Sunday, May 31, 2015

in 1981 Bill Wyman only had one suit

hello there

not that, for the sake of clarity, the measure of anyone should be in how many suits they have. there are far better people in this world, look you see, that own less suits than i, where are there are people who have probably 100 times as many suits as i do yet they are far worse than i could ever be. Sepp Blatter comes to mind in relation to one of these circumstances, for instance.

the exciting news that a box set of Bill Wyman's four best solo albums is to be released soon brought to mind the very best of those four, the one that was so immediately good that Bill Wyman, for ease of reference, simply called it Bill Wyman.

well, when i say "best", it has two songs on it that have merit. Come Back Suzanne is one of them, as it features the most amazing electro-funk styled echoed bass that any record by someone who was in the Ro££ing $tone$ for more than 25 years but less than 35 years has ever made. also, it features debut, as far as recorded history is concerned, of the line "i can't stand it" in a cockney drawl ("hoi carnt shtaaaand it", if you will), a line and performance which has formed some 40% of the dialogue for EastEnders ever since.

the other song off of it was of course Je Suis Un Rock Star, in which Bill celebrates how he has easy access to sex, travel by Concorde and drugs in his position as the most senior bass player in a rock band.

sadly, the line "Si Si" which Bill regularly sings in the song has not, thus far, been picked up as potential dialogue by soap opera writers as such as yet, but perhaps one day it will.

it is this second song - hence me keeping it for second, i suppose - that came to mind when i pondered my thoughts, feelings and overall ideas around the fact that a Bill Wyman box set will very much be a thing at the end of June. specifically the video came to mind, hence the still from it you see here. although the part of the video that came to mind is not quite so clear in this picture as it could be. yeah, i am talking of the suit.

Bill Wyman by Bill Wyman was released in 1981, as was Tattoo You by the Ro££ing $tone$; an album that would seem to be their last ever truly great record as a whole. and it is a really great album, by the way. so good that, now that i think, i shall brave Apple software and do it as a bus vibes.

the lead single of of the album was Start Me Up, a single that featured one of the most simple yet celebrated promo videos of all time. this still should give you a clue to why this came to mind when news of a Bill Wyman box set broke, although i suppose the title of this post does that anyway.



yes. unless i am very much mistaken, which i could possibly be, Bill Wyman has the same pale blue with light pastel white coloured strides suit on in both of these promotional videos from 1981. actually, it could be the same tie too, but he would appear to have changed his shirt at the least. underpants? i very much doubt that in this era Bill or any member of the $tone$ wore them, in truth. and why would i know or care what sort of socks that Bill or any of them had on ever?

a snippet of the video for Je Suis Un Rock Star? i don't see why not, as it would save you leaving this page to google it. pretty much everything you could want to know of the video is included in these ten or so seconds anyway, but if you don't believe me do feel free to search for it directly.


video

i suppose i should do a snippet off of Come Back Suzanne to show off the sensational lyric delivery and fantastic bass, but i can't remember what, if any, suit he had on in that one.

this is a bit of a better still from the video, isn't it? that seems to show off the suit, and indeed the tie, a bit better. yes, i am pretty sure they are the same.

i think, in a very bass player out of a rock band way, that's the Thames that Bill is walking along the one bank of, with the pizazz and glamour of battersea power station behind him.

should i make my way down to London any time soon i might well decide to re-enact this scene. i would probably have to get Spiros to record it for me, mind, but it wouldn't be a trip to London without seeing Spiros. i would actually have very little reason or purpose to go to the place other than to see him, really. well, him and any other friend of mine that happened to be there too.

at least i think that is battersea power station. i have heard of it, and i think it no longer functions as such, but i have not actually seen it myself. that i can recall, at the least.

how is it that i was so familiar with these two videos that i could recall the fact that Bill Wyman might have had the same suit on in both of them? both of them got played a lot on TV in Australia in 1981. on Countdown if i recall, with Molly something hosting it. Melldrew or Meldrum, i think.

another still off of the class Start Me Up video for a bit of Bill Wyman suit (and tie) comparison? sure.



and i am all but certain that some of you would like a little bit of video for the video itself of Start Me Up, with Ronnie Wood charging around doing his thing.


video

i wouldn't want to take too much away from a possible bus vibes post on Tattoo You, but in short it was an album hastily put together in order to justify a tour. who knew that, a mere 30 or so years later, it would be the case that tours would be hastily put together in order to sort out Ronnie Wood's latest divorce bill?

Bill Wyman probably did own more than one suit in 1981, by the way. perhaps he simply made both of these videos on the same day, or the production manager for $tone$ videos just said to Bill that it would be really smart if he wore the same suit in both videos, as people would probably still be talking about it some 34 years later.

if for some reason the subject of how many suits Bill Wyman had in 1981 is a subject you are particularly interested in, i can only assume all of this was of some interest to you. had you come to this blog post not previously concerning yourself with the subject, well, now you have.




