Wednesday 30 December 2020

We Go On

There's probably a word for it in German - that feeling you get when you hear a much loved tune (usually, but not always, from the 70s) being given a makeover aimed at (usually, but not always) millennials; especially when it works. And, boy, does this one work.

Based on a non-charting single 1965 single by Jimmy Clanton, Hurting Each Other (which would later go on to give Richard and Karen Carpenter a massive Number One hit in 1972), the Avalanches have - with a little help from Cola Boyy and Mick Jones - shone new light through old windows and come up with, I think, something rather special.

Jimmy Clanton - Hurting Each Other (1965)

The Avalanches - We Go On (2020)


Wednesday 23 December 2020

Spray and Pray

That was the year that was, it's over, let it go. Only it isn't; not yet, anyway. With still over a week to go, who knows what fresh horrors lie in wait? A plague of locusts surely can't be far away; I fear 2020 hasn't finished with us yet.

One of the few positives I can take from this year, and believe me they've been few and far between, is the sheer volume of music I've listened to. Obviously precious little has been in a live situation - my last gig (The Lathums) was way back in February - but I've invested many many hours of listening and if you want to know precisely what my musical diet comprised then my Spotify 2020 Wrapped is as good a starting point as any.

Photography too has been a big thing in my life this year. I guess with all the additional steps I'm clocking up (2020 has definitely been the year of 'the walk') I've been even more aware of my surroundings so every urban ramble usually offers up new photo opportunities. From the hundreds of photographs I've taken this year, I've condensed it down to a dozen: 12 months, 12 photos* in no particular order. Here you go:

Indoor Market, Carlisle 

Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham Council House

Neighbours' 1st Wedding Anniversary

White Swan, Vernon Park

Happy Hour, Lanzarote

Cows on the Loch Ryan shoreline

Skegness Italia

Sneinton, Nottingham

Sherwood, Nottingham

James & Janneke, Manchester

Ratcliffe-upon-Soar Power Station 

I've not included the tree that sits outside my front door. Regular readers will know I started taking photographing this beautiful Beech back in October and I've been photographing it every day since

* 13 if you count the reindeer currently standing in my local park.


Sunday 20 December 2020

Fox News

I'm trying not to dwell on the never ending torrent of bad news threatening to engulf every last one of us; though if I have a little weep later I'm hoping you'll cut me some slack.

Instead I want to share this little snippet with you: Suzie, my Brighton dwelling cousin, has a regular nighttime caller. And so tame is this beautiful creature that apparently he comes right up to her and gently rubs his nose up against her hand. As the Americans would say - pretty neat, huh? 

The Regrettes - Fox on the Run (2017)

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Jesus of Cool

Nick Lowe - Failed Christian?

So much of what I write here is dedicated to the art of songwriting, I've lost count of how many great songs - written by incredibly talented songwriters - have featured on this blog in the last decade or so. 
Imagine if Nick Lowe, one of the best in the business, wrote a made to measure song for the legendary Mavis Staples; not off the peg, but tailored to fit her very soul. Lowe may or may not be a God fearing man, I don't know, but man alive he has written a song so spiritual it's practically a hymn. And even if, like me, you can be moved to tears in an empty church but become an atheist when it's full, don't worry, this is still for you. 

 Mavis Staples - Far Celestial Shore [2013] (Live and choirless)

Far Celestial Shore (with the full treatment)

Saturday 12 December 2020


On the back of something my friend The Swede posted the other day, I've been making a playlist of records lasting precisely two minutes twenty two seconds; it's called The 222 Club and is taking shape nicely - early inductees include T. Rex (Solid Gold Easy Action), Booker T & the MGs (Soul Limbo) and The Damned (Love Song). It's filling up fast, so I'll hopefully be putting it out there this side of Christmas.

