Showing posts with label David Bowie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Bowie. Show all posts

Sunday 30 July 2023

The Not So Great Gatsby


I have finished  "The Great Gatsby" by F Scott Fitzgerald and to me, it is very American and reminds me a lot of "The Catcher In The Rye" by JD Salinger. It's not a terrible novel, but not, in my opinion, great either. The characters were annoying and it addressed the rags-to-riches American dream. I was waiting for something interesting to happen and it sort of did, but I doubt I will be revisiting the book. I am told the film is good so I may try that at some point.

I wrote a Vocal story called "The Great Catsby" that you can read below.

Also Leslie West of Mountain was a great guitarist and a very big man and I think he had an album or nickname called "The Great Fatsby"

I wanted something fun and interesting to read next so have chosen to revisit "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy" Douglas Adams trilogy in five parts which combines wit and intelligent writing.

Seven Days In has hit over one hundred thousand visits this month and here are the figures.

If you want to buy a book my dark poetry is on the link below.

The music is "Let's Dance" by David Bowie that is on the player at the moment.

I recently discovered that my American Amazon Author page has a feed from this blog which you can see here. It only shows on the .com site but not others. C'est La Vie.

Mike Singleton - Vocal Stories

I am not sure if you are aware of my writing on Vocal but these are a few of my stories if you would like to sample them:

  1. Barter Books - An Amazing Bookshop In A Railway Station In Alnwick
  2. The Plagiaristic Poetry Series - Poems Taken From Random-Themed Lines
  3. Another Raven - A Take On Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven"
  4. The Cleaner - An Autism-Focused Christmas Special
  5. An Owl In A Towel - A Beautiful Book by Lesley and Cheryl
  6. Three Reasons Why I Love Settle - Scaleber Force, The Hoffman Kiln and Castlebergh Crag
  7. The Accidental Book - Helping a Great Vocal Friend Resulted In Me Publishing My First Book
  8. Call Me Les - A Great Friend and An Amazing Writer

Monday 25 July 2022

Into The Magic Labyrinth

"The Wind Whales of Ishmael" turned out to be a 130-page interlude into a non-Armageddon end of the world scenario and though only 130 pages long because it was a single unbroken piece it seemed much longer, but still an enjoyable unusual sci-fi follow up to Melville's "Moby Dick" 

"The Magic Labyrinth" continues the "Riverworld" series and all the characters are there in this five hundred page first finale to the series (which like many such series just kept spawning more books, so there will be more after this no doubt.

Music is "Underground" from Labyrinth by David Bowie

Mike Singleton - Vocal Stories

I am not sure if you are aware of my writing on Vocal but these are a few of my stories if you would like to sample them:

  1. The Never Ending Story - My Directory
  2. The Never Ending Music - My Music Directory
  3. The Never Ending Poetry - My Poetry Directory
  4. An Owl In A Towel - A Beautiful Book by Lesley and Cheryl
  5. Three Reasons Why I Love Settle - Scaleber Force, The Hoffman Kiln and Castlebergh Crag
  6. The Accidental Book - Helping a Great Vocal Friend Resulted In Me Publishing My First Book
  7. Call Me Les - A Great Friend and An Amazing Writer

Saturday 20 March 2021


I am over half way through "Steppenwolf" and in some ways wouldn't recommend it to anybody, but the fact I am half way through it after a week still wondering what's going on means that it must have something going for it. Obviously Hermann Hesse is German and this feels set in roughly the same universe as "Cabaret" , pre WW2 Germany in the background of some Brechtian libretto.

The font in the book is readable and  Hesse's style certainly doesn't stop you from reading, and I will finish the book. I do like chapters or breaks where you can leave the book at a defined point and also have a point to aim for . Because I don't think that there are any breaks until the end. I thought that "Tarantula" by Bob Dylan was the same , but it's not and it's only just over a hundred pages, and that might be a next re read after "Steppenwolf". I am sure I have read other single passage books, but now I can't think of which ones.

So while I wouldn't recommend "Steppenwolf" I would not discourage you from reading it, though it does feel like walking down a long straight road through unchanging architecture or countryside. There are few signs that you are progressing apart from the knowledge that you have read and the page numbers. Imagine a big single passage book with no page numbers, I think I would find that a major challenge.

