Showing posts with label Newcastle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newcastle. Show all posts

Thursday 4 June 2020

Long Distance

I have a Canon SX620 camera and it enables me to take long distance pictures. The control says I can take up to 100x zoom although the front of the camera says 25x optical zoom so that maty be why my longer distance pics get a bit less detailed, after 25x the zoom becomes digital.

I use the photos of long distance shots as a screensaver on my desktop and love when I see something and try to work out lots of things that I had never noticed before in relatively familiar surroundings. From the top of Cow Hill I can photograph from The West Road to Wallsend taking in the City Centre and St Jame's Park.

Having a sizeable zoom worried me about privacy , but I trued taking photos in my front room and front bedroom and the lack of light and glass reflection ensures good privacy. I do wonder about controllable drones that could easily be used to snoop, although I have seen some great outdoor drone shots.

Today Shaun Keaveny brought up the fact that you can use scissors to cut pizza, something I had never thought about , but I suppose you could , although the take aways I get are usually ready cut , and I haven't had a frozen pizza for a long time (Dr Oetker and Morrisons are my preferred ones when I feel in a pizza mood).

So given that this started about cameras we shall go with "The Camera Eye" by Rush

Thursday 5 March 2020

No Dilemma

In a previous post (here) I referred to Michael Moorcock's "Breakfast In the Ruins"  which finished each chapter with an impossible dilemma directed at the reader. I had a dream about a similar thing before I properly woke this morning and here it is:

It's late at night and you are at a bus stop. Your bus is due , you think , but you have a sense of foreboding, you don't feel safe. You can see the next bus stop, about five minutes walk away, there are two dim street light along the way. There is someone at the next bus stop. They may make you feel safer.

So do you:

  • Stay and wait for the bus? Something bad may happen
  • Walk to the next stop? The bus may pass you by and the person at the next stop may not be someone who will help you , they may even be the cause of your foreboding!

So just a small dilemma for you to consider this morning.

Last night my local Post Office closed an hour early with zero announcement so I have to go to the one at Haymarket which is just always open and very reliable to detach another CD purchased from me on Discogs.

Clive Barker's "Weaveworld has just visited Newcastle , a hotel in Rudyard Street , there is a Rudyerd Street in North Shields but maybe he just chose a random name rather than an actual place.

A fairly appropriate song is the excellent "Which Way Should I Jump?" by the brilliant Milltown Brothers who also did the them to the wonderful "All Quiet On The Preston Front" ("Here I Stand" see here although this site says it's "Out on Blue Six")

Monday 9 December 2019


I'm back in Newcastle and back to work and sort of sad that I'm not still in Settle, but finances don't currently allow me to be on permanent holiday, I am not impressed with the so called "Christmas Village" that has been rammed into Newcastle centre, to me it's just blocking where I can walk and messing up the road system but it does make me more determined to shop locally, especially in The Grainger Market.

Apart from catching up at work I will need to send my Christmas cards this week and must sound curmudgeonly as I see this and Christmas decorations as a chore. I am fine with people celebrating Christmas , went round to my neighbours for impromptu drinks and socialising and love things like that, Christmas can do a lot of good but I do hate the adverts saying that to really celebrate Christmas you need to spend a fortune on Amazon. No you need to socialise , talk to people and have fun.

I am old enough not to need presents and in some ways would like to put a fiver limit of people who want to buy me things.

For some reason the song "Temporary Secretary" by Paul McCartney has been going through my head, love the repeated sequencer motif that runs through it, and this has nothing really to do with this most but maybe it is a Monday Morning record.

Saturday 19 October 2019

Philosophy - #Oktoberfest #22 - The Philosophers Song - Monty Python

What is philosophy? I've never really thought apart from that fact that it's something that clever and intelligent people do so not for me. Definitions of it include:

  • The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. 
  • A theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.
    • "don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed, that's my philosophy"

So out of my league for consideration, my attention span is probably inadequate for pursuit of such thoughts and subjects.

