Friday 26 February 2021

A Marathon?

You hear the phrase "it's a marathon not a sprint" applied to many situations, and due to one thing and another this week , over Monday to Friday I have recorded over 100K steps which is about forty four miles, which for me is impressive.

Yesterday I wanted to better 26K steps , then I decided to hit 30K then 33K then 15 miles and finished on 35K. The fact I had done 15 miles got me thinking I could do 26 miles in a day, not as a continuous run , but just to hit twenty six miles in a day. Here's the details of the original and it is just over twenty six miles, but at my general speed of 2.5 miles an hour that would be eleven hours walking, so it is improbable that I will do it , but with a week off next week the thought is very much in my head.

Being on an effective staycation gives me a lot of potential routes that would serve my purpose but the amount of time it will take will probably mean that I don't do it.

Also Snickers chocolate bars used to be called Marathon and I think the new name is rubbish , Marathon was far better.

So to soundtrack this Edwin Starr's "25 Miles" is close enough for me.

Thursday 25 February 2021


Following on from my previous post. I had planned to do 25K steps at first , then that went up to 30K then I decided on 15 miles . 2,250 of my steps make up a mile so I need to aim for 33,750 steps which I thought I might not make, but in the end I hit 35,195 steps which is 15.6 miles.

That has smashed my previous days record (26K) and took me six hours to complete so the average speed of 2.5 mph is not too impressive , but the fact that I did it impressed me.

My legs are sore but I think they will be fine after a good sleep , and ready for more walking with Kirsty and Alexis tomorrow.

On the right is my "proof" from the Google Fit app which is now fairly robust for tracking my walking.

So the perfect song for this is "Success" by Iggy Pop. I always put a song into my post these days because it gives the reader the opportunity to have something playing while they read the post. The song comes from the David Bowie produced "Lust For Life" album , which is one of those that should be in everyone's collection.

Fifteen Miles

This year I intended to post maybe once every three days , January went as expected but February , well this is my nineteenth post , so it's more like two every three days this month.

I try to do 340K steps every month and most months 11.5K steps a day is enough for that, but non leap year February only has 28 days so the average has to be 12.2K and I haven't done that this month meaning that with five days left I needed to do 75K steps to hit my target. Yesterday I did 20K steps and today I am hoping to complete 30K steps. My record is about 26K but I would like to hit 33K which will be about fifteen miles. Again not a great distance and I have friends who do that on a daily basis.

I did this when Diabetes UK started it to raise money. I didn't raise any money but thought it was a good idea to sort of keep fit, as I hate gyms. The Diabetes UK task  was a million steps in three months but I turned it into a rolling three months which I am still doing now,

This morning I decided to forego my lie in and get a start of maybe six or seven thousand steps. I took a tour through Gosforth and across Newcastle United Golf Course and when I got back I had done 15.5K steps which is seven miles , so almost half way there.

My plan was to walk between 12 and 5 this afternoon which was originally going to be around 25K steps , but with this morning's walk 40K is a distinct possibility but highly unlikely, because basically I am lazy and I could be walking instead of writing this. But I'm writing not walking.

Tomorrow I am meeting my daughter and granddaughter and last week that ended in a 22K step walk so there is a slight chance that I could hit my February total tomorrow , but we shall see.

Thanks to my Google Pixel 2XL I can listen to a lot of music and today it's been the "More" soundtrack by Pink Floyd and "Another Day On Earth" by Brian Eno and while I love the whole album , and have shared "This" so many times , "How Many Worlds" is an absolute beauty so I will share a wonderful time lapse video with you for you to enjoy.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Why Fleetwood Mac?

I saw a video by Pete Wylie recently where in a preamble to performing "Remember" by Shambeko! Wah he explained his reasoning behind the various name changes for the various incarnations of Wah!  over the years which you can see here.

There's been two Fleetwood Mac's taking their name from Mick Fleetwood and John McVie but formed and led by Peter Green in their first incarnation, there was then a transitional period (read here) and eventually Mick Fleetwood met the duo Buckingham Nicks , and Lindsey Buckingham became the bands driving force with admirable support from Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie producing "Rumours" and "Tusk", the latter being my favourite Mac album and was remade by Camper Van Beethoven .

