Saturday, September 24, 2011

Alright, Still - Lily Allen

This is an artist that on paper, I shouldn't like. However, it is inspite of everything else that I still enjoy the music on this album and her voice, phrasing and  songwriting. I love the melodies, the lyrics and the ska beats and horns. There is an Englishness to the songs that appeals to me and the personal nature to them. I know there are some mockney jibes about her and I'm pretty sure that she didn't grow up on the streets in poverty. But my exposure to the tabloids is fairly limited, so I have listened to the music more than I've read about her. I don't like the whole album to the same degree but there are some wonderful songs on this.

Favourite track: Knock 'Em Out

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Over the last few years I've found life generally more difficult in various ways. I did think long ago that life for me would be sorted once I got a regular job with good pay, a car of my own, a wife, kiddies and a house. I have all of those things and yet sometimes I don't feel any happier than when I didn't have any of it. Life is certainly more complicated the more involved you get. I often say the wrong things or react in the wrong way or even just appear to be thinking a wrong thought and then everything turns toxic. I probably am very difficult to live with sometimes. Short of a personality transplant I don't know what the answer is. At times I just think I'm sliding down a slope and have nothing to hang on to anymore.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mellow Music for a Sunday night

Hope you like this song by two great artists.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Big Fat Moon

Hasn't the moon been big and fat recently? I love the moon when it's big and fat and close to the horizon and there is still enough sunlight before the sun goes down. I overheard a question on the radio this week, asking how much does the moon weigh. The answer was of course some ludicrously heavy amount, actually it weighs nothing but has a mass of several million million kilos.

To be precise :  mass of the Moon = 7.36 × 1022 kilograms

The moon is a thing of beauty I think. Something to be observed from a distance, rather than seen up close - I have no desire to set foot on the moon. I do wonder whether man will ever have the resources and patience to venture into space and colonise another planet? We know so little about the universe really. I do find it fascinating to listen to scientists who try to make the complexities of quantum physics understandable to the common man. I wanted to be a mad scientist when I was a young boy, inventing rocket ships and ray guns. I still do have those desires infact. Never going to happen though - I just don't have the processing power in my brain to do calculations and I think you need to have a great deal of brain versatility to become a physicist. Dreaming doesn't hurt though does it?

Mary Lou Lord

I first heard about this album while reading a glowing review of it in Melody Maker. That particular music paper no longer exists. This was back in the 1990s. It's one of the few albums that actually lived up to the glowing review. It is simple, folksy music but quite charming at the same time. I think all the songs are cute and catchy and deeper than they first seem. I don't know how many copies of this were ever sold, I suspect it wasn't produced in the same quantities as more popular artists, being released on K Records (I think, writing this without it in front of me). I vaguely remember there was some connection with Kurt Cobain and I don't think Courtney Love approved - I believe I even read a news story once that Courtney bashed Mary Lou but that might just be complete nonsense dreamed up by an over-imaginative journo.

Favourite track: The Bridge

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Need for Art

I realised today that I love art. It allows me to explore the creative minds of other human beings and make insightful connections that would otherwise be lost or trampled. It sounds trite but there is a simple fact in this.I believe that when I'm being creative it actually helps me to relax and understand myself, and possibly others, better. For too much of the time I'm stressed about work or other stuff. I sometimes think how peoples lives change, go in unexpected directions, not through their own choice. And I wonder if anything like that will happen to me. Or will I carry on and keep going as I have been for the last few years. I don't have any answers to the question, of course. But it must be nice to do what you love every day, instead of doing what you have to, in order to earn money. Art can be an escape from the humdrum of reality. I like that too about art.
I'm pleased that P.J. Harvey won the Mercury Music Prize this year, I love her work, it's so original and interesting.

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon. I was at work when it happened back in 2001, I remember seeing a photograph on the web of WTC1 with smoke pouring out of it - live streaming of the BBC website was not possible since so many browsers were trying to access it. At first I could only accept that it was a terrible accident, a plane hitting the tower. I thought the terrorism theory was just scaremongering. Then the second plane hit and I could scarcely believe it. It was beyond my comprehension, beyond the realm of real life. Then the tower's collapse, to be followed by the collapse of the second tower. The terrorists could not have known that their attack would prove so effective. It is so shocking to be alive and watching something like that. In 100 years time it will be in our history books. May all the victims of that day rest in peace and the people who survive them find the strength and courage to live their lives day by day with a place in their hearts reserved for loved ones lost.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Let me introduce my new feature...

I've introduced a new label tag to this blog, if you select the tag 'albums' you'll start to see my posts of albums I consider to be very good. In each of these posts I will tell a story or say why I think the album is so good and I will include my favourite track or tracks.
Who knows, you may even read the entry and consider a listen, if it's not an album you've heard - or you might agree or disagree with the album by the band or track on the album. If you feel strongly, why not post a comment?
This is going to be a pretty permanent feature because I have so many great albums and discover new ones all the time. I hope you like reading these and that it inspires you in some way or other...

Paranoid - Black Sabbath

I can listen to this album all day and never get bored. As the starting point for a new feature of this blog, I can't think of a better way to begin. Sabbath came up with so many great riffs in their early albums, it seems like they must have made some kind of pact with the devil (of course, they did no such thing and actually thought a lot of the black magic brigade at the time were nutters). The story of the band is well known, Tony Iommi's fingertips cut off in a machining accident and Ossie Osbourne working in an abbatoir, coming together in Birmingham in the West Midlands. It is close to my the town of my birth and I think there is something in the fact that the area was known for iron and steel and black smoke billowing out of furnaces and foundry chimneys. I still remember the constant sounds of a machine press a few doors down from our house in the street. This album reminds me of my childhood and happy memories.

Favourite track: Hand of Doom

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


I don't normally post on a Wednesday. I don't know what has gotten into me! I have enjoyed a nice couple of days without work on Monday and Tuesday this week. On Monday, I enjoyed the last day of the summer holidays for my daughter. On Tuesday I did the same with my son. Both are now back at school for the autumn (fall) term. Their next holiday is the last week of October, I want to take some leave to spend a few days with them then - so I have something to look forward to.

I keep feeling the urge to write but keep pushing it away and finding other things to do. I mean "write" as in story writing or something but at the same time I feel like I wouldn't be able to create something I'd be happy with. The hardest thing is to start writing - I used to have a book that contained lots of little writing activities designed to let the imagination roam free without having to worry about producing anything. I was told once that writing is like exercise, if you don't do it frequently you don't get any fitter. I'm not sure the analogy works 100 per cent but I think there is some truth in it.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

A Golden Oldie

Back to school week

Posting this using Blogger's new user interface. It's very clean and simple so gets a thumbs up on that score.

This week my kids go back to school. My daughter starts at her new school on Tuesday. I'm going to be around on Tuesday but I work away from home for a couple of days. I find this difficult as I'd really like to be around for her for a few weeks, but working from home a couple of days is already a luxury I have: guess I can't push my luck too far!

I feel like this time of year signals the run up to Christmas. Programmes like X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and that ilk are all starting their run up to Christmas, so that they can pull in advertisers. My sons birthday is in a few weeks and a month after that it's Halloween, then Bonfire Night. That's when the dark mornings and dark evenings kick in.

We got our heating sorted last week. It gets warm really quick, that might be because it is already warm enough though! We are having a lot of rain but it isn't too cold with it.

I have a couple of days off tomorrow and Tuesday, I'm pretty glad about that.

I'm starting to think about Christmas.