Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Beware Big Brother Blair is Watching You

and what a responsible big brother he is....

first I hear on the culture show that the new licensing laws are about to make it very difficult for people putting on musical events on a small scale. I checked this out today and it does appear to be true, check this link.

It sems that it will be ok for pubs that already have an entertainments liscence but the ones that suffer will be the ones that don't. Up until now they were allowed to have small scale acoustic performances of 1 or 2 people. So this could include pubs that run folk clubs etc. The new rule suggest that it will be a fairer system now that they have abolished the two in a bar loophole, however I disagree, some of those pubs will never be granted a full entertainment liscence because of their location, and quite rightly so - a full entertainments liscence would mean that they could have a full scale electric rock band if they wanted. But the other glaringly obvious fact is that the government are going to making a lot more money out of it all, whilst small businesses suffer.

And this will affect outdoor entertainments like street fairs and festivals too....

and if that wasn't enough to get your toes curling uncomfortably it was implied on the news that dear old Tone is about to do a u-turn on the nuclear power issue and announce plans to build a load more nuclear power stations...can you believe it?? what amazed me though was that according to the news report I saw on the BBC Britain has 22 nuclear power stations already! 22! I had no idea at all that there were that many.

Anyway the trouble is it seems that gas is running short and prices are rising etc etc. Maybe someone should suggest applying more stringent measures to save energy rather than just raising the supply for the rising demand. For instance how about a law making it an offence for shops to keep their doors open all day long in the winter. It is a common marketing belief that an open door means you are more welcoming and hence more likely to get passing trade. Well yes that seems logical, but in the depths of winter does it make sense for shopkeepers to be standing in hats etc whilst the heat slips unnoticed out into the street. Or worse still (the increasingly common practice) that there is a massive heater above the door blasting out heat to try and combat the icy blasts.

And then I read in last weeks Sunday paper that the British government were thinking of pulling out of the global warming agreement (the Kyoto protocol). Now is that dim or what?

Now if you want my opinion (which I'm sure you don't but I'll give it to you anyway!) there is a lot of sensible measures that governments could take to reduce energy wastage. For example:

Only manufacturing low energy lightbulbs for ordiary household use.

prohibiting councils from lighting their Christmas lights until December.

Making sure that every household has loft insulation.

Banning shops from keeping their doors open all day in cold weather and fining them if they do.

incentives to schools colleges and business to use low energy lighting.

Scrap any plans for new nuclear missiles (for gods sake!) and spend the money on renewable, sustainable energy.

etc etc...

Cheesy rock songs.....

It's a VERY cold and frosty morning here. So cold that ezing cold even though the heating is on...brrrr.

Spent a large part of yesterday making a compilation of soft rock air guitar type tunes...great fun and then thoroughly enjoyed lkistening to it...even if it is a bit cheesy.

tracks as follows:
Aerosmith - Janies Got a Gun
Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead or Alive
Bad Company - Can't Get Enough of your Love
Guns n Roses - Welcome to the Jungle
Guns n Roses - Paradise City
Guns n Roses - Civil War
Aerosmith - Dream On (recommended!)
Whitesnake - Here I go Again on my Own
Pearl Jam - Better Man (recommended!)
Cold - Stupid Girl
Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day
Bon Jovi - Keep the Faith
Bon Jovi - It's my Life
Chad Kroeger - Hero
Guns n Roses - Sweet Child of Mine
The Calling - Wherever you will go

I think my next task will be to make a less cheesy rock cd with all my old faves like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

reality Kicks in

have been slightly concerned to notice that of late this blog seems to be mainly about music - that's obviously just where I'm at at the moment. And true to form this entry is about music too (although I could make it about how incredibly sexy David Bowie is I suppose!)

This evening I revisited the Reality Tour DVD that Hunchermuncher bought me last year and was amazed at how fresh it sounded. I especially enjoyed the live version of Hello Spaceboy, which is much heavier than the Pet Shop Boys mix (which incidently I love) but somehow seems to work even better. DB is looking sexier than he has done for along time and probably has the best band he has had ever or at least since Young Americans.

All in all it was a most enjoyable hour and I don't know why I haven't watched it again sooner. I may have to dig out my DVD of the Bowie videos at the weekend.