So music wise I was listening to my David Bowie "Platinum Collection" and one of the songs was "Alabama Song" from Brecht's "Threepenny Opera", I was going to share Bowie's version (it was also covered by The Doors) but I found a performance by Lotte Lenya which I think would be most in keeping with "Steppenwolf".

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.

Wednesday 3 February 2021


The weather doesn't really seem to be improving, still cold , wet , dreich.  This is my thirteenth post this year , though the second today. so overall I am still scaling down the number of posts though lockdown is affecting me getting out any distance to find things to write about, although artists are still managing to produce output while staying in.

Today has had me listening to a couple of David Bowie CD boxes , the first "The Next Day" and "Station To Station" is playing now. Both are examples of how a really great presentation can be made from the artist to the fans, both boxes are on the list below.

Hopefully the weather will improve and tomorrow on another day off  I will get to see my granddaughter Alexis , but me and her mother agreed it's not great to meet in weather like this.

The skies are getting greyer and darker and I still need to gout for a third walk today to try and get my steps up.  February is an annoying month , twenty eight days meaning that it reality I need to average 12,200 steps a day and so far this month I have not done anything like that , and in this weather I don't really feel like doing it, but I know that I will, the only thing that normally puts a spoke in my works is illness.

So I know there really isn't much in this post but will share the title track of the album that I am listening to at the moment , it is a definite favourite of mine.

A Misery of Goths

Heaven Knows ......I'm miserable now. Well not really , yesterday started with more snow , and though it's cold it looks nice , relaxing and almost Christmassy in our current lockdown situation, however this has transmogrified into could continuous rain that is extremely uninspiring and hence the feeling of misery. 

MissEeerie Loves Company
I saw a meme  yesterday that described a collection of Goths as  "A Misery of Goths" which I have now decided to use as a title for this first post of a mostly miserable so far February. I couldn't find a really suitable picture but the one on the right sums up my feelings on my walks so far this month.

I hope that things will improve soon , but probably not before the weekend.

I do like that picture and you can click through to see more of their pictures, so ironic that something that is miserable results in a positive find.

I got a text this morning for a Diabetic catch up which these days is by phone and them trusting me to tell the truth, which I do. If I have problems I also get onto my doctor or the hospital , but generally I look after myself and follow guidelines, the only thing that bothers me is that generally I seem to need more sleep, that is I can't do things during the night even once a week, and often think it's great if I'm in bed at nine o' clock

Today or tomorrow I will be seeing my granddaughter Alexis and her mum , my daughter Kirsty , weather permitting , so that is a big plus.

I have also started following an author on Facebook called Lynn Miclea and she shares some very funny memes and will have to get some of her books , she's on Amazon here

I am now a permanent home worker and this gives me time to listen to a lot of music, currently listening to "The Next Day" by David Bowie and am also listening to the pile of CDs I have put up for sale on Discogs. As I've said before I often buy the CDs to support the artist or because I feel that I should have their music rather than any need for it. It's the same with films on DVDs which I am often too lazy to put in the DVD player , and when you do you get all the anti piracy videos which are pointless because you have PAID for it.

So before venturing out I will share the song that sort of originally inspired this post "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by The Smiths  which really should be a Goth anthem shouldn't it? Although The Smiths are hardly your archetypal Goth band.

Sunday 31 January 2021

The Reality Cutter

It's that last day of January 2021 , and this will probably be my last post of January 2021. It is sort of strange to think that this will never happen again , not even in clocks and calendars are reset and we start again. It reminds me of seeing cloud formations or impressive skies knowing that if I don't capture them now with a camera then that will be them gone forever.

I've been wanting to write a book for decades and certainly have the tools to do it, and thanks to ebooks self publishing is now extremely easy via Amazon and others but every time I start , I hit a brick wall. This blog contains one short story contained in posts , but as yet this blog is my only publication. Hopefully I will do more. I have also included a few non-poems. These you can see by following the links

The title came to me as an idea for a story or book but not sure what it means or which way it goes , although I have a few ideas. The main concepts that come to mind are Philip Pullman's "The Subtle Knife" or the wielder of said instrument or films like Christopher Nolan's "Inception" or Duncan Jones' "Source Code". Duncan Jones remember came into this world as Zowie Bowie and is responsible for at least two must see films, the aforementioned one and the brilliant "Moon". The concept of the upside-down in "Stranger Things" also has flowed into my thoughts on this.

