Sunday 31 May 2020

The New Time


One of the problems with getting older is that the days seem to get shorter and you seem to have less time to do things, well that's how I feel. A number of people with children want to get the children back to school mainly because they are missing their friends, and of course looking after young children 24/7 is not an easy task.

The thing is that six weeks of lockdown for a six year old is a fiftieth of their life , where for me it's one five hundredth so it seems a lot longer for them that it does for me although the actual time is the same.

I am now trying to find a way of perceiving time in the same way that a child does and see a week's holiday or even a weekend as a long time. A weekend is around 62 hours from work finish to work start for most Monday to Friday workers and we should be able to see that as time to enjoy and do things.

I'm often reminded of "The Eighty Minute Hour" by Brian Aldiss where the controllers speed up clocks when we are not at work and slow them down when we are at work, and if that were happening  would we know?


People often waste weeks wishing for Friday , I used to be like that but now think "What Can I Do Today?" . If you are always looking forward to Friday you effectively throw away five days of your week , and the weekend is only two days so that makes your time seem to fly by.

My aim is not only to slow time down , but to do more in that time. I often am bothered by going for
walks because , by it's nature, that takes time, although usually I listen to music while walking as they are complimentary activities and listening to music can almost make the activity go faster. The paradox is that you want to finish your walk , but you want to enjoy your time doing it and if time speeds up you feel you are losing out.

Matt Haig wrote one of his excellent books "How To Stop Time" which also took this as part of his premise, and his self help page from "Reasons To Stay Alive" is excellent , so I am now FEELING TIME as well as taking my final part in the #maywriteabit , because tomorrow is the first of June.

So what song should we go with , there are many songs called "Time" , Pink Floyd and David Bowie come to mind, and even "Five Years Time" by Noah and the Whale and "Minutes" by The Human League came to mind.

I decided to go with "The Waiting" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers as it is sort of appropriate for the position we are in now and does contain a lot of pertinent lines to the lockdown situation.

Friday 29 May 2020

Primal Screen


We're coming to the end of the second full month of working during lockdown and while I have adapted there are a lot of people who still find things difficult . Next week I have a hospital appointment when I will probably use a bus to go. I haven't used a bus for weeks. Although I could actually walk to the hospital I wouldn't have time to walk back to start work.

We have had had sunny days and last night my phone showed a temperature of 17º Centigrade which I thought was hot , though I seem to be the only man in our neighbourhood cluster without a suntan, though I noticed an oddity on my left arm this morning two adjacent two centimetre round spots on my right arm one dark (as in tanned)  and one light (as in white) ,  not something that bothers me , just slightly odd.

I watched "Suicide Squad" last night and while it was good in bits with an excellent cast , the film as a whole was a bit of a mess.

So this Friday morning we go with another song that 6Music have been playing by a band who are new to me BC Camplight , and the song is "Shortly After Take Off" , I'd forgotten thename of the band and the title of the song but thanks to the shows' tracklistings on 6Music (in this case Nemone sitting in for Lauren Laverne) .

The thing is that's how my memory works , I often can't remember things but I can remember what to do to find them . How does that work? If my memory is bad then surely it should be bad for everything.

Another song that Nemone played was the absolutely brilliant "Endless Art" by A House (both versions) and really have to share that as well.

Why "Primal Screen" , well an obvious play on "Primal Scream" and the latest section in Clive Barker's "The Great and Secret Show" is called "Primal Scenes" and I am use my laptop computer screen for work as well as play.

Have a great Friday everyone.



Wednesday 27 May 2020

On Demand


Yesterday I didn't even listen to the live radio, because now you can listen to shows on demand. I was using the BBC Sounds app on my Kindle Fire. I noticed there was something featuring Stephen King , who , like Terry Pratchett, I don't really like his books , but I like him as a person and like the TV and film dramatisations of his stories.

First up was the 6Music "Paperback Writers" show and the listing didn't include The Rolling Stones song "Dance Little Sister" which came between Jan & Dean's "New Girl In School" and KC & The Sunshine Band's "That's The Way (I Like It)" . King's attitude to disco is the same as mine, and we both love it.

I was looking forward to following this with his "Desert Island Discs" but it ran into Irvine Welsh's show and as I am an admirer of Irvine Welsh I let it run , and his music choices were stuff that I would have played , listened to and maybe even picked.

Both authors' shows were illuminating and gave a good insight into them and their tastes. The only slight black mark for me was Stephen King closing with "My Sharona" by The Knack , but each to his hown and when the other choices were so good you have to allow some leeway. Irvine Welsh's choices were all more than acceptable to me.

