Wednesday, 30 July 2008

They day before you came.....


Wake up, wake up Agnetha's coming round:

I’m not bleeding edge gizmotastic (see my super 8 films) I’m sort of an early liker late adopter i.e. I like the idea of new stuff but wait until it’s cheap and works before I buy it. So it's only now I’ve got a decent sized Mp3 player in the form of a lovely 8 GB N95 phone. Amongst its many virtues is that I now have goodish camera and Mp3 player in one, my old camera was so slow and annoying.

Anyway a few months ago in the midst of the “songs as charts” craze (do you remember those heady days) I did a couple of charts that proved popular, one of them was based around the “Day before you came” by ABBA. I did it in outlook (which I wasn’t using at the time). Anyway when I sent up my new phone it uses outlook for addresses and that. And a long story short, I unusually (for me) left my new phone next the bed (let’s be honest I was playing with it) and what happens I’m woken at 7.45 by Bjorn and Benny daily schedule. Followed by reminders at regular intervals through the day to “catch the train on time”, “to get to work by quarter after nine”, “buy Chinese” etc

I suppose I could turn it off (it repeats everyday as in the song) as it’s getting depressingly how similar some of my days are to the song’s Swedish protagonist (except I’m not reading the latest Marilyn French)!

Of course I should have done “Summer time” as diary planner not only would the “living be easy” but my Dad’s bank balance would be looking healthier!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Piers of the realm: slight return

I was going to post some Stephen Patrick to go with my Pier post but I assumed any right thinking type would have “every day is like Sunday”. So I did a search for cover versions and found that most were rotten. This chap here saved my the bother but are any of them any good?

I don’t think this is a song for Americans to sing, I don’t think even anglophiles like Chrissie Hynde full understand the horror of British Sundays before all day drinking, or have danced on towels trying to avoid getting sands in their smalls in a icy cold gritty gale. Also none of the covers have help from Stephen Street and Vini Reily.

Monday, 28 July 2008

End of the pier show?...

Obviously we love a pier round here even the one in Wigan! So the one at Weston burning down is obviously bad news and I hope no one has been hurt.

But kudos to a Mr Roger Fry on the BBC website for getting a top slightly shabby seafood hut in his shot of the inferno. “Coastalgia” and high drama in the same frame good work fella!
It’s a shame Turner passed away before the heyday of seaside piers he could have captured some excellent portrayals of the seemingly endless parade of pier fires!
Pop quiz:
Which is the only English pier never to burn down?
Answer here.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The buffet is now closed....

The brakes go on and the air con slows
I’m regretting choosing this side of the train
Praying for that tiny cloud to block the sun
Running for the train didn’t help
“Barcelona right, Barcelona right it’s not bad for clubs and nightlife and that”
is the hot topic from the hen party behind
“But it were rubbish for shopping” they peck on,
the cloud is creeping towards the sun
the brakes are still on.
The hens are now scratching over the number slices in a loaf, their hangovers and how to fill a new fridge freezer
Come on cloud, just a few more yards
I shake a few drops of warm water from my bottle.
Out the window, on the lip of the cutting are banners for lidl and gala bingo
along the line the flags turn to barbed wired and rotating spikes
a bit harsh for an Argos and then the cloud blocks the sun
and I see Peterborough nick, the roof vents are open but the windows are closed
heat devils are rising off the tiles.
The suns back, out from behind the cloud
“maybe we’ll try spa break next year”
There’s a judder and we move into the station.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Credit Crunch?

Do you want a piece of me?

You meet all sorts in Deptford (violent dwarves anyone) just now coming from the station there seemed to more than the usual, for want of a better word “beggars”. From the ticket scalpers at the station to a heavily sweating chap on the cadge. Next just over the bridge I’m brought up short by one of the weirdest request yet, “do you want some cheese?” said a wild looking old guy and there in a bulging blue shopping bag; blocks and blocks of the milky mild stuff. Sadly I’d just bought my necessities, so mumbling my apologises, I hurried on.

But a few steps from my door a young women crosses the street and just plain asked “to borra a few quid” which seemed expansive not “a quid” but “a few” (I don’t think anything else was on offer) I just shook my head and she wandered off.

