Monday 26 February 2024


There are a number of mosaics, large and small, dotted around my neighbourhood. I found this little one (pictured above) on Saturday morning as I stepped outside a coffee shop I'd hitherto not frequented before. Did you know there are twenty-six different types of ladybird? No, me neither. This is a fin. A fiver. A five-spot, a.k.a. Coccinella Quinquepunctata.

Thelonius Monk - Five-Spot Blues*

* Monk (1917-1982) dedicated this to the Five Spot CafƩ in New York's Bowery neighbourhood.

Saturday 24 February 2024

"His head's like a ghost town"

It's been a long while since I've got my teeth stuck into anything of note on the telly, but I've just binged Season One of The Tourist, starring Jamie Dornan, and was utterly gripped. It was relentless. From the opening homage to Duel to the final denouement, I was riveted, nay glued, to the box. The writing, the characters, the cinematography were all off the charts.

Trailer (2022)

Oh, and the soundtrack. Never has Johnny Mathis sounded so menacing. It's up on the BBC iPlayer if you want something to watch this weekend. I really think you should. 

Johnny Mathis - Just a Closer Walk With Thee (1965)


Thursday 22 February 2024

It's all about me

It's all about me (1)

The crudely cropped Facebook screen grab says it all really. A collection of my photographs will be on display at The Abdication in Nottingham for the month of March. We're having a launch next Wednesday 28 February from 7pm. All welcome! 

It's all about me (2)  

I'm fascinated by AI. Fascinated with what it can do. Fascinated with what it might be able to do in the future. And fascinated (actually, make that slightly worried) about how it will affect us all going forward.

I know I often ask you to indulge me (thank you) and here I am asking you again (you love me really). A little earlier I 'asked' Bing (other AI portals are available) to 'write a blog in the style of John Medd.' This is what happened: 

“A Musical Odyssey: From Eno to ABC” 

Today, let’s embark on a musical journey—a voyage through soundscapes that resonate with nostalgia and innovation. Buckle up, dear readers, as we traverse the cosmos of melodies and memories. Two Enos for the Price of One It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on the long-running Monday Long Song thread. Let me rectify that today. In 1983, Brian Eno and his brother Roger joined forces with producer Daniel Lanois to create a spectacular soundtrack album. The occasion? To commemorate a planned film celebrating the Apollo space program. One track from this celestial symphony stands out: “An Ending.” It’s not only part of that album but has also found new life in other films, including “Traffic” and “Trainspotting.” Yet, never quite like this. Clocking in at 57 minutes, I present to you Monday’s Long Song: šŸŽµ Brian Eno & Roger Eno - An Ending (1983) šŸŽµ Watch on YouTube And while we’re on the subject of Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, who among you would like to behold one of his sexy Eno signature limited-edition turntables? It might seem pricey at £20K, but I dare say it’s a bargain (assuming I subsist on tinned baked beans for life and live in my car). Feast your eyes on this sonic marvel: šŸŽ¶ BRIAN ENO, “Turntable” (2021) šŸŽ¶ !Eno Turntable 


If you were stopped on the street tomorrow and asked to name three bands that dominated the singles charts in the '80s, your trio would likely include Spandau Ballet, the Police, and Wham. But let’s not forget ABC—the architects of infectious tunes and chart-topping hits. According to my trusty Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, ABC spent nearly 90 weeks on the charts between 1981 and 1990. Impressive, right? But ABC wasn’t merely a singles band. Their albums were treasure troves of musical gems. So why did it take me forty-odd years to witness their live performance? A good question—one I can’t quite explain. Nevertheless, fate intervened, and on Tuesday, I broke my duck. From my vantage point in Row A of the Upper Circle, I witnessed a masterclass in showcasing 40 years of tune-smithery. The formula was simple yet sublime: the Southbank Sinfonia (a 35-piece orchestra conducted by Anne Dudley) teased us with a five-minute classical snapshot in the first half. Then, the band took the stage, playing the “ABC Songbook.” Hits like “When Smokey Sings,” “The Night You Murdered Love,” “Be Near Me,” and “Viva Love” filled the air. After a twenty-minute interval (just enough time for a white Magnum ice cream), it was time for the main course—the groundbreaking debut album: šŸŽ¤ Lexicon of Love šŸŽ¤ They played it in its entirety, and the crowd knew every word by heart. For those in the stalls, it wasn’t their first rodeo. Martin Fry’s voice held up, and the 2,000-strong audience provided a perfect backdrop for any notes he dared to tackle.

