Sunday, November 19, 2017

random bowie - 1. outside

Howdy Pop Pickers

And so here we are again. Edition 11 of this series, look you see, which has proven to be more popular than I had imagined. Thank you one and all, to be sure, for taking an interest in my musings via the means of reading this.

In this edition, then, we return to 90's Bowie. The middle of the 90's to be exact, with the 1995 album 1. Outside. And a note on that here. Pedantic people will say that the album is supposed to be called 1. Outside. The even more pedantic people will say that the full title, as point of fact, is 1. Outside The Nathan Adler Diaries : a hyper cycle (lower case as per the spine of the CD). For ease of reading, let's just all accept that yes, that's the case, but from here on out in this article, or if you like blog post, it shall be known as Outside.

For fun, and as a kind of thank you to all of you who read these posts, there's a sort of "one of a kind" giveaway in this blog post. But we will get to that later on.

To start with (sort), then, as usual some fantastic facts on this record. Outside was the 19th studio album by David Bowie as per the commonly agreed method of counting and cataloguing them. It came out in 1995, two years after the double whammy of excellence that was The Buddha Of Suburbia and the better known Black Tie White Noise.  It marked a reunification, of sorts, with Brian Eno, with the two of them not being widely credited as working together since the "Berlin Trilogy" of the late 70s. At just slightly south of 75 minutes Outside is, by some distance, the longest David Bowie album to be released that was neither compilation nor a live recording.

Where to begin with this one? Sorry, this is quite likely to be all over the place. I am writing this a bit late into the month compared to others, so it's "on the fly". As is much of the album, I suppose.

It's what you could call a flawed album, where the many great parts do not add up to the superb whole those parts suggest. Far be it from me to be making this accusation - Bowie himself spoke of it as being "a bit too much" and expressed the notion that he should have released it as a double album, so as to give listeners a pause or break.

This was also an album Bowie was fond and steadfastly proud of. Brian Eno has spoken of how, somewhere around a year before Bowie passed away, the two of them chatting about the album. Both of them expressed regret that it appeared to have been "forgotten" about when people spoke of Bowie's illustrious catalogue. Well then, let this in some small way be a means of reminder.

When I first heard this record I didn't really like it. The opening was strange, the first two songs (Outside and The Heart's Filthy Lesson) were excellent,  then A Small Plot Of Land came along. It was monotonous, tinny "jazz odyssey" stuff and gave one a headache. And then you got the excellence of Hallo Spaceboy, only for it to be followed by more tinny "jazz odyssey" in the form of The Motel.

And then I read an interview with Neil Tennant out of the Pet Shop Boys. It was in NME. Two things stuck with me. One was an unsolicited spoiler he gave for the film The Crying Game, although in fairness the film had been out for some 2 - 3 years by then. The second was a comment on Outside.

By this stage the album Outside had been met with some criticism, or "meh" responses. In the interview Neil championed it. He declared it to be "the perfect album for headphones whilst jobbing". Now, then, I thought, or thought I. Whilst jogging has not ever really been a thing of mine, headphones have been. I made a tape of it, listened to it on my walkman and found it to be much, much better as a listening experience than on the stereo.

The above is of relevance to the giveaway promised to be part of this post. Stay tuned!

So anyway, the album. A concept album it is, or "hyper cycle", as David would have wished for it to reference. The premise is that society (not necessarily of the future, "it's happening now, not tomorrow" is a key lyric) has come to accept murder as socially acceptable in some cases. Should the nature of a murder be "artistic" in the eyes of a judging panel then the murderer would be celebrated and praised rather than sentenced and condemned. Ostensibly Outside tells a story of such an incident, as investigated by Nathan Adler.

What inspired this narrative? Bowie never said directly or overtly, but for those of us there at the time the influences are fairly obvious. Outside came in the way of things like the OJ Simpson murder trial - and indeed the trial of the Menendez brothers. Both became media circuses, making a mockery of the judicial system to varying degrees. Also, art was changing. Tarantino had changed things. He did this directly with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, indirectly with the scripts for True Romance and, of most relevance, Natural Born Killers. After a short period - say 1990 to 1992 - of Hollywood shying away from making violent movies, they were back in a way not seen before.

Of those influences Natural Born Killers is perhaps the most relevant. Certainly it is in terms of the audacious and brilliant soundtrack, curated and created by Trent Reznor. Musically, when not being all "jazz odyssey", the biggest influence on the sound of Outside is clearly Nine inch Nails, with many of the songs (chapters?) echoing the sinister, threatening, aggressive mechanical scope of The Downward Spiral.

No surprise, then, that Trent Reznor was called upon to deliver a remix - labelled the "alt remix" - of The Heart's Filthy Lesson for the first single. And yes, indeed, this was the song that was used for the end credits of Se7en, a film we are perhaps no longer allowed to watch due to certain allegations against one of the actors in it. But if we are, you will note that the opening credit music was Trent, with Closer by Nine Inch Nails being used. 

One of my favourite moments on Outside is Hallo Spaceboy. Which is interesting, as one of the least favourite things to do with the record is the Pet Shop Boys single release. The original on the album is an overwhelming blast of raw, audacious and aggressive sound, touching on drum and bass greatness. By contrast the single is an underwhelming, subdued affair with the song turned into a rather soft, banal Pet Shop Boys b-side. 

I suspect, however, that the remix was done with reason. This is all my own theory, so blame me if not so. My guess is that we were all supposed to understand Hallo Spaceboy as being "the third Major Tom song", following Space Oddity and Ashes To Ashes. That would explain the mashed up lyrics from Space Oddity appearing. Also, all of the song seems to reference earlier Bowie songs. The line "do you like girls or boys? it's confusing these days" echoes Rebel Rebel, and I have every confidence you can by yourself tie the "moon dust" references to another celebrated Bowie outing. 

The above I took in HMV, I suspect when I went to go and buy Liam Gallagher's debut solo album on the day after the day of release. If you can get the CD at that price new, then go for it. The penny south of £4 for it is all the more worth it when you learn that the cover is in fact a self portrait work of art by David.

Getting the album? OK. Let's take a break - and I promise I will discuss some more of the music as we go - and have a look at this "giveaway" I am offering. No idea if it is special or worthwhile or if anyone will take me up on it, but here goes.

Remember the part earlier on (as opposed to one you have not read) about how headphones seem to make Outside all the more better a listening experience? Well, as you can see in the picture above, I elected to honour that. Yes, I made a tape of the record to listen to again before writing this. Sure, it might have been easier to stick it on an iPod, but the tape is done now.

If for some reason you would like this tape, you are welcome to it. Please note it is strictly first come first served - I can't go making copies of this to give away.

Some rules? Sure. As postage for such would be south of £5 for me, what the heck, this is open to the entire planet. Please do not - and I mean this - leave any contact details on the comments section of this post. Rather just leave a comment saying "I am interested" (unless someone else has) and we can connect to get details via Google+. Alternatively, I suppose, you could get in touch with me via either of my verk websites, The Taper and Best Write. Great also, by the way, if you use my verk services - that's how I make my living, and that's how I am able to keep doing this, making it all free and clear of adverts appearing.