I saw an advert relating to a Dementia Charity (follow the link to donate) and thought if that should happen to me , this blog is a diary that I can use to keep track about what has happened in my life. Last week I was at a work away day and forgot the names of three people I work with, I associated wrongs names with right initials with them and spoke to my doctor about it , but it seems Alzheimer's is much more fundamental than that, but something that steals your memories while leaving a functioning body and fairly worrying. My incident was just due to natural forgetfulness, so nothing major.

That is definite food to philosophize over, one would think, were I intelligent enough.

Ironically one of my favourite places in Newcastle is the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society which is housed in an amazing building and it's president is Alexander Armstrong and I am forever berating native Novocastrians who have never visited the place. It is both important historically and an amazing building and library and meeting place.

So this post really came about because of the #Oktoberfest sequence and although drink is not mentioned in the title, the incredibly clever "Philosopher's Song" sung by Australian Academics in the Monty Python sketch is based completed on the alcoholic consumption of historically notable philosophers so fits in well with the sequence. Listen, Learn and Enjoy.

Monday 23 September 2019


This could have been titled an Airdrieonian , A Native of Ayr, an Italian, and Australian and a Prestionian got in a taxi in Morpeth and went to Newcastle.. This was the end of a very long day as due to work on the East Coast Line Newcastle to Edinburgh was via Carlisle adding an hour and a half to the journey.

Coming back two trains were cancelled so we ended up on a coach from Edinburgh to Morpeth which was a literally last minute thing but the coach journey was fine although lengthy.

Once we hit Morpeth the train to Newcastle was going to be another 50 minutes so the five of us above got together and commandeered the only taxi in the station to get back to Newcastle. It was a pleasant ride back and we found that the Airdrieonian girl who had originally suggested the taxi lives in Gateshead and works for the NHS, the Australian guy was trying to get to Cambridge, the Italian girl (who had an American accent) was trying to get to London.

Everyone in the taxi was really positive and pleasant and this was a very small lesson in coming together to get a good result and that is what happened. The taxi driver was very talkative and the journey was over very quickly and a very reasonable £30.

So cause of the title we'll go with "Long Time Coming" by The Delays, always been a favourite of mine.

Monday 19 August 2019

Never Ending

This morning my alarm awoke me from a very vivid dream at a point where I was trying to get into a folk club for a gig but thought I had no money so I'd have to find a cash machine, but the person on the door tok my wallet and pulled out a fiver (the admission fee) and pointed out I still had a tenner left . This was the last bit of the fairly vivid dream which has now completely disappeared, barring the location of the folk club that was either near Amen Corner in Newcastle , somewhere in Edinburgh or Settle three disparate locations I know but all places I go often.

I think I've probably written more about "The Illuminatus! Trilogy" than any other book , and in form it reminds me of Bob Dylan's "Tarantula" which is a book that I will keep and reread. But the latest "episode" (the "chapters" are fifty to a hundred pages long so don't look for a text break although there are some images in book one ("The Pyramid and The Eye") but I'm working through "The Golden Apple" at the moment with around thirty pages to go before I hit the final book "Leviathan", but the latest "episode" manages to link in religion and mythology including Adam and Eve as Bavarian subversives and linking them to Kull and Conan characters brought to me by Robert Ervin Howard and portrayed in film by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Momoa.

So it's a bright Monday Morning, and given that for people who read it's just a never ending journey, Limahl's excellent Giorgio Moroder collaboration for the title song of  the film "Never Ending Story"  (my girls loved it) would be appropriate.

Have a good one.

Saturday 15 June 2019

They Can Look Good

When CD came along we were persuaded by the pristine sound and their supposed longevity, but this was what I called the MCDonaldisation of music (Check here and here). You could skip tracks , skim through an album , play it in a different order using remotes and programming.  The jewel case was homogenous and meant that if it got damaged then it was easily replaceable. So CDs have become generally homogenised and don't really stand out.

However there are exceptions such as the reissue of Lift To Experience's "Texas Jerusalem Crossroads" and Edward II's "Manchester's Improving Daily" both wonderfully packaged the latter containing a book about the Broadside Songs featured in the body of the album.

