Friday 30 November 2018

Life in the old (format) dog yet

So November has been my most bloggingest month ever, with 17 posts in 30 days. Never mind the quality, feel the width, as the saying goes. Anyway... let's see how this embeds - I've had trouble embedding Beeb content before - but this feels like it might be of interest to some, and it's a nice way to end a full month and wind down into a much quieter December...

Blue Friday - People Ain't No Good

A cover of Nick Cave by Camille O'Sullivan, as used to close the excellent but nevertheless-cancelled Jo Brand and Alan Davies comedy drama Damned.

Thursday 29 November 2018

Massive metal things on legs

Impossible to overstate the impact Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War Of The Worlds had on me in the late 70s. It put the wind right up the primary school me too. I loved Richard Burton's narration, David Essex's artilleryman, and I would come to love it even more when I discovered how faithful it was to the source book (I would also come to quite like the Cruise/Spielberg movie update for the same reason). And those "Euuulaaahs"...make me shudder a bit, even now.

Here's the track that gives this post its name, and the line that I use with my excellent mate Tim if we need to impersonate Essex for any reason (in which case all of David's other career output is forgotten).

Wednesday 28 November 2018

The Petrified World and other tales

Please forgive the cross-pollination between blogs but I've been working on this for most of the year, so I need to shout about it a bit. The Petrified World and other tales is a collection of short stories by new and emerging writers that I have been very proud to collate. Profits from the sale of the book will be donated to the charity Population Matters, and I'm quietly proud of that too.

This collection of eleven short stories takes the idea of taboos, of hidden subjects, of unspoken truths, as its loose theme. Some of the stories address potential problems for a near-future Earth, some do not, but all are linked by the idea of what is not being talked about, whether that's between families, colleagues, in the news or on a wider scale. Here's a list of the stories, with links to author websites for those that have them:

The Petrified World - Mark Kilner
Pig Hunting - Ian Nettleton
The Transistor - Andrea Holland
We Need You To Show Us What Happy Looks Like - Katy Carr
The Swimming Pool - Sandy Greenard
On The Air - Rol Hirst
Retrograde Amnesia - Simon Poore
About The Dog - Sarah Dobbs
The Crossing - Martin Pond
At Malham Cove - Ada Carter
Compensating For Einstein - Arnold Pettibone

The ebook version is available right here, as is the paperback edition. Prices are £1.99 and £3.99 respectively... so it makes a great stocking-filler.

If you want to get on board and help promote the book (it's for a good cause, after all), please use the cover image above left and these URLs: for the ebook and for the paperback - thanks.

Go on now, shop, and don't forget to read about Population Matters ... ta.

Monday 26 November 2018

Monday long song: The Fountain of Salmacis

Three of the bloggers in my blogroll posted today with the title "Monday long song" - Charity Chic, The Swede and The Robster. That's good company to be in, so here's a long song from me too - I'm going with the none-more-prog Fountain of Salmacis, from Nursery Cryme (which, with Selling England By The Pound and Foxtrot, forms the holy trinity of Genesis albums in my book). This would also fit nicely with the song-as-short-story theme that JC runs too.

I don't think I'll be doing this every week - I have my own day-based theme to maintain, after all. But just this once, here's a Monday long song, with 1972-vintage Genesis putting in a great live studio performance for Belgian TV. I'll enjoy this; your mileage may vary.

Am also kind of curious to see if a post with the phrases "genesis" and "holy trinity" brings a different kind of web traffic in...

Friday 23 November 2018

Blue Friday - All I Ask

No Black Friday here, this is Blue Friday. Today's offering is by much-missed Kiwi tunesmiths Crowded House.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Remember when you had time to waste...?

In the late 90s, I spent an indecent amount of time on Miniputt. Imagine my delight at discovering it's still there.

I spent so much time playing this game, I finally managed to get around in 18. Yes, 18 holes in 18 shots. My colleagues at the time, many of whom I had also hooked to this game, did not believe me. A special mention here to Shaun, who was my nearest rival, going around in 19.

I dare not start playing again... I certainly don't have any spare time to waste.

Maybe I'll just bookmark the page... meanwhile, here's a song about wasting time, and being content with that.

How good is that "I just had to let it go" at the end of the chorus?

Tuesday 20 November 2018


"I spend half my time daring to dream, kidding myself on. The rest of the time, I just hate myself for being naïve."

Tuesday 13 November 2018

All over the place

The other night, whilst scrolling through the higher numbered Freeview channels, I happened upon the closing minutes of Austin Powers, International Man Of Mystery. I remember going to watch that at the cinema and no-one in the audience laughing but it's not that bad, just a bit hit and miss where the hits are great and the misses aren't terrible. But one part of the film that is definitely worth a look is the closing credits, especially for the Powers-fronted band Ming Tea performing a mildly frantic 60s pastiche called BBC. I love it, not least because the smouldering Sixties siren with the cool-as Rickenbacker is none other than ex-Bangle Susanna Hoffs. Sigh. And it's a bloody great song. Here's the video, see what I mean.

The next day, I was listening to the BBC - John Humphreys on Radio 4. He described some Tories as "rebel MPs" but that just made me think of this:

So whilst I was singing along to "Elementary like A, B, C; easy as one, two, three" I couldn't help but segué (in my head, at least) into this:

From there, it was a short mental hop to older Michael's Man In The Mirror, and from there to the Lego Batman Movie. Yes, really.

As you can see, I was all over the place... which is also the title of the pre-fame, debut album from The Bangles.

And that's numberwang.

Monday 12 November 2018

Thursday 8 November 2018

Can't beat a good YouTube find

Period Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Sting, all being interviewed about Quadrophenia by (bizarrely) the singer from Darts.


So tired.

Monday 5 November 2018

He plays guitar

A lazy blog post, in lieu of a proper gig review.

I went to see Johnny Marr again last night. He was excellent, again, and makes complex and beautiful guitar playing seem effortless. There were times last night when he seemed not just contemporary but ground-breaking, ahead of the curve - no mean feat for a 55 year old. And yet he was equally at home dipping into his back catalogue: Smiths obsessives will be pleased to hear he played Bigmouth, Headmaster Ritual, Last Night I Dreamt, How Soon Is Now and There Is A Light; for fans of Electronic, he also played Get The Message and a frankly colossal version of Getting Away With It.

Also noteworthy was a brilliant use of lighting, perhaps the best I have seen in that venue.

Anyway, my perch didn't lend itself well to recording any videos - the last thing the internet needs is more poorly shot gig footage, after all. But I did manage to take some photos, some of which aren't terrible. Here they are. As ever, click to embiggen.

Johnny Marr Setlist Nick Rayns LCR, UEA, Norwich, England 2018, Call The Comet

Remember, remember...

I've been looking for an excuse to post this slice of excellence for a long time. What better reason than the fifth of November?

Friday 2 November 2018