30 April 2007
Jane Hamlyn (Mum) is one of the world's leading salt glaze potters.
A couple of years ago, I said "Of course, someone as famous as you are..." to which she said "I'm not famous"
I sent her the first 5 pages of Google hits....
Ted Hamlyn (Dad) is more retiring than he should be. He's often just referred to as "Ted Hamlyn, the artist" which doesn't do him justice. Look for yourself.
Jim Hamlyn is a lecturer at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, specialising in convergent media. His web presence gives you an idea of the installation works he's done. His book "Shorthand Basho" is a treat.
And then there's Tom Hamlyn.
Mixed media artist
That's where I heard about Toykult. (Tom Hamlyn, Martin Bennett, Franck Chionna)
If you like
Jeff Buckley - The Smiths - The Strokes - The Stranglers - The Sex Pixtols - Softcell - Blur - Goldie Lookin' Chain - The Gorillaz - Oasis - The Verve - Ennio Morricone - Jimi Hendrix - Joy Division - The Gang of Four - Echo and the BunnyMen - The Stooges - Xnorophis - Iggy Pop - Ninja Tune - Herbalizer - Amon Tobin, Nick Cave - PJ Harvey - Beck - Bowie - CAN - Captain BeefHeart - Ash - Death in Vegas - Goldfrapp - David Holmes - Franz Ferdinand - The Rakes - Gotan Project - Ian Brown - The Stone Roses - Happy Mondays - Keane - Lou Reed - Lamb - Led Zeppelin - The Manic Street Preachers - Manu Chao - The Specials - Massive Attack - Metric - Money Mark - Nigel Birch & The Flea Pit Orchestra - Nouvelle Vague - Nirvana - Osibisa - Outkast - PIL - Prince - Public Enemy - Pulp Radiohead - Rage Against The Machine - Roots Manuva - Siouxie and the Banshees - Sparklehorse - Stereo MC's - Steel Pulse - Stereolab - The Fall - The Pixies - The Undertones Thin Lizzy - ACDC - Tom Waits - Velvet Underground - Zero 7
there's a fair chance you'll like Montreal band Toykult.
New album "Sow Loco" out soon (Or already? Not sure)
Give them a listen at MySpace
And here's a real track from Sow Loco
Le Smile craquant
Plus some stuff that Tom did a couple of years back
Living in a bag
Backing courtesy Booker T and the MGs, lyrics and the rest by Tom.
And here's Green Onions, for good measure
28 April 2007
If I were him, I think I might have been tempted to change my name.
Any goddamn thing but Massimiliano
Here's Johnny Cash on the subject, anyway.
And it does remind of going out for dinner with Isla and Bill to a fairly flash place which had chicken in aspic on the menu.
"Aspic?" says Bill " That doesn't sound very appetising"
"Would you eat ASpic, John? I think I'll give it a miss. ASpic! Well, I'll be blowed! I've never seen ASpic on a menu before..."
Accompanied by shushing noises, kicks under the table and venomous whispers of "Will you boys please behave?"
27 April 2007
Suicide's "Frankie Teardrop" is ten and a half minutes of genuinely terrifying industrial noise, a sort of aural equivalent of "Eraserhead". Like David Lynch's film, it conveys a chilling, bleak, monochrome dystopia, full of blood-curdling shrieks and clangs although I seem to remember that the movie offered the odd moment of respite, an occasional touch of bizarre and malformed hope. whereas "Frankie Teardrop" offers none at all.
If you haven't heard it and still wish to, set an evening aside, make sure you're not alone in the room (experiencing the song through headphones, incidentally, will almost certainly result in hospitalisation) and take the following day off work.
Says Nick Hornby in his book.
This rest of the selection pales into insignificance...
(Although Aimee Mann I like a lot, Paul Westerberg was new for me, Teenage Fanclub is Byrd-esque enough to transport me back 4 decades and "First I look at the purse" is almost as good as the Contours' version on "John Lennon's Jukebox)
11. I've Had It - Aimee Mann - Whatever
12. Born For Me - Paul Westerberg - Nick Hornby/31 Songs
13. Frankie Teardrop - Suicide - Suicide
14. Ain't That Enough - Teenage Fanclub - Nick Hornby/31 Songs
15. First I Look At The Purse - J. Geils Band - Live Full House
26 April 2007
Mix and Match #5
Well, I'd like "Thunder and Lightning if that prick Collins wasn't singing it.
But there's some choice stuff on here.
The Spoonful, who wrote so many perfect pop songs
Bonnie Raitt can't put a foot wrong with me.
Joe Vitale squeaks through because he's Joe Walsh's mate
Karla Bonoff. So fragile
Levon Helm did some wonderful post-Band stuff. This is one. And his daughter's trucking on with Ollabelle. Worth a listen.
Carlen Carter really is cool. Most of her vinyls are choice. And then, of course, there's the time she went on stage and proclaimed "We're here to put the c*nt back into country." Not knowing that Mum (June Carter) and Dad (Johnny Cash) were in the audience, sinking way down in their seats in mortification...
Atlanta Rhythm Section. Still my sort of band.
I heard Clifton Chenier on the radio in the car over here (I know exactly where...) and I haven't stopped buying zydeco and cajun since.
"Jessica" was playing on the record player when Peter Wroe turned up 1972 to audition for a room in the house we shared in Hounslow under the flight path. You'd normally go down to the pub with the candidates (individually, of course - they were buying.....) and see if they were a good fit. A good fit is when they didn't keel over after 5 pints.
Pete came in and said "Jessica".
He was in as far as I was concerned. And he didn't keel over.
The Weight. One of the truly great songs of the century.
Bonnie Raitt again. That's OK, too.
Rock and roll doctor. Another of the greats that no-one knows.
And Moon Martin, the poor man's Andy Warhol lookalike.
What a shit hot tape.
1. Bette Davis eyes - Kim Carnes - Bette Davis eyes
2. Another ticket - Eric Clapton - Another ticket
3. You didn't have to be so nice - Lovin' Spoonful - The Lovin' Spoonful
4. Thunder and lightning - Phil Collins - Face value
5. Too long at the fair - Bonnie Raitt - Give it up
6. Man gonna love you - Joe Vitale - Plantation Harbor
7. Lose again - Karla Bonoff - Karla Bonoff
8. Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue) - Rickie Lee Jones - Pirates
9. You got me - Levon Helm and the RCO All-Stars - Levon Helm and the RCO All-Stars
10. Accidentally like a martyr - Warren Zevon - Excitable boy
11. Where do you think you're going - Dire Straits - Communique
12. I'm so cool - Carlene Carter - Musical Shapes
13. Champagne jam - Atlanta Rhythm Section - Champagne Jam
14. Here with you tonight - Robert Palmer - Pressure Drop
15. Ma Mama Ma Dit (My Momma Told Me) - Clifton Chenier - Bogalusa boogie
16. Jessica - Allman Brothers Band - Best Of The Test
17. Hard Nose The Highway - Van Morrison - Hard Nose the Highway
18. The Weight - The Band - Across The Great Divide
19. Love has no pride - Bonnie Raitt - Give it up
20. Rock and roll doctor - Little Feat - Feats don't fail me now
21. Your Bright Baby Blues - Jackson Browne - The Pretender
22. No chance - Moon Martin - Escape from domination
Mix and Match #5.mp3 82MB 1:29:07
24 April 2007
Someone gave Simon an iPod with a couple of songs already loaded and forgot to leave the USB cable.
This would send me into a state of panic. And I'm 50 years older than him....
So they turned up in the hope that I'd have an iPod (yes, of course) and I'd lend him the USB cable (yes, of course). And how much music have you actually got?
So Sophie turned up after school yesterday to ask if-Simon-could please-have-a few-tracks-of-the-15,000-odd-you've-got-on-the-hard-drive-and-could-you-please-help
So they chose (with a little encouragement at times, but mostly with comments like "Cool" and "Wow")
Toad The Wet Sprocket - Walk On The Ocean - John
Söhne Mannheims - Wenn Du Schläfst - Simon
Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story - John
Robbie Williams - Strong - Simon/John
Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Zephyr Song - Simon/John
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium - Simon
Nine Days - Absolutely (Story Of A Girl) - John
Mutton Birds - While You Sleep - John
Jeff Beck - Sophie - Sophie (this one courtesy of Jefito)
James Taylor & Carly Simon - Mockingbird - John
James Gang - Walk away - John
James Blunt - You're Beautiful - Simon (for sure...)
Don McGlashan - I Will Not Let You Down - John
Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone - John
Not a bad selection, Simon.
23 April 2007
This fits nicely into a discussion I've been having off and on with Andrew Dubber at New Music Strategies - that the laws of economics have been turned on their heads in the digital world.
The discussions frequently end with the riposte from Dubber along the lines of "Surely even you see that this is different to
Which reminds me of exchanges I had with a CIO of one of my customers who used to start sentences off "With all due respect, John..." to which I would say "What you're really saying, Richard, is : Listen, you stupid prick..".
At which he'd smile.
(Dubber, I'm joking. Sort of)
But what happened on Friday underpins my thesis that the flood of available (free) music is approaching/has approached a tipping point where sensory overload will (has/) become) counter-productive in the same way that Bill McKibben experienced his enforced watching of 1000 hours of TV in "The age of missing information" in 1992.
And that this will result in the emergence of service providers who will be our personal shoppers for media.
And that there's business model that will work.
It's happened in online travel portals, where people who originally abandoned their travel agents to get the best deals directly are now finding that the marginal cost (in time) of getting the best deal is too great to justify.
And they're returning to the same travel agents who have now reinvented themselves to fit the market need.
I first discovered Jefito's blog less than a year ago after noticing an uncanny clustering of songs that I liked on HypeMachine and their source.
In the intervening time, he's helped me discover huge chunks of music, I've been able to give him some back, I've enjoyed his writing and wit enormously and been privileged to get involved in some Good Works at Bloggers for a Cure.
So - just after I'd declared to Dubber that I'd be prepared to pay some form of subscription for Jeff's services as talent scout - when his host dropped him like a hot potato for swamping their servers and he asked for some contributions for the upfront costs for the switch to a new, more enlightened host, I thought I'd be a bit of a bastard if I told Dubber I'd be prepared to pay and then not
So I contributed what equates to 50c a week for a year. Which is fuck-all when you think about it.