You can file the next bit under 'Stop me if you've heard this before' (I've been writing this blog for over 10 years and can't for the life of me remember if I've shared this with you already or not). Fifteen years ago - whilst James was still living at home - we recorded a demo in his loft bedroom-cum-recording studio. We decided on an old Kinks song, I Need You, but gave it a much heavier feel.  Although we were both pleased with it at the time, it would be another 10 years till we recorded anything together again.  The reason for bringing this up (again?) is that I considered the Kinks for the 222, but was dismayed to learn it clocked in at a laborious 2:24; when James and I were set loose on it we were able to shave a full 22 seconds off that!

I Need You (2005)

Friday 11 December 2020

Where is Wendy? Wendy's missing

I'm currently formulating a mental list of all the films I want to watch over my Tier 3 Christmas break; all the usual suspects will be screened at some point during my three week lay off starting next Friday: Comfort and Joy, The Odd Couple, Gumshoe, Croupier, A Hard Day's Night, Local Hero, to name but a few.

Joining them this year will be Metro-Land, the short film John Betjeman made for the BBC in 1973; the then poet laureate documented a part of suburban north London - following the path of the old  Metropolitan line - never put under the microscope in such a way before. 
The ever urbane Betjeman had an eye for the mundane but could turn it on its head with nothing more than a deft turn of phrase. So I wouldn't be surprised after Metro-Land if I then dig out his travelogues - available thru the BFI portal - many made for the Shell company in the 1950s and 1960s; time capsules all.

I'll sign off with one of his finest poems. In the mid 70s the Charisma label (Genesis, Bonzos, Monty Python et al) thought it would be cool if Sir John would read some verse - backed by the subtle musical arrangement of Jim Parker. He ended up doing a couple of albums for them. Banana Blush is my personal favourite.

John Betjeman - Indoor Games Near Newbury (1974)

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Shag, anyone?

I wonder if anyone's written a thesis on bubblegum? It wouldn't surprise me. Disposable pop music as an art form. Though maybe not that disposable - much of its canon from the 70s has endured to this day and is still, annoyingly, as catchy as ever nearly half a century later. 

Acclaimed music critic Lester Bangs may have been on to something when he described bubblegum as  'the basic sound of rock and roll, minus the rage, fear and violence.' Which is probably why I still get a kick out of hearing songs like this. (BTW - look at the classic chart countdown in the background while the record's playing.)

Shag - Loop-di-Love (1972)

But if Jonathan King is too much for you to stomach, here's the original version sung, a year earlier, by Juan Bastos. Imagine the Pied Piper being followed through the streets of Amsterdam not by rodents but instead by nubiles in calf length boots and hot pants. Well it was 1971.

Juan Bastos - Loop-di-Love (1971)

Wednesday 2 December 2020

2020 Wrapped

I'm guessing a few people are sharing these right now: if you have a Spotify account then it's that time of year when they tell you what you've been listening to during the last 12 months (a lockdown special, you could say). And they really do crunch the numbers and drill down into the stats. It's quite anoraky so I'll cut to the headlines.

It would appear that these are the five tunes that have helped provide my musical life support in 2020. You'll find the backstory to most of them I'm sure in the small print of my various back issues. Except maybe this one: it came out at the height of punk and despite my new wave leanings at the time I absolutely adored it.  And still do, obviously, as it made #5 in this highly bespoke/made to measure chart. 

Space were a French outfit and this, their debut single, came out on the Pye label in that highly distinctive pink bag of theirs. And that, truth be known, just about sums up everything I know about this early slice of electronica. Imagine Daft Punk with keytars.

Space - Magic Fly (1977)

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Forever Autumn

1 December 2020

They say every man should have a hobby; I'm not sure if this counts, but my pet project over the last few weeks has been photographing the beech tree outside my front door; from the same vantage point and at (roughly) the same time of day. I put the first few in a collage, the rest have been posted on my Twitter feed. At some point someone will have to politely tap me on the shoulder and say "'Enough with the tree already, John." But until such time as the pubs and caffs reopen again it's kind of all I've got right now.

