Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spiros on the pink

hey there

more tobacco adventures, then, courtesy of the infinite generosity of Spiros. going into tales of cigarettes, or if you like fags, necessitates a disclaimer form of warning, look you see. please do not forget, no matter how exciting or sensational all of this may seem, that smoking is particularly bad for you. to this end you are advised to not start smoking. equally, if you are a smoker, seek assistance and guidance in quitting.

and with that cautionary in place, to be sure, on we go.

Spiros has been on his travels again. as usual i cannot divulge much detail of what he does in a professional capacity, but with him being the greatest legal mind of his generation you can be assured that it is something important. what i can say, though, is that once again he has kindly picked me up some cigarettes what are both cheap and resplendent in colourful packaging.

yes, quite, indeed. this time, rather that procuring for me yet another example of Greek cigarettes Spiros has gone for one of the most luxurious brands in the world. these are, as you can very clearly see above, Sobranie cigarettes.

Sobranie, it says on the internet so it must be true, is a luxury tobacco brand based in London, England, innit. they are also the oldest luxury brand of cigarettes out of London if not the world, or at the very least the longest surviving. posh members of society down in London will smoke these, then, be they part of the landed gentry or simply nouveau riche sorts from Eastern Europe and Russia.

none of the above was, but of course, in the thinking of Spiros when he selected them. no, in a way unaware of the history, he happened to get these as they are pink and were quite cheap.

what a lovely, lovely bit of branding there on the inner lid packaging. Sobranie presumably take a great deal of pride in their luxury packaging. it must delight them some that there still exists countries where they may show off their flair with elegant branding on the packaging.

the branding in this instance, as you may well have noted, is most decidedly focused on pink. i do believe that it was the pink nature of these pink branded cigarettes what served to draw the attention of Spiros. maybe he saw them and instantly decided they were the ones, or perhaps one of them men he forms short term but mutually beneficial friendships with in public restrooms and so forth suggested them in passing. i would quite like to think the latter, and further would hope that the gentleman was called something like Jerome or Tristan. often, alas, these friendships are so short term Spiros fails to catch the name of his chum, but no matter.

Spiros had hoped that the cigarettes within the pink packaging were as pink as the box. alas, no. it is quite rare for cigarettes to be any colour other than predominantly white. fear not, though, as no total failure greeted this ambition of Spiros. as you can see, at least the cigarettes have "pink" written on them, indeed yes in pink.

once again, then, quite like them rather splendid Ome cigarettes what he got me, these are "slims".  what this means is that they are close on 50% thinner than the more traditional "king sized" cigarette, but do have the length of 100s or "super king" sized fags.

visual comparisons are always what work best with the above point, so with that in mind here you go, here is a visual comparison.

there you can see one of the Sobranie fags unhoused from the packaging. for scale i have added a regular pack of so called king sized fags and a new £10 note. for those entirely unaware of what scale is implied by a new £10 note i thought it best to include the old £10 too, so you may compare with a frame of reference you are comfortable with.

what are they like to smoke? well, they get the job done. just. one of those speculative Google search things suggests that the much desired nicotine content of these particular fags is 0.05mg. should you think that is a lot, alas, it is not.

on the plus side, they have a much more interesting aroma than one would normally associate with cigarettes. there's a distinct musky rose scent to them. the kind of thing, going on what Spiros has told me of such places, that you would expect to smell in the heavily perfumed "dry down" area of a Turkish Bath which seems to attract only gentlemen as clients.

and just what is it that Spiros is doing on these travels around the world? other, that is, that getting me some much needed fags and forming friendships with like minded men around the world? as pointed out earlier i cannot disclose too much. several of the many fans Spiros has have speculated that he is in some capacity engaged to sort out all this Brexit / leaving the EU stuff. others have assumed that he is perhaps involved in the legal recourse being followed after the "banning" of the Uber system in London. perhaps is the only answer i can give to any such comments, perhaps.

so anyway, that is that for this post. i do hope my fellow cigarette enthusiasts have found something of interest somewhere in this article. my great thanks again to Spiros for his highly appreciated kindness and generosity in making articles such as this possible.

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

no one i think is in my tree


just another infrequently regular update on the boys, look you see, for the benefit of them friends and family around the world who use this blog as a conduit to maintain awareness of such. and of course well wishing, random strangers who pop by from time to time.

at first to the last, then, with William. or if you will, indeed perhaps more pertinently, William's passion for  strawberry that is more exotic or notable than would be the norm. he recently requested some strawberries, upon which he may feast, and so i did my best not to disappoint.

yes, indeed. as you can perhaps see without further wording from me, i was able to procure a packet, nay punnet, of strawberries what featured a "twin" strawberry in it. this is a matter which delighted William a great deal, for it is not something that he could recall seeing before.

normally, or perhaps usually, it is the more  massive the size of a strawberry which impresses William. adventures such as those related to the size of a strawberry can be found by clicking here, and for good measure here too. whilst the twin strawberry lacked the usual exciting size value, it was all the same welcomed. 

and now James. many of you have followed, with altering degrees of interest, the cricket season which has just been completed. there was recently an "end of season" awards sort of thing, and i can tell you with considerable pride that James collected one of the awards that was issued.

most splendidly James won the award for best bowler of the year. considering his team featured some truly great and promising practitioners of this art this was rather fantastic in the most excellent sense of the word.

to his infinite credit James has played down the nature of this triumph. for him the focus is always on how well the team is playing, and how fantastic it has been to be part of a special, indeed spectacular, season. his taking of such a view makes us all the more proud, but yes we are encouraging him to, even if but for a moment, accept praise when it is given.

so what happened with the twin strawberry, or if you like strawberries that was but one strawberry? not long after this picture was taken - moments, as point of fact - it was eaten. and i am reliably informed that it was a most splendid thing to eat, it being particularly sweet.

as i have commented before it is a truly wonderful aspect of the modern world that we can now eat strawberries (of any nature) throughout the course of a year. at one stage, before the globalisation of crops and all that, here in England you really only got strawberries during the two weeks of Wimbledon and that tennis thing. well, fresh ones at the least. now the supply of strawberries no longer seems to depend on any sort of sport, let alone one which employs racquets or if you like rackets.

righty-ho, that would be that for this for now, then. more as and when it happens!

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

ripping up a car park

oh, hello there

welcome, and indeed thank you for stopping by. it is always wonderful when someone, look you see, takes the time to come and have a read of whatever i have put up here on this blog.

now then, to business. there are a number of ways in which i am not all that different from anyone else, to be sure. sometimes it does feel like i exist outside of the norm. as this can be truly depressing it is all the more delightful when i clearly see and feel the same as others.

this is all the more so when it's something positive, and surely all of us react in an aspirational, gleeful way when we encounter the sight or if you like site of a car park being ripped up.

i understand entirely that many of you are going to be all excited and a little worked up to see something as wonderful as a car park being ripped up here. let us, then, take this paragraph to be a moment of silence in which we all may enjoy it.

surely little in this world can match the joy all motorists experience when they reach a proposed or otherwise intended destination and discover vast swathes of the car park are being ripped up. a bonus is, of course, when it's all being ripped up in its entirety. the inconvenience of not being able to park with ease, or even perhaps not being able to park at all, is inconsequential when contrasted against the unbridled delight of seeing this sort of building and construction work on the go.

it must surely not be that i am alone in extracting pleasure from such? to my mind all of us most love seeing cordoned off areas, populated with traffic cones and gentlemen in hard hats and shiny vests. 

yes, there i am, proudly smiling as i know i get to stand in front of a car park being ripped up for a picture. this did indeed confuse James, some. he happened to be with me when all of this happened, and was unsure as to why i was so happy or what i would need so many pictures for. perhaps one day he will drive himself and so will discover the joys of a ripped up car park as a result.

making this particular incident all the more rewarding was the fact that the car park did not seem to be in any urgent need of getting ripped up. forgive me, for i am no expert, but to me the car park looked as though all was fine. how splendid to know that there are those that will roam the lands, steadfast in the belief that things can always be better and rip up car parks accordingly.

what is that above? there was a tacit claim, or remark, that it was a time travel machine. well, the way one bloke sort of glanced at it suggested that there was an implication of such. as you can see, though, it is a broken one. the sign sellotaped to it mentions an issue with the generator or something like that. not sure, sorry, the picture is a little blurry or if you like blurred.

earlier i mentioned how wonderful it is to see gentlemen in hard hats and shiny vests at the site of a ripped up car park. what makes this even better is the way in which they strive to make the scene one big vivid still life. they, in a sacrificial way, achieve this by doing as little movement as possible. it is their understanding that motorists do not like to have their view of a ripped up car park disturbed. a bit like them toys in that film that was a story about toys that i cannot recall the name of, if they sense someone watching them they instantly freeze, flat refusing to do any work so as not to disturb the ambience of the atmosphere of the moment.

in some instances these gentlemen - i wanted to call them workmen but that sounds misleading - go one further and simply exit the site of the ripped up car park all together. well, why would they not? for the most part their work is done in ripping up the car park. to make any effort in respect of undoing this would rob the scenery of a scene of quite natural beauty.

from time to time they are, however, expected to do something in respect of undoing that what they did. every now and then someone of consequence comes along to inspect the work. at such times, then, they get on with the delicate and apparently slow moving work of placing some tarmac down, ostensibly to replace that which was torn up.

this must be done properly, of course. and properly means slowly. under no circumstances is such delicate work to be rushed. tarmac is, after all, one of the most fragile materials to be found on this planet.

and, well, right, there you have it. should you not have encountered a ripped up car park on your own travels then i sincerely hope these images have, even if only in some small way, made up for that.

blessed be, then, those who go around randomly ripping up car parks. thank you so very much indeed for striving to make the world a much better place.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

hang on a minute

howdy pop pickers

there would surely be little surprise, look you see, in news that Liam Gallagher's debut solo album, As You Were, has made its own debut in the album chart at the toppermost of the poppermost positions. which means yes, to be sure, it went straight in at number one. as you do, i suppose, for it is a really good album.

during the week the aptly named "midweek chart update" indicated that this record was outselling the rest of the top twenty albums combined.i believe by the end, which is to say the cut off time for chart calculations, this was down to outselling just the rest of the top ten combined, but still. most impressive.

many thanks indeed to them at the BBC what put the visuals together so that i can present the above illustration. and as i paid for the BBC to pay to do that via the licence fee, oh yes i am allowed to do so, for i and everyone else who does the legal thing have paid to own whatever they do with our money.

is there some sort of moan or complaint, or if you like grumble, coming? oh yes, but wait. although of course it does involve those corruption of charts people, the Official Chart company.

the Official Charts company are most excited about Liam's success, celebrating 103,000 "sales". impressively, 91% (they say) of these "sales" are actual  sales of physical records and digital downloads. some 16,000 copies of the album were sold this last week on vinyl alone.

in terms of this, then, Liam should also be charting quite well in the singles chart. after the fiasco of Ed Sheeran's Divide album dominating the singles chart they jiggled the system so that only three songs off an album could appear in the singles. i fully expected the first three singles released from As You Were, namely Wall Of Glass, Chinatown and For What It's Worth, to feature.

no, not one of them does rank in the top 40, despite the impressive sales and "sales" via streaming. i have included the top 13 here to show that Ed Sheeran still lingers with one of his "singles". yes, for the sake of it i checked the "rock" and "indie" charts, and Liam does not feature there. not that he would on the "indie", since Warner is not exactly what one would call a small label.

i refer those interested back to this blog post, then. it chronicles the death of the singles chart. whilst the Official Chart company promised to "fix" everything after that debacle, clearly they have not. by the same standards what was given to Ed Sheeran, and the measurements put in place since, over 100,000 sales of his album should have secured Liam at least one top 10 single too, if not the number one.

the frustration here is that the singles chart has been tarnished forever. artists prior to Ed Sheeran's "record setting" feat had no possible way of doing the same themselves. now, it seems, artists after the event, with a supposedly new and fairer system, cannot do it either. and so we are left with Ed Sheeran setting a chart record that no one else was able to do and no one else now can do.

probably not is the answer as to if i should really get all bothered about this kind of thing. but then maybe i should. the music charts belonged, in a sense, to all of us music lovers. it has been taken away from us for no particular reason beyond celebrating Ed Sheeran's success with singles that were never actually released as singles.

maybe i should take pen to paper and write to the Official Chart company.......

