What a mensch. His chats with Eddie Mair over the last few weeks have been astonishingly moving, and his gutsy bravery in the face of the inevitable inspirational. This is by way of a salute, and to extend sympathies to his family.
Colston Hall, Bristol
Last night, I caught a glimpse of a dancing collection of musical strands that have flowed through history for centuries, trickling across the globe via England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Colonies, even into the French diaspora. They were woven for me with intricate care using a splendid variety of instrumentation – a concertina, guitars, a fiddle, other oddly strung instruments, sympathetic percussion, a Hurdy Gurdy even – and presented by a band of enthusiasts who all clearly delighted in the process. At their centre was a woman of 81 years. A woman whose work first graced records played long ago in a million bed-sitting rooms, in student digs and bohemian tenements, records upon whose inner sleeves she appeared, alongside her sister, rubbing shoulders with Pink Floyd, Quatermass, Roy Harper and the mighty Tea & Symphony among others. The occasion was the live presentation of her most recent album, whose cover photo I have shown here in tribute to its miraculous existence. The music, a straightforward unfolding of the wonders on the album, was accompanied on a big screen behind the band by the most marvellous video footage and animation; the strongest visuals » Continue Reading.
Here’s mine, it’s about the horse, and it’s from Job 39:
19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? 20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. 21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. 22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. 23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. 24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. 25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
What a ripsnorting passage! Has to be the King James, of course. I am not a religious person, but I love the sound and feel of a proper bit of the Bible, and I wonder if anyone else here has a favourite?
Here’s a conundrum that irks me; it shouldn’t be a conundrum at all. Up in the loft I have the best part of a metric tonne of books that need to go to a new home. There’s a huge range of material; stripy Faber paperback novels, orange fifties Penguin novels, piles of choice Sci-Fi, lots of lovely old reference books, huge Dorling Kindersley doorstep coffee table tomes, history and geography books on a variety of themes, historical atlases, collections of photographs, all sorts of glories. The only common theme is that I’ve chosen to acquire them over the years. Now they have to go, so that I can reclaim the loft space for more recent “stuff”.
There seem to be a limited number of ways in which to achieve this:
1) bung them in a skip. 2) identify someone or somewhere specific who will really benefit from them. 3) give them to a charity shop.
The first option is just not on. I’d rather saw off my own arms than just trash them. My enlightenment genes would rebel and my eyes would explode if I treated any books with contempt. I can’t even fold over the corner of a page; » Continue Reading.
Doon at mah lurcal caaah boot sale, like, ah picked urp a copy (that’s enough – leave it to Colin H) of that Ant ‘n’ Dec Sat’d’y Nayt Taaakeawaaay quiz game, yah-naw, fer’a cuple-a-quid like (ENOUGH).
One Question says “The 45th President of The United States will be an orange skinned hair transplant disaster with a pouty, potty mouth, little pointy hands and scarce contact with rational reality – true or false?”. The answer it gives is “False”. Good grief. I’m sending in for the correct answer cards; if it has so many ridiculous mistakes in the given answers, it’s unplayable!
I wonder if any other Afterworders bought a copy, and if so, what laughable answers to questions does their copy contain?
There was a simpering, misguided, hand-wringing undercurrent of disapproval when various people publicly stated their gleeful intent to toast the demise of Thatcher. Can their be any doubt that when the odious little glob of spite and nastiness that is Iain Duncan Smith pops his foul clogs the celebrations will spill over into spontaneous nation-wide street parties?
Colston Hall, Bristol
Are you feeling bamboozled by Brexit? Tormented and terrified by Trump? Perplexed by the head shaking crassness of Pantomime’s internal monologue? Depressed by the continuous, conspicuous consumption of December’s shoppers in the face of likely global meltdown? You need a tonic. I said, you need a TONIC. And what you need, though you may not yet have realised it, is Yorkshire Tea.