Claire Martin - Brilliant Trees (1999)

Monday 30 November 2020


On Christmas Eve many years ago my heavily pregnant mother fell down a flight of stairs in a Hull department store. Although she probably jingled all the way, nothing was broken; not there and then anyway - however her waters did break four days later and, instead of being a January baby, I decided to make my way kicking and screaming into this world on December 28th.
The department store in question - Hammonds of Hull - has been lovingly recreated by artist and illustrator Nick Coupland in his new collection Modernist Lines, Brutalist Shapes. As you can see, the staircase which led to my 'early doors' all those years ago has been evoked perfectly in his pen and ink drawing.

Friday 27 November 2020

(New) Normal

Earlier this month the acclaimed Nottingham Poetry Festival celebrated its 5th anniversary (can it really be 12 months since last year's event?*); befitting of the times it was, of course, held totally online with 'ticket holders' enjoying gigs and readings in the luxury of their own homes via, you've guessed it, Zoom. 

Will the word zoom, I wonder, in years to come, fill the population with varying degrees of dread or, will it, at its mere mention make our hearts go boom? One for future linguistic historians I'm sure. This year we were privileged to have one of my favourite poets - and co-founder of the festival - former local lad, Henry Normal. Henry was beamed into my kitchen last Friday direct from his Brighton home. Not the same as the real thing, you'll agree, but I'd have struggled to have enjoyed his performance any more even had he have bombed up the motorway on what was a wet and windy Nottingham night.

Henry's new collection is called The Escape Plan. As soon as bookshops are open again I shall be blagging myself a copy, nothing's so sure. And when I do it'll be hard not to hear Henry's dulcet Nottingham vowels in my head as I read it in my kitchen; whilst slurping a cup of tea, most likely.

Henry Normal - 'Not My Cup of Tea' (2020)

* Er, no: it's actually 18 months. And a huge thank you to Georgina Wilding for helping to lay on such a lavish festival in what has been a challenging year to say the least.

Friday 20 November 2020

Ready, Steady, Friday!

A woman of many tee shirts

For this week's Be-Bop Friday I'm delighted to hand over the reins to a new Twitter friend of mine, Carolyn Perry. Carolyn only came to my notice fairly recently; I knew she was a huge punk fan, but it was the tee shirt she was sporting in her profile picture that gave the game away - wearing an iconic '45' shirt can only mean one thing - another Generation X disciple!
Thank you for taking the time, Carolyn. 

"I didn’t get to see Generation X until 1993 when they played a reunion gig at the Astoria as part of a Billy Idol concert. I grew up in Stourbridge and it wasn’t until I started going out with a punk in late ‘77 that I occasionally managed to get into Brum for gigs, though it often involved sneaking out of the house and getting changed at mates’ houses. The lyrics to Kiss Me Deadly really bring back that time for me, just substitute the number 30 bus for the 130 to Birmingham.

‘Seven o'clock they stand in rank

For the thirty bus uptown

And later in a downstairs room

She pulls her lover down

In ecstasy but they can't make a sound

Case her mother might come down’

By the time I left home and moved to London in September '79 Generation X were all but done, and then Billy Idol moved to the US and went solo. It was an exciting time for music with the launch of MTV and Billy’s songs were perfect for new media of music video. Accused of being ‘too pretty for punk’, Billy really suited this format and is a charismatic performer (also I am a sucker for blond spikey hair, which the aforementioned boyfriend also had). I particularly like Billy’s early solo stuff – White Wedding is a phenomenal song and Rebel Yell is my favourite of his albums. I even joined the Billy Idol fan club at one point and have still got the T-shirt!

Idol with guitarist Steve Stevens (Carolyn's pic)

Idol and James wrote some great songs together, and I know I’m in the minority but I think Generation X/Gen X were underrated. I’m hoping that there might be another reunion at some point, but until then I’m glad that Billy is still rocking. I saw him on his 2014 and 2018 tours and he didn’t disappoint. He’s responsible for a lot of timeless tunes and let’s face it, 2020 has been the year for Dancing With Myself*P.S. This video of still sends shivers down my spine."