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

around the world in a day

howdy doody

just one of them for family and friends around the world, look you see, what features my family as they, to be sure, stand around the world. or sit, i suppose, if they have access to chairs and the desire to do so.

family, friends and, of course, Grant enthusiasts. it is for you, you particularly interesting latter group there, that i have some excitement in the form of a relatively recent image of him, as it were, so to speak, in action.

yes there he is, fellow enthusiasts - Grant as promised very much in action. or, more appropriately, at the pinnacle of the climax of the action, for this looks like it is at the end of some sort of race which he has run. a marathon, i believe.

one can more or less ascertain that this is at the end rather than the start due to that exhausted look of elation, achievement and accomplishment he has. quite different from me, then. i am not so fit. as in i would probably keel over and hope for medical attention after a few steps of such a race.

let us progress away from Aotearoa for now, then, and on to Azania. such as it was spoken by the Greeks, who i quite like.

yes, indeed. well, no, but yes. my brother Richard, to clarify, is indeed encouraging his (and his lovely wife's) three children to embrace the art of riding a camel. this is one of the single most valuable life skills you can get, and it is my shame that i have made no such effort to teach our boys how to do this. oh well, never mind, i am sure they will work it out as and when required.

actually no, not really. we don't get so many camels here in Yorkshire as you would think, so i am not entirely sure that they will encounter a camel. or have need, for that matter, to ride one. but still, it would be jolly handy if they could.

quite right, yes, that is young Daniel. he is proudly showing off some of them fancy - i think they get called "tye dye" - t-shirts what he made. the purpose of making them was to sell them so as to raise funds for his school. a most noble action, and a successful one as i believe he sold out in a short space of time.

such wizardry in the ways of business will, no doubt, attract the attentions of his Grandad. young Daniel may well find himself producing more and have the expectation to sell further and harder so as to please his Grandad. i am certain he will take such a challenge on and succeed.

to bookend, then, there you go - Gillian engaged in the completion of the same race what we saw Grant in at the start of this post.

it would seem that Gillian has her headphones on, which would mean some quality vibes were listened to throughout the race. i would have every confidence that The Stone Roses featured on the playlist, along with other bands who aren't quite so good but try all the same.

anyhow, back off to my world and those things what i must be getting on with.

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

name that tune with noel

howy pop pickers

it was in my review, or if you like thought piece, of Liam Gallagher's As You Were that i mentioned in passing, look you see, that i had made no decision on whether or not to invest in what would be Noel Gallagher's third solo album. or solo of sorts, since he appears to release stuff under a band name of "High Flying Birds".

the reason for no declaration of intent to purchase was the fact that i had not heard anything from it. well, i have now, thanks to a somewhat traditional Monday release of the first single off of the record, a tune called Holy Mountain.

no, i have no idea if it was quite deliberately released on the Monday after the Friday of Liam's solo album release, and to be honest i don't really care any more. should they wish to keep bad mouthing each other then that's nice; it is not like rock stars haven't been doing that sort of thing for close on 60 years now.

anyway, moving on. in trying to stick to my word - despite the fact that no one out there would really take me to task on the matter - i elected to purchase the single so as i may hear it. purchase yes, single "maybe". once again i am in the realm of buying a "digital download". there is, as it happens, a physical release of the song - some limited edition 12", i believe, featuring this song, an instrumental version and the live track that is a "bonus feature" of the forthcoming third album.

sometimes i really do wonder about the Google and its reputation. for all the claims and allegations about being "the best" search engine, the most powerful thing on the web and having so much data, they do make it tricky for you, or in this case me, to give them coins of money. simply searching "Noel Gallagher" or "Noel Gallagher Holy Mountain" did not bring up the record to buy. a search for just "Holy Mountain", however, gave me the screen on which i was able to hand over 99p in return for a legitimate, legal download of this tune.

how is the song? "different". i confess when i first played the downloaded track i said to myself there is some colossal mistake here, for that is not Noel Gallagher i hear. off onto the net and that You Tube thing i went, then. there i discovered that the vocals i heard on my single were indeed the very ones attributed to Noel Gallagher. he sounds rather different than i've heard before - sort of a screechy shouty distorted type of thing rather than that heavier tone associated with his style.

to say, suggest, imply or otherwise accuse Noel Gallagher of "borrowing" from other musicians is hardly a new phenomenon. on Holy Mountain such is here in abundance. most on the net have already pointed out that in essence the song is She Bangs or whatever it was called off of Ricky Martin, only with Noel shouting over it and some moog like organ (played by Paul Weller out of Style Council, i believe?) on the go. in honesty that was not the immediate bit of "borrowing" what occurred to me. no.  what i did, however, instantly hear, was a "borrow" from David Bowie. there's a bit in Holy Mountain where the lyrics are along the lines of "get out of the doldrums, baby". it's a lift of Bowie's Diamond Dogs, the line being "get out of the garden, baby".

other than that, for some reason (which presumably makes sense to Noel) the sound of the song is a chaotic, tribute like homage to the finer moments of Glam Rock. some have suggested it lifts the sound of T Rex, but to my ears - and i appreciate it is not fashionable to say such - overall it comes across as the sound that The Glitter Band used to produce, just behind their singer whose name escapes me for the moment.

i actually do not know, right here right now, if i actually like the song or not. mostly the answer to that might well be yes. at heart it is a rather infectious bit of psychedelic glam rock - quite catchy and very encouraging in inviting you to shout along with it. but the borrowing, the Noel going "hey do you remember this bit off of this song" across the three or so minutes of it is quite distracting.

has it persuaded me to commit to a day of release adventure? no. with a name like Who Built The Moon i had assumed the record, as the title evokes Keith Moon and The Who, would be solid rock. now i have no idea what to expect of it. Noel does mislead with singles, of course. before his solo debut album the single The Death Of You And Me suggested he had discovered a whole load of country and western songs to borrow off.

anyway, let me go and play it a couple more times and consider this matter further.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

filming series eight


not much really, just a picture i stumbled on what seems to be from the set of that whole Game Of Thrones thing. i am pretty sure that i read they had only just started filming it, so presumably this is one of them "spy" pictures, look you see, to be sure.

the ratio of the image certainly suggests "zoomed in with a smart phone". it would be my (considerably) better half that knows all this stuff, but i am fairly sure that this is an image of that main dude, Jon something, messing around with a quasi scythe or if russian sickle.

my understanding was that this next, final series of Game Of Thrones was to be all about the snow. that does not look like a whole lot of snow to me.

anyhow, maybe this has been of interest to someone out there!

