My latest CD - Chip Off The Old Block (An Acoustic Anthology) - is about to be let loose into the big wide world. Test pressings will be going out to friends and family at the weekend and, as you can see from the artwork, the whole operation has got a very back to basics feel about it. Some of the songs are new, some of the songs I've had kicking around for a while. Most of them are done in one take, two maximum. And all of them are fun to sing; even the one about my father.
As with most releases these days it'll go up on Soundcloud - sooner rather than later. If you want a hard copy c/w groovy cassette inserts, drop me a line.
Smiling on the inside - us Medds are made of stern stuff
Mum was rushed into hospital at the weekend. How long she'll stay there is anyone's guess at the moment. She's on oxygen and morphine so isn't always on the same page as everyone else. It's knocked my dad off his perch - but like my mum, he's made of stern stuff. They'll get through this. I hope.
KEXP 90.3 is a rather FAB little radio station operating out of Seattle. I try and catch up on their live sessions whenever I remember. What makes them special is the fact the sessions are filmed in their small but perfectly formed studio with a twinkly lit backdrop. And the acoustics are perfect.
Jungle, the London soul collective, swung by recently and tore the place up. Jungle are that rare thing - they could easily have parked up as a minimalist synth duo but, and fair play to them, they've beefed up their sound and gone out on the road as a seven-piece. And the sound they make is, I don't know, Soft Cell meets James Brown. If you've not heard them yet, take a listen:
I'm feeling quite mischievous today. The story behind my song No Gold or Silver, told here, meant that if I ever performed it in public or recorded it I could expect to see out my days in chokey. Probably in solitary confinement.
But, you know what, I don't care. So here it is - No Gold or Silver. If this blog suddenly goes off air, you'll know why.
Since discovering Netflix earlier this year we've been filling our boots with Fringe. The Number One Son introduced us to this most quirky of series - a cross between Diagnosis Murder and Invasion of the Body Snatchers - when he lent us the first season on DVD. Now, thanks to Netflix, and three seasons of Fringe later, I can see DVD box sets going the same way as video and the 8 track cartridge.
With parallel universes and time travel being a staple of Fringe (one of the reasons James pointed me in this direction) I've been rediscovering Jack Finney, one of my favourite authors. His excursions into the past - through such portals as a hidden level at Grand Central Station or time travel sold through travel agents - have always fired my imagination. Re-reading his short stories again after a number of years hasn't lessened the vibrancy and genuine excitement of his storytelling. If you've never read him, you must. Start with his About Time collection. I promise you'll be hooked.
Earlier this week The Number One Son tweeted a recent blog post superbly written and researched by Jason Hazeley about the BBC sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles (1984-1989). In particular, persistent rumours about a missing episode. A vital missing episode, you could say, as the pivotal situation in this particular sitcom hinges around the romantic tension between Ann (drowning in a stale marriage and played by Penelope Wilton) and Paul (the new, single and urbane next door neighbour played by Peter Egan). In the missing episode Paul and Ann are reported to have shared more than knowing glances.
Hazeley's blog tells the full story and the relevance of this missing script (it was never filmed) and how, if it had ever been recorded (and Paul & Ann had got it on) the programme would, at a stroke, have lost one of its major pot boilers; think of Frasier - the episodes after Niles and Daphne docked - the trajectory of the story line changed overnight. Not necessarily for the worse, but not for the better either.
A modern day equivalent is Peter Kay's wonderful Car Share. A simple idea - two colleagues sharing a car journey to and from work each day. John and Kayleigh have more in common than they know and by the end of its six episode run they could just as easily have copped off. But Peter Kay knows that for Car Share to stand any chance of coming back for that all important second season, their relationship must remain platonic and that both protagonists must remain in their designated driver and passenger seats. For now, at least.
And if you're wondering why there's a CCCP postage stamp bearing the image of Dimitri Shostakovich at the top of this post, it's for the simple reason that he (unwittingly) wrote the delightful theme tune for Ever Decreasing Circles. Take it away comrade: