Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am 43 today. Bit of an indeterminate age, isn't it? Neither micklin' nor mucklin' I'd say. Still, at least I STILL GOT ME ELF *cough*.

Speaking of elfs, did you know that I am the exact same age as bestselling Harry Potter author Joanne 'J.K' Rowling?

I wonder if she's off out for a curry and a few beers tonight too?

This was the UK number one when I was born. I believe pop stars had begun to smoke 'pot'...

The Byrds - 'Mr Tambourine Man' (1965)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Cynic Is A Disappointed Romantic

I was going to wax lyrical about summer's lease hath all too short a date and the heat peaks before the thunderstorm breaks and how all great summer art celebrates the ripening even as it anticipates the coming decay, those dog days, but I figured I'd just post some Dan instead.

I know I'm on a hiding to nothing here with some of you tight-trousered boys and girls but I really do think Becker and Fagen are up there with the best of Elmore Leonard and Robert Altman's Long Goodbye as sassy, laconic chroniclers of 70s LA/USA and what great music, really.

Gaucho doesn't get nearly enough plaudits either.

'Here come those Santa Ana winds again...'

Steely Dan - 'Babylon Sisters' (1980)
Steely Dan - 'Gaucho' (1980)

Friday, July 25, 2008


Terry even looks cool in glasses, Feargal.

Posting Percy

 Yes, my six week search is at an end, and did this track get emailed from Arkansas, downloaded from DivShare or lifted from Lime Wire? Friends, it did not. Ally bought it in a record shop and posted it to me to rip.

Does Feargal Sharkey approve of this sort of thing? Will Mortlake Sorting Office soon be writing me a stern letter to warn me about 'single sharing'?

This is a Dusty Seven; expect crackles and heartache.

Thank you Mistress Ally and bona, bona lavs x

Percy Sledge - 'Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)' (1969)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Running On Empty

Coming back from that wedding a while ago on the straight, flat, through-little-villages A38 North East of Bristol in the wake of the Great British Fuel Blockade, my fuel gauge pinged to tell me I was running low on petrol, and dammit but every garage I passed for the next ten miles or so was closed.

After twenty, the gauge hit zero - "DH there is no petrol left, stop now" - and I was nowhere in site of a town or a filling station or a layby or a duck and, no choice, no option, I just kept on driving, convinced any moment it'd just run dry, judder to a halt, stop Unsafely, strand me here in Chipping Cum Bloody Bog Nowhere Gloucestershire, 3 hours from Home and Bed and Loved Ones and Everything and DAMN, DAMN!! BLOODY DAMN!!! but, no choice, no option, TWENTY FIVE I just kept on driving, kept on driving and........that's what this past fortnight's been like.

No liquid left. I've been running on the vapours in the tank. I've been hearing my own voice talking and I'm listening to it from two metres away across the room and it sounds like someone else's voice (have you ever had that?) and it's been, you know, hard work.

Breathing in those vapours...

But, hallelujah, now I've STOPPED.
Not in a grass ditch or on a dangerous corner, as far as I can tell, but at a point at last (and that is what happened against all odds in Chafing Slightly, Gloucs) where I may perchance Refuel, at a price. And that is good. And now I really need to swap this View for Another, for a week at least, and on a budget, and all things shall be fine. Most likely.

But where on earth shall I go? Eh?

Not camping, noooooohhhhhh!!!!

Trembling Blue Stars - 'Outside Looking Elsewhere' (2007)

Alright Colin ?

Actual fuel gauge not pictured. Mine's a nice digital one. Counts down mile by mile. Stressing you up nicely.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Let The Music Have Its Way

This feels like the first weekend in ages we haven't had Things To Do. This is a good thing; for surely a person every now and then needs space - to quaff of the vino, chop the tomatoes, sniff the fresh basil* and cuddle the persons close to him while the groovy music plays...

I've had this in my head all day and you know by now that means I'll have to share it with you...

Dave Edmunds - 'Almost Saturday Night' (1981)

* cooking veg lasagne. Thanks for the music Dr Al and sorry about the BBQ x

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Best Part Of Breaking Up

The most famous record by The Biggest Australian Beat Group Of The 60s! True! And no, I didn't know that either until I Wiki'd them just now. But I love this record. It's on that 60s summer pop compilation CD I mentioned in comments. It has to be one of the best Friday songs ever doesn't it?

Gonna have fun in the city
Be with my girl she's so pretty...

Our two break up for the school summer holidays today - hugs for the teachers that are leaving, emotional moments in the playground, carrier bags full of a year's paintings, poems and plastic milk bottle elephants all coming home; six weeks of holiday ahead of them. Six weeks. *gulp*

I always wanted an American Graffiti/Big Wednesday type summer of hot rods and colas and days at the beach and I wish they all could be California girls but it never quite worked out like that.

It was more Why Don't You Turn Off Your Television Set And Do Something Less Boring Instead.

When's the Whizzer And Chips Summer Special out?

The Easybeats - 'Friday On My Mind' (1966)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bless The Weather

This week I am forecasting sunny spells and shedloads of away-from-the-desk work - so my appearances here may once again be erratic, perhaps even rare, but I'll be enjoying the lunchtimes in London parks and the comforting warmth of the streets. I'll have the title track of 'Bless The Weather' in my head because I'm slightly obsessed with it currently (thanks again Beth) and do you know, I might even make some room in there for Donovan.

