Showing posts with label National Record Shop Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Record Shop Day. Show all posts

Friday 21 April 2017

Read A Book .... You Never Know What You Might Find Out

Groucho Marx once remarked on the educational value of television. "Every time someone turns on the TV, I go into another room and read a book". The quote is not exact but you get the idea.

While I like reading books, my mum taught me to read before I went to primary school aged 4, and I remember something about a dog and some kids and the word "pretty" which I pronounced wrongly when I first read it, there were two instances that caused me to be disappointed related to books.

One was when my mum gave away two sets of vintage encyclopedias because she decided she "didn't like books anymore", but one of those sets was a vintage set from my grandma on my dad's side and the other was one that my mum had worked hard to buy after being sold them by an Australian door to door salesman who she mistakenly believed was a friend of my uncle (her brother) who had gone out to Australia on an assisted passage in the sixties. Those sets of encyclopedias were my internet in the sixties and early seventies and I am thankful to my mum and dad for making sure I had access to lots of reading material. It was really because it was so unexpected which is why I was disappointed.

A couple of years ago for World Book Night (which for the first time I am not taking part in because it's become very corporate and they now expect you to give away books you have or be a recognised "organisation" to take part and that's a third disappointment), I gave away "A Little History Of The World" by EH Gombrich , a great book for parents and children, and one person who had two children said "That's going straight in the dustbin", I asked for it back but he said "You gave it to ME, it's mine now".

Anyway that's about book disappointments in among positives , but I'm reading "The Age Of Bowie" by Tony Morley, and I was well aware of Anthony Newley's influence on David Bowie, usually as sub Dick Van Dyke cockney on "Laughing Gnome" and I was aware of Newley's entertainment, middle England compartmentalisation, and always found him a little annoying. Reading Morley's book I today found out that Newley along with Leslie Bricusse composed "Feelin' Good", covered by Nina Simone, Muse and many others. The song is from the 1964 musical, "The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd.". The two also collaborated with John Barry for Shirley Bassey's theme for the James Bond film "Goldfinger.

So basically reading a book has raised Anthony Newley in my estimation and his version of "Feelin' Good" as not bad at all. I thought it would be mannered and rubbish, especially being from a musical (I'm generally not a fan of musicals), but it's not, it is very good, listen to it.

Anyway it's Friday, the sun is shining and it's World Record Store Day tomorrow, so have a great day everyone.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Look What I Found ..... A Long Play Cafe

Today I stumbled across another wonderful find ,  under The Tyne Bridge , next to Popolos , the Long Play Cafe. This place is gorgeous , it does coffee , cake on settees and couches , with retro record players from RPM , wonderful wall art , Bowie and The Beatles caught my eye and they sell second had vinyl , T-Shirts and other music..

They have an Anti Record Store Day wall display . When I asked them about this they told me that to participate in Record Store Day you have to pay a £300 registration then commit to buying NEW vinyl every month. If you deal in second hand stuff that's an overhead you can't justify. Record Store Day started out as a celebration of independence but it's turned in to another commercial troughing.

The Cosy Corner, Beatles , Bowie and Patti Smith

Anyway  apart from everything I've mentioned they put on gigs , serve food, sell very reasonably priced vinyl (I resisted the Prince picture discs), I bought a copy of Genesis' Lamb Lies Down on Broadway , just so as I could read the libretto.

It was great chatting with staff and visitors , lots of people had just discovered the place like me.

Really it's worth a visit if you like good food , good company , good atmosphere , comfy chairs and vinyl , 7" and 12" , black , and other colours and picture discs.

Back In NYC is one of my favourite songs so it's an excuse to play it

The Lamb Lies Down on Vinyl and CD for comparison

Monday 4 April 2016

Record Store Day, World Book Night and Shakespeare's Birthday (Totally Boatless)

This is  just a short post although we have got into April and there is so much happening this month.
I have picked up my bass guitar for the first time in earnest for several years , as if I can cut it , I will be joining a fifties style rock and roll / soul band.

Then on the 16th it's World  Record Store Day , which means lots of stuff going on around RPM , Reflex , Beatdown and JG Windows in Newcastle. We are lucky that in Newcastle we have four , yes count them FOUR real record shops. The first year it wasn't that well attended but this has really gained momentum and you have queues outside the record shops in the hope of getting that special vinyl version of a particular record. It has got fans listing to music again rather than skipping through their iPod collection.

