Thursday, 31 December 2015

Signing off

Rocket Records in Redwood City first opened its doors in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania. And, after Amoeba (twenty-four miles up the Interstate in San Francisco), was the second biggest record outlet in the state of California. However, news has just come in that, a couple of months shy of its fifty first birthday, they've shut up shop for the last time.
One of the many things that set Rocket apart from its competitors was its visitors' book: everyone who walked through their bright red front door (irrespective of whether they'd made a purchase or not) was encouraged to sign their book. I say book, when the receivers came in last week they took control of fifty A4 bound volumes - one for every year. Rumour has it that the Frank Zappa and Jim Morrison signatures in there are for real; though probably not the Mick Jagger or (several) John Lennons.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Don't forget the Joker(s)

My dad knows one card trick. He's very proud of it. He'll shuffle a complete deck of cards, offer you them face down and ask you to pick a card, any card. He will then proceed to tell you which card you've just picked. 'The Joker', he'll say, smilingly. And, sure enough, it is the Joker. However, considering this pack comprises fifty-two Jokers, it's hardly magic. But it keeps my dad amused.

I'd like to think Lemmy would have liked it too.


Lemmy: b. 24 December 1945, d. 28 December 2015

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

James Medd rounds up 2015 (2)

James Medd - he's listening

1. Hurtin Class - King Khan (feat. Ian Svenonius)
2. Don’t Wanna Fight - Alabama Shakes
3. Alright - Kendrick Lamar
4. On Fire Tonight - Blackalicious
5. Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped in Plastic - SLUG
6. The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt. - Father John Misty
7. Pretty Pimpin’ - Kurt Vile
8. 20/20 - Gaz Coombes
9. Beautiful Blue Sky - Ought
10. Breaker - Deerhunter
11. Fractals - Keep Shelly In Athens
12. Don’t Breath Out- Roots Manuva
13. Come Home Baby - The Charlatans

It probably won't surprise you to hear that The Number One Son listens to far more new music than his old man these days. Anyone on the receiving end of one of my Best Ofs this year doesn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that precious little contained therein was made this year; precious little of it was made this century.

James asked if I'd listen to his 2015 round up and tell him what I thought of it. Like he does every year. But he already knows that Come Home Baby (track 13) was voted my Single of the Year way back in March and that Father John Misty (track 5) can do no wrong. So, instead of a conventional review, here's my pick of the rest. Each one comes with its own concise (some may say lazy) one word synopsis.


Gaz Coombes
'20/20'
Dreamy



Ought
'Beautiful Blue Sky'
Hypnotic



Roots Manuva
'Don't Breathe Out'
Majestic



Keep Shelly in Athens
'Fractals'
Soaring



SLUG
'Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped in Plastic'
Tenebrous




Monday, 28 December 2015

Older? Yep. Wiser? Probably not

The card from The Number One Son

The cake
The baker

It had to happen. You can't stay in your early fifties forever. I was born on a Wednesday, so I really am trying not to be full of woe. Being surrounded by family helps; that and having my birthday cake delivered, personally, earlier this morning by the baker. A few beers and a curry later and I'm sure the idea of reaching my Britvic birthday will sink in. Life must go on.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

No excuses

in the games room: hours of endless fun c/o the freaky deaky Dutch

Last night's Boxing Day celebrations at Medd Towers will live long in the memory. A veritable feast was laid on for this invite only event, straddling, as it does, Christmas Day and my birthday; all washed down with (among other concoctions) several Black & Tans and a rather nice Port (poured direct from the freezer, for reasons nobody can quite remember). The entertainment included a few rounds of Sjoelbakken - a spectacular game from The Netherlands that has been played in Medds' residences up and down the UK for at least three generations.

