Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ballot of the vanities

hello there

if you were to ask me, personally, about the imminent by-election in Richmond this week i would, look you see, say i don't really care. whoever wins it is not going to do anything that will change government on a national level, and so i should just ignore it and let them do whatever. however, my chum Spiros does care a lot, as witnessed here, and so i do too care.

there's also some wonderful lessons being thrown up by this election. as per usual when mentioning anything with Zac Goldsmith i must be careful for he is quite happy to issue legal threats to those who write about him, but i believe i speak in the boundaries of fair comment and opinion.

this by-election has been triggered on grounds that no one particularly vocally cared about. back in 2015 Zac Goldsmith was elected Conservative MP for the constituency. buried away in all the things he promised was a pledge to resign and stand as an independent if a Conservative government voted in favour of an extra runway at Heathrow. this they did, so so that he did.

the Conservatives have responded by not fielding a candidate in this election to replace him. they are cautious of splitting the vote and letting another party win, and they are seemingly confident that a re-elected Zac Goldsmith will, no matter how "independent" he claims to be, simply support them.

all of the literature and statements coming from Mr Goldsmith substantiate this.

sorry, it seems that the above picture is most insistent on coming up the wrong way around when i upload it. being bigger, however, makes a few things clearer. doesn't it always?

i've kind of addressed point 1 above and hinted at point to. looking at point 2 in a bit more detail is worthwhile, for it underlines the idea that this whole by-election - the disruption, the cost, the quite frankly staggeringly wasteful level of leaflets printed - has come about for no good reason beyond the vanity of Mr Zac Goldsmith.

as far as i can see, he believes that resigning and standing again is making a popular stand against one decision, and he's looking to be elected as an "independent friend of the government" in order to get some sort of accolade, praise or pat on the head for the actions he has taken.

far be it for me to suggest that he would have been better off remaining part of government and carrying on the fight without this distraction. this is particularly true as there is, of course, every chance that Mr Goldsmith will lose and no longer be in Parliament to debate or fight for anything.

again with the sideways, sorry i have no idea how to just make blogger upload images the right way around. for i think we can all agree that sideways is incorrect.

the general consensus is that the election is a straight shoot-out between Mr Goldsmith and Ms Sarah Olney, the Liberal Democrats representative. the gist of Ms Olney's electioneering campaign is that she's actually done a lot of things for the area, and indeed in a stance against a new runway, rather than just offer to resign if she didn't get her way.

that's a bit off of the Labour candidate above, as well as yet more literature shoved through the door of Spiros about this election.

a great part of the English way of doing things is to knock people down if they are successful. one really does have to be careful not to do this. that said, it is hard to wish for any result in this by-election other than a Zac Goldsmith defeat. after all of the political dynamics we have experienced worldwide in the last two or so years, this idea of using elections as a personal approval mechanism has just got to stop.

yes, the above would appear to show that the Labour party are kind of backing the Liberal Democrat candidate rather than their own.

it's worth highlighting again that Zac Goldsmith wasn't considered good enough to be London Mayor, even though he was standing against a particularly inept and weak candidate. why exactly the people of Richmond and Kingston would accept an independent mayoral reject to represent them is beyond me, but we shall find out if this is to be during the week.

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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

the queen is half undressed


Barbs, it would seem, has been fairly vocal of late. actually no she hasn't. it is quite suspicious, look you see, that she hasn't waded in to the recent US electoral campaign as normally she has something of an opinion to voice. well, this was the case when it was the other Clinton seeking elected power, to be sure. perhaps she's just not that much into this one. or wasn't, since barring the recount thing it's all done and dusted.

getting back on track somewhat and where Barbs has been vocal. that person i know who is doing some emissary sort of stuff over in one of them European countries has kindly forwarded on some stuff off of an interview what Barbs granted.

as you can see, evidently it was a somewhat relaxed interview as Barbs did not bother too much about what to wear on the south side of her body, bar some most splendid shoes. and some tights, i think, unless she has been smearing coffee on her legs. and why not, if the latter is true and it makes her happy to do so.

any particularly noteworthy or insights into world of Barbs from the interview, beyond at the least her apparent lack of pressing need to be dressed in full in order to conduct it? yes, quite. one snippet from the interview stood out a very great deal. this is possibly due to it being the only snippet sent to me as such, but no matter, it's a good one.

that no is pretty conclusive, is it not?

i am not too surprised about this declaration of her not singing in the shower. for a start, i very much doubt that Barbs does something as lower class as shower anyway - for her, i would expect, it's all bathing in Tibetan milk, or possibly in that mineral infused water off of volcanic regions.

