Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Sometimes. Always. Never.


I love stylish movies. I love funny movies. Sometimes Always Never is filmed like a series of Hopper paintings with jokes hidden in plain sight. If you like your dialogue crisp and your establishing shots crisper, this is the film for you.
Bill Nighy's name is above the door in this terrific directorial debut from Carl Hunter. Frank Cottrell-Boyce's screenplay about a retired tailor looking for his prodigal son is given a seemingly minimalist treatment by Hunter, but look a little deeper and this tight family based drama is a rich seam of Scrabble words, missing children, Marmite gags and red Triumph Heralds; what's not to like when references to Pickwick label Top of the Pops albums and which buttons to do up on your suit jacket* flow as naturally as Jenny Agutter walking out of the bathroom wearing nothing more than a towel?



And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it turns out the soundtrack is only written and performed by Edwyn bloody Collins. This is a film I will watch time and again; I just know it.

Edwyn Collins - It's all About You (2019)


* Top (sometimes), middle (always), bottom (never).

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Cretin


I have precious little time for Elton John. I have even less for the present occupant of the White House.
The artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight wrote a couple of good tunes* way back when, but now appears to be more famous for his annual spend at Interflora. And his rug. Trump, on the other hand...

Don't get me started; really, don't. Suffice it to say you don't need me to tell you he's got a reading age of eight, and uses the word 'huge' a lot. Here, take a look at this. But not before you've read this - Donald Trump, speaking in Montana:

“I have broken more Elton John records, he seems to have a lot of records. And I, by the way, I don’t have a musical instrument. I don’t have a guitar or an organ. No organ. Elton has an organ. And lots of other people helping. No we’ve broken a lot of records. We’ve broken virtually every record.” Cretin.

Apparently there's a We Will Rock You style bio pic currently on release showcasing/shoe-horning some of Elton John's songs into a shoddy narrative. I'm sorry, but while there's a new Bill Nighy movie to catch, and the latest Toy Story, I'm afraid I'll be a no-show.

* Here's one of those tunes he wrote with Bernie Taupin. I'm not sure who sang this version** but it's not half bad.

Top of the Poppers - Rocket Man (1972)


** Reg himself used to sing on these early MFP/Pickwick soundalikes, ironically.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

The Toys are Back


Sequels. Prequels. Sequels to prequels. You'd be forgiven for thinking that the film industry is somewhat bereft of new ideas; maybe they are, I don't know. Hollywood, for sure, know that putting a number after a film makes it odds-on that punters will come back time and again. And again. And again.

Normally I would say 'Down with that sort of thing', but every now and again I hear the clarion call. A call so strong I can do no more than slavishly beat a path to my nearest picture house and wait patiently in line with fellow devotees.

The cowboy has been calling; I'm on my way, Woody.

Chris Stapleton - The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy* (from Toy Story 4) - 2019 


* Written, of course, by Randy Newman

Sunday, 16 June 2019

My Father's Name is Dad


Dad's just rung. He thanked me for his card and then proceeded to tell me that he's going travelling round Ireland at the end of the month. He's 83. Respect. I think the last time he took the car on the Holyhead to Dublin ferry he was driving a 1963 Ford Anglia. And they still had the Punt. Cars and currency may change but my dad's determination is locked-on. There will be stories when he gets back; to be sure, to be sure.


The Fire - My Father's Name is Dad (1968)

Friday, 14 June 2019

Dotage


My love of David Bowie is based, essentially, on a handful of albums and singles from, in the main, the period 1970-1975. Yes, I know this is shortsighted of me and, yes, I know he was so much more than that. But, like opera, Shakespeare, and beetroot, I think I've been saving latter period Bowie for my dotage: in effect, Bowies's dotage if he did but know it. 

This may or may not turn into a feature that I'll return to on rainy days and Mondays. Or even Fridays. As a holding statement I'll just put this out for today. It's taken from Heathen - his 22nd studio album. Released seventeen years ago and produced by Tony Visconti, I'm still to be convinced that Everyone Says Hi was not co-written by Ian Broudie. Have a jolly Friday everyone.

David Bowie - Everyone Sys Hi (2002)

Monday, 10 June 2019

Leave Your Stepping Stones Behind


Bob Dylan recorded It's All Over Now, Baby Blue in 1965. And since then it's been covered by every man and his dog. Far be it for me to tell you which versions are worth seeking out, and those that belong on the turkey farm - I'll let you make your own minds up.
That said, I am rather partial to Chris Robinson's version. I'm not too sure if the former Black Crowe ever released it officially, but this was recorded in a New York radio station a couple of years back. Check the beards out, too.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (2016)


We're a man down: one of our blogging fraternity -  The Swede - is not too good at the moment. I'm sure we all wish him a speedy return to form, and hope he's back in harness before too long.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

More Cunning than the Raven


Moose Allain regularly appears on my Twitter feed. His cartoons put a smile on my face most days. A must when wading knee deep in imbecilic rants from the POTUS; not to mention right wing ramblings from several of our own swivel-eyed loons.

So, crows. What's the story morning glory? And just how do you tell a crow from a raven? Well, look no further. Proof, if proof were needed, that 'Are We There Yet?' also has a charter to inform, educate, and entertain. It can also shoehorn a song from the fabulous Black Crowes into any blog post at the drop of a hat. You're welcome.

The Black Crowes - Remedy (1992)

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Imagine

Dirty John

There are a number of songs I don't need to hear again. And at least two of them were written by John Lennon. Imagine is one; mawkish. Woman is another; anodyne. The latter was lifted from Lennon's Double Fantasy album just days after he was assassinated, and put out as a single. Whereupon it went straight to Number One; of course it did.

Double Fantasy was Lennon's first album in over five years. He'd turned his back on music in 1975 and had been working part-time for Warburtons. His new record, released only three weeks before an infamous autograph hunter lay in wait for the ex-Beatle outside the Dakota building, had generally been ignored by the press and public alike. Mark Chapman, however, changed all that.

But if you take Lennon's killing out of the equation, it's a very ordinary album; considering it was made by a very extraordinary man. It's slushy for the most part and a bit of a let down. With the exception of one track. I'm Losing You had been demo'd by Lennon with members of Cheap Trick and it was John at his lowdown best; dirty John, if you will.

But when it came to the finished studio version the rough edges had all been sanded down and his studio musicians had taken all the life out of it. Shame on them.

The Cheap Trick version appeared about 20 years later tucked away on an anthology. And it's still classic Lennon, sounding just how you've always wanted John Lennon to sound. Imagine if the rest of the album had been this good.

John Lennon with Cheap Trick - I'm Losing You (1980)

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Hitchcockian

RH

Robyn Hitchcock's tweets have been most amusing this week; you see, he has a doppelgänger - another grey haired English singer songwriter of a certain vintage, no less. I'll let the polka dotted former Soft Boy explain.


NL

And, for the avoidance of doubt and any conspiracy theorists out there who say that you never see Robyn Hitchcock and Nick Lowe together in the same room...

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Not the Cheshire Regiment


Badge. Noun - a small piece of metal, plastic, or cloth bearing a design or words, typically worn to identify a person or to indicate membership of an organisation or support for a cause. 

'the Cheshire Regiment'
'they wore plastic name badges'

As ever, I'm indebted to the OED for their succinct definition. I strongly urge you to take no notice of those Urban Dictionary folk; what do they know, anyway?

Anyway, all this is, by way of a preamble, to tell you that Sunday Vinyl Session have got some shiny new badges to give away. If you'd like one, get in touch. Better still, come and see us, why don't you? On June 9th. we'll be talking about, and playing the Beach Boys' 1966 iconic album, Pet Sounds. It's a date.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Silver Star


Seeing the Who at Charlton in 1976 as a young teenager was a big deal for me. A very big deal indeed. I wrote about it, briefly, here. Who knows, I may even get round to writing a proper (and somewhat belated) gig review; one day.

On that Bank Holiday 40+ years ago as well as the 'Oo, Alex Harvey, Little Feat and loads of other turns, there was a DJ on the bill - spinning discs between the bands and bouts of intense rain - Messrs. Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle & Moon very nearly bailed that night such was the inclementness of the weather in south east London that night. His name was John Peel.

I can't remember an single record he played all day. Apart from this - the album version of Silver Star. I think the reason I remember it was it went on for bloody ages. And, on certain days, it's still one of my Desert Island Discs. All six minutes of it.

The Four Seasons* - Silver Star (1975)



* Though not sung by Frankie Valli. Valli was out of commission for much of the late seventies and never sang lead vocals on this, or December 63 (Oh What a Night): it was Four Seasons' drummer, Gerry Polci.


Monday, 27 May 2019

Noel Gallagher's Wheeltapping Shunters


The EP is dead; long live the EP. Noel Gallagher regularly puts out Extended Plays (the awkward cousin of the album and single) and this year he's releasing three. The title track from his new one (out in a couple of weeks), Black Star Dancing, is up there with anything he's put his name to in the last 10 years. It is obscenely good. And whosever idea it was to shoot the video using archive 70s footage from Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club - ITV's then Saturday night banker - needs knighting in the next New Year's honours list. Genius.

"Ladies and gentleman, can we have it now for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds..."


And here Gallagher Snr. tells Johnny Vaughan how the song came about.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Could you be more Pacific?


808 State's Pacific State* was "the song that made a nation chill out." So said some hack at the Independent; and, you know what, I think they were spot on. "Mellow but insistent beats", they went on to say, "a light garnishing of wildlife noises, and a soprano sax threading through it like a viper in the Eden undergrowth."

What then, would it sound like if a brass band got hold of it and transcribed the dots for cornets and euphoniums?

Pretty much like this I guess, from the album 'Acid Brass':

The William Fairey Brass Band - Pacific 202 (1997)


* Graham Massey - 808 State head honcho - once said "there's about 42 different versions of Pacific. Pacific 707 is the single we put out on ZTT."

808 State - Pacific 707 (1989)

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Trees


Anyone familiar with the Archers will be aware that Jill’s new gentleman caller, Leonard (played by Paul Copley - better known to younger listeners on Radio 4 as Tom Wrigglesworth’s dad*), can’t paint trees for toffee. Not even if his life depended on it; he recently passed off a picture he acquired from a gallery as one of his own. Charlatan.

These are for you Lenny.


* As opposed to older Radio 4 listeners who will remember him as Mr. Long in King St. Junior which ran from 1985-1998.

Monday, 20 May 2019

A lighthouse; or two


"What time are you on tonight?", I asked her in the pub. "We're on at half eight, but Tim's on at half seven - he's really good, I think you'll like him." So said Rachel Unthank when I saw her in the Prince Rupert, just round the corner from the Palace Theatre on Friday evening. She'd just sound-checked and was with her sister Becky and the rest of the entourage having their tea.

I'm sure I'll wax lyrical about the headliners (and my chance meeting with an Unthank) - I may link to my gig review in the local rag. I might even post the photo of me and Rachel.

But, for now, I'm just gonna put this up here: I did get to the venue for half seven. I did see Tim. And, yes, he is really good. Thanks for the heads up, Rachel.

Tim Dalling - Two Lighthouses

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quite

No need to turn to page 26; he's a bit nearer than that

Baxter Dury was interviewed in 2005. The Beatles cropped up... 

"My old man rejected the Beatles and white rock'n'roll from England, he was pretty dismissive of it, so you grow up precociously being dismissive of it yourself. There is something I still hate about the Beatles, but when you're trying to write songs you're an idiot if you don't acknowledge them, 'cause they're brilliant."

Quite.

Baxter Dury - When I'm Sixty-Four (2012)

Monday, 13 May 2019

I'm Partial to Your Abracadabra


In the same way he wouldn't be able to sing Helter Skelter anymore, or I'm Down, Macca would struggle to reach a good 90% of the notes he shrieked when he covered Ian Dury's Partial to Your Abracadabra. It was for a Dury charity album released the year after his death - Brand New Boots and Panties - with the likes of McCartney, Suggs and Robbie Williams covering the great man's tunes (many with the Blockheads as house band). This was probably the last time Sir Paul of Kintyre really tore it up.