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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

expecting the expected

hello there

sorry, really, that's a poor title for this post. it just popped in there, so to speak, as i was trying to think of a halfway decent title for this. the title is often the best part of these posts, i am aware, look you see, so this effort is particularly disappointing.

no particular point to this one, just rounding up a few matters of no interest at all for the sake of posting something for the first time in some three days. one of them letting you know i am indeed around sort of things. and, i would imagine, saying goodbye to May with this one, as i doubt much will be offered tomorrow for your entertainment or boredom.

first off, it would be remotely possible that one or two of you (well, one at best) are curious as to why there has not been much in the way of cow updates here. in truth it's simply because i have not seen them for a while. except for this week, or one day of it, when i did.



i had just taken it as something of a given that they had all gone off on some sort of jolly crusade, as my speculation over the year so far has suggested. it would seem to be the case that no, they haven't, or at the least one has not. i am pretty sure that's the one they call Lone Wolf, or maybe Sentinel.

yes, i appreciate that the picture above makes it quite difficult to spot the lone cow. patience, a closer look is coming up shortly. but before that (unless you scrolled past this bit) something of a shocker down in Pound Land, or Pound World, or whichever one i go into frequently.



yes, that is indeed Tony Blair's memoirs, or autobiography, or the truth according to Tony Blair, you can see proudly on sale for £1. very strange, if not shocking, as my research had led me to believe that it was only ladies who had married with the intent of divorcing the third choice for second guitarist of The Rolling $tone$ made their life story available for £1 at Pound Land / World. 

as far as i am aware - and this is without reading his book - Tony Blair has never married and then subsequently divorced Ronnie Wood, so i am not sure why his story has been made in the way that has come to be conventional for people that have. perhaps reading the book would reveal something along those lines, but to be honest i suspect i would rather not know.

now then, that close up of Sentinel, or if you like Lone Wolf.



no, sorry, i have no idea at all where all the other cows have gone. i could only see this one mooching around, and so took a picture for you of it.

i happened to be in the bus station during the week. you might think this is quite normal for me as i travel extensively via the bus, but no it is not. i tend, for the most part, to embark and disembark along routes rather than at terminals. so this was the first time in about a month that i had been there.

things had, it seems, changed somewhat since my last visit. the absence of feral student teenagers was, on the whole, most agreeable. as was the seemingly peculiar idea to entertain those of us waiting for buses with a bizarre mishmash of panpipe and piano music. i did the best i could to capture some for you.


video

unless i am very much mistaken, the management of the bus station - quite possibly some special customer focus sub-group committee type of thing - had decided that the experience of being at the bus station would be enhanced by a version of the song Mad World being played over the tannoy thing, or if you like public address system.

did i like it? it was OK, i suppose. not a bad cover of the song at all, really. i cannot comment on how anyone else felt about it, alas, as i did not think to do an impromptu survey amongst my fellow passengers in waiting. i suspect their view would be "yeah, sure, whatever, if it helps the buses turn up on time".

in closing, then, and well done for making it this far, the Viz kept to their word and published the names of the winners of the Top Gear Presenter Of Hearts winners in their mos recent edition. here is most of that list, if for some reason you wished to have a gander.




quite an interesting insight into the demographics of Viz readership that enters the competitions that they run, and indeed well done on creating some extra employment going on the above.

right, that will do. i shall try and do one or two things of interest during the month of June to report on here, so please do bear with me!



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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

live by the sea

hi there

many apologies to those who did a google and found this via the title, a reference to the seminal, debut live video off of Oasis. yes, it was boss, but no, look you see, you won't find a copy of it here. instead, as alluded to if not hinted at in a post yesterday, this is all family time along the coast. Whitby, if you want specifics, although i would wager one or two pictures will give that away.

mostly, you will be pleased to read, this features the 75% of my family that you all actually like and can, at worst, tolerate, with the 25% that's a problem - me - on appearing in fleeting passing. but enough of my yakking, onwards to pictures and, indeed, video.

first off, we really, really like them sketch machines.




it is, as you may well have worked out all by yourself from the above, getting to be an increasing challenge for all four of us to get into the booth thingie to have these done. either they are shrinking the size of the booth or we are all getting bigger. not sure which one.

there are not, you may be pleased or saddened to learn, all that many pictures to be had here. sorry for that, we were all too busy having a lot of fun to stop and snap too many images. i was, however, able to get some pictures taken as the boys went wild in one of their most favourite things, the celebrated House Of Mouse fun house.



little, if anything, screams "historic and celebrated fishing town on the Yorkshire coast" quite like a quasi-castle crafted and built in celebration of an imaginary mouse; a mouse that our friends in America celebrate the birthday of, despite the imaginary status. but hey, enough of my tired, twisted cynicism, our children and many others absolutely love it.

a video of the above? surely.

video

what do i like best about House Of Mouse? i think that it costs £1.50 for each child, and they can stay in there as long as they like. that's a darned fine deal these days.

i would imagine, if someone has not already done this already, that some sort of midget, or perhaps someone that just looks like a rodent, will eventually fashion themselves as a DJ and use the name Mouse Of House. i shall consult some young people on the subject, but i would imagine that it has been done already.

for those of you who get all uppity and have a tremendous sense of entitlement, be warned, for the next image features me. even though i do, surprisingly, look reasonably decent in the image, i know some of you would prefer not to see me at all, so you've been warned.



me looking halfway decent does not, of course, really matter. my (considerably) better half has, does and always shall look far finer than me. aaaah.

the merry-go-round located quite near the celebrated House Of Mouse fun house was of an equal cost in terms of having a go. whilst not lasting quite so long as their time in the fun house, the boys assured me that this ride was just as much fun for them. and why not.



a video of the above? surely, although not with that sort of Spaniard or Latin like lad in it; he wisely got out of the way before the ride started. actually i think he pretty much had to, since he was in control of all the gears and levers that make it work.


