Showing posts with label Frank Zappa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Zappa. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Did Anything Happen To Music .. or Did I Miss It?

There are usually times in history when musical scenes reboot themselves, probably starting in the nineteen twenties when recorded music became a thing and we had early jazz , blues and crooners making the way into the public consciousness via vinyl and radio. Gramophones and radios were commercially available and spread to sound through the populace especially in the USA and UK.

Six years ago I published a personal history of musical media from the wax cylinder to today's digital streaming here.

After the war we had crooners , Jazz , Western Swing and the beginnings of Country and Western. Rock and Roll was the first big flash propelled by Bill Haley & The Comets "Rock Around The Clock" the film "The Blackboard Jungle" and the genesis of the teenager as someone who could buy things including music, plus the tribalism of Teddy Boys and the like.

In the sixties there were Mods and Rockers, Skinheads psychedelia , ska and reggae , garage rock but this was just a quite smooth progression , resulting in some major rock bands and an unfeasioble amount of money and pretension. In the seventies we also go glam and all along the mainstream kept morst of the public satisfied as it still does today.

Then punk hit , hating the establishment , and prog rock (but ironically loving Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk") but still referring and eulogising krautock , reggae , sixties garage rock and more, while pursuing a minimalist shoestring sound epitomised by The Buzzcocks "Spiral Scratch" , which is why I was so disappointed by The Sex Pistols "Never Mind The Bollocks" as to me it was a heavy metal album, so sounded good but more metal than punk.

This resulted in lots of small independent music which was eventually absorbed by the big labels. 

And since the during the eighties we saw Goth , and Grunge and Baggy at the start of the nineties, and while there is always good music coming through there's been no big band since the mid seventies and no small bang since the early nineties.

So did I miss something or did I just get old? Franks Zappa said that when the old guys were in charge of record labels they would always give anything a shot. Could you imagine a major label releasing "Trout Mask Replica" or even "The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads" today?  Sing the young guys moved in it's all about product and markets , not art and music.

So what should I share, I'll go with the Bill Haley song.

Monday, 15 February 2021

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.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Music While You Work ... at the touch of a button

One of the things about working from home is that I was listening to 6Music a lot , and my inherent laziness means that unless a CD is with reaching distance I don't play it , but I have an app on my Kindle Fire called BubbleUPnP that wirelessly links to my digital collection (which Alexa can't / won't do , in fact it won't even play the music I have bought from Amazon , every time I ask it says I have to use Spotify which I won't on principle) so I've linked my Kindle Fire up to some Altec-Lansing speakers and now can play music at several touches of buttons and screens (I love how so many things are sold "at the touch of a button"). Here's an example on my Instagram channel.

I've discovered that my digital collection is missing several of my Captain Beefheart album so I need to excavate them from the box that they are in to add them , specifically "Clear Spot" and "The Spotlight Kid". "Trout Mask Replica" and "Unconditionally Guaranteed" are on there but there are a lot that need ripping from the CDs I have.

I am torn between sharing "Grow Fins" from "The Spotlight Kid" (with it's four / five note riff and incendiary harp sound) and "Orange Claw Hammer" from "Trout Mask Replica" (which was an unaccompanied sea shanty style , but I have one with musical backing, which I will share at some point but I found one with Frank Zappa on guitar) so I can't decide so will go with both , this Friday morning.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Billy Bolero Again

One of the things about working from home is that my sleeping seems have got much better, not that it was bad, it's just better.I can go to bed later , get up later and still put in a good day. The working environment is not quite as good as work but I have found how to split my 24" screen so that I still have effectively three screens to work on (see here)

Yesterday I was posting on Ravel's "Bolero" and then after searching wanted to include Alex Harvey's "Billy Bolero" but it wasn't available on Youtube, so I found a version with Frank Zappa conducting his band in "Barcelona" which was good.

This morning I decided to put together a slide show but Windows Movie Maker has been removed from Windows 10 and the alternative method is to use Photos which is slow and has far less functionality than Movie Maker. So I downloaded Movie Maker 10 recommended on the Microsoft Store. All was going fine until I wanted to save the project . No you have to buy it, admittedly only a tenner.

