Friday, 11 August 2017

Up Up and Away

The passing of Glen Campbell this week was sad. Very sad. But as I touched on back in April, the Campbell we all knew and loved had already gone. We'll miss him, I'm sure, but none more so than Jimmy Webb: this week has seen as many column inches given over to the writer of Wichita Lineman, as the singer. And rightly so. It's been labelled the finest song ever written in the twentieth century. I for one wouldn't disagree with that.

As well as the other ubiquitous hits he scored for Campbell, Webb also wrote songs (prolifically) for many other artists. This is one of my favourites. A friend of mine is going to a Balloon Fiesta this weekend, so it's quite fitting. Check out the 5th's natty threads.

The 5th. Dimension - Up Up and Away

It's Jimmy's birthday next week - he'll be seventy-one. Happy Birthday Jimmy, from all at Medd Towers.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Live Bugg

Scott Bugg, formerly of the Swines and now front man of the Vital Few, is getting loads of radio play at the moment. That's what happens when you write instantly memorable songs - it's a sure fire way to get playlisted; his younger cousin plows a similar furrow. If he doesn't get a similar lucky break then it certainly won't be for the lack of trying.

I'm hoping to catch Scott on Saturday night in town supporting the Flavells. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't play Taxman; not the only Fabs reference in this contagious new Beatle-esque song of his.

Scott Bugg and the Vital Few: Taxman

Sunday, 6 August 2017

This one's for Jack

I'm currently reading Life - Keith Richards' memoirs. Honest (brutally so, in places), affectionate, and very entertaining. The story of how the Stones came to be is told through a post-war prism so very English; how Richards' describes Dartford, and later London, is as gritty as it comes; the total antithesis of Austin Powers' cut and paste psychedelic London. But, at the same time, every bit as funny.

I really wanted to know how he and Jagger wrote - who did the heavy lifting, who came up with the choruses, where the riffs (those riffs!) came from etc. And Richards' doesn't disappoint. He lifts the lid (although his recall may not be 20/20) on the division of labour and how the credits should be divvied up.

Here's Richards talking about Jumpin' Jack Flash: "The lyrics came from a grey dawn at Redlands [Richards' stately pile in Sussex]. Mick and I had been up all night, it was raining outside, and there was the sound of these boots outside the window, clump clump clump, belonging to my gardener, Jack Dyer. It woke Mick up. He said 'What's that?', I said 'Oh, that's Jack. That's jumping Jack.' I started to work around the phrase on the guitar, which was in open tuning, singing the phrase 'Jumping Jack'. Mick said 'Flash' and suddenly we had this phrase with a great rhythm and ring to it."

Since reading that I've stripped the song right back, slowed it down and turned into something a lot folkier. Keef, and Mick for that matter, would probably have something to say about it. However, the chances of them ever hearing my version are pretty remote, wouldn't you say? Though I will put it up when I've recorded it.

In the meantime, Richards has plenty to say (as you can imagine) on a whole host of topics. Here are five of my favourite Keef Quotes:

* "I don't have a problem with drugs. I have a problem with the Police."

* "The only thing Mick and I disagree about is the band, the music and what we do."

* "I'm Sagittarius - half-man, half-horse. With a licence to shit in the street."

* "You can't accuse me of anything I haven't already confessed to."

* "I'm all for a quiet life, I just didn't get one."

And here is Jumpin' Jack Flash. As honest as he is, most of the time, Richards never credited Bill Wyman for the amazing bass line which tracks the song throughout. And the video, rather than the usual promo film, I've chosen this montage which has some terrific candid photos of Richards and his band mates.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

John Peel Wasn't

He really wasn't
James and Janneke treated us to an exquisite lunch this Sunday just gone. It was followed by a totally impromptu boozy afternoon in one of Lincoln's finest drinking dens. I really do need to update my database of treasured pubs.

Apart from being surrounded by beautiful people and some some quite sensational  beers, we were royally entertained by two old boys manning the Wheels of Steel. Each was sporting a trademark titfer - no surprise then that they went by the name of Hats & Decks - see what they did there? They opened proceedings with Midnight Rambler; what can I say? Not an obvious choice (Start Me Up is what most lazy jocks would have gone with), but it set the tone perfectly for the rest of the day: they didn't play a bad record all afternoon. Hats (or was it Decks, I can never tell them apart) let us do our own crate digging and for a good thirty minutes we held court. At some point (around the time of pint four or five) they played the tune that will forever remind me of listening to John Peel in my bedroom in the seventies. And no, it's not Teenage Kicks.

