Sunday, 15 March 2015

Word of the day

Hamsteren v., to hoard. Discovered on Wednesday while flipping through a Dutch/English dictionary in Oxfam, it just leapt out at me.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Space age bachelor pad

Is it wrong for a man to be envious of his hamster? Above is our hamster's habitat, or one of them any way. This is his fun palace (it has a running wheel). His other pad is a much more spacious, though more traditional residence.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

New hamster etc.

I've been absent for a while. In this time I've nearly posted.....twice. Something about a gingerbread man biscuit (too whimsical, I decided). And when I got a copy of the Spectrum/MGMT 7" on the Great Pop Supplement. My god, did you see that sleeve? So beautiful. The track's not bad either - Spacemen 3 cover Little Doll basically. The Spectrum track was called Bo's Web which brings me to: we have a new hamster. ʊ is, uncontroversially, how his name is pronounced. As to the spelling, my wife maintains that it's Beau (as in Brummell), whereas I say it's Bo (as in Diddley). As I remember it my rationale for Bo Diddly was that Bo (our hamster) was so small. So, like diddly squat, ie: nothing, a paltry amount (of hamster). My wife is at a loss to explain as to how he takes after the famous Regency dandy. 

Other than that there's a round the world post just sitting there, waiting for the MP3 to be uploaded. And a new, very unoriginal, series idea to follow that. I used to have a few half formed posts sitting in the draft folder of my email account, but I came in pissed one night a while back and accidentally deleted them all. No great loss really (except for one about some Mervyn Peake drawings, and the top ten best songs ever one, and a questionnaire style one, that was quite funny).

Added to that is that life has been pretty good. It's occurred to me before that I don't post that much when I'm happier. I know I was certainly stuck in a miserable job when I started this blog. I am, at the moment, very happy in my work. I get in at 7.30am, blink, and it's home time, whether I like it or not. I am, additionally, fairly happy with the other bits of my life. How have I achieved this state of bliss? The usual stuff: how many records have I bought since October? I couldn't tell you, a lot though. I've got enough pairs of Clarks shoes to last me about ten years. I've acquired a fairly perfect striped blazer (burgundy and navy blue, quite subtle. All it lacks is a thin yellow stripe). The girl on the coffee concession is clearly in love with me (she gives me extra stamps on my loyalty card. Or is this a common ploy? Anyway, it's getting a bit ridiculous, I would say around fifty percent of my stamps are bogus).


Been to see some great bands (White Fence and Ultimate Painting at the 100 Club, musically absolutely outstanding). Looking forward to Moon Duo and Belle and Sebastian in April and May. Slightly bummed that I couldn't get tickets for Lee Perry (why did no one tell me about the International Ska festival sooner?). He's playing the day before Good Friday, so no hangover worries and also Good Friday falls on my birthday. (Did you know, I was born on Easter Monday and my birthday won't be on Easter Monday again until 2051, what a weird holiday it is eh?).


So, yes, no new cafes, no new lighthouses and no new beer mats but everything's been just lovely.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Rambling man

I like the attitude of this pedestrian marking, he looks a bit more purposeful than other, more languid looking specimens. And, to me at least, he seems to wearing a pair of Clarks Albernis.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Magical mystery spore

On a lovely stroll through Richmond park today I stooped occasionally to poke about the undergrowth looking for magic mushrooms. I never find any and today was no different. Such behaviour feels very conspicuous in this popular park and picking any discoveries would have been a fraught experience (my cover story if challenged would have been that I was looking for stag beetles). This sort of thing is so much easier in Derbyshire. On the subject of paranoia, an Apache helicopter flew over at one point, a most unpleasant sight.

Anyway, check out one of the fungi I did encounter. Quite fearsome looking, I'd never have guessed it was edible, but according to some probably not very reliable internet research by me, it's a parasol mushroom (the name becomes more appropriate later on in its development) and is quite tasty. It reminds me of one of those German hand grenades.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Which side are you on?

Or, are you a roundy or a squary? Without wishing to put words into the mouth of the late Roger Hargreaves I think his colours are pretty clearly nailed to the mast.

I often bewail the fact that this country is held in the poisonous grip of a right wing media, but generally kids books are full of this kind of leftist propaganda - where does it all go wrong? So much for the Jesuits and their "give me the child" business eh?

I have already sung the praises of the Mr Men books and the part they played in my moral education. For the record I also enjoyed the slightly more madcap Timbucktoo books, but I don't remember seeing these Roundy and Squary books at all. Suppressed, no doubt, by the Establishment. 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Troll

As I'm sure you all remember once upon a time the word troll was used to describe a creature that typically lurked beneath a bridge and that might occasionally emerge to pull off your limbs and eat you alive. The word has recently become somewhat sullied in its application to all those many, many individuals whose online comments give a terrifying glimpse of the staggering levels of spite and mean-spiritedness lurking in the hearts of the great British public.

Anyway, I found this (the ladybird 1977 edition of TheThree Billygoats Gruff) when I was on holiday this summer and just had to buy it for the sheer loveliness of the drawings. Minutes later I showed it to one of my friends, telling him to brace himself for a high quality nostalgia rush. Only to be told that, "that wasn't my troll". He's a couple of years older than me. Turns out as well that his Doctor is Jon Pertwee.

Oh well. Anyway, the troll - he bears quite a resemblance to Vince Cable, does he not? (I might send it in to Private Eye.) I'm struggling a bit over 2015 and I read the interview with Vince in the Observer last weekend keenly. When I got to, "...if you're a Guardian-reading Labour supporter in Torbay or Wells or Twickenham, you know you're faced with a choice between the Lib Dems and some Tory. What are you going to do? You think these bastard sold out. I'm going to teach them a lesson. And have a Tory MP?", I nearly choked on my Nutty Clusters.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Down to lexington


I went to see Pete Molinari about a month ago and, as is the way these days, snippets of the gig have been posted on youtube. I won't lie, the main reason I'm posting this particular song is because you can actually see me on it. My luxuriant hair and chiselled cheekbone (and itchy nose) can be seen obscuring the bass drum from time to time. It was during this tune also that I nearly heckled. (At the 51 second mark I was going to shout "Judas!" but I bottled it. It would have been funny. It's a shame.)

I enjoyed this at the time and the first few songs from what I remember, but as the evening wore on I found the electrified set a bit muddy for my liking and I left during the last track in search of more drink.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Upsettlement

Either Dollar in Teeth or Return of Django appear on just about every ska compilation ever...compiled. And they're seriously good tracks. Other than those two though I admit, my knowledge of Upsetters instrumentals was scanty.  Anyway, the other week, after twenty years of not really being that bothered I decided to check out some of their other output. I pondered which track to post and was torn between Sipreano and Tipper Special. Ska and more so dub can test even my taste for repetition, but these two though I find thoroughly satisfying, mainly on account of their slight weirdness I think, a defining attribute of the famous Lee Perry production. Regarded as a legend in this household and I know all my friends feel the same way, is he famous in the real world?

I was going to leave it on the question there, but I spoke to my brother shortly after I'd written it and so I asked him. He had absolutely no idea who he was. Didn't even know what he did.

Anyway, Tipper Special. I opted for this one on the grounds that it's drier.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Lesser spotted lighthouse

This summer we returned to Somerset. I was dismissive last year of Watchet lighthouse, clocking in as it does at a mere 22 ft. A glorified pepper pot. However, I decided I might as well go and take a look and was mildly won over. It's not a bad little lighthouse, though it's not really a lighthouse.

The harbour walls (which seemed very high to me) were, here and there, eroded in a most interesting way. Very alien-looking I thought, and well worth a photograph.