Sunday 27 November 2022

I close my eyes and I see you next to me

I went to see John Power on Friday night at The Bodega. It was a very intimate gig; he spoke warmly and candidly about how Lee Mavers mentored him when he was in the La's and showed him how to write songs. Since the last time I saw John (in 1995 when Cast played at Trent Uni) I appear to have grown old (when did that happen?) and he's ended up writing one of the finest songs ever to have come out of this country in the last 30 years. 

John Power - Mariner (live, 2009)

The Bodega is one of my favourite venues in Nottingham. It only holds a couple of hundred people and lends itself to photographing bands and artists. As well as capturing them 'head on' it's got a little rail at the side next to the steps where the bands walk on stage; perfect for leaning on and getting some backlit shots from behind...

Friday 25 November 2022

Been waiting for the bus all day

I'd love to think that in a parallel universe there's another me, a nerdier version of me, if you will, who is passionate about stamps; but only stamps with buses on them. This version of me, let's call him John Medd 2.0, is continually visiting stamp fairs all over the world - tracking down every postage stamp from every country ever to bear the image of a humble bus.

I think I'd get on with him. We'd probably bump into each other at the airport, or in some European city square while I was photographing a laundromat and he was, I don't know, on his way to some far-flung philatelic convention. I like him already; we should meet up for a drink sometime.  

ZZ Top - Waiting for the Bus (1973)

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Bus times

Whatever happened to the Partridge Family bus? The one painted in the style of Dutch abstract Piet Mondrian; it probably won't surprise you that there are as many websites dedicated solely to this mystery as there are stars in the solar system. However, long story short, the 1955 Chevrolet 6800 purchased by the TV company in 1970 (from a school district in Orange County, California) for the show's pilot, finally met its maker in 1987. (There are witnesses who saw it in the scrapyard).

So, if you've seen one after then, rest assured you're looking at a copy. A bit like the Mondrian hanging in my office.

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)

Saturday 19 November 2022

That's Living, alright

Apologies for my absence; it was something of an enforced hiatus brought about by gremlins in the works. My Mac is currently very poorly (thoughts and prayers etc.) and is out of commission until James does his laying on of hands thing and (hopefully) brings it back from the dead - Lazarus style. In the meantime, I'm bringing any foreseeable new content to you c/o a rather handsome reconditioned laptop I picked up in Sherwood this morning - which is a million times faster than the Mac currently and is a dream to work with.

Before I was so rudely interrupted, and before my old machine went loco, I was halfway through writing about the lovely Jacqui Abbott. It was also before I'd been to see Living, the new Bill Nighy film. I'll try and pick up where I left off...  


It was Jacqui Abbott's birthday on Thursday. A belated Happy Birthday, Jacqui, from all at Medd Towers. 

I was watching the recent Word in Your Ear podcast earlier and in it Jacqui talks really movingly and affectionately about how she met Paul Heaton and ultimately joined the Beautiful South; as well as the huge part her family played - and continue to play - in her musical life. Fast forward to 19:55 and see just how nervous her dad was before her first 'warm up' gig in Middlesborough in 1993. You can see in this interview with Mark Ellen & David Hepworth how grounded this northern lass is and is so not a diva.

Paul Heaton is a consummate songwriter. His barbed lyrics come wrapped in a tune and a melody so at odds, often, with the words that he's able to sing about stuff you wouldn't normally hear on national daytime radio. Don't Marry Her (Fuck Me) being one that springs to mind. It's not very often, therefore, that you see him tackle someone else's songs. Especially not a middle of the road, lighters aloft, soft rock anthem. That said, Heaton and Abbott play this particular Russ Ballard penned power ballad in a rather gentler fashion and, no, Ritchie Blackmore does not come out from behind the curtain to play the solo.

Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott - Since You've Been Gone (2022)


I went to Nottingham's Broadway Cinema last Sunday and saw a film that should clean up at any and indeed all upcoming awards. Best film, best screenplay, best actor, best support: Living, Kazuo Ishiguro, Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood. There, I've called it. Lemme know what you think.

Living (2022)

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Owl Wednesday

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Brevity is everything. This beautiful ditty by Monster Rally clocks in at a little under two minutes and is pure pop perfection. It's the opposite of Monday Long Song; which I love btw - I often contribute myself - but sometimes less is more. I think this bookends yesterday's offering by Jon Kennedy perfectly. I like that; Jon from Manchester and Ted Feighan (Ted is Monster Rally) from Cleveland, Ohio. I wonder if they've met?

Monster Rally - Sister Owls (2019)

Tuesday 8 November 2022


If ever a track could be paired with the hashtag Immaculate Vibes I doubt you'd find a more exact match than this. Jon Kennedy was 'discovered' by acclaimed Manchester DJ and tea connoisseur Mr. Scuff and, between them, in a sizzling Stockport studio, they sculpted this absolute nailed on, made to measure, slice of soul funk finery. 

Wrap your ears around it and it's like being transported to some mythical higher ground - carried aloft by nothing more than air. If this track doesn't appear on the next playlist I put together for you then you have every right to withdraw your friendship from me and/or feed me to the wolves.

Jon Kennedy - Funk Boutique (2013)

Saturday 5 November 2022

It's years since you've been there


Both Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn announced this week they have recorded a new Everything but the Girl album and that it'll be coming out in the Spring. In a week that's been far from brilliant this really is a tonic for the troops. (Their last album came out in 1999, can you believe?). And I really hope I'm not putting the cart before the horse, but talk of some 2023 live dates surely can't be far away...

Everything but the Girl - Missing (1995)