Thinking I’d escaped all these demands I got to our blocks door when out bursts a pizza delivery guy and through his helmet asks ” you don’t want to buy a pizza mate? ”!

Every one must be skint, well I say everyone, they were covering the Cartier polo from Windsor on the news and t’old Betty is showing off her silver at the palace “it takes 3 weeks to clean…” doncha know.

Anyway all these mixed demands lead me to one song. It always makes me smile as the title “Choosey beggar” always sounds like summat my Granddad might say “god lad you’re a choosey beggar, pick one quick or you’ll have nowt…”

Oh, and the water bill was on the mat when I got in………
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
"Choosey Beggar"

That's not My Name

Names Games:
There’s a story about Kiwi girl getting the court to officially change her name from
“Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii” to something less extreme. I can see why it just rotten I mean rhyming “Talula” with “Hula” is good but “Hawaii” stinks the place out
“Talula Does The Hula with a ruler” is good
“Talula Does The Hula From mawoolah! Is topper.

No the problem with this name is it’s willful, you just know her parents are public nuisances. The great names I go on about round here clearly happen by chance normally because of a mixed background or a portmanteau christening collisions. We had a girl at school called Anastasia Micklethwaite (she played the Cor Anglais) which although a tad pretentious at least had some rhythmic tension.

Sadly my names a bit ordinary, I don’t have middle name, this use to bother me a bit , so much that I tried Nigel for size for a bit (yeah I know me neither it was around the time I read ladybird book on Custom officers and decided I wanted to be one of those too ! I didn’t realize it didn’t involve riding about at night on a horse firing muskets, thankfully my next read was Warwick the Kingmaker and so began my lifelong mission to get my hands on the levers of power)

Anyway where was I , oh yes, names the best I come across lately is someone called “Dimples” and someone else called “Sunshine” so let's see ruler , nuala, hoopla, school ya, I'll work on it.

Umm the future umhhm change unmm er er

How come if Barack Obama has been hailed as a “great communicator”
I can’t remember a single thing he’s said?
Oh I see that’s the point..

Sad News

Nick Sanderson 1961-2008

I saw this the other day which was a shame. Nick Sanderson was the drummer and singer in a number of bands including The Gun Club, JAMC, World of Twist and latterly Earl Brutus.

Of all the people I know I think I’m alone in liking EB.They appeared just before Britpop and had art school meets glam appeal not dissimilar to The Auteurs. I have always liked this song (“sho me your mind”) particular this live NME version with it’s advice against carbon monoxide poisoning!

I fear the world is a little worse place for the lack of art pop train driving types like Nick and his band who he wanted to be like “a pub that's quite a rough sort of place, but with a nice carvery on Sunday lunchtimes".
They were never that big like many of us they were too clever for their own good, in a world of moon in June oasis songs the hordes didn’t want anything with a hint of grit or sharpness about it.

I saw NS once at the ICA he was at the bar buying a big round which always bodes well for anyone’s character.

My condolences to Nicks family and friends at this sad time.

I’ve posted world twist baggytastic version of She’s Rainbow so get your Bez face on and do that shuffle dance and make sure your gas fires off before you retire.

Ps. couldn’t find a decent picture of EB so included a nice pic of a Deltic instead, hopefully Nick would approve.
UPDATE: Dave 23 at "at the back and to the left" has posted alonger Obit and the vid to SMYM check it out there's lots of old tunes on his site too hurrah!

Earl Brutus "Show Me Your Mind (Live version)"

World of Twist "she's a rainbow"

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

latitude extra

As pointed out by my friend Steve during Grinder Man's excellent full on performance at Latitude at the weekend the Badseeds really need to watch out for Naim lobbing them in for the halfway line.

Woodland fun



Festivals: where else can you sit in a cloud of reefer smoke, deafened by loud music, surrounded by people in garish clothing at 8 in morning? Well Deptford train station as it turned out. In the midst of London’s most chilled plasterers, randomly listening to music on their speaker phones , clad to a man in hi vis vest, was me lumbering up the stairs with my rucksack, off to the estuary to wait for a lift, while an old gaffer did slight of hand tricks with coins. My friends arrived before he could explain how he lost his eye!