Grinderswitch - Pickin' the Blues

Sunday, 30 July 2017


On yer Marcs
Getz Set

Tommy Ramone wanted a singalong song in the band's set: 'Something the Bay City Rollers might chant' he was quoted as saying. Blitzkrieg Bop came out in February 1976 and was their first single: punk was officially born. It was also, quite possibly, the final nail in the Rollers' coffin.
Quite fitting then that they love it north of the border: 'Hey, Ho, Glasgow!'

Friday, 28 July 2017

Getz Set

This year marks the 90th. anniversary of the birth of Stan Getz - one of the truly great tenor saxophonists & band leaders who worked his way up through the ranks to become (and if he were alive today he'd probably hate me for saying it) a by word in Bossa Nova and Samba: in 1964 he recorded the definitive version of The Girl from Ipanema with Astrud Gilberto.
He started out as a foot soldier in Jack Teagarden's band in the forties and later with Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, before branching out on his own. He would go on to make many career defining albums with other jazz luminariess including Chet Baker, Oscar Peterson and Gerry Mulligan.

Never one to be type cast, in 1990 he teamed up with Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn to lay down a beautiful solo on The Road, taken from Everything but the Girl's fifth album The Language of Life. Getz sadly died the following year aged just 64.

Amazon are currently selling an eight album, four CD box set for a little over seven quid. What's not to like? You really should take the plunge.

Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd - Desafinado

Stan Getz (1927-1991)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

On yer Marcs...

T Rex's Slider is 45 years old this year; last week, in fact. I know that because The Swede told me.
However, a more sobering anniversary is lying in wait just around the corner: this September will mark 40 years since Marc Bolan bought the farm.

Cut down in his prime, Bolan was on the up, as opposed to on his uppers. He'd been on the skids for a couple of years. But he was back. He was fit. He'd even got his own TV show. And he'd got a new band to take on the road. For support he hooked up with a bunch of young punks and let them open for him. The Damned didn't disappoint. And neither did Bolan.

Who knew what was round the corner - Bolan certainly didn't. Could he have been a contender again? I think he still had a trick or two left up those elfin sleeves of his.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Swede's Biggest Hit

This album too is 45 
I've nicked the idea for today's post from the magnificent Swede. I won't even pretend that I put an ounce of original thought into today's 250 word offering.
I couldn't even be arsed to come up with a different way of holding the sleeve up for the photo shoot; it's basically an original high quality Swede garment with the designer label ripped out and my own (inferior) brand stitched poorly into the back of the neck - the kind that'll make you itch like a man on a fuzzy tree.

So, the Sweet. What can I say about them that I haven't bored you all to death with a  million times before? Suffice it to say that The Sweet's Biggest Hits was the first album I bought with my own money. And in 1972 that was a whole hill of beans, well £2.18 anyway. And I played it ten times a day. Minimum. Why wouldn't I? Unlike singles which needed flipping over every three minutes (a bit like pancakes) RCA Victor SF 8316 (I still remember the catalogue number) would play for nearly twenty whole minutes before I had to drag myself off the bed and put the needle on the other side.

And I love the way it's called Biggest. It stops at Wig Wam Bam: less than four weeks after its release they would put out Blockbuster (#1), closely followed by Hell Raiser (#2) and Ballroom Blitz (#2). Now they were big: combined sales of those three singles alone was in excess of 1,000,000 copies (and that's just the UK): monster big.
Anyway, I'll be keeping an eye on Swede Towers and see if I can't recycle some more of his ideas and cut and paste them over here. Keep 'em peeled.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

