Thursday, 25 June 2009

What a Swell Guy..

Steven Wells 1960-2009

Here’s some sad new Steven Wells of NME fame has died. As a teenage from a quiet corner of a quiet town Swells' writing every Wednesday was like bomb going off . Swells writing was a joy being both politically switched on and slightly foul mouthed, buzzing with ideas and opinions.

I always read his pieces even when it was about bands I didn’t care for; I even liked his work when he slagged off the bands I loved. His writing along with David Quantitck was full of fantastic crazed descriptions prefigures the likes of Charlie Brooker particularly in his easy access to his bile gland. But although his reviews where extreme they were always done with a smile and good joke. There was also a glee and joy in the use of words and the search for more and more arcane ways to describe the particular focus of his scorn.

I think his brand of partisanship is missing in pop music nowadays when everyone seems to like everything. Maybe it’s just us cold war kids who still enjoy some “black and white them and us” opinions. I’m sure the wishy washy likes of Keane and all the “The” bands wouldn’t have lasted two minutes if Swells had turned his torch on them. Oh and what was I thinking I forgot the most important bit he used to make me laugh out loud.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Monkee Business

London lunch time stuff

I Saw Mickey Dolenz just off Bedford square he was dressed for a day at Lords, smart panama, suit flannel trousers; it’s always nice to know these people really exist and no I didn’t mention Metal Mickey.

I’d just been shorn under the sign of the posh frog, all to the tune of Bonkers Dizzie oh and 7 quid plus tip. I was snipped by a taciturn Asian lass, who said nary a word all the way through my trim but then gave me the biggest smile when she’d finished, it was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.

After that while I munched my lunch in Bedford square some AA students where working on their latest project it’s all wavy sheets of ply and hardboard, here’s me waffling on about last years effort.

After that it was a case of avoiding buying anything in Gosh and a bit of lens envy in the camera shops and then back to work.

Here's the Monkees in rather wonderful clip of girl I new somewhere, the man has got to youtube so you can't imbed them :(

Friday, 19 June 2009

Thursday, 18 June 2009

I hate those Mices to Pieces

The wide awake club:

Well that's torn it, a perfect storm of irritants have forced me awake : the mid summer sun, general life nonsense and now the mouse.

The combined pipe work of our flats make a perfect stairwell for mice and presumably there's plenty of food and warm pipes for the blighters to thrive on.

Don't get me wrong we are not overrun, our little friend only appears every few months . Obviously in reality it's a series of mice rather than just one but well it's nicer to think we have a resident Jerry who sleeps in a match box bed and who can carry off whole hams and chicken legs (complete with tiny chefs hats on the legs) rather than the reality of brood of the perishers.

The little blighter just crept into the rubbish sack I'd left next to the door and then made rustling noises that once heard were difficult to ignore and then there was the window that during yesterday seems to have swelled bigger than it's frame and had to be tied shut, so I'm sat here with my patchy broadband listening to not very morning music that I downloaded last night. I quite like it (the Joy formidable) but maybe not a 5.30 am.

Sorry for all this, like listening to other peoples dreams (think on MLK) "I can't sleep" talk is not that gripping. It does look like a lovely day though and our little friend seems to headed off for his kip and now Dusty's singing about Tupelo Honey which is better. Anyway hope your day is starting well it is after all a new day.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Tanks for the memory

Chariot: My new film or more accurately moving picture . Putting aside any obession with rusty russian technology this old T-34 standing on hillside in peak district is strangely imposing. It's hard not be influenced by Ian Hamilton Finlay on this one and his playing off of martial imagery with nature. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Peak of perfection

Back from Yorkshire:Had an excellent time in the company of A & B and of course S.W.A.M!

Some minor revelations: we may have found a contender for Birkinshaw’s (of Map) King of Pies Crown with Hinchcliffe’s coming up on the rails (believe me these things are important).

Stating the obvious award 2009: The Peak district is quite pretty. I know hardly contentious but the sunset on Saturday evening was truly magical “you’d never know you were 5 miles from industrial Barnsley.....”

Larkin’ about: Oh and if you stare out of the train window on a summer’s evening watching the English countryside go by listening to “the lark arising” by Vaughan Williams you are in danger of having a good time. It was ridiculous almost clichéd scene with at least three cricket matches, the pointiest church steeples, ribbons of bobbing daisies and poppies, 2 hot air balloons and a pair of excited children waving at the train (yes, I did wave back).

Blot on the landscape: oh and to the grumpy older couple across the aisle (no it was no problem lifting your case on to the rack no need to thank me and yes we were all in the wrong seats get over it) some of us thought the cooling towers near East midlands airport were one of the highlights of journey and I fear if we “blew the bloody lot of them up” we might not be able to boil a kettle on evening oh and I hope your sarnies didn’t taste as bad as they smelt.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Ronald NO!

690 things to do with 80 Million pounds.