And then the new hosting service killed him on Friday.
Now, I don't know Jeff Giles, but from what you can make out from his interweb presence, if he knocked on the door, we'd invite him in for dinner and ask him if he needed a bed for the night. And he could stay for as long as he wanted, actually.
All I know for sure is that he's a skilled writer with profound knowledge of music and pop culture. He proves that week for week.
And Bloggers for a Cure proves without doubt that he's a good person.
And he appears to have a nice family. Which I think he probably deserves.
But he's too popular forwhat he's doing at the moment and it makes hosting providers nervous. Nervous? It gives them the shits.
So last Friday probably went like this.
My guess - based on a bit of experience with one of the biggest commercial data centres in Europe - is that Jefito's provider was running pretty hot.
Their business plan probably didn't include a major capex in a big shiny new server (which whacks the unit cost up until economies of scale kick in again) and they were probably trying to squeak by with load management.
I started getting "Server timeout" and "Unavailable" on Thursday which was unusual in my experience.
And along comes Jefito - bless his cotton socks - with around half a gigabyte. Within 7 hours
07;00 - Mixtape 100MB
12:30 - Bootleg City Tom Petty 110MB
14:00 - Bootleg City Van Morrison 150MB
Multiplied by what. 100? 200? 500?
(In comparison - Croz gets 2000 hits when he posts Dylans' TTRH of a Thursday, but you're "only" (sic) looking at a 90MB download.)
And all of us who have been lurking around in the shadows all week - because Jeff's had satellite problems due to the sloppy white stuff - come ripping in like Attilla the Hun.
Every bastard and his brother starts downloading as if there's no tomorrow - did we know something, or what? -, the alarm bells start ringing in the data centre over at Mr and Mrs Host Provider's house, the core starts melting down and they start looking for culprits.
Sure, they've got a copyright clause writ large in the contract, but they'll turn a blind eye as long as they're ticking over quite happily.
But as soon as things go pear-shaped, they'll pull the wild card and close Jefito down.
Do not pass Go, do not get your 2 years' upfront back. At least he doesn't go to jail.
I don't know what Jefito wants to do going forward.
I don't know how his business model/life goal works, but if he wants to keep doing this - and I really, really hope he does - he's going to have to rethink his approach.
Which is where we have to try to square the circle.
So this is an open letter to Jeff, based on the sort of structure I've used successfully with customers to make sure they're getting the product they want and to make sure that they know what they really want you - as a supplier - to do for them.
1. What do you want to achieve with your website?
Are you looking to make money directly via advertising/product/commission? Are you looking to grow a user base that will help you leverage your other jobs? Are you using it to get a reputation in the industry by word of mouth? Are you doing it because you enjoy sharing your love of music with other people.Or do you just want to have a lot of friends?
2. Do you think people are prepared to pay something for what you do for them? Do you KNOW if people are prepared to pay something for what you do for them? Have you thought of finding out? Or do you have a personal problem with charging for what you do?
3. What are the legal risks involved into turning the site into a non-profit/non-loss unit?
4. What are the legal risks of continuing as is?
5. Are you in a position to risk-manage them?
Chew over this idea:
- Get someone to analyse your traffic log and look at spreading your stuff over the week more, so that you don't frighten the hosting providers. Do their load management for them
- Put up a poll and ask the right questions about price sensitivity
- If you get the commitment, use more than one host
- Constrain accessibility if you have to.
- In the meantime, ask around your mates whether they'd have any bandwidth available
You can have some
Oh I hope all your chooks turn to emus,
And kick your dunnie down flat to the grass,
I hope your balls turn to bicycle wheels,
And backpedal up your arse.
I hope every la-di-da pommie like you,
Gets the trots when he swallows a plum,
Go and dip your left eye in hot cockie shit,
And stick your head up a dead bear's bum
These remarks suggest the most significant elements evident in the film music tracks we are about to explore, namely: comedy and satire directed towards Australian struggles to assert cultural identity in the 1970s; musical intertextuality insofar as the film music track continually references familiar songs and Western/Anglophone musical items; and popular music's role in Australian culture.
This is unbelievable stuff! It's all from here. Someone's actually taken an academic look at Barry McKenzie
And it gets better...
The song structure is changed by the incorporation of some other musical sections, but all the elements of the song are retained. The cue begins at the airport scene. Initially it is a simple bass line marking out two alternating chords (E flat major and C minor). After 13 bars the string chords implied by the bass-line become prominent with the bass notes still underpinning the cue. At bar 21 the string chords are played tremolo, adding to the suspense. There is a build up to bar 25 where the choir enters singing "Bar-ry Mc-Ken-zie," a rising harmonised melodic hook that is later used at various dramatic parts of the narrative Such aspects of proximity and cultural transition are reinforced by the elements of difference highlighted in the stopover scene incorporated into this title sequence.
Back to reality..
Barry McKenzie was a comic strip figment of the imagination of one of Australia's most brilliant satirists, Barry Humphries.