You see festivals are another world after all, in this case "Latitude "which is in Suffolk (which after 20 years in the south I now know is the one near Essex and not the one, Sussex where Brighton is).

Latitude is near Southwold and the sea of which we got glimpses on the way down. We stopped on the way at the world’s nicest Budgens having already seen an airship there was the chance we were going back in time. Thankfully Latitude is very now.
It is meant to be the most middle class of festivals but as I’ve said before listening to rock music in fields is by definition a middle class pursuit (for good or ill and I haven’t got time for a long piece on Britain’s relationship with Arcadia…). I think this (pejorative) tag comes largely because it’s near Southwold and that it’s not just drunk teenagers who go to it.
It seemed a relatively normal festival; you had to hike across fields with your kit, put up your tent up in the rain, queue to get in, pay too much for beer etc. Some of the food was organic (the only noticeable difference with organic chips is that you get less of them), but you can still get donuts and pies, so some things don’t change.

One noticeable thing about Latitude is that a range of ages attend, families with toddlers but also older people with their kids and on their own, which is all to the good.
In fact down the front at Sigur Ros was like night school for 16 years olds with us explaining who The Ros were to some worried girls (they didn’t want to get moshed again) while another older guy was showing a yoof how to use his Hubble telescope of a camera!

Anyway the compactness of the site was great, making nipping round easy and also bumping into your mates more likely. The sylvan setting is nice particularly at night when you can see glimpses of “happenings” beneath the branches.

We had a great time, we got sunburnt and frozen, had a laugh, had a cry, occasionally had a nap, some people danced until dawn, others nattered on about obscure novels and the pipkins. The House of Love took us back in time, grinder man got medieval with our ass, there were loads of new bands who may be the future and some that might not see out the summer. And by Saturday evening it was just like every other festival lots of people having a good time in relaxed if slightly fuzzy way.
Oh and the toilets weren’t bad either.

for more pictures go here

sepia sunset

High Lights:
Sigur Ros:
The papers reviewer must have missed the ending and is in Icelandic cliché mode describing them as “glacial” and “downbeat” that for a band who had finale involving a marching band of dressed as Droogs, 5 madly dressed string player mashing on drums, a leader singer (Jonsi) dressed like Captain Mark Philps meets a turkey in a storm of exploding confetti, all to a sound track of feedback, mad drums and toy pianos.

Grinder man: top marks to the wildest of Nick Cave’ wildman Warren Ellis, few people can hit cymbals with maracas with such menace.

Elbow: Humanly brilliant as ever; as predicted “one day like this” is the feel good hit of the summer
The House of Love: a poem to beautifully lost chances
The Breeders: Cheery low-fi and endearing ramshackled fun.
Simon Armitage: funny and engaging and he finished with my poem of the year.
Milton Jones: Just plain funny
Interpol's NYC in the rain
Bunkhouse boys: surf twanging suited and booted music.
Great wooded location: do you hear rustling in the hedgerow
Nice seated area: where you can hang around late at night having a pint, putting the world to rights
Absolut Raspberri vodka: it grows on you and then warms your cockles.

The random rain showers.
Julian Cope’s rotten self deluded show:
30 mins. late and then he only did 2 songs and spent the rest of the time ranting about paganism wearing a Nazi-looking cap
A lack of brown sauce at the breakfast stall
People with cameras waving them in front of you when you trying to watch bands

Having to go back to work

Monday, 14 July 2008

The best gig ever.

blue nile

The Blue Nile
July 13th
Somerset house

One of the purposes of art is the revelation of the sublime, it’s everywhere in the way that Aretha passes the note and hits another, its being with Otis at 4.30 in the morning, it’s in the light of a Cezanne. But I am a northern soul in part and as much as I love the lime in a mohjto, the spark in the eye of a Goya or the warmth of the sea off Valencia my heart cleaves at times to a different light.

It’s a salt bleached road, the rasp of sandstone on your fingers, in the flat vowels of Hughes and Auden, in Hooky’s low bass, it’s in that moment as your lungs flatten out on the top of a hill in the heat of summer and the smell of grass washes over you, it’s the bang of a saloon bar door and the blue light of a minster’s rose window, the surge of taxi, the laughter of my nephews and nieces, the gentle breath of an intimate on your ear, their hand on your chest, it’s in Blake and Keats it’s the everyday come alive and dissolved into air like, like, like….

