Sunday, 19 March 2023


I was in Sheffield yesterday. It's only an hour's drive up the M1*, so after a pretty torrid week it was good to slip anchor and catch up with friends over a couple of beers and pull in Ian Prowse's gig at Greystones. The garage building (above) was just up from the road from our digs and, yes, I did smile back. It is contagious after all; just ask John Eric Bartholomew...

Morecambe and Wise (1971)

* I was due to catch the train but Mick and the lads were fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023


Some things in life pass you by; for whatever reason you don't latch onto them. It's OK. These things happen. It should never be held against you. Well, not in a court of law, anyway. I can think of three straight off the bat: Withnail  and I; Dr. Pepper; Yes.
I know, I can almost hear you shouting at your computer screen now - ''But Withnail is a classic! Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann's performances were off the chart.'' If you say so. Likewise the fizzy drink from Hell. And that bunch of proggers & their Roger bloody Dean album covers. Whoop-de-doo.

And yet, and yet. I do rather like Roundabout. It featured on a playlist I was sent a little while ago and I was quite taken with it. Here it is in full, all 8+ minutes of it. I love everything about it, and I'm especially partial to the acoustic guitar intro, before it goes all mental. You may not agree, of course. That's your prerogative. In which case, as I said at the top of the piece, nobody will hold it against you. Except Jon Anderson, of course. You may, however, like this: it's the pared down radio edit weighing in at a mere 3:28. A mini Roundabout, if you will. I'll get my greatcoat.

Saturday, 11 March 2023


Doris (2003-2023)

It's been a sad week this week, I don't mind telling you. We lost a family member on Thursday. Doris had been with us a couple of months shy of 20 years when she took her final bow and disappeared behind the curtain one last time; walking into the vet's with a cat in a basket and leaving 30 minutes later with the same empty basket is something we've had to do on more than one occasion - but it never gets any easier. She was the sweetest natured animal I think we've ever had. Rest easy, little one. And say hello to Tom for us.

In other (more cheerier) news, Georgie is now officially 11½ carpet stripes long. Although he keeps looking for Doris I think he knows, deep down, she's not coming back...


I couldn't not post my favourite picture of Tom: it was taken when we were living up in North Yorkshire and about to hang 'his' painting.

Monday, 6 March 2023

I always flirt with death

Peter Perret is a lot of things - singer, guitarist, songwriter to name but three. He's also been many more - addict, junkie, lost, washed up. And that's just for starters. As head honcho of the Only Ones, Perrett wrote one of punk's defining singles
Another Girl, Another Planet. Before the drugs took over he really could have been a contender.

After decades of drug addled addiction Perrett came back from the brink a couple of years ago (''I feel like a cockroach that survived a nuclear war'') and, with the help of his sons, has gone on to make a couple of splendid solo records. This being the title track from his comeback album.

Pete Perrett - How the West Was Won (2017)

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Green credentials

We probably all experience mild bouts of synaesthesia in our day to day lives: associating numbers, letters, words even, with colours seems neither trippy or in anyway unusual when we find our our minds in that zone. If I said I do it all the time I'd be lying; that said, I know that both the number three and word March shout green to me so, here we go again - our third themed photo session of the year. For 2023 back issues you can see what we were doing in January here, and February right here. O.K., let's see what we've got... 

I've probably spending more time than is good for me lately in local churchyards. For a start I often eat my lunch in them; if the benches aren't covered in guano that is. Recently I've noticed some of the tombstones have been stuck in the ground so long that the moss has all but taken over; good luck with your etchings and finding out who's lying beneath. Here are four random shots.

If you follow me on Twitter you'll probably have seen that I like to play around with filters. A couple of weekends ago I shared a number of photographs I've taken recently at two of my favourite power stations. (Yes, I really can rank power stations; to be honest I can rank anything if I've got a pen and paper in front of me.) Anyway, back to Power Station Saturday (nothing says literal quite like literal, I find) - here are two garishly green filtered shots of Battersea and Ratcliffe-on-Soar I posted from that particular collection.



And last, but not least, from me anyway, is a street sign situated but a stone's throw from the River Trent in Nottingham and one I saw on my travels last weekend. I think it fits this month's theme, don't you?

Green Street, NG2


I really like throwing these things open. Being a lover of photography I'm keen to see other people's photographs and get an insight into what they're all about through their images. I've been following Swiss Adam both on Twitter and in the blogosphere for a long, long time and am always blown away by the juxtaposition between his writing, his choice of music and his, often, stark photography.

