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


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


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.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

What a drag it is getting old

While I was away we got through yet another hamster. Years ago I remember how badly my dad was affected when one of the cats got knocked down. I was sad of course, but poor dad really took it quite hard. So much so that they didn't get another cat for a couple of years. But the older you get the more sentimental you get, I notice. So, yes, having fed our ailing hamster sugared water through a pipette for a few days and hoping against hope, I was ridiculously morose for a fortnight or so after Bilbo there took his one way trip to the vet. I loved that little guy. It torments me that he never got to the see the living room in its new configuration. There's a lot more scuttle room.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The sound of water

One Million Years Ago is possibly my favourite track on Broadcast & The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults etc. I write the odd post about lighthouses and this is the perfect soundtrack for a lighthouse, the rising and falling tone the beam and the tinkling noises are the bobbing tide. They even throw in some seagulls.

And this tune from that Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance album that I got so into a few months ago. It sounds to me, the chiming bit before the recorders start, somehow like water. Like a ripple expanding through water. As with many of the tracks on the Broadcast album I do wish this was a bit longer. I could listen to it for I don't know how long.

But now the actual sound of water (or one of them). Once upon a time, when I was at college, I woke up early one morning. None of my friends would be up for hours, it was a beautiful crisp December morning so I took myself out walking. I headed for a nearby lake and when I got there found it covered in about an inch of ice. After a minute or two of gazing at the loveliness of it all I thought "Right, I ought to try and smash some of this ice" and threw a handy rock high into a steep arc over the water. It didn't smash through but instead bounced off the surface and caused one of the weirdest noises I've ever heard. It went something like: Teckk!, with a slight jews harp sort of effect. Hmm, no, that description doesn't really do it justice. It's a reasonably sized body of water (this is quite a nice picture of it), imagine a sheet of ice that size reverberating....oh fuck it, look I've found this on youtube, it was just like this.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Remembrance of tracks past

Many things occurred in the time I spent away from the blog: we loved and lost a hamster, I bought a cuckoo clock, I saw Pete Molinari at that gig in St Pancras Old Church and plenty more besides. Just lots and lots of stuff, one item of which was that I discovered the second of the long lost tracks that I mentioned in the original lost long tracks post. I described it as a dub track that sounded, "quaintly science fiction spacey with a very tight whirring noise running through it". It was this. Having found it I feel strangely un-jubilant.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The amazing technicolour dream flag

As I've said before somewhere I hope that Scotland does vote for independence, because I think there's a reasonable chance that the Scots will create a fairer society that will lay bare the lie that there's no viable alternative to the policies pursued by the three main parties in the UK.

And now the prospect is made all the more enticing by the opportunity for a new flag. So far I'm massively into that one up there. The Union Jack is a pretty good flag design-wise but, you know, traditions are there to be smashed into tiny little pieces and reassembled in groovy new forms.

And while we're tinkering with the constitution of the country why don't we get rid of the monarchy? Then we'll have all the fun of picking a new national anthem. My vote is for All You Need Is Love.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Slight return

Where I live the post man turns up before I leave for work - we're quite lucky in that respect, other people speak wistfully of such a state of affairs, bracketing it with phenomena like snow on Christmas day, steam trains, coal fires etc. Anyway, today I was heading for my car when I saw the postie's little red van swing into our road, so I decided to hang about.

My willingness to be slightly less early for work was rewarded with an LP shaped parcel, "That psychedelic jazz comp from the German vendor I shouldn't wonder", I thought to myself as I snipped through the packaging in the kitchen. But no, even better, a couple of albums by Myron & E backed up by The Soul Investigators. I think I've mentioned the latter here and there in connection with Nicole Willis, and how highly I rate her first album.

Released on Timmion, it really is a very consistent label. Little Ann's Deep Shadows was one of my favourite albums last year (or maybe the year before - whatever, it's very good) and I've listened O.C. Tolbert's Grown Folks Thing to death over the last few months (but haven't felt the need to buy the album yet).

Something worth mentioning maybe: barcodes - the scourge of the deep-fried retrophile. I wouldn't say that the issue works me into a frenzy, but I'd perhaps go so far as to say they irk me. Anyway, these guys are so retro-sensitive that the barcodes are on stickers attached to the cellophane wrapping. Normally I peel that stuff off, but I'm keeping these little stickers on account of the fact that they're so snazzy.