Sunday, 26 September 2021

So Behold The Man


I cannot believe I have not posted in here this month , but Vocal has become my priority writing platform now. I finished Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell about his experience in the Spanish Civil War and then read "Behold The Man" by Michael Moorcock.

"Behold The Man" combines Heath Robinson Time Travel with the crucifixion and at 124 pages is a fairly quick read which I did really enjoy. There is a little explicit sex but no actual erotica in there. The synopsis reads thus:

"Meet Karl Glogauer, time traveller and unlikely Messiah. When he finds himself in Palestine in the year 29AD he is shocked to meet the man known as Jesus Christ - a drooling idiot, hiding in the shadows of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth. But if he is not capable of fulfilling his historical role, then who will take his place?"

Next up is "The Thurber Album" by James Thurber , a very old Penguin edition . He came out with some good one liners but will see how this pans out.

I have been tasked with reviewing "Workingman's Dead" on Vocal because of this review of Terrapin Station , one of my favourite albums.

I am doing this just before I go to hospital, Because there is zero quality control , it will be very short, but I was worried that the blog was going to miss it's first month in over a decade, but this is here now.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I will include a full copy of "Workingmen's Dead" for your perusal.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Here In Catalonia

 I am currently reading George Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" and am shocked how I have drifted into it , ensnared by Orwell's excellent writing. It's about the Spanish Civil War and everything about this book says a big no to me. Boring ,  1930s War commentary about something that I have no interest in at all.

Then I opened the book.

The text was huge almost unparagraphed slabs , only 250 pages but I wasn't going to get through this. 90 pages later and it is a truly excellent read . It brings out the total boredom of war and just as you are getting as numb as Orwell was the bombs drop , the bullets fly , the lack of resources , the dirt and filth , you are in it.

And it is very readable , I am just surprised how good it is , maybe it is just me.

So to go with it I've included Greenslade's "Catalan" from "Time and Tide".

One of the good things about posting on my own blog is there are no limitations or quality control (as you may have noticed , but you can check out my Vocal writing here , which is subject to quality control.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

On The Border

Woke up this morning to thick fog. 

I was dreaming , there was a guitarist and Cher , and he was playing in various styles and she told him to play like Carlos Santana, I thought there is no way he can just play like Carlos Santana without the right guitar and amplification set up.

He started to play and I thought it's nothing like Santana , it sounds like birdsong. This went on for a while and I then realised it was my alarm clock which wakes me up with birdsong. It's the first time for me , I think , that real life and dreams have meshed together so closely . I really don't know if that is a good thing. Is this real life or is it just fantasy indeed?

Obviously the multi style guitarist got me thinking of "Guitar Jamboree" by Chris Spedding , he is a brilliant guitarist but it's just a novelty song.

I finished Tony Hawks' "Piano In The Pyrenees" which turned out to be more about his attempt to build a swimming pool while integrating into the local French community , culminating in meeting up with a former lover. I hope it worked out.

Next book I've nipped over the border with George Orwell's "Homage To Catalonia" about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. It is grim and the pages are huge blocks of text making for difficult reading but it is providing an insight into what happened then.

Now to work.


Saturday, 14 August 2021

The Piano Is In The Pyrenees


I am half way through the book "A Piano In The Pyrenees" by Tony Hawks, and while it is extremely entertaining , the piano got there after a hundred pages without too much trauma, apart from a Luton Van meeting it's demise. The thing is it's a bit like writing a 500 page book on the titanic and a hundred pages in it's on the bottom of the Atlantic. I suppose the film did start a bit like that.

Anyway this is just one of Tony Hawks books (all worth a read and great fun) and some fun stories about an English man relocating to a house in the Pyrenees , the scrapes he gets into and the characters he meets.

The weekend is here and I am not sure what is going to happen. 

I am working through "The Killing" on BBC iPlayer and , if this is really the right word , enjoying it. In the past I have worked so many people who will not watch a program with subtitles, they really don't know what they are missing do they?

As I mentioned "Titanic" I've included "The Unsinkable Ship" from "White Star Liner" by Public Service Broadcasting.