But you have to time every clip individually and can't apply durations and transitions across the whole slideshow or time the transitions. So it's adequate and better than Photos.

So I've created a slideshow , and this is the first one I 've done with this software, hopefully I've missed something , and documentation seems to be an unnecessary extra for them, but at least the song is now on Youtube and you can enjoy it, I love it.

It's only available as a demo on digital download , but if you can get a copy of "Soldier On The Wall" then you will be fine.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Billy Bolero

The intention was not to post as often as last year , and up to now I am outstripping last year, though last year i posted 50 times in April and doubt that will happen this year, this is post 63 so averages two posts every three days which should be adequate, no one is asking for more and there is plenty of more pertinent stuff for you to enjoy.

Today I went out for a walk, I am slightly worried I am going to miss my monthly target, but it was a beautiful day and it was quite amusing with so many people practising social isolation but waving and shout / chatting greetings. Then I was walking along Nunsmoor Road and there was a woman walking her dog on the other footpath and it wasn't on a lead, and when it saw me it ran into the road , cue much shouting. It's a dog!! Dogs get distracted. The only problem with some dogs is idiot owners.

Then there was another lady who was hailed from across the road by her friend , then her friend stepped into the road and nearly got hit by a cyclist. No malice intended , just a bit of not taking notice of what was happening.

Which brings me to the actual point of this post Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" , it always been a piece I've loved and is like two separate piece played at the same time , the almost menacing simple three note backing, then the beautiful wandering surface melody (does this sound like I know what I'm talking about or make me sound like a moron) . A bolero is

  • A Spanish dance
  • The music it is danced to
  • A ladies' short jacket

Not to sure what inspired Ravel, but it has been picked up by several rock bands such as Frank Zappa , I thought Jethro Tull had , but the piece was "Bouree", Jeff Beck gave us the excellent "Beck's Bolero"  and ELP gave us "Abbadon's Bolero" on their album "Trilogy". The reason it came to mind was that as I was stripping the bed it came on Classic FM but I just started playing "Billy Bolero" by Alex Harvey and I just love that song , but it's not on Youtube yet , ao that's a video for me to put together, so you can make do with Frank Zappa's version, it ain't often you see Frank conducting.

Sunday, 15 September 2019


Just a short post about an odd thing. I didn't really use twitter until Google ditched Google+ and I looked for new ways to share my blog post as Facebook also seemingly stopped feeds. I'm not sure how many I followed or how many follower I had (this blog after twelve years has FIVE followers) so I am not the most popular person on the planet, but I am sure I had about seventy followers and followed a similar number of people.

Every few days I get a new follower but the number of followers I have seems to remain at a constant 77 (just checked it's now 78) which is a lot more than this blog (despite it's now daily 1-1.5K visits (and yes I know a lot will be robots and apparently French people (Merci, Merci pour les visites)  so overall that is a success and it's only since sharing the blog on Twitter that these visit spikes took off. Below are two images showing the spikes and the fact that France is the source of a lot of visits.

Big In France

Big In 2019
So since twitter , Feedburner picked me up and that I think is the main reason for the reason hike in hits. I would like to hit 300K by the end of the year and at the current rate that could happen by mid October , but that is assuming I sill get over 1K hits a day.

So I though I would just post this listening to the Giorgio Moroder album "Deja Vu" , and while it's OK it's not as adventurous as I expected although "74 is the New 24" is quite good and the first song that would fit with the "From Here To Eternity" album which is one of my favourites. That was followed by an excellent take on Suzanne Vega's "Toms Diner" with Britney Spears, which shows it's always good to listen to a whole album. Not as good, in my opinion, as "From Here To Eternity" but more than listenable with some good points.

I've also realised that Giorgio Moroder's moustache is almost as iconic as Frank Zappa's (see below)

So "74 is the New 24" would be a good one to share with you and the video is cool too.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

#AprilSongs #6 Saturday Night Fish Fry

SIx days into this and this morning I'm on Chain with by suggestion to follow Bowie's "Warszawa", but today's choice for #AprilSongs is Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry".