It's driving me insane

The irrepressible Johnny Vaughan has been playing the sh*t out of Kasabian's latest single God Bless This Acid House.  But every time it comes charging out of the speakers, all I can hear is Juke Box Jive by the Rubettes. Seriously. I really think the next time the jesters from Leicester play it on whatever TV show passes for Top of the Pops these days, they should all sport matching white berets; you never know, if could catch on. Well, maybe not in Leicester.
As infectious 45s go, it's almost up there with a cracking little debut single Dean Jackson on BBC Radio Nottingham has had on constant rotation all Summer. 24 Hours a Day by the Shades is a three minute montage of every pop record ever released, from (and including) Rock Around the Clock. Again, when I hear it I can pick out so many nods and winks to classic singles and artists of yore, not least the ghost of Billy Haley whose DNA is still trapped in its rock and roll amber. And it's driving me insane. See what you think:

The Shades: 24 Hours a Day

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Rich pickings

Thank you to Charity Chic for making me delve back into my Charlie Rich collection. He was so much more than the Silver Fox. A bit like yours truly...

The late (and rather great) Charlie Rich had at least three careers: as a session musician he was a regular at Sun studios c.1957/58  when Elvis et al were banging out the hits. But Rich realised, maybe he was told, he didn't have the rock and roll chops to ride that particular train; though I for one would have to disagree, just take a listen to Whirlwind from the first disc on The Essential Charlie Rich Collection. Instead he used his not inconsiderable songwriting talents to supply the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash with quality material.

Rich spent much of the sixties on the periphery, playing more jazzy stuff - he was a fine pianist as well as being a huge vocal talent - and even turned out a couple of mod influenced hits: Mohair Sam and Big Boss Man can still be heard in any venue wherever you see a row of Lambrettas parked outside.

But it was in the early seventies when he was re-energised by country (just country, hold the western). In 1973 his hit album Behind Closed Doors spawned two absolutely colossal singles: The Most Beautiful Girl and, of course, the majestic title track. Rich suddenly found himself with gold discs coming out of his ears, very popular and, I guess, very rich.

However, he couldn't sustain this level of success and found himself once more in the wilderness. Though he would go on to make one more beautiful album: In 1992 he recorded and released one of his finest collection of songs, Pictures and Paintings. It's tinged with jazz & gospel and is sung from the heart. It's reflective. It's almost sorrowful. It's beautiful. And it's where you'll find this:

Charlie Rich: Feel Like Going Home

Charlie Rich (1932-1995)

Friday, 14 July 2017


I've joined a club. They wanted me to join a little while ago, but I hesitated; you see I'm wary of clubs. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm not a joiner-inner (if that makes sense?). But, if you're not careful, clubs get taken over by odious little men. Odious little men with chips on their shoulders who turn nice little gatherings into cliques. To say they usually sport beards wouldn't be fair; but it's a truism. And they usually have a northern connection - Leeds, often.

But I digress. the good folk at Carrington Triangle don't do cliquey. They couldn't be any more inclusive if they tried. Just ask the 557 members who signed on the dotted before me. In fact, why don't you have a word with Paul Carbuncle  - Paul straddles that line between folk & punk,  snarling & sincere, Carrington & Dublin. Like the rest of us, he sings for his supper - a veggie curry during the half time interval when glasses are re-filled and parish notices are read out.

Looking at the who's who in their illustrious guest book reveals a plethora of superb artists who have trod the boards at the Gladstone Hotel - home to the Triangle. I'd be very surprised if Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley hadn't played there at least once. If they haven't, I may have to put a polite request in to see if we can secure their services in the not too distant. Here they both are together with Emily Sanders - a natural trio, if not a triangle.

The Auld Triangle


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Still playing at 45

45 ('Red') Acrylic on Canvas

I was playing around with my brushes this afternoon; not sure Bubbles or Kandinsky would have approved, but, hey, it's just a bit of fun.

45 ('Not Red') Acrylic on Canvas

Saturday, 8 July 2017


This track appeared on the latest Father's Day playlist from James - we've moved on from CD compilations (well, he has, not sure I ever will).
STRFKR (that's right, they've taken the vowels out - just like the Stones) make some rather beautiful noises. 'Never Ever' came out as a single (remember them?) last year and has got Summer writ large all over it. A perfect backdrop to days like today.

Friday, 7 July 2017


The ability to put one foot in front of the other is a skill, seemingly, some of my friends are fast losing (not that I can talk). I heard today that Vaughan suffered the ignominy of tripping over a discarded water bottle and, before you could say Evian, was being admitted to Lincoln County Hospital with mild concussion. He was discharged when he was able to count backwards from ten and promised doctors he'd look where he was going next time. Man up Vaughan.