I then went back to "Desert Island Discs"  which was more talking and less music but a decent listen nonetheless.

The thing is you can cherrypick what you want to listen to these days and that means that live radio is up against a formidable library of sound, so my listening to live radio is about to get a little less. I think I will share "It Came Out Of The Sky" by Creedence Clearwater Revival" because it is on Stephen King's list and it has the "It" connection too.

Monday 25 May 2020

Growing Old is Mandatory but Growing Up is Optional.


yesterday I was feeling in a black and down mood that I couldn't shake off, not sure why, but it was like I couldn't snap out of it , but there is always part of my mind that says YOU CAN hit normal again. The weather ranged from sunny to overcast , and overcast doesn't hely.

I have a dripping tap that I can't fix and don't want to risk a flood despite the online help that shows how to "simply" fix , but I have contacted someone to actually do the job so awaiting a call back (it is a Bank Holiday).

I don't think my mood was helped by watching episodes of "White Lines" , "Vikings" and "Altered Carbon" , all excellent TV but not exactly taking you to happy place (and still 50 episodes of "Vikings" to go)  , but actually watching "Spy" with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham really lifted my spirits ant the end of the day , both of them providing comedy gold in this James Bond spoof  with lots of violence and swearing but absolutely great entertainment.

I also couldn't even be bothered to write, but enjoyed listening to a few records. Sat at the keyboard to learn Tom Waits' "In The Neighbourhood" and then at the guitar for a run through "Crossroads" and "Cocaine" all of which were adequate but not yer shareable.

I didn't even want to walk, but then got myself out and actually completed my 11K steps for the day and that again made me feel better.

For me , it's basically find something that makes you feel better and do that that. Hitting targets is usually good , but maybe avoid the darker things.

Having said that I am going to share Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"  which featured in the "Cracked Jukebox" documentary broadcast on the BBC, and is really one of my aims of life. The song appears on the soundtrack of the film "Jojo Rabbit" as well.

Apparently the Ramones covered this , so I need to find that don't I? I did, and really OMG that is soooooo god The Ramones covering Tom Waits , almost as revelatory as Hendrix covering Dylan, that is brilliant and has made this weekend end on a definite upward trajectory.

Great quote from the Youtube feed:

"My dad always said growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional."

Today is Bank Holiday Monday and I intend to enjoy it very much.


Saturday 23 May 2020

A Slightly Different Perspective


By actually posting , I am continuing with the #maywriteabit , although I know others are doing it and my interaction with them has fizzled out a bit.

I've been doing this three month rolling million steps for a couple of years by doing 340K steps a month. This is fine but in months with less than 31 days the extra daily steps are just a slight pain. Then looking at it from an annual view 11K steps a day will result in just under four million steps , which is a million every three months, and given that most days I tend to do a bit more than 11K then I should just aim for a daily average of 11K a day and that will sort me over each year.

It's only taken me a couple of years to realise this , and make my step counting so much simpler.

So that is a good thing at the start of this Bank Holiday Weekend. I don't have much more to say apart from to share another great record that 6Music have been playing  "PDLIF" by Bon Iver to raise money for Direct Relief . 100% of streaming proceeds will be directed to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization working to protect workers and patients alike so if you watch the video you will be contributing to this charity. Here's a description from the Direct Relief site:

"The release marks the first time a music video has premiered on Direct Relief’s website and reflects the myriad of new ways artists — and individuals in general — are helping support Covid-19 relief efforts. Along with the novel distribution method, the song was created in a new way as well, because of safety precautions necessitated by the pandemic. Each contributor worked on their part of the song in isolation before sending their work on to their bandmates and audio engineers."

Enjoy the song , stay safe and look after yourself.


Friday 22 May 2020

Impossible


One of the things I like about the English language is because it is so ludicrously and ridiculously complex it opens itself up to lots of of wordplay , sometimes clever , sometimes funny , sometimes rubbish. Take the title of this post "Impossible" , but the addition of a space and and apostrophe turns it into I'm Possible which obviously changes the meaning (although doesn't really make sense , but you see where I am going)  while using the same letters in the same order.

Then you have homonyms and homophones ( which I started #maywriteabit for the first ten days of May)  like WIND could sound like WINED or TWINNED depending on what context it's actually used in. William Shakespeare's plays were full of plays on words , sometimes becoming almost unwatchable because of continuous punning and the like.

So what should I go with tonight , I think with the mention of Shakespeare we should go with the  Reduced Shakespeare Company's "Othello Rap".

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Not The End of The Books


I've just finished the excellent "Not The End of The World" by Christopher Brookmyre, and was very impressed , and I was right that he is in the same universe as John Niven. He also has a huge back catalogue so I have the option of buying more of his stuff.

