Friday 28 June 2013

Dark Horse power

Brian Epstein realised right from the get go he wouldn't transform his boys by sharp suits alone; they needed matching accessories. So, goodbye Ford Anglia, hello E-Type Jag.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

It's not rocket science

I have a new toy. The Prof gave it to me when he came back from a land down-under. However, to get the full effect of a boomerang you need space: plenty of open space. Such is our Summer this year we had a big old empty beach to ourselves on Sunday last; the tide was out, the deckchair attendants had been rained off and there wasn't a soul in sight. Perfect conditions. Playtime.

Throwing a boomerang is easier than you think; catching a boomerang when it comes back to you (and come back to you it does) is not. It's impossible. It will find you like a heat seeking missile; sticking your hand out to retrieve it is foolhardy, not to say downright dangerous. We were lucky we weren't decapitated - you can't take your eye off it for a second. If you do it'll have your eye out. Nothing's so sure.

So, to sum up: anybody can throw a boomerang. Nobody can catch one. And never turn your back on one. I'm hooked.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Tall Buildings

I discovered this song last night. It's a great song that, I'm guessing, is done better when covered by other people. Like David Tomlinson, for instance. He and Alex Thompson sang it beautifully last night. Unfortunately I don't think they've recorded it yet, so you're just going to have to take my word for it.

They have, however, recorded eleven of David's own tunes. It's been a long time since I've heard a breakup song as good as this:

David Tomlinson: Kinder Way

Monday 17 June 2013

How to dismantle a tax return

You don't have to scratch your head for too long to come up with reasons to dislike U2's lead singer - the oversize ego, the silly glasses, phoning the Pope on stage, the coveting of hats,  killing wretched children with his hand clapping; I know, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

But the main reason Bono is so despised is down to his and his band's reluctance to pay tax. U2 are up there with Google, Amazon and Starbucks with their virulent approach to tax evasion. When they moved their operations from Eire to the Netherlands it didn't just deprive the Irish economy of much needed funds: U2, and companies and individuals who currently share a similar cavalier attitude when dealing with the taxman, are costing the global economy an eye watering 160 billion dollars every year. That's enough to wipe out child poverty. And then some. Think about that next time I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For comes on the radio.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Going nowhere fast

The Willow Man lives in Somerset, by the side of the M5. I like to think of him as a modern day St. Christopher - watching over the thousands of motorists who use that stretch of the motorway every day. Even caravan owners.

For a man who looks like he's going places he remains perfectly still. I wonder if he's happy, if he feels fulfilled?

Wednesday 12 June 2013

I see a little silhouetto of a man

© Jon Philpott 2013

My friend Jon went to see Neil Young in Newcastle last night. He managed to get down the front, bless 'im and, from his (near) perfect vantage point, took several photos of the man some call Shakey. And none better than the one above.

He played all the stuff you'd expect at a Neil Young gig - Hey Hey My My - but body swerved the stuff you only dream about him playing - Carmichael. Apparently Los Lobos didn't disgrace themselves either.

Monday 10 June 2013

Beating up the wrong guy

Despite its inclusion on his seismic Hunky Dory two years earlier, David Bowie's Life on Mars was released as a single 40 years ago this month on RCA Victor.

It would have set you back the princely sum of 40p if you'd bought it from your local record emporium; however, the chances are that the version most of us owned at that time wasn't even sung by The Dame. No, I've got a sneaking feeling your mum, whilst shopping in Woolies, would probably have snaffled the Top of the Pops version on the budget Hallmark label (think Poundshop meets Stiff) by some chancer called Tony Rivers. As a dreaded soundalike we'd have denied it thrice before the cock crowed, of course, but deep down we knew the boy Rivers had made a decent fist of it; he'd even got the ringing 'phone at the end.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Old School

Rereading Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings stories is much like slipping on that once favourite jacket from the back of the wardrobe you know will never be fashionable again; but a. you're not bothered and b. it feels just the same as it did the first time you wore it.

I found The Best of Jennings going for a song in a local bookshop and it immediately went straight to the top of my incoming pile. Sorry John Harvey, Pete Townshend et al - I'm not taking calls right now.

I mean, where else would you get lines like: "Yes, rather, said Atkinson ghoulishly. "He made me write out the passive of 'Audio' twenty five times once; it nearly killed me."

To borrow the strap-line from the slip jacket - with 'four utterly wizard adventures all jolly well complete and unabridged' to get through, I'm hunkering down for a blinking good read. There is one thing puzzling me though: why, when translated into French, did our favourite schoolboy prankster transmogrify into Bennett? But, hey, that's a question for another day. Maybe his best friend CEJ Darbishire would know?

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Funny money

Exhibit 'A'

When the above bank note was nestling in my pocket last night it was a tenner. When I walked in the pub, ordered my drink and proffered the note it was still a tenner. However, when the barman got his grubby little hands on it, it miraculously took on a new dimension: it was counterfeit. Fake. Moody, if you will. So how did that happen then? One minute you're extracting legal tender from a hole in the wall; next thing you know you've got a dirty big hole in your wallet where money once resided.

Saturday 1 June 2013

Got Wood

June 1 is always something of a red letter day for Ronnie Wood: not only is it his birthday (he's 66 today) but it also marks the anniversary of his first gig with with the Stones. In 1975, still in The Faces, he joined Mick and Keith on their summer jaunt across America. They warmed up with their new boy in Baton Rouge pulling in a seven night residency at New York's Madison Square Garden along the way and wound the whole thing up in Buffalo on August 8.

But it would be another four months 'til the band formally announced that they'd got their man. And thirty eight years later he's still seen as the new boy. Many happy returns of the day Ronnie!

Here's some recent footage of him jamming at the 100 Club with his predecessor.