Paul McCartney - Partial to Your Abracadabra (2001)

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Trombone


I've spent much of today in hospital wards and waiting rooms; where staff are kind and caring and dispense care and sympathy to all-comers 24/7. They are places where an hour can last a day and vice versa; you're as well taking your watch off when you enter through their cavernous sliding doors - you leave when you leave. I have no right to judge, I wasn't there in a patient capacity. Not today.

So the time passes - reading, listening to podcasts, looking up to see if there's a familiar trolley being wheeled in your direction. And then, when you need a shot in the arm (vending machine coffee ain't all that), a few tunes to tap your toe to on the cleanest floors this side of anywhere.

This isn't remotely medically linked or themed, but it appeared in my ears twice today. It's Nick Lowe's brand new single which has its official release next week. I hope you like it.

Nick Lowe - Trombone (2019)


Monday, 6 May 2019

You Can't be too Strong

Phonogram RIP

Unlike other stand alone record labels, Phonogram was never a label per se, but an umbrella company with a host of catch all labels in its stable including Philips, Mercury, and Vertigo. As with so many other labels and imprints it was subsumed by Universal Music; any identity these labels retain today is purely nostalgic. Which is probably why I paint them.



One of Vertigo's star players from the seventies was the maverick Graham Parker. His silky skills provided the perfect counterpoint to the emerging punk and new wave. I love this song.


Graham Parker - You Can't be too Strong (1979)

Thursday, 2 May 2019

I Wanna be Adored


1989 was a momentous year. For all sorts of reasons. The collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the Tiananmen Square massacre - to name but a couple. How trite, crass even, would it be on the back of that to say that on May 2nd - 30 years ago today - the Stone Roses released their debut album?

But they did. An album so audacious it threw paint at anyone who even looked in its direction. It covered the indie rock crowd, and fair splattered the dance fraternity too. Many column inches have been given over to just how groundbreakingly awesome this was in 1989. And it was. But you don't need to read all that again today. Instead, I've chosen the track you would, if you had to explain to an alien who had just beamed up from another planet, play to him/her/it, and, in its resplendent 4' - 33" they would totally 'get it'.


Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored (1989)

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Walk and Talk


Nottingham Poetry Festival 2019 is in full swing. Curated and overseen by its Creative Director, the effervescent Georgina Wilding - the whole thing runs from 26 April to 5 May. And, as you would expect, there's a fantastic smorgasbord of poets doing full-on gigs, readings, workshops & open mics in scores of venues across the city.

I was lucky enough to see Georgina on Sunday supporting Caroline Bird (more on her to follow, I can assure you) at one of Nottingham's newest venues, Metronome. Georgina was Nottingham's Young Poet Laureate 2017/2018 and has had an extremely busy 12 months - taking her work all over the county, and beyond (she was recently in India). She is currently in the process of completing her first soon to be published anthology and, in a few days time, is jetting over to Poland for a few weeks to write, gig, teach and perform. Not bad for someone who was telling me after Sunday's gig that she never thought of herself as academic when she was at school.

Georgina Wilding - That's Where We Live (2018)

Monday, 29 April 2019

Where Dreams Go to Die

Don't ask me. Seriously
You wouldn't want me as your phone-a-friend if Chris Tarrant Jeremy Clarkson was asking you the £million question on John Grant. Ask the audience, I would beg you. My knowledge of Grant probably amounts to the square root of fuck all.

That said, I do absolutely 110% know that Where Dreams Go to Die is a beautiful song. An utterly, utterly beautiful song.




John Grant - Where Dreams Go to Die

Saturday, 27 April 2019

What happens next is private, it's also very rude

I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that our second Vinyl Session album will be Ian Dury's New Boots and Panties. After the success of our debut session (when we dissected David Bowie's Hunky Dory) we will, once again, be convening at Nottingham's Running Horse to listen to the Blockheads' 1977 classic - in full.