Instead I'm revisiting "The Great and Secret Show" by Clive Barker, one of my favourite authors and these revisitations means that I have an endless supply of books because I can read and reread. As I have said before my memory is not too good so while I have a vague recollection of what the book is about the words are still a joy to consume and the lead me into a different world once more.

I have other favourites too who I need to revisit , JG Ballard and F Paul Wilson to name but two, and this could keep me going til next year or longer.

Music is the same, once you have things in your collection , you have them because you want to revisit them , usually again and again. I've sort of regressed because I play music either digitally or on vinyl with a preference for the latter because it limits you to around twenty minutes of songs, so it connects you even more closely with the music.

Today I revisited "The Lodger" by David Bowie which like all Bowie albums is full of off the wall musical directions and is over far too soon, and that is me listening to it digitally while walking. Possibly tomorrow "Gouster" (unreleased excellent album around the time of "Young Americans") may get a spin. It's only available as part of a big digital box but you can buy the tracks individually to get your own copy at a reasonable price. One of the benefits of digital downloads.

6Music have been playing "Nowhere To Hide" by Ghostpoet from the album "I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep" which has definitely caught my ear, so that's what we go with tonight.


Tuesday 19 May 2020

Not Heroes


While out for a walk today I was listening to "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" by David Bowie which I nearly said was one of my favourite Bowie albums but then I remembered this post about the problems with listening to David Bowie albums. That is a little further information on the album, when "Teenage Wildlife" came on I thought , this sounds very like "Heroes".

"Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" sort of follows on from "The Lodger" which was the final Berlin Trilogy album and was the next album he produced so I shouldn't be surprised that that the sound textures are the same and Bob Fripp's guitar features heavily on both "Teenage Wildlife and "Heroes".

It's probably a good idea to share both pieces with you so you can here the similarities and they are both wonderful songs.

I suppose if anyone is allowed to borrow from Bowie , Bowie can.

I know this is a pitifully short post but just wanted to share this with you.



Monday 18 May 2020

Ten Miles


On Friday I'd decided that hitting my 340K steps this May for the rolling Million Step Challenge was unlikely to happen , then yesterday due my local office not taking a Discogs order to go to the USA I walked into town to the Haymarket Post Office / M&M News who did allow me to post the item.

What this meant is , with other perambulations, I walked over ten and half miles yesterday , 23K steps , which now pots me about 2K steps behind schedule, so maybe I might actually make my target , though I'm just over half way through the month, and the reasons I thought I wouldn't make it still stand.

This is also continuing the #maywriteabit thing although I suppose all my May posts fall into that category.

Though this morning I have already covered 5K stepa and that is close to half my normal daily target.

I switched on 6Music and Chris Hawkins is playing "Isolation" by Joy Division (appropriate for these times) as it's the 40th anniversary of Ian Curtis' death. So as I need to get to work we will share that song and if you listen to 6Music today there will be a lot of related things on there for you to listen to.

I think the clip is from the film Control although has spanish subtitles , but wort a watch. Track down the film too.

Saturday 16 May 2020

All Queued Up


This will be a very short post , almost just a note, there will be very few words, almost none (I have an ambition to do a one word post one day, but not today).

One of my biggest bugbears is queuing , I always avoid it when I can. However the lockdown and social distancing means that I do have to do it to get into certain places , normally supermarkets and chemists. I still don't like it , but now I have to do it and I totally accept it although some people still think it should be everybody but them that has to queue.

The reason I am doing this post is that the phrase "All Queued Up" came to mind and I thought it was an early Ultravox song but it was actually a Deaf School song but you can hear the similarities between early Ultravox and Deaf School. and that is what I am sharing with you.

I think the first song I heard from them was "What A Way To End It All" and they are a band surprisingly absent from my music collection , so you know I will have to do something about that, although these days you can usually find stuff on Youtube or wherever.

Have a listen , you may be pleasantly surprised.

Share The Good Things


While life may not be perfect at the moment , we are getting a lot of chances to do things that we didn't think we could do before. It does help when the weather is good and I have not actually used a bus for about three weeks, that's not because I dislike buses , it's just because I don't need to use them.

Today I am going to visit Westerhope for supplies shopping , rather than going into town, It means actually crossing the A1 but there is a foot bridge so I don't have to dodge motorway traffic.

I am listening to a lot of vinyl and digital at the moment, plus 6Music and a hell of a lot of TV , there is so much to watch and so much choice and it does amaze me that people record , watch and rewatch soaps . Having said that is me watching "Vikings" and "Lucifer" and different that someone watching "Eastenders" and "Coronation STreet" in the grand scheme of things.