Generation X - Kiss Me Deadly (1978)

* Funnily enough, Carolyn, I was only saying the same thing myself.  

Thursday 19 November 2020

Love Fife

Mental health issues, spiralling debts and a penchant for self destruction. No, I'm not talking about the present incumbent of the White House. Or even our own hapless Prime Minister. They are, however, the three main reasons why the finest folktronica band ever to come out of Fife are no longer with us. They sadly, though not unsurprisingly, pressed their very own nuclear button in 2004. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Beta Band. 

Dry the Rain (1997)

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Ode to Billie Jo

Blankets - not 100% safe

Who remembers when the KLF got it on with Tammy Wynette? Yep, it was 1991- the musical landscape at the time was, to say the least, very housey and drenched in acid (sorry, Aciiiid!) and their resulting lovechild became something of an ear-worm, long before such a thing was even a thing.

Bent tried something similar a number of years later when they and Billie Jo Spears, ahem, laid their blanket on the ground. The electronica duo from Nottingham sampled two of Billie Jo's songs (But I Do and Hurt - both from 1975) and set them against the most infectious bass line you're ever likely to hear. What Ms. Spears thought about the fruit of their union is sadly not documented. I'd like to think she'd have approved. 

Bent - So Long Without You (2003)

Thursday 5 November 2020

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Brevity; the idea that less is more. It's a notion I swear by. If you can say it in an eight line poem, then do so. With apologies to Tolstoy, but I'm sure War and Peace could have been condensed into two sides of A4.
Like Bowie, Robert Frost's command of the language was such that he could write a poem as powerful as Nothing Gold Can Stay with room to spare. Autumn - and life - encapsulated in a mere 40 words. It's one of my favourite pieces of prose.

Nature's first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf's a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

27 October 2020

There is a beautiful beech tree outside my front door. It must be 200 years old if it's a day. Although I've only lived in this house a little over three years, I feel as if I've known this tree all my life.
I took a photograph of it at the end of October with a fish eye lens. I then tweeted it and said that if I was to take another photograph of it 24 hours later it would look different again. It did. And it has done every day since. These two photos are separated by just over a week - the collage below is a daily record. (I know what I'm like - I can see me continuing to photograph this tree every day.)

5 November 2020

Friday 30 October 2020

Baby Baby Baby! (It's a Beano Friday)

Welcome to another Be-Bop Friday - slightly rebadged today in honour of one of my best friends. That's Mark (Beano to his buddies) pictured above - the photograph will make perfect sense, I'm sure, by the time you've read his love letter to a band that still make the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, some four decades after he first discovered them.


"Do you remember your first kiss? Of course you do! Mine was from a girl called Sarah Blackburn, she lived on our street and I would have been maybe 10, fancied her like mad for ages. Likewise, I bet you remember the first band you discovered. I do too, and their music still gives me goosebumps to this day. At one time they were the biggest band around. They reached the dizzy heights of Number 1 no less than six times in the 70s - and remember you needed to sell a million copies in those days to reach the top spot. Three Number One 1 albums followed; one of which is considered up there with the very best live albums ever (I’ve just voted for it in Classic Rock’s best live album poll). 

They made a film too, a proper one, which you went to the flicks to see. It was way ahead of its time and showed the dark side of the music business. Years after its release it would be described by BBC film critic, Mark Kermode as 'the Citizen Kane of rock musicals.' The movie subsequently went on to achieve critical acclaim.

Know who it is yet? Well, Q magazine once described  them as ‘the missing link between Oasis and the Beatles’ - Oasis would go on to record a splendid cover version of one of their hitz and then play it in front of an adoring 60,000 fans at Maine Road, Manchester. But let me guess, you still don't know who it is. (I think we do, Mark! John).