This follows a very nasty fall my friend Adele had last week. Drink may have been taken and, yes, 'Liverpool Sandals' may or may not have played their part too, but Adele was also was rushed into hospital after she went arse over apex and smashed her face into the pavement. Ouch. Get well soon Adele x.

Neil Finn - Fall at Your Feet

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Tank Top

Can you look cool in a sleeveless Fairisle sweater? More to the point, can Paul McCartney? Let's face it, Macca's never been the most sartorial of Beatles. Could it be his choice of gansey was the reason why Magical Mystery Tour tanked? Answers on a postcard.
And even when he was sitting atop an actual tank he never really looked that convincing.

'Where the bloody hell's Ringo? He should be doing this!'

PS - 7.7.17

As a footnote to the piece, I really wanted to add this song by Ben Lane. I picked up his album a couple of years ago in a coffee shop in Scarborough, so I'm guessing Ben is a Scarborian. If he stumbles across this blog at anytime I'm sure he'll either confirm or deny. Either way, it's a very Macca type tune that, despite the annoying click-track, is the sort of thing he would have put out on a Wings B-side.

Saturday, 1 July 2017


The last time I bought a new guitar I think at least three Beatles were still kicking a ball. It felt really good walking into Dave Mann's this morning knowing I'd be walking out with something new and shiny. Coincidentally it was the same guitar emporium where I'd bought its predecessor all those years ago; also on a Saturday morning, if memory serves.
I had the guitar in my sights within ten minutes of crossing the threshold and agreed a price a handful of minutes later. I bet it was was no more than twenty minutes after entering the shop with a dream in my head and a burning hole in my pocket that I was leaving with a gig bag over my shoulder and a much slimmer wallet.

Guitar: Dave Mann Music
Sofa: Ikea
Cushions: Next

Friday, 30 June 2017

A little bit of Monica (records I expect to hear at weddings)

When we RSVP'd Jim and Debs' recent wedding there was a lovely little question at the bottom of the ornate invitation card: what two records would we like Dave Double Decks to play at the evening do?
Well, that's easy: Blockbuster and Staying Out For The Summer. Songs that would drag me away from the buffet (maybe even the bar) and get me throwing a few shapes. As it happened I heard one and not the other; then again I was sidetracked for part of the evening. Don't ask.

Dave was on form. All the staples were there - you know the tunes I'm talking about - Whigfield's Saturday Night, Macarena, Come On EileenBlame It On The Boogie, Hi Ho Silver Lining*. Songs with actions, songs where pointing is obligatory.
But they all pale into insignificance compared to this little nugget. Mmm Bop is probably the best three minute pop song you can ever play at a wedding. Or any party. I can't put my finger on why. It's just perfect. And, as you can see from the video below, one of the reasons it works is because it still sounds brilliant with just three voices and one acoustic guitar. A true sign of a great song.

Hanson - Mmm Bop

* I'm guessing he played Hi Ho Silver Lining. I was out of earshot of the dance floor for a while. But he would have been lynched had he not, I'm sure.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Always room for a couple of beers

It's late Sunday afternoon and I'm feeling a little tired and a little reflective. But nothing too heavy - especially after the excesses of last night.
I have James to thank for pointing me in the direction of this; it's cheesy for sure, but as a metaphor for life it probably hits the N on the H. I think if I was starting out all over again I would love someone to sit me down and show me this film.
Remember, no matter how full your life is, there's always room for a couple of beers with friends.

Friday, 23 June 2017

White Wedding (Red Tights)

Jim and Debs are tying the knot tomorrow. Great idea to have your wedding in Bristol the same weekend as Glastonbury - we can't wait to hit the M5 tomorrow morning. Cheers Jim Lad.

And I know you said you didn't want presents, you just wanted ca$h. Sorry Jim, no can do. You'll have a toaster and like it - like any other newly weds.

Anyway, I got it in red: it'll match yer tights.

