Sunday, 30 November 2008

Minature Shaggy Dog story of the weekend

Originally uploaded by kymagirl
Billy Connolly was doing one of his "world tours" last night and had this good gag.

Bonnie Prince Charlie: the only king named after 3 sheepdogs

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Record of The Week

3rd Floor Electricals, records and single entendtres go up!

Just been down the market, this is the one that got a way! I got some good stuff mind but I promised myself to keep the tat count down to a minimum.

Record of The Week
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Friday, 28 November 2008

Today's news

The things we have in common.
Listening to the news this morning there were some interviews with commuters in Mumbai ,the striking thing about them was their similarity to those we heard from Londoners in the wake of the 7th July bombings.

The interviews were filled with a mixture of defiance, resilience and humour but also we heard from people who were obviously scared and some who seemed very reluctant to be out and about but had to pay the bills.

I shouldn’t have been surprised as one of the things we all forget especially terrorists and other men of violence is that the things we all have in common far outweigh any of our perceived differences be they political, religious or ethnic divides.

The concerns, goals and beliefs of people everywhere are remarkably similar. It’s one of my hopes that these commonalities will eventually help us see off nihilistic and brutal acts like those in Mumbai,
but some days you do wonder.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Nice sleeve shame about the song.

I'm not sure if Thor Heyerdahl
who was one these names of my childhood along with Jacque Cousteau and Doug Scott knew what he was doing when he unleashed the name kontiki it's everywhere.So I'm happy to bring this choice example of what only I'm calling the "wild pop from the Costas" I'm strangely drawn to these records safe in knowledge that most of their tunes are rotten, it's just that the sleeves look so optimistic. I know that Spanish tourism sank into egg & chips and cheap lager clichés but there was a naive charm to the early developments which probably weren't that bad in that they had nice beaches, warm sea and friendly Spanish people staffing them. For people reared on wet weekends in Morecambe, potatoes omelettes and weird ham washed down with local cava must have a refreshing change even if the band in the bar were a bit pony. Sadly none of the tunes are worth sharing.

Scans from seven inch singles of Kontiki Hotel Majorca house band'

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Comet bunch of knobs update

We love electricals it's our customers we can't stand

So the stove just arrived: the Comet delivery guy rang at 8.30 saying he'd be 40 mins. So I've waited in for 6 hours.

When laughing boy from Comet finally wanders up he's on the phone and I have to stand holding the flat door open while he lies to his next customer he doesn't even acknowledge I'm there for a couple of minutes, he eventually hangs up, lies to me and then he and his mate swop the new for old cooker all of 3 minutes work. Comet then are crap.

So it's hardly worth bothering with my day off, it's now getting dark, the papers out of date, the markets packed up, and the bakers will be out of bread.

UPDATE: About half an hour ago Comet rang up to check on their service needless to say I didn't give them a glowing report, mainly the inability to say when they were turning when they knew from 9 this morning ther was no way they'd be with me in the morning.

With shops closing left right and centre keeping yopur customers happy must be the way forward.

Things to do while you wait for the man with your new stove to arrive

  1. Become a rubbish wildlife photographer, honestly the finches on the tree outside my flat we great but my pictures are rubbish the only one that's any good every single one of the birds is facing the other way!
  2. Have a little nap.
  3. Get excited about an Amazon parcel arriving it's some *whispers* Christmas tunes
  4. Make a complicated sandwich in this case Hot bacon , thinly sliced cabbage, dill pickle with a splash of mustard in flat bread, with some hula hoops (plain of course) an orange, and 3 coxes, washed down as I'm on my day off a glass of beer(sadly only Kroneburg)
  5. Clean the space where the cooker is going, don't know why as it will be filled with cooker again soon (well let's hope the guy is already 4 hours late)
  6. Put off reading the paper on line because you were going to go out to the market and get a real paper and some bits.
  7. Not start on your Christmas cards as the moment you do the stove will arrive see also have a bath , prune mint and rosemary bushes.
  8. Spend too long trying to get a £2.30 usb Bluetooth dongle to work with your stereo maybe you should have specced the built in one after all but it was £40.
  9. Try not to curse the cut in Vat which would have paid for the Bluetooth module on your new laptop!
  10. Try to not to get too Christmassy listening to your new cd.
  11. Wonder if today is the day the really good films are on in the afternoon unlike the days when you are at work and they show "Brief encounter", "the third man" and "the Colditz story" before Countdown but you're not putting the TV on otherwise you'll watch docs about Hitler, auction programmes and old episodes of ER's all day.

    4 and half hours the beggars have not still turned up.............