I also love the Buckingham Nicks album which I think is only available as a bootleg CD for some reason but you can hear why Mick Fleetwood wanted them in Fleetwood Mac.

The point of this post is given that Peter Green formed the band why was it named after the drummer and bassist?  I mean Green Manalishi would have been a great name for a band though that was the last song that he recorded with the band.

I will share the Buckingham Nicks album which is available on YouTube with you so you can judge for yourself.

My Alarums

Although I have an alarm clock , it's generally other things that wake me, and during the week I really don't want to get up for work, I want to stay in bed.

I tend to hear cars on the road outside that start around five am , and I think these people must get up really early to be driving at this time. The next thing is at around five twenty the heating comes on and you can hear water coursing through the radiators , then twenty five minutes later the actual alarm goes off and thein it is time to drag myself out of bed.

There will be lots of things that wake you up , the dawn chorus is a good one. When I lived in Shieldfield there was a lit yard behind the flat and the dawn chorus went on all night, although I slept through it.

My second job was as a computer operator for Peter Ctaig and I worked "continental shifts" which was days followed by nights and in a week you would work Monday day , then Tuesday night then Thursday day and Saturday morning , then the next week was Monday night etc. That taught me to be able to sleep any time anywhere.

So that's a few things on sleeping and stuff and I thought I would go with something by The Strawberry Alarm Clock , with then thought The Alarm was even more direct so we'll have "68 Guns". On tThe Best of The Alarm there is a song called "The Stand(Long Version)" that clocks in at 2'47" , not sure how long the sort version is.

Sunday 21 February 2021


I didn't intend to post anything today after posting three times yesterday , but felt I needed to record what I noticed today. It is probably not anything most people will be bothered about but my lateral thinking mind immediately tied it up with Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart).

I've been out for a walk today mainly to get some jam from the Moorside Allotment shop for me and my daughters, but this meant a continuation of the walk across Nunsmoor .

No the EU forced Britain to keep driving on the Left Hand side of the road , despite most of the rest of the world driving on the right , and it's similar when walking on paths or escalators , you see signs that say "Keep Left" , and I always try to keep left, but people on paths seem to be all over the place which mean that when I'm walking it's not a straight walk but a zigzag , going from right to left to avoid people walking on the right , and the worst one was a guy who was on the right with his dog on an extendable lead on the left hand side effectively blocking the actual path meaning I had to walk on the grass to get past.

I think will some people it is just pure ignorance , they are the only ones that matter.

The walk was pleasant nevertheless and is an excuse to share "Zigzag Wanderer" by Captain Beefheart, just to show how off kilter my mind gets.

Saturday 20 February 2021


Today is the twentieth of February 2021 , or you could say Twenty - Two - Twenty One like you are counting backwards. Over the last year or so there have been a lot of dates that fall into that category, and no doubt 2022 will provide even more. This is just an observatory post on how dates can appear significant when the reality is that it's just natural progression or coincidence.

One of my vinyl captures is "Numbers" by Cat Stevens and it is one of so many albums that use numbers as their inspirations as well as having a wonderful storybook and cut out cover as part of the package.

Another being "A Grounding In Numbers" by Van Der Graaf Generator, which is the sort of offering you would expect from Peter Hamill and company.

Although I could have chosen these artists to share a song with I am going to go for Ry Cooder's take on  Otis Redding's "634 5789"


This week I have taken some photographs of mainly St Jame's Park that have come out far better than I expected. Yes my Canon camera has a 25x optical zoom , which goes up to 100x when using the digital zoom, though that is almost impossible to use without a tripod. This is similar to the Sydney Opera House Effect of the Wallsend Cranes from Fenham Hall Drive which you can see here .

St Jame's Park - Newcastle United
Effectively if the atmospherics are right you can actually get a great picture. But you do need a clear ideally sunny or cloudless day and we haven't had too many of those this year, but it is really satisfying when you get images like the one on the right.

I often remark that if you want to take a picture involving atmospherics you have to get it there and then otherwise whatever you are trying to capture will disappear forever.

That has happened so many times to me and sometimes even the time it takes to get your phone out of your pocket means that you lose the moment.

For the first time in my life I have noticed the "Sphere" part of the word "Atmosphere" , basically "Atmos" is from the Greek for vapour and "Sphere" is the ball shape of our planet. "Atmos" is also a Dolby sound system which until today I was unaware of.

I've had at least two time where I have caught "flying saucers" , one being a cloud , the other the sun reflecting off shaped building rooves. , while they are on my Instagram Feed Instagram doesn't allow you to search your own feed for hashtags.

I will update the links if I find the pictures but will leave you with another excuse for this post , one of my favourite Tom Robinson songs "Atmospherics:Listen To The Radio" which I didn't realise was co written by Peter Gabriel..

Le Son

I'd lost my Bluetooth Emospeak headphones and yesterday I found them, so thanks to the milder weather I don't have to wear multiple coats and hats so the headphones are now an option once again. I wasn't sure what to listen to but I have a Disco playlist featuring Donna Summer , Lipps Inc , Marcel King , Janelle Monae and The Emotions although I have a hell of a lot of choice to listen to on my Google Pixel 2XL phone and it's still half empty so when I can be bothered I can add more from my collection.

This week one the original album series boxes that I picked out for listening was the first five albums by Little Feet , and though the albums are all under forty minutes and they are so good that they just seemed to disappear immediately . Steered by Lowell George they were on a similar level to The Band in terms of shaping the sounds of Americana.

I am quite shocked I have never mentioned Little feat before on this blog, but at leas this short post will rectify this and will share two live numbers from an Old Grey Whistle Test performance in 1975 , "Rock and Roll Doctor" and "Fat Man In The Bathtub" (maybe should be my theme tune).

Friday 19 February 2021

Going Up

Another idea for a short story or non-poem. 

You take a stairway to go up, there are people behind you and is tis fairly narrow. The stairaway winds round and you realise you are not sure where you are going. There are no numbers on the doors or floors and there are no lifts. You cannot stop because there is a line of people behind you, they are going up and morally forcing you to continue.

You cannot stop, you cannot get tired , you feel you are in an Escher drawing, all the floors are the same. all the doors are closed and the same colour and all the doors are padlocked so there is no option of leaving the head of this hellish upwardly mobile conga line.

You still have to go on, you don't know why you came in here and surely you have to hit the top at some point , and then what?

Will it be like Jack and The Beanstalk or will there be a roof or will there just be a dead end, but still you keep going , looking for a way off , looking for a change.

You start to think you are just going round the same circuit , even though you are going up you are in some kind of Moebius strip type stairway that you can never get off.

You don't know how many are behind you and whether they feel the same as you.

There is no change, this keeps , going on and you wonder why you are not hungry , thirsty or need to relieve yourself, you are starting to think you are in a dream , but it seems so real.

You keep going what you think is up, and although you are tired , stopping is not an option,

There is no reason for it and you hope it will stop , or have an end, but it doesn't

You keep going up and up and up .........

And here is the non-poem version:

"One step starts it

The two and soon a flight of stairs

Then another

And Another

And More

And It never stops

You think it will end

But it keeps on going

Turn the corner

Another flight awaits

There is no turning back

Only going Up

And Up

And Up

And ........"

That's Friday's which probably says something about my state of mind.

I wasn't sure what to illustrate this but "The Staircase (Mystery) by Siouxsie and The Banshees seems perfect. Maybe that's what inspired me to create this.

Enjoy the weekend every one.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

I'm Missing The Snow

This morning I finished "Left Out" which while it mostly depressed me on the infighting in the Labour Party but left with the observation that Corby had moved the party back to the Left , but I home that Starmer has something lined up to destroy the Tory party because he's being very quiet at the moment.

Next up is "Fake Law" by The Secret Barrister which doesn't start well as it intersperses right wing idiot quotes from the press , parliament and the rest, and is almost like a Daily Mail article but it is what you hear from so many everyday people who can't be bothered to think or look into what they are reading. I have been guilty several times but luckily have friends who can put me right.

The snow has gone and temperatures are up , but generally the weather is grey and uninspiring .I don't need two coats , gloves and a furry coat to go out in and while it's a bit brighter it's a bit meh. I  thought I would pen a non-poem on my thoughts , so I supposed it is still causing some inspiration. 

"I Miss The Snow

Crunching underfoot

The bright white pavements

Parks and Fields

I Miss The Snow

I Miss The Snow

I miss The Snowmen

The animal trails

A bird , a cat, a dog

I Miss The Show

I Miss The Snow

The iced puddles and ponds

Electric Brilliance from The Winter Sun

And still that crunch underfoot

I Miss The Snow"

So that's a non-poem for this day off, and the weather is boringly mild but I will nip out for a walk soon. While I'm writing this I picked up a CD called "Raw Rockabilly" from my Discogs pile , the music is great but the cover is a bit iffy as it contains the Confederate flag which has been adopted by American Nazis in the same way the St George's Flag and Union Jack have been purloined by British Nazis . It's also an anti Black Lives Matter image now, but when this was designed it was a redneck image but was not seen at that time as a racist image, which it undoubtedly was. I'd never seen it as a racist flag , but I had all the bits which if I had bothered to put them together, I would have immediately seen that it was. We all have to be continually learning and to be educated.

So musically will go with "Please Don't Touch" by Johnny Kidd and The Pirates from that album. More rock and roll than rockabilly but still a great record, which Motorhead and Girlschool updated for the St Valentine's Day Massacre EP which I have posted about recently and in the past (follow the tags).

Monday 15 February 2021

Tiny Steps

Walking out now is treacherous because of the iced up pavements, and what that has meant that I am sure I am doing far more steps per whatever measurement you care to put forward because if I try to walk normally I'd end up flat on my back.

The thought of walking tiny steps made me think of one of my favourite Elvis Costello songs , and  to be quite honest that's the only reason for this post. Elvis Costello's real name is Declan McManus , and Declan McManus plays for and scores quite a few goals for Dunfermline Athletic. Also I believe Elvis Costello's dad was an Elvis impersonator and sang the R White's Secret Lemonade Drinker advert.

It shows the way my mind works in that a post about the perils of walking on icy footpaths takes left turn into the connection between Elvis Costello , Dunfermline Athletic and R White's lemonade.

I normally aim for about 250 words in a post , but this is less than half that , but is also my second post today, plus it's quite late and I really need to go to bed. So this is me signing off.

Vegan or Omnivore?

I do fall into the second category and am unlikely to every be totally vegan. As I've got older I seem to be going off meat more. A full English breakfast used to be a must for me , bow I can't remember the last time I had one and certainly don't miss it.

I've never been a fan of steak and I find red meat so heavy on the stomach. Meatless Farm mince is a perfect example , if you use it in Shepherd's Pie or say Keema , and you save some for tomorrow you can feel how much lighter it is than lamb or beef mince. That fact alone should spell out that it's better for you.

I sort of abhor Tofu but both Snackwallah and Vegano have served it up in very tasty meals that I have cleaned the plate with.

Our local Indian , the excellent Rajnagar and about ten vegetarian / vegan main courses and if I eat from there , that's my eating list.

I still drink milk and have it for my porridge and coffee and eggs and fish are always on my menu. Chicken is ok every now and then especially in a curry and am ok with decent sausages ,  although there is part of me that says I shouldn't.

So I don't see myself being vegan , although lots of work colleagues think I am,  but the thing is , barring Tofu , I think most vegan food is excellent and if I am eating out the vegan option is the one that grabs my attention.

So really can we have anything but "Call Any Vegetable" by Frank Zappa and The Mothers (the record company added "of Invention" so as not to be offensive) to play out with? I thought of "Meat Is Murder" by The Smiths but that is a bit too hard hitting , though it's right to be.

Sunday 14 February 2021

Three Books

Temperatures are rising but the snow is still on the ground , and when I started to type this , nothing happened. Thought the batteries on the wireless keyboard may have run out so checked in notepad , which was working fine and then the blogger software started working again.

It is a cold Valentine's day and the footpaths in places are like ice-rinks, not very safe if you are not steady on your feet.

Anyway the subject of this post is the two books I am reading . "Left Out" is about Labour under Corbyn , and is almost like reading a newspaper. You are not part of what is happening , it's also a physical book so sometimes I can't read it with my contact lenses in. It is very engrossing and interesting but the reader is not drawn into it, and I suppose that is the nature of any book reporting facts, especially when it highlights the faults and frailties of an organisation and person that you have admiration for. Unfortunately , because of our first past the post electoral system , the only alternative to the current government is The Labour Party. It is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in the UK political situation.

The other is "Imajica" by Clive Barker which at over a thousand pages I  gave away my physical copy and bought it for my Kindle Fire. I am about a third of the way though and am slowly making my way through it once more, and this draws me into the book itself , you are there, you are part of it, and I know that I will not want it to end (again) but that must come, but although Clive Barker is not everyone's cup of tea , he certainly drags me into he books, stimulating my imagination and leaving always wanting to read just one more page, and then another. This is my favourite book ever, and reading it today , I know why that is.

This week I am considering the abridged audio book of Richard Osman's "The Thursday Murder Club" which is available on BBC Sounds here. I find Richard Osman an intelligent engaging quiz show host and person (as well as Fulham supporter) so a book of his really is something you need to engage with. I have downloaded it on my Kindle Fire so that is queued up for this week.

So what do I share today, I have The Byrds "Untitled" playing as I write this and teh studio album contains "Chestnut Mare" , one of my eldest daughter, Juliet's favourites , and one of mine too , so we can go with this on this Valentine's Sunday afternoon.

Saturday 13 February 2021


It is still cold , so cold that the snow gets a bit slushy during the day then freezes at night. The lowest I've seen is minus eight degrees centigrade and friend in Dalgety Bay have reported minus fourteen degrees centigrade.

Walking out and most of the snow on footpaths has turned to ice, it's the middle of the and the temperature is zero , freezing. It isn't snowing but it is cold, with the only sign that this is over , the fact that most of the snow on the rooves has gone.

This is just a very short post , the day before Valentine's day and it is the thirteenth. Strange how sending a  Valentines card to someone you don't know turns you into a stalker in todays environment , and I am sure there is a great horror story in that situation . Someone gets a card from a stranger and that marks them as the next target. That could destroy the Valentine's card industry.

St Valentine was a clergyman who was martyred but is also the patron saint of epilepsy. Wiki details are here

So what song do I share?

I know it's the day before but I know the Motorhead / HeadGirl / Girlschool "St Valentine's Day Massacre" EP is on YouTube in full , so we will go with that. The lead song on the EP is a cover of "Please Don't Touch" by Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.  I find it slightly odd that the CD copies are now selling for more than the vinyl copies if you check out the links below.

The actual massacre is described thus:

" 1929 murder of seven members and associates of Chicago's North Side Gang that occurred on Saint Valentine's Day. The men were gathered at a Lincoln Park garage on the morning of that feast day, February 14th. They were lined up against a wall and shot by four unknown assailants who were dressed like police officers. The incident resulted from the struggle to control organized crime in the city during Prohibition between the Irish North Siders, headed by George "Bugs" Moran, and their Italian South Side Gang rivals led by Al Capone.[1] The perpetrators have never been conclusively identified, but former members of the Egan's Rats gang working for Capone are suspected of a role, as are members of the Chicago Police Department who allegedly wanted revenge for the killing of a police officer's son"

Thursday 11 February 2021

Snow Go

I was out walking tonight , it was -2°C (this morning was -7°C) and thought this is just perfect. The snow crunched underfoot and there is no slush or skating rink footpath sections just beautiful white snow, and I am loving it while  it's like this. There is no wind, rain or driving snow like last week and it is just perfect to walk in. 

There are some pictures on my Instagram Channel here, and there is a particularly good short snowy video here , and it is on Instagram here.