Here's Adam in his own words. 'A piece of canal side machinery - winching gear for shutting the canal and draining it, I believe. And I rather liked this wall and tiles in a local bar too.' 

Winching gear
Bar tiles

Next up is C from Sun Dried Sparrows and what I initially thought was an aerial view of a stately home garden. Oh how wrong I was: 'Hi John, a pic for March's photo theme. On this rainy February day I noticed a rather dirty, damp doormat - one of those rubber ones with drainage holes. The soft moss making its home inside the little cavities just struck me as being a sweet, simple reminder of nature's endurance in the most humble of places.' Thank you, C. It also reminded me of a quiz question Robert Robinson may have asked on Ask the Family; slowly zooming out from your cleverly cropped image!

Alyson too has tried to mess with both our heads with her selection for March. I'll let her explain: 'I went for something green in the unnatural world as oppose to the natural. I am totally confused by the reflections on the windows. The pale building is actually our Town House which is on the main street and up at the top of this picture and off to the left - so how can it be reflected on the window side of a street that doesn't face it?' How indeed? Nice one, Alyson.

And finally, a man of few words, Charity Chic who says, quite simply, 'John - lest I forget, my contribution to March's green theme.' Thank you, CC. And thank you to everyone who got involved. In the words of young Mr. Grace 'You've all done very well!' Feel free to join me again next month. I'll drop April's theme in the comments section below nearer the time.


P.S. 6.3.23

aka 'Show Notes' for April's photo theme (humour me, Rol)

The perceived etymology of April (from the Latin Aprilis) is from the verb aperire meaning to open. So next month I'm looking for photos of openings, doors, portals to other worlds; you snap it, I'll post it. Get them to me by the 1st if you can, that would be fab.

Saturday, 25 February 2023

Bang average

Before Ian Gillan and Roger Glover plucked up courage to join the big boys in the playground and become two fifths of the classic Mk. 2 version of Deep Purple, they were peddling their wares in a bang average soul revue band who went by the name of Episode Six. Fame and fortune alluded them but, as The Episode, they did put out this rather delightful single on the MGM label. (Is it me or does the guitar riff that runs through it put you in mind of this? Answers on a postcard.)

The Episode - Little One 1968

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Hot and fuzzy

When I read a band's bio and I see the phrase - 'Again the mainstream record buying public wanted no part of this nonsense' my ears always prick up. Who could possibly warrant such a public slap down? Stavely Makepeace, that's who. They would later become glam giants Lieutenant Pigeon; actually, they weren't glam giants at all. How could they be, they came from Coventry. Don't @me - for every Specials there's a Renee & Renato. But they did give us this slab of
1972 piano based tomfoolery - and for that we should be eternally grateful.
We should also be eternally grateful that they put this on the B side. As someone in the YouTube comments section below says 'I'd love to hear a 20 minute version of this.' So would I, my friend, so would I.

Lieutenant Pigeon - The Villain (1972)

Anyway, back to Stavely Makepeace. This charming little nugget (below) was released just before The Villain and, as you can hear, the seeds are being sown. And yes, Simon Pegg did use it to great effect many years later in Hot Fuzz.

Stavely Makepeace - Slippery Rock (1972)

Saturday, 18 February 2023

Papa Roach

Caught up with Andrew Roachford MBE at the Rescue Rooms this week. I last saw him over 10 years ago at The Bodega when I reviewed the gig for the paper and, I can honestly say, I'd almost forgotten just how amazing he is. From the moment he walked on stage to when he departed 90 minutes later he was pulling quality songs out of his arse left, right and centre. And he was having a ball. As was everyone in the room - a few of which (me included) were at his first ever Nottingham gig at Rock City 35 years ago. Where does the time go?


Roachford - Kathleen (1988)

Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Ian Prowse

Ian Prowse is one of this country's finest living songwriters. Regular visitors to my blog will be more than familiar with his work. He performs the length and breadth of the UK - nigh on constantly - with his band, Amsterdam, as well as solo, and was championed back in the day by fellow scousers John Peel and Janice Long. These days his peers, including Elvis Costello, regularly namedrop him and ask him to come on tour with them. And, as he will tell you, despite the rigours of touring he will always make it back to Liverpool on Monday nights for his legendary Open Mic session at the Cavern pub on Matthew Street.