Poor old Donovan; I never felt the same about him after that 'compare and contrast' scene in Don't Look Back where he noodled away at his latest sweet little tune just before Dylan let rip with 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue' but like a lot of sugar-based substances he's OK in small doses I suppose. Although spare me 'Mellow Yellow'. Obviously.

This is famously good though - all the better for the Danny Thompson-esque bass and restrained little chamber-jazz arrangement.

I know, never trust a hippy.

Donovan - 'Sunny Goodge Street' (1965)

[That stunning photo is by Bob Hyde - on show here]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Meanwhile...Saturday Night Filler

Obviously I also dance like this. Especially at weddings. And just as they do for John, people clear the floor for me. What can I say? It's a gift.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Reggae # 6

Well, it's been a while.

I might bring back the prawn curry with coconut milk tonight too.

Hey. I know how to live.

The Melodians - 'Sweet Sensation' (1970)

Builders, Bugs and Ballyhoo

So I seem to have done a Vicar-style 'blogger disappears without notice or trace' thing this week, and I'm sorry - it's been Buggeration Factor central round here since Tuesday when I picked up a nasty, intrusive and bastard-hard to remove adware 'trojan' that hijacked my browser and pumped endless online casino ad sites and pop-ups my way whenever I tried to go about my innocent, everyday internetty business. I tried loads of that free spyclean software in attempts to remove it but a) none of it worked and b) some of it helpfully contained spyware of its own. Oh, deep joy.

In the end I had to buy this which, fingers crossed, seems to have done the trick.

All of this frantic and time-swallowingly stressful malarkey was happily also accompanied by the hammer, bang, saw, drill, thud and occasional deeply off-tune whistle of a bunch of builders who appear to be actually demolishing the house next door and our very own counterpoint in Terry the nice Irishman who had a good noisy go at sorting our bathroom floor midweek.

And it rained most of the week. And I drank too much wine on Wednesday night (can you blame me?). And somewhere in the midst of all this I also had to earn a few honest quid.

Bloody Nora, get life back to normal.

Anyway - how are you?

Echo & The Bunnymen - 'Bedbugs And Ballyhoo' (1987)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Birthday Boogaloo

Bunny rabbit shadowpuppets second to none

.Many Happy Returns Richard Starkey MBE, 68 today.

'Time and tide wait for no man - but at least you can move your deckchair further up the shore'

Ringo Starr - 'Photograph' (1973)

Friday, July 04, 2008


Finally busted, Madam Marie

ASBURY PARK, N.J. (AP) - Bruce Springsteen is paying tribute to a boardwalk fortuneteller he made famous in a song. Madam Marie Castello, who told fortunes on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in New Jersey, died recently. She was 93. Springsteen wrote about her in his 1973 song "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)". In a posting on his Web site, Springsteen remembers Castello as a boardwalk fixture at the Temple of Knowledge."I'd sit across from her on the metal guard rail bordering the beach, and watched as she led the day-trippers into the small back room where she would unlock a few of the mysteries of their future," he writes. "She always told me mine looked pretty good - she was right". Springsteen adds: "Over here on E Street, we will miss her". On the Net:

I misspent my teens in a British seaside town and spent many a summer 'banging on them pleasure machines' but Asbury Park, New Jersey sounded like an impossibly bigger-budget widescreen remake of the cathode ray tube view I had in Paignton, Devon - the vistas sweeping, the cars and the girls sleek and fast and the boardwalk long, long, long. We had a pier. Still, Bruce knew too he had to get out or get caught, and he was right, I knew he was right, because so did I.

You can almost smell the candyfloss ('cotton candy'?), frying onions and generator two-stroke in this and I know the stuff is easy to parody and a soft target to mock, but damn it I liked Bruce when he was all epic/poetic.

Have a nice day U.S of A.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - '4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)' (1973)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It Should Be On Eight Track Cartridge

In the easy listening bureau de change one Glen Campbell is worth at least ten Bobby Goldsboros.

The kind of record that would make my Auntie Haulwen in South Wales come over all unnecessary, and understandably so.

He was once in the Beach Boys you know.

Words and music by the great Jimmy Webb.

Glen Campbell - 'Honey Come Back' (1970)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Love At Second Sight

I'm not sure many people remember The Bible, which is a shame; frontperson Boo Herwerdine's songs were heartfelt, literate, inventive, melodious - and they looked like they might make it big for a while. They were big in our final year student flat (Wood Street, Walthamstow, just down from the Whipp's Cross roundabout, scarily distant from...bloody everywhere worth being).

They released two albums in the late 80s - usual story, the first a cracker, the second more 'mature' but somehow less gripping - and along with 'The Queen Is Dead' their debut soundtracked our stuffy London summer of 1986, the Finals done, the whole of The Rest Of Our Lives ahead of us and none of us with any sense at all of what the hell we might do with it.

And when you want to live
How d'you start
Where d'you go
Who d'you need to know?

I turned out my dusty TDK of the record in my spring rummage this year and uploaded a few tracks to the computer; they sounded great.

I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

The Bible - 'Graceland' (1986)
The Bible - 'King Chicago' (1986)

Boo Hewerdine is still busy and The Bible reformed in the late 90s, though we've kind of lost touch. You can buy a shiny new CD of Walking The Ghost Back Home here, and I just might.