Monday, 19 June 2017

She's Having a Baby

It's taken a little over two weeks. OK, nearly three. Whatever; I've written my first song since making the move south earlier this month. And it's upbeat. Really upbeat!
The inspiration? My friend Em: she's having a baby. I've watched her bump grow every day over the last few months. She's gonna make a great mum. We go for a walk every lunchtime; I hold her hand when we cross the road (after looking right and left and right again) - I just want her to be safe.
I'll probably play 'She's Having a Baby' for her next week before I leave to take up my new position. I'm moving on to pastures new, but the next time I see Em the song will be redundant.

Monday, 12 June 2017


I was only saying the other day how I'm not the world's most prolific writer; but at least I don't have to write each and every one of my posts in longhand, and on goatskin parchment. I'd be lucky if I turned out two a year, let alone two a week.

However, I'm sure if I did find myself in such a predicament I too would be telling anyone prepared to listen: 'I got us into this mess, and I'll get us out of it.'

It will probably come as no surprise that my knowledge of goatskin is a little vague. I am, however, a little more knowledgeable about Goats Head Soup. Thanks to the Glimmer Twins I have never been able to erase the image of this Jamaican dish (the eyeballs really are a delicacy, apparently) from my memory bank.

And while we're on the subject of disturbing images the Rolling Stones were responsible for subjecting me and other impressionable youths in the early seventies to: one of the black and white photographs on the 'Exile on Main St.' sleeve haunts me to this day:

Charlie Three Balls  - with a trio of pool balls in his mouth (Why? How?) - is another image I've been carrying around in my head for far too long.

Well now it's your turn.

Saturday, 10 June 2017


 1. X is for X-Ray

I should've known better. I may have finished with Pickering, but, Pickering, quite clearly, wasn't finished with me; one final twist in its tail. An afternoon and evening of goodbyes in the town and a walk back up the hill for the last time.
Why I never saw the dodgy paving slab is still puzzling me. Yes, drink had been taken. But, in my defence, how was I to know that one step would have such consequences? What appeared at the time to be a very bad sprain was actually a break. This is what the result of my X-Ray showed (taken in Nottingham a week later when I was concerned that the swelling still hadn't subsided):

'There is a displaced transverse fracture of the top of the right distal fibula with associated soft tissue swelling of the lateral malleolus and anterior joint effusion. Fracture clinic referral advised.'

Long story short, my fear of being 'in pot' for weeks on end was, thankfully, unfounded. My consultant at the hospital told me that that wouldn't be necessary. A sturdy Chelsea Boot (my footwear of choice) should do the trick and as long as I don't attempt running a marathon anytime soon, the fracture would, in four to five weeks, mend by itself. I'm being over simplistic, of course, but worries about not being able to drive and hobbling around on crutches were dispelled. So, lots of rest then; easier said than done when you chuck my recent house move into the mix. These 80 boxes won't, apparently, unpack themselves.
But at least I can reduce the amount of walking (and driving) around in the next few days/weeks because...

2. X as in taxi

Living back in a city means that I don't have to rely on the car as a sole means of travel - we have public transport (where I've just moved from there was the daily stagecoach that would come through our town and pick up the local snake oil salesmen who would would then head south to the nearest market).

We now have regular buses (every four minutes). And trams (buses on rails). And trains (that will take you anywhere in the country. Even London). And, obviously, taxis.

When we moved, the first App I downloaded to my phone was a local taxi firm who appear to have nicked Uber's booking and tracking system lock stock and barrel (and none the worse for that). Getting around town has never been so easy. I know when my Hackney carriage is coming (I can see precisely where he/she is at any time), the name of my driver and even the registration of the pick-up vehicle. Many of you reading this will be thinking that I must have landed from some distant planet - well, you're not far wrong - I have come from the past. So I guess that makes me a time traveler. And it feels [expletive] great.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Do the first verse and track it Phil

'X' does not mark the spot
It won't have escaped your notice that Britain goes to the ballot box tomorrow. For as long as I can remember I have adopted the following election day routine.

* Come home from work
* Walk to Polling Station
* Spoil ballot paper
* Retire to pub for well deserved post-vote pint

When I say spoil, I don't mean that I write an abusive rejoinder to any of the candidates laid out before me. I really #CBA and, anyway, I'm far too polite. No, my message is just a silly way of recording the fact that I have no faith in any of the nitwits on the list (without actually writing 'none of the above'), and it fits nicely at the bottom of the ballot paper: 'Do the first verse and track it Phil.' I told you it was silly.