Bowie videos now there's a thing, the most critically acclaimed video is usually Ashes to Ashes but I have to confess that innovative though it was at the time it doesn't do much for me now, and some of the other late 70s early 80s vids are very dated (boys Keep swinging and DJ for example). I suppose if I was pushed my favourite videos are Jump they Say, hearts Filthy Lesson and my absolute favourite Time Will Crawl.

Albums You Just Can't Live Without.....

Last night I was posed a hard challenge - if you can only keep 10 albums what would they be? Harder than it sounds, and I find that I am still thinking about it this morning...this is what thay are at the moment - in no particular order.

David Bowie - Young Americans
David Gray - White Ladder
John Martyn - Solid Air
Bob Dylan - Desire
Lightning Seeds - Pure
Sting - Brand New Day
Horslips - Aliens
Mich Gerber - The Endless String
Pink Floyd - Relics (tough choice between that and Wish You wre Here)
Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks (couldn't decide between this and Hard nose the Highway or Moondance by Van Morrison, but decided I like Bob marginally more)

If I could choose 5 compilations to go with it they would be
The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
The Clash - Essential Clash
Roxy Music - Greatest Hits
Genesis - Greatest Hits
And The Soundtrack from the film Consequences of Love

of course I may change my mind later, and if I wasn't allowed essential Clash the London Calling would probably have to go in my top 10, which would mean a big rethink. Aladdin Sane and Hunky Dory by David Bowie would be hard to live without too.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

1000 albums

Got a really good book this week called 1000 albums you must hear before you die. I was encouraged to find that I owned have owned quite a few of them, and as for the ones I haven't ... well that should keep me out of mischief for a while!

Currently listening to some good stuff on the MP3 player, Oasis who I have just rediscovered after falling out of love with them quite a while ago, a couple of Aerosmith tracks - I have never really liked them all that much but have recently discovered that some of their stuff is ok, Pearl Jam - my absolute fave of theirs being "Better Man", Garbage, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Vines, Massive Attack, Madonna, good old Bob Dylan and David Bowie, oh yes and I have to confess to putting a couple of Whitesnake tracks on there for old times sake.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Top 10 Songs About Cars

1) Cars - Gary Numan
Have loved this since it came out in 80s (or was it 70s?). Anyway it still sounds good today and has been sampled many times, which only stands as a testiment to it's greatness.

2) Wish I had a Grey Cortina - Tom Robinson Band (TRB)
A gem from my youth.... "Grey Cortina, nothing meaner...." Now who else writes great lyrics like that??? Well Jarvis cocker perhaps...

3) Silver Thunderbird - Marc Cohn
Apparently if there is a god in heaven he will be driving one of these....

4) Slick Black Limousine - Alice Cooper
It would have to be black for Alice wouldn't it?

5) Little Red Corvette - Prince
Little red corvette
Baby you’re much 2 fast
Little red corvette
U need a love that’s gonna last

6) Greased Lightning - John Travolta
From the Film Grease - I was a huge fan of this film when it first came out (I was about 12!) and I can still remember the words to all of the songs.

7) I'm in Love With My Car - Queen
The inimitable Queen - "Got a feel for my automobile..."

8) I like Driving in My Car - Madness
"I like driving in my car, it is not a Jaguar" Classy stuff!

9) Mercede Benz - Janis Joplin
An absolute corker of a classic, no car related top ten would be complete without it!

10) Pink Cadillac - Bruce Springsteen/ Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
A tie for last place in the top 10, not one of my faves by the boss, but very definitely about cars! And an old fave by tracy Chapman - Nice.

Well there you have it, a nice bit of silliness on a Monday evening, well it keeps me amused anyway....

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Here we are,
Residents of the United States of Blair,
Our every move dictated to,

nannied, surveyed,
Feeding on a diet of mixed messages
and alcopop.

Our minds washed dirty
by soap operas
and reality TV,

Fearful of both neighbours and strangers,
our lives polluted
by noise and exhaust fumes,

our brains fried to a crisp
by microwaves.
And do we complain?

we keep a stiff upper lip,
we fight each other in schools,

and outside nightclubs,
We rage on roads like
car clogged arteries,

In our PC isolation we anihalate baddies
and crash cars
in the name of fun,

We are the alien nation,
kidding ourselves we are free....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Top 10 Punk/New Wave (and why the Sex Pistols aren't in it!)