I thought I would do a google search on "The Reality Cutter" and you can see the results here , so it seems it's a reasonably original concept and maybe worth pursuing , although by posting this "The Reality Cutter" will drop into the Google search universe.

So what music do I share with you to illustrate this concept? The opening titles of "His Dark Materials:The Subtle Knife" I think fit the idea perfectly. If you haven't read the books and watched the film "The Golden Compass" which excellent , but the TV series does it better , you should really visit all these. 

Enjoy your last day of January 2021 (oo that sounds ominous doesn't it)

Thursday 14 January 2021

Favourites You Didn't Know You Had

 At the weekend was talking about my favourite New Order songs and my top two I thought were "Temptation" and "Love Vigilantes". Fiona pointed me towards the Guardian's Top 30 New Order songs and I checked out "Your Silent Face" from "Power Corruption and Lies" which is absolutely beautiful, so that has joined my other two favourites , it's apparently a homage to Kraftwerk's "Europe Endless" which I will now have to check out.

When I was listening I thought the synth strings were familiar and think they were lifted for "Sunchyme" by Dario G , which also samples "Memory of a Free Festival" the closer from "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.

I am tempted to track down a 12" vinyl copy of "Your Silent Face" but it was not initially a single so that may be a no go (like "Love Vigilantes").

So a very very short post but I will share both songs with you so you can check them out.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Uniform - #AnimalAugust #16

The sky is a uniform grey and it's raining and drizzling a perfect situation for the word "dreich" , not exactly great walking weather or inspirational and certainly not summery.

With the weather being so awful I was wondering if I could hit my 11K steps without actually leaving the house. I know people have done it, but basically the house is about ten steps from side to side, so going from one side to the other and back 550 times would actually do it but I could see that tedium would  hit me very quickly. Of course there is up and down stairs and the rest of the house to use but it's a lot of repetition, which I am not really up for.

Yesterday during a work meeting the sound went off, and I assumed that there was a problem with the person speaking then realised my TV , that provides the sound, and switched it self off which it does after four hours. After several months I found the setting to stop it from switching itself off, but this means I now have to remember to switch it off when I've finished with it.

On my #MusicWhileYouWork Instagram sequence which I started when working from home I am now listening to the Bruce Springsteen "Soundstage" 15CD box , which is still available for around £20 , and while it's a radio broadcast quality , it is still excellent. I'm on CD2 so a long way to go and after this I have a 4CD David Bowie set (The Collaborator) to enjoy.

Still on "Venus on the Halfshell" and though it's dated tongue in cheek , I am still enjoying it, and it is packed full of ideas and observations that are very relevant today.

Over the last week I have binge watched (for me) lots of TV coming to the finale of "Veep" , one and a half series of "Bosch" , which is very good and his apartment and view is worth watching the program for.

"Shortly After Take Off" by BC Camplight has just been played by Chris Hawkins on 6Music, followed by "96 Tears" by ? & The Mysterians which put me in mind of Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs who had a hit with "Wooly Bully" which will do for today's #AnimalAugust .

I'm just wondering whether to have a September sequence based on fruit , but will have to think of a hashtag for that.

Friday 19 June 2020

#LikeNoOther #11 - Nadine Shah

I think this is #LikeNoOther #11 though I  may have missed one out as it's ages since I posted in this series. Nadine Shah has released a new album and the new album "Kitchen Sink"  (though just a thought Kitschen Sink would be a great album or book title)  doesn't let up.

Her music is not exactly danceable , but sounds like it doesn't conform to any norm. It has a highly percussive framework  which she and her band use to build the songs, and you finish every one thinking what the hell was that, I need to listen again.

Nadine , as far as I am concerned, falls in the same sprawling universe as all the other artists who have appeared in this series, but my immediate touchpoints are:

  • PJ Harvey
  • Siouxsie Sue and The Banshees
  • Captain Beefheart
  • The Incredible String Band
  • David Bowie
  • Ethiopiques
  • Tom Waits
There is a hell of a lot of original music around and it always amazes be that a combination of 12 notes can continually be moulded to give us something new and original. Nadine Shah continues to do that on every sone her and her band produces.

Watch and listen to the new single and your musical listening horizons will expand.

