory and I am reading and enjoying "Weaveworld" by Clive Barker and while I remember the start and the end and the characters , I don't remember what is currently happening in the book, and if I wasn't so forgetful , there wouldn't be much point in me revisiting books. Previous revisitations have not unearthed much new stuff but this has been a treasure trove and is why I started to investigate Clive Barker's catalogue to the point of getting each book as it was released although I wasn't too impressed with his graphic novels.

I wanted to use "Remember" by Jimi Hendrix but there's virtually nothing on Youtube, but I found this cover by Gracie and The Summit Band which is rather excellent. Listen and enjoy. I can't track them down online but if you find them stick a link in the comments

Thursday 12 March 2020

Didn't Feel Lonely Til I Thought Of You

Yesterday I got home before six pm but had to put the lights on . The house was in darkness as the the lights come on around seven. Admittedly it was cloudy and rainy and the rain was coming down hard, but even so it was still a surprise to me. This morning I have to get off to the Post Office for another Discogs sale , it is strange as CD sales seem to go in spurts the stop and then come on again.

Morning Moon
This morning the sky looks blue and almost cloudless and the moon looked very clear in the sky so I leapt out and took a picture.

Unfortunately when I use the 50x Optical Zoom I can't keep the damned thing steady so a halfway decent picture is a plus. The one to the right is one that came out OK.

It's a thing with eyes and cameras, the camera can never capture the detail that the eye sees, although sometime it manages to capture things that the eye can't possibly see. A very odd conundrum that I don't have any intention of working out at the moment.

Yesterday I was listening to a Best of Kevin Ayers compilation , one of his bands (The Whole World) featured Mike Oldfield on guitar and was struck how, like with most artists, the early stuff is the most interesting and adventurous, although I did move onto my favourite album of his "The confessions of Doctor Dream" which I never tire of , featuring the excellent (no departed) Ollie Halsall on guitar, who's advice of  practicing with heavy gauge strings and play with light gauge I took , and in a very hot venue my guitar kept going out of tune, and I had to retune as I played. Afterward I was complimented on my on the the fly tuning / playing.

So in memory of Mr Halsall and Kevin Ayers both now gone , one of my favourites "Didn't Feel Lonely Til I Thought Of You", I found a live take for you to enjoy, with some excellent guitar duelling.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

To Be Positive

Walking into the back room where my computer, keyboard and stringed instruments lived I thought I'd left the light on , I hadn't, it was sunlight reflecting off the houses at the back into the room filling it with light. Sometimes benefits and good things come from unexpected sources.

Although it's still cold the fact that it's not too windy and there's little rain means that walking into work is far easier and I am less and less tempted to take the bus, although this morning have to take a bus to Haymarket to post off another CD that I sold on on Discogs. The other day I found that the minimum Paypal withdrawal is now six pounds, which is a surprise , but is fine by me. My latest sale was only a fiver.😊.

I recently found that pressing the Windows Key and ";" simultaneously  gives you a list of emojis that you past easily , that added to Windows Key and "L" to lock your computer (which my youngest daughter told me about) and a couple of useful things to know.

I am happy with my new reconditioned Google Pixel 2XL which allows me to take reasonable pictures and video as well as being fairly quick , also being a Google device it keeps up with Android system updates and has unlimited cloud photo storage so although it can't take an SD card you are never short on space.

So what should I share this morning, one of my favourite Top of the Pops memories when Can hit the top 30 with "I Want More" , and I want more positivity and good stuff to come to everyone and everywhere.