Yes, that is an excerpt from Outside off of the album Outside, playing on the tape which could be yours if for some reason you want it. No, absolutely not, the stereo is not included. You will have to sort out your own cassette deck to play the tape.

Right, hopefully will hear from at least someone and back to the album. And a return to the origins of it. Which are, frankly, a mixture of confusion and what can only be described as bullsh!t.

To start with the latter, the recording process. For some reason Bowie made a lot of noise about how this was all "done in the studio" with "no plans or preconceived ideas" brought in. This claim is utter nonsense. For a start the last song, Strangers When We Meet, is a re-recording of the song from 1993's The Buddha Of Suburbia.

Also, the whole concept and idea seems to stem from one of Bowie's more Spinal Tap moments. When Q magazine, back when it was good, asked Bowie to keep a diary for them, he decided his life was "too boring". Instead, then, he created a diary of someone called Nathan Adler. Whilst it has been some time since I read it, from what I recall yes, most of that diary ended up being the linear notes to this record, as well as making "a substantial" appearance in the lyrics.

Why is this Spinal Tap? If you can find the magnificent book Inside Spinal Tap. This contains a "diary" from Nigel Tufnel. He was also asked to write a diary for a magazine. When confused about what that should be, they showed him a sample of someone else, who had been skiing. Nigel misunderstood the example somewhat and so fabricated a story of him skiing for the magazine, instead of the hoped for diary.

The fact that Bowie also intended to do one of these albums a year for the next five years shows that some planning was involved. But, for reasons best known by Bowie alone (maybe it just amused him) he wished the world to think that Outside was the product of him and his musicians "slumming it" in a recording studio in Switzerland, with it all created by role playing scenarios.

One of the most exciting aspects of Outside was the "db" logo what David came up with for the single and album artwork. It's a great shame that it was not used any more after the Telling Lies single which preceded Earthling, an album I am trying to build up the courage to cover here one day. The logo is unmistakably priapic in nature, as if David was just saying "cock" to anyone at all who noticed it or thoroughly deserved to be told such.

An expressed intention of Bowie was that Outside, and the following four albums, would address and explore "pre-millennium tension". Perhaps this is why no further volumes ever came out. David was quite ahead in this respect, you see, as in 1995 virtually no one was aware of "pre-millennium tension". The year 2000 still seemed so very far away.

In retrospect 1995 was a peculiar, halcyon time. The Cold War was gone, with Russia neutered under the rule of comic figure Boris Yeltsin. After the early 90s Gulf War the Middle East appeared to have been "put in place" and posed no threat. China was really, really good at making shiny things cheap and selling them cheaper. Our friends in the USA felt so relaxed that they elected musician and prolific sexualist Bill Clinton to be President, rather than a politician. South Africa had Nelson Mandela as President and seemed at peace as a "rainbow nation". Here in the UK, we were all counting down to the next election, where it seemed a formality that bright young thing Tony Blair would become our leader and deliver wonderful days.Computers were not a standard in homes, either. They were not relied on for work. So there was no fear at all over something called a "Y2K bug" when Outside came along.

Thus, so it came to pass that David Bowie presented a, on the whole, collection of good to great songs to an audience which, in a sense, simply did not exist. Except maybe pop star jogging enthusiasts.

How does the album hold up today? Very well. But perhaps not as intended. I mean, I still have absolutely no idea what the story is behind this "concept album", let alone what the conclusion is. For telling a story, Tommy it most decidedly is not. The songs are, however, excellent.

An outstanding display of Bowie's vocals are here to be had. Oddly this is not so much the case on the two well known singles. Although the delivery of the line "daddy will you carry me, i think i've lost my way" on Heart's Filthy Lesson is a distinct high. No, instead discover his singing on songs such as Thru These Architect's Eyes, No Control, I Have Not Been To Oxford Town and the re-recording of Strangers When We Meet. There is the voice we all fell in love with. Or, if you like, there is the voice that I fell in love with.

Touring Outside looks like it was excellent. Alas, no, I did not get to see it. I should say now that this tour is very well documented. No official recordings have been released, although there are "quasi unofficial blind eye turned" bootleg CDs available on the web. Ultimately, You Tube is your friend - most if not all feature there.

A highlight of the Outside tour for many was the joint Bowie & Nine Inch Nails concerts. Nine Inch Nails were ostensibly the support band, but concerts featured Bowie singing some NIN songs, and indeed NIN providing the music for some Bowie songs.

The tour seems to have carried on all the way to just about the time David was ready to release Earthling. Some of the later shows featured songs that would be, or were intended for, that album. On this superb TV broadcast you should be able to hear I'm Telling Lies performed, ultimately released as simply Telling Lies. Bowie also performed the Tin Machine song Baby Universal on the later dates, as there was an intention to re-record it for Earthling. This was never released, and thus far no copy of the re-recorded song has surfaced. Reeves, if you are reading, share it, man.

So, is Outside a David Bowie album worth getting by you, the person who does not presently own it but are reading up and considering? Yes, I suppose, if you are the first to get in touch for the tape copy on offer. Also yes if you can find it at the price HMV were selling it for, or less. The whole album in its entirety is, as Bowie said, "rather too much" to listen to at once. There are far more good songs than average or poor on it; it's just that if you listen to it in one go the weaker songs feel like they drag on, dominating and distracting.

A curiosity, really. The sum is somehow less than the parts in isolation would suggest. It feels far too harsh to say it was a "failed experiment", then, although the lack of any further such "hyper cycles" suggest that Bowie saw it as such or simply got bored. To my mind "flawed experiment" feels about right.

Well, there you go. Episode 11 all done, and it has just dawned on me that I have referenced Bowie's Spinal Tap inclination on an album for this number that puts it into perspective, perhaps too much perspective. At the least, Bowie avoided going full tilt Spinal Tap by ditching plans for a "concept show" to tour the record with. What the world did not need was Glass Spider 2.

I have absolutely no idea what Episode 12 of this shall feature. Let me look at the collection and see what strikes me as one to listen to again and consider. Until then, then.......