The band is SLADE, and they get little recognition for their considerable input to this great nation’s music scene other than for a certain festive hit. Not that is until you venture into my world: bitten by the bug in the early 80s via one of those compilation albums SLADE Smashes, I couldn’t believe what I was listening too. It was awesome, with that voice hitting you between the eyes like a sledgehammer. The Black Country Boyz even returned to the charts for me, reinvented with Noddy as the Rock 'n' Roll Preacher. Every locker in my school had the words ‘BEANO – SLADE’ plastered all over them: Beano being my nickname (still is, 40 years later) and SLADE being my band

Their second coming lasted till the mid 80’s when they were cast aside chart wise, but I still got my fix by going to Slade related TV shows & and conventions - attended by the Magic 500, a bunch of like minded super fans whose sole purpose was to turn it up to 11 and 'Stamp your feet and clap your hands.' These events have created some amazing friendships which go far wider than just the love of music, and nobody can take that away; no matter what the non-disciples may think.

And the love affair continues to this day, with walls full of memorabilia and guess what? My band returning to the album charts (in the Top 10, again) with a look back at past glories in the shape of Cum On Feel The Hitz. Time for this SLADE super fan to feel normal again, well at least for a little while!

So, don’t forget your first love, and, remember, SLADE are for life, not just for Christmas!"

A huge thank you to Mark for this. As you can see, Beano is now the proud owner of Jim Lea's confetti jacket - the one he wore on the front cover of their 1972 album, Slayed? Though I'm told it's a little on the snug side.

Monday 26 October 2020


One day I'll tell the story of the Dap-Kings, the funk powerhouse behind Sharon King, and the band who provided all things funkular on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album. That they are signed to Daptone Records shouldn't really come as any surprise. As I say, one day. 

Another horn heavy act on the label is The Budos Band. Their sound is a tad more aggressive but with a sprinkling of soul and Afro Beats thrown into a glorious mix of loud guitars, horns and percussion. Think Rocket From the Crypt (sans bowling shirts) rubbing shoulders with John Barry. Kinda like this:

Budos Band - Gun Metal Grey (2020)

Friday 23 October 2020

Jack Jones

The ultimate social distancing song? Well that's easy, innit? When Billy Idol and Tony James visited Tokyo in 1979 they went to a couple of clubs where they saw kids dancing on their own in front of a bank of mirrors. On the plane back to the UK James scribbled a few lyrics down and Idol, once back in London, hung a tune around them (it was always that way around). 

There were to be several versions of Dancing With Myself; the original demo featuring Generation X guitarist Bob Derwood Andrews - that never saw the light of day for 20 years as the band broke up the minute Derwood unplugged his amp. Idol and James then licked their wounds and regrouped (literally) - as Gen X - bringing in a raft of session guitar players including ex-Pistol Steve Jones. But they too split up - only two months after the finished version made its way on to their Kiss Me Deadly album released in January 1981.

And then Billy took it to America where he faded all the guitars and instead cranked up the percussion - turning it, you've guessed it, into a dance track. The song made him (with a little help from MTV) and he never looked back.

So which version have I gone with today? The answer is: none of the above. I hope you like it!

Chloe Feoranzo - Dancing With Myself (2019)

With thanks to Rol

Monday 19 October 2020

Swiss Time

In 1964 Switzerland held a national exposition. The Swiss like expositions - they have one every 25 years; you can almost set your watch by them. This one was was known colloquially as Expo 64 and was hosted by Lausanne, situated on the Lake Geneva shoreline. Amongst the myriad of attractions were the Spiral Tower and the Monorail - which amazingly survive to this day. However, looking at the monorail it was no match for the one at Butlins - both of a similar vintage.

One of the many Kodachrome slides in my collection is this one dated September 1964 - written on the back is LAUSANNE EXPO. 1964. Researching  what was on display at the time I think this photograph may have been taken in the L'art de Vivre (Art of Life) section. It's a personal favourite of mine.

Sunday 18 October 2020


Edward Hopper - self portrait

I slipped anchor this weekend; a getaway to the seaside for 24 hours in a bid to energise my failing batteries. With a fair wind and a watery sun I pointed the car in an easterly direction and trusted to luck. I can't remember the last time I visited Skegvegas, and even if I could I doubt very much it would make my Top 10 Memories list.