there's also the case of her accidentally giving away a free performance to any one of her two dozen staff or so. no doubt these people - gardeners, carpenters and so forth - expect to be paid as it is for their services. why should Barbs give them a vocal performance for free on top of that?

let's not be unsympathetic to Barbs' plight here. it must be tough for her to not sing. a very natural instinct for her, i would imagine, is to go all blazing with the vocals. to deliberately not break out into verse is a very big ask, and if you ask me that makes her all the more awesome for not doing so at random.

what's that above? the stats off of my blog for the last day, or if you like twenty four hour period. as you can see, no one - or at least not more than one - from off of Japan has visited. in the short term, then, my last blog before this one was a total waste of time. in the long term, who knows, perhaps the Japanese will come flocking.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016







Watashi wa gimon ni omou, watashi wa jissai ni kono keishiki de nihongo tekisuto o teiji subekidesu ka? Kore wa watashi no burogu o mitsukete, sore o yomi, tanoshimu tame ni, Nihon no hitobito no tame ni sore ga yōi ni narudarou ka?







Friday, November 25, 2016

four go mad in Saltburn

hello there

pretty much what the title says, my friends. oh no, look you see, i be not one of the four going mad, so fear not, no need to avert your eyes on the off chance that an image of me would appear. no, instead then, it's that the boys went off of another jolly, perhaps spectacular outing, with the Harlo's.

oh yes indeed, that is the four of them, all off and going to do all sorts of mad things in Saltburn, as the title some what suggests if not outright promises.

this was all as recently as last weekend, which means that yes, they went off to a coastal region of the North East of England during November. whilst many parallels - synergies and symmetries if you like - exist between Saltburn and, say, St Tropez or Ibiza, there are not quite so many that one would normally find the climate of Saltburn during this particular month to be in any way tropical or Mediterranean.

but hey, Saltburn is smart, and visiting the place at any time of the year is considerably better than not.

the above, i hope, shows off not only the boys having fun, but also how Saltburn simply doesn't have that Mediterranean climate to it during November. just as well really, i suppose, for if it did visitors might be tempted to walk around in a decidedly disrobe sort of state and end up getting arrested off of the constabulary. they don't tolerate "that sort of thing" too kindly there; at least not off of outsiders.

for what reason is it that the boys headed off to Saltburn? not sure on the specifics, but chance permitted them to head off with the sensational Harlo's, and that's where they went. in doing so, my (considerably) better half and i were able to go off and do some super special covert secret stuff; the kind of thing that parents are so prone (and expected) to do around this time of year.

and just who needs all that Mediterranean nonsense, anyway, when you have smart blue and orange sort of tyre things on which one can stand? if you need it in this world, or it will make you feel better about life, then Saltburn would surely have it for you.

should you be wondering of Saltburn's skills in respect of the above extends to them possibly having swings, then the answer to this is most decidedly yes.

yes, sorry, i know the most strikingly visible aspect of the last two pictures is the proclivity of the boys to wear shoes of many colours. they are influenced by footballers and something called "fashion" in this respect. as far as i am concerned, shoes should be brown when wearing blue jeans, white when playing tennis or cricket, and black in all other instances.

did they all dine in Saltburn? but of course. where? no idea, except that i get the idea that it was posh. when we ask the boys about eating, their eyes light up. we ask the name of the place from them and they say they don't know, but that it was posh, dead posh, real posh, soooo posh, proper posh and a number of other variations of posh that i cannot recall.

should the absolute most bestest and poshest dining facility in Saltburn - perhaps the known universe - be of interest to you, then the best i can do is advise you that it's a "big glass place" to your left as you come off the pier and towards land.

it certainly does sound quite posh. i dare say that i have passed it on my numerous travels to Saltburn, but in all likelihood i would have been too busy considering Art Garfunkel or something to have considered to stop and do something as trivial as eat.

was it quite safe for the boys to have been climbing over this fence in the way that they were, mindful of that being a not really insignificantly steep drop down to some most splendid concrete below? presumably yes, and anyway it doesn't matter as they were returned to us relatively unscathed.

anyway, i have some matters i must attend to.

thank you, family and friends, for stopping by to have a gander. i trust you've enjoyed another update, or if you like insight, into how the boys are getting on!

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Spiros at the Playboy


yes, quite. that is not the title of a post i thought i would ever write, look you see, leaving a side your current disbelief at actually reading it. Spiros - that Spiros - has been off to the celebrated Playboy Club, dear reader.

in his role as the greatest legal mind of his own generation, arguably all, he is called on to attend to a great many matters. this involves meeting in venues which are somewhat out of the ordinary for him, as ultimately he will visit wherever those who pay his most handsome fee elect to do so. if left to Spiros, of course, meetings would always take place in the relaxed environs of places such as YMCA gymnasiums or Turkish Bath Houses, where he believes getting all hot and steamed up with men allows for perfect clarity of focus on the business at hand, so to speak.

that is indeed the tradesman entrance which Spiros was going through. he doesn't really care for attention being drawn to him or his rather specialist legal services, and so always seeks a degree of anonymity. also, that is indeed a quite dapper jumper he has on. i took the liberty of commending him on it on behalf of all future readers who see this, and he was most gratified by this.

it's not just the Playboy that Spiros has to frequent from business. far, far from it. should Spiros need to have a meeting with Spaniards, or for that matter people off of Dorset, he finds that more often than not they select the Groucho club, for such people are easily impressed by lightweight celebrities. Otherwise, you mention or name a fancy, member only club for gentlemen in any major city, and Spiros is, due to his work, a patron of it.

why was Spiros at the Playboy Club? a Japanese (or similar) concern is interested in soliciting his opinion on if not bypassing then circumventing one or two points of the celebrated Basel II compliance agreement in terms of financial conduct, as in all of them. Strangely, as part of making the brokering of such a deal more tax efficient for all parties, there's talk of a docu-drama, provisionally titled Spiros at the Playboy being mooted, with one or two film production companies well known for assisting in creative accountancy quite prepared to start filming.

anyway, as and when Spiros has another adventure i am sure it will feature here. as will, ladies and gentlemen, anything else non-Spiros related that catches my curiosity.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

i can sing a rainbow

ow do

not too much of consequence this time around. yes, i know, there very rarely is anything of consequence here, look you see, but this time i am setting out with it as an intention, to be sure.

it's just that a little while ago, as opposed to some unspecified date in the future, i took some pictures of a really nice rainbow. i didn't quite get around to posting them here before, so here they are now.

everyone likes rainbows, man. they are beautiful and brighten up the grey of the sky against which they so often contrast.

not really a great deal i can add to that, i suppose.

yes of course i was, am and shall forever be a big fan of the Rainbow TV show. it was smart that, with the pig and the bear and the thing with the zip.

from what i remember the film Rainbow Bridge concentrated on a bunch of hippies getting some money together to pay Jimi Hendrix to do a gig on top of a mountain. why? they were sure his cosmic guitar skills would call out to aliens and they would be attracted to our planet as a result. far out, man, that's a smart idea that is.

the other end of the rainbow? sure.

right, more sorts of stuff later. maybe more rainbows, i guess, if i see them and take pictures and remember to add them here.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

the co-pilot

hello there

i do, as and when chance permits, do what i can to accommodate requests here on this blog. it is a particularly happy day when i get such a  request, look you see, as when that happens it means that i don't have to sit and think too much about what to write here.

today, then, is a very special request off of my erstwhile if not occasional co-pilot off of the last few weeks. behold, then, here is the one that they call Magic. well, actually, no, they don't call him Magic, but i am encouraging people to do so, and this post is a step in the right direction for expanding this ambition of mine, so win-win.

yeah, the picture quality is not so great in the above, sorry. although yes, i do appreciate the fact that many of you would say the more limited the visibility is in a picture of me then by default the picture is better.

what does Magic do to earn such a moniker or if you prefer name such as Magic? is he some sort of conjurer or illusionist? no, not really, at least not in the traditional sense. it's just that Magic is a cool name, and so as everyone should have a call handle name his just happens to be Magic.

i do understand that some of you - Spiros in particular - will be getting quite bored with this post at this stage and be tempted to switch off, so here you go, here's Magic with some men.

i believe that the gentlemen in the picture have quite a celebrity status within certain circles of a sporting endeavour. splendid if you recognize them. Magic did indeed tell me who they were, but to be honest i was concentrating on the road as i drove so have forgotten, sorry.

and concentration i required, dear reader. we are getting absolutely battered off of some rain and wind here today. not pleasant at all, but it could be worse. for a start, there's no / not much flooding (a wave did sort of go over my car earlier), and people generally behave on the roads here. well, they do at least in comparison to the rather mental, if not bezerk, way one takes to the streets of Johannesburg.

a somewhat clearer picture of my co-pilot and i at the control of my wheels? Magic is as Magic does, so to speak, and here is a picture along those lines off of the Magic.

yes, indeed that is a better picture. Magic is better at these selfie things than i am, it seems. also he clocked that if he put the lights on in my (parked and ignition off, concerned constabulary members) car, then the picture would be better.

looking at the above, i believe i need to shave if not trim my beard. it would seem i have a sort of wildman Catweazle or Wurzel Gummage thing on the go.

what is it, exactly, that Magic does when he's not being my co-pilot and taking selfies? he is a man with many strings to his bow. i think the one string he would care for me to highlight here is that he is, as point of fact, the senior political editor for the celebrated Middlesbrough Events website. also, once upon a time, many years ago, it turns out that Magic once lived down the road and around the corner from me. strange that we have met once more then. small, funny world, etc.