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

starring Val Kilmer


for reasons i am not prepared to go into, look you see, i happened to be on the American version of that there 'Amazon' website. yes, i suppose you could also refer to that as either the original or main web presence, for as far as i am aware that is where it all began. if not commenced.

so, anyway, right, as i was doing this i happened to look at the USA Blu Ray "steelbook" edition of the ever popular documentary Top Gun. i noted with some interest their description of this product and i liked what i saw.

yes, quite. whilst purists might argue that this documentary was most ostensibly known for bringing Tom Cruise to an increased level of prominence, for Amazon it would seem it was all about the Val. and why not, for his dramatic recreation of important historical figure Iceman was most splendid.

being a product description writer must be amazing, man. if i had that kind of gig i would probably also push through my own agenda on certain cultural items. for a start i suppose i would go along to edit them Star Wars films, identifying which ones do and which ones do not feature Lobot. due to an alarming lack of vision from the people what make them films, sadly "does not contain Lobot" will feature more than him being in it.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

i need a dragon slayer who can save me from myself


a little while ago i, in an entirely unsolicited way, shared my genius, or perhaps ingenious means and way of quitting or cutting down considerably on all things cigarettes. that clever idea can be found, if you are so interested, by clicking here, look you see. or striking there, i suppose, to be sure.

something has dawned or otherwise occurred to me in the interim, which is to say i thought of it since. no, i don't like writing like that. it's a bit wanky, really. like those pompous people who use some latin phrase to describe something - normally a legal term - and then follow it with "which is to say" and give the (proper) (and easy to understand) english translation. why not just say it in english at the start, then?

anyway, the thoughts. what i did not consider was that my no longer buying cigarette lighters would be a disruptor to the economy. and, in this instance, a negative disruptor.

yes, indeed, the short version as pictured above - if one can call it short after such a lengthy and distracting introduction - is that i elected to reverse the decision and buy four rather splendid cigarette lighters off of Poundland. yes, all 4 cost £1. which is a bargain, as back in the 80s before there was Poundland there were independent traders who stood around in the town shouting "lighters three for a pound", so you get more value now.

the disruption, then. or if you like the justification and vindication for this decision, or reversal, what i made. it dawned on me that not buying cigarette lighters was detrimental to "the economy" in a three pronged way, should that be the correct way of saying it. as in, i was doing terrible if not great harm to the economic model locally, nationally and indeed internationally or globally, depending on which of those terms for worldwide you prefer.

closer to home and not buying lighters for £1 off of Poundland would mean a fall in profits for them. this could lead to a harsh business decision, where they sack someone and install another self serve terminal. as you hardly need me to tell you, that would be one more unemployed person for the national economy to absorb and support.

internationally, well, dangerous times. a lack of demand for packs of four brightly coloured cigarette lighters would lead to a fall in production. for all i know this could have been the straw that broke the back of a camel which for some reason the country wherever these are made use to illustrate their economy. it might be that, in order to make up for the shortfall in exports, the country what makes them goes to war or invades a neighbouring sovereign state to address the balance.

all of that might, if you are in any way cynical or doubting in nature, seem like an elaborate and far too overthought excuse. you might assume that the reality, hinted at by the title of this post, is that i am a hopeless, pathetic addict that simply cannot successfully quit or cut down considerably on cigarettes.

well, yes. there is no way i can argue too hard against such. one has to have the psychological reserves and sheer willpower to do it, i suppose. in this area i have been found to be decidedly lacking and somewhat wanting. but, for now, let us look at how pretty the lighters are.

them there above are my two favourites, then. i would think the first is obvious, for it looks like a most dapper magic bus; the likes of which The Who celebrated on their song Magic Bus. the other one was the deal clincher, though, as it has a toucan on it.

as regular readers of this blog will be aware, the toucan is my most favourite bird, right after the kookaburra, the flamingo, the pelican, the hawk, the swallow, the kestrel, the eagle and that other one what i have forgotten the proper name of. it is a delight to at last celebrate the toucan in such a way.

so, anyway, let me press onwards with whatever it is that i am supposed to be doing in this world. by a certain interpretation of some aspects of this post, that could well be seen as in some small way trying to save the economy.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 13, 2017

music of the Spiros


just recently i had reason to, look you see, go through one of several boxes i have in storage. this was a most specific box, for it had housed within it a recording on a compact disc that i wished to hear. it was during obtaining this specific disc that i, to be sure, unearthed some briefly forgotten musical gems.

the "gem" part of this comes, perhaps, in the form of their source or if you like provenance. it was that i had obtained these joyful discs of my own choosing. no. instead these just so happen to be gifts off of the Spiros. given, presumably, so that i may too listen to the music what he did, or does.

whilst the generosity of Spiros extends to a far higher number i felt it best, for the sake of simplicity, to limit this blog post to just four of the discs what Spiros has given me over the years. to cover them all would see us here for quite some time. besides, i am not sure there is much to say in respect of what is on display here, never mind them all.

no, then. well, yes. let us look at these four in somewhat more detail, so far as i can. which is really rather tricky when it comes to the first one.

indeed yes, quite, that is Racey, arguably the biggest band ever to be off of Weston Super Mare. for many, many years, or perhaps just fleetingly, Spiros was well into the Weston Super Mare scene, man. i think he bought this at the height of his digging the scene.

this is the quite controversial mid-90s "second" album by Racey, Lay Your Love On Me. i say controversial for, as all fans of the band will know, it is more of a "compilation" of recordings made between 1978 and the year of release. a follow up to their 1979 album Smash And Grab, then, with the peculiar case of some of the follow up being recorded first.

no, absolutely no idea what it is like. i have not played this CD and have never found any good reason to do so. consideration was given to playing it prior to writing this but then i thought no. if you happen to be a really big, or just in passing, fan of Racey well then that's just great to hear.

possibly the single most controversial of the discs Spiros has given me, this. although he claims it was "not him but someone else" what gave it to me. modesty and unassuming at the forefront, there, then. no matter, i can confirm that yes, this is a CD-R of Flying Away by Michael Saltino. not just any CD-R, though. history somewhat clouds matters from time to time, but either this was taken directly from the studio where Michael Saltino recorded this, his opus, or otherwise it was handed to someone what Spiros knows who was given it by a radio station.

i dare say that i need not give any of you further information about Michael Saltino, for he is widely known. several people have suggested that he is the greatest and most important singer ever to come from South Africa. others have challenged that, saying he is in fact that of the entire southern hemisphere. i'm not sure, but to say more would be overtly critical.

should for some reason you not have ever heard Flying Away, here you go, here's the You Tube link to it. many of you will be aware of the controversy surrounding Michael Saltino and would like to learn more. here is a link to the documentary around it. who knows, perhaps this CD i have is one of the ones mentioned in the early stages of that documentary.

oh yes, this one. at one stage - it might have been when we were at University - Spiros got it into his head that he would really like to be one of them "West Coast Gangsta" types, involved with drive by shootings and such things. the result of this was a rather rash purchase of several albums by musicians what promoted this lifestyle. Chunk, or if you like Mr Chunk, was very much at the forefront of this. Menace To The Game, which for marketing should maybe have been called Menace 2 Da Game instead, was the personification of what put Chunk miles ahead of everyone else. 

an particular controversy surrounding this edition of Menace To The Game - outside of the latent and somewhat explicit at times misogyny - comes with track six. no one is certain what it is actually supposed to be called. on the album artwork it is named Black Man Homcide, yet on the CD face itself, as you can see in the picture, it is labelled Black Man Homocide. when we have discussed it Spiros reckons the latter, as in the name on the disc itself, is most likely correct, as he always felt the album had a decidedly homoerotic nature to it. that would certainly explain, whist most decidedly and absolutely not excuse, the apparent dislike for ladies Mr Chunk expresses on tunes such as Dirty Hoes Don't Get Chose and Treat Em Like They Act.