Like a lot of seaside towns its fall from grace (if grace was indeed where it fell from) is apparent the minute you clap eyes on it. The kebab shops and amusement arcades look even more tacky than before and the air was thick with chip oil, candy floss and despair (not necessarily in that order). Wait till it gets dark I thought to myself; like Ray Davies' Lola she'll look better at night. And, sure enough, at the stroke of dusk, with nothing more than a splash of neon, the turd, though not polished, is temporarily rolled in glitter. I took loads of photographs to commemorate my smash and grab raid on the town, but the one I want to share with you is a terrific Art Deco Italian restaurant down a little back street away from the glitz. It was like something Hopper would have painted - if he was unlucky enough to find himself billeted 22 miles north-east of Boston, Lincolnshire, that is. 

Sunday 11 October 2020

Love Comes in Waves

I split my Saturday evening listening between BBC Radio London's perpetually excited Gary Crowley and BBC Radio Nottingham's Dean Jackson (more becalmed than GC but still excited on the inside - celebrating 30 years of his excellent Saturday show 'The Beat'). But I can't for the life of me remember which one of them played this next tune I'm featuring. It's by Andy Bell (yes, I know there's two; it's the Ride and Oasis one, not the Erasure one).

Unlike his previous employer, Noel Gallagher, who was forever channelling Beatles tunes overlaid with Marc Bolan riffs, Bell appears to be picking up where the Stone Roses left off and is resurrecting a sound that many listeners will remember as part of the Madchester/Baggy scene; whilst others (with younger ears) will probably tell you it's a sound that never went away.

Either way, here's his new single. It skips along at quite a pace and I think it's worth four minutes of your time. Can't say fairer than that now can I?

Andy Bell - Love Comes in Waves (2020)

Saturday 10 October 2020

Is all Hope Lost?

I went out on Thursday evening. My sojourns into town have been getting less and less frequent. Hopping on a bus and going out for a drink is no longer the carefree, joyful experience it once was; yes, even going into the city on a No. 17 bus was, I realise now, joyful - I just didn't know it at the time: no masks, no drivers behind  perspex screens, no sanitising stations, no Orwellian safety announcements on the tannoy. And disgorging at the other end, piling into a bar and meeting friends is now a very different proposition; the hoops we now have to jump through just to make any of the above happen have ensured that every last bit of fun has been utterly squeezed out of life. 
This isn't living; this is nothing more than existing - we're all, every last one of us, merely going through the motions. And it's gonna get a whole lot worse. When the widely predicted stricter restrictions come into force next week (as they surely must), any last glimmer of hope for a return to even just a modicum of normality will have finally been extinguished.

(I took one last photo. It was dark and miserable. Quite.)  

Friday 9 October 2020

Can You Make This Thing Go Any Faster?

e lost another one of our own this week. I think it's safe to say that Eddie Van Halen was the guitarist's guitarist. We were talking about him in the pub last night and my friend Richard said he always played with a smile on his face. Not something many guitar players do; think of any guitarist off the top of your head and you can almost see them grimacing as they squeeze out another tired solo. Not Eddie. Rest easy, my friend.

And how many guitarists sound even better when you speed them up 2X? Even 3X? I can only think of one:

Apollo 440 - Ain't Talkin' 'bout Dub (1997)

And for the purists:

Van Halen - Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love (1978)

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen (1955-2020)

Thursday 8 October 2020

How Men Are

I've said it on here before, but I love songwriting. The idea of starting the day with a blank piece of paper and finishing it with a bunch of lyrics hanging on a melody that hadn't existed when the sun came up is still a fantastic feeling. My dalliance with the craft can best be described as fleeting - I only flirt with it (I'd love to commit, but I'm hampered by my questionable ability), hence if I write two songs a year then I'm doing well. To make up for my cripplingly low output I bask in the songs of others; proper songwriters.  