The lovely Adele came bearing gifts: I was presented with a beautiful note book - it's got lines and perforations and everything. And in the bottom right hand corner of each page sits an outline drawing of an acoustic guitar. Now I have absolutely no excuse for not using the opportunity of a few days' down time to write a new song. Have I?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmases were better in the seventies

Weren't they? Maybe it's just me. Anyway, whether they were or whether they weren't, I'd just like to wish anyone who's stuck their head around the door in the last twelve months a very Happy Christmas. Have a joyous one and have a safe one. And have one for me.

The images above show that there was a time when I could slide quite comfortably into a football strip (and a tank top come to that) and not get asked if I'd eaten all the pies. And the final picture (below), although not taken at Christmas, is a photograph that only came into my possession yesterday. It's of mum and her father in the back garden of the family home in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. I'm guessing it was taken c.1937.


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Fragile?

That was then, this is now
Some of you may recall me mentioning that when we first moved up here in 2010 I had, what I referred to as, euphemistically, at the time, a bit of a wobble. But it was actually a bit more serious than that. I was struck down by such a massive wave of negativity and melancholia I honestly, at the time, couldn’t see a way out. It all seems like a bad dream now; which, I suppose, it was. However, within three months and after some very emotional conversations with my (brilliant) Doctor, and the love and support of the current Mrs. Medd, I came out the other side; a little bit shaken, a little bit stirred. Interestingly, the Doc buggered off not long after I started to feel better. Jenny, on the other hand, stuck around. Thank God.

I mention all of this because the other day someone referred to me as fragile. I let it pass. But I really had to bite my lip. Five years ago, maybe. You can call me sensitive all day long – guilty as charged. But fragile? Not any more.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Fifth Beatles



Late yesterday afternoon whilst debating whether or not an Early Doors would be in order*, a couple of photos landed on my phone.

The lovely Kirstie, currently stepping out with The Number One Son (and a none too shabby photographer), had just taken these two excellent snaps of the pair of them and decided to share them with me and Jenny.

'You remind me of Stuart Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr' I replied.



* Turns out it was

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Slackers

Despite reports to the contrary, I did not pull Steve's first born from a burning building: one more thing we have in common. However, we did share a few festive flagons of frothing ale earlier in the week. Our evening was rounded off in a hipsters bar where the beers were long on price and the staff short on common courtesy: our beards and/or turn-ups obviously didn't meet with current hipster regulations.
If I make but one New Year's Resolution it will be to make sure Steve and I see more of each other next year than we did this. Maybe a return trip to New York could be on the cards - twenty one years since we were last there together. And maybe, if the planets align, we could catch resident New Yorker Vic Ruggiero at The Knitting Factory. Or some other hipster venue. I think I'll start growing my beard now.

Vic Ruggiero: Always Something In My Blindspot

Thursday, 17 December 2015

You're the One

After another harmonious session in Oakwood last week with James and producer Carl Hetherington, I left the studio with a totally reworked version of You’re The One in the can. The previous take that I’d used for my Chip Off The Old Block album earlier this year was a very spartan affair; which, to be fair, is how I play it live. But when I saw the upright piano standing in the corner, looking very unloved, I knew James would have to add some keys. So, with just a five minute run through before the red light came on, The Number One Son was able to introduce some subtle flourishes to the song I wrote about nine months ago.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Bells

Rumours abound that Bon Scott, AC/DC's original hell raising vocalist, had recorded a version of Hell’s Bells before his untimely death in 1979. Whether he did or whether he didn’t is academic. The band, with new singer Brian Johnson, released their comeback in Black album (see what I did there?) in 1980 and virtually, to a man, convinced all doubting Thomases that they’d found the right man to continue the DC legacy. I wasn’t so sure at the time. In fact, it took me over twenty years to finally accept what a great song Hell’s Bells is: my third and final themed Full English selection.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cherries

At the wrong end of your digital radio dial lives a music station that time forgot. Reports have reached Medd Towers that Doug McClure was spotted there recently. Planet Rock, clad from head to toe in faded denim soaked in patchouli oil and with more badges, patches and studs than can possibly be good for you, have a strapline - ‘Where Rock Lives’ - a little incongruous for a dinasour led station. 'Where Rock Made In The 1970s Lives’, although a bit of a mouthful for their gravel throated voice over man, would be a far truer mission statement.

