I managed to get a tank of gasoline earlier today: dropped lucky on a mildly busy Shell forecourt around lunchtime and filled 'er up. My relief was palpable. FFS, how has it come to this? Covid was horrific, but the aftershock following Brexit will be felt for years to come. What a time to be alive. I dread to think what fresh hell will land in our laps between now and the next election. Though whatever does come our way in the next 24/36 months I guarantee it will only make me poorer, angrier and sadder. That much I do know.
On a jauntier note, I hope you like today's photograph; I took it in Lambley - a little village not far from me.
It won't have escaped your notice that Saint Etienne have a new long player out at the moment: I've Been Trying to Tell You is as diverse as you'd expect it to be yet, at the same time, as familiar as you want it to be. Does that make sense? That's a rhetorical question btw; if I get asked one more time, after somebody has told me the most basic of information, 'does that make sense?,' I think I'll swing for them. Does that make sense?
I fell in love with Sarah Cracknell's pipes a long, long time ago; and still her voice makes me giddy. Even though she never sang on their first single Only Love Can Break Your Heart, I still, in my head, think it's her. Does that make sense?
Anyway, enough of this rhetoric nonsense. This is Sarah Cracknell - taken from, surely, a contender for Album of the Year. I hope you like it.
There's a point in The Last Bus, Timothy Spall's new film, where Tom, the pensioner Spall plays, is asked to show his bus pass; you can just make out the year of his birth -1929; a bit of a reach for an actor nearly 30 years his junior? No, not really. With minimal make-up, a stoop and a walking cane the character you see before you is every bit as believable as the numerous BAFTA nominations Spall has received over an acting career spanning more than 40 years (he made his film debut in Quadrophenia in 1979).
It's a beautiful movie; emotional but not mawkish; sentimental but not schmaltzy. And yes, if you're anything like me, you'll be weeping buckets before the closing credits.
Who wants to live forever? Cryogenics, anyone? Nah, me neither. This kind of appeals tho' - my friends Julian and Kerry have been immortalised via the medium of Scalextric. You heard right; slot car racing is a big thing at The Dragon pub in Nottingham. So much so, not only can you take part but you can be in the crowd; as in be in the crowd. Pretty cool, huh?
London DJ and electronic musician Peter O'Grady a.k.a. Joy Orbison has finally got round to releasing his first full length album. And true to form Still Slipping Vol. 1 has been recorded and segued much like a mix-tape: beats and ambient rhythms that work, I think, just as well in my car as it would, and I'm really going out on a limb here, in a club (though, for reasons too many to list here, please don't quote me on that).
I'm not sure where you'll be listening to it, but throw your headphones on, go for a walk and see where it takes you; literally. Here's a wee taster...
Dennis Wilson was a proper Beach Boy; the only Wilson who could surf, for one. Probably better than his drumming, that's for sure (his percussion parts were regularly overdubbed in the studio by session guys). Not that it bothered him; Dennis was a rock star - he had money to spend, drugs to take, gangs to join, women to fuck and cars to trash.
But the middle brother came good during the band's fallow period in the early 70s when Brian's head began to unravel. Some of his songs, whilst maybe not as pitch perfect as his elder sibling's symphonic masterpieces, nevertheless had a certain unique quality that carried the group through their quieter years. Cuddle Up, co-written with 'Captain' Daryl Dragon (he and his partner, Toni Tennille, were both bona fide Beach Boys [and girl] at the time) is a nailed on classic. It's a timeless song that sits rightly at any top table of classic Beach Boys records. I love it.
I've had better weeks; that's for sure. Though, truth be told, testing positive for Covid on Monday didn't really come as a major surprise. I just think I've been riding my luck for the last 18 months; we all have.
And has it put a crimp in my life? Hell, yeah. Just in the immediate short term I had to cancel my blood donor session last night, get a refund on my Leeds Beer Festival tix this weekend and then put a call thru to friends cancelling our visit to Scotland next week. But, you know what? It doesn't matter. Really, it doesn't matter; in the grand scheme of things. I'm still the right side of the grass - and for that I'm eternally grateful.
A couple of things that I'd like to share with you as I sit here self isolating. The first of which I'm sure a lot of you can relate to. We've all seen those 'Lost' and 'Missing' flyers stuck on telegraph poles. Cats and dogs. Sometimes hamsters. But nearly always cats. Sherwood in Nottingham - where I live - is certainly no exception. But what happens if and when they're found? And how do we know? The owners often take the posters down, but that doesn't definitively tell us that Tiddles has turned up after 48 hours spent under next door's spare bed. But last week there was lovely bit of footage I saw of an owner taking down her Lost poster whilst carrying the recently found feline under her arm. The perfect story arc. Frustratingly, I can't find the film for the life of me; instead I'm posting a rather quaint photograph (above) I think is self explanatory. Or is it?
KEXP Radio in Seattle have been knocking it out of the park for well over 20 years; their live sessions have gained legendary status with featured acts, from both sides of the Atlantic, using their appearance as major bragging rights. And Vanishing Twin are no exception. If you ever find yourself having to self isolate, stick the kettle on and give their sesh a spin. Until such time, however, here's a quick fix: this is their latest single: