Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging. Show all posts

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.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Writing on Vocal

When I saw the ads for Vocal , I was a bit wary although my interest was piqued. It posited that you would become more disciplined with your writing and therefore be able to write better and more often and maybe even get paid for it. Anything that says you can make money is another red flag, very often the first thing that happens is that you are asked for money, then you don’t make enough to cover what you have paid out and the only people who profit are the people that you have paid.

Vocal allows you to join and post for free and receive rewards but for $10 a month you get significantly improved rewards plus extras such as free entry to paid writing competitions where you can win up to $1,000 which is fairly tempting.

I am still on the free pass seeing if I can potentially start making money from this platform.

One of the main benefits is that your pieces are exposed to the membership and you are rewarded when they read them and that in turn makes you want to write more.

This year I was intending to cut back on my blog writing , but since I joined Vocal I have posted about 15 pieces since I started on the 18th of April.

Prior to joining I would write on my blog, each post being around 250-300 words, but Vocal requires a minimum of 600 words for an article so that is something that I need to be aware of when I am writing.

This was my first ever blog post on on 18th February 2007:


This is just a start. Everyone seems to be blogging , so it’s just to set down some thoughts and observations.


The aim of the blog is to

  1. Tell you about my website

  2. Post articles on things

  3. Make comments on stuff that I've seen and heard”

So that was less than fifty words and for a long time I thought that was acceptable. 

Eventually it grew and my posts were usually directly into the blogger but with Vocal I realised I needed a new discipline , which I am following as I write this.

I tried actually dictating my posts but this required so much post editing and formatting , any time I saved, was lost getting the post into an acceptable format.

Next I thought I would use Microsoft Word so I could see a word count as I typed but it seemed slow and cumbersome to create the posts. I also like to include links to relevant products and an appropriate music video , as music is probably my most indulged with hobby as you would know if you follow my Instagram or Twitter channels @mikeydred96.

As I type this I am listening to a “Best Of” Spooky Tooth. Music often makes words flow from my fingertips and certainly makes writing easier, but others may prefer quiet.

Although isolation is best for writing , you cannot be totally isolated in life otherwise it is unlikely you could write about anything.

Even if you are writing fiction you need some form of inspiration , a Muse , contact and experience. These all provide inspiration for what you are going to put on your electronic page.

We are in a far better place for creativity than ever before. I am writing this using free online software and publishing on a free platform where others can read for free. 

Even if I didn't have a home and computer I could use a local library to put this together. That probably wouldn’t have been an option even ten years ago , although to be honest we could have done it as I have been blogging since 2007.

Google Docs, which I am using to write this while listening to “I Am The Walrus” by Spooky Tooth,  has a lot of helpful tools to make your writing easier , and the document is stored online so you can find it anywhere and it has just let me know I have it 675 words which is more than I need to actually submit this for publication on Vocal.

This is another thing , I would nether have thought about writing about writing before I joined Vocal, so it has instilled a bit of discipline in me that I don’t think I had before.

So I will finish this by sharing “The Weight” written by Robbie Robertson for The Band , covered by Smith on the “Easy Rider” soundtrack album but this cover is by Spooky Tooth.

Enjoy your day

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Writing While Moving Again


Ok yesterday was first time in a long time that I've used my voice to actually write a blog post and I realise that I say the words “and you know” and lots of things like that with my normal conversation.


It seems that when I actually stop it then does a new paragraph so that's something else that I've actually learnt while doing this. So if I keep speaking continuously I just get one long stream of text which I then obviously take home and put it into my word processor to to punctuate it


So this looks like it may be potentially I could actually do my blog posts. I can be a bit more disciplined in it because now I know that when I finished speaking if I pressed return that's a paragraph and obviously it's not just one massive text like I had to do yesterday.


It's looking like a definite option so will be publishing this today after I've actually tidied it and I've got everything in there


One of my problems yesterday is that I was talking and not looking at my phone and this actually meant that couple of times I would think it was recording and it wasn’t. I would come to the end of something and then I had to think whereabouts I was, what I needed to say, how could I continue so but again it's like anything you've just gotta learn how to actually use it to your benefit


In the middle of this I am walking along Fenham Hall Drive and the pictures and the sunrise look quite I don't know vaguely impressive but vaguely threatening as well. Hopefully I will put in a link to this into my blog post but I am quite happy with what's actually coming out of this and think that tonight's editing will be a lot easier than yesterday's. Also going to publish it on Vocal as well which they'll hopefully put on there and hopefully somebody will read it.


