Sunday, 9 December 2018

Shimmering, glimmering

The plane touched down yesterday just after three o'clock. It was wet. It was windy. It was cold; everything Lanzarote wasn't. A miserable December Saturday afternoon in the UK has absolutely nothing going for it whatsoever. Even the pilot was apologetic, bless him.

Rewind less than 24 hours and I'd been gazing out to sea thinking how much more tolerable life would be if this was my view, this was my vista; a light so bright and so beautifully sharp, that, if I close my eyes (even as I'm typing this), I can still see. Let's hope I can still retrieve it from my memory bank next week, and the week after... 

Charles Trenet - La Mer (1946)

Monday, 3 December 2018

Go into settings

What a year it's been; and continues to be. I'm sure there are other fairground mechanical contraptions that can I can compare the last 12 months to, but I'm struggling at the moment to call one to mind.

I'm jumping on a plane in a couple of hours. Five nights away - a bit of sun on my back, catch up with the latest Anne Tyler, and gorge on a few of my favourite podcasts*. I may even have a few glasses of the local grog, it has been known. As ever when I'm away, my thoughts will be wandering. But in a good way this time.

* Including: Ruthie - Me & My Dad. I've just discovered this quirky podcast where washed up radio presenter Martin Kelner and his 17 year old daughter Ruth sit down at the kitchen table and tell each other what it's like to reside in 2018. Essential listening.

It was going to be called 'Go Into Settings' - Ruth explains in the first episode (or is the second?) that whenever she's telling an 'old person' how to do something on their phone it's the first thing she says. Ouch, sounds familiar.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Here in the Hole

I've only ever seen the 90 second version 
It doesn't take a lot to frighten me; though I'm much better than I used to be. I remember trying to watch Eraserhead on my own and not being able to get past the opening credits. Seriously.

The first house I ever owned had a basement cellar. Did I ever go down there? What do you think? And don't get me started on horror films where hands come out of graves. Ever wondered why I went grey so early?

So how come then I'm currently wading through Season 1 of American Horror Story on Netflix? That is a very good question. Firstly it comes highly recommended. Secondly, it doesn't take itself too seriously: they shoehorn every conceivable trick from the horror repertoire into each and every episode, thus making it more Carry On than Carrie. I absolutely love it.

But, back to things that truly frighten me. I still can't listen to Here in the Hole by Barry Adamson without clutching at my invisible rosary beads and offering up a silent prayer; it scares the living crap out of me (that's right, I don't play it very often).

I recently found a Youtube mix of it where it segues into Sonny Boy Williamson's Help Me. It's the kind of light relief you need after putting yourself through Adamson's emotional wringer.

Ready to be disturbed...?

Barry Adamson - Here in the Hole (2006)

"You see, that's the way the world is"

Saturday, 1 December 2018

It's Been a Long Time Since I Did The Stroll

It's been a long time
I have to confess that, despite the title of today's piece, I have never done The Stroll1. In fact, until as recently as ten minutes ago I wasn't even aware that it came with its own song. Yes, I'd heard Led Zeppelin's mighty Rock and Roll2 and yes I knew Nick Lowe slipped a reference to it in I Knew the Bride, but I still couldn't have told you, strictly or otherwise, which foot to lead with or, indeed, who takes the initiative. However, looking at this video, I don't think any of that really matters; all you do, seemingly, is, er, stroll. Who knew?

The Stroll - from American Bandstand, February 1958

1. Not knowingly, anyway.
2. I recently played my stripped down version of Rock and Roll at the Running Horse in Nottingham. I introduced it by saying that if there were any Led Zep fans in the room, then now might be a good time to go to the bar.

Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll (1971)