I managed to nab Ian when he had a (rare) spare minute to ask him a few mildly probing questions. 

You're going through a real purple patch at the moment. You must be buzzing. Your latest album One Hand on the Starry Plough has really energised you (and your fans) – do you think it's your best record so far?

It's impossible to choose until some years have passed. Arm in Arm was always my fav piece of art so far because it’s a coherent reaction to debilitating heartbreak which I can easily locate on the rare occasions I listen to it.

Liverpool is etched thru your songs like Blackpool thru a stick of rock (Holy, Holy River/Does This Train Stop on Merseyside to name but two). And I think think you're right – there is a ley line that runs down Matthew Street. Are you consciously writing about your city/your backdrop/your roots or does it just spill out of you?

Yes it’s an important muse, almost like a person but it’s not conscious, ever. Liverpool isn’t better or more special than other places, it’s just different. It’s a place of lost displaced tribes from across the sea so it’s sentimental, edgy & keen to talk about itself. It’s never ever boring though, which after all is the greatest sin.

Ian Prowse - Hoy, Holy River (2022)

I hear a lot of Irish/Celtic/soul connections in your songs, but who are your musical heroes/influences and which songwriters turn you on? 

My furnace was lit by The Jam, taken to another level by Springsteen, brought into focus by The Waterboys & kept keen by The Clash, Damien Dempsey, REM, Christy Moore & 100 others.

Are Pele (Ian's previous band) and Amsterdam brothers from another mother? (Great band names btw.) What memories do Pele bring back – did you ever feel part of Britpop or were you spinning round in your own orbit at that time?

It’s exactly the same thing just at different points in my songwriting. Music business politics dictated a name change not me. 
We were pre-Britpop, we had a fiddle, there was anti-Gael sentiment under the surface of the music press so no we had nothing to do with all of that. I burnt a Union Jack on stage once so we would hardly be welcome! 

Christy Moore famously covered Does This Train Stop on Merseyside; when you write songs do you only envisage yourself singing them or can you hear other artists giving them a different treatment?

Nah just me. I’m only expressing myself.

Christy Moore - Does This Train Stop on Merseyside

You're obviously passionate about new talent – your Open Mic nights at the Cavern pub are legendary (11 years and counting). The music business is a different animal these days – what advice would you give to musicians starting out now?

Don’t try and get a record deal. It’s meaningless. Write songs that are undeniable to rise you above the morass. 
This of course is almost impossible to do. 

What are your plans for this year? More touring, more recording? 

There’s only two things you can do in this job. Play live and record. Fortunately for me I love them both profoundly.

Quickfire Round

Beatles or Stones? 

Beatles. Though I saw the Stones last year. Unbefuckinglievable!

33s or 45s?


Top deck of the bus or bottom? 


Beer or wine? 


First record you bought with your own money? 

This is the Modern World - The Jam. 

What are you listening to right now? 

Nuh Blame Rasta - Ministry of Love. 

Who should people vote for at the next GE? 

The Independent Socialist candidate. 


A huge thank you to Ian for taking the time. Go and see him if you can. He's celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pele's Fireworks album.
Here's a stripped down version of the title track...


Thursday, 9 February 2023

Let's Dance

It was James' birthday yesterday. I spoke to him on the phone and wished him Many Happy Returns. They were just waiting on a taxi to take them to the airport - he and Janni were flying to Cork for a couple of days. 

Janni then sent this short clip of the birthday boy; everybody dance now!

Monday, 6 February 2023

Valley Girl

Sarah Lancashire (probably not in uniform)

I've got previous, just ask The Swede; Charity Chic should have known better than to leave a good idea unattended. It wasn't even padlocked to a lamp post for crying out loud. What did he expect?

So, Happy Valley, the BBC's latest pot boiler, bowed out last night in a blaze of glory. No plot spoilers from me - but if you haven't seen the final episode yet, better make sure you've got a fully functioning fire extinguisher in your kitchen; you never know when some knife wielding homicidal maniac will pop round and douse themselves in petrol. Back to Charity Chic. Yes, Valley songs: I'm all for 'em. Especially the Skids' Ahoy, Ahoy, Barman & Soda. (That is what he's singing isn't it?)

But this remains my fave: Moon Zappa - aged just 14 at the time - aping the archetypal Los Angeles teen persona for her old man while he kept the tape rolling.

Frank Zappa - Valley Girl (1982)

A huge thank you to CC for being such a good sport. Even though he doesn't know about this yet...

