Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Cheap Skates

Watched a bit of the BBC4's film about Windsor Castle, which gave further proof if we needed it today that one of the reasons rich people stay that way is that they'll be dammed if they spend a shilling on other people unless they have to.

Case in point for a state visit of Jacques Chirac to celebrate a 100years of the Entente Cordiale (ie Us and the French giving up on a 1000 years of war); what do Betty and the other Windsors lay on for the Prez's private mini bar, some nice decanters of booze including some dry sherry, fine but then comes the whiskey (perhaps Britain's most universally respected drink, the best most complex, most varied, most most spirit going). But what brand do Windsors knock out, a £15 quid bottle of Famous Grouse*.

I thought things had picked up when the french sommelier point to the last bottle which I thought he said was "Golden Gin" that's better, oh no he meant "Gordon's Gin". I mean even I would stretch to a bottle of Macallan if Jacques and their lass where coming round.
And don't say they are just saving our money as they had one bloke just employed to raise the flag when cheap Lizzy rolls through the gates.

Plus they only had three courses and Liz even vetoed the Mandarin oranges to go with the pud ,god she's a tight cow.

* It's Phils favourite blend apparently insert I thought he prefered Metaxa joke here. In the pic above Phil's laughing at the poor.

Bricklayers required

Happy Birthday Lego!

There's loads of stuff on the web about Lego, easily the best toy ever made. The old catalogues here are just a huge dollops of proustian rush for me. The simple beauty of the Scandinavian design is very appealing like Dick Bruna books or Arne Jakobson chairs. The fire station below was the first big set I ever got, I thought it was fantastic. Looking at it now it looks incredibly simple compared to the complex sets of today. It was however more than enough to fire my imagination which is all you ask for in a toy. Lego alphabet

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

He's in the money...

People you see on the way to work:

The City has got an even worse name recently what with global financial breakdown; hedge funds etc so you’d think the people getting of the train with me every morning would be ogres (I don’t work for a bank I must add). Sadly they look fairly normal if slightly better dressed than you average punter, lots of long black coats, the women in their trainers (ready to change at work for office shoes, this being the high water mark of equality to date, get away with not to be crippled but only to and from work). There are however still plenty of anoraks, fake fur trimmed parkas, shiny cheap suits and loud floral blouses.

Obviously the real nasty types are those swishing past in the flash cars you see in the square mile.

Having said all this it was good to see a real Plutocrat the other day, he was at the auto bank and looked exactly like monopoly man (sadly sans topper) he had full whiskers, long coat, sharp expensive looking English suit, a watch chain and to top it of a baby’s arm of a cigar. It was good to see somebody left that we can make a papier mache character of (to burn) once the revolution comes!

Other people I’ve seen.

An elderly grey haired black lady reading, old punk Henry Rollins auto biography “Get in the van”

Loads of machine gun armed Police outside the Old Bailey; nothing strange except one of them had a bike, something Bodie and Doyle wouldn’t stood for.

Still Queen of somebody's heart:
Outside the law courts (in the strand) one of the Diana trial “fans” lining up everyday with his face painted with Diana written across it. Now he’s decried as a nutter but if only the allegiances of all those taking part in trial where delineated so easily, you know “al fayed”, “queen”, “couldn’t give a stuff”...

Written on the body:
Oh and the large bloke in new glasses listening to British Sea Power loudly on the top deck, he was stuck on “6 down” and was absentmindedly drawing in blue biro on his chin because he thought his pen nib was retracted........ oh that was me.......

Monday, 28 January 2008

Street Signs

Even the Headlines are better in Yorkshire!
Ginster Number one:*

Now how could anything as wonderful as a pie be mixed up in anything nasty?

Oh yes here

ooops I meant here!

although the music and the cars are better here!

*Thanks to S for the pic and joke.

Anyone in the way get's it!

Is it me or are the popular schools going to go around in gang and pick on the weedy geeky schools like in a bad teen movie?

Sunday, 27 January 2008

And Tigger on Drums.....

Recent news:
Catching up with the papers here’s some things I liked.

Fat a manger:
Shock horror ready made sandwiches contain fat. Apparently customers at PrĂȘt and Greggs etc should have nutritional labels on their sarnies. Which is fine but surely the fact that you can’t see the contents of most shop bought sarnies because the window is smeared with excess mayo may be a good hint and as for Greggs, the bags for their steak bakes already have their own special nutritional labelling, the fact that the bag has been turned transparent by the grease may just tell you what lies in store inside.

Those Crazy Italians!