Anyway, dear readers, that’s my musical escapade for today. Until next time, keep your ears attuned to the symphony of life. — John Medd P.S. If you’re curious about my dotage and other musings, feel free to explore my blog. And remember, even monkeys fall out of trees.


What did you think? I can see what it's done: it's stitched together two of my recent blog posts, changed some of the text around  and given it a formal beginning and end (something  I don't always bother with). As I was watching it 'type' in real time - the whole thing took less than 30 seconds - I thought to myself 'I'm redundant!'.

Monday 19 February 2024

They've got it All

If you were to lay all the ex-members of the Fall end to end on the M61 you'd probably get moved on by the police. You'd also have your longlist for potential members of House of All. From that very long longlist they managed to narrow it down to just five who then thought it would be a good idea to channel the energy of Mark E Smith, their onetime leader and friend (mostly), and fashion a sound born out of a Manchester that barely resembles the city they first joined forces in.  

For what it's worth, and despite many reservations, I think it works. Lat year's album and the mini tour to promote it were well received, for the most part. Would MES have approved? Probably not, but that's hardly the point is it. I saw the Fall a couple of times and they were shambolic. But in a good way. What HOA will be like in a live situation is anyone's guess. But I'll blag a ticket if they keep going long enough. By which time I may have figured out what these lyrics are all about...

House of All - Turning of the Years (Marc Riley Session, 2023)

Sunday 18 February 2024


In 1974 glam was still alive and kicking - Sweet, Slate, Mud, T Rex and Alice Cooper were continuing to put the fear of God into our parents every Thursday evening. Top of the Pops was still very much the launch pad that could jettison your latest single from the lower reaches of the charts one week to Top 5 the next. There was no other show quite like it. Or was there? Many European countries had similar shows that showcased indigenous and imported chart sounds. Holland for example had TopPop which ran from 1970-1988.

I'm not 100% sure if this lot ever made an appearance on the show. Their name was short-lived (as probably was this 1974 single) - Heart in America were just becoming a thing. But their Dutch namesake sure made a splendid racket.

Heart - Lovemaker (1974)

Saturday 17 February 2024

Boys will be boys (1975 revisited)

No one likes to think of themselves as average. "Oh, I'm just average" you hear precisely nobody say. Not about themselves anyway. Only in hastily written police statements or headmasters' reports would we ever get the devastating truth about ourselves. (Average height, average weight, average intelligence.)

But if I was to transport myself back to 1975 then, like a lot of other boys in my class, I was an average teenager - full of hormones and not knowing what the hell to do with them. The obvious outlets were all too grubby (and sticky) to mention and a blog such as this wouldn't deign to stoop so low. Obviously.

There never were such (TV) times

However, in 1975 we had Purdey - the role Joanna Lumley has never surpassed in fifty odd years of treading the boards. When the New Avengers came to our screens it was like we had our own walking talking (not to mention sleeping) living doll all to ourselves; if you don't count Steed or Gambit. Speaking of Mike Gambit, it would be remiss of me to not share with you what was, for me, probably the finest interplay between him and Purdey. It was the scene me and countless pubescent schoolboys memorised and burnt into our collective retinas. File under 'boys will be boys'.

Wednesday 14 February 2024

I could be persuaded

I spoke about the John Barry Seven yesterday. (I know, I need to get out more.) I mentioned in particular a rather jaunty tune that was obviously based on Brubeck's Take Five - loads of sax and a time signature to tie you in knots. Today I want to talk about Barry's theme for a 1971 Lew Grade ITC show that paired Tony Curtis & Roger Moore and, with what must have been one hell of a budget, dropped two of the biggest movie stars of the day on location in Monaco. Throw in a few bronzed supermodels (long before leggy blondes were known as supermodels), a couple of car chases, the ubiquitous cheesy dialogue and, voila, The Persuaders was born. 

Barry's progression from Cutty Sark to The Persuaders is his Love Me Do to Her Majesty, his Hamburg to Apple rooftop; Barry was using a Moog for heaven's sake. Eat yer heart out, Keith Emerson.

Still, to these ears, one of the most haunting TV theme tunes. Ever.

John Barry - The Persuaders - Intro (1971)

Tuesday 13 February 2024

The power of seven

If ever a piece of music conveyed a time and a place then Cutty Sark by the John Barry Seven nails early 60s London; not quite swinging, but in its brief two mins 40 seconds you can detect that changes are afoot, something's coming down the tubes. The end of innocence? Probably. 