Wednesday, 1 February 2023


February - from the Latin februum, meaning purification. I said a little while ago I'd be posting one or two pictures on the first of every month during 2023 and, sure enough (this time with a water theme, no matter how tenuous) here's Month 2's selection. (In case you missed January, look no further.)
The photograph below was taken in Leicester a couple of weeks ago on one of my photo excursions (just me rocking up at Nottingham station with nothing more than my camera and a rucksack (with a book and a chocolate bar) jumping on a random train and seeing where I end up. The fountain in a city centre square was backlit by the sun and really caught my attention; as did the pub just up the road where I repaired to a couple of minutes after this image was captured. More on The Blue Boar I'm sure in future posts...

My second photograph will probably comes as no surprise. Last Thursday's visit to the capital was special. For lots of reasons. I'm in the middle of writing up a few words and will share with you in the next few days, I'm sure. In the meantime, here's a photo of Mother Thames taken from the top of a certain power station in SW11.

Helping me out with this month's photo challenge are a couple of my favourite bloggers: Alyson and C are not only great virtual friends, but real - in the flesh - friends who I was privileged to spend time with last year in Edinburgh at BlogCon22.
Alyson first - 'A bit twee but it was dusk and we spotted these swans on a flooded area of the local golf course - loved how the light hit the water.' Twee? Not a bit of it; a brilliant photo, Alyson. Thank you.

C is a fabulous artist and illustrator. She says 'Here's a piccy for your photo theme - my little much loved water pot (I call her Potula) - where I dip and rinse my paintbrushes every day.'
Perfect, C! Just what I was after, thank you so much.


Hall & Oates - Family Man (taken from their 1983 album, H2O)

Sunday, 29 January 2023


''It's a diary entry covering one weekend in 1973.'' So said Brian Protheroe of his one and only hit, Pinball, which reached  the dizzy heights of No.22 the following year. Protheroe had just split up with his girlfriend and was crashing at a friend's flat in Covent Garden. Living in London's fashionable West End was obviously not all it was cracked up to be; running out of pale ale, with fleas in the bedroom and flies in the bathroom just adding to his woes. And if all that wasn't bad enough, turns out the cat's just finished off the bread.  

Brian Protheroe - Pinball (1974)

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Pigs preparing for take off

I'm excited, I don't mind telling you. Tomorrow I shall be jumping on the 9:50 to London St. Pancreas to spend some long overdue time in the capital. At 1pm, all being well, I should be
109 metres above the ground standing atop one of Battersea Power Station's iconic chimneys. BPS had been stood empty for many, many years yet has always been a pivotal part of London's ever changing landscape. It's been under construction, on and off, for the best part of 40 years, but is now, seemingly, the latest shiny new slab of real estate with a postcode to die for. And, no, I'm not expecting to see turbines in the grandeur of its once Art Deco Turbine Hall. I'm not quite sure what I will find in the space now occupying same - I shall have to report back. There will be pictures; heaps of pictures. 

Monday, 16 January 2023

Peaceful, warm and tired

The Air That I Breathe is one of those songs that every songwriter wishes had fallen into their lap. Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood, however, did write it back in 1971 and Hammond dutifully put it on his 1972 album It Never Rains in Southern California; he never released it as as a single and it's really not hard to see why. Hammond never did it justice and the song languished at the wrong end of Side 2. Until it was picked up the following year by Phil Everly who gave it such a makeover that when the Hollies found it they basically followed Everly's dots and in 1974, complete with a rather lush Alan Parsons arrangement, turned it into the multi-million selling gold disc we know today. And, as you can see from my screengrab below, their second most streamed song on Spotify with a staggering 112 million plays.

Anyway, forget Albert Hammond and the Hollies. Instead, wrap yer ears around Phil's beautiful take on this absolute classic.

Phil Everly - The Air That I Breathe (1973)

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Cards on the table

On the back of writing a few words about my dotage I thought I'd just tell you a little story. One of my recent
pre-dotage, if you will, activities has been, occasionally, taking a deck of cards to the pub and playing a few hands. Good beer and a good game of cards I've found, especially when there's just been the two of us, is a really good combo and, as much as I like yakking, abbreviates the need for constant conversation. Anyway, last night we walked into one of our locals in Carrington and, as I'm waiting to be served at the bar, I glance across at a couple who are also playing cards; but not just any old game of cards - they're playing Five Crowns; a very niche game and a game we were introduced to by our friends up in Scotland. We've subsequently introduced it to others who in turn have spread the word. (We played it all over America on the many Amtrak trains we travelled on last year.) But seeing it played in a pub less than a mile from our house was still pretty cool. Long story short, we got chatting and they invited us to play the next game with them. And yes, before you ask, I did win! But they've agreed to a rematch where I'm sure they're hoping to even the score.