The BBC think so too; this from their website:

These kind of deliberately spoiled ballots are part of the British political tradition, are termed "rejected votes" and are included in the overall turnout. However, those wishing to vote for one of the candidates should avoid writing comments. It may confuse the counters and lead to your vote being put in the rejected pile. And however wise or witty a comment, it's unlikely to make much impression on staff who will be frantically trying to count ballot papers.

Ah, well. I always walked out of the booth with a smile on my face.

However, this time is different. I had the audacity to move house during the hustings so, instead, applied for a postal vote. My tried and tested routine went out of the window. So how would I vote this time? Writing silly notes in the comfort of my own home and then sticking it in a pre-paid envelope just didn't feel right somehow. And with there being more at stake this time (a whole lot more) and some really serious issues out there, I decided it would be better to act like a proper grown up and man up.

I trusted to luck and put an 'X' in one of the boxes. For once, I'm hoping you all do the same.

Saturday, 3 June 2017


The last few days have gone by like something akin to a whirlwind; long story short (regular readers, feel free to stifle a yawn) - we finally vacated God's Waiting Room on Thursday and have reconnected with civilisation. So, for the last few days all* my possessions, barring the clothes I'm standing up in, are now in storage - where they will remain until next Friday, by which time we will have deep cleaned and decorated the new gaff from top to bottom.

The above preamble is by way of explaining why the milk bottles** have been piling up outside this blog and the neighbours have been reporting me as a missing person. Though not a prolific writer by any stretch of the imagination, I do like to check in two or three times a week and record the random thoughts that invariably blindside me at 4:00 pm on an idle Tuesday***.

Now that Amazon have my new address I was pleased to take in my first parcel yesterday morning: a recommendation from one of the bloggers**** you'll see over in the right hand margin, led me to a wonderful book - Spoon's Carpets. Kit Caless was sitting in a Wetherspoon's pub reading The Way Inn by Will Wiles in which the main character travels the country living in a low budget chain of hotels. Every time he gets out of the hotel lift he sees a different painting which he soon works out form part of a giant collage. Kit then had a lightbulb moment and realised that every Spoon's carpet is totally unique. A hit blog was born - which members of the public embraced and became willing participants and photographers; not to mention enthusiastic beer sommeliers. As a guide it's every bit as important as the Good Beer Guide. And much funnier. I'm heading out later today into our new bustling high street and know that when I cross the threshold of the (huge) Spoons (The Samuel Hall) I will be keeping my head down and my chin up.

Finally today, I've always been fascinated by numbers and sequencing of numbers - Fibonacci being one that has always intrigued me: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89...

But far and away the most personal of sequences (and everyone reading this will have their own unique sequence) now has a new addition: 86, 11, 20, 17, 108, 25, 29, 17, 79, 111, 24, 90. You don't need to be an employee at Bletchley Park to crack this particular code: I was born in No. 86, and 90 now sits on all our new correspondence - nicely rounding off today's offering.

Feel free to share your unique set of (house) numbers.

* The packers even packed my glasses. I'd only put them down for five minutes
** Do milkmen still deliver bottles?
*** With thanks to Baz Luhrmann
**** Pete Brown - the UK's finest beer writer

Girl - My Number

Thursday, 25 May 2017


Jack Vettriano is no Hopper. But then again he'd be the first to tell you that. And his work may well be panned by serious art critics (whoever the hell they are); indeed his portrayal of women has been portrayed as crass soft porn. Come on, really?
But when I was looking for an image that summed up just how bloody hot it was today, I didn't have to look further than Vettriano's Heatwave.

And a big thank you to the young lady who joined me for a couple of dust-cutters this evening. Here's to a long hot summer; cue the Style Council.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Preaching to the choir

After watching this five minute video earlier this evening I made a proclamation - 'I'm going to join a choir'; like the one in the film. Just how much fun are they having? If you too watch the video (and I hope you will) then I suspect you'll be thinking along the same lines. In fact I know you will.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

If the phone don't ring, it's me

Same goes for texting and tweeting,

emailing and messaging. 