Naive as they come and doing his OE in London the late 60's, his major (only?) interests were getting pissed and getting his leg over.
Sounds vaguely familiar...
Private Eye ran the series and delivered flimsy 45s to subscribers with gems such as
"All Pommies are bastards, bastards and worse
And England is the arsehole of the universe"
Chunder in the old Pacific sea.mp3
One eyed trouser snake.mp3
The Aussie Gummint supposedly even fronted up some cash to produce 2 films, not having the vaguest clue about what they were getting for their money.
Much blue-rinsed ranting ensued when the first film came out with classic lines such as:
Barry: Now listen mate, I need to splash the boots. You know, strain the potatoes. Water the horses. You know, go where the big knobs hang out. Shake hands with the wife's best friend? Drain the dragon? Siphon the python? Ring the rattlesnake? You know, unbutton the mutton? Like, point Percy at the porcelain?
Blanch: I think he wants to go to the loo....
22 April 2007
Whether they need it or not.
Always on All Saints Day (November 1) and Good Friday (which can be whenever, but sort-of six months later).
Easy to remember
In a less tolerant society, I imagine we'd have a fatwa or its equivalent whacked on us, but no-one obeys most of the myriad laws and regulations around here anyway.
But we were in New Zealand in November and in France over Easter, so one thing led to another and we had the lights burning virtually all day to avoid bumping into things.
The 'oo, who can see for miles
Van the Man who we should have hired to clean ours
O.V. Wright, who doesn't do windows
Kora, who - like us yesterday - barely can see
Johnny Nash AND Jimmy Cliff, both of whom can see clearly now
Which reminds me of a bet I had with Jane Hamlyn. (who is one of the Grande Dames of English studio pottery and a wonderful person and who everyone should be aware of. And her son Tom Hamyln's site rewards a look-in.
And her husband Ted is a fine artist in his own right, too.
She reckoned that "I can see clearly now" was made famous by Desmond Dekker, I said No-it-was-someone-else-but-I'm-not-sure-who (it was Johnny Nash) and hey presto, I'd won 6 bottles of Black Sheep ale. Also worth a visit.
Fats Waller, who does more than just windows
JABE, who - in their infinite wisdom - tell us that you can't see the stars from inside a bar.
Screw the stars, I say.
Mine's a Hefeweizen.
And Jeff - yeah, you over at Jefitoblog.
Have one yourself, mate
It'll cheer you up. (And he needs a little TLC at the moment....)
Illegitimi non carborundum
19 April 2007
Bought the book yet?
Shame on you if you haven't
Although John Peel didn't much care for 31 Songs.
But I'll forgive him. (Did you know that Rod Stewart was John Peel's best man? No? Then don't play me at Trivial Pursuit. I'll thrash you.)
I mean, I'm not muchly impressed by Ani DiFranco either, but, hey, it's Nick's list.
The 2nd batch
6 - Samba Pa Ti Santana 31 Songs
I've got the vinyl for this one - bought it in Amsterdam about 30 years ago. Along with "Asleep at the wheel", in fact.
7 - Mama You Been On My Mind Rod Stewart Never A Dull Moment
Probably from the last decent record that Rod ever made. (Mum's girlfriend, Isabel Holdsworth (89). wouldn't agree, but she's wrong. Even if she does know that Andy Gibb died of a drug overdose..) Bet you've never heard him sing "Man of constant sorrow"
8 - Can you please crawl out your window? Bob Dylan A rare batch of little white wonder
This is another vinyl-to-mp3 from an obscure Italian bootleg from goodness-knows-where. I bought the track from the iTunes Store to complete the collection and then rediscovered this. Much better.
9 - Rain The Beatles Original single.
This was the B-side to Paperback Road which I bought at the HMV Record shop in 246 Queen St in Auckland on a Friday night from my pocket money within days of its release in 1966. Digitally remastered from the 45.. Took hours. And hours. And still sounds crappy.
10 - You Had Time Ani DiFranco 31 Songs
Well, no, not really...
But it is Nick's list, after all
I kind of like Paul Carrack.
I rated Ace for the honest pub-rockers that they were. (I loved any pub-rockers back then - it was like having people play in your living room..)
I tolerated Mike and the Mechanics, mostly because Phil Collins wasn't in it. (Even if the music was a bit naff.)
And he's got a great voice, whether he's speaking or singing.
So the last time he was in Mainz, I really enjoyed it.
Now, he's made the unfortunate discovery that you just need to give German audiences of a certain age-group and middle-brow persuasion a slight nudge and they're off like metro(g)nomes, clapping happily along in 4/4 time with goonish grins on their faces.
Not even a backbeat.
Then he gets them to sing along.
Do they know the words?
Well, of COURSE they know the words.
It was like being stuck in the choir stalls for Handel's "Messiah".
With everyone waving cigarette lighters.
And I was sat behind the Incredible Hulk.
I'm not exactly vertically challenged, but this guy blocked out the sun.
Especially when he clicked into Ray Charles mode, rocking from side to side.
In 4/4 time.
I tried dodging left when he dodged right and vice versa, but the folks behind me got somewhat narked at that and started turning green.
They must have been related.