Sunday, 8 August 2021

More Dreams and The Accidental Button Press


Yesterday I got my new contact lenses and there was a letter saying which lens went in which eye, which I duly followed. After giving my eyes hydration via and eye bath I put the lens in my left eye and it was very blurry but thought it will settle down. I prepared the right eye one but the left eye was still blurry , it wasn't going to settle down. Then I swapped the lens in my left eye to my right eye and I could see perfectly immediately. The letter had got the lenses the wrong way round , so now my sight is perfect.

I had a really odd dream , our work team were having a meeting in a classroom on the corner of the West Road and Clayton Street (it's a cake shop in reality so that might say something). There was my team and a Facebook friend Les who shares a love of Greek Mythology as demonstrated by this story

Ola by boss was writing in chalk on a blackboard and I was having real difficulty seeing , took my glasses off , no difference , but still had contact lenses in. Then walked out and visited a couple of record shops with another friend Sarah , who's birthday party I attended a couple of weeks back. Now there's only one record shop in that direction , Beyond Vinyl , although Vinyl Guru is the other direction  but there are the Amnesty Bookshop and Kazbats Den. I didn't buy anything and told Sarah that I needed to get back to work.

I then woke, washed , showered , and when I picked up my phone , the Marvin Gaye song "We Can Make It Baby" came on via YouTube. I have never heard before , it is quite good , but a sort of end to the dream sequence.

Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit in one of his songs wrote that and unusual thing in a dream would be going for a loaf of bread. in the song "San Antonio Foam Party" but all the lyrics are here and they are a literary treasure trove.


Saturday, 7 August 2021

A Piano In The Pyrenees


As you can see the posting to this blog has dropped significantly since I started posting on Vocal here , so my writing has increase but not here. 

This is my first August post and it is the first day of the new Football season , and Preston North End (my team) are playing Hull City. They signed Jamie Thomas after he impressed in a friendly against Bamber Bridge so I really hope things go well for him.

Book wise I picked up "A Piano In The Pyrenees" by Tony Hawks (not the skateboarder) about buying a house in France and getting his piano there. This is a bit more sedate and gently funny , than my recent books "Maroc" by Daniel Easterman and "Nightworld" by F Paul Wilson, both excellent but I felt I needed something a bit gentler.

He is responsible for lots of humorous books based on odd premises.

Also you can see this is very short, but you can follow the Vocal link if you want some more.

Music wise I have have been listening to a lot of different things but lets go with Matthew E White's "Rock and Roll Is Cold"


Wednesday, 28 July 2021

We Really Need Some Fun

Everything that I am watching or reading seems to be very dark. There may be good final conclusions but the journey is very dark indeed. The book I am reading "Maroc" by Daniel Easterman seems to introduce characters just to be offed and the bad guys seem to get away with whatever they want.

Then I have started "The Killing" on BBC iPlayer and that is a Scandinavian Noir and from the title you are probably aware that the overall premise in not too good, but it is absorbing and drags you into it although it pulls no punches.

"Ragnarok" on Netflix is again Scandinavian , and dubbed (much prefer subtitles) but generally the dubbing works , and I am on to series two where against the odds the controlling baddies have started getting some comeuppance and there are a few humorous one liners , it is in the same universe as "American Gods" , and although it is not obvious early on the Norse Gods / Giants war becomes more and more significant and with the proto Thor / Loki / Odin characters  it is very watchable.

I need to pick up on a short comedy although Ben Miller is rather excellent in "Professor T" and I still have "Wellington Paranormal" so with that and the music I listen to I can hedge myself against the dark things that I am watching and reading.

Today I have been listening to a lot of Julian Cope and Teardrop Explodes so I will share the excellent "Try,Try,Try" from "20 Mothers" with you , in what is possibly my last post this month on Seven Days In.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

The Heat and The Radio

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year and today looks like it's going to be similar. I've read that a cold shower is good for you so now when I get in the shower I don't wait for the water to heat up , juts let the cold water hit me that lasts for about 30 to 40 seconds. I know that's not an image you want it your head , fat old bloke in a shower, but that's what I do. This morning however the unheated water was actually lukewarm so hardly the normal kick I get out of it.

Also this weekend I have actually put the radio on (I have a preference for 6Music) and am currently listening to Radcliffe and Maconie and enjoying it. While working from home I have moved from listening to the radio to my own music collection , partly because the 6Music DJs don't play stuff that interest me as much. I did use to listen to Ken Bruce mainly for PopMaster  as a lot of the music is stuck in a particular time zone.

