Friday 28 April 2023

When I was younger, so much younger than today

I'm conflicted: some bright spark/Beatles fantasist has created an AI version of Paul McCartney's vocal 'singing' a song he put out on his Egypt Station album in 2018. You can see where this is going, can't you? So now we have 1973 era Macca 'interpreting' (wrong word, I know, in this context but it's all I've got at the moment) a song his older self wouldn't write and record  for another forty odd years; a song that the younger Macca would never have written - the context of the lyric coming, as it does, in the twilight of McCartney's career - swathed in melancholia and reflective of a life lived. The 30 year old recent ex-Beatle was far too busy getting Hi Hi Hi. 

Paul McCartney  I Don't Know (AI - 2023)

Like I say, I'm torn. Yes, this is the register the octogenarian would give his right arm to be able to sing in (again), but the beauty of I Don't Know (and a few of his other latter day cuts) is that it suits perfectly Macca's limited (it has to be said) vocal range he is now constrained by. 

And for that reason, and that reason alone, I'm telling everyone to disregard my normal mantra - 'Everything was better in the 70s' - and, instead, savour this beautiful Paul McCartney composition in the format it was intended to be heard. Am I right? Am I wrong?

Paul McCartney - I Don't Know (2018)

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Sentimental Journey

Driving back from a few days away in Scotland I took a slight detour on the way back down the M6 and spent 24 hours in Liverpool: I've been telling Ian Prowse for ages now that 'one of these days' I'd play his legendary Monday Club - a rather special no-covers Open Mic at the Cavern Pub on Matthew Street, now in its twelfth year. And so on Monday, armed with just my guitar and a stomach full of butterflies, I played my songs in front of what I can only describe as a brilliant audience at one of the finest venues in the city; a commitment filled, a bucket list ticked, my soul enriched. 

The following morning after a mega breakfast at Chantilly's I had somewhere else to be: I wanted to make a sentimental journey: the Empress in Dingle L8, though no longer a pub, is still standing. Trying to picture it in my mind's eye how it would have looked in 1970 I pressed the shutter on my camera - this is what it looks like in 2023.

After paying my respects to Mr. Starkey I then  pointed the car in the direction of Crosby Beach. Ever since Antony Gormley installed his 100 iron men on the Merseyside coast in 2005 I've been promising myself I'd get myself up there and walk along the beach and introduce myself to these spectacular inhabitants. As you can see, I befriended one in particular. If your travels haven't yet taken you to this part of the North West I can't recomend it highly enough.  You really should get along. I could've spent all day there. (I'll be going back soon, I can assure you.)

Wednesday 12 April 2023

Be good, back soon

What's 36 years between friends?

I'm slipping anchor for a few days. The phone's off the hook and my out of office message has been activated. Back soon. If anything urgent crops up, take a message. Or not, your call.

Starting tomorrow, the young man pictured above has been tasked with dragging me in some questionable drinking dens north of the border; that's what normally happens whenever I'm in his 'hood . See you in a few days. Be good. And don't forget to put the bins out.

Sunday 9 April 2023

First and foremost

It's ten minutes before showtime and, backstage, Raymond Burns pulls on his his red and black stripy tee shirt together with his trademark beret & shades and, hey presto, goodbye Mr. Burns, hello Captain Sensible. 
As transformations go it's simple yet very effective. And no more so than when he appears from behind the curtain with his guitar slung over his shoulder, walks up to the microphone and says. ''Good evening, I'm Captain Sensible. You might remember me from Top of the Pops! But you don't want to hear bout that.'' And then, with nothing more than a ''1-2-3-4!,'' they launch into this - the set opener of all set openers:

The Damned - Ignite (1982)

It's hard to imagine a world without the Damned. They were a vital part of my growing up - every bit as essential as that first glug of underage cider or first fumble in the bushes. And the Damned were full of firsts - the first UK punk single, first punk band to appear on the telly, first punk band to tour America. I couldn't get enough of 'em. Damned Damned Damned remains, for me, the defining punk statement and sets out in a little over 30 minutes what punk and the new wave was all about.  

The fact that they are still a thing after nearly 50 years is nothing short of remarkable. Nearly as remarkable as me buying a tour shirt from the cut-price rogues who set up stall outside Rock City and peddle their wares right under the nose of the venue. If you're coming to BlogCon23 you'll probably see me wearing it.

Saturday 1 April 2023

Behind closed doors

It's that time again. Pinch, punch and all that. I sent a little reminder to you all about April's photo challenge; it went something like this - ''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.''

And snap you did. Thank you to everyone who took part.

Up first is a beautiful photograph taken by Saskia Daniel. Saskia posted it on Twitter and simply said ''Isn't this nice?''

It is. And I asked Saskia if I could use for my photo project. Quick as a flash she responded ''Yes, sure. Thanks for asking.'' 

I'll go next. This is one I took in Hull a little while ago. It was the name that struck a chord with me as much as anything: Magic Roundabouts, hippy rabbits and dogs addicted to sugar lumps all spring (see what I did there?) to mind. 

Alyson never disappoints and this month she really came good with something of a twofer. ''We headed down to our local Floral Hall this afternoon (basically a giant tropical green house) as I remembered there's a bit in the middle with a portal to a portal. Here are two photos - one of the main entrance and the other where you can see through to the pond & waterfall.'' Very tranquil, Alyson.

You may have read recently that our resident Swede was on the other side of the Atlantic in March and whilst there he spotted this Brooklyn beauty: ''Beyond those chained gates, down the steps and through the heavy wooden door lies...who knows what. If you want to take a look, I'll be right behind you - about a mile and a half behind you.'' 
Stay the hell away, TS. If it's not mutants then I'd say Cybermen. 

Charity Chic sent me a photo which would also have qualified for last month's theme. He also namechecks his rock and roll hero when he says ''Green door, what's that secret you’re keeping?''

C next. ''This is 'The Conduit', it has no roof and behind the door there's an opening in the floor. I'd like to think it leads you down through a winding tunnel to the secret location of the Tardis, but actually it's the portal to an underground spring. The little structure itself was originally built in the early 1500s (partly rebuilt in 1989 after a car crashed into it) to surround a well and pump there to collect the water.'' 

I love quirky buildings. Thank you, C.

Finally, a touching and uplifting note from Rol who recently lost his father...

''Hi John, here's a photo of a doorway I found. It's taken from the inside of my dad's old barn, looking out on a  beautiful summer's day. This was before the days of filters and I'm guessing I took it with a proper camera and just got lucky. The barn was knocked down , maybe about 15 years or so ago - my brother built a house where it stood. I've not looked at this photo for a long time, but it's a doorway to my past and, in the best of our memories, it's a always a summer's day.''

Perfect. Thank you so much, Rol.

And there you have it. A huge thanks again to all those who joined in. I'll post next month's theme in the comment section below (or the Show Notes as I like to call them!) nearer the time. J


Postscript 2.4.23

Swiss Adam, as you can see in the comments below, was gutted to have missed the cut-off. Apparently the dog hadn't eaten his homework and, akin to a note from his mum, he sent me this yesterday evening: ''Sorry I missed doorways today. Memory is awful at the moment. We are in the Lakes for a couple of days and I've just seen this.''

As I said in my reply to him, it's got Grim Art written all over it!

P.S 10.4.23
(aka Show Notes for May's theme...)

Not everything in life is black and white. Tho’ I am rather hoping you’ll join me in May’s themed photo collection and show me monochrome images (not just colour snaps converted to b+w) in your neck of the woods. Magpies, zebras, magpies on zebras; you get the gist. Get them to me by the 1st if you’d be so kind.