Friday, 31 July 2020


When I work in the office I do not listen to music or podcasts because I think it's courteous to be available to my work colleagues. At home it's different, I always have noise on which falls into the following groups:

  • CDs - Currently working my way through my box sets
  • 6Music - My goto radio station
  • BBC Sounds - For Sound Mixes , Programs I've missed and podcasts

Each one has it's own benefits and drawbacks . When you listen to your own music collection you have the choice of what is played , with options to repeat or skip.

BBC Sounds is slightly similar in that you can stop and fast forward, switch and pause, although you do need to be able to stream or download what you need to listen to.

Radio is similar to sounds except that it's live and with both you can discover new music (this happens a lot to me as I subscribe to the 95% is rubbish so look to find the 5% and there is always great music being produced).

So today I am currently listening to 6Music but will soon switch to may latest box , "Citizen" by Steely Dan which I didn't get round to yesterday, and will be fine for this sunny Friday , so I will share "Sail The Waterway" the other Steely Dan song that is not officially available in any digital format, apart from Youtube.

I have decided to go with #AnimalAugust in which every song I post this august will be in some way animal related , either in th eband name , the song name or something closely related like the record label. I should be able to do that.

Thursday, 30 July 2020


Today is grey so that's why the post title came to mind . I thought Grimalkin was a witch's cat it in "Macbeth" (it was a familiar of the three witches) , but it's also an archaic generic name for a cat. While I like photographing cats I treat them like dogs and children , ok as long as they go back to their owners. I tag my pictures with #CatsInNam and was surprised to find an Instagram Influencer Profile here.  I tried searching for #CatInNam on Google but every site that maybe had something then redirected , so you will have to search for yourself on Instagram or Twitter or my tag @mikeydred96 .

My intention today was to listen to "Citizen" by Steely Dan , a great compilation but missing two of my favourite Steely Dan songs "Dallas" and "Sail The Waterway" which the band thought were so bad that they never appeared digitally, but they appear as vinyl rips on Youtube and I recently rebought the 12" vinyl copy from Discogs. So that's why I am sharing "Dallas" with you.

However I picked up on "Babylon's Burning" a rough and ready guide to punk from 1973-1978 and the four CDs while consisting mainly of demos and live takes was very listenable to my ears. I had been thinking of selling the box but it definitely earned it's place in my collection with lots aof great bands on there, and by four thirty with systems not behaving at work I thought it was a good time to wind down.

Steely Dan will be tomorrow, and my box also contains a burned copy of  "Can't Buy A Thrill" augmented by the aforementioned favourites , so I have a lot to listen to tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020


This is my lowest posting month since January 2017 which was a sort of aim this year, so that is good, although I now have an idea for a pig posting next month, sharing songs which feature an animal, which should be fairly easy to maintain, but we shall see what I feel like on Saturday. It is easier to write if you give yourself a theme or thread to follow,

I suppose it's similar when you write a story or a book , you need something to hook the reader , and ideally keep them involved. I'm currently watching "Tales From The Loop" on Amazon Prime and finding it a little depressing, but some of the sets are great , looking like a vaguely alternate 1950's close to dustbowl America. The thing is you are captured because you want to know what The Loop is and does , featuring time slips , stopping and starting time , and conspiracy. It's only eight episodes but if there is a series two I probably won't continue with it , but need to hit the end of series one, so it has me in it's clutches.

I use Google Sheets to track my steps and noticed there was a discrepancy is the running total and the summed total , this meant checking earlier sheets , they all balanced, so I individually checked the daily totals and found one in error which I corrected. It was a really odd error but must have happened when copying cells. It's fixed now.

I have two CDs to listen to in the Velvet Underground "Peel Slowly and See" box , then it's going to be Public Image Limited's "Metal Box" and then maybe "Plastic Box" which should keep me going for the rest of this week (probably ten hours of listening.So I'm going to go with "Fishing" for it's awesome looping guitar riff which I first heard on "Plastic Box" by is from "Album"

Monday, 27 July 2020

Dream Fragments

I often wake and want o find what happens in what I'm dreaming , good or bad. I'm surprised that bits of a dream I woke from a couple of days back have stayed with me. They make little sense although I think where they came from from . Robocop characters working with and attacking a group I was with (probably influenced by the second series of "Altered Carbon" that I finished last week on Netflix , a computer terminal flashing up that I needed to take annual leave (we are getting work reminders about this and I have taken nothing but Bank Holidays this Financial Year, so that is nearly four months without a chosen day's leave) , and I wanted to know if we got out of the "situation" , but I woke fully , so the dream was lost. This does happen to me, and probably everyone quite frequently.