It’s quite impressive capturing things you want you want to record, and yes it's easy to actually type but it's a lot easier to speak. I much prefer talking to people on the phone or you know on a video call then actually writing a text or an email.


Right I am now walking down towards St James and St Basil's and they describe their garden is an oasis of calm. I like walking down there in the morning so it's just a great start to the day it means I've got a bit of walking in and I'm ready ready to  hit the day


I've decided to drop my million steps every 3 months target it's just because I've been doing it for so long. I will still do at least 5000 steps a day which is basically more than 2 miles a day but so there is a slight target there, but it means I will have more time to do other things I enjoy.


So that's I'm going to wrap this up now. I always put a piece of music in to accompany my post but it's more about doing the writing so we will see what this looks like when I finally publish it tonight.


Last week I was listening to a “Best Of” Talk Talk so we sill go with “It’s My Life” from that album to accompany this. My apologies if a lot of this doesn’t make sense of sounds like someone who can’t even string a sentence together. It’s still very experimental and I am am still learning have to use this to it’s best advantage.


Generally when you type you are fully in control , but when you are dictating to software it is making a best guess at what you are saying so you have to edit it. So that’s another step. We shall see if I can do anything tomorrow.


Who Knows.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

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.

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.

Friday, 1 January 2021

Could A Copper Comprehend?

 Wasn't sure if I was going to post on the first day of 2021 but the song "Fog on the Tyne" by Lindisfarne has been playing through my head and as I remembered the words I was thing what tripe they actually were from a logical position.

But that's not what it's about , they may have made sense to Alan Hull as he quaffed his next bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale but what he came up with was a genius tone poem , the words sound perfect together , and are great to sing, just don't think about what they are actually saying. I have often used the same argument about Abba and Rush , just listen to the music , fall into the song and enjoy it for what it is.

The song is very simple to play and great to sing along to, a fantastic live staple. Lindisfarne also did some complex and difficult to play songs (say the ghostly "Lady Eleanor") .

Today I wanted to have a walk out, the weather is still grey and boring but I managed to hit my step target trying to track down non existent Buck's Fizz (the drink not the Eurovision Song Contest winners).

So I will share the lyrics for you to peruse and of course you can listen to it above.


Fog on the Tyne

"Sittin' in a sleazy snack-bar suckin'
Sickly sausage rolls
Slippin' down slowly
Slippin' down sideways
Think I'll sign off the dole
'Cause the fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
Could a copper catch a crooked coffin maker
Could a copper comprehend
That a crooked coffin maker is just an undertaker who
Undertakes to be a friend
'Cause the fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
Tell the truth tomorrow
Today will take it's time to
Tell you what tonight will bring,
Presently we'll have a pint or two together
Everybody do their thing
We can swing together
We can have a wee wee
We can have a wet on the wall
If someone slips a whisper
That his simple sister slapped them down
And they slavered on their smalls
'Cause the fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
'Cause the fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine
The fog on the Tyne is all mine"

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Two Sevens Clash

This is post number 200 this year , not my most prolific year, but a sort of milestone post and it's about a definite milestone album.

In 1977 Culture released a remarkable reggae album "Two Sevens Clash" . The title obviously referred to the year in which in was released, and while it sort of is an album that anyone with any taste should have in their collection this post is about the odd anniversary reissues of the albumes.

The first one is , as you would expect , a single album opening with "Calling Rasta Far I" and continuing through the album to become as essential as any Bob Marley or Burning Spear albums , that's not dissing those artists but showing how special this one is.

The Thirtieth Anniversary version drops the opener for some reason , then adds dub versions of album tracks, resulting in a still brilliant album , but surely they could have kept the opener. I am listening to this version as I type this, and I am thinking of maybe asking for a vinyl copy as a Christmas present.

Most recently I purchased a download of the fortieth anniversary version, which is less than a fiver for an absolute classic and consists of two discs, the original album with  "Calling Rasta Far I" restored as the opener and second disc of dub versions , reworkings and extra songs. You can listen yo snippets of the albums on the Amazon links below , and it is a wonderful album to listen to.

There is further information on the Wikipedia entry and something I didn't on the origin of the title:

"Singer Joseph Hill said "Two Sevens Clash," Culture's most influential record, was based on a prediction by Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the "sevens" met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day."