This is my personal top 10 Punk/New Wave bands. I know that the Sex Pistols are cited as the epitome of punk rock and all it stood for, but more musically influential by far ( and musically and intellectually superior) were the Clash. The Clash were at the forefront of 70s and 80s politicism, as well as being musically brave and experimental. They unashamedly mixed up reggae riffs and bass lines with frantic punk rock and their lyrics were hugely pertinent to the Thatcher years and the youth living through them (Jail Guitar Doors, White Man in Hammersmith Palais, Stay Free, London Calling etc).

I first saw the Clash on an early evening teen orientated programme on BBC2. I forget the name of the programme, but there was a spate of them on the BBC and channel 4 in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They usually ran along the lines of a couple of bands playing in the studio, a couple of journalistic features on some topic relevant to youth and a studio debate about a similar topic (abortion, drugs, etc).

Anyway the Clash performed Clash City Rockers and I was mesmirised - I went straight down to Woolies at the weekend and was lucky enough to find one copy - not much call for that sort of thing in Thetford apparently - and so began my punk phase.

I wore a hideous gold lurex dress that I purchased in a juble sale and which was falling apart, an oversized mans jacket covered in badges (Rock Against racism, Anti Nazi League, etc - all purchased from the small ads of melody maker) and lace up brown ankle boots that had pockets on the side. I must have looked apalling and I wish that I had a photo!

I am ashamed to say that until recently the only Clash album that I bought was London Calling, although I did buy most of their early singles, shunning the later covers like Police and Theives as too commercial. But I have always had a fondness for the Clash and was delighted last year when I discovered that the film Rude Boy had been released on DVD. I had been desperate to see it when it came out but I was too you - it was an 18 and I was about 13 at the time.

Rude Boy is an excellent historic record of what Britain was like in the Thatcher years, in fact bits of it should be shown in history lessons at high school. The only downer for me was that it really made me regret the fact that I had never managed to see the Clash play live. The live footage of the band is truly outstanding - I could watch it over and over again. The band has such a unique energy and stage prescence - something that is sadly lacking in a lot of modern bands (Green day and Kaiser Chiefs excepted). And whatever criticisms have been lavelled at Joe Strummer over his background there is no denying that he had incredible drive, a quick witted intelligence, a finger on the pulse of the times and a fantastically energetic and charasmatic stage prescence - in short "He Rocked!"

Top Ten Punk/New Wave Bands
  1. Stiff Little Fingers another excellent band and one that is still going strong. I used to love the single At the Edge.

Those that didn't quite make it but are worthy of a mention: Sex Pistols, Blondie, The Rezillos, X Ray spex, The Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Angelic Upstarts, Sham 69, The Tourists (later to become Eurythmics!), and Siouxie and the Banshees.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Take me back to the teen Disco....

I think that what I really need in my life right now is a good old fashioned disco - you know the kind you went to when you were 13. Where they sold bottles of coca cola and packets of crisps. I used to go to the 13 - 15 year olds disco at the community centre on our estate - it all seemed very exciting back then. They used to play gems like Le Freak by Chic, Supernature by Cerrone, Abba, Boney M, Baccara, Donna Summer...... And if you were really lucky you might get asked to dance to I'm not in love or some other smoochy record (if you were really lucky you might get asked by someone you actually wanted to dance with).

Oh the heady days of youth....however, it's not the teen hormones that I am missing but a good old fashioned disco where you can go and dance your socks off. It's just not the same doing it alone in your living room and night clubs these days are full of aggressive drunks, well they are here anyway. Ahhh well back to the living room with me......

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Top 5 Songs about Home

Top 5 Songs about Home
1) Going Home - John Martyn
From the most excellent album Solid Air. Great to sing along to in the car late at night when you and a friend are on your way home on the back roads.

2) Home - Lene Lovich

Actually the anithisis of a home coming song as the last line is lets go to your house. But home isn't always about feeling safe and I'm sure we've all had times in our life when we rather go to "your" house!

3) Coming Home - Deep Purple

From the album Come taste the band.

4) John Denver - Country Road

Not keen on John Denver but this song conveys that feeling that you get when you are on your way home after a long trip and are feeling glad to be on your way.

5) Our House - Crosby Stlls nash and Young

Our house,

Is a very, very, very nice house.....