It would be rather wonderful if you could join us on Sunday May 12th; the Runner is a very convivial venue with a great PA and some rather splendid beers.

We kick-off at 2:00 p.m. whereupon lots of Dury and Dury associated chit-chat will, no doubt, ensue. And, of course, the album will be played in its entirety. If you can make it, please feel free to bring along any Blockhead related goodies - singles, ticket stubs etc. and we'll celebrate the quite unique talent of Ian Dury.

Ian Dury - Wake Up and Make Love with Me (1977)


Ian Dury (1942-2000)

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Square Route


A midweek smash and grab raid on that London yesterday. Quality time spent in the company of Brother Mondo and Brother Steve. We zoned in on some of the West One Squares with Beatles and Bowie connections. And nearby pubs too. Obvs. First, the EMI Building in Manchester Square and, just around the corner, is where David Jones was snapped reading all about it. We volunteered a German passer by, showed her Bowie's pic and asked her to recreate same; despite a bit of camera shake, I think we just about get away with it.


Staying in the same zip code you then come across Montagu Square - it's actually a rectangle - and situated at No. 34 is where John Lennon holed up for most of '68. It's not Strawberry Fields, but it's got a blue plaque outside, nonetheless. 

A huge thank you to the boys for another great trip to the capital. Let's do it again in the Summer.



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

What's in Store?

"Do I hear 25 quid?"
I very rarely mention Record Store Day around here; maybe it' something to do with the very fact that we now refer to them as stores; I was brought up with (and, for a time, virtually lived in) record shops. Quite when we changed the lexicon (and why) is unclear. Am I being petty/churlish? Probably. Can I move on and not let it spoil the rest of my life? Of course.

But while I'm here, and while RSD19 is still, for some anyway, fresh in the mind, another thing that annoys the hell out of me - folk queuing thru the night to enter the store at 9:00 a.m. and buy a single by, let's say Generation X, for a fiver (red vinyl, picture sleeve) and, by eleven bells, are selling it on ebay for a score. Probably the same charlatans who buy four tickets for a gig, keep two and sell the other pair on the secondary market. We are the secondary market and everyone is now a tout - since venues stopped selling their own tickets exclusively and it all went online.

I don't know what Tony James (bass player with Gen X - pictured above) would have to say about it. Though he's probably too busy preparing for the re-release of the band's eponymous album - first released in the Summer of 1978. Back when the hair atop his head was all very much his own.

Generation X - Your Generation (1977)

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Making an exhibition of myself


A collection of my photographs is currently being exhibited at A Room Full of Butterflies in Nottingham. A big thank you to Andy Welch at the gallery; Andy thought my 'Bio' was too self deprecating, so has asked me to have another go and big myself up. We'll see.


A Room Full of Butterflies
632 Mansfield Road
Sherwood
NOTTINGHAM
NG5 2GA


P.S. 30 April 2019.

So, this is how my (revised) Bio. reads:

John Medd


John has been photographing people and places all his adult life. This collection brings together six striking images that capture the colours and textures of life in a city - and beyond. His work regularly appears in his vibrant blog - Are We There Yet? 

John lives in Sherwood, and in winter can often be seen photographing puddles. 

www.johnmedd.com

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Pure & Simple

Calling my Gig of 2019 in April may well be premature. Provocative even; but not unheard of.
Eleanor McEvoy is, I must confess, my new crush. After a truly stunning show last week (she's literally just finished the UK leg of her Gimme Some Wine tour), I grabbed a few words with her and was *absolutely* starstruck. Pure and simple.


Eleanor McEvoy - Slow Hand

Monday, 15 April 2019

Oh! You Pretty Things

An early sighting of the Swedey McSwedeface*
Yesterday was a good day. A very good day, in fact. Our inaugural Sunday Vinyl Session at the Running Horse went really well: listening to Bowie's Hunky Dory - in its entirety - thru the house PA was absolutely spellbinding. (A big thank you to everyone who came out, and thank you, again, to Rich, my partner in crime.)
We're already building up a head of steam and have loads of ideas for upcoming albums and associated events/gigs on the back of it.
Watch this space, as they say.