So another reason why you should listen to it , and why it should be in your collection, I am gonna line up the 40th Anniversary version for my #MusicWhileYouWork on Instagram tomorrow.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

May Too

My friend Rachel is taking part in the #maywriteabit project and is going to write for half an hour each day (unedited) for the month of May so I am looking forward to catching her post and see what she has to say and think in this lockdown situation. Her first post is here.  and his hosted on Medium and I'll add her to my favourite blog list on the right had side of this blog.

Writing can be therapeutic and blogging is good because you don't get shouted down, you may get ignored, but you do end up with a diary, which as long as the internet and your blog host is still going you will have access to it (I take regular backups of mine and often feel I am the only person who reads it ad after fourteen years I have six followers and fourteen comments, making me Mister popular although I get reactions posted on Facebook and Twitter as well but would prefer to have them on here.

It the past I have posted every day in May and was consideing #APostADayInMay bit the #maywriteabit is obviously going to be more widespread and not as committed to being a post a day. It's been suggested by Rob Bryher according to a Google search but I may be wrong on that , but I will tag all my posts in May with this.

So another song that has been giving me aural pleasure is "Overlord" by Dirty Projectors , a band who' s name I know but that's about it. but this song has been prevalent on 6Music and it's a great record. They remind me a lot of the band First Aid Kit , so I'll have to check them out further.

I'd not intended to blog a lot this month but that's four posts in the last three days so I'll need to keep an eye on my keyboard.

Enjoy your Saturday my friends.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Something Positive

Obviously everything I post will be influenced at least in some part by the COVID-19 scenario. There are some positives to be taken from this, although it is still a frightening situation.

I can almost walk across the road at will , traffic is a lot sparser. There are still people out and on my walks I have said hello to a lot more new people than I normally would , a lady this morning explained (at a distance) about the impressive stick she had in her hands.

Animals, in theory , may be a problem because unless they are on a leash they will always investigate new people, I've had both cats and dogs approach me over the last few days.

There has been good weather and bad weather this week, but not so bad that I can't get out, although I am wanting to go a little further afield although I have plenty of green areas to walk through so hopefully I won't get too bored.

I am one of the lucky ones, I can work from home , but although it's fine when you are working singly,  I find screen sharing a little trying.

This really one of those posts where I have nothing to say, although it is my first post in April and last April I did 50 posts, so that's a definite no go this year.

Today I actually listened to some CDs (Dead Eyes Opened, The Yachts and Ethiopiques - Ethiopian jazz , which is very disconcerting) because my speakers take a feed from the TV screen that is my new monitor and when  I use it for my work monitor it's not really an option to play music on it. So we can go with "Tezeta (Nostalgia)" by Mulatu Astatke which I think I may have shared before after discussing with Nadine Shah , The music just seems a little off/strange making it very compelling listening, I could listen to this all night , although we are just past midnight here.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020


Yes , this is post number 2222 , probably the next significant number will be 2345, but this is one of the goals I mentioned in a recent post. I have now got 98 positive reviews on Discogs so still two off the century there. I added a few more CDs one of which was a BEF box set with is going for around fifty mounds so it must be quite rare, but I am never going to play it again so I can make some room.

I'm slightly worried that the lockdown will hamper my walking although I have kept up my steps so far and likely to be ok for March , but April may be a different kettle of fish. I have been out and am surprised at the number of people who seem to go out of their way to stop social distancing, managing to take up the width of a Supermarket aisle on their own, so it just means finding another way round.

So it is quite late on this Wednesday , so I doubt anyone will read this, but given our current situations here's another one for it, "Clampdown" by The Clash.

Thank you and good night.

Friday, 13 December 2019

Five Hours

That's how much sleep I had last night, you probably know why. I just hope I don't fall asleep at work today. Sleep is essential for recuperation, but I have a lot to do so it may be a day of lots of coffee. This will be a short post on a sort of appropriate day, Friday 13th , for what happened last night but we need to be positive, find ways forward and connect with people who matter to us and look out for people who need us and be there when we are needed.

Still on with David Sheppard's "On Some Faraway Beach" and we have reached Eno's involvement in Phil Manzanera's excellent debut solo album "Diamond Head" and the excellent "Miss Shapiro". This si a reason why one should continually read because sometimes you learn new things and sometimes you are reminded of things that you have either forgotten or that have just been pushed from the forefront of your mind.

The older you get, the more you experience, and therefore the more you learn, but your mind has to organise things and if you don't immediately need it, then it get's stored for future reference. Whether it then gets used or recalled is another matter but it is there and David Sheppard's book has reminded me this Friday and it means I can share it with you.