The "toing and froing "of the fashion industry doesn’t detain me much but I did read about Alessandra Facchinetti, (top name by the way) this week as it is interesting to see a women doing well in the boys club of high fashion.
Being a child however the most interesting thing about her for me was her family. Her brother with some inevitability is DJ. DJ Francesco to be precise, this being Italy sadly he’s not some Westwood copyist but a sort of X factor solo boy band singer of the sort Italy seems to have lot of.

Even better than that is Alessandra’s DAD, Roby who is in Italy’s biggest band who are called for a reason I’ve yet to find POOH! Hurrah! One of their albums seems to be called “I Pooh” double hurrah! Their website has a “pooh store” I’ll stop now. Check out this weird 60’s footage where the crowd have all turned their backs on the band.

Does anyone else know of bands that are huge abroad that we know nothing about and better still are any good?

Lastly Money
Like me you probably haven’t a clue how Northern rock got in the stuck or this French trader business. Well this article enlightened me a great deal it’s worth having a look after all our mortgages (or landlords mortgages) pensions, local councils money etc is tied to this system whether we like it or not, so having some idea how it works is worth having. One trick where John Lancaster says "option" I found it help to swap fir "putting down a deposit".

Anyway back to mad European pop, which is best this version or this?

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

"Sorry can't help you mate"

Fighting with axes like few months ago with dani and tony
Obligatory Julia Bradbury picture.

I am sadly strangely drawn to the searches that lead the lost souls of the internet to this little cluttered corner. Before now it has driven me to poetry. This random list of searches put me in mind of the schedule “NUTS TV” would really like to get away with! They are all true I’ve just taken the odd “YouTUBE” out.
(With a nod to the ever splenetic Mr C Brooker)

Thursday 24th 2008

8.30-9.00 pm: “wot the best hamster food”
(Glamour models in a giant wheel fight over carrots)

9.00-9.30pm: "leotard aerobics"
(Sponsored by Nivea)

9.30-11.00 pm: Sexy British nurses pasties
Strangely compelling 1970’s pastry based sexcom starring Cheri Blair’s Dad and that Johnnie Briggs from Corrie.

11.00- Midnight : Fighting cock chopper
(Late night fun with knives)

12.00 – 1 am: Paula Prick : homemade fun with fire
(no really this might go badly wrong)

1 am – close : Tomas g friends it good si gordon filmy Can kraftwerk Tangerine
(One of the researcher’s mates gets some black leb and some kia Ora in)

HOODED CREEP pictures sea scouts of burton-on-trent” is just a Daily Mail headline
And “youtube lyrics to if the world was made of cadburys you could surf in side a chocolate tube” is just plain weird.

OH and here’s a really great thing what does your Blog look like in German heres what mines like

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Song to the sirens

Our visit to the Cabinet War Rooms led to a strange coincidence I was listening to my mp3 Nokia on the tube when British Sea Powers new song Atom came on, it’s from their new album. It finishes with an air raid siren much as had been echoing a round the CWR. Then the next song that came on was “Indiana wants me” by R Dean Taylor that also starts with a siren hurrah!

R Dean Taylor : Indiana wants me.

Which puts me in mind of songs with sirens (and or police radio sound effects) on them.
We should be able to make a list.
There must be more than “the Frankies Two tribes” and “Summer in the city by the Loving spoonful” oh and we need a full list of versions of “Song to the Siren!”

I found this site for lots of noisy sirens.

This video is really great, this chap must win a “Danny Champion of world award” for exciting parenting

Monday, 21 January 2008

Last of the Mock him I ams....

Childish behaviour

Nice piece asking if we are all up Daniel Day–Lewis a bit too much, in the paper.
I’m afraid even though I quite like him in most of his films at Chez BLTP he’s always referred to as "Daniel Day Dickhead Lewis."

The source of which was back in the days of only 4 TV channels. ITV use to on Friday and Saturday nights have late TV (can you believe it such riches!) that was called “up all night” or something. To fill the time they would have record reviews etc. One night on the film show, the actor Vas Blackwood was on helping review films and much like us watching was either pissed or at least pissed off and every time DDL's name was mentioned would chant “Daniel Day Dickhead Lewis” repeatedly, and sadly I’m afraid me being a tad childish myself it stuck.

So bright I gotta wear shades

The future's already here:

I got a email this morning from amazon advertising a 10 mega pixel camera for only £80.
Which is great, 5 years ago we bought a 1.8 mega pixel Olympus and it cost £700 quid (the power adapter cost £50 and it took 2 hours to download the pictures using a serial cable)

10 mega pixels is better than the Hubble space telescope!

Having said that I've never taken a picture as nice as the one above.