video

i would, i think, like a job where i am in charge of gears and lever all day. that would be boss, that, although i probably wouldn't be very good at it. i would just want to pull and twist all the gears and levers all day, just to see what happened when i did. perhaps i should look into being some sort of long distance driver. although i do not really care for driving.

some of the sights of Whitby? sure, if you insist. in the background of this image you can see the celebrated Abbey, although that was obviously not the focus of the image.



yes, i am indeed using that light purple / lilac phone cover these days, hence the light purple border to some of the pictures i am taking these days. roll on my next encounter with the cows, i say, as the pictures and video i take of them shall look all the more magnificent.

the 75% of my family you all like stood next to a cannon, you ask after? i can think of no reason whatsoever not to post such a picture, so here you go.



the cannon is not what you would call serviceable at present, but i am sure it would be just the work of a moment to get it fully operational. could be quite handy if an undesirable - someone from France, for instance, to select a random example - attempted a land invasion of Whitby.

the drive home was interesting for a number of reasons. for a start we were unable to take our chosen, or if you prefer preferred, road home due to it being closed. there was a terrible accident, looking at the state of the car, and i sincerely hope that all in the car were ok, or at least have the medical attention they require.

being in a situation where a road was closed and we were stuck in a traffic jam was almost like being on the roads in Johannesburg. there were just a few minor differences, attributable to, i suppose, the English way of doing things. the major differences were :

* the police were professionally and politely diverting traffic and doing all they could to clear the scene, instead of removing items of value from the wreckage to store at home or "lose" at a chop shop or suitable pawn shop facility.

* none of the police appeared to be soliciting bribes from any motorist stuck.

* the motorists stuck in the traffic jam sat patiently and waited to go. there was no driving on the embankments or the wrong side of the road.

* no one was waving guns around or attempting to blow up a cash in transit van.

our alternate route saw us - briefly - being followed by someone who had done up his car like KITT, or if you insist K.I.T.T., off of Knight Rider. here is a subtle video i took of it in the side mirror.


video

i always wondered what them side mirrors were for, as i have never used them whilst driving. why should i, after all, give a good f*** what is behind me? i am going forward, and anyone or anything of consequence behind me can surely see me and drive accordingly.

our new route, taking us through such delights as Runswick Bay, Loftus and some mildly curious place that's name began with a B or a G, took longer than the usual would. not a problem, as it was a beautiful drive. the boys asked if we would be OK. i used all of my celebrated and brilliant parenting skills to assure them that yes, we would be fine, but that if the drive took longer than an hour we would probably have to start drinking our own wee in order to survive. for the most part they took this as the light hearted joke as it was intended to be, but also they did ask "has it been an hour yet" sporadically.

well, that was, for the most part, our day yesterday. i hope that whatever you did was splendid too!



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

my flirtations with fame

hello there

well, what do you know. as unaccustomed to having my image used in creative ventures, look you see, a brave and plucky artist has decided to use a picture of me as a record cover, no less. no, thankfully, it's not Morrissey - as much as i like him, i don't think i am ready for the attention that appearing on one of his record covers naturally brings upon one.



yes, there i am on the cover of one of them EP things that the talented and versatile Jonny Granville has issued. the music, i assure you, sounds better than i look. which, granted, is not all that difficult, so to underline the point the EP consists of four songs which range from very good to superb in quality, although not always in that order.

where can you obtain this fantastic record? why, by clicking here, dear reader. and good on you for doing so.

many thanks to JG for giving me a brief flirtation to fame and, mostly, for giving us some truly outstanding vibes. nice one mate, good on yer.



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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

80s memorabilia, or if you like nostalgia

hello there

well, what do you know. it's the will and the force of the nature of football not to let us return to the big table via the back door of a play-off. apparently we are destined to instead return to where we belong as champions at the conclusion of next season, which is fair enough.

leaving that aside, today seemed like pretty much as being a good a day as any to bestow upon my (considerably) better half some rather fetching, attractive and partially shiny items relating to a number (three, to be precise) of the more iconic moments of 80s cinema. i asked her if she would permit me to post some pictures here for those interested and she agreed to give me such permission.



indeed they are iconic, partially shiny and, for the most part i would trust you agree, look you see, shiny. those of you content with that group picture of these items can, freely, head off now if you are one of them people in a rush. should you, however, want to see closer images - and indeed hear one of them in action, then i do encourage you to read on.

the 80s in cinema, and indeed on TV, was a time of some amazing cars being unleashed as a form of entertainment, with many now being associated in an indelible way that sees them forever linked to the movies and shows they were in. think, if you will, the DeLorean with the flux capacitor bunged in, the hearse converted to a rudimentary spectre and poltergeist catcher (more on that later), the V8 interceptor,  and any car what Sonny drove in Miami Vice. also that massive truck that singer drove in Convoy.

then there was the coolest of the cool. yes, as you can see right here, the Pontiac what the Bandit drove in the Smokey And The Bandit films. films that, for the most part, my (considerably) better half rates quite highly.

i understand this is nothing short of sacrilege at the altar of Burt Reynolds, but i always far preferred the Cannonball Run films to the Smokey adventures. not that there was anything wrong with the Smokey films. as point of fact, the second of the films is one i shall always have very fond memories of it, as the presence of Cousin Gaylord was one that saw Spiros - briefly and to no further action in that regard - briefly contemplate life as a member of the constabulary.

a closer look at the Bandit's Pontiac? why sure, but it is still in the packaging. and, knowing my (considerably) better half, it will remain in the packaging for life. she preserves them, look you see.



weirdly, speaking of iconic 80s cars, we were today briefly followed by a very passable recreation of KITT off of Knight Rider. i have taken a brief video of it (as best i could), so you can have a look later, as and when i remember to add it here i suppose.


yes, that is indeed an 80s style notepad that the Ghostbusters logo is sat on. very much of a nature like the one that the nerdy one off of The Breakfast Club wrote the group statement on.

this i could not resist when i saw it, and it was sold even before i pressed the Try Me button, which with some luck you will be able to see and hear what happens when you do just now. unless you have scrolled down and played it already.

