Saturday 31 October 2020

Back Into The Canyon

 My reading , as it often does, has taken me back to Clive Barker and "Coldheart Canyon" . Title wise I think it's pretty awful sounding like some sixties doomed romance soap , and maybe that was the intention. While I remember the basic premise of the book , finding "The Devil's Country" I don't think I am giving anything away by mentioning that.

There are adverts for "The Secret Garden"  on Sky at the moment and that has vague reminders of what is happening in "Coldheart Canyon" , as well as Halloween references which given that it's Halloween tonight , is another coincidental link. Thanks to the lockdown I doubt there will be any trick or treaters out tonight although today has been rather miserable weather wise.

My listening this week has included "The Business" by Madness which is early singles and rarities, but is enhanced by lots of interviews about the history of the band, that was followed by the eight disc "Smiths Complete" box although three of the discs are compilations so there are a lot of repeated songs , but all rather excellent. This was after finishing the Bruce Springsteen "SoundStage" box which was five concerts over fifteen discs and again a lot of repeated takes on songs but all worth listening to.

Next week I have my first Bruce Springsteen box which is all the studio albums up to "Born In The USA" and that will probably be followed by the live 1975-85 box , so next week will be another Springsteen binge.

As I've mentioned "The Secret Garden" and Bruce Springsteen that's the obvious song that I need to go with , even though it's not on the albums I'll be playing next week. I'm using the video from the film Jerry Maguire.

Have a great Halloween

Thursday 29 October 2020

The Camera Always Lies

 The other week I just did not feel like walking at all, although I managed a few steps , last week I did get back to sort of normal although th eclocks going back has had an effect. Last night I went out in daylight at around 4:30pm , when I returned around 5:30pm I was in total darkness, the dark came nown very quickly and although the weather is cold it's not freezing.

When I go I out I do enjoy trying to capture pictures, especially the skies , simethimes you don't get what you want, but sometimes you get things far more amazing than what you have actually seen. This morning the sky was a gorgeous pink with mackerel cloud effects , but the pictures I took were grey and nondescript. This week I have taken some amazing looking sunrise pictures , and they were nowhere near as good as the photographs that I took.

The thing is I remember photography being film based , you took the picture , then when you finished the film you paid to have it developed and a week or two later you got the results which may or may not be in focus. Now thanks to enormous jumps in technology we have cameras as part of our communication devices and ofthen these allow us almost instant access to take pictures.

The other thing is that if you don't take pictures immediately then the moment is gone, that was never an option with film based cameras.

Another thing is that often see vistas which I want to take a picture of , but the camera cannot capture the faraway image sthat I see like a plane or a bird. The other thing is that the human eye only captures part of what we see and the brain fills in the gaps.

With a phone camera we don't have an optical zoom, so we need a a very high pixel capture to enable the digital zoom , which works to a point, but still is nowhere near as good as the human eye or cameras with optical zoom (which have enabled me to capture images that I couldn't actually see when I took the photograph),

I once had a Sony phone and the camera on that could take some amazingly psychedelic images, which I sort of loved , but was not good fir capturing a normal picture. Apparently my Google Pixel 2XL is one of the best phone cameras, and the number of photographs I take are a testament to that, but I know things are only going to get better in this area.

The word "Camera" appears in a wonderful line in the John Cooper Clarke song / poem "Post War Glamour Girl" and is:

"Glamourous Cameras Clickety Click"

I always thought "Glamourous Cameras" would be a great name for a band as well. So that is the song we will go with on this dreary Thursday.

Sunday 25 October 2020

The Twenty Five Hour Day

I vaguely knew that the the clocks changed this weekend but I wasn't sure if they went forward or back. So I thought I would look it up on that internet thing and it would tell me. Well it told me what daylight saving was but not what to do with the clocks. Eventually I did find the information I wanted but that's the problem with search engines , you need to be in tune with how it searches and be exact in what you state what you are looking for.

For the first time in my life I've realised that this is actually a twenty five hour day, and although my clocks say it's nine o'clock we have have ten hours so far today. Also most digital devices update themselves so you you know what time it is but you have to manually changes your unconnected devices , so that's my watches that still work , three clocks and the cooker which I reset yesterday.

I remember, many years back, getting through to Monday and not realising the the clocks should have been changed. I remember Catweazle being surprised that we let ourselves be effectively ruled by an alarm clock. When I searched Catweazle on Amazon one of the first thigs that came back was "Whips and Exorcists!" (see below) , god knows why, though the normal search is free of such things.

The twenty five hour day concept reminds me of "The Eighty Minute Hour" short story by Brian Aldiss where the powers that be control all timepieces and slow them down when you work and speed them up when you are doing things that you want. Does that sound like real life?