So what makes a proper songwriter? You know how good a songwriter is when your peers want to cover your songs. Roddy Frame is one such exponent. Both with Aztec Camera and solo his mastery of the dark art is not up for debate. Clive Gregson (no songwriting slouch he) obviously concurs. In 1990 when Clive was still knocking around with Christine Collister they recorded a beguiling version of one of Roddy's signature tunes as part of a blinding covers collection entitled Love is a Strange Hotel. It still knocks me for six every time I hear it. But here's the original. And this knocks me for seven.

Aztec Camera - How Men Are (1987)

Friday 2 October 2020

My Life in 10 Objects (#10)

I was certainly standing on the shoulders of giants when I commissioned myself to write this homage series; the idea that there are 10 objects I'd run into a burning building to rescue is really nothing more than me storing my thoughts in a safe place so that I can maybe look at them again when my memory maybe isn't as sharp as it is now. Which, in all honesty, is probably why, a decade after I started, I regularly update this journal, this web log. (Without getting too deep here, I'm not afraid of dying; but I am afraid of getting old; there, I've said it. When I look back at my life thus far I often think that much of it happened to somebody else, not me; a version of me, but not the me I recognise through the lens of 2020.)

But I digress. I said at the outset of this project that I would also mention the items that didn't make the cut. Of course I can't possibly list all the trinkets that have come into my possession over the last six decades. But here are a few that just missed the crucial cut off: my paperback copy of Magnus Mills' All Quiet on the Orient Express; my guitar; the bagatelle Santa put in my sack in 1966; a square of my Nanna's sewing; a set of Beatles autographs (fakes, but I don't care); one of my (many) watches; my mother's music box; the mixing bowl I use to make bread. All precious to me, but not as precious as this.

I've wanged on about this band quite a lot around here so, I won't bore you any further; suffice it to say this is my last item and these are the stats.

What's it called? Block Buster!

Who's it by? The Sweet

When and where purchased? January 1973/Grantham Market

How much? 25p

Number of plays? 17,550 in its first year alone*

Has there ever been a better single released since? Hell, no!

Will it be going in my coffin with me? Of course

* That's a very precise number, I hear you say. But I reckon I listened to it at least 50 times a day thru 1973 (less my two week holiday in Ireland). So, I make that (365 -14) x 50 = 17,550.

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Summer Fever

I guess it was quite fitting that the last piece of music I should hear tonight, just as September stepped politely to one side and ushered another hapless month in, was a track called Summer Fever. However, this is one Summer I won't be looking back on with anything other than contempt; similar to the withering look I give people in supermarkets if they're not wearing a face covering. Considering I'm only using my eyes it's a look I'm quite proud of, strangely.

Anyway, this track. I'm really quite taken with it. It could have been written by Ron Sexsmith or Andy Partridge. Or even Paul McCartney. That's how good it is. I hope you like it too. Stay safe everyone. And wear your f*cking mask. Please. 

Dzihan & Kamien - Summer Fever (2009)

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Cracking the Code

In a world already tipped on its head, the very thought that I would be offering New Blogger tips to others (and not vice versa) would, you'd have thought, be a stretch of the imagination too far even for regular visitors to this remote outpost of the internet. 

But I could see that in my recent posts, and posts by fellow bloggers too, featuring uploaded Youtube videos, the video footage could only be viewed whilst in 'web version' (i.e. when you're looking at the post on a PC or Mac), but not in 'mobile version' (it disappeared totally when viewed from your phone). And the reason why? It's all in the html code. However, after a little chin stroking and not an inconsiderable amount of exasperation, I've been able to crack the code. Me!

So, if you have trouble viewing your blog videos on your phone, please drop a self stamped addressed envelope to Medd Towers and I promise I'll get back to you before the clocks go back.

In the meantime here's the ridiculously talented Rachel Flowers playing a Keith Emerson piece she learned by ear.

Rachel Flowers - The Endless Enigma