The first line of Easter Parade by the Blue Nile
“The line of traffic comes to a stand still”
It may sound banal in Arial 12 point but with the music and Paul Buchanan’s voice no traffic jam ever sounded so good as this one and this is just one verse of their 50 or so songs.

Last night at Somerset House was as near as perfect gig as I’ve ever seen, no second was wasted and in fact they sped by so fast it was heartbreaking.
Why a band so good and so seemingly so at ease on stage don’t play more often is perplexing? However although The Blue Nile’s tardiness is legion I’m not sure I would change it, as it would like having a fast growing oak or drinking day old Port something essential would be lost.

The Blue Nile are great for all of the above and much more, for their human failings and their ability to over come them.

I’ve been to many gigs and few were better than last night there maybe no future in Britain’s dreaming but while me may let’s just turn over one more time and dream a while longer.

Established 2006...

Old as the hills:
As I get to be an old git I'm often pulled up short by the those tag lines on plumber's vans and carpet shops that say established 1988 or similar and laugh and think that's not long, forgeting it's really 20 years.
Also "15 years of excellence" make me smile what you've only been cutting hair since 1993!

So it's good to see some organisations have a bit of "previous", I happened across the Westminster Abbey website their tag line "1065 to today". It just shows you how old some things are round here.

And before you ask I've got over 35 years experience of talking cock.....

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Putney swope

The wonders of you tube I have no idea what this from/about you need to wait till the girls stop jumping for the weirdness to really to start it's some kind of musical about the horrors of ad agencies.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Jump over the Berlin Wall

I spy a Trabi

It’s all coming together like a Len Deighton plot…..

First in the lengthening shadows on Saturday night there was a bright blue Trabi at the end of the street, ticking it’s self cool. Then came the NHS glasses and of course Harry Palmer, then what happens over at Planet Mondo and Roman Empress they’ve made their own Noir Cold War thriller Progblog.

The tunes are great, suitably cold war and bleak. Anyway what with the Trabi’s and tunes I thought I’d add to the air paranoia.

So here’s some tunes from the suitably mysterious Heist. An artpop combo from here (London) there (France) and everywhere (the rest of Europe).

I’m not sure what first attracted me could it be the Trabi thing, or the fact their label is called “super8 recordings” or the fact that band shot was taken 5 mins. from where I was living at the time or just the whole zithertastic Spy theme vibe.

Anyway enjoy and yes that guy is following you and control wants to see you St James park usual bench…..

Also there’s some excellent Raymond Hawkey Penguin cover designs; let’s all use Len Deighton’s CV for our next job interview!

Len's Cv should enlarge when you click on it.

Better bigger pics here

Friday Night at the Trabi Races by Heist

Cold War by Heist

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

London's Brilliant Parade pt 346

Things you see when you are out

Last few days I’ve seen some wonderful sites .I’m never sure if some they are “knowing” looks or not, in the end I don’t think it matters so here goes:

Helup, Helup it’s the 80’s
Firstly I saw a guy doing Rubik’s cube on the train, he was sat just down from a woman wearing a satin blouson tour jacket for the musical “Chess”. On the train back from town another chap clumps on board wearing a skimpy vest (initially I put “skimpy vet”) and shorts complete with old style side by side roller skates, the head phones added to the whole “wired for sound vibe”. It was all like being in bad Pepsi commercial.

Just now I saw a young woman who had obviously just fallen off Andrew McCarthy’s motorbike in “Mannequin”, she was replete in a bolero jacket, parrot head haircut, a ra ra skirt and big old heels, I half expected to be run over by ZZ Top’s hot rod.

Even older Skool: Helup, Helup it’s the 1950’s
James Robison Justice look a like complete with waist coat with watch chain, wearing a straight forward no nonsense Bowler and carrying a briefcase. I had to check he wasn’t giving out bottles of juice or something, I think he was the real deal.

At lunch just now there was a similarly dressed chap except he had on Alan Whicker sun glasses and had forgotten his bowler and instead had opted for a knotted hanky!