Sunday, 23 November 2008

May I reccommend

Gears & Louthing In the East of England
Can I point to the blogger formely know as "EX-CovBlogger" who's back in saddle in several ways and is trying to cycle round the North Sea amongst other things. KF takes excellent pictures and knows where the best cafes are so for a less urban take on things have look here at On Me Bike.

Give my Love to Erith

Here' s today's new film!

Having a computer that can edit video without crashing means I can whiz through my backlog like a dream plus its dark outside all the time...

So here's some film of Erith its a contemplative piece of some of the rough and ready sights around the marshes there. The music by the excellent "Epic 45" off shoot "July Skies". The film quality is better than my sloe one I think YouTube squeeze your films so the longer the film the more detail they lose.

Like the Sixties didn’t happen...

When did Britain stop being Grey (or if you will gray)?

I only ask as the first sentence of last night "kings of glam" doc on BBC2 last night was along the lines of "In the early 70's Britain was a gray dull country but that was all about to change".

Now did I miss another meeting as I thought the sixties had banished greyness from these shores at least that's what the same programme makers we telling us well last week! I'm afraid it did encourage me to watch more.

Looking out the window this morning you hard pressed to imagine that Britain was ever colourful but that's a different story.

ps. my fab new laptop has the new version of Ms Office Word on it and I blogged this straight to blogger and it's worked with no problem isn't technology sometimes marvellous...

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Modern Conundrums Vol 12

Modern Conundrums Vol 12
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Why do you need to get into tin of beans faster than a tin of custard?

And yes I eat tinned custard, I had it with some plums cooking in sloe gin, I know, I know it shows some moral faliure in me not making it from scratch but it tastes nicerer out of a tin.It is Ambrosia after all....... the food of the gods.

Sloe daze

Here's my latest film from the warmer sunnier days of late Autumn. I may try a different video streaming channel the quality on Youtube is rubbish my pinsharp shots full of wood grain and grass stems just end up as blocky pixels, anyone have any suggestions it looks great on my lap top.

Just Like Christmas?

Koko Camden
19th Nov 2008

To Koko with PB to see Low . Now I am wary of this but it was labelled “Christmas Concert”, I’m only wary as I like to keep discussion of Yule to December but I imagine that they wanted to be home for Xmas and so toured the UK now.

We got there at the start of the support who were called Ida and who both agreed where strange support as they were very similar to Low almost like a cover band. They had guitarist, a fiddle player and a harmoniumist and singer. They played very pretty precise folky acoustic numbers very similar to a none electric low songs. They weren’t too bad and the crowd listened intently I just think some variety was needed. One of the reason they were supporting it turns out is that they formed part of Low later in evening.

After a short break Low came on much like Granddaddy without us noticing.
As an intro Alan Sparhawk started to dedicate the gig to john Peel and the Obamas but got interrupted by a loud mouth in crowd. That being said Sparhawk has the slowest discourse in the history rock whole seconds go by between words giving pointers to their slow contemplative style.

Big mouth Strikes again
The first 40 minutes of the gig was recent material played as a 3 piece guitar, bass and drum and cymbal. Which was excellent with good range of songs from across their lps. Then Ida and another drummer joined them for the trance like Shots and Ladders followed by the Christmas portion of gig to great effect. I’ll even allow them their reggae tinged up beat number (as it’s that time of year) they did a new song called Come Santa which was marvellously mad (and almost metal) in that they made Santa coming seem like threat. After this another loud mouth in the crowd shout out his complaint that Low weren’t the low he knew which was strange as the gig was much like every other I’ve seen and that it did say Christmas show on the ticket any way he was well put down by the band. Anyway they continued with the Christmas songs including Just like Christmas their stone cold classic.

As to why Low work is the way that Sparhawk's and Mimi Parker's voices harmonise and meld to form a continuum, it has a slight stark hymnal quality (which isn’t surprising) and which really like the sparse and the dynamics of the songs bring them alive thus saving them from falling into shoegazing introspection.

Highlight for me: was Canada, Shots and Ladders and One perfect Gift.

Anyway especially after Lambchop the other week Low where excellent it might not have been just like Christmas but it was certainly a good advert for advent.
I wrote a bit about miserable Camden pubs but PB beat me to it!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

an exciting new arrival!!!!

BLTP is happy to announce ......
My new laptop arrived yesterday Hurrah! It’s all slightly annoying because my old Pc was perfectly useable except because I’m a sloughful klutz and an idiot I managed to break the screen, twice. The second time it wasn’t worth paying to have it mended so I had to get a new one.