Because I am ahead of the curve on my walking I only have to do 4K steps a day to hit may target for July , which therefore makes me a little lazy, though it means I have more than hit my target this month. I did think that lockdown was going to stop me from doing my million steps every three months but as yet it hasn't. I am lucky that I live in an area with plenty of places to walk.

This week I am continuing with working through my CD box sets and today it's The Velvet Undergound "Peel Slowly And See" , the first CD being demos put together by Lou Reed , John Cale and Sterling Morrison , "Waiting For The Man" being almost Country and Western Swing style and "Venus In Furs" a medieval acoustic work out, these are interesting but not easy listening. At the wekend I was listening to their debut album on vinyl and noticed for the first time that the band's name doesn't appear on the front cover, but Andy Warhol's does.

So we'll go with a take on "All Tomorrows Parties" , I think the drum sound is awesome on this, as I write I'll listening to the first album with the extra takes , but is a definitie experience.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

A Cautionary Covid-19 Tale (That Has Nothing To Do With Covid-19)

Today I have been remarkably tired , although I've been out a bit and done more than my normal 11K step target. This morning I fixed a picture that had been disconnected from it's frame (a little sellotape fixed that) , and posted a CD off to the USA, so it's not as though I have been doing a lot or a little, but on the way back from town had an idea for a short story, which may not be to everyone's taste but every story needs an idea, and this is just a straight draft , no editing , just coming out of my mind.

So a 300 word black humoured short story (probably influenced by Roald Dahl)  for you

All my posts these days have an accompanying video, I think "Free" by VAST is sort of suitable.

A Cautionary Covid-19 Tale

The takeaway had a sign in the window (which was fully covered in advertisements and the takeaway menu) , "only one customer in the shop at any one time, wait til the ENTER sign lights". The ENTER sign was lit so he opened the door went in and checked the menu on the wall.

After perusing the menu he placed his order and pulled out his card.

"Cash Only , we don't take cards, there is a cash machine next door"

He checked his wallet and had enough to pay for his meal, so handed over the notes and took the change.

"Thanks it'll be about twenty minutes, are you OK waiting"

"Yeah , no problem"

There were a few magazines on a small table in the seating area, mostly supermarket periodicals advertising food and meals to make, but he decided to see what was happening on his phone, the internet and news sites held a little more interest than the magazines.

He heard a noise but didn't take any notice, the BBC site had an article on Liverpool's lifting of the Premiership , and that now had all his attention.

The person who had served him had disappeared in the back, presumably getting his order together.

There were some more noises, like something scurrying on the floor and behind the seating .

"Maybe it's the heating"

His phone had his attention.

Then there was a bite on his ankle,  it felt like a bite , he grabbed his ankle (he had come into the shop wearing a T-shirt , tracksuit bottoms and slippers , nothing else...

There was blood on his hands .

"What the .... "

He didn't finish the sentence .........

The server came back behind the counter, with the owner and looked at what was left of their customer.

"Are they all back in the box?"


"Well that looks look like enough mince to keep us going for the next fortnight......."

The End ..... Or 

Friday, 24 July 2020

A Box of Pearls and Earth, Wind and Fire

Yesterday I put my contact lens in and one popped out onto the floor. I spent an age to no avail looking for it. I then looked at something and realised that the vision in the eye where I thought I'd lost the lens was fine, the lens obviously hadn't dropped out although I thought it had.

Today is very grey and quiet and I feel I am getting hit with SAD but that will pass , though it does make me worry for people who feel like this all the time. I am glad that the first link that came up was an NHS one rather than Wikipedia.