no, i don't believe i have ever played this CD either. perhaps i will, as a quick glance around the internet suggests it attracts some good reviews. an even better idea might be to sell it, though, as it seems copies of this CD fetch a handsome price these days. 

would it be fair to call Chunk, indeed Mr Chunk, the "Michael Saltino of the West Coast Gangsta" scene? it would be better to ask someone who has heard both artists. sadly, at this stage, that would be someone else not me.

finally, then, the album that proved highly influential to Spiros. this is the celebrated Misfits compilation, featuring an eclectic if not cosmopolitan range of artists. pictured here is one of the artists to feature, Vic Lambrusco.

it so happened to be that Spiros was quite enamoured by the words of Vic Lambrusco. on his two tracks of Misfits Mr Lambrusco speaks fondly of starting fights with people, with the refrain "oooo wants some" being of particular appeal. the life of lager and fighting which Vic speaks so solemnly of is, i have every reason to suspect, one of the major reasons why Spiros elected to base himself in London.

what's the rest of Misfits like? not bad really. some entertaining stuff on it and some quite good songs too. i think there is one that goes on about a trifle, which was smart. the book it comes with is lovely too, and i am not just saying that on account of the partial nudies what feature. well maybe i am.

anyway, hopefully that has been of interest to someone somewhere. let me leave it there, then. but it is possible that i might go and have a listen to this Mr Chunk, see (or rather hear) what is ideas are all about.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

a different approach to rememberance


one of the most interesting and exciting things to happen at home whilst i was away from home, look you see, was the launch of many new television stations. the most unexpected and informative of these, to be sure, is one you may be familiar. i believe it is called Babestation, with the focus of the show being on the marvels of modern telecommunications.

this fascinating channel seems to be quite a lot like the BBC, as in it does not show commercials. one could, i suppose, argue that it is in essence the "anti-BBC", with some speculating that what it does show is, as point of fact, 100% commercials. to say such would, i suspect, serve only to devalue the documentary information they present.

let it not be said that this Babestation documentary channel is not aware of what is going on in the world. although (ahem) it is quite rare for me to look at what they are showing - as a know it all i seldom have need for documentaries - i noted something of a different appearance in the presenters of the telecommunications documentaries they show.

yes. you are quite correct, that is indeed a poppy being worn by one of the presenters. apologies on offer come from me as i failed to catch what exactly the particular documentary was on, so distracted was i by how splendid it was to see a poppy on display.

as you hardly need me to say, this will have been worn ahead of, or due to, Remembrance Sunday. should you be unaware of the significance of this day, the definition from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport of our popular government is as follows - to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. it is held on the Sunday nearest to 11 November each year, for this is the historical date of Armistice Day.

controversy has come about of late in respect of wearing a poppy to commemorate the day. there are some who voice an opinion that wearing a poppy is in some way advocating war, or being "pro" armed conflict". i would like to consider myself anti-war, but have to disagree with this view.

to me the poppy is a way to pay respect to those who have served our great country and fallen in doing so. it also, for me, represents respect for those who have sacrificed all they have for that ideal we all wish to keep - freedom. the soldiers did not ask for the wars they fought it. 

the above does show how quite remarkable the documentaries on this Babestation channel can really be. as you can see, in this particular documentary the host, whose name i failed to catch, is teaching the audience about tea drinking, telecommunications operative concerns and the reasons why one would wear a poppy during the early stages of November. wonderful stuff.

a word of caution, dear reader. it is quite likely, as enthusiastic for education as you are, that you may wish to tune in to this Babestation channel so that you may learn from the documentaries. later on in the evening it seems the dress code goes from "smart casual" to "optional". several of the presenters, and this i assume is to symbolise the spirit of freedom, disrobe all together as they present factual information. such a spectacle may not be suitable for all.

yes, another look at that most splendid poppy on display for you.

anyway, i suppose there really is not a great deal more i could add to this post. let me leave it there, then, so that you may contemplate it all. or, you know, simply move on to another aspect of this wonderful "internet" thing.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

reflections on that time i got a little carried away watching chuck norris fight a bear


in certain circles the concept of confession is spoken of as a good thing. for many it is, look you see, a healing form of catharsis. admissions of things that play on your mind in a real, vocal sense can clear the doubt, indeed guilt, from your mind.

whilst i am not certain that i subscribe to this i all the same, to be sure, feel that it is worth a go. of particular benefit is that no constraint in terms of time limitation is spoken in such circles, so it is no bad thing that this all relates to something that happened some 18 months ago. a year and a half or more, then.

this all happened, as mentioned, some 18 or so months ago. it was around about that point of a year when Spring feels sufficiently strong enough to truly break free from the constraints imposed by Winter; what with the chains of cold snapping with warmth.

for some reason, and i fail to recall just what this might be, i, or rather we for this happened in the welcome companionship of my (considerably) better half, was/were watching an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. this is somewhat unusual for me. whilst i, like most of the civilised world, profess an admiration for the many great things what Chuck Norris has done (it is all written on the internet so it must be true), i was never much of a fan of this show.

anyway, no matter, that i was watching an episode is of relevance and the reason for doing so is not. it was to be, or simply was, the case that in this particular episode, Ranger Walker (as portrayed by Chuck Norris) was in a situation in which he found himself getting attacked. this is nothing unusual as such, as fans of the show will know much of the plot of any given episode of Walker, Texas Ranger invariably hinges on some form of attack. what made this interesting, though, was that he was getting attacked off of an absolutely massive bear rather than some sort of criminal degenerate.

it is fitting that i cannot recall the plot as such, for i simply lost the plot. yes, i suspect the confession aspect of this shall commence now. but first, some guidance. if there is a massive gap between these words and the previous paragraph then you are missing some smart video i added. sorry, your browser and/or device is not compatible.

when the bear unleashed a ferocious attack on Ranger Chuck i took leave of my senses. for inexplicable reasons i got carried away, and started screaming in a quite giddy way at the television.

kill it, i wailed in my disgrace. kick it, knowing how Chuck is smart at all that kung fu kicking stuff and what have you, kick it's f*****g head in. these specific and such other words, i admit, flowed rather too freely from my mouth as i watched this battle. 

my (considerably) better half? she looked at me horrified, displaying concern, contempt, dismay and some slight disgust in her eyes as she gazed upon me being so excited by all of this. it would be fair, indeed true, to say that at most times i don't have all that a good standing in her eyes, but at this moment i fear it fell to the lowest such level.

it is quite likely that as i got all carried away she expressed concern, asking what the matter was with me and being puzzled as to what had gotten in to me. i cannot recall such. my exuberance blinded me to all other concerns, leaving me deaf to any possible expressions of care or words of caution to setlle down a little bit. all i know is that i was besotted with the idea of watching Chuck Norris kick in the head of this bear.