A Good Book
On the 17th it's my friend Paul's fiftieth birthday , he's a writer and if you are a fan of Casualty , Doctors or Eastenders you have probably seen some of his work. Check him out here , a very cool , witty and nice guy and a great friend.

Then on the 23rd it's William Shakespeare's Birthday , which is the marker for World Book Night. I've been giving books since it's inception and this year I will be giving away copies of Matt Haig's Reasons To Stay Alive in Newcastle on the night of the 23rd. A couple of Years ago I gave a way Matt's The Humans , an excellent book which I would recommend to anyone. This year's book list is here.

So basically it's Monday morning , there is lots to do , and lots to enjoy. April is looking very good for me , I hope it;s the same for you.

And I always think a bit of the Reduced Shakespeare Company always goes down  well , so I've included The Othello Rap - Totally Boatless , that always makes me laugh.

Have a brilliant day everybody.

Friday 17 April 2015

Everything is Happening and Summer is a Coming In

RSD 2015

Sorry I've not blooged for a while , no real reason apart from laziness , but it has been remarked upon , and I need need to post something given how much is happening this week. So here it is.

This week I started my new job which is basically a 9 to 5 scenario with decent flexibility and good people to work with and it's been very enjoyable so far, managing to track down a rogue tenner in half a million quid to balance a book. The thing is , this new job has given me back about ten hours a week that I wont be on a train and maybe £3K a year I don't have to spend on travel.

This has come at an opportune time because tomorrow , as well as being my great friend Craig and Sheena's birthday it's also National Record Store Day , so I will be in and around Newcastle visiting RPM , Reflex , Beatdown  but may not get to the excellent Pop Recs in Sunderland although I'm sure they won't miss me there. Some great memories of previous days include getting a Facebook message from my great friend Mike asking if I could pick up a copy of the Clash's London Calling about ten to five. It was the most sought after item of that day, so had sold out when the shops opened , although one did turn up in Reflex a couple of weeks later which I snaffled immediately and dropped off.

WBN 2015
This week , also , it's World Book Night on Shakespeare's Birthday (23rd of April). Just 18 books this time but a bit of a trek by public transport to pick them up tomorrow , mine is Roddy Doyle's "Dead Man Talking"  a short , easy to read book , which I shall be distributing around Newcastle on the 23rd.

There are numerous gigs coming up as well including William Control , Public Service Broadcasting , Rhombus and Jordan Reyne, and PSB's excellent go is certainly appropriate for my life at the moment.

As well as that summer is on it's way so the garden will need it's first mow soon and the grass is now growing fairly healthily.

So I'm going to bed now , enjoy your weekend I certainly intend to

Thursday 2 April 2015

A Very Good Start To April .... Record Store Day Is This Month

Hot Chilli
I was going to do a post on Whitby when I got back from a good weekend on Monday but due to my extreme laziness. Whitby is brilliant , I love the place and I managed to restock my Howling Goth Chilli Sauce , visit lots of place , but got the slightly bad news the the Folk Devils shop is closing in a fortnight although they are continuing online which is very good. While I was in there they were playing some Ty Segall who I've heard great reports of , but not got round to buying , so I've now rectified that with a few other additions to the playpile.

That Building
Then yesterday and my Metro to Sunderland was redirected to South Shields requiring me to go there and take a bus to Sunderland. This meant going into places that I 'd not been for years and I noticed a Barclays Bank , which was handy as I needed to drop some stuff off so that was handy . I also noticed and incredible looking red brick building on Fawcett Street. At street level there's a CEX and some furniture shop, but above street level it is very impressive.

 When I went yesterday to the bank and to photograph the build I then noticed a new record shop opposite , Pop Recs.

Outside Pop Recs
Inside Pop Recs
I went in and it's very roomy and an excellent layout with a lot of vinyl , and a few CDs , settees a stage area and a jukebox, reminding of the new Rough Trade store in New York, which hosts live music.

It's run by Frankie and The Heartsrings , and I was chatting with the guy behind the counter who was telling about how they set it up when HMV shut down, and the fact that they'd had The Cribs and The Vaccines playing for free recently. The good thing about the place its that it has the space inside to support a live band. He also told me that the Red Building across the street was owned by Nadine Shah's family and that she was a frequent visitor to the shop. Nadine is a local girl and has produced two stunning albums so that was just an amazing coincidence.