"Texas Jerusalem Crossroads" is one of those albums that is like nothing you have ever heard before or since.

Rhino Records have done an original album series which features five albums in cardboard replica album sleeves often for under a tenner, but these are a joy to look at as well as play.

Retrospective compilations are often superbly put together, possibly my ultimate possession being the Elektra "Forever Changing" box which , as well as five CDs contains a book and album covers, photos and memorabilia some bits of which you can see here. This was originally priced at £150 but I picked it up for £40 from RPM in Newcastle.

So I am going to share "A Humorous And Interesting Dialogue" by Edward II for the "Manchester's Improving Daily" album used for a support the NHS video under Cameron's Tories.

Monday 8 April 2019

#AprilSongs #8 Blue Monday

There might be a few Blue Mondays before the end of April. The first one I've chosen is the Fats Domino one. When I say they will be a few Blue Mondays I mean that there are quite a few songs called "Blue Monday" although most people will now associate the title with the band New Order, though I am not sure that one will be included in the #AprilSongs sequence and there are quite a few other options.

The morning I finished Michael Moorcock's "The Skrayling Tree" and I now know what it meant as I hadn't a clue when I picked the book up. The book is a swirl of ideas and genres with references to Moorcock's early work as well as various mythologies and histories with a finale in a giant golden ziggurat on a frozen lake in extreme North America.

I'm not sure if that stimulated a dream that I suddenly remembered as I read the final sequence, where a couple of North American friends Pandora and Gina and I were posting Instagram videos of us walking out onto frozen lakes as far as we dared. Mine was the lake in Leazes Park and while I have seen it iced over I have never considered walking out on it. I remember as a kind walking over iced ponds and once the ice cracked while a friend was in the middle, I've never seen anyone move so fast and he got back to the shore without getting wet.

Yesterday I mowed the lawn for the first time this year, and it's April. Having said that it does look very well, whereas most years I think I am going to have to get it relaid, but it is looking good.

So I know it's Monday morning , but although it's grey we're getting closer to Spring and Summer. Have a good day.

Monday 11 March 2019


I've decided that April will be one post a day with obscure songs possibly related to April. The criteria may vary and even disappear altogether but I will hit at least thirty posts in April. Obviously I may reinclude "April Skies" by The Jesus and Mary Chain which I am including here because, like all their stuff, is absolutely brilliant.

I'm still reading Michael Moorcock's "The Skrayling Tree" and discovered another follow up "The White Wolf's Son" so that is going to be ordered on completion of this post As usual he interweaves lots of traditional mythology in with his own although these are set on Earth roughly post World War II although that has very little to do with the story lines, but it provides me with more to read over the coming months.

My walking over the last two days has severely been curtailed, partly due to having to be in work to catch up after the holiday, but again it's something that is not a major problem.

Today has been a beautiful day but very very cold, but I got some great shots of Newcastle and St James' Park framed by blue skies here.

So this evening I will finish "The Martian" which is an excellent film, and that's it for today.

Friday 1 March 2019

On A Train To ...

Today I took a train from Newcastle to Settle via Carlisle. The thing about this journey is, if you don't do it every day, the scenery is wonderful, going along the Tyne and through the Pennines. The first part of the journey was slightly marred by two Manc druggies on speed who never shut up between Newcastle and Carlisle, continually asking where they were and how long before they got there, and I was thinking pleasant though the journey was (apart from the numpties), I wouldn't like to take children on this journey.

Then on the Carlisle to Settle leg a Jamaican lady with four young children got on, and I feared the worst. I needn't have, they were incredibly cute an well behaved even though the youngestkept running off down the carriage requiring his mother to retrieve him.

So I am now sat in the cottage having eaten at the amazing Ruchee Indian restaurant in Settle, the staff are welcoming, funny and helpful, and food is superb with more than decent size portions, this is one of the many reasons Settle is such a great place to stay. I basically ordered far too much but it was all excellent.