In keeping with these crazy times we even had a meaningful vote - to whittle down our very longlist of potential albums for next month to a more manageable shortlist which we'll decide over the next day or two on social media.
I'm really hoping I won't have to go to Brussels to ratify the final choice.

But what made yesterday an especially good day was the visit of a blogging buddy of mine who has been reading and commenting on my blog (and me his) for nigh on a decade. But we'd never met. As I was setting the levels on the mixing desk a fella walked in the pub with a vinyl album shielding the lower half of his face* and extended his hand: the Swede. He'd travelled over 100 miles to listen to tis album. That's how good Hunky Dory is. I'm afraid it meant even more chinwagging, more beer consumption and staying out all night (it's a dirty job, but someone had to do it). Roll on Session #2 - Sunday 12 May.

Hunky Dory. And a b**tleg
And from this fine album, here's what some people on Twitter are calling the best song. Ever. I'm not arguing with that.

David Bowie - Oh! You Pretty Things (1972)


* Swedey McSwedeface

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Jazzy, Sunny, Hypnotic & Bonkers*


I don't own many perfect albums. I'm not even sure if such a thing exists; most Beatles albums have a Ringo track on there somewhere, and Bowie could have his moments too. But Lemon Jelly's Lost Horizons is as close, I think, as you can get. Which means I can play it from start to finish without thinking once about reaching for the remote. I bet there's not many albums you can do that with; not if you're totally honest with yourself. This is the second track this week from Lemon Jelly's debut album from 2002, which, as today's post title tells you is, according to one reviewer, all these* things; in the words of Annie Lennox - who am I to disagree?

And it's something of an anthem at Medd Towers. I'm gonna play you the children's song it was sampled from first, and then drop the real thing in. I hope you like them both.

John Langstaff - All the Ducks


Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather for Ducks

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Away From the Numbers


Some very interesting photos appeared on my Twitter feed today - not least that one of the Black Hole. It's 55 million light years away (1 light year = 6 trillion miles) and measures, at least, a billion miles across. Just thinking about what those numbers mean hurts my brain; so I'll park it up for now and come back to it when I've had a little lie down.

In the meantime, the one above is a lot easier to get your head around - the Golden Gate Bridge taken in the early 1960s. So that makes it roughly 5,500 miles and 50 years away. I can cope with numbers like that. I just love everything about this photograph - if there's been a better photo taken of San Francisco's iconic landmark, I've not seen it.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Bagpuss Sees All Things


Today's show and tell is self explanatory. It really is.


Lemon Jelly - Ramblin' Man (2002)



'Brixton' kicks in at 4 mins, 10 secs



Monday, 8 April 2019

Riff!


Rock and Roll is built on riffs. Always has been, always will be. Some good ('Satisfaction'*), some not so good ('Smoke on the Water'). Either way, they're the tune within the tune: the bit you sing in your head. Or play air guitar to if you're on your own. In an empty house. With the curtains drawn.

I'm sure if you trawl back through my backpages you'll find loads of examples. I was thinking the other day who's writing the good riffs today; the ones that guitar shops ban the kids from playing when they're road testing a new Les Paul (other guitars are available)? - 'Stairway' DENIED! Anyone who is familiar with Greta Van Fleet will know that they've shamelessly plundered the Led Zeppelin back catalogue, changed a few titles, and have, effectively, released a bunch of Zeppelin outtakes. Think Custard Pie, think Dancing Days, think Greta Van Fleet. Great riffs though.

Here's one from a few years back that haunts me to this day. When Jack White wrote The Hardest Button to Button he planted an ear-worm so large in my head I'm surprised people can't see it waving at them as I walk around. And, like Greta Van Fleet, White is paying homage to the God of Riffs - namely Jimmy Page - without whom Rock and Roll would have died out years ago.