Every weekday morning Dave Double Decks (real name Paul Anthony – surely the most wooden radio presenter ever to have sat in front of a microphone) presents The Full English: a trio of heavy rock classics chosen by a hapless listener from Wolverhampton (they’re always from Wolverhampton) and played between 7:30 and 8:00. This is Planet Rock in microcosm. And I love it. Actually, I loathe it – it’s a fine line. But it sure beats Thought for the Day. Did I mention that some of these metal trilogies are themed? Wolverhampton Man will often put his thinking cap on and come up with three bands he saw at his local miners welfare in 1979 or three songs he had on his car cassette player when he bought his first Austin Allegro.

Not that I could do any better. But I’ll give it a go. In fact, I started yesterday. If you read Monday’s blog, that was my first selection. At the bottom of this page you’ll see my second selection.

UFO epitomise English rock bands. English rock bands are hard working, honest as the day is long and know how to write a catchy riff. Sometimes they’ll get lucky (think Def Leppard), but usually they’re quite happy plying their trade in the lower leagues. Phil Mogg and Pete Way (UFO's vocalist and bass player) not only know how to write great riffs (Rock Bottom, Lights Out, Doctor Doctor) but they can write melodies too. Cherry being a case in point. Apologies in advance for this quite literal video interpretation of today’s Full English: contains gratuitous table top dancing.

UFO: Cherry

Monday, 14 December 2015

Lemons

Led Zeppelin's first tour of the US opened in Denver on Boxing Day 1968 and wrapped up in Miami Beach on 15 February 1969. It was on that initial jaunt that they first dropped a version of Howlin' Wolf's Killing Floor into their live set. But by the time they kicked off the second leg in the April, the song had transmogrified into The Lemon Song - c/w more Rober Plant babies than you can shake a shitty stick at.

And it was whilst in North America that year they took time out to record selections for what would become Led Zeppelin 2, the imaginatively titled follow up to their debut platter. And the album that would break them on both sides of the Atlantic.

This little bit of rock and roll plagiarism  may have cost them a few bob in out of court settlements and royalties, but by that time they were good for it.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Old Toy Trains

Quality Street. Not just a tin of chocolates that comes into the house but once a year, but also the title of Nick Lowe's festive album from 2013.

It's been playing in the car all week and may well be the soundtrack to this afternoon's decorating of the tree. I'll have to run it by the committee first, of course. The tree is traditionally decked with Dino playing in the background, but as we're a week early (James is here this weekend, not next), it may be time to ring in the changes. I am, however, expecting stiff opposition.

Maybe they'll let me play both?


Nick Lowe: Old Toy Trains

Friday, 11 December 2015

Dear Diary...

Driving to the studio on Wednesday evening, James mentioned how touched he was when reading the recent posts I’d written about his Pop. I must confess that there has, of late, been a more Dear Diary approach to this blog – more than at any other time, possibly, in its, now, six year history. What started out as a personal platform for me to wax lyrical about the music, the bands and general pop culture that influenced and shaped me as a kid (and the stranglehold it’s had on me ever since) has changed. Matured? Probably not - but these days I’m just as likely to talk about the state of my head or my relationship with friends & family as I am with a current groove I've been pointed in the direction of. Is any of this making sense? Possibly not; but therein lies the rub, it doesn't have to. I maybe a daydreamer, but I also know that this little digital backwater where I reside is the equivalent of a derelict castle on the Isle of Skye. However great, or not, it is, there will only ever be one 53 seater a week that comes to visit it. More or less. Actually, my stats indicate a few more than that, but you know what I mean.