Ghostbusters, man. what a film. i have no idea at all, though, why so many people think a third film would be any good; presumably they forgot how bad the second one was. if ever a film should have been left perfectly alone as it was, it was Ghostbusters.

a particular highlight was, of course, the award winning theme song off of Ray Parker jnr. the award winning theme song which stole its music, left right and centre, off of I Want A New Drug by Huey Lewis And The News, off their partially celebrated Sports album. a deal was brokered, of course, to keep quiet about it. this was presumably in exchange for coins of money. as i recall, Huey Lewis forfeited those coins of money when he did speak out about the "borrowed" nature of the Ghostbusters song in an interview somewhere.

but hey, it's still a great song, and that's what you hear when you press the Try Me button on the Ghostubusters logo stuffed doll thing you see here. see, and, i hope, hear too on this clip.


video

thankfully it doesn't play too much of the song, lest i or anyone else who had bought one of these would perhaps need to pay Huey Lewis and his News some coins of money in exchange for him not mentioning that we were playing the song.

another 80s classic that did, as point of fact, get a pretty decent sequel, was Gremlins. at the heart of that film being a classic was Gizmo, the loveable Mogwai thingie. well, loveable up to the point that he/she/it spawned all of them naughty Mogwai things that transformed into the Gremlins of the movie title.

but never mind that. here is Gizmo looking cute and adorable in the box that its owner has been so kind to fashion as a home for him/her/it.



oh right, apparently Gizmo is in fact a boy, according to some super fans - i didn't say nerds - that have set up some sort of encyclopaedia about it all. if he is a boy, how come he gave birth to all them other things that are a bit like him, only more vicious?

i have no doubt at all that if i read through all that website think i just linked to there would be a perfectly reasonable explanation as to how it is the boys in the world of the Mogwai that give birth. but, frankly, i can't be bothered. also, it sounds like a girl when it sings.

what exactly is this piece of classy Gremlins merchandise, you ask? well, tricky to say bar the obvious as it remains boxed, but as far as i can tell the box that Gizmo is in has wheels on it, and if you pull the box backwards it charges up a generator and lets Gizmo go driving around in his box for a bit. nice one.

my (considerably) better half was quite the fan of the Gremlins films and, in fairness, is not everyone who has watched them? boss, they are.

i am quite tired. i started writing all of this earlier today, right, and then we ended up taking a sojourn sort of thing to the coast. our sojourn back was some hour or so longer than we had imagined, due to the road being closed as a result of an accident which saw at least one car go up in flames. i trust everyone was ok, or at least hope they are. a helicopter landed and everything;  in that sense i suppose it was quite Johannesburg. weirdly, we had to detour via a place called Loftus to get home.

anyway, that will do. i suspect i will be too tired to write up the adventures of today, but shall try to shot some videos and pics up soon. in the mean time, then, i hope that some of these elements of 80s memorabilia have been of interest to you.



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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

bus vibes #18 - steve legget (yes, that one) and primal scream (or if you like prml scrm)

hello there

friday was, as i mentioned for those with an interest in such things, another day during which i listened to some vibes on my travels to and from verk. this was whilst on the bus on my way to and from verk; hence the title, look you see. a week of bus travels that were, as you can read here, quite a challenge. but you are here for vibes.

i have, over the years, been rather fortunate enough to both befriend and be befriended by some people of exceptional talent, be that talent in arts, business or life. over the years they have been kind enough to share with me the result and the knowledge of their talents, and Friday morning's vibes was such a case.

my mate Steve Legget, with a chap called Greg Blackman, has released a new slab of vinyl. it's called Aquarius, and you can get the 12" by clicking the title, or alternatively go have a listen here.

what, you may ask, is the record? well, mostly it's house music. whether it is, as i like to view it, psychedelic trance house or, as younger ears that i have played it to suggest, either old school house or "4am chill zone" house, well, that's up to how you hear it and want to label it, i suppose.

all i know is that, for all of his life that i have known him, Steve Legget has been a connoisseur of cool, awesome, amazing sounding funkadelic vibes. it was he, many a year ago, that introduced me to Prince, for a start. when not engaged in other artistic ventures - ones that make the front pages of the newspapers from time to time, no less - he can be found in a studio making vibes that he considers to be full worthy of bestowing upon the people of the planet. and, indeed, bestowing upon me, as he very kindly sent me good quality .wav files of the 12" single. in turn, Apple very kindly made it so that it was merely the work of 40 minutes for their sh!t itunes software to convert it into a format that they considered to be acceptable for use on one of their devices. and make no mistake, they view their devices as theirs forever, no matter how much money you give them.

did i particularly like the record? yes. when done properly, as is the case here, house / trance / dance music can be some of the most elegant, versatile and perfectly constructed sounds and vibes you can get. it is not all music made by 12 year olds with a laptop, you know. 