Whilst looking up Hubble's resolution I found the answer to a jolly question.
Why not disprove all the doubters that the moon landings did happen by taking a picture on the remains of the Luna landers using Hubble or similar?
Sadly I think we'll need the £80 quid telescopes that comes along in 10 years time!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Lessons from History

In the winter gloom and bluster S and I headed to the Cabinet war rooms in Whitehall. The usual “lived in London for so long never been” excuse. I was a little put off when I got there and found it was £12 to get in. However I think it’s worth the cost as you get a 2 for 1 deal as you get to explore the tunnels and war rooms but also the interactive Churchill exhibition.

I am always wary of interactive displays (mainly because they are always broken) but this display has a good mix of hi-tec and unique objects, photos etc. One spooky system projection a very narrow band of sound down from the ceiling literally the width of your head, so you get to hear Winston’s speeches as if wearing head phones. Because the band is so narrow, you have to stand still and look at the illuminated pictures in front of you. One in particular struck me, it was of a young couple, a cheery looking soldier in a forage cap and uniform and his “girl” a young friendly lass in air raid wardens (ARP) overcoat and tin helmet. As usual you have to put aside the 1940’s hair etc to see faces like you’d see in London today, the girl looks happy but weary the lighting on her helmet with the rim catching the light makes her look as if she has a halo. Her “chap” is looking relaxed and jolly, UK battle dress always making Tommys look slightly scruffy, the short jacket looks ill fitting and draughty quite unlike the smarter or more casual German or American uniforms. The genius of this display is you have to look at the picture for the length of speech, taking time to think about these “unknown everyday heroes”.

The rest of the displays are just as good/fascinating and in the case of the voiceover free footage of Winston funeral quite moving. One last thing it’s not all hero worship there’s lots of negative stuff about Churchill to give balance and honesty to the whole affair.

The rest of the War rooms are quite evocative, the use of Foley sounds such as disappearing foot steps, air raid sirens and typewriter noises brings the place alive, the most evocative thing however is the smell of some of the rooms. They have that smell of my grandparents’ homes a mixture of dust, musty canvas and paper and as S point out old cleaning products.

I know that some people think places like the CWR glorify war, ironically I think they occasionally go too far the other way, on dwelling on “CND” side of things without reminding us of why they are important and that we live pleasant free lives today because people did brave, scary, selfless deeds in the past.

The personal nature of the world war is always brought home to me by the picture at the head of this post, a famous picture of a German bomber flying over East London in 1940.
Stan Boardman’s joke about “bombing our chippy” is sadly sometimes true, my chippy is under the “r” in “imperial”, flats like mine are here because the terraces in this picture were bombed out. Just up the road from my chippy is the Iceland in Newcross, which use to be a Woollies until one Saturday afternoon late in the war a V2 rockets hit it and killed over a 100 shoppers in a split second. Sadly there are 29,000 other stories like this in London to go with the untold sorry millions of others in Russia, Poland etc.

So if you haven’t been the Cabinet War Room is worth visiting, having said that as usual London’s history is all around us too...

Friday, 18 January 2008

Today's news

French Fancy:
The press seems to be obsessed with the whole Sarkozy/Bruni affair. Reading the long piece in the paper today a few things occurred:

Firstly its nice Carla's now a”former super” model now she’s tupping the prez not just a plain old ”former model”.

Also the whole thing seems to be a load of posh/rich slappers (male & female) sleeping with each other. It’s interesting that being rich and posh and sleeping with lots of rich/posh blokes makes you a “libertine”, I think changing you political allegiances depending on who you fancy is part of it too.

This being France it involves Bruni knocking off father and son philosophers!

“Son one day this whole dialectic will be yours and you’ll be able to pass all these paradigms on to your kids like my Dad before me and his Dad before him…..”
The whole thing sounds like the plot to a bad Eric Rohmer film.
Comedy Celeb Names:
One nice spot from the piece is my fave a notable name a certain Colombe Pringle, who writes for French Vogue, the English translation of her name would be Pigeon Pringle tee hee.
I’ve heard Ms Bruni’s songs and there not bad in that breathy French female singer way, that does reduce the critical faculties of most male English rock fans see also Françoise Hardy,Jean Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, etc.
PS.the fact that google image search produces lot's of pictures of Carla arse is probably the main reason the story rolls on.

Google Cheats:

Story to day about what the press still call sixth formers* are “cutting ‘n’ pasting” lots of their project work, some of it still with the ads and web formatting attached.

Anyone who works with students will tell you that when challenged on this the cheeky beggars come back at you with “don’t you mean COPY ‘n’ paste sir”!