I've seen Nadine Shah twice and was very impressed both times. Her music is is as I've described and she has a very engaging stage personality as well so well worth going to see her, here are a couple of my reviews with some more video.

Thursday 11 June 2020

I Now Have A Top Three

I am always positive, looking for positives in any situation. As I was make breakfast , porridge and coffee, I ran out of milk. This meant I had to go to my local shop to get more milk, but in the process added 600 steps to my daily sep count , which is always good.

Anyway back to the point of the post.

On my morning walk I decided to listen to "Dirty Computer" by Janelle Monae, which I was so impressed with that I posted this two years ago. and every time I listen I am floored by the album. It now joins "Future Games" by Spirit and "El Dorado" by The Electric Light Orchestra in my top three albums ever. I do like music and have eclectic taste and if I were to choose top artists it would probably be David Bowie and Bob Dylan.

I have included the Emotion Picture that contains most of the album , and is a great piece of science fiction music culminating in th ewonderful "Amercans" . The album has lost none of it's joy and power since I first heard it , and it's so good I never skip a song , similar to the other two albums in my top three.

It is an amazing , joyful and thought provoking piece of work and is always great to listen to and always lift my spirits.

This also shows that there is always great music being produced, and while often it's cited that the music you hear between the ages of 14 and 16 shapes your whole future tastes , I think that you have to keep an open mind and listen to everything.

Also you don't have to be yound to produce great music , age can educate you and I thing that Sparks are  still one of the most at the edge original band still going.

So keep a very open mind and let the good stuff flow into you.

Monday 1 June 2020

Parallel Reading

This year I was determined not to post so much, and although I am posting less than last year I am still posting. There are seldom two days between posts unless I am away for a weekend and don't take a laptop with me.

For the first time I am actually reading two books simultaneously , one on paper "The Great and Secret Show" (c 800 pages) and "Imajica" (c 1200 pages) on my Kindle Fire , both by Clive Barker , both excellent and getting through them at a reasonable pace which I don't normally do. These are rereads and though I know the overall story the detail has gone , so it's like I am reading a book I know I will like , which is always a good thing.

This morning on my walk I was listening to "Diamond Dogs" by David Bowie and I still think that "Rebel Rebel" is one of the greatest riffs ever because a) I can play it and b) it's probably the greatest Rolling Stones song that they never wrote or recorded.

I always go one about how brilliant Bowie is but yesterday I realised I have a particularly awful song by him from the covers album "Pin-Ups" . The rest of the album is great, the version of "Sorrow" is sublime and most of the others hit the spot , but "Shapes of Things" , the Yardbirds cover,  in which he sounds like he is impersonating one of his big influences Anthony Newley. The guitar solo is OK but it is really a sore thumb on a decent covers album

My reasons for disliking it it that the original is a great Yardbirds song , and Jeff Beck covered in with Rod Stewart as he had every right to do and that turned out fine .

Unfortunately for all other covers Nazareth threw the kitchen sink plus lots of phasing and heavy metal turning it into a perfect piece of prog metal , tagging on "Space Safari" giving us an excellent closer to their finest album "Rampant", so that's what we start June with.

Sunday 31 May 2020

The New Time

One of the problems with getting older is that the days seem to get shorter and you seem to have less time to do things, well that's how I feel. A number of people with children want to get the children back to school mainly because they are missing their friends, and of course looking after young children 24/7 is not an easy task.

The thing is that six weeks of lockdown for a six year old is a fiftieth of their life , where for me it's one five hundredth so it seems a lot longer for them that it does for me although the actual time is the same.

I am now trying to find a way of perceiving time in the same way that a child does and see a week's holiday or even a weekend as a long time. A weekend is around 62 hours from work finish to work start for most Monday to Friday workers and we should be able to see that as time to enjoy and do things.

I'm often reminded of "The Eighty Minute Hour" by Brian Aldiss where the controllers speed up clocks when we are not at work and slow them down when we are at work, and if that were happening  would we know?

People often waste weeks wishing for Friday , I used to be like that but now think "What Can I Do Today?" . If you are always looking forward to Friday you effectively throw away five days of your week , and the weekend is only two days so that makes your time seem to fly by.