of the three mixes, the Mark Hand Rework is perhaps my favourite. why? it's got a lovely bass highlight on it, and i likes the bass, i do. here is a poor quality snippet for you if for some reason you could not be bothered to click on the free soundcloud link above.


video

would Steve like to be one of them big massive celebrity DJ types that gets to headline festivals and that? what makes you think that he isn't? to my knowledge over the years he has been involved in some pretty major events - in rave terms - but he's not such an insecure personality that he requires it to define him. i think, for him, the fact that DJs are spinning his tunes and the kids are getting into the groove of it is pretty awesome, and all he ever wanted from it all.

if you are into your whole rave / techno stuff and for some reason are reading this blog, usually a bastion of rock, then i would encourage you to give the vibes of Aquarius a try. get down and, indeed, get with it.

a quick break from vibes to give you something that is somewhat vibes related, then. i stumbled upon this next image by chance. yes, indeed it was within the pages of a magazine of ill repute; the kind of which you can only buy from 'private shops' with the windows blacked out.

just how awesome is the Rod Stewart lookalike?



actually, i think i know who that Rod lookalike is. i don't know him from a bar of soap, but to me it looks like it could be a very young Simon Honey, who has fashioned a career under the imaginative name of Ben Dover, which he uses when he stars in certain quasi-educational breeding videos.

at some point, yes, to justify the inclusion of the above here, i will listen to some Rod on the bus. perhaps his solo stuff, maybe a Faces album or two. but, after finishing listening to Aquarius, i went with whatever i could find with ease on the ipod, and that turned out to be Primal Scream.

oh my. XTRMNTR sounds as good today as it did when it was released in the early days of 2000. hard to believe it is now 15 years old.

what's the sound of the album? pretty much the angry, confrontational punk like ways of Bobby Gillespie, bound together with his and the rest of the band's love of hardcore dance, rave and heavy duty, flat out, leather waistcoat and flares wearing rock. all thrown together it works very well indeed here, helped of course by the one they call Mani being on bass.

if it's an angry album, what is it angry about? pretty much everything, really. at the heart of the rage of the album seems to be some distress about how complacent life had become around 1999 - 2000. everyone was all excited about the coming of the year 2000, there were not too many major wars on the go (at least not ones that affected the first world) and basically people just got on with stuff. Bobby was most upset by this apparently, as the title track sees him calling for civil disobedience. for him, the upper classes were still at war against the lower classes. yeah. that probably makes him a Scottish Paul Weller, i suppose, but it's not like that is a bad thing to be.

i think that NME still regards XTRMNTR as the "best and most important album of the 21st Century". it is as good a choice as any for that, i suppose, if that particular title really does need to be awarded. then again, NME still consider Regret by New Order to be "the best and most important single of the 1990s", which indicates that they missed a very great deal of the whole decade, nice as that song was.

a snippet? surely. my favourite off the album is easily Shoot Speed Kill Light, so here you go.


video

the best thing about the anger and rage of Primal Scream is, and i must stress i do love the band, is that it's that very nice, safe, in-no-way-ever to be acted on anger and call to arms, a very safe, first word kind of "down with this sort of thing" approach to it all. the band famously created a song called Bomb The Pentagon as a follow up to this album, recorded at a time when it would have seemed to make you look cool to call for such a thing safe in the knowledge that it was unlikely to ever happen. around about 12 September 2001, though, the band got up one day and decided it would be best to rather change the lyrics somewhat and call the song Rise instead. there is no need, after all, to ruffle feathers and get yourself banned off of America just to prove courage of conviction in this day and age.

if for some reason you've never heard XTRMNTR, go get a copy. actually, of all Primal Scream albums. they are sensational.

finally, then, for no apparent or relevant reason in the context of it appearing here, a still from the coming film adaptation of the brilliant novel The Martian.


i cannot say much as it would give spoilers, but The Martian was one of the funniest, most entertaining and engaging novels i have ever read. the film will have to be somewhat different from the book to work as a film. i am sure the film itself will be great (it's Ridley Scott who has made it), but i would suggest you read the novel anyway as it's just that good.

and, on the subject of books (actually there's a hint of relevance i suppose), i will be back to reading next week, so the vibes reviews shall take a break.

thanks for reading, and get down and get with it.




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

Boro take over Trafalgar Square

hi there

UPDATED - LINK ADDED - SORRY!

well, it's the night before the big day. yeah, the richest single game of football anywhere in the world, with the winner looking to get a big chunk of coins of money. more money than even Blatter or Platini can milk from the game, but that's for another time.

Boro fans have taken over Trafalgar Square, look you see. no, literally, look you see if you are looking at this blog on the evening of Sunday 24 May. here is the link to the Trafalgar Square CCTV thing. just press play on the video screen halfway down the page. many thanks to my mate Payney for the link

for those unable to see the video live, or are looking at this after the fact, here's a few screenshots. oddly the poor quality is not my fault this time, but sorry all the same.



in my best Jack Bauer voice, which isn't a good one, the following takes place between 7:44pm and 8:01pm, Sunday 24 May 2015.


why am i not there? well, tickets were about £100 each, plus more than that to get there and back. also, if i took a ticket, then someone who could have got to more games during the season than me would not have had one. fair play, let those who have been able to invest in following the side in person have first dibs.


am i confident that we can do it? well, sure. if we play as well as we can, there are few sides that we would fear. the lads will be going out there to do the best they can, and that's all we can ask. we will love and support the team no matter what happens.