Anyway to the point of the post, since my return to listening CDs I have been working my way through various box set and yesterday I finished Janis Joplin's (with Big Brother & The Holding Company) set "Box of Pearls" which is 5CDs but are quite short , from 20 minutes for the five song rarities to sixty minutes for the "Kozmic Blues" album. All high quality blues and soul with some extras. Some of the brass arrangements are really good , and Janis' voice , is well , you know what it is. we will use "Piece of My Heart" as the song for this post , but there could have been so many more.

The next box was "The Eternal Dance" by Earth, Wind and Fire , which is , like the "Box of Pearls" , a beautiful Sony Legacy box set , and while Earth, Wind and Fire are great musicians and very impressive on stage, most of the music is bland faceless soul in my book , with the odd decent song , but the live cuts get an amazing response. It may be a while before I hit this three disc set again, but for fans it should be a must have.

Today I dug out "Irish Ways" by Ron Kavana , and this is the first time I have listened to this , and it is an eductional history of Ireland with dialogue , song , poetry and music, almost a five hour documentary to listen to while I work. I would highly recommend it to anyone if you have the time to take it all in. I discovered a hell of a lot I didn't know about Ireland.

I still have many boxes to go through so expect more similar posts while I am working from home.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Apple Venus

Although I am doing a minor cull of my CD collection on my Discogs Store over the last week , while working from home , I have started playing CDs again. Part of the reason is that 6Music during the day is ranging from bland to techno with not much in between. Playing CDs means that I can choose what I want to play.

The main criteria in that the CD is to hand.

This morning I kicked off with "On The Beach" by Neil Young , then 40 minutes later I picked up "The Apple Box" by XTC . This is a box and booklet with the albums "Apple Venus" and "Wasp Star" with accompanying demos albums "Homespun" and "Homegrown" . I wasn't sure that four CDs was a listening option , but I listened all the way through , the albums then the demos , and basically that was an excellent day's listening.

I will share "Stupidly Happy" from "Wasp Star" with you , like many XTC songs , it is highly infectious and uplifting.

Having easily listened through this , I am now eying my other boxes for my music while I work this week such as Public Image's "Metal Box" , "Box of Pearls" by Janis Joplin and "Anthologia" by John Cooper Clarke , this week will be a personal treasure rediscovery.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

This morning I mowed my lawn, it's a small lawn. I checked how many steps I'd done and it was over a mile. That surprised me quite a lot that I could walk so far in such a small area. I know people have smaller gardens but sometimes a mile is not very far and other times it seems a long, long way. I am not a very active person but don't mind walking a few steps each day (actually about 11K which is around five miles). It is amazing how some people are aghast at that while I have friends who often cycle ten or fifteen miles a day , 50 to 100 miles a day at weekends plus serious gym time. So no I am anything but a fitness fanatic.

Today I have decided to retire the  www.spoongig, URL but the blog well remain possibly in a subdomain of this one. I don't get to that many gigs these days and was just using one email so it's not really worth keeping. I am going with the subdomain which I hope will start working soon on 

The weather is rather good for a Sunday so that means I should be able to his my steps target.

I'm two thirds of the way through "Everville" and I would have remembered reading this excellent books , so it's only taken me ten years but I'm on it now , and soon will be deciding what to read next. Though a lot of reminds me of certain parts of "Preacher".

I've completed "Vikings" and "Lucifer" so far , but enjoying "The Umbrella Academy" though there seem to be a lot of ideas lifted for other iconic films and series such as "Preacher" and "Pulp Fiction" and enjoying the mind bending complexity of "Altered Carbon".

Music wise I've gone for "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" by Big Daddy Wilson , although there are numerous more well known renditions available.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Never Been To Everville

I'm halfway through Clive Barker's "Everville" and now know I've never read it. It is still a big surprise that this has happened , the book has been in my possession for over ten years and I never thought I hadn't read it. I am glad I finally picked it up , but then you start wondering if there are any more like that, though I look at the books and usually something comes to me.

Yesterday I had my annual diabetic review and booked the time off work , prepared to leave the house , picked up the reminder letter and halfway down  were the words "THIS HAS BEEN REARRANGED AS A TELEPHONE APPOINTMENT" , and I was looking forward to the walk to the hospital. So I could continue working but had to appear as out of office as I didn't know when I would get the call, but it did come and all was well, with a face to face call being arranged around December.