Is this all any worse than the kids at school who use get their dads to do their art homework (god I hated them or the girls who use to copy soppy cartoon birthday card dogs and get good marks, I use to spend hours on my stuff … and relax I think that’s a good place to stop today’s session….)

*Here’s a copy ’n’ and paste guide to the school year group for older readers.

there are subtle ways that show the change of season, snow drops bursting from the frozen ground, the odd flake of snow and the guy emptying the snack machine swapping “Mistletoe Kisses” with “Cadbury’s mini eggs”. Soon the pubs will be dusting off their cucumbers to sell us overpriced jugs of weak Pimm’s and before you know it’ll be pumpkins at dawn and then Chr…...

Thursday, 17 January 2008

New Music Thursday

Couple of interesting new bands .

Miracle Fortress: Five Roses (Rough Trade)
I heard them first on the Radio and was so impressed I went to their site to have listen, their CD landed shortly after on my mat (sorry pile of pizza takeaway menus and unopened credit card ads).

“They” are actually “him” (mostly) Montreal based singer Graham Van Pelt. They remind me of several bands, they have the ragaish intensity of Elbow or Earlies, with lots of keyboard and electronic effects mixed with intricate guitars. They also reminded me funnily enough of recent faves Epic 45. They also have touches of Sufjan Stevens, the Delays, the flaming lips and also Baba O’reily era V’Who and perhaps even Mercury Rev. All the tracks are great but particular stand out tracks are:

“Have your seen in your dreams”, “Next Train” (which mentions a tax collector which I thought was rare in pop until I remembered the Beatles and the kink doh!)

“Maybe lately” is beach boys/Phil Spectorish, “Hold your secrets to your heart” is simply excellent but perhaps my favourite track is blasphemy which has an insanely catchy (fake) pipe organ hook (?).

I don’t usual post new bands stuff as they need you to buy their music but you can listen/download stuff here. Well worth a listen.

Subliminal Girls: “Hungry like a Wolf” 7” Single (Weekender records)

Next up are very new band the Subliminal Girls (I must declare an interest here in that I make tea in the same office kitchen as the drummer!) that aside I was taken with the AA side of their new glossy 7 inch. The A side is a cover of “Hungry like a wolf” by the Duranies, appreciation of which I think depends on you liking the original.
The AA “Self obsession is an art form” is groovesome indie tale of drunken nights out and has nice plangent quality and of cause excellent drumming.
You can hear them here.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Romping Axe Fans

Words only ever used in the papers:

Romp: Strangely when the tabloids are reporting on a “sex scandal” they often refer to the couple (or more!) as “having a Champagne fuelled all-night romp”. Romp is such strange term it always sounds a bit “Benny Hill”. I always see a footballer (his trollies around his ankles) shuffling after some giggling WAG, that or they spend the night bouncing on the beds, after all the only other use of the “romp” is in “romper suit”; something babies wear!
Also “fuelled” is strange usage it’s rare in day to day life we say “I had big night last night fuelled by London pride, ready salted McCoy’s and a cheeky Macallan at closing time”.. And as for sex being a scandal I blame the puritans,

Signalled: as “in the C of E signalled the government that it doesn’t mind the repeal of the blasphemy laws” how exactly does it “signal”, by semaphore, by very pistol, or Morse code, or maybe fan language* like in 18th century courts or maybe the Church got their mate Shelly to tell Gordon’s mate Gary that it were ok if people said god was a bit of cranky git!

“Mystery” Girl/man”: as in “Mark (posh boy looks like a lawyer) Ronson left an exclusive central London nightspot last night arm in arm with a Mystery girl”. Isn’t “mystery girl” a bit Nancy Drew, she’s not a “mystery girl” it’s just that the Metro doesn’t know who she is yet. Oh and Nightspot? Isn’t that another name for acne?

Axed: This is used instead of “cut” when describing people being laid off/sacked by companies as “EMI axe 1,000 jobs”. I know it sounds more dramatic but it’s quite subtle how the paper mix and match the words, nasty job cuts they want too vilify are “axed” were as “cut” “slash” comes out if the approve of the measure i.e. “Tories to cut benefit to benefit scroungers”

Revellers: I’ve mentioned this before but honestly when was the last time a “revel” was held in Britain 3-400 years ago! I mean Revels are rather odd sweets aren’t they. No one has ever said oh “we couldn’t get into the pub it was filled with revellers”.

*I’ve just looked up fan language and it seems designed to make the already tricky job of communicating with the object of your desire that bit harder. Also has anyone ever been to London’s most obscure museum over in lovely Greenwich?