Unfortunately I was in a rush so only had a short visit and didn't buy anything this time, but seriously this one shop is a reason to actually go to Sunderland. The people are friendly and you can also get coffee and a lot more there, another positive is that they obviously care about people and music , you'll know why when you visit.

With National Record Shop Day coming around in a couple of weeks (18th April)  this will be the place to be in Sunderland , you really should go.

So really it's been a great start to the month and the sun is shining , I hope your month goes as well as mine is going to do.

Monday 9 February 2015

Metallica Was Right? - A Personal History of Music Media From The 1950s To Today

My friend Royston posted a link to this blog post from KFMX  (Lubbock's Rock Station) about the legacy of illegal downloading. It sums it up in a nutshell. Although I'm in two minds about the grammar , sould it be Metallica Was Right or Metallica Were Right. Anyway this post isn't about grammatical correctness it's about the whole music stealing thing , and where we are at today and why we are here today musically/ It's probably best to do it roughly in temporal order so I'll do it by decades:


A Complete Music Centre
Vinyl became established, first in 78 format with seven inch 45's becoming the single record content delivery device of preference. 12" 33rpm Albums named because sheet music was collected in albums was the modus operandii for Classical Music because of the length of the pieces , although spoken word albums came out that played at 16 rpm . If you look at a full featured vinyl record player that's what the 16 option is for. If you do want an classic record player take a look at RPM in Newcastle.

The thing is unless you had your own recording facilities in the 1950's the only way of stealing music was to actually shoplift or resort to burglary. Music theft was limited to plagiarism and blantant exploitation like Alan Freed's co composer credit on Chuck Berry's Motorvatin' because there had to be a white presence.


Reel To Reel
Music took of in this decade, and you had a proliferation of transistor radios and portable vinyl disc players, and affordable reel to reel tape recorders were available. These allowed you to record either from the record player, radio or television. However this was not widespread so artists and record companies just saw it as another marketing opportunity, however the BBC threatened prosecution of anyone who recorded TV programs , although they then later asked for recorded copies when trying to replace lost shows . Albums became more popular especially with bands like the Beatles and Beach Boys shifting industrial quantities and incidentally albums were commercially available on tape reels. Really record companies were seeding the ground without looking to the future.


Select a Tape
This is when supposedly the shit hit the fan for record companies. Music was becoming more portable. The introduction of the 8-Track tape and more importantly the compact cassette tape. These were introduced by record companies again to sell product, but when cheap portable recorders were put on the market you would have thought that someone would have realised that customers would not just record their own voice or birdsong.

Lots of companies produced tapes and recorders and customers started recording music from TV and radio and records and sharing it with their friends. This was countered by the "Home Taping Is Killing Music" campaign. What actually was happening was that record companies saw a threat and adopted a terrible attitude that their market was comprised of thieves. Home taping went through the roof with the introduction of the Sony Walkman , because this meant that you could take music that you had paid for with you by copying to a C90 tape. Record companies didn't like this either because they saw it as a potential loss of revenue.
John Martyn 1+1

Companies started marketing pre recorded cassette tapes which sold well , but in a completely odd ploy Island started the 1+1 series with the album recorded on one side and the second side blank for you to record whatever you want on.  The only image I could find was for the John Martyn album Grace and Danger, although these was a normal delivery method for Island completely encouraging people to tape music. I don't know if there is a caveat or disclaimer on the tape somewhere.

Killing Joke
The portability of recording apparatus meant that bootlegs now became more prevalent, so as well as official releases , you could , if, ironically, you were prepared to pay way over the odds for usually substandard recordings.

The record industry tried introducing a high frequency signal on the vinyl record to combat taping, and finally introduced a 5% PRS levy on all tapes.

Home taping didn't kill music, if anything it helped spread the word. Although you could only record in real time, so you knew what you were doing. Though for the first time you could put together tapes for parties , driving , bus journeys, running but you still knew that you should really buy the records. However often you would get a tape from a friend, listen to it and then go out buy the album. The record companies didn't acknowledge this.


This was the decade that changed everything. The record industry introduced the new cure all, the perfect indestructible medium of CD. This was a cold planning campaign by the music industry, they introduced very cheap CD players, CD players were part of the all in one music centres replacing the cumbersome vinyl turntable. People bought music centres not realising that this made their vinyl records obsolete. So they needed to buy CDs to replace the vinyl , except CDs were expensive £12
Bright Silver Discs
compared with around a fiver for the vinyl equivalent. Mid price albums were a bargain at a tenner. Now you weren't offered a trade in for your vinyl so you were paying for the medium. Did this mean that the music had no actual value?

