My friend Darren, I think it's safe to say, wouldn't know Roger Daltrey if he fell over him. But he does have something in common with The Who's front man - a shared love of Heinz Baked Beans; whether or not he fills his bath tub with them is for him to know and me to find out. But he did recently commission this personalised version of his fast food favourite.
Today's canvas is an ambigram. It was inspired by the splendid Brass Castle brewery just up the road. Someone pointed out to me that their logo reads the same even if you turn it on its head; I could have stared at it for ten years and still not seen it. The Number One Son was taken with it too, so this is for him.
Iwas lucky enough to get a couple of snaps of the solar eclipse earlier today.
Although 1999 was probably better - I remember the birds stopped singing fifteen years ago - it was still a pretty magical morning. This may or may not be the Corona; I like the word so that's what I'm calling it.
Never one to mince her words, I was under strict instructions not to buy my mother flowers for tomorrow. 'Interflora always send crap flowers' was about the gist of it. So, just this once, I listened to what she was saying. Instead, I painted some flowers, wrote her a letter and a card, and chucked it all in the postbox. These flowers, too, maybe crap, but it's the thought that counts.
That's right. If a better single is released between now and New Year's Eve then you'd better point me in the direction of the nearest Burton's.
And here's the thing about The Charlatans (well, two things actually): it transpires that they don't come from anywhere near Manchester. And, they've never split up: God knows what they've been up to in the last twenty years - I don't think I've heard a peep out of them since the heady days of Britp*p and TFI Friday.
Anyway, their latest 45 may sound suspiciously like Good Enough by Dodgy (and none the worse for that), but as The Number One Son said to me last week, you don't get many Rhodes dominated tunes sounding half as infectious as this.
Penguin paperbacks don't come in all shapes and sizes. But they do come in all sorts of colours. The nice man in the short film below will tell you all about them. Suffice it to say that orange denotes fiction, red - drama, green - crime fiction, dark blue - autobiography, purple - essays, cerise - travel and adventure and grey - world affairs. And don't forget the Pelican and Puffin imprints. Penguin devotees looking to find websites dedicated to Penguins in all their guises won't be disappointed. Hardly surprising really - go and take a look at your own book shelf and see how many you've got.
One colour I haven't mentioned and that's yellow. Yellow was used as a safety net by Penguin for anything that didn't fit any of the regular perameters. Life's Too Short by Jenny Medd, for example. An oft repeated mantra here at at Medd Towers, along with 'there are no pockets in shrouds' and 'you're a long time dead', 'life's too short' is a stock response when defending your corner.
Anyway, here's that nice man I was telling you about.
I used to be a star-kicker. Though these days just getting out of my armchair finds me making that sound your grandparents used to make when bending down. I can't even use Townshend's adage 'I look pretty young but I'm just backdated.' I'm just backdated.
My fellow blogger, The Swede, is spending the next 55 days counting down to his 55th birthday. I just hope he remembers when he gets there what he came for. TS predates me by only a handful of months, so it'll be interesting to see the overlaps between his timeline and mine. Our shared love of music (my main reason for embarking on this blog five years ago) being the obvious one.
Come my next birthday, apart from being older and greyer, I would like to think that my sherpa, in the guise of The Swede, will be there to to meet me at the summit with a glass of something warming and tell me that 55 is not as bad as it sounds.
It will come as no surprise to you that I speak neither fluent Chinese or Russian. Notwithstanding these two obvious handicaps, I've knocked up a couple of Beatles related pictures that, I pray, won't offend any visitors hailing from these easterly sectors*. I really hope I've nailed it and that I'm not calling my best friend's mother a whore or any other such translational f*ck-up. I was originally going for All You Need is Love, but it was way too many characters for the size of canvas. So, here are 我爱她 and И я люблю ее. I think.
* Amazing as it may seem, Russians account for 10% of my regular readership
When getting to the top of the flight stairs and boarding a plane, I've never turned left. I've never been bing-bonged whilst waiting at the gate and been told that it's my lucky day. Never had the reclining chair that folds flat into a bed or been served courtesy Moët at 10,000 feet by a glamorous flight assistant. No, I've always been herded right with the rest of cattle class in search of my lousy billet; to the scuzzy plastic seat with zero legroom and all the associated charms associated with economy air travel.
Oh to be on the other side of the curtain. Just once. Do they still have real fireplaces through there?
At the arse end of 1972 I managed to scrape enough pennies together to buy my first ever single. I'd seen it on Top of the Pops the week before and I just knew I had to own a copy. It was Gudby T'Jane by Slade and, as I was to find out when approaching the counter of the Music Inn, it was on the Polydor label. Around that time you'd see many other Polydor releases in either the singles or album charts: Focus, The Hollies, The New Seekers and Rory Gallagher to name but a few. But it was a much bigger hitter than any of the above who bankrolled the label. Thanks to my parents and people like my parents, whenever they had the neighbours round for a shindig, it wasn't just impregnable tins of Watneys Party Seven that made parties go with a bang. Oh no, it was a bearded white suited bandleader from the Low Countries. That's right, James bloody Last.
Even now, whenever I see the red and black label I always think of Slade. Ask my dad and he'll no doubt tell you the Dutch Master.
This blog is five years old today. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to stop off and shoot the breeze with me. I do appreciate it.
The brushes came out early this weekend; Jenny stayed in bed all morning trying desperately to shake off her cold/bug/fever, so out came the pop up studio. The two resulting canvases, 'ATV' and 'Marquee' are pretty self explanatory. Growing up in the Midlands in the seventies, ATV was the default ITV transmitter (though our aerial would often pick up Anglia and Yorkshire if the atmospherics were right). The opening credits, usually blue and yellow in colour, remain etched on my retinas. However, I've painted the red and green livery often used to herald Tiswas on Saturday mornings. And for any TV historians out there, this year marks the programme's fortieth anniversary.
The Marquee in Wardour Street W1 is often name checked around here. It was tacky, it was loud, it was marvellous. And its stage backdrop was iconic.
I'm thinking of starting a new website just for my canvases. I only started doing them just after Christmas and already I've got the makings of a (small, but perfectly formed) exhibition. I don't profess to be an artist, I'm just a man who owns a few paint brushes. But I do enjoy throwing a bit of paint around on a Saturday and Sunday morning.
Casino Royale - Penguin- acrylic on canvas, 12" x 9"
Live and Let Die - Macca - acrylic on canvas, 12" x 9"
Kick started by my piece yesterday on Ian Fleming and his alter ego James Bond, today's artwork pays homage not only to them but also the ex-Beatle who was asked to write the theme score for Fleming's second Bond novel. Live and Let Die was first published in 1954 but wasn't given the big screen treatment until 1973. Fleming had died ten years earlier so only ever saw Dr. No and From Russia With Love come to life in Technicolor, in 1962 and 1963 respectively; both starring SeanConnery.
Live and Let Die was Roger Moore's debut playing Bond and was every bit as cheesy as you'd expect from a one trick pony better known as The Saint and the English half of The Persuaders. Paul McCartney still drops the song into his live set. Moore, too, is still dining out on it.