6) I'll Find My Way Home - Jon and Vangelis

Ok well that was 6 but hey who's counting???

I'm sure that there are loads more even homlier songs out there......

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Road to....10 Great Songs about Roads

Top 10 Songs About Roads
Now here's a bit of silliness for you.....
Not actually my favourite road song but is number one by virtue of the fact that the yellow Brick Road in question has appeared in two songs, and making it number one means I don't have to include the original!
A modern day classic! Green Day have evolved into something amazing with their last album and long may it continue.
A somewhat depressing look at american city life by the master of cynicism.
One of my faves from the all american boss who tells it like it is.
Great song from the 1980s by the Heads, Road to Nowhere is also the name of a band and you can hear them here.
Probably favourite Straits track (along with Local Hero) and one of their longest too.
A first melodic entry for the fab four.
The Sabbaths before they were ruined by drink and drugs...
Probably Americas most famous road, and done by many artists - I like this version though!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Autumn Leaves and songs that sum up modern America

Golden Autumn Leaves
Originally uploaded by pupski.
Freaky beaky - autumn is upon us. I took this pic of autumn leaves last week and although I really like it, sadly it has only had three views on Flickr, whereas the other leaf pics that weren't so good have had more visits - weird. Anyway I love autumn as I think I have said before, the air smells of bonfires, gunpowder and leaf mold, the colours are glorious and the sounds are great too.

Not listened to much music this week. Last week was a cross between old rock hits (Guns n Roses, Whitesnake, Crosby Stills Nash & Young etc) and modern Brits (Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs etc) with a bit of Clash, U2, Stereophonics and Rezillos thrown in for good measure!

Thinkin what would one have in a top ten that was really american, you could do the obvious choices like New York, New York, Born in the USA and American Pie. But that would be a bit cliche and boring. I can see that I am going to have to give some seious thought to this.

Immediate tracks that spring to mind are Small Town Boy by John Cougar Mellancamp (or even Jack and Diane?), The River by Bruce Springsteen, and maybe something by Green Day.

more later......

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Top 10 Very English Songs

I was thinking about the Kaiser Cheifs and what it is that makes them so English. There are some bands and some particular songs that are very English. I don't mean incredibly naff english - but something almost indefinable. It might be cultural references, humour, accent or just plain English quirkiness but some bands just have it and others don't. Anyway I was so inspired that I decided to compile a
TOP 10 of Very English Songs

1) Morrisey - Every Day is Like Sunday
2) Pulp - Common People
3) Blur - Parklife
4) Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict a Riot
5) Pulp - Lipgloss
6) The Specials - Too Much Too Young
7) Suede - Filmstar
8) UB40 - One in Ten
9) Madness - House of Fun
10) The Smiths - Suffer Little Children/ Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen

These were just some of the tracks that I came up with whilst sitting in the cafe the other day but I am absolutely sure that there are tons more, probably some even better examples.

The Reasons.....

Morrisey - well "share some greased tea with me..." english seaside cafes come in one of two varieties, the type that serve greasy everything (and probably still allow smoking) or the kind full of doillies and old ladies. Everyone knows about what english seaside towns are like out of season, I wonder if it is the same elsewhere in the world...

Pulp - well you can't really get more English than Pulp can you? Geeky glasses, wooly jumpers, St Martins College, supermarkets, lipgloss and a sardonic sense of humour.... Jarvis we salute you!

Blur, another quintessentially English band, this track references such cultural icons as adverts, brewers droop, pigeons, joggers, dustmen and features another iconic figure, the actor Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia).

Suede - Filmstar, an elegant sir, A terylene shirt, it looks so easy, Filmstar, an elegant sir, In a terylene shirt tonight......

The Specials - what is more English than teenage pregnancy - it was a toss up between this track and Ghost Town.

Madness - now anyone British will get what this song is about, but not sure anyone else would get it.

The Smiths - anyone over the age of 25 in Britain will know about the Moors Murders in the 1960s....

Sex Pistols - an oh so English Band, born out of repression and bordom and a healthy disrespect for the monarchy - this was released in the year of Queen Elizabeth's silver jubilee 1976!

UB40 - this song is not just about britain, but those early UB40 tracks sum up the bleakness of the Thatcher years for Britain's youth. Funny seems that things are starting to feel alittle like that again under this Labour government - now I never thought that I would hear myself say that!