But anyway this was a McDonaldisation moment for music, suddenly you had remote controls , you could program the way a CD was played , you could skip and repeat tracks, it was convenience for the ears. And you could program a CD and record it to cassette to make your mixtape.

The new medium had no clicks or background vinyl noise, and the first song I played on my new CD player was The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again", played loud. A mistake I never made again. Previously the song was introduced as the needle hit the groove, this time the opening power chord just hit with no warning at all. That was my first impression of CD.

But again the music industry just saw a huge cash cow, but they were selling discs containing music converted to digital signals and guess what happened then......


CD replaced floppy discs as a medium for computers. They could also be written to. Home computers were taking off, the internet was connecting people and at this time the music industry decided it was time for another change. CDs would deteriorate and were not as indestructible as we thought. They needed replacing. Incidentally I've had CDs for thiry years that are still fine.

The music industry told us we now had to but DAT . It's tape! Tapes break , get tangled , and you cant easily change the order, and a blank tape cost as much as a CD. DAT did have it's place but just became a specialist niche and never threatened CD's dominance. However......

The CD data was copied into a digital file stored on computer , this was MP3. It was not created by the industry so there was no regulation. People could copy albums to there computer and duplicate them to CD, but more importantly could use the internet to share music using peer to peer networks such as Napster.

People were ripping , sharing and downloading music and not paying for it. The music industry had given everything to the public on a plate. Like with cassette they tried legal downloads but included DRM which limited what devices you could play YOUR music one. It didn't work. Elton John and Metallica were the biggest voices behind the movement that eventually shut down the peer to peer network Napster citing the amounts of money they had lost. The thing is most of the people who downloaded stuff were actually doing it because they could, they would never have bought the music if they couldn't download it so the figures were irrelevant , and these artists didn't give a fig about their fans when the issued old product on CD , then brought out a new version with an extra track, ten brought out a remastered version , expecting fans to cough up money each time.

However in the days of pay per minute internet connection a friend of mine spent £30 to download a Basement Jaxx album he could have bought over the counter for a tenner.

The nineties were the decade where certain people began to expect music to be free, not realising how this affects the people who produce it. This was a direct result of the music industries pushing of CD uptake in the 80s without any thoughts of impact analysis.

The New Millennium:

The turn or the century digital music became the norm. The internet has become very fast , and they perception that music is free has driven down the price of CDs. These days a new Cd will set you back around a tenner, a new vinyl album will cost you twice that. If the cost of albums had kept pace since say, 1975,  you would be paying £80 for a new album today. I've used Job Seekers Allowance as a guide for this , in 1975 I bought the new Pink Floyd album "Wish You Were Here", it cost me £3.25 , now JSA stands around £70.

People can listen to music of their choice free on Youtube , Spotify and any number of streaming services. The problem with these for the artist, is that royalties are paid on a pay per play basis. So if a track is streamed on Spotify an artist will get paid a very small fraction of a penny, if their record is played on the radio they'll be paid £50 (that is completely made up but it is a reasonable amount). I don't know what the answer is to this.

But this leaves us in a world where to make money bands have to charge a lot for gigs and merchandise and kids think that stuff (music and video) should be free.

However music is still vibrant and alive, record shops are still going strong especially with National Record Store Day . New music is still being produced and I still buy a CD a week of usually new music the latest being the Wooden Shjips album  "Back To Land".

The music industry is continually bleating about lost profits and stealing , but in digitizing everything they have created something that can be stolen over and over again, although as recent trends have shown , sensible pricing and convenience will actually result in sales and income, otherwise iTunes would have died a death long ago, and they still cause havoc and inconvenience with their licensing and terms and conditions.

So that's it , possibly my longest ever blog post. Hope it didn't send you to sleep.

Sunday 20 April 2014

Good National Record Store Day

Buy More Records
Well although I didn't see anyone I knew apart from the guys at Reflex and RPM,yesterday was an excellent day. I'm writing this at 3 am just because I was awake and it's the middle of the Easter break which means I can actually lie in today.

Although later on I may be painting decking, depending on the weather. I hope it last a bit longer than in previous years when I finally do it , though I will publish photographs (of the said decking!)