February's photo challenge

If you want to join in with next month's photo challenge - I'm asking for photos with a water theme; you can snap an outside tap, a puddle, a lake, a rainstorm - anything H2O related. Send me your photograph to john(at)johnmedd(dot)com or if you are on the BlogCon 23 WhatsApp group then ping them over to me on there. I'll post the images on 1st February.

Saturday, 14 January 2023

Tour de Manchester

James is an avid cyclist. Unlike his father; I live at the top of a hill so every journey I'd have to make would involve some serious uphill pedalling on the homeward leg. (I'm not as young as I used to be!) And then there's the traffic. Where James lives there are some pretty cool cycle paths and then there's the dedicated cycle lanes in the city centre. Unless, of course, some cretin in a car decides to park in it. I'll let James describe what happened to him on Wednesday morning cycling to work...

The footage was caught on dashcam by the driver following James. He pulled over to make sure my son was alright*. Thank you, whoever you are.


Kraftwerk - Tour de France (1984) 

* Nothing broken, thankfully. Just a few cuts & bruises.

Monday, 9 January 2023


I don't even know when my dotage is supposed to start (it may well have started already without me knowing it) but these are just a few of things I've been keeping on ice for it: opera, ballet, Shakespeare; lobster, The Prisoner, swearing more, poker, winning the Lottery, pink shirts, wearing odd socks and one small discreet tattoo. As I said, it's neither a complete or exhaustive list, but it's enough to be going on with. Oh, and Tangerine Dream - they've been keeping electronic/ambient Krautrock going since the dawn of time and appear to have released more albums (with more band members) than any other group I know; sorry, don't know - hence the dotage thing. I'm sure there are plenty of jumping off points - I'll fettle it (tho; I may need The Swede to guide me thru the choppy German waters). Here's my starter for ten...

Tangerine Dream - A Haze of Patriotic Fervour (2013)

Thursday, 5 January 2023

She's Gone

Daryl Franklin Hohl and John William Oates made some astonishing records in the 70s and 80s. I can honestly say, to the best of my knowledge, everyone I know could sing the words to at least one of their records; at least one. Which is why, if you ever rode shotgun with me in my car, unlike the young woman above, I'm sure I wouldn't have to leave you stranded by the roadside.

She's Gone first appeared on their 1973 classic album Abandoned Luncheonette. It bombed when they first released it as a single on Atlantic but three years later when the duo had scored some big hits with their new label, RCA, Atlantic re-released it with a fresh catalogue number and voila it went to Number 7 on the Billboard chart.

Hall & Oates - She's Gone (1976)

Tho' the record had charted a couple of years earlier when this lot released it as a single; it may only have just scraped into the Top 50, but many purists say it's the definitive version.

Tavares - She's Gone (1974)

Sunday, 1 January 2023

1 (One)

Happy New Year to you all. Let's hope this is the year we finally get the Tories out of Number 10. I very nearly said cunts out of Number 10 but realised, looking at my watch, we've not yet reached the 9pm watershed.

Talking about numbers, I said a wee while ago that I'd be starting a new photograph feature in '23 - on the first of every month I'll be out and about taking photographs with a theme. Not the most original of features, I grant you, but as I've said on more than one occasion, I leave that sort of stuff to people with bigger brains than me; them's the breaks, I guess. This month, with it being the first of the first, I'm looking for 1s and Ones.

Above is One Thoresby Street, Nottingham. An artistic space since 2008, but looking at the amount of new building works going on around it, I don't know for how much longer.

And below is one I prepared earlier; it's the NG-One nightclub - I love the yellow against the black. So there you have it, something old, something new. If you want to join in I'll give you the theme for February in the comments section (hopefully with more notice than I've given you today - tho' I did send a quick text to the BlogCon 23 WhatsApp group this afternoon).


Postscript 1.1.23

Alyson pinged this beauty over earlier this evening. She said: ''Went into town and got something I'm happy with. Happy 1st. January!'' Thank you, Alyson.