This week I haven't once hit my 11K steps target and am not sure if that's affecting me, I'm still up on the month and certainly had much worse weeks but did 6K steps this morning , so I should be able to hit my target today  , but will see what I feel like after work.

The music I have gone with is "Checkin' It Out" (because of my letter, it's always good to check things) by Van Morrison from the excellent "Wavelength" album, Van Morrison is responsible for some amazing albums "Astral Weeks" and "Moondance" being a pair of his finest.

"Astral Weeks" has been described as one of the finest rock albums ever , unusual in that all the instrumentation is acoustic, and "Moondance" is reckoned to be even better. They are both on my permanent playlist.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Back To Everville

Yesterday I noticed a red light on my mouse that I hadn't noticed before. It's wireless so I assumed it was just something I hadn't noticed before. This morning it was dead, needed new batteries. The light comes on when the batteries are about to expire. I'm not sure what happens when the keyboard battery expires, but if an unexpected light starts flashing, I will have a clue.

Last night in The Fenham Fish Bar they have gone back to walk ins but you have to give your name when you order, though was surprised to find they know my surname , but the guy after me was called Steve Martin , so we got chatting about the comedian's banjo and ukulele talents.

I'm over a third of the way through "Everville" and I am now sure that I have never read the book. This is odd as it is by one of my favourite authors, Clive Barker,  and a follow up to another great book "The Great and Secret Show" so why did I buy it but never read it. Although parts of it are in familiar territory and characters are familiar , having just read the first book , and Harry D'Amour does reappear in "The Scarlet Gospels" , so rather than a rereading this is a first time read by one of my favourite authors , so I am certainly pleased about that.

I always like discovering new things and this is like discovering a long lost album by one of your favourite artists or an unknown (to you)  film by a favourite director.

Today looks gorgeous outside so have a planned trip to the Grainger Market before watching football this afternoon then maybe continuing on with the last three episodes of "Vikings".

Music wise I have been listening to CDs mostly this week, though I have misplaced my copy of "En-Tact" by The Shamen but I am going with "Alive" by Steve Mason. When I heard this I thought the voice and sound was familiar , and Steve Mason was also the voice of The Beta Band another of my favourites. The Steve Mason album is "Meet The Humans" which reminded me of Humans , the first Matt Haig book I read because I gave it out for a World Book Night. I had it for sale on my Discogs store but it has now been pulled , definitely too good to sell.

So enjoy your Saturday and I hope you discover something new and brilliant too.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020


Just thinking about what we can do now as opposed to what we could do ten , twenty or thirty years back. We used to buy from the local shop, market or high street although big business was giving us supermarkets and hypermarkets and shopping malls.

Our phones are communication devices , we can do video calling , share video as well as text and speech. Thanks to Arpanet and Tim Berners-Lee we have 24/7 to an unbelievable knowledge resource.

Also we used to only have radio , then TV , but although we still have these they also come through digital channels and where there were just a couple of options now thanks to digital , we seem to be unlimited , though the Bruce Springsteen song "57 Channels And Nothing On" sometimes comes to mind , but now that programs are on demand , you can never say there is nothing on.

I remeber having to order anything slightly out of the ordinary from record shops , "No Woman, No Cry" and "Jah Live" by Bob Marley come to mind, but remember being told "We don't sell singles and we only stock the top 20" when asking for a copy of "Ummagumma" by Pink Floyd at a furniture shop that also sold records. These days you can have your music or video immediately as long as you have the ability to pay for it.

Phone advertisements are always promoting the camera abilities of the device, the sound and connectivity is seldom mentioned, though the thing is that they are generally hand held computers, thought we can't use them for transportation ... yet. That's something that always confuses me, when, in Star Trek someone is transported where the atoms are disassembled at point of departure and reassembled at the point of arrival is that just a clone at the point of arrival or the original person , and if the clone has all the memories of the original person , how would it know that it is a clone. The other side of that is that our bodies shed and recreate layers and we are not the same person we were last year. I'm sure that could be the basis of a short story , it is about time I actually wrote one.

I could go one about driverless cars and other vehiles and Smart everything but think it's time to share some music.