So there was Bhangra music playing all night , I don't know what it was but I have include "Boliyan" by The Safri Boys who I do like a lot.

Saturday 1 September 2018

I Was Going To Write A Poem Today

Of course I'm not exactly a writer, not even close but several lines came to mind and this is a snippet

Fat bloke on a mobility scooter
Wheezing as he lights a second tab
Moaning and coughing 
As he tries to hail a cab
The "Sorry Not in Services Bus" 
That almost mows you down
These are everyday things
You see when you hit the Town

I'm surprised I remembered that much, but I've written it down now, and these are the dangers of wandering around the Clayton Street / Newgate Street area on a Saturday morning.

I've been quite amazed how hot it was this afternoon almost like Summer had invaded Autumn like when Winter invaded Spring and Summer. As I say to people , Weather is Complicated.

Darkness is falling and the nights are drawing in though I'm not sure what tomorrow might bring, probably more good weather, which is always a good thing.

I'll leave you with "The Aubergine That Ate Rangoon"  from Hawkwind's "Astounding Sounds,Amazing Music" album, a bit of laid back mental music that actually fits with the #SongsYouveNeverHeard sequence.

The title is a steal from "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago" a title that I knew and thought it was a book or play, but is actually another song by Dr. West's Medicine Show and Junk Band and was actually penned by Norman Greenbaum of "Spirit In The Sky" fame. So that's a song that I have never heard and may be sharing it with you tomorrow.

Just had a quick listen on Amazon preview and it's about an Alien Invasion and fairly close to a jug band versionSheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater" so I won't be sharing it with you tomorrow.

Sleep well my friends.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

There's A Mean Eyed Cat ...

.. so Bill Haley says, but really we have a great Mean Eyed Cat in Newcastle, and I visited it today. I was not feeling physically too good but thought a walk would do me good so went along to St Thomas' St and entered.

The place improved my mood immediately, garage band and rock and roll decor with CoyoteMen memorabilia photos of Johnny Cash and a big Cramps sign over the bar with Dave Campbell playing Mein Host and we chatted on with another couple of guys while I had a Diet Coke and we talked vinyl and rock and roll and the failures of the music industry. You can see a short video I took of the place here.

We were talking about the first picture discs which both Dave and I though was Curverd Air's "Air Conditioning" which you can see here but it was predated by a German Elektra compilation called "Hallucinations Psychedelic Underground" which features The Doors, MC5 and others and you can see here. I sourced both of them from Discogs.

SoThe Detroit Cobras were on the sound syste so I'll leave you with "Cha Cha Twist", but if you want a new slightly different pub  with a great atmosphere, great people , and great music get yourself down there and enjoy it.

I will be back.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Nine 'til Five

I know that is most people's working days (well it used to be) but that was my sleep time last night. I was feeling absolutely wrecked. Just did a normal day, came home just put a Ham and Pineapple Pizza in the oven, had that about seven cos I was fasting from eight due to a hospital appointment this morning. Then at nine after two episodes of Mr Robot I was ready to drop, I haven't a clue why.

Yesterday was nice to see the snow, but it was coming down when I was in my sixth floor office so I didn't have to experience the cold , wet and slippiness and by the time I finished it was just cold and dark.

I was going to write a post last night but this isn't it , this is a different one. I also have fragments of a weird dream which involved me being in the centre of Newcastle , going down a brick walkway and being almost too fat to get out of the weirdly shapes other end, being near the Monkey Bar, watching a large aircraft taking off from Gatehead Airport carring a large anchor  to hold down large inflatables in the river Tyne. Just an average day in my head then.

This morning I got up made tea and decaf coffee only to find the milk was turning, so remade using almond milk which is acceptable. I think I am going to have to change my milk buying habits , smaller bottles in future.