JB far left & next to him, Dennis King 

The Paul Desmond soundalike on sax is actually a guy called Dennis King. He played with the JB7 from 1957 to 1963 when the bandleader's head was turned by the lure of another 7, James Bond 007. I could listen to this all day long...

John Barry Seven - Cutty Sark* (1962)

* Cutty Sark - Scottish slang for short skirt.

Monday 12 February 2024

Two Enos for the price of one

It's been a while since I've posted anything on the long running Monday Long Song thread. Let me put that right today. In 1983 Brian Eno and his brother Roger joined forces with  producer Danial Lanois and came up with a spectacular soundtrack album to commemorate a planned film celebrating the Apollo space programme. 'An Ending' formed part of a suite of music that lives not only on that album but has gone on and fond a new lease of life in other films including Traffic and Trainspotting; though never in this format. Weighing in at 57 minutes, I give you Monday's Long Song. 

Brian Eno & Roger Eno - An Ending (1983)


Whilst we're on the subject of Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, who would like to see one of his his sexy Eno signature limited edition turntables? Looks expensive, I hear you say. Well, only if you think £20K is a bit steep. I actually think it's a bargain (if I were to subsist on baked beans out of a tin for the rest of my life. And live in my car). 


Saturday 10 February 2024

Viva Love

If you were stopped in the street tomorrow and asked to name three bands who dominated the singles charts (and by inference Top of the Pops) in the 80s, your trio would more than likely be culled from Spandau Ballet, the Police, Wham, Duran Duran, Culture Club and, I'm guessing, ABC. 

This afternoon I reached for my most up to dateGuinness Book of British Hit Singles and discovered that ABC had spent nearly 90 weeks on the charts between 1981 & 1990. Pretty impressive, huh? But they weren't just a singles band. Their albums too were packed to the rafters with infectious songs. So why has it taken me forty odd years to finally get round to seeing them perform live. Good question. And one I don't really have a plausible answer to. Anyway, on Tuesday I broke my duck and from a superb vantage point on Row A of the Upper Circle I got to see a masterclass in how to showcase (and compress) 40 years of tune-smithery into a luscious set lasting just over two hours. 

The formula is quite simple really. The first half opened with the Southbank Sinfonia (a 35 piece orchestra conducted by Anne Dudley) teasing us with a five minute classical snapshot of what was to come in the second half. After which the band themselves filed onto stage and proceeded to play the 'ABC Songbook' - When Smokey Sings, The Night You Murdered Love, Be Near Me, Viva Love** The Night You Murdered Love, Ocean Blue et al. 

A twenty minute interval, just time to stretch my legs, grab a white Magnum and its straight into the second half - the main course - Lexicon of Love their groundbreaking debut album played in its entirety in order. You know the songs. By heart, probably. And for those down in in the stalls I could tell this wasn't their first rodeo; although Fry's voice is still holding up, the 2,000 strong crowd made for a great backstop if there were any notes he didn't fancy tackling.

The obligatory encore was as predictable as night following day: because The Look of Love opens side two, and therefore had already been put in to bat, it was pretty obvious Fry would have been run out of town had they not played it AGAIN! 

9/10. (Unlike the pretty rubbish photo I took on my phone.)  

ABC - Viva Love (2016)

* 1991!
** As you can see from the above video not only do we see flashbacks to 1980s Martin Fry but he also does a cameo 'Hitchcock' contemporary cameo.

Monday 5 February 2024


I suspect today's track belongs to a very small club indeed: songs with only one word in the 'lyrics'. If anyone's had a go at compiling this sort of thing then my money's on Rol. Though for what it's worth I can't think of another one - not off the top of my head. Anyway, here's Dogshow from an EP they put out last year. Warning - it's catchy. Very catchy.

Dogshow - Dancing (Dancing)


Sunday 4 February 2024

Just for one day

Book exchange

They say you should never meet your heroes. So who are they, exactly? Well, despite it being one of the most hackneyed & bandied about expressions that everyone just blurts out, it was, I'm led to believe, originally attributed to the French writer Marcel Proust: "We only see our heroes from very far away. What we see is what they want us to see and we never have really looked into their actual life."  And I get that; I've had one or two dodgy experiences in the past. OK, so let's not dwell on my Brian Connolly experience in 1990. Instead, I'd like to fast forward some thirty four years, yesterday to be precise, and my delightful encounter with James O'Brien. He was in conversation last night with the wonderful Robin Ince at Nottingham Playhouse talking about his new Sunday Times bestseller - 'How They Broke Britain'. A forensic charge sheet detailing the events that have brought this once great country to the precipice we currently find ourselves. And he's got the receipts. Anyone who listens to his morning show on LBC (as I have been since 2018) you'll know that he does this sort of thing brilliantly. If you call him up and don't have the facts to back up what you're saying then it's not gonna end well.