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Lights, camera, action

Can I direct you towards my new film/making blog, I thought I'd have an entire area dedicated to my filimic blather. If you have a film to share this the place to do it. Enjoy!

Monday, 14 January 2008

It's skin is used to make guitars

Pavement Art: the lost and found gallery #2

These cards were ever present in v' old days, I seem to believe they came in box where you could dial a name and your chosen animal appears. I don't think I'll try to find a full of set of animals A-Z , X is always tricky.....

Apart from the guitar fact (see above) according to the back of the card.

Brer Armadillo : Dasypus novemcintus is...

"It is a first-rate sapper and miner, which can dig holes in the hardest ground"

"the armadillo reproduces slowly and all the young of one litter are indentical twins of the same sex."

Little Owls and Fluffy mackerel:
Update after I've had me tea!

Found a pic of the animal card files en masse.

Also found this fantastic site for the associated and even more popular recipe cards. Have browse they are excellent.

Even later update: after I chatted to my mate steve.

hurrah for the ever marvelous Miss Woo for her link to this excellent site of bleak and garish food from times past.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Cabbages and Kingly living

Robber Baronesses
Interesting article in the Observer about the Russian elite today. Apparently they are moving away from bling in fashion. It's a fairly neutral piece and like a lot fashion pieces exists in a different moral and political world to rest of us.
Apparently Russian's have "always had taste for luxury" , well apart from the ones who lived in abject poverty eating cabbage for last 1000 years that is.
We are also told of the designers who include affordable items in their shops ie. hair bands that sell for £50 in a time in country where a good wage is £7,000 a year.
The obscenity of the fashion world it would seem knows no bounds and the deluded self involved nature of the uber rich never changes. In a country where the President is worth £340 Billion, it looks like it time for another revolution only this time with some real freedom and decency.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Message from our sponsors

Everyone is always going on about American DVD box set TV series, now they are entertaining and I like some of them Sopranos, ER, and West Wing but then again Spooks and Life on Mars are good too. But when they are shown on Channel 4 they do have one problem….

Please buy stuff

listen out for Peel

Welcome back

……They bloody cut to an ad break 2 minutes into the cocking show. It is so annoying and no I’m not going to shell out on the box set (not after the leccy bill turned up today) £40 for telly programme that you watch once!

Oh and can we put a moratorium of the use of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (in all its versions) on drama show soundtracks, it’s the go to song for instant elegiac integrity but is in danger of being over used.

Friday, 11 January 2008

We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing

We (LDB) are 18,500, which is pleasingly round number!


Pavement Art: the lost and found gallery*

I’ve been doing some sorting out and found the envelope with all the stuff I’ve found in the street in it. I suppose picking up stuff makes me in the argot of my hometown a bit of “binner” but I don’t care. I know there are other places where they post this sort of thing but I’ll just add to the fray. It goes with out saying if you see anything you’ve dropped I can return it!!

The first set is my ongoing campaign to collect a full set of playing cards, below is 5 years of finds. I’m not sure if it’s just Deptford that’s cardtastic or just poorer areas in general, also why do people loose them in street not in dimly lit shady back rooms.
Anyway the only rule I have with this is, if you find more than one card you can only pick up a single one but you can choose the prettiest. Rules are important after all**.

Don't forget the joker!

*May also include stuff found on buses and trains, oh and on beaches but mainly pavements and gutters, just to be clear.

**This may change however if they were saucy cards or ones with the muppets on or something.

Unlikely but delightful names

Whats' in a name?
The world's a better place for the following names:
On the Sopranos credits the other day the wonderfully cross culturally name Omar Sharif Scroggins scrolled past

The morning after the Today programme talked to the Israeli Ambassador who appeared to be called Ron Prosser (less an international diplomat more Arkwright's arch-enemy in "Open all Hours"). He's really called Ron Prosor but you know I was hoping for some Northern bluntness/common sense in the peace process ....

Friday Lunch time stuff

Tomorrow mornings TV:

With the roll out of BBC Iplay (sky plus for the masses) should we stop having reviews of TV headed "last night's tv"? Surely "stuff your going to watch next week when it's wall to wall property shows" would be better!

I am robot:
This computer thing is getting out of hand; reading the "meatworld" version of the paper at my desk (the one made out of trees and ink). I absent mindedly reached for my mouse and spun my mouse wheel to turn the page! It took several seconds to realise what I'd done. I wondered why waste bin at home hasn't emptied, I keep right clicking and everthing.

Trains , planes, planes, planes and more planes.