My new one is really good and nice and shiny and it turned up when they said it would and it works well and the screens hasn’t got any greasy thumb marks on it and the hard drives not full of pictures and tunes and so it runs really quickly and I made a little film on it last night while watching Newsnight and it didn’t crash half way through, so I’m really happy.

Of course because it’s a nice silver Dell and not Apple Mackintosh my film will be less creative than it could be, the pictures stored on it will automatically be slightly out of focus and badly framed my emails that bit less witty, my hair less shiny, and my teeth that bit less pearly white. Because I use a pc I will just be a worse person morally supine and basically very unattractive. But do you know what I can live with that I would rather be snuggled down with a Dell, HP with my printer, my tunes streaming a long in my Motorola, than deluding myself ...... Oh, I don’t want to Nokia Apple but what’s the big deal with the dirty Mac brigade its all iiiii with them; computers are in reality just elaborate electric pencils after all.

Anyway I’m off to edit some more film from the last sunny day of the year, when we picked apples and drank beer in the warm autumn light, if you see it you can try to spot which of my friends use Macs and which use pc’s and while your doing that I hope you notice that once again that advertisers have divided us all up into little beautifully designed boxes.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Things we learned this weekend although I’m not sure how much use they are or how deeply they will sink in.

To Hyde Park and Saatchi Gallery and that there Kings road with E.R.R.S in the gloom and icy winds.

Learning point: Hyde Park was full of Alsatians, a Ferris wheel and roller bladders. Also that the best suggestion for my costume for my works “1970’s fancy dress” lower circle of hell (sorry Christmas Party) was to go as Shirley Crabtree sorry Big Daddy. As you can imagine although this might be a wheeze I fear the horror of me in leotard matched with incomprehension on the faces of the 23 years dressed in flares and porn wigs might make it pointless. My earlier suggestions of true seventies characters to go as, didn’t go down well: so scratch a skinhead, a trade union convener, and a member of the Red Army Faction. I fear I main have some Un-anesthetised root canal work booked on the night in question.

Knightsbridge: was Knightsbridge, lots of people trudging along to buy some thing to get a bag at Harrods. Loads of shops whose names I only ever see on bottles of scent. I couldn’t tell if trade was good as these shops are fairly empty at the best of times. Anyway not having 1,657 quid for jacket we chugged down to Sloan square and into the Saatchi gallery.

Learning point: I don’t have the Armani Code but I think you have to dial 9 for outside line and M for murder.

I have to admit I didn’t know it was such a big affair, I never managed to go to either of his previous gaffs , so this huge old Georgian barracks off kings road is impressive if very brightly lit.

At the moment it’s full of Art from China which I have to admit was a bit patchy and uninvolving apart from the odd painting and a installation in basement. This installation had lifelike dummies of aged world leaders and religious types in electric wheelchairs randomly moving around stopping robotically when they crashed into each other. It was engaging, in a sort of "we are all the same under the skin death comes to us all how the mighty are brought low sort of way".

The rest of the gallery wasn't that vital but it was all free, seems to be well run, so good luck to him.
Learning points: You can take pictures in Saatchi gallery, the British Museum but not the VA.

After seeing some the best Xmas lights (more of which in 14 days time!) and a bit of bus spotting we retired to the bar of the Royal Court Theatre, which is nice apart from some shrieking student thesps who seemed to be having the first drink ever and also they were out of Dabs, cheese, sausage well most things, but we did have nice time : congrats to E & R by the way.

After that we retired (further) to The Antelope which for this horribly Yahry area of town wasn’t too bad with Tasty Fullers on tap.
Learning point: I have some very nice friends Hurrah!

Other things I’ve learnt.

I Heard Enya on the Radio and she seemed not at all away fairies, seemed quiets normal if a bit arty, she even did a song that didn’t seem too bad.

This is the oldest news going but I was sorting out my cd’s and collected up all the free DVD they give you with paper and because it was raining watched the film of Buena Vista social club. Now I haven’t knowingly heard the lp always the way through but the film was really good it’s by Wim Wenders and was nicely shot.

The main singers and players are really serene and accepting ......anyway you’ve all seen it probably but I was really enthralled.

Because they introduced themselves and gave there age before their interviews, my term of Spanish came in handy “mi nombre Ibrahim….
Oh Learning point: all the BVSC’s songs are pure filth! They all seemed to be about the effect Maria’s arse has on you when you are on the beach which is as it should be.... oh and they all seems to have lived to be 90 whilst smoking cigars like a babies legs and 2 of them didn’t know who President Kennedy was.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Can you judge people by the company they keep?