White Stripes - Hardest Button to Button (2003)


* Interestingly, when Devo covered Satisfaction they left the riff in its box and never referred to it once. Not once.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Confessions

A Brace of Mavericks
In addition to the Neil Young autobiography waiting to be read, two more memoirs have recently dropped onto the door mat: Pete Way's Fast Ride Out Of Here tells the story of one of rock and roll's original wild men - his diet of sex, drugs, rock and roll (and that's just before breakfast) has made much of his life the stuff of folklore. He once told his wife he was just nipping to the shop for a pint of milk, only to come back three months later after touring North America with UFO. Having just seen the band on their final jaunt around the UK, I've gotta say it's not the same without Pete up on stage (he left the band for the last time in 2009 for medical reasons). I'm hoping this read will, in some small way, make up for his absence.

Next up is Austin Mitchell's Confessions of a Political Maverick. Mitchell, who was the Labour MP for Great Grimsby between 1977 and 2015 has had two successful careers in politics and broadcasting: prior to embarking on his Westminster duties Mitchell anchored Yorkshire's daily current affairs TV show, Calendar, in the early 70s; from where this vintage interview with Brian Clough came. Leeds Utd. fans look away now.

Calendar (1974)


And below we see a faithful* transcription of the same interview as featured in The Damned Utd. A truly great film, with a stellar performance from Michael Sheen as Brian Clough. In the Yorkshire TV sequence (below) Mitchell is played by actor Mark Bazeley.

The Damned Utd (2009)


* Kind of

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

"I've been in love and I've seen a lot of war"


Neil Young was one of the last turns I went to see before we left Nottingham in 2010. I think I covered it for the paper, but I can't remember now. It would've been around the time he released his 30th. studio album Le Noise. As with a lot of latter day Young, it pretty much flew under the radar - if the critics can't see a Southern Man on there or a Hey Hey, My My they tend to dismiss it. Their loss.

One day I would love to gather my thoughts on Neil Young and try and put into words what I think  makes him a true one of a kind; a maverick. But first I need to finish his autobiography which, along with about another dozen or so paperbacks, is currently weighing down my bedside table.

In the meantime, and because I heard it on RTÉ tonight while I was in the bath, here's a beautiful song from that album which harks back to a more stripped back, acoustic Neil Young and one that certainly pushes all my buttons.

Neil Young - Love and War (2010)


FYI this is post No. 1,000 to appear on my blog. Are We There Yet? (formerly Even Monkeys Fall Out Of Trees) became a thing on February 15th. 2010. And yes, I know there's a picture of Manchester City's Neil Young at the top of the page.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Capable Man


I know I've said it before, but helluva lot of new stuff I listen to comes care of the Number One Son. Almost since I first introduced him to the Beatles back when he was still in his cot, James has been my constant sherpa when it comes to navigating treacherous indie landfill and other, equally dangerous, hazards. His end of year roundups, in particular, are a thing of beauty - and also very small - appearing as they do these days on a micro SD card.

I don't know if Man & The Echo will make this year's cut (it is, after all, still only April), but Capable Man appeared on my phone yesterday complete with a simple instruction: 'Listen to this, Old Man!' So I did. It could be a contender. See what you think.

Man & The Echo - Capable Man (2019)  

Monday, 1 April 2019

These Foolish Things

Twitter was awash with fake news this morning. And by fake news I mean bona fide fake news of the April 1st variety. You know the sort of (unbelievable) thing - Elvis found on the Moon manning a burger stand; Bono paying his taxes; Theresa May getting Brexit over the line. I stayed well clear. Till twelve o'clock, anyway.

Talking about foolish things, here's some joyous footage of Dave Brubeck playing live at the University of Rome in 1959. Paul Desmond on sax never sounded so good.



Dave Brubeck Quartet ft. Paul Desmond - These foolish Things

Thursday, 28 March 2019

F*cking Noddy?


Anyone who remembers Chris Morris' quite brilliant Blue Jam that went out on Radio 1(1997-99) in the wee small hours will, I guess, in their minds, still link the dark downbeat comedy sketches with the equally downbeat ambient grooves that in the late 90s made for such perfect post-party bedfellows.

If you listened to this at three in the morning coming down from whatever sort of night you were coming down from then it all made perfect sense; not that it doesn't now. In fact it probably chimes more now than it ever did. Fucking Noddy?