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

battlefront beta

earnest greetings, dear reader

things all seem to be working differently with them computer games in this day and age. no, this is not some lament for the way things were, look you see, just an observation that they go in a different way. yes, this is all prompted by something called a Star Wars Battlefront II Beta.

apparently games are not simply released in any conventional way no more. no. in certain instances a demonstration version, or as in this case a "beta" version, is made available. this allows one to test the games out before purchasing, which is handy considering the cost of them these days. also, with particular emphasis on the "beta" element, it lets programmers test and maybe fix any glitches or errors prior to it coming out. 

my involvement, or if you like remit, with this was to ensure it got downloaded for James to play. he seems rather keen on the fully fledged version of this particular variation of Space Invaders and was so like totes down on playing this "beta" for the short time it was available.

i think that picture was off of James playing it, or it might be off of the promo video which accompanied the download of this "beta" version. no matter, it reflects what James tells me is important - that one can play as Boba Fett, Han Solo, Darth Maul and, if i have recalled her name right, Rey out of the new(ish) films.

actually let me google before i get any angry Trekkies telling me that i am disrespecting them by not using the proper names. yes it is Rey, parentage unknown but for some reason people seem to think she is off of the loins of virginal, celibate Obi-Wan Kenobi. maybe, like so many Catholic priests before him, he had a lapse in concentration.

of particular interest to James was that you could play as Rey as she will appear in the next Star Wars film, which is to say in some sort of "Jedi training" threads.

well, whilst we are all gathered here on the subject of Star Wars once more, it is time. time, dear reader, to have a gander at what joys my Star Wars "concept art" calendar has delivered for the month that is this month which is October.

as it turns out, it features the 2nd / sort of 3rd / "actually" 5th one, The Empire Strikes Back, for the final time of the year of the calendar.

i can remember these bits, this was all towards the end of the film. sadly they have concentrated on the whiny fake orphan and the government administrator who is just trying to maintain law and order instead of the boss bit where Lando flies the spaceship, but no matter.

many consider The Empire Strikes Back to be the greatest of all Star Wars films. as it is the only one (thus far) to feature Lobot i would like to agree but cannot. the law of cinema always says the first is the best. thus, for a long time A New Hope was the best, followed by the 2nd Star Wars venture, Christmas Special. making this one 3rd best.

now, of course, as any fan will tell you, with the proper order of films made the best is of course Episode I The Phantom Menace. with Empire Strikes Back being called "Episode V" i guess this is the 5th best, although actually only 6th if you count Christmas Special. which i do.

yeah, that's back to this Battlefront II Beta, with an image taken again with that "yaycam" thing i installed and seem to meaninglessly threaten to delete.

one of the selling points of this Battlefront II game is that it lets you play in stories set between Episode VI - City Under Siege and Episode VII - Mission To Moscow. that's some 30 years or so, which gives plenty of scope. the image above is from a video of a "cut scene" as they are called from such a level. at least i think it is, i don't remember.

James assures me that it is very good that you can play as Han Solo in this one. i shall take his word for it. to be honest i was sure you could play as him in one of the other games, but i do tend to forget stuff these days.

it would have been amazing to have all this in advance of release "beta" stuff and download content when i was of a game playing age. things like Impossible Mission, Stroker Ace, Pitstop II and Clumsy Colin Action Biker would have been fantastic to access early. on a similar note, Bruce Lee and loads of other Commodore 64 games would have been brilliant things to buy extra content and download for. only we didn't really have "downloads" then.

well yeah, so anyway, the short version of this would seem to be that James things Star Wars Battlefront II will be very good indeed, based on his experiences of playing (for many hours) this "Beta" version. crap name, though. they should have called it the "VHS" version and more people would have had an interest, probably.

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

Sunday, October 08, 2017

fashion week

now then

to be honest with you, which mostly i endeavour to be, look you see, i'd have thought that i was pretty much done with the subject of celebrated TV show Bullseye here on this blog. over time i have done things like observed the Christmas special edition of the show. also, as notoriously as recently, i exposed many of the dark secrets hidden in plain sight. surely no more could be spoken of the show, as magnificent as it was.

and yet here i am. or, indeed, here we are, for you are reading his. presumably. what startling revelation has come along which has seen me take digital pen to paper in order that i may once again write upon this subject? a concept known as Bullseye Fashion Week

let me try and describe the scenario to you. it was relatively late in the evening - say 10pm or so. i was off to bed, to be sure, as i was truly knackered or exhausted. just the evening before i had stayed up later than intended. this was for a number of reasons, but the main one i suppose would be to watch the magnificent film Deathgasm. anyway, i was to retire early for the night, but then i foolishly flicked through the electronic TV guide. this was on the TV, the main conduit for such.

through my flicking i found the Challenge channel, then. when i had done this i observed that instead of just saying Bullseye was on at 11pm it said that Bullseye Fashion Week was on. curious, intrigued and if i am honest a little bit aroused i was hard on myself, then. i stayed up so that i may see just what this would involve.

quite simply the truth here is that i am uncertain. for the sake of giving you something to read i shall of course speculate, but no firm or otherwise articulate answer was given in respect of why exactly the repeat screenings of Bullseye this week were thematically attributed as being "fashion week".

one might say that it was because the suits that Jim Bowen was wearing were particularly dapper. this is plausible, except for the part where every suit that Jim Bowen wore was dapper. to highlight some as being a bit more dapper than others is rather like trying to say to someone "oh, look, this part of the ocean is a little bit more wet than that part".

perhaps it was with reference to the famously funny opening "light entertainment" segments of the show. in this particular edition his eminence Jim Bowen cracked one of the funniest jokes of all time, relating as it did to some white socks worn by an Oxford (or was it Cambridge) University Don that he was providing guidance, wisdom and advice to.

as the above image reflects it is not like there was anything particularly exceptional about the fashions being flaunted by the contestants in this episode. i mean, yes, they are some smart clothes and fancy threads there. contextually, however, they were i believe quite restrained when you consider that this episode heralded from the 80s.

should the contestants be smartly but not overtly dressed, then, and Jim Bowen was looking his usual sartorial greatest, we must look in that one other direction. i speak, or rather type, of course of Tony Green. the gentleman, the prince among men, the wonderful Tony Green. perhaps the suit he was resplendent with, or maybe the Slazenger style golf jumper if he was smart casual and no Royals were in the audience, was of a particularly discerning nature. such would surely justify branding this screening of Bullseye under the title 'Fashion Week'.

yes, i am going to go right ahead here and say no. whilst it is a most splendid - no, superb - suit, i'm afraid that it's one which would be a fairly standard aspect of the Tony Green wardrobe. much as is the case with his grace Jim Bowen if this Tony Green suit counts for "Fashion Week" on Bullseye then every single episode of Bullseye is thus part of it.

with interest i note, nay observe, that Tony Green is indeed resplendent in a suit,yet is facing away from the audience. fascinating. in respect of that critically acclaimed and highly regarded expose on the secrets of the series - which you can find by clicking here -  this means that a member of the Royal family was in the audience. or a senior member of the aristocracy. but not a particularly important or well liked one, for Mr Green has his back turned. oh. perhaps it was Fergie, then, or maybe even Edward.

the weeks, months and years ahead are likely to see us see a lot more of Jim Bowen. i am reliably informed that them lot what do the Netflix and that have commissioned a series on him, with Jonathan Pryce cast in the lead role. a down side is the fact that it will concentrate more on his later life when he was Pope rather than on the Bullseye era, but then again it is not like his papal work hasn't been interesting or important. wonderfully it is so that no less than Sir Anthony Hopkins has been cast in the pivotal Tony Green role, although word is that the Welsh hard man propose to play the part with a German accent for some reason.

and that would be, that, then. you, dear reader, know as much as i do about what exactly Bullseye Fashion Week is. unless you so happen to know more than me on the subject.