Generally 6Music does bring in new music , but sometimes has an enormous eclectic sweep like if you listen to Cerys Matthews. The benefit of listening to the radio is that you are there with people and also stand a chance of discovering new music , whereas with your own music collection you seldom discover anything new (but you do) and you are alone , but that is your own choice.

So keep cool to day and we'll go with "Too Darned Hot" a Cole Porter by Ann Miller from "Kiss Me Kate" based on Willam Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew".



Monday, 5 July 2021

Comprehension

 A fifth of the way into "Nightworld" by F Paul Wilson and it is now clear why The Adversary Cycle is six books and not four. You could probably read "Nightworld" as a stand alone book but you would be continually asking who is he , and what is that and how did that happen and how did he know that.

In fact there could be a prequel to "The Keep" but that is just something that stimulates the imagination.

Although "The Tomb" does not refer directly to anything in "The Keep" the links become clear in "Nightworld".  It is similar with "The Touch" , again a sort of stand alone novel , but when you hit "Nightworld" it becomes clear that it is a part of The Adversary cycle.

"Reborn" and "Reprisal" do follow on from "The Keep" but not directly.

But essentially I now comprehend how the six books fit together and am rather impressed with how much I remembered and how much I had forgotten.

Unlike the dreams I have been having recently including  a house with moveable showers filled with ice, and driving in a large van around somewhere that may have been Preston  or somewhere in Scotland but I was unable to go in the direction that I needed due to roads being blocked or bricked up.

But I am not even going to try an analyze that as I have better things to do with my time.

Music wise we'll go with "Hole In The Ground" by The Mekons which is sort of appropriate for "Nightworld".

Friday, 2 July 2021

Into Nightworld


I'm surprised that I have got this quickly to the final book in "The Adversary Cycle" by F Paul Wilson, but the books are , for me , remarkably good reads. I am still surprised the the cycle is shown as six books as  "The Tomb" and "The Touch" are tangentially related in introducing characters Repairman Jack and Alan Bulmer who appear in the finale "Nightworld".

While I remember the overall plots of "The Keep" , "The Tomb" and "Nightworld" a reread is a bit like watching a TV or film prequel , there is no jeopardy , although I liked the way that "Gotham" tackled the Joker in a very unexpected twist..

I have not reread "The Touch" yet though I have started it on my Kindle fire , because I do not have a physical copy.

So into "Nightworld I go, while "The Tomb" feels a bit disconnected from "Reborn" (the real second Adversary Cycle book) , "Reborn" , "Reprisal" and "Nightworld" do flow into each other like a single entity, and I expect "Nightworld" to be as good this time round as the first time round.

In more personal news I am still suffering from a cough and cold , though it may be hay fever. As I write this before work I am listening to the soundtrack of the film "Dazed and Confused" which is packed with classic seventies rock although ironically not the Led Zeppelin song of the same name which you would expect.

It also contains the only song worth having by the abhorrent idiot Ted Nugent "Stranglehold" , which I first heard between bands when I saw The Rolling Stones at the first Knebworth concert in the mid seventies.

So I will share that with you this sunny Friday morning.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Encountering The Adversary

Possibly an unexpected title given that England play Germany in the Euros tonight but that is not what this is about. This is the least I've posted in a month on this blog for over ten years, it's not that I've not been not writing, but have been publishing on Vocal which has changed the way I write and also actually increased my writing in a year when I said I was going to slow it down. You can see my Vocal posts here.

The benefit of posting here is that I don't need to wait for story / article approval , which may be a good or bad thing, but I should not neglect this blog.

I have been suffering from a cough / cold possible after effects of COVID jab and since Thursday I have lost 3Kg in weight , probably because of my effective total fasting on Thursday and Friday. Yesterday my weight was 91.8Kg which is 202lb or 14 stone 6 lb , I haven't been that low since my early twenties, so I am now thinking maybe one day a week I will try fasting. Today my weight is 92.1 Kg.

So to the point of this article, I am currently rereading The Adversary Cycle by F Paul Wilson and while I know the overall picture I was surprised to find that the publishers push it as a six book series when in reality two of the books are only marginally related. I thought I was going to start what is sometimes advertised as the third book "The Touch" but looking through my collection I realised I didn't have a copy (I think I borrowed it from my mate Steve Kirby about twenty years back) so I ordered a copy on my Kindle Fire.