Monday, 7 July 2008

We Luv Glasses

Hail Hail National Health Specs!!

Windows on a Brave New World:

There’s been a lot of splother about the NHS lately and seeing as this little bit of the interweb is meant to be about the wonderful side of life I thought I’d say my bit.
As a gebs wearer myself being able to see “proper” is very dear to me.

Older members of my family tell tales of getting there first set of NHS bins in the late 40’s and having a whole new world open up to them, trees had leaves, clouds had shapes, they could see the numbers on buses and they could actually see something at the pictures, how cool is that?

They may not be a sexy as Sputnik or Che Guevara but a damn sight more revolutionary ...

And geeks be damned how cool are that lot above!
So hurrah for such far sighted idea!
Long live specs for everyone!
Long the NHS!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

July Already


It's warm on and off , you can buy English strawberries , there's thunder about....... and yes I know summer tunes are cliched but I found this version of a classic on a tape the other day.
It's great because it's great also because it was written by a bunch of pale herbets who had probably never been on an holiday that ever included "long legged lovelies all covered in sand!" It's an intoxicating cocktail with an added twist of Peel at the end.

Here comes the summer By the Undertones (Peel sessions)

Who ,What, Where?

What we learnt from last night's telly?
Dr Who ended with a big mad finale the only complaint I have was an outbreak of nonsense names. You might have heard of the game for naming spy novels take a mythological name and it to abstract noun e.g. "The Chimera paradox", "The medusa quarrel", "The Persephone Countdown" well DW did have a lot of this last night the "Osterharg key" (or summat) the “two-way biological metacrisis” (I had one of these in bar in Limehouse once, a few stiff gins and some cream from Boots and I was fine) the “reality nexus” it got a tad silly.

This aside it was enjoyable if barking and I like the way the modern series deals a lot in time travel the older series didn’t seem to bother much with all this.
One last nice touch was that we didn’t see Davros die as unlike the Cybermen, the Master or even the Daleks, there is only one Davros he’s the same wheel barrow full of mad scheming latex in every encounter.

Warning : Whatever you do don’t watch the choir programme that was on after Dr Who it’s 1,000 % sentimental crud.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

With a rum and banana foam....

What we learnt from last night’s telly?

TV Food Programme’s Obesity Time Bomb:
Not the cream and the butter they use but the expanding waste line of their running time. Time was when cooking was a 10 min slot on Swap Shop or the local news programme (anyone remember Khalid Aziz on Look North?), you know Delia would make something grim with cheese and tomato while we all switched to see what was on Tiswas.

For along while the standard was half an hour, but now they have bloatedly risen to an hour like a cheap pappy bagel tasteless and hollow in the middle... you will say when you want me to stop the food metaphors won’t you). So we get two lots of celebs on Masterchef and a whole hour of the nutty Marco Pierre White talking to donkeys and worshipping rhubarb. It would be ok if this didn’t mean that they spend half the show telling what has happened or is going to happen and also having too bulk out the whole thing with strangely horrific close ups of Greg ”boudafull plate of food” Wallace eating puddings!

Who the Hywell is he?
Master Chef was pushing the celeb angle to its limit last night as a part from Claire Grogan who is a goddess not a mere celeb, Andy Peters “from Blue Peter” was the only one I readily recognized. Paul McGann was on but fell at the first hurdle; maybe he should have got some help from his French half brother... Renault McGann!

Thank you very much ladies and gentleman I’m here all week, be nice to your waitresses....

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Two Lumps and a sponge finger

Minor cultural differences of the day:

The team that runs our serviced of offices are friendly and efficient (even if they do have the world’s tinniest sweets on reception!).
Recently the head of the team a French woman moved on to a new office to be replaced by an English chap. The only discernable difference so far is that the tea in the drinks point has got loads better!

It’s remarkable how good a decent mug of tea can make you feel better it’s more vital than decent coffee.

It’s not just me who thinks this the Big Brother of all bloggers, witterers, ranters and cultural commentators George “don’t call me Blair” Orwell also agrees and of course says it 1000 time better, clearer and funnier than I can, but then again he’s Genius and I’m not .

These are a crafty idea get a international standard brew with Pantone matching mugs