So I stopped that and got a very interesting stroboscopic effect of Paul for my $35.
I'd post a couple of tracks, but the Torrent stream is looking at another 17 hours.
So why don't you just sing along in the meantime.
And clap in 4/4 time.
18 April 2007
Hadn't used it for ages and I wanted to transfer some NZ filming to the Mac.
Nothing. Camera not found.
A couple of weeks outside warranty. Sod's Law.
The Firewire cable's OK, the Powerbook's OK. Definitely the camera.
Took it in to MediaMarkt (where I bought it for €629 2 years and a couple of weeks ago), paid €35 to have it sent into Panasonic with a recommendation (from the service techie) that it be fixed for free.
Got a letter today with a repair estimate of
The camera now costs around €450 and they're charging more than 130% of the new price to do ....what?
The hieroglyphics on the estimate mean bugger all to me, so the MediaMarkt chappie is going to have a whisper in Panasonic's shell-like.
More will follow.
(OK, who made last week disappear...?)
Stand out track?
"Difference" for utter heartbroken emotion,
"The Road" for the segue from Danny O'Keefe to Jackson Browne studio to Jackson Brown live. (Fucking proud of that one. Analogue tape deck, too)
"Lois Malone" for the kick of the intro
"Rainstorm" for pure power.
And then, of course, there's "Johnny strikes up the band". I vaguely recall lurching around in a moderately inebriated state, playing air guitar while the mates sang "And Johnny is my main man, he's the keeper of the keys,.... back by popular demand"
Probably more frequently that I'd care to admit.
Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty - City to city
Johnny strikes up the band - Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy
Sarah smile - Hall and Oates - Daryl Hall & John Oates
It makes no difference - The Band - Northern Lights, Southern Cross
Never letting go - Stephen Bishop - Careless
Once upon a time in the west - Dire Straits - Alchemy
Here comes the sun - Beatles - Abbey Road
That's enough for me - Lee Ritenour - Captain's journey
New kid in town - Eagles - Hotel California
Wild Billy's Circus Story - Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle
Over and over - Joe Walsh - But seriously, folks...
Secondhand store - Joe Walsh - But Seriously, Folks...
Goin' back - Neil Young - Comes a time
Fire lake - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Against the wind
Roll Um Easy - Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Rainstorm - Bonnie Raitt - Takin my time
Bloody well right - Supertramp - Crime of the century
Mexico - James Taylor - Gorilla
The Road - Danny O'Keefe - O'Keefe
The Road - Jackson Browne - Running On Empty
Promises - Eric Clapton - Backless
The ballad of Lois Malone - Atlanta Rhythm Section - Champagne Jam
Texas girl at the funeral of her father - Randy Newman - Little criminals
Mix and Match #4.mp3 74.6 MB 1:32:13
Back in the corporate life, I had a customer in Kazakhstan.
Start-up airline - the type that most people wouldn't touch with a bargepole but which our sales people used to sign up regularly
Sort of like the kids bringing in bedraggled kittens and saying "But it hasn't got a home"
Except that the sales peoples' bonus targets were based on turnover and the number of signed contracts.
And mine were mainly based on profit contribution.
But this airline - Air Astana - really took off and my guy who ran the account reckoned the boss should front up to lend some decorum to the proceedings
So there we were in Almaty.
Huge wide boulevards with classic Soviet architecture. Side streets like in Dodge City. Hyatt could be anywhere in the world. (If the lobby bar weren't housed in a yurt)
Great little airline. Good people (CEO was ex-BA, his Kazakh CFO lectures at a UK university) and after we'd worked out a pricing model to reflect their growth rate, off we went as honoured guests to the annual Almaty Travel Convention.
Weirdest darn thing.
Truckloads of folk dancers dressed up in lurid fluffy polyester gear doing the honours and swaying rhythmically to the massed dombra orchestra, only to burst spontaneously into song when Elton John came over the PA.
Which is where I met Erkesh Shakeeb.
He was CEO of Air Kazakhstan which was the unspeakably tatty state airline (which later died and got swallowed by our lot) and we - the honoured foreign guests - got wheeled up for introductions.
And he gave me his newest CD - ВБГСОТА (which translates to Vbgsota). None the wiser. The back cover has a picture of Everest being threatened by blue lightning; the the insert has a picture of Erkesh and a mate celebrating their ascent of Tanzania's highest peak.
As I said - Не спросите мне
Nice enough guy, though.
Here he is with Anma-Ata - track 1 of 16 indecipherable titles.
And here's Oorzhak Khunashtaar-ool with some very nice Tuvan throatsinging
And some Bahraini pearl divers singing about Ifjirie. (They really hit their stride about halfway in - the rest must be tuning up)
12 April 2007
I watched it twice on the way back from Singapore and would have managed a third time if the IFE hadn't stuffed up.
I watched it again. And again. And again.
No-one else I know likes it. Even if they'd seen it.
Well, Ed Marks would.
He's my mate Gary's stepson who turned up to stay pretty much unannounced in 1977 with a Eurail pass, a sleeping bag and an encyclopedic knowledge of trivia.
He'd dis- And re-) appear every couple of days and proudly unpack the stuff he's picked up in Malmö or Glasgow or wherever.