blimey, as you can see, there are a fair few of them. must be strange for London, having so many actual, proper real football fans in the city for a change. 


a certain form of public opinion is against us, of course. the bookies, or if you like turf accountants, have Norwich as the favourites. i am happy for them to have that pressure on them, thanks.

in the media, Stephen Fry has remembered that he is a Norwich fan, and last night Graham Norton decided to use his introduction to the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest as a conduit or forum to attack Middlesbrough. so, the homosexual icons of the celebrity establishment would seem to be against us too. 


hey ho, we are used to not being popular. we like us, we welcome all to our world. on a similar note, it seems perfectly in order to say a big thank you to London for making our fans welcome.



that is a hell of a lot of fans congregating there. we have, with some ease, sold out our allocation of some 35,000 tickets. those who have not gone from the town down to London will, i would suggest, be gathered around television sets and radios tomorrow, hoping those who went down have an amazing, wonderful, all singing trip back.


am i bothered that the homosexual icons of the celebrity establishment favour Norwich over Boro? not really. whereas we welcome any and all fans, just dig who you dig, man. if Stephen Fry says that they all have to support Norwich because he all of a sudden remembered he is a fan, well then i am sure it is the case that they are contractually obliged to.

a last picture, then. if you were there and can work out where you are in any of these pictures, then so much the better - glad to have been of some use to someone with all of this!



and that's where this ends. i am sure celebrations will be on the go for a fair few hours yet, but hopefully they all don't get so hammered that they forget to go to the match. unlikely, as it's not proper beer in London as we know, just some sort of tasteless water.



#utb



Saturday, May 23, 2015

#winning

hi there

well, so far as i know, Charlie Sheen has stopped all of that #winning business, so i will use it for this rather celebratory post. yes, look you see, yes i am showing off a bit here. and why not, for i won something today. something amazing.

for those of you in a rush, or simply cannot be bothered to read all of this, then this picture tells you the whole story that will be told below. as i mentioned a few weeks ago, that wonderful comic / magazine Viz, a staple of my life for somewhere over 30 years, ran a contents to win a commemorative plate to, well, commemorate the 'Fracas' which happened and saw, as a regretful consequence, Jeremy Clarkson, the so-called Top Gear Presenter Of Hearts, lose his job. 

i was for some reason wildly enthusiastic about the idea of winning this, and so rushed off my entry form as soon as i could. i spent an entire Saturday night scouring the edition of Viz to get the clues i needed to enter and win. it was, as you can see, well worth it, as i am a proud winner. not that reading Viz in great detail is all that big a sacrifice, or too different from my usual Saturday night. i am not Whigfield, you know.

for those of you not in a rush, here is a fuller story. by the way, on that note, i am quite excited by the idea that someone out there is actually interested in my blog and finds the time to have a glance at it even if they are extremely busy. nice one, many thanks.

i went, as is my wont and will, for a splendid stroll this morning. a lovely, perhaps more brisk than crisp (hello, Faye) morning it was, as for some reason Spring has finally been summoned to these green and fair shores. on my return, i found this item had been delivered, waiting for my most earnest attention.



i did a little dance of joy when i saw it, for i knew immediately what it was. More T Vicar, the company whose name covers this off-gold coloured packaging, are the official sellers and suppliers of all merchandise what the Viz sell to the public. it could not have been anything else inside the package other than the Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear Presenter Of Hearts Fracas Commemorative Plate.

so, excitedly and immediately, after a bit of shopping and a spot of lunch, i gathered the family around me to bear witness as i opened up the parcel.



my assumptions and knowledge, as you can see, were confirmed by this elegant, sophisticated and accentuated by its simplicity congratulatory note sellotaped to the box it came in. not just any box, dear reader. a perfect, off-white cardboard box, designed to protect the contents within reasonably well or to, at the least, the bear minimum that would save it from getting broken too much.

time, then, to go inside the box. although you and i already have, what with that first picture showing it all off to those of you that are in so much of a rush you are not reading this part.



it is a thing, is it not? whether it is one of beauty or not i leave to your eyes, dear reader. to me, it captures at the least - in vivid detail, if not perhaps accurate - the punch that knocked out a career.

i feel nothing but honour and pride in being one of the 50 that was, presumably, carefully selected at random by the work experience kid at Viz towers to become a custodian of one of these plates. i shall feel further honour and pride when my name appears in the next edition as one of the winners. it will be even better than the time that Viz sent me an email saying that i was "probably a queer for noticing" when i wrote and asked them why Baz in The Fat Slags always has a plaster on his arse.

the plate came complete with a stand, presumably skilfully crafted by indentured child labourers in China who were a bit too expensive to be employed by Apple.



i've had to put it away safe for now. i will, dear reader, eventually work out where the best place is to put it. as valuable as it is, it is something that i should make available for people to see.

another picture of me posing proudly with this plate? why surely, here it is, but you probably saw that before you read this, depending on how the text formats around the pictures on the device you are using to view all of this on.

what was the reaction of my family to this magnificent plate? mostly enthusiastic about it, in particular my (considerably) better half. they boys, it has to be said, were a mixture of confused and disappointed when i suggested that this plate was pretty much all of their inheritance.

as for the actual incident depicted on the commemorative plate, well, i think quite enough has been said on the subject already. it's a great shame that a show many millions around the world loved came to and end the way it did, but one cannot go around punching people for reasons like the temperature of a plate of food.

the show, never forget, recovered from the likes of Angela Rippon and Noel Edmonds leaving it. as tough as it might be to replace the three most closely associated with the show, it's the format and concept that people love. i am sure as and when Top Gear finds new hosts the show will still attract the same kind of viewing figures and, indeed, mix of love and hate from the world.

right, Eurovision Song Contest is on. i wish that Australia had selected Jason Donovan to represent them in this 60th Anniversary contest that they have been invited to be part of, but no matter - hopefully the Aussies win it anyway. since the UK, as usual, has no chance.

many thanks to those of you not in all that big of a rush for reading this all.