I remember selling my EMI version of Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols for £30 then buying the album on Virgin for £3 , the import single for £1.50 and still having £20 to spend! which brings me on to ....

....I got a copy of Peaches by  The Stranglers from Reflex which was doing some extremely brisk trade, and just wish that certain shops to adapt the speed and courtesy of the guys there, they also had free sweets and chocolate which I forgot to partake of, but they had lots of excellent stuff. I see a lot of copies of the disc were on ebay going for a fortune but you can get their first six albums plus a disc of rarities for under fifteen pounds here. While it's nice to have limited editions, for me it's always been about the music.

Cake at RPM
RPM was rammed as they had cake, DJs and and bands in the courtyard next door, and at certain points the shop was in a one in one out situation. I browsed their second hand vinyl, and saw a second hand copy of the second Roxy Music album "For Your Pleasure". I have the CD, but was thinking about it while I looked round the delights in the  and listening to the rockabilly from the in shop DJ, I went back and it had gone , c'est la vie.

Still it was a great atmosphere and I could have spent a lot of money, which I will do when it's a little quieter.

Good Turnout
Anyway had a nice meal at the Stand , just missed my friend Jon and his daughter Aoife, though he sent me a lovely picture of her, face painted as a lion enjoying orange juice,

Came home and cleaned the decking again so it should be ready for painting today or tomorrow. So after this I am going back to my bed, and going to have a bit more sleep.

Saturday 19 April 2014

I Saw A Magpie

A Magpie
... on the way to pick my books up for World Book Night. When I got there they were nowhere to be found. One for sorrow! Although it's a superstitions and whether you get one for sorrow or two for joy you can always find something to fit in with the interpretation. On the plus side the giving day

Anyway it's National Record Store Day , and I need to go and get a record for a neighbour and maybe buy one myself. The weather is wonderful,  so it's likely to be an excellent day for everyone.

It's also an excuse to post the "Magpie" theme tune from the 1970's performed by the Spencer Davis Group (who used to feature Stevie Winwood) under the pseudonym of The Murgatroyd Band. The cool kids watched Magpie and the boring kinds preferred Blue Peter. It's ironic that the latter program is still with us.

Friday 18 April 2014

Good Good Friday

Great North Passion
Well Good Friday is here, the weather is wonderful, and there is a lot of things on and to do. I was intending to to clean and stain my decking this weekend but there are a hundred and one distractions.

The BBC are staging the Great North Passion at Bents Park in South Shields, I was unaware of it til I caught a preview on TV last night then some friends posted on Facebook, but it is being broadcast on TV and you can see the details here.

A-Z of Us
Tomorrow, hopefully I pick up my books (The Humans by Matt Haig) for World Book Night and it's also National Record Shop Day and I've been tasked with obtaining a copy of Peaches by The Stranglers which has a limited run of 1,000 in the original picture sleeve. Incidentally I downloaded a copy of the A-Z of Humans which is very entertaining, and very worth getting for you Kindle or other eReader. It's only about 50p and very entertaining.

Well that's it for this morning, I'm off out to see what I can see or do. Have a brilliant Easter everybody, enjoy yourself and make the most of everything.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Will It Go Round In Cirlcles?

Number One
I have just been into Newcastle to dispose of an awful Alcatel Tribe phone, donated it via CEX to a Muscular Dystrophy charity, then on the way to Waitrose I dropped in a Windows Record Shop in the Central Arcade.

They're all ready for National Record Store Day, but something I've noticed with them and other record shops in the town is that the amount and range of vinyl on sale is increasing in a big way. In another year or so vinyl may actually be elbowing out CD. Thanks to them I found this Charts page. I can't say I've looked at a music chart for a long time, but at the time of posting it's nice to see the Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey at number one.

I suppose this is one of those situation that demonstrates that sometimes things can be very cyclical, although I suppose the sale of music started with busking , the paper, then vinyl then tape, then CD , then they tried DAT and Minidisc, then you had digital, and now we have the return of vinyl. Live music will always be with us as well. I was thinking of this when I left Windows and saw their husge vinyl window display which made me think of Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles" so that's going to be the music for today.

So if you have any weekend left enjoy it , we have Easter coming so for a lot of us it's only a four day week. Which is good

Friday 11 April 2014

Seven Days

It's the end of another week, and it's been mostly work, sleep, eat and travel. I have World Book Night and National Record Store day coming up and tomorrow I will be picking up my books. Also we have The Mouth Of Tyne Festival (though with the first two headliners being the Brand New Heavies and Toploader I may be leaving early , but Neville Staple will be there and his band were brilliant supporting the Buzzcocks a few years back.