I am not sure when I first discovered Louis Jordan, but was almost shocked when I heard "Ain't That Just Like A Woman" because the main riff (played in alternative versions by brass and piano) is the same note sequence as Chuck Berry's signature guitar riff. So Chuck didn't get it from Michael J Fox in "Back To The Future" but from Louis Jordan back in the forties. Musicians always "borrow" from others but it would be nice to see a little acknowledgement (Led Zeppelin I'm looking at you).

Also the brass section reminds me of Frank Zappa's take on  "Stairway To Heaven" (which was the subject of a copyright claim for it's similarity to Spirit's "Taurus") on "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life" where the brass section play the guitar solo perfectly.

So I need to shower before I get my phone call from 6Music.

Monday, 21 May 2018

& the lumberjacks are coming

It's the final few words of Bob Dylan's "Tarantula" described as Bob Dylan's only fictional novel although if you think of fiction you tend to expect a coherent storyline, Reading "Tarantula" is like looking at a Picasso or Dali, I was thinking Pollock too but maybe that's too free form, maybe Stockhausen and Zappa too. "Tarantula" has recognisable sententences and even chapters with titles that make sence, but it's the dense mix of text interspersed with poetry forms , and those paintings are like that , you can see the forms even though they may be bent out of shape, cut up or re-assembled.

Most of Dylan's songs are far more coherent than "Tarantula" and some have reasonably straightforward narratives, if sometimes slightly surreal, some songs are lists, streams of consciousness a la Dylan Thomas, so a lot less challenging than "Tarantula"  although sometimes Dylan's voice does grate on people, so if you want an easier introduction to his songs check out The Byrds "Sing Dylan" compilation.

My next book is Simon Singh's "Fermat's Last Theorem" which I have mentioned before and is a heftier tome. You know this book is importent when you have read twenty pages and are on Page 3 (foreword and preface!!) and the calculations in the Apeendices will probably be essential to my appreciation and understanding of it. Simon Singh is also an excellent and accessible writer, you couldn't include "Tarantula" in the latter.

Another beautiful Monday morning so I will leave you with The Byrds covering Bob Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom"

Friday, 16 March 2018

Weather Warning

It's cold and wet this morning and there is a YELLOW  SNOW warning!! That was so well named, but it's the weekend so if you are really lucky you don't have to get up at all, you can stay in bed all day, if you want.

I am off to Edinburgh so I'm not even doing a full day today, though that means I need to fit a days work into half a day before I finish today, but this afternoon I will be on a train watching TED talks for an hour or so before hitting Edinburgh Waverley.

There can only be one song can't there? Frank Zappa's "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow". Have a great weekend people.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Oddly Enough .... Todd

Going back to the seventies again for my walking listening, though for the first time I think that Pacer may not be performing as it should,  though it's logged 7K today leaving me to do 65K between now and next Saturday night.

Anyway after the revelation of "Freak Out" and Mark talking seventies music I thought I'd take a ride on Todd Rundgren's "Todd" album, a double vinyl release that I first bought on cassette from Laskey's in Preston Guidhall. I got the album home and the cassette player chewed it so I took it back and exchanged it for the double vinyl edition. Here's the Wiki entry, with links to other albums mentioned.

To most of you Todd Rundgren will mean nothing, if you have heard anything it may be "I Saw The Light" , but you will have heard his work , he was a very in demand producer and was responsible for the sound and some of the paying on Meatloaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" which you will know and maybe even have a copy of.

Anyway Todd was a double album and came in about 64 minutes , the album after, "Initiation"  was a single album and clocked in at 69 minutes , at the time the longest rock album ever put out. It came with instructions to always play with a brand new needle to avoid unnecessary damage to the grooves. That could have got very expensive and people tended to go for the cassette version.

At that time (1974) me and schoolfriends were usually wary of anything outside normal rock paramters, though those parameters were all over the place (I was a fan of The Bonzo Dog Band and T Rex and Northern Soul) , we were also into Krautrock and Space Rock and anything "out there". Soul was frowned upon, although Stevie Wonder, Parliament , Funkadelic, Gloria Jones,The Supremes and James Brown were OK.