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

fags by spiros for a formally fifth time


it has been, look you see, that people have been entertained by posts entitled a variation of Fags by Spiros on this blog for just north of half a decade now. wow. the years really do pass you by when you stop to consider it.

some of you would probably be troubled to read the fifth segment of a story without knowledge of the prior four. for you, then, i have obtained the links to the earlier episodes. here you go, one, two, three and of course four. happy reading. and, with all of you presumably that wish to be up to speed, on we go.

as you can sort of see with semi-clarity above, Spiros has only gone ahead and gotten me a packet of the most popular fags for the gentry available in the Ukraine, hasn't he just, to be sure. 

Davidoff Classic is what they are, should that image be a little bit too dark. sorry, it is only a month or so that i have had my new phone with a camera welded to it and i haven't quite worked out the intricacies of flash settings and so forth.

yes though i have worked out how to take Commodre 64 style pictures with it, although it is not like the Davidoff is any clearer in that superior format. here you go, a look at least, with some other fags what Spiros brought back for me from one of the most eastern parts of Eastern Europe.

indeed, as is the way of his infinite kindness and generosity, Spiros did as point of fact bring me back some lovely, lovely Marlboro Red as well as the Davidoff Classics. nice one man.

and what do Marlboro Red cost in the nation of Ukraine? are you ready for this - 75p a packet. that is not a mistake, seventy five pence a packet. that compares to the £9.70 (nine pounds and seventy pence) a packet of Marlboro Red costs here in the UK. oh no, we are not over taxed or ripped off here, are we?

in the above picture you can see the standard, stock warning (smoking is bad for you, it harms your health, it kills otherwise normal immortals, etc) in a language easily understood by the good people of the Ukraine. over on the back are the standard picture warnings, done to make it visibly clear to the illiterate that smoking is bad. 

what you thought looking at the above, if you are a fellow smoker, is exactly what i thought too. over in the Ukraine they have completely different pictures to the ones we get on packets. also, over in the Ukraine they seem to get much, much better picture warnings than we do.

do i have a favourite on the above set of images? yes of course. we will get to that now, but first if for some reason you wished to view a selfie of me enjoying one of them Marlboro, here you go.

yeah, i need to work on lighting, flash, etc. there's a bit of a Colonel Kurtz off of Apocalypse Now thing i have on the go there. which, now that i think on, is not so bad.

i'm not at all sure that "favourite" is the right word, but one of the more interesting things i have noted with these image warnings on cigarettes is the preoccupation they have with how smoking affects your sexual skills and ability to reproduce. for some reason they tend to hammer on about the idea of how cigarettes just might knack your sperm, make you infertile or give you some sort of erectile dysfunction syndrome.
here's a look at the latter two, in reverse order, with one pack from the UK and one pack from the Ukraine.

should smoking indeed make you infertile - and i have not read any evidence to say yes or so and thus will sit on the fence - then it's quite strange that they are not actively encouraging everyone to smoke, since we are supposedly overpopulating the planet with our proclivity to procreate. bring the tax down, this Hammond chap, and bring control to population numbers, then.

in respect of the Ukrainian image above, my (considerably) better half makes an interesting point. we assume the point of the image is to say that if that lady smokes then she will have broken ovaries and will not be able to have children, or if you like shall be infertile. if that's the case, then for what reason is it that she bought a pushchair, let alone ask why she walks around with it?

what warning image is on the pack of Davidoff Classic? some chap in hospital.

and yes, as usual whenever i do a post on the subject of cigarettes, whilst how bad they are is debatable i do know and appreciate that they are most decidedly not good for you. and so i would encourage each and every one of you reading this to not smoke, for what my social commentary is worth.

with that in place, onwards to me having a try of these Davidoff Classic.

i received some comment, advice and guidance from someone about Davidoff. details of this shall come next, but the important thing is that in respect of the information i got i felt obliged to open the packet of them up in the trendiest, most hip and with it and fashionable place i could find. so here's me opening up the packet in the doorway of the official Apple store down town.

i know someone who is presently engaged in some form of emissary work in one of the central to eastern regions of Europe. when i informed them of the fact that i had Davidoff Classics they were most excited. they told me that these were the number one brand of choice amongst the trendy, the fashionistas and the image conscious in central Europe. this, i am led to believe, is due to a rather mistaken idea that "Davidoff" is a truncated or if you like abridged version of "David Hasselhoff", which much of central Europe believing he to be the very personification of style.