The weather is getting better though I heard there was a Cyclone in the antipodes so I hope all my friends there are safe. Weather can be sometimes great, and sometimes frightening, but it's just pa part of the earth's ecosystem , and the earth is a pretty big and complex thing although it's surpising how many people seem to think that weather should be controlled and predictable.

Anyway the song that comes to mind is 10,000 Maniacs "LIke The Weather", so I'm going to love you and leave you and get off to work.

Monday 31 March 2014

I Don't Know What I Want But I Want It Now

The title is a quote from Sir Henry Rawlinson the creation of the wonderful Vivian Stanshall, and is particularly relevant to the sense of blind entitlement certain people seem to have for no other reason than they just expect to be given everything on a plate.

The TED Talk above by Paul Piff goes some way to explaining why , the more people get, the more they feel entitled to. Manchester United fans this weekend got a a plane to fly over Old Trafford demanding that David Moyes be relieved of his duties. This is because the team are not steam rollering everything in front of them, like they did under Alex Ferguson, forgetting that pre Ferguson the team had a long time in the trophy wilderness. Real fines appreciate there is a rebuilding job, but there are those who expect success to be presented to them on a plate.

Some of My Collection
It's similar with bankers and governments , who preach austerity, while expecting huge rewards for themselves for very little effort. The banks nearly destroyed the world through greed and were bailed out by governments, and are still paying themselves huge bonuses  with the blessings of right wing politicians, because they are somehow entitled to those rewards. I've yet to see anyone who deserves the obscene amounts they take.

Anyway rant over and there are good things up and coming. April 12th is National Learn To Play Day in which music shops and artists offer free taster lessons to encourage people to take up playing music. Full details are here with messages from Jools Holland and others.

That weekend I shall be picking up my books for World Book Night which takes place on the 23rd April.

And we also have National Record Shop Day on the 19th of April , which will be a great day again. I don't do the queueing but I do enjoy visiting the many shops we have in Newcastle.

Anyway it's time for bed now so I hope you all have had a great night and sleep well.

Monday 24 February 2014

The Seven Hundred and Two Days For Your Diary

This is my seven hundredth blog post and this morning I was informed that I have eighteen copies of The Humans by Matt Haig to give away on World Book Night 2014 on April 23rd, that's a Wednesday this year. I have some ideas how to schedule it and this year I have less to go round so I will make sure none get wasted, on people who's cultural highpoints are Top Gear and Bake Off programs.The premise sounds brilliant:

"One wet Friday evening, Professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge University solves the world's greatest mathematical riddle. Then he disappears.

When he is found walking naked along the motorway, Professor Martin seems different. Besides the lack of clothes, he now finds normal life pointless. His loving wife and teenage son seem repulsive to him. In fact, he hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton. And he's a dog.

Can a bit of Debussy and Emily Dickinson keep him from murder? Can the species which invented cheap white wine and peanut butter sandwiches be all that bad? And what is the warm feeling he gets when he looks into his wife's eyes?"

Sounds brilliant doesn't it? I do have my copy on order and will have it read before the give away occurs.

On 19th Of April (I think because it doesn't tell you the date on the site, just a countdown) it's National Record Shop Day, well that's what I call it , so I will be visiting Reflex and RPM and Beatdown and JG Windows in Newcastle and buying some product. These days are now very big and great fun, with lots of events, and I'll post more in the run ups to both of these events.

Time for bed now, happy seven hundredth post to you all, and it the words of James .... "How Was It For You?" , here's to the next seven hundred.

Monday 22 April 2013

Still Fighting With My Left Hand, Record Store Day Highlights and What Is Good Music?

Well still the docs are looking for clues for why my left couple of fingers don't work properly , though it's coming back slowly I think. Today I had an MRI scan which is not very nice when you are a closet claustrophobe like me. I requested some music and got "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd that approximated the length of time of the scan punctuated by the undustrial techno soundtrack of the scanner itself. One improvement is they give you a little periscope so you can see that there are people about if you choose to look , but I can't recommend the experience. Still that one's over with so now wait for two weeks to hear what the prognosis is.