Last week I listened to my two favourite Jean-Michel Jarre albums, "Equinoxe"  and "Zoolook". His dad was Maurice Jarre who did some brilliant soundtracks such as "Dr Zhivago", "Ghost" and my favourite "Lawrence of Arabia" . I found Jean-Michel's first album "Oxygene" twee and boring with a rubbish pretentious cover, my attitude has mellowed since it first came out but to me it's a first try, but "Equinoxe" was several steps up the ladder. "Zoolook" used some groundbreaking sound techniques to enhance the listening experience especially on headphones.

So I'll share Christopher Walken dancing to "Diva" from "Zoolook". Have a good Wednesday.

Friday 24 November 2017

Trains and Peel

Yesterday was spent on Trans Pennine trains to an from Leeds and while they look nice, the seats are not the most comfortable, and though they run from Liverpool to Newcastle there are only three carraiges so they do get fairly packed , though I managed to get a seat there and back so that was a plus. Coming back from Leeds, which is an awful design of a station there was meant to be an Aberdeen train on platform 9D which never appeared, must have been a ghost train.

yesterday I didn't hit my rough daily walking target but I'm still on target to hit 340K for November, though looking out of the window cars are frozen up, so although it's not raining or snowing (yet) it may be a very cold walk in to work, though I may end up taking the bus, we shall see.

Peel It
The other morning I was listing to the first Velvet Undergound album (well actually the first disc of the "Peel Slowly And See" box set , named after the peelable banana skin cover designed by Andy Warhol) . The album didn't sell that well but reputedly caused more bands to be formed than any other album. Of course now it sells by the barrowload and in varies from the siophisticated influence and drone of John Cale "Venus In Furs" , to the garage band / drug mentality of Lou Reed "Run Run Run"/ "Heroin" with the Germanic influence of Nico "Chelsea Girls" / "All Tomorrows Parties"with descents into pure noise "European Son" / "Black Angel's Death Song".

One thing really hit me is the monster drum sound on "All Tomorrows Parties" which combined with Nico's vocals and the manic piano is an awesome sounding song today. So to kick of Friday, that's the song I will leave to enjoy.

Have a good one.

Saturday 23 September 2017

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.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

I Would Drive 450 Miles

That's what I did between 10AM and 8:30 PM today, between Newcastle and a hospital in Coventry that thinks is a great idea not to put it's name on any of the signs, unless it's "Main Hospital" , "Wadsworth" (or something) when I was looking for the University Hospital. They have the name over the front entrance which is recessed between some fairly tall structures.

So I went to park and then they give you ten minutes free without the option to pay any more. For most people it's probably fifteen minutes walk to the hospital front door. I got there in five and spoke to security about it who were fine and said if I get any problems give them a ring. I was willing to pay £2.50 but didn't get the option.

Anyway I said the the journey would give me something to write about and it was going brilliantly till I pulled out of Wooley Edge and straight into a traffic jam. due to an unspecified "police incident". An hour later I had moved three miles. The electronic signs about were saying "40" , maybe that was feet per minute.

Coming out of the jam , I thought I had my directions sorted but then junctions were confusing me, they didn't match what I thought I had read so ended up going up and down the M18 . off to Sheffield and back onto the M1 resulting in maybe forty miles of detour, when I saw MY mistake , not Google Maps (which I have history of it misdirecting me), though it's funny how you annoyance disappears when you realise that it''s your fault.

Well Fiona got her chauffeured ride home, and is now asleep.

My reward is a 12 hour fast and a hospital appointment tomorrow morning , that's after taking the car back and before going into work.

Going down and back I had tp stop at several service stations to take blood sugar readings (I have to do it every two hours otherwise I'm breaking the law) and really they haven't progressed much since the sixties, the only one that has is Tebay and that's on the M6 (and they have another on the M5) not the M1, so I thought an appropriate song was Roy Harper's "Watford Gap" which he got severely sued for, but it's still funny and descriptive of most service stations today except these day's they're branded.

Sleep well my friends.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Middle Of The Night

That's when I thought I would be writing this but I actually slept all the way through (from 11 til 6). Technology has been slightly annoying with Google Fit seeming to stop recording steps , then starting up after I'd erased all the data and restoring everything including the steps that it supposedly hadn't recorded.