The papers got a review of the new terminal at Heathrow today. The media is obsessed with air travel, over Christmas every news report was full of stories about strikes etc, the other day the Today programme had a non story about Ryan air charging their passengers for breathing or something (apparently if you don't want to wear a face mask you have to pay £9.50 to pressurize the cabin)
I've just looked up the stats for air travel and basically 228 million people passed through UK airports in 2005. Now I would need to check but lets assume that most return that means 114 million fly each year of which 38 (a third) million (I'm being generous) are from overseas that means the average Britain makes at best one flight a year.

Not leaving on a jet plane
So why if it's not daily (or even monthly) occurrence is it in the news everyday?
Why is there no coverage of rammed commuter trains?

Or the one bus an hour service to my dads village?

Or The fact that the East London line has been closed for 3 years the same month they put the fairs up by £52 a year went un-noticed?

Oh I see it's because the only people jetting off round the world more than once a year are members of media/politicians etc who don't give stuff about the lives of most people?

Thursday, 10 January 2008

The Future is here.....

Sigur Ros 1 Jonathon Ross 0
Just used BBC Iplayer for the first time and it's good, if you hurry you too can watch the excellent film about Iceland's finest (no not Kerry Katona). I saw it when it came out last year but it was worth another viewing (even if Verity Sharp pouting round the island is a bit annoying). So we can all say good bye to watching crud like JR's chatshow hurrah!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Fighting with axes like few months ago with dani and tony

Web poem number 12
Fighting with axes
like few months ago with dani and tony
the man inside listen to me carefully

Alcopops that are gluten free
the man inside listen to me carefully
amplifier pink noise
burn-in download
red adair porn

This is the new name for my unconnected random tat posts, inspired by the searches that lead to my site.
I don‘t know whats more scary that someone who will one day vote is looking for gluten free alcopops or tht thankfully in austrailia someone is looking for porn films containg famous oil well fire fighter Red Adair.

Here’s some free stuff

I liked these tunes I heard about them from How does it feel to be loved? An excellent club night if you like indie and soul (who doesn’t) it’s the only place other than my flat I’ve ever heard the Supremes followed by Canada by Low.

I also heard these songs by Dawn landes who sound great, she’s worked with Hem and the Earlies so is on the side of the angels . Let's hope the phone company ad men don't get to them too soon.

London Pics :Upper Crust fayre.
Britain’s Leading Beer Writer sent me this pic today, as he rightly points out it contains two of the best words in English language :

Gala & Pie.

He didn’t have time to check if they had any Gala Pie (how do they get the egg…) for sale as that would be a gala pie pie gala……

Things you see on public transport:
A posh city type (woman) was the first to board our carriage at Cannon st, trying to hide it from 2-3 others of us, she pressed the train door button but had a tissue over her finger so she didn’t touch the button.

A guy in his city suit stood sucking his ipod nano and then replaced it with 8 pieces of gum all at once.

A whole family mum , dad, boy (11ish) and girl (8ish) all reading books on angling or fish.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Sun, Sea and Sax

What we learnt from last night's telly

Rough guide…. To beaches.
Channel 5
:revived Holiday 83 (or whatever) sadly without Keith Mitchelmore or Anne Grieg. It’s based on the colour supplement mantra of:

I’m independent traveller
You’re a tourist
They are holiday makers

Starring Julia Bradbury and Toby Amies, they wandered off to various long haul destinations; if you want to go to a nice beach in Thailand you need to spend an extra £500 on a speed boat and find some “out of the way” “unspoilt” village, so you can pester the “real” local fisherman.

If that doesn’t appeal you can go bloody surf cocking kiting or drive a quad bike over some quiet bit of Moroccan sand. Obviously events over took the show as their jolly sketch about deep sea fishing in Kenya was spoilt a little by the outbreak of ethnic cleansing*! (They did issue a warning over the credits).

On the whole it was ok, it's a shame that with 1000's of miles of coast in the UK there wasn’t a single beach worth mentioning, not even the one on Bute where the water was so still it was like ice and the seals came out and stared at us for what seemed like hours and as the tide ebbed the lug worms squirted water out of their tubes at us and we walked back to the car for some chips and pint of Deuchars Pale ale.

One good outcome is that this should slow the hairy palmed traffic to my blog from whomever regularly types in “Julia Bradbury in stockings” into Google and ends up here. Sadly for Mr Onan of Guildford she didn’t go snorkelling in pair of sheer hold ups!

* That’s the problem with developing countries basing their economies on a fashion based obsession like travel, you are only a dodgy election away from going broke.

Sax and drums and Rock and Roll..