my feeling is that those white filters on the cigarettes are ones which are normally only found on fags designed for the rather more female kind of lady market. i suspect, then, that Spiros went into a store and asked the proprietor to sell him a packet of fags for "men who like men and want to show other men that this is the case when they see them smoke one".

alas, no, i was not approached by any gentlemen as i had one, but if you want to see me smoking one of them, here you go.


i am indeed wearing the legendary Zama jacket in the above image. this is the jacket, for those of you not in the know, that young Zama procured for me from the back of Johannesburg's main taxi rank. it's a Levi's one, or at least that's what it says on the partially correct sewn on label. Zama assured me that it would withstand the ice and snow of England. i keep testing it and finding it to be short.

are Davidoff Classic fags any good? no, but yes. yes because they are free cigarettes, and here in England these are not to be overlooked. also they were a gift of love off of Spiros. no because they have a rather coarse and try taste. it's all that "feels like toilet paper" filter stuff they have on the go; a phenomenon one would normally associate with French fags.

the above is, presumably, the nicotine and tar levels of Davidoff Classic written in the format preferred by the people and indeed the authorities of the Ukraine. no, other than a rudimentary guess at the numbers, i have no idea what that all translates as.

many thanks once again, then, to Spiros for his exceeding kindness with his fags. i do rather look forward to his next international voyage and seeing what cigarettes he finds for me next.

remember - smoking is bad for you and those around you, don't do it, etc.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

a shorter day of release

hello there

and yea, so it came to pass that the gods of music continued to giveth just as they taketh. yet another album of quality and note has been released in 2016, look you see, with this most recent one coming off of renowned metal merchants Metallica.

for it is, despite what you will read here, a very good album. it just did not, in a digital capacity, require the need for a release in the form of a double album as such. we shall get to that momentarily.

one of the most gratifying, welcome and pleasant elements of this release is that HMV, presumably in a moment of madness, ostensibly remembered that at heart they are a music store and actually went right ahead promoting some new music on its day of release.

oh yes, that's what i am talking about - a poster for a new record up in the front window of the store on the day you can actually first buy it, and not a couple of days later as an afterthought. as you can see, HMV considered a new Metallica record to be almost as important as one off of Bruno Mars, whoever that is, and decidedly more prominent that Craig David. nice one.

promotion of the record did not end there, but you shall, if you stick with this, see that across various images below.

as you can see, the standard 2 CD price is a hefty £14.99. there is a "deluxe" 3CD edition for £17.99. if you are going to purchase Hardwired....To Self Destruct off of Metallica, please get the 3CD version. the reasons for this were alluded to, actually explicitly stated, in some musings what i wrote yesterday, but more on that in a bit.

indeed that is Metallica's shiny new record sat at the toppermost of the poppermost of HMV's temple of what is new and what is trending in the world of music. a quite high placing, it seems - none higher, as point of fact. placing them above, as you can see, the latest mishmash of someone taking the fine vocals of The King, Elvis Presley and dubbing them over some orchestra.

we're hardly cutting to the chase at this point, but if your question is one of whether or not Hardwired....To Self Destruct is any good, the answer is oh yes. it's excellent. right across all 12 tracks and all 77 minutes and 30 seconds of it. and that latter bit gets to the heart of an issue with this release.

here's a rundown, then, of the technical specifications of the three disc set :

disc 1 - 6 tracks, 37 minutes 12 seconds
disc 2 - 6 tracks, 40 minutes 18 seconds
disc 3 - 17 tracks, 79 minutes 38 seconds.

conclusion - there was no good reason at all to make Hardwired....To Self Destruct a double CD release. the whole album would have fitted on to one CD with ease. and yet here we are, a double CD release, with the two disc standard version costing £5 north of what a standard one CD release would be.

make no mistake. i am aware that when it comes to vibes that quality is always, always, always more important than quantity. for example, a 30 minute David Lee Roth vocal record off of Van Halen priced at £10 would always be infinitely better quality and of immeasurably higher quality than a cheaper or even free Van Halen record that had Sammy Hagar doing whatever the hell it is he's supposed to be doing on it.

this is not, then, a criticism or dig or go at Metallica for not making it longer as such, but it is a criticism of them for fleecing the fans for a higher cost record than it needed to be. and yes, in fairness, in a somewhat commercially suicidal move i do appreciate that the band effectively gave the record away for free the day before release, putting on the internet as they did videos for each of the twelve songs.