I am currently on book three of the four, "Reprisal" having read the excellent "Reborn" which soon became obvious was the real follow up to "The Keep" the start of the series (also a Michael Mann film).

When I reread "The Tomb" I was thinking "This has nothing to do with The Adversary" although the hero (or anti hero) Repairman Jack reappears in the Adversary Finale , "Nightworld", 

All the books are excellent trending towards eventually apocalypse mixing mystery , horror and detective genres which some excellent characterisations and given that I am normally a slow reader , this series is one that I will revisit when I am finished.

So I am going to share Mussorgsky's "Night on Bare Mountain" a scary bit from Disney's "Fantasia" which is a good soundtrack for this piece from one of my mums favourite films.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Vegan is Fine for Everyone


 I was in the shower this morning (not an image you want in your head I know) and I read the side of my Lacura Shower Gel that I got from Aldi and it said "Suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians". Then I thought if something is suitable for Vegans then it is also suitable for Vegetarians. 

Although there are exceptions for allergic to reactions to certain foods that are Vegan (Nuts etc) no Vegetarian is going to thing I can't have that because it's Vegan , but a Vegan would have to check out something that is classed as Vegetarian to see if it is suitable for them..

Also someone who is an Pescatarian or an Omnivore should not have a problem with a product that is classed as Vegan (barring allergies), although religion could possibly come into it but essentially , if it's Vegan it is suitable for everyone.

I am lucky enough to live in Newcastle and we have a plethora of Vegan eating places, I'll add to this as I discover more but here's the list with links for you to explores:

Please let me know the ones I have missed.

Jack Monroe's Peach & Chickpea Curry
And here is the gorgeous Peach and Chickpea curry by Jack Monroe , click on the pic to get the recipe.

Yes this is a very short post , and I may expand it for my Vocal writing , but this is one of the things that I use this blog for. I was gonna share some appropriate music but remembered this TED talk debunking all the arguments against Veganism by Ed Winters.





Ed Winters talk is excellent because it brings in the "just because it's legal doesn't make it moral" argument ,well worth your time , and if you fancy some vegan recipes try the books below.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Neglect


Since I started writing on Vocal , that has become my main creative focus. It has a slightly easier interface but posts need approval and have to be between 600 and 5000 words long. There are other caveats such as no religion and quite a few others. So I have a feeling that this year this blog will not be hitting anything like a post a day , although I will be beating my first few years posts.

This is just my second post this month and 85th this year and we are almost half way through 2021, but I have 40 posts on Vocal which you can see and read here.

I feel that a lot of my creativity has gone into the Vocal posts leaving nothing for here.

I also have not listened to 6Music for absolute ages, preferring random choices from my collection and my Discogs store. It is a Record Store Day , but I feel my vinyl collection has as much as I need. I've stated that often the idea of making a record special is coloured vinyl or a picture disc maybe featuring the band. That doesn't cut it for me.

I have a great vintage record player I got from RPM and that makes the vinyl sound awesome, and often it's the reggae that has the best sound, although everything sounds good , and yes there may be some surface noise but as the great John Peel said "Life has Surface Noise Mate!!"

So I will leave you with "Boops" by Sly & Robbie , a song I have digitally on CD and on a 12" vinyl single purchased from Stay Free records in Newcastle. Enjoy my friends.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Dixie Chicken


Today I have been listening to a lot of music , part of which was on a four mile walk that included posting a CD from a Discogs order to Connecticut in the USA, and decided to play a best of Little Feat , “As Time Goes By”. By the way this post was rejected for an unspecified reason by Vocal.


The first song on the album is “Dixie Chicken” , also the title track of their third album written by Lowell George and Fred Martin. The song itself is just very good but for me the piano lines just know over the perfection line by some way. They almost don’t go with the song but enhance it so much that Bill Payne’s lines just make you want to play it again , although a second Little Feat song always adds to the feast , and a whole album just really is perfect.


Little feat were probably one of the first multi ethnic bands , although to could also cite Santana and The Mothers of Invention, with Sam Clayton an integral part of the band.


Their songs are usually complex but you can sing along with them and all of Lowell George’s guitar work was planned down to the note. I always improvise and therefore often can’t repeat what I actually played but Lowell George was a nailed on musician.