Maybe we will go with the Springsteen one , while we have hundreds of channels and streams , a lot of it is filled with rubbish , but a lot of it is the highest quality. You can never say there is nothing on.

Monday, 6 July 2020

An Accidental Hello

Yesterday I received a strange text request from a friend ,  he needed something from someone in the Financial Sector, nothing major and the fact he was just around the corner from me. Now either he has moved or his round the corner is a lot further than mine .While I work with accountants and have worked in banking , I am definitely not a financial sector person. So I called him, immediately receiving an apology as he had texted the wrong Mike S adjacent in his phone list.

The conversation was not short , and we had a great catch up as a result of a mistake. It's very easy to say next week or next month and all of a sudden nothing actually happens. As I get older in some ways I get lazier, almost preferring TV to socialising. I am on the final series of "Vikings" and have finished several others but have others to watch, although I can't bingewatch in reality.

I'm also quite surprised how the spellchecker on this blog , misses some things and seemingly autocorrects using the wrong word. For instance "bank" became "back" which could prove a little embarrassing.

Anyway today for the first time in months I played a CD. CDs are convenient but actually need to be close to hand and not in boxes or drawers. I ended up playing several starting about nine o'clock and going through til finishing work. I finished with Roxy Music's awesome soundscape "Avalon" which has one of the most unreadable covers I have seen , and on the way included three compilations "This Is Soul" , an Motown summer promo and "Fools Gold" (Chiswick Chartbusters) but I played the Louise Distras "Street Revolution" EP about four times. I met her at The Cluny (see here) and we had a great crack on , so I am going to share "Solidarity" , a live take of the closer from that EP.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Two Minutes

The time on my Google Pixel 2XL phone is two minutes ahead of the time on my work and home computers.I am assuming they use a different source for their times because two minutes is a significant amount of time, Unless it's like the clock at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh that since 1902, the hotel's clock has been set three minutes fast to ensure that the people of Edinburgh wouldn't miss their trains. This is still the case today. The only day that the clock runs on time is on 31 December (Hogmanay) for the city's New Year celebrations.

The weather has been very dreich over most of this week, the sun seems to fight it's way out but then disappears.

"Everville" is still continuing on and after a hundred pages some of the characters from "The Great And Secret Show" have now turned up, although I am still no wiser as to what will happen in the book. I cannot believe I have a book by one of my favourite authors that I haven't read , especially as it is a follow up to a very good book. I will probbly mention it a few more times before I finish it.

Today I have been listening to Hothouse Flowers , Gay Dad and General Fiasco but before I switched the radio off two of my current favourites were spun by Lauren Laverne , one was "Slum Lord" by Baxter Dury and the other was "Take Back The Radio" by Katy J Pearson which , to me, sounds like "Aeriel" era Kate Bush, and that is certainly no bad thing.

This is the thing , there is always great music being produced, it's just sometimes a case of finding it. I would hate to be stuck in a particular time period with my musical taste like so many people I know, although I suppose really they are happy with their choices.

So have a listen to Katy J Pearson  , she is rather excellent.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Into Everville

Having finished and re-enjoyed "The Great and Secret Show" by Clive Barker I have now picked up the follow up / companion book "Everville" to revisit / reread. Reread? I certainly don't remember any of what happens in the first sixty pages, and while my memory is not that great, I am getting the feeling that I bought this and never read it , because I was reading something else when I bought it. The intro vaguely reminds me of the Hell sequences in "Preacher".

I have an idea of some of the characters who may come into this and after "The Great and Secret Show" I am not sure if this runs in tandem or as a prequel of sequel though it is described as "The Second Book of The Art" .  So I may provide you with updates as I wander through it.

Weatherwise it's very dreich , but I managed to hit my steps for June despite leaving an 11K daily target (which I often exceeded).

Totay I have been listening to the Urban Dance Squad , and having your collection digitally with a reasonable play set up makes it easy to listen to . I'm finding BBC6 Music becoming pretentiously cliquey with a lot of the music being very bland (or sometimes mindless techno - which is fine in the right place - but not for an hour or two in the afternoon) . Having said that Urban Dance Squad or hardcore Dutch Hip Hop but also very listenable, "Deeper Shade of Soul" shows them off brilliantly.