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

Saturday, October 07, 2017

a day after the day of release

hi there

some twenty or so years ago i, look you see, needed to do some work or if you like verk with a chap from another land. he had come specifically for this to be done. from what i recall he was not particularly good at it, not at all to be sure.

his shortcomings in profession are not, however, the dominant memory i have of him. nor is it the particularly bad, even by 90s standards haircut he sported. no, rather it was a conversation about music, the vibes. not sure of the full details, but when i asked why he didn't have an album (mindful of this being the days when the only way to own such was to buy it) he with some resignation said that one day i will find out that when you have kids all sorts of priorities change.

which is how come this look and listen to Liam Gallagher's "debut" solo album, As You Were, is coming at you the day after the day of its release, rather than from the day of release.

plans had been in place for me to go and purchase this recording on its day of release ever since it was announced as being 6 October 2017. my memory is somewhat wonky, but i think the announcement i speak of came in March or maybe April. 

this plan was then jettisoned when parenting came to the fore. William took ill, to be sure, with something seemingly similar to tonsillitis rather than actual tonsillitis as such. which meant i was at home with him instead of at HMV, administering care, attention and medicine.

no debate and no problem there, for it is the world of a parent. at the least, hopefully, a proper one i suppose. one day delay isn't all that much in the scheme of things. my plight is hardly that of those who,  for instance, have recently discovered the flights they booked and paid for in good faith are not actually taking to the sky.

yeah, that's me at around 9:30am on this early October Saturday morning, walking from a relatively affordable (free) parking area in the direction of HMV. something of a dark, overcast day, then.

would i not worry that Liam would be disappointed or angry that i elected to look after family rather than go and purchase his album as soon as i could? doubtful. to be honest everything about Liam Gallagher doesn't strike me as being all that arsed about what anyone else does. going on the linear notes of As You Were, though, he himself, in his wisdom, would most decidedly declare family - in particular those members of it you are directly responsible for - more important than any other concern.

a bit of a diversion, then. on my way to HMV i called in at WH Smith, no less, for that is where a post office is located. i had a requirement to send a shiny parcel, to be sure, to another corner of the world. or curve, i suppose, but let us not get bogged down with all that "the earth is flat" business occupying so many at the moment. whilst there i noted that the new annual off of The Viz was out. no, didn't buy it. WH Smith sell it for full price, whereas other stores tend to mark it down. i will get it as and when i see it at a lower cost. and why not, since as it is a "best of" editions from a couple of years ago i shall already have some 80% of the material in it.

to HMV then, and to the ostensible primary purpose of being in town on such a cold and overcast morning, the purchase of Liam Gallagher's solo album. i had hopes, if not quite aspirations, that maybe HMV would be doing what they did with the Kasabian album earlier in the year, which was bundle the record with a 7" single.

alas no, it was just buy the standard edition of the album for £9.99, or the "deluxe" variation for £12.99. i think they were supposed to be selling it on vinyl too, but i could not see it. not that i would have purchased it in that format.

quite strange that they were not hawking a 7" with this, for a 7" vinyl single is very much Liam Gallagher. my adventures in Manchester earlier in the year did, of course, allow me to see a one sided 7" of Wall Of Glass in a branch of HMV there. it was priced at either the exact price of the "deluxe" version of As You Were, or maybe £1 north. i cannot recall. but either kind of suggests the rather excessive pricing in place for it.

so which version of the CD did i purchase? here, have a look, if you can somewhat bear putting up with yet another image of me, looking as awful as i ever do.

but of course the "deluxe" edition, offering as it did three extra tracks. three tunes for £3 is about what i would pay for a 12" or CD single, so that all seems fair. actually, will take them as being the b-sides for the three "digital download" singles i bought for 99p a pop, with them being Wall Of Glass, Chinatown and For What It's Worth. yes i know a 4th single, Greedy Soul was "digitally" released but it was about a week before the album was due so i skipped it.

no, i haven't actually discussed the music on the record have i? well, it is all the experience, this blog is. the joy and excitement of going off and actually buying music in a physical form. something that a diminishing number seem to do, but anyway i do.

my expectations for the album were, on the basis of the three tracks listed, pretty good. the first single, Wall Of Glass, was a no nonsense, immediate rock classic. Chinatown was not bad and has kind of grown on me, whilst For What It's Worth was and is very good indeed.

oh dear, Dan Brown is back, is he? must be about 5 or 6 years since Inferno, what i read, came out. dreadful book and i believe the film what they done of it was even worse. i suspect, maybe even fear, that i will end up reading this one, Origin or whatever, and shall regret it. here is hoping that i am wrong with at least 50% of that.

not today with the above. i rarely, if ever, buy a hardback. this is not so much an economic matter (although it is partially) as much as it is an ease of read thing. paperbacks are a pleasure to sit and read; hardbacks are just plain cumbersome. as nice as they look on a shelf.

yeah, that's me on further strolls, then, with once again a distinct lack of light from the sky making all seem quite dark. you may be pleased to know that the above is, so far as i am aware, the last image of me or if you like moi to grace this blog. and yes, quite right - isn't it funny how the darker an image of me is the better i look?

as someone prone to clutching at the way things were, i suppose this was all quite reminiscent. outside of Frankie Goes To Hollywood releases, which i would have taken the bus after school to get on the precise day of release, in my youth vibes purchases happened on a Saturday morning.

home, then, to my elevated shed and my vibes machine, or if you like stag, or if you prefer stereo. time, a day late, to give this As You Were recording off of Liam Gallagher a spin.

what's that behind the Liam Gallagher record? the double CD version of the soundtrack for The Man Who Fell To Earth. HMV had it in their sale section for a perfectly reasonable £3.99, so i grabbed it. earlier this year my (considerably) better half got me the (not banned in London version) uber set of The Man Who Fell To Earth Blu Ray & DVD what came with a brief CD of the soundtrack , but this is the full blow thing. actually, i think the version i got earlier in the year has tracks on it not included in this 2 CD set, but that is a post for another time.