I know life doesn’t work like this but you know for once couldn’t 10% of this huge sum go to those who really need it rather than to some anonymous middle man.

Friday on My mind

The Easy Pete special

The weekend is upon us and for all sorts of reasons it can’t come too quickly for me.

Excess Baggage
Can I suggest that while you munch your toast or snaffle your coco pops this Saturday morning and if you can aver Adam and Joe (you can always listen again) you may want to tune into Excess Baggage on radio 4. 10 am.

It’s a travel show which occasionally treads a bit too close to smug trekking in Patagonia for my liking, but this week hurrah they went for a grumpy bearded Northerner sorry Britain’s Leading beer writer(aka Peter Shaun Brown) who’ll be telling either Sandy T or Johnny Mc about lugging a barrel of beer to India.

Honestly there’s no escaping him when he’s not twittering or hanging around borough market he’s on the bleedin’ radio, he’ll be getting a part in The Wire next : ).

Anyway have a listen or use the iplayer or the podcast or sit next to the speaker with your cassette recorder and press play and record or maybe just embroider what he says in a cross stitch.

Go on if everyone listens he won’t have owt to moan about and being from Yorkshire this lack of misery in his life will confuse him .

Owt for Nowt
I’ll off to god’s own county myself this weekend, never a bad thing. Thought I’d belie our totally mistaken reputation for being tight by giving you a tune.

Apologies for the obviousness but I’ve only just sorted out who anybody is from V’60’s. Apart from V’Beatles and V’Stones I always thought most other 60’s tunes were by V’Hollies or Jerry and V’ Pacemakers so finding a best of on the market by the likes of V’ Easybeats is part of my tardy education and I like the bit at the beginning that sort of falls over its self.

My platter is a bit crackly so maybe you can just put in on and dance round the room with something cold to hand (not a packet of peas) and even if you are not going to the city like me make sure you have good a Friday and a corking weekend.

Friday on My Mind by The Easybeats

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Great Tit action

More good news after quite a while the birds have located my bird feeder Hurrah!
There's been a great tit and blue tit bobbing around in there 6 times this morning.
This does however mean that I'm going to be wasting hours trying to take good pictures of the cheeky little fellas.
update: As I write there's a great tit feet deep in the seed tray digging away at a peanut, picking out the sunflowers seeds it's the best breakfast I've seen in a long while .

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

La Lucha Continua

Reasons to be cheerful Pt 12: The Law of Historical memory

Heard this this morning and it made me stop then and stop again just now. Tales of the International Brigade have been putting something in my eye since I was 15 and they still do to this day.

I can think of fighting for my own freedom but going all that way to country you didn't know for a believe is always inspiring particularly when you know all the terrible betrayals they received from Stalin and his chums. Anyway have a listen.

deep breath.... face slap..... new start

Well yesterday was a bag of Sh*te!

On most fronts from the micro to the macro, near and far right , there wasn't even much on the Telly oh and then the water bill turned up!

So let's see if things can be better today:

So ideas for irredeemably cheery things will be most welcome: tunes, films, jokes, pictures, you know good news in general.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

You gave me poison.......

In the morning I give you Phaedra, no that won’t do....... beware of Greeks bearing milk and honey..... no that’s just cheesy (feta’ed with cliché!) about more songs about “Love and Death”.....

At last a great sleeve and a mythical tune (snaps, crackles and pops the artists own)

Melina Mecouri & Anthony Perkins Rodomisto (from Phaedra OST )

Let them eat Brioche 2009 update.

300 acres and a fool:

I fear in this looking glass world as the thunder rumbles and big greasy rain drops run down the window pane that it's not just the after effects of too much beer that's making me un-easy. When sensible papers like the Observer can run uncritical tosh like this it all feels like it's getting out of hand!

It's from an ethical issue of their magazine, ethics in this case being something you buy if your family made a killing selling cling filmed inorganic intensively reared meat and strip mining Africa. Isn't it time all journalists remembered what the best of them know that it's not just not about writing down what famous/rich/posh people say you have to ask the odd question or raise the odd eye brow or do they all think we should listen to the soothing tales of someone who couriers organic cabbages 200 miles so she can "provide the best for them at all costs" for her kids is the way forward?

5 minutes later up date:
sorry I take it all back it all an extended post modern joke as this piece can't be real no serious newspaper would listen to this stream of (unconsidered) consciousness without butting in I see now the whole issue is a satire they've even got their boring wine writer making wine kits to save the odd shilling so it must be a joke.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Normal Service will resume shortly

I should've known a book launch for a book on beer ohh my head.! Well done PB .

Monday, 1 June 2009

Hops and Glory:

Hurrah BLBW's new book:
has come out and it's excellent I finished it early this morning. If you like popular History ,travel writing or indeed beer you can't go far wrong. It's very funny and yet informative and in some parts quite moving. Oh and the beers good too!
If you go to to his site below there's more details of readings and possibly beer tastings and also a link to amazon where they are doing good deals.