This week has been listening to lots of #MusicWhileYouWork and today I found a very unusual CD called Hindi Horrorcore by Andy Votel  who does a lot of remixing and you can see examples below, it's just not an expected genre of  anything , but I have the CD in my collection and it is definitely listenable, so I've included it here using the paste video option so we'll see how it goes.

It's close to midnight so I best sign off now. The temperature now is -8°C

Saturday 6 February 2021

In The Middle Of The Night

Having had a reasonably restful week I thought I would get up in the middle of the night and write this post just to prove that I can. I went to bed at 11 o'clock and woke up at 8 o'clock , so the fact is I got a very good night's sleep, nine hours. I may try again tonight.

So I've gone through the day , and the weather is still so dreich and I do not think I will wake up to write another post. I've not done much today but my weekends are for resting and recuperation.

I have not even listened to any music today , but done some reading and managed to keep warm and dry.

I didn't do much walking either so in terms of doing things this has been an unsuccessful day, I am even tempted to not share this as this post is as uninspiring and uneventful as the weather at the moment.

So for a weather related song we shall go with "Like The Weather" by 10,000 Maniacs. No I shall go to bed.

Friday 5 February 2021

At The Double

Yesterday was a non work day for me , so I went out walking and managed to meet and chat to two of my neighbours , Emma and Manjit , twice. Now in this lockdown it's unusual to see people to speak to in person, we can , phone and videocall but two even meet two people is unusual , and to meet them twice in one day is definitely out of the ordinary.

There's been a cold North Wind today and the weather is dreich , cold and grey still , absolutely uninspiring, and though I walked different paths today it was more like a chore than an achievement.

My reading is still between the excellent in a car crash kind of way "Left Out" and the excellent in an excellent type of way "Imajica". The thing is although reading "Imajica" on the Kindle is very slow , it just means I will spend so much longer in that magical universe,

TV is continuing with "The Daily Show" , "Shrill" , "Cobra Kai" and a new one "Resident Alien" and today the Queen Platinum Collection has provided all my #MusicWhileYouWork  and there is a lot of good music in there. Although that is only three hours I did have a lot of meetings.

The reason I was listening to Queen is because my mate Jim had posted on Facebook about "Innuendo" containing his favourite Queen song ever, which is a high recommendation given that Jim must be close the the world's number one Queen fan to the point that his scrap books were used on official Queen releases. However he didn't mention the song , and I  don't have the album, but knew the ludicrously amazing title track graces Volume II of the collection , but I'm going with another favourite of mine "Las Palabras de Amor" featuring Mr Bulsara in a very smart suit.

Wednesday 3 February 2021


It's a long while since I posted three times in a day , but I am doing it just because I can. It's quarter to ten at night and I know tomorrow I can have a lie in. 

As I have said before , I do like a good night's sleep. but even ten years ago on a work night I could be up a three o'clock and then back to bed before properly getting up at six o'clock or whatever.

I  hit the last episode of "Silicon Valley" not realising it was the finale, but there are plenty more series to pick up on that have not even started, and as well as that there are books and music to continue on with.

"Imajica" is being quite slow on the Kindle but it's why I love it so much, it is so broad in scope and really does drag you right into it  (well it does for me), and "Left Out" is a good dissecting of the effective shambles of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn , who started out well but was never suited to be the leader of the party. I still respect him, but do wish the Labour Party could actually stop the infighting between themselves and direct their energy against the current government who are destroying this country with their self serving incompetence.

I would like to see a similar book about the Conservative Party but because they won the election they are seen as a success, but it wasn't really a case of them winning , it was more Labour didn't even try to win.

So that's just a little of where I am tonight, and I know I can lie in tomorrow so I will share "A Humorous and Interesting dialogue" by Edward II, taken from a 19th century Manchester broadside ballad (from their excellent and beautifully presented album "Manchester's Improving Daily"). It's a dialogue between a master and his workmen, illustrating the never-ending struggle for fair pay and decent working conditions, but used to illustrate how NHS staff are treated by our government.