Anyway Todd Rundgren came onto our radar and I got the album home and listened to it, four sides that seemed to cover every acceptable base , then a few more also making them acceptable.

The opening "How About A Little Fanfare" is really a continuation from the wonderful "A Wizard/ A True Star" album. The thing is as you listen to this album it has everything and takes you off to places you don't expect to go, "Spark of Life" is almost Krautrock and definitely Space Rock, then we have Gilbert & Sullivan "Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song" from "Iolanthe", along with some pure soul such as "The Last Ride".

Todd in Names
 "No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator" which is what Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9" would be in an alternate universe. There are a lot of songs to enjoy and when the tape shredding transposition from "Izzat Love" to "Heavy Metal Kids" hits tape owners must have thought that's another one gone.

The album finishes with "Sons of 1984" a live song featuring "First United Church of the Cosmic Smorgasbord" which was the audiences from two live outdoor gigs in Central Parlk And San Francisco making it possibly the biggest number of backing vocals on a song ever (I don't know if that's still true). I think that their names were recorded on a poster included with the vinyl album which replicated the cover using the names.

All in all another essential album, that I have just revisited and been amazed by because it just reminded me of how good it was itn the first place. If you buty it on CD you get some extra live songs including a cover of possibly Jeff Lynne and The Move's finest three minutes "Do Ya" .

Listening to   "No. 1 Lowest Common Denominator" has reminded me that I need to load some Hendrix onto the phone for some more listening, although I am willing to take any suggestions from you.

I've had a good day today, hope you enjoy your evening

Much of The Time We Are All The Same

Yesterday walking through the Eldon I guty was cluctching a load of shopping,, probably to much to immediately handle and almost malked into me as he struggled keep hold of everything, and profusely apologised saying "Sorry" several times. The number of times I see people concentrating on their phones or devices or something else and ending up walking into other people, lamp posts, glass doors, road signs. I am as guilty as anybody else. My nearest I come to multi tasking is answering the phone when I'm walking. If I want to take video and post on instagram or wherever I alaways make sure I stop otherwise I would be walking into tree or traffic and ending up as strawberry jam. I listen to music as I walk and I've had the odd #twiker (thats a tw@ biker) shout at me to get out of the way as I block THEIR FOOTPATH, but I do make an effort to remain in control and be aware , though as you know I get easiliy distracted.

Yesterday I was chatting with Mark my son-in-law who is working through seventies music, mentioning The Doors and Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" which is has been playing on his valve based amp which gives a warmer sound than solid state.

I said during the day I had been listening to The Mothers of Invention's "Freak Out" which was was late sixties rather than seventies but contemporary to The Doors. While I listened to Zappa and The Mothers (the record company insisted on the "Of Invention" as they decided that the public would think it implied a certain denigratory family connection) at school I'd read that The Bonzo Dog Band  were the English equivalent of The Mothers, which I didn't see as I saw The Mothers as complex rock against The Bonzo's comedy jazz (which was anything but simple).

Listening to "Freak Out" the analogy becomes clear, the two bands are very similar , the main difference is that The Mothers are rooted in American Doo Wop and Rock and Rock Roll, whereas the Bonzo's were rooted in traditional jazz and music hall. Both bands were intelligent and sophisticaticated enough to cross and incorporate genres. Some of the songs sound like the nuagty kids who escaped from The Brill Building or Tin Pan Alley , Pure Americam Pop until you listen to the lyrics and realised that complex motif being played is actually a kazoo. Just listening to "Any Way The Wind Blows" which is actually pure pop with a vaguely sinister descending guitar line, but the album wouldn't drive people out of your house put addresses a lot of issues still relevant today "Who Are The Brain Police?", "It Can't Happen Here" and "Hungry Freaks Daddy".

Anyway I'll leave you with the opening song from the album.

It's a beautiful day, and if you are in Newcastle you can go and see the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Kingdom" in Leazes Park. Here's my Instagram video.