I was watching Pop Britannia on BBC4 over the weekend. It’s a return to form after the bobbins Rock Britannia (sorry Seven Ages of Rock) in fact it almost looks like they decided 7 ages was so rubbish they would have another go, this time with the Beatles and V’Who (oh and another go at Roxy Music).

One suspects that Van Morrison will get ignored again (see Jazz, soul Britannia and Folk Hibernia for nary a mention of sullen Morro) it’s probably why he’s so grumpy!

One thing they reminded me of was that there was a time before the Fender Stratocaster when Hot Sax ruled the world (for good or ill).

Seeing as it's bleak skint January and nothing cheers you up like a big dumb dollop of sax heavy Rythmn and Blues/ Rock n Roll , here’s two super duper stupid servings of it for you to enjoy.

The first should be familiar Red River Rocks by Johnny & the Hurricanes** , one of my recent vinyl finds.

The other is from that short lived and ill fated sub-genre “Neolithic rock music” Brontosaurus stomp by the Piltdown Men (do you see what they’ve done). Sadly mines got a plain cover! I not sure how you dance to it but one suspects Fred and Wilma would know how!

** it's like taking off tight shoes :I've just been reminded it was covered for the soundtrack of the excellent Planes, trains and Automobiles.

Brontosaurus Stomp

Red Rivers Rocks

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Transports of delight

Ticket to Ride : Music to listen to on the Bus

I’ve just finished Friday’s paper part of my post Xmas economy drive to not buy a new one until I’ve read the last. Laura Barton’s article was good this week. I’ve never fully taken to her writing it all seems a bit lifestyletastic, she once gave the astonishing insight that Van Morrison makes ideal “Sunday morning music”.

Anyway this week she wrote about music to listen to on the bus. Seeing as I’m Mr public transport, I listen to music on bus/train all the time; in fact it’s a treat to listen out loud to stuff in a car. Occasionally you do get the perfect combination of place and tune.

Here’s a few that spring to mind.

When Portishead’s Dummy album first came out, I was on a stopped train on the bridge over the Thames, just outside Victoria. It was a grey misty day and sitting in a near empty carriage with Portshead’s noir inspired paranoia slipping out was just perfect. We all fancy being a spy from time to time don’t we?
It’s hard to remember how new and strange they seemed at the time.

"Subway she is a porno"

On a similar note when Interpol first lp appeared I had to regularly change lines at Canary Wharf and I had a startling moment travelling up the vast escalator, the ‘pols never bettered NYC (New York Kiss) swirling around it was dare I say a “cathedral of sound”!

My latest was when I was up in Barnsley; I was on the bus bumping along on one of South Yorkshire’s spectacularly bad roads. The top deck was deserted except for a young lad opposite, he had a biblical shiner and had his face resting on the condensation frosted window, he was close to tears so I tried not to look. Just then Fake Empire by the National came on and for three and half minutes I was taken away; past “town’s” last pit, past curiously grand war memorials, tiny stand alone chippies, grim looking estate pubs, corner shops that are now Sainsbury locals, the insistent drumming and swelling guitars quite moving and then the bit when the chattering jittery trumpets come in, just perfect; it never seems long enough.

I took my phones out when it finished, almost as if to catch my breath. Just then two girls got on and stomped up the stairs, laughing. The first was spotty and puppyish, her friend however was so strikingly beautiful I was taken aback, they where both laughing in the way teenage girls do, slightly harder/longer than is entirely necessary. Of course the karmic balance of the universe was instantly returned as they pulled opened the window and all over the world Dockers and old Etonians blushed and covered their ears, as a stream of cursing of the foulest kind sprung forth. The target of their abuse a grinning youth left sitting on the wall next to the bus stop. They then abruptly took their seats and proceeded to get their phones out.

One thing you can say for public transport, you rarely have such intriguing involving 5 mins sat in a ford focus.

Anyone else have any good ones?

I am always slightly stifled in my public transport music reveries, by being reminded of an early Charlie Brooker Nathan Barley piece in which Nathan fantasises on the tube escalator whilst listening to his walkman. Barley imagines machine gunning half the tube whilst being fellated by a hot TV presenter, all to the tune of some hip hop. A necessary correction to the whole soundtrack to our lives thing I think.