A lot of people have been saying how good the Daft Punk / Nile Rodgers collaboration "Get Lucky" is so I thought I should give it a listen. ... and it is very good , but really this what all mainstream radio should meet in terms of quality , however it didnt knock me off my feet , but is certainly a record I'd like to hear on the radio.

My biggest surprise was the Paul Weller single Flame Out! put out for National Record Shop Day. This DID knock me off my feet . Sounding like Public Image Limited with another singer , certainly not your average Paul Weller song , this is the sort of thing that we want more of . And the B Side is a fine song as well. That really did perk up my weekend.

Friday 29 March 2013

Books and Records and Ali G

Well I've jusst finished the excellent Tony Benn biography by Jad Adams , discovering lots of things about someone who must be close on the most respected politician ever. The book is surprising readable obviously helped by it's subject mater or an caring idealist , a stunning orator who had the intelligence outspeak opponents without ever getting flustered. His encounter with Ali G / Sacha Baron Cohen  showed him taking matters seriously rather than pandering to sreotypes resulting in Sacha Baron Cohen writing to Benn thanking him for being the only person to react with skill and integrity to Ali G's inane stereotypical questioning.

Anyway this means I've started "A Little History Of The |World" by Ernst Gombrich which is the book I've chosen to distribute on World Book Night on Tuesday April 23rd 2013 on my train back from work between Darlington and Newcastle. The preface tells of the genesis of the book which is entertaining in itself , I was going to tell you about it but the copy on the Amazon page does that very well , so I'll include that here:

"In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser was published in Vienna to immediate success, and is now available in twenty-five languages across the world. Toward the end of his long life, Gombrich embarked upon a revision and, at last, an English translation. A Little History of the World presents his lively and involving history to English-language readers for the first time. Superbly designed and freshly illustrated, this is a book to be savoured and collected. In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colourful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind's experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity's achievements and an acute witness to its frailties. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history."

I've said it previous posts why I chose the book and have started reading it , and finding it well written , in terms a child could understand, really a book that should be in every household especially if there are young children. It is the sorting of book theat stimulates interest and inquisitiveness and will inevetibly have them asking "Why?" in a good way.

Three days before that it's National Record Shop Day which will mean long queues out of RPM , Reflex and Beatdown in Newcastle and bands playing and street entertainment and chasing limited editions onf vinyl artefacts worldwide.Every year it's getting bigger and better , and as for the demise of record shops , don't believe a word of it , the best ones are still with us . I was recently surprised to find excellent record shops in York and Bakewell , and as long as a shop is welcoming and able to adapt they will attract customers. Often people complain about the cost of music and I point outthis fact:

In 1975 Pink Floyd released Wish You Were Here in an unfeasible shrink wrapped plastic bag, containing postcards etc (maybe that was Dark Side of The Moon which did contain posters and stickers). Anyway I'd just left school and was geeting job seekers allowance which was £3.25 .... the same price of the new Pink Floyd album. Needless to say I didnt go out that week.

So if albums had kept pace with Job Seekers Allowance the cost of an album would now be around £60 !! I recently took deliver of The Blue Oyser Cult's Columbia Album box set (17 discs) which cost me £46 and that was funded by a MyVoice voucher and Hilton Honors voucher so I didnt rwally even pay for it. So music today is better value than ever.

Saturday 16 March 2013

The Price Of A Van

I was just checking through my music that I had ripped to my network drive and was suprised to find that apparently I've never owned a Motorhead album (I know I've had a few compilations) , and also had ripped any David Bowie or Van Morrison barring a few recent aquisitions.

I noticed a few Van Morrison gaps in my collection such as Beautiful Vison , Poetic Champions Compose and St Dominic's Preview. Now Van Morrison is a major artist , and I was surprised to see that a lot of his music is no longer available on CD or , if it it is , it is ranging fromexpensive to exhorbitant (£200 for "One Night In San Francisco") . I had a similar problem with Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart , which I though I would pick up for a tenner for a Christmas present , but could not find it under a £35 at the time which came as a slight shock.

I thought I'd put them on a carousel so you can check them out for yourself. I'm just wondering if anything from these artists will appear on National Record Shop Day. It looks like in the digital streamimg , age that tangible media is being edged out and therefore actually becoming more valuable and a better investment.

You can still get you Robbie Williams and Take That complete back catalogues for untder a tenner from That's Entertainmant , but that's just the nature of the beast .....