Unlike last night, when, after spending a couple of hours hanging on his every word I was then in the foyer shaking the great man's hand and telling him what a brilliant human being he was. We talked about bridges (he loves 'em) and Battersea Power Station (ditto) as I gave him a copy of my book (fair exchange is no robbery after all) and bade him goodnight. File under 'Bloody good bloke'.

Thursday 1 February 2024

All aboard!

Hello again and welcome to February's Photo Challenge. The monthly feature where I throw down a photographic gauntlet and you wonderful people pick it up and run with it. This month I was looking for anything Public Transport related. You didn't disappoint.

The first rule of Photo Club says Rol goes first. "Hi John, a nice easy one - although it took me ages to find the photo on my phone. A couple of summers back we stayed at Whistlestop Cottage in PIckering. The garden backs onto the North York Moors Railway line, so a few times a day we'd be treated to a steam engine rolling past. I'm not usually one to wave a strangers, but it's expected when they're on a steam train, and doing so immediately transports you back to better days. Take care, Rol." Nice one, Rol. A part of the world I know well. Too well.

Khayem's got four for us this month: "Hi John, this is Bristol Temple Meads railway station from July 1990, when there were no ticket barriers and you could random wander up and down the platforms taking photos without attracting the attention of security. This is a personal favourite which I’ve used on mixtape and homemade CD covers over the years. I love the damaged, rusty sign in the foreground and to the right, the man casually walking along the track to the Inter City engine. Makes me feel as fuzzy as the focus!"

"Gloucester has been busy overhauling its town centre transport hub in the past couple of years and the bus station is generally nothing to get too excited about. However, in an opportune moment I caught a view of crane at a nearby building site mid-swing coming into view through one of the 'skylights' above a parked bus (The 94 is clearly not the secret service to GCHQ!).''

''Over to Cotswold town Stroud and its rail station footbridge, which has been in need of some love for many years, paint peeling from the roof and walls.''

''On the same footbridge, the wooden slats and glass panels prevent much of a view of the platforms. And what a view, with the tracks leading off into the Cotswold Hills. What I like most about this shot though is that I imagined that this was the perspective within the maw of a mythical dragon flying low over the station, the wooden slats a neat row of sharp teeth and the bubbled, flaky paint lower approximately a tongue. A bit of a stretch, I know!'' Some great shots, K. Thank you.

Ben took this in Rochdale. ''I used to drive past this bus stop and one day thee was a rare blue sky. So I took this!'' And I'm glad you did, Ben. Nice work

Jo-Shreeve is something of a regular these days! ''Stumped me a bit, this one! Have this one from a trip to Amsterdam x.'' Thank you so much, Jo.

Like she's never been away, the lovely Alyson next: ''Hi John, I had wanted a night shot as the Caledonian Sleeper is very much a night train which seamlessly whisks people from the Highlands of Scotland down to London every day. We’ve done it once and woke up at Euston at 8am with the rest of the day ahead of us. I'm hoping some of you from down south will make the trip sometime the other way up to see me?!'' I hope so, Alyson. Let's talk about it at BlogCon.

Alyson has another one: ''My second photo is simply a concourse scene on a Monday afternoon - very quiet indeed.''

Please give a big welcome to new boy, Ernie Goggins: ''Many thanks for admitting me to your prestigious photo club. I have enjoyed looking at the monthly exhibitions and kept meaning to join in, but only finally got around to it this month. I attach three entries which are clearly designed to show off how cosmopolitan I am! One is the Joliot-Curie metro station in Sofia, one the Gare do Oriente train station in Lisbon, and one a sign commonly found in Jakarta and probably other Indonesian cities as well. It translates as "Be careful - bus lane" but sounds much more fun. If I ever set up a jangly indie band, that's going to be its name. Thanks again and all the best.'' Thank you, Ernie. A most audacious start.

Charity Chic next: ''You spend ages waiting for a bus and then two come along at once.'' Indeed you do, CC.

CC goes on ''A better one, I think: an urban trainscape.'' Is trainscape a word? It is now! Thank you, CC.