The only solo LP by someone who was drummer in one of Mick Ronson's bands. For example.
And he'd say stuff like "I should really have bought that LP by Spooky Tooth's bass guitarist's brother" and zip back to Helsinki to pick it up.
So he'd like "High Fidelity"
And he'd like "31 Songs", too.
26 essays, 31 songs that are intensely personal as either pivotal experiences or good music that almost got away.
I had some of them already, got some more on the "31 Songs" CD (which only has 18 of them..) and tracked down some of the more obscure ones on eBay.
Some I liked. A lot. Some were OK. Some were fucking frightening. But it's all good experience-widening stuff.
So here, you go - the first 5.
And buy the book
- Teenage Fanclub - "Your Love is the Place Where I Come From"
- Bruce Springsteen - "Thunder Road"
- Nelly Furtado - "I'm Like a Bird"
- Led Zeppelin - "Heartbreaker"
- Rufus Wainwright - "One Man Guy"
11 April 2007
Smokie, the band that backed Peter Noone (of Hermann's Hermits fame) in the early 70's and who - if there were any justice in the world - should have sunk without trace?
Smokie, the band that churned out such Chinnichap classics as "Lay back in the arms of someone" (retch, vomit) and "Living next door to Alice"?
Then you probably live in the States and were lucky enough not to have been exposed to lethal doses of them.
They're still around - you can't go to a beerfest without either them or the Rubettes or the Tremellos or some other geriatric crew lip-synching to a bunch of obscure sing along ditties.
But the Gompie Cafe in Nijmegen in the Netherlands had the idea.
The story's here
It was the sort of song that played at every party, every disco, every football stadium and mainstream radio played it to death.
Content warning? Offensive lyrics? Over here? National radio regularly plays Zappa's "Bobbie Brown" and no-one complains to the protectors of public morals....
So here - for your listening pleasure and amusement - is
Who the fuck is Alice - Gompie
10 April 2007
Update: 28 June 2011
Return the car full, it's checked in by an Avis agent,I get a printout of the bill.
Avis charges me the bill PLUS a "refuelling charge"
Email Avis, they acknowledge that they hadn't needed to refuel the car, refund the charge after 2 weeks.
Next time, they get charged my consultancy fee (€3000 a day and I spent AT LEAST an hour emailing them and reading their response.....)
Update: 3 November 2010
Rent a car in Los Angeles and drive fewer than 75 miles and you'll get whacked with a Fuel Service charge of $17.06.
Even if you've filled up.
And they refuse to consider adjustments under $50
It works like this.
You've booked a car, you pick up the keys and you get your car from the Avis lot at the airport.
It's dark, it's raining, you look quickly to make sure that everything's OK (and far as you can see) and off you go.
Return it the next day and they'll say "Oh, this (supermarket-parking-lot-car-door-ding) dent wasn't there when you hired it. That'll be £/€/$200"
Or you're on the freeway before you notice a stone chip in the windscreen.
Call them up to report it and they'll say "Well, it must have happened since you hired it"
Or you get whacked with a £70 charge on your credit card. Turns out that the radio antenna was missing. (You've picked the car up in the morning, driven to see the CEO of one of my customers, parked in their executive car park (where the security guard tore off the antenna in a fit of pique - yeah, right...) and dropped it back off in the evening. Find out later that one of their valet goons didn't take the antenna off and put it on the passenger seat (which is what they're meant to do) before putting it through the car wash. Don't get your £70 back though)
But this last one was the best. By far
Marseille airport, brand new Opel Astra, perfect condition according to them.
RANT MODE ON
Half the fucking side of the car was missing.
OK, that's an exaggeration, but there were
on the car.
Which was 1/4 empty.
Look at the damn pictures.
RANT MODE OFF
It's almost as if the rental locations are given targets for this sort of stuff.
It's the same old greasy number wherever you go
- You get to pick up a car in a dingy corner of a multistory carpark and return it to to their blindingly well-lit check-in area. (Manchester airport)
- Fill up the car 3km from the return lot and get charged €20 for refuelling. (Lyons)
- Get the car delivered to you double-parked in front of the terminal in the rain. You try and check it out thoroughly with an policeman with a sub-machine gun hurrying you along (Birmingham airport)
- Agree that they'll reimburse you for 1/4 tank of gas and they either calculate the tank smaller or use a gas price that you'll find nowhere but Saudi Arabia. (Marignane airport)
- Get a (supposedly fully-fuelled) car with the fuel warning lamp burning (Birmingham airport)
- Try and get someone to check out the car when you return it with a flight to catch and you get "Can't do it now. It'll be at least 30 minutes" (But I can ring up a charge for damage in milliseconds). Manchester and/or Birmingham.
- Get cars on 3 separate occasions within a month, each with windscreen chips or panel damage. Un-noted, of course. (Auckland)
- Try and draw these shortcomings (politely put) to their attention and your comments disappear into a central cesspit on the American corporate site. You'll never hear from them. (New Zealand)
And if someone from Avis is reading this..
09 April 2007
Jefito gets most of the credit for getting this on the road and I'm proud that he's included me in this group of people who I like without knowing.