Ps the photo at the top is negative shot I took with my phone, I'm taken with the effect.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Local Girl done good

Just Found this Blog, Local Girl, which is really good particularly as I was just talking about comics. It's an entirely drawn diary of a Local lass (Hackney) it's got a lovely style and it isn't too knowingly cute check it out.
Oh and hurah! Stuart Maconie back at a proper time of Sat pm.
Oh and this is cool too:
I think it's a postmodern mind loop invented by a demented French Semiotics lecturer it's a blog of the background paintings of Disney cartoons genius !
I'm sure you could write screeds on how they examine the "dead space in our culture" but I prefer to say blimey aren't they great paintings , check out pluto's christmas tree (didn't they do a Peel session once)

Winter Warmers

Things to spend your vouchers on:
I’m assuming people still get vouchers for Xmas, if not good old book tokens or even the one’s for WH Smith’s which seemed like all the treasure a young lad could even need “what I can buy records or a book or even some pens” maybe some Amazon Zoons (or whatever they are called).
Here’s a list of some things I heard or read etc over Christmas I kept from mentioning them earlier to avoid giving away any surprises!

Epic 45 : May your heart be the map:
is great it’s sort of electronic ambient pholk made by some old beyond their years 25 years old from rural Staffordshire. They are predictably a cottage industry, I bought it via a cheque but they do do Paypal, oh and I got some badges as well.

Barnsley’s finest 6th Album(?) is excellent, a good mix of folk with country tinges, stand out tracks are Awkward Annie, High on the hill and Streams of Nancy and I have fondness for the her cover of Village Green Preservation Society (theme tune to the inexplicably popular BBC1 “comedy” Jam and Jerusalem).

At times she is on the edge of sounding “double Yorkshire” with her flat vowels (it’s a hard concept to explain but listen to anyone from Keighley or anyone who says. “champion” or “gradely” or being called Geoffrey Arblaster, the most double Yorkshire name ever). A really good English folk record devoid of the nasally earnestness that mars a lot of the genre.

Johann Johannsson-Ibm 1401 A User’s Manual:
I was put onto this by BLBW it must be good, as he listened whilst stuck on a container ship for 6 weeks, while escaping earnest German sailors. It’s modern orchestral music I was put in mind of the work of Gavin Bryars or Eno’s early work.
It mixes acoustic and electronic music and on some tracks “found” tapes of an IBM engineer (who is definitely called Colin or Reg) explaining how to maintain some old leviathan of a computer. The music is at times ambient and minimal but has string flourishes, definitely worth checking out oh and because it’s on 4ad the cd package is very pretty too.

When it comes to comics I’ve always favoured the non super powers side of things. (It’s probably why I haven’t got into Heroes; it seems to be cheating some how).

So here’s some ideas for comic lovers. I don’t call them graphic novels for the same reason I don’t call films “recorded plays”, comics is fine and yes most of them aren’t funny but then most books aren’t particularly full of “novel” ideas either!.

Jason-I Killed Adolf Hitler
Is a strange book drawn in a distinct flat cute style it tells the tale of an assassin who is paid to use a time machine to go back in time to shoot Hitler.
It all goes wrong and messes up and he then tries to sort things out but falls in love and ends up sidetracked sitting in cafe drinking coffee oh and there’s time paradox!
It sounds painfully cute but it’s very well done and the subtle distinctive drawing and storytelling moves you along.
Go here for a preview.

Byun Byung Jun -RUN, BONG-GU, RUN!
Is another subtle tale set in modern day Korea, it uses stunning visuals; a mix of photographic sharp urban scenes and more lyrical water coloury panels with the odd “manga” style expressions thrown in for good measure .
The plot is (shown in a series of jump cuts) about a young rural women tracking down her errant husband in the big city. The whole story is told over a long chilly winter’s afternoon.
Although a universal tale there are elements which are specific to Korea this funnily enhances the book as these jarring moments add interest.
Told in the form of a short story the emotional impact of the parent split is shown in the disturbed behaviour of the a little boy and girl.
It’s left hanging but there’s a feeling that the 3 generations portrayed in the story are the same people whose past, present and future are playing out in a single place and time.
Oh you know what, just read the book you’ll see.

Plug for good shop if you are Leeds why not by your comics from OK comics in the Arcades it’s great, the chap who runs it always points me in the direction of good stuff and here’s a first for such shops he can string at least 3 civil words together oh and it doesn’t have that strange smell that Forbidden planet has!

Books without pictures! (boo!)

Mark Barrowcliffe-The Elfish Gene
Is an example of recent the trend for 80’s memoirs based around hobbies. There’s loads of music memoirs I’ve talked about Achtung schweinhund! before, its one as you may have guessed about a Dungeons and Dragons obsessive.
I’ve not finished it yet but it’s not bad, he does milk the whole I was such a geek shtick a bit much and it’s a little “wonder years” in that every chapter contains a moment where he “learns” something about himself or life.
One for anyone who’s sat in dimly lit farty room with a load of odd shaped dice.

Did I ever tell you about playing D&D for 26 hours to raise money for some disco equipment……..