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


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.