After “Dixie Chicken” came “Willin’” a sparse acoustic piece from their first album but this gets better every time you hear it and Lowell George’s guitar work is wonderful.


Lowell George was always Little Feat’s main man and I learned about him from the documentary on Amazon Prime “Feats First” about his short life , and his lasting musical legacy , six Little Feat studio albums , one live album and one solo album.


The other thing is Little Feat were never a one man band Bill Payne and Paul Barrere were also mainstays and contributed songs , licks and vocals to the overall sound.


I have recently been listening to all their albums while I work and at no point do I ever wnat to skip a song, and even though “As Time Goes By” is a compilation , you could probably put any dozen Little Feat songs together and it would be an absolutely great listen. If you go to their website (they are still going) there is a jukebox on their site to whet your appetite.


Although they didn't move a great deal of music early on they are now regarded as a truly great rock band and it is almost impossible to pigeonhole them , yes they are very unmistakably American, possibly in a similar univers to The Band , they influenced a lot who came after , but their music still sounds fresh and contemporary.


I often hate people who say that music was only good when whatever, I know people who’s musical diet is British Rock between 1974-6 , or eighties power ballads or stuff like Heart or Smooth radio, but basically 95% is always rubbish and it’s up to us to find that 5% good stuff. Little Feat and a veritable gold seam and all their stuff is worth listening two , much like The Band. 


I am unaware of a contemporary equivalent but I am sure another will emerge and knock us off our feet so to speak.


So I suggest to listen to “Dixie Chicken” , thanks to YouTube it’s free to listen to , though you may have an advert to navigate , and if you like that I suggest to invest in some of their LPs, you will not be disappointed and please don’t use Spotify and it does not support artists. Buy music from the artist direct if you can , otherwise see if they have  a Bandcamp site.


Saturday, 29 May 2021

Copy Wrong

Almost every day when I log on to social media Facebook and Instagram have blocked a couple of old music share videos. I was under the impression that 30 seconds of a song was fine to use if it's not for commercial purposes but I shared some excerpts from the reissue of Led Zeppelin III and that was blocked immediately. It contained three twenty second snippets. I got a similar notice just as quick from "One of These Nights" by The Eagles. This time I submitted a dispute , stating this wasn't commercial , or disrespectful and may result in more sales. The videos have been reinstated but the owner can still have them removed. I recently wrote on this whole thing here.

There is an article on how confusing copyright is here.

I understand that you can't share whole songs , or use them , or snippets commercially , but what I am doing , in my  opinion , could be beneficial to the artist.

Most of the video are over six months old , and to be quite honest, I am not too bothered about that because social media is generally in the "NOW" and while the odd person might see and listen to the videos it's not worth my effort to dispute them. Also often I then get notices saying that the video has been reinstated as my dispute was successful , when I did not submit a dispute!.

Although I have not been writing much on here , I've had 14K page views so far this month , but I'm not too sure who is reading what. I once had a run in with YouTube over a Christopher Lee slideshow sound tracked by his version of "My Way".

I'll share one of the songs that were immediately banned that is fully available on YouTube , and that is the wonderful "Journey of the Sorcerer" by The Eagles , as used for the them to Douglas Adams' "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy".

Friday, 28 May 2021

A Change


I have not been posting as much on my main blog , (that is this one), and that was my intention this year but thanks to me writing on Vocal my writing has actually gone up significantly.  The thing is there is no checking or approval needed on here and there is no need to hit a minimum word count so I can write as little or as much as I want and not have to  check whether it is OK for publication apart from my own visual and grammar and spelling checks.

With Vocal I do get paid for reads though it's a tiny amount but it is a different platform. The format is similar to how I post on here but I do write the initial post using Google Docs which I find a lot faster , more responsive and easier than Microsoft Word , and I am surprised on how slow Microsoft Office apps have become in general. They take an age to start, and sometimes decide to just freeze you out when you are in the middle of something. That is not very good.

I have just finished watching "The Haunting of Bly Manor" on Netflix and while episodes 1-7 were good I felt a little lost at times , but the final two episodes were amazing and the ending , if a little sad, was excellent. I now need to decide on what to pick up next.