in respect of the latter there is absolutely no point me putting snippets of the songs here as you can hear the whole thing across the net anyway. but getting to the main point of above, this is not quite the first time a double CD release has courted controversy or caused eyebrows to be raised.

the standard maximum capacity of a music CD is 80 minutes. there is a slightly bigger version that you can get 90 minutes on, but 80 is the main one used. this has not always been the case; when CD technology came along in the 80s the maximum you could get on one disc was either 74 or 76 minutes.

that copy of Tommy by The Who you can see is a double disc version. it's the first generation release, and features both sides of lp 1 on disc one, same arrangement for disc two. as and when CD technology allowed for more vibes to be placed on a CD, it was reissued as a single disc. the same is true for London Calling off of The Clash, which i have here somewhere. this is fair enough.

somewhere i also have a first generation copy of 1999 off of Prince. it is a single disc version, but omits the epic ways of D.M.S.R. in order for it to fit on an 80s technology single CD. i believe later issues put the song back on it. but still, it was released in a way to make it affordable during a time when record labels could charge whatever the hell they liked for music, as there was no such thing as "streaming" or downloads, unless you call taping something off the radio as downloading a stream.

when The Beatles got around to putting out their Red and Blue "greatest hits" records on CD, much in the way of complaint was raised of Red being a double CD. the two discs in their entirety run for just a few seconds over 60 minutes. with that being the case, many were critical, saying it was wasteful and that it should have been issued as a single disc. the argument back from The Beatles and the record label was that they wished to "preserve the way it was originally released". understandable as aesthetics are important to the art of owning music, but then again it's not like they made double sided CDs to preserve anything.

that is indeed me holding my £17.99 3 CD copy of the record, inside HMV no less. i very nearly bought just the standard 2 CD for £14.99 but thought no, let me splash the extra £3. just as well that i did, as if i had bought the 2 CD and discovered the things above at home this review would be a good deal more negative.

going back to aesthetics, and there's no excuse that Metallica can hide behind for making this release a 2 CD affair. as you can see in one of the pictures it's not like the discs have any special design on them. the packaging could have been the same with 1 CD in too. also, going on a couple of listens, there's no good "thematic" or content reason why the album should be split over two discs.

disappointingly, then, the only reason this has been split over a double compact disc set as far as i can see is so that they may charge us, the humble fans, £5 more than standard for it. there are those who would say such a move is "typical Metallica", but i'd say that's unfair - in my experience they've always been first rate with fans, giving some astonishing value.

that's the unprecedented second display inside the store what HMV have for the record, ensuring the fans and the casual vibes browser can spot it. mindful of the above, in terms of capacity and preserving audio quality yes of course it makes sense to release Hardwired....To Self Destruct as a double vinyl set. which is what they have done.

the most outstanding tracks on the record? well, the first two released, Hardwired and Moth Into Flame remain my favourites, but there's not a bad one. in regards of the "bonus" disc, the four extra songs are all decent (and if they had been shoved on the two discs of the album there would be no complaints about making it a double), whilst the live recordings are most splendid. splendid indeed, but then again don't forget the magnificent Live Metallica site, where one can get some outstanding quality official live recordings - ones that sound better than what is on this disc - for a good price. as in some of them are free.

in this day and age it's awfully trendy to refer to any artists' latest release as "their best and most important since....[randomly selected record]". the best example of this was David Bowie, when somehow the critics decided that both The Next Day and then Blackstar were "the best and most important thing" he had done since Scary Monsters. which overlooked some quality, but anyway. to this end, Hardwired....To Self Destruct is easily Metallica's best and most important album since Death Magnetic, which happens to be the last album off them before this. people claiming that Hardwired is a "return" to their classic sound clearly never heard Magnetic, for that was very much classic Metallica.

despite the gripe of the nature of how this has been released, make no mistake - Hardwired is a mighty fine and impressive album. i would suspect that any and all Metallica fans will have, like me, gone and bought this already. should you be reading this and have somehow forgotten that you quite liked the band, go right ahead and get this, in its 3 CD condition, and remember it all.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

love descends on those defenceless


should i be quite so interesting enough to have any stalkers out there, depending on to what extent their enthusiasm for this goes they will know this next bit. as part of my sort of morning ritual thing, look you see, i can be found - in an admittedly unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed state - around the grounds of outside enjoying a cigarette.no, this isn't good for you, etc, but no matter.

recently i have, due to the infinite generosity of Spiros, been enjoying quite the bounty of fags off an unspecified Eastern European nation, or if you like Ukraine. a full, wholesome blog on all of that shall come soon, but the point here is that my ritual was today one met, if not greeted, by a particular site.