The Swede is girding his loins: ''In May 2019, before a 75 strong audience in a tiny club, Robyn Hitchcock played a concert in Ipswich for the first time in his long career. Two years and one pandemic later, Robyn returned to town to play a show on a stage set up between an old tram and an equally vintage trolleybus at the Ipswich Transport Museum. To say Robyn was in hog's heaven would be the understatement to end all understatements. One of his life long passions is ancient, redundant modes of public transportation, as can be witnessed in the lyrics of several of his songs and that evening he appeared genuinely overwhelmed by his surroundings, claiming it to be the most perfect venue he'd played in 45 years on the road. The setlist reflected the transportation vibe - 'Fifty Two Stations', 'I Often Dream of Trains' and a really beautiful 'Trams of Old London' were all given outings. In September 2023 he was back in Ipswich, at a recently opened town centre arts centre within St Stephen's Church. Glorious though his ancient surroundings were, Robyn declared from the stage that when he next swings by Suffolk's county town, he'd rather like it to be back amongst the trams and trolleybuses in the transport museum.'' Wow! Thank you, TS.

C at Sun Dried Sparrows: ''Hi John - I found this pic from last Summer which I took as I waited for the train home... a familiar sight to a few people here! Love that you can see the train through the open archway and the symmetry in all the different shapes; I can just imagine the scene as inspiration for a geometric/abstract painting. A future project perhaps?! C x.'' I've seen that 'gap' a few times over the years. Nice one, C.

One of our most travelled contributors next - Cooper Senior: '' Leipzig, December 2023; I didn't see the old bloke staring back at me!"

'' And Wiesbaden, May 2023.'' Thanks, Coops. I love the 'red one'! 

My old friend Riggsby in San Diego: ''A bus at the train station. Constructed to welcome the world to the 1915 Panama-California Expo, the Santa Fe Depot is a city landmark known for its soaring towers and tiled domes. It was named after the Aitchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad (ATSF) that conceived and built the station. This is considered very old for the area!''

''One of the trains that runs along the coast from San Diego to Oceanside, skirting the beaches.''

(I asked Richard if he'd photograph a waiting room for me!)

''A San Diego 'trolley' with the railway station in the background.'' Thanks, as ever, Richard. When your photos arrive it's like leafing thru a National Geographic!''

Rob, our South West correspondent next: ''Hi John, here's my entry for this month. Sitting in the waiting room at Clapham Junction feeling pretty happy as I was waiting for my connection to take me to Brighton - my summer holiday destination. Such a hot day it was good to find some shade, and surely one of the most beautiful waiting room windows in the country.'' You could be right, Rob!

Adam in Manchester: ''John, this photo was not shot in black & white, just taken on a very black & white day. It's Stockport railway viaduct, the biggest brick built structure in Europe, linking Manchester to the south. It crosses the bus station (underneath the arches) and even on a sunny day is a windy and desolate place. It also crosses the Mersey at some point and in previous centuries was a major transport hub.''

''And this is a bus shelter not far away.'' Thank you, Adam. I just love viaducts.

It probably won't surprise you to learn that I've got quite a few public transport images on various SD cards, hard drives, old photo albums etc. I've lost a few too (hard drives that went bump in the night - but let's not go there shall we, they're gone). So of the (many) hundreds I have got I was able to choose a few that, I think, fit the bill. And as I didn't want to rely totally on my back catalogue I did get out and about this month and have chucked a few new ones into the mix too. I can't believe I haven't put forward any of my York Railway Museum photos. Anyone who knows me will tell you I would live in that building, no questions asked.

From my 2022 California expedition - somewhere between Flagstaff & Grand Canyon.

Rock City, Nottingham.

I tap Sir John on the shoulder every time I land in St. Pancras.

Probably not taken at midnight.

My friend, Vladka.

Taken around 1987/88. One of our old cats, Dora. She'd often sleep on the railway line.

Liverpool - taken from the top of the Radio City tower a couple of weeks ago. 

Cromer c.1979. This is Riggsby's brother, Simonjohn. He used to do this sort of thing a lot.

A London bus and a big puddle.

Wolverhampton Station carpark. Iconic.  And yes, I believe I have used the 'i' word correctly.

A deserted Wilford Tram Stop in Nottingham, taken during LD.

So there you have it. Thank you for indulging me at the end.  A huge thank you to everyone who took the time. See you all next time. I'll post March's theme in the comments below in the next few days. J x


Postscript 4.2.23

If you've read Alyson's comments below you'll see she was sitting on an old photo she'd taken but couldn't retrieve in time for publication date. No worries, she's found it now and here it is: "Hi John, a late entry but I liked this photo of the very old & ornate St. Pancras Station along side that shiny purple car.'' Thank you, Alyson. A stunning photo. And that's not just any old purple car!