I have just realised that my posts on here can be totally unfocused whereas Vocal needs them to be more to the main point to be approved. 

I am glad I have posted here and this morning while working have been listening to various things and the one that sticks in my mind is "All Through The City" by Wilko Johnson from the "Going Back Home" album on Chess with Roger Daltrey although it was a classic Dr Feelgood song , and I actually set and ran through the main riff and posted it in Instagram here, but will share with you.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

The Devil Has All The Best Tunes

I am actually writing , well typing and not dictating, this draft article on my Google Pixel 2XL phone. Dictating gives me too much editing and fixing, but this is the first article I have done completely on the phone and am surprised that it is basically rather good. Not as convenient as a computer keyboard , but more than adequate and very fit for purpose.


While the title obviously refers to Christianity , this concept is prevalent 8n most religions, anything that brings us pleasure is wrong, and the right way is whatever the controlling body says is the way , hence subservience. We see it today when raising money for good causes ,where the very rich and powerful give nothing themselves but tell the "lower castes" to give and donate to help the less fortunate. Helping others is a worthy pursuit but when you think Jeff Bezis and Elon Musk could probably eradicate world poverty and not leave themselves short you see the issue I have. On a lesser scale Gary Barlow has evaded tax yet still partakes in money raising events (it gives him exposure) , but Mr Barlow is not "The Devil's Music" , far from it.


This article is very unresearched and is just coming from what's 8nmy head and my past experiences, so apologies for any glaring errors. It also contains a lot of my opinions and, despite what lots of people get on their high horses about, opinions and ideas mean nothing unless they are logically argued and backed up by facts. 


However a lot of what is going down here is not provable , I may say I think song A is the devil's music and song B isn't , that is my opinion and thoughts on the subject and you may disagree and since The Devil is not here to question I  have to assume and opine.


One of the earliest associations between modern popular music and the devil is that the blues singer Robert Johnson wet to the crossroads and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for being able to play guitar. Enough to damn him in the eyes of the church. 


Lots of popular music from the late 1800s which then became fused and influenced by and with African and swing rhythms would often implicitly and explicitly refer to ess ee ecks , an the "great and good" , were very disapproving of that.


This music often came from "the other side of the tracks" that was usually the black quarter , again you start to see the racist elements in the disapproval and terming of "the devil's music". 


During the wars soldiers were given time off for rest and recreation which is the same acronym as rock and roll , an African American label for that old ess ee ecks , and around 1951 DJ Alan Freed appropriated it for a musical style supposedly kicked off by Jackie Brenton's "Rocket 88" which , I believe also featured Ike Turner on guitar .


Crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were also frowned upon in certain circles , though it was ironic that "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets and used as theme to the film "Blackboard Jungle"  sparked riots and wrecking of cinemas ,  but Haley was a middle aged man with a receding hairline leading a white western swing band , hardly the blueprint for the devil's music.


With media such as radio , television and cinema helping spread the word, or the sound , Elvis Presley , The Beatles and The Rolling Stones outraged many just by their existence , but they covered and were influenced by black music which gave a reason for certain organisations to attack them. When John Lennon said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus that stoked record burnings and protests in the USA , though to burn them they had to buy them. 


The Stones "Sympathy For The Devil" was an obvious candidate for the devil's music.


Heavy Metal and it's various exponents took on Satanic overtones exemplified by bands like Black Sabbath , and then genres such as Black Metal and Death Metal.


Religious organisations also decided that playing records backwards revealed Satanic instructions and messages and this was cited when a young man committed suiced and Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution" was cited as the culprit, but you don't need to play that backwards and obviously the young man had other problems.


Also in this case Rob Halford of Judas Priest quite rightly said "If we could influence people using hidden messages , it would be BUY MORE OF OUR RECORDS , not  Kill Yourself."


There is so much good music and it is always progressing, it takes in all influences. 


If you listen to "Tubular Bells" it is an impressive and beautiful piece of music but was used (without Mike Oldfield's permission)  in the film "The Exorcist" so does that make it Satanic? I think not but anyone can put any interpretation on what they hear.


The thing is WE have the best music , because WE take inspiration and create music that can be described as how it affects us and others.


Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Split

I have decided to stop posting my Vocal writing on SevendaysIn. I will continue posting on both platforms but this will be less focussed that the Vocal posts , and more just to record what is happening and to share music and links to books , and not to be too bothered about how many words I am posting.