a retrospective consideration of all this renders my ambitions and aspirations as foolish. of the many things what Chuck Norris is known for a love, appreciation and admiration for nature and wildlife is very much at the forefront. he would not willingly harm an animal and would further go out of his way to ensure such did not happen by chance or accident.

this of course serves to make me all the more retrospectively horrified as to just how badly i lost all sense of control and went totally overboard. perhaps confessing this matter here shall be taken as the first step to some form of redemption. 

no, then. Chuck did not harm the bar as such. much of it in my guilt is blocked out, but from what i can recall - and as observed in these pictures and videos - Ranger Walker simply chased the bear away with an eco-friendly combination of fire and a rifle.

the confession does not cease there, dear reader. no. in a full and frank confession i will admit to, and do remember this is relevant to that moment, feeling let down, deflated, disappointed and cheated that i did not get to see Chuck do a smart roundhouse kick which culminated in his boot connecting with the head of the bear.

yes, i do feel this incident is a blight on my life. it weighs heavily on my thoughts, and i (perhaps rightly) feel nothing but guilt about my behaviour in this sorry incident. to have reacted in such a way leaves me open to being accused of existing as a blight on society; an embarrassment and shame.

do i have issues with bears? not particularly. back in the 80s i wore one of them smart NFL Chicago Bears shirts, but that was mostly as it was the only one they sold here in England. outside of the confines of a zoo or similar i am not sure that i have ever seen an actual bear. you could say oh, i saw a koala in the outback of Australia, but i am assured that a koala is a marsupial, not a bear as such.

it would be agreeable, and perhaps a little redemptive, if i could say that i wished to see Ranger Walker battle the bear with some smart karate so that i may learn how to deal with circumstances in which i was faced with a bear. alas, no. it was, to my shame, pure bloodlust.

no, i am not at all sure i feel all that much better after this confession. this was, up until now, a distinctly private guilt, a burned which weighed so heavily on my mind alone. every chance now exists that, with this in the open, people will view me in an even more harsh tone than before.

overall yes, i am very pleased that no harm came to the bear. had Chuck roundhouse kicked it in the head i suspect i would be wrought with guilt until the end of my days. instead, i contend only with my guilt for momentarily losing my senses and wishing that to be.

should this all have inspired you to confess your own shame in the hope that it has in some way made you feel a sense of relief, well then so much the better.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 10, 2017

simply superb stickers available


time for not one, not four, not too, but three, look you see, questions. indeed they are ones posed here, for you to answer internally. here they are -

are YOU based in the UK?

do YOU like stickers?

are YOU a fan of them first three Star Wars films?

if you can answer YES to all of the above, but in particular the first, then there is a bargain for you to be having.

yes, to use that word again, yes. not one, not three, but an incredible two sets of Star Wars stickers are available to UK enthusiasts, with each set containing no more and no less than 12 (twelve) stickers.

right now, i know, you want less of my writing, more of the details where you can get them. well then here you go, here are the links......

Star Wars stickers set one 

Star Wars stickers set two

with the auctions for both ending on 17 November 2017, now is the time to go and place a bid in order to secure them. not later, now. assuming you are reading this before that date.

the stickers all represent or if you like portray, to be sure, scenes from the first thee Star Wars films proper, which is to say the cinematic ones and the much loved Christmas Special is excluded.

each of the stickers has a bespoke, lavish and decidedly artisan description written for them. they are, i am assured, well worth your time reading. 

one downside to these stickers is that none of them feature the second best ever Star Wars character, Lobot. but fear not! fans of Lobot, and there are many, can still secure some smart Lobot stickers off of that eBay thing right here

there is not all that much else i can add, really. anyway, or besides, for me to write something here would mean for you to read it, and that would just delay you from placing a bid to secure your taking ownership of these smart stickers.

good luck, and i wish you lots of happy sticker fun!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

betrayal, and a traitor, maybe

hello there

in all likelihood this post is, look you see, more of a confession than it is anything else. or perhaps not, to be sure. more i think it is a stark, brave and bold look at the harsh realities of one of the single most important things to exist in this world.

yes, The Ashes. with the next chapter of this magnificent story about to commence the BBC has, in their wisdom, encouraged all to participate in selecting the "greatest ever" combined Ashes XI, or if you like consolidated team of English and Australian players who are the very finest. i think this closes at 10am British (as in proper) time, so if you want a go yourself here is the link.

i did this, selecting only players that i had actually seen play. i did this with complete honesty as i wished to create the greatest team ever, and yet i am sad and horrified by the build up of the team i, of Yorkshire, have wrought.

yes, look at it. no, that is not a mistake, or error. just north of a paltry 27% of my Ashes"dream team" come from the English side of this contest. this does indeed make me sad. even sadder is that Bob Willis is "only" in to shore up some defences, as a couple of those bowlers will give away a few runs as they take wickets. 

the only clear cut, first English name on the sheet - in terms of players to have taken part in the Ashes during my cricketing lifetime - is Ian Botham. even then, a lot of that is that Sir Ian is one of about three non-Australian cricketers that the Australians have said they "wished was born an Aussie". 

how did this happen? i suppose likely, since a far higher number of Australians consider the Ashes to be of greatest importance compared to us here in England. if you carried out a survey about which is the most important sporting event to win, i would say in England the answer would feature "world cup" and "football" to an overwhelming degree. i would brashly, in an appropriately Aussie way, suggest that somewhere north of 80% of Australians would instantly answer "The Ashes". they are quite right and correct to do so. 

my choice of captain? let me disgrace myself further. i cannot choose between Border or Waugh. both are as fearless as they are ruthless, and superb cricketers. either would have the resolve to lead this most ferocious of teams. 

anyway, have fun selection your own!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, November 09, 2017

what i read

hello fellow readers

and so to another couple of book reviews, then. or thoughts on two books that i recently read. recently, look you see, but actually finished a couple of weeks ago. sorry for this, not that it matters, being all "hot off the press" as such, but i have been a bit busy.

it would be standard for me to issue a splendid and colourful *** SPOILER WARNING *** for these review things. please note that in this instance i really do mean this. both reviews, or commentary like thought pieces, feature images of pages from the relevant book. with respect to the latter this concerns a section towards the concluding "business end" of the novel. so please proceed of your own caution with care.

that said, to start off with as usual then, a look at the two books under consideration, and as much of a spoiler free and brief view that i can give.