Freud and theory of your public self*:

In G2 today they have ridiculously long article about Elisabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud, not sure why, I think the media is more impressed by high flying media people than the rest of us.

It’s a bit of a long piece so I couldn’t be arsed reading it, I mean what with the cartoons, the ingredient list on a packet of viscounts and TFL’s refund policy to read my times full, but from the pictures it must be a stitch up as they show Freud hobnobbing with some the slimiest wretches going (his sister, Kevin Spacey and George Martin excepted) I mean once you’ve shaken hands with Mandleson, Piers “ Toad of Toad hall” Morgan** and Angus Deayton how many fingers would you have left and that’s before you share a Christmas morning breakfast table with Rupert Murdoch.

Obviously maybe Freud turns Pier Morgan’s stomach that being the case can you imagine how grim he must be, it would like being a piece of discarded day old kebab meat that even the gulls won’t fight over.

* I included the picture of the couch to piss the Freuds off, who I bet are hacked off with all their puns and jokes based around their forebear.

** I know toads are wonderful animals and not at all slimy we need something that doesn’t criticise blameless animals but is really horrible but is balanced I mean the only other things I could think of were tyrants and murders and that’s not really proportional any suggestions we need something more than just “rancid turd”

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Charity begins at home?

Middleaged tax exiles in need:
I left the radio tuned to Radio 2 after lsitening to Mark Radcliffe last night and caught a few minutes of Wogan just now. They were doing a celebrity auction for Children in Need.

Now I've got nothing against Pudsey and his mates (In fact groups I've worked with have benefitted from the money given) but this auction was deeply annoying.

It's called "Things that money can't buy" (or something similar) and people can bid to have dinner with people of the telly etc. Firstly the titles wrong because clearly if you've got 20 grand you can have dinner with the bloke of that cardiff Dr Who knock off. Also isn't this another example of communisn for the rich capitlism for the poor? When you or I chip in for charity all we expect back in retrun is a paper poppy or perhaps a smile. Rich people when they give want a "night of their lives" (is it technically gving if you get something of equal value in return.)

S0 the whole thing seems to have very little to do with giving and is more about a ego massage for thoe invovled. I aslo think it's different from going to charity gig becuse when i'm at benefit I'm not on national radio crowing about my generosity (well done to anon bidders by the way) nor am trying to claim some superiority and seperate myself from the herd........ look at me I'm having a creme caramel with Joanna Lumley , look she's smiling sweetly as I go on about my house in portugal .... look I think she's about to ring up the Gurkhas and have me whacked...

So it's simple if you want to give to chairity go ahead and give, prefrably by Gift Aid so the charity can get the tax back . Don't flatter youself that munching chicken salad in the Ivy with the cast of Holby City makes you St Francis of Assisi.
Lastly if you want a charity to support can I suggest Oxfam there are very good with kids everywhere.

The Espistles of St Paul's

The Writings on the Dome.

I saw this on the way home last night and so I thought I'd make film, it's a installation by Mark Firrell made up of post from a blog (*added later*and it turns out the dean of the Cathedral and philospher AC Grayling).
It was a nicely engaging piece the banal ,sometimes gnomic posts reflecting the diverse and sometimes pompous, sometimes profound thoughts of the Cathedral's visitors. Anyway here's my film shot on my phone apologises for the rough cut I wanted to get it out instead of fretting over every last second. It's better viewed full screen so you can read the words clearly.
Here's the Artist Mark Firrell's website

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Acts of remembrance

Sgt Fred Lindley

I found this the other day it’s from the Barnsley Pals website the soldier described Fred Lindley came from the village I grew up in, he lived at the bottom of the village, the opposite end to us up on the “common”. He seems to have lived down Spark lane so named after the nail works that were once beside the road. He probably worked in the pit next to my primary school, its’ dark seams extending under our hillside village and causing bits of it to sag and subside. The pits gone and there’s Italian restaurant and a tanning shop at Four lanes ends but he’d probably recognize bits of it.

His family name sounds familiar and as kid I probably unknowingly stood in front it every November during our Church’s service of remembrance. Fred’s name should be on our village memorial in the little walled off garden opposites the Foster’s baker shop.