I always try and dig out some piece of music that is either new and you should hear, or appropriate to the post, or some great song that you have never heard. This one fulfills the latter two criteria , being "Television" by Dave Edmunds.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Choose Your Masques


I think facemasks in close contact with people you don't know are probably a good idea, but there are people who think (or probably don't think) they are a fashion accessory. I saw a guy in the street the other day wearing one, pull it down and then sneeze into the air, obviously didn't want any germs polluting HIS mask. As far as I am aware the point of facemasks is to stop YOU spreading anything to others, rather than protecting you. Only the surgical type ones protect you from close contact with infected non mask wearers.

I've given up on th erolling million steps every three months and halfing it to two million steps per year which is around 5.5K steps a day until I get to easily wander again. The main problem is a relatively small area that I am walking in resulting is a boredom / familiarity scenario which is why I don't do gyms and only do swimming very infrequently.

In other areas "Not The End Of The World" by Christopher Brookmyre is rather excellent, although it covers a heck of a lot and the initial "Marie Celeste" event of the prologue has not featured too much , but I expect will be resolved in the final quarter of the book. I home it doesn't turn out like many episodes of "Elementary" where everything is wrapped up in the final two minutes.

So I simply chose the title becasue of the name of the Hawkwind album, but if I wera one it will just be a bandit / neckerchief or scarf , though was also thing of a balaclava / motorcycle helmet inned balaclava thing.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Stream Girls


I'm not sure why , maybe because I'm a sexist , male chauvinist misogynist , but I find some of the phrasing and vocabulary of Lauren Laverne and Mary Ann Hobbs a bit grating and pretentious with "down with the kids" descriptions of certain musical pieces , however I'm OK with Craig Charles and Shaun Keaveny coming out with similar things.

It doesn't stop me listening to their music though , and they are far better that the dross available on commercial radio and  other BBC stations and today Mary Ann Hobbs had a guy on discussing the state of streaming. Now as you know I will not have anything to do with Spotify because it's an unworkable model and today I found out something more about the model that makes it even worse.

When you (or the person who's giving it your free) pays Spotify or whoever their monthly fee this is what happens. They take their cut and then the money goes into a big pot. It is the paid out to artists based on the the number of streamed songs they have. So what that means ids that you may have a a predilection for Egyptian and Iranian folk and listen exclusively to that music. Which is good for you but not the artist. Why? Because the money you may is split based on all streamings so if Ed Sheeran gets a million times the streams your artists get , then he will get that chunk of your subscription and the artists you listen to get next to nothing. So basically Spotify is even worse than I thought.

So a big , big thank you to Mary Ann Hobbs (and possibly Lauren Laverne) for illuminating me on this. They are extremely good and I can put up with the bits that niggle me. Here's my last post on the situation and to go with this I will share "Stealin'" by Uriah Heep , in my opinion a great record  with a vague connection to the situation.

Monday 11 May 2020

Cloudbreaking


I think I've run out of date homophones so that's that for this month on that subject. If I tried hard enough I am sure I could have found one for TEN ,  depending on regional pronunciation Tin, Tan , Tun and Ton may have dones. Ton , Tin and Tonne are definite homophones for each other but  Ten is stretching .

Outside it's grey and a fine misty rain is coming down, though I do want to go for a walk. I'm keeping on with the #maywriteabit abd looking out thinking I can see clear sky but there is a huge gray cloud overhead but it is dissipating..

Eventually it turned out to be a nice day but I din't do much walking , so I am back down on my monthly step target , which doesn't bother me too much, although it's possibly a motivational worry.

I watched my first thing on Netflix , the first episode of season four of "Lucifer" so I really am Ok forever with TV to watch , having just completed "Code 404" in two days (6 x 25 minute episodes , so hardly a trial) . "Lucifer" opened with Tom Ellis playing "Creep" by Radiohead on piano , so more of the same but nice ending to the episode with Graham McTavish as a sinister priest.

Saturday 9 May 2020

May Ja , May Nein


The 8th of May!
Well I have a homophone for May 9 , although I am not sure how long I can keep this going , although it has given me a line to keep the #maywriteabit going although I did like the 8th of May Motorhead / Lemmy (Ian Fraser Kilmister) memes going round yesterday.

The blogger went into the new format , which like Facebook , seems anything but an improvement. When you are writing , ideally you want something that is going to look in the same ballpark as the published item and the new blogger interface is not that.

So this Saturday is another gorgeous day , but I have been working and listening to more of Max Richter's "Sleep" , and also gone through the childhood upbringing of one of the protagonists in Christopher Brookmyre's "Not The End of The World".