So if you're reading this, and have stuck with me this far, thank you. What started out as nothing more than a vanity project has certainly lasted longer than I ever thought it would. I look forward to writing each of these pieces so much I can't begin to tell you. What it must be like to read them, however, I couldn't possibly say. But as 2016 is only a handful of days away and this blog enters its seventh year, even I can only guess what lies in wait around the next corner.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Feeling Low

December comes and December goes. With only a couple of weeks left till Christmas, I’m still trying to get my head around how fast the last twelve months has gone. And all that’s happened in those 365 days. My ex-business partner, Steve*, and I used to say: it’s only people that let you down. Never has that maxim been more true than in 2015. Maybe I let my guard down more than I would normally, but, one thing’s for sure – if you want to be my friend next year I may well be asking for references.

Then again, you'll probably be shortlisted if you tell me that you normally despise Christmas records, but are quite partial to this little ditty.

Low: Just Like Christmas


* It's Steve's daughter's birthday today. Happy Birthday Faye x

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The only creed you need

You may have a personal creed. Or you may not. You may well wing it most of the time - I know I do. And just when you think things should be wrapped up nicely and everything in its place, you find life still throws bouncers in your general direction. Thankfully, most of them whistle by your ears without actually making contact. Most of them. I'm hoping one day things will start to settle down. Or, maybe, this is how it's meant to be. Who knows? All I do know is - don't be reckless with other people's hearts, and don't put up with people that are reckless with yours. It's the only creed you need.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Five things I've discovered in 2015


I always like to learn at least one new fact each day: something I didn't know the day before. That and counting three good things that have happened to me each day before I go to sleep. Some days that's easier than others.

But discovering new things that you know will enrich your life forever is something that doesn't happen every day. And if you think I mean discovering inner peace or lining up my chakras then you obviously don't know me very well. No, I mean things that have blindsided me out of nowhere. You may call them trivial, but I would argue otherwise. So here are five things that I discovered this year.

Frozen Grapes

I recently ordered the cheeseboard in a newly opened pub in Leeds and was taken immediately with the bunches of frozen grapes that accompanied the cheese, crackers, cucumber and pickle. Each bite was like an instant sorbet rush that, to many, may well set their teeth on edge. Not me. Rest assured this delicacy will be coming to a menu near my dining table soon. And often.

Black & Tan

I like beer. Who doesn't? And I like real ales. Again, what's not to like? I'm even, for my sins, a card carrying member of CAMRA. I go to beer festivals and everything. But, at the end of the day, I like the taste of beer. And as a result I'm not precious about where it comes from or, indeed, whether it calls itself cask or keg. Or Craft. And trust me on this one, many many people do. And will debate for hours about how they will only drink a particular style of beer that is brewed in a particular way and kept a particular way.
So when a friend of mine said to me recently he's rather partial to half a pint of stout and half a pint of bitter in the same pint glass, I was intrigued. So intrigued that since this recent discovery I've drunk nothing else since. The purists probably hate it. Their loss.

Art


Now obviously I didn't discover art in 2015. But what I did discover is that I like doing it. And other people quite like it too: I even exhibited my work for the first time. Nothing has pleased me more this year than doing paintings for friends, especially my Penguin range, and creating unique pieces of art I know they will treasure. My friends Adele and Darren being two that spring to mind.
I've got some great ideas for 2016 and hope to show some of them here in the not too distant.

Guitar solos make all the difference

Ben Watt writes some great songs. You've only got to take one look at his output with Everything But The Girl to appreciate that. But last year he made a delightful album with Bernard Butler. And it was Butler's deft guitar work that transformed many of those tunes. Not least, this live version of Never Forget.
James Medd did something similar for me only last month. My song, What Are You Waiting For, had been languishing in the long grass for ages before James brought his magic to it.


Dad

I know I said this list was going to be trivial. But I can't put this year to bed without mentioning the most seismic thing that happened to me this year. After mum passed away in the summer my dad could so easily have hit the buffers and given up. In fact, if dad had gone first that's precisely what would have happened to mum. But he didn't. Yes, he mourned her loss (and still does, obviously) and yes he continues to live in the same house they shared for the last forty odd years. But dad is slowly coming out the other side. And, what I've discovered, certainly, is a new version of my dad. I've touched upon it before so won't dwell on it here. Suffice to say he'll be back again in a couple of weeks and will spend Christmas (and my birthday) with us and that's the only present I want this year.


Thursday, 3 December 2015

James Medd rounds up 2015 (1)

After a couple of beers and a superb fish curry in Leeds with The Number One Son last night, it was time to hit the road. But not before he foisted his Best of 2015 CD upon me (an annual Medd tradition - he'll be getting mine next week) and said 'listen to this on the way home.'

Thirteen tracks and fifty minutes later, the last song was fading out just as I pulled on to the drive and killed the engine. It's all about the timing(s).

A full track listing, c/w links, and review will be posted here before Crimbo. But in the meantime, this was the third or fourth tune in. A modern classic, I'm sure you'll agree.

Father John Misty: The Night Josh Tilllman Visited our Apartment

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Reasonable

Green sleeves (and blue & red)

The Woodlands Gallery is fast approaching its first anniversary. It may not be have the same kudos as that afforded to The Tate or, indeed, The Metropolitan, but it works for me.

And it's not too late for a Christmas commission. You can get in touch via all the usual outlets. I think you'll find me very reasonable. I hope so, anyway; I'd be offended if you didn't.


That's right, Vision On's Gallery music

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Revenge porn?

To me, to you
Who would have thought that having your photograph taken with a pair of faded celebrities could be so problematical. What could be easier - you spot The Chuckle Brothers in a night club and ask them if you can have your picture taken with them? But within 24 hours it's all gone horribly wrong and Twitter is having a field day with you. To paraphrase Hank Hill, those boys ain't right.

Friday, 27 November 2015

What Are You Waiting For?

James Medd: provider of beef

I wrote What Are You Waiting For in January 2014 and recorded a one take demo of it earlier this year. But it needed beefing up. Last Thursday The Number One Son and I returned to the studio and between 7.00 and 9.00 pm managed to knock it into shape. I'm really pleased with the finished product. James nailed the solo in four takes. Not that there was anything wrong with the first three. But take four sounded nothing like the first three. It is sublime.

John Medd: What Are You Waiting For. Now with added beef. 



John Medd - Vocals, acoustic guitar James Medd - Electric guitar Carl Hetherington - Producer

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Broken


The worrying thing about Jake Bugg is not how good he is - the lad is extremely gifted. Or, indeed, how young he is - he’s still only 21. No, what frightens me most is just how good he will be in, I don’t know, five years time. As a youth growing up in Nottingham, and still at school, he started to get a few pub gigs playing covers to pissed up punters on a Saturday night. Figuring out that writing your own songs is not a cross between rocket science and brain surgery he started dropping his own material in to his set. And what sensational material it is. He wrote Broken when he was just 18. A more emotionally charged song you'll be hard pushed to find. Trust me.

Here's a version with just Jake and his guitar:


And here's a version recorded at The Royal Albert Hall. With a choir. The boy from Clifton done good.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

3D

The Archies, a fictional cartoon group who had a string of bubblegum hits in the early seventies, could literally only ever be two dimensional. Unlike the young girl below, who obviously caught the eye of the BBC camera man.

Sugar Sugar was co-written by Andy Kim who later went on to record Rock Me Gently - the best Neil Diamond single Neil Diamond never sang. Kim was also a Monkee for a while (another bubblegum band who existed somewhere between the second and third dimensions) when Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, then just down to a duo, needed a dig out with songwriting duties.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

I'm just waiting on a friend


Steve's coming up on Friday for the weekend. It's been a while since we've seen each other, but we'll pick up where we left off - nothing's so sure. A lot of tunes to listen to. A lot of beer that'll need drinking. And we'll have a lot to talk about - we always do. All the usual stuff; there may even be some new items on the agenda. You know, the sort of things that creep into conversation in the wee small hours.