the above are indeed the elements of tree, or if you like wood, what William claimed as his own from Cod Beck. you may wish to see the procurement of those aspects of tree, and you are quite welcome to do so by clicking here. this, the bark and the branches, is of course not of what i write today. no, it's them elements of nature that you can see upon them.

this would indeed be one of them blog posts about snow, since we are now apparently in snow season. sorry for the misleading title, but all the same google it away and find a most boss song from which it comes, if you are of a mind to do so.

yes, a smattering of snow has hit our lands. as you can see not an excessive amount, for whilst it clung to existence upon the wood the grass and soil managed to soak up all that had fallen. cars, to be sure, are not particularly known for their ability to simply "soak up" snow, and so that was a different proposition all together, i will have you know.

yep, that's the windscreen of my wheels, man, and there over in the distance you can see the mobile of choice off of my (considerably) better half.

this was not, of course, that lovely, nice, picturesque and crisp (hello, Faye) snow that is the stuff of movies and postcards. no, this was all that crappy, mostly solid ice type of snow. the one that must have at some stage inspired the creation of super glue, such is the enthusiasm with which it clutches to the surface of a windscreen.

about half an hour, ladies and gentlemen. that's how long it took me to clear off enough of this stuff this morning, armed with a tin of de-icer off of Poundland and a window scraper, to make my car reasonably safe to drive. that will teach me to not neglect putting my deflector shield windscreen protector on.

hang on, you ask, wasn't today another day of release on the vibes front? indeed it was and indeed i did.

that is my "deluxe" 3 CD copy of Hardwired To Self Destruct off of Metallica. £17.99 is what HMV charged me for it. a full "day of release" blog to follow after i have had a proper listen. for now, though, a warning - do not buy the standard 2 CD version fo £14.99. if you do you will get very annoyed as both discs of this double album, it turns out, would comfortably fit on 1 CD, going on the running time.

but hey, nice packaging, etc. more of Metallica later, no doubt over the weekend. for now, though, you want more of my plight in the snow. specifically i am assuming you want to see snow on the windscreen in VIC 20 mode. let me make that happen for you.

the snow which fell was, as no doubt you have pretty much gathered, quite limited. it was also, it would seem, quite limited to our more rural of lands in Yorkshire, as the great metropolitan centres of our area were mostly untouched by the stuff.

i say mostly. far be it from me, after all, to deny those that dwell within the more city style areas a glimpse at some snow. whereas i cleaned off the windows, i really could not be bothered to get the snow off of the roof. i mean, yeah, sure, it was going to melt and my most useful sunroof does have ever such a slight leak, but i've noticed that the puddle as a consequence of this usually forms on the passenger side, and my occasional co-pilot does not mind if he gets a bit wet.

to that extent, then, by the time that i had pulled into the luxurious, award winning car park near where i go to verk of a morning, the snow was very much still on the roof of the car.

was all that snow still there when i finished verk? no, it had gone. also it hadn't formed a puddle on the passenger seat. who knows, perhaps my theory has finally come into being and cars now really do just fix themselves as and when something goes wrong.

some suggest that snow now means a long, somewhat formidable winter ahead of us. i am unconvinced. sure, it's getting cold and will stay that way. i have, however, in the past (rather than the future) seen it be that some snow hits in November, then does not return until the following February. hey ho, what shall be and all that; it's not like anything that i say or write will influence what nature brings this way.

yes, sure, as previewed in this post, over the weekend i shall try and get some details on Ukrainian cigarettes and Metallica records on this blog for you. in the mean time, for now and at all times,

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

collection expansion

hello there

that thing which sometimes happens to me has happened again. every now and then, look you see, quite by chance my vibes collection sort of grows by accident. sometimes i set off with absolutely no intention of acquiring more music in a physical, digital form and yet it happens.

what did i get this time? ostensibly three albums as such, but in total five shiny new discs.

yes, it is indeed true that the music i bought - for i am one of those who remains of the belief that actually paying for and physically owning music is a good thing - is of quite the American slant. as, bar some slight appearances on the Barbs one, there's no British or if you like English talents on the go. and, strangely, the quality does not suffer as a consequence.

a quick gander and look at their relative merits and faults? sure, why not, since i've gone to the trouble of taking some pictures. and, you know, listening to the music.

to be quite honest, of the three this Springsteen one was the third choice. it was bought mostly as a makeweight in a deal that was brokered with HMV, which we shall get to. it's not that i've got anything against he who is called The Boss. far from it. being a fan means that i've got most, if not all, of his albums, and so yet another "best of" didn't have much appeal. this was in particular with regards to the fact that the "bonus", the five previously unreleased tracks, had got far from great reviews.