So the song I've gone with is "Hard Times" by the Human League , great minimalist eighties synth that mutates into it's original source "Love Action"

Friday 23 October 2020

When Midnight Comes At Noon

 Took the title from a Daniel Easterman novel, although just referring to the early morning darkness on my walks this week, and not what actually happens in the novel. Last week I did little walking this week it's been a lot.

This week my main network hard disk died so need to sort another one so that I can listen to music round the house , the backup drive is doing fine but a bit smaller. We expect things to last forever but they don'yt always.

There is no real sign of this lockdown ending so we have sort of drifted into an alternate reality, mask wearing , and avoiding contact, I'm not sure when I'll see any friends again, and I still remember the last friend I had physical contact with was Sophia which was a hug as we finished a lunch at Snackwallah.

The working from home has enabled me to catch up on a great deal of music, although I am barely scratching the surface of my own music collection, and my own collection while large is a mere dot on the universe of music.

One other thing is that I have managed to curb my chocolate addiction , I have had two 100g bars courtesy of The Co-Op and Morrisons for my birthday , and they were very nice but I have not felt a desire for any more. Tesco didn't give me one.

So it's late at night , and my posts have been sparse this month , so song time . One of the songs that impressed me was "Season of The Witch" from the album "Bang Bang You're Terry Reid" , also a rather good album, so that's what I'll play out the week with.

Sunday 18 October 2020


The most important thing that happened this weekend is that I became a grandad to my grand daughter Alexis , mother , father and Alexis looking great, but due to social distancing not sure when I will see her in person , but thanks to modern communication methods I certainly don't feel cut off, and looking forward to seeing her grow up with her great mum , dad , aunt and Molly the dog plus great grand parents who are still enjoying their own lives and will be pleased to welcome  this new addition to the family.

People have asked if I object or feel old being a grandad , and it's just a special state of play , it's like getting older , these things happen , and all they are is a new experience. When I was a kid grandads were old geezers like the one Clive Dunn portrayed in that god awful song , but I fgo with that saying:

"You don't stop playing when you get old, You get old when you stop playing"

And I have never stopped playing and don't intend to, and I am sure that Alexis will be a major addition to family like. I've told my daughter and son-in-law to have faith in themselves to do the right thing, because bringing up a child can't be done by numbers.

So one song came to mind for this , and that's "Family" by Spirit from the album "Son Of Spirit" which is a short but very uplifting album full of songs I love and this is one of them , although not available to download.

Saturday 17 October 2020


That word came into my head today, for no particular reason and is probably something to do with the transition for ordered movement to frivolous galivanting. New words are being aded to dictionaries all the time and old ones are being dropped.

I'm quite surprised that I am writing this at quarter to midnight on a Friday night , after a fairly uneventful week, apart form getting the hang of Power Query and using it properly , watching series 1 of "Cobra Kai" which is excellent , and going through the first series of "American Horror Story:Murder House" which is extremely inventive given the limited nature of it's subject.

Tonight I watched "Des" the story of Denis Nilsen , which was unnervingly excellent with David Tennant's Nilsen both reminding me of a work colleague as he talked matter of factly about his murders, it's almost funny , then you realise this happened, reminds me a bit of the intro to "The Death of Stalin", I had the same reaction there.

October has been very sparse for postings , but if you have nothing to write about you have nothing to write about.

I've done little walking, and need to do a final lawn mow for the year if we get a few dry days.

My NAS Network disk I think is dead, so I am going to have a play over the weekend to try and revive, but if not that's my digital music and video collection gone, although I do have backups so it's just a question of setting up a new DNLA server (I sound like I know what I'm talking about). While I did wire all the digital stuff in the house, to me it's just a load of plugs and wires.

I've been listening to a Cherry Red compilation today and it's going for £100 on Amazon, but it's only worth that if someone will pay for it. Anyway I've chosen "XOYO" by The Passage from it which I loved when first heard it on the "Pillows and Prayers" compilation back in th eeighties.

Sunday 11 October 2020

Back & Romania

 I'm back from and extremely relaxing holiday in Thirsk , on which I did nothing strenuous, didn't walk very far although I maintained more than five miles a day, but I now feel as though I need another week to recover. Maybe I just don't want to resume work, although I set my alarm for 5:45 AM tomorrow morning, and I am sure that I won't want to get up.

I keep thinking I'm not writing as much , because I'm not listening to as much music, although yesterday while posting off some Discogs orders I listened to "Meddle" by Pink Floyd, and "Echoes" is still my favourite Pink Floyd piece, and today I listened to my new vinyl acquisition , a recording of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" , my favourite classical piece.