Frank Sinatra: In The Wee Small Hours


The Stones: Waiting On a Friend

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Bridging the gap

Nick Lowe, not Gordon Medd
Dad's up with us again for a few days. Oil and tyre pressures would have been checked yesterday morning before the wing mirrors were positioned and driving gloves put on. And a new PB of under two hours was set. It really is a good job that there are no fixed speed cameras in this part of the world.

I look forward to him coming up and enjoy his company; since losing mum, I look forward to our conversations which, by turn, are gradually becoming more and more wistful. He's more open than he ever used to be and we seem to have reached that point, on a number of issues, where we each know that nothing more needs to be said - we have an understanding.

Before we went out last night for a couple of beers and a bite to eat, we played cards. Mum and dad were always inveterate card players and they taught me me and my brother all sorts of card games from when we were old enough to count. It was while we were playing a few hands late yesterday afternoon that he dropped into conversation something I'd never even thought about before. After mum died he can't play bridge. Or rather, he can (obviously the rules of the game haven't been wiped from his brain), but not without a partner who can second guess how he will bid and lead and all the other complexities and subtleties that make Bridge Bridge. Mum knew what he was thinking. She probably knew him better than he knows himself. How do you replace that? You can't. But dad's readjusting. He's moving away from being someone who always had a life partner on hand to tell him what to do next, to someone who can work it out for himself thank you very much. He's bridging the gap.

Friday, 13 November 2015

She lies sleeping in a half filled bed of rice

Dodgy: Fibbers, York

* The new Fibbers p*sses all over the old Fibbers

* I bet Paul McCartney wishes he'd written So Let Me Go Far

* Matthew Priest is Brian Blessed

* They got them dancing down the front - I love to see women *point* when they dance

* Some real toe tappers on the new album - promised Easter 2016

* Grassman really is a nineties song

* The sign of a good gig - when you can't believe they're introducing the last song already

* Who knew my honorary Goddaughter would be there tonight? Hugs and kisses were the order of the day. Amanda would only have been eight when Staying Out For The Summer came out

* In A Room - home of the best misheard line in pop, ever

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Ten things I like about Wreckless Eric

A Stiff Penguin?


    In no particular order:
*  My first published writing was a review of one his gigs
*  Whole Wide World
*  His bus driver's badges
*  When you meet him he's genuinely pleased to see you
*  He's not frightened to cover Tom Petty songs
*  Amy Rigby, his delightful wife
*  No two Eric gigs are ever the same (Friday's excellent show in                 Nottingham being a case in point)
*  His blog
*  The Wreckless Eric Radio Show
*  He's just a bloody nice bloke


Sunday, 8 November 2015

If I was a painter I'd paint you every day


Anyone who knows me will attest that today's subject matter is right up my strasse: Peter Dreher has been painting the same water glass every day for over forty years. The German artist first painted the glass in his studio in 1974. He now has literally thousands of unique life size paintings of the same glass. Always painted in the same location, always from the same perspective. Many are painted during the day, many more at night.


And yet it's not until you see them laid out before you, this entire collection is often exhibited, that you begin to see the subtle differences. It may not age like a human face but the glass is forty years older than when he first painted it. I know, it's a concept I struggle with, but I admire what Dreher has set out to achieve here. I also admire his sheer stubbornness. There must be days when he must think 'Fuck, not that glass again.'

Heaven forbid he should ever drop it.


Friday, 6 November 2015

In a State

Our last Songwriters meeting on Monday was interesting for all sorts of reasons. Not least because one of our brethren rocked up with five new songs he'd written since last month. Five! That's got to be some sort of record; I've barely written five new songs all year. And I wouldn't mind, but they're all good. Mind you, they play his stuff on local radio round here, that's how good they are. There was one in particular that could have come straight off the soundtrack to Garden State - Zach Braff's delightful
2004 film. When he's recorded it I'll post it up here.