so, if we assume that 13 of the tracks on this set are well known, what are these 5 otherwise unreleased ones like? i wouldn't call any of them essential, but one called The Ballad Of Jesse James really caught my ear. He's Guilty isn't bad either, and the apparent critics choice of the best, Henry Boy is decent. Springsteen completists will have no doubt already had these songs on bootlegs anyway, or rushed off to get this CD as soon as it was released. for the passing Springsteen fan i would suggest that nothing in the five that you won't have anywhere else is all that essential.

this CD has been released as a "companion" to the apparently long awaited Springsteen autobiography, which i believe has the same name. awaited by who, i wonder. granted, i am not really much of a non-fiction reader, but i have absolutely no interest in this memoir. as far as i am concerned, anything i could possibly wish to know about the life and times of Bruce Springsteen, or what he thinks about stuff, is right there in the music he's created.

as mentioned above, this CD was bought as a dealbreaker. the new(ish) Barbs album, Encore, had finally been reduced in price and was on the 2 for £15 offer. my choices of something else to get with that were The Boss, or take a punt on the new Barry Gibb album (very nearly did), or get a new(ish) McCartney compilation that i had slight interest in. money spent on McCartney, after all, is money not spent on Ringo.

also i suppose i could have just got two copies of the Barbs album, but i didn't think of that until now.

what is this? theoretically it's a sequel to Barbs' last outing, the seminal and celebrated Partners record, on which she allowed lesser artists to perform on songs with her, albeit for the most part without letting them be in the same studio as her. in regards of the latter, a similar thing happens here, as the pictures in the book shows how much Barbs tolerates certain other, lesser artists by whether or not they were permitted to record their smaller parts of the songs in the same studio.

it was disappointing to firstly pay £7.50 for this and secondly to only get the standard edition. Partners i got as part of a 2 for £10 deal, and it was the special edition. i suppose i could have held out a bit longer and got it cheaper eventually, but hey, the opportunity arose.

what's the record like? quite good. a lot of it is Barbs telling some remarkably sexist jokes, and Barbs telling certain so-called celebrities that they are simply nowhere near her level or stature. there's also a bit of singing here and there, with the songs ostensibly being from classical musicals of stage and screen fame.

any particular highlights? not really, beyond the obvious moments of when every time Barbs sings anything at all, or when you can hear an inkling of that private little snort when one of her guests has a go at singing. him off of new Star Trek is on it, as well as him off of X Men, her off of new Star Wars, him off of Collateral that wasn't Tom Cruise and him that used to be married (i think) to her off of LA Confidential all appear, along with some others.

whilst i am happy to have it, i would also say that i would totes wait for it, or even better the special edition version, to be an even more reasonable price to buy it. it's what Barbs would want.

third, final and best, then, is this smart three disc collection of The Rat Pack. not that The Rat Pack was an actual band as such, but, well, you know who they are, or were. 

US Presidents always get smart code names. i believe the one for Obama was Renegade. no idea what the new one would be. if any of these three had become President, and let's be honest in retrospect that would have been quite smart, their code names would have been, in the order that they appear above, Drinks, Glass Eye and Chairman.

just look at them on the cover, man. dressed smart, having a drink and a fag, enjoying some conversation and no doubt keeping an eye out for the dames. stylish. more stylish than me, anyhow.

usually it is The King, Elvis Presley who is described as the first rock and roll star. i believe Lennon said "before Elvis there was nothing". true, perhaps, but arguably Mr Sinatra was the first "popular music" star. it's easy to forget how, as far back as the 40s, he attracted the kind of adulation, attention and star status that perhaps we only associate with musicians from the 60s onwards.

perhaps i am getting old, but i am really, really loving this 3 CD set. beautiful, big band swing and just some of the finest vocal performances ever recorded. wonderful, charming, relaxing and enjoyable songs too, each and every one of the 75 featured here. and yes, the split is pretty much fair across the three artists.

would it be fair to suggest that The Rat Pack were sort of like a prototype, early days American version of anticipating Chas n Dave? yes, and no.

cost of this set in coins of money? £3 off of Tesco. bargain of note, as the music is priceless.

anyhow, i am off to listen to them some more. whilst i highly doubt that such a thing would be possible, to be sure, hopefully some snippets of information above have proved of interest.

which of The Rat Pack would i think would have made the best President? totally Dean Martin. for Mr Sinatra the presidency would have been a massive step down in terms of how much power he had, and Sammy would have been too busy doing all that smart dancing to be dealing with trade agreements.

dig whatever it is you dig when it comes to listening to vibes, man.

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