and yes, that is a HMV bag in the background, what i bought for 5p. i do every time, despite having a perfectly good bag with me that i could place the records bought in. sorry, but i cannot help it. getting a bag off of HMV for all the stuff what you got off of HMV just feels like it is meant to be a quintessential part of the experience.

right, so how is As You Were by Liam Gallagher as an album? very good. i mean, i am just on a 2nd play of it as i write this, but the fact that it prompted a 2nd play straight away is surely some prompting of quality.

just how to describe it. i want to use a word like restrained, but that does not feel right. nor does reserved. mellow does not feel like a particularly good fit either. it could well be that comfortable is the best word to use here.

in terms of tone the bombastic, in your face rock nature of the lead single Wall Of Glass is inherently misleading. there are rock moments across the record, but for the most part they are not of a similar sledgehammer nature. well, that said, one of the harder rock numbers, I Get By, is one of my highlights at the moment.


oh, make no mistake and do not be misled by my choice of words like "restraint" and "reserved". lyrically there is an absolute abundance of moments here where the message is "Liam Gallagher is f*****g great, says Liam Gallagher", as there should be. there is precious little point, or sense, in being a rock star if you are not going to be all confidence and full of yourself. overbearingly so for the tastes of many, but it's them what agree with your sentiment that you are directing it at.

weirdly, for someone with an ego and an abrasive extrovert nature of Liam he has been oddly lower (by his standards) on confidence when it came to this, his first solo record. in the aftermath of Oasis his instinct was to form a new band, Beady Eye, and famously declare that their record would be "one million times better than Oasis". he has that classical northern lad thing, really. as much as he fancies himself i think he'd really rather prefer the comforts and solidarity that comes with being in a gang, or if you like band, that out on a limb on his own.

as a body of people we, the world, have had exposure and experience of Liam Gallagher for about 23 years now. how strange that some of the fans buying / downloading / streaming this record will not have been born in the halcyon first few of those 23 years; the veritable height of Oasis.

other than that brave new generation discovering him, then, i am not sure there is much chance of him winning over new fans no matter what he did. people who have, and bless them for their opinion, spent the last two decades thinking Liam Gallagher is a "loudmouthed lippy Manc w****r" are not going to hear As You Were and all of a sudden change their mind.

got Paper Crown on again now. top tune this is, on a top album. recently Liam did a "track by track" thing for the record for some publication, maybe NME, and seemed to describe each song as "beautiful". that's not a bad way to call it at all.

do i feel the extra £3 in coins of money was worth it for the "deluxe" edition of As You Were? yes. in a world of diminishing physical music sales i am not sure why labels push out two versions of a record when buyers will only get one, but anyway. Doesn't Have To Be That Way is distorted, quasi psychedelic rock, All My People / All Mankind is Donovanesque hippy folk, and I Never Wanna Be Like You is a splendid enough acoustic number. and yes, possibly a dig at a certain former member of Oasis.

to touch on the inevitable, yes, there are moments in the lyrics on this record where you can go "he is having a dig at Noel here". i resisted doing this as much as i could. the two of them quite publicly do not get along so well these days, of course.  whatever, lads, i am just enjoying what music comes my way for what it is not what it is meant to represent.

ultimately As You Were does what the precise nature of the name implies. it's a great, no nonsense rock album released by - whether you like him or like it or not - one of the greatest rock and roll stars of the last twenty years, if not as point of fact one of the all time greats. whilst i know he would prefer to be in a band, it's great to have him back around doing what he does best, man.

and so a limited number of day of releases remain for the year. in mid November there's a new Morrissey record, which HMV sound upset about the cover of, and then i believe U2 will release Songs Of Experience on December 1. indeed i do know that Noel Gallagher's 3rd solo / High Flying Birds album, Who Built The Moon, is out at the end of November. this isn't an autopilot purchase for me, i've not heard any tracks off it and to be honest i am not all that much of a fan of the previous two records.

plus, you never know, this year might at last be the year where my dream happens and Christmas With The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses gets a release. unlikely, but maybe.

thanks for reading, and indeed for tolerating the pictures of me what popped up here.

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

Thursday, October 05, 2017

random bowie - ziggy stardust

Howdy Pop Pickers

Welcome, then, to this month’s edition of Random Bowie. A series that, look you see, is getting somewhat less random. But more on that in a bit. The title gives the game away, really – for this month I have very specifically selected The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

If we can all agree that this is the full and correct name for the record, can we all please agree that for the rest of this post it shall be referenced to as Ziggy Stardust. Please? That’s how it commonly gets referred to, and doing so here will save on typing or some smart copy and past action.

Before we start proper it would, I feel, be proper to say a warm hello and welcome to the people who have commented on past posts and those who have gone so far as to share links to these episodes on Bowie fan groups. When I started these I was worried that justice would not be done to the music. It really does mean so very much to me that so many of you are enjoying the reading. Let me not let you down here.

Quick fire fantastic facts to start off with? Certainly. By the common agreed standard of measuring them this was album number five by David Bowie. Not long after its release in 1972 it became the record which changed David Bowie’s stature from respected musician to big, big star. In referencing a comment from the Hunky Dory episode of Random Bowie, before this record Bowie was occasionally stopped in the street by an admirer to get compliments on his music. After this it was more huddled masses of mobs screaming and wanting to touch him.

I have an ambitious idea for this post. It might be that I should not state that, but bear with me – let’s see if this works out together.

And it was cold, and it rained, so I felt like an actor

Why have I specifically chosen October to do Ziggy? Because, at least for us here living in England, it just feels like an October record. True, this could be subliminal, what with the infamous final Ziggy Stardust concert proper being held (and recorded, but more of that later) in October. I would like to think it is something more.

Do you ever get the sense that some albums suit a specific time of year? For me Ziggy Stardust always sounded best in October. Summer has faded. Dark nights creep in. The air turns crisp (hello, Faye) and cold. Drizzle progressing to rain makes everything feel damp and drab. The feel and the vibe of this album has always given a sense, if you like a vibe, of being submerged in this, yet also sounds as though it so desperately rallies against it. Well, that’s my reaction, at the least.

I am, however, keen to stress that this record sounds particularly excellent at any time of the year. Especially when, as instructed on the back of some editions, it is played at maximum volume.

Inspirations have I none

A quite commonly convenient statement made is that David Bowie “basically” created glam rock with Ziggy Stardust. It is a great disservice to do so. Whilst the roots of glam rock are open to healthy conversation and a wonderful exploration of music that influenced it, the likes of Marc Bolan and The Sweet were charting with the distinct glam sound (and look, of course) about a year or so before Ziggy took to the stage.