So click here
and go over to the Bloggersforeacure website to see what we've got up to.
And here's just short of an hour's worth for your iPod, Scott
Walk away - James Gang - Thirds
The Walk - Jimmy McCracklin - John Lennon's Jukebox
Walk away Rene - Ricky Lee Jones - Girl at her volcano
I Walk The Line - Johnny Cash - Live At San Quentin
Walk Don't Run - Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Walk On The Ocean - Toad The Wet Sprocket - Fear
Walk On By - The Stranglers - Greatest Hits 1977-1990
Walk out in the rain - Eric Clapton - Backless
Walkin All Night - Little Feat - 1973-07-19 - Ebbet's Field
Walking On My Feet - ARD Fairburn - Classic New Zealand Poets In Performance
Walkin' Back To Happiness - Helen Shapiro - The Britpack
Walkin' Up The Road - Betty Davis - This Is It!
Walking in the wind - Traffic - When the eagle flies
Why Walk When You Can Fly - Mary Chapin Carpenter - Stones In The Road
You'll Never Walk Alone - Kop Choir - Fabric Live 07: John Peel
05 April 2007
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood
And he played real good
On his clarinet, for free
From "Miles of Aisles".
Just look at the exquisite structure of that first verse, reducing line by line down to the words that stick in your head
I gave that to Linda, my mate Pete's girlfriend at the time, when she graduated from BA's cabin crew training course in the mid-70s.
And she sure saw a lot of those..
Continuing on the Joni tack - here's some stuff to see you through the weekend.
Free Man In Paris - Joni Mitchell - Court And Spark
Chimes Of Freedom - Youssou N'Dour - Guide
Everything Is Free - Gillian Welch - Time (The Revelator)
Free - Hinemoana Baker - Puawai
Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Best Of The Test
Freedim' Meaning - Semper-Fi - Dub Conspiracy
Freedom - Amos Lee - Supply And Demand
God Is Going To Get Sick Of Me - Aberdeen City - The Freezing Atlantic
I Want To Be Free - Elvis Presley - The Complete 1950s Masters Vol 5
I'm Free - The Rolling Stones - Stripped
I'm So Free - Lou Reed - Transformer
Free The People - Dave Dobbyn - Available Light
I'm Free From The Chain Gang Now - Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
Rockin' In The Free World - Pearl Jam & Neil Young - Greatest Hits
Rural route - John Mellencamp - Freedom's Road
Be My Friend - Free - Live At The BBC
For free - Joni Mitchell - Miles of aisles
And yes, I really did keep that 30 October 1970 Daily Telegraph magazine cover for pushing 4 decades.
Quite sad, really...
04 April 2007
It recalled Jeffrey Hart's review of Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse, by Roger Kimball:
"In brief, the civilized seriousness of these essays made me aware of how insidiously our rancid popular culture has come to invade our common being. The throwaway-Kleenex TV programs and magazines, the junk thought, the affirmations of the unbelievable, the garish music, the suffocating ignorance, the language unrooted in lived human experience -- this is the muck we swim in, and even though we despise it, some of it sticks."
The question is, of course, to what extent this "suffocating ignorance" has always pervaded society, only recently emerging into the area of public perception.
Look at the appallingly shallow thought evident in the unmoderated comments on YouTube. GoogleVideo, MySpace and their ilk.
Look at the inability to construct a simple sentence.
Be fearful of the utter lack of understanding of the concept of punctuation.
But also look at the inability of supposedly educated, skilled and talented people to write without displaying their ignorance.
www.pprune.org - a forum for professional pilots - is a depressingly typical example of phonetic spelling and creative grammar and punctuation.
And don't go anywhere near the Cabin Crew forums, if you know what's good for you.
I got my (German) Account Team to understand the difference between "its" and "it's" thus:
if you want to sprinkle apostrophes around, ask yourself if "it is" fits in with what you want to say.
Then "its" - without an apostrophe - will do very nicely, thanks.
And they knew how to use a spell-check.
And the dodgy ones had to get their stuff proofread.
Simple stuff, but some clients place value of grammatically correct proposals.
But then again, I might be old-fashioned....
Getting good by now - steep learning curve.
This runs to 90 minutes and 11 seconds and it must have used every single molecule of CrO2 on the fucking tape.
High fives all round when the tape started rolling at very instant the needle hit the groove.
You know how it feels.
It's pretty clear that I'm a pushover for a slide guitar - Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Lowell George, David Lindley are all here. Ry Cooder hasn't turned up yet.
Chris Rea would come as a surprise in this auspicious company. Admit it, you've pigeonholed him somewhere as....what?
"My friend put on a record" says Chris. "It was Joe Walsh. Suddenly the sky lit up. I remember looking out of the window at the sunset and thinking 'this is it'. I went out and bought a guitar and a slide. Instant cure for depression. I was like a child with his first paint box and a blank piece of paper."
Good enough for me.
Cenotaph-Letter from Amsterdam is - for me - the absolute standout of the tape.
It's got everything
Dynamics, emotion, lyrics, wonderful Tubular Bells guitar overlays, slide guitar, the raging voice, manic accordion, "My back pages" melodies turn up for "The town square's disappearing in drifts up to my knees", clean cut off. Broad Yorkshire accent.