I was sure I'd written about this recently but my Google Pixel 2XL only actually starts after unlocking when I switch it on. This may be true of other phones , but this is the first time that I have started switching it off at night.

I feel that this Bank Holiday is a total damp squib and although I didn't work yesterday I don't really feel that I have had a day off and work starts at 8am on Monday again.

While I have been walking , I like to take photographs of trees , grass and wildlife but with this good weather you get lots of people on Nunsmoor and the Town Moor relaxing in the sun and I always avoid taking pictures of people. Yesterday I managed to use trees to avoid some people, and I wanted the tree in the picture anyway , so if you see one of my pictures with a tree in it , there may be someone behind that tree.

Yesterday I heard a lounge jazz version of "Ace of Spades" played by Huey Morgan on 6Music and I was not impressed. I know the obvious song to go for would be Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" but I am going for another one that 6Music have been playing The Streets & Tame Impala's collaboration "Call My Phone Thinking I'm Doing Nothing Better" ,I do love Mike Skinner's word, this does sound like classic Streets. It is rather good.


Friday 8 May 2020

May Ate


Well I got a homophone for May 8 , and as it's just past midnight and a supposed Bank Holiday (still need to finish some work but have a weekend to do it) so I will do today's post now and keep on with the #maywriteabit . I wonder how many people see me going on about homophones and think I am going on about homophobes.

Today I listened to Max Richter's 8 hour performance of "Sleep" which is available for four more days from BBC Sounds here. I got the original album with a bonus disc as part of a Rough Trade recommendation package. The eight hour piece contains 31 sections which you can find out more on the link.

While in a similar univers to "Thursday Afternoon" by Brian Eno, it is a more music based piece, rather than semi structured ambient sounds.

So I've decided to share "Vladimir's Blues" by Max Richter featuring a video that utilises state of the art surveillance techniques. Check out "Sleep" it's definitely worth your attention.

Thursday 7 May 2020

May's Even


Well another day where I can't think of a homophone for SEVEN although I sort of fitted it into the post title. The only word I could think of are variations on the names Sven and Steven. So anyway this is continuing with the #maywriteabit

I'm enjoying the Christopher Brookmyre "Not The End of the World" but there are a hell of a lot o plot areas in there, and I was thinking about how long it takes to actually plan out a book be it face or fiction.

I remember an episode of Hamish Macbeth which I think was penned by Danny Bole where a hood was disposed of and his accomplices buried him in some remote spot and then a mobile phone started ringing. They all looked at each other and realised it was coming from the ground where they had buried colleague. The consensus was "Well I'm Not Getting It" . I think the whole episode was planned around that single idea. OK so how can this happen? I think the episode was "The Lochdubh Assassin" although he wrote twelve episodes.

I have thought of a similar scenario to maybe open a book, but as I've told you about the Hamish Macbeth episode it's pointless me including my scenario and i'll probably forget about it. I still haven't started to write a book, because I still haven't thought of what I might think of a killer idea.

So we are on the final working day of this week, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous again.

This weekend I need to mow my lawn and probably do some decent walking.

So morning music. Just because it came up in my feed and looks mad , we'll go with "Supernature" by Cerrone and "Spacer" by Sheila & B Devotion (who I always thought was Sheila B Devotion) segue / mashup , some late seventies electro disco.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

May Seeks


I am still trying to keep the May homophone/homonym thing going as well as keeping in with the #maywriteabit project and have just noticed that the editor has gone back to the old ne which is better for me writing as it's more responsive. Maybe yesterday was a test run.

On an unrelated thing I've noticed that after I switch on my Google Pixel 2XL , it doesn't actually start until I unlock it for the first time. I suppose that may be true of most phones as most people leave them on 24/7, but I have started completely switching mine off at night.

On the homophone (words that sound like each other but are spelt differently and mean different things so for SIX (It's May 6th) I could have had:


  1. Sikhs
  2. Seeks
  3. Sicks


.. and probably a few more, five was more difficult and by next week the homophone thing will probably be finished, but it is a good enough reason to write for me. I've written about homonyms before so maybe I am just repeating myself, and I will check that out later.

This is just a very short post on the Wednesday morning and I intend to go for a short walk. As I write this "Never(Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same)" by Tony Allen (who we lost recently and High Masekela  is being played by Chris Hawkins on 6Music , and it's a tribute to the late Fela Kuti, three great artists and Tony Allen drummed with The Good,The Bad and The Queen the supergroup which also included Damon Albarn, and Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

So that is the song I will leave you with before I set out