Have a brilliant weekend.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

30th Century Man 2: Scott Walker vs Tom Waits

Last nigh I finished watching 30th Century Man and Fiona got hooked. She said that Scott was very like Tom Waits. I disagreed, but then thought they do have a lot of similarities. The main difference is that Tom Waits' music lives in a skewed version of reality while Scott Walkers' seems to me to be in a completely different universe.

As I'm witing this I'm listening to "Cossacks Are" the opening song from "The Drift" which features in the film. After watch the film you are left wonderfing the closing percussion instrument is, as you see dustbins and slabs of meat being used.

Both artiss started out reasonably mainstream, the main difference that Scott was a pin up and Tom looked like a tramp (a description often given to me). Scott charted with the Walker Brothers and when he split he was successful as a solo artist until "Scott 4". Tom's success was augmented my others such as The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart covering his songs.

Then for Tom came "Swordfishtrombones" and for Scott "Climate of the Hunter" where they both truly left the mainstream. Tom often used made up intruments but his composition still are recognisable as songs.

Someone wrote about Scott's pieces (and this is how I remember what they said) "they're not songs, they something else" and I can see what he means. You don't listen to a Scott Walker album and get away with not paying attention.

Currently playing is "Clara" inspired by the execution of Mussolini and his girlfriend that Scott had seen on cinema newsreels as a child , and the adults would not explain what had happened, it features the meat percussion.

His pieces are poems mixed with tone pieces, they give the impressions of massiveness and claustrophobia, they do make you feel, but you have a feeling of not knowing where or when you are, maybe something like a mental flotation tank.

Tom Waits is clearer, he takes you on journeys , on foot or in a dodgy automobile, he is Americanm but not a TV American, his stories are engaing and you often wonder "what's that playing". They are songs though.

I think the only other people I could group with these two are Captain Beefheart, The Fall then to some effect Bowie, Zappa and Siouxsie and maybe Pearls Before Swine.

I was surprised to hear that Scott Walker never listens to his work once it's finished. I can understand an autor not reading his own books, but given that Scott is often ten years between albums he does have time to listen to his amazing work.

Having said that Tom Waits is almost a relief after listening to Scott Walker. Two amazing, amazing artists.

Sunday, 19 February 2017


I've not written for a couple of days , but still feeling absolutely wrecked. I would love a week in bed but that isn't going to happen.

It's been a great weekend spent with friends and enjoying  a lot of vegan and vegetarian food. While I understand the economic benefits of mass veganism, I do enjoy a bacon sandwich. I don't know if that makes me a totally evil person, but I am not going to change in the foreseeable future. Someone once told me that vegetables were really boring, so vegetarian food need to be inventive and enhanced by the use of spices, and this weekends food from The Karma Kitchen, Super Natural and Sweet Memories at Study Cafe

Anyway the weekend has come to an end and as it's ten o'clock on a Sunday night I titled this one "Ten" , so hardly using my brain for that one, although it's probably a score I could use for the food I've had.

Anyway it's time for bed and I could have chosen "Ten"  (the album) by Pearl Jam , or "Perfect Ten" by Beautiful South but I am going for "Call Any Vegetable" by The Mothers of Invention complete with it's Holst - Jupiter sequence. Did you know that the bands name was "The Mothers" but the record company added "of Invention" so the name would be "safer" and not cause offence ... reckoned without Frank Zappa's music....

Sleep well my friends

Sunday, 25 December 2016

On Christmas Day Reach For Love

I really wasn't expecting to post today but so far I've had a brilliant relaxing Christmas. I've managed to talk to some friends and family, got some lovely presents, and am listening to one of them , The Rolling Stones "Blue & Lonesome" , Mick Jagger sounding bluesier than ever almost like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters or, dare I say it Captain Beefheart, and that is just one of the wonderful albums I received today , which I am now transferring to my music server.

There's no snow so it's not going to be a White Christmas I don't think although there's parts of the sky that are black while others are blue and sunny. So really who knows what the weather is going to decide to do.