Nomad, declared as being by Alan Partidge but possibly more so by Steve Coogan and two gentlemen of the surname Gibbons, is a most splendid comedy affair for fans of erstwhile and possibly fictional media darling Alan Partridge. American Assassin by someone called Vince Flynn is a reasonably decent "America as the policeman of the world" overt-covert espionage killer thriller thing, blighted by a really, really poor editing job.

links provided here are purely for your convenience, then. they are not an endorsement, recommendation or any such form of affiliation. whilst once again reminding you of the rather pretty and splendid looking spoiler warning at the start, on we go then. or at the least i do, and if you carry on reading then so do you, which would be just great.

generally two types, or if you will genres, of books i tend not to read are non-fiction and comedy. for both i find i much prefer watching a documentary or a live show, or otherwise listening to some variation of audio book. with prompting from my (considerably) better half, who presumably felt that i could do with some more light-hearted reading at the time, i decided to pick up and read Nomad by Alan Partridge.

for many of you, i know, the provenance of the books i read is the most important part of all of this. in this instance, as the quasi branded price sticker suggests, £4 off of cigarette counter at Morrisons. yes, it was a delight to see a book of interest once again being on display there.

plot, or ostensible point of the narrative? after some sort of vision or dream or similar incident, renowned broadcaster Alan Partridge determines that he must take a symbolic walk very much in the "footsteps of his father". this is, ostensibly, to try and reveal or at the least understand a mysterious journey his father once took to a nuclear power plant, with the unresolved intention of that journey to be gainful employment.

in cutting to the chase some, the only real measurement which counts for any sort of comedy venture is the question of whether or not it is funny. does it entertain in a comedic way? yes, if somewhat sporadically which might be a concern for what is a rather slender book.

knowing of Alan Partridge and his key works is, to state the obvious, somewhat essential to understanding this book. if you are not familiar with Knowing Me Knowing You (radio and TV variations), the two superb series of I'm Alan Partridge and the perhaps better than was expected (as in exceedingly funny) Alpha Papa film then you will not, i suspect, get very far with this book.

thankfully, and somewhat with mercy, little or no reference in Nomad relates directly to the very little seen Mid Morning Matters series by Alan Partridge. very wise, this. few is the number who saw it, due to the limited means. when you accept huge money off of Sky for a show you accept that not a lot of people will actually watch it.

where does the book fall short? the book-running running joke of frequent, and extensive, footnotes gets rather tiresome. i would say a substantial volume of the text - a percentage in double figures - features in the footnotes rather than the journal, account or whatever you would call it. there's also some lazy page filling stuff. like, for instance, an entire chapter dedicated to bashing Noel Edmonds. something which has been done, time and again, on repeat by most UK comedians and comedy outlets for several years.

and yet the Alan Partridge concept does not feel stale. wisely, perhaps taking a cue from John Cleese with Fawlty Towers, Coogan et al have been cautious not to overtly dilute the Partridge marketplace. this may be stating the obvious, then, but for Alan Partridge fans, yes, Nomad is like totes worth picking up and reading. or hearing, for i believe the audio book version is splendid.

so on, then, to a book which turns out to have been published several years ago, or if you like 7. my attention was drawn, however, to American Assassin by Vince Flynn only recently, what with the film adaptation being an "official partner sponsor" of certain shows on the CBS Action channel on the tele and that.

regular readers of this blog will be aware of the fact that i cannot see this film adaptation due to my long term boycott of Michael "Keaton" films. i consider it a veritable disgrace that he is allowed to use this name when his actual name is, actually, Michael Douglas. as and when he starts using his given name i will cease the boycott. well, then or as and when it is practical for me to go and see something what he done that i am interested in.

provenance of my copy of this novel, resplendent as it is with a film tie-in cover variation? i caught it when it was the "select book of the week" at Tesco, for a price of £3. many people get all excited, you know, going "ooooh, look, sales of books are now once again higher than ebooks". this is no surprise. for some reason ebooks now cost 2, sometimes 3 times as much as the paperback. considering i can pass on a paperback, or donate it to charity, or do what i like with it in the exact way that i cannot with a more expensive ebook, why would it come as a surprise to learn that my ereader now sits undisturbed and untroubled by use?

the plot? some stereotypical, alpha type of American sports student called Mitch Rapp feels as though he has a gripe against Muslim / Islamic terrorist cells on account of how many times they have stepped in and killed his friends and family. how convenient, then, that he looks slightly Arabic, is a perfect athlete, has deft military skills despite no training and has been watched to be groomed by some covert US Military / CIA type of organization. and so off he goes to get trained and sent to kill key figures in the ostensible "war on terror".

with absolutely nothing new, original or otherwise creative here the success of the novel hinges on the familiarity being entertaining for this sort of book. yes, it is. a rather engaging style of writing makes it a pleasure to read. despite some awful, horrid proof reading errors. like the one coming up.

before you look at the next picture, and indeed the paragraph below it, please note that this gives away a massive spoiler for events at the business end of the novel. look and read at your own risk.

the infamous "page 355" episode. i was confused and bewildered at the name used in the second line you can see there. this would be because he was not there. no. instead it was protagonist Rapp and another character looking across a city, wondering where the character name used might currently be held. i had to re-read and double check myself with this.

considering i am mr typo king, with a favourite thing of mine to be to type "doe snot" instead of "does not", perhaps i should not thrown stones. then again, i am not a professional proofreader or book publisher, am i? quite strange that this error slipped through somehow.

in my imagination, then, if the film adaptation follows the novel it will then follow the Full Metal Jacket approach -  half training, half that training in action. although that broad wording is doing a great disservice to the magnificence of Kubrick's penultimate film.

as a novel, it's ok, as in not so bad. from time to time as i read a thought that came to mind was "man, I Am Pilgrim was a really great novel", and i would say read that one rather than this one. mostly, though, it kept me entertained. for those who like heroic acts of ostensible good vs a defined evil, well then there is all that you would want of that here. but not so much more.

so there we go. two books which i absolutely do not regret using my limited reading time to, erm, read, but not ones that have me running around declaring their amazing greatness. not that i run around all that much.

them there ebook things might be expensive, but i am looking now at the convenience. it seems i would have to wait well into 2018 to get paperbacks of the more recent novels by John Grisham, Michael Crichton (the apparently final posthumous one, Dragon Teeth) and John Connolly. it might be that i give in to temptation and get one or two of them in advance in an electronic way, since i find hardbacks too awkward to read. but then i do have quite a pile of paperbacks here to read still.

anyway, that would be all that. my usual wish, that for some reason this has all been of interest to someone somewhere, is indeed applicable.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

fashion statement

hello once more

from a conventional stance i suppose it is, look you see, quite true to say that November is not a point of any given year one would naturally associate with t-shirts here in England. normally the weather, or should it be more correct to say so the climate, at that time in this place does not naturally encourage the idea of wearing t-shirts. this is due to t-shirts not normally providing the requisite warmth or waterproof ways one would like at such a time.

it is precisely due to the above that i, or indeed moi, have been enabled to invest in some smart, fancy and la-de-dah t-shirts. the abject lack of demand for them at this time means that proprietors who sell them do so at a reduced asking price. with this, as it were, happening, i did indeed purchase.

so yes, then, this is all going to be about not one, not three, but two new t-shirts what i bought. if for some reason you have read this far but have no interest in the subject then now, really, is the time for you to head off. but thank you for reading as much as you did.