Fred more than likely had a hard life and seemingly was old for a soldier being 32 when he enlisted and went onto survive only a couple of years of the Great War. The surprising figure of George Orwell gives us a glimpse of the harsh world Fred came from in a description of miners cottage in our village some 15-20 years later here it is.
(from “the road to Wigan Pier”)
“House in Mapplewell (small mining village near Barnsley). Two up, one down. Living-room 14 ft by 13 ft. Sink in living-room. Plaster cracking and coming off walls. No shelves in oven. Gas leaking slightly. The upstairs rooms each 10 ft by 8 ft. Four beds (for six persons, all adult), but ‘one bed does nowt’, presumably for lack of bedclothes. Room nearest stairs has no door and stairs have no banister, so that when you step out of bed your foot hangs in vacancy and you may fall ten feet on to stones. Dry rot so bad that one can see through the floor into the room below. Bugs, but ‘I keeps ‘em down with sheep dip’. Earth road past these cottages is like a muck-heap and said to be almost impassable in winter. Stone lavatories at ends of gardens in semi-ruinous condition. Tenants have been twenty-two years in this house. Are L11 in arrears with rent, and have been paying an extra 1s. a week to pay this off.”

All this (or similar) and 15 odd years down the pit and then off to the front. I not going to speculate about what he thought about all this I think the one thing he’s earned is the right to his own opinions. Far too many people are quick to put words in the mouths of the dead.
Anyway Fred rest peacefully.

Talk about pppppop music!

We all Love Donny!
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

I’ve just caught up with Charlotte Higgins' piece in the paper. In her own words she was “raised by wolves at the Paris Conservatoire” and listens almost exclusively to classical music. The idea of the piece was for her to give a pop a chance.

One curious things is her definition of pop seems a bit radio 3 circa 1961 (yes I know it wasn't called that then) i.e. music that is "Popular". For instance perversely her first gig is moody log cabin guitar botherer Bon Iver hardly the first artist who springs to mind when you say “POP!” She then moves on to Metallica who seem to be the metal band it’s ok to like. Her ears ringing she moves onto the Streets and an Indie band and finally ends up in a pub listening to some folky singer song writers. She seems to have enjoyed most of it but you feel she may in reality head back to the world of squeaky strings, muffled coughs and weak gin and tonic that is the classical concert hall.

Several thing are puzzling about the piece firstly none of the bands to my mind are Pop bands with the possible exception of the Streets (who doubly perversely aren't that great live). I think most people would recognize pop as the music that runs form warbling X factor wannabies through Girls Aloud et al on to the girl groups of the 60’s , to surf groups, Noddy Holder, the Beatles and the Stones lapping round soul and r & b snuffling through the synths of human League and New Order, marching along with the Housemartins and the Jam sipping some Dylan, tipping a trilby to ska and reggae waving at all sorts of colourful types from anywhere from Sweden to Senegal and ending up on Waterloo Bridge watching the sun go down.

One thing I do think she missed was that a lot of what we think of as great pop only ever existed as peaks and troughs on magnetic tape or nowadays in the memory banks of studio computers. Pop is a product of the recording studio; some of the greatest music ever has been made by people who were only in the same building on one occasion for few hours, meaning that some of the greatest pop bands ever never really existed. So to write about pop your really need to listen to it in the places it was designed to be heard, in the knicker section of Top Shop, leaking out of van windows, barely audible above the scream of the Victoria line, in a thread bare teenage bedroom on the outskirts of Norwich, at a party round your best mates house where you end up dancing with some one you fancy for the first time, in the car coming back from the hospital that time. Pop music is everyday music and therefore far more important than the other sorts.

Of course you can turn down the lights and turn up your 3 grand studio monitors, give the cat a saucer of milk, move your chair to the sweet spot in the room, get you original pressing of “God only knows” out of it’s acid free Mylar bag and sit listening intently with your eyes closed and fingers forming a little church but some how the Beachboys sound just as good when you’ve just put down your shopping on a rainy Thursday night and turned on the radio and come into the song half way through and it makes you stop and smile while you are putting away the ready meals and tatsiki.

One of the main reason I find joy in pop music is that it’s never portrayed as being good for you like the worthier music like classical, jazz and folk music all these are often portrayed as super foods for the soul how some how just by listening to them makes you a better person nobody says this about Softcell or Abba. The reason being is that pop doesn’t care that much about tomorrow it’s to busy living today it’s about rapping your arms around my engine, it’s about meeting him at the candy store, it’s about the day before you came, it’s words of love, it’s about getting off of my cloud, it’s being back for good it’s seconding that emotion and ultimately being lifted higher and higher…..

Of course what the devil do you post from 60 years of POP? I was at a loss I thought they had to be popular rather than obscure but what to hoose so here goes :

Good Times By Chic

Mmbop by Hanson

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Sad news

This is a Local Brewery for Local People:

or Bitter Tetley men (and lasses)

I don’t write that much about drinking mainly because if your best and oldest friend and is a Britain’s Leading Beer Writer you get enough of that at home, as it were and also he’s really good at it. See his piece on why Stella’s gone down hill to see what I mean.