That said, the convenient statement is of some truth. It would take some doing – or perhaps some flippant laziness – to argue against the fact that Bowie, with Ziggy Stardust, shaped and influenced glam rock. The look, feel, style and sound of glam rock after the release of the album seems woven from the threads Bowie spun.

Bowie’s place in glam rock? Let’s break it down. Credit for the start of the movement “proper” in the charts to Marc Bolan, T Rex and The Sweet. On that note, Marc Bolan was the poster boy, and I mean that in a positive way loaded with respect. Early Roxy Music gave glam a sense of sophistication and class. He might be virtually airbrushed from history now, and I don’t disagree with the reasons for this, but at the time a certain Gary Glitter was the undisputed megastar of glam.

What Bowie was to glam was different. Something bigger, better, more important maybe. He became its icon. The Ziggy Stardust look is the iconic appearance which defines glam rock. To see what I mean, skip forward about (not an intended time but happy accident) five years from the release of Ziggy Stardust. By no means were they the first punk band and it’s debatable if they were the best, but the Sex Pistols are undeniably the iconic band of punk.

And I’m busting up my brains for the words

So is Ziggy Stardust a rock opera? I’ve heard it called this from time to time, but no. As iconic as the record is in terms of glam rock, it’s also, for me, the personification of what a concept album truly is.

A rock opera, to me, would be Tommy by The Who. A linear, clear cut storyline with musicians playing a part. The concept album, to me, is the artists being submerged in the parts, not so much telling a story as living it. Reference points would be Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and, to an extent, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society by, well, The Kinks.

In previous episodes I’ve looked at how Bowie seemed keen to engage in subversion as and when he could. His most favourite thing to subvert was himself. A look at the album cover tells you that this was at play here. Note how the names David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust are same font, same size and equal, except Ziggy has more letters in it. The only intention I can think of is that he wanted the audience to be distracted from thinking Bowie, and to hear this literally as his creation.

But then again there is a literal story across the record. Also a metaphorical one. For good measure an allegorical one too. The most important thing, though, and one of the aspects that makes the record so great, is the sensation of hearing it. Defining that doesn’t detract so you’re not wrong if you play it that way, I just don’t.

He knows it’s all worthwhile

The fancy “box” version of the album I got on CD in the early 90s came with a quite elaborate booklet. It contains many quote and other such snippets of comment from David Bowie. At no point does he (did he, so sadly sorry to say) shy away from saying how quite deliberately planned Ziggy Stardust was in terms of making him a big star. As nice as the critical praise he’d got thus far was, Bowie wanted fame and fortune. Ziggy Stardust was his shot at achieving that, and so very few shots have ever hit so hard.

No, there is nothing wrong with this. A trend amongst some music fans is to be horrified when favourite bands or singers do things for money. That’s why they do what they do. A struggling admired artist doesn’t magically live a rent free life.

At one point in the booklet Bowie is attributed as saying that Ziggy was, quite deliberately, “more plastic manufactured pop than The Monkees”. I think that’s a rather nice nod, since it was because of a member of that band he had to change his surname in the first instance. I wonder if that gave him the idea to change his name all together for some records?

Is it right, proper and apt to celebrate and acclaim a record which is confessed to be a deliberate attempt to make money. Yes, of course. The moment a penny changes hands a work becomes commercial. So be it if millions of pennies follow, it doesn’t diminish or for that matter add to the value of the art itself.

Whatever motivations drove him – art, music, money, sex, drugs, rock and roll, fame, fortune, more sex, more drugs, idolization, rock immortality – doesn’t really matter too much. He delivered a beautiful record, man. Fans fell in love with it and, to this day people are still discovering it and falling in love with it. Praise is heaped on it, it gets celebrated, it routinely has acres of appraisal written about it and can be assured of featuring in most “top 10 / 100 / 1000 albums of all time” lists.

My contribution to this praise? Other than this blog post? The only thing I can think to add is that once upon a time I lived in a farm house, one remote and one that I often had to myself. Me and my mate Woodsie used to get p!ssed up on a bottle of vodka, put the album on the stereo, went to the maximum volume dictated by the record and played air guitar and sang / shouted our hearts out to Starman.

I smiled sadly for a love I could not obey

To be honest I am not sure that I am qualified to write on this important aspect of Ziggy Stardust. But I will try, and forgive me if I get the words wrong. Stood, or sat, here in 2017, it can seem quite incredible to believe just how bold, daring and – yes – brave Bowie was with his sexual stance shenanigans at the time of release.

In this day and age you are likely to be vilified, castigated and shamed if you say anything untoward or negative of the gay community. This was not really the case in 1972. The opposite in fact. With anti-homosexual laws only recently abolished back then you were more or less likely to be mocked and have your head kicked in should you do anything which was remotely interpreted as being gay. Thugs appointed themselves as “queer bashers” to ensure “moral standards”. I suppose they do today, but in much smaller numbers.

Bowie of course did not give a fig for this. No, I am not delving into his history as a sexualist – he seemed delighted with it all so that’s all the info I need, thanks. But he did clearly like, no maybe love, the reaction to his ambivalence at presenting an ambiguous sexual identity. By the time we got to Ziggy the occasional cross dressing and playful phrases which suggested something shocking gave way to overt homoerotic imagery. From time to time, at the least.

How many men at the time, I wonder, found themselves horrified, shocked, sickened and yet most peculiarly (queerly, even) aroused by that famous image. Yes, that one. The one where David Bowie would appear to be performing fellatio on the most stunningly priapic guitar of Mick Ronson.

The androgynous and thus somewhat by default bisexual nature of Ziggy Starust, in particular as captured on film in that final performance, is beautiful. No, alas, I am hetero. I accept that, and several gay friends over the years have assured me it’s fine, it would be impossible for me to be gay with my complete lack of fashion sense or concept of hair style. But just how excellent is it that Ziggy Stardust has inspired the courage in thousands, many thousands, of people to be comfortable and confident in their own sexual identity, whatever that is. Even a boring straight such as I.

So inviting, so enticing to play the part

Bypassing the cover earlier I then have five, including this one, sections to write with super splendid subheadings. Yeah, I think I need that good luck, and your good will and patience, now.

Sometimes artists get trapped by songs when they go on tour. It is unthinkable, for instance, that the Rolling Stones would do a set that didn’t feature Jumpin’ Jack Flash or Satisfaction. The same goes for U2 with Where The Streets Have No Name and With Or Without You. Allowing for Changes being as close to an ever present in sets, Bowie never really let himself get boxed in by Ziggy Stardust.