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

a small step towards fixing the economy

hello there

one of those weirdly common sense, mostly genuine and a little bit practical posts for you, look you see. yeah, i know, it's most peculiar - and a little scary - when i write something actual and proper on my own time, but every now and then it doesn't hurt, i suppose.

i have, on a couple of occasions, encountered a machine that is simply awesome. it is a simple and yet brilliant thing that is rather practical, and if deployed on a wider basis than it currently enjoys it would create a minor ripple of good in fixing the pond of any economy you care to name.

what is it? it's a machine that you throw coins into, right, and then it allows you either to donate those coins to a charity or, if you prefer, for a minor administrative fee, issues you with a voucher to be used in the store where the machine is located.

genius, really. especially if, like me, you tend to just build up piles of low face value coins of money for no apparent reason other than you can't be bothered to carry them all around.

going to a shop with a whole load of coins, throwing them into a machine and then getting a voucher to use at the till is somewhat preferable to taking those same coins to the till and having them all counted out to pay for assorted goods and services. the time it saves, and the awkwardness of having it all counted by a teller, is, to me, worth the 9% charge in place for doing this. especially since, in my case, if it were not for this machine, the coins would not get used at all.

what's that, you ask? no mention on this blog of Boro heading off to Wembley? well, everyone else seems to have said it better than me, but it was a nice touch to see this on my travels today.



you cannot, i appreciate, make that out too good. it is a sign, presumably from some sort of highway or transport authority, hoping that all driving down to Wembley have a safe journey, and wishing Boro well in the match; doing so by that whole Twerker thing of #believe and #utb. luck? no, we just need to play as well as we can and our fortune shall take care of itself, thank you.

but back to coins, and my odd notion that these coin machines could in some way help out any economy that you care to name. which, actually, they really can.

low denomination coins are a fact of life. there is a legal obligation, in the way that money works around the world, to produce them and have them available. in the majority of cases, however, they are issued as part of change for purchases, with the recipient not normally prone to use them. there are all sorts of stats and facts out there about this. bear it in mind as you bear with me.

that these low value coins are a fact of life means they have to be produced. and production of them is an exercise which costs the treasuries and mints of governments. the lowest two face value coins anywhere in the world - here in England that would be the 1p coin and the 2p coin - cost more to make than the coin is worth.

and make them they do, dear reader. they are, as mentioned above, required to exist, but the coins seldom end up in as wide circulation as higher value coins. yes, i appreciate at penny arcades they are used, but the whole country is not a seaside place where such machines exist. with people not using the coins on a regular basis, increased demand comes along from stores and shops and places pressure on the mint to manufacture more of these coins. a bit of a vicious loop, really. unless people could be encouraged to use the coins presently minted more than they do now and thus reduce the need to create so many every year.

how much money could be saved by an economy? it is difficult to say. someone did ask Her Majesty's Treasury just how much it costs to make a 1p coin, but as you might expect, they saw it as really rather appropriate to answer with bullsh!t and hide behind secrecy. but let's work with the info we have from that link right there.

if a Canadian penny costs 1.5p to make, and a US 1c coin costs 2.4c to make, let's pretend that for some reason we believe the UK Royal Mint to be more efficient - no, stop laughing, i did say pretend - and that 1p costs, say, 1.25p to make. so 100 1p coins, with a face value of £1, cost £125 to make. £10 worth of 1p coins costs, then, £1250 to make. multiply away, it gets scary. and that's with me being very kind indeed to the UK Royal Mint and their deft skills with budgeting and getting cost efficiencies in place.



i appreciate that all of the coins put in this machine ultimately end up at the Royal Mint anyway, unless Coin Star have some absolutely massive jars to store them in or melt the coins down for the metal (which i suspect is illegal), but why the hell do they not encourage with incentives more of these machines to be in place?

well, just a thought, i suppose. i did say it would only be a little fix, but little fixes tend to help resolve bigger problems. i am sure the reason for these machines - or competitors - not being more widespread is all tied up in licencing deals, exclusive distributions and things like that. in the big grown up world of corporates and governments, efficiency and getting value for money is pretty much insignificant compared to the lure of hastily singing preferred supplier deals. trust me on this.

back to nonsense with the next post, i would think.




