Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Sprung

Archive photo from 2019

Has Spring sprung? Does hope, indeed, spring eternal? Whist the evidence of light at the end of the tunnel may still be in some doubt I can confirm that the light streaming through my bedroom curtains first thing in the morning over the last few days is very real. I said to C over at Sun Dried Sparrows whilst the first cuckoo of Spring may still be a few weeks away, I had my first "99" of the year at the weekend. Should I mark the occasion in some way? I'm not saying we should have a feast day or even a Bank Holiday* (what would we do with another flaming Bank Holiday right now?) but it felt kinda significant.  I guess you get your kicks where you can these days.

The Producers - Springtime for Hitler and Germany (1967)



* I will, however, attach myself to St. John's Day.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

Quotidian*


I'm not quite sure how to put this - I'm becoming ever so slightly obsessed with Status Quo. I find myself playing them most days*. Don't worry, I've not taken to wearing Quo patches or walking round with my thumbs in my belt loops; not yet, anyway. 

My interest in them musically, as I said here, stopped at around 1975 but that doesn't mean I don't want to read Francis Rossi's recent autobiography I Talk Too Much or watch obscure interviews on Youtube they did on Italian TV. I'm as interested in the relationship Rossi had with Rick Parfitt, his on stage partner of 50 years standing, as I am by anything they ever recorded. Weird, isn't it?

...

How can anyone with a pulse not find this clip from 1970 (courtesy of Granada telly) absolutely riveting? It was the single that came to define their sound. Which is ironic as they never even wrote it. For a record that only made No.12 in the hit parade it stuck around in the charts for 17 weeks. I know, that's longer than this current lockdown. Normal service will be resumed I can assure you; I just don't know when.

Status Quo - Down the Dustpipe (1970)





Monday, 22 February 2021

Sunshine's better on the other side



On the day when the dreaded mantra 'Stay at home' was formally put on notice I'm not quite sure how I should be feeling this evening. It's (way) too soon for elation. Hell, it may even be presumptuous to buy green bananas, but there is a distinct possibility that in the not too distant we may be able to collect our goods and chattels from left luggage and go back out into the big wide world. I'm sure when I've had chance to process this new intel I'll get up on my soap box and tell you what I think(!)

In other news, John Creedon played this tonight on his excellent RTÉ 1 radio show.


John Martyn - Sunshine's Better (Talvin Singh remix) - 1997




Monday, 15 February 2021

Rock stars at home (where else are they gonna be right now?)


I'm sure we've all been falling down various rabbit holes as we've tried to seek out live music (or what passes for live music in these crazy times) over the last year. Nigel Clark, Megson, Pete Morton, Megson and Tom Wardle being just a few of the musicians I've been tuning in to as they pull up a stool and play to  the red dot on their respective cameras. Hopefully (and I say this very guardedly) as we approach the beginning of a tentative easing of lockdown restrictions, the need for these virtual gigs will begin to give way to the real thing; whatever the real thing will look like in three, six, nine months time.

...

Continuing the theme, not only have some musicians been doing these 'live' shows, some have also been busy recording and releasing new material. Even Macca has been having something of a purple patch - he's just scored his first Number One album in donkeys years with his imaginatively titled McCartney 3; fair play, Paul. And here's the thing, it's actually not bad. Not that he needs me to tell him that. The lad's an accomplished songwriter and has fronted a couple of decent bands over the years (file under nothing to prove).

...

Someone who doesn't receive even a fraction of the column inches the above mentioned ex-Beatle commands is Canadian singer songwriter Ron Sexsmith. I've been dipping in and out of his career for 25 years now and still find myself marvelling at just how bloody good he is. Ron too has been busy recently; though the new album, Hermitage, was pretty much finished before lockdown, like McCartney, he recorded it at home in his front room and plays most of the instruments on it himself. Here's a preview of what you can expect:


Ron Sexsmith - When Love Pans Out (2020)



As a footnote to today's edition I can't not mention how f**king cold it was yesterday. I bring this up for a couple of reasons; not least that I was reminded of another Ron Sexsmith song whilst walking along the Trent with a biting windchill making it feel like -5 degrees; not since I moved back from North Yorkshire nearly four years ago have my bones felt so cold. 

So cold I needed a hat. And I don't do hats, particularly.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Tree update

As you may be aware I embarked on a little art project last Autumn: I'm photographing the beech tree outside my house every day for a year; I started back in October so I'm about a third of the way thru. When it's complete I'll have 365 images which James and I are going to turn into a short film. I've also asked him to score it with an original soundtrack - I can't wait to see (and hear) the results of our handiwork.

In the meantime here's a couple of recent photos to give you an idea of how it's looking lately. The top image is from January 24th when we had our first dumping of snow. And the one below was taken this morning. (You can track the daily updates here on my Twitter feed, should you get the urge).


P.S. An arborist came out to look at the tree just before Christmas as part of a TPO* survey he was carrying out. When I asked him how old it was he was able to tell me with with a fair degree of certainty that it dates back to around 1880. 

* Tree Preservation Order