In the meantime, and because since Monday night I've been playing Garden State on a loop, here's Colin Hay from said soundtrack. I think it would be fair to say that since setting up our Songwriters Circle we're all aspiring to write songs half as good as this.

Colin Hay: I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Metropolis


Since first mentioning to Phil that a move may be on the cards at some point in the future, he has, touchingly, said that he will, single handedly, build a wall wall around the town and lock the gates. In the meantime he has plans to turn our little town into a metropolis: one that I would be 'mad to leave.' And he tells me this with such conviction and such passion that I suspect he may well be onto something. I then proceed to park up the hate part of my love-hate relationship with the town and forget how things are slowly beginning to unravel.

Last night was one of those parking up nights. A new venue he's opened that has, overnight, turned a derelict space into a speakeasy with leather sofas, low ceilings, cocktails and, if last night's opening is anything to go by, a buzz. They also got this lot to play a couple of live sets: Rocketsmith are one of the many many excellent bands that reside here (something we would miss dearly if we were to hit the highway).

Here's a perfect song that will be finding its way onto all sorts of year-end compilations and one they played in a stripped down acoustic format last night.

Rocketsmith: By the Rails

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Can we just go back to the start?

Anyone who watched Cold Feet first time around will remember three couples, six friends, living in faltering relationships and generally not making a great advertisement for marriage - falling in and out of love - sometimes with each other, sometimes not. I was the same age as these people back in the nineties and found the whole thing mesmerising. And having a soft spot for Helen Baxendale I always thought Rachel could have done better than Adam. As it turned out, it was all immaterial. Life really is too short.

Sometimes all we want to do in life is stand up and say: 'Can we just go back to the start?'



Friday, 30 October 2015

Tonight's set list (little black book)

* What Are You Waiting For?
* (The Sun Always Shines On) Camberwick Green
* Leeds, 1972
* Help!
* I Won't Let It Happen Again
* You're The One
* Walk A Mile In These Shoes
* Chip Off The Old Block
* One Day
* No Fool Like An Old Fool

A few scribbled words, tonight, from my little black book:

'Another great night at Woodlands - fabulous food and great wine (as always). After cooking up yet another storm, Jenny Rose came out of the kitchen and mixed with the punters. We got talking to a delightful couple from Ashby-De-La-Zouch. Swapped stories and laughs over what can only be described as the most eclectic whisky collection this side of the A1. Surprised how well my new songs went down, especially a couple of the really new ones. Old Fool may get another run out sooner than I thought. We promised the De La Zouchians a hearty breakfast and a long walk tomorrow - followed by a few beers. It's what Saturdays are for, after all.'

Monday, 26 October 2015

Groove is in the House

After a somewhat tiring weekend, including a full on Saturday that started with copious amounts of tea at six in the morning and ended 24 hours later with yet more tea (only this time washed down with whiskey), it was good to settle down on Sunday with our brand new winter project: the first season of House, starring Hugh Laurie as the prickly medical curmudgeon with a black bag full of one-liners, may well have been made over ten years ago, but the Medds only latched onto it yesterday.

Three episodes in and we're hooked. God bless Netflix.

The soundtrack, c/o Massive Attack, is quite groovy too.

Friday, 23 October 2015

You on my mind in my sleep

I can't honestly tell you how many cassette, minidisc and CD compilations Steve and I have exchanged since we first met in 1993. All I do remember is that the majority of them were given/received on a Friday. And the reason I know that is because Thursday was Home Taping Night - a tradition born out of two friends with a passion for music and, let's face it, too much time on their hands. This was long before iTunes, playlists and Spotify; recording in real time and planning what eclectic mix would genuinely please/excite/shock the other. Or just make them say 'Bloody Hell! I bloody love this.' Out loud. Which is probably what I must have said in 2000 when this was first thrust into my hands. It resonated then (for all sorts of reasons) and it resonates now.

Steve's coming up soon. On a Friday, I think.

Richard Ashcroft: You On My Mind In My Sleep