Be Like Frank
I am sort of wondering what song to play on this one , and though I haven't posted in the #LikeNoOther sequence for ages, which makes me think of Wild Man Fischer but I don't think that's one for today. I remember Frank Zappa telling a story about Larry Fischer meeting his brother one day:

"Larry had the axe, his brother had the bad luck" , which made me chuckle, though I hope his brother was not too traumatized

Just looking out the window and it looks like one of my neighbours has got a new drill for Christmas, I so detest getting or buying anything practical for Christmas and Birthdays, this should be a time of getting something pleasurable and out of the ordinary. I know that is not an option for a lot of people but if you need something you should get it immediately as soon as you can afford it, not wait for Christmas or a Birthday.

I was wondering what to play and it was staring me in the face, Marcel King's "Reach For Love" , it's Shaun Ryder's favourite Factory single, and a truly wonderful uplifting record, from the sadly missed singer , love Marcel's voice. I found this New York Mix which stretches it out to five and a half minutes, and if there's one thing better than a good thing, it's more of a good thing, and this certainly is a wonderfully good thing.

Anyway I hope your day is going brilliantly , I hope that you are going to rest and then kickstart another year of fun, good deeds , enjoyment.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Eleven Moustachioed Daughters? #ALifeInNumbers #11

There was only ever going to be one Number Eleven and that is Eleven Moustachioed Daughters by The Bonzo Dog Band , a song I'm sure that everyone knows, or everyone that reads this will now know. I've chosen this excellent live rendition by Viv Stanshall's post Bonzo's band BiG Grunt (that's not a typo although it may have been originally.

 The Bonzo's started out as a bit trad jazz ut all the members had ideas about the direction they wanted to go, very involved in the TV Comedy "Do Not Adjust Your Set" with many of  the pre Python Monty Python team,

While I had heard them on "Do Not Adjust Your Set" and they had a hit single with "Urban Spaceman" I was amazed by the breadth and depth of their music when I put on "The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse" and the first track "We Are Normal" blew me away , normal this band definitely was not.

By the time you hit the last track on side two "11 Moustachioed Daughters" you realise that you havecovered a hell of a lot of ground with these guys, after the rock, pop , jazz, comedy and everything else the hit you with this rhythmic pagan chant which is both frightening and funny and you do want to hear it again and again.

I once heard that The Bonzo's were the UK's Mothers of Invention (originally Zappa wanted them to be called The Mothers but the record company forced the to add "Of Invention" for decency, don't you love marketing sensibilities) , and Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart were hug fans of The Bonzos.

Anyway enjoy this, and your record collection should really contain a copy of "The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse".

Right it's six am on Sunday morning, it's dark. and I am going back to bed.

Have a brilliant Sundaty everybody.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Nova Vega

Over the past few weeks I have been asked if I am vegetarian , vegan and when did I become vegetarian and was it difficult to cut out meat and fish , just because I ate some vegetarian food. The answer is  I am not vegetarian or vegan, when it comes to eating I am blood awkward and fussy. I eat all the wrong things, I am diabetic , I like a bacon sandwich although I think I may be weaning myself off chocolate , which I adore and today I bought some scales and recorded the terrible fact that the scales tell me I am 114.6 Kg that's like 18 Stone.

Anyway enough of that, last week I visited the excellent Bohemian Restaurant and recorded my thoughts here so you can check it out , apparently one of the top ten British Vegan  Restaurants, it's in Pink Lane Newcastle and is definitely worth your time. They recommended Farplace which is a vegetarian / vegan shop / cafe in Clayton street , that sells  Vegetarian and Vegan products AND supports animal welfare so to quote George Orwell it really is DoublePlusGood , the staff are really nice and when I went in they had the guy from The Nut Roaster demonstrating his machine and selling various nut butters (you can see his oven in action here)

I went with Cashew Nut Butter along with a lentil curry pasty and vegan Victoria Sponge and a Chocolate Orange Scone.

Then today I was walking up Grainger Street and noticed a new cafe called Super Natural , there is already one near Carliol Square but this is a new one and very pleasant it ism, I checked in on Facebook here. As my friend Katie says it's a great time to go Vegan is you are in Newcastle.