Radio silence. 


It'll be...


Monday, 15 May 2017

Waiting for my Real Life to Begin

I listened to an old Desert Island Discs the other day - Kirsty Young was talking to Johnny Vegas back in 2010. He'll be the first to tell you he's been through the wringer - not for nothing does he talk about Johnny in the third person; the character he invented for himself after realising he couldn't earn a living mending teapots turned on him and, very nearly, destroyed him.

He chose this beautifully tragic Colin Hay song as one of his treasured eight discs. And who hasn't experienced the same sentiment at some point in their life?

Colin Hay - Waiting for my Real Life to Begin

Saturday, 13 May 2017

This is where it's at

I know I'm being a tad premature here, but I'm calling my single of the year; if something better comes along within the next seven months then there's every chance Hell will have frozen over.
What I know about The Tates wouldn't get your hair cut: the lead singer works in a record shop (naturally), and the drummer keeps a pet hamster. And they're from Wales.

Did I mention this is their debut single? Talk about setting the bar high. This is where it's at (something I feel sure I would have said if I were twenty years younger).

The Tates - Electric Girl.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

That was then, this is now

Paramedic and part-time street photographer Chris Porsz has been training his lens on the good folk of Peterborough for nearly forty years. With the help of his local newspaper Chris recently set about recreating some of the images he took in the early 1980s; and in so doing ended up with the source material for a fantastic new book bringing together this stunning and socially historic collection of photographs.

I've deliberately not captioned these as the book tells the stories behind them (buy it!); just to say that the couple below snapped on the platform at Peterborough station weren't even from Peterborough, but are still together, and, unfortunately, the lad standing in the doorway in the penultimate photo (reminiscent of the Who's Beaty Big and Bouncy) is sadly no longer with us.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

I'm holding on

Speaking as someone who a. has openly nicked the chords to If I Had A Gun (Chip Off The Old Block) and b. sometimes closes his eyes while singing certain lines in songs, I was interested to read some of the constructive criticism aimed at Gallagher senior in the comments below this Youtube live acoustic session. I may have touched upon this before, but the knuckle draggers who normally frequent this remote outpost of planet Internet are not known for their quick wit and repartee; you need a strong stomach to follow the diatribe.

If I Had A Gun, though, does contain some beautiful lines* - some of his best - which I may also have to borrow at some point in the future. Come on Noel, chase me through the courts.

*Excuse me if I spoke too soon
 My eyes have always followed you around the room 
'Cause you're the only god that I will ever need 
I'm holding on and waiting for the moment to find me

Saturday, 29 April 2017


Glen Campbell's days are numbered, it would appear. His dementia, now full blown Alzheimers, was first diagnosed back in 2012 and has all but taken away one of the greatest guitarists (certainly the most versatile) of all time. As well as having hit after hit in his own right, Campbell played on singles as diverse as I'm a Believer, Strangers in the Night (that's right, Sinatra) and Unchained Melody; and a ton of other stuff by The Beach Boys (he was a stand-in for Brian Wilson in 1964/5), Mamas & the Papas, Dean Martin and Bobby Darin. Seeing recent footage of, let's not mince words here, this legend is nothing short of heartbreaking; best to remember him this way - a mesmerising TV appearance including a masterclass in how to play guitar, and a jaw dropping solo rendition of Wichita Lineman. I strongly urge you to watch it.

I love Any Trouble's homage to the great man. I saw Clive Gregson perform this beautiful song at a house concert a couple of years ago, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention; there's not many songs that can do that these days.

Any Trouble - When I Hear Glen Campbell Sing

Saturday, 22 April 2017


My admiration of Magnus Mills is unbridled. Show me a better writer and I can see we'll be looking for the nearest branch of Burtons.

His new novel, The Forensic Records Society, landed on the doormat yesterday; I started it this morning after breakfast and already it's shaping up to be a classic. When a couple of music buffs decide to start a record listening club in the backroom of their local pub on a Monday evening, it's not long till a counter group forms - meeting in the same pub on a Tuesday; textbook Mills.

Did I ever tell you that he once wrote me a postcard? I've just dug it out of my copy of Mills' The Scheme For Full Employment. Nesbitt is a character from same, in case you were wondering.