My aim is not only to slow time down , but to do more in that time. I often am bothered by going for
walks because , by it's nature, that takes time, although usually I listen to music while walking as they are complimentary activities and listening to music can almost make the activity go faster. The paradox is that you want to finish your walk , but you want to enjoy your time doing it and if time speeds up you feel you are losing out.

Matt Haig wrote one of his excellent books "How To Stop Time" which also took this as part of his premise, and his self help page from "Reasons To Stay Alive" is excellent , so I am now FEELING TIME as well as taking my final part in the #maywriteabit , because tomorrow is the first of June.

So what song should we go with , there are many songs called "Time" , Pink Floyd and David Bowie come to mind, and even "Five Years Time" by Noah and the Whale and "Minutes" by The Human League came to mind.

I decided to go with "The Waiting" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers as it is sort of appropriate for the position we are in now and does contain a lot of pertinent lines to the lockdown situation.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Not The End of The Books

I've just finished the excellent "Not The End of The World" by Christopher Brookmyre, and was very impressed , and I was right that he is in the same universe as John Niven. He also has a huge back catalogue so I have the option of buying more of his stuff.

Instead I'm revisiting "The Great and Secret Show" by Clive Barker, one of my favourite authors and these revisitations means that I have an endless supply of books because I can read and reread. As I have said before my memory is not too good so while I have a vague recollection of what the book is about the words are still a joy to consume and the lead me into a different world once more.

I have other favourites too who I need to revisit , JG Ballard and F Paul Wilson to name but two, and this could keep me going til next year or longer.

Music is the same, once you have things in your collection , you have them because you want to revisit them , usually again and again. I've sort of regressed because I play music either digitally or on vinyl with a preference for the latter because it limits you to around twenty minutes of songs, so it connects you even more closely with the music.

Today I revisited "The Lodger" by David Bowie which like all Bowie albums is full of off the wall musical directions and is over far too soon, and that is me listening to it digitally while walking. Possibly tomorrow "Gouster" (unreleased excellent album around the time of "Young Americans") may get a spin. It's only available as part of a big digital box but you can buy the tracks individually to get your own copy at a reasonable price. One of the benefits of digital downloads.

6Music have been playing "Nowhere To Hide" by Ghostpoet from the album "I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep" which has definitely caught my ear, so that's what we go with tonight.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Not Heroes

While out for a walk today I was listening to "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" by David Bowie which I nearly said was one of my favourite Bowie albums but then I remembered this post about the problems with listening to David Bowie albums. That is a little further information on the album, when "Teenage Wildlife" came on I thought , this sounds very like "Heroes".

"Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" sort of follows on from "The Lodger" which was the final Berlin Trilogy album and was the next album he produced so I shouldn't be surprised that that the sound textures are the same and Bob Fripp's guitar features heavily on both "Teenage Wildlife and "Heroes".

It's probably a good idea to share both pieces with you so you can here the similarities and they are both wonderful songs.

I suppose if anyone is allowed to borrow from Bowie , Bowie can.

I know this is a pitifully short post but just wanted to share this with you.

Thursday 20 February 2020


This is post 2200 on 20/02/2020 . I didn't plan it, it just happened, though I could have planned it, but I didn't. That's a lot of twos and zeroes and no other digits. Numbers can be both fascinating and boring, it just depends on your frame of mind.

Today I dropped into Windows and was tempted by reasonable priced vinyl , a Best of Bowie , "Diamond Dogs" and "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac . I have all these on digital and to be quite honest now I tend to buy vinyl for the sleeve as well as the music. The whole lot would have cost £35. Oh I forgot , there was also Deep Purple "In Rock" , one of my earliest metal album and still, in my opinion , a classic with a great cover, but really my space for vinyl is sort of full.

I believe that you should play music, not just have it. I think I bought a lot to support the artist, especially on CD, but I cannot play my CD collection which is why a chunk of it is on Discogs.

I took delivery of a reconditioned Google Pixel 2XL today and I am still relearning it and setting up apps on it. I need to get a protective cover and load some music onto it but I've got the basic apps on it and am well impressed with my buy from Music Magpie, but still slightly miffed that my Google Pixel would be fine if the charging port worked. Still c'est la vie.

So on this numerically coming together I am thinking of the Cat Stevens album "Numbers" which I do have on vinyl, which is beautifully put together and the music is good as well. A definitely worthy part of my collection so I'll share the opening "Whistlestar".