So I’m only writing this because another bit of our culture is being wrecked and because it comes from the none “Norman”* side of the tracks it’s going virtually unreported in the media. The Tetley brewery is going to be closed and in the way of these things moved to Northampton.

Pint of Pride please mate.
Now I could be called traitor in this as I live in London and I have deep fondness for Fuller’s London Pride (don’t worry I will get to Tetley’s) which to my minds is one the top five beers in world. At the end of the day when I walk into a London pub the thing I want most is a pint of Pride. Thanks to BBLW I’ve drunk beers literally from around the world I’ve sipped the most expensive and strongest ale, gingerly sipped bottles of IPA from 1860’s, I’ve supped beers fresh from the Brewery with the guy who made it and they were all interesting, tasty and enjoyable but when the skies flat grey and the taxi lights are playing in the cut glass windows and bouncing of the nicotine stained plaster cherubs somewhere near Soho and your is hair damp from” that fine rain” and you’ve sat through 2 meetings what is the most perfect way to mark the change from work to the rest of your life than a pint of bitter, in my case Pride.

But if I’d just walked down the Headrow into the centre of Leeds and the buses where a different colour but the pubs still wood and etched glass palaces I’d order a pint of Tetley. It would be slightly different from Pride still hoppy but fuller bodied with distinct full almost half inch Yorkshire head. As you take the first sip the beer will spread out and quench your tongue, the foam pleasingly adding to the experience. You might have to wipe the odd fleck of spume from your lips with your hand and then slowly things start to improve. It’s not the alcohol that takes longer to work, it’s some sort herbal chemical physical thing. I do think the functional quality of beer that quenches thirst is part of it’s appeal**.

Being an English session beer you can take a gulp of the first inch or so and wait for distinctive flavour to kick in and so goes the rest of the pint, by the time your halfway down you friends will have arrived and you can put down the paper, you can swop stories and the old jokes can start, fairly soon another round will be in order. Maybe you can then get a table now things “are quieting down”....... well I won’t go on you’ve all been to the pub and hopefully you know where I’m coming from an remember pubs aren’t just for after work there’s Saturday lunch & Monday afternoon and and .... .

Bastions of everyday cheer
Suffice to say pubs are precious institutions quite different from bars, cafés, restaurant, bistros, noodle stands all of which have their place. In recent years pubs have got less blokey and some sell more food which is a good thing but the best still offer a mix of a warm welcome with good things to drink which to my mind should include British local beer.

The fact that my beer of choice is made 5 miles down the road is important to me, I’ll happily argue with people from Leeds or Oregon that my local brew is best and they will do the same and we will all be right. I’ve said it before and will sadly say it again but can you imagine the Kentucky authorities allowing Jack Daniels to close or in France a champagne house to fold. But the government in Britain is under the sway of the wine drinking olive eating Tuscan Bland People and doesn’t care about beer or pubs so stands by and lets Young’s move out of London and now is letting Tetley’s go from Yorkshire.

The shame and terror of on the piss Britain?
They can get rid of Tetley’s partly because we’ve swallowed all the guff about booze Britain “oh why can’t we drink like Mediterraneans” what sit in a strip light lit narrow bar watching petang on a flickering portable tv, drinking indifferent coffee while wearing a vest just outside some pimply 12 year old is loudly revving his Vespa while in the corner some old gaffer finally dies unnoticed save by his flatulent dewy eyed dog yeah provincial French bars are great aren’t they!

Have you tried to find a good place to drink to anywhere outside a big city in Italy on mid week night ohh and last time I was in Madrid there were plenty of teenagers getting wellied on cheap red wine and coke. Here’s a thing I’ve been drinking for over 20 years and do you know I‘ve never had a fight in a pub. Most of the places I go to rarely have any trouble. Sure you see people worse for wear on the tube and there was unfortunate confused street drinker in Camden last night. But the solution to people who takes things to excess isn’t to diminish the lives of the majority and in fact normal everyday pubs aren’t the place people abuse alcohol they do it at home were they can’t be seen they do it after buying cheap strong cider or cheap white wine. Ridding Britain of local beer and the Pubs that go with them will make Britain a worse place to live, it will remove a unique and worthwhile part of our society and leave us watching property programmes on our laptops pecking at bland ready meals with strange names washed down with mediocre half pints of rose brewed in cold bleak sheds in some of distant New Zealand trading estate and here’s the killer there’ll the same amount of drunks in Britain as there ever was.