Today's weather really doesn't know what it's going to do , it could rain, it might not but that's the weather for you.

Newcastle is full of Rugby fans for the Dacia Magic Weekend at St. James Park, apparently annoying my friend Rachel , demanding odds on short priced accumulators.

Tonight The Late Shows are on across the region , loads of artistic events including lots of events at The Grainger Market where all the cool shops are open til 9 pm. Here's the blurb (hope the links work)

"The Late Shows – supported by Port of Tyne and Sofa Workshop – is a free late-night culture crawl in NewcastleGateshead on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May 2017. Download the programme brochure. Find out about the free bus services. During The Late Shows, museums, galleries, studio collectives and landmark historical buildings come together to offer visitors one-off events including hands-on workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, performances and parties. It's all about encouraging people to do something cultural with their evening in celebration of the national event Museums at Night."

Anyway I have things to do, it's now pouring down outside so I leave you with The Darts "It's Raining" .... those Rugby players will be getting wet.

Thursday 11 May 2017


It always makes me laugh the concept of a four letter word being offensive, The sort of people who use that term and the sort who are continually looking to be offended. "ooh he used a four letter word!! How disgusting" , well I use lots of four letter words. At this point in this post I have used about fourteen four letter words . Are you offended. It's like the Americanish of the bathroom or the rest room or if you are really daring the john, actually there's no bath in there, and you don't go in there for a rest. It's for a wee or a poo.

Ironically I suppose a thing that offends me is people finding something to be offended by without actually checking it to see if it's actually offensive. Remember Monty Python's "Life of Brian".

People get offended by women breastfeeding , and an exposed female nipple is deemed mor eoffensive that an assault rifle by some people. I saw two armed policemen at Central Station with machine guns. That offended me.

 So four letter words, what about :

  • WORK
  • LOVE
  • POLE
  • HOPE
  • NEWS
  • WHIP
  • STOP

The list could go one, but I think you get my point. If something is demonstrably bad you a free to be offended and take appropriate action, but not cos someone comes from Sunderland, wears a short skirt , feeds her baby , is a morris dancer, likes a kebab, wears a hat.... these are not reasons to take offense.

So we'll go for "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's "Life of Brian" because is cheerful , funny and will only offend those who want to be offended, so they won't be reading this..... or maybe they should be ... think how offended people could get with me.

Friday 21 April 2017

The Wildflower Hour

It sort of makes me sad when I am in and outside work, and almost everyone is carrying a branded cup or foodbag, be it Costa, Starbucks, Greggs, Pret A Manger (they seem to have lost their accents)  or any number of the brands you see on every high street and railway station. People justify it because "they know what they are getting". If you try to dissuade people from buying this homogenised sameness they will always excuse it with a variation on the above excuse.

In Newcastle, you have no excuse because there are so many independent places where you can eat, get coffee, tea or whatever and today I'm going to gush over Wildflower cafe and art space on Westgate Road.

Firstly it's ten minutes walk from St James' Park , a place awash with student accomodation and therefore students. When I was at sixth form college I would have loved a place like Wildflower, but todays students seem to need a label on everything they buy.

The food is vegan. I'm not vegan, but I like good food, and I like to have something different. Today I was in two minds, the Lentil Dahl or Spanish Tomato Soup . I went for the soup (which also had a fair amount of lentils) , with a brown spread roll and a very green mango and papaya smoothie. Until I walked in I hadn't a clue what I was going to have, but it was gorgeous.

As I sat down Wire's "Outdoor Miner" came on the sound system and Asher told me about the joint smoking proprietor of a cafe up the road having a mini rave as he waited for customers.

I was soon joined by a big party of people to come and sample the delights of the cafe in the wonderfully art decorated welcoming surroundings, so I'd just got my order in in time.

Wildflower also host lots of events and themed meals and gatherings, and I love seeing how well attended these are and love the fact that it's popularity is growing thanks to the hard work of Jessica and Asher. They even have their vegan cookery slots on Tyne and Wear TV (and the vegan custard creams are lush).