This week is mainly not doing anything in Thirsk, and spending time away from work, although I have had a nice Whatsapp chat with my lovely boss.

The place I am staying is excellent and has a smart TV that is allowing me to watch whatever I want to, so I have re picked up "Better Call Saul". I find it amazing that now you can go on holiday and take the minimum of entertainment with you because ereaders mean you can take books on a device and it's the same with music and films and TV thanks to streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and All4, so I'm not short of anything to watch although I took an age to work out how to get rid of subtitles off iPlayer. You need to pause the program and then the subtitles icon appears on the pause screen.

So I'm not writing for Vocal so I can share the semi appropriate "Holiday Road" from "Nationl Lampoon's Vacation" by the genius Lindsey Buckingham. I call also reign back my posting on here although my Vocal posts may continue on an almost daily basis.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

More Writing

Another take away from me on writing on Vocal. As I have said I saw the original adverts for it saying that it would improve your writing discipline and I am always wary of claims like that, but willing to give things a try. A similar thing was with the NOOM diet plan which I eventually found too intrusive with the number of things that I was expected to take on, although I did take a couple of positive things from it and know people who are on the NOOM course and losing weight , but I found it too intrusive.


I was half expecting this from Vocal , but it just seems to be a supportive network and is full of articles about anything you need to know , a bit like the Internet search engines except that the articles are foul articles and not full of pop up adverts and misleading links.


I find the areas to post in is not always obvious and Vocal always manages to file them in a suitable area. I also find the tags not always perfect for what I have written about, but publishing is relatively simple.


The only rules that need to be followed is that your article needs to be at least six hundred words long and it needs to be readable. I once tried an article that I had done by dictating into my phone and it was, quite rightly, rejected.


I have been blogging for fifteen years on SevenDaysIn which I started as a travel diary but is has been taken over by my love for music and anything else that I want to remember. I do publish my articles there , as well as on Vocal as some readers prefer that platform and at the moment I get more visits there than I do here , but I have only been on here for less than a month, but published (when this is live) 32 articles.


This year I had said I would scale down my writing , but Vocal has actually caused me to write a lot more. The other thing is that my articles on SevenDaysIn were mostly around 250 words but obviously to appear on Vocal they need to be longer, so I have not only increased the number of articles I have written , but also increased the content of those articles and I hope the quality is still good enough for an audience to read.


I don’t think in all my time on SevenDaysIn I actually wrote about writing, but here I am on Vocal doing that.


So after this big preamble I now have a system that allows me to produce articles with interesting content in a relatively simple fashion.


I now do not type straight into the blogging interface. I did use Microsoft Word , but now have moved to Google Docs as it is fast , responsive , and lightweight and your documents are always available online, and it is free. I do find it amazing that with the processing power of our computers and devices certain software is so bloated with extra stuff it slows down the device to an unusable state.


When I have finished the article in Docs I choose a header video or picture for the Vocal story and paste the text in to give me the basic article.


When I was looking at Vocal articles I couldn’t work out how to put in links and pictures and videos into the article, but a little experimentation , showed me that if, at the start of a paragraph, I press an up arrow (sometimes twice) followed by the return key a plus sign (+) appears on the left hand side of where the cursor is and you can then add your link to enhance your article.


I had also seen text links and wasn’t sure how to do that, but if you select text you are given the option of changing it to a basic link , as well as a lot of other options.


I hope this points will help you if you are new to Vocal and I am certainly becoming more impressed with the interface and the platform.


As I am writing this I am listening to Fatboy Slim’s “Greatest Hits” and across the front it states “Why Try Harder?” from the cover guy’s T-Shirt , and really when we work we should be smarter so we don’t have to work harder, which means that after work we wil have energy for the things in life that we really want to do. I never knew until today that "Weapon of Choice" with the crazy dashing Christopher Walken video also features Bootsy Collins.


Incidentally I have found this piece easy to write and it has clocked it at more than 800 words. I recently read an article by Adrian Cruce about freelancing which stated the writer was paid $1.50 per 500 in 2001 which they rated a slave labour but now charge ten times that, but the rates still seem very low but that is the nature of the economy at the moment but hopefully we can change that.


You can read the freelancing article here