God’s County
All this I haven’t even got onto Yorkshire’s essential unique character, what other county in Britain has it name sung by football fans? At the match on Saturday after singing our allegiances to the mighty reds and our hatred of W*dn*sd*y chants of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” sprung up, I’ve never heard this from any other county. It’s a cliché to say that Yorkshire people will say they are from Yorkshire before the name of their town but it’s true, it may sound arrogant I suppose but I think it’s endearing, it points to people who see themselves in a wider context. It helps produce different forms of art, culture and beer it helps move the centre of gravity away from the capital. You can’t buy Taylor’s Northamptonshire Tea can you?
This sort of local character is important and its things like Tetley bitter, local sport, local nature, local industry, obscure names for alleys and bread rolls that form it. If we loose local distinctive cultures we are all diminished even fancy Dan Londoners.

So can I start another campaign, Pride drinkers “say keep Tetley local in Leeds?”
God I need a pint now

*Normans: jumped up Vikings who moved to Northern France and took to drinking wine and stealing other people’s land and who have spent the last 1000 years lording over the rest of us from Parliament, from the pulpits of the Anglican church and from the food and wine pages and columns of the broad sheets. This weekend try to find any mention of Britain’s 400 breweries in the editorial of your weekend rag, see how many beers they recommend on Saturday kitchen to go with their locally grown food!

** I have always wondered about hot countries like Spain or France, do peasants slake their thirst with wine? It’s not a drink to drink like that to my mind.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Lambchop with a side order of curate’s egg

.... Oh and Hold the Noodles

4th Nov Union Chapel Islington.

To the Union chapel with BLBW (who's got a new book you can order to have delivered next year).

Can I say from the start that I’m not a Lambchop aficionado but I enjoy going to gigs that are unknown territory every now again.

The support were “Paper Cups” who area young lad (the son of the piano player from Lambchop) who treated us to half an hour of vocalless “bedroom guitar”. Lots of intricate picking and effects which although technical accomplished was strangely uninvolving, it didn’t help that the last tune was called “Crystal Palace” which probably sounds ethereal to an American freed from it’s associations with Penge and the Eagles.

In short order Lambchop ambled on almost unnoticed and we had to be encouraged to give them a cheer!

This is where the curate’s egg comes in as the first 50 minutes or so were new songs (all their songs are mostly new to me) which unfortunately seemed to all played on a laid back noodley jazz country vibe. The first part of the set lacked any dynamic and sort of blended into a mass.
Kurt Wagner more so than on record has a vocal style that’s going towards affectation where he swallows the last word of every line, which to my ears grated. It was all slightly passionless which was strange as between songs Wagner would whoop and cheer as if he’d just finished singing “Born to run”.
Between every other song we also got the sort of intra band wackiness that American bands seem to do which is endearing if you are enjoying the band but annoys if you are not. You know the sort of jokes that would get you bottled off at comedy gig but get roars of laughter at music venues. It was all good natured and the crowd enjoyed so it may have been just me.

Luckily the music picked up in the last 5-6 songs which were older material and covers. This is not just because they were recognisable but because the band realised there were 7 people on the stage and put some oomph some energy into their playing. I’m not saying we need 10 minutes guitar works out all the time but as PB said if you’ve got 30 plus strings on stage why not use them? You do have to wonder about a gig where the drummer doesn’t even break sweat.

So in the end a patchy evening and one maybe for more ardent fans I doubt Lambchop will change having been a round for ages but maybe they can save the noodling and joshing for the rehearsal room and bring more groove to their live performances.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

What, sorry Who comes after W....

Hopefully the last George Bush cartoon Steve Bell will ever have to draw? SB seems almost sad to see the warmongering man-chimp going.

Monday, 3 November 2008

New Music:
The Social Services:
"It’s not personal. It's National Security "
Stereo Test Kit Records

I mainly post old music, largely culled from stuff I find on the market, mainly this is to free the tunes from their crackly charcoal circular prisons. Hopefully a few people will hear the tunes for the first time and enjoy them enough to track down a more of the artist work, god this is sounding pompous I like to find new music and I’ve always been a gobshite and so if I like something everyone else must like it too!

But as well as 10 year old malt you need this month’s crispy fresh brews as well.
Anyway here’s some new new music.

Thanks to Swedesplease I found this gem. One of Sweden's seemingly endless supply of bright intelligent catchy pop bands.
They are actually only 1/3rd Swedish the rest being made up of Scots.
I knew I was going to like them as soon as in the lead track The Baltic Sea they not only alludes to Sweden’s stereotypical furniture company but uses the marvellous adjective “ruddy” to describe the complex of the country’s kids. The rest of LP doesn’t disappoint.