yes, there they are in what i believe is commonly called a "factory sealed" state still, which is how they arrived. and indeed or further yes, just a "normal" picture to start with, rather than the standard for me Commodore 64 mode. i thought maybe those mentioned above who are not interested may wish to have a cursory glance at them all the same before departing, so there you go i made it somewhat easier for you.

provenance of my smart new t-shirts? Jacamo, as endorsed by that Sir Ian Botham of the 21st Century (thus far), Mr Freddie "Andrew" Flintoff, no less. this endorsement is of course important to me. not, perhaps, as important as the fact that Jacamo offer the double whammy of offering garments in my size and, as was the case here, frequently doing such at a most agreeable price.

normally i would obtain such garments by being present at, in or otherwise within a Jacamo store. in this instance, however, i elected to make the purchase online, so to speak, and have them delivered. yes, that there above is the luxuriant packaging in which they arrived. next day delivery for a penny south of £4 was quite reasonable, although perhaps i should have invested another penny south of £10 for such delivery concerns to be paid in advance for a year.

there are, concerning the latter, only a finite number of fashion statements that i am prepared to make. it was this that was in my thinking when i elected not to invest in a twelve month level of shipping committent, for it is out outside of the realms of possibility that i would purchase clothes once more again only during the final month of 2018.

but let us not trouble ourselves with what might be. rather be content with that which is.

yes, this one was a particular delight to get. much like my one other dream, that of the oversized shirt of Nevada, i have longed for so very long for a t-shirt that is both oversized and celebrates my passion for Arizona motor oil supplies. thank you, in a very real sense, then, to Jacamo for once again stepping up and making the dream real.

frequent readers of this blog shall, of course, need no clarification on my dream of making a fashion statement that celebrates my love of Arizona motor oil supplies. it is rare - seldom - that i speak of anything but this subject. an ambition, one which is largely unfulfilled, is to use nothing but this on an exclusive basis. retailers of motor oil supplies in the UK are, alas, reluctant if not reticent to stock such products.

when not extolling the virtues of Arizona motor oil supplies, which i presume relate in some way to oil what gets used in a car, it is likely you will find me championing the Louisiana Vipers. i love that team, man. a team who, let us not forget, are State Champions. in semi-pro American Football, a Google search revealed momentarily after the t-shirt landed.

yes, i am aware that the above picture is upside down. so is the next one. at least i am suitably aware of this now. it's just a "thing" we fans of both of these class things do. if you don't know why then i suppose you are not a proper fan of either or indeed both of them. do not beat yourself up, however, you can just go off and learn all about it. 

as was the case with my smart oversized t-shirt of Nevada these two new fashion statements of mine come in an oversized manner, which is to say that ostensibly by conventional measurements they are way too big for me. i happen to like baggy shirts. just a comfort thing, to be honest, but if that accidentally gets taken as a further fashion statement then so be it.

whereas the Arizona motor oil supplies shirt is, as you would expect from such, purple in colour, the Louisiana Vipers one is called "wine" colour. my rather basic understanding of this "wine" business is that it comes in numerous shades of differing colours.

no matter, here is what "wine" colour, whatever that might actually be, looks like in Commodore 64 mode. 

the rather more studiously, steadfast cynical type of reader may well look at this and refute any such suggestion that i am passionate about either Arizona motor oil supplies or the Louisiana Vipers. in this cynicism they may argue that i only bought these as they were cheap and of a size that i liked.

well, "haters gonna hate" was, or is, a popular refrain spoken by ardent defenders across the internet not so long ago. at least it was the last time i looked at such. all i can say is that i am truly delighted to get such fashion statement items about things what i am passionate about at a quite reasonable price.

a practical, and not unreasonable, question at this stage is exactly how frequently i expect to wear either of these t-shirts. if a short term view is to say that this is to be looked at for the next three months, then not too often. at least not exclusively. should i wear either of these between now and, say, February of next year, it would be, i suspect, prudent to do so whilst also wearing a jumper, or possibly another shirt over it. here things are getting cold, so they are, to be sure.

in all likelihood this is the only fashion statement i shall be making this month. at least in any sort of overt sense, i suppose. well, maybe not. perhaps a picture of me wearing one of these shirts shall feature, who knows.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 06, 2017

last call on lobot


UPDATE : somehow the Lobot stickers did not sell at auction, so here is the listing for those who want to buy them directly and without bidding.

just one of them sort of public service advisory posts, look you see, as well as a chance to give you a look at the Star Wars "concept art" calendar many of you have been following on this blog. exactly why you would do that i know not.

anyway, the public service advisory thing. i have been alerted to the fact that, right now, there is the chance to own some smart Lobot stickers. a chance like this does not present itself often, and so you should do your best to secure these with a winning bid.

here is the link to the auction on that ebay thing. it seems, alas, to be UK only. this is a shame, as there is a massive, worldwide following for Lobot.

and as above that auction is no more, so here's the link to buy. 

according to the fairly lavish and very generous product description on the auction, for which the link is here again, Lobot is regarded as "the 2nd best character in Star Wars". i would agree with this, really. far too much focus is usually given on the fake orphan farm boy or the illegal people smuggler. nowhere near enough celebration happens for humble administrators like Lobot, who work in an efficient and process driven way to make sure the galaxy ticks over.

many suggest that The Empire Strikes Back is the best of all Star Wars films. it can not be accidental or mere co-incidence that this is the only film to feature Lobot. well, at least so far. perhaps he will pop up in The Last Jedi, or this Han Solo film, imaginatively titled Solo as it is.

it would be fair to say, i think, that a lot of the frustration, disappointment and anger fans had with Revenge, no make that Return, of the Jedi was that Lobot did not feature in the film in some capacity. which brings us to the November date on my Star Wars concept art calendar thing.

yes, we have got to the opening part of Return of the Jedi, which in terms of the laws of diminishing returns is the 3rd or 6th best Star Wars film, depending what order you watch them in.

these concept art images depict when they all go off to fight that absolutely massive slug what is some how a crime ganglord. for some reason he is depicted as the bad guy in all of this, when all he was trying to do was get the money owed to him by that illegal people smuggler, Han something. Jabba, i believe the slug is called, is just a businessman. far be it from me to question the Jedi way, but might it not have been an idea to approach him with a plan to pay him the money he is rightly owed, rather than jumping straight on elaborate plans to bust the criminal out and kill the slug for good measure? the whole Star Wars universe is a little blurry on who is good and who is bad.

indeed, that is them stickers what are up for auction. i am sure the person running the auction will have no objection to me sharing this image here, in particular if it helps them sell them. very surprised to see that anyone owning these would let them go, but there we are.

right, well, that's that for this calendar update!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

doesn't matter, i've seen everything, anyway

howy pop pickers

to be pefectly honest, yes, i would agree, look you see. surely by this stage i have somehow exhausted all that i could possibly say on the rather smart band Tin Machine. but here we are, or at the least i am, once again on the anniversary of that time i saw them live.