Thursday 7 March 2013

Back on Twitter , and Storing All World Knowledge

It's been about a month since I ditched Twitter and Instagram. One of the reasons for doing so is no matter how good your picture or text is , it generally goes into a black hole. But twitter can be used for keeping an eye on events , and since taking the time ro watch a few TED talks , I have a reason to follow someone on twitter . I need to find a few people worth following because of what they do , so am slowly building things up. I posted one tweet , which I nicked from a place in York, so will see how things go.

I promise not to post pictures ogf my food or any video at all , but will share things worth sharing. My new id is @mikeydred96 if you want to follow me , and if you don't that's fine.

I'm looking forward to National Record Shop Day and World Book Night this year and have a couple of ideas mulling around for both events.

The video is another brilliant TED talk from Brewster Kahle on a building a digital library, sort of like Project Gutenberg . The Book-Mobiles are an amazing idea , great fun .Watch the video

Saturday 23 February 2013

World Book Night 2013 - I'm In

I've just receved my email that I'm been chosen as a giver for World Book Night 2013. One shocking fact is that a third of the homes in this country don't possess a book. So this is trying to address that little problem , we will see.

The book I've chosen is "A Little History Of The World" by EH Gombrich , which is a history of the world for children. A few of the reviews are here:

  • 'Conversational in style, as of a grandparent talking with a child, the story of humanity from prehistory is told.' --Peter Andrews, School Librarian, vol. 54 no. 2, Summer 2006
  • '...a perfect present for a child with an enquiring mind. I wish it had been available when I was young.' --Literary Review, September 2005
  • 'Had I a dozen grandchildren...I'd order two dozen copies, one for the children, the other for their parents.' 
A full list of the books being given away is here.

This is the first book I'm giving that I have not read , but I will do before I give the book away. Unusually , World Book Night is on a Tuesday this year , April 23rd , 3 days after National Record Shop Day which I will also be taking part in.

One thing is that it costs ten pouns to distribute each box of books so if you can donate something via Justgiving it would be most appreciated.

Donate with JustGiving

Friday 11 January 2013

Why Vinyl?

Was just off to bed and this question sprang to mind. Why Vinyl . Audiophiles talk about the warmth missing from digital representations and the personalisation that scratches and worn grooves bring but therein lies my argument. Vinyl is one of the most self destuctive of all media. Once the needle hits the groobve both vinyl an ddiamond / sapphire begin to destroy each other. Dust gathers on the record , heat warps the discs (remember dynaflex? The bane of my Bowie and Lou Reed collections).

Jimmy Page worked out that the optimum length for a vinyl long player was 18 minutes . Gram hold of an original pressing of Led Zeppelin I or II and check that there's no shiny spare vinyl in the label run off.

Vinnyl did enable some interesting tricks. Brian Eno's Great Pretender on Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy ran into a closed groove that effectively never ended. You don't get that on the CD version. Monty Python had a three sided album because one side consisted of two separate spirals so you never knew what track you would get when you put it on.

Then on Todd Rundgren's Inititiation , the running time of that album clocked around 69 minutes with an instruction to only play with a brand new needle. I bought mine on cassette!

However we have seen a major vinyl revival , recently The Beatles and The Who's Studio Output have been boxed at £300 and £150 respectively , very impressive they are too . Nice to see the covers in their proper size , but it's still vinyl and very expensive. Black Sabbath have also had a box out

I am happy with CD and digital , for convenience sake , but I am also glad that vinyl is here to stay as well - though I wont be part of the buying public for vinyl , well maybe the odd seven incher .....

Friday 4 May 2012

Record Shops On The Rise In Worcester

I've just spent a rainy day in Worcester , despite a laborious trek to the wrong Park and Ride (but which took me where I wanted) . Amazed to see that HMV were selling umbrellas , yes I know it's raining but a record shop should not be selling umbrellas (as well as iPod docs , Mars bars etc etc).

Anyway wandering further I did a double take when I saw this place:
Rise Records In Worcester

Todays Purchases from Rise
Rise Records has been going for about a year and has a great stock of music on CD and vinyl as well as memorabillia and printed stuff such as books and magazines. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable , and they had obviously been involved in National Record Store Day jusging by the posters and vinyl artifacts.

My own purchase are on the right, the new Santigold album plus a Phil Manzanera disc as well as a Chess collection.

Absolutely excellent to see a thriving record shop free of X-Factor dross , and doing well as places like HMV lose their way in a desperate attempt to gain a few pennies to sell anything that might make anther penny or two.