The tunes are mainly in English with occasional Swedish phrases and verses the more I hear the Nordic languages the more poetic they become. The songs swing from sweet matter of factness to sweeping drama.
The lead singers I think are Scottish but the singing has slight nasal folky Scandinavian thing going on it is however delightfully precise rich and involving. The music is acoustic pop with elements of the Delgados (?), but also has a French ye-ye feel but also experimental electronic sounds and a element of Weimar cabaret sorry this makes it sound a mess but it works really well honest.

As to theme of the songs well they range from the perils of the fear of foreigners, war, dried mango and Greta Garbo.

Go here and you can get two tracks for free.
I got the album off Amazon a week or so ago and played it 3-4 times a day ever since.
Stand out tracks: Baltic Sea, Hailstones & Electric Brae.

ps. Spanish word of the weak delgado means thin in Spanish.

It's a record

49/365 Rememberance Sunday
Originally uploaded by S4RAH
10 minutes :
The time from me buying a poppy until magically it wasn't there, even with the new little nodule on the stem. Ahh well I'll have to get another tomorrow.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

"Rain not tears"

Lewis Hamilton World F1 Champion

Well that was exciting. well done Lewis. Don't leave it to the last corner next time!!!

By far the greatest team the world has ever seen

Charlton 1-3 Barnsley.

That's all you really need to know. How else would you rather spend the afternoon .

But no we had a pint, a pie, sung our version of the red flag, abused W*dn*esday, chanted the praises of our wonderfully multicultural team and won for the first time in a while.

The mighty Tykes did cause us some turmoil as they scored in 3 or 4th minute and as any fan of a lower league side will know this isn't always a sources of joy, as it's impossible for Barnsley to defend a 1 goal lead for 85 minutes thankfully they banged in 2 more and apart from a wobble when the Robins got one back we controlled the goal playing not bad football. Oh and the pies were good!

Football questions:

Why apart from at village fetes are football matches the only public occasion where they tell you the attendances?
Why do I need to know this?

Why did Charlton make their ball boys walk out into the centre circle and stand in a circle in the pouring rain while the pa played that pompous music from the Champions leagues?
It was really risible and pointless.
UPDATE: GRRRRRRRRRRRR! I've just read the Observers "coverage" of thematch now I know football fans have thin skins but would it kill them to cover Barnsley fairly; as according to the un-observant the story of the match wasn't that we walloped Charlton the story is that robins lost, according to the Guardian group no team other than Moan united outside London are allowed to win. It would be really nice to have the paper I read actually just say that my team were any good. People slag off the tabloids but at least they cover every match as if fans of both teams might be reading.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

last night I had a premonition that today I'd have deja vu

Neil Young night:
Just watched the BBC4 NY programmes and they were all pretty good. The doc about his life was ok if I thought a bit short, they seemed short of footage, there was a lot of that faked up faux super 8 shots that pollute documentary now a days. You feel they could have shown more of the interview with Neil himself. He comes over fairly well, coherent and funny with a degree of self knowledge, he's obviously incredibly driven and artistically selfish in the way that only a few 60's era rock stars can be. Arriving in LA in '65 he's had the fame money, kudos to do whatever he's liked ever since for good or evil.

I think the CSNY:Deja Vu tour film (on afterwards) was if anything even better. The film is a record of the DSNY tours playing Young's anti Iraq war songs. A strange mix of concert footage, interviews and films about audience members. It's got scenes of really angry crowd members complaining about and berating the band for their anti-bush songs but also interviews with veterans and the families of dead GI's. The film is narrated and partly authoured by a senior CNN war correspondent their equivalent of John Simpson who is dispassionate in showing the sometimes negative reception the band gets.
The striking thing about the protestors against the Band's stance is that they shelled out 70-80 quid for tickets seemingly unaware of the Band's view point which although Liberal was actually (from the film quiet balanced). You have to think that some American's do live in bubble of unchallenged patriotism, if they went to the concerts expecting the Marakesh express it's not as if many of CSNY sixities songs weren't overtly political. Their outrage seems niave.

It's a fascinating film and a very rare one you can't imagine the Stones having a film were they are seen being booed by their own fans and having shots of "hockey moms" storming out of gigs giving the finger to the camera all cut to " brown sugar". This youtube clip gives a good flavour of this remarkable film. It may get shown again this week on BBC4 if not you'll have to track down the DVD.