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

bus adventure

hello there


my levels of awareness that the company who kindly and somewhat reluctantly provide me with bus services which to change the direction of my life is getting to be all the more acute this year. it was as recently as March, as frequent readers shall recall, that they thrust me into the dangerous world of needing to cross the demilitarized zone of the 89th Parallel on foot. if you want to read of that incident, or read it again, here is the link, look you see.

this week has not been just one, nightmare inducing incident as was the case in March. no, dear reader, this week has been one where i have unwittingly tested the patience on virtually every working, or if you like verking, day of it. it was only Monday, really, that saw me not flirt with the death and misfortune promised by the demilitarised zone. then and Friday.

i have been able to procure, if not create, a map for you of the current danger zone; the 45th Parallel area that saw me dance with death. maps of the area, for strategic reasons and, without wanting to be dramatic, for issues of national security, are not freely available. fortunately i was able to obtain a map from a little known, secret section of the internet with the codename 'google'.



the annotations and highlights on the map are as best as i could create from memory for you. presently i am not, contrary to popular assumption, either engaged in an UN work or contracted as a war correspondent. please do not, then, take these identifiers as being precise or accurate in their account of the situation from last week.

checkpoint charlie and checkpoint alpha are the points at which warnings are placed for the public. these warnings, innocently presented as road closed and diversion signs on the basis that some bridge repairs are being undertaken, should be heeded. the majority of the public, in particular motorists did of course, as far as i am aware, heed these warnings and did not venture beyond the signs. bus drivers are, on the whole, cut from a very different sort of cloth.

i used some deft covert skills to, in a rather open, nothing to hide way, obtain some film footage for you of one of the buses disregarding the signs and heading straight towards the forbidden 45th parallel. this footage is of us, as in i was on the bus, circling checkpoint charlie.


video

if it looks scary, that's probably because it was, quite a bit. i mean also it was, at the time and in retrospect, exciting, but also scary. my life, for the most part, has been an existence which has seen signs such as roads closed being both observed and adhered to. if that makes me kind of boring, so be it, but i would say it has also made it so that i am alive, and have lived long enough to hear your protestations and accusations of being boring. better this, i think, than all of you standing around some sort of memorial, commenting how my life was some exciting yet reckless ignorance of road closed signs.

what cover story did i assume for my covert filming? i decided that it would be best to - as dishonest as this is - pretend, if questioned, that i was an independent bus roof inspector, and i was merely conducting a bit of a freelance check to pass the time of day. to this end, to perfect my cover story, i took several images of the roofing of the bus. here is one of the top three images i took.



as you can see, i would like to think, the roofing of the bus is in fairly sturdy, somewhat robust condition. it is, to my mind and to my knowledge in a professional capacity, perfectly capable of meeting the requirements of a roof for practical, standard bus operations. but, as you are aware, what i experienced this week was somewhat far away from standard bus operations.

i did have some further thoughts about a cover story as to why i was covertly filming us circling checkpoint charlie in an open way and determined that passing myself off as an independent bus roofing inspector was unlikely to work in this day and age; an era of tenders, preferred suppliers and fixed term contracts. gone, truly, are the days in which a young lad - or indeed lady - could simply opt to be a bus roofing inspector and set up their own business along those lines.

to that end, then, i thought perhaps i should adopt the guise of a celebrated, international blogger who for some reason elects to review music whilst listening to it on a bus. here is a video to go along with that cover story, please play along a little bit.


video

what i was listening to exactly in the above doesn't matter as much as the fact that i look innocent and perfectly normal. if you wish to know, though, it was Nine Inch Nails cover of Zoo Station that i had on the go. a review of that was done on this blog at the time of release, please feel free to search for it.

i really rather suspect that anyone who has pursued reading this as far as here, and i do admire your tenacity, is somewhat more likely to be interested in what happened with the bus as it faced the challenges of road closed and diversions signs that what i intended to pretend to be if someone came up and said "what the helll do you think you are playing at" as i took pictures and video.

on a number of occasions the bus driver elected to obey the diversions signs and take the alternate route. indeed, on Friday, one of their number opted to use the alternate route despite the signs being removed and the roads being open, presumably just to be safe.

those that elected to ignore challenge the signs were of course more interesting. we shall have a rundown on how all that fared just now, but first an image of the, for want of a better description, serengeti region of the route that my bus takes.



on the first occasion of  driver deciding that they knew better than the road signs, the bus was successfully steered all the way up to the road closed signs. at this stage - and i don't think we should hold this against him - he seemingly sh!t himself at the prospect and bottled it. this led to some fancy driving as he reversed the bus back from whence it came, with us only being in modest danger of backing into a river on two instances.

after that, another driver decided to circumnavigate the roundabout near the signs no less than twice before opting to take the alternate route. he did this, presumably, to allow himself time to read the whole sign across the course of two trips, so that he may have digested all the information without bringing the provincial roads to a standstill.

this was not approach of a further driver. he did very much stop the bus within the stream of flowing traffic on the roundabout to read the sign. this action, which saw more or less the whole of Yorkshire experience gridlock for 2 or so minutes, caused in the region of £1million in economic damage. this would have been fine had the driver read the sign and acted in accordance with it, but he didn't - instead he turned and asked us, the passengers, if we knew if the road was closed or not. we, in unison, suggested - in frank wording - that we believed the authenticity of the signs was to be trusted.

a video of the ride along the road of the safe zone? sure, why not.


video

the darkest hour of this sequence of bus rides was undoubtedly the time that we did in fact trespass right across the demilitarised and occupied zones as illustrated in the map. he drove past the warning signs and towards the barriers that stood between us and the bridge that some work was being carried out. then, he guided he bus past the road closed signs in a way that only slightly knocked them over. and then we crossed the bridge, with no fear, care or concern at all if we would snap the bridge and sink into the river below. which we didn't.

did i, you may wonder, feel at any point as if i were part of the text of a recreation of the celebrated novel Heart Of Darkness? not really.  was just delighted, overall, to be able to get to verk and indeed home against the background of these challenges.



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