as far as being a going concern it is of course that Tin Machine more or less ceased to be at some stage of 1992, or perhaps 1993 as and when the Oy Vey, Baby CD and VHS release, as it were, happened. or late 1992, if that's the time they came out, i don't recall but the copyright thing on them seems to suggest yes.

well, on the off chance that someone is interested - even if just to check that i still write something or other on the anniversary of the time i saw the band - let's see what i can come up with. if nothing else there's some stills of a video of what someone kindly gave me. yes, indeed, as per an earlier blog on this (but will no doubt also be dated 5 November), it is a video of the very gig that i was at.

there is every chance that the majority of people having a gander at this are them Google enthusiasts looking for pictures (and indeed video at the end) (and some links), so perhaps the text will be more minimalist than usual.

for what reason did Tin Machine come to an end? i've only ever seen two reasons given. no, i have no idea if either are genuine, "official" or even real. perhaps they are just speculation written in such a way to suggest authority and authenticity.

the first such reason was that David Bowie felt that the band, or if you will project, had done all that it could do, with the release of Oy Vey, Baby apparently being held as proof that the band could indeed "cut it live". by that i think, if Bowie even said that, the showed that he could be part of a band on stage and did not have to be, or become by default, the focus of attention. this you would think he proved when he toured with Iggy Pop as part of his band (with Hunt & Tony out of Tin Machine) in the late 70s, but who would i be but a fan when it comes to asking such?

much of that makes sense, really. you have to remember the world very nearly did not get Aladdin Sane, for Bowie felt that he had "said all that he could" with that form or style of rock with Ziggy Stardust. so, then, yes. maybe it all ended because Bowie felt it exhausted, or he was just plain bored and out of ideas.

the other presented reason is that it wasn't Bowie as such who brought Tin Machine to an end, but rather Hunt & Tony Sales. according to one report there was some speculative work, or at the least discussions, concerning a third Tin Machine outing. Hunt and Tony, in this version, were however the ones that were bored. these two mighty fine talented brothers are known for their passion for a harder edge, challenging form of rock. it is spoken that they grew weary of the idea of making the next step for Tin Machine "more commercial".

it makes sense, this. one of the main points of Tin Machine was to be successful, yes, acclaimed, to be sure, but not some huge corporate juggernaut. at the heart of the project was to rediscover, embrace and thrive on the unique experience of playing hard in smaller venues. had it all become something that was suited for audiences of a size that arenas and stadiums were meant for, well, it would have somewhat defeated the point.

any evidence of what a third album might have sounded like? not really. without linking to anything (you are clever, you can find them, trust yourself), there's some widely circulated "bootlegs" of outtakes and alternate versions from the Tin Machine II sessions. These were all recorded in Australia, Sydney to be precise, so maybe some engineer or something got the tapes and unleashed them on the net.

nothing on the tapes / mp3 downloads is all that interesting, not even to a fan like i. as is standard for demos, most of the well known songs off of Tin Machine II on them are simply slower and longer versions of the final product. two songs on the tapes never finished or released are Needles On The Beach  and It's Tough. of one of them Hunt Sales (i think, sorry if it was Tony) can be heard saying "it's a hit, get Olivia Newton John in here to sing it". that would kind of give some credibility to the idea that the brothers Sales walked from the band rather than it being Bowie ending it.

i really, really seem to like bands that only release two albums, then. Tin Machine only made two. as was the case with Frankie Goes To Hollywood and, thus far, The Stone Roses. but i still hold out hope that, if not this year then maybe next, Christmas With The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses shall be recorded and released.

what did Bowie think of Tin Machine, in a retrospective sense? hard to gauge, really. in one interview, around the early 2000s or late 1990s i think, when asked what he was up to he answered something like "maybe i will do a Tin Machine retrospective box set". some took this to be flippant, self-depreciating or funny. i am not convinced.

yeah, that's the most subtle image i can do of the t-shirt that Bowie wore at the Tin Machine gigs which caused some upset. he put it on for the encore. strictly speaking, under England's quaint draconian laws, he could have been arrested for the obscenity. strangely the law allows for such to be spoken on stage as part of a performance, but not printed and worn. as i recall it Hugh Cornwell off of The Stranglers was threatened with arrest when he wore a t-shirt that had the "f" word done as the Ford logo.

so anyway, Bowie's thoughts on Tin Machine. all evidence suggests he had nothing but fond considerations of the songs done. you are at this stage referred to seek out a high quality bootleg recording from 1996 called A Night In Loreley. whilst ostensibly a gig promoting Outside, two songs intended for the next album (which would be Earthling) were done - Telling Lies and a re-recording of Baby Universal. also, the very same gig featured a cover of Lust For Life. this song, arguably, is the most famous and well known to feature Hunt & Tony Sales. no accident, surely, even allowing for Bowie's friendship with Iggy.

the story goes that Bowie felt Baby Universal was "too good a song" to be forgotten. he wished to revisit it and give it a bigger audience. not a new thing for him; he took Strangers When We Meet from The Buddha Of Suburbia and not just re-recorded it for Outside but issued it as a single, too. when singles actually meant something, which is now not the case.

above is either a big gap or, should your device and browser support it, a snippet of video from the end of the gig i was at. yes, that's David Bowie wishing you a good evening, and yes one of the voices squealing like a teenybopper (in fairness i was still in my teens) is mine.

getting back to the bit before the bit above, then, all accounts say that Baby Universal was given a re-recording for Earthling, with original guitarist Reeves Gabrels on it. alas, it didn't make it on to the album, and so far as i am aware the re-recording has never surfaced officially or as a bootleg. who knows, perhaps one day Reeves or someone that has a copy may share it.

this all differs greatly from how some journalists speak of Tin Machine. for a while - say late 90's to around 2013 - a really lazy, cheap thing for some music writers to do was to go "Tin Machine, ha ha ha, what a load of sh!t they must have been, let's look cool and trendy by mocking them". all that i have to say to that would probably be found in this post.

right, well, i seem to have said more than i thought i would. who knows, perhaps the 27th anniversary of me seeing Tin Machine will get some writing too, assuming i make it that far.

usually i don't mix my actual verk with this personal blog, but what the heck. for those constantly disappointed that the video won't work on their device, presumably that You Tube thing will. here, then, are some clips i made to show my VHS to DVD transfer work. and my audio cassette tape to CD / mp3 stuff too, for good measure.

Wogan appearance - You Belong In Rock N Roll plus interview

Paramount City- Baby Universal performance

Radio 1 Evening Session Interview 13 August 1991

that second one is of some interest as it has a rare sight - Bowie gets the words wrong for the first part, or at the least momentarily gets distracted and fumbles them somewhat.

and there we go, then. if you happened to be at the same gig as i was and this all brought back some wonderful memories then that would be amazing. in particular if you were at the gig on the stage, i suppose. that said, all who have found this to be interesting are most gratefully appreciated readers!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!