Tuesday 28 March 2023

2-4-6-8 Never Too Late

Jen Orpin and another sold painting

Talk about cutting it fine; Jen Orpin's 'The Journey Continues' exhibition in Manchester had been showing all month and I'd promised myself I'd get up there before she cleaned her brushes one last time and took her paintings* off the wall. 

More beautiful bridges

And so on Sunday just gone (the last day) the Medds descended on the Saul Hay Fine Art Gallery. I'd contacted Jen a couple of days before and she said she'd be there from 10.30am. When we walked through the door just before 11am we were the first people in so had a fantastic personalised viewing by Jen herself and really got an insight into her fabulous paintings. (The car journeys from Jen's home in Manchester to visit her dying father in Kent in 2015 were measured out and defined by the motorway bridges she passed. So much so that she would begin to photograph and later paint many of them. With no cars. And no people. 'They would only get in the way of the bridges' she told me.) 

A grand day out in Manchester

Saul Hay Fine Art Gallery; dwarfed by the Beetham Tower

Axis Tower, Manchester M1 (walking back to the car park)

* Most of them with little red dots denoting their sold status 

Thursday 23 March 2023

On Point

It only took a cursory look online to tell me all I needed to know about the band that came crashing thru my car speakers on Monday morning c/o one of those annoying (yet brilliant at the same time) Spotify algorithms that tries to predict what would come next if you'd only added another tune (or ten) to your (until then)
perfect playlist.

Point Blank came out of Texas in the early 70s and between 1974 and 1982 released six albums. They'd often open for the likes of Kiss, Aerosmith and, hence the algorithm kicking in, ZZ Top. However, they called it a day in 1984 and, a bit like the Ramones, they're all dead now.

A couple of years before the band broke up they scored a hit single; until earlier this week I'd never heard it before, but, despite it being the epitome of AOR, you know what, I'm quite taken with it. And I particularly like the artwork from the album it came from - American Exce$$ looks like its cover was designed by those good people at Hipgnosis.

Anyway, here's their catchy ditty that reached #39 on Billboard's Hot 100.

Point Blank - Nicole (1981)

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.