Beat it if you can
The rest isn't too evil either..
Cliff Richard crawls out the pit of utter disdain with "Rock and Roll Juvenile", Nils Lofgren stopped me on the spot in a fashion boutique in Oxford Street (aaaah, fashion boutiques, those were the days...), Peter Frampton's Wind of Change was an excellent LP.
When I showed my mate Peter Wroe my latest treasure - Rick Danko's first post-Band LP - he said " You're aware that we're the only 2 people in the UK who are going to buy this, don't you?"
I have no idea what came over me to include Phil Collins. My abject apologies.
But I absolutely know why Maggie May's in there - it's the ultimate sway-along-boozing-song.
You'd be down the pub and "Maggie" comes on the jukebox and the place would be filled with a rhythmic wave of heads and shoulders in time with the song.
And then there'd be the 39 seconds of relative silence, swaying glasses raised, from 3:54 where Ray Jackson from Lindisfarne comes in with the mandolin and Ronnie Lane does his nifty bass line, air-drumming and much spilling of beer at 4:32 (because you've temporarily forgotten which hand's holding the glass and which the fag) when Micky Waller boomboomboombooms back in, some more spillage at 4:45 (another sloppy fill from Micky, with some BOOMBOOM bass drum) and then some slurred falsetto hoo hoo hoooo-ing along with Rod at 4:54 and then it's time for another round.
That's why Maggie May's in there. Great stuff.
And here they are on Top of the Pops with the wonderful John Peel.
All as pissed as we were.
Maggie May - Rod Stewart
Rock 'n' roll juvenile - Cliff Richard
I ain't much - Atlanta Rhythm Section
Things - Joe Walsh
Cenotaph-Letter from Amsterdam - Chris Rea
One Love Stand - Little Feat
Can't get closer (wcgc) - Nils Lofgren
Marina del Rey - Marc Jordan
Real life ain't this way - Jay Ferguson
Wind of change - Peter Frampton
Road hawg - Joe Ely
In the air tonight - Phil Collins
Love Needs A Heart - Jackson Browne
Taking the long way home - Valerie Carter
Two trains - Lowell George
Don't look back - David Lindley
Neal's Fandango - Doobie Brothers
Took the last train - David Gates
Wondering where the lions are - Bruce Cockburn
New Mexicoe - Rick Danko
Hold Out - Jackson Browne
Are you sure Hank done it this way - Waylon Jennings
Mix & Match #3.mp3 85MB 1:30:11
And here's Cenotaph-Letter from Amsterdam as a separate track. You deserve it.
And Two Machines - a mashup of Lowell George's "Two Trains" and Girls Aloud's "Sex Machine"
02 April 2007
If I'm honest, I actually prefer Erdinger, but that prick Beckenbauer advertises for them and I refuse to have anything to do with any product he endorses.
Of course, if he starts cooperating with Saab, I'm stuffed....
A "dag" is - as Wikipedia so tenderly points out..."wool on a sheep's rear contaminated with mud and fæcal matter"
And I always thought it was the shitty bits of wool around a sheep's bum......
Live and learn.
When dry, they click together when the sheep runs, hence the expression "Rattle yer dags" - Tell the rest of the family to get a move on.
A "dag" is also a character.
As in "He put a mouse in his girlfriend's handbag. He's a bit of a dag, that bloke"
Fred Dagg is the character created by satirist John Clarke - the prototypical black-singletted, gum-booted New Zealand dairy farmer. His monologues - and folk songs - are firmly entrenched in New Zealand urban culture.
Star of Wonder
"We don't no how lucky we are" - in its original version - has been expunged from the catalog by the PC police.
I think it was the penultimate verse that did it.....
A reviewer noted: "This song doesn't have much of a tune to it, and since it is generally sung when everybody is drunk, the tune doesn't really matter"
I was speaking to a mate of mine
just the other day
A guy called Bruce Bayliss actually
who lives up our way
He's been living in Europe
for the year, more or less
I said "How was Europe, Bruce?"
He says "Fred, it's a mess"
We don't know how lucky we are, mate
We don't know how lucky we are,
I was down
the Plough and Chequebook,
the night before last
There's a guy down there on the floor
with his brain at half-mast
I said "You're looking really bad mate
your eyes look like strings"
He says "Get me an eight will you please Fred
I can't see a thing"
Me stock agent's got a beach place
where he spends most of his days
His wife bit the dust down there last year
got eaten by a couple of crays
And his two littlest daughters
got killed by a whale
I said "Are you going down there this year mate?"
He says "Fred, right on the nail"
Me father-in-law's been feeling
pretty pleased with himself:
He's been living in Greece
for the good of his health.
I said, "How was the climate?
And how was your year?"
He says, "The climate's too hot,
you can't get a beer,
The sheilas look like blokes, and of course
the blokes are all queer,
and if you want a really good time,
you might as well live here."
So if things are looking really bad
you're thinking of givin' it away
Remember New Zealand's a cracker
and I reckon come what may
If things get appallingly bad
and we all get atrociously poor
If we stand in the queue with our hats on
we can borrow a few million more.