No one song from the record was ever incorporated as any sort of “I had better do this as the fans expect it” part of a set. It was rare, however, that something from the album did not feature. From what I can work out it was only the Hours tour that saw no Ziggy material at all. The two big 80s tours, Serious Moonlight and the less said about the better Glass Spider, didn’t always have a song from the album on the set, but virtually all shows featured the decidedly Ziggy era Velvet Underground cover White Light/White Heat.

What can we draw from this? That he cherished the album and loved the songs, all the way across his career. We are, after all, talking about an artist so prolific that he could have done a two hour set of well known songs that discarded an entire decade of his work. Whenever he selected a Ziggy Stardust song for a set it never felt like it was being performed out of obligation or for fan service, but for pure passion.

Sure, no Ziggy Stardust songs featured on the Tin Machine tours, for no Bowie solo material did. Which makes something wonderful to see. If chance permits, check out the one official live video of Tin Machine, Oy Vey, Baby. A rather optimistic fan at the front spends most of the concert stood near the front, waving his vinyl copy of Ziggy Stardust at Bowie to see if he can’t encourage him to do a number or two from it. He didn’t.

She will come to the show tonight, praying to the light machine

A frustration is that many acts were not captured live in their prime. No one thought to make as high as quality as possible a recording of the likes of The Beatles, The Who, The Stones and Led Zeppelin in concert in the 60s. Yes, some footage and recording exists, but the quality is not usually all that it could have been. Not so by the 70s, and not so with Ziggy Stardust.

Blessed be you and every generation of your family, whoever it was that arranged for the final concert of Ziggy Stardust to be filmed. It is beautifully done, and stands along with Talking Heads Stop Making Sense and Prince’s Sign O The Times as how to properly do a concert film. Indeed it does end infamously, perhaps we will get to that in a bit.

Both the DVD (has it been shot out on Blu Ray yet?) and CD (or vinyl) of Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture are well worth getting. The performance captured is outstanding. Really lovely as a visual treat, though, in particular when Bowie evokes his mime days during The Width Of A Circle. And all them lovely costume changes.

Just as essential is Santa Monica 72. Ah, them were the days. Once it was the case that obtaining this high quality bootleg was a symbol or sign of you being a serious Bowie fan. Now, of course, it has had a cleaned up official and proper release. It’s a brilliant live recording. I would normally play this one more than the official concert film soundtrack not to be flash but because it has a boss cover of Waiting For The Man on it, the Velvet Underground cover Bowie used to do before just doing White Light/White Heat instead.

So where were the spiders while the fly tried to break our balls

On the subject of the Ziggy Stardust concert film, then. That infamous ending. As in the “not only is this the last show of the tour but this is the last show we will ever do” line. Rock legend and urban myth has it that this came as quite a surprise to, ostensibly, the Spiders in the form of the musicians Mick Ronson, Trevor Boulder and Mick “Woody” Woodmansey.

Apparently those three felt that, of all the things rock and roll gave them, money was the one they wanted the more of. And they insisted that Bowie should be giving them more. Bowie disagreed, and so simply ended the venture.

There’s a bit at the start of Ziggy Stardust where Bowie is looking at the receipts for the performance. A similar scene exists in the Ricochet documentary. A friend of mine, who has requested not to be named, drew my attention to these up until then fairly forgettable scenes. My friend was, shall we say, “part of the crew” on one Bowie tour. They said that Bowie was very interested and very meticulous about the money in. He wanted to know the value of the show, and let that to an extent dictate how long a set he should do and what level of effort he felt would match the value. A bit cold perhaps, but when you think music business you would do well to always remember the second part.

I don’t share the above to be malicious or show off or cast Bowie in a bad light. That is just me throwing out a bit of information that has kicked around in my head for several years, so if I am gone then it is not. Whether it should stick around or not is up to you.

Don’t lean on me man

I haven’t really discussed much of anything in regards of the actual music on the album, have I? Oh well. Whoops.

A reason I have avoided this album for Random Bowie is what must I say of the record? There is not a bad track on it. Far from it. If anything the special edition CD I have, featuring unreleased and single only tracks like Velvet Goldmine and Sweet Head, suggest that he could have recorded an even longer and even better record than the one that he did. But he kind of did I suppose, as Aladdin Sane is, in simplistic terms, an extension of the Ziggy Stardust era.

Is Ziggy Stardust Bowie’s best record? Each and every one of us has an album we declare that. For many it is this one, but not for me. Bloody close, though. I get worried when people say that this is (sorry, sadly, was) his greatest ever, as the implication is that the next 40 years (!) was in some way downhill for him.

Erm, yes, then. The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars is an album you should own. No question. Even if you think you hate David Bowie, you should own this record and play it and love it. And, if possible, the live recordings mentioned earlier.

Oh no, love, you’re not alone

The album ends, then, with Rock N Roll Suicide. A haunting, brooding classical quality piece of music, with the melody brazenly pinched by many. The two best well known borrowers would be Morrissey with I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday and R.E.M. with Everybody Hurts. For the former Bowie did extract some delightful revenge on the Black Tie White Noise album.

What was Bowie saying on this song? Mostly, maybe, that Ziggy was dead at the end of the record for all rock stars die. If not physically die then fade away. Except no, of course, they don’t always. To reference them once more (and you could do a lot worse than read my Listening To Who series of blog posts) it has now been over 50 years that The Who have expressed the wish that they “hope I die before I get old”.

I’ve often wondered if It’s Only Rock N Roll by The Rolling Stones was meant as response to Rock N Roll Suicide. Jagger, sorry Sir Michael, has in the past spoken of his meaning with the lyrics, but still. It starts off with a reference to “suicide on the stage” and does overall say “hey, hang on, this is fun, man”. Bowie and Jagger were friends, of course. Wonderful connection if it turns out to be the case.

And, well, that is just about that. Have I done this great record justice? I sincerely hope so. Whilst there’s no set pattern to these blogs I write on Bowie albums this one feels like I’ve diverted well away from the 40 or so minutes of music it is all supposed to be about for the most part. This all was, however, the only way I could think to write of this record in a way that was different from how others have written and would be, I pray, interesting.

Yeah, I could have gone track by track, I could have looked at the early versions of some of the songs (these will feature as and when I do The Man Who Sold The World), could have looked at the history of recording, the chart success, etc. In this instance I would say rather not worry so much about those aspects and just listen to the album.

My great and deep thanks, as ever, for you taking the time to read all of this.

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