I've been watching a lot of streaming shows, all excellent , namely "Better Call Saul" (the "Breaking Bad" prequel) , "Disenchantment" , "Cobra Kai" (forty years later follow up to "The Karate Kid") and working through the "American Horror Story" series that I've not seen , starting with "Murder House", and "Silicon Valley".

A strange coincidence is that three of the last books that I have read and revisited have been partially set in Romania , the firs was "The Lost" by Jonathan Aycliffe , "Spear of Destiny" by his alter ego Daniel Easterman and the lastest is "Coldheart Canyon" by Clive Barker, which I had forgotten where it started. It's not surprising with the Romanian connections with Vlad The Impaler and Dracula.

So at least I have written something, So what music should I share. Tom Robinson is playing "Ice Cream For Crow" so I think that is definitely worth a share as we fall into next week.

Thursday 8 October 2020


This is post number 2332 , so a numerical palindrome, there will be a few of these coming up  (every 110 posts) and there's also post number 2345 to look forward to before the end of the year hopefully.

I've done virtually no writing or anything really this week. It's been a purely relaxing week, which I travelled by train plus a lift from Northallerton to Thirsk. This week has been lying in , watching TV and walking a reasonable amount of steps each day.

Thirsk is a relaxing place to be with lots of places to eat , drink and also lots of walks , especially along Cod Beck the waterway that runs through  the place. I was particularly impressed with The Red Bear (the pigeons seem to love the roof) and Bianco's , a nominally Italian restaurant, but it offers so much more, and there's always about ten other things on their menu that you fancy trying.

Like many other similar places the only places you can buy music is the charity shops and Tesco. Although I think my vinyl collection is complete , I picked up a copy of my favourite classical piece "Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, which I will share with you for this post.

Ray Manzarek of The Doors also made an album of the piece although I have still yet to hear it, but can be listened to here.

As I have said, this week is pure relaxation so the two hundred words in this post will have to do. As I have said, not sure how many people read this these days, as my follower count is just six, but it works for me as a diary.

Sunday 4 October 2020

In Thirsk

 There are thirty steps from the entrance hall to the top of the house, it's slightly different living in three storeys. This is a total relaxation holiday , with no plans to do anything major, to lie in and enjoy the surroundings.

These days with so much available via smart networks you can come on holiday with a bare minimum of stuff, though I have a DVD of "The Terror" which I still haven't finished. Inherent laziness means that we want to watch and listen to things after a few button presses, so messing with physical media becomes a huge inconvenience when it  really isn't.

Today I watched series on  Channel 5 on Lost Railways which was very fascinating but required me to do nothing. I have the options of Netflix , various hubs, plus the laptop I am writing this on means that I won't be short of entertainment.

So I think "Sleeping With The TV On" by The Dictators would be an appropriate tune, although I have shared it before, it's a great song.

Thursday 1 October 2020

63 - The Greatest Thin Lizzy Album?

I am now 63 and will be reminded of that every time I see a Stagecoach 63 bus, which is not something that overly bothers me. 

One of my birthday presents was a vinyl copy of Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" mainly for the excellent Jim Fitzpatrick cut out cover, which the reissued version is done as a single sleeve rather than the original gatefold , clevely using the inner sleeve for the band breakout image.

Although most people will pick up on the single "The Boys Are Back In Town" , it is nowhere near the best song on the album, but is a great demonstration of Phil Lynott's talking vocal style , where the vocls seem completely add odds with the music lines , and sing like that while also playing bass shows prodigious talent.

The album crashes in with the title track which does have one of the most faux-pas of an opening line ever:

"Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak,

Somewhere in this town"

Could it be a the jail maybe?

As that screeches to a siren filled finale , we are treated to three quieter but no less impressive songs "Angel From The Coast" , "Running Back" and the gorgeous "Romeo and The Lonely Girl" with stunning guitar work from Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham. The side finishes with the robust "Warriors" , and side two opens with  "The Boys Are Back In Town"  which is classic Thin Lizzy.

"Fight or Fall" is contemplative but probably the least memorable song on the album , but it is in very impressive company, "Cowboy Song" contains some great lyrics and and a memorable descending riff , just making you want the song to never end.

The finale is "Emerald" taking on Irish mythology and culminating in a stunning guitar duel between Gorham and Robertson underpinned by Lynott's bass and Brian Downey's drums.

The album was probably only beaten by "Live and Dangerous", but for me stands as their greatest studio album, though I also like "Black Rose" very much, and their albums alway produce some stand out songs.