Last night, Kate and Damien brought their brilliant band to Bristol and regaled us, over more than two hours, with a splendid romp through a generous helping of songs from the Christmas albums, “Sweet Bells”, “While Mortals Sleep” (a personal favourite) and “The Frost Is All Over”. We got three different versions of While Shepherds Watched… with different tunes, from different sources, and in one case, different tunes betwixt verse and chorus. Kate introduced each song with a preamble (full of praises to God’s Own County, of course), giving us the song’s provenance; much of the repertoire coming from Yorkshire and from Cornwall, places where the tradition of signin’ in’tpub persists strongly to this day.
After a decent twenty minute interval, during which the merch table was about six deep » Continue Reading.
Happy birthday Kirk.
I think we need to know; after all, it is Christmas.
And who’s mitch?
What does it sound like?:
When I was offered the chance to review this album, I wasn’t sure if I’d get to really like it. For me, being of a certain vintage and having nailed my colours to the progressive music mast at the age of 15, the early Crimson, Genesis and Yes are the essential canon; all others are inevitably compared to these archetype works of primogeniture.
So I determined to subject this album to a proper appraisal; no quick listen, first impressions dumped to the page and off to the next piece. I copied the album to a USB stick (I was given an MP3 download copy) and lived with it at home and work for weeks. I like to work on complex stuff with all other distractions removed. In a busy office this is difficult unless one dons cans and hides in plain sight. At home I can listen over the hi-fi in my little office, and if the house is empty I can crank it right up.
The verdict’s in now, after six weeks of repeated listening, both when paying close attention and when letting it wash over me in the semi-background. My » Continue Reading.
The Folk House, Bristol
This was a great night out. The venue is a charmer, part of a cooperative that lurks behind Bristol’s once resplendent Park Street, with its own little eatery (we had the Irish Stew, and it was fabtastic) and bar (we both had a pint of Bath Ale’s glorious Gem) and a neat performance space like a small village hall tucked away a floor below street level. Two hour-or-so long sets with a 20 minute break, lots of anecdotes to explain how – and where – each song had come to be known by Andy or to give us its Sharpish provenance. Interspersed with the musicality there were a couple of jokes, some great drinking stories and even a couple of fluffed lines which only added to the charm. All from a chap with a fifty year musical pedigree, with nothing to prove and who is still cutting the mustard. We were blessed with a gripping Renardine, a fine rendition of Alfred Noyes’ Highwayman, several Andy originals dating back to his early rambling days across eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and he finished with a spellbinding Arthur McBride. This guy is 70 years old » Continue Reading.
The latest irresponsible splurge of classified information from Wikileaks has inadvertently revealed an aerial view of the Secret Data Centre at the heart of our operation.
GCHQ will now be looking for tell-tale patterns of electrical activity across the power distribution networks as they attempt to find out where we keep all that arcane knowledge; to that end they’ll be trying to generate as much server activity as possible at odd times of the day. Expect a flurry of seemingly randomly spaced obscure requests for help with esoteric iTunes failures, how to buy rare reggae albums and pleading requests for the recall of long-forgotten 1970s childrens’ TV programmes that starred Jan Francis.
Whatever you do, don’t answer them! We don’t want spooks, who probably listen to K-tel compilations of EDM, infiltrating our ranks, or working out where the bunker is!!!
GBBO at eight. CHECK. Set PVRs. CHECK. Enjoy it while you can. CHECK. Fuck’em if anyone thinks this doesn’t matter. CHECK. Tally Ho, I’m going in.
*faint smudge of smoke on the horizon, smell of burnt Yorkshire Puddings*
Hovering over the “Buy with 1 click” button next to the imminent Zepp 3-discer of BBC sesh material, it occurred to me that I’d seen a review of it on here a little while back.
Can I find it? Can I heck? Did I imagine it? Is this what they call “early onset”?
Has Crowley reached back from the Great Beyond to put the bejabbers on that post?
It’s probably still drizzling outside, but I don’t know or really care. I’ve been sat in this little folding chair half way back in the main marquee at Didmarton bluegrass festival for the past hour or so. There’s an old time duo playing as I write. I’ve seen mates I haven’t met since this time last year. I’ve made new friends. I’ve listened to Brits playing bluegrass, and Americans playing bluegrass, I’ve heard classics and standards, brilliant originals, and a bluegrass Teenage Kicks. There are about 600 people here, the marquee is pretty full, there’s a cheap bar next door selling great local beer, and I can eat posh grub or chips with everything. Tonight the headliners are Front Country. Last night Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley blew everyone away. Get out and hear something live with your mates, it’s the absolute dogs gonads.