If you live in Newcastle and haven't visited this place , shame on you, because it really is wonderful. It's the sort of place the media will airbrush over because it's not a big money brands, but for me it's the perfect sort of brand because it surprises me consistently with food and events and I try to eat there once a week, and I have to be honest the exercise walking the hill probably does me good and walking back down you get great views of the Tyne Bridge and The Sage.

It's very close to the town centre and if you message them on Facebook they will tell you what's on (the menu) and are open to suggestions for food ideas. Jess and Asher are both at least ten years younger than my girls so I'm old enough to be their grandad, but home I don't act that way.

So I will leave you with Wire's "Outdoor Miner" and I have the anticipation of what new delights will be served up next week.  The weekend is her.. Enjoy

Friday 14 April 2017

On Mortality

A departed friend of mine once said we now die because something wears out, once we get that sorted we become immortal, that was decades ago. I've just started reading "The Age of Bowie" by Tony Morley after finishing "Tom Waits on Tom Waits". When I first opened the Tome Waits book , the writing was so tiny that I had difficulty reading it. I actually found a solution which was .... remove my glasses and hold the book a bit closer, then everything became crystal clear. When I opened the Bowie book the print was bigger so is easily readable using glasses or contact lenses, the books have similar numbers of pages but the Bowie book is larger format.

That got me thinking that without contact lenses and glasses my life would be far more difficult. I wouldn't be able to drive, watch TV properly or spot things from a distance. We now take these things for granted but visual aids have only really proliferated properly since the late nineteenth century.

When I was a child, people died because they died, there was the odd time there was a reason but , mostly they jsut died, the equivalent of "natural causes". Now there is always a reason. The thing is, we are still all mortal, but now have a lot more support in prolonging and enjoying life, although unfortunately the younger generations have a shorter life expectancy that older generations mainly due to junk food and sedentary lifestyles.

Today's media promotes that you child is under threat from any number of predators, when in fact that has always been the case. I taught my children to look out for themselves because I would not always be there to protect them , and also they needed their own independence. In all the time we once lost Juliet for three hours (pre mobile phone days) . it turned out she was with friends in a house across the road. We just emphasised to let us know if she was going to do that again. Another time Kirsty phone me at midnight:

"Dad can you come and get me"
"Where are you?"
"I don't know"

It turned out she had fallen asleep on the last Metro and missed her stop. Luckily she was at Manors station, not the best place to be but it was within walking distance for me (no car) and two nice guys had stayed with her til I came for her.

The thing is if you look after yourself , and keep in touch with friends and family , life can be very positive. You should always do things that you want to do , and don't procrastinate. Anyway I could go on and on, but I kept putting off writing this because I thought it would be too depressing, and I prefer positive things.

Despite all the bad things the media piles on us, we are living in great times. We have so many opportunities to enjoy life, experience things, and do things , alone and together and if you do all those things you will live long and prosper (to nick a line for Star Trek's Mr Spock I think , but am willing to be corrected).

I think in this post to have seen a little of how my mind wanders. I was going to include many more examples but I think I've have generally got some points across, and am now returning to the book that sparked this off "The Age Of Bowie" and Tony Morley keeps mentioning "Supermen" by Bowie from "The Man Who Sold The World" , although I first heard it when I bought the Glastonbury soundtrack from Palace Records and Coffee Shop next to the old Public Hall in Preston (where I saw my first live gig Uriah Heep on the "Demons and Wizards" tour) and spent many an afternoon there when I should have been in lessons. Wildflower on Westgate Road has very similar atmosphere but these students just go corporate brands. I wanted to "educate" one I heard walking through Newcastle yesterdat who proclaimed loudly:

"Newcastle has so much choice.... Jamie's Italian, TFI Fridays, Frankie and Bennies, Costa, Starbucks ...."

What an idiot. I desisted though.

Anyway my mind wandered again and I will leave you with "Supermen" by Bowie , because that is want we can all be (I am using it as a generic term).

Enjoy Good Friday Easter Bunnies.