The places I've listed are all town center, and they are not the only ones. If you go out to other Novocastrian districts you will find more Vegetarian and Vegan places.

I thought I was going to have to you use Meat Is Murder by The Smiths as accompanying music for this pice buth then remembered The Mothers' Call Any Vegetable which is far more positive , which lets face it Vegetarianism and Veganism is.

Enjoy your vegetables , they keep you regualar.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A Purple Bit

Hendrix and Zappa
Yesterday when I was in Stratford I looked at The Vinyl Disctrict app on my Samsung and it came up with Purple Vinyl. HMV is long gone so in Stratford the only source of getting ohold of music is the charity shops. The thing is there were a lot of tourists there, but obviously not enough to support a record shop.

Purple Vinyl Sign
Anyway I found Purple Vinyl close to Shakespeare's birthplace, and they have a Facebook presence here.  The Stratford shop had a lot of Zappa, Hendrix and Pink Floyd stuff nicely displayed and I spoke to the proprietor who told me they were essentially an online operator (check them out here)

I can't remember the guy's name but he was really nice to talk to, and though I didn't buy anything, I'd recommend going along just to see what they have out , or smapling their online selection.

I saw a 99p Jimi Hendrix BackTrack compilation which they were selling for £30, and was almost tempted as I had had it my original record collection. I now only my vinyl as artefacts rather than to play, and they still feel substantial compared to CD or the ephemera of MP3.

Given the amount of Hendrix they had on display and their name, there can only be one song can't there?

Anyway it's good to see a record shop in Stratford and hope they live long and prosper.

Have a pleasant evening everyone.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Go And Yodel

I'm extremely annoyed with the so called delivery firm Yodel. This company are arrogant and don't seem to know what their function is. I ordered an item from Argos , provided my contact details and expected some indication of when the item would be delivered. The house was empty for an hour and they slipped a note through , saying they would attempt to deliver tomorrow and the day after then return the item to where it came from. They gave a choice of weekday when I could have it redelivered but that's no use to me. I also have the option of picking it up from their depot as long as I get there between 9 and 5 (when most people are at work). I thought they were supposed to deliver.

Anyway I thought I 'd try and speak to them , each time you go through the IVR , select the speak top someone option and you get cut off.

I phoned Argos who seemed a trifle irate as this obviously reflects on them , they gave their direct number to Yodel. This type I still had to negotiate an IVR system but finally got to speak to someone. I asked them to contact the driver as someone couldbe in to recieve the item.These are the points they put to me:

  • The can't contact their van drivers as they don't carry company mobile phones
  • They would contact the driver if he returned to the depot
  • Had I contacted Argos as they had recieved a query
  • The time of delivery is at the whim of the driver 
  • They couldnt even arrange a late or early delivery
I find it amazing in this day and age that a company like that can continue in business. The showed no respect and seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I am their customer , not Aros. If I hadn't bought the item they wouldn't have anyting to deliver.

Trying to think of a song to go with this and Frank Zappa's Flakes sort of fits the bill. Argos were helpful and professional. Yodel arrogant and useless , I certainly would not recommend them,

By the way this is the second occasion this has happened with this company.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Bongo Fury

The weather is beautiful , but the mood is ruined by the thugs of a certain organisation organising a protest in the cetre of Newcastle. It's amazing how many people seem to think they have a point. Then they start complaining about the Germans taking over London tonight !! Bayern Munich and Boruusia Dortmund are there because they're the best footballing sides in Rurope this season.

Anyway after that I was looking into phone companies terms and condition for internet data usage and check this snippet out:

"Inclusive Mobile Internet:  Mobile internet browsing (whether as part of an inclusive allowance or not) is not to be used for other activities (such as non-company internet based streaming services, voice or video over the internet, instant messaging)."

From that I assume you can't watch Youtube , message friends on Facebook, Twitter or any non approved method, or maybe I just read it wrong.

I just find it annoying when organisations attempt to impose themselves on you in an attempt to control you.

The title of the post comes from a Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa collaboration , so I think I'll dig out a Beef heart video to cheer me up.