Cometh the Edit function.
Joy to all mankind!
Bunting! Streamers! Cucumber sarnies! Flags! Trumpets! Cherubim & Seraphim!
What does it sound like?:
Last weekend I picked up a signed copy of Sharon Murphy’s ‘Where I Belong’ album in Malachy Kearn’s place at Roundstone. Every time I’m in Connemara I make it a rule to drop in there to pick up some local music. I hadn’t heard Sharon’s name before, despite her having been on the gogglebox apparently. I live in a largely TV-free bubble. The presence of a handwritten signature (with a kiss!) on the CD digipak lead me to think that she must surely be a local girl. Gifty (Malachy’s wife) put me right and filled me in on the personal history (traumatic) behind Sharon’s musical story; I was intrigued. Back home today I’ve just played this CD through from start to finish. It’s lovely, with added grit.
What does it all *mean*?
I have to say it’s one of the strongest song collections I’ve heard from a new artist (to me anyway) in a very long time. Her voice is astonishingly good; her clarity and delivery are near perfect and her intonation and timbre are wonderful. The Dylan cover (what a great, ambitious choice) is exceptionally well done, and all of the original songs » Continue Reading.
Here I am, sitting in the Sports Bar of a swish golf club, looking out on a sunlit evening. In the far distance I can see the Arran Islands, and in the foreground some stalwart souls are finishing their rounds at the eighteenth. We are staying at the nineteenth a while longer, having feasted on chicken linguine awash with garlic and accompanied by a pint of the dark stuff. Desserts to follow shortly. At 9 this morning we snorkelled with seals in a little sandy bay we know, and tomorrow we will drive and walk to a 6 mile sandy beach that will be deserted but for the two of us and our faithful Jack Russells. Alcock and Brown ditched a few miles from where we sit, happy to have landed on Ireland’s sainted soil. We feel the same whenever we come back here. May your Guinness never run dry and may your wetsuits never fill with sand. Happy thoughts to all. What about your August? How’s it going?
The accelerating conversion of Turkey into an embryonic caliphate, driven by politicians emboldened by their ability to claim to be democrats, is one reason why their entrance into the EU was expected by many observers to be unlikely any time soon.
Have we just seen the last chance that this slide might be reversed in our lifetimes lost in one poorly organised coup? Is that it? Is Turkey the next Syria? Why is it possible to witness these events with a sickening sense of inevitability? How long has Erdogan got before someone lights the touchpaper with a bullet or a bomb?
There must be Afterworders here who know far more than I about the mood on the streets in Turkey; informed insight would be welcome.
No need to worry if you lapse into that familiar Am on the fifth fret intro as you toy with a guitar you can’t really afford, and which your missus will brain you with if you buy it and take it home. At least you won’t risk being pursued by chord-chasing, pocket-lining chancer lawyers from California any more; the Zep lads have been exonerated. Phew.
Now, where’s that Led Zeppelin Complete book, I need to brush up on the riffage for Dazed & Confused….
Not sure if anyone else has linked this, but I found this an interesting read, and you might too.
Well done, South Yorkshire, how much did that cost, you divs?
Every time I walk past my @pencilsqueezer my heart gives a little song of joy. Here’s a little in return.
I could do with north of 100 grand, so a) you’ll have to come round to Foxy Towers and lamp me as well, and b) you’ll have to be a well-heeled TV presenter and journalist who was employed by a broadcasting corporation that can chip in to fund the settlement when I sue you for assault and racial discrimination.
Once the swelling’s gone down it’s easy money I reckon.
*drives off sharpish in fast car*
Nerr, nerr-nerr-nerrnuh, nerr, nerr-nerr-nerrnuh! The eighth of May! The eighth of May!
Lest we forget, let’s hear it one more time for the elemental Mr. K.