The Labels feature on Blogger keeps locking up, but there is an option to search by word so I will be a little careful with it. Maybe the blog is getting too big, over two thousand posts, imagine that was chapters in a book although chapters do last more than my average of 25o words.. People have suggested I turn this into a book, but that seems a bit pointless as you can just read it here, and also the point of writing this is to spark an idea for a book, although maybe then the writing of the blog is more important in my mind than writing the book. We shall see if it ever comes to fruition.

Whatever happens today have a good one and enjoy "Miss Shapiro" with me,

Thursday, 12 December 2019

The True Wheel

This is the title of a song from Brian Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy" which I am currently up to in David Sheppard's "On Some Faraway Beach" . Apparently Eno had a dream of people singing :

"We are the 801
We are the central shaft"

That was the name chosen for the superstar pick up band on his live album, which features a stunning take on Lennon and McCartney's "Tomorrow Never Knows". The 801 thing is documented in this post and you can listen to the song there too, I was going to include "The True Wheel" here but I will choose another song from what is and absolutely essential album.

This week my walking has not been up to par, I'm still ahead of where I need to be but haven't hit 11K steps since last Friday so I need to up my game on that.

Also I've been trying to write this post for two days, being beset by feeling absolutely drained and the blogging software continually locking up, which the label processing seems to cause.

Yesterday I caught a little of the Sky Sports Manchester City coverage by Shaun Goater. He is extremely well spoken with the same slightly unusual enunciation that a work colleague of mine has. I chatted with her today and asked her where she came from, because her and Shaun's accents were identical. She told me she had gone to the same school as him and they were both from Bermuda.

I'm going to include "The Great Pretender" the closing song from side one of the original vinyl album, which runs into an insectoid closed groove meaning that unless stoped the song never actually ends, as far as I know you can't to that with MP3 or CD.

"She was so impressed that she just surrendered"

An album you must own on vinyl for that reason alone.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

The Weight

One of the reasons I write this blog is as a diary, another is when something happens or grabs my attention that I can , however tenuously, link to a song that I can then share with my readers and listeners, maybe I should try a podcast too, though I'm not sure that the sound of my voice will enamour everyone, an ex boss once told me he couldn't understand a word I said!

Anyway I don't eat healthily, I dislike regimentation intensely (diets, exercise - especially gyms) so obviously I am destined as I age to just get fatter and fatter. I do see some people, and they may have a lot of issues, but I think "didn't you at some point realise you were getting fat". I know damned well I could easily be 30 stone if I didn't constantly say no to certain temptations, although as Oscar Wilde said "I can resist anything but temptation", so I suppose I do think about what I eat at times.

For the second time after a week away in Settle I have lost a kilogram bringing me down to 96.75 Kg  (see here on Instagram) that's fifteen stone three pounds in imperial measure. I remember maybe being 13 stone in the late seventies so I have been a lot lighter. The thing is on holiday you normally over eat and indulge and there was fish and chips, big breakfasts , curries , potato salads and a Terry's Chocolate Orange all part of my culinary intake.

So as this has been on about my portliness and weight, I'm going to share the song "The Weight" by The Band, which was pencilled for inclusion in the "Easy Rider" soundtrack, but the producer either had a falling out with The Band and went for a cover of the song by a band called Smith, I've chosen a live take with The Staples Singlers from the Martin Scorsese directed "The Last Waltz", an awesome concert film, well worth watching.

It's a cold sunny Sunday so have a great day everybody.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Twelve Inches

This week I bought three 12" vinyl singles from Skipton Sound Bar. I don't need any more vinyl but one was a blue vinyl take on Ron Grainer's "Doctor Who" theme by Mankind, which you can see here, but I have never heard, and listening on Youtube sounds remarkably sanitised and weedy, The original given to us by Delia Derbyshire in the sixties wipes the floor with it.

I am going to listen to it once I get home but have a feeling it will be dispatched to a trade in The original and subsequent series reboots are all excellent but the Mankind version is so sanitised that it would be rejected by an elevator music soundtrack.

While the Blue Pearl and Shamen records are both excellent it looks like Mankind is the dud, but that's just one of the ways to discover new sounds, you've got to take a chance, and the Blue Pearl one was worth the gamble.

I'm also pleased that the blog is going to hit the 400K visits before today is out, and my hope was that I would hit that before New Year's Eve, seems I've hit it over three weeks to spare.

So this is just a post to record the Mankind single and the visit to The Skipton Sound Bar before my return tomorrow.